A Mom’s Survival Guide to the First Month with Baby

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Before my first child was born, I would read books and articles of experiences from other moms on how they welcomed baby and what the next few months was like for them. In truth, none of these truly prepared me for what I was about to experience.

Don’t get me wrong – I have much appreciation for the materials I’ve read and by no means am I am discounting their value. As a first time mom, I REALLY had no idea what to expect, nor did I ever experience this level of exhaustion in my ENTIRE life. To put what I meant about expectations in perspective – I would spend days researching the perfect crib, crib mattress, mattress protectors and covers. When baby arrived… guess what?! She NEVER even slept in the crib! I look back now and laugh at it, but at that moment, I just wanted to roll on the ground while crying and laughing at the same time.

Here are tips that I’ve learned from fellow moms and some on my own the hard way. I’m also going to include recommendations of baby essentials that I believe truly made a difference in those first few exhausting months.

  • Nursing Pillow: A lifesaver for my tired arms. I honestly wished I learned how to nurse while lying down. I never did until my second baby turned 4 months old (last month). I’m still not that great at it. Sitting up while feeding baby is my preferred method. A friend of mine gifted me My Brest Friend Original Nursing Posture Pillow and I highly recommend it.
  • Bassinet: I had severe low back pain throughout my pregnancy, which felt worse after baby was born. It was extremely difficult to bend to pick up baby from the crib. I caved in and bought a bassinet. I purchased the Delta Children Deluxe Sweet Beginnings Bassinet because I wanted the option of easily rolling baby around the house wherever I went.
  • Infant Seat Lounger: Exhaustion got real! There are days where I could barely get out of bed. For those days, the Leachco Podster Infant Seat Lounger was so helpful for when baby would nap with me.
  • Relaxing Sounds for Baby (and surprisingly, for parents too): White noise helps drown out the slightest sound that may wake up baby. There are YouTube videos on white noise that you can use for free. Just be wary of the ads that play in the middle of the video just when baby is finally starting to get some snooze.  

Tip: If you have a Google Home or a Google Mini, ask Google to play “white noise”. If you have an Echo Dot, ask Alexa to play “car ride”. I didn’t care much for Alexa’s version of “white noise”.

  • Swaddle: Most babies love to be swaddled! Who wouldn’t want to be wrapped around warmth and coziness? I worried about our little escape artist getting tangled in the swaddle blanket and I’m not even close to being a swaddle expert. There are sleep sack options available. I recommend the Halo Sleepsack. Make sure you’re ordering the right size. There is one specifically for newborns.
  • Movement Monitor: There are a variety of options in the market for baby monitors. I wanted to get a system for my peace of mind. Even with the monitor, I still didn’t sleep too well for the first 6 months as I was constantly checking on baby after all the articles that I’ve read about SIDS. Since baby slept in our room, I didn’t need a video monitor, so I opted for the Angelcare Movement and Sound Monitor. It works and we didn’t have too many instances of false alarms.
  • Diaper Changing Pad: I had minimal space and didn’t have a dedicated diaper changing station. I recommend washable pad liners. For extremely messy encounters or when on the go, these disposable liners have been my go-to.
  • A Tip for Formula Feeding Moms: Pre-fill several clean and sterilized baby bottles with the amount of water that baby will drink. Have the pre-filled bottles, formula and the bottle warmer nearby you so that when baby wakes up in the middle of the night, you don’t have to make your way to the kitchen at odd hours of the night.
  • Accept Help: I couldn’t stress this enough. Designate your partner or a family member to do the diaper changes. Have someone make the food run or cook the meals. Remember, you need to stay healthy and you’ll need to keep your strength up to take care of baby.

It will seem like a VERY long first few months. I hope you’ll find these tips helpful. Hang in there! You’re doing a wonderful job.

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3 Comments

  1. What I Wish I Knew Then About Breastfeeding

    […] There are many resources available online, some conflicting on how often to feed baby. Should I continue feeding baby every 2-3 hours? Let baby sleep until he cries? I continued to wake baby until the pediatrician gave me the go signal to let baby sleep through the night. For baby#2, it was deemed that he was gaining enough weight at 2 weeks old. As exhausting as those nights were, I was faced with waking and feeding baby or pumping as my milk production was on overdrive during those early weeks. Our bodies are smart, the moment baby feeds less, our bodies produce less. Refer to my blog on “A Mom’s Survival Guide to the First Month with Baby.” […]

  2. Alice @MommytoMom

    Great tips! A nursing pillow and bassinet were on the top of my list. You spend so much time feeding newborns, these pillows are great whether or not you breastfeed. They just help your arms so much with holding your baby. The bassinet was so convenient to have your newborn sleep next to your bed and then be able to move it to the living room in the morning!

    1. samchiugo

      Thank you, Alice. You are so right. I highly recommend anything to help us during baby’s first year. The rolling bassinets are a wonderful thing.

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