Tag Archives: Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

Rookie Parent Mistakes to Avoid with a Second Pregnancy

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Don’t repeat my mistakes!! Lessons learned from the first time around and what you really need to do to prepare for a second pregnancy (or third, or fourth…) Sponsored by Pampers at Sam’s Club.

With my first baby, I’ll admit that I kind of winged-it. I did a little bit of reading and research, but I didn’t want to go overboard. So I barely planned at all!

Well of course life has a funny way of teaching you a lesson! I sure learned a lot from baby #1 about what we need for a second baby, and I thought I’d share those lessons so you can be better prepared than I was!

Don't repeat my mistakes!! Lessons learned from the first time around and what you really need to do to prepare for a second pregnancy (or third, or fourth...)

How Baby #1 Teaches You to Prepare for a Second Pregnancy

As we wait anxiously to welcome a new member of our family later this year, I’ve started compiling a list of all the things I want to remember from my first childbirth experience so I can get ready for the next time.

1. Stock Up on Diapers and Wipes

Many times with a second pregnancy (or third, fourth, etc.) you might have a small celebration with family and friends, but you don’t get to do a whole big registry again. The thinking being that you likely saved a lot of your baby furniture, toys, etc. and don’t need a brand new nursery setup.

However, there IS one thing that you ALWAYS need with any baby…

Diapers and wipes!

In fact, you can never have too many diapers and wipes on hand. Seriously, whatever you planned to buy before the baby arrives – go ahead and double that! (You’ll thank me later!)

Even with six months to go, we’ve already started stocking up on both Pampers Swaddlers and Pampers Sensitive Baby Wipes.

The hospital started us out with Pampers Swaddlers last time and we loved them! So soft and they stayed in place. When it comes to wipes, I recommend Pampers Sensitive Baby Wipes, especially for the early days when baby’s skin is so delicate.

I was thrilled to see such a hot deal at Sam’s Club this month, so we’ve already halfway filled the crib up with boxes of diapers and wipes!

Don't repeat my mistakes!! Lessons learned from my first pregnancy and what you actually need for a second baby (or third, or fourth...)

2. Skip the Fancy Clothes and Stick to Essentials

Clothing you don’t really need with a brand new baby:

  • Shoes
  • Jeans
  • Anything with zippers or buttons

Clothing you actually use with a brand new baby:

  • Onesies – lots and LOTS of onesies

Sure, those cute little dresses and matching outfit sets are tempting. And they totally make for adorable photo opps!

But when that first “blowout” happens, you’ll wish your baby was wearing a simple onesie that slips right off!

And don’t even get me started on shoes and socks…

My first baby would only keep shoes/socks on for mere minutes before she’d rip them off and toss them aside. Even at almost four years old, she still takes her socks off the first chance she gets. (Fortunately in Texas I don’t have to worry about her feet getting cold!)

What to do to prepare for a second pregnancy

No matter where we went – from the grocery store to an airplane – this baby would NOT wear shoes!

Lesson learned: babies don’t need fancy kicks or gear. Onesies are super convenient for diaper changes and they’re cheap to replace if they become stained. (It happens…)

3. Create a Detailed Birth Plan

Even if your labor doesn’t go according to plan (do they ever?) it’s still crucial to have a birth plan, and know all your options should things change at the last minute.

With my first birth, I was so dead-set against a C-section that I wouldn’t even entertain the possibility.

Problem is, life doesn’t always care about what you want! Miss “I’m never getting a C-section” (aka ME) ended up carted away in an ambulance to a completely unfamiliar hospital for that dreaded C-section. A terrible experience that could have been made better had I planned for all possibilities.

What I learned: it’s better to prep for any outcome you can think of and not use those options then to plan for nothing and end up with no say in what happens.

Related: Why ALL Moms Should Plan for a C-Section

4. Do All the Prenatal Exercises Your Doctor or Midwife Recommends

As we neared the due date last time around, my midwife gave me a list of exercises to complete daily. These were supposed to help encourage the baby to drop into just the right position for a smooth birth.

I think I spent hours each day bouncing up and down on my yoga ball (at least it felt like it!) But I’ll admit that I might have slacked off a bit on my crawling (which is just as fun as it sounds).

I’ll never know for sure, but I’ll always wonder if I had been more diligent in those exercises, would our birth experience have gone better?

You better believe that this time I’ll be doing every move and stretch my midwife says to do…and then some!

Related: How to Get Rid of Morning Sickness (without a Prescription)

5. Bring Maternity Clothes to the Hospital or Birthing Center

Key word: MATERNITY.

I did a pitiful job packing my “go bag” the first time around!

For some reason I assumed I would slip right back into my pre-pregnancy clothes after I popped out a baby. Haha…NOPE!

Pack your most comfortable maternity clothes to the hospital or birthing center, and make sure you have enough outfits for at least a 2-3 day stay (in case you are there longer than expected).

Otherwise you may be left waiting for friends or family to bring the items you forgot. (Don’t ask me how I know…)

6. Don’t Forget About the Hubby

When packing our hospital bag, I completely forgot about my husband! (And he didn’t think to pack a bag at all!)

Be sure to bring your significant other a couple changes of clothes as well if they will be staying with you at the hospital.

My poor husband didn’t leave my side the entire 5 days we were at the hospital, and he didn’t have fresh clothes until his mother arrived the day after my surgery.

How to prepare for baby #2

Oh the things I wish I’d known with the first baby!

The easiest step to prepare for a second pregnancy…

That might seem like a lot of information to digest at once, but you can start by working on one thing at a time.

While you don’t really need your hospital bag months in advance, you can stock up on those diapers and wipes so you don’t need to run out and buy them all at once when the baby arrives.

Ok mamas, your turn! What did you learn with your first pregnancy that you would do differently the next time around? Share your tips for new (and second-time) moms in the comments below!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Pampers at Sam’s Club. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Latest posts by Stacey aka the Soccer Mom (see all)

Last updated on February 16th, 2019 at 08:07 pm

10 Home Remedies to Get Rid of Morning Sickness (That Really Work!)

 

How to get rid of morning sickness with home remedies (and without a prescription) — what really works and what doesn’t if you’re experiencing a tough pregnancy!

Pregnant woman cradling belly; how to get rid of morning sickness

How to Get Rid of Morning Sickness without a Prescription

I don’t know why they call it “morning sickness,” because for both of my pregnancies it was more like “all-day everyday sickness!”

When you’re in the throws of the first trimester morning sickness, the accompanying symptoms (nausea, vomiting, fatigue) can be extremely debilitating. It can be difficult to handle your normal daily routine, take care of the kids, or function at a job.

For many women, the symptoms of morning sickness lessen after the first trimester. However, for others those symptoms can stretch halfway through a pregnancy, or longer.

My morning sickness usually lets up a little after four months, but I still have occasional symptoms after that. If you’re like me, you’re probably willing to try just about anything to get rid of that awful feeling!

What Causes Morning Sickness?

During the first trimester, our bodies experience a rapid increase in hormones. This causes symptoms of nausea and vomiting in over half of pregnant women.

While extremely inconvenient and uncomfortable for the mother, morning sickness is a good sign that the placenta and baby are developing.

However, if you experience excessive vomiting to the point where you cannot keep any food or liquid down, you may have a condition known as Hyperemesis Gravidarum. See your doctor or midwife right away.

10 Home Remedies for Morning Sickness

I’ve compiled a list of all the home remedies for morning sickness that I’ve tried throughout two pregnancies – with detailed descriptions of what worked and what didn’t.

Keep in mind that what worked for me might not work as well for you, and vice-versa. That’s why I’ve presented as many options as possible so you can try for yourself.

Hopefully your discover something new that helps you get the morning sickness relief you need!

Note: I’ve included shop-able ad links to products that I love and that helped me get rid of morning sickness symptoms; read our full disclosure policy here.

Morning Sickness Remedy #1 — Get a Full Night’s Sleep…and Then Some!

Days where I didn’t sleep well the night before were the days that I felt the worst.

However, if I got a full 7-8 hours of sleep, I felt substantially better the next day.

I know as a busy mom or if you work outside the home, it feels tough to get everything done during the day and go to bed on time. But it is so important to make self-care a priority, and sleep is one of the best things you can do for yourself during pregnancy.

I enlisted my husband’s help to get it done – I feel like it was a fair trade for me to get the sleep since I was growing the baby!

Usually I am the one to get up first in the morning to get our oldest daughter ready for school, but while I am pregnant we switch. My husband gets up for the school morning routine and I get an extra hour of sleep. That extra hour makes a huge difference!

Pregnant woman resting to relieve morning sickness

Morning Sickness Home Remedy #2 —Nap When You Need To

Piggy-backing on the topic of a good night’s sleep, napping is also helpful to get rid of morning sickness.

Another common symptom of morning sickness during pregnancy is fatigue, and sometimes this is extreme in the first trimester.

Listen to your body!

If your body is telling you “I need to lie down NOW” – do it!

I found that when I tried to push through my fatigue, I felt terrible for the rest of the day — not only exhausted, but nauseous as well.

On the flip side, when I started to feel nauseous, if I immediately got into bed or laid down on the couch, I could stave off the worst of the nausea before it got to the point of throwing up.

So if you start to feel queasy, a short nap is an effective way to get back on track and feel better again.

Related: Click here to see my picks for the best pregnancy pillow so you can sleep better!

Morning Sickness Relief Tip #3 —Take Your Vitamins

When you’re trying to conceive or first find out that you’re expecting, your doctor will surely tell you to take your prenatal vitamins.

Prenatal vitamins are critical both for healthy development of your growing baby, but also your own health, as the baby takes your own nutrients.

Remembering to take your vitamins can also help ease morning sickness, as the B vitamins are shown to relieve certain symptoms. In fact, Vitamin B6 is one of the main components in the prescription morning sickness medication Diclectin® (more on that later in the post).

When taking your vitamins, timing is everything! Taking them at the wrong time can actually make you feel worse, so follow these tips for best results:

  1. Don’t take your vitamins on an empty stomach, as this may cause you to feel sick or throw up (losing all those nutrients!)
  2. If taking a capsule or pill, try taking immediately before bed. This helped me during my first pregnancy, when my vitamins often made me feel more nauseous. I didn’t feel sick if I was sleeping.
  3. Trouble swallowing pills? Try a gummy vitamin that tastes great and is easy to get down.
  4. If taking one vitamin a day is too intense (this sometimes made me feel nauseous with my first pregnancy), try a lower dose vitamin that you take multiple times a day. I love SmartyPants Prenatal Complete Gummy Vitamins because the daily serving size is 6 chewable gummies. They taste delicious and I can spread them throughout the day.

Related: 15 Things to Do When You Find Out You’re Pregnant

Stop Morning Sickness Tip #4 —Drink Lots of Water

When I felt especially nauseous, I didn’t want to eat or drink anything.

However, dehydration can exacerbate morning sickness symptoms, making you feel even worse, so it is crucial to drink enough liquids.

If plain water isn’t appetizing, try flavored water (look for sugar free options) or sparkling water.

One of my favorite combinations is fresh lemonade and sparkling water – it tastes amazing (so I can get t it down), and the sparkling water cuts the sugar content in half.

Avoid caffeine — as it is a diuretic and makes it more difficult to stay hydrated. One cup of coffee or tea is generally considered safe during pregnancy (I relied on my one cup to get through the work day with my first baby!) However, if you do indulge, be sure to drink plenty of water too!

Interestingly, with my next pregnancy, I couldn’t even go near coffee (sad face) because just the thought of it made me want to throw up!

Morning Sickness Home Remedy #5 — Ginger

Ginger is one of the most common suggestions to help get rid of morning sickness, and there are a few different ways to add ginger to your daily diet:

  • Crystalized ginger or ginger candy
  • Added to hot tea in grated or syrup form
  • Taken via capsule

I’ve taken ginger throughout both of my pregnancies, but noticed little relief (if any). However, it has been used and recommended as a natural way to get rid of morning sickness for centuries, so it may work better for you. Definitely worth a try!

Related: Try my recipe for flu-fighting tea, which contains a generous helping of crystalized ginger!

Hot tea on tray with honey and ginger

Morning Sickness Remedy #6 — Morning Sickness Tea

Whether you make your own at home (see my recipe above) or purchase, a decaf morning sickness tea can work wonders!

My “secret Santa” this year gifted me with tin of morning sickness tea and I absolutely loved it! I enjoyed the flavor, it helped me get another glass of liquids, and I actually felt like it helped stop morning sickness almost immediately. (The effects didn’t last forever, but it was helpful when I felt symptoms start).

Try this: Secrets of Tea No to Morning Sickness Tea (I loved it!)

Get Rid of Morning Sickness Trick #7 — More (or Less) Physical Activity

Depending on your body, getting out and getting active might be a helpful way to relieve morning sickness. With my first pregnancy, I took daily walks and practiced light yoga during the first trimester.

However, this time around, exercise of any kind made me feel horrible. So I listened to my body and rested instead.

Once I was out of the first trimester, I slowly reintroduced exercise (my usual twice-weekly yoga classes, with modifications).

Pay attention to what your body tells you — whether it is to move around or get more rest.

I know that it is difficult when you’re an active person and used to working out frequently to just stop for three months. But I promise when your body is ready you’ll be able to move around again.

Morning Sickness Relief Tip #8 — Essential Oils

Three of the most common essential oils used to help relieve nausea are lemon, peppermint, and lavender. Here’s how I used them throughout my pregnancy to help get rid of morning sickness symptoms:

  1. Lemon — Add a couple drops of lemon essential oil to hot tea or your water bottle.
  2. Peppermint — Rub a couple drops of peppermint essential oil onto wrists, hold under your nose and inhale deeply 5 times. I especially love the “Breathe” blend by DoTerra!
  3. Lavender — Add 3-5 drops of lavender essential oil to an aromatherapy diffuser. Lavender is also shown to help promote restful sleep, so I like to use it at night.

Click here to shop DoTerra essential oils or create your own wholesale account and save on regular orders! (like you would at a Sam’s Club or other wholesale stores).

Related: My Favorite 12 Practical Everyday Essential Oil Uses

Morning Sickness Home Remedy #9 — Preggie Pop Drops

I only recently discovered these little gems — and while I’m glad I finally tried them, I wish I’d found them sooner!

Preggie Pop Drops are sour hard candies that contain a proprietary blend of essential oils to help get rid of morning sickness.

I’ve found that they help with nausea and motion sickness when we’re in the car, as my sensitivity to “car sickness” seems to be higher when I’m pregnant. Plus they taste fantastic (unlike ginger candies)!

I always keep a couple of them in my purse for emergencies.

Morning Sickness Remedy #10 — Take 1/2 Unisom Sleep Tab at Night

In 2013, the FDA re-approved Diclectin® (formerly known as Bendectin), the only prescription medication approved to treat morning sickness. This drug was banned in the United States for almost 30 years, but after extensive studies is again deemed safe by the FDA. It was, however, available in most of the rest of world during this time.

When I was pregnant in 2013, my midwife recommended taking 1/2 of a Unisom Sleep Tab at night to help relieve my debilitating morning sickness. Not only did this reduce my nausea, but it also helped me sleep through the night, so I felt more rested and less sick the following day.

I tried almost all home remedies for morning sickness, but it was the Unisom that was my lifesaver!

Why does Unisom work to get rid of morning sickness?

Both Unisom and the prescription medication Diclectin® contain the active ingredient Doxylamine Succinate (an antihistamine), which is shown to dramatically reduce symptoms of nausea and vomiting in pregnant women. Diclectin® also contains Vitamin B6.

Unisom Sleep Tabs (not the gels) contain 25 mg of Doxylamine Succinate, which the prescription Diclectin® contains 10mg. This is why the recommendation is to take half of a Unisom Sleep Tab to get a similar dose.

Note: Unisom also sells sleep gels, which additionally contain what is essentially Benadryl. Benadryl is a schedule B drug, and while is usually considered safe for pregnant women, this combination is not the recommended medication to deal with morning sickness.

While Doxylamine Succinate is classified a Schedule A drug (safe) for pregnant women, it is important to check with your doctor or midwife before starting any Unisom regimen.

Get Rid of Morning Sickness with my Home Relief Essentials:

Disclaimer: This post is based on my own personal experience; I am not a medical professional. Always consult your doctor or midwife with specific pregnancy-related questions.

Do you have any tricks that helped you get rid of morning sickness? Share them in the comments below!

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Latest posts by Stacey aka the Soccer Mom (see all)

Last updated on March 13th, 2019 at 01:06 pm

15 Things to Do When You Find Out You’re Pregnant

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Inside: The 15 most important things you should do as soon as you find out you’re pregnant, from a mom of three.

The 15 most important things you should do as soon as you find out you're pregnant, from a mom of three. How to care for yourself from the start to help ensure a healthy pregnancy.

15 Things to Do When You Find Out You’re Pregnant

After multiple pregnancies, I’ve gotten to know a lot about the process — the good, the awkward, the uncomfortable, and the exciting.

The most important thing I’ve learned is that every pregnancy is different. However, there are certain things that are always the same, like how important it is to take care of yourself.

Note: I’ve included ad links to products that were essential in helping me get through all my pregnancies; read my disclosure policy here.

Whether this is your first baby, or your fifth, these are 15 things you should do as soon as you find out you’re pregnant:

1. Start Taking a Prenatal Vitamin

If you’re not already, start taking a prenatal vitamin. This will supplement your diet and ensure that your growing baby (and you!) get the nutrients you need.

A regular multivitamin is better than none at all, but prenatal vitamins are specifically designed to provide the right nutrients during pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins can help ease symptoms of morning sickness (thanks to Vitamin B6) and more importantly, prevent certain birth defects (look for folate).

A word of caution: taking your vitamins on an empty stomach may cause nausea. I always take my prenatal vitamins with a meal or before bed (if I’m asleep I’m less likely to feel sick).

I absolutely love SmartyPants Prenatal Complete Gummy Vitamins because they taste amazing, and they’re spread out in smaller doses so they never made me feel nauseous. (The girls love their kids gummy vitamins too!)

If you’re not yet expecting, but hoping to conceive, go ahead and start taking your prenatal vitamins now. Also, you don’t need to stop taking them immediately after you give birth. A prenatal vitamin is still beneficial during your recovery and especially if you are breastfeeding.

Related: What Your Doctor Won’t Tell You About Breastfeeding

2. Schedule Your First Prenatal Visit

The second person to tell (after your partner or spouse) that you’re pregnant…your doctor!

Sometimes it can take a couple weeks to get an appointment, so you’ll want to put your name on the list as soon as possible.

During your first prenatal visit, your doctor or midwife will confirm your pregnancy (just to be 100% sure). They will also likely run a few blood tests to check your hormone levels and see if everything is tracking normally. You might even get to take a peek at the baby with a quick ultrasound (depending on how far along you are at the time).

Here’s 10 questions every pregnant woman should ask from Mama in the Now.

If all looks well, you’ll likely return for your next visit in a month or so. Any unusual numbers might prompt an earlier second visit to take another look.

3. Make Sleep a Priority

I know, I know — there are a lot of things that get in the way of a full night’s sleep. Kids, work, stress, you name it!

However, sleep is crucial during pregnancy to keep you healthy, and make sure that you’ve got enough energy to grow a baby and function during the day.

I also found that on nights when I didn’t get enough sleep, I felt terrible the next day! Making sleep a priority (and taking naps when possible) helped tremendously with my morning sickness.

Related: 10 Home Remedies to Get Rid of Morning Sickness (these are what worked for me!)

pregnant woman practicing prenatal yoga on white background

4. Re-examine your Exercise Routine

Exercise is helpful throughout pregnancy to relieve stress, manage weight gain, maintain flexibility, and promote better sleep. Regular physical exercise may also lower the risk of gestational diabetes and increase your stamina for labor (source).

However, there are some exercises that you should skip while you’re pregnant, as they can be uncomfortable or even dangerous.

Exercises to Avoid During Pregnancy:

  • High-impact aerobics
  • Hot yoga
  • Challenging workouts that you didn’t practice before your were pregnant
  • Skiing or other activities with a high risk of falling
  • Trampolining or activities with a lot of bouncing
  • Contact sports

I used to take hot yoga, but extreme temperatures can be dangerous for a developing baby, especially during the first trimester. Instead, I switched to a warm class, which is still a great workout, but at a moderate temperature.

Excellent Exercises for Expecting Moms:

  • Walking
  • Prenatal yoga
  • Low-impact aerobics
  • Swimming

Important: Talk to your doctor or midwife before starting any new fitness routine and if you’ve had any prior pregnancy complications.

Read More: How to Have a “Belly Only” Pregnancy (The Healthy Way)

5. Start Your Birth Plan…NOW

Your birth plan sets the course for your pregnancy. If you’re hoping for a home birth, your preparations will be different than for a hospital birth.

With my first pregnancy, I didn’t create a birth plan at all. Big mistake!!

Things didn’t go exactly how I hoped and I ended up at the mercy of a strange doctor and a strange hospital. And that is NOT how you want labor to go.

You better believe this time around I’m making a plan!

Related: Why Every Mom Should Plan for a C-Section (it’s not what you think!)

 

6. Check Your Insurance

Blah.

Yuck.

Dealing with insurance is the worst.

Unfortunately, it’s a necessity, as childbirth is more expensive in the United States than any other developed country in the world. (By more than double!)

To avoid any unpleasant (and costly) surprises, call your insurer NOW to see what’s covered on your plan. Ask about:

  • In-network providers
  • Which facilities in your area are available
  • Specific services that are covered
  • What happens in case of an emergency
  • Will your baby automatically be covered on your plan
  • Your expected financial responsibility (deductibles, co-pays, out-of-pocket maximums are all key terms to know)
  • Anything else you can think of!!

The more you know in advance, the better prepared you’ll be to manage and anticipate your pregnancy and childbirth expenses.

7. Let Your Employer Know

You have rights when you’re pregnant! By that I mean you have rights in the workplace.

Most importantly, your employer is NOT allowed to fire or discriminate against you if they find out that you’re pregnant.

It can be scary telling you’re employer (at least it was for me), because you may be worried about how they will react. However, the first trimester can be especially difficult, and your employer will be much more understanding if they know why you’re not feeling 100%.

While not required to by law, your employer may also make special accommodations to keep you both comfortable and productive. One of the nice things my boss did for me during my previous pregnancy was to bring a couch into my office. That way when my rib pain became intense, I could stretch out and rest for a few minutes.

Want to know more about your rights during pregnancy? Click here to read an excellent article on Parents.com that breaks it down.

8. Decide When to Tell Family & Friends

This is a very personal decision, and every couple handles it differently.

Some couples decide to wait until after the first trimester to go public with the news, as the risk of miscarriage decreases dramatically during the second trimester.

Others choose to spread the word right away.

I miscarried my first pregnancy in the first trimester, before we really told anyone outside close family. This meant that I suffered one of the hardest things in my life while no one knew what was happening.

For my last two pregnancies, I told people much sooner. I figured that if anything were to go wrong, it would be easier to heal with the support of family and friends.

announcing pregnancy to family - small baby bump

A big announcement and a little baby bump!

If you have older children, you’ll also want to think about when to let them in on the surprise. With my last pregnancy, our oldest daughter was four at the time, so we waited to tell her until I was showing and it made more sense to her. This time around we told the girls right away — we were too excited to wait!

Again, deciding when to tell is a very personal decision, but it’s one you’ll want to think about right away to make sure that you and your partner/spouse are on the same page.

9. Start thinking about names

During my last pregnancy, we picked a name easily. One day we were talking as a family and it just happened!

With this baby, we spent almost five months tossing around hundreds of names before we found “the one.” Whew!

I’ve known couples who debated names until almost the day their baby was born. Better to get started right away so you have plenty of time!

10. Fix your sleeping situation

During my previous pregnancy, I spent the first few months terribly uncomfortable sleeping on an old mattress. Finally I said “enough” and went out and purchased a new one. I wish I had done that right from the start and I could have saved myself weeks of tossing and turning!

I still love that mattress, and I’ve slept better this pregnancy. Though this time around it was my pillows that needed an upgrade!

If it is within your budget, make sure your bed is as comfortable and supportive as possible. Not only will you be gaining weight and putting more pressure on your mattress, but your shape will be changing too.

If your budget is limited, the addition of an inexpensive memory foam mattress topper (like this one) can still make a huge difference!

Sleep is SO SO important during pregnancy (see #3) and a good bed is worth the splurge.

11. Start a maternity wardrobe

With my first pregnancy, I didn’t buy any maternity clothes until over halfway through. By that point, I was miserable because my expanding waistline was being constricted by pants made for normal people.

Don’t torture yourself like I did because you think “maternity” clothes are all ugly and frumpy. There are so many cute boutiques online and you can find some great deals (in case you’re like me and hate spending money on a temporary wardrobe).

Black maternity leggings are my go-to piece because I can wear them over and over and no one really notices!

Another tip: You might think a maternity wardrobe is a waste because you’ll be back in your regular clothes after birth. If that happens to you, then you’re one of the extremely lucky ones! Most of us mamas end up wearing our maternity clothes for a few months after birth as our bodies slowly shed the baby weight.

So that “nine month” wardrobe might actually last you a year and a half, or more! (No judgement here…maternity yoga pants are super comfortable!) Plus, if you’re planning for multiple children, you can always box them up for next time.

Related: 5 Surprisingly Easy Weight Loss Tips for Breastfeeding Moms

12. Pay Attention to Your Body

Pregnancy causes a LOT of changes, and some of them can feel pretty weird. So what’s normal and what’s cause for concern?

Honestly, I’ve found that my body and instinct has been the best indicator for me.

With my miscarriage, I experienced light spotting early on. Some books and sources will say that this can be normal (it’s true that spotting may turn out to be benign), however, I just knew something was wrong.

I listened to my body and scheduled an appointment with my midwife right away. She was able to prepare me for the possibility that I was miscarrying.

While it’s ok to research online or ask a friend to see what’s “normal,” when in doubt always ask your doctor or midwife.

Your body will also let you know when you need to adjust your daily habits. For example:

  • If you’re feeling stomach discomfort, you might want to take a closer look at your diet. I started eating gluten free during my first pregnancy and it relieved so many digestive symptoms!
  • Extreme fatigue may be your body signaling that you need to rest more, whether it be going to sleep a little earlier or taking a midday catnap.
  • Aches and pains might be your bodies way of telling you to “slow down.” I know that when I’m on the go or pushing it physically, my body lets me know when I’ve pushed a little too hard. (Keep in mind that any severe pains or cramping should be reported to your doctor or midwife ASAP).

13. Take Lots of Photos

This is something I wish I had done a better job of during my first pregnancy!

There are probably about 10 photos of me pregnant in TOTAL for that entire 10 months! (And I took ZERO photos during the first two weeks after I gave birth.

You’ll never regret taking too many photos (I promise!) but you will regret if you didn’t take enough.

Take the photo mama!

14. Start Stocking Up Now

Diapers, wipes, and baby supplies are expensive!

That’s why we always start stocking up right away.

You might decide to wait until after the first trimester to buy baby products (when the risk for miscarriage goes down). However, I’d definitely start stockpiling diapers, wipes, and onesies by the second trimester!

See what else I figured out after my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants first pregnancy: Rookie Parent Mistakes to Avoid with a Second Pregnancy

15. Don’t Stress Yourself Out

Easier said than done for sure, but stress is detrimental to your health (pregnant or not). Try to minimize it as much as possible!

Whether it’s a hot mug of calming pregnancy tea or a prenatal massage, treat yourself regular to relaxation. Growing a baby is hard work…you deserve it!

Also, try to avoid reading too much about pregnancy complications and childbirth mishaps — both in books and online. While it’s ok to be aware of possibilities, focusing on negative outcomes will likely only serve to freak you out.

Take care of yourself mama, and focus on the positive!

Not Sure if You’re Pregnant? Learn About These 10 Early Pregnancy Symptoms Before Your Missed Period

My Pregnancy Essentials

These are items that I loved and use during all my pregnancies! I hope they’ll help you too!

Disclaimer: This post is based on my own personal experience; I am not a medical professional. Always consult your doctor or midwife with specific pregnancy-related questions.

Read This Next:

The BIG list of things every couple should do before a new baby arrives.

52 Things Couples Should Do Before Baby Arrives

Self care during pregnancy isn't selfish - it's crucial to your health and well-being! Inside: 10 ways to take care of yourself during pregnancy that you might be missing.

Why You Should Practice Self-Care During Pregnancy

How to not only survive, but LOVE visiting Disney while pregnant! What to pack, what to do & see, can you ride the rides, and more travel tips!

How to Enjoy Disney While Pregnant

Subscribe for our FREE GUIDE: Hospital Packing List + our Pregnancy and New Mom support newsletter!  Privacy Policy

Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Latest posts by Stacey aka the Soccer Mom (see all)

Last updated on May 10th, 2019 at 01:54 pm

How to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding {And KEEP Your Milk Supply}

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Forget what you’ve heard — this is the TRUTH about breastfeeding and weight loss! Learn how to lose weight while breastfeeding WITHOUT losing milk supply.

Over the past two years since I had my little one, I’ve written quite a few times about my efforts to lose and keep off the baby weight. (The struggle is real!!)

Throughout my journey, I’ve read quite a few weight loss tips for breastfeeding moms. Some are legit, some are a joke, so I wanted to share the ones that really made a difference for me.

Forget what you've heard - this is the TRUTH about breastfeeding and weight loss! Learn how to lose weight while breastfeeding WITHOUT losing milk supply.

How to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding (What You Might Have Heard)

We all have that one friend that doesn’t even look like she had a baby. So what’s her secret??

RUMOR: Breastfeeding burns TONS of calories you can eat whatever you want.

You’ve probably heard that if you breastfeed that the weight will “just fall right off.” Perhaps one of your friends or relatives has done a little humble-bragging about how they are skinnier than even before they were pregnant.

Lies! All of them!

Ok, well it might work for some mamas. (Lucky!) But it won’t work for all of us.

FACT: Breastfeeding does burn calories, but sometimes not enough to lose weight.

The amount of calories burned as a result of nursing varies widely from person to person. So don’t count on breastfeeding to do it all for you!

How Many Calories Does Breastfeeding Burn?

Breastfeeding burns between 200-500 calories a day. The actual amount varies depending on a few different factors, as well as your own genetics.

Generally, you burn more calories breastfeeding if:

  • You are exclusively breastfeeding (8-12 nursing sessions per day)
  • You have good milk supply (if you have a low milk supply, click here for tips to increase milk supply)
  • Your baby is younger and does not eat any other type of food (formula, solids, etc.)

Reasons You’re NOT Losing Weight While Breastfeeding

If you’re nursing consistently, but find that that baby weight just isn’t budging, it might not be entirely your fault.

1. Genetics

Some people gain more weight during pregnancy. With both of my pregnancies, I gained between 45-50 pounds. During my first pregnancy, my main exercises were light yoga and walking. With my second pregnancy I did more intense workouts, but the weight gain was the same.

It also took me about the same amount of time to lose the baby weight from both pregnancies. Some people lose the baby weight easily, and some will have to work at it.

Genetics play a BIG part in our body size and shape throughout our lives – including during pregnancy and postpartum.

2. Hormones

In addition to genetics, hormones play a role in how quickly we lose weight while breastfeeding.

That’s because breastfeeding produces a hormone that can have the opposite effect of your weight loss goals. The hormone prolactin is necessary to make breast milk, but it also affects the body’s metabolism (source)

Essentially, this hormone causes your body cling to that last little bit of baby weight. Sort of like your body is worried it will “run out” of nutrition for the both of you and is keeping those fat stores as an insurance policy.

That seems to have been the case for me anyway.

3. Lifestyle

We can’t change our genetics. Hormones are a fact of life.

However, we can make changes to our lifestyle that will help us to lose weight while breastfeeding. And the good news is that these changes aren’t even necessarily major ones! (Because you don’t want to make any major changes to your diet or exercise routines until you’ve established a solid milk supply).

Perhaps there are a few things we don’t even realize are holding us back, but once we identify them and make adjustments, the weight finally starts to go away.

You see, I worked out (and still do) daily. I don’t eat dairy or gluten. I thought I was doing everything right (without being obsessive about it).

But I still couldn’t get those last few inches to budge.

And then I realized what I was doing wrong…

Once I made a few simple switches to my routine, I finally saw the results I wanted.

Eleven months after delivery, I could zip up my pre-baby size pants (aka “mom jeans“). (I thought it would take about 11 months less than that, but I was pretty naive!)

The good news: you can do it too!

Don’t worry, I won’t keep these “secrets” to myself. I’m passionate about sharing healthy lifestyle tips for other moms to live their best lives too, so I love to share things that have worked in my own life.

Keep reading to learn how to lose weight while breastfeeding — what actually worked for me and could help you too! These are all things I did to lose weight without losing my milk supply.

How to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding WITHOUT Losing Your Milk Supply

One of the most important considerations when nursing is that you want to lose weight without losing your milk supply. These weight loss tips for breastfeeding moms can help to shed the pounds, while maintaining a healthy milk supply.

I’ve included affiliate links for products I use and love that I think you might love too; disclosure policy available here.

1. Eat breakfast

I know so many people that skip this meal, but breakfast is crucial!

Think of your metabolism as being like a car engine sitting in idle after you’ve been asleep all night. If you don’t put some fuel in the engine to kick start your metabolism, it will continue to sit in idle until you do! When your metabolism isn’t running at full speed, then you’re not burning as many calories as you could be.

Think you’re too busy for breakfast? Think again! Here’s how I make it happen:

  • Bookmark healthy recipes — If you have a few go-to meal ideas handy, you’ll always be ready! Try this list of 101+ Healthy Recipes; it includes some of my favorites that I eat every week!
  • Keep grab-n-go breakfast options on hand — I like to keep some of these RXBars at home so if I’m in a hurry I can grab a nutritious snack on my way out the door. It keeps my body fueled, helps prevent an energy crash later, and I’m less likely to give in to temptation and order something unhealthy at Starbucks, etc.

2. Drink LOTS of water

I say this often, but I can’t say it enough! Breastfeeding moms need more water that normal, and dehydration can be easily mistaken for hunger. (Plus it just makes you feel all-around crappy!) Drink water, feel full longer, and feel better all day long!

  • Don’t like the taste of water? Try these 3 fruit-infused water recipes to make drinking water taste more delicious (without adding calories!)
  • Keep forgetting to drink enough water? Get a motivational water bottle like this one and carry it everywhere you go. Keeping track of your water intake and having water availabe at all times makes a BIG difference in meeting your goals!

Related: These 3 easy switches helped me to drink more water every day…without even thinking about it!

3. Squeeze in Exercise…wherever you can!

When I say squeeze, I mean that literally! Stuck under a newborn who wants to be latched to your boob all day? Do some simple glute squeezes while you sit! (So simple but they really work!! Click the link below for my other favorite glute burning moves!)

You won't believe the results you can achieve in just 5 minutes a day! This 5-minute Glute Toning Workout is quick, effective, and you can do it anywhere.

Don’t miss: This is the 5-minute Glute Toning Workout that I swear by!!

When the weather is nice, pop the baby in the stroller and start walking — it’s good for the both of you! (Read: 10 Awesome Benefits to Walking) Finding time to exercise can be hard with a newborn, and especially if you have other children too, but if you get creative you can make a work out happen just about anytime, anywhere.

An extra benefit of exercise: Not only will increasing your activity level help you lose weight while breastfeeding, it will make you feel better too! Studies show that exercise can help prevent and lessen the effects of pregnancy-related and postpartum mood disorders, like the “baby blues” or even postpartum depression.

If you do better with a structured workout routine, I’d highly encourage you to try hot yoga or P90X3. My husband and I decided to give it a try because he loved an earlier version of the program and this one is only 30 minutes a day. Ya’ll this whipped my booty into shape! The “after” photo of me below is after I’d done about 2 months of the program and NO dieting!

p90x3 workout home

If you’re really pressed for time, try one of my favorite 5-minute workouts:

Note: Before you start exercising, focus on strengthening your pelvic floor muscles. These muscles “keep everything together” and they often take a beating during pregnancy and delivery.

4. Don’t eat after dinner

Late night snacking (even if it’s healthy-ish) can majorly undermine your weight-loss efforts.

Remember that engine? Well it’s winding down in the evening, getting ready to go into idle for the night.

Your body doesn’t burn calories as quickly or as effectively during this time, so it’s best to wait until breakfast. If you pass on nighttime snacking, you’ll be hungry in the morning and less likely to skip breakfast — a win-win! (See #1)

Related: 18 Easy & Healthy Breakfast Recipes for Busy Moms

5. Evaluate WHAT you’re eating

Sometimes it’s not how much we’re eating, but it’s what we’re eating. Even if you’re watching the amount of food you’re taking in, if it’s not the right kind of food, it can still stick around.

I never count calories or diet while breastfeeding — the baby is my number one priority and I don’t want to negatively affect milk supply. However, I make an effort to choose foods that provide nutrition: fruits, veggies, lean proteins, and complex carbs (quinoa is my favorite).

Apple pie gone guilt-free! This quinoa apple cake recipe is packed with protein, plus it's gluten free and lactose free. Easy and gorgeous!

You’ve GOT to Try This: Quinoa Apple Cake is the best breakfast, dessert, or anytime recipe that tastes so good you won’t believe it’s healthy!

If you’re filling up on good things, you won’t be as hungry for the “bad” stuff. Plus, once you get it out of your system, you might be surprised how much you don’t miss it!

The most important thing to remember…

Keep at it and keep your head up!!

Don’t get discouraged if the weight doesn’t fall off as quickly as you expected!

Remember, it took an entire year for me to lose it, and I was in really good shape before I got pregnant. (And it’s still a daily battle to keep it off!)

Losing weight is hard and trying to lose 20, 30, 40, or more pregnancy pounds is going to be work! But you CAN do it!

To prove it, here are two photos of me, less than a year apart. I lost the baby weight with hard work, time, and without crazy diets. I’m just a normal mom, who’s not even super comfortable posting a photo of myself in a bathing suit, but I want to show the real results! You CAN do this too!

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: The Best Breastfeeding Products & Pumping Gear – my comprehensive guide to all of the things that helped me reach my nursing goals. Full of great gift ideas for the new mamas in your life!

Forget what you've heard - this is the TRUTH about breastfeeding and weight loss! Learn how to lose weight while breastfeeding WITHOUT losing milk supply.

Read more of my own post-baby weight loss journey and tips here.

Disclaimer: This post is based on my own personal experience; I am not a medical professional. Your results might be different than mine. Always consult your physician before starting a new diet or exercise routine.

More of my favorite weight loss and fitness posts for moms:

Do postpartum belly bands work to help you lose weight after birth? I put them to the test!

Do Postpartum Belly Bands Work?

My body after baby #2 felt different than the first time, but I actually recovered faster! Here's what worked for me and how you can feel more confident too!

How to Get Your Body Back After Baby #2

You CAN find time as a busy mom for exercise! Beat boredom and teach your children positive habits with this fun playground workout for all fitness levels!

Get outside and get fit with my Mom & Me Playground Workout!

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Latest posts by Stacey aka the Soccer Mom (see all)

Last updated on August 19th, 2019 at 03:15 pm

How to Have a Belly Only Pregnancy

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Inside: How to have a belly only pregnancy the healthy way.

No diets & no extreme workouts! Just real, simple tips from a mom of 3 to have a belly only pregnancy (the healthy way!)

How to Have a Belly Only Pregnancy

You’re all belly!

For both of my pregnancies, I mostly gained weight in my belly, so I heard this a lot!

That’s not to say my thighs and butt didn’t get a little bigger than normal, but my belly is where most of the gain was concentrated.

For some reason, a lot of mamas want to have a belly only pregnancy — perhaps it sounds “ideal” or seems like it will be easier to lose afterwards. I can only speak from my own experience.

How we gain weight in pregnancy (just like when we’re not pregnant) depends on our body type and genetics. Some of it is out of our control.

So when I say “belly only pregnancy,” what I really mean is a healthy pregnancy where weight gain is mainly related to baby weight, extra amniotic fluid, etc.

Last time around, I did gain a little more weight than maybe I would have hoped, but I kept the weight gain in the healthy range without doing anything that might endanger myself or my baby, like strict dieting.

So that felt like a win!

First, “Let it Go”

The first thing you have to do when you find out that you’re pregnant is to let go of any need you feel to diet, count calories, and be hard on yourself.

Your main focus is growing a healthy baby. Period.

As someone who was always fit and trim prior to becoming pregnant, allowing yourself to gain weight sort of goes against everything we know. I worked hard to get this body, and now I’m just going to let it go??

Here’s the thing: you will lose the weight afterwards. It might not be easy, and it might not be immediate, but you will lose the baby weight if you put in the effort.

Related: Click here to read how I lost my baby weight while breastfeeding (and without dieting).

Fact is, you need to gain weight.

How much exactly depends on each individual woman, but the average is 25-35 pounds. I actually gained a little more that that with my first pregnancy, but I went 41 weeks and 1 day. By the end I was so tired and miserable that I could barely walk around the block — I figure I probably put on a quite a bit of water weight in those last couple weeks.

The point is, you want to focus less on the number on the scale, and more about how you feel and how your baby is growing.

If you don’t gain enough weight, you’re actually putting your baby at risk and you could cause pregnancy complications or lasting health issues for yourself.

The First Trimester = Your Grace Period

Let’s face it, the first trimester sucks for almost all of us.

While I was overjoyed to be pregnant, with both this pregnancy and my last I suffered through intense morning sickness that lasted over four months.

I had no energy to exercise. I had severe food aversions. I was tired, nauseous, and felt plain crappy almost all day, every day.

My main focus during the first trimester was simply to survive and get through it. I allowed myself to rest and skip my usual workouts (I wouldn’t have made it through a workout anyways). I also allowed myself to eat whatever I could stomach. One day it might be a hamburger, the next it might be a salad.

If you also find the first trimester especially rough, give yourself the grace you need until you start feeling better. You can start incorporating exercise back into your routine when you’re up for it.

Related: 10 Home Remedies to get Rid of Morning Sickness that Really Work

Pregnant woman cradling belly

Here’s what I did to have a belly only pregnancy both times

Once you’ve gotten through any morning sickness and you’re feeling better, you can start paying more attention to exercise and what you eat.

Here are the key things I do when pregnant to stay healthy and keep my weight gain under control:

1. Stop Eating When You’re Full

Sure, every now and then I give in to my cravings. I mean, we only get to be pregnant so many times in our life so I think we deserve to enjoy it!

However, the rest of the time it is important to listen to your body. If you feel full, take a break.

For me, I would describe it like hitting a wall. I’d be eating…and then all of the sudden…BAM!! I’m full.

So I stopped right there.

Eating past the point of fullness while pregnant is even harder on me than eating past the point of fullness normally – because there is a baby in there taking up all your extra internal space…and then some!

Your body signals when it’s time to stop, but you have to pay attention to it.

2. Stop Eating at Least 2 Hours Before Bed

This is also one of the “tricks” I used to help get the baby weight off after delivery.

As we get closer to bedtime, our body’s metabolism slows down, mainly because we are less active than we are during the day.

Nighttime eating is also more likely to be characterized as “snacking,” or consuming non-essential foods after we’ve already eaten dinner.

The result: higher calorie snack foods + less efficient processing = more calories stored as fat.

That doesn’t mean you have to completely deprive yourself of dessert. The key is to be mindful of what and when you eat.

Avoid sitting in front of the TV with a bag of chips or cookies, as this so-called “mindless” eating leads to overconsumption, without even knowing it.

If you feel like a treat, take a couple cookies out of the bag or give yourself a scoop of ice cream and stop there.

I’ll totally admit that I treat myself to a scoop of cashew milk “ice cream” after dinner occasionally, but I try to give my body a couple hours head start on digestion before I hit the sheets.

Eating close to bedtime while pregnant causes pretty nasty heartburn for me, so that is another deterrent.

Related: Click here to see my picks for the best pregnancy pillow, so you can sleep better too!

3. Stay Active & Find a Workout that Works for YOU

Before I got pregnant this time, I religiously attended intense 1-hour yoga classes 3 times a week. On the other days, I either did 30 minutes of cardio or weigh training. I usually gave myself one day off to rest.

During the first trimester, I could barely get out of bed some days, so I scrapped my intense workout routine. However, when I started feeling better in month 4, I started working back in my favorite exercises.

Right now (month 8) my regime looks like this:

  • 1 hour yoga class (twice a week) — One class is power yoga with traditional sun-salutation and warrior sequences. The second class is “warm” yoga, which is the same sequence as the hot yoga classes I used to do, but at a lower temperature.
  • 20-30 minute walk (2-3 times a week) — When the weather permits, we take an evening walk around our neighborhood as a family. This is the perfect pace for both myself and my daughters (ages 3 and 9). Bonus: an evening walk helps them fall asleep faster when we get home!

When it comes to prenatal exercise, you generally don’t want to start a whole new program or activity that is unfamiliar. Stick to things that you’ve already tried and are experienced in, and modify to meet your needs as your pregnancy progresses.

As I get bigger, there are some yoga moves (twists, inversions, etc.) that I’ve had to stop for now. It was a sad day when I could no longer do a headstand (my favorite pose), but I know that I’ll be able to pick it back up again someday!

If you’re unsure, walking is usually a safe bet, and walking is also one of the most effective exercises for general health and wellness. It’s also an activity that you can do fairly easily while pregnant, and one that the family can do together. Unless your doctor instructs you otherwise, walking is a great way to stay active while pregnant!

4. Make Sleep a Priority

With two kids, a growing belly, and a full-time business to run, sometimes I push myself more than I should. My husband reminds me that one of my priorities (if not my number one priority) needs to be getting at least 8 hours of sleep.

Lack of sleep can cause a variety of health issues (pregnant or not):

  • Decreased cognitive function and memory, impaired decision-making
  • Increased cortisol levels (which in turn increases appetite)
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Signals your body to go into “survival” mode, slowing metabolism

All of these can lead to weight gain, as well as making you feel crappy in general.

Whether it is working a nap into your day or going to bed an hour earlier each night, make sleep a priority in your life and find a way to get more of it!

Not only will you feel better (more sleep helped curb some of my worst morning sickness symptoms too), but getting enough sleep can help keep your weight gain in the healthy range.

 

The Most Important Thing To Remember About Pregnancy Weight Gain

I already said it at the beginning of the post, but it is so important that I’ll say it again…

You need to gain weight while pregnant!

Also…

You can and will lose the baby weight afterwards if you put in the effort.

So allow yourself the grace to grow a healthy baby (and grow bigger yourself) and enjoy the experience along the way.

Our bodies are all different, and will show in different ways, but that doesn’t make what’s happening any less miraculous! Remember that mama – YOU are growing a miracle!

*Note: This post is based on my personal experience; I am not a medical professional. Your experience may be different than mine.

More from my pregnancy archives:

The BIG list of things every couple should do before a new baby arrives.

Pin this post on Pinterest:

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Latest posts by Stacey aka the Soccer Mom (see all)

Last updated on May 10th, 2019 at 01:52 pm

Why You Should Practice Self-Care During Pregnancy

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Inside: 10 Ways to Practice Self-Care During Pregnancy. Sponsored post in collaboration with Groupon and Fourstarzz Media; all opinions are entirely my own.

Self care during pregnancy isn't selfish - it's crucial to your health and well-being! Inside: 10 ways to take care of yourself during pregnancy that you might be missing.

Why You Should Practice Self-Care During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a wild, weird, and wonderful time in our lives!

I’ll admit that sometimes I get so caught up in planning and preparing and scrambling to get everything in order before a new baby arrives that I forget about one thing — myself!

As women, we are often conditioned to be caretakers, worrying about others before taking care of our own needs.

However, if there is one time in our lives that we deserve to put ourselves first it is when we are pregnant! 

Growing a baby is hard work, and self-care during pregnancy is important to keep yourself in the best possible condition for the job.

Keep reading to learn about the self-care practices that every expecting mom should do for themselves, plus how to save money on treating yourself to salon and spa services with Groupon BeautyNow!

10 Things You Should Do To Take Care of Yourself During Pregnancy

While I didn’t accomplish all of these self care items with my first pregnancy, I’ve made a dedicated effort with my second to take better care of myself. It’s made such a positive difference in how I feel and how pregnancy affects my body and it could for you too!

1. Sleep More

It’s not selfish to allow yourself extra shut-eye, it’s crucial to your well-being and the health of your baby!

Getting a full night’s sleep provides numerous benefits, from lessening morning sickness symptoms to increasing chances of a smoother (and shorter) labor.

So make a date with your bed, and don’t feel a bit guilty about it!

Related: Sleep even better with one of our picks for the BEST pregnancy pillows here!

2. Take a Yoga Class

I can’t say enough about the difference taking twice-weekly yoga classes has made between my first pregnancy and this one. With my first pregnancy I was in near-constant discomfort (and sometimes substantial pain). However, this time around I’ve been nearly pain free!

Yoga helps keep me feeling strong and relaxed — my stress level is also noticeably lower throughout my second pregnancy. Just ask my husband… (I remember being quite moody the first time).

If there isn’t a yoga studio near your house, try doing simple stretches in the morning after you wake up and before bed. You’ll love how it makes you feel!

3. Schedule a Prenatal Massage

No matter what you do, the third trimester starts to get uncomfortable, or at the very least a bit awkward as your body grows with your baby.

A prenatal massage works wonders to relieve tension and reduce pain from the extra weight your body is carrying. And with Groupon BeautyNow, a prenatal massage doesn’t have to be a splurge!

The Groupon BeautyNow booking section allows you to search for specific services in your area, compare prices, locate special offers, and more – all without the hassle of calling around or leaving the house!

Click here to book a massage with Groupon BeautyNow.

Psst – Use the code SOCCERMOM15 to save $15 off your next booking with Groupon BeautyNow (code valid through 6/8/2018).

How to book beauty & spa services in Houston with Groupon BeautyNow

4. Get a Pedicure

Let’s be real — after a certain point, it’s almost impossible to paint your own toenails while pregnant! I’m all belly, so especially during the third trimester, I need someone to do it for me.

Pedicures aren’t just a frivolous self-indulgence — taking care of your feet can prevent serious issues like ingrown toenails. And who wants to deal with a pesky toe when you’re preparing to bring a new life into the world?

I used the Groupon BeautyNow booking feature to schedule a pedicure at my favorite salon and it was SO easy!

First, I searched for my favorite Houston-area nail spa and selected the service I wanted (pedicure). Next, I chose my preferred date and time.

Finally, I applied my coupon code (see below to grab yours too!) and updated my payment information. Your card isn’t charged until your appointment, but that way you don’t need to worry about it again!

I’ve provided step-by-step photos to show you exactly how easy it is to use Groupon BeautyNow booking further down in the post plus a $15 coupon code to use on your next service, so be sure to keep reading!

Related: Read about my Groupon BeautyNow booking pedicure, plus 20 unique experience gifts for her!

Freshly pedicured feet in sandals on green grass

5. Try a New Haircut

When the baby arrives, you might not get as many opportunities to leave the house as you did beforehand.

In my case, I ended up with an unexpected c-section for my first baby, so I wasn’t very mobile at all! I was SO glad that I’d planned ahead and gotten my hair fixed up a couple weeks before my due date.

I actually cut my hair quite a bit shorter because I wanted something low-maintenance during those first couple months with a newborn. Smart thinking — I definitely had free time to spend drying and styling my hair!

You don’t necessarily need to hack off all your hair, but consider a cut that will require minimal upkeep for the first few weeks after your delivery.

Click here to book your pre-baby haircut with Groupon BeautyNow.

6. Treat Yourself to New Underwear

When was the last time you treated yourself to some new underthings? Even when I’m not pregnant, that seems to be one of the last items on my list of things to buy for myself, meaning I almost never do!

However, all underwear is not created equal when it comes to comfort during pregnancy!

I recently bought some maternity undergarments for myself and I wish I hadn’t waited so long! They look like normal underwear (no granny panties here!) but they are cut to be more forgiving of our growing bellies.

If you haven’t done this yet, trust me – go grab some new maternity underwear ASAP!

7. Take Photos to Commemorate the Journey

Whether you go the professional route or opt to DIY, you’ll never regret having too many photos that document this miraculous time of your life. However, you will regret if you don’t take enough (trust me on this one!)

Take the photo mama!

8. Go on a “Babymoon”

My husband and I took a weekend trip to Austin a couple months ago for a blogging conference. Even though part of the trip was work-related, we had an amazing time just being together (alone) for a couple days and exploring another city.

Whether it’s a beach getaway or a staycation in town, plan something special before you literally have no time to do it!

9. Plan a Girls Night Out

When we’re so focused on family (and understandably so), our friendships tend to go on the back burner.

Make a date with your besties for dinner, brunch, or even a spa day – while you have the time to do so! Friendships are important to our well-being, just as much as our family relationships, so make sure to put in the time to nurture them.

Click here to search spa services on Groupon BeautyNow.

10. Be Kind to Yourself

Your body will do weird things.

You might feel awkward and uncomfortable at times.

Give yourself extra grace during these 10 months – you’re growing another human after all!

Self-care during pregnancy isn’t just a “treat,” it’s a necessary element – for your mind, your body, and your soul.

For all of the discomforts and inconveniences, pregnancy is a magical time in our lives, and sometimes we forget that it is a limited time. We take for granted that we might actually miss this when it’s all over.

Do everything you can to enjoy the journey, and to make it easier on yourself. You DO deserve it mama!

 

How to Book Beauty & Spa Services in Houston with Groupon BeautyNow

Now it’s never been easier to book beauty and spa services in the Houston area!

How to use the Groupon BeautyNow app in Houston

Here’s a step-by-step guide to booking beauty services with Groupon:

  1. Download the Groupon app to your phone – it’s free!
  2. Open the app and select “BeautyNow Booking” at the top – you can also click here to go straight there on your phone.
  3. Search for your favorite salon/spa OR click on the main menu buttons for specific services.
  4. Choose a date and time for your service and click to reserve.
  5. Groupon will confirm with the merchant and send you a notification via email and/or text to let you know that your appointment is on the books. There’s no waiting on the phone or worrying about calling during business hours. I actually booked my appointment after the kids went to bed and the next morning I had an email letting me know everything was good to go!
  6. Enjoy your spa treatment or salon service! When you’re done, there’s no need to pull out your wallet since you already took care of it with the Groupon app – even the tip! This feature definitely comes in handy if you just got a manicure and don’t want to risk digging through your purse to find cash.

DEAL ALERT – Save $15 on any service booked with Groupon BeautyNow in Houston using the code SOCCERMOM15  (offer valid through 6/8/2018).

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

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Last updated on March 8th, 2019 at 02:13 pm

5 Things All C-Section Mamas Need to Hear

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“I’m doing…ok.”

This was the response I got when I checked in on a friend of mine who recently delivered her baby via C-section.

When I spoke with her at her baby shower a couple months prior, she was excited and optimistic. She told me that she had prepared herself for that outcome just in case, so that she would be ready for whatever the big day might bring. However, when I checked in with my friend after I saw her birth announcement, I got the feeling that it was not at all what she expected.

A Letter to Moms with C-Sections -- What to expect in the year after birthImage credit: Tamara McCauley. Modified from original. | This post contains affiliate links.

Having endured a traumatic labor that ended in an unplanned C-section, I understand firsthand the emotions that come with the experience. I was VERY unprepared for the possibility that I would have anything but a natural birth – I just didn’t think it would happen to me.

But as I learned, so much of the birthing process is out of our control.

It seems that there is an explosion in the number of cesarean births over the past couple decades. Every single friend, every mere acquaintance of mine that has had a baby in the past two years has done it by C-section – except one. That is staggering statistic.

Even though you’ve got plenty of company, it doesn’t change the fact that a C-section is likely not what you had in mind for your birth plan. Surgery is a scary, often last-minute decision, and brings with it a long, painful recovery – both physical and emotional.

A C-section was not what I wanted. But a year later, I’m here to tell you, my fellow C-section mamas, that it is ok. I am ok. You will be ok. And all of these things that seem so hard right now, and that feeling of being “different,” well, they won’t last forever.

Related: Don’t Call my C-Section a “Belly Birth”

A letter of encouragement to my fellow C-section mamas - what you can expect a year after your C-section and for your recovery.

5 Things All C-Section Mamas Need to Hear

Your scar will fade. 

It seems impossible in those first few days, weeks, and even months after surgery. The angry red gash across my lower abdomen terrified me – I couldn’t even look at it for the longest time. I was convinced that I was permanently disfigured. But then one day I glanced down and realized it was barely visible anymore, it was just a thin, light line – a tiny souvenir of everything I had been through.

The pain will go away.

You’ll be too doped up in the hospital to feel much of anything, but they don’t want you on serious pain meds for long, so in a few days you’ll be weaning down to simple ibuprofen. It will hurt to sit up, it will hurt to laugh, it will hurt to sneeze – it will hurt to do just about anything!

But like your scar, the pain will fade. You might still get twinges near your incision in the months to come (nerves reattaching), but they will subside and without the pain as a reminder, you’ll find that you hardly even think about how your baby got here.

You Won’t Rip Your Incision Open.

When my nurse ordered me (nicely, of course) to get up and walk the day after surgery, I panicked. Wasn’t my stomach cut wide open less than 24 hours ago?! Surely it would rip right apart if I tried to stand up, let alone stumble down the hallway. But it didn’t. And I was (like you will be) so overly cautious that there was nothing to worry about.

Your Muscles Will Re-Learn What to Do.

The first time I attempted to exercise, I was discouraged to find that my muscles wouldn’t do what my brain was telling them. I couldn’t jump. I couldn’t lift my knees. I couldn’t even begin to do a crunch. But I kept trying. And slowly, my body “remembered” how to do these once-simple tasks. A year later I can do everything that I was able to before surgery, even if it did take loads of practice and patience.

Read about how I lost the baby weight while breastfeeding and my 5 essential weight loss tips for breastfeeding moms.

You’ll Stop Worrying About How Your Baby Arrived.

This might have been the hardest one for me. My labor couldn’t have been farther from what I had imagined and hoped for, and that was a crushing blow. I felt cheated, I felt like a failure.

Every time I saw new baby photos in my Facebook newsfeed, I just had to click through and scour the comments for clues as to how that baby got here. Did this mama actually have a “regular” birth? Or was she like “the rest of us?”

And then one day it just didn’t seem to matter anymore. I’m not sure why or how I suddenly got over it, but I did. I have more pressing things to worry about now, like when will I ever get a full night’s sleep again?!

Read the game-changing toddler sleep tip that finally let us all sleep through the night.

So mamas, wherever you are at in your recovery, hang in there!

Time heals – it really does. But don’t beat yourself up if you’re feeling sad, or scared, or tired, or anything less than perfect – we’ve all been there! We get through it, and you will too. The reward is worth every stitch, every struggle, and every stretch mark! And aren’t these things that all mothers can pretty much relate to anyways? In the end, we’re not really as different as we think.

>>You might also like: Why You Should Plan for a C-Section

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

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Last updated on June 30th, 2018 at 01:13 pm

52 Things Couples Should Do Before Baby Arrives

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What’s inside: A comprehensive list of things every couple should do before a new baby arrives. A must-read resource to prepare during pregnancy. Sponsored by Randalls.

The BIG list of things every couple should do before a new baby arrives.

52 Things Every Couple Should Do Before a New Baby Arrives

With my first baby I totally winged it!

While it felt very liberating, I don’t exactly recommend that strategy because when it got down to business time, I was a bit unprepared.

Fortunately, I figured things out as I went along and all went well in the long run. However, with a new baby on the way this summer, I promised myself that I would actually put effort into preparing this time.

The following is a list of things to do before baby arrives – so you’re more prepared than I was with my first!

You won’t necessarily need to do everything on the list, but my hope is that it provides plenty of ideas and inspiration so you’ll feel less stressed and more ready.

Related: 3 Genius Small-Space Nursery Hacks with Video Tour

1. Babymoon

This is your last chance ever to be alone as a couple.

Just kidding! (Sort of).

But in all seriousness, a new baby (or a second baby) does make it a bit more difficult to get away as a two-some.

Whether it is an in-town staycation or an exotic destination vacation, go somewhere with your significant other. Soak up that alone time and enjoy being together without any responsibility…while you can!

Not only will it help you relax before the big event, but those memories will last a lifetime!

2. Spend a Solo Day with Each Other Child

While older siblings are excited to meet a new baby brother or sister, it’s still a huge change for them. It’s important to ease their worries and reassure them that they’ll still be just as special to you as before.

As the big day draws near, plan a day that is ALL about your other child (or children). Visit a new playground, treat them to their favorite meal, or even better – let them plan their own day!

Interestingly, this also helped me with my own worries. Each time we welcomed a new baby into our home, I couldn’t help but wonder if there would be “enough” of me to go around. These moments with the older sibling(s) were memorable for me as well and reminded me that we can always make time for each child.

3. Deep Clean the House

We are in the middle of this process as I write!

Before every new baby, my husband and I deep clean and organize our entire home. For one, it feels better bringing your precious little one into a home with fewer germs and less dust and dirt. Second, there’s way less time to clean once the baby is home!

TIP: Break your whole-home deep clean into smaller, manageable tasks instead of trying to get it all done at once. For example, try tackling one room each week for the last month or two leading up to your due date.

Here is our process:

  1. Clear out clutter to open up space and make it easier to see what needs to be done.
  2. Move items as needed into a neighboring room to allow for cleaning all surfaces (floors, baseboards, large furniture, etc.)
  3. Re-arrange furniture if desired, then return all items to their proper place on freshly clean surfaces.

Open Nature household cleaning products safe for your family and home

Open Nature™ brand (available in my area exclusively at Randalls but you can buy them at any of the Albertsons Companies family of stores, including Albertsons, Safeway, ACME Markets, Jewel-Osco, Vons, Pavilions, Tom Thumb, Shaw’s, Star Market, and Carrs/Safeway.)  recently added a new line of products: Open Nature household cleaning and care products, and they sent us a care package to try. It couldn’t have arrived at a better time!

Open Nature cleaning products are designed to be safe for your home and family —  they’re dye free, with fragrance free options and items certified as Safer Choice by the US EPA available as well.

As gentle as they are around your family, Open Nature household cleaners are tough on grime. They’re premium quality, effective, and perfect for your pre-baby home deep clean!

Open Nature biodegradable and safe dish washing liquid

One of our favorite tools for our before baby deep-clean is Open Nature All Purpose Cleaner, because you can use it for so many things. From disinfecting the bathroom (it kills cold & flu viruses) to wiping away tough grease in the kitchen (with biodegradable surfactants), there’s not much this handy spray bottle can’t do!

Plus, I love knowing that as we’re going through each room and scrubbing every surface, that we aren’t leaving traces of dangerous substances or dyes behind.

Click here to see Open Nature household cleaning and care products, available at Randalls.

4. Pack Your “Go Bags”

Even if you’re planning a home birth, it’s a good idea to have a hospital bag packed and ready just in case. Better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it! (I’m speaking from experience on this one).

Make sure to have a bag packed for your husband too!

A short list of what to bring:

  • Two sets of extra clothing for mom — Make sure they are maternity sizes! For some reason with my first baby I expected to be back in regular clothes immediately…doh!
  • Two changes of clothes for dad
  • Your favorite snacks — Our hospital menu was disappointing, to put it nicely.
  • Toiletries
  • Insurance cards
  • Identification
  • Birth certificate paperwork
  • Birth plan

This is just a starting point of the essentials you don’t want to forget. There are probably a few more things you might think of to add to your bags.

 

5. Wash All Baby Clothes

New clothes are often treated with a variety of chemicals to keep them looking perfect while they’re shipped to stores. Believe it or not, there could even be traces of formaldehyde in the fabric!

That’s why it’s so important to wash new clothes before they ever come in contact with your new baby’s sensitive skin. (We wash all new clothes that come into our house period).

Open Nature offers both fragrance free and sensitive skin laundry detergent options — perfect for the delicate task of pre-washing your newborn’s clothing. Open Nature laundry detergent is also dye free, biodegradable, and free from artificial brighteners.

New baby clothes should be washed before baby arrives

6. Find Out Exactly What Your Insurance Covers

No matter what you exact birth plan contains, you’ll want to know what your insurance covers for every circumstance. Give your carrier a call a few months in advance to find out details and numbers.

A few important things to ask:

  • What hospitals in your area accept your coverage
  • Who is covered if your doctor is unavailable for any reason
  • Is ambulance transportation covered in an emergency
  • What services are covered in an emergency
  • What to do (and how to know) if someone on staff is not in your network

This is definitely one of the least fun things about preparing for a new baby, but it is one of the most important. Get it done early and breathe easier for the rest of the pregnancy.

7. Practice Installing the Car Seat

Even the easiest carseats have a bit of a learning curve when you’ve never used them before, so get familiar with yours as soon as you buy it.

A few weeks away from your due date, install baby’s seat in your car and leave it in place. That way when it’s “go time” you’re all ready to go!

Related: Brush up on your car seat safety knowledge with this photo checklist.

8. Make the Baby’s Bed

As your due date nears, you’ll want to get the crib in sleep-ready condition. Pre-wash all the sheets (even the spares). You’ll want a few extra sets on hand because there will be nights where you’ll change them once…or twice.

Just like with the baby clothes, we trust Open Nature laundry detergent with the task of washing away any traces of chemicals or dyes that might be on the new sheets.

Note: The only thing that should be in baby’s bed is a firm crib mattress and a fitted sheet. Never place pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, or bumpers in a newborn’s crib. 

9. Write Your Birth Plan

I didn’t do this with my first pregnancy. BIG mistake.

When I needed an emergency transfer from my birthing center to a hospital, I was at the mercy of doctors and nurses I’d never met before. Believe me, I was not in any condition to negotiate my care at that point.

This time around, I know to have a detailed plan written out for every possible outcome!

10. Say “Yes” to Self Care

Take care of yourself mama! Your body is working overtime for almost a year to bring a new person into the world.

Whether it is signing up for a weekly yoga class or simply treating yourself to a blowout, your physical and mental well-being are just as important as any other pre-baby preparation!

PS- Make sure dad is taking care of himself too!

Related: Click here to see my picks for the best pregnancy pillow so you can sleep better too!

Open Nature household cleaning products safe for your family and home

The BIG List of Things to do Before Baby Arrives

  1. Stock up on Open Nature household cleaning and care products, available at Randalls
  2. Take a childbirth class
  3. Book a maternity photo shoot
  4. Buy a breast pump — Bonus: your insurance may cover this expense!
  5. Stock up on diapers and changing supplies
  6. Learn about and start acquiring your breastfeeding supplies
  7. Pack your diaper bag
  8. Choose a baby carrier
  9. Stock up on freezer meals
  10. Make sure you’ve got plenty of prenatal vitamins — they’re important to continue taking after birth too, especially if you’re breastfeeding
  11. Have formula on hand if you’re not planning to nurse, or just in case
  12. Clean all bottles in advance in warm soapy water (we love Open Nature dish detergent because it’s made with biodegradable cleaning agents, plus it’s dye and fragrance free).
  13. Have plenty of pacifiers ready
  14. Buy a baby book to record special moments
  15. Schedule a newborn photo shoot
  16. Set up your baby monitor and learn how to use it
  17. Purchase unfulfilled items on your baby registry
  18. Set up the stroller
  19. Clean baby’s bathtub and set up with toiletries nearby
  20. Pick out baby announcements and update your address list
  21. Plan who will watch older children when baby is being born
  22. Take a breastfeeding class and find a lactation consultant in your area
  23. Choose a pediatrician and get to know them
  24. Give yourself a “push present” (aka treat yourself to something special!)
  25. Start an emergency savings in case of unplanned or extra leave
  26. Learn the ins and outs of your employer’s leave policy (or your husband’s employer)
  27. Notify your employer(s) of the birth plan and expected leave dates
  28. List out emergency contacts
  29. Indulge in pampering like a mani/pedi or haircut
  30. Read books about childbirth and parenting
  31. Read a book just for fun
  32. Plan for a pet sitter
  33. Grab some movies and entertainment
  34. Make a labor playlist
  35. Get a prenatal massage
  36. Go out for a pre-baby celebration dinner
  37. Ask your mom friends for their number one piece of advice
  38. Have a girls’ night out
  39. Set-up the baby swing or rocker
  40. Choose a name
  41. Waterproof your bed (in case your water breaks while you’re sleeping)

Don’t forget one more thing…

Slow down!

Trust me, when a new baby is on the way you’ll want to do ALL the things.

However, try not to overburden yourself during your pregnancy. Take time to enjoy the process and let your body do what it takes to grow a healthy baby.

You’ve got this mama!

Open Nature household cleaning products safe for your family and home

Don’t forget to stock up on Open Nature household cleaning and care products to get ready for baby AND for keeping your home safely clean after the baby arrives. Click here to see the full line of Open Nature household cleaning and care products, available at Randalls.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Randalls. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

 

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

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Last updated on March 13th, 2019 at 01:05 pm

How to Get a Free Baby Box – Just Like Moms in Finland!

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Inside: How to get a free baby box and how it can help your baby sleep safely — how to sign up during pregnancy so your baby box will be here before your baby arrives!  I partnered with The Baby Box Co. for this post but all opinions are entirely my own.

Finland has the lowest infant mortality rate in the world — in fact, it’s less than half that of the United States.

So what is Finland doing right?

Finland has the lowest infant mortality rate in the world — because they put their newborn babies to sleep in cardboard boxes! How expectant moms in the United States can get a FREE Baby Box filled with samples and supplies.

They put their newborn babies to sleep in cardboard boxes — really!

What is a Baby Box?

For almost a century, the Finnish government has provided expectant mothers with a box full of supplies to raise a healthy newborn — clothes, bathing products, and more. The box itself becomes the baby’s first bed.

Now a similar program is available in the United States with a mission of educating new parents and reducing the risk of infant deaths.

The best part?

It’s free!

Related: Click here to see my picks for the best pregnancy pillow so YOU can sleep better too!

How to Get a Free Baby Box

It’s easy to get a free Baby Box if you’re expecting! Here’s how:

  1. Sign-up at The Baby Box Co. (it’s free!)
  2. Watch a short series of videos about safe baby sleep, nutrition, breastfeeding, and other helpful topics.
  3. Take a simple quiz and receive a free Baby Box!

How to get a free baby box delivered to your door

Why We Love Our Free Baby Box

  • Updated May 2019 — When I originally wrote this post, I was pregnant with our third daughter and we were getting set up for her arrival. I wanted to check in with an update after we used the baby box to let you all know how it went!

Upon bringing her home from the hospital, we put our baby daughter in the baby box to sleep, since I had a c-section and was unable to bend over her full-sized crib right away.

Our daughter loved sleeping in her baby box!

In fact, it was the ONLY place that she would sleep soundly. I think she liked how cozy the baby box was, as opposed to the wide open space of a big crib.

What I liked is the fact that the baby box is super portable and lightweight. I could easily move it (even post-surgery) to whatever room I was in so she could nap there. At night, I placed the baby box on the floor near my bed so I could get to her quickly when she woke.

The original blog post was indeed a sponsored post, but this update was not paid for or required. Since we had such a great experience with the baby box and it is a safe sleeping place, I wanted to be sure to add new info to this post!

Especially after the Rock ‘N Play recall, I know a lot of new parents are searching for a safe way to help their newborn babies sleep better. That’s why I highly recommend getting a free baby box to try!

Keep reading to find out more about how to get your free baby box and what’s inside!

What’s Inside Your Baby Box & How to Use It

What’s inside:

Every Baby Box from The Baby Box Co. features a sustainable cardboard box with a mattress that fits snugly inside. There are also a variety of helpful samples like breastmilk storage bags and baby care products.

How to set up your Baby Box:

When setting up your Baby Box, fold the box so that tabs are tucked in to secure the sides and bottom in place. The Baby Box should feel sturdy and stay together on its own. It should be placed on the floor in an open area. (There are instructions included that illustrate the process – it’s quite simple really).

Position the included mattress inside the Baby Box. The mattress cover should fit snugly, with no wrinkles, and the mattress itself should firmly touch each side of the box, with no gaps.

There should be nothing else inside the box besides the mattress — no blankets, no pillows, no toys — and your baby should be placed to sleep on its back.

How to get a free baby box and how it can help your baby sleep safely.

The girls wanted to help me set up and learn about how their baby sister (arriving this summer) will sleep in the box. Ours is decorated with bluebonnets, which is perfect because we live in Texas!

With the Baby Box, they can actually help soothe their newborn sister to sleep because the box in on the floor where they can reach it. I know they’re going to be wonderful big sisters and helpers!

 

How to Get Your Free Baby Box from The Baby Box Co.

Whether you’re a first time mom, or mom of many, I highly recommend joining Baby Box University from The Baby Box Co. (It’s free!)

Though this isn’t my first rodeo, I still found the videos at The Baby Box Co. to be helpful and encouraging. Even as an “experienced” mom, it’s nice to get a quick refresher before going through the newborn phase again!

Plus, I’m excited to have the Baby Box as an alternative to our regular crib. The Baby Box is portable and fits in almost any room — perfect for keeping the little one close by during nap time or easy to reach when we’re breastfeeding at night.

Click here to visit The Baby Box Co. and get your free Baby Box!

More on Baby Safety:

I used to be skeptical, until I found a hair tourniquet on MY baby!! What to do if you find a hair wrapped around your baby's toes.

What is a Hair Tourniquet and What to Do if You Find One

Subscribe for our FREE GUIDE: Hospital Packing List + our Pregnancy and New Mom support newsletter!  Privacy Policy

Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Latest posts by Stacey aka the Soccer Mom (see all)

Last updated on May 5th, 2019 at 03:14 pm

Small Space Nursery Hacks (with Video Tour)

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Plan an adorable baby room, even when you don’t have a lot of room with these clever small space nursery hacks!

Our Favorite Small Space Nursery Hacks

Our middle daughter spent the first year of her life in our bedroom, mainly because it was the easiest way for me to get to her for night nursings.

With baby #3 on the way, we plan to do the same — though this time it is as much for easier breastfeeding as it is that we just don’t have an extra room available.

Whether you live in a small home, an apartment, or you just want to make the best use of your space, these small space nursery hacks can help you get the most out of your square footage!

Related: 52 Things Couples Should Do Before Baby Arrives

Plan an adorable baby room, even in a tiny area with these clever small space nursery hacks! 3 clever tricks to maximize storage & bedroom space.

Three Clever Ways to Maximize a Small Nursery

Here’s how we make the most of the our small space nursery AND make our bedroom still feel like our own. Take a virtual video tour below, then keep reading for the full breakdown of our space-saving nursery tips!

Small Space Nursery Video Tour:

For your convenience, I’ve included shop-able ad links to some of the items we used in our small home nursery; read our disclosure policy here.

1. Find a crib that does triple duty

To maximize a small space nursery, look for a crib that also offers storage space and a changing area. Instead of purchasing a separate piece of furniture for each little thing (dresser, full-sized changing table, AND a crib), one piece of furniture handles it all!

Our space-saving baby crib features:

  • Full-sized baby bed (that fits most standard crib mattresses)
  • Three drawers (plenty of room for baby’s clothes – they’re so tiny after all!)
  • Attached changing table
  • Shelving on the side (under changing table) for extra storage

3-in-1 crib for small space nursery

We found our crib at Babies-R-Us, but you can get the exact same small space crib on Amazon here (in a variety of wood colors).

Bonus: This particular crib can also convert to a toddler bed when your little one is ready!

2. Use a screen to create a separate baby area

We use a wooden screen to create two separate spaces: the baby area and our room. A screen also offers:

  • Privacy for mom and dad
  • Light-blocking so baby can sleep easier
  • The feel of two distinct spaces in one room

A screen is easy to fold away when not in use too!

Plan an adorable baby room, even in a tiny area with these clever small space nursery hacks! 3 clever tricks to maximize storage & bedroom space.

3. Create a fully-stocked baby cart for mobile storage

This was a new creation for baby number three that we didn’t have last time and I am SO excited about it!

I found this rolling cart at Target a couple years ago and bought it with the intent of making it a craft supply cart. Instead, it sat in my office collecting dust.

When we started planning our small space nursery this time around, I saw my empty cart and had an “aha” moment. Why not stock it with baby care items so we can keep them handy wherever we are in the house?!

3-tier baby diaper changing cart

Here’s what’s in our baby cart:

  • Top shelf — diapers, wipes, bath supplies (in a removable caddy), and spare onesies
  • Middle shelf — Extra diapers and wipes (because you can never have to0 many and it allowed us to break down some of the diaper cases instead of storing them in our closet)
  • Bottom shelf — Cloth diapers (that we use as spit-up rags) and plastic bags (for wrapping dirty diapers)

baby changing cart with diapers and wipes

You can purchase a cart like ours on Amazon here (they have pink and turquoise too!)

Sharing a room with a new baby isn’t as tricky as you’d think, especially when you plan ahead. Even in a small space, we were able to create an area for our baby that feels special, with customized decor and everything she needs for her first year.

Even though there is a crib on one side of our room, it still feels like a grown-up room on our side, and we have a little privacy. I love how our small space nursery turned out! What do you think?

 

Planning for baby? Read more from my pregnancy archives:

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

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Last updated on February 16th, 2019 at 07:56 pm