Baby Gadgets

Here are some baby gadgets that I have used with my daughter.

Sleeping / Lounging
Fisher Price Auto Rock ‘n Play Sleeper
[Walmart – find it here]

Newborn until about 5 months
I bought this while I was in the US before my daughter was born. She took naps in it frequently as a newborn and should would lounge in it here and there until she was about 5 months.

Graco Travel Lite Crib with Stages
[Amazon – find it here]

Newborn until (still in use at 14 months)
My mom and gram bought this for us as a gift at Centrepoint when there were  here visiting in Saudi. It honestly didn’t get much use until my daughter was about 10 months old and I sent it with her to be used by the babysitter while I am at work. At this point it is a bit snug for her to totally stretch out, but it still works for us just fine.

Ingenuity SmartBounce Automatic Bouncer
[ToysRUs – find it here]

Newborn until 7 months
I bought this at Centrepoint when my daughter was about 3 months and was interested in looking at things around her while lounging. I got her to fall asleep in this while bouncing a handful of times. She also sat in this in the bathroom while I would take a shower.

Playing
Bright Starts 4-in-1 Discovery Activity Gym
[Walmart – find it here]
52275_hr

Newborn until 6 months
This was a baby shower gift from my mom’s best friend. It is great because it is quite small and was easy for me to fit in my luggage to come back to Saudi from the US. My daughter used it from the time she was a newborn until she was about 6 months and wanted to sit upright.

Evenflo Exersaucer Triple Fun Activity Center
[Amazon – find it here]

Newborn until (still in use at 14 months)
This was a gift from a group of my colleagues from work. This actually has 3 stages: a play mat like the previous item, a jumper as shown in the photo and a “s” shaped activity table. We didn’t use the play mat too much because we already had one, but we did use the jumper for a few months and then when my daughter turned 1 year I converted it to the activity table, which she is still currently using.

Little Tikes Wide Tracker Activity Walker
[Amazon – find it here]
walker
We bought this when my daughter turned 1 year. We should have gotten her one a couple of months before when she started standing and walking along the furniture. She used it and shortly after she started walking on her own. She still plays with it though and likes to put her toys in the little doors.

Travel
Graco Modes Click Connect Travel System
[souq.com – not available]

Newborn until (still in use at 14 months)
I bought this travel system from a website here in Saudi before my daughter was born. It is nice because it is a multi-position set. The seats can be interchanged and the baby can face you or face out. We still use the stroller, but stopped using the car seat when my daughter was about 10 or 11 months old. She can still  use it as her weight is under the limit, but I actually purchased a new seat for her that can be rear and forward facing.

Cosco Scenera Next Convertible Car Seat
[Walmart – find it here]
coscoscerene
10 months until (still in use at 14 months)
I bought this Car Seat while I was in the US this past summer. I wanted something that seemed a bit more comfortable than the infant seat that came with our travel system. I also wanted to plan a bit ahead knowing that at some point we would need a forward facing seat. I would have paid a lot more for a seat like this here in Saudi.

Ergo Baby Adapt
[Amazon – find it here]

Newborn until (still in use at 14 months)
I bought this carrier on amazon and had it shipped to Saudi when my daughter was 2 months old. My husband had a business trip to California and because I was on maternity leave I decided to take baby and go with him. We actually left the stroller at home and only took this carrier. It was fantastic and totally worth the money.

I might update this post a bit later if there is something that I have forgotten. This has been in my drafts section for so long that I figured I should just try to clean it up and get it posted :).

Let me know if you used any of the gadgets and if you liked them or not. Also, tell me about any gadgets that you used that are not on my list!

 

الحمدلله

S

 

Advertisements

“Breastsleeping”

Here are three posts — and some comments that I received — over on my Facebook account about bed-sharing.


Before I became a mother I always said that I wouldn’t allow my children to sleep in my bed. — PART 1 — You read all of these terrifying things about co-sleeping, and yet there is something so instinctual about it. I remember just after she was born, when my mother and grandmother were here with me, if I fell asleep in bed and the baby was in the other room I would suddenly clutch the blankets in my arms and subconsciously search for the baby as I was transitioning from asleep to awake.

Before I became a mother I always said that I wouldn’t allow my children to sleep in my bed. — PART 2 — The biggest reason I felt the way I did about co-sleeping is because I am generally a very heavy sleeper (I’ve always been the person who can sleep anywhere/anytime/anyplace). I really didn’t think I would trust myself sleeping next to my baby. However, as soon as she was born I realized that I don’t sleep the way I did before. If I went to take a nap in the other room while someone watched the baby I would wake up as soon as she let out any kind of cry. Now, when she stirs, I wake up before she even makes a sound. I open my eyes and if she’s awake I feed her or change her. If she’s sleepy, I watch her a minute until she goes back to sleep and I close my eyes again.

Before I became a mother I always said that I wouldn’t allow my children to sleep in my bed. — PART 3 — “Breastsleeping” – It felt like I wasn’t getting more than 2 hours consecutive sleep, until I started nursing while lying down. As soon as I started doing that it was like magic. I didn’t have to actually wake up, sit up or wait for baby to finish/go back to sleep. And I didn’t have to risk falling asleep while holding her in my arms. “Breastsleeping” allowed me to multitask by feeding and relaxing at the same time. I know that this is the main reason why most of the time I feel adequately rested or at least pretty far from exhausted. 

•I remember reading in one of my psych books how at the turn of the last century is when kids started sleeping in separate beds from their parents and then eventually separate rooms but prior to that it was totally unheard of. Or how a baby goes from having constant contact with the mother (being in the womb) to being isolated in their own bedroom can be traumatizing to them. Or the simple fact that as adults we like the security and comfort of sleeping next to our spouses but expect our children to not have those same desires and sleep alone. So, S******’s crib is in our room, inches away from our bed and M******* knows that whenever she wants to crawl in our bed, I always make room for her! ❤️

•D** slept with us for 6 months. I think you are right, it is instinctual. I firmly believe I was not sleep deprived for those 6 months because I was never worried about D** during those nights. If he needed to nurse, he would usually latch on himself. I think it formed a very healthy, happy bond between us.

•Almost a year and a half and my bug still sleeps with me- I’m a huge supporter of SAFE co-sleeping. I feel we push our children to be independent FAR too early in their lives. 

•My babies all coslept! And nursed as they pleased! W****** is 8 months old still co sleeping and nursing!

I received many supportive comments from family and friends. I did, however, receive one comment, which I was expecting:

•AAP has warned against this. It is ok to have the child in your room up to 6 months to a year….in their own bed. So many deaths have occurred because of this practice…if your child dies because of it…you will be charged with murder.

I replied:

I’ll just leave this here ☺️ 

http://news.nd.edu/news/researchers-propose-breastsleeping-as-a-new-word-and-concept/

~ ‘McKenna argues that co-sleeping while breast-feeding is a safe environment for your baby. This is because “the breastsleeping mother/baby pair both sleep in lighter stages, which makes them more sensitive to the behaviour of the other.”’

Here is another link that I’d like to just throw out there:

https://neuroanthropology.net/2008/12/21/cosleeping-and-biological-imperatives-why-human-babies-do-not-and-should-not-sleep-alone/

~’For breastfeeding mothers, bedsharing makes breastfeeding much easier to manage and practically doubles the amount of breastfeeding sessions while permitting both mothers and infants to spend more time asleep.’

~’the highest rates of bedsharing worldwide occur alongside the lowest rates of infant mortality, including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) rates’

A final point that I would like to make is that breastsleeping/bed-sharing can be done safely or unsafely. It’s so important to understand and follow guidelines for safe cosleeping. If you are under the influence, overtired or on a surface other than your bed, just don’t do it! It goes along with the old expression “better be safe than sorry”. So, do what you feel is instinctually right for you and your baby, but educate yourself and do things safely. 

الحمدلله

S

Experiences with Breastfeeding: Part 2

It is such a relief once breastfeeding becomes “easy”. I guess a better word would be relaxed. Baby has become more efficient and I have become more comfortable. These days there isn’t much pain and leaking is minimal. Things are good.

At 4 months I had to go back to work, which meant that baby would go to daycare and I would pump in my office. The first two days were difficult for her, but since then she has been totally fine. I had trouble pumping enough for her in the beginning, but with a little patience and more frequent pumping sessions I was able to send her with enough milk without having to do any extra pumping outside of work. Thankfully, my experiences with pumping at work have been wonderful. I have my own office and I’m able to just close and lock my door when I need to. Also, there are other women here who have been in the same situation and so everyone is very understanding and supportive.

However, during that month we found out that baby seems to have a cows milk protein allergy. It was causing her to have a lot of mucus and sometimes blood in her diaper. The doctor asked me to put her on a special formula for a week, but to continue pumping. I guess the doctor felt that the formula would give us a faster answer, but it broke my heart to hear those words. Anyways, I listened to his advice and after two days passed and neither of us had slept very much, I gave up and I put her back to my chest. (A week before that I had stopped having any dairy myself. The doctor had told me to cut back, but I decided it would be easier for me to just avoid it as much as I could.) It took us three to four weeks, but we saw improvement. I have continued to avoid dairy and breastfeed and I’m happy with my decision to do that. I’m also grateful that the pediatrician was supportive of my decision as well. Continue reading

Experiences with Breastfeeding – Part 1

I never really had a second thought about breastfeeding during my pregnancy. However, I was not 100% sure that I would be physically able. I just kept reading and as much as I read, the most support I felt. I didn’t really know how difficult it would be, but I felt prepared to face any challenges that might come my way.

I remember thinking about it a soon as my baby was put in my arms. I remember the first time that I put her to my chest and she latched, even though very briefly. I felt relieved.

Not long after I started having worries: is she getting enough milk? am I doing this right? is she latched correctly? am I holding her the best way?

The lactation consultant at the hospital was not much help, if I’m being honest. The only tip I really took away from speaking with her was that I could try to wake my baby by tickling her feet. One of my nurses on the other hand saw my concern and brought me a pump to use. She said at the least using it will help stimulate milk production and if any milk is expressed I could try feeding it to the baby if I was worried about how much she was getting while nursing. I think she was right, in that it did help me product milk and it also put my mind at ease, but I think that the shields of the hospital pump made my nipples sore and possibly even bruised.

I continued to try to nurse baby while at the hospital. I used lanolin constantly as my nipples were very tender. My right even had a purple bruise. I’m not sure if it was from baby or the pump. I left the hospital unsure, but hopeful.

Continue reading

Echolac Bags 

I bought a diaper bag while I was pregnant and I like it, but I don’t find it convenient to pack or carry. Because Y and I travel quite often, I decided that a backpack style diaper bag would be much easier.

I stopped in a luggage store while taking a quick walk at the mall. I found a backpack that I liked and next to it was a little shoulder bag.

Continue reading

Hospital Bag

From the beginning of my pregnancy I saw blogposts, YouTube videos and pins on Pinterest about packing a hospital bag for labor and delivery. I even received advice and suggestions from friends. However, I didn’t even start thinking about my own bag until about midway through the 35th week. One of my friends said, “You better get going on that.”

I took my overnight bag out from my closet and set it on the floor in the living room. It sat there for a couple of days staring at me before I began putting some items beside it.

Continue reading

Postpartum in KSA – At the Hospital

*WARNING – THIS POST IS ABOUT MY EXPERIENCES AFTER LABOR & DELIVERY.

There I was on the hospital bed feeling all sorts of relief. My full and stretched belly was now strangely empty. The tiny kicks were no longer there. The pressure and pain I had been feeling for weeks was gone. But nearby was a tiny little baby.

There were all sorts of feels as I held her in my arms and she looked up at me with her precious eyes. I held her close and attempted to feed her for the first time. She latched and sucked, but for what only seemed like a few seconds. That made me nervous, but hopeful. I knew that breastfeeding was probably going to be difficult, but I felt determined.

Soon after the nurse came and told me that they would take the baby to the nursery. I said no, but she insisted. I tried again to say no, but in that situation I really think as a first time mom it is necessary to have someone to advocate for you. The nurse took her to clean her up and dress her in the nursery.

As I waited for a room to become available for me, I felt the sudden need to use the restroom. I called the nurse, who told me that she didn’t want me to get up as I might pass out. She handed me a bedpan and closed the curtain around my bed. 10 minutes later I called her back and told her I couldn’t manage this way and wanted to go to the restroom. She nervously dealt with my IV and walked with me across the room. I didn’t imagine how uncomfortable it would feel to get up and walk, but that wasn’t even half of it. Once in the bathroom, I did what I needed to do. Wiping was the most terrifying thing of the whole labor and delivery ordeal. How could I possible be this swollen? Is this normal? Am I going to be like this forever? The nurse helped me clean up with some cool water from the bidet sprayer. She then helped me into a pair of disposable underwear while inserting the biggest, thickest, longest pad I’ve ever seen. That was another terrifying thought. Blood, blood and more blood must be in my near future. I had seen the outcome of that on the pad that they had placed under me on the hospital bed, but I guess I assumed that was more from the delivery and not the aftermath.

Eventually, they came to take me to my new room. I would stay there for two days until I was ready to go home. They wheeled me down the hall, through a door and into a room. I moved from one bed to another and looked around…

Continue reading

Labor & Delivery in KSA

*FYI – THIS POST IS ABOUT MY EXPERIENCES DURING LABOR & DELIVERY OF MY FIRST BABY.

November 21, 2016

At 7:40 pm I woke up from a short nap with back pain. I got out of bed and made my way to the bathroom. I pulled the shower curtain outside of the tub, closed the drain and turned on the hot water. I got in the tub slowly as it was filling. Bubbles formed foamy clouds as I felt the pain in my back and tightness in my belly come and go. They lasted about 45 seconds but within the hour the time between them varied from 2 minutes to 20 minutes. I relaxed in the water until I felt I had enough. I pulled myself out of the warm soapy water and wrapped a towel around my round pregnant belly.

Y was still sleeping. I went to the kitchen and made myself something hot to drink. In the living room I turned on the tv and sat on my rubbery blue exercise ball. Bouncing and rotating my hips made me feel more comfortable and lessened the pain in my back when it came.

Around 10:00 I asked Y if he would take me to a nearby park to walk, as around the apartment had felt better than sitting. We walked for about 45 minutes or so. I was still having the contractions. During that hour they were from 20 seconds to a minute long and happened anywhere between 2 1/2 minutes to 14 minutes. On the way back to the apartment Y stopped to get me a vanilla milkshake from Baskin Robins.

Continue reading

Pregnancy in KSA

*FYI – THIS POST IS ABOUT MY EXPERIENCES DURING PREGNANCY.img_9504

Wednesday: March 30, 2016 – First hint of pregnancy
Monday: April 11, 2016 – Confirmation of pregnancy!

First Trimester

Morning sickness  [more like all day sickness]
Unhelpful – car rides, heat, lack of sleep, most foods
Helpful – sleeping in/naps, lights off
Foods – Kraft macaroni & cheese, DQ slushies, Ramen noodles, Pediasure (with milk)
Other Items – Sea Band (acupressure bracelets for nausea)


Trips
– Dubai {weekend getaway}, Ha’il {to see Y’s family}
Events – Work, Start of Ramadan
Beauty – Palmer’s Cocoa Butter, Palmer’s Skin Therapy Oil
Medication – Navidoxine (for nausea), Prenatal vitamins, folic acid

Appointments:
April 20 – 7 weeks –  Ultrasound — check to see developing embryo with heartbeat
May 16 – 11 weeks
May 30 – 13 weeks – Ultrasound — first time to see “baby” (head, body, limbs, heart).

Overall feeling – Sick. Tired. Happy to be pregnant.

Continue reading