Here are 51 Ways to Save Money on Having a Baby

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Having children can be expensive. A recent study found that the average American will spend over $245,000 to raise a child from infancy to adult…and that’s not including the cost of psychotherapy bills when they mess them up.  That is a high enough price tag to deter some from starting a family altogether.  But it can be done if one does research, skip on the extra stuff and move wisely. A little while ago, TheBump.com compiled a list of 51 different things couples can do to save money before and after having their baby. We shared some on the blog with a link to check out the rest. Here it is again because the list if awesome and worth re-sharing!

1. Buy secondhand gear and clothes. – Consignment shops are often full of great maternity and baby clothes as well as gear and furniture.


2. Borrow a bassinet (or skip it altogether). – Most bassinets can only be used until baby starts rolling over, so try to find one that you can borrow for those few weeks.

3. Hold off.- If you aren’t sure which products will work best for baby (especially with bottles, pacifiers, even diapers), buy the minimum to start with, then stock up once you know baby’s preferences.

4. Limit the tests. -Not pregnant yet? Buy three (and no more than three) pregnancy tests to keep on hand. If you have a larger supply, you’re likely to wind up with a trash can full of them. (Believe us. We’ve been there.)

5. Go easy on the starter diapers. – Start with only one pack of newborn diapers. Baby may not even fit into them at the start, and he’ll grow fast.

6. Breastfeed as long as possible. -The cost of formula adds up. (And breast milk is great for baby!)

7. Pump.– Again, formula can get expensive.

8. Formula feeding? Ask for samples.– Be sure to head home from the hospital with samples (some now only give them upon request), and ask for samples at each visit to the pediatrician. Don’t be shy — it never hurts to ask.

9. Buy a convertible crib. – A crib that converts into a toddler bed will definitely save you some cash over the years.

10. Do your homework! – Research is essential to make sure you know which products give you the most bang for your buck.

11. Get mom (or aunt, or MIL…) to babysit. – Family can quickly turn into your most valuable childcare resource.

12. Buy in bulk. -You know you’ll need lots of some things (like diapers and formula). If you have the storage space, stock up to save cash.

13. Make your own baby food. – When baby starts to eat solids, toss cooked veggies into the blender with a bit of liquid, and save the meals in ice trays — the money you’ll save makes it worth the extra effort.

14. Forget the comforter. – Since baby won’t actually USE it, it isn’t really necessary.

15. Get crafty. – DIY projects take time, but they save cash (and add fun personal touches).

16. Forget the fancy toys. Baby will be content with smaller price tags (or spoons, pans, and cardboard boxes, for that matter).

17. Go without a changing table. – Instead, top the dresser with a changing pad and add a few wall shelves for storage.

18. Cook. – Eating out, ordering in, and frozen meals can eat up a lot of cash.
Read the rest at The Bump.com

Get to Know the Difference Between Engaging and Entertaining Children

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When it comes to spending time with children, do you spend your time engaging them, entertaining them or doing a little of both?  Before you can fully answer that question, you may need to explore the difference between the two.

When caregivers engage children their time is spent being actively involved with the kids.  Engaging children requires active participation from both the caregiver and the child. When caregivers actively play with children, they are engaging them.  Caregivers might engage children by playing blocks with them, dancing with them, playing a game with them, or being involved in dramatic play with them.


When caregivers entertain children their time is spent passively involved with the children. Entertaining children is not interactive. In fact, it’s mostly one-sided with the child fulfilling the role of audience. Entertainment requires observation. When caregivers take the children to the movies or put on a television show for them to watch, they are entertaining them.

The purpose of engaging children is to help focus their attention so that learning can happen. The purpose of entertaining is to create a pleasurable experience. Engagement involves children being creative and solving problems, while entertainment involves children watching others be creative and solve problems.  While some entertainment can be educational, that’s not its primary purpose.

For many caregivers, given the integration of technology in everyday life, it often requires some entertaining to get the children interested before you transition to engaging them. And while some learning may come from entertainment, when children are engaged, real and lasting learning occurs.

As you consider how you spend time with the children in your care, ask yourself:

  • Am I actively interacting with the children?
  • How does the entertainment I offer deepen or enhance their learning experience?
  •  Is the activity the children are doing designed to benefit them or me?
  • Am I nurturing the children’s sense of curiosity about themselves and their world?
  • Am I providing tools for hands-on learning?
  • Is technology trumping your relationship?
  • Are we going places more than doing things together?

If your answers lead you to believe the children would benefit from more engagement and less entertainment, consider spending more time engaging the children by:

  • Playing play-dough
  • Building blocks
  • Doing arts and crafts together
  • Playing board games
  • Having a tea party
  • Rolling a ball back and forth
  • Taking part in fantasy play
  • Playing outside
  • Putting on a puppet show
  • Baking cookies.

While having fun is certainly important, providing opportunities for interaction, hands-on learning and problem solving can create an environment that promotes active learning, which will yield lasting results.

 

10 Tips for Mixing and Matching Your Children’s Wardrobe with Essentials

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Winter is a great time to reassess and clean out the kids’ wardrobe and cycle out cool weather clothes and make sure the closet is  It’s also the perfect time to clean out the closets and make room for warmer clothes, and cycle out clothes that no longer fit.

To get some longevity out of your child’s wardrobe, before you invest in new clothes, though, take inventory of what your child still has that fits.  Either take pictures of these pieces or make yourself a list prior to going shopping so you don’t double up on the same items.  To maximize her wardrobe, you will want to buy pieces that coordinate with the ones that she already has.

  1. Jeans are a must.  Jeans are a wardrobe staple that match just about everything, so having a few pairs on hand is never a bad thing. Colored jeans are all the rage right now, so make sure to pick up at least one pair of those.  Stick to a few pairs of basic blue jeans as well so that they can be mixed and matched with tops.
  2. Leggings are great for girls. For girls, leggings are a must wear item.  They can be paired with a cute dress or a long shirt, or they can be worn under a shorter skirt.  Choose basic colors like navy, black, and white when buying leggings so that you can mix and match them easily.
  3. A basic white shirt goes with everything.  For both boys and girls, buying a basic white shirt is a closet staple. The white shirt doesn’t have to be a plain t-shirt though, and you can buy girls a pretty blouse and boys a white button-down or polo.  Make sure to use bleach when you wash these because a bright white shirt looks great, but a dingy gray one does not.
  4. Underwear and socks are very important.  As kids grow it’s often overlooked if they need bigger underwear or new socks.  See how your child’s are fitting and assess if she needs some new ones.
  5. A jacket or hoodie will allow kids to layer.  Fall is an especially tricky time to dress for the weather since it frequently changes throughout the day, so putting your kids in layers will help them stay comfortable all day long. Winter definitely requires layers. If it’s a little cool in the morning when he walks to school a jacket or hoodie will keep him warm, but you don’t want to dress him in a sweatshirt because by afternoon it will have warmed up and he will be hot.  Sometimes the air conditioning in schools can seem too cold to some so having a way to keep the chill off will make your child more comfortable.
  6. Tennis shoes are a must for gym class.  Kids don’t necessarily need the latest and greatest brand name shoes, but they do need shoes that fit well and allow them to move quickly with ease.  Whatever your budget, it’s important that the shoes fit and support her growing feet.
  7. Boys will need a pair of nicer slacks.  Sometimes schools will take the kids on a field trip to see a play or musical and ask that they dress up for the event.  Having a pair of dress slacks that can be paired with the basic white shirt that you’ve already bought will give them an easy option when they need to look a little nicer.
  8. Girls may need a dress.  This dress does not have to be overly frilly and full of ruffles, but it shouldn’t be too casual either.  Find something comfortable that would be age appropriate for your girl.
  9. Dress shoes are needed.  To go with the boys’ dress pants and with the girls’ dress a pair of dress shoes is needed.  Unlike the tennis shoes that will most likely be worn almost every day, the dress shoes can be inexpensive if they aren’t going to be worn frequently.  Buy something very basic, like a black or brown shoe that can be worn with most colors.
  10. A winter coat is a must in most climates.  Some areas of the country will use this more often than others, but most areas will need a winter coat at some point during the year.  How heavy the coat is will be determined by where you live.  If you have almost six months of winter, like in the Midwest and Northern states, you will want to get a coat that is heavy or has several separate layers. Warmer climates may only need a light parka.

Buying clothes in basic colors can extend her wardrobe and increase her ability to mix and match her clothes.  Adding a hoodie to an outfit will change the entire look of an outfit.  Having shirts that can be worn with jeans, leggings, or a skirt will give her the versatility to make different looks throughout the year.  While these are just the basics, you should also plan to pick up a few special items for picture day or other times when she wants to look especially nice.      

MLK Day: 5 Ways to Celebrate with Your Kids

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Keep the Dream Alive
“He wanted all the brown kids and white kids to like each other.”
“He wanted everybody to sit on the bus wherever they want.”
“He had a dream and it was so big and then he died.”

In honor of the gifts Dr. King gave our nation, try these five creative ways to help children celebrate his vision of hope and sense of humanity.


1. Create a Multicultural Banquet!

One of Martin Luther King’s greatest achievements was his ability to help Americans appreciate diversity. Celebrate his birthday with an eclectic holiday dinner featuring cuisine from different countries or geographical regions. Serve Puerto Rican rice-and-beans, Boston clam chowder, a Chinese stir-fry, and a peach pie from Dr. King’s native Atlanta. The variations on this theme are endless, and the dinner doesn’t need to be time-consuming. You can achieve almost the same effect by stopping for takeout from Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell, and your local pizza parlor (Italian or Greek).

2. Decorate with Many Colors

What’s a birthday party without decorations? Here’s a great MLK Day activity to do with younger children: Make the classic paper chains using black, white, red, yellow, and brown construction paper to represent the various skin tones found across our nation. Show kids the symbolism behind the craft: “Each link represents a hand, and our chain reminds us that Dr. King joined hands with people of all colors when he marched for freedom.” A variation on this theme: Children can trace their own hands, then color them in using different skin-tone shaded crayons.

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This Desktop App Lets You Control Your Kids’ Screentime

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Screen time just got easier with a new social information sharing platform for parents that allows them to select appropriate content for their children to see while their online.

Smartfeed is a relatively new desktop interface that allows users to search over 27,000 movies, TV shows, apps and books and curate them all on one profile for each child. Parents can also select from among recommendations left by Smartfeed’s staff of educational professionals.


Here is an example of the categories:

Users can filter by source – Netflix, Xfinity, Apple and more. The social part comes into play when users share titles and playlists with another.

Also, the lists/profile you make for each kid makes it easier for your sitter, your in-laws or your child’s playdate to know what’s cool to play for screen time when a parent is away.

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To start, select specific characteristics, likes and interest of a child and the algorithm does its magic and presents a series of recommendations for you. If you want, you can click a link and be taken to one external site to order the video, app, book or movie.

I’ve already set up a profile for one of my kids and will finish off with the other two.

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Alison Wong’s ‘New Mom Comics’ Is Now a Published Book!

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I just discovered Alison Wong‘s comic strip series, New Mom Comics when it was fairly new last summer and I also just discovered that she has just released them in a new published book!

When I first saw the hilarious chronicles of the VERY RELATABLE look at the real life up and downs, joys and funny neurotic moments of life as a first time new mom, I was instantly hooked. Now you can get them all for $17.95 over at Amazon.com in her new book, “New Mom Comics: The First Year.”

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Wong and her husband are parents to a one year old son and the illustrator genius said in the caption of one of her strips that she uses the comics to help her stay connected to those first tender months of her son’s life.new mom1

And they grew fast in popularity because of how on point they are. Here are 10 of my faves! I recommend “liking” her Facebook page or subscribing to her blog so you can get updates when she posts a new strip! I did!new mom9 new mom8 new mom7 new mom6

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Yak, Hum, Xman, Scar, Npeter on Top Posh Baby Names List

Jennifer Lopez arrives at the airport and boards a plane with Emme Anthony on April 26 in Paris, France. (Photo: Fame Pictures)

Tatler magazine has produced a list of the best posh baby names for 2017, divided by gender.

The site assures readers every name is real, including Yak, Scar, Quail, Xman and even Npeter (with a silent N).

I tell you what? All of these sent our autocorrecter into a little tizzy!

Here are Tatler’s list of the most posh baby names for girls:

  1. Alfreda
  2. Blanche
  3. Czar-Czar
  4. Debonaire
  5. Estonia
  6. Figgy
  7. Gethsemane
  8. Hum
  9. Idabelle
  10. Jori
  11. Koala
  12. Lark
  13. Monaveen
  14. Nancy
  15. Opal
  16. Power
  17. Queenie
  18. Rara
  19. Scar
  20. Tansy
  21. Una
  22. Vervain
  23. Wendy
  24. Xanathe
  25. Yellow
  26. Xenia

Tatler’s posh baby names for boys

  1. Aubyn
  2. Barclay
  3. Cassar
  4. David
  5. Euripides
  6. Fenston
  7. Gustav
  8. Hickman
  9. Innsbruck
  10. John
  11. Kenneth
  12. Ludlow
  13. Mao
  14. Npeter (the ‘N’ is silent)
  15. Ormerod
  16. Prince
  17. Quail
  18. Ra
  19. Stourton
  20. Titus
  21. Uxorious
  22. Victory
  23. Wigbert
  24. Xman
  25. Yak
  26. Zenedee

Tatler urges its readers to help bring back these names, some of which are historic smsquirw archaic.

Any of these strike your fanct?

What Parents with Overweight Children Need to Know

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It’s no secret that America has a childhood obesity epidemic.

The health risks that can accompany childhood obesity are so regularly featured on news reports that it’s amazing the problem is still so prevalent. And although many parents can identify a weight problem in their child, they might not know what to do about it, especially when it comes to handling the situation without damaging her self-esteem.


Here is some food for thought, reprinted with permission, for parents of overweight children, along with some practical, real-life advice for handling the situation.

Your Doctor Might Not Tell You

Your doctor might not let you know that your child is overweight or obese. This may be because he assumes you do not want to know. As a parent, it is easy to turn a blind eye to things like your kids being overweight or even when your kids develop a bad habit. If you have a suspicion that your child is overweight, you should approach your doctor about it. This will show him that you are interested in learning more about the issue and are willing to work with his suggestions on what to change or tweak in your child’s life.

You Are Not Alone

Sometimes it’s difficult to realize that you are not the only one with overweight kids. There are others out there who are just as concerned as you are and who are willing to share their wisdom. Search out those other parents and work together to achieve a common goal. That extra support is just the thing you need to keep on track, and having another overweight child working toward becoming a healthier size will help put your child at ease and encourage her to work hard at losing that extra weight.

Exercise Is Always a Good Thing

Not everyone enjoys exercise, but it’s essential for kids’ health and physical development. Come up with an exercise schedule that everyone in the household sticks to. There’s no reason to send your kid off to the gym for an aerobics class while you sit at home. Make it a family event that everyone looks forward to. If everyone likes to do something different, then create a schedule that includes all of the activities throughout the week. Working together as a family not only creates a built-in support system, it can also boost the health of everyone in the family and gives you an opportunity to model the habits you want your child to adopt.

She Shouldn’t Have to Make Changes Alone

Along the same lines as exercising with your child, don’t make them go through any aspect of this experience alone. Singling him out will just create tension and remorse that doesn’t need to be there at all. If the doctor says he needs to change his diet, change the diet of your entire family. Clean out that pantry of the junk food and fill it with healthier alternatives, encouraging everyone to eat better. Even members of your family at an average weight can benefit from cutting out the empty calories.

Some Foods Should Be Avoided

Going out for fast food three times a week is a bad habit to get into, regardless of how convenient it might be for time-strapped parents. All of the grease that is typical of fast food has no place in a child’s diet. And, keep in mind the word “diet” does not mean counting calories and starving your child. She still needs a decent amount of food. After all, she is growing and changing. With how much energy children burn throughout each day, chances are they need to eat more food than you would expect. They just need healthier fare than deep-fried potatoes and genetically modified meat.

Counting Calories Isn’t Always Right for Kids

The strict course of counting calories is a lot of pressure to put on a child and will single them out more than their weight already does. Stress can even be a trigger for kids and adults who are prone to emotional eating. So skip the added stress of counting calories and think about ways to instill healthier habits as a whole.

Your Child May Have Low Self-Esteem

It is possible that your child is being picked on at school or being made fun of by his peers because he is overweight, and he may very well be too embarrassed about the bullying to tell you about it. Sometimes kids don’t even necessarily mean to be cruel, but it can still feel that way to your child when his differences are being highlighted at every turn. If you think your child may be being picked on at school, speak with the guidance counselor to see what she has noticed and what she suggests that you do, but make sure that you’re making efforts to boost his self-esteem at home as well.

It’s Okay to Embrace Your Child’s Weight

Most importantly, embrace the way your child is no matter what. She should feel comfortable with who she is no matter what her weight is and understand that your focus on her weight is out of concern for her health rather than an emphasis on her looks. Just because she is overweight doesn’t mean she’s not a good child, and she needs to know that.

These 5 Tips Will Help Prevent Your Child from Catching a Cold

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It’s inevitable that from time to time you and your child will be exposed to people who have a cold or who are spreading airborne germs.  While the odds are that your child will catch the occasional cold, there are certainly a few ways to reduce the number of colds that she gets.

  1. Try to keep ahead of the germs.  Disinfecting wipes or a water and bleach solution can be used for this task.  Make sure that you are regularly cleaning door knobs, handles, cabinets, toys, and anything else that little hands might come into contact with.  For every gallon of water, 1 ½ teaspoons of bleach should be added to create a solution to disinfect surfaces and toys. For diapering and toileting areas, 1 tablespoon of bleach can be added to 1 gallon of water. Let the bleach solution sit for 2 minutes before wiping it down.  If you are worried about your child coming into contact with chemicals, look for all-natural sanitizing solutions.  You’ll also want to make sure that everyone in the house frequently washes their hands with warm water and soap.
  2. Change toothbrushes often.  Toothbrushes can harbor germs and re-infect your child if the germs are not killed.  Dentists recommend that toothbrushes be replaced every 3 months if you are healthy, more often if you are not.  Toothbrushes should also be replaced after an illness. To kill germs soak the toothbrush in antiseptic mouthwash for 5 minutes or run your toothbrush through the dishwasher.  Warning: Boiling your toothbrush or running it through the dishwasher will wear out the bristles faster.
  3. Feed your child a healthy diet.  If your child eats a proper diet it will strengthen his immune system and he will be better able to fight off cold-causing germs.  Make sure he eats plenty of fruits and vegetables, as these contain the proper vitamins and minerals needed to build up his body’s natural defenses.  Eating foods high in vitamins is better for absorption of those vitamins than taking vitamin tablets.
  4. Encourage your child to drink plenty of water.  Water not only keeps your body hydrated during the very dry winter season, but it helps your body flush out unwanted toxins.  Water also helps your lymph system run better, which is part of your body’s immune system, and it fights off illness.
  5. Make sure your child gets enough sleep.  Sleeping is extremely important, and most people don’t get enough of it.  Doctors recommend that children sleep 10-11 hours per night.  A lack of sleep can affect how well your child grows because the body produces a growth hormone during sleep.  Digestion also takes place during sleep.  Bodies need this down time to recover and rebuild after a busy day of being a kid.  By getting enough sleep the body is better prepared to fight off germs.

These Are The Most Expensive Children’s Items

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A little while ago, we used to publish a list of the most expensive baby and maternity items on a biennial basis. They were very popular features. In a throwback to those posts, here are the most expensive baby or child items (or closest to the top) that are out these days.

Most Expensive Clothing for a baby or child– Mischka Aoki sells a sleeveless drss with silk satin top panels of macramé lace that is also embellished with Swarovski crystals and pearls. The layered and ruffle skirt panel dress with a train comes with a garment bag and costs a whopping $15,806! Get it at LUISAVIAROMA.


 

For a young gentleman, a Burberry flight jacket made of tartan wool, shearling lining and zip cuffs with leather trims will run a mom or dad $3,195.  Get it at Burberry!
Most Expensive Diaper bag – Burberry also sells a top of the line diaper bag  made of a combination of rich leather and familiar cotton twill checks. The bag comes with a removal shoulder strap, has double top zip closure and protective metal feet. It has an inside zip compartment and divider pocket. The leather and cotton imported bag costs $1,495. Get it at Saks Fifth Avenue!
Most Expensive Crib – Nursery Works has designed an oval solid maple crib that converts to a bassinet by removing front and back panels. The $7,500 crib is made in Los Angeles but comes with an oval coco core mattress from Pure by Babyletto and is Oeko-tex certified non-toxic, made in Slovenia. Get it at 2Modern!
Most Expensive Stroller– There are a lot of high end strollers out there but Bugaboo’s  Donkey Twin Stroller Bundle which includes 1 sun canopy 1 bassinet apron is a hefty $1,885–1,975, depending on accessories. Get it at diapers.com!
If you have it and can afford to spend that much on top of the line, quality items, why not, right?