Disclosure: This post was created in partnership with MommyCon and Living Fresh, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. #MyLivingFresh
As a postpartum doula I get a lot of questions about what I would recommend they have when their newborn arrives. There are so many great products and services on the market, it can be hard to determine what you may actually need when that sweet baby comes home. I always recommend a handful of things, including a good quality receiving blanket. Now, I do not recommend any receiving blanket, but I recommend Living Fresh’s Baby Receiving Blanket.
A receiving blanket is one item that is used from the day your baby is newborn through their toddler years and even longer. A receiving blanket becomes a comfort item for your child. It is the thing they are swaddled in as a newborn, lay across as they play on the floor, held while they are feeding, dragged around as they begin to walk, the item they take to daycare or Grandma’s house, and so on. Having a good quality receiving blanket, that is going to last, is a must!
Living Fresh Baby Receiving Blanket is just that. This super soft blanket is made from the purest of natural fibers. It is woven using botanical eucalyptus fibers. There are no toxins, chemicals, or dyes.
The receiving blanket measures 36 inches by 36 inches, which is the perfect size to swaddle. I regularly preach the 5 S’s from The Happiest Baby on the Block to my clients. The first and most important “S”? Swaddling. Another reason why a good quality receiving blanket is a must when you come home with your newborn. Looking to purchase a great baby shower gift? Purchase this receiving blanket + The Happiest Baby on the Block for them (include a free printable of the 5 S’s too!)
About Living Fresh
You may be familiar and have used Living Fresh bedding yourself! If you have slept in a hotel recently, the bedding you have slept in is probably from Living Fresh. They pride themselves in providing soft and luxurious bedding. Due to the fibers from Eucalyptus trees, their sheets literally cool you as you sleep. Their bedding also becomes softer every time you wash.
There are several great books that I recommend reading when you are expecting. It is hard to read them all though! One book that is at the top of my list is The Happiest Baby on the Block. When I was expecting my oldest, I was given this book as a baby shower gift. At the time, I thought “oh great, another book I need to read”. Let me tell you, if you decide to read just ONE book focused on calming and caring for your newborn, The Happiest Baby on the Block is the book to read.
First off, YOU will know what is best for your baby. YOU have created that special bond and are the only one that has already created a 9-month relationship with your newborn. But, caring for a newborn is hard and even when you know what is best, sometimes you need reassurance and support. You and your significant other may be exhausted and your hormones are going haywire! (By the way, a postpartum doula may also be a great option!) 🙂
There are no such books, classes, or workshops that will tell you how to parent. I like to think of all these options as resources for you to gain knowledge of why your newborn may be acting the way they are and tools you can place in your back pocket and pull-out when needed.
When I first read The Happiest Baby on the Block, within the first ten pages I had an epiphany! The Fourth Trimester. What?! Why was this the first time I had heard of this? The Fourth Trimester is becoming more known and talked about, but not all parents’ still understand this period of time.
The Fourth Trimester is described beautifully in The Happiest Baby on the Block. So, what is it? In short, our babies are born super early compared to other species of newborns. They are born early, so they can fit through our birth canal. When your infant is born, they cannot walk and speak (this is a duh!), but think about giraffes who are born and quickly are able to stand up and walk around. Our newborns rely on us to provide their basic needs, and the only way they can communicate discomfort and/or concern is through crying. I highly recommend reading chapter 1 of The Happiest Baby on the Block, which will explain this much better and YOU will have your “aha” moment.
Now that we understand there is a forgotten Fourth Trimester, what do we do now? The Happiest Baby on the Block will walk you through the 5 S’s which will help turn on your newborns calming reflex.
Swaddling. There can be an art to swaddling and it does take practice! The Happiest Baby on the Block does a good job breaking down why swaddling is great and several different ways to swaddle.
Side/Stomach lying. This position is a “feel-good” position for your newborn. It sounds strange and you may be thinking “I thought they needed to be on their back”. When done safely, this is another step in calming your newborn.
Shushing. When your newborn is in your womb they constantly hear the “shhhh” sound. Whether it is white noise or you saying “shhh” this is another comfort to them and allows your newborn to calm down.
Swinging. Any rhythmic movement is very soothing. Even as adults swinging can be a great way to relax and calm us. Whether you place your newborn in an actual baby swing or if you create a rhythmic movement while carrying your baby around, this is another great way to calm your newborn.
Sucking. Sucking is usually the final step that seals the deal. Whether it is nursing (another great benefit to breastfeeding) or a pacifier, the sucking motion creates calm almost instantly. The Happiest Baby on the Block does a great job going into detail about all the different ways you can help your newborn create the sucking reflex and why it is so important.
The Cuddle Cure. The Happiest Baby on the Block explains that The Cuddle Cure is that special mix of 5 S’s that calm your baby. I wish there was an exact recipe for each baby, but there isn’t. One baby may like a thumb instead of a pacifier for sucking, and one baby may hate the swing while the next baby LOVES the swing. It may take some time to figure out the “just right” mix of S’s for your newborn, but when you do it will be amazing! 🙂
The Happiest Baby on the Block has some great, detailed information that every expecting parent should read. It’s understandable there is a lot on your plate preparing for your newborn and when your baby arrives, taking time to read is not a priority. I love to share with parents and families I am supporting, the 5 S’s in calming a newborn. Since I believe they are so important I have created a printablefor YOU to print and post on your refrigerator or in your bedroom. Put it somewhere, so when you are struggling with calming your baby, you can glance at this printable and be reminded of the 5 S’s.
Happy New Year! Can you believe it’s already 2017?! I have been gearing up and chatting about MommyCon 2017 since mid-2016 and it’s finally here!
I am so excited to be a part of MommyCon’s media team this year. I am extremely passionate about MommyCon and what it has to offer, not only mom’s, but the entire family. I have been TWICE! Once while pregnant, in Chicago and once with little Miss Amelia (who met TheBabyGuyNYC!!!) in Minneapolis. Whether you are planning a family, expecting, have multiple kiddos running around, MommyCon is for every family.
MommyCon Chicago is going to be extra special this year. Check out my top 7 reasons why you should attend!
MommyCon Chicago + WEAR Conference. For the first time ever, these two amazing conferences are coming together during the same weekend in Chicago. This means three amazing days filled with all things natural parenting AND babywearing!
Great place to research! If you are planning a family, expecting, or already have children, parents are always researching! “What is the best car seat? Should I go with a home birth or hospital birth? Should I use cloth diapers or disposables? WHICH cloth diapers should I use?” All of these questions and so much more can be answered for you at MommyCon. You can ask whatever questions you may have and get the facts before making your own decisions!
Shop, Shop & Shop! You could pretty much go to MommyCon and purchase everything you may need for your baby, toddler, and yourself 🙂 Just kidding. But, really …. SO MANY VENDORS, with so much to offer. Make a list of things you may want to look at while you are there (such as cloth diapers, baby carriers, car seats, cribs, postpartum items, etc.)
Meet other moms & families. The idea of natural parenting is growing and becoming more popular, but sometimes it’s hard to find other families that think and parent the same way as you do. MommyCon is a great place to come together and make connections. Parenting is hard and sometimes much harder when you are doing things a bit different then the norm, but MommyCon is a very welcoming place!
Everyone is invited! The term “natural parenting” can sometimes scare new parents, but MommyCon is for everyone. You don’t have to baby wear, use cloth diapers, not vaccinate and have a home birth to be included. These are all topics that may be talked about, but as a parent you make your final decisions. MommyCon is a place to become educated and make the best decision for you and your family.
Educated & knowledgeable speakers. They don’t just grab the average “Joe” off the street to speak 🙂 Although, the schedule has not been released yet, some speakers you may be able to hear include Abby Theuring – The Badass Breastfeeder, Dr. Bob Sears – Very well-known pediatrician, Jamie Grayson – Baby Gear Expert, and more!
BABYWEARING! Everything you want or need to know about babywearing! Ask questions, learn about different carriers, actually see and feel different baby carriers before buying and much more! Just the WEAR Conference alone, consists of 48 sessions, 24 speakers and 3 days filled of everything babywearing.
Okay, have I convinced you yet?! How about if you won 2 tickets to MommyCon Chicago? Lucky you, I am giving away 2-FREE tickets! Enter below.
Sweet Me Photography offers in-home and affordable newborn photography. There are photographers available all over, but just recently Sweet Me Photography has came to Des Moines.
Why am I so excited about this? As a mom, I know how important those first photos are of your precious baby. But, as a postpartum doula, I know how important it is for you to rest, recover and bond with your newborn. Sweet Me Photography provides boutique sessions in the comfort of your own home. No need to pack up all sorts of baby necessities and no need for you to be up moving around. Let the Sweet Me photographers take care of it all. They bring lighting, heating, props, outfits (but if you have your own, you are more than welcome to use it!), blankets, and backdrops.
Go take a shower, get some rest and let the photographers capture some wonderful photos. Every Sweet Me photographer is also trained in baby safety, so you can rest assure they are properly taking care of your newborn.
Because Midwest Mom & Wife has begun an amazing partnership with Sweet Me Photography we are offering a giveaway! One lucky winner will win Sweet Me Photography’s package one valued at $350! And there is more … ANYONE who enters for the giveaway will receive $25 off any package of their choosing, just for entering!
Giveaway will end Sunday, October 2nd! Make sure you share with all your expecting friends!
Becoming a parent and bringing a newborn into a house is challenging enough on its own, but adding a four-legged child into this situation comes with its own set of unique obstacles. There was a recent advertisement from the internet powerhouse Amazon that took a look at this problem from the dog’s point of view.
In this thirty-second short, a golden retriever feels alienated when a toddler is more interested in playing with a stuffed lion and goes off into a corner after the baby cries when the dog attempts to connect with the small child. When the father sees this occur, he places an order on Amazon, and later receives a package that contains a lion’s mane for the dog to wear. This is enough to get the toddler to connect with the canine.
This is a perfect example of how to ease these two strangers into a more comfortable environment together. Here are some tips on making this transition as smooth as possible.
Before The Bundle of Joy Arrives
If you haven’t already done so, think about crate training your animal, which is a relatively simple process. That way your pet will have their own space where they feel safe and have a place to retreat if they feel threatened. Before the baby arrives:
You’ll likely already have the nursery and many other items set up for the infant’s arrival, but make sure your pet has a chance to examine, smell and become familiar with them.
Think about carrying around a doll wrapped in a blanket in order to get pets used to you paying attention to someone else (or something else in this case).
If possible, bring home a blanket from the hospital before the baby comes home so that your pet can get used to their scent.
Dogs and cats have sensitive hearing so you may consider downloading or playing them sounds of baby’s laughing or crying to get them used to these strange sounds.
If your animal exhibits behavior like jumping on the furniture that might be inappropriate with an infant in the house, start training sooner, rather than later.
You’ll also want to instill a no begging policy and teach them to stay away from food that doesn’t belong to them. This will help avoid them snatching food out of a toddler’s hand and the possibility of them eating unhealthy foods that are dropped, discarded or end up on the floor.
Most of these tips and tricks are canine orientated, but they certainly apply to cats in these situations, but dogs can’t usually leap into a crib as easily as a feline. Be sure your cat is supervised when they’re in the nursery and don’t leave them along with the infant.
Babies will turn into crawlers quickly, so be sure the litter box is in an area they can’t come in contact with it, even for short periods of time. If you must move the box before the baby arrives, it’s recommended to do it slowly, in two or three-foot increments at a time over the course of several days or weeks.
When the big day arrives, you may want to come into the house first without the child and warm up to your pet without the infant present. Introduce the two slowly with at least two people present and you may want to keep them separate for the first few hours while they adjust to the concept.
Keep your pet on their same schedule and don’t exclude them from their normal activities. There will likely be a little bit of jealousy and weirdness involved at first when introducing a newcomer into an existing family environment, but it doesn’t have to be that strange if we can follow some of these simple guidelines. We’re all family and we should treat each other with equal amounts of love and attention so no one feels left out.
Have you heard about Hike it Baby? For those of you who haven’t, we are an organization dedicated to developing communities that get families outside with children from birth to school age. There are branches in cities all over the world! Iowa has four branches: Des Moines, Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, and Davenport. An Ames branch will be starting soon, too!
Come celebrate Des Moines’ one year anniversary with us! We went from an inspiration to an entire branch with over 800 Facebook members and hundreds of hikes on the calendar in a year! We have some fun things planned, including an amazing giveaway filled with donations from local businesses.
When: Sunday, June 5th at 2:30pm at the Ewing Park Children’s Forest and Nature Trail. We will meet at the Ashley Okland Star Playground and hike the Nature Trail at 3pm then have time to play on this AMAZING playground. Bring your own chairs, a picnic basket, and join us!
I am so excited to help spread the word of this year’s first babywearing, WEAR conference held by MommyCon!
I have attended MommyCon a few times and I know the WEAR conference will NOT disappoint! This 3-day conference will be held in Chicago, over Memorial Day weekend. It will be full of speakers, seminars, over 30 exhibitors, classes, and much more! ALL related to babywearing!
Friday, May 27th – Sunday, May 29th
Some fun things you can look forward to attending are:
Babywearing Yoga presented by KIND
Babywearing Belly Dance
The Babywearing Lounge – where you can touch and try-on lots of carriers!
Using Wraps, Ring Slings, and Exploring American Babywearing Subculture from a Man’s Perspective
The Great Cloth Diaper Change was created and began in 2011 by Judy Aagard. She had the desire to celebrate Earth Day by holding an event within her community, which quickly grew into a dream that set a Guinness World Book Record of the most cloth diapers changed simultaneously. Shortly after, the cloth diaper lovers everywhere wanted to continue this annual event to spread awareness that cloth diaper’s are a real option for every family.
When is it?!
Each year it is held on the Saturday around Earth Day! This year the Great Cloth Diaper Change will be held Saturday, April 23rd!
Where is it?!
If you are local to Des Moines, Iowa this year’s change will happen at Uplift Fitness Studios located in Grimes. We are so gracious of the owners to donate their space for this awesome event.
If you are not located near Des Moines, check here for a location near you that may be participating.
What will happen?!
Registration will begin at 10:30 am on Saturday, April 23rd. Bring yourself, kiddo and a cloth diaper! We will have goody bags for the first 30 attendees! We will also be giving aways some awesome prizes and there will also be a few speakers such as a representative from the Central Iowa Babywearing International group!
Make sure you are following our Facebook page for updated details on giveaways, speakers and more!
Help us spread the word! We want to break our local record and spread awareness about cloth diapering!
Do you know of a family who may be in need of cloth diapers and cannot afford diapers? Please check out information about Share the Love!
You may have already heard the exciting news! I am working with the Iowa Doula Agency as a postpartum doula!
I am so excited to support mothers after birth. My dream is for every mother to have that one BEST friend after they birth their child. An individual who will be there to support them emotionally, physically and give evidence-based support for the mother and family.
It is wonderful to have your spouse, family and friends around to help; but it is so beneficial to have an educated individual to assist. A postpartum doula’s focus is the mother.
You can be extremely prepared to have a baby. You can have freezer meals made, washed all the babies clothes, shopped for essentials, baby room prepped, and so on. Each birth and each postpartum period is different. There will be questions that need to be answered about your newborn or yourself. A postpartum doula will bring comfort and ease stresses.
I will (just a few and not limited to!):
Encourage mother-baby bonding
Help with skin-to-skin
Provide basic newborn care
Provide physical help so mother can recover
Rest and sleep for mother
Basic household care
Light house cleaning
Help provide sibling care
As a postpartum doula, I do not dispense medical advice, diagnose medical conditions, interpret medical diagnosis, perform medical clinical procedures, or prescribe/administer medications or treatment.
I am a resource tool! If you are concerned about breastfeeding and need to find a lactation consultation or need to find a mom’s group to socialize, I have many resources for you! If I cannot do something you need, I will help you find the perfect person to help you.
There is always a free consultation. At our consultation we will chat about what your concerns are and what you feel you may need the most assistance with. If you feel that I am the right fit, we will create a plan that we both are comfortable with!
I want to help every mother create and enjoy a special bond with their newborn.
Have questions? Want to meet? Feel free to e-mail me at Erin@iowadoulas.com
When I get asked what my career is and I reply that I’m a Licensed Acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine practitioner a common response is “Cool! Tell me more.”. I love these moments as it’s an opportunity for me to educate an individual about the amazing benefits of acupuncture.
Acupuncture has been performed for thousands of years, but has only gained popularity in the United States since the 1980s. The fact that as the years go by, the number of people using this form of holistic medicine is growing exponentially is an indication of it’s effectiveness and depth of health conditions it can treat. As acupuncture has become more mainstream, the amount of research studies and clinical trials have increased only further proving it’s efficacy.
There are a number of amazing benefits to regular acupuncture care. The following explains just some of the reasons why you should add it to your health regime:
1) It treats the root cause of your symptoms
We take an over-the-counter pain reliever or NSAID for our muscle tension and headaches, an anti-histamine for our allergies, birth-control pills for our menstrual cramps and an anti-diarrheal for our IBS. These medications, though, are masking your symptoms and not treating the root cause of why you have the symptom in the first place. They may be a temporary relief, which at times is necessary, but when a condition becomes chronic, the issue lies in the person’s body constitution. That’s where acupuncture and Chinese Medicine come in. It treats each individual uniquely, based on what their body needs and what traditional diagnostics are showing. By treating the root cause of a health condition, the individual’s health stabilizes and their body becomes more in balance.
2) It reduces the body’s stress response
Your stressors aren’t going to disappear with acupuncture, unfortunately, but your body’s response to potential stress will be reduced. Acupuncture helps to relax the sympathetic nervous system, which kicks in to high gear when we are in “fight or flight” mode. We need our fight or flight response when we are in danger, but do we need it sitting in traffic or at our job each day? Daily activities will be more enjoyable when we are in a more relaxed, coherent state.
3) It can balance your hormones
Monthly irritability, mood swings, food cravings, cramps, sound familiar? These are all signs of hormone imbalance, all of which acupuncture can help to correct. By increasing circulation to the ovaries, uterus, hypothalamus and pituitary glands, acupuncture can treat the underlying cause of these unenjoyable symptoms. It is also effective at helping the liver remove toxic estrogens from your body, a common cause of hormone imbalance.
4) Better sleep
When our sympathetic nervous systems don’t feel the need to release cortisol all night long, the body can more easily go in to “rest and digest” mode and sleep soundly through the night. Our bodies heal and repair when we sleep. If we don’t sleep, we don’t heal, period.
5) Improved digestive function
In my opinion, Chinese medicine is one of the best forms of therapy for digestive imbalance. If digestion is not functioning properly, other body systems will be affected. By bringing circulation of fresh oxygen, nutrients and hormones to the digestive tract, the system can rebuild and begin to digest our food and fluids efficiently. Signs of an out-of-balance digestive system include constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas, upset stomach, heartburn, immune system weakness, such as seasonal allergies, and much more. When the digestive system is working properly, food and fluids are turned in to blood and energy which result in more energy and a stronger immune system.
If you are experiencing any of the unfortunate symptoms listed above, consider treatment of the underlying cause of your health concern. By tailoring acupuncture treatments to your needs, the body is the ability to heal and flourish.
About the Author
Stephanie Braunwarth is a board-certified Licensed Acupuncturist with a special focus in womenʼs health, fertility and nutrition. Stephanieeducates her patients about the importance of treating the underlying cause of a health condition and encourages them to take an active role in their health.
Stephanie serves patients at Des Moines Acupuncture Clinic in Des Moines.