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Baby Shower Ideas on a Budget

Most of you know that I have a sister and sister-in-law who are expecting little girls in October. One baby shower is done but the one that I’m planning for my sister is quickly approaching. Seriously, two week s snuck up on me real quick. I’m working on last minute details like food and décor. These days I have to be more budget conscious, I’m a WAHM but make nowhere near the salary I did when I worked fulltime outside the home. I gave Rob a dollar amount at the beginning of the planning but really hope not to come that close to it. In order to do that I have to get creative! I was given this cool article at Go Frugal Blog called How to Host a Memorable Baby Shower for Less.

Decorations are such a dilemma for me. While I know every party needs some color and pizzazz I hate spending money on things that are just getting trashed at the end of the day. For my sister’s baby shower I’m opting for fresh flowers and balloons that kids can play with and edible décor like cookies. An idea from this article says try covering a table with inexpensive butcher paper and criss-crossing with ribbon, you can take it a step further and stamp or glue baby-themed shapes for a more decorative touch. I’m going to purchase inexpensive colored tablecloths for the tables and incorporate my décor times with the food and present tables.

Another idea my mother and idea decided to go with is a clothesline filled with cute baby clothes for my new niece. When you purchase a outfit or onesie or even cute socks keep the hanger or use simple clothespins to attach them to a hanging clothesline. This is not only cuter than streamers but much more useful.

Check out this fun article or tell me your ideas for throwing a Baby Shower on a budget.

Baby Shower Blog Party

I’m changing the date of the Baby Shower Blog Party. It is going to start Monday, July 27th instead. I added more prizes at the last minute so this will last 2 weeks (no weekends).

It’s Blog Party time again. This time it’s in special honor of my sister and sister-in-law who are both pregnant and both due in October and both having little girls. I’m beyond excited and have been looking all over the web for cool products and also teamed up with some cool mamas to get their advice on pregnancy related topics. These articles which include Cloth Diapering Basics and Handling Premature Labor can be found here at Preparing for Baby.

This blog party is full of cool reviews and giveaways like cloth diapers, nursing tools, stationery, diaper bags, bedding and so much more! It starts July 25th so come back and see all the fun goodies in store.

Grab the Baby Shower Blog Party Button and you’ll get an additional 3 entries into every giveaway I have listed for that week. Leave me a comment telling me where to find the button.

Soothing your Baby

Babies are born with the ability to soothe themselves. We weren’t in the womb with them for nine months to offer cuddles and kisses. Most babies suck their thumbs while in the womb but once they are born some tend to lose that instinct due to interferences and distractions such as pacifiers, no-scratch mittens, swaddling and sleeves. I don’t think as parents we are purposely trying to take away their self-soothing instinct but we are told to try other methods. You can either encourage the thumb sucking by keeping your little one’s hands free or obstruction and gently bringing her hand to her mouth or you can adopt new soothing methods for a fussy baby.

Eye Contact
There is nothing more mesmerizing than just gazing into your baby’s eyes. Let her know you are there and that you are there to comfort her.
I’m a big proponent of swaddling, the tight squeeze is similar to what babies felt in the womb. Prohibiting them from flailing all about from sudden noises or even their own muscle twitches will keep baby calmer. Swaddling isn’t a new concept either, it’s been suggested that it was developed in 4000 B.C. so us moms do know something or two about taking care of babies!

this is a hysterical swaddling video, I’ve never seen it done like this but obviously it works

Loud noises annoy me so you can imagine how irritating they can be to babies little ears. Use a quiet voice and slow speech while talking to baby. Talk about anything, vent about your job, sing your new favorite song or recite a sonnet by Shakespeare, it doesn’t matter as long as your words come out loving and tender and peaceful.
Get Close
Cuddle that cranky baby! Pull her close against you let her hear your heartbeat, smell your scent and feel you hands against her body. Your baby is relying on you to keep her safe and secure, remind her with your touch.

Get Moving
Swing, rock, sway or jiggle. Sabreena and Shaun liked to be rocked and Shae liked to be bounced, each child is different so try everything until something works. Do more than just move around, change positions. I found flipping Shae on her belly, swaddled in a football hold and bouncing up and down put her to sleep instantly. Did I instantly figure that out, nope, it took lots of trial and error.

Use all, some or none of the tips above, use what works for you and your baby.

Cloth Diapering Basics and Happy Heiny One-Size Giveaway

For my next installment of the Preparing for Baby series I’m going to bring you something that is near and dear to my heart, CLOTH DIAPERING. While I’ve been cding Shae since she was a newborn I’m not an expert in all the types of diapers. My new friend Sherrie with Itty Bitty Baby Bunz has given a short and sweet breakdown of the styles and their benefits.

One of the greatest things about choosing to use a cloth diapering method for your child is all the options that are available to you. You truly get to find a system that works for your family’s needs simply because there are so many styles/kinds from which to choose. Unfortunately, all these choices can be quite daunting for families new to cloth. Here’s a quick rundown of what you will find when you decide to use cloth diapers on your child and a basic guide to help deliver you from the confusion:

4 basic types of cloth diapers to choose from
• All-in-One’s/All-in-Two’s
• Pockets
• Fitteds
• Prefolds/Flats

Needs a waterproof wrap/cover-Fitteds & Prefolds/Flats
Needs a special fastener-Fitteds & Prefolds/Flats
Needs inserts to work-Pockets
Has elastic legs/waist- Pockets, Fitteds & Prefolds/Flats
Easy to clean-All-in-One’s/All-in-Two’s, Pockets, Fitteds & Prefolds/Flats
Fast drying-Pockets, Fitteds & Prefolds/Flats
Easy to use-All-in-One’s/All-in-Two’s &Pockets
Available in colors/prints-All-in-One’s/All-in-Two’s, Pockets, Fitteds & Prefolds/Flats
Daddy/babysitter approved-All-in-One’s/All-in-Two’s &Pockets
Trim fit-All-in-One’s/All-in-Two’s & Pockets

And the winners are…..

Economic Award — Prefolds/Flats
At $20 a dozen plus a few bucks for covers and closures (pins or Snappis), you can effectively diaper your child from birth to potty learning for under $400 dollars. (Throw-away diapers can easily cost you this much in 6 months – eek!) NOTE: you do not need to purchase a huge set of covers because covers can be wiped clean during wet changes and reused.

Transition Award – All-in-1’s
All-in-One’s are exactly that – everything you need to diaper your child in one piece. They require no inserts, no pins and no covers to work properly. They are an excellent transition diaper from throw away to cloth.

Convenience Award – Pocket Diapers
With a just a little preparation (stuffing the insert into the diaper), pocket diapers are the perfect solution for busy families where dad, in-laws, daycares and/or babysitters take part in diapering baby. These diapers are easy to launder (quick drying because of the removable absorbent insert) and easy to place on your baby. Since they require an absorbent material inside the pocket to function properly, pocket diapers offer caregivers exciting options. Microfiber inserts can be used for a trim diaper or add a hemp or second microfiber insert for extra absorbency overnight or for heavy wetters. Prefolds, flats, or even microfiber towels all work in pocket diapers as inexpensive inserts. Extra bonus – never have to touch the wet/soiled diaper! Just shake the insert loose into your laundry pail or bag. No ICK factor!

If you have multiple children in diapers and don’t want to deal with grabbing the right size every time they need a change, a One-Size diaper might be a good option for your family. Or, if you have only one child but don’t wish to purchase a whole new stash of diapers each time your child grows, a One-Size diaper could be the answer for you. There are many different brands of One-Size diapers available; however, most of them work using a system of snaps or fasteners on the front of the diaper. These front adjusters allow you to select the appropriate rise for your child and in essence, grow with your child. One-Size diapers will accommodate most children through their potty learning years. What a savings! A wonderful option for the cloth diapering world, though, like any system, there are a few drawbacks. If you plan to use the same One-Size diaper for three kids, you may begin to see wear and tear by the second or third child. This breakdown of the fibers does not indicate poor craftsmanship or bad quality materials, but rather the effects of washing a garment multiple times a week, month after month. A second reason you may not wish to choose a One-Size diaper is due to the bulk factor. Most moms don’t mind to see the adorable waddle of a child in cloth, but some parents don’t care for the way clothing fits (or doesn’t fit) overtop of a bulky dipe. Especially when your child is a baby, there is excess cloth in a One-Size diaper – it’s waiting there patiently for when it will be needed in the coming months.

Whatever kind of cloth diapering system you choose, you can rest assured that you are doing a great thing on many fronts.
• you are reducing the amount of waste your family contributes to our landfills
• you are saving tons of money by not purchasing paper and plastic you will just throw away every few hours
• you are, in most cases, supporting small businesses and work-at-home moms
• most importantly, you are laying your baby’s delicate skin next to soft, breathable, chemical-free materials for 24 hours each day

One of our favorite One-Size diapers are Happy Heinys One-Size Pockets. With been using this one for over a month and it fits like no other one-size we’ve tried before. With 4 size settings and generous stretch in the elastic this diaper is sure to fit from infantcy through to potty training. As with other Happy Heiney’s I’ve used the outer color is vibrant, the inner liner is soft and resists staining and the aplix closure tabs stay flush against the diaper to deter little fingers from opening. A recent design change has added leg casings instead of the traditional fleece roll out at the legs. I love the look of the little fleece peek out but think the casings work better at containing messes. Itty Bitty Baby Bunz is currently reducing their price for the diapers without leg casings to snatch them up before they are gone.

To close out this fantastic Cloth Diaper Basics rundown Sherrie with Itty Bitty Baby Bunz is giving LookWhatMomFound readers the chance to win a Happy Heinys One-Size Diaper.

Visit IttyBittyBabyBunz blog and leave a relevant comment on any post. Come back and tell me where to find your comment.

To receive these extra opportunities for entries, you must fulfill the first REQUIRED entry above and please be sure your email in in your comment, attached to you blogger dashboard or easily seen on your website/blog. I will not search through About Me/Contact Me links.

  • Follow me and IttyBittyBabyBunz on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway DAILY for an additional entry each day, copy and paste this message: @IttyB3 Happy Heinys One-Size diaper giveaway @lkwhtmomfound
  • Leave a relevant comment on a non-giveaway Review or Article; let me know where to find your comment
  • Enter any other Giveaway for an extra entry for each one entered
  • Grab my LookWhatMomFound button or add LookWhatMomFound to your blogroll, leave site link
  • Follow this and IttyBittyBabyBunz blog
  • Subscribe to LookWhatMomFound via email, see sidebar
  • Become a fan of LookWhatMomFound on Facebook
  • Blog about this giveaway with link to LookWhatMomFound and IttyBittyBabyBunz, for 3 extra entries

Your entries must follow the rules or they won’t be eligible for prizes. This contest ends 11:59 pm, Thursday, July 16, 2009. Winners will be announced on this post and emailed and have 48 hours to claim prize. This contest is open to US residents only.

Preparing for Baby Series: Premature Labor

While I have 3 kids of my own there are alot of aspects of maternity and baby care that I know nothing about.
This post is available to hopefully give some information to mamas, soon-to-be mamas and even you dads out there.
Premature labor outside of occasional Braxton Hicks is one of those topics I know nothing about. I have a guest writer for this segment, Samantha Jo Campen.
“As a wife and a mother, Samantha lives with her joyful one year-old baby boy and her husband in the suburbs of Chicago. By day she works full-time in sales, and by night she continues her quest to pamper herself by exercising and indulging in beauty routines that transport her back to the sprightly age of 29. She enjoys lingering with floofy magazines that use personal pronouns in their titles, is focused on Green issues, and has never met a potato she didn’t like. Samantha can also be found toiling away on her personal blog, Back to Me

I’m a planner. So when we decided to get pregnant I knew that there was only so much I could prepare for and the rest would be out of my hands. It was hard, but I did learn to go with the flow. My pregnancy was uneventful and everything was right on the mark until I hit 30 weeks and 5 days. That’s when I went into labor.
The crazy thing was I wouldn’t have known I was in labor as early as I did if I hadn’t had a discussion with my other pregnant friend two days before. We were talking about Braxton-Hicks contractions and she mentioned that if I ever have more than four in an hour I should call my doctor. Well, on the morning of February 3rd 2008 I had four in 40 minutes and you better believe I called my doctor in a panic. That’s when he told me a few things I wasn’t aware of:
1). They are more common first thing in the morning because of dehydration and hunger. He wanted me to slam a lot of water and have something sugary for breakfast (I had a waffle with jam, orange juice and water).
2). A full bladder could cause contractions, so he wanted me to keep going to the bathroom. (Not a problem being 30 weeks pregnant I’ll tell you that!)
3). He of course wanted me laying on my left side so the baby would have as much un-restricted blood flow as possible ( Done!
None of this helped and I kept contracting steadily for the rest of the morning. When I was down to every five minutes we went to the hospital at the advice of my doctor. He told us to expect to be there for a few hours, and I would be given an exam and hooked up to a fetal heart rate monitor. Once I got to the hospital they took a urine sample to check and see if I had a urinary tract infection. Apparently those cause contractions too–didn’t know that either! I remember waiting for the results thinking that if they were positive, this was going to be the most expensive UTI ever in the history of the world. It wasn’t, as I didn’t have one. I was in labor and no one knew why. I was then asked a battery of questions:
1). Had I fallen recently? No.
2). Did I drink or do drugs? Uh, NO.
3). Was I under any unmanageable stress recently? Not really any more than usual.
4). Had I lifted anything heavy in the past few days? Absolutely not.
5). Had any of my blood or urine tests throughout my pregnancy come back abnormal? No, everything was right down the middle boring and perfect.
6). Had I ever had high blood pressure in my pregnancy? No, in fact it was always shockingly low.
The nurses and doctors went on and on getting my entire history to figure out why I was in labor almost ten weeks early. I had dilated to almost 2 cm and that needed to stop. I asked the point of no return and the nurse told me 5 cm. The NICU doctor came up to discuss with us what would happen if they couldn’t stop my labor and our son was born. We were reassured that a 30 week preemie is much better off than a 26 week preemie, so we had that going for us. Their three main concerns were the baby breathing on his own, regulating his own body temperature, and sucking/swallowing on his own. Some 30 weekers could do those things and some couldn’t. If our son was born then he would be in NICU for a month or two. My husband got a tour of the NICU and was able to meet the nurses. I was in bed hooked up to monitors trying not to panic and given steroid shots to boost the baby’s lung development.
After being in the hospital for a week with a cocktail of drugs, I was sent home on bed rest until our son was born. There are a few different types of bed rest, depending on the severity of the symptoms. I was on partial bed rest meaning I was allowed to walk around for up to an hour a day. I could go from the bed to the sofa to the kitchen to the bathroom, rinse and repeat. I was told to avoid stressful situations, such as watching violent or suspenseful television shows and movies or listening to the news. Music had to be soothing. I couldn’t drive or go anywhere by myself (but really, where would I go?). Some women are on fully restricted bed rest where their feet can’t even touch the floor. I was grateful I was able to move around a bit. Getting the mail was seriously the highlight of my day!
Let me start out by saying that before I was pregnant if someone said I had to go on bed rest I would have been all over it. Laying around all day? I’M AWESOME AT THAT. I can rock a couch and my laptop like no one’s business. Bring it!

And for a day or two it’s not so bad. But when you’re contracting and worried about the baby, plus you’re shaped like a whale and no matter what you can’t get comfortable, bed rest isn’t all that fun. Throw in heartburn and some major nesting hormones and you’ve got yourself one tough time. So here are some helpful tips to make it less miserable:

1). Accept help. If you’re like me, asking for help is hard. Watching someone clean your house while you lay on the couch is even harder. But it’s worth it and it makes a difference. You’re stuck inside the house so it might as well be clean and not annoy you. And trust me, your friends and family feel helpless and want to do something for you. Have them make friends with your vacuum.

2). Have a small routine. Washing my face, brushing my teeth, putting lotion on and combing my hair were vital to my survival. I needed to feel like my day was starting, as opposed to running as a stream with no real distinction from morning, noon and night.

3). If you hadn’t already, find a community online of other preggos due around the time you are. And if you can track down another mama on bed rest then that’s hitting the jack pot. Crazily enough I found a woman who was on bed rest the same time I was and we became fast friends–we still chat to this day. We hope our sons are able to meet each other one day and compare NICU stories! (And she and I will share a much needed drink).

4). Do mini-projects. I pre-addressed all of our thank you notes and birth announcements. I blogged like crazy. I had the best home mani/pedi that you could ever hope to see. Read those books you’ve been dying to get to. Have an 80’s movie marathon. Scrapbook. Knit. Keep busy mentally. Solitaire on your phone or computer will become your friend.

5). Remember what’s really important: a healthy you and a healthy baby. The cleaning and the nursery and the painting are all secondary. I had to remind myself that a few times, and that’s okay too.

In the end I was able to cook the little bugger for an extra month, and my son was born healthy and robust 5 weeks early on March 3rd 2008 and weighed in at a whopping 6 lbs 8.5 ounces. The nurses said that if I had gone full-term he would have been around 10-11 pounds. Yowzas. I guess things happen for a reason!