Racehorse Camp

It all started with a quote.

You can’t make a racehorse out of a donkey. But you can make a fast donkey.

Coach Jim Perkins

Inspired by this quote, rising high school junior Jake Smith started a tradition known as Donkey Camp – a few days of camping at Unicoi State Park with lots of miles to contribute to summer training for cross country season.

Coming into the WCHS cross country team as a freshman in the fall of 2004, I was quickly introduced not only to the quote but also to the boys’ team who adopted it as their own.

Not to be outdone, my teammate Bea (a junior) and I wanted to do something similar for the girls’ team the next summer, so we got to planning. And what better name for our rival camp than Racehorse Camp?

Planning a camp as a 15-year old (17 for Bea) did come with some difficulties, though. Neither of us had credit cards, so Bea had to drive to Unicoi and write them a check for the campsite deposit, and I took on the task of calling all of the rising ninth graders who expressed interested at the cross country meeting at the end of the school year. I had more than one interesting conversation with a parent who wanted to know if any adults would be there…to which the answer was…no.

But we made it happen! July 25-27, 2005 was 3 days of camping, running at Unicoi, jumping off the bridge at Bottoms Rd (back when it was well-kept secret), and a drive up to Sliding Rock at Wildcat Creek. Our last day of camp concluded with an out and back run in Panorama, Bea’s subdivision that was insanely hilly, and then kayaking down the Chattahoochee from her backyard. We only had 4 attendees (including me and Bea), but all things considered, it was a success!

Racehorse camp took a hiatus in summer 2006 since we had a team cross country camp organized by our coaches but came back in summer 2007 for June 25-27. Now that I was 17 and could drive, it was much easier. Bea was off in college, but my teammate Brooke ran the camp with me. And we had 6 attendees!

We ran at Unicoi, played in the water at Sliding Rock, and concluded our camp with a long run at the Chattahoochee on Poplar Stump Road.

We also just so happened to have our camp at the same time as Donkey Camp this summer, so one of our activities was a game of Ultimate frisbee in the lake against the boys’ team. We got shirts that said “Water Ultimate Frisbee Champions” on them if that gives you a clue which team won.

And there were absolutely no shenanigans or pranks that we played on their campsite.

Sadly I don’t think Donkey Camp or Racehorse Camp are traditions that lived on for WCXC, but I’m proud of my part in bringing the girls’ team into the fold…kind of like how I designed the She Piece for Wacky Day…but that’s another story.

I Always Wanted to Be Bacon

When I was in college, I worked at a summer camp called Strong Rock Camp & Retreat in my hometown of Cleveland (and it’s one of the first things I blogged about back in 2017). After 2 summers of being a counselor, I returned for a 3rd summer as a Program Director where I helped organize skill classes and camp-wide games rather than being responsible for a specific cabin of girls.

Central staff, as we were called, ate at a table with other staffers and directors (since all of the other tables are organized by cabins and counselors). One morning, the Director of Operations at camp, Bacon, (we all had nicknames) got up in the middle of breakfast. I asked him where he was going, and he replied:

The Sysco truck just pulled up, which means the cook is helping unload, so the toast is probably burning.

And he headed to the kitchen to save the toast which was, in fact, left on the grill.

I knew in that moment that I wanted to be Bacon at my job. I wanted to be so tuned in to the innerworkings of a business that I can see a potential domino effect and stop it ahead of time. And all with a calm, nonchalance presence (still working on that part).

Thoughts on evermore

I like it. It doesn’t have the “I love the new sound” shock factor that folklore had since they sound so similar, but it’s a good continuation of that sound.


The start of the album immediately sounds like folklore.

Predicting it now: we’re going to see “I come back stronger than a 90s trend.” in a bunch of Instagram captions.

champagne problems

Sounds like “New Year’s Day.”

’tis the damn season

This song reminds me so much of a quote from The Shipping Room Podcast where one of the hosts very casually said, “Yeah, it’s like when you come home from college for Thanksgiving, and you sleep with your ex-boyfriend.” I can’t relate to that sentiment, but I can relate to the feelings of nostalgia that happen when I go home for the holidays.

To me this song is that “what if” train of thought you can get lost in when thinking of all the alternative universes of what your life could look like if you had stayed in your hometown.

tolerate it

Track 5 is supposed to be the heavy/meaningful song on TSwift albums according to what I heard on a podcast.

“If it’s all in my head, tell me now” is a relatable line for the desperate feeling of wanting someone else to quash the insecurity you’re feeling.

no body, no crime

This is Taylor’s Goodbye Earl. And if you search “Goodbye Earl” on Twitter, you will find a lot of people saying that!

She’s always been a good storyteller, and this song is a great example of that. A technically dark story that is just ridiculous enough to be funny.


I really like this song. It’s a solid bookend to the album while also bringing it back to the title.

One Year of Breastfeeding

When I first had Caleb, I committed to 6 months of breastfeeding. If I wanted to go longer, great! But if I was hating it, I wanted to give myself a less intimidating goal than an entire year. After one year + 18 days, my season of breastfeeding came to an end, and it ended up being both longer and shorter than I thought it would be.

There were definitely ups and downs to nursing for a year, so I wanted to reflect on a few of them to close out this season as well as share how I managed weaning.


The special bonding time and extra cuddles are just the best. Your brain gets a nice dose of oxytocin every time you nurse, and despite the isolation I sometimes felt from nursing, it can occasionally be a welcomed retreat when feeling overwhelmed.

Once your baby starts nursing faster, it’s a breeze. Instead of 20 or 30 minutes of being trapped under the baby, you can do a quick 3-5 minutes on either side and get back to your day. And the baby can get back to playing, which they are typically much more interested in than nursing at some ages.

Finally, it’s just freaking cool that your body can make food for the human you also grew with your body.


Definitely the biggest low was getting mastitis 6-7 weeks in. I wondered multiple times if I was going to die (dramatic), and had to get a second course of antibiotics when the first round didn’t work.

Breastfeeding can also feel really isolating. Especially when the baby is young and takes 20-30 minutes to eat, you just sit alone in a room with the baby for large parts of your day. Any time we took a trip, the first thing I would need to do upon arrival would be feed the baby, so off I would go to a room by myself where everyone chatted and caught up without me.

Babies can also be super impatient and picky! I never had a full blown nursing strike, but I definitely had segments of time where he would rather scream than nurse, and there was probably an entire month this summer where he wouldn’t nurse in the recliner but would in the bed. The worst was always when slow letdown frustrated him.


I started adding a gradually increasing amount of milk to Caleb’s daycare bottles for the 2 weeks leading up to his birthday, and they were still coming home empty, so he didn’t seem to have any trouble with the change to cows milk. My original plan was just to wean him off daytime feedings (no more pumping!) and keep the wake up and bedtime nursing sessions for another month or two, but then I started having trouble with the bedtime session letdown, and I just felt like my body was ready to be done. I wrote out a plan to drop one feeding at a time every 5 days and that was that.

The emotional process to accept weaning was rough. I kept crying in anticipation of nursing being over and very tearfully explained to Josh that it is time, I am ready, and Caleb will be fine, but it’s still the end of a very specific season of life, and I felt like I needed to mourn that season.

I Googled the phrase “mourning the end of breastfeeding” and found quite a few articles about dealing with the hormonal roller coaster that can accompany such a life change. But then I saw an additional Google question: “how to celebrate the end of breastfeeding?”

That’s what I needed. I needed to flip the script on myself and celebrate the 380+ days that I nursed.

One of the suggestions was to get a tattoo which I was very into for about 10 minutes. Then I fell into the rabbit hole of breastfeeding jewelry before deciding it was quite expensive and carries the risk of yellowing over time not to mention super shy me having to explain what it was to anyone who asked.

From there, I searched pearl rings on Etsy since a lot of the breastfeeding jewelry I looked at sort of resembled a pearl. Opal rings were a recommended suggestion based on pearl rings, and what do you know, opal is the birthstone for October! So now I have an opal ring for my October baby to commemorate the end of this breastfeeding season.

Also, I picked this ring that has Celtic love knots on either side of the opal because Josh gave me a Celtic love knot ring when we were in college, so it seemed like the perfect fit for me. 🙂

Getting myself a present to look forward to really helped with the emotional turmoil I was feeling (which I find hilarious, to be honest). And as I dropped feedings, neither Caleb nor I had meltdowns, which further confirmed that everything was going to be ok.

As for the physical effects of weaning, that was rougher than expected. If I do this again in the future, I will likely wean off the baby first and off the pump second rather than vice versa to have more control of the production slowdown. I also really don’t recommend going on a work retreat at the beginning of the weaning process where you don’t have access to ice packs or the ability to take 45-minute showers.

And now a couple of weeks removed, everyone survived. My baby is a toddler and asserting his independence and growing up!

Breastfeed Like it’s Your Business

I recently changed from feeding my baby every 3 hours to feeding him every 4. It took some trial and error when it came to filling up his bottles for daycare to make sure he was getting enough to eat, but he takes 2 bottles with 7.5ish oz each day, and then I nurse him for his other two feedings.

I originally celebrated dropping a pumping session  from my workday. I have a pretty easy setup: I work from home, use Freemie cups, and usually sit with my laptop and continue to work during pump sessions. Besides doing the dishes, it doesn’t interrupt my work day that much.

But I don’t like it.

I am fully aware formula exists, and no one is forcing me to breastfeed. I like breastfeeding; it’s pumping I’m not a fan of. And since switching to 2 pumps/day from 3, I haven’t been able to keep up.

I didn’t worry about it too much at first since I had so much milk in the freezer. But now that I run a pumping deficit on a daily basis, I had to get organized.

So I made a spreadsheet.

Breastfeeding is like running a business. You want to plot out your cash flow, so you can project your runway. If your burn rate is too high and is shortening your runway, you need to make a change ASAP instead of getting closer and closer to the day you run out of money.

There are two ways to extend your runway – cut expenses and/or increase revenue.

In my case, I can either pump more milk, or Caleb can eat less (Lol – yeah right).

According to my spreadsheet, at my current burn rate, I run out of stored milk in about 5.5 weeks. If I change to 3 pumps/day and change nothing else, that increases to about 8 weeks. If I pump 3 times/day and add a weekend pump or two, I can get up to 13 weeks. And all of this assumes Caleb keeps consuming the same amount.

On average, babies start to decrease their breast milk ounces around 9 months, so I need to try to make it 12-13 more weeks at his current feeding rate.

Other measures could include going to daycare to nurse him and of course just using formula (like getting a loan to continue the analogy), but for now I begrudgingly changed all of my pump times on my calendar back to 3 times/day and will be chugging water like it’s my job. Oh, and updating my forecasting spreadsheet each week. 🙂

Prediction Results!

Congratulations to Lucas for predicting the men’s winner and 4th place finisher as well as only being 8 seconds off of the women’s winning time. His win is especially impressive when you consider he had Amy Cragg in his women’s top 5 (who announced this week she wouldn’t be competing).

Sarah N was a close second, and she not only picked Rupp was the winner of the men’s race but also predicted his time exactly.

For future prediction contests, I’d like to tweak the scoring to award small points to getting someone in the top 5 even if out of order, different point tiers for being close to the time, and a bigger bonus for getting the time exactly.

Full results/predictions below!

Lucas S (135)
First placeJordan Hasay
Second placeMolly Huddle
Third placeDes Linden
Fourth placeAmy Cragg
Fifth placeSara Hall
Winning Time 2:27:15
First placeGalen Rupp
Second placeJared Ward
Third placeJim Walmsley
Fourth placeLeonard Korir
Fifth placeReed Fischer
Winning Time 2:05:27
Taylor G B (115)
First placeDes Linden
Second placeMolly Huddle
Third placeJordan Hasay
Fourth placeSara Hall
Fifth placeEmily Sisson
Winning Time 2:29:34
First placeGalen Rupp
Second placeJared Ward
Third placeTyler Pennel
Fourth placeLeonard Korir
Fifth placeScott Fauble
Winning Time 2:12:58
Ashlea M (115)
First placeMolly Huddle
Second placeJordan Hasay
Third placeEmily Sisson
Fourth placeDesi Linden
Fifth placeSara Hall
Winning Time 2:24:39
First placeGalen Rupp
Second placeJared Ward
Third placeScott Fauble
Fourth placeBernard Lagat
Fifth placeLeonard Korir
Winning Time 2:11:53
Matt K (115)
First placeHuddle
Second placeDes
Third placeTaylor
Fourth placeHall
Fifth placeAlaphine
Winning Time 2:24:36
First placeRupp
Second placeWard
Third placeFauble
Fourth placeKorir
Fifth placeAbdi
Winning Time 2:12:30
Jill B (100)
First placeEmily Sisson
Second placeDes Linden
Third placeKellyn Taylor
Fourth placeSara Hall
Fifth placeEmma Bates
Winning Time 1:25:37
First placeGalen Rupp
Second placeKorir
Third placeWard
Fourth placeSmith
Fifth placeBumby
Winning Time 1:13:01
Me! (100)
First placeJordan Hasay
Second placeSara Hall
Third placeDes Linden
Fourth placeKellyn Taylor
Fifth placeEmily Sisson
Winning Time 2:26:46
First placeGalen Rupp
Second placeJared Ward
Third placeLeonard Korir
Fourth placeScott Fauble
Fifth placeBernard Lagat
Winning Time 2:10:56
Jenn S (100)
First placeJordan Hassay
Second placeDes Linden
Third placeMolly Huddle
Fourth placeEmily Sisson
Fifth placeSara Hall
Winning Time 2:28:18
First placeRupp
Second placeJ ward
Third placeKorir
Fourth placeB Lagat
Fifth placeJ Riley
Winning Time 2:08:19
Brandon D (15)
First placeEmily Sisson
Second placeSara Hall
Third placeDes Linden
Fourth placeMolly Huddle
Fifth placeJordan Hasay
Winning Time 2:28:07
First placeJared Ward
Second placeScott Fauble
Third placeJim Walmsley
Fourth placeLeonard Korir
Fifth placeCJ Albertson
Winning Time 2:13:22
Turd/Bert (0)
First placeSara Hall
Second placeEmily Sisson
Third placeMolly Huddle
Fourth placeJordan Hasay
Fifth placeKellyn Taylor
Winning Time 2:26:51
First placeLeonard Korir
Second placeJared Ward
Third placeGalen Rupp
Fourth placeScott Fauble
Fifth placeJim Walmsley
Winning Time 2:12:51
Cameron S (0)
First placeSARA HALL
Second placeEMILY SISSON
Fourth placeEMMA BATES
Winning Time 2:21:30
Second placeGALEN RUPP
Fourth placeJERRELL MOCK
Fifth placeMATT McDONALD
Winning Time 2:07:25
Sarah N (120)
First placeEmily Sisson
Second placeJordan Hasay
Third placeDes Linden
Fourth placeMolly Huddle
Fifth placeSara Hall
Winning Time 2:26:22
First placeGalen Rupp
Second placeLeornard Korir
Third placeJared Ward
Fourth placeScott Fauble
Fifth placeLuke Puskedra
Winning Time 2:09:20
Thomas C (115)
First placeEmily Sisson
Second placeSara Hall
Third placeJordan Hassay
Fourth placeDessy Linden
Fifth placeMolly Huddle
Winning Time 2:27:00
First placeGalen Rupp
Second placeJared Ward
Third placeScott Fauble
Fourth placeAndrew Bumbalough
Fifth placeParker Stinson
Winning Time 2:11:00
Josh M (115)
First placeJordan Hasay
Second placeEmily Sisson
Third placeSara Hall
Fourth placeDes Linden
Fifth placeMolly Huddle
Winning Time 2:28:43
First placeGalen Rupp
Second placeLeonard Korir
Third placeJared Ward
Fourth placeJacob Riley
Fifth placeScott Fauble
Winning Time 2:10:25
Keri M (100)
First placeKellyn Taylor
Second placeDes linden
Third placeJordan hasay
Fourth placeSara hall
Fifth placeMolly huddle
Winning Time 2:24:27
First placeGalen Rupp
Second placeLeonard korrir
Third placeJared Ward
Fourth placeJim Walmsley
Fifth placeBernard Lagat
Winning Time 2:09:22
Michael S (100)
First placeHuddle
Second placeLinden
Third placeHasay
Fourth placeBruce
Fifth placeSisson
Winning Time 2:24:00
First placeRupp
Second placeWard
Third placeKorir
Fourth placeLagat
Fifth placeFauble
Winning Time 2:11:30
Jacque C (100)
First placeDesi linden
Second placeSara Hall
Third placeJordan Hasay
Fourth placeMolly Huddle
Fifth placeEmma bates
Winning Time 2:22:33
First placeGalen Rupp
Second placeBernard Lagat
Third placeJared Ward
Fourth placeDathan Ritzenhein
Fifth placeScott Fauble
Winning Time 2:07:45
Lynn P (60)
First placeSara Hall
Second placeJordan Hasay
Third placeSally Kipyego
Fourth placeKelly’s Taylor
Fifth placeDesiree Linden
Winning Time 2:24:37
First placeLeonard korir
Second placeGalen rupp
Third placeAbdi adirahman
Fourth placeJared ward
Fifth placeJerrell mock
Winning Time 2:09:09
Alice S (0)
First placeMolly Huddle
Second placeDesi Linden
Third placeSteph Bruce
Fourth placeKellyn Taylor
Fifth placeSara Hall
Winning Time 2:25:30
First placeJared Ward
Second placeScott Fauble
Third placeScott Smith
Fourth placeAndrew Bumbalough
Fifth placeAndrew Colley
Winning Time 2:11:45
Sarah R (0)
First placeHasay
Second placeDes
Third placeSisson
Fourth placeBruce
Fifth placeHuddle
Winning Time 2:27:00
First placeKorir
Second placeFauble
Third placeRupp
Fourth placeWard
Fifth placeLagat
Winning Time 2:15:00

My Marathon Olympic Team Picks

It’s finally here! The Marathon Olympic Trials are tomorrow, so it’s time to finally make my picks. Want to enter your picks? Join my prediction contest here.


First place: Jordan Hasay

If Jordan is healthy, I don’t see how she doesn’t win. She has the fastest PR, had the fastest marathon debut, and has experience in major marathons. Plus, she’ll be in the shoes.

All of her social media posts have been positive regarding her training, and she’s certainly putting it out there that her hamstring is fully recovered after pulling out of Chicago back in October. I think she distanced herself well from all of the Salazar drama in the fall, and she didn’t attend the pre-race press conference yesterday, so there was no opportunity for anyone to ask her about it again to try to rile her up.

Second place: Sara Hall

Sara Hall’s 2:22 breakthrough in Berlin was a long time coming. She’s a consistent high-performer, and I think now is her time.

Third place: Des Linden

Des is the only returning marathon Olympian, and she’s an absolute beast. I cried when she won Boston in 2018. With the challenging course and stacked field, I see Des being able to weather any storm the course or conditions throw at her as well as cover any moves made by the competition.

Des will be celebrating with whiskey on Saturday night after making her 3rd Olympic team.

Other Contenders

In no particular order because this field is just too deep.

The NAZ Elite Trio

If there was an award for the coolest contender, Kellyn Taylor would win hands down. In addition to being a runner and a mom, Taylor is a firefighter and foster parent. I also recently learned on a podcast interview that her husband was deployed when she gave birth to her daughter, which further adds to her being a total badass.

Stephanie Bruce and Aliphine Tuliamuk round out the NAZ Elite training group. They all ran smoking fast half marathons in January to tune up for the trial, and I imagine they’ll be working together during the race.

The New Balance and Saucony Training Partners

Molly Huddle and Emily Sisson are two serious contenders with many considering Sisson the favorite for the race. I just don’t know enough about Sisson to put her in my top 3. Her 2:23:08 debut was the fastest by an American woman on a record-eligible course, but the Trials will be her second marathon on a vastly different course.

Huddle is a more experienced marathoner, excellent road racer, and led the American charge on the track at the 2016 Olympics. Her PR isn’t as fast as Sisson’s or others in the field, but her experience performing well in a high-stakes event makes her seriously dangerous.

And a couple more…

Sally Kipyego is another front-runner that I don’t know too much about, but 2:25 puts her in serious contention. Finally, Emma Bates came roaring into the marathon scene when she won CIM in 2018 and then lowered her PR to 2:25 at Chicago in the fall. I learned in my research that she lives off the grid, so she certainly has some grit!


Disclaimer: I know a lot less about the men’s field.

First place: Galen Rupp

After Rupp’s 61 tune up half marathon, he seems a lock for the team.

Second place: Jared Ward

Ward literally wrote his dissertation on marathon pacing. He and his mustache will be representing the US again this year in the marathon.

Third place: Leonard Korir

Korir had the fastest debut of an American marathoner. He’s a bit of a wild card since it will only be his second marathon, but a sub-2:08 is hard to discount.

Fourth place: Scott Fauble

I really want Scott Fauble to make the team. The top 4 are so tight, but I’m not sure he’s in the top 3 of those 4.

Fifth place: Bernard Lagat

Lagat is not ranked in the top 10, but he has #oldmanstrength. Plus he just finished up a training stint in Kenya where he ran with Kipchoge. I’m not counting him out.

Olympic Trials Tracker

The Olympic Trials is coming to Atlanta next week! I’ve been excited to watch this race for over a year, and I can’t believe it’s almost here. Atlanta Track Club has done a fantastic job putting together the race and communicating spectator information, and tonight I started working on spectating plan, so I made a tracker!

Since the course has an 8-mile loop the runners will complete 3 times, I wanted to see roughly where the leaders would be at what time. I made a simple Sheet where you can update the expected finish time (and the start time if the races don’t start as scheduled) to see where your runner will be at what mile mark.

It’s not perfect since it assumes even splits, but if you’re planning to MARTA around to different spots on the course, it should be close enough that you don’t miss your runner if you give yourself some cushion time!

If you want to use it for yourself, you can access it here. Remember to make a copy for your own Google Drive first! Since this is a public link, multiple people could change the sheet at the same time, which could create some confusion on race day. 😉

Baby Registry Essentials

I am in the stage of life where many of my friends have babies or are pregnant, and I’m the type of person who compulsively reads reviews before making a purchase, so I put together a list of items I’ve enjoyed using with my little one so far. I hope this helps anyone who is putting together a baby registry!


VAVA Night Light

This night light rocks. You can tap it on and off or hold the top of it to brighten or dim the light. Anything you can operate with one hand is especially useful when you are carrying around a baby!

Laundry Hamper

This is a nice, lightweight hamper, and I love anything heather grey. With how often we do baby laundry, we haven’t come close to filling it up yet.

Laundry Bags

I have yet to lose a tiny baby sock thanks to using a laundry bag! We just drape it on the side of the hamper to keep it easily accessible.

Changing Pad

We end up changing the baby all over the house, but it is nice to have a dedicated changing station in his nursery. This pad is the same width as the top of his dresser, so it works well as a changing table, too.

Changing Pad Cover

This changing pad cover being waterproof is clutch for the many “surprise shower” diaper changes we’ve had with a baby boy. I recommend having a stash of 3-4 covers unless you want to do laundry every day.

Diaper Caddy Basket

This basket fits the exact dimensions of the top of the dresser that aren’t already filled by the changing pad. It fits diapers, wipes, diaper cream, lotion, etc to make them easily accessible.

Diaper Genie

There are a ton of diaper pail options out there, and so far we have no complaints about the Diaper Genie. It’s easy to use, change the bag, and keeps the smells at bay!

Diaper Genie Refills

No need to buy Diaper Genie branded refill bags! These Amazon brand ones work just as well for a lower price.


Dehumidifiers are especially important during the winter where the heat dries out the air. Plus – germs travel slower through moist air!

Baby Monitor

We opted for a sound monitor instead of a video one or anything with wireless capabilities, and it’s worked out just fine. You can adjust the sensitivity for what all it picks up or keep it on vibrate if you only want to be alerted that there’s noise rather than know what the specific noise is.

Only downside is that the parent unit only works when plugged in, so you’re out of luck if the power goes out.

Bath Time

Bath Tub

Bamboo Washcloths

These washcloths are super soft and are great for scrubbing while being gentle enough for little cheeks.

Hooded Bath Towels

Is there anything cuter than a baby in a hooded towel? No, there is not.

These are nice and soft and a great size for wrapping up your baby after a bath.

Wash & Shampoo

This shampoo has been effective on Caleb’s cradle cap and is gentle enough to use all over.

Cradle Cap Brush

We thought scrubbing Caleb’s head with our fingers was effective until we got a cradle cap brush. If your baby has cradle cap, a silicone brush will help a lot! It only took a few baths with the brush to make a major improvement. If your baby has long/thick hair, you’ll want to get a fine-tooth comb as well to comb out the flakes after you scrub.

Baby Lotion

Bath time will dry out your baby’s skin, so it’s important to rehydrate it! Our pediatrician recommended any lotion that is super thick and not runny, and so far this has worked well enough for us.

First Aid

Bulb Syringe

You’ll likely get one of these from the hospital, but I recommend you have one for your diaper bag, and a spare around the house as well.

Nose Snotsucker

This is for when your baby is really congested, and the bulb syringe isn’t cutting it. The first time Caleb was congested, the snotsucker was a game changer for clearing him out in the mornings.

I asked a nurse practitioner if you could get sick from using it, and she said the filter protects you as long as you change it after each use.

Saline Drops

Another item to help fight congestion! If your baby is extra stuffy, using some saline drops in their nose can help thin the mucus so it will clear easier.

Beware: Babies don’t like saline drops going in their nose, though.

Boogie Wipes

Last item on the congestion list! These wipes have saline in them to help clear up a runny nose.

Gas Drops

If you have a baby who loves overeating (cough, Caleb, cough) or just gets gassy, gas drops can help. There was a night where he ate almost continuously for 90 minutes and wouldn’t settle until we tried the gas drops.

Fever Reducer

We had to use this for the first time after Caleb had a fever reaction from his 4-month vaccinations. Your pediatrician will advise when it’s appropriate to use and dosing instructions.

Hydrocortisone Cream

If your baby has eczema, hydrocortisone cream can help it clear up. I wasn’t sure it was ok to use on babies, but our pediatrician said it’s so light, you could put it on toast.

Emory Boards

Tiny baby nails are so sharp! I have yet to use nail clippers on his hands and have opted to just file them instead.


Boppy Pillow

Especially in the early days of a floppy baby, the boppy can really help with breastfeeding or long periods of holding your little one. Once they are less floppy, it’s also a great propping pillow when you want to keep them upright, like after a feeding.

Freemie Cups

Milk Storage Bags

If you’re pumping, the last thing you want is to use a storage bag that leaks or bursts in the freezer! None of the Medela bags I’ve used have done this to me while about 30% of the Target Up&Up branded ones did. The Medela ones are worth the extra money!

Dr. Brown’s Bottles

There are soooo many pieces to these bottles, but they are marketing as anti-colic and anti-gas bottles, so we’ll take whatever we can get with our voracious eater.

Comotomo Bottles

These bottles are much easier to clean since there are fewer pieces, and it’s nice that the smaller versions go up to 5 ounces instead of just 4. They also make 8-ounce versions.

Note: When filled past 4 ounces and in the bottle warmer, these tend to bubble over.

Burp Cloths

There are nicer and thicker burp cloths out there, too, but these are a great all-purpose item to have around. Need to clean up a massive spit-up? Need something to shield a surprise pee during a diaper change? Grab one!

Drying Rack Lawn

Drying Rack Tree

While the lawn works well for the smaller pump and bottle parts, the tree is best for the bottles and larger pump parts.

Clothes & Accessories

Velcro Swaddles

I thought I would learn how to swaddle well enough with a regular blanket that I wouldn’t need a velcro swaddle. HA! Caleb was busting out of my blanket swaddle while he was still in the hospital.

Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit

This has been a great swaddle transition solution for us. Caleb can still move enough to get his hands in his mouth, but the suit muffles his movements enough that he isn’t smacking himself in the face.

Zip Sleep Sacks

We used the sleep sacks for afternoon naps. The zipper makes it easy to add the sleep sack to an already-sleeping baby compared to an over-the-head version.

NUK Pacifiers

Caleb is a huge fan of these pacifiers and hasn’t shown much of a liking for the more cylinder-like ones. My favorite part about the NUK ones is that the ring glows in the dark if it’s been charged by sun!

Pacifier Clips

A pacifier clip will save you from picking up and rinsing off the pacifier that you baby spits out twenty times a day. The plastic clips are gentle on clothes, too.

Colorful Socks

If you are in cold enough weather to need socks, these are a fun way to add some color to your baby’s wardrobe! They say 0-6 months but only fit Caleb until about 3 months.

Toys & Furniture

Play Mat

This is probably Caleb’s favorite toy. With hanging toys at the 4 corners, it’s practically like having 4 playmats when you can just reorient him to a new toy. The mirror is great for tummy time as well.

We haven’t had a need to travel with it yet, but it does fold up nicely.


These are nice and light for a baby to grip, and the soft side cushions the blow to the face for when your baby enthusiastically tries to shove it in his mouth.

Teether Rattle

This is probably Caleb’s favorite toy. The rattle is light, and the tubes are thin enough for easy-grasping as well as chomping on when teeth start coming in.

Pizza Teether

When your baby starts mouthing everything, this is a hilarious item to give them to chew on.


I can’t underestimate how nice it is to have somewhere safe to put the baby. You can’t carry them around 24/7! And it’s incredibly cute to watch them stare once they are able to notice the stars above the swing.


Again, having somewhere safe to put the baby is important. We keep this chair in the kitchen, and Caleb sometimes hangs out there when I’m prepping dinner.

Bumbo Floor Seat


Car Seat

I’m not sure anything caused me more stress than researching car seats. Why do some of them cost $60 and others cost $600?

Once I finally picked this car seat, it felt like a weight off my shoulders. The base was relatively easy for Josh to install, and the carrier simply clicks into the base. It’s also been easy to adjust the straps as Caleb grows.

We got a spare base for Josh’s car off Facebook Marketplace for $20 and so far have only used it a couple of times. The couple I bought it from said the same thing – that they probably used it twice.

BOB Stroller

I knew I wanted a BOB for running, and you can check out all of the difference options on their website. I got mine from Facebook Marketplace, a.nd you can typically find a ton of used ones online

Compact Travel Stroller

I knew I wanted a compact, lightweight stroller and really like the option of something that folded down to overhead compartment size…but not the price associated with it. I got this one as an “Open Box – Like New” option from Amazon for more than half off!

Moby Wrap

The Moby wrap is the only reason I get to make dinner some nights. It works great for taking a newborn out to the store as well as wearing an older baby around the house when he isn’t content unless he’s being held.

Convertible Carrier

We haven’t used this carrier as much as the Moby yet, but I like that it has a lot of wearing options for when he gets older and has more head stability.

For Mom

32oz Water Bottle w/ Straw

My hospital gave me a giant water bottle with a straw, but if you don’t have one and are planning to breastfeed, I suggest you get one! You will drink an insane amount of water, and it still won’t feel like enough. The high capacity will lessen the amount of times you have to refill it, and the straw makes it easy for one-handed hydration.

Support Belly Band

I wore one of these during pregnancy when I would exercise, and I also wore it my first few days home from the hospital. Your core muscles are still stretched out and weak, and the support belt helped with tasks like getting out of bed.

Nursing Tanks

Moms on Call Basic Baby Care

I appreciated this book as a first-time mom for the soothing techniques and the scheduling.

It is important to remember that babies are all unique, though! I asked our pediatrician a lot of questions when Caleb wasn’t matching up with how often he “should be” napping or how much he “should be” eating. They also recommend the cry it out method for getting your baby to sleep through the night, and we let Caleb get there on his own instead.

Go Ahead, Stop and Pee

This is a great resource for exercises during pregnancy and postpartum whether you’re a runner or not!