Apr 9, 2007

Give me more advice

Along with the yam recipes that you can suggest at the end of the previous post, I also need your help with baby knowledge.

Hear ye, baby people! If you own a baby or know anything about them, help me by telling me what to buy in advance of a newborn's arrival. For example, I know I need diapers and a place to change the baby, but I doubt we need a crib right away. We need some type of bassinet and a bouncy seat thing? What kind? What kind of stroller is good? I don't like huge ones, but I suppose we shouldn't get a flimsy one, either. A plastic tubby? What else might we not think of? Do we need a humidifier? Does everyone use a baby monitor, and if so, what type is best?

You're helping a woman who occasionally gets information overload. Sometimes if I go to buy a stick of deodorant, I have to stand in the aisle and smell each kind to see which one is the most "me" and which one I can deal with the best for the next two months. I'm not trying to be difficult and waste time, I'm just a victim of the great bounty of products and information available to us all. (See previous post about why I do my grocery shopping online.)

Help me, please.


Blogger karen opined...

the hospital will give you tons of diapers- i wouldn't buy too many in advance because you don't know what size he'll need or which brand you'll prefer. around here we were luvs or pampers people.
get some wipes- the costco ones are good- but you don't need the wipe warmer no matter what people tell you.
we always had lili in a crib in her own room, because there just wasn't room for a bassinet in our room. we got the kind of crib that converts to a toddler bed- she's still in it at almost 4. so that was a good investment.
anything you're wondering about, check amazon reviews and the consumer reports website. they list they're professional tests plus real parents post comments, which is sometimes the most helpful thing.
lili was obsessed with her fisher price aquarium bouncy seat. we've loaned it out to a ton of people and it's still working great.
you'll probably want the "travel system" which is the infant car seat that attaches to a stroller. a local hospital or fire department will install the carseat for you, free. don't try to do it yourself, you'll go crazy.
after he grows into a toddler carseat you can still use the stroller from the travel system. we still use ours- sometimes lili's not even in it. i use it for shopping bags, groceries, etc. it's a godsend in the airport. just throw all the bags in the stroller & carry the kid.
the flimsy strollers are called umbrella strollers, and you can't put kids in them until they're at least 3 months old, i think.
get the head support thing for the carseat, so he's not all floppy.
everyone and their mother will give you blankets, toys, books, towels, and clothes, so if you don't want to go shopping for any specific ones, don't bother. get some bodysuits, though. in the beginning the last thing you'll want to do is get him all dressed in an actual outfit- so nerve-wracking and time-consuming. bodysuits (aka "onesies" "creepers", etc.) are so easy.
get some extra hangers for all the clothes you'll get.
you might want to get extra receiving blankets, too. you can use them as anything- lap pads for exploding diapers, bibs, etc. pampers disposable "bibsters" are great too.
my favorite thing for bathing lili when she was tiny was this foam thing in the shape of a bear. she never had a full-on bath until she was like 4 months. we just sponged her on the foam thing, and she was fine.
i hope hope hope you'll breastfeed (it's the most rewarding thing i've ever done!) and you'll need a breast pump- rent the good, electric ones from the hospital. later, when your milk flow goes down you can get a battery powered one from target or wherever. curel (i think) makes the best breast pads. they're disposable. gerber makes great milk storage bags that you can pop in the fridge or freezer. medela makes the best nursing bras. i'd get 3. one that's washing, one that's drying, one that you're wearing.
you'll want some bottles on hand even if you don't do formula. the avent ones are great, as are the avent pacifiers. people will tell you about "nipple confusion" but lili never had a prob switching between bottle & breast, and using a pacifier.
it sounds unneccesary, but i loved our bottle drying rack. it also dries pacifiers and breast pump supplies.
books i couldn't live w/o as a new mom- dr. spock's classic- he's so calming. tracy hogg's "secrets of the baby whisperer." cheesy title, but great help.
you'll want lots of film and photo albums.
for a changing table we got one that has shelves on the bottom, which when he's in diapers can be used to store supplies, then when he's older you can use it as a bookcase or something.
i would get both a cold & hot air humidifier. if you ever need one you'll be glad you had it on hand.
you'll get soooooo much stuff at the hospital- first aid kit, nail clippers, all those things that when you're at a baby store you wonder "do we need this?"
oh, make sure you get a medicine dropper. baby tylenol doesn't come with one. get an extra nose aspirator- the hospital will probly give you one, and you'll want one for home & diaper bag. get an extra thermometer too.
we used a baby monitor even though she was right across the hall. the first one we got was by "first years." it sucked.
hope i didn't overload you. i'll let you know if i think of anything else.
oh- i know some people are against the sleep positioner, but it made me more comfortable knowing she was sleeping on her back like she's supposed to.
you gotta have something to get rid of the diaper smell. we used the playtex diaper genie, but i know there's newer stuff out there.
you might want a pack & play (playyard/playpen.) he can play in it while you're working, plus it's foldable to carry as a vacation crib.
i didn't babyproof until she started crawling- you can do it earlier though of course. get some outlet plugs and gates.
you might want a snugli- front carrier for you. it's nice to have your hands free.
we borrowed a swing from a friend because so many kids don't like them. lili preferred her bouncy seat.
"child" magazine is the best, imo. doesn't make me feel guilty about anything, and it still treats me like an adult person, not just a mom.

2:13 AM  
Blogger AEW opined...

What Karen said.

OK, maybe a few things from me, too. You can get all this and more at either Babies R Us (yuk, but you can't avoid it!) or Target. You should wait on buying a lot of stuff until you really need it, though; all this junk can really add up.

(A caveat: we co-sleep, so I don't have any recommendations for cribs or sleep positioners. Megan gave me a Pack-n-Play, but we haven't used it. Maybe when EEK is more mobile it'll be good for naps. I have friends who really like the "Co-Sleeper," which is a half-crib that attaches to your bed. Good for breastfeeding if you don't want to get up a million times in the night and also if you don't want DG in your bed but want him close.)

(Additionally, we don't use a baby monitor, since our floor plan is rather open, and, um, because EEK can rarely ever sleep by herself, anyway. You might consider one if DG is on the third floor and you are on the first, though.)


+ Graco Snugride infant car seat. Rated best by Consumer Reports. Get one of the floppy head/seat belt pad insert sets for the first three months so DG doesn't swim in it. See Karen's note about the "travel system" -- the frame for the Graco is about $50. We got a Britax Marathon adjustable car seat, too, that EEK can use from now until she's 4. And totally have the hospital install whatever you buy. It seems straightforward enough, but the instructions are written by aliens as a way to force you to get the hospital to do it.

+ A few packs of newborn diapers (6 - 10 lbs) with the umbilical cord notch. Huggies makes the best. After EEK outgrew them, we switched to Tushies from Whole Foods. No chlorine or gel dessicant or DISNEY CHARACTERS. Seriously, watch out for all the advertising on mainstream baby products. Horrible! We also like G-Diapers washable covers with flushable inserts. No landfill waste! (I didn't do the hospital, so I don't know about the free diaper thing...)

+ Alcohol pads for cleaning DG's belly button. Even after the umbilical stump falls off, all kinda crap gets in there, including poop.

+ Disposable Chux underpads or similar (marketed to incontinent adults; located by the maxi pads). Great to put down on the changing pad for the first few weeks as you get used to hugely messy diaper changes. Also, you can sleep on them while you're still oozing stuff.

+ Changing pad. You don't necessarily need a changing table if you have a more convenient flat surface. We bought a dresser at IKEA that matches our bed frame and we keep all of EEK's diapers and clothes in it. The changing pad from Babies R Us came with mounting hardware.

+ One pack of Depends and a few packs of jumbo maxi pads. Honestly, the Depends are really convenient during those first few days. Put the maxi pads in the freezer if your stitches are bugging you.

+ Witch hazel (Tucks pads) to clean stitches and deal with hemorrhoids (don't think you won't get at least one!) Also, baby wipes are better than toilet paper in the first week. Just don't flush them.

+ All wipes are pretty much the same, unless you want the chlorine free ones. See Whole Foods for those. Ditto what Karen said about the wipes warmer. We got one as a gift and gave it to Goodwill.

+ Gerber cloth diapers to use as spit-up cloths.

+ A few kimono-style onesies. Bodysuits. A few receiving blankets. Jammies. Maybe some pants. Karen's right -- everyone will give you clothes, and you don't want to mess with outfits in the beginning. Old Navy has the best deals on normal-looking baby clothes, though.

+ Medela or Bravado nursing bras and TANKS. Oh, how I love nursing tanks. Also, a pull-aside nursing bra for sleeping.

+ Are you indeed breastfeeding? If so, a Medela Pump In Style electric pump. The battery-powered one isn't suction-y enough for me. Buy two power adapters so you don't have to lug just the one back and forth -- it's the heaviest part of the kit. Avent bottles and nipples (silicone!). Medela storage containers and freezer bags. Lansinoh nipple cream for the first week, when you crack and bleed. Trust me, the hurting part passes quickly and DG will forever be grateful that you stuck with it!

+ Jumbo waterproof pads (literally called that at Target) if you are breastfeeding in bed. Put one under the sheet so your mattress doesn't get ruined from milk and pee leaks. Easier to clean than an entire waterproof mattress pad.

+ Silicone pacifiers. Nipple confusion is a lie -- go for it or you will become a human pacifier. Just ask me.

+ Gentle laundry detergent (Ecover, Ecos, Seventh Generation). Do not buy Dreft ("pediatrician recommended for babies") -- it is chemical-laden crap. And wash all of baby's clothes before he wears them.

+ Munchkin bottle brush and bottle drying rack for bottles, pacifiers, and pump parts. First Years bottle sterilizer if you don't have a dishwasher.

+ Gerber washable breastpads are good if you're worried about more landfill trash. If not, Lansinoh disposables work well.

+ Tiny Love Gymini "activity gym" or similar. Get extra rings to use later for attaching teethers to strollers and car seats and carriers.

+ Sling or Baby Bjorn or BOTH. Babywearing has helped us through colic, reflux, and now teething crabbiness.

+ First aid kit with nail clippers and bulb aspirator. Again, I didn't go to the hospital, but most good kits are about $10.

+ Bouncy seat and swing. Get these from Craig's List or borrow from pals if you can, since both are expensive and DG may not like them. In fact, I may have a swing for you.

+ Baby bath. Yes, you can do it in the sink, but it's awkward and there's always the threat of baby's head banging against the faucet.

+ Diaper can. We just use a regular old plastic trash can, but most people use a Diaper Genie, which basically stuffs the diapers down a long, intestinal tract the winds in on itself and smells like baby powder.

+ California Baby calming diaper-area wash. Like magic on all rashes and cuts. At Whole Foods and really expensive but worth it. We also give EEK regular massages with Burt's Bees apricot oil. Happy baby!

+ Our pediatrician recommended a warm air vaporizer instead of a cool mist humidifier, since it vaporizes germs when it turns water to steam. Also, vaporizers are good for colds and croup and they're much cheaper.


+ High chair. We just got one that attaches to a chair. Nicely space saving.

+ Silicone starter spoons and shatterproof bowls

+ Bibs

+ The Bumbo Seat has been fun

+ Activity saucer. Also lots of fun.

+ Johnny Jump-up. Fun!!

+ Jog stroller. We also have a lightweight Maclaren travel stroller. The big one is good for long, hiking-type walks, and the little one is good for shopping. EEK refuses to go anywhere in her car seat bucket.


+ Brain, Child mag

+ Mothering mag

+ Dr. Sears' "The Baby Book" (awkward Martha moments included)

+ LaLeche League's "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding"

(Somehow, I don't think all of this is helping you with your information overload...)

10:21 PM  
Blogger Capella opined...

Honestly, the Depends are really convenient during those first few days. Put the maxi pads in the freezer if your stitches are bugging you... Witch hazel (Tucks pads) to clean stitches and deal with hemorrhoids (don't think you won't get at least one!)...electric pump...crack and bleed....Nipple confusion ...milk and pee leaks

Annoying baby whisper now totally silent.

11:05 PM  
Anonymous Barrak Pressler opined...

I offer no baby advice, only proof that I google myself way too often. See comment on the original post for more ramblings from someone you oddly remember as an NJB.

11:14 PM  
Blogger AEW opined...

Wow, Barrack Pressler knows about my hemorrhoids now.

OK, one thing I forgot: the bouncing exercise ball. But I already told you about that, right?

Also, a nursing pillow might be handy. The Boppy is too small and tackily covered; I got the "luxurious" pillow by Bosom Baby. There is also the unfortunately named "My Brest Friend." It looks really stiff.

Did I mention I love BabyCenter.com?

Ack, stop me!

(Capella, it's totally worth the indiginity.)

11:50 PM  
Blogger AEW opined...

Oy, I mean Barrak!

11:51 PM  
Blogger lil miss dubin opined...

You need a tiny t-shirt that says, "I'm a little crabby. Catalina Island. DEAN." That's it.

1:35 AM  
Blogger Dubin opined...

I'm scared. I'm seriously having anxiety. I'm going to have a huge baby with a giant cantaloupe head and one million "stitches" god knows where. I am going to "ooze stuff" and find out exactly what a hemmorhoid is. This is the beginning of a new era of grossness from which I will never recover. My body will begin to fail me and I will slowly start to use it up. Although this is part of a natural life cycle, I am not ready to start dying yet!

Somebody give me a paper bag.

10:25 AM  
Blogger AEW opined...

Dood, say good-bye to your vanity.

It's a good thing, actually. I'm starting to befriend all that blubber around my middle. Besides, with a baby around, who has TIME to worry about a hemorrhoid or two? You're gonna be a mom, for crissakes -- who cares if they put stitches in your choo-choo??

(p.s., does Teej know you're never going to have sex again?)

3:26 PM  
Blogger karen opined...

yeah, there will be some interesting stuff coming out of you after the birth. i was wearing gigantic maxi pads for like 2 or 3 weeks. no one warned me ahead of time, and i was shocked. so i'm warning you.

i had a c-section (not my choice,) but i healed incredibly well and fast. i wish my recovery on every new mom. i was walking around within 24 hours, and my staples fell out on their own. i felt like my scar was a foot long, but it was only 4 inches, and it's so low that i can wear a bikini still. but i don't! if you do get a c-section, just make sure to keep your scar dry or it will itch like a mutha. i would stand in front of a portable fan and get the area super dry, then sprinkle cornstarch all over. so sexy.

i got hemmorhoids during preg, but not after. and i never used tucks pads. i just kind of learned to live w/ them...

i NEVER breastfed in public and i exclusively breastfed for 19 months. i'd just pump into a bottle before we went somewhere. it can be done. anti-breastfeeding people will tell you it can't though. don't get me started...

my nipples never cracked or bled.

yeah, dreft sucks and it costs a fortune. playtex makes the best sippy cups (when he's over a year old) and they're not all licensed creppy characters. babies r us sucks too. i wish there was someplace that had their selection but was more charming.

we love the highchair that fits on chairs, think ours is by first years. so space-saving, and great for vacation & restaurants.

swore by aquaphor & a&d ointment for diaper rash. also a great mommy moisturizer and lipbalm.

there will be so many things you'll want to remember in those first few days. a friend of mine does something genius- gets a blank calendar & when something big happens (slept through night, said mama, first tooth, etc) you write a brief description on the calendar. then you can go back later & embellish via journal, scrapbook, etc.

LOVE babycenter.com too. obsessed with voting on people's name ideas.

get some pedialyte to have on hand, it's for vomiting & diarrhea. you don't want to go out in the middle of the night to get some.

love aveeno's creams- great for dry baby parts. and again- great mommy lotion.

are you registered anywhere yet? get to it- i wanna buy you stuff!

have some little plastic spoons & bowls (gerber or the store brands are good) on hand so when you get the go-ahead to start solid food (around 3-4 months) you can start right away.

my boobs were too big for the boppy pillow. i never could get the hang of nursing in bed, and i never did the nursing across my body hold. i held lili under my arm like a football. you will love how your boobs look when your milk comes in! big but perky.

so many people have been alienated from your blog after my & aew's posts! :)

have you read "operating instructions" by anne lamott? "zygote chronicles" by suzanne finnamore? they'll make you feel good.

11:21 PM  
Blogger AEW opined...

I hesitated about mentioning all the gross stuff, Karen, since I wasn't sure Dubin would want her regular readers imagining her oozing and the like, but I wish I'd known better what to expect during that first month. I read all about what baby would be going through, but I didn't think about how my body would be affected. Pregnancy was just so heavenly for me -- as was the birth, really, since I got to do it at home -- that I didn't think much past it. And it wasn't like the post-partum period was terrible or anything -- I just didn't anticipate all the, well, chunks and stuff.

I've been breastfeeding in public for five months now. That's why I love nursing tanks -- throw a button-up shirt or cardigan over one and discreet pit-stops are pretty easy. Plus, I've gotten pretty adept at nursing in the Bjorn and sling. That's pretty much the only advantage to being nearly flat-chested -- there's nothing spilling out in public. I don't know if I'd feel as comfortable if I was actually noticeably nursing. People can't seem to tell. EEK is both a voracious eater and an eager non-nutritive sucker (see my earlier comment about pacifiers), so I've grown pretty adept at nursing in all places and configurations. My sister-in-law breastfeeds and does bottles in public, though, and it works really well for her, too.

Dubes, are you registering? I need to return the Bjorn favor and then some.

12:30 PM  
Blogger AEW opined...

Oh, and to further monopolize this space with babynauseum, have you seen NameVoyager? Hours of entertainment. (It's pretty much the only interesting thing I've gleaned from Cookie magazine, which is otherwise just a glossy inducement to turn you child into an accessory.)

12:45 PM  
Blogger karen opined...

thanks aew! namevoyager will be fun!

1:53 AM  
Blogger Spungen opined...

I'm scared. I'm seriously having anxiety. I'm going to have a huge baby with a giant cantaloupe head and one million "stitches" god knows where. I am going to "ooze stuff" and find out exactly what a hemmorhoid is. This is the beginning of a new era of grossness from which I will never recover.

Dubin, I had a baby seven months ago and I have never had a hemmorhoid. I did not get any stretch marks on my stomach. I returned to my pre-pregnancy weight within a week. (Caveat: I needed to drop 20 before I got pregnant.)

For about six weeks I didn't really want to think about that area, except insofar as I had to wash with that weird little bottle every time I went to the bathroom. And the chunky post-partum period. But now things are surprisingly the same as before. In fact I had been looking forward to a roomier situation, but that did not happen. I suppose it should not be surprising that the area rebounds quickly.

I planned for natural birth. My plans were disrupted when pre-eclampsia caused the doctors to decide to induce birth on the night my third Lamaze class was planned (the one about inducing birth). I had my husband bring the green ball but it was not to be. Instead I had to lie in a bed for 24 hours, hooked up to things. It happened 3 1/2 weeks before my due date, and that's not even considered premature. Which means it's good starting the third trimester to have your bag packed wth nursing bras, big light comfy nightgowns and robes, and slippers/waterproof sandals or flipflops. More than one pair. Oh, and something big but not maternity to wear home from the hospital.

As for baby purchases, I am scanning the comments to see if you say anything about your sleeping arrangements or breastfeeding plans.

9:42 PM  
Blogger Spungen opined...

Dubin, are you planning on working, and if so, how soon after birth? What sort of child care are you planning on using? That may affect what you buy for breastfeeding and some other supplies you need if you'll be taking the baby out a lot.

The Boppy is too small and tackily covered; I got the "luxurious" pillow by Bosom Baby. There is also the unfortunately named "My Brest Friend."

I concur, Brest Friend is better and better-looking than Boppy. BF is flat, while Boppy is round. Although Boppy was useful for sitting up the tiny baby.

Diapers: Couldn't tell the difference between Pampers and Huggies.

Make sure you've got something to trim his nails with. It will be very scary, because his fingers are so tiny! Maybe get a tiny nail file as well, in case you're too scared to clip. But you'll need to trim or file often. There are mittens to stop him from scratching, but my son always managed to yank those off pretty quickly.

Someone mentioned kimonos. Those are nice; at first you won't like pulling anything over the baby's little head. But you'll get used to it. I bought some nice ones online here: http://www.tinybirdsorganics.com/organiccotton/BabyKimonoOnesies.html

I have never used any lotion or powder on him. Nurses and doctors recommended against it. We use Dove Free for his baths. He's never had any skin problems, except the acne they get the first few weeks.

Did anyone mention about how babies can't sleep with blankets? You can swaddle them, but they can't just have a blanket like normal people. If it's cold the best thing is to zip them into a fuzzy suit or sack. "Halo" is one brand.

Although we had many clothes, almost nothing was small enough the first few weeks (he was less than six pounds). We had to use special attachments in the car seat, and he still looked like a limp little wad in it.

10:02 PM  
Blogger Amanda Bee opined...

Alls I know is that Pit was totally opposed to the little seat/bed thing that you turn on and it plays music and whirrs about but then she wound up with one anyhow and Magnus would just stare at it until he got tired of staring and feel asleep.

You know you are supposed to wash everything before he wears it, right? I
think AEW covered that, and the part about chemical laden crap. Oliver had insane exema until my family finally eliminated all the chemical laden crap in the washing machine.

(are you having a baby shower?)

If you don't have a stroller yet when the baby comes, big whoop.

What you really need is a spare battery for your cell phone and AEW's number programmed into it. Your sister is coming out to spend the first two weeks with you, right?

If you decide your (nipples|choo-choo|son's butt) is raw, you call AEW and ask what you should send your sister out to buy.

And then Amber is coming to whisk you off to Vermont where there will actually be about six mothers of babies and you can drown in advice.

Like I know ...

9:56 AM  
Blogger AEW opined...

Lil' Dubes, as long as you know where to find the nearest Walgreens/Babies R Us/etc. and can conjur take-out and doughnuts on command, you will be the hero of the household. (Two weeks! What luxury.)

Keep the vacuum handy to quell any uncontrollable crying (on DG's part; it won't work on adults) and call me any time. Or Avril. Or Karen. Or Sarah. Or Mandy. So many moms to consult!

Heeee. I'm so excited. I would say hurry up already, but of course we don't want an undercooked green bean.

p.s., Dubin, please post something new. I am embarrassed about how many times I've replied to this post.

9:11 PM  
Blogger Amanda Bee opined...

I made that up about Lil'Dub's two week visit, by the way.

9:41 PM  
Blogger hilsbells opined...

um, first off. whoa. i've learned more just now about birthing than I have being an aunt three times over. i'm sending flowers to my mom and sister right now.

second, dub - you got some peeps close by that can visit to help with crazy shopping for all kinds of stuff if you need the help.....it's a hefty list.

9:31 AM  
Blogger karen opined...

i haven't been out of ks/mo in 2 years. i'll come help you after the baby's born. seriously. call me if you need ANYTHING. philly's close to nyc, right?! :)

2:20 AM  

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