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09/19/2008

Things we like

I get a lot of e-mail with a marketing angle, suggestions that I promote this product or that on my site.  Sometimes the products in question are a good fit for my audience; sometimes — in fact, I am sorry to say usually — they're not.  (Casinos.  Sunglasses.  Baked beans.  Swear to God, I was asked to blog about beans.)  Regardless, the fact is that I make it a policy not to accept.  I don't have much time to write about the things I care about, much less about enhancing my penis.  (Swear to God: "I wanted to know if by any chance you would be interested in doing an unbiased review of one of our products.  We will send you a product sample so that you can try it and then write a review about it. Please note you won't have to return the product sample after publishing the review.")

There are a few things, though, that I've found really useful during Ben's babyhood thus far.  Either they weren't available when Charlie was a baby or I didn't know about them, so I have taken it upon myself to evangelize a bit, totally without compensation, in case you haven't heard of them, either.

First up is the Ergo baby carrier.  Now, Charlie was a baby who got worn.  I couldn't begin to count the miles we clocked during those colicky months, hustling him in an endless circuit around the house, cradled close in a fabric sling.  And every day during the hellacious half-hour between waking and mealtime, Paul trudged outside with Charlie in a Baby Bjorn, enduring Charlie's howls of outrage as we waited for his reflux meds to take effect.  So I like to think we are people of discernment when it comes to baby-walking apparatuses.  The Ergo, my friends, is the shit.

(I am told that there are people who say something is shit when they mean it's good.  I was just trying that out, as I am always on the lookout for ways to make my writing seem fresh and current so that I can appeal to the youth of today.)

Anyway, we like the Ergo.  It's fully adjustable so that Paul and I can swap it back and forth with an easy pull of a few nylon straps.  Thanks to its waist strap, I can bend over while wearing it without sending Ben swinging out from my body in a precarious hammock of terror.  And once Ben graduates from the front carry, I'm looking forward to one of the Ergo's main advantages: In a back carry, it places the baby's weight squarely on the lower back instead of on the shoulders.

We've been stuffing Ben into it since he was about a week old with the use of the infant insert.  If you're considering the Ergo for your newborn, you'll need one of these.  They're machine washable, but even so we've found having a second one convenient, too.

But we don't just care about convenience here at House of Oh My God We Have a Baby.  Design counts for something as well.  Some people put flowers on their dining room table, or perhaps an attractive bowl of fruit.  We're a little more avant garde.  Our eye-catching centerpiece is the Boppy Newborn Lounger.

It's nothing more than a baby-sized papasan cushion, contoured to elevate the head slightly, with the bottom hollowed out to support the body in a comfortable curve.  Although the long list of warnings on the package includes a panicky plea to not ever, no, never use it on a raised surface, we do.  There are also about three tags sewn to the thing forbidding Ben to sleep in it, illustrated with pictograms so simple even a seven-week-old can understand them.  The one intended for parents says something like, "DO NOT ALLOW YOUR BABY TO SLEEP IN THIS WARM AND FLEECY TORUS YOU NEGLIGENT JACKASS."  Negligent jackasses that we are, we do that, too.

It's an extremely convenient place to put a baby; Ben lolls around in his when he's awake during our meals.  I also put him there when I'm working in the kitchen — DO NOT ALLOW YOUR BABY TO USE THE MANDOLINE IN THIS COMFY, COMFY DONUT — and while I'm prepping a bottle — DO NOT ALLOW YOUR BABY TO STARVE TO DEATH CAN'T YOU SEE HE'S STARVING IN THIS HEAVENLY FIBERFILL NEST WHAT ARE YOU SOME KIND OF FUCKING SADIST?

Okay, it's not the most attractive addition to our dining room decor, even with the removable covers that are sold separately — buy one, since the cushion as sold is spot-clean only — so I was thinking about maybe nestling Ben in it with some nice river rocks and half a dozen votives.  But I bet there's a warning about that, too.

Speaking of products by Boppy, when it comes to nursing I would like to recommend a not-Boppy.  Although we found infinite uses for the Boppy Charlie received at his birth — thank you, Abby! — I must endorse instead My Brest Friend.

The whole contraption fastens around your body, allowing you to reposition yourself or your child during nursing without disturbing the delicate equilibrium of breast, baby, and TiVo remote.  The foam inside is firm and supportive, including a cushion to support your lower back.  It also has arm rests and a handy pocket for your Lansinoh.  And your nipple shield.  And your fenugreek.  And your airline-sized bottle of vodka, because some of us needed all the help we could get.

Hey, don't judge.  Save that for the monster of a mother you see feeding her child from bottles that contain BPA.  I am not among them, now that Avent makes BPA-free bottles.

I was sorry when serious concerns concern about BPA — bisphenol A, a chemical used in the manufacture of polycarbonate and a known endocrine disruptor — came to my attention because it meant that with Ben, we'd have to find an alternative to the squat, stable bottles I'd loved using with Charlie.  But Avent responded just in time by racing to the market with its BPA-free offering. 

They're identical to the old Avents in every other way, including the infuriating tendency to leak unless you have the cap cranked down just so.  Well, every other way but one: the plastic has a honey-colored cast to it.  I consider this not a bug but a feature; its yellowy tint makes chalk-white formula look a little bit more like breast milk to the casual observer.  You know, just in case anyone's judging.

Is there any little-baby-related product I might not know about that I should?  Clue me in, please.  But I'll thank you to leave baked beans, casinos, and my poor maligned penis out of it.

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