New Stuff & Hand-Me-Downs

In other random, baby news there are some products that have changed in the 3 years since I had M.  I remember that the Aden + Anais muslin swaddlers* were just hitting the scene when she was about 6 months old.  I thought they were overpriced and kind of pointless.  But, during one of my many lunch-time Target runs during this pregnancy I saw that they made a line for Target that cost $29.99.  I hesitated and it paid off because they went on clearance.  I snagged the last set of 4 for $14.99.  And let me tell you they are priceless.  I use them every. single. day.  Especially for a summer baby because they are so lightweight.  Perfect for swaddling (which MAD still loves), but also a great nursing cover, light blanket to ward off overzealous air conditioning, a stroller cover for when he’s sleeping – it still lets the breeze through.  I don’t worry so much about it covering his face because it’s so breathable.  I haven’t used any of the dozens of receiving blankets we have in favor of the Aden + Anais muslins. Honestly – best impulse buy ever!  I would buy the full price set for a baby shower gift in a heartbeat. 

Also, the Sleep Sheep.  I thought they were cute, but (again) pricey and unnecessary.  Fast forward to this week when they put one in his crib at daycare and he fell asleep in minutes with no fussing.  I’ve watched it work its magic myself during several of my visits.  We will be sheep-hunting this weekend, for sure! 

His room has M’s old crib (which belonged to her 2 cousins before her).  It’s (gasp!) a drop side and I have no intention to replace it.  Don’t get me started on how stupid I think the crib recall is. Over 3 million cribs have been recalled for 36 deaths in 3 years, all of which were the result of either a broken part or user error. That’s a .00012% failure rate.  Your baby has a better chance of being struck by lightning then getting caught in a faulty crib.

More babies die every year from suffocation in blankets, bumpers and toys than from defective cribs, yet you don’t see them recalling the cutesy, insanely expensive crib bedding sets.  I had to MacGyver a flat bed sheet to be a crib skirt since I couldn’t find anything that wasn’t part of a set! Why would I want a crib-size quilt or bumpers when you aren’t supposed to put a baby and those things in a crib at the same time?  I just wanted something to cover up the space between the raised bed and the drawer below and the one we had in M’s room doesn’t match the walls in MAD’s room.  Seriously new moms, here is what you need: 2-3 sheets, 2-3 waterproof mattress pads/covers and a crib skirt (aesthetic reasons only).  Maybe down the line you might get this.  I just saved you $200.

Whew! Sorry, I think I just got way too worked up over baby bedding.  Moving on…

All the hand-me-down stuff I got for M (play gym, bouncy seat, portable swing, pack-n-play) is holding up fine. That is except for the Bumbo.  A friend gave me hers when M was a baby.  I loved it, she loved it – for all of about 3 months.  It’s a great invention, just not worth the $35 retail price for such a short time.  So in the spirit of paying it forward, I passed it on to someone with the intention of getting it back, but then we moved and oh well – I’d just get a used on from Craigslist. 

However, I didn’t think to ask if the owner smoked because what kind of asshole smokes around a baby?  Apparently the person I bought it from is just that kind of an asshole.  And foam rubber soaks up odors because it’s a sponge.  So, after Googling and Tweeting for advice, I sealed it up in a plastic bag with a huge dose of vinegar and a jar of baking soda for a week.  Last night, after a week in solitary deodorization confinement I removed it and …. It still stinks.  Guess that’s a wasted $20 and I’ll probably shell out the $35 to get a new one.  At least I know I can get $20 back on Craigslist in a few months. (I’m still a huge advocate of buying used baby gear, though – just stick with resale shops where you can give things the sniff test!) 

So, to any of you newer moms – what’s your “must have” item? What am I missing out on since I avoid Babies R Us at all costs? Veteran moms, what was the most useless/impractical thing you bought for your first?

*I got nothing from Aden+Anais.  I bought my own swaddles and love them so I’m telling you about them.

Second Verse, Not the Same as the First

I know I shouldn’t do this. Heck, I’m the youngest of 3 and I know what it’s like growing up with constant comparisons to older siblings.  But I just can’t help drawing the lines between M’s babyhood and MAD’s.  

  • – M was an awful sleeper.  She was 5 months before she slept a consistent 6 hours at night.  We never dared check on her after putting her down because she would wake up the instant we entered her room. MAD slept his first straight 8 hours at 6 weeks.  By 8 weeks it was consistent.  Nothing wakes the kid up, not even the dog barking at the mailman.  Now at 12 weeks he’s clocking 9-10 hours a night without a wake-up, even when I check on him.  It’s awesome.


  • – At 11 weeks MAD was 15 pounds.  M didn’t reach that weight until 21 weeks!


  • – M never, ever took a bottle.  We tried every kind, every trick, and every method from 3 weeks to 5 months before giving up.  We didn’t want the same problem with MAD so we started him on one bottle of formula a day in the hospital, despite the warnings from the lactation consultant. He did fine going back and forth from me to it and I was confident I would not be tethered to him by a 3-hour leash like I was his sister.   
    That was until about 6 weeks when all of a sudden he started refusing all bottles. Since then we’ve tried pumped breast milk, different formulas, new bottles, and different temperatures.  He wouldn’t take it. You can imagine my stress as I got ready to come back to work.  My job now isn’t nearly as flexible as it was then (although I still have the same amazingly understanding boss). We kept working on it and found that the Playtex Drop-In bottles with rubber nipples (not the exact same ones in silicone – no way!) were the only thing he could be coaxed to accept.  But then he would only take about an ounce and only from me.
    So I prepared to make 2 trips to daycare each day to feed him, although I still sent 2 2-oz. bottles for them to try. Day 1 he wouldn’t take a drop.  Day 2 he drank both bottles with no fuss.  Today I sent 2 4-oz. bottles and am keeping my fingers crossed he is cooperative.  I really need to only go over at lunch, or my productivity in the office is going to be nil.
  • – Speaking of bottles, I know this is probably way TMI but I am astonished at my pumping output this time.  With M, ever hopeful that she would take a bottle, I pumped for 4 months.  The most I ever produced from a 30 minute double pumping session was 4 oz.  You can imagine my heartbreak when I had to pour 45 pouches of breast milk down the drain when we gave up the bottle attempts with her.   
    This time 20 minutes gives me 6-10 oz. easily.  Every single time I stare at the full bottles and marvel.  It was so hard last time, and while it’s still not any more comfortable or glamorous it’s so much more worthwhile to see decent output.  Add to it that he’s, you know, actually drinking it and it makes it much less demanding to sit through those god-awful pumping sessions.
    Now, I know putting this in writing is all going to curse me and he’ll start taking 16 oz a day from a bottle and I won’t be able to keep up!


So far MAD has been a very easy baby.  I think it’s because of the sleep.  Anything is easier when you get 8 hours of sleep!

What about other mothers? Did you find yourself marveling at how different things were from one kid to the next? For the second (or third, or fourth) did you prepare yourself for some “problem” that never happend that time around or take steps to prevent something that happened anyway?

I Can’t Believe I’m Writing About This

So, I live in Cleveland.  And tonight a certain basketball player had a very public break up with my fair city.  And since it’s been the talk of Cleveland for the past 2 months (seriously, yesterday I had lunch with Mark and EVERY. SINGLE. TABLE. in the cafe was talking LBJ), here are my thoughts on the matter.

1 – He was drafted to the then very crappy Cavs 7 years ago.  He did not choose to stay here near his hometown of Akron.  But he really did make the best of his time here.  He has done a lot to bring attention to both Cleveland and Akron.  He played 7 great years of basketball (hello, 2 MVPs!).  The Cavs did everything they could to help bring Cleveland a championship. LeBron did everything he could to bring a championship home (with possible exception being the final playoff game against the Celtics this year). And we still couldn’t close the deal. He’s allowed to move on without being called disloyal.

2 – When drafted at the age of 18 he said lots of things about bringing Cleveland a ring.  That’s all well and good but my god, I hope no one holds me to things I said as an 18 year old!  Think about it – if someone put your feet to the fire over something you said at that age you are bound to be burned.

3 – This will not destroy our city. Cleveland is way more at heart and financially then a single man.  The last I checked the Cavs are still playing next season, one man does not make a team. I’m still a fan and will go to games, just like thousands of others. Heck, the Browns and Indians have sucked for years and people still pay to see them play.

4 – The man is an entertainer, he’s kept us entertained for the last 2 weeks as he made “The Decision”. He’s done his job well & now everyone is shitting on him for giving us something to talk about. We’ve fed his ego for 7 years & now people burn his jersey over him being the diva we asked him to be?  That’s not fair.

5 – Yeah, doing this on national TV was a bad move.  But see my diva comment above. And, like it or not, I think most Clevelanders wear the “beat down sports town” badge with some level of pride.

6 – We now have 3 huge egos on one team… if you are a NBA fan, it will be entertaining to say the least. (I still think the Lakers will beat them and win next year’s championship, too.)

7 – It’s a GAME people, not a “tragedy”. The oil spill is a tragedy. What’s happening to Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is a tragedy. Get some perspective.

8 – All of a sudden, a crybaby who publically begged and pleaded for more money or he was going to leave the Browns (*cough* Josh Cribs *cough*) is being held up as the Cleveland definition of loyalty? Come on, we are better then this.

9 – I’m left wondering where the hate is for Patricia Heaton, Halle Berry, Ben Curtis & Toni Morrison and many more. All stars in their fields. All call Cleveland their hometown. All moved on to where they could make the most of their careers. LBJ is entitled to do the same and still be welcomed home.

10 – We’re still not Detroit!

I have no ill will toward the man.  I wish him well in Miami and hope he continues to do charitable work in NE Ohio.  I hope people still treat him well when he’s home.

Okay, I can go to bed now.

MAD’s Birth Story

He was due on April 14.  I had been dilated to 3-4 cm for about 3 weeks when the due date came and went without a single contraction, not even Braxton Hicks.  My midwife, Cindy, was a bit concerned that my blood pressure was inching up during the last couple of weeks of my pregnancy.  That, coupled with my history of fast labor with M, and she decided to schedule an induction on April 17.  She did try to jump start things by stripping my membranes but with no luck.
I was honestly relieved that we wouldn’t have to make any frantic midnight calls to friends to come watch M had things taken their own course.  Instead, Grandma and Grandpa arrived on Friday night to spend the weekend taking care of her.  We were scheduled to be at the hospital 10:30 AM on Saturday and Cindy told me to eat a big meal before arrival since I couldn’t eat once I got there.  We all went out to the Original Pancake House for breakfast, then took Grandma, Grandpa and M over to her swim lessons.  Then Mark and I went to the hospital.
Once we got settled into the labor room, Cindy tried stripping my membranes again.  We spent the next hour walking laps around the maternity ward, hoping to get something going.  Nothing happened.
Finally, at 12:45 she broke my water.  Nothing happened until I stood up, and then small contractions began almost immediately.  But, they only continued as long as I was moving about the room.  Cindy wanted me to be hooked up to the monitor for 30 minutes so we were stuck in the room.  Finally, she let me go walk the halls again and the contractions continued.  We walked for about 30 minutes until contractions were coming about every 3 minutes and were getting stronger.  As we walked, I had to clutch on to Mark to help me get through them since my knees buckled. When Cindy checked me again an hour after she broke my water, I was up to 7 cm.
At this point Cindy asked that I stay in the room, so I paced around the perimeter while the Cavs game played on the TV.  Contractions were fast, steady and very, very strong.  I really didn’t think I could take much more.  Each time I had one I had to hang on Mark as I rode out the pain.  I asked him to call Cindy to give me something to dull the pain.  I felt like my pelvis was going to split in two.
Before Cindy even arrived, I got the urge to push.  She checked me out and declared me ready which was a good thing because I wasn’t waiting since I could already feel the baby drop down. A flurry of activity happened around me as a small army of people came in the room.  I had given permission for the resident and a nursing student to attend the birth as neither had seen a drug-free birth before.  Including Mark there were 6 people in the room with me.
Contractions were intense and pushing felt great.  Cindy worked me through the whole process and all I remember was gripping the sides of the bed and grunting/shouting through the pain.  The couple of times I opened my eyes the only thing I could see was the TV with the Cavs game.  The pain was much more intense then I remembered and I just wanted it to be over.  I believe I chanted “get him out!” a few times.  A couple of pushes later and Cindy lifted him up and placed MAD on my chest. All 8 lbs.  1 oz. ,  20.5 inches of him.
It was 3:45 PM, only 3 hours after it all started.  I only pushed for about 45 minutes, but that was the most painful and intense 45 minutes of my life.  But in hindsight, I only really remember about 3 pushes and the searing pain that came with them.  I had 2 small stitches and was shaking like crazy the whole time. Mark called my parents and they headed to the hospital with M.  After a little while I ordered dinner as I was starving.
M, Grandma and Grandpa arrived around 5:30 to meet MAD.  M was so excited and couldn’t wait to hold him.  About 2 hours after he was born, he went to the nursery for his bath while I moved to the postpartum recovery room.  Daddy, M and Grandma watched him get your first bath.  After some time under the warmer he joined us in my room.
We spent 2 nights at the hospital.  Mark would go home to put M in bed, then come back until about midnight.  My parents brought M to visit and she took right to him, giving him kisses and wanting to hold him.
We brought MAD home with us on Monday, early afternoon.  I took full advantage of the food delivery/clean-up of the hospital and had lunch before I left.  I knew it would be the last “easy” meal we had for awhile! My parents stayed one more night, and then we were on our own as a family of 4 for a few nights.  M went back to school on Wednesday and got back to her schedule, which gave us a chance to bond with MAD and get some naps in.
Almost 3 months later and we are all doing just fine….