Simple Ways to Save Money with a Baby on the Way

Posted by Susan Brown on May 15, 2019 0 Comments

Simple Ways to Save Money with a Baby on the Way

 

Parents, especially first-time parents, tend to overspend on baby and pregnancy prep. All the excitement and emotions surrounding pregnancy encourage us to splurge on our future little ones. While there are plenty of things you will need to buy before the baby comes, it’s easy to find affordable options and budget alternatives. After all, providing loving care to your new child is possible on any budget! Here are some tips for acquiring affordable baby gear and sticking to your pregnancy prep budget.

 

Save on Maternity Wear

 

Why spend a fortune on clothes you’re only going to wear for a few months? Save money on your maternity wear by seeking out pieces of clothing that double as postnatal wear. Some great examples include overalls, flowy maxi dresses, elastic-waisted skirts, wrap tops, and exercise clothing. Wardrobe basics such as high-waisted leggings will go with any outfit and conform to your changing body. Check out sites like Kindred Bravely to find versatile maternity leggings that will keep you comfortable during pregnancy and beyond.

 

Buy Second-Hand

 

A lot of baby gear is easy to find second-hand. Save money on everything from clothing to toys by shopping for gently-used items at thrift stores and consignment shops. You can even find used bouncy seats, baby swings, and high chairs—just make sure to do your research and check for recalls before buying.

 

That said, there are a couple of things that you should never buy second-hand, especially cribs and car seats. Modern cribs must adhere to strict safety regulations that older cribs may not meet. For example, cribs with drop-down sides have been banned due to serious safety issues. Similarly, older car seats may fail to meet safety standards. Car seats also wear out over time, putting children in danger—this is why car seats have expiration dates!

 

Stick to the Essentials

 

As you’re shopping for baby gear, you’ll come across many items you will never need. Some of these may be obvious, like baby knee pads. Aside from the more ridiculous baby inventions, parents can steer clear of common unnecessary items, like fancy changing tables, baby-wipe warmers, bottle warmers, specialized diaper bags, and diaper pails. Use a cheap dresser as a changing table, warm your bottles in a cup of hot water, and use a cheap garbage bin as a diaper pail. These affordable alternatives will allow you to spend your money on quality essential items instead.

 

Register for Gifts You Need

 

A gift registry is a great way to let your friends and family give you the items you really need. The Bump recommends asking for practical items like bibs, burp cloths, bottles, a baby first-aid kit, and baby toiletries. Avoid putting items on your registry that you wouldn’t buy for yourself. If you receive any gifts you don’t need, return these to the store so you can get something else. In exchange for a couple of unnecessary items, you may be able to get something more expensive, like a baby monitor or a quality stroller.

 

Join or Organize a Swap Party

 

Babies grow out of clothing, toys, and other gear pretty quickly, but constantly buying new items seems wasteful. A swap party is a wonderful way to acquire new (to you) items like children’s clothes and toys. During a swap party, parents bring agreed-upon items they no longer need and trade amongst each other. Check out Facebook to see if you can find a local swap group to join. If not, consider organizing your own swap party.

 

Prepping for your pregnancy on a budget will get you in the habit of making smart financial decisions for your family. As your child grows older, you’ll be able to use the money-saving tips you learned during your pregnancy to avoid financial stress and keep your family secure. Plus, you’ll be prepared to save even more when the next child comes along!

 

 

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Everything You Need to Know About Surrogacy

Posted by Susan Brown on April 24, 2019 0 Comments

Everything You Need to Know About Surrogacy

 

For people who struggle with having a family of their own, surrogacy is an option of prime importance.  It can be a complex but rewarding experience for everyone involved, and meets important social and emotional needs.  Read on to better understand surrogacy and how it might fit into your life. 

 

How does surrogacy work?

 

When someone wishes to become a parent or grow a family but isn’t able to reproduce, surrogacy is a great option.  There are different types of surrogacy, and the method will depend largely on the circumstances.  Traditional surrogates are related to the babies they carry, although this is unusual because if the surrogate changes her mind there can be legal complications.  Gestational surrogacy occurs when an egg and sperm are submitted from the intended parents and a third party carries the baby to term.  If there is either no egg or no sperm available from the intended parents, a donor provides the missing component.  While traditional surrogacy is rare, gestational surrogacy is increasingly popular.  In fact, some research points to an 89 percent rise in gestational surrogacy from 2004 to 2008.

 

What does the carrier gain?

 

The woman who carries the baby can be either a compensated or compassionate surrogate.  Compensated surrogates receive financial incentives for carrying the baby to term and/or donating an egg.  Benefits include a base fee for being involved, but on top of that, they can receive payment for lost wages and paid travel.  There is a wardrobe allotment, housekeeping services, life insurance, and funds for various related expenses.  Compassionate surrogates, on the other hand, can only be reimbursed for certain expenses.  In some locations, compassionate surrogacy is the only legal option.  Regardless of the arrangement, Time for Families explains surrogacy agreements should be carefully drafted through legal channels to protect everyone involved in the process. 

 

Is surrogacy right for me?

 

There are many reasons people choose surrogacy.  Intended parents might be unable to have children for various medical reasons, or because they are same sex couples.  Single men are turning to surrogacy with increasing frequency, as they decide it’s time to become a dad.  Many factors influence the decision, and finances can also weigh into the picture.  Bankrate notes costs to intended parents can vary, depending on things like whether you are able to contribute an egg or sperm.  If finances are an issue, there are several loans available to help intended parents finance surrogacy costs.  

 

On the flip side of the equation, women become surrogates for a number of reasons.  There is the financial factor, but there are also important emotional benefits outside of that compensation.  It can be tremendously satisfying to provide joy and love to another family, and know you made a precious contribution to their lives.  Sometimes intended parents and surrogates become quite close and enjoy an ongoing, supportive relationship that is satisfying to everyone involved.  There is also healthcare provided to the surrogate, both during and after pregnancy.  For potential surrogates who struggle with the cost of healthcare, it can be an important consideration. 

 

In the world of surrogacy, there is sometimes a third side to the equation.  You might decide to donate sperm, an egg, or an embryo to the intended parents.  There is a wide range of people who elect to contribute.  Sometimes third-party donors are anonymous, sometimes they are close friends or family members.  Just as those who carry the baby, the experience can be emotionally gratifying, as you help others to become parents and fulfill their dream of having a family.   

 

People who elect to become part of the surrogacy process are carefully screened, whether they want to become intended parents, surrogates, or third-party donors.  There are thorough medical and psychological assessments, all of which ensure the situation will be a happy experience for everyone involved.

 

Surrogacy allows many people to fulfill their desire to have a family when other options are exhausted.  There are benefits to all parties, and the experience can make a tremendous difference in people’s lives.  It’s a decision with many aspects to consider, but also one that can bring immeasurable joy and satisfaction.

 

 

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Toxic Items for Your Skin

Posted by Susan Brown on April 15, 2019 0 Comments

Toxic Items for Your Skin

 

When you’re pregnant, the products you use on your skin are more important than ever. Everything you’re consuming, your baby is consuming. When you eat a nutritious diet, your developing infant also benefits from those vitamins and minerals, and when you apply skin products or use household cleansers, both you and your baby are absorbing them. If you use products that contain toxic chemicals, you risk injury to both yourself and your little one. When you use safe products, you protect your child from potential harm. As a mom who wants to give your growing offspring the best start possible, it’s vital to research the ingredients in the personal care products and household chemicals you use.

 

Consider how many products touch your skin each day — makeup, lotion, soap, polish. Then, think about this: Several of the most ordinary, commonplace household products include harmful substances. Believe it or not, everything from laundry detergent to cleaning solutions to sunscreen can contain toxins.

 

When you reach for that antibacterial hand soap, for example, you may think you’re killing germs but you’re also exposing your body to triclosan. This substance often causes skin irritation and, even more worrisome, could potentially cause you to develop antibiotic resistance. 

 

So, whether you just found out you’re pregnant or are several months along, it’s never too late to think about the everyday products and chemicals you’re using. To get more information about common dangers, take a look at the attached resource. In it, you’ll find seven surprising items that can contain toxins — and learn why you should consider dropping them from your daily routine.

 

7 Surprising Items That Are Toxic To Your Skin from the Lapiel Laser Center

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Helping Your Child Make Healthy Choices

Posted by Susan Brown on March 12, 2019 0 Comments

Helping Your Child Make Healthy Choices

There are a lot of negative influences on young people today when it comes to maintaining healthy habits. It’s hard to commit to a healthy diet when there’s so much junk food on the market, and so much money spent promoting it. But the stakes are high: unhealthy eating habits when you’re young can lead to obesity and other health problems later in life. Exercise and choosing a diet that includes vegetables, fruit, whole grains and protein are building blocks for a lifetime of good health. If your child is in high school, reinforcing the good habits you worked to instill when your child was young is as important now as it was then.

Good Habits

As a parent, you’re in an excellent position to set a good example for your child by developing some good habits that everyone can follow; for example, keep healthy snacks and toss out the old ones. Also, serve well-rounded meals at dinnertime to encourage your son to eat well when he goes away to college. Eliminate or reduce the amount of caffeine in the house and limit your caffeine consumption. Make sure your son sees you getting some exercise, in whatever form you choose. A best-case scenario would be one in which your child chooses to reduce the amount of time he spends playing video games, instead taking the time to get some exercise. Exercise and healthy eating can reduce the temptation of drugs and alcohol. This is another area in which you want your child to make good choices.

One habit that everyone probably needs to improve is getting regular dental check-ups. Considering that poor oral hygiene can often lead to problems such as depression, making sure your teeth stay healthy should remain toward the top of your list. If your child is afraid of the dentist, find one who specializes in nervous children to help decrease that anxiety.

A Healthy Example

Continue setting a good example as your child gets older. The temptations that were there when he was younger are still there. Find ways to exercise together. Purchase some free weights and work out with your son. Try challenging each other to do a certain number of reps each day, and try to exceed that number. Buy a good kitchen scale so you can properly portion your meals to avoid overeating. Avoid using alcohol or smoking in front of your child. In fact, this might be the right time to try and kick the smoking habit. If your child sees you following a healthy daily regimen, he’s that much more likely to follow suit.

 

Temptations

Teenagers and young adults are bombarded with temptations every day, through the media and at school. Drugs and alcohol are facts of life that can’t be ignored, so take the time to talk to your child about the dangers of addictive substances. Make sure he knows the dangers of smoking and what the long-term risks are. Double down and make sure you lock away grown-up items like medications and alcohol so that temptation is never an option.

Instilling good health habits in your child doesn’t stop once he hits high school or begins growing facial hair. Young people are highly impressionable and, as a parent, it’s important to keep reinforcing those good habits you’ve been teaching him since he was old enough to walk. Keep the lines of communication open with your child during the teenage years, but avoid confrontational situations whenever possible. Emphasize the positive as much as possible and continue to encourage him in good times and bad. Finally, trust your child to make good decisions and don’t be unnecessarily strict. Showing trust maintains the strong bond you and your child have established.

 

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Keeping You and Your Child Safe: Medication And Your Pregnancy

Posted by Susan Brown on March 04, 2019 0 Comments

 

Keeping You and Your Child Safe: Medication And Your Pregnancy

 

Around 90% of pregnant women make use of at least one form of medicine during the course of their pregnancy according to the findings of the CDC. As the health of the mother and the child hangs in the balance when it comes to side effects of medicine, it’s important to know what to avoid before and after the pregnancy. So exactly what sort of medication should be given a wide berth? 

 

 

During Pregnancy

 

 

Drugs and substances deemed too dangerous for pregnant women are called teratogenic. Whatever medication you take, whether safe or teratogenic, will affect the life growing inside you. In some cases, the effect of medicine like Isotretinoin (used to fight acne) can be damaging. Known effects are birth defects, low birth weight, and even increase the likelihood of premature birth as established by J. Parboosingh. If you take substances like opioids, there is a huge chance that your child will be at risk for Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS).

 

 

The pregnant body often has a compromised immune system. The health of the child needs to be considered before you take any medicine. This is particularly true when it comes to taking antibiotics. There are certain kinds that are thought to be dangerous for pregnant women like Bactrim, Macrobid, and Doxycycline. There are other substances that can put your health risk so you need to be suitably informed.

 

 

After Birth

 

 

Once the child is born, this does not mean that you will be completely free to take medication and substances without due consideration. Take for example regular medication for colds. Breastfed babies get roughly 10% of the dose of cold medication that their mother takes as found by Dr. Elisa Ross of Cleveland Clinic. Substances like Domperidone (used to fight nausea) can put infants at risk for cardiac arrhythmias. Medicine like Metamizole or Dipyrone (a painkiller) can increase risk of pharmacological effects in children. It is generally for the best to avoid taking any antipsychotics while breastfeeding. If you take medication to treat schizophrenia, the child may be at risk for speech delays.

 

 

Things To Remember

 

 

Before taking any sort of medication, it is always good to consult your OB-GYN and your child’s pediatrician to be guided accordingly. The effect of medication can depend entirely on factors like your health and your child’s age, weight, and medical history. If you have any preexisting medical conditions, you aren’t doing anyone any favors by staying away from your medicine. It is fully possible to take necessary medication and reap the benefits. For example, the likes of mild painkillers, antihistamine, antacids, and certain antimicrobial medication can help. They can boost your health so you can better care for yourself and your child.

 

 

At the end of the day, the act of assumption will do the most damage to your health. Your pregnancy and subsequent birth are both exciting times and you need to be in your peak physical health. Medication isn’t the enemy and being fully aware of the things you need to avoid can give you and your child a better chance of staying healthy.

 

 

 

 

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