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

Breastfeeding Prep for New Moms

If you’ve decided to give breastfeeding a try, you may be wondering where to start and what to do. Breastfeeding doesn’t always come naturally to new moms, so it’s smart to do some prep work while you’re still pregnant so you know what to expect. Here are a few tips to consider before you start nursing your new baby:

Stock up on nursing bras. Easy access when you’re nursing is important, so think about purchasing a couple of nursing bras in the middle of your third trimester. Get fitted by an experienced salesperson (you want a little bit of room to grow towards the end of your pregnancy). Start with two bras for now and then get more as you need them.

Attend a breastfeeding class. Attending a nursing course will give you a preview of what to expect; it’s also a chance to ask questions you may have about the process. Many childbirth classes also include breastfeeding instruction, so don't worry if you can't find a class that's exclusively about breastfeeding. To find a class near you, call the hospital where you’ll be giving birth, ask your health care provider, or check out local message boards or mom groups.

Purchase the gear. If you plan to return to work after the birth of your new baby, a breast pump will be invaluable. It’s normal to leak a little when your milk starts to come in, so pick up a few breast pads to insert into your nursing bras. Finally, a nursing pillow may also come in handy, as many new moms find it to be very helpful for propping up their baby when nursing; others use regular bed or couch pillows for the same result.

Find a lactation consultant. Starting off on the right foot when you’re nursing is a lot easier if you have some professional support. Breastfeeding isn’t always easy at first, and it’s possible you may struggle with figuring out certain positions or getting your new baby to latch-on. You may want to make an appointment with a lactation consultant in advance of your birth to get must-know tips, or schedule it for soon after your delivery. Many hospitals will have lactation consultants and nurses available to help you start nursing right after your baby is born.

The best breastfeeding experience starts with a bit of planning. Ask your friends and family for their advice, too, as you get ready, and call on them for support as you begin nursing your new baby. Don’t worry if you can’t stick with it for as long as you’d like -- any nursing you do will have a positive effect on your baby.

Pregnancy Etiquette for Expectant Moms

As you may have discovered, even the most well intentioned family members and friends, coworkers and strangers will ask unwanted questions while you’re pregnant. So how does a mom-to-be handle the queries gracefully while keeping her cool? The key is to be ready for whatever people will throw at you. Here’s how to cope with some awkward situations you'll encounter while pregnant.

The question: “What are you going to name your new baby?”

Let’s face it: Coming up with a baby name that you and your partner can agree on is hard enough without anyone else chiming in, and it’s normal to worry that someone will steal your baby name. While some expecting parents have no problem revealing potential monikers, it’s okay if you prefer to not to share. Just politely explain that for now you’re keeping names a secret, and if you decide to announce the name before the baby comes they’ll be the first to know.

The remark: “Did you know I was in labor for 38 hours?”

It’s normal for new moms to want to share their experiences and offer pregnancy tips, but no one wants to hear horror stories about the delivery room. If a conversation gets too graphic, feel free to interrupt and politely say that you appreciate the advice, but everyone’s pregnancy and delivery is different. Explain to your chatty friend that the next time you have a question, you’ll be sure to give her a call.

The question: “Are you pregnant?”

If a nosy co-worker or cousin is prying before you’ve decided to make the announcement, remember that you’re allowed to keep it a secret for as long as you’d like. Not ready to ‘fess up? Try a quick, “Not yet!” fib as a response. When you are ready to tell family and friends that you'll be a new mom, it’s usually best to start with your inner circle before posting on Facebook. At your workplace, your wisest course is to tell your boss in private before spreading the word.

The question: “Was it planned?”

Whether someone asks whether you went the IVF route or if the pregnancy was a total surprise, don’t feel obligated to answer. The easiest way to wiggle out of it is to say, “We’re so happy we’re having a baby; how have you been?” By changing the topic, you indicate that you’re not willing to talk about the subject, and most people should get the hint.

The request: “Can I touch your belly?”

It seems that the instant you have a bump, everyone wants to feel it. But having your tummy rubbed -- especially by total strangers -- can be awkward and weird, to say the least. Ward off unwanted hands by keeping something in front of your belly (a purse will do the trick). When it comes to people you know trying to get in a rub, you’ll have to be a little more diplomatic; jokingly tell them that the baby is sleeping and doesn’t want to be woken up.

Just remember, it’s your baby -- and your body -- so don’t let other people make you feel uncomfortable. There’s always a polite way to refute questions you don’t want to answer.

Pre-birth Bonding With Your New Baby

The bond between a new mom and her baby is, without a doubt, something that’s incredibly special and unbreakable. When you envision developing that bond with your own baby, you probably imagine reading stories, going for walks, or cuddling in a rocking chair together. While these are all sweet ways to grow closer to your new baby, the bond building doesn’t have to wait until your baby is born. Here are some great ways to start the bonding process while your baby’s still in utero.

Turn Up the Tunes
Studies have shown that growing babies respond positively to music. But before you turn up the rock music, know that by the second trimester babies seem to prefer classical music, or music that mimics your own heart rate of 60 beats per minute. It’s soothing for them, and it’s something you’ll probably enjoy, as well. Remember, if you’re relaxed, your baby probably will be, too.

Write It Down
Take some time at the end of each day to write down your thoughts and daily activities in a journal you purchase specifically for your new baby. You could describe how you reacted the first time you felt your baby kick, for example, or how excited you are for her to be born. Then, when your new baby is older, you can read the entries to her (or she can read them herself!). The journal will make a nice keepsake for your child to cherish in later years.

Have a Conversation
Talking to your baby is a nice way to start the bonding process early. Say “goodnight” and “good morning,” sing songs, talk to her while you rub your belly, and explain to your little one what your movements are throughout the day. She may not understand what the words mean, but the sounds will be soothing.

Get an Ultrasound
The most exciting bonding experience with your new baby may be when you get to actually see how she’s growing. Your ultrasound will give you a very realistic look at your little one. Having a real-life, tangible photo to hold on to will definitely help make the experience feel more real (if the morning sickness and growing stomach haven’t already!).

Sure, you may feel silly talking to your new baby while she’s still in your belly, but keep in mind that starting these bonding rituals now will make them seem like second nature by the time your little one is born.

New Dad Prep! 10 Ways to Get Ready

Being married to an editor and writer at a parenting magazine meant I mostly took orders when it came to pregnancy. My wife Jen was ‘in the biz’ and knew exactly what to expect and how to get ready. But as her partner in baby making and a soon-to-be new dad, I definitely had a role to play. Here’s how I geared up for the birth of our daughter which began my journey to fatherhood.

Crack the books As a new dad-to-be; you have to read up on the topic -- at least a little bit. Don’t pass on the articles, books or blogs that come your way.

Play waiter She wants ice cream -- at 2 AM? You’re on it! For Jen, it was root beer floats with our first, and egg and cheese sandwiches with #2.

Rub down Her feet, her back, her shoulders -- you name it. There’s nothing better than a massage at the end of the day, so jump right in and do your best.

Catch some zzz’s Now’s your chance: Sleep late, nap during the day, and generally lie around. Frankly, fatherhood won’t allow for much rest for many years.

Dad the Builder Step up to the plate and find the screwdriver! It’s time to put together the crib, paint that bookcase and hang the mobile.

Head of the class Birthing, breastfeeding and the hospital tour -- be sure all of these classes and events on are your calendar. Arrive on time, pay attention, and ask questions if you don’t understand something -- questions are expected, you’re going to be a new dad!

Car talk This was the hardest part. I had trouble mounting the car seat correctly and had to visit several service stations to get it right. Go to http://www.seatcheck.org/ for an inspection location in your area.

Be honest If you’re scared of being a new dad, or worried about the pain your wife will feel -- talk about it. This is some of the best advice I got.

Town crier Yup -- that’s you. When the babe arrives, you’re in charge of Tweeting, emailing, calling and taking the pictures. Don’t forget to charge your phone and digital camera!

Diaper duty Change those Pampers diapers, mix up the bottles and take a turn burping and cuddling. It’s time for baby boot camp -- your journey has just begun.