The Best Pregnancy (and swollen foot) Shoes

So, I know I’m only 7 months pregnant and maybe I shouldn’t be recommending things for pregnancy but, I have a load of experience with swollen feet. I have this disease called Lymphodemia where the lymph system doesn’t work quite right in my body. Basically it shows primarily in my left foot and it shows by swelling. Lots of it. Certain friends in high school named it (and me by proxy) Godzilla because of how big it would get. In summation, I have a lot (8 years or so) of experience with swollen feet.

I got used to accommodating my foot. I buy larger shoe sizes for boots and during the summer I mostly stick to my flip flops. The problem lay when it was too hot for boots but flip flops were not acceptable. During those times I would just suck it up and stuff my foot into ballet flats that cut into my skin (if I bought them bigger they just fell off).

Anyways, fast forward to last year during my internship. I interned at a child development center and one of the requirements was closed toed flat shoes. I wore tennis shoes often and ballet flats when I wasn’t in the classrooms. However, one lovely day I was playing with Wheatley in a field in front of our apartment and fell into a divot and sprained my ankle. Very badly. When I say badly, I mean my ankle swelled to the size of a softball (no exaggeration) and almost down to my heel. I wish I had a picture but, it was really gross looking. None of my flats had enough support to wear with my ankle the way it was and my tennis shoes cut into my swollen ankle rather painfully.

 

So what do I recommend for extremely swollen feet?

Shoes made out of elastic.

I didn’t even know elastic shoes existed but, we took the trek down to the BX (Base Exchange for you non-military brats) and looked at the shoes with the budget of “I’m in constant pain, fix it.” Luckily, we actually found shoes, the Sugarfoot Twisted, for a great price: $14.99 (the website has them for $16.98) .

Enlarged product view

They fit around my softball-sized ankle and have really great support in them. Unfortunately, they do not sell them anymore (probably because they aren’t the cutest on the market) but, I found these from Amazon that look pretty similar and even cuter.

I wear them whenever it is warm enough to not be in boots. They swell with my bloated pregnancy/lymphodemic feet and are so cozy!

What did you do to help make your pregnancy more comfortable? What products to do swear by?

xoxo,

Kels

 

Fitness during Pregnancy

I’ve had a pretty fun past few days. We planted the garden on Saturday and then it snowed Sunday! Really? It was 74 last week. Then I was sick Sunday night… and Monday night. I think Little C rolls on or into my stomach and makes me want to puke. I just remind myself I am so very grateful for this baby.

Onto the article of the day. I thought I’d continue the health theme and share a paper I wrote about a year ago for my Pregnancy and Infancy class at BYU (please don’t plagiarize it but honestly, I wouldn’t know either way, it’s just bad form).

Here is a quick summary for those who aren’t interested in the academia speak:

There are tons of benefits for both the mother and child if a woman exercises while she is pregnant. Any amount of exercise is good but, it is generally recommended to switch to low impact workouts or, if you weren’t active before, to slowly start an exercise program with guidance from your doctor.

So, what are the benefits you may ask? First of all shorter labor. Women who worked out had an average of 30 minutes less of labor. Now, that’s not huge, but I bet during labor it’d be pretty nice. You’re also less likely to have a c-section. I don’t know how many of you that’s encouraging to, but I don’t want to have a c-section so I’ll offer it as incentive. There are the benefits during labor, but there’s also benefits during pregnancy and postpartum. You’ll have less weight gain during pregnancy (obviously), but you’ll also (statistically) retain less weight postpartum! Maybe I’m vain, but I like the idea of that. The final benefit mommies is that exercise reduces negative emotions (like anxiety or depression), just like they do before you’re pregnant!

What about your darling baby who is the whole point of the debacle? Guess what? You get to start taking care of him/her before they come. So, if you work out, your baby should have a higher placental weight. To contrast that, low placental weight is associated with blood problems and smaller than average children. The baby will also be at a lower risk for pre-term birth (why this is bad?).  Yeah exercise!

Here are my favorite pregnancy exercise videos to give you some encouragement:

I didn’t work out the first two months of my pregnancy but, around the third I started feeling better and started doing 10 minute workout videos every night. During month 5 I moved up to 20 minute workout videos. This isn’t a lot but, it wears me out.

So, tell me gals, what do you do to keep fit during pregnancy?

xoxo,

Kels

 

Below is my entire paper for more info:

The Benefits of Exercise during Pregnancy

Introduction

            The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states, in the absence of either medical or obstetric complications, 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise a day on most, if not all, days of the week is recommended for pregnant women” (Women’s Health Care Physicians, 2009, line 6 – 8). But, what are the benefits for pregnant women who exercise? This paper explains the mental and physical benefit to mothers as well as the benefits for babies if a women exercises while pregnant.

Synthesized Review of Literature

Benefits to Mother

Delivery Outcomes

Labor is a very difficult and painful time for women and many women would love to shorten their labor times. Ghodsi, Asltoghiri, and Hajiloomohajerani (2011) found that women who completed light intensity training three times a week for 30 to 45 minutes had shorter first stage labor times. There was not a large difference however. Women who trained had between 4.18 hours to 6.9 hours of labor whereas non-training women had labor between 4.7 hours and 7.5 hours of labor. There was no difference in second stage labor times. However, with thirty minutes less time in first stage labor, one may presume that a mother would have more energy to complete second stage labor. More research is needed to see if more exercise, such as the amount the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends, will lead to wider differences in labor times.

Women that are active are also less likely to have a cesarean section. Price, Amini, and Kappeler found that only 6% of their subjects that were active had cesarean section compared to 32% of the women in their control group (2012, p. 2267) Cesarean sections are invasive and also lead to longer recovery times and thus are a detriment to mothers.

Mental and Physical Benefits

There are many benefits to the mental and physical state of the mother, if the mother exercises during pregnancy. Haakstad and Bo (2011) found that not only did women who participated in an exercise program gain less weight during pregnancy but they also had significantly lower weight retention postpartum. This is both a physical benefit, for obvious reasons, and a mental benefit for women who place value on being a certain weight and bouncing back from their pregnancy weight quickly. This study also studied an exercise program that had less than the recommended amount of exercise. This study’s program consisted of aerobic exercise for 60 minutes twice a week. More research is needed to see if the benefits continue with more exercise.

Furthermore, Guszkowska, Langwald, and Sempolska compared exercise to relaxation techniques and showed that both resulted in, “the emotional state of pregnant women improve[ing]” (2013, p. 129). However, there were notable differences in the way each variable affected the women. Guszkowska, Langwald, and Sempolska state:

Relaxation caused a distinct decrease of negative emotional states – anxiety and tense arousal and an increase of hedonic tone – while energetic arousal did not increase. In the physical exercise group, the decrease in anxiety and tension was smaller, the increase in pleasure feeling was not as distinctive, but the increase in energetic arousal was more significant …Therefore, physical exercise seems to be less effective in reducing negative emotional states than relaxation sessions, but more successful in increasing positive states. (2013, p.129)

Women that have anxiety and depression benefit more from relaxation techniques because of the decrease in negative emotions but also benefit from exercise as a way of lowering the amount of anxiety and depression they feel while raising their energy levels. Women who feel lethargic and exhausted during pregnancy benefit most from exercise because they feel “a surge of vitality, vigour and vital energy” (Guszkowska, Langwald, and Sempolska, 2013, p. 130). Thus women who exercise during pregnancy, contrary to what one would suppose, feel more energized rather than more fatigued.

Benefits to Baby

Many women are more concerned about how their actions during pregnancy will affect their baby more than themselves. Exercise during pregnancy also benefits the baby. Firstly, Price, Amini, and Kappeler found that, “[a]lthough the exercise regimen was vigorous enough to improve fitness, it had no adverse effect on overall pregnancy length, fetal birth weight, Apgar scores, or placenta weight compared with sedentary controls” (2012, p. 2267). Thus, women seeking to change from a sedentary lifestyle to an active lifestyle during pregnancy can do so without risking harm to their baby. Price, Amini, and Kappeler furthered their research by stating, “placenta weight was slightly higher in the active group, consistent with evidence that exercise augments placental growth during early and mid pregnancy” (2012, p.2267).  Low placental weight is associated with short umbilical cord length and velamentous cord insertion (McNamara, Hutcheon, Platt, Benjamin, and Kramer, 2014, p. 102). It is also associated with “high hemoglobin values in neonates and lower-than-expected body size in later childhood” (Naeye, 1987, p.387)

Other findings suggest that maternal exercise while pregnant decreases the risk of pre-term delivery. Guendelman, Pearl, Kosa, Graham, Abrams, and Kharrazi found that, “each incremental hour per week of moderate exercise during the second trimester was associated with a reduced risk of PTD. Furthermore, the benefits of moderate exercise appeared strongest for those with a pre-pregnancy BMI C 24 kg/m2” (2013, p.726). While exercise benefits babies from all mothers, mothers were overweight before pregnancy benefit even more than those that had normal weight. Owe, Stigum, Nystad, and Bo’s findings also support this claim. They found that engaging in regular exercise during pregnancy shifts the GA distribution slightly upward resulting in a moderately reduced risk of preterm births and a few more postterm births  (2012, p.1072)

Application

            It is evident that exercise is beneficial for both a pregnant woman and perinatal baby. There

are multiple applications for this research.
Delivery Outcomes for Mother
Mothers that are at risk for long labors and cesarean sections would benefit from exercise

(Ghodsi, Asltoghiri, and Hajiloomohajerani, 2011 and Price, Amini, and Kappeler, 2012). Labor is

generally a long an arduous process and any woman would benefit from shortening it. However, first

time mothers, who generally have longer labors, will benefit from the shortening the most Long

labors can lead to exhaustion and necessitate non-natural labors in mothers that wish to have natural

labors. Doctors, midwives, and birthing class instructors can also this as an incentive to mothers to

exercise. One of the most dreaded parts of pregnancy is the long labor. Pregnant women that are not

encouraged to exercise by the other benefits noted may exercise to reduce their own pain.
 Mental and Physical Benefits to Mother
Pregnant women can benefit physically and mentally from exercise and relaxation training

(Guszkowska, Langwald, and Sempolska, 2013). Birthing class teachers can learn from this research

and encourage or implement exercise and relaxation training to lower stress levels. Doctors that are

treating clinically depressed or anxious mothers should encourage and teach relaxation techniques

and/or exercise either as an alternative to medication or in conjunction with lower medication dosage

depending on the severity of the depression and anxiety and the type of medication the mother is

taking. Stress during pregnancy can result in low birth weight or preterm delivery which leads to

possible negative outcomes for the infant, so, it is important to decrease stress for pregnant women.

The encouraged exercise and resulting invigoration is also beneficial for women who feel extremely

lethargic, which is common during pregnancy.

Women can encourage themselves to participate in exercise programs by committing to work

out with a pregnant friend or their partner. There are also many gyms that offer pregnancy work-out
classes that women can participate in and gain not only the benefits mentioned here of exercise but

also the benefits of having an emotional support group.

Benefits to Baby

Babies benefit from having healthy and happy mothers, which exercise during pregnancy adds to. But, babies also benefit physically from their mother exercising. Pregnant women who exercise at least one hour a week decrease their risk of preterm delivery (Guendelman, Pearl, Kosa, Graham, Abrams, and Kharrazi, 2012). “This modest amount of exercise seems clinically important given that women are mainly sedentary and PTD remains a leading cause of infant morbidity and mortality” (Guendelman, Pearl, Kosa, Graham, Abrams, and Kharrazi, 2012, p.726). Furthermore, according to the Mayo Clinic, preterm delivery can cause breathing problems, heart problems, brain problems, temperature control problems, gastrointestinal problems, blood problems, metabolism problems, immune system problems, cerebral palsy, impaired cognitive skills, vision problems, hearing problems, dental problems, behavioral and psychological problems, or other chronic health issues (2014). By exercising a woman can decrease the chances that her child will suffer from these because of their decreased chance of preterm delivery.

Conclusion

Numerous studies show that exercise during pregnancy is beneficial to both mother anc child (Ghodsi, Asltoghiri, and Hajiloomohajerani, 2011, Guendelman, Pearl, Kosa, Graham, Abrams, and Kharrazi, 2013, Guszkowska, Langwald, and Sempolska, 2013, Haakstad and Bø, 2011, Owe, Stigum, Nystad, and Bø, 2012, Price, Amini, and Kappeler, 2012). Doctors, midwives, and birthing instructors should all encourage exercise to those women who are able to do so. Pregnant women should understand the benefits of exercising during pregnancy and not believe in the myth that exercise hurts infants.

References

Ghodsi, Z., Asltoghiri, M., & Hajiloomohajerani, M. (2011). Exercise and pregnancy: Duration of labor stages and Perinea tear rates. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 31, 441-445. Retrieved March 8, 2015, fromhttp://www.sciencedirect.com.erl.lib.byu.edu/science/article/pii/S1877042811030114#

Guendelman, S., Pearl, M., Kosa, J. L., Graham, S., Abrams, B., & Kharrazi, M. (2013). Association between preterm delivery and pre-pregnancy body mass (BMI), exercise and sleep during pregnancy among working women in Southern California. Maternal And Child Health Journal, 17(4), 723-731. doi:10.1007/s10995-012-1052-5

Guszkowska, M., Langwald, M., & Sempolska, K. (2013). Influence of a relaxation session and an exercise class on emotional states in pregnant women. Journal of Reproductive And Infant Psychology, 31(2), 121-133. doi:10.1080/02646838.2013.784897

Haakstad, L. H., & Bø, K. (2011). Effect of regular exercise on prevention of excessive weight gain in pregnancy: A randomised controlled trial. The European Journal Of Contraception And Reproductive Health Care, 16(2), 116-125. doi:10.3109/13625187.2011.560307

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2014, November 27). Premature Birth: Complications. Retrieved March 9, 2015, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/premature-birth/basics/complications/con-20020050

McNamara, H., Hutcheon, J. A., Platt, R. W., Benjamin, A., & Kramer, M. S. (2014). Risk Factors for High and Low Placental Weight. Paediatric & Perinatal Epidemiology, 28(2), 97-105. doi:10.1111/ppe.12104

Naeye, R. (1987). Do placental weights have clinical significance? Human Pathology, 387-391.

Owe, K., Stigum, H., Nystad, W., & Bø, K. (2012). Does Exercise during Pregnancy Affect Gestational lenght at Birth. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 44(6), 1067-1074. Retrieved March 8, 2015, from OvidSP.

Price, B., Amini, S., & Kappeler, K. (2012). Exercise in Pregnancy: Effect on Fitness and Obstetric Outcomes—A Randomized Trial. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 44(12), 2263-2269. Retrieved March 7, 2015, from OvidSP.

Women’s Health Care Physicians. (2009, January 1). Retrieved March 7, 2015, fromhttp://www.acog.org/Resources-And-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Obstetric-Practice/Exercise-During-Pregnancy-and-the-Postpartum-Period

My Spring/Summer Goals

This post includes affiliated links. Basically, I make some money if you buy something and it doesn’t cost you anything extra.

I’m a goal-oriented kind of girl. I like to have an idea of what I want to do. Now, knowing that I’m due with my first child in June, you’re probably wondering: isn’t that work enough? The answer is no. There are never enough projects. There is never too much to be striving for. On the other hand, that mindset does lead to the problem that  I start a billion projects and finish three. It is an awful habit that I am really trying to break but, alas, I like starting projects and working towards goals too much.

So, here are my projects and goals for this spring/summer time and hopefully this blog will keep me on track.

  1. A Redhead Married a Geek Blog. This is a project. I’ve started a couple of blogs and they usually fail after like 5 posts in 5 days. I just get too lazy to write, which is sad because I love it once I start! I’ve already made it longer than I ever have before which is a full month. I told myself after one month I could start hosting instead of having it as aredheadmarriedageek.wordpress.com but, I have yet to make the switch. I need to look into it more so, maybe by April I’ll have made a decision on how I want to go about hosting my own website.
  2. 20 Books in 12 Months. I’m already behind on this because I started in late February instead of in January. I actually think I’ll be able to keep this one because I am a big reader, I just normally read unpublished books that I can get on my phone so, for some reason I don’t count those. I want to read classics and books that stretch my brain. I’m currently 150ish pages into “The Explorers Guild” by Jon Baird and Kevin Costner. It’s 763 pages. I probably should’ve started with something shorter but, it is really interesting so far. I’m going to read a couple of books concurrently as well. I love to read in shower (I’ll lay down like I’m taking a bath and hold my phone on the outside of the curtain. It is the best is warm forever unlike baths). But, I can’t hold a massive 700+ page book in one hand so, I’ve downloaded some free books on my Kindle app and I’ll read those.
  3. Refresh my French. Beat DuolingoMy first language is English, my second French, and my third Russian. I am fluent in none of them… just kidding. I am fluent in English and I could get on well enough in Russian and I used to be able to get on well enough in French but, when I learned Russian, French took a back seat. Now, when I try to speak French sometimes the Russian words will come out instead. (I think my brain goes into foreign language mode and just chooses whichever word comes to mind first). So, I’d like to refresh my French and speak it to Little C. (I think French will be a little more useful than Russian). I’m using the app Duolingo to help. I don’t know if you can actually beat Duolingo or if it just keeps getting progressively harder, so we’ll see about that part of the goal.
  4. Participate in my community moreI wrote a post earlier about all the cool things that my community does, that I had no idea about! It got me really excited. So, I want to be more involved in my community by doing the activities they host. We already go to the farmer’s market whenever it opens but, there are so many cool things to do! Monday we are going to a Tesla Coil Class at the Library. I am so stoked.
  5. Baby Curriculum. This is a huge one that I think I am absolutely going to adore but, really has to wait until I have Little C to try my ideas with. It’s still just a vague brain child of an idea so, you’ll have to wait and see what it entails.
  6. Be Healthy. This is a broad goal that I’ve already started working on in this post and this meal plan. I want to be a good weight for my height and body type but, more importantly, I want to be getting all the nutrients and exercise I need. I’ve been doing pretty good at working out 10-20 minutes a day or walking at least 30 minutes but, that is still a goal I have to maintain as well as healthy eating.
  7. Craft! This is always a goal for me. It goes back to my ‘start a billion projects and finish 5’ problem. Right now, I have a yellow baby blanket I started 2 years ago sitting in my crochet basket (along with the beige baby blanket for Little C that I actually will finish) and the start of a sewn rocket ship stuffed toy that I started 2 weeks ago. Those aren’t including the sewing projects I bought fabric and patterns for and never started or the junk I’ve collect because ‘this could work to make so and so.’ Just today I bought primer to paint our bookshelf (something I’ve wanted to do for almost a year). I’m going to paint our bookshelf starting tomorrow. It is my weekend project and it is going to be awesome. One of my goals is to finish more crafts, especially crafts for Little C. (Which I’ve already started by making a carrier for him which is pictured above).
  8. Not have a black thumb. My final goal is another goal that I try and fail at every year: the garden. I have a black thumb. It is the truth. I think my problem has been that I try to shoot above my ability because I grew up watching my wonderfully green thumbed mother in her beautiful vegetable garden and her flowery landscaping. (Her goal is to one day have a garden as beautiful as temple square, my goal is to not have things die). This year we are going to try for strawberries, spinach, basil and cilantro.

Bonus Goal (because it isn’t for the spring/summer): Lose all my baby weight by Christmas. I’m hoping I’ll do it faster but, my goal is to be 140 pounds by Christmas. I am 6 months preggo right now and 161. (I was actually 145 before I got pregnant, so, I’ve only gained 16ish pounds but, my goal is 140).

What are your goals for the year? Or do you prefer to sit back and take it as it comes like Mr. B does? (I think it’s less stressful this way – Mr B)

xoxo,

Kels

Nutrition in Young Children

I often write articles for NAFCC (The National Association for Family Child Care). Here is the article I wrote for this month’s featured standard (NAFCC requires their accredited providers to meet certain standards to be accredited with them).

4.73 The provider serves nutritious and sufficient food following Child and Adult Care Food Program guidelines. If parents bring food, the provider assures that it is nutritious or supplements it.

Young children’s stomachs are only about the size of their fists. This is why small but frequent feedings work best. Try to feed your toddler ever 3 or so hours. A child’s body uses nutrients from food to function properly throughout the day. Children that are fed a healthy diet can learn, grow, and play!

Some of the benefits of good nutrition in children are:

  • A healthy weight for their height
  • Mental well-being
  • Ability to concentrate
  • Strong bones and muscles
  • Good energy levels
  • The ability to fight off sickness and disease
  • Easier recovery from illness or injury
  • Lower risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, joint problems, breathing problems, and obesity

Remember that offering nutritious food is not enough. It is important to encourage learning about good nutrition so, that older children can learn to make good decisions on their own.

Tips for encouraging healthy learning:

  • Offer a variety of healthy foods so children don’t see healthy foods as boring foods.
  • Expect children to like new foods but, don’t be discouraged if they don’t. It takes multiple tries for children to adjust to the texture and taste of new foods.
  • Encourage children to eat slowly and enjoy their food.
  • Allow the children to determine how much they eat. Encourage them to listen to their bodies and when their bodies tell them they are full.
  • Avoid using food as a reward or a punishment.
  • Use real food labels in imaginary play areas. Encourage and teach older children to read labels.
  • Encourage children to safely help prepare health meals and snacks.

While children may spend a great deal of time in your care, parents have a huge impact on the health of their children. Encourage parents to continue offering healthy choices at home. Make sure to offer them a menu so they can plan their meals  and supplement the nutrients the child is already getting in your care. Offer parents a copy of the CACFP Meal Pattern. This offers a simplified checklist for busy parents to make sure they are providing all the food groups their child needs.

The above tips are not all inclusive.  After all, there are Many Right Ways! Find your own creative ways to encourage children to eat healthily and teach them about the importance of good nutrition.

For more helpful information conduct your own internet search or visit the sites listed below.

http://healthymeals.nal.usda.gov/cacfp-wellness-resources-child-care-providers

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/

http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/kids/eating-nutrition/healthy-eating/nutrition-healthy-eating-for-kids.html

Resources:

Chan, By Amanda. “10 Ways to Promote Kids’ Healthy Eating Habits.”LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 22 Sept. 2011. Web. 22 Feb. 2016. <http://www.livescience.com/35876-kids-healthy-eating-tips.html>.

Editorial Staff. “Nutrition: Healthy Eating for Kids.” Nutrition: Healthy Eating for Kids. American Academy of Family Physicians, Mar. 2015. Web. 22 Feb. 2016. <http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/kids/eating-nutrition/healthy-eating/nutrition-healthy-eating-for-kids.html>.

“Healthy Eating for Kids.” Healthy Eating for Kids. Memiah Limited, 2016. Web. 22 Feb. 2016. <http://www.nutritionist-resource.org.uk/content/healthy-eating-for-kids.html>.

Photo Credit: Bruce Tuten

Baby Necessities on a Budget: Pre-Baby

Now, this may seem a little silly to do but, I love before and afters! I’ve never had a child though, in full disclosure, I currently work in the child care industry, I’ve nannied, and I’ve babysat (a lot). So, I do have experience with children. I’m also an extreme researcher (mostly because I am ridiculously indecisive). With that combo, I am pretty confident that I have a decent list. No guarantees though. I’ll make a Post-Baby list a couple months AFTER Little C is born too. I’m interested to see how my list changes.

So, without further ado (hey, I had to rhyme), here is my list of baby necessities for the first six months (and what we are going to buy/have bought):

  1. Convertible Crib & Mattress: Sniglar Crib ($79, Ikea) + Vyssa Sloa Mattress ($49.99, Ikea) – Pretty obvious why we need a crib and mattress. The baby needs somewhere to sleep. We considered just getting a pack n’ play but, for the same price we can get an Ikea crib! We went to Ikea and looked at the different cribs. The crib is a little too low for Mr. B (who is 6’2″) but, he said that was fine for the price difference. It is a convertible crib from basinettish (pictured below), to crib (with the bottom lowered), to toddler bed (with the side removed). We also felt the mattress while we were there. You really want a firm mattress for safe sleep when it comes to babies. I liked how firm the Sloa was. It’s not the cheapest they have but, I think it will be safest for Little C.                                                                                             SNIGLAR Crib IKEA The bed base can be placed at two different heights.VYSSA SLÖA Mattress for crib IKEA
  2. Car Seat: Britax USA Boulevard ClickTight Convertible Car Seat, Metro ($270, Amazon) – Another necessity that is pretty obvious. Our hospital (and most hospitals in the US, I think) require you to have a properly installed car seat before you can take the baby from the hospital (not that I would want Little C in the car without a car seat anyway). We bought ours during Black Friday for $270, it was $50 off at the time. It has since dropped to $277 so, we still got it for cheaper (plus one of our rewards credit cards was doing 5% back on all Amazon purchases that month so, we got 5% back too). A car seat isn’t something I was willing to skimp on. The Britax ClickTight series has great safety ratings though it is a little heavy. We decided we didn’t want an infant car seat for a couple of reasons. Firstly, that would be an extra cost because we’d have to buy two car seats (no thanks). Secondly, I think it would be tempting to leave the baby in it for extended periods of time when we were out somewhere like church or the doctor’s office. This isn’t good for the baby. Thirdly (and probably the biggest reason), I hate infant car seats. They are always too heavy for me to carry (which they should be with all the padding and safety materials) and they hit me over and over again in the knees. I can’t stand them. I’d rather take the baby out and carry him.                                                                                                              Britax USA Boulevard ClickTight Convertible Car Seat, Metro
  3. Waterproof Mattress Pad (x2): Sealy Waterproof Mattress Cover, 2 pack ($22.81, Amazon) – We chose these pads because they were the cheapest with the best review. Just a warning: There were a bunch of mattress pads claiming they reduce SIDS. THIS IS NOT TRUE. SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) by, definition does not have a knowable cause. There are ways to statistically lower the chances of SIDS but, as the last point in the linked to article points out there is zero evidence to support any products that claim to reduce SIDS (on the flip side, if you want to buy a product despite the fact that it doesn’t reduce SIDS, go for it). Anyway, off my soapbox. We chose two mattress pads because I red this tip online somewhere, that if you layer crib sheet, mattress pad, crib sheet, and mattress pad, you won’t have to worry about a middle of the night blow out. You just take off the first layer and voila you already have a second layer! Given how frequently we’ll be doing laundry with cloth diapers, I doubt we’ll need more than two.Sealy Waterproof Mattress Cover, White, 2 Pack
  4. Crib Sheet (x2): Cosco Jersey Sheet, yellow ($6, Kid to Kid [the children’s consignment store nearby]) and American Baby Company 100% Cotton Value Jersey Knit Crib Sheet, Celery ($9.63, Amazon) – See above why we are getting 2 sheets. We already have the first sheet and the second sheet isn’t picked for any other reason than it is in our colors (green, yellow, and beige) and the reviews said they were soft. We’ll keep our eyes peeled as we shop for a better deal though.
  5. Bouncer: We got a bouncer as a gift for Christmas. We really don’t have room in our apartment for a swing which would have been the other option.
  6. Carrier: DIY Moby ($6, Fabric Center) – As mentioned above, I hate baby car seats but, I still need a way to carry the baby with my hands free. I decided $40 for a long strip of fabric was way too expensive, so, I made one. (Cameo from the teddy bear’s ear). Green is Mr. B’s favorite color and it just so happens to look great on me too so, that is the color we chose.DIY Moby Baby Carrier
  7. Cloth Diapers ($300-400, Amazon, Ebay, Kid to Kid). I’ll talk more about cloth diapers in another post(s) because I can go on for days about cloth diapers. But, to keep it simple here, we bought a set of 24 used newborn AIOs for $100 on ebay and have been scouting for deals for one size diapers since we found out I was pregnant. We spent $20 on one AIO but the rest have been under $12. We currently have 3 All-in-One diapers, 2 pocket diapers, 7 All-in-Twos diapers in the one size (which is usually about 10 – 35 pounds). Those total another $120 spent. Most sites recommend 18-20 diapers for one size diapers. We are waiting to see which diapers we like most before we purchase the rest of our stash.
  8. Cloth Diaper Accessories: EcoAble Large Wet Bag (x2, $19.99 each, Amazon) and Damero Cute Travel Baby Wet and Dry Cloth Diaper Organizer Bag ($6.99, Amazon) – look how cute that pattern is!) Kirkland Flushable Wipes ($12, Costco). So, we are getting two large wet bags (which hold the diapers between changes and getting washed) for at home, that way we can switch them off while they are getting washed. The medium wet bag is for the diaper bag. We’ll use cloth wipes (made from fabric scraps I have laying about) for number ones and flushable wipes for number twos.                      Large Hanging Wet Dry Bag for Baby Cloth Diapers or Laundry (Yellow) Damero Cute Travel Baby Wet and Dry Cloth Diaper Organizer Bag (Medium, Animals)
  9. Clothes: We expect to get most of Little C’s clothes from the baby shower or our parents. People love buying baby clothes. We want at least 5-6 onesies/footie (depending on the time of year) in each size and two hats. We already have a bunting for when it gets colder (thanks mom!). We also want 2-3 sleepers for when he grows out of his swaddles (see below). He’ll also have 2 Sunday church outfits and a couple pairs of socks. Will he have more clothes than this? Probably. Like I said, people love buying baby clothes (including me).
  10. Baby Wash: Johnson’s Natural Head-to-Toe Foaming Baby Wash ($7.99, Target). This is not the cheapest body wash there is but, I’m a little more comfortable with the ingredients in this one, however, if we find we need to cut back, we’ll go with the non-natural Johnson’s baby wash. Johnson’s Natural Head-to-Toe Foaming Baby Wash - 18 oz.
  11. Coconut Oil ($10, Costco) – This will be used for diaper cream, as it is cloth diaper safe, and baby lotion. I’m not sure how to estimate the cost for this one because we have coconut oil as a staple in the house already. I estimate about $10 because a little goes a LONG way.
  12. Gentle Washcloth – My dad sent us a set of like 20 organic bamboo washcloths as soon as he found out we were pregnant. I don’t think we’ll need 20 (maybe we’ll use some as wipes) but, they are really soft and will be great for washing the baby!
  13. Swaddlers (x2): Summer Infant SwaddleMe 2 Pack 100% Organic Adjustable Infant Wrap, 7-14 Lbs, Small-Medium, Ivory/Green ($19.36 for 2, Amazon). I am really nervous about swaddling myself because you can do it so wrong and create some bad developmental problems for your child’s hips. Also, I think it is probably easier for Little C to get out of a swaddle I made than a swaddle made by the Swaddlemes. So, I think it is worth it to have these but, if you know how to swaddle go for receiving blankets. Summer Infant SwaddleMe 2 Pack 100% Organic Adjustable Infant Wrap, 7-14 Lbs, Small-Medium, Ivory/Green
  14. Health Kit: The First Years American Red Cross Baby Healthcare And Grooming Kit ($13.37, Amazon). Another self-explanatory necessity. I mostly chose this kit for the nail clippers, nasal aspirator, and medicine dispenser. We might buy those separately if we can find a good price.  If we can afford to buy an ear thermometer, like this, we’ll buy one of those too. The First Years American Red Cross Baby Healthcare And Grooming Kit
  15. Bottle (x2, free!) and Pacifier (x4): As you might’ve seen from my Amazon and Target gift box/bag, I got a free bottle in each. Since I will be at home and hopefully breast feeding, we won’t need that many bottles but, I (and Mr.B) still want Mr. B to have some opportunities to bond with Little C via feeding. Little C will also have to take the bottle when he’s babysat! Little C will also need Phillips Avent Soothie Pacifier ($3.84 for 2, Amazon) if he takes pacifiers. I’ll start with 2 but, with pacifiers being the size of keys, I’ll most likely loose them everywhere.
  16. Breast Pump: Hopefully, my insurance will cover an electric breast pump but, I haven’t called yet to check. If it doesn’t I’ll get the Philips Avent Manual Comfort Breast Pump ($25.99, Amazon). A manual pump is more of a hassle than an electric pump but, I can deal with that for a quarter of the price and for the amount that I will be pumping (hopefully not very much!). Philips Avent Manual Comfort Breast Pump
  17. Burp Rags: Gerber 10 Pack Prefold Birdseye Diaper, White ($15.99, Amazon). I’ve heard that while these are AWFUL cloth diapers, they are great for burp rags!
  18. Doggie Seatbelt: Kra-mar Roadie Dog Seatbelt (Petlife), Large ($34.10, Amazon). Now, I know this won’t be a need for everyone (or even most people) but, for me it was an absolute must. Firstly, how safe is that baby car seat if Wheatley flies around the car and hits Little C (and mom and dad) multiple times in a car wreck. The answer: not. Secondly, Wheatley should be safe and I should’ve bought him a seat belt a long time ago. Thirdly, Wheatley’s favorite spot in the car is standing in the middle of the backseat so he can look out the front window. Do you know where the baby’s car seat is safest? The middle of the backseat. Wheatley is going to be trying to climb all over Little C if I let him. But, I don’t want to let him so the seatbelt will strap him onto one of the side seats.                   Kra-mar Roadie Dog Seatbelt (Petlife) Large - Size: Large
  19. Humidifier (by wintertime): Mistmate Ultrasonic Hum White ($27.49, Target). It gets dry in Utah. Really dry. Honestly, I don’t know why we don’t have a humidifier already because, I get headaches from the dryness. This is not necessarily a need but, I worry that if I’m uncomfortable Little C will be too, which will result in me being even more uncomfortable (baby screaming while I already have a headache? I’ll try to avoid that as much as possible).
  20. Diaper Bag: Classic Plaid Multifunction Large Capacity Hand Bag Shoulder Bag Backpack Baby Diaper Baby Care Product (Blue) ($30.47). I searched for hours for a diaper bag that wasn’t too expensive ($100+ for a bag, heck no!), that was stylish enough for me to enjoy wearing, and that Mr. B could wear without any embarrassment. I finally came to this bag and I LOVE it. It is stylish, has three ways to wear it (including a backpack way for Mr. B), and has lots of organization pockets. Plus, it has great reviews. I honestly cannot wait to get this bag.

Classic Plaid Multifunction Large Capacity Hand Bag Shoulder Bag Backpack Baby Diaper Baby Care Product (Blue)

Bonus: Before Little C starts crawling, I’ll need to get some furniture and TV straps, any good suggestions for apartment dwellers?

Hope this list helped. What’s on your list?

xoxo,

Kels

Roundup: Baby DIYs you can do BEFORE you find out the gender

I don’t know about you but, for me I wanted to start making and buying things for Little C (or Little Lamb as he was called then) as SOON as I found out I was pregnant. I was so excited! A lot of the DIYs running amok on the internet are for clothes but, of course I didn’t know yet if I needed to make headbows (Little baby girls don’t have hair to put bows in, so they’re headbows, not hair bows – Mr B) or bowties (team bowtie!), so, instead I have made a list of DIYs you can make before you know lad or lass and before you even choose nursery colors! So, without further ado:

Old McDonald Puppets

Make one or make all or make one a month to measure your pregnancy!

Taggie Bean Bag

I actually made one of these for my nephew before he was born and he LOVES it. I filled mine with rice instead of beans, because that’s what we had on hand.

Baby Countdown

This one is more for the parents but, it is oh so cute!DIY Countdown to Baby Blocks

Happy Stacker

Instead of hard plastic and wood you can make a stacker out of fabric!Happy stacker

Foam Blocks

Once again, softer than wooden or plastic blocks and won’t freak out the dog or hurt me when Little C flings them across the room.DSC_0002

Beach Ball

If you can’t sense a pattern, I like things that babies can throw without worrying about it hurting. Gotta work up those throwing muscles!

Nessie Stuffed Animal

Just about any stuffed animal would work on this list but, I absolutely loved Nessie and how she is big enough to ride when baby gets bigger!

 

What DIYs are you making for your baby? I’m working on a green romper, then a stuffed spaceship after that! Happy crafting,

xoxo,

Kels

Amazon Welcome Baby Giftbox Haul

So, last week I did my Haul of Target’s Welcome Baby Giftbag. This week I’ll do my Amazon haul. Amazon will send you the box for free for registering with them. I believe you have to complete your registry before they will send the box but, we were planning on registering with Amazon anyway so, it wasn’t a hassle. We registered with Amazon for our wedding and absolutely loved it!

Reasons we love registering with Amazon:

  • You can add from any site. The most disappointing thing for us, when registering for our wedding, is that Ikea didn’t have a registry opportunity (we really like Ikea). But, with Amazon we could add anything from their website to our registry! Same thing for a baby. The crib and mattress we’ve registered for are from Ikea. We also got to register for a lot of cloth diapers from Kelley’s Closet and Nikki’s Diapers, which was awesome.
  • If it is cheaper to buy on Amazon, Amazon will tell you and suggest registering for that item through Amazon instead. So, if I registered for a Chicco stroller from Buy Buy Baby an it was cheaper at Amazon, they’d point that out to me. I love saving money for me and my family.
  • It lets us put notes. This is one of my favorite features. I can make a note on any item of what color or size I’d prefer. This is important for something like our diaper bag. The diaper bag we registered for is a Burberry print with colored accents. We want the one with blue accents because we aren’t getting a second diaper bag for Mr. B. We chose the bag because it was more gender neutral. It isn’t so gender neutral with pink accents. I also used this because I registered for one newborn diaper (we got the rest we need on eBay for a great price). However, I wanted a white diaper to bless little C in. We registered for the diaper and explained we only needed one and we need it in white for his blessing.
  • Amazon’s checklist. Amazon makes an awesome little checklist for you to go through so you don’t forget to register for anything! Which, pregnant ladies, we all know is important with #pregnancybrain!

Anyways, on to the point of this post, which is to tell you about my Amazon Baby Box!

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    The Box: Oooohhh Ahhh, box. The only thing to note is that Chicco didn’t actually include anything in the box. I’m guessing they sponsor shipping? Way to go Chicco. Thanks for shipping me stuff.

  2. 3 Samples: Babyganics Lotion, Burt’s Bees Babywash, Burt’s Bees Renewal Serum (form mom). The Babyganics lotion is the same I had in the target giftbag. I’m really exited for it actually because the sample is kind of small so, two of them will actually give me an idea if I like it for my baby or not. I tried it on myself and thought it was good. I’m really excited for the Burt’s Bees Babywash! I love Burt’s Bees and I would love to use their whole baby line but, it is a lot more expensive than Johnson and Johnson. However, this sample gives me enough that I might just fall in love with it and decide it is worth the splurge (or I might hate it, I’ll let you know). The Burt’s Bees Renewal Serum is to “[h]elp restore the appearance of your skin’s smooth, firm, texture with powerful, natural anti-aging ingredients.” It’s supposed to be for mom. This was my least favorite part of the box. I feel enough like a bloated chimpanzee without Amazon including something that makes me feel like I need to improve my looks more. (That is probably my oversensitive pregnancy mind speaking though).
  3. Enfamil Supplementing Formula Sample: In the box are 4 samples, each has enough for a 4 oz bottle. It can be used from 0 to 12 months and is specifically for supplementing. It will be interesting to try. Mr. B will probably use the samples but, hopefully we won’t have to supplement.
  4. Avent Breastpad Sample and Booklet: Disposable breastpads are great and I will probably keep them in the diaper bag for emergencies (I plan on using reusable pads). I also liked the booklet they included. I only skimmed the first couple of pages but, it had some really helpful information!
  5. Avent Bottle: 2nd bottle (I received one in the target bag)! I don’t know if I’ll have to even buy a bottle. I’ll be at home most of the time and I feel like two bottles is sufficient for Little C’s feedings with Mr. B if we keep up on washing them.
  6. MAM Pacifier: I received one of these in the Target giftbag as well but, this one doesn’t have a little bunny on it. But I think it’s important to have multiple pacifiers if you’re going to use them (which we plan on doing). With my luck I’ll need at least 10 because I loose everything that is the size of my phone or smaller.
  7. Not Pictured (sorry, I forgot!): Amazon Sensitive Baby Wipes 80 count: I haven’t opened them because I don’t want them to dry out before Little C makes an appearance but, they are an 80 count! That isn’t a little sample! That’s substantial. The package is about 3″x 7″. I also like that they are made in the USA.

So, there is everything I got in my box! What did you get in yours?

xoxo,

Kels