Djuna Bel's New Mama Survival Bible
Our resident beauty + wellness junkie, Djuna Bel, welcomed her beautiful bébé, Fox, at the tail end of 2017. Remember when she dished on her clean-pregnancy-beauty-routine and gave us a how-to on dressing your pre-natal bod? She's back at it again, sharing her unparalleled understanding of under the radar necessities and tried and tested baby accessory recs — we're talking swaddlers, breastmilk snacks, strollers, and padcicles. See below as she riffs her truth on what's worth the $$$$, what's not, and surviving the first few critical months post-baby.
"The baby industry is a total money maker, and there are a zillion and one things on the market. Let's just say, it is and can be more than overwhelming. Real talk: I am a sucker and bought EVERYTHING. I bought every single thing a new parent told me to buy, everything the Internet told me to buy, and basically everything that was marked 'baby' on Amazon.
It's been almost 3 months since baby Fox arrived and I am here to make it super easy for all you moms-to-be. Below is my Mama Survival Bible for pre and post baby. Things to do, stuff no one is telling you, and the product-musts I would buy (and those I wouldn't) if I were to do it all over again.
THE WEEK BEFORE: PREP YOURSELF
Exercise! - get your body in fighting shape and use gravity to start getting that little babe in the right place.
*I don't know about you — but anything that suggests a shorter labor has my attention.
Cook and freeze meals (and order your Sakara in advance) - meal prep is also a great idea. You have no idea how little time you have once the baby comes. It takes a second to acclimate!
THE NEWBORN ESSENTIALS
Co-sleeper - the Snuggle Me Organic is great. It's paranoia-free because it's a sensory lounger so it gently hugs your baby. I was obsessive about everything being organic, eco and hypoallergenic - but I have eased up a bit. The "Snuggle Me Organic" has an organic, hypoallergenic fiber-fill and comes with an organic, cotton, washable cover. It fit all my paranoid mom requirements.
Swaddles - aden + anais make really nice light organic cotton swaddles that double as public feeding covers. The Ollie swaddle is a great option for new swaddlers - it's a no fail, SUPER easy swaddle.
Pump - I'll be honest; the ones you get through insurance suck. I tried out a few and love the Medela Freestyle. I also tried the willow in the beta stage and i love the idea of the Willow (which is still in beta phase, but I had the pleasure of buying early). The suction is quite painful—once it's out of Beta, it will be amazing!— and I didn't get as much milk as when I pump with the Medela. I also recommend getting the Medela hand pump. It's super easy and a great way to get fast relief when your boobs are engorged. Note: I keep one in the car as well in case I ever get desperate.
Changing pad - as you know, I'm a sucker for all things organic and eco so Naturepedic best matched my obsessive needs. The Naturepedic is a super trustworthy brand that also makes eco crib mattresses. It's comfy and super safe, and has straps to strap your little one in when they get squirmy.
Breastfeeding Pillow* - I love the Boppy but i found that I had to stack pillows under the Boppy because I'm so tall... but don't let that dissuade you - EVERYONE loves the Boppy! The Boppy has an organic cotton cover that's easy to wash and seems more versatile depending on how you want to hold your baby to feed.
Another option is My Brest Friend; it's just a slightly different design.
*pre-baby I had completely different associations for "sidewinder," "football", etc. ;)
WHAT'S NEEDED: THE FIRST FEW WEEKS
the Doona aka "the multi-tasker"— The Doona has been the best purchase of all time. It doubles as a stroller so you minimize the chance of waking a sleeping baby. It's super light and has tons of padding for a newborn so it feels really safe. The Doona essentially is a car seat that drops wheels and turns into a stroller with one button. It's Baby Fox's current favorite errand-running stroller since he doesn't love laying down.
the nuna PIPA: Nuna makes amazing, easy to assemble products. I also love that they're compatible with most strollers (something I didn't even think about until after I purchased a car seat). PIPA is one of the lightest infant car seats on the market. It weighs only 7.9 lbs which means it’s very easy to lift and carry around. It’s suitable from birth to 32 lbs or 32 inches. It has a removable body pillow to give infants extra support.
CARRIERS AND WRAPS
The Baby Bjorn is amazing. It's really easy to put on when you're alone.
There's also the Ergo Baby which is a little lighter but doesn't feel as substantial as the Bjorn (but I am sure it is). The Ergo also has the option of a newborn pad so your baby doesn't just slump to the bottom.
Boba wraps are nice and stretchy and easy to use.
Sakura Bloom slings are made with really nice fabric and have an easy to use ring.
Artipoppe is great to put on top of heavier clothes in the winter. Artipoppe also offers amazing fabrics and patterns and is probably the most stylish of the wraps.
If you make the move from co-sleeping to a crib - the SNOO by happiest baby is a lifesaver. It tracks your baby's movements and boosts a baby’s sleep by imitating the rhythmic sensations babies enjoy while in the womb. It was developed by Dr. Harvey Karp, a renowned pediatrician and creator of the 5 S’s. This works by turning on the baby’s calming reflex. The combination of motion (swinging) and sound (white noise) is engineered to respond the way a parent would; increasing as the baby cries. If your baby isn't soothed to sleep, they're most likely hungry or wet. Fox has been giving us 4-7 hr sleep stretches since he was about 4 weeks old which is insanely blissful.
MILK PRODUCING PRODUCTS (to ease your mind more than anything):
Stock up on!
Yogi tea makes a nursing support tea with herbs to help promote lactation
Mrs Patel's makes milk producing bars and teas (which are delish)
Countertop foods makes a mother honey that I use in my tea every morning and love! It has similar herbs that are in chai tea so you can heat up some hemp milk and mix in some mother honey for a nice morning treat. Countertop also has other products like "blends with benefits" and golden butter - which are great for cooking postpartum meals.
WHAT'S NEEDED: THE FIRST FEW MONTHS
Tranquilo Mat - a vibrating mat that which is a nice soothing option. It can help a baby relieve gas and distracts them a little so you don't have to turn yourself into a human vibrator.
Mamaroo - when I was pregnant, every new mom swore by the Mamaroo. It was one of my first purchases. It has an infant insert so you can start using it when your baby is 8lbs. It gives you movement options (car, bounce, etc) and will move along to music. It's super easy to hook up to your phone to play the music of your choice, which is a luxury in baby world...and, let's be honest - it's not hideous.
The Bugaboo Chameleon^3 is the Cadillac of strollers. It's so nice and easy over LA streets, and a great option for hikes. It's also one of the most stylish, and compatible with many of the car seats (again, something I didn't think about until after I purchased seats and strollers). It has foam-filled rubber tires - which is ideal for city living, and an option of a reversible seat — which is great for babies, like mine, who seem really interested in looking "out". The bugaboo also comes with a bassinet AND normal seat frame (for people who have no idea what that means - it has a lay-down bassinet for newborns, and another seat for when baby is a little older.)
The Joolz Geo is similar to the Bugaboo Chameleon^3. It's easy to assemble and a bit sportier-looking and slightly more substantial/heavier than the Bugaboo. It also offers a bunch of variations to suit however your baby likes to sit. Similar to the Bugaboo - the Joolz Geo comes with both the bassinet and the seated stroller. The mattress on the bassinet is slightly wider than the Bugaboo and is really nice quality. I usually throw a sheepskin on top since my babe is still really small and young. The Joolz also has adjustable seat height. The seat can be adjusted much higher than the Bugaboo, meaning you can move it up to table height which is nice for someone super tall like myself. Another plus? The storage basket. it comes with the biggest storage basket so you can pop the diaper bag underneath the carriage and store shopping bags or whatever you need.
The nuna Mixx is one of my most trusted baby brands. The mixx is great and very attractive. It's also a bit cheaper than the Joolz and the Bugaboo. There is 5-position recline to provide maximum comfort during riding and napping. The main seat is recommended for birth - 50lbs (with an infant insert). The bassinet is also really lovely and suitable for overnight (like Joolz and Bugaboo) — but the mixx bassinet can be easily folded to a compact and flat package for easy storage — major perk! It also has a lot of room for storage under the carriage (like the Joolz).
The nuna Tavo is great as well. It's really similar to the Mixx but a bit cheaper and has a smaller seat - which is nice because it's slightly more compact. Tavo has a very deep one-hand recline that goes to ALMOST flat position suitable for a newborn and can accommodate a child up to 50 lbs. One main perk is the canopy; it has a large pop out sun visor (great for LA). For extra sun protection, it has a hidden dream drape that will protect your child completely even with the seat fully reclined. There is a large peekaboo window with magnetic closure and a zipped in mesh panel for better air circulation— basically so you can spy on your baby.
The BabyZen Yoyo is the ultimate travel stroller. It folds so compactly that you can fit it into the overhead compartment on most airplanes. I wouldn't use this as my ONLY stroller, but it's genius for traveling.
I am dying to try one of the running strollers once Fox is a bit older. I have had my eye on the BOB. If I end up buying it in a few months, I will be sure to let everyone know what I think about it. ;)
*All Photography by Michelle Rose