Monday, August 6, 2012

Ramblings for New Mommies - Product Thoughts

{Small disclaimer: I do not know why the bottom half of this post is highlighting the text in white...sorry for the annoying feature.  If you know what I can do to fix it, please let me know!!!}

I am dedicating this post series to my lovely sister and brother-in-law who are expecting their first baby in about a month!  Aren't they cute?  

I am so excited for them and have been racking my brain to try and think of things that will help them with life when the baby arrives.

I have also asked several friends to contribute thoughts and fill in my gaps - thank you to all of you who shared your ideas.

Hopefully some of these things will help other people out there to save some time, money, and sanity in those first days, months, and years with little ones!

My Product Thoughts

1. If you plan to buy a thermometer that takes a digital reading (do they even make ones that don't anymore?...) get one that you can see in the dark.  For some genius reason ours doesn't have a backlight, so I have to turn the light on or race into the hallway to read it before it times out.  Kind of annoying.  You'd think for $40 they could have put in a backlight.  Oh well.

2. Using a DiaperGenie?  Go ahead and buy the bags and give them a try.  When you get sick of spending $6 every few weeks on bag refills, go to the dollar store and buy a package of 100 scented bags for $1.  Then hang the dollar store bag around your empty cartridge of bags and use as normal.  Voila!  Way cheaper!  Or, just get a Diaper Champ to begin with.  I know some people say you can just use a trashcan.  To be honest, even breastfed babies' diapers smell after a couple days.  If you plan on surviving through those warm summer months without some nasty stenches, you should at least use odor-blocking bags.

3. I use my ErgoBaby carrier every day.

If you don't have one, I recommend them 110%.  I use it with both boys, as a front pack and backpack.  I LOVE IT!  There are several different options and designs now...check them out!

4.  Buy things that are washable if you can.

5.  Unless you have your heart set on a fabulous high chair, or are getting one for free, you might consider using a booster seat like this.  For $30, it is easy to clean, can travel anywhere, and is extremely adjustable.  Sometimes we don't even use the tray, and just push it up to the table.  And they don't all come in super tacky kid colors (one of my pet-peeves) so it won't look like your dining area is being over-run by the Smurfs.  Oh, and did I mention they are only $30?

6. Changing tables: not necessary.  Get a desk and one of these little pads with a strap, and some really good double-sided tape.  Done.

7. Disposable changing table pads are nice to have for the first couple weeks of explosive diapers.  I'm sorry to tell you, but your little baby will make sounds and produce output you thought only your husband was capable of.  It's just nice in those first few weeks of sleeplessness to be able to toss something in the trash instead of the laundry twelve times a day.

8.  I know it seems silly, but I remember thinking "We have to buy another package of diapers AGAIN!?  I just bought, like, a package of 48.  It only lasted for four days!".  Yes, this is the reality of life with a newborn.  If you plan to use disposables, have at least a few days' worth on hand.  It is always a bad idea to leave that shopping trip until you have only a couple left.  You might be on your way to church one day and realize you have one diaper to get you through an hour and a half.  Uh oh.  Just to give you an idea, Joseph's personal record for number of diapers utilized in one Mass was...five.  Yep.  Cleaned out the whole supply in the diaper bag.  It was not pretty.

9. Diaper bags...most moms that I have talked to are very kind and thoughtful people when it comes to choosing the perfect diaper bag.  Apparently this guy wasn't as lucky...

I, like others, didn't want my poor husband lugging around a frilly bag when he was helping me with the baby, so I opted for a black Columbia bag.  It honestly works just fine...we can cram a whole bunch in there and it has oodles of pockets.  But to be honest, if we're together, he's usually carrying a kid, and I am always carrying the bag.  So get something you like and can live with.  May I suggest something that I *wish* I would have gotten?   This Land's End Diaper Bag. I like that it is shallow enough to see to the bottom, but long enough to fit in all the essentials...for two kids!  It has a zipper down the middle on the top but the sides open completely so you can see everything (kind of old-school doctor bag-ish).  I know my friend Sarah keeps hers open in the bottom of the stroller so she can pull something out at the drop of a hat.

10. I didn't even think of this until after our second son was born, but if you're buying a swing or any type of moving thing to hold baby, get one that has a power cord.  We've gone through so many stupid D batteries because we just didn't think to buy a swing that could be plugged into the wall.  Swings are very useful...especially at night if baby is them a comfy spot to sleep while being safely propped up.

11. Simple Saline - baby saline spray.  Yeah, I know, it's $5 a bottle.  It does last a long time.  And for my little Michael who was born in December, dry air and little baby airways are not friends.  It helped him tremendously.  Both boys actually really like it.  I think it tickles their noses.

12. Graco Electric Nose Aspirator...because nobody likes a snotty nose.  This picture makes it look so enjoyable.

  It must be PhotoShopped.  But it does indeed suck all the snot.  Totally gross, yes, but in the most awesome possible way.  And helps them sleep.  Winner!

13. SwaddleMe wraps...they come in different fabric weights depending on the season your baby is born.  There are also different sizes, so beware.   The kind that has LARGE PIECES OF VELCRO are best...the small pieces just don't hold when baby starts kicking.  And, come October, you can wrap over it with some aluminum foil and have a baby burrito for Halloween.  :)

14. Pee-Pee Tee Pees

...useless.  Don't waste your money.  They are kind of funny.  But also like putting a piece of paper in front of a fire hose.  

15.  Carseat thoughts: we like our infant Chicco Keyfit30 - the guy at the hospital that helps you install it correctly told us it was a very safe choice.  However, I regret purchasing it for the sole fact that it is not compatible with ANY other strollers except Chicco.  It was fine when we just had Joseph.  But when we needed a double stroller, we had very limited options.  So do your homework and make sure you think about the future if there will be more babies using the seat, or if you want to use it in a different brand stroller.

16. Stroller thoughts: I liked our Chicco single stroller just fine - walks outside, at the store, etc.  Very easy to take out and close back up, very easy to snap in the carseat.  Now that I've gotten into running, though, we got a double BOB off of Craigslist and LOVE LOVE LOVE it.  It is all it's cracked up to be, and it will be loved for years to come.  The boys love it too.  And it fits in the back of our Honda inline double stroller can do that!  

Suggestions from Other Moms
  • blue bulb syringe for their nose- steal as many as possible from the hospital because they are the only kind that work! Keep one in every room. :) Same thing goes for the soft hair brush the hospital gives you.
  • "Miracle Blanket"
  • MEDELA lanolin (do not buy lansinoh brand - it would be better off stopping up a leaky pipe than soothing your nipples!)
  • Pacifier clip (100% necessary if using a paci...)
  • Ameda Comfort Gel pads.  They are anywhere from $12-15 a pair, but each pair can be used for 6 consecutive days.  They gave me a set at the hospital, and 6 days worth was all I needed.  The pads are great for healing sore/cracked nipples, they can be used in conjunction with lanolin, and they are absorbent.  You just wash them in soap and water every day, and store them in the little cover that they come in if you aren't wearing them.  They feel especially great if you stick them in the freezer for a little bit, but they don't have to be cold to be healing.\
  • A small table lamp with a 25 watt bulb- I can turn it on at night for diaper changes in our bedroom without completely waking up my husband.
  • If you need a humidifier, I LOVE the one we got from Babies R Us.  It's a bit pricey because it's ultrasonic, but it's made by Homedics and it has silent operation, a night light, and white noise/heartbeat/nature sounds options.  It's called the Homedics Sound Spa Ultrasonic humidifier, or something close to that.
  • This link is for a postpartum  sitz bath.  My good friend Emmy recommended it very highly, and is convinced that using this is why she healed SO fast from her stitches.  She never used it in a sitz bath, but made kind of a tea out of it in the peri-botle that she got at the hospital.  I didn't end up using it because I had a c-section, but it comes highly recommended.
  • Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm: We got a little tub of it as a free sample with the cloth diapers that we bought, and I really like it.  It's definitely more of a balm and doesn't have zinc oxide, so it goes on really easily and smoothly without getting your fingers all goopy. 
  •  A couple of nursing gowns.  Since we had a c-section, we were in the hospital longer than we'd planned.  I was so glad I had packed a nightgown that I could wear instead of the hospital gown for 3 days.  I got a regular nightgown a target from Gilligan & O'Malley that happens to have a very stretchable neckline, and it works for nursing so well! Target also sells some nursing nightgowns online that aren't sold in stores, and they are definitely cheaper than the ones I've seen at other websites.  Having gowns to wear means that I haven't had to wear shorts or pants at night, which is a lot more comfortable on my incision site.  
  • Reusable breast pads!  My sister sent me hers, so I don't know where she got them, but they are so much more comfortable and absorbant than the disposable kind!  I wear them for one day, and throw them in the wash with all the baby clothes and nursing clothes that get laundered more frequently.  Mine are also kind of lacy on the side that touches your shirt, so the traction helps keep them in place. 
  •  Cloth diapers: We are using cloth diapers almost exclusively, so we have a bunch of them lying around.  It is true what they say, they are very absorbent so they are also great burp rags!  So even if you are using disposable diapers, I'd recommend getting one package of cloth diapers to have for all-purpose absorbency. 
  •  Cloth diaper covers: again, even if you're using disposable diapers, a cloth diaper cover can go over them for some additional odor control and to protect from blow-outs.  I mean this especially in the first few weeks when the cord hasn't fallen off.  We've been dressing baby in just t-shirts or dresses so onesies don't rub on her cord stump.  So the diaper covers have been almost a fashion accessory.
  • Crystal Light stevia sweetened individual water flavoring mixes.  I have been drinking tons of water, but I still feel dehydrated, and I just couldn't bring myself to drink more water.  So I caved and bought some water flavoring mixes.  They only have like 10 calories and about 3 grams of sugar, so they aren't bad for you, and it makes drinking an extra pint of water very easy :) 
  • I LOVED my Boppy and never went anywhere without it!

1 comment:

  1. We used rechargeable batteries for our swing. Also my favorite swing was the fischer price model that can swing front to back and side to side- it rocked! And my hubbies trick to slow it down until the baby chunked up was a 5 lb weight plate in the seat under the padding.