4 Things I Never Thought I’d Need Before I Had My First Baby

When you have your first child, everything changes.

But before your little one is born, you’re out there, frantically stocking up on cute little clothes, buying decorations for the baby’s nursery, and building your baby registry.

It’s kind of fun.

As you go through it all though, you never really know what you’re going to need.  There’s SO much marketing out there for literally hundreds of thousands of different baby products.  And it’s all appealing.

But are you buying what you will actually need?  Probably.

The reality is, with whatever you have, you make it work.  Beyond clothes, diapers, and food, everything else is a luxury.

As true as that may be, looking back on everything, there are a few things we either purchased or received as gifts that I don’t think we could have done without.  And they’re all things I never thought we’d need before our first child was born.

Let’s get into it.

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5 Ugly Facts About Potty Training (and How They Can Help You)

Potty training is often more frustrating for the parent than it is for the child.

For your child, it’s like learning to drive when they’ve never been in the driver’s seat before. Actually, it’s more like learning to drive when you’ve never even been in a car before.

It’s difficult. And often times, disgusting. (Okay, that last part doesn’t really fit the car analogy.)

This is one of the areas where parents express the greatest amount of impatience…which makes sense, because changing diapers is awful.

Patience is important, however.

To help you along, here are 5 ugly (yet important and helpful) facts that you should understand when attempting to potty train your child.

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12 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Make with Cauliflower

I’ll admit, I’m a little late to the game when it comes to cauliflower.

When we were growing up, cauliflower was basically like broccoli’s white cousin.  You either boiled it, steamed it, or baked it…maybe added a little seasoning…and that was it.

Today, it seems like every other recipe includes some new and innovative way to use cauliflower.  It’s a great low carb substitute for rice and bread when prepared the right way.

So, now I’m on a mission to figure out all the different things you can do with cauliflower, and I’ve compiled the recipes in this post.

Enjoy…

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8 Healthy Meals Kids Will Love (that you can make in 30 minutes or LESS!)

As a parent, and especially as a working parent, it can be pretty tough to find the time to not only cook a healthy meal, but one that your kids enjoy.

There are plenty of easy meals (think mac & cheese, grilled cheese, etc.) but they often aren’t healthy.  I love a good grilled cheese and tomato soup as much as the next person (mmm, dipping the grilled cheese into the soup, soo good…) but we all know it’s not good for you.

So, I set out to track down some recipes that met the following criteria:

  • Quick and easy to make
  • Relatively healthy
  • Most kids will actually like them

And I didn’t want these to be your typical “kids meals.” I’m a big fan of exposing kids to new flavors at a young age, and doing it in a way that gives them a positive experience in the process.

Not exactly an easy quest, but I’ll share with you what I found.

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What It Takes to Be a Good Parent: 11 Traits (#6 May Surprise You)

A lot of parents have anxiety over figuring out what it takes to be a good parent.  Especially new parents.

It’s a tricky subject, because you don’t get a report card that tells you whether or not you’ve been a good parent.  There’s no master guidebook on how to be a good parent.

The challenging part of it all is that it continues to change throughout your child’s life – what it takes to be a good parent when they’re a month old may be completely different than what it takes when they’re 15.

I do, however, believe there are traits that good parents have in common, that apply no matter what age you’re child is. And that’s what I want to write about today.

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Best Baby Food Brands in 2017

By the time your baby reaches 5-6 months of age, you’ve probably considered giving them a taste of real (baby) food.  At least, that’s how it went with us.

Our daughter was still on breast milk, and our pediatrician told us that we could continue that way until about a year before real food became more of a necessity.  However, if we wanted to start introducing baby food, we should do it with the understanding that it’s more “for fun”.

It helps get your child acquainted to new tastes and textures, even if it’s not their main source of nutrition (while still on breast milk or formula).

As we do with everything else, because we live and die by our computers, we started researching to see what the best baby food brands were.

Here’s what we found.

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Pros and Cons of Cloth Diapers (As Gross as it Sounds?)

Several years ago, long before I ever thought about becoming a parent, I heard about a family member who had begun using cloth diapers for her baby.  And to be honest, my initial gut reaction was: that’s disgusting.

It’s true that today’s society is often criticized for embracing a “throw away” culture, and I agree it’s a valid complaint.  We’re far more wasteful now than we’ve ever been, in a lot of ways.

But let’s be honest here – when it comes to poopy diapers…

Doesn’t it make sense to throw them away?  

Before coming to some grand conclusion, I want to take a deep dive into cloth diapers (not literally, of course – eww) and examine how they stack up against disposable diapers.

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Ultimate Guide to The Best Childcare Options for Infants

Best Childcare Options for ParentsOne thing my wife and I have discussed and debated with regards to our baby girl is how we want to handle childcare, considering we both work full time jobs.  And I’m guessing we’re not alone in trying to figure out the best childcare options (for infants especially).

Our general debate was “daycare or in-home nanny” because those were really the only viable options to us, especially at an age when our daughter isn’t yet going to school.

However, there are obviously a lot of other options available that we first considered before narrowing it down to the two options that seemed most realistic to us.  So before I get into my specific analysis of the best childcare options, let’s go through the different types of childcare available, and the pros and cons of each.

I promise, this isn’t as difficult as it seems.

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Should I Start a 529 (College Savings) Plan for My Child?

As a parent, one of the hot topics in personal finance that you’ll often see discussed is saving for your child’s college education.

While some parents prefer to save their child’s college fund in a glass jar or underneath their mattress, there are certainly a lot of better options out there: one of which is a 529 Plan.

(Whether or not you think saving for your child’s college tuition is a good idea is a separate discussion – I discuss that here.)

The 529 plan sounds a lot more confusing and intimidating than it is, and I think that’s why some people ignore it.  And you don’t need to hire a CPA or a financial adviser to set one up – it’s actually quite easy to do yourself.

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Top 10 Books to Read to a Baby in 2017 (And the Benefits of Reading to Them)

top-10-books-for-kids-smallerThere’s no doubt you’ve heard about the importance of reading to your child, especially as he or she gets a bit older and can comprehend what you’re saying.

But even when your child is an infant – before he or she can talk or comprehend language – reading still has benefits.

But what should you read? Does it even matter when your child is a baby?

Keep reading, and not only will I get into the benefits of reading to a baby (and the science behind it), but I’ll give you a rundown of the top 10 books to read to a baby in 2017.

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