Posts tagged with infant:
Oof. This is a scary post to write. I mean, I posted pictures of my stretch marks before and my deflated body about a week postpartum but talking numbers is a little more daunting. Julie inspired me, what can I say?
(This post—she’s a long one, so more after the break.)
Anyway, some back story. I’ve been 6 feet tall since I was about 13 and I have no idea what I weighed then. I don’t remember. By the end of high school, I was in the upper 130’s. And I was skinny. It’s so funny looking back at high school photos now because at the time I know I was fussing about this body part or that body part, but then I see pictures and want to punch my 17-year-old self in the face. I gained some muscle during my last year of high school and the summer after from doing lots of cycling and when I went to college, I weighed about 140-150 and stayed within 145-160 for the next four years.
The mid-20’s are a rude awakening. It’s like your body giving you a little taste of how things are gonna go for the next 20 years or so. A gradually slowing metabolism. A general thickening that doesn’t go away unless it’s worked off or dieted off. No longer could I eat crap and write it off the same way I used to be able to and that was a sad realization. Having a significant other who eats like a racehorse and thinks three Zebra Cakes is a pretty fun breakfast didn’t help either. From the time I graduated to when I got pregnant, it was a slow, steady gain.
My highest weight (other than while pregnant) was actually about six months or so before I found out I was pregnant. I had stopped working out regularly and was generally enjoying the slug life. I think I was in denial, thinking that at some point the 21-year-old metabolism might kick back in. About three months before I discovered I was pregnant, I took a pretty drastic measure and started dieting. (The Dukan Diet.) If you’re wondering if it works, it does. I think I lost 7 pounds in two weeks or something like that. I don’t think I’d ever do it again, but it did show me just how little protein I was getting prior to the diet. Brandon and I were both raised vegetarian and rarely cooked meat at home and it was/is easy for us to fall into a carb-heavy routine. My highest weight before starting the diet was 175—the highest weight I’d been to date. (Here’s a photo.) When I found out I was pregnant, after dieting for just over two months, my weight was 160. I’d also been working out during that time more than I had in a couple years. As in, I was actually working out. Here’s a photo for reference—I was pregnant here but didn’t know it yet. You get the idea.
So, here’s where things get crazy. My weight gain was pretty normal throughout my pregnancy. Then, in the last 10 or so weeks, it started getting out of control. I was retaining a lot of water and was really swollen and bloated. Thank god it wasn’t July. December was bad enough. My weight gain got so rapid that my midwife would double check my blood pressure (it was always excellent) and they had me redo the glucose test a couple times (was always normal) because she didn’t believe that I couldn’t have preeclampsia or gestational diabetes. By 30 weeks pregnant I was too uncomfortable to continue with the low-impact cardio I’d been doing, so my exercise routine did drop off. I was still doing yoga and I walked about 2-3 miles a day. Didn’t matter! I looked like a sausage.
I’ve said before that I gained about 50 pounds while pregnant. You do the math. Guess how much I weighed 40 hours before Isobel was born?
The first time I saw a “2” in front of my weight at the midwife clinic, I didn’t want to tell her what it was. They had us weigh ourselves privately and then tell them the number. Sure, that’s fine—less embarrassing in a way. But then I still had to tell her the number! Imagine me standing on that scale. It was an old-school scale, the one with the sliders. I tinkered with those sliders for a good five minutes. Brandon was out in the waiting room and after our appointment, he asked me what I had been doing with the scale because all he heard was “Clink! CLINK! Clink clink” coming from the bathroom as I frantically tried to salvage my wracked body image. I was like, okay, don’t panic. You’re wearing heavy shoes. I took off my shoes. Wait, I haven’t peed yet! I am storing AT LEAST 30 POUNDS OF URINE, YES?
It was a bad day. My very first thought after we left that appointment (and after I’d told Brandon to shut up when he asked me about the scale) was that I would never, ever fit into anything in my closet ever again. No way. I was done for. I berated myself. How could I have let it reach this level? My weight gain had been normal and honestly, I hadn’t cared seeing the numbers tick up. I had loved being able to wear tight clothes and bikinis through the summer and fall without caring if I was sucking my stomach in or what my thighs looked like. The weight gain hadn’t mattered until that moment on the scale. Granted, I did give birth to a week-early baby who was nearly 10 pounds. But that’s 10 pounds out of 52.
After Isobel was born, the “weight” came off fast. I say “weight” QUOTEUNQUOTE because a lot of it was water weight and that wasn’t the problem. The problem was deflating too fast. It looked like my body was the equivalent of someone sighing as they sink into a really comfortable chair. Everything was saggy and mushy. I’ve compared it before to looking like the Pillsbury Dough Boy from my neck to my knees. (Read here for more on this.)
By my six week postpartum appointment, I was thoroughly terrified to step on the Scale of Doom, but I did and my weight was 171. 41 pounds gone! The midwife congratulated me. Brandon said, “Good job! Isn’t that the weight you were before the diet?”
The six week appointment was a reckoning. I knew that whatever weight remained at that point would have to be scraped off my body through sweaty realness and I was wholly unprepared for that kind of fitness commitment. Plus, I was breastfeeding and so I put aside working out for a while since I knew my supply suffered if I dared to take even a brisk walk. (P.S. Breastfeeding helping you lose baby weight is not exactly a real thing. Or at least, not real in the way you think it is from reading US Magazine and stupid celebrity interviews. It may help some in the first month or two, but then it makes your body hoard all the fat pockets as little milk reserves in case you decide to start starving yourself. ETA: I also had this tendency to eat like a freight train while breastfeeding and may or may not have justified certain treats because THE BABY WANTED IT OKAY, so I may not be the best one to speak about breastfeeding/weight loss going hand in hand or not.)
Once Isobel had weaned, I started working out, but then life got in the way and I thought I looked so good in comparison to OverstuffedPregnantFest 2011 that I got pretty complacent. That’s the real trick of postpartum weight loss. It’s easy to start thinking that you’ve gotten back to square one when the current number on the scale looks pretty damn impressive compared to the number you saw in your 40th week of pregnancy. (Or the 2nd week postpartum or the 6th week postpartum.) But I was really just kidding myself. I had lost a lot of muscle tone, especially through my midsection and on my arms, and my skin elasticity was shot to hell. I had work—HARD WORK—to do and I didn’t want to face it.
Everything came to a head for me one night when my mom cleaned out some storage and gave me my wedding dress. Brandon said, “You should try it on!” I was all hell no, but it taunted me from the corner. I was so stupid. I should not have done it. But I did. Of course it wouldn’t zip. I stared in the mirror and hated everything about my reflection. I mean, a visceral hate. I took the dress off and quietly walked downstairs to the kitchen. Brandon was taking a shower. I cried sitting in the corner of the kitchen for almost an hour. Brandon never knew. It seems so petty—to cry over your body, of all things. But that moment—seeing the proof that I was not the same as I had been on one of the happiest days of my life—really knocked me down. I had lost the baby weight, congratulations to me blah blah blah, but the reality was that my body was not the same body and I had to get it to a place that worked for me in the present. I had to stop thinking about how I looked pre-pregnancy or how I looked in college or in my early 20’s or in high school or on my wedding day.
So, I started working hard. And I’ve been working really hard the past 8 months. I’ve been spinning at least 3 times a week (usually 4) and have been doing yoga about 3 times a week too. This is not easy for me. I haven’t worked out this much since I was in college. But, if I don’t do it, I get a little crazy. I need exercise to keep me sane, frankly. My stress and anxiety can get out of control without regular exercise, even if it’s just a 20 minute walk. I’m not a healthy living/fitness blogger and I don’t like fitness challenges and I hate running with a burning passion and I eat Doritos on the regular, but I do have to sweat at some point each week so I don’t turn into a psycho. Oh, and I’m not going to lie and say that I’m doing this exercise solely for my mental health. No. Vanity plays a part, sure. I started being very regimented about my fitness primarily to fit into things that I hadn’t worn in 8+ years.
Last night Brandon bought a scale because our other one broke and we had never replaced it. I am really nervous about scales. I don’t like them and they don’t like me. Brandon weighed himself. We weighed Isobel. “Mommy’s turn!” Brandon said. “Let me just take it over in the corner so you can’t see,” I said and tried to make a run for it. “We all had to do it!” He replied, smiling because he knows how much I hate scales. He knows. But whatever. FINE. YOU WIN. I stepped on.
I still have some work to do. Even though I haven’t weighed 152 since I was 20, my body now isn’t the body I had then. I need more flexibility and I need to do more toning. But I know one thing I won’t do.
I won’t go near that fucking wedding dress.
See PART 1 - GEAR here.
Time for the fun stuff!
- SOPHIE THE GIRAFFE - Brandon called this an overpriced dog toy (because it squeaks) but Isobel sure loved it!
- WOODEN IPHONE TEETHER - This was so great. It’s safe for babies to chew and is, duh, adorable. You can personalize it too.
- GREEN TOYS MY FIRST STACKER - Love that these are made from recycled milk jugs!
- BABY EINSTEIN TAKE ALONG TUNES - Isobel was completely obsessed with this. She’d start crying if it stopped playing or fell or I took it away.
- FRED M-CUPS - So…these are actually measuring cups. But they’re great for stacking and nesting.
- MANHATTAN TOY SKWISH - This crazy little toy is still a favorite, but was one of the first things Isobel was able to hold and chew by herself. It was easy for her to grip and move around.
- BABY EINSTEIN NEPTUNE ACTIVITY MAT - THIS MAT. We loved it. Isobel loved it. The music still haunts me.
- TEN APPLES UP ON TOP BY DR. SEUSS
- MITTENS BY CLARE TURLAY NEWBERRY - Isobel is in a hardcore cat-loving phase right now (that I hope never ends) and this is one of her favorite books.
- MELISSA & DOUG COLORING PAD - This is such a great coloring pad. I love how big it is.
- WEE LITTLE BUNNY AND WEE LITTLE LAMB BY LAUREN THOMPSON - I think we’re on the cusp of the major animal-loving toddler phase so these books get a lot of attention.
- I AM A BUNNY BY OLE RISOM AND RICHARD SCARRY - Her all-time favorite book since she was pretty small. She still loves it more than any other. I don’t blame her. It’s so sweet.
- MELISSA & DOUG 60-PIECE BLOCKS - This is pricey for blocks, but on the bright side, we’ll never need to buy another block set again.
- FISHER PRICE MUSICAL ACTIVITY WALKER - Isobel was never really into this for the walking function. She actually loved the little music buttons and toys on the front.
- MELISSA & DOUG ANIMAL RESCUE TRUCK - She’s REALLY obsessed with this toy right now. Put all the animals in the truck. Take them all out. Repeat for the next 25 minutes or so.
- MELISSA & DOUG JUMBO KNOB PUZZLE - Can you tell we like Melissa & Doug toys? Anyway, this puzzle is good for little hands since it’s easy for Iz to pick up the pieces.
- PLAN TOY SOLID WOOD DRUM - Oh, this little drum is great! And it actually sounds quite pleasant.
- PLAYSKOOL BUSY BALL POPPER - This toy drives me batshit crazy. The music is from the “demented circus” collection and the balls pop out the top and fly immediately to some godforsaken corner of the room. But Isobel loves it. Of course she does.
- PLAYSKOOL ROCKTIVITY SIT TO STAND TABLE - This thing is really great. I love that you can remove the legs so younger kids can use it. It was great for building Iz’s leg muscles/stability when she was on the cusp of walking. She also danced for the first time to the music on it.
Next up are some books/apps that I found helpful during pregnancy and beyond!
See PART 1 - GEAR here.
Eating and sleeping: Things that sound so simple but require more planning and more gear than I could have ever imagined. Below are the items that worked really well for me or for Isobel or for both of us.
And, again, a disclaimer. I’ve found that the process of choosing eating/sleeping gear and methods is definitely a guessing game. But once you discover the best stuff for you and your baby, it really pays off. Take some time and read product reviews, but don’t lean too heavily on what the majority thinks. Some of my favorite things weren’t so well reviewed!
I’ve tried cover a little bit of everything here, from nursing, to bottle feeding to toddler-friendly utensils.
- PLAYTEX VENTAIRE BOTTLES - When we were on the hunt for our first bottle set, a lactation consultant told me that Playtex’s VentAire’s slow flow nipples were some of the slowest available and that it helped with nipple confusion in breastfed infants. I don’t know if that’s true, but we went with her suggestion and bought them. Isobel took to them right away and went back and forth from bottle to breast without any issues. Later we moved her to the 6 oz size with fast flow nipples.
- LANSINOH LATCH ASSIST - I also got this from our lactation consultant. Isobel had some pretty frustrating latch issues for about 6 weeks and I was nearing the end of my rope when she had me try this little device. It’s pretty hilarious—like a nipple pump, basically—but it helped me wean Isobel off using the nipple shields. You can use a breast pump for the same effect, but this is easier for transporting and using on the go.
- MILK BANDS NURSING BRACELET - I didn’t think I’d use this but I actually used it constantly for the first 3-4 weeks. I thought I’d use an app to remember which boob Isobel had last fed from but sometimes I’d forget to update the app or I’d be so delirious that I’d just crawl back into bed. Much easier to just flip this and consult it an hour or two later at the next feeding.
- MUNCHKIN DISHWASHER BASKET - We still use this! It’s great for washing bottle parts or sippy cup parts.
- LANSINOH BREASTMILK STORAGE BAGS - I used a Medela breast pump so I originally used their bags, but switched to these because they were cheaper and worked just as well.
- BOON GRASS DRYING RACK - I love when baby products look as good as they work.
- BRESTFRIEND NURSING PILLOW - I had one of these and a Boppy and didn’t use the Boppy for breastfeeding at all for months. There were a few reasons I preferred this one. First, it’s great for tall people. The Boppy didn’t sit Isobel up high enough to reach my boobs so I’d have to either bend over (which you’re not supposed to do) or lift her up to me, which completely defeated the purpose of the pillow. Second, I found the Brestfriend more comfortable because it clipped around my back. I didn’t have to worry about continually adjusting the pillow. Third, the Brestfriend being slightly more firm was much better for adjusting Isobel when I was still trying to get the hang of breastfeeding when she was still a super small infant. Fourth, I felt Isobel was more secure on the wider Brestfriend cushion. I could feed her while holding a book or my iPad with one hand. The Boppy was great as an infant lounge chair, but was a total fail for me breastfeeding-wise.
- TARGET CHEMISES - Target chemises run about $20 each but check the clearance racks—you often find them for much less. Anyway, I wore the shit out of these for the first few months. I felt gross and sweaty all the time but these were soft and comfortable and made breastfeeding a breeze.
- SIMPLE WISHES HANDS-FREE BREASTPUMP BRA - This was a lifesaver. I loved that I could zip it on over a nursing bra. It worked great with my Medela pump. I’m a chronic multitasker so I really appreciated being able to read or work while attached to the pump of doom.
- MOTHERHOOD MATERNITY DEMI UNDERWIRE NURSING BRA - I went from a B to a very full D while nursing. These underwire nursing bras saved my life. I found them comfortable enough to sleep in too. Then again, I was so tired I probably could have slept in a suit of armor.
- TARGET FAVORITE RACERBACK BRA - Once I had more or less gotten the knack of breastfeeding, these little guys were great. Super cheap and comfortable and the front clasp was nursing-friendly.
- TARGET SLEEP SHIRTS - LOVED these. I’d wear them with leggings and I wouldn’t feel like a TOTAL slug. Just a half-slug.
- H&M LONG TANKS - My #1 bread and butter nursing must-have. I’d wear these things constantly. I’d buy them a little big and wear them underneath other shirts so that I wouldn’t feel totally exposed while breastfeeding. I’d wear them around the house and sleep in them all the time. Not a nursing tank per se, but I’d either just pull down the top (hence buy it larger) or pull down the straps.
- DR. SEARS NIBBLE TRAY - I pack Isobel’s lunch in this every day. (I also use a few other containers for bigger things.) I like giving her lots of variety in her lunches right now because what she likes and dislikes seems to vary from day to day. This tray is great because I can give her all sorts of different things and each section is the size of recommended amounts for fruits, veggies, protein, grains, etc.
- TOMMEE TIPPEE EXPLORA SIPPY CUPS - These are the sippys that I take with me in my bag. They really are spill proof and Isobel likes the wide straw.
- VITAL BABY 1ST FOOD POTS - These are SO handy. I’ve used these so many times. I’ll use them in Isobel’s lunch, I’ve frozen food in them, stored leftovers in the fridge, taken snacks in the diaper bag. Whatever. They’re safe for dishwasher, microwave AND freezer.
- OXO TOT FEEDING SPOON SET - I tried lots of different spoons and these were definitely the best for us.
- VITAL BABY UNBELIEVABOWL - This bowl locks onto Isobel’s high chair tray and she can’t throw it. Thank god. I mean, she can still throw everything inside the bowl onto the floor, but at least the bowl isn’t going anywhere.
- NUK LEARNER CUP - We had a couple favorite starter sippys and this was one of them.
- OXO TOT DIVIDED PLATE - I really like the divided sections of this plate and the rounded edges are good for helping to stop spills.
- TOMMEE TIPPEE WEANING CUP - This was the other starter sippy we liked. Isobel still really loves this cup and will get super excited if she sees it.
- OXO TOT BABY FOOD FREEZER TRAY - You can use any ice cube tray to freeze baby food, but I loved that this one had a cover. I cannot tell you how many times I spilled pureed something or other in the freezer trying to gently set it down.
- FISHER PRICE SOOTHE AND GLOW SEAHORSE - For some reason every kid seems to love this thing! Isobel is so sweet with it now. I turn it on each night before I leave her room and I always peek before I close the door and she grabs it and pulls it tight to her and kind of snuggles in right on top of it. Adorable.
- HAPPIEST BABY ON THE BLOCK BY HARVEY KARP - I’ll do a more comprehensive baby book post soon, but this book was really helpful for us for Isobel’s 6-8 weeks or so. After that it was garbage.
- HEALTHY SLEEP HABITS, HAPPY CHILD BY MARC WEISSBLUTH - Like I said above, I’ll cover this more extensively in an upcoming post. I’ve written about it before though. Basically this book saved my sanity. Isobel has slept at least 12 hours straight since she was almost 7 months old. And this was after the most exhausting three month period of my entire life—a period in which I was convinced that my child would never, ever sleep. I’ve just jinxed myself, right? But still—lifesaving book. May not be for you, but it was a miracle-worker for us.
- MIRACLE BLANKET - This worked much better once Isobel was 2-3 months old. She was too small for them at first. I don’t really understand how that was since she was nearly 9 lbs when she was born!
- CARTER’S PAJAMAS - Carter’s footie PJ’s were and are our favorite. If you have an outlet store near you, you can get them for next to nothing.
- ADEN + ANAIS SWADDLE BLANKETS - These are great and I used them in a million ways—except for swaddling. Isobel could break every swaddle in them. I was a swaddle failure. Funny though—she now uses them as her “lovey” blankets. She cuddles them in her crib and likes to hold on to them when she’s sleepy or drinking some milk. She’s started to not want to let go of it when I pick her up out of her crib in the morning. It’s pretty cute but best of all? If we lose one lovey blanket, there are plenty more where that came from.
- BABY GAP FIRST FAVORITES BUNDLERS - These are just the best for infants. They make diaper changing so easy too.
- SUMMER INFANT SWADDLEME - My absolute favorite swaddlers—and kept the Houdini baby contained.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these posts so far! Any products you also used and liked—or didn’t like so much?
See Part 1 - GEAR here.
This post has a little bit of everything: diapers, shampoo, bath toys and snot suckers. It’s the stuff I use every day (or almost every day) and it’s the stuff I’ll buy over and over again. I’ve tried a lot of different brands in the diapering, bathing and toiletries categories and the products included in the post came out on top.
Once again, keep in mind that the items I’ve included here may not be the best fit for you or your family. (For example, I didn’t use cloth diapers and that may be something you’d like to try.) If you have any other questions about anything, feel free to comment or send an email.
- HONEST HEALING BALM - I use this for all sorts of things—not just diaper rash. I put it on cuts/scrapes and it’s really good for moisturizing super dry skin on elbows, knees, etc.
- HONEST DIAPERS - What can I say about these that I haven’t already said a million times? They are super functional and effective (no leaks—as in zero—in the many months I’ve been using them), eco-friendly, non-toxic and available in adorable patterns.
- HONEST REUSABLE SWIM DIAPERS - Recently wrote about these too, but we used them last summer and they worked great. A lot of pools have started to ban disposable swim diapers—something to check!
- BOUDREAUX’S BUTT PASTE - This is our “bring out the big guns” diaper rash cream. We tried other brands when Isobel had rashes (Desitin, etc.), but nothing ever came close to how effective the Butt Paste was. Take this with a grain of salt though, as I’ve heard other moms/dads say Butt Paste didn’t help their baby’s rash at all. It’s a trial and error game.
- SEVENTH GENERATION FREE AND CLEAR BABY WIPES - I love almost every product we get from Honest…except the wipes. I put up with them since they come with our diaper bundle, but I really prefer Seventh Generation’s wipes. I used them before we switched to Honest and I liked their packaging and how strong they were.
- SUMMER INFANT CHANGING PAD - Instead of buying a special changing table, we just attached a changing pad on top of a dresser.
- PRIDEGREEN BIODEGRADABLE TRASH BAGS - Once we used up the Diaper Genie bags in the canister, I started putting biodegradable trash bags into the canisters instead. What’s the point of using less toxic diapers if I’m disposing of them in plastic bags? These break down in landfills within 12 to 24 months.
- DIAPER GENIE - I’ve seen some other registry guides recommending that you skip the diaper pail and just use a regular trash can with a lid. I HIGHLY discourage this. It’ll be fine for a while, but just wait until your kid starts eating solids. JUST WAIT. I don’t think there’s a diaper pail in the world that can fully contain the smell, but it does as good a job as it can under the circumstances. Using smaller trash bags (see above) in the canisters will help encourage you to empty the pail more often too.
- B. FISH AND SPLISH BOAT - LOVE this bath toy set. Lots of fun things and I like that we can store everything back inside the boat when we’re not using it.
- POTTERY BARN KIDS CRITTER WRAP - Adorable little towels—soft and absorbent.
- CALIFORNIA BABY CALMING SHAMPOO AND BODYWASH - This stuff is pricey, but it lasts a long time. Isobel gets really dry skin on her legs and upper arms and this keeps her skin softer than any other bodywash we’ve tried.
- SHEA MOISTURE OLIVE & MARULA BABY SHAMPOO & BODYWASH - You can finally buy this on Amazon! I used to have to hunt it down in Target and it was often sold out. It smells amazing. Just trust me! I sometimes steal it for myself.
- GREEN TOYS MY FIRST TUGBOAT - This is a fun bath toy, but I use the spout to rinse Isobel off too.
- PRIMO EUROBATH - We had read a lot of good things about this baby bath before Isobel was born and after we used it ourselves, we could see that all the fuss was warranted. It’s a no-frills, well-designed baby tub.
- PEDIACARE INFANTS ACETAMINOPHEN - I learned my lesson about keeping infant Tylenol on hand at all times when Isobel got a fever for the first time and it was nearly midnight and we didn’t have any in the house. Infant Tylenol (or generic infant acetaminophen) packages don’t come with a dosage chart so I recommend printing off this one from Baby Center and keeping it handy.
- TOM’S OF MAINE CHILDREN’S TOOTHPASTE - A good starter toothpaste. We like this Earth’s Best one too.
- LITTLE NOSES SALINE SPRAY/DROPS - Baby snot can be really gooey and difficult to remove with just the bulb suction, but a little bit of this combined with suctioning usually does the trick. It’s also good to use if baby gets a cold since infants can’t have cold medicine or decongestant and a stuffy nose is MISERABLE.
- ZARBEE’S ALL-NATURAL COUGH SYRUP - Note: this is only safe for children over 12 months. We got this when Isobel had a horrible cold and ear infection and it made such a difference for her. It diminished her cough almost completely and seemed to help break up some of the mucus.
- BOOGIE WIPES - These are FANTASTIC. Isobel hates having her nose wiped on a good day, but when she has a cold—look out! Boogie Wipes are made with saline and are much better for her little sensitive nose. Plus, I can wipe in a few seconds rather than having to go over it a few times.
- VICK’S BABY RECTAL THERMOMETER - There are lots of fancy thermometer options for babies, but our pediatrician told me that rectal thermometers are the most accurate—especially for babies under 6 months. The only thing to keep in mind is that rectal temps will read warmer than an oral or temporal temperature. I took Isobel’s temperature a few times when I knew she wasn’t sick so I’d have a baseline reading to work from if I suspected she had a fever.
- NOSEFRIDA - I never thought I’d use one of these, but it was life-changing. It’s more safe than using a bulb suction too. I always hated having to try and get the stem of the bulb suction into Isobel’s nostril as she flailed around.
- THE FIRST YEARS AMERICAN RED CROSS BABY KIT - This is a nifty little kit to have on hand. We still use several of the things that came in it, like the nail files and nail clippers.
- BABY BANANA BENDABLE TOOTHBRUSH - This was a good training toothbrush for Isobel, but I imagine it would make a great teether too. It’s BPA-free and the little nubbins on the end would probably feel great on sore gums.
- MOMMY’S BLISS GRIPE WATER - There were a few times Isobel would get super fussy from gas and this seemed to really help. It was hard for us to know if it was JUST this that helped or the combination of other things we’d do, but it did seem to help her work the gas out. (I’d put the recommended amount in a bottle and she’d drink it from the bottle.)
Next post coming soon! I’ve really enjoyed putting these together and I hope you like them too. If you have any feedback from your experience using these items (or similar ones), I’d love to hear it!
I thought it was about time I brought together all the random baby recommendations I’ve made over the past year and a half. I’ve talked about most of the items below before, but included a few new things. I’m going to do posts for other categories too: Diapering, Nursery, Bathing, Toys, Parenting Books/Apps etc.
As always, please keep in mind that what worked for us may not work for you or your baby. It’s a good idea to get hands-on with major purchases (like strollers or baby carriers) before you buy. For example, I didn’t care for wraps or slings so didn’t include any here. (Maybe I should do a Womp Womp Baby Products post.)
- UPPABABY VISTA - Been using it since day one (well, more like day three) and I’ve never once regretted the purchase. It’s the only one that we could push comfortably (given our height) and we used it first with the Graco carseat adapter, later with the bassinet and now with the toddler seat. It’s good for shopping, good for hiking, good for going up and down curbs. I can put it up and down one-handed, but it takes some getting used to. The undercarriage storage area is enormous. I love that the toddler seat reclines. We haven’t bought an umbrella stroller yet because this one still works so well for us.
- ERGOBABY CARRIER - If I had to choose all over again, I’d probably choose this one again. (Although I recently tried out a Boba and liked it.) A year and a half later and with Iz 16 pounds heavier, I’m still using this regularly. It’s pretty comfortable for me, though less so now that Isobel is pushing 26 pounds. This was a lifesaver when Isobel was small because she’d fall asleep within minutes almost every time we used it. One gripe: I found the infant insert so awkward to use and it seemed to make Isobel overly warm and uncomfortable.
- BRITAX BOULEVARD 70-G3 CONVERTIBLE CAR SEAT - We chose this car seat after doing some research about car seat safety records and we’re happy with it. It’s surprisingly easy to install too.
- GRACO SNUGRIDE 35 - There are a lot of newer infant car seats on the market within the past year (UPPABaby makes one now), but Graco still produces a really safe, sturdy car seat with its Snugride line. Keep in mind when you choose a stroller that the stroller may only have adapters that work with the largest infant car seat brands: Chicco, Graco, etc. Being able to move sleeping baby from car to stroller and back again without waking him or her is worth its weight in gold.
- CHICCO CADDY HOOK ON CHAIR - This is now going to be my go-to baby shower gift because it’s JUST that good. It’s safe, it’s easy to use, it’s washable and it’s not a dirty restaurant high chair. It takes up less space than a regular restaurant high chair too. Another plus: it sits baby up nice and high so they can eat comfortably without having to reach way up to grab their food. We keep ours in the back of the car so it’s handy if we stop somewhere to grab some food. Oh—almost forgot! It also fits in the storage area of our UPPABaby stroller, so if we decide to go walking somewhere and stop to eat, we have it with us. It’s safe up to 37 pounds.
- FISHER PRICE BOOSTER SEAT - When we got this, we needed something quick and easy because we’d kind of forgotten to buy a high chair. We had intended on getting a proper high chair once we had time to look, but this worked out so well for us, that we never did it and now we’ve basically missed the boat on it anyway. I like this because Isobel can sit in one of our dining chairs and eat with me while I’m at the table. I’ve found that most infant high chairs are now set to a height that’s comfortable for mom to access from standing, but are often too high for baby to be interactive at the table level. I like making Isobel feel as though she’s eating meals with us, not watching us eat from a few feet away.
- PADALILY CAR SEAT CUSHION - Infant car seats get incredibly heavy, which makes no sense because they’re not heavy on their own and the 12 lb baby doesn’t feel so heavy, but TOGETHER THEY WEIGH SO MUCH. I liked to carry our infant seat on my elbow, so this cushion was a lifesaver. Brandon didn’t care for it as much since he liked to carry the seat in his hand and found the cushion too bulky.
- GRACO PACK ‘N PLAY - We still use this to keep Isobel “contained” (if I have to run out to grab something from the car, for example) and she prefers to nap in it over her crib. We didn’t use it much when she was an infant, except for when we traveled a few times. Still—it’s great now and if she wants to nap in there, be my guest.
- SUMMER INFANT TINYDINER PLACEMAT - I use this at any restaurant we go to since Isobel likes to eat at the table and she’s not…clean. Love that this rolls back up so you can transport it home for more deep cleaning. I keep it in my bag 24/7.
- BABY BJORN - This is definitely the easiest of the baby carriers we used/tried and Brandon liked it more than the Ergo. I used it several times too. It was great for errands when Isobel was still quite small and I was intimidated to try and attempt the Ergo by myself. Only downside to this is the weight limit. Depending on fast your baby gains weight, you may not be able to use it for long.
- SKIP HOP VERSA - I’ve written so much about this already but suffice it to say that I used it as my diaper bag/handbag for over a year straight with no complaints and no problems. It looks great and is priced well.
- LULULEMON VINYASA TO VINO BAG - This is a relatively new purchase for me, but I wish I’d found it sooner. I’ve been using it daily to haul around an embarrassing number of things—including everything diaper/kid related. It’s a great diaper bag alternative if you want something a little more stylish.
- BUMBO SEAT - I mourned the day Isobel outgrew this. It’s one of those perfectly practical, useful things that you don’t think you’ll use and end up using all the time.
- HOMEDICS SOUND SPA - We’ve used this almost every night since Isobel came home from the hospital and it’s wonderful. It covers up sounds in the house after she goes to bed and masks other things—car alarms, thunder, dog barks. If the power goes out from a storm or something, we’re screwed. I should get a battery operated one for a back-up!
- FISHER PRICE SWING - For a long time, this was the only place Isobel would sleep other than my arms. So…yes. A+.
- BABY EINSTEIN JUMPER - I debated whether to put this in the toys post, but it’s not so much a toy as it is an entertaining swing-like contraption. A little exercise, a little fun, a little containment all in one. Also, it’s huge, so more gear-like in that regard.
I’ll do the next installment soon. I hope this was helpful! If you have any other recommendations or you’ve had good luck with these products too, feel free to leave a reply or comment. Would love to hear from you!
Today was the release of Cool Mom Picks’ 2013 Ultimate Baby Shower Gift Guide. If you don’t read Cool Mom Picks, you should! They review lots of new baby/toddler/kid gear and their gift guides are pretty thorough (and just pretty to look at). Here are a few items from their new gift guide that I’ve used:
Isobel has this stacking tower and likes playing with it and it’s really cute, but I caution against putting too many toys on a registry or buying them as shower gifts. They’re not practical for a long time and there are so many other gift options that are better for a newborn and/or new parent.
Isobel’s iPhone teether was something I bought mostly because I thought it was cute. It turned out to be a really practical purchase too. She loved it and gnawed on it all the time. Total lifesaver during the worst of her teething.
Cool Mom Picks put the Ergo Winter Edition ($195) on their list. I actually think that the fur lining would be too warm for summer months (I don’t think the inner fur part is removable, though the muff is). Save your money and get the standard Ergo ($130, with the unbelievably annoying little infant insert). We tried several different baby carriers/slings and the Ergo was my favorite. I still use it every now and then with Isobel. Brandon liked the Baby Bjorn ($80) better. The Ergo did have a huge learning curve and it was nerve-wracking to try and handle Isobel as a newborn and get the carrier all situated at the same time. I should have practiced a little bit more.
The aden + anais Easy Swaddles ($24.95) didn’t exist when Isobel was born and I wish they had been because she broke out of every swaddle we tried with their regular swaddle blankets. Instead, we used Summer Infant Swaddle Me blankets ($12.50), which fit her well even as a newborn. Later we used the Miracle Blanket too.
I had a couple Gap nursing tees and tanks and they were wonderful. This one they featured is $29.95 and get an additional 30% off today with code GAPHAPPY. Target also had some good nursing basics (online—don’t bother looking in stores). One note: I’d caution against getting this as a shower gift unless you know the mom-to-be pretty well and she’s told you she’s going to try breastfeeding or pumping and/or she’s registered for other breastfeeding or pumping supplies.
DO YOU KNOW ME BUT AT ALL
There are some other really great ideas on their baby shower list, but a lot of it is pretty and expensive and not necessarily super practical (I’m a big fan of practical registries). There are also quite a few things on their list that are better suited to older children (not newborns and new moms/dads). Making a baby registry is not easy and it’s usually not fun, so you’ll want to do research before adding a $300 diaper bag and a $90 “luxury” baby sleep sack. Just keep in mind who will be buying from your registry. Will they be willing to spend more on big ticket/expensive items or will they want more budget-friendly picks?
A few other suggestions:
- The Baby Bargains book is actually not super helpful at finding actual bargains, but the GREAT thing about it is that it reviews nearly every brand and model in different baby gear categories: Mattresses, car seats, strollers, etc.
- Blogger reviews of baby gear is fun to read, but go to a store and try the different gear yourself too. You may hate the stroller everyone else uses and you may want to burn the Ergo in the backyard.
- This Ultimate Baby Registry on HelloBee.com is one of the thorough and reasonable that I’ve seen and I had great luck with so many of the products mentioned. Here is another good one from The Wise Baby.
What baby registry must-haves would you tell someone to include?