Posts in Fast Five Series
5 Ways To Nurture Your Relationship After Baby

One of the most challenging aspects of the transition into parenthood that I hear about both from clients and friends alike is the new strain on your relationship. While you both are completely enamored by your new baby, you may also find that the addition of your little one brings forth feelings that you simply were not expecting. It is no exaggeration to say that having a baby is in fact life-changing.

Finding the time to connect with your romantic partner is paramount to maintaining a healthy relationship.

Here’s our top five recommendations for nurturing your relationship with a new baby in the mix!

1. Learn Your Partner’s Love Language

If you haven’t heard of the five love languages, this is an excellent time to do so! The five love languages, as defined in the book titled the same are: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. By discovering your love language as well as your partner’s, you allow yourself the opportunity to both give and receive love in the way that is best understood and most appreciated within your relationship. While I recommend this tool for relationships of all sorts, this is particularly important for new parents when time, emotions, and exhaustion may also cause tension in your bond. You can find a quiz to help you identify your love language here.

2. Encourage Honest Communication

It’s incredibly important that lines of communication between yourself and your partner are open and honest. There may be feelings of resentment, sadness, loneliness, or frustration that are impacting your relationship as result of the transition into life with a baby. Generally, these emotions are normal, and are a part of the growing pains associated with parenthood. While normal, these things don’t need to overpower your relationship. Be honest with your partner about your wants, needs, and hopes for your relationship. Parenthood has the capacity to push your relationship to evolve in beautiful ways - encourage that growth with clear communication in the process.

3. Spend Quality Time Together

Especially when your baby is very small, it is easy to fall into routines centered about his or her care. While baby’s schedule may be important to you, try not to allow for it to consume you. Make the effort to arrange for time together as a couple, and try to limit conversation about the baby during this time. Focus your attention on your partner during this special time - it’s a great way to affirm your love and appreciation. You can get some great date ideas for postpartum parents here!

4. Don’t Neglect Physical Connection

While you might be tempted to place physical intimacy on the back burner after baby, I encourage you to do what feels comfortable for you. Physical intimacy may range from cuddling on the couch to exchanging massage. Keep in mind that intimacy does not have to equate to sex - even holding hands over coffee is an excellent way to connect physically. If sex is an important aspect of your relationship, and your doctor or midwife has given you the clear, then be sure to make time for this as well. You can find more tips on postpartum sex here!

5. Say “Yes” To Outside Help

Finally, treat yourself and your partner to the gift of helping hands. Call a friend, family member, or your postpartum and infant care doula to take over while the two of you spend some time together as a couple! Choosing to invest even an hour or two into your relationship can prove to be monumental in your emotional bond, and there are likely plenty of people who would be more than happy to enjoy baby snuggles while you do so. Keep note of willing parties, and take them up on their offers the next time you feel the need to get out and do something as a couple. You’ll be glad that you did.

It is my hope that with these five quick tips, you’ll better be able strengthen and nurture your relationship after baby!

5 Things I Know About Diapering

Once you've had your baby, diapering is one of very first tasks that you can expect to take on (and then repeat multiple times a day likely for the following two-ish years). Simple enough it may seem, right? You may find yourself surprised. Particularly for first time parents - though as a mother of multiple children I will say now that this also applies to repeat parents - there is certainly a learning curve. Here I'll give you a quick run down of five tips for what I like to call event-free diapering because believe me, you want to skip on any "events" in this department. 

Step To the Side

Save yourself the embarrassment - and the dry cleaning fee - of saving your clothes from the super potent newborn poo stain. As you're planning the layout of your baby's nursery, be sure to position the changing table in a way that will allow for you to stand at your baby's side rather than at his bottom. Babies' bowel movements can be quite explosive, and you don't want to be in the way when nature calls. Ask me how I know...

Be Prepared With Back Up

When preparing to change your baby's diaper, be sure to place a clean new diaper underneath her bottom before beginning to remove the soiled one. It's not uncommon for babies to pee once their bottoms become exposed to the cool air. Avoid a larger mess by having a new diaper in place and ready to catch the mess before it comes. Added bonus? As soon as you remove the soiled diaper, you can easily lift the front of the new one to cover your baby's bottom while you reach for the diaper cream or toss the soiled bundle.

Know Your Escape Route

Blow outs happen. Babies seem to be experts at getting poo up their backs and over the tops of their diapers. How do you get your baby out of his soiled clothes without getting messy? Easy! Notice the top at the shoulders of your baby's onesie. This envelope-looking bit will open wide enough to allow for you to pull your baby's clothes down and off his body instead of pulling the clothing over his head. You're welcome.

Coconut Oil Is Your Friend

Particularly for newborns, it is a wonderful idea to rub a bit of coconut oil over your baby's bottom after changing her diaper. Baby's first poos are of a dark, sticky, tar-like consistency. This substance - called meconium - may be tough to cleanse, but with a touch of coconut oil you'll be able to remove it from your baby's bum in no time. Coconut oil is also a gentle moisturizer and an anti-fungal meaning it may also prevent your baby from developing yeast or diaper rashes. 

Soak It All Up

...and not in a gross way. Enjoy this time. Yes, you'll change many a diaper, but your baby will be a little different each time you do so. Changing your baby's diaper isn't a race. Take the time to notice the small details on your baby - the tiny feet, the new chunks on her legs, the birthmark on her belly, her smile or coo. Your baby will only be this small for so long, and this small exchange between the two of you is something that will one day be very dear to your heart. Revel in this gentle, quiet, and possibly messy moment. You'll miss it one day. I promise.

There you have it! Five quick tips about diapering that can apply to any parent or caregiver. No matter if you choose to use cloth or disposable diapers, may these tips make your diapering journey a bit more pleasant! Not a fan of changing #allthediapers? Postpartum doulas do that! We'll be happy to help when you need us - just give us a call. 

xo, Chelsea

My 5 Favorite Postpartum Date Ideas

With a new baby at home, it can be a challenge to come up with date ideas for yourself and your partner. Outings are often shortened or hindered by baby’s nap or feeding schedules, and even when timing is not an issue you may feel uncomfortable leaving your little one in someone else’s care while you’re out. On the flipside, the lack of time spent together as individuals may be taking its toll on the relationship between you and your partner. Investing time into your relationship with one-on-one date nights is something that may be seen as easier said than done, but rest assured that it is totally possible to do. Check out our top five baby-friendly (and possibly even stay-at-home) date nights created just for you!

1. Dessert Date

Find a local restaurant or bakery that creates specialty desserts - visit in person or pick it up for date night at home. Order one of everything that catches your eye, and skip out on dinner. Enjoy these sweet treats with a warm coffee or tea and a heaping spoonful of good conversation. If you’d like to enjoy a special beverage, you might try a sparkling cider, fresh pressed fruit juice, or non-alcoholic wine varieties like this one to make it feel extra romantic.

2. Movie Date

It may not be possible for you to comfortably visit the movie theatre with a new baby in tow, but you don’t have to miss out on the newest titles. Check out your cable company’s current new release listings to order a new flick on demand. If this isn’t an option, try picking out a movie at your local RedBox or on Netflix. Give the microwave a rest, and prepare some popcorn on the stovetop together for fun. Add a few specialty sodas into the mix, and turn the lights down low. Remember to set your phone to silent!

3. Game Night Date

Don’t underestimate the enjoyment that a classic board or card game can bring your way. For game night, prepare a snack tray for two with your favorite finger foods like cheeses, crackers, dips, or even wings. Spread out together on the floor like kids, and go for the best two out of three. Be sure to bring some extra pillows and a blanket - really make a night of it!

4. Outdoor Dining

If the weather is great, try taking to the outdoors for a daytime date with baby in the stroller or carrier. Check out your local botanical gardens or other outdoor city centers. Getting out of the house will feel great - especially if you’ve been indoors for a while with baby. Pack a cooler or basket with homemade specialty sandwiches, fresh fruit, and a chilled dessert. Enjoy an outdoor meal together and take in a bit of fresh air.

5. Self-Care Date

Spend the evening with a little extra relaxation as a couple. Put on your most comfortable clothes, and prepare warm foot baths for each of you to soak away the stress of the day. Hire a mobile massage therapist or manicurist to come and provide their services to you in home. Be sure to have a bottle of sparkling juice or refreshing cucumber water on hand to really up the spa theme.

Dating with a new baby to consider can be hard, but with a little planning and creativity it can certainly be done! Remember that if you need an extra set of hands and eyes to care for your little one, you can always reach out to your postpartum and infant care doula for help. Enjoy!

xo, Chelsea

My 5 Favorite Labor Essentials

It's almost go time! 

Over the past few weeks, you've probably feeling signs of your upcoming labor with plenty of Braxton Hicks contractions, the urge to nest, discomfort in your lower back, and perhaps more. As you put together the final preparations for Baby Day, you're looking for the top items to have on hand as you labor. Here's a quick list of my five favorite labor essentials. 

1. COMFORTABLE HAIR ACCESSORIES

Childbirth is hard work, y'all. The last thing that you want to have to worry about is your hair falling into your face. If you're including hydrotherapy in your birth plan, then with even more reason you'll want to account for these. (Otherwise, prepare for hot, sticky hair on the nape of your neck - no thanks.) Find a hairstyle that is comfortable for you, and plan to have extra accessories on hand. Hair bands, ties, clips, and even satin scarves are all awesome ideas! Check out our board for labor hairstyles on Pinterest here!

2. YOUR FAVORITE COOL BEVERAGES

Laboring exhausts a lot of calories! Having lots of chilled, full-calorie beverages on hand helps you to feel refreshed and refueled. Homemade labor-ade is a common favorite for many laboring women, as is coconut water, sports drinks, smoothies, and other juices. Get fancy with it, and purchase that specialty fresh pressed bit of something that you love from your favorite local vendor! #delish

3. A DANCE-ABLE BIRTH PLAYLIST

It's time to get funky, funky, funky... That's right! Create a playlist of your favorite beats or songs to have on repeat during labor. Staying mobile and rocking your hips is a wonderful way to help your baby lower into the birth canal efficiently. This also is an excellent way to cope with the physical sensations of labor. Be sure that you've got your charger, headphones or a wireless speaker, and batteries on hand if you need them. Pro Tip: If you forget your speaker at home, toss your phone into a bowl or deep cup for sound. 

4. MOOD LIGHTING

This isn't about romanticizing about the birthing process, though it may help with that as well. Low lighting is known to increase the production of the hormone oxytocin. This hormone is also responsible for the continued progression of labor. Increase your calm, relax with mood lighting, and help your labor along in the process. Flameless LED candles are the perfect addition for you to pack in your hospital bag while string lighting is a great option for while you labor at home!

5. AN INSPIRING REMINDER

Keep your head in the game with a special memento your birth space. For some women, printing affirmations and posting them around their birth space is just what they need. For others, having a baby book, your ultrasound picture, or perhaps Baby's first outfit in clear view makes laboring feel more intentional. Choose something that isn't too cumbersome, but that also inspires an emotional connection for you with your baby. 

Happy laboring, insha'Allah! 

xo, Chelsea