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Records are often wasted by expectant parents. In this series, cool new moms and dads tell us what has really worked for them since having a baby. In other words: if they could redo their birth records, these are the items that would top the list.
Moon Juice founder Amanda Chantal Bacon was eight years between the births of her two children, which meant that with the arrival in 2019 of baby No. 2, she was sort of starting from scratch. “I was a single mom for so long,” she says. “I didn’t know if I was going to have a second child. I ended up getting rid of everything. But that time and distance also allowed her to honestly reflect on what worked and what didn’t: Turns out she didn’t need a special nursing pillow like the Breast Friend. “Just pile up some pillows.” Or a smart crib. “Here’s a tip on the Snoo: it really works for some people, and not for others. I wanted to co-sleep with my baby, but after a month I was like, Damn I’ll do anything to sleep for five hours. My recommendation would be to rent one for a minimum of time and make sure it works for you. My baby hated it.
But it wasn’t just a reduced list of products that she tweaked the second time around. It was about knowing that if the mother feels supported, she can look after the baby, and that’s really all the baby needs in the first few months, she says. This included taking the first 40 days after giving birth to heal, something she didn’t do with her first child. “It can be as simple as focusing on food and rest,” says Chantal Bacon. So, naturally, what she needed was to lean on her mother: “A lot of it is centered around your breasts and breastfeeding. Even if you’re only breastfeeding for three months, there’s plenty of action during those three months. Read on for her essentials, including a milk-saving manual breast pump and easy-access nursing bras.
With my first child, it took me a few weeks to find my way to this belly band. And it was so nice and so helpful with my second child. I put it on probably a few hours after my daughter was born and after the placenta was delivered. It was so good to have immediate support. Your abdominal muscles are so separated and your skin is so stretched. Your organs move when you are pregnant; your uterus is huge. I wore it for about six weeks; that’s how long it took for my uterus to retract and for everything to fall into place. The band is presented as shapewear, but I don’t consider it shapewear; it just feels like everything is contained. We take for granted that these muscles hold our guts in, and when you don’t have them, it acts as a prop to hold everything in.
You need it for the engorgement phase, which occurs in the first week. This is when your milk arrives. It can be uncomfortable and you won’t believe how big your breasts are. Just take a photo so you can look back and remember. It’s crazy – there’s going to be a night in your life where it’s really going to peak and you’re going to look at yourself in the mirror and think, It’s like an 80’s pornstar. With the ballet bra, you’ll want to size up because they’ll stay huge for a few weeks. This one is the easiest for breastfeeding and it adapts to fluctuations in breast size. If you’re breastfeeding on demand, these hook-and-flap bras are too much of a hassle. You just want to whip it. There’s a crying baby, there’s a lot going on, there’s no time to play with stuff. Oh and I don’t know why, but if you take cabbage leaves and put them in your bra, it softens your breasts and makes them much more comfortable. It really works. Then, at some point, you’ll be happy to give or throw away that ballet bra and never want to see it again.
It’s like phase two when you come out of the ballet bra. The nursing tank is great because you can also put the belly band on it, which can sometimes pinch your skin. Then put a T-shirt over it. I have found nurse tanks to be perfect for the first six months of life as a nurse. The breast comes out easily. Once you’re out in public, you’re not fully exposing your body. It was good to have some coverage. If you can wear a button-down shirt for six months straight, bless you, but at some point you just want to put your t-shirts and sweaters back on. When you stop using the belly band, the tank top fits like a compression garment, so it’s nice to have a little tummy support.
In the first few months, if you’re trying to store and freeze a bunch of milk, this is your ally. I put it on the non-nursing breast and ended up catching cups of milk that would have just been absorbed into a breast pad. When you breastfeed on one side, the fountain starts on the other side. You can also use the Haakaa as a quick hand pump for the car or travel. You drink so much water to do it, and how much milk I ended up saving – you’ll see.
I have tried them all. It’s the best baby carrier and the most minimal way to keep a baby happy, like they’re back in your body! It has just the right amount of stretch and spring. Baby carriers like the Artipoppe or the Ergobaby – you’ll spend your whole life in one of these backpacks, but by infant time they’re too big for them. And you don’t want to spread their legs; you just want them in the fetal position. What I like about the Boba is that you can squeeze them really tight. You can do anything with a baby that feels really safe, just hear your heartbeat and be skin to skin. If you have your baby in the warmer months, you can just have her in there with just a diaper. And that’s when your tank comes into play! You’re going to hate this outfit – but sweats, this nursing tank top; the Boba becomes the back and sleeves of the tank top, and I would wear my husband’s button-down shirt over it. And you can breastfeed in the Boba; you really don’t need to take the baby out much.
People will want to buy your baby cute things, but they won’t wear anything for a long time. I just had a few in rotation for months. It’s the only thing your baby should wear. They’re organic terrycloth and there aren’t a lot of snaps to deal with. It’s quickly about what’s cute to watch and what’s easy. Makie ticks those boxes. You will see the amount of diapers you need to change in a day, and doing any kind of snaps or buttons is exhausting. Makié is so easy to close 25 times.
Your baby is going through this crazy peeling phase. And the other thing that happens is their little chub begins to come. They have these little sausages of fat on their necks and legs. Sweat and skin accumulate in the rollers; they are like little cheese monsters. I would do this ritual at the end of the day: get in the bath with them, hold them in warm water, and then give them a full massage with coconut oil. I see no reason to use soap on a baby until he starts eating food and pooping and running around. Water baths and coconut oil massages are all you need, especially with the full body peeling phase and cradle cap. It helps with the cheesy little corners. Doing this little massage is also very relaxing for the baby, and coconut oil has antibacterial properties.
Not everyone has the postpartum shed, but a lot of people do. For me, it happened around the second or third month. I experienced this a lot during my first pregnancy. I didn’t know what was going on; I was silently losing handfuls of hair and panicked. I thought it was stress; then I realized postpartum hair loss was a whole thing. I had just opened Moon Juice at the time, and I had really long hair. There I was talking to people about green juices and smoothies and my hair was falling out. I ended up having a friend give me a bob down the alley of Moon Juice, but he never pushed my shoulders away. That’s why I formulated Super Hair, which helped him grow back thick as if he were pre-baby. I tried other reputable clean formulas, but I couldn’t tell, Wow, it really works. This great test was, Will it make my hair grow when I have my second baby? The second time I had some hair loss, but that was far from what I experienced the first time.
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