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On Mother’s Day, looking for baby gear suggestions

Today, on Mother’s Day, I want to wish my own mother, my mother-in-law, my stepmother-in-law, my stepmother, and the older of my two half-sisters a happy Mother’s Day. I suppose I should also say “Happy Mother’s Day” to Flesh of My flesh, or at least practice doing so.

So, we’re less than two months out from the next generation coming into the world. It’s a little crazy, because Megan’s due date is 26 June, and starting 2 June I will be at Dumbarton Oaks for their Byzantine Greek Summer School, which goes through 30 June. We’re told that it’s not uncommon for first babies to be as much as 8 days past the due date, so it could be a total non-issue, but in any event, I’m glad to be living in an era where there are airplanes. My mom will be here in Bloomington starting 14 June, and Megan’s mom somewhere around the 25th, and the good people who run the program at DO tell me that I’m not the first person to be in this situation (I suppose with academics trying to plan babies for the summer, this isn’t all that uncommon) and of course I can leave if I have to leave and not worry about it. My advisor tells me that when he did the same program 12 years ago, he had to leave a week early to get married — “But I think you’ve got me beat,” he said. Anyway, yeah, it’s a little crazy, but what can you do except take a deep breath and pray for the best?

One of the things I’m looking forward to about being at DO is that the Greek cathedral is about a mile and a half away, and they have a new protopsaltis fresh from Greece as of last month. I’m hopeful that I can touch base with him while I’m there — we’ll see.

Anyway, as we prepare for oncoming baby, we have nascent registries at Target, Amazon, and MyRegistry.com, but if you go to any of them, you’ll see that there isn’t much there yet. The thing is, we really have no idea what we need. We don’t know if we’re having a boy or a girl (we’re being old-fashioned like that), and while we’ve gone to the stores and pushed things around, we don’t really know what we’re going to find useful in strollers or things like this.

So, I’m looking for suggestions, particularly if you’ve done the whole grad-school-with-baby thing. We live in a relatively small house, we’ve got books freaking everywhere, two cars, we live about a mile from campus, and the farthest away we go as a regular destination is church, which is 6 miles away. We’re both done with coursework, and while I’ll be on campus teaching next year, pretty much somebody will always be at home. Either Megan will be writing her dissertation, doing research assistant work for her advisor, or taking care of the baby; in my case, I’ll either be doing exam prep, grading for my class, or taking care of the baby. What are we going to need? What won’t we need? What will we not be able to live without? etc. Anybody out there who can be the voice of experience, I’m all ears.

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8 Responses to “On Mother’s Day, looking for baby gear suggestions”


  1. 1 Ivan 13 May 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Besides the wonderful new protopsaltis at St Sophia’s, the wunderkind psaltis Nicholas Jones (formerly of Pittsburgh) is now at St Mary’s in Falls Church.

  2. 6 psiosifson 14 May 2012 at 9:38 am

    I would suggest asking a friend with young kids who you respect to fill out a preliminary baby registry at Target.com or Babies R Us. Tell them it’s the only gift you’d likfe from them. It’s a great way to get started and to start talking and thinking through the way you would like to live with a baby in the house, because that then determines what sort of stuff you need and don’t need. A friend did this for my wife and it was of enormous help. You can then go through and add, delete, substute, etc.

    We recommend having the baby sleep with you and your wife (assuming neither of you is obese, has a sleeping disorder, or is taking drugs or drinking alcohol all the time.) This allows the wife to sleep better – and more – through the night. It also can save you the cost and space of a crib. No need for a playpen, just get a fold-up pack and play (which works well as a travel crib, too.) You need a car seat to leave the hospital. Get one that can clip onto a stroller assembly. Then, later, get an umbrella stroller. Don’t get a single stroller you can use the whole time, you actually just end up with more stuff. The car seat works as a rocker, too. Don’t get a separate pram, and you don’t need a Moses basket. A lot of this stuff can pull double duty, and buying them all separately takes up a lot of space you don’t have (neither did we). Definitely get one of those baby bouncy chairs. Don’t forget to buy newborn diapers, you can only steal so many from the hospital. Watch the nurses change the baby’s diaper and do what they do. A&D ointment is best for baby’s butt. No talcum powder. Get a little infant tub for the sink. It’ll save your back. Use cloth diapers for burp clothes, they wash easily. You have to wash all baby clothes with Dreft before they wear them. Baby clothes can only be washed in Dreft (or similar). Don’t use fabric softener on baby clothes. Tell your wife she has to ask for ibuprofen at the hospital or they won’t give it to her; she should also ask for stool softener, yet, she should. Spring for a room at the hospital you can sleep in, she’ll be glad you’re there to help as she won’t be too mobile and she’ll be really tired. Beer helps with lactation. Go to a lactation class. Sign up for a hospital tour ASAP, it really helps. Our first was born a day early, so don’t plan on being at DO the whole time. If your wife is really miserable, at 40 weeks they can ‘strip the membrane’, which can help move things along without drugs, breaking the water, etc.

  3. 7 Elsa F. 14 May 2012 at 3:04 pm

    I, uh, maybe went overboard here, but I was thinking of writing up this stuff anyway: http://frohockslaw.blogspot.com/2012/05/baby-stuff-what-works-for-us.html

    Seconding the suggestion above to co-sleep if you’re comfortable with it. Some people are too nervous to sleep if the baby is in the bed, but we find a combination works for us. Ada starts the night in her crib and then usually spends part of the night in bed with us, but I get stiff and sore if she spends all night next to me because I can’t turn over as easily.

    And contrary to the above, we haven’t ever used special baby laundry items on Ada’s clothes and have had no problems. We use an unscented detergent and regular dryer sheets.


  1. 1 Orthodox Collective Trackback on 13 May 2012 at 2:03 pm

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