How to diaper a newborn | Bitty Baby Basics

Diapering a baby seems pretty straightforward, right? Ask a new parent and you’ll find that’s not quite the case.

Sure, the basic concept is simple, but how do you know if you’ve got the right fit, if you’re using the right size, common culprits for those pesky leaks and blowouts? And what’s the deal with cloth diapers? We’re talking about diapering in part 3 of our Bitty Baby Basics Facebook Live video series with our tiny newborn co-host (who had a lot to say this time!) and co-owner Lindsey Hanna.

How to make sure your baby’s diaper fits

When checking for fit with a disposable diaper, you want to make sure that the waist is neither too loose nor too tight. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to fit your finger between the diaper and the baby, but not much else. The legs should have no gaps, and make sure you have fanned out the elastic so that it’s not inside the diaper. If you have a boy, make sure the penis is pointed down or the diaper will leak out the top. The gussets in a diaper are the protective barrier and what keeps the poop off of your baby’s clothes ;).

It’s time to size up when the diaper fits well, but you start to experience leaks and blowouts. With longer, leaner babies you may start to see a bit of “plumber’s crack” as they outgrow the diaper in length, and with more chunky babies you might see their bottoms coming out the sides at the leg. When you size up, or if you’re between sizes, make sure the diaper is tight around the waist to ensure that there aren’t any gaps in the leg.

What’s the deal with cloth diapers?

Cloth diaper tutorials abound online, but in our video we give a basic overview of different kinds of cloth diapers available.

All-in-one diapers: The diaper is in one piece, and there’s nothing to stuff. It goes on much like a disposable and can only be used once. All-in-ones are available in both newborn and one-size diapers for bigger babies.

Pocket diapers: These diapers have a soft inner layer and can be stuffed with an insert or other absorbent materials. You can find them with snaps or velcro closure, and they are highly adjustable to your growing baby. A standard one-size pocket diaper will last your baby from the disposable equivalent of size 1-2 all the way up to size 6! With a one-size pocket diaper, there are snaps to adjust both the waist/leg and the rise of diaper (how tall it is).

Newborn pocket diapers: A smaller version of the pocket diaper. These will often come with a couple of settings and last from about 8lbs and until 3-4 months old.

Diaper cover: In our video, we show a one-size diaper cover. There is no soft inner layer and you place your baby’s diaper directly onto the waterproof layer and against the baby’s skin. You can put absorbent material in a cover, or put it over a disposable to prevent blowouts.  Options to go in a cover include an insert made of cotton, bamboo, or charcoal bamboo, prefolds, and flats/flour sack towels. Prefolds and flat diapers can be folded to lay in or folded and fastened onto your baby.

How to swaddle a newborn | Bitty Baby Basics

 Learn how to swaddle a newborn with Bitty Baby Basics: A Newborn Care How-to Series (Facebook Live)!

If you’re a new parent or parent-to-be and don’t have much experience with newborns, this series is for you. Caring for a live, wiggling newborn is a whole new ballgame compared to the demo dolls you may have encountered in parenting classes. We’ll be taking time during this Live series to highlight different aspects of baby care, with our own newborn baby to demonstrate so that you can have a glimpse into what it’s really like. We’ll share our tips and tricks so that you can feel confident with your bitty bundle!

Swaddling is a skill that often leaves new parents feeling frustrated.

We’ll de-mystify it for you in this video and show you how to do a basic swaddle with an aden+anais muslin swaddle blanket, how to use a SwaddleMe velcro swaddle, and sleep sacks for when your baby is too big to swaddle anymore.

Help! My baby doesn’t like to to be swaddled!

Yes they do. Sure, some babies legitimately don’t like being swaddled, but in our experience most of the time it’s not that the baby hates a swaddle. There’s a learning curve and a poorly-done swaddle is often rejected by a newborn who just wants to be snug as a bug in a rug. Here’s some tips to remember:

Babies don’t like getting swaddled. They like being swaddled.

Don’t worry if your baby fusses and complains while you’re swaddling with them. If you’ve done it correctly, then your baby should be easy to soothe quickly after you finish.

Your swaddle probably isn’t tight enough.

No, you aren’t going to hurt your baby. Chances are your baby doesn’t like the swaddle because it’s not tight enough. Muslin in particular is a very stretchy material that gives almost immediately after you let it go, which means you have to pull it much tighter initially so that when you tuck that last tail in, the fabric relaxes into a comfortable snugness for your baby. Same goes with the “cheater” velcro swaddles.

Don’t swaddle once you see signs of rolling, or phase it out if your baby is 8 weeks old or more.

If you have a very young newborn, think 1-3 weeks, you might see them roll to their side naturally when you put them down. This is an infantile reflex and not the rolling you are looking for. Once your baby shows signs of rolling from front to back or back to front, it’s important to stop swaddling immediately. A baby who is swaddled cannot turn themselves back over and is at risk for suffocation.

Skip the blankets in the crib and move from a swaddle to a sleep sack.

Blankets in the crib are another big hazard for small babies, so it’s best to save them for snuggling. When your baby graduates from a swaddle, move them to a wearable blanket called a sleep sack. These are made by many different companies, including Halo, aden+anais, IKEA, Gerber, Carter’s etc… they are easy to find, easy to use, and safe for your baby. Make sure you don’t put your baby in a sleep sack that is too big.

How to get more sleep with a newborn

Everybody needs sleep, but especially moms! Are you pregnant or do you have a brand new baby? Wondering how to get more sleep with a newborn? We’ve got a few ideas up our sleeve.

how to get more sleep with a newborn
Sleeping like a baby means lots of interruptions- what’s a tired mom to do?

Some solutions for how to get more sleep with a newborn are simple and require only small amounts of effort on your part, but can yield you precious minutes of the shut-eye you’re craving.

Keep Mom Calm

The sound of a baby crying in the middle of the night isn’t exactly what we could call relaxing. For new parents, the sound of a newborn’s cry can be stressful, and when you’re on a lather/rinse/repeat cycle all night long with a newborn, that stress can make it hard to fall asleep again. Staying as calm as possible during night wakings will help you get back to sleep more quickly, which turns into more rest for you.

One easy way to stay calm is to let go of any expectations you have about sleep for your newborn and adopt a more “roll with it” approach. You can certainly create routines and habits for your baby to encourage sleep, but it takes time for newborns to develop sleep patterns. Take deep breaths. Remind yourself that this is temporary. Have your partner take over if things feel like too much. It’s small, but it adds up.

Minimize Movement

The more you and baby have to move around at night for feedings, diaper changes, and soothing back to sleep, the more you send the signal, “It’s time to wake up!” You can combat this by consolidating all of your nighttime necessities into one place.

If your baby is still sleeping in your room, find a dim nightlight and make a space for middle-of-the-night diaper changes.

If you are breastfeeding, try nursing in the side lying position (more rest for you!) and then moving your baby back to the bassinet or crib. Consider making yourself a basket that has snacks and water for when nighttime hunger strikes.

If you are bottle feeding, you can move your bottle warmer and a small cooler with the night’s bottles so that you can warm the bottle while you change your baby’s diaper. Minimizing movement during night wakings will help you take care of business so you can get back to the business of sleeping soundly.

Call in Reinforcements: The Postpartum Doula

Sometimes, you need to call in reinforcements for nighttime sleep. Don’t worry, we’ve got it covered! If you want to get some sleep knowing that someone is there to care for YOU as much they are to care for your baby, an overnight postpartum doula does just that. Our doulas are trained in normal postpartum recovery and are well-versed in baby care, so you can sleep more soundly knowing that your family is in expert hands. If you’re breastfeeding, we’ll bring the baby to you to nurse, then quickly take them away for everything else so you can go right back to sleep, or we can give a bottle of pumped milk if you prefer. Everything we do goes through the filter of, “What does mom need right now?” Bonus: You might even wake up to clean dishes, a folded load of laundry, and a hot cup of coffee!

When it comes to figuring out how to get more sleep with a newborn, there’s no magic recipe that works for everyone. Let Doulas of Memphis help figure out what works for you so you can wake up feeling rested and ready to be the supermom we know you are!

Relationships after baby: What to expect

As we grow and reach new milestones in our lives, our relationships with those around us change and evolve. Relationships after baby are no different, but oftentimes new parents are blindsided by how much their relationships change when a new baby is added into the picture. Many are surprised by how much their world shrinks compared to how things were before children. During this time of adjustment, parents may deal with extra stress, tension, feelings of isolation and loneliness, and perhaps even a bit of grief over the loss of freedom to which they were accustomed. All of these feelings are normal, but they don’t have to define you or your relationships!

relationships after baby
Your relationships after baby may change, but you’ve got this.

Relationships after baby: Spouse/Partner

For many couples, marriage and learning how to live together is a big adjustment. You learn how to balance your life with someone else’s in a way that you didn’t have to before you were under one roof- reconciling schedules, household management, meals, habits and idiosyncrasies are parts of truly becoming one unit. When you add a pregnancy and then a baby into the mix, that routine becomes disrupted, particularly in the newborn days. There’s another person to balance now and it takes time to arrive at that new feeling of “normal.”  Becoming a parent changes you, and it will change how you interact with your spouse, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Be patient with each other as you grow into you new roles. Keep the lines of communication open. Take a little time every day to connect, even in a small way. Maybe it’s not quite the same as it was before, but you’ll find more things to love about each other along the way. If you’re struggling, never be ashamed to ask for help! You don’t exist in a vacuum and there is support out there for you if you want and/or need it.

Relationships after baby: Family

When you have a baby, the dynamic of the family you grew up in shifts, too:  It’s your turn to have a crack at this whole parenting business, and your loved ones may deal with that in a variety of ways. Some may be supportive no matter what, while others seem to question every choice you make. When faced with negativity, the important thing to remember is that their feelings are about them and not about you. Respecting where they came from as parents and setting healthy boundaries at the start can free you up to enjoy your relationships with your family. Chances are your family cares about you and your baby and wants to see you succeed, and supportive family is a gift both to you and to your child!

Relationships after baby: Friends

Much in the same way that getting married can change your friendships, so can having a baby. The friends you had in college or when you were single may not be in the same place in life that you are right now. They might seem like they’re in an entirely different world, and you can’t remember the last time you got together, or when you do finally sit down for lunch you may struggle to relate to where they are right now. It’s true that some of your friendships might fizzle out, but your friends don’t have to be in the same stage as you are for you to have a relationship with them. The ones who stick around and weather each change with you? Treasure those friendships. Cultivate them. Include them in the life of your family. I promise you’re not too boring for them. They know that you’ll get your night out soon and that one day you’ll be able to invest in them more, and that’s okay.

Relationships after baby: Your baby (and siblings)

Even your relationship with your baby will change over time- after all, you’ve just met and are starting from scratch! As you learn your baby’s habits and get glimpses of his or her personality, you’ll become more responsive as a parent and will likely find more enjoyment in spending time with your baby. Some parents feel bonded to their baby immediately. Others take extra time, and that’s okay too! You may already have other children and are juggling their needs with the needs of your newborn. Children are forgiving, resilient, and know that you love them and care for them. Time with your older children will look different too, but they’ll also have their own relationships to build with their new brother or sister. Perhaps they’ll even have more chances to build stronger relationships with other loved ones.

You’ll find your way…together.

Part of what we do as postpartum doulas is help you figure out how to integrate your new baby into your existing family and relationships. We’re happy to help care for you and support you as you figure out how it all fits together.  Give us a call at (901) 308-4888 or drop us a line and let’s start a conversation about how we can serve your family!

 

Postpartum Doulas, Nannies, and Babysitters, Oh my!

I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “Where were you when my baby was little?! I wish I would have known!” in response to my description of what a postpartum doula does. Clearly there is a huge need, but the  term “postpartum doula” still has a way to go before it makes its way into the public consciousness.  If you want to read about Doulas of Memphis postpartum doulas, you can click here, but I’d like to take a moment to break down the differences between a postpartum doula and some of its alternatives.

postpartum doulas
Postpartum Doulas, Nannies, and Babysitters, Oh my!

Babysitters vs. Postpartum Doulas


While postpartum doulas do occasionally step into a babysitting-type role, babysitting is not one of the primary duties of a postpartum doula. A babysitter is typically hired for temporary or short-term childcare where the parent is either absent, or at home and unavailable. The babysitter’s focus is solely on the care of children, not on household tasks or the well-being of the mother. A postpartum doula’s focus is on caring for and nurturing the mother. Sometimes that includes baby care or looking after older siblings, but not as a general rule and always in the context of the mother’s needs.

Housekeepers vs. Postpartum Doulas

Basic household tasks are well within the postpartum doula’s scope, but they are just that: basic. While a postpartum doula will do your dishes, cycle your laundry, give your counters and sinks a quick wipe-down, and help you deal with that one clutter spot that’s driving you crazy, we do those things because they provide relief for parents. Time normally spent on mundane daily tasks instead becomes time for self care, to connect as a family, and bond with their baby.

Nannies vs. Postpartum Doulas

The job description of a nanny overlaps the most with that of a postpartum doula.  Both a nanny and a postpartum doula assist with baby care, sibling care, and do simple tasks that keep a household running. A nanny might even stay overnight and assist with nighttime baby care, but that’s where the similarities stop.  Hiring a nanny is a long-term childcare and home management solution, and a nanny may or may not have any kind of certification or credentials.


Doulas of Memphis postpartum doulas are not only well-versed in infant care, but also in what families are going through physically and emotionally during the postpartum period. You can ask your doula questions about postpartum recovery, what’s normal, and what warrants a call to your doctor. Doulas of Memphis postpartum doulas are also trained birth doulas, which provides a framework in which a postpartum client can discuss her birth if she so chooses. Unless she has an outside certification or personal experience, a nanny does not provide breastfeeding assistance. Doulas of Memphis postpartum doulas are trained in assisting mothers with normal breastfeeding and are able to refer clients to additional lactation support if it is needed.

Much like a postpartum doula, a  night nanny (aka “baby nurse”) takes care of your baby during the night so that you can get the sleep you’ve been craving. The biggest difference is that the nanny is there exclusively for the baby, while the postpartum doula is there for the whole family.  Your postpartum doula can take over night-time bottle feeding, or bring your baby to you if you are breastfeeding. She is available to listen, validate, and help if things feel hard, and to answer those new mom questions that may be keeping you up at night.

Nannies do form relationships and care about the families they serve, a nanny’s primary concern is not the emotional well-being of the mother. For a postpartum doula, the physical and emotional well-being of the mother is top priority! Those mundane tasks aren’t mundane to us, and we do all of it with a desire to provide you with same the loving, attentive care that you give to your baby.

 

Self Care: Mom Edition

self care, memphis postpartum doula

Self care is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for moms. We all know that the holy grail of “Have coffee with friends and then wander around Target alone” doesn’t happen often, so until then, we’ve compiled a list of everyday suggestions (complete with step-by-step instructions):

Have a miniature spa day

  1.  Get in shower
  2.  Wash hair
  3.  Shave legs from knees down

Get a face massage

  1.  Place baby near face
  2.  Close eyes, mouth, and nostrils
  3.  Enjoy massage

Take a luxurious bath

  1.  Fill bathtub with hot water
  2.  Light candles
  3.  Enjoy hot water for approximately 10 minutes

Potty alone

  1.  Hide all housekeys
  2.  Send family outside
  3.  Ignore all phone calls
  4.  Enjoy lack of audience
  5.  Magically find the keys again

Treat yourself to dessert

  1.  Make sure no one is watching
  2.  Procure chocolate
  3.  Consume chocolate in closet

Do some yoga

  1.  Start feeding baby
  2.  Notice phone is just out of reach
  3.  Channel inner contortionist

or…hire a Doulas of Memphis postpartum doula

  1.  Take as long as you need in the bathroom
  2.  Do actual yoga while your postpartum doula does the dishes and entertains baby
  3.  Eat the dessert your postpartum doula made for you while you were taking a nap
  4.  Drink coffee while it’s still hot
  5.  Avoid google by asking your postpartum doula all of your new mom questions
  6.  Snuggle your baby while your postpartum doula folds all the laundry
  7.  Reconnect with your spouse while your postpartum doula puts baby to bed
  8.  Get a full night’s sleep and wake up feeling refreshed
  9.  Do something that makes you feel normal again
  10.  Eat a home-cooked meal that you don’t have to cook or clean up

Here at Doulas of Memphis, our postpartum doulas want to know what self care means for you. Tell us in the comments!