IT has been a long time since my last post, and that's because I am a new mother again (for the last time. I'm not a good pregnant person.) Yippee. With the exception of having gone full term plus a few extra days and being completely uncomfortable waiting endlessly to go into labor (and, of course, having to actually give birth--owee!!) the labor and delivery process went smoothly and I delivered a healthy baby girl at the end of March. Whew.
WHILE the issues with education are absolutely still on my mind (particularly as, no, I still haven't learned my fate with regard to my blogging situation, and I've been watching in horror as bill after bill is being proposed or passed limiting teacher and other union rights--some of which will definitely cause further destruction to our already-troubled education system), I've been thrust full-force back into the world of new parent, and I have other things on my mind as well. In addition to which, my blog was always about my life overall, so I'm going to branch back out and cover all sorts of topics, including, but not limited to, education issues.
WITHOUT further ado then, I'd like to share a list of products that pregnant women and new parents should be sure to purchase. If you aren't expecting, I'm sure you know someone who is, and thus this list is for you, too, as you'll be a hero to a new parent when you give one of these gifts to them.
FOR THE PREGNANCY--
1. Snoogle Total Body Pillow ($59.99) While, yes, $60 is exorbitant for a pillow, this is an item I passed on during my first pregnancy. I opted for a standard $12.99 body pillow because I couldn't reconcile myself to spending $70 on a pillow (the cost has dropped a bit in the 3 years since I was last pregnant). However, this is one of those instances where you get what you pay for. The body pillow did jack squat in helping me sleep. See, I'm a stomach sleeper. However, when you're pregnant, that isn't really an option for obvious reasons. My second choice is my back, then my right side, then my left. Medical people and pregnancy books recommend that women sleep on their left sides during pregnancy, and not on their backs or right sides (something to do with pressure on main arteries and major organs). The Snoogle is a long, thin pillow that's shaped a bit like a C. It runs down the length of one's body and fits well between one's legs and/or under one's growing belly. It helped me get some sleep at a time when sleep is not easy to come by. For that reason, I love it and felt that it was worth the expense in the long run.
One thing that should be noted, though, is that the pillow doesn't come with a pillow case. That's an extra $19.99-$26.99. THAT was more than I was willing to pay for such a thing, so I didn't get one and just used the pillow itself. It worked out fine for me, though the pillow did get little beady fuzzies on it from being used so much. If that bothers you, by all means get the (ridiculously overpriced) pillowcase. I just couldn't do it.
2. Maternity Belly Band ($24.99-$29.99, depending on brand) When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I joked that I wished that I could hire someone to stand under my stomach and hoist it up so it wasn't weighing me down so much. Then I discovered this belly harness at Babies R Us. It's a thick band that velcros around one's back and serves as a harness under one's stomach, much in the style of someone standing under there holding it up! It offers both back and stomach support. It was my absolute favorite purchase during my first pregnancy. I did try to use it the second time around, but it didn't work as well for me. I have 2 theories as to why: 1. The harness was old and stretched out. Perhaps if I'd bought a new one it would have been more sturdy. 2. I carried a little lower and was HUGE much earlier, so maybe there was just too much of me to hoist upward. Regardless, though, I do swear by this product. Boppy makes one called Boppy Support in Style Maternity Band that looks pretty close to the one I had (which I can't find online but it was MOM brand).
1. Triple Paste Diaper Rash Ointment ($8.99 for 2oz tube; $28.99 for 1lb tub) One of the best diaper rash creams out there. While it's more expensive than Desitin (more than double the cost, in fact), it works a lot better. I've used it for both of my babies and any redness clears up overnight with its use. Worth every penny!
2. Diaper Genie II Elite Diaper Disposal System ($34.99-$39.99; refills $19.99/3 pack) We had the regular, non-elite Diaper Genie system for our first daughter. I actually blogged about that system in my old blogs. Basically, you would put the diaper in the pail, shut the lid, twist a few times, and voila!--diaper gone. When you empty the container, the diapers resembled a sausage roll what with the twisted, individually-wrapped diapers. The problem with this system was that it smelled like someone crapped on a powder puff--emptying the thing was pure torture and the nursery always smelled bad. When we found out we were having another baby, my husband and I both agreed that, while there were many things we were going to re-use that our first daughter outgrew, we were definitely going to 'splurge' on the updated diaper disposal system. So far--for the first 2 weeks anyway--we've found the upgraded system to be so much better. The sausage roll is gone, the sickening powder smell is gone, the smelly nursery is gone. And it's easier to empty. While I know that this is something that could change with time (perhaps, after all, it's still too new right now), I'm quite pleased with the new pail.
3. Dr. Brown's Natural Flow bottles ($12.99/2 pk glass; $54.99 BPA Free Deluxe 10-bottle Gift Set) With our first daughter, we used Playtex Ventaire bottles. They sucked. They leaked out the bottom and the neck, and had the worst nipples in town. My poor baby would suck and suck and not get any formula because the hole wasn't big enough; we ended up having to use a pin to open the hole more so she could even eat. HORRIBLE. So, again, we knew that the bottles would be another product we would replace and upgrade for the second baby. The Dr.Brown's bottles appealed to me because I wanted to try glass bottles this go-around. However, in shopping, we found that glass bottles are hard to come by and that there were no good multi-pack purchase options on them. A big part of the reason I wanted to go glass this time was because of the dangers of BPA in the plastic. However, I found that most bottles are now BPA free anyway (as are Dr.Brown's) so I was willing to compromise and try the deluxe gift set listed above.
The idea behind Dr. Brown's bottles is that there's a valve that vents any air to the bottom of the bottle in an effort to help reduce spit-up, colic, burping, and gas, and that creates a vacuum-free system that more closely resembles breastfeeding. My first daughter routinely spit up after eating. My new daughter who is using these bottles almost NEVER spits up. She burps a lot less, too. These are great bottles for what they're designed to do. The nipple is the right flow, the food doesn't come out too quickly or too slowly, etc.
My ONLY gripe with them is cleaning them. There are 6 pieces to each bottle: the bottle itself, the valve, the vent, the nipple, the cover that holds the nipple in place, and the cap. The valve and vent require a special little brush tool (included) to clean them. Therefore, it can take me up to 30 minutes a day to clean bottles and prepare formula (the bottles are actually dishwasher safe, but because I have to clean the valve and vent by hand, I just do the bottles at the same time so all of my pieces are ready at once). But the trade-off is worth it to me; these are a solid product.
Hopefully my baby product endorsements will help steer you in the right direction if you're shopping for pregnancy/baby supplies. There are tons of products on the market, so recommendations are definitely a good way to weed out the good from the bad.
Now, if you'll excuse me, it's feeding time once more!