Registering for Baby Shower

For my friends who are having their first babies.  This list originated from what I wrote for a friend of mine.  I am now trying to tailor it to help out another friend, who suggested it would be easier to have it written out in a blog post.  What is written here is just some of my recommendations.  Really, anything beyond the one outfit and one carseat the hospital requires you to have to take baby home with is, in my mind, optional.  These items are just to make your life easier.
On picking who to register with:
  • Easy returns?  Is my first question about Amazon, as I heard they can be annoying, and you’ll probably be exchanging a lot of stuff as you find out what you do and don’t need.
  • Easy access to an actual store? Again, for easy returns, quick pick ups of what you want that moment, and sometimes coupons and deals are only good in-store, so it’s good to have at least one registry at a place you can go on-line or in-store to.
  • Plenty of options?  While I got a great deal on my stroller and some other stuff at, they don’t have everything you need or a variety of it like Babies R Us and Amazon have.
Bathing and Skin Care
  • Mustela lotion, shampoo, etc: This product was great at getting rid of cradle cap, and the no rinse cleansing fluid was very handy.  Also known to be helpful for baby acne and babies who have allergies to many products.  When reading through all the many many reviews on these products before I used them, the only reason people don’t like these products is the differing opinions on how strong the smell is, which I think smells nice.
  • Cloth wipes: Cloth wipes are good to have even if you mainly use disposable wipes.  Sometimes disposable wipes just smear an infant wet poo around, whereas cloth wipes will actually pick up the slime and get it off the baby.  They also save a butt load (pun!) of money, cause you just wash them and use them again.  Seriously.  I think I saved a couple hundred dollars over the past year from not having to buy more disposable wipes.  Grovia wipes are my favorite cloth wipes (which I use at home instead of disposable wipes.  I kept the squeeze bottle they gave at the hospital and it works great to quickly get water onto the wipe and clean up baby.) or to use as a regular washcloth for bathtime.
  • Disposable wipes: Buy the bulk packages to save money. Often the bulk packs will come with the plastic tubs and/ or travel containers for the wipes, so don’t go out and by the wipes that come in the tubs.   I have also heard the recommendation to buy/register for several different kinds of wipes, since sometimes babies’ sensitive skin will react to one brand/line of wipes and not another.  We did not have this issue, so we just bought bulk.
  • “Flushable” wipes: Please note, while many wipes call themselves “flushable,” they are not sewer friendly.  They may go down the pipe, but will clog up the sewer system and cost your city a lot of money.
  • Clothes detergent: Unscented.  We prefer Charlie’s Soap.  It works for cloth diapers as well as any clothing, no allergy problems.  My neighbor is always impressed with the fresh cleanliness of our clothes (that we lend to her.  In a bag.)
  • Baby bath tub: You have one, hand me downs are awesome cause the kid will only use it the first so many months of his life.  As soon as baby can sit up independently, the sink or the bathtub work just fine.
If you are interested in doing cloth diapers (saves lots of money! and our environment too), I can help you with that, and Kelly’s is nice to use cause you can get free diapers with your order.
Babies R’ Us has a useful list of other baby health care items you may need. Baby tylenol and allergy medicine are also good to have on hand, saves you a panicked trip to the store in the middle of the night.  Of course, only administer if your pediatrician says too.
  • Crib: Get one.  We have Graco Lauren, in case you wanted to know.
  • Mesh crib liner: Honestly, I’ve never even opened the package of mine.  In case you weren’t aware, crib bumpers are illegal to be sold in Maryland, as they are linked to crib suffocation and death.  So if you want protection from crib slats, get the mesh crib liner.
  • Crib mattress:  Just make sure it is firm and fits tight in the crib.  Too soft is a suffocation hazard.  I forget which one we have.
  • Flat flannel protector pad for crib, stays in place cause of fitted bedsheet on top of it.  Easier to replace than a whole fitted mattress pad.
    • So I layer the crib bedding: mattress pad, bedsheet, flannel protector, then another bedsheet on top.  In case baby barfs on the thing, I can just peel off the top layer, and a clean layer is already on the mattress, ready for baby to sleep on.  It’s nice especially at night when you don’t want to deal with things.  Barfing/wetting through everything doesn’t happen that often, but I’m ready when it does!
  • Crib rail protector: Here’s where you can add that cute color to the crib, since now crib bumpers are a no-no.  My sister made mine, just sewed rectangles of fabric together with a plastic liner in between, added some ribbons to tie to the railings, and boom: no teeth marks on the railing.  Which is good, especially since most cribs convert into full beds, and teeth marks wouldn’t look good on a grown up bed.
  • Graco Pack n Play:  We liked the reversible napper changer feature. Pick your favorite color.  Good to use when baby sleeps in your room or for travel.  We ued ours on the first floor so I wouldn’t have to go upstairs for baby’s naps or diaper changes, but you don’t have to worry about that.
  • Halo Sleepsacks: You may want to get 2+ microfleece newborn size ones, as they go up to 12 lbs, and your baby is due in November.  Unless you are predicted to give birth to a 10+ lb baby.  Then skip ahead to size small.  I liked the sleep sacks with the flaps, as it gave the option of swaddling the arms in, or just wrapping them around the tummy for extra snuggly feeling and warmth.  We used sleep sacks until like 2 years old? since Little K rolled around so much, she’d wouldn’t stay under a blanket till then.
  • Aden + Anais Swaddle Blankets: Most popular swaddling blankets, and for good reason.  Nice size, right amount of stretch.  Also a nice weight and breathable for draping over the carseat or stroller when baby wants to sleep.  Or big enough for nursing under.
  • Go ahead and register for an infant carseat and a regular or convertible carseat.  Since baby might/will probably transition out of the infant carseat before their first birthday arrives.  Let the relatives buy it for you!  We like the brand Diono, as it is highly rated and you can fit 3 carseats across the backseat of a car, not all carseats can do that.  Even if you plan on just 2 kids, it’s nice for grandma or whoever to be able to fit in the back seat with them.
    • Make sure you get a carseat that is compatible with your stroller.  So, if you’re bent on a certain stroller, for instance, see which carseat matches up/has the right attachments for it.
  • Seat protector: I’m sure all brands are similar, so it doesn’t really matter which one you get.  But, your kid will someday be eating in the car or potty training and you’ll want one.
  • Car mirror: One kind we bought was too heavy, so the mirror would slide down and we’d lose sight of baby.  With mirrors, just don’t gaze at baby too much, keep your eyes on the road!  It’s nice to know what they are doing, but that cute little one can be very distracting. 🙂
  • Diaper bag: This is really personal preference.  I just use my purse now, that has pockets to hold their water bottles.  I often find diaper bags at TJ Maxx for good prices.  Get something that zips closed, as babies love to empty contents from open bags.
  • We use random hand towels on top of our changing cover, as they are easier to swap out than the fitted sheets when the baby decides to pee when the diaper is off or move creating a mess.  Which, they do often.
  • Did you know your insurance should cover your breastpump?
  • No spill snack cups
  • Placemat for eating out, very helpful
  • Placemat and plate in one! is pretty neat.  Though, at some point, your child WILL figure out how to peel the whole thing up and toss it.
  • Toddler Spoons: Get them now, as baby likes to hold the spoon too, even if you are still feeding him.  So give him his own, and these are a nice size for little hands to grip.
  • Forks: Might as well get those too.
  • Pocket bib for eating out, catches falling food.  Nice wide pocket, as high chairs at restaurants don’t always push in all the way, leaving big gap between table and baby.
  • Pocket bib for eating at home in regular high chair, as the one with the stick out pocket often doesn’t fit well with where the tray on the high chair sits.  Sometimes the velcro in the past is not strong enough, so we add snaps to ours, and I can add snaps to yours too if you wish.  Other brands are just as good, just don’t get bibs with two layers of plastic, as water will get trapped between the layers and mold.  EWWW.
  • Pick plates and bowls of your liking.  I do wish I had considered more of what could be used in the microwave, or was more enviromentally friendly.
  • Sippy cups: I try to avoid straws or ones with lots of parts that could be hard to clean.
  • You may have heard this already, but note that babies can prefer different bottles, and something I didn’t realize was there are different levels of “flow” for the nipples, so you have to size appropriately for the age of the baby.
  • We have the Space Saver High Chair: That Abbie Beyond Wood high chair looks nice, I kinda want one!
  • Boppy nursing pillow: At first, baby will be so small, this may not be enough to lift up baby to a comfortable height to nurse.  But do not despair or get rid of this, as it will work great soon.  This is also my favorite neck pillow, I use it in the car and as my night pillow when we travel.  Have at least two pillow covers for it.
  • Washable nursing pads: I like these, much softer and more comfortable than disposable ones. Overnight ones for when your milk production is still high or wacky in the beginning or for at night, and then regular ones when your milk production has regulated some and your not hosing down the pads or the baby.  Downside is these can slide around in your bra, mainly after baby drinks and you don’t fill the bra so much anymore.
  • Disposable nursing pads: cause you will leak a lot in the beginning.
  • Nipple cream: Did you know breastmilk can also be used on your nipples to sooth them?  And that breastmilk can be used on sunburn?
  • Stroller: The City Mini Stroller is a great pick and that was the stroller most recommended to us.  The only downside is, if you are planning on having another kid and having them somewhat close in age, (like Little K and Little J), then you will have to buy a new stroller that accommodates two kids.    For two kids, we got Phil and Ted Vibe, which is similar to the award winning Phil and Ted Verve.  It is very compact, so it easily goes through clothing racks at stores and other crowded areas.  These strollers are cheaper at Kohls, where you can buy the stroller, then use the Kohls cash you get for it to cover the cost of the “double kit second seat” which makes it into a double stroller.
  • Cup holder for the stroller.  Since the City Mini doesn’t come with a cupholder, this is our favorite, as it easy attaches at any angle around any pole.
  • A cool mist humidifier is a must, especially for when baby catches a cold.  I haven’t found one I loved yet to wholeheartedly recommend.  This one is small but very recommended.  The cute animal Crane ones are popular, but we found ours super hard to clean and would not buy it again.  This is a product you could use your Bed Bath and Beyond gift card and coupons on.
  • Mommy hook
Baby carriers:  People have their preferences, so you’ll get a lot of different opinions on these.  My favorites:
  • Baby K’tan: I found easy to use and just what I wanted in a newborn carrier.  This is how I was able to take care of Little K while carrying around Little J.
  • Boba Air is what I keep in my car now that Little J outgrew the Baby K’tan in case we need it for using on shopping trips, taking big sister to the park, etc. as it is light, easy to use and folds up small.
  • We do have the Ergo Baby carrier, which I also like and is super sturdy.  However, it is too bulky to fit in a diaper bag like the K’tan can, and it got sweaty during the summer months.  It is nicely padded for comfort.  There is a similar carrier out there that comes with foot stirrups/straps, which is very nice for older babies/little kids so their legs are not just dangling.
Little J recommends:
  • Banana toothbrush/teether
  • Mesh feeder: put frozen cube of breastmilk or frozen fruit in it for baby to chew on to relieve teething pains.  You can get one of these at any drug store or supermarket.
  • Some kind of storage for all those bath tub toys.  One with very good drainage.

Things you will probably get easily or too much of without asking:

  • Clothes
  • Blankets
  • Hooded towels
  • Stuffed animals

Wow, that list got long.


Sewing Drawer Dividers

Babies.  While babies enter the world just as is, keeping them dressed, diapered, clean, and fed can mean the use of a lot of stuff.  A LOT of stuff.  We’ve been truly blessed by many friends and family members helping us out with gifts and hand-me to help us do all of the above.  Honestly, if it weren’t for their generosity, our child would probably be wrapped in old towels most days of the week.   Which isn’t such a bad idea as I’ve realized many of their needs can be taken care of that way, but it just wouldn’t be as easy or cute or acceptable as going the usual route.  Anywho, the question is, how to organize all of this:   DSC01095

Into this: DSC01094

I am not that tidy, so a big drawer like this would just end up being a big, thrown together mess.  Believe me, that’s what’s become of my own drawers.  And that would not be useful to me, nor the other loving people who help take care of our baby as they try to find things.  The solution?  Drawer dividers.  There are plastic drawer dividers out there for sale, ready to pop into the drawers.  But they cost more than I wanted to invest in a couple pieces of plastic rectangles.  I had simply used pieces of cardboard as dividers before, but they always fell over and some websites said cardboard was acidic and could damage the clothes.  No bueno.

I had seen on google images someone using fabric storage bins in their drawers to organize.  I have been wanting to make these storage bins for other places in the house, as they are perfectly rectangular (unlike the fabric bins sold at the store which have angled sides, thereby wasting valuable shelf space, in my opinion) and use plastic canvas (found in the needlepoint section of a craft or fabric store) instead of cardboard which is genius, and the instructions are phenomenal.   Thing was, it was a lot of work to make one bin and kind of redundant for a drawer since there is already a solid base and some sides in a drawer.  A Martha Stewart website showed (after really reading through it and peering at the tiny photos and being confused for a bit) using pieces of foam board with fabric glued to them to make dividers.  The non-acidic fabric would protect the clothes from any damage the foam board may cause and linked the pieces together so the divider would stand up.  This seemed like a good idea to me, but gluing sounded tedious.  I’d have to make everything smooth, research what glue to buy, buy glue, and wait for it to dry.  A lot of tucking in fabric ends too, which seemed annoying.

Then I realized I could make basically the same thing, but just by sewing fabric tubes and sliding the plastic sheeting into them.  This seemed easier to me, as it would require just cutting and sewing some straight lines.  I also have tub loads (literally) of fabric from my grandmother, so I found some sturdy material for the job.  Sorry if these instructions are not clear enough.  I find writing them tedious, and this is more for my memory than to be a Pinterest superstar.

I made my game plan.  DSC01068My drawer is 38″ wide x 14 1/8″ deep x 6 1/2″ high.   I decided on the layout I wanted.  I decided that the dividers would stand up better if made into U shapes and if they pressed against each other to hold each other up.  How big each section is and thus how big each divider is is up to your desires and the drawers size, but the height must be slightly shorter than the drawer height or else things will get stuck.  As you can see in the top drawing, I made mine 6″ high (gives me 1/2″ clearance) by two 9″ panels on either side of one 7″ panel.  (I later found it worked better just to make most dividers go 7″ panel, 9″ panel, 7″ panel, but whatever.  Back to the drawing.)

To make my tube, I added up the length of the panels I needed: 9+7+9= 25 and then added an inch to each side for seams on the ends and in between the plastic pieces.  Length= 27″

For the width, my panel is 6″, double that to make the tube, plus 1″ allowance for the seam and wiggle room to get the panel in.  Width= 13″

I cut my fabric to size.  DSC01071Then I folded it lengthwise in half and pinned the long cut side and one of the short sides.  DSC01072I sewed a bit less than 1/2″ from the edge so it’d be easy to slide the plastic in, but still tight enough to look nice.  Turn tube inside out, so rough edges are on the inside.  I cut my plastic canvas (two 6″ x 9″ pieces and one 6″ x 7″ piece).  After sliding the first 6″ x 9″ piece to the end of the tube, I sewed as tight as I could to hold the plastic piece in place. Do again with the 6″ x 7″ piece.  After inserting the second 6″ x 9″ piece, I tucked in the end fabric into the tube, with a little leway, and then sewed across to close it all in. DSC01080DSC01081DSC01085And there’s your divider!  Here’s the drawer with several dividers in it.  DSC01099While I wrote these instructions for using the plastic canvas in it, I found it was cheaper to use foam core board, so that is actually what is in the pictures here.  The only difference with using foam core board is they are much thicker than plastic canvas, so their extra width must be taken into account when measuring and cutting the fabric tube. So tidy!  I planned to add labels to the sections, so visiting family members and other helpers would know what was what, but I still haven’t gotten around to it and have basically given up on doing so.  DSC01100Yay organization!

Mother’s Day: Time for New Life

We’re two days away from Mother’s Day, and I barely have anything done in the yard.  Amongst other projects I have been meaning to document on here.  But! speaking of Mother’s Day,  I have a good excuse for all this: In March, I became a mom!DSC01167Life with her is so sweet!  And yet so different from before.  Her smiles and little noises are so adorable and I love it when she falls asleep on my chest.  I look forward to the joys and wonders of each stage in our new life together.  At the same time, it’s challenging and exhausting, suddenly being thrust into a new schedule of feeding, diaper changing, and rocking her to sleep that repeats every 3 hours.  If someone else is around to help care for her, I may get 2 hours to work on something, but that’s not the norm.  Sometimes I only get 10 minutes!  Getting out of the house is a special challenge, even if it is only into my own yard.

So, back to the state of the garden.  I did get to weed by the mailbox, and am thrilled to see the mystery flowers I had dug out of someone’s yard (thanks Freecycle community!) are now blooming beautifully.  Honestly, I forgot what I had put there, so it was a very pleasant surprise.   DSC01432

As for the rest of my garden areas, there are weeds all over the place. DSC01436 (What ARE these?  Especially the thin ones.  One touch and they spray their little seeds?  all over the place.  I am not pleased.  Though, I realize I am much to blame for their prevalence, as I had left the area bare and open to weed seeds last season.  Hey, I had morning sickness and increasingly lost my ability to bend over.   What’s a girl to do?)

One happy thing is our collards came back on their own!  Yay cold weather crops!  Also found a few green onions I had forgot about still going strong.  So nice to have fresh veggies from the garden again.  DSC01392The collards are bolting and blooming now, which is quite beautiful.    Hopefully I can harvest the seeds and regrow them, as collards have been a very faithful and nutritious plant in our yard.DSC01397 DSC01398 The strawberries are coming in and the oregano is also looking fluffy and full.  Due to our late start with the baby, we bought a variety of tomato and other edible starter plants.  Even though its more costly than starting them from seed, it will be interesting to try the different kinds and see what we like best for what uses.  We also have a bunch of new, free plants to put in that my husband picked up at his company’s annual Earth Day plant swap, along with some flower seedlings I just started last weekend from seeds saved from my and my grandmother’s garden.  That is, if I make sure to keep them labeled properly!  We all know how well I keep track of things.  For now, its just a matter of keeping it all alive until some friends can help us build the raised garden beds I’ve been planning for a long time now.  I love how spring is full of new beginnings and new things to learn, plus welcoming back all the familiar beauties from previous years.