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

An Expectant Mom’s Guide to Finding a Pregnancy Pillow

Pregnancy is a time when you need as much sleep as you can snag, but finding a comfortable sleeping position may be difficult for many soon-to-be new moms. The extra weight you’re carrying around can put stress on your body and joints, resulting in aches and pains when you try to lie down for the night, not to mention keeping you awake.

Luckily, a maternity or pregnancy pillow can come to the rescue. These oversized pillows help to alleviate aches and pains by supporting certain areas of your body while you sleep. Every woman’s body is different, and that's why maternity pillows come in a variety of shapes and styles that are catered toward the comfort each new mom-to-be requires. Here are some tips on how to choose the pregnancy pillow that’s best for you:  

Look online. This is the fastest way to see all the different types of pillows that are available, as well as read reviews from other expectant moms on which types and brands work best.

Ask for advice. Chances are you have a friend, relative, or acquaintance who is  pregnant or has been pregnant in the recent past. Use the information she can give you as a guide.

Pick your support.  Decide which areas of the body you need supported, as different pillows support the body in different ways. Here is a breakdown of the basic types of pregnancy pillows and what they do:

Memory foam. This kind adjusts to the contours of your body, and supports the belly, back, and knees.

Simple wedge. This type slides easily under a growing belly, and is ideal if you prefer to sleep on your side. This pillow is also great for traveling, because it’s small and compact.

Bean-shaped. These wrap around your mid-section. They have adjustable straps at each end specifically designed to support the back on one side and the stomach on the other.

Test them out. Many stores will allow expectant moms to touch and even try the pillows while in the store.Take advantage and lie in different positions to see which one is most comfortable for your body.

If you’re unable to track down a maternity pillow, know that you can use multiple regular bed pillows instead. Place a pillow to support each affected area, or stick one under each side of your back. A better night’s sleep will make you a happier new mom-to-be, and help power you through your pregnancy.

Global Pregnancy Eats

For many women around the world, having a baby often comes with an array of new eating habits and cravings, from feasting on a tray of brownies to dipping pickles in curry. But what are pregnancy cravings exactly? Here’s a look at some common cravings and ways to satisfy them without derailing your pregnancy diet or harming your baby.

Understanding pregnancy cravings

You want an entire bag of chips, or an ice cream sundae, and you want it now. Strong urges like these are common among new moms during pregnancy, and no one is completely certain why they occur. Some experts believe that pregnancy cravings happen as a result of your body asking for the nutrients it needs. So desires for ice cream sundaes or a tray of brownies could be a signal that your body needs more calcium or fat

Top cravings from around the world

Most food cravings fall into the sweet, spicy, salty, or sour category, and include foods like ice cream, pickles, soda, lemon, tomatoes, and chocolate.

Craving caveat

Keep in mind that while many pregnancy cravings can be very strong, oftentimes your body doesn’t need the specific food you’re craving, just something in that food. And filling up on unhealthy foods can lead to excessive weight gain during pregnancy and nutritional deficiencies for both mom and baby.

How to satisfy your craving

So how do you satisfy a pregnancy craving without doing any damage to your overall health or the health of your new baby? Learn to understand your cravings and satisfy them by eating small amounts of what you desire without overdoing it, or by choosing something similar but  more healthful. That hankering for a vanilla milkshake could just be your body’s desire for calcium and can be sated by a cup of low-fat yogurt, while some crunchy carrots may satisfy a potato chip craving (or maybe not). 

And if a healthy alternative doesn’t do the job? Take your mind off of your craving by going for a walk, spending time with another new mom to-be, or calling a friend to talk about your day.

Toddler Care When You’re Expecting

Being pregnant with a toddler running around can be challenging, to say the least. You may not always have the energy to keep up with your little one, and getting ready for a new baby can rob you of precious together time. But it is possible to bond with your older child, tackle your new baby to-do list, and even reserve a few hours for yourself during these months. Check out these tips for making pregnancy with a toddler in tow as smooth as possible.

Take advantage of naps. Your new best friend: the afternoon nap. Life with a toddler while pregnant leaves little downtime, so use his naptime to catch some shut-eye yourself. Pre-nap, wind down together with a calming activity such as reading a book or listening to music, which will help prepare him for sleep. He will love the extra cuddling with you and you’ll appreciate the peace and quiet. Afterwards, head to bed for much needed rest.

Bring in a babysitter. Consider hiring a mother’s helper for a couple of afternoons a week. Your child will enjoy the additional attention during this phase when so much focus is on the new baby, and you can use the afternoon to catch up on your rest or do a few things outside of the house. Schools and places of worship are great places to get referrals for local mother’s helpers. If you’re not comfortable leaving your child alone at first, you can always stay at home in a separate room.

Involve your toddler in baby preparations. Toddlers will delight in helping you get ready for your new addition, and you’ll simultaneously be able to check tasks off your new baby to-do list while hanging out with your older child. It’s a great opportunity to bond and talk about what to expect after your new baby arrives. Your tot can help fold baby clothes, place clean diapers in baskets, or arrange baby books on a shelf.

Prioritize your time. Accept that you may not be able to do everything you'd like to when you’re pregnant, with a toddler in tow. Let a few things slide in order to fit in special bonding time. Mopping the floors or updating your blog can wait. Spending those extra hours with your child before the new baby comes will help your toddler feel secure during the transition.

Remember to give yourself a break if things don’t go exactly as planned. This is a big change for your household! Before you know it, you'll be watching your firstborn become a proud big brother or sister to your new baby.

What To Expect: The Second Pregnancy

My second pregnancy was both the same as and different from the first. The similarities included another uneventful gestation (9 quiet months), a second beautiful girl (Fiona!), and a repeat C-section. As for the different: I was ‘showing’ almost from the start, Fiona decided to breech at the last minute, and, luckily, breastfeeding was a breeze with our second baby (I struggled mightily with Isabel, my first born). Here, a few surprises and details from my second pregnancy experience:

Body basics Yup, my belly definitely protruded earlier with the second baby (probably because I was already stretched out from #1). Fatigue was also a bigger problem. This situation was thanks to Miss Isabel, who was 2 years old at the time. Chasing a toddler while lugging a huge tummy around is a definite recipe for exhaustion.

Turning green The same things that churned my stomach with #1 were back again with a vengeance my second pregnancy. They included raw chicken, the smell of bleach, and, for some strange reason, mushrooms! Perhaps it was the texture or the black feathery underside? Either way, they weren’t going on my salad. 

Big News When to tell people is a little trickier with a second pregnancy because your first child is now a factor. I didn’t want Isabel to know too far in advance because she might get confused and probably wouldn’t remember it by the time her sister arrived. But a new baby is a huge adjustment for a sibling, so I decided the best time to explain it to her was during my 7th month, so she had enough time to get -- and stay -- excited.

Same path After my first C-section, I wanted to try another delivery method the next time. I attended a birthing class for second-time moms and read up on VBACs -- vaginal birth after Cesarean. But alas, Fiona flipped in utero during my last weeks of pregnancy and presented as breech. Though my doctor tried to perform an external version (the manipulation of the baby from the outside to encourage her to switch positions), Fiona wouldn’t budge and another C-section was my fate.

The Big Day Getting ready for the second birth was easier this time: I was ready for my several-day stay in the hospital, and prepared for the pain and recovery. My husband took Isabel to my mother-in-law’s house on the big day and then we toasted (with sparkling cider) our last moment as a family of three.