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Our house is old and full of character, hardwood floors, big windows and high ceilings. Unfortunately, now our house is also full of baby crap, and I don’t mean in the diapers. One of the things that had not yet been moved/covered/replaced/changed to accommodate the baby was our beautiful, shiny hardwood floors. We had them refinished early in my pregnancy and figured that was probably good enough. I’d just sweep up the dog hair and run the Swiffer over them once a day. They don’t get that dirty. I mean, they’re not spotless but they’ll be fine. THEY WERE NOT FINE. The amount of dog hair that drifts across the room on any given day is ridiculous, not to mention the cat hair and the dirt all of us track in. I had been putting the baby down on a blanket or a towel but now that he can roll those aren’t really big enough. “You know what we need?” I said to E, “We need a really big thick towel that covers the whole middle of the floor and has a sticky back so it doesn’t slide everywhere.” “Let’s go buy a rug,” said E.

And so we did.

IMG_3582It was $25 at Target (75% off!) which was just too good to pass up. We also got one for the nursery for $12 so now I’m not tempted to put Baby Evan down in the crib for play time. I think he really likes his new rug…

IMG_3568…even though it confused him a little at first. It’s much better for scooting than the slippery floor. It is NOT, however, thick enough to prevent crying if the baby accidentally falls on his face because you thought he was sitting up on his own but he’s really not. Not that anyone here would ever do that. And by anyone I mean me. Maybe we should have gotten something a little bigger, since His Rolliness cannot be contained.

IMG_3576Pay no attention to those cords behind the baby. We’re terrible childproofers.

I lie to my pediatrician. At every appointment the doctor or his nurse goes through a whole list of questions regarding our home life with the baby. They asks: What does the baby eat? (Actually, they usually ask how many bottles of formula he gets and I have to remind them I’m breastfeeding.) How many wet diapers? How long does he sleep? And then they ask: Where does he sleep? and I lie. I look my doctor right in the face and say “Oh my baby sleeps in his crib”.

Now, I have no idea if my ped supports co-sleeping but he always nods in approval when I say “in his crib”. I doubt I would get the same nodding if I said “He sleeps in our bed”. Maybe he has a secret button under the counter for people like me that sets off an alarm at CPS headquarters so they’re already waiting by my car to take the baby because OMG TOTALLY UNFIT. But the truth is, where my baby sleeps is not really a medical problem and therefor not something a pediatrician is trained to discuss. Most people’s knowledge of co-sleeping is limited to that story they heard about someone who accidentally rolled over and smothered their child or the mom whose six year old STILL sleeps in the bed… and dad sleeps on the couch. Those are not the norm. I would bet good money there are thousands of people across the country who are secret co-sleepers just like me. If you want more (positive, well-researched) information on co-sleeping I highly suggest www.askdrsears.com or The Baby Book also by Dr. Sears.

The truth is, co-sleeping means a lot of different things. I’ve technically been co-sleeping since the very beginning, since the baby has always slept within an arm’s reach of me. It wasn’t until we achieved success at breastfeeding in the side-lying position that we started bed-sharing. And it is AWESOME. I think learning to nursing lying down is the single most important key to successful breastfeeding (once you get past basic mechanical issues, I mean). Unless you have a partner who is willing to get up and fetch the baby and then get up and put the baby back to sleep EVERY TIME, save your sanity by practicing the side-lying position until you get the hang of it. Here’s my tips: Lie so you’re truly belly to belly, the baby should have to tip his head back and stretch out his neck to latch on. He’ll be tucked into your arm pit, not lying on your arm. And if you’re a roller like I am put a body or king-sized pillow behind your back so you don’t accidentally pull your nipple away if you drift onto your back because, ideally, you’ll be back asleep long before he’s done nursing.

The major concern with co-sleeping is safety, but it has never felt unsafe to me – it just feels natural. There are scary stories out there involving smothered babies and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome being more common among those who co-sleep. The supporters of co-sleeping actually believe it REDUCED SIDS because a baby uses the mother’s breathing patterns to help regulate his own. To prevent accidentally rolling onto the baby there is NO CO-SLEEPING if I have taken anything stronger than a Tylenol. No alcohol before bed, no sleep aids, no drugs, nothing to help me relax. My ability to wake up if I sense something is wrong with the baby is vital to a safe co-sleeping situation. Since I’m not a heavy sleeper to begin with, it took a few nights of bed-sharing before I got used to not waking every time Baby Evan sighed. (He’s surprisingly still when he sleeps though, no tossing or rolling. When we get to that stage of toddlerhood we might rethink the bed-sharing.) Now I sleep just as well as I ever did before the baby.

The other half of this equation is E, but to be honest, he’s really not involved in the co-sleeping. He didn’t even know I had brought the baby to bed the first couple nights! When Baby Evan was smaller I always kept him between me and the actual co-sleeper bassinette*. Now that the baby is a little less helpless I don’t mind putting him in the middle although I still put a pillow between E and Baby Evan. I also unswaddle the baby’s arms so he has the ability to push a blanket or pillow off him JUST IN CASE. (Here’s my other co-sleeping tip: Buy a huge bed. We went to a king-sized mattress after two years of sleeping on a full and cannot even imagine trying to bed-share with anything smaller. Sure it’s a little less cuddly but we weren’t cuddiwee sweepers to begin with.) I actually think E – even though he is a heavy sleeper who doesn’t hear the baby at night – is almost as physically aware of Baby Evan as I am. I’ve seen him roll in his sleep but it’s always away from the baby and when he tosses the pillows around he’s never even gotten close to a smothering situation.

Finally, I have to say I just really enjoy sleeping with the baby. He’s so cute and warm and snuggly when he’s asleep. I know it’s not for everyone – I had no idea it was even for me until I tried it – but for now it is what works best for our family, despite my lying to the pediatrician.

*Our Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper never worked quite as advertised because we have a bed frame with rails and I couldn’t get it flush against the side of the mattress. But with the side lowered and the leg extenders I can still reach Baby Evan without having to get up. I wouldn’t say you HAVE to have one – a regular bassinette or a pack’n’play bassinette next to the bed would work just as well – but we love ours.

As of now, the baby’s nursery is still being used mostly as a place to rock him to sleep in the dark before we bring him into our bedroom. Once the baby is mobile and needs to be contained for my sanity safety the nursery will end up being our primary place space. I planned for that with lots of book shelves and toy storage but didn’t do much on the interactive/educational side. But since we moved the changing table downstairs* I had a big blank wall to fill. Maybe I just read too much Odeedoh but I couldn’t resist trying out some chalkboard paint.

Before:
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After:

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My art skills are a little lacking but I thought it fit nicely with our Wild Things theme. Plus that’s the magic of chalkboard paint, I can erase it and start over! I outlined the painted are with some molding spray painted green so it looks like a frame.

*Is my child the only one who is no longer interested in letting me use the changing table? His table-top acrobatics are getting out of hand. Am I doomed to change him on the floor for the next three years?

I’ve always been an over-packer. I cannot leave a 60-mile radius around my house without outfits for the following situations: what if we go to the beach? what if it’s cold at night? what if we go out to dinner? what if we have to walk really far? what if a giant asteroid hits earth? what if Steven Spielberg suddenly falls out of the sky and says “You! If only you had a red shirt you’d be PERFECT for the lead role in my next film!”? So I tend to carry a lot of stuff.

All that previous packing was NOTHING compared to the amount of crap you need with a baby. We didn’t even spend the night away from home and we still brought an entire car full of baby stuff. There’s the car seat, the stroller, the diaper bag, the other diaper bag, the outfits & burp cloths (because I still have the spitty-uppiest baby in the world), the pack’n’play, the sling carrier, the mei tai carrier, the toys, the bouncy seat…wait, where’s the bouncy seat? Did we forget the bouncy seat?!?!  Luckily, E’s cousin has two kids and a garage full of abandoned baby gear which happened to include a swing. I seriously don’t know how people used to survive before Fisher-Price.

Our trip was to Plymouth, Mass – I’ve always felt that was an appropriate place to spend the 4th, very America-y – and we had a good time. The baby was about as well behaved as a three month old could be. He took a nice long nap in my new baby carrier while we walked around town. Unfortunately, now all the pictures of him in Plymouth look like this:
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But he was very happy being carried and he didn’t get a sunburn and besides a little numbness in my left shoulder this morning the mai tei worked great. That’s us standing next to Plymouth Rock. I know, how exciting. A rock. You’re so jealous of our proximity to a random rock on a whole beach full of rocks that has been designated as the official rock the Pilgrims landed on even though it’s definitely not. Oh and someone vandalized it so instead of saying “1620” it says “1820”. So America just lost two hundred years of history. Great job, douchebag vandal.

Here are some pictures from the rest of our day:

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I bought a status diaper bag. Did you even know there was such a thing?
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I was planning to just buy a big purse but couldn’t resist. It’s a Petunia Pickle Bottom, a fancy baby bag designer (uh, bags FOR babies I mean – I doubt the designer is an actual baby). It came with four different kinds of straps, one of which is designed to attach to your Bugaboo stroller. This bag says “I am classy and stylish and the kind of mom who always brushes her hair”. Except that it was on clearance at TJMaxx so mine says “I am cheap and enjoy buying pants for $12”.

Yesterday went like this: bad, good, really good, bad, really bad, NAP, good, really really good, super fun good, sorta bad, really bad, OMG will the screaming never end bad, EIGHT HOURS OF SLEEP.

Since our Friday night plans got cancelled because of thunderstorms, we wanted to check out the Harbor Festival yesterday. Our town is celebrating it’s 350th anniversary and has been holding events for the past few weeks. They’re doing parties and lectures and walking tours of the mansions and gardens and there’s a tall ship down at the harbor and unfortunately I have made it to exactly zero events. As of today I have still attended zero, because I have a three month old. Baby Evan just didn’t give a crap that there were balloons! and pirates! and cotton candy! and a drum and fife band! None of those things interested him more than my boob, so with my handy nursing cover I fed him on a park bench. It went pretty well. It would have gone better if I’d had a pillow. Or if it hadn’t been a million degrees. Or if the drum and fife band hadn’t fired their muskets right when I got the baby latched on. causing him to almost rip my nipple off.

In the evening, we packed up the baby and some lemon bars and went over to E’s former co-workers for a cookout. We set up camp in the baby-corner with four other sets of parents and had a great time lying in the grass surrounded by kids and dogs and food. We made it two hours and one feeding before my back started screaming in pain and my head felt like it was going to explode. Baby Evan was grumpy from being awake for too many hours and once the yelling started I knew it wasn’t going to end. Although he napped in the car on the way home, he was too hungry to sleep for long and I spent the rest of the evening nursing him almost constantly to keep him from wailing.  At 11 pm I gave up and turned him over to E hoping I could get a couple hours of rest. At 7 am I woke up and found both my boys had slept in the living room and I had gotten EIGHT HOURS of sleep for the first time in 12 weeks. I needed it. Today we’re going to do nothing structured and just let baby (and E) nap as much as he wants.

IMG_2483Pictures:

Baby Evan’s outfit is a hand me down from when my brother (now 20) was a baby.

Using my nursing cover.

Baby, blanket and beer at the cookout. E even wore the sling for a while, despite some of the guys giving him crap. It made the other moms really jealous of my awesome husband.
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There’s a Huggies ad campaign currently running with the tag line “enjoy the ride”. They want new parents to sign up for their rewards program (I’m guessing it’s just like the Pampers rewards I signed up for – buy a zillion and one diapers, get a $5 gift certificate for photo prints). In magazines the ads are pictures of hassled parents trying to juggle strollers and cell phones or trying to change diapers in the dark or something. There’s also a tv spot featuring what I’m sure is some casting director’s ideal version of a “hip, urban” mom – African-American, obvious tattoos, NYC-style apartment – trying to potty train her daughter. I’m sure the disposable diaper companies are losing this kind of parent in droves due to the popularity of the new cloth diapers and this campaign is an attempt to regain that market share. Be hip, use Huggies!

But if I was in charge, I’d fire that advertising agency immediately. One of the ads on tv has a “funny” disclaimer at the end. I’m sorry I can’t find the video online but considering they play it a hundred times a day I hope you’ve already seen it. The disclaimer says something like “To be eligible for Huggies rewards you must go through nine months of morning sickness and people touching your belly. Then you must be rushed to the hospital where you will experience…a miracle!”

Really Huggies? Really? Only people who have given birth need diapers? How about the thousands of families who come together through adoption. I’m sorry, parents who opened their hearts to a baby that isn’t biologically related to them, you can’t participate. Hope you got one that was already potty trained! And I sure hope you didn’t use a surrogate since your “miracle” will be happening to someone else. No rewards for you! Just to be safe, you better watch out for those step-kids too. Can’t let them go thinking they’re the same as REAL children!

There are many, many ways to become a family Huggies, and your insistence that one go through pregnancy to be a parent is ridiculous. If I didn’t already hate your diapers I’d be switching brands.

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How cute is all this stuff? I mean, it’s not Odeedoh hip and modern but with the really blue walls and the awesome shiny floors I think I can get away with cheap Babies R Us and Target decor.

I need to move the baby swing and carrier downstairs, but since I don’t need them in my living room right now I’m using the baby room as storage.

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This bedding set is even cuter in the room than it was online. I love that I can buy stuff that “matches” but isn’t meant as nursery decor.

Next up: one more bookcase, lighting, curtain rods and a box to cover the radiator.

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Oh. My. God. Not only are the clothes on this site absolutely adorable, the babies are so cute I want to eat them. EAT THEM. Don’t click here if you’re hungry unless you have a baby somewhere in your life you can go gnaw on. You’ve been warned.

Speaking of hungry, I burned my hand fairly severely on the toaster this morning, because I was in such a hurry to get the bread for my bacon sandwich toasted. That’ll teach me to try and put the bacon on something besides my face.

I love email! It's like talking to other grown ups without having to worry if the baby is screaming! Contact me: bebehblog@gmail.com
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