Blog


The role of the Registered Nurse or Newborn Care Provider is to feed, soothe, bathe, change & provide all other gentle care to baby through the night.

50 Activities to do with Baby in Chicago

Congratulations and welcome to parenthood!

Now that you’ve got the lay of the land, you’ve probably noticed you’re incredibly busy yet also somehow bored. You might be feeling isolated -especially during this time of lockdowns and quarantine- but at the same time inundated with advice and pictures of perfect families. We hope this blog 50 Activities to do with Baby in Chicago can give a inspiration to get out of Groundhog Day or just get out of the house safely. Here are 50 activities you can do with a newborn and infant that are also fun for parents. 

What Can I do with Baby? 50 Activities in Chicagoland 

50 Activities to do with Baby in Chicago

  1. Create a pottery keepsake with baby’s hand or footprint at a “paint your own” cafe. They are now taking reservations to ensure social distancing.
  2. Blow up balloons and let baby hit them in the air…or see the cause and effect with helium balloons!
  3. Stroll a garden, zoo or nature center
  4. Make a video to share with family/friends
  5. Head to the library…for outdoor storytime
  6. Get on baby’s eye level for tummy time  
  7. Visit a park; babies love to watch older kids!
  8. Join a stroller fitness class
  9. Pack a picnic to let baby enjoy the sights and sounds
  10. Set up an email address for baby and email photos, memories and messages of love to open when he’s a teenager.
  11. Kitchen dance party! 
  12. Grow a baby-sized garden out of kitchen scraps…it’s very easy and you can do it indoors!
  13. Compose and record a personalized song 
  14. Give baby a daytime bath just for fun
  15. Let your solid-eating baby “paint” with baby food, yogurt or squishy fruit…add food coloring for more fun!
  16. Strap baby into a carrier and take a hike
  17. Put some food coloring into water and let baby mix the colors, or watch you make color changes. 
  18. Immerse yourself in baby in the visual beauty of an outdoor sculpture garden or park
  19. Manipulate some nesting cups or soft blocks
  20. Turn out the lights and play with a flashlight or neon glow sticks
  21. Put Cheerios, beads or rice in an empty water bottle to create your own shaker
  22. Mask up and shop at a farmers’ market
  23. Let baby’s inner artist come to life during tummy time
  24. Give baby a wooden spoon to “help” with cooking meals
  25. Lay on your backs under a tree and watch the leaves sparkle
  26. Enjoy learning a new skill by learning baby sign language for free 
  27. Stimulate senses with soft textures and squishy toys
  28. Make a puppet show starring baby! 
  29. Look at and talk about photos of friends and family members
  30. Join your neighborhood MOMS club – it’s only $25-$30 per year and they design paydates with social distance in mind.
  31. Gaze at walls of colorful fish and small animals at a pet store.
  32. Check out a drive in movie...bonus: baby falls asleep on the way so parents get to watch a grown-up movie!
  33. Play ball! Roll a ball back and forth with baby
  34. Watch the sky for airplanes, birds, and helicopters
  35. Take a ride on a kid-sized train…did you know there were so many choices?
  36. Make a reservation to explore the Morton Arboretum. Nature is endlessly fascinating to baby..and adults!
  37. Give baby a pony ride on your knees
  38. Let baby shake or bang some musical instruments at home, pots and pans are a classic!
  39. Go camping indoors
  40. Shake a parachute/blanket in different rhythms
  41. Take a historic walking tour with baby in the carrier.
  42. When baby is able to sit up on her own well, give her a ride in a laundry basket!
  43. Visit a sprayground, they are open and deemed safe right now
  44. Blow bubbles and let baby pop them
  45. Play dress up with different hats to make baby laugh
  46. Since you can’t get out to classes, bring Gymboree and gymnastics to baby
  47. Step up your nightlight game with an LED projector
  48. Collect flowers or leaves and dry them in the pages of a book
  49. Let baby kick in sand or dirt
  50. Let baby fall asleep while you’re holding her. We promise you’re not making any bad habits.

Are you in the Chicago area and have family friendly and toddler activities to add to this list? Let Erin know on Facebook or Instagram…she’s a mom of 3 and the owner of LMS Chicago!

Good Morning Mommy!

This is the first of Let Mommy Sleep Chicago owner Erin’s short blogs about her journey as a mother of a toddler and infant and an entrepreneur…

This morning I woke up to a loud, “Yeaaah!”

I opened my eyes and looked at the clock. It was 6:45am. This is way too early,I thought as I glanced at the monitor, assuming to see a baby happily awakened from his slumber. Oh crap! There was no baby!I jumped out of the bed and raced down two flights of stairs to where the Yeeeahhh alarm originated.

I was moving so fast that I lost my balance and slipped down the last stair, falling through the baby gate. Carter my 3 year old, startled by my entrance, screamed and slipped off the trampoline as I landed hard on the playroom floor. That’s when I realized that this little boy escaped from his room, hopped ALL of the baby gates, and threw himself a dang on baby party!  The TV and the lights were on, the couch pillows were on the floor, the toys were scattered about, even the toilet seat was up (lort!).

‘My back hurts’, I thought to myself. It was only 6:45 in the morning.

You can connect with the Erin on Facebook and Instagram…she’d love the adult conversation.

Giving Birth During Covid19: Protocols and Possible Interventions

As coronavirus continues to be a threat to the American public, giving birth during covid19 in a hospital or a healthcare setting has many expecting parents feeling more anxious than usual. To help parents feel more confident and in control, common labor and delivery interventions are detailed below including coronavirus protocols. Interventions such as administration of pitocin may or may not happen but if they do, birthing moms and their support person will know exactly what is happening and why during their journey to baby’s arrival. Knowing the facts help us make informed decisions.

We will continue to update this blog as more information becomes available. 


Giving Birth During COVID19: Protocols and Possible Interventions

Whether a mother opts for a natural birth or an epidural, it can be helpful to understand the basics of medicines that may be administered during labor. Knowing the terms doctors and nurses may be using, and understanding the effects of potential interventions can help parents can feel comfortable with what may happen during labor and confident when making decisions, especially if there are unexpected changes.

Below is an overview of medications, protocols and interventions that may be used during labor and birth.

Social Distancing and Safety Protocols

As coronavirus continues, many hospitals are now implementing stricter rules on their maternity floors. Each hospital is different so it’s important to understand your hospital or birthing center’s specific procedures but we do know that in almost every hospital, mothers-to-be and support people should be prepared to wear masks even while mother is laboring.

Many hospitals are also implementing either a no-visitor rule or 1 visitor rule, meaning that birth moms can have 1 designated person supporting them through labor and delivery. The support person cannot change through mother’s entire stay in hospital; if it is your sister who brought you to the hospital, it must be your sister who stays as your “plus 1” drung all of labor and delivery. The support person can come and go, but cannot change.  Generally, no children under 18 are allowed to visit at all during this time.

One thing to remember is that maternity wards are typically in a completely different, secured section of the hospital to minimize exposure risk of coronavirus and other illnesses to families and newborns. Coronavirus protocols are in place to protect families in a place that is considered safe to begin with. It is also important to note that, the virus has not been detectedin amniotic fluid, breastmilk, or other maternal samples. (source: CDC). It is still receommended to breastfeed your newborn.

Epidurals, Anesthesia and Spinal Blocks

An epidural is the local anesthesia administered just outside the membrane that surrounds your spinal cord and spinal fluid. Epidurals are the most common pain relief for laboring mothers and while there are differing opinions on the effect epidurals have on baby, they are overwhelmingly considered safe for baby’s health. There are reports of babies born to moms who have had epidurals taking longer to get into position for birth, since the epidural also travels to the baby through the umbilical cord.

Temporary side effects of epidurals are heavy shivering, a ringing of the ears, backache, nausea or difficulty urinating. These are also considered harmless to mom and baby. Because they are used to dull the intense sensations of labor, an epidural may also slow contractions.

Spinal Block– A spinal block is regional anesthesia, meaning that mother is numb from the belly down. This is the intervention used for c-section birth since it means that mother cannot move, or feel any sensation .

General Anesthesia– Use of general anesthesia is extremely rare, but we’re including the term so parents will know the difference between general and regional anesthesia. General anesthesia means mother is completely asleep instead of just numb in one area. An example of when this intervention would be appropriate is if mother was in an accident and birth needs to be induced. (Again, very rare).

Because mother will be numb from the belly down with any of these anesthesia, a Foley catheter will be inserted into the bladder to drain urine.

Oxygen

Oxygen, administered through an oxygen mask to laboring moms helps mother deliver oxygen to baby. The oxygen mask might be given if baby’s heart rate is dropping due to fetal distress during labor and this can be scary. The good news is that giving oxygen is common and It has not been shown to have adverse effects on baby or mother.

Pitocin

Pitocin is a synthetic version a natural hormone called Oxytocin. It’s a stimulant commonly given to induce or strengthen contractions. It may be given after an epidural because the epidural has slowed labor. It may also be given after birth to ensure mother does not hemorrhage to help the uterus contract back to its non-laboring state. Pitocin is generally considered safe for mother and baby but there is concern by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) that it is overused, potentially causing unnecessary problems during labor and early breastfeeding.

Common side effects of Pitocin may include nausea, stomach pain and runny nose or sinus pain. Rare side effects may include confusion, slurred speech and headache. The doctor must be notified immediately if any of these are present.

When Pitocin is administered, Labor & Delivery nurses watch to be sure that contractions are not occurring too severely or too frequently. Contractions that are too strong or occurring too quickly can cause uterine rupture, meaning that the uterus tears creating a danger to both mother and baby. There is typically a 1:1 nurse to mom ratio when Pitocin is administered to ensure the laboring mom and baby are safe and monitored correctly.

Pain Management

Percocet is the most common medication given to help mothers with pain management after delivery. It is an opioid. Most opioids are not advised for nursing newborns, so when possible, sticking to NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) for pain relief is preferred.

For moms who have undergone a cesarean or who have had a difficult vaginal birth, Percocet is appropriate to help with this level of pain.

For mom’s whose goal is to nurse right away, the best thing to do is to nurse before Percocet is administered. If mom and her doctor decide that nursing on demand is okay on Percocet, the main thing to do is to watch baby for marked drowsiness. For a full term, healthy baby there will be side effects like sleepiness, but no lasting effects.

A nursing mother may also choose to pump while Percocet is in her system and save the milk for baby’s use when baby is 6 months or older. Once baby is past the newborn phase, the effects of opioids decrease.

It’s important to note here that if parents choose early formula supplementation so that opiods do not travel to baby, many, many motherswho want to, go on to have exclusive breastfeeding relationships.

Blood Pressure Control and Gestational Hypertension

Preeclampsia, also sometimes called toxemia, is high-blood pressure in pregnant women. It can become very dangerous if left untreated, and is treated using Magnesium Sulphate, also called “Mag.” Mag keeps Preeclampsia from advancing to Eclampsia, which manifests as seizures. When a mom is given magnesium sulphate it’s perfectly normal that she may be feeling too sick to nurse right away.

Hypertension meds like Procardia or Labetalol are beta-blockers that mom will take after birth and discharge for however long the doctor prescribes to keep blood pressure down. These do not affect nursing or the healthy full- term newborn.

***

Our hope is that this list helps parents-to-be become familiar with the terminology and basics of common interventions and medications given during birth so they can feel confident, in control and prepared should the unexpected arise and they hear doctors and nurses using these terms. This blog was written under the direction of present and former Let Mommy Sleep Labor & Delivery and NICU Registered Nurses but as always mother’s primary care physician is the authority on her care.

Newborn Care Class: For You and Your Family

Newborn Care Class: For You and Your Family
Newborn Care Class: For You and Your Family

Birthing classes cover what to expect during labor and delivery but what about when you bring baby home? Newborn Care Class: For You and Your Family, also called Baby Basics can take place in your home or virtually. Our Night Nurses (RN) teach and support all things infant from common feeding issues to swaddling how-to’s to safe sleep. We’re also here to educate about about the postpartum phase as parents transition from hospital to home and experience physical and mental changes.

Classes include the most up-to-date and evidence-based infant and postpartum care education. They are appropriate not only for expecting parents but grandparents and anyone who is caring for baby. Baby Basics is also helpful to parents expecting twins and triplets as we talk about getting the babies on the same schedule and the logistics of caring for multiples.

Classes are taught by Registered Nurses and happen in your home or virtually. You can have as many attendees as you’d like and each class also includes a Q&A session with the RN to address your specific questions and needs.

Class length: 1-2 hours

Cost: $100 per hour, includes unlimited phone, text and email support for as long as you wish.

Topics Covered: 

  • Safe sleep and minimizing the risk of SIDS
  • breast and bottle feeding: how to know baby is getting enough, nursing troubleshooting, feeding schedules
  • swaddling
  • soothing techniques
  • diapering
  • Basic Safety & CPR overview
  • baby’s first bath, cord and circumcision care
  • postpartum mental health  
  • How to safely set up your nursery

Night nannies or postpartum doulas wishing to take a certificate class can visit NewbornCareAcademy on Teachable to take our online class. Agencies can also schedule an in-person class for your group anytime.

Call or email us anytime to schedule your Baby Basics class, or contact us on Instagram or Facebook…we would love to hear from you!