Getting ready for a baby is always overwhelming and full of decisions, from finding childcare down to choosing the right diaper brand for you. Thankfully, Leslie Venokur and Risa Goldberg, the sisters (and mothers) behind Big City Moms, are here to help. What started as a small social community of 18 new moms in 2004 has grown into a network of over 300,000 people. Venokur and Goldberg's organization has become a valuable resource for expecting mothers and new parents.
Their “Biggest Baby Shower Ever” event is coming to New York on April 29 and will teach new and expectant parents all about the hottest baby products. Parenting experts will lead panels to teach moms and dads-to-be about sleep, nutrition and work-life balance.
The best part? Parents leave with giant gift baskets full of essentials for the first few months of parenthood, like baby food, bottles and diapers. “People need help carrying them out because they’re so big,” laughed Venokur.
Venokur and Goldberg told Metro the most important products for new and expectant parents. Here are their picks and brand suggestions.
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1. Patemm Pad: The Patemm Pad is a round changing pad you can take anywhere. “Babies don’t sit still and since it’s round, it’s very helpful because it’s so huge that babies can wander while they’re changing,” explains Venokur. “It turns any bag into a diaper bag.”
2. A car seat: You absolutely must get your car seat before you give birth, and there’s a very good reason why. “You will not be admitted or allowed to leave the hospital unless your child is in a car seat,” says Goldberg. “It’s a necessity.” Goldberg and Venokur love car seats by Britax.
3. A stroller: “This is your vehicle and it’s your car,” says Venokur. “It’s going to get you from point A to point B and it’s the one thing you will be using every single day and you’ll find when you have it in your home that it becomes a piece of furniture.”
Venokur and Goldberg agree that stroller needs vary from parent to parent, but they suggest getting a second, lightweight stroller for carrying on subways and public transportation. They like the UppaBaby G-Lite stroller for a lightweight stroller, and the UppaBaby Vista stroller for everyday needs. They also suggest Orbit strollers, which have a removable car seat and also let you rotate the baby’s seat in the stroller.
4. Breast pump and bottles: It’s not always easy to make the time to breastfeed. “A breast pump is necessary for the convenience factor,” says Venokur. “You want something that’s small and transportable.”
5. Bottles:As for bottles, don’t worry if they’re plastic or glass: Venokur and Goldberg says you don’t need to worry about BPAs in plastic bottles. Just choose what feels right for you - Goldberg points out that glass bottles tend to be heavier.
6. Diapers: Obviously, every new parent needs diapers. But even all diapers are not made the same. “Diapers can be fashionable,” says Venokur. “Honest Company makes really fun, cute prints.” Eco-friendly parents with in-unit washer-dryers can use re-usable diapers.
7. Sound Machine: You probably haven’t thought of a sound machine, have you? But Venokur says it’s a must. “It’s so helpful,” she says. “A Marpac [sound machine] is so needed to help your baby sleep through the night, which will give mom and dad some peace of mind.”
Still feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry: “Just go with the flow and you’ll figure it out,” says Venokur. “There’s no such thing as being the perfect mom, so take everything as it comes to you.”
And don’t be too proud to accept help. “Nobody wants to accept help from anybody, but when you have your baby, everybody wants to help,” says Goldberg. “Just accept the help because it does not last forever.” You’ll be facing enough challenges even with the help, so don’t be afraid to let your friends and family do what they can to make your life a little easier.
Want to win a free ticket to the Big City Moms Biggest Baby Shower Ever in New York? Comment on this post and tell us your favorite baby product, then head over to sign up for an account with Big City Moms. One Metro commenter who signs up for a Big City Moms account will be chosen at random for the big prize.
Follow Andrea Park on Twitter: @andreapark