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.

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.

Pregnancy Weight Gain Guide

You’re already gaining weight, so it makes sense that many new moms might think of pregnancy as an excuse to fill up on favorite foods. But it’s actually important for you and your health care provider to monitor your weight gain during pregnancy. Experts now know that putting on too many pounds can increase the risk for developing serious pregnancy conditions, such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, and also up the chance of a premature delivery. Keep these tips in mind in order to gain at a healthy pace while expecting.

Gain gradually

Experts says that most of the weight gain should occur during the second and third trimesters, and at a gradual pace. Your health care provider is the best resource for how much and when to gain during your pregnancy, and you'll be weighed at each prenatal visit. If you’re gaining too much, too fast, opt for healthier food choices, eat six small meals throughout the day instead of three larger ones, and talk to your doctor about starting an exercise routine. If you gain an excessive amount, your doctor may suggest waiting until after your pregnancy to lose the weight.

Eat well

Turns out that you don't need to eat a lot more to properly nourish yourself and your new baby when you're pregnant. You only need an additional 150 to 200 healthy calories each day when expecting during the first trimester, and about 300 during the second and third. Instead of munching on junk food, look for nutritious snacks that are high in protein and vitamins to support your growing baby. Cheese and whole wheat crackers, nut butter and apple slices, sliced vegetables with hummus, and even frozen fruit bars are all good options.

Don’t rush it

It may be tempting to get back to your pre-baby size as soon as possible, but losing the baby weight too fast can leave you without enough energy to properly take care of your new baby. Stick to a nutritious diet and exercise routine (once your doctor gives you the go-ahead), and put the focus on your health instead of your weight.

Of course, pregnancy is definitely a time to indulge a little. While it’s fine to give in to cravings occasionally, it’s important to keep control of your weight and your diet, not only for your sake, but the health of your new baby, too.

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.