Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Registries are awesome, until they're not

Gift Registries are so amazing!  You actually get to make a list of all the things you want and then give it to people and watch as they buy your wish list for you!
Whoever thought of the Gift Registry was a genius!
So, when I got pregnant I knew there was a registry to look forward to down the road. I thought about how fun it was to register for my bridal shower. I walked the stores and picked out all of the things I loved and wanted as well as needed. It wasn't as fun for my future husband because he didn't care about all of the little things, but he perked up at some things like the super soft towels and sheets we put on our list. 
I started reading baby magazines and researching products online so I could be prepared when it came time to make the trip to the store to register. I had no idea what I was in for. 
Registering for baby gear is HARD!
You're not picking things for yourself, your picking things for this tiny little baby who is going to need them. It's not about the cutest stuff. It's about the safest products. 
We decided to register at BuyBuyBaby. If you've ever been to Bed Bath & Beyond and been overwhelmed by their floor to ceiling displays of kitchen gadgets and cooking tool then you can imagine how I felt walking into Buy Buy Baby. Except it wasn't kitchen tools, it was bottles and bibs, teethers, first aid. Floor to ceiling onesies and swaddlers. 
There were rows of car seats, strollers, cribs and pack & plays. My husband and I didn't know where to start. We got our scan gun and were left to our own devices. We spent almost an hour staring at strollers, trying to figure out how to open and close them. We were finally saved by a salesperson who noticed how helpless we looked. He took us around the major baby gear sections, strollers, car seats, playpens, and showed us the differences and gave us great info and suggestions based on what we were looking for. 
We didn't get very far with our registry that day. When we returned the scan gun the lady was very shocked. I think we had maybe 10 things on our list and we had been there for over 2 hours. She suggested we make an appointment with a registry consultant, which we did for the following week. 
Our second visit was a very different story from the first. We met with the registry consultant immediately upon entering. We were given a scan gun and she accompanied us to the floor. She asked questions about what types of things we were interested in and used our input to make very informed suggestions as she took us from section to section. This was a much more pleasurable experience. It was like having a guide to the world of unknown baby gear. We were much more efficient this time and wrapped up our registry in around 2 hours. We had everything from bedding to bath products, bottles to toys. It was fantastic. I was happy with all of the things we picked and it felt like we would be very prepared once we had everything. 
As time went on, I did go to the website a couple of times and add things that I read about in a magazine or got a suggestion for from a friend, but for the most part our registry went forward with all of our choices from that second trip. 
Lesson learned!
Don't attempt to navigate thousands of products that you know little to nothing about on your own. There are very knowledgable, experienced people in those stores who are willing to help you through the registry process. And the services are free!  Trust me, you don't want to waste time wandering a store for hours when you're five or six months pregnant. It's just not fun. Get help the first time you go and it will be a much more enjoyable experience. Then you just have to sit back and wait for those wonderful presents to come to you :)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Avoid Information Overload

I read two pregnancy books while I was pregnant.
Yep, that's right, just two.
Because, how many books do you need to read that tell you the same things, or give you lists of really scary stuff that COULD happen but probably never will.

I read both books cover to cover and they were completely different kinds of books that gave me a crap load of information and sparked lots of additional online research for me to do before the baby was born.

The first book was given to me by my doctor.  And, no, it was not "What to Expect When You Are Expecting".  Actually, my doctor recommended I NOT read that book as it tends to undermine physicians.  I don't know if that's true, but I trusted my doctor and still do.  The book he gave me was "Your Pregnancy and Childbirth, Month to Month".
I thank my doctor tremendously for giving me this book.  One, it saved me money, and two it was a really fantastic book.  It covered pregnancy stages, symptoms and issues on a monthly and weekly basis.  I had this book next to my bed and every month of my pregnancy, I would read the chapter about my upcoming pregnancy month.  Was everything applicable to me?  No.  But it was pretty cool when they were spot on and sometimes it was nice to not have all of the symptoms they mentioned in the book.  I could gloat about not having a leaky bladder or morning sickness.
The book has good exercise recommendations for different stages of pregnancy which was nice.
There is also lots of information about the surprises that could possibly come with pregnancy like birth defects, gestational diabetes, and other scary stuff, but it was sectioned out in other chapters and you could read it or choose not to.
I would definitely recommend this book to women in their first pregnancy.  There's a lot of things that happen to your body and having an idea about whether it's normal or not is super helpful.

The other book I read was "Skinny Bitch Bun In the Oven".

I have the original Skinny Bitch book with awesome vegetarian/vegan recipes and as I was perusing the bookshelves I spotted this book and thought, "Yep, that's the one".
I will warn you, this book is not for everyone as it may come off a little extreme.  However, I do recommend you give it a try even if you're not vegetarian.  If you never plan to give up meat and become a vegetarian, I recommend you avoid the chapter about the meat industry and possibly the chapter about milk.  Otherwise, it is an awesome and scary book.
I thought I was pretty well informed and made good choices about products and food.  I am vegetarian, I eat lots of organic foods and I buy lots of recycled and organic/natural products.  But even so, I had no idea how truly crazy things are in this country when it comes to manufacturing and production.  Companies can basically get away with almost anything.  There seems to be no accountability for the crap they put in our products.  What's worse is they can get away with putting really harmful things in baby products! The book is very frank about what's going on with food and products that is really not good for us, especially if you are pregnant.  There are a lot of harmful chemicals in products we would not even think about, so exposure to those things could be harmful to the baby growing inside of you.
The book also goes into some products and what to consider when purchasing things for the baby, such as a crib mattress.  Many crib mattresses are made using petroleum and flame retardants that off-gas while the baby is sleeping on it.  That is simply insane and unacceptable.  I don't understand how that can even be allowed.  Babies spend a lot of time sleeping and having them on anything that could have them breathing harmful chemicals is ridiculous.  Organic, all natural mattresses are the only way to go.  And I'll tell you, they're not that much more expensive and it's totally worth it for your baby and your peace of mind.  This book changed the way I think about how I buy products and which companies I will give my business to.  These things will stay with me for the rest of my life.

So, those are the two books I read and would recommend.
With that, I also did lots of reading and research online.  That's just the way things go now.  We have the internet at our fingertips and that can super useful and also very harmful to our minds.  Try to avoid that information overload.  You can read lots of books and thousands of articles that have opposing opinions about what's best for you, your baby, your family and your home.  Try not to.  There's already a lot of stress that comes with being pregnant and then with having that new baby to take care of, you don't need to add on to that with overwhelming amounts of information.  Trust in yourself when making decisions, follow your values and common sense.  There are a lot companies out there who truly do care about you and your baby.
Some of my favorites that I've found are listed on my blog page at the bottom.  I'll also share some in my future blogs.

Number one piece of advice from me about buying food or products for your family is to read the list of ingredients and/or materials.  If there are things that sounds strange to you, don't buy it.  Try to find things that are made of items you can easily identify.  Ambiguous ingredients like Fragrance or Flavoring tends to hide a lot of things you wouldn't want on or in your baby or yourself, avoid them.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

New Mama, New Blog

So it has been one whole year since I had my first baby!

My little man Hudson is no longer an infant.  He is heading towards that stage called Toddler very quickly and it is scary.  But it's also really exciting.

I am starting this blog because that first year was filled with a lot of firsts!
For me, my husband and Hudson.  We all had very unique experiences over the last year and I want to share some of the geeky ways we dealt with things.  And now that I am an expert Mama Geek (yeah, right!) We are raising our son to hopefully be just as geeky as we are, he's already been to his first Comic Con, so I want to be sure to get all of our geeky adventures down for posterity.

I hope everyone who reads this finds some helpful tips, has some fun and enjoys what I have to say and share from our silly, geeky lives.