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Taking Preemie baby photos

Taking Preemie baby photos

Have a preemie and wondering how you can still get your first new born baby photos? We have answers for you.

When you have a preemie, a number of typical first time mama experiences are taken from you. Baby photos does not have to be one of them. Your baby may be a few weeks early or months, what matters is that you capture this special time in their life. 

1. Time your photo shoot around adjusted age of within 2-3 weeks around what your due date was. Typically if you had already booked a photographer, this makes no change. My son’s photo shoot was done when he was 70 days old, making him a few weeks past his due date. As long as you stay close to your expected due date, your baby should be easy going and nap through the shoot giving you adorable photos. If your baby is much past your expected due date, they have more awake time making it a bit harder of a photo shoot. 

2. Let your photographer know the situation. This allows them to make sure the photo shoot area is germ free or perhaps they can do the shoot in your own home. 

3. Make sure to capture your NICU baby/first nursery experience. As joyful and awful the NICU experience is, it will be a blur one day and having some photos will be a precious keepsake. At the time I didn’t want any photos from our NICU experience, and it took me over a year to be able to look at them. But now I’m so grateful I have them. Tip: Hospitals often have baby NICU photographers who will take photos or they will allow you to arrange this yourself. If not, use your iPhone and snap away your own personal shots. Be sure to only take photos of your baby. 

4. Have fun! Let go, and enjoy the newborn photo shoot. It might be hard to have someone else handle your baby after you finally got home with your baby, but enjoy! It is a treat for you and your family to capture this special moment. 

Gender reveal party ideas

Gender reveal party ideas

You made the decision to find out the sex of your baby – congratulations! This is a very exciting time! For my first baby, I kept traditional and didn’t find out. But for my second, I mixed things up as I knew I wanted to be ready for baby number two!

How to find out: At your 18-22 week ultrasound. You can have the ultrasound technician tell you or have them write the gender in an envelope which you can use to  look at later in private or give to a balloon store,  cake decorator, etc. We chose to find out in the ultrasound. There is something special about finding that news out with your partner when you can view your baby in real time. This also gave us time to internalize and process the good news. 

    Ideas for the gender reveal party: Whether you already know the gender or plan to be surprised during the party, we’ve listed some top ideas: 

    1. Big black balloon with pink or blue glitter inside
    2. Decorated box with pink or blue balloons inside
    3. Cake or cupcakes with pink or blue icing inside
    4. Opening a gift with a girl or boy baby outfit
    5. Hitting a bat to a ball with powder inside
    6. Pulling pink or blue from a mini wishing well

    When to have your gender reveal party: 
    Pick a few days or even a week after the ultrasound. When you invite your friends, be sure to tell them that the party date depends on if the little one reveals itself during the ultrasound! Have a back up date in mind. We went with a Friday at 5:30-7:30 p.m. Keep in mind the event goes by fast!

    Party schedule: Keep the food and entertainment simple. But have fun! Let people know in advance what time you will do the actual reveal so they aren’t late.  If you already know the gender, keep conversation during the party light as people will try to get the information from you. 

    Sample party timeline:

    5:30- welcome and guests vote the sex

    5:50- guests eat and socialize

    6:10- announce that reveal will start soon (this allows people to get cameras out, go to the bathroom etc)

    6:15- best reveal ever!!!!

    6:20- Jell-O shots

    6:30- more food, cake, decor

    Party decor and food ideas:

    • Themed invites
    • Gender voting station
    • Moustache or hearts with pins for guests to wear what they guess
    • Photo of ultrasound
    • Theme table of pink and blue
    • Pink and blue coolaide
    • Pink and blue cupcakes or other desert treats
    • Beer for boys, coolers for girls
    • Old wive’s tale poster 
    • Pink and blue napkins, plates, etc. 

    Farewell my baby, hello big brother! 

    Farewell my baby, hello big brother! 

    My first born, my other half, my night time cuddles, my smile, my everything. It’s amazing how difficult it is to embrace change. While I’m very excited to meet our newest addition, there is however, a part of me that is saddened by the thought of how things will be different – my threesome pod of mom, dad, and my baby boy will become four. 

    Will I be able to give both my kids the same amount of love and attention? Will I get the same deep bond with both? Will my oldest feel abandoned when I can’t play because we have a newborn? Will I be able to handle motherhood of two little ones?

    The answer is, of course! But the reality is, things will be different. There is a very unique bond you build with your first child.  So as you prepare for the exciting arrival of baby number two, consider the following ideas to make the transition easier.

    1. Have a date with your first born. Go to the zoo, go swimming, whatever is special for you both. Spend an entire day completely devoted to your little one. No phone, no friends. Just you and your babe! 
    2. Have a second date with your first born and include dad. Dad will be experiencing change also, let’s not forget about him. This will help him cherish special moments also. 
    3. Share your feelings. Feel free to share your thoughts, fears, and excitement with your partner in advance. This way you can all relate and work together on any obstacles. 
    4. Involve your toddler in baby preparation. This will help both you and your first born get used to the idea of sharing with the new baby. This could include; setting up the nursery, shopping for baby items, stocking up on groceries, etc. The age of your first born will really help determine what baby preparation activities you do together. 
    5. Finish your first borns baby book. Once baby comes along, it will be more difficult to spend quality time on this. 
    6. Write your first born keepsake letters. These letters capture important memories and messages for your first born to open when they are older. Keep these in a safe place, like a safe or timecapsule box. Be sure to date when you wrote them!
    7. Think about timing of other changes. For example, try not to potty train, switch your toddlers bedroom, change child care all at the same time when baby is expected to arrive. 
    8. Spend some time alone. Get a sitter and do something for yourself before things get busy at home again. 
    9. Go on a date with your partner. Take time to enjoy each others company and remember what alone time feels like. It’s smart to continue dates through your life…not just one time historical date events. 

    7 gift ideas for new preemie parents

    Have a friend or relative who has a preemie? We put together top gifts preemie moms and dads could really use.

    For mom and dad:

    1. Baby friendly lotion/moisturizer for their hands (which will get dry from all the hand sanitizer and hand washing)
    2. Journal and pens for the parents to mark each milestone/day
    3. New receiving blankets/baby clothes, other new baby type gifts
    4. Gift cards for nearbye restaurants
    5. Food dropped off frequently: meals, snacks, coffee, anything!                                
    6. Milestone/foot print maker
    7. Encouraging words/poster/bookmark to keep handy at the NICU for strength

    Tip: Whenever you visit the NICU, come freshly washed, fresh clean clothing and make sure that you and your family are not sick. Wash your hands before entering the baby’s bed area and feel free to let the parents know all the precautions you took – it will put them at ease so they can enjoy your visit. 

    This blog does not receive advertisement sponsorship. Any product photos were selected to provide sample ideas based on writers preference at the time.

    Preemie hospital bag

    Preemie hospital bag

    Have a preemie or having a high risk pregnancy? We have provided you a list of top must have items that will help you during your NICU stay. While the hospitals will provide your baby with the essentials during their NICU stay (i.e., diapers, wipes, iron, vitamin D, blankets…and life saving equipment), below are items that helped us during our 53 day journey. NICU nurses will often give you a shelf or small space for your personal items. Be sure to tape name tags on your belongings and recognize your baby could be moved to another pod/bed at anytime – so keep your items organized and mobile. 

    1. Poster/image for motivation that you can put up. Given you will spend countless hours watching monitors, a little sign/reminder to give you strength goes a long ways. You will need to be smart where you put this so hospital staff don’t complain. Avoid painted walls. 
    2. Tiny stuffy. A little something you keep near the babies bedside so you have something to cuddle with during times you cannot hold your baby. It is your pre home nursery after all. If you are able to get your hands on the preemie octopus, all the better. Be sure no stuffies are left with your baby as that could be a suffercation risk. 
    3. Slippers and cozy robe. Something you can wear during your baby kangaroo care sessions. Baby carrying shirts are also nice. Keep in mind what you bring in must be sterile. You should not wear clothing you travelled to the hospital in when you hold your child. Your clothing could have germs. Same goes for visitors. My visitors brought extra clothing that they changed into or they would wear the hospital provided robes. 
    4. Organic baby dish soap and bowl. Use this to clean pump parts, baby pacifiers, etc. The hospital soaps may be to harsh for little ones.
    5. Organic baby wash soap. If you want to use your own gentle baby products for babies first baths. 
    6. Dairy free baby probiotics drops. Do your own research and determine if this is right for you and/or your baby. Some babies born early lack the proper bacteria in their gut and may benefit from these drops. Some hospitals in the world try this but many do not yet, so you would have administer the drops yourself. 
    7. Journal. Write in this daily. Make notes on babies likes, dislikes, milestones, what they did that day, daily weight, who visited/gifts given. Great keepsake for years to come.
    8. Baby books and nursery time. Great time to start reading to your little one and learn nursery rhymes. 
    9. Maternity/baby prep books. Use some of your time to catch up on the books you didn’t get to read yet. Keep in mind, it’s important to rest between pumping, feeding, holding, etc. Nurses are great sources of information, they can teach you how to swaddle your baby.
    10. A few baby outfits. Be sure to tag your clothing and put a sign up that tells the nurses your baby has their own items. It is such a great feeling when your baby can finally fit preemie clothing!  Celebrate! Nurses love to dress your baby too!
    11. Snacks. While you can’t eat at the bedside, you will need and abundance of food given you just had a baby and especially if you are breastfeeding. Keep stocked with snacks and water throughout the day. 
    12. Phone and charger. For when you need to talk to someone, text, google. Whatever keeps you strong. 
    13. Unsented baby safe lotion. Use this on yourself and for baby massages. Your hands will need it from all the hand washing you will be doing. Baby massages are thought to have long term benefits for your baby. I continued these until my baby was a year old. 
    14. Crystal nail file. The perfect nail trimmer for those delicate fingers. 

    Pregnancy after a preemie – what to expect

    Pregnancy after a preemie – what to expect

    You will be excited and scared. You will try to control the uncontrollable. Your feelings will be mixed and there is nothing wrong with that. Enjoy the beauty of being pregnant again and stay strong for you and your growing family.

    It starts with excitement. I was immediately happy when I found out I was expecting my second child. I was so excited I had spent the entire morning planning how I would surprise my husband with the news. It was perfect! The rest of the day and next few days to come were full of positive energy. It had been a year and a half since our first baby was born 8 weeks early. That came with 53 days in the hospital, 6 months of blood in his stool, and living the first year of his life in isolation at home due to severe immunity deficiency. But finally I felt normal. But only for a moment. Filling my thoughts with naïve first world questions, is it a girl or a boy, what will I name it,  am I showing –  but then the night came and so did the flashbacks of my previous pregnancy. I was scared. This is a normal feeling when something so traumatic has happened in your life. You may have ups and downs throughout the pregnancy, but the important part is to recognize how lucky you are to be pregnant and growing a bundle of joy! By gosh you deserve a moment of happiness.

    Reaction of others. Probably the most notable part, is the reaction of others. My dear friends and family were very supportive and caring. However, you will get the odd ball who may say ‘I am surprised you went for another after all that’. I encourage you to say thank you, and perhaps put them on your acquaintance list. Honestly though, some people just don’t think when they talk. As a preemie mother graduate, you reserve the right to filter what you WANT to hear.  But do keep in mind, anyone who loves you is down right scared and is praying for you and your baby everyday.

    Bedrest with a toddler. This is a tough one. The new health buzz is that bedrest hasn’t been proven to help prevent premature labour. In saying that, any preemie mother knows that is all your doctor can suggest as a last resort.  At 12 weeks I went on modified rest where I could not lift my 25 pound toddler and had to limit my standing/walking. Very difficult with a 21 month old. This will be a defining moment where you start to balance the needs of your toddler with the needs of your growing baby. Don’t feel guilty. This is short term loss for long term gain. Find strategies that work for you. For example, get a step stool so you can help your toddler get into and out of the crib. Start changing diapers on the floor. Consider early potty training. Cuddle your toddler on the couch instead of carrying him/her.  It’s amazing how quickly your toddler will adapt to the situation.

    Having to ask and accept help. High risk pregnancies result in modification of your day to day activities. As mothers, we often find it difficult to accept help. You will need to ask and accept help, no matter how uncomfortable you feel. I had to watch my husband take on all my mother and wife responsibilities in the home during the last few months of my second pregnancy. Very difficult, and you can’t help but feel useless and guilty. As hard as it is, recognize you have an important role to play by protecting that growing baby and limiting your effort! Say yes to help!

    Handling ongoing preemie challenges. While you are busy with being pregnant, you may find yourself still faced with ongoing challenges for your first preemie. This may be additional doctor check ups, developmental delays, etc. This is a time you must be a super mom and lean on any support your friends and family can provide you. Specifically to help you attend all the appointments for yourself and your preemie.

    Efficient in your appointments. It is amazing how precise and efficient you will become in your prenatal doctor appointments. You have learned so much in your first pregnancy. You will have specific questions that deserve specific answers. If you delivered early in a previous pregnancy you must be your own advocate and get in with a high risk doctor immediately. No one will do this for you.  Sometimes you may be on waiting lists for weeks, and this simply is unacceptable. So speak up!

    We do not know what the future holds, we will be strong and we will try to have the longest pregnancy we can!


    Trimming your baby’s nails

    Trimming your baby’s nails

    Best way to trim your baby’s nails

    Trimming your baby’s nails is important, but doing it wrong could be painful. This blog outlines the best way to trim your baby’s finger nails, and why you shouldn’t use nail clippers or your mouth!

    Avoid nail clippers! Easy to accidently clip your baby’s finger and can lead to an awful morning. 

    Honestly, it is so easy to accidently clip your baby’s finger. I accidently clipped the top of my baby’s thumb when he was 6 months old, and the poor boy was bleeding. He was crying, I was crying. Everyone was crying. It was awful! At the time, he was also obsessed with biting his thumb, so he re-opened the wound. I put a Band-Aid over it during one of his naps, but then quickly realized that it can be a choking hazard. When I ran back upstairs, the Band-Aid was already off. Thankfully, it was only a close call and he didn’t swallow it!

    Don’t use your mouth.  You could pass on harmful bacteria or germs to your child.  

    • It’s your baby, you carried him/her in your womb, so why would it be wrong to use your mouth? Your baby does not have the same ability as you to ward of harmful germs that you may be carrying. Even if you feel healthy, you may have contracted something and just don’t know it yet. Play it safe. Babies put their hands in their mouth so be sanitary and don’t use your mouth! This was a big no-no at the NICU even for breastfeeding mamas.

    The solution – use a glass crystal nail file! This will be one of the most life changing baby products you will purchase. 

    • A glass crystal nail file, if used properly, is safer than nail clippers and more hygienic than your mouth (if you keep it clean of course!). It’s also amazingly way more relaxing to use. I put my baby on my lap and he is easily entertained as I work at each finger with the glass crystal nail file. You can also use it during breastfeeding as I find babies are so occupied they don’t fuss at all during this time. The crystal in the nail file allows you to maneuver with fine detail, leaving your baby’s nails soft and smooth! Just how they should be.

    Shopping List: Which one to buy? I love using the Sephora crystal nail file (comes in pink and purple). I have also seen similar nail files on Amazon. Your local beauty boutique may also have some.