How to Take Newborn Photos Like a Pro

newborn photos jax, FL

How to Take Newborn Photos Like a Pro

So, you want to learn how to take newborn photos like a pro? Then stick around! While I highly recommend professional portraits, Christy Whitehead, a professional photographer is sharing a few of her tips and tricks so you can get some homegrown shots of your own! During the first year of your baby’s life, they change so much from day to day. Naturally, parents and grandparents want to capture moments in time through photographs!

First, let’s talk lighting!

Lighting is your friend, but not all lighting is created equally. Have you ever noticed how sometimes photos have a yellowish tint? Yeah, you can thank those indoor lights. So let’s look for some window/natural light. Position your baby so that their head is closest to the window, and their little booty is parallel to the window (if you want mainly face photo) or farthest away from the window (if you want full body). Keep in mind, shadows are your friend! Without shadows, you’ll have a flat image and you won’t see all those cute little baby rolls.

Next up, are angles!

Think about the angle you take the newborn photos from, you don’t want to shoot so that you see up into the baby’s nostrils, as that’s not flattering and creates a “black hole.” Don’t forget to step back and get full body, as well as get close and get details. If you’re doing a naked baby shot, you also have to think about all those little bits you don’t want to share with the world! Push comes to shove, a little blanket can help cover things up. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Shoot straight on, stand up higher and get a shot from above, etc. Even going on the shadowed side and shooting back at the baby can create a nice effect.

Positioning, positioning, positioning!

A large bean bag that’s a bit stiff is a good place to start with posing your little one. Some large throw blankets work great over the bean bag to not only help keep your little one warm, but also give you a nice soft backdrop. Rolled towels are great for putting under the blankets to help prop them up. Always making sure they arr 100% safe or using an assistant.

newborn photos jax, fl

Props or No Props?

Some people prefer very simple, very clean newborn photos. Either baby completely naked or with a little outfit on. They want something that represents them and their personalities. I often try to do both. But it’s something you’ll have to think about when you’re thinking about your own photos, what do you like?

Siblings or just mom or just dad with the new baby!

Depending on the older child’s age, you might want to position them laying down next to each other, or have the older child sit on the ground with the new baby in his lap. (I would have a spotter though, just in case!)

Naked baby, skin on skin with dad is fun! Do you have some tattoos you enjoy showing off? If you’re a military family, work for the police, or are a firefighter your uniform can be a great way to personalize your photos!

newborn photos jax, fl

Other fun and super duper cute ideas!

Yummy tummy shots! This gets a nice cute shot of their whole little body laying down in that cute little pose, showing off their toes and fingers.

Baby got back! Putting a baby on their back can be a very natural pose for little ones. If your little one is prone to gas, the tummy pose may irritate him, but this pose is usually pretty comfortable.

newborn photos jax, fl

Buckets and baskets of fun oh my!

Using a bucket or basket is popular with newborn photographers Props. and special toys can be a great way to make your session extra special. Did grandma make the little one a special little doll? Have her hold it. Use the crib as part of your session, it’s totally considered a prop! Pose your little one in there on their belly, face towards you and shoot them through the bars or from above.

There are two main types of newborn photographers.

Lifestyle photographers are photographing things as they happen naturally. Then there are studio or posed photography. The latter is how I typically shoot.

newborn photos, jax fl

Cameras cell phones have come a long way!

Even as a professional, I still struggle to get great newborn photos from my cell phone, so if you’re struggling, you’re not alone! If you want some info about what I shoot with and what I recommend, check out the “For Photographers” section on my website for info about education and gear.

Safety first, always!

Always be careful using props, make sure they aren’t too close to an edge or on an unstable prop. I have an assistant or parent sit near me, within reach in case they need to grab the little one. This may sound crazy, but if you’re photographing above the baby, make sure the strap is on your wrist tight or around your neck. The last thing you want is to accidentally drop the camera on your little one! Avoid the use of glass jars, hanging fabric, and railroad tracks! Trust me on this, not only is it dangerous, but photographing on the railroad tracks is illegal. Should you want shots of your baby hanging in a beautiful wrap, call me, we can arrange a safe photo shoot you’ll love and not have a heart attack trying to execute!

Even with all these tips, I’m barely touching on all the techniques, tips, and tricks to get the best newborn photos!

I’ve learned over the years how to create the best newborn photos while keeping your little one’s safety in mind. If you’re struggling to take photos of your little ones, or are just overwhelmed with the thought of it, give me a call, (904) 891-0359 or shoot me an email Christy@jaxphotographer.com

newborn photos jax, fl | Jax, FL Photographer

Christy Whitehead is a pregnancy, newborn and cake smash photographer in Jacksonville, Florida. She has been voted best photographer multiple times and has been featured on Buzzfeed multiple times for her fun and geeky photos. You can find Christy by going to her website: www.JaxPhotographer.com, visiting her Facebook page, and following her on IG!

Tummy Time Tips for Success

Tummy Time Tips for Success

I received a text last week from a father we’ve been working with. It read, “HELP! I need some tummy time tips. Our daughter is getting pissed any time I try. Am I doing it wrong?” The next morning Heather arrived and was met by dad, eager to learn ways to make tummy time less stressful! Of course, when Heather went over the tips with this father, demonstrating with his daughter, she was just as tickled as she could be about it! Don’t worry parents, you’re not doing it “wrong” our specialists just have a way with babies!

For sleep, back is best, but we must balance that with plenty of awake tummy time.

Tummy time is what exactly?

Tummy time just means the time your baby spends time on his or her stomach while awake and supervised. This is done 3-5x daily for 2-10 minutes each time to help him/her strengthen and develop muscles and avoid positional plagiocephaly.

Is tummy time really that important?

It absolutely is! Think about how much time your baby is on their back. In the car, in the bouncy seat, swing, in their crib, and riding out in the stroller. That’s a lot of time in the supine position. First, it’s important for motor skills to help your baby roll, sit, crawl, and eventually walk. It’s also important for cognitive development. Babies who are not getting enough tummy time are prone to plagiocephaly (flat spots on their head).

Here are our Best Tummy Time Tips for Success:

Timing is Everything!

Not all babies like tummy time, shocker huh?! Even though tummy time isn’t a favorite pastime for most babies, if you start within a few days of birth you may find that your baby is more accepting of it. Begin at a time of day when they are awake and happy, but not immediately after being fed or right before they are about to fall asleep. Tricky with a newborn, but it can be done!

Chest Bumps and Baby Rumps!

Baby’s tummy on your chest counts! They may find this far more comforting than being placed on a play mat since they get to feel the warmth from your body and hear your heart beating too! Do you see the photo at the beginning of this blog of the man holding the baby on his chest? Totally counts! Laying them across your legs while you’re in a sitting position also counts! For safety always keep one hand on them at all times! The bonus here is that you get to pat their cute little tush!

Get Down and Boogie!

Don’t hesitate to get down on the floor and engage with your baby at their level! Talk, hum, and sing to them. Show them a high contrast book or blocks, babies LOVE it!

Utilize the crib!

Remember, awake and supervised and tummy is fine! Place a playmat in your baby’s crib and let ’em chill! Bring a book and get in some reading for a few minutes while your little one gets a works out!

Special Reserve!

Bust out the special reserves and raise spirits! Baby spirits, not liquid spirits! Set up a small bin with special toys, blocks, and books that are reserved only for tummy time! Think different textures, natural sounds, and contrasting colors to draw their attention!

Flip ‘Em & Reverse It!

Most parents can usually get a minimum of 5-minutes of tummy time in before their baby flips the flip out! When you notice your baby is beginning to get agitated pull a Missy Elliot on ’em! Flip them over (gently of course) onto their backs for a few minutes! Then, give them a couple of minutes and reverse it! Flip them back over facing the opposite direction! Wash, rinse, repeat!

Tummy time does not have to be stressful, your baby and you can learn to love this time together!

Follow the tips we’ve listed here for you and drop any new ideas you have in the comments below! Looking for compassionate care and knowledgeable support around the house? Contact us today and join all the families around the Greater Jacksonville area who knew what they wanted and hired the best to get it!

Happy Birth & Parenting,

~Elizabeth

6 Steps to Grow | Personal Growth for Parents

6 steps to grow Jax, FL | Jax, FL night nurse

6 Steps to Grow | Personal Growth for Parents

Within my circle of friends, the parents with whom I work, and even in my own home, we each strive to be the best version of ourselves that we can be. We’re each taking steps to grow as individuals and as parents! Personal growth should push us, stretch us, and even pain us at times, but most importantly it should excite us! We were meant to grow, change, and evolve throughout our lives. Does that mean we won’t fall short at times? No! Does it mean it’ll be easy? No! But, taking steps to grow is worth it! Growing as a parent is especially rewarding!

Here are 6 Steps to Grow as Parents:

Tackle the Hardest Task First

Dreading the thing you don’t want to do is often worse than actually doing it. Not all hard things end up being as hard as we anticipate them being either, the bark can be worse than the bite. My advice, take bites at the hardest, most dreaded thing on your plate first. Then, chomp away at the more palatable pieces of the pie. More often than not when we handle the hard things first we feel accomplished, we breathe a sigh of relief, and we can move on.

Learn to Say YES, without feeling guilty.

Sounds easy, but just as saying no without apology or explanation can be extremely difficult, so too can saying yes! Say you’ve had a rough week. A friend calls to see if you want to get a pizza and watch a movie. You want to say yes, but you have a load of laundry that needs washing and a dog that needs to get a bath. What do you do?! Say yes! Saying yes because that’s what you want at the moment is perfectly okay. Try it! There will always be laundry. You won’t always have the friend, the opportunity, or the ability to join said friend.

Meet Others Where They Are

This is a difficult one! It can take a very long time to become aware you’re even doing it. We’re literally designed to use our judgment to help us survive, but surprisingly we’re not always so great at the judgment part. Knowing when to use it is the hard part. We learn pretty early on that a hot stove isn’t something we want to place our hands on.

It gets tricky when we’re talking about judging others.

It’s so easy to say, “If that was my kid, I would…[insert judgemental comment here].” “Why doesn’t she just …[insert another judgy thought here]?” This behavior isn’t healthy. STOP! Check yourself! Your truth isn’t everyone’s truth and each person is on a unique journey in life. There is beauty in that. There is happiness is non-judgment. Be self-aware. Hold yourself accountable. Take steps to correct yourself. These things will help you meet others right where they are. The best part is you don’t have to travel anywhere!

Yoga

You can’t take steps to grow and not include yoga and meditation! Yoga is for everybody and every body! It truly is. I don’t care for labels, but here goes; young and old, singles and couples, disabled, athletic, introverts, extroverts, moms, dads, caregivers, police officers, doctors, kids, babies, and grandparents, large people, tiny people, silly people, and even pregnant people. Yoga incorporates breath work, gentle poses, stretching, meditation, and mindfulness. It helps you center yourself, feel more grounded and connected, and become more self-aware. The perfect place to grow is literally from within.

Exercise

We’ve all heard it, exercise is 90% mental and 10% physical! Exercise very literally pushes you out of your comfort zone. It requires you to be resilient, persistent, and consistent! Exercising absolutely requires you to takes steps to grow in more ways than one. Exercise the body, but also remember to exercise kindness, forgiveness, will-power, and always, without a doubt your right to vote!

Keep an Open Mind and a Level Head

Hold it together Karen, noone wants to see you lose your shit in the breakroom today! Sometimes things aren’t as they first appear. Black and white are black and white, but they make gray when watered down and mixed! We need to become masters of adjusting our own lens. If you can slow down, become aware of your own feelings and breath, silence the tongue, and keep an open mind and a level head as you adjust and observe, it gives you the freedom to think more clearly and objectively!

Taking steps to grow is important.

Growth happens in so many ways. I challenge you to begin taking steps to grow right now, today. Answer these questions: In what ways have you grown as a parent? In what areas would you like to grow? What is your biggest challenge (remember to tackle the hardest thing first)? What is one thing you’ll work on this week that will help you grow as a parent?

If you find that you enjoyed this blog and the steps to grow mentioned within it, and you’d like to learn more, contact us or leave a comment below!

Happy Birth & Parenting!

~Elizabeth Luke, author and owner of The Jax Baby Co.

Mantras for Each Month of the Year

Mantras for Each Month of the Year Jax, FL | Affirmation Jax, FL | Birth Classes Jax, FL

Mantras for Each Month of the Year

When you think of a mantra what comes to mind? A word or phrase repeated? A word or phrase used for motivation? I like to think of mantras similarly to affirmations or mini meditations that anyone can do, any time, any place! We love meditation and the inner peace it brings, so we’re sharing mantras for each month of the year with all of you amazing humans!

I’m aware that introducing mantras for each month of the year after the first quarter has already come and gone seems a bit…odd, but the great thing about these is you can start anytime and apply these mantras year after year in new ways!

Mantras for Each Month of the Year | Jax, FL Night Nanny | Jax, FL Doulas

May’s Mantra: Less is more!

What ever that means to you! Less noise, fewer commitments, less food, less travel, less social media, less stuff! What does “less is more” mean to you?

June’s Mantra: Stop watering dead plants!

Are you pouring from your own cup and watering things that just won’t grow? Feeling a little taken for granted or that relationship you’ve been working at is leading you in circles? Stop giving that energy away!

July’s Mantra: Just start!

A journey or a thousand miles begins with a single step. Just starting can be the hardest part! That’s not to say preparation isn’t beneficial. It is, but don’t let all the details hold you back. You only live once! Get to stepping!

August’s Mantra: I am enough!

There isn’t a single person just like you anywhere in existence. None of us are without flaws, and each of us is special. You are beautiful just the way you are! You ARE enough!

Jax, FL Mantras for Each Month of the Year | Sleep Training Jax, FL
Mantras for Each Month of the Year | Jax, FL Doulas

September’s Mantra: I am right where I am suppose to be!

Focus on the now! Yes goals are good! Dreaming should never stop, but there is peace, joy, ans satisfaction in accepting where you’re at in this very moment.

October’s Mantra: What I think, I become!

The mind is a powerful thing! With intention set yourself up to become exactly who you want to be in this life!

November’s Mantra: I choose joy!

You have the power to choose joy! You can’t always choose what happens or when it will happen, but you always have a choice. Choose joy!

December’s Mantra: Calm is Contagious!

Calm is contagious! So is chaos. Quiet the background noise, use your breath for change and influence those around you with the power of calm!

Mantras for Each Month of the Year | Jax, FL best in jax
Mantras for Each Month of the Year | Positive Affirmations

January’s Mantra: I’m planting seeds!

Each day, each experience and every interaction with another human being you are planting seeds. What seeds are important to you? What are you cultivating? Kindness?

February’s Mantra: I will make it worth it!

What is your “it”? Make whatever “it” is worth it! You can never get this day back! Where will you send your energy?

March’s Mantra: I have enough!

I have enough love in my heart, enough courage in my soul, and enough stress in my life. What do you have enough of?

Mantras for Each Month of the Year | Doulas in Jax, FL
Mantras for Each Month of the Year | Mindfulness Classes Jax, FL

April’s Mantra: Silence is Golden!

Silence and focused breathing helps me center myself. Sitting in silence, listening more, and speaking less allows me to be present and be a better friend.

Feel free to add to these mantras for each month of the year.

What resonates with you? What moves you? Is there something you can do today to encourage yourself and others? What mantras are your mantras? Leave us a comment below and for the most supportive experience and help at home after you give birth contact us today! We’re your feel-good baby and postpartum experts!

Happy Birth and Parenting!

~Elizabeth Luke

6 Brilliant Ideas to Get an Uninvolved Dad Involved

Get an Uninvolved Dad Involved Jax, FL | Jax Parenting | Dad in Jacksonville, FL

6 Brilliant Ideas to Get an Uninvolved Dad Involved

Let’s face it, shoving a baby into our partner’s arms and saying, “Here, you need to spend time with our kid” is probably not [it’s definitely not] one of the best ways to get an uninvolved dad involved. Brutally honest? Yes! Effective? Not likely.

Here are 6 Brilliant Ideas to Get an Uninvolved Dad Involved:

Give Him a Job

Not just any job, a fun job! One isn’t too hard and just might help him connect with his baby in a safe space, his home. One idea is reading to the baby each day. Another idea is picking out clothes and getting his baby dressed either for the day or the night ahead. The idea is to help him connect and let him do it!

Talk With Him

You could totally come up with some ideas to get an uninvolved dad involved, but maybe you shouldn’t try to reinvent the wheel. He may be unaware [yes, oblivious] that he is “uninvolved”, as you (the other parent) define it. You came looking, I just provided the resource.

Talking to him may be all it takes. For example, let’s say you want him to help with a feeding or bathtime in the evening. But rather than him jumping in and taking over he finds other tasks to busy himself or just relaxes on the couch. Do you perceive it as not helping or disengaged. Maybe he is modeling what he believes his role as the father to be. Could it be that this was his father’s role was or what he wished he had in a father as a child? Maybe working and helping to provide for his family is [how he interprets] his role and contribution to his family. Use your words [kind ones] and be direct. “Honey, what I need for you to do is [fill in the blank here]. I bet [baby’s name here] would love to have some time one on one bonding with you.”

Dr’s Orders

Does your partner usually side with doctors or scientifc studies? Then science may be just what the doctor ordered. There are several studies showing that through touch fathers develop and foster relationships with their young. (Field, 2001Field et al., 2004Field, Hernandez-Reif, Diego, Schanberg, & Kuhn, 2005).

“Imagine if the hugs, lullabies and smiles from parents could inoculate babies against heartbreak, adolescent angst and even help them pass their exams decades later. Well, evidence from the new branch of science called epigenetics is reporting that this long-term emotional inoculation might be possible.”~Robert Winston

Infant Massage

Daddies give amazing massages and the effects of personal touch and the connection he makes with the baby will benefit both of them for a lifetime. Not sold on this one? Well watch this Ted Talk and tell me what you think in the comments below! Please!

Baby Wearing

Your husband may never look sexier than he does wearing the baby the two of you are rearing together. Once he finds his groove at it anyway.

Be Around Other Dads

When in Rome do as the Romans do. If your partner is open to getting involved in some Baby and Me activities and classes with other fathers, cheer him on! Have him join the Jacksonville Pregnancy and Parenting group on Facebook together. It’s open to all parents who are willing to follow a few simple guidelines [like don’t be an asshole] and we would love to get more dads and babies together in a group setting! This would be a perfect way to try out baby/infant carriers before making a big purchase!

The Hard Part!

When you get an uninvolved dad involved with his baby you must, I repeat you must let him do it! Step back, walk away, literally bite your tongue if you must! BUT, you must let him lead, let him learn, and let him grow in his role! He’s got this!

There’s only so much you can do!

You can be brilliant and have all the ideas, but there’s only so much you can do. If you think your partner is uninvolved, withdrawn, or just not connecting with his baby you can encourage him to reach out for help via counseling, seeing a therapist, or a support group. You can only be responsible for your own actions. I encourage you to be patient, show some grace, and don’t give up on your partner!

Happy Birth and Parenting!

~Elizabeth Luke

Most Products Labeled for Infant Sleep are NOT Safe | Here’s a Break Down of What’s What

Most Products Labeled for Infant Sleep are NOT Safe | Here’s a Break Down of What is What

Like many products geared to traveling with a baby or younger child are not safe (aftermarket car seat inserts, covers, and straps), most products labeled for infant sleep are NOT safe. Just look at the photo above. Looks innocent enough, right? Look again! The bumper pad attached to the side of the crib (even mesh bumpers) and what appears to be a mobile attached to the front of the crib, both go against recommendation for the safest sleep. “Sleepers” that are not safe for sleep, “safety straps” that are anything but safe.

It’s confusing, we know! ”

Safe sleep recommendations aren’t up for debate. We just want to give you a break down and sprinkle this blog post with science-based information so you can make choices you feel are best for you and your baby.

WARNING: This blog post may be triggering for some.

I want parents and caregivers to know that most products labeled for infant sleep are not safe for such.

“The advertisement and packaging show a baby sleeping. Doesn’t that mean the product is meant for such?” Baby products sell, especially products advertising more sleep for babies which ultimately means more sleep for parents. But buyer beware! Not all sleep is safe sleep! Products are marketed and sold every damn day and babies have died while using them. Some have been recalled, but many have not.

Like car seat safety (a blog for another day) science and research tell us that rear-facing is best until the age of 4-years old. Still, the AAP only goes as far as recommending rear-facing children until at least 2 years of age, therefore providing a false sense of security to those who don’t know 4 is really the safest we can get. While Florida law only requires that children 4 years old and younger use a separate car-seat or the vehicle’s built-in child seat, with no specification on rear-facing at all. Whhhaaaat?! Many people, naively assume if it’s legal then it must be safe, but again that’s incorrect. They don’t know what they don’t know!

Why wait until laws are passed and product get recalled before we listen?

You may be on the right side of the law but does that mean we are doing our best we can for kids? My thoughts are, we have research and science on our sides. Let’s be proactive together! Through simple precautionary measures, together we can keep kiddos safer.

What’s the evidence say?

In the early 90’s the ABC Sleep campaign was introduced. ABC= Alone, on Back, and in a Crib. This campaign resulted in few infant deaths. We were on the right track! But, in more recent years death rates umong infants have begun to increase again. most products labeled for infant sleep are NOT safe, yet buying these products is also on the rise.

Alone? What about bed sharing?

Bed sharing is discouraged by the AAP, but we understand that for some families bed sharing is a necessity. There are safer ways to do it, we mention of few of those below. We could do a whole blog on that topic too, but that’s for another day! Together we can make a difference!

Infants ages 2 months to 4 months are at a heightened risk for SIDS.

Not to scare you, but did you know that? I had no idea until I had my third baby. Additionally, new evidence shows that soft bedding continues to pose hazards to babies who are 4 months and older. With boys, the risk for SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) is slightly elevated. Surprised? You’re not alone, less than 10% of parents know most (not all) of these things. The beauty of having us on your team is that we know all the things (or at least know where to find out fairly quickly) and we can help you learn all the things! All the while supporting you and your family in a way that is best for you and your lifestyle!

If most products labeled for infant sleep are NOT safe options how does one know what’s considered safe and what’s not?

Frankly, car seat safety and infant sleep topics are exhausting even as a professional in the field. So long as companies keep marketing and manufacturing products labeled for sleep and travel with kids there will always something new to learn. BUT it’s a topic we’re passionate to help families learn about!

What’s NOT approved for safest sleep:

In order to pass, a product must go through specific testing. It cannot pass if it has anything other than a 0-degree (0%) incline. That being said, just because it’s flat does not automatically make it safe. The Doc-A-Tot and in-bed co-sleepers are perfect examples of products that are flat but are NOT safe for sleep because they don’t pass one of those standards.

  • Rock-n-Play [a safer option is the Rock-n-Play portable bassinet
  • Car Seats [positional asphyxia is the biggest concern here]
  • Couch [the floor is safer in most cases]
  • Bouncer
  • In-bed co-sleepers or co-sleepers like the Doc-A-Tot (DAT)
  • MamaRoo
  • Swing
  • Crib Bumpers
  • Sleep Positioner/Wedge (even for babies with reflux)
  • Crib Tents
  • Blankets
  • Nap Nanny
  • Boppy

What IS approved for safest sleep:

The only approved sleep surface for an infant passes the standard for crib, cradle, bassinet, or play yard (PNP). If a sleep surface/mattress meets CPSC and ASTM standards, it is considered safe for sleep. Check current recalls and register your product, but remember recalls typically happen only once there have injuries or deaths involved. Be proactive, not reactive and back to basics is safest.

  • Majority of Pack-n-Plays like this one are fine
  • Most Mini cribs like this one are fine
  • Most Full-size cribs (NEVER a drop side crib, they’re illegal to sell new or used)
  • Tight fitting crib sheet, no blankets or bumpers, bare crib only

The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommendations on creating a safe sleep environment include:

  • Placing the baby on their back on a firm sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet.
  • Avoid use of soft bedding, including crib bumpers, blankets, pillows, and soft toys. The crib should be bare, free of any blankets, gadgets, or pillows. Dress and adjust baby’s clothing so they will be comfortable through the night.
  • Share a bedroom with parents, but not the same sleeping surface, preferably until the baby turns 1 but at least for the first six months. Room-sharing (with a parent or caregiver) decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%
  • Don’t exposure baby to smoke, alcohol, or illicit drugs.
  • Infants should receive all recommended vaccinations. There’s no evidence that routine immunizations increase SIDS risk. Some evidence indicates immunizations can help prevent SIDS.
  • Breastfeeding is also recommended as added protection against SIDS. So long as you don’t doze off while nursing your baby, which tends to happen. If you feel sleepy or think there is a chance you may fall asleep or nod off while nursing your baby, nurse your baby on your bed, instead of a chair or couch. Make sure there are no pillows, blankets, or other items that could cause overheating or interfere, block, or obstruct your baby’s breathing. If you do fall asleep, upon waking move baby to their own sleep space.
  • Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.
  • Keep the room slightly cool, not too warm or hot
  • Do not use home monitors or commercial devices, including wedges or positioners, marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Supervised, awake tummy time is recommended daily to facilitate development.

What’s the Verdict on Swaddling

“While the AAP has not taken an official stance on the practice of swaddling babies should not be swaddled past 2 months of age”, urges Rachel Y. Moon, M.D., FAAP, lead author of the AAP safe sleep guidelines and chair of the Task Force on SIDS. Many people continue to swaddle until their baby is starting to show signs of readiness for rolling from tummy to back. But the latest research indicates that we should stop swaddling by 8 weeks of age, by that time the potential risks outweigh the potential benefits. Even still swaddling should be done correctly to be considered safe and allow for proper hip and shoulder development.

More on Car Seats

The car seat (and or the base of the car seat) should be installed into your car following the manufacturer’s recommendations. Likewise, the child should also be correctly positioned and strapped into the car seat following the manufacturer’s recommendations. Slumping should be avoided especially in infants and children under two. Never leave them unattended. Do not allow blankets near their face. Check on them frequently while in the car and remove them from their seats promptly upon arrival. Positional Asphyxia happens when the position of one’s body blocks their airway.

The Latest on Rock-N-Plays in the News

The Rock-N-Play “sleeper” conflicts with the AAP’s recommendations for safe sleep environments for babies in order to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Kyle Yasuda, MD, FAAP, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics states, “This product is deadly and should be recalled immediately. When parents purchase a product for their baby or child, many assume that if it’s being sold in a store, it must be safe to use. Tragically, that is not the case.” (32 related deaths)

Give yourself a pat on the back for getting through this read!

Now that you know most products labeled for infant sleep are NOT safe options you can use the information you learned to create a plan for your own family! Who knows, perhaps you can help others along the way! As parents we are always learning new things, we follow our instincts, and do the best we can for our babies!

We have a full team ready to meet you where you’re at along your journey. We offer sleep support, sleep coaching and training, perinatal planning consults, nursery set up and organization, one-on-one personalized care and support for you, the newest member of your family, and everyone in between! Don’t delay, contact us today!

Happy Birth & Parenting!

-Elizabeth

Elizabeth Luke is the owner of The Jacksonville Baby Co., providing exceptional support and inclusive care for families welcoming babies in the Jacksonville, FL area since 2013. Helping families enjoy their births, their babies, and their sleep.

More resources for safe sleep:

https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/American-Academy-of-Pediatrics-Announces-New-Safe-Sleep-Recommendations-to-Protect-Against-SIDS.aspx

https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/AAP-Urges-U-S-Consumer-Product-Safety-Commission-to-Recall-Fisher-Price-Rock-n-Play-Sleeper.aspx?fbclid=IwAR3VGc9JZGxoK9BpqaeF9fPGfrBL1wPpdVLHzJpF6OTZtENrNbfvFn3-V9U

https://safetosleep.nichd.nih.gov/

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/on-the-go/Pages/Car-Safety-Seats-Information-for-Families.aspx

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/on-the-go/Pages/Car-Safety-Seats-Information-for-Families.aspx

https://cultureofsafety.thesilverlining.com/childcare/car-seats-and-positional-asphyxiation

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/on-the-go/Pages/Car-Safety-Seats-Information-for-Families.aspx

https://www.astm.org/search/fullsite-search.html?query=infant%20sleep&

Tips for Getting Out of the House With Kids in Tow

Getting Out of the House With Kids in Tow Jax, FL | Jacksonville Nanny | night Nanny Jax

Tips for Getting Out of the House With Kids in Tow

It’s a big transition from one to two babies. Getting out of the house with kids in tow can be a job and may even seem a little terrifying. Our team has put together an awesome list of things to make getting out of the house with kids in tow easier, less stressful, and even more enjoyable for all of you!

We Hope You Find These Tips for Getting Out of the House With Kids in Tow Helpful:

1. Babywear

Wearing your baby is an excellent way to free your hands so you can quickly dedicate them to Cool Hand Luke over there [look it up, I’m old AF], a.k.a. your toddler! Babywearing also allows you to do other tasks like sip on a cup of coffee while simultaneously pushing the Target cart and taking a commemorative selfie. Just think of how boss so you’ll look! Also, what a sweet memory you’ll have when it comes up in your Timehop for years to come!

2. Double Stroller

So wearing your baby is great, unless you hate it! Even still having a double stroller, in my opinion, is nice for some occasions, especially longer outings where one or both kids will need to rest. You can stuff a bunch of things beneath the seats, and if you’re feeling touched out the stroller definitely gives you more personal space.

3. Leash the [incredibly cute, sometimes feral] Beast

Never underestimate a toddler. Their size and speed give them the capabilities to move with the stealth and agility of a cheetah and hide effortlessly in tight spaces like a pancake tortoise [again, look it up or see one at The Jax Zoo]!

Seriously, “Where the Wild things Are” would be a great movie title for a toddler’s life! Don’t fear the leash, save your sanity, and keep your kiddo safe. Bonus: when your toddler pretends to be a kitty cat they can really get into character and be even more realistic! BOOM, mom win!

4. Leave (extra or extra-extra) Early

Feeling rushed can make your entire trip off-kilter, for you and your babies! Know your route, turn on the GPS to check the traffic if backups may be expected, and plan to arrive 30 minutes early. That “should” leave you enough time to get where you need to be without the pressure of running behind.

Finding yourself consistently right on time? You’re golden! Finding yourself a little early? Magic! Still running late? Eh, leave 10 minutes earlier next time, but sometimes getting out of the house with kids in tow just means you’ll be late. Only now you have a free pass “reason” to be late sometimes!

5. Keep a Go Bag in the Car

A Go Bag is a bag that is ready to go at all times, but is kept in your vehicle, hence the name. The following are some ideas for your Go Bag:

  • A full change of clothes for yourself and your kiddos
  • Diapers, pull ups, and underwear for each kid
  • A large pack of wipes
  • Changing pad
  • Bottle of water for hand rinsing
  • Hand sanitizer
  • A few non perishable snacks
  • A special toy or two that only comes out at special times to grab and hold their attention
  • Any other essentials like a paci, bottle, cup, femine hygiene products[not the kitchen sink Karen]

6. Back Pack It!

Forget the diaper bag and opt for a back pack! It keeps your arms free and has lots of great pockets! Since you have a Go Bag you don’t have to pack the kitchen sink [looking at you again Karen]. Pack a diaper or two, a small pack of wipes, water for you, and any essentials [again, not the damn sink Karen]. Bring any needed food, drinks, and snacks and again I highly recommend a small, but fun item or two that your little beastie gets to hold or play with ONLY when you need to occupy them when your hands are full.

7. Easy Access Clothing

Those adorable one-piece rompers you fancied before you were pregnant… Two words, donate them! Do it! Unless you want to make a bold dash to the car for your Go Bag after a mishaps while pottying while also trying to keep care of two babies, donate them now! That image ain’t cute!

Likewise, I don’t know who in blue blazes designed baby and toddler clothing without snaps between the legs, but it had to be someone with literally no brain or hands. Dress your kids in clothing they will not only be cute and comfy in, but that have easy access points so you can change diapers with ease. Pay special attention while potty training. After all you shouldn’t look like you’re trying to swaddled a rabid hyena while you’re wrangling your half naked child during an outing! And if you do see #11.

8. Rest Before Leaving the Nest

Easier said than done. I know! If just the idea of getting out of the house with two kids in tow has your stressing, say no to things you don’t have to do. BUT be willing to say yes to some exploration and adventure.

Start by scheduling things (when you can) around their nap times. So if they have their morning nap at 10-12, leave plenty of time for that and travel, see #4. Otherwise leave the nest on a whim only when your baby birds are well rested.

9. Frequent Family-Friendly Places

Little ones come with some mess and noise. I know, shocker! Visit places you might “find your tribe”, or at least where you can let your kids be kids while get to enjoy seeing them have some freedom. The Zoo [you can see the pancake tortoise here], Sunshine Park, and Grow Family are all places to consider!

10. Just a Few Safety Tips:

  • Avoid leaving your kids unattended while in a vehicle. Strap your most mobile child in their carseat first and remove them from the carseat last. This will help demobilize them long enough for you to get the youngest situated.
  • If help or assistance is needed don’t be too afraid to ask. It could be an employee if you’re at a store or another person who is nearby. There are good people left in the world!
  • Park in the locations you feel safest. There isn’t always a right or wrong answer here, use your best judgement and it will be fine.
  • Keep your cell phone on your person at all times when not in use.
  • Never place an infant carseat on top of a shopping cart. It can tip or get knocked over.

11. Be Prepared for Opinions, but Give No Fucks

You don’t owe anyone an answer or response. Focus on you and your kids. If you feel it woud be helpful you can prepare a blanket statement ahead of time for a few general things you may be worried or concerned over. Outsiders don’t pay your bills, you don’t have to sleep next to them, and life moves on. Your kids, none the wiser. You got this!

At the end of the day if the thought of getting out of the house with kids in tow leaves you feeling scared or nervous here are 3 things you can do that I am positive can help you:

  1. Focus on safety and love. Do not fear judgement or outside criticism. See #11
  2. Stop judging yourself so harshly. Just loving your kids and keeping them alive some days is amazing and enough!
  3. Hire help! We’re here and for hire to assist with these things. We can for sure help [without judgement] assist you and prepare you to go it alone!

DISCLAIMER: The JBC team has no personal hang ups, problems, or beef with anyone, more specifically, anyone named Karen!

Get in touch with our amazing team at The Jax Baby Co. and let us help you plan and execute [like a boss] your first few outings after your baby is born! We don’t judge and our bark is pretty badass! Basically we can handle the haters, cheer you on, and assist as needed! We got you!

Happy Birth & Parenting!

~Elizabeth

5 Things NOT to Do on Photo Day with Kids | By a Jacksonville Family Photographer

5 Things NOT to Do on Photo Day with Kids, By a Jacksonville Family Photographer

Getting your kids into the studio or on location for a portrait can be stressful. Here are
some ideas, tips, and 5 things not to do on photo day with kids and how to make your session go a little easier, by Jacksonville newborn and family photographer, Christy Whitehead of Christy Whitehead Photography.

1. Making a Huge Deal Out of It

If you’re stressed out and over talking the photo shoot your kids are going to get anxious and may act out as a result. Their behavior will usually be better if you are relaxed and having fun. You may have to make some compromises to keep the peace such as letting your energetic daughter’s hair stay straight instead of curling it or bringing the Batman doll your kid can’t live without, like my son. Focus on the big picture and don’t sweat the small stuff.

2. Not Making it Fun is A Missed Opportunity

Let the kids have a couple of “fun photos” where they get to pick their own pose or props. You get to keep the more serious photos while they get to keep their silly photos. This way everyone wins. Let the kids know if they are good you can do one super funny photo. Sometimes those funny photos are a great addition in a home. I personally think a silly photo would be hysterical in a bathroom to make your guests laugh.

3. Not Being Prepared


Plan your session based on when your kids are typically at their best, temperament wise. Planning a session during naptime or near naptime is a recipe for a meltdown. Bringing some snacks (think snacks that don’t stain hands or clothes) and activities along is also a great idea. If you are having your own photos taken too then you might want to bring along an extra set of experienced hands or family member along to watch the kids. Don’t forget to bring handy items like bug spray, tissues, first aid kit, baby wipes, water, etc.

4. Not Being Patient

Save your sanity by trying not to control the photo session too much. Sometimes the best photos come from kids just doing their own thing. Let the photographer direct the session, if she’s having difficulty or seems frustrated, then step in, but sometimes photogs let kids be themselves for a few minutes to gain their trust and get more authentic portraits of kids.

5. Choosing the Wrong Location

If you have small children and it’s October, planning a family session outside in Florida may not be a great idea with the potential for rain or a cold snap. Some photography studios, like ours, have a studio and also shoot on location. Having that backup plan in place and being open to secondary options will keep your sanity and make sure everything goes more smoothly.

BONUS TIP:

Get your children talking to both you and the photographer about topics such as school or their favorite songs. This allows them to feel more comfortable around your photographer and will also give your photographer a chance to capture a few candid and cute expressions. We hope you find these 5 things not to do on photo day with kids helpful! Looking for a photographer in the Jax, FL area? Book your session today!

Christy Whitehead has a studio off of Chaffee Blvd, approximately 10 minutes from downtown Jacksonville. She specializes in pregnancy, newborn, family and headshot photography.
You can find her at:
www.Jaxphotographer.com
www.facebook.com/JaxPhotographer
www.instagram.com/jaxphotographer

Dealing with Mom Guilt | Guest Blog Post

mom guilt jax, Fl

Dealing with Mom Guilt

I dealt with mom guilt for a good 2 years after my son was born. I had to return to work very early on. It wasn’t a choice I had at that time. I questioned myself as a mom…a lot. It was hard. Hard on top of it already being hard with having a baby (my first!) and being a parent in this crazy world we live in.

Whether it’s your 1st baby or 4th you never know how things are going to go.

You can plan as much as possible, but frankly, between the baby and your body, things are going to just happen. What happened with your first may be completely different from your second and so on. No matter your situation, a new baby changes the dynamics. There is a level of adjustment no matter what. 

I think mom guilt is something that almost comes with the territory of being a parent in 2019.

We feel pressure coming at us from all angles. We are bombarded with messages as moms. Messages about where and how you should plan to deliver your baby. Is a birthing center better than the hospital? Should you have the baby at home? Then there’s breast feeding and the pressure to make it work because “breast is best.” There are opinions about every stage babies experience. 

If you are a working mama, you may experience this dreaded mom guilt from being away from your baby. Are you doing the right thing? Is this going to affect my baby negatively? Am I being a bad mom? On top of the stress of going back to work and having a new baby, emotions like guilt can be super charged.

If you are a stay-at-home mama, you may question if you’re doing enough. Should you be working outside the home? You may question your sanity daily. You may question your identity as a woman as you pour out yourself every day so your little ones can thrive. 

The expectations are crazy unrealistic for parents these days.

It doesn’t really help that with all the technology available, we see what other parents are doing from all over the world. First birthday parties are a great example. Some of us put SO much pressure on ourselves to throw an amazing party for someone who won’t even remember one second of it.

If any of this resonates with you, hang in there mama. Here’s a few tips to deal with the guilt.

  1. Try to be more aware of the fact that you are having these thoughts that are making you feel guilty. You can’t change something if you don’t know it’s happening.
  2. Write those guilty thoughts down. It can be in a journal, notebook, or even the notes section on your phone.
  3. Reframe them to something positive. If you wrote the thought down, below it, re-write the statement into a more positive one. You can also do this in your head or out loud if that makes more sense for you. An example is if you wrote down, “I’m not a good mom” then you can re-write it to say something like “I’m the right mom for my kids and I’m doing the very best I can” or “there’s no perfect parent, I’m doing a great job.” Choose words that make sense for you.
  4. In addition to reframing the guilty thoughts, I think it’s super helpful to have a quote, scripture, or mantra that is meaningful for you. That mantra or statement can even be based on what you wrote above in #3. I like keeping it short and simple. For example, telling yourself, “I’m doing a great job as a mama” is a great way to show yourself love. Repeat your positive statement as often as needed. Speak to yourself with the same kindness and love you do your children. 

Guilt is just one of the many emotions we feel as moms.

Society has set a bar for parenting that no one can realistically achieve. Listen mama, you set your own standard for the parent you want to be. Do what feels right for you and your family. Be consistent with speaking gentleness and kindness to yourself. 

Authored by: Maria Inoa

Maria Inoa is a licensed clinical social worker and the owner of Full Potential Counseling. With over 12 years of experience, she specializes in working with women on building healthier relationships with themselves and others. She strongly believes that women are warriors and that every woman has worth, significance, and purpose. Maria provides in-person sessions at her office in the Ortega area as well as online sessions for the busy woman.

What’s Best for Your Baby?

What’s Best for Your Baby?

We know you want to do what’s best for your baby! You love your little sweet pea and just want to do right by them in every way. Once the decision has been made to start a family inevitably questions seem to roll in like impressive storm clouds on a summer afternoon in Florida!

If I get the epidural will it affect our baby? Who would be best to have with us when I give birth? Should I have visitors right away or make them wait a couple weeks? When do most people take their babies out after they are born?

You quickly learn that you’ll get all the opinions in pregnancy about what’s best for your baby.

No two opinions ever seem to be the same, so how do you sort through it all? How do you know what’s best for your baby? Let me let you in on a little secret, I’ll be 100% real with you. Every parent wonders, what’s “best” and without fail, at some time or another, we all wonder if we’re screwing our kids up. Truth bomb! Having a second baby? You’ll wonder if you are doing enough or the right things for your oldest, yet again!

Take some nice, slow breaths. Inhale peace and exhale doubt. You’ve got this!

We see those Instagram pics with the hashtag #momfail. There seems to be heavy judgement surrounding how we parent and rear our kidlets. Sometimes we are our own worst critics. Concerned you might be one of those parents who “fail” at raising good humans?

These wonderings are completely normal; you will have parenting wins and woes, not fails! Failing is giving up. You are not giving up, you are navigating! In the words of Chumbawamba, I get knocked down, but I get up again. That alone signifies you care and are doing the very best anyone can and what’s best for your baby and family!

So, how can we be the very best at parenting that we can be? 

Well, for starters we would do well to understand that what is best for one family isn’t best for all families. Another way we can do our own personal best is by taking great care of ourselves. After all, if we want our children to do that for themselves we must  model to our children what that looks like. Meditation, prayer, self-care, exercise, therapy, support groups, date nights, hobbies, and nutrition. A healthy mind, body and soul allow us to give to others without depleting from our own cup!

Do you need a system or something that can work in every “what is best” situation?

When you’re faced with a decision in pregnancy, childbirth, or in parenthood one way we like to help parents navigate is to say, remember to use your B.R.A.I.N. Your brain, of course, but also your B.R.A.I.N. acronym.

B= Ask, what are the BENEFITS?

R= Ask, what are the RISKS?

A= Ask, are their ALTERNATIVES and if so what are they?

I= Tune into your INTUITION. What’s your gut or inner voice say?

N= Ask, what if we do NOTHING right now? Revisit this in X amount of time.

You’re doing what is best for your baby when you do what you think or feel is best!

There’s absolutely no one more equipped for the job of parenting your children than you! We can certainly all benefit greatly from support and encouragement, without judgment or opinions along the way! An unbiased, science-based childbirth education class and A-rated support from experts in the field goes a very, very long way! The Jax Baby Company is there every step of the way to help you navigate the curveballs birth and parenting throw you, but also help you maintain complete autonomy over your body, birth, and your family!

When you get caught up in the “what’s best game”, I challenge you to stop, breathe, and focus on the single most important piece of the parenting puzzle that actually applies and fits into place perfectly. And that is that you’re always considering what’s best for your baby and that makes you an amazing parent.

You’ll win some and you’ll learn some!

In those learning moments, you become even more relatable to other parents. Welcome to the parenting club! Parenting is such a humbling experience and one day it is our hope that you’ll look back and laugh, give yourself a little pat on the back, and know that you did a phenomenal job at this parenting thing!

Happy Birth & Parenting!

~Elizabeth