Well, it was inevitable for me to come out with my first “mom” themed essentials list. As always, I believe in buying only what you need but allowing some wiggle room for the things that make your life a million times easier. I’ll admit, one of the biggest things that frightened me about parenthood was shelling out a ton of money to outfit a child. Raising kids is expensive, but it’s so true when people say that everyone in your life will rally and help you out in whatever way they can.
I’m not saying you should expect dole outs. We didn’t. Joel and I were prepared to go about it with whatever meager amount of money (freelance life, yo) we had and were just hoping for the best. You’d be surprised though at how much the people in your life love children and we got some help gearing up for baby. This made it all the more important to choose wisely and make sure we got a lot of wear from the things we were getting.
It’s not just the material help that was amazing. During our first week with Selah (we still didn’t have our stay-out yaya at this point), we never had to worry about our food situation because friends and family kept dropping off hot meals for us. It’s also my friends who came to the rescue when I had breastfeeding struggles. Our moms would drop by as well and offer to relieve us of baby duty.
One of Joel’s daddy friends (another first time father, with a daughter who is only a month older than ours) warned us that the first month is really all about survival.
We took that to heart. Joel has been able to squeeze a trip to the barber and has resumed some semblance of normalcy when he goes to work. He’s drinking beer again and he’s been able to squeeze some moments of quality time with the guys. What a jerk!
I, on the other hand, still look hideous. I’m a 24/7 feeding machine and it drains everything out of me. There are times where it takes me three hours to put Selah down just for her to wake up in an hour or less. Joel shares in this misery too, we take shifts and he’s a crazy good diaper changer and master burper. So he’s not such a jerk — he’s a sexy stud for doing all of this. I’m really lucky.
Joel thinks about soldiers in active duty when we’re sleep deprived and going crazy. I think about my doctor friends who are on their feet for hours on end without any sleep.
Having Selah has showed us how delicate and fragile we were before her. In a way, all the chaos exists for us to rise up to be the parents she deserves to have. Parenthood forces you to be stronger and more selfless than you ever were and as difficult it is to admit, we’re grateful.
1 BREASTFEEDING PILLOW, HAND-ME-DOWN
My former boss let us go through a box of her sons’ old baby things when she found out I was expecting. At the bottom of the pile was this breastfeeding pillow. I almost didn’t want to take it because I found it bulky (plus I was still VERY ignorant about breastfeeding at this point). I ended up taking it to me to Shiphrah and it has never left my side. I was completely dependent on it when I was learning how to feed Selah. I even nicknamed it my new appendage. I don’t use it as much anymore at home because I assembled a pillow fort in my couch, but it comes with me every time we leave the house. Selah also fits nice and snuggly in it when we put her to sleep on beds.
2 ROCKER NAPPER, TINY LOVe
This rocker napper is everything (a gift from Joel’s mom’s girl gang). I don’t know how to describe our sleeping situation. Everyone has a different approach. Since I feed on demand and discovered that the aforementioned pillow fort in the couch is the best area for getting it on, I made it easier on me to have Selah sleep close to it, hence this rocker napper. Since we live in a 37 sqm. apartment, the “living room” is two steps away from our bedroom and in a way, it’s sort of a co-sleeper situation. We have an actual co-sleeper beside our mattress but we still don’t have a bed frame. I’ll save that ridiculous story for another time.
3 BREAST PUMP, SPECTRA m1 DOUBLE ELECTRIC PUMP
I ordered mine online through Babymama.ph (kudos to the excellent customer service and next day delivery!) upon the recommendation of one of my lactation consultants. It’s cheaper than Medela but it’s just as good or even better. I’m so happy with this little portable pump. It has an added massage feature that stimulates the let down reflex and I love how it looks! On a good day (early in the morning and if Selah sleeps through the night), I can get 6 oz. in one session from both breasts. Not bad for noob mommy.
4 VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS, RAINBOW LIGHT & NORDIC NATURALS
These are courtesy of Dr. Martin Manahan, my OB. These were the supplements (prenatal vitamins and omega oil) I was taking during the last weeks of my pregnancy. I carried on taking them until now. Whenever I make the idiot mistake of forgetting to take them, I really pay for it the next day. I am useless and lethargic without these supplements. The number one enemy of taking care of a newborn is a lack of energy and thank God I have these. Doc, if you’re reading this, I’m going to come back for more when I run out!
5 SWADDLE CLOTHS, HAND-ME-DOWN
I’m actually using the swaddle cloths my own mother used on me and my siblings from almost thirty years ago. The ones I have are light and breathable with a high thread count. Swaddling is an art form that I surprisingly picked up well, which is great because we don’t have it in our budget to spend on those fancy sleep sacks. Until Selah learns how to roll over and take full control of her limbs, I am the master of her with my swaddling skills. When I’m especially furious at her refusing to sleep, I take some sadistic joy in straightjacketing her shut while singing “YOU CAN RUN YOU CAN HIDE BUT YOU CAN ESCAPE MY LOOOOVE.” She hates it but boy, oh boy, she sleeps so well once she becomes a baby burrito. It’s the only way I can keep her arms from flailing and waking her up.
6 DIAPER BAG, KANKEN
I am a tomboy. I couldn’t find diaper bags that matched my clothes and I wanted a bag that wouldn’t emasculate Joel. Factor in how I suffer from scoliosis and if I had to lug a bag filled with baby things, I’m better off distributing the weight on both shoulders. Enter the Kanken! I always wanted to own one. They’re well-loved in Scandinavia (and anywhere with a hipster population). They can withstand anything and the bags are so sturdy and roomy. Plus that fox logo is adorable. I’m already plotting to get a matching mini one for Selah.
7 STROLLER, APRICA
I wanted to invest in a good stroller. I was worried if we were going to be able to afford this but luckily Joel’s grandma funded this as a present for her great-granddaughter. Among the tons of strollers Joel and I checked out, the Aprica Karoon model was our showstopper. Weighing at only 3.6 kg, it’s the lightest thing ever and you need only to press on one button to fold it upright. It’s compact enough to fit in our tiny car and it’s been painless setting it up and getting Selah into it.
8 NURSING BRA, MAMAWAY
A good bra will always be found on my essentials list. I got this as a gift and it’s the only kind of bra I was able to wear when my boobs were injured. The fabric is sleek, smooth, and breathable. It gives enough support even without any wiring. It’s also easy to pop the boobs out when it’s time to feed. This is the training bra for breastfeeding moms and it’s a mighty fine one. When I feel like myself again and want to wear other tops (the collar bone baring ones), I’ll probably get the sexier ones from this brand as well.