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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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Real Mom Advice for C-Section Recovery

Whether your cesarean section was planned or unplanned, it can leave you sore, tired and in need of some extra special care once you get home from the hospital.  While your doctor will provide you with necessary medical advice and important information about how to care for your incision and pain, there are some mom-tested practical tips that can also help make your recovery easier.

If you’ve had a C-section, your recovery after birth takes longer than after a vaginal birth. Your muscles and incision need to heal and you will need to be especially careful not to strain yourself.  Make sure to have super soft and breathable pajamas without a tight waistband, or a nursing gown, so there’s nothing restrictive around your middle. You will most likely still be wearing your maternity clothes for the first few weeks, and there’s nothing wrong with that!

Asking for help is something all new moms should do, but for a mom who just had a C-section, it’s an absolute must. You will not be able to lift very much weight, so doing chores like laundry and grocery shopping require a helping hand. Arrange for friends and family to take shifts around the house for the first two weeks you are home. If you have a planned C-section you can make and freeze casseroles, stews and other easy to reheat dinners so you have them available those first few weeks.

 While you’re resting and recuperating from your C-section you will also want to feed and bond with your new baby. Create a comfortable feeding area with pillows to support your body in a relaxed position while you feed your baby. Having a family member or friend bring you the baby for feeding or cuddle time, or having your baby's bassinet or crib near you, will make it easier for you to focus on that bonding time, without having to do too much lifting. 

Now that you’ve enlisted help and figured out how to attend comfortably to your baby, you can indulge in some guilty pleasures like binge watching a new TV show or catching up on movies. This is also a good time to actually read some of those parenting books you’ve inevitably bought or been given before baby was born. Take advantage of having help around and fit in some mom time while you can!

Having a new baby is exciting and joyous, but your first priority needs to be taking care of yourself so that you can be a healthy and happy mom. It’s important to go easy on yourself when recovering from a C-section and make sure not to overdo it. By putting some help in place and delegating household tasks, you can focus on healing and on taking care of your baby.  Soon enough you’ll get the green light from your doctor to participate fully in normal activities, and these early days of recovery will be a distant memory. Even your scar will fade eventually - promise!

Image: Getty

Mom, dad, and son lying in grass enjoying each other

Dads’ Guide to Life after Pregnancy

Wondering what you have to expect from life as a first-time father? Our experts and dads-in-the-know share their advice so you can better manage these first few months with your newborn.

Your first days home with baby

Tired and excited, you and your partner have just arrived home with your beautiful new baby. The first couple of weeks will be filled with lots of firsts. Here’s what to expect and what you can do.

What it will be like: Your partner will be exhausted, sore and possibly in pain the first few days after birth. If she’s had an episiotomy or a C-section, she may also need to take pain medications. In addition to managing her own bodily changes and challenges, she’ll be focusing on feeding and caring for your newborn.

What you can do:

  • Be sensitive and perceptive of mom’s and baby’s needs. Your partner and baby are both going to require lots of attention and rest immediately after labor and delivery. Being able to be present, responsive, and helpful will be incredibly helpful during the coming weeks.

  • Help with mom’s medication. Help administer mom’s pain meds, stool softeners, and any other medicine her doctors prescribe. “Keep track of when she takes them, write it down, and make sure she eats something when she takes the medicine, and drinks lots of water,” says Seth D. Ginsberg, a new father and co-founder and president of Global Healthy Living Foundation ( and a contributor to U.S. News & World Report ( Ginsberg noticed a lack of information for pregnant women’s partners, and, as a result, has written several articles outlining pointers and must-know essentials for dads-to-be.

  • Stock up on toiletries. “Keep the bathroom provisioned with all of the supplies mom requests,” Ginsberg adds. Be sure to have pads, moistened towelettes, soap, lotion, and hot and cold packs on hand.

  • Make sure you and mom eat right. Prepare snacks and meals. Stock the fridge with prepared meals, fruit, veggies, and snacks. You’d be surprised at how difficult it can be to cook a meal with a new baby in the house. You may need to work solo on meal planning for a bit, until mom is back on her fee.

  • Split duties. Take turns getting up at night to feed and change baby. By sharing the duties of bathing baby, laundering soiled baby clothes and bedding, and picking up around the house, chores won’t seem so daunting.

  • Help mom rest. “‘I’ll get up with the baby tonight’ or ‘Go take a long nap’ are two of the most magical, most welcome phrases you can say to your wife,” says Dr. Jason Guichard, a cardiologist and father of three. Add ‘Go take a nice, long shower’ to the list above!” he suggests.

  • Caring for your newborn

    Holding, changing, bathing, feeding, and dressing your newborn can all seem a little overwhelming to new dads. Here’s what you can expect and what you can do to help keep your baby happy and well.

    What it will be like: “You may feel woefully under-prepared, like you can’t believe that somebody actually let you take this baby home from the hospital,” says Greg Johnson, a frugal living and lifestyle expert at Club Thrifty (, and a dad of two little girls. “But newborn care isn't hard at all,” he assures.

    What you can do:

  • Soothe your crying baby. If babies are crying, it typically means one of three things: They're hungry, they need their diaper changed, or they need to be held and cuddled. “Learn how to feed your baby, change the diaper, and give lots of love and you're doing great!” says Johnson.

  • Change diapers. “Dad can expect to log lots of time at the changing table,” says Ginsberg. Changing diapers is one of the best and easiest ways to care for your baby — and bond with your child, too. If you’re nervous about this task, “it helps to make a checklist so you never forget the important things — like sanitizing hands before you start,” suggests Ginsberg.

  • Focus on the basics. Remember what your partner’s birth team has told you and be perceptive to the sensitivities of your newborn. There are only a few things that your little one absolutely needs right now. At the most basic level, your baby simply needs: food, comfort, rest, clean diapers, and your love.

  • Relax! “Half of the stuff you worry about is probably no big deal,” says Guichard. Speak with your pediatrician if you have any parenting or baby care concerns, and try to remember that with practice comes confidence. The more time you and baby spend together, the easier baby care will be.

  • You’re going to be great!

    As you settle into your new role as a father, you’ll find a beautiful balance and newfound confidence. These simple tips can help you be the best dad possible.

    What you can do:

  • Embrace your new life. “Enjoy your time with your newborn. It's amazing to watch them grow and learn. Everything you show them, everything they hear and see is a new discovery. People always say that they grow up so fast … and it's true. They'll only be this little once, so soak it up while you can!” says Johnson.

  • Go with the flow. “Life changes for everybody once baby comes home, but it is a wonderful change. Yes, you'll be tired. Yes, you'll need to learn new skills. But, every time you look at your new baby, you realize that it is all worth it,” says Johnson.

  • Take time for you. Just like mom needs some time to focus on herself and taking a break now and then from caring for baby, you too need to set aside special time for you. Take a walk, grab a book, meet a friend for a cup of coffee; be sure you take care of you!

  • Bond with your partner. Even if it is sneaking in a quick meal together after baby’s gone to bed, or cuddling on the couch — set aside time for you and your loved one to catch up as a couple.

  • Celebrate and love your new family! “As much as you love baby now, he is only going to become more lovable and more fun as he grows,” says Guichard.

  • Your new family unit is cause for celebration; revel in your new life and enjoy your growing family.

    Image : Getty

    Sleeping baby in brown wool overall outfit

    What You Need For Baby's First Night Home

    As your due date approaches, do you know what essentials you should have on hand for baby’s homecoming? This go-to shopping list will help you ensure you have everything you need.


    The following items are absolute must-haves for you and your baby. Be sure to stock up on the following well before your due date.

    A rear-facing car seat

    This is one of the most essential items you’ll need for your baby’s first night home. Hospitals will not let families leave without checking to see that the family car has a properly installed car seat.

    Baby clothes and storage

    Your baby will need an outfit for traveling home. The Office of Women’s Health (OWH) recommends an undershirt or onesie, an outfit, socks or booties, a receiving blanket and beanie, and bunting or a heavier blanket if temperatures are chilly.

    How much infant clothing to have on hand for baby’s first couple of weeks after coming home depends on how often you’re willing to do laundry. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests the following to get your baby’s clothing layette started:

  • 3 or 4 pajama sets (with feet)

  • 6 to 8 T-shirts

  • 3 newborn sleep sacks

  • 2 sweaters

  • 2 bonnets/hats

  • 4 pairs of socks or booties

  • 4 to 6 receiving/swaddle blankets

  • 1 set of baby washcloths and towels (look for towels with hoods)

  • 3 to 4 dozen newborn-size diapers

  • 3 to 4 T- shirts/onesies with snaps between legs

  • Dresser and/or changing station

    You’ll also need a dresser or wardrobe in which to keep baby’s clothing, blankets and supplies. You can get “two-for-one” benefits from these items by looking for a good dresser that can double as a changing station -- or a wardrobe that opens to reveal shelves and/or drawers and a changing area.

    Emergency phone list

    It’s a good idea for you and your partner to put together a phone or contact list outlining all your key contacts and keep it in a central area. Having your pediatrician, postpartum doula, breastfeeding coach, OB/GYN numbers handy can be helpful if questions or an emergency arises and you need to reach a professional fast.

    Diapers and wipes

    Plan on packing a handful of diapers and wipes with your hospital overnight supplies, prior to baby’s birth.

    A safe sleeping place

    Your little one will need a safe and secure crib, which to spend the night and take naps in. “Most brand new cribs and mattresses purchased in the United States are safe,” says the OWH.

    Bottle and feeding supplies

    Regardless of whether you intend to breastfeed, it is still a good idea to have several bottles, a bit of formula, and several sizes and styles of nipples on hand in case you become ill and can’t breastfeed or if breastfeeding becomes challenging. “Be sure to get the correct size of nipples, such as preemie, or newborn,” the OWH adds.

    A bulb syringe

    This item is helpful for suctioning baby's nasal passages if necessary, says the OWH. Because your little one can't blow her nose, having a bulb syringe handy can ensure she's breathing comfortably and easily after birth. Your baby's doctor will tell you if, when, and how to use a bulb syringe aspirator.

    A week’s worth of pantry items

    Your first couple of weeks home with baby can quickly turn into a blur of laundry, doctor's visits, and sleepless nights. Having go-to meals and snacks for you and your partner will keep you both happy and healthy. Stock up now up on healthy snacks (carrots, apples, celery), food that is high in protein (grilled chicken, turkey), and nuts.

    “After the baby arrives, a good partner can provision this food and go the extra step by organizing snacks into baggies for snacks," says Seth D. Ginsberg, health advocate, social entrepreneur and new father ( “Mom will crave food all the time, especially if she’s breastfeeding, and having these on hand will make all the difference. Water is a crucial ingredient, too,” he adds.

    Rocking chair, glider or comfortable place to sit with baby

    You'll need to have a comfortable place to sit with your baby during feedings. A comfy chair also gives you and your partner a spot to sit with baby and talk or read, too.

    Rectal thermometer

    Should you need to call your pediatrician for any reason, one of the first questions the nurse will ask is your baby's temperature. Be sure to have a trustworthy rectal thermometer on hand before returning home from the hospital.


    Although not completely necessary, the following items can help you care for your newborn with greater ease and comfort. Consider buying them before baby arrives.

  • Baby monitor

  • Baby carrier

  • Stroller

  • Baby carrier or sling

  • White noise device

  • Bouncy seats or baby swings

  • Diaper pail

  • Infant bathtub

  • Check with family and friends who’ve recently had babies and find out what supplies they loved and what they considered essential — and what items they just didn’t need.


    What I Miss About Having a Newborn

    When you have a baby, time seems to slow to a snail’s pace. Sure, some days can seem like an endless cycle of diaper changes, feeding, naps and bottle washing—but all the wonderful things about babies definitely outweigh the drudgery. And there are so many delicious things to love about  babies. 

    As a mom who’s been there and done that, I would give anything for one of those slow, simple days with my new baby, when I could supply the solution to almost any problem and I was my new baby's whole world. So, even when the days seem long, don’t forget to stop and smell the roses (or, in this case, your tiny newborn) and savor every single moment, because—trust me—the time really does fly by. Soon you, too, will be missing all of these:

    1. The smell (and we’re not talking diapers here).

      There’s something about the milky, clean essence of babyhood that only an infant can emit. Kiss one on the head, inhale, and you’ll know what I mean.
    2. The chubby baby feet

      It may sound weird, but whenever I see a newborn’s plump little toes I want to squeeze them. They’re just crying out for a game of “this little piggy went to market.”
    3. The miniature clothes

      Who doesn’t love shopping for baby wear? Those frilly dresses and adorable onesies. Those tiny jeans and t-shirts that make your little one look like the future big kid he or she will be. Those mini-me outfits that make you want to dress alike. It’s time to lock up the credit card, or you’ll spend it all in the baby aisle.
    4. The smiles

      And yes, we know they are truly smiles—not gas, no matter what anybody tells us! Right now, you are your baby’s everything, so when you return after even a short absence (say a trip to the bathroom), it’s time for celebration. Those gummy grins are just for you, and make it all worthwhile.
    5. The photo ops

      Now that we can take a zillion photos a minute and it doesn’t cost a penny, it’s just so much fun when your baby is immobile and not too squirmy. Pose your baby in every outfit in the closet just because you can. Soon, your baby will let you know he or she doesn’t appreciate modeling for your personal fashion show, but in the meantime, have fun. You’ll have lots to post on social media and we’re sure the grandparents won’t mind a flood of pictures in their inbox—just be sure to print out a few favorites for framing.
    6. The snuggles

      There’s nothing like the weight on a beloved, soft, warm baby contentedly curled up against your chest sleepy and sated after a feeding.
    7. The sounds they make

      We may not understand their adorable babbles and gurgles, but babies are probably trying to say something as they learn how language works. And it sounds so cute when they’re cooing, even just to themselves, when nobody is around.
    8. The intimacy

      Carrying them in a chest carrier, sling or wrap means keeping them safe and protected and right next to your heart. They’re as close as they can get outside of the womb. Do it for as long as you can because before you know it they’ll be too big to carry!
    9. The overall cuteness when they’re sleeping

      Babies are so darn cute! Who can get enough of them? No matter how exhausted you are at the end of the day, sneaking a peak at your sleeping infant will make you swoon like nothing else. Watching their tiny chests move up and down with each breath they take and admiring their sweet little mouths as they suckle in their sleep will bring tears to your eyes. It's astonishing to think that you created this gorgeous creature.
    10. The magic of watching them grow before your eyes

      One day they can hardly see out of their brand new eyes and the next they are focusing intently on your face as if they are wise old souls. First they just lie there, then they are rolling over. Every day there are a myriad of changes that happen right before your eyes. Watch carefully because it truly is a miracle of life.

    Image : Getty


    8 Props For Great Newborn Photos

    Your baby is finally here and you’re quickly filling up the memory on your cellphone with photos of the little darling. Or maybe you’ve called in a professional to capture the beginning of your baby’s life in images that you will cherish forever.

    You’ve taken all the basic shots of your newborn in the bassinette and being held by mom, dad, and all the grandparents, aunts and uncles. But what are you missing? Of course your newborn is precious all by him or herself, but it’s also fun to use props to show just how tiny baby is at this moment.

    Here are some ideas from newborn photographer Christina Rae of Christina Rae Photography that may give you the perfect photo for your birth announcement, or at least a bunch that will look great framed on your fridge and grandma’s mantle.

    1. It’s a wrap:
    2. Most babies love to be wrapped and swaddled because it gives them a feeling of warmth and security. Use a beautiful piece of fabric, a textured throw blanket or a favorite scarf which will highlight baby’s newborn skin.

    3. Top it off:
    4. Simple knit hats or bonnets are a great way to add some color and style to a newborn portrait. Did you get any hand-knit beanies as gifts? Or how about one with cute bunny ears or that looks like the top of a strawberry? Have fun with different toppers that show off baby’s beautiful face.

    5. A girly touch:
    6. A stretchy or decorative headband adds a little something special and is a pretty touch for a baby girl. 

    7. Furry friend:

      Taking an image with baby’s arm around a small stuffed animal is always super sweet.

    8. Doll baby:

      Similarly, position baby in a sturdy old-fashioned cradle for a cute photo op.

    9. My name is:

      Lie baby next to wooden blocks that spell out his or her name.

    10. Just the facts:

      Announce all the details that everyone wants to know by photographing your newborn next to a ruler, a clock showing the time of birth and a calendar with the date circled

    11. Current events:

      Place the birth in context by posing him or her next to the front page of the day’s newspaper or the current cover of a favorite news or fashion magazine.

    In general, Rae says, “When choosing a prop, the simpler the better. You never want it to take over and distract from the baby, who should be the center of attention in a portrait. Neutral and soft colors will help ensure the images captured are timeless.”

    And remember, safety is key, she says. “Choose fabrics that are soft and won’t scratch baby. Never place a newborn in or near anything made of glass and watch for any sharp edges. Never leave a newborn unattended with a prop and always keep baby within arm’s reach. All of these props should only be used during the photo op and removed immediately afterward.

    Image : Getty


    X Number of Ways Your Life Will Change Post Baby

    You’ve set up the nursery, stocked up on diapers, and read all the expecting baby books, but nothing can fully prepare you for the arrival of your new baby. Here are just a few examples of how your life is going to change in new and unexpected ways.

    1. You are on baby time. Forget your daily routine, your alarm clock, your live TV. Once your baby arrives your whole day will revolve around feeding, diaper changing and sleeping – when the baby sleeps. You will eventually develop a new regular schedule, but it will be dictated by your baby’s preferences and behavior, not your own.

    2. You will want to put the world in a bubble. Square table corners? Grandma’s purse? Door hinges? Everything suddenly takes on an ominous vibe and seems like potential baby danger. Baby proofing will actually be really fun (and you might stash a few outlet covers in your diaper bag – really).

    3. Taking a shower will be a fantastic luxury. Things you took for granted before baby, such as taking a hot shower uninterrupted, reading a book, or meeting a girlfriend for coffee, will now seem indulgent – and really special. Don’t forget to make time for yourself, but it will be harder to come by in the beginning.

    4. You will find your silly. Babbling, cooing, making goofy faces – get ready to bring out your silly side to engage and communicate with your baby. You’ll find yourself knowing every word to the most ridiculous children’s songs, dancing unconsciously to puppet videos playing on TV, and giving over your playlist priorities to making your baby happy. Unleashing your inner child will be one of the true delights of being a new mom.

    5. You will have new respect for your mom and the moms in your life. Caring for your baby, worrying over every little hiccup, persevering through sleepless nights, and putting yourself second will give you a new appreciation for what your parents went through raising you.

    6. Bodily functions and fluid will not faze you at all. Spit up? Vomit? Poop? No big deal. You’ll be cleaning up messes you never imagined possible, and then you’ll just move on with your day.

    7. You will see your body differently – and it will be different. After nine months of watching your body change you will now watch it transform again. You will have a new respect for what your body can do, and care a lot less about what other people think about it.

    8. You won’t take selfies; you’ll take hundreds of baby pictures instead. Instead of filtering everything just so, you’ll be busy taking endless photos of your baby and trying desperately to capture every single moment. And, of course you’ll be sharing them all with friends and family!

    Enjoy the changes that come with having a new baby. Your life will never be the same - it will be richer and full of many wonderful surprises that no parenting book could ever prepare you for.

    Image: Getty

    infant massage

    The Calming Benefits of an Infant Massage

    Whether it's to soothe your little one to dreamland or to ease his gassy belly, a gentle massage can work wonders for your baby — and the power is in your tender touch.

    You’re not the only one who craves a soothing body rub every now and then. Babies also find a gentle laying on of hands very relaxing — and even therapeutic. That’s because of the five senses, touch is the one that’s most developed at birth, and there’s research to suggest that infant massage has enormous benefits for helping babies grow and thrive.

    How can infant massage benefit your little one?

    It can help ease your baby’s tummy troubles and teething pains, boost his muscle development, calm him when hes fussy, and soothe him to sleep. But the advantages don’t stop there: All that stroking and touching make it easier for you to bond with your newborn. What’s more, giving your baby a massage can help you find your own inner Zen, too (and who can argue with that?).

    You can start these gentle massages the day you bring your baby home. Or you can encourage your partner to try his hand at infant massage — a good opportunity for dad-and-baby bonding.

    Here’s what to keep in mind before you (or your partner) lay your hands on your newborn:

    1. Make infant massage part of your daily routine.

      Consider massaging your baby around the same time every day so that he comes to expect and enjoy it. What time’s best? There’s no “best” time, really. In general, you want to choose a time when you’re not feeling rushed (so don’t try to squeeze in a squeeze session while dinner’s cooking or you’ve got the washer and dryer going) or when your baby isn’t hungry (since he won’t enjoy the belly rubs if his belly’s empty) or too full (he’ll likely spit up his supper — you won’t make that mistake twice!).

    2. Pick an area that’s comfortable for both of you

      And warm — at least 75° F — so your nearly naked newborn doesn’t catch a chill while he’s chilling from your massage. You can massage your little one on the changing table, your bed (put a towel underneath to avoid oil stains on your comforter), even on the rug (use a towel there too). Add some soothing background music or simply use the time to talk and sing to your baby.

    3. Follow your baby’s cues.

      No one likes to be massaged when they’re not in the mood, and that’s true for your baby as well. If he turns away or frowns or cries when you lay your hands on, save the session for later. And remember, you don’t have to give a full-body massage every time. If your baby decides he’s had enough after you’ve rubbed his legs and feet, that’s okay too.

    4. Be gentle — and don’t apply too much pressure or it will be overpowering.

      Another smart tip from the infant massage playbook: Stroking away from the heart (from shoulder to wrist, for example) is relaxing, and therefore better suited for pre-nap or pre-bedtime massages. Stroking toward the heart (from wrist to shoulder) is more stimulating and better suited for when your baby will be awake and active. You can also do a combo.

    Here are some infant massage moves to get you started:

    • Legs and feet. Hold your baby’s heel in one hand; with your other hand, start at the top of the thigh and slowly stroke all the way down to the ankle, gently squeezing the leg as you go, as if you were milking a cow. Reverse the motion and go from ankle to thigh. Then rub the feet with your thumbs, gently uncurling and stroking the toes. Switch legs. You can do these same strokes on the arms and hands.
    • Head. Start with your hands on both sides of your baby’s head, then run your hands down both sides of his body, from his head to his toes. Next, draw tiny circles on your baby’s head with your fingertips.
    • Face. Fold your hands (as if you were praying) on your baby’s forehead, then gently push outward from the center. Next, use your thumb to draw a smile on your baby’s face by stroking from one cheek, across the upper lip to the other cheek. Repeat on the lower lip.
    • Chest. Fold your hands on your baby’s chest, then push out to the sides, as if you were smoothing the pages of an open book.
    • Tummy. With your fingertips, draw an oval below your baby’s belly button. (Move clockwise, to follow the natural path of digestion.) Next, “walk” your fingertips from one side of your baby’s belly to the other, on the diagonal, as if you were making an “X.”
    • Back. Stroke his back side to side and then up and down.



    Moments that Make Any New Parent Feel Like a Superhero

    The first few weeks (okay, months) with a new baby can be grueling for first time parents. No matter how many books you read, documentaries you watch or classes you take, actually having the baby in your arms can come with some pretty massive shockers (this is what nursing is SUPPOSED to feel like?!). I spent the first few weeks of my son’s life wearing maternity sweatpants and an unclipped nursing bra and trying, desperately, to get him to complete the most basic tasks of life — eating and sleeping. Most of the time in those early days I felt both physically and emotionally drained but, along the way, even in those first few weeks there were moments that made my heart and confidence soar. These twenty-six milestones and moments from the first few months are guaranteed to make any new parent feel like a true superhero!

    1. Slipping your baby into their carrier and taking that first long walk around the neighborhood.
    2. Rattling off your baby’s newborn stats like a boss- “21 1/2 inches, 9lbs 9 oz’s, yeah I did it vaginally – so what?”
    3. The day you no longer need the poop-log to make reassure you that they’re doing okay.
    4. The first time you leave the house with baby in a real outfit instead of just a footed sleeper.
    5. Seeing your baby’s weight begin to shoot up at their weekly appointments and realizing that they’re already growing up.
    6. The first time your baby cries in someone else’s arms and is comforted immediately just by being put back in yours.
    7. Realizing that you now have the ability to swaddle your babe with your eyes half-closed.
    8. The first time you nurse the baby in public without any major nip-slip.
    9. Anytime you received a compliment on your baby’s name (don’t lie, everyone wants other people to think their baby’s name is cool).
    10. Becoming an expert at the car-seat to bassinet transfer.
    11. Seeing the first smile flicker across your baby’s lips and knowing that it’s there because of something you did.
    12. The first time you recognize your baby’s different cries and know right away what they need.
    13. Following (okay, even close to following) your old beauty routine for the first time since the baby was born.
    14. When you manage to remember to write anything at all in that “dear baby” journal you got at your baby shower.
    15. The first time your baby rolls over and you realize that tummy time (despite the cries) is really paying off.
    16. The first time you put on pants WITH A ZIPPER.
    17. Anytime your baby meets a milestone even a day earlier that the book says he will.
    18. When you manage to fold laundry and do dishes in the same day (!!!)
    19. Getting into a groove with your partner around who does what baby chores.
    20. When a nosey relative finally admits that maybe baby care advice has changed in the past 25 years.
    21. Successfully clipping your sleeping baby’s fingernails for the first time.
    22. Seeing a parent with a baby newer than yours and finally being the one who gets to give advice.
    23. Cooking a meal, any meal, with more than four ingredients.
    24. When, just as you think you can’t take any more sleepless nights, you start to notice a definite pattern of longer stretches between wake-ups.
    25. Realizing that this parenting thing, no matter how hard it is, is the best thing that’s ever happened to you.
    26. Good luck out there new parents!

    This article was written by EverydayFamily from Everyday Family and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

    Image: Getty

    baby crawling with toy in mouth and mom behind her

    Baby Milestones: Growth & Development

    Your baby’s growth and development in the first couple years of life is an amazing journey to witness. From first smiles to first words to first steps and more — there’s a host of physical, social and sensory changes your child is experiencing and mastering. Find out more about what you can expect from your growing baby — and when.

    “Because (children) develops at (their) own particular pace, it’s impossible to tell exactly when yours will perfect a given skill,” advises the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). So it can often be difficult to predict specific growth and development milestones. Your pediatrician is your best resource for determining whether your baby is on track in growth and development. If you have concerns, talk to your child's doctor.

    There are, however, some baseline physical, social and sensory milestones your little one will reach from birth to age 2. The AAP outlines these as a general.


    Birth-3 months

    Your baby will most likely:

    • Be able to raise her head and chest when on her stomach.
    • Stretch and kick when on her back.
    • Open and close her hands.
    • Be able to grasp and shake objects and bring them to her mouth.
    • Begin to smile.
    • Enjoy being around and playing with other people.
    • Be expressive and communicative with her face and body.
    • Imitate some movements and expressions.
    • Follow moving objects with her gaze.
    • Recognize familiar objects and people, even at a distance.
    • Begin using eye-hand coordination.

    4-7 months

    Milestones at this stage include:

    • Being able to roll right and left.
    • Sitting up, with and without the support of her hands.
    • Supporting her weight on her legs.
    • Reaching out with just one hand.
    • Transferring object from one hand to another.
    • Using a raking grasp.
    • Enjoying play.
    • Showing an interest in mirror images.
    • Responding to expressions of emotions and appearing happy often.
    • Finding partly hidden objects.
    • Exploring surroundings with hands and mouth.
    • Showing interest in and struggling to grasp out-of-reach objects.

    8 months-1 year

    Your little one is most likely mobile now and at this stage should be able to:

    • Get herself into a sitting position without your help.
    • Crawl forward on her belly.
    • Assume hands-and-knees position and rock back and forth.
    • Go from sitting down to crawling.
    • Pull herself up to stand.
    • Walk around holding onto furniture.
    • Show preference for specific people and toys.
    • Finger-feed herself.
    • Explore objects in different ways.
    • Find hidden objects easily.
    • Look at correct picture when image is named.
    • Imitate your gestures.
    • Begin using objects like spoons and cups correctly.

    Note: Some babies at this stage might be shy around strangers, experience separation anxiety and cry when you leave the room.

    What to watch for:

    Babies all develop in their own ways and on their own schedules. If you believe that your child is not reaching certain milestones, be sure to speak with your doctor.

    Some things to look by the end of baby’s first year include:

    1. Is your child able to crawl?
    2. Does she drag one side of her body when crawling?
    3. Does she have trouble standing when you support her?
    4. Does she speak any single words yet like “mama” or “papa”?
    5. Does she use gestures and point at objects or pictures?


    1-2 years

    Your little one may now be walking (and running!) around your home, exploring the environment. Physical growth and development continue to blossom, and now your child is testing and learning more and more every day.

    • Physical, social and sensory development at this stage includes:
    • Walking unaided and possibly enjoy pulling a toy behind while in motion.
    • Running.
    • Standing on tiptoes.
    • Kicking a ball and other objects.
    • Awareness of self as being separate from you and others.
    • Enjoying being around other children and playing — sometimes in “parallel”, rather than together with another child.
    • Sorting objects by shape and color.
    • Enjoying make-believe.
    • Using simple language in short phrases.

    What to watch for:

    Again, all children develop at their own pace. Be sure to speak with your pediatrician if you have any concerns about your little one not hitting certain milestones.

    Some things that could indicate signs of developmental delay in your toddler include:

    • Your baby can’t walk by 18 months, or push a wheeled toy by age 2.
    • Your toddler walks exclusively on her toes after being able to walk for several months.
    • If your child doesn’t have a roughly 15-word vocabulary by 18 months and can’t use 2-word sentences by age 2.
    • Doesn’t grasp the intended function of common household objects such as a brush, cellphone or spoon by 15 months.
    • Does not imitate actions or words or follow simple instructions by age 2.

    Look out, mom and dad! Your toddler will be a preschooler in no time. Your little one’s physical growth and motor development will start to slow down a bit in the coming years, but she’ll continue to undergo amazing changes to her mind and body.

    image: ThinkStock

    baby plays with cat

    Introducing Your Newborn to Your Pet

    Before the arrival of your newborn, try our tips to help your pet make a happy and safe transition and better welcome your new baby.

    As a pet parent, you’ve spent lots of time loving and caring for your pets. To help your animal companions transition happily to life with a new baby, here are several things you can do to help them welcome your newest family member.

    • Introduce new smells and sounds.
      Allow your pet to sniff items the baby has used, such as an undershirt or blanket. “That way the dog will become familiar with the baby’s smell and be less curious when the newcomer arrives,” advises Debra Holtzman, a nationally recognized child safety and health expert ( She also suggests finding a recording of baby cries and other voices from the Web and then playing these sounds for your pet.

    • Get a checkup.
      Before baby’s arrival, it’s a good idea to take your pet to the veterinarian for a routine exam and any necessary vaccinations. If your pet hasn’t been spayed or neutered, this is a good time to schedule the procedure. “These pets typically have fewer reproductive-related health problems and are also calmer and less likely to bite,” says Dr. Jeff Werber, an Emmy-award winning veterinarian and pet-parenting specialist in the Los Angeles area. Werber also recommends making sure your pet is accustomed to having its nails trimmed.

    • Give your pet a pedicure.
      Cats in particular should have their nails trimmed at least five days before the baby comes home, “so that if the cat reaches out to gently touch the baby, there won't be sharp nails which may unintentionally scratch the baby,” advises Werber.

    • Do a test run.
      Consider using a toy baby doll to help your pet, especially a dog, get accustomed to a real baby. Holtzman recommends engaging in routine activities, such as feeding, diaper changing, and holding the “baby.” “Take the dog out for a walk with the doll in a stroller to find out how it will react.” Also, you might want to enroll your dog in an obedience training class. (Ask your veterinarian for recommendations.)

    • Establish boundaries.
      It’s a good idea to make your nursery a pet-free zone, even before your baby arrives. Work on conditioning your pet to stay away from this specific area. “Parents-to-be should purchase and install necessary gates for the areas in the house you would like to keep private a month or two in advance of the baby’s arrival,” adds Werber.

    • Prepare for the transition.
      “Since your pet is used to getting all the attention, it is a good idea to slowly spend a little less time with your pet right before the baby comes home from the hospital,” suggests Werber. That way, your pet will get used to sharing your attention.

    • Give treats and praise.
      Does your pet have a favorite treat? Before your baby arrives, reserve this extra-special treat and instead use a replacement. “Take those reserved treats and use them only for rewarding behavior that is related to the new baby,” Werber advises.

    • Include your pet.
      A big mistake pet parents make is that when their baby is asleep, many shower their pet with extra attention because they feel guilty. “This builds up more and more resentment toward the newborn because a dog will feel that life without the baby is better for the dog,” says Werber. Instead, it is important to ignore your pet for a bit when the baby is asleep and include your pet in fun activities with you and your newborn.

    • Be patient.
      Finally, the most important thing is to have patience with your pet and offer lots of love during this very special time. “If you are relaxed and loving during this transitional time, your pet will pick up on this and will certainly follow your lead,” says Werber.


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