Friday, May 17, 2013

Baby Registry

Whenever I was pregnant with Morgan, I realized I knew NOTHING about baby gear.  I was like 'okay so I need a crib, stroller, and bottles right?'


Tiny humans require more gear than a person climbing Mt. Everest.  Registering for baby stuff can be overwhelming, especially if you spent your entire life avoiding anything having to do with babies (like me).  I realized I was absolutely clueless when it came to babies, so I reached out to my mommy friends for advice.  Then it was my turn to help my pregnant friends when it came time for registering (baby wipe warmer, meh, not really; margarita maker, yes definitely).  I have sent several emails to friends consisting of 'the list' and now I'm going to blog it for everyone. 

Items will be listed as they randomly come to mind (as I look around my house, which looks like a Fisher Price / Graco monster barfed all over)

SWING - it is a MUST.  I have a Graco and it has survived two chunky babies.  It has 5 speeds, reclines for when they are lifeless lumps that just stare at the ceiling, has a tray and safety belt for when they are crazy and need to be restrained for a few minutes while you run to the bathroom, plays music and makes weird sounds that babies love, like a heart beating.

TRAVEL SYSTEM - 5 years ago I would have been like uhhhh what?  A 'travel system' consists of a stroller, carrier, and carrier base.  I'm on my 2nd travel system, buying Eddie Bauer both times.  I love EB strollers.  Loved the first EB carrier we used for Morgan but not as crazy about the one we had for Jack; they changed where the slots are located on the bottom making it hard to put in shopping carts.  You don't necessarily need an extra base for addition cars because the base is easy to to pop in and out.  Just make sure you install it correctly.  Or you'll have carseat Nazis hexing you; trust me, there are plenty of them out there. 

CAR SEAT - After your bundle of joy graduates from the carrier, you will need a car seat.  You need one that is rear and front facing, because children are supposed to be rear facing until they are about 5 and front facing until they are 18 and ready for college.  Wait, that's not right.  Rear facing until at least age 1 and 20 pounds (I think?  It depends on your state law) and front facing until 40 lb 40 inches then they can graduate to a booster seat.  We have an Eddie Bauer car seat that we LOVE.  We used it for Morgan until she turned 4 and now Jack uses it.

UMBRELLA STROLLER - because sometimes you just don't want to take the 'monster truck stroller' as I call it.

CRIB - We bought one of those cribs that you can turn into a bed but honestly I'm not sure if it will actually ever be used as that; nobody wants a headboard with teeth marks all over it.  Our crib and matching dresser came from JC Penney, we used it for Morgan and now Jack is using it.  Make sure your crib passes all current safety standards.

MOBILE - because the kid needs distraction as you sneak out of the room.  Keep it simple; try to remember this is the place where your child is supposed to sleep, not party.

BLANKETS - about 5 basic thin blankets, 3 soft bigger blankets, and hopefully you know somebody that can crochet because they make the BEST baby blankets (*cough* I sell crochet baby blankets...)

SHEETS - about 3-4 sheets, I recommend white so you can bleach them.

CRIB SET - some people are against bumpers...I'm not.  Morgan had the thickest bumper I've ever seen.  Both of my kids had bumpers.  Their sets were ordered from Amazon.  Sets usually include: sheet, blanket, bumper, and dust ruffle.

BOPPY PILLOW - it's a U-shaped pillow that helps you hold your baby and that you can use to prop your baby up...especially to take pictures.

BOPPY PILLOW COVER - yeah...because who wants a naked pillow?

BREAST PUMP - ya know, if you're into that kinda thing.  I highly recommend Medela and Ameda.

BOTTLES - for Morgan I had to use Dr. Brown bottles (good for colic and acid reflux babies) but they are EVIL to clean - they have 7 parts to wash!  For both kids I used Medela bottles.  For Jack I use Gerber bottles with Dr. Brown nipple.  A lot of people really like the Playtex bottles with liners - you just throw the liner away and don't have to wash the bottle every time it is used.  I also have used Ameda bottles and liked them, but they only hold 4 oz.

BOTTLE BRUSH - you need at least 2 of them, because they don't last forever!

BOTTLE WARMER - mehhh, I used one with Morgan for a while.  With Jack I just used the microwave.

BREAST MILK STORAGE BAGS - any of them honestly, I used them all and I just recommend going with something cheaper.

BOTTLE DRYING RACK - get one that looks cool because it takes up space on your counter for a year.

BABY SPOONS - I love the longer ones by Munchkin because they fit down into the jar without getting my fingers nasty.

SIPPY CUP - I like Tommee Tippee.

PACIFIERS - these can be tricky; you don't know if you're little one will be picky.  Morgan only liked Soothies.  Jack would only take the NICU Soothie that you CAN'T BUY ANYWHERE! for months but now he takes whatever.  I like Avent the best.

PACIFIER CLIP - because you really don't want that thing to fall on the floor / ground if possible.

HIGH CHAIR - ours is by Graco and we've used it for both kids.  I really like it.  My mom has a high chair that straps to a dining room chair which is pretty cool, because you can take it with you to places that might not have a high chair.

PACK N PLAY - it's the modern version of the playpen.  Ours is by Graco and we like it.  It's easy to use and it folds up small and stores under a bed. 

CLOTH DIAPERS - to use as burp cloths!!! 

DIAPER BAG - I am currently using a thirty-one bag and I really like it.

JUMPAROO - once again, 5 years ago I would have been like whaaaat?  But now I know it can be a parent's BFF.  You stick your baby in it and he/she jumps and you watch and laugh.  And eventually you realize you can stick your darling in there and go get something done, like use that margarita maker.  Ours is by Fisher Price.

EXERSAUCER - sort of like a jumparoo but the baby doesn't jump; it just allows baby to stand upright, pivet around and play with all the attachments.  I like these because you can take them to the yard and stick your darling in it while you pull weeds or drink that margarita.

DIAPER GENIE - not sure what it's a 'genie' exactly, because if you rub it nothing exciting happens.  It's basically a special trash can that you shove dirty diapers into and it contains the smell.  You will also need diaper genie refills - the plastic bags that hold the dirty diapers.  Arm & Hammer also makes one.

BATH TUB - believe it or not, your baby won't be able to sit up for a while.  Lame right?  I mean come on, baby horses are like running around and hour after they are born.  So you need a special tub.  Ours has a little sling that fits inside it for infants, then you can take the sling out and baby can sit in it (or try to stand...or take a poop...)

BABY WASH CLOTHS - you need at least 10

BABY HOODED TOWELS - don't get a bunch because they outgrow them quickly; maybe about 3-4.  Then you need toddler hooded towels (we have several Jumping Bean brand from Kohls and love them).

BABY TOILETRIES - Desitin / A & D ointment for diaper rash (I really like creamy Desitin); Johnson & Johnson head to toe wash (it's very mild, I use it on both kids; don't use things with lavender in them and so forth until you know your baby doesn't have allergies or sensitive skin); baby lotion, Aquaphor (for all the random skin issues your baby will have, I love this stuff!), baby powder.

THERMOMETER - I have an ear one and a forehead scan one and I use them both every time I check the kids temps.

NAIL CLIPPERS - their nails grow crazy fast and you need special ones.

NOSE SUCKER THING - yeah I'm not sure what it's actually called, but you know what I mean right?

BUMBO SEAT - most babies love them, mine didn't...their fat legs got stuck in them and it was just nothing but drama.

BOUNCER SEAT - back to that whole issue of your baby not being able to sit up for a while...the bouncer seat is awesome.  You can carry it around the house (not with your baby in it!!) to use in various situations...'here baby watch me wash baby watch me use the baby watch me make margaritas...' ours is by Fisher Price and it vibrates and has an attachment with dangling things on it.

PAPASAN SEAT - or whatever they are called's a snugglier version of the bouncer.  Morgan actually slept in one for 3 months; it really helped her acid reflux.  And it vibrates; just make sure you have plenty of batteries, otherwise you'll be shaking that thing at 3am trying to get your baby to sleep...

BABY CARRIER - sometimes you just want to be hands free!  I have an Infantino one for Morgan but she hated it because she got too hot...and because basically she hated everything...and for Jack I used a Moby wrap - those things are really cool!

FLOOR GYM - sounds intense right?  Got a mental image of your baby doing squats?  Well it's not really a 'gym' at all; it's basically something to stick your baby in that has a light show, music, and random things hanging down for baby to play with (sounds more like a Phish concert than a gym).

TUMMY TIME MAT - you'll learn quickly that tummy time is important.

GLIDER CHAIR - make sure it's comfy because you'll be spending a LOT of time in it.

DIAPERS - various sizes from NB - 5; Huggies, Pampers, Luvs - you might as well register for brand name diapers because when you're buying them on your own you'll learn which generics work best.  We use Member's Mark by Sam's Club.

WIPES - anything unscented.  Your baby's skin is so sensitive!  We love Member's Mark by Sam's Club over anything else.  I use them for everything...wiping butts, faces, hands, cleaning my couch, getting stains out of shirts, cleaning out my oven...

GOWNS / SLEEPERS - gowns are AWESOME for the first few months.  It is much easier to pull a gown up at 3am and change a diaper rather than wrestle with snaps on a sleeper.  But you will need sleepers too. 

MONITOR -We used a basic one that just picks up sounds.  Some people have high tech ones with cameras and tv screens so they can monitor baby from their iPhone.  It's just really whatever you feel like you need for your own sanity. 

BASSINET - Don't go buy one, but if somebody has one you can use, borrow it.  For Morgan we used the one that has been passed down in Michael's family and she hated it.  For Jack we decided we didn't have room for it and we used a Fisher Price Rock and Play instead, which he loved, and we loved because we could easily move it around the house and travel with it.

I feel like I'm forgetting stuff...I just told Michael I was writing a blog about what baby gear I recommend to new moms and he snickered and said 'liquor.'

Seriously, we are awesome parents.  Don't call a social worker.

There are lots of other little random things like teething rings, rattles, rubber duckies, but I tried to cover the big stuff and the necessities.  Do not register for clothes because clothing is usually seasonal and hard to find.

And if you have the opportunity to use hand me downs, do it!  Babies don't use this gear long enough honestly, and most of it is still basically brand new looking when you're finished with it.  Never use previously owned car seats unless you are 100% sure it has never been in an accident, and make sure it hasn't expired.  All carriers and car seats have an expiration date on the bottom.  And everything on baby gear comes apart to be washed and cleaned. now go register!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Allergic to Shopping

Every time I attempt to leave the house with both kids alone, it's epic.  The things that happen during these outings rarely occur whenever my husband is with us.  I mean of course, that would just be way too easy, ya know, for everything to fall apart when I have an extra set of hands.

Yesterday I HAD to go to the mall.  I had been putting it off because I have been sick and going anywhere with both kids requires a lot of energy.  But today was Morgan's preschool graduation ceremony.  She didn't graduate, but she was part of the ceremony, and I wanted to buy her teacher and aide an appreciation gift...something that says 'thank you for putting up with all of my child's quirks and for not judging me for wearing dollar store yoga pants and my hair in a bun when I drop off / pick up my child with or without a snot crusted baby on my hip' I rolled myself and the kiddos into some clothes, shoved a diaper bag and stroller into the car and took off towards the local mall. 

The shopping outing started off normal enough.  We had some mall pizza.  Then hit Bath & Body works where Jack got nervous and cried and needed a bottle and Morgan ran in circles holding a bottle of something pink and sparkly.  Jack finally passed out from 'girly store' overload so I pushed my luck and went into Macy's.  I slobbered over some Sperry flip flops (I can't find any logical reason for spending $50 on a pair of flops...but I love them!), hissed at Morgan for attempting to put shoes on a mannequin, and even had time to try on a few tops (why isn't my diet working?  oh yeah...mall pizza...) before Jack woke up.  He doesn't sleep well in a stroller.  Or in the car.  Or anywhere really other than his bed.  So we wrapped up the shopping trip in a primitive store where I sniffed every candle and Morgan claimed a little area of rustic furniture as her house and attempted to decorate it with random items.  Jack started crying so I made a candle selection and while handing over my credit card, the lady said 'ohhh, you're baby is bleeding!'  Sure enough, Jack had a nosebleed and had taken his hand and smeared it up his face into his hair, plus his cheeks were bright red.  Red cheeks and nosebleed?  Two symptoms of high blood pressure!  High blood pressure is what kept him in the NICU an extra week.  So I panicked a bit.  The store clerk offered me tissues and asked if I needed to call anybody but I assured her I was going to call his doctor as soon as I got to the car.  At the car I attempted to clean Jack's face while people walking by stared at us.  I mean seriously, haven't you people ever seen a crazy lady holding down a bloody baby in the back of an SUV before?  Mind your own business.  Plus Jack had peed through his diaper so I had to strip him down and change his diaper in the back of the Land Rover.  I strapped the kids into their seats, put on a DVD, and threatened Morgan that I would throw away every toy she owned if she wasn't quiet while I was on the phone.  I called our doctor's office and they were pretty much like 'how fast can you get here?'  So I call Michael and tell him what's going on, I sent out a few texts to friends for moral support, and while driving towards the medical center I had to assure Morgan that Jack is not dying and that he has on no pants because he peed in his and no she can't take her pants off too. 

The doctor's office closes at 5:00 and I got there around 4:30.  We were basically the last patients of the day.  I walk in carrying my pork chop of a baby, wearing only a diaper and tshirt, with dried blood and boogers across his face and bright red cheeks.  I told the nurse 'sorry he looks like he's been rolling around in a dumpster...but at least his sister looks cute!' and at that very moment Morgan is shoving a tissue into her mouth and says 'What?  I needed a snack!' when she catches us staring at her. 

Hey, I'm doing the best I can okay?  She likes to chew on toilet paper and tissues like bubble gum.  I don't give her gum and she doesn't actually EAT the paper (anymore), she just chews it and then it usually ends up in the cracks of my couch. 

So it turns out Jack's blood pressure was fine.  And the doctor couldn't find any reason for the nosebleed.  He assumes it just from all of the temperature changes we've had recently...heater on one day and then air conditioning the next...there's a reason it's called Mother Nature and not Father Nature; women are way more moody.  Since Jack has been coughing and has had a lot of nasal congestion, the doctor put him on an antibiotic.  He explained that he normally doesn't do that without proof of an actual infection, but Jack is a special case due to everything he's been through. 

Yay a prescription.  That meant I had to make yet another stop with the kiddos.  I went to what we call 'Gucci Kroger' because unlike the one closer to our house, Gucci Kroger offers fun things like a sushi bar and 2 aisles of toys.  As soon as we get there Morgan announces she has to pee.  AUUUGGGHHHH.  Public restrooms, yay!  I had no idea what I was going to do with Jack while I helped her, but thank goodness the bathroom had one of those child seats to strap him to the wall.  He thought it was hilarious...until I had to actually step away from him to help Morgan use the potty.  Then he screamed.  I heard a 'somebody's not happy!' from another stall and I wanted to yell 'oh he's been screaming ever since I took his meth away.'  After that I found myself at the 'create your own 6 pack' section.  Six different bottles of hard cider!  Score!  Can I start drinking in the checkout line?

So anyways...Jack is alive and well.  He has had small nosebleeds before, but this one was bad.  I assume he's just highly allergic to shopping.