dear brittany

Dear Brittany,

I mentioned the need to do this post to you almost two months ago, and I'm finally doing it. It's been in my head for awhile, but I'm attempting to get it out of my head and onto my blog.

dear deidre was my original post of sharing my favorite baby items. I just reread it, and I have a few modifications and additions to it. I was going to update and include that post over here, too, but that task seemed too much. So if you are reading this for the same reason Brittany is reading it (she's pregnant and due in November with her first babe), and you haven't read dear deidre, do that before you read this one. Oh, and buy Baby Bargains (which I tell you about first thing in dear deidre.) I updated all the links from dear deidre at the bottom of this dear brittany page, so you'd have all the links in one place. You're welcome, Bcuz. One last thing, if you aren't Brittany or aren't expecting a baby, you may not be interested at all in this post. I suggest just scrolling through to look at the photos if you wish.

(Ahem, Bcuz is Brittany's nickname for our notes. You know - where we wrote notes back and forth to each other during class. We went to the same high school and sat next to each other in Mr. Rohner's homeroom (same last name). We are less than three months apart. We each got married less than three months apart, and we missed each others' weddings. We both married boys who had names already possessed by one of our cousins (Aaron and Nate). I think that about covers the basics.)

On with the list . . .

Some of the things that worked for Lydia did not work for Heidi. Fortunately for us, it was a small list. The highchair from Aaron's grandparents' attic worked great for Lydia, but Heidi wiggled out of that thing constantly. It didn't have buckles, and Heidi was not content to sit in it with the modified strap I had concocted. Plus, we needed a second option as we now had two girls who needed something in which to sit. Thanks to my local moms google group, I'd heard many praises of the Fisher Price Healthy Care Deluxe Booster Seat. For less than $30 (I found it cheapest at Walmart for $22ish), this seat is the only one we need. Well, we have two - one for each girl. We have used it since first feeding Heidi solids at six months old, and both girls still use them. Its home is on one of our chairs at the table, but it transports easy to the bench out front, to the outdoor table in the back, to the campground for camping, to friends' houses for dinners, etc. It cleans easy. It has three (easily adjustable) height options. It has a tray, so our girls can sit in the middle of the kitchen and eat off the tray or sit at the table without the tray. We still buckle Heidi in, but Lydia can get into and out of hers on her own - well, sort of. (She's getting better at it.)

I still love my BOB, but when Heidi came, we needed a double stroller. After much research, we chose the Phil&Ted's Explorer, and my lovely friends and family gifted it to us at our baby shower for Heidi. Again, I say to extensively research strollers based on where you live, when and how often you'll need it, etc. There are multiple side-by-side double stroller options (like the double BOB which I sometimes still want, until I see them hogging the whole sidewalk), but for our lifestyle and location in the city, the inline design is perfect for us. (Though I do covet the extensive storage options on those side-by-side strollers. Lucky for me, Lydia still likes to hold the groceries in the stroller, even the cold gallon of milk.) As far as single strollers go, I have friends with the UppaBaby Vista and the City Mini, either of which seem like awesome choices to me. So do your research on the strollers. You don't want a closet/garage/attic full of "loser" strollers. Your budget won't appreciate it (and neither will your spouse).

I still used my nursing trick of wearing two shirts, pulling the top one up and the bottom one down to nurse the babe. However, I found the perfect bottom shirt in this awesome product, Undercover Mama. I love it. I only had two for an entire year of breastfeeding, and I wore one of them every day. They are still in great shape. The fabric is not stretched and baggy in the least. They are long, and they stay in place. I never worried about my shirt riding up. I'll save my breath and let their picture describe it.

Genius. If you are or will be breastfeeding, you should check into these. You can come try mine on if you wish (unless you're really pregnant and will stretch it out, I may rescind my offer). I actually bought two more when they were on sale in the winter. I have two smalls and two extra smalls, but I like the fit of the smalls better (which were my two original shirts).

I don't have any helpful advice about a breast bump. I rarely used my double electric awesome pump, but when I needed a pump (clogged duct, sleeping baby, engorged breast, sudden weaning, etc.), it was a wonderful thing to have. Once I even pumped during naps every day for a month to get enough for a bottle to give while I was out. (I'm a terrible pumper. The worst. I've never trained my body to produce milk for the pump.) And Heidi didn't drink one drop of the bottle I left her. But I didn't do bottles with my kids. I never had to, and it worked well for us. So, basically, if you are debating a pump, go ask someone else. Moms who work and pump are amazing pumpers and resources. Those women have got it down to a fine science. I am not that woman. Likewise, if you don't know which bottle to use, me neither. I used the ones that came with the pump the whole two times I attempted to give my girls a bottle. You probably want to go ask someone else that, too.

These blankets are awesome multi-taskers: Aden + Anais swaddle blankets. These somehow missed the "dear deidre" list. They're so soft and light and useful for everything: swaddling, covering strollers, covering babies in carriers, nursing cover, boosting a too-little-baby in a swing, etc. I have even started using them as "wrapping paper" for baby gifts.

Aden + Anais crib sheet. I do not have these, but I want them. These were just new this past year, so I already had crib sheets when they debuted. I wonder if they make them in queen size.

I mentioned it in dear deidre but hadn't actually used it yet - the Moby Wrap (which they now have a new MLB collection of wraps. (No Phillies? C'mon. So what if they're in last place in the NL East.)) I love it (the Moby Wrap, that is, not that my Phillies are so terrible). Back to the wrap, I still use it every now and then, but it was ideal/essential to me for the newborn phase. We went everywhere with Heidi in the wrap - church, out to breakfast, playground, grocery store, weddings. One time I even successfully breastfed her while wearing her in the wrap while shopping at Old Navy. Sometimes (most of the time) Heidi and I sweated a lot being wrapped to each other in June, July and August, but we survived. There are wraps made from gauze, too. I read a great review about this one: BabyEtte Gauze Wrap, and I almost bought this one last summer while dripping in sweat, WaterBaby Mesh Baby Wrap. If I have another summer baby one day, I will be making this purchase. Although I can't decide which one to get. If you're having a summer baby, you may want to get one of those instead of the Moby Wrap. (Britt - since you're due in November, just remember that if you ever have a summer baby.) Update September 2014 with my fourth baby: the wrap by Solly Baby. The Moby Wrap is hot. So so hot. The Solly works just like the Moby, but it is so much thinner. Even with my July baby, I have sweated so much less. I'm baffled as to how/why the Moby dominates the market. Maybe because you can wear the baby facing out in the Moby but not in the Solly?



Don't use this picture as an example of proper positioning, but it was definitely one of Heidi's favorite position to wiggle into. (She be crazy.)

Still wearing Heidi in the wrap at ten months - well, Leah is wearing her in this photo. Lydia and Nez are showing you the back carry on the ERGO. It's a babywearing advertisement right here.

Sophie Giraffe. You have probably seen this giraffe on every baby registry as it is the world' s most famous teething toy. Somehow Lydia survived infancy without one, but Heidi had one. Lydia frequently stole it to munch on herself, so I guess Lydia must have recognized what she had missed. It's a natural rubber teether, and its shape makes it easy for little hands. Heidi loved it. Sophie went with us most places, and I see that little giraffe in almost every infant stroller in the city. I think your baby may want one, too.

Somehow I forgot to mention burp cloths to Deidre. There are all kinds of expensive options, but you just need something to wipe the spit up or dribbles or hand them to people when they're holding the baby. I grabbed a pack of white prefold cloth diapers from Walmart (something like this), and I sewed fabric down the middle of one side of each burp cloth so I'd have pretty options with which to wipe up messes. Also, I relied on burp cloths for sleepy feeds where I'd be lying down next to the nursing baby. I'd put the burp cloth under the baby's face/mouth to manage the gap between the food source and the baby for when the baby popped off but the food source kept supplying. Then I didn't have soaked bed linens, just a damp burp cloth.

I glossed over car seats in the dear deidre post, but I thought I'd mention them in more detail here. The Baby Bargains book is very thorough in its car seat section, so here's why I picked the ones I did. We are still rocking our tiny Honda Civic and shoving car seats into the backseat is no easy feat. One of the reasons I picked the Sunshine Radian XTSL car seat was because of its narrow profile. (Sunshine changed its name to Diono, and the Diono RadianRXT is the current version of this seat.) Supposedly three of these car seats would fit across a back seat. I proved them true when Adalyn came to visit. Though, I didn't have three Radians at the time. We had two Radians and an infant car seat (which is wider than a Radian), so I am confident three Radians will fit without an issue.

It is a really tall car seat, and as Heidi is still rear-facing, the passenger seat is all the way forward. Fortunately, I'm short, but even I am cramped sitting there. Once while visiting my parents, my (tall) dad sat there with my girls and nephew in their car seats in the back, and I giggled the whole way to the playground while he ate his knees. (I offered to let him drive, but he said he was fine.) Anyway, this car seat is tall. In larger cars, a rear-facing car seat is not an issue. In a Honda Civic, we're a little tight, but it still works for us. I'm just excited I can fit three car seats in the back seat. Other brands of car seats are much larger, so I'm glad I don't have to rethink (or buy!) new car seats as we add more little people to our backseat. We will most likely have to get a larger vehicle eventually, but that's a whole other problem unrelated to car seats alone.

The Radian is a convertible car seat, so it can be used with an infant. I've never used it for a newborn, but it can be done. I have an infant car seat that I use the first months as I find an infant seat convenient as most strollers have car seat adapters. Easily transfer a baby from the stroller to/from the car. (Even in the city this can be handy when I park far away from the house and have to hike a few blocks to the car.) We have the Graco SnugRide because when we bought the BOB with Lydia, it didn't advertise to be compatible with the Chicco KeyFit. I like the look of the Chicco KeyFit over the SnugRide, but I think Baby Bargains loves both of them.

Rain for Roots. This is the most frequently playing album in our home since it was released on May 15th. The lyrics are Sally Lloyd-Jones' Baby's Hug-A-Bible, and the music and singing is a group of talented Nashvillians: Sandra McCracken, Ellie Holcomb, Flo Paris, and Katy Bowser. Lydia already has most of the album memorized, and I love the folk music serenading me while I fold laundry and wash dishes and tickle little girls.

Bcuz - I hope this helps you in your baby-shopping-registering adventures. I'm so excited to celebrate this season with you. If only I could be as exceptional a baby-gender predictor as you have been for me. Let me know if you'd like to join us for another Trader Joe's shopping trip extravaganza when you're passing through Philly. You know you want to! I miss you. Hopefully I'll see you (and your sweet growing belly!) soon. I love you!

dear deidre links
ERGO (baby carrier)
bouncy seat
See Kai Run (shoes)

dear brittany links
Undercover Mama (nursing shirt)
Solly Wrap (baby carrier)
burp cloths
Diono RadianRXT - newest model of the Sunshine Radian XTSL (convertible carseat)