Jack’s Hair Tourniquet: One of the Most Traumatic Nights of my Life

Last night while we were sitting around the campfire with some friends, I started digging out lint from my 4 month old son Jack’s toes. After one of my friends had a hair tourniquet around her son’s toes recently, I have been a bit paranoid about this happening, so whenever I hold him I pick the lint out of his toes and do a quick check.

When I looked down to check his little piggies, I was astounded to see a tightly wrapped hair around his middle toe. As luck would have it, my friend (the one who previously experienced the hair tourniquet on her son and is also studying to be a midwife) was sitting beside me, and we both quickly rushed inside to get some tools.

Once inside, she held Jack and armed with a needle, tweezers, and scissors, I attempted to free him from this invisible constriction. My first thought was to cut it with a pair of scissors or a knife if the hair was over the nail, but it was just at the cuticle line. Next, I tried to press down on the area below the hair with a needle hoping to slide it under and break the hair. When I did this, blood started to spill around the entire length of the hair.

I started to panic at this point realizing the seriousness of this infliction. Just then Scott came in, realized what was going on, and tried to see if there was a way that he could get at the hair. Thankfully at this point, Jack did not seem to be bothered, but I was already starting to panic when I said,

“We need to take him to the ER.”

We had hoped to stay up past dark and do some of our 4th of July fireworks early, so it was 8:30 and a bit past bedtime by the time we started pulling out of the driveway at our friend’s house. I dropped Scott off at home with the four older kids (10 minutes away) and took Jack to the ER (3 minutes away).

When I checked in, I was in a bit of a panic, but relieved that we would be in good hands, have some kind of anesthesia, and be able to get it taken care of. The nurse that assisted me in getting Jack’s vitals (a mother I knew from one of my son’s field trips) recalled her brother getting a hair tourniquet around his penis, which made the toe seem practically benign!

Being the researcher that I am, I read a medical article about removing hair tourniquets when Scott was driving us home so I knew our options would be dissolving the hair (although not really a possibility since his skin was broken), trying to get at it with more delicate instruments than I had access to, or giving him a local anesthetic and making a perpendicular incision.

When the doctor came in to check (about 9:00 p.m.), he decided that his first course of action would be to put a topical numbing agent on the toe and try to work it out with tweezers and small pliers. I had to hold Jack for about an hour (which was good because I was able to nurse him and get him to sleep) while they waited for the area to get numb.

I was hoping that Jack would be able to sleep through the procedure and that it would be done quickly. As I sat on the exam table holding Jack, his foot resting on the bed and held down my one of the nurses, I thought that this might be a possibility, but this was not quite the case. While his eyes remained closed and a pacifier hung from his mouth, he started to cry every time the pliers were used, and it was clear that the area was not very numb.

I tried to remain calm and hold my tongue for as long as I could, but after about 10 minutes of holding him down while he writhed in pain, I asked,

“Is there something else we can do?”

The doctor sat back, and I could tell this was traumatic for him too, but his mind was buzzing with protocol and logic knowing that now it was time to move on to phase two. He calmly explained what was going to happen next, and we prepared for the next phase.

As I’m writing this now, I don’t know if I can relive this memory again. My eyes are already welling with tears and I can feel myself starting to tremble. The next five hours was one of the most traumatic times of my entire life.

The entire time this is happening, I’m posting on FaceBook and texting my mom and husband to keep everyone in the loop. The support I was receiving really helped me to keep things under control, and I put myself in the mindset that this doctor knew what he was doing, and was going to do everything necessary to help Jack.

I didn’t know if I could look once I saw the needles and scalpels, but I wanted to be a voice for Jack, so while soothing him the best I could, I looked, and I saw everything.

Cutting Jack's Toe

Cutting Jack’s Toe

He was asleep when they started, but once the needle with the local anesthetic had to be injected into his toe numerous times, he woke up screaming bloody murder. After more pokes than I could count, I whisked him up to rock, bounce, and calm him down again knowing that if he was calm and numb it would be the best for everyone.

At this point, it’s about 10:30 p.m., and the small town hospital ER is a ghost town except for the doctor and three nurses in our room. As I prepared Jack in my lap and sat on the bed, I started thinking about the research that I had read on the way over and knew that now there would be an incision. I held onto Jack’s torso and when the doctor asked me to also hold onto his leg, I knew I wouldn’t be able to handle that, so asked one of the nurses to do so.

“Can we get another pair of hands here?”

I asked, knowing how important a still baby would be (especially as I recalled the tongue tie procedure I had to go through with Julian…right up there with top traumatic experiences). The doctor said, “Yes, let’s get another pair of hands in here.”

Honestly, I can’t write about what happened in the next 20-30 minutes with much detail, but let’s just say there were several cuts with a scalpel, digging with a needle, more cuts, more digging, me seeing Jack flinch when they cut him, asking if the area was really numb, more shots of local anesthetic right in the cuticle, a few more incisions going deeper this time, more digging, Jack screaming bloody murder the ENTIRE time, lots of blood that the doctor had to wipe up himself in between cuts, and finally me knowing that he had been put through enough and saying again,

“Okay, what needs to happen now,”

The doctor tipped back in his chair and pulled the magnifying glasses to the top of his head sighing and said,

“I feel like I’ve done all I can here, and I don’t feel comfortable going any deeper. At this point, with my limited tools, I have no way of knowing if I actually got the hair.”

I asked if we would be going to the Devos Children’s Hospital (in Grand Rapids, about an hour away), and he said probably yes, and that he was going to make some calls. The entire time he’s telling me this, Jack is still screaming. Nothing is calming him down.

Finally everyone leaves the room, Jack nurses, and as he’s perched calmly on my shoulder, I FaceTime with Scott and tell him what’s going on. Thinking that I would be home anytime, he was up doing fireworks with the kids, but knew then that he would have to put everyone to bed by himself. Next, I FaceTimed with my mom to see if she could meet me at Devos because I didn’t want to be alone.

As I started filling her in on what was going on, it suddenly hit me what they were going to have to do at the Children’s Hospital to get the hair off. I saw images of me holding him down again while they gave him more shots with more blood and scalpels or of him having to go under (which JUST happened with Ruby only the day before for a tooth extraction and was a very traumatic experience as well), and I felt myself slipping into what I can only imagine is a panic attack.

My heart raced, my limbs felt numb, I felt like I couldn’t breathe, and I could feel myself slipping into darkness like I might pass out or go absolutely crazy. I was silent with my mom for several long seconds as I tried to breathe deeply to get the feeling to pass. It was 11:20 at that point, and my mom bolted up in bed and said,

“I’m coming to you honey.”

“Okay mom,” I replied with tears in my eyes. At that point a nurse came in to get something, and I asked her if she could find out for sure if we needed to go to Devos, and she said she would check.

I started to feel like I couldn’t get enough air in my lungs and followed her out as she went to get the doctor. I followed her right through the door into the central nurses station and blurted, “I need to get some air, I think I’m having a panic attack.” They saw the crazy look in my eyes and one of the nurses quickly bolted up saying, “Here, give me your baby and you go get some fresh air.” I was so happy to have her take him because I felt like I might pass out at any moment and drop him.

The doctor followed me outside and explained again what he had done and why. He said I did a remarkable job of staying calm while he did the procedure, and I thanked him profusely for his steady hand and for doing everything he could.

When I came back in, all of the nurses were playing with a happy Jack, and I kept telling myself that he was screaming bloody murder before because he didn’t like being held down, not because he was feeling every incision.

Nurses Holding Jack

Nurses Holding Jack

At this point, I asked for a phone charger because my phone was about to die, and they let me plug in using one of their personal chargers. I made a comment about how this was right up my husband’s alley since he was the IT guy at the hospital. Even though Scott works first shift mainly, he has gotten called in at all hours of the night, and everyone was like, “I thought your name sounded familiar!” I showed everyone Scott’s picture, and not that they weren’t super sweet before, but they warmed to us even more after that.

The Wonderful Nurses at Reed City Hospital

The Wonderful Nurses at Reed City Hospital

One of the nurses suggested going to the cafeteria to get me some food, and I realized that my blood sugar was probably low which was why I was feeling so faint. I didn’t feel comfortable holding Jack in case I passed out, so one of the nurses carried him for me while we went to the cafeteria. I heard them making a call to the cafeteria as we left saying to put anything I wanted on their account.

After eating some yogurt and apple pie, I felt a bit better. Once we got back to the nurses station, the doctor said that they were ready for us at Devos and that we could drive there when I was ready. I didn’t feel safe driving in the state I was in, so I told my mom to come get me. Just then, Scott called and said he’d be there in 90 seconds. He had gotten one of our friends to watch over our sleeping kids and came to be my night in shining armor!

When I saw him, I collapsed into his arms knowing that he could take over from there. My mom continued driving to relieve our friend and watch the kids. After I nursed Jack, we hopped in the car and headed to Devos.

My mind kept slipping into near panic mode as I thought about what they were going to do to my sweet little Jack, and I tried everything I could to stay sane. I even looked in the mirror and talked to myself about how it was going to be okay. I also prayed…a lot.

It was 2:00 a.m. at this point, and I was exhausted, so I closed my eyes and tried my best to sleep until we got there. After they valeted our van and checked us in, I felt myself slipping back into momma bear mode and knew that I would have to be ready to face whatever happened next.

As the doctor examined his foot, I almost crumpled to the ground in relief when he said,

“Well, I think he got it! The hair is gone.”

He went on to explain how the line on Jack’s foot would still be there for a bit but that there was no constriction anymore. He also looked at the incisions the other doctor had made and remarked on what a fine job he had done. I wept tears of happiness, and felt the greatest sense of relief a mother can feel. It was as life itself had stopped, and I lost everything, but was now getting another chance to have it back.

Getting Checked Out at Devos Children's Hospital

Getting Checked Out at Devos Children’s Hospital

By 5:00 a.m., Jack and I were snuggled into our bed nursing to sleep, and I felt such a great sense of appreciation and thankfulness for the outcome of these events. After only three hours of sleep, I knew I needed to write this story down a) because I wanted to share it with everyone that had been so wonderful, supportive, and concerned and b) to help myself process and accept the events that had taken place. At some point in the near future, I am going to write a thank you card to the wonderful staff at the Reed City Hospital, and I am also going to buy myself a bottle of Nair to keep on hand should this ever happen again.

 

26 Ways to Calm a Fussy Newborn

Trying to calm a fussy, or inconsolable, or screaming newborn can be a very stressful time for parents. Throughout the pregnancy, the focus is most likely on the growth of the baby, preparations for birth, and setting up the nursery. Being up in the night with a fussy and inconsolable baby is probably not something a new parent thinks to plan for…but it should be.

With our first born, Ruby, we were blindsided by her fussiness and felt like we didn’t have enough tricks up our sleeves to calm her down.

I remember one night, after she had been screaming and inconsolable for hours and hours, we called 9-1-1 (after trying the pediatrician first). When the firefighters came stomping up our three flights of stairs and barged into our little condo, Ruby was instantly mesmerized and of course stopped crying. I saw the firefighter chuckle to themselves and heard them make some comments to each other about new parents. It’s funny now, but I was sleep deprived and terrified then that something might be dreadfully wrong.

After Ruby, we learned many more ways to calm fussy babies besides going for long walks or drives, but it wasn’t until after baby number five that I’ve finally feel like I have a full arsenal of ways to calm fussy babies at my fingertips.

One of the most important pieces of advice I have is to be proactive. Many of the tips and tricks I’ll share have to do with preventing fussiness and the rest will give you a bag of tricks to pull from if and when your baby is fussy.

1. Avoid Coffee

I’ve never completely eliminated coffee while breastfeeding until Jack, and let me tell you it has made a WORLD of difference. When I learned that the half life of caffeine elimination in a newborn was 97.5 hours, I was finally convinced to give up the java. With every other baby, I just expected that being up in the night was a normal part of caring for a new baby. Jack is almost two months old now, and I haven’t been up in the night even once with him. If you’re looking for a good coffee substitute, I recommend teeccino.

2. Chiropractic Care

The other reason why I think Jack is so calm is because we took him to a chiropractor shortly after he was born. I was having trouble nursing him on the left side, and apparently it was due to a misalignment in his neck. (During birth he was posterior, turned into the correct position right as I was about to push, and was born very quickly – all of which probably contributed to the misalignment.)

For the procedure, the chiropractor laid him on his back for the adjustment (which was basically like a massage), and he was very calm and happy during the whole thing. Afterwards, he nursed like a champ on both sides. When looking for a chiropractor, I advise looking for a holistic one who specializes in working with infants.

Check out this amazing video of an infant getting immediate relief after chiropractic care.

3. CranioSacral Therapy

CranioSacral therapy (CST) is a gentle, noninvasive form of bodywork that addresses the bones of the head, spinal column, and sacrum with the goal of releasing compression in those areas to alleviate pain. It is especially helpful for babies who seem unwilling or unable to nurse properly. When Julian was a newborn, we took him to a CranioSacral practitioner to help him with his tongue tie. It didn’t really help with the tongue tie, but we noticed a huge difference in how calm he was afterwards.

Going through the birth canal or being delivered by cesarean can misalign a baby’s delicate structure and cranial sacral therapy helps to realign everything.

4. Honor the 4th Trimester

After spending nine months in the womb, the outside world must be a real shock for a new baby. By making the outside environment as “womb-like” as possible, it will help to prevent fussiness and create a smooth transition.

  • Skin to Skin: I love doing skin to skin as much as possible after birth until my babies are adjusted. It helps with nursing, bonding, and maintains the same comforts as the womb.
  • Feeding on Demand: There is no need to worry about a feeding schedule, just nurse whenever your baby is hungry. Newborns generally need to nurse about every two hours, but may cluster feed at certain times and sleep longer and not eat for longer times.
  • Baby Wearing: Using a baby sling or carrier is a great way to keep your baby close so he or she can be close to your skin, beating heart, the sound of your voice, and the gentle swaying of your motions. My favorite carriers are the Moby Wrap, a ring sling, and an Ergo Carrier with an infant insert.
  • Co-Sleeping: Feeding on demand is made much easier by co-sleeping. In most parts of the world (except the United States), co-sleeping is the norm. New research shows how it’s actually safer than putting a baby in a separate room and bed.

I find it fascinating that in other more primitive cultures, fussy and crying babies are a rarity. This is because babies in these cultures are treated like an attachment to the mother and aren’t “trained” in any way. (Source)

5. Check Basic Needs

Whenever my babies get fussy, the first thing I do is cycle through the basics. Does he need a diaper change? Does he need to burp? What about nursing? Maybe he’s tired? As a mom, my sixth sense sometimes just knows what my babies need, but this amazing woman, Priscilla Dunstan, figured out how to decipher the meaning of a baby’s cries.

The five sounds in the Dunstan Baby Language are:

• “Neh” – meaning, “I’m hungry”
• “Owh” – meaning, “I’m tired”
• “Heh” – meaning, “I’m uncomfortable”
• “Eairh” – meaning, “I have lower gas”
• “Eh” – meaning, “I need to burp”

6. Warm Bath

Being naked in a warm bath with you is as close to a womb experience as you can create. Within the first few hours after birth, I always like taking a nice healing herbal bath with my newborns. This is a great time for us to relax and bond after birth, and my little ones always enjoy nursing in the water. When I was having trouble getting Ophelia to latch when she was three days old (I tried a pacifier with her too early, and it created nipple confusion.), we took a bath together it she latched on right away. My babies love it when I hold their heads so they can move their arms and legs freely in the water.

7. Don’t Keep a Baby Awake

When our firstborn, Ruby, was an infant, I had this crazy idea that if I kept her awake more during the day, she would sleep better at night. But then she would get overtired, and getting an overtired baby to go to sleep is not an easy task.

The best rule of thumb to remember with babies and sleep is that the more they sleep, the better they’ll sleep. Trying to get a newborn on any type of schedule or predictable routine is just not going to work. The best thing to do is to just go with the flow and let our little ones sleep whenever they’d like and for as long as they’d like.

8. Red Light at Night

As for lighting, red lights are the best because they keep the pupils from dilating which allows your baby to remain in a sleepy state while allowing you to see during late night nursing sessions. Something like this salt lamp or this tree lamp (we unscrew the other bulbs so only the reddish lights are on) would be perfect. The soft glow of a fireplace in the winter is great too!

9. Not Too Hot or Cold

Newborns don’t have a lot of body fat to keep them warm and struggle to maintain their body temperature if the environment is too cold. That is why it’s best to dress babies in one more layer than we do to keep warm. So if you’re hanging out in a t-shirt, your baby will probably want to put your baby in a footed sleeper with long sleeves. I typically like to keep my babies a little under-dressed, however, so that I can wrap them up in one of my homemade silky blankets! But beware of overdoing it as well. A little bit of sweat is normal, but if your baby is in pools of sweat, he or she is too hot! Babies dressed in too many layers are at a greater risk for SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).

10. Swaddle

Swaddling helps to recreate the tight environment of the womb. Some of our babies have totally loved this and others didn’t much care for it. These aden + anais cloths are great for swaddling and so are these summer swaddlers, but really any receiving blanket will do. Just make sure that you are following the guidelines for the new swaddle that keep the legs more free so that your baby doesn’t get hip dysplasia. Watch this video to see the proper way to swaddle.

11. Sucking

Sucking releases oxytocin (the bonding hormone) in both the mother and the baby, which is nature’s way of rewarding them both for breastfeeding. 🙂 In between feedings, newborns might also enjoy sucking on your pinkie (nail side down).

I would avoid using a pacifier for the first few weeks because it can create nipple confusion and make breastfeeding more difficult, but once breastfeeding is established, pacifiers are just fine. There is no evidence that pacifiers affect baby teeth and they have actually been proven to reduce SIDS. Just look for some that are BPA free.

12. Get the Boogers Out

Babies can get really fussy if they can’t breathe because boogers are blocking their nasal passages. When they are first born, babies have this white sticky boogers that you’ll need to pull out. I like to take a kleenex and twist a piece of it into a little swirl. Then I spin it into the nostril and spin it out. This usually catches the booger and drags it out.

If there’s any congestion or lots of boogers, I like using saline and a Nose Frida. My babies always HATE this, so I have to hold them snugly, give a quick squirt up each nostril, and gently use the Nose Frida to suck out the boogers. I also keep a kleenex close by to wipe the nose and then I use it to catch the boogers as I blow them out from the Nose Frida.

13. Nose Rub

Every single one of my babies (and even toddlers) love the nose rub. When they are tired, but not wanting to go sleep, I gently run my fingers down the bridge of their nose in a way that also lets my fingers shadow their eyes. Every time my fingers go over their eyes, they close for a bit, then close for a bit longer, and then finally shut. If I stop and they open their eyes, I keep going. Sometimes I’ll also rub their head and cheeks.

I love this video that shows a little baby falling asleep as a light cloth is repeatedly swiped over its face.

14. Shushing

A harsh shushing sound mimics the sound of the mother’s blood flow that babies hear in the womb. This is why using a box fan for white noise is so great, but if you need to take things to the next level, this shushing technique is really effective. Basically, you get really close to the baby’s ear and make a shushing sound as loud as you can and for as long as you can.

In his book and videoThe Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Baby Sleep Longer, Harvey Karp explains how the best way to calm your newborn and get him or her to sleep is by re-creating the noises, movement, and snug environment of the womb.

15. Calm Music

Calming music can also provide a very soothing type of white noise. With every baby, I’ve enjoyed listening to something new. Sometimes I’ll get into Enya on Pandora, other times I like Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions with the itunes visualizer turned on, and right now, I’m really liking this lullaby mix on YouTube that has some great visuals which are mesmerizing for me as well as Jack.

16. Mother’s Voice

Starting at 23 weeks gestation, babies can hear sounds in the outside world – including the sounds of voices. During the last 10 weeks of pregnancy, research has proven that babies can actually distinguish the sound of their mother’s voice. At birth, babies recognize and prefer the sound of their mother’s voice.

I love talking to my babies, singing to them, and whispering in their ears telling them how much I love them. Jack is 7 weeks old now and we’re enjoying the best conversations with each other while I hold him close and gaze into his eyes. He is completely transfixed. If someone else is holding him and he hears my voice, he’ll quickly turn his head to see me. If he gets a little fussy, I’ll sing him a little song and all of the troubles in the world melt away.

17. Bounce and Pat

For this maneuver, place the baby in an upright position with its head resting on your shoulder and bounce while gently patting the baby on his or her back or bottom. This position is particularly good if the baby is gassy. While holding the baby, you can bounce on an exercise ball, walk around, dance, or sway back and forth.

18. Rocking

I highly recommend investing in at least one good rocking chair. I currently have three set up and Jack loves the rocking motion while I nurse. First of all, I have an old fashioned wicker rocker (that I got at a garage sale) in our bedroom that Scott and I take turns using while holding Jack (primarily during our bedtime routine with the older kids). This type of rocking chair has a great sweeping up and down rock that is very calming for a fussy baby.

In our mini living room, I have a gliding rocker (I call this one my throne because I spend the most time here). The gliding motion is mostly back and forth, not up and down, so it’s not as soothing, but it’s very comfortable. Then in our main living room (where Scott and I hang out after the kids go to bed), we have the most luxurious rocking and reclining arm chair (we just found one at a thrift store, but I linked to one that looks really special). This is the kind of chair that I love to criss cross my legs and snuggle into at the end of the day.

With all three I like using this nursing stool and My Breast Friend.

19. Swinging

There are times when I’m just too tired to rock and bounce and dance, and a nice swing has been a life saver. I really like this small portable swing the best. I can easily carry it from room to room, it’s not a battery hog, the swinging is silent, and the motion is subtle and gentle. I also really like this Fisher-Price Cradle ‘n Swing. It takes up a bit of room and has a bit more noise, but it offers many different swinging options and the mobile is very distracting as well. And while not technically a swing, I LOVE putting my little babies to sleep in this vibrating bassinet.

20. Tummy to Chest

Little babies love sleeping on their tummies with their heads nestled near your neck and little legs tucked up on your chest. This is a great way to do skin to skin as well. In this position, the baby is near your heart beat and voice, and you can gently pat his or her back to help get out any gas. I think the pressure of being on their tummies feels good if they have a little gas.

If you’re looking for a way to recreate this with a machine, check out this video of a fussy baby being settled with the Babo Cush. You can buy both the rocker and the cushion at the Babo Cush website here.

21. Tummy Rub

I can tell when Jack has to poop or pass gas because he’ll start grunting and squirming. When I put my hand on his stomach for a gentle massage, it really calms him down. I will rub my hands in a downward motion, rub in a circular pattern, or just leave my hand there to gently apply pressure to his tummy.

I can only imagine what it must be like to have to learn how to poop, and even though babies have an uncontrolled stooling reflex, sometimes the muscles of the anus don’t relax at the proper time so your baby will push hard with the diaphragm and belly muscles while holding the anus tightly closed.

When this happens, you can rub their tummy, pump their legs in a bicycle motions, hold them upright on your shoulder, or lay them down to let nature take it’s course.

22. Colic Calm

Colic is technically defined as a baby who cries for more than 3 hours a day and for more than 3 days a week. Although the cause is unknown, it is believed to be due to some sort of intestinal cramping. Dr. Harvey Karp believes colic is a myth and that newborns really need a 4th trimester to develop with conditions similar to those in the womb. In any case, when my babies have been really fussy and I suspect intestinal troubles, I love using Colic Calm. It is a natural homeopathic oral remedy designed to help with colic, stomach pains, reflux, and gas. It is made with charcoal, so don’t be surprised by the black color (or your baby’s black poop).

23. Water Dropper

I learned this little trick from my midwife, Laurie Zoyiopoulos, who learned it from some of her Amish clients. When the Amish are dealing with a fussy newborn, they simply give him or her a little bit of water, and it calms the baby down right away. Maybe it’s because the colostrum just isn’t satisfying enough, or maybe it helps to soothe an upset tummy, but for whatever reason, this trick really really works! When Julian would get really fussy and nothing else would soothe him, I would give him a little dropper of water, and he would calm right down. My husband really appreciated knowing this trick as well!

24. Hair Tourniquet

In rare occasions, an adult hair can become wrapped around a finger or toe and cut off circulation. (Read more here.) I always like to give my babies a physical once over to see if I can spot something that is causing them pain. Maybe a cookie crumb is lodged in the crook of their neck, maybe a fold of skin has some gunk in it that’s turning into a rash, or perhaps a hair has become wrapped around one of their extremities and is causing pain. It can be quite a guessing game!

25. Tongue or Lip Tie

If a baby is tongue tied or lip tied, it means that there is an extra flap of skin that makes it hard to nurse properly. Julian had a pretty severe tongue tie and as a result he had a hard time latching correctly which made him take in a lot of air. This caused him to be gassy, very fussy, and up in the night every 45 minutes to eat. A lip tie can have the same effect. If you suspect a lip tie or tongue tie, check out my blog here for more information.

26. Thrush

For the mother, thrush can mean sore nipples and painful nursing, for a baby thrush can mean white patches of painful sores in the mouth. If your baby has thrush, it means that you probably had a yeast infection during a vaginal birth. Milk spots in the mouth will go away on their own, but white spots from thrush will remain. If you want to learn more about remedies for thrush, check out my blog here. (And if you’re still pregnant and reading this, check out my blog about curing a yeast infection while you’re pregnant so you can avoid thrush.)

In Conclusion

You are not a bad parent if your newborn cries. Yes, they cry as a way to communicate and it’s our job to figure out what they’re trying to say, but it’s a big adjustment moving to the outside world from the womb and there are going to be a few tears shed. The best things you can do are to: 1) be proactive by taking measures to prevent fussiness in the first place, 2) be prepared with a variety of tricks up your sleeve to use when your baby does get fussy, 3) stay calm, and 4) be patient. If you keep rotating through a variety of strategies, you will eventually find something that works. Then, when you know what has been troubling your little guy or girl, you can make a plan so that things will get better in the future.

Time goes by fast, so enjoy these precious moments with your newborn and know that by the time they are 3 months old, they will finally be settled into their new world and things will be a lot easier. You’ve got this!

Everything You'll Need for a New Baby

Everything You’ll Need for a New Baby

This is the most comprehensive list of baby items that you’ll ever need! If you’re pregnant, thinking about being pregnant, attending someone’s baby shower and looking for a cool gift, or just browsing to get ideas, you’ll want to check out this list and share it with everyone you know!

During the time that each of our four children have been babies, these have been the products that we have loved the most. I am listing all of these products new, but I have been able to find many if not most of these items at garage sales and thrift stores or received them as gifts. I definitely recommend having a list somewhere where you can keep track of what you want so you can keep your eye out for good deals.

Before you go too far, you might want to start a baby registry (Create an Amazon Baby Registry) or join Amazon Mom which is basically like Amazon Prime, but better (Try Amazon Mom for Free), and then you can create a wish list if you’re not quite ready for a baby registry.

Sleeping

  • Crib – This is what I have always dreamed of getting, but we never had to buy a crib new. For our first baby, we got a really nice portable crib for a baby shower gift, but it didn’t make the move, so for babies #3 and #4 we got a thrift store crib and a Craig’s List crib for less than $30/ea. I know some people are really paranoid about cribs, but we co-sleep for quite awhile, and then we keep them in the crib in our room so we’re always really close. We also found some really good mattresses at thrift stores for about $10 each, but you can buy a great one new here. The cool thing about crib mattresses is that they’re the same size as toddler bed mattresses, so keep that in mind when you’re purchasing one (make sure it’s waterproof).
  • Co-Sleeper – I absolutely loved this for our first born! Ruby slept in one of these until she outgrew it at about 8 months old. It made it so easy to roll over and nurse her whenever she needed me throughout the night. Our second born didn’t really care for it; he just wanted to be held. By the time we got to babies #3 and #4, we just had a mattress on the floor, so we couldn’t have used it even if we wanted to.
  • Big Swing – This has come in so handy for every single baby. The first 6 months are so crazy with sleep, and I like having a place where I know my little one can always fall asleep. (I make sure this swing is set up near a bed where I can sleep too!) We have purchased two of these. The first one from someone on Craig’s List and it was perfect. The second one we got new and the motor was so loud that we weren’t able to keep it in our bedroom. I’ve linked to a similar swing with better reviews. Just make sure whatever big swing you get has an AC adapter or you will spend a fortune on batteries (not to mention the frustration of running out of batteries at 2 a.m. when you finally got your little one to sleep).
  • Portable Swing – This swing is an absolute must! We have used this swing more than anything else. You can easily move it from room to room and babies love to fall asleep in it.
  • Newborn Rock n’ Play Sleeper – If I could only recommend one sleeping aid, it would be this. New babies tend to spit up a lot and the upward position on this is great for preventing that and is especially good for babies with reflux issues. I love putting my baby down for naps in this sleeper because it helps him to stay asleep for long periods of time. He also likes hanging out in this while awake and then will drift off to sleep when tired.
  • Mobile – I did a ton of research to find the best mobiles and this was the one we chose for our first baby, and we are still using it today with our fourth child. I currently have it on the diaper changing table because it provides a nice distraction. We also really liked this mobile.
  • Pack ‘n Play – When our firstborn outgrew her co-sleeper, we put her in a Pack n’ Play until she graduated to a toddler bed. It makes a great portable bed anywhere we’ve gone. We found ours at a garage sale for $10, but I love the one I’ve linked to because it has a top insert for newborns that would make a great bassinet.
  • Crib Sheets – Keep in mind that you will use these as your children transition to toddler beds. I just found mine at thrift stores, garage sales, and our local grocery store, but you can find some good organic ones too. You’ll also want a basic waterproof mattress pad or an organic one.
  • Monitors – This basic model has worked wonderfully for us for all four of our children, but if you’re looking for something more high tech, this video monitor works great.

Furniture

  • Changing Table – We didn’t actually get one of these until our fourth baby. We just put a changing pad on top of a dresser or changed them on the bed. (Our fourth baby is the only who hasn’t rolled off from a tall surface while being changed!) We found one like this at a garage sale for $15. You’ll also want some of these changing pad covers.
  • Dresser – Once again, this is something we found used, but I think it’s really important to have a nice little place to store all of your baby’s things, and you’ll appreciate having it as they get older.
  • Diaper Pail – This is the diaper pail we have, but I actually just use it for my cloth wipes. Because we have two in diapers, I need a bigger pail that doesn’t get filled up every day, so I just have this garbage can with a removable lid. I don’t think you need any special Diaper Genie to hold diapers. Yes, it stinks when you open the can, so don’t put it in your kitchen or living room and you’ll be fine. (But if you need to do that for some reason, get one of these.)

Diapers

  • Disposable Diapers – Ok, so I tried cloth diapers for awhile, and it was going great until we had two kids, and I just didn’t have the time. (And actually, we did disposables when she was a newborn, at night, and when we traveled…) The notion is that cloth diapers are better for the environment and save you money, but with the extra electricity and water used from washing cloth diapers, it seems like the carbon footprint is pretty comparable (unless you’re washing diapers by hand that is, then you go mama!). Also, cloth diapers need to be changed immediately or they will lead to diaper rashes, that and the extra time of washing them made me decide that the money saved wasn’t as valuable as my time and piece of mind.
    • Pampers Baby Dry Swaddlers are my favorite newborn diaper.
    • Pampers Baby Dry Size 1 are my favorite after that. I have tried other brands and the cheapest store brand, and nothing works as good as these. If you’re trying to save money though, Luvs really aren’t too bad.
  • Cloth Diapers – When we used cloth diapers, I loved our Fuzzi Bunz, but I’ve also researched every other brand.
  • Wipes – You can certainly buy disposable wipes, but I’ve found that it’s much better for our babies and our budget to use cloth wipes and make my own diaper wipe solution (or you could buy this).
  • Diaper Bag – Most diaper bags have little handles, but I love being able to sling mine over my shoulder when I’m carrying a hundred other things. Once again, we found ours at a thrift store, but I’ve linked to the basic idea I’m talking about.

Breastfeeding

  • Rocking Chair – I got a rocking chair like this at a garage sale, and it is AMAZING when I pair it with this foot stool. The way that it rocks with big swooping up and down motions is very soothing for babies, more so than a gliding rocking chair, which doesn’t really rock so much as just goes back and forth, but is still pretty dang comfortable.
  • Salt Lamp – When you’re up to nurse in the night, it is nice to have a soft glowing light that’s red to help you see what you’re doing. The red light ensures that the pupils don’t dilate and is perfect for keeping both mom and baby in a state of semi sleep.
  • Basket – I really love having a table set up near my nursing chair that has everything I may need while breastfeeding. I make sure to keep a full water bottle, my breast pump, burp cloths, Nosefrida, any of my baby calming supplies, fingernail clippers, reading material, lip balm, my cell phone, and anything else I might need while nursing!
  • Boppy – I love using a bobby to help me get my newborns correctly positioned for breastfeeding. Make sure you get a cover too so you can take it off and wash it when it gets covered with spit up.
  • My Breast Friend – I never did get one of these, but I recently saw one at a friend’s house. She loved it, and I thought it looked really cool.
  • Breast Pump – I have exclusively breast fed all of my babies, and this breast pump has helped me at every stage. It got me through the first few days when I couldn’t get my newborn to feed (and used these droppers to feed them), it provided relief when I had plugged ducts and mastitis, it helped me to make a bottle or two so we could have a date night, and it helped me provide milk for my babies when I was working full time for a bit. I had mine given to me by a friend, and just like with every other expensive baby thing, everyone says you should not use someone else’s breast pump, but I think that’s hogwash. If you’re really worried about hygiene, you can buy new parts. This little breast pump is a cheaper alternative, and this hands-free pumping bra is something I wish I would’ve had! When I was working, I used these milk storage bags to freeze my milk, but if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t freeze my milk. The living enzymes won’t survive the freezing process and the plastic will leech into the milk. Live and learn I guess.
  • Bottles – I have researched many types of bottles, and these seemed to be the best. We have loved them and have used them (when we needed a bottle) for every child. If I had to do it all over again, however, I would buy these glass bottles. Don’t forget a bottle brush!
  • Nipple Cream – This is great for sore or cracked nipples, but you can just rub a little breast milk on them and let them get some air, and it should do the trick too.
  • Nursing Bra – I love this bra because it is so easy to unlatch and nurse anywhere and the foam inserts hide my nipples! You might like a nighttime nursing bra to wear to bed too, but I just put a belly band over my breasts, not for the support (I have pretty small breasts), but because my nipples were so sensitive and I didn’t like wearing just a t-shirt anymore.
  • Nursing Tank Tops – If you think you’ll ever nurse in front of another human being that doesn’t want to see your sagging stomach skin while you lift up your shirt to nurse, you’ll want one (or two or ten) of these. They are also great for covering up your butt crack when you bend over and can double as a bra too.
  • *Check out my blog: 12 Breastfeeding Tips to Read Before You Give Birth for more helpful information about breastfeeding.

Baby Toiletries

  • Diaper Rash Cream – I have tried so many different diaper rash cream products, and nothing, and I mean nothing, even comes close to how amazing this is.
  • Body Wash – Babies don’t need to be washed that often, but when they do, this is the best product I’ve found for the job. This bar version works just as well.
  • Baby Oil – This oil is great for a million reasons. I love using it to make my own diaper wipe solution, to put on my babies’ heads to get rid of cradle cap, to put on their butts before meconium poops to make them easier to clean, and to rub into any dry areas. Extra virgin olive oil works just as well too.
  • Lotion – When babies get dry skin, this is great to have. But if I had to pick lotion or oil, I would pick the oil.
  • Weleda Starter Kit – This is a great kit to get you started to see if you’ll really like these products. (It also makes a great gift!)
  • Bag Balm – This is also great for a million reasons. Plus, I just like using it for lip balm, although nothing really compares to my homemade lip balm.
  • Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment – This is the best and most healing lotion ever. It’s great for when you need a super duper moisturizer.
  • Nail Clippers – You really only need to file your baby’s nails at first, and in the beginning, they’ll usually just kind of peel off, but eventually, you’ll want to be able to cut those little daggers!
  • Comb and Brush – The soft brush is so gentle for your baby’s head and the comb is great for getting rid of cradle cap!
  • Nosefrida – Forget using a bulb syringe, this thing is the BEST! You’ll also want to get some saline mist.
  • Colic Calm – I found this with my fourth newborn, and it really worked great on those late nights when he was fussy and nothing else seemed to calm him down. These work well too. *Check out my blog about how to calm a fussy baby here
  • Teething – You won’t need these items right away, but you’ll be happy to have them on hand when the time comes. Check out my blog: How to Relieve Teething Pain.

Clothing and Blankets

  • Onsies – If it’s spring or summer, you’ll be needing a lot of these! Here’s some basic ones for girls and some basic ones for boys.
  • Footie Pants – I hate putting socks on newborns. This is a great alternative. 🙂
  • Sleep Sack – This is just the best for sleepwear. Here’s one for girls too.
  • Swaddler – This swaddle blanket is great to put over a onsie for babies who like to be swaddled to sleep.
  • Sleeper – My fall and winter babies pretty much live in these. Here’s some for girls and some for boys. Trust me, you want the zippers on these things!
  • Socks – If the socks are too tight, they’ll leave marks on chubby little ankles, and that can’t be too comfortable!
  • Hand Socks – Some babies scratch their faces with their sharp little claws, and these are great, but regular socks work just as well.
  • Bibs – The bibs with the velcro in the back can sometimes scratch your little ones’ neck. I never thought I would rave about a bib, but these bibs are absolutely the best! They are great for clean up little spit ups and for drool.
  • Swaddling Blankets – Some of my babies have loved being swaddled, and some don’t. Just make sure when you swaddle, you’re giving the legs room to move around so you don’t cause hip dysplasia. I love these swaddling blankets because they’re really big, they’re breathable, and they’re soft.
  • Receiving Blanket –  These are kind of nice to have around for a spare burp cloth, swaddler, or blanket. Here’s a nice organic version, but gosh that’s expensive!
  • Silky Blanket – I like going to the fabric store and picking out the best and silkiest fabric and then making my own silky blankets for my babies, but if I had to buy one, this looks pretty good, and so does this one. I carry my baby around with his silky, nurse him with him wrapped up in it, use it to stroke his face and shield his eyes as he falls asleep in my arms, and lay him down with it for naps or at night so he is always near something that smells like me and is comforting.
  • Special Blanket – If you don’t (gasp) like silkies, something like this would be good too.
  • Lovie – If you’re not comfortable leaving your baby with a bigger blanket, you can leave them with a little lovie while they nap so they’re not totally alone.
  • Burp Cloths – Prefold and birdseye diapers work great as burp cloths too. Just make sure you have enough to put EVERYWHERE you might sit with the baby.

Out and About

  • Infant Car Seat – Having a removable car seat is so convenient for when your little one falls asleep while out and about. This is good until they are 6 months old or 22 lbs and 29 in., but well worth the investment in my opinion. You’ll probably also want a mirror like this to keep tabs on your little one and some window shades.
  • Car Seat – After they outgrow the infant car seat, you’ll need to upgrade. I recommend something like this because it can be converted to accommodate children from 20-100 lbs.
  • Stroller – This stroller is great because it fits with the infant car seat. We still have our Graco stroller from our first baby and we use it all the time.
  • Ergo – I have tried many different different carriers and I love, love, LOVE my Ergo! It is so comfortable to wear, it DOES NOT hurt my back, and I love having my baby snuggled up close facing me. It’s best suited for babies 4 months and older, but you can use the infant insert to accommodate your little one. You’ll want to stay away from the front facing carriers (for extended use anyways) because they can lead to hip dysplasia. I know people who really like the Boba carrier too.
  • Moby Wrap – It’s a little tricky to figure out how to use one of these, but this video will help! I LOVE using my Moby wrap for my little newborn babies until they are 3 months or so. It’s great to be able to keep them close while you want to have two hands free to do a few things around the house.

Things That Hold Babies or Playthings

  • Activity Mat – This can be packed up and moved anywhere easily, and all of our babies have loved it. It’s easy to store away. You can lay a baby on it starting at any age.
  • Bouncy Chair – Now, this isn’t really necessary, but it sure is nice to have a fun little place for your baby to bounce and play while you fold laundry or something. This one is fun too.
  • Activity Center – As soon as your baby can support himself (about 3 months), he’ll love being entertained in this activity center.
  • Bumpo – You won’t really need this until your baby is a little older, but we have loved using this with every single baby except our fourth (I’m not really sure why, too busy moving around I guess). It’s a great way to get babies in a sitting position when they’re not quite ready to sit on their own.
  • Door Jumper – Babies aren’t really ready for this until 6 months or so, but it is a great way for them to jump and move around while you get dinner ready.
  • Jumperoo – If you don’t have a good door frame to use, or if you have more floor space, this jumperoo is a great way for babies to entertain themselves.
  • High Chair – Our babies haven’t really been ready for a high chair until 6-8 months, but hey, you’ll use it sooner than you think! I really like how versatile this one is. And don’t forget silverware and a sippy cup. We try to buy most of our dishware glass, like these little glass plates and bowls, but sometimes some BPA free plastic does the trick too.

Toys

  • Whoozit – This little toy has been a favorite of all of our children, and we love taking it with us when we travel. We have also loved this larger sized Woozit.
  • Floor Mirror – This is so wonderful for when babies start doing tummy time.
  • Manhattan Toy Winkle – All of my babies have loved this because it is easy to grab onto, hold, and chew.
  • Jacques the Peacock – This is a great take-a-long toy with lots to keep a little one busy.
  • Ziggles – This is another cute take-a-long toy that is very cute.
  • Sophie the Giraffe Teether – I love how easy this is for little ones to grab and it’s such a fun teething toy.
  • Baby’s First Blocks and Rings – These are totally classic toys that you’ve just got to have!
  • Bath Letters – These are probably one of the most used toys we have, and they really help with teaching letters!
  • Wrist Rattles – I don’t know if these are more fun for the babies or the parents!
  • Wooden Teether – My friend hand makes these and they are really cool!

Books

Best Books to Read Before You Have a Baby

Postpartum

  • Bellefit Corset – This corset helped me to heal my diastis recti after baby number three, and I’m currently using it now to heal after baby number four.
  • After Ease – After baby number three, I was completely floored by the afterpains. I got some of this after baby number four, that a heating pad, and bouncing on an exercise ball really helped.
  • Postnatal Rescue – This is a very gradual workout that will ease you back into shape.
  • Comfortable (non maternity) Pants – You won’t fit into your regular pants for awhile and you’ll totally wear your maternity clothes for awhile, but it’s nice to have something comfortable that’s not maternity pants after awhile.

Things You Don’t Need

  • Everything on This List – You most certainly don’t need all of this stuff before the baby is born, and not all of these items are necessary. You have to pick and choose the things that are most important based on your lifestyle, your budget, your space, and your individual needs.
  • Everything New – I think the benefit of having a list such as this is that it enables you to keep an eye out for bargains and deals. Just knowing what you need can also help you to be better at saying no to impulse buys.
  • Baby Food Maker – Just use a blender, pre-chew the food, or cut it up into small enough bites.
  • Baby Bath – Just take the baby into the bath with you. It’s much easier, your baby will be more comforted with you nearby, and you can nurse if he or she gets fussy. You also don’t need special baby towels or wash cloths, but hey, get them if you must!
  • Outlet Covers – Outlets are only dangerous if a baby is sticking a metal knife into them. If you see them doing this, I think it would be better to tell them no or use some form of distraction. I also don’t think you need cabinet safety locks, toilet seat lock, or baby gates, but now that I’ve mentioned these items, you’re probably just going to get them anyways.
  • Bottle Rack – Unless you’re formula feeding, then you probably do.
  • Wipe Warmer – You might still like one, but this is something we never got and never missed.

Make a Registry

If you haven’t done so already, now might be a good time to make a baby registry. If you make one through this link, I will get a $5 referral fee, so thanks! Shop Amazon – Create an Amazon Baby Registry

Amazon Mom

If you’re a mom, grandparent, or caretaker, you try Amazon Mom for free for one month. So check out the following link below to help yourself and give me a small referral fee! Try Amazon Mom for Free

*If you’re looking for the best items to support your pregnancy, check out my blog: Best Pregnancy Items