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Advice for New Moms: Maddie G Designs

Today I'm thrilled to welcome Susie from Maddie G. Designs, a great resource for trade-only buying and a wonderfully inspiring blog. I knew Susie would be a wonderful resource for new mom advice (not only does she have a toddler, but she's expecting her second child in just a few short weeks!) and I wasn't disappointed -- this post has me scurrying to my registry to add/change so many things.

* * *

Thanks, Averill, for including me in this fun series. I am a mom to an almost 2.5 year old daughter and I am due with a little boy two weeks from tomorrow. I remember well how excited and overwhelmed my husband and I were before Maddie was born. I have to admit that we are totally unprepared this time, but are hoping to wing it with all of the stuff we have from Maddie’s early days. A lot of this was gained by trial and error and to be honest, a lot is completely personal preference. But, I’ll share what worked for us.

Oh, and I cannot resist the urge to share a couple of photos of Maddie’s nursery. It was so fun designing this room for our first little girl!


Baby Bargains  – This book is a go to source for ratings on almost any baby gear you could imagine. They talk about the practicality, safety ratings, cost, durability, etc. No new parent wants to be without this book.

Baby411 – This book serves as a little encyclopedia of common questions/concerns that new parents may face. It can be a first line of defense before calling the pediatrician and often helped to put me at ease in the early days where I was totally sleep deprived and clueless.

Happiest Baby on the Block – This book, which is also apparently available in DVD format, was a lifesaver giving advice on how to sooth our baby early on. It is a quick read and one of the few baby books I actually read and found useful.

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child – I cannot say enough great things about this book. It really helped me to get Maddie on a regular nap and nighttime sleeping schedule. I was very lucky that we had her sleeping through the night by six weeks and I recall a regular 2x per day nap schedule by 4 months. I know so much depends on the baby….but I loved how this book broke down what to expect by various stages, so I could read the relevant age-appropriate chapters when needed without having to find the time to read the whole book at any one time.

Super Baby Food – I made all of Maddie’s baby food. This book was like a bible for me. It breaks down various fruits and veggies, how to cook and freeze them and at what age they can be introduced. It really takes the guesswork out of making your own baby food. The only drawback is that the author is a vegetarian so you won’t find any meat recipes. However, I found websites geared toward baby food to supplement with meat recipes.


As a new mom, you don’t have a ton of time to surf the internet. But, here are a couple of websites that I found to be helpful.

KellyMom -- This site offers breastfeeding and parenting support. I found the forums to be invaluable in the early days when I had breastfeeding questions/concerns.

Annabel Karmel -- Annabel Karmel authors many of the popular baby and toddler cook books today. Her website offers a bunch of recipes and useful tips for feeding your baby.


My best advice is to avoid the hype or urge to buy what is “in” and go to a baby store and test everything before you buy. With Maddie, I went to the store knowing I had to have the trendy Bugaboo. I wanted top of the line/stylish everything. Thank goodness we found a wonderful salesman who really steered us in a more practical direction. By the time Maddie actually arrived, I was much more concerned with function than style!

We ended up getting a Graco Baby Carrier with the Snap-N-Go frame. This way we could transfer Maddie from the car to the “stroller” without having to wake her up or unsettle her. The carrier could also be adjusted so it would rock…so I carry her with me and rock her on the floor or a counter if I was say, out to lunch with friends, etc.

Then, we went with a more robust stroller for long walks. We ended up with the City Jogger series which I love. And, our splurge was the bassinet feature (pictured here). Truthfully, we could have gotten by with adaptors that would have allowed us to clip on the Graco carrier…..but my husband fell in love with the “pram.” First daughter…..

My best advice is to think about your lifestyle. Test drive everything and buy what works for you. When Maddie was born we lived in a suburban neighborhood. So, for walks around the neighborhood (including off-road trails) I needed a stroller that would be durable, with inflatable wheels, etc. Alternatively, since I had to drive to shopping, a system that was easy to fold up and transport was key. Being able to fold the stroller and lift one handed was important to me. I didn’t want anything bulky or unwieldy. Other key features were the size of the basket under the stroller, cup holder, safety ratings, etc.

Finally, we went with a simple MacLaren umbrella stroller for once Maddie outgrew the snap-and-go and wanted to sit up and look around.

Other Miscellaneous Products I Love

It was mentioned last week that swaddling is key to get your baby to sleep. I completely agree and we found the SwaddleMe® blanket to be our go to swaddle blanket. We tried them all and this worked best for us. When Maddie eventually outgrew the swaddles, we moved to the HALO SleepSack®. We used these until she was old enough to unzip them….so we got a lot of mileage out of them!

For diapers, we found the Diaper Genie II to be the best for us. Again, we tried several before we ended up with this one.

Make sure you have lots of sheet savers like these or these, which can be put in on the change table, in the bassinet/crib, pack n play, etc. so that a spit up or blow out doesn’t mean a big production. This is especially helpful in the middle of the night!

In the first few months, you may have need for a humidifier. I love the Germ Guardian Ultrasonic humidifier because it doesn’t require filters and is easy to clean.

I also loved the Fischer Price Rainforest Bouncer. This bouncer, which plays music and vibrates, bought me the time to shower or cook dinner in the early days as I could tote Maddie around and set her up on the bathroom floor or kitchen counter while I got things done. My advice is to find something colorful. I found that many of the items I initially purchased because they matched my color scheme (pink and green) for her nursery were not as well received as similar items in primary colors and bright patterns.

We also found that soothing music in the nursery would become a welcome part of Maddie’s nighttime ritual. She still listens to this CD every night. A lot of people love the Rockabye Baby series of CDs which offer lullaby renditions of popular rock bands’ music. Other must haves for me were the Baby Bjorn for “wearing” Maddie. We went with a neutral color so my husband could use it as well. I wore Maddie a LOT when she was little. Also, a boppy and a good pump are essential if you plan to breastfeed. Check with your insurance company too….a good chunk of our Medela Pump in Style was covered by our insurance.

Speaking of breastfeeding….if you plan to go back to work, make sure they install an interior lock on your office door to avoid any uncomfortable situations with coworkers.

Saving Money

Whenever possible, I’d find an online source for the larger products I’d decided to purchase. Take advantage of no sales tax and coupon codes to save a bit of money.  Also, for those with Buy Buy Baby stores in their areas, keep in mind that they are owned by Bed Bath and Beyond and will honor the Bed Bath and Beyond coupons that seem to show up in our mailboxes on a weekly basis!

Well, I could go on and on, but all of this has reminded me of how much I have left to do in the next couple of weeks. Yikes! We are in the process of moving cross country after our little one arrives so I’ve been trying to work remotely on the new nursery. This post has prompted me to blog about my current nursery selections today, so feel free to check out my blog here.

Thanks again to Averill for including me. This was fun!

P.S. - Don't forget to enter to win Mary McDonald's new book Mary McDonald Interiors: The Allure of Style!

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