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6 easy ways to build a nest egg for you and baby bird

With these savvy saving strategies, we’ve got you covered, mama.

6 easy ways to build a
nest egg for you and baby bird

Babies cost a shocking

amount of money.

Along the lines of $250,000 to be precise.


Not only do babies require adorable onesies and squeaky toys,

but they also land like an asteroid on our own financial goals and priorities.

When parenthood hits, suddenly the stakes are much higher. We need to make smart financial decisions

not just for ourselves, but for this new tiny creature who’s depending on us.

In addition to making

me paranoid about the waft of second-hand smoke headed for my

baby on a walk, my new mom hormones also made me more motivated than

ever to make sure I could always provide for my baby. And at some point, I

wanted to save for college and her future, too.

Getting our finances in order is one of the many things on our to-do lists when we become mothers. Doing so is like taking a prenatal vitamin for our future financial health.

It can help guard against some of the unexpected challenges that might crop up and ease the transition into parenthood.

Here are 6 easy ways to start off making strong financial choices for your family as you become a new mom.

Flex those money muscles.

Sign up for any available flex-spending programs through your workplace

for child care expenses, health care expenses, and commuting costs.

Sure, clipping a coupon for a crib or baby toy can save you money at the checkout register, but signing up for workplace tax benefits can have an even

bigger impact on your long-term savings.

The great thing about flex spending is that it gives you

tax advantages that can pay off year after year.

Find your recipes for success.

Develop a few easy-to-make, family-friendly meals that everyone enjoys.

You can use cookbooks by other moms like Weelicious for inspiration.

As your

child develops, he will grow up enjoying family meals—and may even learn a thing or two about cooking!

Eating simple meals at home will

save you tons in the long run compared to eating out—and it’s usually healthier, too!

One of my family’s favorite dishes, chicken

tortilla soup, not only saves us money, but inspires the whole family to gather around the table for a few minutes of quality time during our hectic days. Bonus: Leftovers make life so much easier. ?

Optimize your insurance.

Review your current

health insurance plan and make sure you’ve selected the optimal type for your

family.

Having a child is generally considered a life event that allows you to re-examine your current insurance choices and make new ones.

You might find that it makes

sense (and cents!) to select a different family plan than the one you’ve been using for

yourself.

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Be a cognizant consumer.

Research, compare prices, and save for any big child-related expenses,

including cars, cribs, and even homes.

Many new parents find that when they bring a new baby into their lives, they also need a bigger house or car, so an expanding family often coincides with these major purchases.

Give

yourself plenty of time (and sleep) to make the right choice.

Neutral colors are your frugal friends.

When you are shopping

for new baby items, try to stick with gender-neutral colors, which makes it easier

to re-use for future children. Plus, gender-neutral colors make baby gear twice as easy to sell (or donate) to others when

you no longer need it.

Considering gender-neutral ideas for baby’s nursery? Check out aqua, mint, or teal, with a pop of orange for a refreshingly fun scheme for a boy or girl!

It never hurts to ask.

Ask friends and family for gently used clothes, furniture, and toys.

Although you may choose to buy certain things new for safety purposes, such as a car seat or crib, you can use many other baby items that have been passed down

from friends and family.

Alternatively, check second hand stores for adorable (and inexpensive!) baby clothes, toys, and gear. Heck, babies grow so fast, half the clothes for sale may still have the tags on!

Pro tip: Find out if you have a neighborhood listserv or local Facebook exchange for baby gear. If so, you can share

that you are open to receiving items that others no longer need and you might

significantly cut down on your shopping list.

Baby

might not notice all of your money-saving efforts right now, but it’s only a matter of time before your child will thank you for all you have done...especially if you teach your little protégé a trick or two about saving for her own future family!

These are the best bath time products you can get for under $20

These budget-friendly products really make a splash.

With babies and toddlers, bath time is about so much more than washing off: It's an opportunity for fun, sensory play and sweet bonding moments—with the added benefit of a cuddly, clean baby afterward.

Because bathing your baby is part business, part playtime, you're going to want products that can help with both of those activities. After countless bath times, here are the products that our editors think really make a splash. (Better yet, each item is less than $20!)

Comforts Bath Wash & Shampoo

Comforts Baby Wash & Shampoo

Made with oat extract, this bath wash and shampoo combo is designed to leave delicate skin cleansed and nourished. You and your baby will both appreciate the tear-free formula—so you can really focus on the bath time fun.

Munckin Soft Spot Bath Mat

Munchkin slip mat

When your little one is splish-splashing in the bath, help keep them from also sliding around with a soft, anti-slip bath mat. With strong suction cups to keep it in place and extra cushion to make bath time even more comfortable for your little one, this is an essential in our books.

Comforts Baby Lotion

Comforts baby lotion

For most of us, the bath time ritual continues when your baby is out of the tub when you want to moisturize their freshly cleaned skin. We look for lotions that are hypoallergenic, nourishing and designed to protect their skin.

The First Years Stack Up Cups

First year stack cups

When it comes to bath toys, nothing beats the classic set of stackable cups: Sort them by size, practice pouring water, pile them high—your little one will have fun with these every single bath time.

Comforts Baby Oil

Comforts baby oil

For dry skin that needs a little extra TLC, our team loves Comforts' fast-absorbing baby oil aloe vera and vitamin E. Pro tip: When applied right after drying off your baby, the absorption is even more effective.

KidCo Bath Toy Organizer

KidCo Bath Organizer

Between bathing supplies, wash rags, toys and more, the tub sure can get crowded in a hurry. We like that this organizer gives your little one space to play and bathe while still keeping everything you need within reach.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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9 products that will help baby sleep better (and longer!)

For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

How do I get my baby to sleep? This is one of the most commonly asked questions among new parents, and it makes sense, given that babies are born with their days and nights mixed up. For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

And while that might not exist (yet), we have found some of the best products out there that can help baby fall asleep faster and for longer durations. Because when baby is sleeping, so are you!

Dreamland Baby weighted sleep sack and swaddle

Designed by a mama, parents swear by this weighted sleep sack. It mimics your hug to give your baby security and comfort that helps them get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. The detachable swaddle wing makes it easy to transition as they grow.

It's also super easy to get on and off, and includes a bottom-up zipper for late night changes, so you don't have to wake your baby in the process.

$79

Yogasleep Hushh portable sound machine

Yogasleep hushh sound machine

With three soothing options, this is a perfect solution to help your baby settle when naps are on the go and during travel! I love how compact this noise machine is and that it can run all night with one charge.

$30

Bebe au Lait muslin crib sheets

Burt's Bees Organic Crib Sheets

With a variety of print options to choose from, these breathable sheets are *so* soft and smooth, even through multiple washes. The luxury fabric keeps little ones warm without overheating—a formula that helps ensure more sleep for everyone.

$32

The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

You know what's going to help baby have their best sleep ever? Some quality, super soft pajamas. The timeless (and aptly named!) Perfect Pajama from The Simple Folk are some of our favorites. They last forever and they're made from organic pima cotton that is safe on baby's precious skin. They come in a wide range of sizes so siblings can match and feature fold-over hand covers on sizes up to 12 months.

$37

The Snoo bassinet

Snoo

Designed by expert pediatrician and sleep guru Dr. Harvey Karp, the Snoo bassinet gently rocks your baby to sleep while snuggled up in the built-in swaddle. Not only does it come with sensors that adjust the white noise and movement based on your baby's needs, there is also an app that allows you to adjust the settings directly from your phone.

While this item is a bit on the expensive side, there is now an option to rent for $3.50 a day, which is a total game changer!

$1295

Hatch Baby Rest sound machine + nightlight

best baby sound machine

The Hatch Baby Rest is a dual sound machine and nightlight that will grow with your family. Many parents use this product with their infants as a white-noise machine and then as a "time to rise" solution for toddlers.

The thing I love most about this product is that the light it gives off isn't too bright, and you can even select different color preferences; giving your toddler choices at bedtime.

$59.99

Crane humidifier

Crane Humidifier

The only thing worse than a sick baby is a baby who is sick and not sleeping well. The Crane humidifier helps take care of this by relieving congestion and helping your baby breathe better while sleeping.

Personally, I think the adorable design options alone are enough of a reason to purchase this product, and your child will love watching steam come out of the elephant's trunk!

$46.99

Naturepedic organic crib mattress

Naturpedic Lightweight Organic Mattress

In the first few months of life, babies can spend up to 17 hours a day sleeping, so choosing a mattress that is safe (read: no chemicals!) and comfortable is incredibly important.

Naturepedic uses allergen-friendly and waterproof materials with babies and children in mind, making them easy to clean and giving you peace of mind.

$259.00

Happiest Baby sleepea 5-second swaddle

best baby swaddle

There are baby swaddles and then there is Sleepea. Similar to the brand's swaddle that is built into the Snoo, the Sleepea is magic for multiple reasons. First, it's got mesh panels ensuring baby never overheats. Second, the zipper zips from the top or the bottom, so you can change the baby's diaper in the middle of the night without ever waking them. Third, it's hip safe. Fourth, the patterns are SO cute. And fifth, the interior swaddle wrap that keeps baby's ams down has a "quiet" velcro that won't wake baby if you need to readjust while they're asleep.

$27.95

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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