Monday, December 28, 2009

We finished up our Birth Preparation Course at Long Island Jewish with a third and final class on 12/16. In this last class we practiced breathing techniques and watched our 1990s-era birth video, as per usual, but we also ended class by spending a good amount of time talking about baby care... which was great!

I was really glad to have the opportunity to ask nurse Brenda about certain things such as care after circumcision (lots of vaseline), what baby should wear home from the hospital (she recommended a two-piece outfit so that baby's belly button remains uncovered), etc. And, as always, she assured us that we WILL be able to get through labor once the time comes. Oh how I hope she's on-call the day I go in!

All in all, I do believe the birth classes at LIJ are worth the $190 fee. While we didn't make it to the free breastfeeding class yet, we learned a lot in the prep classes that will be specific to our birth experience at LIJ and therefore is not included in any baby books. Also, perhaps most important, my husband was able to learn about labor, delivery and childcare--God knows he will never make it through this own baby care books, regardless of his super sweet intentions!

Now, we wait until our baby boy arrives! I'll be sure to post about our birth experience at LIJ as soon as possible.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

I hope you've all been having a lovely holiday season! Since I last posted--and since my fiasco with the Shark Multivac--I've had a lot of time to test out the Shark Navigator Upright Vacuum. And I must say, I am in love!

Shark™ Navigator Upright Vacuum - Purple

The most important thing about this hunk of purple love is its simplicity. It is your standard lightweight upright vacuum--you push and pull it along your floors, no rocket science degree required--with some pretty awesome extras:
  1. A super long hose and crevice tool that allows for vacuuming your curtains, behind your toilet bowl, in ceiling corners, in the floor track of your sliding doors, inside your over-stuffed closets, etc. My big pregnant butt doesn't need to do any bending and yet I've been able to clean my apartment in places it has never been cleaned before with this vacuum.
  2. Super suction power and the option to turn the brush roll on and off means both my tile floors and carpet get super clean with one vacuum. The multivac didn't have a brush at all... which was super sucky in another way.
  3. A pet hair power-cleaning brush which is great at removing our bunny's hair from the furniture.
  4. A bagless dust cup which is really easy to empty (just hit a button and out pops the cup) as opposed to the multivac's cup (struggle to pull the entire hand vac off the base, hit yourself in the head, stagger to the garbage pail...), and re-washable lifetime filters.
  5. Smart switch positioning which doesn't require you to bend down to turn the vacuum or the brush roll on or off. (The multivac's mid-vac switch position was just horrible.)
  6. Great maneuverability in that it doesn't have one of those fancy swivel heads that seem like a great idea at first but actually tend to let the vacuum get away from you.
We purchased the Navigator at Bed, Bath and Beyond for $199 with a 20% off coupon. It is definitely more expensive than the multivac--which we bought for $99 but is now discounted to $79.99 I presume because of its inherent suckiness--but the Navigator is entirely worth the extra money. I actually really enjoy vacuuming now (and no, hell has not frozen over!)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Geeze, it seems like I'm posting a product recall every other day!

This latest recall includes several models of Dorel car seats sold under the Safety 1st, Disney, Cosco, and Eddie Bauer labels Jan 08 through April 09. When used as a carrier, the handle may fall off posing a risk of dropping your baby.

Check out the CPSC website HERE for the full recall notice and info about how to receive your repair kit. Note: you can still use the carrier as a car seat when it is properly installed in your car. Just don't attempt to carry baby in it!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

This is one major recall! Today, the CPSC announced a recall of millions of roman shades and roll up blinds whose cords pose a strangulation risk. Check out the CPSC's recall notice HERE.

You may also want to check out www.windowcoverings.org for how to safely outfit your home windows and how to obtain free retrofit kits for various roman style shades.

Or better yet, you may want to do away with this style of shade all together. Better safe than sorry, mamas!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The lovely ladies over at The Bump message boards clued me in to a fun surprise mommy makeover being done by The Knot this Thursday, December 17th . You've got to submit your info today, so here are the details so you can get cracking!

Do you know a NEW NYC Metro area MOM that really deserves a MAKEOVER? Has she devoted her entire life to her new baby and in the process let herself go? If you know a new mom who needs a new look to boost her confidence, nominate her for this SURPRISE opportunity to be pampered and celebrated!

We will be selecting one amazing mom for a makeover ASAP! In order to qualify, this mom must:

1. Live in the New York Metro area (within 1.5 hours of NYC)

2. Be a new deserving mom with a compelling pregnancy or life story with a look that needs updating

3. Be nominated by a friend or family member willing to talk on camera about why she deserves a makeover, and willing to work with producers to SURPRISE this mom with the opportunity

4. Be able to secure this Thurs the 17th and Friday the 18th off (w/childcare coverage) to participate in the makeover process

*Please submit a current photos of the mom that best expresses WHY she deserves a makeover*

**Entries will not be considered unless the above qualifications are met**

Interested? Please answer the following questions and mail (along with photos of the mom) to castingcall@theknot.com:

• Your name, age, and contact phone number

• The mom’s name, age, # of kid(s), age of kid(s), the city & state she lives in

• Is she single or married? Does she have a full or part-time job she will be returning to?

• Write a brief synopsis telling us why this mom is deserving. (Be it her struggle to become a mom, life hardships, or medical/financial issues…etc.)

• Describe the mom’s physical appearance and how it’s changes post baby

• A guestimate of the mom’s current height, weight, and clothing size

Please mail your answers and a photo of both yourself and the mom you want to makeover to castingcall@theknot.com ASAP. We need to hear from you today!


Good luck, mamas!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

We finally got around to going to our second of three birth preparation classes at Long Island Jewish hospital last Wednesday! We had started our class series way back in October, but had to postpone when my husband caught a bad cold (we definitely didn't want to pass any germs along to our fellow classmates.)

We started out the evening by meeting nurse Brenda in the maternity ward at 7pm for a quick tour. She showed us a birthing room, which we thought was nice--private, with a cd player and tv and a bathroom without a shower--but a bit small. She then pointed out the recovery rooms, which seemed bigger and are either private (for $565 per night) or 4-bed (free).

We also swung by the well baby nursery where several adorable babies--including a 9.5-pounder!--were sleeping peacefully. Brenda told us that at LIJ all well babies are taken to the nursery an hour or so after birth for 3 hours of monitoring while mom is transported to recovery across the hall. After their time in the nursery, babies can stay with their moms unless she wants him/her to be returned to the nursery.

After the tour, my husband and I headed to our 7:30pm class where we spent 3o minutes on the floor practicing breathing techniques. This had us laughing but was very helpful none-the-less! I suggest bringing a lot of pillows, however, to keep you and your husband comfortable (sitting on the ground is not fun for my non-flexible bloke.)

After a quick food/bathroom break, we then watched a birth video that explained all of the many possible birth interventions--epidurals, inducement, cesarean sections, etc.

We ended the class with a Q&A session where Brenda really calmed my fears about getting an epidural if I felt I needed one. From Brenda's answers, however, I did have the sneaking suspicion that LIJ is a hospital that prefers its delivering moms to take pain medication. I'm starting to believe that if you want to go natural, your best bet is to find a midwife or a doula to be your advocate on the big day!

In our next class session we'll be going over baby care basics. I'm really looking forward to it and to entering the home stretch of pregnancy. Just under a month to go!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Picture of Recalled Baby Motion Bed
The CPSC has issued a recall of Amby Baby Motion Beds/Hammocks due to an infant suffocation risk. This is scary because I almost registered for one of these, but didn't because my husband was nervous about safety! The full recall notice is HERE.

Owners should stop using the bed and contact Amby at www.ambybaby.com for a free repair kit--what that kit will be, who knows. The repair kits won't be available until January 2010, though, so it looks like owners will need to find a new sleeping arrangement for their little ones in the meanwhile.
Last Monday I posted a promo code which allowed the purchase of an Udder Cover nursing cover for just the cost of shipping and handling ($8.95). My cover arrived exactly a week later and I am happy to provide you with the product review I promised:

The cover I received is actually not terrible given the speculation that the entire Udder Cover enterprise was a scam. The fabric is cute and I love the stiff collar that allows mom to maintain eye-contact with their baby while feeding without feeling exposed. Of course, if someone is standing right over you, staring down your shirt, they'll see baby on your breast, which is true with all nursing covers that allow eye-contact.

The fabric is thin, but not see-through and, while pretty substantial in size, it can be folded up really tiny to fit into your diaper bag. The sewing is a little shoddy, though, which bothers me. (Couldn't the Udder Cover folks stop their frantic sewing just for an instance to fix a simple stitch?) That said, I'm pretty sure that the cover will hold up... unless I'm doing some wild, acrobatic breastfeeding!

So, is the Udder Cover worth the $8.95 ? For me, I think so. I definitely could have sewn a similar cover myself for less money, but I'm SO not in the mood these days to head out to the craft store for all the fabric and hardware. Also, all of the comparable nursing covers I have seen begin at $20 and up, so I'm pretty happy to have paid half price, shoddy sewing and all.

I guess my biggest problem is, however, that Udder Covers offers these "special" codes in perpetuity. (I just received another code in an email today.) I'm certain the "pay S&H only" deal is a great marketing ploy they read about in a book and is indeed bringing them a lot of business--I mean, we all jump on buying something that is "free"--but I think the company would garner more goodwill if they would just sell the darn thing for $6 with $2.95 S&H.

As it stands, we all jump on the deal, realize after the fact that it isn't really special at all, and start suspecting that something fishy is up with the company. Udder Covers, we'd respect you and your product more if you'd just give it to us straight!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Euro-Pro Shark NH15 Multi-Vac
I really wanted to like the Shark Multi-Vac, but, God help me, I'm about to throw it out the window! At first I thought having a vacuum with multiple uses (hand vac, upright vac, and canister vac) would be great, but changing from one configuration to another takes a degree in rocket science and a lot of energy. I'm generally a very tech-y girl, but I really don't want to be deconstructing and reconstructing a robot when all I want to do is vacuum the kitchen floor!!

Deep breath.

For ease of reading, I'll list the pros and cons (of which there are many):

Pros:
  • Low Price: With one of those 20% coupons Bed, Bath and Beyond sends in the mail what seems like every day, I was able to buy the Shark Multi-Vac for about $80 at the BB&B on Queens Blvd.
  • Small Size: Petite for a small home/apartment
  • Powerful Suction: The suction was so strong it actually got hard to push on some of my carpets. (Wait, does that make the suction a con in this instance?)
  • Back Saver Attachment: This attachment, used in canister mode, allows you to get under furniture without moving heavy pieces or straining your back. However, I couldn't even figure out how to convert the vacuum to canister mode and I strained my back with frustration anyway!
  • Purple Vacuum: Need I say more?
Cons:
  • Crazy Swivel Steering: I would have thought swivel steering would be a pro, but it is actually really hard to steer the vacuum where you want it. I had a hard time pushing the vacuum straight ahead and actually needed to lift it and replace it down on the floor a couple of times.
  • Complicated Design: As I said above, it is difficult to transition from one vacuum format to another and putting the vacuum together out of the box was like building a spaceship (I exaggerate a little, of course). You also need to remove the entire hand vacuum from the stick to empty the dust cup, which is supremely annoying.
  • Inconvenient Power Switch Location: Unless you have some serious monkey toes, you'll need to bend down to the bottom of the vac to reach the power switch, which out of multi-use necessity must be on the hand vac canister. This pregnant lady did not appreciate that.
  • No Beater Brush: The upright vac does not have a beater brush, which means the vac won't kick up things and I had trouble picking up even a feather from our extremely low-pile carpeting. (I did have more success with the upright vac in our tiled kitchen.)
  • Heavy: Despite being advertised as "light-weight," this Shark is actually a bit of a chore to push around. Perhaps this is an unfortunate side effect, however, of the difficult steering and super suction.
  • Short Hose: Forget about cleaning your curtains when the vac is in upright mode. The most you're stretching this hose is two feet and it doesn't come with a long-reaching nozzle attachment.
The bottom line is that I must return this vacuum before it drives me crazy. I was blinded by how cool and gadgety the Shark Multi-Vac Looks, but I've learned a lesson that simple and dependable is generally the way to go with household appliances.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I had my 35-week appointment with Dr. Jack Kanarek yesterday (so that I will be acquainted with him if my usual OB, Dr. Charnes, is unable to make my delivery) and I must say that he is superb! His bedside manner is warm and he didn't get angry with me at all for having gained 40 pounds at this point. (He actually said I was right on track.) It also doesn't hurt that he has great Anderson Cooper-esque silver hair!

I really wouldn't mind if Dr. Kanarek ends up in the delivery room with us next month. In fact, if it wasn't so late in the game, I might have switched to Dr. Kanarek as my primary OB--he really struck me as much warmer than his colleague. I do like Dr. Charnes, though, even if she is a bit prickly, and I tend to prefer a female OB/GYN, so I'm just going to count myself lucky that I have two doctors that I like on my side. It was tough going for a while there with my first OB in Manhattan!

Dr. Charnes and Dr. Kanarek can be reached at:

6905 Yellowstone Blvd
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 544-8400

Oh, and if you go for an appointment at this office, you can check out some truly swanky homes a block or two north on 108th and 110th Streets around 69th Ave. I didn't know they made them like that in Queens!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

So, after that promo code for Udder Covers went around yesterday (I received news of a code in an email from Planning Family), folks got to talking on The Bump about a possible Udder Covers scam. View the conversation HERE.

If you Google "Udder Covers scam" you'll see that lots of folks have been happy with their product, but others claim that their credit card numbers have been stolen from the Udder Covers website. I can't attest to the truth of any of this yet, but I'll be sure to keep you updated regarding the quality of the product once I receive it and any credit card tomfoolery. Just to be safe though, mamas, I would order this product using PayPal or a credit card with good fraud protection services (not your ATM card). We must always be careful when internet shopping... even when it is a great deal!