Until I find the time to come back and link to things, I’ll trust you to Google if you’re looking for anything I mention. If for some reason you still can’t find it, email me.
Ooh, first: does anyone have a car seat their kid DOESN’T hate with the vengeance of a thousand angry babies? We have a Graco Snugride 35 and the poor kid gets really hot – then really mad, then really loud – every time we take a trip anywhere. ARGH. Do you Chicco people have better results?
On the other hand, the stroller legs (frame, I think it’s really called) are totally freaking fantastic. Even if you don’t get a Graco, get the generic stroller frame (I think made by First Years?).
Yes, we got a bouncy seat and we use it a lot, so if you’re a cheap ass like me and aren’t sure you’ll want one, just be prepared to make a trip to the baby store on your first week home to get one. No shame.
We also have a swing but I’m still iffy on that one, so I’ll write more about it later. If you want a swing from the get-go, though, the Snuggabunny swing by Fisher Price is rather swanky, and the only one I could find that plugged in AND wasn’t architected like a car seat, which we’ve already established my kid hates. In this one he can lay almost flat in a little cushion that seems so comfy we wish they made them for grown-ups.
Angelcare Deluxe baby monitor: meh, thumbs… even? We don’t use the feature where you get an alarm if the baby doesn’t move for x number of minutes because we forget to turn it off when we remove the kid from the crib and then have to run through the house to unplug it because we can’t remember how to shut it off. ARGH. The temp feature is nice, yes, but the one time we actually used the monitor at night I decided we needed something different because you can’t make the screen on the (bright-as-a-street-light) parent unit go dark, so it was shining like a beacon in the night. No bueno. If you want the alarm-if-the-baby-doesn’t-move feature or want a portable night light (ahem), I think you’ll like this. If you like to sleep in a dark room, you won’t.
Breastflow bottles: thumbs down. We liked them because they made Little Bit work harder to get formula and the flow was relatively slow, but out of three bottles, each nipple had a different flow rate. ARGH. We couldn’t figure out why he was inhaling every third swallow until I tested the flow rates and voila! Damn thing was drowning him. (Anyone else think of the Gilbert Grape movie just then?) We stopped using them.
Avent bottles: thumbs up. We have the classic bottles that require three parts to function (collar thing, bottle, and nipple) but they’re easy enough to put together. We use both the 4 and 9 ounce bottles, all with a size 1 slow flow nipple.
Hygeia breast pump: thumbs up. I rented a Medela Simplisse from the hospital and in the end prefer my Hygeia anyway. Yes, I still pump, but only once or twice a day and mostly because it makes me less likely to lose my shit/ cry AND my uterus tightens up when I do. Whatever I happen to produce gets put in Jav’s next bottle but I’m not pressuring about how much I can manage to pump (though I did just order Fenugreek capsules because I am inconsistent about my dedication like that).
BumGenius newborn AIO cloth diapers: well, we’re not really using them, so that’s probably a thumbs down, but I just realized my husband was using dryer sheets sometimes (after never using them ever before) so that might be why they didn’t absorb. Perhaps we’ll try again now that every trip out of the house doesn’t feel like An Expedition of Great Import. Until now, dealing with a dirty cloth diaper was just one more thing we had to figure out how to handle. Note: the liners are SO necessary in that they allow you to throw away the poop (yes, even watery newborn poop) and just deal with pee. Unfortunately, they tend to bunch even after I started cutting them in half to fit the tiny diapers.
Cloth wipes: BIG thumbs up. Even though we’re not using the cloth diapers, we use the cloth wipes for everything. They work as bibs, spit up shields, butt wipers, face wipers, tear wipers… we use them for everything. And because they’re small, we don’t get all annoyed when another one gets dirty because it doesn’t feel like we’re creating a huge mound of laundry. We are, but it doesn’t feel like it. Oh, best use of a cloth wipe: folded into fourths, we tuck it between my kid’s folded legs while we clean his rear end so that he doesn’t unleash the fountain of urine on us. Newborn urine streams have some pressure, people, and after he peed on both of my in-laws and my husband plus the wall and later, me and the dog and himself, we had to find a solution.
Luv’s brand diapers: thumbs up. Yup, they’re the cheap ones and they smell like diaper paper (not sure how else to explain that), but they can absorb lots o’ liquid, even when The Monster is laying flat on his back. Huggies and Pampers were both a total fail in the flat-on-back position, though the color-changing stripe on the outside of the Swaddlers is pretty nice (yellow for dry, blue for wet).
Aveeno Baby products: thumbs down. Little Bit’s arm and face broke out when I used the sensitive skin lotion on him. Bummer. He’s inherited my husband’s sensitivity to beauty products, apparently.
Burt’s Bees baby products: thumbs up. We use the baby wash for baths (and my mom discovered it’s also a great makeup remover/ face wash) and in our DIY cloth diaper spray, plus the diaper ointment and baby oil. The lotion might have caused the bumps on my kid’s face so we don’t use it, but the other products are a big win.
Enfamil Newborn: we used it and it was fine, but then the fussies kicked in and we switched Jav to Enfamil Gentlease to try to ensure it wasn’t gas causing his crying, and now we’re afraid to switch him back.
Enfamil Gentlease: thumbs up. Though I can’t be sure the formula is the reason the kid doesn’t have big gas problems, I do know he has poops far more regularly than on the regular newborn stuff, so we’re sticking with it for now. Again, might switch back to the newborn stuff so that we can then swtich to the generic Target brand if all goes well, but not now.
Side note on formula management: Miriam suggested making enough formula for a whole day in a pitcher and keeping it in the fridge, then warming it throughout the day (great idea) but what’s been working for us is to do all the formula mixing in the nursery. We keep a water bottle or big 9 ounce bottle full of water in the nursery, then pour it into the bottle and mix right before feeding the kid. If he doesn’t finish the bottle and there’s more than an ounce left, I’ll put that bottle in the fridge then make another one, alternating between the two until one runs out completely. At night we dispense four ounces of water into three bottles and use those for the wake-ups.