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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Favorite Baby Items Months 0-3 and Registry Tips

Here is a list of our favorite baby items. I was SO overwhelmed when registering. This is generally from 0-3 months old and the basics of registering.

Big Ticket Items

Maxi Cosi car seat in the Bugaboo
Car Seat-
Maxi Cosi Mico. It's a little more expensive than the Graco's but I'm so glad we got it. Our philosophy was to splurge on the things we were going to use daily and long term. The Maxi Cosi is lighter than most and super easy to use. And it looks way better. We got the adapter to use with our stroller. There are LOTS of infant seat options. The Graco's are great affordable options as well. Don't get caught up in the weight allowance though. You will NOT be carrying your baby around in the infant seat when they are 35 pounds. We transitioned to the convertible seat when Eli was about 20 lbs, which happened to be around 7 months old. Many babies don't reach that weight until they are closer to a year old.

Bugaboo Cameleon- Aaron was in charge of picking the stroller and got really excited about this one. Again it's more expensive but I'm SO glad we got it. We use it so much and makes life much easier. It folds up simply, is easy to maneuver (with one hand even) and is great quality. We have had lots of comments from people with the Graco's etc that like how simple it looks. I've also noticed that the less expensive strollers look really used after a year. We bought ours used (for $300 which is less than half of one new) and I'm confident we will be able to use it years down the road with the next kiddo. It comes with a toddler seat and a bassinet. They are also supposed to be good for jogging too. I wont even go into all the cool features, but you can check out their website for more information. Again, LOTS of options out there. Britax has a great line and Graco makes many that are compatible with their infant seats. The stroller will get a lot of use though so definitely get the best quality you can afford.

Pottery barn crib. Crib skirt from Etsy.

Pottery Barn Sleigh Crib- Again, we decided this was something that would be used quite a bit and by hopefully more than one child so we were ok with spending more. We also found a great quality used one for half the price of a new one on Craigslist. I love how it looks and it will convert to a kid and full sized bed. There are many middle of the line cribs that are transitional as well.

Diaper Bag
Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxy Backpck- Love, Love, Love my bag. I dont carry a purse when I have it and don't miss is at all. Many of my friends had them and raved about them. It is great quality, super cute, and functional. There is a fold out changing pad that I have used multiple times. There are clips that attach to the stroller as well. The backpack portion sold me on it as we plan to travel a little bit and I liked the idea of having a backpack while carrying a baby through the airport. Since then they have come out with a "City Carryall" that has the changing pad feature but not the backpack that I kinda like the look of more. The only downside is that it is a little bulky for every day use and easy to over pack. I may be asking for their diaper clutch for Christmas.... This is a great item to ask for as a gift.

Pack and Play-
Bright Starts Ingenuity- I had such a hard time picking this one out. Most people I know have the Graco one with the changing table and newborn napper. I decided we mostly needed one as a crib and changing table. I'm really happy with what we picked. Its more simple but has everything we need. My only wish would be for a washable changing cover for the changing table. I'm a little concerned about it getting stained with too much use.

Little Castle Glider- I really like this rocker. It's stylish and looks great in our living room. We debated between getting this one or the reclining glider. We have a recliner already so got the basic one. The ottoman is on its way (both were a gift from my parents). It's also very comfortable. I liked the idea of getting this style chair instead of the traditional rocking chair so it could be used in our living room down the road.

Fisher Price Snugabunny - Some babies like swings and some don't, so don't hesitate to buy used if you don't get it off the registry. We used ours only occasionally but I know others who couldn't live without it. Most newborn items are only used for a few months so used stuff will be pretty nice still.

Things we use daily: (0-3 Months old)

Diaper pail-
Arm and Hammer Diaper Pail: At the beginning, baby poo doesn't smell all that bad and we got away with a plastic bag hanging on the changing table that I would throw out when I had the chance during the day. Eventually we needed the pail though. So far I have been very happy with the smell containing factor of this one. Other complaints have been about the need to buy their brand of bag replacements. This doesn't really bother me.

Hanging out in the rock and play
Aden and Anais Swaddle Blankets- I use these every single day for many different uses. Burp cloth, blanket, swaddler, etc.

Burp Cloth- My mom got a bunch of random ones at a consignment sale. You needs LOTS. I have them stashed all over the house.

Rock and Play Sleeper - Eli sleeps in this every night still. When he was little and would get fussy I could just reach over and rock him back to sleep. He seems very cozy and knows that it's time to sleep when he's in it.

Cloud B Sleep Sheep- We dont use this as much any more but it really helped him fall asleep when he was younger. We got the travel one which was easy to attach to his car seat or swing.

Pacifier- Soothies. At the beginning we really debated whether or not we would use a pacifier. I have heard horror stories about weaning from them. Our plan was to wait 4 weeks to introduce a pacifier or bottle so it would't interfere with breastfeeding. When he was feeding for so long at a time I decided that the pacifier would help his need to suck and spare my sore nipples. It has also helped when he gets fussy while away from the house. We try not to give it to him every time he falls asleep and so far he doesn't seem too dependent on it. Our lactation consultant said to only use this kind because it is most like a nipple and helps with nipple confusion.

Motorola Video Moniter- Aaron was in charge of this purchase and loves his gadgets so we got a pretty nice one. Eli's room is upstairs and we are downstairs so when he sleeps in his crib at night I feel good having the video moniter. This one also swivels and has a two way microphone. Another feature I didn't think I would like as much before we got it was the temperature gauge. We are much more obsessed with his temperature than I ever thought we would be.

Newborn to toddler rocker
Fisher Price Rocker- I could not decide on which bouncy seat to get and am so glad we got this one. This one actually rocks instead of bounces but also vibrates. Eli loves this seat. He will sit in it for 30 minutes at a time while we eat dinner, cook, etc and we can also rock him to sleep in it.

Play Gym
Baby Einstein Play Gym- Eli also loves this. There are lots of attachments you can move around and he talks to the whale all the time. There is also a light up sound maker.

Puj bath tub- We bath him every other day and really like this tub. I got the travel version "Flyte" on sale at Target. He just outgrew it though so we are using the basic blue baby tub which is just fine. It's nice and soft and easy to fit in the bathroom sink.

Baby Connect App- At the beginning I used this to track everything- diaper changes, feeding, sleep. Now I use it to track nursing which is nice to keep track of sides and amount of time. Every once in a while I forget when the last feeding was so it's nice to be able to check. This also has places to keep track of milestones, doctor appts, weight, mood etc.

 Ergo with Newborn Insert
Moby wrap and Ergo-
Sleeping in the Moby
I dont use these daily, but several times a week. The Moby was good for the newborn stage around the house and at the grocery store. I use the Ergo more now that he is bigger. There are some interesting articles about the benefits of facing in carriers vs facing out ones.


Don't buy clothes. You will anyways, but I warned you. Newborns need to be changed a lot and you will find that it's easiest to just throw a shirt on and swaddle them most of the time.

White onesies- 2 packs should be enough, you will be doing laundry every other day anyways,

Side snap t shirts- Eli slept in these most of the time under the sleep sack. They are much easier to put on than onesies. I really like the Gerber brand ones.

Footed onesies- The zip ones are best. We would dress him in these when we left the house. His feet are too big for his size now...

Socks- Gap socks are the best. All others fall off. They can also be used as mittens. DONT buy baby mittens/

Halo Sleep Sack Swaddlers- We got a bunch of the Swaddle Me's before he was born but they were using these at the hospital and we loved them. They are super easy to use and keep them warm in the winter. They also allow more freedom to move their feet which was very important to Eli. Get two so you have one when the other is in the wash.

Places to shop for baby clothes-
Target: good selection, not as many cute boy clothes as girls. Good basics here.
Khols- all the same clothes as Target but cheaper.
Baby Gap- Really cute and well made clothes. Shop the sales.
H&M- Hit or miss but really affordable.
Keep in mind that they outgrow things really quick, there are definitely things Eli didn't wear or only wore once.


Newborn diapers- Pampers Swaddlers. These fit well and I was surprised that we were able to use them until he was one month old. We used at least 10 a day.
Other sizes- we are still using Pampers but am going to try other brands. We have blow outs but he is also a major pooper... Next we used Huggies Little Movers and when the pooping got under control (after solids) we have been using Target brand.
Wipes- HUGGIES- we started with Pampers but found they were too wet. I tried Huggies and they were SO much better! They actually "scrub" the tooshie which is needed. You will go through LOTS of wipes at the beginning.

*A tip for registering for diapers. Ask for just a few boxes of each size, you have no idea what size they will be or have fast they grow. Newborn and size 1 will be especially fast. Sizes 3 and 4 you can get quite a few. Tape the receipt on the outside of the box though just in case you have to return them.


Nipple shield
   LIFESAVER. There is a very good chance that without the recommendation of a nipple shield that I would not have been able to keep breastfeeding. This helped him to latch without horrible pain and helped my nipples heal. It took us almost two months to be able to nurse without it but it was so worth it. The only thing is the best one we had was given to us by the lactation consultant who ships them in from Germany... Apparently they are the best and the most similar to an actual nipple. *** Just did a google search and found them here. No ordering information, but it's a start. They really were much better than the drug store ones. I may just send out my German friend to find them and ship a bunch to me. This also came in handy when I had a blocked duct recently.

Breastfeeding pillow
Tummy time on the My Breast Friend
My Breast Friend- I registered for this one because I had a few friends that liked that it was flat on the top versus the Boppy which is softer. The Boppy is nice because you can prop baby up on it. I have liked the MBF for tummy time though. He HATES tummy time and will tolerate it when propped on his elbows on this on the bed. (I think he likes to be able to see things.) I would reccommend borrowing one from someone, I am not using it for breastfeeding anymore (3 months after).

Nursing tanks and Cami's- LOVE LOVE LOVE these. I wear these exclusively around the house and for bed as well as out and about. I'm not super endowed so can get away with not wearing a bra under them most of the time. They work like a nursing bra and keep your belly covered while nursing in public. Motherhood Maternity has buy 3 get 1 free sales all the time, buy at least 4.

Nursing Bra- My favorite one do far has been a Bravado. Its soft and fits well. I also have a Le Leche League sports bra that is ok. Not the most comfortable but it supports well. I'm still looking for a good sleep bra. I underestimated the importance of a nursing bra. I still leak quite a bit and get engorged at night so have to wear a bra 24/7. Invest in a good one! Before baby I was not convinced that I would ever have big boobs... So I have a couple too small nursing bras that I can't wear now. They will get bigger!

Nursing pads- For some reason before having Eli I stocked up on disposable nursing pads and have only used them a couple of times. I didn't realize just how much I was going to leak and how often I would need to change them. I ended up getting several boxes of reusable ones. Get enough for a different pair every day for a week. Keep an extra pair by your bed at night for when they start sleeping longer and your body hasn't gotten the message...

Lanolin- I know people that swear by this, I honestly didn't notice a difference when I used it except for when showering.

Lansinoh Ice packs- these were GREAT for engorgement. It was really the only way I got relief.  You can also heat them up for pumping to help pump faster. Pumping helps but you want to be careful because you dont want to initiate more supply than you need.

Medela nipple soothers- good immediate relief from pain, but I didn't notice much difference with the scabs.

Medela Double Electric Breast pump- Even though I stay at home I am so glad I got this. I have used it for engorgement and when we need to give Eli a bottle. We have been able to have a couple date nights and I try and ride a couple times a week. It has been worth it alone for engorgement. I have had a blocked duct too and it was the only thing that got it out.

Bebe Au Lait Nursing cover: This was useful in the beginning when family was in town visiting right away and I wanted to cover up for my inlaws and brothers sake. I wasn't comfortable nursing away from home for a while but have used this at the park and at MOPS a few times. One thing I did not think about ahead of time was the pattern on it. I loved the grey and white damask one, until I was nursing next to someone with a plain blue one... This is not a time I want to be drawing extra attention to myself and wish I would have gotten a more plain cover. Oh well! A friend has this infinity scarf cover which I love and think is a great idea. The ribbing on the other cover is good for a first when you need to be able to see baby to get him latched. Otherwise it can be a little hot and too much fabric.

Whew! I'll do another update after the next 3 month stage.

Other things to register for: (more detail in following favorite item posts.)

High chair
Baby spoons: Munchkin brand
Drying rack
Bottle warmer
Toys to grow into: Activity table, walker etc

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The First Month as New Parents

I'll be starting off where I ended the last post (Eli's birth story), into the first month of being parents. Aaron has helped with this post as he did most of the research into the decisions we made at the hospital.

 The Bradley Method book describes a scene after baby is born of the mother walking to the recovery room almost immediately after the baby is born with the newborn in one arm, a glass of orange juice in the other, and a smile on her face.

Yeah right.

My scene looked like this: baby being wheeled down the hall in the bassinet by the nurse (not allowed to be carried anywhere outside your own room), dad following baby (he was determined not to let Eli out of his sight during our hospital stay), and me shuffling way behind because my lady parts would scream if I moved faster than a snails pace. I refused the wheel chair. If I couldn't have the smiling- baby- holding scene than gosh darn it I at least was going to walk.

I want to address some of the decisions we made in the hospital immediately following Eli's birth. All of these decisions were made after lots of research on both sides of each argument. By sharing this I'm only hoping to encourage all parents to find out as much information about what will be happening to your baby (and you) and not always take one doctor or hospitals word for it. There is a really good blog post here that goes into more detail about the standard in most hospitals.

First of all we wanted delayed cord clamping. It's becoming more widely done, and makes so much sense. By waiting even five minutes your baby gets 20-50% more blood in its system. There is also some interesting research done on how this could explain the low vitamin k levels at birth. The last studies done regarding vitamin k levels in newborns was done decades ago and also when the cord was cut almost immediately after birth. Great article here.

It is now standard procedure to give a shot of vitamin k at birth. This is to help prevent the chance of a brain bleed and help the blood clot if needed. We are generally of the mindset that the less interventions done the better. Based on this we decided to refuse the vitamin k shot. The typical statement you will find regarding vitamin k levels in newborns is that they all are low.  These low levels are in comparison to the levels found in adults. We feel that if all babies are born with low vitamin k then there is probably a reason for it, and if every newborn has "low" levels, then is it really low? Our pediatrician even said that jaundice is so common that there is probably a medical reason that it happens right after birth. Blog post here with more information.

Another standard procedure done is the administration of the Hepatitis B shot. We felt very strongly that there was no need for our newborn to be vaccinated against a STD. For this same reason we refused the eye drops. These are also given to protect against sexually transmitted disease while being delivered vaginally. From what I have read a lot of these procedures are in place to cover people who come in with little to no medical care prior to labor to protect those babies. The mother is typically tested for Hep B and other STD's prior to birth. If you have Hep B or an STD, then there may be good reason to have these things done to your newborn right after birth. However, if you do not then there is no valid medical reason to receive either. More information here.

We also decided to have our baby room in with us. The only time he went to the nursery was for his pediatrician check up. We were committed to breastfeeding and knew that the more he was with me at the beginning the better. There is lots of information out there supporting the idea that the more skin to skin contact early on the better your milk supply will be.

Lastly, we decided to wait until the eighth day to be circumcised. There are different policies in different states but in Virginia they do it in the hospital the day after the baby is born. In the Bible God mandates circumcision to be done on the 8th day and now we know that there is a medical reason for that. Blood clotting in babies doesn't reach its peak until 8 days after birth and is often even slightly higher than your normal 100% levels. Because we did not have it performed in the hospital we had to do some research in order to find someone to do it. After calling around synagogues seeing who they use for a Mohel, Aaron found a gynecologist in Virginia Beach that also performed circumcisions. When we went for the appointment the doctor sat down with us to tell us how it works. He has been doing circumcisions for 34 years and has never had any complications. Apparently there is a technique used frequently in hospitals that requires the babies to be pinned to the table for 10 minutes (Which is probably why the parents aren't allowed in). Aaron went into the room with the doctor for the procedure which took about 2 minutes. I came in right after (I didn't think I could watch) and was allowed to nurse him immediately following. Because we were getting him circumsized we decided to do an oral vitamin k at the pediatrician. This was given in three doses. This was done more to appease the pediatrician than the the feeling that he needed it. God designed our bodies to be able to cope with these things. If you are interested in getting the vitamin k shot regardless, some hospitals do offer the oral alternative. We felt comfortable with this option because so much less of the vitamin is absorbed when taken orally than as a shot and when you research the levels of vitamin k in the shot, it is astonishing how high it is.

Right away in the hospital I knew we were going to have trouble breastfeeding. After Eli's cord was cut we tried to get him to latch without much luck. After moving to our recovery room we tried again with the help of the nurse. He didn't want to open his mouth very wide and once he did was a little lazy about it. It took at least 10 minutes to get him to latch each time. The first month of breastfeeding will have to be a whole other post... Sitting here at 10 weeks after I can tell you that all the hard work (and blood and tears) were definitely worth it.

I had heard over and over again that the first two weeks were the hardest. Knowing that going in was definitely helpful. It gave me hope that it would get a little easier. I would say the hardest part was and is constantly questioning myself. I had such a hard time knowing when he was hungry vs tired and I felt like such a failure. Since moving away from Washington I hadn't been working and was getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night most of my pregnancy. I was SO worried about the sleep deprivation. I NEED my sleep. I knew ahead of time that babies needed to eat every two hours but it hadn't really sunk in. Eli would nurse for at least 40 minutes a side at the beginning, which meant barely an hour in between feedings. On top of the painful breastfeeding I was not prepared for how SORE I would be! I used a squat bar during labor and was very body sore through my back and arms. Also my lady parts were very tender for at least a month. Thank GOODNESS Aaron had two weeks of paternity leave (very rare in the Navy). He would take Eli as soon as I was done nursing so I could get some sleep. Those two weeks are very hazy to me now... We were both very enamored of him though and spent a lot of time just staring at him.

1 week old Elijah

Next I will go into more detail about our breastfeeding journey (so far). We struggled at first but have come out on top! I am so glad and even more committed to the joy of breastfeeding.