Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pregnancy 1 vs. Pregnancy 2

It has been natural for me to compare my prior experience in pregnancy to this one, especially since it wasn't too long ago and the details are pretty fresh in my mind. Here's what I've noticed so far between the two.


Morning Sickness: had it bad the first time but MUCH worse this time. It kicked in from day one this time around and is still in full force at 10 weeks. The extent of the nausea has been so bad that it has made me re-evaluate the idea of having any more kids and at the very least waiting a few years in between. However, knowing myself, the mommy amnesia may kick in and I may change my mind. But I've been very surprised at how hard it is to be so incredibly sick and also have to take care of one child let alone two! I've had to pull out all the stops and rely heavily on my husband for help with everything and it has NOT been fun of any kind!

Weight gain/loss: I'm right on par with pregnancy #1, as of this week I've lost 10 lbs. I lost a total of 12 with HL before the morning sickness dissipated, so things are very similar here.

Baby bump: Initially I felt like I was popping out immediately with pregnancy #2 but then I remembered being 10 weeks pregnant with HL and the comments from everyone... "oh my gosh, look at that belly!" "are you having twins!".... so my belly was puffy from the start with HL and then went away and then came back little by little. I was tiny with HL for the good majority of the pregnancy but I DO remember having a very noticeable "bump" from the start which seems to be exactly what I have right now. People that know me can tell I'm pregnant, people that don't think I've just got more baby weight to lose.


Aches/pains: Pretty similar here too the aches and pains have started up right away. The hip pain, leg cramps, and swollen feet come and go regularly. If anything they have been a little bit better for pregnancy #2 so far, I can remember being only 6 or 7 weeks pregnant the first time and hubbs running me a hot bath every night to ease the back aches. Haven't had to do that yet this time around.

Cravings: Well it's hard to call anything a craving with morning sickness but I have had a similar drawing towards sweets. I'm not normally a sweets person but for both pregnancies I find myself eating a LOT more sugar than usual. As for food aversions both pregnancies are identical there, I can only eat a particular food ONE time and that's it, after that it sounds repulsive which makes for a hard time finding anything to eat after a while!


Fatigue: MUCH more tired for Pregnancy #2 and I attribute it to the fact that I have a toddler to chase after all day which means that if there were a 3rd pregnancy it would be even HARDER.... hence the debate in my head.

Aha Moments: The first, that we may not end up having the number of children that we originally thought because I don't know if I could survive 3, 4 or more pregnancies. These past 10 weeks have been humbling and have made me realize that I'm not super woman. I'm pretty scared to go through this again with now TWO toddlers at home.

Second, I finally understand the concept of wanting your body back. I always heard women with multiple children say that they couldn't wait to be done having kids to get their body back and I didn't really get the full gist of the idea. NOW I totally get what they were saying. Having two pregnancies back to back  makes you feel like you never stopped being pregnant. I was never one of those "I love being pregnant" kind of women (although I missed it when I wasn't) but pregnancy was tough for me, kicked my butt! So being there again makes me realize how nice it will be to be DONE with this, to have our kids, go through the hell, and be DONE. Pregnancy is such a rollercoaster, for your body, for your emotions, for everything and I am now one of those women that I didn't understand who will be glad to be done with the child bearing phase of life and be able to move onto just living life as my normal self. Read more!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Giveaway: Febreeze & $15 Walmart Giftcard!


Open until Nov. 4I was excited to review Febreeze's line of wooden wick candles because I am a huge fan of the original Wood Wick candles (although not a fan of their pricetag). The subtle crackling of the wood wick is soothing and especially festive for the holidays.

I got a box of 3 candles to test, my FAVE was the Anjou Pear Spice which is very "Christmas-y", my least fave was the Rosewood Plum, not my kind of scent at all. Now the candles claim to give you "80 Hours of Ahhhhhhh" and to this I was a little skeptical, I mean 80 hours is a long time! So I lit my candle from the moment I woke up until around dinner for 2 straight days and the thing is only a quarter gone, so from my perspective the 80 hours is no lie.

You can find the Febreze Home Collection Wooden Wick candles at your local Walmart in fragrances like Green Tea Citrus, Pomegranate Mango, Cranberry Pear, Orange Honeycomb, Rosewood Plum and Willow Blossom; as well as seasonal scents that include Anjou Pear Spice, Gingersnap Vanilla, and Yumberry Sangria.

And for one of you lucky readers, you'll get a $15 Walmart giftcard to go get one!

HOW TO ENTER
Mandatory:
Tell me which Febreeze wooden wick scent you'd try first

Extra Entries: leave separate comments for each
1. Vote for us at Top Mommy Blogs (1 entry per day)
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P&G and Febreze via My Blog Spark provided me with a Wooden Wick Candle Kit to try, and a $15 Walmart gift card to give away. Read more!

Post It Note Time: Boob Edition

Haven't done one of these in a while... so Post It Tuesday Thursday time it is...

Read more!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Update

What's new...

Baby has been sick

I still feel like death, morning sickness is still in full tilt, weight loss is at 7 lbs now

Business has been out of control... waaay too busy

Birthday party is 10 days away so planning is making me nuts on top of Halloween planning

Yah so things are pretty fantastic right now what can I say! That's the update Read more!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fall Eatin- Recipes- Fabulous Finds


Fall is my favorite season of the year, I love Halloween, the crisp smell in the air, the breathtakingly beautiful gold and red changing leaves that crunch under your feet as you walk, pumpkins galore, the rain... ahhhh I just love Fall. With Fall comes some delicious eatin ya'll!! Here's some awesome recipes that we take full advantage of.

My fave, pumpkin stew IN a pumpkin, can't get much cuter than that! We do any combination of stew or chili this way but there's a yummy recipe over at Taste of Home that gets 5 stars.

Candy Apples anyone? The best looking ones come from Country Living, they have some unique recipes like Pistachio chocolate apples, and then of course Martha Stewart's recipe. You can watch her make them and see the recipe here. For extra yumminess you can dunk your freshly caramelled apples into a bowl of nuts or drizzle with chocolate.


Winter Squash can make any meal fancy and hearty. One of my favorites is baked acorn squash and around Thanksgiving I will make these "stuffed" with turkey stuffing and other goodies. Courtesy of the southern chef extraordinaire, Paula Deen, here's a recipe for baked acorn squash with brown sugar and butter. I found a new recipe to try this from Emeril, a sugar and spice acorn squash, can't wait to test it out! 

Pumpkin Soup, I can't say enough about pumpkin soup, I could eat it nightly during the fall!! There are a million recipes out there, I like to pick one and then add my own twist. Here's a site that has a couple of unique takes on the idea like "vanilla" pumpkin soup and "southwest tang" pumpkin soup.


Baked Apple Dessert. Now this one will have you drooling! I found the coolest recipe for Greek Baked Apples that look delicious. This recipe calls for brandy, cinnamon, and cloves among other things, I can already imagine the amazing smell in the house while these are cooking! 

Cider Scalloped Potatoes. Put that apple cider to good use and throw it in this scalloped potato recipe... Gouda cheese, Yukon gold potatoes, cider, nutmeg, and more. To. Die. For!









Ok bring on the cuteness with this last recipe. Baked stuffed pumpkins! I always find a use for those tiny pumpkins you see in the grocery store, usually I core them out and use them as dip bowls for parties but this takes the cake. Basically they serve as little ramekins to stuff with fall harvest casseroles. I will definitely be making these babies!!

Read more!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Insert foot in mouth: An etiquette lesson

We all know that once you become pregnant your family, friends, and total strangers open their mouths and say some of the most ridiculous things. But I will tell you I've been surprised by some reactions we've received to our announcement, I feel like I need to wear signs that say the following...

For those of you that can't comprehend the idea of having two children under the age of two, keep your thoughts to yourself. It may sound completely INSANE, and unmanageable, and awful to YOU, but obviously it doesn't for us. I'd really like to hand these folks a SHUT THE HELL UP sandwich. The snarky attitude and comments are grating on me and if I keep hearing more I will have a hard time containing myself.

For those of you that are surprised at the fact that we are pregnant "ALREADY" what rock have you been hiding under?! It is no secret that we have wanted a full house of children and that we wanted them all about 1-2 years apart. So take a little etiquette lesson, pick your jaws up off of the floor, slap a smile on your face, and squeeze out a congratulations. At least fake it for us because otherwise you're being incredibly rude.

And on that note, since when is it "odd" to have kids that are 18 months apart... I could literally rattle off over a dozen close relatives and friends whose children are 18-24 months apart. I'd love to pull up some statistics on it. It is actually very common, hence the term "Baby Bunching", the 2 Under 2 communities, chat rooms, blogs, and dozens of products for those of us having back to back babies. So stop looking at us like we have 3 heads.

I think what it comes down to is that people are so stuck in the way that THEY would do things that they can't imagine doing things another way therefore the other way must be WRONG, so they treat you like you're doing something awful....

You will never find me proclaiming that having 2 under 2 will be easy. I'm sure it will be hard work and feel impossible at times. I will be exhausted and fed up more times than I can count. But I will have twice the blessing, two kids that are so close in age that they are best buddies, I will be done with diapers sooner, I will have my body back sooner, and my kids will be grown and out of the house sooner!

And all that really matters is that WE are elated, we can't wait for our next little miracle, WE want this baby and will welcome it with open arms and delight, so in the end it doesn't make a bit of difference what anyone else thinks. Read more!

We have an announcement...

I've been keeping a big secret from all of you... we're expecting again!! We couldn't be more thrilled, our family of three will become a family of four in May!

I was absolutely shocked to learn I was pregnant this time around because it actually happened the "old fashioned" way... that's right, no fertility issues this time around, no need for ovulation testing, or planning, or ANYTHING, who would've thought.

With a new pregnancy comes a lot... It has been really rough for me so far...

I want to kick women that go through pregnancy with NO morning sickness! What did I do in to deserve this hell? I was very sick when I was pregnant with HL, I lost 12 lbs and lived in complete misery for 10 weeks and this time around has actually been WORSE! The morning sickness kicked in earlier this time and it is more severe, I've been on the highest dose of Zofran 3x a day and it isn't touching it. But since this is round 2, I don't get to lay around on the couch all day and nap at my leisure because I have a toddler to take care of and chase after. It makes it really hard to get through the day.

The morning sickness has been my greatest challenge so far and I can't WAIT for this phase to pass. Our house has gone to shambles because I can't clean or pick up like I used to, it's everything I have in me just to get out of bed and drag myself along throughout the day with HL, so everything else has gone to hell. The cooking... not happening... not to mention I don't want to eat anything so there is NO cooking going on here. Laundry... nada. Errands... it takes me several hours to psyche myself up and prepare to just run to the grocery store.

I tell you this is the hardest thing I've had to do, it's been a major reality check, but I know that "this too shall pass" and I'll be back to my normal self. Everything with pregnancy and babies is a phase, while you're in the middle of it you think it is going to kill you and last forever, but it doesn't and then you move to the next phase. First colic, then teething, then sleep training, etc.... it's easier to deal with when you know there's a finish line.

At this point I'm in survival mode, day to day and at the same time I'm so excited. My husband has been priceless in all of this, he takes HL the moment he walks in the door and handles everything so I can finally have a break. He stays up late to feed him at night when I go crash at 9:00. He'll run errands for me and put up with my moods, I really couldn't survive this without him.

Our two peanuts will be 18 months apart, exactly how we wanted them. But as I'm learning with the morning sickness, this journey is going to require me to dig deep. I wouldn't have it any other way but I'm no fool, I realize the challenges ahead but I also realize the reward and payoff. Two happy healthy beautiful babies in two years, I mean what better gift could you get.

I get SOO excited when I think about HL with a sibling, he is going to LOVE it. He will be young enough that he won't really comprehend a new baby and I think this will help a little bit of the jealousy issues. I can already picture myself playing outside snuggling a newborn while chasing after my little dude and I can see him showing and teaching his sibling everything. He's going to be the greatest big brother, it puts a huge smile on my face.

At this point daddy and I are feeling a boy and I think a boy would be AWESOME for HL but of course I'd love a little princess too. I never understood moms that said "we don't really care what the sex is" because I always thought there was NO way, they MUST have a preference in the back of their mind, if they have boys they MUST want a girl and vice versa. But I can honestly say that now I totally understand those moms. I am completely unbiased to either sex, either one would be amazing, and yes we plan to find out as soon as we can :)

So here we go again! Come May it's going to be one heck of a ride here and I just can't wait! Read more!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Halloween Entertaining! Dinner Treats n Drinks oh my!

Have I mentioned how much I love Halloween, yea thought so, and we're hosting a themed dinner party which I live for! Right now I'm compiling ideas for food and treats... and since I thought these were so darn cute I figured I'd share them with you because all of you will be hosting a Halloween themed dinner party for 20 people this year right?? Ok maybe not but you never know :)

Dessert first, yummm!!! Easy enough to do, just grab some chocolate pudding, smashed up Oreos, and some Milano cookies and voila.














These are super goary, I think they're awesome! I'd have to get crafty to figure out just how to do this but I'd imagine you just fill some cupcakes with strawberry or cherry preserves and then maybe roll some fondant into worm shapes and mold to look like brains?? Or you could get some white Jelly Beans?? I'm thinking that'd be the easiest way... but the actual recipe is here.















Ok appetizers, I'm loving this idea of the Bloody Brain shrimp cocktail. You can find the recipe from Martha Stewart here.












And the oh so cute eyeball devilled eggs, throw an olive slice on an egg, the simplest of all ideas. Or get fancy and dye your filling green and add veins with sriracha sauce.












Drinks, we can't forget the drinks! Now I can't vouch for the taste of any of these, but they look cute. Jagermeister is a great way to get the black drinks to work rather than black food coloring (and it saves you the purple teeth and lips for the rest of the night). As always there are a million green potions out there like Apple Pucker, Midori, Margaritas that you can mix with orange soda and orange juice.... get creative. The easiest is a clear drink with red bloody edges, easy to do with gel icing. And my favorite drink trick is to get tiny plastic spiders and freeze icecubes with the spiders inside, they make any drink cute!
















And for those non-alcoholic drinks you can throw them into a plastic kettle or a pumpkin lined with a clear tupperware bowl.













As for our menu, we'll be doing a pumpkin soup appetizer, stuffed peppers and salad... nothing too fancy there but good eatin! That's why I need some cutesy ideas to spruce things up and luckily for my husband's sake I'm stopping the creative ideas at that instead of going bonkers and making everything in the house Halloween themed in some way. I will thank myself later for going low key this year ;)

What other themed treats are your favorite? Any suggestions for our dinner party?

**And thank you to the other bloggers out there that have the pictures I needed to share these ideas with you. Read more!

The 10 Month Update, where are we now

DUDE, 10 months has slipped away now, and my goodness you've been on a roll! This has been a milestone month for you, I think you're in a race with yourself or something.

What we've learned to do this month..
CRAWL, yes finally you can crawl albeit not that well, it's more of a scoot, drag, pull but you're doing it! Next up, pulling yourself up, on my legs, on the ottoman, on the walker, on the furniture, on EVERYTHING. You're getting really good at it which creates trouble for momma, I must put all of our possessions up and out of reach. With pulling yourself up has come cruising. You can run your butt around this ottoman so fast it's like your own indy circle track. Nascar should pick you up now. Since you can motor around all over the place we have discovered just how greasy little baby handprints are, they are scattered all over the tv, the entertainment system, the bottom of the highchair, the air conditioner, and any other low lying objects throughout the house. Oh yea and did I mention that you can WALK now! You are *thisclose to doing it alone, you don't quite realize your sophisticated skills yet, but hand you a push toy and there go up and down the hall and around the living room.

Obviously something has clicked in that precious little head of yours and I am just amazed at how much you've accomplished this month. You now eat "big people" food for lunch dinner and snacks and you're loving every minute of it. French toast is a favorite and fruit, you love yourself some fruit! Along with all this food eating is your FIRST TOOTH!!! We got one to stick around this time believe it or not, it's still here with us, one cute little bottom tooth, it's about time.

You're learning cause and effect, like when you smash the baby monitor on the ground it goes BANG BANG BANG, which sounds pretty cool and also gets a great reaction out of the momma. You're learning that when you hold food out from your highchair these 3 giant furry things come running which is oh so hilarious and also gets a great reaction from the momma. As such, you're learning the word NO which you are not too fond of and immediately burst into heart wrenching tears and frown faces.

One of your favorite activites is to flip the lightswitch off, always with one finger, very precise you know. And you've finally mastered the "high five!" Balloons make you laugh instantaneously and you are quite the flirt, smiling and charming your way into the hearts of ANY stranger that dares to look at your sweet face. You're the happiest baby and busy, boy are you BUSY.

What a month... It's like you took a warp speed trip to toddlerhood :::gasp::: :::tears:::: You just never cease to amaze me daily little dude, you are perfection and I love you soooo soooo much it hurts. Thank you for the continually awesome ride HL.

Love,
Momma Read more!

Wordless Wednesday, I love this kid!

He rocks my socks off :)

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Giveaway: Yoplait Splitz Picnic Prize Pack


Open Until Oct. 11
Here's a yummy one for you guys, have you heard of Yoplait Splitz? I hadn't and so I was pleased to try it. It's an excellent alternative for those with a sweet tooth because it's healthier for you than other pudding/yogurt desserts!

Yoplait Splitz is the new yogurt that tastes like a sundae. Providing all of the goodness of 100% real yogurt, Yoplait Splitz is a good source of calcium and vitamin D. With no artificial flavors or sweeteners and no high fructose corn syrup, this 90 calorie dessert is the treat your family craves.

I must admit you would never know that it is the healthier version of other products because it was delicious! We tried the Strawberry Banana flavor which was also a huge hit with HL.

The Splitz come in 3 flavors
  • Strawberry Banana Split
  • Rainbow Sherbet
  • Strawberry Sundae
So how can you get some for yourself?
Courtesy of My BlogSpark & YoPlait you can win a  YoPlait Splitz Picnic Prize Pack. The winner will receive a coupon for a FREE YoPlait Splitz product, an insulated cooler/ carry tote, and a handy roll-up fleece blanket all perfect for an afternoon picnic.

A side note, the cooler tote is the coolest thing and insulates very well, we used it at a local festival and 6 hours later our drinks were still cold! The blanket has also become something we bring everywhere. It folds up with a nice carrying strap like a purse and then unrolls at the drop of a hat for a picnic, day in the park, outdoor concert, you name it.

If you want to try out the Splitz right now you can print a coupon here for .75 off!


How to Enter:
Mandatory
Tell me which flavor you'd like to try!

Extra Entries- leave separate comments for each
Follow the blog or tell me you already are (1 entry)
Vote for us at Top Mommy Blogs (1 entry per day)
Follow us on Facebook (1 entry)
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Tweet about this giveaway using #myblogspark and @themommamaven (1 entry per tweet)

*This coupon offer for a free pack of Yoplait Splitz is not valid in some states, including California, Idaho, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, North Dakota and Tennessee.

Yoplait via My Blog Spark provided me with product for this review, to see my full disclosure please see the Disclosure page.

Read more!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Formula Recall: Breast vs. Bottle a nasty uneccessary war


So I guess I'm going to jump on the debate bandwagon because the more I read about this issue, the more posts I see I feel compelled to voice my thoughts and that IS the purpose of a blog, no? My first thought on all of this hoo ha is WHAT THE HECK?? For crying out loud do we really need MORE things to argue about these days, isn't there enough of that going on in the world, isn't there enough conflict, enough "I'm better than you"... I mean really.

If you've managed to miss all of the hullabaloo let me sum it up for you, there was a formula recall due to insect parts being found in the formula (agreed, gross) and because of this unfortunate situation the lactivists and similar folk out there have used it as a platform to proclaim... again... that Breast Is Best. It's not just that, the problem is that things are being taken WAAAY to the extreme like saying "formula feeders deserve this" and nastier comments stepping way over the line. It's like an underground hate crime against formula feeders.

Let me identify which side of the fence I'm on here. We use formula, we have since day 1. My son was born premature and underweight with growth issues. I was dead set on breastfeeding, my goal was to breastfeed for one year. To spare the gruesome details I was unable to breastfeed more or less due to a supply issue. I saw lactation consultants, spent who knows how much money, did triple feeding 24 hours a day for weeks on end, tried several medications which ultimately pushed me into Postpartum Depression and that's when I said ENOUGH. IS. ENOUGH! My safety and sanity far outweighed the benefit of attempting to continue breastfeeding. So formula it was.

I think it goes without saying that my kid is happy healthy and wonderful now at 10 months old. I don't consider myself to be a bad mother for not breastfeeding. And yes I plan to attempt breastfeeding again with our next child, if it doesn't work I won't lose sleep over it this time. What you will NEVER find me doing is jumping on some high horse and bashing breastfeeding mothers or trying to convince the world that my way is the best way- the ONLY way. You won't find me hitting below the belt on the issue. It's asinine. I believe that you do what works for you and there is no universal path to the finishline in life.

What happened to women being compassionate for one another??? How can anyone proclaim to be such a fantastic mother for breastfeeding and then lambast another mother for making a different choice for whatever reasons. What the hell kind of message does that send to their children... and what kind of a role model are they being. Awful, it's just awful. The comments being made make me sick. If a mother lost their child due to suffocation in their crib could you even fathom someone saying "well you used a crib bumper so you DESERVED it!" I mean that is horrifying and that's how I see this issue, the ugly bantar is just so uneccessary.

As fellow mommy blogger over at Fearless Formula Feeder put it "I lose more faith in humanity by the day, but especially in the portion of humanity that have vaginas."

And why is it that WOMEN are the ones to stir things like this up when we know first hand how hard it is to be a mother. You don't see the men out there at work arguing with one another about trivial things like this. In fact I found an awesome post from a Dad. If you're wondering  the male perspective of this issue. Here's an excerpt of his post which was truly poignant.

"To people like her and those who post as “godshelper” with criticisms and comments – have you ever held a hungry and screaming child? Have you ever listened to your own baby crying because she’s starving and your body — which just went through a nine month version of boot camp — can’t provide what she needs?


Imagine the fear. Imagine the frustration. Imagine the guilt.

Imagine all that, and then? Shut the hell up.

It takes more than sperm to make a good father and it takes way more than breast milk to make a good mother."

If you want to breastfeed, more power to you, whip your boobs out in public I won't be complaining. But don't you DARE go for the throat and try and talk me down as a mother when I pull out a bottle of formula because then you will see this momma turn into your worst nightmare. Have some compassion and empathy for other women and come off of the high horse. We don't need anymore of this crap in our world, our children don't need to be raised with anymore conflict, nastiness, or segregation.


::::steps off of soapbox:::: Read more!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Ultimate Baby Registry List! My must haves- what you need right away, what can wait


Alright... for anyone requesting the mah-gilla of baby gear ideas and recommendations I give you my take on baby gear essentials and registry items complete with pictures and mom insight for each. It's LONG (forewarning) and starts with the 'essentials' and ends with the 'extras'. Happy barcode scanning!

As anyone will tell you, every baby is different so I wouldn't quite call this the BIBLE of baby gear but it's definitely a good starting point for any new mommies or mommies to be out there. One thing you'll learn with a baby... be flexible... kind of like the weather here in Colorado "wait a while and it will change" babies are the same. And what one likes another may hate, even if they both come from your ovaries and are raised in the same home. Also if you're obsessed with research, check out the Baby Gear Lab where they compare and review almost every piece of baby gear you can find!

**Now updated with more wisdom after 

baby #2 AND baby #3 **


Here's what I call THE ESSENTIALS, things you'll need and love eventually. You may not need all of these the moment you walk in the door with your newborn so purchase accordingly or if you have the storage and money, go on a spree and throw them all into your cart.

Diapers: Can't comment on cloth since we didn't do that. As for disposable you will most likely find a brand you love, for us that is Pampers. We tried every other kind on the planet, and they sucked, so Pampers it is for us. I would caution against buying a ton prior to your kid being here, you'll end up with waay too many of one size and not enough of another and you need to have some time to figure out which ones you're going to like. Save yourself the hassle of returns and only buy 1 large package of newborn size and 1 big box of 1-2's. When the baby is here you can purchase more as they grow and see what sizes you'll need. I highly recommend a small package of the umbilical cord cut out diapers for the week or so that you have to deal with that, the alternative is folding regular ones over which causes leaks. A note for preemie moms- preemie diapers are hard to come by, we could only manage to find one option at the store and they came in a tiny package of about 30 diapers which lasts about 3 days... keep that in mind if you anticipate a preemie and stock up a little bit.

Bottles: Shocker, your kid may hate your boobs, it happens. Don't be anti-bottle, again be flexible and have some bottles on hand. Keep in mind that even if you are breastfeeding you may want hubby or other family to be able to feed the baby too. Our preference, Dr. Browns (no, they are not hard to clean). For when I was breastfeeding I preferred the Breastflow bottles, they are much more similar to feeding from the breast and make transitioning easier. Baby 2 wisdom: if your kid is a porker you will only be using the small 4 oz ones for a short amount of time and will be off to the huge 8 oz ones. So don't buy a billion tiny ones. Buy new inner parts and nipples for kid #2 when you re-use these bottles, they wear out after a while. Baby 3 wisdom: we opted for glass bottles with the third kiddo, I like the longevity, temperature consistency, and idea that no plasticy chemicals are leeching into his food.

Baby Wipes: Now this is something you can stock up on, BUT, I wouldn't go crazy yet. Turns out our dudes have picky booties and we can only use Pampers Sensitive wipes on them otherwise we risk diaper rash hell, we're not chancing it anymore. I would recommend using wipes that are fragrance and alcohol free regardless of brand.



Diaper Pail: I must say the Diaper Genie is the biggest waste of money on the baby market, some may disagree. Those crazy refills end up sucking you in for about a $250 lifetime investment. For me I wanted a pail that took normal trash bags so I didn't waste money buying pricey refills, a pail that contained the smell, and that held a decent amount of diapers, simple. I LOVE our Diaper Champ, we had one for each kid, they take regular kitchen trash bags, and would hold about a week of diapers up until potty training time. As for odor, we didn't have any huge complaints, I mean ANY pail is going to smell to some degree at times. The Munchkin nursery fresheners (baking soda scent discs) are a must to throw in the bottom of the pail and really help with smell all around. Baby 3 wisdom: a new pail came to town that enticed me, the Ubbi, it is made of metal and therefore doesn't absorb odor like plastic. Now while the odor wasn't a huge deal prior I will say that no matter what we cleaned our Champ with, including bleach, it still never got rid of the smell completely. So any option to eliminate this sounded great not to mention the Ubbi comes in a bunch of adorable colors to match the nursery! So far so good!

Carseat: We went with a Graco Snugride, it's great, used it for both kiddos. Durable, well priced, and fits more things (like strollers and our swing) than pricier alternatives like the Chicco stuff. I originally wanted an infant seat with the highest weight limits imaginable... then I carried my 5 lb baby around in it and wanted to die after 10 minutes and realized that doing it with a 30 lb kid would be ridiculous! Keep that in mind. Baby 3 wisdom: we went a completely different route for the third. The boys carseat was expired so we had to get a new one anyway and I went with one that would save my back (blew out my discs when the older dudes were babies) that had amazing safety ratings and other bonus features I liked. The Nuna Pipa is the lightest carseat on the market at 7.7 lbs which is worth it's weight in gold especially with the newer AAP recommendations of rear facing as long as possible. Remember lugging a one year old in the infant carrier is HEAVY, those precious few pounds saved makes a difference (The Graco weighs 9.7 lbs). The Pipa had great height and weight limits (up to 32#s, and 32") and was designed with a Euro seatbelt alignment when used without the base. Anyone who has studied carseat safety knows that Europe has much stricter safety requirements than the US and I prefer the euro seatbelt pattern. The base is also dummy proof, no straps to tighten, the latch system is fixed so there is no adjusting it just clicks in. The base also had a load leg which prevents internal rotation of the seat in a rear end collision, this was important to me. It wasn't cheap but I am very pleased with the choice!

Extra Carseat Base: For hubbs car, grandparents, nanny or whatever.

Carseat Cover/Bundle Me: A must for winter babies and rainstorms, great for when they're sleeping and you're eating out, and keeps weirdos from touching your child unexpectedly... yes they really do this. Love, love, love our JJ Cole Bundle Me, and we got the Bundle Me Lite for summer. Baby 3 wisdom: We still have the bundleme's but haven't used them at all because we opted for a "free" Carseat Canopy (you can find free coupons everywhere). It's adorable and serves a similar purpose although it's not as warm so we use a blanket underneath to keep the baby warm.

Infant Carseat Head Support: Babies are tiny. And floppy. This keeps them snug and secure. Our little preemie size guy was swimming in his seat so we did the head support and body support. We got the JJ Cole to match our Bundle Me and the head and body support are detachable and reversible for flexibility. Baby 3 wisdom: our carseat came with an infant insert to use until they're 11 lbs. so we didn't need the head support/body support.

Stroller: There are plenty of strollers and travel systems out there. We went with a Graco travel system which was pretty good, if I had to do it over again I'd buy a stroller or travel system with a 3 wheeled jogger type stroller, even if you don't use it for jogging it is easier to maneuver in general than a 4 wheeled one. Baby 3 wisdom: More Euro safety input here. Prams are all the rage in Europe for babies, they're not big on the whole carseat clicking into the stroller thing and there's a reason for it. When baby is in the carseat it shapes their spine into a C position which is not good, extended time in this position is bad for the spine and neck development and you shouldn't exceed 2 hours in this position ever. Instead the best option is to lay baby flat which is why they all have prams with bassinet attachments where baby rides flat until they are about 6 months old and sitting up on their own. That in mind I wanted a stroller with a bassinet option and I searched high and low for a stroller like this that could somehow carry all 3 boys, there are a couple of options on the market but I couldn't justify cost and the fact that the older two would only want to ride in it occasionally so we went with a single and kept our double (the Kolcraft Contours Tandem) for the off chance we're at some festival and need seating for everyone, I'll either wear the baby or one boy can walk, or I'll buy a wheelie board attachment. The Urbini Omni from Walmart was amazing for the price, it functions just as I wanted and didn't break the bank, highly recommend it! (you can now buy the stroller separate from the travel system)


Angelcare Monitor: This is something I could NOT live without... call me paranoid but this has saved me countless hours of worry and sleep. It detects baby's breathing (yes it's that sensitive) and alarms if there is 15 seconds of non-movement. I used this with both kids until they were nearly 2, it doubled as a bed alarm with Baby 2 when he started climbing out of his crib! Baby 3 wisdom: they now have the Angelcare with a built in video monitor so you don't have to have both. Win win. We love it.


Baby Monitor/Video Monitor: I prefer the video monitor (yes we used it along with our Angelcare because at that time they didn't have the all in one Angelcare). We bought one that would accept multiple cameras (for future kids), that zoomed in and out, that had color and night vision. But most importantly, it had a dedicated digital signal so it can't interfere with a neighbors monitor. I didn't want to chance the idea that the neighbor's analog signal crossed over to mine and they got to peep on my kid on accident, or worse watch me breastfeeding or something else equally creepy. Baby 3 wisdom: although we're not using a separate monitor now I have seen several of these "wifi" capable monitors on the market and it SKEEVES me out. I was worried enough about the hacking into the monitor before but this takes it to a whole other level, there have been numerous news stories of this happening, I would strongly advise against this kind of a monitor.


Pack N Play: I decided to forego a bassinet or co-sleeper that has no use after a couple of months. A pack n play serves the same purpose while baby is still in your room and can be used later for traveling, etc. We picked one that had a bassinet insert, a changing table, and a mobile. Baby 3 wisdom: we threw all that out the window for the third ha! After baby 2 slept in our bed until he was 8 months old I knew there was the possibility of this happening again, so we bought the First Years co-sleeper. It has rigid sides so you don't have to worry about rolling on top of baby, folds up easily for travel, and has a built in light which is kind of nice. 




Nursing Pillow/Boppy: We used this all the time with both dudes. They napped on the Boppy, they hung out on the Boppy, did tummy time on the Boppy, they ate and breastfed on the Boppy. #2 even slept on the Boppy in our bed in-between hubbs and I for quite some time, a non-traditional co-sleeper. Get one and an extra cover. Baby 3 wisdom: I opted for another "free" product this time and I'm so glad I did. The Nursing Pillow is much smaller and softer than the traditional Boppy which I found to be a lot easier for breastfeeding and fits a newborn better than the huge Boppy. It doesn't have removable covers but you can throw it in the laundry.


Baby Bathtub: We landed on the Fisher Price Ocean Wonders one, it had an infant sling and toys attached. Baby 2 widsom: much easier to shower with baby than use a giant obnoxious tub. Baby 3 wisdom: We wanted a tub again especially for those first few weeks or so that they can't submerge with the umbilical stump (usually a week-ish) and they're too small and floppy to shower with you yet. Knowing it would be a short lived item I went for cheap and foldable, let me tell you how much dang room one of the regular baby tubs takes up, unless you have a surplus of space get something that folds away. Got the Summer Infant bather and it's been fine for what we wanted.




Baby Shampoo/Lotion: We love the Johnson's Nighttime for the smell, we use it all time. I also prefer the Johnson's regular baby lotion, mostly for the smell, I just love that traditional baby smell. Let me give you a tip here, baby's have a small surface area, we have just now finished one large bottle of baby shampoo, our kid is 13 months old. You do NOT need a Costco sized assortment of these things! Baby 3 wisdom: we now go with organic and natural things, it's been a lifestyle change in general so I love the Ology Lavender Chamomile shampoo and lotion. Also love some sort of vapor bath shampoo with menthol for when baby is stuffy and sick, helps a lot!


Bath Towels/Burp Cloths: hooded towels are nice but they outgrow them quickly. Burp cloths are necessary for a lot of moms although we never used them.


Sleepers: Gowns suck. Carters Sleepers are the best, I got a million of them at the shower and took half back assuming that you didn't need that many... I was then buying them all back a month later. I actually preferred the button ones early on because you didn't have to pull out their entire body to change a diaper but now have zips which are fine. Sleep sacks are good too until they are crawling and standing. And if you have a houdini baby check out the swaddle sleep sacks, they worked great but we still had escapees...



Receiving Blankets: Cotton and fleece, for swaddling and snuggling. Your kid may be freezing or a hot box, you'll need both especially for changing seasons. Gauze ones are really great for summer babies. You don't need 100 but a handful is good. Baby 3 wisdom: I broke down and bought the expensive Aden and Anais muslin ones and actually love them, a couple is plenty, but they're huge so you can use them for a long time and can use them for multiple purposes (nursing cover, carseat cover, etc).


Baby Carrier: A Bjorn, a Moby Wrap, a ring sling, a mei tai, whatever... or ALL of them like us. Our kid had colic for 12 weeks, he lived in the various carriers literally ALL. DAY. LONG. Baby 2 taught me that the bjorn style carriers give you a longer use time when they get heavier. Baby 3 also is living in the Bjorn since he refuses to be put down although I am seriously looking into getting a Lillebaby (similar to an Ergo) so that I can nurse while he's in the carrier. 




Wubbanub/Pacifiers: Another could not live without item. Dude #1 had 3 wubbs and they were wonderful. The only pacifier to have in my opinion. The animal makes it easier to find in the middle of the night and it's also easier for the baby to put into their own mouth early on and you don't lose them like socks because they're big. Also any parent who has dealt with a screaming kid in the car while trying to drive and simultaneously reach into the carseat to find a tiny little pacifier can understand how the attached animal makes it a must have. Dude 2 wasn't big on any paci's but Dude 3 is learning to love the wub, regardless they're a mainstay in our baby world and I give them as gifts to every new parent.


Soothing Sound Machine: Any kind you want. I love the Fisher Price Seahorse and the Cloud B Sleep Sheep. I bought the sheep because it plays for 45 mins vs. the seahorse that only plays for 10. Others highly recommend the Homedics Sound Spa and for baby 3 we opted for a portable travel version. White noise is your friend when sleep training kiddos, they are a MUST have.


Bibs: stock up, you'll need them if you're kid is a puker like my first, when they're teething and drooling everywhere, and you'll use them again when they start eating solids. My advice get the larger ones so you can use them as they grow and get the laminated/plastic-y ones that wipe off so you aren't washing cloth ones after every meal.




Breast Pump/Pump Bra: I recommend renting one until you know if breastfeeding will work for you or not. Hospitals and lactation consultants rent them and they're hospital "grade" which means they're more effective than any of the retail ones, even the good ones. Once you're ready to purchase, Medela has some great options like the Freestyle and Pump In Style Advance. A double electric is best to get the job done quickly. Baby 3 wisdom: I like the PISA Metro bag because I can take the pump part out and use it without toting this gigantic bag around, key for traveling. Also invest in a pumping bra, it will save your life especially if you need to pump often (working moms, exclusive pumpers, etc). I prefer the hook/latch rather than a zipper because it's easier to get on and I LOVE the stretch neoprene and cutsie polka dot fabric of the PumpEase. I tried the Medela brand and hated it.

Baby Medications: Infant Tylenol, Infant Motrin (you'll use after 6 mos old), and Mylicon- boy did we use a lot of Mylicon, Vicks vapor rub, Baby Orajel. Gripe water, also a good option for the fussy gassy babies. Baby 3 wisdom: they make these fabulous kits with all the meds in one travel case. Great investment!



Diaper Rash cream: We went through tons and tried every kind out there. The one that worked the best by itself was the Triple Paste.


Thermometers: get a digital arm one at least (can also be used rectally), we used the Exergen Temporal one that reads off of the forehead which is nice for a quick result or a sleeping baby but it didn't seem to work that consistently after a while. Baby 3 wisdom we went with a Safety 1st ear one that can also test the temp of things like food or the bath tub, dual use. 




Nose Sucker: For every day run of the mill use, the rubber bulb syringes are fine. The ones at the hospital are the best, they're more pliable and work better, take it home! However, baby 3 got sick with the most awful nose congestion and I went all over town to get my hands on the electronic Graco nasal aspirator because nothing was working to un-stuff the poor kid. After using it, I can't recommend it enough. Also please avoid the Nose Frida, as if the ick factor weren't bad enough it is a germ rocket, the sponge/filter does not prevent microscopic bacterial and viral particles from transmitting to whoever is using it so you will undoubtedly get sick with whatever your kiddo has. Bad. Just bad.

Nail clippers: they grow fast! One of the baby hygiene sets is great to have around.

Mattress Pad Cover: Blowouts are not unusual... and mattresses are not cheap, even if yours is 'laminated' and wipes off I'd recommend a pad for longevity

Extra Sheets: For the crib, for the pack n play, and for the changing pad. See above, doing a load of laundry at 2 am because of a blowout would not be on my list of fun, extras sheets are a must in my book.


Diaper Bag/Backpack: Get one that has lots of storage and organization. The Skip Hop Studio Tote worked pretty well for me with the first. I went to something gigantic when I had 2 under 2 because there was a LOT of stuff I had to tote daily. The Timi & Leslie Charlie was nice but a giant black hole. For baby 3 I invested in a more attractive, less baby bag looking Petunia Pickle Bottom satchel which looks like a purse so I can keep some sense of normal style and it also has the option to convert to a backpack which is very helpful when wrangling a bunch of kiddos.


Swing: some kids love them, some hate them and will never use them. If you don't plan to have more kids that can get use out of one consider buying used. We had a hugantic Graco Sweetpeace Soothing Center which I loved at the time because it plugged in, played lots of different sounds including your Ipod, and was specially intended for colic with it's arc rocking motion (although it didn't work on our colicky baby). We got maybe 3 months of use out of it with both kids, it occupied way too much room in the living room so we got rid of it. Baby 3 wisdom: don't break the bank, your kid may hate it. We went with a portable and foldable swing this time so it could go away when I didn't want it out. Genius. The Graco Swing By Me is a great compromise, cheap, convenient, adjustable height, etc. Did I mention cheap? Did I mention it folds away? Ok. Baby gear takes over your house like a tornado.


Baby proofing items: You don't need these immediately but once the little one is mobile things should be prepared. My must haves: outlet covers, surge protector cover, door handle locks, baby gates, cabinet locks.


Baby Detergent: anything that's dye and fragrance free is good for their sensitive skin, but again I just like that "baby" smell so I go with the store brand baby detergents


Onto the 'NICE TO HAVE AROUND BUT NOT MANDATORY' list. There's no shortage of baby gear available out there, you could get lost for hours just in Babies R Us with all of the gadgets and gizmos. Not all of them are necessary and there may be things you love that others hate. Here's some of the things we've accumulated that are nice to have around.


Glider/Nursery Chair: Honestly I won't be getting one for our second nursery because I could count on both hands the amount of times that I used it. But plenty of moms use them all the time to breastfeed and rock baby, I did this out on our living room couch. Plus our extra bedrooms aren't exactly huge and putting a crib, a changer/dresser, and a full size chair takes up the entire room. If I was to get another one, I would probably opt out of an ottoman to save space, and I would definitely get one that reclines- much more comfy! Just some food for thought on that one...


 Jumparoo/Exersaucer: I preferred the Jumparoo because it was more "stationary" and he loved it! The bouncing alone is entertaining. We had the Rainforest Jumparoo, it's cute, adjustable, and great for keeping them contained so you can do dishes, run a load or laundry, or take 5 minutes to eat. After being well loved by 2 kiddos we got the My First Pet jumper for baby 3. Any kind of stationary entertainment is a must if you want to get anything done, plus it is good for their development and motor skills as long as you don't use it as an 18 hour a day babysitter.


Floor Seat/Bumbo/Bebe Pod: These are nice for helping baby build muscles to sit up on their own, plus you'll find that they like to sit up and get a different perspective on the world rather than staring at the ceiling constantly. These are nice for feeding early on also. I bought the Bebe Pod because it featured more options than the Bumbo, it had a tray, removable place mats, and an attachable toy, plus the leg holes were wider. Baby 3 wisdom: the Bebepod only lasted so long before we just didn't use it anymore and it was very easy for baby to do a nose dive onto the wood floor with, they tip over pretty easy even while placed on the floor which I didn't like. So we went with the Fisher Price Sit Me Up which has a much wider base, meaning less tippy, it has toys, a tray for feeding, oh and it FOLDS away. Noticing a theme? Baby gear that goes away is a great thing since they use these items for such brief periods of time.


Bouncer: they only use this briefly, if they even like it. One with sounds and vibration work well and buy you time to take a shower, just bring it in the bathroom with you. Similar to a bouncer, I loved our Kickin Coaster and so did HL.


Activity Mat: good for tummy time and playing. We got the Infantino Twist N Fold which is awesome because it folds away compactly! Has worked well for all 3 dudes.


Nursing Cover: always check out Udder Covers.com, they offer free cover codes throughout the year where you only pay shipping, I bought all of my covers this way.

Umbrella Stroller: Buy a cheap one, keep it in the car.


Stroller/Carseat Toys: Keeps them entertained a little bit, ones that they can chew on are better. Baby 3 wisdom: I always thought carseat mirrors were goofy and ugly but this little dude HATES the car, hates his carseat and screams at the top of his lungs any moment he is in the car. After trying everything imaginable we bought the Brica carseat mirror that lights up and sings and the kid is peaceful on car rides now! No joke. Lesson learned.

Sippy Cups: I liked the Tommee Tippee sippy cup for 4+ months- the youngest one I could find. After they got older we used every single design and brand ever made and decided that our faves were the ones without a valve but these wore out a little sooner than I'd like, our second faves are the Playtex ones.

Sheet Saver: These are little pads that tie onto the crib and sit on top of the sheets. They work pretty well to keep the sheets clean from puke or blowouts so you aren't changing sheets all the time.

Crib Mobile: I prefer one that plays music. Keep in mind once they can stand they'll start trying to swing from it so you'll have to take it out of the crib.

Accessory Clothing: Hats for snow or sun, coats, snow suits, depending on your climate and seasons.


Highchair/Booster: Baby starts solids around 6 months or so, choose one that grows with your child if you want longevity. The key to high chairs is easy to clean! Food will be everywhere, in every nook and cranny. A removable tray that can go in the dishwasher is nice. A cloth cover is not something I'd recommend unless you enjoy laundry. Even the straps become crusted over. I preferred one that blended in with our furniture and chose a Graco wooden one. I needed another one when Dude 2 was able to eat too so we got a cheapo plastic Ikea one and it was fine for a while. Baby 3 wisdom: we're going with a hook-on chair that can hook onto our dining table. It's portable, cheap, easier to clean than the big ones, and it doesn't take up floor space.

Baby Feeding Gear: Spoons, plates, bowls. The ones with suction cup bottoms are a lifesaver when baby starts "playing" with their food. Baby 2 & 3 wisdom: kids plates crack and break after a while, we've tried all the brands and actually our absolute favorites are Ikea Smaska plates & bowls, and the Kalas silverware, the plates are so easy to clean they're magical! They're also the perfect size and last a long time and you cannot beat the price!

Toy/Bottle Leash: this will keep toys and bottles off of the floor. We use them on high chairs at restaurants also.

Carseat Pad: The Piddle Pad is what we used in case there were blow outs in the carseat because washing and changing the carseat cover is quite the process.

Bottle Sterilizer: you can use any tupperware with some water in it but if you'd like a formal option there are plenty. I like our Munchkin one because it holds quite a bit of bottles and breast pump parts.

Car Seat Protector: carseats do a number to your vehicle and you wouldn't believe the gunk that gets underneath them, these help.

Shopping Cart Cover: I opted for one with toys because I was more concerned with entertaining the kid than keeping some germs off of him. The Shop and Play was a win win.

Teething rings/toys: Gel ones that you can freeze are nice, try to find one that has a non-cold area for baby to hold onto, when they're cold baby won't be able to hold them for too long.

Baby Food Making Supplies: I loved making baby food, super easy, super cheap! I got the First Years baby food processor and the So Easy Baby Food kit for freezing to use along with my ice cube trays.

Woombie: The ultimate swaddle contraption that they can't get out of

Formula Dispenser: for the formula feeders out there. Get one that's big enough to hold 4 scoops of formula per section, usually these are taller than the others.

Onesie Extenders: these are great if you have a long baby or want to use those special onesies you painstakingly picked out for longer than a couple of weeks.


And there you have it... I'm sure there are some things I've missed, feel free to add your own must haves. Hope it saves someone a headache and some research!
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