Category Archives: Infancy

5 Spring Activities for the Entire Family

5 Spring Activities for the Entire Family

Spring is right around the corner – finally! Towards the end of winter, kids get antsy after staying indoors for too long. Snow days can be fun, but we long for sunshine and warmth and shedding bulky winter coats.

It’s time to get outside and spend quality time together. Read on for five activities for the whole family to enjoy together.

5 Spring Activities for the Entire Family

5 Fun Spring Activities:

  1. Picnic

On a warm day, take the opportunity enjoy lunch outdoors. Pack a basket full of your family’s favorite foods, then head to a nearby park or even just your own backyard. Bring along a blanket, chairs, and maybe some toys or games to play. Don’t forget the sunscreen – skin is particularly fragile after long winters.

  1. Paint pottery

Take the family to a DIY pottery painting studio. Let your kid choose a piece to paint such as a piggy bank or plate. Adults will enjoy channeling their inner artist too. Most people find it relaxing. The best part is that the mess won’t be in your house.

  1. Treasure hunt

Go on an outdoor treasure hunt with Geocache – or create your own if you’re feeling crafty. Use your phone to find a nearby location where other people have hidden objects in a container. Ask your kids to find a small toy in their room that they wouldn’t mind giving up – you’re supposed to replace an item that you find at a Geocache location. This is a great way to get some exercise and explore your own neighborhood.

5 Spring Activities for the Entire Family

  1. Go to the zoo

Most cities have a zoo nearby and this is always a favorite day trip for both kids and adults. You won’t have to do much besides walking around with your very excited kiddo. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes.

  1. Have a movie night

Relax and watch a movie after an active day outdoors. Having a movie night at home is simple, but always fun for all. Plus it’s budget-friendly. Choose a family-friendly film, pop some popcorn, and have everyone get cozy in their PJs.

What are your favorite spring activities? Let us know!

5 Spring Activities for the Entire Family

We’re excited to announce our Spring Contest!

Next month, we’ll be sharing top tips for first-time moms and we’d love your input. What do you wish you knew when you were a first-time mom? Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a personalized diaper bag!


What to Expect During a Newborn Photoshoot

What to Expect During a Newborn Photoshoot: Advice from our Super Moms

It’s time for your baby’s first photoshoot! While your professional photographer will do most of the heavy lifting, it’s still a good idea to do a little preparation beforehand. Whether your newborn photos will be taken at the hospital or at home, these are all relevant considerations. Our Bella Baby Super Moms offer some advice based on their newborn photo experiences.

Here’s what to consider:

1. Discuss strategy with your spouse

You might think preparing for photos is no big deal, but not including your spouse in the conversation can leave them feeling left out. They may not want to be involved at all, but it’s better to ask than assume. If your spouse seems uninterested in the direction of photos, then do some planning on your own and check in with them again when it comes time to make final decisions.

“My husband loves to wear t-shirts, but I made him pack one nicer shirt so that he was prepared for the photo shoot.”

2. Decide on a budget

All of your decisions will be based, in part, on your budget, so figure this out early on. You’ll likely want to include your spouse in this decision, even if he or she doesn’t want to be involved in other decisions. Reading through the rest of this list will help you decide on your budget.

3. Include siblings or other family members in the shoot

What to Expect During a Newborn Photoshoot

You’ll want to decide beforehand who exactly will be in the photos. Including older siblings will not only make for sweet moments but is also a great way to make sure they feel included in their newly expanding family.  

“If you want to include your other children in the session, try to pick a time of day that will work for them (keeping nap schedules in mind) as you don’t want a cranky toddler in your photos.”

4. Consider holidays

Are there any upcoming holidays? If Christmas is around the corner, you might want to dress your family in festive attire so that you can use your photos again on holiday cards. Or, maybe just bring a few props – Santa hat, candy canes – that you can add in for just a few photos. It’s a great way to get more for your budget.

5. Think ahead to gifts

What kind of a photo does grandma want on her mantle? It’s helpful to think about who you’ll be gifting the photos to in the future. That could provide some additional direction in terms of types of photos to take and formats to order. This could affect your budget as well.

6. Choose everyone’s outfits

Of course, you need to choose what your baby will wear, but you should also think about outfits for siblings and for YOU! Consider the previous two question, then pick something out for your baby and put it in your hospital bag. It’s best to choose solid colors and avoid busy patterns that will be distracting and take the focus away from your newborn. Coordinate your own outfit and other family members so there are no clashing colors.

“We weren’t sure if we were having a boy or girl, so we brought a neutral blanket and then a couple of headbands and a little bow tie so that we were prepared either way.”

7. Bring some props

In addition to clothing, you’ll want to have some additional items for the photographer to utilize during the photoshoot. Think blankets, hats, stuffed animals, or other toys. Again, choose solid colors.

What to Expect During a Newborn Photoshoot

8. “Don’t forget to pack your makeup or at least a little concealer.”

If your photos are at the hospital, you’ll want to pack a few cosmetics and maybe a hairbrush to touch up a little. You will have just given birth, after all. A dark pink or red lipstick will instantly make you look and feel more put together. Oil blotting sheets and pressed powder will keep shine away. A bit of under-eye concealer and mascara will make your eyes pop on camera.  

9. “Try to feed your newborn right before the session so that they are calm and asleep for the photographer.”

10. Treasure the moment.

“With my first daughter, I didn’t want to be in any of the pictures (as I just had a baby), but the photographer talked me into being in one and I am really glad that she did. Your baby grows up so fast, be a part of every moment, you’ll be glad you have the pictures.”

11. Smile and leave the rest to your photographer!

Your photographer is experienced and knows what types of angles and shots look best. You can give them some initial thoughts, then leave the work to them and don’t intervene too much. Most importantly, enjoy the experience.

Are you expecting? We would love to capture those first precious moments with your newborn. Find a photographer near you and feel free to reach out to us with any additional questions.


Take the Best Holiday Photos: 7 Success Stories From Bella Photographers

Take the Best Holiday Photos: 7 Success Stories From Bella Photographers

The holidays are right around the corner which means it’s time to think about photos for your holiday cards and gifts. Avoid the stress of waiting until the last minute to take photos. The results will be far better with a little planning. We’ve sourced some top tips from Bella Baby Photographers on how to take the best holiday photos, whether you hire a professional or use your iPhone.

How to Take the Best Holiday Photos: 

1. Do not wear matching clothes – wear color-coordinated clothes. Don’t be afraid of color! Stay away from the all white or black shirts and jeans look. – Christina Kennedy

2. Solids in coordinated colors are awesome! 1-2 clothing items in a pattern is fine, but everyone wearing different stripes and plaid is less great. – Susan Howard

3. Have fun. Parents tend to stress to get the “perfect” pose and get kids smiling a certain way. Trust your photographer and let them work their magic. Kids don’t relax and enjoy pictures when mom and dad keep telling them to smile. – Carrie Ostreko

Take the Best Holiday Photos: 7 Success Stories From Bella Photographers

4. If you’re doing outdoor photos, don’t over layer. I’ve heard people complain later that they looked too puffy or heavy in photos but it’s often just the clothes they picked. Well fitting clothes are always better than bigger and too many layers. Instead… bring a blanket for in between shots if you’re cold and then snap some cute cuddle pics wrapped up in that too. – Carrie Ostreko

5. Maybe bring a little gift (depending on the kids’ ages) and let them hold them and take photos with those and then maybe getting some opening them. It’s a surprise for a great shoot and makes for fun images! – Carrie Ostreko

6. Warm up first! Don’t go for “the shot” right away when everyone may still be stiff. Get everyone relaxed, laugh, and to let their guards down… then their true joy will come through! – Beth Malonoski

Take the Best Holiday Photos: 7 Success Stories From Bella Photographers

7. Instead of looking at the camera, look at each other, interact with each other, make each other smile and laugh, hug each other and get in tight! This will result in a more relaxed, real, and natural photograph of your family. – Kim Hoessler Price

We recommend hiring one of our baby photographers as there truly is no replacement for a professional. Our photographers capture the beauty of your family with a natural, artistic style. Your photos will create memories and gifts that last a lifetime.

Have any additional tips to add? Leave us a comment below.

Chores to do With Toddlers and How to Keep Your Sanity

Chores to do With Toddlers and How to Keep Your Sanity

Your toddler is growing up, so now is the perfect time to introduce him or her to a few chores around the house. Here are some ideas for letting them help you, plus tips to keep your sanity.

Chores to do With Toddlers and How to Keep Your Sanity

Useful Tips for Letting Little Ones Help Around the House:

At this age, little ones want to do whatever you are doing. The goal is to let your little one help without losing your sanity and at the same time, actually get something done. It gets a little easier as they get older, but for an 18-month-old, keep it simple. It’s more about distraction than efficiency.

Learning tower is really useful step stool when your toddler wants to help around the kitchen. You can also DIY one with this Ana White tutorial. This makes it so much easier to get chores done without the safety concern of your child falling from a chair or stool.

Grocery store helper:

Inevitably, children end up running errands with you. Besides your goal of actually getting groceries, the second is keeping your child in the cart so you’re not chasing him or her around. A couple of quick tricks to keep them in the cart… give them “the list” and a highlighter and have them mark everything off as you put it in the cart. Stop in the produce aisle first and pick up some grapes or another favorite snack. Eating a couple as you move along can be a distraction to keep them busy. You can also use the “I’ll let you pick something out at the end if you stay in the cart” as a last resort.


Buy your child his own little duster so he can dust at the same time you do and feel like he’s being helpful. While he’s “dusting”, you can actually get the dusting done! Another tip: you’ll find lots of kid-sized cleaning items at the dollar store.

Folding laundry:

Anyone who has folded laundry with an 18-month-old knows you end up folding the laundry multiple times. As they get a little bit older, let them help match socks or sort clothes (all of the shirts together, undies, etc), which is also a learning activity!


Most little ones love to help with vacuuming and mopping the floors. Try taking turns. You vacuum the room first and then tell your child it’s their turn. That way it actually gets done and they still feel like they’re helping. Same for mopping. Mops that have sprayers are huge hits with toddlers.

What great ideas have you found work for keeping your little one occupied around the house? Share your tips with other parents!  

….and is your toddler coming up on two? Here are some fun ways to celebrate a second birthday party for your active little person!

Pregnancy Eating Habits to Embrace & Avoid + Whole Foods Giveaway

Pregnancy Eating Habits to Embrace & Avoid + Whole Foods Giveaway

If this is your first time pregnant, you’re probably just starting to figure out your new eating habits and learning what your body does and doesn’t agree with. Most women’s diets change a lot during pregnancy. And, that’s nothing unexpected. Your hormones are changing, your belly is growing, and there’s a little one developing inside of you who has some nutritional needs as well.

Since everything that you eat, your growing baby eats too, you want to embrace a mostly healthy diet that’s packed with nutrients. Every woman’s needs are different, so the most important thing to do is listen to your own body.

Here are some common pregnancy eating habits to embrace and avoid. And, read till the end of this post to enter a fun contest!

Include These Superfoods in Your Diet

You want to make sure that your baby gets all of the vitamins and antioxidants he or she needs to properly develop.  

Here are some of the most highly recommended foods to eat during pregnancy:

  • Whole grains
  • Beans
  • Salmon
  • Oranges or other fruits that are high in Vitamin C
  • Lean beef and leafy greens for iron
  • Greek yogurt or milk for calcium

Check out our post on the Best Foods for New Moms and Newborns for more detailed information about the above list.

Avoid Dangerous Foods

Doctors usually tell you to avoid eating certain foods while you’re pregnant and there’s good reason for that. Here are some big ones to avoid.

Limit Seafood

Wild salmon is the best choice of seafood to eat while you’re pregnant. It’s high in healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. However, you should limit your seafood intake in general. The bottom line is that anything that comes from the ocean contains some amount of mercury. The FDA advises pregnant women to avoid the following types of seafood altogether since they contain the highest mercury levels: shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. Consider taking a high-quality fish oil supplement instead.

Avoid Unpasteurized Milk, Cheese, or Anything Else

While there are some benefits to drinking unpasteurized milk, you’ll definitely want to avoid it while pregnant. In rare cases, unpasteurized dairy products or juices can lead to bacterial infections.

Stay Away From Raw or Undercooked Meats

You probably already know the risk in consuming undercooked meats, so we won’t go into detail about that here. The potential risks are even greater to an unborn baby with a weak immune system.

Limit Caffeine

The American Pregnancy Association recommends sticking to less than 200mg of caffeine per day, which converts to 12 ounces. Caffeine increases both your blood pressure and heart rate, which is not ideal during pregnancy. A lot of docs will recommend that you switch from coffee to tea since it has less caffeine. If you absolutely can’t live without your coffee, limit consumption to just one cup per day.

Pregnancy Eating Habits to Embrace & Avoid + Whole Foods Giveaway

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Hydration is even more important during pregnancy, so drink up. You can try supplementing water with sparkling water, low-sugar juice, or caffeine-free tea if that will encourage you to drink more. But, make sure you drink plenty of plain old water too.

Indulge Cravings

Cravings happen during pregnancy due to increased hormones. All women have different cravings and that’s totally normal. Some women even have healthy cravings i.e. salad. If that’s the case for you, you’ll absolutely want to indulge that one. Your body might be trying to tell you that you’re deficient in some key nutrients.

But let’s be honest, most cravings are not healthy at all. As long as your diet is otherwise healthful, it’s ok to indulge your cravings. If you’re craving a donut, just go get one already (or better yet, send your significant other). If you avoid that craving, you’ll probably end up eating lots of other things in an attempt to satisfy it. It’s better to just eat what you really want and be done with it.

Now, Here’s a Contest!

Every pregnant woman has her own weird eating habits and cravings. What are yours? Fill out the Rafflecopter below and you’ll be entered to win a $25 gift card.

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