After my son was born a wise woman told me that the first 40 days were the toughest. I was about 2 weeks into motherhood at the time and feeling as though my world had been turned upside down. So the prospects of a light at the end of the tunnel was intoxicating. I promptly programmed "40 DAYS" into my Blackberry and began the countdown.

While you're waiting for your world to start to look normal again ( never goes back to normal...your 'normal' just changes), here is a list of some of the things that helped me to survive the early weeks of motherhood.

Breastfeeding is hard. Not hard like learning how to drive standard hard...but the toe curling kind of pain hard. Here are some things that will help you along the way:
1. Lactation consultants: Even if you think things are going well with BFing, go and see a LC as early as possible. They know their stuff.
2. Nipple cream: Invest in some of this. You WILL need it. You can use some of the over-the-counter Lansinoh cream or you can ask your MD to prescribe you with some of the good stuff. It will be like gold to you when you are in pain.
3. Nursing tank tops: I lived in these for the first three months. Bravado and Glamourmom make fantastic tanks.
4. Nursing bras: Get a functional and comfortable one for sleeping and lounging around the house (Bravado Silk & Seamless is a good one) and invest in a sexy-ish one that will help you to feel good in your clothes (Hotmilk makes some great ones).
5. Nursing pillow: I didn't rely too heavily on one of these but many, many women use them religiously.
6. Breast pump: Invest in a good one. I relied heavily on my Medela Pump in Style Advanced. Don't be afraid to pump when you are engorged. I was so paranoid about throwing off my supply if I pumped too early that I just suffered through the engorgement. Not fun! Next time around i'd definitely pump earlier on.
7. Receiving blankets: Lots of them! BFing (and bottle feeding) can be messy ;)
8. Mommy Guilt: Do not let it consume you! I was not prepared with how intense this guilt would be. If you need to supplement with formula to make it through the early weeks then you are not a failure! There are many women who supplement early on but are able to wean their LO off of formula once the latch has been perfected.
9. Live Help: Watch someone BF. If you don't have access to a BFing mom, watch as many videos as you can! Pictures and written instructions are no substitute for the real thing!

Stuff for Baby:
1. Swaddling: I abandoned swaddling way too early with my LO and it was something that I regretted later. Invest in the Miracle Blanket!
2. Sleepers: You'll need lots! Babies go through several in a day because of diaper malfunctions and various other baby fluids.
3. Pacifiers: I was one of those moms who swore up and down that her kid wasn't going to get a soother. Guess what? DS was sucking on one the first week! Never say never ;)

1.Swing: My son loathed the swing but I have spoken to many women who claim that the swing was the only thing that kept them sane during the early months.
2.A good wrap: Many experts speak about the '4th trimester' for babies. A good wrap like the Moby Wrap will keep your hands free on those days that your LO wants to be held 24-7
3. White noise machine: Obus Forme makes a fantastic one that plays continuously throughout the night.
4. A good stroller: A wise friend advised me to get the best stroller I could afford. Solid advice!
5. Bouncy or vibrating chair: DS napped in this quite often during the day and I put him in it every day so that I could get a hot shower.

Just for You:
1. Get to the gym: It will be the LAST thing you feel like doing. And it will be hard. REALLY hard to get back into the swing of things. And there won't be enough time in the day. And you'll be exhausted. And it's hard to get motivated to work up a sweat when you're lactating. Sister...i've been there!
BUT it will be the absolute best favour you can do for yourself. A wise man told me that the sooner you jump back into your workout regime (obviously after receiving the medical okay to do so) the better. Exercise is good for your mental and physical health.
2. Eat well: It's really tempting to indulge post partum. It's hard to find the time to cook healthy meals when you barely have time to bathe. But it's doable. Eat Lean Cuisine, join Jenny Craig where your meals are already prepared; eat protein whatever you need to do to eat clean.
3. Talk to your mom everyday. Your mom likely knows you better than anyone else. And she has also been through this! Some days my mom would watch the baby so that I could shower or so that I could clean up the house.
4. Nap when baby naps. . Ok. Totally cliche but good lord it's an important one! DS is 7 months old now and I have gotten 6 hours of consecutive sleep probably twice during this 7 month span. Napping when he naps has allowed me to function.
5. Clothes/hair/makeup: When you spend your day covered in BM and baby vomit, it's hard to get motivated to throw on some mascara. But when you pull yourself together reasonably in the fashion and beauty department it does wonders for your mood!

Good luck. And remember that it DOES get easier.
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