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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Baby Registry #2 6 weeks - 6 months

I recently posted a list of items you REALLY needed on your registry from birth to 6 weeks.  Now that little man is 5 months old, you need an updated list.  Every baby is different, and they all have their own unique likes, dislikes, quirks, and personalities, so keep in mind that your baby won’t necessarily like or need something just because mine did.

1.      Infant feeder.  These are a nifty little invention.  It’s like a bottle for baby food.  (Don’t try to make your own by just punching a bigger hole in a bottle nipple.  These have an open bottom with a pressure plate so the baby can suck the food through.)  Don’t use it all the time, your LO needs to learn how to eat with a spoon, but if you’re on the go and don’t want a mess, these are great.  I used mine while Christmas shopping with LO.
2.      Teethers.  I bought at least 20 different kinds, and have had the best success with the WubbaNub pacifier.  My little man can chew on any part of it, and it’s easy for him to hold.  Keep in mind when you’re trying to find something your LO will like, the most important things are: easy to hold, and all parts chewable.  They won’t be able to differentiate which parts to chew on at this age.
3.      Carrier.  I have an Infantino flip.  It’s a bit of a puzzle to put on, but easy once you get the hang of it.  My LO doesn’t like sitting in his carseat, he likes to look around.  But it’s hard to get anything done, especially in stores, while I’m holding him, so this is the optimal solution.  He can look around and I have both hands free.
4.      Jumperoo.  I would strongly recommend one of these instead of a saucer, because a Jumperoo is a saucer and jumper in one, and I don’t know about you, but I have toys everywhere and need to save space and money anywhere I can.  Little Man loves his, although his legs don’t quite touch the floor yet.  I put some blankets under it so he can still bounce.  It’s great for his leg strength and his independent play.  I have the Fisher Price Rainforest Jumperoo, but I wish I would have gotten the Laugh & Learn, it has more toys on it.
5.      Bumbo chair.  I know there has been a lot of controversy with this, what with the recall.  But remember this: most recalls stem from events in which the users were not following the manufacturer’s instructions/warnings.  Read them, follow them, and you probably won’t have a problem.  Little Man loves to sit in his, but he likes to bend over and chew the leg support, so spend a little extra and get the tray so LO has a place to play with toys.  This is also a great prop for pictures.  I throw a blanket over it and it looks more like he’s sitting up on his own.
6.      Footie PJ’s.  Fleece for winter babies, cotton for summer. 
7.      Vaseline.  You’ll need to rub some on his cheeks and chin every night, because he will inevitably get a drooley-rash from teething.
8.      Tub seat.  I had a hard time finding one, I think because many were recalled because someone left their baby in it unsupervised…NEVER DO THAT!  My LO likes to splash and kick, and the sink tub was getting to be a nightly flood.  I have a Dream Baby Deluxe Bath Seat, I got it from  The only thing I don’t like is that the seat is a little slippery, so he slides down a bit and smushes his little man parts.  Ouch.  I’m going to get some of those little tub grips for the seat to fix that.
9.      Safety spoons.  Make sure they are small enough to fit in LO’s mouth.
10.  Ice cube trays, a food processor, and a steam basket.  If you’re planning on making homemade baby food (MUCH cheaper than store-bought.)
11.  High-chair.  Make sure it has shoulder straps, I have a cousin whose LO escaped her belt and fell out.  Ours is table-height so I can feel him from a kitchen chair and he can sit with us at dinner and feel like he’s involved during the meal.
12.  Big cushiony car seat strap covers.  They’re cheap and work better than behind-the-head supports for keeping LO’s head straight when he falls asleep.  I have Kiddopotamus.
13.  Pacifier straps.  Because for some reason, babies don’t know how to put things down.  If they don’t want it, it gets thrown.
14.  Classical music.  I have a Baby Mozart CD that calms LO right down in the car.
15.  More socks.  Little Man thinks it’s the funniest thing in the world to yank his sock off, he holds it in the air and screams like Braveheart, “LOOK WHAT I CAN DO!!!”  Which means I have about half of the socks I used to.
16.  Freezable lunch bag.  I pump at work because I’m still nursing, and I hide my milk bottles in the fridge in a Pack-it lunchbox.  This helps me avoid silly questions like, “what’s that in that baby bottle?”  Duh.
17.  Medela Labeling Lids.  You can dial the day you pump to keep track of how old the milk is.  I also use Medela Pump & Save bags for freezer storage.
18.  TOYS.  LO is learning fast, and needs playtime to do it!  Don’t be afraid to let LO pick his toy, I take Little Man with me and hold toys in front on him, and he’s either interested, or a lot of times he’s not.  It’s surprising how much of an opinion they already have at this age!  I recommend:
a.       The World of Eric Carle: Activity Caterpillar.  LO never gets tired of it.
b.      Vulli® Sophie Giraffe Soft Rubber Toy (beware, it squeeks)
c.       Finger puppets (got mine from Carter’s)
d.      Rattle- just find one that LO can see the beads inside the rattle.
e.       Something with a safety mirror.
f.       Tub toys and something to put them in after bathtime.  Your husband will thank you.  I have Mini Bath Buddies and a Boon Pod. 
19.  Shampoo Rinse Cup.  Your LO will thank you.
20.  Bumper.  Little Man is squirmy and has now gotten his foot stuck between the crib rails a couple times.  I know that there’s a risk of SIDS with bumpers, so try a Breathable Bumper.  Not pretty, but functional. 
21.  Humidifier.  Little Man got a sinus infection, and there’s nothing a doc can do for that.  So I used this along with some vapor rub and it made a big difference.
22.  NoseFrida® Snotsucker Nasal Aspirator.  When I was preggers, I thought, “Eew, that’s gross!”  But one, there’s a filter so you’re not eating snot, and two, the truth is, when your LO is feeling awful and breathing like Darth Vador, you would eat snot if it made him feel better.  This works about 100 times better than a bulb aspirator.  Just spray LO’s nose with baby saline, wait one minute, then suck out the snot.  Hey, whatever works.
23.  Car seat cover.  Only if you have a winter baby.  Infinitely more convenient and functional that a blanket.  I have a JJ Cole Car Seat Cover.
24.  Car seat arm cushion.  DON’T go cheap on this one.  I got one for $9.99 that was worthless, it was only cushioned on one side and kept rolling over.  Spend the extra money for the fully-cushioned one, i.e. Padalily.

A few more tips.  Most of the time, you get what you pay for.  The expensive clothes don’t shrink.  The expensive toys don’t fall apart.  The expensive car seat/stroller is more durable.  That doesn’t mean you should spend a ton of money.  Most baby stores take competitor coupons, so clip any store coupons, find the store with the lowest price, then use the coupons too.  Check out the clearance items.  Wal-mart has a lot of name-brand items online for great prices.  And shop online for reviews that you can’t find in a store.  Thrift stores are great too, but I’d stay away from safety items (such as car seats and high chairs) because you won’t know if they have a recall.  The health and safety of your LO is, after all, your number one priority when you’re making purchases.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Nursing and Working

It is my goal to nurse for one year.  It's not an arbitrary number that I've chosen, it's the age babies can drink cow's milk.  So if I can reach my goal of one year, I won't have to use formula.  At least, that's the plan. 

I rented a Medela Lactina from the Lactation department at St. Vincent's Hospital, where I had Little Man.  It's a double electric pump.  It's pretty loud, but it was the only one they had.  It works well though, and it's a convenient size and shape that fits on my desk at work, discreetly tucked behind my computer screen.  I carry it back and forth from home to work every day. 

It is federal law that your place of work (if it employs 50 employees or more) has to provide a reasonable amount of break time (unpaid)) and a place other than the women's bathroom for you to pump.  My office at work has a door with a lock on it.  I pump three times a day.  I work from 7am to 5pm, and I wake up and feed Little Man at 5:30am, so I pump at 8:30, 11:30, and 2:30, and I nurse when I get home in the evenings.  If my supply gets low, I use the pump in the middle of the night.

Milk supply seems to be the biggest issue you face when you use a pump while away from your child.  A baby is more efficient than any pump, so your supply will naturally dwindle.  I take fenugreek (you can get it at Babies R Us), and while it won't increase my supply, it does help me to maintain it.  I also noticed that snacking and drinking water between every pump session improves my expression substantially.  The biggest suggestion I have is to never use a bottle on the weekends.  Even if it's really inconvenient, nursing on the weekends and after work is the best way to maintain your supply.

My biggest obstacle is work travel.  I often have to travel to jobsites during the workday.  These are construction sites with no place to pump and no power.  If I have no other option, I use my Medela Harmony manual pump.  I try to find a bathroom but most of the time I end up in my car.  The manual pump is not nearly as efficient, so doing this a lot can harm your supply.  Medela makes an adapter for your car to plug your pump into the lighter.  They make a battery pack as well, which I have not used but might be convenient for you.

And then there's the social issue.  I work with men, all men, no women.  So that means that sometimes when I pump in my office with the door closed, someone knocks and yells, "what are you doing in there?"  Or I disappear for 10 minutes while I'm on site and everyone asks, "where'd you go?!"  The only way I've found to deal with this is to joke about it.  "I'm a mobile cow for my little one!"  If you tell people what you're doing once, they won't ask again.  I also keep a Pack-it lunch bag in the fridge or freezer to keep my milk bags or bottles in.  That will keep any office guests from picking up your milk thinking it's coffee creamer (yes, this happened to me, fortunately I was there in the breakroom when it happened and was able to keep the dimwit from drinking it!)  And if I have to travel, the bag is freezable so it keeps the milk I pump while I'm out of the office cold for a couple hours.  If I'm going to be out all day, I use a small igloo cooler with an ice pack in it.

So that's how I do it.  At first I was embarrassed about it and skipped a couple pump times because I didn't feel I could tell the people I was with what I was doing, but after becoming severely engorged a couple times, I got over it.  Don't do that, it hurts quite a bit more than you'd expect.  It actually hurt so badly that I couldn't lift my arms.  And you can get plugged milk ducts, which are even more painful.  If, for some reason, that happens to you, I tried every trick I read on the internet, but the only way I found to unplug it was to use my hand pump and hold the handle down for a minute or so (until milk starts coming out again.)  You'll know when it breaks loose, your milk will suddenly gush out.  This hurts a lot, don't get me wrong, but it's better than mastitis.  Better to just get over your embarrassment and be proud that you are dedicated enough to go through so much for your child!

Good luck and happy nursing!