- Organic stuff for babies
- Helpful stuff to get/make/buy/do
- comments on the baby courses offered by Harvard Vanguard
- Books I read
- Helpful website
- 2nd hand baby stores
- Initial draft: Lu Wang, Dec 2016
- Invited editors: Ivy, GT, Lei, Rachel
Organic stuff for babies
For buying organic/natural products for the babies, below are a few websites that I found helpful:
- www.littlespruceorganics.com/ which has organic hooded towels, organic clothing, and handmade maple rattle,
- https://gimmethegoodstuff.org which has blogs/reviews on different products, and things I liked are:
- Natural rubber pacifiers
- Stainless Steel bottles that later can change to a sippy cup by changing out the nipple for a sipper spout . I like the bottles, but my baby did not like the nipple that comes with it. For nipples, I recommend:
- All natural diapers (also available on Amazon for Subscribe and Save –highly recommend!!!) and wipes (or buy waterwipes on Amazon — this is what we use currently).
- All natural bathing products
- All natural laundry soap. Now we switched to the gentle liquid laundry detergent made by Trader Joe’s because it’s easier to use.
- Other organic products
- aden + anais is a very popular brand for its swaddles and they carry organic cotton swaddles (another link), burpy bibs
- Baby carrier (organic cotton on the outside, but still plastics in the inside)
- Sleepwear with Hannah Anderson — highly recommend!! They have a lot of sales so sign up their newsletter and wait for sales during holidays.
Helpful stuff to get/make/buy/do
Suggestions given by a friend of mine who had a very smooth natural birth of her first baby last year. It seems very useful and I bought most of things she suggested.
Things to do to facilitate a head-down position for the baby:
http://spinningbabies.com/ has helpful suggestions. Some major take-home is to use the gravity: keep a good posture, do not lean back when sitting or driving (put a towel behind lower back). There are also some simple exercises/stretches to do.
- side snap tops with mitten cuffs – don’t buy newborn size. cuffs helps prevent baby from scratching. side snap make it easier to change, especially when baby still has umbilical cord still clipped and sticking out… Maybe you can just get a set or two and then get a side snap onesie and just wear mittens on baby after the umbilical cord falls out.
- burp cloths – use prefold cloth diapers like this to place over shoulder while burping baby since it was very absorbent for baby throwing/spitting up
- nail filer – baby’s nails were too soft to use a clipper at the beginning so we used this, and later switched to electric one(life saver!)
- wash cloths – use for lots of things including wiping baby (Lu: I bought this one)
- Wipes – “Medline Ultrasoft Disposable Dry Cleansing Cloth Wipe” Wipes and diapers are two of your baby’s best friends. There are many chemicals in wipes that concerns moms. And we have used 1 full bag wipe per week! How many bags would that be in 54 weeks or even more. I cut this cloth wipe into 2 and fold it in a rectangular lunch box, soak them in water and use it as wipes! (Rachel recommend this)
- DIY padsicle (highly recommended for vaginal birth): http://www.tallmomtinybaby.com/2013/05/padsicles-new-moms-perfect-companion.html (I used this https://herblore.com/products/postpartum-sitz-bath-herbs instead. Made into “tea”, then poured into the maxipads; make and freeze before delivery)
- Peri bottle, to wash perineal area – I thought two bottles was useful. I had one contain the sitz bath herb tea and the other contain lukewarm tap water. Pat dry rather than wiping with toilet paper if possible.
- Nursing bras – I really liked these. They were soft and comfortable. (Lu: I bought them and really like them.)
- Nursing pad (for leakage)
– disposable, optional – you may want to have a box handy to use when you are out and you’re leaking too much or when your reuseables are in the washer/dryer. 🙂
– washable – the blue ones are for overnight or heavier leaks.
– another more expensive washable but seems really nice
- Nursing top (optional, but can be used as bra too); cheapest I’ve seen but if you want, you can DIY by converting old camis into nursing tops: http://www.babybellykelli.com/diy-nursing-tankcami-in-under-10-mins/
Rachel likes these nursing tanks:
- nipple cream – for cracked/dry/sore nipples. It’s like lip balm. Apply generously after each feed! Can be also used for diaper rash when your nipples no longer hurt… =)
- Breast pump – you can get a free one through your insurance. I got the Medela electric pump. This portable hand pump could be useful. Any type of milk storage bags would work. There are some rules about how long you can keep. For breastfeeding FAQs, go here: http://www.lalecheleague.org/
https://kellymom.com/ (Love kelly mom! I found most of my breastfeeding and milk supply questions answers here–Rachel)
Lactation Consultant: Most of MA. insurance covers in full price Lactation Consultant (International Board of Lactation Consultant-IBCLC) home visit. I have a LC I use and have invited her over a few times. We pay LC first, then get full reimbursement from my insurance. If you need recommendation, please contact Rachel
- Nursing pillow – If you breastfeed, you will use a lot of pillows. This one is a must-have for me and life saver for my back! I love this one. –Rachel
Read Lucie’s list for more details of other supplies and baby products.
My comments on the courses offered by Harvard Vanguard. — Sorry it seemed I cannot find the website when I checked it on 1/9/2018. Perhaps they no longer provide courses.
We went to the Wellesley site due to scheduling constraints. I think the Baby Care portion is more helpful, so you may just want to do a class on this portion. The Safety (First Aid and CPR) is rarely used in real life but it is good to know. Going there earlier (8th month or before) helps you get started on the preparation, but the downside is that the memory may fade — they’ll have a booklet for you to refresh memory.
I was recommended by one of the NPs I saw to go to the Somerville site. I like it but I do not know whether other sites are better. I really liked the instructor for Natural Childbirth Education at Kenmore and she does Breastfeeding class at Kenmore as well, so she could be another good option. I think it is helpful, but even if you do not take this one, the on-site lactation consultant at the delivery hospital will help you when the baby arrives. Because the breastfeeding experience varies so much for different mom, a class is only an initial prep, and on-site and individual consultation will be very helpful and more practical (and free).
The most helpful class we took! We chose the Kenmore site and love the instructor there! Take it 4-6 weeks before the due date. It’s a two-day course: 10am-5pm on Sat and 12-5pm on Sun. It’s best that the husband can attend, because childbirth is truly a team work. It includes information on all ways of childbirth with an emphasis on how to prepare for natural childbirth. It includes very thoughtful suggestions on what to pack for hospital (you can see my note in Meet the doctors that the bare minimum things to bring to the hospital are just a few, but to make the delivery more feel at home, it’s nice to bring more things).
Meet the doctors (Mt Auburn Hospital) : the frequency is very low, next one is in March. It is not the same as the “Meet the doctor” that is offered by Mt Auburn Hospital to meet their doctors; this is to meet the Harvard Vanguard doctors that deliver at Mt Auburn Hospital. It is not a tour of the birthing center, but only a Q&A section with the doctors from Harvard Vanguard who may deliver the baby for you.
I think the most important things that we learned from this are:
- After the delivery, there will be on-site pediatrician to evaluate the baby, and the information can be readily shared with your chosen pediatrician either within their online network or be documented on file that you can take with you to your chosen pediatrician. Covered by insurance.
- After the delivery, there will be on-site lactation consultant to help with breastfeeding. Covered by insurance.
- Throughout the hospital stay, complimentary (and unlimited) meals can be ordered from the Kitchen for the mother and the husband (the kitchen is closed at 6:30pm, so send in the order earlier)
- The baby is expected to stay with the Mom in the postpartum room. However, there is a level 2 nursery to take care of your baby if you are too tired to be rooming with your baby for the entire time and need to take a nap.
- The Labor and Delievery room is private with shower/tub, and the Postpartum room is also private with shower — there is a bed for Mom and a pull-out bed for Dad.
- The hospital has most of the supplies for the mother and baby (e.g. gowns, disposable underwear, pads, diapers, swaddles), so the bare minimum things you need to bring to the hospital are: (optional) a doc of birth plan; outfit for the baby when he/she leaves; car seat; change of clothes for mom and dad; (optional) Snacks
A tour of the labor and delivery and postpartum area of the hospital is very helpful. Need to book it on the Hospital’s website. Good to know how to drive in, where to park ($7 after validated for the entire stay), esp. how to enter when it is after-hours. Take a look at all the relevant areas and facilities. For Mt Auburn Hospital, you can have a maximum of three people being with you in the labor and delivery area. The three people do not have to be there all the time, but you can not swap a person for a fourth person. For the postpartum area, the couple’s parents can visit any time, and other visitors are allowed 1-8 pm (but the staff can be flexible and allow them in during other time as well).
Books I read
- Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby
Very helpful book as an introduction to caring for an infant. Easy to read. Lue and I read it together and apply it to our parenting to Ella since her birth, and it turned out to be effective for us in terms of calming her down, sleep & eating schedule. It also helps us to be on the same page about many dimensions of parenting. (Note: we did not follow its way to introduce bottle, and instead followed the instruction given at Mt Auburn Hospital.) It is also available in Chinese： 婴语的秘密
- The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems: Sleeping, Feeding, and Behavior–Beyond the Basics from Infancy Through Toddlerhood
A more comprehensive version of book #1. We use it as a reference. Read the outline and a few chapters before Ella was born and frequently refer to it after she’s born. The sleep & eat schedule is very helpful. It is also available in Chinese: 实用程序育儿法
- What to Expect When You’re Expecting
A helpful guide throughout the pregnancy and intro to labor and delivery.
- What to Expect the First Year
The same series as book #3. Lue and I frequently refer to it after Ella was born and use this book and book #2 together to help adjust our parenting and care for Ella. It discusses many helpful issues that comes up month-by-month, so it is not overwhelming to read the whole book.
- Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
It was recommended by the teacher for the natural birth class. Lue read through it a few days before the delivery. Recommended if considering natural birth. (Rachel also used this book and highly recommended as a must-read for natural birth!!!)
Note: Every child-birth is different. The most important thing I think is to keep informed and also keep flexible.
- Loving Our Kids on Purpose Revised Edition: Making a Heart to Heart Connection
An absolutely transformative book for Lue and me in terms of parenting. We had a baby moon in Month 5 of my pregnancy, which is a weekend retreat to enjoy each other and nature and also to reflect on parenting together. We read this book together, and discussed after each chapter — it was a helpful guide to help us think back how we were raised by our parents, how different our families were and our default beliefs in parenting are, and to think about what kind of parents we want to be together.
- 14 morning devotions on Parenting with Paul David Tripp:
This was a short but powerful daily reminder for me when I was anxious about becoming a mother and the huge responsibility that comes with it. Highly recommend for any stage of pregnancy and parenting.
- Sleeping through the night
Recommended by our Pediatrician.
- The Confident Mom: Guiding Your Family with God’s Strength and Wisdom
Ran into this book “by accident” and loved it. A small book I keep by my bed. Read a bit when I have a break from feeding Ella — refreshing and encouraging reminder of God’s sovereignty and love.
- A Mother’s Heart: A Look at Values, Vision, and Character for the Christian Mother–Revised
Park Street Church’s gift. Have not finished it yet, but def recommend it.
- Baby Bargains: Secrets to Saving 20% to 50% on baby cribs, car seats, strollers, high chairs and much, much more! 2017 update!
Recommended by a mom when I bugged her a lot as to what to prepare and what’s a good brand of each item. A catalog-type book so it’s quick to refer to, tells you all you need and don’t need; price and best rate products. Saved me time to do all those homework! (Rachel)
- 微信公众号： 说说咱家娃
- Eating: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/tips-tools/ask-the-pediatrician/Pages/When-can-I-start-giving-my-baby-peanut-butter.aspx
- www.highlights.com STEM
- Good toys:
- Luggage: https://trunki.com/
2nd hand baby stores:
- Two Little Monkeys in Somerville. I highly recommend. They resell with affordable prices. Many times I notice they sell for half price of the retail price. Like and check out their Facebook page because they often post what they are selling, and the price.You can always call them to check if they have something you’re looking for before coming in. They are very friendly and nice. They once help me take apart a highchair for me without charging. –Ivy
- East Arlington has one inside of their library – The Little Fox http://www.littlefoxshop.com Same idea. Great second hand deals. –GT