An entire year with our sweet girl. And what a year it’s been.
Hi, friends! I'm back with Part 2 of our Baby Registry Favorites (see Part 1 here)! This time around, I have our recommendations for waste management products (AKA how to deal with all the poop, all the time), bath time/health & safety/breastfeeding essentials, as well as all the gear we use to get out of the house and maintain a semblance of our former lives. Enjoy!
Waste Management (AKA POOP GEAR)
1. Diaper Backpack: I think this might be one of my favorite finds and I get compliments on it ALL THE TIME. I wanted a nice-looking, gender-neutral backpack with lots of pockets and this guy checks all of those boxes and more. Beau likes carrying it as much as I do (WIN) and it's so nice to be hands-free. It fits all of our CRAP (literally), keeps everything organized with tons of pockets, and even comes with a changing pad. I don't think I'll ever carry a purse again and I LOVE IT.
2. Wipes Dispenser: Keeps your wipes from drying out and looks nice sitting out on top of a changing table. Win-win.
3. Changing Pad: I debated getting one of those changing pads that are fully wipeable/not made out of fabric, but couldn't justify the price. We live in a 3 story townhome and spend most of our time NOT on the same floor as the nursery, so to be honest, most of our diaper changes happen on the floor with a mat (see #5 on this list). This changing pad was highly-rated and affordable, so we got it for the changing table in the nursery. We use liners (#8 on this list) on top of the cover, so we honestly haven't even had to wash the changing pad cover yet (3.5 months in). So in my opinion, you can go the cheaper route like we did and not be stuck with a ton of extra laundry.
4. Changing Pad Cover: Because I can't get enough of this adorable print.
5. Gathre Mat: As mentioned above, we do the majority of our diaper changes on the floor in the living room with this mat. I keep a big basket underneath the coffee table with diapers, wipes, the changing mat, a few toys/blankets, etc. and pull it out during the day and hide it away when we're done. This mat is wipeable and pretty and we like it a lot.
6. Wipes: We saw these on a lot of friend's registries and ordered them for ourselves. They're great! Just FYI...the top on these is just a sticker, which makes it good to use with the wipes dispenser (#2 on this list). If you were to use them without a dispenser (i.e. carry them around in your diaper bag, keep on a floor farther away from the dispenser, etc.), I might recommend this kind which has a more durable top to keep the moisture in.
7: Diapers: If I had written this post a month ago, we would have recommended Pampers as our diapers of choice. We primarily used Pampers for her Newborn and size 1 diapers and liked them a lot. When you do your registry through Amazon and a certain dollar amount is reached, you get $100 of free diapers (a big selling point for us!). But, when it came to use our $100, we realized you could only use it on participating diaper brands (Pampers was not available, but Huggies were). We semi-reluctantly switched to Huggies (because they were free, duh), and as soon as we started using them we discovered that we liked them a lot more! We have WAY less blowouts these days, I find that the Huggies are a lot easier to put on, and superficially, I think the designs are a little cuter than Pampers. I think Huggies are a tad bit cheaper as well. We're converts! I don't think you could go wrong either way, though. As for quantities and how many boxes of each to order, here's what happened for us: Miles was 7.5lbs at birth (super average, apparently). She was in Newborn diapers for about a month (I'm not sure how many boxes this was...we were lucky and were given a bunch of Newborn diapers from friends whose kiddos had grown out of them). She was in Size 1s for about 1.5 months (we went through 1 big box and 1 smaller box). Now she's in Size 2s. We sized up every time we started noticing more blowouts and the larger sizes seemed to help.
8. Changing Pad Liners: Love these things! We primarily use them on top of the changing pad cover (in case of a blowout you only have to wash the liner rather than stripping off the entire cover). You could also throw one of these down anywhere and change a diaper, so they're super versatile. And cheap.
9. Portable Wipes Dispenser: Great for the diaper bag!
Bath Time/Health & Safety Essentials
1. Bath Caddy: Great for keeping all of her bath/health stuff organized.
2. Baby Bathtub: Who knew there were so many options for baby bathtubs? A friend recommended this one and it's also pretty inexpensive so we went for it. I like the little sling...it keeps Miles a little more upright and it makes it easier to move her around while you're wiping her down. Our kitchen SERIOUSLY lacks storage so we actually don't use this in the sink. We put it in the shower floor in her nursery (unfortunately it's a standup shower and not a real bathtub) and switched out the shower head with a handheld nozzle. It's worked out just fine so far!
3. Bath Kneeler: If you're a weirdo like us that gives your baby baths in the floor of a standup shower, this is a real knee-saver. :)
4. Nursery Care Kit: I ordered this because it seemed important and was cute (LOL), but it ended up impressing daddy the pediatrician! Lots of handy little tools in there. Pro tip: If your baby has tons of hair like ours, the brush in this kit is great for shampooing.
5. Bath Rinser: We won't use this until she's a little older (right now we're just squeezing a washcloth over her head), but I like that the little lip seems like it would keep water out of her eyes. Time will tell!
6. Hooded Towels: So cute, SO SOFT, I want one for myself.
7. Nose Frida: We recently battled our first cold (poor baby) and this thing works WONDERS. Miles doesn't love having boogers forcefully sucked from her nose, but it's way more effective than the bulb syringe route.
8. Gripe Water: Baby girl was pretty gassy and hiccup-y when she was a newborn, and I'm not sure how, but this stuff really worked. If she ever got hiccups in the middle of the night, a few drops of this and she'd calm down and go back to bed. We haven't really used it since, but might be nice to have on hand for those first few weeks at home.
9. Infant Tylenol: We thankfully haven't had to use this yet, but it's nice to have in case disaster strikes in the middle of the night.
10. Aveno Bath Set: Get all the essentials in one set. Done and done.
11. Washcloths: Washcloths have been great for bathtime! We usually wet one and lay it over her tummy to keep her warm and then use another with soap to wipe her down. These are soft and great quality.
12. Outlet Covers: Full disclosure—we haven't actually bought these yet, but I intend to when we start baby-proofing. I like that you don't have to pull out the outlet cover every time you want to plug something in...you just slide the cover over. Hopefully they work as well as I imagine they will!
13. Safety Gate: Our house is NOT toddler friendly (staircases everywhere, lots of open shelves from which to pull everything off and destroy, etc.). I'm not looking forward to baby-proofing. We have these ready whenever Miles decides to start crawling...I'll let y'all know how they work when we get them up!
1. Nursing Cover: Looks like my gray and white stripped one is sold out at the moment, but I linked another cute color. The brand is Copper Pearl and it's soft and fully covers Miles and I while I'm feeding her in public. To be totally honest I much prefer feeding her without the cover and I've surprised myself by how often I've done it in public (I was pretty modest before baby came along and now I don't really care). But this is a great option for those times when you want to be a bit more covered up.
2. Boppy Pillow: Big Boppy fan over here! I brought it to the hospital and the first time I used it was the first time that we actually had a successful latch. It really helped me figure out how to position her in the beginning and now it's nice to not have to support her body weight while feeding her. We use this waterproof cover and this decorative cover with it.
3. Boon Drying Rack: If you've been to any baby shower lately you've likely seen these grassy-looking things. They're weird but GREAT for drying bottles (which you end up doing a lot of if you pump). I was happy to find this skinny rectangular version. We don't have a ton of counter space in the kitchen so I preferred this to the larger square version.
4. Clip-on Highchair: Another item we technically haven't used yet, but it came highly recommended from a friend. We plan to use this as her highchair at home (again, not a ton of kitchen space). And the nice thing about it being a clip on is that we can take it with us to restaurants, on trips, etc. Apparently it packs down really small and is easy to use and clean.
5. Nursing Pads: I have a few reusable ones, but I find that these disposable ones work so much better.
6. Pumping Bra: This photo horrified me when I was pregnant. It truly looks like a torture device. But this bra is pretty clutch and helps me continue working while pumping on the days that Miles is at daycare.
7. Bottle Brush: Not much to say about it other than it works great. :)
8. Burp Cloths: These are super soft, absorbent, and not hideous. All things I'd look for in a burp cloth.
9. Milk Storage: Pro tip: Lay the bags flat to freeze, and then once they're frozen, store upright in these. Takes up way less space in the freezer.
10. Hand Pump: I got a free electric pump with my insurance (THANKS, OBAMA), but I've been surprised how much I've also used this hand pump. It's small and easy to keep in the diaper bag in case you need it while you're out and about. I also used it a ton to help with engorgement those first few weeks.
11. Breastmilk Storage Bags: Cheaper than the Medela ones and work just the same!
12. Bottles: We got a few of these for free in our Amazon Registry Welcome Box, liked them, and decided to get a few more. We have 4 total which has been plenty on the days that Miles goes to daycare.
On The Go
1. Bob Revolution Stroller: Okay, this one is spendy. But it's probably one of our favorite things. We wanted to spend money on things that would allow us to get out the house/continue to enjoy the things we enjoyed before baby and this is one of those things. It rides like a dream (can't believe I just said that...haha), hops up and down curbs with ease, and allows Miles, Walter and I to get out for a jog in the park most afternoons. We use it with a car seat adapter now until she gets head control, and because we live in the rainy Pacific Northwest we always keep this rain cover in the storage area below the seat. To save money, we bought ours via Amazon Warehouse. If you don't know about this, LISTEN UP. Under the "Add to Cart" buttons to the right, there's usually a section called "Other Sellers on Amazon". Click on that and look for any with the "Amazon Warehouse" logo next to it. Usually these items have damaged packaging/have been opened/etc., but the item itself is brand new. We saved $100 on our Bob because the box had a tiny dent in it.
2. Chicco Carseat: We got lucky and ended up borrowing one of these and 2 bases from a friend who was done with them. It's great! Easy to click in and out and on the more affordable end of the car seat spectrum.
3. Chicco Caddy Stroller: I debated whether or not we needed this for a while, but I'm really glad that we have it. It's super lightweight and lives in the trunk of our car for use at the grocery store/when we're out and about around town. It's so much easier to get in and out of the car and navigate on busy sidewalks/through tight doorframes than the Bob. So basically, this is our errand-running stroller and the Bob is our neighborhood walk/jog stroller.
4. Ergo 360: We love this baby carrier! It's more heavy-duty than the fabric wraps and we've already taken Miles on a ton of hikes with it. It's easy to get on and off and distributes her weight really well. A friend also sent us this winter cover that goes with it and it's been great to keep her warm this winter (we even took her snowshoeing in it and she stayed nice and warm the whole time).
5. Solly Wrap: I love this thing because it facilitates constant snuggles. It's nice to wear her around the house if she's fussy and I still need to get a few things done. In the early days (before I wanted to start getting her to nap in the crib), she took a lot of naps in this. It's a bit tricky to figure out how to tie it at first, but you'll get the hang of it after a few tries. And the colors/patterns are so beautiful.
6. Back Seat Mirror: Great for keeping an eye on her while we're in the front seat.
7. Car Seat Cover: This has been perfect for our winter baby! As you may or may not know, you're technically not supposed to put your kiddo in bulky jackets while they're in the car seat. This cover allowed Miles to be safely strapped in AND warm, without having to take jackets on and off a million times.
8. Osprey Pack: We're big hikers and fittingly, this was the first baby gift we received (Beau's best friends from high school went in on it for him). We can't wait for Miles to get head control so we can bust this out!
9. Pack N' Play: Great for travel and sleeping at friend's houses. This was the least ugly one I could find. :)
10. Burley Bike Trailer: Another spendy one that we thought we'd wait to find at a consignment store, but Beau's sweet residency class went in on it for us. Portland is a big biking city (we probably only drive 1-2 times a week and bike every day), so this thing is going to get some serious mileage. It's another thing we can't use until Miles gets head control but we're counting down the days until we can take her along on some bike and brew tours. :)
11. Portable Sound Machine: If we're ever out past Miles' bedtime, we do our bedtime routine on the go, put her down in her carseat, and strap this bad boy to the carseat handle. Works like a charm.
12. Outdoor Blanket: We love this thing and will probably get even more use out of it as the weather continues to warm up! It's waterproof, wipeable, and a great size. It also folds down to a manageable size (I kept it in my backpack when we went snowshoeing and then we opened it up and sat on it in the snow to eat lunch. Clutch).
That's it, folks! I hope you find this (and Part 1) helpful as you build your registries and/or pick out baby gifts for friends. I also want to reiterate...these are things that worked for us and we were lucky to be gifted and/or borrow the majority of these items. All babies are different (some like swings, some don't; some like Pampers, some like Huggies, etc.). My recommendation would be to borrow as much as you can and buy minimally at first, see what your baby likes, and then go from there. It's amazing how much STUFF you can accumulate and it's even more amazing how quickly your baby will grow out of it all. So just be mindful about your lifestyle, budget, and priorities and know that your baby will be just fine whether or not they have all the latest gadgets.
Love & Respect,
For such tiny creatures, babies seemingly require so. much. stuff. As someone on a budget who doesn't like a lot of visual clutter all over my house, I was on a mission to find affordable, versatile, and as-visually-appealing-as-possible baby stuff. We spent a ton of time reading product reviews and building our registry, so I thought I'd pass along some of our favorite finds to those of you who are trying to figure out if your baby needs two swings, a bouncy seat, AND a rock n' play as well as 16 different strollers (*eye-roll emoji*). Also, is the Dock-A-Tot worth the gazillion dollars that it costs? Read on, my friends...
P.S. This post started getting super lengthy so I decided to break it up a bit. Look for Part 2 of our Registry Favorites coming soon. :)
P.P.S. We ended up finding a lot of the items below at consignment shops and/or borrowing from friends. So my overall tip for those of you who are on a budget (like us!) is that you can often find a lot of these items for a lot cheaper (or free). Ask around and visit some consignment stores before purchasing. There's SO much baby stuff out there that people are looking to get rid of once their little ones grow out of it. Better to look there first before spending tons of money!
Where did we create our registry?
If you know us personally, you know that Beau and I are obsessed with Amazon Prime. So choosing the Amazon Baby Registry was an easy decision. It seems like most people have Amazon Prime these days, so we thought it would be easiest for our friends/family to make purchases with Amazon and not have to pay for shipping. AND it came with a ton of perks: $100 worth of free diapers if a certain dollar amount from your registry is purchased, a 15% completion discount on anything left on your registry, a free "welcome box" with really great products, and a few other freebies like Shutterfly prints and baby books. It was easy to set up and you can technically add products from any site that you'd like (doesn't technically have to be from Amazon). We highly recommend it!
Overall, we looked for pieces that could transition with Miles as she grows and/or be used in other rooms in the house someday.
1. nuLoom Rug: It took a lot of convincing to get Beau on board with a rug (he's Mr. functional and didn't think this was necessary), but I pulled the "I'm huge and pregnant and I deserve this" card and won. This rug is SUPER pretty and affordable too, which helped my case.
2. Baby Relax Miles Dresser: I randomly came across this dresser on Amazon and it was called the "Miles" so it was a no-brainer. Beau made a wooden changing table topper (it looks like this) and it's great for changing her diaper AND storing all her stuff. We love it!
3. Ikea Gulliver Crib: Simple, modern, white, safe, adjustable, affordable. Just FYI...I linked the Amazon version here which is more expensive than it would be if you bought it AT Ikea (I believe it's $100 at Ikea). But I know not everyone has an Ikea in their city, so here's an easy way to get one shipped to you. :)
4. Curtains: I found these beauties at World Market. They fit the vibe of the room and were very affordable. Note that they're not light-blocking, but I didn't want Miles to be dependent on a pitch-black room in order to fall asleep. So far she's napped during the day with these and it hasn't been a problem.
5. Jute Ottoman: Sadly the one we have is sold out, but this one is similar. Just search "jute ottoman" on Amazon and you're likely to find a good one, and maybe at a lower price than this.
6. Petit Pehr Pom Pom Bin: We have this bin on the shelf in her room holding all of her blankets/swaddles/etc. It's REALLY cute. We use baskets all over the house to corral her stuff now and Petit Pehr makes some really nice-looking ones. So does World Market!
8. Elephant Bookends: Because these are adorable. And they're sturdy enough to hold up the zillions of books that we have on her shelf.
9. Rocking Chair: I saw this rocker in a friend's instagram post and immediately messaged her to ask where it was from. To my surprise, it was actually pretty affordable and available on Amazon prime! It's really nice-looking in person and comfortable too. Nailed it.
10. Letter Board: Add a little hipster flair to all of your monthly baby photos. :)
11. National Park Posters: Beau and I collect these posters for every National Park that we visit together. We hung three of them in her nursery and LOVE them there.
12: Ikea Shelf: Miles' nursery used to be my office, and we actually already had this shelf in the room for all of my art supplies. We're now storing her pajamas/sleepers, onesies and pants in the drawers (which is basically all she wears), and books, baskets, etc. on the open shelves. It's perfect!
1. Target Cloud Island Sleep N' Play Set: If you buy one item of clothing for the newborn stage, buy a set or two of these. They're cheap, they have an inverted zipper for easy diaper changes, and they have built in booties and mittens to keep the babe warm. Miles LIVES in these. Also, for sizing reference, Miles was 7.5 lbs at birth and was in the Newborn size of these for about 2 months. She is on the smaller side, but I thought that'd be helpful to know.
2. Old Navy Footed Sleeper: Same as above. These are convenient and Old Navy has a bunch of nice solid colors and patterns. Size-wise, she started in the 0-3M size and has been wearing them since birth. She's 10 weeks old now and I think we can get another month and change out of these!
3. MiracleWear 5 Pack Onesies: How cute are these colors? And they're cheap and available on Amazon. Win.
4. Brave Little Ones Knotted Gown: My best friend got this for Miles and I LOVE it. The knotted bottom makes for easy diaper changes and it's super beautiful and soft.
5. Gerber Longsleeve Mitten Cuff Onesies: Simple, cheap, great.
6. Carters Pants: The cutest little pants to pair with onesies. Technically marketed for little boys but we named her Miles, so....
7. Zutano Fleece Hat: Adorable. Warm. Great for winter babies. She wears this pretty much every time we leave the house.
8. Bows and Headbands from Lottie Lemon: Super cute and affordable bows and headbands from a sweet little Etsy shop.
9. Laughing Giraffe Sleeper Gown: Super soft and makes for easy middle-of-the-night diaper changes.
10. Halo Sleep Sack: We technically haven't used this yet (Miles is still being swaddled at night), but apparently this is what she'll sleep in after we drop the swaddle. I'll keep you posted. :)
11. Zutano Booties: Quite literally the only warm, sock-like thing that will stay on homegirl's feet. These have been a life-saver this winter!
12. Freshly Picked Moccasins: We got these as a gift and LOVE them. So super cute and help keep her socks on. Win-win.
1. Avent Baby Monitor: We originally registered for and received a baby monitor that projected the video feed to our iphones via an app, but we quickly realized that we didn't like it! The video feed was unreliable and since we live in a 3-story townhouse, the wifi connection wasn't very strong upstairs (where we used the app most). Luckily we were able to return it and bought this guy instead. I like that it doesn't drain my phone battery and the connection between the camera and video thing (what do you call this?) is super strong. It's also VERY easy to set up and use, which is great. Much happier with this one!
2. Miracle Blanket: We call Miles "The Littlest Houdini" because she busts out of EVERY swaddle. Except for this one (for the most part. ha). It's easy to wrap her up in this in the middle of the night and I like that it doesn't have any loud velcro like some of the other ones.
3. Dock-A-Tot: Okay, I hesitate even including this because it is SO ridiculously expensive for what it is. I purposefully didn't add it to our registry because I thought the price was so ridiculous for something you'll only use for a few months (it is), but a friend graciously offered to let us borrow hers so of course I said yes (I'm such a hypocrite). Turns out, it's probably the baby item that we use the most. Miles takes at least one nap a day in this and it's so easy to carry her around from room to room in it if she falls asleep. Speaking of which, I should mention that Dr. Beau does NOT allow Miles to sleep in this unsupervised. It's technically not considered a "safe sleep environment" but it's great for supervised naps and lounging. It's lightweight and easy to transport, so we regularly bring this over to friends' houses if we know she'll need a nap while we're away. I also LOVE putting her in this on the counter while I'm cooking dinner. She hangs out and we sing and cook and it's probably the sweetest part of our day together. So...all in all, I'm a big fan. If the price of this is prohibitive, I think something like this or this would be similar and just as great.
4. Little Unicorn Crib Sheets: I LOVE this company. They have the sweetest patterns for crib sheets, swaddles, changing pad covers, blankets, etc. We ended up getting this "Prickle Pots" pattern for Miles' crib sheet and changing pad cover and the colors ended up informing the design of her nursery. If you're an Amazon Prime user (can you tell we're obsessed with Amazon?), some of Little Unicorn's patterns are available on Prime (like these swaddles, bibs, crib sheets, and this lovely quilt.
5. Dohm Sound Machine: We actually already use one of these in our room so getting one for Miles' nursery was a no-brainer. It's a nice, simple white noise (no weird running water sounds that make you feel like you have to pee).
6. Arms Reach Bassinet: Another item that we borrowed from a friend and LOVE. It's the perfect height and has lots of pockets for diapers, wipes, extra swaddles, etc. We keep Miles in this right next to our bed (it's the perfect height), and it's been super easy to grab her out, feed her, and put her back to sleep during nighttime feedings. It's also on wheels so I can pull it closer/further away from the bed as needed, which has been really helpful. It's not the prettiest thing in the world, but it'll just be in our room for a short season so I'm dealing with it. :)
7. Burts Bees Crib Sheets: These were cheaper than the Little Unicorn sheets, so I got a set as a backup. One of the mom-hacks I heard was to layer a crib protector, a sheet, another crib protector and another sheet on the crib. That way, if/when baby wets the bed in the middle of the night, you can just rip off the top sheet and crib protector and not have to re-make the bed.
8. Crib Protector: See my comment above for why you need one or two of these. This one is great and fully covers the mattress.
9. Mom's On Call: Multiple friends recommend this book. It's written by two pediatric nurses and has tons of helpful info on baby care and dealing with different illnesses. We've been loosely following the nap/sleep schedule from this book and sweet Miles has been sleeping for 7-8 hour stretches at night ever since she was 6 weeks old. I think it's largely because of the tips we learned from this book! Highly recommend it.
Happy Baby, Happy Life
These are things that Miles seems to enjoy. I'm sure this list will grow as she gets older/more coherent. :)
1. Baby Bjorn Bouncer: We ended up finding one of these at a consignment shop (fo' cheap!) and bought it on a whim. Miles loves it! We clip the toy arch (#8 on this list) to it and she'll sit there and stare at the dangling toys for a good 20 minutes or so while I shower, get a few quick things done, etc. It's super light and folds down so it's easy to transport from room to room (or even outside if I need to put her down somewhere while I'm throwing the ball for the dog). Annnnd we'll sit her down in this after bath time and dry her off, which has been convenient. Oh, and it's not hideous. Win! If you're looking for a more inexpensive option, I've heard great things about this one.
2. Pacifier Clips: Miles is obsessed with her pacifiers, so we have one clipped to just about everything (her car seat, her Dock-A-Tot, her bassinet, etc.). Babies cannot seem to keep these in their mouths for more than 30 seconds at a time so the clips are helpful to keep them from falling on the floor. :)
3. Avent Pacifiers: We bought Avent bottles, so we figured Avent pacifiers would be good too. She likes them!
4. Wubbanub Pacifier: Every mom friend told me that we needed one of these. I can't tell if Miles prefers this to the regular pacifier just yet (all pacifiers are a win in her book), but she seems to be able to hold onto this one and keep it in her mouth a little better than the others. And I'm sure once she's old enough to realize that there's also a cute stuffed animal attached to it she'll be an even bigger fan.
5. Tummy Time Blanket: Be warned that this thing is WAY smaller than you might imagine (we were shocked when we opened it because we were picturing a large blanket...ha). But it's the perfect size for Miles and we'll lay her down on it a few times a day for tummy time. There's a mirror, some ribbons, crinkly paper, etc. for her to interact with (although at this point she really just lays on it and wiggles her floppy head around for a while and then cries when she gets tired).
6. Graco Swing: Another thing we were so fortunate to be able to borrow from a friend. Of the bouncy seat, swing, and rock n' play, this one is by far her favorite. She'll hang out in there looking very content for quite a long while and it's honestly been a life-saver. EVERY BABY IS DIFFERENT, but if you want my advice on the great swing vs. bouncer vs. rock n' play debate, I would probably suggest a swing and a bouncer. A bouncer because it's portable and versatile, and the swing because if your baby is like mine, it's one of the only things that calms her down when she gets worked up. Also, for those of you that are ballin' on a budget like us, look at consignment stores and ask friends if you can borrow theirs before you buy your own. You never know what your baby is going to like and it would be a bummer to spend big money on a swing that your baby doesn't even like sitting in.
7. Rock N' Play: This was something that seemingly everyone said was a mandatory purchase. The verdict? Miles likes it, but I might not say that it's a necessary buy. We live in a 3-story townhome so I keep this one on the main floor and the swing in our room (both are pretty bulky so it's nice to not have to haul one up and down the stairs). We clip the toy arch (see below) to this and she enjoys hanging out in there and looking around. Another FYI: a lot of people swear by this as a sleep aid but that was a big No-No from Dr. Beau and his stringent safe-sleep rules (the downside of marrying a pediatrician is that you can't get away with stuff). So Miles doesn't sleep in this...it's more of a place for her to hang out if I need to set her down somewhere.
8. Toy Arch: It looks like the Prime version of this may be sold out, so keep checking back for it to be re-stocked (it should be about $20 from what I recall). Miles is weirdly entertained by this and it easily clips onto her rock n' play, bouncy seat, etc.
9. Whozit: The first toy that Miles seemed to notice and she loves it! Lots of crinkly things to touch and crazy designs to look at. Babies are funny.
10. Jelly Cat Stuffed Animals: We got a few of these as gifts and they're all so adorable. I was a big stuffed animal fan as a kid and it looks like Miles is going to be as well. She particularly loves her Toothy Donkey which is so ridiculously cute.
11 & 12. Books: One of my favorite things about parenthood so far has been reading to Miles. It seems a bit silly to read to an infant who clearly has no idea what's going on, but apparently it's good for her development. And it's been good for MY development too because all of these books are SO DANG ADORABLE and have such positive messages. This one makes me laugh and this one makes me cry. But honestly, I love them all. If you're looking for a good gift to bring to a new parent, BOOKS all the way.
That's it for Part 1! I remember scouring the internet for registry guides, so I hope you'll find this to be helpful. As always, feel free to reach out in the comments or on instagram with any questions. I'd be more than happy to provide any more advice you need!
I'll be back with Part 2 (our favorite products for bath time, health & safety, diapering, feeding, and travel gear) soon. Stay tuned! :)
Love & Respect,
I took my first pregnancy test on April Fools Day, 2017. It was a little on the early side. I knew that the test would've been more accurate if I had waited a few more days, but I wanted to make an "April Fools, I'm pregnant" joke with Beau (except maybe I'd actually be pregnant).
It was negative. And I surprised myself by how bummed I was.
As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I wasn't even all that sure I wanted kids in the first place. I mean, I wanted them eventually. I couldn't picture my adult life without a relationship with my future adult children (the kind of relationship that I have now with my parents). I knew I wanted to cheer on my future kids during their soccer games, take them on lots of hiking adventures, and snuggle on the couch with a future daughter and watch bad TV shows like The Bachelor while painting our toenails (<—Beau's nightmare). But a newborn? Terrifying. I figured it'd just be a stage of life that I'd suffer through in order to reap the rewards later.
Anyway. The test was negative.
The very next morning, I woke up feeling weird. My boobs hurt so badly that I winced when I gave a friend a hug. Overall, I just felt off. And that was when I knew. I made myself wait a few more days to test again, just to ensure I didn't get what I assumed would be another false negative.
April 5th rolled around and I took another test. I didn't see anything right away, so I went downstairs to make some coffee. I came back upstairs later, glanced again at the test and did a double-take. It was faint. SUPER faint. But there was a second line! Holy crap.
Even though I had a feeling that I was pregnant, I was still shocked. I turned on this album by Caroline Spence (which will forever remind me of early pregnancy), pulled out a box from the closet with all of the letters that Beau had written to me in college, and just started reading. There was no way I was getting work done that day and I guess I wanted to feel sentimental. After my mushy moment with our old letters, I took off to shop for a onesie and some goodies to surprise Beau with when he got home from work.
Later that night, he walked in the door to a fresh made loaf of banana bread and a gift basket on the table. And that was when he knew (I wish I was the kind of wife who made banana bread on a whim, but I'm not, so that tipped him off). We sat down on the couch and he opened the card which officially revealed the big news. Now we were both in shock. :)
We cried, prayed for our future kiddo, and then sat there staring at each other not knowing what to do next. And so began this crazy journey!
I know that I promised to share all the good and positive stuff about pregnancy and motherhood, but that might need to come in later posts. Because friends, the first trimester was hard. There was the nausea, the weird achey boobs, the not-being-able-to-drink-beer and only-being-able-to-stomach-white-bread. But beyond all of that, the hardest part for me was not being able to widely share our news.
We decided to tell our families and a handful of close friends, but otherwise we would hold off until we had our first ultrasound (which unfortunately wasn't until 9 weeks). Beau felt more strongly about this than I did. Being in the medical field and all too familiar with the things that can go wrong during pregnancy, he didn't want to burden too many people with difficult news if something bad were to happen. Meanwhile, I'm an over-sharer (as you've probably noticed) and someone who processes things out loud. So as you can imagine, sitting with this HUGE, anxiety-provoking news for so long without being able to talk about it was quite a struggle for me.
I felt inauthentic when a friend would ask how I was doing and all I could say was "pretty good!", when in actuality, I was terrified. I was scared about whether or not the baby was healthy. I was worried that maybe we made a mistake and took this step before we were ready. I was really content with our life as a couple and fearful of how things would change. I wasn't looking forward to pushing a human out of my body and then feeding said human with my body. The list goes on and on.
Naturally, I channeled all of my anxious energy into going down black holes on the internet. Message boards, mommy blogs, articles about all the things I needed to be doing/feeling/buying in order to be a good mother. So here comes my first piece of advice: Don't Do That.
So now comes the part where I share my advice. The following is for all of those who are currently in the throes of the first trimester or those thinking about becoming pregnant. I hope you find some helpful advice or encouragement here. :)
Be careful about the information that you're putting into your brain. Choose a few trusted sources (my book/podcast/blog recommendations are below!), and then stop there. Message boards full of comments from anxious strangers on the internet are not allowed.
Whenever you feel comfortable with sharing your news, reach out to a friend who has gone down this path before you. My friends who were a few months ahead of me were so comforting and helpful, as were those who were already moms. I'm not sure how I would've fared without them.
If you're dealing with nausea, try to avoid having an empty stomach. I snacked on bland crackers all day and even kept a pack on my bedside table to eat if/when I woke up in the middle of the night. It sounds crazy, but it worked for me! Just beware of gratuitous bed crumbs.
Don't immediately go out and buy a bunch of maternity clothes. Whatever "bump" you might think you have at 9 weeks is going to get SO MUCH BIGGER and you can probably make your normal clothes work longer than you think. And once you share your news, you may even have friends offer to let you borrow their maternity clothes.
Stay active while you can! Get out for walks, jogs, hikes, yoga classes, etc. I was pregnant over the summer and really enjoyed swimming laps (even though I looked RIDICULOUS with my belly, floral one-piece, and swim cap). Exercising early and often helped ease pregnancy aches and pains, kept the weight gain manageable, and allowed me to continue exercising later in pregnancy (until those last few weeks when I basically lived in the bathtub). I've had a fairly easy postpartum recovery and I owe a lot of that to staying active/healthy during pregnancy.
This is one of my favorite pieces of advice that my friend Allison told me: Say "yes". Once that sweet little babe comes along you'll likely lose a bit of the spontaneity that you have now. If a friend invites you to go out at the last minute, if you're thinking about taking a big vacation, if your partner asks you out on a date night, etc., say yes! Contrary to popular belief, your social life won't be over when you have a kid (more on that in later posts), but it's just easier to say yes to those kind of things now. So take full advantage!
Try your best not to worry. It's true that a lot can go wrong, but if it does, it's more than likely not because of anything you did wrong. Do your research, do your best to reduce your risk (i.e. skipping alcohol, etc.), and then let everything else go.
Practice gratitude. I have a lot of dear friends who are trying to get pregnant, who have experienced miscarriages and even stillbirth. It was never lost on me how lucky I was (and not based on anything I did) to be pregnant. Yes, your pregnancy will likely come with some aches and pains, but try your best to remember what a miracle it is to be creating and sustaining life.
Extend grace, to yourself and those around you. Similar to above, this is such a joyful time, but it can be hard. It is not your fault that you feel tired, constipated, nauseated, but that may be your reality. Conversely, for all my friends who have struggled with fertility and miscarriage, I was tempted to feel a sort of guilt for my early pregnancy. After many conversations, I quickly learned that most of my guilt was self-imposed. That said, be gentle with those friends in your life; be measured but open with your joy; and most of all, be patient enough to hear their story and support them through it. Don't let your pregnancy become a wall in relationships, but a door through which you can grow more with moms and those who desire to be moms alike.
Know that it gets better. You'll (hopefully) stop feeling so sick. Your ambiguous is-she-pregnant-or-is-she-just-fat belly will start to feel cute. You'll be celebrated and supported by friends and family. You'll start to feel kicks and hiccups and everything will feel more real. Enjoy each week for what it brings and know that the difficult stuff doesn't last for long. You'll have that baby in your arms before you know it!
And lastly, here are some links to things I enjoyed and found to be helpful during the first trimester...
Books and Resources
The Motherbirth Podcast: My friends Mellisa and Laura started an incredible podcast all about pregnancy, birth, becoming a mother, etc., and amazingly, the first podcast came out right around the time that I found out I was pregnant. During that first trimester time period when we weren't talking about our pregnancy publicly, listening to these episodes felt like I was getting advice from a friend — something I was really craving.
Great with Child: A sweet book written by a mother to a newly pregnant friend. This one helped me look forward to the joys of motherhood (instead of focusing too much on the negative).
Nurture: A comprehensive guide to pregnancy, birth, and early motherhood. Highly, highly recommend this one!
Bringing up Bebe: A really engaging read about an American journalist's experience raising her children in Paris and all that she learned from French parenting.
Baby Gear Lab: If/when you start building your baby registry, we (Beau) loved this website for product reviews.
Amazon Baby Registry: Speaking of baby registries, we did ours via Amazon. They offer a 15% completion discount, a great "welcome box" with free products, as well as $100 in free diapers. I'll do a post soon about our registry favorites!
The Mama Notes: Another blog that I enjoyed. Caitlin had a baby girl the same week that I did, so I appreciated the timeliness of her posts. :)
The Bump app: The app I used for weekly pregnancy updates.
Products I loved
Bella Band: Helps extend the life of your pre-pregnancy jeans/shorts. Just wear this band over the waistband and unbutton. Also useful after holiday meals in the future.
Speaking of clothes, I enjoyed the excuse to play with my style a little bit. In the first and second trimesters, I stuck to regular clothes that were a bit more flowy and loose around the middle. Think stylish overalls (not an oxymoron, despite what Beau will tell you), jumpsuits, rompers, and big flowy tops. I can't find any links since they're all off sale now, but just wanted to mention that you don't have to stick to only "maternity" clothes. Look for things that will work during pregnancy and afterwards.
Benefiber: Because if you're anything like me, you'll probably be constipated. Sorry, TMI.
Prenatal Vitamins: Because the only way I reliably take vitamins is if they're in gummy form.
Pregnancy Tests: Dr. Beau told me to mention this: Don't waste your money on expensive pregnancy tests if you don't have to. Apparently they all work the same. These are the (cheap!) ones we used!
Soda Stream: I made a lot of sparkling water beverages to replace beer. Compromise=half-way happy (that's a Stranger Things reference).
Palmers Tummy Butter: Apparently this helps prevent stretch marks? I think it honestly has more to do with genetics than anything but I used this every day and thankfully didn't get any. Who knows?
Ginger Tea: Helped with nausea!
I believe that's everything! Thanks for reading and again, feel free to reach out if you'd like any advice or encouragement wherever you're at in your motherhood journey. I'd love to be a sounding board for you. :)
Be back soon with a post all about the second trimester.
Love & Respect,
I'm back! And I'm a mom now. What in the world? Sweet little Miles Elizabeth Gilmore joined us on December 12, 2017, and we are forever changed.
I've debated writing about my pregnancy, birth, and motherhood experiences for a while and initially thought I'd keep these musings to myself. Why? Lots of reasons:
Because this blog is already so all over the place. Everything I've read about starting a blog and building a "brand" harps on the importance of finding a single focus. With posts about my artwork, people who inspire me, my experience as a resident's wife, etc....well, I'm far from focused. :)
I want to respect Miles' privacy. I would hate for her to read this blog in 15 years and be mortified by my detailed descriptions of her pooping all over herself during brunch (which has happened twice by the way. Sorry, kiddo).
Most importantly, I don't want to add to the culture of comparison that seems to surround motherhood. I imagine that it will be difficult to find that balance of writing honestly about my experiences without making myself and others feel insecure.
Despite these hesitations, my heart has continually been pulled towards sharing. I want to remember this strange, sweet season of life, and I find that I process my feelings best through writing.
And even more so, I want to be an honest and encouraging voice in this space (a voice that I wish I had had, especially during early pregnancy). Because, y'all, I was terrified.
I always wanted to want to have kids, but if I'm totally honest with you, I never really had that desire. I didn't grow up babysitting; I thought (and still think) that puppies are way cuter than babies; and I often made up excuses to get out of holding my friends' newborns (their floppy heads, unpredictable moods, and gratuitous body fluids are very anxiety provoking for me).
And what makes an already awkward-around-kids pregnant lady feel even more insecure? Being married to a damn pediatrician. My husband, Beau, is a total pro. Which should have made me feel grateful, relieved, etc. (it does now!), but instead just made me feel like less of a woman. For instance at one of our childbirth classes, Beau and the rest of the moms were hands-on and involved, eagerly changing diapers and swaddling baby dolls. Meanwhile, I was sitting back with most of the dads, nervously scarfing down my leftover pizza from lunch and hoping that these "mama-instincts" that everyone talks about would someday kick in.
People love to talk about how difficult motherhood can be. And it is, y'all. It really is. But I was underprepared for how incredibly joyful it is, too. And that's what I want to write about. How a totally clueless, insecure, and anxious expectant mama like me could come to love being a mom more than I ever could have imagined.
I want to be honest about the hard stuff, sure, but I want to talk about the beautiful, sweet, transformative, good stuff too. Because I imagine I'm not the only one who felt this way (TELL ME I'm not the only one, guys).
So, why am I calling this series "Part of Me"? The day before my water broke, Beau and I opened up to some of our dear friends and mentors, Hope and Greg, about how anxious I was feeling about all the things — birth, being a mom, breastfeeding (I'll keep my nipples to myself, thankyouverymuch), etc.
And Greg said the most beautiful words, which I probably won't do justice here but I'll try. He said something along the lines of this:
"Here's what's beautiful about having a kid: Miles will always be a part of you and a part of Beau. Nothing can ever separate the Beau from her and nothing can ever separate the Lindsay from her. She's a physical manifestation of your love for each other and of God's love for us."
Whoa. His words brought an immediate sense of peace (and tears, because literally everything makes me cry these days). What a beautiful sentiment that this little girl is a part of me. A part of us. And that I was about to discover a whole new part of me for the first time--the part that is a mother.
So yeah, I'm going to start writing. I won't promise to write on a weekly basis or on any sort of schedule (because #momlife and I'm working on being realistic about my ability to balance all the things). But know that more thoughts are coming. And please, please, don't hesitate to reach out if any of this resonates and you're feeling equally anxious. I don't promise to have all the answers (I'm only a month in afterall), but I'd love to chat and at the very least, help you to feel a little less alone. Until next time, my friends!
Love & Respect,