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When you are in the hospital, chances are a lactation consultant will warn you about some very specific, scary-sounding things, but none are more frightening than NIPPLE CONFUSION. “If you give your baby a bottle too early,” they warn, “she/he will never latch properly again.”
While this may be true, it’s also true that you could very easily lose your damn mind if you are stuck in traffic for two hours on the Beltway with no way to feed your screaming child because you haven’t used bottles yet because OMG NIPPLE CONFUSION THAT’S WHAT SHE WARNED US ABOUT SO EVIL.
The possibility of losing my mind in traffic scared me more than nipple confusion, so three and a half weeks after Isobel was born, I slunk into Target like a teenage boy buying his first package of condoms and bought these bottles off a recommendation from my midwife. (She said that Playtex has the slowest flow nipples and many breastfed babies take them quite well.) Done and done. Isobel took to these bottles like a champ and I haven’t had any untoward spit-up or gas problems either.
(You will likely never see the word “nipple” written so many times on my blog ever again. I hope.)
Playtex VentAire Wide Bottles, $11.19 for 3
Isobel occasionally has fussy nights where she doesn’t want to settle down and keeps making squeaky sounds and spitting out her pacifier as if to say, “No, I am NOT ready to sleep yet!” Of course, I am usually very, very ready to sleep and the fact is—so is she, she’s just overstimulated/overtired.
A white noise machine makes all the difference on those nights. I just flip on the machine (or turn on the white noise app I have on my iPhone) and she’s drifting off to sleep in minutes. Apparently it helps “settle” their mind or some scientific nonsense, but really, it just helps my baby sleep and that’s all I need to know.
Once Isobel is asleep, Isobel is ASLEEP. I guess she inherited Brandon’s ability to sleep through near-apocalyptic situations with not so much as a stirring because she will produce large wet diapers during her 5-6 hour stretch at night and not wake from it at all. A few hours later when I wake up and change her diaper, voila! Diaper rash.
I’ve tried the crowd favorite Desitin, but didn’t love it. I found that it cemented itself to her little baby behind and the wiping that had to ensue to remove both the offending Desitin and any errant poop that attached to the Desitin seemed grossly counterproductive to what the ointment should be trying to achieve.
Butt Paste, on the other hand, is a gift from above (or behind, whichever). It doesn’t stick and can clear up a mild case of diaper rash within one or two applications.
Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, $8.35
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I love to read and hope that Isobel will too someday. In the meantime, she’s fond of these high contrast books that help to develop her eyesight and her little brain synapses. It’s adorable to watch her eyes follow the book as I turn the pages.
I took some of Isobel’s clothing that she’s outgrown to Once Upon A Child over the weekend and got about $25 in store credit back from them. If you’ve never been to this store, you should take a look because $25 equaled approximately 10 new spring/summer outfits for Isobel—all very, very gently used and all pretty adorable.
So, to summarize: Nipples, Poop, Books and Shopping.
Sounds like a party.
Have you used any of these items? Do you have anything to add?
I’ve blogged a few random items that I’ve found I can’t live without over the past 6-ish weeks, but here is the BIG DEFINITIVE list. I am completely confident that without any one of these items I would have managed somehow, but my life has been made easier and more happy because these things are in my home.
Woe is she who does not embrace the Wonder of the Pacified Baby. I’m not going to get into the debate about Pacifier People vs. Non-Pacifier People, but I’ll just say that the Pacifier People are probably much happier and well-rested than the Non-Pacifier People. Also, there’s a possibility the Non-Pacifier People no longer have nipples.
There’s a lot of pacifiers in stores and there’s a lot of conflicting reviews about which one is best and this and that. Let me make this an easy decision for you: choose one that your baby chooses. Buy a few different kinds, give them a go and see what takes. Isobel likes the MAM and NUK brands.
MAM Newborn Pacifiers, $6 for 2
Like pacifiers, swings are a hotly contested item (“DO NOT LET THEM SWING FOR MORE THAN 45 MINUTES OR THEY SHALL BE RUINED FOR ETERNITY”). In my personal experience, swings are fabulous, babies love them and that’s really all you need to know. (If you want to get super fancy, try the Mamaroo Infant Seat instead.) Isobel loves sitting in her swing and just hanging out. A wide awake baby that’s not crying is a baby that will also sleep longer later. All good things!
Mamaroo Infant Seat, $200
One of the things that was initially hard for me to accept about baby-related products is that they are covered in primary colors. “But it won’t go with our living room,” I’d protest. Alas, I was but a naive pregnant and didn’t realize that babies don’t care about charcoal gray or muted yellow or other colors that I happen to really enjoy. They like black and white (initially) and then BOLD EVERYTHING. The more cartoon, the better! This gym got rave reviews all over the Internet and after seeing how much Isobel loves it, I’ll throw my hat in with the rest and say that bold IS beautiful.
One of the first things you will discover upon schlepping your new daughter or son out of the house for the first time is how unbelievably unwieldy and heavy car seats are. You see these moms whipping them around at Target or the grocery store and assume that they are the equivalent of a slightly larger-than-average handbag. Not so! These things weigh more than if I were to lift the crib and transport Isobel in it throughout my local CVS. Aside from the weight, they are also impossible to carry comfortably. I’ve tried every position short of tying it to my back a la the Hunchback of Notre Dame. That’s where this little comfy device comes in. The Padalily secures around the handle of your car seat letting you place the handle comfortably in the crook of your arm for transporting around a store or in and out of your home. It’s got lots of great patterns and colors for little baby eyes to stare at and also has rings to let you attach toys or other baby-related fun stuff.
Full disclosure: my cousin invented these! Thanks Lily! :)
Padalily in Divine Damask (the one I have!), $25
After I had the crap scared out of me by a few overeager lactation consultants in the hospital, I held out for two weeks before buying a breast pump. That was a huge mistake. I should have had that mother sitting ready to go from day one. Why? Because, if you breastfeed, your breasts take a while to figure out how much milk they should be producing to feed your little milk-monger. That means your breasts have Stupid Days, where you wake up thinking they may explode in a shower of White Gold because they’re so engorged you can barely stand it. Stupid Days suck and unless your baby intends to feed for an hour or two straight (most won’t), you might want to relieve yourself of some of the milk.
Oh, and here’s the other thing: at some point you may want to run for errands and leave the baby with a trusted love one just to reassure yourself that there is Actual Civilization outside the walls of your home. And, if you’re like me, you won’t be able to stand the thought that the baby may get hungry during your epic trek to the wilds of the produce aisle. So, save yourself the anxiety and the drama and do what you need to do to keep yourself sane.
P.S. The Medela Swing breast pump is great if you won’t be doing any major pumping (i.e., stock-piling for a return to work, etc.).
Medela Swing Breast Pump, $150
More to come! Keep watching for the next installment.
Do you have anything to add?
I can’t believe it’s been a month since this happened. Where does time go?
I took this photo earlier today at Isobel’s doctor’s appointment, where I found she’s gained another pound and grown another whole inch in the past two weeks. While I’m happy (and lucky!) that she’s not having any problems gaining weight, I get a little sad every time I hear the numbers ticking higher away from her birth weight and height. The term newborn will only apply to her for so long now. We’ve already got her in some of the smaller 3-month old size clothes we have. No one told me that watching your child grow would be so incredibly bittersweet.
Anyway, enough mushy talk! To celebrate the one-month mark, here are a few of my favorite baby-related things right now:
I downloaded this book on my Kindle after Isobel started doing some witching hour nonsense last week. She’s a really quiet, fuss-free baby—except for 3-4 hours of the day. From about 6-9 pm (or sometimes even 6-11 pm), she’d go through what felt like an endless cycle of fussiness and nursing, culminating in some gnarly gas (Isobel) and frustration (me). She’d work herself into a state where she’d be hungry AND overtired/overstimulated and it was difficult for me to get her calm again.
This book suggests a solution for fussiness/crying using a five-step process called the 5 “S’s.” (Swaddling, side/stomach positioning, shushing, swinging and sucking.) I’ve had great success with it so far. Some of Dr. Karp’s suggestions are helping other areas of our routine too. For example, she’s often sleeping 4-5 hours at a stretch during the night now, as opposed to 2-3 hour intervals.
I think it’s the raging perfectionist in me, but I wanted to be able to log Isobel’s feedings, growth, etc., and the Baby Connect app was a great solution for that. It’s so comprehensive and I like that I can access it both from the app on my iPhone and from an Internet browser. I’m sure I won’t use it forever, but, for now, it helps my sleep-deprived brain keep track of how many wet diapers she’s had, etc.
Baby Connect, $4.99
If I’m dressing Isobel in a onesie, I often worry that her legs will get cold. Infant leg warmers are a good solution and look pretty cute too. (You can also find tons of infant leg warmer options on Etsy.)
Is there anything else I should be looking into? What are some other must-have baby items?
Things I’m loving (or wishing I had) right now:
I love PostalPix! I should note that I haven’t received my first order of prints yet, so I’m recommending this based on using the app to place an order. If you’re an Instagram user, you can order 4x4 prints of your favorite Instagram snaps for less than 30 cents per print. I’m hoping to do something crafty with the 50+ prints I ordered yesterday (for only $23!).
Here’s one of the prints I ordered:
I’m loving these two shoes from Target! I have no idea where I’d wear red wedge booties, but I love the idea of wearing red wedge booties. The sparkly flats would spice up a plain jeans-and-tee look.
I’m wearing a lot of buttondown shirts at home right now, and I like the colors on this American Eagle version.
AE Plaid Camp Shirt, $40
I’ve been wearing smudging this dark purple eyeliner along my lashline (with a neutral brown eyeshadow) to change things up from black or brown eyeliner. I like the subtle color—and bonus! Apparently purple enhances blue eyes.
It’s taking every bit of willpower I have not to buy this lululemon anorak. I have this vision in my head of me looking exactly like this stylish woman pictured above, but I know the reality would be me looking a hot mess and covered in sweat. But at least I’d feel cool in my spiff anorak, so whatever.
What are your favorites right now?
I’ve gotten a few questions about my recommendations for baby-related items and I’ve been hesitant about posting anything because…let’s face it: I’m less than a month into this thing and I’m basically Googling things every five minutes to make sure I’m not doing something horrible to my child (“Is feeding her all day normal?! Is she starving?!” The answer was no, by the way).
But, if I had to choose a few things that are making my life a whole lot easier right now, it would be these items:
The Miracle Blanket (or some other similar swaddle blanket) makes it so easy to swaddle Isobel up. She likes having her arms and hands free now, so I just leave her arms out and swaddle her from the waist down. Not only does it help keep her calm, cozy and warm, but it’s a million times easier than attempting a regular swaddle with a blanket…especially if she’s fussy and squirming around.
The Miracle Blanket, $32
When I’m changing diapers in the middle of the night, the last thing I want to do is undo (then redo) 50 snaps. Even worse is the prospect of completely undressing her to change her diaper. (Why do they even make newborn clothing that doesn’t have easy diaper access?) These sleep sacks are adorable…and make changing her diaper super fast.
Although the ERGO Baby Carrier is pricey (we received ours as a gift), I would have gladly paid for it after seeing firsthand how easy-to-use, comfortable and sturdy it is. There are tons of carrier options out there, but I like that we can use this one for several years and I appreciate that it’s designed to minimize back strain. Isobel seems to love it too. So does Bridget Moynahan, presumably.
ERGO Baby Carrier, $115
Camisoles! Tons and tons of camisoles! If you’re breast-feeding, buy dozens. I get mine from H&M, but these are similar in style/price.
Old Navy Layering Camis, $3-$9 each
There are two options for breastfeeding: nursing with a BrestFriend and nursing without a BrestFriend. I never want to live in a world where nursing without a BrestFriend is the only option.
My BrestFriend Nursing Pillow, $44.89
Anything else I should be using/not using?
Here’s a look at what I’m loving or wishing for right now:
This tinted lip balm is moisturizing, but also gives a flattering red tint that’s not too heavy or obvious.
These beautiful birth announcements are so much more interesting than the standard announcement card.
ColorQuarry Letterpress Announcements, $5 for a sample print
Now that I have an iPad, I’m overwhelmed by number of case and cover choices available for it. I love how this one disguises the iPad inside a clutch.
This varsity-style cardigan would be great for layering.
Target Varsity Cardigan, $8 (from $25)
A fun way to add some faux fur to an outfit without getting too…furry.
Tilly’s Pom Pom Beanie, $8 (from $13)
What are some of your favorites right now? Did you get any good Christmas gifts?
Here’s a look at what’s on my wish list right now:
I love these stacked heel ankle boots. I’d wear them with a parka-style coat, skinny jeans and a chunky sweater.
N.Y.L.A. “Evazan” Ankle Boot, $90.82
I’d love to have this maxi dress in my closet. I’m not usually a fan of high-low hems, but this looks chic and comfortable and great for lunch or casual errands in warmer months.
I love wearing pajama or yoga pants around the house, but when it comes time for sleeping, I prefer chemises or shorts. (Pants get all wrapped around my legs and the sheets and I hate it!) This pajama set is so cute and looks really comfortable.
I’ve been looking for a pair of green skinny pants or jeans and these are one of the better options I’ve found so far. I’d like the green to be a little lighter, but I like that these are probably more versatile.
This Michael Kors watch is more expensive than items I usually feature on the blog, but I couldn’t help including it because it’s just so damn sexy. I’d own every single one of the MK watches if I could!
What’s on your wish list?