Thursday, December 24, 2015

After Christmas Shopping


Merry Christmas Eve Everyone,
This year we aren't doing all that much for the holidays since we have a newborn. Next year when our little girl is one we want to do more things with her to celebrate the holidays, which for us means buying more things (decorations, books, dvds, toys, apparel).

We have some decorations right now, but we do want to pick up more. We have NO outside decorations, no wreath, etc. We need a new Christmas tree, ours isn't big enough for all of our ornaments and is shorter than my husband would like.

Since I know we want more Christmas stuff for next year I'm planning on going shopping the day after Christmas this year. This is HUGE for me, since it will be my first time leaving my 3 week old for more than ten minutes. I've gone grocery shopping where my husband stayed in the car with our sleeping infant, but I've never been more than a few minutes away from her... so this will be a first!

In about another hour it will be Christmas, which I'm hoping means the sales ads will be released. The ad I'm most interested in is Kroger's ad, because we need groceries! Other than groceries I am making a mental (and physical) list of items I think will be discounted and I may pickup, depending on prices.

What to buy the day after Christmas:
Apparel- Winter apparel and especially holiday related will be discounted
Wrapping Paper
Gift Bags
Christmas Trees
Holiday Music
Holiday Dvd's
Holiday Books
Gift Sets (make up, hygiene, perfume, foods)
Holiday scented items

I'm not sure if I'm leaving anything off but I'm about to start my list of items I'm HOPING to pickup at a discount tomorrow. In another hour it will be Christmas, and I'm hoping the ads will be released!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

AND... Turns out After Christmas shopping was NOT worth it. The day after the discounts were 30-50% off and they still remained there on the 31st. I was expecting 70-90% but no luck. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

New Mom Must Haves


My baby girl is almost three weeks old, and I'm constantly learning. I knew what to expect with labor for the most part, but I had no idea about recovery. I wanted to make this post to include things that you NEVER see on the other "must have" lists, both the things that YOU and baby need!

The hospital will give you SOME things. A general rule of thumb is if it is in your room and relates directly to you or the baby you can take it. I also got extra's by asking: jel packs for the girls, and an abdominal binder for my stomach. What the hospital provides is NOT enough for your entire recovery though.

Disclaimer: I had a mostly natural vaginal birth and a 4th degree tear, I also breastfeed. If your a c section formula feeding momma then what you need will be way different.

For You
Nursing Bra's- Mine are from Target and Walmart. I also bought a Bravada, but they are expensive and it doesn't fit since I had to buy it online. When my milk came in I went up ANOTHER size (I also went up a size during pregnancy). Your milk doesn't come in for 2-3 days after giving birth so you can go to the store if you want to double check your size! You will want a few of these, I have 4 at the moment and plan to buy more.
Hydrojel Pads- these are for the girls, they help with discomfort a ton. Highly recommend them. I got some by asking the hospital if they had anything since my girls hurt, and they gave me a pack... they are reusable for a while but for the week-week and a half I used them I went ahead and bought more... you don't want a breast infection!
Nursing Pads- You WILL leak, in fact sometimes I spray. I got some disposable nursing pads from a friend who had them leftover and so I used those before switching to some reusable ones... I recommend the reusable pads, the disposables didn't stay in place for me and the reusable is greener and will save you money. I got these, and like them. I have 2 packs but I'd recommend you getting 3 (I'm planning on buying another pack).
Electric Pump- I'm all for actually BREASTfeeding, but sometimes your boobs or you need a break... rather than supplementing with formula (which will hurt your supply) pumping is a great option, and many insurance companies will pay for an electric breastpump. 
        -You can get ice cube trays with lids to store your breast milk in the freezer then put the cubes in         freezer bags and reuse the trays to save money!
Breastfeeding Friendly Bottles- Some bottles (and pacifiers) are shaped to mimic the nipple which is supposedly easier/better for the breastfed baby. My pump (Spectra) came with some, and before I knew that I bought a 3 pack of Tommy Tippee's closer to nature bottles. 
Coconut Oil- Coconut Oil has 5,000 uses, both for you and baby. It is here because it can be used as nipple cream and works well... and you don't have to worry about what is in it as far as baby ingesting it goes. I also use this on my stretch marks/dry skin.
Handheld Shower Head- this is good for cleaning your tear/butt. The nurse recommended I use it if I had one (we did, but if not they are $20 so get one)
Stitz Bath- I got this and felt better days later, I'm not sure if it was this or just my body heals quickly but I'll recommend it! I put epson salt and tea tree oil or lavender in mine (both essential oils have properties conducive to helping heal/prevent infection).
Tucks- I never had hemorrhoids until I was 36 weeks pregnant, and thought I wouldn't get them... I did. The hospital will give you tucks while you are there, but I had a 4th degree tear and was released the next day so you will need some for recovery at home!
Cream- This is a prescription, in the hospital it was Analphram, but the kind prescribed is a generic I think. Make SURE that they give you a prescription for cream, they accidentally wrote me a prescription for some foam stuff.. its a pain in the ass trying to get the foam and work that when your in pain and trying to hurry up before the baby starts screaming...
Pads- I NEVER wear pads. I hate the feeling of leaking, even if it is onto a pad... that being said you will NEED them, and you can't use a tampon or menstrual cup. I would recommend Kroger Brand Pads if you have a Kroger. They have long ones 24 for $1.49! I haven't had ANY problem with them, and I've had a medium/light flow.
Prenatal Vitamins- if your breastfeeding you should continue taking these.
Colace- this is the recommended safe OTC stool softener, and if you got hemorrhoids you do not want to get constipated and have hard poo!
Nursing Tops- I only have one of these but I love how the shirt has slits that are covered in the breast area so you can nurse and still have your boob and chest covered. If you can find these I'd recommend at least one or two for breastfeeding in public or in front of family. Nursing covers don't make my list since my baby doesn't want anything over her when she is eating (can't blame her). I do want the boobie beanie for those prudes who want to make snide remarks about me feeding my baby... #boobsareforbabies
Burp Cloths- My baby rarely spits up, so I actually use these for my boobs to stop the flow of my breast milk. I read breastfed babies spit up less, but these are absolutely still handy (for the leaking).
Diapers- I did a post on my cloth diaper stash, that I spent under $200 on here. Unfortunately my baby doesn't fit into her cloth diapers yet.... but regardless of whether your doing cloth or sposies your baby needs diapers, for sposies I like 7th gen and Luvs!
Clothes- Really think about what clothes will be easiest on you (and him/her). If the baby is going to be inside in a temperature controlled environment then they really do NOT need a bunch of winter clothes (my mistake). Easiest are onsies/shirts with short sleeves, you can always throw a jacket on them if your going outside. Pants are fairly easy as well, as are pajamas and many one piece outfits. Our daughter almost lives in her sleep sacks and pj's just because it is easiest on her and us!
Sleep Sacks- I mentioned these above in clothes, but these can be worn over other clothes if its really cold or by themselves. You use these INSTEAD of a blanket, so much safer! My sister told me my niece would always manage to get the blankets over her head so she switched to these... I just don't do blankets in her crib at all, and in the bouncer or rock n' play we always tuck them 1/2 way on her body.
Rock N' Play- We use this rather than a bassinet. With me breastfeeding, and checking to make sure she is breathing multiple times at night she sleeps in our room. I like the rock n' play. It is smallish, collapses, hers vibrates, and its easy to rock. I plan on taking this with us for Christmas with the family rather than the pack n' play since its easier to collapse, use, etc at this age.
Baby Wash- I'd recommend researching chemicals and getting a more natural/safe option. I also changed my wash when I was pregnant and still now since she is skin to skin with me, and chemicals are absorbed through the skin. Babies only need 2-3 baths a week, more is harmful to their skin.
Gas Drops- Our LO gets bad gas, which makes her fussy and seems like it is painful/uncomfortable. Gas drops are fine to give regularly (although we don't since we don't want her depending on them), but they don't work for all babies from what I've read. I would recommend them anyway, in addition to breastfeeding with her head above her stomach (which can prevent/minimize gas).
Baby Wipes- We got a natural brand and still have read bad things about the chemicals etc in them. If your using cloth diapers then using cloth wipes is easiest, cheapest, and in my and my husbands opinion best (for cleaning up the mess, and due to the lack of chemicals). 
Pacifier- This is a choice. I prefer to give a baby a paci then to have them use their hands/fingers (as you can't take a thumb away when its time to wean them). My baby actually doesn't use her paci all that much however... if your breastfeeding, make sure the paci is nipple shaped (meaning it is just kind of long and round at the end). 
Bouncer- this puts her more upright so she prefers it when she is awake, and they are like $20 so it is good to have also for another room. We use ours daily, but we don't use the features honestly...

The biggest new mom must have in my opinion/experience is HELP.  It could be because I had the worst degree of tear you can get, but I had a hard time doing ANYTHING the first week; I was essentially on bed-rest, as sitting or standing/walking would upset both my tear and hemorrhoids. After the first week I was slowly able to do more and more, and now at three weeks for the most part I'm fine. During the first week my husband did most of the household chores, burping, and diaper changes... for the most part I could just feed our daughter, and even that required me to sit up (since I was learning positioning etc) aggravating my injuries... My mom came by a couple of times, she helped clean and would just hold/care for our daughter letting both my husband and I rest. I really appreciate my husband and my mom. Help isn't really a must have, I would have dealt with the pain, prolonged my healing, and cared for my daughter... but if you can get help then take it!

This list is just things we have found helpful; Obviously the baby nor I wouldn't die without the items listed above (third world countries anyone)... but I highly recommend them.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Saving money by shopping Ebay


This is a post I probably should have made much earlier to save ya'll money, but with the pregnancy and now a newborn it isn't something I really thought much about until today. About a month ago when I was doing my Christmas shopping I was dismayed by the cost of some items on wishlists. I wanted to purchase what this person wanted, but the price was a little high... in comes Ebay.

The product I'm referring to above, a perfume, was $89 on amazon and similarly priced at other online department store retailers; I paid under $40 for it and given the numerous reviews of the seller I'm comfortable with gifting it believing it will be an authentic item. Other than the perfume there are other things I've bought on ebay for massive savings:
Snap Jewelry- No, I didn't get the brand name "Ginger Snaps", but I did get
around 20 pieces, snaps and settings, for around $20. Ginger Snaps start out at $7 just for the snaps, the settings are over $20 EACH.
Jewelry- Other than Snap Jewelry I bought 3 really cute grandma/mimi necklaces for my baby's grandmas. I saw these in a store for $15/each, I paid $0.75/each!
Handmade Burp Cloths- I paid $2.50/each and bought from thepinkpolkadot2015. I just purchased 3 of these, and I'm expecting them in the next week. The price isn't bad, when you compare the price and quality to store bought. The price was also lower than I could find on Etsy, the marketplace of the homemade.
Cloth Diapers- I got 12 Kawaii goodnights with inserts for just under $70. Normally these diapers are $12/each, I paid just under $6 effectively getting 1/2 of them free.

My total savings on those things listed here is right around $300! It is worth price checking on ebay. Most of the things in the stores are made in China, by buying directly from the source via ebay you can save some serious money... but you do have to wait for shipping.

My Cloth Diaper Stash ($200 budget)


Prior to my pregnancy I decided I wanted to use cloth diapers rather than disposables. Our children inherit our world so I try to be green and conscious of my impact, other than being green going with cloth diapers saves green ($).

In a prior post I estimated my total cost for building my cloth diaper stash would be around $300. At this point I believe I have around 33 diapers with inserts. My mother bought me 6 bumgenius diapers she found at a yardsale, my mil bought us a pack of CBI (charcoal bamboo inserts), a friend bought one Kawaii goodnight, I'm buying 10 bumgenius diapers from my sister ($80), I purchased 12 Kawaii Goodnight Diapers ($68), 5 Alvababy diapers ($28), and 2 inserts ($1).

Total Spent: $177

I'm super happy to say I've only spent $177 on our babies cloth diapers; they are all one size so they should fit her now til she is potty trained. I'm going to try to sell some of the Kawaii for $10 each, which would make my total closer to $120... although then I would probably buy more Alva's bringing my total back to around $140-$150.

The average age in the US in 2003 for children to be potty trained is 37 months; unfortunately I couldn't find  more recent figure. Assuming you change your baby around 10 times a day you would go through 10,656 diapers from birth til potty training. Over ten thousand diapers PER child, and it is estimated they take from 250-500 years to decompose, I'm not okay with leaving that in the landfills ruining our world for future generations. In addition to the long lasting environmental impact of disposable diapers is the financial cost. I went on amazon and looked up diapers, the price varied from .13 to .40 a diaper depending on brand making the total cost for disposables til your baby is potty trained $1,385-$4,262 (not accounting for waste due to diaper size).

I will post pictures of my stash once I have all of it, I'm getting the diapers from my sister after Christmas and the majority of my diapers are in the wash at the moment getting prepped. The picture at the top does show some of my stash as I do have all of the diapers pictured, but if I manage to sell the diapers I want to then I'll lose a couple of those designs.

My savings by going cloth versus disposable I would estimate at around $3,000. I had three huge motivations for going cloth:
1. Chemicals, there are harsh chemicals in disposables that I don't like so if I did go disposable it would be a natural brand like 7th gen (what I am currently using as I got sposies to use til her cord fell off), natural brands are more expensive...
2. Environment
3. Financial
#1 explains how I got my rough $3,000 figure. I based it on the current cost of 7th gen diapers, but went with a rough average as the cost is different based on diaper size and there is no way of knowing how long your child will be in each diaper size.

EDIT: Baby girl is back in 'sposies. We had to buy 2 48 packs of luvs and hopefully when those run out she fits into her cloth diapers... right now they are just too big on her. We spent $15 on the 2 packages of luvs and if you are going with sposies and aren't gonna do 7th gen then I'd recommend Luv's, they are cheaper than Huggies or Pampers and IMO are just as good.