The Newborn Stage Shockers (You Thought You Were Ready For)

Pregnancy is full of advice – welcome advice, unsolicited advice, good advice, questionable advice. It’s also full of anticipation. The type of anticipation I’ve never experienced and I’m an anxious person! Time both flies and stands still and although you expect a baby, you don’t yet have a baby so you have a lot of time alone with your thoughts. While ruminating on worries and fears isn’t good for you at this time, it is a great time to get ready and research some of those things everyone whose ever been pregnant is telling you.

The Newborn Stage Shockers You Thought You Were Ready For

So you and google sit for many hours together building your skill-set for motherhood. With weeks to go you’ve got this! You’re ready for the explosion of love. You’re ready to be awake for the rest of your life. You’re ready to hold your little bundle and be everything she needs. You’re ready for the towering laundry and messier home.

But here’s the thing…

No. You. Aren’t.

The reality, the shocking reality is that nothing and I mean, NOTHING can prepare you for the impending shift in your head, your heart, your home – your life.


I was lucky enough to have an amazing, positive birth experience despite having to undergo a c-section for a scary reason. Whether your birth is memorable for being amazing, traumatic or just miraculous in general it is a life altering experience and I’m not sure the roller coaster of emotion connected to it can ever be written down and communicated effectively.

The Love

Oh, the love. Indescribable, earth shattering love. How something so little can reduce you to such mush is beyond my comprehension. You created perfection and the wave of awe is quite overwhelming. I would look at my baby with tears in my eyes for the first few weeks. I could not look at her without crying or wanting to. I’m sure hormones had something to do with that also…

Sleep Deprivation

We all know. We KNOW new parents (and seasoned parents) get no sleep. We’re so ready! Ha. Haaaaaaaa. Exhaustion is evil. Exhaustion makes you think horrible things, have a short temper and overall be the more gremlin version of your usual self. If sleep is for the weak then I’m waving my white flag. I AM WEAK. There is no shame in craving your sleep with a newborn. You cannot pour from an empty cup and with a newborn your cup is usually very empty. Except your coffee cup, that’s always full of the coffee you no longer get to finish!


For me, this was the biggest shock to the system even over the loss of all sleep. I was not prepared, not remotely and this came out of nowhere and threw my whole world upside down. I thought I had researched it to a tee. To this day I am struggling with it but determined to persevere. Nursing is exhausting, especially at the beginning. It drained the life and soul out of me and made me feel like a total failure. I am not ashamed to say that it has not been the wonderful ethereal experience I was led to believe it would be.

The Loss of Yourself

Let me be clear here. Missing who you were does not make you selfish. It makes you a human struggling with change. When a newborn hits your home like a tornado and pjs, no make-up and four day old topknots become your new look it can be very overwhelming. You start to feel like you exist only to sustain your child and clean. It is pure survival mode with little else to spare and it can make you very, very sad. Do not feel guilty for mourning the loss of your old life.


Savor every second because the time flies. Cliche or sad, terrifying reality? Both! I feel like I am outside my body looking at someone holding down a fast forward button while watching mine and baby’s life play out on screen. It will make you sad to see how quickly your baby grows up. It is of course wonderful to see them develop but equally scary to realize that these precious moments are so fleeting.

So my advice is to STOP preparing ‘to be ready’ for it all. Because you just never will. You can do the legwork for motherhood but it takes that baby in your arms to really activate your inner Mama Bear. That’s when the real learning begins. And it’s powerful.

Check out my post with some tips to cope with the newborn overwhelm.

What shocked you most about life with a newborn?

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Hospital Bag Reality Check (What I Really Needed)

Remember that hospital bag checklist post I published before baby arrived? Here’s my update on how that stuff actually worked out for me. Clue: it didn’t.

Hospital Bag Reality Check

At 37 weeks and 5 days pregnant I went in for one of my last routine prenatal check-ups only to find that baby was coming via c-section later that SAME day. Luckily I had tentatively packed my bags but there was still an element of surprise I was sure I’d never experience. When you’re in shock like that, even adding the remaining 3 or 4 unpacked items can seem like a huge challenge. I mean, who is in the frame of mind right then to pack intelligently? I wasn’t. Although I did curl my hair because, insanity…

I arrived at the hospital three bags in tow. I left baby’s bag and my recovery bag in the car, bringing in with me a small tote containing the few essentials I would need for waiting. Because waiting is never fun. In that bag I had my tablet, phone charger, camera and personal essentials like lip balm, hand cream, hair ties, clips etc. Mistake number one! I didn’t need that bag. I was admitted at 3.45pm, gowned by 3.50pm and by 4.45 I was being prepped for surgery! That bag turned into an inconvenience that had to be looked after at the nurses station and despite the fact that I was about to have major surgery and meet my baby, I was worrying about my belongings being safe.

Fast forward one hour. I was wheeled out of the OR, into a recovery unit where I spent another hour being prodded, poked and watched for surgical complications. Once I was sent to my room, I relaxed. I met my nurse, took my pain medication and settled into the world’s comfiest bed with baby in my arms. WE STAYED LIKE THIS FOR 2 DAYS.

I wore hospital gowns for my entire stay, they were far more convenient for skin-to-skin and feeding. Baby wore a diaper the entire time as she was skin-to-skin practically the whole stay. She was swaddled in hospital blankets and literally the ONLY thing she used that I brought was a hat (the hospital also supplied me with 3). In fact, the hospital supplied me with EVERYTHING. Diapers, wipes, blankets, hats, nasal aspirator, bath wash, wash cloths, hair brush, you name it – it was there. I was so happy but also kicking myself for agonizing over the bag of goodies I had packed. Not to mention, baby was only 5lbs 11oz and to this day still hardly fits into anything I brought with me. I used nothing but deodorant and my toothbrush until I was going home when I got dressed for the first time! The hospital provided me with all of my recovery essentials including random stuff like body wash, fluffy socks and other toiletries.

Long story short, I can’t wait to have my second baby and rock up to labor & delivery with nothing but my handbag. Well not literally but I will be going full minimalist!

What I’d Bring The Second Time Around
  • Boppy Pillow
  • Baby Going Home Outfit
  • Mom Going Home Outfit
  • 1 Muslin Swaddle Blanket
  • 1 Newborn Hat
  • Basic toiletries
  • Camera

I mean it, that’s it!

What was your hospital stay like? Were you given everything or left to fend for yourself?



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Folly Beach Maternity Photo Shoot – Charleston, South Carolina


Baby arrived unexpectedly three days prior to posting but more on that later!*

It is almost baby time, people! I can’t believe it, we are just days (hopefully not weeks!) away from meeting baby! On that note, I’ll be taking a month off from blogging to learn ‘how to mom’ but will be active on social media and hopefully reappear here some time in May. As I reflect on my pregnancy I wanted to share with you some of my maternity photos. Over President’s Day weekend we took a trip to Charleston where I had a surprise babymoon/maternity photo shoot thanks to my husband! From the start, I had always wanted to do maternity photos but it was one of those things I kept putting off for a multitude of reasons.

Folly Beach south carolina Maternity Shoot

Oakley Photography Maternity Shoot

We drove the short two hour drive to Charleston that Friday. I immediately kicked myself for spending two years living in Savannah and not visiting sooner! Downtown Charleston oozes charm and sophistication. It is the gastronomic capital of the South and has all the fun of the seaside just a stones throw away. It really is the perfect city for everyone whether you want a family vacation, romantic getaway or girls weekend!

Oakley Photography Maternity Shoot

Our first stop before the city was Folly Beach, a popular vacation spot just outside Charleston. We met the lovely Melissa of Oakley Photography and had a 2 hour session with her. My maternity shoot was my first ever photo shoot besides my wedding photos. I was so hesitant to have maternity photos taken because I feel a constant state of awkwardness! Well none of that mattered. Melissa is down to earth, funny and manages to make you feel so at ease. She knows exactly what she’s doing and has a great eye for flattering shots. I couldn’t be happier with my photos, it’s been a while since I felt that pretty and she made it happen effortlessly.

Oakley Photography Maternity Shoot

Oakley Photography Maternity Shoot

There’s something pretty powerful about growing a little person inside you and her photos exude exactly how I feel about that!

Oakley Photography Maternity Shoot

You can see more of Melissa’s work and book a shoot on her website

Or follow her Facebook page for regular updates and sneak peeks!




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6 Things To Do Before Baby’s Arrival

Whether it’s your first baby or your fifth, newborns come with overwhelmingly long to-do lists! When you are entirely preoccupied with everything you must do to prepare for baby’s arrival, it’s easy to forget the monotonous things that still need tending to in our day to day lives. Who wants to have a newborn baby, be overwhelmed by motherhood and realize you have to go to the store for toilet paper? Not this gal! With just a couple of weeks left before baby’s arrival, I’m sharing with you a list of things to get done that you will either have no time nor desire to do once baby arrives.

6 Things To Do Before Baby's Arrival

Your Hair!

This one isn’t the most important, I admit, but you deserve some pampering mama! It’s not easy waddling around feeling super uncomfortable 24/7. Get your hair done and relish your glamorous locks before they’re full of spit up on the regular. Not to mention, finding 2-3 hours for a hair appointment won’t be an option very soon!

Another good and important one would be to visit the dentist. Did you know that women are far more susceptible to dental problems during pregnancy? Now is the time for a check-up or even just a clean. Who knows when you might get time to go again.

Make Lists

This is the crazy organized part of me shining through. I have compiled a list of family and friends numbers who we want to share the news of baby’s arrival with immediately. This helps to avoid forgetting someone when you’re running on endorphins and won’t exactly be thinking of Uncle so and so who then gets super offended that he saw it on facebook. So make a list or y’know, tell everyone online and offend them all equally. Whatever your view is, it’s your baby!

A perhaps more achievable list to compile is a list of recipients for your Thank You cards as you receive registry gifts. I didn’t have a baby shower but we were still flooded with gifts from family and friends. For the love of God don’t fail to thank those who have sent you something. Rude! Even if you don’t do it as they arrive, be sure to send a birth announcement card with a thank you from baby attached.

Deep Clean

And by deep clean, I mean have your ever-so-gracious and helpful partner do it or hire someone. Don’t attempt all that bending and scrubbing alone. Have rooms/closets organized, carpets shampooed, windows cleaned and basically any big ‘Spring cleaning’ kind of task that more than likely will not get done with a newborn around.

Since January we have been taking a room or area of the house each week in which to deep clean blinds, window screen ledges, windows and baseboards. My husband has shampooed the carpets and we maintain a twice weekly quick and general cleaning of the whole house to keep it up.

Stockpile Household Necessities

2 days postpartum is not the time to find out you have run out of bin liners, toilet paper, disinfectant etc. Have everything stocked up that you use week to week. It’s not like bathroom cleaning spray is going to be at the forefront of your mom brain.

I went to my local Sam’s Club and stocked up on TP, paper towels, trash bags, body wash, razor blades, toothpaste, pantry staples such as cereals, pasta, grains, sauces & seasonings and also, a large freezer meat supply! I’m subscribed to diapers and other baby essentials on Amazon Prime so I can rest assured that will be taken care of. Basically all I will need weekly is fresh produce and dairy which my husband can help out with by quickly picking up on the way home from work.

Prepare The Car (+ Install Car Seat)

Keep your vehicle pet hair free when baby’s due date is getting close! We have an SUV that will be perfect for carting around baby’s gear but up until now it’s been the personal Uber car for our Labradoodle. Let’s just say he got WAY more lab than poodle and he sheds like a maniac every February or if he’s just been bathed. We’ve vacuumed out the car and installed the car seat to ensure no floating Doodle hairs end up on the baby. Ew. Poor Darby is now limited to riding in less style in my husband’s commute-to-work car. But he doesn’t mind once he ends up at the park, the beach or his friend Olaf’s house!

Prepare Freezer or Crockpot-Ready Meals

This one takes effort but oh goodness will it be worth it when you’re so tired you could crumple in a heap and cry! I’m a big supporter of the crockpot. That glorious device that I dump stuff into and can magically eat 8 hours later. Set aside an evening to plan your meals. Then spend a morning shopping for ingredients and the rest of the day assembling. Again, request help with this one. This is definitely a task where many hands make light work. Stock up on freezer bags and get to it. It’ll be so satisfying to see your meals for a solid month or more all taken of! You will be less tempted to order fast food. This is not only costly but not the healthiest for new mothers, especially if nursing your baby.

Bonus + Often Overlooked Task!

Make Arrangements for Pet Care

This gives me the most anxiety. Babies aren’t exactly known for their perfect, convenient arrival times on their exact due date. We’re lucky to have the world’s best puppy sitter! She’s flexible and ever so good to the Dood. Ensure you have someone lined up to take care of your pet. Decide whether they will take them to their place or stay at yours. These plans will be loose until the big day. Most people are understanding about the unknowns in this situation.

What’s important to you, to complete before baby’s arrival?




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Third Trimester Self Care Essentials

Here I am at 36 weeks pregnant. Yes six weeks have passed since my last update, it feels like I just blinked and February was suddenly over. I’m officially in the 9th month of my pregnancy and it could very well even be baby month! It’s a little bittersweet. Although I have been through the general worries that come with pregnancy, I have enjoyed this time and made a conscious effort to soak up the entire experience. I have had it pretty easy, medically, and honestly haven’t yet thought ‘I am so sick of being pregnant!’. I think I’m going to be of those annoying women who whines about missing their bump!


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Something I did struggle with and still do in my pregnancy is some emotional issues that go beyond raging hormones. Needless to say, depression and stress are not good for baby. Today, as well as a quick pregnancy update I want to share with you some of my absolute self care lifesavers in these final weeks. Now, more than ever, is the time to get all the sleep you can to help that baby pack on the pounds! It’s also your final time just being you. Alone. Kind of scary, huh? A little guilt free indulgence is just what the doctor ordered!

Boppy Pregnancy Wedge

I bought this rather late, probably around week 28 but it has been so good for supporting the bump and my back both in bed and while sitting on the couch.

Essential Oil Diffuser

Give me all of the calming lavender oil! I love my diffuser and it’s really fun to create new blends. I’m not an essential oil expert by any means but it’s an interesting new world to me! Just make sure the oils you are using aren’t harmful to your pregnancy.

Back Support

I admit I don’t use this daily but if I have some chores to do or anything that involves standing for a little longer than I’m used to this is a life saver! It takes the pressure off my abdomen and also my lower back. There are far more expensive (and probably much higher quality) ones than this but for my needs it’s perfect.

Glam Glow Super-Mud Clearing Treatment

This one’s for sure an indulgence! I have problematic skin since I was 13 years old and pregnancy has wreaked even more havoc. This is the only ‘glow’ in my third trimester. I’m pretty certain while the mask is on I can almost feel the gunk being sucked out of my pores. Gross but satisfying. I’m not usually one for cult beauty products but for me, this really works.

Compression Socks

As well as long road trips, I did some international travel during my second trimester so compression socks were a must for my circulation during my flights. If you’re on your feet all day, I highly suggest donning a pair of these. They are also recommended during c-section recovery if that happens to be on the cards for you.

Measured Water Bottle

After becoming dehydrated a few times I got very serious about my water intake. It is so important for baby. I drink three of these per day and the reason I can do that is thanks to the marked measurements. I drink a certain amount by a certain time of day and by 8pm I’m confident I have satisfied my water intake!

Body Pillow

From the start a body pillow seemed like a pointless expense. Enter the third trimester! YOU. NEED. THIS. Sleep is fleeting or non existent. Do everything you possibly can to get some.

Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter

I used this from day one. I’m sure it’s more down to my body type and the fact that I’m very slight but so far I have no stretch marks. I apply this to my belly and chest after a shower and again before bed. It doesn’t react in any negative way and leaves my skin feeling so soft!

Be sure to check out a previous post on the importance of self care during pregnancy and pin this list of simple self care activity ideas for later!

Self Care Activities For A Happy Healthy Pregnancy

36 Weeks Pregnancy Update

36 week update

Baby’s Size

According to the app, at 36 weeks baby is the size of a honeydew melon! Baby weighs close to 6 lbs and is around 18.5 inches long.

Total weight gain

24 lbs

Maternity clothes

Living in leggings and flowy tees! Maternity jeans are my BFF on weekends as well as soft jersey midi dresses!

Stretch marks

None and happy to get to 36 weeks without any but I won’t mind too much if I still do.


I’m really struggling to fall asleep these past few weeks. Sticking to sleeping on my left side makes my face numb and kills my neck! I still do ok once I actually fall asleep but getting there is so difficult. It’s often well past 2am before I get to sleep. I feel exhausted all the time but trying not to nap as it makes falling asleep even more difficult.

Longing for

All the sweets, soft drinks and caffeine in the world. I guess cravings only hit me in the third trimester! I’m doing well with not giving in to every craving. Sodas are not consumed, coffee is only allowed once a week and sweets are kept to a minimum!


Baby is pretty cramped in there now so feeling jabby little stretches and pokes rather than the previous full body flips I had been feeling. It seems the baby has the hiccups often though which is a rather strange sensation. Sometimes it continues for ages.


Baked goods. Especially donuts. Sigh!


Difficulty sleeping, fatigue, skin tightness, sudden strange bursts of energy in the midst of long stretches of lethargy. But no nausea! So that’s always good.

Belly button in or out?

Out as much as it will be. Still doing its weird half and half thing and still freaking me out.

Wedding rings on or off?

On and still wrestling to take to them off, especially in our warm Georgia Spring weather.

Happy or moody?

Anxious, which more often than not leads to moodiness over happiness!

Looking forward to

Installing the car seat, placing my bags by the door and setting up some baby gear around the house. It’s suddenly very real. It will feel even more real when my family visits later in the month. I can’t wait to hear an Irish accent 🙂







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What’s In My First-Time Mom Hospital Bag? + What’s NOT!

Not another hospital bag post, you cry! Yes. I’m not even sorry because reading so many helped me immensely! Way back in December, I had a slight baby scare which thankfully turned out fine! Being so unprepared for the hospital frightened me into seriously thinking about packing my hospital bag at just week 24. Since then, it was not fully packed but I made it my priority to buy and organize what I needed. This week (at 34 weeks) I finally packed it along with the changing bag for baby.

First Time Mom Hospital Bag

After reading quite literally EVERY ‘what to pack’ article in existence, I have packed some of the highly recommended hospital bag essentials along with the things I deem applicable to me.

Conscious that a c-section might be a possibility, I have packed enough for a more extended stay than most women will have. I have still kept those extra items practical and to a minimum.

The Highly Recommended Must-Haves

  • Baby Keepsake Book to get hand/foot prints and save the mess later!
  • Camera/Tablet/Phone + chargers
  • Boppy nursing pillow to practice good nursing posture
  • Healthy snacks for after the birth in case the hospital food is truly awful

The Basics

  • Packing Cubes! All hail packing cubes. Seriously, these are packing game changers. Buy a set and never deal with chaotic luggage again!
  • Basic toiletries
  • Travel hair dryer. I don’t feel like standing for an hour trying to dry my hair with one of those pathetic hospital/hotel dryers that feels like a small child is blowing on your head.
  • Cozy Socks with gripper soles
  • Slippers with a solid sole
  • Flip Flops
  • Night Gowns x2
  • Loose Jersey PJs for the last day (may not use)
  • Light Jersey Robe
  • Nursing Tanks x3
  • Nursing Bras x2
  • Dark colored, huge undies (so glam!)
  • A basic overnight bag for Dad

Baby’s Bag

  • 1 Going home Outfit
  • 4 Sleepsuits
  • 4 Bodysuits
  • 2 Hats
  • 2 Pair Socks
  • 2 Pair Scratch Mittens
  • 3 Burp Cloths
  • 2 Swaddle Blankets
  • 1 Heavy Blanket
  • 4 Diapers (a small supply for going home)
  • Wipes
  • Nursing cover

The Non-Essentials That Satisfy My Crazy

  • My make-up bag (not full of my usual routine items but basic coverage favorites)
  • The fact that all my packed night gowns/clothing match in some way
  • Carefully planned baby blankets/outfits because again, matchy-match!
  • A flattering, soft jersey midi dress for going home in comfort, ease…and style.

The ‘Will I Need This?’ Stuff  (To Be Left In The Car!)

Do you get the sense that I’m an organization over-achiever?! Every hospital is different. Some will give you everything you need and others will let you fend for yourself for the most part. At least through extensive research on this, that’s the general consensus. So while many moms tell you point blank what not to bring, others have said they weren’t provided with it at all.

This is the stuff I am unsure about and have packed in a tote bag that will stay in the car. If I do need it, my husband can grab it rather than visiting the nearest shops with the world’s most embarrassing shopping list.

  • Extra snacks/drinks in case the hospital food is unbearable
  • Pain relief medication
  • Post-delivery feminine products (this could be a post of it’s own and I won’t go into the gory details)
  • Extra onesies in different sizes. Despite buying newborn and 0-3 months in various brands, they all differ. Some look tiny and others look far too big. I don’t want to take a thousand outfits with me but I would like them to fit baby, whatever size he or she turns out to be. This way I’ll have at least 2/3 outfits that will fit.

The Items I’m NOT Packing

  • My own labor/delivery gown. I 100% plan to deliver baby in the hospital issued gown. I’m vain but not spend $50+ on a designer labor gown vain. An item of clothing that will most likely end up covered in bodily fluids and newborn gunk.
  • A pillow from home. For the same reasons as above and also because there are about 100 of them on the bed I will be in.
  • Athletic Pants. A lot of women suggest yoga pants or some form of comfy pants for after the birth. While I totally agree with the comfort factor, I understand there will be a LOT of checking down there after baby arrives. I will be in no mood to keep wriggling my way out of leggings for my nurse. Nightgowns it is!
  • Hair tools. Straighteners, curling irons etc. Some people recommend them for photos but I don’t see it happening even considering as fussy as I can be with my hair! I’ll be blast drying and curling my hair around a headband to get loose waves for going home day!


Shop The Hospital Bag Essentials


What ‘ridiculous’ item did you pack and never use?

Even better, what ridiculous item did you pack and actually USE?!













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Stepping Into Spring With Pink Blush Maternity

Spring has sprung and so has my baby bump! At 34 weeks pregnant, I am feeling lethargic, anxious and less than attractive. One sure fire way to improve my mood when I’m feeling down is to dress myself up. Dressing up while eight months pregnant however, is no easy task. You are more than likely bored stiff of wearing whatever still fits you. Cue Pink Blush and their vast selection of gorgeous maternity dresses.

This post was in partnership with Pink Blush. As always, all opinions are my own.

Pink Blush Maternity Clothes

Pink Blush Maternity

I wanted something feminine and comfortable to serve me throughout the rest of my pregnancy in a warm Georgia Spring. I was also keen to find something that could be worn postpartum for easy nursing. None of us are the perfect size and shape but I find it especially hard to shop for dresses to suit my frame as I am 6 feet tall. Short dresses on me could be deemed a criminal offense and typically, maxi dresses sit somewhere in the middle of my shins – hot stuff! So for me, finding the perfect midi dress is like hitting the jackpot.

Pink Blush Maternity

To flatter the bump and to suit baby’s nursing needs, I chose this hi-lo style midi number. Nothing says ‘Goodbye, Winter!’ like a pretty floral print and a little big of leg! I instantly fell in love with the dress that ticked all the boxes. This dress not only showcases the bump adorably but also hides a multitude of sins and is SO comfortable. That equates to the trifecta of cute maternity clothes in case you didn’t know!

I noticed the company’s tagline is ‘Effortless styles for the modern mother’ and they’ve certainly got it right. Pregnancy clothes are typically NOT cute, let’s be honest! If you’re searching for gorgeous, on-trend maternity wear, then I suggest taking a look at Pink Blush. You’ll find not only maternity wear but regular sizes, plus sizes, shoes and accessories too.




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Bargain Baby Gear – Where To Find Must-Have Newborn Products For A Steal!

I was always aware that babies are expensive little beings but I quickly realized just how expensive. It was an eye-opening experience setting up for baby! I am so grateful to our families for gifting us the big ticket items like the stroller, car seat, crib etc. Between those gifts, re-purposing furniture, building our own (thanks husband) and my own frugality – we have managed to set up for baby at a fraction of the ‘real’ cost. Hopefully this post will give you an eye for a great baby bargain just like I found in many stores.

Bargain Baby Gear

I am not in any way stingy. In fact, I have champagne taste but live with a sparkling water budget. I would definitely call myself frugal. I shop around A LOT and a nose around Goodwill is not beneath me, especially when they carry department store overstock (OMG!). My favorite stores for great deals are Home Goods, TJ Maxx and  sometimes, one particular Ross near my home. The gems to be found in these stores are hard to beat but it’s often luck of the draw with what bargain they may have in stock on the day you’re visiting. This is the perfect excuse to go often!

Where To Find The Best Baby Bargain


A year ago I walked into my local Goodwill (my first Goodwill trip ever) and quickly turned my nose up. I actually said ‘EW’. Fast forward to 2016 and while doing a donation drop-off at a brand new store, I gave it another chance and wandered into the baby clothes section. I am hooked ever since!

It hit me pretty quickly that bang in the middle of 4 different Goodwill stores in my locale are two Army installations. Army posts mean families moving in and out of the area constantly. This in turn means families purging their unwanted items often. The presence of military families also means there’s lots of babies around. While many, many adult garments at Goodwill may be ratty and suspect, the baby clothes are in a league of their own. Over the course of about 8 weeks I have purchased a hoard of completely unworn or worn-once onesies and full outfits. My total is usually under $6 and I come away with 6-8 outfits.

Honestly, I often feel guilty buying at Goodwill. I feel like I am stealing the eyes out of someone’s head. They have a ‘color-of-the-week’ offer which means that if you have a bunch of items on your arm bearing that color plastic barb, then that item is half price. In the infant section, this means your outfit could cost you just 49¢! On Sundays, ALL items with the color-of-the-week tag are 50¢.

Some of my Goodwill gold includes

  • Enough adorable infant clothing to dress every baby in North America. I will re-donate any items I don’t end up using. Brands including Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, GAP, Janie & Jack, OshKosh, Little Me, Carters and more (49-99¢ per item)
  • V-Tech ‘Light & Move Learning Ball’  that has been thoroughly disinfected and is like brand new ($1.99 -versus- $14.99)
  • Two soft fold-out books including a Winnie the Pooh clip on stroller book with a tag on. Both washed like a dream (39¢ each -versus $7-10)
  • Brand new, unmarked board books and a complete Nursery Rhyme collectors book for baby’s library (39¢ each -versus- $10+)
  • Playtex Diaper Genie still in plastic and boxed! ($5 -versus- $30)
  • Four ‘What To Expect’ books including ‘When You’re Expecting’, ‘Baby’s First Year’, ‘Baby’s Second Year’ & ‘The Toddler Years’, all very recent editions! (39¢ each -versus- $11+ each)
  • GAP Maternity/Nursing blouse with tags on ($4 -versus- $34)

TJ Maxx

Ok, while TJ is one of my favorite stores, it can be as hit and miss as Goodwill. Their inventory changes constantly so if you spot something you have to snap it up there and then. I promise you it won’t be there next week, or even later that day. I have found so many baby items at a fraction of the cost and though most of their stock is passed season or slightly flawed, some of what I got is still this current season’s styles and prints. Have a good look at something you like in case it is damaged (it probably isn’t) and put it in your cart pronto! Sometimes the flaw and reason an item is there is a tiny as a seam sewn off center. If you aren’t fussy, you will never even notice.

Expect to find great deals here on baby clothing & accessories, nursery storage solutions, toys/books, baby carriers, stroller accessories, changing bags and occasionally bigger items like swings, rockers and bassinets.

I’ve scored:

  • aden & anais 2-Pack Original Muslin Swaddle Blankets, the big 47×47 ones! ($12.99 -versus- $32)
  • Blankets ($6 -versus- $20+)
  • Stroller bag hooks ($2 -versus- $10+)
  • Stroller organizer ($6 -versus- $20+)
  • 25 Pack Velvet Baby Hangers ($9 -versus- $15+)


At Marshalls you will find similar things to TJ or even the same. If you can’t find what you need at one, be sure to check the other.


I don’t shop here very often. In fact I have purchased something from a Ross store only twice. This past weekend I was looking for something specific so I perused my local and nicest Ross! I didn’t buy one because I have one already but they had Boppy Nursing pillows for $24! Granted, it wasn’t the cutest slipcover they make but those bad boys retail for $39.99!

I did buy a large faux sheepskin area rug for baby’s room for $30 versus the $60+ I’ve seen elsewhere!

Home Goods

I LOVE Home Goods. This place is the dream for kitting out baby’s room for a bargain. With goods much like Marshalls and TJ Maxx but with a focus on the decor side of things, obviously. Some of my finds include;

  • More hangers!
  • Storage boxes/Laundry Hamper ($4-25 -versus- $15-50+)
  • Diaper caddies ($6-12 -versus- $20+)
  • Clip on musical crib nightlight/soother ($6 -versus $20+)
  • A-Z Bookends ($7 -versus- $20+)


Amazon may not be a discount store per se but as I am a Prime member it has been worth every cent. As a Prime member I qualify for free two-day shipping, unlimited free TV/movie streaming, unlimited photo storage, access to Prime Pantry (groceries on your door step? Yes please!) and more.

As a Prime member you are also eligible to become a member of Amazon Family. You can make an Amazon Baby Registry and qualify for a FREE welcome box choc full of baby items and free samples/coupons. As well as this you will receive 15% off an item of your choice on your registry and a number of other offers including a free Kindle e-book and discounted clothing.

For me, the best part about Amazon Prime are the subscription options. When you subscribe to diapers (you choose the frequency of their delivery) you get 20% off and a $2 off coupon on your first delivery. If you subscribe to a total of 5 items at once then the 5% savings on each one becomes 15%! The bargain price of sub $25 for 200+ diapers and peace of mind that they will arrive on my doorstep in 48 hours is especially worth it to me. I subscribe to dog food, baby wipes and other personal items which means I never have to remember them on my weekly grocery shop.

I am so happy with my baby bargain stockpile as I get such a kick out of having exactly what I wanted and still having a little extra cash in my purse! Off the top of my head, there is over $500 of savings just from the items I have listed (I haven’t listed every single item I have purchased on this journey!) including the retail value of the baby clothing from Goodwill.

How did you cut costs for your first baby set-up?











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Pregnancy & Privacy – To Bare All Or Keep Mum?

The pregnancy journey is thrilling, especially for first time mothers. You want to scream it from the roof tops while simultaneously wanting to not tell anyone out of  sheer worry. In our social media age a tendency to share every facet of lives exists for many. Whether it’s a status on Facebook, a photo on Instagram or a witty one liner on twitter it’s so easy to share your excitement without fully acknowledging exactly who can see it. I admit it myself that sometimes I snap a photograph with social media in mind and not solely to capture a memory.

Pregnancy & Privacy

Let’s be honest, many of use have ‘friends’ on social media we wouldn’t exactly consider to be close. Platforms like twitter and Instagram can invite literally anyone to view your content. This is why for the most part I haven’t documented too many milestones of my pregnancy on the blog. I find it rather eerie to think about who might be reading about such a personal experience of mine.

That said, I read blogs daily where people go into graphic detail about the inner workings of their womb. Some announce their pregnancy on the day they discover it. Others declare the gender of their baby to the public. I have even seen some publish teaser posts inviting readers to guess baby’s name! This is definitely a different pregnancy world to the one I knew growing up. Or at least the one I thought I knew. I personally am more private about my pregnancy. It is overwhelmingly exciting but I would rather contain that excitement within the bounds of my family and friends.

My crux with baring all throughout pregnancy however is not what I read online. I take no issue with what women choose to post and fully admit to thoroughly enjoying many of these posts! My problem lies with the people I meet in the street…

Whether it is due to being surrounded by such open accounts of pregnancy or just a  general sense of entitlement I have been taken aback by some of the questions I am asked on a regular basis. As soon as the bump ‘popped’ and my pregnancy became apparent, I noticed that some people took it as a green light to ask pretty personal questions. Or at least questions I feel are inappropriate and wouldn’t dream of asking others.

My Top Three Irritating Pregnancy Questions!

What are you having?

This one is the only one that makes me genuinely mad and want to respond with a passive aggressive, “a baby”. I do not believe that because some people happily announce their baby’s gender that it is free game in every other pregnancy. What makes people think they have a right to such a deeply intimate fact?

Another question comes with this one and it is, “Do you know but aren’t saying?” or “Do you reeeeeeally not know?”.

STOP IT. If you have been given a firm, “we haven’t found out” then please accept it and move on.

What names are you thinking of?

Note, this isn’t the question – “have you considered any names?”. This question seeks to know what those names are. BEFORE YOUR BABY ARRIVES. The baby is going to come out of me faster and more easily than that information. Keep walking.

When are you due?…because you’re tiny *stares at bump*

Admittedly, this is not an offensive question at all. However it is when paired with a disapproving glance at your belly and a comment about your size. Please stop skinny shaming me. I am 6ft tall and there’s plenty of torso for baby to hide in. FYI my baby is slightly above normal fetal growth rate! Relax.

See also my recent post on Dealing With Negative Nancy During Pregnancy


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Third Trimester Pregnancy Update

I haven’t documented much of my pregnancy on the blog because I wanted to keep it private but now a part of me wishes I had! Time has flown by and it has truly surprised me how fleeting these moments really are. It’s hard to believe I am in the final weeks of this pregnancy – single digits now!

Third Trimester Pregnancy Update

I swore at the beginning I would take a weekly bump photo and it saddens me that I didn’t. I was either too busy, feeling too gross or just forgot until I was already into another week. During the first 16 weeks, there was no bump to photograph anyway! Personally, I like to read about what different women experience at different stages. No two pregnancies are the same but it can be comforting to know what you could expect or even just know you aren’t alone in what you are experiencing. Now that I have officially entered the third trimester, I have decided to post a little update.

Third Trimester Bumpdate 30

How far along?

30 weeks

Baby’s Size

A cantaloupe according to my app! Baby weighs over 3.5 lbs

Total weight gain

18 lbs

Maternity clothes

Over-the-bump jeans (H&M Mama maternity skinny jeans are LIFE! They are super affordable too and often on sale.) since week 16 and some maternity tops since week 25 although most weren’t necessary they were just cute. I still have many wearable non-maternity tops. All my leggings are my pre-pregnancy ones.

Stretch marks

None, yet but the itchiest skin >.<


There’s three scenarios here:
  1. If I can get to sleep at a decent hour, I am out until baby uses my bladder as a punching bag. Which is usually about 1000 times a night. In this case I usually get back to sleep.
  2. I get to sleep after midnight but then sleep through until the early morning.
  3. No sleep at all due to an overactive mind, baby thoughts, baby’s movement, wacky dreams and/or restless legs.

Longing for

  1. To nest. All day every day. I have an insatiable desire to organize ALL THE THINGS!
  2. A somewhat comfortable sleep position.
  3. To finally meet baby.


Lots and lots. It’s always a party in there. Mostly early in the morning, late afternoon and around 10pm. Now that baby is getting a bit cramped in there, the movements are less…violent!


Nothing odd and nothing in particular! If I had to say anything I would say cinnamon rolls. But you don’t need to be pregnant to want those all the time.


Some occasional morning weakness before breakfast. Since I was so sick in the first trimester I figure it will strike again somewhere in the third.


Waiting for baby to reveal all!


Indigestion after most foods but not so much heartburn, difficulty sleeping, back ache, fatigue, general lack of motivation to do anything and although my bump is small – the beginning of a very attractive waddle.

Belly button in or out?

A weird, neither in nor out at the moment and it freaks me out so much.

Wedding rings on or off?

Still on although at the end of most days they don’t want to come off.

Happy or moody most of the time

Both. Predominantly moody though. Mostly feeling a mix of excitement and overwhelm in these weeks where baby has become more ‘real’.

Looking forward to

Completing the nursery, finalizing name options, trying to relax knowing everything is ready (HA! When will that be?!) and giving you another update!
 Third Trimester Bumpdate 30




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