Parenting

Preparing Your Child For a New Baby

Health Foundations Family with Child

Welcoming a new baby to your home is an exciting and sometimes overwhelming event for a family. Your family is growing and will be forever changed to a new “normal” the moment your baby arrives. Sometimes welcoming your second, third or even fourth child may be even more intimidating than your first as you have the added task of preparing older siblings for the big change. Here are 5 tips to lovingly helping your child adjust to the idea of a new baby before he arrives.

  1. Consider your child’s age and understanding level when deciding when to share the news: While older children will be able to conceptualize waiting 9 months for baby’s arrival, a toddler has a hard time understanding tomorrow versus one week from now. If your child is on the younger side, try telling him what season the baby will arrive in rather than how many months from now. For instance, “Next summer, when we can go to the pool again, the baby will arrive!”
  2. Find age appropriate books to share with your tot about welcoming a new sibling: There are a wide variety of children’s books (and programs) that are available and cover the topic of becoming a big brother or sister. Reading books about having a new baby can help your older child get excited about his or her new role as a sibling and aid in answering any questions they have about what it will be like. Reading books about being a sibling and new babies can also help your child learn ways that they can participate once the baby arrives which will help them realize that they play an important role in the family and as an older sibling. Depending on their age, your child may also want to know where the baby will come from and how he/she will get here. You should be able to find a variety of age appropriate books on this topic as well. 
  3. Involve your little one in the preparations: Whether it’s helping you to choose decorations for the nursery, brainstorming favorite names or picking out some special toys for the new baby, letting your child participate in the preparation will help them to feel involved in this very important family event. If your child is old enough to understand, they may even enjoy coming to one of your check-ups and hearing the baby’s heartbeat on the fetal Doppler or feeling your tummy when the baby kicks.
  4. Encourage your child to share their feelings: You may think that your little one is too young to understand that the family dynamic will be changing with the arrival of a new baby but they are probably a lot more aware than you realize. Even toddlers can sense when something is different and their parents are anxiously preparing for something big to happen. Allow your child to have any and all feelings he or she might have about the impending changes and validate their feelings as best you can. For younger children who are not yet verbal, this may mean spending some extra uninterrupted time with them if they are acting out or simply allowing them to “be the baby” when they need to be.
  5. Make preparations for your child for when you go into labor well in advance: If you do not plan to have your child present for the birth of your baby, it is important that you make plans in advance for who will care for him while you and your partner are away. For many moms, this may even be the first time you’ve been away from your kiddo for an extended period of time which can be anxiety provoking for both of you. Talk to your child about the plans for when it’s time for you to have the baby and consider even doing a dry run. If they will be spending the night with a friend or relative, have them do a practice night where you can go and help them get acquainted with what the visit will be like. Similarly, if you plan to have a friend or relative stay in your home, make sure your child is well acquainted with them and that they understand how the night or nights with them will go. Your child may express feeling scared or upset about you being away either in advance or at the time that you are leaving. Lovingly acknowledge their feelings and remind them that you will be back in no time and that they will be able to visit you as soon as their new brother or sister arrives.

Welcoming a new baby to your family can be a scary prospect for everyone, especially when you’re going from one to two. However, with some thoughtful preparation for you and your child or children, everyone will have a better idea of what to expect and feel like they are an important part of the change. For questions about prenatal care, natural birth, postpartum care and all other women’s services, contact Health Foundations for a free consultation with a midwife and for a tour of our Birth Center.

Eco-Friendly Parenting

Eco-friendly mom with baby

Last week, we explored the differences between cloth and disposable diapers and the ways that cloth diapering may help you reduce your spending and protect the environment. But cloth diapering is not the only way to be an earth friendly parent. There are many ways that you and your partner can raise your baby in an eco-conscious way from the foods you choose to the way you decorate the nursery. A few simple changes to your lifestyle and some extra effort to conserve your resources and you will be on your way to green parenting. Here are 10 tips to help you get started!

1) Start making changes before you conceive: Embracing a green lifestyle before conception will get you on the right track for a healthy pregnancy. Making choices such as eating organic, choosing plant-based cleaners, limiting exposure to pesticides and being product savvy when buying makeup and skincare products will help keep you and your future baby safe from harmful chemicals. 

2) Breastfeed: In addition to all the amazing benefits breastfeeding boasts for both mom and baby, there is no packaging, no preparation, no transportation and no waste in comparison with formula feeding. And while it is not necessary for you to be as cautious in general as when you were pregnant, breastfeeding moms should limit exposure to chemicals such as mercury, led and nicotine--all which can be transferred through the breastmilk to baby.

3) Cloth diaper: While disposable diapers can contain bleach, perfumes, latex and other potentially harmful chemicals, cloth diapering offers a safe and earth conscious alternative for baby. Cloth diapering also significantly reduces annual landfill waste by 6,000 diapers per child. To avoid racking up hefty water and electric bills from the extra loads of laundry, buy a high-efficiency washing machine. If cloth diapering is not for you, there are also a number of eco-friendly disposable diaper options on the market.

4) Create a non-toxic nursery: Lots of chemicals can be unknowingly involved in the creation of a new room such as toxic paint fumes and furniture stains. Choose products that have low VOC (volatile organic compounds) levels, are solid wood and have low emitting finishes. Also, ensure that your baby’s room has good ventilation or a quality air filtration system. 

5) Make your own baby food: To ensure that your baby is not getting unnecessary sugar, salt and preservatives that may be found in store bought baby food, consider buying organic vegetables and fruits and making your own. Homemade food can be easily made in a blender, frozen and then thawed at each feeding. Be sure to choose storage containers that are BPA free. If making your own baby food sounds too time-consuming, buy organic baby food instead. Choosing to feed your baby organic foods can limit exposure to toxic pesticides and chemicals by up to 97 percent. 

6) Clean your home with natural cleaners: Store bought household cleaners can contain many harmful chemicals that are best not to use around baby. Try making your own all-purpose cleaner with simple ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda to avoid exposure to these potent chemicals. Also, choose a laundry detergent that is free and clear of perfumes and dyes for your baby’s sensitive skin. 

7) Reuse and recycle: There are many ways to get quality baby clothes, toys and gear secondhand such as hand-me-downs from friends and family and shopping consignment instead of department stores. Often, items have been very gently used since babies outgrow them so quickly. Things you should not purchase second hand include breast pumps, for contamination reasons, and car seats that may not meet current safety standards.

8) Bathe smart: Your baby only needs to take a bath 2-3 times per week as long as you are taking care to clean the diaper area thoroughly after changes. Bathing more frequently than this can actually cause excess drying of their delicate skin. Also, choose bath products that are free of dyes, perfumes and phthalates, all which can be irritating to the skin. 

9) Only use safe plastics: Choose plastic wear for your baby that is BPA free and is marked with the numbers 1, 2, 4 or 5. Avoid plastics marked with a 3, 6 or 7. Never microwave plastic containing baby’s food or drink. You may consider avoiding plastic altogether by using glass bottles and buying wooden and cloth toys. 

10) Teach earth-conscious living: One of the best ways to raise an eco-conscious kid is to lead by example. Demonstrate your respect for the environment by teaching recycling and conservation, not being wasteful and turning off electronics and lights around the house when not in use. Help your child learn to appreciate the beauty of the environment around them and all the resources it provides by planting a garden or taking nature walks. 

Raising an earth friendly child begins with you and your partner, at home. Practicing the above eco-conscious habits will not only help protect your little one from exposure to toxic chemicals but will also demonstrate to them the importance of protecting their environment. It is never too early or too late to begin living an environmentally conscious lifestyle. For questions about having a natural birth or any and all topics related to pregnancy, please contact Health Foundations for a free consultation with a midwife and for a tour of our Birth Center.

Babywearing Safety: 15 Tips to Wear Baby Safely

Babywearing Safety

Babywearing is the wonderful and highly convenient practice of keeping your baby close to you by wearing them in one of several different types of carriers. Although babywearing is a traditional and age-old practice in many cultures around the world, it has only recently begun to catch on in the US due to its many benefits to both mom and baby. To learn more about the great benefits of babywearing, check out Eight Reasons to Wear Your Baby. If you are planning to wear your new baby during any stage of his younger years, it is important to educate yourself on the principles of safe babywearing. Here are some tips for ensuring that your baby is secure and comfortable in the carrier.

  • Choose a carrier that is ergonomic. There are many different types of baby carriers from soft structured carriers and Asian style carriers, to woven wraps, stretchy wraps, and ring slings. 
  • Ensure that you use proper ergonomic positioning for the carrier you choose to make sure that baby is in the safest and most supportive position.
  • Although it is normal for babies to fuss the first couple times you try a new carrier, choose a time of day when baby is well rested and happy for his maiden voyage.
  • Ensure that baby’s airway is open at all times. 
    • Keep baby in an upright position, high on your body so that you can easily monitor breathing.
    • Infants should only be placed in a cradled position if necessary to nurse and should then immediately be returned to the upright position upon finishing.
  • Carefully inspect new and used carriers before use. Check for areas of worn fabric, tears, weak spots, loose stitching, broken buckles, undone hems and any other structural flaws that may make the carrier unsafe. It is also important to choose carriers from reputable manufacturers to ensure that they will be compliant with US safety standards.
  • Choose a carrier that provides ample support for your baby’s back and neck.
    • Your baby should be held with his knees higher than his bottom and with his legs in a spread squat position, with support spanning from knee to knee. Full knee to knee support becomes less possible and necessary as your baby ages and becomes a toddler.
  • Practice common sense when wearing. If you wouldn’t carry your baby in your arms while doing the activity (i.e.: riding in a car, boat, kayak, or bike) then don’t wear your baby in those scenarios.
  • Practice all carries with someone to spot you or over a bed, couch or low to the ground soft surface. Do not use carries, such as back carries, that you have not confidently mastered. Seeking out a babywearing group is a great way to educate yourself on different types of carriers and carries and to get helpful instruction from babywearing educators and other moms.  
  • Support baby’s head if you bend over while wearing him in a carrier.
  • Choose an age appropriate carrier. Stretchy wraps, for instance, are wonderful for cuddly newborn carries but do not provide adequate support for bigger babies. You should also be able to try a variety of types of baby carriers through your local babywearing group who often have lending libraries. 
  • Ensure that your carrier is snuggly fitted to you and your baby. Your baby should not be able to slump down in the carrier and you should not feel unnecessary pressure on your back.
  • Close enough to kiss: You often hear the phrase, “close enough to kiss,” in the babywearing world used as a good measure of positioning. You should be able to reach your baby’s head effortlessly to give them a kiss if they are in the proper position.
  • You should always be able to see your baby’s face. The fabric of the carrier should never be pulled over baby’s face so that you need to pull it back to see him.
  • Keep baby’s chin off his chest. This restricts airflow and can make breathing difficult for your baby. As mentioned above, baby should be carried in an upright position and there should be at least a finger width of space in between their chin and neck.

When done correctly, babywearing is an extremely safe and comfortable practice for both the caregiver and the baby. There are so many benefits to wearing your baby from bonding and breastfeeding promotion, to freeing up your hands to do things around the home all while making your baby feel safe and secure. Education on safe babywearing is essential before using a baby carrier and can be easily sought through your local babywearing group. Check out Babywearing International to learn more about your local chapter. You can also contact us at Health Foundations with any questions regarding baby care.

The Baby Proofing Checklist

Babyproofing Home

While baby proofing your house may not be at the top of your list of things to do before baby arrives, it won’t be long before your little one is on the move and getting into mischief. Being prepared for the process of babyproofing is a worthy pursuit while you are pregnant and have the time. You may not realize how many hazards exist in the average home until you look at it from the perspective of a crawler. Use this checklist as a general guide for beginning the project of baby proofing your home.

  • Place safety plugs in all exposed outlets
  • Conceal all electrical cords or move out of reach 
  • Keep electric appliances unplugged and out of reach
  • Secure freestanding tall lamps behind furniture
  • Place covers on stove and oven knobs
  • Install a fireplace gate and store all related tools out of reach
  • Block access to radiators
  • Affix gates to the top and bottom of stairwells
  • Block railing openings that exceed 4 inches with Plexiglass or other barrier
  • Use doorstops and door holders to prevent pinched fingers
  • Place window guards or stops to prevent windows from opening more than 3 inches
  • Keep sharp objects out of reach
  • Keep breakable objects out of reach
  • Keep heavy objects out of reach
  • Secure oven and refrigerator with appliance latches
  • Cover sharp corners of tables and other surfaces
  • Keep pet supplies and aquariums out of reach
  • Secure large pieces of furniture to the wall to prevent toppling
  • Keep garbage cans in a locked cabinet or choose one with a locking mechanism
  • Lock cabinets with dangerous or heavy items
  • Keep plants out of reach and dispose of any poisonous plants
  • Keep knickknacks safely stored out of reach
  • Use placemats instead of tablecloths
  • Lower crib mattress to the lowest setting once baby can pull himself up
  • Remove mobiles and other crib attachments
  • Tie up loose cords from blinds and drapes
  • Keep drawers closed and use childproof locks where necessary
  • Secure rugs with nonskid backing 
  • Cover bathtub faucet with a soft cover
  • Use nonskid strips in the bathtub
  • Anchor the TV to its surface or the wall
  • If you have a pool, install a 4-foot fence with a self-closing and self-latching gate around the perimeter 
  • Keep all cleaning supplies, medicines and other potentially hazardous items out of reach or locked up
  • Mark sliding glass doors with colorful stickers

General Home Safety Tips:

  • Never leave your baby unsupervised unless they are contained in a safe area
  • Place purses and other bags that may contain unsafe items out of reach
  • Don’t ever leave your baby unsupervised near any body of water 
  • Keep baby away from open windows
  • Keep CD and DVD players out of reach
  • Keep a list of emergency contact numbers and Poison Control in a visible place
  • Be hypervigilant during stressful times of day when accidents are more likely to occur

Kitchen Safety:

  • When cooking, turn pot and pan handles towards the back of the stove
  • Use the back burners on the stove instead of the front
  • Never put the highchair in reach of dangerous items or appliances
  • Take care to keep hot food and drinks away from edges and out of your baby’s reach
  • Don’t ever hold your baby while you are cooking or handling dangerous items such as sharp knives
  • Choose one kitchen cabinet to keep unlocked and fill it with safe items such as Tupperware for baby to explore

Bathtub safety:

  • Set your water heater to 120 degrees or lower to prevent accidental scalding 
  • Never place baby within reach of the tub faucet
  • NEVER leave baby unattended in the bath. A child can drown in 1-inch of water.

The best way to begin the process of baby proofing your house is to get down on baby’s level and see the world as she sees it. This will help you identify potential hazards that you may not have even considered before. It is never too soon to begin the process of baby proofing but it can be too late. Be sure to have your house ready before your baby is crawling and pulling himself up, at the very latest. To learn more about preparing your nest for your upcoming arrival or for any and all pregnancy and birth related questions, contact Health Foundations for a free consultation with a midwife and a tour of our Birth Center.

Coping with Sleep Deprivation as a New Parent

Co-Sleeping Parents and Newborn

Sleep deprivation is one of the most common struggles of being a new parent. Between the feeding schedule, night waking, nursing, pumping and meeting the many, many needs of a new baby, you and your partner may only be averaging a few hours per night. Despite it seeming as though sleep is the last thing you have time for right now, it is very important to prioritize your own rest and well-being while caring for your little one. Sleep deprivation negatively impacts our mood and many cognitive abilities including alertness, reaction time, memory, verbal fluency and our ability to handle everyday tasks. Too little sleep can lead to increased negative emotions and even make us more likely to develop depression. One study found that people who are getting less than 5 hours of sleep per night are 4-5 times more likely to be involved in a sleep-related car accident. Needless to say, our own need for sleep cannot be taken lightly even in the throes of parenthood. Check out these top 10 tips for coping with sleep deprivation to start getting your rest back on track.

1) Nap when baby naps: You’ve heard it a million times from friends. “Nap when baby naps,” they tell you. But when in the world are you supposed to get the dishes, the laundry, the cleaning and a simple shower in if you nap when the baby naps? Especially in the early days, you need to make rest a priority. Your body is recovering from giving birth and you need your sleep too. Be purposeful with your baby free time and if it’s not a nap then choose to do something else that will rejuvenate and energize you. Even lying down for a half an hour and not sleeping can be healing for the body.

2) Learn to nurse lying down: You will find this is an invaluable skill if you want to take naps with your baby. Not sure how? Ask your lactation consultant or postpartum nurse for some tips.  

3) Be productive when your baby is awake so you can nap when he naps: You may think this sounds impossible but this is one of the many reasons babywearing is a great practice. Not only does it promote bonding, breastfeeding and lots of other wonderful things, it allows you to be hands-free to complete tasks around the house. For more cool facts about baby wearing, check out Eight Reasons to Wear Your Baby

4) Accept help from family and friends: If your mother-in-law offers to come over and hold the baby for an hour so you can sleep, say yes. If a friend says she would like to help you out with cooking and laundry, accept! The first months with baby are not the time to be prideful about doing it all yourself. If your friends and family want to help you and catch a glimpse of your precious baby, let them!

5) Share night duty with your partner: It can often feel like you are on your own if you are breastfeeding and your partner is unable to participate. Consider pumping for one late night bottle that your partner can give to the baby while you get some extra sleep. It’s best to wait to do this until after your supply is established as you don’t want to miss a feeding session during the critical time period. By 3-4 weeks of age, you should be able to safely introduce a nightly bottle.

6) Consider co-sleeping: Though there are many differing beliefs about the practice of co-sleeping, safe bed sharing is a great way to simplify nighttime nursing and get more rest of your own.  For more information on safe co-sleeping practices and other breastfeeding resources, check out the website Kelly Mom.

7) Shut off all screens 30 minutes before you go to bed: Although it may seem tempting to catch up on your favorite shows while dosing off to sleep or to check your Facebook News Feed in bed, the bright lights of the screen can actually stimulate the brain and make it more difficult to fall asleep. Be sure to choose sleep-inducing activities before bed like a warm bath, reading or listening to calming music. This will send the signal to your body that it’s time to sleep!

8) Keep up with self-care: Even if you are sleep deprived, be sure to take care of yourself in other aspects of your life. This includes eating a healthy, balanced diet, staying hydrated, getting enough physical activity (once you’ve been cleared by your care provider), showering regularly and taking your daily vitamins. If you are taking the time each day to take care of your body, healthy sleep practices will follow.

Are you taking care of yourself? Fill out this checklist to see how well you're taking care of yourself.

9) Limit caffeine: You may feel like caffeine is your best friend at this point but the American Academy of Pediatrics actually recommends that breastfeeding moms limit their intake to one serving per day. In addition to the transfer to your breast milk, caffeine may make it difficult for you to fall asleep when you have the opportunity to nap during the day or even at bedtime if it’s consumed in the afternoon. 

10) Remember, this won’t last forever: If nothing else works, take comfort in the fact that this phase of no sleep is just a blip on the radar of your life with your new precious child. Your baby will eventually sleep more than a couple hours at a time, and even through the night one day. It may be hard to believe right now, but you WILL get through this.

In case you were too tired while reading this to absorb all the information above, the main take home points are to sleep when your baby sleeps and take care of yourself during this major life transition. Your baby needs you to be healthy and rested in order to keep up with his ever growing needs. Give yourself some grace during this period and remember that no one expects you to be able to do everything. For more information about postpartum care and any and all maternity related questions, contact Health Foundations to schedule a free consultation with a midwife and a tour of our Birthing Center.

Decoding Baby Poop: Everything You Need to Know

Baby Poop

Decoding diaper contents is often one of the most perplexing challenges to new parents. Is it supposed to be that color? Is there supposed to be that much? And, how do I know if my baby is eating enough? These are all questions you may be asking yourself in those early days with your new little one. Color, consistency and frequency are all factors to consider when assessing if your baby is having normal bowel movements. Let’s take a closer look at some of the variables that will help you decode your baby’s diaper.

Normal Colors:  

Black: During the first days of life, your baby’s poop may appear black, tar like and sticky. This is perfectly normal. These initial bowel movements are called meconium and consist of amniotic fluid, skin cells, mucus and other material that baby has ingested in the uterus. This color and consistency may last for several days following birth until baby begins to receive milk and the meconium is cleared out of his system. 

Yellow: Yellow is a normal color for stool of a baby who is breastfed or formula fed. The color yellow indicates that that the milk is moving through the digestive process quickly which is typical for newborns.  

Green: The color green is another common appearance for infant poop, particularly for breastfed babies. Green indicates that the milk is moving more slowly through the digestive process. A green bowel movement may necessitate a call to the doctor if it is particularly watery or is accompanied by mucus or a fever. This may suggest that baby has a virus or other illness. 

Once baby has started eating solid foods, vegetables are most likely the culprit for poop that appears green.

Brown: Brown feces are another indication that the milk is moving more slowly through the digestive tract. This color is more common with formula fed babies and for babies who have started eating solids.

Concerning Colors:

Although the color of your baby’s poop is most often just a reflection of the transit time of the food and bile formation, there are a few colors that may be cause for concern.

White: A white bowel movement can be a sign of infection or a problem with the production of bile by the liver. 

Black: Black poop beyond the first week can be a sign of digested blood. While this may be a consequence of nursing when mom has cracked nipples, it’s best to call the doctor to be sure.  

Red: Red blood in your baby’s diaper may indicate fresh blood from the rectum or colon. 

Call your pediatrician right away if you see any of the above concerns. 

Normal Consistency:

Before the age of six months and the start of solids, your baby’s stool should be loose, soft and liquid. Breastfed babies tend to have more liquid than formula fed babies but both will typically appear mustard like with seeds or curds. Formula fed babies may have stools that are more paste like and odorous than breastfed babies.

Once your baby starts eating solids, both the color and the consistency of his bowel movements will change. They will likely appear firmer and can often change in appearance based on what he has eaten. You may even see undigested chunks of food in the diaper. This is all normal.

Concerning Consistency:

Diarrhea: It can be difficult to know how to identify diarrhea when loose stools are the norm. Diarrhea will appear more watery than normal fecal matter and will be green, yellow or brown in color. It may also be accompanied by other symptoms such as fever or irritability. Contact your pediatrician if diarrhea persists as it may be a sign of infection or an allergy. 

Hard Stools: Stools that are firm or pebble like may be indicative of dehydration. Other signs of dehydration to look for include a sunken look in baby’s eyes or soft spot, lack of saliva and a reduction in tears. Another reason your baby may have hard stools is a sensitivity to milk, soy or other foods during the introduction to solids or via breastfeeding. If you think your baby is dehydrated or may be experiencing a food sensitivity, contact your pediatrician to be seen.

Often parents wonder if their baby is constipated because they looked strained or in pain while passing a bowel movement. Usually however, this is not the case and baby’s expression is just reflecting that he is learning to contract his abdominal muscles and to push.  

Normal Frequency: 

The amount of times a baby poops in a day can vary greatly. In the early days, your newborn may go every time you feed him or as many as 6 to 10 times per day. Between 2 to 5 bowel movements per day during this time is average. This number will likely decrease several weeks after birth in breastfed babies when mom’s colostrum, which contains laxative like properties, is eliminated. Some babies will continue to poop multiple times per day while others may only go once per week. If your baby is a less frequent pooper, the content of the diaper should be more abundant for each bowel movement than that of those who poop multiple times per day. 

The start of solids as with color and consistency, can impact how frequently your baby soils his diaper. Some babies will begin to go more frequently with the introduction of fibrous vegetables and other foods while others may decrease in frequency. This is an important time to be aware of signs of constipation or diarrhea as this may indicate a sensitivity or allergy to a new food that was introduced.

Overall, as long as your baby is gaining weight and does not seem uncomfortable, there is no need to be concerned about how frequently he poops. You probably didn’t think it was possible to have so many variables affecting what you find in baby’s diaper. But as with all aspects of being a new parent, you will learn what is normal and what is not with time and practice. It is important to remember that there is a wide spectrum representing ‘the norm’ for bowel movements and no two babies will be exactly the same. As long as your little one does not seem uncomfortable and you are not seeing any of the concerning colors, chances are, everything is normal.

Ten ways to celebrate dads this Father’s Day

dadandbabyWhether your partner is a father-to-be, a new dad, or a papa of many years, Father’s Day is a perfect opportunity to recognize and honor his special role in your life and the lives of your children. Here are ten ideas to celebrate him this Father’s Day, Sunday June 16, 2013.  If this is his first Father’s Day it’s a perfect time to initiate a tradition that you follow each year—whether it’s an annual activity or a similar type of personalized gift.  Of course, it’s never too late to start a new tradition (especially when your kids are old enough to help).  Likewise, it’s not too early to celebrate expectant fathers either!

1.  Make your own card

Sure, Hallmark’s been successfully selling sentiments for years, yet there is nothing quite like the personal expression of what a person means to you.  Depending on your talents and inclination, you might consider including a poem in this card.  If you are expecting or your babes are little, perhaps you write a poem as if your kiddos were speaking.  You can talk about the special times they’ve shared this year or the special times to come.  It doesn’t have to be a literary masterpiece; it will be special no matter what (hey, the sillier the better!).  As your kids get older, they can write their own poem to dad.

If words aren’t really your cup of tea, consider a photo card.  You may select one or more special photos from the last year.  Alternatively, maybe you stage a photo of your little ones (or your beautiful pregnant belly!) with a sign that says “Happy Father’s Day” or “I/We love you Dad.”

For older kids, a special drawing or painting made for dad may also be the perfect keepsake.

By making this a tradition you do every year, your partner will have a prized collection of moments and sentiments to look back on in the years to come.

2. Partake in his favorite activity

fathersonsurfThe lifestyle changes that come during pregnancy and especially parenthood often mean less time for our own favorite activities.  Father’s Day is a great time to let your partner indulge in one of his favorite past times, if possible with the whole family.  Of course you know your partner best, but ideas include:

  • sports game
  • special hike
  • family BBQ
  • a park side, lakeside or riverside picnic
  • a fishing trip
  • a meal at a favorite restaurant
  • bicycle ride
  • a camping adventure (even if it’s a pitched tent in the backyard)

3.  Help with a project

Along those same lines, you may help dad with a special project or hobby of his.  Whether its gardening, carpentry, working on the car, brewing beer, or fixing up something around the house, a shared project can be a fun way to connect with dad.   Let him go to the hardware store with a gift card in hand and pick out the tools needed for the job, if he enjoys that kind of thing.  Or, alternatively, get the items needed ahead of time to simplify the job.

4.  Guys night out

While its great to find an activity or project the family can enjoy together, you may decide that what dad really needs is some time for himself.  You might set aside an afternoon or evening for dad to enjoy some guy time—maybe golfing, taking a motorcycle ride, poker night, or a ballgame—arranging as much of the plans as possible so he can enjoy a hassle-free guilt-free outing.

5.  Daddy love coupons

Love coupons are a great way to shower dad with special treats on father’s day.  Kids also love to come up with the “treats” they want to share with dad—extra hours of sleep, special snuggles, help preparing his favorite meal, a back rub, you name it. Kid-designed coupons are adorable and sure to warm dad’s heart.

6.  Make a special meal

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Surprise dad with breakfast in bed or coffee from his favorite café (bonus: let him sleep in while you make it/buy it), a meal at his favorite restaurant, an outdoor grill-out, or a picnic.  This may be something you can turn into a tradition that happens every year.

7.  Hand or footprint art

footprints

This is a fun tradition that celebrates not only dad but the children as they grow. Consider creating some footprint and/or handprint art for dad each year.  There are many ways you can do this:

  • Garden stepping stones with the baby’s prints and the date (after some years, you will have created an entire walkway!)
  • A tee shirt with hand or footprints using non-toxic fabric paint
  • A framed piece of footprint/handprint art
  • A page in a special memory book just for dad
  • Quilt squares

8.  Photo/Video project

Extending from the card idea above, consider framing or having a canvas made of a special photo.  This can be a photo that captures a special moment from the previous year or it may be a specially-staged photo for Father’s Day.   Such a photo may be the perfect thing for his desk at work and not something he is likely to make for himself.

You may also consider making a special video for dad or dad-to-be.  It may be of the kids telling dad what they love about him, a montage of video clips from home videos taken throughout the year, or something else you and the little ones come up with.  Dad can re-watch these year after year.

9.  Make Dad king for a day

Come up with ways to pamper dad all day long.  Maybe your kids make him a special “king for a day crown” and explain to him how being king for the day works—maybe he gets to sleep in, get extra snuggles, have a chore-free day, get to pick the activity, make up his own “rule” for the day, or whatever else the king desires on his special day.

10.  Make a father’s survival box or treasure box

This can be a silly homemade gift for dads-to-be or fathers of little ones.  Take any box (like a shoebox or smaller) and decorate—if kids are old enough they can decorate it with paper, magazine clippings, markers, glued-on decorations, etc.  You can select or let the kids add little tokens, drawings, toys, or anything special for dad.  These can either be funny or sentimental (i.e. representing something you appreciate about dad).  Either mom or kids can write an explanation of what each item represents.  Here are some fun ideas:

marbles

  • Paper heart (to remind you how much you are loved)
  • Marbles (to replace the ones you’ve lost)
  • A penny (to give you a “cents” of how valued you are)
  • Rope (in case you are at the end of yours)
  • Paper clip (to help you hold it together)
  • Rubber band (to remind you about or honor your flexibility)
  • Super glue (to help keep your eyes open after sleepless nights)

What ideas or special things do you do to celebrate Father’s Day?  Please feel free to comment below!

Did you know?

Father’s Day was an idea born, ironically, during a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909.  After hearing a minister extolling the virtues of motherhood, Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Washington decided her father—a farmer, Civil War veteran, and widowed dad to six kids—deserved a day of honor too.  In 1910, she declared the first Father’s Day in Spokane on her dad’s birthday: June 19. Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Calvin Coolidge supported the making of an official Father’s Day; and in 1966 Lyndon B Johnson proclaimed it a national holiday. But it wasn’t until 1972 that Nixon officially designated the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day.  Now, the holiday is celebrated around the world.

Welcome to the Health Foundations blog

A blog is born! Greetings and welcome to Health Foundations’ new blog!  We are thrilled to create this virtual gathering place—a space for you to gather information, support, and resources during the childbearing year and beyond.

Here we will offer:

  • information about preconception, pregnancy, birth, babies, postpartum, and parenting
  • news about community and Health Foundations events
  • birth stories
  • insight from experts in the birth world
  • recipes
  • pictures
  • and much more

This blog is for and about YOU—our amazing Health Foundations families—we invite you to share with us your birth stories (and pictures!) as well as other stories about your birth and baby adventures.

We also welcome feedback—what would you like to see shared here?  What are your burning questions about pregnancy, birth, and new parenthood?

Please feel free to contact Jaime at Jaime@health-foundations.com with your questions, stories and feedback.

Thanks, come back and visit us again soon!

469755_10150978476250734_504943501_oPhoto by Gwendolyn Waite Photography