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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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What nobody tells you about postpartum life

What Nobody Tells you About Postpartum Life

Wake-up call

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

We think that's sweet.

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

Trust us.

One hour after baby's birth

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

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

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

Do not stop reading.

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

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

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

One day after baby's birth

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

We understand.

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

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

Two days after baby's birth

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

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

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

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

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

Three days after baby's birth

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

It gets better every day

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

We think you are even prettier.

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Mom outside with baby on her shoulders

Get Out! Places To Go With Your Newborn

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

A restaurant.

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

The aquarium.

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

An animal shelter.

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

Your old office.

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

The farmer's market.

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

Public garden.

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

Image: Huggies

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Wrapped up sleeping baby

7 Tips to Make Life Easier with a Newborn

Being a mommy to a newborn was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. It was the most incredible feeling, knowing I brought a miracle into the world and I was entrusted to care for this tiny human being, to shower my baby with love and to watch him grow. I’ve been through it twice now, and while it is beautiful and exciting, it can also be stressful and sometimes challenging. I wanted to let you fellow parents in on my secrets to making life easier when you have a newborn.

1. Sleep when the baby sleeps

I didn’t listen when my mom told me this, over and over again. Looking back, I wish I would have left the dishes for later, or enlisted a little help with the housework so I could have gotten some more rest those first few months.

2. Pack extras in your trunk

Yes, you will have a diaper bag with you, but there are times you will forget items. So I always keep a bag in my trunk full of “just in case” items such as a blanket, diapers and wipes, a few extra outfits (including a set of pajamas for nights that go later than you planned), and an empty bottle. And pack an extra shirt and pair of pants for YOURSELF. I made the mistake of not having a change of clothes for myself in the car one day, when I brought my 1-month-old to a meeting. I proceeded to change him in the bathroom where he had what I call a “toot and shoot,” so I ended up having to leave the meeting covered in #2. Embarrassing, right? It’s all part of motherhood. Haha.

3. Remember: no one is perfect

I stressed myself out so much when I first became a mom because I didn’t want to do anything incorrectly or look like I couldn’t handle motherhood. I was afraid to let my emotions out because I thought it made me look weak. But the truth is, there is no such thing as the perfect parent. What your baby needs most is food, sleep and love! Focus on those three things and everything else will fall into place.

4. Ask as many questions as you want at the hospital and pediatrician appointments

Don’t feel like you need to seem like you know everything. The nurses in recovery are there for the exact purpose of helping you and your new bundle of joy. Fill up on knowledge before you head home with your little one and continue to ask questions when you take them to their doctor’s appointments. I actually made lists of questions as they came up so I could take them with me to the pediatrician’s office.

5. Always bring the elevated sleeper

I love this bright pink Minnie Mouse Bows and Butterflies sleeper. An item just like this was our best friend when we would head to a friend’s house for dinner. It gave us a place to let our little one rest while we ate or while we were hanging out.

6. Get a play yard with a newborn/bassinet insert

Consider this Geo Pooh Play Yard from Sears. You will be waking up every hour or two to feed your baby for the first few months of his/her life, so it helps to have them sleeping near you. And just as often as you wake up to feed your baby, you will be changing his/her diaper. When you get a play yard like this one, you can do all of those things in one spot and continue to use the play yard for years to come. Plus, it has ample storage. That’s a win-win for Mommy, Daddy and Baby!

7. Ask your OBGYN what items you need to buy for yourself for your at home care after giving birth

Trust me, you will want to have those things on hand when you get home. The hospital will supply you with some items, but they won’t be enough, and the last thing you will want to do when you get home with a newborn is need to go to the store for that sort of stuff.

8. One-piece outfits like rompers are a mommy’s best friend, so stock up on them!

These are the easiest little outfits to get on and off of your baby.

Loving your baby is the greatest gift you can give your child, so keep your head up and have confidence in your abilities. As you arrive home with your tiny blessing in your arms, I hope you can relax a little and use this list to help relieve some stress. Remember: Moments of stress are fleeting, but being a parent is a magical gift that lasts a lifetime! You can do it!

Image : Disney Baby

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Baby sleeping in parent's hands

A Thoughtful Gift Basket to Welcome Home Baby

If you know someone who will be welcoming a new baby into their life soon, this is the perfect gift idea for you! Help make baby’s first moments magical with a Disney Baby curated gift basket.

First, here’s the recipe for putting together the perfect newborn gift basket:

1. Find a basket or fabric storage cube to display your gifts — something that can be re-used for storage and matches baby’s nursery!

2. Arrange gifts in the basket with tissue paper for added love.

3. Pick out some of your favorite Disney Baby gifts to add to your basket!

Now, what should you include? Here are a few ideas!

Diapers & Wipes

Baby will need plenty of these! Help Mom and Dad stock up and encourage gentle diaper care with this Winnie the Pooh themed newborn starter kit that includes Little Snuggler diapers and wipes.

Huggies Little Snugglers Newborn Gift Set

Receiving Blankets

Of course, they'll love a cute blanket for baby to snuggle in!

4-Pack Receiving Blankets

Hat & Booties

Got to have something to keep baby warm and cozy!

It's a Small World Cap & Bootie Set

Cuddly Bodysuit

Help Mom and Dad build the perfect layette with an adorable, grow-with-baby bodysuit.

Disney Cuddly Bodysuit

Stuffed Lovie

Add to their collection with something classic to cuddle with.

Classic Pooh 14" Plush Toy

Pacifiers

You can never have enough! These will help soothe and comfort their little one.

NUK Pacifiers

Music

These classics will be music to their ears -- and they're perfect for soothing baby.

Disney Baby Lullaby Album

Image : Disney Baby

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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 (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&rsqƒuo;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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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.”

Image : Getty

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Happy, smiley, baby in white laying on white sheeted bed

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?

Experience the comfort of Huggies Little Snugglers

Image : Disney 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.

Image : Getty

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Mom holding silly baby with toy in his mouth

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.

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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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