i came up with a list of the things that made life easier during the past few weeks. like i said before, i definitely prepared less this time but also had a few tricks up my sleeve since this was my second baby.
there is really no need for stimulating toys. the analogy of the new world being like a moroccan bazaar is a good one and the idea of waving one of these hideous things in front of her face makes me cringe. i love giving her tummy time or quiet time on a sheepskin. we have one we love from the new zealand company ecowool. i did a lot of research and it is much better to have a real one versus a sythentic from ikea (and, surprisingly, not much of a price difference.) i place her on a blanket on top of it and she'll intently watch the shadows on the wall or elodie running about like a little monkey.
this is a fact of life. babies like to be held a lot. the sooner i surrendered to this with elodie, the sooner i was able to really enjoy every moment. that being said, i am a bit of a baby wearing fanatic with francesca. i use the moby wrap when i know i'm going to have it on for a while (so much fabric!) - it's great for breastfeeding and really lets you feel hands free.
the sakura bloom does all the things the moby does, adds a bit more style to your wardrobe, and is easier to put on.
i use my ergobaby when i know i might be in a big crowd or for long walks or hikes. i definitely wear it the most (so much easier on the back) and couldn't have survived these first few weeks without it.
i introduced a night time bottle of breast milk at five weeks so that michael would have some bonding time with francesca. we have tried a few different types but really love the ones from life factory.
i would say my best soothers (besides the breast) are wearing her in the ergo and giving her a pacifier, putting her in the swing (a crazy contraption but so worth it!), or playing her music. the minute she hears the first chimes in the hushabye baby version of johnny cash she immediately quiets. this has worked wonders during car rides!
my husband is the swaddler in the family. i'm horrible at it. he uses an aden + anais muslin swaddling blanket and then a velcro swaddler (summer or miracle blanket) over the top. whenever she is feeling a little frantic or it's the witching hour, we wrap her up and you can almost visibly see her sigh. it's a miracle in the first few weeks.
i either bathe with francesca or give her a bath in sink. she loves when i sing to her and wash her in warm water. it's one of the things i look forward to the most. i immediately wrap her and give her an infant massage. i use warm calendula oil from weleda as it smells lovely and isn't too greasy. i also use organic coconut oil sometimes for variation.
i've been re-reading books that i loved from when elodie was a baby. two standouts are the happiest baby on the block by harvey karp and gentle first year by dr. gowri motha. her infant massage instruction is tops!
i'm a sucker for petit bateau's sleepers with the cute back opening and anything by nature baby, especially their drawstring booties. a friend gave francesca a few pairs of these and i've since become slightly addicted to them.
i had already passed on so many things from the first baby so was grateful to friends for hand-me-downs and use of some big items like a bassinet. i'll definitely pay it forward when francesca gets bigger (although i can't bear to think of that yet!)