10 Tips for Dad and Baby Bonding

Oh hey there, dads. How are you doing? Feeling good about being a dad? We thought so. Today, we’re focusing on you and sharing ten tips for dad and baby bonding. Because dad and baby bonding is pretty great.

1. Practice kangaroo care.
Kangaroo care is a fancy name for skin-to-skin contact. Said contact is beneficial both for baby and for the parent. Take time to cuddle with your little one to physically bond. Baby will become acquainted with your smell and can be comforted by it. Plus, cuddling is pretty much the best anyway.

2. Participate in feedings.
Whether it’s feeding baby via bottle or helping bring mama the baby to breastfeed, feeding time can be a meaningful time to bond with your baby. Taking over for some of the night feedings is also a great opportunity to get some quality one-on-one time with your child. Try holding the bottle in a position that allows for you to make eye contact with your baby.

3. Engage in soothing.
It’s important to engage with your child when she’s upset. Practice different soothing methods (walking around, singing, using a pacifier, etc.) and also try to learn to differentiate between her cries.

4. Set aside time for play.
While playtime for newborns isn’t the most exciting, it’s important nonetheless. Helping baby with tummy time, engaging her with interactive toys and just being present are all ways that you can engage in playtime.

5. Become a diaper-changing expert.
Let’s be honest here, changing a diaper is not the most fun parental task. However, when you share childcare duties with your partner (including diaper changes) you are able to better familiarize yourself with your child’s routine.

6. Take a personal day.
Playing a nurturing role when your baby is sick is important, so try to make her sick days yours too. Also, if possible, try to attend her well-child checkups too, so you can hear from the doctor and ask questions about her growth and development.

7. Be a part of the bedtime routine.
Consistency is key when you’re trying to establish a healthy sleeping schedule. So choose a part of the routine that you’d like to be involved in, be it bath time, story time, singing time or feeding time. This can help your baby understand that when you say it’s story time, etc. that it’s almost bedtime.

8. Baby wear to keep her close.
Baby wearing is a wonderful way to get in some physical contact time, while still being able to get other tasks done. So when you’re working from home, or you’re cleaning the house, you can put baby in a wrap or carrier and still complete your tasks. Going for a walk is also a nice activity that you both will enjoy.

9. Read stories.
Reading stories is a great way to help you child’s brain develop, and also create a fun dad/child routine. Pick some of your favorites from childhood for added fun.

10. Make silly faces.
Making silly faces is a great way to bond. As your child gets older, this can morph into simple games like peek-a-boo. There are few sounds better than a baby’s laugh.

 

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5 Tips for Baby Sun Safety

Summer is upon us, and with it, all of the fun outdoor activities that come with warmer weather. Help keep your baby safe in the sun by following our five tips for baby sun safety.

1. Keep babies six months and younger out of the sun.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that infants avoid sun exposure, and are dressed in, “lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and brimmed hats that shade the neck.” Because your infant’s skin is very delicate, it is more susceptible to sunburn, so keep her shaded as much as possible. The AAP suggests using a minimal amount of SPF 15 when adequate clothing and shade are not accessible; though please consult with your doctor before doing so.

2. For babies 6 months and older, use a broad spectrum sunscreen with zinc oxide whenever you’re outside.
This applies to both sunny and overcast days. Make sure to use a sunscreen that combats both UVA and UVB rays, and has a power of at least SPF 15. It’s also a good idea to double-check to make sure that your selected sunscreen contains zinc oxide, as this is one of the most effective compounds in protecting against the sun’s harmful rays. The AAP advises using one ounce of sunscreen per application for a young adult. Remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours, and after swimming or sweating.

3. Try to avoid the sun during its peak intensity hours.
The call to avoid the sun during its peak intensity hours (from 10 am – 4 pm) is an admonition that comes directly from the AAP. One of the best defenses against the harmful ultraviolet radiation that can cause sunburns (and worse) is avoiding the sun during this window. If you do find yourself outside during this time period, please make sure your child is appropriately protected with sunscreen and is shaded from direct sunlight.

4. Use rash guards and hats to further protect your child from sunburn.
Another way to protect your baby from the sun is to put her in a rash guard that has a broad spectrum SPF 50+ fabric, and a brimmed hat that also contains sun protection. These SPF 50+ sun suits are another great option for your baby, as they are designed to be swimwear but also keep all of baby’s skin protected.

5. Stay hydrated.
Staying hydrated while out in the sun is vitally important. If you’re breastfeeding, your own hydration becomes even more important as you are your child’s primary supply of fluids. However, whether you breastfeed or bottle-feed, you’ll most likely need to feed your baby at more frequent intervals when outside in hot weather.

 

We hope these tips help empower you to keep your baby safe in the sun. For more tips, please check out this post about water and sun safety, as well as this information from the AAP.

 

 

 

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16 Tips for Traveling While Pregnant 

I’ve taken 12+ hour road trips while pregnant, and flown on a cross-country flight while pregnant.

I wouldn’t recommend doing either, but traveling while pregnant is not always avoidable, and sometimes can be a nice break if you do it right. With a few extra preparations and manageable expectations, you can travel (somewhat) comfortably while pregnant.

Here are 16 tips for traveling by car or plane during pregnancy.

By Car

  1. Factor in several stops. Your bladder isn’t going to slow down for your road trip, so add some time to your ETA to factor in a few bathroom and stretching breaks.
  2. Wear very loose, comfortable clothing. Tight clothing is your enemy on a road trip (for any person, but especially those who are pregnant). Wear loose pants with a loose waist band (I personally would opt for draw-string rather than elastic so you can loosen it up if you want).
  3. Leave space for stretching out. Make sure you sit in the car as you pack to make sure you have plenty of leg room and reclining room. Consolidate and leave gear behind if you must, because you won’t last very long if you’re cramped and uncomfortable.
  4. Pack craving snacks. Bring a cooler stocked with your favorite snacks and drinks. Try to avoid too much caffeine so that you can rest and avoid unnecessary bathroom stops.
  5. Bring your body pillow. Yes, it will take up a lot of room, but you will be so glad you did when you don’t have to rest your head against the window to sleep.
  6. Anticipate car sickness. Even if you don’t have morning (afternoon, evening, night, etc.) sickness, you could still become nauseous from the motion of the car. Pack some nausea meds that are safe during pregnancy just in case.
  7. Drink a lot of water. Cars can get hot and stuffy, and it’s easy to skip the water in favor of sugary and caffeinated drinks on road trips. But during pregnancy your body requires a lot of water, so make this a priority.
  8. Wear your seatbelt. As uncomfortable as it may be, you must keep your seatbelt on and worn appropriately at all times.

By Plane

  1. Look into an easy security check option. Many airports have express security lines that don’t require the same protocol as standard security, making it much easier for passengers to get through quickly and comfortably.
  2. Check as much luggage as possible. While it may sound like a good idea to take as much as you can in carry-ons and personal items to avoid baggage fees, that extra $25 is a small price to pay to avoid lugging a lot of heavy bags around while pregnant.
  3. Wear slip on shoes. If going through security in an express lane is not an option, wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off, as bending over isn’t exactly easy when you’re in your third trimester.
  4. If your seats aren’t assigned, talk to someone at the gate immediately to try to get a comfortable seat on an empty row or next to an empty seat. You will want the extra room and vacancy in case you need to make frequent trips to the bathroom.
  5. Stock up on snacks beforehand. You are allowed to bring food through security, so pack your favorite snacks before you get to the airport so you can avoid airport food prices and not have to rely on airplane pretzels for nourishment.
  6. Bring a sleep mask for long flights. Sleeping on flights is not easy, but if you bring a sleep mask you are better able to block out your neighbors reading light or iPad screen.
  7. Bring your own pillow (or two). Many airplanes only have small lumpy pillows, so bring your own. They make these awesome new pillow wedges that strap on to the seat in front of you so you can lean forward into the pillow and avoid neck-flopping, so I’d consider one of those.
  8. Wear loose, comfortable clothing. Much like the road trip situation, airplanes require a lot of sitting and waiting in a tight space. Loose clothing is your friend on airplanes, but I would suggest wearing layers because airplanes can be very stuffy, but my feet always seem to be cold on airplanes. Be prepared for both.
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How You Can Help a New Mom

Adapting to life with a new baby can be difficult for parents, especially for new mothers as they also deal with recovery from childbirth. With all of the changes and added responsibility, it’s important that their “village” step up and help out wherever they can. Whether you’re a grandparent, sibling, cousin, neighbor, fellow church member, co-worker, or longtime friend of a new mom, any act of service or kindness you can show her will be much appreciated and strengthen your relationship.

Here are some ways you can help a new mom.

Help them sleep

Unfortunately there is an ironic paradigm that occurs after childbirth: babies don’t often sleep through the night or have good sleep habits at all, but new moms need extra rest to recover from delivery.  The term “mombie” has been coined to describe new moms dealing with this paradigm. But this is where her tribe can save the day. Offer to come over for an afternoon and take care of the baby while she sleeps. Change the baby for her, put the baby down for tummy time, if possible feed the baby a bottle, etc. so mom can get rest. This might be the most helpful thing you can do for a new mom.

Get the groceries

This is something you can help with before the baby is born, too. Getting to the grocery store is going to be tricky for a few weeks at least, so offer to pick up at least the essentials for mom in the week after the baby arrives. With several grocery stores offering pick-up service, you can even have mom do her grocery shopping online and then go pick it up for her to make sure she gets everything she wants. She needs to keep her energy and health up, so make sure her fridge and cupboards are stocked for when she needs a snack.

Clean the house

Again, recovery and sleep deprivation will make it hard for mom to take care of her usual responsibilities. Especially more intensive chores like vacuuming and scrubbing floors will be difficult while her body heals. Offer to come over once or twice a week for a month or so to help with basic housekeeping. Offering to do the dishes, laundry, clean the floors (especially), and scrub the tubs and showers will be so appreciated.

Clean the car

If it’s hard for mom to clean her house, you can bet the car isn’t a priority. And with another family member to add clutter, mom’s car could probably benefit from a good clean-out. Offer to clear it out, vacuum it up, and make it shine so she can travel in comfort (at least for a little while).

Walk/play with the dog

Fur babies don’t often make the top of the priority list, either, when a new baby comes home. But it’s important that they don’t develop jealousy issues and behavioral problems from a sudden lack of attention replaced by the baby. Offer to come over to walk or play with the dog to keep him/her content. Bathing and grooming the dog would also be very helpful to help keep the home clean and prevent the new baby from being exposed to unnecessary dirt or allergens.

Carpool for her other kids

For a while, the other kids in the family will also have to cater and adapt to the new baby, and this can be difficult for them. Having to miss practices, recitals, play dates, or other social events can be hard on a kid, and helping them out helps mom out a lot. Offer to have them over to play, to drop them off or pick them up from school or another activity.

We all need our support system to get through hard or changing times of our lives, and having a baby is a major life event that can be made easier by the support of a good tribe. Don’t hesitate to reach out to any new mom you know and offer help. Even if she’s reluctant, she will later thank you endlessly for being there in her time of need.

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