UVA Health System Blog

Stories about the patients, staff and services of UVA

 

Podcast Tuesday: Is It a Cold or Allergies? [AUDIO]

On June 30, 2015 | At 9:41 am

Chances are, if you don’t have a runny nose right now, you’ve had one recently. But it can be tough to tell whether you have a cold or seasonal allergies.

Do you have allergies?

Find an allergy clinic near you.

In this week’s podcast, Monica Lawrence, MD, who specializes in seasonal allergies, explains:

  • The difference between cold and allergy symptoms
  • Different over-the-counter allergy medications
  • How to avoid nasal spray overuse
  • How nasal irrigation methods like a Neti pot can help

 
 

Maternity Monday: Sleep Schedules for Moms and Babies

On June 29, 2015 | At 10:37 am

Giving birth puts your body through a lot of trauma, and the baby has gone through an ordeal as well. Your body needs to relax! It may go without saying, but don’t make big plans in the days and weeks following baby’s arrival. Sleep is a priority! Visitors may come and go, but it’s OK to tell people it’s time to relax and ask them to come back another time.

Mommy and Baby Need Sleep

The new baby needs a lot of sleep, anywhere between 16 to 20 hours per day, says pediatrician Heather Quillian, MD. The baby’s sleep schedule will be disjointed and erratic, and you may not be able to predict when the baby will sleep. Your baby will only be comfortably awake for an hour or two at a time.

preconception, pregnancy and childbirth

Join us as we journey through preconception, pregnancy, childbirth and beyond in a series we call Maternity Monday.

Baby will let you know when they are sleepy. Watch for certain signs:

  • Yawning
  • Rubbing eyes
  • Fussing
  • Acting fidgety

Don’t be alarmed if baby sleeps for more than a few hours at a time, but remember your baby will need to eat every several hours, Quillian says, don’t allow or expect your new baby to sleep a full nights sleep (8 hours or more). If this is the baby’s sleeping habit, consult your pediatrician.

Mommy needs sleep, too. Doctors recommend lying down and resting every time baby sleeps, even if you don’t fall asleep. Your body has gone through a lot and needs time to recover. Pregnancy prepares you for a lack of sleep, Quillian points out. It’s rare to sleep through the night at nine months pregnant, and in the first months of baby’s life, mommy and daddy shouldn’t expect a full night’s sleep either.

Getting on a Sleep Schedule

Quillian admits it’s hard to get baby on a sleep schedule until about four months of age. A new baby doesn’t really understand the concept of daytime and nighttime, just that they feel tired and want to sleep. Don’t try to keep baby awake through the daylight hours to ensure they sleep longer at night. It won’t work and you will likely have a fussy baby.

A baby's crib or bassinet should have absolutely nothing in it. "Make it boring," says Dr. Quillian

A baby’s crib or bassinet should have absolutely nothing in it. “Make it boring,” says Dr. Quillian

During the early days and weeks, be sure to cuddle and snuggle your baby as much as you can. “There is no such thing as too much spoiling,” says Quillian. Baby loves to be held and needs the human interaction. The snuggling will help baby feel comforted and will promote sleep.

Baby may sleep as long as four hours at a time, but it may not be at night. It’s easier to adjust our schedule than to try to adjust theirs.

If you try to implement a sleep schedule too early, you may feel like you’re spinning your wheels, and, in fact, even at four months old, baby may not catch on. After a few months though, you can start a routine that implies to baby that it’s nighttime and time to sleep:

  • Keep your household at a manageable noise level during the day and quieter at night.
  • Turn the lights down low at nighttime.
  • Change baby into pajamas.

Remember, sleep promotes sleep, and babies may not learn how to sleep on a schedule if left to do their own thing. Do not leave them to their own devices, Quillian warns. With help from parents they will learn slowly over time that nighttime is sleep time. Getting a baby into a good sleep pattern can take some work, but it is worth it, Quillian advises. A good night’s sleep benefits everyone.

SIDS, Sleep and Safety

There is plenty of information out there regarding baby sleep safety and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) prevention. “Make sure there is a firm sleep surface; that’s the most important thing,” says Quillian. “A crib or bassinet will do. There should be nothing in it. No blankets, no pillows.”

Quillian adds that baby should be laid on his or her back, and pediatricians at UVA do not recommend any sleep positioners. It’s okay, she adds, to be swaddled in a light blanket or sleep sack, but keep the crib as boring as possible. All the things that make your bed cozy are an absolute no-no for your baby.

Having a new baby at home will be intimidating, and you may be worried about baby sleeping too much or too little. If you have any concerns, be sure to call your pediatrician.

 
 

Podcast Tuesday: Recovering from a Heart Attack [AUDIO]

On June 23, 2015 | At 9:29 am

In the past, anyone who survived a heart attack would have to take three weeks to recover in bed. Now, patients are usually able to get up after two days and can leave the hospital a day or two later. But that doesn’t mean they’re 100 percent recovered.

Listen to cardiologist Ellen Keeley, MD, explain how UVA helps heart attack patients after they leave the hospital, helping patients make diet and lifestyle changes.

Filed under : Heart | By
Comments :1 |
 
 

Maternity Monday: The Reality of Postpartum Depression

On June 22, 2015 | At 10:43 am

Having a baby: It’s a delight, it’s a joy — and it is also stressful. No matter how positive the birth experience, how well-prepared you are as a parent (you read every Maternity Monday post, for instance!) and no matter how pleasantly your infant integrates into the world, the arrival of a whole new person into your family shifts the very fundamental makeup of life as you know it.

Which is why postpartum depression (PPD) happens to a lot of new mothers.

preconception, pregnancy and childbirth

Join us as we journey through preconception, pregnancy, childbirth and beyond in a series we call Maternity Monday.

Diane Sampson, a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, spends time in the classes she teaches helping parents anticipate the emotional highs and lows having a baby can produce. She explains that the post-partum period (the time after your baby arrives) is an emotionally trying and physically demanding time because:

  • You and your partner will experience new demands on your relationship, where you can’t give each other the same amount of attention and time as you could before.
  • You may mourn for your loss of free time, or even, if you are having a second child, for the loss of alone time with your first.
  • Newborns have shifting, sometimes unpredictable patterns of feeding, sleeping, crying, etc.
  • Sleep deprivation, coupled with the care newborns require, can result in extremely intense emotional strain.

While you may not be able to prepare for the postpartum period, knowing that it’s normal and expected to feel overwhelmed sometimes can help new parents seek help from friends, family and their doctor.

What is Postpartum Depression?

Everyone experiences hormonal and emotional stress when a baby arrives.

Postpartum depression should not be confused with “baby blues,” a hormonal and emotional phase that happens in the first two weeks after delivery. The irritability and sadness from baby blues comes and goes. PPD can occur anytime in the first year, lasts longer and requires treatment.
postpartum depression facts

Postpartum depression:

  • Happens in about 10 percent of women after giving birth
  • Often coincides with returning to work after maternity leave
  • Qualifies as an adjustment disorder, resulting from a woman having issues adjusting to the role and demands of becoming a mother

Signs of Postpartum Depression

Sampson explains that typically, “At the six-week checkup, during the follow-up pelvic exam, women get screened for PPD. Your OB/gyn will ask you a few questions about how you are feeling—about yourself, your baby and your relationships.” Providers consider this inquiry into how a mother feels about her new role as part of the total care of her health.

But, Sampson says, if a new mother doesn’t experience PPD until half a year after giving birth, she could miss being diagnosed, especially if she isn’t checking in with a healthcare provider or counselor on a regular basis.

So, often it’s up to the mother, her partner or a close family member to watch for the symptoms of PPD.

How can you tell if you or someone you know has PPD? Some postpartum depression symptoms to look for:

  • Behavior or emotions that look like regular depression — sadness, low mood, low energy
  • Emotional detachment — mom doesn’t make much eye contact with the baby, doesn’t coo or talk to baby
  • Hyper-vigilance — mother tends towards excessive anxiety about protecting the baby or is fearful
  • Being off kilter, not settling in
  • A lack of joy with the baby
  • Lasts more than three weeks (not just a bad day or week)

Partners Can Get PPD, Too

A husband or partner can also experience depression. With a new baby comes loss of autonomy, loss of attention from the mother. “You’re not the focus of her attentions anymore,” Sampson says.

Of course, the parent who did not deliver the baby will not feel PPD as acutely, not being as physically drained or as hormonally affected. But a baby changes everyone’s routines, including sleep, and lack of sleep contributes to emotional fluctuations for anyone.

Preventing Postpartum Depression: Set Realistic Expectations

According to Lynn McDaniel, MD, our cultural expectations of how a mother should behave after giving birth causes or exacerbates PPD, and explains why it’s so common in the U.S.

“In other societies, you stay in your bed for 40 days; here, we expect you to hop up and get dressed. We make ourselves crazy,” she notes.

“We have new moms whose expectations are that they will be awake all day and feed the baby. But you’re on the baby’s schedule, a 24-hour schedule, not yours.”

So, McDaniel advises, prepare to follow your newborn’s cues. And “don’t worry about preparing gourmet meals or cleaning toilets. Focus on the most important thing, and that’s this new baby.”

One Mother’s PPD

We spoke briefly with Daphne, a local Charlottesville mother, about her experience with postpartum depression.

Daphne experienced postpartum depression after her second child.I felt depressed, very sensitive, emotionally reacting to things out of proportion for sure — teary, easily crying, easily drawn towards the negative perspective of things.”

What helped?My parents came here for 23 days. They noticed I was very teary, and, you know, they helped me with the kids, and also they pushed me to get out of bed and do something, have a shower, put clothes on, go outside, take a walk.”

Daphne discovered her PPD to be temporary.At that moment you feel so devastated and so dark, but it doesn’t mean that feeling will be forever long. Remember it will pass!” Daphne also recommends finding someone to talk to, whether it’s a friend or counselor. “My support network got me through,” she says.

We Recommend

Before you have your baby:

  • Find local support groups and info at Postpartum Support Virginia
  • Read “What Mothers Do… Especially When it Looks Like Nothing” by Naomi Stadlen, a gentle but powerful book based on interviews with new mothers

Be Brave: Tell Your Provider

While the mother may feel hesitant to admit it, and a partner might be hesitant to point out that there might be an issue, avoiding talking to your doctor and getting treated will only make it worse.

If not treated, PPD can last.

As Sampson says, “Some moms may see PPD as a shortcoming in their mothering. You’re supposed to be really happy, and you’re not. This really puts mothers in a bind. We need to make new mothers feel okay with however they feel and asking for help.”

PPD Treatment

Usually providers:

  • Proscribe Zoloft (which is safe for breastfeeding)
  • Refer to counseling, especiallyy a therapist who specializes in PPD
  • Encourage mothers to find support and self-care practices, like taking yoga or other exercise classes and getting out of the house with baby

Know a New Mother? Offer Support

Partners, family members and friends can support new mothers by:

  • Listening
  • Normalizing
  • Encouraging

McDaniel says, “The biggest thing is, in the first few weeks, it’s about baby being with mom. Anything people can do to keep it going is good.” Her guidelines for visitors:

Do:

Clean toilets, make meals, run errands, clean the kitchen, vacuum, mow the lawn, wash your hands before holding the baby, give mom permission to say now is not a good time to visit.

Don’t:

Visit without checking with mother first, bring your kids to visit the baby, get in the way of the mom spending time with her baby.

Do you think you have postpartum depression?

Talk to an OB/gyn or primary care provider.

 
 

A Parents’ Summer Survival Guide

On June 19, 2015 | At 9:52 am

It’s mid-June, which means it’s time to face some bad news: Your kids are out of school for another 1,680 hours.

Even if you take out the time they’ll spend sleeping, you’re still left with a lot of hours, which means a lot of trips to the pool, a lot of screen time, an awful lot of time at camps or with babysitters or with you.

Here’s your guide — and theirs — to getting through it and even having a little fun.

Fun Summer Activities for Kids and You 

Need to keep them active and burn energy? Get some ideas from this infographic on fun exercises for kids.

Or read these eight ways to keep your kids fit, including screen time advice.

Summer Reading for Parents

Take care of yourself, too, by relaxing with a good book. Consider:

Run (Or Walk!) A Race

This local Labor Day weekend tradition benefits the UVA Breast Care Center. Registration opens June 27 and usually fills up within hours. Get more information.

Looking for something the whole family can do? Try ACAC’s Splash for a Cure 5K race and pool party, which benefits the Children’s Hospital’s neuroblastoma research.

Summer Eating

One of our favorite things about summer? The wide variety of fresh, local fruits and veggies make it easy to eat healthy. Try these recipes:

Hosting a barbecue? Keep it light but tasty with four tips for a healthier barbecue.

Safety: Drowning Prevention and Severe Weather

Before you head to the pool, give yourself a refresher on water safety. Sadly, an average of two children drown every day in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If your kids don’t know how to swim, look into formal swimming lessons, even for toddlers — a study showed they help prevent drowning in kids as young as one.

But just as important, you should know what drowning looks like. Drowning victims are usually unable to splash around and yell for help.

Summer in Central Virginia usually brings severe thunderstorms and flood warnings. Be ready in advance by doing these four things.

Share Your Plans

Have you found some free and fun activities to keep your kids busy? What’s your favorite hot-weather recipe? Leave a comment to let us know!

 
 

Throwback Thursday: Opening the Battle Building (Video)

On June 18, 2015 | At 9:24 am

One year ago this week, one of UVA’s most colorful buildings officially opened for business. The Battle Building at UVA Children’s Hospital brings pediatric primary care and dozens of pediatric specialties under one roof.

We’ve got more to celebrate this year: The building was just recognized for sustainability with a gold rating from U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

Watch a virtual tour of the Battle Building:

Filed under : Children's Hospital | By
Comments : 0 |
 
 

Podcast Tuesday: Faster Recovery After Colorectal Surgery [AUDIO]

On June 16, 2015 | At 8:41 am

Patients who undergo colorectal surgery, used to treat colon, anal or rectal cancer, often must spend several days in the hospital to recover. During this time, they’re in pain and unable to eat until their bowel function returns.

But a new recovery program at UVA is getting patients home an average of two days faster. Care teams:

  • Help patients move around, which stimulates the bowels
  • Offer patients soft food sooner
  • Avoid pain medications that slow down bowel function
  • Make sure patients know what to expect, so they feel involved in their care

Listen to colorectal surgeon Traci Hedrick, MD, explain the new process.

Filed under : Cancer,Podcast Tuesday | By
Comments : 0 |
 
 

Maternity Monday: Welcoming Baby Home, What to Expect

On June 15, 2015 | At 10:08 am

People often say that having a baby changes life dramatically. You understand them, but do you really comprehend those changes? Bringing a newborn home for the first time is both exciting and overwhelming. Diane Sampson helps parents understand these new challenges and lets them know what to expect in baby’s first months home.

preconception, pregnancy and childbirth

Join us as we journey through preconception, pregnancy, childbirth and beyond in a series we call Maternity Monday.

Accept Help And Support From Others

With a new addition comes an outpouring of support from friends and family. It’s become increasingly common for grandparents to visit for an extended period of time. They can help acclimate their children to parenthood, as well as care for and bond with the newborn.

This often causes a role reversal between parents and grandparents. It’s an unexpected issue for couples used to their independence and established lifestyle, which is now being interrupted as their parents are caring for them again.

As a mother herself, Sampson knows the best celebratory gifts are not balloons and stuffed animals. She reminds visitors that necessities like food, offering to do laundry or providing time for new parents to do some self-care is much more valuable.

It’s important to tend for new parents just as much as the baby. Sampson encourages parents to spend part of each day participating in a non-baby related activity. Read a book, get a mani-pedi or take an exercise class — don’t confine yourself to strictly caring for baby.

Sleep When The Baby Sleeps

According to the National Sleep Foundation, newborns under six weeks old sleep an average of 14-17 hours a day. This may seem like plenty of time, but newborns tend to only sleep in small chunks. Three hours here, 45 minutes there — an unpredictable cycle driven by hunger. With a golf ball-sized stomach, they get hungry a lot. When they wake they tend to be hungry, and when they’re full they tend to sleep.

“I think the thing that shocks most new parents is the unpredictability of a newborn,” says Sampson. Adjusting to a life that revolves around a new newborn’s eating and sleeping patterns can be challenging to parents. Her number one piece of advice: Sleep when the baby sleeps.

An adult needs an average of seven to eight hours of sleep a day to be healthy and functional. Parents will still get those hours, but it will be in smaller portions of time just like the baby. Sleep deprivation can lead to a host of issues like loss of energy, anxiety and depression. “Women and partners need to protect their sleep as a prize,” says Sampson, “it makes them happier, better and more adjusted.”

Prepare For Unexpected Life Changes

“There is a mourning of a loss of freedom for most new parents,” says Sampson. They don’t have the flexibility they previously enjoyed, as a get-up-and-go lifestyle is almost impossible. Sampson understands this world of change is hard to describe prenatally, but all parents eventually face this realization.

The notion of being able to do it all: parent while maintaining a clean house and keeping up with social networks needs to be dialed back. It’s common for friend cohorts to change as those without kids may have a hard time understanding your new schedule and lifestyle.

Although priorities may shift, parents agree the sacrifices are worth it. “There’s a certain amount of magic to it — your affection for this child and the waiting and anticipating are just unbelievably magical,” Sampson says.

Don’t Stress Over The “Baby Blues”

Baby blues usually occur one to two weeks after the baby is born. It’s a hormonally based adjustment disorder, where an overwhelming feeling comes in waves. You can have a really bad afternoon but wake up and have a great morning. It’s different from postpartum depression, which can occur anytime in the first year after pregnancy.

These feelings often happen when your partner goes back to work and the number of visitors drops off. The newness of the situation dies down, and the realization of baby care begins to kick in. It can also be accompanied by a parent’s fear of not instantly connecting with their newborn. Don’t second-guess yourself — Sampson reassures parents that this is normal. It may take some time, but it will eventually click.

Take A Deep Breath, Relax and Enjoy

A calm, slow routine at home is best to develop a bond with your baby. The first few months home are an adjustment period, but you’ll begin to see changes and milestones at the six-week mark. Newborns will endure some growth spurts, begin nursing more frequently and explore the “social smile.”

If you’re interested in learning more about labor, delivery and caring for yourself and baby when you go home, check out our Preparing for Birth and Baby seminar.

The social smile is a distinctive smile your baby gives you that is a powerful interaction of love and connection. Many parents say this is the most rewarding milestone because they receive the gratification of a back and forth interaction between them and baby.

Besides checking for steady growth and attending regular check-ups, parenthood will become easier with practice. Don’t hesitate to call your doctor if you have questions about your newborn’s health and progress.

 
 

Podcast Tuesday: Overuse Injuries in Athletes [AUDIO]

On June 9, 2015 | At 8:51 am

When kids play sports, they make the same motions again and again, whether it’s swinging a tennis racket or throwing a baseball. As a result, orthopedic surgeon Stephen Brockmeier, MD, often sees overuse injuries, also known as repetitive stress injuries.

Common injuries in baseball, football and gymnastics

View the full sized version of this sports injury infographic (PDF).

But young athletes aren’t the only ones at risk — doctors are also seeing elbow and wrist injuries in professionals who use computers, tablets and smartphones frequently.

Listen to this week’s podcast for tips on:

  • Preventing overuse injuries
  • Sports conditioning
  • Treatment

 
 

Maternity Monday: Top Baby Shower Gifts & What Babies Really Need

On June 8, 2015 | At 10:43 am

Buying a gift for a baby shower? Making a baby registry? Read this before you buy or make your list.

I will never forget coming home with my first child and discovering this tiny little being needed more time, energy, resources and accessories than it seemed someone that new and small should require.

preconception, pregnancy and childbirth

Join us as we journey through preconception, pregnancy, childbirth and beyond in a series we call Maternity Monday.

And socks. She lost a lot of socks. She didn’t even walk, and we were always running out of socks.

But let’s not even talk about the necessities: The available options for baby’s first year abound.

There’s What You Can Stick Your Baby In category: Carriers, bouncers, baskets, papasans, seats, chairs, rockers, swings, play mats, baby gyms and five million strollers, some of which do just about everything but make coffee in the morning. (And really, you could use a stroller that made coffee in the morning!)

Then there’s What You Can Stick On Your Baby: Ruffled pants, bows that slip off their bald heads, hats, mittens, tennis shoes, soft shoes, fancy shoes, fancy dresses, fancy pants, onesies, two-piece bathing suits, sunscreen, lotion, baby oil, baby shampoo, diaper cream, rash cream, sleep sacks and a million types of diapers, disposable, reusable, biodegradable and generic.

I’m exhausted just thinking about it. And we haven’t even gotten to toys and books and decorations and bottles and pacifiers and nail clippers and thermometers and the rest of it — their own special-sized, specially made pack of accessories for every activity.

All of it costs a lot of money to buy, a lot of time to consider, and by the time you get the hang of keeping track of and using all of it, the baby has become a toddler and all those wipe warmers and bottle brushes and swaddling blankets are obsolete.

Baby Item Essentials

According to UVA experts Ann Kellams, MD and Lynn McDaniel, MD, we’ve been overdoing it. All of this stuff is not only unnecessary, but many of the baby-holding devices and chirping toys interfere with the most important thing a baby needs in his/her first year of life: to be held and talked to by caregivers.

So what items do you really need?

  • Car seat
  • Safe place to put baby down
  • Safe sleep environment
  • Milk
  • Clothing and blankets
  • Nasal syringe
  • Rectal thermometer

That’s it.

Baby Items to Avoid

But, of course, no matter how much you intend to keep it simple, you may see the advertisements for safety gadgets and pretty accessories and put them on your baby registry.

Before you do that, Kellams and McDaniel want you to know that some “safety” items actually pose dangers to your infant. Guidelines for SIDS prevention, for instance, specifically instruct caregivers to put babies to sleep on flat surfaces with no accessories that could interfere with breathing.

Worried about SIDS? Kellams and McDaniel say nix the baby monitors and, for the first six months, have your baby sleep in your room with you, in their own safe space.

So, along with your list of what you need for your baby you need this list of items to avoid—and if you get them for a gift, return them (politely, of course).

Leave these dangerous and unhelpful baby accessories at the store:

  • Special accessories that claim to prevent SIDS, like heart and breathing monitors (not proven)
  • Sound machines (not regulated)
  • Anything with wires (entrapment risk)
  • Bumper pads in the crib
  • Walkers (interfere with development)
  • Fold-out cradles (not a flat surface)
  • Boppy pillow (ok to sit on, but not for propping up your baby)
  • Stuffed animals (should be kept away from infants)

Best Baby Shower Gifts

Ok, so now we know about the bare necessities and the no-nos. But you’re going to a baby shower, the basics have been bought, and you still need to buy a gift.

Kellams and McDaniel suggest the following “timeless and practical” items that, while not absolutely necessary, every new parent would welcome.

  • Diapers
  • Bibs
  • Onesies
  • Pack and play
  • Wearable blankets/sleep sacks
  • Thin receiving blankets
  • Washcloths/towels
  • Rattles, teething toys
  • Books
  • Flat play mat
  • Gift cards

Best Baby Shower Gifts: According to You

As part of our research for this article, we asked our Facebook fans to tell us: When you had a baby, what was the one item you couldn’t live without?

The responses included creative, surprising answers that you may find useful whether you’re shopping for yourself or for another expecting parent.

Practical Life-Savers

“A laminated list of every phone number a parent could possibly need, and another list of tried and true sitters you are willing to share.” – Palma Pustilnik

“Nipple cream.” – Beth Wright Robbins

“An assortment of bottles to try so that the parents don’t invest too much in one system that winds up not working for the baby.” – Elaine Lund

“Family-size battery recharger and rechargeable batteries. Energizer makes a fabulous one I’ve been using for nearly 7 years. It’s insane how many batteries you need for kids items! Saves $ and the planet!” – Amy Mulhern Ensinger

“Nature’s Miracle. While meant for pet accidents, it has been a life saver for the variety of accidents babies have.” -  Marla Melito

“College savings account.” – Christian DeBaun

Presents for New Parents:

“Coupons for some time out for Mom, even if it’s just to take a bath and get an uninterrupted nap in.” – Jennifer Ormond

“Babysitting coupons. That you actually force the new mom to redeem!” – Mo Nichols

“Gift cards to restaurants for take-out for frazzled new parents.” – Elaine Lund

“I second the gift cards for take out and gift card for cleaners or laundry service.” – Hope Smith LeGro

“Massage, mani/pedi gift certificates for the mom. She’s worked hard for 9 months and now has a crying infant to deal with. She needs a break.” – Amy Mulhern Ensinger

“Some sort of primer on all the sudden decisions one has to make.” – Taylor Greenwood

“Anne Lamott’s book ‘Operating Instructions.’” – Susan Scofield

“Serotonin and coffee.” – Elaine Lund

Go-To Specialty Items

“Socks, socks, and more socks!” – Marla Melito

“For winter babies, wool sweaters for infants.” – Heather Warren

“HALO SleepSack Swaddle.” – Kate Rhamey

“Aden and Anais blankets. And the miracle blanket was a complete life-saver for me. My son broke out of the swaddle no matter how tight I did it, and the miracle blanket was the most amazing item that I ended up buying myself that actually got him to sleep more than an hour at a time after 8 weeks.” – Megan Yaniglos

“Piyo nail scissors instead of clippers.” – Hope Smith LeGro

“Infant Tylenol!!!!” – Kelly Blumenthal

“Ergo Carrier.” – Erin Conger McElwain

“I loved my rocking chair especially for 3am’ish nursing.”– Heather Warren

“We have a glider and it was AMAZING to have. I spent more time in that chair than I realized. And we still use it to read before bed and sometimes rock my 2-1/2 year old. This is one item I didn’t realize how much I would love.” – Jenna Katherine Massie

What’s Missing? Let us know!

Tell us in a comment below what baby item you called essential.

 Going shopping?

Download, view or print this list to take with you, our baby shower shopping guide (PDF).