Hindsight is 20/20, isn’t it? Unless maybe we’re talking about parenthood, in which case it’s more like 20/10, since you’re saying things way, way better than you ever possibly could have in those foggy, confused, sleep-deprived early days. Now that I’ve been through it once, there are a number of things I’d do differently, including stocking the nursery with some slightly different gear. In fact, there are a number of very specific things I wish I had for my newborn son, especially the moments after I brought him home from the hospital.
Some of it will probably come as no surprise to seasoned parents, but perhaps a few things I totally overlooked will strike a chord with all you soon-to-be moms, possibly even assisting you in solving a problem you may not even know you’re probably (read: definitely) going to have. Don't worry, there's no need to thank me. Instead, just take that extra sanity and mental energy you’re going to have and put it back into caring for yourself and your baby. Trust me when I say, you're going to need it.
My disclaimer, of course, is that all babies and all parents are different, so what I didn't have but ended up needing might not be even remotely necessary for others. However, if your experience is anything like mine, having these things on hand will save you (and your newborn) some tears, some frustration, and some late-night trips to the pharmacy.
A Breast Pump (And All The Necessary Accessories)
Some moms may have received this particular memo, but I most certainly did not. Why would I need a breast pump if I wasn’t going back to work for months? It never even crossed my mind that I could have early breastfeeding challenges that would necessitate pumping on day three of my son’s life, in order to establish my supply and get him fed.
I ended up using a hand-pump at some ridiculously unnecessary, middle-of-the-night hour, exhausted, while waiting two of the longest days of my life for the electric one to arrive. It would have saved so much trouble, and heartache, and stress, if I had it from the beginning.
All The Bottles And Nipples
Sure, we had a few, but it wasn’t nearly enough. This is where my, "But I’m going to breastfeed all the time!” logic failed me. While we worked on nursing, my son was taking my pumped milk by the bottle, going through nothing short of eight hundred per day.
A Clean And Sparkling Bathtub
I know that more than a few people consider a bubble bath to be the pinnacle of luxury, but they’re just not normally my jam. Still, when I was recovering from childbirth, they were one of the few things that made my tired, healing, postpartum body feel better. The only catch was that it had seriously been years since our tub had been used as a tub, so it needed some TLC, which we did not have the time or energy for when our son was merely days old. We eventually made it work, but I only wish we’d managed it sooner.
This may seem obvious, but we did not have nearly enough newborn outfits. “Just get a couple,” they said. “Your baby will fit in three-month clothes when they’re born anyway,” they said. Um, no. My newborn son needed newborn-sized clothes. Crazy, right?
All The Washcloths
After my son arrived, I went out with my own mom and bought washcloths in bulk. We used them for everything, so the few cute gift packs I’d received at my baby shower, while appreciated, were not nearly enough to get us through those early days when everything needed to be wiped, dried, and gently patted.
A Phone With Tons Of Available Storage Space
Because the last thing we need is to be told we’re almost out of phone storage when your child is awake (and not crying) and wearing they’re cutest three-piece ensemble that you spent twenty minutes dressing them in.
Our Favorite Non-Perishable Foods
We had a few boxes of granola bars and jars of pasta sauce at the ready, but we merely had enough to be functional. Now that I think about it, it would have been amazing to have some of our preferred snacks and treats on hand that we could actually enjoy eating, as opposed to simply stuffing our mouths in order to stay standing and not, you know, fainting.
A Fruit And Veggie Box Subscription
My kind mother-in-law offered to stop at the grocery store us in our son’s early weeks, and my husband’s request was “salad fixings.” Like college freshmen or headstrong toddlers, there wasn't really a healthy item in our diet; not from lack of desire but from lack or organization (and from letting our few attempts to purchase healthy food sadly wilt or go bad).
A subscription box would have literally brought a whole other food group to our door.
More Than Two Nursing Tops
Perhaps other moms are luckier than I was, but I’d go through multiple nursing tops in a single morning, thanks to leaks and spills and various other splashes of fluid (I’ll spare you the details). I ordered more within days of my son's arrival.