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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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Relishing the First Sleepless Three Months

By Jeana Lee Tahnk

It seems a bit crazy to think that you could relish a time that is so physically exhausting, but there's something about the first three months of a baby's life that is extraordinary. Brand new to this world, a baby is 100 percent reliant on you for survival, for love, nourishment, comfort and care. Unfortunately for you, that care requires being on duty 24/7, day and night.

To make it through, you have to go in assuming that the first three months are going to be tough. Your body is out of sorts - you get night sweats, things are leaking, parts are soft and mushy - and on top of that, you're not sleeping. There are those rare, urban-legend babies who start sleeping through the night at two weeks old, but until I experience that myself, I'm going to assume they're just a myth.

Being a parent of a newborn puts you into a special club, one where, "Are you getting sleep?" is the secret handshake. A club where waking up every two hours is common, getting pooped on is a daily occurrence and carrying around a 10-pound weight all day, every day, is your only form of exercise.

But what a special club it is. I look back on the newborn phase as one of those time periods that I don't really miss necessarily, but I do look back on with such nostalgia. The baby is so small, every day she looks different - those newborn reflexes, little mouth movements ... oh, how sweet. My baby isn't even a year old yet, but looking back on pictures from when she was first born makes me melt and marvel at how quickly time goes by.

If you're in the thick of those first three months, days can seem never-ending. But focus on those things that only newborns do and realize that it's such a short period of time. Your baby eventually will sleep, and as taxing as that every-two-hour feeding schedule is, knowing that you'll soon come out of it can make it a bit easier to handle.

That newborn stage is such a precious one and there really is no other stage like it. You and baby are getting to know each other: you're learning about your baby's needs, baby's personality is starting to come out and, hopefully, you're relishing every sleep-deprived second of it.



Read More by Jeana Lee Tahnk

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The Power of the First Hug – Parents Meet Their Babies For The First Time

The first time you get to hold your newborn baby in your arms after birth is one of the most magical moments of parenthood. After nine months of dreaming about your baby, you finally get to meet your little one in the flesh. You count the tiny fingers and toes, admire the mop of hair (or the beautiful baldness), caress every soft inch of skin, inhale the sweetness of your little angel and give your first hug. You can’t believe you created this amazing creature.

Meeting for the first time is when you truly fall in love. Here are some stories parents shared with us:

  • “We tried to get pregnant for two years, so when the nurse finally handed my baby to me, the experience was beyond any expectation I had,” says Kelley McCarron of Mount Prospect, IL. “I looked into that little face and boom! ‘There you are,’ was all I could say to her. It was as if I was waiting on her my entire life. She was the missing piece of my family of two. She belonged. And here she was.”
  • Dreena Whitfield of Carteret, NJ, writes: “My son Gabe is 19 months now and honestly to see him for the first time was life-changing. There was an instant connection and overall feeling of love and selflessness. Even though I had carried him for nine months it was still a bit surreal to actually see him, hold him, hear his cry. Even when I think about it today it blows my mind that I'm someone's mom.” 

Sometimes loss makes the first hug even more special.

  • “After a year of trying to conceive, losing our first child and nine months of waiting to meet my son for the first time, I didn't think I'd have words to describe our first meeting,” says Victoria Schneider of Dallas, GA. “When they laid him on my chest his hands immediately found my fingers and wrapped themselves around them. He was quiet and I couldn't speak. I just looked at him and cried happy tears; tears of joy. He was bigger than I expected and I could already feel the connection between us. As I quietly sobbed he placed his other hand on my heart as if to say, ‘It's okay Mom, I'm here now and I love you.’" 

And dads have some of the same feelings:

  • “I will never forget the moment I watched my son take his very first breath,” says new dad Jordan Fried. “Nine months of anticipation and preparation did not even remotely prepare me for how I would feel in that moment. Seeing him ("Yes Mr. Fried, it's a boy!") enter into the world and have him placed into my hands gave me an overwhelming feeling of pure love, gratitude and joy all at once. Any fear and anxiety that had managed to creep in during the last few weeks ('Am I going to be a good father?' and 'What if business goes South?',  ran regular laps in my head) completely washed away the moment I saw this little life look right into my eyes and gasp his first breath. Don't get me wrong -- he was a gooey, slippery, almost alien-looking little guy, absolutely -- but he was my gooey little mess. And in his eyes I saw an entire new lifetime of deep, unique and beautiful experience just beginning. I held him close. He settled immediately. We both knew we were home.”

The bottom line is that it’s an awesome meeting whether it’s your first child or your third.

  • “I’m the mother of a soon-to-be five year old, a three year old and another (yes, third boy) on the way” says Maryland mom Jacqulyn Priestly. “Meeting my oldest for the first time was emotional. My mom and I cried in the delivery room and my husband stood there with so much pride and the biggest smile I had seen on his face since our wedding day. Our first hug was the moment when I felt like, ‘You’re mine….well, ours.’ When my second son was born 20 months later, I was less consumed with the delivery itself and more excited to meet our little guy, to smell him, to have that skin-to-skin feeling of their touch. And now, I have to admit, I’m all too excited to experience that newborn hug all over again in a matter of weeks.”

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5 Ways to Model Gratitude for Babies

There’s no doubt that gratitude is a life lesson that we all need constant brushing up on. But I truly believe that it’s one that can be taught early on — as young as 6 months old. While “thank yous” might be meaningless auto replies at first, the more practice a child has saying those words, the more likely they are to continue using them generously and with intent as they grow to understand their meaning and power.

Here are a few ways to model gratitude for Baby, in hopes that she will pick up your good behaviors in the same way she picks up your not-so-flattering ones. (Or is that just me?!)

Play the Thank You Game

Hand Baby a toy. Then ask her to hand it back to you. When she does, say an expressive, “Well, thank you.” Continue to hand it back and forth, saying a playful thank you each time. (This usually turns into a gigglefest at our house.) As Baby is old enough to make word-like sounds, you may even notice a two syllable grunt long before she can pronounce the actual words.

Give Baby a Chance to Give

Come holiday time, have Baby hand out the gifts. Seeing the look of surprise and thanks on the recipients’ faces will give her a thrill. This can also be done easily around the house. Mommy needs her shoes? Have Baby take them to her. Brother’s lunch box is packed? Have her hand it to him. Teaching Baby that being the giver is a special role too, will help her appreciate being on the receiving end even more in time.

Be Sure You’re Saying Your Pleases and Thank You's

Let Baby see you speaking with gratitude to the people you encounter together — family, friends, cashiers, etc. And if someone compliments Baby’s sweet smile or beautiful eyes, say thank you on her behalf. Once Baby is ready to speak for herself, remind her to look at the person and say thank you. While it may seem pushy at first, it will become second nature to Baby quickly with a bit of practice.

Openly Express Gratitude Throughout the Day

When you find yourself enjoying a moment, tell Baby. “Isn’t it great that we can be cuddled up on the couch reading this book together?” “I’m so happy to wake up in the morning to come in to your smiling face and wacky bed head!” “This beautiful day is giving me lots of energy and I really needed it.”

Pajama Chat

As the day comes to an end, and you’re getting Baby all snuggly in her PJs, list 5 things you’re grateful for that day. These things can be anything from the weather, to activities you did, to the people you love, to the fact that it’s finally bedtime. (Of course if you’re religious, this can also be done as a prayer.)

Try a few of these and I bet you’ll be surprised how quickly Baby picks up on this way of thinking. And, if you’re like me, you might also find that you feel happier when you take a gracious approach to the days as well.

How do you model gratitude for your baby?

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Get Ready for Your Fourth Trimester

The time between your baby's birth and her first three months of life is known as the fourth trimester. This special time is all about getting to know your little one during those precious first few months you will have together at home. The so-called fourth trimester is a time of change, discovery and bonding for both you and baby.

The desire to see babies thrive will never change. How families find their way has. That’s why Huggies teamed up with Medela Inc, to offer more moms the support they need to reach their breastfeeding goals. Breastfeeding doesn’t look the same for everyone. And that’s more than okay. There’s no perfect way to do it, and plenty of ways to get to your own version of perfect.

To help you with planning for your fourth trimester, check out these tips from Medela Inc.

 

Be supportive

Your little one is making a huge adjustment by transitioning to life outside of the womb. You can help baby cope by creating soothing everyday experiences for her. Things that remind baby of being in the womb can be especially comforting. Activities such as holding baby close so that she can hear your heartbeat can help provide familiar sounds and sensations.

Of course, new moms and dads need support too. Focus on practicing routines as you get to know your baby and don’t stress about sticking to a solid schedule. Consider simple comforts such as a rocking chair or glider for the nursery to help you get through late nights comfortably.

 

Bond with baby

Your body is designed to help you bond with your new little one. Both during and after your birthing experience, high levels of oxytocin (yep, the love hormone) are released by your brain to help you bond with baby.

Breastfeeding is another wonderful way to connect with your newborn. If possible, take advantage of the very special bonding time immediately after birth, which is known as the golden hour. This is the ideal time to start breastfeeding. Let your doctor and nurses know your wishes so that routine medical procedures don’t interfere with your precious bonding time.

 

Brush up on breastfeeding

A good latch is the secret to successfully breastfeeding your baby. Once baby is comfortably latched on to your breast, you can relax and enjoy feeding your little one. There are lots of different positioning styles that you can try when feeding too. When baby is latched on properly, you should be able to hear the sound of her swallowing milk.  Medela offers step-by-step instructions to help you with latching.

 

Help baby sleep

When babies are growing in the womb they experience plenty of motion. Many babies find motion comforting and can fall asleep more easily when they are moving. To help your baby sleep, you can try holding her on your chest as you walk quietly through your home. Pushing baby in her stroller or taking her for a ride in the car are other ways to provide the kind of soothing motion that could help your little one sleep.

 

Involve your partner

While you bond with your baby through breastfeeding, your partner can also connect with baby in other meaningful ways. Holding and burping baby after she nurses is a wonderful way for your partner to get involved with feedings. Bath time and nap time also offer other opportunities for your partner to play with baby and provide comfort by rocking or holding to help baby peacefully fall asleep.

 

Get more advice from Medela, Inc. at http://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com/

Medela, Inc. the #1 recommended breast pump brand*, is proud to provide moms with quality products that support their breast milk feeding goals – whatever their lifestyle. Medela will be adding new products to its collection later this year that were designed in direct response to customer feedback. We develop our products based on breastfeeding science, our own research, as well as user testing and feedback from moms. We teamed up with Huggies to offer more moms the support they need to reach their own breastfeeding goals.

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How to Enjoy the Holidays While Caring for a Newborn

Baby’s first holiday season is a special time that will only happen once in his or her life.

So amid sleep deprivation, a fussy baby who needs to be held throughout the day, the 45 minute nap monster, and possibly still recovering from delivery, just how do you enjoy the holiday season with a newborn?

Here are some tips and tricks that I’ve used (and plan to try) to get the most out of my fleeting time with my newborn, in order to enjoy this special time of year as much as possible.

Take Shortcuts with Food Prep

So much of the holiday season is surrounded by one central theme; FOOD! Make your life easier by ordering store bought when possible. If it’s not in the budget, or you prefer homemade, take shortcuts like buying pre-diced onions, celery and carrots, common cooking staples of the season. Buy bagged and chopped lettuce, use boxed stuffing, or use pumpkin pie mix instead of making your pie completely from scratch. I also consistently use store bought pie crusts. Pastry crusts are not something that can be rushed and tried to squeeze in when baby is calm for 5 minutes. Taking and using these little shortcuts saves a few minutes here and there, but it all adds up, and saves your energy for the important things, like playing with your baby!

Skip Hosting

If you’re typically the hostess for the holiday gatherings, politely decline this year, if at all possible. No matter how many times family and friends tell you that they will do everything and all you have to do is just open up your home, you know that there will always be pre-cleanup and post-cleanup duty that will be left to you and your partner. We’ve decided to skip hosting this year and instead are driving a ways out to my sister’s house for turkey day, but the drive will be worth it knowing that I don’t have to worry about playing the hostess.

Take Extra Time to Plan for Baby’s Needs

If you’re traveling, set aside an extra few hours just for pre-planning! Make a list of items you will need to pack and think about ways to travel light. Can you rent a carseat, baby tub or a pack and play where you’re going? If items like diapers, formula, and even wipes can be purchased where you’re going, just pack a few of each in your diaper bag and don’t bother taking enough for your whole stay. Travel as light as possible is the key! What items are must-haves that you absolutely can’t forget? For us, it’s our sound machine and plenty of swaddling blankets. Make a plan so you don’t forget those in the rush of getting out the door (I write big reminder notes and leave them by my keys)! Taking just a bit of time upfront to plan will save you time, frustration and even some tears!

Simplify Your Gift Giving

Shop online when and where possible, and buy duplicate gifts. I have 13 nieces and nephews and many of them are very close in age and developmental stage, so this year instead of trying to thoughtfully pick out each individual gift like I normally do, I am buying the same gift for some nieces and nephews where appropriate. If you have a large extended family that you usually buy for, consider this year drawing names, a fun family tradition we have had for years. Each year at Thanksgiving the adults all put their name in a hat and we each pick one person to buy a gift for. This tradition saves time and money!

Combine Birth Announcements with Holiday Cards to Save Time

These are 2 traditions that typically take quite a bit of time and energy, so this year since our baby was born closer to the holidays, we are combining birth announcements and holiday cards into one! This saves time because we don’t have to take 2 sets of pictures, and I don’t have to address and mail out two separate items, and it obviously saves money. Most importantly though it saves my energy.

Intentionally Remind Yourself to Enjoy Your Baby

This sounds so silly and obvious, but if I am not intentional about setting time aside to stop and slow down, I can quickly lose myself in trying to make the holidays perfect in every detail. But I try to remind myself that it’s not the details that make a holiday perfect, but having the time to enjoy them with those I love the most.

Experience the comfort of Huggies Little Snugglers

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6 Surprising Facts About Your Newborn Baby's Brain

Your baby’s brain began to form almost immediately after conception, and by the third trimester it nearly tripled in weight and changed its appearance from a smooth surface to a grooved one. At birth, your newborn’s brain—although already functioning as the most important organ in the body—is still in the process of developing. Here are 6 more surprising facts about your newborn’s noggin:

1. Babies are born with all of their brain cells (neurons)—approximately 100 billion—that will continually connect with one another to create synapses. Connections are made when your baby has an experience (reaching a milestone, for example) which then encourages him or her to think and use those mighty brain cells, in turn strengthening the synapses. As your little one develops, the brain will also mature by “pruning” away the least useful synapses based on your baby’s specific experiences and environment.

2. Research suggests that constant interaction and communication, as well as the power of play, encourage brain development, so read often, sing nursery rhymes, narrate your activities (such as, “Mommy’s putting you in the stroller to go on a walk”), and introduce brightly colored toys to your baby. During your interactions, imitate behavior to your baby in an exaggerated manner to give him or her an early understanding of self and others.

3. The hippocampus—the area of the brain that is primarily associated with memory—is already 40% developed at birth, and will become fully developed when your baby is 18-months-old. While your child may recognize the sound of your voice, the typical time he or she is fed, and the unique characteristics of your face during the first 12 months of life, long term memory formation begins after your child’s first year and takes through his or her second year to fully mature.

4. Research out of Washington University in St. Louis suggests that the hippocampus is larger and better developed in children who received loving care, especially during high-stress situations, in an emotionally supportive environment. This enlightening study proves that there is no capacity for love—so nurture your little one by embracing the power of hugs, kisses, cuddles, and old fashioned TLC—and that nurturing your child from the start is critical for proper brain development. Protect your little one’s perfect skin by keeping it clean and healthy with new Huggies® Little Snugglers. Mom preferred over Pampers Swaddlers†, Huggies® Little Snugglers welcome your baby to the world with their best skin care and a soft, comforting hug.

5. Your newborn was born with three of his or her five senses almost fully developed, but the most acute sense at birth is smell. While your little one may not be able to clearly focus visually or understand language, he or she can process information through scent. Amazingly, it has been shown that newborns can correctly identify their mother’s milk when challenged to do so, as well as feel a sense of calm when given a piece of clothing that smells like her.

6. Because your newborn doesn’t have the ability to filter out noise, light, and touch stimulation, he or she may become easily distracted by the surroundings in an attempt to process the environment. Your little one may become fussy, hyperactive, or withdrawn when overstimulated, so it’s best to closely monitor his or her changing behaviors, especially when you’re in crowded, loud, and/or bright situations.

Your baby’s brain will develop faster in the first year than any other, so nurture that growth by loving, teaching and inspiring your child.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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 (GHLF.org) and a contributor to U.S. News & World Report (usnews.com/topics/author/seth-d-ginsberg). 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 (clubthrifty.com), 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

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