HappiestBaby

The Happiest Baby on the Block Review + Free Printable!

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.

  1. Swaddling
  2. Side/Stomach
  3. Shushing
  4. Swinging
  5. Sucking

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 printable for 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.

Download your FREE printable here!

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Sweet Me Photography + Giveaway!

I am so excited to announce that Midwest Mom & Wife is teaming up with Sweet Me Photography!

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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.

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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 moreANYONE 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!

Enter here!

Making Sure Newborn Babies and Pets are Completely Copacetic

Making Sure Newborn Babies and Pets are Completely Copacetic

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.

Making Sure Newborn Babies and Pets are Completely Copacetic

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.

Curious Cats

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.

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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.

Baby Steps

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.

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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.