Baby Stuff

Once upon a time, I said that I planned to do a post on the items we had on our baby registry. I never got around to it, which is probably better, because what we registered for is not necessarily what we ended finding most useful. So now, fourteen months in, I’m finally sharing our baby stuff, with plenty of commentary. I couldn’t wait too much longer, because there are constantly new products becoming available, and who knows if this will all be outdated soon. Feel free to contact me with any questions or more in-depth information on our experience with any of these.

You’ll notice a theme for a preference for limited chemicals. We have been intentional about this when it made sense, but not religious about it. A few resources I used when determining what to get:

Also – just a plug here to recommend getting stuff used as much as possible. I know, I know. I was that mom. I just wanted the best and the newest for my little kiddo. But now I’ve spent fourteen months trying to figure out what to do with perfectly good stuff. There’s a constant inflow, and in our house where we try to not hoard much stuff, a constant outflow. But what to do with all of it? It’s agonizing knowing that something is in great condition, a ton of resources were put into manufacturing it and distributing it, and it may not ever get used again. I’ll comment below on what I’ve done with some stuff, and where we’ve chosen to get stuff used.

Nursery

  • Crib: Ikea Sniglar – Chose this for the real, natural wood and lack of paint and chemicals
  • Dresser: Ikea Hemnes three drawer, white stain – Low cost, fit in the small space
  • Bookshelf: White Ikea Kallax shelf unit with Ikea Branas Baskets for the bottom two shelves
  • Monitor: Philips AVENT SCD630/37 Video Monitor with FHSS – nothing too fancy (ie, no wifi or remote video watching), but has a video screen and sound. I think it was recommended on some list of high value (ie, lower cost, but decent quality) monitors.
  • Glider and Ottoman: Used Dutalier glider and ottoman – A dutalier glider came very highly recommended from a friend whose opinion I trust. I hadn’t yet put thought into what sort of chair I would want, so I avoided doing so and just went with her recommendation. I found one used for $100 on Facebook marketplace and drove pretty far out of my way to go pick it up. It’s not much to look at, but it certainly did the trick during all those late night nursing sessions. Now that we’re finished with nursing, though, I’d like to change to something more attractive at some point. Hopefully I can resell this used, because it’s still got life!
  • Small fridge: Any kind would probably do, if at all. Two sets of friends/parents recommended we have a fridge in the closet of our nursery. We even made sure our house builders for our new house put an outlet in the closet so we could do so. In the end… we hardly used it. We just didn’t have to store milk up there very often, if at all. We didn’t do bottles overnight – I always breastfed. When I pumped during my telework days, I would occasionally stash milk in there for a few hours, but I often wanted to freeze it, so I would bring it downstairs soon after anyway. We probably use it a bit more now because we are giving Gabriel a sippy cup with milk at bedtime, which he drinks very little of, so we store it in his fridge over night and offer it to him again in the morning. But we’ll probably stop doing that soon too. We bought this used and will probably keep it for now.

Sleeping

  • Crib – see above
  • Bassinet: Guava Lotus bassinet conversion – This is what Gabriel slept in in our room next to my side of the bed for his first 3.5 months. We’ve passed this on to other friends with a younger son, although they also have a Halo Bassinet, so maybe only use this to travel.
  • Bassinet sheets: Two Lotus Bassinet Organic Cotton Fitted Sheets and one totally adorable other one off Amazon with mountains and foxes that we liked so much we got the same one for our crib… but can’t find it anymore. We probably only needed two sheets total. There may have been once that we (and by we, I mean Gabriel) dirtied two in quick succession requiring a third before laundry was done, but I don’t remember for sure.
  • Mattress:  Naturepedic No Compromise Organic Cotton Classic Crib Mattress – no harmful chemicals including chemical flame retardants. And it is waterproof. Interesting. See mattress pad info below. What is the point of it? I don’t know.
  • Mattress pad: Pure-rest wool moisture protection mattress pad, portacrib size – Hm, doesn’t look like the portacrib size is sold anymore, and Green Mountain Diapers says the company Pure-Rest closed their business! Too bad. But anyway, wool is naturally moisture resistant, while also being breathable. Ours doesn’t fit the whole size of our mattress, but does cover most of the surface area that Gabriel sleeps on. Doubled up, it fit in our bassinet. We’ve never brought this in our travel crib, but it would fit there if we did. Maybe we’ll need to do that when we start potty training, although the travel crib has a waterproof mattress cover, I think. Hm. Not really sure what the point of this is, actually. But it’s been on his mattress since he was born all the same.
  • Crib Sheets – Two Kaydee Baby 100% Organic Jersey Knit Fitted Baby Crib Sheets (fox and bear prints) off Amazon and the one referenced above in bassinet sheets. Again, three is probably too many.
  • Sleeping clothes and other items:
    • SwaddleMe swaddles – we got a bunch of these handed down to us, and they were great. I wouldn’t have thought to register for them, but they were pretty indispensable. I never could effectively swaddle in those big cloth rectangle swaddles (Dan could), but I could get these pretty tight. Until he started breaking out of them around two months or something, and we quit the swaddle (which I feared, but was fairly painless). I’ve since passed these on to another mother in the neighborhood, I think (I think for free, or maybe I sold an entire bag of newborn stuff for some amount of money. Those were the early days. Now I just post bags full of stuff for free – my main concern is it getting used again, not the money. Said the privileged mother.)
    • Aden and Anais muslin swaddles, pack of 3 – As I said, I couldn’t effectively swaddle with these, but these were still nice to have to cover the stroller when Gabriel was sleeping and wrap him in in the stroller bassinet. Once Gabriel reached almost a year old, I started putting one in his crib and covering him with it at night. It has now become his blanket, it seems. This is a recent development. He hadn’t shown attachment to any particular thing til recently, but I think this is it!
    • Sleep sacks – we transitioned from swaddles to sleep sacks pretty quickly. We started with the Swaddle Up 50/50 Transition Bag, which allows the arms to be constrained in like a swaddle or zipped off… but we just kept them zipped off after, like, a day. We also had a couple Halo sleep sack swaddles that we used through the transition, and two Halo sleep sack wearable blankets (one heavier for winter). Before summer fully arrived, we also got a Burts Bees one in a larger size to provide warmth, but now Gabriel sleeps in just shorts/t-shirt two-piece pajamas in his room that is 78-79 degrees overnight. I have sold or given away all of these (except for the Burts Bees, which I think will still be useful in the Fall) to other new mothers, either via Facebook or just directly.

Carrying/Strolling

  • Cloth wrap: Solly baby wrap – This may be the thing I think was most valuable. I used this for the first time when Gabriel was only days old, and I used it probably every day until he was about three months. It was a) the only way I could get stuff done around the house (and I don’t mean housework… I mean feeding myself, and yes, going to the bathroom); and b) an almost fail-proof way to calm down a fussy Gabriel. I think it didn’t work only once. This came everywhere with us, and I freaked out if we didn’t have it, because if Gabriel freaked out and we didn’t have it, what would I do? (Side note – I think back now on all the freaking out I did about the potential for my baby to freak out, and I wonder what all the freaking out was for?! I mean, babies cry. People know that. So what? Was it that crying usually meant hungry and I didn’t want to be put in a position where I unexpectedly had to breastfeed? Was it that I was worried he would start crying and people would think I was a terrible mother? I really don’t know what it was. It seems irrational now.) (More relevant side note – I think any wrap would probably have sufficed. Nothing specific about the Solly, except I want to support the mom-owned company!). I gave this to the same friend who we gave the Guava Lotus bassinet converter to.
  • Structured carrier: Ergobaby 360 ‘with cool air mesh’ – I think I perseverated over this decision quite a bit and don’t recall how we landed here. We like it! My friend let us borrow the infant insert.
  • Regular stroller: Uppababy Vista – This is probably the decision I spent the most time, energy, worry, etc. on. And I went back and forth a lot. I mostly was between the Uppababy Vista and the Nuna Mixx, but also the Vista vs Cruz. I finally landed on Uppababy for a couple reasons: 1) Nuna was in the middle of changing their product and no longer had a bassinet option for the Mixx. I wanted the flat bassinet. I thought it was important for baby to lay actually flat. 2) The Uppababy infant carseat (Mesa) could be purchased in a material (Henry) that does not use chemical flame retardants. Nuna also had an infant carseat at the time that was made without chemical flame retardants, but only the Pipa Lite – which was super light (awesome!), but could not be seat belted into cars. The base was required for installation. The slightly less light (but still lighter than the Mesa) Pipa could be seat belted in, but was not naturally flame retardant. So I went with Uppababy system. As for Cruz vs Vista… I don’t know that we made the best decision here. I don’t think it matters much. We’re not having another kid (the Vista has the option to become a double stroller, the Cruz does not), and the Vista has been great on any terrain we’ve taken it on… but the Cruz would ahve been a little lighter and smaller. But the Vista hasn’t been a problem. Anyway, we love it.
  • Jogging stroller: 2015 Bob revolution – purchased used on Facebook marketplace. We didn’t get this til Gabriel was around 9 months. A couple months before that, my parents brought us an Expedition jogging stroller they’d found for free on the side of the road. It was not in the best shape, but it was useful for determining whether I’d actually be interested in a jogging stroller. Turns out the answer was yes, so we decided to invest in one in better condition.
  • Travel stroller: GB Pockit. Lightweight and folds up small! Which is awesome. However, ours malfunctioned after being used only a handful of times (the handle up/down mechanism stopped catching). I called the company, and after a bit of a runaround, they sent us a new one and had us send the defective one back. Hooray!
  • Hiking carrier: Deuter Kid Comfort. We just bought this! The Ergo was no longer cutting it for hikes. We went on our first hike last weekend, and it worked great! It was comfortable to wear, Gabriel took a nap in it. Perfect!

Feeding

  • Breastfeeding Pillow: Boppy and BrestFriend – preferred the Boppy and sold the BrestFriend before I’d finished breastfeeding. A friend lent me a Boppy (I’d registered for the BrestFriend), but I returned that to her when Gabriel was about six months and bought my own. It’s still upstairs in the closet. Need to get rid of it.)
  • Pump: Spectra S2. It was between this and the Medela one that everyone likes (I forget the name). My insurance covered both. They unfortunately didn’t cover the Spectra S1, which is battery powered rather than corded, but that was never a problem for me anyway. I went with the Spectra because I’d heard it was quieter. I liked it a lot (as much as someone can like something that turns them into a dairy cow). I gave it away to a pregnant colleague in case she wanted one to keep at work. I tried hard to sell it on facebook or find a place to donate it, but no luck. (Facebook kept denying my post… not sure why.) I was happy to give it away. Hopefully she uses it! Places like Goodwill won’t take them. I also used a Medela… Symphony? at work. I just bought the pump pieces for it. I brought those home to wash everyday, but I could have also washed them at work and left them there. That pump is hospital grade. And it was fine, but I actually think I produced more with my Spectra. Or maybe I was just less stressed when I pumped. Pumping at work was stressful.
  • Manual pump: Lansinoh. I brought this to and from work every day in case I ever got stranded at Union Station trying to come home and desperately needed to pump. As it turned out, I didn’t really ever need to use this. I chose to use it a couple times at the very end of breastfeeding when I was weening off the final feeds (I was only doing a couple minutes a day, and this was easier to get out then set my whole pump/pumping bra stuff up). I sold this to a neighborhood mom through Facebook. Even though I didn’t use this much, I am really glad I had it. It could have been bad news if I was ever stuck in DC and didn’t have a way to pump.IMG_5831
  • Bottles: Mostly Dr. Browns plastic bottles, both narrow and wide mouth. We tried the wide-mouth glass ones. They leaked. Also, our glass ones were only 5 oz., and we transitioned to 6 oz bottles very shortly after we got them, so only used them a handful of times. Also, daycare wouldn’t let us provide glass bottles, only plastic. Gabriel started daycare shortly after he was 3 months old. Before then, we did bottles occasionally (even once a day sometimes) and would usually use the 4-oz capacity Dr. Brown’s bottles. But once he started going to daycare, we used the 8-oz capacity ones (I think we started with 5-oz bottles when he started daycare, and shifted soon to 6 oz), and that’s what we used until he stopped using bottles at a year. So, we probably only needed a couple 4-oz ones, and we had 6x 8-oz ones (3 narrow, 3 wide-mouth). We used preemie nipples early on, and once he went to daycare, we used 1s. I think we switched to size 2 around 6 months. I tried a size 3 once, but it seemed silly to do that instead of a sippy (the flow seemed similar), so we just worked on a sippy. I gave all of these away to someone through Facebook.IMG_5836.jpeg
  • Drying rack: OXO Tot Bottle & Brush Cleaning Set. Was this necessary? The brush, yes, absolutely. The drying rack… sure, I guess so. We kept this in the upstairs bathroom next to Gabriel’s room rather than down in the kitchen. We usually fed him his bottles in his room and would then wash the bottles up there and dry the on this rack. So it was nice to have a rack up there. Did we need it? Mm, maybe not. A towel probably could have sufficed.
  • Burp cloths: Burts Bees 5-pack. Since we had a ton of diaper pre-folds, these probably weren’t necessary. But they’d been on our registry, and someone gave them to us, and I am actually so glad. They are so soft. We still use them. We always have one or two with us in the diaper bag to use to wipe hands or faces or whatever. We definitely used them for burping, also. They’re lower profile (thinner) and softer than the pre-folds, so really nice to have.
  • High chair: Stokke Tripp Trapp – this came highy recommended by our friends form the Netherlands, and we love it. We also got the baby seat, tray, and a cloth cover for it. Gabriel’s still not crawling up into it himself and we still have the baby seat in, but he mostly just eats at the table (rather than from the tray) now. One downside is that the tray is not huge like some, so the silicone plates we have that are supposed to suction to their surface don’t fully fit flat on it, and therefore don’t suction. Hasn’t been a big deal.
  • Cups: Nuk, Dr. Browns with weighted straw, Munchkin 360, and now Bobo&Boo bamboo open cups. We switched off trying the Nuk, weighted straw, and 360 cups when we first introduced a sippy around 6 months. He finally got the hang of them maybe around… 8 months? But he associated the 360 with water and didn’t like milk from it, so we’ve always done only water in the 360 and milk in the Nuk and straw cups. We still give Gabriel milk before bedtime in the Nuk or the straw cup, and also when he first wakes up, sitting in the Dutalier rocker with him. Not sure when we’ll stop this. We’re working on the open cups. He can do several sips of water or milk if there’s not too much in the cup. Then he’ll set it down, usually gently without spilling. But then he’ll either put his fist in it, or dump the whole thing down his front or on his plate or on the floor, and then we take it away.
  • Plates: We’ve had an ezpz silicone tray/bowl and another silicone plate whose sections look like a pig. We also got some reusable bamboo plates for Gabriel to use at daycare.

Diapering

  • Changing pad: Leander Matty Changer – Dan got a recommendation from a friend for this. Other friends had recommended the Keekaroo. Both are not cloth and easy to wipe down. We liked the Leander. It’s wide, so the surface needs to be big enough for it. Our Ikea dresser just barely is. But… I have used cloth/foam/whatever ones that friends have, and they seem so comfy and cozy. Maybe Gabriel would like his diaper changes better if we had one of those. (Probably not.)
  • Cloth diapers: See my post on diapering. My favorite are Thirsties naturals. We bought one newborn Bumgenius all in one diaper that was absolutely the cutest thing ever. He grew out of it in like a week or two.
  • Disposable diapers: For disposables, we use mostly Honest. We’ve also used the ones we got for free when he was born, which I think were Pampers?, and Seventh Generation. They all work.
  • Wipes: Water wipes
  • Wipes holder/warmer: Not sure of the brand, but yep, after a week of scream-filled diaper changes, we got this used from one of Dan’s sister’s friends. We didn’t think we would want/need one, but definitely glad we have it.
  • Diaper pail: Ubbi for our cloth diapers, Dekor for our disposable diapers and other trash.
  • Diaper cream: Natural Boudreaux’s butt paste. Also used Primally Pure Baby Balm early on.

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Travel

  • Infant car seat: Uppababy Mesa, discussed above. We transitioned out of this right around 12 months. We’re about to take our first trips without it. Traveling with an infant car seat is logistically so much easier. Sigh.
  • Convertible car seat: Nuna Rava. No chemical flame retardants.
  • Carrier: covered above. For our early trips, we brought the Solly on the plane, and Gabriel stayed in there pretty much the whole time. Then we transitioned to the Ergo. But he gets fussy in there now, so I think we won’t bring it on the plane going forward, but may still bring it on the trips.
  • Backpack carrier: covered above. May travel with this now.
  • Travel stroller: covered above. We haven’t actually taken this on a plane yet, as we’ve traveled with our Vista. But now that we will be traveling without the infant car seat, I think we’ll switch to bringing the travel stroller.
  • Travel crib/pack n play: Guava Lotus – LOVE this.

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Clothes

I’m not going to list out all the clothes we got or used here. But I will say again, for clothes especially, get them used as much as possible. We did not register for any newborn clothes, except to ask for used items. (Oh, except we did register for non-skid socks, which we got, and which we used a ton.) We of course still got a bunch of newborn clothes (mostly onesies), which we expected – and used, and we also got an entire suitcase full of used clothes from Dan’s sister’s friend. It was amazing. I picked out like five different outfits to bring to the hospital for us to choose what to bring Gabriel home in (ha – see the picture of tiny baby Gabriel drowning in his carseat below. That’s what he ended up wearing. Including the non-skid socks!). I don’t even think he got a chance to wear all of the clothes we were given before he grew out of them, but we had plenty to last us the first three months at least. This lot included the SwaddleMe swaddles I mentioned above. Since then, I have had to buy some clothes, we continue to get some as gifts (and my mom often brings new or used ones from Mexico when she comes to visit), but I also posted a plea for used clothes on Facebook and was given an entire bag of 18mo and 2T clothes for free. That’s mostly what he’s wearing now. I wouldn’t have bought a lot of it myself (there are like 3 jumpers I wouldn’t have thought to buy, but they are so cute), but since I have it, he wears it. When I have bought clothes, I’ve opted for sort of fancy stuff because I buy so little of it (and gosh, it’s just so soft), mostly from Monica & Andy and Finn & Emma.

Bath, etc.

  • Wash: Beautycounter Baby Gentle All Over Wash
  • Sunscreen: Beautycounter Countersun Mineral Sunscreen at home and Babo Botanicals Baby Mineral Sheer and Gentle sunscreen for at daycare.
  • Towel: Channing & Yates, and Dan’s sister made us one. Still using these.
  • Baby tub: We didn’t get a baby tub. We bathed Gabriel in the sink for the first several weeks, and it was absolute hell every time. He hated it and was slippery and he screamed, and it was just awful. So we transitioned to the big tub pretty early on. Friends had given us (accidentally, as it turns out – they meant to throw it away) this… thing. It was a very thin pad, maybe 18×24, with a foam pillow and two foam sides that velcroed on to it. It was the most unsophisticated basic thing imaginable, but it was great. We would lay Gabriel on it on his back. The foam things would keep him from rolling over. We’d fill the tub an inch or two with water. And we’d bathe him, and that was that. He totally didn’t mind that at all. I’ve searched Google to find something similar, but haven’t and don’t know what to call it. We stopped using that thing around when he could sit up on his own, or maybe a month or two later, and just sat him in the bath in several inches of water. He loves the bath.
  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste: I bought the Baby Buddy finger toothbrushes and the MAM Learn to Brush brushes early on. Gabriel started drooling a ton around 3 months, but didn’t get any teeth until ten months. He still only has six, and most of his peers have at least 8, if not more. But he still drools like crazy, all the time. Daycare has nicknamed him ‘Juicy.’ Anyway, I bought these in anticipation of those first teeth coming in, but they sat in a drawer for a long time. When he finally got his first bottom teeth, we used the finger brushes every night before bed. But we soon moved on to the Learn to Brush brush with Jack N Jill Natural Toothpaste because daycare required us to send a brush and toothpaste with him at 12 months. We use it every night. He hates it every night. We absolutely are not getting his teeth effectively brushed any night. Please send me your suggestions. (I don’t think daycare is using what we sent.)
  • Nail clipper: Fridababy. I have to say, this has worked great, but I personally still don’t get it. Dan has cut Gabriel’s nails every single time. He used to do it while I was breastfeeding, now he just does it. I have never tried. It has this weird slanted edge that… doesn’t make sense to me. Maybe if I tried once I would understand.
  • Snot sucker: Yes, this is necessary. And yes, we registered for and got the Fridababy one that so many people recommend. And yes, we used it. Once. Every other time, we’ve just used the bulb suction thing we got from the hospital. It only requires one hand! The fridababy requires two – one to hold one end in your mouth, the other to hold it in the baby’s nose… and what hand are you supposed to hold the baby whose nose you’re shoving something up down with? Bulb suction all the way.

Other Items:

  • Boppy Newborn lounger: A friend recommended this. Was it necessary? Nope. But I was glad to have it. I would often place Gabriel in it when I was home alone and needed to shower, or when I was pumping in the morning while still on maternity leave and he was sitting beside me. Sometimes he liked it, sometimes he didn’t. Once he started rolling over, it had to go.
  • Rock n Play: Yep, we had one of these for about six weeks. I got it used through Facebook. Gabriel would occasionally nap in it in the kitchen while it vibrated and while I worked in the kitchen. Once he started to want to flip over, we sold it.
  • Activity Mat: Had this for most of G’s first year, but we didn’t use it much after six months or so. Did a lot of tummy time, but he never loved laying on his back (still doesn’t – he started to sleep better when he learned to flip to his stomach from his back around 12 weeks).

I may add more (or more commentary) to this over time, but that’s what we got for now! Enjoy and let me know if you have any questions!

 

 

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Camping with Babies

Having a kiddo changes almost everything. My social life revolves around nap schedules and a 7:30 bedtime, and it generally includes multiple individuals under age two. The books in my living room mostly max out at ten pages and are made of cardboard. ‘Kid’ has taken priority in my fiercely prioritized life over everything else. (If you’ve read my other posts or know me well, you know that ‘ everything else’ includes at the top: 8 hours of sleep, work, working out, eating well, husband, and friends, usually in that order.) Getting outside (that is, getting away from civilization) always fell somewhere on my list of priorities, albeit below all those other things, which is why it only happened a few times a year. And while having a kid has changed my priorities in unexpected ways (for example, it didn’t occur to me before having a kid that I would want to prioritize time with him over other things like working out or sleep, even though I knew I would often need to), it didn’t change that I still want to do all the things I used to do. Like travel. Like trying new restaurants. Like going camping and getting outside.

Those are still priorities, so we’re figuring out how to make them work! As my husband put it, camping with a baby is harder than camping without a baby, but being at home with a baby is also harder than being at home without a baby, and the difference is about the same.

So far, we’ve taken three camping trips, when Gabriel was 7.5 weeks, 5 months, and 12.5 months. Here’s how we did it:

General:

  1. Car camping. So far, we’ve only camped in campgrounds with baby. We used to backpack and backcountry camp, and we are looking forward to getting back to that someday. People do it with young kids, but not us, yet. Car camping, especially if you can find a good campground with reasonably quiet and secluded spots, scratches the itch of being outside, getting dirty, and enjoying nature. It also allows you to be reasonably well prepared for most eventualities. You can bring extra diapers, extra warm clothes, extra food, whatever, in the event that you might need it (but probably won’t). You can leave if you absolutely have to if disaster (or just extreme unhappiness) strikes. You can still rough it… but with a safety blanket.
  2. Length: Just one night. So far, we’ve only camped for one night at a time. We’ve got our confidence now and are considering a two-night trip in the fall. But this has felt manageable and not too intimidating.

Here’s more info about each trip – sleeping arrangements, food, etc.

Trip 1: 7.5 weeks, Cunningham Falls State Park

We went on our first camping adventure with baby in July, which is not normally a time of year in Maryland that I like to go camping. But it was lovely. We stayed in Cunningham Falls State Park.

We arrived in the afternoon, set up camp, and then hiked down to the Hunting Creek Lake and back. The lake was part of the park and had a beach and amenities. I wore Gabriel facing me in the ergo. We put him in a long-sleeve footed onesie outfit, I think because we were worried about bugs and sunshine, but it was a bad idea. Too hot. It was like 90 something degrees out. He was sweating. I was worried about him being dehydrated. But of course, everything ended up fine.

  • Food: I was breastfeeding at the time, so we didn’t have to worry about food for him. He was still up several times over night (I think at least 3 that night). I brought my boppy breastfeeding pillow to use as my sleeping pillow, and then just used it sitting in the tent to breastfeed when the occasion arose.
  • Tent: We only had our two-person backpacking tent that we’d used for years. Clio, our dog, always slept with us as well. So… it was a tight fit.
  • Sleeping place: This one has caused the most consternation. People want to know if we co-slept, but don’t ask directly because they’re worried about sounding judgy or permissive. We did not co-sleep. We brought the Uppababy bassinet attachment, which we’d also been using a lot for naps around the house, and set it at the foot of my sleeping bag. (Note, this picture was taken several months after the camping trip, and no, there was no blanket in the bassinet when G was sleeping in there.)

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  • Crying/fussing/noise: There was a family at a campsite nearby, whom I spoke to upon arrival and told we had a 7.5 week old. I apologized in advance for any noise. They were very impressed we were camping, had kids of their own, and were totally understanding. Gabriel was mostly fine during waking hours. He did have a bit of an extended fit at one point overnight when we had to change his diaper. Well, so. He did. Maybe the neighbors woke up. Maybe they didn’t. I don’t know. I would obviously prefer not to bother them at 3am, but if I did, I’m sure we’re all over it by now. He was a bit fussy the next day, too, but it was during the day, and so what.
  • Diapering: We used our diaper changing pad either on the picnic table or in the tent. We put used diapers in wet bags. We threw them out (we used disposable) when we were at a trash can.

I don’t think Gabriel had a ‘bedtime’ yet then, but we put him to sleep at some point before I went to bed. I wasn’t doing that that often then – staying up past when he went to bed. But I did that night, and I sat in a camp chair and enjoyed the fire and the stars and just thought it was totally worth it. And that’s what I remember, not being tired.

I also remember sneaking out of the tent at 5am, hoping to get some me time. This is a feature of my past camping experiences that I really hope to retain. I’m often the first one up, and I have time to make myself coffee, sit by the fire pit, and just enjoy – alone. I was hoping to get to do that on this camping trip. I think I got far enough to have made coffee before Gabriel woke up. Alas.

We went for another hike from the campground. Gabriel mostly slept, if I recall (again in the ergo, facing me).

Then we drove home, feeling very accomplished. If I remember correctly, though, Gabriel screamed for almost all of the 1.5 hour drive from the backseat. Sigh.

Trip 2: 5 months, Kearneysville, WV

Our second camping trip was at the end of October, when Gabriel was five months old. We stayed at this historic nature preserve that Dan found on airbnb. It was actually totally bizarre. You can rent this whole, huge… space. Overlooking this water-filled quarry. So we did. It wasn’t a traditional campsite near hiking, but we were able to take a 1-2 mile walk around the quarry, which was nice.

Dan’s sister came with us. She slept in our backpacking tent, and we slept in a borrowed four-person tent. The weather was pretty cold and windy. We had to stay pretty bundled up the whole time. In general, I did not enjoy this trip as much. Gabriel was pretty fussy the whole time and was not ever content to not be held. This was generally true at that point in his life, and I also think he may have been cold. I did most of the holding of the fussy baby and didn’t get to do much else.

  • Food: Still breastfeeding. I have no recollection of how many times he woke up over night, though I do know he’d only slept through the night once in his life by that point, so I know that didn’t happen.
  • Tent: We borrowed a four-person Kelty tent-mansion from friends for the occasion. It worked great! Much more space than our previous tent.
  • Sleeping place and clothes: We brought our Guava Lotus travel crib, which fit perfectly well in the tent-mansion. But it was pretty cold. We bundled Gabriel into a onesie, footed pajamas, a footed fleece thing (the orange one in the pictures below), and then another footed and hooded fleece thing (the blue one in the pictures below). Plus a hat. He seemed okay, and slept. I can’t remember if we had to change his diaper overnight. I think we did! Oof, that must have been a task (though I don’t have a clear memory of it, obviously). You can see I left his right hand uncovered, though, since he likes to suck his fingers. Seemed to be the best choice, though I did perseverate over it.
  • Other items: The plastic-y picnic blanket you see in the pictures below is nice to have for floor time.
  • Crying/fussing/noise: No one was around, so nothing to worry about here.
  • Diapering: Same as before. We use disposable diapers and threw them away when we could.

Trip 3: 12.5 months, Wolf Gap Recreation Area

Our final trip with a baby (he hadn’t started toddling yet, so I think ‘baby’ is still appropriate) was to Wolf Gap in the George Washington and Jefferson Forests. It is in West Virginia, but right on the Virginia state line. It was about 2.5 hours driving time for us, and I was nervous about that. At the time, that would be the longest car trip we’d taken with Gabriel to date, and he’d been increasingly mobile and discontent to sit still (still true). But it actually went fine. We timed it well with naps, and he mostly slept. Our trip there took a total of about four hours, which included a detour into Shenandoah because we were there and also lunch in… Woodstock, VA, I think. Wolf Gap only has 9 sites, and I was a little worried about getting one, but there were a couple left when we arrived. We stayed in #8, I think.

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A friend we’ve often camped with (both since being in Maryland and when we lived in Atlanta) drove up from Knoxville to join us. He brought his small dog, so Clio had a friend as well.

Before this trip, we purchased our own tent mansion, and this was our first use. It worked great. We also brought what I lovingly call ‘the cage’ – one of those six-sided plastic gate play pen things. We didn’t use it a ton, but Gabriel was occasionally content to be in there for a few minutes at a time when we all needed our eyes and hands to put up the tent, wrangle the dogs, or whatever else. The dogs got more use out of it, though.

After setting up camp, we went for a hike from the campground up to Big Schloss peak. I think it was two miles each way. I wore Gabriel in the ergo on my back. It was my second time doing so, and it works okay, but it definitely convinced me that I want a real child carrier for hiking (just ordered, arriving this week, hooray!). He tolerated it okay, but couldn’t really see over my shoulder. He was pretty fussy by the end and wanted to get out.

  • Food and accessories: First, we bring a structured silicone bib with the pouch that catches things whenever we eat out with Gabriel. One lives in the diaper bag. Brought that. We also bring one of his silicone placemats with attached compartments or bowl. Brought one of those. Gabriel mostly eats what we eat, so he had a (cut up) hot dog and bun for dinner like we did. For breakfast, he had packaged oatmeal like we did. We also had lots of snacks. String cheese, apple wheels (these Gerber teething things), pouches (at least to get in some fruits and veggies!), bananas. I think we were still feeding G pouches with a spoon then, but we have since moved on to letting him feed himself pouches. We had just transitioned to cow’s milk, so we brought milk in the cooler and his sippy cup. And we brought one of his 360 cups that he drinks water out of.
  • Tent: We used our newly-purchased REI Base Camp 4. Perfect. Plenty of space, easy to set up, nice vestibule, good windows.
  • Sleeping place and clothes: Again, the Guava Lotus. I think I had footed pajamas and a sleep sack for him. It was pretty warm but cooled off a bit at night. Nothing crazy, though. OH. We also have a portable white noise machine. I turned it on when G went to bed (before us, at 7:30), but turned it off when we came to bed because my husband (rightly so) wanted to hear the nature. I can’t remember if we used this for the earlier camping trips. But it always comes on other trips with us.
  • Other items: The same plastic picnic blanket was useful, especially in the cage thing.

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  • Crying/fussing/noise: Gabriel was sleeping through the night by this point and doesn’t have major meltdowns during the day, though I’m sure he cried at points.
  • Diapering: Same as before. We use disposable diapers and threw them away when we could.

 

So. That’s how we’ve made camping work, so far.

I also still want to do the things I used to want to do, but never made time for. Like… kayaking. Like… a lot of mountain biking. Like… a daily yoga practice. But if I never (or rarely) made time for them before, I’m definitely not making time for them now. But I will keep finding a way to do the things at the top of my priority list. Next camping adventure: October.

She Uses Cloth Diapers

It was never really a question of whether we would cloth diaper or not. Of course we would. I knew my husband would insist on it, even if I didn’t. And really (as someone who had maybe changed one diaper in my entire life and so had no idea how to deal with ANY kind of diaper), I felt more familiar with cloth diapers than disposables because most of my friends who’d had kids in the recent past used cloth diapers.

Still, I didn’t quite get it. I did research, I learned terms like ‘pockets’ and ‘prefolds’ (and thought WTF), and I tried to figure it out. But finally, Dan and I just asked a couple of our friends if we could visit their houses and view their ‘system,’ which really demystified everything.

I’ve been asked a few times about our routine, and in response to one of those questions, I recently wrote up the information below in an email. Sharing here as a resource for anyone interested – with pictures!

Diaper Types:

There are three types of diapers:

  • Prefolds with covers (ie, a cloth square that you fold three times and then a waterproof cover that you put over it. There are a few variations on the inner part that absorbs the moisture – it’s not always a trifold.)
  • Pocket diapers (a cloth insert goes into a pocket in a cover)
  • All-in-ones (ie, the cloth insert and cover are all connected in one piece).

We use pockets and AIOs. The AIOs are generally the least fuss and what we usually send to daycare. We used prefolds with covers when Gabriel was a newborn because a friend donated a bunch to us. The prefolds are useful as rags/burp cloths/etc. also. We still have some, even though we don’t use them as diapers.

Brands:

My favorite brand is Thirsties natural All in Ones. We also have some Charlie Banana pocket diapers (note, the link is confusing b/c it calls these AIOs, but they aren’t), some SmartBottom AIOs, and some BumGenius AIOs. They all get the job done. The covers we had when we did prefolds/covers were also Thirsties. (Note – most resources will tell you you have to wash diapers 6-10 times before using them the first time because they’ll leak if you don’t. I thought this was hogwash, but it was actually true. A lot of diapers leaked at first, and I thought it was just the brand or we sucked at putting them on. But now they all work fine, so I think it just required washing and re-washing.)

Number:

Don’t get many newborn diapers, but you will need some. Or just use/supplement with disposables for that period. They grow out of them quickly. We had one BumGenius AIO newborn size, and then maybe 24 prefolds and 6 covers.

Now we have about 20 cloth diapers that we rotate through. Most resources will tell you you ned 24-36, depending on how often you want to do laundry. We do laundry every 1-2 days.

Washing:

FluffLove University provides a ton of resources on washing diapers (and cloth diapering in general). Their top recommendation is to use Tide detergent (we use free and clear). Wash just the diapers once on hot, but just the quick wash. (The purpose of that cycle is to get all the yucky stuff off the diapers and out of the water/wash before introducing other items and before doing the more cleansing wash.) Then wash them a second time with other items to have a full load on the heavy duty wash setting (any temperature). Especially in high efficiency washers, it’s important to wash with other clothes to ensure they get enough agitation to clean them. Then either dry outside in the sun (which also bleaches them) or use dryer. The dryer of course will wear them down more over time, but so far ours have worked fine for a year with no sign of wearing out soon.

Poop:

When exclusively breastfeeding, the poop is water soluble and usually not chunky and it’s fine to go in the washing machine. Once they start eating solids (or formula, I think), it’s more important to try and NOT have the poop go in the washer. We use GroVia liners that mostly capture the poop, and we throw away the liner with the poop. We’re a little lazy with cleaning the rest of the diaper if it’s not all captured in the liner, so sometimes (probably often), some poop goes into the wash. The diapers come out clean anyway, as does the wash. Side note, not sure where this belongs: You don’t want to use petroleum-based diaper paste with cloth diapers, I think because it won’t fully wash off and will affect their absorbency. I’ve also heard you don’t want to use zinc-based, as it might stain them. We use a zinc-based one (Boudreaux’s natural butt paste), and it’s fine.

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Diaper Pails:

We only had one diaper pail at first, which we used for the cloth diapers. We have two reusable liners/wet bags. The bag goes into the wash along with the diapers. For all other trash (Q-tips to smear on diaper cream, wet wipes) we just used a normal open trash can. Once we started having to throw away poop, we got another diaper pail. The one we use for cloth diapers is Ubbi. The other one is Decor. We were thoughtful about the Ubbi one (it’s what we registered for). I can’t remember how we decided on the Decor one.

Process:

Lay baby down. Unsnap diaper. Remove GroVia liner, throw away in trash pail. Wipe butt with either wet wipes (we use water wipes) or reusable wipes (we have Bumkins and use Baby Bits dissolvable cubes that you dissolve in water to spray on the reusable to make them wet). Throw disposable wipes in trash or reusable in cloth diaper pail. Remove cloth diaper, put in diaper pail. (If it’s a pocket diaper, remove the cloth insert before putting in diaper pail because you don’t want to wash it with it in. This step is annoying and you may touch pee or poop, which is a reason AIOs are nice.) Put a liner in the new diaper, and snap it on. Voila.

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Overnight:

We were getting a lot of leaks overnight, especially when Gabriel started sleeping longer stretches. (Actually, the truth is that we went through a period of a month or so where he leaked through his diaper every time he slept, including naps – he’s always slept on his stomach, and his stomach would be wet upon waking. I don’t know what changed… maybe he was just a weird size at that time and the diapers didn’t fit him well.) We tried a few options, including adding extra inserts to the diapers for overnight and a new type of diaper (Cloth-eez workhorse fitted diaper) with cover (we again used Thirsties). Those didn’t work. We finally switched to overnight disposables (Honest brand). Now that Gabriel eats and drinks more like a normal person, I bet we could switch back to cloth and it would be fine. The disposables aren’t as full in the morning as they used to be.

Daycare:

We send 5-6 diapers to daycare prepared with a liner in them. We also send wet bags and have a trash can there. Daycare just takes the diaper off and throws it in the wet bag, liner and all, so we have to remove pocket liners (if daycare got a pocket diaper) and poop liners before putting the diapers in our diaper pail for washing at home. We also usually keep a small stash of disposables there just in case… but not too many, because otherwise daycare will just use those.

Travel:

We usually use disposables for traveling due to lack of access to a washing machine and our small supply. And they take up less room.

So that’s that!

Sleep

Every once in a while, or maybe more, who knows, I’m going to throw a post up here about my experience with motherhood. I’m still thinking of adding a post or two from things that I wrote in the early days of motherhood when I was really struggling, but I’m not sure. For now, here’s one about how we approached sleep with/ (for) Gabriel. He’s a pretty good little sleeper these days and my life is mostly normal in terms of sleep, and I feel pretty good about that. The purpose of this blog, for me, is to document things – for me, and for anyone else who’s interested. Some things are already starting to slip my memory in terms of how we’ve gone about raising Gabriel. If we ever do this whole kid thing again, or even if we don’t, I want to remember how we went about things. And maybe someone else can identify with some of these experiences or get an idea, so I’m sharing. So here.

Sleep.

When Gabriel was about 7 weeks old, I went to a lunchtime peer to peer breastfeeding group at The Womb Room. It was the second or third time I’d been. While on maternity leave, most weeks I would go to a breastfeeding group on Mondays at Mercy Hospital, facilitated by a nurse and a lactation consultant, and also this one on Thursdays, facilitated by other breastfeeding mothers. I’d noticed something that felt particularly acute that week: I appreciated the breastfeeding support but I CRAVED information about newborn sleep (particularly overnight sleep) and any indication that I might get more of it soon. On that Thursday, I felt exasperation and desperation as mothers went around the room describing their breastfeeding experiences and challenges, and I just wanted to scream, yes but what about SLEEP?! When it was my turn, I did express my frustration that it didn’t seem to be getting any better and that I needed to know when it would. Everyone around the room was like, oh, 7 weeks? You should start getting longer stretches soon. Four hours, five hours, six hours. At least for the first stretch of the night.

Nope. Until Gabriel was 11 or 12 weeks, we got a four or five hour stretch once, and it was the night after he got his two-month shots. I made sure to breastfeed every two hours during the day, trying to increase day calories so he wouldn’t need them at night. I heard other mothers’ stories of their babies sleeping until 2 or 3 or 6 in the morning, while I was up every night at 11, 2, 4, 5, 6. I tried to come to terms with the fact that Gabriel was maybe just destined to be a bad sleeper. I am, so maybe it’s in the genes.

Sleep: The Early Days

In the first few weeks, I of course had no expectations that Gabriel would understand night and day. But my parents were staying with us, so I could feed Gabriel at 6 am and then pass him off to my mother downstairs and sleep uninterrupted for two more hours until 8 or so. It didn’t really occur to me after she left that I wouldn’t be able to do that anymore, so I kept trying to sleep til 8 or 8:30, but Gabriel was not sleeping at those hours. It felt like I fed at 5:30, 6, 6:45, 7:15. I thought of these as overnight feeds, but they weren’t, really. Around 6 weeks, which also happened to be during a very hot period in Baltimore, I said screw it, I’m just going to start getting up at 6 and going for a walk. It was too hot to go out later in the day anyway. So we’d walk for an hour or more before 8am. 

But I was still feeling desperate. I hit a wall around 9 weeks when we went to Whistler for a family vacation. I was up with Gabriel 4-5 times a night, more frequently as daytime approached. I just fed him every time he woke up fussing. I knew about strategies of not responding right away and all that to see if he went back to sleep (as described, for example, in Bringing up Bebe, an actual source for parenting advice we’ve relied on), but 1) at that particular time, we were in a very close space in an Airbnb, and other people (Dan’s parents) were staying there also. I didn’t want Gabriel to cry for too long. And 2) I was so desperate for sleep that I preferred to just feed him and get it over with than risk him fussing and not stopping and THEN having to feed him, thereby missing out on five or ten minutes of desperately needed sleep.

So I bought Babywise and read it on the flight home (while wearing a Solly-wrapped sleeping baby on my chest). I didn’t know much about it in advance except that it seemed polarizing and some people thought it was cruel and other people swore by it. Whatever, I just needed some ideas.

We tried to implement babywise (ie, a schedule of feeding and naps and a cycle of eating upon waking, followed by wake time, followed by nap time, and then eating upon waking again). We tried to force the schedule (which required unrealistic 1.5 hour naps) for a week or two, and then gave that part up, but kept the cycle of eat, wake, sleep – which actually was a sort of routine we’d fallen into even before I read babywise. Sometimes this led to more cycles in a day than babywise would have predicted, sometimes not. Gabriel rarely ever had a nap longer than 45 minutes (which is still true).

The other thing we adopted around that time was trying to soothe Gabriel back to sleep at night without feeding him for the first part of the night. With a pacifier, it worked – for a bit. Throughout weeks 9-10, we had goals of getting to 1, then 1:30, then 2 am without feeding him and instead giving him his pacifier.

Cool. Until, we started to realize around week 10-11 that we were having to reinsert his pacifier like every 5-10 minutes. This came to a head on another trip, mid-August, to Michigan. We were staying in a hotel room, and none of us were getting any sleep, having to reinsert his pacifier every time it fell out. We were achieving the goal of not feeding until 1 or 2 (some nights), but not actually getting more sleep. When we got home from that trip, I swore we were going cold turkey and giving the pacifier up. And anyway, Babywise emphasized the importance of getting to no sleep props. We tried for the first 24 hours, in which he did not nap or sleep much at all and cried constantly. I realized the following day he also had his first cold, which had been unclear the day before because I thought his hoarse voice and runny nose was due to all the crying. Sigh. And went back to using the pacifier.

Sleep: Finally Seeing Some Light

But not as much. I tried to limit its use to only when it seemed absolutely necessary, including during the day, and seeing if Gabriel would fall asleep without it. And I’m not sure if it has anything to do with our interventions to try to limit it or not, but Gabriel stopped using it on his own within a few days or maybe a week and found his fingers for sucking. Some people think that’s better, some people say it’s a harder habit to break, because you can’t take their fingers away from them. At 10 months, Gabriel still uses his fingers to self soothe, and maybe it will be a hard habit to break. But his ability to self soothe has made all the difference. And for better or worse, he hasn’t really taken a pacifier since. He’ll chew on one these days sometimes, but doesn’t even seem to recognize it as a thing to suck on.

But back to week 11 or 12 and my (new) desperation to break the pacifier habit… which was now no longer helping the sleep situation, but hurting it. In searching for pacifier strategies and what’s normal, I came across Precious Little Sleep, the website companion of the book by the same name, which I recalled that a good friend of mine had recommended. I bought the book and read it immediately (even sacrificing some sleep to do so).

Fast forward to now, it’s seven or more months later, and Gabriel consistently sleeps through the night from 7 or 7:30 til 6 or 6:30, and mostly has since his six month birthday. We go through periods of early wake ups (5-5:30), and are currently, but that’s the worst of it. He naps pretty well at home (they’re short sometimes, but he falls asleep easily), not so well at daycare, but better now than a few months ago. All in all, sleep is good. I’m no longer desperate and haven’t been in months. 

Sleep: What Worked For Us

So I’ll tell you what we did, but the real implementation of strategies didn’t really begin until 3-4 months. Had I read these books earlier, could I have implemented things earlier? Would I with the next kid (if there is a next kid)? Maybe not really. Most of it can’t be done before then.

The most valuable things I got from those books were:

1. The eat, wake, sleep structure. This might not work for everyone, and some people worry that it sets babies up for short naps (if they’ve been awake for a while after eating, they might wake up from their nap out of hunger, whereas if you fed right before a nap, they wouldn’t wake up for that reason). But it helped us so much. It helped me because I thrive on routine. I think it mostly helped my husband because he had a solution for a fussy baby. If baby’s just woken up and was fussy, he was probably hungry. If he’s eaten and been awake for a while, he was probably tired. And that helped me because then husband wasn’t always begging me to feed baby to get him to stop crying. We still do it. We dropped to four feeds when we dropped to two naps around 7 months or so, so I feed Gabriel upon waking for the day, after the first and second naps, and before bed.

2. The importance of establishing independent sleep.

3. The importance of a consistent routine. 

Here’s what we did (that I think helped):

• 3 weeks and beyond: Tried to lay him down awake in the normal sleep spot for at least one nap a day. Gabriel slept all over the place – being carried, in a bassinet down in the kitchen, on walks in the stroller, in the car seat. But he usually had at least one good morning nap and one good afternoon nap, and I tried to have at least one of those be in his bassinet in our room where he also slept at night, and to put him down awake or drowsy if possible (that didn’t always happen). Later, around 10 or 12 weeks, we started trying to have this be in his crib in his room instead of the bassinet in our room.

• 3-4 weeks: Have a consistent night time routine. We didn’t REALLY have this down until after I read Precious Little Sleep (and until we moved him out of our room at just after 3 months), but starting very early, I did try to read him a story every night before the sleep period that I hoped would be the longest.

• 3-4 weeks: Pause. Wait a minute or two, whatever felt comfortable, before responding to his fussing. I didn’t always do this, as I said before, but often I did.

• 9 weeks: Implemented consistent wake time of 6:30am. (Tried to implement a full Babywise schedule, but that didn’t work). We’ve had this wake time since then. Correct, I haven’t really slept past 6:30am in 8 months.

• 2.5 months: A little bit of crying when it was time to go to sleep (at night, or for a nap). I wasn’t comfortable letting him cry much yet (and PLS and AAP and various other sources recommend against ‘cry it out’ before four months), so this was a transition from not letting him cry at all to letting him cry a little to letting him cry longer – not an immediate thing. As the days and weeks passed, I got more comfortable with letting him cry 2, 5, sometimes 10 minutes. (Dan was comfortable much earlier.) Gabriel didn’t usually cry longer than that to fall asleep, and if he did, I would try to calm him, and if that didn’t work (total crying of about 20 mins, with some intermittent intervention), I would just get him up and start the cycle over (feeding, wake time, down for a nap after some wake time).

• 2.5-3 months: After I read Babywise but especially Precious Little Sleep, we stopped doing things that could become sleep crutches. No rocking to sleep, no feeding to sleep (we switched up the bedtime routine to begin feeding him first, then doing pajamas, bath if doing that night, and story), no letting him fall asleep on us. (The feeding him first thing terrified me because it made me worry that I would lose that potential sleep time because he’d wake up earlier because he’d fed earlier by 20ish minutes. But it was fine.)

• 2.5-3 months: At about 11-12 weeks, I started trying to set a consistent bedtime as well as the consistent daily wake time. I started with 9pm or so, but Gabriel wasn’t making it that long, and it was shifted up to 7:30 within a week, with bedtime routine starting consistently at 7pm every night. We stuck with this until around 7 months when we dropped to two naps and were having early wake ups, so bedtime routine shifted as early as 6:30 and down by 6:45 or 7, depending on how naps went during the day (yes, earlier bedtime helped him sleep later 🤷‍♀️). More recently, we’re back to a 7/7:30 bed time. But a consistent bedtime was magical. Suddenly I had a baby-less hour to myself each night after he went to sleep and before I went to sleep. Until this point, I’d gone to bed when he did in order to maximize sleep, but somehow this consistency gave me the freedom and confidence (that I would still get some quality sleep) to prioritize a bit of me time over sleep.

• 3 months: The night before his 3-month birthday, Gabriel woke up around 10 or something and I fed him, and then he miraculously slept until daily wake time. It wasn’t repeated in the surrounding nights, but was encouraging all the same.

• 3 months, 1 week: We moved him to his crib in his room for overnight. AAP recommendations are to sleep in the parents’ room until 6 months, but it wasn’t destined to be for us. We didn’t suddenly all start sleeping better, but it was a slight improvement (even if just in terms of not having to tiptoe around the bedroom at night). We were still up frequently overnight and my superhuman mother ears (never mind the monitor) meant that I felt like I was awake at his every movement and noise still.

• Around 4 months: The night before his 4 month birthday, Gabriel had his first night actually sleeping through from bedtime to daily wake time. Again, this was a one-time occurrence. But, we started to be more comfortable with him crying a bit, and around this time, I stopped feeding him before midnight. Period. I would send Dan in to soothe him if he woke up crying (or I would go in if Dan wasn’t home). For full transparency, Gabriel was persistent. Throughout the next few months, there were at least a handful of nights where he cried for 1-2 hours. It was kind of rough, but I wasn’t worried that he needed to eat. And Dan would go in and soothe, so I felt better that he didn’t feel abandoned.

• Around 5 months: Gabriel was not waking until 3-4am most nights to feed (although sometimes would still wake up at like 11 and cry, then fall back to sleep until 3-4), so I stopped feeding him if he woke before 2 am. This basically meant I was feeding him once between 3 and 4, and sleeping the rest of the night. This felt pretty sustainable. And honestly, the one overnight feed felt like cozy quality time. But it also really started to feel more like a habit than a need.

• 6 months: So, on Gabriel’s 6 month birthday, I stopped feeding him overnight altogether. In the week leading up to this, I limited the 3am feed to 10 minutes, then 8, then 6, hoping he would drop it himself. Nope. We did 2 minutes the last night. And then… none. His 6 month birthday was on a Monday. He cried for a bit, I don’t remember. 30-60 minutes? Same thing Tuesday night. Wednesday night, I woke up with a stomach bug and feeling terrible. After throwing up, I decided to go check on Gabriel at 2:30am. He was fast asleep…. laying in his own vomit. So I got him up and changed his sheets and fed him, obviously. Thursday night and Friday night were miracles. No wake ups, no crying, no peeps. Then Saturday night. It was the worst. He cried for 2-3 hours, maybe more. I even went in and rocked him for 20 minutes at one point. It was awful. I realized the next morning that he had a piece of hair wrapped tightly around a finger, which may have been the issue. :(.

• And since then…. mostly sleeping through the night with no wakeups. Around the holidays (7 months), we had family staying with us and the whole household was up later than usual, which disrupted things. I did feed him 2 nights in a row after bedtime because I was awake, and he’d woken up from people bustling around, and I think I was also worried he hadn’t been eating enough. Anyway, that resulted in two more nights of crying after everyone left, and then things went back to normal. 

• Now (almost 10 months): Gabriel is still on two naps that range typically from 45 minutes to 1:15 at home, and shorter at daycare. His overnight sleep is more like 10.5 or 11 hours, so that often means early wake ups if he goes to bed at 7, but we are trying to move bedtime later instead (which has sort of been helped by DST and two trips out west). He surprised me with 11.5 hours (7:15p to 6:45a) a few nights ago, but that’s not the norm lately. But in any case, we are all mostly well rested, confident that we will get a good nights sleep, and no longer desperate. 

Hallelujah. 

She Borrows and Buys – More Pregnancy Stuff

Quick life update: My son, Gabriel, is now 23 days old! He was born on May 26th. And we moved! We closed on May 1st and moved on May 5th. Very exciting stuff. I was SO STRESSED OUT from late April through mid-May, but finally started to feel ready for baby toward the middle of May… just in time :-).

Now onto the purpose of this post, which is to add to the list of all the items I bought or borrowed or used in the second half of my pregnancy (and beyond), as a part 2 to the post I wrote about the first half of pregnancy. In case, you know, you find it useful.

Workout bottoms:

  • Gap Maternity GapFit Blackout Technology full panel capris:  I finally broke down in the third trimester and got another pair of capris. I think I had a coupon, and I could no longer wear the Lululemon leggings from the previous post. It seemed silly for fewer than 3 months, but ended up being really useful. And I’ve been able to wear these postpartum as well.

Workout tops:

I didn’t need to buy anymore of these. I continued to wear the Athleta speed light tank, Sweaty Betty Athlete tank, and GapFit Breath short sleeve crew I wrote about in my last post.

Sports Bras:

I didn’t end up buying any more sports bras. I wore the 36DD Juno bra exclusively for the remainder of my pregnancy. Every time I worked out. It got washed a lot.

Casual bottoms:

I ended up wearing the GapMaternity full panel jeans I spoke about in my last post a lot more toward the end of my pregnancy, so I’m super glad I bought them. I also wore:

  • Indigo Blue capri jeans: Size small. My friend gave these to me to borrow early on in my pregnancy. I didn’t end up wearing them until third trimester, when the weather started to get warm. I wore them a lot at the end. I’ve also worn them once postpartum so far. I can’t find them online, but I believe they were from Motherhood Maternity.

Work Bottoms:

I didn’t buy any other work bottoms. The black LOFT pants I wrote about in my last post ended up splitting at a seam in my third trimester, but I only had a couple days of work in the office left before I started teleworking exclusively, so I sewed them up poorly and wore them a couple more times.

Tops:

  • Motherhood Maternity tank tops: Size small. My friend gave me two of these to borrow. They became the shirts I exclusively wore once the weather turned warm. One is orange/pink with white stripes and the other is navy with white stripes. My wardrobe continued to be very minimal and boring.
  • Pinkydot 3/4 sleeve shirt: size medium. I left my wine-colored shirt from H&M in Telluride, so I replaced it with this.

Undergarments and Pajamas:

  • Bravado! Designs nursing bras: Around week 26, on my travel home from Telluride, I decided that I could no longer wear a bra with underwire. My belly had gotten too large, and the underwire dug in and was super uncomfortable. I bought two of these bras (size large), one in beige, one in black, and they are what I wore exclusively for the remainder of my pregnancy and now in the postpartum period.
  • Maternity Sleep Shorts from Motherhood Maternity: Love these still. I slept in them every single night, and still do most nights.
  • Clip down nursing camis from Motherhood Maternity: Size medium. I almost didn’t keep these because the shelf bra wasn’t remotely supportive enough, but the return would have been more of a cost/hassle, so I decided to keep them. I do wear them sometimes.
  • Jessica Simpson clip down nursing cami: size medium. These were more supportive, and I liked to sleep in them. My boobs are bigger postpartum, so they’re not working great anymore, but I do sleep in them sometimes.
  • Clip down nursing nightgown: Size medium. I bought this to take to the hospital with me. I did try to wear it on my third day in the hospital, but felt like it was a little tight in the rib cage and have not worn it since. Sigh. I mostly wore the hospital gowns.
  • Pull down nursing nightgown: Size medium. Same. Bought it to take to the hospital, but I mostly wore the hospital gowns. I wore it once in the hospital, but not since. I’m more likely to wear this again though.

I think that’s all! I bought some more stuff to take to the hospital in my hospital bag. 10 pairs of boring XL white underwear, non-skid socks. I mostly didn’t need anything I brought. I’ve used the white underwear since coming home from the hospital, but didn’t need it in the hospital. And the hospital had non-skid socks for me.

I’ll write another post about what I’ve bought/used in this immediate postpartum period.

 

 

 

Halfway There – Pregnancy Purchases (or make-dos)

I’ve spent a fair amount of time perseverating over whether to buy certain products (mostly clothes) while pregnant, and which ones. I thought I’d share what I’ve found it worth my dollars to spend money on so far in my pregnancy (and what I’ve somewhat regretted). I’ll probably do another post like this near/after the end of my pregnancy.

I may also do a post on our baby registry, which required way more research and thought.

Hopefully this is helpful to someone! Jumping right in:

Workout bottoms:

  • Lululemon high-waisted full on luon ankle tight (non-maternity)I bought these around 11 weeks pregnant in a size 8. I’m normally a size 6. (Ankle length fits me full-length.) I figured they would work for the first part of my pregnancy and again after birth. They’ve been great, and they’re still working at 22.5 weeks (and a big bump) without slipping down below the belly too much. (I actually originally purchased these in a 10, since I’d seen a recommendation to go two sizes up, but they seemed too large, so I returned them for the 8.)
  • Lululemon high-waisted full on luon crop (non-maternity): I bought these at the same time as the ones above, in a size 10. I decided to keep these in a size 10, thinking I’d probably still need the room to grow. However, at 11 weeks I had to constantly pull these up during a workout. And the same is true now at 22 weeks. They don’t stay up on my bump as well as the 8s. So I guess I should have just gone one size up after all. Still, I’ve been using these regardless (especially now that I’ve started prenatal yoga that allows for more pulling up than CrossFit does), and I’m glad to have the second pair.
  • Ingrid & Isabel ‘Active’ maternity leggings: Around 19 weeks, I finally broke down and bought a maternity pair of workout pants. I got these in a size small, which is my pre-pregnancy size for most leggings. Hopefully these will last me til the end. They’re super comfortable and good for all kinds of workouts, plus lounging (if they’re not already sweaty from the day’s workout…). If my Lulus stop working, I might need to get another pair.

Workout tops:

  • GapFit Maternity Breath short sleeve crew tee: So far, this is the only dedicated maternity workout top I’ve purchased. I got a medium, as I’m often between a small and medium in shirts (pre-pregnancy). A small probably would have worked fine so far, but the medium is fine too and I’m only going to get bigger. I only started wearing this around 18 weeks or so because it really accentuates the belly. But hey – I really have one now.
  • Other than that, I’ve just used longer Ts that I already had on hand for a while, though I think that is coming to an end. I’ve also been able to wear my Sweaty Betty Athlete tank tops (I had one already and then purchased another recently in a sale, both size M), and I also purchased an Athleta Speedlight tank (size small) when I was in Colorado because I forgot a workout top. It’s still working. I have NOT been wearing my Lululemon racerback tanks since about 11-12 weeks because they would ride up and be super stretched out (the SB and Athleta tops have that grippy stuff around the bottom hem that helps keep them down below the bump).

Sports bras:

This has been the area of biggest frustration for me. Many years ago, I decided that investing in good, supportive sports bras is worth it, even though they are expensive. So, I’ve been annoyed that I’ve had to invest in MULTIPLE, and even some of those aren’t really working anymore. Here’s what I’ve been wearing (only the last three were new purchases):

  • Sweaty Betty Victory padded run bra: I bought this in a 34C (my pre-pregnancy size) JUST before I found out I was pregnant (at about 4 weeks). I was able to wear it through… maybe 8-10 weeks? #frustrating
  • Lululemon Enlite bra: I had this pre-pregnancy in a 34C. I was able to wear this until maybe 16 or 17 weeks.
  • Moving Comfort Juno bra: I had this pre-pregnancy in 34C. I was also able to wear this until maybe 16 or 17 weeks.
  • Sweaty Betty Victory padded run bra: When the two bras above started getting tight AND SB was having a holiday sale, I bought this again in a 36D. I bought this at 16.5 weeks, probably started wearing it at 17 weeks… and now at 22 weeks, it’s already too tight. Gaaaaaah. This one is the most frustrating. It was only $32 on sale, but still. 5 weeks of use?! Maybe it’ll be useful post-pregnancy. I don’t know. #veryfrustrating
  • Moving Comfort Juno bra: This bra is a recurring theme. I love it. I also had this one pre-pregnancy in a 36D, saved from several years ago before I’d lost some weight and when I had bigger breasts. Hallelujah! I’m still able to wear this at 22.5 weeks, but it’s getting tight.
  • Juno bra by Brooks: I just purchased this in a 36DD and wore it for the first time this morning (22.5 weeks). This version is slightly different than the Moving Comfort ones I already had, even though I know Moving Comfort is by Brooks. I think this one still has a little room to grow… (thank god).

So let’s take stock of my current sports bra situation. As of today, I can wear the 36DD Juno, the 36D Juno (but it’s tight)… and the 36D Sweaty Betty Victory if I can handle being fairly uncomfortable. The last two aren’t going to last much longer at this rate. SIGH. I think it’s so important to have a good fitting high-impact sports bra, but this is EXPENSIVE.

Casual bottoms:

  • J. Crew signature leggings (non-maternity): I bought these very shortly after I found out I was pregnant, knowing that I would want something that was stretchy as my body started to grow but before I really had a bump. I tried a small and medium. Normally I would have kept the small, but since I was purchasing them to have room to grow, I kept the medium. I haven’t tried these on in a week or two, but so far they’re still working, though they don’t really have much to keep the waist band up on the belly instead of below it. I might start wearing them with my belly band (see below). I think they’ll work for a while. I’ve thought of getting maternity leggings, but I’d prefer to make do with what I have while I can.
  • JUSTBLACK Maternity skinny jean in dark grey from Stitch Fix: When I was about 8 weeks pregnant and realized I needed some maternity clothes but didn’t know where to start, I decided to start with a Stitch Fix box. I ended up keeping all five items in it (a questionable decision, as you’ll see). I got these in a size 28, which I thought was too big, but now is probably about right. I’m usually a 27 or 28. I still wear these with my belly band (see below) to hold them up, but I think they fit right in the hips/thighs. Hopefully these will work all the way through! I wear them a lot.
  • GapMaternity full panel best girlfriend jeans: Got these in a size 28. They’re roomy in the hips and thighs. I guess I’m glad I got these to have another jeans option, but I usually just wear these at home on telework days or weekends. If I’m going out of the house, I’ll usually wear the grey jeans above. I probably could have foregone this purchase.

Work bottoms:

  • LOFT Maternity skinny ankle pant: I got these in a 6 petite, which is usually my pre-pregnancy size. I started wearing these around 12 weeks, and they’re still working great.

Tops:

I was able to wear my pre-pregnancy tops for maybe the first 12 weeks. Since then, it’s been more limited to certain sweaters (generally longer ones) and some button-down shirts. Most of those are starting to become inappropriate, so I’m down to a few maternity tops. Purchases include:

  • Bowie 3/4 Sleeve Dolman Knit Top from Stitch Fix (non-maternity): This was in that one StitchFix box I got (size small). I think I’ve worn it twice. It is roomy and flowy and was advertised as being good for the in-between period, and it seemed it would be. But I just don’t love it, and the in-between period really only lasted a few weeks. While it’s roomy and flowy, it’s not super long, so (I just tried it on again) it doesn’t completely cover the pants belly panel, especially if I raise my arms. But I should wear this one or two more times before it really becomes impossible. And maybe it’ll be useful post-pregnancy for a bit.
  • Chiana Graphic Open Drape Cardigan (non-maternity): Also in that StitchFix box, size S. I’ve never loved the super-long cardigan look, but I actually LOVE this and wear it all the time. It was great for the in-between time and now the early bump time. I imagine it will take me through to the end and beyond.
  • Loveappella Charlote Ruched side maternity knit top from Stitch Fix: Also in StitchFix box, size S. Since this is clearly a maternity shirt, I didn’t start wearing it until 17-18 weeks. But I love it.
  • H&M MAMA Jersey top (maternity): size medium. In addition to the Loveappella top above, this is one of three maternity tops I own right now. Essential. If you’ve seen me in the past four weeks, I was probably wearing this or the Loveappella top, the chiana cardigan, and my grey maternity jeans.
  • Old Navy maternity classic white popover shirt: Size small. This is bordering on the tent-like-maternity-shirt-necessary-in-the-third-trimester, but given my shortage of shirts, I wore this for the first time to work yesterday. Roomy, so far.

Dresses:

  • Renee C Lior Maternity Cross Front Aline Dress from Stitch Fix: Size M. This was the last item in that StitchFix box. With the 25% discount they give you if you buy all five items, sometimes it doesn’t make sense to return an item. I haven’t worn this yet, but I’m just now probably getting to wear I’m pregnant enough for it to make sense. The print is a little louder than I’d normally choose, but I decided I liked it enough to keep it (especially when the marginal cost is free). It could be nice for a shower dress or for work.
  • GapMaternity 3/4 sleeve wrap dress: Size S. This dress, along with the LOFT pants and couple shirts above, rounds out my work wardrobe for the most part. (Plus Le Tote, see below.) This one should work all the way through, and I don’t think I’ll need to buy more work clothes, though maybe another shirt or two. I only go into the office 3x/week, and one of those (Fridays) I can typically wear jeans. So my LOFT pants one day, my dress another, and my jeans the last. That’ll do for about 6 months, right?
  • Kimi & Kai Lace Maternity Skater Dress: After a) realizing that it costs at minimum about $45 to rent a dress and b) that I have three weddings to go to in the next four months, I decided it would be worth it to spend $90 on a maternity dress that I can (hopefully) wear to all three and that I can guarantee I like (which isn’t always true of rentals). I ordered no less than 8 dresses from Nordstrom to try on, including this one in teal and a medium as well as in black and a small. I kept the small, black one. I’ll wear it to a wedding next month in Houston and hopefully to another in April and a final in mid-May. There’s definitely room for belly growth, some room for boob growth, and generally otherwise forgiving. Fingers crossed.

Hosiery and Undergarments:

  • H&M MAMA tights 100-denier: The denier indicates opacity. These are pretty opaque. Size medium. I needed tights to wear with my dress.
  • H&M MAMA tights 30-denier: Size medium. Again, just generally need tights in the winter. I’ll wear these to those weddings (but don’t want to wear them every day, because they’re pretty thin and therefore colder and more likely to snag).
  • Belevation Maternity Support Belly BandSize medium. Belly bands are advertised as being for women who want to keep wearing their pre-pregnancy pants so that they can wear them unbuttoned and this will keep them up. Well, I only wear this with maternity pants. I’m not sure why, but the panel in maternity pants isn’t enough to hold the pants up… they start to slip down and pull my underwear with them. It’s very uncomfortable. It’s probably for a similar reason that I ALWAYS have to wear a belt with regular jeans. I think I’m just shaped funny (and have proportionally larger thighs than waist, although now I don’t have a waist, so who knows). Anyway, whatever the reason, this has vastly improved the maternity-pant-wearing experience. I’ve also worn it once on a long run with my Lulu Wunder Unders, and I’m going to start wearing it with my non-maternity J. Crew leggings.
  • ThirdLove Classic T-Shirt Bra: Size 36D. This (and by ‘this,’ I mean a bigger bra) became a desire around 10-11 weeks and a must around 11-12. It was a little too big when I got it, but now (22.5 weeks) fits quite well and is starting to approach maybe too small. This is the only real bra I have that fits. I wear it a lot. Like, most days if not every day. I’m getting close to buying a new one, but I would like my next purchase to be a nursing bra, so I want to get closer to estimating what my final bra size is going to be. Like sports bras, I believe in investing in good quality regular bras, but unlike sports bras, I’m comfortable not washing this after every single use. Also, I have two Patagonia Barely Bras that I had pre-pregnancy (size M) that I wear when I’m at home (which is 2x/work week and on the weekends). I wouldn’t wear these out of the house at this point, though.

Other Clothing ‘Purchases’:

Not wanting to buy a lot more clothes but knowing I’d want some more variety over the last five months of pregnancy, I decided to try LeTote’s subscription service. They have a maternity option. I selected the one where you pay a flat fee per month and get three clothing items and two accessories per box. Why pregnancy necessitates new accessories, I still can’t explain. You can wear the items as many times as you like and then return them, at which point LeTote will send you another box. Boxes are unlimited and you get to select the items you’re going to get in your box. In my first box, I only wore one clothing item (a size M Seraphine black pencil skirt) and the two accessories. The other two clothing items (a VERY low-cut dress – why are so many maternity dresses V-neck??? – and a tent-like maternity top) were no good. I just got my second box last night, and I will wear the shirt for sure, the sweater most likely, the accessories definitely, and not the dress. So. I cancelled the subscription. I’ve only paid for one month and got several days’ outfits out of it (while avoiding making unnecessary purchases), so I’m okay with having made this purchase, but also think it’s right that I cancelled.

Other purchases:

  • Honest Organic Belly BalmI started using this around 20 weeks. I haven’t noticed any new stretch marks so far and there’s no real evidence that using something like this prevents them, but why the hell not try? It supposedly also helps prevent itchy skin which commonly occurs as the belly skin stretches. So far so good.
  • Thorne D3/K2 dropsMy early pregnancy bloodwork indicated that I’m ‘deficient’ in Vitamin D. I’ve paid enough attention to people like Chris Masterjohn and Chris Kresser to know that that statement is more complicated than people suggest, so I put off doing anything about it for a while. I did try to make a more concerted effort to get sunshine during the day, but then temps were in the single digits for a few weeks and work was super busy and that just didn’t happen. So I decided it wouldn’t hurt to try these. I use 2-4 drops (which is only 1,000-2,000 IU of Vitamin D3) per day.
  • PaleoValley GrassFed Organ Complex: Because I’m not even pretending to try to eat organ meats right now. And, assuming this is as potent and real-food-like as it claims it is, this is so much easier.
  • Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver OilBecause I haven’t been making salmon a priority, and I want baby to have all the DHA he needs to grow a fully functional brain and nervous system and I trust Liz Wolfe.

Those supplements, along with the prenatal vitamin and probiotic I was taking well before I got pregnant, make me feel like I’ve turned away from my real-food roots and am succumbing to the supplement hoo ha. Maybe I am. But just for pregnancy. I expect to go back to assuming my diet fulfills all my needs as soon as I’ve given birth. Or as soon as I’m done breast feeding. You know. Eventually.

Assessment:

So there you have it. Those are all the things I’ve spent hard-earned money on (or in some cases already had) as a result of being pregnant. Not a short list. That’s depressing. But I really feel like most of it has been worth it, with the possible exceptions of the second Sweaty Betty sports bra, the Bowie knit top from Stitch Fix, and maybe the Gap jeans and Stitch Fix dress.

I also have my eye on this cozy sweatshirt. I’ll probably break down and buy it. But unlike the other items I’ve bought, which I intended to buy as living essentials (to work out, go to work, have clothes that fit, etc.), this one would be pure luxury. I want it just because I want it. We’re going to Telluride for almost a week in February, and I want this to go with me. We’ll see.