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November 20, 2020

Fourth Trimester Essentials for Baby & Mama

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It has already been 13 weeks since our Ellie girl made it into this world! You can read a letter that I wrote to her about how all of that happened HERE. Everyone warns you that time flies with a newborn and they aren’t lying. I’m trying to soak up as much of it as I can, sleepless nights and all.

Babies really don’t need much at all but there are some things that have made the fourth trimester with Eleanor much smoother and easier (for us, mainly) all around. Stephen and I both recommend reading the book, “The Happiest Baby on the Block“. We don’t follow everything it recommends to a T but overall we have found it to be extremely helpful as new parents. I find it interesting that most of the items that we’re sharing about below align with what this book teaches.

Baby Essential Layout
  • Keekaroo – Stephen gave me a hard time for putting this on the registry after he saw the price tag. Eventually, I convinced him that it would be worth it and he’ll even admit that I was SO RIGHT. It is worth every penny and his number one recommended baby item! Ellie’s favorite past time is to pee and poop while (Stephen specifically) changing her. We quickly learned that it is not that big of a deal at all because of how easy it is to clean up. No dealing with throwing a cover in the wash or replacing a cover, nothing like that. It’s fantastic.
  • Huckleberry app – We didn’t start out using this app (we used Baby Tracker which is also a good option but this is better!) and I wish I had. At the very beginning, I wasn’t stressed out about figuring out a routine with her since they sleep like 22 hours out of the day… After a few weeks though we started to notice some patterns and starting tracking those so we could time things better and it was a game changer. It gives you a good idea on when she’ll need to go down for a nap and especially if you’re following the “On Becoming Baby Wise” method, you’ll know when she needs to be fed. Some parents are probably reading this and thinking, “You don’t need an app to know things.” Millions of people have survived without one, that’s correct. Do I think it’s extremely helpful? Yep. I do. We’re just trying to do our best here as new parents so we use an app to assist us. We have no shame in that!
  • Sleep sacks and/or swaddles – We have swaddled Ellie since day one using these swaddles and the classic swaddle method shown here. I knew even before she made her entrance that she would love to feel really cozy and wrapped tightly (her mama is the exact same way) and I was right! We preferred the traditional swaddle and ultimately she slept best that way, however, sometimes she’d get ticked if her hands weren’t up by her face so we got this one. We also modified the Halo sleep sack the hospital gave us to give her that tight feeling while her arms (or one) could be completely free. She was also gifted this Kyte sleep sack and it quickly became a new favorite of hers. It’s so soft and her arms are completely free which is great now that she’s starting to roll. She has outgrown all of the other swaddle options at this point so this is all she wears. I love that about this sleep sack. It can be worn for much longer! I’ll most likely get her a second one to wear until she reaches 6 months and then get her a bigger one when she grows out of this one. They’re that good! And such an amazing gift!
  • Tummygize – Our girl has a lot of gas/reflux issues so we’ve been using Tummygize directly on her belly since I think about day 3 of her life. I knew first hand how well the adult version (Digize) worked on us so I don’t know why I was so shocked at how well it worked for her. Tummygize is specifically formulated for kids to support their digestive system. We rub it directly on her little belly and let it work its magic! You can learn more about why we use essential oils HERE.
  • Hatch – Stephen’s sister got this noise machine for us after he said we didn’t need it on our registry, ha! Thank goodness she did! We use it daily and love that we can modify the settings right from our phone. Stephen even said recently, “What are we going to do when Ellie goes into her room and we don’t have the Hatch in here with us any longer….?” I think it can also be used as a sleep trainer of sorts but we haven’t gotten to that point yet. Either way, we love it and don’t ever sleep without it now.
  • Bottles – We put this bottle set on the registry and we’re really glad that we did! Babies can be super picky about bottles. Ellie isn’t but we liked that we were able to try all of these out with her without having to buy or waste a ton (and who knows how our next kid will be?!). We use all of them but Stephen’s favorite is the Dr. Brown’s followed by the Como Tomo. If you’re curious as to why, he says the Dr. Brown’s is the most comfortable to hold and you don’t have to hold it as vertically compared to the others (he bottle feeds her at night… I’ll share more on this in the breast feeding post!).
  • Pacifier – We started using a pacifier with Ellie very early on. Sucking is one of the five “Ss” as described in “The Happiest Baby on the Block”. Like bottles, this is another thing babies can be picky about. She loves the BIBS pacifiers most.
  • Pacifier clip – This is just so we don’t have to keep picking up a hair covered binky off the floor! We prefer the ones with the metal clasps like this one as we’ve found they work the best.
  • Kimono gowns – Ellie couldn’t care less about this but we absolutely love these kimono gowns! They make very frequent diaper changes much easier. Along with that, they can be worn for many more months compared to a traditional onesie.
  • Carrier – We wear Ellie very often! We have three different carriers and use all of them: WildBird ring sling, Solly wrap, and 5-in-1 baby carrier. They all have pros and cons! I favor the ring sling for it’s comfort and ease of use and Stephen favors the Solly wrap for how cozy she is in there. The 5-in-1 is easy to use, is really supportive, and is also comfortable. We truly use them all! If I had to recommend one though, I’d say go with a ring sling but also consider getting a more robust carrier for things like walking/hiking.
  • Bonus: Snuggle Me – This isn’t essential (again, really none of this is except for a way to feed the baby and diapers!) but we used/use it often. We don’t put her in this at night but especially when she was only days/weeks old we’d just stick her in there on the kitchen table while we were working around the house if we didn’t want to wear her. Another similar option that so many of my friends love is the Dock a Tot!
Top picks for a new mom after birth

Woof I had no idea how hard recovery from delivery would be. I really struggled (and still am) but these things made it a lot more comfortable for me. So much of the focus is on baby that it feels like a lot of people forget what mama just went through. It’s traumatic! There’s so much healing that needs to occur on top of learning how to mother to a new precious babe. I could go on and on about this… I get a bit flustered thinking about it! Anyway, this is solely what I am so glad I had during the fourth trimester. I’ll do an entirely separate post on my breastfeeding essentials!

Before Ellie was born a great friend of mine, Natalee, sent us gifts for the baby and things that she thought would be helpful for me postpartum. It was incredibly thoughtful and ended up being so helpful. It’s definitely something I want to gift to expecting mamas from here on out!

  • Bidet – I CAN’T RECOMMEND A BIDET ENOUGH! This is the exact one that we have (it can also be used to wash the dogs in the bathtub, wash off cloth diapers, etc.). You shouldn’t wipe down there (I’m going there because this is important to know!!!) for quite some time so this is the best way to stay clean. Not only that but it’s relieving! Much easier than the spray bottles they give you at the hospital. Your husband will also love it! We used it even before baby came along.
  • Wipes – These wipes specifically were by far the best for me. They’re thicker, larger, and more relieving compared to others that I tried. From what I can find, Amazon only offers a bulk box of them versus buying individual packs but I’d even say buy the bulk box. I was bummed when I ran out. Do not actually wipe if you got stitches! Just dab dab dab.
  • Perineum spray – For all of my Young Living friends out there, I’d 100% recommend ordering Claraderm. It is expensive, I’m not going to even sugar coat that (buy it with your ER points!!!). But there’s a reason it is. Your lady bits are worth it, trust me. I thoroughly believe my stitches healed as well and as quickly as they did because of it. If you aren’t a YL member, first of all, join the party!! Second of all, this is a great alternative that Natalee sent in the gift for me. I found to be really relieving!
  • Padsicles (recipe below) – The hospital will give you cooling pads to stick in your underwear but I preferred the padsicles I made ahead of time because they were colder and more relieving. I think these pads could also be a great option. It sounds crazy but I had to lean forward to actually feel the relief from the cold when I used these cold pads that the hospital provided.
  • Always Discreet Boutique – The baby isn’t the only one that needs diapers… I found these to be the most comfortable and effective. I preferred these over the underwear the hospital provided because they stayed up better for me and kept the ice packs closer. I wore the S/M size (normally a size 4-6 in bottoms).
  • Comfortable underwear – I really love these.
  • Ningxia – This is the antioxidant drink that I consume daily! It’s like drinking a multivitamin that tastes like juice. It has been so helpful for healing (and breastfeeding!!!).
  • Sitz bath – I was dumb and didn’t take the one that hospital gave me because I didn’t know what it was… TAKE IT! I wish I had. It’ll help you heal down there and also be very relieving.
  • Pelvic floor + core rehab – I can’t stress the importance of PF PT enough. I shared about everything I did with that HERE while pregnant. The work needs to continue postpartum!!! I am dealing with significant PF issues from delivering Ellie despite all of the work I did while pregnant. I can only imagine how I would’ve been if I didn’t!! Even if I was 100% I’d still go get checked by the PT. Peeing while running/laughing/jumping, having pain “down there”, etc. is not normal and surgery is not the only option for prolapse issues. If you hear the following from your OB, I encourage you to find a different provider: “Prolapse is normal!” “Peeing while running is normal! All women do it!” “The only way to fix prolapse is to have surgery.” “Just do some kegels, that’ll help it.” False. False. False. False. Prolapse does happen in 50% of women, yes, but I believe that number would be significantly lower if more women did PF PT. God did not intend for women to pee while running. Plain and simple. In few cases prolapse is so severe surgery is needed, yes, but most cases can be fixed with PT. DO NOT JUST “DO KEGELS”. Some women don’t relax their pelvic floor enough while others relax it too much. Both can cause prolapse. Both have different recovery strategies and exercises. In the former case, kegels can make it worse. A PT should be able to diagnose and instruct you on what you need for your specific case. This is not a one size fits all scenario. Furthermore, a lot of the time it’s not just a pelvic floor issue that needs to be addressed! It could be a lack of core strength, glute strength… etc. Along with seeing a PT, @expectingandempowered, @brianna.battles, @getmomstrong all have helpful resources. I will be starting back up with the Street Parking Postpartum program once I’m cleared by my PT (I was cleared at my 6 week OB checkup but know something is still not right. I can’t tell what is causing my pain to flare up so I’m just taking it easy until I receive further guidance)! ** Update: After seeing a new PF PT since our move, I found out that the therapy I completed while pregnant greatly paid off. The pain I’ve experienced is due to things unrelated to my pelvic floor that were out of my control and I did not know about (without going into detail, it involves my stitches…).

TIP: Keep all of your “down there” essentials all together in a basket or container so that you can easily transport everything if you are going to use multiple restrooms throughout the day.

Padsicles DIY

If you want to see me in action making these, I have it saved on my highlights on @jordyjeanjoyls!

What You’ll Need:

  • Large pads
  • Aloe vera
  • Witch hazel (alcohol free)
  • Lavender essential oil (I do not recommend using Lavender from Amazon or TJ Maxx, for instance. Know exactly what you’re using! It can be more harmful than helpful. I personally only recommend Young Living essential oils.)
  • Optional: Peppermint and Tea Tree essential oils
  • Large freezer bag

What To Do:

  • Open up each pad but keep the wrapper in tact
  • Using the back of a spoon, spread some aloe vera evenly over each pad
  • Squirt witch hazel along the entire pad
  • Add 3-5 drops of Lavender, Peppermint, and Tea Tree to each pad
  • Close the pad up using the wrapper
  • Add all of the pads to the freezer bag
  • Store in the freezer until ready to use

I hope you guys find this helpful! Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below or over on @jordyjean! I’m happy to help. Stay well, friends.


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