Nursing A Newborn: What First Time Mom Need to Succeed

Nursing Your Newborn- Everything first time moms need to know when it comes to breastfeeding

Breastfeeding your Newborn

There are certain types of struggles that come with breastfeeding a newborn. Come 3 months of age, most of these struggles resolve themselves and you wake up one morning to realize things are just easier.

I’ve now been through breastfeeding 2 newborns. The struggles were very similar from one to the next. The biggest difference was with baby #2was that I knew what to expect. I knew what would one day pass. I knew what was a more serious issue and needed attention.  It made my mama anxiety calm and the process much easier.

So in an effort to help any first time mamas through this unique but challenging phase of mamahood, I’ve complied some of what I believe to be my most useful tips for breastfeeding itty bitty babes.

Number of Feedings

In babies earliest days, they will be eating 10-12 times per day, meaning every 2-2.5 hours. As baby gets older, you will want to really try to set a good feeding schedule, but in those first two weeks, aim to feed on demand.

Feeding on demand means feeding as soon as you see a hunger cue. Hunger cues include rooting (rubbing mouth around your breast or skin), sucking on fists, sticking out tongue.

If baby is asleep, wake them every two hours to feed. More below on how to actually KEEP them awake for a feeding. 

For more details on how to tell is your baby is getting enough milk, see the resource guide below for an entire blog post I wrote on the topic!

The Power of Proper Latch

Latch refers to the way your babies mouth is connecting with your nipple. A common misconception may be that baby needs to simply suck on the nipple, almost like you would suck on a straw. However, baby needs to have a much large amount of the nipple are in his or her mouth.

A proper latch includes having a majority of the areola in the baby’s mouth. The best illustration I have found online is from kellymom.com. You can read more about proper latch techniques on their website, which is listed in the resource section of the bottom of this post. 

One of the 5 things you should do in the first 24 hours of your babies life to promote breastfeeding success is to speak with a lactation consultant. They are usually on staff during the day at all hospitals. They will be able to walk you through the latching process and help you get a good visual for what babies mouth should look like while feeding and how it should feel.

Having a poor latch can lead to a lot of breastfeeding difficulties, including sore nipples (more on that below).

Nipple pain Relief

With Nora being in the NICU, I got a TON of one on one attention from their specialized lactation consultant. I took full advantage of her being there at every visit and picked her brain on just about everything under the breastfeeding sun.

My biggest concern was blistering, bleeding or sore nipples. She explained to me that those issues stemmed from a poor latch. She must have walked me through the process of properly latching a dozen and a half times while we were there. I felt like a pro by the end of our stay. And you know what…. I STILL got sore nipples.

When I told the nurse of my tenderness she explained that the tissue in the nipple is experiencing something it never has before and it will take some time to adjust to the new job it is doing. 

There are many products out there designed to help soothe the pains that come from breastfeeding. Here are a few of my favorites:

Medela Hydrogel Pads

The hospital gave me a folder filled with a ton of breastfeeding information and support material. In there were two of these Hydropad things. I had never heard of them before but it was the first thing the lactation consultant suggested I use. and what a GAME CHANGER they were. I ended up ordering a pack of them from Amazon from my hospital bed.

These pads almost look like the pasties you would wear with a backless top, except they are clean and filled with tons of goodness for your nipples. You peel off the backing and run the gel under water and let it sit for a few minutes before placing it on your nipples. When you go to feed baby, remove and rinse the area with water BEFORE feeding.

I would simply place the plastic backing back on and repeat the water process when I was ready to use them again. One gel pad can be reused for up to 24 hours!

Support for Baby While Breastfeeding

As you can obviously see, there’s a lot to focus on while feeding baby. On top of all of that, you actually have to securely hold the baby.

There are a number of different breastfeeding positions you can use while feeding baby. Your selected position may change over time as baby grows and as you become more acquainted with nursing. Select the position that works best for you and baby.

In my personal experience, I liked using the football hold (middle photo) in the earliest days. I found it very helpful to have the hand closest to baby’s head free in order to maneuver it for the perfect latch.

Once baby and I got a little bit of a better grasp with feeding, I would switch to cradle hole (left photo).

The Different Breastfeeding Positions

Photo Source: RaisingChildren.net.au

There are a ton of great products to help with this task of positioning baby to feed.

With my first, I used a boppy pillow for support for the first few weeks. Then I discovered My Breast Friend and what a game changer it was. The reviews on this product show that other mothers agree!

There’s a few reasons I like this support pillow so much better. First of all, the snap around my back made it so much easier to move around. I could snap on the pillow THEN bend down and pick up baby, walk to my chair, sit down and Bam!… I’m already ready to go.

With the boppy, I had to sit down with baby, bend down to get the pillow and get myself situated with just one hand because the other was occupied holding baby. It was a very ungraceful process.

I also love how much larger and firm the pillow surface is for baby. The roundness of the boppy just doesn’t provide as great of support.

I also loved the little pocket on the front of the My Breast Friend. I always kept a burp cloth stashed in there for easy access.

Baby Gas

It’s a strange topic to write about, but it was a big deal. I hate to admit it, but I was completely clueless that baby gas was such a common issue for newborns!

There are so many causes of baby gas. Baby can swallow air while crying, something in the mothers diet can cause gas, even certain breastfeeding positions can cause baby to bloat.

New mom’ need to be prepared to recognize it and fight it.

If you have just finished feeding baby and they become fussy within the following hour, chances are, they have gas.

Babies will also pull their legs upward when facing gas pains.

I have an entire blog post dedicated to fighting baby gas. You can read it here!

Baby gas usually resolves itself around 3-5 months. In the mean time, ensure you are always burping your baby after feeding to minimize air getting into the intestine.

If you have serious concerns about it, talk to your babies doctor.

Keeping Baby Awake during Feedings

One of the biggest struggles I faced with Nora was keeping her awake while nursing. While the view of her snuggled up close and fast asleep was cute as could be, I knew it meant that she was not getting a full feeding and would need to eat again in just half an hour or so.

Every baby is different and may or may not react to a stimulus to keep them awake. Here are a few of my favorite go-to methods that have worked well:

  • Undressing baby
  • Playing with baby’s hands and feet
  • Using a baby wipe to gently wipe his or her head or tummy
  • Blowing on baby’s hair
  • Moving baby away from the breast for a few minutes to position where they are not so snug. (I would place my legs together and lay Nora on my thighs for just a minute or two. The change in comfort would usually stir her back awake)

Make a commitment and get support

I can’t even begin to count the number of people who have helped me through my breastfeeding journey. From my mom to lactation consultants, my husband, other mom bloggers… there is such an amazing amount of support out there for new mamas. Reach out when help is needed or when you just need to talk through your frustrations. As always, you can email me! Caroline@swaddlesnbottles.com

Happy nursing, mama!

Resources:

Kelly Mom Latch Resource Guide

Is my Baby getting enough milk?

5 Things to Do In Your Babies First 24 Hours to Promote Breastfeeding Success

High Milk Supply Support Supplements

How To Remove Diaper Blowout Stains

How to remove diaper blow out stains

How to remove diaper blowout stains

It’s inevitable… with baby comes diaper blowouts. I’d be shocked to find a mother who hasn’t experienced one.

In my early months of motherhood, I had no idea how to tackle these kind of stains. I hate to admit it, but I just threw the clothes out if the mess was too much for a regular run through the washer. I threw away so many good clothes!

Fast forward a year and a half later… we now have two daughters who have made me a master at cleaning poo out of just about any material!

Step-by-step Instructions to removing poo stains

  1. Start by removing any excess poop with a plastic spoon or knife. If the stain is a little more liquid, then I use a baby wipe to remove as much as I can, just be sure not to scrub too hard!
  2. Thoroughly spray a stain removing substance. I use Spray n’ Wash.
  3. Soak the clothing material in WARM water for at least 15 minutes. I like to use the soak setting on my washer so it will spin dry the shirt for me.
  4. If the stain has come clean, you can run it through the washer with a normal load.
  5. If the stain has NOT come clean, do NOT dry the shirt in the dryer. The heat will make the stain set.
  6. For these more persistent stains, you can try a longer soak in OxyClean Baby or a bleach and water combo for 30 minutes.

Lemon Juice  and sun Removal Method

If you are looking for a more natural way to remove stains, this method is for you!

  1. Remove excess poo with a plastic knife or spoon. Again, use a baby wipe if needed.
  2. Thoroughly soak the stain with lemon juice. Do not dilute.
  3. Place outside in direct sunlight for a minimum of 3 hours.
  4. Run the clothing through the wash as normal if the stain is completely removed.
  5. If the stain is still there, you can repeat the process, but do not run the item through the wash before the second run!

Best of luck, mama!


How To Care For Your Baby’s Umbilical Cord

how to clean your babys umbilical cord

Cleaning Your Baby’s umbilical CORD

Basic care for your baby’s belly button and umbilical cord stump is crucial in the first few weeks to help prevent infection.  Here are a few simple steps I follow to keep baby’s cord in good condition.

  • Soak a Q-tip in warm water and squeeze away any excess water.
  • Use the q-tip to gently wipe around the belly button, removing any residue.
  • Use a clean towel to pat the area dry.

Repeat this process once a day until the cord falls off. This will usually happen 1-2 weeks after birth, but may take longer.

Be sure to talk through any cleaning procedures with your pediatrician as certain cases may cause for special care.

Other important measures to take

  • While your baby’s cord is still attached, do not submerge him or her in water for bath time. A simple sponge bath will do until it falls off.
  • In order to prevent irritation, be sure to fold the top of baby’s diaper to hit below the belly button. Once the cord falls off, you can stop doing this.
  • Make sure baby’s clothing is loose-fitting and not irritating the stump. Fold pants to hit below the belly button or make sure the waist band sits above the stump.

If you are concerned with the way your baby’s cord looks or it has a foul smell, be sure to contact your pediatrician as soon as possible.

I am not a medical professional and information shared on this blog should not be taken as medical advice.  Always consult with your medical provider concerning any issues you have regarding you or your baby. 

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Building Baby’s Library: 12 Must Have Books for Their First Year

Building Baby's Librabry- must have books for babys first year

While baby might not fully understand all the words you are saying, there is no denying that taking the time to read to your child in their first year is very beneficial to their language development. It’s never too early to start reading to your baby! Here’s a fun list of the must-have books to start building baby’s first library!

Baby’s First 100 Words

Building baby's Library: The Best Books for Baby's First Year

The perfect visual book for teaching baby their essential first words. Order  ‘Baby’s First 100 Words’ here on Amazon.

Where’s Baby’s Belly Button?

The Best Books for Baby's first year

Lift the flap books will quickly become a fun activity for baby! This book is a great way to teach baby about their body parts while also working on motor skills. Find ‘Where’s Baby’s Belly Button’ here on Amazon.

Animals Touch and Feel Book

The Best Books for Baby's first year

Along with the motor skills of a flap book, the books that bring in a sensory aspect are great for baby’s growing library! Animals is one of out favorites and can be found here on Amazon. Another favorite is

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Best Books for Baby's first year 4A wonderful classic that teaches days of the weeks and some yummy foods! My little one loves the holes in each page! Order here on Amazon.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

The Best Books for Baby's first year 5

This book is filled with large, bright pictures that are sure to catch baby’s eye while also teaching them their primary colors. Order ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?’ here on Amazon.

Guess How Much I Love You

The Best Books for Baby's first year

A sweet classic tale of a father and baby bunny who try to one up each other on who loves the other more. Order ‘Guess How Much I Love You’ Here on Amazon.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

The Best Books for Baby's first year

This one is as fun to read as it sounds! The bright colors and fun rhymes make it a quick favorite for any baby! Mine included, we read it daily and do a little bounce dance while we read! Order It here on Amazon.

Dear Zoo

The Best Books for Baby's first year

Another great lift the flap books, but instead of teaching body parts like ‘Where’s baby’s belly button”, this book teaches about zoo animals! Order ‘Dear Zoo’  here on Amazon.

Peek-A-Who

The Best Books for Baby's first year

A fun twist on peek-a-boo, this book has bright colors and a fun little surprise that baby’s love on the last page! Order ‘Peek-A-Who’ here on Amazon.

The Going to Bed BookThe Best Books for Baby's first year

A classic good night tale of a bedtime routine including bath time, brushing teeth and putting on pajamas. Order it here on Amazon.

Dr. Seuss ABC’s

The Best Books for Baby's first year 11

Baby’s library wouldn’t be complete with our Dr. Seuss! I’m close to having this book memorized with how much we read it! The fun bright colors and sallow alliteration make it a favorite in our house! Find it here on Amazon.

Baby Signs

The Best Books for Baby's first year 12

While Emmy has only mastered “more” and “all done”, we have found the baby signs book to be very fun and useful! Find it here on Amazon.

 

What are some of the classic favorites in your household? Comment and share below!


More Newborn Reads:

How You Can Make Money As A Stay-At-Home mom

11 ways to make money as a stay at home momma

(psst…don’t forget to click the  pin it button on the image above so you can easily reference this list down the road!)

Whether you’re staying home with one kiddo or ten, it’s common for us stay-at-home mommas to want to being in a little extra cash. Here’s a list of 11 opportunities to help increase your income each month.

Blogger

There are bloggers out there who make over 150k per month! There are THOUSANDS who make over 10k per month. A beginner blogger can easily bring in 5k with proper training. I personally make full-time income from my blog

Let me give you a little more insight into my experience that helped me start this blog:

  • Website building experience: none. Unless you count adding the glittery effect to my MySpace back in 2005.
  • Online Marketing Experience: also, none.
  • Graphic design experience: none.
  • Blogging experience: Obviously, none.

But I was determined to start! So I researched. And I took courses. And I read eBooks. And I worked my little blogging butt off for a solid 3 months to get things up and running. Heck, I still work hard! But it’s paying off!

I’d love to help you get your blog started! You can visit my website dedicated to helping other achieve their blogging goals at The Basics of Blogging.

I have 2 eBooks I have written to share my strategies I used (and still use daily) to run a full-time income blog.  You can read more about them and download them here.

Virtual Assistant

Many business owners and bloggers will hire a VA to complete work that they are not able to do, yet they are not to the point where they need to hire a full-time employee. Some of the services may be minor, such as answering emails, updating their calendar or transcribing. Some VA’s offer more specialized services in social media management and up keeping customer management systems.

The great thing about being a VA is you can start small, aim to learn new skills with each client and really expand your knowledge base as you go.

VA’s usually charge by the hour. I have inquired to many and have found ones who charge anywhere from $15-$30 per hours, although I’m sure more experienced VA’s could charge more.

Tip- If you are serious about starting a VA role, I would highly consider building a website to showcase yourself! You will want to have a page that highlights your skills, a list of services you offer, some details about what sets you apart from the competition and a contact page. It’s super easy to build for free! You can view the free tutorial I wrote on how to start a blog here.

 

eBates

I’m sure you can’t wait to tell your husband this… but you can get PAID for shopping. Chances are, you have heard of Ebates. They pay out quarterly and some moms report payments of over 4k each quarter! My sister has a co-worker that swears by it and checks daily to see what deals they have.

Let’s say you have a dog. At the time of this post, PetSmart is in the “double cash back” category. So you purchase your dogs food, maybe a few toys, some treats, you get 6% cash back on it! A few other notable names: Macy’s American Eagle, J Crew! I’d suggest signing up just to see which stores are there that you are already shopping at! You can sign up here!

Freelance Writer

If you’ve got a passion for words than this could be perfect for you! While it may take some time to build up your portfolio and make the right connections, there is a lot of money to be made in Freelance Writing! Elna Cain has an awesome tutorial and free course on her website here.

Transcribing

If you consider yourself a good listener, have a high command in the English language, and a decent typing speed, then transcribing could be great for you! Companies will either pay you based on the project or by the minute of audio. You will need to have a few minor pieces of equipment to do this from home (computer, headphones and foot pedal, which you can find on Amazon.)

TranscribeMe hires brand new transcribers with no previous experience.  They pay by the transcription and pay weekly!

 

Survey Taker

Taking Surveys won’t bring in full-time income, but it can bring in a bit of extra cash. SwagBucks and SurveyJunkie  are two of the more popular programs and you can complete the surveys from you phone most of the time! They range in length and you do have to qualify for them based on what type of information they are looking for.

Amazon Virtual Locations Employee

It’s no surprise that the LARGEST online retailer in the world has a ton of remote location jobs! While some of them are super specialized, a majority are customer service based position. At the time of writing this post there are exactly 199 jobs posted on their virtual locations page!

Publish eBooks

If you have an expertise in any area, you have the potential to write and sell eBook! The possibilities of topics are endless and there are a ton of ways to create, market and sell your eBooks!

I created all of my eBooks for free and use a third-party host to help me take care of the transactions and delivery of the products. Amazon has a super easy platform for selling eBooks if you do now own your own website.

Etsy

If you have any sort of crafty talent (I’m not ashamed to say I have ZERO!) than you should be sharing your skills with the world and selling your materials on Etsy! The possibilities are endless! A friend of mine just posted a picture of the gift she purchased her husband for their one year anniversary off of Etsy- A Hand Stitched Family Portrait. How cute is that? Some talented human is making those from home! There are some small fee’s to sell you products on Etsy, but they are minimal! More details here.

Photography

This is a skill I wish I had SO BADLY! It’s such a great way to make money while being very creative! Plus, you are helping others capture memories that will last forever!

Starting a photography business does take skill, work and equipment. To start your business, you may have to do some work for free in order to build up your portfolio. Be sure to pick a target audience that works for your schedule. Weddings will mean you work on the weekends, but doing newborn or children’s photos could mean squeezing in a shoot time during the day.

I know a lot of photographers that have their studio set up in their homes for added convenience.

Start a at-home day care

The more the merrier, right?

If you feel there is a need in your area for more day care options, take some time to see if this could be right for you. There will be some technicalities and documentation you will have to sort out (depending on your state), but it is a great way to bring in ALOT of extra money if you are already staying home with one baby!

Rosemarie of The Busy Budgeter has an awesome guide to starting your own. Check it out here.

Have any opportunities to add to the list? Comment below and share!

Be sure to read these money saving tips too:


25+ Baby Cribs Under $250

25+ Baby Cribs Under $250

I’m officially in my 6th month of pregnancy! Unlike my first pregnancy where I had the entire nursery complete by the end of the first trimester, I definitely feel like I need to get a move on things! I have bedding and décor picked out, but still searching for the perfect furniture set.

As usual, I want to find great quality, cute items at a great price. So I’ve pulled together 25+ cribs for under $250!

P.s. you also have to check out our glider guide!  


Camden 4 in 1 Convertible Crib by Child Craft. Available here.

25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


Monarch Hill Ivy Standard Crib by Little Seeds. Available here.

25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


Eddie Bauer Hayworth 4-in-1 Convertible Crib by baby Relax. Available here.

25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


Quinn 4-in-1 Convertible Crib by Fisher Price. Available here. 25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


New Haven 4-in-1 Convertible Crib by Delta Children. 6 color options. Available here.

25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


Del Mar 5-in-1 Convertible Crib by Fisher Price. Available here.

25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


Westbourne Crib  by Viv + Rae. Available here.

25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


Sierra Ridge Terra Standard Crib by Little Seeds. Available here. 25+ Baby Cribs Under $250

 


Chesapeake 5-in-1 Convertible Crib by Dream on Me. Available here. 25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


Carter’s by DaVinci Kenzie 4-in-1 Convertible Crib. Also comes in white. Available here.

25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


Jenny Lind 3-in-1 Convertible Crib with Conversion Kit by DaVinci. Available here25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


Charlotte 5-In-1 Convertible Crib by Dream on Me. Available here.

25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


The Brooke Crib by Viv + Rae. Comes in NAVY BLUE TOO! Available here.25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


Delaney 4-in-1 Convertible Crib by Child Craft. Available here.  

25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


Stork Craft Tuscany 4-in-1 Convertible Crib by Stork Craft (5 color options). Available here.

25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


Carter’s by DaVinci Morgan 4-in-1 Convertible Crib. Available here.

25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


Carter’s by DaVinci Colby 4-in-1 Convertible Crib with Trundle Drawer. 3 color options. Available here.

25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


London Stationary 3-in-1 Convertible Crib. Available here.

25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


Bailey 4-in-1 Convertible Crib by Dream on Me. Available here. 25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


Charlotte Traditional Crib by Fisher-Price. Available in gray & white. Available here.

25+ Baby Cribs Under $250


Check out more baby gear posts below:

7 Reasons We’re Obsessed with DockATot
BabbleBoxx Review- The New Moms Must-Haves!
The 4 Nursing Bras Every Breastfeeding Mama Needs

 

 

How Much Tummy Time Should Your Baby Do Each Day?

How Much Tummy Time Does Your Baby Need?

If you have read my blog post on how we came VERY close to putting Emmy in a baby helmet, you know tummy time is something we have had to master in our household. I have to admit though, the reason we got ourselves into a flat head situation was in part because I didn’t know how important (or how much) tummy time was needed each day.

Tummy time is important for a few reasons. As you know, baby’s head is still very soft immediately following birth and does not start to get significantly harder until around 6 months. This is the time frame when tummy time is the most important! While baby’s head is soft, it is malleable and can become flat if he or she does not spend time on their tummy. Tummy time also help strengthen babies shoulder, neck and back muscles. All of these muscles are essential to crawling, sitting and rolling over.

So how much tummy time should you be doing each day? The answer largely depends on the age of your baby and how comfortable they are with the tummy position.

When your baby is a newborn, tummy time can be as simple at them laying on their stomachs while on your chest. The closeness of your faces will give them something to interesting to lift their head and look at. You can also simply lay them across your legs. Start with just a few minutes at a time and increase from there.  Once baby is a little older (3-4 months) and comfortable with the stomach position, try moving them to the floor so that they can begin playing more actively during tummy time. By this age, research suggests a minimum of 30-90 minutes of tummy time a day. However, the doctor who we saw in regards to Emmy’s flat spot on her head told us that there was no such thing as too much tummy time. Remember that tummy time can be broken up into small sessions throughout the day.

For some babies, tummy time may not might not be the most enjoyable part of the day. The good news is, as those muscles get stronger, the fussing should start to fade away. In the mean time, keep it interesting for baby. Try doing tummy time  outside on a blanket where they are lots of new things to look at. A water mat is also a small, inexpensive toy made just for tummy time that was a huge hit in our house. I quickly found that tummy time after bath time is always the easiest for us. Emmy seems to have this burst of energy when she gets out and welcomes tummy time. Mornings are a COMPLETELY different story. Try to find a time that your baby is the happiest to switch over to tummy time.

 

Water Mats for Tummy Time

Emmy doing tummy time on her water mat.


Read more articles like this:

Nursing A Newborn: What First Time Mom Need to Succeed
How To Remove Diaper Blowout Stains
How To Care For Your Baby’s Umbilical Cord

 

The 5 Best Toys for Baby’s First Year

This is a guest post written by Maria from ToyTrainCenter.com. Check out her website here!

Choosing the Best Toys for Baby’s First Year

            Even though babies do not communicate much prior to their first birthday, this is a crucial developmental stage. Choosing the best toys for baby’s first year will give your child a head start with learning and keep them engaged before they are totally mobile on their own.

One important thing to look for are colorful toys. These will keep your baby more engaged and interested for longer. Sound is also an important feature with toys for your baby’s first year. Often, toys with sounds help babies learn to act on their environments.

There are likely thousands of toys suitable for babies under a year old so it can be daunting to choose between them. Below are some of the best toys for baby’s first year to take some of the guessing out of the process. They will engage and teach your new baby well.

Fisher-Price Rattle and Rock Maracas Musical Toy

            The Fisher-Price Rattle and Rock Maracas Musical Toy are a great option for teaching your new baby to act on their environment. Some of their features include:

  • Plush handle grips and narrow body for little hands
  • Colorful plastic beads both for appearance and sound
  • Comes with two maracas – one green and one yellow

One of the best features of the Rattle and Rock Maracas is that they are very portable and no-fuss. They can be easily thrown in a diaper bag to entertain your baby on the road. Also, it is very easy to clean both the fabric and plastic portions (especially important for teething babies).

Though they have many good features and pros, there are a couple drawbacks. For one, the plastic parts of these maracas are very hard. For less coordinated babies, the plastic can be a bit of a hazard. Also, the design is simple and they are really only suited for very young ones.

VTech Musical Rhymes Book

            The VTech Musical Rhymes Book is another great option for baby’s first year and even a bit longer than that. Some of its features include:

  • Plays more than forty sounds and songs
  • Brightly colored pages with light up features
  • Five interactive buttons to choose from

Because it incorporates colors, sound, and active page turning, it requires more motor skills than the previous option. Also, the Musical Rhymes Book is suitable for new babies and slightly older ones. There is enough color for young babies as well as words for older ones.

The major hindrance to learning with this toy is that the nursery rhymes written in the book and the songs are not sequenced the same way. That means that you may be looking at a page for “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” but a totally different nursery song is playing with it.

The Best Toys for Baby's First Year

Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Baby’s First Blocks

            For developing motor skills, the Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Baby’s First Blocks are another wonderful choice. Some of its features include:

  • Five different shapes to sort
  • Ten colorful blocks
  • A storage bucket that doubles as a shape sorter

One nice pro of the Brilliant Basics Baby’s First Blocks is that they are very durable. Babies do tend to throw things; these will stand up to the abuse. Also, the size of the blocks is conducive to small hands, but not small enough to be a choking hazard for curious babies.

One drawback of this toy is that the top is very easily removed. This means that children do not need to sort the shapes to put them in the bucket. Also, the insecure lid makes the whole thing easy to spill. The last thing you want is the blocks going everywhere after you clean up.

The Best Toys for Baby's First Year

LeapFrog Learn and Groove Musical Table Activity Center

The LeapFrog Learn and Groove Musical Table Activity Center is another great interactive toy that will teach your new baby about cause and effect. Some of its features include:

  • Plays over seventy sounds and tunes
  • Incorporates numbers, letters, shapes, and colors
  • Removable legs

This toy is great for new and older toddlers as it can be used with or without the legs for different heights. Also, one nice pro is that it has English and Spanish language options which expands your baby’s knowledge in a new way and makes it more appealing to more people.

The main issue with the Learn and Groove Musical Table is that it can be a bit unstable when on its legs. Because it is fairly lightweight, a more rambunctious child could easily pull it over on themselves. This could result in slight injury or just a few moments of upset.

The Best Toys for Baby's First Year

VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker

Like the previous option, the VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker will also appeal to your baby throughout their first year. Some of its features include:

  • Uses sounds, a shape sorter, and light-up aspects
  • Adjustable for different height and age levels
  • Removable panel for developing fine motor skills

Other than the fact that this toy can be adjusted to fit your baby as they grow, it has a couple other nice pros. First of all, the wheels have two different speed settings to keep things under control a bit more. Secondly, it has plenty of features to keep your baby happy.

The main con of the Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker is the stability. On hard surface floors, the wheels can get out from underneath your baby, causing them to fall. While this may be helped by using it on carpet, more stability would always be a plus when it comes to babies.

The Best Toys for Baby's First Year

Conclusion and Verdict:

When it comes to choosing the best toys for baby’s first year, the key is to find ones that engage their senses and teach them about their environment. This means that toys with cause and effect type activities are always a good bet.

When it comes to the above toy choices, it greatly depends on when you are looking for. If you are looking for something that can transition through your baby’s first year into early toddlerhood, a more complex toy may be best. Otherwise, colorful simple toys will do just fine.

At the end of the day, the most important thing is that your baby is happy. If you can find a toy which keeps them entertained and also teaches them, it is even better. There are a number of great options, so finding the best toys for baby’s first year will not be the most difficult.

The Difference Between Postpartum Depression and The Baby Blues

Postpartum Depression vs. Baby Blues. Know the Difference.

This is a guest post by HealthyPregnancy.com. Read more about them at the end of this post.

For many new mothers, a striking change of mood in the weeks following a birth can be a bit unnerving, especially after months of hectic schedules and major life changes. Indeed, a sense of sadness, loss of energy and bouts of crying can be an unwelcome series of events when a mother is already trying to adjust to a new life with a baby. However, a sudden change in mood is a regular part of having a child, with up to 80 percent of new mothers experiencing a period of “baby blues.”

When Sadness Becomes a Concern

It is when this sense of sadness and lethargy does not go away in a reasonable amount of time that a case of “baby blues” may start to become what is known as postpartum depression. While everyone goes through periods of sadness every once in a while, particularly when a person has experienced a big change in life, prolonged periods in this state may be a cause of concern and a sign that a person should consult their physician. Here are just a few differences between a brief case of the baby blues and postpartum depression.

When Feelings of Tiredness and Sadness Don’t Go Away

The period following the birth of a child is a time of great happiness for a new mother. However, it is also a time when the body must naturally readjust itself to a new form of care for a baby. As the body naturally adapts to feeding and taking care of a newborn, the brain’s response can often be to go into a state of clinical depression.

Knowing the Signs of Postpartum Depression

When this state of depression persists for longer than two weeks, it may be a sign that additional help is needed for a new mother to get back to a normal emotional level. While the following is by no means a complete list, consulting a physician should be a priority for mothers who experience any of the following symptoms for over two straight weeks:

  • Loss of appetite or overeating
  • Feelings of hopelessness or anxiety
  • Loss of interest in passions
  • Inability to sleep or extensive oversleeping

What Can Be Done to Combat Postpartum Depression

Fortunately, physicians can do much to aid new mothers in overcoming a case of postpartum depression. Discussing options for treatments with a physician such as counseling or a program of anti-depressant medication can do much to make healing manageable. (It is especially important to discuss a plan for anti-depressant medication with a doctor, as anti-depressants can affect what chemicals a child receives through breastfeeding.) For these reasons, knowing how a case of the baby blues can tip over into a spell of postpartum depression can significantly help new mothers to be prepared after the birth of a child. After all, a new birth is a time for celebration and happiness and no one wants to spoil a bonding period with their child with the added difficulties of low mood and energy. Fortunately, there is much hope for mothers who want help for postpartum depression and a wealth of professionals and natural remedies to assist them.

Healthy Pregnancy Guest Posts On Swaddles n' Bottles

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Teething Relief Treats for Baby

Teething Relief Treats- Frozen Breast Milk Popsicles!

My daughter has turned into a teething monster! She is a drooling machine and it constantly trying to get a good chew out of anything around, including my fingers! I quickly learned that cold items are a huge relief for her! We are constantly rotating between our two new favorite teething treats: frozen breast milk popsicles and frozen fruits in the munchkin food net.

For the breast milk popsicles, I simply pump as much milk as a I can after Emmy goes to bed one night and fill these plastic Popsicle molds. Each mold takes about 1 ounce of milk. Freeze over night   We always eat our “milksicles” outside while not wearing any clothes because they get pretttty messy, but they last quiet come time. It usually takes Emmy about 15 minutes to get through one! She’s a happy girl for a few hours thanks to the pain relief it provides!

For the munchkin teething net, I cup up small prices of fruit and add 2-3 pieces at a time. We have tried mango, cantaloupe, watermelon and banana so far. They have all been a hit! I have since stopped doing bananas because they are SO hard to clean out of the net! The other three fruits have been easy to clean by hand and come out of the dishwasher spotless.

The net has been a big help on long car rides as well! I’ll just put a bit of fruit in Tupperware and if Emmy starts to get fussy I just fill it up for her and it keeps her happy for at least half an hour! Even if your baby isn’t teething, I would highly suggest this product! We seriously take it everywhere with us, as you can see! This teething net is available here.

If you are searching for more teething relief tips, be sure to check out The Ultimate Baby Teething Guide!

Baby Teething 101