*All items listed are mostly pictured left to right, top to bottom.
1 - A good collection of nursing bras. This is probably the number one thing any nursing mother will need - but here's the real tip: you don't actually have to buy nursing bras. I have a few, and I wear them (this Le Mystere is my very favorite) but did you know that Nordstrom will convert any bra you already own into a nursing bra? They do an amazing job, you cannot tell that it wasn't originally a nursing bra, and it's only $15. I had been wearing this bra until the end of my pregnancy, and I've had three of them converted so far.
2 - A diaper bag you can share with your husband. Maybe it's the feminist in me, but there should be more unisex diaper bags, right? I mean, my husband does have to diaper this baby sometimes, and I'm not always the one carrying her things. This is his very favorite.
3 - A Sakura Bloom sling. I can't speak to the quality of any other types of baby carriers, but we have only used the Sakura Bloom sling so far, and I adore it. Claire will almost instantly fall asleep in it, I can use both my hands when wearing her, and when she just doesn't want to be put down it is the only way I can get anything done. We bought their least expensive version, but I've got my eye on this one because we really need a second, especially for when one is in the wash.
4 - Safe to Sleep mat. This is definitely one of the pricier items on my list, but we have really loved it. It takes the place of a baby monitor. The baby sleeps on the mat, and its very sensitive sensors monitor baby's breathing. No running into the nursery over and over to make sure that baby is breathing (which I would totally do if we didn't have this). There's a remote that you keep with you, and it sets off an alarm if the breathing is too fast or slow, or if the baby leaves the mat. It also works as an audio monitor, but here's the best part: the audio only comes on if the baby's cries get above a certain decibel. So we aren't awoken by every grunt or coo, only by actual crying. You can also talk to baby through the remote to soothe them. The one downside? The app that you can supposedly connect to the mat doesn't work very well at all - we could never get it to function properly, and Darrell is pretty tech savvy!
5 - The Miracle Blanket. Claire is a baby houdini, and she completely destroys a regular swaddle within minutes. The thing is, she WANTS to be swaddled. This is the only thing that has keep her wrapped up so far.
6 - Target Basics Nursing Tank. For the first few days after Claire was born this nursing tank with yoga pants was all I wore. I layered it under loose dresses and tees in place of a bra until my milk came in, and I wouldn't know what size nursing bra to buy. Now I wear it as a layering piece any time I wear a top and jeans, because then I don't need the top to have a nursing friendly neckline. At the ballgame the other night, I just pulled up my t-shirt, undid the clasp on my nursing tank & bra, and was able to feed Claire discreetly between the folds of fabric.
7 - 4moms Mamaroo & Breeze. Claire has recently entered the rather difficult phase of "never ever ever put me down!!" Most of the time I just wear her, but for times I can't (showers, anyone?) the Mamaroo will usually buy me 20 minutes or so. The Breeze has a bassinet top, and that's what Claire slept in for the first three weeks - she was so small that I wasn't comfortable having her far away from us in the nursery, and I think being near her helped us foster a good nursing relationship. Now she sleeps in her crib, but we'll be using the Breeze when we travel.
8 - Sonnet James dresses. I have lived in these dresses since I got them, both pregnant and postpartum. They stretched well to accommodate the bump, are comfortable and flattering now, and the necklines stretch and bounce right back for nursing on the go. Darrell never fails to compliment me when I'm wearing one. You can still preorder for the summer shipment in a few weeks!
9 - Breastfeeding Kit - nursing pillow, Kindle loaded up with books, a new Netflix series, a cup with a straw, handheld food. Nursing in the first few weeks is amazing, such a great bonding experience......and sometimes boring. You are going to spend a lot (A LOT!) of time parked on the couch with your nursing pillow, oftentimes using one hand to eat, drink, and entertain yourself. I watched Netflix during the day, but at night I don't like how the noise wakes up Darrell, so I read on my Kindle app. Say what you want about moms being alone on night duty, but he can't breastfeed and a rested husband is worth a lot more to me than someone as equally exhausted as I am. I also get incredibly thirsty when nursing, so I like to have a cup with a straw - like the one they give you at the hospital - and some granola bars or bagels handy. I like the boppy pillow, and definitely get a second cover. Breastmilk gets on everything. Pottery Barn has had the softest covers I've found.
10 - Burp cloths and baskets for burp cloths. Did I mention that breastmilk will be on everything you own? Have a stash of burp cloths in every room. The Gerber cloth diapers make fantastic burp cloths, trust me.
11 - White onesies and long sleeved pajamas. As much as I love all the beautiful clothes I have for Claire, there are only so many diaper blowouts I'm willing to go through before I declare it a white onesie day. These are cheap, you don't care if they get so stained they're ruined, and I still think there isn't anything cuter than a baby in a white onesie. As for the long sleeved pajamas, well the fabric friction between sleeves and swaddle keeps Claire from breaking free.
12 - Spanx & Belly Bandit. There's nothing like Spanx to smooth everything out underneath your clothes, they make a huge difference. As for the Belly Bandit, I'm not sure I can attest to it flattening out my stomach any faster - breastfeeding does that on its own - but it made for wonderful support under my clothes in the first couple of weeks when everything just felt really, unfortunately loose.
13 - Lululemon Wunder Unders, Forever 21 tees & jeans. Wunder Unders are a year round must have for me - I wear them running, to yoga, and just about everywhere. They're the thickest and most slimming leggings I've ever found, and they do wonders for the post baby body. Until jeans will fit (no really, they just won't for the first few weeks. Your waist and legs will be just TOOOOOO far apart in sizing) leggings are the best option. But leggings as pants? Not always so great. These are the only ones that will work. Wear them with the thin & cheap $4 Forever 21 tees, and then switch to Forever 21 jeans for transition. They look great and almost always cost less than $20.
14 - Breast Pump. I didn't start using this until my 2nd week, but having a stockpile of extra milk is pretty much the greatest thing ever. You don't want to depend on bottles too much - your supply will go down the more feedings you skip - but being able to run errands and leave the baby with Darrell knowing that she won't go hungry and cry the entire time I'm gone is pretty great. Mine was completely free through my insurance, so definitely look into that!
15 - Honest diapers, nipple balm, lotion. It's no secret that I love the Honest Company, and we're using them for basically everything baby. Their diapers are the best at holding in major messes so far, I found the nipple cream (I know, maybe TMI, but you need it) really effective, and the lotion has all but cleared up Claire's cradle cap. I use a lot more of their products....okay, almost all of them, but these are probably my top three.
16 - Puj tub. We have a teeny apartment, with a matching teeny sink, and this tub is easily stored, folded, and very soft for Claire to sit in.
17 - Soothies Pacifiers. Claire + the carseat = not such a great equation. Claire + the carseat + one of these pacifiers = a long nap.
18 - Wine & coffee. Sometimes, you just need them. Wine for the nights when it seems the baby has just nursed endlessly (you can have a glass and still breastfeed, one is fine!) and you're so exhausted and stressed out you think you might lose it. No one can help you with breastfeeding but you, and that shit is HARD. Wonderful, but hard. Coffee.....well, obviously, coffee. Coffee some mornings (or let's be honest, all day) makes the difference between my being an okay mother and a good mother.
19 - Some money set aside for unexpected expenses. Every baby is different, so every baby will have different favorites. When Claire was born, we only had one Miracle Blanket, but quickly realized that with her wearing them all day long we'd need a few more. We also needed extra covers for the nursing pillow, different sizes of baby clothes than the ones we had, and I purchased nursing tanks & bras that I didn't want to buy until I knew what size I would need.
20 - Britax B-Safe Carseat, Base, & Stroller. This set is really fantastic. The carseat feels very sturdy, clicks in and out of the base easily, and the stroller can be popped open and closed with one hand. It steers well with one hand as well, and has a good amount of storage. We got it for a fantastic price by buying the bundle of all three at Target. It's not pictured because......I'm not a photoshop wizard and I ran out of room, but seriously, check it out.
Okay that's it! I wanted this list to be the end-all, be-all, because these kind of lists made life easier for me once Claire arrived. I discovered almost nothing on this list myself - they were almost all recommendations from other blogs I read. Which is why I have to ask - am I missing anything? What were your essentials for the first month? She's only 5 weeks old this week, anything I should have on hand for the next few?