Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Shopping for Baby, Take Two

I don't know what is in the air, but it seems like being pregnant is all the rage these days! (Or maybe I'm just getting old, and at that stage in life. I choose to believe the former.) And frankly, I love it! (Or maybe I just love that I'm not the only one having to turn down drinks and spending my Saturday evenings on the couch.)

In any case, I've been asked by a few newly pregnant friends for suggestions on what they should register for, and I've also been keeping my own list of a few items that I need to replace or purchase for Baby Girl's arrival, so I thought I'd share my thoughts here. Like all moms, I like to think that I'm an expert when it comes to all things baby, and like all moms, I am obviously not an expert whatsoever on anything baby. This stuff is merely what worked for us. (And what I pray works for Baby Girl. But probably won't. Because that would be too easy.)

Tried and True Newborn Essentials

Back when Sammy was four months old, ages and ages ago, I published this blog post on our favorite things for his first three months of life. I still feel quite strongly about all those items.

The Podster / aka Sammy's dog bed was a lifesaver!

For Baby Girl, I'll most definitely be pulling out our Podster, I'll dig out the Puj tub, I'll charge our light-up slug for those nighttime feedings, and I'll wash our Gerber cloth diapers / burp cloths and side-snap tees with Dreft. (How I miss the smell of Dreft!) I've already purchased girl-colored Trumpette socks and girl-themed Aden +Anais swaddling blankets.

The newborn napper of our Pack 'n Play was the ONLY way Sammy would sleep. In this photo, he had clearly broken out of our swaddle. The stuffed animal was on top of him in hopes of diminishing the sudden jerks of his arms and legs. Whatever works, right?

Our Pack 'n Play is still used regularly, whenever we travel overnight, and I plan to have Baby Girl sleep in the newborn napping component - as Sammy did - for her first month. (Must stock up on batteries though - thank goodness for the vibration aspect of that napper!)

I'm still obsessed with our Bob Revolution Stroller and have been scouring Craig's List and ebay for the  Bob Revolution Duallie, the only double stroller I'm considering. (James, are you reading this? Occasionally I can buy things second-hand!) (Though I really don't want to.)


There are a couple other things I own, which I didn't mention the first time around, but that I still love and consider semi-essential to having a baby.

1. JJ Cole All-Purpose Blanket: I love this blanket. I've gotten so much use of it and will continue to use it for years, I'm sure. We don't have carpeting in our house, so for Sammy's first year (or at least the first half of his year), he spent a ton of time on this blanket, which we placed over these exercise mats (which are much thicker than the standard baby alphabet mats everyone seems to have). The blanket is made of a water-resistant material, which is perfect for a baby who spits up often. Plus, it rolls up super easy and can be used outside. We used it everywhere this past summer - at the park, at the beach, on the lawn, etc. Seriously - best $20 ever spent.

Not the greatest representation of the glider, but it's clearly comfortable enough for Sammy!

2. A comfortable glider: Let me just say, this was my biggest splurge when it came to setting up Sammy's nursery. And had I never walked into a Pottery Barn Kids and sat in the stupid chair, I would have never spent so much money on a silly chair that would be placed in a baby's room, of all places. But, it was love at first si(gh)t, I had just gotten my annual bonus (ah, back when I earned a legit paycheck), and I have to admit, I've never once regretted this purchase. James and I both have spent many an hour in this chair, between nightly feedings and now nightly bedtime readings. I'll keep it in the room, which will soon be Baby Girl's, and eventually, transition it into our master bedroom so I have a comfy place to read. I never bought the matching ottoman and have never missed having one.

Not only did we get three months' worth of toilet paper, but Sammy received at least three minutes worth of play time.

3. Amazon Subscribe and Save: So this isn't a thing, per se, but rather a service. And even if you have no intentions of having children, you must look into this. I hate hate hate having to run out to the store to get bulky items like toilet paper and paper towels. They take up all this space in your shopping cart, and I always feel like it's a crapshoot as to whether I'll be able to find my favorite brands on sale that particular week.

With Amazon Subscribe and Save, you can have these things delivered right to your door, the price is less than you'd likely spend at a store, two-day shipping is free (if you have Amazon Prime, which is the best thing in the world), and you can cancel or modify your subscription at any time. You also can select how often you'd like your purchases delivered. So if one month I find that it's taken me longer than usual to go through our paper towels (which never happens), I can just skip my shipment that month.

We currently purchase our diapers, baby wipes, paper towels, toilet paper, dishwasher pellets (probably not the correct word), and Lysol wipes through this program. Of course James is constantly wondering why we have so many Amazon charges on our credit card statements, but I guarantee I'm saving more money than if I bought all this stuff from Target. (Especially as with every trip to Target, random non-essential things seem to always end up in my cart.)

Items That Would Be Nice to Have for Baby Girl

Lucky for us, there isn't a ton we need for Baby Girl that we don't already have, but there are a few things that have graced my Amazon Wish List as of late....

This photo is brought to us by our Dohm sound machine, which drowned out the noise I made sneaking into Sammy's room and snapping a picture.

1. Marpack Dohm-DS Dual Speed Sound Machine: We used a Sleep Sheep for Sammy, and while it worked okay, I didn't love the fact that it was rather quiet and turned off after 20 minutes. (Which is what everyone told me I would not like about it, but I chose to ignore as hello, it's super cute.) James' sister swears by this sound machine (and she has three boys, so she has way more authority than I do), and loaned it to us over the summer during our family vacation. She then gifted it to us for Christmas, and while I planned on saving it for Baby Girl, after using it one weekend away with Sammy, I now use it during every nap and nighttime with him. And I most certainly plan on buying another for Baby Sister. Quite honestly, it's a bit pricey for something that sounds like a loud fan, but it works, and I'm willing to shell out a few extra bucks for anything that guarantees a good night's sleep for Sammy. I figure this will be of particular importance when another (crying) baby enters our home.

2. Video Monitor: Back when we completed our baby registry, I was very cognizant of not junking up our registry with products that had a lot of unnecessary bells and whistles. With that mindset, and considering that Sammy's room was attached to our master bedroom, we registered for this simple audio monitor. And honestly, it worked just fine. But then some friends gave us their old video monitor, and I loved being able to actually see what Sammy was doing, especially as it was summer, and we liked to spend time out on our patio.  We used the video monitor for a few months before it died, and as I had given the original audio monitor to my parents for when Sammy napped at their house, we went - and have been - without a monitor ever since.

But with a Spring baby on the horizon, and one very active toddler who loves to run up and down the driveway when the weather is nice (and even when it's not so nice), I think it will be more important than ever to have a new video monitor on hand. My sister-in-law has this monitor, which I really liked when I saw in person, but I'm not quite sure I can justify the price at this time. Instead, I may go with this one, which has a million (or almost 900) great reviews, ranks #1 on Amazon's list of video monitors, and has a much friendlier price point.

Does this look comfortable??
3. Baby Bjorn: So I currently have an Ergo carrier, which came highly recommended by everyone I know. I do love it, and I most definitely plan on using it again with Baby Girl. But, I didn't get half as much use out of it with Sammy as I anticipated, for two reasons: 1) He was born in July, and it was just too hot to drag him around in a carrier - especially one with an infant insert. 2) He didn't seem to love being smooshed against me.

With that said, I have a feeling (and have been told) that with Baby #2, it will be more important than ever to have something with which to carry her around. And I know the Baby Bjorn doesn't provide the same back support that the Ergo does, but I really like the idea of having Baby facing outward, which she wouldn't be able to do in the Ergo. So we'll see. This will probably be one of those items that I borrow from a mom friend instead of purchasing.

4. Swing: Are you sensing a theme yet? All of these new items are those that can keep Baby Girl occupied or allow us to watch over her, while at the same time allowing us to keep our attention primarily on an active toddler. (In other words, this poor girl is clearly getting the shaft already.) In any case, we never registered for a swing with Sammy because again, I was trying not to register for stuff that he might not necessarily take to, and because James sister offered us hers. However, after going through three kids, our hand-me-down swing was loud and creaky, and anything but relaxing. Sammy hated it! Anyway, I'm not sure Baby Girl will like the swing either, so this will likely be another item that I'll try and borrow from a friend. (A friend who has only had one child use it, preferably.)

So this was a whole lot of rambling about stuff, but at the very least, it's fun to talk about. It's a wonder that our ancestors who never knew the likes of things like Amazon and Baby Bjorns ever managed to raise babies, isn't it? (Where is that sarcasm font??)


  1. ...And the BOB Revolution Duallie is the only stroller you SHOULD consider, you're right. :) We have it and I prefer it over our single Ironman BOB, which doesn't have a swivel wheel. I even use the duallie when I'm only pushing one kid. It's so much easier to push. We have the same sound machine, too. And being a baby-stuff minimalist, that says a lot! I live and die by that thing!