Baby Bedtime Routine Ideas

Getting your baby into a bedtime routine can help you both get more sleep and is worth every effort. Although it may take time for your baby to recognize the pattern, consistency is the key to establishing a bedtime routine that truly helps your baby settle into bedtime and fall asleep. Here are some ideas to incorporate into your bedtime routine.

Bath time

A warm bath can help relax your baby and ease into bedtime. Gently massaging baby while cleaning can help calm them and using a bedtime lotion, like lavender, could also be helpful. In time baby will start to associate bathtime with bedtime and it will help him/her wind down.

Brush teeth

Long before your baby even has teeth you can prepare him/her for success by establishing a routine of gently wiping the gums. As teeth start coming in, you can use a gentle toothbrush and baby toothpaste or gel to keep them clean. Starting as young as possible will make this a regular habit your baby expects and maintains.

Story

Bedtime stories and songs become childhood memories and traditions. Choose a bedtime story with imagery that will captivate your baby but also has a sweet message. In time your baby will recognize and show excitement when shown this book, and likely continue asking for it and reading it as he/she grows. This also helps establish a positive relationship with reading that can help encourage literacy as baby grows. My babies both love the book, “I love you, stinky face”. When they were really little I would simply point out the images and colors, and maybe read or paraphrase the pages, but as they grew and I read the story to them they grew to love it and request it.

Song

Sing the same song or couple of songs every night. You will be surprised how early babies recognize songs, tunes, and patterns.

I worked as the music teacher at a child development center and sang, “This little light of mine,” to every class, every week, including the infant class. After only a few months, they would smile after only hearing a few words of the song, and by the time they were 1-year old, they would hold their fingers up, cover them, blow them out, and say “light” or other words along with me as I sang. Music is a source of comfort and familiarity so it won’t be long until those songs become a source of comfort for your baby, which they may very well remember their whole lives.

Do you still remember the songs your parents sang to you as a child? What do you incorporate into your baby’s bedtime routine?

Continue Reading

Diaper Changing Tips for New Parents

While it may seem like a basic skill to learn, I’ve been surprised to find that diaper-changing actually does take some technique and practice to master. And by master I mean tackle with confidence even under the worst circumstances, like a blowout on an airplane or all over the shopping cart at Target.

Here are some tips to remember as you begin your diaper-changing career to hopefully help you avoid having to learn some lessons the hard way.

Always use a mat

Most diaper bags come with diaper-changing mats, or you can buy them separately. But whatever you do, do not change your baby in public without one. And here’s why. I am embarrassed to admit that I was impatient and changed my 2-year old daughter in public at a movie theater without one when I didn’t want to go to my car to get it. I figured she knew the drill, I could hold her up, and it wouldn’t take long. Oh, how I regret that decision. About a week later she developed a bump in her diaper area that became infected, which we thought was just a bug bite. It tested positive for MRSA, and was extremely serious. I have never felt as guilty as when I realized it was probably from changing her diaper without a mat in public.

Position the fresh diaper before removing the dirty one

This tip has been life-changing for me, and I didn’t learn it until I had my second baby. After you take off your baby’s pants or undo the onesie, lift up their bottoms and spread out the fresh diaper behind them before you open the dirty diaper. Open the dirty diaper and clean as normal, then when you slide it out the fresh diaper will already be in position when you set the baby down. This will save you from having to juggle holding up your baby with one hand while handling the dirty diaper and grabbing the fresh diaper with the other hand. Not to mention if something goes wrong (or should I say when something goes wrong), the fresh diaper is there to catch the mess so you can easily just throw that one away without a huge mess to wipe up.

Pull out the wipes before removing the diaper

Get everything laid out and ready before taking off the dirty diaper. ESPECIALLY the wipes. I’ve found that wipes stick together, so when you’re trying to pull them out with your one free hand you’ll actually pull out a continuous rope of wipes and have to do a weird jerky-shake to get one to separate. Lay out the diaper rash ointment, and anything else you’ll need so you’re ready to go.

Use diaper rash ointment preventatively

Speaking of diaper rash ointment, it’s not a bad idea to use it preventatively rather than reactively as much as possible. Applying it even just before bed can help your little one avoid those awful, painful diaper rashes that can happen if they fill their diaper overnight without waking up. Especially if your baby is sick or on medication that can cause them to develop rashed more easily, have some handy and use it to help reduce the chances of a rash forming.

Pack a backup outfit for both of you

Baby isn’t the only one who can suffer from a blowout. Many parents also become victims when a leaky blowout strikes, and it’s usually out-and-about when it happens. Throw a lightweight shirt and pair of leggings in your diaper bag along with an extra onesie for baby in case a blowout has you both needing a change.

Hope for the best, expect the worst

The worst diaper changes always seem to happen at the most inconvenient times or at the worst places – it seems to be a law of nature. Whether you’re going on an airplane or out for a hike in the woods, plan ahead of time for the worst to occur and have a plan just in case.

What tips would you give to new parents about diaper changing?

Continue Reading

Life With My Rainbow Baby

Guest blog post written by Sarah from Alice and After, a mother to forever 5-month-old, Alice and rainbow Rosie Mae.

When my daughter Alice passed away from SIDS, I was crushed. My whole life had been decimated by the loss of my beautiful little girl, and my husband and I were left with no choice but to rebuild. Of course, nothing could ever fix the tremendous hole left in the heart of a parent who has lost a child. However, as we have been forced to move forward with Alice always in our hearts and minds, I have found a few things that have helped me cope. Since the grief process is different for everyone, effective coping mechanisms may vary for you; this is just my experience.

1. Talk about your child –

You have experienced an unthinkable loss, but your child’s life, no matter how short, was a blessing. Try to separate the child from the tragedy in your mind, and allow yourself to celebrate the joy they brought you. Say their name. Involve them in your life. Tell friends about them. There will be times this will be difficult, and you don’t need to force yourself, but don’t be afraid to share if you feel inclined.

2. Find a therapist – 

This is the #1 piece of advice I give to everyone who has lost a child because they can help you on a personal level rather than a “one size fits all” treatment. Particularly in the first year, coping with the loss of a child is extremely difficult. There is no need to attempt to cope on your own. A therapist can provide strategies that will help you grieve in a good way. They are professionally trained to help you overcome things come along with loss like PTSD, guilty feelings, bad dreams, and panic attacks. They are not there to help you “forget about it” or move on like nothing happened. Don’t be afraid to shop around for a therapist that is a good fit for you. I would recommend finding one who specializes in grief counseling.

3. Network with other loss parents –

Whether in person or online, connecting with other parents who have lost a child, possibly even in the same way you did, can be immensely helpful. Shortly after Alice passed, I joined a Facebook group of parents who had lost a child to SIDS in my area, and the mothers there welcomed me with open arms. We spoke openly of the day our babies passed and I was brought great comfort knowing I wasn’t alone in my loss. You can find validation, kind listening ears, and people who just get it by connecting with other parents who are familiar with infant loss, and I guarantee you will find lifelong friends.

4. Do whatever YOU need for peace of mind –

After losing a child, I can almost guarantee you will experience heightened anxiety. Do not be afraid to do whatever it takes to keep this at bay. If you find yourself extremely worried about your child’s health, find a pediatrician who will be understanding and call them or take them in as often as you need to. If you need extra ultrasounds during subsequent pregnancies, find a provider who is willing to accommodate you. If you are too anxious to sleep while your child sleeps, I would recommend purchasing something like an Owlet Smart Sock so you can keep an eye on your child at night by tracking their heart rate and oxygen. This may help you get the rest you need. I never would have been able to have more children without the promise of the peace of mind the Owlet Smart Sock brings me. Be patient with yourself. You are not crazy. You experienced the unthinkable, and of course you will never be the same. Peace of mind is invaluable, and there are people and products who can help provide it. Find them. Use them.

Losing a child brings unimaginable heartache. You will never be how you were before. Nothing can completely fix it, but if you honor their memory, prioritize your mental health, connect with other loss parents, and do whatever you need to for peace of mind, you can build a happy life where the tragedy of infant loss is just one piece of the puzzle.

 

Continue Reading

5 Tips for Surviving the Third Trimester

Hooray! You’ve made it to the third trimester! With only a few short months left until your baby arrives, follow these tips to help make the third trimester comfortable and bearable.

1. Scale back your responsibilities

As your baby grows bigger, your own body is being stretched to its limit (literally) to support your growing baby. You may feel more fatigued than ever, finding it difficult to accomplish your usual tasks. Don’t feel bad about this one bit, what else can be expected? Make a list of the things that absolutely must get done, like laundry or vacuuming, and delegate. If bending over to vacuum is too much and normally your task, delegate it. If standing at the sink and bending to the dishwasher repeatedly is too straining, delegate it.

2. Try going for walks

Considering the first tip was to help alleviate your fatigue, this tip may seem counterintuitive, but walking can do wonders during the third trimester. It can help manage your fatigue, blood pressure, swelling, and even help induce labor as you near your due date. If nothing else, a long walk can serve as a form of meditation, allowing you a chance to clear your mind without distractions.

3. Manage your discomfort

As 25-35ish pounds of baby belly throws off your center of gravity, squishes your digestive system, and puts pressure on your bladder, back, pelvis, etc. it’s no secret that the third trimester is known for some uncomfortable side effects. Some of the most common include, heartburn, swelling, and back pain. To this I say – don’t be a hero. Ask your doctor for medication to help manage your heartburn. Kick those feet up to help with the swelling, and splurge on a huge, comfy pregnancy pillow to help relieve your back pain.

4. Get a massage

But don’t just manage your discomfort, pamper yourself. Once baby comes, it becomes more difficult to find time for self-care, at least at first. So take advantage of this “you-time” to get a prenatal massage. Do some research to find a reputable one. They usually have special tables that support your baby bump so you can actually lay on your stomach again (hallelujah!). Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about this one.

5. Take a breastfeeding class

I didn’t know that my boobs would start leaking at the BEGINNING of my third trimester! That’s when I really noticed they were growing and changing, and taking a breastfeeding class shortly after that was extremely helpful. Initially, my plan was to take a breastfeeding class as close to my due date as possible so that the information was fresh when she was born, but I realized that understanding what was happening to me when I first noticed the changes was even more helpful and helped me prepare for what was to come. I was well-stocked and familiar with nursing pads, Lanolin, and nursing bras before my baby was born, and I was glad I didn’t have to figure out what I’d need while also dealing with recovery and taking care of a newborn. Once my baby was born, a lactation specialist visited me in the hospital and gave me personalized advice.

What tips would you give to those in their third trimester?

Continue Reading
Introducing Smart Sock 2! CLick here to learn more.
1 2 3 52