Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Inexpensive, invaluable gifts for expectant mothers

I actually hemmed and hawed about whether to write this post – let alone feature it on this blog. But because I’ve deemed May the unofficial start of Baby Shower Season, and I find these items so very helpful and unique, I couldn’t resist…

Having had my toe in the pregnancy/infant/toddler waters for more than thirty consecutive months now – I’ve been either pregnant, nursing, or changing diapers (and at some point doing two out of the three) since the tail end of 2010 – trust me, I know what it takes at all three stages to get the job done.

I usually subscribe to the notion that baby shower invitees should stick to the plan and purchase only the items the mother-to-be has on her registry. But then, little does the mother-to-be know that she won’t use 43 receiving blankets and equally as many packs of pacifiers – even at the newborn stage. I wished someone had purchased the following two items for me when I was expecting, but I ended up buying them myself:
Mexican Bola Ball Pendant
First up, we have the Mexican bola ball pendant. I wore one of these for my entire pregnancy with Kennedy – even before she grew ears in utero. (I was five months pregnant with her in the above photo of my mom, Scotty, and me taken at the Detroit Zoo during a field trip with Scotty's playgroup.) The bola ball necklace is an old Mexican tradition in which pregnant women wear a ball with a chime inside a pendant on a very long chain. The pendant reaches just below the mother’s belly button, and at around the 18th week of pregnancy, the baby begins to hear the sound of the chime. The mother can continue to wear the pendant on a shorter chain once the baby is born, so the sound of the chime can continue to soothe and comfort the baby – I actually wore mine when I nursed Kennedy for the first time when she was just minutes old. Before Scott and I even conceived Kennedy, I purchased my bola ball and pendant from eBay for $8 here, and when I learned that we were indeed having a girl, I ordered an additional ball (for $6) – in the color pink – from a different eBay listing by the same vendor, here.
 
Bathroom caddy
I initially bought one of these back in the summer of 1995, when I was about to embark on my new life as a college freshman at the University of Michigan: Living in a dorm with a community bathroom meant that I needed something to contain my toothbrush, soap, and other toiletries when I schlepped to the showers every morning. I wished I had kept this five-dollar piece of molded plastic, because if I knew then what I know now, I could have told myself that the last thing I will want to do at two weeks postpartum is haul the baby back and forth to the nursery for every God-forsaken diaper change. Rather, it would be much more convenient to use this caddy as a portable diaper changing station: Simply load this sucker up with diapers, wipes, diaper balm, fold-up changing pad, and voila! But, no. I had to learn this the hard way and run out to buy one when Scotty was just days old. I ended up buying a second one when Kennedy was born so that I could have an additional diaper changing station in our bedroom. You can find these caddies everywhere, including Walmart, Meijer, and Kmart. (I bought both of mine from Home Goods.)

What items were invaluable to you when you were an expectant or new mom?

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32 comments:

  1. I have never heard of the Mexican Bola pendant...but that is lovely and thoughtful. As are you!

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    1. Hi, Kristen! That necklace is wonderful, as it is a fantastic momento of pregnancy, long after the baby has grown...I can't wear mind now, as Kennedy has quite the grip and I know that thing will end up broken in two and thrown across the room if she were to get her hands on it...

      Thank you for commenting. <3

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  2. I love the shower caddy Idea. I wish I had thought of that when I was in that stage. The Mexican Bola pendant sounds so beautiful. What a nice thought to give your child something to listen to. I am going to have to buy one to hear it, Sounds so nice! Have a wonderful day!

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    1. Hi, Elizabeth! And thank you! I simply wanted to share one of the biggest "Ah-ha!" pregnancy/early motherhood moments.

      The caddy -- or three-- truly is a God-send, and that necklace is so soothing. You'll see when you hear it...

      Thank you for commenting!

      xo

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  3. What lovely, different ideas! I'll have to keep these in mind...

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    1. Thank you, Dakota! While I LOVED wearing this necklace, having two of these caddies saved my sanity. :-)

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  4. I had never heard of the Bola ball pendant before, but it sounds like a great gift idea. I wish I had known about this when I was pregnant. I like to keep diaper and supplies in the living room too.

    Sonya
    Saving Everyday With Sonya K

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    1. Hi, Sonya! Thank you for stopping by today -- and commenting! I'm still using my caddies, and am looking at the one in the living room as I type this...lol...

      xo

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  5. YES. That caddy is a brilliant idea. We actually (and unnecessarily, but preggo hormones had me on OVERLOAD mode) set up a changing station downstairs, so we wouldn't have to go upstairs for every diaper change. But it was truly so unnecessary, as you can really just lay a mat down (or towel or whatever) and change the baby on the floor. That caddy would've been a MUCH better idea :)

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    1. Yes, Sara, I concede that these caddies are something of a God-send. Here it is, a full eight months after Kennedy's birth, and we are STILL using these caddies!

      They are, in essence, the gift that keeps on giving.

      Thank you for visiting -- and commenting!

      xo

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  6. I need that bathroom caddy now! My bathroom sink is so unorganized and I know Mr. M is having a fit inside looking at all my beauty products everywhere! LOL!

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    1. Yes, Louida! These caddies, of course, work wonders for bathroom clutter, too, which, truth be told, was what they were initially intended for...

      These things are like a Jack of all trades.

      Thank you for commenting. <3

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  7. I want a Bola ball!! I don't think they had this when I was pregnant with my boys eons ago.
    Love the pic of you with your baby bump! You mom is gorgeous too!

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    1. Thank you so, SO much, Susie! Yeah, although I've heard that the bola is a long-standing tradition in Mexico, I don't think it was popularized here until fairly recently. In fact, I didn't have one for Scotty...but I so wished I had.

      Thank you for the kind words about the photo, too! I remember it was humid as hell that day -- and we were dodging raindrops for most of the trip. But we had fun, and it was Scotty's first trip to the zoo. :-)

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  8. I have never heard of a Bola ball and never considered a shower caddy. Good ideas though. Glad you published it. Besides diapers and wipes there are very few mist haves for me, these would be very useful.

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    1. I agree with you, April; after buying virtually everything under the son while pregnant with my son (my first child), I had turned it down a notch the second time around: I was wise enough to know that I didn't need half the crap I bought the first time around!

      Thank you for commenting.

      xo

      Delete
  9. I almost always get Angel Dear blankies for new babies (not moms) - both of my kids still have these as their #1 lovies and even as tiny infants liked to grab onto them while feeding. http://www.angeldear.net/angel-dear-blankies/ I LOVE the pendant idea and am saving it for the next pregnant person that pops up in my life!

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    1. That's sweet, Susan> I've never heard of those blankies before...

      But do keep the bola in mind for the next mommy-to-be that -- to borrow from your apropos choice of words -- "pops" into your life...because I think most of us moms can recall being so big that it seems we could "pop" at any moment. lol

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  10. Baby shower season starts in May? Who knew? I've never been to one. I was never in the "nesting" crowd.

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    1. LOL, I can relate to you, actually. Once upon a time I was like the black sheep of the nesting crowd: I was the last of all of my friends to get married and have kids.

      And I totally made that up about Baby Shower Season! I know that pregnancy strikes all year round, of course, but, I don't know, it seems like the spring months bring more positive EPT tests...lol

      Your comments always make me chuckle, Lexa! Thank you for commenting!<3

      xo

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  11. I love this post, especially since I have 5,654 showers to go to this year (I may have over exaggerated that number a bit). The caddy idea is awesome! And I ay just purchase one of those bola bola balls myself!

    I also love that you love ebay!! I see you mention it a lot! I was well am an ebayaholic!!

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    1. Hi, Shauna! eBay is my JAM! :-)

      And I hear you about the showers. But, would you believe that I have none on the schedule this season? (Yet, anyway.) I realize that I may have just tempted fate with this comment, however...

      Thank you so much for commenting!

      p.s. Did you see the comment I left on your blog about Degrassi High?

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    2. No, I didn't! Sometimes my gmail account sends the comment notifications to Spam. :( What about Degrassi?

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    3. I just asked whether you watched Degrassi High (or Junior High) re-runs growing up because I was a HUGE fan in elementary school! As I was with Nickelodeon's You Can't Do That on Television -- with Christine and a very young Alanis Morrisette.

      I was just asking, as I think I am quite a few years older than you...

      Hope you're enjoying your weekend!

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  12. My girlfriend was obsessed with Degrassi High!!! I liked it to, but she loved it!!

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  13. A diaper caddy! What a brilliant gift. I am going to get one and fill it for someone who is having a baby soon.

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    1. Hi, Jennifer! Yes, cheap, easy, and most importantly, USEFUL! And then after your baby grows out of diapers, the caddy lives on as a bathroom organizer -- or art caddy for the kids.

      I reckon we'll never outgrow ours!

      Thank you so much for commenting. :-)

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  14. You bring up such a great point! People should definitely stick to the registry and if you are going to buy clothes...think of when the baby is not in the first 6 months. People always get a million newborn clothes!!! :) These look like nice gifts as well. Thanks for sharing this with us at the Creative Style Linkup!

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    1. You're welcome, Brittnei! And thank you for commenting. :-)

      Ugh. You so touched on a "baby shower pet peeve of mine": The whole buying clothes all in 0-3 months! As if the baby is going to stop growing at the 90-day mark. At my shower, I was so happy to get items in the 9 months+ range that I nearly peed on myself due to excitement. (TMI, but. 'meh...)

      Thanks, again!

      xo

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