GroVia Hybrid Diaper

Six Items I Should Have Added to My Baby Registry

When I created my baby registry about a year ago (I used Babylist, FYI), I had no practical experience with babies. So my research consisted of Googling phrases like, “Best Baby Car Seat 2014” and plugging the “winner” into my Babylist.

However! I was fortunate enough to have some experienced mamas go off registry and give us things I never would have thought of–that have since become invaluable in terms of saving time and preserving my sanity, and I thought I would share them here.

Note: All of the gifts I received were amazing, thoughtful, and useful, and I am so grateful to our friends and family, who were so generous. These are just the things I was a stranger to, pre-baby. Thank you everyone!

  1. Baby Play Gym

    The exact Baby Einstein Play Gym we have–you can switch out the toys in these to keep baby entertained.

    Baby Play Gym: When my aunt sent me a Baby Einstein play gym, I thought, “Cute–for when she’s older,” and stashed it under the crib. Little did I know how this would change my life: when Sarah was two months old (and just coming out of a three-week-long fussy period that often left me in tears), I laid her under it–and she was enthralled. She had never reacted to a toy before at this point, so it was incredible to see her respond and “talk” to it. Even better, it soon kept her occupied for up to 20-30 minutes–long enough for me to, say, write a blog article. I could even (before she started rolling) leave the room for a moment to grab a load of laundry and fold it next to her. Once Sarah could sit, I got an activity jumper off Craigslist–amazing. And that version traps that roll-y baby so she can’t get into mischief

  2. Happiest Baby on the Block DVD

    Sanity. Saver.

    Happiest Baby on the Block DVD: So about that “fussy” period I referenced above? Some people call it colic, but the Happiest Baby on the Block dude refers to the first three months of an infant’s life as the “fourth trimester,” and says they are still more like a fetus than a baby at that point. That’s why they freak out. He offers some very simple techniques to calm your baby and help him or her sleep longer, and by God, they really did work a lot of the time. Even when they didn’t, it still made me feel better and more in control on those days when I was home alone with Sarah and she decided to cry . . . for hours . . . for seemingly no reason. Get this. Watch it before you give birth, I wish I had.

  3. Babysoy Kimono Top

    So easy, so cute!

    Baby kimono tops and gowns: You know what you don’t want to do with a tiny baby who you’re afraid you’re going to break? Pull something over his or her head. Dressing a baby gets much easier later, when they can move their heads and limbs, but in the beginning, it’s like trying to pour a bowlful of jelly into a sausage skin. Kimono tops and gowns are super easy. Open it up, lay the baby down, wrap it up: done. My Mom got me these kimono bundlers from babysoy.

  4. Clothes sizes 3 months and up: Newborn-size clothes are for suckers. You might have a tiny baby. Mine was 21.5″ long at birth (8 lb 4 oz), and I could barely squeeze her into the newborn footie pajamas I brought to take her home! Plus, for the first couple of months, Sarah only wore a diaper, a swaddle, and a hat, unless we were going out (we rarely got out of the house). So I ended up with so many cute newborn outfits that were barely worn! Start with the 3 month size. Even if they’re a little big, your baby will be growing so quickly, they’ll be too small before you know it.
  5. Carters Sleep and Play

    Sarah lived in these!

    One-piece baby outfits: Once you recover enough to be embarrassed by your practically naked, unfashionable baby, you will be ready to dress him or her in actual clothes. However, I suggest you start slow, with footie pajamas (Sarah lived in Carters Sleep and Plays) or other one-piece outfits. They’re easy to dress your baby in–no coordinating, no keeping track of socks–and they’re really easy for diaper changing. My two cents: zippers are nice because they’re fast, but they also mean you have to practically undress your baby to change a diaper. Snaps are more of a pain, but you can just take the legs out as needed. If the weather’s cold and you have a zippered outfit (and are trying to keep your baby sleepy during nighttime diaper changes, which is a worthy goal), slip him or her into a short-sleeved onesie under the footie pajamas. Footless one-piece baby outfits are a little more flexible, size-wise, while your baby grows, but I found keeping track of socks was a pain.

  6. GroVia Hybrid Diaper

    The most important thing: diapers.

    Diapers: This was the biggest duh of all. Hello, the things you will definitely need, no matter what, and will always use, no matter what, are diapers. Although I love my GroVia cloth diapers, I wish I had asked for starter packs of several kinds, so I could compare. The same with disposables: I kept her in those the first few months, and again, it would have been nice to have several types on hand.

So, here are the things I haven’t been able to live without while bringing up baby: what are yours? Pass your wisdom along, mamas!

Cloth Diaper Pail

Yes You Can: Put Together an Inexpensive Cloth Diaper Pail

I know: of all the things I could write about, I’m writing an instructional post about cloth diaper pails?!? But I am psyched, and you know why? My daughter’s room no longer smells like urine, and I only had to spend $21.97. Plus it looks nice, is much more convenient than what I was using before, and I’ll be able to use it as a regular trash can once Sarah’s potty trained. Win-win-win-win-win!

GroVia Diaper Baby

Look at that cute baby in her GroVia diaper! She could never be stinky, right?!?

As I’ve mentioned before, the whole reason I got interested in zero waste* is because I was adamantly against the idea of cloth diapers, and I wanted to cut down on our garbage so I could fill it with disposables. But I had one particular friend who loved her son’s cloth diapers, and she was convincing enough that I ordered a starter kit from GroVia.

* Note: This, unfortunately, is not a zero waste project. I know I could have made some cloth laundry bags, or found some plastic free, but: the stink. I needed to act fast.

I. Love. Them. The GroVia hybrid cloth diapers work really well–way fewer leaks/explosions than disposables (although I do still put her in an overnight disposable diaper at night, since she’s started sleeping up to 12 hours at a stretch), way less garbage, way less money. Plus the covers are cute.

However. The GroVia “Perfect Pail” was not so perfect. Basically, it’s a hanging PUL (polyurethane laminate) bag with a zippered bottom. It’s easy to use and washes up nicely, but. It stinks. Literally. Plus, because it hangs, I had to hang it in Sarah’s closet. Not only was this fairly far from my changing table, but the close quarters meant every time I opened the closet, a huge cloud of odor attacked me.

Cloth Diaper Pail

Little. White. Not stinky.

Plus, her “nice” clothes hang in that closet! I finally had enough and started looking for cloth diaper pails. However, the ones I found on Amazon and Babies R Us were almost $50–just for the pail, without a liner. Since I had already spent money on the GroVia pail, this made me cranky. So I decided to try to put one together myself, and I am quite happy with the results!

Inexpensive Cloth Diaper Pail

You need:

I found a white, touch-top trash can at my local Fred Meyer for $9.99. I chose the touch-top version not only because it was cheaper than the step-on option, but because I can put something in front of it if needed and still access it.

DIY Cloth Diaper Pail

Small, compact, works perfectly.

I then found two cotton laundry bags in the same aisle for $5.99 each. This way, I can wash the bag with the diapers and have a fresh one ready to go. I decided to go with plain cotton rather than getting any special (expensive) PUL pail liners. I’ll let you know if they get too gross and I change my mind.

Cloth Diaper Pail Liner

I put some Mike Mignola Hellboy art in the background for you.

Putting it together was simple. I set the can where I needed it, and removed the lid. Then I shook some lavender essential oil onto one of my cloth wipes and draped it over the edge–most of it is in the can, but a little is outside (stink blocker).

Then I placed the bag inside, snapped the lid on, and voila! Done. It’s super easy to use, and smell free. A little stink escapes each time I open it, of course, but I’ve learned to be fast–and the bit of oil-infused cloth wipe that’s outside the can helps cover it up.

Inexpensive Cloth Diaper Pail

You can see the cloth wipe on the left!

Hope this isn’t TMI, but this is exactly the kind of post I went looking for when I began this important life journey.

Got any other tips? Post them below!

Update: Comics, Circle of Chicken, and Cloth Diapers

My little sweetie is four months old this week!

My little sweetie is four months old this week!

Hi everyone!

Hope you had a great weekend. Ours was a whirlwind of friends both here in Portland and visiting from out of town, thanks to the Wizard World comic convention. This is the third year Wizard World has come to Portland, and it’s a controversial event for many–here’s an article or two summing that up–with most, if not all, of the local comic book retailers and the majority of the comic book publishers declining to exhibit.

I went for the first time this year, feeling very odd due to my new civilian status–after six years working in marketing for Things From Another World, an online and brick-and-mortar comic book retailer, I’m accustomed to working the booth, not milling around the show. (I’ve since quit my job to stay home with Sarah and Sid, for now.) I was shocked at how packed the convention was. Less shocking was the fact that I barely recognized anyone; a large swath of Portland’s geek population stayed home.

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