Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Preparing for Baby Checklist | Extensive & Realistic

What do you need to prepare for the new baby? Do you have everything done on your list? This is a list for parents who just need a bit of a checklist in the final stages of pregnancy! If you are like me, you'll still have plenty to do as you get close to the end of the pregnancy. That's ok. Try to dedicate the last 4 weeks to put together your baby supplies. It will remove the stress of not having it done early on.

I'm 9 weeks away from my newest baby's due date and I have done this a few times. Yet I STILL need a kick in the right direction! Some things on this list might NOT apply to you, but they do for me!

  • Put Birth Supplies Together
    I have my babies at home, so I need to order my birth supplies. However, if you are a hospital bound mamma, put together your hospital bag and the 'first few days at home' basket.
    • Birth pool
    • Hoses/connections for birth pool
    • Midwife supply box (gloves, blue pads, and whatever else she needs)
    • Bulb Syringe
    • Herbal baths (I buy mine here). 
      • I always buy two. Here's the directions: Boil a gallon of water with 1 cup of herbs (tied up in a nylon) for one hour(ish). pour it into the bath BEFORE you or your baby get in. Sit in the bath for at least 20 minutes. Reuse each cup of herbs once. I take 2 baths a day with each of my babies until the herbs are gone. This dries up their umbilical cords fast and gives you great skin on skin bonding time.
    • Nylons (for herbal baths) I just ordered this one
    • Goldenseal capsules
      • You don't need more than 5 capsules. If you know someone who has some, that would be better than buying an entire bottle. I always put a small bit on the wet parts of umbilical cord. It kills bacteria and helps cord dry out. It will stain clothes though, so you'll want to use onesies.
    • newborn disposable diapers I just ordered these
      • I just started ordering things like diapers on amazon. I love it! They cost the same and then I don't have to fill my cart with them! Win win for me!
    • newborn hat
    • first outfit for baby - If you make it yourself it's more special!
    • Hospital bag - toiletries, an outfit that you can take pictures in (but comfortable), a nursing shirt, a couple pairs of underwear & SOCKS (*this list is not extensive because I will hopefully NOT be going to the hospital!)
  • Stock up on Mamma items for after your baby is born
    You'll be taking care of yourself sensitively for a few weeks after your baby is born. 
    • One regular bag of the largest pads you can buy (or make your own postpartum pads)
      • I realize that I have a pattern for postpartum pads because some people are really sensitive and need them. However, I prefer disposable ones. I don't like to have to worry about anything other than my babies when they come. I just ordered these 
    • Regular pads for 3 weeks - think a bag per week I just ordered these ones 
    • Panty liners - get a large box I just ordered these ones.
    • Witch hazel - for tears and soreness I get this witch hazel 
    • Cramp bark - for afterbirth pains I get this kind
      • I always get a tincture. Get two bottles. Put a few drops under your tongue for 15 seconds. It helps with the pain within seconds.
    • Motrin - afterbirth pains I just bought this one
    • Mama's milk tea - getting the milk to come in This is the one I use
    • Nursing pads - for when your milk DOES come in These are what I ordered
    • A manual breast pump - trust me, you'll need this when your milk comes in This is what I have
    • Breast milk bags Like these ones 
    • BEER. Ok, don't freak out. They used to give this to you in the hospital to bring in your milk quicker. Really!! In all seriousness, if you just went through labor and delivery like a champ, you want a beer. Reward yourself and have your favorite kind sitting there for you after you get some rest! Your husband will think it's the coolest thing ever to celebrate your bundle with ONE beer. He will toast to you for sure!
    • Paper products. I'm considering this a mamma product, because who wants to wash dishes when baby is born? Get plenty of paper plates, disposable bowls, silverware, cups and disposable pans. Lots of paper towels too! *This is an excellent gift of any expectant parent that will ALWAYS be appreciated!!
    • New socks. Yes. Get them. It's a small way to pamper yourself because who doesn't love the feeling of new socks!
    • Lanolin for sore nipples This is what I ordered
    • Flushable wipes. You will be sore. You'll want them. Just ordered these ones 
  • Household supplies
    • Laundry soap (get your favorite kind or make a huge batch if you make it yourself!)
      • Don't forget to write a list/tutorial to tape above your washing machine of your laundry routine. Your husband will appreciate it and so will your visiting mother!
      • Did you know that amazon prices are about the same as most stores? Then you can have it delivered?! This is what I order 
    • Toilet paper
    • Paper towels
    • Dish soap (although you can use laundry soap in a pinch)
    • Dishwasher soap
    • Tin foil
    • Plastic wrap
    • Paper plates/bowls/cups/silverware
    • New tupperware - Are people bringing you dinners? You'll want a way to store it in the fridge or freezer I just ordered this and can't wait for it to come!
    • Gallon size freezer bags and disposable pans - most of the time when people are bringing dinners, they bring too much. Eat what you can for one meal, then put the rest in the freezer!
    • Shampoo/conditioner/bath soap/handsoap
    • WATER. I don't usually think about this because I have good water. If you don't, please please do yourself a favor and buy outrageous amounts. When your baby starts nursing, you will feel like it is going through you, and will down a quart of water in 2 minutes. Easily.
  • General Baby Supplies to buy (not including clothes)
    • One small bag of newborn disposable diapers - I never even go through a whole one. If you need more, your mother can get it.  I just ordered these
    • 2 decent size boxes of size 1 disposable diapers. You'll need more than this, but it's nice to have these on hand. Even if you plan to cloth diaper full time, you'll appreciate having these. I just ordered these 
    • 2 large boxes of size 2 disposable diapers. You won't need these for a while, but you'll be glad to have them. I just ordered these
    • 4 boxes of unscented disposable baby wipes
    • Baby Shampoo (Only buy one. Just in case baby is sensitive to brand) This is what I have 
    • Baby lotion (Only buy one. Just in case baby is sensitive to brand) This is what I just ordered
    • Baby Butt Cream  (Only buy one. Just in case baby is sensitive to brand) This is what I ordered
    • No oils/powders
    • Baby nail clippers
    • Bulb syringe (aka - booger sucker haha!)
    • Prefold diapers for burp cloths (unless you want to make them yourself!)
    • Diaper bag or backpack or large purse
    • Baby socks. Ok this is clothes. But when you buy them, you want them to be the "NOT SOFT" kind. They need to be longer tops that you can fold down without fleece/terry in them. Otherwise they come right off. All.Day.Long. These are the baby socks I buy 
  • Baby supplies to make - Trust me. Babies are expensive. You want to make things as often as you can to save money. Plus it gives you the added bonus of being creative in those last few weeks of pregnancy when you are nesting! These are the things that I make for my babies that are coming:
  • More things to do: a list that might not be your typical
    • Wash refrigerator and clean it out
      • You need room for meals brought to you
    • Wash clean out freezer
      • again, you need space for the meals you put away yourself and for what people bring you
    • Clean out pantry
      • Only keep things you are actually going to use. Wipe everything down and organize.
    • Make a few meals and organize them nicely in your freezer. Label and date them. You'll want them in the weeks after your baby comes. 
    • Get insurance info for your baby put together so you know what you need to do after he/she is born
    • Talk to your chiropractor about making sure your body is lined up properly...it'll make an easier labor
    • Talk to the chiropractor about whether he sees new babies or not. If your baby is fussy regularly, you might need a trip to see the chiropractor!
Well that's all I can think of right now! I have a lot left to do! Thankfully I did my amazon shopping yesterday, so now it's to the sewing machine I go! What did I miss? I'd love to hear your thoughts and add to my list!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

What to do when you're nesting

Nesting during pregnancy is a fun experience and a great way to get things done. Sometimes you hear people tease you while you are pregnant about being a "crazy nester", but it's nothing to joke about...it's a very real thing. In fact, the American Pregnancy Association puts it this way:

"You might wake up one morning feeling energetic and wanting to clean and organize your entire house. This urge to clean and organize is known as nesting.
Nesting during pregnancy is the overwhelming desire to get your home ready for your new baby.
The nesting instinct is strongest in the later weeks coming up on delivery. It is an old wives’ tale that once nesting urges begin, labor is about to come on.

Nesting is common and is considered to be an instinct to prepare for birth, but not all pregnant women experience the nesting instinct.
It is common for women to get the urge to clean and organize during the spring, thus the old adage, “spring cleaning.”
Some speculate that this is triggered from being cooped up all winter and wanting something new.
Others believe that the desire to get outside and enjoy the weather leads some women to organize the house, so they are free to go enjoy the outdoors.
If your baby is arriving late spring or into summer, you desire for nesting may be intensified. Nesting during pregnancy feelings might be triggered by:
Boredom and frustration from still being pregnant
Recognition that the baby’s care is going to take lots of your time and energy, and you want everything to be ready before the baby arrives
Excitement and anticipation of your new bundle of joy, and the desire to have everything just right"

While I agree with the APA, I think that nesting in many forms is normal and to be expected by most or all pregnant moms. It might not come as cleaning, but it might come as other ways. I have put together a list of ways that you might ALREADY be nesting, but also things that you might want to consider if you are feeling a "block" on what to do:

  • Creativity during pregnancy
    Ok, so we aren't all these amazing creative geniuses, but sometimes with hormonal triggers, it feels good to create something. That thing might be to paint a coffee table, sew a crib skirt, or to paint a piece of art. (I'm not talking crazy....but something like this is still pretty awesome!). If you decide to cloth diaper, you might take up sewing to save some mulah and to feel good about using your creative energy!

  • Money making ideas during pregnancy
    Don't we all wish we could come up with ways to make some cash? Many times it's the pregnant woman with the answer! I think this is also a form of nesting. It makes sense because as our baby's due date approaches, we are becoming more aware of our circumstances in which the baby will be in. Sometimes if there is a financial strain, or an inability to afford certain things, you'll find that the ideas will be plentiful. Write those ideas down! Although you might not be able to attain all of them while you are pregnant, you might be looking for creative ways to pay for expensive baby items after the bundle arrives!

  • Budgeting ideas during pregnancy
    You really need to be thinking about this. For example: cloth diapering. This is the biggest one. Decide if you CAN do it (if you are working, it will be harder!), and if you can, HOW! Decide on what type of diapers you plan to use, a plan of whether you will make your own cloth diapers, or buy them, where to keep the dirty ones, research how to wash them properly, and get your ducks in a row.
    Other budgeting ideas will be adding in a "baby" section to your budget to cover the necessary things that you need as your baby gets older (bumbo seats, car seats, high chairs, baby carriers, sippy cups etc).
  • Food preparation's gone wild during pregnancy
    Have you ever been to the grocery store for one thing and you end up buying 6 lbs of carrots, 12 lbs of apples, a box of tomatoes (that of course you plan to can later), and a plethora of other veggies or food items? This is also a form of nesting.
    If you have ever had a baby previously, you know the strain that the sleepless nights puts on your body and brain. It makes sense that during the pregnacy and especially at the end of pregnancy, you will start to crave, desire, or intensely want healthy foods. You might even find that some cravings quickly fade away (like chocolate) and others fill their place (like avocados or pineapple).
    Another thing that you might find is that at the end of your pregnancy, a good diet/lifestyle change might be in order. If you find that certain foods make you feel tired or bloated, cut them out! Whatever food choices you make during the last few weeks of pregnancy will effect how you feed your body after the baby is born. This is an excellent way to use your nesting instinct to create lasting lifestyle changes that you can feel proud about.
    A grain free or paleo lifestyle is what I'm currently working on, and although I believe it is partially nesting instinct, I want to conscientiously make better choices NOW so that LATER (while nursing, sleepless nights and weight loss after pregnancy) I will reap the benefits.

  • Remodeling during pregnancy is nesting!
    This isn't as crazy as it may seem. If you already had plans to remodel things, or to rejuvenate a room, swinging a hammer isn't going to hurt you OR your baby. In fact, the exercise involved will be excellent. If you are on working on a crazy project, you will be stretching and using muscles that you wouldn't otherwise, and it's excellent for you and your upcoming labor! Just use safe practices like wearing a mask when using oil based products or sanding drywall.
    I have used my 'pregnant creative energy' during this pregnancy as a way to bust out many projects in my home that I have been putting off! I keep thinking about how wonderful it will be to hold my precious girl in a beautiful space. I just finished my bedroom and now I am tackling the kitchen cabinets.
    You might even decide to do a project which will make your life easier when baby arrives. For instance, we are planning on knocking out walls later, but there are some preparations that have to be done first (like building a pantry) in my home. This is next on my husband's "honey do list"  and I am pushing for it. You bet I'll be right there with him building it!
  • Becoming introverted during pregnancy
    This is entirely normal. Especially during the last half of pregnancy. You will find that you feel like you cannot be away from home. If you work outside the home, you will want to cancel every other commitment. If someone suggests a trip, you are quick to make an excuse to stay home.
    You don't have to make too many excuses. Simply say, "I'm nesting and I can't be away from home that often or I become stressed." True story. Women who get this way feel very stressed when out and about, or when they get back home. Moms feel like they cannot keep up with their world, so "how will I be able to do it when the baby comes!?"  Just remember that you WILL keep up when baby comes. Laundry will wait, dinner can be cereal, and the kids will manage without you helicoptering over them. It's ok to cancel play dates and visits so that you can keep up with your world, and do your nesting projects.

  • Teach your children how they can help!
    If you haven't already started, you need to start talking to your older kids. I'm talking ALL children that are over 3 years old. Explain to older children how things are changing so that they can understand why you are changing their routines, and they will happily help you. All of my children know that I'm tired and feel like I can't get things done. They are ALL helping do chores and learning new responsibilities. They understand when I tackle a new project and I explain to them why it's good that we do it before the baby comes. 
    • Teach the young toddlers how to come when they are called. How to STOP when you say "no". And how to stay next to you for longer periods of time. Sometimes you can simply have them hold your hand while you walk through the house, or sit with you while you fold laundry, or stand with you while you do dishes. Teach them to stay next to you so that when you are nursing your baby for 45 minuets at a time, it won't be a stretch for them to stay in the same room where you can see them.
    • Teach your younger ones how to do things on their own (like using a taller stool to wash their hands, putting their own clothes on themselves, wiping properly, picking up their toys on command...etc). They will happily do it, but will be happier if you explain to them WHY you are teaching them. "When the baby comes, Mamma needs you to know how to do this because I won't be able to help you all the time....."
    • Teach your older ones how to read a recipe, how to wash and put the dishes away properly (start this at age 5!), master a couple meals that they can make on their own for the family, teach them how to properly handle a knife so you don't feel like you need to cut everything they cook. My 10-12 year olds can be entirely trusted to make a few recipes with me in an entirely different location. They know various ways to improvise and are confident when they do. Give them this gift and you'll be glad that you did!
      Also teach them and husband how to do laundry. This is best done with a written, step by step instruction taped to the wall. Take a picture of your laundry settings or tape arrows to the proper buttons to push!
    • WRITE A CHORE LIST WITHOUT YOUR NAME ON IT! This is important. Include your husband and all of your children. Tell them that you want to start practicing now. Even if they generally DO the chores that you write, it will be helpful for you to write it down to stop any stress that you may have about the upcoming baby. Everyone in the household will understand if you explain why you are doing it. This is also helpful if someone wants to come over to help you for a day (like your mother). She will know what things you need done and what things are already taken care of!
    • If you have a garden, or responsibilities that will need to be attended to AFTER baby comes, tell your husband EARLY ON what it is that you expect him to do. Tell him a few times. It will help him to watch out for, and not be stressed when you ask him later.

Well I hope this was a helpful list for you. I'd love to hear more suggestions on what to do at the end of pregnancy, or ways to nest successfully. I'm in the last trimester of this pregnancy so I am trying to fit in all of my final plans! Send me or comment your ideas!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

How I made my crib skirt from a sheet

This is a simple tutorial on how I made my crib skirt from a sheet. It's a ruffled skirt that fits any crib but I'll tell you some hints on how you can tailor yours to fit your needs. This could be for a beginner, but I don't explain the basting or hemming process. :)
how to make a ruffled crib skirt
Step 1. I started with a twin size sheet. It measured 66x96". I threw it in the dryer to get the wrinkles out and drew a diagram on how I wanted to cut it.
crib skirt tutorial step 1

Step 2. I chose to tear it instead of cutting it. It was super fast. The first thing that I did was tear off all of the hems.
crib skirt tutorial step 2

Step 3. Cut (or tear) the pieces.
My perfect length for the crib skirt was 9". So I started with a 10" length. This saves room for 1/2" worth of hemming or sewing on each side. If you want your skirt longer or shorter, adjust as necessary.

Cut 5, 10" x 60"  pieces (60" give or take a few) for the skirt
Cut 1, 28.5" x 53" piece for the body
Here is the sheet cutting diagram.

crib skirt tutorial step 3

Step 4: Attach the 10x60" strips together on the 10" ends. This will make a verrrrrrrrry long strip.
crib skirt tutorial step 4

Step 5: Hem or serge one long edge.
I chose to serge mine with a rolled hem because I like the look of the contrasting white fabric for my nursery. You could easily just make a small hem.
crib skirt tutorial

Step 6: Cut your pieces. The total length of your long strip should be a little more than about 300 inches.
Cut 2, 100" strips and 2, 50" strips from the long strip. Discard any remaining strip.

Step 7:
Hem the 10" sides of each of the 4 strips.
hemmed side of crib skirt

Step 8:
Sew a double basting stitch on each 'raw' edge of each short, 50" strips.
double basted raw edge of crib skirt

Step 9:
Gather the raw edge of the 50" strips by pulling on the bobbin threads of the basted stitches.
gathering crib skirt ruffle

Step 10: Lay the ruffled edge onto the 53" edge of the body piece. This will help determine how short to make the ruffled edge.
ruffling the edge of crib skirt

Step 11: Tie the threads once the gathers are at the proper length. Then evenly disperse the gathers.
tying ends of gathers

Step 12. Sew the ruffled edge of the skirt onto the raw edge of the body piece. I sewed mine so that none of the gathered stitches would show. It's pretty rough because I didn't pin it. I figured with a cute ruffled edge, you wouldn't notice if it was a tad uneven.
sew on the ruffles

Step 13. After the short strip of ruffles are done, do the large strips of ruffles.
When you attach the large strips to the body piece, overlap the small strips about 1/2-1" so that there won't be any raw edges when you are finished.

Step 14. Snip all of your strings and enjoy having a super oober cute ruffled crib skirt!
ruffled crib skirt diy

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