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

Five Solutions for Top Pregnancy Sleep Issues

If you’re tossing and turning at night, unable to get the rest you need, take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. Many new moms-to-be have trouble getting a good night’s sleep, especially as their pregnancy progresses. It’s important to try to resolve your bedtime battles sooner rather than later, as good sleep during pregnancy is linked to a healthier baby and an easier delivery. Read on for some common pregnancy sleep problems and how to solve them.

Trouble getting comfortable: Use a pregnancy pillow to wrap around your tummy, elevate your legs, or assist you when lying on your side. If you have pain in your lower back, experiment with extra pillows to relieve any muscle tension. Try one pillow under your abdomen, one between your legs, a firm one behind your back, and an extra one under your head, for example.

Headaches and nausea: If headaches are disturbing your sleep, you may be suffering from low blood sugar. Try eating a light snack with protein and carbohydrates such as scrambled eggs and toast, which will help to keep blood sugar levels stable throughout the night. If you find yourself feeling nauseous when you lie down for the night, you may want to start eating small, bland snacks throughout the day, like crackers or toast.

Hot flashes or night sweats: Make sure the bedroom stays cool by cracking open a window, using a fan, or turning down the thermostat. Also, close the curtains or blinds before you turn in for the night. You’ll find it much easier to fall asleep and stay asleep if the room is cool and dark.

Frequent trips to the bathroom: Cut off your consumption of liquids a few hours before bedtime to reduce the number of times you have to get up during the night. However, with your growing new baby putting constant pressure on your bladder, some nighttime trips to the bathroom may be unavoidable. A nightlight or a dimmer switch is a better choice than turning on a bright overhead light, which can make it difficult to fall back asleep.

Heartburn: Avoid spicy, acidic, or fried foods, especially a few hours before bedtime, and make sure not to recline for at least an hour or two after eating. If the problem persists, try sleeping with your head elevated on a pillow or speak with your doctor.

You may need to follow more than one or even all of these tips in order to solve your sleep problems. But don’t give up! A proper night’s rest will give your body the energy it needs to have a healthy pregnancy.

Baby Bump Photo Fun for Expectant Moms

If you thought the photos would start after your baby was born, think again. Many expectant moms are capturing their pregnancy through distinctive and unique baby bump photos that showcase their bellies. Creating these images is a fun and easy way to help you and your family get excited for your new bundle of joy. Ready to put your own belly on display? Read on for some inspiration and get snapping!

The Side-by-Side Comparison

This photo series is a great way to document the change in your belly size during your pregnancy. Simply stand in front of a solid, light-colored background, turn sidewise to the camera for optimal bump-viewing ability, and snap away, taking a new photo at the beginning of every month in the same pose. You may want to wear a form-fitting top so your bump really stands out. After nine months you’ll have great record of your new baby’s development.

The Sibling Photo

If you already have a child, a nice way to help get her excited for her new brother or sister is to involve her in the baby bump photo. It’s best to take this shot when you’re far along in your pregnancy. Pick a spot in the new baby’s nursery -- such as on the floor near the crib or sitting together in a rocking chair -- and have your child rest her head on your stomach. It’s a simple and sweet way for the two of you to welcome the new baby into your lives.

The Fruit Photo     

It’s common for moms to compare their new baby’s fetal growth to the size of certain fruits (for example, at week 8 the baby is the size of a raspberry, a plum at week 12, and an avocado at week 16). Take this a step further by photographing yourself holding the fruit next to your belly at each monthly milestone.

The Pregnant Paint Photo

If you’re artsy -- and willing to get a little messy -- then a photo shoot highlighting your painted belly is for you. Get creative with this one! You could paint hearts on your belly, have your other children paint their handprints all over your bump, or even use your stomach as your birth announcement for your new baby by writing “It’s a boy!”  Another option: Ask an artistic friend to create an elaborate piece of artwork on your belly. The paint won’t last forever, but the photo memories will.

Even if your to-do list is extremely long during your pregnancy months, aim to carve out some time for a baby bump photo shoot. You and your new baby will have fun looking back on the photo memories for years to come.

Pregnancy Tips for Easing Backaches

Back pain, alas, is one of the most common complaints of expectant new moms. So what’s going on to cause the aches? First, your center of gravity changes as your uterus expands with your new baby, which can affect posture and wreak havoc on your back. A burgeoning belly causes similar problems, stretching out the ab muscles that normally help support your spine. On top of this, a new mom’s body releases hormones to relax the ligaments in the pelvic joints, making them more flexible for labor but causing back pain if these joints get too supple. Luckily, in addition to ice and heating pads, there are a few simple steps you can take to prevent or lessen the backaches of having a baby. 

Back relief pregnancy tip #1: Mind your posture. If you're an expectant mom, standing up straight isn’t just good manners: It also protects your back muscles. You may be tempted to slouch or lean back to compensate for the weight of your growing bump, but doing so may strain your lower back muscles. Instead, adhere to the principles of good posture and stand up straight with shoulders relaxed, holding your chest high. To help support the new baby in your belly, keep your feet wide apart and avoid standing upright for too long.

Back relief pregnancy tip #2: Sleep smart. While it’s important for expectant moms to get plenty of rest, it’s equally important to protect the back during sleep. Especially in the later months, avoid sleeping on your back -- those muscles need their rest, too! Instead, snooze on your side, bending one or both knees. For extra comfort, place a pillow or two between your legs for support.

A firm mattress may also help you avoid sore backs. But you don’t have to replace the bedroom set just because you’re having a baby: To add support to a softer bed, simply place a strong wood plank between your box spring and mattress.

Back relief pregnancy tip #3: Get active. Back-friendly exercises like swimming and walking provide a bevy of benefits for expectant moms. Strengthening and stretching both the back muscles and back-supporting muscles (such as your hips, abs, and legs) eases back pain and helps prepare you for labor. Simple stretches can also help release back tension, so consider signing up for a yoga class for feel-good back benefits. Be sure to check with your doctor before deciding which exercise regimen will work best for you.

If you back is causing you a considerable amount of pain or preventing you from going about your daily activities, talk to your doctor. Pregnancy may not always comfortable, but remember that you won’t be carrying the extra weight for much longer.

Prenatal Yoga 101

“Keep calm and carry on” should be every expectant new mom’s slogan. Some of the most important things a pregnant woman can do are stay calm, reduce stress levels, and keep her body in the best shape possible. Fortunately, there’s a form of exercise that can help with all these and more: prenatal yoga. Check with your doctor to see if prenatal yoga could be a good fit for you, and read on to learn the benefits and tips for each trimester.

Potential Benefits of Prenatal Yoga

It does a body good. Yoga helps keep you limber, and improves balance and circulation. It also helps strengthen muscles, which provides stamina for childbirth and gives you greater flexibility when finding the best birth position for delivering your new baby.

It teaches you how to breathe easier. Yoga practice utilizes deep breathing, which can help you keep you calm when you need it most. Some yoga methods and classes will also teach you how to breathe through discomfort or pain, which you can utilize during labor, as well as how to relax your muscles, which can make for an easier delivery.

It keeps you centered. Yoga is all about focusing on the present, how your body is feeling, and the sensations you’re experiencing at any given moment. This focus may help you tune into your body’s needs, even after your new baby arrives.

It helps you sleep better. Because yoga may help reduce back and neck pain, and nausea, many expectant moms find they are able to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer once they adopt a regular yoga practice.

Tips by Trimester

To stay safe, follow this trimester-by-trimester advice.

First trimester There aren’t many restrictions during this time, but instructors advise expectant new moms to drink lots of water before, during, and after the class. Listen to your body and if you feel any pain or discomfort, stop the pose immediately and ask your instructor for an alternate position.

Second trimester Your expanding stomach will start to affect your balance at this point. Don’t try to hold poses for a long time, and remember to sink into each pose slowly and carefully to avoid injury. Take your time and don’t overdo it. Avoid lying flat on your back now, too, in order to keep blood flowing properly to your uterus.

Third trimester At this point in your pregnancy, it’s best for expectant moms to perform all standing poses with heels to the wall, or using a chair for support to avoid maintain balance. Props such as blocks and straps can also help you move through difficult poses with greater stability.

If you do decide to give yoga a go during pregnancy, make sure to find a studio with an instructor who is trained to work with new moms-to-be. And have fun! You may love the benefits of yoga so much that you continue to do it past your pregnancy.