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First Weeks Home

When it’s time to bring your baby home, Huggies is here to lend a hand during those first few weeks. We’ve put together everything you need to make you and your baby feel right at home.

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Protect Your Baby’s Skin

Use the right stuff. For your little darling’s first year, especially during the first two to three months, use only products—including moisturizer, shampoo, body wash, lotion, and even laundry detergent—that are made for babies or are free of dyes, fragrance, phthalates, and parabens, all of which can cause irritation.

Go easy on baths. Given that babies don’t do much, daily bathing is not required. In fact, it can actually dry out their skin. “Bathe your infant two to four times a week, using warm—not hot—water and mild soap, and limit bath time to about five minutes,” recommends Bernard Cohen, M.D., director of pediatric dermatology at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore, Maryland. Apply baby lotion immediately after; it better penetrates moist skin.

Keep the rays away. Because babies’ skin is on the thin side, they’re at higher risk for sunburn. Avoid exposing your tot to direct sunlight during his first six months. “I was a maniac with the sun protection,” says Jeannie Kim, a mother of one from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. “My baby wore pants in July, hats, hats, hats, and we attached one of those big sun shades to the stroller.” Once your child is 6 months old, during warm-weather months, dress her in sun-protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat and kiddie sunglasses, and apply baby-safe sunscreen.

Don’t stress about breakouts. Restless hormones during your baby’s first six weeks may trigger acne (although unlike you, she won’t be desperate for concealer). Some babies get eczema, an itchy red rash. Most of the time, these conditions clear up on their own, but talk to your pediatrician if you’re concerned. And, no worries, your baby will always be beautiful to you.

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Tips for getting great baby pics.

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What New Moms Need

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Three things to keep in mind before you travel

Stick to your regular schedule

Try to schedule the departure of your trip around your baby's regular naptime or bedtime — if he has one. That way your baby will sleep for at least part of the trip. "I would recommend that a parent refrain from interrupting a baby's sleep schedule before a flight," says Daniel R. Bronfin, MD, clinical pediatrics professor at Tulane School of Medicine in New Orleans and physician at New Orleans' Ochsner Foundation Hospital. "Trying to sleep deprive an infant, for example, in order to make him/her sleep on the plane, will often backfire."

Planning ahead

Catharine Shaner, MD, FAAP, a pediatrician and advisor with the American Safety and Health Institute in Holiday, Florida, recommends parents try to schedule flights during non-peak times or days, so it is less crowded and less overstimulating for your baby, which can make for a very fussy baby. She also recommends parents call and confirm their travel itineraries with the airlines ahead of time. At that time, request any special seating requirements, such as asking for a bulkhead seat — where there is no seat in front of you — which should offer the most room.

"Some airlines do not make these available ahead of time and sometimes the bulkhead may be the emergency exit row," Dr Shaner says. The emergency exit rows are typically off limits for parents traveling with young children.

If you can't get a bulkhead seat, ask to be seated in a "noisy" area of the plane, recommends frequent flyer Phoebe Dey of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. "I think most airlines do this anyway, but if not, I would request it," she says. "Most of the babies were seated in the middle of the plane, right over the engines. Not only does it muffle some of the sound from crying babies, the vibration seems to knock the babies right out."

Elizabeth Pantley, parenting expert and author of Gentle Baby Care, says parents also should ask airlines if they have any special features for families traveling with babies. "Some companies offer bassinets, gate check for strollers or early boarding privileges."

What to bring

You probably will have loaded your suitcases up with all the essentials, but don't forget to have a diaper bag — preferably one you can carry as a backpack — handy and packed with the following:

  • Plenty of diapers, wipes and diaper rash cream for the trip. (Ask friends or relatives to have some diapers on hand for you at your final destination.)
  • A bag to hold dirty diapers, especially if you use cloth.
  • A bottle of hand sanitizer so you can "wash" your hands when you don't have access to water.
  • Bottles and extra pacifiers.
  • A baby blanket — good for warmth as well as for privacy when breastfeeding.
  • A change of clothes — or two — for Baby. You may also want to dress him in layers, since airplanes can be rather cold or get very hot!
  • An extra top for you (in case you are breastfeeding and leak breastmilk).
  • A travel-size diaper changing pad or disposable diaper changing cloths.
  • A small can of disinfectant spray or wipes that kills bacteria and viruses to clean surfaces where you change your baby, such as Lysol or VIROFREE.
  • A bottle of water for mixing formula and for you to keep hydrated! Make sure to ask the flight attendant for a cup of warm water to put the bottle in to heat the formula or breastmilk.
  • A bib, bowl, spoon and baby food if your baby is on solids, along with snacks for babies on solids.
  • A cloth to quickly wipe up spills or spit-up.
  • A carrying case that can keep pumped breastmilk bottles cold.
  • Some toys to keep baby entertained.

You may also want to bring an umbrella stroller — maybe even one that reclines — or a front carrier to make getting around the airport a lot easier. Typically, you will be allowed to check your stroller just before you board the plane and it will be stored with the luggage. The airline workers will then bring it up for you just after you get off the plane.

Kerry Zarend Camp of Memphis, Tennessee, first flew with her son when he was three months old. "I nursed him on take-off and landing — making many business men blush!" she says. "The flight attendants were very helpful and one was delighted to hold the baby while I used the restroom. Of course my dad got the terminal mixed up and was late to meet us so we were waiting a long time. I was very glad to have my stroller!"

Christina Tillsley, of Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, who flew with her baby when he was just a few months old, recommends changing your baby's diaper right before you board the plane. "Bring plenty of wipes and [zipper plastic] bags, plus any favorite 'lovies' your little one might have," she adds.

Dr Bronfin also suggests that along with your essential items that you try to make friends with those you are sitting next to on a plane. "You will feel a bit less guilty when the baby wails or spits up on them," he adds.

Pantley says if your baby is unhappy and begins to cry, take a deep breath and focus your attention on your baby. "Fellow passengers who are unhappy about the disruption may forget that you have as much right to be on the airplane as they do," she says. "They also may forget how difficult it is for a baby or young child to be patient during a long flight. Your best defense against an unpleasant stranger is to say with a smile, 'I'm doing the best I can.' And then tend to your baby."

Ear pain

When traveling by plane, the change in altitude, especially when taking off and landing, can cause an infant to wail! There are a few things you can do to keep his ears from hurting.

Dr. Bronfin recommends you either breastfeed your baby, offer him a bottle or give him something to suck on — like a pacifier — during takeoff and landing. This, he says, will prevent increased middle ear pressure and pain. Dr. Shaner says to keep nasal passages dry and to prevent stuffiness, parents should make sure their baby is well hydrated.

"Dry nasal passages make Eustachian tubes [in the ear] stickier and more difficult to operate," Dr. Shaner says. "It is important to begin as soon as the plane leaves the ground or as soon as the pilot announces the descent, for waiting too long may make simple maneuvers such as swallowing ineffective." Dr Shaner says a decongestant may help with nasal stuffiness and suggests giving the medication one hour before takeoff. Always check with your doctor before giving your baby any medications, to make sure the medication is suitable as well as for dosage allowances.

"It is NOT recommended to fly with a cold, sinus or ear infection," Dr Shaner warns. "Eardrums may rupture in those cases."

Pantley recommends taking your baby to your healthcare provider a week or two before your trip to ensure he isn't "harboring an ear infection or other illness. If possible, avoid exposing your child to other children the week before the flight so he's less likely to catch one of those many kid-carried bugs," she adds.

Along with taking care of your precious baby, don't forget to take care of yourself! If you are traveling just a few months after childbirth, don't be too hard on your body. "Make sure you drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, especially if you are breastfeeding, and don't lift anything heavy off the carousel or anywhere else. You could easily hurt yourself," says Paula Shelton, of Wellington, New Zealand, creator of the website www.flyingwithkids.com. "When you nurse on the plane, make sure you use the pillows to support yourself, or invest in an inflatable lumbar support to help your back. It really makes a difference to be comfortable when feeding."

Safety

Dr. Shaner says the safest place for a baby during the flight is in an FAA-approved car seat. You may have to purchase a seat for your infant as well. Many airlines, however, do allow a child under the age of two to ride on your lap. "Check with the airline to see if your brand [of car seat] is approved when purchasing tickets," she says.

Sounds easy, right? Keep in mind you will soon be at your destination and in the arms of happy people who can't wait to see you and your baby! Just remember to take everything in stride, take a deep breath and enjoy the ride!

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Getting to the germ of truth

A newborn’s immune system is vulnerable during her first six weeks. You don’t need to hide away, though — just take some commonsense precautions:

Try to commit to breastfeeding for the first six weeks, or as long as you can.

Keep tissues and hand sanitizer nearby as you pass the baby around to friends, neighbors and family members. Don’t hand your baby over to anyone who’s coughing, sniffling or sneezing.

Avoid traveling on planes, trains or buses for the first six weeks if at all possible. If you must travel, keep your hands washed or sanitized or consider wearing gloves that you take off only to handle the baby, 1950s nanny style. Make sure you have your pediatrician’s number stored in your phone, and when you get to your destination, also store the number and location of the closest pediatric emergency services.

Guard your young baby from kootchie-coo strangers. (Try this line: “I’m sorry, but she has a cold and I don’t want you to catch it!”)

Fevers, feeding problems and dehydration can be life-threatening emergencies for a newborn, so always seek medical attention right away if your baby has a fever or wets fewer than four diapers in a 24-hour period.

Sandy and Marcie Jones are the authors of Great Expectations: Baby’s First Year. Order your copy from Barnes &Noble.

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Flying With Your Baby: Take to the Skies without the Cries

Spread out. “I’ve learned from experience that it’s best to buy the baby a plane ticket and bring the infant carrier,” says Ashley Bryan, a mom of three in Las Vegas, Nevada. Yes, it’s a little pricier, but It’s also the safest way for a child to fly, and you’ll enjoy the extra real estate.

Back it up. First class: overrated! When flying with your baby, you’ll feel more discreet about nursing and diapering in the rear of the plane. There’s even womb-like engine noise for lulling baby to sleep.

Be prepared. Organizing before you go will make for an uneventful plane ride—a good thing. Cross-check your packing list with this one.

Downsize. An inexpensive, umbrella-style stroller navigates most easily through crowded airports when traveling with a baby. It’s also compact enough to check at the gate, so you can immediately get rolling again upon arrival. (And you won’t mourn its loss if the luggage handlers mangle it—not uncommon.)

Get an escort. Instead of juggling your baby and belongings through security, ask a staffer to move you to the front of the line. Chances are, they will. You’re a VIP now, baby!

Do bedtime onboard. “Walking around for a half hour or so before a flight wears my baby out,” says Eve Durando, a mom of one in Los Angeles, California. “I then change him into pajamas before we board, read Goodnight Moon once we’re seated, and hope that he’ll sleep through most of the flight. It usually works!”

Prepare for pressure. Michelle Norton Brady, a mom of two in Albequerque, New Mexico, had a bottle at the ready during both takeoff and landing to help her infants’ ears adjust to pressure changes without painful popping. “As long as my kids were sucking on something, they were good to go,” she says.

Look, Ma—no hands! “Wearing my baby—I have an Ergo carrier—gave me ultimate flexibility while checking my luggage and buying snacks before the flight,” says Michelle Bonifazi, a mom of one in Hiawatha, Iowa. “It also kept my baby calm, and made nursing and napping a breeze once we were in the air. I was even able to browse the Sky Mall catalog using both hands. Amazing!”

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Best Music For Babies (That You'll Love, Too)

“My 7-year-old and 9-day-old like Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. Even danced in my belly!”—Rebecca G.

“Country music. They both seem to like the same woman their daddy does…the one and only Reba.”—Theresa J.

“They Might Be Giants!”—Rhonda G.

“Our little Cubanita likes salsa, Cuban timba, all sorts of Latin music. Even before she could sit up she would wiggle like crazy. Now she clings to Daddy’s leg with one arm and waves the other while bouncing her little bottom up and down. The child’s born to dance, like her parents.”—Terrie E.

“My girl loves The Beatle’s Hey Jude and Patsy Cline. She’s old school, I guess. :)”—Sarah H.

“She listens to all kinds of weird stuff with my hubby, but 3 Doors Down puts her to sleep every time. We use it sparingly, so as not to dilute its effect!”’—Erin W.

“My 10-month-old loves Wilco and James Taylor.”—Rick H.

“ABBA!”—Erika K.

“The theme songs to General Hospital and Gilmore Girls.”—Brooke M.

“Oh, gosh, I got a list: Tori Amos, Poe, Bob Marley, Paramore, Gwen Stefani, Korn…she likes variety.”—April J.

“My son and daughter love Michael Jackson’s music, especially Beat It and Thriller.”—Nesha P.

“My little man really enjoys Taylor Swift! I listened to her while I was pregnant, and I think he recognizes her voice.”—Heather D.

“Rap. I think it’s because her father would blare it when I was pregnant with her!”—Angelina R.

“I have been playing classical music to Melody since the first day she came home. Music is a great influence—she now enjoys all music and will stop dead in her tracks and sing to almost anything.”—Michelle S.

“Rev Peyton, Johnny Cash, Waylon and Willie and of course, Janis.”—Elizabeth L..

“My GLEE soundtracks. A Gleek in training!”—Rebecca B.

“Sade seems to calm him down. I played it throughout pregnancy, delivery, and anytime he’s a little fussy.”—JaGerre J.

“Les Mis, Janis Joplin, Louis Prima. What a nice break from all the kid music!”—Keely B.

“My 2-and-a-half-month old likes anything we play…so rap in Daddy’s car, and country or rap in Mommy’s!”—Johna V.

“My 5-month-old loves The Grateful Dead, Phish, Beatles and Green Day.”—Sharon W.

“The 80s!”—Kimberly H.

“My son loves Lady Gaga....which worries me.”—Courtney S.

“My baby hates long drives, but as long as Carrie Underwood is playing, she does great. Even if she is screaming, I play Carrie and she stops. Thank heaven for her and her music!”—Misty Z.

“The Ramones. My 2-year-old has been listening to them since he was 3 weeks old.”—Marissa G.

“My daughter likes Lady Gaga, Black Eyed Peas and Bob Marley. I’m ready to toss Gaga and BEP out the window; the only one I never get sick of playing is Bob Marley.”—Heather D.

Want to trade more new-parent tips? Visit Huggies’ Facebook page

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Help your dog feel the love for the new baby

I'm not a dog person. I'm so much more of a baby person. My best friend has a dog (a big dog) and he licks her baby's face and runs around and it makes me crazy.

Oddly, though, the two of them get on like great roommates.

Bella loves him and he adores her. But there were some heavy adjustments in the beginning and some still. If you have a dog, you can ease your pet into the idea of having a new baby around before you give birth.

Allow your pet to be in the same areas your baby will be spending a lot of time in — say the nursery and living room. However, if you haven't already, start to make sure he's not jumping up on furniture because he could knock over something with your baby on it or knock something onto your baby.

If your dog is super calm in the nursery, give him tons of love and rewards.

I've read that you can get a baby doll that cries to get your dog used to you carrying something new around but that sounds very odd to me. Still, I have heard that it can help.

If your baby is born at home, keep your dog out of the area until after the birth and then take out a blanket that smells of your newborn for him to sniff. Do the same if you're coming home from the hospital.

Use caution. Now that you're a parent, your baby's safety comes first. I've seen babies who were hurt by dogs because the family "assumed" they'd eventually calm down and accept the baby. Not all dogs and babies can co-exist peacefully. It might be sad but the baby comes first. If it's been months and your pet has not adjusted, is still jumping up or trying to nip the baby, it's time to find him a new home.

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mom with baby on shoulders

Get Out! Places To Go With Your Newborn

An art museum.

“New babies are still developing their various senses, including eyesight—so things generally tend to be a blur for them,” says Wittenberg. But they can see items with high contrast, so make a beeline for the modern art section. It will also coax along your baby’s ability to see colors, which kicks in at around 2 months of age.

A restaurant.

Your baby won’t be enjoying the special of the day, but she will be exposed to new smells and new faces as you enjoy a well-deserved meal out.

The aquarium.

Zoos are more enticing once you have a curious toddler, but for newborns, this more contained and smaller environment—with its slow-moving, patterned fish—is just the right speed. It can encourage them to track movement with their eyes, which typically happens between 8 and 12 weeks.

An animal shelter.

Infants 2 months and older will enjoy watching the frolicking puppies and kittens. Caution: You may be tempted to add another mouth to feed.

Your old office.

Reconnect with the outside world by visiting the work gang. Hopefully, they’ll take a break from oohing and ahhing over the baby to give you the latest scoop on office gossip.

The farmer's market.

Stock up on fresh food and fresh air. “Outdoor activities are great for everyone,” points out Wittenberg. “Getting a little exercise gives you energy. And the motion and sunlight help parent and baby sleep more soundly.”

Public garden.

Babies can gaze at patterns and colors—or just snooze—as you relax in the tranquility of the place. Take time to stop and smell the roses!

Image: Huggies

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What nobody tells you about postpartum life

Wake-up call

When you imagine the birth of your baby, we know that you have good intentions. You envision that magical moment when you gently rouse your partner from sleep. "It's time," you whisper — except in your fantasy, you look like Jennifer Aniston did when her character went to have her baby on the season finale of Friends. And you still look like Jennifer Aniston at the end of your fantasy, when you grip your partner's hand, smile at the doctors and nurses in the sterile room, and push your baby out into the world. The fantasy probably ends there.

We think that's sweet.

We also think you might benefit from a small taste of reality, and since we have had a few children already, here we offer some practical postpartum advice that eventually you will appreciate.

Trust us.

One hour after baby's birth

An hour after you give birth, you'll probably be ready to take your first postpartum trip to the potty. (Yes, you now have to call it a "potty" until your baby turns 27.) The fear you will feel at this moment will make your labor anxiety seem positively trivial. You may even beg the nurses to please let you just keep the catheter forever.

But eventually, what goes in must come out — and you are going to have to haul your floppy body off the bed and into the bathroom. There you will be given a small plastic bottle. Quite possibly, no one will explain what this mysterious bottle is for, because that would indicate a level of caring and helpfulness that people will seldom show you, now that you are a mom and no longer a pregnant person.

Well, we're here to tell you it's actually a "peri bottle," and you are supposed to fill it with warm water and spray it on your nether regions while and after you pee.

Do not stop reading.

This is so important, regardless of how ridiculous you think it sounds. If you try to pee without doing this, you will wish you were dead. And if you think you are going to actually wipe yourself after you pee, then you are a sick, sick woman, and we do not want to be friends with you anymore.

Be sure to take your peri bottle home from the hospital with you. You'll need it for about a week. Maybe more.

Also, dispense with any preconceptions you may have about peeing in the shower; it's not a bad way to go, at least for the very first time you go. And while you're at it, you may as well go ahead and drop all your other preconceptions about People Who Do Things Differently, because, my little chickadee, you are about to learn the great lesson of If It Works and No One Dies, It's OK.

One day after baby's birth

So now some time has passed. You're still in pain and you want it to stop. You've probably been cut off from your drug supply by now, and you're not happy about that.

We understand.

A sitz bath might help you. You get in a tub with a few inches of the hottest water you can stand. If this sounds appealing, go for it. Another suggestion: Dip a washcloth in witch hazel and just stick it, ah, wherever it hurts. For the sake of aesthetics, we recommend a dark-colored washcloth, and probably a cheap one that you won't mind throwing away afterwards. But that's your decision.

We have also heard that keeping the witch-hazel-immersed cloth in the fridge can make the whole experience so pleasurable that it borders on illegal activity; however, we did not actually try this. Our friend did, though, and we trust her — but don't blame us if you do not find Nirvana in your washcloth.

Two days after baby's birth

By now, you can no longer avoid The Big Potty Trip: the one during which you — how can we say this delicately? — do number two. You can cry all you want, but eventually, you are going to have to face that porcelain torture chamber, and you may as well get it over with so that your stomach will uncramp. Make sure you are well hydrated. Eat a lot of raisins, maybe some cole slaw (it's the raw cabbage you want). Ask your doc or midwife about a stool softener. A little prune juice isn't such a bad idea, either, and lay off the bananas after you give birth. No sense in making things any tougher (or firmer) than they have to be.

Put on a plate about five of the soft wipes you use on your precious baby's bottom and microwave them for about 10 seconds. They will be hot, and they'll have time to cool before you need them, but be careful. Take them into the bathroom with you. Lock the door, and tell your significant other or whatever Good Person Who Is Watching the Baby that you are Busy and Cannot Be Disturbed for the next little while. (If you are still in the hospital and cannot convince the nurses to microwave your wipes, simply run them under very hot water before you start.)

Now, here's a fact you'll just have to take on faith. (Remember that we have never lied to you about anything, and we are not going to start now.) You will not rip yourself apart when you go to the bathroom. You will not rip your stitches out, if you have stitches. You will not tear open a large, gaping hole in your body and bleed to death in the toilet. You may feel some discomfort (by which we mean pain), but you will not die in the bathroom.

Do what you need to do, then take your warm wipes and gently, gently dab. Do not tug or pull, unless you are feeling particularly sadistic. Use your peri bottle generously, then dab again with a fresh wipe. (By the way — don't flush the wipes unless you're so bored that you need the diversion of a hopelessly blocked toilet.)

You did it! You are very brave, and we are very proud of you.

Three days after baby's birth

By now, you are probably at home, and you are possibly beginning to feel like maybe you will live, and maybe you will even figure this mom thing out sometime in the next 27 years or so. Now's a good time for us to point out that, if you are still hurting a lot, and your healthcare professional says you're doing well, you may want to ask if a small glass of wine is OK. (We did not say you should get yourself snookered, and we do not recommend this as a daily remedy. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen might be a helpful alternative, but it could be said that neither one of these two is quite as much fun.)

It gets better every day

We don't expect you to memorize — or even believe — everything we tell you, but we hope you will at least save this article and refer to it when you need it. And remember: we are always here for you, and frankly, we are glad that you don't look like Jennifer Aniston.

We think you are even prettier.

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