Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Parenting in the Tropics: The First Month With Your Infant

Long before Lucy was born, I promised myself to abstain from consumer overload before our little one arrived.

I tried to keep things basic and simple with Lucy, especially in the first month, when you don’t really need much but full, supple breasts and tender arms.

Below are my first month ‘Must Have’ items for a new baby in the tropics.

1)  Breastfeeding Pillow

      The hospital we used provided us with a breastfeeding pillow for the duration of our stay.  It was amazing!  Lucy and I were able to use it to achieve all sorts of comfortable breastfeeding positions.  It was especially useful with a post-surgical abdomen so sore and tender.  It protected me from little feet and hands jutting out spontaneously!  We were lucky to have received one as a gift from our landlady upon returning home from the hospital.  It continues to be useful every day, allowing me one-handed or even hands-free feeding, giving me a chance to multi-task during Lucy's intense feeding schedule!

   2)   A place to set the baby

      We bought a Snuggle Nest for our little one to sleep in, but she wasn’t a fan, so the snuggle nest has a new home… on the middle of our dining table!  It’s a great spot for her to hang out during the day or take a quick nap in.  Our breastfeeding pillow also doubles as an infant lounger.  Lucy is a huge fan of this spot because it keeps her little body up at an angle.  She isn’t really into being flat on her back.

    3)   Diapers

      We started with disposables until Lucy’s cord fell off, but since then we have made the transition almost completely to cloth.  Whichever way you decide to go, make sure you have a good stock of supplies to get you through the first week or two.  Remember, breastfed babies can go through A LOT of nappies, so be prepared!  They seem to pee or poop every hour or so.  You might want to invest in some good diaper rash cream as well, Lucy needed it while using disposables.  So far we really like Lucas’ Papaw Ointment that a friend brought us from Australia.

     4)   Appropriate clothes and blankets
      Between the sweltering heat outside and the frigid AC temps inside, we have found a balance while dressing Lucy.  Usually at home she rocks a cloth diaper and not much else, but at night in our air-conditioned bedroom, we rely on onsies, peeper suits, and lightweight swaddle blankets.

     5) A baby carrier 

     We were a little over prepared in this department with four different carriers – two slings, an Infantino Sash Mei Tai, and an Ergo carrier.  Fortunatly we had options!  Lucy is not a fan of the sling, and while we have used the Mei Tai a few times, she is just a bit too small for it for now.  The Ergo (with a rolled up blanket in place of the infant insert) has been the real winner during the first month.  We love it!

     6)   A Rocking Chair
     There is no quicker way to calm a crying newborn then warm arms and a little movement.  After a long day of bouncing around the house, mommas got to have a break!  The gentle rocking motion of our rocking chair puts this one out in seconds.  I would recommend a good ole fashioned rocking chair, however I am sure a glider, hammock, infant swing, or bouncy chair would work some magic as well!

   7)   A Bathing Station
    Make sure you have bathing area ready to go.  You’ll need plenty of soft towels and washcloths for the baby as well.  Currently we are using the bathroom sink, but a nice baby tub would do as well!

    8)   Cloth Breast Pads and Edible Organic Nipple Cream
    Without these I’m not sure I would still be breastfeeding.  Those first few days were tough on my extra sensitive nipples, and disposable breast pads added insult to injury by chafing my nipples further.  Thankfully I had invested in Bamboobies – a 6 pack of cloth breast pads and their organic nipple cream.  The best part about the cream is that it is edible for baby, so there is no need to wash off before feedings.

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