Today we’re giving you 5 ways to comfort a baby without picking them up. Not because we don’t love holding babies, we totally do! We’re giving out these goodies because sometimes you can’t pick them up, other times, you’re touched out and need other solutions. The Jax Baby Company is big on giving parents and caregivers options and solutions that’ll work for their family.
During the fourth trimester, it’s not uncommon for parents to feel overwhelmed and be exhausted.
It’s important for parents to take care of themselves so they don’t crash and burn along the way. When burnout occurs relationships and careers struggle. No one wants new parents struggling or suffering, especially our team! There’s a fine line between normal levels of manageable stress and unnecessary suffering. This goes for parents and for babies! There have been no scientific studies to date that show periodic crying is harmful to anyone, including babies. It’s safe for your baby to cry for short periods so long as they’re safe, cared for properly, and their needs are met.
What we’re not saying: Leave babies to cry for long periods of time or ignore babies.
What we are saying: It’s okay to take a few minutes for Y-O-U and to accomplish other things on your list.
Here are 5 ways to Comfort a Baby Without Picking Them Up
Not only do these five ways work, but they’ll also help you and your baby build confidence through-out the day. You’ll want to practice these early on and practice each and every day throughout the day. Success will come, it takes time and practice for you and your baby! You’ll be able to go longer in between as you and your baby become pros and this! Before putting your baby down and trying these things make sure your baby is not hungry, dry and clean, as well as calm when being held. All the comfort in the world won’t help if they are dirty or truly hungry.
Babies are snuggled up cozy and tight in the womb. It’s warm and comforting, it’s home! The womb must be like chicken soup when you don’t feel well. Swaddling is one of the best ways when done correctly to soothe a baby! The trick is to get it snug, but not too tight, allow room for the hips to move freely, and be sure there’s no way the swaddle can get up around baby’s mouth or nose. A good swaddle, a slight sway(not bounce), and then lay your baby down. If you have a baby that’s a little older (but younger than 8 weeks) you can swaddle with one arm out! After 8 weeks swaddling is no longer recommended by the AAP. A sleep-sack would be a safer option.
Once your baby is swaddled nice and cozy utilize a shusher or white noise machine to recreate the comforting womb sounds. This is the next layer of comfort. It should be loud enough to be the primary sound in and around the room, but not close to the ears. I always tell parents I personally recommend reserving this tool for naps, overnights, and to get in a shower!
Gentle Chest Rock
You’ve swaddled your baby, laid your baby down, and you’re utilizing the white noise machine or shusher. Now, you’ll place one hand lightly on your baby’s chest and gently rock your baby. This isn’t a full-on rock, moving your baby from side to side, but rather a gentle controlled shifting motion. You’re ever so softly shifting the weight from one side of your hand to the other.
From Crown to Eyebrows
We couldn’t share 5 ways to comfort a baby without sharing this one! A true trick up the sleeve if there ever was one! This one takes some practice, but man is it amazing! You’ll place your entire hand, palm side down at the crown of your baby’s head, your fingers facing one ear and the heel of your hand facing the other ear. The same direction a headband would sit. Then, in one slow very gentle motion stroke their head all the way down to their brows. Repeat. Do this slowly several times over and over. As you learn your baby this technique will be intuitive to you! You’ll figure out what your baby likes and dislikes, how slow they like it, and when you reach a sweet spot. It takes practice, even for us pros!
We highly recommend that if you’re exclusively breastfeeding you wait to utilize a pacifier until breastfeeding is well established for 3-4 weeks. This exclusivity will help establish your milk supply, ensures your baby isn’t being given a replacement for hunger, and helps reduce the chance of “nipple confusion”. After that have at it! If your baby will take a pacifier not only can it be a big help, but the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends it for safer sleep! If your baby doesn’t take it at first and you would like for him/her to, keep trying! Try different pacifiers, FYI, they make different sizes for babies of different ages. Some babies do better with one type over another. You can dip the pacifier in a bit of milk to help entice them!
Parenting is a wild rollercoaster of a ride! There are ups and downs, and twists and turns, but The Jax Baby Company has your back! Did these 5 ways to comfort a baby without picking them up help you? Let us know! If you’re in the Greater Jacksonville, Florida area and are a new or expecting parent, contact us! We would love to help your family prepare and thrive!
You don’t have to be a brand new parent to get butterflies in your stomach when you think about washing your newborn baby. Lots of parents who’ve done it before worry about “doing it right” or doing it all wrong. Much like riding a bike it usually comes back to you after a time or two. Step by step we’re walking you through bathtime and helping you gain the confidence you need when washing your newborn! If you’re about to embark on baby’s very first bath using a tub with water, you’ll want to go over and read “Baby’s First Bath, Level Up With These Tips” to get all the best tips ahead of this step by step blog.
Did You Know: It’s not necessary to wash your newborn or infant every day.
Newborns and immobile infants don’t get “dirty” often. You’ll want to wash your baby two to three times a week maximum to avoid drying out their skin. Until your baby begins scooting, crawling, or playing with pets on the floor or other infants out in public a simple wipe down with a warm wet cloth in between baths is sufficient.
Did You Know: A little dab will do ya! You don’t need to use much soap at all.
In addition to being bathed too often, using too much soap can also dry out your baby’s delicate and oh so soft skin. You can just put a tiny drop or two of your soap of choice into the bath water for washing your newborn baby, reserving a single drop for washing his hair. That’s all you need.
Step #1: The Set Up
Choose a time when your baby isn’t tired and hungry to bathe him. Begin by placing the baby bathtub either in the sink or on a level surface, not too close to the edge of the counter. If you’re using one of those blooming sink inserts you will use it in the sink. If you’re using a bather that sits inside the tub you’ll either be in the tub with your baby or kneeling beside the tub. If you’re getting in with baby you want to have a second person to assist you with getting yourself and baby out. If kneeling, please protect your knees!
Step #2: Washing Your Newborn
Make sure all supplies are easily within reach, make sure the tub is plugged, add the water, and then your sweet babe! Immediately place one washcloth that you’ve wet over your baby’s genitals, remembering the 3 T’s of Bathtime.
Your baby will pee in the tub and it’s okay and there’s no need to drain the water! If poop happens, you’ll want to drain and start again. Fun times! While we’re talking pee and poop believe it or not sometimes little girls can pee up and everywhere just as little boys can. Pro tip, I recommend always starting by placing a wet washcloth over their genitals as soon as the diaper comes off and baby is placed in the tub.
Wash and rinse in this order: top to bottom, front to back. Beginning with baby’s hair use a single drop of soap of choice (tear-free may be a good option for you) onto the other wet washcloth and gently begin washing your baby’s hair. Pay close attention not to get soap in her eyes or mouth. Wipe behind her ears and then under her neck, in his little neck creases where milk gets trapped. Rinse carefully avoiding his eyes, nose, and mouth. Work your way down the front of your baby. Use the towel over his/her genitals to clean the diaper area well. How you clean your baby’s genitals depends on if your baby is a boy or a girl, is circumcised or intact. Check carefully to be sure your baby doesn’t have any hair wrapped around his toes.
Washing a baby’s backside isn’t as easy as the front, but in time you’ll become a pro at washing your newborn baby! You can either tip your baby carefully onto his side and wash the opposite side of his back and bottom and then repeat. Or, you can gently transfer your baby to lay face down onto your hand and arm always keeping his face out of the water while you wash then rinse.
Step #3: The Wrap Up
Remembering timing in the 3 T’s of Bathtime wrap it up as soon as possible, even if things are going really well. Pull the plug from the tub being careful to make sure the water is making it in the sink and not your countertop and floor.
Holding the towel on your chest using your teeth and toss the right side over your right arm and left side over your left arm. Then, standing as close to the counter and your baby as possible carefully lift your baby from the bath and transfer him to the center of the towel on your chest. Wrap up your baby burrito!
If your baby is happy you may be able to transfer him to the place you’ll lay him to dry and dress him. If he is upset, take a moment or two to calm and comfort him before continuing being mindful of the possibility of pee and poop. Place your baby on his back and dry him well. Then put his diaper on. If you are planning to use lotion on his skin, nows the time to do it. Start by rubbing the lotion in your hands to warm it first. Begin at the top and work your way down your baby’s body. You can use the towel to cover the areas you aren’t applying lotion to, to keep your baby warm.
When you’ve finished the top half of your baby’s body put his shirt/top on. Then finish applying lotion to the bottom half and put his pants/bottoms on. Before putting on his socks check his nails and clip them if they need to be clipped. Brush his hair/head with a soft bristle baby brush. Use cotton balls to dry his ears. Avoid putting anything into his ears including Q-tips you can damage his eardrums.
That’s it! You’re done!
Whether your baby blissfully obliged or painfully protested his bath you’re awesome! You’ll get the hang of washing your newborn and he’ll get the hang of being pampered and may even become playful with time!
These tips for a baby’s first bath will help ease your fears and make the first bath (and many more) run smoothly. At The Jax Baby Company, we help bathe lots of slippery newborns, wiggly infants, and rambunctious toddlers. We have bathtime down to a science!
When parents talk about baby’s very first bath, most of them are referring to a bath with water and some soap. That’s what we will cover here today. However, until your baby’s umbilical cord stump falls off you’ll want to skip a traditional bath with water and soap and give a “sponge bath”. Wiping your baby down with a warm wet washcloth is sufficient and keeps the umbilical area dry. Pay close attention to the neck creases where milk drips and collects, the creases of the legs, and diaper area.
Tip #1: Follow the 3 T’s of Bathtime
When we teach parents about babies we always talk about safety! Follow the 3 T’s of tub time What are the 3 T’s you ask?
Temperature: A newborn can chill easily. You want the room your bathing your baby in to be free from drafts and not too cold. You don’t need to turn on the heat in Florida unless it’s true winter, but you can turn off any fan you may have running in the room. Likewise, make sure the water temperature isn’t too hot or too cold. Baby bear like’s it “just right”. To prevent scalding, before your baby is born adjust the thermostat on your water heater to below 120 F (49 C). Always test the water temperature with your hand or thermometer if needed before bathing your baby. Aim to have the bath water around 100 F (38 C).
Touch: Keep one hand on your baby at all times. Babies slip and slump easily in the water. It only takes a moment for an accident to happen. If you can’t reach “it” while keeping a hand on your baby you don’t really need it.
Time: Baby’s first bath shouldn’t take long, in fact, all baths should be kept to under 10 minutes. Newborns have very short sleep/wake cycles. So, although your baby may seem very content, at a moments notice your baby can be sleepy again and things can escalate quickly.
Tip #2: Gather Your Supplies First
You want everything you’ll need for the bath, from start to finish, within an arms reach. Go ahead and rip those safety seals off before you ever starting. Remember touch of the 3 T’s of bathtime? One hand on your baby at all times, always! You’ll want all the rest of the supplies you’ll need right where you’ll dress and groom your baby. What supplies do you need? Well, that depends on what you’re tackling, remember to keep it under 10 minutes total.
Most newborn babies hate being naked, cool, and wet. If you find that your baby starts to cry keep calm! Don’t panic! If she takes a pacifier you can use one that doesn’t allow water to get inside of it, like this. Most of the time baby’s first bath involves some tears. You can stop where you are, wrap it up, move on to our bonus tip and call it a success. OR you can push through, finish the bath, move onto the bonus tip, and call it a success! Either way keep calm because your baby can sense when you’re feeling sad, down, or panicked. This is new to you too, it gets easier I promise!
We’re wrapping up tips for baby’s first bath with a bonus tip!
Bonus Tip: Follow Up with Skin to Skin Bonding
Babies love being skin to skin with their parents! They love everything about it! The warmth, the closeness, and the hormones it helps mom release. They love your smell and the gentleness. They love the sound your heart makes as they lay against your chest and the humming of your voice. If your baby cried during bathtime this is a sure way to make it up to him (and you). Fresh babies are the best! So this bonus tip is just as much for you as it is for them. These moments are the “stop and smell the roses” of life. Take them every chance you get!
How do you do skin to skin?
You’ll want your baby to be in only a diaper and you’ll want to remove your shirt and bra if you’re wearing one. Lay your baby on your bare chest facing you on his/her belly. Place a blanket over the two of you leaving only your baby’s head exposed. Snuggle that muggle! Smell him, caress him, touch his soft, fine hair. Let him hold your finger in his tiny precious hand. Enjoy this time, uninterrupted for as long as you’d like.
I hope you find these tips for baby’s first bath as helpful as the families we work with. If you’d love help with your baby’s first bath contact us and one of our baby whispers will come and help you through bathtime, instilling confidence along the way!
To recap just remember:
3 T’s of Bathtime: temperature, touch, time (10),
Gather all of your supplies first
Follow up with skin to skin
Be sure to check out our upcoming blog: When and How to Wash a Newborn for step by step instructions!
As Jacksonville’s trusted newborn and postpartum support professionals we get asked a ton of questions! So, we will break all these newborn questions down into a blog series called, The ABC’s of Newborn Care to make it super duper easy. We want to help you learn about caring for your little one!
First up in the ABC’s of Newborn Care Series is B is for Breathing
Babies can make some unusual breathing sounds!
These sounds can be adorably cute. Sure, they can also be slightly weird. Most of the time though these sounds are completely normal. Newborns can breathe fast or take long pauses between breaths. Often newborns still have amniotic fluid in their airways and it needs a little more time to clear it. This is typical of any baby, but more pronounced sometimes in babies born via cesarean. As a new parent, the breathing sounds your baby makes can be alarming.
Become familiar with what’s normal and what’s not.
30-60 breaths per minute, slowing down to approximately 20 breaths per minute when they sleep is normal. Adults breathe an average of 12-20 breaths per minute. Kind of a big difference there, huh? Newborns can breathe fast several times and then stop breathing for 5-10 seconds (but no more than that) and then breathe again. If you see breathing at a rate of over 60 breaths per minute it’s time to have them checked out! No waiting!
What’s with the whistle kid?
While some whistling of the airway can be normal, it might also mean there’s mucus in the nasal passages that just may clear up when it’s suctioned out. You should learn to effectively clear your baby’s nasal passages of mucus via suction. A saline solution and bulb syringe or Nose Frida can help with this. Another tip is cupping the hand while “burping” your baby. You’re just patting their back with your hand cupped, daddies are usually really good at this! Wheezing could also be a sign of blockage or narrowing of the lower airways. Contact your pediatrician and have it checked out if it doesn’t clear up with rinsing and suctioning of the nasal passages.
I’m pretty sure my human baby shouldn’t bark, what gives?
A barking cough could be a sign of croup, croup is almost always worse at night. This barking cough sound could also be caused by a windpipe blockage, for that reason if you aren’t sure what it is you need to have them seen right away. I can NOT stress to you enough how important it is to get trained and certified in adult, child, and infant CPR and first aid. Everyone who will be responsible for caring for your baby should also have this knowledge and feel comfortable using it if needed. Don’t wait it could be too late!
My newborn is sneezing, does that mean it’s allergies?
Sneezing is trickier. Newborns do sneeze and it can be completely normal. When accompanied by a runny nose or cough it’s worth keeping an eye on and using a saline nasal spray or drops and a suction device to clear. If it doesn’t improve, the runny nose changes from clear to white, yellow, or green then you should definitely put a call into their pediatric office!
This isn’t what they mean by baby blues.
Blue or darkening of the skin is probably one of the most telling signs that your baby isn’t getting enough oxygen. In the first few days of life, your baby’s most vital organs are getting oxygenated blood first. Their hands and feet may appear less pink in appearance than the rest of her body. Notice this, recognize this, and seek medical attention right away if something doesn’t seem right to you. Do not ignore this, and if you see blue coloring of the lips or nose or both you should call 911 right away.
Are you noticing an obvious struggle?
Two more telltale signs that something is not right are chest retraction, your baby’s chest sinks deeply with each breath and stridor, an inspiratory sound heard in the upper airway. These things mean your baby is working too hard to get air into their lungs. These are definite reasons to have them checked out.
Accompanied by other things!
If your baby has a fever, vomiting, yellow or green discharge, or is lethargic along with any of the above-mentioned signs you should have them checked out right away. Please note that a fever in a baby younger than 3 months old is a rectal temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher.
In this installment of The ABC’s of Newborn Care we hope you’re take away is this:
You know your baby best! You are the most invested in him, her, or them! If something doesn’t feel or look right it is always best to have it checked out. Second opinions aren’t a bad thing. Become familiar with your baby’s normal, learn about what is “normal” for a newborn in general, and get CPR and 1st aid certified!
Let us know if you have a suggestion for a topic for the ABC’s of Newborn Care series or any others you would like to see covered! In the Greater Jacksonville area? Expecting a baby soon? Have an infant already? Reach out to us and our team will help you learn your baby, get more sleep, eat yummy foods, and enjoy your baby even more!
Writing an informative piece on umbilical cord care is right up my alley! When I’m not helping parents with all the things after their babies are born I’m teaching classes that include information on optimal umbilical cord clamping and providing placenta encapsulation services. During that time I often get to talk with parents about the anatomy of the placenta and cord and the functions of the umbilical cord during pregnancy. After birth, the umbilical cord is no longer needed as the placenta will no longer supply nutrients and oxygen-rich blood to the newborn. The umbilical cord is clamped and cut leaving behind a small nub of cord still attached to your baby’s abdomen.
Clamped and cut, now what?
Your baby’s umbilical cord should begin to dry out, turn into a stump, and eventually, it falls off. What kind of time frame are we talking about here? Usually, within one to two weeks after your baby is born the stump that once was the cord falls off. Until then, follow the 5 simple steps below unless otherwise directed by your pediatrician.
Umbilical Cord Care in 5 Easy Steps:
1. Only give a sponge baths IF a bath is needed.
Generally speaking, newborns don’t need to bathe. A simple wipe down with warm, clean water and a cloth is sufficient. Pay close attention to areas that are moist and tucked away like the creases of their necks and their legs near their diaper area. Avoid their umbilical cord area. The idea is to keep it dry and sponge bathing your newborn will help with that!
2. Keep the stump dry.
You may hear all sorts recommendations such as putting breastmilk on it or applying Goldenseal and Echinacea powder to the area. Please consult your care provider before putting anything on the umbilical cord as it heals. Dry care is currently said to be the best care! There is research that suggests by putting anything on the cord you may be killing beneficial bacteria that is present naturally to help the cord heal on its own. What if my baby pees or soils the umbilical cord area? Don’t stress it! Just wipe it clean using a cloth and warm water (no soap), and let it dry out!
3. Let the umbilical cord air out!
Keep the umbilical area exposed to the air in a controlled temperature environment as much as possible. Fold down the newborn’s diaper, don’t allow it to touch or rub on the cord! Won’t my baby get cold with his umbilical cord area exposed? As long as you have him dressed for his environment he should be fine. For example, if your home is kept around 76 degrees Fahrenheit and you’re wearing shorts and a tank, your baby will be fine in a shirt, diaper, socks, and loose blanket over her lower half. Better yet, snuggle up!
4. Leave it alone!
Let the stump fall off on its own. No pulling or picking at it! If there’s some dried blood around the cord itself (that’s normal) on the skin, you can leave it or wipe it off with a cloth and warm water (no soap), being careful not to get the cord wet. Can I do something so my baby will have an “innie/outtie”? Nope! There’s nothing you can do to encourage or ensure your baby will have an “innie” or an “outtie” a belly button is a belly button! If it’s meant to be it’ll be!
5. Report any problems or concerns to your pediatrician.
Similarly to a scab, the stump might bleed a little when it’s falling off, that’s normal. However, you’ll want to contact your baby’s doctor if: The umbilical cord area oozes or has visible puss. The skin surrounding the cord gets red and swollen. If there’s an odor or smell coming from the area. If your baby’s umbilical cord hasn’t fallen off by the end of week two, even without signs of infection.
Together we can keep dem’ babies safe!
There isn’t a general consensus for umbilical cord care everywhere. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that, “dry cord care without the application of topical substances is preferable under most circumstances in high-resource countries and for in-hospital births elsewhere; the application of topical chlorhexidine is recommended for infants born outside the hospital setting in communities with high neonatal mortality rates.20 ” Basically, they’re saying that that dry care is usually the best care in low-risk environments. In settings where the risk of bacterial infection is high, it may be prudent to use an antiseptic as per your pediatrician or general practitioner’s recommendations.
Here’s the recap:
keep it dry
sponge bathe only as needed
let it air out
leave it alone
report possible problems or infections to your pediatrician right away!
That’s it, folks!
Sounds simple enough, right? For the most part, it is! Follow these recommendations, that of your pediatrician, and most importantly listen to your gut! Not familiar with that? Our postpartum and infant care specialists are amazing at helping you tap into that parental power! Book a consult with us today and grow more confident in parenting each day!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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!
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!
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!
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 gets 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. The Jax Baby Company is not against or for bed-sharing, we are can’t recommend bed-sharing because of liability, but we do recognize that bed-sharing is something some families will want or need to do. There are safer ways to do it, we mention a 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!
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.
Sleep Positioner/Wedge (even for babies with reflux)
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.
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!
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.
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:
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
Bottle of water for hand rinsing
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 Familyare 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:
Focus on safety and love. Do not fear judgement or outside criticism. See #11
Stop judging yourself so harshly. Just loving your kids and keeping them alive some days is amazing and enough!
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!
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
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
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!