Saturday, April 11, 2015

List of My Favorite Registry Items

Build your registry super fast.  This is what I would register for if I had to do it for the first time today, knowing what I know after having a baby for almost a year!

Register for everything and keep in mind the registry completion.  Maybe register for extra diapers in order to get the discount.  It's also a good idea to register for cute, expensive stuff at random stores and put your completion date earlier to get a discount.

It's suggested that you have 3-4 presents for every person at your shower.   Here's a list to get you started,

Buy Buy Baby

Halo Bassinet
Graco Car Seat, BoyGirlNeutral
Car Seat Cart
Extra car seat base or two
Soap Set
Spout Cover and Temp Sensor
Hooded Towel (get a total of two, this one is cute too)
Butt Paste for the diaper bag
Big Butt Paste
Baby Face Cream
Wubba Nub
Paci Clip
Ergo 360 Carrier
Ergo Infant Insert (so you can use the 360 from 7 pounds and up)
Baby K'Tan
Diaper Bag (obviously this is personal preference, but I like backpack styles for ease of use)
Diaper Clutch (this is awesome..basically turns any bag into a diaper bag)
Baby Gym with balls (Z loved this one)
Unbreakable Mirror (for tummy time, not for the crib)
Spoons (get 3 sets)
Bowls (get 2 sets)
Straw Sippies (or regular sippies if you are okay with those)
Great Toy Set
Lanolin (if you are planning to nurse)
First Aid Kit
Boon Drying Rack
Boon Twig (goes with drying rack)
Dishwasher Basket
Wet Wipes (you'll use a ton of these, trust me)
Play yard sheets (this is a 2 pack, you probably want an additional single sheet)
Shampoo Rinse Cup


Sung-a-monkey rocker
Soybean mattress
Diapers - Newborn and Size 1
Crib/Changing Table Set (I have the crib in yellow, but just secured a changing pad onto a normal dresser)
Pack n Play
Burpy Bibs (at least 5 in total) - BoyBoyBoyGirlGirlGirlNeutralNeutralNeutral
Aden + Anais Swaddle Packs (at least 1 pack or 4 blankets) - BoyGirlNeutral
Various Stroller Blankets - BoyGirlNeutralNeutral
Changing Pad
Chaning Pad Cover
Milk Storage Bags
Infant Tylenol
Johnson Travel Soaps
infant optics monitor


Tea for you
Mattress protector x2
Aden + Anais Burpy Bib Sets (if you didn't want to get a bunch of singles from Target)
Milk Storage Boxes (to organize freezer stash)
Micro Steam Bags
Breast Pump
Hands Free Pumping Bra
Breast Milk Storage Fridge Solution (to organize day to day milk kept in the fridge)
More Diapers
More Wipes
Monkey Mat

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Baby's on the Way -- What to buy??

First off.  Repeat after me.  Babies don't needs lots of stuff.  Moms like stuff.  Babies don't care.

Very new babies have four hobbies:

  • Eating
  • Sleeping
  • Pooping
  • Crying

Needs - as defined by very difficult to survive without.

A place to sleep
We had a crib for the nursery and had the baby nap in his crib but spend the nights beside our bed in a bassinet.  I really like the Ikea cribs and I've heard great things about WalMart too.  I bought a super adorable bassinet from Land of Nod, but if I had to do it over again I'd be the Halo Bassinet.  Since the baby outgrew the bassinet before I was ready to have him sleep in another room, he spent a few months sleeping in his pack n play.  If I had the Halo, he'd have outgrown it at the same time that I sent him packing to his nursery.  You don't need a pack n play now, but eventually you'll use it as a play pen or a travel crib so it's a good thing to go ahead a pick up.

You'll want a crib mattress.  I liked this organic soybean one.  You also want a mattress protector
and at least 3 sheet.  Your baby will have at least one night where he or she wets and then spits up on the sheets.  Oh the fun you have in store.

Register for diapers.  I use the pampers sensitives.  They aren't the cheapest out there, but they work well and they keep Z from having rash issues.  Also, they have a fun line that lets you know when he's wet.  Many diapers are adapting the pee line.  You'll also want some sort of diaper rash cream.

Bath Tub 
Possibly on the bubble (no pun intended) of nice to have as you could wash the baby in the sink, but a tub is so much easier.  I love my FisherPrice whale tub.  When the baby is new, he will not need toys, but a comfy bath towel and massage lotion would be good.  And, of course you need soaps.

So, this is a a place where you can really go high or low.  Babies do care about comfort and some parents care about fashion.  If you have a summer baby, you only need oneies.  Although, I suggest some rompers.  These are awesome.  My summer new born lived in these and pajamas.  Carters is ubiquitous for baby clothes but I also like Gymboree, Next and Target for baby clothes.  Don't buy Carters at Target as it's probably cheaper at the Carter's store or site.  Gerber is okay.  I would say have
I would say to get these in newborn AND 0-3 month sizes.  But leave the tags on most of them.  Your baby could be able to wear the newborn stuff (and I feel badly for you).
  • 7 pajamas.   Babies can stay in pajamas all day if you want.  I'd get some extra pajamas if you plan to do this.  Try to get the jammas that have fold over hands so that you don't have to always break out the scratch mittens.
  • 7 rompers (shorts for summer, long for winter).   Substitute onsies if you want.  
  • 2 or more hats for summer babies.  4 or more for winter ones.  I love baby hats.  Extra points if they have ears.
  • 2 pairs of pants (pants are the devil, I like rompers better, but some times it's good to have).
  • 5 pairs of socks
  • 2 pairs of scratch mittens
  • 2 seasonal sweaters or jackets
  • Do not get shirts that don't button under their diaper.  It pulls up too much and is annoying.
Winter baby:
  • 1 or 2 Buntings.  These are like full body coats.  Do not put a bunting on if the baby is in a car seat, bring it along with you if you must.  This is good if the baby is in a stroller.  I got this football one.  But there's nothing cuter than a baby with ears on a hat. We had a thinner one that was a hammy-down.  
  • Car seat and stroller muff aka Bundle Me.  These go over the car seats or strollers acting like a blanket with elastic. 
Summer baby

Car Seat and Stroller
You can either get an infant car seat which will last 6-12 months depending on the weight limits and how big your baby is, or you can go ahead and get a convertible car seat which you can use from birth through to Kindergarten.  Personally, I got a Graco infant car seat.  It's convenient to lug the baby around in the car sear.  You can snap the car seat from the car and into a stroller and avoid waking a sleeping baby.  I just got a frame for the car seat and then another stroller when he got a bit older.  Lots of strollers have adapters to allow you to snap a car sear on.  If I had it to pick this moment I would get the Armadillo Flip (it wasn't out when I had to pick so I got the smaller Armadillo City which doesn't take a car seat so also had a stroller frame).  I won't go into the pros-and-cons of strollers as a thousand people have already done this.

Burp cloths
Babies spit up a lot when they are new.  By far my favorite were the curved burpy bibs by Aden + Anais.  They fit perfectly over the shoulder and also can be used as bibs once the baby is a little older.

First off, it is not safe to put a baby to bed with a blanket loosely around them.  You need to either go without a blanket, swaddle the baby or use some sort of wearable blanket, which I like to call baby straight jackets.  We had 4 or 5 various styles of wearable blankets and around 10 regular blankets.  By far my favorite blankets were the Aden + Anais.  Heads up, take one each time you go to the doctor because they make you hang out in the room with the baby in just a diaper.

Sling or Carrier
I consider this a very important item.  Sometimes this was the only thing that would calm Zander down during the "witching hour".  When he was brand new I used the k'tan and the bjorn, but that was a hammy-down.  I really like the Ergo 360 and would have gotten it if I didn't already have the bjorn.  Once again, I like what I have, but many people have spent lots of time going over the pros-and-cons of different options.

Feeding and milk storage
If you plan to breastfeed you won't need bottles until later.  I would rent a hospital grade pump for the first two or three months then buy a portable pump if you plan to go back to work.  But start with the hospital one from day 1.  After the baby nurses, pump for 10 or 20 more minutes.  If your milk hasn't come in you will pump for ages to get a mL.  Feed this to the baby.  You are encouraging your milk to come in.  Once your milk has come in, save this to freeze so that you can build up a freezer stash.  I used the Medela freezer bags ones first, but didn't like them as much as the Lanolish ones.  I got a couple of milk organizers which I love for organizing my freezer stash.

If you go the formula route, you'll need some bottles right away.

Nice to have - this will make your life easier

Snug-a-monkey Sleeper - I had this in the main room and the baby napped in it.

Some babies like swings.  Z hated them.

Wubby Monkey - Cute pacifier.

Paci-clip to help keep the pacifier near by.  Don't let them sleep with this.

Milk inducing tea.  I love the taste of the Earth Mama Angel Baby Milkmaid tea.

Diaper Genie - I hear a lot of differences in opinion on this one.  For us, we needed a trash can in the nursery.  Extra poopy diapers will stink it up like anything else, but it does help to contain the smells more than a normal trash can.  Of course, you'll also need the special liners.  So, if you don't need an extra trash can, don't bother.

Play Gym for tummy time.  I love this one that turns into a ball pit eventually.

Diaper bag.

I wouldn't bother yet, but would get eventually

Non-Swaddle Wearable Blanket
When they are new you want the swaddle/stright-jacket ones.  But once they can roll at 4ish months (but 13 weeks for little Z), they need their arms free at night.  I like the lightweight Aden + Anais ones for summer babies, but also have these with pseudo-sleeves which I like a lot.  

Sophie the Giraffe - all babies love this little squeaky toy.

Bath toys.  Bath is super fun time for babies.

Other toys.  Your newborn really isn't going to care about toys yet.

Feeding Items
You won't need these until the baby is 6 months old, but they do make good registry items.  You'll want spoons, lots of bibs (sleeved bibs are great for self-feeders) and bowls. Freezer containers are great for if you plan to make your own baby food, but this is optional.  You can also just use ice cube trays.  I gave you links to all my favorites.

Friday, December 26, 2014

AP for the Working Mom - Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting (Part 2 of 9)

This is part two in my AP for the Working Mom.  By "Working Mom", I mean Working Outside of the Home Mom, but that was a bit wordy for every title.  That being said, I hope all working moms be it in the home as a full time mom or outside the home full or part time employee, will gleam some insights.

That baby does a lot of work in the 9 months that he or she is being built!  And you have a lot of work to do too.  The first principle of Attachment Parenting is to Prepare for Pregnacy, Birth and Parenting.  You have the opportunity to dream and prepare for your baby.  Take this time to learn about what kind of parent you want to be.  Here are some things you can do to start to attachment even before your baby is born!

Sometimes it feels like everything about preparing for a new baby has to do with buying the baby something.  But, babies don't need much.  What they need is you.

Sing to the baby
Babies can hear starting at around 23 weeks.  I sang three songs every day to my little guy while I was pregnant and those songs definitely do calm him down more than other songs that I did not sing to him in utero.

Read to the baby
Every night Pete would read "Goodnight Moon".  It helped with bonding and helped little Z know Pete's voice.

Eat healthy for the baby
Every bite you take you are sharing with the baby.  Think of how you are nurishing your little one even now.

Exercise for the baby
I know.  While I was pregnant, exercise was the last thing I wanted to do, but there are studies that show that exercising now can help your baby be healthier and smarter later in life.

Read about breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is natural but it's not intuitive.  Read up about breastfeeding and pumping.  Talk to your boss now so that everything is ready for when you return from work.

Read about positive births
Everyone seems to like to share their bad stories.  But there are many, many more good stories.  Go read them.

Take a CPR class and/or a baby care class
Even if this isn't your first baby, a CPR refresher is a great idea.  Learn how to change a diaper, how to bathe your baby, how to clothe him or her.  He or she will be here before you know it!

Talk with your partner
Talk about your memories as a child.  Talk about what kind of parents you wish to be.  Talk about your hopes and dreams for your growing family.  Talk about your birth plan.  Talk about what you think it will be like with a newborn.

Many of these are geared towards pregnant parents, but adoptive parents can do many of these things.  Even if you are not physically carrying the baby, eating and exercising is important so that you have  good habits for your child to copy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Attachment Parenting for the Working Mom - Introduction (Part 1 of 9)

Baby wearing is a classic example of AP
Attachment Parenting (AP) is a hot topic these days.  I mean, who doesn't want to feel attached to their baby?  Personally whenever I think AP, I think "Dr. Sears".  Attachment parenting is all about
forming and nurturing the bond between child and parent.

AP is based upon attachment theory, which is a very widely accepted theory in psychological sciences.  In attachment theory it is taught that infants have an instinct to be close to their caregiver.  The attached infant expects the caregiver (or attachment figure in attachment-theory speak) to remove any threat or discomfort.  The infant relies upon their attachment figure to provide security, safety, and protection.  The infant understands that proximity to their attachment figure will get them these things.  That's why babies will cry when a caregiver leaves, happily greet their caregiver's return and will try to follow their caregiver.  They understand that proximity to the caregiver will allow their needs to be met more quickly.

There are studies that show that the more attached the baby is, the better the baby will be at attachments later in life and will have a higher self-esteem.

Attachment theory says that if the baby is sick, tired or anxious then the infant will use more attachment behaviors.  When the caregiver is present, the baby feels safe and more willing to explore.  The mobile infant will check back frequently using the caregiver as a safe "home base".  Basically, they are making sure the caregiver is still able to respond if need be.  So, the more comfortable the infant feels in the likelihood of caregiver responsiveness, the more exploratory he can be.  The more the child believes that the caregiver is willing and able to fulfill caregiver requirements of removing threats and discomforts, the less attachment behavior the infant displays.

And it's from that nugget that AP arose.  AP is basically strategies to encourage strong attachments.  Make sure the baby or child understands that you as the caregiver are there and will always be there.  Wearing the baby and co-or-near-sleeping helps maintain proximity.  Quickly responding to any cry lets the infant know that when threats or discomforts arise, the caregiver will fulfill the need of fixing the issue.

Speaking of, I find it odd when people tell me that their baby cries for no reason.  Babies are always crying for a reason, you just might not understand that reason!  Maybe she's lonely.  Maybe her tummy hurts.  Maybe he's overwhelmed.  Maybe he's scared.  Maybe she's frustrated.  There are all these big huge feelings in their tiny little bodies and they have no way to express or understand.  Sorry, I'll hop off that soap box now.

I totally feel that AP is obtainable for those of us who work outside the home.  

Some people think that AP will spoil a baby.  I'm a big believer that you can't spoil a newborn.  A small baby doesn't have the cognitive ability to plan ahead or the sophistication to manipulate you.  They don't have the capability to understand the difference between a want and a need.  To the baby, these are the same things.  AP helps babies have their wants and needs addressed.

I am going to write a series on Attachment Parenting focusing on how to practice this for moms who work outside the house.  I'm not an expert on Attachment Parenting.  I'm just a mom trying to make good choices for her family.  Attachment Parenting International (API) is an organization that supports, advocates for and encourages AP.  They have created eight principles for Attachment Parenting and I am going to write a post on how the working outside the house mother (and father) can incorporate the principle and AP into their daily lives.

References and Additional Reading

Read The Rest of this Series:

AP for the Working Mom - Prepare for Pregnancy Birth and Parenting (Part 2 of 9)
AP for the Working Mom - Provide Consistent and Loving Care (Part 3 of 9) - target Jan 19
AP for the Working Mom - Feed with Love and Respect (Part 4 of 9) - target Jan 21
AP for the Working Mom - Respond with Sensitivity (Part 5 of 9) - target Jan 26
AP for the Working Mom - Use Nurturing Touch (Part 6 of 9) - target Feb 3
AP for the Working Mom - Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally (Part 7 of 9) - target Feb 5
AP for the Working Mom - Practice Positive Discipline (Part 8 of 9) - target Feb 10
AP for the Working Mom - Strive for Balance in your Personal and Family Life (Part 9 of 9) - target Feb 12

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Lactation Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Well, I got a little bit off my blog prompts.  Little Z has been having a bit of sleep regression.  He's worse than he was as a newborn.  The next person who asks me how he's sleeping will get punched in the face.

Anyhoo, sleep deprived aggression aside, I do have a recipe that I invented over the weekend and wanted to share with you all.

Lactation Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

1 1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup flax seeds (either flour or ground, I used ground. Make sure it's milled.)
1 cup oats (old fashioned and uncooked)
1 T pumpkin pie spice (or 1 t nutmeg and 2 t cinnamon)
2 T brewer's yeast (optional)
1 t baking soda
3/4 t salt
1/2 c walnut oil (or canola oil or melted butter)
1/2 c Greek yogurt (or buttermilk or water)3/4 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 c pureed pumpkin (from a can, but hey, if you want to puree an actual pumpkin, go for it!)
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (i used dark chocolate but semi sweet would be okay too)

1) Grease a 9x5 loaf pan and preheat your oven to 350F.
2) Combine flour, flaxseeds, oats, pumpkin pie spice, brewer's yeast (optional), baking soda and salt.  Mix with a fork until well blended.
3) Combine the oil and the yogurt, mixing util well incorporated.  Beat in the sugar and brown sugar until smooth.  Then add and beat the eggs until smooth.
4) Now add the pumpkin and vanilla once again, mixing until smooth.
5) Pour 1/3 the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until well combined.  Repeat with the next 1/3 and the last 1/3.
6) Mix in the chocolate chips.
7) Pour into the bread pan and bake for 50 minutes.  It's done when a wooden toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean

Mine took a little over an hour, but I think something is wrong with my oven.

I actually modified this recipe from Two Peas and their Pod to make it all Lactation-ie.  I think it turned out amazing.  It's not harmful for others to eat this.  It's actually quite good for anyone.  My husband was afraid at it at first and I explained that it was just really healthy.  I shouldn't have because the bread's rate of disappearance increased drastically :)

Friday, November 7, 2014

Be in the Present with your Baby

Whether you are a mother who works outside the house or not, you have a lot of stuff going on.  Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in all that stuff and miss the little moments with our babies.  Time has a funny way of creeping up on us.  So enjoy every second that you can.

Here are a few things that I've found helpful:

1) You! Yes, you!  Put down that cell phone.  I read this great interview at Cup of Jo of Yoland Edwards, a fellow working mother, Towards the end of the interview she suggests leaving the phone at home and taking the camera.  Brilliant.

There are a few reasons why I try to limit my cell phone use around Z.  First, I want to to look at him, not at my phone.  Second, I want to limit his screen time to ideally 0 while he's under 2 and keep it as minimal as possible after that.  It's going to be pretty tough to do that if he sees me with my eyes glued to a screen.  Obviously if Mommy is playing with that shiny black rectangle all the time it must be pretty cool, right?  Lead by example, no matter how little they are.

2) Get on the floor with your baby
Babies need tummy time, but you can be right there with them.  My favorite moments with Z are us laying on the floor together.  Your baby needs tummy time and you can make it extra fun by singing and interacting.  If he/she thinks that being set on the floor means no mommy, you can bet that he/she will hate it!  Make them love it.  Make it fun.  Build with blocks.  Bang on a toy.  Show him/her how the rattle works.  Sing a song.  It doesn't matter how old your baby is, there is something you can do.

3) Get off the floor
Some times being in the present means understanding when your child needs a bit of space and teaching him/her how to enjoy solo playing for a few minutes at a time.  Respect your baby's need for a bit of privacy.  No one wants a constant babble in their ears.  Even babies need a bit of time to decompress.  Let him/her explore a little bit a few feet away from you while you fold laundry.  Give him or her the opportunity to explore a toy or his/her hands.

Figure out when your baby likes his own playtime.  Z likes it in the mornings.  In the evenings he needs cuddles and being worn.

4) Talk to your baby
Babies love to hear mommy's voice.  And it's a wonderful way for them to learn language.  Strap the baby on while you clean or put him/her nearby while you cook.  Describe what you are doing.

5) Make special routines and stick to it every day
What can you do everyday that is your special time?  Is it your morning routine?  Bath time?  Bed time?  Pick something and make a special effort to be there for it every day.  This is especially important for us working mamas.  Prioritize it.  That's your time with your kiddo.

6) Slow down
Every interaction with your baby is an opportunity to forge your bond.  Slow down and enjoy it.  Clipping their nails, feeding them, changing their clothes or diaper.  Everything.  Smile and your baby, explain what you are doing.  Blow raspberries (Z loves it when I do this).  Consciously pull yourself into the moment.  Look at your baby.  He'll only be this little for a second!

What do you do to try to stay present when you are with your child?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My top six tips for pumping at work

If you are pregnant and know that you will be returning to work, don't worry, you can still breast feed.  Working and breastfeeding are totally compatible.

1) Set a schedule.
Put it in your outlook calendar.  I titled mine "Wellness" because I pump in the Wellness Room.  Be aggressive about keeping your schedule.  But sometimes life gets in the way.  If you have an important meeting, it's okay to move your time by an hour upon occasion.  What if you have two important meetings back to back so you can't move your time?  Leave one early and arrive to the next late.  Even if you have to make your session five or ten minutes, it is much better than missing a session.

Communicate this schedule with your manager.  I did it via email because I knew that my boss expected that I would be pumping. But you may need to form it as a question. Also, make sure your boss is aware if you plan to work while pumping or if you need to work extra to make up the time.

Some companies have a lactation policy and others don't.  But, that's another blog post.  In the mean time, here are some links.  It's best to start early before you leave for mat leave, if possible.

2) Exclusively Nurse AND Insurance Pump on the Weekends
I know.  Pumping sucks (pun intended).  Why do it more that you have to?  Because it will help to build up your supply and give you a nice freezer stash.  I suggest doing it about 20 minutes after your baby eats and outside of time that he or she cluster feeds, if applicable.  I find that it's enough later that I actually get something out, but not so close to the next feeding so that there's stuff left for the baby.  And that being said, it's not a cup that gets empty.  There's always some in there and your body is always making more.  Also, AND the baby is better at getting milk out than the pump is.  I've timed this wrong a couple times and nursed little Z only a few minutes after pumping and while he took much longer to finish, he was fine (and trust me, he lets me know if he's still hungry and he was not).
Medela Pump in Style

And, during the weekend, try very hard to not give your baby a bottle.  Nurse as much as you can, even if you are out and about.  The more you do it, the easier it becomes.  I'm not shy about popping out a boob (discreetly of course) when my kiddo is hungry.  I've nursed in coffee shops, in restaurants, at Wriggly Field during a cubs game, on the el, in the checkout line of Whole Foods.

3) Get the right stuff
If you are going to work full time outside of the house, get a high quality pump.  I have the Medela Pump in Style.  Make sure you have the right flanges.  Get a hands free pumping bra so that you can do other things while you pump (preferably massage your breasts while pumping, but email, reading, watching TV are all okay too).  Yes, this stuff isn't cheap, but it's a ton less expensive than formula.

4) Don't be embarrassed 
I've read this great mantra a couple of places, "breast isn't just best, breast is natural".  I work with all men and I'm not shy about saying that I'm going for my pumping session.  I think it makes a few of them uncomfortable.  But, even if I didn't say that I was going for my pumping session they would still know and by acting like it's not something embarrassing it takes away some of it.

5) Once the flow stops, you aren't done
Turn off the pump and give your boobs a nice rub down.  Wait a minute then put the pump back on.  If your pump has a setting to encourage let down, go to that.  Try this a couple of times.  Also try massaging or pushing on your boob while pumping.  You'll be amazed at how much more you get.

6) Read articles about how awesome breast milk is
If you are ever feeling down about how much time pumping is taking, focus on why you are doing this.  You are giving your little person the best possible start at life.

Breastfed babies:

At the same time, if you can't breast feed, don't beat yourself up.  There is some evidence to indicate that some of these benefits are not directly related to the milk itself.  Moms who breastfeed are more likely to read to their 9 month olds and those babies would have higher IQ.  

There are definite benefits to breastfeeding, but it's not the only way to raise a great little person!

Other resources: