How You Can Make Money As A Stay-At-Home mom

11 ways to make money as a stay at home momma

(psst…don’t forget to click the  pin it button on the image above so you can easily reference this list down the road!)

Whether you’re staying home with one kiddo or ten, it’s common for us stay-at-home mommas to want to being in a little extra cash. Here’s a list of 11 opportunities to help increase your income each month.

Blogger

There are bloggers out there who make over 150k per month! There are THOUSANDS who make over 10k per month. A beginner blogger can easily bring in 5k with proper training. I personally make full-time income from my blog

Let me give you a little more insight into my experience that helped me start this blog:

  • Website building experience: none. Unless you count adding the glittery effect to my MySpace back in 2005.
  • Online Marketing Experience: also, none.
  • Graphic design experience: none.
  • Blogging experience: Obviously, none.

But I was determined to start! So I researched. And I took courses. And I read eBooks. And I worked my little blogging butt off for a solid 3 months to get things up and running. Heck, I still work hard! But it’s paying off!

I’d love to help you get your blog started! You can visit my website dedicated to helping other achieve their blogging goals at The Basics of Blogging.

I have 2 eBooks I have written to share my strategies I used (and still use daily) to run a full-time income blog.  You can read more about them and download them here.

Virtual Assistant

Many business owners and bloggers will hire a VA to complete work that they are not able to do, yet they are not to the point where they need to hire a full-time employee. Some of the services may be minor, such as answering emails, updating their calendar or transcribing. Some VA’s offer more specialized services in social media management and up keeping customer management systems.

The great thing about being a VA is you can start small, aim to learn new skills with each client and really expand your knowledge base as you go.

VA’s usually charge by the hour. I have inquired to many and have found ones who charge anywhere from $15-$30 per hours, although I’m sure more experienced VA’s could charge more.

Tip- If you are serious about starting a VA role, I would highly consider building a website to showcase yourself! You will want to have a page that highlights your skills, a list of services you offer, some details about what sets you apart from the competition and a contact page. It’s super easy to build for free! You can view the free tutorial I wrote on how to start a blog here.

 

eBates

I’m sure you can’t wait to tell your husband this… but you can get PAID for shopping. Chances are, you have heard of Ebates. They pay out quarterly and some moms report payments of over 4k each quarter!

Let’s say you have a dog. At the time of this post, PetSmart is in the “double cash back” category. So you purchase your dogs food, maybe a few toys, some treats, you get 6% cash back on it! A few other notable names: Macy’s American Eagle, J Crew! I’d suggest signing up just to see which stores are there that you are already shopping at! You can sign up here!

Freelance Writer

If you’ve got a passion for words than this could be perfect for you! While it may take some time to build up your portfolio and make the right connections, there is a lot of money to be made in Freelance Writing! Elna Cain has an awesome tutorial and free course on her website here.

Transcribing

If you consider yourself a good listener, have a high command in the English language, and a decent typing speed, then transcribing could be great for you! Companies will either pay you based on the project or by the minute of audio. You will need to have a few minor pieces of equipment to do this from home (computer, headphones and foot pedal, which you can find on Amazon.)

TranscribeMe hires brand new transcribers with no previous experience.  They pay by the transcription and pay weekly!

 

Survey Taker

Taking Surveys won’t bring in full-time income, but it can bring in a bit of extra cash. SwagBucks and SurveyJunkie  are two of the more popular programs and you can complete the surveys from you phone most of the time! They range in length and you do have to qualify for them based on what type of information they are looking for.

Amazon Virtual Locations Employee

It’s no surprise that the LARGEST online retailer in the world has a ton of remote location jobs! While some of them are super specialized, a majority are customer service based position. At the time of writing this post there are exactly 199 jobs posted on their virtual locations page!

Publish eBooks

If you have an expertise in any area, you have the potential to write and sell eBook! The possibilities of topics are endless and there are a ton of ways to create, market and sell your eBooks!

I created all of my eBooks for free and use a third-party host to help me take care of the transactions and delivery of the products. Amazon has a super easy platform for selling eBooks if you do now own your own website.

Etsy

If you have any sort of crafty talent (I’m not ashamed to say I have ZERO!) than you should be sharing your skills with the world and selling your materials on Etsy! The possibilities are endless! A friend of mine just posted a picture of the gift she purchased her husband for their one year anniversary off of Etsy- A Hand Stitched Family Portrait. How cute is that? Some talented human is making those from home! There are some small fee’s to sell you products on Etsy, but they are minimal! More details here.

Photography

This is a skill I wish I had SO BADLY! It’s such a great way to make money while being very creative! Plus, you are helping others capture memories that will last forever!

Starting a photography business does take skill, work and equipment. To start your business, you may have to do some work for free in order to build up your portfolio. Be sure to pick a target audience that works for your schedule. Weddings will mean you work on the weekends, but doing newborn or children’s photos could mean squeezing in a shoot time during the day.

I know a lot of photographers that have their studio set up in their homes for added convenience.

Start a at-home day care

The more the merrier, right?

If you feel there is a need in your area for more day care options, take some time to see if this could be right for you. There will be some technicalities and documentation you will have to sort out (depending on your state), but it is a great way to bring in ALOT of extra money if you are already staying home with one baby!

Rosemarie of The Busy Budgeter has an awesome guide to starting your own. Check it out here.

Have any opportunities to add to the list? Comment below and share!

Be sure to read these money saving tips too:


The 4 Nursing Bras Every Breastfeeding Mama Needs

The Four Nursing Bras every Breastfeeding Mama Needs

As your due date nears, I’m sure you are stocking up on all things baby, but there are some things you need to stock up on for mama too! Here’s a list of the four types of nursing bras you should have on hand!

Sleep Bra

Now that you are producing milk, sleeping bra less is not really an option. You’ll wake up in a puddle of your own milk if you don’t have nursing pads in. So you’ll want something comfy that doesn’t make what little sleep you may be getting any less dreamy.

My pick: I love the Kindred Braverly bra. These were all I wore when I was in the hospital and I was SO thankful I packed them in my hospital bag. I think what makes them so great is how low they come on my back. I have also experienced a wide variety of breast size from milk coming in and then leveling out and this bra has worked through them all.

Sports Bra

You probably won’t be doing a lot of “sporting” in those first few days after pregnancy, but as the weeks pass, you may get out and take baby for a walk around the block. Once you’ve been cleared by your doctor, you may even be back in the gym! Make sure you have a large enough sports bra for your more endowed chest and one where you can easily feed baby before, after or even during your work out.

I always prefer something that comes up a little higher on my chest while working out. My recommendation: The Gratlin Womens Nursing Sports Bra. This bra comes low on the sides of my boobs (a lot like the Kindred Sleep bra) that just makes everything feel a bit more supported. I have a nursing sports bra from a big name maternity store with just a wee bit of fabric underneath and my breasts almost always fold right over it and have no support.

 

Underwire

Before any of you freak out that I am suggesting this, hear me out. I understand this is somewhat controversial. Some believe that the underwire can cause lack of blood flow which will in turn hurt production. But I believe ANY bra that doesn’t fit properly could also do this. There is no direct evidence linking wearing a underwire bra to low breast milk production. But for ANY bra you pick out, you want to make sure it fits properly.

I purchased all of my nursing bras from Motherhood Maternity, and I spent a pretty penny on them. It’s one of the 5 big buck baby items I don’t regret splurging on.

I have been wearing my nursing bras for over a year now. I’m not even breastfeeding anymore but I love the way they fit! While I ordered every other bra online, I think it’s important to try on your every day bra in store to make sure it fits properly.

 

Pumping bra

When I was searching for a hands free pumping bra, I remember thinking “Do I really need this? Can’t I just hold the parts while I pump?”. I am so happy I didn’t listen to my hesitations because YES, YOU DO NEED THIS!

Being able to pump hands free saved my sanity. I can’t even begin to list the tasks I did while pumping. I would do my make up, blow dry my hair, fold laundry, answer emails. The list of possibilities is endless. And as a new mom, being able to knock out things on your to-do list while also pumping makes you feel like a superstar.

I ended up with two pumping bras. One was awful, it was basically just two a bunch of strings that were supposed to hold my pump parts in place but they never did. I seriously only used it once.

My Suggestion: Simple Wish Zip up Hands Free Pump Bra. The main reason I loved this bra was convenience.  I would simply pull the flaps of my bra down (like I would if I was nursing baby) and start pumping.

It can be tricky when picking a size when it comes to breastfeeding boobs. They change size like 100 times in the first 3 months after baby comes. Again, that is why I highly recommend this bra. You can adjust it up to 10 inches!


How to Increase Your Milk Supply in 48 Hours
Breastfeeding and Alcohol- How much is OK?
Is My Baby Getting Enough to Eat?

25+ Baby Cribs Under $250

25+ Baby Cribs Under $250

I’m officially in my 6th month of pregnancy! Unlike my first pregnancy where I had the entire nursery complete by the end of the first trimester, I definitely feel like I need to get a move on things! I have bedding and décor picked out, but still searching for the perfect furniture set.

As usual, I want to find great quality, cute items at a great price. So I’ve pulled together 25+ cribs for under $250!

P.s. you also have to check out our glider guide!  


Camden 4 in 1 Convertible Crib by Child Craft. Available here.

25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


Monarch Hill Ivy Standard Crib by Little Seeds. Available here.

25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


Eddie Bauer Hayworth 4-in-1 Convertible Crib by baby Relax. Available here.

25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


Quinn 4-in-1 Convertible Crib by Fisher Price. Available here. 25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


New Haven 4-in-1 Convertible Crib by Delta Children. 6 color options. Available here.

25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


Del Mar 5-in-1 Convertible Crib by Fisher Price. Available here.

25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


Westbourne Crib  by Viv + Rae. Available here.

25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


Sierra Ridge Terra Standard Crib by Little Seeds. Available here. 25+ Baby Cribs Under $250

 


Chesapeake 5-in-1 Convertible Crib by Dream on Me. Available here. 25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


Carter’s by DaVinci Kenzie 4-in-1 Convertible Crib. Also comes in white. Available here.

25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


Jenny Lind 3-in-1 Convertible Crib with Conversion Kit by DaVinci. Available here25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


Charlotte 5-In-1 Convertible Crib by Dream on Me. Available here.

25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


The Brooke Crib by Viv + Rae. Comes in NAVY BLUE TOO! Available here.25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


Delaney 4-in-1 Convertible Crib by Child Craft. Available here.  

25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


Stork Craft Tuscany 4-in-1 Convertible Crib by Stork Craft (5 color options). Available here.

25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


Carter’s by DaVinci Morgan 4-in-1 Convertible Crib. Available here.

25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


Carter’s by DaVinci Colby 4-in-1 Convertible Crib with Trundle Drawer. 3 color options. Available here.

25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


London Stationary 3-in-1 Convertible Crib. Available here.

25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


Bailey 4-in-1 Convertible Crib by Dream on Me. Available here. 25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


Charlotte Traditional Crib by Fisher-Price. Available in gray & white. Available here.

25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


Check out more baby gear posts below:

The 4 Nursing Bras Every Breastfeeding Mama Needs
25+ Baby Cribs Under $250
Baby’s First Halloween Costume Ideas

 

 

Questions You Must Ask During a Hospital Maternity Tour

 50+ Questions You Must Ask During your

General Hospital Questions

  • Where is the best place to park and entrance to use when we arrive at the hospital? Are there only certain entrances that are open during late night hours?
  • Where should our guests park when they come to visit?
  • What are the food options for my partner and our guests? What are the hours of these options? Can we bring in outside food?
  • Is there wireless internet available in the hospital?

Be sure to also check out:

The Not So Beautiful Side of Pregnancy. Gross things no one talks about.

Room Logistics

  • Are there separate sections for laboring mothers and post-delivery? If so, are the spaces private or shared?
  • If shared, is it possible for me to request a private room? Is there additional cost for a private room?
  • Are all of the rooms similar to the one being shown on the tour?
  • On average, how many woman are checked into the labor and delivery floor each day?
  • Is the L&D floor ever full? If so, what happens?
  • Is there a space for my partner to sleep in my room with me?
  • Is this a teaching hospital? If so, can I request that students or residents not be active in my labor and delivery?
  • What are the food options provided for mothers?
  • Details on the NICU Unit- what level NICU is it? Where is it located?

You might also like:

Labor and Delivery Questions

  • Are mothers initially examined before checking in if their water has not broken? If so, where does the exam take place? What are the requirements to be checked in? Do you have to be dilated to a certain point?
  • Once I am checked in, who will be allowed in the labor room? Partner? Midwife? Family? Is there a limit as to how many people can be in the room?
  • Am I able to eat or drink while in labor? What are the options?
  • What pain management options are available here?
  • What percentage of births at this hospital are natural, with no pain management intervention?
  • Who should I give my birth plan to?
  • If my birth plan includes equipment that you do not provide at the hospital, can I bring my own?
  • Are there any common requests seen in a birth plan that are not allowed at this hospital?
  • Can I play music in my hospital room?
  • Am I able to control the lighting in the room when the Doctor is not performing exams?
  • What type of fetal monitoring is offered at this hospital? Do you have wireless and if so, it the mother able to be mobile while on wireless?
  • Am I able to bring my own labor and delivery gown or do you require we use hospital issued?
  • What are the policies on skin-to-skin? Can it happen immediately after birth? For both natural birth and c-section.

Be sure to read:

If I could repack my hospital bag

Postpartum Questions

  • In the case that my baby needs to be examined after birth, will he or she be taken out of my room? In what scenarios would I be separated from my baby?
  • What medications or shots does your hospital give as standard practice? How can I elect out of these for my baby if we are not comfortable with it?
  • Is there a lactation consultant on site 24 hours a day?
  • Do you provide breast pumps in the case that they are needed?
  • What is the hospitals views on formula feeding? Do they support it?
  • In what cases would my baby not be with me immediately following delivery?
  • Are those circumstances different if I have a C-section?
  • How soon will I be able to do skin-to-skin with my baby?
  • How soon will I be able to eat after delivery? (if not able to eat during labor)
  • What are the visiting hours? Is there a limit to the number of people? Are children allowed to visit?
  • What type of security is there to keep me and baby connected?
  • What type of security is there for non-patients entering the maternity wing?

Time to chime in mama’s! What other questions are on your mind that you are anxiously awaiting to ask the hospital?


The Third Trimester Checklist

The Third Trimester Checklist. Every thing moms-to-be need to do!

I cannot believe that I am saying this, but I am nearing my third trimester. How is this even possible? I feel like it was just yesterday that I was announcing we were expecting!

But here we are! The big day will be here before I know it. I’ve always been the list making type, so I’ve put together a list of the big things that need to be taken care of in these last few weeks:

Pack your Hospital Bag

It’s the most important bag you will ever pack! Read up on what I would change if I had a chance to go back and re-pack mine here.

Prepare baby’s Car Seat

You want to be able to take your time installing to be sure you have done it properly. You will also want to give yourself enough time to have it inspected to make sure it is 100% safe for baby. Do this around your 34th week of pregnancy.

Have a pediatrician selected

You will have to provide this information to the hospital before leaving. More importantly. you want to give yourself time to pick the best one. Check out our guide to selecting one here.

Clean House

You may not need to technically “add” this one to your list. As a mama to be, your natural nesting instincts will kick in and you will want to clean top to bottom. Be sure you are using cleaning items that are safe for you and baby and don’t hesitate to reach out for help if needed.

Wash baby clothes

Always leave this for last. The gifts will continue to flow in and you want to wash and organize all at once to make it easier on yourself. Make sure you are using detergent that is safe for baby!

Contact your Insurance

Every insurance company and coverage plan has their own policies. With my first child, I called didn’t have to do much before hand, but I still made the call to let them know when I was being induced. They gave me some information on how long I could stay, where I was with my deductible, etc. However, for my second baby, my new issuance requires pre-authorization for my C-section which is a whole drawn out process I have already started. Make the call early on in your third trimester to make sure you give yourself enough time to get any extra paperwork complete.

Preregister at the hospital

This one goes hand and hand with #6. When it’s go time for baby, you don’t have time to fill out paperwork, provide copies of insurance and ID. Pre-registering makes it so you can walk in and get the baby delivery show on the road.

Prepare Parents Room for Baby

While baby’s nursery is probably already cute as can be and fully stocked, do you have your room ready for baby? He or she will be sleeping close by you for up to the first year. You will need to make sure you have all that important supplies close by to keep you from running back and forth between baby’s room. We even went so far as to move baby’s glider into our bedroom so I could feed comfortably in the middle of the night.


More pregnancy Reads:

The {Not So} Beautiful Side of Pregnancy

The Not So Beautiful Side of Pregnancy. Gross things no one talks about.

Pregnancy. A time when you are supposed to feel like a gorgeous, human making, glowing goddess, Right? Well, yes, at times you will. But at other times you may feel not so stunning. While pregnancy can be beautiful and breath taking, it can also be gross. The thing is, no one really talks about the gross stuff. Sure, morning sickness is well known. But there is a whole lot more to it than just that. So let’s get is out in the open and talk about the not so beautiful side to pregnancy.

Bloating and gas

During pregnancy, a pleasant little hormone called Progesterone is on the rise. You are going to here about this hormone ALOT in this post. Progesterone loosens up the gastrointestinal muscles leading to lots of gas. And it may, er, smell worse than usual. Prepare yourself. And maybe your husband.

Acne

A hormone called androgens is to blame here. It is responsible for making your skin a bit more oily in the first and second trimester which can lead to acne. You can try out all natural remedies such as Apple Cider Vinegar. I have been using this since I first found out I was expecting and have been pretty surprised by it’s effectiveness. I mixed 2 parts ACV with 1 part water. I added it to a small spray bottle and use nightly. Simply spray a small amount on cotton ball and apply to face. The smell vanishes in just a few minutes!

Hair. (as in body hair, not the kind on your head)

This is one of those bitter sweet parts of pregnancy. While your locks may have never looked more luscious, you are also sprouting hair in other places that you may have never seen before (hello there, chin whisker).

Constipation

Progesterone, so nice to see you again. We warned you. He’s back again to loosen up those much needed digestive tract muscles, leading to a bowl movement back up. There are foods you can eat to help move things along as well as some gentle, non- stimulating stool softeners. Check with your doctor to see what the best avenue is to get things going again.

Hemorrhoids

Doesn’t the word itself just make your cringe a little. Yeah, me too. For some women, this may not occur until after labor and delivery, but for some, they can come earlier due to constipation and your expanding uterus. Luckily, they will ease up after baby is here, but may have small flare ups for some time. Lucky us! I would suggest pre-ordering some witch hazel soaked pads to have at home after delivery. They will help reduce the inflammation in the hemorrhoids and make them less painful.  You can find them on Amazon here. If you are planning on making your own post-delivery “padsicles”, you can use the witch hazel from that recipe too!

Bleeding Gums

One morning, you are going to spit into the sink after a brush and it’s going to look like you may have just finished a boxing match. And lost. But your bleeding gums are not something to be concerned about. Much like #7.

Nose bleeds

Again with the bleeding. Your increased blood supply can cause your expanded ( and more delicate) blood vessels in your nose to rupture more easily. While it can be scary, it’s usually not cause for concern and can be stopped by just pinching the nose for 20-30 seconds. Reach out to your doctor if they nose bleeds occur frequently or last for longer than a few minutes.

Heart Burn

Get the Tums ready. Heart burn during pregnancy sucks. The same hormone that is relaxing your digestive tract is also causing your muscles in your esophagus to relax, meaning they aren’t controlling the acid as well. A glass of milk always helps.

Skin Tags

You’re body is working overtime to grow all these wonderful little body parts for baby, and in the mean time it might grow a little extra skin for you too. Skin tags are likely to pop up in high friction areas. They are harmless and unless they are really bothersome, can be left. It they drive you bonkers, see your dermatologist about having them removed.

Sweat

So much sweat. Again, your body is working like a machine set to overdrive to make that baby. This may lead to sweaty pits. And sweaty boobs. And face. And anywhere else that may seem unpleasant.

Alright mama’s, it’s time to chime in! I want to know what items you think are missing from this list. What gross things happened to you during pregnancy that you weren’t expecting?


Check out more pregnancy reads:

How You Can Make Money As A Stay-At-Home mom
The 4 Nursing Bras Every Breastfeeding Mama Needs
25+ Baby Cribs Under $250

The Pregnancy Must Haves

Pregnancy Must Haves from Swaddles n' Bottles

Welp,  baby #2 is on the way! Little Emmy is beyond ecstatic to be a big sister (read: she has no idea how much her world is about to change) and Jay is convinced we are bound to have nothing but girls! All the while, I am over here trying to prepare myself for the months ahead. The morning sickness has been making itself very present (all day, every day) since about 6 weeks and my body is already starting to ache! As soon as the test came back with two pink lines, I began gathering my pregnancy must -haves. Here’s what I will e depending on over the next couple months to make this wonderful experiences even more wonderful!

Prenatal Vitamins

As soon as the test came back positive, this was the first thing that went through my mind! I need to start taking vitamins! Luckily, I had about 10 days of supply left over from Emmy and was able to order more on Amazon. Of course, there are dozens of brands of prenatal vitamins that will do the trick, but always make sure they have DHA! This brand has been my go-to now for both pregnancies. I like that they are soft gels and easy to swallow. Find them here.

Natual Prenatal Vitamins with DHA

Fight Morning Sickness

The morning sickness may only last for a few months, but it makes its presence very strong in that short time. I did an entire post on all my favorite snacks and home remedies used to fight morning sickness with Emmy. While I continued using these methods for baby #2 (including the Pink Stork Morning Sickness Tea)  I added in a few new Pink Stork products as well. My new favorite: the aromatherapy necklace. It’s basically a diffuser you are able to wear around your neck! Pink Stork has an awesome essential oil just for morning sickness and it works wonders! I never wore my necklace at night, but I would use the same essential oils in my bedside diffuser to help with the 4 A.M. nausea that seemed to happen every. single. night! A few other products I used daily were the Prenatal Probiotic (for general gut health), Cocolaurin and the Away Bars. The Away Bars were basically protein bars for pregnant woman! They don’t contain any drugs or unnatural foods that you might find in other protein bars.  I was a little worried that they were blueberry flavor (didn’t sound good to my pregnant appetite), but it was surprisingly mild and tasted a lot like a blueberry muffin!

Pink Stork Away Bars to Fight Morning Sickness

Pink Stork Away Bars- Blueberry Flavor

The Pink Stork Aromatherapy Necklace. I placed a few drops of their essential oils onto the lava rock inside the necklace and the small lasts all day!

The Pink Stork Aromatherapy Necklace. I placed a few drops of their essential oils onto the lava rock inside the necklace and the small lasts all day!

Pregnancy Pillow

To my dismay, my hip and sciatic nerve pain returned WAY earlier than I had first encountered when pregnant with Emmy. Isn’t it funny how one of the biggest symptoms your feel in your first trimester is exhaustion, yet you cannot sleep to save you life?! I tossed and turned all night in my first trimester attempting to get comfortable and ease the pain in my back. The pain almost completely disappeared when I started using the Snoogle. I actually learned about this product before I was pregnant through Facebook. A friend posted how it was the only relief she could find in her third trimester. With Emmy, I had used one of those straight body pillow and with the little relief it had provided, I had written off pregnancy pillows all together thinking they didn’t work. Wrong. This one seriously works! Plus I love how many different ways I can use it. I’m currently using it with the long part across my stomach. Once I hit the point that I can no longer sleep on my back, I plan on flipping it to keep me from rolling over in the middle of the night.

The Snoogle- Sleeping Support for the expectant mama

 

Belly Support Band

As baby gets bigger, the bump gets heavier. Around 6 months, I started wearing a maternity support band with Emmy. It really relieved a lot of pressure from my back. I bought one that sat below the belly (like this one) and it was not visible under my clothes.  I have also seen them at Babies R’ Us as well! Make sure it is adjustable in size so you can continue to wear it as you grow and BREATHABLE! When you add your maternity pant waist and a shirt ON TOP of the band, it can get very hot quickly if it is not a breathable material.

Tummy Butter

Ahhh, the tiger stripe scars that come with pregnancy. They are your warrior stripes that show you have done a task only a woman can do and created life. But it’s still nice to try to combat them from taking over! This pregnancy I am giving Tummy Butter a try! I like the fact that the products are 100% natural. Did you know it only takes 26 seconds for toxins to make their way into your blood stream? That fact was enough to make me decide I wanted to play it save and go the natural path. You can find it here.

Tummy Butter- a 100% natural stretch mark prevention cream

Water Bottle

If you aren’t a water drinker, you better get used to having to down allllot of h2o everyday. It’s a great way to fight stretch marks and also essential to healthy breast milk production once baby is here.  With this pregnancy, I found that anything other than ice cold water didn’t sit well. It would usually make me pretty nauseous. So I ordered an Artic cup and  special straws for it. It seriously keeps my water cold for like 12 hours straight. I keep it on my night stand and it is so nice and refreshing in the middle of the night. I aim to drink about 5 full cups a day. Some days it happens and some days is doesn’t, but I can definitely say I am drinking more than I used to!

Maternity Leggings

These are not just a pregnancy must have, they are a mom life must have. I own more pairs of leggings than I ever have before! While I’ve got a bump, I practically live in my Blanqui Maternity Leggings. Motherhood Maternity also makes a great pair and they are a fraction of the price of the Blanqui brand! Maternity leggings are also great for after baby comes and you are breastfeeding. They hide your belly well in the case that you have to lift up your shirt when it comes time to feed!

 

How To Make a “Padsicle” For Post Delivery Pain Relief

If you have read the posts “Recovering from Childbirth: 20+ Moms Share Their Wisdom”,   you know that “padsicles” come highly recommended! They are basically a cold compress for down there that also includes a few ingredients to aid in healing and soothing the pains associated with child birth. The recommended amount to make before delivery is 30. I would suggest throwing a few in your delivery bag as well when the time comes. A nurse at the hospital should be able to store them in a freezer if you ask.  Here is a quick guide on how to make them!

What you will need

  • Pads: If you’ve read my post on packing my hospital bag, you know I swear by these pads. They are by far the most absorbent, yet non-bulky pads for anything postpartum!
  • Witch Hazel
  • Aloe Vera (I would suggest buying a large tub of this before baby arrives! It comes in handy for sore nipples too! Read more on that here!)
  • Lavender Essential Oils.  I use this brand in my diffuser at home and highly recommend it. It’s a large quantity for a low price, yet it is still a great quality oil!
  • Large freezer storage bags

How to make them

  1. Unfold the pad and lay flat on counter top. I would lay out 5 at a time to get a sort of assembly line going.
  2. Start with the Aloe Vera. Spread the gel from the front of the bad to the back. Don’t be stingy with it! You want a full zig zag of gel from the front to the back.
  3. Next add 1- 1 1/2 tablespoons Witch hazel. Pour it right down the center of the pad.
  4. Finish up with 3-4 drops of the lavender essential oils.
  5. Refold the pad and put into large storage bag for the freezer.

When you are ready to use, remove and let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes before using.

Be sure to share with all the expectant mothers you know! They will love you for it!


Read more on Pregnancy:

The 5 Best Toys for Baby’s First Year

This is a guest post written by Maria from ToyTrainCenter.com. Check out her website here!

Choosing the Best Toys for Baby’s First Year

            Even though babies do not communicate much prior to their first birthday, this is a crucial developmental stage. Choosing the best toys for baby’s first year will give your child a head start with learning and keep them engaged before they are totally mobile on their own.

One important thing to look for are colorful toys. These will keep your baby more engaged and interested for longer. Sound is also an important feature with toys for your baby’s first year. Often, toys with sounds help babies learn to act on their environments.

There are likely thousands of toys suitable for babies under a year old so it can be daunting to choose between them. Below are some of the best toys for baby’s first year to take some of the guessing out of the process. They will engage and teach your new baby well.

Fisher-Price Rattle and Rock Maracas Musical Toy

            The Fisher-Price Rattle and Rock Maracas Musical Toy are a great option for teaching your new baby to act on their environment. Some of their features include:

  • Plush handle grips and narrow body for little hands
  • Colorful plastic beads both for appearance and sound
  • Comes with two maracas – one green and one yellow

One of the best features of the Rattle and Rock Maracas is that they are very portable and no-fuss. They can be easily thrown in a diaper bag to entertain your baby on the road. Also, it is very easy to clean both the fabric and plastic portions (especially important for teething babies).

Though they have many good features and pros, there are a couple drawbacks. For one, the plastic parts of these maracas are very hard. For less coordinated babies, the plastic can be a bit of a hazard. Also, the design is simple and they are really only suited for very young ones.

VTech Musical Rhymes Book

            The VTech Musical Rhymes Book is another great option for baby’s first year and even a bit longer than that. Some of its features include:

  • Plays more than forty sounds and songs
  • Brightly colored pages with light up features
  • Five interactive buttons to choose from

Because it incorporates colors, sound, and active page turning, it requires more motor skills than the previous option. Also, the Musical Rhymes Book is suitable for new babies and slightly older ones. There is enough color for young babies as well as words for older ones.

The major hindrance to learning with this toy is that the nursery rhymes written in the book and the songs are not sequenced the same way. That means that you may be looking at a page for “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” but a totally different nursery song is playing with it.

The Best Toys for Baby's First Year

Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Baby’s First Blocks

            For developing motor skills, the Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Baby’s First Blocks are another wonderful choice. Some of its features include:

  • Five different shapes to sort
  • Ten colorful blocks
  • A storage bucket that doubles as a shape sorter

One nice pro of the Brilliant Basics Baby’s First Blocks is that they are very durable. Babies do tend to throw things; these will stand up to the abuse. Also, the size of the blocks is conducive to small hands, but not small enough to be a choking hazard for curious babies.

One drawback of this toy is that the top is very easily removed. This means that children do not need to sort the shapes to put them in the bucket. Also, the insecure lid makes the whole thing easy to spill. The last thing you want is the blocks going everywhere after you clean up.

The Best Toys for Baby's First Year

LeapFrog Learn and Groove Musical Table Activity Center

The LeapFrog Learn and Groove Musical Table Activity Center is another great interactive toy that will teach your new baby about cause and effect. Some of its features include:

  • Plays over seventy sounds and tunes
  • Incorporates numbers, letters, shapes, and colors
  • Removable legs

This toy is great for new and older toddlers as it can be used with or without the legs for different heights. Also, one nice pro is that it has English and Spanish language options which expands your baby’s knowledge in a new way and makes it more appealing to more people.

The main issue with the Learn and Groove Musical Table is that it can be a bit unstable when on its legs. Because it is fairly lightweight, a more rambunctious child could easily pull it over on themselves. This could result in slight injury or just a few moments of upset.

The Best Toys for Baby's First Year

VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker

Like the previous option, the VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker will also appeal to your baby throughout their first year. Some of its features include:

  • Uses sounds, a shape sorter, and light-up aspects
  • Adjustable for different height and age levels
  • Removable panel for developing fine motor skills

Other than the fact that this toy can be adjusted to fit your baby as they grow, it has a couple other nice pros. First of all, the wheels have two different speed settings to keep things under control a bit more. Secondly, it has plenty of features to keep your baby happy.

The main con of the Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker is the stability. On hard surface floors, the wheels can get out from underneath your baby, causing them to fall. While this may be helped by using it on carpet, more stability would always be a plus when it comes to babies.

The Best Toys for Baby's First Year

Conclusion and Verdict:

When it comes to choosing the best toys for baby’s first year, the key is to find ones that engage their senses and teach them about their environment. This means that toys with cause and effect type activities are always a good bet.

When it comes to the above toy choices, it greatly depends on when you are looking for. If you are looking for something that can transition through your baby’s first year into early toddlerhood, a more complex toy may be best. Otherwise, colorful simple toys will do just fine.

At the end of the day, the most important thing is that your baby is happy. If you can find a toy which keeps them entertained and also teaches them, it is even better. There are a number of great options, so finding the best toys for baby’s first year will not be the most difficult.

7 Methods for Natural Pain Relief During Labor and Delivery

7 methods for natural pain relief during labor and delivery

This is a guest post from HealthyPregnancy.com. Their site offers dozens of articles and resources to guide you through each stage of your pregnancy. Read more about HealthyPregnancy.com at the end of this article.

If you’re looking for ways to experience a drug-free natural birth you are not alone. It is becoming more popular as families look for ways to control their birthing experience and limit unnecessary interventions. A natural childbirth is not limited to home births but can be managed in a hospital as well. Here are seven ways you can use natural pain relief during labor to experience a more comfortable delivery.

Manage Your Expectations

This is about your mental and emotional preparation for giving birth and it is a two-fold effort. First, do not listen to other people who want to tell you horror stories about birth. This raises your stress levels and sets you up for worry. Second, be prepared for all possibilities and have a back up plan for how and why you might request medication. You may not need that back up plan, but sometimes just knowing it is still an option convinces you to relax and keep trying without it.

Breathe Into It

Long, slow, deep breaths during contractions can help you focus on your breathing rather than the pain and also provide relaxation. Rather than tensing up, which increases pain, deep breathing forces your body to relax and go with its natural rhythms. Meditation may also be helpful to you, where you practice focus on each breath. Guided imagery can also enhance this.

Stay Hydrated

Most hospitals limit you to ice chips and will not allow you to drink water. If you are birthing in the hospital, insist on having the ice chips to your heart’s content. If you are not in the hospital, drink water. There is no medical reason for you to not have water during labor. Not only does drinking help you control your breathing but it also limits the intensity of cramps. The longer the labor the more likely you are to become dehydrated and not feeling your optimal strength. Staying well hydrated prior to labor commencing can also make a big difference.

Change Positions

Laying flat on your back throughout labor makes no scientific sense at all. In most traditional societies it was common to squat to give birth. You should follow your own instincts when it comes to which labor position you prefer. If turning onto your side feels better, do it. If squatting feels more comfortable, do it. Using a birthing ball is one way to rock back and forth (rocking can be soothing) and switch up your position.

Massage and Aromatherapy

There may be times during your labor when you don’t want to be touched, but good touch can provide amazing relief. Whether it is done by hands or with tools, massage can help relieve so much pain and relax tightened muscles. When it is done in combination with essential oils the effects on pain are striking. Lavender oil is calming, peppermint oil is energizing and may help facilitate labor and rose or sandalwood oils can be emotionally lifting. Massage can be used both as a natural pain relief and as a stimulant to help birth progress.

Water Therapy or Water Birth

More and more hospitals are equipped to offer water birth as an option and many women choose to proceed with this option at home or alternate delivery  locations. Many natural birth centers offer it as well and, of course, if you prefer a home birth your tub is at your disposal. Water births are exceptionally comforting and provide natural pain relief. If you are not interested in a water birth but still would like some of the pain relief benefits of water, you can take a shower or a warm bath during labor. This is another time when aromatherapy may come in useful as well.

Heat Packs

Like a shower or bath and similar to massage, a heat pack can provide relief to specific areas of the body where pain is experienced. Rice socks are great because they can be easily made very cheap, microwaved and fit into hollows of your back or around your hips or shoulders. Sometimes rice socks or packs also include dried herbs so you benefit from the aromatherapy at the same time. Alternatively, a warm water bottle or heating pad can do the trick.

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