Healthy Ideas for the Care Your New Baby

Love Sleep Play delivers ideas and articles for the care and health of you and your new baby

Countdown to Your New Baby

The outlets have been covered, baby clothes bought, car seat installed -- what’s left to do? In the final weeks before delivery, you may find yourself becoming restless. Instead of counting down the minutes, why not make the most of your time with these suggestions.

Rest up. Ask some new moms what they wish they had done more of before their baby arrived, and without a doubt, sleeping would be at the top of their list. Though ultimately rewarding, labor and delivery are exhausting, and you’ll need energy ad stamina to get through the process. Sneak in as many naps and morning sleep-ins as you can during the last few weeks of your pregnancy, or make an effort to head to bed at an earlier time.

Bond with your partner. Before your new baby makes his debut, and your time is consumed by feedings, naps, and diaper changes, take time to relish your last few weeks alone with your partner. Try taking a long weekend away together or find a nearby bed and breakfast or local hotel so you can play tourist in your own hometown. Make sure to check with your doctor before making any late pregnancy travel arrangements, in case your practitioner isn’t comfortable with you being far from home.

Finish baby prep. You might think you only have a few things left to finish up before your little one arrives, but now is the time to do it. While a new baby really doesn’t need much in her first few weeks, check to make sure everything is set up and ready to go. Don’t forget to sterilize bottles, put sheets on the crib, assemble the stroller, wash the baby clothes, and complete other tasks that you won’t want to deal with while juggling a brand-new baby. Once she arrives you’ll want to give her as much undivided attention as you can!

There’s a lot to do before your new baby arrives, but there’s no need to worry if you don't get to it all. The most important task in your last few weeks is take care of yourself so you can be a healthy new mom when your little one does arrive.

Embarrassing Symptoms of Having a Baby

Morning sickness, weight gain, and exhaustion…expectant moms discuss these symptoms openly. What they don’t always talk about are the more awkward changes to your body: Belching, constipation, smelly discharge, and hair growing in unexpected places are just a few of the joys that come with motherhood . The good news is you are not alone -- even better, there are some simple pregnancy tips that will help lessen even the worst symptoms. Here, top embarrassing pregnancy issues along with their fixes.

Gassy issues

Even the most put-together women typically get gassy during pregnancy. That’s because hormonal surges can slow down your gastrointestinal tract and your changing body means your muscles may not be able to hold it in as they once did, leading to some embarrassing (and smelly) situations.

Your fix: A bit of after-dinner exercise, such as a brisk walk, allows food to digest faster and should prevent excessive flatulence.

Itchy Breasts

Having an uncontrollable urge to scratch at your cleavage? As your breasts and nipples grow in preparation for the new baby, the skin around the area also stretches and becomes more sensitive -- and much more prone to irritation.

Fix: New moms- to-be can sooth their tender skin by moisturizing with cocoa butter after showers.

Luscious (facial) locks

The same hormones growing that full mane of hair can also cause sprout-ups in less desirable locales: Many expectant moms report an increase in hair growth on their faces, breasts, and tummies.  

Fix:  Tweezing and waxing are the safest options for the time being -- leave the more permanent cosmetic procedures until after your new baby has arrived, as laser treatments on the face can cause scarring in pregnant women.

Low libido

With all the embarrassing things happening to your body, it’s little wonder that many pregnant women suffer from a dampened sex drive. And as your tummy swells with the new baby, it’s likely that intimacy will become progressively more uncomfortable.

Fix: Invite your partner to a doctor’s appointment so he can better understand how you’re feeling -- and that this is perfectly normal. You might even get some pregnancy tips for getting in the mood.

Raging Libido

On the flip side, some women report a heightened sex drive. With a 40 to 50 percent increase in blood flow to your nether regions, you may find yourself getting more aroused or experiencing more intense orgasms than you thought possible! 

Fix: Enjoy it! According to experts, if the sex isn’t hurting you, it’s not hurting your new baby.

These body changes are completely normal and nothing to be ashamed of, but the quick fixes will have you feeling more like your old self in no time. And if they don’t do the job completely, find relief in the fact that your body will start returning to normal post-pregnancy.

Insomnia When Expecting

There’s nothing worse than tossing and turning when you want to be fast asleep. Your mind is racing, the room suddenly feels hot, and the longer you lie awake, the more frustrated you feel.  Add to this an ever-expanding belly, back and neck aches, and the inability to get comfortable in any position, and you’ve got pregnancy insomnia. Here are four tips to help you go from restless to restful:

New mom insomnia tip #1: Get up and change your setting. If you find yourself wide-awake in the middle of the night, lying in bed may not be the best choice. Instead, get up and read a book, listen to some calming music, or do a mundane chore to help get your mind off the fact that you can’t sleep. Then, once you feel yourself getting tired, lie back down and try again.

New mom insomnia tip #2: Avoid bright lights. Even if you feel wide-awake, resist the urge to throw on a bright overhead light before bedtime. Instead, go to a room where you have a dimmer switch or a lamp with soft lighting, which will be less arousing and allow you to return to sleep more quickly.

New mom insomnia tip #3: Try guided imagery. Picture yourself in a quiet, relaxing scene. You may be lying on a warm, sandy beach, or strolling through fields full of beautiful, scented wildflowers. Now, visualize every detail of the scene. Imagine the sounds, smells, and textures around you. It may take some practice, but guided imagery can calm your restless or anxious mind.

New mom insomnia tip #4: Take a bath. If you’re wide awake and feeling so tense that you can’t fall back asleep, a warm bath may help get you back to a more relaxed state. A cup of warm milk or chamomile tea can also help soothe you to sleep.

With any luck, one or more of these strategies will do the trick and send you off into dreamland. Enjoy your well-earned night's rest.

New Dad Duty: How To Help Mom Post Birth

“Honey, I feel like you’re doing all the work,” I said, plopping down on the couch next to my wife as she breastfed our newborn, Henry.

A slow smile came across Caitlin’s face as she gestured to the tray of drinks and food that I’d carried upstairs. “Do you realize how much this helps me?” she responded. “I’m thirsty and hungry all the time, but so is Henry, and I can’t find even two minutes to go to the kitchen!” And then she stuffed a peanut butter sandwich into her mouth.

When we brought my son home, I felt that I wasn’t needed by Henry the way he needed his mother. But with one tray of food, I realized that I played a pivotal role as a new dad: my family’s provider and protector. Through my support and love for my wife, I could help my son be happier and healthier.

Here are six simple, everyday ways new dads can help your first-time-mom wife:

  • Help Her Recover: Childbirth is very hard on a woman’s body. Keep the fridge well-stocked with grab-and-go foods like yogurt and cut fruit, make sure she drinks enough water, and when you do cook meals, make double portions so she can snack on leftovers later.

  • Encourage Rest: Make a ‘baby station’ on the couch. Surround the new mom with pillows, blankets, snacks and drinks, and anything the baby will need. Encourage her to rest -- chores can wait. 

  • Be Her Bouncer: Your partner may not want others to play ‘pass the baby’ when she’d rather be bonding with her newborn. If she is trying to establish a breastfeeding routine, visitors can be particularly disruptive. She also may find well-meaning family members and friends’ constant advice to be annoying. She may be too tired or sore to handle it, so be sure to ask others for alone time when your partner or baby clearly needs a break.

  • Bond with Baby: Diaper changes and baths are amazing opportunities to bond with your baby -- and give your partner a chance to rest. Don’t wait for her to ask you to do these things; if you catch a whiff of a dirty diaper, be proactive and change the baby right away.

  • Get Her Out of the House: If your partner is able and willing to leave your newborn for a few hours, book her an appointment for a post-natal massage or a manicure. If leaving the baby isn’t a realistic option, give her an at-home break. Ask your wife’s best friend to come over with takeout, and do as much of the baby care as possible while the ladies catch up.

  • And Last, But Not Least…: Tell your her she’s beautiful. Tell her she’s a great new mom. Tell her that you’re amazed by everything her incredible body is able to do. Give her a hug, hold her hand, and gaze into her eyes. The little gestures mean a great deal to a new mother.