Saturday, October 6, 2012

Mommy/Baby Essentials

I've been meaning to write this for, oh, about a year but keep putting it off.  I've had quite a few friends ask for a list, so I'm forcing myself to do this before I forget about all the items!  Depending on how many things I remember, I may need to do a separate post on Toddler essentials.

Here we go!

Aden + Anais Swaddle Wraps (4 Pk)

These are $34.99 at Target, which I thought was insanely expensive for swaddling blankets, but these are so much more than that!  They were our favorite multi-purpose blankets.  They worked better than any of the other "swaddling" blankets for swaddling; the material is a bit thinner so we didn't have to worry about Logan overheating during the summer but he was still snug and secure.  They work as a light blanket on mornings when it was a bit chilly out (going to church, etc.).  They work great as a burp cloth or breastfeeding cover and you can put it on the floor if you need to change your little one and don't have a changing pad with you.  We used these daily, usually for different purposes.  I will always get a new set of these with each new baby :).

Boppy Nursing Pillow
This can be found at Target (pillow with cover included) for about $35-$39 or you can buy them separately.  The pillow itself usually costs about $29.99 and covers range from about $8-$11, depending on the fabric and print... or you can easily make your own if you'd like to venture down that path :).  Don't let the name fool you... this is much more than a nursing pillow!  Yes, the main job is a nursing pillow.  This is especially useful for women who have had a c-section (like I did).  The pillow fits perfectly around your abdomen so that if you have an incision, it will protect the area and make nursing more comfortable.  The baby lies on the pillow and is in a perfect position to access its breakfast/lunch/dinner... and all the snacks in-between :).  This also works great as a neck pillow (albeit a very huge one) for the times when baby is asleep (not on the pillow, of course).  You can lie down on your side and your shoulder will fit perfectly inside the "C".  Another thing I've used this for is holding a hot dinner plate... we eat most of our dinners on the couch at night (bad, I know) and I put this on my lap to hold my plate.  Hey, don't judge :).

I bought one boppy (with cover) at a consignment sale for $5 and received another set as a shower gift.  I use them both daily and absolutely LOVE them.  Even if you don't plan on nursing your baby, it will be put to good use :).

Graco Pack 'n Play

At Target, the option we got is listed for about $68, but it can vary depending on the pieces you'd like to have added.  We only have the pieces shown in the picture above:  it includes a bassinet (basically the thin "mattress" that sits in the bottom can be suspended on a piece of mesh material about a foot from the top so that the baby is easier to be laid down/picked up when they're tiny) and a detachable toy bar.  This can easily be folded up and moved from room to room or to grandma's house, etc.  We didn't ask for the one with a changing table or anything extra because it's SO easy to just change the baby on the bassinet area.  The toy bar is nice because you can hang other little toys from it (just be careful and make sure it's secure first!).  Logan wasn't really interested in the stars that were hanging down but every baby is different.  You can buy sheets sized specifically to fit the Pack 'N Play "mattress", which are great for when the baby has blowouts or spits up while playing.

As a side note, when your baby is able to sit up on his/her own, REMOVE THE BASSINET!!!  Logan started pulling himself up and launched himself over the edge and fell on his head.  I don't know about Jason but I was terrified and Logan could've easily been hurt more seriously than he was. 

After that point, they can sleep/play with the mattress in the bottom position and it's pretty much a playpen (what they were called when I was growing up) :).  Logan still takes his naps in a Pack 'N Play daily.

Sensory Giraffe
This is one of the toys we attached to the toy bar on the Pack 'N Play or, at times, on the handle of his infant carrier.  It's currently sold at Target for $8.14.  I don't know if it's just because there aren't a lot of toys for newborns, but probably 80% of babies we saw whenever we were out and about had this toy.  I like that it has a lot of colors, textures, and it was safe for Logan to chew on.  The top part is Velcro so it's easy to attach and remove.

Summer Infant Mommies Melodies Bear

This is currently on Target's website for $21.49, which I'm sure is about $13 cheaper than what we bought it for.  Even though this is a bit expensive, it's so worth it!  We used this bear in Logan's bassinet every night when he was a baby - from the day we brought him home until he was about 6 months old.  It plays 3 lullabies, 2 nature sounds (waves and birds chirping), and womb noises with a heartbeat.  This one shuts off automatically after 15 minutes, but I think the one we got is 20 minutes.  Most nights Logan wouldn't stay asleep once he knew he was in the bassinet, unless we had this bear turned on and ready to work its magic.  I honestly think the womb noises were soothing for him, especially since that was all he heard for the 10 months prior to coming into this world.  This was definitely one of the things that helped to save some of my postpartum sanity :).

Little Tummys Gripe Water
Thank the good Lord for this product!  It's an herbal supplement with Ginger and Fennel that helps newborns with hiccups (they get them a lot), upset stomach, colic, etc.  Logan was a great eater but he wouldn't burp!  We would try and try and try to get him to burp after eating but he wouldn't probably 75% of the time, which meant he would have an upset/gassy tummy soon thereafter.  Most nights we would give him some of this so that he would be able to fall asleep (so that we could too).   Otherwise, he would cry from his tummy pain and he hated when I tried giving him a newborn massage to try moving the gas along.  Another product from Little Tummys brand is their Gas Drops.  Target doesn't have them on their website, but I'm pretty sure we found them at Kroger (grocery store) and CVS.  They do pretty much the same thing, but are more for gas and bloating, specifically.  The trick is to put the dropper in their cheek and dispense the "medicine" slowly that way.  This keeps them from spitting it out.  (This tip is a freebie... you're welcome) ;)

Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump with Backpack
This is for sale at Target for $269.99.  I was highly doubtful that anyone would buy this for me through my registry, so I ended up buying it at a consignment sale for $50, woot woot!  Before you say "eew, you bought a USED breast pump?!", let me explain.  The only parts that come in contact with the breast and milk are the flanges, bottles, and parts that connect the two.  I believe my mom washed those parts in bleach and they were sanitized in our dishwasher.  Either that or they were thrown out.  I'm not 100% sure.  In any case, there is a Medela Breast Pump Accessory Set available for $22.49 with all of those pieces so that you can throw out the used parts if you so choose.  Also, Northside Hospital (where Logan was born) gave me a huge set of bottles, flanges, and all the other pieces to take home after I used them to pump while Logan was in the NICU (and I was stuck in bed following my c-section).  If you plan on breastfeeding and, especially, going back to work while breastfeeding, you need to have a good pump!  It can make a huge difference in your supply, soreness/comfort, etc.  I also bought a hand pump and it was awful compared to the electric one.  At the very least, add it to your registry so that if no one buys it for you, you will get a 10% discount if you buy it for yourself... and save up any gift cards to lighten the blow to your bank account.  If you don't buy it new, look at sales for the actual pump - in this picture, it's in the base of the backpack and it's the most expensive part.  If you can find that, you can compile the rest of the set and still save a boatload of money :).

Summer Infant BestView™ Handheld Color Video Monitor

We bought our monitor at Target and got the 10% discount since it was one of our registry items.  However, this specific one isn't on Target's website anymore.  I found it on Amazon for $189.99.  Honestly, I don't remember paying that much for it, but it was one of our bigger items that we saved gift cards for.  With Logan's heart defect, we didn't know what to expect.  Being a concerned pregnant lady, I wanted to be able to see my little guy while he was in bed so that I wouldn't disturb him multiple times every night just to check his breathing.  This has been a great monitor for us.  The only issue we've had is that it sometimes interferes with our wireless signal (Internet), but other than that it does what we need it to do.  I still use this every night because Logan's on the other side of the house from our room and if he starts crying, I can't hear him with the doors closed.  I keep this right next to the bed so if I hear something, I can turn the video on to check on him... and if I turn the video off, I still have audio to hear him.  You can zoom in and back out, it has color video and also has night vision.  This has been great for us, but I don't know if it's an absolute *must* for all parents.  I'm sure most first-time parents will love it, though :).

There you have it... these are my top mommy/baby items.  They got us through the toughest times when I was riding high on postpartum hormones, sleep-deprived, and Logan was adjusting to being in a big new world :).  I hope you find them helpful!  If you read this, please comment with any products you couldn't live without.  I would love to have some new ideas for future Snooks babies :).  I will try to do another post soon with products for toddlers or babies that are more mobile.

(Almost) 17 month Update

So it has been nearly 8 months since my last post and close to 7 months since Logan's double switch surgery.  Things have been very busy and if you follow me on facebook, you probably haven't missed much :).  Logan's last cardiology appointment was at the end of July and he had to wear the Holter monitor (like a portable ekg machine) for 24 hours.  His rhythm was mostly sinus, which is what we have been praying for.  Most kids are required to have a pacemaker following the DS surgery because their rhythm won't adjust itself.  The cardiologist was so happy with his progress that we haven't had to go back since and his next appointment is scheduled for October 26th, yay :). 

Honestly, at this point I rarely even think about Logan's heart.  That might be a bad thing, but he is so healthy and active that no one would ever assume that he's had 2 open heart surgeries.  His doctors have all been amazing, but I truly believe his progress is all because of God.  He is so faithful!

Logan's personality has been coming out more and more.  He's such a fun little boy :).  He is active, playful, courageous, silly, rambunctious, loving, and mischievous.  He has also somehow learned how to be sneaky.  If he thinks he's not supposed to get into something, he'll take it into a corner where he thinks I can't see him.  Little booger :).  He likes to climb, run, play, hug, snuggle, eat, play outside, push buttons in the car, and give kisses.  He is such a joy!  If we had known having kids would be this much fun, we probably would've started trying to have kids sooner... of course, he was a surprise but still :).

I guess the main point of me writing this is to say that Logan is healthy and thriving!  He brings so much life and joy to our home and we are blessed by him daily :).  Please pray that his upcoming appointment goes well!

Thanks to everyone who has been following our journey.  I will be posting more entries soon! :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Special Heart

I'm sorry I've been so quiet on here lately, but it's very hard trying to put the way I feel into words.  It's so hard coming to terms with the fact that Logan will be having a major open heart surgery in just a matter of days.  I don't think anything can prepare you as a parent to deal with something like this.  It's evident that hundreds of prayers are going up for Logan and us because my fear has slowly been replaced with peace.  I'm still a bit anxious (looking forward to with dread... not to be confused with eager :P), but I know that God is with me.

One thing that I've tried to avoid is asking or accusing God... I don't really feel the need to ask "why?" or "why him?" or "why us?"  In the 9 months of having Logan here with us, I think I have figured part of it out myself.  God gave Logan a special heart because he truly has a special heart.  He touches everyone he crosses paths with and brings joy to so many people.  One great example is when we participated in the Directed Donor program through the Red Cross last week.  The surgeon ordered 4 units of red cells and 1 unit of platelets so Jason, Ellen, and I all went in to donate on the same day.  Logan was with us and all of the nurses fell in love with him.  He walked around the waiting area with Ellen and when we left, everyone I saw had a smile on their face.  The last person to donate blood was the office manager from my chiropractor's office.  When I went in for adjustments, she would hold Logan and walk around with him and I think she kinda fell in love with him :).  I just can't get over the fact that she, someone we didn't even know 6 months ago, was willing to give blood - life - to my son.  There are no words that I can express to tell her how grateful I am.  God is so amazing and never ceases to surprise me.

The nurses asked me to send in a picture and story to tell why we gave blood.  They want to put stories up on a wall to encourage other people to donate.  I don't think it would take anything more than one of Logan's smiles to convince someone to give blood :).

I could go on and on about the lives he has touched... people at my work are in prayer for him and have added him to prayer lists all over the country.  Family and friends spanning from Washington state all the way down to Florida and across the ocean in England are praying for him.  He is a precious, loved little boy!  I pray that this surgery will be the last one he'll need and that he will be completely healed.  I know he will have a powerful testimony :).

I'll end this post with a bit of scripture that I absolutely love... I've read it many times before I got pregnant, but now it holds a completely different meaning to me:

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. - Psalm 139: 13-16

Now that I'm all weepy, I'm going to head to bed.  Please keep us and especially Logan in your prayers leading up to his surgery.  He has been coughing today and has a bit of a temperature :(.  I hate to see him not feeling well... and besides that, if he is sick or has a fever when we go in for pre-op, they will have to reschedule his surgery.