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Finding Balance

Becoming a mom is a wonderful experience (of course!), but between working, cleaning, and caring for your baby, it can also be time-consuming. Huggies has some quick, easy ways to help give you a break.

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How to Say No (And Really Mean It!)

It’s just two tiny letters, yet saying "No"—and sticking to it—is one of the toughest tasks parents face. Some common goofs well-meaning parents make, and how to avoid them:

Mommy mistake: You say "No" too quickly.

Instead… Pause to consider your answer.

It’s like a reflex—your child asks for something, and you automatically blurt out "No." After a few minutes of pleading, though, you change your mind and give in. Instead, take a moment to think out your answer, suggests Betsy Brown Braun, author of You’re Not the Boss of Me. "Never say no if there is even the remotest possibility that you will change your mind," she says, "because then you are teaching your child that ‘no’ sometimes means ‘yes.’"

Mommy mistake: Your mouth says "No," but your eyes and voice say "Yes."

Instead… Make sure you mean it.

Kids are experts at reading faces and tones of voice—so if you say "No" in a too-sweet voice or smile apologetically, your child might not take your answer seriously. You don’t have to raise your voice or scowl, but an "I mean business" face and firm tone will get your message across loud and clear.

Mommy mistake: You get caught up in a long "But why not?" discussion.

Instead… Give a quick reason and move on.

Toddlers may not have extensive vocabularies, but they’ll use every word they know to try to change your mind. Simply say, "You can’t have that cookie because we’re eating dinner soon, and I’m all done talking about it."

Mommy mistake: You give in to tears.

Instead… Divert their attention.

It’s hard to listen to your child cry, but giving in will just teach them to turn on the waterworks to get what they want. The good news is that toddlers are easily distracted, says Brown Braun. "Say, ‘No, you can’t buy that stuffed animal, but let’s go outside and look for a fire truck or police car!’"

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baby laughing

7 Tips for Surviving a Road Trip with Young Children

Last night my family of six rolled back into town, surviving a 20 hour (one way) road trip to sunny Florida all the way from gloomy Indiana. It’s a trip I’ve personally taken yearly since I was a small girl, and over the years it’s become a tradition my husband and I have passed down to our family. The only “negative” is that because of our family size and the cost of airline flights, we must drive instead of fly.

And while it’s a marathon of a drive, I don’t really dread it. In fact, with a little prep and planning, it can be actually fun! We manage just fine, because I always come armed with an arsenal of tips and tricks up my sleeve.

A few tricks I use when road tripping with my small children:

  1. Leave before the sun rises.
  2. I’ve found it makes the trip feel shorter if we can get a few hours down the road before anyone is begging for snacks, needs entertainment, or has to go potty.

  3. Pack lots of fresh fruit.
  4. For us, avoiding the junk food keeps the sugar highs (and lows) at bay. A 2 year old on a sugar binge strapped in a car seat? No thank you.

  5. Break up the drive and spend the night at a hotel that has a pool, if possible.
  6. After riding in the car all day, it can be hard to wind down to go to bed, especially in an unfamiliar environment. Swimming in a pool for a bit before bedtime is an awesome way to have some fun and get the wiggles out.

  7. Install passenger-side car shades.
  8. Nothing’s worse than a tired baby that can’t nap on the road because the sun is either in his eyes, or the heat is getting to him. Our minivan came with pre-installed shades we can easily pull up when needed, but similar type shades can also be inexpensively be purchased and installed as well.

  9. Take frequent short breaks.
  10. In the long run, I’ve found it keeps moral high to spend the extra 5 minutes at the rest stop, letting the little ones crawl around in the grass for a few minutes getting some much needed physical activity.

  11. Anticipate traffic jams.
  12. Before I leave town, I do my research and figure out where the construction is, and at what mile markers we might delayed. By knowing where on the map to anticipate traffic jams, I can make sure we have a full gas tank and happy bellies. Oh, and that everyone is properly pottied and diapered.

  13. Relax, and go with the (traffic) flow.
  14. While road trips can be super fun, there’s also a high probability that not everyone will be happy at all times. It’s OK to let the “crabbies” run their course, because this too shall pass (somewhere farther down the road).

How about you? Do you have any go-to travel road trip tips or tricks?

Image: DisneyBaby

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5 Things Not to Stress About When You Become a Mother

There’s a lot to stress about when you become a new mom.

From worries about your little one’s sleep habits to health to balancing your new “normal” as a mother, having a baby changes everything that your prioritize in your life. As a mom, I feel like I constantly think of my life in terms of B.C. and A.C.—before children and after children, because that’s how drastic of a change it can be.

But even though everything changes, it’s been my goal to make motherhood as enjoyable as possible. And even in the big moments and the worries that naturally come with parenthood, there are a few moments along the way that are definitely not worth stressing out over, such as…

  1. Sleeping.
  2. Ha. Bet you weren’t expecting that one, were you? But with my first few babies, I was so stressed about how much sleep I was missing/getting that I actually made my life more miserable. By baby #4, I finally learned that it’s better to just not look at the clock during those late-night feedings (no, really, it changed my life!) and just go with the flow for a few months. I am dead serious when I say that if you can, just stop looking at the clock and doing that mental calculation–you know the one where you think, OK, if I go to sleep right now, I might get two hours in…?–just stop it entirely. You and your baby will both settle into a routine before you know it.

  3. Potty training.
  4. Confession time: Potty training my first daughter was terrible. Although she got the hang of it pretty quickly, it was a miserable experience for both of us because I was terrified that she wouldn’t succeed. As it turns out, every child is different and potty training shouldn’t be a stressful experience. Try it, keep it light, and it will happen eventually, I promise.

  5. Toys.
  6. There was a time in my motherhood journey that I declared that I would be the type of parent to only let my children play with sticks and use their imagination (OK, that’s an exaggeration, but you get my point.) Our house would NOT be cluttered with toys, I declared. But guess what? Kids love toys, they are good for them and their imaginations and it’s a better life if you can embrace the good of toys, because there will come a time when your play room will be sparse once again. My advice? Invest in some cute and colorful baskets or bins, make a game out of picking them up at the end of the day, and lose the stress about having a constantly clean home, because everyone will be a lot happier for it.

  7. What anyone else thinks.
  8. Be honest: How much of your parenting decisions are actually based on what you think other people will think of you as a parent? Yup, me too. I’ve totally worried about what our doctor might say to me if I admitted I didn’t brush my 2-year-old’s teeth all the time or I was having trouble getting him to eat anything other than cottage cheese. Even after four kids, I still struggle a lot with fear of being judged for my parenting choices, and I think that’s a very normal and real fear. We are judged by who we are as individuals by how the world sees us as parents–which isn’t always an accurate view of our whole parenting, anyway. So even though it’s hard, we really need to remind ourselves that parenting our children is about what’s best for them and no one else.

  9. “Bouncing back.”
  10. Listen, mamas, I’m right there in the same boat as you, struggling with body image issues after baby. I want to feel good and I want to be proud of what I see in the mirror, too. Those don’t have to be mutually exclusive. But I’m so over beating my body up or criticizing how long it might take me to reach my goals. Health and fitness is a lifelong journey that is about loving our bodies. Trust me when I say that you will get where you want to be a lot faster if you practice positive thinking (no, “I’m hideous!” moments in your closet with your postpartum wardrobe allowed) instead of hating on the very normal changes that having a baby can bring.

Image: DisneyBaby

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13 Disney Dads And What Makes Them Great Fathers

There is something especially sweet and heartwarming about watching a father care for his children. While we know mothers to be magical in their own right, fathers are pretty magical themselves. They can instantly ease our fears, and as little ones, they can lift us into the sky and make us fly. They have an ability to make us feel safe and their often easygoing nature helps remind us not to sweat the small stuff.

The fathers of Disney are no exception. Some of our most beloved Disney movies feature appearances from father figures, each of them playing a significant role in the lives of their children. Like many of the great fathers or father figures in our own lives, the dads of Disney are protectors, willing to give up anything for the good of their family. They look after their young, show them the ropes and impart lessons into their lives through their words, actions or both.

They’ve also got some of the biggest hearts. For some of them, their children were always theirs. For others, a child (or 3 or 84) came into their lives, tugged on their heartstrings, and became theirs in some way or another.

In celebration of Father’s Day, we are sharing 13 dads from Disney classics as well as the traits they possess that make them great fathers.

  1. Mr. Incredible (The Incredibles)
  2. Bob Parr is brave, strong and heroic. Not only does he possess physical strength but inward strength as well. When his family is faced with a trial they get through it together. Mr. Incredible also has a desire to help others making him a great hero and father.

  3. Mr. Banks (Mary Poppins)
  4. Mr. George Banks is known for being quite serious; however, he had a desire to become a better father and husband and made an effort to do so.

  5. King Fergus (Brave)
  6. King Fergus acts as a peacemaker trying to help his wife to be able to better communicate with their daughter; he is a protector and a teacher. He also has quite a sense of humor; something that has probably helped him through various challenges that come from being a parent and a king.

  7. Marlin (Finding Nemo)
  8. Marlin is one determined and brave father. When Nemo goes missing, Marlin puts his fears aside and harnesses the courage to go out into the world and find his son.

  9. Mufasa (The Lion King)
  10. Mufasa is courageous, loving and wise. Mufasa is the protector of his family and kingdom. He loved his son Simba so much that he was willing to risk his own life in order to save Simba’s. His wisdom served as a guiding light for Simba even long after he had gone.

  11. Pongo (101 Dalmatians)
  12. Although he comes across as laid back Pongo is also very loyal to those that he loves. He is clever and resourceful, and uses these characteristics to help him and Purdita find their puppies and keep them safe. Pongo is also very loving, making the decision to adopt 84 puppies to love and care for in addition to their original 15.

  13. King Triton (The Little Mermaid)
  14. Despite being strong willed, King Triton still has a gentle way about him. He is honest and open about his thoughts and despite his opinions being difficult to understand, at the focal point of each one is his desire to keep his family safe.

  15. Maurice (Beauty and the Beast)
  16. Although misunderstood by many of the townspeople, Maurice is a bright man. He is creative which serves him well as an inventor. He also seeks to be a provider for his family, hoping that his creation will lead to a new life for he and Belle.

  17. James (The Princess and the Frog)
  18. Tiana’s father James was hardworking but he was also a dreamer. He valued family and instilled in Tiana the value of hard work. When he passed away Tiana continued to work hard in an effort to make her father’s dream a reality, which had now become her dream.

  19. Carl (Up)
  20. Carl possesses a willingness to change. Given his age it is understandable that he might be set in his ways; however, over time his stubborn demeanor fades and his heart opens up to receive the love of Russell, Kevin and Dug. He also knows that in the end it’s the people in your life that matter most. Carl loved his house but loved Russell, Kevin and Dug more. “It’s just a house.”

  21. Thomas (The Aristocats)
  22. Thomas is the cool dad but he is also clever and nurturing. He becomes a caretaker to Dutchess’ babies, Marie, Berlioz, and Toulouse, opening his heart to receive all the love they have to give and giving it right back.

  23. Tramp (Lady and the Tramp)
  24. Tramp is laid back, smart and resourceful. These are all skills that helped him survive living on the streets and helped him to save Lady when she was in trouble. Tramp also has a soft side which became increasingly evident when he and Lady shared a spaghetti dinner.

  25. Gepetto (Pinocchio)
  26. Gepetto is a kind and devoted father who loves without measure. It didn’t matter to Gepetto if Pinocchio was a “real boy” because Pinocchio was his boy. And he loved him unconditionally. Gepetto understood that no matter what manner a child comes into our lives, their presence is a gift.

Image: DisneyBaby

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10 Ways You Are Rocking Motherhood

There are a lot of moments in my motherhood career that I’ve definitely wished I could do over. Heck, there are a lot of moments in my life, period, that I wish I could do over.

But as moms, I have to admit that I think we are way too hard on ourselves. We’re so quick to judge ourselves and focus on everything we are doing wrong as parents.

So for today, moms?

Today, we focus on all of the ways you are rocking motherhood.

  1. When the baby had a blowout on your lap and you were in the middle of dinner at a restaurant.
  2. No sweat—nothing a few wet wipes, a clean diaper and that extra outfit you keep stashed in your diaper bag can’t fix. Or, if you’re like me, nothing a few towels and a quick trip to the store across the street for a brand new outfit can’t fix. (True story.)

  3. When you stay home or head to work.
  4. Because all moms are working and all moms are loving their babies.

  5. When you feed your baby.
  6. I know it sounds simple—because it is. And yet, we still have disagreements about how a mother can feed her baby. But whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding, you are nourishing your baby and that’s all that matters.

  7. When you caught the baby puke just.in.time.
  8. I call it Mom Reflexes for the win, but somehow, we all have those moments when you can just tell that the baby is about to spit up and out comes the baby burp cloth (or your hand).

  9. When you embrace the nighttime feedings.
  10. I’m not saying you do it every time, of course, because sleep is a beautiful thing, but there is such a power in taking a look around in those middle of the night feedings, catching a glimpse of the moonlight, and really treasuring just being there in the moment with your baby.

  11. When you met your baby for the first time.
  12. Whether you adopted, delivered, or pushed that baby into the world, you met your little one with open and loving arms. Could there be anything better?

  13. When you laughed when you felt like crying.
  14. Oh, mama–we’ve all been there. I’ve sat on my steps with two (or more) babies crying in my arms, puke literally on the walls, and one unfortunate incident involving actual poo in my toddler’s eyebrows, and the craziness of it all made me laugh instead of cry. It happens!

  15. When you accepted that help.
  16. If you’re lucky enough to have a helping hand in this business of bringing up baby and are smart enough to accept that help without feeling guilty (there’s the key!), then there’s no doubt about it–you rock.

  17. When you finally master potty training.
  18. Pretty sure we all deserve a massive medal or at least some kind of cake when this momentous occasion arrives. All hail the potty training Queen!

  19. When you stop, drop, and play.
  20. There’s a time and a place for doing those dishes. But for right now? Being with your baby is all that matters. Some of the best times I’ve had as a mom are those simple times just plopping down on the rug with my baby and playing the afternoon away.

Image: DisneyBaby

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Dad and Baby Bonding Tips

Find out what easy things you can do now with your newborn to establish a long-lasting loving and healthy bond.

Looking for some fun ways to bond with your baby? We've found simple things you can do every day that will help you and your baby develop a happy and healthy relationship that will last for years to come.

Tips to Help Dads Bond with Baby:

  1. Be present.
    Children with involved fathers have better language skills, earn better grades and enjoy better self-esteem than those without one, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

  2. Get close and share “skin time” with your baby.
    Hold him closely and let him explore how you feel and look. “Let your baby feel your whiskers, your mustache, your hands. They all have different feels to them that he will get a real kick out of. Watch out, though. They love to pull chest hair!” shares the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (NRFC; fatherhood.gov), a government resource whose goal is disseminate up-to-date research and proven and innovative strategies to support and strengthen fathers.

  3. Take the night shift.
    “Nighttime is usually the ‘fussy’ time for newborns,” says Seth D. Ginsberg, health advocate (http://www.ghlf.org/), social entrepreneur (http://www.sethdginsberg.com/) and new father (http://www.usnews.com/topics/author/seth-d-ginsberg). “Babies are either overtired or overstimulated, and by sundown everyone in the family is exhausted. This is a great time to carve out 1 to 3 hours to devote to calming your baby by rocking him or her, singing gently, walking around, and ‘shhhhh-ing’ — a great noise that reminds them of being back in the womb,” he says. “This is also a great chance to give your partner a few hours to relax after what is likely a long day.”

  4. Read to your baby.
    If you read to your child 30 minutes a day, by the time he reaches kindergarten he will have learned 500 words or more, according to the NRFC. Soothe your crying baby. Crying is not an emergency, it's just your baby's way of telling you she needs something. Figuring out what she needs is a guessing game. “Just calmly try things until something works," says Dr. Jason Guichard, a cardiologist and father of three.

  5. Practice basic baby care.
    “Learn how to bathe, feed, diaper, hold and comfort a baby. All of these activities will build a father’s confidence and enhance bonding with the child," says the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS.gov).

  6. Take your baby with you.
    Everywhere. Anywhere. “Its important for dad to bring the baby into his life. If he has to go to the bank, take the baby,” says Armin Brott, father and author of several books on fatherhood, including “The New Father: A Dad's Guide to the First Year” (arminbrott.com).

  7. Do diaper duty.
    “During a diaper change is when you have a full, uninterrupted view of your child, and your newborn has one of you,” says Ginsberg, who recommends that you talk with your newborn during changings. “You may want to sing a song, or describe body parts and things to your baby,” he says.

  8. Get down with baby.
    “Tummy time” is important as your baby grows. And during this time, when your baby is on her stomach strengthening her neck and back muscles, give her something to look at by getting down on the floor with her. “Most newborns can only tolerate 5 to 10 minutes at a time, but this is fun to experience and best when you get low on the ground and put your head at your baby’s head level,” says Ginsberg.

  9. Jump in.
    “Nobody ever gets it right 100 percent of the time,” says Brott of fatherhood. “Men and women have the same natural instincts when it comes to caring for babies,” suggests Brott. The difference is most dads must return to work before mom’s maternity leave is complete — preventing them from having the same opportunity as mom to practice baby care skills. The cure? Dads should strive to spend as much time with baby as they can. As Brott says, the only cure for nervous new dads is to jump in and learn from their mistakes.

  10. Share your hobbies with baby.
    It is never too early to start. Connect with your little one through your own interests — like sports. “As long as the baby is healthy and the venue isn't too loud, you can take the baby to sporting events,” Brott says. Take photos and recordings. “Especially of those little ‘coos’ and ‘ahhs” that your baby makes when they try to find their voice,” suggests Ginsberg. “Just like you probably thought the ultrasound heartbeat was the sweetest sound in the world, when you hear those coos you’ll want to capture that forever.”

  11. Be yourself.
    Play and interact with your newborn the way that feels right for you. Don’t be afraid to develop your own parenting style — separate from your partner. You’ll forge a strong and meaningful connection with your baby that’s all your own.

Image: Thinkstock

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Mom to Mom: Experienced Moms Share Parenting Advice With First-Time Moms

Wondering what you really need to know about becoming a parent? Read on. Here are five essential pieces of parenting advice from three moms in the know.

1. Be prepared to feel unprepared.

It’s okay to feel like a novice when you’re a new parent. In fact, it’s completely natural to feel that way. We’re all novices when we first become parents. “Parenting is a job that one learns through experience—and when you’re a new parent, you don’t yet have any experience,” explains Asha Dornfest, mother of two and author of Parent Hacks: 134 Genius Shortcuts for Life with Kids. The good news is that it won’t take long for you to start to figure out what your baby needs and how to meet those needs—the basic job description for the position of parent.

2. Don’t be afraid to turn to your village for support and hands-on help.

If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to support that child's parent. “We tend to have this idea that we should be able to parent alone, but that has never been true, throughout most of human history,” notes Tracy Cutchlow, mother of a four-year-old daughter and author of Zero to Five: 70 Essential Parenting Tips Based on Science (And What I’ve Learned So Far).

So keep a running list of things you need to get done and start looking for opportunities to delegate those tasks to other people. At the same time, get rid of any misplaced feelings of guilt that might otherwise prevent you from reaching out for much-needed support. Remind yourself that: “The good feelings we experience when we help other people are the same feelings our friends and family experience when they’re able to help us," suggests Robin Elise Weiss, a childbirth and postpartum educator, and mother of eight. In other words, you’re doing other people a favor by letting them help you.

3. Have a game plan in place for coping with sleep deprivation.

You’re going to be sleep deprived—at least for a while—so you need some strategies for dealing with it. Your best bet? Lowering your expectations of yourself. Don’t change out of your pajamas or otherwise acknowledge that the day has begun until you’ve accumulated at least eight hours of sleep, Cutchlow suggests.

4. Invest in baby gear that makes parenting easier.

Zero in on items that will make a real difference to your life as a new parent—like a baby carrier. Not only does using a baby carrier result in a happier baby (babies who are close to their parents cry less), it can also result in a happier you (you’ll be able to benefit from the added freedom of an extra spare hand), according to Weiss.

5. Pay attention to the parenting advice that makes the most sense for you and your baby—and give yourself permission to toss the rest.

Most people who offer parenting advice do so with the best of intentions. But their advice reflects their experiences, not yours. You know your baby best, so don’t be afraid to discard any advice that doesn’t feel like a good fit for you or your baby.There’s no need to get into a big debate with the person offering the advice—unless, of course, they insist! Instead, says Weiss, “Just smile, nod, and say thank you”—and then get on with the business of being your baby’s mom.

Image: Getty

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13 Life Hacks And Sanity Savers For the Working New Mom

We all know that moms are multi-taskers, but going back to work after having a baby is a difficult task for even those who excel at doing it all. So how do you juggle all your roles and find some time for yourself?

Here are 13 life hacks and sanity savers for making parenting and working seem manageable when baby enters the picture:

  1. Set up a command station at home to store all of baby’s medical records, appointments and other important papers in one place.
  2. Sure there are dozens of calendar apps available, but there’s nothing like having everyone in your life see everything all in one place, right in your kitchen. Use a chalk or white board on a daily basis to make notes of feedings, diaper changes, scheduling issues, medicine taken and other reminders so you, sitter, partner, grandparents and other caregivers are all on the same page and can update each other.
  3. Prep at night for work the next day. Lay out your clothes, papers, lunch, etc. Mornings with baby can be hectic and you don’t want to forget anything.
  4. If you drop baby at daycare on your way to work, be sure to restock the diaper bag every night so you have a clean supply of all the essentials ready to grab and go in the morning.
  5. Once you’re dressed, throw on a robe or old, oversized shirt as a protective shield from baby messes before you head out the door. There’s no reason to forgo the last minute sticky hugs and sloppy kisses as long as you are prepared.
  6. Always have some spare clothing at the office in case you arrive and look down and realize your sweater is covered with sparkles from the latest kiddy art project or you have syrup-finger stains on your silk blouse.
  7. Instead of checking social media when you have down time at work, do your grocery shopping online. No reason to run out of toilet paper if you buy in bulk and have it delivered. Some sites will even send you a reminder when you’re about to run out or set up automatic reorders for staples like diapers and dishwashing soap.
  8. Build in a little transition time before going home. Make sure you get a little “me time” before leaving the office pressures behind and jumping right into dinner/bath/bedtime routines at home. Take a short walk, grab a cup of coffee or read a book for ten minutes. Also, make sure the sitter doesn’t rush out the door the minute you arrive so you have time to change your clothes and take a deep breath.
  9. Plan a week of meals so you can shop for everything at once. That way you’re never wondering, “What are we going to eat tonight?” Remove the stress by planning ahead.
  10. Make meals in batches and freeze extras for the days you don’t have time to cook. One large roast chicken can work in many ways. Chop fruit and veggies and bag in batches to save time later on. Make a big batch of rice or salad that will last for days.
  11. Your crockpot can be your savior. Throw in the good stuff before leaving for work and voila! When you return, dinner is hot and ready. Add a salad and you’re good to go. Much cheaper and healthier than take-out.
  12. Work at home? Give in to the fact that your baby will dictate your work schedule and be flexible. Try to get up before baby for some uninterrupted quiet time to send emails and plan your day. Use nap time to make phone calls. When baby is up, dedicate your undivided attention to baby.
  13. With a toddler, set up a play corner in your office so baby can amuse him or herself while you work (at least for a short period of time). Rotate toys to keep them interesting or get child-sized versions of mommy’s work tools (play phone, toy computer, paper and washable markers) so the little one can be just like mom.

Image: Getty

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Advice for Expectant Dads from a Dad Expert

Go to the pregnancy section at any bookstore and the shelves overflow with advice and how-to books for expectant moms.  However, when it comes to the dad-to-be, the titles are pretty few and far between.  We sought out dad expert, Lance Somerfeld, Co-Founder of City Dads Group, to offer up some much-needed advice and tips to help calm dads’ nerves and answer those nagging questions that they might be too afraid to ask out loud!

1) How can dads best support the mom to be?

Communication is imperative. Have conversations about your changing lives as new parents even before the baby is born. Important topics include taking parental leave, juggling work and family, sharing parenting responsibilities, and potentially dealing with baby blues and postpartum depression.

It's important to develop a birth plan so that you're prepared to welcome your new baby. These plans come in all varieties. However, understand that no matter how well prepared you are, something will not go according to plan. You and your significant other are a team and you'll get through it together.

2) Do you recommend planning a babymoon?

Absolutely, take a babymoon...even if it's a road trip to a special or meaningful destination. Most likely, it will be a while before you take another vacation together just as a couple, sans child, so make the time and the finances work to escape before you dive into the all-encompassing world as new parents.  

3) What's an absolute DON'T when it comes to being an expectant dad?

DON'T forget to be thoughtful and intentional with your employer about taking ample vacation or paternity leave after the birth of your baby. In the grand scheme of a 30-40 year career, what's an extra few weeks to be present, engaged, and tuned into the abundance of bonding opportunities together with your new family?

We encourage dads to figure out what benefits they have and use them, to be transparent with supervisors so they know that being a parent is important, and to carve out special time each week to tune in and do something you enjoy with your children.

4) What's an absolute DO?

Expectant dads should spend some time talking with close friends who are new dads for advice, tips, and tricks.  Also, I encourage expectant fathers to take a class or two before the baby arrives. Fortunately, there are groups sprouting up across the country just for new dads. Check out your local listing websites and pediatrician's office for recommendations.

5) What’s your biggest piece of advice for expectant dads?

When both parents are competent, they have a better opportunity to parent as a team. For example, nursing is a struggle, and often a time when moms feel like they are in it alone. Dads can be very supportive of the nursing process even though we can’t physically breastfeed. Bringing the baby over at feeding time, changing the baby’s diaper, and getting the baby back to sleep are all ways in which dads can be intimately involved. If there is a sink full of dishes, a pile of laundry, and a baby to put to bed, you’ve got to divide and conquer. Developing a plan to share the to-do list at the end of the day gets you a lot closer to the moment when both of you can spend quality time together as a couple after the baby is asleep.

Image: Getty

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8 Parenting Hacks for First-Time Moms and Dads

Becoming a new parent is one of life’s greatest — and often most challenging — transitions.

There are so many exciting moments as you get to know this new little human of your very own, but there can also be a bit of a learning curve. It definitely takes time to figure out what works for you as a parent, and come up with your own tricks for making these new tasks easier.

You will get there eventually, but in the interim, here are a few simple hacks that can help ease your foray into new parenthood.

1. Learn how to remove a bodysuit properly.

You know those little flaps on the shoulders of one-piece bodysuits? If you’re like most people, you’ve probably noticed them, but haven’t thought much else about it. Those little flaps serve such an important purpose though! They allow you to pull your baby’s bodysuit down instead of taking it off over their head during a diaper change. Not only will those little flaps keep your baby from being grumpy during outfit changes (most babies do not like having clothes pulled over their face), but it will also save you from big messes during those diaper changes that are…shall we say “extra messy.” This hack will save you time and again!

2. For quick changes, put the new diaper underneath your baby before you take the old one off.

When it comes to diaper changes, avoid getting peed on by having all of your diapering supplies at the ready. Pull out those wipes, open up a new diaper, then slide it underneath your baby while he or she is still wearing the old diaper. Once everything is ready, very quickly (especially if you are the parent to a baby boy) open the old diaper, get everything wiped down and/or creamed up if necessary, pull the old diaper out, and quickly close the new one that has already been perfectly positioned beneath your baby. You just might set a new speed record for diaper changes!

3. Think zippers and gowns.

Baby outfits with zippers as well as little baby gowns are basically your new best friend — especially for middle-of-the-night diaper changes. Clothing with snaps are cute to be sure, but zippers are so much easier — and when you’re adjusting to this new role as a parent, any extra corners you can cut to save time makes a difference. When it’s 3 a.m., you probably aren’t going to want to fumble around to snap 12 buttons, so being able to quickly zip up those jammies, or better yet, just pull a baby gown up and down, will be much easier. Bonus: Most baby gowns also have those little shoulder flaps (like bodysuits) that I mentioned earlier.

4. Use baby wipes for ALL THE THINGS.

Baby wipes are basically an entire hack in and of themselves. There are endless ways to use them — aside from the obvious –­ but one of my favorite uses it to clean up baby spit-­up. When you get spit­-up on your (or Baby’s) clothing, changing the outfit sometimes isn’t an option, especially if you’re out and about. The problem is that spit­-up can stink (and also stain) once it dries. I’ve found that wiping it off with a baby wipe helps to neutralize the smell and avoid stains!

5. Get more sleep by using nighttime diapers.

Nighttime diapers are a great tool to help your baby start sleeping through the night once he or she is a little bit bigger. To avoid middle-of-the-night diaper changes, Huggies® Overnites Diapers offer 12 hours of protection. Both you and baby will have restful nights, when baby sleeps, everyone sleeps.

6. Always keep extra diapers and wipes in the car.

As diligent as you might be about packing your diaper bag, there will inevitably come a time when you are out and realize that those diapers and wipes you thought you packed didn’t actually make it into your bag. Always keep a stash of a few diapers and a travel wipes case in the car in case of such situations — and extra clothes are helpful too! Those wipes will probably come in handy for other times as well.

7. White noise… get some!

White noise is the parenting hack of all parenting hacks, because most babies love it and it helps them sleep, as it reminds them of the white noise they got used to in the womb. In addition to having a white noise machine for Baby’s nursery, there are a lot of great apps for taking your white noise on the go when you’re in the car or at other people’s houses. White noise saved my life as a new parent on more than one occasion. Create changing stations in other rooms.

8. Create changing stations in other rooms.

Keep a couple of extra baskets filled with diapering supplies scattered in the other rooms of your home. I always like to keep one in my room and the living room, because sometimes you won’t want to trek all the way to the nursery for a diaper change. This will be extra helpful during those early stages of healing postpartum. The less you have to move around, the better.

Image: Disney Baby

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