Berry Juice is a collection of the best blogs on baby names, pregnancy, and parenting from around the web, including everything from personal naming stories to the academic study of names, pregnancy information to tips on decorating the nursery.
It was early April in 2014 when my husband, Rick, and I learned we were pregnant. After a long struggle with infertility, we were stunned, cautious, and absolutely thrilled. My husband immediately got busy turning the home office into a nursery; I immediately got busy searching for the perfect name. As an academic who spent years studying naming practices, I was excited to finally put my research skills to personal use. And when I later learned that I was expecting twins – a boy and a girl to boot – I felt like I hit the onomastic jackpot. Choosing the perfect names for our little girl and our little boy became a top priority during the pregnancy.
Every day it seems like there’s a brand new baby gizmo, pregnancy gadget or totally techy item that you absolutely, positively have to buy — like, right now. Your baby still has a few more weeks (or maybe even months) to cook, but you’re already on the hunt for the latest, greatest gear. Before you start stockpiling everything with an “e-” slapped on the front, take a moment to think about how much you really, truly need it. You may actually end up using that space-age baby monitor everyone’s drooling over — but you should know which e-items will just end up being expensive dust-catchers.
YOU WON’T NEED…
1. Wipe Warmer: This isn’t exactly super-duper-fancy high tech, but it’s probably a step above what your own mama had for you. Do you need it? No. Seriously, this is a waste of a baby shower registry pick. Unless you’re all about buying yourself a TP heater, skip the wipe warmer. If your home gets cold enough that the ambient air temp will chill baby’s wipes to the point of freezing, you’ve got bigger concerns.
2. Crazy-Fancy Video Monitor: Believe it or not, there used to be a time when the shrill cry of a newborn woke Mom up in the middle of the night. (Oh yeah, that was yesterday.) No one is saying that you shouldn’t know what baby is up to: When they’re in their crib, you don’t want to wonder, “Gee, are they okay?” At the same time, you don’t want to create your own sleepless nights by gluing your bleary eyes to the video screen. (It’s a crazy-maker for new moms.) The regular ol’ audio-only version will totally alert you if there’s an issue. If your room happens to be anywhere near baby’s, you might not even need that.
3. Movement Monitor: Sure, this is a completely necessary gadget… for some households. If your baby has a medical condition or another issue requiring constant monitoring, your doctor may recommend one. But if your baby has no problems it’s a bit much. It’s cool that you can download an app to check out how much your baby is moving in their crib, but this type of high-tech monitor won’t replace your watchful eye or safe sleeping standards (such as placing baby on their back and keeping fluffy, puffy, quilty items out of the crib).
4. Care Timer: You say you want to set up a schedule for those oh-so-essential care activities? This gadget lets you program in diaper changes, sleep times and feedings. But do you really think you’ll forget to change baby’s diaper if there’s not a beeping, blinking alarm telling you to do it? Probably not. That magical aroma coming from your kiddo’s bottom will do much more than a timer ever could.
5. Formula Dispenser: You already have a set of measuring cups, right? Chances are that at some point you felt enough like a grown up to buy yourself this kitchen staple, even if you don’t cook much (or ever). Pressing down a button and getting the just-right amount of powdered formula dispensed into a bottle sounds nice, but it’s not at all necessary. Especially if you’re nursing!
YOU’LL PROBABLY WANT…
1. Breast Pump: We’re not talking about just any old breast pump here. The super low-tech kind that uses some sort of suction-y, hand-worked arrangement isn’t exactly effective. If you don’t have time to spare (and who does?), you won’t be able to make the most of your pumping sessions without a more tech-savvy version. If you’re looking for a crazy-easy, amazing pump, this spring brings you Willow. It’s a wearable breast pump that fits into your bra without external tubes, cords or bottles dangling from your boobs. Bonus: It’s got a tracking app!
2. Paci-Thermometer: (shown) Your newborn will not open and say “ahhhh” when you try to take their temp. They can’t hold your grown-up thermometer in their mouth, and even if you do it for them, they certainly won’t keep their lips zipped long enough to get a good reading. That means… well, you know where the thermometer has to go. A pacifier version is much easier, for everyone involved! It’s one of the most inexpensive baby gadgets out there, making it a must for new mamas.
3. Your Phone: Don’t go asking for a new one on your registry or anything, but your smart phone is THE go-to piece of baby tech, with something like a zillion uses. There are apps galore, for everything from playing white noise to getting a quick reference cheat sheet on infant safety and first aid. That’s not to mention the wealth of info available online through that tiny computer in your hands. Along with apps and access to the internet, your phone also has that very necessary camera for taking photos and vids to share straight to IG and FB.
What’s your must-have baby gadget?
Erica Loop is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh. When she’s not busy creating kids’ activities for her blog Mini Monets and Mommies, you can find her trying to hang out with her teenage son, being chased by her two Olde Boston Bulldogs or teaching a children’s karate class (she’s a third degree black belt!).
By Emily Cardoza
Often when parents are picking names for their children, they want something that will evoke a feeling– a name that’s strong or soft or cozy. With the increasing individuality of today’s names, why not get inspired at the fabric store?
If you’re skeptical, consider this – Paisley has been in the top 100 for the last four years. Though it also links to Brad Paisley and the ever-popular “ley” ending, the fact that Paisley inspires images of beautiful patterns is certainly a plus.
By Melissa Willets
There’s nothing like your first love. It’s uncomplicated, pure. It’s an easy love you don’t question or overthink. You simply enjoy the ride.
A second love can be just as beautiful, but there’s baggage now. You might battle insecurities, or fears that this relationship won’t stand up to your first love, or, ultimately, be what you want.
By a third, fourth, (or fifth, etc.) love, there’s even more baggage. You overthink everything, at every turn. What if this? What if that? And so it goes, no matter how many times you fall for someone.
Falling in love is actually much like the process of baby naming. Just stick with me… I’m thinking back to naming our first daughter. How, much like my first love, it couldn’t have been more effortless. Never did I feel any reservations that it was meant to be. Dana. Perfection.
There’s a lot of Oscar buzz in the air. From the announcement of Academy Award nominees in mid January to the red-carpet ceremony in late February, we chatter about who will take home Tinseltown’s top trophies. But the name Oscar isn’t just the stuff of Hollywood legends, it turns out. Let’s have a closer look into this much celebrated, and much mythologized, name.
There are two main theories for the origin of the name Oscar. The first thinks Oscar comes from the Old English Osgar. This name literally means “god’s spear” or “divine spear,” conveying the sense of a “champion warrior.”