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Judith Van Atta Roenke. I am a Navy Submariner wife. Triathlete. I am the proud mommy of Henry the Fifth and Peter Tristum. Welcome to my Blog...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Baby Equipment Recommendations and a Few Tips of the Trade from a First Time Mom

I have several Preggo friends so I wrote an email to one with my recs for baby stuff. Over the past few months the email has been recycled, edited and expanded.

Here is the result...

My Baby Equipment Recommendations and a Few Tips of the Trade from a First Time Mom


The most important thing I can tell you about having a baby is how much I love breastfeeding. It was a challenge at first, but after a couple weeks it was easy. Feeding him is my favorite together time. I definitely recommend getting your hubby to do a bottle feeding of pumped milk as soon as possible and keep it up. Baby Henry won’t take a bottle since Big Henry was not available to get the bottle started. If you are going back to work right away you need to get the bottle started. The LLL recommends doing it after 6 to 8 weeks I believe. An additional bonus is breastmilk poops aren’t as gross as formula poops. But, there are lots of mommies who don’t do it at all- like J-lo. But Jennifer Garner did, and filmed a movie in the desert while breastfeeding. She kicks ass. Ok, lecture over.


We paid for access to Consumer Reports online to help us research our gear for the safest stuff. Don’t bother. The reports are outdated and don’t cover all the gear available. All the coolest strollers aren’t even rated. Some articles are available without joining. I think you are better off reading the reviews on Amazon and Babies-R-Us. I write reviews of everything we have.

The Kick-Assness of Amazon:

On Amazon you can now get a Universal Wishlist Button. Say you are on a boutique site and find an item you like, just click this button on your tool bar and it puts the item on your Amazon Wishlist. That way, you can tell people about the Wishlist for the baby and include mod/cool/hip/indie clothes and toys from little boutiques and independent sellers that aren’t on Amazon. When the gift buyer clicks on the item, they will be brought to the outside site. I wish they had this feature when we were shopping. I would have used Amazon as a registry and been able to get more of my favorite type of stuff.

Here is an example: Henry the Fifths Amazon wishlist, you can use the compact view to organize your list too.

Other smart tips:

Get one small package of each brand on diapers to trial once the baby arrives. Don’t go crazy buying lots of newborn sizes since baby could come out bigger than these. Also, try a variety of nursing pads. DON’T buy lots of bottles. Buy one sample of one brand of bottle and nipple, try it, then if baby hates it get ONE of another. We have a shitload cabinet full of Dr. Browns that H5 won’t use. We are saving them for the next baby unless they decide BPA is bad again. Don’t invest in a specific brand, you could waste a lot of money before you know what baby likes.

At the hospital:

I brought an oil infuser and room spray that smelled so good that the staff liked coming in our room and commented on how nice it was. That’s good because you want them to be happy when they come in. We had Thymes Indigenous in our room.


www.coolmompicks.com my favorite shopping site for ideas

http://mightyjunior.com/ fun daily picks for kids

www.etsy.com lots of handmade items for d├ęcor, bibs etc. if you want to avoid commercial things

www.dadlabs.com Must watch, diaper pail sniff test, poop in the tub 101 , breast pump on a man , football dad.


bloesem kids

Junior Magazine from the UK—I looked at the mag at Barnes and Noble, but didn’t buy it. I will check next month to see if I like it for sure.

Dr Sears defined the 8 principles of attachement parenting. Attachement Parenting International is a group that has information on the ideas.

Maternity gear:

motherhood maternity sleeping bras – I wore these to sleep at the end of the pregnancy and I still wear them daily. I am wearing one now. Not super supportive, but comfy for sleeping and once you are nursing they hold the pads well.

bella band, in Japan they are called haramaki and old ladies wear them. I didn’t get any Japanese ones, but they look really cool.

snoogle sleeping pillow

boppy sleeping wedge – as soon as I started to show I found this wedge helpful to tuck under my belly

funny t-shirts can be important for a preggo


What to expect when you’re expecting (they just updated to make it more modern) by Heidi Murkoff

What to expect the first year by Heidi Murkoff

Henry used this the most. Be Prepared handbook for daddy

Happiest baby on the block – I would get the book and the DVD. I wish we had this before he was born. We didn’t get it until he was 3 months. You need it right away. It would have helped a lot.

Toys: first months:



play gym they can use it from day 1. Henry loved the whale first. Now the octopus is his fave and we take it everywhere. At 10 months he goes over to it and turns on the music. He hits it until his favorite song plays.

links – any brand will do. You will need a lot. They keep toys from landing on the gross floor when you are out and we hook is favorite car to the headrest facing him so he can play in the car. And, he will just play with the links and not the toy half the time.

bla bla toys are way cute, we have the monkey. I want the rattles, but H5 is a little too old now.

Toys age 7 months:


mirror we have this in a different color. We used it from day 1, but now he really likes it. This one can stand alone or attach to the crib. He is on the floor laughing at it right now.

Musical Octopus

Toys 10 months:

Haba fish Moby, he has 2 different rainbow fish like Moby, and a frog rattle. I love Haba stuff

Pop up toys

Balls to kick

Furniture to crawl and climb on

mommy and daddy to hold his hands and walk


scrap paper or important papers to tear up, chew, and turn into perfect spitballs if only we would let him play with a straw too.


Bouncer we have the Svan one. The baby likes that we can hang toys on it with links. I liked the Oeuf one but it was being recalled so we got this. I think any kind will do, I liked the look the Svan, but it isn’t very portable. Good until the become mobile.

bumbo This is great for practicing sitting and getting strong. We got a tray too. He figured out how to crawl out of it at about 8 months I think.


We have a changing table dresser combo so he can use it longer. We got crib with a drop side since I am tall and planning to get preggo again soon. Leaning way into a crib is hard when you are tall and preggo. But, if I did it again I might get the oeuf crib because it is so much better looking. Our crib is good quality, not spectacularly fancy, definitely a step above IKEA.

Dwell crib linens are at Target now.

Combi play yard Henry slept in the bassinette until the surgery at 4 ½ months old. We also used this changing table for the first 4 months. Our 18 month old niece slept in it on a visit. It survived an airplane ride. We really like it. Unfortunately, the music feature plays some creepy Muzak that includes Celine Dion and Memories from CATS.

Eddie-Bauer-Infant-Travel-Bed We use this in his antique cradle to make it safe. We take it on trips because it fits in a large suitcase. I love this thing. We still use it at 10 months for naps. He gets in and out by himself. This was one of our best purchases.

multi use pad we lined the bassinette with these and use them on the changing table and to set him on for baby massage. We have 5. I left one at my parents house for use there.

Blankets: the hospital swaddled with 2 blankets. When we got home we swaddled with a flannel underneath and then the THERMAL-BLANKET on top because they can wrap really tight.


The first 2 weeks the kimono t-shirts are THE BOMB! We liked the long sleeve ones. After the umbilical cord fell off we liked the gowns for months 1-3. Then we switched to button or zip front footies, which is what he wears now. All his 6 weeks photos are in the same doggie footie romper because that was his only one and Big Henry always dressed him in it.

American apparel- we have several of the long sleeve t-shirts. They are perfect to layer under onsies or other outfits for winter months. Especially when you want to dress him in a cute or witty onsie but it has short sleeves. I also love the Karate pants. He has several. The California pants are thicker. He had a hoodie jacket too, but we lost it and were super bummed because it was our favorite jacket for him.

dreamsie – I love these. They come with the cutest hat and I like that they have sleeves. We also had the Halo sleep sack Swaddle when he was little. We used the swaddle part at first then quit using it. If you have AC, the microfleece are good. I think the cotton ones won’t be warm enough unless you don’t have AC in the summer.

http://www.happygreenbee..com/ I haven’t gotten these clothes yet. I just want them

Kumquat I have a couple things by them

Petit Bateau

Tea is my absolute favorite

http://www.robeez.com/ the IT shoes for babies.

www.threadless.com for awesome tees

Zutano I get these at various small boutiques and from Amazon

New Potatoes clothes are adorable. I can t find a direct link, but this store some examples. http://www.bestdressedchild.com/newpobyswpo.html I haven’t purchased from them.

http://tottini.com/store/ this store is in Seattle and stocks cool stuff

I have over 100 sites bookmarked in my Baby folder.


snuzzler – we have 2. It makes him fit in his car seat and stroller better and looks cozy and warm. He is getting big for it in the car seat now.

Car seat: The main decision about a car seat is whether to go with a car seat only or a travel system. We picked a convertable car seat that doesn’t go into a stroller because they have higher crash test ratings (especially in cars without the LATCH system like my old car.) That means that we don’t have a ‘bucket’ that we can use to take the baby out of the car and carry him around. This is bad if you are going to restaurants since you have to bring the stroller and park it at your table. A bucket can sit in this hammock thing restaurants have or in the wooden high chairs they have. With the stroller we have to choose restaurants that potentially have people in costume, if we go to cute quaint places the stroller doesn’t fit well. Buckets also can sit in the shopping cart. Without the bucket, I had to carry him in my sling or Bjorn to go to the store (which is fine with me) until he could sit in the shopping cart. Now, I think the Travel systems with the removable bucket are safe enough. We are happy with our decision, but it was not a convenient decision. The car seat decision is one that we used Consumer reports for, but honestly CR was out dated and probably made the decision more complicated than it needed to be.

Stroller: This decision is related to the above one if you get a travel system. We got this Graco Quattro. This is where Consumer Reports sucked. They didn’t have a lot of the stylish higher end strollers that I now covet. (like bugaboo ....) Now we also have a BOB Revolution jogging stroller BOB ...

Carrier: We got the original baby bjorn and the wind proof cover. The Bjorn bugs my back a little and Henry’s too but sometimes the structure of it is better than my wrap. I would look at a carrier with a lumbar strap. I have the moby wrap . I love how comfortable it is and it doesn’t hurt my back at all. If you wear it for a long time it stretches a bit and you have to hike the kid up. It is also super long, so putting it on in a parking lot is tricky keeping it clean. But I prefer it to the bjorn. I might look at slings next time, or a MaiTai.

Diaper Bag:

We got the SkipHop because it has straps that go around the stroller bar so you still have access to the cup holders on the console. I don’t always use this feature, but it is cool when I bother to switch the strap. Usually I just hang it over the bar like any other bag. My Kate Spade bag is pretty, but it has to be carried on the mommy’s shoulder. I recommend a bag that can hang on the back of the stroller. The special straps on the SkipHop are good if you think you will actually take the 20 seconds it takes to clip them on. Addendum here: I heard that Target is getting skip hops that have the stroller straps and shoulder strap separated so you don’t have to clip and unclip as much.

Happy Tushies wet bag is one of the best things I purchased. I have a large one. It stays in the changing pad section of my diaper bag. When H5 has a blow out or barfs on himself while we are out (or in an airport) I can change him into his spare clothes and this bag keeps the gross stuff away from everything else. One time I stuffed his whole outfit and my wet shirt in there. (The first couple months I needed a change of clothes for me cuz he puked a lot.) It washes in the machine and then line dry overnight. I want another Happy Tushie bag.


We are killing the earth with disposables. We like Huggies. But when he is between sizes on the Huggies, Pampers hold it in better. I have looked into G diapers and various cloth diapers but haven’t made a change. I am leaning toward BumGenius one size cloth diapers.

Diaper pail:

The diaper genie will cost you $5-13/month after your initial purchase for bags and take 2 hands to work so you can’t hold the baby. We got the diaper champ –economical, minimally stinky.

Laundry and Getting barf off the floor:

Spray n wash – I use this on his food stains (yellow and orange squash carrots etc and baby Tylenol red stains. It hasn’t bleached or wrecked any colors on his clothes and has taken out all stains. I've heard Zout is good too and want to try it.

Tide he. We used Dreft for a while, but the baby does fine with Tide and scent free Bounce.

Bissel – a carpet cleaner is great since now when I hear the baby choking and know a big barf is coming I just hold him away from me over the carpet so he pukes on the carpet and not on me. Then I just clean the carpet (eventually.)

My parents got a hard floor steam cleaner I think it is this one. Anyway, their tile kitchen floor looked sooo good when they used it. I want one once I find out for sure what they have.


Lysol To Go- this is good because when you use a public changing table you will put your changing pad under his ass. But the baby does not put his own ass in his mouth. He puts his hands in his mouth. So all the disgusting germs and other baby poops and pees that are on the sides of that changing table are getting on your baby’s exploring hands and into his mouth. So carry a mini Lysol, spray down the table where his little hands can reach, wipe it with a paper towel and then lay down the butt mat. 2 seconds, no more germs.

purell portables I think I got mine a Staples. I keep these attached to his diaper bag, my purse, the stroller. Theoretically you can make people clean up before they pinch the baby’s cheeks. Especially if the baby needs surgery.

Sani-Hands wipes. But watch out. They are alcohol based, so paper cuts on you or hangnails on little hands will sting.

Wet ones – I carry my own wipes because Grocery stores have cart wipes but Babies-R-Us and Target don’t!! WTF?

Cart Cover: No luck with these. I hated the two I tried. I have this tutorial that I need to get measurements for and just make my own.


We are still using all the bath and lotion products we got from showers. Don’t stock up, you’ll get enough in gifts. J&J soothing naturals smells fantastic.

We also use Boudreaux’s butt bath. We use Boudreaux’s butt paste. It worked better for him than Desitin.

Saline nose drops for stuffy nose – we use tons of this since he is always stuffy.

I am getting a little worried about too many chemicals. I might switch to all Burt’s Bees products once we finish what we have.

blue lizard sunscreen is really good and safe. Pricey, but it’s all we use. Lots of baby sunscreen have bad chemicals.

snapper rock is the SPF swim wear we got for him


James McKenna was one of my thesis advisors in college. He is why I believe in co-sleeping. For the next kid, I really want to get a co-sleeper.

Now, we are doing sleep training to get him to sleep longer at night. We decided to do this due to a worsening of my depression. We are getting help from my college roommate Dr. Lisa Meltzer with the sleep lab at CHOP.

Attachement Parenting

white noise machine projects fish on the ceiling, but we don’t use that. It has a freaky heart beat noise option that you can use at Halloween reading the Telltale Heart. We use the rain noise which is really nice.


Medela pump and save breast pump. Talk to the lactation consultant at the hospital at your 2 week post partum. I found out when H5 was in for surgery that the boob shields that come standard with the pump are too small for my enormous boobs, so she gave me bigger ones for free. SOOO much better. Medela’s help line is great too.

Have the lactation consultant measure your boob size. The size 24 cups are way small. When the consultant at his surgery hospital saw my boobs she was like, whoa, you need bigger pump parts. You can get bigger ones from Medela and the pump will work better for you.

foogo thermos Babies R Us carry these. They are good since they don’t have that BPA plastic and keep things safely cold longer, or can keep stuff warm too.

peanut shell cover or Hooter Hider or others. I didn’t think I needed this until my mom got me one and I realized I really like it.

Johnson and Johnson nursing pads – I like these the best. I have used Lanisoh and others. These Gerber Ultra Thin ones are HORRIBLE. They are not sealed on the edges so they suck up the milk and then redistribute it onto your bra, so if your bra is padded, it gets soaked and if its not padded, your shirt gets soaked. I tried washable reusable for earth friendliness but they leaked too. I am looking at Etsy or might order soem PUL fabric to make my own.

Glamour Mom Tank tops. I wear these a lot. Comfy, but under another shirt they cause a uniboob look.

Lanisoh cream for sore boobies.

Feeding Solids:

I am making a lot of his food. These are books I use. Blender-Baby-Food, top 100 baby puree The info is not that unique, but I like them. Follow your pediatrician guidelines though, as these books suggest fish very early and our GI specialist said to wait until 1 year.

I got the Oxo Good Grips food mill. Milling food is a pain in the ass. Just use your Quisenart or blender. Or buy Gerber or organic brands. We use that too, I just like having more choices, making food is cheaper, and my food tastes better. Because of his feeding problems, we are ending up buying more manufactured food for the smoother texture. Bummer since I wanted to cook for the baby.

High Chair- I wanted the Combi chair, but none of the stores had models to try out so we went with the Chicco ..

We used this booster at his grandparents’ house: He flopped over in it and needed a towel roll to sit up at 5 months old, now we have one and use it when the Chicco straps are drying and for travel.

Stuff to take from hospital:

Most of the stuff they have in the room has to get thrown out, so take it when you leave.

Squirt bottle for bathing

Nose aspirator (booger sucker) – the one piece kind the hospital has works way better than the two piece one we got from Safety First



Hair scrubber

Disposable wash cloths

Giant maxi pads

Soothies – make the lactation consultant give you some!!

We also got a free hand pump from our lactation consultant

Things we don’t use:

Baby powder; this is good if you use cloth diapers. With disposables the baby stays dry anyway.

JJ cole bundle me – its cool since the car seat straps go thru it to keep baby strapped in safely, but sticking the straps thru while the baby is in it is a pain in the ass. But if you leave it in the car it defeats the purpose of keeping baby warm without having to unbundle him.

Clorox anywhere surface spray: this stuff kills bacteria only, not viruses.

Stuff I want for the future:

in the pocket chair harness

CARES airplane harness maybe

Safety Tattoos

Tumbleforms – ok, a cheaper version of these. I might make something. I need something to work on crawling on hands and knees instead of combat crawling. The OT and I think he needs the shoulder stability to help his eating.

Considering a subscription to Kiwi Magazine for Green mommy-ing

1 comment:

Carmen said...

What a great list and I depended on a list like this from one of my buddies when we were pg for the first time. We love the Halo sleepsack swaddle and used it untill we needed a bigger size in the sleepsack - we used the cotton ones though - too hot here in the sub tropics! they are great and i swear it is the only thing keeping our little one in the bed now!