Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Baby Registry

Babies need so many things. I love to shop, so at first registering was a welcomed challenge. But even I got overwhelmed with all of the options out there. I could dedicate a post on each section or product for weeks, but instead decided to consolidate and write this book of a post. I hope that moms-to-be find it helpful or if you are shopping for a friend get some ideas. What kind of mommy blogger would I be without adding my unsolicited registry advice?

Where to start? I copied a friend's registry and then began swapping, adding and removing products after researching and determining what was the best fit with my lifestyle. Some items came from lengthy mommy blog investigating, while others were added to my list simply because I saw them on top registry pick lists and I called it a day. While it's only been 10 weeks, I will say that I have put most of my registry to good use and am happy with my choices. 

For background, I live in a two bedroom apartment with limited storage space. That said, it's hard to believe this was my attempt to keep things simple.

I feature the gender neutral version of most products - you can be sure that if it was available in pink or gray that is what I have. Also, if you happen to be into an animal theme you're in luck... I gravitate toward those giraffes and elephants!

Travel

Once we started to plan for a family I began to notice strollers and check out the brands. UPPAbaby everywhere! I opted for the UPPAbaby Cruz because of the compact frame. Many people go with the Vista model because it includes a bassinet and can be converted to a double stroller down the line. I decided I'll get a double stroller when I need it. I also considered the Baby Jogger City Mini ZIP, which is a great more affordable option. It folds up easily and is also compact.

As for the car seat, I went with the UPPAbaby Mesa to make things easily compatible with the stroller. Ted was able to install the base in our car without any issues. I feel inclined to share my research findings for those in the market... the Chicco KeyFit 30 ranks high in safety and is very popular. The nuna PIPA is another favorite and a couple pounds lighter than most. You can add both to the UPPAbaby frames with an adapter.

Even though Alexa hates to be swaddled, I use the muslin blankets to keep her warm, shade her from the sun and as a nursing cover. I always have one with me.

I originally registered for a different type of carrier, but when I saw it in the store it looked big and bulky. I opted for the basic BABYBJÖRN carrier and it has worked out well so far for both me and Ted. I also have a Solly Baby wrap.

For a diaper bag, I use a standard tote bag with the Skip Hop Chevron bags inside. Read more about that here.
  • Stroller
  • Stroller Console
  • Car Seat
  • Mirror
  • Blanket
  • Stroller toys
  • Diaper Bag/Portable Changing Pad
  • Baby Carrier

Sleep
I had originally planned for Alexa to sleep in the Rock 'N Play next to our bed, but when we brought her home from the hospital she was so tiny it didn't feel right to keep her in there at night. We then bought the Graco Travel Lite Crib as a bassinet. I chose this because it was compact for our bedroom and also suitable for road trips. After a few weeks we used the Rock 'N Play. If we weren't planning to travel in the first few months I would have probably gotten the HALO Bassinet. When she is older we will transition to a BABYBJÖRN Travel Crib for getaways.

When you are up in the middle of the night to change diapers, a zip-up onesie is so much easier than cute little snaps to change. Your husband will especially appreciate the zip when he is helping out. I bought several from Carter's and the Carter's Just One You line for Target.

Bath
For the first couple of weeks I used the Angelcare Tub on the kitchen counter next to the sink and now we have placed it in the big tub. I learned about this $7 bath sponge from A. Liz Adventures to place on top of the tub and also use it directly in the sink when we travel (I purchased a spare so it was dry when packing).

The critter towels from Pottery Barn Kids are adorable. You can also get them personalized with name or initials. I love Alexa wrapped up in her bunny towel!

Babies can easily absorb chemicals through their skin, which is why I use Beautycounter's line free of unsafe ingredients. If I had to pick one of my favorite things for Alexa, it would be the Baby Soothing Oil. We use it after baths to keep her skin extra soft and she loves when I apply it. The set makes a great shower gift.
  • Tub
  • Sponges
  • Shampoo/Body Wash
  • Hooded Towels
  • Hair Brush/Comb

I went with the Keekaroo Peanut changing pad over the more popular fabric style because you can just wipe off a mess. I am not crazy about the way it looks, but it gets the job done. I have been placing a towel or liner over it, although it doesn't need it.

For diapers I had a couple packs of newborn and size 1 to start. I didn't stock up since I didn't know what size she would be. As it turns out, she wore the newborn size until 8 weeks.  At this point, I don't have a strong preference on diapers or wipes. I continue to try different brands and I'm sure when the messes get bigger will have stronger opinions.

It's not an option, but a necessity to have this diaper pail. You can use standard trash bags and your nursery won't stink.

I'm partial to Beautycounter's Baby Balm, but my close second choice is the Honest Organic Healing Balm.

Diapering & Care
  • Changing Pad
  • Changing Pad Covers
  • Rash Cream/Ointments
  • Diaper Pail
  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Wipes Dispenser
  • Nail Clippers/File
  • Aspirator
  • Thermometer
Feeding

At first I thought a separate drying rack was unnecessary, but now I can't imagine being without a dedicated space for bottles, pacifiers and breast pump parts. There is a reason why the Boon drying racks are so popular.

My bottle research pointed to the glass Dr. Brown's despite all of the separate parts they include. I use those as well as Philips Avent (I got it in a sample pack and love how cute and little it is). These burp clothes are absolutely nothing special to look at, but are very absorbent. I have a happy spitter on my hands, so keep one in every room and bag.

Since I am nursing, I can't weigh in on how many bottles you would need if you are formula feeding or how much formula to buy. We started giving Alexa a bottle of pumped milk once a day when she was 2 weeks old. Having a few 4 oz. bottles has been enough and eventually I will buy the 8 oz. size when needed. I figure before stocking up I should determine if she or I have a preference.
  • Formula
  • 4 oz. Bottles
  • Bottle Brush
  • Drying Rack
  • Bottle Sterilizer (Microwavable Bags for traveling)
  • Bottle Warmer
  • Bibs
  • Burp Clothes
  • Boppy Pillow/Cover (I bought this pink cover and had it monogrammed)
  • Pacifiers
  • Teethers
Nursing

My insurance company covered my pump. I ordered through yummy mummy and it was very easy. I selected the Medela Pump In Style, which is an electric double pump. I then purchased some accessories separately - cooler set with bottles and battery adapter. (From my quick research, some insurance companies offer the Medela Freestyle with an upgrade fee. Had I known what I do now, I would have gotten this option since it's more compact and easier to transport.)

I added these nursing items on my registry after my shower and purchased myself. I kid you not, as I was working on this post an expecting friend texted me to confirm the gel pads I told her to get and ask about creams. Put them in the fridge for extra relief that first week. As for creams, you will likely be given lanolin at the hospital. Both that and the Lansinoh cream I purchased ahead of time were thick and waxy, I had a hard time getting it off my fingers. My lactation consultant prescribed Mupriocin 2% ointment, which I use the most. Ask for a prescription!
  • Breast Pump
  • Storage Bags
  • Disposable Nursing Pads
  • Nipple Cream
  • Gel Pads
  • Travel Accessories
  • Nursing Bras (I wear this one out and about and this one and this one around the house)
  • Hands free pumping bra (Don't waste your money on the Medela bustier. This is cheap and gets the job done!)
  • Vitamin D drops for baby (pediatrician will recommend) 
Lounge and Play



Alright... this is where you can start to go crazy. I have yet to use everything here since we are only at 10 weeks. Some of these toys were given to me by mom friends because their kids love them. (I had to get the toy smart phone in hot pink... so funny!)

The Boppy Lounger has been by far one of my most used items. I bring it all over the apartment and Alexa loves to snooze in it. When I visit my parents I take it along and wish I had saved the zip-up plastic bag it came in. I also love the nuna LEAF Baby Seat that I received as a gift and included on this earlier post.

One of the notable things that I did not to get was an electric swing or bouncer for newborns like the mamaRoo. Instead, I have sat and bounced her myself on an exercise ball.
  • Seats
  • Activity Mat
  • Toys
  • Bouncer or Swing
Clothing
This is going to be hard to believe, but I actually didn't buy much clothing for Alexa before she was born. I received most clothing as gifts and have purchased since she was born. More on that in another post. 

Nursery
Wow, you've made it this far. I'm running out of steam but of course you need to furnish and decorate your nursery! Alexa's nursery is basically her changing room because she has yet to sleep there. However, that did not stop me from having it complete before her arrival. Here is a list of the essentials.
  • Crib
  • Bedding
  • Mattress Pads
  • Furniture
  • Glider or Rocking Chair
  • Crib Mobile
  • Books
  • Decor
  • Baby Monitor
Other
Finally, here are items I did not register or purchase yet but you may want to include.
  • High Chair
  • Umbrella Stroller
  • Jogging Stroller
  • Additional Car Seats
  • Humidifier
  • Sippy cups/utensils
  • Bath toys and accessories
  • Safety gates
Where to register?
I can be indecisive so I registered where I could easily bring things back to return or exchange. I am a little crazy and save the receipts for everything and most of the packaging until I know it's something that works and I will keep. For example, Alexa was not into wearable swaddles and she impressively broke out of them within five minutes. Thankfully I had kept the gift receipts and packaging for several I received so was able to exchange them for something else. 

Consider where it is easy for family and friends to purchase items and save on shipping. Target offers free shipping over $25 and many people have Amazon Prime. Also, what retailer offers the best price or discount on your "big ticket" items like stroller and furniture?

I used The Bump to sync my three registries to one link for my shower invite.

Buy Buy Baby
Buy Buy Baby offers a 10% registry completion discount that has very few exclusions, unlike their other coupons. They have a wide selection, great exclusives and always have coupons.

Target
Do I even need to explain? Since I am there all the time it made sense to register here. They offer several 15% off completion discounts. After Alexa arrived, I added items to the registry like diapers, wipes and nursing accessories to buy myself and take advantage of the savings. (FYI - They provide a baby registry gift bag that includes a lot of great coupons and samples. I may have stopped by the service desk more than once to claim.)

Pottery Barn Kids
I registered for a few items including towels and decor.

Other popular options:

Moms, I would love for you to add your advice in the comments section to help readers! Where did you register? What am I missing? What are your favorites?


Friday, June 3, 2016

Five on Friday


Yes, I packed Alexa's age blocks for our trip. I couldn't miss the 2 month photo op. Ted was lying down next to her bringing on that little smile. One day she'll love looking at all of the outtakes.


This "warm sand" scented candle from Newport based shore soap co. smells amazing. One of the reasons I need another round of shopping in Chatham this weekend. 

Chambray Shirt: Old Navy.
Alexa's Dress: Target. Bow: Etsy.

This chambray shirt that I wore out to dinner at Pisces has been on repeat. The food was great.


I am obsessed with these Dark Chocolate Nutty Bits from Trader Joe's. I was advised to go dairy free while nursing and these are great for my chocolate fix.  We did try after a couple weeks to reintroduce milk to my diet and it was bad news for Alexa... I might write about some of my other favorite dairy free favorites and alternatives in an upcoming post. Happy there is a Trader Joe's on the Cape!


Mark your calendars for June 21... new emojis! I can't believe it took this long to get a fingers crossed. 


Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Towel Talk


I first used these plush towels while staying at a friends place. Months later I saw them at Target while picking things up for our new apartment. They reminded me of these from Pottery Barn, which I was thinking of ordering with a monogram. Instead, I bought these and had them embroidered myself.

If you're due for a refresh the towels are now 15% when you spend $100 plus another 10% off with code JUNEHOME. (The blue is available in stores.) I've had them for a few months now and they have held up well.

image via @lindsaycunni

I saw that one of my Instagram friends had the same idea. Once I saw hers it motivated me to get mine done. I love the monogram style she used but unfortunately my "monogram lady" didn't have it.


Shout out to my favorite hand duo. The simple sleek packaging goes with any decor.


I saw this tea towel at a shop on the Cape. So true!

Monday, May 30, 2016

MDW 2016 Snapshot

Sunglasses: Ray Ban. Top: Target.
Alexa's Dress: Carter's. Moccasins: Freshly Picked.

Our first family road trip to Cape Cod is currently in progress. Live and learn... it takes much longer than expected to pack up the car now. We left last Thursday evening around Alexa's bedtime and she slept during the four hour ride. Hopefully I don't jinx the ride home next week!



Our friends Mike and Kate came to visit Friday and Saturday. We missed their destination Caribbean wedding last month so I was anxious to finally congratulate them in person and introduce Alexa. Kate and I spent Saturday shopping... I bought the cute Red Sox bow at Minnows & Guppies on Main Street in Chatham. I knew Ted would love seeing it on his little girl... and more so that his Yankees fan wife caved and bought it. We spent Saturday afternoon at Chatham Bars Inn along with a few other friends on the Cape for the weekend. It is one of my favorite places to be in the summer.

Back in Connecticut my outings with Alexa have been just a couple of hours and easy to manage. I will not lie that being out and about all day gave me some anxiety, especially during her fussy times. My heart hurts when I hear her cry! All you mommas out there are probably thinking she has no idea what she has in store for the future, ha ha. Taking it one adventure at a time...



On Sunday we traveled into Boston for a beautiful wedding at the State Room. The view of the city was unbelievable. Ted's mom happily watched Alexa at our hotel during the ceremony and reception. I'm nursing so my booze intake was limited but thoroughly enjoyed. As usual I am regretting that I didn't take more pictures.

Looking forward to being back on the Cape all week. More adventures to come!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Gimme Gingham


I'm a sucker for gingham. When I came across this chair on the Pottery Barn Kids website I had to have it in navy for Alexa. I love how it fits in with our living room decor and is different from her pink and grey nursery. A gingham upholstered chair has been on my wishlist.... I wasn't expecting to get one 2 feet tall but it works. Soon it will be used for more than just a photo prop but it will be fun to see her month to month pictures in it.

Here are a few other things that caught my eye...


Featured on Atlantic-Pacific

I like that this blanket as the straps to make it easily portable. I want it for the Greenwich Polo sidelines. 


Have you ever tried on a printed dress and thought it would be better suited for wallpaper or drapery? Gingham is one of the prints I love for both, ha. I would swap out the gold belt with a brown skinny leather belt.


If I had a solid comforter I would get these gingham sheets for my bedroom. I am dying to go to the Serena and Lily store in Westport. Has anyone reading been?


Scout bags make frequent appearances here. I have several of their bags for storage and travel (the 4 Boys Bag is my favorite) - they are durable and come in the cutest patterns. I hate when I forget my own bags for the grocery store... it's amazing how much more you can carry. I know this one would hold up. Use code BeachBum for 15% off $75+ through 7/5.


My friend introduced me to this NYC based company. She and her husband are always traveling and she was searching for a sturdy and stylish garment bag for him. You can add a monogram on the ches.t