WHOA lansi

francophile, oenophile, logophile, turophile

Category: Baby

Pregnancy 2 \\ Second Trimester Recap

I thought time was weird last time, but being pregnant during a pandemic adds a whole new level. I’m somehow well into the third trimester & could have a baby before the end of this month. THIS month. Don’t know how that happened! I’m sure I’ll reach the point where everything slows to a crawl any day now, but for now I feel like this pregnancy has flown by (while also being pregnant forever). Hope you enjoy this little second trimester recap, brought to you by my love of bullet journalling. 

Second Trimester

Weeks 13 to 28
  • Week 15 – Dec 16, 2020: Announced to my team & work, and then later on social media. I changed my background in our Teams meeting to a photo of Anni holding an ultrasound picture. It wasn’t super obvious though, so I had to put the photo in our chat instead. They were all pretty excited. As with last time, we got lots of congratulations on social media & a few surprise revelations as well. 
  • Week 19 – Jan 13, 2020: Anatomy Scan. Thanks to COVID restrictions, N couldn’t join me for the anatomy scan this time around. They did give us a USB with photos though. Everything looked great on the scan, which is always a huge relief. I had a student start the ultrasound & she was great, but baby fish was a bit stubborn so a more experienced tech stepped in to get the rest. Luckily, she managed to get all the measurements they needed (although it took a while) so I didn’t have to go back for more appointments like last time. 
  • Week 20 – Jan 20, 2020: Midwife appointment. This was my first time meeting part of my new midwife team. My previous midwife, Alissa, transferred me since she’ll now be away around my due date. I was sad to not get to continue with her (she’s amazing!), but I really like both my new midwives. They had a student helping at this appointment – I’ve had a lot of students so far this pregnancy. They’ve all been great. It took her a little while to find Baby Fish’s heart rate because they were moving around so much, but she got it eventually. I was measuring right on track and my blood pressure was good too. I learned that I have an anterior placenta, which explains why I’ve been feeling fainter kicks. 
  • Week 22 – Feb 4, 2021: I was feeling lots of kicks at bedtime so I asked Nathan if he wanted to see if he could feel them too. He could! It’s fun that he gets to experience more of this stuff this time. 
  • Week 26 – Mar 3, 2021: Gestational Diabetes Screen. I booked an early morning appointment, hoping it might be quieter so I wouldn’t have to sit around a bunch of people for an hour. Unfortunately, this kind of backfired since a lot of people who need blood work drop in in the morning. They’ve expanded their waiting room into the mall though, so it wasn’t too bad having to sit there. I had another student, but she wasn’t able to get the draw she needed (sorry for my tiny veins). Overall it went pretty smoothly, and I didn’t feel too gross afterwards. 
  • Week 27 – Mar 10, 2020: Midwife appointment. I met my other midwife at this appointment & went over my glucose results. They came back great. Despite my love of sugar, I don’t have GD. We talked about dTap (whooping cough vaccine) and group B strep. When the student midwife went to listen to baby’s heart rate this time, they kept pushing back. It was pretty funny. I was still measuring right on track and BP was normal, so overall good appointment!
Anatomy Scan Hand
That orange drank

The most striking change in the second trimester is definitely the baby bump. I still find them fascinating, even though it’s the second time I get to experience this. I was already showing before the start of the second trimester this time, but since we don’t go out much, no one really saw me. I’ve been documenting the changes every week though & I love being able to look back on these silly cell phone photos, especially since we don’t plan to do this again. 


Both this time & last, I felt like the second trimester is a free pass in terms of symptoms. The fatigue passed around week 15 & I felt a bit more myself again. Both pregnancies have been relatively easy. I know isn’t always the case, so I feel pretty grateful for that. 

Energy: My energy levels returned to mostly normal a few weeks into my second trimester. I still find I’m more tired than my pre-pregnancy self ever was, but I’m not struggling to get out of bed every morning like I was in my first trimester.

Lower Back Pain: I had some mild back pain last time, but this time has been much worse. I guess I can blame my new geriatric status for that. 😉


My pregnancy love for sugar is still going really strong. N does a double take every time I reach for the bag of candy I inevitably picked up on my last grocery run. We have a treat almost every single night. I even went so far as to bake 48-hour cookies one week (I love cooking, but have never been much of a baker. Too much measuring!). This baby has been fueled by bread, cheese, donuts, ice cream…all the quick carbs basically. (I was the same with Anni – I think that’s just how my body copes with pregnancy.)


COVID really changed so much about this pregnancy. I had to put a lot more thought & planning into things that were normally an easy yes. A couple of of those types of decisions that popped up this trimester were the Gestational Diabetes Screen & dTap vaccine. 

Gestational Diabetes Screen

Numbers were pretty high when it came time to booking my glucose test so for those who are considered low risk for GD, the test was optional. After talking to some friends who deal with the potential side effects of unmanaged GD, I decided to do mine anyway. From what I understand, there’s no real way to know for sure you don’t have it without getting a test & it can be really serious if you don’t manage it properly. I booked a test for an early Tuesday morning at one of the labs that I knew had good spacing in their waiting room, & although it was quite busy, it felt relatively COVID safe. 

dTap Vaccine

Right towards the end of my 2nd trimester, we also talked about the dTap vaccine. In Canada, they now recommend it for all pregnant women, to help protect their babies from whooping cough until they can get vaccinated themselves, around 2 months. I got it last time (I was long overdue for my booster & so was N, so we both got it) even though it wasn’t part of the 2018 recommendations in Canada. Since we’ve all been isolating so much with COVID, they haven’t seen as much whooping cough this year, so my midwives told me it came down to my preferences.

Ultimately, I opted to get it. It’s really easy to make an appointment through Public Health, & I know I want to give myself the best chance of feeling comfortable seeing friends & family once baby is born. Whooping cough is just one less thing I need to be worrying about in postpartum. & there will certainly be plenty of other things to worry about since we’re still in pandemic mode.  


Kicks & movement are my favourite part of the second trimester. I felt them earlier this time around, probably because I knew what to expect. They’re so reassuring & weirdly wonderful, especially as they get more frequent & predictable with time. They also never stop being strange.

Anni came up with the nickname Baby Fish, & I’ve really loved watching her start to interact a bit with my growing bump. She’s not always super keen, but when she is, it’s adorable. I can’t wait to see her as a big sister.


I never thought about being pregnant in a pandemic, & I certainly didn’t expect things to still be as bad as they are at this point in my pregnancy. I feel grateful that I got to experience pregnancy in a non-pandemic world first (I’m sorry if this year or last was your first pregnancy – it’s not fair!). & with Nathan being in California most of my pregnancy last time, there are many things that just felt normal for us (his absence at most appointments was disappointing, but he missed a lot last time too). Overall, I haven’t felt as much anxiety around general pregnancy this time, but I wonder if it’s because I’ve done it before or because I’m too busy worrying about COVID. It’s tough to say. In general, I feel like pregnancy is pretty good to me & we have a lot of privilege when it comes to protecting ourselves & Anni from illness. I don’t want to complain, but I still want to acknowledge the fact that it has been a more challenging time.  


I hope you’ve enjoyed getting a little insight into this stage of pregnancy. Thanks to Cassy Joy from Fed + Fit for the great idea – I so loved following along with her recaps. You can expect a final recap for my 3rd trimester (& maybe the 4th?). & I still have plans to blog about so many things outside of pregnancy & parenting too. This is just so much of my reality right now &, as usual, I have far too much to write about & not enough time to get it out. 



Pregnancy 2 \\ Place your baby bets!

Pregnancy Poll: Boy or Girl

If you’ve known me for any length of time, I’m sure it comes as no surprise that we are once again signing up to not find out the sex of our baby. I’m predictably stubborn, & I think it’s fun to see what our friends, family, & internet strangers think. There are lots of passionate opinions on the who, what, where, when in the baby world!

Once again, we’ve also decided to make a game of this whole thing and take bets. Nothing like a little game or competition to make things more exciting, and it works great in our still mostly virtual world. 

So, I’ve set up an online pool on Baby Bookie. It’s free to place a bet, but we’re open to setting up some more serious gambling too if there’s enough interest. In order to help you make your decision, I’ve combed through a bunch of Old Wives Tales & compiled my answers. Let’s break it down!

Chinese Gender Prediction Chart

There are two different charts you can use. Lucky for me, both the Chinese Lunar Calendar & the Ancient Chinese Gender Chart say girl. This chart is supposed to be the more accurate of the two though, if you’re looking for results yourself. (With Annika, both of these also predicted girl.)

RAMZI Method

I read somewhere that this one is said to be 95% accurate. It’s based on an early ultrasound. The idea is that you can tell the gender based on what side the placenta is forming on. I used my 8 week transvaginal ultrasound. Story goes that if baby is on the right, it’s a boy and if it’s on the left it’s a girl. (It will be reversed for an abdominal ultrasound, from what I’ve read.) From what I could tell, baby is a boy. (With Annika, boy was also predicted, but I used an abdominal ultrasound instead of transvaginal.)

8 week ultrasound
8 week ultrasound
Skin Changes

There are a few different predictions here. Firstly, boys are said to give you dry skin, whereas girls bring out the oil in your skin. My skin has been drier than dry all winter (like everyone’s this winter in Calgary, I suspect) so we’ve got another vote for boy. They also say that if you’re getting a lot of compliments that you’re glowing, you’re having a boy. No comments? Girl. I can’t think of any comments of this nature, so another girl vote. Lastly, girls are said to “steal your beauty”, leading to more breakouts. I’ve definitely had a lot more breakouts than normal (I generally have pretty clear skin, aside from psoriasis). So there’s a girl vote again. (This is essentially the exact same as with Annika, so all the votes are pretty much the same!)

Linea Negra

Some moms get a dark line that runs down the center of their baby bellies. Both this time & last, this didn’t appear for me until I was in the third trimester. Both last time & this time the line continues above my belly button, which is supposed to mean we can expect a boy.


If your hair is thick and glossy, they say you’re having a boy. If it’s dull and limp, it’s a girl. I have seen no real change in my hair, aside from it growing slightly faster than normal since I started taking prenatal vitamins & having very few hair cuts in the last year (yay scraggly ends!). I’m not sure I can attribute any change to pregnancy though, so I guess we’re having another puppy according to this one. 😉 Neither. (This was the same last time. I think I just have a lot of hair.)

Baking Soda Test

This is another test that boasts a pretty high level of accuracy: 80%! I’m not the biggest fan of this one since mixing my own urine with something else isn’t the most appealing, but I once again axed the cabbage test so we’re keeping this one.You take 2 tablespoons of baking soda and mix it with your urine. If it fizzes, you’re having a boy. If it remains flat, you’re having a girl. Mine fizzed: BOY. (It fizzed last time too.)

Body Hair

Yeah, I know, a few of these are maybe a little TMI. I’m sure the Internet doesn’t really need to know about this. Too late now! Lucky for me, my body hair is growing normal, which is supposed to mean girl. (Same as last time!)

Weight Gain

If you are carrying all your weight out front (like you’re smuggling a basketball), baby is likely a boy. If the weight piles on all over, it might be a daughter. I decided not to use my own judgment on this one, since my own weight gain seems significantly more noticeable to me than it does to anyone else. Everyone I asked said I seemed to be all bump so far. Maybe they were just being nice, but we’re going with it. Boy. (Same as last time. I think you’re all just nice, but thanks!)

Baby’s Heart Rate

Many people swear by this one. It’s said that girls have faster heart rates than boys. The normal range is between 120 bpm and 180 bpm, but over 140 bpm is supposed to signal a baby girl. Baby Fish’s heart rate has averaged in the 140 bpm range, & has never been below 140 bpm so far. Girl. (The same as last time….once again.)


The good ol’ salty vs sweet. Sweet foods are supposedly linked to girls and salty to boys. I’ve always had a major preference for salty foods. Even the sweet treats I enjoy best err on the side of salty (salted caramel all day every day!). That is until I was pregnant with Anni. Suddenly, I was always craving candy, ice cream, chocolate…basically all things sweet. It was a bizarre change for me. Some of this newfound love of sweets stuck around after I had Anni, but I mostly went back to my preference for savoury treats. As soon as I got pregnant again though, this craving came back in full force. It’s really throwing N off (he wasn’t around as much for it with Anni). I guess we’re predicting girl again thanks to this one. 


Extreme headaches are said to signal a baby boy, while no headaches are said to mean girl. I’m happy to have been relatively headache free throughout my pregnancy so here’s another girl vote. (Same as last time!)


Baby girls supposedly trigger nausea with vomiting whereas a boy will only cause nausea. Again, I was really lucky to have very minimal nausea. I was mostly able to control it by eating regularly, which I don’t generally have a problem with. 😉 BOY.

Clumsy vs Graceful

I would never describe myself as graceful; however, I saw no real change in my level of clumsiness since getting pregnant. Supposedly that means we’re having a girl.

Wedding Ring Test

I think everyone is pretty familiar with this one. You’re supposed to dangle your wedding band over your belly on a string and wait for it to start moving. Back and forth means boy & in a circle means it’s a girl. I read somewhere else that it’s supposed to be with mom’s hair, so we added that to the mix this time instead of a string. It was back & forth again, so I guess we have another vote for boy. (Boy last time too.)

Sibling Intuition

I don’t think this is on any old wives tale list, but we asked Anni to weigh in on whether she thinks she’s getting a brother or sister. Honestly, this changes by the minute, but when we officially asked, she said boy


We’ve got 8 votes for boy, 8 for girl, & 1 for neither. As far as the two supposed most accurate tests, they both predict we’re having a boy. You can decide if you believe they have more merit.

Our pool will also allow you to predict Baby Fish’s birthdate (& weight, length, etc). My due date is officially June 7, 2021. I was induced due to hypertension at 41 weeks with Ans. It was pretty quick once we got things started, so she was born 8 days after my due date.  

& that’s all I have for you! Check the site, place your bets, & let us know if you bought into any old wives tales!

You can follow along with the rest of my pregnancy bumpdates here.

Pregnancy 2 \\ First Trimester Recap

You know I love a pregnancy recap – everyone’s experience is so different & I love hearing about all your different journeys. It’s so fun! So I’m finally pulling this together now – well into my second trimester.

Thankfully, I’ve documented this pregnancy in my journal, as I do with most of my life, or I’d never remember half these details. This time around, I’ve been enjoying the What to Expect App, mostly for the fun baby size comparisons. I also still have the Nurture App (like last time), since I found it super useful for tracking feeds, sleep, BMs, etc once baby is here. 

In order to keep some sort of order to my thoughts, I’m going to follow the same format as last time and answer the same questions for all three trimester recaps. If you’re curious about something, leave me a comment or send me a message. If I’m getting a lot of the same questions, I’ll think about adding an FAQ or something. Let’s get into it though!

First Trimester

Weeks 1 to 13
Important Milestones
  • Week 3.5 – Sept 25, 2020: Positive test result on TWO home pregnancy tests! 
  • Week 8.5 – Oct 30, 2020: Dating Ultrasound. I had my initial midwife visit the day before and we opted to do this ultrasound. It’s always reassuring to see the baby on the monitor. It’s also a much more accurate indication of how many weeks you actually are – over LMP (last menstrual period). It changed my original due date just slightly. 
  • Weeks 9 – 15 – Nov/Dec 2020: Like last time, we mostly waited to tell anyone I was pregnant until after my dating ultrasound. We had told a few close friends beforehand, but waited to tell most until after. I didn’t have to sneakily drink as much non-alcoholic beer/wine as last time (thanks COVID), so it was easier to hide overall. We told our parents in person, but mostly, we had to let everyone else know over text message, zoom, or social media. We drove to Vernon for my Nana’s 90th Birthday in November, so we got to tell her in person. I told my coworkers in a meeting in mid December and then publicly announced on December 17 (at 15 weeks). 
  • Week 11 – Nov 20, 2020: First Trimester Blood Work. I’d heard so much about how hard it could be to get an appointment with lab services during COVID, but I managed to score one at the location near us. It was busy compared to what I’m used to, but apparently very slow for COVID times. My nurse was great & got all the blood she needed super quickly. I was impressed – they generally struggle with my tiny veins!
  • Week 12 – Nov 25, 2020: First Trimester Screen. With all the new restrictions, I thought Nathan might not be able to join me for this ultrasound. Luckily, they were still allowing support people at the time. The actual ultrasound went really well. Baby Fish was moving around so much. It was fun to see! Their heart rate was similar to Anni’s at this time. 
  • Week 13 – Dec 1, 2020: Midwife Appointment. We went over my ultrasound results. My midwife, Alissa, said she had no concerns for any of the trisomies, which is how we felt after seeing the odds too. She mentioned that the bruise they saw on my dating ultrasound was still there, but would probably go away before my next ultrasound. My blood pressure was normal again (something I always think about after having high blood pressure with Anni at the very end of my pregnancy). She tried the doppler again & was able to find the heartbeat. It was in the 150s (similar again to Anni’s). It’s always so cool to hear the heartbeat for the first time!
Dating Ultrasound
FTS Ultrasound

As pretty much everyone says, I started showing so much earlier this pregnancy than I did with Anni. It’s fun to compare this time to last. I honestly started showing around 10 weeks this time, and couldn’t really do up my pants well before the end of this first trimester. It was nice to be working from home so I didn’t have to get creative with my workwear. I was a bit nervous to tell work given I hadn’t even been there a year yet & I will be missing our busy summer season. 

9 weeks, 12 weeks, & 13 weeks
11 weeks & 13 weeks

My symptoms are almost identical to those I had with Annika. Nausea-wise, I’ve been pretty lucky this time & last. I would mostly feel sick if I didn’t eat often enough or regularly. Often, I just felt generally gross. It wasn’t really distinct, I just didn’t feel like my normal self. It was also more often in the evenings than any other time of day. 

I’m generally low sleep needs, so my need for more sleep once again ramped up. This time, I couldn’t really nap in the middle of the day that often (although I did sneak a few in on the weekends). One perk of COVID was being able to sleep in more though. I did experience a fair bit of insomnia in the first trimester this time, which I don’t remember having with Anni. I’d lay awake for so long after we turned the lights off to go to bed. It was frustrating because it seemed to make getting out of bed in the morning that much more difficult. 

My food aversions & craving have also mirrored my experience with Anni. I was just getting away from the sweet tooth I’d earned while pregnant with her, & now it’s back in full force. Carbs & melty cheese are big hits too. My veggie aversion wasn’t as strong this time around luckily, but it still hasn’t been my most nutritious few months. Oh well. It is what it is!

Towards the end of the first trimester, I started to get more lower back/glute pain. I think it might be something related to sciatica since it comes & goes. So far, it hasn’t been too much of an issue, but I’ll definitely be bringing it up when I start chiro towards the end of the second trimester. 


There aren’t a ton of decisions to be made in the first trimester, especially with a second baby. First Trimester Scans are standard of care in Alberta, so we got one. I also opted to do a dating ultrasound since I have found it offers a lot of peace of mind. 

Comparing FTS results: Annika’s on the left, Baby first on the right

I’m once again going with a midwife practice – I love my experience so much, even though I was transferred to OB in the 11th hour. I still got all the postpartum care afterwards, which I found invaluable. One of my midwives from last time has since taken a break from midwifery, so I was originally with just Alissa. She’s absolutely amazing, so I was more than happy with that. Unfortunately (although for happy reasons), she is not going to be available around my due date, so she’s transferred me to new midwives. I’ll talk about them more as I’ll meet both in my second trimester. I’ve heard nothing but great things! 

Although we’re going the midwife route, I am still planning to deliver in a hospital like last time. Again, this is an extremely personal decision, & everyone should do what they feel most comfortable with. For me, I felt most comfortable being close to a NICU & everything else that comes a level 1 trauma center. In hindsight, I wouldn’t have been able to go the birthing center or home birth route anyway, due to my hypertension at 41 weeks. I think such a huge change in location would have been much harder for me to deal with, so I feel pretty confident in the decision we made to deliver in hospital & will do the same again. 

Swaddling Anni’s babies for practice

Favourite Part of the Trimester

Seeing the baby at the dating ultrasound was a really happy moment in a pretty tough year. I also loved telling Anni that she was going to be a big sister, & having her come up with the nickname, Baby Fish.

Annika Baby Fish Announcement
Annika Baby Fish Announcement
Least Favourite Part of the Trimester

I haven’t shared this side of pregnancy very publicly yet. The month before this pregnancy, I had a very early miscarriage. I would have been 4.5 weeks, & we’d only just found out 4 days prior. While it is so common, it still stung. It made me feel a lot more cautious about who I was ready to share this pregnancy with & when. I do plan to write & share more of my experience at some point. I think talking about it can be really helpful for others who experience the same loss. Right now, I’m still sorting through a lot of my thoughts & what I might want to say. I hope if you have experienced or do experience something similar, you have people to reach out to. ❤

I hope you’ve enjoyed getting a little insight into my first few months of this second pregnancy. Thanks to Cassy Joy from Fed + Fit for this idea – I so loved following along with her recaps & doing my own last time. You can expect another recap for my 2nd & 3rd trimesters, but I promise there will be non-pregnancy posts in the mix again at some point too if that’s just not your thing. I have a lot of thoughts, and a huge backlog of travel tips for when we can do that kind of thing again.



My Newborn Essentials

Babies! How can such a tiny being take up so much space in your heart, & in your home? I love research, so reading about all the baby items was a bit of a thrill. I talked to friends, read Lucie’s List, devoured books, blog posts, & reddit threads. These are the things I found most useful in those first months being a mom – & some that have carried us through to now, with an 18 month old.

Reading list

This list is technically my few favourites from while I was still pregnant, & some resources I consistently went back to when I felt unsure about something.

  • Lucie’s List: I loved slowly going through this whole list & thinking about what pieces I might need or not. It’s probably not for the faint of heart, so if you don’t love information, it might not be the best resource for you (but check it out & cherry pick the info you do want!)
  • CandoKiddo: I wish I had found this website/IG sooner. Rachel is a pediatric OT & I love all her cheap & easy ideas for what to do with your newborn. There is SO much information about pregnancy (& sleep & eating), but very little about what to actually do with this little baby once they’re here. This is it! (Her tips also gave me the confidence to not going overboard with baby gear like swings, bouncers, etc., & instead wait to see what I needed.) Bring on the great tummy time activities & tips!
  • The Baby Whisperer: I will admit that I kind of found Tracey condescending when I first read her book. She firmly believes in her techniques & isn’t afraid to tell you why she’s right. Sleep Training is a touchy subject (do it, don’t do it, you do you!), but I found her routine suggestions invaluable & totally agree with her that babies are born with certain personalities. I followed her EASY (eat, activity, sleep (you)) routine from the day I brought Anni home from the hospital & I think it set us up with a lot of great habits. (I could go on about sleep, so I’ll leave it at this: do some reading before you’re super sleep deprived with a newborn. My brain was basically mush for the first three months, even though I felt like I was fine.)
  • Taking Cara Babies: I only did a but of reading from her site before I gave birth, but since then I’ve found her Instagram stories amazing & insightful, & she has lots of great (free) blog posts for many different milestones (& flexible routines, not rigid schedules! 😉)

Aside from labour, this was probably the thing I was most nervous about. As someone who loves a plan, it’s just one more thing you can’t really plan for. That fact really influenced my choices. I didn’t have any insurance coverage for a pump & I didn’t want to spend a lot in case it didn’t work out. I was lucky enough to inherit a hand pump from a friend, which I wound up using the whole time.

  • Madela Harmony Manual Breast Pump: This handpump worked great. I’ve read that you can get more milk with a hand pump, but I don’t know if that is true. Since I wasn’t exclusively pumping, I found this worked perfectly for me. It was also small enough to throw in my purse or overnight bag the first few times I was away from Annika over a feeding.
  • Haakaa: This little pump is amazing! It works by suction. You put it on the opposite side to the one babe is nursing on. In the beginning, I would easily get 4 oz while she fed & it really helped me build a freezer stash.
  • Bamboobies Nursing Pads: I found these especially useful at night & ordered an extra set for overnight.
  • Formula: There are lots of companies that are willing to send out free samples & I took advantage of that, although we never really wound up using much of it. It was nice to know we had a backup if we needed.
  • Bottles: My madela pump came with a few bottles, but Anni never liked them, so we ended up using another free sample – a Philips Avent bottle. It took Nathan trying every night for months for her to reliably take it, but eventually she did & has been great with it ever since. Don’t forget to look into different nipples as they grow (I didn’t really realize nipple flow rates were a thing at first!).
  • Glider: We went with a white leatherette glider that swivels & reclines. I’ve spent many hours in this chair & I’m glad we went with one that reclined. It made those overnight feeds so much more manageable. That said, we also have one of those typical Ikea chairs you find in virtually every University student’s apartment. When it got really hot in the summer, we slept in our basement & I used that. It totally did the trick.

Oh baby sleep. Aside from breastfeeding (or not breastfeeding), this may be the most talked about baby thing. When you’re sleep deprived, there’s little else you can think about. This is some of our favourite sleep-related baby gear:

  • Bassinet: we used a Moses basket that we bought off a friend. I just wanted Annika nearby & this is what worked for us. It sat on a rocker, which I don’t necessarily think is necessary, but was nice sometimes. I liked that it was lightweight & easy to move closer to our bed if we needed.
  • Velcro swaddles: It took me a long time to master a regular swaddle (like the ones the nurses so effortlessly manage in the hospital), so velcro swaddles really came in handy for us. I liked the Halo brand, but there are so many out there.
  • Miracle blanket: Once Anni Houdini-ed her way out of the velcro sleep sacks, we moved on to the Miracle Blanket. It’s basically a straight jacket for babies who aren’t ready to transition to a sleep sack, but end up with a lot of loose blankets in their crib/bassinet.
  • Pack n Play: This is probably one of the most versatile pieces of baby gear out there. There are so many brands – we have the Graco one, which works great, but if you have the budget there are definitely some better lighter weight options out there. Besides its more obvious uses (travel, a safe place to let your baby play), we primarily used this for getting back to hanging out with friends. Seriously, it’s invaluable. Find a dark room, set it up, & put baby down at their regular bedtime while you spend some time with friends. The best. We still do this pretty often, as do several friends in our group & it’s definitely helped us get back to feeling like ourselves.
  • Sound Machine: We swear by our sound machines (yes, we have more than one because we got so used to sleeping with one when Ans was in our room that we kept it there). The Hatch Baby Rest is my favourite. You can set up programs from your phone (so it eventually works as a time to rise clock when Anni gets older) & it’s sleep & simple. We recently added a travel version to the roster, so we’d always have it on the go.
  • Baby Monitor: We are one of the few families we know that didn’t go with a video monitor. We’d had an unsettling experience with our dog camera & decided we were fine with just sound. Our Philips Avent monitor has been great. Sound only comes through if it detects a change (such as baby crying) so we don’t have to listen to the sound machine all night, & it shows the temperature. The range is pretty good & the battery lasts more than 24 hours. No complaints. It has a few extra features that we don’t use, but overall, it’s a simple & effective monitor.

I really tried to keep a lot of baby gear to a minimum. A lot of it is only useful for a very short amount of time & I was finding that everyone had different favourites. Often they offered really conflicting opinions. What worked for one baby wasn’t necessarily going to work for my baby.

I also felt that if I had access to a lot of gear, it would be really easy to overuse it. So I decided to be really choosy about what we did buy (basically the essentials) & see how it went for the rest. We wound up using a swing borrowed from family friends & were gifted a Fisher Price bouncer that we used a lot when we wanted to put Anni down & eat dinner or make something. She loved the vibration. So of my other favourite baby gear includes:

  • Stroller: This is one of the pieces of baby gear I was most excited about, & 19 months later, I’m still really happy with my choice. We went with the Thule Urban Glide 2. I think it fits our lifestyle perfectly. If you’re planning on using it to hit the mall, it’s not your best option. Since I’m more likely to be hitting the paths or going for walks in our neighbourhood, it’s rugged suspension & smooth maneuverability is exactly what I was looking for. & as Anni got older, I was able to go for runs, which is so amazing. It fits great in the rooftop box on my car & is light enough for me to lift it up there. No regrets. (Find YOUR stroller – there are so many great options out there!)
  • A wrap: Babywearing very quickly became one of my favourite things. Wraps are a little bit intimidating at first, but once you get it, there’s no looking back. Watch a couple YouTube videos (Solly Baby has a ton of great tutorials) & you’ll figure out it in no time. I had a Milk Snob wrap, but I hear the Solly Baby ones are incredible too. I basically never went anywhere without my wrap – Anni had some of her best naps in it.
  • Baby carrier: As babe gets older, & heavier, carriers are amazing. We have the Ergo Baby Omni 360 & I love it so much. If you can find a store that will let you try a few (after baby comes) to figure out what you really like, that’s probably your best option. We still use ours for short hikes (we carry her on our backs now) so we’ve really gotten a lot of mileage out of it.
  • Diaper bag: This might seem silly, but having a diaper bag you love really makes a difference. My mother-in-law gifted me a black Freshly Picked bag & I LOVE it. You can wear it as a backpack or shoulder bag, but it’s not immediately recognizable as a diaper bag. In fact, I still use it now as a work bag.
  • Ikea Play Gym: I got this one at the recommendation of Rachel from CandoKiddo. A lot of play gyms don’t allow you to move things around to very many places & are pretty expensive. The Ikea one is cheap, adaptable, & does what you need it to.
Our stroller with carseat attachment
Wrap life, all the time.
Anni chilling in her bouncer while we enjoy a sweet anniversary dinner (Chicco Keyfit 30 carseat & Graco Pack n Play in background #allthebabystuff)

I’m not going to list a ton here. Everyone has their own priorities when it comes to clothes, so I’ll just list the couple truly practical things I love. There are a ton of local brands out there too, so check your local market for some seriously amazing finds.

  • Bonds zippy’s: two way zippers, hand & foot cuffs, adorable patterns, reasonable prices. I can’t say enough good things about Bonds sleepers. We were gifted a 0-3 month size that fit Anni from the time she was about a month old until she was over 6 months old. They fit large (so the foot cuffs generally fit when they’re on the younger end of the size & then later they can still wear them without their feet in them). They’re based in Australia, so it takes a bit of planning if you want to order. I generally wait for a sale & then recruit enough friends to meet the minimum requirement for free shipping. It takes about 2 weeks for them to arrive & you have to pay duties, but for how long Anni is able to wear each set, they’re worth it.
  • Robeez socks: The only baby socks that really stay on. I bought her a pack of three pairs when she was little & anytime she wore a different brand, I wondered why I’d even bothered.

Last section! Woohoo! Even my attempt at a really minimal baby list is getting long. It’s hard to reign it in.

  • Jacket Extender: I opted to use a jacket extender for my non-maternity jacket instead of getting a winter maternity jacket. The best thing about this decision is that you can flip it around and use it over your wrap or carrier after baby comes. It came in really handy for getting out in cooler weather.
  • Keekaroo Peanut Changer: It might seem a bit silly, but when you’re doing as much laundry as you tend to with a newborn, anything that cuts down on that is amazing. In the beginning, she serious peed every time we went to change her diaper & all we had to do was wipe it up & be done with it. Now that she’s super squirmy, & often doesn’t want her diaper changed, it still comes in handy. It’s a bit of a splurge, but arguably worth it.
  • Baby ComfyNose Nasal Aspirator: A snot sucker. Definitely up there on the list of things you probably haven’t pictured yourself doing. Babies can’t blow their noses though, so you’ll inevitably probably need this at some point. The Frida Baby version is really popular, but we like this brand because you don’t need to buy expensive filters (you can use tissue paper or toilet paper).
  • Carseat cover: Our milk snob carseat cover has gotten a ton of mileage. I used it over our bucket seat when she was little & now it lives in my car so I can use it to hide all the grimy shopping cart parts from little hands.
An early nursery photo, showcasing our glider & the Keekaroo peanut changer.

So there you have it – my newborn essentials. I tried to keep in pretty minimal (I truly don’t believe you need as much stuff as you probably feel you do when you’re looking at that seemingly endless list while pregnant). A lot of gear can be replaced with a soft spot on your floor (you can never have too many blankets) or a playard. So don’t stress if it’s not in your budget (& seriously, check out @Candokiddo – she has a million great, inexpensive ideas for what to do with your new baby!). In order to keep this list manageable, I also limited myself to things we used in the first 3 months or so – the sleepy newborn phase. The next phases are truly my favourite though, so I’ll be back with some of the feeding, sleep, & play gear we love!

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