How to throw a fun baby shower

The evolution of the baby shower has come a long way. Modern baby showers are ditching the notions that women are the only ones excited for the arrival of the baby, and that your guests will actually enjoy trying baby food or putting their face into a mysterious poop-like substance smashed into a diaper.

That’s right. Gone are the embarrassing games, and here are some suggestions to help you throw a fun, enjoyable and successful baby shower for you and your guests.

Screen the guest list

For the most comfortable party, don’t hesitate to leave off your mother-in-laws’ friends or those you don’t consider to be tight-knit friends. You want everyone there to be there because they’re genuinely excited for you and want to celebrate with you – not because they feel obligated. It’s okay if not everybody knows each other, but as long as you know everyone and feel comfortable with them in a relaxed, intimate setting, then inviting them should be no problem.

Invite spouses

Your husband is every much as involved in becoming a parent as you are, and there is no reason he shouldn’t celebrate the pending arrival of his baby, also. Men are parents too. Men love their babies, too. Men get excited to become fathers, they want to celebrate with their friends and family, and they like to eat.  Make the baby shower a giant co-ed bash filled with fun games and good food. Plus, it might be nice to have someone there to lean on if you get overwhelmed with pleasing guests and playing hostess.

Plan FUN games

Traditional games are okay for the sake of tradition, but in reality, nobody is really too excited to taste mashed up peas and guess what’s in a dirty mystery diaper. Consider some of these super fun games and activities that everyone will enjoy:

Baby Picture Matching Game

On the invitations, ask everyone to bring a baby picture of him/herself. Hang them up and number them, and then hand out pieces of paper with a corresponding number of spaces to answer. Have each guest then guess whose baby picture belongs to whom. A fun twist on this game is to print out unique celebrity baby names and have your guests try to guess the celebrity parents.

Who’s got the genes?

Create a list of traits or attributes you’d like your baby to have. This could include intelligence, a sense of humor, common sense, good hair, etc. Then, pass out this list to each guest and have them write down from which parent they think the child would inherit each trait. Be ready and able to laugh at yourselves with this one.

Community Blanket

A common activity is to have guests decorate a plain onesie that you can then use and be reminded of your loved ones. A similar idea that your baby won’t grow out of is to supply squares of fabric on which each guest writes a message or decorates. These squares are then sewn together into a baby blanket that won’t endure the same diaper blowouts and growth spurts that personalized onesies go through.

Take pictures

It’s not enough to assume you’ll take pictures. Actually designate someone to do so, because you will likely get caught up in conversation, gift-opening, and game-playing that you’ll forget to take any yourself.  Pre-arrange for someone with a nice camera to take nice photos, both candid and posed, and make sure you get one with every guest so you can remember and cherish the event clearly for years to come.

Host the shower in a temperature-controlled venue

Let’s not forget – you’re pregnant. Even if it’s a gorgeously warm spring day or a mild early-autumn afternoon, play it safe and have the baby shower indoors. Your guests may be more resilient to the heat or the cold, but hot flashes are not pretty when you’re in your third trimester, and trying to play games and eat while staying bundled up will be miserable.

Consider opening gifts later

If there is a mountain of gifts, opening them could take a while and not be very enjoyable for your guests. As each gift is dropped off, make sure it is labeled so you can send thank-you notes and nobody is forgotten, but make the day about having a good time celebrating with all of your guests.

Make plenty of food

Maybe most importantly is to provide plenty of food and a good variety. A buffet-style spread of sweet treats and salty snacks, water, and other beverages, and of course a cake, is a good plan. Consider creating a “pregnancy craving” table where you set out plenty of all of the foods you’ve been craving. Your guests will have fun indulging, and of course, you’ll be satisfied with all of your favorite foods.

 

What games or activities made your baby shower a hit?

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Fun Ways to Announce Your Pregnancy

Have a bun in the proverbial oven? Congratulations! Today we’re sharing some fun ways to announce your pregnancy. Speaking of buns in the oven…

Take a photo of a bun in an oven. 
This is pretty easy to do, unless there’s a shortage of buns in your area. Or if you don’t have an oven. However, if you do happen to have those things, you can take a photo and share it on your social media accounts, or send it out to your family via group text message. Or, when your partner gets home from work, send them to the oven to pull out “dinner.” The bun/oven possibilities are endless.

Go for the shoe shot. 
Another great announcement idea that works well in a social media format is the beloved shoe shot. You include a pair of your shoes, your partner’s shoes, your kid(s) shoes (if applicable) and new baby’s shoes. Get creative with it. If you’re going on a beach vacation, use flip-flops, or if you’re a sport family, use cleats. Regardless of what footwear you choose, it’s a fun way to announce your new addition. (It also could be a fun holiday card. Just saying.)

Use a little word play. 
If board games are a staple at your house, you can use that to your advantage. Suggest a rousing game of Scrabble, but arrange a little message ahead of time (maybe even in card form because the letters might not stay) and, if it’s just you and your partner, include the pregnancy tests.

Puzzle it out. 
Creating a custom “we’re expecting” puzzle, is also a fun game-related announcement idea. This one is customizable and so cute!

Create your own movie poster.
Come up with a wonderfully clever title and tagline (something like, “Coming soon in [insert month and year your child is due]”), and feature your forthcoming arrival. This would be especially fun for someone with a design background, because it could get pretty amazing pretty quick.

Mylar balloon it up. 
If you already have some children, this is a fun way to announce your newest kid. You’ve probably seen this cool announcement, featuring six kids, or this one, featuring Jessica Alba and her daughters. It’s a fun visual and allows you to be a little creative.

Have all the Halloween fun.
If you happen to be announcing your pregnancy during October, you’re in for a treat. There are so many Halloween-themed options, that it’s almost unfair. Try a cute pumpkin announcement that features two large carved pumpkins that represent you and your partner (as well as some slightly smaller ones if you already have kids) and add a cute little baby one in the middle. Add a Halloween pun, and you’re good to go. Or get yourself a skeleton tee that shows off the little baby skeleton that’s growing in your belly. (Feel free to use this any time of the year, because it’s amazing.)

How did you announce your baby’s arrival?

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Tips for Helping Baby Sleep Through the Night

Sleep deprivation may be on the top of the list of complaints for most parents, but there are ways to help your baby sleep better so that YOU can sleep better. Just remember that it won’t last forever, it gives you more time with your precious baby, and there are strategies to make sleep better in your house. Here are some tips to help you and your baby sleep through the night:

Create a consistent bedtime routine

From day one you can establish a bedtime routine that will be associated with sleep. Perhaps a bath after dinner, reading a book, singing a favorite sweet song, and then laying them down. Using the same song and the same book can help create triggers that they will pick up on and associate with sleepy time. This can also help them sleep when you travel or are other places. The comfort and familiarity of the routine will help them feel secure and sleep. When establishing this routine, make sure you choose an early bedtime – a late bedtime can make it hard for them to fall asleep.

Use black-out curtains

Black-out curtains can ensure that your baby’s naps are restful and that they sleep past the sunrise in the morning. They will learn that darkness is associated with sleep, and the dark environment will help them ease into sleep easier and stay asleep if they happen to wake up. Babies are light sleepers, so having a dark room can help them get back to sleep during periods of restlessness.

Be familiar with their phases

Realize that at first babies must eat every few hours because their stomachs are so small. They may be able to sleep up to 8 hours per night, but talk to your pediatrician before your cut-out the night time feedings. And while you’re in this phase…

Take shifts

Just because baby doesn’t sleep through the night doesn’t mean you can’t. If baby wakes once every 4 hours, alternate with your partner who will wake up each time or each night. Then at least you’re getting 8 hours every other night, and can hopefully take a nap while the baby sleeps during the day. Realize that this phase passes before you know it, and you will sleep again.

Put them down drowsy, but awake

From the get-go, put your baby down to sleep when they’re drowsy but still awake. This will help them when they do wake during the night to be able to fall back asleep alone. If you hold or rock them to sleep consistently, they won’t be able to fall back asleep at night without you, as YOU have become their comfort item. If they are always accustomed to falling asleep on their own they should not develop problems later on.

Check on them in increments

When you’re getting them to adapt to sleeping at night and comforting themselves, a good strategy is to progressively wait longer to check on them. For example, if your baby starts crying, wait 5 minutes until you go in to comfort them. The next time, wait 10 minutes. Go from there until your baby is able to self-soothe. This is known as the Ferber method, and teaches babies that the crib is for sleeping and that crying won’t get you to get them out of the crib. They know you will come, and the longer they wait the more likely it is that they will fall asleep. After about a week of consistency, this method has proven to work well for sleep training.

What tips worked for you to get your baby to sleep through the night? At what age did your baby sleep through the night?

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A Mother’s Story: With safe sleep, small items can create big problems.

Sara was not new to parenting. As a mother to three older children, she felt totally confident when her youngest child, Benjamin, was born. Benjamin was healthy in every sense of the word. He was developing properly, feeding regularly, pleasant and a great sleeper. Sara felt no need to worry; little Benjamin was perfect. Every night when Sara and her husband put him to bed, they’d kiss his cheek, hand him his little Lovey (a small blanket with a stuffed toy sewn onto corner) and shut the door.

Sound familiar? Every night similar nighttime routines are practiced by parents around the world. However, on December 14, 2016, an ordinary night almost turned into a nightmare for Sara and her husband.

lovey-blanket-safe-sleep
The Lovey blanket used by Benjamin while he slept.

“Last night about 30 minutes after putting Benjamin (4 months) to bed, we were on the couch relaxing and all was quiet on the baby monitor so I figured he was down for the night. I heard his little Owlet Monitor he wears on his foot start alarming on my phone showing “low oxygen” so I ran back to him figuring it must be a false alarm. I walked in to find his little lovey blanket on top of his face. 

Joel tried keeping him awake while I called 9-1-1. They were able to come and help him get breathing again with a few compressions. An ambulance took him to the ER and they got him stable and he was able to come home after a few hours. But the doctors and nurses all agreed that the Owlet alarm helped because I wouldn’t have checked on him otherwise. That stupid little lovey is so small and lightweight and he usually puts himself to sleep by rubbing his cheek on it. I thought it would be ok to leave on the side of his bed and I definitely didn’t ever think he would be suffocated by it. Really mad at myself for that. So don’t make my mistake! Nothing in their cribs, not even tiny little lovey toys!”

Paramedics who rushed Benjamin to the ER for further treatment.

When it comes to safe sleep, even small items can create big problems. Thankfully Benjamin’s parents arrived in a timely manner to act. Benjamin is now approaching his first birthday, healthy and happy and the memory of this night serves as a reminder to parents everywhere to keep items out of the crib during sleep.

In January, we shared the top five correlating factors that families who experienced red notifications shared with us, in an effort to promote safe sleep conditions and shed light on common factors that coincided with the Owlet notifying for oxygen levels below the preset range.

Airway obstruction was one of these five correlating factors, with 11 percent of families who reported experiencing a low oxygen notification discovered their baby had restricted breathing.*

September is Baby Safety Month and in an effort to reduce the risk sleep-related injuries of infants, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has established safe sleep guidelines that parents should follow to keep their baby safe when sleeping. These guidelines, designed for the first year of life, include:

  • Following the ABCs of safe sleep: Placing baby Alone, on his/her Back, in his/her Crib (or other safe sleeping place).
  • In following this advice, do not place any soft bedding including loose blankets or pillows, stuffed animals, or other soft objects in your baby’s sleeping area. This also includes crib bumper pads.
  • Your baby should sleep on a firm mattress that does not conform to his/her head shape, and should not be placed to sleep on a regular bed, couch, or another soft surface that could contour to his/her body and create a risk of accidental suffocation. AAP recommends using a firm mattress with a tightly fitted sheet only.
  • Consider room-sharing with your baby, but not bed-sharing. The AAP recommends doing this for at least the first six months and optimally, for the first year of life.
    Benjamin – 12 months old
  • Keep your baby at a comfortable temperature to avoid overheating. Dress him/her in appropriate clothing that does not cover the face or head. Consider using a safe wearable blanket, like a sleep sack.
  • Using the Owlet Baby Monitor isn’t a reason to ignore safe sleeping guidelines. The Owlet Monitor is not intended to diagnose, treat, mitigate, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. The Owlet Baby Monitor is only intended to assist you in tracking your baby’s well-being and is not intended to replace you as a caregiver. You are ultimately responsible for your baby but we believe using the Owlet while practicing safe sleep and other healthy parenting practices can help.

Do you know someone who could benefit from knowing this information? Please pass it along and follow our blog during the month of September for more safe sleep tips.

*We cannot say definitively the cause of the low oxygen levels but we can report the facts that were given to us when these different families shared their experiences.

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