Baby Must Haves: 0-3 Months

I know posts like these are all over the internet, but I found them totally helpful when I was pregnant, and trying to register and navigate the thousands of possible baby items that we may or may not need. But, I am going to make this list only the things that I truly consider a MUST.  We had plenty of things that were nice, but we would have survived with out. Ok, we would easily survive with out most of these as well. So I suppose this is a list of things that are really really really really helpful, but not 100 percent necessary for babies survival. I suppose all you absolutely need is a way to feed the child, and clothe the child.

1. A Bouncer.

We have this one. It’s no longer sold, but a comparable one would be this one.

Picture from fisherprice.com

Nothing too fancy, and light enough to pick up and carry it around the house. I put Anderson in this pretty early, but he had pretty good head control, I don’t remember now how young he was when we first used it. Maybe three weeks. I put him in it when I cook breakfast, when I need to go the bathroom, when I am doing laundry, in fact anytime that he is NOT sleeping, eating, or actively playing with me, he’s probably in this. He has even napped in it a few times. Now that he is older, I have removed the center toy from the bar (not sure if the new models allow you to take these off, but my center toy is velcroed on) and have attached links with a grabbable toy on the end for him to play with. Our seat was a hand-me-down, so I think this is totally the type of thing that can be purchased used, and you will be getting just as good of a product as if you purchased new, assuming nothing is broken or missing.

2. A baby carrier.

We have this one, by Ergo. I don’t think one has to have the most expensive carrier, but I do think a carrier that supports baby’s hips in the correct position is a life saver. We also have in the infant insert.

I also purchased a ring sling, this one, by Maya. The ring sling is awesome. Until Anderson was big enough to sit in the Ergo with his legs out, this was by far my favorite carrier.

It doesn’t really matter what type you have, as long as it’s safe for the baby, and comfortable for you. But I find having the ability to have my hands free, was imperative. Also, my child HATES his car seat, so wearing him in a carrier is the only way to go to the store by myself, or out to eat before he became strong enough to sit on our laps while we ate.

3. Flannel/Cotton Receiving Blankets.

I received a ton of these at my various showers, and dutifully washed them, folded them, and placed them in the “swaddle” section of Anderson’s dresser. Of course, they are too small to actually swaddle a baby in, especially mine. BUT, they are the only thing I use as a burp rag. I also recieved plenty of wonderful burp rags, but they are all pretty small. I don’t know if Anderson has reflux (I don’t think so, as he clearly grows like a weed, and is rarely fussy when he spits up) but he spits up frequently, and a pretty decent quantity. With these flannel receiving blankets, I can cover half of my shirt, which saves me from having to change myself, in addition to him, every time he spits up. I have one on my shoulder anytime I am holding him.

image via shopko.com

4. Waterproof all-purpose pads.

I read about these on a blog, and promptly put a set on my registry. I use them over our changing pad. I only have one changing pad cover, and didn’t want to continually have to wash it.  These come in a pack of two, and I quickly realized that wasn’t enough, so I bought another package. Four total works for us, especially now that we are a bit more adept at changing diapers. They are also great for travel. When Anderson was 6 weeks old, and again when he was 10 weeks old I went home to Reno to visit my mom, and took one of these to act as his “changing pad.”

5. Google.

I don’t really need to link to Google do I? I have found the internet to be invaluable in this first couple of months, whether it’s googling breast feeding questions at three in the morning, or reading reviews on various baby products. They say it takes a village to raise a child. Google/the internet is the modern village.

6. A regular pillow.

I have a boppy, but it doesn’t work for breastfeeding very well. I don’t know if it just doesn’t work well with my shape, but it’s not easy for me to breastfeed with it.  I just use a regular old pillow, with an old pillow case.

7. A sturdy blanket.

We are blessed with talented friends and family members, so Anderson has two quilts that are beautiful, colorful, and quite sturdy. They aren’t going to be blankets to cuddle with, but they are perfect for tummy time on the floor. I keep one in the car for trips to the park, and one in the living room. We have a dog, so I’m not willing to put Anderson straight on the floor, while he still has the tendency to face plant towards the end of tummy time.

8. Something for bathtime.

I know, pretty vague right? We actually have FOUR different baby baths. Two were gifts, one was a hand-me-down, and one I purchased for use at Grandma’s house.

First we have the Babies R Us Stages & Ages Newborn to Toddler Tub. This is the tub we registered for. I thought the mesh sling would be great for infant bathing. Anderson HATED this. It kept him out of the water, which basically kept him cold. Also, I could not, for the life of me, get this tub to stop leaking. I should add, when using an infant tub we have to bath Anderson on our counter, as it didn’t fit on our sink, and our bathtub has one of those annoying sliding doors that only exposes half of tub at a time, and it didn’t make using the tub very easy when Anderson was an infant.

We recieved the The Sure Comfort Deluxe Newborn-to-Toddler Tub as a hand-me-down from my sister-in-law. I like this tub, but it doesn’t seem very comfortable for Anderson. We used this from weeks 4-12.

I also received the Summer Infant Mother’s Touch Baby Bather as a gift from a fellow mom. We just used this last week for the first time, and I love it! I’m able to use it in either our sink OR our bathtub, Anderson can easily sit in it, and I don’t feel like I need an extra pair of hands to make sure he doesn’t topple over or slip into the water. Also, it’s so nice to not have to rinse and drain out a tub.  The bonus about this? It folds up completely flat, for easy storage or travel.

The fourth thing we have is a simple foam insert for the bottom of the tub. I bought it for  three bucks at Wal-mart, to keep at my mom’s house. It involves a little more work while Anderson is little, but once he can sit on his own, I think it will be great.

So, moral of my long story? Go with the Summer Infant Mother’s Touch Baby Bather.  I should also note that Anderson has been bathed in an old (clean) dish pan at my Mother-In-Laws house. This also worked fine. I don’t think it matters what you use, you just need something when they are tiny, and oh so slippery.

I think this is the end of my list. Obviously, we use other “gear” but these are the things that I would for sure purchase again, if I had to do it over. And, again, these are the things that I consider almost-essential. I do feel as though I should address the baby swing. We have one, a hand-me-down. Anderson sits in it, and enjoys it for about 10-15 minutes, but he likes the bouncer much better, and I like the bouncer because it easily moves around the house. I know some people have babies that sleep in their swing, but alas, I do not. Anderson has fallen asleep in his swing exactly once.

As Anderson gets older, I think this list will change. I plan on writing another one of these for 3-6 months.

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Plus Size Pregnancy Fashion

Today is laundry day, and I as I was hanging up a shirt, it hit me for the first time, just how much I miss my non-maternity clothes! I haven’t reached the point where I want to throw out my maternity clothes, but I def miss having a variety in my closet!

Being plus sized, and trying to be fashionable is enough of a challenge as it is. I knew, in the event that I ever got pregnant, it would be even worse.  At the very least you can find plus size clothes in almost any town, if it’s big enough for a Wal-Mart, it will have plus size clothing. The options might suck (let’s be honest, they do), but at least there is a physical place to buy something if you need it. Plus size maternity clothes? Fat chance. Prior to moving to Wyoming, I lived in an area with 500,000 people. Not a roaring metropolis, but big enough that shopping in brick and mortar stores is possible. In this area, there was one, ONE store that carried plus size maternity clothes. Motherhood Maternity. I should throw out the caveat,that prior to getting pregnant, I was on the cusp of plus-size, and non plus-size in certain stores.  Old Navy’s xxl size (straight size) was usually swimming on me, but the XL was just a little too snug.  Of the three Old Navy stores in my area, only ONE carried maternity clothes, and even then the selection was paltry.

I knew that I didnt want to spend a fortune on maternity clothes, and I knew that I was going to have to order some of them online.

Here is what I ended up purchasing:

3 pairs of maternity slacks for work

5 pairs of maternity jeans (2 that didn’t work for me past the beginning on the 2nd tri, just felt wierd around my belly, so I had to buy two more).

1 maternity skirt

2 pairs of maternity work out pants (one was legitimately maternity, the other was just two sizes up from my normal, they were huge at first, but fit now, 4 days from my due date, I call that a succcess)

2 maternity workout shirts (again these are just regular work out shirts, but two sizes bigger than my non maternity. I never thought I would get big enough to fill them out. Ha freaking ha).

3 bigger bras

3 maternity ribbed tank tops

1 maternity white tank top for layering

and about 13 maternity tops.

All told I probably spent about $600.00 on clothes. Ugh. that number frustrates me, but you essentially have to re-build your entire wardrobe!

Now, I have to disclose that my sister-in-law did give me some of her maternity clothes. She and I have different styles, and she is actually a size smaller than me, but most of the stuff she gave me fit through my second trimester, and some of the stuff fits now. She didn’t give me any bottoms though.

Here are some tips for plus size women, who are going through the hell that is maternity fashion:

  • side ruching is your friend, and is incredibly hard to find. I almost always chose my maternity tops with side ruching over those that don’t have it, because I just find them so much more flattering.
  • Full belly panels are also your friend. Mid-level panels often have a THICK band of elastic, and I found that very uncomfortable once my belly started hardening and rounding out.
  • DON’T DISCOUNT YOUR NON MATERNITY WARDROBE. I have 2 pairs of pajamas, 3 shirts, and about 6 camis that are all non maternity. And all of them still fit. Thank you clothing industry for insisting on putting spandex in everything. Once my belly dropped, the camis became too short, so I could no longer wear them with just a cardigan, but they still work well for layering, since everythign insists on being big up top (and I have big boobs! what gives!).
  • Embrace cardigans. I was never really a cardigan girl until about two years ago, but they have become a staple during pregnancy for me (as most of my pregnancy was during the winter). I was able to make my outfits go further, and have certain tops do double duty (liked the ribbed maternity tanks) since they are wearable both with and without a cardigan.
  • If you are a size 18/20 don’t ignore straight size maternity clothes. Due to the generous nature of maternity clothes, and the presence of spandex, lots of straight size XL’s might fit. I had straight size maternity clothes that either still fit, or fit up until about 36 weeks from: JCPenny, Old Navy (and their XXL’s are sometimes still too big–not in the belly!), Motherhood Maternity, and H&M.
  • Maxi dresses are your friend!!  I wore a dress on Easter, almost 37 weeks pregnant, that I got at Ross last year, when I was at my skinniest. It fit, and looked great. These would be ideal for women pregnant in the summer
  • Don’t buy something that you wouldn’t wear if it were non maternity, and you weren’t pregnant. You won’t wear it, and that will just be money down the drain!

Most importantly, don’t get frustrated, and be patient.

 

Baby To-Do List

So, this morning I was reading Kath’s post on what she needs to get done before her baby comes.

And, I’m not going to lie, I had a minor freak out. I am 35 weeks pregnant, and that means full term in just two measley weeks. While I have NO idea at this point if the baby will come early, on-time, or late, I realized….two weeks is NOT far away. NOT FAR AWAY AT ALL!

So I got out my baby to do list…which I haven’t looked at in a few weeks- and realized that I could put a strike through a few things!

We painted the baby’s room last weekend:

And, I think we have everything we need for baby, aside from the cloth diapers. My in-laws came last weekend and brought a bunch of stuff with them, hand-me-downs from my nephew, as well as a few remaining shower gifts.

I got to thinking about it today, and the ONLY things that are absolutely 100 percent imperative that we do before we can bring the baby home are: pack a bag for the hospital, for me and baby, and install the car seat.

Thinking that way, really took a load off!

The things that I WANT to do before the baby comes home are:

  • move the crib into the nusery (it’s currently in the kitchen–long story)
  • hang the curtains we ordered
  • secure the changing pad to the changing table
  • order, recieve, and prep cloth diapers
  • order and put up vinyl decals on the babies wall.
  • hang the bunting from my shower on the wall
  • make the baby a mobile
  • put together the bouncer
  • put together the bassinet (this literally takes one minute, but I am missing a part, needs to be sent from Idaho).
  • make cloth wipes
  • wash all of the blankets we have recieved as gifts
  • purchase a nursing tank
  • nursing bra
  • postpartum care for me (pads, witch hazel, stool softeners etc).

Even though those are all doable, and some of them are on the list for this weekend, it makes me feel better knowing none of them are do or die. I have already washed all of the receiving blankets, the cloth diapers I have, baby clothes  through three months, towels, wash cloths, changing pad cover, and my moby wrap. We also already have the crib and changing table put together, the toy/bookshelf set up in the nursery, and the swing cleaned and put together.

Whew. Ok. I feel better. I feel more prepared. At least in the details. Prepared to give birth? That is a whole other can of worms. Prepared to parent? Terrified.

 

 

Pregnancy: Nursing Bras

So, I am 35 weeks pregnant. At about 30 weeks pregnant, I started thinking about what I was going to do about nusring bras. I am hoping to nurse, and realize that my normal bras as just not going to cut it.

I have one reallllly stretchy sleep/nursing bra that I bought at the beginning of my pregnancy, when my breasts were too sore to sleep unfettered. I plan on taking that to the hospital with me, and laboring in it, as well as recovery, depending on how long that takes.

Beyond that, I just have regular hook in the back, underwire bras. NOT ideal for nursing. I spent some time reading pregnancy boards, and searching online, and to be honest…I felt a little lost. So many opinions, so few options for women with not only larger breasts, but a larger band size.  Also, the biggest question, what will happen after delivery? Will I grow several cup sizes or not? I don’t think I have even grown one full cup size in this pregnancy, but to be honest….I don’t know because I haven’t been properly measured. I’ve been limping along with sort of fitting bras. My rib cage has definetly expanded, and my breasts are fuller, but when you start with a DDD, large jumps aren’t as noticeable.

My other issue when researching nursing bras in larger sizes, was the lack of consistency in sizing. While most stores that I shop for bras at (department stores, lane bryant) use the A,B,C,D,DD,DDD system, some of the places online that I would need to order nursing bras from just used A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H. So….did that mean that I am currently (according to these standards) wearing an F? and what about the two Lane Bryant soft cup bras that I have that are G’s? What does that mean?

I then recalled a stroe called Bras Plus in my hometown of Reno. My parents still live in Reno, so I thought if Bras Plus carried larger size nursing bras, then I could have my mom buy one, in the size I think I need, and she could bring it with her when she comes to visit in two weeks. Saving me shipping costs. My mom went to Bras Plus, and gave the sales lady all of my info, and the woman pulled one bra for me.

Given my current sizing, the sales woman at the store selected a….wait for it and hold on to your hats, 40 I. Yes, I!  I was skeptical when my mom told me. I mean, that is bigger than my biggest bra, a Lane Bryant G. My mom put it in the mail so I could try it out, and I just got it yesterday. This is the bra, for those wondering. I tried it on, and the band fits great with room to get bigger or smaller depending on what happens next, but the cups are a little big (which made me feel vindicated) I think I’m going to ask my mom to go back and buy one size down, and then whe she comes out in two weeks, I’ll compare the two. Here is my conundrum….and something I won’t know until my milk comes in, but I like to be prepared….are my breasts going to get big enough that they will fill out the I? or…..is an H going to be sufficient???? And…when bras are 50 dollars a pop…I don’t really want to spend a bunch of time and money trying and returning.

But What About the Poop?

So, my husband and I plan on cloth diapering. Ok, I knew that in the event that we ever had a baby, I would want to cloth diaper. When the time came, my husband was, much to my amazement, on board. I “know” lots of people on the internet who cloth diaper, but only a handful of people in real life. I’ve had my family give me all the usual reactions, smirks, telling me that it will be harder than I think, and of course, the question, what about the poop? Well, technically the directions on a package of disposable diapers tells you to dispose of any solids in the toilet. I think it might be illegal (I could have also made this up) to throw human waste in the regular trash. Maybe not illegal, but you aren’t supposed to.

Anyway, for THOUSANDS of years women cloth diapered, because it was the only choice. Don’t get me wrong, I realize that disposable diapers make life much easier, but two main things about cloth are important to me:

1) the cost savings over time–a family will typically spend 2000-3000 dollars per child for diapering years

and

2) how much better they are for the environment. We’ve all seen pictures of the great pacific trash island right? Disposable diapers do not bio-degrade.

I am due in a little over 5 weeks (oh dear lord) and as of now, we only have 9 diapers. 9 is not going to cut it. I would ideally like around 18 to 24 diapers.

The diapers we have now are:

– 3 little gpants in size small.

These are for babies 8-14 pounds. They have a snap in plastic liner that come with the outer shell, and then you buy the inserts seperately. I recieved one as a gift, and purchased two more, with 6 inserts. I am confident that our child will come out weighing between 8 and 14 pounds, so I’m hoping that these will be useable as soon as we get home from the hospital.

-3 bumgenius 4.0 one size

I have two of the black print, and one of the yellow. These were a gift from my cloth diapering best friend. These are pocket diapers, and in theory fit 8 pound babies through potty training. I’ve read lots of things that say they are better suited to 10 pound babies. My baby might come out weighing 10 pounds…we’ll see!

-2 Marvels Kissaluvs all-in-ones one size.

These were also a gift, from my registry on diapers.com.  Here is a tip, if you don’t have cloth diapering friends, don’t register for cloth diapers, people will not buy them for you. Or maybe ONLY register for cloth diapers. Ha. I have this exact diaper pictured, but what I didn’t know (because I didn’t do SUPER thorough research) is that this diaper does not have a water proof cover. D’oh. It’s an all-in-one diaper, so other than needing an outer shell, it’s just like a disposable diaper, no stuffing, no un-snapping an insert. And the part that goes against the baby? SO SOFT.

And I have one, one size diaper that my very crafty, cloth diapering best friend MADE for me.

I plan to order 12 more diapers, from www.cottonbabies.com. Right now, my plan is to order the following from them:

6- bumgenius 4.0 in various colors

6- fuzzibunz one size diapers.

1 diaper pail liner

and 1 cover for my two kissaluvs.

I don’t really have a reason for getting 6 of the bums and 6 of the fuzzibunz, just that I think I might like them for different things. I’ve read several posts from different bloggers who use ONLY bumgenius or ONLY fuzzibunz, but part of me is afraid to put all my eggs in one basket so to speak.

Also, I would like to use cloth wipes. I can’t decide if I should just make them myself, or buy them from Etsy. I’m pretty sure they can be made by cutting and hemming flannel. Anyone know?

DINK no more

Have you guys hear the acronym DINK? It stands for Dual Income No Kids. And let me tell you, it’s the life. But, for me and my husband, this month that all changes. In April we will be SINK (what a terrible acronym!) Single Income No Kids, and by May we will be Single Income One Kid! Aagggh!

While my husband’s promotion and transfer to Wyoming were a good move for our family, and for his career, we have learned it is going to require a little bit of a financial change for us. I looked for jobs in Wyoming, looked and looked and looked. To no avail. Everything is either in an oil field or a mine (not the ideal situation for a pregnant lady eh?) or only pays 10-13 dollars an hour. I would like to state that I am not above a 10-13 dollar an hour job, in fact, I almost accepted one or two. Until I found out the cost of day care in Wyoming. Wyoming is surprisingly expensive. I know other “middle of the country” states that have a much lower cost of living, but not Wyoming my friend, not Wyoming. Infant childcare, in this town, is aproximately 1000.00 a month. ONE THOUSAND.  I realize that there are other places in this country where that is a normal, or even low-ish type number. But when the jobs pay 13 dollars an hour….how does one swing a grand a month?

Our financial situation is complicated by the fact that we chose to not sell our house in Idaho before moving. And by chose, I mean…couldn’t. At least, not for what we owe, thank you bubble/recession housing market. Don’t tell my husband but I should have listened to him when he said we shouldn’t buy a house in 2008. D’oh. But, it is what it is. The reason we lived apart from October through February, was so we could sock away enough into savings while we had those two good paying jobs, to be able to supplement our monthly needs with our savings account. It is a little depressing to have our savings account be at an all-time high, only to know that it is slowly going to dwindle until my husband’s bonus comes in November.

So, all of that being said….we are on a strict budget. Which, we have been on before. It’s not like we graduated from college making our 2011 Income. Ha. I worked as an AmeriCorp member for two years, which if you know anything about that program, means we were WELL under the poverty level. But we have gotten used to our cushy life, with the ability to spend our disposable income, pretty much how we see fit. We weren’t rollling in it, and we weren’t extravagant, but we didn’t have to worry. No, we worry. Or I worry.

So, I have been voraciously reading frugal mom blogs, and trying to figure out if there is a way to coupon with out becoming a crazy hoarder. Also, why are their never coupons for the food that I want to buy? I don’t want to buy 10 boxes of hot pockets for 10 dollars. I want fresh fruits and vegetables! Don’t get me started on the food system in this country, that is a whole other can of worms.

So, I am going to add a feature to this blog, about money. Our budgeting strageties, how I shop, how I clean, and well…hopefully how it is all successful!