It can be hard to structure a workout when you’re no longer the boss of your time. Before your baby was born you were able to take leisurely stolls, stop by the gym after work and hop on the treadmill when the urge struck. Now you’re spending your time caring for a little one who allows you only minutes of precious free time when she’s napping or playing – and those minutes aren’t often long enough for the kind of work out you need to lose the baby weight. Fortunately, there are ways to work out with a baby.
Go For a Walk or Jog
The easiest way to exercise with a baby is to put her in the stroller and go for a walk. The stroller adds a bit of resistance and the faster you walk the more calories you’ll burn. You might even get lucky and have your baby drift off for a nap while you walk letting you hike or jog up to an hour burning a great deal of calories in a single outing. If your baby isn’t comfortable in a stroller or likes to be closer to you, try wearing her in a front carrier or backpack for older babies. You’ll dramatically boost your calorie expenditure and be able to hold your baby close.
Your baby will love to help you do crunches. Simple lean her on your knees and crunch up to see her. If she’s a wiggle worm or tries to roll off, you can simply do your crunches while she plays with her toys. An ab routine usually takes less than ten minutes and can be broken up into parts between the floor gym and bouncy chair.
Dance or March
If you have a fussy baby, and who doesn’t, you’ve probably already discovered the power of movement to soothe her. Why not use that movement to your advantage? Rather than just pace the house, march in place for fifteen or twenty minutes wearing your baby in a carrier or in your arms. Turn on some music or put in your ear buds and dance with your baby. She’ll love the interaction and movement and you’ll be surprised at how many calories you can burn in a few songs.
Invest in a bike trailer and pull your baby along while you bike. The extra weight and resistance will add up to a lot of extra calories burned.
Pushups, Squats and Lunges
You might not be able to lift weights with an infant playing around you, but you can do some other forms of resistance training. Drop and do twenty push-ups when your child is playing contentedly and then do some squats. Alternate your squats with lunges and hold your baby for a bit of resistance when she starts getting fussy. Just be careful to not lose your balance. Squats might be the better option for baby resistance exercises.
A newborn baby is exciting, but no matter how ready you think you are, new parents often find themselves a bit confused and panicked when that new baby comes home. There are many things involved to effectively take care of a baby, but once you have the basics sorted out, the rest just falls into place. Here is how to care for a newborn baby.
The adage about new babies claims they only do three things – eat, sleep, and poop. Many new parents find this to be startlingly true, at least for the first few weeks. Thus, care for a newborn baby involves taking care of these three activities.
A newborn baby eats only one of two things, or possibly both. Breast milk is the preferred choice for its many health benefits, but formula is certainly healthy and the natural alternative if breastfeeding does not work out for any reason. A newborn baby starts a feeding every 2-3 hours if breast fed, and every 2-4 hours if formula feeding.
Most experts agree that feeding on demand, or when the baby wants to eat, is the best way to feed a baby for the first 4-12 months of life. So, when your baby begins fussing, crying, or chewing on his hands, offer him the breast or the bottle. A newborn will eat less than 2-3 ounces per feeding, and may take up to forty-five minutes to complete each feeding. Be sure to burp the baby periodically during the feeding to decrease chances of spit up.
After your baby eats, he will most likely fall asleep. Lay him on his back in a safe sleeping environment such as a bassinet or crib. Avoid letting him sleep on your bed as the blankets may be too thick and your baby is simply safer inside a crib or bassinet. He can sleep in a playpen, car seat, swing, or bouncer as well for the first few weeks or months if he sleeps better in those positions. Dress him comfortably, and consider swaddling as this makes a newborn more comfortable and promotes longer and better sleep.
Caring for a newborn involves quite a few diaper changes. You should change his diaper following every feeding. Most newborns make dirty diapers while eating as the feeding stimulates the bowels. Expect your newborn to have a dirty diaper with almost every meal for the first few days, but after the first week or two, dirty diapers will only appear 1-3 times a day.
Wipes are abrasive on the sensitive skin of a newborn, so consider using warm water and a washcloth or simply letting running water clean away the poop. This will help prevent diaper rash, but you should have ointment on hand to help with any that appears.
Most of all, a newborn needs constant love and attention. His needs and comforts now come before your own, but you most likely won’t mind as he will have easily become the center of your world the moment he was born.
Ah, the nursery! When a new baby is on the way, the nursery presents the most fun and the most challenges. It doesn’t take long to realize you need more than a crib and a few outfits, but how do you know when you’ve gone overboard? Need to plan a nursery? Here’s how:
Pick the Room For Your Nursery
Your nursery should ideally be a room that is away from loud traffic or the neighbor’s barking dogs. You might prefer it have a western window to help your baby sleep later in the morning without the sun streaming in as it rises. It does not have to be large, but it will probably help to have a closet and some wall space for furniture placement.
Pick the Theme
How is the rest of your house decorated? Will this room be similar? Sketch out a rough plan in your head of what you would like the room to look like. What colors do you like? What kind of furniture do you need? Will the wood be dark or light?
Buy the Linens
While it might seem like the furniture would be next, you should buy the linens. The dust ruffle, crib bumper, sheets, quilt and curtains will determine the color and overall look of the room. Neutral will suit future babies in the room, while gender specific colors and patterns can be more fun. Sheets will get the most use, so buy a few extras. Quilts can’t be used in the bed until much later, so consider buying a rod and making it a wall hanging for decoration.
Paint Your New Nursery
After you have the color scheme, buy paint and/or wall paper and get busy putting color on the walls. Remember to let Dad do the painting; pregnant women should avoid the fumes if possible.
Buy the Furniture
Now it’s time to buy a crib, dresser, changing table and any other furniture you might need in the room. Changing tables are often used only for a year or two, so it might be better to get a pad for the top of the dresser. Also consider putting a full or twin bed in the room for times a parent wants to sleep near baby. Be sure to get coordinating linens if you do get a bed for the room. The furniture may take some time to be delivered, but set it up once it does arrive.
Buy the Rocker or Glider
You should have something to rock your baby in. Gliders are popular, and traditional rocking chairs will also do the trick. Buy one that is comfortable and sturdy. You’ll be spending a lot of time in this chair.
Buy the Decorations
Up to this point, you’ve taken care of the big items. You’ve painted, and you’ve set up furniture. You’ve got the linens. Now you get to buy decorations. Buy picture frames, rugs, wall signs or letters, toy boxes, lined baskets and anything else that suits your fancy.
Buy the Extras
Don’t forget to include the extra baby items in the room as well. You’ll need something for wet and dirty diapers, storage for clean diapers, a mobile, a place to store toys and linens, possibly a white noise machine or fan, a humidifier, and a baby monitor.
Buy the Layette
Now, it’s time to buy the layette. Layette is a fancy word for all the clothing and blankets a newborn needs. You should buy a few clothing items in the newborn size along with receiving blankets, burp clothes, washcloths, swaddling blankets and socks or booties to be ready. Be sure to pre wash all linens including sheets and blankets that will come in contact with baby’s sensitive skin.
Put Your New Nursery All Together
Finally spend a few days putting it all together. Remember to get help moving and setting up heavy items and take your time. Put the linens on the crib and hang curtains in the window. Hang pictures and place your rug. Then put the layette into your new dresser, sit in your rocker and anticipate bringing that new baby home.
Babies go through many developmental stages in the first year. There are different ways to play with these babies at all of these various stages. Baby toys are fun for both parents and babies, but you don’t always need toys to play with your baby. Here is how to play with your baby at almost any age without the assistance of toys or games.
Making Baby Faces
At her earliest stages, your baby needs to learn faces and facial expressions. So prop her on your knees or lie over her on your bed or a blanket. Then just make faces at her. Smile, make a big O with your mouth, stick out your tongue, etc… Not only will she be amused and fascinated, you might also be rewarded with a returned smile.
Object permanence is another major developmental milestone for babies. Fortunately, there is a great way to play that helps baby learn it and enjoy it. Peek-a-boo! Hold a blanket, washcloth or burp cloth in front of your face. Then, say something along the lines of, “Where’s Mommy?” Pull the blanket away, smile at your baby and say, “Peek-a-boo!” This is a game that young babies enjoy as well as toddlers.
Babies of all ages like to look at things and take tours. Very young babies can be fascinated by taking a guided tour of the backyard or looking at all the pictures on the walls. Older babies love to look at nature and interesting objects, and who better to guide them through their discoveries than you! Take your baby new places, hold her up to see, and explain to her what everything is. She might not be able to talk yet, but she is storing up the words and closeness.
Talking and Singing
Most babies simply love the sound of their parents’ voices. So one of their favorite games is simply talking and singing. Talking to your newborn or infant is stimulating. Older babies enjoy songs with hand motions and funny rhymes or activities. The more you talk and sing to your baby, the better exposure she is getting to language skills. And of course, she is interacting with you in a fun way, which she loves.
Older babies love to play airplane. Lay on your back with your knees in the air like a dying bug. Place your baby tummy down on your legs so that her head is by your knees and she is looking at your face. Grab her sides or her arms (depending on age), raise your legs up to a level position and let her “fly.” Move your legs gently to simulate flight, but be sure to hold on tight as your baby can jerk suddenly and fall.
A pregnancy is an exciting time. But many fail to realize that preparing for pregnancy is as important as actual conception. If you’re ready to become a parent, here’s how to plan your pregnancy.
Prepare the Body For Pregnancy
The woman’s body should be as prepared as possible for pregnancy. She should stop taking birth control pills or remove any other chemical or hormonal birth control devices well before starting work on conception to give her hormones a chance to stabilize. This also gives the body time to clear away any lingering chemicals.
The mother should be at a healthy weight for her size for an easier conception and to ensure fewer complications during pregnancy and delivery. Regular exercise is good during pregnancy, so it is wise to be in the habit prior to conception.
The prospective mother should also begin taking prenatal vitamins before conception. The first few weeks of a pregnancy are when these extra vitamins and minerals are most important, but often a woman doesn’t experience pregnancy symptoms until five or six weeks into the pregnancy.
Prepare the Home For Pregnancy
Is there space for a baby and all the large items that come with it? It is far easier to move before pregnancy than during it to avoid stain and stress on the pregnant mother.
Prepare the Finances For Pregnancy
Babies are expensive. While there is no perfect time to become pregnant, if you are facing financial difficulties, can’t pay your existing bills or foresee financial difficulties you might be better waiting until you are in a comfortable or stable position before conceiving.
Prepare the Mind For Pregnancy
You should be in a steady place in your mind. A baby should not be a solution to any problems or a method to save a relationship. Both partners should agree to try for the baby before stopping birth control.
Timing of Conception
Once you are prepared, the trying can begin. This should be a joyful time, not stressful. While it is hard to wait, most couples take more than one or two months to become pregnant. If you are looking for a specific time of delivery, for example the spring, get started a bit early to give yourself some time for false starts.
While every woman is different and every lifestyle is different, fertility begins to wane earlier than most women realize. In your twenties you have an 80% or higher chance of getting pregnant easily. By your early thirties your odds have dropped to 60%, and by thirty-five you have only a 50% chance of easily becoming pregnant.
Boosting Your Chances To Get Pregnant
To boost your chances of becoming pregnant each cycle, you can monitor for ovulation using basal readings or an ovulation predictor kit. You also are more likely to conceive if you are at a healthy weight, are active, are not overly stressed and eat a healthy and balanced diet.
You should ideally have sex the exact moment your body releases an egg. Since most women have no idea when this is occurring, you can chart your ovulation using a kit or your temperature to get an idea of when you should be having sex. At the very least, you should be having sex every two or three days to ensure there are sperm ready and waiting for the egg whenever it releases. (Sperm can live up to five or more days.)
It is perfectly normal to prefer, or at least think you prefer, one gender over the other when trying to conceive. Of course many parents are shocked to discover just how quickly they adapt to either gender, but this is necessary as only genetic engineering or embryo selection can absolutely determine sex. But if would like to tip the odds, and you’re wondering how to have a baby boy, consider the following:
The Shettles Method
Doctor Shettles has developed a method for conception that has a relatively high percentage of success. His theory is based on the nature of sperm and the speed with which they travel.
All eggs produced by a woman are X chromosomes. Sperm can carry a Y or an X chromosome. Two X’s make a girl baby, and one X (the egg) and one Y make a boy. The Y carrying sperm are smaller and faster than the heavy X carrying sperm. So according to Dr. Shettles, to conceive a boy, you simply need to get the “boy” sperm to the egg before the “girl” sperm.
Chart Your Cycle
The first step to conceive a baby boy is to chart your monthly cycle so that you know when you are ovulating. You can check for ovulation by keep track of your basal body temperature, checking mucus or by using ovulation strips or a kit. Once you know when you will be ovulating, you can give conceiving a boy a try.
To conceive a boy baby you must have intercourse no sooner than twenty-four hours before ovulation and no later than twelve hours after ovulation. Boy sperm live shorter, more frantic lives, so this gives them the best range of time to get to the egg and beat out the girl sperm that move more slowly and live much longer lives. The conditions inside the vagina and cervix are also at their least hostile during ovulation as the mucus is less acidic.
Tips for Success
To be successful, you should consider additional steps in the conception process. Boy sperm can use a running start as many are killed in the vagina due to its hostile environment. To get them closer to the starting gate, consider positions for intercourse that have deep penetration such as penetration from behind the female. Also, caffeine has been shown to make sperm move more rapidly, so have the man drink a quick cup of coffee or soda before beginning intercourse.
Finally, it is encouraged that the female partner have an orgasm during sex. An orgasm makes the vaginal environment more alkaline which is hostile to girl sperm giving the boy sperm that much more of a fighting chance.
Considering babies are said to only “eat, sleep, and poop,” they certainly manage to make the eating portion of their existence complicated. Here is how to feed your baby by age:
Babies need only breast milk or formula through month four. Contrary to popular belief, solids or cereal will not help your baby sleep better, but they can mess up her sensitive stomach.
Some babies are ready to begin solid foods at four months. Signs of readiness include being able to sit assisted, excellent head control, showing marked interest in the food you eat, and not being satisfied after 24-32 ounces of milk or formula each day. Speak with your pediatrician about the right time to start solids as every child is different and many now feel that waiting until six months is the best option.
When you do offer your baby solids for the first time, use a soft tipped baby spoon to protect her gums. You can offer essentially any baby food, but rice cereal is usually the first choice as it presents little chance of allergies and is mixed with familiar milk or formula. Feed a tiny bit and wait for it to come back out thanks to the tongue thrust reflex. This reflex will go away shortly.
After you have introduced cereal, continue to introduce other grains such as barley and oatmeal, then fruits and vegetables. Wait 3-5 days after each new food to be sure no allergic reaction is present. Most parents wait to introduce citrus and strawberries as these have high rates of allergic reactions in many children. You should also begin offering your baby a cup at this age, and she is also most likely ready to chew on a biscuit or piece of toast that she can grip with her fist.
You can now introduce dairy and protein foods. Proteins include beans, meats and yogurt. Dairy products should be full fat yogurts, cottage cheese and other soft cheese your baby can gum up. Your baby is now developing the pincher grip which allows her to pick up individual bites and put them in her mouth. You should greatly encourage this self feeding, but watch her very carefully as she learns to chew and swallow properly.
Gradually encourage greater use of the cup, spoon and self feeding of finger foods. By her first birthday, your baby should be eating the same table foods that you are eating at every meal.
The rules to dressing a baby are simple. Once a baby has learned to regulate her body temperature, which happens within days of birth, she should be dressed the same way as you, but with one additional layer.
What this means is that if you are wearing a t-shirt, shorts and tennis shoes, you can dress your baby in essentially the same outfit. Pull on a one-piece t-shirt, or onesie. Then put on the coordinating pants or skirt. Your baby won’t need shoes for many months, but she should wear socks to help keep her feet warm.
General Tips for Dressing a Baby
For the additional layer, you have a few options. Many parents put a hat on their baby and this is an excellent idea. But a lightweight jacket, hoodie, or sweater may be an excellent idea as well.
Dress a Baby in Layers
The best bet to dress a baby is to always have her in layers. This way you can remove a jacket when it’s warm outside, but put it back on should the air conditioning make a room cool. Babies sitting in strollers are not especially active, but they may not be getting much air circulation either. To check your baby’s temperature and comfort level, feel her chest or back. Baby’s feet and hands are often cool to the touch thanks to developing circulation.
Your Baby’s Shoes
Babies don’t need shoes until they start crawling or pulling up to stand. And even then, they are not really required unless the baby is outside on an abrasive surface. Hard sole shoes should be avoided while your baby is learning to walk. Use soft soled crib shoes or even slippers to protect your baby’s feet but to let her feel the ground as she is learning to balance. Babies also tend to curl their toes and feet, and hard soled shoes can fit their little chubby feet uncomfortably.
Your Baby’s Socks
Many parents have a hard time finding socks that stay on baby’s active feet. Socks help keep your baby’s temperature stable, but can be kicked off in seconds with the right movements. Find socks that roll or cuff at the top as these stay more securely on baby’ feet without making indentions around baby’s ankles the way elastic topped socks might.
Naming a baby is one of the most exciting parts of pregnancy and childbirth. The name you select will have a profound impact on your child’s life and should not be taken lightly. To choose from all of the baby names available, consider the following steps:
Clear the Air
Be open-minded when you settle down with your significant to dream about baby and his or her name. Women are not the only ones who have ideas from childhood about what their baby will be named. The first step in discussing names is to get dreams, preferences and expectations out in the open.
If you’ve always dreamed of naming your baby girl Samantha, but your significant other only likes creative and highly unusual names, you need to clear the air. Offer your own general opinions and the thoughts you’ve already had. Listen to his. Then put those on the back burner and work toward a compromise that suits both of you and the unborn child.
Is there a tradition in your family that you would like to continue? If your husband is a junior, perhaps your son should be a junior. If girls are names after members of the family, you might prefer to follow the tradition.
Examine your heritage. Are there specific names or customs that are especially meaningful and applicable to your baby? Is the due date on the pregnancy calendar symbolic in anyway?
Use a baby naming website or book to browse through and brainstorm about possibilities. Each parent should make a list of top choices and then share the lists to look for similar or identical selections. If one partner has a strong opposition to a name, cross it off the list. Naming your child is about reaching a decision together, not forcing a name on both your spouse and your child.
The Short List
Whittle down names until you have a short list. Then practice the names. Do they sound right with your last name? Do the initials spell anything embarrassing? Yell them up the stairs – does it fit your home and lifestyle?
You then can keep a short list until delivery or pick the name that appeals the most to both parents. If you are stuck between two names, ask a trusted friend for her opinion or use one name as the middle name.
Finally, be prepared to change your mind. It is perfectly acceptable to change your mind during delivery or even the last few weeks of pregnancy. Sometimes babies need names like, “Hope” or “Joy” that have extra special meaning you would never have known about before delivery. And other times you just realize that your little boy looks more like an Aaron than a Zebidiah once you’ve gotten a good look at him. Be flexible – you’ll need it the rest of your parenting career.
Babies come with many wonderful surprises, and some of those surprises show up during or after a good meal. Diapers are a necessary part of a baby, and changing those diapers frequently and correctly can prevent diaper rash and help your baby be more comfortable.
How to Change a Diaper
The best time to change a diaper is in when a baby is ready for a feeding. There are different advantages to timing. Some parents change a diaper before feedings so that the baby can drift off to sleep while eating. Others wait to change the diaper after the feeding as most bowel movements occur during meals, and changing a diaper twice in an hour is a waste.
After each feeding, every 2-4 hours, change your baby’s diaper. It may be wet or it might be a dirty diaper. If she makes a dirty diaper, you should change it immediately regardless of meals as it will keep her from eating well and sitting in a dirty diaper for longer than a few minutes can give her a serious case of diaper rash. Wet diapers should be changed no later than every three or four hours.
To Change a Diaper
To change a diaper, first be sure you have a safe location. Babies should never be left unattended for even a second on an elevated surface such as a bed or changing table. You can change a diaper on the floor, on the sofa, on a bed, or on a changing table. Just be sure to bring the fresh diaper and wipes with you so that you are prepared once you get started.
If you are concerned about your surface, put a towel or blanket down, then place baby on top of it. The very first thing to do is open the new diaper so that you can grab it with one hand. Remove baby’s pants or unsnap her outfit to reach her diaper. Unfasten the tabs on either side of the diaper and pull down the front leaving the back of the diaper in place to catch any surprises. If you are changing a little boy, be sure to keep the diaper lying on top of his penis or use a washcloth to cover it to avoid him spraying you or the room should he decide to pee.
A wet diaper is simple to change. Open the wet diaper, make a quick pass with a wipe if you’d like to be sure baby feels clean and fresh, and then pull the wet diaper out. Place the clean diaper under baby’s bottom with the tabs in the back. Fold the top of the diaper through the legs. Fasten the tabs on the front of the diaper repositioning as needed. Congratulations! You’ve changed a diaper!
If you have a dirty diaper, open the wipes and remove a couple so that you can grab them quickly. Then, once the front of the diaper is pulled down, grab the baby’s feet and lift her bottom into the air. Again, leave the diaper in place to catch any surprises should she not be quite finished and to protect your changing surface as poop tends to stick to her lower back as well as her bottom.
Use the front of the diaper to make a big wipe and collect as much of the poop as possible. Then, holding her legs, use your wipes to wipe up the remainder of the poop. After each wipe is used, drop it into the open diaper that is still under her bottom. Be sure to check all of the nooks and crannies to get all of the poop that might be hiding. Open her legs a bit to check the inside of her thighs and be sure that no poop has entered the vagina. If so, of course, remove it with a wipe. If you are changing a boy, be sure to lift the testicles to check for any poop that might be stuck underneath.
Then, when you are sure all poop is removed from baby’s nether regions, carefully pull out the dirty diaper and wipes being careful not to drop baby’s back or rear back into the poop. Put the dirty diaper aside, and place the fresh (already opened) diaper under baby’s bottom. Lower her legs and fasten the tabs from the back to the front. Reposition as needed. Dispose of the dirty diaper. Congratulations! You’ve changed a diaper!