One of the perks of being a birth and newborn photographer is being up-to-date on all the latest and greatest must-haves for new parents. I wish some of this stuff was around when I was having my babies! The other month, I shared the BEST baby shower gifts for the mamas in your life. I used Instagram to crowdsource some of the answers and figured I would do it again with the best apps.
These apps are helpful for tracking feeding, sleep, sharing photos, and keeping up with milestones! I knew most of these, but a couple came highly recommended by my Instagram fans.
Meet the Must-Have Apps for New Parents
Here are the 5 must-have apps for new parents as they navigate the newborn phase! These aren’t in any particular order, so read through them and see if you think any will help you!
Baby Feeding Log – This super simple newborn breastfeeding app helps you track every feed. Keeping a log of the feeds will make sure your baby is eating enough and is easy to share the information with the pediatrician. They will ask how much the baby is eating at every appointment and you’ll have the answer! Download the app.
Baby Tracker – This is the next level from the Baby Feeding Log app! This tracks feedings, diapers, and milestones. You can make sure the baby is eating enough and producing the right amount of diapers! No more wondering or trying to remember. Download the app.
Huckleberry – Meet the sleep expert in your pocket! This app helps you track your baby’s sleep and receive expert sleep guidance. Instead of guessing if the baby is ready for sleep, the app will actually tell you the sweet spot to lay the baby down. It’s super well designed! This one was recommended a few times on Instagram! Download the app.
TinyBeans – If you’re wanting to share photos of your sweet baby with family and friends, but don’t want to post them all on social media, this app takes care of that! You can upload photos to privately share with your loved ones. They can download the app as well or simply sign up for email digests of recent photos. Download the app.
Wonder Weeks – Why does baby seem fussier than normal? What’s baby learning this week? This app answers all that and more! You enter some information about your baby and this app calculates your baby’s development schedule. It will tell you when baby is entering a development leap and what signs to look for. This is a game-changer!Download the app.
Capturing the Newborn Phase
These apps all promise to help make the newborn phase (and beyond) easier. While the newborn phase is anything but easy, it really is such a special time that goes by way too fast. Investing in newborn photography and booking earlier will help you slow down and capture this season of your family. I’d be honored to be part of your journey – drop me a message and let’s talk about your newborn session.
Baby showers are a fun way to celebrate a mama-to-be and make sure she has everything she needs for her baby! You can search in Google to download baby shower gift ideas, or just go on the mama’s registry. I decided to do something a little different and I asked my Instagram followers to tell me their thoughts! (Do you follow me on Instagram? @whitewavephotographyNH) I asked what was one item you didn’t really need and what was an unexpected item that you LOVED.
I’m really glad I asked! Some of these items I hadn’t heard of OR forgot about. Plus, a few of these gifts aren’t items you can’t just pick up at Target.
Please remember that ANY gift you give a new mama is welcomed and appreciated! These are just a few answers from my unscientific research. If you are a new mama, the goal of this blog is to give you some ideas on what to have on your baby registry!
First, I’m going to share a few general items some mamas said they didn’t need, and then I’ll showcase the top 7 BEST unexpected baby shower gifts.
Honest Baby Shower Gift Guidance
Too many baby towels – You might not need as many as you think!
Too many newborn clothes – Again, your newborn will likely only wear a few items and some babies don’t even wear the newborn size at all!
Pacifiers – Get a few, but your baby might not even use a pacifier! Just get a couple to start and you can buy more OR leave them in the package from your baby shower.
Baby gadgets like Butt Spatula – A couple of mamas listed a baby gadget that they didn’t end up using. Read reviews on some of these items – you might not really need it!
Baby clothes 0-3 that weren’t jammies – They do make SUCH cute baby outfits. However, you want to dress your precious baby is fine, but you may find yourself only really needed PJs and onesies!
Keep reading for the top 8 baby shower gifts!
8 BEST Unexpected Baby Shower Gifts
Gift card to a local restaurant – Meals for when the parents are home with their newborn is a great gift! Check out Comfort Baking Company for some great healthy meals as well as baked goodies.
Haaka – Many mamas swear by their Haakas!
Larger clothing sizes – Think baby clothes 3-6 months or even up to 2T! A great local shop that sells SUPER cozy one-piece outfits is Puddlejumpers in downtown Exeter. Be sure to check them out!
Larger diaper sizes – Some babies barely wear newborn diapers! Grab sizes 1 and 2.
Earth Mama Nipple Cream – Enough said! This stuff is the BEST.
Helping the mama clean her house – I thought this was such a sweet answer! Give the gift of a clean house before baby arrives, or after!
Comfy jammies and slippers for the hospital – Help mama feel cozy in the hospital with cute and comfy loungewear. The Top Drawer in downtown Exeter has some great lounging options as well as the most amazing nursing bras – a MUST HAVE is a perfectly fitted nursing bra.
The gift of self-care for mom – Self-care is something that we as moms tend to put on the back burner and don’t ask for help. Check out Relief Parenting in Hampton for all your “new mama” needs. They are an amazing resource for new parents. They provide a safe place to rest, on-site childcare, parenting consultations & classes and YOU CAN EVEN TAKE A NAP.
There was one more unexpected gift that mama’s LOVED…
Mom’s Favorite Baby Shower Gift
I noticed something throughout my research for this very blog post. Some of the BEST baby shower gifts aren’t necessarily a thing. Quite a few moms were thankful for the friend that offered to come clean, gave local restaurant gift cards for easy meals, and professional photography gift certificates.
I thought this answer was so sweet and so true! A few mamas said a gift certificate to a photographer for maternity photos and newborn photos was one of their most treasured gifts. Any amount towards a photo package goes a long way and you know the mama will be delighted with her professional photos. Being able to look back at an album of this most precious time is one of the most priceless gifts you can give someone.
Because of this, I want to share with you that I do offer gift certificates for photography services! Simply drop me a message to get started.
Whether it’s your first, second, third, fourth, and so on, pregnancy is such a special time in a woman’s life! It’s that brief season when your sweet baby is a mystery and can wonder about the miracle in your belly.
Maternity sessions are some of my favorites because I’m able to capture those sweet feelings of anticipation and excitement in photos for the parents to look back on in the years to come. My absolute favorite is being able to take a couple’s maternity, birth, and newborn photos to tell the story of the child’s life.
Meet my four tips to having your best maternity session experience so you have a blast and get photos you’ll treasure forever.
How to Take Your Favorite Maternity Photos
These tips will help you take amazing photos and have fun while doing them! This session is all about capturing this crazy, beautiful season of waiting to meet your baby!
Schedule Your Session Accordingly
The best time to photograph your gorgeous bump is between 31-35 weeks! This is when you can show off all your hard work and before you’re in the final weeks. If you wish to take your photos earlier for a reason, talk with your photographer!
Pamper Yourself, Mama
You deserve this no matter what, but I highly recommend a pamper session before your maternity photos! Get your hair, makeup, and nails done so that you feel amazing for your photos.
Enjoy the Experience and the Photos Will Follow
The more you enjoy your experience, the better you’ll feel, and the better you’ll naturally smile! Your pampering session will help you feel relaxed and confident. Every pregnancy is beautiful, and don’t stress over trying to look “perfect”. You ARE perfect!
Find the Right Photographer
Work with a photographer that you love and trust. The more comfortable you are with your photographer, the better you’ll feel during the sessions and get the photos you want. These are photos you’ll look back on for the rest of your life!
I would love to become your family photographer. Many of my clients come back to me again and again to give me the privilege of photographing their growing families. Let’s talk, my friend!
As a NH Children’s Photographer and mom of 3, I know just how much STUFF kids come with. With the temperature warming up and school coming to an end next month, the amount of stuff that will be laying around my yard is amazing. This past weekend, we spent a TON of time cleaning out the garage and basement and organizing all of the stuff. My new favorite Mommy Must-Haves are great for the whole family and they will save you so much space.
The Rubbermaid FastTrack system which you can find at Lowe’s has been a lifesaver for me. Here are 5 ways that I love to use this system:
1. The Baskets – You can get these big basket attachments that can hold things like bike helmets, baseball gloves and balls and ice skates
2. Cooler Hooks – These are great for hanging backpacks and any other type of bag with “stuff” in it. Mine are mostly full of beach stuff and ski stuff. We also use them for hanging out skis.
3. The bike hook – This is not currently being utilized because the bikes are in use but this is great storage for our bikes in the winter time.
5. 2-Handle Hook – For the kids, I hang bats from these; for me, all of my gardening tools; and for my husband the garage brooms and shovels hang from these.
As you can see this system is so versatile and can be customized to meet your family’s needs. Summer is coming so get out there and get organized so you can just grab what you need for your next adventure.
As a Family Photographer in New Hampshire, the winters are long and cold so I long for a nice warm getaway. As I am preparing to go on a short getaway with my BFF to Punta Cana in a few days, I thought that I would share some of my favorite travel destinations. Whether is is a trip with your husband, your best friend or with the whole family, it is important for moms (and dads) to get a break from the everyday hustle and bustle. This could be my most favorite blog yet! I LOVE to travel so I have been to a lot of places but these are my favorites and all for different reasons.
TOP 5 VACATION SPOTS FOR MOMS
1. St. John, USVI – This is of course number one on my list because I have been here the most. This small island in the US Virgin Islands is my happy place. I have gone here on my honeymoon, a trip with a big group of friends, with my BFF and then just recently with my husband and two of our very best friends. One of these days we plan to take the kids. There are the most beautiful beaches, it is easy to get around and everyone on the island is SO FRIENDLY. When we go, we rent a jeep, rent a villa (usually through HomeAway or Airbnb) and usually do some sort of boat excursion. Mainly our time is spent on the water!
2. Belize – My husband and I went here a few years ago and had the most amazing time. This is on our list to do again when the kids get older. We did 4 days in the rainforest which was amazing and spent the remainder of our time swinging in hammocks at the beach resort. I highly recommend Coppola Resorts. The history of the Mayan culture is amazing, the food is unreal and the views completely breathtaking. There is also a ton to do! We went zip lining, snorkeling, canoeing in caves, boating to see the manatees and hiked to see the ruins. It was a trip of a lifetime!
3. San Juan – This is a trip to do with JUST YOUR GIRLS! Cheap direct flights from Boston, nice hotels right on the beach and the beachside service is awesome. Just find a beach chair and umbrella and enjoy the view. I love this trip for a short trip just to get away from the cold and to chill with the girls. The San Juan Water Beach Club was super cute and had the best roof top bar.
4. Cape Cod, Massachusetts – If you can’t jump on a plane then just two and a half hours south of Southern New Hampshire, you have the beautiful beaches of Cape Cod. Our family is from the Cape so we try to go down every summer for an extended stay where the kids can hang out with their cousins and we can relax on the beach. Again, HomeAway and Airbnb are the way to go. You can rent and entire house pretty reasonable for an entire week. Grab a beach sticker at the town hall in Brewster and visit my favorite Paines Creek.
5. Sugarloaf, Maine – If you are a ski bunny like me you probably spend you weekends in the winter on the slopes. Well just 4 hours north of Portsmouth, NH you will find what I think is the best skiing in the east at Sugarloaf Resort in Carrabassett Valley, Maine. As a mom of 3 with a husband who doesn’t ski, I am always looking for a place to make it easier on me to bring the kids skiing and Sugarloaf is hands down the best when it comes to kids programs. I can drop my little ones off at ski school and know that they are having a blast while I do a few runs with my girlfriends or relax reading a book by the fire. Even little Charlianne who is only 2 has had a blast skiing at the LOAF
I hope that you get to book a trip to one of these amazing places real soon. To keep up to date on the happenings at White Wave Photography and gain exclusive access to holiday limited edition sessions as well as fall and beach sessions please sign up below to be a VIP. Contact me today to book this years family session.
Being active with my kids and doing activities that they love is something that I love! Over the years, I have found some great ways to get out in nature and stay active with these 3 monkeys. I wanted to share some things that are on my “Mommy Must-Haves” for getting outside and staying active.
Our favorite activity to do as a family is ride bikes. I love taking the kids on trail rides around the Seacoast of New Hampshire. To do this, I have a few must haves:
1. Bike Rack for the back of the car – mine fits up to 5 bikes which is perfect for my family of 5!
2. Bike Trailer– I bought a double so I could tow 2 kids behind and now that Charli is big enough for the bike seat, I use the trailer to haul snacks, diapers and extra clothes for those longer rides.
3. Baby Bike Seat – My kids LOVE riding up high behind me on the bike and they have been known to fall asleep on the back while I get in a nice long ride. I got this Bike Seat that is really easy to use at Philbricks Sports in Dover, NH. They even installed it on my new bike.
4. Baby Bike Helmet – This is for safety but it is also super cute and easy to put on. Charli loves it and she even used it skiing this year.
TAKING WALKS or HIKING
Whether we are hiking through the woods or just walking to the Newfields Country Store for an ice cream, there are a few must-haves that make it easier on Mommy:
1. Bob Stroller – I know I mentioned this one in an earlier “Mommy Must-Have” post this week but it really is amazing. I love this stroller for running, walking on pavement or hitting the rail trail behind my house
2. Bike to push – As the kids get older and they see their older siblings riding bikes, they want to join in the fun so a toddler bike that you can push gives them the feeling of riding while giving you all of the control.
3. Wagon– My kids love the wagon! Especially during trick or treat when I lay down some blankets and pull them door to door while they dig through their candy bags.
4. Hiking Backpack – I have an older version that is no longer available but there are a ton of different ones that you can get. These are great with the flip out legs because if you toddler falls asleep and you want to rest you can still take it off and sit them next to you without having to take them out. I also love that Charli can be all bulked up in a snowsuit and we can take her out for a walk in the snow.
GETTING OUT ON THE WATER
My kids LOVE the water and whether it is at the lake or the ocean we have a blast. Some of our favorite activities to do as a family are:
1. Paddleboading – Last summer we did this for the first time and I am hooked. I took my middle son Reilly on a paddle board ride all around the lake and we both had so much fun. I stood up while he just sat on the front enjoying the ride.
2. Canoeing & Kayaking – The boys are getting big enough to paddle which makes this so much more fun for mommy. We love to paddle down the lake to the ice cream stand after dinner. AND on the way back, I can burn the calories that I have just eaten :).
3. Life Jacket– There are so many options for life jackets but this is a MUST HAVE when doing activities on the water. Even though my children know how to swim, we have a rule that they cannot go down to the dock without a life jacket. I love their puddle jumpers too because they keep them safe but give them more independence while swimming.
As a Children’s Photographer on the Seacoast in NH, I love to photography families doing what they love. If you are interested in having me capture the memories of your family on their next adventure contact me today, I would love to chat with you.
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