Savvy Chic

tidbits, thoughts, and ramblings. . .with a Mormon twist

How To Make Your Own Moby Wrap April 29, 2012

Filed under: baby,frugal,kids,thrifty tips — savvychic @ 2:05 pm

front cuddle carry

Moby wraps are easy to make.  And, if you make your own, you get the added benefit of choosing the fabric yourself and letting your personality shine through! You have to decide whether you want knit (stretchy) or woven (not stretchy) fabric first.

Acquire 5-6 yards of fabric, depending on your size. 5 yards will work for up to a size 12 or 14.  6 yards for sizes 14-16 +.  Cut the fabric to 20 inches wide the full 5-6 yards.  Finish the edges with a 1/4″ seam.  That’s it.

If you want something a little more fun, use one yard of coordinating fabric for the front panel, and 2-2 1/2 yards of fabric on either side for the ties.  Please use a french seam to join the fabrics for added strength.  I sew the french seam down  as well to prevent little toes from getting stuck too.  (French seam tutorial can be found at: http://sewtospeak.blogspot.com/2009/10/how-to-sew-french-seam.html)

You should have plenty of fabric left to make another moby to keep in your car, 72 hour kit, use as a baby shower gift, or to give it to another mom.

See my post on how to use a moby!

Cautions and warnings:

Be sure to inspect the wrap for holes or fraying each time before wearing.  Do not use the wrap if there are holes or frays.

Do not wear your baby when using sharp object (knives, knitting needles, etc), when cooking, or when engaging in sports.

The wrap should not be used as a car seat, infant bike carrier, etc.

Use common sense and be safe, for your sake and your child’s. 

© 2012 SavvyChic

 

Unique baby gift September 8, 2008

Filed under: baby,frugal,fun,kids,savvy thoughts — savvychic @ 9:32 am

Looking for a unique baby gift to give a friend? Want something fun for your scrapbook? How about a letter from the President of the United States of America welcoming your new baby!

This is for real! I received a letter after my second baby and just requested a letter for my third. The only requirements are that you make the congratulatory request AFTER the baby is born and that the baby was born in the past 12 months. (There may be more rules, but these are probably the only ones you need to be aware of.)

To receive a congratulatory letter from the President for your baby, you will need to submit the following information:

1.Name and home address of baby
2.Baby’s birth date
3.Your name, daytime phone number, and your email address

Just go to this website:
https://app1.whitehouse.gov/greetings/baby

Notes:
*Let your husband know that you’ll be receiving a letter from the White House so he doesn’t get overly excited and rip open the letter in a non-scrapbook-friendly way.

*It takes about 6 weeks to get the letter after you have requested it.

*You can only submit one request per day, so don’t go too crazy!

 

Moby Wrap vs. Ring Slings, and other carriers July 24, 2008

Filed under: baby,savvy thoughts — savvychic @ 11:28 pm
Tags: , , ,

I have all sorts of baby wearing gadgetry–padded ring slings, unpadded ring slings, hot slings, mobys, rabozos, backpacks, etc.  I also have three kids, all of which I have worn (for about three years each) or currently wear!  So, I have had a lot of time to figure out what I like and what I think is most useful.  Your experience may be different, but unless you make your own gadgets (like I do), or know someone with all these things, it would be rather pricey to experiment with everything to find what works for you.  (On the other hand, what works for me may not work for you and in that case, good luck!)

Each of the carriers have their own benefits and drawbacks.  Here is my personal evaluation of the various carriers.

I like hot slings (a sling without rings) because they take up very little space when folded up. They can hold the baby in several positions so they are fairly versatile.  However, they have to be fitted just right (within a half inch) to be able to feel really comfortable.  That is annoying because I still have some baby fat after having a baby yet I still want to use my baby carrier 6 months from now when I have lost that baby fat! So, I will wait until I am at my normal size and then keep one of these in my car, or diaper bag, or both.)

Rabozos should be fabulous because you can use them as a sling, a back carrier, a nursing cover, or a table cloth, and they are infinitely adjustable as well as small when folded up in the diaper bag.  However, I didn’t like having to tie the knot nor untying the knot when I wanted to adjust things or change my baby’s position.

A backpack is great for wearing a heavy baby for a long time.  I like this for grocery shopping or walking to my friends’ homes.  It is bulky though and not something I keep in the van.

Then there is a moby wrap.  I love how the wrap distributes the weight of my baby over both shoulders and on my hips.  I love how he is so close to me and within perfect kissing distance.  I can wear my baby for a long time in the moby comfortably.  There are some drawbacks for the moby though.  First of all, 6 yards is a lot of fabric!  Even though it is easy to put on (see my tutorial), it still takes a few minutes to put it on and get my baby situated.  And then my biggest qualm is that breastfeeding isn’t very convenient.  So I only use my moby right after feeding my son and then when I know I will need to have him right next to me until the next feeding.  I imagine I will use my moby more after I wean my baby.

(Another con for the moby I have heard from other mothers is that they are hot–6 yards of a thick knit fabric can get toasty in the summer months!  I don’t have that issue since I made mine from a lightweight woven fabric.)

Ring slings, I have to admit, are my favorite carriers.  Adjustable, comfortable, convenient, compact, and so versatile, I really don’t leave home without one.  (Here is more info about ring slings.)  I usually use my padded sling, but I keep an unpadded sling in my van just in case I forget the other one.  The unpadded sling is great for keeping my baby really close to my body since it is easiest to adjust.  I can even wear him on my back with it.  However, I can’t wear him as long without the padding–about an hour is my max.  With the padded rails and shoulder pad in my primary sling, I can wear my baby for around three hours without any uncomfortableness.  I love being able to simply slip the sling on, put my baby in, and we’re off–usually in less than 10-15 seconds.  And I can adjust him equally fast–from the kangaroo carry to a snuggle carry to a hip carry.

My kids love(d) being in the sling as well.  My second would actually bring the sling to me and ask to be worn.  The sling truly is a bonding tool as well as a convenience!

There are other carriers–many that I have tried and some that I haven’t.  Those listed above are the ones I have liked the most.  What have you tried that you liked, and why?  Best wishes choosing what will hopefully work for you and your baby.

 

Must have baby items January 31, 2008

Filed under: baby,pregnancy,thrifty tips — savvychic @ 12:07 am

I’m about ready to pop and certainly ready to meet my newest child. I have been actively preparing the home to welcome our newest addition and taking an inventory of what we have and what we need. Today, I was asked what is absolutely necessary for bringing a baby home. So, here’s my take on this subject.

Keep in mind as you read that many of these items can be acquired at garage sales, thrift stores, at your baby shower, or you can borrow them from others. Since most of these things are only used for one year, they may be taking up precious space in people’s homes so you could be doing them a favor by “storing” them at your place for a year! 🙂

Absolute essentials:

car seat: I prefer a convertible infant/toddler seat. It is useful much longer because you can use it from the day you bring baby home and throughout the entire first year (often a baby can grow too big for the infant seats and you have to get a convertible seat anyway). Then you just turn it around when your baby reaches 1 year AND 20 pounds and the seat is good for another year or so. Some people prefer the infant seats because you can take it out and carry it and the baby around with you without waking the baby. Keep in mind how heavy that is though. If you still want to go that route, look into acquiring a Lille Baby EuroTote. Your back will thank you! Also, a car seat is an item that, in most cases, should be bought new. You aren’t likely to notice hairline fractures on used car seats picked up at a garage sale or thrift store. Also be aware, car seats have an expiration date!

baby carrier: My favorites are a ring sling or a moby wrap. Both are highly versatile carriers that keep the baby close to you. Babies that are worn cry less, sleep more, and are often happier than babies not worn! These carriers are easy to use, inexpensive, useful from day one and are still in use up to age 3 years. They do not take up much room in a diaper bag and are truly indispensable. Check out my entries on ring slings and moby wraps.

crib: Of course! The baby needs a place to sleep. Even if you plan to co-sleep at night, you will need a crib for nap times, especially as your baby grows more mobile. There are mainly two main types of cribs–traditional and convertible. If you are planning to have more than one child, the traditional crib is probably your best bet since it will get it’s share of use. A convertible crib would be fine for an only child, but if you have to buy one for each of your children, well, that isn’t really a frugal option. When considering your frugal options for a crib, make sure you buy a safe crib. If you’re garage sale hopping or thrift store shopping note that older cribs often do not meet the safety criteria that is standard today. The crib slats should be no wider than 2 3/8 inches. You also need a firm mattress that fits snugly in the crib. Don’t forget a few sheets too!

stroller: Don’t go overboard on this one. You need a stroller that is easy to maneuver, easy to fold and unfold, easy to lift, and one that easily fits in your car. The key word is easy! This does not mean bulky and with all the frills. I like having a stroller that is versatile–will lay back for a newborn or older sleeping baby as well as sitting up. A visor is very nice, as well as an accessible and good size basket underneath the seat. A frill that is handy are a cup holder or snack tray for you and the baby.

You can buy a “system” that includes a car seat and carrier. That makes sure everything matches, but does limit your frugal options. Don’t rule out used strollers, even if they don’t match the car seat. You will only use the car seat in the stroller for a short while anyway. Then you will just be using the stroller for an active toddler.

diaper bag: Not too big and certainly not too small, this item is something you will be carrying for a long time so choose it wisely! I often see moms carrying a bag that is as big as the car seat carrier–ouch! Don’t do that to yourself! You really only need a bag that can carry a few diapers, a small package of wipes, a few toys, your baby sling, and a small first aid kit. I also like to have a little space for my wallet so I can leave my purse at home and only carry one bag.

diapers: cloth or disposable. (Really, cloth diapering is not difficult, works better than disposables, and will save you possibly thousands of dollars, as well as save the earth one diaper at a time, especially if you CD more than one child.) If you are doing cloth, you will also need diaper covers. See my posts on cloth diapering.

diaper wipes: again, cloth or disposable. If you’re doing cloth diapers, it is really easy to do cloth wipes. Beware, if you use cloth wipes, you will never be satisfied with disposable wipes ever, ever again! See my posts on cloth diapering.

layette: You’ll need 8-10 sleepers/outfits. (Probably more sleepers than outfits since a new baby will spend most of his time sleeping and you won’t be going out much. Of course, as the baby gets older, you will need more, larger outfits.) Also, you’ll need a few light delivery blankets, a hooded towel, a hat, a few onesies, and socks or booties. To complete your clothing accessories, you will need several burp clothes. This can be as simple as a hand towel, cloth prefold diaper, or a pretty flannel design with a beautiful thread-crocheted edge.

hygiene: you’ll need baby shampoo/baby wash (I really like the lavender scent), a tiny pair of clippers (not scissors), cotton balls, corn starch (instead of talcum powder) for diaper changes, and moisturizing cream (not lotion). You can use baby oil for cradle cap, but I prefer olive oil–you can use olive oil on the rest of the baby’s body too. (I use it for me too.)

first-aid kit: There are lots of lists for this. (Here is a useful one.) My essentials include a chart of infant CPR and rescue breathing handy–just in case. Also, a list of emergency phone numbers (the pediatrician, poison control, and a few close family and friends) I also keep a thermometer handy (I use an ear thermometer–I just can’t do the rectal temperature!). You’ll want to have a liquid non-aspirin pain reliever/fever reducer. Band-aids are always in stock as well as an antibiotic ointment. There is a lot more you can, and should, have. Check out the link or google the subject for a more complete list.

baby bouncer or swing: You will need to set the baby down at some point and these items are proven winners. You probably don’t need both. Or, buy one and borrow the other. You baby will outgrow them soon, but it is so nice to have while they are so little.

a few toys: Babies are easy to please and do not need a ton of toys. I have banned most anything from my home that requires batteries–those toys usually limit creativity and also increase insanity in those around. Nothing smaller than what would fit through a toilet paper roll too. Soft cloth toys are ideal–they don’t break, they are washable, and you don’t have to worry about lead recalls. You can make your own black and white art for the first few weeks–just make some designs with a black marker on white paper. As the baby grows, let them play with pots, pans, lids, wooden spoons, etc. You’ll have the happiest kid in the neighborhood!

books: Read to your child! Even if it is the newspaper or your textbook–read, read, read! Dr. Suess is a great place to start your baby’s library. Even better, go to your public library and check out new books each week! You’ll find what you really like and then can purchase your favorites. Public libraries often have baby story-times too.

You will also want a good book for advice: What to Expect The First Year is a great book. There are lots of books at the library so check them out and see what works for you. There is also tons of information on the web so you don’t need too many of these books.

breast pad protectors (if breastfeeding): These can be disposable or cloth. I keep disposable ones handy for going out and about. I prefer cloth ones at home–they are much more comfortable and absorbent. They are easy to make if you are interested. You need a layer or two of terry and a couple layers of flannel. Sew or surge these together in a circle and there you go! You’ll probably need at least 4-8 pairs.

breast pump (if breastfeeding): If breastfeeding is going really well, you may be able to get away with a simple hand pump. However, if you have a finicky grazing type eater, you may need a more substantial pump. For my second I had to get a nice electric double breast pump to prevent getting mastitis the sixth time! (My first was a breastfeeding poster child–he did it by the book and I never had a problem!)

bottles, nipples, formula, and a portable formula holder (if bottle feeding): There are lots of varieties so you’ll have to experiment to find out what works for you and the baby. Formula is expensive! Call the formula companies and ask for samples and coupons.

a good pillow:You will need something for support while breastfeeding. Boppy pillows are very popular and for good reason. They are very versatile, and can be used throughout the entire first year. I found a Boppy to be a little too much for when I was nursing and just used a regular pillow folded in half. (I sewed it to stay that way so that it was one less thing to deal with.) But I do use a Boppy to help the baby when he is first learning to sit.

rocking chair or glider: You will spend a lot of time sitting, soothing, and adoring. Make sure this chair is comfy! You might also want to keep a little table nearby with good books and a water bottle. Another sitting item you may want is an exercise ball. It is good for you and baby loves to be gently bounced in your lap on this ball–it’s fun for you too.

Lots of LOVE and time: This is the best part of being a mom. It is so easy to love such a sweet, innocent, amazing little baby and this is what the baby needs the absolute most. Love freely! And take all the time you need to adjust to this amazing transformation into motherhood. Trust your instincts and be willing to try things. Love being a mom! You’re going to be one for eternity.

Nice to have but not essential:

bassinet: I splurged on a bassinet for my second child and loved having it. It worked well for the first 4-5 months before he became too mobile for it to be safe. I loved the convenience of moving it around to where I wanted to keep my baby. Also, keep in mind that there are lots of other alternatives to a store bought bassinet. I have known people to modify laundry baskets or dresser drawers for the purpose!

infant mittens: these are nice because baby’s fingernails grow soooo fast and cause scratches to his delicate skin. If you are able to keep you baby’s nails clipped, this won’t be an issue, but not all babies are cooperative about fingernail clipping.

changing table: You can easily get away without this one, but it is nice to have something to change the baby on with all your accessories handy. Save yourself some money by using a dresser or a desk that has been modified to be a changing table. Then you can continue using it after it’s usefulness as a changing table is done.

baby monitor: This is nice to have, but not a necessity. Be aware that the channels on a monitor are the same for your neighbors. They may be able to hear what is happening in your house if you both are on the same channel!

exersaucer: Some people will disagree with me on this, but I never needed one. They are great if you have the room (they take up a lot of room) and if you need to corral your baby for a while so you can make dinner. My kids were walking and climbing really early so I didn’t feel it was a good investment for my family. On the other hand, a lot of people really like them and you can pick them up fairly inexpensively at garage sales.

Not necessary:

tons of cute clothes: your baby will be content in just a few outfits (for pictures and showing off) and some great sleepers (which is what your new baby will wear most of the time). As you won’t be going out of the house much for the first weeks, limit the newborn size wardrobe. You baby may hit a growth spurt and never get to wear some outfits.

shoes: Believe me, baby shoes are cute, but they don’t stay on those little feet. Nor are they necessary or even good for your child. Even after the baby is walking, unless you have good, soft, flexible shoes, your baby is better off in bare feet or with socks. However, with socks, make sure there is something on the bottom that grips to the floor for safety. (You can make your own grip socks by painting the bottom of the socks with puffy paint in fun designs.)

wipe warmer: true, a warm wipe feels better than a cool one, but warmers breed bacteria, use extra electricity and just aren’t really something you must have.

 

Funny pregnancy moment January 22, 2008

Filed under: baby,pregnancy,savvy thoughts — savvychic @ 12:21 am

Church on Sunday made for a humorous situation. During the opening song of Relief Society, I started having a contraction. I tried to sing through it until I couldn’t get the words out. So I just concentrated on breathing and trying to work through the contraction–it was a really hard one. The presidency apparently took notice of this. The RS President came over to me after the song and prayer to see if I was okay. The contraction was pretty much over and I assured her that I was going to be fine.

Immediately afterwards, I had a hormone surge and another contraction and so I was breathing hard again. The presidency was watching me very closely and I realized other women were also taking notice. Well, hormones, pregnancy, attention, and me don’t go well together. I discreetly (well, as discreetly as an eight month pregnant person who already has half the room’s attention can) left the room and headed towards the bathroom. I made it just in time before the tears came. I wasn’t crying because of being embarrassed–it was mostly hormones and a result of the contraction pain. Soon, I had a little audience in the bathroom! Everyone was concerned about the pregnant woman in the bathroom having contractions. It was pretty funny as I tried to assure them that this was “normal” for me (my contractions start at 4 months and many are labor-quality hard ones), that I was really going to be just fine, and that the baby was, most likely, not about to be born though I could not be absolutely certain that I was in “true” labor until the baby was delivered.

I spent the rest of the church walking the halls as I waited for my husband and my boys to finish with their classes. Then we headed home. As expected, the contractions did calm down and I’m still very pregnant. However, I do have the attention of many people at church! I also have sincere offers of assistance, even at 2am! Now, if only I could know when he was really going to come. . .

 

Choosing your baby’s name November 5, 2007

Filed under: baby,motherhood,savvy thoughts — savvychic @ 4:28 pm

So, you’re pregnant, you’ve told the world you’re expecting, you’ve splurged on a few items for the baby’s wardrobe, and you’re figuring out the final details of the nursery. Have you picked out baby’s name? This is the most lasting thing you will give your child, something that will be a part of your child’s everyday existence. No pressure or anything! Choose wisely!

Here are some tips and some helpful websites to assist you in this fun part of pregnancy:

How popular is the name–Will there be several children in their class with the same name, or will the name be so different it seems weird?

Consider the acronym the initials spell–make sure it spells something nice! If it doesn’t, switch the first and middle as many people go by their middle name instead of their first.

Think about the spelling–I like how my name is spelled differently than most Tamera/Tamara’s, but I have to spell it out anytime someone needs to write it, and even then most people still write it incorrectly. Also, people will need to be able to pronounce the name. I can usually tell a scrapbooker by the spelling of her children’s names! 🙂  May look fun on a scrapbook page, but is it really doing your child a favor?

Consider this if you want to name your baby after a famous person–will the person still be popular as your child grows?

Family names–can be very confusing when exactly the child’s name is the same as another living person, especially if they are living in the same household–on the phone (which Mike?), in the mail, and can even cause havoc with bank information (if both bank at the same institution) or with credit information.

How does it sound with the last name? Too many vowels? Will it make a (mean) phrase–your child will be teased (example: Crystal Ball).

Patterns: all children’s names start with same letters, end with same letters, follow the alphabet (Ariana, Branden, Christopher. . .), biblical names, city or state names

Check the meaning of the name you choose, or come up with a name after picking the meaning.

Bring several favorite names to the hospital and see which name “fits” after the baby is born.

If you just really like a name, use it, even if it doesn’t follow the above recommendations!

To find a name, there are lots of baby name books, or have fun checking out these websites:

http://www.babynamesworld.com

http://www.thinkbabynames.com/

http://www.mybaby-name.com/

http://www.parenthood.com/babynames.html

My Experience

My first baby was named as I went through the baby book reading names I liked. My husband then nodded when we came to one I read off that he also liked. That left us with with only about three names. One just seemed right at that point.

For our second, I picked a letter I wanted it to start with and read names from books and websites. I narrowed my search to two names, neither of which my husband was really excited about. We didn’t agree on a name until three hours after the baby was born and the hospital front desk called to get the baby’s name for the newspaper. That’s when my husband settled on my favorite name combination for our little boy.

We are just starting our search for the third name. I’ll be visiting the above websites too. I also have to decide what pattern to continue with. So many choices!

 

My favorite pregnancy information sites and newletters October 1, 2007

Filed under: baby,savvy thoughts,thrifty tips — savvychic @ 8:40 am

There is a ton if info on the web. You will probably get a pregnancy information pack from your doctor or midwife too. You may also have a book or two related to pregnancy. I like receiving email newsletters in my inbox. I like these newsletters because the information comes to me (I don’t have to go looking for it) and has individualized updates based on my due date. With my life already filled with two active boys, these newsletter give me a moment to focus on the developing child within.

My favorite pregnancy newsletters and information sites are:

Savvy Chic–okay, so this isn’t a major pregnancy information site, but it is growing and the information this site has is really good! There isn’t a newsletter, but you can RSS feed it to see when I update the site. 🙂

Pregnancy Weekly

Nestles–Very Best Baby

Similac–Welcome Addition Club

Enfamil–Family Beginnings

The last three sites listed are formula websites. I like the formula newsletters, even though I’m an exclusively breastfeeding mom. They are full of great, current, easy to read information. They have week-by-week or monthly baby pictures, tips, and they’re absolutely free. If you like one more than another and find receiving several newsletters about the same topic obnoxious, just unsubscribe from the ones you don’t want.

I also sign up for the formula clubs. (Nestle, Similac, Enfamil) I love all the freebies they send–memento pages, a baby book, formula coupons, and diaper bags. Although I don’t usually use the formula, I find formula convenient to have on hand in case I have a time I really do need it–in my 72 hour kits, an unexpected meeting and no time to pump, when babysitting someone else’s formula-fed baby and they forgot to bring formula, etc. . . I also know women who planned to breastfeed and learned they couldn’t for one reason or another. Those coupons really came in handy then. Formula is SO expensive.

If you are blessed to not need the formula samples, you can donate them to your local food shelter or give them to another mother who will use them. Just check to make sure none of the samples have expired before giving them away.

Each of the clubs offer a diaper bag from the hospital. Not all the companies send the bags to every hospital though. You may want to call ahead to find out. Do not feel greedy if you are able to take home a diaper bag from each company–they aren’t made of extremely high quality materials and one bag won’t last you the three years till your child is potty trained. Also, I use the bags when we travel to hold diapers, clothes, toys, etc.

What are your favorite sites? Please leave your comments.

Also, see my posts on moby wraps, baby slings, and cloth diapers.