Thursday, June 28, 2012

Unsolicited Advice: Ladies, Flex Those Wrists and Stretch Those Fingers!

The culprit (see the V-hold?)
About a week after Baba G was home from the hospital, I started waking up unable to move my arms, wrists, hands, or fingers. At all. I mean, they would eventually warm up, but when I initially gained consciousness each day, it was like I was paralyzed.

I assumed this was some weird side-effect of having a C-section. Because of my The Less You Know™ approach toward labor, I hadn't read anything about what happens after you have to have a C-section (much less go through old-fashioned labor), so since the lower half of my body had blown up to resemble a character from The Nutty Professor or The Klumps and my docs said THAT was normal, I figured all the upper-body pain might be just the way it was after a C-section as well.

But I was wrong, because after two weeks, all of my Klumps-like swelling disappeared, but the pain in my wrists and fingers got worse and worse. When the day came that I nearly collapsed in agony after BG kicked my wrist while I was changing him—and then a few hours later I screamed and broke down sobbing after barely hitting my wrist against the washing machine—I knew something was drastically wrong.

I told one of my friends who has three kids about this, and she said, "Well it's probably from supporting BG's head and carrying him and all that."


Unfortunately, by that point in time my situation couldn't be remedied without outside assistance. Baba was only seven weeks old, but I could barely lift him, that's how bad my wrists hurt and how weak my hands had become. I couldn't use the can opener on my dog's food. I couldn't screw off the top of the OJ carton. I couldn't reach for anything. It was ridiculous.

I went to my doctor and she knew what it was right away: "Mother's Thumb," or De Quervain's tendonitis. She said that really the only thing that was going to help me was going to physical therapy. A cortisone shot, which sometimes helps those with Carpal Tunnel syndrome (which is very different from De Quervain's), wouldn't really be the way to go for this situation. But she did prescribe these NSAID patches for me to stick onto my left wrist (which was worse than my right... probably because I'm not only left-handed, but I'd also broken that wrist in the past) overnight to help manage the pain.

After a few months of going to physical therapy three times a week, I was then advised to go to occupational therapy (hand and wrist specialists) so that they could make me a customized splint, which is the white thing below on the left. The other one is what I wear to bed on my right wrist and I just got it from Walgreens. The purpose of these lovely accessories is to force your wrist and thumb joints to rest—to stop them from moving. I knew that I was curling my wrists up while I was sleeping and just making the situation worse, so the splints were a must at night.

Yeah, I'm fancy.

I was told to wear the custom splint as much as I could—meaning as close to 24/7 as possible—for SIX WEEKS. As you may know, I write for a living, so can you even imagine typing with that white thing on? It cuts off halfway up my thumb. So I rebelled and didn't wear the splint except for overnight. And I made hardly any progress.

Now, for the past month, I've been behaving. I wear the splint all the time (I've gotten used to typing with it on) except for when I'm carrying BG... because I DID wear it when I carried him and it actually cracked a bit in the thumb area. What can I say, the kid's a fatty. But as you can see from this picture of us below (from two months ago—he's even bigger now), the "V-hold" would be impossible to do with the splint on. The V-hold is also what got me into trouble in the first place, though.

Try not to be jealous of my ratty, inside-out wrist bands, please. Or my beauty. Or hairstyle.

So what can YOU do, or tell your pregnant wife/friend/relative to do, to avoid my fate? Start exercising your wrists, thumbs and fingers so that they don't suffer the shock of a new repetitive motion and/or can handle the weight of a baby's head while feeding once your little guy/gal arrives. Here are a bunch of sample exercises (I've done all of these in PT, here's the illustrated graphic) that will help. Your wrists and hands will get stronger and more limber and then the tendons will have less of a chance of becoming inflamed once you start carrying a baby around everywhere. And when the baby does come, remember to avoid the V-hold as much as you can. Having one arm/hand around his middle and back and one under his butt is better instead of the V-hold under both of his armpits.

I was feeling REALLY down about myself because of all of this. I thought I was in good shape before and during my pregnancy, but this De Quervain's crap really threw me for a loop and made me feel like a loser. Baba G is now five months old and I'm FINALLY starting to feel like things are getting better. I wear the splint as much as possible, take care to not make the V-hold/pinching motion that aggravates the problem, do exercises whenever I have the splint off, and am down to only one PT session per week.

Don't be like me! Head this problem off, ladies, because apparently up to 50% of new moms get it. I wish someone had told me about this BEFORE Baba G made his debut, so that's why I'm writing about it today. Since I'm sure I've scared the living hell out of any pregnant woman who's reading this, I'll save my stories of woe about the tendonitis in my FEET for another day...

Yes, I'm falling apart.

I guess he's worth the pain!
"Life IS Pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something."

If you'd like to read more about what De Quervain's is and how to head it off or treat it, here's a Wall Street Journal article about it, as well as another good article I found (yes, it's pimping for some gel/cream but that stuff was actually recommended to me too, and my PT place uses it, so it's legit).

Has anyone else out there suffered through De Quervain's? Make an old, decrepit lady feel better, won't you?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Dr. Brown's Natural Flow Bottles

Whatever. He was totally posing for this.
Will you let me eat in peace, please?
In a few past posts I've mentioned that Baba G spits up quite a bit every now and then. Since the last time I've written, guess what I've discovered? Surprise, surprise—it's all been my fault. I was using the wrong "level" of nipple on his bottle.

When trying to decide what bottle system to register for (yes, for those of you reading this site who don't have kids and are instead looking for gift ideas, there really are entire SYSTEMS for bottles, it's insane), I let others do the hard work for me. A friend of mine's husband is German and really looked into the pros and cons of the various brands and they ended up using Dr. Brown's Natural Flow bottles after initially trying Avent (which their son apparently didn't do well with).

I figured, "Hey, he's German and Germans are good with design and if they already investigated this whole thing then who am I second-guess?"

So I, too, went with Dr. Brown's, and I think they've agreed with Baba G. As you can see from the picture below of our drying rack, the bottle is comprised of a few different parts that help create the patented "natural flow" that supposedly is proven to head off colic and preserve nutrients and other miracles like that. The bottles are very, very easy to put together, so don't let the multiple parts scare you. After initially boiling them once, now we just wash them in warm water after each use and then air-dry them. I think we have six 8-ounce bottles that we cycle through, but obviously we could get away with fewer. It's nice to have the extras already clean when I'm short on time or groggy for the first morning feeding, though.

One day I'll review the drying rack because it is the best
Back section has the 5 Dr. Brown's bottle pieces, front section has various bottle caps
BG has never had any problems with these bottles . . . until recently, when he started spitting up more and more. Since I had read that babies were supposed to spit up LESS after they hit the four-month mark, I started to wonder if something was wrong. That's when I noticed a little teeny number on the underside of his bottles' nipples. They either said "Level 1" or "Level 2." I had vaguely recalled that as a baby got older they were supposed to graduate to a higher level—it had something to do with how quickly the milk came out or something like that.

So in my infinite wisdom, WITHOUT actually looking any of this up to be sure, I decided that I would only use the Level 1 parts because surely the Level 2 was shooting the milk down his throat too quickly and causing all sort of nasty things to happen to his insides.

Unfortunately, I was dead wrong. The Level 1 parts are for newborns and you're supposed to switch to Level 2 at some point around three months (BG turned five months old yesterday). Otherwise the kid is going to get all frustrated that he's trying to drink and hardly anything is coming out and he's going to start sucking in more air. And more air leads to more spit up.

See those kitchen gloves? A MUST. There's just too much washing with babies.
Time to clean the bottles! (Always.)

They COULD make this a little more obvious on the packaging, in my opinion. I've got another other crap to keep track of, seriously.

But now I've hidden all of our Level 1 parts, ordered additional Level 2 stuff (and even ordered some Level 3s in advance—those can be used from six months on) and BG has been doing much better. He still spits up a little bit, but it's nowhere near the level it was before. And thankfully his sleeping troubles seem to have passed for the time being as well. He's back to being a Buddha Baby, rejoice!

I will say that there has been one issue with the Dr. Brown's bottles aside from my confusion over the levels, and that's that they are starting to leak every once in a while. I'm not sure if this starts happening after a while no matter what, or if I'm just not putting everything together as tightly as I should, but I did a quick google search on ALL of the major bottle brands "+ leaking" and they all seem to have issues on the record. To stop the leaking all I have to do is rotate the bottle slightly, so it's really not a big deal. Certainly not a big enough issue to switch systems after BG's done so well with this one. And it APPEARS (though it's only been a few days, so I can't say for sure) that now that I've switched to the Level 2s, there's less leaking (if any). So maybe the Level 1s weren't really meant to be with the 8-ounce (the biggest) bottles. I'm done thinking about this!

I'll leave you with a random, 27-second video of BG attempting to control his bottle. He started putting his hands on the bottle before he was even four months old, and then he started doing the thing I caught on tape, which was taking the bottle in and out of his mouth. (So rest assured that is NOT me taking the bottle away and then slamming it back into his face, that's his doing.) I feel like he's very pleased with himself to know that he's behind this movement. To paraphrase a song from my high school days that I'm now ashamed to admit I actually liked, "He's got the pow-ah!"

The bottom line: I can't judge Dr. Brown's Natural Flow bottles VERSUS any other brand of bottle, since we've never used anything else. However, I will say that if we'd suspected that BG was having problems because of his bottles, I would've switched out the entire system in a heartbeat. But so far, so good. If anyone has had a positive or negative experience with this brand or any other, please leave a comment and fill the rest of us in!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Dutailier Glider

Ours has little flaps that hang down from the arm rests, too
Some people get Baby Envy when their friends bring home a little bundle of joy. But I had Glider Envy long before Baba G was but a twinkle in my eye. Everyone I knew had one of these things, and back when the first round of my friends started having kids seven or eight years ago, there were several-months-long waits for them. Pregnant couples just couldn't order their gliders fast enough.

That's not the case now, thankfully. I found this out when I started researching them around the halfway point in my pregnancy—prepared for "Out of Stock" statuses—but found exactly the opposite. You can get one of these puppies delivered and be glidin' away in as little as two days.

In case you've never experienced a glider, I'd describe it as a step up from a rocking chair. The movement is horizontal rather than up and down. I don't feel like I'm doing it justice. It's a very peaceful experience.

Because of its high cost, the glider was one of the few products for which I actually did hands-on testing before Baba G's arrival. We went to baby stores all over Chicago and sat in different gliders, and our efforts confirmed something that I'd read online: if you're on the taller side, the Dutailier glider is really your only option. None of the other brands make their seat-backs high enough for you to rest your head on. Which is, like, a REALLY important thing when you're feeding your kid at 3 in the morning and need all the help you can get and don't want to get whiplash when your head falls back into nothingness when you accidentally doze off while your baby's resting peacefully on your chest (see pic(s) below).

Plenty of head-rest space for sleeping daddies (and babies)
I'm pretty sure that even if I'd never gotten pregnant, I would've still ended up with a glider one way or the other, that's how much I love them. I knew I wanted one that also reclined and came with a gliding ottoman. But when I first ordered ours I did not pay attention and accidentally selected one that didn't double as a recliner. I freaked out when it arrived, because my husband had already assembled it and pretty much destroyed the packaging before I realized that it didn't have the reclining feature. The official name of the glider we bought is: the Dutailier Round Back Cushion Design Sleigh Glider Multiposition Recline and Ottoman Combo.

Rolls right off the tongue, no?

Thankfully the Babies R Us gods were smiling down upon us on the day we attempted to return the glider to a store in the suburbs (even though we'd bought it online). It's technically against the BRU policy to accept gliders bought online as store returns, but like I said, we lucked out. Anyone who's ever dealt with BRU in any capacity whatsoever knows how rare a feat that is.

I literally have hundreds of "sleeping BG & daddy on the glider" pics
And it was meant to be, too, because then when I went to REorder the correct glider online, I saw it on Amazon for $200 (!) less than it had been at BRU. It was just a freak sale they were having—and continue to have every once in a while for these products. So if you think there's even a remote possibility that you might buy a glider (any brand of glider) one day, start tracking the prices well in advance. You'll soon get a feel for how often they go on sale and how low the price can get.

Don't laugh, but we ended up buying two. Or, rather, my parents bought one as a gift for us and we bought ourselves the second one—one's on our main floor and one's downstairs in our TV room where my husband usually gives Baba G his final bottle for the night.

Speaking of... Baba G has been known to spit up. A lot. Today he turned it up a notch and had some sort of mini-explosion all over the glider. People had tried to tell me that choosing a dark-colored fabric would be a mistake because it would show baby-related stains immediately. But those people were wrong. The microfiber fabric on the glider is a dream. I just wet it lightly with a washcloth and it was like, "Mini-explosion? What mini-explosion? Nothing to see here, move along." I wonder if the light-colored fabrics hold up as well, hmmm?

As you can see below, my husband has perfected a pretty handy feeding position with the help of the ottoman. My leg muscles aren't strong enough to pull this off, though (remember, the ottoman glides, too!).

Our dog asks, "When am *I* going to get a glider of my own?"

The bottom line: Clearly we are fans of the Dutailier reclining glider and ottoman or we wouldn't have two in our condo. I believe we bought ours for somewhere around $600 (I'm an Amazon prime member and shipping was free, yahoo!). Were other recliners we sat in comfy? Yes. But their seat-backs weren't high enough for us to be able to rest our heads. That's but one curse of being tall. For us, the glider was worth the cost because I know I'll still be getting my glide on long after BG has moved out, graduated college, and is living up to the meaning behind his name ("man of the world"). I'll be old and gray, sipping my morning tea in my glider, watching the world go by outside our front window. And then I'll probably think back to when BG was just a teeny little guy and I was sitting in the very same spot, gliding him to sleep in the wee hours right after we first brought him home.

And then he'll call me on his hologram phone and appear magically in front of me, life-sized, like Princess Leia in Star Wars, and he'll say, "Mom, are you just sitting there in the glider again?" (Remember, this is like 25 years from now. I'll be damned if they won't have hologram phones by then.)

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Happiest Baby on the Block

You, TOO, can have a happy baby!
Yep, I jinxed us.

For the past three nights, Baba G has screamed his head off every hour on the hour (OK, sometimes he goes two hours). What happened to the peaceful little baby who was sleeping through the night a mere few weeks into his life? What happened to the Buddha-like being we bragged to all our friends about? What happened to the tiny angel who would awaken all smiley and squealy and playful?


There are several factors that could be to blame for why BG is suddenly sounding like he's been thrown in the Pit of Despair when it's time for bed, but since my goal is to have this be a product review site, I'll spare you my theories and instead sing the praises of The Happiest Baby on the Block. Because I give it all the credit for the past five months of peaceful nights.

The aforementioned book by Dr. Harvey Karp, Expecting 411 and a small part of Baby 411 are the only books I read while I was pregnant. EVERYONE told me about The Happiest Baby, so I figured there had to be something to it. I actually watched the Happiest Baby DVD as well, which is worth checking out for pure entertainment reasons alone. Or maybe I'm the only one who finds it hilarious to watch a bunch of crying babies turn into blissed-out zombies in a matter of seconds after Dr. Karp works his magic on them.

Catchin' flies on Grammy
Anyway, you know a "how-to" baby book is good when you read it cover to cover and it actually makes sense. My general attitude about parenting books is that—much like diet and exercise books—they're based on of-the-moment trends or fads and are therefore not worth my time. But once again, too many people had told me about The Happiest Baby to ignore.

In it, Dr. Karp explains a multi-step method that is something of a "miracle cure" for babies who refuse to sleep. And the reasons behind his recommended methods (which involve swadding, shushing, and a bunch of other s-words, for real) make total sense. He pulls in evidence from different cultures all around the globe as to why these methods work, in addition to providing the medical/scientific reasoning behind why human babies probably used to stay in the womb up to four months longer than they do in the present day. You'll find yourself nodding your head when you read it, trust me.

So in my desperation over these past few nights, I've turned to The Happiest Baby yet again. Unfortunately, the book is really only meant for newborns up to three or four months. It couldn't help me with BG's current issues.

But then, LO AND BEHOLD, what do I receive in my Inbox but an email entitled "See baby expert Dr. Karp LIVE at a movie theater near you!" I kid you not. It was pretty freaky, actually. Like this guy has ways of knowing when parents are ready to shell him out some more dough. Just like he has ways of calming babies.

So what's going on? It seems that the good doctor is hosting some sort of live webcasted event that will be shown this Thursday all around the country at various movie theaters. I didn't pay much attention because I already know I can't go so I didn't want to make myself more bitter than I already am.

BUT the other thing this email mentioned was that Dr. Karp has a new sleep book. (See, he'll get your hard-earned money one way or the other!)

So I freakin' break my wrists typing in "" to get this thing in my hands, and damn it all to hell—it's not out on Kindle until TOMORROW.


Tonight, when I'm alone with BG while my husband's traveling. GRR.

Guess who is hoping that "June 19" equates to "Available for download at the stroke of midnight tonight?"

Seriously, if tonight is even remotely like the last three nights, I WILL be up and checking Amazon at 12:01. And in the meantime, if I get a spare second I'm going to see if the "Browse this book" feature lets me skim through the first few chapters and learn any tidbits I can put to use in the coming hours.

I am very much aware that my husband and I have lucked out on the sleep front overall, though. Sure, the past few evenings have been rough, but we've enjoyed a spectacular run for nearly five months. The sunken-eyed, pale-faced stage of parenting totally bypassed us, and if we have to pay our dues and suffer a little bit now while Baba's trying to figure this sleep thing out more thoroughly, so be it.

The bottom line: If you are pregnant or have a newborn, read The Happiest Baby on the Block. If you're going to be a grandparent, you should read this book, too. If your friend is pregnant, you should buy her (or the dad-to-be) this book. I think you get my point. If you were here I'd loan you mine!

Here's hoping Dr. Karp's new book helps us get THIS face back on Baba G in the middle of the night... and soon:

Return to me, oh sleepy child!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Lullabies (Rockabye Baby & Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star)

Just a few days old, still in hospital
Rockin' right from the start
In my last post I kind of bragged about how Baba G wasn't sweating his incoming tooth.

I jinxed us.

For the past two nights he's been having a rough go of things. The tooth is sharp as %&^$, has broken through his gums, and I think BG's none too happy about this new pointy thing he's feeling in his mouth. I've been trying to console him, but I, too, have been feeling ill—and on top of all that, my husband's been out of town.

On Tuesday night I enlisted the help of our baby swing to calm BG down, and it worked. (The swing's review post will include a video, so it's gonna have to wait until I have time to upload the file.)

Last night, however, I turned to a different but equally effective old standby: music. Baba loves music. Almost every night, my husband serenades him with an acoustic guitar. As you can see from the picture below, BG's already getting piano lessons as well. (My husband is trying to "pitch train" him. Some say this can't be done. But that's not stopping my husband.)

I, however, was trying to get BG to take a nap, so I couldn't prop him up at the piano, and I don't know how to play guitar. My husband was traveling with the iPad that holds our lullaby mix. What's more, my iPhone was almost out of battery, so I couldn't even fire up the ol' "Chill Mix" of slow songs on it that I played throughout my pregnancy and during feedings when BG was a newborn.

For real, daddy?
Baby Mozart
SO instead I held BG in our rocker and sang to him the only song that came to my weary, sleep-deprived mind: Katy Perry's "Califonia Gurls."

Believe it or not, when sung very, very slowly, even lyrics such as "We free-ee-eeak . . . in my jeep . . . Snoop Doggy Dogg on the stereo" can sound absolutely precious.

All the same, I advise you not to get caught in this position. You want some true lullaby music on the ready. There are a ton of traditional lullaby CDs out there, and many of them are great and I'll try to review some more of them in the future. But I'm going to start with two of my favorite lullaby "brands," if you will: Rockabye Baby! (their exclamation point, not mine) and Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star.

We knew about Rockabye Baby (I refuse to use the ! again) early on because, as those of you who read my other blog might remember, my husband is a huge Van Halen fan (that post I just linked to is one of my favorites I've EVER written by the way), and David Lee Roth's sister created the company. We'd received Rockabye Baby CDs of Van Halen, Beatles and Radiohead music, and we'd intended to buy more off of iTunes . . . until we discovered Spotify.

While browsing around on Spotify during the increasingly stressful days after my due date came and went, my husband found the Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star lullabies. What's the difference between the two brands? I can't really tell.

George loves Baba's kisses!
Here comes the tongue, doo do doo-doo
All you need is ... a nap.

Both companies have made lullabies out of the same artists (in some cases), such as the Dave Matthews Band, Coldplay and Bob Marley. But then it seems like each brand also covers some bands that the other doesn't. For example, Twinkle Twinkle has a CD of "sci-fi and fantasy classics" that includes themes from Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, The X-Files and Harry Potter (and others). That might just be the best thing ever invented, as far as baby music goes.

What's nice about a service like Spotify is that you can just make a mix of all of these lullabies from both brands.

The iconic original...Bono approved?

The bottom line: If you like music, you must get your hands (ears?) on at least SOME of the Rockabye Baby or Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star lullabies, one way or the other. They're the coolest. The littlest Beatles fan approves!

Yellow Submarine PJs from PsychoBabyOnlineDOTcom
I would MUCH rather listen to the lullaby CDs than Mommy's scary-flat singing voice!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sophie the Giraffe

As seen briefly in Three Men and a Baby
The pride of France!
Baba G is only 4.5 months old, and we already see a tooth peeking out at us. What?!? I didn't think kids got teeth until they were, like, two or something. (Clearly I'm behind on my baby-book reading.) I tried to take a picture of said tooth, but that photo shoot did not go well. Apparently babies do not like it when you try to pull down their lower lips while shoving a camera in their face.

Anyway, so this tooth is coming in—and more are close behind—but thankfully Baba G seems to be taking it all in stride. He is still sleeping through the night and is rarely fussy. But he is always, and I do mean ALWAYS, putting stuff in his mouth. Even if he ends up gagging himself, he will try to shove his whole fist in there. So I feel bad for him and am trying to see what teethers he likes best, since my pediatrician said numbing gels were a no-no, and since I only want to use Baby Tylenol as a last resort.

When I was pregnant, a ton of friends told me that I had to get Sophie the Giraffe (made by Vulli) for a teether. This was another What?!?! moment for me because, 1) my friends acted like I should have heard of Sophie, but I hadn't, and 2) this giraffe toy did not look like any teether I'd ever seen. What happened to good old-fashioned teething rings? But, of course, I registered for and received Ms. Sophie.

At this point I'm happy that BG can chew on the soft and flexible Sophie. . . 

In The Zone

Even though sometimes he chooses to get his fix on something plastic and hard, like this poor butterfly.

This might've been a mistake.

I'm beginning to understand the hype about Sophie. While Baba G does in fact love some of his classic, old-school teething rings (especially fresh outta the fridge), now that he can hold things, he especially likes to turn Sophie all around in his hands and try to devour her face... or maybe her legs... it all depends on his mood.

Seriously, who came up with this thing.
Mmm... tastes like chicken!
When I was researching Sophie for this post, I learned that there are more Sophies sold in her home country of France than there are babies born there any given year. That's awesome. French people are hilarious.

And I guess it should go without saying that Sophie is BPA/bad-stuff-free and all that.

The bottom line: Is it ridiculous to spend $22 on a giraffe teether made of rubber and food paint? Probably. So maybe that's what you should get someone for their shower, because Baba G loves Sophie!

(She squeaks, too.)

Vive la France, and vive la Sophie!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Changing Time Basics

I was ten days overdue with Baba G, and in the weeks leading up to his arrival I pretty much went crazy doing two things: 1) cleaning, and 2) shopping for random stuff online. These are two things I don't usually do, believe it or not (ashamed about the first and happy about the second).

During my nesting-fueled shopping spree, I started reading comments on about a ton of baby products. I think maybe I was looking into what the best kind of wipes would be (I was extremely paranoid that everything would give Baba G a rash... yet nothing has so far (knock on wood)) when I came across a page for these things: Medline Disposable Washcloths, also known as "dry wipes." Disposable Washcloths? Dry wipes? I had never heard of such things. So I read what parents before me had to say, and it turns out that dry wipes are what's used in hospitals for newborns. Instead of Pampers or Huggies-branded pre-moistened wipes (by the way, spell-check just wanted that word to be "pee-moistened," I kid you not) on fresh-to-the-world babies, nurses will just put a little water on these generic disposable washcloth thingies to help you clean up your bundle of joy during those extra-gross first few diaper changes.

So I went ahead and bought a case of these dry wipes before Baba G arrived so that I'd be ready with something that shouldn't have caused him any sort of rash. They didn't, and we continued to wet them with water for the first month or so (then we'd stack a bunch of them in our wipes warmer, which I'll write about another day) and they worked splendidly. But eventually it became too much of a production to go to the bathroom, wet the wipes in the sink, come back and lay them out on the Pack 'n Play changer and THEN get to Baba G's business. So we now use Pampers Sensitive wipes and they've been just fine. However, the Medline Disposable Washcloths are still in high demand—they're what we use to cover BG's nether regions during changing time instead of the Peepee Teepee. They're also great to quickly wipe up anything that's spilled on the floor (spit-up, mainly) or dry off BG if the wipes seemed overly wet, or if he's got drool all over his face, or whatever. Most of the time (like in this pose) he swipes them from my strategically placed position and tries to chew on them.

I cropped this pic since I subject him to enough humilation on the Peepee Teepee post
Got it! Hmm, not so tasty.

What's that crazy blue thing UNDER Baba G, you ask? It's the next thing I was going to write about: Champion's Blue Disposable Underpads. Yes, people, they're for incontinence. But who is more incontinent than a baby? No one.

So in my Amazon Fever I bought a case of these things, too, because everyone on the site was going on and on about how they use them instead of more expensive changing-pad covers that need to be, you know, washed and stuff. I have not regretted my purchase, and in fact have ordered a second case in the past month. Here's little teeny BG on one, pre-change:

Surely I will never pee on you. Ever.
Yep, I'm the same baby as that chunk in the pic above.

One of these pads lasts for multiple changings—it all depends on how, um, intense any given changing is. The white part of the pad is actually a sort of cotton filling that's under a very thin barrier that's hard to see in this picture. Eventually, because of the wiggliness of BG, that white filling will get all separated and chunky and then even if the pad is still clean overall, I'll toss it.

Here's the BEFORE set-up of our Pack 'n Play's changing station:

The appearance of orderliness is deceiving
Bring it on.

I won't horrify you with the AFTER.

The bottom line: I'm really glad that I found the dry wipes and changing pads because we use them on a multiple-times-daily basis and they're energy and time savers. The dry wipes are $20.50 for 500 and the underpads are about $28 for 100. Right now Amazon has a "buy them together" discount, because there are obviously a lot of other new parents out there who've realized how much these two products rock!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Diaper Genie Elite Diaper Disposing System

I wasn't going to register for a "diaper disposal system" because I thought we already had one: THE TRASH CAN. However, my husband is not a fan of gross smells (I guess no one IS a fan of gross smells, but he's so sensitive, he'll start gagging if he gets the slightest whiff of something nasty), so the Diaper Genie was a must-have product for him. Thankfully, someone got us one, and I'm now a convert.

The funny thing is, I like this thing for reasons other than what it's marketed for, which is preventing the aroma of baby poo from settling into every last nook and cranny of your home. It does its job wonderfully as far as smell-prevention is concerned—no stankiness emanating from it to date, and we're going on five months of use.

But I like it mostly because: 1) it's easy to use, 2) it's quick to use, 3) it tucks in under our Pack 'n Play's changing station perfectly, and 4) even when full, it's still light enough that I can pick it up and set it right in front of our back door, blocking my husband's way out, so that he can't possibly avoid emptying it.

I spy the HALO SleepSack Swaddle on the bed!
It's usually directly underneath the Pack 'n Play overhang, but you get the picture.

What I didn't realize before Baba G came along is just how wiggly babies are. It's like they are trying to test you to see if you're going to stop them from falling off stuff. Diaper-changing time is their ultimate test. So it's great to have the Diaper Genie right there to just step on real quick, pop a dirty diaper in and then catch Junior from catapulting himself through the air.

I didn't understand how one of these things worked before we started using it. It's no big deal. You just pull the tab off the diaper-bag roll kind of like you're opening one of those single-serving OJ bottles, pull the blue diaper-bag plastic out of the roll and tie a knot in it (this knot will serve as the bottom of the bag), set the ring in the diaper genie and push the knot through the pail's jaw-like divider, and you're done. Every time you throw a diaper in, it'll get pushed down through the jaws and into a chamber that is sealed off from the air you breathe. What did the country's first settlers do? So many of them must have died from toxic baby poo fumes!

Open wide... (that black thing is my leg/foot stepping on lid-opener) Who thought of this thing? Oh, wait -- there's a Wikipedia page on him!

When I can't easily push the pail around with my foot anymore, I know it's time to tell my husband to take out the "Diaper Sausage." (This apparently is a common term for what comes out of the Diaper Genie and other systems like it, but I'm not in-the-know with mom-slang yet so I just found this out while writing tonight. Hence the lack of my own Diaper Sausage picture... but if you really want to know why it got this nickname, click here for an example.

Would you believe that many diapers could come outta a little guy like this, who's so innocent-looking, to boot?

Yes, Ann Arbor peeps -- that is a Zingerman's Deli bib.
Who, me? Stink?

Would you also believe that the dude who created this glorified trash can sold Diaper Genie to Playtex back in '99 for a cool $75 miiiillllion? And that he's now founded a company (based in Ohio) that focuses on healthcare for horses, of all things?


The bottom line: I would highly recommend the Diaper Genie Elite because it does what it's supposed to do—it keeps gross smells at bay and gives you a dedicated, easy-to-operate trash bin for your baby's diapers. They're using the ol' "shaving razor" pricing strategy I learned about in business school, where a company makes the base component of its product fairly cheap (possibly even taking a loss) but then makes up the profit on things you have to keep buying for it. (Another example would be video game consoles and the games themselves.) The Diaper Genie Elite is a reasonable $35, but then the patented refill disks are $19.50 for 3. Each refill disk is supposed to hold up to 270 Newborn diapers total . . . less as your baby grows into bigger diapers.

I haven't paid attention to how many diapers we can stuff in to one sausage and how many sausages we can get out of one refill. You know why? Because I don't really care. I'm going to use this thing no matter what.