Big This Week

Recent Posts

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Hey, Baby 👋🏽

It's been a few years since I've been on here, but I've never able to shut the door. For those who have been following the journey, I took a little detour and moved this site over to Squarespace. I prettied it up, but it sat dormant for years. (Truthfully, I never felt that Squarespace was a site optimized for blogging, so I never really connected with it.) At the same time, I poured most, if not all, of my time and energy building my marketing and consulting business (which is still alive and well, so hit me up, y'all 😏). When I was ready to write again, I decided to write a post or two on Medium (wasn't for me) and finally, I followed the crowd on over to Substack. I'm a naturally curious soul, always wanting to explore, so it's not entirely surprising to me that I'd poke around a new space or two. All the while I wondered, "WHAT AM I DOING?" No other space truly felt like me, which is perhaps why this part of the internet has always been around. Call it an unwillingness to let go, or whatever, but here we are again. 

I told myself that it might be silly to revive this old thing, but that then begs the question, "Silly to whom?" In this life, it's a-ok to start over again, switch things up, and change your mind. Nothing is final and you can pivot as many times as you want or need to. And, if there's one thing about me - I'm always going to switch it up until the vibes are right. 

So with that, let's get into it. 

A lot of folks have been messaging me about my favorite baby things. The baby market is a wild one. There are more choices than ever and so much of it is personal preference. When we were getting ready to welcome our little one, I was honestly so overwhelmed with all the options out there. Thankfully, many friends shared their recommendations with me to help make the process a bit easier. 

Now that our little one is here and we've had 12 weeks to test things out, I'm ready to share all the things that we have loved so far. As a reminder, so much of this will depend on you and your baby, but hopefully this can help some of you narrow down a few things on your list. 

Baby Things

  • Bottles: Avent Natural Response Bottles with size 2 nipples. If you are needing to introduce a bottle and are also breastfeeding at the same time, LCs and IBCLCs will all tell you to practice paced bottle feeding to help mimic the flow of the breast. We tried so many different bottles (Dr. Brown’s, Evenflo, and Comotomo) and found all of them to be too fast flowing and gas-inducing. And, as a breastfeeding mom, I worried that the fast pace would eventually make him reject the boob. Thankfully, our our IBCLC recommended this one and it was the best fit for us. 
  • Bottle Warmer: Avent Baby Bottle Warmer. At first, I didn't think this was a necessity. But, we quickly found that little babes don't like cold bottles, or at least ours didn't. So if you pump, you’ll need a fast warmer for any middle of the night feeds and this one is it.
  • Diapers & Wipes: Honest diapers and wipes. In the newborn stage, our baby was a slim little dude. As such, he had trouble filling out anything but the Honest diapers until about 4 weeks. Honest provided the best fit and we liked that they're free of fragrances, chemicals, etc. The wipes have good texture, are super easy to get out of the bag, and make cleaning up a breeze. After the 4-week mark, when our little one was a bit bigger, we made the switch to Huggies for a more affordable option. (We use the plant-based Huggies, which have no harsh chemicals.) Costco brand diapers are also apparently Huggies, so you can buy those to save even more. Water Wipes are also really great wipes if you don’t want to splurge on the Honest ones. We also tried Pampers wipes and diapers and I did not like either at all due to the terrible smell. Plus, it gave our baby diaper rash. Best advice here - only get a few diapers and wipes to start to see what your baby likes. If you get a ton as gifts, I've heard that Target will apparently take back unopened boxes of diapers. So, don't open up everything just yet! 
  • Breast Pump: Spectra S1. Best pump around and super easy to use. You’ll likely need to buy some silicone flange inserts because the standard flange size it comes with does not fit the average woman. (And silicone inserts are much gentler than the plastic flanges. I got a cheap box off Amazon with sizes 13-21 and recommend doing the same because your size can change multiple times until your body regulates. Be sure to measure often or see an IBCLC to help ensure you are using the right size for best comfort and maximum output. Using the wrong size not only leads to lower output and discomfort, but possible damage, so save yourselves! 
  • Manual Breast PumpHaaka. Helps to catch milk while breastfeeding, especially in the early days. Make sure you also grab a lid. (I also have the ladybug milk collectors and don't think you need those, unless you leak a TON - plus they're really uncomfortable!)
  • Nursing Pillow: BrestFriend. Good back support and comfortable to use once you figuring out your best positions with baby. I really like that it has a little pocket, too, so you can stick your water bottle, burb bibs, or whatever you need in there for easy reach. 
  • Onesies: Carters two zip onesies - the easiest thing to put baby in for multiple diaper changes a day.
  • Baby Carrier: Artipoppe. Yes, it is the priciest one out there, but it really provides the best back and body support for moms and is the easiest to adjust if you only have one hand and no help. Plus, as a fashion girly, it's nice to get a carrier that feels like me. For context, we also have the Solly wrap (good to use when baby is really small, but takes a lot of practice) and the Ergo Embrace (which Derrick prefers but I thought it was too tough to adjust on my own). We also both tried the Konny and don’t recommend because it's pretty limiting and not always a great fit. 
  • Sound Machine: Yogasleep Hush Portable Sound Machine. This was recommended to me and it's a 100% must get. Helps baby sleep at night and once we turn it on, he knows it’s time for bed. (We also have the Hatch Baby Sound Machine, but we keep it in the nursery for now and will transition to that one once he sleeps on his own. It’s kind of better for older babies and kids, anyways.)
  • Car Camera: Shynerk Baby Car Mirror. So an actual baby mirror isn’t safe, nor approved by AAA, so we switched to this baby camera. It's simple to set up and tiny, so safer to use than those giant mirrors. 
  • Newborn bathtub: Angelcare Baby Bath Support. We use it for sink baths, which saves our backs. It offers great support for baby and doesn’t take up too much space. 
  • Burb towels: Gerber Cloth Diapers. Yes, cloth diapers - trust me on this and get one pack for for spit ups! I honestly use these for almost everything and don't even bother with all the other ones we bought. 
  • Swaddles: SwaddleMe Easy Change Swaddles with Velcro. Sandro is freakishly strong and ripped out of every single cloth swaddle from the time he was in the hospital, lol. These velcro swaddles are the only things that have kept him tight at night. We transitioned to the Dreamland Weighted Sleepsack at ~11 weeks after he started to show signs of rolling and scooting. 
  • Baby Bouncer: BabyBjorn. It's pricey, so we got ours secondhand and then just got a new cover for it. It's truly a godsend. Sandro loves it for bouncing and daytime naps. And for whatever reason, it's his favorite place to poop, lol. So if you have a gassy baby, the bouncing and position really helps them to go 😂
  • Baby Lounger: SnuggleMe. (Pictured above, lol.) When baby is young, they’re going to need something to sleep in when outside of the bassinet. Sandro loved this when he was in the early weeks, but truly hates it now. You can't get away without one, so if I could do it all over again, I'd probably just get one secondhand and purchase a separate cover like we did with the bouncer. 
  • Baby Monitor: Nanit. You don’t need the subscription. We just use it as a monitor while he sleeps. 
  • Stroller and Car seats are all personal preference. We have the Nuna Triv and Pipa Rx and LOVE, but it all depends on what you like and need. For SF Bay Area folks, I highly recommend going to Sprout in Marin or SF to test out their wide range of baby strollers before you decide on one. We also got a MomCozy Universal Stroller Organizer, which is super clutch on walks. 
  • Cribs are also personal preference, but we have the Nestig Cloud 3-in-1 convertible crib (starts as bassinet, turns into full size crib, then toddler bed). It's great quality, sleek looking, and will last for a long time. 
  • Other bits and bobs: Stock up on Aquaphor, you need it for everything. Get a 3 pack of mini diaper spatulas to help apply product on baby’s butt and skin. Saves your hands and you will use it every single time you change a poopy diaper. A Slumberpod was also highly reco’d to me via friends. We haven’t used it yet, but if you plan to travel with baby later on or have grandparents watch baby, this helps them to sleep wherever they go. Instant blackout curtains! If you don't get a changing pad with your diaper bag, the Skiphop Portable Baby Changing Pad is really great. 

For mom:

  • FridaMom: FridaMom makes so many great things for mom. I had a vaginal birth and found the peri bottle, disposable underwear, and ice pads to be a godsend. You do not need to bring any of these things to the hospital! Save the space in your hospital bag and use all the stuff they give you there. The hospital gave me a Dermaplast Pain Relief Spray and Tucks Medicated Cooling Pads, which I preferred over the FridaMom foam and liners, so stock up on those if you get them, too. 
  • Medela Hydrogel Pads: I liked these better than the FridaMom ones. Necessary if you breastfeed. 
  • Nursing BrasSkims. The most comfortable nursing bras, IMO. Wait until they have a sale and consider sizing up as their items tend to run a bit small. 
  • Underwear: Kindred Bravely High Waisted Postpartum Underwear. Very supportive and comfortable.
  • Nursing Camis: Ingrid and Isabel Crossover Nursing Camis. Get a 2 pack, if you can. Super comfortable, and  easy on days you don’t want to wear a nursing bra. Wear under anything and you're set. 
  • Button-up Nightgowns: I got 3-4 oversized nightgowns towards the end of my pregnancy and have been wearing them ever since. Button ups are pretty necessary if you decide to breastfeed. 
  • DressesSkims Soft Lounge Long Sleeve Dress: I got two of these and they got me through my pregnancy. Hate to say it, but Skims knows what they're doing. These are so flattering and comfortable. 
  • Leggings: Lululemon SHR Align. Size up 2 from your normal size and you'll wear them through your pregnancy and beyond. The material has changed from a year ago (less soft, more compressive), but I still think they're worth the spend. These sell out quickly and often, so keep an eye and be ready to buy when they're back in stock. 


Monday, January 18, 2021

"Do You Know What Today is?"

When I was a tiny tot, I looooved to read and one of the very first books my parents gave me was a beautiful, colorfully-illustrated kid-friendly version of the autobiography of Dr. King. There were even days where dad would play vinyls of Dr. King’s speeches and I’d listen as he talked to me about his own personal experiences.

Every single year, whether he got it off or not, dad would always take today as a personal holiday. And he *always* celebrated it. And every single year, on this day, even though he knew I knew, he’d always call or text & say, “you know what today is, right?”

From a young age, my parents found it important that we talk about race because it was simply something that I couldn’t ignore. It was important to my dad that I knew where I came from & remember that I did not get to where I am now on my own.

Today is an important day of celebration & remembrance in my household and I hope that it’s not just another day off for you. Honor, reflect, and find ways that you can make yourself of service today & every day.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Be Water

I've been having a difficult time making decisions lately - crippled by the fear of making the wrong one. Today, my friend reminded me that the beauty of life is that nothing is permanent. People, places, things - they all flow in and out of our lives, constantly changing.

Truth is, there are no “right” & “wrong” decisions. Just the ones you make and the ones you don’t. If something doesn’t feel right, you can always make a change.

As Bruce Lee so wisely said, “be water.” Flow & move. Never be afraid to make a wrong choice, or worse, let your fears paralyze you into not moving at all. Be like water. Flow. 🌊

P.S. If you have the opportunity to, I highly recommend watching Bao Ngyuen’s Be Water, which is part of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series. There’s so much I never knew about Bruce and his timeless wisdom is the perfect reminder that we still need to hear today.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Flowers of Gratitude

 - Thankful for the stillness this year brought: a reminder that it’s okay and very much possible (& necessary) for a go, go, go gal like me to sloooow down

- Thankful for hugs 🐻 (a note to self to squeeze every single person who allows it once it’s safe to once again)

- Thankful for flowers 🌻 many of which were honestly just downright necessary for some self-love & care

- Thankful for all the healthcare workers who have worked day in and day out to care for our loved ones with kindness and compassion, especially in moments where we couldn’t be there to hold their hands

- Thankful for the many beautiful & kind souls who lifted me up with love this year when my legs couldn’t stand ❤️

- Thankful for the abundance in my life: love, family, friendship, opportunity, passion, and everything in between

- Thankful for the hard lessons this year has taught us. i know the scars will remind us of our strength when tough times come back around.

Although this year brought its ups and downs, i hope the joy continues to outweigh the rain. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone - wishing you all love, warmth, and peace to fill your homes & hearts.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

The First Time: Devil's Teeth Baking Co.

For some, this is just a photo of a mouth-watering breakfast sandwich. And, in its simplest form, it is. And yet, it’s also a reminder of the simple pleasures of experiencing something for the first time.

When’s the last time you enjoyed something for the very first time? When’s the last time you did something completely and wildly new-to-you? For me, it was the day we went to Devil’s Teeth Baking Co., an Outer Sunset staple. It’s lauded for its amazing pastries and bakes, as well as its infamous “Special Breakfast” sandwich. Two eggs, bacon, avocado, pepper jack cheese, generously slapped with some lemon-garlic aioli against a fluffy homemade biscuit. *Chef’s Kiss*

Devil’s Teeth had been on my list for some time and I finally told myself that this was the day. So down to the beach we went. I’ve been spending more time at the beach because it was my dad’s favorite place to go when he wanted to clear his mind. He grew up in the Inner Richmond and being by the water makes me feel like he’s there, too. And, I’ll obviously take any excuse to enjoy a sun, sand, and breakfast sandwich combo.

Needless to say, this place is a must and if you’ve been thinking about going, consider this your sign to finally go. Do the thing. Enjoy the now. Go.

© pancakestacker: a san francisco bay area lifestyle blog by chandamheer stacker | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Developed by pipdig