I Cried In Babies ‘R’ Us

The thing about being the very first of your friends to get pregnant is this:

1. Very, very few of them want to talk about babies (I don’t blame them; I’m pregnant and I don’t particularly want to talk about babies either…except I sort of have to, because I have never, ever been around an infant and have a bit to learn);

2. There’s no one to give you “Oh, I just went through that”-style advice.

My mom is amazing – amaaazing – but it’s been awhile since she did this, and we’re both sort of equally perplexed by the sheer volume of options out there for everything from cribs to toys to breast milk storage bags (do those go directly into the bottle? or do you pour the milk out of them and into the bottle once they’re defrosted? and why will no one give me a straight answer on this??).

What I need is a friend who has gone through this recently to walk through Babies ‘R’ Us with me and tell me that I am not already a failure as a mother because I don’t have room for/can’t afford a bouncy seat, a swing, a play-yard, and a floor mobile thingy (the gentleman in the store already sent me into a panic attack by telling me that a wide variety of play areas is crucial for early motor skill development). I want her to tell me when to go for cute and fun, and when to go for practical. I want to know if there’s a sling out there that is sturdy but doesn’t cover up your entire body (I hate feeling constricted).

And I want her to help me figure out exactly what A Day In The Life is going to look like a few months from now, because I can’t picture it, and I work out of the house by myself all day long with four flights of stairs between me and the rest of the world, and no dishwasher or washing machine, and two little dogs that need walking and think that every single fluffy thing that moseys through the door is a toy special-ordered just for them, and I don’t know how I’m going to do it. I mean, I’m obviously going to do it – that I’m sure of – but I’d just like to have some idea how. In advance.

And so I cried in Babies ‘R’ Us. It was when the salesman was telling me that pretty much every stroller that has the features I’m looking for weighs upwards of 18 pounds, which I’m not certain is a possible weight for me to lift (plus baby, plus associated bags and accessories) up and down four flights of stairs every day.

Do I sound like I’m complaining? I really don’t mean to. I very much want this – I’ve wanted it my whole life, more than anything – and am so grateful. I’ve always been scared that I wouldn’t be able to get pregnant, and the fact that I am…I’m aware that it’s the greatest, most incredible gift in the world. I know that it’s not about things, and that babies need much less than you think they do (or that stores will have you think they do). I get that I’m not in the worst situation in the world – far from it – and that in fact I’m very lucky to have the things that I do (which, most importantly, include an incredibly supportive family and group of friends). And of course the answer is that I’ll figure it all out, and that it’ll be fine…better than fine. Wonderful. I know that.

I just want to do this really, really well. I want to pay attention to every moment, because another thing that I know is that it goes very, very fast, and that you miss it when it’s over. That’s all.

  • Anonymous

    I cried in babies r us too! It’s totally normal.. the whole experience is overwhelming! I registered for everything and I didn’t use half of it! I couldn’t live w/out the fisher price little lamb cradle swing – that was what I used the most :-)

    • Anonymous

      i totally registered for the little lamb cradle swing too!!!! it’s the CUTEST.
      whew – one down :)

      • Mollyreeves

        I have a 2 year old and a 6 month old. I don’t live in NYC but I can honestly say without a doubt that if you need one thing, it is a swing. Get rid of whatever you need to to have that :)

        • Anonymous

          definitely going for a swing. i’ve heard that from a bunch of people, including both my mother-in-law and sister-in-law.

          • beenthere

            a swing will save your sanity, it’s near impossible to keep your baby in a crib .. invest in earplugs for sleep or you will hear every little snuffle, breast milk is incredibly greasy (all that fat) and you will want to pour into another bag after defrosting, don’t try to accomplish anything in the first months, just love your baby

    • Anonymous

      i just read her to-dos in the weeks before birth and wrote them all down…so helpful. thank you!

  • Katie

    You have to start reading Dear Baby! Melissa and her little family is so inspiring – http://dearbabyblog.com

    • Anonymous

      i just read her to-dos in the weeks before birth and wrote them all down…so helpful. thank you!

  • Stephanie

    Whenever I would talk to my mother about how “crazy” and “hard” having children will be, she always laughs. She says “Honey, we knew nothing. We had no savings, only one car (that my Dad took to work everyday) and had no idea what we were doing. We just figured it out and everything worked out great. Trust me, everything will be fine.” I had the most amazing childhood and parents so I’m taking her advice. You are going to be great, I just know it. :)

    • Anonymous

      my mom says the same thing: “you think a fourth-floor walkup is bad? try a fifth-floor walkup and a studio apartment.” and they stayed in that place until i was TWO. amazing.

      (thanks for the vote of confidence :)

  • Anonymous

    awww hugs!!! I’d be in the same position. You’ll figure it all out :)

    With regards to no dishwasher. There is a decent selection of “portable” dishwashers that sit on wheels and plug into your water faucet: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Dishwashers/Portable-Countertop-Dishwashers/abcat0905002.c?id=abcat0905002

    Might be an option for you, albeit an expensive one…

    • Anonymous

      i wish – but our ancient building won’t support one :( i blow a fuse if i run a coffee maker at the same time as a hairdryer (seriously). thank you though – it’s a great suggestion!

  • http://twitter.com/dianeshipley Diane Shipley

    Four flights of stairs and no washer sounds like a bit of a challenge with a baby, but I’m sure you’ll find a way. I’m also sure you’re going to be playing with and paying attention to your child, with or without the regulation number of play areas. ;)

    I know it would help to have a friend who’s been through it, but don’t forget the internet is your friend :)

    I have heard that those baby wipe warmers are awesome for stopping cold-butt-shock crying (TM), though…

    • Anonymous

      the internet has been AMAZING. the few resources i’ve checked out so far have already been incredibly helpful.

    • beenthere

      i would keep mine on the radiator, worked great. my friends still make fun of me for doing that — 17 years later — i’ve also microwaved them — oh the things we do because we can

  • http://www.alwaysorderdessert.com/ Alejandra Ramos

    I can imagine how frustrating/lonesome this must feel! I have a few friends with babies, but most of them live in NJ so I can imagine I would feel a similar frustration. Not the same thing at all, but I know that while planning my wedding I had similar bouts of tears (once at Michael’s!) as I pretty much had to do and figure out everything by myself (my mom and Eugene helped as much as they could) since all my bridesmaids and friends live far away. It’s tough going through huge moments like this without a close buddy to guide you (I *still* feel sad when I think about how much I had to do alone). For what it’s worth, the blogs really do help a lot. I know I’ve personally learned a lot from Cup of Jo (for the future) so you may find some helpful advice there. Does Kendrick have any dad friends or coworkers you can perhaps reach out to? It could also be a good moment to reach out to colleagues (maybe someone at Better) or neighbors that you don’t know well, but who have experience and could ultimately become good friends.

    • Anonymous

      well, my cousin tina has a baby and my friend ali has a four-year-old, so they’re great resources (albeit in other countries). and in addition to my mom, kendrick’s mom and sister are very helpful and have great advice. and a friend-of-a-friend recently had a baby, and doesn’t know it yet…but she’s about to become my new bestie ;)

      i think baby-in-the-city is just a very particular thing that comes with unique challenges. and as you saw, in some ways city life is just a little bit lonelier than i imagine other places to be…everyone’s so busy all the time, you know?

      re: cup of jo, so funny you mention that site! morgan just sent it to me last night – her birth story had me in tears (are we seeing a pattern with the tears here? oh, man…)

      thank you for all the advice!

  • http://www.losingweightinthecity.com Theodora

    Two of my fave health bloggers (www.dailygarnish.com and http://www.rhodeygirltests.com) recently got pregnant and both of them talk very honestly about the good, the bad and the ugly of pregnancy.

  • http://twitter.com/KateErinF Kate

    Keep your chin up! I know it can be overwhelming. I cried this weekend too at babies are us trying to figure out which glider to buy. I suggest eating Trader Joe donut holes after to make yourself feel better. The Baby Bargains book was a big help for me to eliminate certain brands.

    • Anonymous

      see, i went for chocolate crossaints immediately after the babies ‘r’ us trip. and it did indeed help :)

  • http://twitter.com/karenwissclark Karen Clark

    Let go of wanting to “do this really, really well!” If you can, you’ll be SOOOO much happier! :) (Because it is kind of impossible to do it really well anyway!) I say, dive into it with the attitude of “I can do no wrong!” because seriously, whatever you buy, whatever books you read, whatever you do or don’t prepare for, it really WILL be totally okay! I wish I hadn’t thought there was a “best” way or “best” decision, because it ended up REALLY stressing me out, and that stress is the ONLY thing I ended up regretting. [BIG HUGS!]

    • Anonymous

      that’s such great advice – thank you!

  • Katie

    I was in the same boat..didn’t know anything about babies! Trust me, you’ll figure it out! My favorite purchase was the BabyErgo (a infant carrier that you can use forever and it doesn’t hurt your back). My baby is a year old and I still use it all time. It’s super comfortable and I hardly ever use my stroller. It’d be perfect for you to go out and walk your dogs in, shop, run errands. In the beginning it’s super overwhelming, but you learn as you go! Good luck!

    • Anonymous

      that sounds great! i figure i’ll use a carrier much more than a stroller b/c of the whole stairs thing. would you recommend the ergo over the baby bjorn?

      • Anonymous

        I had the Bjorn but I would get the Ergo for next time – people seem to find it more comfy and easy to get into/out of. You should also search around for moms’ groups in your neighborhood. I live in downtown NY and found an online moms’ groups (that did in-person meet-ups and playdates, too) that was an essential resource for me during pregnancy and the first couple years of parenting. Even made a few good friends along the way!

        But the key is to remember (and I see other people have said this too) that you will totally figure it all out! You should get *some* gear pre-baby, but it won’t be a disaster if you wait and see what you might need or want as you go along! Being able to let go of an idea of perfectionism and figure it out as you go along is one of the hallmarks of motherhood! Welcome!!!

      • http://profiles.google.com/vegan04 Amy L. Hayden

        I would recommend a sling-style carrier over a Bjorn, especially for newborns. The Bjorn and other carriers that involve putting legs through holes can easily harm your baby — I’ve known three different babies who suffered from hip dysplasia from Bjorns. And the slings are more adjustable as kids get older. I got a Maya when my son was a newborn and used it until he was four years old (in the later years it helped me carry him on my back).

  • http://www.butslenderly.typepad.com Nancy

    Jordan: You are not alone! We just had our first baby two months ago and live in Manhattan — and lived to tell about it. I had a very similar experience entering those mega-baby stores (ByebyeBaby made me cry). They totally brought out the Luddite in me and I’d leave emtpy-handed, sure our baby was going to have to make due with a pile of soft blankets for a crib. Like with a wedding, remember, you DO NOT HAVE to buy everything. You are not failing at motherhood because you don’t have the “play gym” thingie and bounce swing etc. We kept reminding ourselves that she would be very small for a long time and we could still figure out what we really needed once she was born.

    Here are the things I’m really glad we bought beforehand: (1) crib (the Oeuf Sparrow, though my husband pointed out a billion times that the Target one looked nice; also giggle has a great compact crib that isn’t too expensive and will fit everywhere. at the very least, you can get by with a bassinet for the first couple months and get the crib thing figured out after the baby arrives.); (2) changing table and at least two covers since one in invariably peed or pooped on on a given day. (3) many many burp clothes; (4) breast pump (also, I just pump directly into the bag and freeze. Otherwise, I pump into the bottle and stick it in the fridge); (5) MacClaren bounce chair (you quickly realize you have to put the baby somewhere!); (6) The Bobby (ugly, but god, I love it. Makes feeding so much more comfortable — I even just dragged it to France because I couldn’t be without it); (7) Aiden swaddle blankets; (8) Baby 411 ( there are eleventy billion books out there, but this one is a good reference); (9) Baby Bjorn (we carried her everywhere from her first week on); (10) newborn diapers and newborn snap-shut wrap tops. (0-3 won’t fit them at first and the wrap is good while you’re waiting for the stump to fall off).

    We held off on buying the stroller because everyone scared us that we needed to have the baby completely prone and we wanted something light and portable that didn’t require ten different clip-in pieces and hundreds of dollars. We ended up getting the MacClaren Quest when she was about a month old which gets to about a 45 degree angle and we LOVE it. It’s funny – last week we decamped to France for two months (why not!) and had to take a good long look at what we really wanted to take. It’s actually amazing how little you really need – mainly your baby will just want to play with you. Our daugher Emerson is right this minute kicking her feet and smiling when I make a silly face — it’s pretty much a total joy. Enjoy your pregnancy and give yourself a break; you’ll be great and you have lots and lots of time to get ready. He or she will have to adoring parents — and that’s more valuable than any diaper genie could be. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions about baby crap/hospitals etc. in NYC.

    • Anonymous

      aw, thank you for the wonderful advice and support!! this is so helpful.

  • Anonymous

    Aaaaw, it’ll totally turn out alright. I haven’t had any children yet, but my mom says you figure everything out, you learn as you go. You probably don’t need half the silly developmental gadgets and toys out there anyway. Women seem to have be getting it right for thousands of years up to now. ;)

    One of the good things about pregnancy these days is the fashion! My older friends and family who’ve had children say it has *much* improved from the days of wearing huge tent-like constructions to “hide” your pregnancy. At least now you can be fashionable with your baby bump :)

    • Anonymous

      true, true – i haven’t gone into maternity-wear yet, but my mom did just buy me one of those waist expander things as a gift. and most of my clothing is sorta tent-y anyway ;)

  • Danielle

    You HAVE to read theOMGmom.com. She’s honest and hilarious about being a new mom. I bet she’ll have a ton of the answers you’re looking for. I don’t have a baby, but when I do she’ll be my first resource!

    • http://twitter.com/courtenaybetz Courtenay

      Oh wow! Jordan really has awesome readers because I just checked this site out ( yes its nap time at my house) and she just wrote a post about toddlers that I can soooo relate too. Thx :)

    • Anonymous

      going over to look now!

  • http://twitter.com/courtenaybetz Courtenay

    Oh so sorry I totally remember this as a new mom and BRU can stress even a mother of a 2yr old out :) On 86 st and 2nd ave. there is a Planet kids. They give some really great feedback on strollers and which ones might be good for a walkup.

    • Anonymous

      i’ve been! very cute store.

  • Miranda

    I’ve been/am/will be going through this. Trust me, IT HAPPENS TO EVERYONE. We live in San Francisco, have three flights of stairs, no dishwasher, no washing machine and weekly panic attacks. Just consider the preparing-for-baby-stage a little preview of what the rest of your life is going to be – the fact that there is no real way to prepare for a baby.

    You just have to research as much as you can, take deep breaths and realize from time to time you are going to screw this up. Everyone does. I know we are going to. You’re going to get poop on your hands. Kendrick is going to get poop on his hands. But, I guarantee you’re going to laugh about it. Just like you’re going to laugh when you look back on this anxiety and realize that the anxiety, in-and-of-itself, is exactly why you’ll be an amazing mother.

  • http://twitter.com/KyleCollins Kyle Collins

    Absolutely no baby advice to give here (well, not yet), but sending you big hugs. It IS an impressive undertaking and there ARE a lot of parts and pieces, but one thing I’d bank on is that it all doesn’t have to be perfect. Like in other areas of life, missteps may occur. But it’s all OK in the end, especially when your heart’s in the right place, and yours clearly is!

    • Anonymous

      :) you’re the best, thank you!

  • http://profiles.google.com/vegan04 Amy L. Hayden

    As a mother of two (ages 8 and almost-14), I can officially tell you this: 90% of what “they” tell you you “need” to buy is officially a bunch of baloney. The US is one of the only countries in the world — though, sadly, more are following suit in some weird grab toward consumerism — where mothers are told they need all of these things.

    Honestly? Get a Maya wrap or a sling and it will do you good for at least the first year, and you won’t have to worry about navigating through the city with a stroller. You can also get a cosleeper to put next to your bed that will last several months. I’m not going to tell you to go 100% attachment parenting, as I think that’s more of a personal choice/style, but I raised one that way (more or less) and one not, and it was much less stressful going the AP/low-stuff route.

    I suggest finding a natural baby shop in NYC (the one in Chicago we have is called Be By Baby, and if you called I bet they could recommend one in your city), joining one of the support groups there, and just listening to your gut.

    The only people who know what you NEED vs. what you think you should have are you, Kendrick, and your baby. Even if you come home with only two outfits, a blanket, and a pack of newborn diapers, you’ll be fine. Your breasts will work if you let them, your baby will tell you eventually what is working and what isn’t, and you’ll learn as you go along. Trust your gut, not some list in a chain baby store.

    • Anonymous

      i’m thinking maybe sling/carrier + bassinet (for going to restaurants, etc) might do me for the weekdays…and kendrick can worry about getting the stroller downstairs on weekends :)

      thank you for the great advice!

      • http://profiles.google.com/vegan04 Amy L. Hayden

        Great idea leaving the stroller carrying to Kendrick! (Besides, I have a feeling you won’t want to let go of the little one… and believe me when I say they DO grow up super super fast…my first born is about to finish his first year of high school, and I wonder how that ever happened!)

  • http://barnardbabyblog.tumblr.com Adrienne

    As a new Mom I hear you. I was so thankful for my friend who had just had a baby. Also, babycenter.com has great community boards that I’m constantly on searching for what other Mom’s are doing. I know we’re not “friends” but I’m just an email away if you ever want anyone to bounce stuff off of- I’m more than happy, as is evidence by my blogging about it, to give you advice on what worked for me! With Emilio, he could care less for swings and bouncy things- he just liked being held and interacting with us- so you definitely don’t need those things! Get a mirror, something soft for him or her to lay on and some colorful items to attract him or her and you’re good :)
    The only essentials I found were The Boppy, Diapers, Clothes, Ergo (yes yes yes), Car seat, and swaddles. You really don’t even need a diaper bag, I hardly use ours…

    • Anonymous

      emilio is too cute! i love checking out your site these days :)

  • Diana

    I work from home and am the parent of my first child, a six month old. I was exactly there when I was as pregnant as you are — only I live in the DC suburbs in a house with a clothes and dishwasher.

    My child was given a bouncy seat — she hated it. She also hated the one swing we tried to put her in, so we never got one. What I learned is that your baby might be “a swing baby” and a swing might be the best thing in the world for her, but before you invest in one, try it out. My baby was not a swing baby or a bouncy seat baby — and as a result, we saved the $100+ dollars and the space in buying these things for her.

    Don’t get a bassinet/cosleeper — they are bulky and expensive. Instead, buy a $50 Fisher Price Rock and Play — my baby slept in that next to our bed for the first two months of her life, and used it for naps for another 3.

    For slings — I’m a bit of a sling junkie, I admit. If you think something like the Moby or the Sleepy wrap is “too bulky” for you (though really — for the first month, there is NOTHING better than a stretchy wrap since newborns are so floppy!) get a ring sling. One brand is called the Maya Wrap. I, personally, prefer Sleeping Baby Productions, which has every material and customization option under the sun for a GREAT price (sleepingbabyproductions.net). They even do the expensive and beautiful silk ones that would run you a few hundred dollars at Sakura Bloom.

    When my baby was 3+ months old, my favorite carrier was a mei tai — you can find them used on ebay for around $40. Babyhawk is a good brand. I have an ergo and I thought I’d love it, but it’s crazy bulky for newborns, and doesn’t really fit without the insert until the baby is about 6 months. It’s also a pain in the butt to try to put on front carry — it’s really made for wearing like a backpack and your baby won’t be ready for that until they are more than 6 months old. I found Ergo WAY more constrictive than a wrap. Ring slings are the best, IMO. If you have ONE carrier, that should be the one. It definitely has a learning curve to use, but it gets the most use by far in my house now.

    As for activity gyms (which is what I think you mean when you say “floor mobile”) — they are okay, I guess. We got one as a gift — you can get away with the same idea if you just use a blanket and a boppy, especially if space is of concern. Toys overhead aren’t really useful if you are trying to get the kid on tummy time anyway.

    Breast milk storage: The bags are really for pumping/storage, and they’re a PITA. You have to empty them out into bottles. The idea is that if you’re pumping a LOT, you can freeze lots and lots of ounces in these bags and once and then defrost one bag and make like 6 bottles. I wouldn’t spend a lot of money on them unless you know that pumping is something you plan to do hardcore — like you think you’ll be able to freeze dozens if not hundreds of ounces of milk at a time. if you aren’t planning on doing that much pumping (And if you work from home, I can’t imagine that you are) then I would just buy a bunch of bottles you can screw onto your pump parts. Dr Brown’s screws on to medela brand bottles, FWIW.

    As for a “Day in the Life”: that changes dramatically on a month by month basis. The first 2 months or so are total survival mode — there is no regular schedule, not doing of anything but taking care of the baby. Starting in month three (if you’re lucky and don’t get a colic baby) things start to fall into a pattern. The baby sleeps more, and has more active playtime when awake. They get more interested in toys. months 4-5 are great — they discover the world, toys, movement, cause and effect. They use their hands, they enjoy things. Month six they start eating and really get into a schedule. For me, sleeping through the night is just happening now, and it’s like I’M a different person from getting that extra rest.

    My absolute must haves, month-by-month:

    0-1: longsleeved onesies with built-in mittens, Aden & Anais swaddling blankets (pricey but SOOOOOOOOO worth it, my number one must have THIS BRAND baby item), Sleepy wrap, Fisher Price Rock n Play, Baby ESP (android App, I think they make a similar one for the iPhone called Baby Brain — but it tracks feedings, changings, etc.)

    1-2: Aden & Anais swaddling blankets, Sleep Sheep (or any white noise machine), Aden&Anais again, Sleeping Baby Productions Ring Sling (I can even nurse her in it), a musical crib mobile (I swear, I was such a naysayer, but it was a lifesaver), and I don’t know if you have a car in NYC, but they make these little dangly things that hang from car seat handles and she loved them, and also a mirror so you can see the baby in the car seat in YOUR mirror. We also switched to the born Free wide necked bottles to help avoid nipple confusion.

    2-3: Breathable Bumpers (we transitioned her into her crib and these things are GREAT!, Aden & Anais again, crinkly baby toys, Black and White by Tana Hoban (trust me on this one — much more compact than an activity gym and much more interesting to my baby!), zip up sleepers (so much easier than snaps) and Carlson’s Vitamin D drops (one drop on your nipple is easier than wrangling an entire plunger full of tri-vi-sol into your baby’s gullet!).

    For nursing: definitely have some lanolin on hand for the first few weeks. Nummies makes the best nursing bras (you can buy them on momsmilkboutique.com), I was a big fan of just using tank tops with the shelf bra in it — don’t spend money on a hands free pump bra — just cut some holes in your maternity bella band, and you can buy mother’s milk tea in bulk from traditional medicinals. I don’t know what pump you’re planning on getting but it really is one of those “you get what you pay for” things — It’s better to just spend hte money and get a quality one, or look into renting (sometimes health insurance companies will rent you hospital grade pumps for peanuts).

    • Anonymous

      this is amazing advice…THANK YOU!

  • Anonymous

    just knowing that someone else has the walkup/no washing machine/no dishwasher situation makes me feel a little bit better. thank you :)

  • Anonymous

    will check them out – thank you!

  • http://twitter.com/courtenaybetz Courtenay

    here is a great blog… http://dearbabyblog.com…and she is about to have her second and just did a post about what she needs to have ready for her second baby in a couple weeks and her list is great!!!

  • Jenny in Brooklyn

    You’re NOT doing anything wrong, but I didn’t even go into Babies R Us once during my pregnancy (or, so far, since). I wouldn’t listen to their salespeople about what your baby “needs.”

    I have an almost 4-week-old. We have a bouncy bjorn chair (Craigslist), a cradle (family), weekly cloth diaper service (diaperkind), and some clothes (thrifted, gifts, hand-me-downs, and bought). Clothes, food (I’m breastfeeding, and won’t need a pump until a week before I go back to work), and diapering supplies have been all we need. Everything else is “extra.”

    I don’t have a washer and dryer or a second bedroom or a crib yet (and, frankly, the baby sleeps with us more than in the cradle because it’s SO much easier and more restful for us to breastfeed that way). We have a couple of baby carriers, but no stroller yet (I’m trying to wait until I can get a lightweight folding one at 6 months). Any bag can be a diaper bag. Newborns do not need toys or shoes. Babies can use “regular” towels. My pediatrician says just use water instead of wipes (though I still bought some wipes) and most modern sources say you rarely even need baby soap, lotion, etc. Washing with water is enough. 6 month old kids who are starting solids can eat what you eat, mashed up (unless there are allergies, etc.) — again, advice from my pediatrician. It’s a lot easier to muddle through than you might think.

    You can find a lot of people’s lists online, including those tailored to “small spaces” and the NYC parent online. You can also find communities of local parents who will help and give advice. My neighborhood in Brooklyn has a Yahoo group for that purpose. Have you checked out the blog Ohdeedoh by Apartment Therapy (www.ohdeedoh.com/)? I also recommend Greenbabyguide.com — and spent a lot of time reading through old posts on both sites.

    You’re going to cry! I don’t have a lot of friends who’ve been through it yet, either. But you’re also going to figure it out. Millions and millions of parents do. There are so many ways to do it “right” and very few ways to do it “wrong.”

    p.s. I think breast milk storage bags are what you use to freeze the milk. Then, you thaw it out (tip: you don’t HAVE to warm your bottles; everything I’ve read says room temp is fine and some babies will even drink it cold, though most prefer it warmish) and put it in the bottle. But I haven’t actually done this yet. ;)

    • Jenny

      p.s. You might want to look into ring slings and pouch slings. I have a Moby and an Ergo (which is a little like the Bjorn), but the latter seem more “constricting” if you’re trying to avoid that.

      • http://snackreligious.blogspot.com Jenny again

        p.s. #2 — I’ve read some of the other posts and have to add my YES to aden + anais swaddle blankets. We were given muslin (lovely) and bamboo (SO soft) sets. Also, get some little emery boards. Filing a newborn’s nails is much less traumatic than cutting or clipping (everyone I know accidentally cuts his/her baby the first time and then cries). Some people say just to bite their nails, but I didn’t try that…

        I also have a Boppy breastfeeding pillow, and use it for a number of things, including breastfeeding, back support, stomach support in pregnancy, etc.

        Feel free to email me with questions.

        • Diana

          I had the little baby emery boards but I still couldn’t make them work on my baby — i ended up biting her nails. It was really easy and my lips nad tongue were much more sensitive than clippers or event he emery boards. I’d just do it while nursing. Super simple.

          Also, in terms of “conversion” beds — make sure you get the kind that does in fact convert to a “toddler” bed (they are a lot more rare than you’d think — most “convert” to queen sized or full sized beds, which is ridiculous in NYC) AND that you buy the conversion kit at hte same time (I hope you have a place to store it!) so the bed doesn’t go out of production before your baby is ready to be a toddler.

          Also, to add to the “book” I wrote below on the subject, I have a dishwasher, but I don’t use it — I never was able to get my bottles as clean as I anted without washing by hand.

    • Anonymous

      jenny, this is all SUCH fantastic advice – thank you! re: cradle vs crib – i think we may splurge on one of those conversion cribs that become toddler beds, because we actually do have room for one (i think), and it would be nice to not have to keep upgrading and to keep the same one all the way through. no bassinet, but we are thinking about getting one of those little co-sleepers that goes right in the bed with you (as opposed to next to it). i was advised to use the crib from day 1 to avoid problems later…but…well…we’ll see.

  • Ashley

    Aww, Jordan I just want to give you a hug, girl. Everything’s going to be okay! You know what, you’re not going to have all of the answers, and that IS FINE. That’s what parenthood is all about, figuring it out as you go, not being “perfect” and knowing it all already.

    You know, I love reading thisplaceisnowahome.wordpress.com – she chronicled her journey with infertility, then pregnancy, and now writes about raising her first baby. I think it’s worth a look because she is very open and discusses her struggles with wanting to do everything perfectly, and how that buts up against the reality of everyday life with a baby.

    Chin up – you’re going to be fine! :-)

    • Anonymous

      thanks, ashley :) virtual hug back atcha. i’ll check out that site you recommend asap – the “wanting to do everything perfectly but butting up against reality” thing sounds pretty spot-on.

  • Laura

    Hi there, Jordan
    Long time reader, first time poster! I will admit I’m reading all of this and soaking it all in. We’re pondering starting a family, live in a 4th floor walkup, no dishwasher, and can’t leave a stroller in the vestibule. We LOVE our apartment and don’t want to leave except for this whole “can we have a baby here” elephant in the room.
    So I really am taking all of this advice in as well (hope you don’t mind!) Good luck to you. And ps. I think I’m your neighbor….85th & york. I’ve recognized some of your ‘hood restaurant reccs :)

    • Anonymous

      well, hello there, doppelganger! and yep, you’re right near me. we debated moving pre-pregnancy too…but decided that since we want to move out of the city but can’t quite yet (we’re saving up at the moment) and we don’t want to do two moves in quick succession, we’re probably going to suck it up and stay put for now. (i did, however, put a call in to a broker friend to see what’s around on the UES in our price range with elevators.) it’ll be doable, just not cushy.

      for us, getting our little family started took priority over having our situation be exactly right…because we figured that “exactly right” was probably something that would never happen. having a baby is such a big change that i doubt you ever feel totally ready, so we decided to just take the leap.

      good luck to you guys! keep me posted!

  • Sari

    Jordan, I’ve been reading for a while too, but never commented. The blog is super cute, and I always enjoy your posts. I’m a city mom of a nineteen month old, and I can’t even begin to express how much wasted energy was expended on figuring out what stuff to buy. Keep it as simple as you possibly can in regards to buying the stuff. Just keep in mind that less than a year later, almost ALL of it is going to be garbage. Or put in storage for the mythical second baby you’ll have no idea if you want yet.

    My suggestion to you is to skip the major stroller purchase entirely right now, especially since you have four flights of stairs. A Graco car seat with the wire frame you drop it into with wheels will do just fine in the beginning. You can go buy the stroller six months later.

    The breastfeeding and bottle situation was a huge conundrum for me as well. If you’re on the UES, head over to Yummy Mummy and they’ll show you everything. And you can rent a hospital grade pump from them (that they’ll deliver for you) to arrive before or after your delivery. By the way, those bags drop into most pumps to collect milk so you can store them in the fridge or the bag. If you’re going to try and breast feed by the way, you might want to try and a breast feeding support group. I think Yummy Mummy conducts them in the store.

    I know most people love the Ergo carrier; somebody gifted me with the Bjorn which was so thoughtful but I found it uncomfortable as do many moms. There’s a place called Metro Minis though on the UES where they’ll let you try them on to see what’s comfortable.

    And I don’t know if you have a car or if your mom or a friend will drive you, but my own mom took me to register at a great store in New Jersey called Denny’s. I was overwhelmed by the big box stores too; they’re much smaller with a wonderful sales staff. We were done purchasing all of the necessities like bedding and onesies and burp cloths in an hour and a half. Call to make an appointment ahead of time – their prices are great, and no sales tax :.

    As far as stocking necessities like diapers and all that, BabyCenter has a pretty comprehensive list somewhere on the site. Don’t forget that if you don’t have something you need – it’s NYC – you’ll send an exhausted husband out to go get what you need when you need it.

    And don’t freak about the four flights of stairs. Diapers.com and FreshDirect will deliver every single thing you need. Let somebody else drag your stuff up four flights of stairs.

    P.S. It sounds like you need a laugh. Check out Mommyshorts.com. The blog will help you take it down about five hundred notches.

  • Sari

    Oh, also, Dr. Karp’s Happiest Baby on the Block book – LIFESAVER!!!

  • Adriennesole

    Don’t put so much pressure on yourself. I think everyone freaks out the first time they try to shop for their first baby. The stores are so huge and there are way too many products to consider. My best friend dragged me to Buy Buy Baby a few weeks ago thinking that she would educate me on what I needed for my baby due in September. She gave up after about 15 minutes when she noticed that my eyes had glazed over. It’s just too much information for a person to process all at once. Thankfully, my friend has a type A personality so I think she’d be more than happy registering me for all the things she thinks I need without any input from me. I have to say, I am seriously considering it. But what I’m really hoping to do is buy items that do more than one thing and change with the needs of the baby so that I can cut down on clutter in my house. I am considering the Peg Perego Tatamia that is a baby recliner/swing/high chair and the Skate stroller that can turn into a bassinet, baby stroller, toddler stroller and a double stroller. The Skate stroller may weigh too much for you to be carrying up and down stairs but Peg Perego sells other strollers that weigh around 15 lbs and I hear that they’re a very good company.

    Are there any baby expos scheduled for around your area? I went to a baby expo with my husband a few weeks ago and that’s where I really started to learn about what products we would really need to buy for the baby. It was nice being able to have people demonstrate the different products and answer all the questions I had. Plus, most of the demonstrators were only there to show the products and not sell to you so the entire experience was much more comfortable.

    Lastly, I just hired a trainer to work with Knuckles, my 100 lb. lab mix. He has the same issues with toys that your pups do and I also worry he may get jealous because of all the attention the baby will get. It’s definitely something that I would suggest you look into if you’re at all concerned with how they will adjust once the baby arrives. After just a couple of sessions I’ve seen a major improvement in Knuckles’s behavior.

    I’ll definitely keep you informed if I find out about any other cool products. :)

    • Anonymous

      thank you for the advice! i’ll look into expos – that’s a great idea.
      re: trainer…my plan is to have as many bully sticks as possible at the ready for when we bring the baby home. world war III could break out in our living room, and the dogs wouldn’t notice as long as they had their bully sticks.

  • Jess Caroline

    Here are two of my favorite design blogs by a mom and a mom-to-be. Hope it helps! You’re going to be an awesome mom!
    http://www.thelilbee.com/
    http://www.unrulylittlethings.com/

  • Anonymous

    thank you! especially for the denny’s and diapers.com advice – will check both out.

  • AK4

    After I read your post earlier about the Mercedes Benz event, I was thinking, “Jordan is so cute! I should really write her an e-mail about how much I like her blog and how pregnancy suits her, she’s glowing and so happy” and blah blah, and then I saw this post and now I really have to comment :) I see from the plethora of comments already that all you need to do is ask, and you will get so many helpful readers who won’t steer you wrong and make sure you never feel alone in your new adventure. My two cents? Anything you don’t get new from your registry, buy used from Craigslist or a neighborhood listserv. Buy items as you need them, and sell when you don’t (no storage!) Babies grow out of gear, almost as often as they grow out of clothing, that there’s not really a reason to pay retail for new stuff. And if you decide you want a stroller, I can highly recommend the Baby Jogger City Mini. Folds in one quick motion, light enough for your walkup (and down), maneuvers well on city streets and in small spaces, etc.

    Also, Babies R Us crappy return and exchange policy will make you cry again so definitely go with the smaller store recommendations when you can!!

  • http://meghanvalerio.blogspot.com/ Meghan

    Do you ever read Young House Love? Sherry & John have done a couple of posts on how they decided what their daughter really needed, and what she didn’t, and how they decided against a ton of “must-have” baby stuff. You might find it helpful… here’s one! http://www.younghouselove.com/2010/09/save-it-the-baby-edition/

    Anyway, I hope you’re feeling better and remember, if you don’t have something you end up needing, the store will still be there. Also, you’ve been looking RIDICULOUSLY AMAZINGLY AWESOME these days!

    • Anonymous

      i do read it sometimes – it’s a great site. and oh my goodness, thank you!! i feel happy (other than the occasional bout of terror), so maybe it shows :)

  • kate

    Check out nestprep.com

  • Emily

    Jordan – I’ve been reading your stuff since before RamShackle was RamShackle and you were a part of nonsociety. I feel for you – i have an eery feeling i will be the first of my friends to get pregnant and then ill be the one crying in baby’s-r-us.

    if you don’t already know her i suggest you check out http://www.georgiegirlnyc.com

    She’s another blogger i follow that recently had a little baby. she doesn’t post that often any more (i assume this is a result of parenthood and dealing with a growing infant) but she’s constantly posting about what great friends she’s made through the blogging world.

    also try http://veronicalovesarchie.com/

    that’s all i got when it comes to mommy bloggers. hope tomorrow brings a brighter day for you

  • Anonymous

    i’m actually e-buddies with georgina (and have been fortunate enough to meet charlotte, who is the cutest thing ever) and love veronica’s site…what a small world! i agree with your recommendations – both those ladies make me feel like anything is possible.

  • Cat

    Aw! I just wanted to say congratulations and you’ll do gerat no matter what I know you know this but I also what it is to feel… hormonal and freaked. Rock on.

  • Can6

    Hi Jordan – Just one quick tip. My sister also lives in a 4th floor walk-up apartment, and asked the landlord/super to allow her to leave her stroller in the main lobby so she wouldn’t have to carry it up and down all the time. I think they make special ‘stroller locks’, which allow her to secure it to the banister. Not sure if this is an option for you, but thought i’d try. good luck!

    • Anonymous

      i asked, and no go :(
      fire code, shmire code.

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  • Tina Barbour

    You are going to be a wonerful mama! and carrying all of those items will be a breeze…like I said you will get super toned arms from carrying around baby…and all that comes with it! You can call me ANYTIME if you have questions. As for the drop in plastic for the bottles..you drop the plastic in and then fill it up with your milk. That way you just pull the plastic out when you are done and do not have to constantly boil..and clean bottles, just the nipple and a quick rinse of the plastic bottle. I never used the drop ins myself. I found it very easy to just wash them and every two days just throw them in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes. luv ya!

  • Albtayeb

    The salesman is an Ass. And you don’t need all that stuff. I worked at Babies R Us before, they sell lightweight, medium, and full option strollers. In fact, if you don’t need a car seat then you don’t need to buy one of those 18 pound strollers. And If you want one because you like how it folds all the way down, the lightest full function stroller that they used to sell is Aria by Peg perego. It’s 8 pounds. If they don’t have it anymore you may be able to buy it online. It was a nice stroller but pricey. The on the floor play areas that cost an arm and a leg is a ridiculous way to spend your money. put the baby on a clean carpet or bed and dangle some toys above his head. Same thing. Breastmilk is pumped either into a bottle that you can later put a nipple on or use. Or to save space in a bag (any zip lock bag works too if u don’t want to spend on the special baggies) and then you defrost and dump it into the bottle you want to use. I recommend you try out the slings (buy and return if u don’t like it) with your dog or another baby before you actually buy one for good. They look comfy/stylish but they are KILLER on the back and shoulders esp if you’ve already got back issues. If you have any other questions you can email and I’ll answer them. I got mad at the salesman when I read your post. Jerks. Anyway, good luck, you’ll do fine, don’t stress out over any of it, it’s all a ruse to spend your money. The baby doesn’t need as much as you think it does. Just alot of love.

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  • GavinsMommy

    I barely got through the 3rd or 4th paragraph and I’ma 1st time reader (StumbleUpon!), and I realize that this is 4 months late, but I have to say:
    1) Congrats!!! How exciting!!! Babies are so awesome!!
    2) Salesmen are exactly that. Jeerks trying to make money off of you.
    3) oh you poor overwhelmed dear! And relax! It does eventually come naturally.
    My son is almost 2 (October 6th, I have mixed feelings, yay, he’s such a big boy, and aww, but I want my baby back!) and granted, he’s not fully grown, but I still have a pretty fresh memory of the 1st days. None of us know what we’re doing anymore, lol, even when you have more than one kid! They are all so different, you gotta take your cues from them.
    You don’t need all the expensive stuff!!! Babies love spending time with you more than the toys anyway, and I know you can’t spend all your time with them, but there are really inexpensive toys, and honestly they don’t know the difference. My son was so thrilled to get pots and pans to bang on when he started sitting up..Free toys! 
    It gets better, don’t stress out (thats not just one time advice, You will need to tell yourself that A LOT)  I won’t say it gets easier, because I swear, once you get used to one thing, and get into a groove with that, they change it up on you, and start learning new stuff, but it’s so incredible to watch. Between aggravating the hell out of me with leech behavior, or getting into EVERYTHING (I swear just yesterday he couldn’t even reach the edge of the counter, now he’s climbing and tall enough to reach everything in the bathroom..including makeup >:-[) lol or tearing all my clothes out of the dresser or closet, or playing with shoes and hiding them, and now dealing with hitting, there are still so many moments that I’m just completely overwhelmed with love and awe of this tiny dude that I created, and have the complete pleasure to be his Mommy (btw, that word alone is the sweetest and sometimes most tiresome word in the world that you will ever be called)
    As exhausting as it will be running up and down those stairs, and such, atleast you’ll have a good workout! :)
    Again most sincere Congratulations..just BREATHE!! :D

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