I recently was able to spend some time with a photographer friend of mine for several days and we had many philosophical discussions. During one of those discussions I said “that would be a great blog post” so here we go…
We were talking about how easy it is to research the internet today and find all those beautiful creative newborn baby poses where the baby is propped on their little hands. Don’t we all just love those? I know I do.
The internet is an awesome tool and many of us use it to learn many things or simply to get ideas from. The problem for us (creative, talented photographers) is that it can be very frustrating for a client to bring in several pictures that were “borrowed” from another photographer’s website of images like this and say to us “can you do this for me?”
Of course we can. But we also would love for you to come to us for our own perspective and vision of what your child’s images should be. It is our job as professionals to discover the uniqueness in every subject that we photograph and to be “original” rather than copying what someone else has done.
Too many times people want only what they have seen and they miss out on a wonderful opportunity to see something original of their special little one.
This challenge isn’t all that new. Over the years I have run into brides that did the same thing. They would bring us a list of poses they wanted – usually very ordinary, expected poses from a wedding and they would completely forget that it is our job as “professional visionaries” to see what is unique about their dream day. When a client would hire me to cover their wedding and say “Cathy, I just want you to do what it is that you do – be creative and find my one of a kind story” – that client always received some of my most creative and beautiful images – something truly original, not a copy of what someone else thought was right.
To me, photography is not a one size fits all. It is a reflection of you – no one else.
Here is a perfect example of what 2 different photographers visions are when approaching a newborn baby. One is by my photographer friend, Lisa Carter and the other is mine. They are both beautiful. They are both originals – NOT copies. What do you think?
I'm the original baby Rose
Since I have been on my own personal quest to eat right and be healthy it occurred to me that many of my new mommies are dealing with some of the same issues but for different reasons. So here’s a few tips to help you I hope.
With your amazing — and exhausting — new 24-hour job (feed baby, change baby, burp baby, rock baby, and repeat), you barely have time to change your clothes, shower, or think about anything that’s not baby-related. It’s natural to be completely focused on your new little bundle, and completely unfocused on your own needs — like your diet after delivery. The problem with forgetting to eat, though, is that skipping meals deprives you of energy. And as you’ve certainly figured out by now, parenting takes lots of energy — even more energy if you’re fueling a milk-making factory and need a solid breastfeeding diet.. Here’s how to get the best nutrition after pregnancy when eating’s the last thing on your mind (or your to-do list):
Postpartum Diet Trick 1: Snack when your baby snacks.
Your little one is eating every two to four hours now — and so should you. Sneak in small bites of fruit, yogurt, low-fat cheese, or whole-grain bread or muffins whenever you prepare to feed your baby — or, if you’ve mastered the one-handed feed already, while you’re feeding your baby (talk about multitasking!). Stash healthy snacks within arm’s reach (almonds and raisins next to your favorite nursing chair, a banana and a bag of crackers in your stroller bag) so your diet after delivery keeps you satisfied.
Postpartum Diet Trick 2: Just say yes!
When friends ask if there’s anything they can do to help, suggest they pick up a roast chicken, a tray of lasagna, prewashed bags of salad greens, a giant carton of fruit salad, a platter of veggies and dip, or a dozen whole-wheat bagels (melt a slice of cheese on top of one of those babies, and you have yourself a healthy mini-meal staple for your diet after delivery). Try to keep your kitchen stocked with easy-to-prepare foods you like, so that thinking about what to eat takes no thought at all.
Postpartum Diet Trick 3: Befriend your freezer.
If you cooked in quantity while you were pregnant, now’s the time to defrost those homemade goodies and enjoy them. If you never actually got around to following through on your make-ahead plans, stock up on frozen dinners and snacks (look for healthy ones — your store should carry plenty) for your diet after delivery. More nutrition after pregnancy shortcuts: Frozen vegetables are as nutritious as fresh, and a lot faster to prepare, and frozen fruit makes a quick smoothie when blended with yogurt.
Postpartum Diet Trick 4: Dial up a delivery.
Nobody deserves deliveries as much as someone who’s just made one (a significant one). Tap into every delivery option available to you — groceries (sure, you won’t get to squeeze the peaches, but at least you’ll end up with some), delis, restaurants of every kind from sushi, now that you can, to pizza. (In fact, getting good nutrition after pregnancy should be a breeze compared to your taboo-ridden pregnancy diet!) Consider ordering ahead a few meals, so that you’ll have something to reheat tomorrow (or tonight, when that midnight feeding leaves you starving).
Postpartum Diet Trick 5: Plan ahead.
If you’re boiling an egg for lunch, boil six so they’re ready and waiting for you tomorrow. If it’s salmon salad you crave today, crack open a large can so that you’ll be able to fish for an easy snack the next day. Bake a half-dozen potatoes at once — it’s quick and easy to warm them later (with some pre-shredded Cheddar and leftover broccoli). Ditto brown rice — make a box, and reheat it all week. And if you actually manage to get to the market, linger where the prepared foods hang out (bag a rotisserie chicken, sliced roast turkey, turkey meatloaf, ready-to-eat veggie and fruit salads). And don’t forget to visit the salad bar — heap a few dishes high with your favorites (but keep the dressings on the side so you don’t end up with limp lettuce tomorrow).
Postpartum Diet Trick 6: Drink, drink, drink.
Keep bottles of water in every room of the house, so no matter where you and baby are, you can grab a quick drink. To keep yourself hydrated (dehydration leads to postpartum fatigue something you’ve got plenty of already, thank you), make sure you have a drink every time baby does.
Do you think these tips are helpful? I’d love to know if they worked for you.
Fathers Day salute
Allowing Dad to Help with Baby
Letting your partner find his own way is part of the parenting process.
I know I was really guilty of thinking I was the only one who knew what to do for our son – even daddy couldn’t possible know what I knew right? Wrong! It was a big mistake and I hope to help you not make the same mistakes I did.
When I finally broke down and let daddy help it was a relief to me and our son. I was exhausted and I needed help. The real blessing was that daddy WANTED to help. I had no idea how glad I would be until I finally let him into our world. We were all better for it. Today, some of my fondest memories of my husband and our son together. I still remember seeing them sleeping together on the sofa (since they both were tuckered out) and I still laugh right out loud when I think of two diaper changes. One my husband was sprinkled with the fountain of youth as the diaper came off and the cold air hit our baby boy and the other was the first time my husband had to change a really soiled diaper – oh that memory really makes me laugh.
Maybe you need a quality nap or you’re dying for a hot bath, or you just want to see a flick with a friend — sans baby. Who better to watch your critter for an hour — or the duration of an afternoon matinee — than the guy sleeping right next to you: Daddy! Even if he hasn’t had much experience in baby care (without you looking over his shoulder, at least), now’s the perfect time to help him get up to speed.
The first step toward getting Dad on duty? Ask him. It’s okay to acknowledge you need help or just a couple of hours to yourself. He may actually relish the chance to do things his own way (at least when it comes to changing a diaper).
The next step: Back off, Mama, and let Papa have some fun. Let him give the baby a bath or handle a few feedings (or if you’re nursing, ask him to put the baby to sleep). Welcome all questions but try to zip it on the backseat driving. Daddy may seem to have ten thumbs when it comes to wrestling junior into a onesie, but that’s just because he hasn’t had nearly as much practice as you. If you’re hypercritical or bossy, he might just decide to throw in the towel (and the diapers, bottles, and washcloths) and that’s not good for anyone involved, including the baby.
Hey, if your husband really wants to triple bag every poopy diaper, let him. In the past, the two of you have managed to mesh your differences (you’ve got that cute baby to show for it), and parenthood is no exception. Remind him (and yourself) that you’re new at this too — you learned by doing and so can he. Plus, change is good — a different style of playing (perhaps more physical or high-energy than your usual way) will stimulate your baby in new ways.
Keep in mind that your spouse is your partner, not your helper, and should be as fully involved in childrearing as possible (even if he’s the type to need a little shove to get going). You wouldn’t think of leaving him out of the big decisions and events that’ll shape your baby’s future, so why exclude him from the everyday stuff that also makes up your life as a family?
I love to hear a belly giggle from a baby. It makes me smile. I know you will too.
Your baby’s first smiles melted your heart — so prepare for more parental puddling now, as your baby learns to laugh out loud. Sometime between three and four months of age, she’ll likely add her first chuckles and giggles to her repertoire of vowel-sound coos. What will inspire that first outburst?
It could be anything from the sight of your face, or an older sibling’s goofy grin, to a favorite toy or a silly sound. While these early laughs and coos are delightful to watch, they’re rewarding for baby too — she loves hearing her own voice, and seeing others’ reactions. Plus, with each coo and goo she’s learning and practicing how to move her mouth and tongue to produce different sound effects.
You can encourage these interactions by talking with your baby often. Provide a stream of commentary: “Here’s a clean diaper so you’ll feel nice and dry. All done! Now I’m snapping your shirt — one, two, three snaps! — and pulling up your cozy red pants. Should we read a book next? How about this one with the bears taking a walk?” It may feel silly to chatter away to someone whose conversational skills are limited to a few vowel sounds and gurgles, but this is how she begins to learn language and laughter. And by pausing in your patter, you not only give her a chance to chime in and hear her own voice, you’re also teaching her the social skills she’ll need to be a polite preschooler and a gracious adult.
Early Fun and Games with Baby
Wondering how to play with your wee one?
Here’s an itsy-bitsy refresher course.
Now that your baby is nearing the three-month milestone, he’s spending more time awake and alert. As exciting as that is, that may also have you wondering how to occupy his time (“Hmm…now what? It’s playtime — but how do I play with this lovely little lump?”). Well, it’s time to dig out those dusty nursery rhymes and baby-game classics from the recesses of your mind. Oops…is your brain still in the thick of pregnancy fog? Here’s a refresher course on those fun games that have been delighting children for ages…
- This Little Piggy: Starting with the big toe, the pigs “went to market,” “stayed home,” “ate roast beef,” “had none,” and (the pinky toe; tickle all the way up his body with this one!) “cried wee, wee, wee, all the way home.”
- Eyes, Nose, Mouth: .Hold your baby’s hands and guide them to touch your own eyes, nose, and mouth, then give him a kiss: “Eyes, nose, mouth, smooch!”
- So Big: Again, start by holding your baby’s hands. Then ask, “How big is baby?” (better yet, use his name). Then spread his arms wide and answer, “Sooooo big!”
In addition to these games, your baby may enjoy watching shapes dangling from a mobile or baby gym, looking at himself in a mirror (choose a baby-safe, unbreakable one), or listening and gazing intently as you shake a rattle or roll a ball with a bell inside. And it’s never too early to sing or read to him — he’s very busy storing up sounds and words that he’ll need later as a talkative toddler.
We use many of these game techniques when we work with babies nearing the 3 month mark. They are so expressive when they learn something new. It just makes your heart melt.