Baby on a Budget

It’s true I’m a wee bit obsessed with baby gear, and have been since WAY before my boys were born; however, most of this gear is not considered a necessity. I even had some mom-troll comment on one of my posts one day, “Seems like you have to be a millionaire to have a baby these days”. I chose not to respond at the time, but here’s what I would’ve liked to say, “Actually, all it takes to have a baby is an egg, sperm, and a vagina”. But, tthat may have been considered rude, even though it’s true, lol. 

You don’t have to be a millionaire to have a baby. Here’s how to avoid breaking the bank when you’re preggo.

Breastfeed.

IMG_5334

Formula is not only lacking in nourishment and high in unnecessary toxins, but in pales significantly in comparison to breastmilk and it’s expensive! The sticky, stinky powder will empty your pockets so fast it’ll make your head spin, plus you’ll need bottles, nipples, warmers, bottle cleaner, etc. Something like 97% of the female population can breastfeed successfully so only 3% of you may have trouble. No need for fancy nursing covers either. If you’re shy, say goodbye…and walk away to somewhere peaceful and private. Otherwise, sun’s out? Boobs out!

Babywear

breastfeed, sideline, that girl

A babywearing wrap can be as cheap as $40! Know what’s even cheaper? Fabric. It cracks me up when I’m out in public tying on my ACK Wrap or Happy Wrap and someone comments, “Wow, they didn’t have things like that when I had my babies.” Yes, they did! All over the world people have worn their babies using not much more than a bed sheet or cut of fabric. Tie your baby on and there’s no need for a fancy schmancy stroller.

Cloth Diaper

IMG_4858

Yes, there’s some money up front and it’s suggested to have about 24 diapers to start with, but you could get by with less than that at first and build your way up to more. You’ll just have to do laundry a bit more until baby is using less diapers per day, but the upfront costs of cloth will save you thousands down the road. Get a starter kit of 24 diapers plus diaper pail liners and wet bags from ShopWholeHeart.com

Feed the Baby What You Eat

Jarred baby food costs about $.50 for one little jar, but you may go through 3-5 per day, which adds up to $1.50-2.50 a day, or averaging about $40-60 a month. Yikes! Make your own for a third of that price or, even better, just feed baby from your plate. Around six months baby can start eating soft foods and doesn’t need purees. Mash up that banana, potatoes, avocado, egg yolk, or bone marrow delicacy you’re spreading onto your toast points! Studies show babies who ate what the family ate before two years of age are far less likely to be picky eaters.

Clothes

Hand me downs from...somewhere

Hand me downs from…somewhere

Facebook is your friend! Join local garage sale pages, or swap sites, and post every few months asking for hand me downs. Trust me-people don’t want to go through that big box marked for Goodwill and price everything out to sell you individually. They just want it out of their house. I’ve gotten stuff from Baby Gap, Janie and Jack, even Feather4Arrow for FREE!!!

Bathtime 

IMG_5794

You do NOT need expensive organic soaps and lotions. Babies aren’t dirty and their skin produces natural oils to moisturize and protect. For bath, fold up a towel in the kitchen sink, fill it a little ways with warm water and wash baby off with a washcloth and natural oil (such as coconut oil or almond oil) every few days.

Toys

The best toys for babies and toddlers are “real world” items found around the house. Commercial toys are often overstimulating, which can actually stunt imagination and development rather than enhance it.

  • Create a sensory board using plywood and attach things such as sandpaper, buttons, locks, zippers, old calculators, ribbons, cotton, or various fabrics with different colors and textures.
  • Create a “sandbox” with a large rubbermaid container and cornmeal (safe to injest).
  • Use kitchen utensils like spatulas, ladles, measuring cups, or measuring spoons to play in sand or water.
  • Make shakers with old pill bottles and fill with beans, rice, coins, or beads.
  • Save toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, ribbon, bubble wrap, yarn, egg cartons, and milk jugs. All of these things allow for open ended, creative play.

IMG_6216

I won’t lie to you and say I didn’t splurge on the top of the line baby gear for my babies. I did. My stroller cost more than most people’s first cars (I’m embarassed to admit that); however, at the end of the day it’s not about the stroller, the diaper bag, or the clothes a baby had. It’s all about the love they received!

Stay Gold, 

That Girl

IMG_6180

Finn & Emma: Totally Worth It

I’ve not been shy voicing my opinion on baby clothes (especially baby boy clothes). The dinosaurs, trains, planes, cars, and sports patches? Give me a break! What’s worse is the verbage like, “mommy’s little sailor” or “daddy’s MVP”. Baby clothes do not have to be so cheesy! Well, after 400 failed trips to EVERY single baby clothing store in the mall I finally gave up and decided I will only shop online boutiques and retailers. I was familiar with Finn & Emma from the baby expos I frequent so I reached out to them to see what the fuss was about…

Totally worth it!

As soon as my order came in the mail I could tell a huge difference right away in the quality. There was no funky “new” factory smell, no toxic film-y feeling on the fabric, and they felt sturdy- like they’d actually withstand the multiple machine washes needed when you have littles. Gasp!

IMG_6211

Don’t panic, it’s organic.

I’m all about EVERYthing organic for babies. Yes, even clothing should be organic when possible. Clothing (especially children’s clothing) has been found laden with hormone disrupting pthalates, formaldehyde dyes, and perfluorochemicals linked to tumor growths and reproductive problems. Cotton clothing that’s not organic will still have residues from pesticides and fertilizers used in the growth of cotton. That “new” smell is actually hazardous chemicals you are breathing in and your skin is your largest organ, meaning your baby is absorbing these chemicals and residues into their skin. Always go for hand me downs, wash clothing several times in an organic detergent, or shop organic such as Finn&Emma.

They’re GOTS certified (99% organic), no PVCs, nickle free metals, and use nontoxic inks, dyes, and processing chemicals. Finn&Emma is also a fair trade company (a company with heart!)

Style for Days

Finn&Emma clothing is stylish without being uber trendy. They opt for classic modern designs  with nature inspired prints, bright colors, and chic details. No decals, cartoons, or sports patches will be found on Finn&Emma clothing. They know there’s no need to compromise class when dressing babies and toddlers.

IMG_6216

Quality over Quantity

My sisters both had boys before me and passed on piles of baby boy clothes to me so I have plenty of options; however, I’d much rather dress my boys in a few high quality outfits from Finn&Emma over and over again than hundreds of outfits from those “other stores” that are fading, losing fit, and pulling. I’ve washed my Finn&Emma outfit several times already and it looks brand new every time. The patterns stay sharp, the buttons don’t wear out, and the shape holds. With babies growing out of things so quickly, why not splurge on a few timeless, high quality items they can wear over and over again until they’re outgrown and then pass them on to friends knowing they’ll still be in prime condition?

IMG_6218

I’m totally spoiled now! After viewing the collection on finnandemma.com, I’ve decided my boys are too good for anything else. I’m literally repulsed by the toxic smell of Gymboree and Children’s Place and apalled by the “styles” offered. I’m a modern day mama with classic taste and I refuse to dress my little gentlemen in an ill fitted romper with a choo-choo train on the butt!

Stay classy,

That Girl

Binxy Baby: My Newest Obsession

Anyone who says newborn twins are tough has never dealt with four month old twins. In my opinion, newborn twins are a cakewalk. Six month and up twins are a cakewalk, but this 3-6 month area is funky town! They’re too alert to sleep through car rides and outings anymore, but not quite alert enough to stay chill for an extended period of time. They’re too big to be held or worn simultaneously, but too small to sit up on their own. This makes “quick trips” to the store or shopping damn near impossible. In fact, after one trip to HEB where they both melted down half way through the store I considered sitting in a center aisle and rocking back and forth until someone came to my aid. 

Luckily, I discovered the Binxy Baby! Life is good again!

IMG_5983

The Binxy Baby is a shopping cart hammock that clips onto the shopping cart and allows baby to lay in it peacefully kicking and cooing while you shop. At first I didn’t think I needed this product because my stroller had such a great storage space underneath; however, let me walk you through a trip to the grocery store using a stroller instead of the Binxy Baby.

First, you start with both babies in the stroller happily browsing fruits. Baby A begins to fuss, but no need to fret because you packed your ACK Wrap so you decide to wear Baby A and utilize his seat for more groceries. Problem solved right? Nope. Then Baby B decides to scream. You try a pacifier and every other trick in the book but it doesn’t work. baby B now wants to be held but you can’t hold him because you’re wearing Baby A. So, set Baby A down to grab B? Nope. There’s no where to set A because his seat is filled with food now. Let the rocking back and forth in the center aisle commence.

Another issue with using the stroller is the bending down to place groceries, bending down to put them on the…the…thingamajig I can’t think of the name for because I’m sleep deprived to pay for them, and then where do you put the bags to make it out to your car?

Vail Twins Binxy Baby

Now, let’s walk through a trip with the Binxy Babies. Pull up to the store and park next to the doohickie where carts are stored. Grab a cart and snap the Binxy Babies onto the sides. Put Baby A in one and walk around to put Baby B in the other. Into the store you go! Now you’re browsing veggies and Baby A freaks out. Pick him up and soothe him or wear him. Baby B starts to panic. No worries, just set Baby A back in the hammock and grab Baby B. Repeat as necessary until shopping is complete.

I can also attest to the fact that my babies are significantly happier shopping in the Binxy Babies. I think they like being out of the hot carseats, but they also like laying face up at an incline so they can observe things around them. Not to mention they get ogled and flirted with by all the old ladies and passersby.

The hammocks take up the whole top of the cart when you need two, but the fabric is stretchy and allows you to easily drop groceries in between the two and into the cart. The bags can go underneath or hang on the sides, but I always ask for assistance getting out anyway so that I can load the groceries and start the car while the attendant loads groceries in the trunk. Never turn down free help when you’ve got twins right?!

Vail twins, Binxy babies

I will cherish these Binxy Babies and will gladly pass them on to another twin mom when my boys sadly, but surely, outgrow them.

Stay Gold, 

That Girl

The Tranquilizing Tranquilo Mat

I won’t lie. I’ve totally been guilty of jiggling a stroller, or bouncy chair, to calm a baby with one hand while quickly trying to jam half a sandwich in my mouth with the other hand. I’m the mom running  around HEB wearing a baby and bouncing while pushing the other in the stroller, refusing to stop as I grab groceries and toss them into my cart. I probably look like I’m auditioning for Supermarket Sweep circa 1993. And, my phone battery is almost always drained since I toss it into the carseat next to my babies with a white noise app on. Whatever works, right? Wrong.

I’m desperate for a Tranquilo Mat!

I first spotted this unicorn at the baby gear expo I attend every year in Vegas and everyone was buzzing about it. In fact, after returning from the expo and contacting the designer, I learned they were so hot they couldn’t keep up with production at that time. But now (FINALLY), they’re available to desperate mamas like you and me who get lady boners for products that calm fussy babies quickly.

Here’s why the Tranquilo Mat is my jam!

Tranquilo1

  1. Vibration

Most parents find themselves gently jiggling babies instinctively to keep them calm, but did you ever wonder why that works? When babies are inutero, being toted around day and night, they’re being gently jostled and vibrated when mom walks, climbs stairs, drinks water, eats, breathes, etc. The Tranquilo Mat gently vibrates to mimic the feeling of the womb, which sends baby instantly into a hypnotic state, triggering the calming reflex.

2. White Noise

I’m a bit of a white noise nut! I have THE Cadillac of white noise machines in my bedroom (curtesy of my best friend who knows me well), a white noise machine in the nursery, white noise apps on my phone and I’ll be damned if I’m caught traveling without a machine as well. I’ve always slept better when background noises are drowned out and babies are no different. Ever notice how they can sleep in a noisy restaurant with no problem, but a dog barking or car horn can wake them up instantly? White noise tends to drown out those startling, sudden sounds, but also mimics the womb, which is super comforting for the first three months of life especially.

3. Flexible & Portable

A mat like this is worthless if it can only be used one way because, let’s be honest, babies are unpredictable and moms need multipurpose devices cause our diaper bags be overflowin’ as it is. If it’s goin’ in my bag, it better play many roles. The Tranquilo Mat is super duper thin, folds up easy and can be thrown into a diaper bag or purse without taking up coveted space. It’s flexible too so you could wrap it around your babies lap in a carseat or stroller, or wrap it around baby’s back while they’re in a carrier or sling. Does your baby need tummy time, but fuss constantly throughout? Try sliding the Tranquilo Mat underneath the activity mat or blanket you’re using and watch baby calm with the push of a button.

Tranquilo Mat - Gersin 0045

4. Machine Washable

The cover on the outside can be tossed into your washer/dryer for convenient cleaning and sanitizing and the inner cover is water resistant and wipeable so your baby’s spit up or accidents won’t leak through!

Tranquilo Mat - Gersin 0043

Use the Tranquilo Mat for:

  • car rides
  • strollers
  • tummy time
  • bouncers/rockers
  • reading
  • sleep/naps
  • babywearing
  • visits to the doctor
  • colic/gas
  • fussiness for who the hell knows why

Get your Tranquilo Mat here and tell us why you love it.

Stay gold, 

That Girl

Mimijumi Bottles: Best Next to Breast

How many of you have heard of “nipple confusion”? It’s one of those phrases that moms use that either crack dads up or confuse the hell out of them, but it’s a real thing. Especially if you talk to a nurse or lactation consultant…or an anxious mother who knows her maternity leave is almost up and her baby still won’t take a bottle. 

IMG_3121

Nipple confusion is when a baby who has been exclusively breast fed has trouble taking a bottle or pacifier because the anatomy is different than mom’s. Let’s be honest, where our babies are concerned, nothing is as good as mom. But, what about when mom is exhausted and someone else needs to feed the baby? What about when it’s time to go back to work? What about getting a babysitter? What do you do when there’s a growth spurt and baby wants to eat round the clock? You get online and you order the Mimijumi!

It’s specially designed to look and feel like the breast. This bottle is THE perfect substitute for when there’s no breast around.

IMG_3175

I have twins and I’ve breastfed both of them since birth. I may have two breasts, but it’s not an easy feat to latch on two 8-10lb babies! When we’re at home I can nurse them both simultaneously with the help of about 400 pillows and my headboard to support my back, but in public? Nah, that’s not something anyone wants to see. It resembles a dairy cow with her calves far too much to be appetizing during a luncheon with friends. So, I pack my “not so hungry” Mimijumi bottles and a few bags of pumped milk. If I’m on my own I’ll feed one before they start crying and am usually done just in time to catch the other as he starts wailing. If I’m with my husband or friends, then I’ll let them give a bottle while I eat or enjoy some hands free time!

IMG_3410

But, my baby gets gas with a bottle? It won’t with the Mimijumi! If they do get gas it may be from using formula, but it wont be from the bottle. The Mimjumi’s design reduces signs of gas and colic. My babies slurp things down like ravenous wolves and never even need to burp!

IMG_3684

My favorite feature of this bottle though is the assembly because there is none. It’s literally just screwing the nipple onto the bottle. It’s SO easy! There’s no washing a million pieces, no assembly a babysitter can’t figure out, no searching for missing parts in the dark of night, and no leaking because it wasn’t put together correctly.

Let’s keep it simple, y’all!

That Girl

Not-so-hungry-mimijumi-bottle

Rumparooz Rock My World

If I had a penny for everytime someone smirked, rolled their eyes, or laughed at me followed by, “Yeah, sure, just wait”, when they found out I planned to cloth diaper my twins, I’d be a rich woman. But, six weeks in and I’m convinced it has been my best decision thus far! I use Rumparooz and Lil Joeys by Kangacare and they rock!

IMG_3107

These are not your grandma’s cloth diapers. They’re not the ones your mom wore either. These are legit, modern day, we’ve thought of everything cloth diapers. What sets them apart from other brands is:

  • They fit ALL sizes from 8lbs up to potty training
  • They INCLUDE 2 super soaker liners
  • They have a patented double gusset lining
  • Their prints are super whimsical
  • They can be machine washed and tumble dried
  • The inner lining is major absorbent
  • No diaper rashes!

The OS fits all thing was definitely a winning feature. This meant I just needed to buy one set of diapers and I’d be set for the entire time my boys used them. No running out in the middle of the night, no trying to figure out what size each kid was in every time they grew, no wasted diapers when they no longer fit. About a month in I had a night where the boys peed up their backs all night long (I still don’t know how the hose reaches the back, but that’s a whole other issue) Instead of freaking out and having to go buy new diapers I just sized my diapers up. They covered more space on the back and absorbed the sprays!

My boys were born pretty big for twins (8lbs each), but in preparation for them to be tiny I bought a bunch of LilJoeys, the newborn diapers. They fit NB-12lbs so they’re great to use the first few months. I loved the snap in the middle to keep the diaper off the healing umbilical cord site. In fact, I attribute the health of their belly buttons to keeping them clean and dry in cloth diapers while they healed. The Lil Joeys are also THE best to keep in the diaper bag because they don’t take up much space.

IMG_3638

The Kangacare diapers also have a patented double gusset lining which I think is one of their best features. It traps wetness and poops inside the diaper like a steel door. Just yesterday I went to change Cannon’s diaper and knew it was gonna be a doozy by the look on his face as he filled it up and everything was caught behind the gusset lining! Winning!

My baby, Cash, was in the NICU for a week after birth. They used Pampers on him (blech!) so when we got home he has a horrendous diaper rash. It was bleeding, scabby, etc. Cannon had been in ‘sposies at the hospital too and their little butts were heartbreaking and they got yeast infections along the waist line from diapers. We kept putting coconut oil, vaseline, butt pastes, etc on these areas, but they wren’t healing. I was using disposable diapers for the week I stayed with my mom and finally I gave up and said, “No more creams. We’re going back to cloth diapers only.” Then, BAM! magic healing and no more rashes or yeast since then.

IMG_3580

Washing is super easy too. I have the Kangacare pail liner in my Ubbi Diaper Pail. The liner whisks away wetness and traps odors. I toss all diapers and the liner into the wash on a cold rinse (no detergent). Then, I add detergent and do a hot/cold cycle. Then they tumble dry on a medium setting and they’re good to go. The liners agitate themselves out in the wash. If the boys are napping I may take 5 minutes to stuff the liners in the diapers before I put them up, but usually I just toss everything in to a basket on my changing table and stuff as I’m changing. It takes 2 seconds.

Oh no, one of my babies has to be in another brand…

Oh no, one of my babies has to be in another brand…

I have enough diapers that I only need to do laundry every other day. Sometimes while the laundry is going I have to use a few of the other brands I have on hand. It’s just not the same! If my husband helps with bath time/bedtime and puts another brand of diaper on the boys I secretly take it off and swap for a Rumparooz. In my opinion, there’s nothing as good as these on the market!

Make cloth mainstream!

That Girl