information overload

We’re called the information generation. I don’t think this is a misnomer. My generation knows that through Wikipedia, imdb.com (internet movie database), weather.com, Zillow, cnn.com, various blogs, youtube, and Google Maps, you can find information about almost anything you could ever want to know.

While sometimes annoying (like how Wikipedia has the last word in every pointless debate my husband and I have), this access to endless amounts of information can actually be enjoyable. While watching the Oscars this weekend, Dan and I had the laptop out and were looking up information that we didn’t know as it was referenced (“Who was that guy?“, “What else was Marissa Tomei in?” “Is the cast of Slumdog mostly Indian or British?“…).

I remember what an invaluable resource the internet was when I was planning our wedding. Dress and flower ideas, etiquette tips, and invitation templates were all found online. So now, with a new major life milestone, I turned to the internet for all sorts of things: pregnancy survival tips, name meanings, nursery design ideas, product recommendations, local birth class listings, even podcasts about all things pregnancy. Unfortunately, unlike with wedding planning, I have decided that all this info is just too much.

Diaper brand X is the best.” / “Diaper brand X totally leaks and you shouldn’t buy them, buy Z brand.

You need at least 2 cup holders and an extra deep storage basket on your stroller.” / “Forget the extra junk, you want a stroller that is light and portable.

Some official organization gives this bottle design it’s ‘Most Innovative’ award.” / “Some other organization gave THIS bottle the ‘Ingenious Design’ award.

This book has all the answers you will need about how to prepare for your baby.” / “Written by an amazing pediatrician, no other book has more information than THIS one.

I’m sure you’ve now come to the same realization that we have: they can’t all be true. So if some of them aren’t true, which ones are true? Am I going to be the lady who needs the extra deep storage basket, or the one who would give anything for portability? And the conundrum continues. For that reason, I would like to make this official declaration:

I give up. I refuse to take to heart one more ounce of internet-based information or advice regarding baby gear, baby development, or pregnancy. It’s just too complicated and convoluted. I had started to make lists of things I’ve read about (like ‘Brand X diapers= good!’), but then I’ve had to amend it far too many times because of opposing information found later. I want to make room for my own preferences and opinions too, and I feel like with all that’s out there to read and take as fact, I haven’t taken the time to consider what my baby might need and what might work best for my family.

All that to say, if you have experience and information on products, advice, and the like, please share. I’m just over the whole totally-contradictory-information-at-the-tip-of-my-fingers-from-people-i’ve-never-met thing. It seems like I read in a history book somewhere (or a maybe it was a wiki article) that people used to talk to each other (some prehistoric era before facebook messages and twitter) and pass on information about things they had experienced to younger generations, and I like that idea. As we prepare to welcome our younger generation, I could think of nothing more important.

3 Responses to “information overload”

  1. Jen D

    Hi Allison–I found your blog through Cindy’s, stumbled upon this post, and had to comment because I remember feeling exactly the same way when I was pregnant with my first (we have 2 kids now). One thing that I actually found helpful amidst the onslaught of information was a book called “Baby Bargains.” There is a new edition published each year with a listing of every baby product known to man along with pros, cons, consumer ratings, safety ratings, money saving tips, etc. There are even charts that list out comparable products side-by-side so you can quickly assess their differences. Anyway, we bought both our carseat and our high chair after consulting this book and love them both (still using them today with kid #2). On the other hand, before I discovered this book it took 3 strollers until I found the one that actually worked best for our needs. Just wanted to let you know about something I found helpful, but maybe the last thing you need right now is more information. :) Congrats on your little boy!

  2. Mandy

    Here is Mandy’s Must Haves: (This was a blog post on another private blog for friends having a baby – I hope it isn’t too much information!)

    * Tons of burp cloths, the heavy duty kind. I loved Gerber’s.
    * Plan on nursing? – invest in a good Medela pump – they are the best!
    * Special note for Mom. Get some Lansinoh Cream for your sore nipples (just expect it) and also Lansinoh’s disposable pads for your bra. They hold a ton and leakage can be very embarassing. The first couple times we were in public I should have brought a change of clothes for me! There are some washable ones too which are less costly in the long run, but they don’t provide as much protection so save them for later on when you are not nursing every three or four hours.
    * I am sure that you’ll need lots of bottles too – we loved Playtex brand. The pre-formed bags that you could easily fridge or freeze until needed and even pump directly into. You don’t have to worry about BPA!
    * A baby bath tub that sits in the kitchen sink or on the counter. We loved and used ours eventually even in the tub when he splashed too much. It allowed us to keep his head above water so easily and helped him sit in a safe position.
    * The best clothes for summer are onesies, pure and simple. With blow out diapers – yes, you can expect those, always have a bunch of back ups. Lots of hats too if you plan to be outside. Eyes not protected now will cost you money later!
    * A HALO Sleep Sack (Babies R Us) comes in all sizes and is great for keeping them snug in bed without the worry of blankets (a no no for SIDS). Carter’s have nice sleepers that work up to 9 months too, also a little cheaper.
    * A bouncer that you can set on the table, floor, counter, etc. is so important. It allows baby to look around and see what is going on but you are left hands free to make supper and get whatever else done. It can be nice when they start to eat baby cereal too if they are still on the small side for a regular high chair.
    * A large quilt for laying and rolling on the floor is great too. Babies spend a lot of time just hanging out on the floor and it’s so much easier to clean a quilt than your carpet and much more comfortable if you have a hard floor surface.
    * A good stroller so you can get out and about. We love our BOB Revolution. Spendy but there is a double option and it is the greatest for the outdoors. (Which of course is why the Johnson’s invested. We can do trails with it.) Need something for the mall? Go for one simple fold up stroller that allowed you to just click in your car seat – they are cheap and also easy to find second hand.
    * Did I mention diapers and wipes? Our favorites are Pampers and the Pampers sensitive wipes are great for newborns. Sams Club or Target with coupons are the best deal.
    * Best butt creams are Arbonne Baby Care (can order through the Johnson’s) and Beaudrox’s Butt Paste – they work like a charm. My advice – put some on every night before bed. It keeps things dry during longer periods of sleep and prevents a painful change in the morning. Hate to break it to you but those longer periods of sleep don’t come right away.
    * I loved our Boppy pillow as it was so versitile. I used it when I nursed but also used it to prop Seth up for tummy time and on his bottom surrounded by it when he was just starting to sit on his own. The best way to go: buy a naked Boppy (yes, that’s what it is called) and then get a variety of cover designs that you like. When they get dirty the cover is easy to wash and replace. You need three!
    * A travel crib was a must for us since all our family is hours away. We actually got a Graco Playard that we used for traveling. It is a little bigger than their “travel” version but still easy on the go and lasts longer because, let’s face it these little guys grow. We bought quilted sheets for ours. They are a few dollars more but the regular sheets are a waste of money. They don’t provide any comfort or protection for your little one.
    * A changing table is fantastic! I also like a contour pad and yes – get three cozy covers. We also saved changing the cover by using a lap pad (Target must have) or a diaper cloth on top of the changing pad cover. There are always little “poop stains” (as we called them) when you have a blow out diaper to change and this makes clean up way easy.
    * Easy clean up?! Oxy cleaning spray takes poop and spit up out of any piece of clothing. Have a bucket in the washtub, spray to pre-treat and let soak in cold water until you are ready to run the washer. Only really soaked in messes take scrubbing. Any carpet stains? Oxy Woolite for carpet is amazing. It takes out everything from spit up and grape juice to salsa. The nasty smells disappear too.
    * On the topic of poop. There will be a lot of it. In fact there are many days I feel my life revolves around changing diapers (especially those days when I watch three kids under the age of two)! So you need a place to put all the dirty diapers. They have a million options out there and none of them work better than an ice cream pail with a tight lid! (Of course us ice cream lovers have an abundance of pails for all sorts of misc. stuff in our house.) Seriously, we use an ice cream pail with plastic grocery bags to line it. When its full you take the bag outside and replace it. When the pail starts to smell ditch it or soak it with dish soap or bleach for an hour. Good as new. It’s easy and so much more cost effective too.
    * A diaper bag is also a must. Get something that you will both carry without embarrassment. (Why we have a NorthFace Recon backpack.) What should you carry in it at all times – that could fill another blog another day!
    * An 8 second or less thermometer cuz they’ll get sick or you won’t be sure if it’s really a fever until you check and one minute can seem an eternity. Stick with someone for the armpit – you get the best results.
    * One thing I wished that we had with Seth was a sling or nice baby carrier. Hot Slings are great or you can make your own. I did this since doing child care for another infant if you want some steps.
    * A notepad – write down feeding times. poops and wets, when they sleep. I know sounds crazy but when you want to start a regular schedule you know where to start from. Also when the Dr asks you about diapers and feedings you will want to have it written down. It is amazing how quickly each day goes by and it can be so fun to look back at what is changing and happening with your little one. I enjoyed it so much and found it so helpful that I still keep simple daily notes for Seth now.
    * Toys? Don’t waste a ton of money. They really just need simple things that can go in their mouths or they can grip in their hands. Baby faves in our house colorful plastic chain links, small soft animals (make sure you can wash them), rattles, and books. Board books with lots of color or just black and white images are great for standing up next to them for floor time. Seth loved to stare at the pictures. The musical stuff your friends and family will buy you – skip it whenever possible as it will drive you up the wall in your lack of sleep, stress induced state!

    So hope that helps. Feel free to email if you have any questions!

  3. Jacquelyn

    On child number four and I went through four types of bottles before we found the one that worked best for him!! LOL!! I have found product reviews from blogs to be AMAZING tools!! I wish I had read them prior to my FOURTH child being three months old. HA! Amazingly, we survived!!


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