Loading...

Follow Mommy Knows Best on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid

Spring Activites for you and baby

Spring is in the air. Birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and the flowers are blooming. You’re eager to get outside and get active with your baby. Spring is the perfect time to try some fun and creative sensory activities that help your little one explore and discover the world around them. Stumped for ideas? Keep reading!


1. Egg Hunt and Textured Eggs


Nothing says spring more than Easter. And if there’s one thing most moms have lying around the house, it’s dozens of colorful, plastic Easter eggs. These two projects are a great way to use up these plastic eggs and engage your little one in some interactive play. Babies are fascinated by fun and simple games that keep them guessing. Peek-a-Boo is the perfect example of this type of game. Fill each egg with small toys or items. Have your little one open each egg to discover what’s inside. Watch their face light up as they find small figures, balls, and other colorful toys. Always monitor your baby closely during these types of games, as small items can pose a choking hazard. If there’s one thing babies love more than finding things, it’s touching them! Use your plastic eggs and small balloons filled with materials of different textures. Things like sand, flour, sugar, or small beads are perfect for sensory play. Fill each balloon with a different ingredient and place them in the eggs. Your child will love experimenting and experiencing all the different textures.


2. Fun in the Sun


One of the best things about spring is being able to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. Fresh air and vitamin D from the sun are great for your baby’s health. Take your little one outside to explore the world around them. Let the grass tickle their bare feet. Take them for a walk where they feel the warm breeze on their face and bare skin. Another great outdoor activity is gardening. This may be easier for older infants and toddlers but bring them along while you tend to your garden. Simply being outdoors, near the fresh fruits and vegetables is an amazing sensory experience for your little one. Watch as they take in the sights, sounds, and smells of nature.


3. Sensory Bins

One of the best ways for your baby to experience spring is through sensory play. So why not bring the outdoors in with some creative and fun sensory bins? The options are truly endless for spring sensory bins and are based primarily on how messy you wanna get. If you’re not afraid of a little clean-up, create a dirt sensory bin filled with clean, soil and fake, plastic bugs or flowers. Let your baby feel the dirt and see how it looks on their hands. Other sensory bin ideas include Easter “grass” with plastic chicks or eggs and cotton balls that resemble clouds along with some silky butterflies. Most of these supplies are easily purchased at your local craft store.

4. Suncatcher

This is another great way to bring the outdoors in and create a project you can enjoy throughout the season. You and baby can collect colorful leaves, flowers, and other materials from outside. All you need are these items, a gallon size plastic storage bag, and hair gel. Place a some gel in the bag (enough to move around and cover most of the inside). Next, choose a “front” side of the sensory bag. Let your little one hand you the items as you place them inside and scatter them evenly around, sticking them to the gel. When you’re done, release any built up air from inside the bag so it lays flat. Tape the top of the bag to a nearby window where your baby can reach. Here, the sun will shine through the bag, illuminating the colors of spring items and the hair gel. Your baby can safely touch and explore the items through the bag.

Spring is a time for outdoor exploration and experiencing nature. As your baby grows, they are eager to discover the world around them. When these two worlds come together, amazing things happen! Try a few of these spring activities with your little one and join in their curiosity and wonder.


April Sutphen 

I am a 32-year-old mother and wife of a police officer living in NJ.

I have my MFA in creative nonfiction and 10 years writing experience. 

When I'm not writing I enjoy hot yoga, cardio kickboxing, running, and camping.



Are you a mom boss?
Join our Facebook Group!
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Keeping the Holidays Low Key with a New Baby

Welcoming a baby into your home and family instantly makes the little things in life more enjoyable. Bathtime, dinner, and taking walks outside have never been so fun. And this is especially true when it comes time for the holidays! Children are what make the holidays bright. But the holidays also bring chaos, lots of activity, and stress. Which are the last things that a new mom and infant need. Here are a few ways that you and your newborn can enjoy the holiday season without feeling overwhelmed or offending family members and friends.


1. Let Someone Else Host


Even if the family tradition is for you to host the holidays, if this is your first holiday season with a newborn, pass the honor onto someone else. Hosting a party can be extremely stressful. Not only are you cooking, entertaining, and cleaning up both before and after the party, but hosting the holidays means a lot of people in your home. This also means lots of germs and hands wanting to hold and snuggle your baby. While their intentions are pure, this can be extremely overwhelming for a new baby and exposes them to the potential of getting sick. When you attend a party somewhere else, you can arrive and depart based on your baby’s unique schedule. If the party becomes too chaotic, you can respectfully bow out. While letting go of traditions can be tough, relish in the fact that you’re not responsible for entertaining this time around.


2. Put Your Baby’s Needs First


Being a people pleaser and a new mom can be a tricky balance to strike. And while the holiday season is about giving, your baby’s needs should top your wish list. You know your baby best. Do they get fussy at night and only settle when rocked in their favorite chair? Do late night car rides or too much activity stimulate and upset them? If so, plan your holidays accordingly. Your true friends and family will completely understand that you’re a new mom and that your baby’s happiness and comfort is most important. This might mean skipping a party, changing locations, or laying low -- none of which you should feel bad or guilty about.




3. Keep Gift Giving Simple


New moms barely have time to cook, eat, or sleep, let alone shop! While online shopping is all the rage, it still takes time, money, concentration, and effort. Make a pact with friends and family to keep gift giving to a minimum this holiday season. This means you can spend your money on diapers and formula rather than gifts. It also means less stress for you and baby. You won’t be bothered by making lists, ordering presents, wrapping, and delivering them. But this doesn’t mean family and friends won’t want to spoil your newborn with adorable clothes and other gifts. Just be sure to set boundaries when it comes to having visitors.


It’s Okay to Say ‘No’


This rule holds true for the holiday season and pretty much any time following the birth of your child. This point ties back to putting your baby’s needs first. Don’t forget that your needs are important too. Are you feeling extra tired, emotional, or overwhelmed? Then don’t feel bad declining someone’s offer to visit, a party invite, or any other obligation that brings you additional, undo stress. The holidays are about love, happiness, and family. And your loved ones will understand if this holiday season you need support and acceptance while you care for yourself and your infant.


As fun and enjoyable as the holiday season can be, it can also be very stressful. And this is especially true as a new mom. But that doesn’t mean you or your baby need to miss out on all the holiday fun. It simply means you may need to do things differently than you’re used to. Let someone else host the party, buy less gifts, and celebrate with a small group of close friends and family. Next year, you and your adorable toddler can be the life of the party!




April Sutphen 

I am a 32-year-old mother and wife of a police officer living in NJ.

I have my MFA in creative nonfiction and 10 years writing experience. 

When I'm not writing I enjoy hot yoga, cardio kickboxing, running, and camping.



Are you a mom boss?
Join our Facebook Group!
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

6 Signs Your Baby Loves You

There’s no denying the unconditional love a mother feels when she first sets eyes on her newborn. You could spend hours simply watching them sleep. Completely mystified by their tiny hands and feet, button nose, and curious eyes. But do you ever wonder if your infant loves you back? Of course, they cry when they need you, look to you for food, comfort, and soothing, but do those “needs” equate to “love”? Read on to discover a few amazing ways that you can tell your baby truly loves you too!


1. Makes Eye Contact




The connection you feel when staring into your baby’s eyes is real. While their eyesight is still developing, they can absolutely see you. And staring back at you, examining your face and pausing for a moment, are all signs that they recognize and adore you. Almost as much as you adore them!


2. Giggles and Smiles



There’s no better sound than hearing the delight of your baby. During those bonding moments of eye contact and play, your little one will start to smile, giggle, and maybe even belly laugh. These are all signs that they love being around you and that they’re happy and content.


3. Turns Towards You


Does your baby look in your direction or wiggle their way around their crib or play mat to get a better look at you? Does your infant turn toward you when they hear your voice or see you coming? That’s because they love you. It’s also a representation of the strong bond you’ve shared since conception. Studies show that infants are born recognizing the sound of their mother’s voice.


4. Lights Up When They See You

Although this is a common expression, the delight on your infant’s face when they see you is a great indication of how much they love you. Your baby will likely react physically to you by kicking their legs, moving their hands, smiling, and wiggling their bodies. That’s because they’re excited to see you. This is an especially warming feeling first thing in the morning or when seeing your baby after several hours apart.

5. Comforted by You

Mothers seem to have the special touch when it comes to comforting their little ones. Are you the only one who can calm your baby or rock them to sleep? Does your little one seem to melt into your arms and completely relax? The fact that only you have the right touch, stroke, and voice to soothe your little one is another sign of how much they love and need you.

5. Experiences Separation Anxiety

As heartbreaking as it can be to see your little one cry in your absence, it’s a sure sign that they love and depend on you. Whether it’s dropping your baby at daycare, leaving them with a babysitter, or simply leaving the room! When your little one cries if you’re not in eye-sight, it’s because they miss you. They feel safe and comforted in your presence. And there’s no doubt that you’ll both be delighted when you’re reunited again.


Mothers never doubt the unconditional love they feel for their babies, but it’s natural to wonder if your little one loves you back. Pay close attention to how your infant reacts to your touch, voice, and presence, and you won’t have to wonder anymore! Their love will be clear and irreparable.


April Sutphen 

I am a 32-year-old mother and wife of a police officer living in NJ.

I have my MFA in creative nonfiction and 10 years writing experience. 

When I'm not writing I enjoy hot yoga, cardio kickboxing, running, and camping.



Are you a mom boss?
Join our Facebook Group!
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Fun Activities for Baby in the Winter Months

The winter months can be tough. While snow is picturesque and beautiful, it sometimes means being stuck inside. It also means getting creative when it comes to staying active and keeping your little one engaged and happy. If you’re struggling to think of new and fun ways to entertain your baby during the winter, look no further! Here are a few ideas to help entertain your baby and ward off those winter blues.


1. HANDPRINT PROJECTS 



Not only are handprint projects fun but they make adorable keepsakes and are relatively easy to complete. Your little one will be delighted by having their palm painted and used as a stamp. The creative ideas are truly endless when it comes to making winter themed artwork using your infant’s handprint. You can create snowflakes, polar bears, penguins, and even snow covered trees! Your infant will giggle as you paint their tiny hands and be fascinated by the result as you create a winter picture using their handprint. And don’t forget those adorable baby feet! Painting the bottom of your child’s foot and using that to create other winter pictures is also a fun and playful option.


2. ICE PAINTING



If you’re looking to encourage your baby’s creativity with minimal clean-up, ice painting is the perfect solution. Just as you would make ice cubes out of juice, try filling an ice tray with water, food coloring, and popsicle sticks. Mix the water and your favorite colors - blue, green, red, orange, and purple etc. Place the popsicle stick into the center of the cube and put it in the freezer. Your ice paints will take approximately 2 hours to freeze. Once they’re frozen, run warm water over the tray to easily remove them. Now, you’re ready to paint! Sit with your baby and a blank piece of thick paper. Let them grab their favorite color and make strokes on the paper. As the ice begins to melt, it turns into watercolor painting. Your little one can explore different colors and the feel of the ice. Don’t be alarmed if they stick the ice in their mouths. It’s only water and food coloring, after all. But it’s good practice that your little one knows the difference between food and art supplies.  


3. WARM SNOW PLAY


Do you want your baby to experience the snow but the thought of bundling them up and braving the cold seems daunting? You’re certainly not alone! Not to mention, it may prove difficult for an infant or immobile toddler to safely play and explore the snow outdoors. So why not bring the snow to them? Fill a small container with some white, fluffy snow from outside and introduce it to you little one in the comfort of your home (living room floor placed on a blanket or towel). Help your baby slowly explore and touch the snow. 


They might be surprised at first by how cold it is. You can place gloves on their hands, but this takes away from the sensory experience. Small amounts of snow are easier for babies to handle and the chill factor is much lower. Add some accessories to the bin like small shovels, toys, and cups or bowls. Don’t be surprised if your little one decides to taste the snow, which is (of course) perfectly safe and all a part of the experience. As the snow melts, the consistency changes too, which will mystify and delight your curious baby.


Just because winter weather may inhibit some outdoor activities, it doesn’t mean your creativity and interactions with your infant should suffer. Try bringing the winter fun indoors where it’s more comfortable and enjoyable for your little one. And get creative with winter themed arts and crafts. When you start thinking outside the box, you’ll discover endless winter fun for both you and your infant.

April Sutphen 

I am a 32-year-old mother and wife of a police officer living in NJ.

I have my MFA in creative nonfiction and 10 years writing experience. 

When I'm not writing I enjoy hot yoga, cardio kickboxing, running, and camping.



Are you a mom boss?
Join our Facebook Group!
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
5 Areas of Support for Mothers with Colicky Babies

Nothing is more upsetting to a new mother than the sound of her quiet 3 week old baby crying...inconsolably...for several hours...for several evenings. Hormones released at the sound of a baby’s cry triggers a mother’s urge to pick up her baby and feed it. When a mother can’t stop the crying by all the usual means, she feels dreadful.

Inconsolable crying is clearly a health issue that requires a visit to your pediatric care provider.

There could be several reasons why your baby’s crying isn’t due to true colic.

 

GERD ( gastroesophageal reflux disease) is when the ring of muscle between the esophagus and the stomach opens up and partially digested milk, stomach acids and gas come up into the esophagus.  It causes a burning pain, think infant heartburn. Crying after burps with cheesy spit ups unrelated to a feeding, as opposed to creamy spit ups immediately after a feeding, can be a clue to a diagnosis of reflux pain.

H. pylori ( a bacterium known to cause stomach pain and ulcers in adults) is also a suspect in causing colic symptoms. In a 2012 study 82% of colicky infants tested positive for this bacterium. 

Other studies have suggested infantile migraines, perhaps a brain chemistry that makes some infants overly sensitive to stimuli or is it a gut flora imbalance that would benefit from probiotics?

Colic research is continually evolving but one thing remains the same.

The mothers of infants that cry a lot need extra support. Support for you comes in many different packages. Here are the top 5 areas of support to consider.

 

1.   Your partner

Turn to the person who is likely at home the most in the evenings and who has your best interests at heart. You will need a break for part of the colicky evening or all of it. Take turns with your spouse or partner, giving each other an opportunity to get out of the house for a few hours. Take a fast paced walk, meet a friend for a movie or take a hot bath followed by a nap, sending your partner out for a walk, wearing the baby.


2.     Lactation consultant

A very wise cardiologist, Dr. Bernard Lown wrote in “The Lost Art of Healing” that the pathway to healing depends upon the caregiver. That she or he must be “…listening to know the patient behind the symptoms; carefully touching the patient during the physical exam to communicate caring; using words that affirm the patient’s vitality; and attending to the stresses and situations of (her) life circumstances...”  A lactation consultant embodies this ideal. She may be able to ease some of the symptoms by fine tuning your breastfeeding positions and balancing your baby’s lactose intake.

3.   Postpartum Doula

A hired caregiver to support the new mother transitioning into motherhood and offering some respite from the stresses associated with a crying baby.  Someone who might be shopping for and cooking healthy food, caring for older siblings or providing guidance concerning baby care who can be on hand for several hours each day to afford you a few private hours between daytime feedings so you’ll be more rested for the evening hours.


4.   Trusted family and friends

Grandmothers, aunts, cousins and empathetic friends all want to help you. Stage an evening colic party for all who have expressed an interest in supporting you. You will be able to show them what colic looks like and what can be done to ease your baby’s symptoms. Perhaps the more experienced parents in the group will have some ideas of their own that they can share.  In this way, you can feel more secure that everyone is aware of what to expect and your techniques are being followed when you are away from your baby.


5.   Colic support groups

Googling will bring you to many online spaces for support. Sometimes called fussy baby or high needs child -  it all boils down to a mother who needs to talk to other mothers about her experiences, her feelings and emotions and what has been done successfully by them that might help. You might have to participate in several forums before you find the right fit.


Colic is temporary.  It always goes away. Stay supported.

Paula Zindler
RN IBCLC

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
How to Master Your Breastfeeding Schedule

From the moment she is born, your baby needs you.

From the moment she is born, your baby learns to rely upon you.

From the moment she is born, your baby has no idea what time it is.

If you are the type of woman that likes a strict schedule, ruffles at the idea of flexibility or hasn’t had to exercise her spur-of-the-moment thinking in months...get ready for your new normal. 

Paying attention to your baby and not the clock will help your baby gain weight and will help your breasts produce the milk your growing baby wants and needs. Remember, unlike artificial formula which has exactly 24 calories per ounce, your milk is alive, it changes from minute to minute, adjusting to higher temperatures with more water for hydration...adding melatonin at night as a sleep aid...providing growth hormones throughout your baby’s breastfeeding life...too many other plusses to mention here because I want to stress that your breastmilk has a varying calorie count.  Sometimes it has more fat; sometimes more water and these variations in the calories she takes in determine how long your baby will be content before she again shows signs of hunger. 

I frequently have conversations with new breastfeeding mothers that begin with the rundown of the times of their baby’s feedings. I listen carefully; I appreciate the mother’s need to try to pull it all together, to try to make order of this new normal, which often feels like disorder - especially to the executive woman. 

I reply, “The times don’t matter, what matters is; feed your baby when your baby tells you that she is hungry.  Don’t look at the clock or your phone or your list of earlier feeding times. When she starts to wave her arms about and call out to you, look at your baby, learn your baby’s language.”

“But I just fed her 2 hours ago.”  So? She’s hungry now. Perhaps she had a smaller volume feeding the last time because her belly was gassy or her intestines were full of poop, making her less inclined to take the time at breast.  Since she last ate, even if it was “just” 2 hours ago, she might have burped, farted or had a giant poop...and now she’s ready to eat more. Your baby has no idea what time it is.

When your baby calls out to you, she needs your presence to reassure her that her needs will be met. You will create a secure, contented baby that will cry less, smile more, have more diaper changes (and therefore fewer rashes) and will gain weight. You will not “spoil” your baby by picking her up when she cries. That’s old news; current research bears this out. 

Instead of a schedule, look for patterns.  You can observe that your baby is more active between 10 A.M. and 1 P.M., wanting to look about and not eat or perhaps when you have her wrapped to your chest for 2 hours she awakens super hungry.  These are your new normal occurrences.  These patterns emerge from your observations telling you when to feed your baby.  Learn these patterns, forget any strict schedules...watch and listen to your baby - not your clock.

Paula Zindler
RN IBCLC

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

5 Items You Need Before Baby Number 2 Arrives

You started with baby steps, learning to breastfeed Baby #1.  I’m sure you remember those moments of worry; feeling that family, home and employment all seemed impossible to manage in those early weeks with your firstborn. Now, you have adapted and accommodated and have a family, a home and a career that runs like clockwork...Well, at least you have learned what works for you and what doesn’t.

Heading into Baby #2 you are a different breastfeeding woman. You are more confident with the knowledge that your body will do everything it is supposed to do to nourish your newborn, if you endeavor to keep your baby close and feed her often.

I have created this list after working with dozens of 2nd timers. It might just be all you’re really gonna need to make your life easier for happy breastfeeding the 2nd time around:

1. Your breasts 

These are paramount. They are already prepared to make colostrum for your expected baby. The odds are with you that you will make more breastmilk in the first few days with Baby #2 than with you did with Baby #1. You know about non-separation of baby and mom from time of birth and skin-to-skin contact as the best way to set up your baby’s early breastfeeding attempts.  See #5.

2. A good baby sitter for Baby/Child #1

  The peace of mind a good babysitter can bring is priceless. Most mothers employ several people before they are able to find the right fit.  If you have been lucky enough to find someone that loves your child and that your child loves back, do everything you can to keep this relationship alive. Baby/Child #1 needs extra support at this time just as much as you do.

3. The gliding nursing chair you wanted for Baby #1 but didn’t get  

You felt it was an unnecessary expense back then.  You had your wrap-around nursing pillow, the couch, your bed...now, after sitting in dozens of dedicated nursing chairs you know exactly which one you want.  The glider – get it.

4. A lightweight, electric baby swing  

One that you can move from room to room and runs continuously. Your baby can watch you as you go about your day, stimulated by your movements and your voice. The rocking motion and the white noise or tunes produced by these swings soothes most babies.

5. A prenatal session with a board certified lactation consultant 

I couldn’t decide if this should be #1 on the list...I am putting it last for emphasis...

A lactation consultant will teach you about how your breasts make milk, what influences the production of your milk and how to get it into your justborn.  Breastfeeding often during the first 72 hours is critical for increasing the number of early prolactin receptors, making the breast more sensitive to prolactin, your post-birth hormone that tells your body to make milk.

The breastfeeding start-up guidance that your lactation consultant will give to you prenatally; recognizing feeding cues, positioning for optimal latch, recognizing sucking with swallowing  - are valuable pieces of information for you in the first 24 hours after the birth of your 2nd baby. A hospital or home visit from your LC soon after the birth of your baby will keep you on track, easing your transition into breastfeeding #2 with confidence.

Paula Zindler
RN IBCLC

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Gift Ideas for the New Dad in Your Life

If you have a new mom in your life, you probably want to get her a really amazing gift this holiday season. After all, she’s been working tirelessly to care for her new baby and likely needs a little pampering. But what about dad? Doesn’t he deserve to be spoiled and appreciated since becoming a father? Here are a few awesome gift ideas for the new dad in your life that will show him how much you care.


1. THE TILE MATE




Let’s be honest. While we adore the men in our lives and their effort to help take care of your new addition and other household chores, not many have mastered the art of multitasking. That means they can sometimes be forgetful. So what better gift to give than the Tile Mate. The man in your life can attach this nifty little tile to his keys and will know where they are at all times. The tile is Bluetooth capable which means dad’s phone can alert him to where the tile is at all times. And what’s even better is that he can easily attach the Tile Mate to anything - his wallet, the TV remote, or his slippers!


2. DIAPER BACKPACK



If you have a new, hands-on dad in your life it likely means he’s changing diapers, heating bottles, dressing, and taking your little one on walks or out to run errands. It also means that dad probably doesn’t want to stroll around wearing a feminine or flowered diaper bag over his shoulder. Find your man a stylish, manly backpack that doubles as a diaper bag. These versatile bags have all the necessities and conveniences of a regular diaper bag including pockets for bottles, a changing pad, and plenty of storage. What’s even better is that dad can place the bag on his back and have two free hands for taking care of baby.




3. CAPPUCCINO OR ESPRESSO MACHINE


While a new baby brings endless joy into a home, it also brings sleepless nights and the need for rejuvenation. And what better way to get a much-needed pick me up than with a delicious hot cup of espresso? If the new dad in your life loves coffee, he’ll love a cappuccino or espresso machine which puts a fancy spin on the average cup of joe. Not to mention, espresso packs quite a punch in the caffeine department which dad will appreciate next time the baby cries for another nighttime feeding. There’s something indulgent about having a cappuccino brewed in the comfort of your own kitchen. Pair this gift with a personalized mug and the new dad in your life is sure to feel loved and appreciated.

4. NOISE-CANCELING HEADPHONES


The only thing harder to adjust to than sleepless nights for new dads is the noise level. Yes, baby’s cry and yes, they’re loud! The man in your life might not be accustomed to a crying baby and could use a few minutes of peace and quiet. Which is why a comfortable set of noise-canceling headphones make the perfect gift. Most headphones are wireless, which make them convenient and Bluetooth compatible. Dad can relax and listen to some music or watch his favorite sporting event on his tablet or computer. A few moments to indulge (quietly) in something he enjoys, will leave the new dad in your life feeling energized and ready to jump back in the parenting game.


Gifts giving is the opportunity to show the important people in your life how much you care. It’s also a time to give them something truly meaningful that they’ll appreciate and use. So when it comes to choosing gifts for the new dad in your life, consider what will make their transition into parenthood easier and show them that you think they’re doing a great job!

April Sutphen 

I am a 32-year-old mother and wife of a police officer living in NJ.

I have my MFA in creative nonfiction and 10 years writing experience. 

When I'm not writing I enjoy hot yoga, cardio kickboxing, running, and camping.



Are you a mom boss?
Join our Facebook Group!
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Keeping the Holidays Low Key with a New Baby

Welcoming a baby into your home and family instantly makes the little things in life more enjoyable. Bathtime, dinner, and taking walks outside have never been so fun. And this is especially true when it comes time for the holidays! Children are what make the holidays bright. But the holidays also bring chaos, lots of activity, and stress. Which are the last things that a new mom and infant need. Here are a few ways that you and your newborn can enjoy the holiday season without feeling overwhelmed or offending family members and friends.


1. Let Someone Else Host


Even if the family tradition is for you to host the holidays, if this is your first holiday season with a newborn, pass the honor onto someone else. Hosting a party can be extremely stressful. Not only are you cooking, entertaining, and cleaning up both before and after the party, but hosting the holidays means a lot of people in your home. This also means lots of germs and hands wanting to hold and snuggle your baby. While their intentions are pure, this can be extremely overwhelming for a new baby and exposes them to the potential of getting sick. When you attend a party somewhere else, you can arrive and depart based on your baby’s unique schedule. If the party becomes too chaotic, you can respectfully bow out. While letting go of traditions can be tough, relish in the fact that you’re not responsible for entertaining this time around.


2. Put Your Baby’s Needs First


Being a people pleaser and a new mom can be a tricky balance to strike. And while the holiday season is about giving, your baby’s needs should top your wish list. You know your baby best. Do they get fussy at night and only settle when rocked in their favorite chair? Do late night car rides or too much activity stimulate and upset them? If so, plan your holidays accordingly. Your true friends and family will completely understand that you’re a new mom and that your baby’s happiness and comfort is most important. This might mean skipping a party, changing locations, or laying low -- none of which you should feel bad or guilty about.




3. Keep Gift Giving Simple


New moms barely have time to cook, eat, or sleep, let alone shop! While online shopping is all the rage, it still takes time, money, concentration, and effort. Make a pact with friends and family to keep gift giving to a minimum this holiday season. This means you can spend your money on diapers and formula rather than gifts. It also means less stress for you and baby. You won’t be bothered by making lists, ordering presents, wrapping, and delivering them. But this doesn’t mean family and friends won’t want to spoil your newborn with adorable clothes and other gifts. Just be sure to set boundaries when it comes to having visitors.


It’s Okay to Say ‘No’


This rule holds true for the holiday season and pretty much any time following the birth of your child. This point ties back to putting your baby’s needs first. Don’t forget that your needs are important too. Are you feeling extra tired, emotional, or overwhelmed? Then don’t feel bad declining someone’s offer to visit, a party invite, or any other obligation that brings you additional, undo stress. The holidays are about love, happiness, and family. And your loved ones will understand if this holiday season you need support and acceptance while you care for yourself and your infant.


As fun and enjoyable as the holiday season can be, it can also be very stressful. And this is especially true as a new mom. But that doesn’t mean you or your baby need to miss out on all the holiday fun. It simply means you may need to do things differently than you’re used to. Let someone else host the party, buy less gifts, and celebrate with a small group of close friends and family. Next year, you and your adorable toddler can be the life of the party!




April Sutphen 

I am a 32-year-old mother and wife of a police officer living in NJ.

I have my MFA in creative nonfiction and 10 years writing experience. 

When I'm not writing I enjoy hot yoga, cardio kickboxing, running, and camping.



Are you a mom boss?
Join our Facebook Group!
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Keeping the Spark Alive in Your Marriage Post Baby

Welcoming a new baby into your life deepens the bond between husband and wife in so many beautiful ways. Seeing your partner in their new role as “parent” creates new feelings of admiration, appreciation, and affection. But a new infant can also put strain on your relationship. Sleepless nights, sharing the responsibilities, and different parenting styles can all create tension and unrest in any partnership. The good news is, this is completely normal! The better news is it’s fixable. Fostering the bond and love that you and your partner shared prior to baby is the first step in keeping the spark alive and discovering a newfound appreciation for your partner.


1. Plan Date Nights


Planning date nights is a key ingredient to any successful marriage. While this is true long after your baby has grown, it’s especially true during those first few months and years of life. And even more so if you’re first time parents. Just think. Overnight your life transformed from just the two of you being able to spontaneously run off to dinner, take a long weekend, or get together with friends. Now, your entire life revolves around this crying, tiny little person. Making time to reconnect with your partner outside the house and away from parental obligations is the perfect way to remind yourself why you fell in love in the first place. It gives you the chance to talk without interruption, hold hands, finish your hot meal, and simply be together. These breaks will help strengthen your partnership and bond when you return to the throws of parenthood. If you’re not comfortable leaving your infant with a babysitter, ask a family member or close friend to sit with your child for a couple of hours so that you and your partner can get away. When all else fails, plan a date night right at home! After your little one is in bed, light some candles, cook a nice meal, and sit down together to enjoy it in peace and quiet.




2. Capitalize on the “Little” Moments


Not every form of reconnecting needs to be a grand gesture or well-laid plan. Taking advantage of small moments in time where you and your partner can show love and affection are just as important. These times are as simple as enjoying coffee together in the morning before your infant wakes, taking a walk together while the baby naps in the stroller, or meeting for lunch. Even holding hands while driving in the car, sending sweet text messages throughout the day, or sneaking in a phone call are all small gestures that go a long way toward solidifying your bond.


3. Communicate Honestly


It’s not secret that communication is key in any marriage or partnership. But communicating calmly and honestly with your partner after your baby is born is a great way to keep the spark alive. You may not think of communicating as something exciting or sexy, but it can be. Letting your partner know exactly how you’re feeling and what you need opens up the lines of communication and creates a more intimate connection. Tell your partner if you miss them, need help with the baby, or are feeling insecure or sad. Outside of your roles as parents, both you and your partner are each other’s best friend. Let your partner help you and be willing to help them. You’ll be surprised as how much this strengthens your bond.


4. Give Your Partner a Break


When it comes to life after baby, the only thing better than flowers is giving your partner a baby-break. This means surprising your significant other by taking the day off from work, hiring a babysitter, or eliciting the help of family and friends to give your partner a break. Motherhood can be exhausting and overwhelming. Surprising any new mom with a spa day, manicure and pedicure, or simply a free day to spend however she sees fit, is one of the most precious gifts you can give. This break will help her collect herself mentally, emotionally, and physically. By scheduling a break for your partner you’re showing that you’re intune with their feelings and needs, which is an extremely attractive quality. They will most certainly appreciate your efforts and find their own special way to thank you.


Before there was baby there was you and your partner. Your relationship is the foundation of your child’s development and happiness. Without a strong foundation, any relationship will struggle. Don’t get lost in the chaotic world of parenthood and forget to foster the unique bond you and your partner shared prior to becoming parents. Planning date nights, walks, or even slipping a note into their lunchbox, are all perfect ways to show your partner you care and that your love is still strong. And remember, your baby will only benefit from the love and affection you and your partner share.


April Sutphen 

I am a 32-year-old mother and wife of a police officer living in NJ.

I have my MFA in creative nonfiction and 10 years writing experience. 

When I'm not writing I enjoy hot yoga, cardio kickboxing, running, and camping.



Are you a mom boss?
Join our Facebook Group!
Read Full Article

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview