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Baby Shower Theme Ideas To Celebrate Your New Arrival

What makes a baby shower special? Celebrating the impending arrival with friends and family, of course. But an adorable theme that is full of cute details adds that magical touch that makes every guest say “aww!” Here are 13 sweet and unique baby shower theme ideas to inspire your next party.

Baby Shower Theme Ideas

(Click any image to see a detailed post with more photos of the theme!)

BALLOON THEME BABY SHOWER

balloon theme baby shower

This gorgeous shower theme has a vintage, understated feel and works great for a boy or girl. The balloon details are easy to incorporate into the food, on the invitations, and of course decorating with lots of balloons! 

OWL THEME SHOWER

owl theme baby shower

Owl themed everything is so popular right now, this one is an easy theme to execute. Lots of circle-shaped food lends itself to being made into an adorable owl face, plus you can use all the puns with “hooo” (who).

JOHN DEERE THEME

John Deere baby shower

It doesn’t get much more unique than this! Perfect theme for parents-to-be who are a little bit country, especially if they are expecting a boy. Yellow and green cut outs and toy tractors used as balloon weights are obvious details, but you can come up with a lot more!

THE SECRET GARDEN BABY SHOWER

secret garden baby shower details

Lots of delicate paper flowers and whimsical details make this secret garden baby shower beautiful. Incorporating whites, greens, and pastels also help incorporate the garden feel.

BASEBALL BABY SHOWER

baseball baby shower

Take me out to the ball game! If you’re a sports fan expecting your own little slugger, this is the theme for you! Classic white and red will be your go-to colors, and of course all the ball park food. Hot dogs, peanuts, cracker jacks and throw in a baseball trivia game for a fun time for all.

OH DEER BABY SHOWER

oh deer baby shower

You don’t necessarily think “girl” with a deer-theme party, but I absolutely love how this pink, navy and gold theme nails it! The antler cupcake toppers are just adorable and made DIY with a cricut. The treat boxes with the little deer onesies are DIY too, so if you are crafty be sure to check this one out.

COFFEE AND CRAVINGS SHOWER

coffee theme baby shower

This is a fantastic idea for a mom-to-be who isn’t into cutesy little baby things. Instead, throw her a shower featuring the things she loves instead! This hostess made it about coffee, cravings, and Cabernet! The end result is a mature party celebrating their friend and her joyful occasion.

FISHING THEME SHOWER

fishing theme baby shower

Have a nature-loving couple to throw a shower for? This fishing theme is original and so much fun. This particular hostess did an amazing job of bringing the outdoors indoors for this shower! The reed centerpieces completely nailed the look and feel of going fishing.

THE PIGEON: A BOOK THEME SHOWER

book theme baby shower

If you have kids already, I’m sure you’re familiar with the uber-popular Pigeon books by Mo Willems. (I know my kids are obsessed with them!) For a creative baby shower theme idea, this hostess threw a Pigeon-inspired book theme baby shower. Bonus perk of a literary theme baby shower? You’ll get lots of children’s books as gifts to start of the baby’s book collection!

RUSTIC WOODLAND BABY SHOWER

rustic woodland baby shower theme

Following in the footsteps of the “shabby chic” wedding theme craze is the “rustic woodland” baby shower boom! Little woodland deer and foxes are irresistible, and it doesn’t get much easier than decorating with pinecones and greenery you can find in your own backyard. Add some trail mix and other earthy snacks, and you’ve pulled off this shower theme.

DIAPERS AND DOUGHNUTS

doughnut theme shower

Let’s be real for a second. What pregnant woman isn’t going to get excited over doughnuts? And if you’re planning a “sprinkle” (a smaller shower typically done for second babies or beyond), you have a great pun to work with in sprinkled doughnuts. This shower was a sprinkle where the host requested diapers as gifts, so the theme worked out perfectly with doughnuts and diapers!

For this theme, you can really have fun with pops of bright colors. Sweet treats, fun colors, and polka dots are the decor for a delightful doughnut themed party.

BABY BOY-AGE TRAVEL THEME

baby boy-age travel theme shower

If you’re hosting a baby shower for a travel loving mama-to-be who is expecting a boy, you’ll definitely want to get ready to “Baby BOY-age!” This baby shower is full of international flavor and fun. Blue and red give it that jet-setter airline feel, and you could incorporate the guest of honor’s favorite travel destination in the food and decor.

THIS LITTLE PIGGY BABY SHOWER

this little piggy baby shower

Is it just me, or does it seem like there are more boy-related themes out there? Let’s get some pink on the page with this little piggy theme. Don’t be afraid to mix different shades of pink together to achieve the look. This post includes directions to make adorable pig cookies too!

Do you have other great baby shower theme ideas?

I would love to hear about them in the comments!

Are you pregnant? 

Don’t miss my top tips for new moms and my popular baby name lists.

21 Helpful Newborn Tips For New Moms

You probably already know that your newborn baby is going to be a floppy beanie baby when he arrives, in need of head and neck support, never to be shaken, and that everyone who touches the little angel should wash her hands first. But there’s plenty of other useful tips for new moms that could make this major life transition a little smoother for you.

Because it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the choices and “shoulds” coming at you right now, just consider these tips to be back pocket information; try what works for you and ignore the rest.

There are a few things that you are sure to encounter (and that might freak you out), so if you haven’t already, read Terrifying Things Newborn Babies Do That Are Completely Normal to prepare yourself and ease your mind.

Here are 21 newborn tips for new moms that will make life much easier for you and your babe!

Tips for New Moms

Don’t overbuy newborn clothes

Did you know newborn size clothes (and diapers) are for babies weighing 5-8 pounds? The average weight at birth is 7.5 pounds, meaning most babies will be wearing newborn clothes for just a few weeks until they outgrow them.

And don’t forget about the 25% of babies who are born already weighing 8+ pounds, who will fit into newborn clothes for about a week or not at all.

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on newborn clothes that never end up being worn, limit yourself to about 6-10 newborn outfits, and keep the tags on in case you end up needing to return them. In the event that you have a small baby that needs more newborn clothes, you can always send Grandma or Dad out to buy more. Or call upon your good old friend Amazon!

Don’t be alarmed when your baby loses weight

Many new moms have panicked upon seeing their new baby’s weight dip down below birthweight in the days after birth. You may jump to the conclusion that you aren’t feeding them properly or they are not healthy.

The truth is, losing weight after birth is normal and expected. The typical weight loss is 5% of birthweight for formula fed babies, and up to 10% of birthweight for breastfed babies. This is not an indication of a problem. Your baby is not used to having to work for their nutrition, and it takes time for them to master the art of sucking, swallowing, and breathing.

Your doctor will look for the baby to regain the lost weight by day 10-14 of life, and many babies will gain it back sooner than that.

Do your homework

First, if you can take any classes (in person or online) about childbirth, infant care, or breastfeeding before the baby comes, you’ll feel much more prepared. A big part of sailing as smoothly through the newborn stage as possible is feeling confident in your maternal abilities.

Even though babies create chaos no matter how ready you think you are, being blindsided by an issue you didn’t even know existed can send you into crisis mode. Avoid that with a little bit of education on the front end. 

If your hospital doesn’t offer classes (or you aren’t able to attend them), check out my resource page for recommended online courses for breastfeeding, childbirth, and more. 

Delegate someone to read the paperwork

Before you leave the hospital, designate a family member or friend to read over the mountain of paperwork you’ll receive. These aren’t all medical records to file away. There will be important information about breastfeeding, about the baby’s schedule, and about resources available to you.

Some are keepsakes and some are even offers for complimentary, celebratory surf and turf dinner that you won’t even realize was an option until you get home (raises hand…). Your primary focus will be sleeping, recovering, and managing the baby’s routine. You won’t have time or energy to read that stuff, and yet, there could be really helpful and important information in that stack that could be missed.

Talk to a lactation consultant

One of the first and most important things you’ll deal with on this journey is feeding your newborn. Despite what you may hear or read, most first-time breastfeeding moms have issues in the beginning. This is not the time to struggle through it alone. You will be tired, hormonal, and possibly in pain, so you will not be thinking clearly. Support is the key word here. Make sure your hospital provides the services of a lactation consultant, or hire one before the baby arrives.

If you don’t end up needing help, great! But if you do, the help can’t come fast enough in those first days. And remember that there are many ways to feed your baby; your best-laid plans might not work and that’s OK! Be flexible and keep in mind that the goal is a healthy infant.

Write down your questions for the doctor

Your baby will make her first visit to the pediatrician almost immediately after you leave the hospital. As with the above tip, you will likely be in a haze of sleep deprivation and recovery, so take a minute to compile a list of questions now. If you find some of the questions don’t apply to you when the time comes, simply scratch them off the list. But you’ll want to take full advantage of that first visit, and getting all of your questions answered means knowing what to ask.

Some might include: how much should I be feeding my newborn? What should I expect in my baby’s diaper? How should I be caring for the umbilical cord? You might be given these instructions without having to ask, but these healthcare professionals deal with so many patients that they might forget to mention something, assuming everyone already knows the answer.

You don’t really need to bundle baby up

Yes, it’s true that newborns have a harder time regulating their body temperature at first. This is why skin to skin and baby wearing is so great for them- mom’s body temperature helps keep baby’s temp up. 

But before you bundle your baby in ten layers of clothes and blankets, consider this. Babies also have difficulty regulating their temperature when they are too WARM. Also, overdressing baby during sleep time increases the risk for SIDS.

A good rule of thumb is to dress your baby in the same number of layers that you are wearing, or one more. So if you are just wearing a shirt and pants, your baby can wear a onesie, shirt, and pants. If you are wearing a jacket, put a blanket over the baby when they are in their carseat or stroller.

Don’t be scared to take baby outside

Gone are the days where new moms are told to hole up in their house with their newborns for the first couple months.

Going outside and getting fresh air has proven benefits for moms and babies. It contributes to mother’s mental wellness, and has a calming effect on the baby. Sunlight exposure (in small doses) also provides necessary vitamin D. As soon as you have healed from birth, it’s a good idea to make walks outside with your baby part of your daily routine.

While it’s a great idea to get outside and go for walks, exercise caution when taking your baby to crowded public areas. Since babies have immature immune systems and haven’t yet been vaccinated, you want to limit their exposure to germs. Keeping them contained to a baby carrier helps keeps germy hands from getting too close.

Use THIS to never lose baby socks in the wash

mesh laundry bags

You are familiar with the sock monster that lives in your washing machine and eats half of your socks. But with teeny tiny baby socks, this happens 10 times more! Avoid the problem of baby socks and mittens disappearing in the laundry simply by using these mesh laundry bag.

Take notes

Whether you go high-tech with an app or keep it old-school with a pen and paper at your bedside table (the fastest way I have found), tracking what time the last feeding was, whether it was the right or left breast, the last time the baby had a pee or poop diaper are not things you’re going to be able to recall from memory. (Spoiler alert: your memory is going to suck for a while.)

Write it down and not only will you be able to see when something happened last, but you’ll be able to see important patterns as the baby develops a routine. These simple notes could provide important health information about your newborn for the doctor as well.

My Oh Baby Pregnancy and Baby Planner has newborn tracking sheets for this exact purpose, along with 50 other pages like checklists, to-do lists, questions to ask providers, and more!

Consider a postpartum doula

A postpartum doula is someone who does a wide range of things, from helping to care for the baby so you can take a nap or get something done, to being an extra set of hands to clean the bottles and do laundry so you can bond with the baby. This person might even come over for the night shift to do all but breastfeed the baby. That way, you can recover and get as much sleep as possible.

Their services cost about $30 an hour, but packages might be available. If you can save in advance and add a postpartum doula to your baby budget, you will be a happier mama for it. Even if this person only comes to help out once a week, it will ease your transition to motherhood.

Use these bags instead of a diaper pail

disposable diaper sacks

We got a diaper pail for our first baby, and after a week I was ready to throw it in the trash. I didn’t like the smell in baby’s room, and having to empty it was a horrible chore. 

So for the next three babies, we ditched the diaper pail and just started tying poop diapers in these disposable diaper sacks. Then I would throw it in the regular trash that we take out daily. Or if it’s especially stinky (after baby starts solids!) I would just take it directly outside to our garbage bin.

Learn the 5 S’s

It’s true all babies cry, but some cry a LOT more than others. Arm yourself with some tactics to calm a crying baby before you are frustrated with one in the wee hours of the morning.

Dr. Harvey Karp of Happiest Baby came up with the popular “5 S’s” that help soothe babies. In short, they include:

  • Swaddle– babies are soothed by the tightness of being swaddled as they were cramped in the womb
  • Side/stomach- hold baby on their side or stomach (it is not safe for them to sleep this way)
  • Shush- make a shushing noise or use a white noise machine
  • Swing- the best motion is small and quick, while making sure the head and neck is supported
  • Suck- give the baby a pacifier or breast. Sucking promotes relaxation for babies.

How to shower with a baby

newborn baby sleeping in bouncer on bathroom floor
My view from the shower

With all of my babes this was the only way for me take a shower when my husband wasn’t around, and it’s really very simple. Set up baby in their bouncy chair right outside the shower. Even better if the chair vibrates or plays music!

This arrangement helps moms because you don’t have to wonder if you are hearing phantom baby cries from the other room. You can peek on them and press the button on their chair if you have to. Babies like it because the sound of the running water is comforting, as is being close to mom. And if they get fussy, you can do peekaboo from the shower curtain or sing them a song.

The best is when the baby falls asleep there and you get to enjoy a long, relaxing shower!

The onesie trick for diaper blowouts

Brace yourself, because it’s going to happen: your baby is going to shoot poop up the top of their diaper and all the way up their back. It is gross and intimidating to clean up when you lack experience with poop-splosions.

You don’t want to pull the messy onesie up over the baby’s head and risk getting poop on their head or in their hair. And the good thing is, you don’t have to! The folds on the shoulders of a onesie make it so the head hole opens wide enough to be pulled down past baby’s shoulders and off their body.

Set up a mobile baby changing station

newborn on changing mat

You’ve probably bought a gorgeous changing table for your baby’s nursery and organized all the changing necessities neatly within it. But honestly, you’ll be changing your baby on the floor of whatever room you happen to be in 90% of the time.

Grab a couple diaper caddy from Amazon and throw a changing mat, diapers, wipes, cream, and bags in each. Now you can change baby in the living room or your bedroom quickly and easily.

Don’t be fooled by baby product marketing

Did you know companies of soaps, lotions, and detergents take the exact same product, slap the word “baby” on the label, and charge you more for it? 

Be sure to check labels and be a discerning buyer instead of just throwing your money at anything marketed to babies. Dreft laundry detergent for example, is more expensive than your average laundry detergent. Not only that, but it is scented, which you want to avoid when washing baby’s clothes. Any brand laundry soap that is “Free and Clear” with no dyes or perfumes will be more affordable and safer for baby’s skin.

Take the guesswork out of swaddling

Swaddling your newborn in the hospital receiving blanket is a fun challenge, but most new parents find it’s a lot harder to get that tight baby burrito than the L&D nurses make it look.

Lucky for us parents, there are plenty of products out there that can swaddle your baby just the way they like it (and some are even impossible for those Houdini babies to break out of!)

For winter babies, I love the fleece velcro swaddle blankets because they are so quick and easy to wrap and baby stays warm and cozy.

When the weather is too warm for fleece, Swaddle UP zippadee style sacks are awesome because baby can have their arms up but still feel wrapped up.

Don’t waste a drop of that liquid gold

Haaka on table

If you’re going to breastfeed, you will want the little silicone contraption all nursing moms are raving about, the Haaka.

The Haaka is different than a pump because it uses natural suction and doesn’t force breastmilk out. Instead, it just catches the runoff. Because when you are feeding the baby on one breast, the other breast has a letdown too- that means milk is just dripping into your nursing pad when it could be collected and used later!

As you can see in the photo, the Haaka can collect a substantial amount of breastmilk. And it does it with very little effort on your part. If used frequently, you can build up a freezer stash without even using a conventional pump.

The Haaka is on my list of the only products I needed to breastfeed for a year!

Let baby sleep

You have probably heard that newborn babies need to be fed every 2-3 hours round the clock. What you aren’t always told is when babies can start going longer stretches between feedings at night. And given how exhausted you are during this stage, isn’t this vital information?

The rule of thumb is this: once baby has gotten back to their birthweight (and assuming a full term baby without health concerns) you no longer need to wake the baby up to feed in the night. Many babies will wake on their own every few hours anyway, but often times they develop one longer stretch in the beginning of their night sleep. This is the stretch that will gradually grow longer and longer- and that’s exactly what you want!

For more on newborn sleep, don’t miss this post about what to do when baby has their days and nights mixed up.

Dress baby to make night time changes easier

Here is another tip for the dreaded night time wake ups. 

You will want easy access to the diaper area for night time diaper changes. You’ll be half asleep and in the dark, do you really need obstacles between you and the diaper?

I love putting baby to sleep in gowns for this purpose, because you just yank it up, change, and yank it down. Pajamas with zippers are also fairly quick and easy. Button up pajamas are just annoying, especially when you misalign them and have to start over!

This is an exhausting, stressful, but magical time.

Bringing a newborn home for the first time truly is venturing into uncharted territory. There is so much newness on top of all of the physical changes you will be experiencing. The best tip anyone can offer you is to be gentle on yourself and seek out as much support as possible. This can be a really magical time, if you can get into the right mindset.

Are you a second-time mama (or more)? What are your best tips for new moms?

10 Things New Dads Want Their Wives To Know

The transition to motherhood is a huge one, and what it’s like after having a baby is a topic we hear a lot about. But why don’t we see much written about new fathers? New dads also have their lives completely transformed when their first child is born, yet the father’s perspective is rarely the focus.

I reached out to a pool of men to find out what new dads wish their wives understood about becoming a father.

Here is what they had to say.

New dad holding baby over shoulder

We’re scared.

“I was scared out of my mind about being a primary caretaker of another being, especially one so tiny and needy. It took me a while to figure out how to love our new addition. I was grateful my wife was sympathetic to my feelings even though she felt a strong bond with the baby from the beginning.”

-Phillip Thomas, Saving Talents

 
“Having a baby is scary. I sometimes randomly think of the horrendous ways something might happen to him and how terrible and scary it is. It makes me feel really sad, and yes I also check to see if he’s breathing as by some freak chance he may have stopped.”
-Dan

We should have an equal vote.

“I’m just as much the parent as you, so why does the mother always assume control? Yes I’m just winging it and I may make the wrong choice at times, but that doesn’t mean all the decisions should default to the woman.”
-Kanon

Sex is still important to us.

“One thing I really wish my wife understood is that sex- no, FREQUENT sex, is important to maintaining a good relationship. That shouldn’t just stop when a child enters the picture.”

-Anon

(See more on sex after baby and how to make your wife feel sexy!)

New dads get depressed too.

“My world just completely changed overnight. The transition has been difficult and I’ve been struggling with worry and depression. But I have a hard time opening up about it because I feel like I need to be the strong one.”

-Devin

Fact check: This is entirely TRUE. Studies show 1 in 10 men suffer from postpartum depression.

We want to help, but don’t always know how.

“When we brought home our first baby, I desperately wanted to help but I felt so out of my element and didn’t know where to start. It all seemed to come naturally to my wife. I wish she understood that I want to be involved and help, but I don’t always know how to. Be patient with me and explain what needs to be done.”

-John

new dad holding baby

Dad guilt is real.

“Working parent guilt applies to both parents. My wife stays at home and I work. Working parent guilt can be crushing, particularly with a high stress job. Since my daughter was born, I’ve never stopped feeling guilty for:

  • Working too much and missing “family time”
  • Not working enough and bringing more money home
  • Having “me time”
  • Not supporting my wife in every way I can
  • Being tired/grumpy with my daughter on occasion
  • Missing “firsts” because I’m at work

Working parent guilt sucks. Thankfully my wife gets it.”

-Jonathan

Sometimes we miss being your number one.

“Help us out by letting us know how to help you emotionally, as it’s a ton of feelings we are both experiencing. In those moments we need to be able to be honest about how we feel and when we need support, as it’s a change for us as well. As new dads we went from being your number one to number two and it takes some time for us to adjust to that.”  

-David, Dad Life Lessons

We need breaks too.

“My wife acts like going to work is my break, but work is really stressful. Coming home and helping with the kids is stressful too. But if I ask for time to myself, it’s like I’m a jerk because any time I’m not working should be spent with my kids. Seems like there are no breaks after fatherhood.”

-Brian

We miss spending time with you.

“We used to have so much fun together, but now my wife is constantly worried and stressed. She is a great mother but I wish she’d let go a little bit. Leaving our son for a night to reconnect as a couple wouldn’t hurt him. But she doesn’t want to leave him so date nights don’t happen.”

-Omaron

You amaze us.

“I am in awe of my wife and how naturally she turned into a mother. Everything she’s done since the birth of our daughter has blown me away. I hope she understands how wonderful she’s doing at this, even though I probably don’t tell her enough.”

-Peter

You heard it here first Moms- you’re amazing!

New Dads: We Want To Hear From You!

Share what you’d like us women to know about your transition to fatherhood.

17 Things You Need To Know Before Taking Your Newborn Home

Taking your newborn home can be so overwhelming. How are you supposed to tell what this tiny, screaming human wants?

New moms are flooded with worries while simultaneously dealing with their own postpartum experience. “Is he eating enough? Why is he breathing like that? Is his poop supposed to look like that? Why won’t he stop screaming? I’m a terrible mom!” I get it, you’re doing the hardest job of your life without an instruction manual. But you’re doing great, and most of this scary stuff is normal.

Here are some lifesaving tidbits of information to help you through the first few weeks with your newborn.

Taking Your Newborn Home

Your newborn will lose weight.

It is normal for babies lose up to 10% of their birth weight in their first week. Almost all babies lose some weight in their first week of life.

This does NOT mean you aren’t feeding them correctly! Eating is a skill that takes practice. Everything is new to them. At the first few checkups, the pediatrician will monitor their weight and make sure they get back to birth weight on schedule. Doctors want them to be back to their birth weight by two weeks, and once that happens, you can start letting them sleep longer between feedings.

Newborns scream—a lot.

Sometimes babies cry for a reason. They might be hungry, tired, or have a dirty diaper. There will be many times when you’ve tried everything and they’re still screaming bloody murder.

You’re not doing something wrong and, your newborn doesn’t hate you. You can try these ways to get your baby to stop crying, but there will be times when all you can do is wait until they’re done. They often have a certain time where they scream every day. Many parents refer to this as the “witching hour”. 

Sometimes their breathing sounds weird.

This is one of those terrifying things newborns do that are actually normal! Newborns have irregular breathing patterns. They can sound like they’re gasping or breathing too fast. If your baby returns to normal on their own and seems otherwise fine (not lethargic or feverish), there’s no need for concern.

Newborns don’t need as much as you think they need.

Taking Your Newborn Home

Yes, the parenting trend of the current era is overparenting. But your newborn truly doesn’t need baby gym class, baby Einstein videos or even constant attention.

It’s totally understandable when you bring baby home from the hospital, sit down and look at them and think “what do I do now?” If the baby is content, you don’t do anything.

New babies are easily overstimulated and they need down time, just like all people do. Hold them, feed them, change them, talk to them and sing to them. If you babywear, you can strap him up and go about your household chores. And sometimes, just spread a blanket on the floor and leave them be. Floor time is good for them (look into container baby syndrome in you’re still not convinced!)

Spit happens.

Spitting up, that is. It’s normal if baby spits up frequently. This happens because the sphincter at the top of baby’s stomach isn’t fully functional yet and doesn’t close all the way.

There’s nothing worse than getting a good meal into your little one, only to have him spit up what seems like everything. It’s gross, and you wonder if your baby is getting the nutrition he needs. As long as your baby is gaining weight and doesn’t seem to be in any discomfort, there’s nothing to worry about.

Cradle cap is gross but harmless.

Those greasy, yellowish flakes of skin on your little angel’s head may look horrendous, but they’re temporary and harmless. This is yet another one of the awkward phases that your baby goes through as he gets used to the world outside.

As tempting as it may be, resist the urge to pick at them. This can cause raw spots on your baby’s head that could become infected. Instead, use a baby brush to remove the excess skin after a bath.

Babies get zits.

Things to know before taking your newborn home
It’s just a little baby acne, your baby is still beautiful!

We all want our newborns to look perfect in family photos, but that isn’t always realistic. Your pregnancy hormones will be in your newborn’s system for a couple months. Baby acne isn’t pretty, but it doesn’t cause them discomfort and should go away on its own after 3-6 months. If it bothers you, rubbing a little breast milk on the affected area can help clear it up.

Almost all babies develop a bald spot.

Newborns are really killin’ it in the looks department, aren’t they? The bald spot on the back of the head is like a baby trademark. Babies’ hair rubs off because they lie on their backs so much. It’ll start to grow back when they start spending more time on their tummy and sitting up. You can cover up the offending area with a cute headband or hat for the pictures in the meantime!

Brace yourself for newborn poop.

Forget everything you think you know about how humans poop, because newborns follow their own set of rules when it comes to pooping.

For the first six weeks or so, you can expect your baby to poop roughly once per feeding. (Yes, that means 8 times per day or more!) This frequency is normal for both breastfed and formula fed babies.

If you are concerned about those 8 poops per day being super harsh on baby’s sensitive skin, this cream is what I used for all my babies. It is super thick and creates a barrier between wetness and the skin so you can use it as a preventive measure. If baby already has a rash, pat the skin completely dry with a cloth after wiping and then apply the cream.

Wondering what baby poop looks like?

Breastfed babies’ poop is liquidy, yellowish in color and appears “seedy”, while formula fed babies have darker, thicker stools.

Newborns are known for having explosive poops, so be on guard while changing or bathing or anytime your babe is naked. That stuff can shoot far and it comes without warning!

After the first six weeks, the digestive system matures and babies poop much less- more like 1-3 times per day or even once every couple days for breastfed babies.

You don’t actually need to bundle your baby up.

The rule of thumb is to dress your newborn in one more layer than you would wear. It’s tempting to bundle your fragile newborn in a million layers, but they don’t need that much. A cotton hat is typically used in the very beginning too as they aren’t great at regulating their body temperature.

Remember, your body is a great way to keep baby warm too. Those snuggles are exactly what newborns need, and skin to skin is even better!

Want a little trick to check if baby is hot or cold? Touch the back of their neck. If the skin there is warm or sweaty, they are too hot. If it feels cool, add a layer. Hands and feet aren’t good places to test baby’s temperature since they often feel cold due to poor circulation.

How can I tell if baby is eating enough?

This is probably the #1 concern (obsession?) of new parents, ESPECIALLY when breastfeeding. It is so easy to worry about this when there is no easy way to tell how much your baby is eating.

These are the signs your baby is getting enough milk:

  • 6+ wet diapers/day
  • several poop diapers per day
  • normal weight gain (back up to birth weight by 2 weeks)
  • baby is content after feedings
  • breasts feel softer and lighter and feeding

Want to set yourself up for breastfeeding success? Don’t miss this post of the 5 must-dos to start breastfeeding off right.

Don’t be concerned when your milk takes a few days to come in after birth. You are making a small amount of ultra-concentrated colostrum, which is enough for a newborn’s tiny, marble-sized tummy for the first few days.

New babies don’t sleep quietly.

Well, they might sleep quietly while they doze in your arms all day. But lay them down at night when you’re trying to sleep, and the noises begin.

Babies do the strangest things when sleeping. They squeak, gasp, grunt, snore, laugh, cry, and smile in their sleep. Some of their mannerisms are concerning, and some are downright adorable.

After a few nights, you’ll probably learn to sleep through all the strange baby noises. If not, a white noise machine might help. Just keep the volume low enough that you’ll still be able to hear the baby crying.

Newborns are stronger than they look.

“What if I break the baby?” Don’t worry. Newborns may look fragile, but they’re quite resilient. You won’t injure your newborn by dressing him or, hurt his itty-bitty arms and legs as you bathe him or rock him to sleep. A firm grip on your slippery baby won’t hurt him and will prevent you from dropping him during bathtime.

Assuming you are supporting their heads and never, ever shaking them, you won’t inadvertently harm your baby.

Their soft spots still have protection.

Newborn soft spot
No one is pushing on the baby’s brain. It’s just a doctor examining the soft spot.

You should still be careful around the soft spot, or fontanelles, of course, but their brain isn’t right underneath the skin. The soft spot has a sturdy membrane protecting it. It won’t hurt your baby to touch it, gently wash it, or go about your normal routine in taking care of him.

Babies don’t hold grudges.

Don’t beat yourself up if you make a mistake. I promise, your baby will still love you.

Maybe you didn’t realize he was sitting in a poop diaper for two hours. Or you didn’t figure out that he was screaming because of an ear infection until the doctor caught it at the next well-child visit. It’s ok. You are still a good mom.

There is so much pressure on new moms to be perfect, but the truth is we are learning how to be parents while on the job. Often times we don’t have much support and it seems like we are muddling through on our own. Give yourself a little credit that you are doing the best you can.

And if it makes you feel any better, I left baby #4 outside in his carseat next to car once. Completely forgot he existed for about 20 minutes. So you’re doing pretty good 😉

You can’t spoil your newborn.

Taking your newborn home

Maybe your grandma told you that you’ll spoil your new baby if you hold him too much, or if you comfort him every time he cries. Sorry Grandma, this is simply not true!

According to science, holding babies actually contributes to their brain development. There is a reason your mama instincts tell you to touch, cuddle, and comfort your little one. Enjoy the guilt-free cuddles with your little angel.

People will judge you, and that’s fine.

You’re a mommy now, and as much as it sucks, mommy-shaming is very real. Remember, you can’t please everyone. Nor should you have to! As long as you are meeting your baby’s needs, you’re doing it right. The only person you need to answer to is your child.

Be confident that you know what’s best for your little one.  Don’t feel obligated to do something because someone else told you to do it. Their opinion plus $4 can buy them a cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts.

What other concerns do you have about taking your newborn home?

Or if you’ve already done it, what would you tell a first time mom?

Leave a comment!

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Let’s Talk About Sex After Baby!

You’re familiar with the changes that go along with sex during pregnancy, but what happens to your sex life after giving birth? I’ve written about what it’s really like for Mom after birth and the many physical and emotional changes you’ll go through. Your sex life is certainly not exempt from these huge changes! Sex after baby can be daunting- and downright terrifying- but it doesn’t need to be.

And remember that most moms think they are the only ones experiencing whatever weird after-affects are happening. You’re not in it alone! So let’s dive in! (OK, bad joke.)  

sex after baby

You can’t have sex for 6 weeks.

You won’t want to, but just in case you have a husband who is pestering you (if that’s so, there is probably an entirely different article you should be reading…), your body is going to need time to heal. The risk of complications after delivery is highest in the first two weeks post-partum, but the body really needs more time to get back to semi-normal. 

Yes, you can get pregnant again, even if you are breastfeeding.

Some women are lucky and don’t get their period for a year or more after giving birth, but it IS possible for your first period to come as early as six weeks after delivery. The problem is you don’t know which camp you’ll fall into, and by the time you see that first period, you have ALREADY ovulated.

Since the return of ovulation is super unpredictable, it’s best to begin contraception to avoid another pregnancy right away. Breastfeeding tends to suppress ovulation, but it’s not a reliable source of birth control. (Side note: Research suggests it’s best to wait 18 months between delivering a baby and conceiving another, due to possible health complications for both mom and baby, but I’ll save that for another blog post.)

Sex might be uncomfortable (but it can also be great).

Hormones can mimic menopause in the first few months after having a baby, meaning a dry vagina, low libido, and hot flashes. If you tore or had an episiotomy, scar tissue could make things painful. Vaginal scar tissue is very common, can happen even after the smallest tear, and is not a sign of a bad surgeon. Unfortunately, it’s also pretty painful to the touch. There are lots of options for treatment, if you find it unbearable.

In most cases, sex can be comfortable again with a few changes to the foreplay routine, including using plenty of lube. 

My best advice for getting back into sex after your six week (or more) hiatus- take it slow. Make sure you’re ready, have a good amount of foreplay, lube at the ready, and girl on top! You want to be in control here, so you set the pace and make sure you’re comfortable.

You might be surprised at how pleasurable even that first re-entry to sex can be if done correctly!

For the same reasons, tampons may no longer be an option.

Sex after baby - Tampons

Of course, you shouldn’t use tampons within the first six weeks of having a baby, but even beyond that, they just might not work for you. You may find that tampons have become uncomfortable, that they slip out, that they are more difficult to insert, or that they leak even when they aren’t full. If any of this is the case, there is nothing wrong with you!

You might be a little looser, but not forever.

Pregnancy widens the pelvic rim, making things roomier below the belt. Pelvic floor muscles lose a bit of muscle tone, but should return to near normal after the first year. Unless you had a very large baby or traumatic incident during delivery, your vagina will pretty much return to the way it was before baby.

Keep in mind though, your vagina will change slightly with each delivery, so if you’ve had four kids, you’re definitely not going to have the same vagina you had before you had any!

Your lady parts change colors.

Your entire vulva will probably be darker after childbirth. (This includes your perineum, labia…the whole kit and caboodle!) This happens because of hormonal changes, but also due to the trauma of birth.

You might be gifted with permanent hemorrhoids.

That’s right. Hemorrhoids that popped up during pregnancy or while pushing during delivery may never go away. This seems to be a topic most moms really shy away from, but statistics show they are really common. They may shrink over time, but it’s entirely possible that they’ll be with you for life. (Of course, you can see a specialist if they really bother you.) Not everyone gets them, but if you do, it might change how comfortable you are in certain positions. 

Your breasts might leak during sex.

The same hormones that are responsible for your orgasm are the same ones that allow for milk let-down. If this is going to stress you out, wear a bra with nursing pads inside, keep a wash cloth handy, or just have sex in the shower.

You’re going to hear a lot about Kegels.

Kegels are exercises you can do to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. This will especially help with mild urinary incontinence (and perhaps prevent it, if you haven’t yet experienced it). The thing to realize is that you have to do three sets of 10 Kegels a day, using the correct muscles (which don’t include your abdomen, thighs, or butt), and you still might end up with issues. So I don’t blame you if you don’t add it to your list of things to worry about as a mom!

Sex after baby- no sex drive

Your sex drive might have driven off into the sunset.

Breastfeeding means you’ll be high on oxytocin, but low on libido, and sleep deprivation certainly doesn’t help things. It’s completely normal to have virtually no sex drive for a while. Eventually, you will want sex again.

Don’t look at your body or your circumstances and think, this is how things will be for the rest of my life. You will feel more and more like yourself again (in all aspects) after six months, after a year, and so on. Your child will eventually sleep through the night, go off to school, and leave the nest! You will get your sex life back. In the meantime, cultivate other types of physical intimacy with your partner. This leads me to the next point.

You’ll have to get creative in the bedroom.

Lack of physical intimacy in a marriage leads couple to feel like roommates, so sex is still important after kids come along. It will just have to happen a little differently. While lube will become your new best friend and quickies in the afternoon will be the norm (if sex happens at all), you might want to add a few other items and tricks to your arsenal.

Get creative and consider using toys as an alternative to intercourse. Beyond that, just being physically affectionate, taking showers together, and snuggling on the couch can be invaluable to maintain connection during this time. Don’t let kids take the spark out of your marriage– it’s critical to keep that connection going!

Sex after baby- keep the connection

What would you add to this list? How has your body and sex life changed after having kids?

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