04 July 2015

The Second Time Around

You wouldn't think things would be much different in the time between my two pregnancies but I'm starting to notice which things have made my recovery and transition to motherhoodx2 easier. I made a list of my "top 5" must-have baby items, 4 of which I had last time around and have grown to appreciate all over again.

1. iBaby Feed Timer
This iPhone app is a wonder-tool. 
You can time feedings, including on multiple sides. 
You can track the number and type of dirty diapers your baby is having. I tracked this for probably the first 2 months but gave it up as it was just one to many things to track.
You can track when you pump/express milk and how much you get from one or both breasts. This feature is important to me since I miss two feedings while I'm at work and only get to pump once. (More about pumping in another post)
The app tells you when the next feeding is (approximately); you can determine time between feedings either as an average or as a set time. I started with the average but as Matthew started sleeping through the night those long stretches messed up the average for during the day. Now I have it set for every 2 hours but sometimes he only gets to 1.5 or 1.75 before he's ready to eat again during the day.
There is a log tab which will show you 1) all breast feedings, 2) diaper changes, 3) pumping times/amounts, 4) bottle feedings, 5) baby growth measurements.
There is a summary tab which shows you like average feed length, average time between all feeds, number of feeds, and number of diapers per day, for the last 7 days, and the last 28 days. 
There's even graphs of the data! Not a joke. There are four graphs: 1) timeline - shows (on a 24-hour scale) when each event took place; 2) summary - line graph which plots events over time; 3) bottle - line graph showing amount of bottle feedings; and 4) growth - line chart showing the baby's physical development (I input these measurements from Matthew's regular doctor's appointments).
After I had William I was just writing down all my feedings on a piece of paper and guesstimating how long each feeding was since sometimes I was too out of it to notice a specific start and end time. This app changed everything for me. I always have my phone with me so I can log each feeding to a more accurate length. The craziest thing is waking up in the morning with a vague recollection of feeding Matthew in the middle of the night and I'll check my app and I had tracked the feeding while mostly asleep. Matthew still sleeps in his bassinet next to my bed and he's old enough now to have learned side-lying feeding WHICH IS THE BEST.
This app saved my brain. I had so much going on after this birth since I was still in school and it's so nice to have an app remind me, "Hey, it's probably time to feed your baby". The little alerts also remind me to pump while I'm at work, but more on that later.

2. Medela Pump-in-Style Advanced breastpump
I received this pump after I had William and I love it. I have the older model so that carry bag is less stylish but the pump itself is a marvel to me. The bag has a thermos-esque compartment to keep milk cold after I pump. The pump suction is highly adjustable so I never have to deal with pain.

3. Baby blankets
Matthew used to spit up a ton. I mean, he still spits up a lot, but it's not nearly as bad as it was. I had to switch him to only feeding on one side at a time to help reduce the amount he was spitting up. Because of his tendency to spit up a lot, and not always right after a feeding, burp cloths were totally useless. I have to keep a full-size baby blanket with him at all times, just in case. We use all of the blankets we made/got for William and the blankets we made/got for Matthew so I don't have to do laundry just for blankets.

4. Johnson's breast pads
I will never EVER use another brand of breast pads. I don't care that I have to order these pads from Amazon because my Walmart stopped carrying them. It's worth it. The material is so much smoother than any other brand I have tried. If there is one thing not to skimp on it's the item kept nearest to one of the most sensitive parts of the female body. These pads were a god-send right when Matthew was born. He was tongue-tied which made nursing, well, horrible. He wasn't latching correctly so it was painful and I ended up cracked and bleeding and bruised. Remember what I said about that area being very sensitive? You definitely don't want to suffer the issues I did without a little bit of relief. It got so bad I would flinch when my app alarm would go off to feed Matthew: I wasn't ready for the pain. Luckily I mentioned our issues to Matthew's pediatrician at his two-week appointment and the doc discovered Matthew's tongue was tied and fixed it. The feeding right after the appointment was a million times better. I was so grateful.

5. Bassinet
Tyson's mom let us use this blue bassinet when William was born and now again with Matthew. The bassinet can be removed from the base, which has wheels for easy movement. I slept on our awesome couch for probably the first six weeks of Matthew's life. It was easier to set up my stuff out in the front room and not worry about waking up Tyson while doing feedings and diaper changes in the middle of the night. I put the bassinet sans base right on the floor next to the couch, propped up with a flat pillow on one end to keep Matthew at an angle (again, to reduce spitting up). Now we are back in our master bedroom and I keep Matthew's bassinet next to my side of the bed. He is going to outgrow it soon and then I'm not sure what I'll do. I'm worried about putting him in the same room as William. I guess I can't avoid that forever. In the meantime I'm enjoying side-lying nursing in the middle of the night and first thing in the morning. I can also rock the bassinet back and forth on the base to rock Matthew back to sleep if he gets a bit fussy.

If I were to make a list of things I thought every mom should definitely have for her new baby, these five items would be the list. You don't need all the fancy shtuff for your baby. I know every mom has to find her own groove and I'm glad the only "new" thing on this list was the feeding app that I cannot live without.

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