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Container Baby Syndrome: What It Is And How To Prevent It

I briefly mentioned Container Baby Syndrome in my post about what you need to know before taking your newborn home and many parents have reached out to me with questions. It seems like this is not something new parents are told about, so I’m going to explain what this is and how you can prevent it in your baby.

What is container baby syndrome and how can you prevent it

What is Container Baby Syndrome?

First things first: let’s identify what we’re talking about. Simply put, babies are spending too much time in various types of “containers”.

Take a moment to consider all the different types of baby equipment that didn’t exist 50 years ago. We have infant car seats, bouncy seats, swings, mamaroos and rockaroos, bumbo seats, dockatots, sleep positioners, high chairs, strollers, walkers, jumpers, exersaucers, and the list goes on. These are all baby products that new parents are told their baby needs. After the stuff is accumulated, we parents want to put it to use. Clever marketing of these products even convinces us that they are good for our babies.

The result? Baby spends his day going from one container to another. All these pieces of baby equipment restrict the baby’s ability to move on its own. This can having harmful effects over time.

Another part of the problem: parents are afraid to place baby on their tummy. Because of the back to sleep campaign, parents are aware that it is far safer for baby to sleep on their back vs. on their tummy. Some parents take that to mean that baby should NEVER be placed on their tummy. This is a false and dangerous assumption! Tummy time while baby is awake and supervised is critical for baby’s muscle development.

What are the signs of Container Baby Syndrome?

Container Baby Syndrome is not exactly a medical diagnosis. It is more of a cultural phenomenon noticed by physical therapists.

There are a few telltale signs of a baby spending too much time in movement-restricting baby equipment.

Here are the possible effects you will see:

  • plagiocephaly (aka flat head)
  • torticollis (tightness of the neck muscles restricting neck movement)
  • motor delays in rolling, sitting up independently, and crawling. Remember to keep an eye on your baby’s motor milestones and if you and your pediatrician find there are delays, request an Early Intervention evaluation (also called Birth to Three).

How can I prevent this from happening to my baby?

tummy time and floor play prevents container baby syndrome

The obvious answer is to spend less time with your baby in a container. But more specifically, here are some proactive things you can do starting at the newborn stage.

-Make sure your baby does tummy time several times per day.

Yes, even newborns should be doing tummy time. Even if they cry when placed on their tummy.

Start with short bursts, 1 minute long several times per day. As their neck muscles develop and grow stronger, they will enjoy it more and can go longer stretches.

If you forget about tummy time, build it into your routine by grouping it with something else you do often, like diaper changes. Every time you change baby’s diaper, end the diaper change with a few minutes of tummy time.

The ultimate goal is that your baby spends 10 minutes of every hour they’re awake on their tummy, according to the Arizona Orthopedic Physical Therapy association. This amount of tummy time provides maximum benefit to baby’s motor development.

-Alternate the direction you lay your baby down to sleep.

Tummy time is crucial, but to prevent SIDS we all know we need to place baby on their back when they go to sleep.

A crib doesn’t restrict baby’s movement, but it is still a type of baby container. If your crib is placed against the wall, chances are your baby prefers to look out into the room, not towards the wall. Over time, if the baby sleeps with his head facing the same direction all the time he can develop a flat spot and muscle tightness.

One simple thing you can do to help with this is switch which way you put baby in the crib each night. This way, they can face out into the room without always turning their head in the same direction.

Alternate which direction you lay baby in the crib to prevent flat head

-Do not allow baby to sleep in a car seat or other device.

Baby should always sleep on a firm, flat surface.

Parents have been warned several times in the news lately about the dangers of allowing your baby to sleep in car seats. There was also a safety recall of Fisher Price Rock n’ Plays. These devices force your baby into a position that restricts baby’s airway, putting them at risk for fatalities.

-Make “floor time” your baby’s default activity.

Assuming there are no hazardous pets or other reasons your baby shouldn’t be on the floor, by all means put a blanket down and make that your baby’s play place. Put some toys within reach and let your baby explore on his own. Wiggling, kicking their feet, and turning their head freely helps to strengthen the muscles and develops your baby’s motor skills.

If you need your baby contained for safety reasons, place them in a crib or pack and play. They can move more freely there than in an infant seat or swing.

Shouldn’t the baby be attached to me?

Holding your baby is a critical component to their development as well, so I am not suggesting that you stop holding or wearing your baby.

The goal is to reduce the amount of time baby spends in containers, not in a loving parent’s arms.

Think of replacing the time spent in infant seats and swings with floor time.

It’s also important to note that floor time doesn’t have to happen at the expense of bonding time! Your baby would love to have you on the floor playing with them. Many babies prefer to do tummy time when they can look up and see mom or dad’s face directly in front of them.

Another helpful new mom tip: do tummy time on your chest! Babies love to be close to their parent’s heart and feeling the warmth of their skin. Simply lay on your back with baby laying on top of you. He will likely try to pick up his head to see your face, thereby working his neck muscles.

What other questions do you have about Container Baby Syndrome?

Ask me in the comments and I will get you an answer!

Also, please do not add this to your list of new mom worries. The purpose of this article is to educate, not incite fear. Use your baby gear as you need to (of course such equipment as car seats are an absolute necessity!). Just keep it in the back of your mind so you don’t overuse these devices. Make the effort to do daily tummy time and floor time, and your baby should be just fine.

And for all things pregnancy and baby, don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest!

9 Strange Facts You Didn’t Know About Your Newborn

Before I had my first little one, I thought I was pretty knowledgeable about all things baby. As it turned out, I was in for quite a surprising ride! Even if you’ve done a ton of babysitting in your life, you’ve probably never cared for a newborn in their first hours and days of life. These strange newborn facts will help get you prepared for what you’re about to see.

Strange Newborn Facts You Didn't Know

Newborns poop with every feeding.

And they feed every 2-3 hours, around the clock. You do the math- that means newborns poop around 8 times per day!

There is a huge amount of variability with newborn poop, especially between breastfed and formula fed babies. Breastfed babies poop more often (to start) than formula fed babies. It is liquidy and can range in color from yellow to light brown. For the first six weeks or so, they will have dirty diapers 4-12 times a day.

After that, their bodies can hold more and their digestive systems slow down. At that point, breastfed babies may poop 1-3 times per day, or can go up to a week between bowel movements.

They really do see in black and white.

Babies are born with very immature vision. The underdeveloped eye muscles mean they frequently go cross-eyed, one of many terrifying newborn traits that can scare new parents. They also see in shades of black, white, and gray.

Gradually over the first few months, babies will develop their color vision. Until then, stimulate them with black and white toys and books.

Newborns also can only see 8-12 inches in front of them, so make sure to get nice and close. They prefer to look at faces than objects. Holding them close and gazing at them during feedings gives them the perfect visual stimulation.

Newborns often cry, but they can’t make tears.

Newborn crying without tears
Newborn crying without tears

Your newborn will spend a significant part of their day crying, but don’t expect to see any waterworks. They don’t make any tears for the first two weeks, and it will be months before they make enough tears to see them rolling down your little one’s cheeks.

According to Very Well Family:

Newborns start making tears when they are about two weeks old, but often it is just enough to keep their eyes moist and not enough to make real tears that you can see when they cry. Infants often don’t develop real tears that you can see until they are about seven or eight months old.

Mom’s hormones mean babies can develop breasts.

This might be the winner of the most strange newborn facts. Both boy and girl babies can be born with swollen breasts as a result of their mother’s hormones coursing through their bodies. You may even see a few drops of breastmilk leak out of their tiny nipples. Don’t be alarmed! It doesn’t mean anything is wrong with your baby, and it should completely stop around the one month mark.

Baby girls can even have a mini-period.

Also because of the exposure to Mom’s hormones, you might see some surprises when changing your daughter’s diaper. Small amounts of vaginal discharge are normal in the days after birth, as is a small amount of vaginal bleeding. Just clean the vagina gently with a wipe and diaper as usual. It is simply from her body withdrawing from the hormones she was exposed to in utero.

Although this is normal, if it does not fade within a few days you should call your doctor.

Babies come out with mysterious birth marks.

Baby with birthmark on forehead
Baby with birthmark on forehead

Often times these birth marks fade away over time.

Here are a few of the most common types of birthmarks you might find on your baby:

  • Nevus Simplex: Commonly called a “stork bite” or “angel kiss”, these harmless flat red birthmarks occur in up to 80% of newborn babies. They are collections of small red blood vessels often seen on the face, neck, or lower back. They should fade by the time the baby reaches toddlerhood.
  • Infantile hemangiomas: These raised red collections of blood vessels are often called “strawberry marks”. They are fairly common, with about 5% of babies having one. Infantile hemangiomas grow bigger during baby’s first couple months of life and then shrink down and fade. However, sometimes they require medical treatment so be sure to alert your doctor if your child has one.
  • Mongolian spots: Typically found on darker skinned babies, Mongolian spots are flat gray, blue, or brown areas of skin covering the back, butt, or legs. They may be mistaken for bruises, but unlike bruises they do not change in size or shape. They do gradually fade and should disappear by early childhood.

Baby boys get erections from day one.

And even before that, if you happen to catch him at the right moment on ultrasound.

Some parents are horrified to see their tiny newborn baby sporting an erection, but it’s nothing to worry about. It’s a purely physical reaction, often occurring when they are about to urinate. So if you see one, cover him up quickly before you get a shower!

Newborns have almost 100 more bones than adults.

It’s strange, but true. Babies are born with 300 bones, adults have only 206. 

The reason? Babies are soft and bendable by nature- it helps them be able to fit through the birth canal. They have more cartilage, which is more flexible than hardened bone. There is also space between bones, which will later fuse together. This fusing is how the number of total bones actually decreases with age.

One example is the skull, which is made up of separate plates or fontanelles in infants (remember that pesky soft spot on top of baby’s head?). You can see here how there are spaces between the plates in the newborn skull. In the adult skull, these plates have fused into one solid piece of bone.

Infant skull vs. adult skull

Babies’ heads are disproportionately huge.

In adults, the head makes up about 1/8 of a person’s total body length. For babies, the head is 1/4 to 1/3 of their height! Newborns have huge heads to accommodate their big brains, which are bigger than ever thanks to evolution:

The human lineage began to develop separately from other great apes approximately 5 million to 7 million years ago. While the brains of both branches continue to grow, the last 2 million years of human evolution have led to an explosion in brain growth. In contrast with the marginal increases in the great apes, the human brain has more than tripled in size over the past 2 million years. Despite such changes in the size of the brain, the human body has changed little in size over the same period. Livestrong

Throughout childhood and adolescence, head growth slows and limbs extend, resulting in the typical human proportions you see in adults.

What are your thoughts on these strange newborn facts?

Let me know in the comments!

And if you want to keep preparing for your upcoming arrival, don’t miss these things to know before taking your newborn home or these 21 newborn tips for new moms!

 

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.