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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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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Battling Bed Bugs for Your Baby

Posted by Kayla Tryon on November 09, 2017 0 Comments

Battling Bed Bugs for Your Baby

 

            “Sleep tight; don’t let the bed bugs bite.” A phrase commonly expressed to children at bedtime with little to no thought behind its traditional meaning, until recently. Bed bugs, those tiny, nasty, creepy-crawlies with a full course dinner menu comprised of warm blood. That’s right, you’re actually on a dinner menu, but you’re not alone. Your little ones are also in jeopardy. So what exactly are bed bugs and why does it feel like they came out of nowhere with a vengeance? Are they life-threatening? How can you treat yourself after contact and how are you even supposed to get rid of them? The questions are endless, but take a deep breath; relax, and let’s look a little into what these creatures are and how you can protect yourself and your loved ones.

Brief History

            For almost 40 years, bed bugs had almost disappeared completely. In the early 20th century bed bugs were exceedingly common until the introduction of highly potent insecticides. Bed bugs were such a huge problem that people routinely checked for them and actually resorted to constantly carrying around these potent insecticides wherever they traveled. From the mid-1950’s to the late 1990’s bed bugs vanished to the point where people could no longer identify them. A new generation of pest control professionals wasn’t quite equipped to fight them off. The potent insecticide once used so frequently and effectively enough to almost wipe them out, was banned worldwide in 2001. Thus the prevalence of bed bugs ensued.

What Are Bed Bugs?

            Cimex lectularius, also known as bed bugs, are blood-feeding parasites that prefer and thrive in warm, dry places. Their typical meal is usually humans, but any warm-blooded mammal will do. The good news is that bed bugs do not pose a threat on your life. They are distressing, yes, but NOT dangerous. Their bites are usually painless and do not spread any blood-borne diseases. However, you must be attentive of your children and animals for they are more prone to vigorously scratching at the bites and this, in turn, may cause skin infections. Approximately 1/3rd of people bitten do not even notice the bites. This can easily cause further infestation. The people that do experience reactions develop what looks like raised welts and can cause serious allergic reactions in some people. Resolution usually takes two weeks and can leave behind post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, or darker spots on the skin.

            Bed bugs have five stages of development which typically take 40 days when well fed, however, this process may be extended if food source is limited. The egg, which looks like a grain of rice, begins the process of their life cycle. The first stage nymph measures 1.5 mm and is usually difficult to see until their first feeding. The second stage nymph measures 2 mm. The third stage nymph measures 2.5 mm, the fourth stage nymph measures 3mm, and the fifth stage nymph measures 4.5 mm. Adult bed bugs are about the size of apple seeds. Females lay between one and five eggs each day and can lay up to 500 eggs in its lifetime. The eggs usually hatch within two weeks. Newly hatched nymphs can survive weeks without feeding. Adult bed bugs can live four-six months, although some may live up to a year without feeding under cool conditions. They have an oblong shell and a tiny head. If not fed recently, they are long and brown with a flat and oval shaped body. If fed recently, they swell up like a balloon, appear reddish-brown, and have a more elongated body. They are considered a “true bug” due to their beak with three segments, an antenna with four parts, wings that are not used for flying, and short, golden-colored hairs. They are skittish and don’t like movement but they can also crawl pretty fast when they need to. They usually come out at dawn to feed but can adapt to your very own sleeping schedule. The way they feed is by latching on to its host for a few minutes and then scurrying back their hiding places to digest. More time is spent digesting than actual feeding, nevertheless, since they tend to infest so rapidly, it may feel like you’re getting new bites every morning.

Rising Number of Bed Bugs in the U.S. and Recent Reports of Findings

            Arizona, the home state of the company, Susan Brown’s Baby, has just recently experienced public outbreaks of bed bugs. The first being at AMC Westgate 20 after a photo went viral claiming that bed bugs were in the theatre and clearly displaying infestations in the cracks and crevices of the theatre’s seats. Another person afterwards confirmed this. The auditorium was cleared and reopened after being treated by a pest control company.

            The most recent public sighting of bed bugs occurred at Phoenix Sky Harbor in Terminal 4. There, near the food courts, bed bugs were spotted on a padded bench. The benches were removed and a pest control company was called. They agreed to follow up to confirm that the areas at Sky Harbor were clear.

            Nonetheless, a long-time employee whose name was not disclosed reports that the bed bug problem has been an ongoing issue for a long while now. He also claimed seeing and moving multiple pieces of furniture so infested you could see the bugs moving on it. In fact, he’s helped move so much furniture that people are noticing and concluding that it must be due to a bed bug issue. He doesn’t think they have what it takes to dispose of the bed bugs completely. Not a fun thought for those of you who travel so often, so beware.

How They Spread and Signs of Bed Bugs in Your Home

            Bed bugs are considered hitchhikers. Anywhere you travel they can simply crawl onto your clothes, and your personal belongings. You do not need to have a dirty home to contract bed bugs since their sole meal is blood and not filth.

            They love to hide in seams, headboards, bed frames, dressers, behind wallpaper, mattresses, cracks and crevices, and anywhere they can fit their small bodies so make sure to check these areas thoroughly. Also check before bringing home second-hand furniture.

            Signs of infestation include: fecal spots, shed skin, egg shells, blood stains and dark spots on sheets and pillowcases, and an offensive, musty odor from their scent glands. Also, the new bites you wake up with in the morning are a pretty significant sign.

            If you think you have come in contact with bed bugs make sure you put your clothes directly in the washer, followed by the dryer for at least 30 minutes. This part is very important as bed bugs cannot stand high heat. Make sure to vacuum often, buy a light colored mattress protector and springs to easily spot bed bugs, and install door sweeps to keep them from traveling into other rooms.

 

Tune in for next week’s blog for extermination and treatment of bed bugs! Also, don’t miss out on your opportunity for an exclusive 20% off discount code for Susan Brown’s Baby Botanical Gelèe!

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