A soon-to-be first-time-mom recently reached out and asked: “I loved your baby registry. I wondered if there was anything on your list or not on your list that you that you would do drop or do differently if you could go back again?”
Really good question! I spent a ton of time researching everything on that list and, for the most part, have been very pleased with how everything has performed and held up. Of course, there’s always room for improvement. If I were to do it again, here are a couple of additional thoughts and refinements:
*Note: snap above is of this glamorous nursery. I’m very happy with the bassinet we used (I love the simple European design and the fact that it rocks), but I find that old-school wicker bassinet shown above absolutely darling, too. You can find most of our nursery details here. And you can find a MAJORLY CHIC nursery — and details on how to get the look — here.
+I did not like either of the carriers we used for mini, both of which earned insane online reviews and came highly recommended from personal friends I trusted. Maybe I’m just not a carrier person? Maybe I’m the anomaly? Maybe you’ll have better luck? But I found the Lille Baby super cumbersome to get into and out of and difficult to adjust by myself. I’d need to put it on, adjust it, and then take it off and put it back on with baby unless Mr. Magpie was around — and we often traded off who wore it, so these adjustments were constant. I also felt like there were random straps and flaps that were in the way / would randomly appear in my diaper bag and I’d fish them out, wondering, “What the hell is this?” Finally, it took many YouTube viewings to figure out how to adjust the carrier from inward-facing to outward-facing; I remember Mr. Magpie and I grimacing with frustration. So, we were not fans. I also tried the Baby K’Tan and felt like mini was constantly about to fall out the bottom or top (?) In fact, she once almost did flop out and from that point forward, I’d only wear her when I could also clutch onto her, which kind of defeated the purpose of wearing a carrier to begin with. I want to chalk it up to user error, but the number of times I watched videos and solicited the input of friends — too high. If I were to do it again, I’d go into a physical store (Albee Baby here in NY, most likely) and check out all the offerings and try them on if possible. I’d be most keen on trying the Baby Bjorn Mini. Why? Because it’s specifically designed for itty bitty babies, which is the only time I truly used the carrier anyway — once mini hit around 10 months, she was too heavy for me to carry. (I’m 5’1 and 100 pounds dripping wet.) I like that this has a design where the front comes entirely off so you can easily transfer baby from the carrier to her crib without waking her — genius. I also like that it has a smaller footprint so the baby isn’t engulfed in thick, bulky material when she’s very little (and think it would generally work better for my petite frame). The reviews DO say that there is a learning curve in terms of getting into it (ugh, when will OXO start designing a carrier?! Their UX is usually top notch) but I think it’d be worth the investment of time in this case as everything else seems to check out.
+I think I’d have bought this portable changing station — I’ve written about this elsewhere but I found that I needed three separate changing stations in my house: one in my bedroom for nighttime changes, one in the nursery, and one on the main floor. We used Gathre mats in the bedroom and living areas because we could fold them up and hide them away but the reality is that we often left them out so we wouldn’t need to constantly lay them out and put them away. I’m intrigued by the Keekaroo, which gets good reviews and looks similarly easy-to-keep-clean but a bit sturdier. (Also, I’ll admit that there were some dicy moments with the floppy Gathre mats — it might be nice/safer to have a solid piece of plastic to work from if you get my drift. Less likelihood of…spillage.
+I loved this travel sleep sheep sound machine because it can velcro onto almost anything — a stroller, a carseat, a travel bassinet, etc. But for home use, my main gripe with it is that it turns off automatically after 30 minutes. Mini never needed a sound machine to help her sleep, and I prefer it that way — but I did find that the sleep machine was handy as a part of our nap and bedtime routine. It’s a signal that it’s time to start winding down. It also creates consistency around sleeping when we’re traveling. Anyway, looking back, I’d still buy the sleep sheep but would also probably invest in the Marpac Dohm sound machine, which people go nuts over, or the highly-rated Hatch baby night light/sound machine/OK-to-wake, to keep permanently in her nursery. I like the latter because it is so multi-functional and can be used for different reasons (i.e., “stay in your bed until we say you can get out!”) through toddlerhood.
+Truth be told, I didn’t need an umbrella stroller in Chicago. I drove everywhere and could easily put my full-size Bugaboo Cameleon in the stroller. The Bugaboo has adapters that made it work perfectly with our Nuna Pipa carseat. It was seamless and easy. Then we moved to New York, where subway travel is frequent — and next to impossible with a full-size Bugaboo. The Bugaboo Cameleon is 10 pounds lighter and has a much smaller footprint than the Uppababy Vista, but it’s still WAY too heavy and bulky to navigate the subway on your own when many subway stops do not have elevators (or lack working ones). It’s even a bit much when you’re with your spouse! So. We ended up buying the Babyzen Yoyo within a few months of moving here and it is one of the best decisions we ever made. To be clear: I don’t think it’s needed if you are only looking for an umbrella stroller for very occasional travel. But we use ours maybe once or twice a week (whenever subway is involved) and it’s the best lightweight stroller on the market. My only gripe with it is that the seat is always semi-reclined — so when mini is awake and alert, she’s always got a gangster lean going on that looks rather uncomfortable. Then again, it’s super nice that the stroller DOES recline when she falls asleep. BUT. If I had had mini in New York, I’d probably have registered for the Babyzen in addition to the Bugaboo. It comes with a newborn pack that permits you to use the stroller from the first day baby is born. And, get this: it now comes with adapters that enable you to pop your Nuna Pipa (still, I believe, the very best infant carseat out there — and either the lightest weight model on the market or one of them) right onto the frame. GENIUS. This would have made traveling with an infant SO EASY. The stroller folds up into nothing and can integrate with your infant carseat! Love.
+Of course, newbornhood isn’t ENTIRELY about the baby. It’s also about you as a new mom! One thing I wasn’t at all prepared for was nursing-friendly attire. I came to the hospital with one nursing bra and came home to a closet of non-nursing-friendly clothes. If I were to do it again, I’d buy two or three of these, which were my absolute favorite in those first few days — super soft and comfortable with no straps or clasps to fuss with (pull down style) — and for sleeping in thereafter. And then I’d buy two of these. They’re more expensive but they are definitely the best nursing bra on the market for daytime wear. I tried maybe three or four other brands but only wanted to wear this one. They are comfortable, well-padded (not in the sense that you need extra padding, AHEM — but they kept leaks to a minimum/were able to absorb well). They’re not the prettiest bra on the market, but they’re also not the ugliest. I’d stick with those two brands and then buy a ton of loose-fitting button-downs (like this, this, and this). I paired those with leggings almost every day for a few weeks after mini was born. Comfortable, vaguely stylish (esp when you throw a chunky cable knit or cashmere cardigan over top), and functional. OH! And if you’re having a c-section, do yourself a huge favor and order one or two of these nursing nightgowns, which I wore most nights during the first two weeks of recovery. They’re brilliant because they mean you have nothing pressing down close to the incision (i.e., no drawstrings/waistbands) and are so soft and comfortable. And also do not require you to wear a nursing bra in addition. (More tips on c-section recovery here.)
+I HATED every nursing cover. BLECH! I always felt like they were choking me and obstructing my view. I didn’t try Bebe Au Lait, which are completely hideous but get solid reviews. I like the fact that there seems to be a piece of wire in the front that enables you to peek down without suffocating yourself or your baby. I would have liked having this when I was traveling/nursing with friends at home. I dunno, though. The prints are BAD. Vanity…
+I would have bought way more soft cotton pajamas/onesie. I didn’t understand that for the first many months of the baby’s life, all you want to dress her in are soft cotton jammies. Starched poplin bubbles look like torture! I especially loved Kissy Kissy and 1212 (<<THE SOFTEST) for the early days. Once you try those brands, though, you’ll be like: “What is this Gerber onesie?! It feels like a brillo pad!”
P.S. My favorite baby gear at 17 months (many of the top picks from my registry are still kickin’!) and the most honest articulation of how it felt to become a mother.
P.P.P.S. Merry Christmas Eve! I’m currently wearing this and burgundy velvet heels from a few years ago (no longer available) that look somewhat similar to these, which I’m swooning over (on mega sale). Those shoes in turn remind me of this dress, which I still am trying to figure out how to legitimize. (When would I wear it?! Maybe I’ll buy it and stow it away for next year’s Christmas Eve?! I love it.)
P.P.P.P.S. Getting a little aggressive with the post-scripts here, but the most popular items on le blog this MONTH: this sweater (I own and wear it constantly), this Gucci vibes sweater, these ultra-soft socks, cashmere joggers (<<on sale!), and this Lululemon dupe. Treat yourself…