As someone in my mid-40’s, I never thought I’d get to be a mother. (You can check out my previous VETgirl blog on infertility and why you should stop what you’re doing to have kids now HERE). I’m loving it, despite never having thought of myself as a “baby” person. It’s changed me for the better – for the most part – in making me a more relaxed, laid back person. What’s bad about it though? I’m no longer the hyper-efficient veterinarian that I used to be!

So, I wanted to share a few tips on how to be a more efficient veterinarian and mother. I’ll write more about this in another blog, but in the meantime, the first step of efficiency? Finding out what you really need on your baby registry. After all, who has time to research it? Here, the top 10 things that I found necessary to help me survive my first 6 months as a veterinary specialist-mom!

1. Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump with On the Go Tote (and yes, you need the tote):

Now, make sure you get your free pump from your insurance company (Thanks, Obama!). Who knows how long this will last… but you can only order this within 1 month of your delivery date, FYI. It’s worth splurging on the to-go tote, as you really need it for all the many accessories that come with the pumping-at-work joy…

NOTE: You’ll find that you’re constantly washing breast pump parts. Instead, just buy a butt load of the Medela extra pumping parts here instead, so you’re only washing every other day.

2. A Hands-Free Breastpump Bra. That way you can type medical records upstairs in your private office while pumping every 3-4 hours. Or shove food in your mouth at the same time.

3. A iRobot® Roomba® Pet Series Vacuum. Because you’ll be so damn busy you won’t have time to clean your house. Plus you all have pets. On a busy day, I just press the Roomba button and go about trying to survive once I get home. I tell people that, besides religion in your life, this is the next best thing that will change your life. For real. You are worth it!

4. HUGE Stainless Steel water bottle with a straw If you’re breastfeeding, you need to drink a gallon of water a day. That’s 120 ounces, people! You’re also going to be so busy with your hands (holding the baby, eating one handed snacks, trying to keep your baby on top of the pillow) that you need a water bottle that is huge and has a straw. It helps you chug easier…

5. My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow You have no idea how hard nursing is. It sucks for the first 4-8 weeks. Seriously. It’s awkward. It’s painful. Your back and shoulder hurt. And you need a pillow. Some like the Boppy, but I swear by My BreastFriend. Plus, it has the best name ever. Don’t skimp. A must have. Plus, it has a cute little side pocket where you can add your VETgirl chapstick (which you’ll need, as you’ll be so dehydrated from breastfeeding despite drinking out of your huge water bottle!).

NOTE: Some people say that this Lansinoh Breastfeeding Salve salve helps. I didn’t think it worked wonders. Natural breast milk worked better for me. And mupirocin antibiotic ointment for all the wounds. Seriously.

6. An as*load of Fig Bars If you’re nursing, you’ll soon discover that you’l be ravenously hungry at 2 am. And 6 am. And 12 pm. And it’s hard to juggle drinking water while nursing the baby while running the Roomba at the same time, so you really need some snacks that you can eat with one hand. I loved these as they were filling but healthy and not calorically too dense. And delicious!

NOTE: You burn approximately 20 calories per 1 ounce of breastmilk that you make. Be smart in what you eat, but live it up a little too, because this is really hard.

7. Nursing glider & ottoman You’ll be sitting in this thing for about 10 hours a day, for the first few days to weeks post-parturition. Make sure it’s a comfortable one. I love this one. And my cats love it too…

8. Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit A must have. While I swaddled James for the first few months (Loved this HALO SleepSack Swaddle too!), this Merlin sleep suit, a weighted sleeper, helped him sleep through the night once he was bigger. Loved this thing. It helps prevent startling and waking, and while it makes your baby feel like a Micheline snow man, it works wonders.

9. A Ergobaby 360 baby carrier. This one comes with an infant carrier also (A ridiculously priced pillow that your young one needs to sit in). While this is pricey, it’s the only way I was able to get my baby to sleep sometimes. I’d walk around the house, cook, clean and get things done while the baby slept. I even walked on my treadmill with this while the baby was sleeping, so we could both catch a break.

10. A While noise machine. It’ll help your baby sleep and help drown out the cries and screams, to keep you sane too…

So, these are the top 10 things that helped make me a more efficient mom and veterinarian. I extensively researched these before getting these on my baby registry (seriously, who has time? Trust me – these work), and they saved my butt.

The first 6 months have flown by. Enjoy the infant stage while you’re in it – it’s hard. Really hard (especially from weeks 4-8-12), but it goes so quickly you’ll miss it soon.

Do you have any other hints or comments on what helped you during motherhood? What made you more efficient?

Justine