Last year I helped with hosting a much less traditional baby shower for my friend, who happens to be a geek like me. If you’re new to the whole baby shower thing, or you’re looking for ideas for your nerdy gal pals, here are a few how-tos for throwing a baby shower with a Wonder Woman theme.
This week there have been a number of reviews for various baby products that we recommend for use. Since we are all moms here at GeekMom, a week would never be enough to cover all of the items that we found most useful in raising our babies. Below you will find 10 additional items that were must-haves for us GeekMoms.
Itzbeen Baby Care Timer – The Itzbeen Baby Care Timer is a multi-use geeky tool for parents who have had their first child or their third. While being sleep deprived and trying to maintain a routine with a new baby, it’s nice to know for sure how long it has been since the diaper was changed. There is no second guessing if you really got 6 straight hours of sleep, and if the mom brain has kicked in it’s nice to have a reminder of which boob gets fed on next. The timer includes programmable alarms for diaper changes, medicine, feeding, and miscellaneous.
GeekMom Sarah says “I wouldn’t do without my Beaba Babycook this time around – it made it so easy to give Toby freshly made food. I could pick up my veggies at the farmstand or from my garden and have fresh purees within twenty minutes. The one time I had to give him jarred food in the airport I was disgusted! So easy to clean up afterwards and made manageable portions instead of buckets of the stuff!”
Swaddling babies is essential to anyone getting sleep in the first few months of a new baby’s life. The nurse in our new parent class told us that you can use any blanket to swaddle; it was all about how you folded the swaddle. Let me tell you, remembering the proper swaddle technique is impossible after a 2 am feeding. The Miracle Blanket and other swaddles like it take the guess work out of the swaddle and make it nearly impossible for little arms to wriggle free. This is a must-have for a restless sleeper.
No matter whether you are breast feeding or bottle feeding, you need to be comfortable while you feed. This means your back needs to be supported and you need to make sure baby is secure on your lap. My Brest Friend is the only pillow that stays securely in place and does not shift or slide like other crescent shaped pillows. I’ve also heard this is the best pillow for nursing after a c-section since it stays in place without having to hug the body too tightly.
You always need to make sure your baby is in a secure place when you aren’t holding them. The Boppy Newborn Lounger gives you a safe and secure place to put your baby down so that you can get that desperately needed cup of coffee. This pillow is designed to hug the baby so that they feel like they are in a nest. Since it is shaped like a bowl the baby’s backside doesn’t slide out of place, you don’t have to worry about coming back and finding out that Timmy has woken from his nap and decided to escape.
My circle of friends has dubbed this machine “baby crack.” I can’t even describe how important white noise is in our household. At one point I had two different Homedics white noise machines that we traveled with. This particular model plays lullabies while projecting images onto a wall so that your baby won’t notice you’ve quietly slipped out of their room while they drift to sleep.
If you are looking for a drying rack worth leaving on your counter for the duration of your child’s bottle years, you should consider the Boon Lawn Countertop Drying Rack. Its flexible blades resemble grass, and are nice because you don’t have to worry about trying to fit all your bottle pieces in their appropriate spots. Everything fits as securely as you want it to, and all of the water drips into a lower reservoir that is very easy to empty and clean. This drying rack is very user friendly not only for the hands, but also very easy on the eyes.
When you are looking for a pacifier for the 20th time in the same night while your baby is wailing, you will realize why the maker of the Paci Plushie was a genius. I had a model similar to this version for my kids, but on theirs the pacifier was sewn directly to the monkey. This left little ability to clean the paci or use different pacis with age or preference. The Paci Plushie allows you to securely connect a small, light plush animal to a pacifier so that your child can easily grasp their pacifier themselves. This product is also great for car rides where replacing a pacifier isn’t really an option. This was my second son’s lovie for the first 8 months of his life.
When you have a baby with reflux, sleep is elusive. You can pat, rock, sing, and burp your baby to sleep, but the moment you lay them down, they scream. That is where the Fisher-Price Newborn Rock’n’Play Sleeper comes in handy. This sleeper, is light and folds flat so it is perfect for transferring it to different rooms. The baby is cradled in a sling that is set at an incline. This incline is the key to keeping a refluxing baby happy while they sleep. Since this is such an easy bed for babies, it makes for an inexpensive bassinet option for parents with very little floor space. Its built-in rockers make it easy to settle a fussy baby without even leaving your bed.
With my first baby I used a Moby wrap which I loved. It was easy to wrap and my son fit right in and the fabric was very comfortable, that was until he was 4 months old and simply became too heavy for the fabric to hold securely. When I had my second child I was determined to have a carrier that I could use comfortably no matter when I needed it. The Ergo came highly recommended and I was not disappointed. I first used my ergo with the infant insert when my son was only a week old. The Ergo gave me the freedom to chase after my active toddler and still have my infant safe and secure on my chest. As you can see in the picture above, he lived in that carrier for many adventures during his first few months of life. One other tip I learned, use your Ergo to hold your infant while you grocery shop. Your toddler can stay safely in the cart and your hands remain free to grab items from the shelves.
Is there a particular product that you fell in love with as a new parent?
Tell us below and tell us why it is a must have or join us on Facebook for a discussion!
One of the traditions that enter your home when you have a baby is that of lullabies. Whether you’re singing them yourself or you have some form of electronic gadget blaring out tinny, beepy versions of “Rock-a-Bye Baby”, chances are that by the time you’re hitting the 12 week mark, you’re getting a little sick of “Twinkle Twinkle…” and its ilk. Here then are some suggestions for geekier songs you could sing to get tired wee ones off to the land of nod.
Soft Kitty (from The Big Bang Theory)
Could I possibly have made this list without Soft Kitty? Well yes, possibly, but I’m sure I’d be lynched soon afterward. Soft Kitty has ingrained itself firmly in the geek psyche and I’m sure many of us have sung it to our kids, I know I have. So popular is the song that there is now an official range of products including t-shirts, a cushion and a singing plush kitty. And as if that isn’t enough, there’s now a video of Wil Wheaton singing it to his sick wife. Tick, Tock, Goes the Clock (from Doctor Who)
This creepy little lullaby was heard constantly throughout Doctor Who’s sixth season with different verses appearing in different episodes. When the show was airing over summer I often found myself singing this one to my son as I dressed him and the abundance of verses means that you’ll generally be able to recall a few of them even at three in the morning. Rue’s Lullaby (from The Hunger Games)
It’s difficult to discuss this beautiful lullaby without giving away spoilers for the upcoming Hunger Games film, needless to say that anyone who has read the books will understand its significance. At this point there is no official tune to sing the words to so you will have to make up your own, or you can have a listen to the beautiful version above being sung by Kimmy from mockingjay.net to the tune of “Kiss the Rain” by Yiruma. Joy to The World (from The X-Files)
This is the only lullaby on the list that actually existed as a real world lullaby before its inclusion in a geeky show. “Joy to The World” first appeared in The X-Files in season five where Scully sang it to an injured Mulder to prove she was awake when they were trapped overnight in a forest. It was brought back as an in-joke for fans when Scully sang it to her son in season nine and it was my go-to song when my son was a tiny baby. The Greatest Adventure (from The Hobbit)
Remember that amazing geek film released in 1977? No, not that one, I meant the animated Hobbit. No? Well no, neither do I as it happens but some kind soul on YouTube has been uploading music from the soundtrack and this one makes a beautiful lullaby. The 2012 Hobbit film has also given us its first song in the trailer – “Misty Mountains (Cold)” which would also make an interesting (if slightly dirge-y) lullaby. Tim Minchin – Lullaby
This one isn’t exactly safe for work (or safe for your little one’s ears for that matter) however it is in a word, accurate. I don’t think there is a parent out there who hasn’t felt exactly how this song describes when trying to sooth a screaming baby to sleep whilst simultaneously trying not to collapse from exhaustion themselves. Take it with a good pinch of salt and if your baby is still screaming, maybe give “Oh bla di, oh bla da” a try!
I didn’t expect anything other than a healthy full term baby. I thought I’d have huge babies, just as my mother did, and I’d have to argue with the hospital staff about not trying to push pain medication on me as I labored for the twentieth straight hour. Ha!
As it turns out, my membranes ruptured early with both my children. I just don’t make quality amniotic sacs, and nobody really knows why. What I do know is that hospital bed rest sucks. I had a week or more of it with both my kids, back in the bad old days when Wi-Fi and cell phones were eyed with suspicion and banned completely from hospitals. At our second go-round in the NICU, they had relaxed considerably, but the hospital still didn’t have Wi-Fi access. Or more than five channels on the TV.
Hospital bed rest is a mind-numbing purgatory. My days were spent trying to kill time in a room I couldn’t leave, and my nights were spent trying to sleep in an uncomfortable bed. Or sometimes trying to avoid sleep until daylight out of fear of nightmares. Meals, visitors, and showers were welcome breaks to the routine, but in the end, I was just waiting and incubating. Once my babies were born, it was a lot of excitement for a little bit and then a new kind of waiting routine, this time split between driving home, driving to the hospital, pumping, and waiting for feeding time when I could hold my baby.
Thank goodness most hospitals have eased up on the cell phones and Internet. These days, I’d have Netflix, eBooks, and my social networks to entertain me and keep me connected to friends during the long, long periods of waiting for my baby to get bigger, either on the inside or outside.
A funny thing about preemies. They don’t develop a suck-swallow reflex until somewhere around 34-36 weeks gestational age. My son was an unusually talented 33 weeker and knew how to do it at birth, but my daughter was barely nursing at 36 weeks gestational age, and I was sent home to cope with trying to make a “nipple sandwich” at 3:00 am on two hours sleep with my teeny tiny baby that still hadn’t reached her due date. We did manage to establish a nursing relationship. It wasn’t easy, and were lucky.
One of the best investments I made after my daughter’s birth was a Medela Pump In Style. The lactation consultants at the hospital told me not to skimp on the breast pump, and that was really good advice. I opted for the backpack version, since I knew I might need to travel for work, and I didn’t want something that screamed, “Hey everybody! I’m going to go make some milk now!”
I developed a big love-hate relationship with that thing. My pump helped me establish a nursing relationship and continue it once I’d returned to work. It meant I was connected to my baby, even though I wasn’t the one staying home with her. The backpack worked great for me when I had day trips away from my office, even if a few of them meant pumping in the bathroom – ugh.
At the same time, pumping just sucks (ha ha!). You’re tied to a machine, not a baby, and it’s especially harsh when you’re at home when your baby’s in the hospital. Thank goodness I have an office with a door and understanding co-workers. Thank goodness there was a Buffy marathon on TV when I was on maternity leave. Thank goodness I made enough milk to feed triplets. I ended up donating my extra to a milk bank.
As a new parent, you end up buying things you never end up using before the baby is born and needing things you didn’t anticipate after the birth. I’ve never regretted my investment in that breast pump. I can’t say the same about that Baby Einstein video.
Welcome to Baby Week here on GeekMom! This week we’ll be sharing our best advice, tales from the trenches, must-have baby items, product reviews, and more for you GeekMom-To-Be’s out there.
Before I became a mom myself, I had no idea what it would be like to have a newborn. Luckily, my friends at my baby shower had me covered: They filled out the best tips and advice they had from their own experiences, and put them in a jar for me to peruse when I was in need of some help.
The GeekMoms would like to take this opportunity to share our own advice with you, whether you are going to be a new mom, or might need some handy reminders about the newest member of your family on the way.
Before the Baby is Born
Update your wardrobe. Buy comfortable clothes that are nice enough to wear outside the house without having to change. Get rid of the items that show too much butt or cleavage when you bend over, because you will be spending the next 5 years hunched over while chasing a rugrat. Buy shirts with easy boob access for breastfeeding; stretchy bras and v-neck t-shirts worked well for GeekMom Ariane — things with buttons and snap are a pain to close back up one-handed while holding a baby.
Arrange care for your pets. While they may be near and dear to your heart now, your pets will soon become just one more annoying task standing between you and sleep. Dogs and cats may be too attached to their owners to make good candidates for temporary homes, but pawn off lizards and other small critters to family members and friends who are willing to care for them for a few weeks or months. Ariane wishes she would have done that for the family’s bearded dragon, and he probably does too — he got fed a lot less once baby arrived.
Most baby gear is optional, and some downright unnecessary. Think about the space that you have and fill it accordingly. Don’t stock up too much. For example, Ariane bought tons and tons of disposable breast pads and diaper rash cream before her daughter was born assuming those were necessary items, but turns out her breasts never leaked and her daughter rarely ever had a diaper rash.
However, there are some baby items that are the exception to that rule: you can never have too many onesies for babies. If you’re having a boy, stock up on Vaseline and gauze if you are having him circumcised (who the heck knew!).
Stock up on healthy things to eat that are easy to grab and eat one handed.
Print birth announcement address labels beforehand; when you get the urge to send them, you won’t have to think about it too much.
Don’t take jeans for your journey home from the hospital, even if they are maternity jeans.
Ignore the scorn from other “righteous moms,” be strong in yourself. Even when you’re pregnant and everyone is telling you what to eat, drink, do, buy, and think. Even how to pee.
Your Newborn Arrives!
Let people hold the baby for you. You’ve got plenty of time, and you’ll appreciate the twenty minute nap more than you’ll remember not holding them for twenty minutes!
Sleep, eat, shower, everything else, in that order, whenever the baby doesn’t need you.
Let go of the guilt if you reach for formula, a pacifier, or a disposable diaper.
Going on an outing? Whenever you think you’ve packed enough nappies, wipes, changes of clothes, etc. to last the length of your trip, add around a third more.
Sometimes driving a baby around to get them to sleep works. Learn the drive-thru restaurants in your area so you can get the baby to sleep, go through the drive-thru window and eat in relative peace in the car while the baby sleeps.
Carry a change of clothes for yourself as well as for the baby. They often don’t confine their messes to themselves.
If you have a big baby, get an oversized baby blanket to swaddle the baby. The small ones just won’t do the trick.
Trust your doctor, but not blindly. YOU know your baby best.
Say no to visitors if you don’t feel up to it. They’ll get over it.
These three words can equal an extra hour sleep or more: velcro swaddle blankets.
Trust your own instincts, starting in the hospital when nurses and doctors can give you conflicting information, and continuing on when people yell at you on the street that you’re doing it wrong.
Don’t be too exacting with your spouse about baby-care; the two of you won’t do things precisely the same but the baby survives both methods and needs to bond with both of you and have two competent, confident, hands-on parents.
Nap when the baby naps, or take some time just for yourself. For goodness’ sake, don’t clean or do laundry! It can wait.
Although it is vital to sleep when you get the chance, you may find it is equally important to have some “me” time occasionally. It’s okay to wish for a few minutes alone. Staying UP when you could be sleeping once in a while (not routinely) can help some of us feel like we are still in control of something.
Reading grown-up books, magazines and newspapers, playing video games, watching TV or movies with your baby helps to keep your sanity, which has a trickle-down effect on baby’s health.
Going Back to Work
If you’re going to be pumping for work, don’t buy a cheap pump.
If possible, see if you can get a webcam and make a video call to whoever is caring for your baby. You’ll be constantly thinking of your baby, and you’ll need the reassurance. If you time it just before you take a pump break, you’ll probably make more milk.
Look up safe handling instructions for milk and formula, so you know them before you have to use them.
Get your car seat checked out and installed before your baby is born, so you’re not fumbling with how to use it.
Bring a change of shirt and extra bra to work, just in case.
Sleep when you get home if you’re tired. It’s really okay to take naps at 6pm. Just because you’ve returned to the workaday schedule doesn’t mean you don’t still have a baby waking you up.