You know when you stalk your mailman because you are ever so patiently waiting for your package to come in? Literally me. From the second I ordered this dress from Shop Pink Blush, I immediately went to my closet and started figuring out how I wanted to style it! Y'all know I am a huge Shop Pink Blush fan, especially with their maternity clothing! I am so happy to announce I was invited to be a style ambassador for them, which means a ton of cute looks will be coming your way.
Dress: Shop Pink Blush Maternity | Shoes: H&M | Purse: bought in New York City | Necklace: gift
I can't wait to wear this dress to church and it is surprisingly stretchy, so I know I'll get use out of it for the entire pregnancy! It makes my bump look so cute and I love that it accentuates it, without looking too tight and like I'm bursting in it. Their maternity dresses are always such great quality and the perfect length. And y'all... This color is unreal. I love the lavender color, it is so perfect for spring!
This weekend we will be working more on little one's nursery and I'm so excited! Last weekend we painted the walls so I'm excited to work on it more. We also are going to be attending a Rockies game which will be a lot of fun! I'm excited to be getting out more with the weather warming up and attend fun summer activities.
I have so many fun blog posts coming soon and I can't wait for them to be published! I have really enjoyed making motherhood and pregnancy related posts, but I have some amazing military related ones you don't want to miss.
I am sure we have all heard from a relative or two, how expensive babies are. When compiling a list of what all I wanted to have for baby, I realized just how expensive they really are! But, babies don't have to be! I am a firm believer in if somethings for sale, there is always a cheaper way. Large companies dote on expecting mothers with wide eyes and have an array of expensive, sometimes unneeded products.
While I am all for splurging, and will probably buy a thing or two that I don't need being a new mom and wanting to spoil her; I wanted to put together a list we could all benefit and save a few bucks from! Soon I will be also sharing some freebies that us moms can take advantage of, so be on the look out! This post does contain affiliate links to provide a better and visual shopping experience.
There are a few different money saving tips when it comes to diapers. Every month that passes in this pregnancy, we have bought one box of diapers. I have particularly gone to Target because they consistently have $2 off Pampers or Huggies diapers. Since she's our first, we don't know what diapers she will like so I have been buying a variety. Target will allow you to exchange diapers out for different ones, even without a receipt, so this will be a great way to test out which brand works for your little one. Also, if you have the cartwheel app and scan it after every purchase (even if you didn't apply the coupons), it'll rack up your spending into points and you can turn it around and it will cover one of their rewards. Usually on the list: a free pack of diapers or wipes.
If you are totally not into brands, investing in memberships at Costco or Sam's Club cards would be worth your while and you can buy their brand of diapers in bulk and usually for a little cheaper than on brand. If you don't know what sizes to buy, I discovered this helpful chart that will be posted below on how much of each you should stock up on!
If you are having a baby shower, your friends and family are probably going to help you big time with this one. A great tip is to scour online selling pages, like Facebook marketplace to find huge amounts of baby clothes for a really low cost.
I know the struggle of wanting to buy every single custom onesie on Etsy, or buying that must need outfit at the baby boutique, but honestly I am being realistic and know that my baby will probably go through so many outfits in a day, and I'd rather not have my money crapped on: literally. I recently went to a baby consignment store and got a lot of clothes for a very little cost. The benefit is, when she grows out of them (and they aren't destroyed) I can take them back and make a few bucks off of them.
If you read one of my most recent posts, I purchased the Playtex drop in liner bottles. I am excited to use them because even though I plan to breastfeed, it'll be handy to store them and drop them in the bottles for feedings. I didn't realize just how expensive bottles can be, and it is honestly intimidating with all the different brands and styles on the market! If you go back to my post, Cartwheel app is doing a 15% off all Playtex bottles, which would be a perfect time to stock up!
Another great option is to go to Amazon and find what deals they have. They have a pretty good return and exchange policy, so I would check that before purchasing. You can also read real customer reviews which could help make your decision a little easier! Some things to take in account would be the bottle size and style. You can always fill up the bigger bottles with smaller amounts, and add more as the baby grows and needs more milk. Smaller bottles are nice, but you'll get more use out of the larger quantities. Also, bottles like the drop ins, ones with vents or an angle to them, and any designed to reduce air bubbles would be a great type to start off with. These reduce stomach issues and gas which would save you in the end if your baby did have these problems.
Obviously it is dependent on your parenting style and preference, but deciding on how and where your baby will be sleeping now will save you some bucks in the end. If you plan on co sleeping, maybe investing in a co sleeper for the bed or a connecting bed would be wise, and to just skip the bassinet or free standing beds. If you are choosing to have your baby start off in a crib, you won't have to worry about having alternatives.
It may be tempting to buy a co sleeper, pack n play, and a crib but chances are you'll only use one or two. Cribs themselves can be pricey, so finding one second hand could be a great money saver. If you do buy it from a previous mom, check the recalls and make sure it is a safe version. Take into account what is most practical and fitting for your space.
Kind of a hard thing to avoid purchasing, but man can these things be expensive! I know a lot of moms will have different opinions on what carseat is the must have, so take in account what is a need for you and your family. A lot will say infant car seats are a waste of money because they are used for a smaller amount of time, and others will swear by them because they are lightweight and can easily be carried inside and back to car. The number one tip is to find what fits your needs as a mom and find the best version you can.
All car seats have to pass the same safety test, but some will have additional padding and safety settings. Find a car seat that will fit easily in your car, be light enough if you do plan on carrying baby in it, and won't break the bank too much. It could be tempting to buy a car seat secondhand, and while it's acceptable, make sure you research that model and ensure there aren't any recalls on it. Also, if a car seat has been in an accident, or is over 5 years old, the safety expires and it is not recommended. Finding a car seat with padded head and sides, because this will be vital in impact.
Toys are another tricky thing, because you'll never know what your baby might like and favor. Toys can also be super expensive, so finding tricks to save a few bucks will make you a happy mama! A great way to save is to make your own toys. Make a baby rattle or noise maker by adding some beans or rice to a water bottle, tie together some socks of different fabrics, or even sew up your own toy for your little one. If you are looking to just buy toys on the market already, find some that have a multi-purpose. Toys that have fabric, plastic, and a mirror are great for babies senses.
Investing in a good teether, a few soft animals, and maybe a noisy toy or two will be great starter toys for your baby and give them the most stimulation until you find what they prefer.
I plan on spoiling her, but I feel so good knowing I will be saving in different areas, especially on the must haves! I will be featuring a post soon of different freebies you can get as a mom, because I know there are a ton of other money saving mamas out here too!
Have you found a great deal on a baby essential?
I would love to hear it! I have just finished adding things to my baby nursery, but I am all for saving in areas I can! Thank you for reading.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FirstsMadeEasy #ForBetterBeginnings #MomsFirsts #CollectiveBias
I am a stage one over planner and that didn't change when I got pregnant! One thing I was really excited to plan for, was our diaper bag! J picked out the most fitting diaper bag for us to use (military family, come on we had to get this one) and I was so excited to start packing the essentials I knew I would need. I wanted to share with y'all how I packed our diaper bag and what essentials I have included. It has really eased my mind to have the diaper bag prepped, because being a first time mom, I feel a little in over my head!
Being first time parents, we are always thinking safety first. We want to take all precautions to ensure peace of mind! Having a thermometer, lotion to keep baby Stratton's skin hydrated, and a nasal aspirator were all essentials for baby. I will later be adding a pacifier, and a mini first aid kit.
Having a few burp cloths, an extra onesie just in case, and a cute turtle toy were all basic baby needs I knew I wouldn't want to leave the house without! Also, I tested out our diaper bag bottle pouch and it perfectly holds our bottle of choice, the Playtex Baby™ Nurser® with Drop-Ins® Liners. We chose this after doing some research and found with the shape the bottle can conform in, it will reduce colic and the liners allow for a stress-free feeding because the liner collapses as it's emptied. This prevents air from getting into the milk and upsetting baby's stomach! I may be buying the Playtex Baby™ VentAire because it offers complete tummy support, if I see this being a concern with Baby Stratton.
Additionally, the nipple is designed to allow baby to easily and naturally latch, which is reassuring for when we will rely on these bottles during travels! The concept of the liners is really intriguing to me, because not only are they recyclable but it will make transporting formula or breastmilk a breeze. Click below to shop the Playtex Baby Nurser and take advantage of the Cartwheel savings at Target!
I have needs too! I am a huge snacker, so having food on hand for me is an essential. I also packed my chapstick and some hand sanitizer, because all moms know, I'm sure, you can never have enough sanitizer!
Last but not least, when duty calls: I am prepared! I have newborn diapers packed (we've already started stocking up, thanks Cartwheel app!), diaper wipes, and our diaper changing pad! Our bag also came with a dirty diaper pouch that is located in front of the diaper storage which is so handy. Also, can we just talk about that changing pad? My husband got a kick out of that and it's the perfect ounce of military humor this baby will soon be introduced too!
If you are a momma in the market for a new bottle, you can find these in the breastfeeding and bottle aisle of Target! I am so excited for our little one to make it's debut in August and I feel so reassured and prepared knowing I have quality and safe products!
If you are a mom, what are your must haves for your diaper bag?
With working full time, doing school, and getting hit hard with pregnancy exhaustion, I have mastered doing my everyday makeup in five minutes! I love getting put together even when I am staying home, because I feel a lot more productive, and it literally doesn't take much out of my day which I like.
I'm sure all military significant others can attest to the first month of deployment being the hardest. It takes about 25 days to develop or change your habits, and that first month is full of transitioning to your life without your loved one.
It is so difficult to adjust to waking up alone, handling all of the once shared responsibilities, and just not talking to them everyday. As a military family, it is a reality we face and are expected to deal with.
Sometimes outsiders may say "well you signed up for this, you knew what you were getting into"! To a point yes, we all understand what is expected of military members, but nothing can compare us for how deployments will make us feel until we go through it.
While you can never fully prepare for a deployment, I did want to share some tips on how to get through that first month.
First, allow yourself some "grieving, not-so-good" days. It's normal to feel sad, and there's no shame in letting it out. If that means you lay in bed cuddled up in his shirts, looking through photos, or just crying it out- by all means do it. Not bottling it up will give you that "closure" and it is okay to feel sad!
But notice I said allow yourself some days, staying positive and focusing your energy on other things will help you through this first month and entire deployment. Start by setting a bucket list for yourself. If you moved home to family, make a list of people and favorite spots you want to see before the end of this time. If you are staying at your duty station, plan to get together with friends or attend events, and be a tourist in your temporary home.
Setting expectations and goals for this time will not only make it seem like time is going by faster, but it gives you things to look forward to.
Also, during this first month set up a routine for yourself. Start and end your days with the intentions of living every day to the fullest. Whether that's working out, going to your job, watching your favorite Netflix show, or doing schoolwork; try and have as many plans as possible.
Last but not least, remember this is an adjustment period for them too. They are adjusting to being overseas, most often in an unsecure FOB or area and trying to assimilate to that atmosphere. It's tough on them, no matter how many times they deploy, to go through that adjustment time. Be understanding and supportive, and keep this in mind while they are getting situated there.
Be as available as possible to enjoy those sweet, precious phone calls, but also understand it's not always an option with connection.
Go into the deployment knowing it won't always be easy, but changing your mindset and having these things in mind can make it a little easier. From one military spouse to another, the greatest thing you can hold on to during this time is loving and supporting them, and to be fearless.
Are you currently going through a deployment, or have previously?
Thank you for stopping by The Strattons Blog! Here are snippets of my life, motherhood, and the military!