Happy Birthday, Son – A Year in Baby Consumerism

Fisher-Price Newborn Rock and Play SleeperSeriously, people. There is an entire industry that is waiting for you to have children so you will spend stupid amounts of money to help you sleep longer and make the transition to parenthood easier in our foolishly independent-focused society. My family has spent some of this ridiculous money. Here’s a list of my favorite things, which worked well for us. Amazon Prime has been a huge help, especially for midnight shopping frenzies while the kid is up and you don’t know how you’re going to be safe to drive the next day. When you can, buy used or borrow from a friend – but always check to see if the item has been recalled. For instance, a bassinet we borrowed had been recalled in 2009, and a stroller I nearly purchased from Craigslist was a recalled version (but they had been shipped the repair, though not installed.)

Also, my best advice to new moms: ignore all mom forums and stay away from baby focused websites. They will make you crazy. Seek real-time, real-mom support in your communities.

Here’s my Top Ten Consumer Choices for the First Year:

The Happiest Baby on the Block – The basics in this book are a lifesaver for the first three months. Read this book, if you can, before the baby is born. It’s seriously one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby. Which brings me to one of the keys of the Happiest Baby…
SwaddleMe velcro-enhanced swaddles – These are key for those times you’re too tired to re-swaddle using the swaddling techniques in Happiest Baby on the Block
Swaddle Cloths by aden + anais – you (or someone else!) can make swaddle cloths using a 4’x4′ piece of muslin or flannel, but if you just need to buy some to start, this is a great way to do it.
Fisher-Price Newborn Rock ‘N Play Sleeper, Yellow
– We used the older version of this as a bassinet for the first six months, especially useful for reflux. It was crucial to getting more sleep for us and our baby. Please note that there was a recent advisory regarding the older model, as some caregivers experienced mold growth after some use, as that the old version was harder to clean. More information here.
Medela Freestyle Breast Pump – I borrowed a Medela bump from a friend, and also rented a hospital grade pump. This was spendy, but wonderful to have if I needed to move around while pumping.
Maclaren Quest (and Raincover) – People laugh about how much you can spend on strollers, but the Maclaren is worth it, if you compare it to other strollers in its class. This folds easy, is light enough to carry and has a carrying strap. The rain cover is the easiest to deploy of all stroller covers I’ve tried. Skip the City Mini and pretty much any other stroller, and if you just buy one stroller, buy the Maclaren Quest.
Bugaboo Bee Stroller and Canopy and Bugaboo Baby Cocoon Light – This is an excessively expensive stroller. It’s great for around the neighborhood if you’re in a more urban center. I like the cocoon for making it into a mini-pram, but it’s still super compact, unlike other strollers.
Dr. Brown’s Formula Mixing Pitcher – We wanted to breast feed, but ran into supply issues. This was crucial, especially when traveling.
Ergo Carrier – This is a great carrier that works for the long haul. Definitely not for the totally new-born, but great once they hit 12 lbs.
Moby Wrap Original 100% Cotton Baby Carrier, Black – I loved my super-snuggly Moby for the first few months. I highly recommend it as a first carrier.

Calgon, take me away!

I don’t think I understood what “Calgon, take me away!” meant before becoming a mother. The first three months have been hard. There were the breastfeeding issues, the continuing acid reflux issues, the screaming, the postpartum depression, and being an extrovert all cooped up in a house with a nonverbal being.

Motherhood is a kind of insanity. Yesterday, I went out for an afternoon and engaged, for the first time, in the kind of stereotypical retail therapy I never thought to engage in. I drove my luxury SUV to a high-end downtown mall, bought an absurdly expensive stroller and other pampering goods (without batting an eyelash), and came home with the spoils. This, along with my odd craving and comfort found in Starbucks has me not only feeling guilty, but also like I understand what I never understood before.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have preferred deliberate consumption, and ignoring the baby industrial complex, and corporate everything. Then there’s the fact that until very recently, I have been a part of the 99%, fighting with the proletariat, as the proletariat. The years have been good to my small family unit, and while some in the 1% say it’s hard work that got them there (and that’s not totally untrue), the larger influence is luck. There’s no rhyme or reason, or even deservingness. For this, I make sure to contribute charitably, and often. I helps me sleep better, with the luck we have.

Motherhood is a type of insanity, and there is no limit to how much you can spend to make your life seem easier. I somehow believe it must have been simpler when you went to your girlfriends’ houses and painted each other’s nails and bought Calgon to soak in your own bath instead of buying Groupons for spa deals. When Pantene was a luxury, and you bought a new shade of Revlon lipstick to perk up your exhausted visage.

Maybe it was never that simple, but Starbucks seems to be the simplest part of the post-baby consumerism. It’s wherever you are, and always the same. It’s not the best, but it’s known.

Yup, motherhood is a type of insanity.

End of the Week

Today ended my challenge to myself to do 10 minutes of a beginner workout for five days. Tomorrow is my Weight Watcher weigh-in, and I don’t expect any weightloss. This is because I’ve had a rough week with eating. Today was the worst. Let me tell you about it.

I’m new at being a mom. My kid is just over 2 months old, and days can vary from him being low-maintenance to needing extra love and attention (and constant guessing as to why he’s screaming.) Today was the latter. I was already tired from poor sleep last night, and by midday, when THINGS started needing to get done (washing bottles, making formula), he wouldn’t even settle in the Moby on my chest. Finally, as I was prepping for a feeding, the Girl Scout cookies I purchased the other day says, EAT ME. Samoas. My weakness.

So I ate 5.

This wasn’t terrible. What capped it off was when, after my husband got home, he asked me to check if a new gadget was working in the basement entertainment center. I go down, and a YEAR OLD BOX of Lemonheads was sitting there. Open. And I ate about half of what was left in the giant box. The giant, YEAR OLD box.

Then I ate a Sumo citrus upstairs, and realized I really should have skipped the Lemonheads and eaten the Sumo, which would have been 1) Free on the Weight Watchers plan and 2) provided the tart sweetness that the Lemonheads provided.

I guess, with a week that feels like a food failure, it’s not a total loss if I came away learning something. Next week, I’m going to try to eat lean protein and fruit instead of refined carbs, which I’ve grown addicted to (obvs. with the Lemonheads.) Also, I know the key to my success is exercise, and this week I proved I can make a plan and stick to it, I just have to start small and work my way up.

The other key is working on the emotional stuff, which is making sure I have the care I need, and making sure I have childcare covered so I can take care of the things I need to take care of (or go back to work.) But that’s another post…

Four for Four

I didn’t post yesterday because I almost didn’t make yesterday’s goal of doing the 10 minute video. However, I realized before bed that one of the videos was stretching. 10 minutes of stretching? Before bed? Great idea.

So, I fulfilled my commitment and did the 10 minute exercise AND got a stretch in before bed. Score!

That left the lower body 10 minute video for today. Unfortunately, I totally gorged myself on Puerto Rican food (and barbecue earlier today.) Food is my vice, for sure. The thing is, when I was active, I started craving things less, or more in moderation. Exercise is the key.

I’ve also developed a sugar habit. I’m working on breaking that, as in, I’m thinking about it strongly. 🙂 It’s a start. I’m contemplating the change, which is a step to recovery!

This leaves tomorrow. It turns out 10 minutes is easy to do when you have a video that starts at a low fitness level. I finish thinking, “That was too easy!”, but it’s the stepping stone. Not to sound like a broken record, but affirmation is important.

I’m looking forward to telling my WeightWatchers leader about my challenge to myself. Even if I didn’t make my food eating goal this week, I will likely make my exercise goal, and that’s something.

Dragging (myself out)

Motherhood is hard. I did not have any idea what I was getting myself into. Mind you, I have no regrets, as that my son is pure awesome. I am, however, tired and finding my equilibrium.

The kiddo and I had a fall at about 6 wks, and that was quite a blow to my body and my mind. Within the next few weeks, my world shrunk. To say the least, I’ve made a lot of excuses as to why I can’t do whatever it is I need to do, including exercise.

I re-committed to WeightWatchers a few weeks ago – and when I say commit, I mean, go to meetings. I’ve been having trouble getting back into exercising for a few reasons, some being physical. Since my fall, my right knee (injured in high school, thanks color guard/marching band!) has been really painful, and my left hip (which went wonky during my pregnancy) is still wonky. And finally, I’m just not the superwoman I was. Mind you, I had a kickass birth, but I couldn’t run a half marathon right now.

I purchased the WeightWatchers PointsPlus Fitness Series with Jennifer Cohen 5 DVD set. It comes with (on each disk) a 10 minute beginner, 15 minute express and 30 minute full workout, and a plan to get started. This week, I’m doing 5 days of 10 minutes. I’m writing this because I just finished my first 10 minutes, which included a warmup and cooldown. I’m hoping that this may be a start of getting back on track.

We’ll see how it goes!