Life with Baby

Having a baby is a life-changing event. The sleepless nights, the endless messes, and inevitable minivan are just part of it. Here we'll have articles on how your life will be different in having, raising, and enjoying life with a baby.

27 Fun Facts About Babies

Fun Facts about babies

Credit: Flickr user festivefrog

Babies are some of the most wonderful things in the world, aren’t they? At first they seem so helpless, so incapable of taking care of themselves. What many parents may not realize is that it’s all an act. Babies know exactly what they’re doing. Here are some lesser-known facts about babies for you to enjoy.

Babies Have Strange Abilities

In addition to their well-known talents — putting things in their mouths, causing diaper blowouts, and generally being cute — babies also have some strange abilities that go away as they get older.

1. A baby can breathe and swallow at the same time.

Notice how they can chug a bottle, seemingly without stopping? They can breathe and swallow simultaneously until about seven months old. This unique ability can be defeated by a stuffy nose, which is why babies just hate getting sick.

2. Most newborns cry without tears until they are three to six weeks old. 

When they do learn to turn on the waterworks, their tears contain stress hormones. So the act of crying actually helps calm babies down. That’s the science, at least. Sometimes it sure doesn’t seem that way.

3. Babies are born with natural swimming abilities.

They can hold their breath, too. I have the feeling that this is related to spending so much time in the womb. The down side is that this ability quickly disappears.

4. Most newborns will lose all the hair they are born with in 3-4 months.

All right, so hair loss isn’t really an uncommon talent (especially among older men), and babies generally don’t have much hair to begin with, but I still found this interesting. And I know of at least two babies where the hair fell out and came back a different color.

Babies At Birth

The very fact that a baby has arrived is a miracle of biology, and that’s just the beginning. Here are some lesser-known things that are true about your baby on day 1.

5. A baby’s brain contains about 100 billion neurons.

Now you can understand why they pick up on everything. These neurons are pretty much what babies will have to work with throughout life. They will grow and change (and some may die) but new neurons generally won’t be made.

6. Approximately 80% of babies are born with a birthmark.

According to WebMD, There are two main categories of birth marks: red birth marks, which take their color from blood vessels and may even appear shortly after birth, and pigmented birth marks, which are always present at birth.

7. A newborn’s kneecap is made entirely of cartilage.

It won’t even show up on an X-ray for a few years. The cartilage is softer and facilitates growth. After three or so years, bone begins to replace cartilage, and by young adulthood, most of the cartilage is gone.

8. A baby’s heart beats 180 times per minute at birth.

This drops to 115 beats per minute at 1 year old. Within a few hours, it drops to 140. By adulthood, the typical resting heart rate is 70-80 beats per minute.

A Baby’s Senses

The senses are how babies learn about the world, but some are more keen than others in the first year of life. Here are just a few examples.

9. Babies are born nearsighted.

At birth, their vision is roughly 20/400. They can focus best on things about ten inches from their noses. Just the right distance: their little hands, and their mother’s face while being held. They’ll reach 20/20 vision by about six months of age.

10. Babies are born with sophisticated hearing. 

They can work out where a sound is coming from just 10 minutes after being born. They can also recognize their mother’s voice, often on the day they’re born. In contrast, it takes about two weeks for the baby to recognize daddy’s voice.

11. A baby’s sense of touch develops from head to toe.

This is also one of the most advanced senses at birth. The mouth is the first region to become sensitive, which is why young babies put everything in their mouths.

12. A baby’s strongest sense is smell.

Babies can recognize their mothers by scent alone. Wonder what happens to this super-sense when they have a poopy diaper.

13. Babies like high-pitched singing.

Research has shown that babies prefer women’s voices to men, and high-pitched singing to low-pitched singing. You’ll also notice that you (and most people, by the way) tend to use higher tones when talking to a baby. That’s no accident: it’s an adaptation to the fact that you get a better response from a baby if you use a higher-pitched voice.

Some Facts About Parents

Let’s not forget those two amazing people who brought baby into this world: mom and dad. You’ll remember them as the dazed, sleep-deprived, yet mostly ebullient folks who probably haven’t showered or shaved recently.

14. New parents in the U.S. typically spend $7,000 in a baby’s first year

This doesn’t count medical costs, of course. But the formula, diapers, day care, and other costs begin to pile up rather quickly.

15. A new baby takes one night of sleep per week from its parents. 

A new baby usually deprives each of its parents around 350-400 hours of sleep in the first year. That works out to around one nights sleep lost per week, per parent. You can begin to imagine why we devoted an entire web site to baby sleep training.

16. The average woman changes a diaper in 2 minutes and 5 seconds. 

At that pace, the average mother spends 120 hours per year changing diapers. Interestingly, the average man does it in 1 minute and 36 seconds. So men will usually change a baby faster. But the real question is this: do they change it better?

Facts About Preemies

I heard this year from the president of the March of Dimes that pre-term birth has surpassed birth defects as the most common cause of infant mortality and morbidity in the western world. It’s a serious problem, and one the March of Dimes hopes to confront head on. That said, even preemies have some interesting facts to offer.

17. One in eight babies is born prematurely in the United States.

That’s about half a million babies each year! Low birth weight rate has increased 9% since 2000 and 24% since the mid 1980s.

18. Premature babies don’t sweat.

Infants born more than 2 weeks premature don’t sweat at all, even when too warm. In older infants, sweat developers first on the forehead, then on the chest, and later on the arms and legs.

19. Many famous writers, artists, scientists, and world leaders were preemies.

Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, Mark Twain, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Pablo Picasso, Auguste Renoir, Napoleon Bonaparte and Winston Churchill are a few examples.

Your Growing Baby

I know that you’ve heard, over and over, that babies grow up fast. Let’s actually put some hard numbers behind that bit of village wisdom.

20. A baby will eat an estimated 15 pounds of cereal per year.

This obviously doesn’t start until your baby is old enough to eat cereal, which is typically around 6 months of age. Once they figure it out, babies seem to love cereal. But then again, who doesn’t?

21. A newborn baby will triple its weight by twelve months.

Between birth and the end of its second year, an infant will have quadrupled in size. If they carried on that rate, babies would weigh over a thousand pounds by age five!

22. By twelve months, a baby’s foot size equals half of their adult foot size.

Since babies that age usually have feet shaped like blocks of cheese, I believe this refers to length, not width of the foot.

23. A baby’s head is proportionally huge, being 1/4 of the total body length

Compare that to the head:body length ratio for adults, which is roughly 1:8.

How Babies Have Grown-Ups Beat

In addition to default adorability, babies have some advantages over us grown-ups — in addition to the fact that we pay the bills, feed them, change diapers, etc. Here are a few examples.

24. A baby has 300 separate bones at birth, but adults have only 206.

That’s almost 50% more! Several bones will fuse together as the baby grows. For example, the skull at birth comprises several bones that actually overlap one another during birth to help the noggin squeeze out. Amusingly, the researchers who discovered an essential protein for the fusing of skull bones named it noggin.

25. The brain of a newborn accounts for 10% of body weight. In adults, that’s just 2%. 

It’s useful to keep this little statistic in mind when you’re amazed at how quickly your baby learns. If you’re worried that you’ll forget these numbers, just ask your child to remember them for you.

26. A baby has around 10,000 taste buds, far more than adults

They show up for the third trimester, not just on the tongue but also on the sides, back, and roof of the mouth. That’s allegedly why trying diverse foods during the third trimester is important for mom. Eventually these extra taste buds disappear.

27. Babies laugh on average 300 times a day, adults only 60.

All right, so that number only applies once babies learn to laugh. Still, it’s a reminder that babies probably enjoy life and take things much less seriously than we do. Probably because they don’t know about nuclear missiles or income tax. Still, when it comes to laughing, it’s advantage baby.


Your Baby’s First Halloween Fun

Baby's first halloween fun

Image Credit: surlygirl on Flickr

Halloween manages to be our favorite holiday every year. There are just so many things to love about it: the change of seasons, the costumes, the parties, and of course the free candy. Maybe it’s the simple fact that there’s no gift-giving or mandatory family get-togethers. No matter the reason, your baby’s first Halloween will be a milestone event.

First, you should be aware that this Halloween celebration will be unlike the others you’ve known. As a kid, you probably remember trick-or-treating with friends and stuffing pillow sacks full of candy. As a young adult, it was more about Halloween parties: drinks, socializing, and wearing costumes that were clever or funny or just scandalous. Maybe scaring the bejesus out of some neighborhood kids by jumping out of bushes.

Your baby’s first Halloween will be fun, but it won’t be the same as before. Trick-or-treating is out… let’s be honest, it’s just you carrying your baby up to someone’s door and asking for candy. Parties going to be different: you won’t get as wild, and probably shouldn’t dress as slutty, as you have before (now that you’re all grown up and a parent and everything). But here are some great ways to enjoy it.

Halloween Photo Shoots

baby halloween photo

Credit: nerdcoregirl on Flickr

We’ve already written about traditional baby photo shoot ideas, so the Halloween version is the first thing that comes to mind. Fall offers many colorful backdrops for photos:

  • Pumpkin patches
  • Piles of leaves in the backyard
  • Tractors and farm fields

Be sure to bundle your little one up to stay warm in those crisp fall breezes. Take lots of photos, post online to make others jealous. Now you’re getting into the spirit of Halloween!

Baby Pumpkins for Halloween

baby halloween pumpkin

Credit: surlygirl on Flickr

There is one requirement for your first Halloween as a new parent, one simple rule that must forever be followed because it’s just so previous. You need to, at some point, dress your baby up as a pumpkin.

This is easy to do, all you really need is a pumpkin hat and an orange onesie. There are little pumpkin costumes for newborns, too. It’s super-cute because babies are kind of pumpkin-shaped anyway, and as a bonus, these tend to be low-maintenance and warm costumes.

Alternatively, you could go with the equally amusing but slightly messier option of putting your baby in a large carved pumpkin. Not for more than a few minutes, of course. They usually hate it.

Baby Halloween Costume Ideas

Last, but certainly not least, are the baby Halloween costumes. This might be the most fun you’ve had in a long, long time. So many cute ideas! If you play your cards right, you can showcase your little one in two or three different costumes this year: one for visiting family or neighbors, one for the Halloween party, one for the trunk-or-treat… you get the idea. I picked out some of my favorite cute, warm, snuggly baby costumes from Walmart:

Baby Oatmeal Bear Halloween Costume Baby Little Lamb Halloween Costume Baby Cow Halloween Costume Baby Cookie Monster Halloween Costume
Oatmeal Bear Pink Lamb Baby Cow Cookie Monster

Pick Your Baby Costumes Now

One bit of advice: don’t wait until mid-October to start looking for a baby costume, because virtually every store within 100 miles of you will be ransacked. You’ll be sifting through trampled piles of mismatched costume pieces, plastic swords, and broken magic wands.

Finally, here’s your bonus idea: find a group costume idea that you and your baby can share. Once we went as Prince Charming, Cinderella, and the “Pumpkin” carriage. For this year we’re looking at video game characters, cowboys, pirates… anything that five people can do. Halloween only comes once a year, so we’re going all out!

Halloween Baby Foods

winter squash baby foodUnfortunately, your baby’s probably too little to enjoy the sweet side of Halloween. But if your little one is on solid food, you can both enjoy the fall season by making your own baby food. All you need is a baby food grinder and some storage tubs/bowls/tupperware. Take a trip to the fruit stand or farmer’s market, and load up on the harvest: yams, acorn squash, butternut squash, carrots, and other fresh vegetables make easy, inexpensive, and nutritious baby foods. You can make a huge batch of it and freeze the containers, enough to last you through the winter. You know, like a squirrel.

Making your own baby food is a topic we’ll have to cover in another article, but it’s certainly one way you should try to make your baby’s first Halloween fun!

8 Things to Do with Baby Photos

8 things to do with baby photosA simple fact about having a baby — as most of your childless friends will probably tell you — is that you take an unprecedented amount of photos. Since the invention of the digital camera, probably more photos have been taken of babies than any other subject. Depending on your level of obsession, you might take hundreds or thousands of baby photos in the first year.

Importantly, and I’m sorry to have to tell you this, a lot of them will be crappy. The odds of capturing your baby’s adorable smile or first steps or sleeping face in a good photo are usually 1 in 10 at best. But that’s no problem, because digital photos are essentially free so you can just keep snapping until you get all of the ones you need. That’s what they did at the photo studio where you probably dropped some serious dough.

And if you read our article on baby photo shoot ideas, you probably got some adorable ones. But once you’ve inundated Facebook and the e-mails of everyone you know with photos, once the refrigerator and walls are covered in your favorites, what the heck do you do with all of the rest? In this article, we cover some helpful and creative ways to deal with baby photo overload.

1. Three Words: Baby Photo Calendar

baby photo calendar ideas

Photo Calendar on Snapfish

You might love kittens, or The Far Side, but nothing beats a calendar featuring your own cute baby. On Snapfish, you can design and order custom desk or wall calendars with lots of different backgrounds, color photos, and my favorite feature: custom date marking (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.).

They’re very fun to design and make good Christmas gifts, too. If you really want to impress, use a baby photo taken each month in next year’s calendar.

2. Organize Your Photos

Simply managing thousands of different image files can be a difficult task. Ideally, you’d like to tag and rename and sort every single baby photo, but let’s be honest: you have way too many photos and far too little time. Realistically, your best shot is to organize photos by putting them into a bunch of folders, centered around events or periods of time.

If you do this whenever you download the photos to your computer, then you can sort the folders by creation date and thus have a decent organization system.

3. Give Framed Photos as Gifts

At some point you’ll run out of room in your own home and workplace to keep those adorable baby photos. Now it’s time to inundate the empty spaces of others. A cute baby photo in a decent frame makes a nice little gift, especially for grandparents and godparents. If you have a photo featuring both your baby along with those godparents/grandparents, it’s sure to be well-received.

4. Print a Photo Book

baby photo booksOne way to capture special events — like your baby’s homecoming, or first Halloween, or special play dates with friends/cousins — is to print a little photo book. This is my absolute favorite thing to do with baby photos, because photo books:

  • Are easy to make. It takes about five minutes to design a photo book on Snapfish, with adorable layouts and captions and everything. 
  • Use many photos. A dozen or more of your favorite photos become immortalized together, in one place.
  • Are inexpensive. You can print a 5×7″ photo book for about $12, and they occasionally go on sale. Not a bad deal for the number of photos one book contains.
  • Store easily. No wall space or refrigerator frontage is required; you can literally store them on a bookshelf, which is what we do.

5. Back Up Photo Files

photo backup driveIf there’s one thing I’ve learned about owning various laptops and hard drives over the years, it’s that they are unreliable. Hard drives crash. Memory cards are damaged or lost. Laptops are stolen. A relative of mine had years of photos on his smart phone, but never backed them up, so when he left the phone in a cab, he lost everything.

You need to back those photos up, somewhere safe, and on a regular basis. So what are your options?

  • Dropbox offers secure online file backup and sharing. The bonus here is that you can backup from one device (i.e. your computer) and access or share the files with another. Free accounts start at 2 GB, which is something like 1,000 photos.
  • If you need more backup space (i.e. for photos and videos), a backup hard drive, like Western Digital’s My Passport, is the way to go. You connect them to your computer by USB and it will backup whatever you want on a regular basis. Then just keep the drive somewhere safe.
  • photo dvd burnerWith an AmazonBasics DVD burner you can backup your photos and videos to DVD. You can buy a pack of DVD-R discs for about $6, and each one holds about 4.7 GB (2500 photos) or 120 minutes of video. This is a nice option because you can store the DVDs in a safe or filing cabinet for safekeeping.

Don’t rely on social media sites — such as Facebook and Flickr — or e-mail as a backup method for your photos. They usually shrink the images for display on the web, which means the quality isn’t enough to print. Also, they (and not you) are the owner of content that you upload, so if the company goes bankrupt or changes its policies, you could be hosed.

6. Mugs and Mouse Pads

photo travel mug

Travel Photo Mug

Some might find this cheesy, but I love taking favorite photos and turning them into every day objects, like mugs and mousepads (and even T-shirts). For an unusual take on the photo mug, take a look at Snapfish’s commuter mug, which is a 13-ounce, stainless steel, spillproof travel mug for hot or cold beverages.  If you’re a coffee drinker, which you probably are since you have a baby, you can never have enough of these.

The best part is that you have less chances of losing it, since your average kleptomaniac will be unlikely to take a mug with someone else’s baby photos on it.

7. Screen Savers and Desktop Backgrounds

Another little way to put your baby’s cherub face all around you is the screen saver. Electronic screens are everywhere these days, and most of them — laptops, televisions, smartphones, iPads — can have a custom screensaver. I use my laptop for presentations at work, and hey, if my co-workers spend a few seconds looking at my cute kids, I figure it brightens their day.

8. Baby Photos as Art

baby canvas art

Wrapped Art Canvas

I saved one of my favorite baby photo ideas for last: turning your favorite shots into actual art. On Snapfish you can upload a photo that will be printed onto a wrapped artistic canvas so that it almost looks like a painting. They come in a variety of sizes and are ready to hang on the wall.

It does take wall or shelf space, but the printed canvas is a clever and unique way to show off your favorite photos. They’re good for taking to work, too, or giving to grandparents.

That’s it for our 8 things to do with baby photos. Have another clever idea that we forgot? Please leave a comment below!


Baby Photo Shoot Ideas

baby photo shoot ideas

Original image credit: Flickr user fumpt

Taking baby photos, especially professional ones, is something I wish we’d done more when our children were newborns. We see our friends and relatives posting these spectacular photos with the most adorable baby poses, and we can’t help but feel a pang of regret. Think about it: your baby is changing and growing every day. Can you really afford not to set aside some time for preserving those precious moments?

Done right, your baby’s first photos will be absolute treasures for the rest of your lives. To find inspiration, I collected a number of adorable baby photo shoot ideas on Pinterest. The images below are on Pinterest (not my server), so please keep in mind that some may be subject to copyright.

Once you have your ideas, be sure to check out our article on 8 things to do with baby photos.

Newborn Baby Photos

These precious shots are all about putting the baby in cute little containers like crates, baskets, and suitcases.

baby photo shoot 1 baby photo shoot 2 baby photo shoot 3
A cute pose in a wooden “boat” with knit hat and fish, for your future angler. Baby kissing booth pose… now that’s five cents well spent! A suitcase on a road out in the country. Your baby has to sit up for this one.

Sleeping Baby Photos

A sleeping newborn is a precious (and rare) thing… I love how these babies aren’t all bundled up, so you can see their cute little bodies.

sleeping baby photo sleeping baby photo shoot
I love the pose at the top with the chin in hands… how did they do that? This is a sweet little headband, essentially the same pose done three different times.

Mom and Baby Photo Shoot

Mom and baby poses are ones that you’ll cherish, and great for moms or dads to show off at work.

mom and baby photo shoot mom and baby photo mom and baby photo ideas
Mom and baby pose in yen-yang fashion. Another cute pose; I love the mom’s hair. It helps if you look like a model. But if you don’t, this sweet pose of a mom kissing baby is a classic, no make-up required!

Other Cute Baby Photos

Here are some other cute ideas with props, dads, and clever focus techniques.

Cute baby photos Baby photo ideas
A classy chair out in the forest… there’s something magical about it though I wish you could see more of baby’s face. I absolutely love this elegant old leather suitcase… I’ll bet it’s soft and smells like her dad, which is why she’s fast asleep.
Dad and baby photo shoot Cute baby photo Baby in boots photo
Don’t forget a dad and baby pose; these are super-cute. Everything is soft and fluffy in this photo. Babies in boots = cutest thing ever.
Baby foot photo Baby feet photo ideas
Baby feet with the parents’ wedding rings on the big toes! I love this pose and the monochrome. The same pose, from a different angle. Is that really dad’s ring? Yowza.

What To Do With Baby Photos

free photobook on snapfishSo you’ve taken your adorable baby photos, picked out the absolute favorites, and made all of your friends jealous on Facebook or Pinterest. What now? Sure, you can dump the image files into massive folders on your computer, never to be seen again. But I like the idea of turning a baby photo shoot into a more permanent keepsake in the form of a photobook.

You can design photobooks on Snapfish with your own photos — they let you pick the layout, colors, captions, and everything. It’s a fun way to actually do something with your baby photos, and they make great gifts for friends and family too.

10 Great Things Daddies Do

10 things daddies do

Original image credit: EtanSivad on Flickr

We love asking our spunky 4-year-old daughter open-ended questions to learn more about how she sees the world. Since it’s Father’s Day, we asked her one of my favorites, “What do daddies do?” Based on her responses, I came up with this list of 10 things daddies do from a child’s sometimes hilarious perspective.

1. Daddies are strong. They carry one or more kids at once, they lift heavy boxes, they lug the stroller or pack-n-play in and out of the car. Theirs is the bike onto which we latch the trailer for the kids. They

2. Daddies fix things. Something shatters, breaks, or comes apart, and Daddy can fix it. He’s a wizard with Scotch tape and superglue. He airs up tires, tightens bolts, and replaces batteries. Millions of dollars are likely saved each year when dads sit down at the kitchen table with their tools and a broken toy.

3. Daddies can reach stuff up high. Compared to a baby or toddler, daddies seem huge. Whenever we need to reach something up high — a bottle in a cabinet, a balloon that’s out of reach, or things on top of the refrigerator — daddy usually gets the call.

4. Daddies kill bugs. Whenever there’s wildlife to be handled, from an ant to a spider to a wayward frog, Daddy usually gets the call. Maybe it’s just a fly, maybe it’s a plague-like influx of junebugs. He may smash it, he may catch and release it, but he’ll certainly get it out of the house!

5. Daddies work outside. They mow the lawn, rake the leaves, and do the most fascinating things with shovels, saws, and other tools. They climb ladders, trim bushes, and clean gutters. They tinker around in the garage for hours. They wind and unwind hoses, dig holes, and sometimes even break out the power-washer.

6. Daddies keep us safe. This is a role as old as the human race, and found across many other species of mammals besides. Daddies keep the bad people and dangerous animals away, they buckle us into our seat belts, they install the child locks and baby gates, and they go to investigate strange things that go bump in the night.

7. Daddies eat a lot. They like the biggest piece of steak, the most mashed potatoes, and seconds on just about everything. If kids need encouragement to grow up big and strong, they’ll take notes!

8. Daddies are fast. They usually win the family footraces. They’re quick to grab a wayward toddler or catch a young ‘un running from threats of bedtime.

9. Daddies take care of us. They help the kids, they help mommy, and they help other families because they understand that everyone needs a hand from time to time. They even help strangers, an example that makes a powerful lesson for those watchful little eyes.

10. Daddies plays with kids like they’re kids themselves. They become the monster in the cave. They take turns giving and taking chases or tickles. They climb up in tunnels, go down slides, and jump in the pool. That may be why kids love daddies so much… they’re fun!