Must-Haves, Not Needed & Wished I Had: 0-6 months

Below are a few of my favourite products, must-haves, wishes and a list of things I really didn’t need for a newborn, up to 6 months!

Let’s start with the must haves!

Baby Brezza Sterilizer: If you are using bottles, you need this machine. It’s a fantastic stand-alone sterilizer. There are definitely cheaper sterilizers that you can get, but I would say swing for top quality if this is something you are going to be using all the time. I sterilized my bottles daily up until bebe was 7 months. The drying feature in this machine is the best. Have you ever tried drying bottles with just the air or by hand? #timesuck I’m sure there are other machines with a dryer, but seriously, get a machine with a dryer if you are using bottles. You will need distilled water for this machine or the hotplate will get covered in calcium buildup.

Breast Shells/ Milk Savers: These are crucial if you are a breastfeeding mom: nursing or pumping! These have been, hands down, the item that has stopped me from going 100% insane. They catch all the milk that falls during breastfeeding, and if you’ve been following along with my blog, all day for me! I catch about 40ml every 2-3 hours with these and then pour it into a bottle. Get multiple sets so you are not constantly washing and drying and increase their lifespan!

Zipper sleepers: are you using button up sleepers? #stopitnow try a zipper sleeper, you will never go back. I refuse to use button up’s at night. They are a huge pain for you and Bebé when all you want to do is go back to sleep.

Pampers Pure Diapers: I really wanted to use Cloth diapers and spent a fortune on them too. But with the level of exhaustion I was feeling I just couldn’t bring myself to do laundry two times a day… It’s more expensive, but I’m not compromising on quality, baby friendly diapers. Pampers Pure diapers match all of my requirements for a healthy diaper with far fewer chemicals than other brands. They’re comparable to Seventh Generation and Honest. Plus you get rewards with their rewards app! I’m saving up for a starbucks giftcard! Coffee Please! I highly recommend getting an Amazon Family/Prime Account and then getting these on a monthly subscription so you never have to worry about having diapers and you get 20% off!.

Coconut Oil: this is not necessarily a baby product, but I use it for everything! Baby bum, nipples, flanges, dry skin, hair mask, pancakes. It’s so good for you and baby. You want to make sure that you get organic, virgin coconut oil and not any highly processed versions. For baby bum protection, I melt some coconut oil, add into a bottle and then either squeeze it out or keep it warm and liquid by leaving it on top of my wipe warmer.

Wipe Warmer: Imagine you’re lying in bed, cocooned in your warm blankets, maybe someone has just fed you a warm glass of milk and you’ve settled yourself back into a slumber. All of a sudden someone is taking off your clothes and putting a cold wet towel on you. You’d be screaming and crying too right?! Those tears aren’t necessary if you have a wipe warmer! In the first few weeks of having my babe at home, those night time screams were the worst. They were so loud and heartbreaking, but once I got the wipe warmer they turned only into a whimper of being slightly awoken to have his diaper changed. I originally thought “ok, he’ll get used to the cold wipes” but it’s just so much nicer when they are warm.

Pack and Play Play Pen with Bassinet and Change Table: I would recommend purchasing one of these for the floor where you and baby aren’t sleeping. During the day, when you aren’t sleeping yourself, you’re still going to want to have baby close to you and with this playpen, you have the bassinet and change table right there. You won’t need to climb any stairs to get to the nursery, change station or crib.

Baby Brezza Formula Pro: I didn’t need this until just recently (6+ months), but I add it here because if I had been formula feeding at this time, this would have been my #1 BFF. Night feedings, warming up bottles in a bottle warmer, the waiting, the crying, etc. – it’s hard. The formula pro gets it done within seconds. You just press a button and 5 seconds later the bottle is ready. Give it a good shake to ensure everything is mixed and then feed your bebe. Simple. Done. I use this now that baby is getting half his bottles from formula and it is great. There are some people that struggle with this machine, but I find it to be simple and amazing. I’m sure that there are manufacturing duds and you definitely need to shake the bottle once everything has been poured in, but I’ve never had any issues. There are 500+ reviews on the product on Amazon and most of them are great.

Nested Bean Sleep Sack: This really works and when I got it things changed for the better! Bebe would finally sleep on his own in his bassinet for part of the night and napped really well. The light weighted chest is perfect and the stretchy, velcro arm straps hold in even the strongest of startlers! Bebe T would always be waking himself up with his startle reflex and in a regular swaddle, he’d be out of it in minutes. I can’t wait to purchase the 6+ sleep sack!

Below are some of the items I wished I had!

I wish I had purchased the Halo Bassinet, or something similar. The first five weeks, Bebe slept in his Pack & Play bassinet out in our family room, and I slept on the couch. This was mostly because bebe wanted to sleep in my arms and on my chest the whole time. After the first five weeks we transitioned to the bedroom where he slept in the bed beside me. This was terrifying as I was constantly worried about whether he was breathing, not getting too close to him, etc. I think I would have been much better off getting the halo bassinet, sleeping in the bed and positioning the halo so that it was a close as possible to me. Everyone wins!

A rocking chair! My nursery was too small, as we had a queen-sized bed inside, that I wasn’t going to take out because I knew I would be sleeping in that room with the baby. I, therefore, decided not to get a rocking/nursing chair, but I wish I had. I spent a great deal of time on the couch in the living room, sitting on my bed to nurse (in the first 3 weeks) or in an office chair. All of these squishy surfaces did a number of my back.

A Rock and Play Sleeper. Bebe used one of these at a friends house and he went from super hyper to calm and melow in an instant. He calmly lied in this thing for a good 45 minutes! It has some a few different rocking settings and is set at an incline, which is great for those bebes that suffer from reflux, like mine did. I will 100% be buying this for any future babies to enjoy.

Below are a few items I didn’t need:

  • Baby Shoes – babies don’t walk, so you don’t need to waste money, or closet space, on shoes! The only time they are going to need shoes is when they are walking outside. Otherwise, they should be barefoot or if it’s chilly, with a nice pair of warm socks and a blanket.
  • Specialty burp cloths – this is a waste of money and you will likely never use them. Those swaddlers you got, those are going to be your everything, just use those!
  • Sink Flower Bath Pillows – your baby is going to outgrow this super fast. You’re better off investing in a staged baby bath that can fit over your tub. I really loved my Fisher Price Baby Bathtub because I was able to use it from day one and still am!

Maternal Separation Anxiety

I haven’t posted in about three weeks. I’ve been going through some non-mama related things that have kept me unmotivated and blocked my creative thought process. I haven’t been able to think of anything worth sharing. But with Christmas come and past, I feel like I’m getting back into the swing of things.

Lately, I’ve been struggling with the thought of leaving my bebe with someone else. As we head into month 7 I’m starting to think about what my life is going to look like when my maternity leave is officially over. And it’s freaking me out. I know all mamas go through this and everything turns out fine. There are some hiccups as everyone adjusts, I’m sure, but everyone does adjust, eventually. I’m with my baby pretty much 24/7. Non-stop. I hear every whimper, every scream. I change almost every single diaper, I feed him almost every single meal. I’m the only one that sleeps with him. I’m the one that cuddles him the most. I’m the one that plays with him the most. We have our own secret little language that helps us communicate with each other all day long. I’m really struggling with the thought of putting him in daycare so that I can return to work.

But I’m also struggling with the day-to-day possibilities of leaving him with someone other than me. Like his father, or his grandmothers. It’s not that I don’t trust these individuals. They love him beyond measure. I just don’t want to do it. I have, but it really hurts. I feel guilty, I worry, I want to check in every 20 minutes to know what he’s doing, how he’s feeling. I don’t want anyone to think that I don’t trust them and be offended, but the truth is I don’t trust them. Not because I think they will neglect him or do him any harm, I just can’t trust anyone else to protect him, soothe him, play with him, like I do. And this drives me nuts! I want so badly to have an hour to myself, but when I do get it, I immediately change my mind about leaving him and have to re-convince myself that everything will be ok. This happens even when I’m upstairs and he’s downstairs with his daddy or grandmother! Isn’t that silly? I sometimes feel a lot of internal and external pressure to leave him, to allow him to bond with other individuals and to take opportunities for self-care. I know these are healthy and necessary things, but I just can’t prioritize them in my brain.

You’ve heard of separation anxiety, but this is usually used to refer to the feelings experienced by the child. Well, it turns out that mamas can experience this too and it’s called Maternal Separation Anxiety: when a mother experiences feelings of worry, sadness, or guilt while separated from her child. Many mothers experience this in the first few months and years of post-partum. However, if left unchecked it can cause significant emotional and physical challenges for the mother and the child including anxiety attacks and unhealthy attachment and development issues.  If you do a google search for this term, you’ll likely only come up with scholarly articles, as I did. These delve into scientific theories and observations, as well as animal studies, about how separation from a child affects the mother. These studies are so important, but they do little to help a mother understand what is happening. A lot of people are quick to dismiss the feelings that a mother has when she is separated from her child as hormonal or something that she can handle, bus as one article abstract adds: “it is the couple that becomes separated and not just the child.” While the child is clearly immediately stressed, they often go on to play with toys or friends and feel a sense of joy and distraction from the absence of their mother. The mother on the other hand, perhaps because she has a higher level of mental maturity and awareness about what has happened, often continues to feel stressed, worried and guilty throughout the entire time that she is separated from her child.

Is separation from your child necessary – yes. They need to independently grow and have their own experiences. They are eventually going to go to school and you can’t go with them. But how does a mama get used to this? Often they are just left to tough it out on their own, day in and day out. I haven’t experienced this yet, but I’ve been told that it is really difficult to return to work. That many mamas are never able to return to their pre-baby efficiency or capacity because there is way to many other things going on in their lives and in their brains. I think this makes sense and i’d love to see how this is addressed in the workforce here in Canada. More to come on that as I explore this in the coming months!

So what am I going to do? For now, not a whole lot. He’s still a baby and I’m still a new mama, learning all about what motherhood is. I’m going to start by focusing my attention on my needs as a new mother and less on what “society” or others might react to how I am currently feeling. He’s my baby and it’s my right and my role to be overprotective of him and want to be with him all the time. I will focus on accepting my feelings and working through them first. In partnership with my husband, we will need to make some lifestyle choices and make decisions about child care. I’m going to try to start dropping him off at one of his grandma’s for an hour to two while I go to the gym or attend an appointment. Then, when he’s about a year old or so, I’ll start playing with the idea of having him sleep over at grandma’s house. What a feat that would be! As he grows more independent and more confident in his own abilities, I’m sure I will begin to relax, knowing that he will be able to advocate (protest, most likely) for his wants and needs and that others will be able to adequately respond.

Product Review: Mon Petit Coulou Winter Cover

Winter is coming! But the cold weather is already here and our little ones are shivering! How to keep them warm when we venture outside…

The Petit Coulou winter cover is AMAZING! I discovered the company at the Toronto Baby Time Show back in 2017, when I was expecting Tiago. I was only 1 month pregnant, but we were already super excited about our bundle of joy. It was super cold outside already and I knew that keeping him warm was going to be a priority for me. As we ventured from booth to booth we came across the cutest winter car seat covers. Learning that the company was started by a grandmama from Montreal and made for Canadian winters was all I needed to be convinced of its quality…

Bebé T all snuggled and zipped up in his Petit Coulou!

What is the product?: The Winter Petit Coulou is an insulated car seat cover designed to keep baby warm without the need for a snowsuit. Just dress them as normal, secure them into the car seat and zip up the cover. Presto! All warm. 
There is also an extra insulation pad that you can insert into the car seat to add a little extra warmth. The cover is stretchy around the bottom, so it will fit all types of car seats. 

Why do I like it?: I love the Petit Coulou because it absolutely keeps Tiago warm, while allowing him to be free to move around inside if he wishes. It also blocks out the harsh winter wind and snow that might otherwise blow in his face with a snowsuit, as well as creating a cozy, dark cocoon where he can fall asleep while we’re driving. In fact, this is probably what I like about it the most – as soon as I get him in there, pop his pacifier in his mouth and zip it up, he’s out cold! I imagine that it reminds him of being in the womb. It’s his favourite place.

Because I know Tiago loves to be warm and snuggly, I have added in a jolly jumper car seat insert. This allows me to not have even the slightest worry about his little toes getting cold (because I don’t use shoes) and I often forgo a jacket and mittens. But this really isn’t necessary and just to make sure he doesn’t overheat when we’re in the car I unzip the Coulou and pull out the jolly jumper cover. This also allows the Coulou to open a bit so I can see him in my rearview mirror.

I love peaking at his little face through the opening and we always play peek-a-boo through the zipper before we’re off on our adventure of the day!

Are there any disadvantages?: When adding extra layers, like I do, be cognizant of how warm your baby is and make the appropriate adjustments so they don’t overheat. I choose to unzip and pull out the extra layer when we are in the car and if he’s fallen asleep when we arrive, I unzip everything so he doesn’t get too sweaty while he’s sleeping. 

Where can this product be purchased?: I purchased mine at the Toronto Baby Time Show, but you can purchase yours directly from their online store at: www.petitcoulou.com. They also have a larger variety of mid-season and summer covers for strollers and car seats too!

Product Review: Freemie Breast pump Shells

Pumping is hard and time-consuming. As an exclusive pumper, I have looked for just about every hack and convenience there is. My dream would be to own the Willow Pump, but unfortunately, it is not available outside of the USA and comes with a MAJOR and cost prohibitive price tag. Second to that is the Freemie Liberty pump which also allows you to be mobile and on-the-go while pumping, but similarly it is not available for shipment to Canada. I’m not sure why this is the case and I hope it changes. But fear not, NUK is here to save you. NUK has partnered with Freemie to offer their cups and attachments outside of the USA.

What is the product?: The Freemie breast pump shells, by NUK, are designed to work with your existing breast pump to allow you to pump hands-free. It is a convenient way to allow pumping mothers to be a little bit more productive and mobile throughout their day.

How does the product work?: You simply insert the cups into your bra and then insert your nipples into the cups. Following that, you insert the tubing into the cups and then attach the tubing that comes with it to the tubing from your own pump. Turn your pump on and it works just the same. This product is compatible with the following pumps: Medela (Pump In Style Advanced, Symphony, Lactina), NUK and Hygeia. Each cup holds about 8oz of milk. 

Why do I like this product?: This product has truly been a life changer for me and if you’re an exclusive pumper, I would highly recommend adding it to your ensemble of gear. I have the Medela pump in style advanced in a backpack, so I can just attach the cups, put the backpack on and go. Some of the things that I’ve done include driving, cooking, washing dishes, entertaining guests and remaining social while at somebody else’s house.

I would say that the strength of the pump is diminished only slightly; where I usually take 30 to 45 minutes per pump I take 45 to 60 minutes when I use the freemie cups to get the same amount. This is not entirely inconvenient for me because most of the time I’m doing something else anyway. It’s just so much more convenient than having to go into a different room or put off the project I’m doing. It’s also as quiet as your pump is so if you have a pretty quiet pump then and there’s no additional noise that comes out. 

Are there any notable disadvantages?:  The only disadvantage with these cups is that if you are not standing or sitting perfectly up right there is the chance that milk will spill out or flow back into the to the tubes and that could potentially get into your pump. They are also quite large and double your chest size- it’s obvious that you have something in your shirt, but if you just wear an oversized sweater you should be fine. 

Where can this product be purchased?: You can purchase this product through Amazon via my affiliate link HERE. It’s also reduced in price since I purchased it and is an affordable $60.95 CAD with Prime.