Baby Transportation, Round 2

Came back, did you?  Yesterday I overviewed the intense, stressful, and expensive process of purchasing a stroller for our first child.  Not once. NOT ONCE did it occur to us to consider the likely possibility of us having another kid in the not too distant future.  So when young Miss Vivian was exactly one year and twenty-two days old when we found out we were expecting again, my mind almost immediately turned to MORE THINGS THAT WE NEED!

Viv is still very much a stroller user. While she loves to walk anywhere and everywhere, she is pretty agreeable to rides in the stroller for walks and at the mall.  Since she would be about 21 months (that’s 1 year 3/4 in non-parent speak) when Baby Lafe #2 arrived, we knew we would be looking at a stroller built for two.

Thankfully, the universe for double strollers is much more limited than that for single strollers, so our options were narrowed.
side by side or tandem
First step was to decide which version of the double stroller we wanted.  The Side-by-Side is pretty self-explanatory: Two seats sitting side by side.  Some SxS have attachments for car seats, but most are focused towards what I think of as the twin set: two kids about the same age/weight sitting side by side.  I was a little concerned about weight distribution in the SxS strollers – would one side be harder to steer with a heavy car seat attached? Would it tip over if I let go?  Mind you, I have no real basis for thinking this way (I never took physics), but the thought enough left me dismissing the SxS for now.  The other major downside I saw for SxS was the width.  As I said yesterday, we use the stroller mainly for mall trips and walking on sidewalks.  Our sidewalks are narrow enough, and forget trying to navigate the mall with a stroller that’s twice the size of what you’re used to.  It may be something we’ll consider for the future, but for now, no Side by Side.
The Tandem was the other option, which allows for front and back seating.  The major downside is that the kid in the back doesn’t get a great view of what’s going on.  Not a major issue when the baby is in an attached carseat, but as the kids get older, both will want a view.
Sit and Stand or Convertible

After narrowing it down to a Tandem stroller, we started looking at different versions.  One of the more popular types (from what I can tell) is the Sit and Stand.  The idea is fairly straight forward: one kid is strapped in the front, and the other (older) child has a little ledge seat where they can sit unrestrained (or stand, if they want). Joovy makes a great version which allows you to buy a second detachable seat to limit the “I have an unrestrained toddler on my hands” anxiety.  I have a friend who owned Graco Room to Grow version.  Fair to say that most of the major brands have their own version of the sit n stand.

The other option for us was a convertible double stroller, which tend to run on the pricer side. The idea is that you buy one stroller that can later be converted to a double (or triple) stroller. UM HI THIS IS THE KIND OF STROLLER I IGNORED THE FIRST TIME BECAUSE TOO MUCH FOCUS ON ONE CHILD!   Britax has a nice one called the B-Ready, and ………..
But my heart had been won.  I saw a family in L.L. Bean one night- they had a young toddler around Viv’s age and a brand new baby in a beautiful double stroller. and Low and Behold, it was made by Baby Jogger, the same brand of the Jogger we use and love!  We test drove it at Buy Buy Baby soon after and were sold.

The City Select is a single stroller, with all of these options available.  First is the attachment for the car seat (which we had for our Jogger).  Second is the adaptor to make it into a double stroller.  And Third was a second seat for when both kids are out of car seats.  You can also buy a glider board that attaches to the back for that “Stand” feature for older (or a third) kid!  Yes, it’s pricey.  But we were able to find a set which included the single stroller (mrsp $499.99), the double adapter ($19.99), and the second seat ($169.99), for the price of just the single stroller at Buy Buy Baby!  Viv and I have test driven it at the mall as a single, and when my cousin came to visit a few weeks back, we had success with it as a double seater at the museum!

20140301-210636.jpg

Best part so far: the storage! There was limited storage in the jogger (obviously), and it is great to be able to stuff all of our gear and jackets in the bottom. I imagine it will be tighter with two kids’ gear, but I’ll take what I can get!

Stat tuned to see how we do when baby Lafe arrives next month!!

Baby Transportation, Round 1.

One of the most stressful part of shopping for Viv (when she was just a wee Baby Lafe herself) was choosing a stroller.  Travel System or stand-alone? Snap and Go or Attachment? Jogging Stroller or Not? The Man and I test drove a hundred* strollers, narrowing down features we loved and those we could do without.

Stroller Shopping

*slight exaggeration.

 

The first category we had to narrow was whether to get a travel system or a stand-alone stroller. We decided against a Travel System simply because we already had a infant car seat. Travel Systems, for those of you who don’t know (and I didn’t), are a stroller with corresponding infant car seat.  The car seat snaps quickly and easily into the stroller and also into a base you install in the car. perfect for infants that nap wherever you go.  And since wherever baby goes, the car seat goes, it didn’t make sense to us to get a Travel System with ANOTHER car seat.

Snap N Go or Attachment

 

The next question we had was whether to get a simple snap and go stroller frame that holds only an infant car seat, then upgrade to a larger stroller when baby got bigger.  The other option would be to purchase a larger stroller that includes an attachment to hold the infant car seat.  At first, i was all about the snap and go, but we had limited storage in our house, and wanted to cut down on superfluous baby gear.  So out went the snap and go.*

*I will mention that everyone I know RAVES about the snap and go.  Hands down, if we had more storage in our house, we would have purchased one.

 

Jogging Strollers

Let’s make this very very clear. I am not a runner. I have tried to be in the past and am most successful on the treadmill in my parents’ basement with The Patriot, Gladiator, Braveheart, or episodes of Arrested Development cheering me on.  I have run exactly two 5K races and threw up after both of them. The Man is not a runner either, but is much more fitness inclined than I am.  So when he started eyeing the jogging strollers, I wasn’t totally opposed. He liked the suspension on them and figured it would be great for off-roading and/or our city’s uneven sidewalks.  I was initially concerned that they would seem too big, but found them to be even more maneuverable than some of the traditional strollers.

We narrowed our choices down to a BOB jogger and a Baby Jogger Summit XC.  The Man preferred the feel of the BOB, but I won out in the end.  The Baby Jogger has an easy one-handed pull closure, making it super easy for me to collapse the Baby Jogger with one hand and plop it into our trunk.  Once we knew there was a car seat adapter available for purchase separately, we were sold.

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Moral of the Story? First, you can research online and read recommendations over and over, but you have to choose what is right for you and your lifestyle.  What works for others (travel systems and snap and gos) would not work for us.  We LOVE our baby jogger, and though it’s been used for jogging a few times, it’s served us just as well as a mall-excursion and long walk stroller.

Second, it really doesn’t matter, because if you have a second kid within a few years, you will need to do this process over again!  Tune back tomorrow (or sometime soonish?) for a (much less involved) decision making process for the double stroller!

Pregnancy 1 versus Pregnancy 2

**I started this post before Monday’s scare, and was just waiting to upload the most recent belly pic. Definitely not feeling quite as light hearted, even though everything turned out quite fine**

Now that I’m in my third trimester (!!!!), I’ve taken a look back on how this pregnancy has compared to my pregnancy with Viv.

The first main difference was morning sickness.  I felt just as sick this time around (moderate nausea, occasional vomiting), but it hit me a lot harder.  First, I had a baby to chase around.  But more significantly was that my “morning” sickness with this pregnancy began around 1pm and continued through the night.  With Viv, I woke up feeling awful, but would gradually feel better throughout the day. It was really hard this time to know the day was just going to get worse, especially when I was cooking (or smelling) dinner at night.

By 12 weeks, my morning sickness was mainly gone.  I had a few occasional nauseated feelings, but was getting my appetite back.  And thus began the belly pictures*.

I absolutely started showing earlier this time.  I attribute that to the fact that my uterus had already been stretched to the max, and not at all having to do with the fact that I hadn’t lost all of my “pregnancy” weight from Viv. Surely it had nothing to do with the fact that I wasn’t exercising regularly either….

12 week compare

12 Weeks on Christmas Day 2011 (with no belly whatsoever!) versus 12 Weeks on September 20, 2013

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By 16 Weeks, my stomach started to feel more solid, but I still was popping out more than I had with Viv.

16 week compare

16 Weeks on January 22, 2011 versus 16 Weeks on October 18, 2013.

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By 20 Weeks, I was feeling and looking Pregnant.  People who I hadn’t told were clearly in the “know” now.  We had our mid-term ultrasound, and all looks fine and dandy. We didn’t find out whether we’re expecting a girl or boy (we didn’t find out with Viv either), so there is a whole other level to this belly comparison.

20 Week Compare

19+ Weeks on February 16, 2011 (and dressed up for a work party) versus 20 weeks+ on November 17, 2013.

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I hit the 6 month a few weeks before Christmas.  The belly picture with Viv was the first I shared on social media.  I purposefully wore the same shirt for the 6 month picture with this kiddo.  I don’t see much of a difference in belly size and shape! A little sister for Viv, perhaps? only Time will tell!

2324 Week compare

24 Weeks on March 18, 2012, versus 24 weeks on December 13, 2013.

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28 W compare

28 Weeks on April 15, 2012, versus 28 Weeks, 4 Days on January 14, 2014.

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At this point, the only “medical” difference in this pregnancy has been the baby’s heart rate: Viv’s was consistently high, in the high 160’s or low 170’s.  This baby’s heart rate runs in the 140’s every time.  So to counter the belly-image deduction that there’s a little girl cooking in there, Old Wives tell me that a low heart rate means a little boy!  It’ll be quite the guessing game until April.

* I’ve been doing the same for ultrasound pictures, because why not start the “lets compare the little sibling to its older sister” now!? But since I’m not keen on showing off pictures of my uterus, despite its adorable contents, those won’t be shared online :)

 

 

Evening the Score

Viv’s been quite outnumbered these days. The Man and I feel like we’re constantly telling her no and re-directing her to non-death-trap activities.  Sure falling headfirst down the stairs and wraping ribbons around her neck seem fun, but alas, we just cannot allow it. She loves the dogs, but they sometimes get bored with the similar non-death-trap activities.  Luke and Lacey would much prefer going into “attack-play” mode.  For example:

 

So with two adults telling her no, and two dogs trying ever so hard to bait her into their game of attack (with the two parents telling them all no), Viv figured it was time. 

 

Fotor0913132825 Little Brother or Sister coming in April!

Repacking my Hospital Bag – Part 2

Yesterday you heard about how brilliant I was to come up with THE. PERFECT. HOSPITAL. BAG. for my labor and delivery with “Baby Lafe”.  Everyone’s delivery story is different, but here are my thoughts on what I would leave behind if I were to repack the bag(s).

THE LABOR BAG

labor bag all-- edit(1) Comfy nursing bras.  Oh yes. Ooooh yes. I wore this pretty puppy through my whole labor, delivery, and post-partum visits.  Super soft and comfortable, incredibly easy access for first time breastfeeding, and most importantly, I felt like myself while in labor.  

(2) Amazon Kindle yeah. Didn’t touch it during the labor or in the few days in the hospital.

(3) iPhone charger. Obviously.

(4) Hairties and bobby pins! I didn’t love having my hair in a ponytail or bun. I felt like it kept getting in the way when I would lay my hair back.  But my stretchy headband was perfect! Kept the hair out of my face, and made me look halfway presentable for the first pictures after Viv arrived.

(5) Tube Sock and Tennis ball.  Nope. Leave it, unless it’s your support person’s idea and they will remember to use it.  In my case, it never came out of the bag.

(6) Yummy lotions.  No massages for me! No one was going NEAR my feet.  The only part of me I wanted rubbed was my lower back.

(7) Birth Plan.  Never even consulted it. I was with it enough to remember what I wanted, The Man was totally aware, and we had a great nurse who kept us updated.  It was more helpful for me to articulate what I wanted ahead of time.  That being said, I’ve heard some people have horror stories at less baby-friendly hospitals, so if you’re in one of those areas, by all means, bring the birth plan!

(8) iPhone portable speaker.  It was only after the delivery was over

(9) Comfy, non-skid socks.  I didn’t think it was necessary to have them.  Once I got in the room, I started getting paranoid that my water would break all over them.  Pick either slippers OR socks.

(10) Bathrobe.  LOVED my bathrobe. I put it on before family came to visit and it was super comfy.  My only recommendation would be to buy a LONG bathrobe – When I was moved from L&D to postpartum (in a wheelchair), the nurse had to grab a towel to put over my legs—it’s not like I was crossing my legs for modesty!

(11) Binsi Skirt.  Yes. Yes yes yes. I wore it all during my labor, and at one point when thigns were getting serious, I just ripped it off with one hand. Perfect.

(12) Soft Slipper Flip-Flops.  Yes please! Wore them when I was walking around the room, and in the hallway. 

(13) Nursing Tanktop.  Didn’t use it—the bathrobe was fine for visitors.

THE POST-PARTUM BAG my bag all -- edit

(1) Muslin Swaddlers.  Leave it. The hospital has plenty of heavy duty swaddlers.  There is something great about having tons of pictures of Viv in the blue and pink striped blankets at the hospital, versus the muslin swaddlers at home.

(2) Nursing Bra.  Not necessary. In fact, I didn’t wear an underwire nursing bra for a month and a half after Viv was born.  It only came out because I had to go to a wedding.

(3) Yoga Capri Pants.  I’m a skirt kind of girl, which is super helpful in the hospital.  There is a lot of checking going on down there during the post-partum stay.  It was uncomfortable enough to move around in those first few days, I can’t imagine having to get out of bed, take my pants off, get back in bed, have my lady parts examined, get out of bed again, put on the pants, and then whatever.  Having a nightgown or skirt on made things 100% easier. Leave ‘em.

(4) Comfy Nursing Tank Top.  Didn’t’ use this one either.  I really wore my nightgown most of the time, with a comfy nursing bra underneath.

(5) Makeup.  Oh I’d pack it again! I didn’t’ put on any makeup during the stay, but did spruce myself up a little before we left the hospital.

(6) Hair Dryer and Hair Straightener. Eh, I would probably bring it again, but only for peace of mind.  Didn’t use it, even for when I left the hospital.

(7) Nursing Pads.  Leave em at home for when you REALLY start leaking through your shirts.

(8) Lanolin.  I didn’t use it in the hospital.  The nips hurt, but they weren’t cracked or sore.  I probably wouldn’t pack it again, and would just wait until I got home.

(9) Boppy.  Whether to bring the boppy was a tough choice. Friends either insisted that I have it, or insisted that I forget it. I’m in the latter camp this time. you have plenty of pillows, and those are easier to position in the very beginning when you have no idea what you’re doing.

 

They say live and learn, so take what you will from my experience! Although, if I were REALLY to go back and pack my bag, I would probably be too neurotic to listen and would just pack everything and more. The benefit now is that looking at all of the things I would leave out, I bet I could even fit everything into one super bag!

Repacking my Hospital Bag – Part 1

About a million of my BFFs are with child and shall birth those children (respectively) by early next year.  I was discussing the contents of my bag(s) for labor/delivery/postpartum, and actually found the detailed spreadsheet that I had created to keep track of all the VERY IMPORTANT THINGS that I needed to have with me.

Not surprisingly, there are so many items I packed that I didn’t even touch during the hospital stay.   I recall packing and thinking that I could go without a lot, but was not willing to risk being without THE ONE THING that made the differnce between glowing, fantastic super mom and, well, a woman who just pushed an 8lb person out of her hoo-ha.

I had the brillant idea of having a Labor bag and a Post-partum bag. The main problem with that is tha ti tleft me without any intuitive packing skills.  Contacts seperate from toothpaste? Where does the hairbrush go? some clothes here, some clothes there?  After, oh, 8 months of planning,  several facebook posts begging for suggestions, and a few grey hairs, I came to a decent list.

Today, you get to hear about what I packed and why.  Tune back tomorrow to hear how my suggestions work 60% of the time, every time. (double points if you name that movie!)

THE LABOR BAG

labor bag all

(1) Comfy nursing bras.  These aren’t those underwire nursing bras you find in Motherhood maternity.  Oh no, these are the big guns. Super sports bra support, easy boob access, and plenty of coverage. 

(2) Amazon Kindle (or whichever e-reader or tablet you prefer).  I had no idea how long I would be in labor, how painful it would be, or whether I would have pain relief.  And If I was lucky enough to catch some Z’s, The Man could use it.

(3) iPhone charger. Duh.

(4) Hairties and bobby pins! I knew I wouldn’t be one of those women who had glowing, perfect hair after giving birth.  I had a nice, stretchy headband too.

(5) Tube Sock and Tennis ball.  I read somewhere that rubbing a tennis ball on your back during labor can help immensely.  So I went out and bought a tube of tennis balls and hi-jacked one of the Man’s old socks.

(6) Yummy lotions.  Did I ever tell you that The Man was required to give me a foot massage during our all-day, marathon birthing class? it was glorious. I expected that it be replicated during labor.

(7) Birth Plan.  I had a million verions of birth plans. I downloaded some from babycenter, some I just made up, all of them were confusing and contradictory.  I constantly paniced that I would leave a crucial piece of information out.

(8) iPhone portable speaker.  I had labor playlists and I’m not afraid to admit it. Again, this went with the uncertainty of the length of labor, and not knowing whether I’d need some good tunes to pump me up!

(9) Comfy, non-skid socks.  These were to wear while walking around the hospital to keep my feed all warm and toasty.  I had a great pair from Bath and Body Works, but I’m not sure they carry those anymore.

(10) Bathrobe.  A good friend recommended that I bring a bathrobe to cover myself up if I was walking around, and for visitors after the fact.  I picked up a grey one from Target about a week before I went into labor.

(11) Binsi Skirt.  Ok, soooo, I’m not really a hippy, but you wouldn’t know it by my choice of labor attire.  I’ve mentioned before that I didn’t want to wear hospital clothes, but I also didn’t want to ruin my favorite black skirt.  I can’t remember where I heard about the binsi skirt, but I needed to have it.

(12) Soft Slipper Flip-Flops.  These were a bridesmaid gift from my friend Bridget and I LOOOOVE them. I figured I could use them to walk around instead of the socks.

(13) Nursing Tanktop.  This was a back up to the nursing bra, in case I wanted to be a little more modest, or to wear when visitors arrived.

THE POST-PARTUM BAG

my bag all

 

(1) Muslin Swaddlers.  I knew the hospital would supply swaddlers, but I wanted softer ones for pictures and the trip home.

(2) Nursing Bra.  I wore the underwire nursing bras for the latter part of my pregnancy (highly recommend doing that, btw). I wanted this for the trip home.

(3) Yoga Capri Pants.  I wanted a pair of comfy pants for the hospital stay.

(4) Comfy Nursing Tank Top.  I also packed a second nursing tank for hospital visitors.

(5) Makeup.  Ok, fine, I can be a little vain.  But I knew my picture would be taken, and I wanted to feel like a human!

(6) Hair Dryer and Hair Straightener. See #5.

(7) Nursing Pads.  I’d heard that you leak a lot of breastmilk during the first few weeks of nursing and wanted to be prepared.

(8) Lanolin.  Lanolin is super helpful for sore nipples, something I was sure I would have!

(9) Boppy.  Ah the trusty nursing pillow. I wanted to have anything and everything that would help me breastfeed little baby lafe!

yes toiletries

(10) Cotton Swabs and QTips, (11) Face Cleansing Wipes, (12) Body Wash, (13) Deodorant, (14) Hair Brush, (15) Toothbrush, Toothpaste, and Mouthwash, (16) Shampoo and Conditioner.

Several friends told me that the first shower post-birth was the best feeling ever, especially if you had labored a long time.  The only disappointment they had was with the hospital soap and shampoo combo.  I figured it would be even more refreshing to have all of my normal shower products.

I also (obviously) packed clothes to come home in (a blue pattern nursing dress from Target) and clothes for baby to come home in (a green frog outfit, size 0-3 months). The Man packed his own bag of clothes, snacks, magazines, etc. Overall, we had a backpack for the labor bag, a duffle bag for my postpartum bag, The Man’s duffle bag, a boppy, and a huge pillow with bright pillow case for me!  I still think my walk into the hospital with contractions was harder than The Man’s task of carrying all of those bags!