We all have them, those days that make us want to pull our hair out or hide under the bed and cry while guzzling wine and stuffing chocolate in our mouths. It doesn’t mean we’re bad moms, or that we have bad kids. Life as a human isn’t perfect every moment. And, we are all human, and various things in life happen as a human. Imperfect, hair pulling, loud, messy life things.
It’s one of those imperfect days in my house. My children slept in, and, silly me, I foolishly thought that this predicted cheery moods and smiling faces. No, no, not so much, not today anyway. It began with my son not even wanting to be put down while I went to the bathroom, sobbing in a crumpled heap as if I had abandoned him on a remote island, while in reality he was squeezed on the floor between my legs for barely 30 seconds while I attempted to pee with the force of Niagara Falls in order to get the job done as quickly as possible.
My poor miserably teething daughter fell asleep again moments after she had awakened, and as the day would tell, nothing soothed her gums but boob, boob, and more boob. Don’t get me wrong, I love nursing, and I’m very thankful to be able to shove boobs in babies mouths when the going gets tough, but I’ve spent today in a confusing state of constant dehydration while my eyeballs simultaneously float out of my head from needing to pee while being stuck under constantly nursing babies, and I’m also quite sure my nipples are no longer nipples for they’ve been sucked into sore raw straws, or possibly they may even be gone altogether. Frankly, I’m afraid to look.
Moments ago my son was enthusiastically waving a baby wipe around (it’s better than the dirty diaper I discovered he was swashing around prior, thankfully not a poopy one), and my daughter was yodeling her best imitation of “I’m a banshee being hung by my toenails” while I changed her diaper with the urgency of an Indy 500 pit stop. Currently they are in blissfully quiet repose, on my boobs of course. The playroom is a wreck, there’s dirty laundry hiding in more crannies than I’m willing to admit, and my sustenance today has been a weird mix of peanut butter and chugged water, but, as my family likes to say, it’s 5:00 somewhere and if wine is dehydrating I guess I’ll just have to drink some extra to compensate. Here’s to you, mamas, and those days that do eventually end. Cheers!
Ever since time began, in many cultures, babies have simply just been with their mamas, whether that meant going to work or staying home. Wrapped on their mamas backs with cloth, or perhaps strapped on in a basket, depending on where they were from, it wasn’t considered weird or out of place that if you had a baby, they would be with you, wherever you went. Our current culture not only doesn’t support that line of thinking, but in my experience downright discourages it. There is immense pressure on women to return to work as soon as possible postpartum, and it’s practically unheard of that your child would be anywhere near you after you resume working.
As I have mentioned before, due to financial reasons I went back to teaching when my twins were three weeks old. And I kept them with me while I taught. Did they cause disruptions? Of course they did at times, they are BABIES. But they learned to adapt, I wore them or had them nearby and we found our groove. As I taught long hours, I was ever so blessed to have my wonderful amazing parents to help, (mamas need their villages!) and sometimes they would stroll them or just play with them in another room to give them a break, but they were never apart from me for more than an hour. The majority of my student parents were understanding, but some were not. I received all manner of interesting feedback, ranging from “how do you focus” to “but really when will you put them in daycare? Don’t you want a break?” A break? I was working anyway. And I waited all my life for these kids. Why would I want to send them away? I want to raise my babies, I want to soothe their cries, see their smiles, watch their first steps. I’m going to blink and they will be off to college, and then they won’t be my babies anymore. And I need to work. I need to help provide for my family. I find it extremely frustrating that our society makes it difficult, and most of the time impossible, to merge the two.
I’m blessed to work for myself, it made it possible for me to make the decision that I would “bring” my babies to work. Not all women are so fortunate. Imagine bringing your baby to the average desk job, you’d be fired faster than a blink. Why is that?! I understand high risk jobs, places that are unsafe to have a child, but why can’t we as a society make it possible for parents to both support their families and raise their children themselves? Personally, I think it’s sad. You can’t even be in the same room as your child if you work at most day cares. What is that even about?! My husband and I recently moved back home to live with my parents for a while so we could cut our workweek down and have weekends off as a family (this subject merits two other posts, a hilarious one on living in a tiny house with six adults two babies and a cat/dog zoo, and an angry post on how ridiculous it is to make a living these days, standby for future postings). Being a piano teacher I am working on rebuilding my studio after our move, which takes time. Meanwhile, I’ve been doing odd jobs, one of which has been sign shaking on the street for my Aunt’s women’s gym. Definitely not a job I’d choose as a career path, but it’s been helping pay our bills for now. And I have my babies with me, in my wonderful TwinGo carrier. (If you have two small children, you need this carrier, just trust me). But back to the sign shaking. It’s exhausting waving a sign and carrying around 40 pounds of babies. For this admittedly out of shape mama, it’s meant sore muscles and aching back. But my point in discussing this is the reaction I’ve gotten from people.
Yes, I’ve been called a hero, applauded, sympathized with and encouraged. But I’ve also been the ever so fortuitous recipient of shocked looks, incredulity, and even harsh judgment. One lady went so far as to lean out of her car and scream horrible unkind words. “What kind of mother has her children out on the street?!” she shrieked, didn’t I know they were in the sun?! What I wished I had said was that I was doing whatever it took to put food on the table for my family, that my children were scrupulously sunscreened and at least they were at the one place in the world they wanted to be, with their mommy. Sadly I am never good in the moment and instead of answering her back I retreated hastily behind a tree to hide my tears. Yes, it’s hot out there. I’m careful to give them breaks and they’re not getting heat stroke. How many thousands of children in this world have survived strapped on their mamas back while working in the fields?! But having your children at work? Socially unacceptable, frowned upon, and shamed. Recently I’ve been applying for nanny positions in the effort of providing for my family while my studio rebuilds. And I have been TURNED DOWN for childcare positions because, wait for it…I would HAVE MY OWN CHILDREN WITH ME. I literally have had people fail to understand why I don’t have my children in childcare while I provide childcare to others. Y’all, that is weird. It just is.
And lately I’ve taken my own humble pill. I fully admit to my hatred of being invited to selling parties. No I don’t want to buy your candles/leggings/nail polish. But I have realized lately that most of these invitations are coming from mamas who are trying desperately to make an income without leaving their children. My mom and I started selling children’s books and in the next month will also be doing essential oils. Both are topics I am passionate on, and I have been frustrated by how many doors have been slammed in our faces. It’s meant for a “come to Jesus” moment for me. No longer will I fume at your party invites, I get it. I get how hard it is to be able to both work and be with your children.
Imagine a world where not only did mamas get adequate maternity leave, but once they resumed work their children simply came with. What would that change? For pumping mamas, you could continue typing that email while sticking a baby on your boob. It could mean no longer choosing between taking a family weekend or paying for childcare that week. Would there be more interruptions in workflow? Of course. Would it mean an all over higher level of happiness for mom and baby and thus better life quality and work output overall? Could it positively affect the drastic rise in women experiencing postpartum depression? (Oh PPD, yet another topic on which I am passionate and will write about…)
What would it change for you mamas? Share your stories, maybe, just maybe, one day we can even make being a mama mainstream (again).
When the twins were first born, I didn’t give much thought to the whole nursing in public thing. I did have to adjust quickly to feeding them in front of people as I went back to teaching three weeks postpartum (not out of preference) and at three weeks babies eat constantly. (Mine still seem to be doing that…but I digress). I used a cover while teaching and just sort of took it as it came. While aware of the #normalizebreastfeeding movement I didn’t give it much thought until later when I realized if I was to ever leave the house my exclusively breastfed babies were going to end up eating in front of a lot more people than just my students.
So I invested in a second cover, this wonderful infinity scarf thing, and went on my merry way. It worked great, for a while, then my sweet nurslings started protesting the cover. They’d latch, get all comfy and the milk rolling, and then suddenly flail in panic like a crazed monkey with nine arms and there I was wet, vulnerable, exposed and squirting milk anywhere but my baby’s mouth while trying desperately to grab the cover that had somehow wrapped its way around my baby’s butt and my head. Not cool. I quickly realized it was time for Plan B. I tried the two shirt method. Instantly I had glorious results. While they would still pop off at the worst of times and I usually had a sliver of boob exposed (my daughter especially loves to hold the top shirt in the air and stare while she eats) I could quickly slide my top shirt down protecting my especially sensitive parts. Success.
While I did get a little psyched out reading the many horror stories shared on social media of nursing mamas getting shamed, having twins forced me to quickly change my mindset. Within a very short period of time, my boobs went from me perceiving them as a sacred and protected private part of my anatomy to a handy useful tool to be shoved in babies mouths at a moments notice no matter where I was or who was present. In short, I no longer gave a rats patoot.
Yes I still use a cover when teaching and in situations where it’s not about me and might cause an issue (church, some weddings, etc) but now I nurse wherever, whenever, and I really do not care. Motherhood will force you to prioritize and let me tell you, my priority is my screaming baby not the general populace and their ever present opinion. And being a mommy, well it’s helped me take myself a LOT less seriously these days. I have fed these babies while walking through airports, festivals, in coffee shops, grocery shopping, on boats, in cars, while hiking, swimming and in pretty much every position and situation except standing on my head (which I have seen people do, but I am not that talented). That much repetition of anything will get you over your nerves quickly. My boobs are for my babies, and my children matter more to me than anyone’s opinion.
And I’ve had a very positive experience for the most part. Just yesterday a woman approached me in Costco while I was feeding my daughter and told me I was a super hero. Of course I’ve received some negative looks and even some negative feedback from people I know, but for the most part it’s been smooth sailing. There will always be a naysayer, that’s life. No, I don’t go around flopping my boobs about freely and unrestrained, but once again, motherhood came through for me and shattered my previous idyllic and unrealistic mindset. The babies must eat, and short of me becoming a hermit, they’re going to eat in a vast majority of different places and in front of many different people.
And until we’re done nursing that means I’ll be feeding them in a zillion different situations. And really, what are we worried about? In a world of issues, how is nursing babies something that is worth picking on! If someone deems it worthy of their time to look down on me for nursing my baby I feel badly for them. Clearly they haven’t had a kiddo to rearrange their priorities enough. If my sitting on a park bench nursing my baby bothers you, go to the other side of the park. There are more benches. You can probably find someone else to stare at and condemn.
So go forth and feed those babies without fear, mamas. Your journey is about you and your baby, not anyone else. And really, if anyone is judging you for nourishing your child, clearly you’re not their problem.
I’ll readily admit, before I had kids I didn’t really buy into the whole “mom shaming” concept. Of course I was, and still am, fully aware of the judgement that exists, both from other moms and myself. However I somehow had it in my mind that I would be immune to the judgment, that somehow it wouldn’t bother me, that perhaps I just “wouldn’t let myself” be exposed to situations which could leave me feeling judged. And don’t get me wrong, I’m guilty of judging, I mean, this entire post is me judging others for judging for goodness sake.
But anyway, as I said before, if parenting does one thing for you it will teach you to never say never. It wasn’t until I had my own munchkins that I realized my idyllic sense of no judgement was not only unrealistic but naive. It started before I even gave birth to the twins. “Oh, you’re not scheduling a- c section? Oh, you don’t want that toy/blanket/clothing it will absolutely maim/harm/kill your child. You’re eating what? You’re walking where?!” Still I clung to my foolish belief that it would dissipate after the twins arrived and everyone saw what a capable mother I was (ha ha).
It did not. It increased, exponentially. Strangers feel no shame in approaching me to berate me on my mothering choices. “You’re not sleep training?! You haven’t gotten them on a schedule yet?! You don’t have a set bedtime?!” “Oh…you’re letting them have screen time already?” (Yes, I needed to pee. And it’s really hard to pee when every muscle in my body is tense because my children are screaming like they’re being torn asunder. Don’t worry, I’m only letting them watch The Exorcist so it’s cool).
And then, “you’re BREASTFEEDING?! TWINS?! YOU HAVEN’T FED THEM SOLIDS YET?! You know you can now right…” (Really I had NO idea, I’ve been a mom for nine months now but have been living under a rock so had no idea of common practices and approaches to raising babies). “Oh wow, they’re not crawling yet? You do know it’s important they crawl right …” Actually I hang them from their ankles at night to prohibit crawling, but thanks for your concern.
Clearly, I have not only lost my marbles but probably had none to begin with. And my poor children, well obviously they’re hopelessly screwed, at least according to the general populace.
Moms are vulnerable, especially new moms. I am no exception to that, and despite my wonderful support team of husband, family and friends I will admit that the judgement has shaken me more than a time or two and caused me to retreat home viciously questioning my own abilities as a parent. Why weren’t they crawling?! Was it tummy time?! Maybe I didn’t do it enough/well/right?! They are stressed today, is it my lack of scheduling?! Why do they hate car rides so much?! It’s easy to have your “mama knows best” resolve shaken when well meaning friends and relatives have no hesitation in criticizing you or sharing their opinion.
What I truly abhor the most is the brag shaming. “My child is Superman, he crawled at 2 months!” “My pediatrician said my baby is basically the next improved version of Einstein, he’s speaking 7 languages at 7 months old!” While I am proud of my children and of course personally think they are the brightest most beautiful creatures to ever grace the planet, I do not make post after post about this. I know how it feels to see that and immediately wonder why your child hasn’t reached that milestone. Every child is different, and while everyone says to celebrate that and that every child learns at their own pace (which IS true) many frequently make that statement and then immediately post as to how advanced their child is compared to every other single child in the universe. And they should see their kiddo as amazing, beautiful, unequaled. They’re the parent. That’s their job. (Now don’t get me wrong, I do not believe in teaching your children that that they poop gold, sneeze rainbow dust and in general do no wrong, thereby giving them not only a false sense of reality but also turning them into insufferable jerks, but that’s another post for another day).
Judging is part of human nature, we can’t help it. But we can shut our mouths about it. So judge away, mamas, I’m right there with you, but let’s keep it to ourselves. We never know when we might be at the receiving end.
I haven’t written a blog post in a loooooong time. Work has been insane, and we’ve decided to move. I really hate moving, and it turns out doing it with 8 month old twins sucks even more. The cats are having a blast, there are boxes everywhere, and spiders that rode in on the boxes. Totally through no fault of their own, the babies do not like to be ignored whilst insane packing goes on, making it a loud and admittedly chaotic process. I accidentally packed the underwear, and seriously how does one collect ten million random pieces of stuff that refuses to be categorized into anything?! (Hold on babies I’m coming back!!!!). We’re not “stuff” people either, and yet I’ll admit to finding a conveniently “pre-packed” box or two from the move last year. My husband is great at looking at a room and quickly conquering and dividing piles into snugly taped boxes, all while patiently calming his ever so slightly (ha) hysterical wife. (Ok five more seconds babies be right there) I’m good at things like clothes, sheets, towels, but the random stuff causes me to want to hide my head and scream silently into a pillow (BABIES MOMMYS COMING TO GET YOU I SWEAR). My sister who has been living with us has been bravely tackling the kitchen while I retreat overwhelmed to nurse the poor screeching babies (ah silence!). Thankfully, we make a good team.
We’ve decided to relocate to my parents house for a while, bless their sweet hearts. This is extremely exciting to me for many reasons, the most important one being I can work more normal hours, i.e., stop working 7 days a week and spend more time with my family/maybe see my husband once in a while. We joke that we’ve never actually just hung out since we met life has been so busy, but sadly there’s a good amount of truth to that statement.
On our (brief, two day!) honeymoon we sort of had to learn to make small talk. I had a moment of panic hoping we wouldn’t discover that neither of us found the other entertaining, thankfully that was a needless worry.
Americans, I truly believe we are the “busiest” culture, and I don’t think it’s a compliment. Being motivated and accomplishing goals is good, but so is just LIVING life sometimes.
So, for the next year, we are going to try this living thing before my husband matriculates for med school. I think we have some learning to do, it’s probably even going to stress us out at first, but good things are worth the process.
And, we’ll be a lively house of six cats, one dog, six adults, two 8 month old twins and a big tank of fish. Follow along with me as I guarantee this will be, at the very least, highly entertaining.
That is, if we survive the move. Stand by!
As a mother of five month old twins I find getting out the door to do errands a sometimes mountain sized challenge. Let’s just say I order everything possible via the internet for a reason. Efficiency is key once at the store, baby nerves wear thin fast when being snatched in and out of car seats and dashed through stores. I am certain their nerves reflect mine as we weave our way through curious fellow shoppers and attempt to more or less politely fend off the never ending barrage of questions from persistent folks. I set out to do my errands the other day, whisked my children away from their toys with which they were playing peacefully and prepared to stuff everyone into car seats.
Efficiency being foremost in my mind, I made certain I was set up for success. The car was loaded with reusable bags, car seats loaded with baby toys, diaper bag packed and at the ready. I was clad appropriately in mom shorts and nursing scarf and already wearing my baby carrier to avoid parking lot delays. Babies were fed and diapered with stuffed toys in hand and I began my first attempt at loading us all into the car. This was cut abruptly short as my little boy valiantly filled his diaper. Back to the changing table we went for a fast change. Not to be outdone, my little girl promptly filled her diaper. Changes complete, the hungry fussing began and I realized it was either take the time for a quick feeding or listen to screams all the way to the store. Feedings done, one more diaper change, and we were finally in the car and on our way with my poor sister in tow. By this point, the wind was screeching and getting from car to store was a challenge in and of itself. I hastily tucked my wee ones into the carrier and stroller and dashed into the grocery store.
In my rush, I dropped my bank card into the unzipped carrier pocket after checking out and then promptly forgot about it. We dashed to our next location, with one frantic stop at a light to give my hysterical little boy our trusty singing giraffe. I leapt back in the car still sporting my baby carrier and realized to my horror I had never taken my bank card out of the still open, and now empty, carrier pocket. I jumped back out of the car and frantically scoured the ground for my card, it was nowhere to be seen.
Back in the car and on our way to our next destination, I began to furiously berate myself that my brand new (very recently replaced due to having lost it twice recently before) shiny card was no doubt in repose at the last parking lot we had just left. I shot off a terse text to my husband, ‘LOST BANK CARD’, and as by now the babies were crying and hungry we all sat in the parking lot while I fed them and alternated singing quietly to the babies and vehemently scourging myself. So much for buying baby toys! I cried hysterically. Now we had to trek ALL the way across town AGAIN! My groceries were going to spoil, not to mention my card was lying around in a parking lot. Back to the grocery store we raced, and miraculously, my card was still there. My sister graciously allowed me to drop her and the groceries at home, and the babies and I were at last able to get the coveted toys. Next time, I’m just ordering them from Amazon.
Recently my husband and I set out on a little road trip with our then four month old twins. As sometimes even short drives to the store result in backseat wailing, we knew there would be some interesting moments en route to our destination. But, as we were going to visit dear family members, we deemed it absolutely worthwhile to embark on this adventure. Our plan was to leave early in the morning while our little ones were sleepy and make tracks before the wakefulness of the day set upon them. Best laid plans…lets just say getting out the door with twins never fails to offer new and surprising twists and inevitable delays.
But, finally we were on our way and headed mountain-ward, armed with a zillion rattles and a beautiful treat basket my sister had made us. An hour in, treat basket devoured, we had already made several emergent roadside stops in response to vehement shrieks of protest and it seemed our tiny defiant members had figured out if they wanted to eat it would delay their being replaced in the car seats. Wee ones fed, (again), diapered, and abundantly toy’ed, we set out to continue our slow journey towards our destination.
Things were going pretty smoothly until we entered a long tunnel through a mountain. Now, you can’t pull over inside a tunnel, and you sure as anything cannot stop mid-traffic. It’s dark, loud, and completely without escape. Almost the moment we entered the tunnel, our tiny son abruptly burst into panicked screams. Not the ‘hey I’m kind of upset’ kind, the ‘OH MY GOSH IM GOING TO SCREAM UNTIL I CANT BREATHE’ kind. My husband valiantly tried singing, (his singing is the ONLY thing the babies respond to immediately, it’s amazing), we tried soothing, shhh’ing. The little guy was NOT having it and was escalating at a terrifyingly rapid pace. Over the seat I went, remarking to my husband that of course I’ve always dreamed of going through a mountain tunnel butt first so really this was great. He responded via song, and I began to stroke and soothe and attempt to calm my hysterical child. Thankfully his sister was peacefully looking on in wonder as we madly careened around tunnel corners, me soothing, baby shrieking, husband singing.
Finally the tunnel ended and we stopped roadside for the umpteenth time. We did eventually make it to our destination which was indeed beyond worth the trip, (stand by for my next post on that!). We only made one official pit stop/restroom break (when babies are sleeping you hold that pee). My husband had practically lost his voice from singing by the time we had arrived, and I had become a pro at front seat roadside diaper changes in my lap, not to mention we had both achieved a stellar tricep workout from reaching over our heads to jiggle baby seats while driving.
It did make arriving at our destination that much sweeter, hugs and wine have never felt and tasted better, and it’s definitely been our biggest adventure yet as a family of four. What’s been your craziest experience to date traveling with little ones?
I’m pretty sure it happens to all moms at some point, suddenly you realize you’ve gone a remarkably long period of time without a solid meal. The other day, I ran out of peanut butter, and consequently was STARVING. Peanut butter is my personal go-to Mama Survival Food, along with heavily creamed coffee. I have learned it is possible to exist for an amazingly long time on peanut butter and graham crackers, (gluten free ones of course). In fact, there’s a strong chance my children will grow up wanting to drink nothing but peanut butter flavored milk shakes. Don’t get me wrong, we are serious foodies in my house. We shop organic and I try to always have a breakfast casserole and some kind of pot of soup or something around the house. This past week my mom brought over some of her truly delicious authentic Italian cooking and we snarfed through that. But sometimes, ‘mom-life’ gets real, the babies seem to be nursing 24/7, (see included pic), I actually don’t have 5 minutes to heat anything up and I need sustenance immediately. That’s when something like peanut butter comes in handy.
Of its many virtues, peanut butter can be consumed quickly, on almost anything, and goes great with coffee. It is also low on the staining chart, always a plus. It doesn’t need refrigerated, and rarely spoils. We just returned from a wonderful visit to my aunt and uncles, (standby for my post on road trips with four month old twins, spoiler alert: It. Was. Crazy.). But back to my food story, among other amazing culinary delights, my aunt introduced me to a wonderful concoction she called the Nursing Mothers Best Friend. Delicious balls made of peanut butter, honey and dried milk and rolled in something crunchy (she used crispy rice cereal). I cannot recommend them highly enough! Delicious poppable protein. Of course, if peanuts are your poison there are many other options for nut and seed butters.
Further bonus points, cats don’t like peanut butter, (at least mine don’t). This helps if you are like me and occasionally forget you were eating, consequently losing snacks around the house. My sister found a remnant I had forgotten the other day, fortunately it was on the kitchen counter and not attracting ants in the bedroom.
In conclusion, given peanut butter and coffee, I can rule the world. Or at least the nursery. What’s your go to mama survival food?
My husband and I are not big on ‘stuff’, however it became evident to me after the babies arrived we were going to need SOME stuff. I took to Craigslist and the first item I found was an exersaucer, it’s still a little big for them and as you can see from his expression, my son thinks the flapping starfish is not to be trusted. My next find was a baby play gym, complete with kick pad piano. The wonderful lady we bought it from threw in a second play gym when she heard we had twins, and bless her heart, have we ever loved it. We ended up buying a few more things from her, namely, a crib mobile, bouncy seat, and auto swing. As she said, sometimes you just need to have somewhere to put the baby and go to the bathroom.
You’ve already heard me talk about our bassinets, wonderful whirring and rocking devices that do sometimes soothe and keep a wee one sleeping. When we first started out on our pregnancy journey, researching what type of gizmos and gadgets we wanted was overwhelming, to say the least. You cannot just choose color and style for anything, there are literally dozens of options no matter what type of device you are considering purchasing. Stroller shopping is equal in my opinion to car shopping, not just in stress levels but wow, do those things ever get expensive!
Yes, it’s true, baby stuff can take over your house, but there are a few things that are so worth it. The play gyms are amazing, while they never lay there too long it gives them just the right amount of stimulation. They don’t get overwhelmed, yet it normally wears them out enough to take a nap. Sometimes my little boy will alternate enthusiastic play with cat naps, all in the same gym. It’s wonderful.
The swing is amazing, you can crank it up and hang things off the top for them to look at in wonder as it goes back and forth over their little heads. And as I’ve mentioned before, the bouncy seats are the only way I ever shower. The crib mobile is mandatory to our nighttime routine, or to diaper changes in general. One baby can lie in the crib and stare in fascination at the swinging jungle creatures that rotate to alternating clips of Debussy, Chopin, and Bach while the other baby enjoys a diaper change. (These days, my babies LOVE diaper changes. Sometimes I’ll change them even when they’re not dirty just to break the fussy cycle).
We’ll even put both babies under the mobile to brush our teeth, etc, and most of the time it’s distracting enough to them that they stay happy until it’s time to nurse to sleep. We recently acquired Bumbo seats, (due to having a gift card we purchased ours at Babies R Us, but I recommend Amazon due to slightly better pricing/free shipping).
My babies are still a little young for the Bumbo, but we’ve been using it in tiny increments, as especially my boy gets super excited he can sit up in it. It’s a wonderful little contraption, small and compact, even the tray stores on the back of the seat. We do have Boppy pillows, I used them like crazy for the first month but have less so as of late, I do use it to prop them up after eating sometimes but don’t use it as much as I thought I would. Perhaps I will use it more a they get older. In the meantime, I do highly recommend glowing rubber duckies.
Devices I am eager to use include the Johnny jump ups my parents got them, as much as my babies like to bounce and pretend to stand I foresee lots of use in those. In short, while you don’t need to turn your house into a display case for Buy Buy Baby, I highly recommend having a few key baby gadgets and gizmos, for as a dear friend said to me, sometimes you just have to have a place to put them.