Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Get Crafty: DIY Fabulous Baby Shower Cookie Favors

*Pre-scheduled post… no baby yet, but we all need distractions, right?*

This post was hard to categorize… It’s both kitchen and crafty!

Many weeks ago I was asked to assist a friend with some baby shower cookie favors. I don’t advertise myself as a cookie decorator, but I guess I’m getting good enough after a few fun Christmases of baking. I was given a batch of 3” homemade gingerbread baby carriage cookies (I have got to get this recipe!!) and given free reign to decorate them in boy colors. I used a confectioner’s sugar and meringue powder icing (maybe 1 tsp meringue powder to 1/2 cup powdered sugar?), and simply adjusted the consistency depending on whether I was making distinct lines or filling them in. I used pastry bags for the outlining and flooding, then a parchment paper cone for the detail work and to spare my hands from too much squeezing.

They started out naked:

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Then got some outlines:

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Then got some color:

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Then got some details:

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I think they turned out so cute!! I love that these are a really special but inexpensive favor. I’ve got another baby shower coming up for my sister-in-law and first ever nephew (I’m so excited to be an aunt!!) and I am hoping (if my own little baby complies with my plans) to try out some more baby-themed confections. I guess time will tell!

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Get Crafty: Homemade Ergo Baby Carrier Accessories?

After yesterday’s rant about being soooo impatient about this baby not being here yet, today I want to focus on something distracting and positive. Enviable baby gear!

This past weekend I went to yet another Mom2Mom Sale (useful for stocking up on quality baby gear for cheap but also a welcome distraction and time-killer for end-of-pregnancy moms with nothing else to do). After musing a while back about making my own soft structured baby carrier, I hit gold at this sale and walked (waddled?) away with a steal… an actual Ergo baby carrier for only $25.00! They cost $100+ new, and the one I picked up was in practically perfect condition, having been used for only 2 months with an older child (so no drool, spit-up or poop stains… yet!). It came in its original box with the manual. I held off on the happy dance until I was out of the building and back in the car, because this mom had NO IDEA that used Ergos sell easily for $75+ on eBay. This carrier had never needed to be washed, and only had one very small stain that came out immediately with a Tide To Go Instant Stain Remover Pen (which is also essential mommy gear, FYI).

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So, now that I’m prepared for some serious baby wearing, I would like to hack some of the accessories that generally accompany the carrier itself. Each of the accessories here cost about $15-25 new, and if they can be hacked, I think it might just be worth it (unless I find them miraculously cheap too).

Apparently “sucking pads” (a name that just grosses me out right now) help keep the straps tidy when baby is big enough to chew on things whilst being toted around. They help reduce the amount of washing the carrier itself will require, which is a good thing. And they should be super easy to make… bonus! The ones sold by Ergo look like rectangles made of a couple layers of terrycloth with binding on the edges and either Velcro or snaps to keep them in place. Easy peasy.

31OjpxgtVCLAnd, more immediately useful, would be the infant insert.  There are two types, the old flat “cradle” type  and the new “Heart2Heart” version. Understanding the importance of keeping pressure off a tiny baby’s developing spine, I will likely make something more like the Heart2Heart version. It’s more or less the original plus a little round pillow in the middle on which the baby’s bottom rests, with an adjustable strap that snaps into place to swaddle the baby. This has the advantages of keeping pressure off the bottom, making baby feel more swaddled and like a natural arm hold, as well as boosting the baby up further in the front carry so there’s adequate ventilation and for easier nursing (if you’re talented enough to do that… not sure about my own range of abilities yet).41vd-BxdzLL__AA300_8177zA0QP1L__AA1500_

The last and least likely accessory for me to hack is the front pouch. I’m not really into fanny packs, but if schlepping must be done, an extra pouch could be handy. I’d have to think about this one… I don’t think it would be difficult, but neither do I want to spend time making something I wouldn’t use. But I like the idea… it basically velcros onto a strap on the waist support beneath the child for extra room to stash the essentials.

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Not sure when exactly I’ll get to these things… I’m sort of really really hoping that baby decides to arrive in the next couple days, but if not, maybe I’ll find the motivation and energy to turn out a couple items. Time will tell :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

My Life in a Nutshell: Acutely Expectant

Oh dear… this could get ugly. This blog was started as a creative outlet for me, even before I opened my Etsy shop 3 years ago. My darling husband at first referred to it as a creative crisis rather than a blog… he perceived correctly that I was desperate for some way to express myself outside of changing diapers and making kid-friendly meals. Today I have to beg your pardon ahead of time since I am returning to my roots of desperation in a very likely unsuccessful hopeful attempt to let out my current frustrations. Since I have given up complaining for Lent (an effort that has been, in general, going very well), I have had to wait till Sunday (not technically a day of Lent) to write since this might end up sounding like complaining. I’ll try. Really I will.

I think in addition to a very specific due date, every pregnant woman has THE POINT where she simply wants to be done being pregnant and just get on with life, snuggle a sweet-smelling newborn, and face the future… come what may. Everyone expects, or at least hopes, to make it to 37 weeks and still be pregnant. Then the baby is considered full-term and, if labor begins, no effort will be made to prevent its continuation on to delivery. And so women are conditioned to see that date as a green light. Many women, myself included, get to 37 weeks and figure that most babies are not born that early, so they contentedly continue waiting until 38 weeks, which is a more typical time to begin getting anxious about when baby will arrive. Most pregnancy-related literature explains the imprecise nature of a due date… “you should think of it more like a due month rather than a due date” caution the pamphlet writers and birth experts. The vast majority of babies are born between 38 and 42 weeks gestation, with only about 5% actually born on the assigned due date. It’s reasonable, therefore, to acknowledge the possibility that baby could be born around 38 weeks, or anytime up till the due date. And so begins the waiting…

Most pregnant women at 38 weeks feel big, irritable, and hard-pressed to relish the prospect of waiting up to 4 more weeks to meet this growing baby inside of them. And, with baby gaining from 1/2 to 1 pound per week at this stage, clothes, even the most generously cut of maternity clothes, become ill-fitting, short, tight and uncomfortable. Sleep is almost guaranteed to be elusive, rolling over is practically impossible, and the ever-increasing midnight pee breaks just add to the grump factor. Other potential nuisances include swollen feet and ankles, stretch marks, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, backache, heartburn, itchy skin, exhaustion, shortness of breath and a whole host of other woes. Add to these physiological issues the social/mental ones… people inquiring if you’ve delivered yet, overly “helpful” strangers who make you feel like an incompetent whale, friends with close due dates giving birth before you (thanks Jodi and Kathy!) or your OB (whom you respect and trust) telling you you’re in a “holding pattern” of not making “progress” in terms of dilation, effacement or stage of engagement. Full-term preggos can’t plan activities and distractions because baby *might* arrive anytime. Everything is “play it by ear” based on baby-unknown timetable. Boredom and inactivity breeds anxiety and desperation.

This is where I am. I have reached THE POINT. I am acutely expectant

Beyond THE POINT, pregnant women will do crazy things to try to help get things moving. Things like jumping on trampolines. Going off-roading or driving the bumpiest roads they know of. Walking miles at a time (guilty!). Eating food so spicy they can’t taste for 2 days (well, it wasn’t that spicy). Even drinking 6 oz of castor oil isn’t off the table for some (though even I think that is crazy!). Hopefully the crazy things that women do once they’ve reached THE POINT are relegated to the world of safe activities, but not all “safe” labor-inducing techniques will leave you feeling good. Some of the food-related ones are purported to work by causing diarrhea, which then stimulates sympathetic uterine contractions. Not so cool, in my book. And walking miles with chubby feet will surely produce crater-sized blisters on already tender tootsies. THE POINT has a way of making an otherwise content and normal life a little more unpleasant, one way or the other.

The lucky will avoid reaching THE POINT, either by actually delivering their baby early or by making sure they do not expect to deliver early. My OB predicted I would go early. I therefore predicted I would go early. It is still early (9 days till due date). However, I have reached THE POINT and there is no going back now. I am trying to meter my frustrated feelings by being grateful for a) being pregnant at all, b) having a healthy baby, c) not feeling physically miserable (truly, I have been very fortunate to not suffer the worst of the pregnancy complaints… yet) d) having a loving husband who picks up my slack, e) Spring and f) every other good thing in my life (and there are lots, so don’t mistake my brevity here for want of material!). A little perspective helps put the acute expectancy in check, but it is still there…

So, before I head out to the local mall for some errands and aggressive walking (I can’t fully eliminate the “crazy” or “optimism” or whatever you want to call it), I will admit that this post has provided me with a bit of a cathartic experience. Perhaps some other acutely expectant women are reading this, and perhaps they feel a  little less desperate knowing they’re not alone. I don’t know. But at least I feel a bit better now. A bit more patient. A teeny tiny bit more willing to accept the time frame that I can’t do anything appreciable about anyway…

Thursday, March 24, 2011

In the Family Way: This is Your Brain on Baby

I don’t even know where to start on this one... And that’s exactly what this post is about.

You see, I have been suffering from “pregnancy brain” lately. Forgetting things, losing things, coming up short with answers I swear I knew not 5 minutes ago. And it’s generally making me feel like a 1st grader stuck in the body of an adult woman.

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And I’m not alone. During the later portion of pregnancy, numerous research studies have shown that women’s brains actually shrink, and brain cell volume decreases by about 3-8%. This shrinkage maxes out at term, with mothers-to-be averaging about 15% more forgetfulness than their non-pregnant counterparts (I apologize for not linking to the studies I read.. I can’t remember where I wrote them down). While we like to generally think in terms of “quality, not quantity”, that doesn’t necessarily apply to brains, unfortunately. We also know that lack of sleep affects memory and brain function, so add the two together for a proven winner in the world of forgetfulness and mental missteps. So it should be no surprise to anyone when a preggo can’t find her keys, forgets to switch the laundry into the dryer or can’t return from a basic shopping trip without leaving off half the items on her list. If it’s any consolation, these studies also indicate a full return to pre-pregnancy brain size and volume at about 6 months (though I know many a mom who would like to keep using that excuse indefinitely).

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The jury is out on the cause of the shrinkage and why it actually occurs. Hormones are a likely culprit, but in terms of evolutionary advantage, few theories have been suggested. My personal take on this data? This phenomenon is a gift from God. It must be for the benefit of humankind if expectant and newly post-partum mothers remember as little as possible about the experience. I’m only partly kidding :) Seriously, if people remembered the pain and sleep-deprivation caused by childbirth and newborns, it would be a miracle if the species survived. But that’s just my two cents… and the product of a currently dwindling brain. If there’s a third trimester pregnant woman in your life who doesn’t have her act together, please do what she does… forgive and forget :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

In the Family Way: Musings about Post-Partum Sleep and Swaddlers

I am 37 weeks pregnant as I type this. I’m scheduling this post a week in advance just in case my little peanut decides to show up early. I’m not sure how things happened so fast. I suppose the first half of a pregnancy might be the “fast half”, if you’re not feeling too sick during that time and if a whole heap of other variables align (heartburn, midnight pee trips, fatigue, etc). But for me, the first half tends to be the fast half. The second 20 weeks necessarily involves more physical discomfort, aches, pains and other unpleasant side effects of the hormonal changes taking place. At any rate, with this gestation marching on rapidly towards inevitable delivery, I’ve been mulling over the actual arrival of this baby much more and how exactly life will change.

This child is my 4th. My first three all arrived within 3 years, so this is my first time to have a newborn when I’m both an experienced mother and not also chasing tiny toddlers around. Sort of luxurious, if you ask me! But no matter how you cut this cake, newborns are tough on parents. I read recently that the average parent of a newborn loses 200 hours of sleep in the baby’s first year of life. 200. Two hundred. For a person used to getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night, that is approximately the equivalent of not sleeping for an entire month! Good grief! How can I shuffle the future, details being what they will be, to cut that number down to a reality that isn’t so scary? 200 sounds about right given my other children’s respective first years. I don’t think any of them were regularly sleeping a normal night through until about 11 months old. Hmmm.

When my third was born, I finally got so bored during my hospital stay that I watched the new parent videos the hospital provided in their TV programming. It was then that I discovered The Happiest Baby on the Block. This is definitely worth a watch (if you’re in the hospital and it’s on the list of available videos) or a read. It outlines the 5 ways the soothe a crying baby… easily remembered by the 5 S’s: Swaddling, Side/stomach position, Shhh sounds, Swinging and Sucking. And, when applied to an irate neonate in combination, it really works! I’m not averse to a pacifier or well-monitored stomach sleeping, I have a swing around here somewhere, I’ve got an excellent white noise maker (the Cloud B Sleep Sheep… fabulous and portable!)… so my only real area for improvement is in the swaddling. We had previously swaddled with the hospital-size flannel receiving blankets, and never for long since our wiggly ones found how to get to their hands within a couple months. I’ve heard great things about the Miracle Blanket, but I’m a bit too “economical” and DIY-oriented to buy a new one just yet (though I picked up a couple used ones recently at a Mom2Mom sale and obviously haven’t tested them yet). It also seems to have a weak point where the arm-flaps join, so most used blankets aren’t so nice in the aesthetic department (though that’s really a negligible concern if they still keep the kid sleeping!). Here’s a picture of the holes I’m talking about (I’ve seen holes like this on every well-used Miracle Blanket I’ve encountered).

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For this wee one, I am cooking up some different wrap blankets to keep those spastic little limbs under control, and hopefully keep our sleep loss to a minimum. First, you’ll remember that I made a nice large flannel receiving blanket and, at 43” square, it’s ample enough to securely swaddle a wiggly child for a couple months at least. For more security, a second smaller flannel blanket can be used behind the back, tucking the arms down to the sides like is done with the Miracle Blanket, before regular swaddling with this blanket. Not ideal for very warm weather, but we’ve got a few months before that’s going to be a real problem. I am also told that Aden and Anais make a very nice cotton gauze blanket in a 47” square size, but itmight break the bank.

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And this knit swaddler, in my own design, should swaddle well and also avoid the problem of weak points (and the eventual holes) at the arm flaps that Miracle Blankets suffer. And an easier construction… Miracle Blankets are sort of weirdly assembled, in my opinion. I like to think human bodies are generally pretty symmetrical, but the pocket part of the Miracle Blanket is not symmetrical, and the bothers me. Pardon my apparent nerdliness. I have eliminated the secondary flap on the left side because I didn’t think it was at all necessary for secure wrapping, and I made the leg pocket and right arm flap from the same piece of fabric to cut down on the stress at that point caused when wrapping the baby. I used a really thin weight rayon/cotton knit from my remnant stash (was a little tricky to work with but better for warmer weather), and I used a simple serged picot edging to finish the raw edges quickly and without unnecessary bulk. A conventional machine zigzag stitch secures the pocket and right arm flap. Not bad albeit ugly… I’ve shown it on my 3 year old son’s baby doll (this is the only doll in our house… he is named Triceratops, in case you are questioning why the boy is the only one of my 3 children to care about dolls).

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I’m looking forward to testing it out with a real newborn very soon :)

Friday, March 18, 2011

DIY Tutorial: How to Convert a Velcro Diaper to Snaps

This post is for me dear sweet friend Becky… when we first talked of converting diapers, I had no idea!

So you want to convert your Velcro diapers to snaps, do you? Well, let me tell you a story…

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At a Mom2Mom sale in the past couple years, I found 5 gently used all-in-one cloth Kawaii Baby pocket diapers. Beautiful condition! I already have a nice set of Mother-Ease cloth diapers and covers that I loved using when I had only one in diapers, and I intended to cloth diaper again when I was back down to one in diapers (rather than 3). So I bought those 5, with 2 doublers each, for $2 apiece (a total steal, right?). Turns out 2 of the 5 were velcro rather than snaps, like I had thought… I guess I didn’t pay attention. I don’t like velcro in the wash (oh the snags!), and I much prefer snaps for their fundamental inability to inflict skin damage to baby. I figured they were a lost cause but socked them away with my other diapers until it would be time to pull them out again.

Turns out that time was now. I got all my cloth diapers out, stripped them, freshly washed them (with Allens Naturally detergent) and folded them (I like folding diapers, unlike anything else, because they are all the same and just feel nice in your hands). The pocket diapers got the same treatment, but then, I realized that I now have this awesome set of snap pliers from Kamsnaps.com, and I decided I could convert these two measly diapers with no trouble at all. I had the pliers and snaps and a seam ripper to remove the velcro. I plunked down in front of Man vs. Wild and began the conversion…

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First, I ripped out all the velcro on one diaper. That part took 30 minutes! There was a lot of stitching (a testament to how well-made they were, actually), and it was not pleasant work that resulted in a small cut on my finger as well. Then I used one of the snap Kawaii Baby diapers as a template for the snap locations (I just lined them up and poked the awl through where each snap was) and put the correct snap part in place on the previously velcro diaper. It was easy, no denying it, but the snapping part took at least 30 minutes as well since there were 24 snap parts that needed to be placed and applied individually. The converted results were just as functional as the snap diapers, so it was technically a success, but for the time it took I was not enthused about the prospect of converting another one. I stitched the original label back on, just for posterity. The stitching damage from the original velcro is still very much visible, the doublers will not fit into the pocket quite the same, and the plastic snap backs will be touching baby’s skin, unlike the diapers that began their life as snap diapers (though I could sew a fleece panel over them if I cared more). Small concessions, but they do factor in.

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Take home message from this tutorial: Converting your own velcro diapers to snaps is probably not worth it!!!!

If you have a bunch of diapers to convert, consider hiring a company to do it for you. Basic online searching provided a well-reputed small business that converts diapers to snaps for the VERY reasonable price of $3.50-$4 per diaper (when you consider how long it takes and how many snaps are required to convert each one)… http://www.convertmydiapers.com/. The diaper owner must pay shipping both ways, but I don’t see how it would be worth it to convert a whole set of diapers yourself unless you really really want to do it, especially if you have to buy the pliers and snaps especially to do it. But that’s just my tired, lazy, unmotivated, 37 week pregnant opinion on the matter, and I certainly won’t think less of anyone who decides to do it themselves (but I might give them an award for patience and perseverance!)…

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

From the Kitchen: St. Paddy’s on Ice

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

Today is all about testing out the freezability of sugar cookies iced with royal icing. I wanted to make cookie favors for the upcoming baby shower of my sister-in-law, but since my own baby’s birth will happen shortly and I don’t expect to be able to do anything for at least a month, I’ll need to make some cookies NOW so they will be ready LATER. St. Patrick’s Day was the perfect reason to make cookies ahead of time, freeze them for a couple days, and thaw them out to see what happens.

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It’s generally accepted that naked sugar cookies and sugar cookies iced with a buttercream-type frosting will freeze very well, but royal icing could easily be marred by the effects of condensation since the icing will not hesitate to dissolve and migrate a little in the presence of adequate moisture. My research, therefore, would indicate that cookies iced with royal icing should be allowed to dry completely, then stored in a completely airtight container (with parchment paper in between layers) before being placed in the freezer for up to a month. To thaw without damage, the container should be removed from the freezer the day before the cookies are to be eaten and allowed to come fully to room temperature before opening it, so that moisture in the form of condensation will not collect on or near the cookies. Makes sense, right? To fulfill my due diligence, I am testing the theory…

I made shamrock sugar cookies with my standby sugar cookie recipe, sloppily dipped them in greenish royal icing using meringue powder, then sprinkled some with colored sugar, some with round white sprinkles, and left some simply iced. I wanted to see what would happen to each of those conditions upon thawing.

I pulled them out yesterday to thaw overnight, and here they are today…

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They came out perfect. They tasted fresh-baked… not dry or soggy, no color bleed, no running of the colored sugar even (there was a tiny bit from when I first sprinkled them, but it did not worsen over time)! I’m glad I tried this. So, after careful baking, decorating, drying, packing and plastic-wrapping… into the freezer go my baby shower cookies…

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St. Patrick, patron saint of engineers (and Ireland, of course), pray for the people working on the nuclear disaster in Japan!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Feathering the Nest: Really, This Past Week I Was Planning to…

…Write a tutorial about sewing a contoured changing pad cover.

Until I realized that wrapping a towel neatly around the pad was not only easier, it was more practical as well. A wonderfully orange towel from HomeGoods (and I bought a spare)… $4.99 each.

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…Hack a new cover for my well-used Boppy nursing pillow.

Then I found this wonderful and free Boppy slipcover tutorial and pattern from Vanilla Joy. I used anti-pill fleece and ended up putting the zipper on the side (because I didn’t have the size the tutorial needed), but it still worked great!

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…Make my husband install  a couple Ikea wall shelves for me.

But that sounded like a hassle for him, so I did it myself.

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…Sew a few more sheets for my Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper Mini Bassinet.

Then I found out that king-size pillowcases fit this size perfectly. Problem solved (thank you, Google), and on the cheap (just $6.99 for a set of two 100% cotton 400 thread count king pillowcases at HomeGoods… and they even match the nursery color scheme!).

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…Buy some larger-sized flannel receiving blankets.

But I got some yardage on sale ($2.99/yd) so I made my own  in about 15 minutes (used 1.25 yd per blanket, 44” wide after serging the edges). This fun print will work for either a boy or girl, right? I had enough left over to make a couple flannel-diaper hybrid burp cloths using this quick and easy tutorial from Bobaloo!.

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…Make dinner.

Oh well, some things were just not meant to be. Despite it seeming like all this progress got done in short order, I assure you that today was not stellar (sick kids, sick mom, kids drawing on walls, mom repainting walls, kids in time out, mom crashing on couch and watching crummy daytime programming, etc). How about a little pre-Mardi Gras paczki, anyone? Have a Happy Fat Tuesday, a thoughtful Ash Wednesday and a thoroughly penitent Lent, everyone!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

In the Family Way: My Favorite Birth & Baby Products

While getting ready for this baby, it occurred to me that I have developed some distinct preferences in terms of baby gear and those other items I’d consider necessary to survival in the peri-natal arena. These are items that helped me cope with the transition from pregnancy to motherhood, so I’m going to share (in no particular order). If you’re a guy or easily grossed out, you may opt out of reading this post… consider yourself warned.

Exercise Ball (aka birth ball, yoga ball, Swiss ball)

This $10-$30 piece of equipment is indispensible for relieving back pain while pregnant (I’m sitting on mine as I type this), and many natural childbirth advocates tout its abilities to induce and/or speed up labor (I’ve never used one for that though). It is also indispensible for bouncing an agitated newborn baby without having to stand up… like at 3 AM… after you’ve been up for 2 hours already. We used one with previous babies and, after our first ball became an outdoor toy and ultimately succumbed to fatal puncture wounds, we recently bought a new one.

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Lansinoh Lanolin

Ahhh… the breastfeeding mother’s friend. I hated nursing my firstborn for about the first month… it hurt. It hurt a lot. Chapping, cracking, leaking, sore. You use a tiny amount of lanolin to apply to the nipples after each feeding (until you no longer need it) and it helps keep them away from moisture, and that prevents the soreness and other worse conditions. One little tube of lanolin (a waxy substance exuded by sheep to waterproof their wool) will last forever… my 2 oz tube has lasted through 3 kids and is still about 75% full. You might get a sample of this at the hospital when you deliver, and that will probably last a long time!

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Nursing Pads

Not everyone will need these, but if you’re a leaker (and boy am I a leaker), you will want to have these around from Day 1. Put some in the hospital bag, trust me. If you have a powerful (and sometimes painful) letdown reflex, once your milk comes in you may find yourself inadvertently spraying milk across a room (I’m NOT kidding). It can be like trying to feed a newborn from a fire hose. To deal with the blessing of over-abundance, there are a million brands to choose from in the world of disposable pads, and some good options in terms of reusable as well. I used a combination of both. For disposable convenience, I opted (again) for Lansinoh brand… they seemed the most discrete while still very absorbent and non-leaking (some are so bulky they make lumpy circles in your bra so it looks like you’re smuggling silver dollar pancakes). Right off the bat, I used a set of what I think are called “nursing cups” (often used to treat inverted nipples), which are generally gigantic and obvious but keep you comfortable and can each hold about 2 oz of leaked milk before you need to dump them. The closet thing I can find to what I used are these plastic/silicone shells by Medela. Once breastfeeding is well established and no longer irritating, I use Lilypadz. They are silicone discs that sort of stick to you and actually prevent leaking rather than absorbing it. Very discreet, easily washable, lasts for months, worth every penny if you’re a leaker.

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This amazing (though pricey) diaper cream was first recommended to me by my pediatrician when my little guy got a bad yeast diaper rash after a round of antibiotics. If you’ve ever heard of or seen a yeast diaper rash, you probably know it’s very painful for baby, very hard to get rid of, and downright gross. It really needs to be treated with an antifungal agent, but you also need to protect the skin from general rashes while you cure the yeast part of it. Enter Triple Paste. This cream comes in a tub instead of a tube, so application is a little bit more complicated. And it’s expensive. But, I’m telling you, it’s worth it when your poor little kid has a diaper rash (yeast or otherwise) and you want to eliminate as much suffering as possible. I buy the 16 oz tub and it lasts a long, long time.

triple paste Oxi Clean

There is nothing better for getting poop, spit up, vomit, blood, food and any other baby byproduct out of clothing. Oxi Clean is worth it’s weight in gold, make no mistake. I use it for my cloth diapers and as a general soak for soiled clothing. I put some in a shaker (like the thing that you’d see at an Italian restaurant for sprinkling hot pepper flakes), sprinkle it onto a fresh stain, then drop the whole article into a bucket of hot water to soak. Magic!

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Arm’s Reach Mini Cosleeper Bassinet

I love this thing, but it might not be for everyone. I like having my newborn in my room for the first couple months, mainly so I can lie down while nursing at night. Most any bassinet will do, but the cosleeper makes it basically foolproof to get baby into and out of bed with minimal movement, and it spares some of that precious sleep time you just never have enough of as the parent of a newborn. Our master bedroom isn’t huge, and it fits very well. I was lucky enough to get mine used for less than half price, but they can be hard to find in the secondhand market (like most amazing baby products). Now, if only it would change the poopy diaper that seems to follow every night feeding…

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Other Items I Love:

  • Vibrating Baby Seat – basically a bouncy seat with a battery-operated motor to vibrate baby to sleep… fabulous!
  • White Noise Maker – we like the Cloud b Sleep Sheep, but anything will help, even a rickety old fan
  • Baby Carrier – which type you get is a totally personal decision, but you NEED at least one
  • Dura Bibs – best bib for catching BIG spills, liquid and solid; a pocket bib that is EASY to clean and sanitize!
  • Fisher-Price Healthy Care Deluxe Booster Seat
  • Ultimate Crib Sheet – Makes midnight linen changes a breeze
  • Massaging Teether – Vibrates to soothe sore gums when baby bites down… I love this one

Well that was fun… and it had the unintended side-effect of making me feel much more prepared for this baby than I was feeling before. I have all this stuff around already!!!