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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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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16 Simple Meals to Make After Baby Arrives

Being a new mom is no joke, and the last thing you want to worry about is what’s for dinner. So, we’re here to help give you a few ideas. Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, eat gluten-free or have no dietary restrictions, there’s something for everyone. With a range of meals that take (literally) ten minutes, or recipes that can be thrown in the slow cooker, you’re sure to find something that works for your family.

Without further ado, here are links to 16 simple meals to (have your partner) make after baby arrives:

For Vegans

For Vegetarians

If You’re Gluten Free

For the Omnivore

What are some of your favorite quick recipes? Share your picks in the comments below!

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Ways to Feel Better Prepared for Baby’s Arrival

You can only do so much planning for and scheduling around the arrival of your baby. Unless you have a scheduled C-section or induction, baby’s grand entrance will be a mystery and may leave you feeling a bit anxious.  Stories of babies coming early or late may leave you wondering how much time you actually have left to prepare, and how soon you need to get some things ready.

To help ease that feeling of uncertainty, here are some things you can do to help you feel better prepared for baby’s arrival.

Set up the crib or bassinet

Don’t leave things looming. Even if you think you have a few weeks, if having the crib unassembled is bugging you in the back of your mind just set it up. Knowing that you have a space for the baby all ready for them will give you a great sense of relief. Despite having a bit more decorating to do or some final touches to make on the nursery, having the basics of what the baby will need will help you relax and feel prepared for them to come home.

Make arrangements for your absence

If you have a pet, arrange for someone to come over and care for it while you’re in the hospital. Make freezer meals in advance or accept any offers to provide meals for you and your family. Hire a cleaning company and schedule cleanings for every few weeks after your due date. Start thinking of important things that need to get done after baby comes that you might not be able to do for a while, and get them all arranged. This will help you relax and rest easier while you’re recovering, and make you less anxious leading up to delivery.

Pack your bag

Again, if you start having that anxious feeling that it could happen anytime, just pack the bag. Even if you’re a few weeks away, it’s better to ease that anxiety and feel ready than have an unchecked mental to-do list bug you every day. Pack an outfit, a spare toothbrush, even headphones and a favorite book, or whatever else is on your list. Load it in the back of the car or keep it handy, but not in the way, so you can just go without thinking when it’s time.

Install the car seat

Installing the car seat could jar this sense of reality that it’s really happening, which is probably the best way to help you feel prepared.  After all, before your baby can’t sleep in the crib and you can’t enjoy the snacks you’ve stocked up on until you get the baby home.  Make sure to install it properly, and don’t hesitate to stop by your local fire station or police station where they can inspect the installation and show you proper safety protocols to follow.

What did you do to help prepare for the arrival of your baby? Did something particular help appease your anxiety? Share with us below!

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