3 Big Celebrations For You And Your New Baby

Having a baby is a big cause for celebration. Before you become a mother, you may not understand why so many people refer to the birth of their child as a ‘miracle.’ But when you see the little line on that pregnancy test, or when your newborn is placed in your arms after labor, the rush of love you feel really can make it feel like a true miracle. Naturally, other people want to share in this love and excitement too, and your friends and family will want to be involved if they can be. Every mother (new or expectant) needs some time on her own to get used to either being pregnant or being responsible for a newborn. After all, both are huge lifestyle changes, and they can take a while to get used to! But equally, celebrating your new baby with friends and family, and celebrating those first early milestones, can also be an enriching experience. Thankfully, there are plenty of them – and you will probably find yourself throwing you into them in a state of baby-related bliss! Here are a few examples of those causes for celebration, and what you can do to make the most of them.

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The baby shower

This classic North American tradition has slowly been seeping into other parts of the world over the past couple of decades. Now, baby showers are a regular part of pregnancy and offer the mother-to-be a chance to gather with her closest friends and female relatives to discuss all things maternal. They are particularly important for first-time mothers, as it is customary for the host to receive gifts as part of the baby shower. No new baby comes with a complete guidebook or equipment list (how useful would it be if that was the case!) so it can often be a big help if your friends and family can gift you some new baby items. This also helps take some of the financial pressure off you a little – no one wants to be worried about money in the run up to birth. Traditionally, the baby shower is organized by friends of the mother and is sometimes held as a surprise – but you can be as involved as you like. Either hold it at your home, at a friend’s place or rent out an event space or cafe (many frequently cater for baby showers these days). If you like, you could also invite your partner and his friends over for the latter part of the day and do the gender reveal (if you’ve chosen to find out, of course). A popular way to do this is by cutting open the cake to reveal either blue or pink sponge inside, and it can be fun keeping all your friends in suspense!

The christening

If you are religious, you have probably been thinking about having your child christened. A christening is a great way to welcome your child into the church, especially if you are particularly close to your local religious community. Meet with your local priest or vicar to discuss your options and then, when you are ready, book the date. Your child’s baptism is the first opportunity you have to bring all your loved ones together to celebrate (baby showers are typically women-only events), so get started making your guest list. It can be a nice touch if you design the invitations yourself as well, as they may be something your guests want to keep as a memoir. This doesn’t mean hours spent sat on the floor, cutting and sticking (exactly what you don’t have time for with a newborn in the house!). Companies like Pure Invitation offer personalization services on their website so that you can put your own spin on your invites with relative ease. Once the ceremony is booked, and the invites are sent out, you may want to start considering any optional extras to include in the day. The ceremony itself typically doesn’t take that long, so you may want to host a meal or a reception afterward to continue the celebrations. Your child’s christening is an important milestone, so ensure that you make the most of this special day – after all, it won’t come around again.

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Their first birthday

The first year of your child’s life can be a peculiar one. One minute they’re a tiny newborn, swaddled in a blanket as you bring them home from the hospital – the next they are almost a year old, sitting up by themselves and crawling around everywhere they can get to. Although your child won’t remember their first birthday, it can still be worthwhile celebrating it from a sentimental point of view. You can also use the event as a way to look back on your first year of parenthood, and all the obstacles you have overcome. Print out various photos from the past year and display around your home or venue with bunting. Your friends and family will enjoy going around looking at these various moments, and don’t forget to take plenty of photos on the day, too! It is always best to host your child’s birthday party during the afternoon so that you don’t disturb your baby’s sleep pattern. Plus, there might be other children in attendance too, in which case you don’t want any of them getting over-tired and subsequently playing up. When you have a lot of guests in attendance, cooking a sit-down meal can be a bit hectic, and you may find that you don’t get a chance to mill around and speak to everyone. Having a buffet instead is often a much more practical way of doing things, as this way people can just pick at the food they want and the whole event isn’t too formal. The first year of your child’s life may have shot by, so host a party that sees it off in style.

Baby Meets World: Ideas For Baby’s First Family Outing

As much as you want to keep your new bundle of joy all to yourselves for a while, you also want to start making fun memories with them as soon as possible. The idea of going out with a baby might be daunting at first, especially if it’s your first, but seeing them interact with the world will make it worth the effort. Here are a few suggestions to get your little one exploring this summer.

Children Photographer Summer Park Kid Baby Kids

Children Photographer Summer Park Kid Baby Kids

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Meet your neighbours

If you’re particularly nervous about going somewhere with the baby, then you can start off small by taking them around the neighbourhood in the pram. During the summer, plan these little walks for early morning or late afternoon when the sun is not at its highest. You could even take the gentle exercise up a notch and start jogging when you get the all-clear from your doctor.

Zoo

Kids of all ages love visiting the zoo, but babies will especially enjoy seeing new animals, and perhaps inspecting other people going about their day. Children under three go in for free, so there’s really no reason not to witness their awe and delight at the exotic animals. If you’re worried about overwhelming them, or about spending most of the day out in the sun, then why not take them to the aquarium, or to your local petstore for a few hours. Some quality time spent petting a docile rabbit will engage your baby’s senses and makes for an adorable photo opportunity.

Fun for the whole family

If you have an older child who wants to have a more active day out, it can be difficult to find something that is suitable for your newborn that won’t bore your older child. Fortunately, there are a variety of Fun Family Activities that can cater for everyone; some trampoline parks host Toddler Parties for children under the age of three, as long as they can hold their own head up. Your older children and one parent can enjoy the rest of the park, while the other parent gets the baby exercised on some age-appropriate trampolines. When you all have lunch together afterwards, you’re showing your oldest that there is nothing too different about the new family dynamic.

Swimming

With the summer sun growing in intensity, the best place for everyone to be is cooling off at the public pool. Nothing is as enjoyable as watching the baby splash about in the water and getting excited by the infectious laughter of other happy children. You could also take the chance to find out if there are any swimming lessons available for your baby’s age group – it’s never to early to start learning such an important skill.

Library Story Time

Many public libraries have a special mother and baby story time session in the early morning. This is your chance to introduce your children to the wonders of the literary world, and to some classic nursery rhymes. The best part is that they’re absolutely free.

Money Management For New Parents

Being a parent is truly an experience like no other. Whether you’d been planning to have kids for years or the pregnancy came as a surprise, the job is yours, and you need to step up to the plate. While kids make a wonderful change to your life, they can also cause a massive strain on an unprepared household’s finances. Due to this, it’s essential that you adopt a proactive attitude to managing your personal finances in order to provide the best life possible for you, your partner, and your children. In this post, we’ll go over some of the best advice for new parents trying to keep on top of their finances.

Assess Your Budget and Costs

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Image: Pexels

If you haven’t had your baby yet, or they’ve only just popped out to say hello, then you need to assess your budget and costs as soon as possible. Yes, chewing over your finances can be painfully boring. Still, the sooner you tackle this, the easier things will be in the future. Planning ahead will help you work out what you’ll have to spend on essential baby gear, such as dependable pushchairs and child seats, and how much you’ll have left over to spend on some of life’s luxuries. You’ll also find it much easier to establish any kind of spending you can cut down on. Babies are small, but can be very expensive, and through smart planning of those first essential purchases, you’ll give yourself much more financial flexibility in the future. If you want, you can start planning further ahead for things like sports clubs and school uniform. However, the immediate costs that come with a baby should always take priority.

Open a High-Rate ISA or Savings Account

Having established everything you’ll need to buy for your baby, opening a good savings account will make things much easier to pay for them. The web is bursting with sites you can use to compare different ISA accounts, allowing you to earn tax-free interest on all the money you can afford to put away. The limits on what you can deposit vary from tax year to tax year, but any reputable cash ISA is always going to be better than most of the alternatives. If you’ve already opened one of these accounts and maxed out your allowance for the year, do a little research into other accounts you can use to save instead. If you’re still in the process of determining how much money your child’s upkeep will cost, then an instant-access account is generally the best option. These give you the freedom to take out your money whenever you need to, as opposed to ISAs.

Get Some Free Baby Gear

Once you have your baby, there are a lot of free things and entitlements you can take advantage of to help you cover the cost of raising your child. Many parents think that the difference these can make is negligible, but if you do enough digging, you’ll be amazed at how much easier these resources can make life as a new parent. Cashback websites, Bookstart packs, and parenting clubs can all be excellent sources of free and cheap things you’ll need. If you’re still expecting, there are also various ways you can save money before you actually deliver your baby, such as free dental care and prescriptions, along with antenatal classes.

Buy Used

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Image: Pixabay

Having leveraged all the childcare freebies that are available to you, you should move onto sourcing used baby equipment. Obviously, you want the very best for your child. However, used baby equipment is very rarely sub-standard, and it’s usually easy enough to tell whether or not a product is safe and practical for your needs. Buying used is especially handy when it comes to things that your baby will quickly grow out of, such as clothes and toys. After a quick Google search, you’ll be able to bookmark the best sites for purchasing used baby equipment, and the easiest methods of finding used baby-gear sales near you. Just make sure that some items, like car seats and pushchairs, are always bought new. These can be weakened with enough use, and may not be safe by the time you get them.

Get the Maternity (or Paternity) Pay That You’ve Got Coming

Do a little reading into your maternity or paternity rights enshrined by the government, as well as what your employer is offering. This will make it so much easier to ensure you get the pay you’re entitled to for maternity or paternity leave. There’s all kinds of things to think about when you’re having a child, and far too many parents let the details of their maternity or paternity leave go straight over their head. Let this slip through your fingers, and there’s a big chance you’ll live to regret it later.

Returning to Work? Ask About Vouchers

After your maternity leave is up and you need to look for childcare, it’s worth finding out whether or not you can acquire childcare vouchers from your employer. For some parents, in a household where all the adults are working, this has the potential to save you £1,800 on childcare costs over the course of a year. Here’s a handy guide to childcare vouchers you can read to learn more. Just bear in mind that using these vouchers can affect your entitlement to the childcare end of working tax credits, so be sure to read up on this first.

Look into a Nanny Share

Like many parents, you may be stuck in the difficult position of wanting to hire a professional nanny, but not being able to afford one. If this is the case, then it may be worth looking into a nanny share. This is basically a scheme in which separate families in the same area share the services of a single nanny. The nanny will either divide the time between the families in question, or look after the children from all the families together, allowing you to trim down the costs. If you’re working part-time, then try to simply bring up the childcare issue to other working mums. You may be able to work out a timetable for taking care of each other’s kids that works for both of you. Obviously, it’s a big step to let an acquaintance care for your child, but this can be the most economical option, and you might learn a thing or two in the process!

Save for their Future

You might feel like you’ve got enough on your plate already, but there’s a lot more work ahead of you as a parent! Pricey school trips, driving lessons, university, a gap year, it all costs money! By opening another savings account, specifically for your child, you can mitigate the strain of all these costs. Junior ISAs allow you to save thousands of pounds completely tax free, ensuring the money you put in works for your child as efficiently as possible. Again, like your own ISA, the limitations vary depending on the tax year. Do some reading on how junior ISAs work, and compare the best rates available to you. Again, if you max it out, there are child’s savings accounts for when your kid gets a little older. These are easily accessible, and can also present a great opportunity to teach your child about the importance of saving.

Take this advice, and you’ll make the cost of being a parent so much more manageable. The less you’re worrying about money, the more time you’ll be able to spend on the truly important parts of being a mum.

5 Things To Expect After You Have Given Birth

The anticipation of giving birth for the first time is an exciting and terrifying notion, rolled into one. Yet, the focus for expectant mums seems to be upon prenatal care and labour plans. While there’s a plethora of baby books on the market to guide you in looking after your newborn, there is a lack of information available on how things will be for you once you’ve given birth.

So once you’ve perfectly executed your birthing plan, or not, and you’re ready to bring your beautiful bundle of joy back into your family home, what exactly can you expect as a first-time mum? What happens once you have given birth?

RD - 5 things to expect after giving birth

  1. Blood, sweat… and baby poo

There will be blood. Lots of blood. For days. It may seem a little obvious to say, but you will also feel very sore. Be sure to purchase maternity pads to manage the blood flow. Never use tampons immediately after giving birth. As your body’s oestrogen level drops, post pregnancy, you may also notice increased sweating. This is nothing to worry about, and it will pass with time, as your hormones begin to balance. And while you’re dealing with all that, baby poo will become your new best friend. You’ll see each other at least eight times a day.

  1. New baby, new body

During and after pregnancy, your body goes through some incredible changes, some of which stay with you forever. You may notice that your hips have widened, your boobs may have enlarged, and perhaps your stomach isn’t as firm as it once was. Also, after you give birth, your estrogen levels take a tumble and a lot more hair follicles enter the resting stage. Soon you’ll have more hair coming out in the shower or on the brush and will have you wondering if you need a hair transplant but don’t worry all of these new bits of you are a product of your perfect creation. Be proud of your newfound figure.

  1. Oh, so tired!

If you ever once thought you were tired before having children, you’re in for a delightful ride. No matter whether you breastfeed, or choose to give your baby the bottle, you will become subject to a substantial decrease in sleeping hours. Night time feeds and short spells of sleep equate to one tired mum. And it begins immediately after giving birth. No rest for the wicked, hey.

  1. Everyone’s an expert

You may have experienced this during pregnancy, but prepare to be blown away by the number of parenting experts amongst your friends and family. No matter what you do or how you do it, everyone will have an opinion on how you raise your child. This can feel incredibly intense after giving birth, as you try to take in conflicting information like a sponge. The best advice you will ever receive is to go with your gut. Trust your instincts. You know your baby. Forget what anyone else says.

  1. Love unlike anything you ever imagined

No matter what you imagined the mother-baby bond to be like, nothing in the world can possibly prepare you for it. Like nothing else, your baby will overwhelm you with emotion, holding your heart in their hand from the moment they’re born.

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