OK, for all my girlies that are or will be pregnant after me, I’m reviewing some of the pregnancy and baby products/services I’ve used. Rummaging through all the pregnancy/baby crap out there to find the actually good stuff is time consuming, so here is a short-cut! I have some definite favorite things, so I thought I should share!
I’ve been using Proactive for over 10 years, so I was worried about problem skin during pregnancy, but wanted to switch to something all natural. I tried a ton of different things – samples from a facialist, samples from Sephora, and organic stuff from Whole Foods…then I went to Lush.
I love love love their stuff – I use the Herbalism Cleanser/Exfoliant in the shower, and Fresh Farmacy Cleanser at night. Then I use the Vanishing Cream lotion during the day and Paradise Regained cream at night. Also, the Therapy Massage bar is great for rubbing on the growing, itchy belly and to help prevent stretch marks – and it feels oh so good. Most of these products are vegan too. I love them all and will continue to use them post-baby!
Prenatal Personal Trainer
OK, so this is definitely my biggest splurge during my pregnancy, but seriously, it is so worth it. I’ve made it a priority to try to stay in shape and it would definitely be harder to do without an expert. My trainer (Stephanie at One Boulder Fitness) knows things I would never know – like alternate stances and positions to avoid straining the back and abs while using the machines. She’s taught me the importance of doing squats a certain way to help strengthen the hips and pelvis in preparation for labor – she just knows how to safely and effectively exercise the fragile pregnant body. Plus, she is very motivating!
B-Buckle vs. Bella Band
I say – buy both! I use them together, they actually work well together and serve different purposes. I use the buckle to hold my pant together and on, and then the band over the buckle to smooth it out and for belly support (and to help reduce the look of the popping-out belly button). The Bella Band will not hold your pants on, but it will help your b-buckled pants to not look lumpy! Also, the Target version of the Bella Band is just as good! [update 5/1/09 - the Target version is NOT as good as the Bella Band, I've had it for less time than I've had the Bella Band and it has started to unravel, buy the Bella Band to last through your pregnancy!]
UGH. Is all I can say. Maternity jeans have been especially dreadful for me as a tall girl. I could not find any 34″+ inseam jeans for under $200+. No joke. A Pea In The Pod has long jeans, but only designer brands (as does Nordstrom and many places online, but I need to try jeans on in person), so I bought one pair. I wear them, but they totally suck. They are not even comfortable and I curse them! I bought the Joe’s, and the band is itchy and they don’t stay up, I don’t think the 7s or True Religions were any better, I tried on several and they all felt the same. I end up putting a Bella Band over their itchy band to keep them up.
**Better jean option** — What I ended up doing that has worked well, is when I was about 5 months pregnant, I went to my regular jean store and bought a pair of the lowest cut jeans I could find that were a little bit big on me at that point in time. I can still wear them now at 32 weeks with the help of a b-buckle and they are totally comfortable.
Maternity Clothing Stores
All of the exclusively-maternity stores I’ve shopped at, Pea In The Pod, Becoming Mothers, Mimi Maternity, to name a few, have a terrible return policy. You can only exchange or get store credit – NO REFUNDS. I honestly think the best place to shop for maternity stuff is The Gap. Online they have tons of stuff, all totally refundable and hassle-free. Old Navy has good tshirts and tank tops too, but they have itchy tags in a lot of their stuff and pregnant skin is very sensitive. The Gap knows this and has mostly tag-free maternity clothes – very nice!
I tried one of the full-body pillows and did not like it. It was way thinner than it looked online, and I had read a lot of the reviews and picked a really good one. The point of a body pillow is to keep your body in alignment, mainly your hips. You want to lay on your side and have the top leg parallel with your hip, so a pillow in between the knees is what you need. But if the pillow is thin, it doesn’t do the trick. The full body pillows also have a head-part, so you can’t use your own head pillow with them…I don’t know about you, but I am VERY particular about my head pillow! I found this one after trashing my full body pillow, and I love it – by Boppy, it also helps with belly support when the belly gets bigger.
I have had back issues since about 2 months pregnant, but even if you don’t have actual back issues, your back is getting totally abused during your pregnancy. I got this Massage Pad at Bed Bath & Beyond (you can always find a 20% coupon) and I LOVE it. It helps when your back is achy or just feeling kinda stiff. My doula even recommended that I bring it to the hospital because it will be good to have during labor. This will be nice to have post-baby too!
Cribs – Drop-rail vs No Movable Parts/Lifetime/Convertible
So, I obviously haven’t used the crib yet, but I did a lot of research and went with the No Movable Parts/Convertible crib. Here is why – most people have told me that they barely ever used the drop-rail, and as being 5’10”, I’m assuming reaching into the crib will not be an issue for me. Also, many reviews say that the drop-rail doesn’t work well or sticks (which becomes a major safety issue) so they can’t use it much anyway. But more than that — at first I liked the looks of the drop-rail cribs better, but started hearing a lot about recalls and safety issues with the drop-rails. I also read in several places and saw a news segment that said most manufacturers are starting to focus on producing the Convertible cribs because they are safer, more stable, have less recalls, and leave less room for human error while assembling. Less and less drop-rail cribs are being manufactured because of this, and it sounds like eventually they’ll be a thing of the past. So, I figured I’d go with the trend toward No Movable Parts. It is also a bonus that many convert into a toddler bed, then a full-size bed, which will be convenient as long as your baby doesn’t chew up the part that becomes the footboard.
Yikes, there is no good answer for this in the Boulder area. Boulder does not have a single baby furniture store! I looked a ton online, Pottery Barn, Guys & Dolls in Denver, a couple boutique-y places, and Babies R Us. Babies R Us seemed like the best option because they do in-house delivery and set-up plus they are about 1/3 the price of Pottery Barn. Yes, some of their stuff seems on the cheapy/cheesey end, but they do have some nicer lines made from hardwood and not veneers. After lots and lots of research, I chose their line from Babi Italia, which has gotten great reviews from users and is sampled on the floor at the store. While I love the furniture I got, it was an absolute nightmare to order from BRU. That store is run by monkeys, I swear. It took me about 2 months to actually order what I wanted – not to physically get it, but to actually ORDER it. Once it was ordered, I got it in about a week and a half. But, OMG, I must have talked to every furniture person, supervisor, and manager in the store several times over 2+ months just trying to order it. They are idiots!
Prenatal Photo Shoot
You have got to do this! I went to Colby Evans (check out a sample pic in portfolio 4, pic 18), who did those adorable photos of me and my step-kids that I have plastered all over facebook and my house! She is awesome, but even if you don’t use her, you should do some prenatal pics with your baby-daddy. I’ll post some when I get them in a couple of weeks. We had so much fun and it ended up being a little love-fest, bonding-over-belly-and-baby experience. Embrace your beautiful roundness!
3D & 4D Ultrasound
I wouldn’t have thought to do this, but David set it up and I am so glad he did! We went to a place in Westminster, not far from Babies R Us, First View Ultrasound. For more info on this, see previous blog post.
Post Pregnancy Belly Wrap
Again, clearly I haven’t used one yet, but I did research a few different kinds and Tauts got the best reviews, so that is what I went with. Plus, I like Brooke Burke, so I wanted to buy hers :) But really, it seems like a good product. It is a firm wrap that you wear as much as possible starting the day after you deliver. It is supposed to help reduce the size of your swollen uterus and water retention and it will help your regular clothes fit better sooner (the corset effect I’m guessing) and help you not look lumpy under tshirts and such. The material is firm but still soft against the skin and compared to the other postpartum wraps, it looks like it covers more of your torso to your waist/hips than others that look like they just go around your waist area. Hopefully it will help me get my rock-solid abs (yeah right, have I ever had hard abs?) back!
***And most importantly – the best burger in Boulder is at the St Julien, and the best drive-thru milkshake is at Goodtimes. Plan your pregnancy to stretch over as many junkfood-binge holidays as possible! I’ve been pregnant through Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter. YUM. I’m doing it for the baby, of course — I’m trying to make sure that he’ll be sick of chocolate by the time he is born and will never want to eat it again.
I’ll add more stuff as it comes to me. Feel free to add your own reviews in the comments and help out our future baby-mama friends!