Saturday, December 21, 2013

Baby gear - A follow-up

One of the unexpected things about being a new mother is how I have to fight my urge to plaster my Facebook profile with updates about my baby. I resist making status updates about him (I will not be one of those parents), but even the pictures I post are an issue. I have an online account on a photo-sharing website, not linked to this blog, which is primarily intended for friends and family, but even there I don’t have as much privacy as I would like. I’m considering making a password-protected account for pictures of my son. Some moms are really extreme in not posting anything, and while I agree with their reasoning, that is less convenient when none of your relatives live in the same country as you do. As it is now, I limit the pictures I post of him (especially on social networks), and my family has never posted anything – I intend to keep it that way.

The Engineer and I have found some sort of new rhythm with the Little Prince, even though obviously some days are better than others. I keep saying that there should be a scale for how rough a day was, and the unit should be the number of outfit changes required due to various bodily fluids… As in, “Oh, today was great, he’s still on his first outfit!” or “Three outfit changes and counting. I need a hug.”

We’ve even got a pretty good system going to allow me out of the house every once in a while: I’ll pump some milk and leave for a few hours to go see a movie and perhaps run a few short errands, then after I get back the Engineer will go see the same movie at a later showing, and we can talk about it later in the evening. It’s not the same as seeing a movie together, but it does allow us to see a movie in theaters, which rocks! We’ve done it for Gravity (good, not great), Thor 2 and Hunger Games 2 (both really good and similar to their respective original films).

Also, while feeding the freezer was brilliant, I should have made more cookies that were not lactation cookies. I had surprisingly low appetite the first month after birth, but then the breastfeeding really took a toll and I needed CARBS. It’s surprising how unsatisfying store-bought cookies are when you’re used to homemade, so I should have prepared more.

As for tips regarding things we bought for the baby, I figured I’d write a follow-up post to Baby gear, to let everyone know how our big-ticket items have fared for us so far.

Co-sleeping bassinette
The Arm’s Reach Mini Convertible Co-Sleeper was a wonderful buy and totally works for us. I love having the Little Prince so close when I’m in bed, too, as I can check to see whether he’s breathing just by reaching over (and first-time moms out there will confirm that checking whether the baby is breathing is something we actually do). I’m also able to feed him or soothe him when he starts fussing (without even having to get up), as opposed to fussing having snowballed into wailing by the time I get to his room! I’m glad that we went with the mini and not the full size, because even the mini version requires some maneuvering to get in and out of bed. That being said, the mattress height isn’t adjustable on this one, so we’ll need to either use it in the playpen configuration soon or transition to the crib for the night (the Little Prince is already familiar with it and takes naps there during the day). I was hoping to do this after his sleep regression, but that’s ongoing, so we might just move him to the crib full-time after the holidays and see what happens.

Note that if you have a mattress protector (which it turns out isn’t really necessary on this model, but still nice to have), I highly recommend the white sheets you can get online instead of the toffee sheet that comes with the bassinette. The reason? You’ll need to reach under the sheet to tuck in the mattress protector properly, and the Velcro on the edges of the toffee sheet is SO rough that I end up scratching myself to the blood each time.

Stroller / Car seat
We’re still very happy with our Graco 3-in-1 ClickConnect Stroller. It’s very easy to maneuver and quite sturdy, and it looks good. We’re still using it in conjunction with our car seat (the Graco SnugRide ClickConnect 40 Infant Car Seat), and I love the ease of transitioning the baby from car to stroller and vice-versa without having to actually move him from one seat to another. It’s true that the car seat is heavy, but that’s not a bug, that’s a feature (if it felt light, I’d be afraid it’d be too flimsy to be of any actual use). We never used the body cushion for newborns, because the Little Prince was too big for them right away, and we only used the head cushion for newborns a short time. I’d buy that combo again tomorrow.

Note that we just acquired a $20 umbrella stroller in anticipation of our first time on a plane with this kid…

We’ve got the Beco Gemini. This is the main area in which my preconceived ideas differed from what actually happened (like that e-card, “You are making it difficult for me to be the mother I want to be!”). For various reasons, I wasn’t able to use it right away. The Little Prince now doesn’t seem too comfortable in it: as long as I’m walking, he’s fine, but if I’m standing still, he wants out, so I don’t use it a lot. I’m not sure if it’s only because he’s not used to it, though, as this could be a vicious circle! To be fair, I think that he’s a little taller than what the carrier is designed for, judging by the pictures. Now that he’s got some neck control, though, I’ve been able to position him to be facing out instead of in, and he does enjoy that position a lot more, but even that has its limits.

I also tried a sling (this company literally gives them away if you pay for shipping) once the Little Prince had enough head control. So far, he seems uncomfortable in it, because I don’t think he enjoys being all scrunched up anymore. I’m sure that once he can sit up, though, he’ll love being carried on my hip. So I still have some work to do before endorsing a specific carrier wholeheartedly…

High chair
We haven’t used that yet; I’ll check back in once the Little Prince is both sitting up by himself and eating solid food.

Baby monitor
In hindsight, I’m glad the Engineer talked me out of the Angelcare with sensor pad, given the recall… (To be fair, the electric cord is never supposed to be in the crib in the first place, and a simple rigid cord cover can prevent the child from pulling it in, but those deaths are absolutely tragic.) The monitor that we’re using is Angelcare’s more traditional model, and it works well for us. I really like that it indicates the room’s temperature, too!

Cloth diapers
We have 24 bumGenius Elemental One-Size All-in-One diapers with snaps (which will last longer than Velcro). We use them during the day, then use disposables at night and when we go out. So 24 diapers works pretty well, though I admit there are days when I’d like a few more (since I hang them to dry instead of putting them in the dryer, it takes a while). The extra load of laundry isn’t too much of a bother so far, but the Little Prince is still breastfed, so I don’t have many stains to deal with. After about 2 months of use, I noticed a lot of leaking. I spent some time stripping the diapers with various methods, but that still didn’t solve the problem. I did some more digging and realized that our baby is what is referred to as a “heavy wetter”. So I bought some doublers for extra absorbency and I haven’t had a problem since. They’re actually so soft that the Engineer jokingly wondered whether they come in adult sizes!

On a side note: while I was stripping the cloth diapers, we were using disposables full time, and it became painfully obvious just how many blowouts we’re avoiding with cloth!

“Baby receptacle”
I’m introducing this category here because I’ve come to realize how useful it is. What I mean by “baby receptacle” is any contraption that you can move from room to room and in which you can put your baby so that he is in a close-to-reclining position. So rockers, bouncers, swings, etc., would be in this category. This is particularly helpful when you need him in the same room as you, as babies will eventually want to be part of what you are doing even when you can’t hold them. It also helps keep them somewhat upright if they have reflux problems (many newborns do, and ours was no exception). We lucked out, because my sister and brother-in-law (the Little Prince’s godparents) got us the Nuna Leaf! (I had first heard about it here, in French.) Our baby really enjoys it; we usually have it near the dining room table, and he likes being in the same room with us when we eat. I also like that it’s eco-friendly and doesn’t have any batteries or electrical cords; one good push and it can keep rocking for a few minutes. The cushion is removable and washable, too. Bonus: it looks fantastic and certainly doesn’t scream “baby furniture”, which is doubly nice because it can also be used for years as a recliner for children!

[Update, March 24th, 2014: I wanted to say a quick word on diaper pail liners. It can be hard to find one that you can wash in hot water, since they are usually made out of PUL. I did find two, however, that specifically say they can be laundered at ANY temperature: the Blueberry diaper laundry bag and the WolbyBug Doorknob Diaper Pail/Pail Liner. They both have a drawstring opening and can be used in a pail or on a doorknob. While I do wish the opening were a bit wider, I’m really liking them so far!]

1 comment:

Amélie said...

As an update, I want to say that I used to think car seats were pretty much all the same when used only in the car (as opposed to a travel system, which has advantages). But it turns out that's not the case! Over the holidays, the Engineer and I rented a car seat (along with a car) in Montreal, and it was a "Safety 1st" brand. Let me just say I have never hated a car seat so much! Granted, we got off on the wrong foot because the Little Prince is big and just barely, barely fit in the seat (at 5 months!), but on top of that, the restraints were hard to clip, especially the anchor point in the crotch area. I'm so glad we have Graco at home!