Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Hey Moms: I Need Your Suggestions! (+ Some Thoughts on the Direction of This Blog)


On Being Pregnant // Bubby and Bean

First, I want to say thank you - so much - for the comments, emails, likes, notes, etc. here on the blog and on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook regarding our big announcement the other day.  Even though I've been pregnant for almost four months now, I feel like we can really celebrate now that we've finally shared the news.  It means a lot to me (and to Robbie too) to get such a sweet response from you guys.  Thank you again!

Next, a few of you asked, so I feel the need to 'reassure' my readers that Bubby and Bean isn't going to become a mommy blog.  This isn't anything against mommy blogs - I actually really enjoy reading blogs about motherhood, and have followed several since long before we ever planned on becoming pregnant.  But the majority of Bubby and Bean's readers come here for design and style inspiration, and that will continue to be the main focus.  At the same time, I consider this to be a lifestyle blog, and from day one my mission has been to share ways to live a creative lifestyle.  In that sense, I'm really looking forward to incorporating some parenting and kid related content here now and then - in the same way I did while we were planning our wedding.  This is a whole new world for me and things like nursery design, baby gear, and even maternity clothes are pretty exciting in my eyes. 

I still plan to share more about our journey in trying to conceive in the next couple of weeks, but for now, I'm asking you for some advice!  As I said, this is a whole new world for me, and there is a ridiculous amount out there in terms of different products, brands, and what you actually 'need.'  I want to know your favorites: nursery necessities, baby clothing and shoes, diaper bags, diapers (we prefer biodegradable), blankets, toys, body and skin care, maternity clothes (the photo above was taken a few weeks ago when I first started to show; I'm quite a bit bigger now!), books (my friend Cara gave me a great one called Origins), crib mattresses and sheets, breast feeding necessities, baby monitors, slings, car seats, strollers, etc!  What are your favorite companies (handmade, eco-friendly, and Etsy shops are a plus) and brands?  What products can't you live without?  What items can we buy second hand?  What types of things can I make myself (I am very much about being frugal and DIYing)? Whatever you can share, it will be appreciated!

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58 comments:

  1. I'm saying congratulations again because I'm just so pumped for you guys! :-)

    We don't have any kids yet, but there are a lot in the family. One thing that was a huge hit with my nephew was eating actual food when he started solids, instead of going the jarred baby food route. They would just cut up a banana really small, for example, and he had no problem wolfing it down. :-)

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    1. Thank you Paige! That's a great tip! Jarred baby food weirds me out a little anyway - I like the idea of being able to feed our little one real food.

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  2. I could write you a novel! We second-handed a lot of stuff because we knew we wouldn't have it in use for long and we didn't care about a matchy-matchy nursery. We got a free crib, and got a changing table and high chair from a friends' tag sale. As long as stuff is clean, there's no reason not to try and find things second-hand because they just don't get that much use. The thing our kids loved most was the Exersaucer (by evenflo?) once they were big enough to be supported by it. There really are so many things I could suggest! But in the end, you'll find what works best for you. :)

    Congratulations again!!

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    1. Thanks Kristen! I will definitely look into the Exersaucer, and I really appreciate the second hand tips!

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  3. Melissa,
    I have been following you blog along with a few other bloggers for a year or so now. I love your style and the way that you present information to your readers. I'm hoping to open my blog (www.creategalaxies.blogspot.com) and a etsy shop in the near future. Congratulations on your soon to be baby! I'm not a mother yet but I do have a niece that is like a daughter (with the added benefit of handing her over to my sister if she really gets out of hand, haha). I think it would be beneficial for mothers to know what chemicals are in the baby products that are sold in the stores and maybe some recipes that we can make at home. And baby clothes, like silk screening a onies.. I did that for my niece when she was a baby and I even tie-dyed some shirts for her. I hope that some of my suggestions will help you!

    Congrats and have a great day!

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  4. That photo of you is beautiful!
    We don't have kids, but I have sewn baby and toddler clothes for my friend's kids and my niece! I'm inspired by the baby collection of "Cyrillus Paris" - not sure if they have it in the States.

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    1. Thanks Duni - I will look into it and see if it's available here!

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  5. Favorite piece in my maternity wardrobe? My Mountains of the Moon Larkin dress! I know it's not "meant" to be maternity gear but fit me perfect right up until the end, and I can still wear it now with a wide belt. Congratulations Melissa!!!

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    1. Thank you Jessica! I love that something I designed was so useful for you! I've actually been wearing out Organic Zooey Dresses (the spring/summer version of the Larkin Dress) nonstop this summer. They're really the only things that still fit me right and are really comfortable! :)

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  6. Definitely get what you can second hand! They'll go through clothes and toys so fast, it just makes sense.

    My one go to newborn item was an itzbeen baby timer (http://www.target.com/p/itzbeen-pocket-nanny/-/A-10541943) -it lets you keep track of how long its been since your baby has fed, slept, been changed, and there's a tab to remind you if he fed from your left or right side. My son was a low weight at birth and when we brought him home I had to feed him every two hours around the clock for the first couple days to get his weight up. This was a life saver keeping track of everything since we were tired and delirious haha but even when we switched to regular feedings I still loved it.

    Congrats again!

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  7. You can actually make quite a lot on your own. I'm not very good at DIYing so most of the stuff as far as bedding goes I will be getting from Etsy as I'm not a fan of most things in regular stores. You're still really early so I would say don't stress too much on what you all need as most of it you won't even need when you first have your little baby for the first couple of months. You only really need the necessities. You don't need a ton of outfits either. We loved having swaddle blankets around though as it made getting our daughter a whole lot easier to sleep when she was a newborn. Most of our furniture we'll be getting from either Ikea, Target, or Walmart. Nothing too fancy, but functional. I also wouldn't spend a whole ton of money on newborn outfits and the first 6 months or so because they grow ridiculously fast and to be honest I think it's a waste of money to buy handmade clothing from independent etsy shops for newborns but that's just my personal opinion, if you have the money to spend go for it though. I just feel there are more important things like a good carseat etc. As for favorite brands I don't really have any favorites, I kind of just buy what I like as long as it has good reviews lol. We also loved having a bouncer/swing around for the first couple of months. Whenever I needed to get things done it would definitely help keep our daughter calm instead of carrying her all over the place (I had a c-section so even if I wanted to, it'd be a bad idea lol). Also I personally found maternity clothes a waste unless they were like jeans or something. I could fit into most regular clothes through my entire first pregnancy. I didn't even get maternity jeans until like 30 weeks because I just used a belly band for the most part. Then my thighs decided to blow up like balloons lol. I also lived in maxi dresses! Plus I don't think maternity clothes are all that cute but again just my opinion lol.

    But yeah I would say just ask around if you see a blogger or someone using something that looks interesting and see how they like it! Most products I come across I happen to find through other bloggers personal posts or reviews. :)

    J.

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    1. Thank you J! You're so lucky that you were able to fit into your regular clothes for so long! At 15.5 weeks, very little that I own still fits me. I've definitely put on a few pounds. :) And it's true that we're still fairly early, but my husband goes back on the road with the band in a month so we're trying to get as much as possible done now. I appreciate your suggestions!

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  8. Elizabeth FloerschJuly 17, 2013 9:35 AM

    Yay, Melissa! My growing baby is just a few weeks older than yours, so I am right... there... with you! I am excited to read your motherhood journeys incorporated into your blog. We have already complied a ton of baby gear & products. Hand-me-downs & second-hand items are where it's AT. We specifically watch for things that our friends might be looking to part with in order to make room, etc. For example: a girlfriend of mine from grade school just gifted me a gently used jogger stroller & matching infant car seat. Score! Craigslist is another excellent resource for baby items, but one thing we have run into is making sure that items are complete & intact, & that there have been no safety recalls on the items in question. Much love & best of luck to you & Robbie! Most importantly, stay healthy & happy, Momma! xo

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    1. Liz! I had no idea you were pregnant too! Congrats! We will definitely be going the second hand rut as much as possible as well. xoxo

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  9. Oh my...there are so many products. I will start with Maternity wear-I bought maternity jeans and wore those quite a bit. I wrote a post about them here: http://foxesinthegraveyard.blogspot.com/2012/03/maternity-wear-jeans.html I did purchase some longer shirts from lululemon but all those I can still wear now. I also was able to wear the maternity jeans after baby was born till I fit back into my pre-pregnancy jeans. Remember to buy your pre-pregnancy size.

    Let's see other items: Marpac sound machine is amazing-worth the extra price for the double. I really like Honest Company diapers-I'm not sure if they are biodegradable though. Here is a list of items that we have loved: http://foxesinthegraveyard.blogspot.com/2013/03/favorite-baby-things.html

    We bought a really expensive crib that converts into toddler bed to full size bed. You can view it in this post (bottom picture): http://foxesinthegraveyard.blogspot.com/2012/01/our-new-home.html this definitely not necessary and I think we were a little too excited. haha.

    if you ever want to email me about anything ever my email is: foxesandfigs@gmail.com

    goodluck with all your decision making oh and one more link to a post I put up recently: http://foxesinthegraveyard.blogspot.com/2013/07/helpful-links-for-mamas-to-be.html hope any of this helps.

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    1. GREAT suggestions Kelly Rae! Thank you!

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    2. I felt like I wrote you a story. haha. goodluck with all your decision making! :)

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  10. I didn't properly congratulate you on your announcement post, so congrats to you and Robbie! You are such a stunning mama already.

    Thinking about what we did and didn't need with our daughter, there wasn't a whole lot of necessities (not as many as the commercial market would have you think anyways). We both loved carrying her in a Moby wrap, and I could not more highly recommend getting a really good electric pump. I nursed for over two years and never could pump with a manual one, so my daughter never had a bottle. It would have been a godsend to be able to have my husband feed her bottles sometimes so I could have a break. Tommy Tippee has some awesome bottles that have a nipple and top designed specially for breastfed babies that I would highly recommend. I also recommend getting a good quality stroller. Our first stroller was an Evenflo Aura and it was a pain to fold, push, and deal with, not to mention clunky. We have an UPPA Baby D-Lite now, and I would recommend any of their products (look for them on craigslist and ebay because you can buy new covers for them). I also used a Shrinx hips pressure belt for my hips which helped with the clumsiness and discomfort of them being so relaxed after carrying a baby.

    I wish I would have had a community of women with experience to help me decide or point me in the right direction when I was pregnant. You'll figure it out though, you'll find your mother's instinct to be really helpful in lots of areas. Good luck!

    Molly @MaeLiveFree

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    1. Thank you so much Molly. I am all about the electric pump - I'd say more friends have recommended that than anything else. I really appreciate these suggestions!

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  12. You can get almost all of your clothes second hand. I only buy new things if I REALLY love them. Keep in mind, people will give you pale pink or pale blue. It doesn't matter what your style is, you will get those. When I bought baby clothes, I tried to buy bright colors and fun patterns to mix in with all the pale pink I got as gifts.

    Something to swaddle with is a great help. My husband was a pro at the normal blanket swaddle but I usually needed the velcro kind. I suggest both so you're not crying at 2am trying to swaddle a screaming baby (been there).

    Burp cloths are really easy to make yourself. I bought lots of cute flannel and just sewed it myself. It goes even faster with a serger. Just put two pieces together and serge around the edges. Done! You will need lots. Babies are very moist.

    My final piece of advice is that it is really hard at first but gets better. Everyone will tell you this but it is hard to believe. My little girl is 6 months now and I adore her but there were times at the beginning when I really just wanted her to go away so I could sleep.

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  13. Also, a word about hospital bag packing: buy some comfy cotton grandma panties in a size that's too big for you but won't fall off. Post birth they make you wear mesh cotton hospital ones because you bleed for a while after (sorry, tmi) and they're really uncomfortable. If you bring your own that you don't care if they get ruined its more comfortable. Ater the birth you're also allowed to wear your own clothes as long as its way access for BP monitors and such. The clothes should also be easy access for baby if you're nursing. Short sleeve button pajama shirts work great. Also: bring food. If baby isn't born until late you won't be able to get food from the cafeteria and you'll be starving cause you can't eat during the whole labor/delivery process. Pack some jello (incase you're told clear liquids only) and some granola bars or something else if solids are okay.

    Congratulations again!! Being pregnant is a whole new world of crazy but it's so worth it at the end!!

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    1. Oh man. Iim pregnant with my second and my chubby fingers make mobile typing complicated. In an effort to fix typos I deleted most of the message. Haha.

      Maternity clothes: most Goodwill stores get Target's unsold merchandise, including maternity. If you check in you can get great deals! I got a whole maternity wardrobe of 4 shirts, 3 dresses, and a swimming suit (all brand new, tags on) from Goodwill for like $14 which is basically a miracle. Also the bellyband is a must. Target sells a version of called BeBand. It lets you wear pre-pregnancy clothes longer and sooner after baby. It's really convenient.

      Products: Hape toys is a great Eco friendly brand. There's a great Etsy seller called StellaBellaDesigns and she makes a GORGEOUS infinity nursing scarf. Most nursing covers are so ugly and not comfortable, this scarf is super trendy and really soft and since you wear it instead of packing it, it saves room in the diaper bag.

      DIY: Pinteret has LOADS of awesome DIY nursing tank tutorials. Instead of paying like $20 for a single nursing tank you can make them SO easily! It's definitely a big money saver. Nursing stuff is just as expensive as maternity so any DIY you can do for nursing (if that's your plan) is good.

      Lastly, and this may be off your mark but it really mattered to me and my husband: basicay all baby/kids brand of clothing in Walmarts/Target/department stores rate about a D- on the ethics scale, meaning they're mostly made in sweatshops or there's no supply chain accountability by manufacturers. We bought as much clothing as we could second hand or from etsy or from sellers that received B or better grades. It was more expensive but the thought of third world children being taken advantage of to clothe my child was too much for me. There's a great iPhone app called Free2Work that you can look up products with.

      Oh! One more!! Lush has a product called King of Skin, it's a post shower body butter bar: best thing ever for skin getting stretched and worked because of an expanding baby!! Definitely a must have!!!

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    2. Thank you Abbey! Lots of great suggestions. I appreciate it!

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  14. First off go sign up for great updates and information at babycenter.com. We still use the site to this day and our son is almost 6. Second buy a Medela (Pump In Style) if you plan on breast feeding. As far as baby products I suggest the honest company. They're somewhat pricey but all natural safe products none the less.

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    1. Thank you! I've been looking at the Honest Company's website quite a bit lately and I really like what they're all about.

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  15. Ahhh, congratulations again! This picture is gorgeous! I'm not a mom yet so I don't have any advice but my sister uses the gdiaper flushable inserts and loves them. I'm so excited to see how you decorate your nursery and how cute you dress your little one! =)

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  16. first of all congrats on your very exciting news! I found that reading reviews and discussion forums was really helpful in decided what products to go with. Invest in a couple of maternity dresses a few pairs of pants and some tops,you might not need tat much till the very end of your pregnancy. also start the nursery now, you won't have much energy the last few months!

    Em K

    Win $100 from Manitobah!

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    1. Thanks Em! My husband works for a band and they go back on the road in a month so we definitely need to get the nursery started. :)

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  17. Look at you with your little bump! I love it.

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  18. I'm the last person you want baby/pregnancy advice from...lol :) But I look forward to reading what you find so I can share it with my friends and use them for gift ideas!

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  19. You'll need a wipes warmer. That was what my sister-in-law said was useful to her baby girl.

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  20. You can never have too many onesies. SO versatile!

    You will definitely want a Baby Bjorn (or something similar), so you can keep snuggling baby while you walk or work.

    You can make your own crib sheets using organic cotton. Very easy.
    I'll try to find a link for a tutorial. They will be SO much softer than "store bought."

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  21. Old Navy and Gap for maternity bottoms. Little Hip Squeaks for etsy legging cuteness. By Brest Friend for breastfeeding pillow (horrible name, better design than the Boppy for a newborn). Ergo for a carrier, much nicer than a Bjorn. We really like the Bjorn travel crib better than the Graco type. It's much more compact. Aden and Anais for swaddling and nicer burp cloths. Don't get a wipes warmer, not worth it. Oh, there's so much, I need to do a post sometime about it all!

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  22. I really loved the Baby Bjorn, and was all set on wearing my baby while I got stuff done around the house, but she ended up not liking to be held AT ALL (sensory issues). So then I guess my next favorite thing was a swing that rocked side to side OR front to back...she loved that thing. We had the Fisher Price Rainforest Cradle n' Swing. Very durable.

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    1. Thank you Mel! I'll have to check that out.

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  23. I don't have experience with this, but congratulations!
    This must be a very exiting time for you :-)

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  24. i've found that you need a lot less stuff than people tell you that you need. i liked having a few of everything versus a dozen of everything, because i knew if i had 20 burp cloths, i'd wait until 19 of them were dirty before washing them, because i'm a slacker like that. plus, you can always get more of something once you realize you need it.

    i loved my three pack of aden and anais swaddles because they are thin and supersized - very easy to wrap, but thin so they didn't take a ton of space in his bag or drawer. my son also loved the swaddles with velcro to give him a really tight squeeze for bedtime. we used the boppy pillow a lot - you can find really cute covers on etsy.

    my hand mixer (immersion blender?) was SUPER handy in making baby food. if you don't have one i'd definitely recommend getting one before baby is of eating age. they take up less space and are way easier to clean than a food processor.

    congratulations!

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    1. Thank you Mia! I have heard the best things about Aden And Anais products.

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  25. I'm a new reader of Bubby & Bean and I couldn't be happier for you and your man! That is so exciting! Congratulations!!!!

    As soon as I found your blog I was immediately hooked. Your aesthetic is GORGEOUS and I love that you are interested in the sustainability side of fashion and design. That is truly where my passion lies. I just wanted to thank you for such a wonderful and inspiring blog. I am so glad I found you and I am excited to watch you succeed and grow.

    MUCH MUCH LOVE from NYC.

    Paige

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    1. Wow Paige, thank you so much! That means a lot to me. I'm excited to have you as a new reader! xo, m

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  26. You are such a beautiful mama to be!
    I think we are on the same page with our blogs...my life has grown and changed so much and I want my blog to grow with me, but I also want to stay true to where it all started. Its a fun journey to figure out a good balance.

    As far as products...I could go on and on. Honest co. has been great for healing balm, bottles, etc. Beudreaux's butt paste is the BEST rash cream out there. I bought most of the equipment for the first baby but by the third, realizing you can do without most of the electronics:) ie: diaper wipe heater ...

    Anyways, can't wait to see your baby bump grow:)
    Anna

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    1. Thank you Anna! Coming from one of my favorite mamas (you!), that means a lot. :) I keep hearing great things about Honest so I'm definitely going to do some shopping with them. And I just got a sample of Beudreaux's butt paste and will be sure to stock up before bebe arrives! xo, m

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  27. I highly suggest the book Baby Bargains....gives you an overview of all the baby gear (which can be quite overwhelming, as I have recently discovered) and breaks down which brands are good, where things are made, etc. I skip though through the recommendations at the end instead of reading the whole thing (who wants to read about the 50 different brands of strollers out there?) Best of luck with everything as you prepare for the baby and this exciting time and your life!

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  28. Hi Melissa

    Congratulations on your pregnancy. After 4 kids, I learned that you really don't need much baby gear - as cool as some of it seems. I really did like the nursing pillow and you can use it around the baby when they are learning to sit and lay them over it for tummy time. A lot of products will be trial and error when the baby arrives. Not all of my kids could wear the same diapers, use the same wipes, use the same bum cream, soaps, lotions, etc. I also remember needing lots of burp cloths and blankets/bed sheets and crib pads. If you layer them, when the baby makes a mess in the middle of the night, you just have to take the first layer off and lay the baby back down. I also found that sleeping with the baby in the first few weeks kept me from losing it and allowed me to sleep some at night. I know they don't recommend it, but life goes on and I couldn't nap with 4 kids under 6. The best advice is to do what feels right to you and your husband and enjoy it!

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  29. honest diapers. biodegradable, super cute, and delivered to your door!

    aiden and anaias blankets - you can get them at target, and Owen still sleeps with his every night, two years later!

    if you end up using formula, grab a Dr. Brown's pitcher (they're like $10 at toys r us). makes mixing formula a breeze.

    also, i'd love to knit or crochet some winter gear for your little! e-mail me if you're interested!

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