WORK/LIFE BALANCE FROM A MOM AND NURSE PRACTITIONER

Making room for two: What to toss, keep, and buy

10/26/16
With the first baby I was clueless about what to buy to prepare for our baby. Reading about baby products and talking to other new moms helped, but there is a huge market for baby products that can inundate a new mom . I have not bought anything in preparation for my baby on the way, but I do want to make room for her, and inventory what I have and what I actually need to get. As I started this process I realize there were plenty of items we bought or were gifted last time that were unnecessary, and some items I would have like to have that I never bought last time. This lead me to my list of Toss, Keep, and  Buy.

Toss:

Swaddle blankets-I'm referring to the so-called make it easy to swaddle blankets with Velcro or snaps. My son was able to bust out of these in a couple of minutes, and really were not useful to me at all. I preferred the larger Muslin blankets that can be used for swaddling and also when the baby outgrows the swaddling phase.

Baby Monitor-Let's get real, unless you sleep on another floor than your baby there is no way you are going to sleep through or miss hearing your newborn's cry. There was really no immediate need or use for this other than some false sense of security.

Diaper Genie-We registered for the expensive Tomee Tepee diaper disposal system that supposedly seals off the smell and makes disposal easier. It still ended up smelling like a landfill, and I eventually just moved it out of the house because I couldn't take the stench. The refills of the plastic sealers were super expensive, and honestly it's just a good habit to take out the dirty diapers daily anyhow.

Changing table-We never invested in this, and never had the need for it. A dresser with a changing pad worked fine, although you have to be a little cautious when the baby starts to roll.


Bouncer or vibrating chair-I picked one up at a yard sale, and it had a working music box and vibration setting. My son hated this and would scream the whole time he was in it.

Teething rings-I tried several different brands and shapes, including the infamous Sophie the Giraffe, and they all did nothing for his teething pain. He would just throw these on the floor in a matter of minutes.

Dr. Brown's Bottles- I wrote about these in another post, but they are the most pain in the butt to assemble, disassemble, and clean. The claim on these is they decrease gas pains and colic, but I have my doubts. In terms of efficiency and ease these get a major fail from me.


Humidifier-At about five months my son got RSV and his cough was keeping him up all night. I tried several humidifiers, including the Vicks brand and some weird looking Owl shaped humidifier that supposedly won a parent's choice award. Honestly, they did nothing to help with cough and nasal congestion. Putting my son in a steamy bathroom did more good than any of the humidifiers.

snap-jammies- changing a baby in the middle of the night and then trying to figure out all the snaps on the PJs is beyond frustrating. I am only using zip-up jammies this time.


Keep
Swing-This was a lifesaver! I don't think the brand really matters, but this was the only thing that would calm my son down and let me have a break those first few months.

Umbrella stroller-I didn't invest in this until almost a year after my son was born, but having a small stroller that you can squeeze into restaurants and stores makes life so much easier.

Digital thermometer-As a former ER nurse I know how important it is to monitor the baby's temperature during the first months. A rectal temperature is the most accurate, but who really wants subject their baby to a rectal probe every time they measure the temperature.

Aden and Ansis  47x47 blankets -These are so soft and have so many functions. They are a little expensive, but I think well worth the price. They can be used to swaddle, for burping, for covering the baby in the car seat or stroller, and for a cover-up when breast feeding. I highly recommend these, and will be buying more this time around.

Bassinet-Also as a former ER nurse I was super paranoid about SIDS, and did not co-sleep at all. A bassinet next to my bed worked really well for the first few months before we transitioned my son to the crib.

Baby sunscreen- Infants need a physical sunscreen that is non-irritating to the skin. As we took our son out frequently in the warmer months, this was essential.

zip-up jammies-see above

The Medela hands-free breast pump-I got  the Medela Freestyle Breast Pump top of the line pump covered through my insurance. I loved it, and intend to use it again this time around. Pumping early made my life so much easier when I had to go back to school and work. I bought the microwavable sterilizing bags for the parts, and all the Medela bottles, but these were not necessities. You can sterilize the parts with boiling water, and there are many other brands of bottles that fit onto the Medela pump, including the Dr. Brown bottles. I also bought a lot of the freezer bags for storing breast milk, which were very useful.

Sleep sacks-Again, I am super paranoid about SIDs, so in the first six months I only used sleep sacks when my son was past the swaddling stage

A sturdy crib- We bought this convertible crib from target with a coupon. It was expensive, but has worked very well, and my son at almost 2 and half still uses it and is unable to get out on his own. Eventually we will convert it to a toddler bed. Target currently has a sale on furniture and you can save $75 when spending $300, plus 10% off with the code FALLHOME link here.





Buy:
These are items I did not get last time, and want to get this time. Please leave your comments or suggestions on what products you liked below.

Travel system-I bought convertible cars seats last time around, but I definitely want a travel system this time, plus my son is still using the car seats we bought two years ago. Any suggestions as to what brand or model?

Pack n Play-Also, this would have come in handy the many times we have traveled with our infant son. There are so many, I don't know which one to choose from.

Diaper Bag-I have been through couple cheap ones that didn't have much room for organization and fell apart. Now that I will have two kiddos in diapers I want to invest in a good one that is stylish and functional. Thinking of this one.

The breast friend-My good friend recommended this to me, and claims it is the best for positioning while breast feeding. Thoughts?




The nasal Frieda-I used the bulb syringes to suction my son's snot as a baby, but have since been informed that these harbor loads of bacteria. I'm thinking of trying the nasal frieda this time, although it looks a bit disturbing.





A double stroller-I'm very hesitant to try one of these, simply because they look like they take up so much room, but I definitely see the need in the future.  Any suggestions leave them below.


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Fall Book Review: Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo

10/18/16


I've been under the weather the past week, and being cooped up in the house I've been catching up on some reading. I picked up The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, because I am for one a fan of Amy Schumer's show and stand-up, two I wanted a light read, and three I am a sucker for a good memoir. From the intro, and based on Amy's comedy, I expected this book to be similar to Chelsea Handler's memoirs. I have read a few of Chelsea's books, which have made me laugh literally out loud, and are full of drunken sexual escapades. Amy's intro to this memoir started in the direction of a raunchy stand-up routine, with a letter to her "pussy." I realized however, this wasn't entirely the "light" read I had signed up for, when into the first couple of chapters there were a lot of serious undertones, and parts that were even depressing. Although some of her memoir details her sexual encounters, and other raunchy material typical of her stand-up, there was a lot of reflection about who she is apart from her comedy. She reflects on being an introvert, lack of confidence, and unhealthy past relationships. I feel a lot of similarities with her experiences, and perhaps because we are of the same generation, I can relate to a lot of her experiences growing up. I laughed at many of her childhood and early adult experiences simply because I had been there. She recounts how her mother wouldn't allow any junk food in the house so she developed the habit of binge eating junk food at friends houses, and would eat her roommates junk food in college. I had this experience, to the point where when I would go to one particular friend's house as a kid who had a pantry brimming with unhealthy snacks, I would pick to hide in the pantry during hide-and-go seek games so I could raid it. I also have the same horrible habit linger into adulthood, where I would eat any junk food left unattended by roommates, family, or coworkers. She also discusses her low points of self-confidence and settling for really crappy men and situations during her early twenties, also similar to my own experiences. One particular shining moment in my early twenties when my self-worth wasn't that great, I somehow fell for a hot-tempered alcoholic line cook with a mustache tattooed on his index finger, but back to Amy's story. I particularly loved the accounts her family, and her experiences growing up with an alcoholic chronically ill father, a manipulative mother without any boundaries, and how she's come to terms with their flaws. She also tackles some heavy issues, including gun violence, sexual assault, body-shaming, and domestic abuse, all with personal stories that are both comical and heart-wrenching. This isn't a hysterical collection of essays, nor a poignant tale of overcoming adversity, but somewhere in between that, and inspirational nonetheless.

on having a girl

10/11/16
When I hear of people waiting to find out the sex of their baby, I'm always a bit in awe. For one, I don't do surprises. I have found out about literally every surprise from Christmas presents to surprise parties people have tried to throw me, simply because I am very impatient. Although it seems like a fun idea to be surprised by my baby's gender, I knew going into my pregnancies this was in no way realistic for me. I also wanted to have some level of preparation for one sex or the other. As much as I like to think I am a forward thinker when it comes to gender, I definitely think there are a lot of gender differences in raising boys v. girls that I would like to prepare for. Also, as progressive as I like to think I am, I also wanted to know what colors of clothes to buy my bundle of joy, as I still fully plan on dressing my baby girl up in a ridiculous amount of pink and ruffles. I was thrilled when I found out I am having a girl. I was so excited, in fact when I found out I cried. Don't get me wrong, another son would have been amazing too. I love having a boy. As I've heard from many experienced parents, there are unique challenges that come with raising the different genders. I do believe this. For example, potty training my son has been slow-going, which I hear is pretty common with boys. I think the personality of child however, is more influential than gender when it comes to the challenges faced as a parent. I can't wait to see how her unique personality is, and how different or the same she is from her brother.