As new parents to a 6-month old, my husband and I are experiencing many things for the first time. Every parent has a story about the birth of their child, how sleep-deprived they were, how life as they knew it changed forever.
I couldn't wait to have a baby, thought I was as prepared as I could be. All our friends and family warned us we would be tired. I learned very quickly that "tired" isn't the right word: It's more like utterly exhausted! And I also learned, through bleary eyes, the amount of love I have for my daughter, something I couldn’t have anticipated.
That said, there were some things I wish I had known before she was born -- like how to survive those first few weeks at home. The best advice I received while pregnant was "just get through the first five to six weeks, and then you will feel like yourself again." And boy, were people right!
With this in mind, I reached out to parents on Facebook and Twitter and asked about the one thing that helped them through the first few weeks at home with their new baby. Here's what they said:
The Boppy. I found it necessary for feedings and it was a great resting spot for the baby and your arm, especially after C-sections.
-@DebMcCarthy721, Commack, via Twitter
Fisher-Price Newborn Rock n' Play Sleeper. Matthew had such bad acid reflux and couldn't sleep lying flat. The Rock n' Play was the perfect incline and he slept beautifully in it. I also used a soft blanket and Boppy's Noggin Nest to accompany it which added extra cushion and support while he slept.
-Leslie Kolstein DiChiara, Wantagh, via Facebook
Boppy Travel Swing and Bouncer. I had to drop my daughter off before work and it was easy to store and carry. She would fall asleep in it with the swinging, vibrating and music. It was small and compact and great to take anywhere.
-Alexandra Moran, East Islip, via Facebook
Fisher-Price Cradle-n-Swing. It was so helpful because my little guy Jack would sleep in there for hours at a time and be perfectly content. He loved to look up at the mobile above it, and the music was very soothing. It was on the large side and took up a lot of space, but definitely worth it
-Jessica DeCicco Stalters, East Quogue, via Facebook
Rocking chair and ottoman. It's silly but we loved them! That's where we gave our daughter most of her feedings, and it came in so handy for all those late-night/morning feedings. It was so comfy!!
-Marisa Scotto, Bethpage, via Facebook
Blankets, toys, and more
Sophie the Giraffe. My son's bosom teething buddy. I bought three because I was terrified of not having her on hand at all times.
-Sharon Marcus, via Facebook
Aden + Anais Swaddlers. We used them to swaddle Isabelle in the early weeks, as a blanket in the swing, draped over her stroller to block the sun, as a blanket for tummy time, as a nursing cover, a burp cloth, and if we parked our car in a very sunny area, I would drape two of them over her car seat to keep it cool. We have 10 and they are all always in use in some way.
-Peggy Holm, Lynbrook, via Facebook
Grandma. I didn't have help for the first two weeks, but Grandma came for the third week. I was afraid to let her go after the three weeks, but it was easier than I thought when she did go home.
-Anna Szczupak, via Facebook
My family. Since my husband I barely got any sleep, we were always tired, which also made cooking hard. We were too tired to stand up! My aunt came over to watch our baby so my hubby and I could get some sleep. In addition, everyone we knew in our family cooked us so many meals we didn't have to worry about cooking. If it weren't for them, we wouldn't have been able to get the ball rolling, and being first time parents, we needed that. Thank God for family!
-Nicole von Hoyler, via Facebook
My partner. Without her I would never have managed to get through those first few weeks!
-Kathy Paulson, via Facebook
My mother. She is one of the most selfless people I know. I had boy/girl twins almost 3 years ago and physically had a really difficult time after delivery. My husband was home for the first week, but my mother would come over at least 3 to 4 nights a week around 10 p.m. and stay through the morning to help with the night feedings. She continued to do this until one of them started to sleep through the night at 3 months. I will always be so grateful for what she did for us. That is how I survived and when I bring it up to my mother that she was my lifesaver, she tells me I will do the same for my children and I hope I can.
-Henrietta Cuomo Lovelock, Oceanside, via Facebook