Our Newborn Essential

In the new Netflix series, the Letdown, there’s a moment when, during sleep training, Audrey tells her husband he can go in to try and soothe the baby, but “don’t make eye contact!” Aron and I burst out laughing—a laughter tinged with PTSD and relief.

Those newborn struggles can be buried so deep that when someone recently asked me about something we found particularly useful during that time, my mind went blank. But when I saw that episode, it all came right back, and ideas for advice starting popping up like whack-a-mole!

(Oh man… so glad my kids both sleep now.)

Anyway, one of my most essential items is actually a free app called Baby Connect. I’m sure there are other apps that have since cropped up, but we were completely hooked on this one—and I still occasionally use it!

Soon after Hudson was born, I started using it to track feedings—how long he nursed, which side, etcetera. (You wake up in a fog when they start crying and it’s hard to tell whether it’s been 3 minutes or 3 hours since they last ate.) It syncs immediately with any users you add, and Aron and I would log everything from how many mLs of Tylenol we gave him to milestones like “found toes!” Later on, our babysitters would do so, too. It came in very handy when the pediatrician asked for details like “how many hours a night does he sleep?” and I needed to be more specific than “too few.”

In fact, I became a little obsessed with the sleep tracking aspect. It would graph it out and, at first, it looked like the perforated reel of a player piano—just an assortment of dashes. But eventually, patterns emerged: we watched the dashes grow longer and start forming columns. I turned to it many times when we traveled and changed time zones and needed to figure out what his “body clock” would be doing. There was something especially satisfying about seeing it all mapped out like that. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve pulled it out at a few cocktail parties.

Six years later, it’s all still there, along with when he lost his first tooth!

What would be your (inexpensive, perhaps surprising) essential? 

P.S. My baby registry checklist. And thank you, from a new mother—the other things I found most useful.

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