Showing posts from: Military

How to Make Keeping in Touch with Long-Distance Family Easy

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Long gone are the days when families lived just down the street from each other. In today’s world, families may not reside in the same state – or country – even. Instead, they are scattered all across the planet!

Especially during pregnancy, don’t let the miles come between you and your family. If you call Phoenix home, you can easily connect with loved ones in the Big Apple. And if your fun-loving parents are living their post-retirement dream life in sunny Cozumel, they can still bond with your new baby. Even long-distance? 

You bet! WebBabyShower has a list of tips to make keeping in touch with long-distance family easy-peasy!

Here are 6 ways to connect with family across the country & the world 

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# 1 Create a Weekly Check-in with Video Chat

While you may not share a zip code, it is easier than ever to connect with your family across the miles! How? One way is to create the habit of a weekly video chat. You can easily create a free account with Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, or if your an iPhone person then you have FaceTime ready to go. But have you thought about how to harness this great tech as a family habit? 

Connecting via video chat is a long-distance relationship trick couples have often used, but it works for the family too. Imagine doing a chat while “real life” is happening all around you! 

We tend to think of video chat as a ‘total focus’ activity, but considering it more like hanging out opens up new possibilities.

While you’re cooking: If you’re staying in tonight to prepare supper, why not have a casual video chat with your family, while you steam the broccoli and mash the potatoes? Plus, with the grandparents entertaining your little one, you can get more done!

Breakfast dates: There’s no need to eat your morning cereal alone! Set a date and time for a video chat with those long-distance relatives, and you can easily connect over breakfast. 

Breastfeeding chat time: When you’re breastfeeding, you tend to have some downtime. That’s the perfect time to catch up with your family. And the best part? If you’re located in different time zones, you’ll have someone to keep you company during those 2:00 a.m. feedings!

Tummy time: How about placing a laptop or phone nearby (but out of reach!) while baby enjoys some tummy time. Faraway family will enjoy checking out baby’s newest milestone!

When they’re ready – storytime: Babies love books! Why not plan a morning video chat for storytime, or schedule a bedtime story? It’s THE perfect way for grandparents and other family members to bond with your little one. 

Get more tips for connecting with the family online in this Issues I Face article by author Sarah Hau. 

WebBabyShower -  family watching photo

#2 Use a Shared iCloud Gallery for Photos 

If you’re all into the iPhone world, the shared iCloud Gallery is a free AND secure photo-sharing option. You can share photos and videos with the people you choose. They can add their own photos and videos, too. Plus, they can like your photos and leave comments – you’ll automatically receive a notification when they do.

And if you’re looking to set up an online shared photo album, the iCloud Gallery is user-friendly and easy to navigate. Just save any photos you want to share into an ongoing pregnancy and baby album. Be creative with different album titles ideas like: Baby Bump, Baby’s Firsts, or Baby Explores the World. Another perk? If you’re tired of clogging up your email and texts with photos, the iCloud Gallery avoids this altogether. 

Ready to get started? Apple support has all the instructions you need, from turning on shared albums to adding photos and videos. 

#3 Sign up for Seat Alerts – For the Grandparents (hint, hint)

Thanks to technology, keeping in touch with long-distance family members is easier than ever. But sometimes, you still want to catch up in person – for birthdays, holiday celebrations, family reunions – or even, just because. But since travel planning takes a lot of time AND money, we’ve got a few ideas to help you save on both! 

If your family members have booked a flight, consider signing up for seat alerts. Found on Google Play, Seat Alerts by ExpertFlyer looks up the seat map of your flight and sets up a Seat Alert notification to find window seats, aisle seats, and more. Plus, Seat Alerts will monitor the available seats right up until the flight departs!

WebBabyShower -  booking travel for far away family

Travelocity helps secure the best hotel rates in the most popular destinations, all around the world! Users can easily browse hotels by destination. And they can check out hotel reviews, written by other Travelocity customers.

Traveling is a breeze with Orbitz. You can search for and book a wide range of hotels, flights, car rentals, cruises, vacation packages, and destination activities right on their website. For even sweeter travel deals, join the free Orbitz Rewards loyalty program!

Looking for hot hotel deals? Hotwire is your go-to source for finding “4-Star Hotels at 2-Star Prices.” Plus, enjoy faster booking and exclusive deals with their free Hotwire app.

Remember – when searching for affordable travel options, Google, Travelocity, Orbitz, and Hotwire will all let you pick a city and price threshold. Grandma will appreciate cashing in on some awesome deals! 

WebBabyShower -  grandparents watching photo of grandchildren

#4 Send Picture Postcards from your Phone 

Sometimes you want to send faraway family members “real” mail – the kind they can display on the fridge. Did you know there are apps that make sending personalized greetings super easy? And grandparents are going to love getting them!

With TouchNote, you can create personalized cards online. First, simply choose a photo. Then select stickers, filters, maps, and stamps – the fun stuff – to add your own creative touch. (Your first two cards are FREE, so let your imagination fly!) Finally, let TouchNote do the rest – mailing your card with free worldwide delivery. As Motherly points out, you never have to leave the comfort of your own home to stop by the post office. 

Besides, greeting cards and postcards, TouchNote also offers photo gifts, like gallery frames and canvases. And they have over 100,000 5-star reviews. Find out more on TouchNote’s FAQs page

Another option for creating and sending personalized greetings is Postagram, offered by Sincerely. Use photos from Instagram, Facebook, or your camera roll to capture a special moment. You can easily customize colors to match your unique style. (New card designs change seasonally.) Creating your Postagram only takes seconds from your iPhone or Android device.

For $2 in the US and $3 internationally, your Postagram can be mailed just about anywhere! Check out these delivery dates to ensure your Postagram arrives in time for holidays or birthdays.

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#5 Aspiring Writers – Start a Baby Blog

Is writing your thing? Then consider creating your own baby blog! Family and friends will love reading your post updates on everything from baby’s first doctor visit to baby’s first tiny tooth. (Visit Issues I Face for even more blogging ideas to get you started.) And did you know you can start your own FREE blog right here at WebBabyShower? Check it out!

WebBabyShower -  pregnant mom writing blog

There are many other free options, too. Wix offers an array of templates to fit your unique style, along with plenty of tips for building and managing your new blog. Blogger features free, easy-to-use templates and allows you to safely store thousands of posts, photos, and more with Google. WordPress is another popular and free blogging option, where you can share all-things baby.

Some blog sites don’t offer tech support, so keep that in mind before getting started. And if you’re concerned about strangers reading your personal blog posts that are meant to be shared with family only – don’t be! You can easily create a blog that is password protected. That means only the people who have the password can view your blog posts.

So what are you waiting for? Get busy posting!

#6 Invest in Grandparent Tech Time

Are your parents tech-challenged? If so, next time you’re all gathered together, consider getting some apps on their phone or iPad that will make it easier for them to connect with you and your new baby! Then take it a step further. Sit down with your parents or extended family members to explain how the apps actually work. This will remove the frustration barrier!

WebBabyShower -   teaching grandmother how to use phone

For example, help your folks set up a Skype account. Or if FaceTime is still a challenge, invest the time to help them navigate the app. Give them plenty of pointers (and encouragement!) along the way. Make it even easier for them by adding yourself to their contacts. Your parents are sure to appreciate your helpful tips AND your time!

In this Café Mom article, Grace P. Shares her experience introducing her mom to technology. The result? Grace’s mom and child became online buddies! 

WebBabyShower Connects You with Family Faraway

We hope our list of tips to make keeping in touch with long distance family easy inspires you to connect with loved ones across the miles! Whether you plan weekly video chats, send Postagram photo cards, or create a blog, the main thing is to keep those lines of faraway communication open. And if you are expecting, our online WebBabyShower services is one of the best ways for families to connect – both near and far!

How to Have a Military Baby Shower for Military Moms

WebBabyShower Zebra Balloons Blue

Are you an active-duty military Mom/Mom-to-Be? Or are you expecting a baby and also happen to be the rock star wife of a current service member? If that’s you, we here at WebBabyShower want to honor your service and sacrifice to our country by celebrating this most joyous occasion – the arrival of your new baby – with you. How? By helping you plan a military baby shower, plus showering you with resources for FREE goodies and services – just for you! One example is our FREE thank you cards!

We know it can be challenging to plan a baby shower while either you or your spouse are serving in the military, especially in instances when many miles separate you from cherished family and friends. We want to make the entire planning process easier for you, from start to finish. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of free (or cheap) services and resources to help you welcome your new little one to the world. Whether you’re looking for goodies for military families with new babies, are in need of medical supplies, or maybe seeking postpartum support, read on to find out more!

Throw a Virtual Baby Shower So That Everyone Can Celebrate!

Free Trial – 7 Day Refund for any reason
• Only 1 Minute Setup!
• 20+ Custom Themes & Matching Invites
• Use Any Online Registries You Want
• Send Unlimited Matching Invites and Updates
• Private Video Hosting for everyone
• Baby Shower Games with Scoreboards, Give Prizes!

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WebBabyShower Military Mom

Who is a Military Mom? Military moms include both active duty service members themselves or dependents of active service members, who are expectant or new mothers (no matter if it’s your first or fifth baby!). Our list of services below generally applies to both active duty moms, as well as military spouses, but we’ve noted when any service applies to active service members only, and not to dependents. 

Why WebBabyShower is Used by Military Families:

  • WebBabyShower connects families worldwide, no matter their location, in a private, intimate space with video & photo albums, guest books, games, a gift registry, and built-in email invitations and birth announcements.
  • We make it easy to combine an online shower experience and in-person events to include deployed service members.
  • Don’t cut your celebration short. Our extended baby shower time allows all your family and friends to join in the celebration – across any time zone!
  • Flexibility! Your baby shower can easily be planned and organized by your family or friends. While 40% of our customers are friends, grandmothers, or aunts of the mom-to-be, almost 60% are expectant mothers. That means you can feel free to organize your baby shower yourself! 
  • WebBabyShower is the oldest AND most trusted online baby shower planning service

Free Group Baby Shower Party Organizations.

Have you ever considered sharing your baby shower with other expectant military mothers? If so, both Operation Shower and Star-Spangled Babies offer an amazing service to the military community. Typically, both organizations offer group baby showers a few times each year on larger military bases.

A group baby shower is a perfect way to connect with other new or expectant moms in a military-specific setting. These ladies get the unique circumstances you may be experiencing. Since this isn’t an individual party, you can still plan your own personalized shower to be held at a different time, plus participate by joining a shower held by either of these organizations.

WebBabyShower Operation Baby Shower
  • Operation Shower. This organization was founded in 2007 by LeAnn Morrissey, and it was formed to honor expectant mothers whose spouse or partner was deployed during their pregnancy. Since then, with the support of volunteers and groups located all across the country, Operation Shower has hosted group showers for thousands of military moms and their families. Operation Shower works with brands like the PGA TOUR and public figures to host group baby showers in the United States. Once a military base is selected to hold a group baby shower, Operation Shower works directly with points of contact on that particular base to help identify and reach out to qualifying moms-to-be. For more details, contact [email protected]
  • Star-Spangled Babies. In conjunction with Operation Homefront, Star-Spangled Babies provides baby showers for new moms on military bases. They realize that while welcoming a new baby is an exciting time, it can also add increased financial difficulties, particularly during deployment. That’s where Star-Spangled Babies comes in – “to make it easier for our service members and their growing families to welcome the newest patriot to their families.” Typically, participating families include those who have deployed service members, wounded service members, and other junior and mid-grade service members in their family. To date, they have fulfilled over 41,000 requests from military families all across the United States. Need more information? Contact Operation Homefront.

More FREE Stuff and Resources for Military Families and Expecting Mothers!

For our readers who are military moms or pregnant military wives, we have even more info for free goodies, care packages, and medical care/supplies to share with you and your family. 

  • The Carrying On Project. Founded by Kit and Rachel, The Carrying on Project is on a mission to provide military families with free baby carriers, wraps, and slings to be used during military deployments. Not only does babywearing make it easier to care for baby, it also promotes a life-long bonding experience. If you’re a United States military family who cannot get a carrier otherwise, or for whom purchasing a carrier would create a financial hardship, simply fill out an online form found here. The folks at The Carrying On Project will review your application and then try to find a carrier best suited for you AND your little one’s needs. Find out more by visiting The Carrying On Project website contact page
WebBabyShower soldiers angels
  • Soldiers’ Angels Baby Brigade. Managed by Soldiers’ Angels and formerly called Operation Top Knot, Soldiers’ Angels Baby Brigade provides virtual baby showers for expectant active duty service members, as well as expectant spouses of deployed service members. These “Team Angels” shop for baby care items to assist military families in preparing for the new baby’s arrival. The care packages typically contain must-have items, such as diapers, bottles, bibs, onesies, grooming kits, and more. They also include made-with-love new baby necessities, such as hand-knit blankets, booties, and hats. You can learn more about Soldiers’ Angels Baby Brigade via the Soldiers’ Angels contact page on their website.
WebBabyShower Tricare
  • TRICARE. For breast pumps and related supplies, TRICARE features a fantastic program by providing breast pumps to new moms at no cost. That’s right – it’s a FREE service! It doesn’t matter which TRICARE plan you use or your sponsor’s status (whether active duty military, retired, or Guard/Reserve). 
WebBabyShower Breast Pumps and Supplies

You can go directly through TRICARE for these items, or you can also utilize one of the third-party vendors, who will navigate this sometimes complicated process at no additional cost to you!

WebBabyShower recommends as a trusted provider to thousands of military families, who can navigate Tricare and have your free breast pump and compression belts sent to you.

Simply obtain a prescription from your TRICARE-authorized OB-GYN during your pregnancy, and have the prescription filled at a number of breast pump supply shops. *Note: Your prescription doesn’t have to specify a particular breast pump brand. And if you meet eligibility guidelines, TRICARE also covers up to 6 outpatient breastfeeding (lactation) counseling sessions. Feel free to contact them directly through their TRICARE website contact page

WebBabyShower Military Birth Resource
  • Medical Care & Doulas. Are you looking for pregnancy or postpartum medical assistance, including a doula (a birth coach trained to support expectant moms throughout the birthing process)? Military Birth Resource Network runs a 100% volunteer doula program. Operation Doula provides doula support for any military family delivering at Balboa Hospital in San Diego, California. This support service is offered on an as-available basis once a mom is admitted and in active labor. In addition to doulas, Military Birth Resource Network’s services include prenatal education, birth and postpartum support, and infant feeding support. Their mission statement is “to enable continuity of care by providing the necessary community, network, resources and awareness to our military families stateside and those stationed overseas.” There are currently 14 international military base chapters, including bases in Europe and Japan, as well as 10 military bases located right here in the United States! Visit Military Birth Resource Network’s contact page for additional details.

Postpartum Support

Now that your new baby has finally arrived, you may be looking for postpartum support. No worries! We have found resources to assist you as you transition to your new role – motherhood. You’re going to rock it!

WebBabyShower Operation Special Delivery
  • Operation Special Delivery. Founded by Patricia Newton, Operation Special Delivery helps support expecting military mothers. How? By providing discounted labor support services and increasing access to quality labor doula care to all qualifying military service members and their families. An Operation Special Delivery doula becomes your personal “Battle Buddy,” helping you build strength, power, and acceptance during the birthing process. According to the Operation Special Delivery website, what began as a network of volunteers “has expanded into a national organization whose goal is to provide professional and sustainable doula services to military personnel, past and present.” They are committed to supporting our servicemen and women by providing the highest standard of professional doula care. Contact Operation Special Delivery via their contact page to request additional details.
WebBabyShower postpartum support international
  • Postpartum Support International (PSI). Founded in 1987 by Jane Honikman in Santa Barbara, California, Postpartum Support International aims to raise awareness regarding the emotional changes that women experience during pregnancy and postpartum. Did you know there is a strong link between military deployments and postpartum depression? It’s true. And the reason – new military moms encounter so much additional stress during that time. According to the PSI website: “Military families face unique stressors that make them more susceptible to experiencing perinatal mood disorders. Our Volunteer Support Coordinators are available to offer peer support, information, and resources for military families.” They go on to say that “1 in 7 Moms and 1 in 10 Dads suffer from postpartum depression.” To combat this, PSI provides direct peer support to families, trains professionals, and provides a bridge to connect them. PSI offers support geared explicitly toward military families. Find your specific military branch here to contact a dedicated PSI volunteer. If you need postpartum support, you may also reach out to PSI by visiting their contact page
WebBabyShower Military Wives

Additional Branch Specific Resources for You

Have you considered seeking support directly from the branch of service either you or your spouse serve in? If not, you should! Service-specific organizations found on some military bases offer additional resources for military moms and pregnant military wives. These organizations include:

postpartum support international
  • Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society. Located on Navy or Marine Corps bases, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society offers expecting military families free classes, including a Budget for Baby workshop to help you plan for the financial impact of your new baby. The financial education course offers tips, such as developing a family budget and saving money. Seriously, who doesn’t want to save more cash? Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to meet other expectant Navy and Marine Corps families. And just for attending the Budget for Baby class, every participant receives a gift, including a baby blanket handmade by a Society volunteer. Do you prefer one-on-one budget counseling and financial education? The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society offers those courses too – for FREE! Click here to make an appointment with one of their highly-trained volunteers. For locations, check out the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society “Find a Location” page.
  • Air Force Aid Society (AFAS). This organization is similar to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, however, the Air Force Aid Society provides support for expectant families who serve in the Air Force. One popular program offered is the Bundles for Babies class, designed to teach soon-to-be and new parents basic parenting skills. Additionally, new parents will learn essential financial skills to help them budget for their new baby – from birth all the way to college! Bundles for Babies also provides the perfect opportunity to connect with other expectant parents on base. After completing the class, the AFAS will give parents a gift card to help purchase some of baby’s first must-have essentials. The Bundles for Babies class is open to all ranks of service. And you are welcome to attend, whether it’s your first pregnancy – or not! Contact your installation’s Airman and Family Readiness Center to find out more. Additional details can also be found at the AFAS website.

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Connecting You with Your Family and Friends

Here at WebBabyShower, we proudly support all military moms and pregnant military wives. Thank you for your service and dedication to keeping our country safe, while sacrificing your own precious family time. We salute YOU!

Did you enjoy our list of freebies and resources – created just for you AND your new baby? We certainly hope so! While you’re here, be sure to check out more on our WebBabyShower website, filled with tons of exclusive (and FREE!) printables and games, plus informative articles packed with checklists and tips for all things – you guessed it – baby shower! And please consider using our online baby shower services to plan your upcoming baby shower. We are committed to connecting military service members with their family and friends, all across the globe. WebBabyShower looks forward to serving you and celebrating the arrival of your new baby!