Wednesday, June 24, 2015

How to get an (almost) free baby carrier


Have you ever seen one of these carriers? They were recalled in 2010 due to risk of suffocation...which makes sense seeing as this carrier is basically like putting your baby in a duffel bag around your hip! Anyway...they are still doing the replacement program. I found one at the thrift store and bought it for $4.99 to see how the program worked. Here is my experience...
  1. The instructions are found here.
  2. Cut out the logo and put it in an envelope.
  3. Throw away the rest of the carrier.
  4. Print out the prepaid label. 
  5. Send it out. 
  6. Get a free mei tai! (Infantino actually calls this a "Wrap and Tie" carrier. Mine only took about two weeks to arrive! :)
Photo by Bridger :)
I like to recommend mei tais to new moms because they are safe, easy to use, comfortable for mom and baby and cheap. (The Infantino brands retails for $30 or less). I think I'll keep mine in the car as an extra carrier or maybe in our 72 hour emergency kit! So, if you ever see one of the old Infantino sling carriers pictured up top at a yard sale or thrift store, grab it and turn it in for a pretty sweet new carrier :)

More reading:
How to use a mei tai with a newborn.
How to put a baby on your back with a mei tai.


Monday, May 25, 2015

I'm Poor! How can I afford a doula?


Now that you know education and support is more important that baby gadgets, here are some ideas on how to pay for that education and support if you are on a tight budget.

  1. As I alluded to in my last post, resist buying the expensive stroller and other baby gadgets and instead use that money to pay for your birth education and support.
  2. When family and friends ask what you need for the new baby explain, "We are preparing to have a positive and prepared birth and postpartum experience. To help support this goal, we are hiring a childbirth educator/doula/etc. We would be so happy if you contributed to a fund that would help us pay for these services." **Update 6/1/15: See ideas for online cash contribution registries at the bottom of this post.**
  3. Put away a little money each month now, even before you are pregnant. That way, you won't be surprised with lots of expenses when you get closer to delivery. 
  4. Ask about payment plans. My doula accepted a portion of her fee each month until we paid it off at 36 weeks. This is a great option especially if you book your doula early on in your pregnancy!
  5. Sell items around the house. Pay for your doula and get rid of junk! Win-win.
  6. Doulas, as well as lactation consultants (perhaps even childbirth educators) can be paid for with an HSA account. (Sometimes, check with your particular card).
  7. Cut back. Take a month or two cutting back on certain items (eating out, cable, treats, etc) and use that money to put away for your birth education and support. 
Creating a team of knowledgable, experienced and dedicated birth professionals is one of the best decisions you can make regarding your birth and postpartum experience. Allow these wonderful women to surround you with their love and guidance by preparing now!


**Online registries such as myregistry.com, plumfund.com and babylist.com have customizable cash contribution amounts that can be used for the birth and postpartum services you desire.
  1. MyRegistry.com allows you to create a "cash gift fund" that you name. It also allows for Paypal payments for that fund. For ideas, you can look at one I made for fun here.
  2. Plumfund.com does the same thing, but allows for multiple people to contribute to one item. For ideas, you can look at one I made for fun here.
  3. Babylist.com allows you to make custom cash fund items under the section, "It Takes a Village" but does not accept payments. For ideas, you can look at one I made for fun here.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Looking past the baby registry

This topic has been on my mind so much lately! Let's see if I can get my thoughts out coherently...

As a society, we are so focused on products. What to buy next. What to buy that will make our lives more convenient. What to buy to make our neighbors jealous. What to buy to make our lives easier. And companies LOVE this. American consumerism is building markets. Just look at Target. They make millions just from their baby registry. And that is just what I want to write about in this post...


The baby shower is a beautiful American tradition. Perhaps it could be described as a rite of passage. Family and friends surround a new mother, celebrating the gift of life and giving gifts to show her their love and support. I love baby showers. I love partaking in the excitement and anticipation of welcoming a new life to earth. We eat good food, play silly games and give advice to the new mother. She opens gifts and we ooh and ahh over the softest blanket and the tiniest shoes. At the showers I was given, I felt so loved and lifted up! I have such kind and loving family who have given me such thoughtful gifts at showers!

Companies like Target love baby showers too. They love them so much that they even give you a gift when you make a baby registry with them. They want you to make a registry so well-meaning family and friends will buy their products. We let companies like Target tell us what we need to buy (I'm looking at you, $500 stroller) when having a baby rather than relying on our own intuition and common sense. The media and baby registries lead us to believe that we have to have a pristine and perfectly organized and stocked nursery before the baby arrives. I am here to tell you otherwise!

Do you have boobs?
Good. Your baby will be able to survive and thrive for at least 6 months on breastmilk alone. 

Do you have diapers?
Grab a few packs of newborns before the baby arrives and when you run out, your husband can go to the store for more. Gasp.

Do you have a baby carrier?
Not yet? I'm working on a review of my favorites but in the meantime, look for a local babywearing group to try on a few before you buy.

Those are all the things you need for a baby my friends! (Along with baby clothes because who does not like tiny baby clothes?!) What you really need for a baby is a little harder to put on a baby registry but is a billion times more important.

Parents want to prepare for their new baby and often we look to the baby registry first. I'm here to help you look past the fancy swing, the shiny bouncer and special infant tub. There is more to preparing for a new baby than a list of products. Parents have raised successful children for millennia without any gadgets at all! What they had instead was a village of support...

While we don't live in villages anymore or often close to our families, there is a growing group of professionals who fill this gap with love and passion for what they do.

What would really help new families is SUPPORT and EDUCATION. These are investments in the birth of your child. A moment that only happens once but will affect your family, and often, the mental health of the mother, for years. Childbirth education, doula support, lactation support and postpartum support are not luxuries but important services that empower families. Your birth experience matters. Your postpartum experience matters.

Remember that all of these services are given by professionals. Paying well ensures that you are hiring an experienced and educated professional. As with so many other things in life, you get what you pay for. 

Childbirth education
A quality childbirth education class series (usually NOT at a hospital, in my personal experience) is a wonderful investment in your birth! You'll learn what to expect in the days and weeks leading up to your birth, how to handle labor pain, how to release fears related to birth, learn what options you have during birth and how to make those decisions before labor begins, and to create confidence in yourself and your ability to birth! If you think, "I'm going to have an epidural, I don't need this", think again! Prices range from $200-500.

Doula Support
A doula will reinforce what you have learned during your childbirth classes. She will support you in your birth choices. She will make you feel comfortable and ensure that your partner feels involved.  Your midwife, OB and nurses have several patients to juggle at the same time you are birthing. You and only you are your doula's focus for the entirety of your birth. Priceless support! Again, if you think, "I'm going to have an epidural, I don't need a doula", think again! $400-$1500.

Lactation Support
While many moms begin breastfeeding without any problems, many have trouble at the start. Quality lactation support can save you thousands of dollars in formula (and weeks of pain!). A private in-home lactation consultant visit is around $150. Visits with a lactation consultant in a clinic are about $50.

Postpartum Support
A postpartum doula supports the new family in many ways: preparing meals, caring for older children, helping mom find resources for postpartum mood disorders, cleaning the house, doing errands or laundry...whatever you need. This can be a marvelous gift if the new family lives far from their families. Prices are usually by hour, $20+/hour. Other ideas for postpartum are listed in these important articles: How to Love a New Mother , After the Birth, What a Family Needs and Take Back Postpartum.

*****
All of these kinds of support are things we have replaced with gadgets and the make-it-on-our-own attitudes. New mama! I am talking to you! You do not have to do this on your own. You deserve help. Make whatever changes you need in your lifestyle now to prepare to have these support measures in place when you bring your new baby to earth. I have been blessed to have support through countless meals, grocery trips, gas in the car, the house cleaned and toddler taken care of after I gave birth. I want other moms to know that they can also have this kind of support and more! And let's work to make baby showers a chance for families to help mom pay for these services as well as a time to shower the baby with adorable clothes and a time to educate mom on being a new mom. That is what I loved about mine....

baby hiking boots!
My big sister Mandi lent me her baby and sling to teach me how to babywear. 

My big sisters teaching me how to swaddle!
Also read: Why Your Birth is More Important Than Your Bugaboo.
When you're pregnant, there are more useful things to do than flipping through a catalogue.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Finding my village


Some very important parts of my village! 
Since having children, and maybe even before, I have ached for the village. The one I never had. But since realizing what exactly it was that I was aching for, I have tried to find it around me. (And group texts with my sisters across the country sure helps too! ;)

I see a glimpse of my village when I help a friend buckle her kids in their seats.
I see a glimpse of my village when I say yes when a friend asks if I need help.

I see it when a friend gently corrects my child.
I see it when a friend comfortably nurses in my home.
My sis Mandi and I nursing with our cousin/friend Megan at church :)
I feel it when friends stay long in our home.
I feel it when friends welcome my children into their home.

We have finally been in a place long enough that I feel like I have a village of friends that I know and trust. Making friends is not easy for me but I am learning to take courage and reach out! And I so appreciate the women who have reached out to me! We are all better mothers and friends when we do!

Do you have a village? What makes you feel at home with people?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Parenting: Lessons learned


  1. Have a bedtime routine. It doesn't have to be elaborate, but if it's done every night, they know what to expect! Our's is simple: we all gather in Bridger's room around 7 or 7:30 and mostly play in there til 8. Baths are at 7:30 if it's bath night. Then we clean up toys, read books, turn on the sound machine, turn down the lights. We read the Book of Mormon together and have family prayer. Then one of us stays in the room to read a few more books with him and then help him fall asleep.
  2. Amazon mom for diapers. A month's worth of diapers delivered to your door each month. So easy. No more dragging giant diaper boxes around the store, trying to stuff them in your car and dragging them (not to mention children) into the house. 
  3. Make an entire batch of waffles and freeze the extras for breakfast the rest of the week. Just take them out as you need them and pop them in the toaster oven.
  4. The Kirkland brand wipes at Costco are better than the Huggies box in my opinion! The Huggies tear easily and then you're left with half a wipe. Not pretty.
  5. When you  know you are about to change a poopy diaper, have 4+ wipes pulled out BEFORE you undo the diaper.
  6. Park next to the shopping cart corral. My whole life I have always judged people who left their carts in random places in the parking lot. Is it really that hard to push it to a corral? The first time I went grocery shopping with newborn Bridger I realized who leaves the carts out. Moms. Because they aren't going to leave their baby to put a cart away! So park next to the corral; easy to get your kid in and out of the cart and no chasing around the lot!
  7. Food waste and toddler leftovers: Food waste really bothers me. I just can't stand seeing good food being thrown away! And that is what happens with toddlers so much of the time, unfortunately. We do our best to give each of them portions that we think they will consume, but there are inevitable leftovers that get thrown away. When they leave unfinished fruit however, that now goes in a Ziploc in the freezer to be added to one of their smoothies. 
  8. Put them to work. Toddlers love to help. I try to remember to have Bridger carry something into the store or house for me. He loves it.
What parenting lessons have you learned?


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Baby Gear...with the 2nd baby!

A few months after Bridger was born I posted about what baby products we found useful. I've learned a bit more with our second baby so I'll share what we use now!

Before I even start, I will mention the baby product of all baby products and that is a quality carrier! I LOVE carrying Colden! Babies want to be held close and because I have a good carrier, I can do that AND cook, play with Bridger, shop, go on a walk, hike, clean, garden etc etc. I nurse him now in the carrier anywhere he is hungry :)  We love our Ergobaby but there are LOADS of others. I tried a Lillebaby and really liked it, but it was too big for me. This is a good link on babywearing safety. I used a Moby for Bridger when he was really little and I wanted to keep carrying him but the Moby was so cumbersome to wrap in public. I've now learned that you can wrap it at home first and then put him in once you arrive. Or tie the ends so they don't drag. I think a stretchy wrap like a Moby is great for newborns, but after Colden was about 2 months old we switched to the Ergo. I could do a whole post on this. I'm so passionate about babywearing!

Nursing
I use nursing camis more than bras now. I just find them easier! Lansinoh at the beginning was great! I got this cover for $1 on sale! (It's just thin jersey fabric with a hole in the top, you could totally make it!) I use it in church or when I would make the people I'm with feel uncomfortable with my open nursing. ;)

Sleeping
Colden sleeps in our room in the same playpen that Bridger did. He sleeps in our bed a good bit of the night as I fall asleep nursing most of the time. I think co-sleeping is great but lots of time I sleep better when he is in the playpen (but still close!) and I like cuddling with my husband :) And for full disclosure Bridger is in our bed a lot too! Bridger is a kicker so Colden is probably safer in the playpen on these nights :)

Diapering
We love Luvs diapers for both our boys. (Amazon Subscribe and Save to the rescue!) We don't have a changing table or even a pad! I change his diapers on the bed with a towel underneath :)

Bathing
We bought a used Puj tub for easy sink baths for Colden. I never really like the bulky baby tub we had for Bridger. If I could go back I would get the travel Puj tub because it fits better in smaller sinks. Colden is such a chunk that he grew out of sink baths pretty fast but the Puj is great to lay flat in shallow water in the big tub.

Playing
All of Bridger's old toys! And wooden spoons etc. The play gym we made for Bridger didn't work out to pass on to Colden because it's not super sturdy and that matters when you have a toddler around! I got a used play mat like this for $10 and it's just fine. Also got a free jumper thing from a neighbor that he likes for about 10 minutes a day :) He'd rather be held and I don't mind one bit! Also got a Bumbo for $10 at a yard sale that we use occasionally.

Strolling
Bought a used side-by-side stroller from a neighbor and have used it twice! So far I'd rather wear Colden in the Ergo and push Bridger in the single stroller if needed. I'm guessing it will be nice to have later on when Colden is too heavy to carry for extended periods of time, so we keep it.

Phew! I think that's it!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

My favorite scripture

I felt Him here. Always.
My sister Kenzey challenged me to share my favorite scripture and I'm glad she did! My favorite scripture comes from modern revelation given to Joseph Smith in 1832. I believe it applies to me in so many ways!

Doctrine and Covenants 84:88
And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.

I feel God's presence everyday. I feel His Spirit when I stand in awe of His creations. I feel His Spirit lift my heart when I feel inadequate. I feel His angels protecting my children. I feel Him when my children snuggle up to me and share their love so freely. I am grateful to have this knowledge and protection! What a generous and loving Heavenly Father.