How To Save Money When Having A Baby.

Friday, April 28, 2017

I knew baby's required a lot of things ready for when they enter the world, but nothing QUITE prepared me for just how much stuff they actually need and obviously all that adds up. Very quickly.
We all want to provide our baby's with the best of everything which is natural, but you can still do that without breaking the bank. Here are my tips for saving money when expecting a baby..

Don't be afraid to accept hand me downs! My sister has three children of her own and I was lucky enough that she had put most of their baby things in storage. She had a gorgeous wooden rocking crib that we have put in our room. She also had new born toys, play mats and a sling that are all in perfect condition. I'd only accept second hand from people I knew and trusted. Just make sure if anyone gives you clothes ect that you give them a wash first. 

Join Baby Clubs/Advantage Cards:
As soon as we had our first scan I signed up to so many baby clubs. Boots is my favourite as you can collect your Boots points like normal (4 points for every £1) but we also get sent so many vouchers especially for their baby/pregnancy section. Whether it be nappies, nipple cream or clothing, there are vouchers for everything. We also received a voucher for a free Maam bottle and soother which will come in really useful for when I begin expressing. When you go for your first appointment you will also receive your first Emma's Dairy pack which is full of useful information, vouchers and also a card to fill in that you can hand in at your local Boots, Argos or Tesco and you will receive a large packet full of samples of nappies, wipes and non-bio washing liquid.

I've always known I want to breastfeed and although the main reason behind my decision is the health benefits for both baby & me, money also does play a small part. Formula can be really expensive and soon adds up over the months. Breastfeeding is free! Obviously if for some reason I can't breastfeed I will pump my milk and have to maybe think about formula but until then we aren't buying any. We only have our Maam bottle that we received free from Boots and I've bought a Nature Bond Silicone Breast Pump ready for when I do decide to start pumping. We aren't buying any bottles or bottle feeding accessories until we know for definite we will need them as at the minute they are just a wasted expense. 

Bulk Buy:
Our house is literally full on nappies and wipes that we have bought in bulk! There are so many baby events going on throughout the year that all do amazing deals on the essentials. It works out so much cheaper to buy a box of wipes than it does to buy the individual packets. Don't buy all your nappies in one size because baby's grow very quickly and they'll soon grow out of new born so we have bought sizes ranging from 1-4! We've also picked up a variety of different wipes from different brands due to the fact that your baby's bottom might not agree with a certain brand. Whatever you don't use though, you could always pass on or sell! There is always someone out there who can make use out of the things you can't.

Baby Events:
I never noticed as many baby events as I have done since becoming pregnant. All the major supermarkets do them sporadically over the year, usually every 4-5 months, so no matter when you get pregnant you can take advantage. Asda has been my favourite for their baby event, we bought our moses basket from there, bedding, baby toiletries, nappies, changing mats. They also do car seats, high chairs, rockers and so much more! You can pick uo some amazing bargains. Sign up to their websites and you can get reminders of when baby events are coming up and even get a sneak peek into what will be in the event.

Think Before You Buy:
Before we went and spent our monthly wages in Mamas & Papas (easily done, trust me) we wrote a list of all the essentials we needed. They are obviously the priority. Anything else you can buy afterwards when you know you already have everything you NEED, so everything else is a little bonus and treat for baby (and you). We looked online and Pinterest for lists of the absolute essentials and read reviews on what worked for people and what was a gimmick. Does a baby really need a wipe warmer? I don't think so. A cold wipe to the ass never did me any harm. It's so easy to get sucked into the baby world and especially when you are a first time mum, you have no idea what's an essential and what you can do without. 

Hold Back On The New Born:
It's so easy to pick up hundreds of little new born sized vests and sleep suits, but thinking practically, baby's grow so quickly that they'll soon outgrow them! The majority of our baby's wardrobe is 0-3 months. At least that way you know they will fit in them for a slightly longer amount of time. For my baby shower we were bought quite a lot of newborn clothing so we went out the next day and exchanged them all for 3-6 months. It isn't being ungrateful, it's just thinking logically. It would be such a shame for them to never get worn and be wasted when people have taken the effort to buy you lovely outfits.

These tips have really helped us when it comes to saving money and I hope some of you guys find it helpful as well! 

Pregnancy Diary: What Is In Our Hospital Bag.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Baby Cope is due next week and the last thing we had to do was pack our hospital bags, which we finally did last week after being mithered by our midwife and my family to get it done! I don't know why I was putting it off, I just felt like we had plenty of time. Forgetting that Baby can arrive from 38 weeks, Oops. 

We have packed two main bags. One gym bag for use during labour and a small suitcase that will hold all mine and Baby's things for after the birth. I also have a carrier bag full of sugary sweets and Lucozade sports drinks that the midwife and my sister both swear by for during labour. It's so important to keep your sugar levels up so any excuse to buy a multi pack of Moams and Jelly babies! I might even share with Aaron...

Labour Bag:
  • Bikini (I am hoping for a water birth so a bikini was essential. I have packed the bikini bottoms although I can't see me wearing them much...)
  • Large nightie for birthing in, just in case I decide a water birth isn't possible or isn't working for me. I picked mine up from Primark as I know it'll probably get ruined so I will just throw it away once I get cleaned up after the birth.
  • Maternity notes. I have written a very brief birth plan just covering the basics and the things that are most important to me for the birth. 
  • Lip balm. I've heard gas and air gives you the worst dry mouth so I've stocked up on lip balms ready to apply whenever I need to.
  • A travel pillow. As I said, I really want a water birth and I've read other peoples experiences and the one thing I noticed was them mentioning taking a travel pillow to rest their head on when leaning on the side of the pool.
  • I-pad, magazines and kindle. Labour can be a very long experience and there isn't just me that is going to be at the hospital. Aaron will also need something to keep him occupied and awake. Thank god for Netflix installing a 'download' feature so you can download your favourite series or films to watch without the need for Wi-Fi!
  • Snacks & drinks.
  • Hair bobbles, large headband and water spray. Hospitals are very bloody warm, mix that with contractions and pushing, and you'll have a very hot and angry Rachael so I have packed the water spray for Aaron to spray on my face throughout the labour.
  • Phone charger and camera.

Post Birth Bag//For Me:

  • Pyjamas that are suitable for breast feeding. I've just picked some up from Primark that can be thrown away once we leave the hospital if they get ruined. 
  • Large black knickers that can hold my maternity pads in securely. Again from Primark so they can just be thrown away if needs be.
  • 2 x nursing bras.
  • Maternity pads. I've packed three large packs just to be on the safe side.
  • Breast pads. I probably won't have much use for these as your milk doesn't actually arrive for about 3 days after birth but I have packed a few just in case.
  • Large towel.
  • Toiletries; Shower gel, toothpaste and toothbrush, deodorant, face wipes and Tangle Teezer. I have bought all these in the little travel sizes you can pick up from Boots on 3 for 2.
  • Slippers and flip flops. I'll use the flip flops when I go for a shower after the birth. I also picked up some really thin slippers, mainly for a home comfort than anything else.
  • Large zip up hoodie. I'll throw this on after the birth and I will also wear it home. The main thing is just to feel as comfortable as possible.
  • Maternity leggings, baggy t-shirt and comfortable shoes for going home in.
For Baby:
  • 3 x vests.
  • 3 x sleepsuits.
  • 2 x scratch mitts.
  • A hat to put them in after the birth.
  • Baby blanket
  • 3 x muslin squares.
  • Going home outfit.
  • 10 x Nappies, water wipes and cotton wool.
  • Their first cuddly toy which is a little penguin from The White Company.
  • Car seat ready for the journey home!
Packing our bags has definitely made it seem more real that we will soon be a family of three! 

Life As We Know It.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Everything is about to change. Our Baby is officially due next week and I am more than ready. I feel so relaxed and ready for the changes that are about to happen. I know there will be things happening that I can't control or predict, but I will deal with those issues as they occur. 

"My philosophy is that worrying means you suffer twice."- Newt Scamander.

During my maternity leave so far we have managed to declutter the house of all the crap we have accumulated. I didn't realise how much stuff a small human being needs so every bit of space is essential! We have also managed to get on top of all the odd jobs that needing doing around the house and in the garden, the last thing you want to be worrying about when looking after a new baby is the fact your garden looks like a jungle or your clothes washing has piled up and that's BEFORE you add all the baby's washing on top of that. 

I've also been using my maternity leave as a way to do all the things I love to do, that may be a little harder when Baby first arrives. Reading is such a huge love of mine and something that I do a lot of in my free time, however I think that managing to pick up a book is going to be nigh on impossible, especially in the first few weeks. So I have been taking the time to sit, even if it just for an hour a day, to read a book. 

Myself and Aaron are also enjoying going out for meals whenever we can. I know we will still do that when Baby is here but we're really making the most of our last trips out with just the two of us before the craziness that is parenthood starts!
I also went out for a meal with my girlfriends last week to a lovely Italian and my god it was good. It was nice to all get together and have a catch up. I am the first of my friends to have a baby so it's exciting to think that my baby will be joining us for our next meal! The girls are just as excited as me!

Baby C's nursery is all ready and raring to go! Although they won't be sleeping in there for the first 6 months or so we wanted to make sure it was all ready and it's one last thing to worry about when baby is here. I have taken some little sneak peek photos of their nursery and will be doing a blog post about them at some point this week! Their room is definitely my favourite in the house, I feel so happy and content when I go in. 

It's just a waiting game at the minute and we are more than ready to welcome our latest addition! I can't wait to finally have our baby in our arms. Change can be a wonderful thing and the best change is coming...