|Newborn Tips#1: Don't Hush-A-Bye-Baby|
|You don't have to be quiet while the baby is sleeping. The womb is loud, and newborns are used to the noise. When ours first came home, we watched television and I would vacuum, wash dishes and talk on the phone around her while she slept. She got used to sleeping with noise, and I could get stuff done. I am still able to vacuum in her room while she sleeps (she is 14 months), and she is peaceful and well rested when she wakes up.|
|Newborn Tips#2: Soothe Your Wailing Newborn|
|When my baby cries, I comfort her by patting her back in a heartbeat-like rhythm. That helps her burp more quickly, and it also helps her relax if she's crying from insecurity. If this doesn’t work, I also try one or all of Dr. Harvey Karp's five calming moves: swaddling, shushing, holding her on her side, swinging her or letting her suck. Sometimes it takes all six!|
So, you're BFF is expecting, and it's up to you to give her a shower. Awesome! Planning and hosting a baby shower is incredibly fun. However, a few people have a bit too much fun, and let their creative side get the best of their sensible nature. There are tons of decorations, games, cake ideas, and gift options. But there are a few things you should certainly keep in mind… and a few you should steer clear of!
Worst Baby Shower Games Ever
Measure the Mother – Somebody, somewhere decided that a really fun game could be made out of humiliating the poor pregnant woman by guessing her girth and seeing who comes closest. Besides the obvious pitfall here – when Sister Sally guesses 56-inches too large and the siblings never speak again – pregnant women have enough to deal with without having to publically announce their measurements, which at this point are about 10 times their high school graduation size.
Guess the Baby Food – Another cruel and heartless person developed a game wherein guests were subjected to tasting baby foods and trying to guess what it was. Unless you truly hate everyone on the guest list, stick to the pretzel sticks and cupcakes, and save the baby food for the, um, baby.
Diaper Surprise – Here's another gross one: every guest receives a diaper, and the one who discovers they've received a “dirty” diaper wins. Or, depending on how you look at it, loses. No matter how benign your “dirty” diaper substance, it's just gross!
Worst Baby Shower Cakes Ever
|Newborn Tips#3: Help Get Your Baby to Latch|
|If you are having latch-on issues while breastfeeding your baby, you can use breast shields to help the process. This was a wonderful tip that I learned from my lactation consultant. I had to use the shields for an entire month before my baby would latch onto my own nipple without them. Had it not been for the breast shields, I would not have been able to continue nursing my baby.|
|Newborn Tips#4: Get Prepped|
|At 3 weeks, babies’ days and nights become more predictable, and you can focus on yourself in addition to your newborn. One way to do that is by reducing your stress level - and having everything ready for your hungry baby and yourself is one way to do that. Start by prepping for the next feeding as soon as the previous one is over. For example, after an 11 p.m. feeding, get ready for the 2 a.m. one by prepping whatever you need for feeding and putting out fresh drinking water for yourself so you don’t have anything to think about in the middle of the night. During the day, take advantage of the baby’s naps to work out, shower or catch up on e-mail, or take a nap too.|
While cakes and cupcakes are a kind gesture, when choosing a theme for the food, opt for predictability. Sometimes sticking to the cute diaper pins, alphabet blocks, baby bottles, and adorable animals is the best way to go.
Worst Baby Shower Gifts Ever
Invitations to Events Three Weeks After the Due Date – No, mom won't be “ready for a night on the town” a few weeks after baby is born. She won't want to leave him/her that soon, and even if she did, it would be for a hot bath and a really long nap, not to see Beyonce in concert or attend a cocktail party.
Hand-Wash-Only Garments – Yes, your handmade angora sweater is likely beautiful. However, mom won't have time to wash her hair, let alone a knit sweater. If you want to offer a handmade item, choose one that won't likely be in the range of spit-up (perhaps a stuffed animal or a nice throw blanket?) and one that the baby won't outgrow before they get home from the hospital.
Sterling Silver Rattles – What's the point here? Babies don't play with rattles, and they certainly don't play with sterling silver. Consider a baby activity center, or something the baby will actually enjoy for hours to come.
Clothes Only in Newborn Sizes – Babies are fast growers-that's part of the reason they're so expensive! It's likely the parents have enough clothes that fit the baby in the first couple of months. Think ahead and get clothes suited for months 3-6.
When helping mom prep for her first (or second or third!) child, remember that baby showers are as much for the baby as for the parents. For gifts: think practical. For baby shower games and food: think about what you and your friends would enjoy, not necessarily what will suit the theme.
|Newborn Tips#5: Keeping Your Baby Awake During Feedings|
|When our baby was eating slowly and sleepily, my husband and I would massage her cheek to stimulate her to eat faster. A gentle stroke with a fingertip on her cheek was all it took, and on those long sleepless nights, this simple trick was a godsend! Our friends have found it works great with their infants too. When babies eat efficiently until they're full before going to sleep, they sleep for longer between feedings. And that means you’re both likely to be calmer!|
|Newborn Tips#6: Help Your Baby Bond with Dad|
|Make sure your baby has ample time alone with Daddy. His touch and voice are different than yours, and this will begin a bonding process and give you a break. Plus, it gets the baby used to being with someone other than you. The first few times can be hard. Make sure your baby is fed and well rested, as this will give you at least one or two hours before you're needed again. Then leave Dad and the baby alone. If you stay nearby, make sure the baby can’t see or hear you, and resist the urge to go into the room and "fix" things if she starts crying. Your baby cries with you and you experiment to find out what's wrong. Dads need time to do this too - in their own way. By allowing this time, your child will learn there is more than one way to receive comfort, which will help immensely when you leave your baby with a sitter or another family member for the first time. You could have your partner bathe her, put her to bed or just read or talk to her.|