Getting Ready for Baby – the not so short short list

Eight Must Have Items for Baby’s Room

We went on the less is more side of things, so I’m listing the things we’ve used and loved the most.

  1. Graco Sweet Slumber sound machine – has white noise, a night light you can turn on and off and you can plug in a ipod.
  2. Changing table/dresser – important features – needs to be sturdy, we liked the shelves because we could put baskets of clothes and toys into the shelves, and once Bailey is older, he can easily pull out a basket of clothes or toys on his own.We went fancy and got this one from the Pottery barnthough to be honest, it was about the same price as the one we looked at from Target. Though looking at the price now – it must have been on sale back when we got it. Yikes!

    we mostly use our changing table/dresser for clothes
  3. A play yard with bassinet – this can be used as a co-sleeper in your room for the first weeks/months, plus you can easily pull the bassinet out and put it down on the floor in other rooms for naps. I really liked the size of the bassinet that came with ours as well as the flexibility of the bassinet/crib set up
  4. A fan – running a fan has been shown to lower the incidence of SIDS
  5. A space heater (with a thermostat) so you can control the temperature in just that room. Babies like it hot!
  6. Baby monitor – we went fancy with the Motorola video monitorand love it.  one thing to note, the battery does not last all night, so keep it plugged in by your bed unless you want to be woken up for reasons other than a crying baby.

    super cute humidifier
  7. Blackout curtains – really helps Bailey sleep which really helps me sleep!
  8. A cute humidifier– especially helpful when baby has a cold.

Plus my Montessori-style favs

Floor bedmattress from Ikea. We went with a twin, but in hindsight I wish we had gone with a double though not sure how that would have fit.

Mirror stickers and wall stickers like these

A chair.
We could not agree on what glider or rocking chair to get. So we ended up getting this chair from Ikea with the matching ottoman. It’s been working out really well, though every once and a while I talk about getting a glider. But I still can’t find one that I love. My personal recommendation is that you get something you can see sitting in after baby has grown up.

B’s Montessori-inspired room

Clothes, what you really need at the beginning (IMO)

  • Swaddles: Our favorite by far was the halo sleep sack and the woombie – which is great as they start transitioning out of the swaddle ()
  • Fleece blankets and light cotton blankets
  • Onesies (maybe 10)
  • Pajamas (maybe 4)

In our experience, at the beginning, babies don’t really go through clothes too quickly. Heck for the first few weeks, you’re only bathing them a couple times a week. They really aren’t getting dirty. Bailey pretty much lived in onesies and pajamas.

Love, love, loved the onesies with mitten cuffs. At the beginning, baby will flail his hands about and accidently claw at his face and eyes. These onesies have built in cuffs you can flip over their hands.

Also loved the pajamas with mitten cuffs which are strangely hard to find – ours are all hand me downs.

And we used Gerber pajamas a lot.

  • Socks. Socks are a total pain but babies feet do seem to get cold easily. Our fav brand is Trumpette – they really don’t come off and they are ridiculously cute. Thanks Tricia for the tip!

A note on clothing brands: the sizing is different for every brand. I recommend you wait and then buy only a few of each – once you see which brand fits your baby best, it seems like that continues to be the case as they grow older. I also like really soft cotton baby clothes. My fav brands for comfort are BabyGap and Carters (especially anything made out of fleece!)

And of course hand me downs are great since babies do grow so quickly!

  • Hats. These are definitely cute, but we didn’t really use them much and you really don’t need more than one or two knit hats (for warmth) and then one brimmed hat for sun shade. Again, might be better to wait til after baby is born so you don’t get a hat that will only fit for a week OR a hat that won’t fit until their 6 months old and it’s the wrong season for that type of hat.

Activity and sleep related stuff (for the first few months)

An infant rocker chair – must have features should include vibration, being able to adjust the chair to different angles, and preferably some kind of canopy to pull over the chair. Something like this. There are less expensive ones that tend to me more flimsy and less versatile.

The SnuggleMe pillow. And there is no alternative that is comparable. This pillow is basically like a dog bed which means baby feels snuggled by the sides of the pillow.

An activity mat. Seriously provides hours of entertainment for months and months! I recommend that you get a pretty sturdy one. We borrowed a Fisher Price Rainforest Gym and loved it.

A boppy pillow. This can also work as a nursing pillow. The boppy pillow is great for tummy time and for lounging around. As they get older, it also works great for helping the sit up on their own. My only wish is that I had gotten one sooner.

We never used a swing, but a lot of people swear by them for helping baby sleep, so I’m including that one on the list.

Car seat dangling toys (can also go on the activity mat)

Diaper and Bathroom related

Diapers: Here’s what I’ve generally seen – Huggies are for girls, Pampers are for boys (in terms of fit). We started with the Pampers Swaddlers for disposables.

Now we use Honest diapers which fit great, look great and are biodegradable.

Wipes: You need them, at least when you’re on the go, but I don’t like any of them. At home we use little washcloths and water – in fact, his changing station is in the bathroom closest to his room.

We also do cloth diapers but I’ll save that for another post.

Diaper ointment: we go back and forth between 100% shea butter and the honest healing balm

Diaper pail. We have one, but I hate it J We also have wet bags for the cloth diapers and I’m not a fan of those either. Sorry, no advice on this front.

Baby bath tub – we borrowed this and can’t complain. We use it in our bathtub.

Washcloths – you can buy baby ones or just use regular ones

Hooded towel

Baby shampoo – my fav is BabyMagic calming bath

Baby lotion – again, I like the BabyMagic one.

Baby saline – to spray up their dry or snotty nose

The NoseFrieda snotsucker – it looks gross but works sooo much better than the aspirators you get at the hospital. Trust me on this one!

Nursing Related

Nursing bras: In hindsight, I would have waited until after having baby to buy most of my nursing bras. I bought a bunch earlier and they all ended up not fitting/feeling uncomfortable. I guess it depends on how big the ladies are, but I was fine without much of a bra for the first few days…even now, I can’t highly recommend any bras.  So, to start off with, I would get some comfortable sleep-style nursing bras and I would pack one of those in the go bag for the hospital. They do get covered in milk more often than you might think, so you do need more than one!

Nursing pads (to go in your bras). The disposable ones really irritated my skin plus it’s a lot of waste. My fav brand/product was the reusable Nuk pads.

A nursing pillow. There was definitely a learning curve when it came to nursing accompanied by lots of tennis elbow and neck pain! I think it’s useful to start with a pillow though you may not use it in the long run. I started with my Breast friend pillow (yes, things have lots of terrible names!) because it strapped around you and seemed to stay put more. However, in the middle of the night, it is a pain in the butt to have to strap that thing on and I need a bunch of additional pillows anyway to help prop myself up. In hindsight, I would have gotten the Boppy pillow because you can use it as a baby pillow after you stop using it as a nursing pillow.

A nursing cover. They have silly names like Hooter Hiders, etc. I swore I wouldn’t buy or use one before Bailey was born. And now, I love mine. It has made me so much more comfortable with nursing in public

Burp clothes. Probably good to have 6-10.

Lanolin ointment. I would just use it preventatively from the beginning. For rubbing on your nipples after nursing.

Epsom salts. Whenever I felt like I was getting a clogged duct, this was my go-to solution. I would put Epsom salts and hot water in a deep bowl and dunk you know what into the bowl for a few minutes. Those heating pad things that go in the microwave is nice too. You can heat it up an drape it over your chest for a few minutes before nursing. Makes the milk flow easier.

Favorite Books

The Wonder Weeks

What to Expect the First Year

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

Solve your child’s sleep problems

The No Cry Sleep Solution

Montessori from the Start

*Happiest Baby on the Block – easier to Netflick than to buy the book

Online Resources

www.kellymom.com

www.babycenter.com

www.babywhisperforums.com

There’s always more but that’s what I can come up with for now as my list of most important items. I guess I need to add car seat info I’ll save it for another post!

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I can’t believe it’s not spinach artichoke dip

The remnants of my vegan spinach artichoke dip

Actually, it was spinach artichoke dip but it was vegan which meant it was gluten free and dairy free. And, it was actually delicious. It was mostly gobbled down before I could even get a picture.

A few weeks ago, I attended a going away party for someone at work and narrowly avoided the awesome looking (dairy-full) spinach artichoke dip there. But the image and smell of that dip was stuck in my brain. I decided that I had to experiment with a dairy free version of my own. And I knew the perfect venue for said experiment. That Saturday, I was attending a Bradley method class reunion party and multiple people attending have similar food sensitivities.

The recipe was pretty straight forward and I boldly made it an hour before the party which meant it was going no matter how it tasted. Before I could even explain to people what it was, about half of it was gone. My dairy free friends were sadly eying the dip. I must have looked just like that at the previous party I attended. I quickly told them it was safe to eat and multiple sets of eyes lit up with excitement. The dip was a total success. In addition to being dairy free and gluten free, it’s completely vegan and probably a lot more healthy than the original version.

This gets filed away into my 30 minutes or less recipe folder of deliciousness!

http://www.food.com/recipe/yummy-vegan-spinach-artichoke-dip-212129

RECIPE NOTES: As usual, I made some adjustments to the recipe cuz I’m lazy. Here’s what I did different: I used fresh mixed Super Greens since I had a package of them. I used a can of artichoke hearts in water cuz that’s what I had in the house. And I used minced garlic from a jar. One last thing, if you’ve never used nutritional yeast before, it is key to this recipe. You can get it in the bulk foods section of Whole Foods. Plus, the silken tofu is not the refrigerated kind. You can usually find it in the “Ethnic foods” aisle.

On a side note, the reunion party was for all the families that took our labor and childbirth class which was a Bradley Method class with Judith Nowlin.

At Judith’s new house, celebrating all the babies

This class was amazing. It met for 12 weeks and each class was 2 hours long. Yes, you read that correctly. I was pretty petrified of going into labor/the whole birth experience and I honestly think that I might not have ever gone into labor if it hadn’t been for Judith’s class.

Everyone in the class agreed that they were completely prepared for labor and childbirth. Of course, there were unexpected moments during each of our labor experiences, but we all felt empowered and prepared thanks to Judith. I highly recommend that you take a longer series of classes if you are a FTM. Our class covered prenatal nutrition, laboring techniques, the stages of labor, all the possible interventions that can happen in a hospital, discussion on how to advocate for yourself at the hospital and more.

The length of the class also provided us with an immediate makeshift band of other couples going through the same experience of first time pregnancy and childbirth. I don’t know about other people, but I found being pregnant kind of isolating especially since I didn’t have any close friends that were pregnant at the time. Having the emotional support of other couples was huge for Lee and me and we continue to keep in touch with some of my Bradley method families.

40 weeks from when??!

three weeks before Bailey was born. Definitely looking pregnant.

Getting pregnant was generally no surprise for us. We had a plan, we were hoping it would happen. And it did. But boy were we shocked to find out that 40 weeks is actually counting from the first day of your LAST period.

I still remember how we found out. Lee was actually in India on a business trip. My dad was visiting for the weekend and had no idea what was going on. I took the test first thing in the morning since it’s the best time of day for Hcg levels. The test was positive. I was shocked. Even when you’re planning on it, I think you’re still shocked when you see the + sign on the stick. I played it cool and went downstairs to breakfast. My dad flew back to Boston that afternoon. I took a second test the next morning just to be sure. Positive again.

Later that day, I was skyping with Lee and he asks, “oh yeah, by the way, did you get your period?” I reply, “do you really want to talk about this now?” meaning while you’re in India sitting in the hotel lobby because the reception is better in the lobby, meaning because this is a momentous conversation and you’re in India!! He says, “sure” and I reply, “nope.” His eyes pop open wider and freeze – the reception/video quality wasn’t that good… or maybe he was frozen in shock. “You didn’t?” I reply, “nope, I’m pregnant!” I ended the conversation by saying, “you should check out how far along we are…”

Later that night, he sent me the following email:

Hi Leslie,

I did some interesting reading online when I was waiting for the restaurant to open for dinner.
http://www.womenshealthcaretopics.com/

I am much more informed now  🙂 I was also shocked to read how the counting works – we are further along than I realized!

It made me wonder whether you are experiencing any symptoms. I am, but the website doesn’t talk about any of the symptoms for the husband. I’m just kidding – I am very excited!

In addition to being excited, I am quite tired, since I woke up at 5:30 AM this morning (which is when I woke up just about every morning). I’m going to bed now. Have a good day at work!

Love
Lee

_________________________________________

I was one of those people who constantly felt like I was too young to have kids. So when we finally decided to try, I was sure I still had awhile to wrap my head around the idea. Getting pregnant at my advanced age (33 at the time) takes time. Uh, we got pregnant really fast. Well, at least I had nine months to wrap my head around the concept once I got that positive test…not so much. You see, it’s 40 weeks give or take 2 weeks and the clock starts before you even get pregnant. It starts a full month before the earliest moment you might get a positive test.

In the end, I was only pregnant for 36 known weeks, basically 8 months. I found out that I was pregnant on July 13, 2012 and I had the boy on March 11, 2012. The good and bad news is that even after Bailey was born I didn’t feel prepared and yet 8 months was plenty of time to adjust to the reality of having a baby.

Just thought I’d warn those future FTMs who have control issues about that whole 9 months myth. Just saying.

WU, BT, STTN, OT, UT – it’s all about sleep!

Now that I’m a mom, I am completely, unabashedly obsessed with sleep. Daytime sleep, night-time sleep, all of it. The internets are an amazing place for finding information about anything, as long as you can follow the acronyms. LOL! I used to have no idea what anyone was talking about and now I can talk in baby jargon with the best of them.

  • WU = wake up time
  • BT = bed time
  • STTN = sleep through the night (which by the way is a loaded phrase but I’ll talk about that another time)
  • OT = Overtired
  • UT = Undertired
  • LO = Little one
  • DH = Dear husband
  • BTDT = Been there done that
  • EBF = Exclusively breast feeding
  • EBP = Exclusively pumping
  • EFF = Exclusively formula feeding
  • LOL = laugh out loud

and the list goes on.

I’ve read Babywise; Secrets of the Baby Whisperer; The Ferber Method; Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Babies; the Sleep Lady Shuffle and you know what? They mostly contradict each other; they’re pretty confusing; and they’re all written as if every word is complete medical fact.

As a longtime lover of sleep (I used to be sad if I got any less than 10 hours a night, yeah, you read that right!), I have been completely and utterly CONFUSED by reading all these expert opinions and hearing opinions from people who have been there and done that. So, I’m not about to tell you what to do. I just want you to know that 1) it’s hard, don’t let them fool you into thinking this is easy stuff to figure out and “get right” 2)  Most babies do not sleep through the night at 6 months, I don’t care who you talk to or what books you’ve read 3) it’s probably normal, whatever you’re dealing with in the sleep issues department, I think it’s where the term “growing pains” should have originated from 4) read alot or ask questions or do your own thing, but in the end every parent, child and situation is different, so trust your intuition!

That being said, I’m always on the lookout for good resources and tips, so I’m going to use this blog to post about them My first interesting find is this sleep chart. Bailey is 6 months old tomorrow and this chart is just starting to be relevant/make sense to us 🙂

And just to report, today we’re in a really good place when it comes to sleep. I’ve obviously lowered my standards and understand that 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep preferably from 11pm – 9am is likely out of the question. I am however, inordinately happy that my son currently does the following: 1) sleeps in his own floor bed and 2) goes to sleep on his own each night. I’m also pretty pleased that in the last few days, his pattern has been to go to bed around 6:45pm, wake up once a night to eat (anytime between 2-4am), promptly go back to sleep and then wake up for the day between 6:30 and 7:30. We’re having a good week so far.

Back when Bailey could sleep anywhere!

And I can’t believe that I essentially never sleep past 7am these days. A small part of me is in constant mourning for the sleep I used to have, but in return I have one happy, super cool baby and I guess I could start going to bed at 7pm to match my nights more to my LO’s nights… maybe not.