Monday, April 2, 2012

Part 2. Items 16-22. Must-Have Items for Moms or "Baby Shower Registries are supposed to be fun, right?"

Continued from previous post...
It's the day you've been waiting for: baby registry day. A store clerk hands you the scanner wand, a folder of miscellaneous papers about child rearing, coupons for already overpriced items and a list of recommended things the store says you should add to your registry. All the good moms add these items; you're a good mom aren't you? So you take your wand and your enormous prego belly and with a false showing of confidence you pretend to know what you're doing. You scan the shelves trying to remember what your sister/mother/best-friend-who's-a-mom told you as you scout out what you think could possibly maybe be something like what you heard was good that one time. Half way through the first aisle you're totally overwhelmed, and underfed. As you reach into your purse for a granola bar to power yourself through to aisle #2 you can't quiet the questions swimming through your head: Why is a butt thermometer 50 dollars? How many gadgets do I need to accessorize my stroller? Do I have space for a play mat, play walker, exersaucer, bouncy chair and automated swing in my home? And who is this Bjorn guy and what makes him so great?

I can't promise that I have all the answers. No one person can pretend to have all the answers to our mom-related questions. But I have a list of items that I wish I would've had when I was registering. And if not when I was registering, I just wish I would've had them in general as I was starting out in my infant-care quest. And so, I bestow it to you. Hopefully this will help. 

Now where were we... right.

So, until your kid is self-propelled by his own little legs, you'll spend an inordinate amount of time plopping him in a variety of different places in an effort to keep him entertained. From mat to bouncy to swing to saucer and back again. Here is one of the must-have destinations for your soon-to-be-mobile baby. The exersaucer. These things help them strengthen and tone their little Michelin Man legs and there's typically an array of distractions that keep them busy for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Or, long enough for you to make a friggin sandwich and maybe even pee without toting them over your shoulder while you one-hand-palm the Charmin. We got this one which is great, except that my kid's way of playing with it is to disengage the toys from their base. He really likes to tear off the bird, try to eat it, then throw it on the floor. I can't distinguish if this is a design flaw in the exersaucer or the kid. In retrospect, I'd also like one with a few lights.

Oh for the love of savings. Here's the thing. Why spend eleventy-million dollars (seriously, the smallest, saddest storebrand ones are about 60 to 70 cents each and your kid will eat several a day) on jars of baby food when you can make your own with just a few minutes and for the price of a few sweet potatoes? If you're having trouble locating any additional free minutes in your day to do things like puree stupid fruits and vegetables, and this sounds like another claw-my-face-off kind of task that you have to complete at the end of a day already stretched as thin as the low-budget toilet paper you now have to buy thanks to the cost of daycare and diapers, then this item is for you. The Baby Brezza is a handy little machine that asks you only to chop your fruit and/or veggie and put it in the container. Then, if you can find the .001 seconds it takes to press a start button, this thing actually steams it and blends it in one hands-free effortless step. Brilliant. Then, you just pour your freshly pureed foods into these little containers and plop 'em in the freezer for future use.

From my experience, this thing is a magical must-have. Get the containers, storage system, cutting board and the spatula to accompany it.
SHHHHHHH SHH! The baby's sleeping!!!!!! One un-smooth move and you could be in a crap storm of a cry-baby cringe-fest. One villain of sweet sleepy baby silence? A cold, hard surface on a warm, soft butt. Get the changing pad for extra cush, but get the changing pad cover for extra "shush." I purchased two which is nice when one is in the wash. But not all covers are created equal. The one I bought from Target is far more plush (and shush) than the one I got at Walmart. Like the difference between berber carpet and a 1-inch shag. We got this one in blue:
19. Spoons
It took me four different spoon trials to figure this out, and so I bequeath this knowledge to you. Turns out there's an intricate science to spoon-feeding babies. Here's the basic rule to follow: The bigger the kid, the bigger the bowl at the end of the spoon. Right, seems obvious now, but when you're standing there with 27 different types of spoons merchandised before you, you begin to think... surely they can't be all that different. To which I would say, WRONG. "X" GETS THE SQUARE. You will want to register for two different types of spoons. One with virtually no bowl, like these Gerber bad boys, and then ones with a bigger bowl for when they're a little bit older and able to dip their little lip into the bowl to fish out all that delish pureed mishmash. These ones with the bigger bowl also change color when the food is too hot. Not sure what dimly lit parents aren't finger-testing their food before Chugga-choochooing it into their kids' mouths, but sure, I'll play along. We bought these by Nuby.

So here's another bit of new-mom know-how for you. When your kid is in Stage 1 and 2 diapers, go all Swaddlers all the time for the reasons that I mentioned in my first post. However, once your little pee-pod crosses over into the 3s, you're going to want to change it up. For some reason, those little Swaddlers just don't hold through the night like they used to. And for some reason, my kid pees more at night than any other time throughout the day. That's going to be fun when he's older. Anywho, register for Size 3 Pampers Baby Dry diapers. These things really pull the wetness away from the kid's skin and almost feel dry to the touch even when they're wet. Why is this important? Because having your kid wake up in the middle of the night screaming because his butt is swimming in a cesspool of pee can really make you feel like the worst parent in all the land. Take it from me and avoid that feeling with some friggin' Baby Dry diapers.

Note: Recently received some intel (see the comment section) that once the little stationary butts start scooting, you're going to want to graduate to the Pampers Cruisers. After that, the tide swells and you'll be begging for Huggies Goodnights. As far as registries go, you probably don't need to register for anything past Stage 3. Save yourself the storage. And by then, you'll have a good handle on momhood. The moral here: Diapers grow with the baby. You can't go exclusively by the weight on the side of the package to determine whether they will work the way you want them to for your munchkin. 

IF you are planning to nurse your baby AND you are planning to leave your home at any point during the next 12 months, you're going to need yourself a breast pump. If you're like I was, all of those items in the picture look very complicated-alien-contraption-like to you right now. But don't worry. You will become very familiar with them very soon. I'm not going to get all graphic about it and tell you how one brand of pump suckles better than the other because the truth is, I've only tried one. It was recommended to me by my sister who has three fab kids. And I will tell you, this one is expensive as H-E-Double Hockey Sticks, but good Lord is it worth it. I am not just a nursing mom, I am a working, nursing mom so this thing is the second must-have thing I grab after my colossal cup of coffee every morning. (What's that? Caffeine can be transferred through breast milk? Raspberries! Wet, sloppy, spittle-projecting raspberries.) So, register for this magical milk maker: The Medela On-The-Go Tote. You will not (NOT) be sorry. It comes with a little cooler to conceal your milk when you want to place it in the fridge next to Steve-the-Intern's lunch. And a battery pack for pumping on the go (like in the car while you're tailgating!). I can't say it enough: this is the one you want. Medela Pump In Style Advanced Breast Pump. Get it, get it good.

22. Pump it up pt. 2. Extra Medela Bottles and a Few Lansinoh Bags
So six months into this whole pumping process and I'm still learning. What did I learn this week? I've been wastefully squandering money on breastmilk bags that I've been purchasing every 2 weeks. Previously I was purchasing Lansinoh Breast Milk bags which are about $10 for a box of 50 bags. And if you pump about 4 times a day (if you're working) then that will cost you about $20+ per month. So I would pump into those little bottles pictured above, then dump the bottles into these glorified ziploc baggies and give them to daycare. 
Then I realized, why not just buy more of  those little bottles? They come with caps. I can pump into those, cap them and give them to daycare. Then if there's any left over at the end of the week, I can certainly pour it into a milk bag and put it in the freezer. This substantially cut costs. So, here's what I would recommend. I think 2-4 bottles come with the set above. But make sure you have a total of 10 to 12 little Medela bottles. It'll save you tons of money in the longrun. Then buy the breastmilk bags (whichever brand, (I bought Lansinoh b/c they were less expensive than Medela's) and only use them when you need them. There. Much smarter. 


  1. Love this Meg! Will be sending to some new moms I know!

    Watch out though on the Baby Dry!!! When he starts moving you will wish you'd paid a little extra for the Cruisers! Also, in a few months the nightly monsoon gets worse. The Huggies goodnights are BY FAR the BEST overnight diapers for high volume nighttime pee-ers!

  2. When he starts moving, I am definitely upgrading to the Cruisers. For now, the baby dry through the night is totally key. I'll add that as a note based on your reco!