Updated Ultimate Baby Registry Guide

When I decided to take on the task of tackling the Baby Registry back in the spring, the first thing I did was take a look at our I Guess I’m Due Ultimate Registry Guide. That was my jumping off point. I then surveyed all of my other mom friends and they were kind enough to send their excel sheets and recommend brands and products. 


I decided to register with MyRegistry.com because the site allowed me to combine multiple registries into one.  So my registries at Amazon, Target, & Pottery Barn Kids (Which I would not recommend. Things were constantly on back order or out of stock. Very frustrating.) were combined into one. 


A registry can be a daunting task. (All that work, and then no one seems to follow it anyways!) It is important to put everything you want on there, because if it is not gifted, you can use the completion discounts from the sites to purchase any of the items you need in the end! 


Everyone has different tastes and every baby is different, but I wanted to update our guide and provide you with pictures & brands of EVERY ITEM on my list in order of importance in hopes of making your life easier! 


**This has been updated since I’ve had the baby. I’m now a year out – so the products on here are the ones that worked for me! It also includes what we went out to buy after baby was born.**

ESSENTIALS


Crib: Of course those fancy cribs can be mighty appealing, but I opted for a simple, traditional look at a very affordable price and went with the Jenny Lind Convertible Crib


Crib Mattress: These too can be expensive, but I figured there was going to be sheets and pads on top, so why spend an outrageous amount? I went with the DaVinci Hypoallergenic Mattress because they also made my crib, so I knew it would fit. 


Glider/Rocker: I was shocked at how expensive these dang things were! Even simple ones were $300 bucks. Luckily, we found ourSparrow Glider at the Pottery Barn Kids Outlet, so it was close to 70% off. Always check outlets or Craiglist before you pay the full amount for these things!


Travel System: We opted to go with the Stokke Brand for Carseat & Stroller, but I’ve also heard great things about Britax, andUppaBaby Travel Systems as well! In hindsight, I should have just gotten one that converts to a double stroller, now that we are thinking of expanding. If you want more than one, think about this before you buy a stroller! Be sure to also get a stroller organizer – it’s perfect for holding your water and phone while out shopping or on walks! Also ‘The Mommy Hook’ is perfect for holding all of your groceries!


Crib Sheets & Mattress Pads: QuickZip Sheets all the way! I bought the drop-in sheet with base, two heavenly soft covers, and two QuickZip Mattress Pads


Monitor: My husband was trying to be tech savvy and use an app (which will work during the day, but uh, your phone turns off at night). So we went with this Video Monitor by Motorola for nighttime. It’s pretty basic and there are new ones out there. We will most likely get a new one in the future that is wireless. Now that she is mobile, it’s proving to be an issue. Once again, things you don’t think of with a newborn!


SOOTHING ITEMS


Rock n’ Play: Out of every mom I talked to, the Fisher Price Auto Rock n’ Play was a must have! Most of their kids preferred napping and sleeping in this over anything else!


Bouncer: There are tons out there and I’m sure all do the trick. I wanted something very portable. This Baby Bjorn Bouncer came highly recommended because it uses the child’s movements to get it into motion and converts into a seat for toddlers. We also got another bouncer from one of Kyle’s co-workers. It is by Bright Starts and she likes this one the best because the toys hang down in front of her! For bouncers, I’d go with the simple Bright Starts one!


Swing: We went with the Fisher Price Cradle Swing and thank God we did. This is her favorite device and allows me to get things done around the house while she’s in it!


White Noise Machine: I was reading reviews and a lot of baby sound machines burn out quickly because of so much use. A friend recommended this Sound Therapy System because it has lasted over four years!


Swaddles: There are so many to choose from! A new mom just recommended the latest swaddle to come out called the NuRoowhich grows with your child. I use that for naps during the day. I also went with the Aden & Anais Swaddle Blankets, I don’t really use them to swaddle but they are great to have on hand to cover her up. They are light and great for the summer! For the nighttime, lots of people swear by the Miracle Blanket, in the end Rynnie just preferred being double swaddled in her hospital blankets. Be sure to ransack that hospital – take everything! We also purchased the Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit at three months old to transition her from the swaddle – it helped a ton!


Sleep Sacks: I used the  Halo Sleep Sack in size small as a transition out of the Merlin’s sleep suit. I then went with the Aden and Anais Sleeping Bags in medium and large, but ended up not using them. Once she started rolling and sleeping on her stomach around 6 months, I just let her sleep in her PJ’s. 


Carriers: We went with the ErgoBaby 360 Cool Air Carrier (Because anyone who has played volleyball with Kyle knows he’s a sweater. And it’s pretty gross.) As for myself, I went with the soft wrap from Solly Baby Wrap and the Beco Ring Sling. I attempted the Solly at week 3 and was too overwhelmed by all the fabric. Kyle and I then went to a Baby Wearing class at the park and figured out what the hell we were doing with these things. It really helped. I now love the Solly Wrap for my long morning walks with the dog. She falls asleep in it every time! And I keep the ring sling in my diaper bag. It is very easy and convenient when you are on the go! Carriers for women are tough, it may take a bit to find the one you like – so don’t take the tags off at the beginning!


Diaper Bag: After purchasing and returning about 6 different ones (no joke), I was using a simple Target tote bag but needed something that zipped for when we went through aiport security, so I finally settled on the Skip Hop Grand Central. And now at 11 months, I bought a diaper bag back pack to transition to for travel. I think I’m going to stick with it. Doesn’t fit as much, but is definitely more compact and easier to manage now that baby is mobile!


BREAST FEEDING


Bottles, Storage, & Warmer Kit: I just came across this Breastfeeding Gift Set by Kiinde and am pretty psyched about it. The storage bags hook directly to your pump and their bottle goes directly over the bag. No transferring needed! The warmer also warms both bottles & storage bags. (Obviously you need a breast pump, but this should be covered by your insurance so you won’t need to register for it!) Rynn ended up not liking these bottles, so they system wasn’t totally utilized to its fullest potential. But if the baby likes it, then it’s a win win. Unfortunately, it’s always trial and error!


You may also want to get some pump accessories like a hands-free pumping bra and simple bag for all of your pump supplies! I am not the biggest fan of pumping, so at my Mommy and Me class they suggested buying a simple hand pump for when you are on the go or traveling. That is the only thing I use now! It is more comfortable and I enjoy it much better – just a tip if the electric pump is hurting you!


DO NOT REGISTER FOR BOTTLES. Only buy a couple single bottles until you see what the baby likes. We’ve gone through about five kinds so far! All babies are different and prefer different kinds. You won’t know until they are here! The cheap-o simple Gerber First Essentials Bottles with the old school latex nipple is what did it for us!


Nursing Pads: Lansinoh disposable pads or the Target brand. Buy tons of these! Plan on at least a box or two a month!


Bottle Sterilizer & Sterilizing Bags: This item is definitely debatable, some moms say a sterilizer is necessary and others say you can just boil water. Well, our dishwasher sucks so I hand wash everything anyways, and I can barely wait for water to boil for pasta! This Baby Brezza Sterilizer drys the bottles as well which is a plus. Medela Sterilizing Bags are also nice to have on hand in case you need to clean anything in a hurry! I used the big sterilizer alot when she was a newborn and I was more anal about germs, now that she’s almost one I never really use it!


Unscented Bottle Soap: Apparently any sort of fragrance can be absorbed by the bottles when you clean them and can turn off the baby to that bottle, so a friend recommended using Babyganics Unscented Dish & Bottle Soap when washing & rinsing off. I purchased this white Boon drying rack for things to dry on and this Boon bottle brush as well. 


Nursing Cover: I went with a simple gray colored cover that snaps up the side. 


Burp Cloths: Extra large Cloth Diapers do the trick!


Nursing Pillow: A couple to choose from, but my doula recommended the My Brest Friend Pillow


Gas Drops: Go with Mylicon. We’ve tried others but this is by far our favorite. The dropper is much better than the other brands. She likes these best. We give them to her BEFORE her feedings and they really help with gas. Buy stock in these! You’ll need them! Pick up some Infant Tylenol too – you’ll need that for after vaccinations. If you are still having trouble with gas, you may want to trybaby probiotics. Our doctor recommended we do so at 6-8 weeks and it really helped!


Nipple Cream: Medela Lanolin Cream is all-natural and is safe for baby and mom! The hospital gave us lots of samples. You will go through lots of it in the beginning weeks. Use after every feeding!


DIAPERING

Changing Pad: I went with the Summer Infant Contour Changing Pad.


Changing Pad Covers: Make sure to get at least two of these! We opted for the Burt’s Bees brand. Also, we bought two packs ofMunchkin Waterproof Changing Pad Liners as another protective layer against blowouts!


Diaper Pail: Make sure you get one that you can open with your foot, no one wants to be sticking their hands in that mess! We went with the Dekor Plus Hands Free Pail


Pail Refills: Can’t forget the diaper pail bag refills!


Wipes: A friend recommended using WaterWipes from Target for the first three months because her son got bad diaper rash from regular ones. I plan on using Pampers or Costco wipes in the months after that. 


Travel Changing Clutch: A portable extra changing pad and organizer for your diaper bag or car. 


Diapers: Have heard great things about Pampers and horrible things about Huggies. (Sorry – just sayin’!) We only needed one box of newborn diapers at the beginning. After, we started using Amazon’s Subscribe & Save and get a box of Pampers Sensitive Swaddlers delivered each month. 


Cleanser & Rash Cream: Mustela Physiobebe Cleanser comes highly recommended for keeping the bottom clean after diaper changes, as well as some Boudreaux Butt Paste for the inevitable rash! And don’t forget one of those little butt spatulas to apply the paste!


BATH TIME


Infant Tub: I got a little techie with this one and went with the 4Moms Infant Tub which displays the temperature and gives you a green light when you are good to go!


Shampoo & Body Wash: Mustela 2 in 1 Shampoo & Body Wash has no harsh chemicals and is safe to use early on. 


Mat: Something to kneel on for bath time as the baby gets older. 


Hooded Towels: I’m such a sucker for these. I think the animal ones are too cute! Get a couple, but we went with a duck & bear


Safety Kit: This kit by Safety First contains everything you need for grooming and healthcare for your newborn! We also ended up buying a Nose Frida – it sounds gross, but works the best especially with Little Remedies Saline Spray!


Wash Cloths: Don’t forget some nice soft wash cloths for those sponge baths in the early weeks. 


PLAY TIME


Boppy Pillows: A friend gave us her Newborn Lounger, and Rynn loved it her first months and the regular Boppy Pillow is for sitting and tummy time the later months. 


Play Mat: This Rainforest Melodies Mat by Fisher Price. She loves it during playtime. 


Exersaucer: You won’t need this for a couple months, but apparently an Excersaucer/Jumperoo keeps them busy once they are on the move! We ended up swapping out the exersaucer for this Fisher Price jumperoo and it has been the BEST INVESTMENT. She’s lived in from 4 months to 6 months and is by far her favorite thing to play in. Definitely a must!


Sit-Me-Up Chair: I’ve heard mixed reviews about the Bumbo, so here is an alternative – the Fisher Price Sit-Me-Up Chair. It’s roomier and has a tray and toys. 


ACCESSORIES


Carseat Canopy: This Copper Pearl Canopy is great for shading your little one on walks, especially on windy days, and also doubles as a nursing cover! We also ended up buying the Brica Carseat Cover because an article freaked me out about overheating my child in the carseat. It has a solar cover to protect from the sun, but it mesh on the sides so there is still air flow. It’s been super hot here lately and this is the best thing I could find for summer babies! The JJ Cole seems to also be a good choice for a winter cover. 


WubbaNubs: Apparently, I should buy stock in these because I was told to buy a ton of WubbaNubs to have on hand! Kids love them!


Cart Cover: The Comfort & Harmony Neoprene Cart Cover is easy to clean and also doubles as a changing pad. 


Car Mirror: A mirror for the backseat so you can see the rear-facing baby!


Nuk Newborn Pacifiers: We ended up having to go out and buy these because Rynnie was a total sucker and needed one at 2 weeks to soothe her. The Wubbanubs seemed too big so we went with these Nuks and she loved them. 


Sleep Sheep: Great for some cute white noise on the go!


Teether: A Sophie the Giraffe for dreaded teething time.


Wipes Warmer: I wanted a dispenser for the changing table, but then my mother-in-law also bought us a wipes warmer when she came to visit. It really helped and stopped the crying during changes, so we use that instead!


AFTER NEWBORN

These items are last on the list because you won’t need them until baby is at least a couple months old. They are lowest priority in terms of registry. 


High Chair: 4Moms just came out with a new Magnetic High Chair. I know it isn’t going to stop food from being hurled at me, but it can’t hurt! I’ve also heard good things about the Joovy High Chair. This simple Ikea High Chair has also been recommended by some friends because its super easy to clean! I bought the Ikea one for when we travel to Ohio, and will most likely just buy this one if we have another!


Plates & Bowls: This is the magnetic Starter Set by 4Moms to go with their high chair. 


Food Storage: Some little storage containers if you decide to make your own baby food!


Portable High Chair: Not a necessity either, but this portable high chair came recommended if you want them to sit at the kitchen island or take out to a restaurant! WE USE THIS ALL THE TIME. A GREAT INVESTMENT!


Portable Playard: We are going to be traveling to see family a lot, so a portable crib was important. The Lotus Travel Crib folds into a back pack, which will definitely help us out on trips!


No-Touch Thermometer: Once we can stop taking its rectal temperature, this no-touch thermometer will probably be greatly appreciated on their end!


Additional Convertible Carseat: We have the infant car seat with the travel system, but the baby will eventually grow out of it. People have recommended either the Maxi Cosi Convertible Carseat or the Graco 4ever All in One Carseat for the other car so it can be used until its full grown.


Sippy Cups: These won’t be needed until months later, but the Munchkin 360 Trainer Cups have gotten rave reviews. But when you introduc the sippy at 6 months, Rynn had not a clue what to do with these! The Nuk Sippy Cup is what worked best. She takes her milk in this and uses a ThinkBaby Sippy for water!


Food Mats: I saw these EZPZ mats on Shark Tank. They are great for on the go or for at home. The mini mats are best for rolling up in your diaper bag when you’re on the run. 


Bibs: Besides the cloth bibs or bandana bibs (the Zoozik or Honest brands are my favs. Honest are small and work best for when your child starts drooling at 2-3 months, plus they are magnetic!) your kid may sport during the day, these OXO waterproof roll up bibs are great for feeding time! I also ended up buying these Green Sprouts bibs when she started teething at 5 months. These are the ones we use each day. The bandana bibs have become ones we wear with cute oufits. The Green Sprouts bibs soak up much more drool. And at 9 months she decided she liked to rip them off so I had to buy these JJ Cole ones with Snaps. If I were you I’d just go with the snaps ones from the get-go. You’ll need them in the end!


Playmat: For those of you who have wood floors, we purchased these Skip Hop floor tiles for our living room for her to play on around 3 months. I love it because they still look chic and go with the design of our house!


Carseat Neck Pillow: I also recommend getting one of these Benbat Neck Pillows for your infant in the carseat. Rynn had Torticollis and this helps keep her next straight rather than having to use rolled up blankets to prop her little head up!


Nursing Night Gowns: Last but certainly not least, all you moms of summer babies will love these. I have been living in thesenightgowns from Target! I have 7 already because I wear them day and night. They are so comfy to sleep in and I feel like I can wear them out and about as well!


I know, it’s a ton. Sorry if I got you overwhelmed. But I wanted to put all of my research and registry items out there to save you time. I wish I would have had some sort of guide with pictures and brands when I first started. Hope this helps!


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The 14 things a new mum REALLY needs

Forget oh-so cute outfits featuring 400 buttons and luxurious bubble bath to enjoy while the baby sleeps (when exactly is that?). Those first few days after birth, a new mum is often sore, tired and shell-shocked (sometimes all three) so rather than add to an already-busting 0-3 months wardrobe, focus on the new mother. If you turn up on her doorstep offering a few of these then you’ll be enjoying cuddles with a newborn before you can say ‘breast pads.’
  1. Maternity pads – Let’s cut straight to the glamorous part and save her a(nother) trip to Boots the Chemist.
  2. Muslins – She’s probably only bought a pack of six. Try not to laugh as you deliver another dozen to her. You can never have enough muslins. Actual parenting fact.
  3. Cake. All the cake – She’s knackered, sore and probably fairly confused. Whether you bake her something from your new Hemsley + Hemsley cookbook, or buy a Colin the Caterpillar, give the woman sugar.
  4. A box set. Or six – She’s going to be trapped under a feeding, sleeping, mewling baby for the foreseeable. May as well get mum up to speed on Orange is the New Black.
  5. Food –  This woman is HUNGRY. Go armed with a lasagna, or a Domino’s delivery: she won’t care. She’ll be too busy eating – one-handed, obviously.
  6. A shower – Not literally. But half an hour to wash her hair in the bathroom on her own is her equivalent of two weeks in the Caribbean at this point.
  7. Caffeine – Obviously not enough to wire her infant – that would not be helpful.
  8. A rubber ring – It’s not glamorous but she’s uncomfortable and you understand.
  9. A pair of marigolds – Cleaning will be right at the bottom of her to do list so a quick bleach of the bathroom, 15 minutes of hoovering or washing the dishes will make you friend of the year.
  10. Gossip – Instead of grilling her for gory birth details; how she plans to feed and whether there’s a routine in place, arrive with a few nuggets of gossip so she can sit back, listen and feel a bit like her pre-baby self.
  11. Tissues – Her hormones are going haywire; she’s sleep deprived and probably quite overwhelmed. A few tears are inevitable.
  12. Groceries – Dull, yes, but also incredibly useful. Arriving with a few items from the supermarket is really helpful when she’s still at the stage where leaving the house with the pram is on a par with a maiden space voyage.
  13. Handcream – She’s never washed her hands this much before.
  14. Reassurance – Everything is new and she’s worried she’s doing it all wrong. Give her a hug, tell her she’d doing brilliantly, and that no one knows her baby better than her.
Do you have anything to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below. 

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The Story Of The Fox And The Stork For Kids

Imagine your child asking for a story book to read instead of watching his favourite video on the YouTube. Sounds far-fetched, right? Unfortunately yes, because children of this generation are reluctant to read. However, if you want to introduce your child to the ways of this world, improve his language, or be a good communicator, book-reading is the best way forward. Introduce him to this habit early in life by reading him stories that are interesting as well as carry a moral, like the fox and the stork story. MomJunction helps you read it for your children.

The Fox And The Stork Story:

Short stories like ‘The Fox and the Stork’ can be interesting as well as fun for your kid. Here is how the story goes:
  • Elly stork and Foxy fox were two good friends. One day Foxy invited Elly for dinner and promised her delicious hot soup. Elly was elated and thanked him for the invitation.
  • At night Elly visited Foxy’s house. She could smell the soup. She said that she simply loved the smell.
  • Foxy thanked Elly and then served her the soup in flat plates.
  • Foxy took his soup very fast, while Elly could not drink it with her long bill.
    • At this, Foxy looked up at Elly and enquired if she did not like the taste and offered to have her share as well.
    • Poor Elly had to return home hungry. This made her very angry.
    • After few days, Elly invited Foxy for dinner. Foxy was very happy and went to her home. He was extremely hungry. He thanked Elly for the invitation.
      • Elly thanked him for coming and said she would bring him his soup. Foxy was excited to smell the soup. Elly got the soup in pitchers and asked him to have it. She placed a pitcher full of soup in front of him.
      • Elly quickly finished her soup and Foxy kept looking at the delicious soup. He could not reach inside the tall pitcher. He returned home hungry. This in turn made him very angry.
      • Moral Of The Story:

        The moral of the story is, we should learn to respect others and only then can we expect to be treated with respect.
        • Elly was hungry and expected to have a good dinner. Foxy, by serving soups in flat plates, showed how little he cared about her not being able to drink the soup.
        • Foxy gets the same treatment later. Elly serves him soup in a pitcher, which he cannot reach easily. Tit for tat!
        • Reading Aloud Similar Short Stories To Children:

          Your child loves listening to stories that you read aloud. You will hardly find him bored or tired even when you are reading the same stories again and again.
          This story of The Fox and Stork, when presented with illustrations will attract complete attention of your child. Thus, if you are thinking of ways to spend quality time with him, reading aloud small stories is the best option you can try. Such stories can not only be entertaining and interesting, but also convey important morals and values.
        • Remember:

          While reading short stories to your child remember the following:
          • Change your tone.
          • Include gestures and expressions.
          • Be dynamic.
          • Pace yourself.
          • Pause at times to garner interest.
        • Storytelling is more than just exchanging ideas and information, it is also about how your child learns to communicate and reach out to others. Stories are a common thread between cultures and acts as a bridging gap.
          Did your kid find this the fox and the stork story interesting? Do you have any other interesting story to share with our readers? Share your ideas and experiences with us in the comment section below:

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First 24 hours at home with your baby

You’ve probably heard that all a newborn baby does is eat, poop, cry, and sleep. Sounds simple, right? It may become simple, but chances are it won’t seem that way at first. Knowing what to expect from your newborn will make your first days home together a little less overwhelmingvide.

To help map out what’s in store after the big homecoming, we turned to pediatricians and mothers Laura Jana and Jennifer Shu, who literally wrote the book on the topic. The third edition of their book Heading Home With Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality was released in May 2015 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

What to expect: Newborn feeding

Because their stomachs are so tiny, newborns need to eat small amounts – about 1 to 3 ounces – frequently. Some want to nurse or have a bottle every two to three hours, while others will be hungry even more often.

While some babies announce their hunger with strong cries, others will give more subtle cues such as sucking on their hands, smacking their lips, or rooting, which is when a baby purses her lips and turns her head toward the breast or bottle.

How to swaddle a baby

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Soothe your newborn baby with these three simple swaddling techniques. See all baby videos
In their first few days, newborns typically lose about 7 percent of their body weight. While this is normal, you’ll want to feed your baby every two hours or so until she’s back at her birth weight.

Newborns are sleepy, so you may need to wake your baby up to feed and give her gentle encouragement to stay awake while eating. Try undressing your baby down to the diaper, rubbing her head or back, or talking to her. The goal is for your baby to be back to her birth weight at her 2-week checkup.

What to expect: Newborn burps, hiccups, and spit-ups

Some newborns need to be burped frequently, while others burp on their own and need very little assistance from you. If your baby is fussy or uncomfortable during or after a feeding, that’s a cue to burp her.

You can also try burping your baby when you switch breasts, after every 2 or 3 ounces, every 10 to 15 minutes of feeding, or when your baby’s finished eating. After a day or two of feedings, you’ll find a pattern that works for your little one.

No need to bang your baby’s back like a bongo – a gentle circular motion or soft pats will bring up the bubbles. There are several burping positions to try, including holding your baby with her head resting on your shoulder, sitting her upright on your lap with the fingers of one hand supporting her chest and chin, or laying your baby tummy-down across your lap.

Don’t be alarmed by hiccups or spit-up. Hiccups are normal for new babies and don’t cause them discomfort. Likewise, spitting up during and after feedings – in small amounts or what may seem like the entire feeding – is pretty normal.

If your baby’s spitting-up seems excessive or is accompanied by her arching her back or crying, read more about the difference between reflux, which is normal and improves with your baby’s head control, and gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, which requires treatment. Whatever’s causing it, if your baby’s a spitter-upper, you’ll want to keep a burp cloth handy.

What to expect: Newborn pee and poop

A breastfed newborn will have at least five wet diapers a day. A formula-fed baby may have even more than that – up to ten per day.

There’s a large range for what’s a “normal” number of bowel movements, too. Breastfed babies tend to poop more than formula-fed ones, since formula takes a bit longer to digest. But breastfed babies vary widely, going as seldom as once every four or more days to as often as once per feeding. Formula-fed babies typically poop a few times a day, but it can range from one poop every other day to several poops per day.

You’ll want to keep track of your baby’s pee and poop schedule, as the doctor may ask about her urine and bowel movements at the first checkup.

The very first bowel movements – usually occurring during the first day or two, often when you’re still at the hospital – are called meconium. These first poops have a black, almost tar-like consistency. The ones that follow won’t look much like grown-up poop, either. Be prepared for greenish, light brown, or seedy, mustard-yellow poops from a breastfed baby. A formula-fed baby’s poop tends to be pastier and vary in color. Call the doc if your baby’s stool contains whitish mucus or streaks or flecks of red, which can indicate a problem. (Red is a sign of blood in the stool.)

Normal poop consistency also ranges from very soft to watery, with breastfed babies having looser poop. This can easily be confused with diarrhea. Basically you want to keep an eye out for a change from your baby’s usual pattern or consistency – which is admittedly hard when your baby is first creating a pattern. When in doubt, check with your doctor.

“If you’re confused, just remember this,” says Jennifer Shu. “Whether we’re talking about pooping, eating, sleeping, or crying, every baby is different. Normal is actually a big range. What matters most are sudden changes – and that’s when you should contact your doctor.”

See our complete baby poop slideshow for a visual guide to what you might find in your baby’s diaper.

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The importance of a sleep diary

    No mum can confidently say her baby is a dream to put down at night. For first-time parents it’s the culture shock of all culture shocks, with many of us left exhausted and wondering: ‘why does my baby sleep during the day but keep us up most of the night?’

“Babies are born with an immature body rhythm and as such they don’t know day from night,” says The Gentle Sleep Solution’s Chireal Shallow. “They also need to feed every two to three hours and are designed to wake frequently for this reason. Many parents worry their baby isn’t getting enough sleep, however, this is usually due to the fact they may simply not be sleeping well at night. Babies often catch-up on shut-eye in the day, with newborns sleeping anywhere between 16 and 18 hours per day.”
Many parents worry their baby isn’t getting enough sleep, however, this is usually due to the fact they may simply not be sleeping well at night
While it’s great news you shouldn’t stress too much over your little one waking at night, it’s still wise to monitor your baby’s napping and bedtime patterns by jotting it down in their very own ‘sleep diary’. Helping you to get them in to a good routine, we asked the very best in the way of sleep experts for their essential advice…

What is a sleep diary?

“A sleep diary involves parents keeping a log or journal of when their baby sleeps and wakes,” explains author and baby sleep specialist Alison Scott-Wright. “It can be as simple or as complicated as you wish, with entries consisting of simple sleep and wake times or including more detailed data, such as how long the baby took to go to sleep and what environment this was in.”

Why do I need one?

“The aim of a diary is to see how well you are all doing and to make changes where needed,” continues Chireal. “This is a great motivational tool as it helps identify patterns when sleep is more easily achieved, giving you an insight in to situations where your little one refuses to go down for their nap!”

What’s the best way to compile one?

“Whatever works for you and makes sense is easiest,” says Alison. “You can use loose paper, write it in a special book or diary or even log all the data down in an app. l use good old pen and paper, writing in a lined book with a double page per day – one side for daytime naps, the other for night time sleep.

How long should I record things for?

“Keep a diary for at least four weeks so you can compare the start, middle and end,” advises Chireal. “Ideally your baby should be looking at a total sleep amount of 18 hours for a newborn, reducing to around 12-14 hours for a baby aged three to nine months.”

Are there any diary dos and don’ts?

“Don’t let your diary rule you – it’s just a useful log that can be stopped at any time,” says Alison. “Some mothers, especially those suffering with degrees of postnatal depression, can find the diary becomes a main focus, meaning it’s all too easy to obsess over and become panicked when missing an entry. Stop once your baby is sleeping through the night – or use as a temporary tool through the short-term sleep training for babies aged four months plus.”

When should I be concerned?

“It’s doubtful you’ll encounter any real problems with your baby’s sleeping routine,” says Chireal. “However, if your baby consistently struggles to go to sleep at naps and overnight, takes longer than 30 minutes to settle, wakes frequently – within a 40 minute sleep cycle – or will only sleep when being fed, rocked or held, then book a visit to see your health visitor to address your concerns.”

Five top tips for a better night’s sleep

Help your weaning baby achieve the very best overnight slumber with this invaluable advice from sleep coach Niamh O’Reilly…
  1. Always aim to get your child down in their cot when they are still awake, winding them properly to avoid false starts! They don’t have to be wide-awake – just awake enough to know where they are going.
  2. Ensure teatime and any last bottles or feeds are good ones. Tea doesn’t necessarily have to be heavy – just plentiful.
  3. Don’t fret if your baby grizzles in their cot, as these noises are simply the sounds they make before falling asleep. They are actually trying to block out other noises in order to soothe themselves.
  4. Check the temperature of the room at night. If it’s a little cold, it’s better than it being a little hot. You can always add layers and extra vests. An ideal room temperature is within a range of 16-20°C.
  5. Have a regular bedtime routine, allowing up to an hour for winding-down. Put away the toys and spend time bathing and reading relaxing stories. Just don’t get too caught up in making this over-complicated. If baths are a pain to do daily, skip them. And bedtime, whether with one child or many, should be manageable by one person.

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What to eat in your last 4 weeks of pregnancy

Meet our expert: Dr Nicole Avena, neuroscientist and author of What to Eat When You’re Pregnant (£8.49, Ten Speed Press). 
Tempting as it might be to tuck into comforting junk food in late pregnancy, feeding your body with the right nutrients can make a significant difference to you and your baby at this stage.
Making wise nutritional choices can alleviate late pregnancy symptoms, help prepare your body for labour and boost your baby’s development. .

Squash

Many women experience heartburn in late pregnancy. This occurs because your oesophageal sphincter muscle, which stops acid coming back up from your stomach, is more relaxed, due to increased progesterone levels. ‘Avoid fried and spicy foods, because these will exacerbate the problem,’ advises Dr Nicole. ‘Aim for high-fibre choices instead, such as squash.’ Acorn squash is particularly high in fibre, but the more widely available butternut squash is also worth putting on your shopping list.

Salmon

‘Your baby continues to absorb the DHA [an omega-3 fatty acid] from your diet in the last weeks of pregnancy, and this aids his brain development,’ says Dr Nicole. ‘And salmon is a great source of this. With 1.46 grams of DHA per 100 grams, just one serving has more than twice the required daily amount.’ Do take note of NHS advice though that pregnant women should not have more than two portions of oily fish per week due to concerns about pollutants.

Yoghurt fortified with Vitamin D

Craving something sweet and indulgent? Both Yoplait and Marks and Spencer have yoghurt ranges with added vitamin D. The yoghurt contains calcium, and the vitamin D helps your body absorb it. ‘Calcium absorption increases significantly during the last trimester as your baby builds his bones,’ explains Dr Nicole.

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