The Adventures of Anastasiya Didok

Life and faith in a nutshell.

Category: Baby Things

Psychology of a Purchase

Today I went to the store and then online, and got my baby some homeopathic gripe water, Weleda diaper rash cream that my doctor recommended, and an organic cloth diaper. I’ve wrestled with myself about buying those items pretty much since he was born, so about 5 months now. I had many reasons to stop myself from purchasing, one of which was our debt. The total purchase cost me about $50.00, and after I finally pressed “Confirm Order,” it felt like a huge weight fell of my shoulders.

This feeling was surprising, since the purchases did not constitute anything that was absolutely necessary for me to buy. We definitely have enough cloth diapers, albeit they are not the organic one I ordered and do not fit him too well at this point. I literally have a basket of Desitin and other ointments in his room. Oh, and that basket also has some tummy drops in it. Since technically I already had everything that I ordered, I expected to feel guilty for spending the $50.00, since instead I could have paid at least two bills. But I didn’t. I just felt like what I was wrestling with for 5 months didn’t have to take up space in my already busy mind any longer.

I am no psychologist, but I do think that there was a reason why it felt good to finally make those purchases.

#1. Since we just paid off our debt, $50.00 is a really small price to pay for peace of mind. I didn’t realize just how much of my energy the effort to convince myself not to buy those items took!

#2. It was empowering to make a decision. The thing is that the basket of Desitins and Colic drops were not what I decided for my child. They were gifts from well-meaning family and friends who decided that these products were right for THEIR children. And I just went along with it. Well, actually, I didn’t go along with it, because I wasn’t using those products. I just knew I should. But I didn’t want to. It was a passive aggressive thing to do (something that I am currently working on as part of my continuous character development). I kept telling myself that those were o.k., while holding myself back from admitting the truth that NO, they were NOT ok and they were NOT what I wanted to use for my baby!

#3. It felt good to give myself wiggle room to change my mind. Along the Desitins in that baby product basket was a can of Burt’s Bees Balm that I did select and received for my shower. This was probably the biggest obstacle to making my purchase, since I actually chose it and it was cloth diaper safe. But after using it a few times I really disliked how it smelled and how it felt. Besides, it didn’t seem to make things better for my baby boy. But since I already had it, I couldn’t allow myself to venture out and get something else. Having the courage to finally do it felt great!

#4. I can now declutter all the other balms and drops. I think I will pay it forward and give some away to my family and friends with babies, if they want them. I will use the basket that currently holds them for storage in my closet, which can use a cleaner looking top shelf.

I can’t believe this purchase had so much significance behind it. Extremely glad to finally get this off my mind!

Things I didn’t need for baby

I already made a list of things I would put on the registry if I got a re-do, but I also wanted to make a list of things I ended up not needing.

Clothing
* Onesies. I probably got about 100 onesies in various sizes, and I only need 2-3 in each size and ironically mostly use the plain white ones with nothing on them!
* Sleepers with buttons. I have a few, but they are quite a pain to put on and off during the 15 diaper changes a day.
* Coat. I got my boy a nice warm Diesel coat, as well as a couple of those things that are like sleepers but they are coats. Whatever they are called. Well, the child screams like the Seahawks fans at CenturyLink every time I put one of those on him. So we resort to blankets.

Bathing
* Pretty sets of wash cloths and baby towels. Guess what works just as well for a baby. A regular towel!
* Sets of lotions, creams, shampoos, washes, bubble baths… We got all that. All we ended up using is an all-in-one wash. The cheapest yellow one from Johnson & Johnson.
* Baby tub. I know that’s also on my registry item, and that’s really a matter of preference. But we like the bubble better. It also takes up less space.
* Lots of bath toys. We got a spout cover and a few rubber ducks. The spout cover didn’t fit the faucet in our new 1920’s house with a clawfoot tub. We are still trying to get the kid interested in the ducks. He prefers to explore the shower knobs instead.

Medical
* Diaper cream. I got loads and loads of Desitin, as well as other kinds of creams. I also loaded up on Coconut oil to be more natural. This is what I found out: baby’s rash appears to get more aggravated by Coconut oil and baby powder. Other creams don’t show results as fast as I’d like. My best solution so far for reddish skin? chamomile tea.
* A grooming “kit” consisting of baby nail clippers, brushes, and thermometers that aren’t temporal. Babies nails can be clipped just as well with regular nail clippers. I only used a brush (and I got the organic bristles kind that’s not included in most kits) when he had cradle cap for a little bit, and I am still not sure what exactly a baby comb is supposed to be for. All thermometers that aren’t temporal are literally a pain in the rear.
* Cradle cap cream. I purchased that thing and had high hopes for it. But what ended up working was scrubbing his head diligently during baths and rinsing with chamomile tea.
* Humidifier. We got a cute on in a shape of an owl. Used it once. The first day we set it up.
* Air purifier. I don’t even know what that looks like.
* Aspirator. We got a nice battery-powered one. Baby is afraid of it. Cotton swabs work.
* Speaking of cotton swabs. Those giant ones made specially for baby will not fit in his nostrils. They are practically useless.
* Special baby detergent. I got it. It does a horrible job washing stains and smells out. “User error!” some will say. Well guess what? I have no time to investigate how every detergent is supposed to be properly used. In my mind it should go in the wash and do its job without requiring a scientific calculator to figure out the formula for exactly how much of it will properly react with the amount of water my machine may use. Tide works great no matter how I use it. And so far baby has no reaction to it, so that’s what I will continue to use for all my laundry.

Feeding/Teething
* So I’m still on the fence about Sofie the Giraffe. I’ve heard nothing but good things about her but my kid hasn’t shown any interest in her to date. He prefers to chew on the Aden & Anais swaddles or bibs.
* Bottle sterilizer. What a giant space taker! Bottles can be washed just as well with regular dish soap, and if you want to go a step further, special milk residue soap. If you are adamant about sterilizing them, steam clean them over a fork in a sauce pan.
* Bottle warmer. We warm the bottles by placing them in a mug with hot water. I haven’t had an instance yet when I didn’t have that readily available to me when it was time for the baby to eat out of a bottle.
* Special bottles drying rack. So this is a bit of an hypocritical statement from the minimalist inside, since I got one from my in-laws and I actually do use it. But I was ok without it and I probably wouldn’t have gotten it on my own. Bottles dry just as well on a towel or in a regular dish rack.
* Bottle carrying case. You would probably use it for daycare. But it’s an awkward square and has been sitting on top of our fridge for the past three months. Our diaper bag has a temperature regulating compartment that preserves cool or heat, and we normally just put the bottles right in there.
* Nursing cover. Two reasons why I haven’t used it. I know feeding in public is all the rage these days. But coming from a conservative family consisting primarily of my husband’s brothers, who are constantly around, it would be prudent to say that me breastfeeding in public would make it quite awkward for other members of my family. I have a nursing cover, and I’ve used it a few times, but still felt exposed. The other reason is that my baby hates nursing with others around. If someone else comes in the room while he is nursing, he will literally turn and stare them down until they leave. No exceptions, even for daddy, whom he adores!
* Burp cloths. What a useless invention. When spit comes out, you either need to have something that is quickly available to wipe with (a bib) or covers a vast territory of baby (an Aden & Anais swaddle). Burp cloths are neither! Baby has never ever conveniently burped while we were burping him, nor has he ever conveniently burped wherever he was supposed to. In fact, he is quite great at catching us off guard with his burping. No matter how prepared we are for it to happen, he spits out the moment we get distracted.
* Pacifier holder. (What is that?!)
* High chair. We may need it later, but at this point it seems to me that he will be just fine on someone’s lap.
* Mat to catch food under babies chair. It’s easier to use a broom than to clean that mat! I think it’s a good idea for carpeted areas though. Our house doesn’t have any where baby could potentially eat.

Furniture and Bedding
* Changing table pads. At first I swore by them. And then I realized that receiving blankets do the job just as well, as do hand towels and bigger cloth diapers. So I definitely wouldn’t invest in specially designed ones.

Diapering
* Diaper pail and refills. This is a genius marketing scheme, as diapers that are wrapped in regular plastic bags go in the same landfill as those wrapped in special diaper pail refill bags. However, the special bags, from what I hear, are a lot more expensive! We cloth diaper, which also requires a pail hypothetically. However, we haven’t had either pails and so far have gotten without just fine.
* Wipe warmer. It’s nice to have. I used it in the first two weeks before we got our cloth diaper set. But it’s not essential by any means, and since we use cloth wipes now, I just wet half a wipe with warm water or dip it in chamomile tea.

Baby transporting and seating/entertainment
* Swing. I have a swing and it has been an eyesore for me since baby came into the world. Although my mother-in-law who watches baby says she uses it all the time, I absolutely cannot wait until he outgrows it and we get rid of the giant thing! I got it for free, which alleviates my hate towards it a tad. I also know that some swear by the swing. But I’ve barely used it, and baby only stays in it for a little bit as a form of entertainment rather than a means to fall asleep. I’d rather take him to the playground once every so often and not have the huge thing take up half my livingroom.
* Infantino baby carrier. Or any other baby carrier that isn’t ergonomically designed for that matter. My sister-in-law let me borrow hers and I used it the week baby decided he wants to be exclusively carried. It did the job, but destroyed my back. Then my neighbor gave me a moby wrap, which I don’t use that often, but it has come in handy the few times I’ve used it. Trust me on this: don’t skimp on the baby carrier if you are planning to carry baby at all. You will pay for it later in Chiropractor bills.

Entertainment
* Play Yard. I think it would have been useful if we didn’t have a crib and a changing table. It just stood there awaiting to be folded away, until my mother-in-law started bringing her three-year-old along. He took a love to the play yard and now hangs out in it whenever everyone is over at our house. This item may find its purpose later, but is definitely not needed for the infant stage of having a baby, unless of course your baby has nowhere else to sleep.
* BRU must have registry checklist includes a bouncer, a jumper, and a stationary entertainer. I don’t believe I am acquainted with which term describes exactly what. I know I got him a thing to bounce in and he loves it. That must be the bouncer. It’s o.k. I guess. Since I don’t know what the other things are for, I assume they are not needed.
* Books, music, dvd’s. We use our computer screen and YouTube. Books find their way to our house on their own from friends and family.
* Infant toys. Like the books, they make their way into our home on their own. What baby actually plays with currently: his bib, a hedgehog his uncle got him for Christmas, the motor from my breast pump, my hair, daddy’s beard, his bouncer, the knobs for hot/cold water in the tub. As you can see, that includes only one toy. One.
* Camping carrier. A regular carrier will do the job just fine!

Safety
* Baby monitor. It is ironic that baby monitors are a “safety” item, since it’s debatable whether or not they are even safe. I understand that parents residing in a large house may find a need for it. However, I’ve found that in our compact two-bedroom house we can hear baby crying from any point inside. Our bedrooms are so close that I hear even whimpers and stirs. So far we’ve done just fine without.
* Baby gates. We have no stairs, and chairs do a wonderful job at preventing baby’s one-year-old cousin from entering into rooms we don’t want him in. Actually, there’s only one entrance at all that even needs a “block.” The rest have doors that close. The aforementioned three-year-old grew up in a house with stairs and no baby gates. As a result, he does a fabulous job climbing up and down the stairs on his own.
* Cabinet and drawer locks. Outlet covers. I may or may not find them useful later. No reason to store them prior to that!

I think that about covers it! This list, of course, is based on my own experience, and is probably very different for different moms! However, I wanted to put it out there because when I was doing my research for what I will and will not need, I didn’t feel like there were enough lists of what was useless and why. I hope this list helps someone make an objective decision and not clutter their registry and home with useless items that baby stores market to take advantage of the nesting instinct of expectant moms.

Check out another mom’s list of baby things to have and not to have that I found helpful while making decisions for my registry! (It’s quite different from mine!)

Our experience with Cloth Diapers

This will not be a post on expert advice about cloth diapers, simply because I have no clue how to correctly wash them, treat them, strip them, or dry them. In addition, I do not know the difference between an insert and a doubler. I would also be unable to list and explain the differences in the different types of diapers, but I’m sure there are plenty of sites that can. I also cannot tell you how many different ways there are to fold a prefold and what they are all called.  That said, we exclusively cloth diaper our child and use cloth wipes. This is our experience:

I don’t remember how I found out about them. But something started me on reading all about cloth diapers. There is a LOT to read about and the cloth diapering world can become an addiction. So one day I braced myself for a difficult conversation, marched into my house, and announced to my husband that I want to cloth diaper our children. I was ready to fight for this one. My husband’s response was “Oh honey that’s so great, I thought I’m gonna have to convince YOU to do it!” My husband doesn’t remember how he found out about cloth diapers either. From that moment on though it was decided, and we weren’t even expecting at that point. The first reason we wanted to cloth diaper was because there are a bunch of chemicals in a disposable and we didn’t want that touching our baby’s butt. Our second reason was money.

All through my pregnancy I kept reading the blogs about cloth diapers, following cloth diapering gurus on Facebook, joining cloth diapering groups, and entering cloth diaper giveaways. (I won my very first one). I was obsessed with cloth diapers and everything about them. I was determined to cloth diaper. When I broke the news to my parents, they thought it was a wise decision. When I broke the news to my friends they thought I went insane and will surely grow out of my ignorance as soon as I witness my newborn’s poop for the very first time.  I was overwhelmed with information and wanted to try all the different types of cloth diapers. Luckily my husband kept his head straight, and picked out a newborn package that featured several different kinds, so that I could try them all and get it out of my system. Unlike me, he just watched “Cloth diapering 101” video on youtube and knew right away that we will only be using prefolds and all-in-ones. We ordered the package a few days after baby arrived and received it when he was 10 days old. We had a stash of newborn disposables as back up, and an even smaller stash of size 1’s.

Once we started, the diapers somehow made their way into our home on their own. My mother looked at the prefolds we purchased and promptly went to make some more out of old cotton sheets (babies favorites as far as his skin is concerned). A chance meeting at a baby consignment store brought a bunch of g-pants and an econobum package into our house from a mother who tried but didn’t stick with cloth diapering. And I probably spent about $80 online adding to our “stash.” Then God told me to take a Facebook fast, during which I realized that I spend way too much of my attention on stinking diapers! (pun intended).  So I unliked all but a couple cloth diapering pages (one because my friend runs the social media for the store and I want to support her, and another one because the mama who writes on the blog had a baby only a few days apart from mine and I could really relate to her posts). I also stopped looking constantly for cloth diapers, because my son now had enough. In retrospect, my cloth diapering frenzy and the time I allotted to all the “research” seems plain silly.

Looking back, I should’ve listened to my husband and just gotten what he suggested we should. Some prefolds and some all-in-ones. That’s what we ended up using at the end and I felt that the newborn package was a waste of money.  We used up most of our back-up disposables, but once we ran out of them didn’t buy more. We meant to, but didn’t ever get to it, and to be honest never really needed them other than once when we stayed at our in-laws for too long (who let us borrow a diaper). My husband did install a diaper sprayer, but he assembled it on his own from scratch rather than purchasing the fancy retail ones (there wasn’t a significant price difference at the end though). I wash with regular Tide. Cold rinse, hot wash. There are a million overwhelming articles about diaper laundry and most require that you line dry them, but who are we kidding in Seattle! I throw mine right in the dryer and so far none have been “ruined.”

Here is my advise to those on the fence about cloth diapering:

* Don’t get sucked into all the groups, blogs, discussions, and posts. It will overwhelm you and you will feel like you are an idiot who doesn’t know much and are doing it all wrong. If you think about it rationally, you will see how ridiculous it is that there is even a RIGHT and WRONG way to cloth diaper.

* Watch cloth diapering 101 on youtube and then STOP and don’t look for any more information. Because you will find plenty, but none will be as useful or add to anything you really need to know. It will only waste your time and energy.

* Buy some cloth diapers. Cloth diapers are available on Craigslist, as well as at numerous baby consignment stores. The cheapest website I found for new ones is cottonbabies.com.  I personally think it’s gross to have what once held someone else’s crap touch my baby’s butt. Therefore all of our prefolds are new, but the covers aren’t since they don’t come in direct contact with his skin. That said, “Childish Things” in Seattle sells them new and used in very good condition with no stains for a pretty good price. If I got a re-do I would’ve started with a dozen Indian cotton prefolds and five proraps, and a pack of 6 newborn Bumgeniuses. My favorite all-in-ones for later are Ragababes but they are pricey for a diaper. I have only one. Really all of the diapers I’ve tried work just fine, so don’t concentrate that much on what to get and just see what comes your way.

* It might be because I’ve never tried anything different, but cloth diapering feels like second nature and also nothing special. Poop is the same in a disposable or a cloth diaper. Don’t listen to people who say you won’t do it – they have most likely never tried it. Your mom and grandma did it without the washer and dryer and nobody wrote about it or thought it to be a big deal.

* Don’t overwhelm yourself with laundry questions. Tide works just fine and so does the dryer. If you care so much about stains, you can sun them out in the summer. I personally think it’s a waste of time for something that will be immediately smeared with poop again.

* If you decide it’s not for you, please don’t judge yourself or feel guilty for being a bad mother. I felt horrible for the lady who gave me her Econobums. While saying that she didn’t stick with it she seemed defeated, as if she viewed herself as a failure and was in awe of me being a better mother for sticking with it. I believe that’s just another lie the devil wants her to believe to bring her down. And for the record, Econobums are wonderful covers but outrageously huge inserts, and I don’t think I would’ve stuck with it either have a began with that package and no sprayer. We use those prefolds as a changing pad for when we go out. That’s how huge they are.

* Get a sprayer. Maybe get a wet bag. I have one wet bag that came with that newborn package. Plastic shopping bags from Safeway hold the dirty diapers just as well while the wet bag is in the wash.

* We use cloth wipes (that also came in that package) and disposable wipes. I usually wet half a wipe and leave the other half dry and one is typically enough, two at most. We got a three-pack of disposable wipes and still haven’t run through them 4 months later. Anything can be a cloth wipe by the way. Such as baby wash cloths available in abundance at Ross and TJ Maxx. Whoever thought of special cloth wipes is a marketing genius!

* What else, what else? I think that about covers it all. If anyone has any specific questions I missed, please feel free to ask me in the comments! I will be more than happy to share my “wisdom.”

My take on Pregnancy, Giving Birth, and Having a Newborn!

As each stage of the wonder of having a child passed in my life, I wanted to write about it, but somehow never got to it. Looking back, every part of making a life triggers exactly the same reaction in me. I feel that everything horrible, awful, and difficult that people attribute to those experiences is grossly exaggerated!

Before I was pregnant, and especially while I was pregnant, women who already went through a pregnancy told me about how difficult it is going to be. Morning sickness, constant going to the bathroom, stomach cramps, mood swings, being unable to sleep, back ache, swollen feet… The list went on and on and on! Whenever I dared respond that my experience went otherwise, I’d get a “Oh, just you wait!” So I waited, and waited, and waited. I waited for the misery of the third trimester, but when I still wasn’t miserable at month 8, someone actually still said “just you wait until the LAST month.” But the last month came and went, and I was still alive and working full-time! Before you accuse me of having an easy pregnancy, I would like to say that I vomited from week 9 to week 14, every day, sometimes twice a day. My feet did swell (although only during the last 3 weeks — I attribute that to regular exercise). My lower back began to hurt at week 18 and never stopped. And I was 10 days late. And I still thought that pregnancy wasn’t as bad as people described it. It is what it is, and that’s what it takes to produce a life. Women need to get over it and stop scaring their first-time pregnant counterparts. Did I LOVE being pregnant, as some claim? Absolutely not! In fact, I am enjoying not being pregnant right now very much. But I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Before I gave birth, and especially weeks before going into labor, women who already went through labor told me about how difficult it is going to be. I was prepared for a pain equivalent to being cut open with a knife without an anesthetic, and a looooong process during which I would starve because evil doctors in the hospital wouldn’t let me eat. What scared me the most was a post circulating about labor being equivalent to 20 bones being broken in a body at the same time. The reality of giving birth was nothing of the sort! Before you accuse me of having an easy labor, I would like to say that mine lasted 36 hours, and although I did take an epidural, it was at hour 27. Baby took 2.5 hours to push out. It was also back labor all throughout because my little acrobat decided to turn the night before. Additionally, the epidural pretty much wore off by the time it was time to push. Was labor painless? Absolutely not. It’s painful, but nowhere close to being cut open with a knife or breaking 20 bones all at once! In fact, I’d rather have 20 babies than break a single bone. Oh, and by the way, you are not hungry during labor. I started with a midwife who was trying to feed me all throughout. Every morsel of food was repelling and almost immediately vomited out. My advice to girls pregnant for the first time: pray and get the horror stories out of your mind! Fear will make your body tense up and intensify the labor pains. Remember and remind yourself that you were created for childbearing. Read up on it and know what to expect of the process. Then trust your body and God’s design!

Before I had a newborn, and especially right after I gave birth to my baby boy, women who already went through having a baby told me about how difficult it is going to be. I was prepared to never sleep again. Ever. In addition, I geared up for a forever messy house and surviving on ramen noodles and the kindness of neighbors and family who would bring food because I would never have time to cook or clean again (because of the baby, of course!). My husband and I would also never get to go anywhere because it would be so difficult to get ready with the baby. And changing diapers. Oh man did I hear poop stories and blowout stories! The friends who found out we were planning to cloth diaper rendered us insane. Then baby came into this world, and man what a wonderful experience it was! Before you accuse me of having a trouble-free child, I would like to say that just like any normal newborn he woke up every two hours all through the night and demanded that someone feed him (that would be me). The trouble with babies, you see, is not that they want to wake up and eat, but rather that they don’t necessarily want to go back to sleep immediately after, and would rather play or coo or cry. My little boy was no different. There were nights my husband found me curled up on the floor by the crib because I accidentally fell asleep while waiting for the next time I have to stick a pacifier that fell out back in my angel’s mouth. In fact, baby still wakes up at 4a.m. to eat. But somehow when you are in the mothering state of mind, you manage to function on very little sleep and be absolutely ok with that! Your body adjusts. And turns out that there is plenty of time while the baby sleeps to clean the house and even get dinner ready! The poop? Absolutely disgusting and gross, except only when it comes to the offspring of others. Your own child’s somehow just isn’t bad! (And yes, we are still cloth diapering). Unless you are completely self-centered, having a newborn will not be as bad as you may have heard. You will not only survive, but even thrive, and find that there are a zillion things about babies to enjoy that FAR outweigh any negatives that mothers tend to concentrate on for some reason.

Children are a blessing! View them as such, and you will not be disappointed!

What to put on a baby registry!

When I did a baby registry, I read a ton of newborn checklists and ended up clicking on lots things that I now know I would have never needed! Below is what would have been my ultimate condensed registry list if I got a re-do:

Clothing
* Sleepers with zippers — about 5 in each size
* A couple hoodies/pants sets in each size
* A set of hats in 0-3 months, and 3-6 months
* A set of socks in each size
* Two sets of organic gloves
* 4 receiving blankets
* 4 Aden & Anais swaddlers
* 4 heavier blankets

Bathing
* Johnson & Johnson baby wash
* Organic bristles brush
* Bathing tub or bubble

Medical
* Frontal thermometer
* Gripe water

Feeding/Teething*
* Pump
* Breast pads
* Lanolin
* Nursing bras
* Boppy pillow
* Boppy cover
* Bottles**
* Milk storage bags that attach to pump
* Bottle brush
* Pacifier
* A set of Aden & Anais bibs

Furniture and Bedding***
* Changing table
* Glider
* Crib sheet set (comes with sheet, decorative blanket, mobile, bed skirt, sleeper, and changing pad cover)
* Soft light lamp
* Extra crib sheet (organic)
* Crib mattress
* Crib mattress cover
* Laundry hamper
* Hangers
* Wall stencils

Diapering****
* Diapers
* Wipes
* Diaper bag

Baby Transporting and Seating
* Moby wrap or Ergo
* Papasan
* Car seat
* Stroller
* Lightweight stroller

* I am breastfeeding and pumping at work. For a different scenario needs may vary.
**I was duly warned. Don’t get bottles because you won’t know which ones baby takes. I still registered for them. I got what I registered for (Dr. Browns), a couple of sample Avents, and a set of Tommee Tippees (is that what they are called?) for my shower. Baby decided to like Medela bottles that came free with the pump. Lesson learned. The reason I put bottles on there is because I ended up needing an extra set for when I went back to work. I have seven 5oz bottles so far, and will probably soon buy a set of four 8oz with medium flow.
*** Baby has his own room, and sleeps in the crib, which we got to borrow from friends. All furniture and accessories are based on that. For a different scenario needs may vary.
**** We are cloth diapering, so I wouldn’t have any ideas about how many regular diapers to get in each size. And I’m going to do a separate post on cloth diapers.

As you can tell, there are a lot of things missing on this registry that you will typically see in checklists handed out to new moms. I am going to write a post on things I didn’t need and why in the near future!

Baby Shower Gift Ideas

This post is inspired by another post I just read on Pinterest. I am not going to post the link to it because that would be a horrible thing of me to do. Basically it was a post about gift ideas for a baby shower. I read the post and am hoping that nobody ever actually uses it because whoever wrote it has clearly never had a baby. The list included things like colored pots to help mom store things, out of season baby outfits in a larger size, books, engraved charms, and planting a tree. Basically everything a mother-to-be wishes to never EVER receive for a present! Below, I have compiled my very own list of baby shower ideas, as well as tips on what not to get, for those who truly want to know because they deeply care:

1. Do get items from mom’s registry. It’s most likely at Babies R Us, but if you don’t find her on there, ask.

2. Do NOT get a new mom outfits for the baby. Especially not the out of season sale ones in larger sizes. First, you have no idea at which rate the child will grow and what size they will be during the season that’s currently “off”. Just because an outfit says 6 months, does not mean that the baby will actually be 6 months when he or she is that size! My giant two-and-a-half month old is about to graduate to 9 months clothing.  Second, onesies for newborns and 0-3 months are practically useless, as they are quite a hassle to put on a newborn. Third, there is an overabundance of them at baby consignment stores and Craigslist, costing about .25c each.  Fourth, everyone else coming to the shower will most likely bring outfits.

3. If you are so inclined to get baby an outfit anyways, make it a sleeper with a zipper. Those are the one most useful piece of clothing for an infant at any stage because the zipper makes night-time diaper changes a lot faster. It is also rarely received as a gift, and is actually not that common at baby consignment stores or on Craigslist.

4. While a gift consisting of all supplies necessary for a first-aid kit or baby care are a thoughtful present, make it as much as possible from her registry. I have received the following aids for my showers: gas drops, 5 packages of Desitin, a package of butt paste, 2 baby fever reducers, baby lotion, 7 packs of baby shampoos of all sorts and kinds. What I actually needed for baby so far: burts and bees ointment that does not ruin cloth diapers, cradle cap cream, Neosporin, 1 bottle of baby wash chosen by my husband because he happens to have a preference. If she hasn’t asked for diapers, don’t get them. She may already have some, or, as in my case, she may have chosen to cloth diaper.

5. A great idea is to get a few people you know to go in on a large gift from the registry. It won’t break the bank, and will most certainly make a new mama super happy! For example, while you may not think that a matching crib set is a necessity for a child (since all they really need is a sheet), you have no idea how much time your friend will be spending in the nursery. A prettily decorated crib is more for the mama to enjoy. Indulge her.

6. If you happen to have a strong opinion about what a mommy will and will not need, make your purchases as much from her registry as possible! (Do you see the registry trend?) It would be awesome of you to get what you think she will need that others will most likely chose not to purchase from her registry (such as an expensive frontal thermometer, a nursing bra, or a tube of Lanolin). On the other hand, don’t buy her things that you know she will not need, even if they are on her registry. Clicking things at the store has a tendency to get a new mommy carried away sometimes… She can probably live without a bottle warmer or baby nail clippers. You are not entitled to have an opinion about what the new mom will or will not need if you haven’t ever had a child.

7. Do get gift cards. Gift cards to wherever she is registered are preferred. Another great option are restaurant gift cards for venues located near her house (vs. restaurants the gift cards for which were conveniently located by the checkout register of the store where you stopped by on the way to her shower), so that she can go out with her family, or send hubby for take out during recovery.

8. Please don’t get her things left over from your own shower that you didn’t want, unless they are also on her registry. Especially if your shower was five years ago. Even baby outfits go out of style and products from back then have probably already expired.

9. Books, toys, receiving, and baby blankets, like outfits, unless on mommy’s registry, although cute, should not be chosen by you. I received 12 baby blankets as gifts. Some were downright hideous. No baby needs that many!

10. Please do not plant a tree in honor of her child. And unless you are from some super upscale neighborhood that particularly values charms, do not engrave a charm for the baby. If you are itching to truly stand out, buy her a newborn photo shoot with a local photographer she loves. That would be the one that she “liked” on Facebook.

I know that some may want to retort with “it’s a shower, presents are a courtesy, and mom shouldn’t be choosy about what she gets.” If that’s you, I don’t want to hear it because I kind of, sort of agree, but am really wondering why you are reading a “gift ideas” post. What I do want to know is, what gifts that you’ve received for a shower stood out to you as particularly horrible or particularly thoughtful?

Back To Work

It’s day 4 of being back to work full time and I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised. I expected to be absolutely miserable being away from my baby, but so far I am far from it. Do I miss him? Yes. But is it unbearable to the point that I am depressed or want to cry? Not even close. I think that a huge contributing factor to that are prayers of support of my church and my family. Another must be that I’m blessed to have a job that I love.

I am a property manager, which means that every day I get to interact with a bunch of people and help them in resolving all sorts of different issues. It’s a kind of job that is perfect for my nonexistent attention span, because every day I am faced with thirty or so different tasks which all require fifteen minutes at most to complete. My to-do list goes on for pages and pages, but I also leave home every day with a feeling of accomplishment because I can get a page or two worth of items crossed out in a single work day! No day is ever the same, which keeps me entertained. Needless to say, there is plenty to keep my mind away from missing my baby boy.

I also find that the time that I do spend at home with my baby now is much better quality than before. While staying at home, I got sidetracked by running the household and noticed myself rarely going to him for things other than a diaper change or feeding. I may be judged for it, but I will say it: after fifteen or so diaper changes in a day, you want to hand the baby over to whoever walks through the door next. Now when I come home, I run to hold my son, change his diaper, sit down, calm down, and actually talk to him. I have also noticed that my energy level increased, although I get less sleep. The feeling of being “trapped” at home drained me. I am astonished to come home now and have more energy to go somewhere or work out than I did while staying home all day and sleeping in!

Is this an ideal situation? No. If we had the financial resources for me to stay at home, I would do it in a heartbeat! But unfortunately with Obamacare requirement for insurance, my husbands salary isn’t even close to covering premiums for me and baby. I have been assigned to my current property for a short period of time, after which point I get to decide whether I want to stay on full-time or go to part-time. At this point, the money from a full-time position is extremely helpful to paying off medical bills from delivering our little bundle of joy. But later on I will likely switch to part time. For now, I am looking at the bright side of things, enjoying adult interaction, and spending as much quality time as possible with my son.