Monday, December 23, 2013

This Blogger Ain't Who She Once Was

Once in a while I check in on Next Stop Baby.  I usually just glance at the home page and make sure it's still there.  On the rare occasion I'll read an old post.  Today, I randomly decided to read the "This Blogger" page.  It needed some updating.  So, I updated it.  It felt nice to be back from hiatus...if only for a minute or two.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Proper Farewell

Clearly, I'm checked out of this whole blogging thing.  And I apologize for not giving you a proper farewell three weeks ago.  Better late than never?

Motherhood is time consuming.  I've found a groove and I'm back to showering and using the bathroom at regular intervals, but true "free time" is rare.  While I could continue to blog, I know I could find fifteen minutes here or there, I'm going to hold off.  I don't want to serve up half-arsed posts twice a month.  That's not cool.  Not cool for you - you should be able to count on a five minute break from life that's worth your five minutes.  Not cool for me - I love writing and don't want to throw together grammatically incorrect, misspelled, boring nonsense.

So, I'm (finally) saying farewell.  It's been fantastic.  I've so enjoyed our exchanges, I'm no doubt a better mother for them.  I won't say goodbye forever, but farewell for the foreseeable future.  Thanks for reading.  Truly.

I will remain available for a chat at


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Shoulda Included This on My Registry

Shoulda, woulda, coulda.  I registered for a lot of stuff for my baby shower (at and Buy Buy Baby).  At some point, I will share an abbreviated version of that long list.  But first, here's a short list of items that I should have registered for, but didn't.  I own them all now.

Mittens - All babies rub their eyes when they're tired.  According to my baby's pediatrician, it's instinctive and it can't be prevented.  Some babies rub more than others...mine rubs like a professional.  Mittens are a simple solution.  I registered for one set of two mittens.  Within a week, I lost a mitten.  They're so damn tiny.  Do yourself a favor and get more than two sets of mittens.  Do yourself another favor and don't get the brand I did (here) because they sucked.  The elasticity around the wrists stretched out quickly and the mittens would fall off.  Useless.  I ended up buying extra sets made by Gerber and they are fantastic.

Nose Frida - Okay, this is a pretty gross product in concept.  It's called a "snot sucker" because it's a tool for sucking snot out of the baby's nose...literally.  Mom's mouth goes on one end of the tube and baby's nostril is at the other end with a filter in between.  Once you get over the sucking concept, you get on the sucking wagon.  It works much better than the bulb syringe you get in the hospital or whatever nasal aspirator you get at your baby shower.  It's much more gentle and much more productive.

Cloth Diapers - I do not use cloth diapers on my baby's bum...maybe next time.  But, I do use cloth diapers as burp clothes.  This is a staple usage for cloth diapers and for good reason - they're soft and absorbent.  I registered for them, but not nearly enough.  Cloth diapers/burp clothes are good for everything.  They soak up spit up, wipe off drool and are the perfect tool to remedy a diaper disaster.  So, get a lot.  I got a dozen.  I wish I got two dozen.

Wipe Dispenser - I didn't register for this because I thought it was unnecessary.  I was wrong.  The plastic containers that the wipes come in are cheap and don't work.  I frequently found myself wrist deep in poop with my naked, screaming cherub on the changing table as I tried to pull out another wipe that just wouldn't come.  Finally, I got on board and it's been smooth sailing ever since.  I went with the OXO wipe dispenser on the recommendation of a friend, it's great.

What products should you have included on your registry?  
What did you discover to be indispensable after the little one arrived?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Real Conversation

And now, I interrupt my previously scheduled post about more things I did when I was pregnant to bring you a real conversation...that happened yesterday.

First, I'll set the stage: I am sitting in a cafe with my bundle of joy, who is sleeping in the stroller and looking quite angelic.  I've just sat down with a hot bowl of soup (it's cold in NY these days) and I'm about to take my first warm spoonfuls.  Enter woman with a coffee and cookie who takes a seat at the table next to mine.

Woman - Your baby is adorable, so tiny.  How old? 
Me - Thanks!  Around 3 months. 
Woman - I've seen so many tiny babies lately.  I saw a really small baby in the diner the other day, even smaller than yours.  You baby is big for 3 months, right? 
Me - Actually, yes.   
Woman - I have to make a call to my husband. 
Me - Okay.  (I smile and assume that the conversation is going to end here) 
Woman - I have to call my husband about my son.  I got called into his school yesterday and they told me that he has (she starts poking around her scalp)...LICE. 
Me - I'm sorry. 
Woman - I was picking through his head last night and he asked what I was doing and I didn't want to tell him, so I said nothing.  I have to call my husband and tell him that I got the special shampoo.  I'll have to pick through his head again tonight.
Me - Oh. 
Woman - It's so gross. 
Me - Yeah.

Finally, the woman reaches her husband on the phone and proceeds to discuss the gross lice situation, including the special shampoo.  I am left staring at my soup and unsure whether my appetite is fully gone or just partially.

While I was pregnant I found myself the victim of similar type conversations where a stranger divulged very random and often very awkward information to me.  Yesterday's conversation reminded me of those pregnancy days.  Somehow they already feel a light year away.  Time flies once the baby arrives.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Pregnancy Book or Ten

I have written about pregnancy books a couple times (here and here too).  Those posts were, of course, written before I was actually pregnant. So, by the time I became pregnant and wanted to get on the knowledge wagon, I forgot the results of all that research.  Easy solution - I went back through my posts.

I had written about serious pregnancy books and "Not So Serious" pregnancy books.  I wanted a serious book.  I knew ZIP about what was in store for me and relying on Jenny McCarthy as my sole provider of information seemed risky (though I've heard that Belly Laughs is a hoot).  I also decided, after reviewing my posts, that I wanted to steer clear of What To Expect When You're Expecting.  While several friends had recommended it as the true bible of pregnancy, others classified it as a fear-inducing encyclopedia.  I wanted to err on the side of a fearless pregnancy.  Lastly, I did a little re-reading of book reviews.  With everything fresh in my mind, I headed to Barnes and Noble to make my big purchase.

I can't tell you what I intended to purchase at Barnes and Noble because I don't remember.  What I do remember is going to the pregnancy section of the store for the first time and (sort of) freaking out.  First, I couldn't find the book I had picked and was too nervous to ask for help.  Maybe I chose the wrong book and the sales clerk was going to judge me..."already a bad mom and the baby isn't even here...tisk tisk."  I quickly gave up my game plan and started randomly looking through the shelves, but there were so many books.  SO MANY BOOKS.  I picked up one and mindlessly flipped through it.  Nope.  I flipped through another.  Nope.  I didn't know why I was rejecting them or what I was looking for.  At some point I decided that I had been there too long, my mission was a bust and I needed to just grab something and leave.  My hands landed on the Mayo Clinic book and I nearly ran to the check out.

GREAT accidental choice on my part.  About half the book is broken up into a month by month discussion of changes to the baby, changes to the mom and specific things that will occur in each month (prenatal tests, etc.).  Monthly breakdowns felt like the perfect amount to consume in a sitting (versus weekly or by trimester).  The other half of the book is dedicated to labor and delivery.  The tone of the book is that perfect mix of straightforward information packaged in some friendly bedside manner.  And, I later learned that my doctor's office carried a copy of the Mayo Clinic book in each examination room.  That says something, right?  Though it also made me a little nervous to imagine a doctor needing it during an examination to answer a couple questions for the patient.

In addition to the Mayo Clinic book, I was also gifted Pregnancy Day by Day.

This is a pretty awesome book.  Each page is a day of pregnancy and each day there is something unique and special to read about.  There are amazing sonogram pictures on each page, so the mom-to-be has a visual of what's happening that day inside her belly.  This was especially nice in the beginning of my pregnancy when my bump hadn't bumped.  Though the cover promotes this book to contain "comprehensive advice", I wouldn't necessarily agree with that characterization.  This is a relatively light read and more about the images and novel tidbits (example - fetal hiccups) than hardcore information.

I was also gifted a bunch of other books: the Dr. Oz book, The Girlfriends Guide, What to Expect (yeah, it found its way to my book shelf), Belly Laughs (still haven't read this one...maybe next time?).  My husband was even gifted a few books including The Caveman's Pregnancy Companion.  Each book contains the same basic information, but differs in the tone (mellow versus alarmist) and the amount of information (a little and a lot).  It ended up being really nice to have a collection because it gave me variety.  Some topics I wanted to know everything about and so I could hit up that chapter in all of the books and learn it from every angle.  Some topics I didn't care as much about, so I could read about it in a less intense book and move on.  

There are a couple morals to this story.  First, you may not want to buy yourself a pregnancy book because it's a staple gift for a first time mom and you're bound to receive a few.  Second, each book provides something different and valuable so there's nothing wrong with having a collection.  Last, at some point I found myself putting the books away and relying solely on my doctor because she knew me, she knew my baby and she knew my pregnancy...unlike the authors of any of the books on my shelf.  More on this last lesson another day.  

What pregnancy books did you use?  How would you rate the books?    


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Pickles and Ice Cream

The minute I revealed that there was bun in my oven, people started asking about my cravings.  Friends, family and strangers alike all wanted to know what foods I suddenly and absolutely needed.  It's one of the most talked about symptoms of pregnancy - food cravings.  It's some sort of phenomenon that pregnant women have cravings for foods that they have never craved before (or even liked before).  And, better yet, pregnant women crave unique combinations of food.

Remember Lady and the Tramp?  Of course you do.  It's aptly described on IMDB as the "romantic tale of a sheltered uptown Cocker Spaniel dog and a streetwise downtown mutt".

This is from 1955, seriously.

Do you remember the scene when the voice of the pregnant wife asks the husband to go out in the blizzard to get her some watermelon and chop suey?  That is how most people imagine pregnancy cravings.  Watermelon and chop suey.  Or, the classic, pickles and ice cream.  I was constantly asked whether I craved pickles or ice cream or the combination.  Much like Snooki, I happen to love pickles, and much like everyone, I happen to love ice cream.  So, my answer was always "Yes, I have been craving both pickles and ice much as I did before my pregnancy, which was a lot."

What I find especially interesting about the association between pregnancy and food cravings is that it's a farce.  Sort of.  I didn't have cravings when pregnant, not really.  There was never a moment when I absolutely needed a particular food.  There was never a moment when I demanded my husband run to the corner store for pickles or ice cream or anything else.  Most of my mom friends report the same.

This is a real maternity clothing store, check it out here.

I did, however, find myself eating a lot of tomato soup.  I'm a bagged lunch type of lady, yet I would randomly find myself in line at Hale and Hearty, waiting to pay for a cup of Tomato Basil with Rice soup.  Sometimes once a week.  But, I'm not sure I considered this a craving because I didn't suddenly and urgently need tomato soup at 2 a.m. one morning, I just sort of ate it often.  That and apple juice, but I think the apple juice was more about consuming something that was easy on my stomach and energy producing.

Has anyone ever actually craved pickles and ice cream while pregnant?  Has anyone (pregnant or not) ever tried pickles and ice cream together?  I wonder if it would be surprisingly good with the sweet and salty combo?  I do love chocolate covered pretzels.

What did you crave when you were pregnant?  

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Registration Locations

The title of this post made me think of Conjunction Junction.

Moving on.  Today is all about where I registered.  I wanted to register at two (or more) stores to give people options and to give myself options.  After very little deliberation (unlike my crib choice, more on that here) I registered at and Buy Buy Baby.

My first choice was Amazon because, simply, I'm a huge fan.  I do a lot of Amazon shopping, so I knew the ropes and liked the ropes.  It's convenient and the prices generally can't be beat.  But, I knew that not all shoppers are into the online forum, especially when it comes to baby stuff.  People love to touch and feel baby stuff.

With an online option selected, I went with Buy Buy Baby for a brick and mortar option.  The reason for my Buy Buy Baby choice was proximity and coupons.  Other big retailers like Target and Kohl's aren't easily accessible in NYC and I'd been warned against Target in particular for bad registry policies.  While Babies R' Us and Buy Buy Baby stores are equally accessible in NYC, I preferred the feel of Buy Buy Baby.  I also loved that Buy Buy Baby accepts the 20% off Bed Bath and Beyond coupons as well as its own coupons.

How did my choices pan out?

AMAZON was a mixed bag.  Amazon itself was great, but friends and family were (as I had feared) wary to buy gifts for a baby shower via the interweb.  Even the young, technology savvy folks shied away from online shopping.  I had taken advantage of the universal registry feature, which allows you to add items to the registry from any website online (awesome feature).  I chose a couple things from and some other online stores.  Those items were especially avoided by gift givers.  And, when people did take a leap and purchase a universal registry item, it wasn't marked as "purchased" on my Amazon registry.  Huge downer.  That's the whole point of a registry.

Just like gift givers were weary to purchase items without seeing them, I was weary to register for items without seeing them.  I hadn't anticipated this draw back.  I ended up checking out a lot of items in Buy Buy Baby and then registering for them on Amazon because they were less expensive (even with a 20% discount coupon at Buy Buy Baby).

One major positive about Amazon is the incredible diversity of their merchandise.  Amazon sells everything that Buy Buy Baby sells, and a lot more.  There were many things I wanted for my baby-to-be that were only available on Amazon (more on that in the weeks to come).

The last comment I'll make about Amazon is that it offers 10% off unpurchased registry items, which is great.  But, there are a couple catches here that I didn't realize.  One, it's not all unpurchased items, it's unpurchased items sold by itself and not an outside vendor.  Two, it's a one time deal so you have to use the 10% in single purchase.

Overall - the best prices, the best selection...if you can convince people (yourself included) to use this registry


Buy Buy Baby was all around great.  My husband and I went to the store and did most of our registering in person and then I added and changed a few things online.  The staff in the NYC Buy Buy Baby were incredibly helpful each and every time we went, which was only twice because it was overwhelming.  Every square foot of wall is covered with baby merchandise and nearly every square foot of floor is covered with shoppers.

The prices at Buy Buy Baby were comparable to Babies R' Us, Target and other major baby registry stores, though they were generally higher than  With a 20% discount coupon, most items were less than competitors and Buy Buy Baby does price matching.  So, one could price match and use a 20% discount coupon for a double savings whammy.

And now the cons.  Unfortunately, in talking to friends and family, most people didn't end up using coupons.  I think people didn't know they could use Bed Bath and Beyond coupons.  Also, I have a lot of friends and family outside the tri-state area who didn't have easy access to a Buy Buy Baby store - there aren't a lot.  Many baby shower recipients actually purchased Buy Buy Baby items online rather than going to the store itself because it was easier, which totally defeated my intent of it being a brick and mortar option.

Overall - If you can get to an actual store, it has great customer service, good product selection and good prices, especially with price matching and coupons.

Where did you register?  How did it turn out?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My Crib Choice

I'm back and I'm sharing my crib choice.  It was one of my first big decisions when I found out that I was pregnant.  With that being said, it took me quite a while to pull the trigger because I had a pretty long list of musts-haves and would-likes.  Overall, I was aiming for high quality versus high style.  This wasn't an area that I was willing to compromise if at all possible.  My baby-to-be was going to spend a lot time in the crib (hopefully 8+ hour stretches...) and I wanted it to last through moves to new homes, into toddler years and even for future family members.

Here's my list:

  • Relatively small - You know by now that I live in an small, one bedroom, NYC apartment.  The crib was going to (and now is) sharing the minimal square footage of the one bedroom.  I didn't want a true mini crib because I intended to use it in the future, in bigger spaces and with younger siblings.  Rather, I wanted a standard size crib that would fit a standard size mattress, but otherwise small (minimal thickness and height).  Some cribs are pretty bulky.  I wanted to steer clear of those cribs, however gorgeous they might be.
  • Made of wood - Wood is better than pressed board (aka MDF) for a couple reasons.  First, it lasts longer.  Second, it's natural.  Pressed board contains some gnarly chemicals and while I wasn't going to be obsessive about off-gassing concerns (Google it), choosing a wood crib versus a non-wood crib seemed easy enough.
  • Non-toxic finish - There are so many cribs with non-toxic finishes nowadays that it was simple to go with the safer option.
  • Light finish - This was purely aesthetic, but I preferred a light finish (white, birch, etc.) versus a dark finish (cherry, expresso, etc.).  I work with the theory that light and bright colors help open up small spaces.
  • Simple style - I'm not into ornate things, cribs included. 
  • No drawers on bottom - At first I absolutely, positively wanted drawers on the bottom of the crib.  I figured the added storage was what every one bedroom apartment with a newborn needs.  But I changed my mind.  I realized that an open bottom crib gave me options.  I could use the open space for more versatile storage like baskets or plastic bins.  Or, I could just leave it open for storing playmats and other randomly shaped baby stuff.  
  • Convertible into a toddler bed - Stretching the usability of the crib just made sense to me, especially because I wanted to purchase a high quality crib that I believed would last into (and beyond) toddler years.   

And now my choice - the Robin crib by Oeuf

What you see above is what you see in my bedroom, with the exception of the toddler doing yoga and the funky shaped cow rug.  So far, so good.  I'm very pleased with my choice.  It met ALL of my must-haves and even my would-likes.  I didn't have to compromise on a single thing.  The price point seemed mid range ($499 without the toddler bed conversion kit) compared to other models I was considering.  I had looked at everything from cribs available on to the Stokke Sleepi crib.  I really liked a crib by Argington (here), but was ultimately dissuaded after reading a number of reviews about faulty legs that snapped and broke.  The Robin crib was the right crib for the right price and I happened to love the way it looked, bonus.  

How did you choose a crib?  What did you ultimately settle on?