May 172012

A few friends of mine are pregnant, and me being full of parental knowledge, advice and slightly full of shit, they have asked me to put together a list of my favorite and/or must have baby items. I remember the first time I went to Babies R’ Us to register.  I recall my excitement as I walked through those automatic doors, rubbing my belly and gazing around the store in wonder.  Then I remember venturing into an aisle full of so many different kind of bottles that it made my head spin, and beginning to hyperventilate.  Then, I don’t remember curling up into a fetal position (ironic huh?) and rocking back and forth while singing “Itsy-bitsy-spider” in Pig Latin.  I don’t remember this because, like all painful memories, my brain has chosen to block it out.  But my husband remembers it, as does he remember carrying me out to the car in a shopping cart, and only returning to Babies R’ Us later when we were more prepared and I was in near sugar coma after eating at Yogurtland next door.

Because of these fond memories and also partially due to my PTSD, I decided to share my list of Mommy Must Haves with everyone who is currently expecting, but maybe doesn’t have a friend with as much mom-umental knowledge as me. (Ha. See what I did there?  MOMumental. Instead of monumental.  Because I am a mom…nevermind) Anyway, without further adieu… or bad puns…



Maternity clothes –  Get a few maternity clothes that make you feel good about yourself.  You feel ugly enough already without shlubbing around in pajama pants and your husband’s t-shirts. Try Gap, Target and ASOS Maternity (my absolute fav!) for relatively inexpensive and cute clothes.

Happiest Baby on the Block DVD –  It seems hilarious when you first watch it (like “I just peed a little” hilarious)  but it REALLY WORKS.  When your new baby is screaming her sweet little head off, you will try anything to calm her…even scream-whispering in her ear.  We did, and she stopped crying almost instantly.

The Business of Being Born DVD  – A little preachy but I think it’s helpful to know about what can happen in hospitals whether you are using midwife, doc, drugs, natural, c-section… whatever.  Plus you get to see Ricki Lake naked.  Yay!


Swaddle blankets and/or Halo zip blankets –  You cannot put regular blankets in the bed with a baby as they can suffocate, and these with velcro are easier than trying to master a baby burrito while baby is sleeping.

Video monitor – If you can spend the money, get a monitor with video, not just sound. It’s nice to be able to look at the baby when she makes noise to see if you really need to go in to check on her.  Worth the extra $$.  Summer Infant makes good ones.

Convertible car seat –  Look for a brand that has a rear facing weight limit of at least 35 pounds so you can use it longer.  The longer you can keep baby rear facing (in the car, you sickos) the safer it is for them.

Multiple sheet sets and mattress pads – Pee (and yes, the lovely yellow liquid new baby poo) can soak through PJs and this will help reduce laundry time.

Pacifiers – Get different kinds since they can be picky, and get a lot of them since they are easy to lose.

Diapers – Register for all sizes.  Babies R’ Us will let you exchange for a bigger size.  People tend to buy Newborn and babies fit in these for like a week.

First aid kit – Duh.

Onesies – Don’t bother with fancy clothes. Most of the time you are at home and they will wear what is comfortable for them and easy for you (think about removing clothes to change a diaper every two hours. Then stop thinking about it because it will freak you out) But they will mostly wear these for the first 3 months so don’t register for tons in large sizes.

Zip-up PJs – Again, the focus is on ease and there is nothing harder than buttoning 10, 000 tiny buttons on 1 hr of sleep. Go for sleepers with zips and thank me later (Preferably with wine.  No chocolate.  No wine…ok both.)

White noise machine – At first we used the Sleep Sheep, which we loved, but now we just have an iPod that plays ocean waves.  We still use the sound box in the Sleep Sheep for travel though.  Just remove it from the sheep so there is less to pack. 

Baby scissors – These work better for clipping nails than actual nail clippers.

Baby Bjorn or another baby carrier – Some people like Moby wraps but I never figured it out…too much material. It made me feel like an idiot.  I used the Bjorn constantly.

Activity gym/ Tummy mat – New babies are like high teenagers and can stare at things for hours, these give them something to do.  Plus they need to practice tummy time.

LOTS of bibs – Absorbent cloth bibs for spit up/teething and waterproof bibs for when they start eating solid food. You will go through many in one day and they get wet, stained and dirty easily.

Burp Cloths – Don’t bother with fancy or expensive burp cloths. Cloth diapers, like Gerber Pre-fold diapers, are so much more absorbent and cheaper (like 10 for $17).

Newborn to toddler bathtub

A nice baby thermometer – Spend $$ on an easy-to-use one, like the kind you rub on their head. We spent $10 each on 2 cheap ones that we couldn’t get Lyla to hold still long enough to use, before buying a $35 one that you rub on her head for 4 seconds that works awesome!!

Changing pad for diaper bag (fold up) –  I have one that holds diapers and wipes and folds out into a changing pad.  It’s great to only take one thing when you have to go the bathroom to change a diaper.

Swing – ??  We used it like crazy for the first 6 months but after that it was worthless.  Your call, but it was a lifesaver a couple of times when Lyla wouldn’t sleep.

Mirror for car – Babies have to face backwards and it is such a relief to be able to see her in the mirror.

aden +  anais blankets – These blankets are not the cheapest, but they really are the best.      They are stretchy enough to swaddle your baby, but not so stretchy that they swaddle too tight.  They are light enough to use in summer, and breathable enough to hang over the stroller to block the sun.  Plus, they are cute as hell.  People will give you hundreds of blanket (that’s what people buy when they don’t know what else to buy you) Return them all and buy 3-4 of these instead.  You’re welcome.

Ok, so that’s my list of recommended baby items.  But as I was creating this list, I couldn’t help thinking that besides what to BUY to prepare for a new baby, I wished that someone had told me what to DO to prepare for a baby.  I’m working on that list.  Look for PART TWO in next week’s blog.  But for now, here’s something to get you started…

Buy an alarm clock.  Set it on the loudest, most obnoxious, earth-shattering, sleep-destroying alarm you can find.  Now set it to wake you up every hour.  When it shocks you out of sleep, wake up and rub your nipples with a rough wash-cloth for ten minutes on each side.  Reset alarm to wake you up in an hour, then go back to sleep.    Spend a couple of days/nights doing that.  Now throw the alarm clock away and get some sleep while you still can, you idiot!  TO BE CONTINUED…

Mar 162012

The Adventure:  Bachelorette Party

The Destination:  Sin City

The Mission (Impossible):  Find an outfit that makes me look like I don’t have a baby at home… or at least an outfit that doesn’t embarrass my friends who don’t have babies at home.

I am sure that a lot of moms can attest to the fact that when it comes to shopping for yourself… well, it doesn’t really happen. There’s the teeny tiny aisles that make maneuvering a stroller a nightmare; the unflattering lights that somehow spotlight every lump, bump and stretch mark (we can’t possibly look that bad right!?); and the annoying salesgirls who are way too skinny and way too encouraging when you try on that too-tight, lime green dress that makes you look like a melting popsicle. Not to mention the fact that keeping a child in the dressing room is akin to keeping Lindsay Lohan out of jail… not going to happen.  Also, for this particular occasion,  I don’t want to spend a fortune on “Vegas clothes” that I will most likely only dig out for the next bachelorette party… or possibly the next baby shower if it’s a “Pimp and Ho” theme.

My go to for these situations used to be the ever-popular Forever 21.  But despite the grandiose promises that its clever name implies… I am apparently not forever 21.  The fact that I couldn’t get a size “large” dress over my calf reinforced the fact that I am too old for this store, although I should have been tipped off by the heart-print polyester hoodies in the front window.

My solution:  Online shopping.  In this case: ASOS

If you have never heard of ASOS, you are missing out.  It is an online store, quite popular in the UK, with THOUSANDS of different looks.  They do have some expensive clothing, but there are a lot of options, especially from their own ASOS line, that rival “No Longer 21″‘s prices (well close to it, but we are older now so we can aim a little higher.)  You order the clothes, they ship them to you, you try them on in the comfort of your own mirror that has been strategically tilted to make you look tall and skinny (What?  You haven’t done this? Do it now.)  Then if you don’t like them or they don’t fit you, you can send them back for free.  Soooo easy!  Plus, they have a GREAT maternity line.  I actually started shopping here when I was pregnant and still under the illusion that I could somehow look stylish with a watermelon under my tunic (aka prior to last two months.)

Check them out!

And no, they are not paying me to say this. (Although, I would be more than happy to take bribes in the form of store credit.)  I just know how tough it is to find cute, quality clothes at a reasonable price online.  And I’ve been surprised to discover that not too many people know about this great option.  ENJOY! 

Feb 022012

Since my post on breastfeeding got such a big response, and I know that it is something that a lot of women love but also struggle with, I thought I would let you all in on something that really helped get me through.  If you are a wino like me (and I can honestly say that I need my glass of wine more after becoming a mother than I ever did before,) these Milkscreen test strips are a godsend.  You know the rule, “Wait at least two hours for every one drink before breastfeeding.” And usually one drink is sufficient.  But for parties, bbqs, mimosa brunch, or just a random Tues when one just isn’t enough, these genius strips will tell you in three minutes whether your little one is getting bottle or boob.  Dip the strip in your milk or squeeze a couple of drops on it (go for distance and it’s a fun party trick)  and wait a few minutes.  The strip’s color will tell you if your milk is safe.  It’s like a litmus test for wino moms!!  Brilliant.  Go ahead and judge me and my wine if you want, but I think this is a lot more responsible than just guessing (although not as responsible as actually not drinking but I never pretended to be perfect.)

Of course, I don’t have to tell you that getting totally shit-faced and taking care of your baby is NEVER a good idea (babies need to be taken care of by an adult who is not swaying and babbling like a toddler.) And as a general rule, if you feel tipsy at all, then your milk likely also has notes of blackberry, pepper and aged french oak, and shouldn’t be served. But if you don’t feel drunk but are still worried about any lingering alcohol that could harm your baby, these should give you peace of mind.  Cheers!

Jan 132012

If I told you that my 8-month-old daughter and I were just settling down for a little light reading of “Pride and Prejudice”  would you think I was a bit of a Tiger Mom?  What if I told you that it is actually a sweet children’s version (think:  1 English village, 2 Rich Gentlemen) with fun pictures, beautiful enough to eat.  In fact, my daughter actually did.  Seriously cool…at least for a nerd like me.BabyLit Pride and Prejudice