Baby Gear Part II – Nursing and Feeding

In case you missed Part I in the series, here are my recommendations for nursery furniture.

The First Born, Fred Elwell 1913

Buying gear for nursing and feeding ahead of time is tricky because it’s hard to know, especially for a first time mom, what you and your baby will like. For that reason, I would avoid buying a lot of anything beforehand, or if you do buy it, don’t open it all in case you need to return it. Here are some of the items that worked for our family. Again, I’ve labelled the items as Buy It, Borrow It, or Believe Me, You Don’t Need It.

Bottles – BUY IT 

Bottles are a prime example of a time when babies prefer different types. I registered for Thinkbaby bottles because that’s what the lady in Giggle recommended, but Nolan couldn’t suck from them. There is nothing wrong with that brand, my friend’s baby loves them. The lesson is don’t go crazy opening and sterilizing a bunch of bottles (like I did) until you see what your baby likes.  A quick search on Amazon revealed that Dr. Brown’s seem to be the crowd favorite and they worked for us as well. I used the plastic ones with Nolan, next time around I may try the glass.

Solid Food Supplies – BUY IT sparingly

At around six months, your baby will probably be ready to try solid food. Your pediatrician might say four months and he or she is wrong, but that’s just my (and the American Academy of Pediatrics’) opinion. If you plan on making your child’s baby food, just remember that eating nothing but purees is a pretty brief period so it’s not worth spending a ton of money or kitchen space on babyfood making products. A blender or food processor and cheap vegetable steamer get the job done.

Breastfeeding Supplies

Nursing Pillow – BUY IT and BORROW IT

The two nursing pillow favorites seem to be the Boppy and My Brest Friend. For newborns, the My Brest Friend is great. It is very firm and creates a stable shelf-like surface for your baby to nurse. After a few months however, it becomes unnecessary and it’s kind of a pain to get on and off. It’s also an even bigger pain to remove and replace the cover, which you’ll do fairly often when your baby is spitting up/peeing/poop-sploding on it on a regular basis. The Boppy is great for after the newborn phase and makes a lovely pillow for you. It’s soft and squishy and I still love snuggling with it. My recommendation is buy the Boppy and borrow the My Brest Friend.

My Brest Friend

Boppy

Breast Pump – BUY IT

If you’re breastfeeding and plan on leaving your house without your baby, you will need a breast pump. A good one is expensive but it’s absolutely necessary. Go with a Medela.

Nursing bras and tanks – BUY IT

Depending on how boobalicious you are, you might be able to get away with comfy camisoles most of the time. Before having a baby I thought I’d be worried about exposing a boob in public. Ha! The boob is easy to cover up, it’s your stomach you’ll really want to cover. Camisoles solve that problem because the front comes down to nurse and no belly is exposed. Win-win. Go with one that’s mostly cotton. I had one that was a bunch of synthetic fabrics and it made me want to claw my eyes out. I bought many of my favorite bras and tanks at Target.

Nursing Cover – BELIEVE ME, YOU DON’T NEED IT (sort of)

Use an Aden and Anais blanket instead (tie two ends to make a neckhole). It’s thin and breathable and offers more coverage than a nursing cover.

Other Breast Feeding Stuff – Send your husband and/or mom out to BUY IT when you figure out what you need

You may need nipple shields if your baby has trouble latching, nursing pads for leaking (heads up: that doesn’t last forever!) and other fun (sarcasm) stuff.

The most important thing you’ll need for breastfeeding is SUPPORT!!!

Even though I read a lot ahead of time and spoke with a lactation consultant, once the baby was actually here I felt completely clueless. There was one lactation consultant for all of Winthrop Hospital and she could barely squeeze me in for ten minutes. Nolan wasn’t latching on one side and because her time was so limited, she pretty much just shrugged her shoulders and said, “Ok, well good luck.”

If you have people in your family or close friends who breastfed, they can be invaluable help. Don’t be shy. Boobs are boobs. Prior to giving birth, make contact with a lactation consultant so that you can quickly make an appointment at home if you need it. There are tons of breastfeeding support groups and again, try to gather the information on them before you give birth.

My dear friend Liz gave me this book and it was extremely helpful in the first few months.

Ok, so what am I missing? What feeding items did you find most or least helpful?

Baby Gear Part I – Nursery Furniture

With babies popping up (out?) all over the place, and Nolan officially a toddler, I thought now was a good time to collect my thoughts and put together a list of what has been most useful to me in this first year of motherhood. I labelled each item as, Buy It, Borrow It, or Believe Me, You Don’t Need It. Just to clarify, when I say Borrow It, I literally mean borrow because you are giving it back. Being given something, such as a crib, because the owner really never wants it back, falls under Buy It.

Crib – BUY IT

The most important piece of furniture in your nursery, the crib can also be the hardest to choose. Although you may not even have one baby yet, it’s smart to look a few years down the road to help you decide what kind of crib you’ll want. Many become toddler beds with a removable side rail, some become a double-bed headboard (not so useful if you’re working with a small space and will wind up putting your child in a twin-sized bed), and some are not convertible at all. Consider how many children you want, and how many years they’ll be spaced apart (assuming things go as planned), to make the most practical choice for you. We chose the Sparrow Crib from Oeuf for our house and my parents generously purchased a Jenny Lind-style crib from Amazon (under $200) for their house. Jenny Lind cribs look like the one below and come in a variety of finishes and colors.

This is our crib (in Nolan’s room!)

Our crib converts to a toddler bed like this:

Changing Table – BELIEVE ME, YOU DON’T NEED IT

A changing table is nice for having open storage, but if your kid is anything like mine, the table loses its diaper-changing function when the baby is seven or eight months old. Nolan squirmed, rolled, sat up and climbed so much that we had to start doing all diaper changes on the floor. Instead, buy the changing pad and three (yes, three) inexpensive covers and attach the pad to the top of a sizeable dresser.

Dresser – BUY IT (used)

Dressers are expensive! Like, whoa, what the what, expensive. Go to a thrift store or garage sale and buy a high-quality wooden dresser that has seen better days and paint it. Or if you’re me, balk at exposing your fetus to paint fumes and ask your mom to paint it. Look for drawers that are made of solid wood and not fiberboard since it tends to sag and break over time like everything in my bedroom from Ikea. Painted furniture looks so lovely in a baby’s room. This is Nolan’s dresser that my mom painted. I bought new hardware online.  It’s cute but too small:

Here are some additional ideas for painted dressers:

Bookshelves/Bookcase – BUY IT

Like the dresser, you can buy used shelves and paint them, but there are more affordable options out there if you want new ones. Even though I have sworn off buying furniture from Ikea since my bedroom looks like an Ikea graveyard, I would make an exception for the Expedit shelves for a kid’s room. They kind of look like crap in the store just sitting there empty, but they can be dressed up with baskets and other niceties.

Bassinet – BORROW IT

I loved having a bassinet in our bedroom for Nolan’s first few months. Newborns are heavy sleepers but wake up often for feedings and having a bassinet bedside made for a much easier night. We borrowed one from my sister-in-law and kept the one that came with our stroller in the living room. Depending on your baby’s size, you’ll likely use a bassinet for no longer than four or five months. Since it will be stowed away in your room, don’t get hung up on what it looks like or if it’s your style, etc. Definitely buy a few bassinet sheets for the inevitable middle of the night, “He peed through the diaper!” moments. Those are great.

Glider/Rocker – BUY IT if you want a few kids or think you’ll keep it in your bedroom when your kids are older, otherwise, BORROW IT.

I’m probably not the person to speak to about gliders because I chose the Luca Glider, which is the same one as Rachel Zoe. To be fair, I had it first.  It was (another) generous gift from my parents and I love it and I’m not going to apologize for it. So there. Oh, and I got the matching ottoman. You can certainly find less expensive options at the major baby places. This is the chair in Nolan’s room, next to the changing table I wish I never bought:

Moms and moms-to-be, what nursery furniture do you love/recommend? Where did you find inspiration when creating your nurseries?

Stay tuned for Baby Gear Part II – Nursing/Feeding

What’s New

Hey, world! Here are a few things that have kept me busy and piqued my interest lately:

Pinterest – holy mother of all time suckers. I have a whole post on Pinterest in the works, but if you haven’t pinned, get busy.

Bronx Zoo – we went here yesterday for a birthday party and it was so fun. I go every few years and each time I think, Wow! I need to get here more often. It’s lovely and so nicely cared for.

Cooking Food Stuffs – the aforementioned Pinterest has kept my kitchen BUSY. This BLT Quinoa Salad is delicious, these Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps taste like they could be from a restaurant, and if Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars sound like something you might enjoy, then you have to make these. If they don’t sound like something you would like, please leave. Or see a mental health professional STAT.

Reading – being back at work and reading the literary gems of high school students keeps me pretty busy so I haven’t been reading much fiction lately. I started the memoir Bringing Up Bebe and really enjoyed it but had to return it to my library since it was a 7-day loan.  English teacher + mother of baby = not finishing a book a week. I’ll probably buy it from Amazon next time I’m on there. So in about five minutes. I think I’m the last woman on Earth to read 50 Shades of Grey. It’s on my to-do list for the summer.

ABC Kitchen – Matt and I went here for lunch over the April vacation and had a pretty amazing meal. I will say this, the place tries really hard. A little too hard if you ask me. It’s a bit over curated for my taste and just felt kind of forced. Everyone was friendly, the food was original and delicious but the space and the “uniforms” were a bit of an eye roll. Is it weird that I’m being a snob about a restaurant’s snobbery?

This Guy – he’s been keeping me busy and happy 🙂  Here he is doing some work on Matt’s computer.

And enjoying some Starbucks:

What about you, friends? Read anything great lately or have something worth sharing?

Heading Back to Work

I returned to work almost two months ago (where does the time go??) and wrote about it for Long Island Parent Source:

Before I gave birth to our son Nolan last April, my husband Matt and I planned and saved and determined that I could take maternity leave for nine months. At the start of my leave, nine months sounded like forever. I had the summer to look forward to, the back-to-school whirlwind I wouldn’t be a part of, the holidays – it seemed like so much time. And in many ways, it was so much time –  I’m well aware that some women return to work after a few short weeks! That being said, even after taking an extended leave, returning to work was really difficult. Continue reading here…

Baby Splurges

People often complain, “Babies are expensive!”  but I haven’t found that to be the case…yet. I foresee having school-age and (eek!) college-age children much more expensive. For now, I’ve saved money by purchasing diapers online through Amazon Mom, breastfeeding, making baby food, and having very generous friends and family who seriously hooked me up at my baby shower.

I also love a bargain. Carter’s sends me coupons pretty much every day and I have taken advantage of double-stamp Tuesdays for a few $10 certificates. Etsy is a wonderful spot for handmade clothes and toys but the prices aren’t always the cheapest. Still, I’d rather spend an extra few dollars and support an individual than buy another mass-produced, Made in China item at Buy Buy Baby.

Now that the holidays are around the corner HERE, advertisements for beautiful baby goodies abound. Some items make zero sense to me.

This is a baby sweater from J.Crew. It’s $125. And it’s cashmere. I think I find the material more offensive than the price. I don’t know if you know this about babies, but they spit up and drool about a gallon a day. They also have this cool trick where they poop up their backs (or is that just Nolan?). For fear of handing over my paycheck to the dry cleaner, I have had to temporarily “retire” all my wool sweaters so I certainly am not putting one on my baby. But then I try to imagine myself rich. Would it be normal to send my infant’s clothes to the dry cleaner? Would it bother me when my son poop-sploded up his back and into the fine Italian cashmere fibers of this sweater?

And then there is this layette set from Mabo.

It’s $62 which I KNOW is silly. But did you see that little knot hat? And the cute little butt?

It’s details like that that make me want to do crazy things! Like buy baby clothes for $62!

And did I mention they come in stripes?

Etsy is highly addicting (and overwhelming) and I have purchased a few cute mini-splurges for Nolan on there. This flag banner from Sweetbug Studio hangs above Nolan’s crib.

This owl hat from Jojos “Boo”tique is ridiculously cute. It was made to order so it took about a month to receive but it was worth the wait.

With the weather (finally) getting cold, the fleece-y booties from Bison Booties I bought are coming in handy. The seller carries booties in a ton of really adorable fabrics. They arrived pretty quickly so they make a great gift!

We bought this picture to hang in Nolan’s room. I love the old-fashioned style taxi. It reminds me of old New York movies like An Affair to Remember.

Little Alouette makes wooden teethers that are eco and baby friendly. Yes to fewer plastic toys! Fingers crossed Nolan doesn’t read my blog because he has two of these in his stocking.

Baxter Takes a Stroll

This summer has been so steamy and stifling that we haven’t taken Nolan on nearly as many walks as I would have liked. Last night, determined to get my butt moving, I gathered up the crew and headed outside. We try to take Baxter with us as often as possible since he needs the exercise as much as I do and he’s been feeling very neglected since Nolan’s arrival. Baxter, while sweet, isn’t the brightest bulb and while walking he often makes a beeline for the moving wheels of the stroller. He also wants desperately to be  our “pack leader” and I’ve watched too much Cesar Milan to let that happen. Matt has to constantly steer Baxter away from the stroller and pull him to the back of the pack.

About halfway into our walk I hear Matt call out, “I think Baxter’s done!” I turn around to see Baxter looking weary and exhausted … and then the gagging starts. He spewed on the sidewalk. Kick-ass stroller to the rescue!

 

Although definitely not what the storage area is designed for, it made the perfect home for a dog about to pass out from heat stroke. Look how happy he is! The UPPAbaby is now the UPPApuppy.

What’s in a name?

Many people have asked us where we came up with the name Nolan and I’m sorry to say I don’t have an entertaining story. I had a student a few years ago with the name and I liked it. I think we came across it in a baby name book and it slowly worked its way up our maybe list to our #1 spot.

What HAS been entertaining are the names people have THOUGHT we named him.

Matt called his 95-year old grandmother in Florida a few hours after Nolan was born and when he tried to deliver the happy news, it went like this:

“His name is Nolan!”

“WHAT?”

“Nolan!”

“I can’t hear you!”

“NOLAN!!”

“Oh!!” (finally relieved she heard him) “Myron! Wonderful!”

Finally, Matt spelled it and all was cleared up.

A few days later, my dad’s job kindly sent us a basket with fruit and snacks and I was simultaneously amused and horrified when I read the card congratulating us on the birth of our son Norton. Norton??

Ghetto Mama

Last week my friend June and I took our babies for a nice, long walk around Cantiague Park. June had her daughter a week before I had Nolan and it has been great having a friend in the exact same place I am. Nolan was looking pretty ghetto that day and June suggested I snap a picture as evidence. So I did.

Exhibit A of Ghetto Mama: Yes, those are band-aids on his fingers because I am incapable of cutting his nails. Everyone says, “Cut them when he’s sleeping!” That’s a great idea except that we swaddle him so his hands are totally unavailable. I am now banned from using the nail clippers and can only use the file, which takes forever.

Exhibit B: I prop his head up with a diaper so he won’t break his neck.