If you're expecting a baby, you've probably read a lot of "must have" lists. But here's the thing . . .
There's always going to be a new trendy product that promises to make your life perfect. But we all know that stuff doesn't bring happiness, stuff doesn't feed our souls. Do you know what things your heart will crave most after your baby is born? Do you know how what you'll need to bring you peace, and keep you from staying up all night worrying? Do you know what you need to nurture your newborn's spirit and keep her cozy and feeling secure?
Here are 5 must haves for Indianapolis moms -- and you've probably never heard about them
1. Lactation Cheerleaders
Sore boobs. Cranky baby. Exhausted mom. And the ever present question: how much is he actually getting?? If you plan to breastfeed, know that while it is beautiful, natural, and definitely possible, sometimes there's a big learning curve. Sometimes there are food allergies. Sometimes there are tongue ties.
And you absolutely don't have to go through it alone. Yes, you read the books, yes you did the classes, yes, you'll get lessons at the hospital. But having someone on your side through the cracked nipples and sleep deprivation when your brain feels like it's churning through thick mud is invaluable. Let a lactation consultant or a breastfeeding support group take all the guess work out of it for you. As you're giving your baby this incredible, beautiful gift, it's invaluable to have the support to make it as easy on you (and baby too!) as possible.
And one other thing -- you know what's best for you and for your baby. However you plan to nourish your baby, and however the journey goes for you, it is totally ok. The most important thing is that love and care for your baby. Whether the care comes through breast, bottles, or formula, the love you have for your baby remains constant, and that is what ultimately matters.
Free Breastfeeding Support Group from St. Frances Health
Breast Pump Rental From St. Frances Health
Lactation Consultants, Classes, And Helpline from St. Frances Health
Lactation Services from Believe Midwifery in Lafayette and Carmel Indiana
La Leche League of Indiana
Indy Breastfeeding Moms
2. Emotional Authenticity
You're doing an incredible, powerful thing, going though pregnancy and giving birth to a child! You are amazing! But sometimes it doesn't feel that way. Did you know many moms struggle with feeling blue, down, or even severely depressed in the weeks or months following birth? Having a new baby is a big adjustment for every mom. No matter what, it's important to have trusted people in your life to laugh, cry, and vent with. But it's especially important to be real about any more intense, overwhelming feelings you may be having. These feelings can range from just feeling completely exhausted (even if you are getting some sleep), to nagging anxiety or panic attacks, feeling like you're stuck in a negative thought loop, feeling worthless, feeling regret, and even feeling suicidal.
Know that if you feel any of these things it's not your fault, you're absolutely not a bad mother. Post partum depression is very real, and it's a medical condition -- not something that happened because you did something wrong. Pregnancy and birth are huge changes, hormonally and physiologically. Being real about how you're feeling, with yourself and with people you trust, is probably the best investment you can make, both for yourself and your newborn. Staying committed to your mental health after birth allows you to care for yourself fully, so you can be the best mom you can be. Friends and family can offer support, and your doctor can help you figure out the tools you need to help bring your body back to balance. There's absolutely no need to tough it out. You're not alone. Many, many women have struggled with post partum emotional issues, probably even many women that you know. By staying authentic and talking about how you feel, you can also help women everywhere to be comfortable opening up about their post partum experiences.
IU Health Perinatal Depression Information
St. Francis Post Partum Depression Support Group
Let There be Light at Providence Mennonite Church in Montgomery Indiana; warmline: (812) 254-8620 x 1347
3. Baby Wearing
I'm pretty sure all moms wish they could just relax and snuggle their babies all the time. But there's always going to be laundry and dishes and trips to the grocery store. Baby wearing allows you to help keep your baby basking in love and all the healthy benefits of being held and touched, even when you need to be up and about. It helps her grow, learn, cope, and be her best self. Investing in wraps and/or carries and getting involved in local baby wearing support groups will help you make the most of the time while your baby still wants to be held.
Having a newborn session is an incredible investment, and almost as essential as the stroller and the changing table. While it might not be on the check lists, it should be. Having a newborn is something that you'll only experience for a handful of weeks out of your entire life. Think about that. You get 3, maybe 4 weeks per child of the really itty bitty newness. Then poof, it's gone.
Just like your wedding day that would be a fuzzy blur if it wasn't for your photos, newborn photography gives you something to hold onto. Trust me, when your newborn is going off to his first day of kindergarten, you will be so glad you have something to ugly cry over. Newborn photography is specially designed to document all the precious details of your baby, as well as turn your baby into beautiful art.
All of the other baby stuff, like the stroller, and the clothes, and the crib will eventually be passed onto others. The photographs of your newborn will be the only things you actually keep.
Plus, it's pretty much the best push present ever.
Ashlee Lauren, Indianapolis newborn photographer at The Organic Baby (me!)
5. Swaddling Supplies
As a newborn photographer, I know first hand how swaddling is an invaluable tool. I've seen it work its magic so many times -- I don't even want to think about what I'd do without it! Newborns have been in a very tiny environment their entire existence. While you may think getting to stretch out would feel good, to most babies it will be at the very least a strange sensation, if not scary or uncomfortable. So swaddling is one of the best gifts you can give your newborn! It will also be so beneficial to you, especially at night, when babies tend to be more fussy, to have a great tool available to sooth & comfort your baby.
Rather than cotton or gauzy swaddling blankets that are difficult to keep in place, I recommend soft, stretchy fabrics. You can even cut up an old tshirt to use.