4 Super Simple Tips to Help You Save on Your Pregnancy and Baby Needs - Guest Post By Emily Graham (Mighty Moms)

Preparing for the emotional and physical aspects of pregnancy can be a challenge. Preparing for everything else? Well, that can actually be pretty easy — and budget-friendly too — if you have the right tips and resources. So, no matter where you are in your pregnancy journey, these are the steps you can take to get yourself and your home ready for parenthood.

Stock Up on Clothing in Different Sizes

You already know how much your body can change with every week and month of pregnancy. But even after giving birth, your body is bound to be different than it was before. Because you won’t have a lot of time to shop between feedings and naps, think about picking up some post-pregnancy options ahead of time. One essential all new moms need is a supply of nursing bras. Check out deals online to see if you can save on different styles and sizes to suit your needs. You may even be able to find promotions for maternity bras that offer a discount when you bundle bras together. If you need clothes and essentials during your pregnancy, you can also find a great selection of budget-friendly maternity options by shopping with retailers like H&M and Target, and you can usually find promo codes that will provide additional discounts.

Prepare Some Simple, Low-Cost Meals Now

If you are winding down the last few weeks of your pregnancy, you’re likely busy nesting and making final preparations to welcome your new baby. However, don’t forget to make preparations to care for yourself as well! Finding time to prepare healthy meals can be difficult for new parents, if not downright impossible. Since ordering out and fast food are not the best options for nurturing your healing body and new infant, preparing whole food meals ahead of time and freezing them or purchasing  easy freezer meals may be your best bet. There are tasty and convenient options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but also be sure to stock some grab-and-go snacks in your pantry as well. Bulk buying meals and snacks may seem like a pricey option, but you can easily find online grocery coupons that can help you stay within your budget. So, be sure to take advantage during your pregnancy and after you give birth.

Save on All of Your Nesting and Nursing Needs

Once you have your freezer full of yummy meals, you can get back to nesting. After all, this is an important part of any pregnancy journey. So, if you feel a strong urge to organize the nursery or stockpile diapers, don’t fight it — just go with it and have fun doing so. There are so many creative nursery setup options you can choose from. You can stash all those diapers in a rolling cart for a mobile changing station or upcycle a thrift store dresser to fit your decorating scheme. Speaking of furniture, outfitting your baby’s room with a crib, changing table, and other essentials can get expensive. So, make sure you know how to save money on the furniture you need to complete your nursery. Mostly, this involves buying furniture that will grow with your growing baby, so you don’t have to keep spending more and more.

Consider a Baby Shower to Stock Up on Supplies

Remember that part about stocking up on diapers? Well, you will definitely need an arsenal of diapers and other supplies, such as bottles, bibs, and blankets, to care for your little one. Fortunately, you can reduce your costs by having friends throw you a blessing way or proper baby shower. It’s perfectly fine to ask guests to bring a package of diapers to the shower or blessing way, and most people will bring an additional gift as well. Be sure to list your desires on the invitation, and also be sure to list the stores where you are registered. Many of the best spots for registering for baby gifts are also the best stores for saving money. Target makes this list once again, but you can also help your friends and family members find great deals with other retailers.

No one is ever 100 percent prepared for pregnancy. However, you can at least use these hints to help your life and your budget feel less overwhelmed.


Photo Credit: Unsplash

Emily Graham | emily@mightymoms.net

Mighty Moms

"Successful Mothers are not the ones that have never struggled. They are the ones that never give up, despite the struggles." - Sharon Jaynes

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Newborns hands. Why are they always in the way while breastfeeding?

Oh, those sweet little newborn hands.  Such a love/hate relationship we breastfeeding mothers have with those hands.  We love to hold and kiss those sweet-smelling hands, yet when it’s time to breastfeed, those annoying little clawing paws won’t get out of the way!  The minute our breast is out and ready to feed, those newborn hands are like defensive linemen, blocking any entry into our baby’s pecking mouth.

So, what’s the deal with those hands?  

Why is it that immediately when our baby realizes he is starving, his hands get in the way?

 Fun fact #1: Did you know that your baby has been using his hands in this fashion while in utero?  Ultrasounds show babies bringing their hands to their faces before swallowing amniotic fluid.  This is actually a process in the feeding pattern, which explains why babies bring their hands to their mouths when they are hungry. 

Fun fact #2: Did you know that if your baby’s face is not touching your breast as you initiate a breastfeeding session, he will use his hands to find your nipple?  Newborns have incredibly poor eyesight and use all five senses to locate and latch on to the breast.  Those little hands are searching for your breast to help bring it closer to his mouth.

So, what’s a mom to do when her baby is crying to eat, yet his hands are blocking every chance she has to put her breast in the baby’s mouth?

  • Let your baby suck on his fingers to calm himself at the breast.  When he moves his hands, he is already at the ‘restaurant’ and will be ready to breastfeed.
  • Try not to tuck your baby’s hands under his body or swaddle him while breastfeeding.  Tucking his hands can disorient him.  Think about if you were trying to eat with your hands tied behind your back.  You would most likely feel off-centered and clumsy.  Babies need their hands to keep them stable, just like we need our arms to our side or in front of us when we eat.
  • If you have sore nipples and the thought of your baby clawing them makes you yelp just thinking about it, then keep your baby’s face touching your breast.  Try laid-back breastfeeding to assist with this.  In this position, you can wrap your baby’s hands AROUND your breast and he will come in with his face instead.
  • Catherine Watson Genna, one of the most amazing lactation consultants I have ever met (and also the head researcher in an infant hand-use while latching study) recommends this technique in the Lactation Matters article, An Interview with Catherine Watson Genna, “Sometimes babies do get caught in a ‘reflex loop’ of sucking their hand, moving away, and then sucking their hands again. Moving the baby slightly so his face touches mom’s breast can interrupt this loop and get the baby to move his hands away and look for the breast with his mouth again.”  More information can be found in her article, Facilitating Autonomous Infant Hand Use During Breastfeeding

 

So, maybe those roaming little hands are actually helping our babies to become better breastfeeders.  Who knew?

 

San Diego Breastfeeding Center LLC.

Why Breastfed Babies Wake During the Night. La Leche League USA

Why Breastfed Babies Wake During the Night

By Rita Brhel, Hastings, Nebraska

The question “Does your baby sleep through the night?” is as old as the hills. Given that interrupted sleep is a major stressor for new parents, this question makes sense. The transition that happens in those early weeks would undoubtedly be easier if they would be able to get a good night’s sleep.

But for many mothers, asking the question, “Does your baby sleep through the night?”, may suggest that a baby can, and should, sleep through the night without waking.  It may be reassuring to know that not sleeping through the night is normal for babies.

Physiologically

In the book Sweet Sleep (Wiessinger, West, Smith, & Pitman, 2014), we learn about “normal” infant sleep, that is (to quote from the book), “Most babies don’t ‘sleep like a baby.’” Newborn babies are not biologically designed to sleep through the night. They are designed to breastfeed. Breastfed babies need to nurse at night. The ease of digestibility of breast milk ensures optimal growth and immune development when the baby is nursed frequently.

A newborn baby has a need for almost constant skin-to-skin contact. Nurturing touch, closeness to the breast, and sensitive responsiveness—even without considering the benefits of breast milk—provide for the infant’s vital physical development. Oxytocin alone, a hormone created by the body after direct skin-to-skin contact and nurturing touch, has a host of purposes for the growing baby. Encouraging latch and building milk supply are but two ways that promote bonding between mother and baby. That’s partly why mothers can be so willing to forego continuous nighttime sleep to care faithfully for the newborn baby’s frequent needs.

A lengthy gap of more than three hours between nursing sessions—in the first few weeks—can affect the milk supply. Going too long without breastfeeding or milk expression can literally trick the mother’s body into assuming that less milk is needed! The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (8th Edition, Wiessinger, West, & Pitman) states, “A full breast has already started to slow down production.”

If one is doing “everything right” (such as, putting baby to the breast often, not watching the clock, letting the baby finish the breast) during the day, it may be perplexing to feel that the milk supply is going down. Often, upon investigation, you may find that you skipped one or more night nursings or your partner was eager to bond with the baby by giving a bottle. This otherwise kind act can inadvertently sabotage your milk supply. Both members of the breastfeeding duo need those nighttime nursings!

Psychologically
Before modern times, human babies’ survival was at risk without the constant physical contact needed by newborns. Separation may not be as dire now in our Western society, but all babies are born with this innate need to be close to mother and to cry in protest when separated. Sometimes mothers are told that the crying is manipulation; however, crying is one way that babies communicate. The baby may be communicating discomfort and maybe anxiety when separated from mother in those early weeks. For the newborn, physical closeness is as much of a need as breast milk or warmth. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding reminds us that “mothers are hardwired to respond because it’s Nature’s design to keep babies protected, cared for, and thriving.”

A crying baby who protests physical separation may become quiet. A newborn who “learns” to stop crying after waking at night may be laying down “no one cares” pathways (WAB). The baby is also “learning” not to expect a response to her needs, which include the need to breastfeed.

The bottom line is: when a breastfeeding baby wakes at night and gives cues to breastfeed, mothers are encouraged to always offer to nurse at that time.

The next question might be, “How can a mother make sure she gets enough sleep to function the next day?”

First-time mothers can also take advantage of the recommendation, “Sleep when baby sleeps.” The Womanly Art of Breastfeedingprovides other suggestions to help you to meet your baby’s nighttime needs. Here are a few of those ideas – get all the help you can, limiting visitors, nurse lying down or in the laid-back position as much as possible, and go to a La Leche League meeting.  A meeting is a place where you can “complain” without hearing that you should just wean.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all infants room-share for ideally the first year of life. There are many reasons for this, but among them is to help mothers continue to breastfeed. Sleeping in proximity and breastfeeding reinforce one another.

Mothers who choose to bed-share as part of their nighttime parenting can refer to the Safe Sleep Seven discussed in Sweet Sleep to assist in creating a safe sleeping environment. The Safe Sleep Seven as well as additional bed-sharing resources are available on the LLLI website at http://www.llli.org/sweetsleepbook/tearsheets.

Most importantly, partners, grandparents, pediatricians, and, really, all of us—need to recognize the pitfalls of asking if baby is sleeping through the night yet and to learn what healthy newborn sleep looks like, before offering advice to support a new mother.

References and Resources

  1. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, 8th Revised Edition. Schaumburg, Illinois: La Leche League International, 2010; 63-67, 114, 123, 133, 349-52, 411, 449.
  1. Mohrbacher, N.Breastfeeding Answers Made Simple: A Guide for Helping Mothers, Hale Pub. 2010.
  1. Colson, S. Biological nurturing: the laid-back breastfeeding revolution. Midwifery Today Spring 2012; Issue 101.
  1. La Leche League International. Biological Nurturing or Laid Back Breastfeeding”llli.org/btissue5pg04.
  1. Colson, S. What happens to breastfeeding when mothers lie backClinical Lactation. Fall 2010; Vol. 1.
  1. Biological Nurturing FAQ’s – www.biologicalnurturing.com/pages/faq.html.
  1. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Loving Support Through Peer Counseling curriculum.
  1. “Beyond Best Practice: Creating a Supportive Environment for Breastfeeding Mothers” conference. Lincoln, Nebraska. Oct. 25, 2016.