Having a baby on a budget-#2

There are no two ways about it having a baby is expensive. However, in my experience, there are some cheaper ways to do things.

We were given so much for our baby. We didn’t have a baby shower, as I really don’t like them, but we had plenty of generous gifs when she was born and also lots of people gave us second hand items.

My suggestion is borrow, use second hand items from gumtree and ebay don’t be snobbish. Some of the toys may be really faded but if it proves to be a favourite you can always go and get a nicer one knowing your money will be well used. Milly gets through toys fairly quickly and I love to be able to use them and then sell or pass them on without regret. I did choose an item I loved and got this new ( the jumparoo) but I got it on half price sale so it was a bargain and would resale for what I paid anyway.

We were given a lot of items or sold a lot cheap and second hand this was brilliant. I had no qualms if I was so sleep deprived and she had done an almighty poonami just binning an outfit if I knew it had served three kids. It also helped having back up clothes if you didn’t make it to laundry and she had pooed and spewed her way through six outfit changed that day! I have just been through all of her clothes and made a massive pile to pass on to pregnant friends ( what goes around comes around). I did buy, and was given, some more special clothes all of which have been saved away incase the next baby is a girl and if not will be sold.

For Christmas we knew she would get a lot of smaller toys so we put all our money into a larger, good quality toy, which would last. Again, we got it on sale.

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We also put away some toys from birthday and Christmas and every now and then I put some away and get new ones out… Also people often ask what she would like. I had a list. I hate it when people specify actual items as, in my opinion, a lot of the joy is in choosing, but I offered an area… bath toys, books, outdoor toy etc that way you have a variety.

Baby food is pricey. Milly has home made with recipe books you can get from a charity shop ( mine were a gift), I try and do homemade at home and shop bought pouches when out. I pick these up when they are on special. Some days its too hard, I haven’t heated/defrosted food in time etc and in that case we use a pouch… honestly you can only do your best.

Look at smaller ways to treat yourself. A monthly beauty box, bath bombs, a book. Time is often short and money is less. Each time I sold items I rewarded myself as well as her with a little something. You need to feel good in yourself as a mum too.

Finally, I would say in my experience. Try not to stress it. Milly has great stuff and spent yesterday in a nappy playing with a box and old waterbottle! be inventive people didn’t used to have all this stuff. Also, be realistic. IS everything  really worth selling? I prioritise what I sell and other stuff is passed on or sent to charity. I wouldn’t have time to sell everything and I really have found by being as generous as we can to others it really does come back around.

ANY BABY BUDGET TIPS FOR ME?

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Having a baby on a budget- #1

Over the last year I have learned a few things about budgets, babies and now we look set for me to potentially not return to work I think its time to write down some of the learning to share with folks.

So you find out you are pregnant, holy bejeezus, time to freak out! Actually its a time to be really happy, but also to acknowledge life is going to change A LOT!.  First up, in most instances, you have 9 months to get straight and prepared. This advice is not about having a baby on a super tight budget it is about having a baby on your budget. So first thing have some conversations. Our conversations revolved around, our thoughts for the future; would he be working?, would I be working?, would he be working away? For us we hoped that I may be able to work part time, IF I WANTED, and he would be working at home a lot for the first year and we would review.

Once you have an idea of long term income, work out what your budget it. We always base it on worst case scenario ( or lowest income scenario) for us this is him working, from Perth and me at home. Then work out your outgoings and see if they meet the incomings. For us they didn’t!

We then worked on reducing outgoings, we combined insurances saving a few hundred each week, made sure we had all insurances necessary ( after all you will be responsible for a little person so you do need to be sensible), moved our house to a more competitive mortgage, spoke to people about bills ( our back to base monitoring just halved our bill when we mentioned not requiring it any more) and generally know where your money goes.

Now it was conversation time again, once bills had gone out it was time to look at food and try to plan and shop more sensibly which I have written about before

We also didn’t want to have any arguments around money. He likes a beer, playstation games and I like makeup and clothes so we each had pocket money each week. This is used for food not from the kitchen, trips out and our chosen indulgences aswell.

Then talk about other expenses. We placed an importance on keeping me fit in pregnancy so spent money on pre pregnancy exercise and physio. We also had our baby privately which we thought was a good use of money.

The luxury of doing this early meant we had 9 months on both incomes to practise, because you wont get it right straight away, we actually saved a lot of my salary which meant we had a buffer. This buffer was money we could both decide to spend on items- we are coming to the end of it now but bought baby nursery items needed, paid for the birth and health care, a new bigger car ( bought outright) and we had the house re insulated and cladded ( which means we can stay here for another baby). It has also meant a relatively stress free first year of Milly’s life with a mum at home full time which in our opinion was priceless.

How did you prepare your budget for a baby?

At eight months old

Oh my baby girl where have you gone?

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You are such a delight and so much fun. You stand, you crawl, you clap, you blow raspberries, you sing, say yeah yeah yeah, dadda and it sounds like hi! You play with your toys, yunnmm with each food mouthful and crawl over to the curtains pull them out and wait for us to say ‘where’s milly?’ Then you drop the curtain and smile for us to say ‘peepo’.

You come over and cuddle us, snuggle up to me a few times a day and also share your toys and food ( or at least try to). The joy on your face when you smile and the happiness you spread each day is unreal.

I have never loved anyone so much and love you more than I thought possible each day. Being your mumma is my greatest joy!

I love you milly pops x

This week….

Where to even begin. This week has been the hardest in the history of parenting for us.

My darling daughter, the absolute light of my life, started having some trouble with sleeping at around four and a half months old. She went from being a champion sleeper ( waking two to three times over a twelve hour night) to more and more until the last few weeks it has been hourly. She also stopped having longer day sleeps and would only do fourty minute naps. I chalked it up to so many things; teething, illness, wonder weeks. Whilst I am sure none of these helped all were separate issues which ended up with the underlying fact she wasn’t sleeping whatever the weather! I fact she was pretty grizzly. I spoke to a helpline on numerous occasions over the last two months and even went on a sleep workshop and realized that it was a problem that she was feeding to sleep. Basically she was associating that action with sleep so each time she woke after a sleep cycle she would cry out to be fed. This resulted in her eating extra food, no doubt uncomfortable and also her bringing some back up, especially after mammoth feeding sessions to try and sleep!

I tried everything they suggested; patting, popping the nipple out just before she fell asleep etc and it worked to an extent. She could fall asleep herself If I was laying on my bed next to her, but would still want a feed when she woke to resettle. So I knew she could do it she just didn’t routinely. It reached the point because I was laying down to feed her, as she is 11kg and my husband has been working away , all this feeding was ruining my back that she would fall asleep on my bed and wouldn’t go to her cot.

Let me be really clear in this statement. I am totally not a fan of controlled crying/ cry it out for my child. I wanted to do whatever baby steps we could towards her self settling but after 2 months we were in a bind. I knew it wasn’t working for her and I also felt the longer it went on the harder it would be to change.

So we went to sleep school. For one day. I had the assistance of a midwife with years of experience and a cot in a room with a video camera so we could see what she was up to. It turns out my daughter shouts whilst she tries to settle. She has a bit of a tantrum really as she is frustrated trying to settle herself, she then drops off and wails and shouts then drops again. I saw it with my own eyes it is in no way crying herself to sleep it is shouting in frustration as she tries to drop off. I had been rushing to her at each cry because I didn’t want to be cruel but in doing so hadn’t allowed her the chance to settle. Each time we went in to pat her she got angry as it wasn’t helping, each time I shhhhh at the door she gets angry too. Despite all my best intentions and plans to do everything so gently she just needed space and time to do this her way.

On the first night home she slept for 12 hours with just two feeds. It is now four days out and she does some shouts/cries/grizzles for about 10 mins and goes to sleep. Each time I do the exact same routine; feed, book, sleeping bag and say goodnight. After 10 mins I sshhhh and reassure at the door if she isn’t asleep. Her cries are always stop and start frustrations, never a real cry. There are never tears on her face…… it just sounds horrid to me.

It also proves to me that each baby is individual and each parent also. I would have loved to slowly and gently teach my daughter to settle and I honestly think I got her as close to that as she would allow but she has just needed space to learn this herself. I have no regrets on spending the first six months filling every want and need she had but I do feel the gift of sleep is important for her but also for me. Her awake times are much happier ( her) and although I miss her intensely when she is asleep that breaks means I am refreshed, can do the jobs and have all the quality time when she is awake. To be honest the sleep school was more for me than her as she was ready and I was so unconfident in this area as she didn’t want to learn in the way I had envisaged. So hard!

have you ever had this situation ? What would you do?

Mummy Cheats

Here we are 19 weeks into having a baby. Whilst I most certainly don’t have it all together I do feel I have a few tips to offer on how to appear you have it together. Fake it until you make it right?

1. Freeze lemon wedges- so even if you have no milk or anything, because lets face it there will be times things get that out of hand, you can offer any random guests a water with lemon wedge.

2. In the same vein freeze cakes. Oh how do you have time to bake? you don’t always but when you do make double. Also a good night time snack!

3.Keep dusters everywhere. I have them in the drawers in each room and the glove box of the car. That way it is so easy to do a quick whip around when you notice its dusty. By having them in each room you do not have to leave bubba unattended to go get one. The duster in the car means when the baby falls asleep in the car and hasn’t woken and you get to wherever I just give the car a quick once over whilst waiting for them to finish their nap.

4. I have makeup and hairdryers in both bedroom and bathroom so I can get dressed even if baby is napping in my room without disturbance. Luckily I can also normally pull together an outfit due to the piles of folded laundry which I now keep on the dining table!

5. To include exercise do it as something you do when baby is awake. Mums and bubs classes, walks so they sleep, I am now going to try a workout dvd whilst Milly is in the jumparoo… one less thing to do when they nap which means you are more likely to be able to pop your feet up.

6. Get help from others- on the weekend I really like the husband to look after the baby so I can prep some tasty healthy food for the week.

7. Food delivery and online shopping- say no more!

8. A good bright lippy- no one will notice you cant open your eyes if your lips are bright!

9. dry shampoo

10. radox- having a baby is a crash course in muscle toning!

Do you have any mummy cheats for me?

Finding your groove- baby routines

This post is written purely from my limited experience, please add yours. I have found since having a baby there are two main camps. One is completely baby led and the other is strict routine ( cry it out type affair). I would say I swing more towards baby led but I do find there is a balance. I have read the books and googled endlessly and quite honestly I do take ideas but never follow things to a T. I would hate to be made to sleep when I am not tired and to eat when not hungry so I don’t enforce routine. As a result Milly is largely able to sleep in cars, pushchairs and her cot. She does however sleep at fairly uniform times ( within an hour ) and we do have some routine.

In the morning she always wakes between 5 and 7 ( a large window I know) after that she has a big feed and then may top up with another nap if it was early. She also does her nappy business often around this time.

Bedtime is also generally bath, feed, bed. In the day things change. We are currently in another big shift as solids have been introduced.

To handle this best I do a few things. I clear a few days to have just at home, this removes external factors like cars and pushchairs lulling the baby to sleep when she may not normally sleep. I grab a notepad and let Milly do her thing. We feed when she is hungry, she sleeps when she is sleepy and I write down all feeds ( now milk and solid separately) and sleeps. The first time I did this she was around 6 or 8 weeks old and I really didn’t think there was much routine. To my surprise there was, she always had a longer morning nap and then two or three shorter naps after this. Perhaps because of my line of work I find I can analyse things better written down. For example in our latest one I picked that I would like to work on lengthening her sleeps and some sleep training, to separate milk and solids by an hour works best as she spews less. To have a gap of an hour between food and sleep is also good for her. To my surprise she can also go around four hours between feeds now too I realised.

I tend to look at the info and see what perhaps would be better changed, e.g. morning nap earlier. Try to get an extra feed in before bed as she always wakes an hour after going down for a feed etc. Then we work slowly towards this for the rest of the week. It is almost like a little reset. I should also add that she is never left hungry or tired I just encourage towards what is better. After this week I know ( ish) when is the best time to be in ( for us mornings at home are easy as she does a better sleep then and I can get more jobs done, she is also happier playing at the start of the day), when to head out, is she likely to want a nap ( in which case I either time the car journey or take a pushchair and include a walk), will she be likely to be hungry ( best time for car trips is just after a feed for us) etc etc. I can also usually time a coffee stop or pit stop so she gets 30 mins or so to play out of the pram etc and to be cuddled before she sleeps again.

She is never held strictly to the routines but normally give or take an hour it works. I have to reassess around every 6-8 weeks I have found as she grows and changes.

Do you follow a strict routine? Are you baby led? How do you think you would parent?

Baby bootcamp and other things

 Baby bootcamp and other goals
I am the kind of mum who’s baby has had a routine which it has led. Lately, however, I had noticed a few things which could be done better and needed to give her routine a big old tweak. Every now and then she does a massive development leap and is just to grown up for her old patterns. Now she is having solids three times daily, so I needed to learn to space that with feeds. She was also waking a bit with wind from going down to soon after a feed, she also liked to hop on the boob to go to sleep. None of this is necessarily a big problem but I was noticing she was capable of going to sleep without the boob. She is also, at post four months, starting to make strong associations which I suspect will be very hard to break later. So, we are in bootcamp, feeds are being stretched so she stops snacking and has a fuller feed each time, she is not being given the boob for sleep but being held or rocked. The goal of this bootcamp is that week by week I change to putting her in her cot slightly more awake with the end goal of her going down wide awake and nodding off unassisted…. Wish me luck! I have the goal of 8 weeks to creep towards this which happily co-incides with our trip to the uk.
I also think that to focus on this I may stop classes. I have three weeks left of my pilates pass and will use that up at which point, fingers crossed I should be able to run. In the mean time I am going to try a post preggie work out DVD either first thing or in one of her naps, Perhaps even whilst she is in her jumparoo as she enjoys me on ten floor with her!
The final goal is to clean up the eating, I have been getting there slowly, but with these solids her milk is supplemented so I need less extra. Lets cut the crap and get back to the good stuff, I am aiming for a whole food plan for 8 weeks until I go home.
Finally, i spring cleaned the house but have more baby stuff to offload and also junk from round the house. Our house, whilst not tiny, certainly is t large enough for us to carry excess! Regular clean outs are mandatory. Also as an aside how awesome are vacuum bags?
One final final note… Any one else started Xmas pressie planning? Double digits now you know!

A working mother

I have been meaning to write this for a while. When I was pregnant I was sure I would want to return to work a few days a week after a year. Everyone said I would change my mind. I remained open to changing my mind as everyone was so sure I would.

At 3 months I love being a stay at home mum. I would find it hard to go back now as she needs me lots. I look forward to returning to work next year. I hope I can find a job that suits. I am not willing to work more than 3 days a week, I need to be my daughters main carer, and we are lucky to have the luxury I don’t have to. I do miss work, I loved my job and it interested and excited me. Infact more than ever I want to do a job I love, go to work and come home smiling to tell my daughter I loved it. I want her to see people having jobs they love so she expects and wants that for herself!

The extra money is also handy for financial stability and for my other passion travel . I want to show her the world from a young age so she learns to love it and be excited by it as opposed to scared of it.

are you a working mum? Do you plan to be?

Life updates

The last life update I wrote I was fully disorganized in my head. I honestly didn’t know where I was at for home or work. Now things have settled, as per usual, everything has it’s own way of falling into place.

We got a new car a Volkswagen tiguan and it’s great, really perfect for families who do inner city driving as well.

We also did some research and got some opinions and decided to reclad the outside of our house. This is quite an expense but will add value as well as decreasing heating/ cooling costs. By doing this and getting new windows we have spent a fair bit on our abode but it has upgraded it and made it more of a three bedroom house.

I am nervous that we are spending our savings but it seems positive that there will be some kind of job that I want for next year. Ideally I would like to work in my given field 2 or 3 days per week.

The knowledge that I could be working again next year means I am treasuring this year. Making every effort to enjoy each day for what it is. Even if that day is one of those days where milly needs to be cuddled all day and we are parked on the couch. Smiles like this make it soooo worthwhile .

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We have also been working out loads: walking in the sun by the river, mum and baby pilates, aqua and barre extend bubs on board are part of our week as well as a vibro plate class which condenses an hours work out into 30 mins so is perfect for mummas. I should get the clearance to run in a week or so aswell! We have been loving these classes as they get us out the house and amongst others!

The diet is gradually being cleaned up, I didn’t stress about an all or nothing approach but am working with crowding out ( ie chucking the good stuff in so there is less room for the bad stuff) as each day goes by I crave the bad stuff less.

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This particular offering was pear, coconut water, cucumber, lime and mint! Oh hello gorgeous!

The sunny weather has meant we have been using the pushchair heaps and I carry a blanket in the bottom so if we are running early we can have a quick lie down in the breeze and kick our legs about ( more her than me).

how is life lately for you?

The truth about life with a newborn

When I was pregnant I had heard so much about life with a newborn. Now I am a month I. I have a few observations:

The first week or so is the hardest- you are healing, learning to breastfeed, bleeding and dealing with a newborn who is all over the place having just come into the world.

I have still wanted to be dressed in a nice way each day even if it is casual. I have found a statement necklace lifts the plainest outfit.

Mineral makeup is great because if you are too tired to take it off it doesn’t block your pores!

Get moving- walking and being out the house makes you feel better and is a great way to spin the baby out between feeds.

I feed my baby on demand- if she is hungry she is fed.

You need to teach babies day from night and it takes a while.

It is hard as the mums are what the babies need for the first few months so your life changes more than anyone else’s, but on the flip side you will be so close with your baby and have special moments.

The tiredness is much easier to handle than I expected.

Breastfeeding makes you hungry.

Accept all the help you can.

Everyone wants to visit. They stay ages, now is the time to be rude and ask people to leave. You need rest and have a newborn who also needs sleep.

The hardest thing is that you are the one who needs to look after the baby but when you are on your own its tricky as you smell like milk so they just want to feed!

You will watch junk tv- dont tell the bride and come dine with me are my faves!

Even if you feel really short tempered be kind to your other half and hope they treat you with kindness as it makes this time super special!

It is the best thing ever.