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First Year of Motherhood: The Essentials

As I reflect on my first year of motherhood, one thing I know for sure is that it was NOTHING like I had imagined. I don’t mean that in a bad way because it has been an amazing journey and I wouldn’t trade for the world. I can’t imagine life without my baby girl. What I really mean is, I have read so many articles and books about the “how-tos” and the “must-haves” of motherhood but truth is, nothing can adequately prepare you for what is to come. You just have to go through the experience! To any mom or future mom, I just want you to know, you are doing great, sis!

Motherhood is busy, its challenging, and its extremely rewarding. I still pack a diaper bag the night before a day’s outing, only to realize I’ve still left out the diapers. It takes me hours to get out of the house for a day’s outing. I haven’t mastered the art of combing hair. I said she’d never sleep in our bed, yet she hasn’t spent even ONE night in her nursery suite, STILL! She’s cried uncontrollably and I wasn’t sure how to get her to stop. She’s fallen down and I wasn’t there to catch her. She changes every day, and I always find myself wondering, “is this normal? Am I doing everything right?” I rarely have energy to put on a full face of make up, so I usually settle for brows and bronzer on most days. Most of the pictures I take, she’s in them whether its planned or not.

As a mother, we definitely have our days, and we do our best to always put our best foot forward. It’s totally okay if we are constantly wondering if we are doing everything exactly right. We just have to pause for a minute and realize that there is no perfect science to motherhood, there isn’t just one right way to do it. So just know, that when your child looks at you and smiles, despite everything, you’re doing something right because of the twinkle in their eye. They know they are loved. They know you are giving it all you’ve got. And that’s more than enough.

To future and new moms out there, you may think you need it ALL right now, but let me just let you in on a secret. You don’t. I bought an abundance of stuff I didn’t need, but I want to share with you my go-tos that I absolutely couldn’t have survived my first year of motherhood without.

The Essentials:

· Camera – You don’t want to miss any of those precious moments, take so many pictures because they grow up SO fast!

· Huggies Diapers - I started of with Pampers Little Swaddlers, but ended up loving the fit of Huggies Little Snugglers and Little Movers. Depending on your baby, you may favor one over the other. I experienced minimum blow outs with the Huggies so that was a huge plus for us.

· Huggies Natural Wipes – My absolute favorite and I’ve tried a ton of different brands.

· Stroller – I went more for style here, and less for convenience. We went with a Mutsy Evo Urban Nomad Stroller and purchased the bassinet insert. It is for sure a beauty and it worked for us. At the time, it was the only peanut butter leather strapped stroller on the market. Since, then…UppaBaby came out with a similar one that I would have FOR SURE gotten because it converts to a two seater and is just more convenient.

· Convertible Car Seat – We went with the Rachel Zoe Edition Maxi Cosi Convertible Car Seat! It surely is a beauty, and aside from the fact that it has white cloth that could potential get dirty, it was the most PERFECT car seat ever! We did have to buy adapters for our stroller, but it worked perfectly. We created our own “stroller/car seat system.”

· Car Seat Base – You will need these for each car that your baby will be in. We had one in both of our vehicles, very convenient and worth every penny.

· Diaper bag – So, when my husband surprised me with my LV Neverfull and ToteSavvy Diaper Bag insert the Christmas before Madison was born, I was super excited! Its super spacious, but what I find is that I just end up putting more than I need to in it, and it becomes super heavy! We ended up also buying a cute backpack one for my husband because he hates carrying around “a purse.” A super great option is the Boxy Petunia Pickle Bottom Diaper Bag.

· Bibs – You can’t ever get enough of these. There are not a lot of cute options in stores, but amazon has some, as well as boutiques who embroider. Personalization is always fun!

· Burp Cloths – I had so many of these stashed all over the house, and kept so many in my diaper bag. Luckily, she didn’t spit up often, but they are multi-purpose for sure. I have used them as emergency changing pads a time or two.

· Non-talc powder

· Avent Glass Bottles – I went with these because they seemed to be the cleanest option. She didn’t experience nipple confusion with them, so I think they are a great option for nursing moms. The only complaint I have is, when she began to get a little older, she started to throw the bottles down for fun – broken glass is certainly no fun!

· Bottle warmer – You aren’t supposed to microwave breastmilk, so this was a must.

· Bottle Drying Rack – This will be sitting out on your kitchen island, so be sure to pick a cute one. J

· Breastfeeding Essentials – Nursing pads, nipple cream, nursing bras were the 3 things I don’t think I had enough of when I left the hospital. I had to send my mom to the stores and I ended up ordering some online.

· Electric Breast Pump – I received a free one from through my insurance company. If you plan to nurse, definitely make sure it is before you deliver. It made the world of difference in my milk supply, and it also allowed me to begin building up my storage supply.

· Breast Milk Storage - There with bottles that came with my breast pump, but the bags that you can pump directly into were for sure a gamechanger when I went back to work.

· Sharpie Marker – Helped me organize my milk by labeling and dating the milk and the amount stored in each bag/bottle.

· Infant Tylenol, Infant ibuprofen, Infant Benadryl – These are just the must haves that you’ll need without a doubt at some point.

· Halo Bassinest – Madison slept in this next to our bed until she was too long for it. It was super convenient and I loved having her so close.

· Halo Bassinest Fitted Sheets – We had about 3 fitted sheets that we washed and rotated out.

· Changing table – We had a changing table in her nursery, but you don’t realize that you need one where the baby will actually be sleeping. I had to order one for our room because Lord knows that where we spent more of our time! Its definitely a lifesaver.

· Diaper Pail – Hmm, I had to buy 3 different ones. All 3 of them broke, and if the baby is breastfed, the poops don’t really stink THAT bad. Its not a bad idea to have one, but its not life or death if you don’t have one.

· Swaddle Blankets – These are HEAVEN sent! I went a little crazy and bought every cute one I could get my hands on. Madison liked being swaddled for about 2 months, then she was over it. Aside from using the swaddle blankets to swaddle, they are great for stroller and car seat covering and for naptime when they get old enough.

· Nail scissors – Their little finger nails are pretty sharp and they don’t know what they are even doing with them the first few months of their lives. Keep those nails trimmed and filed.

· Bath Towels – You don’t need a whole lot, two or three and rotating them works just fine.

· Bathing soap, shampoo and lotion – All of them are pretty great. My favorite was Aveeno Baby collection!

· Diaper Rash Cream – I have tried so many. Some have more liquidity formulations and those seem to be less effective. My absolute favorites were the Mustela Diaper Rash Cream and Boudreaux’s Buttpaste.

· Mustela No Rinse – One of my favorite products! It was perfect for those days where a baby wasn’t warranted, but I still wanted Madison to freshen up. I didn’t have to deal with a ton of water but could still clean her up

· Alcohol and cotton balls – We needed these immediately after leaving the hospital to clean the umbilical cord.

· Thermometer – I would get one that doesn’t require battery change. I got a fancy one that I loved as a shower gift, but I ended up reverting to the traditional one because I would always forget to change the battery!

· Dockatot – This was a purchase that I’m not sure was worth it, but people swear by it. So, if you have it in your budget, I say try it out. Madison was a pretty good sleeper anyways, so I am not sure that this helped much.

· Swing – We have two different ones. The 4Moms MamaRoo and Graco DuetSoothe Swing, and I will just say if we have another baby, I’m hoping he/she likes the Mamaroo more than Madison. She absoluted love the Graco swing, so we were thankful that my sister in law allowed to us to have hers. It was Madison’s favorite place to nap and hang out the first few months of her life.

· Baby Detergent – We went with Dreft and had no problems.

· Hamper – Any cute clothing hamper works

· Footed Jammies with Zippers -- I had gotten some with buttons and with zips, and the my favorite were for sure the ones with zippers for the middle of the night diaper changers.

Obviously every baby is different, what works for one baby, may not work for the next. I may have left out some very important items, so just use this as a guide and adjust as needed. It is all a learning process! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave comments or send me an email! Thanks so much for reading!


Brittney Fusilier


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