Everything You Need to Know About Car Seats Before the Baby Comes

Everything You Need to Know About Car Seats Before the Baby Comes

We know there’s a lot to prepare before your baby comes home. The most important on your to-do list should be related to safety. This includes babyproofing your home and installing a car seat. Don’t know where to start when it comes to shopping for and installing a car seat? We’ve got you covered. Keep reading for everything you need to know.

Requirements by Age

Child passenger laws vary slightly state by state, but car seat guidelines are generally the same.

  • Newborn to two years – (and weighing under 20 pounds) should be in a rear-facing car seat.  
  • Two to four year-olds – should switch to a convertible seat after they outgrow the height/weight limit of the infant one. There’s a little debate when it comes to when to switch from rear-facing to forward-facing. Parenting.com and Consumer Reports recommend staying rear-facing until age two.
  • Children under age 8 – and under 40 pounds must be secured in a car seat at all times.
  • Age 12 – Kids should sit in the back seat until age 12.

Shopping for the Safest Car Seat

A car seat is something that you definitely want to have before the baby arrives, so it’s time to get shopping!

The most important tip is to buy new. Buy a new, not used car seat to ensure that it’s up-to-date with all of the most recent technological improvements. While all car seats have been tested for safety standards, everyone still wants to know which one is the absolute safest. Baby Bargains does a great job of rating all types of car seats in different price ranges.

Infant Seat v.s. Convertible Car Seat

There are two types of car seats available to you for newborns. A rear-facing infant seat is used just in the first year. On the other hand, a convertible seat starts rear-facing, but can then be turned to the front and adjusted as your little one grows up. Choosing a convertible seat will save you money down the road, however convertible seats typically can’t be removed easily from your car like infant seats. The convenience of moving your sleeping baby in their seat usually leads most parents to purchase an infant seat for the first year (Parents.com).

Everything You Need to Know About Car Seats Before the Baby Comes


Each car seat comes with its own unique installation manual. In today’s technological world, some companies will even direct you to a Youtube tutorial. Make sure to read the manual before you try to install the seat. It’s also a good idea to just keep that manual in your glove box or somewhere else in your car so you know where it is.

A common mistake is forgetting to put the seatbelt in lock mode if your car doesn’t have self-locking ones. Since car seat installation is complicated and there’s so much room for mistakes, it’s not a bad idea to have a professional inspection. You can use Parents Central’s Inspection Station Locator to search for the nearest technician.

We hope that this guide has been helpful. Have you already started shopping and have an additional tip to share? Comment below!

10 Unusual and Adorable Celebration and Gift Ideas

10 Unusual and Adorable Celebration and Gift Ideas

Your baby’s first birthday is a major milestone that calls for an extra special celebration. Whether you host a small or large birthday party, the day should be fun and memorable for your family and guests. Here are 10 unusual and adorable celebration and gift ideas to get your creativity flowing.

  1. “Time Flies” Airplane Birthday Party

Play off of the fact that time flies during your baby’s first year with a fun aviation-themed party. You can have a “check-in” for guests to drop off gifts and a “baggage claim” to collect party favors. Vintage luggage makes for great decor.

10 Unusual and Adorable Celebration and Gift Ideas

Image source – Kara’s Party Ideas

  1. Dr. Seuss “Oh the Places You’ll Go” Party

This is a great theme because it works for both genders and involves simple decorations.  Think maps, globes, and lots of color. You can have your guests write a special message for your child inside the cover of the Dr. Seuss book.

10 Unusual and Adorable Celebration and Gift Ideas

Image source – B Lovely Events

  1. Mermaid Birthday Party

A mermaid theme is perfect for your baby girl with a love for the beach and Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Get creative and label snacks with ocean-inspired names: cheese puffs = cannon balls, jelly beans = jellyfish eggs, pretzel sticks = driftwood, and so on.

10 Unusual and Adorable Celebration and Gift IdeasImage source – Elevate Everyday

  1. Milk and Cookie Monster Party

A milk and cookies party makes your food straightforward and hassle-free. Guests won’t be expecting a full meal if you make the theme clear on your invite. Stick to a blue and brown color story for decor and food. Old-fashioned milk bottles are an extra detail that your guests will love! Consider gluten-free or dairy-free options for guests with dietary restrictions.

10 Unusual and Adorable Celebration and Gift IdeasImage source – Spaceships and Laserbeams

  1. Safari Themed First Birthday

For your baby girl or boy who loves animals and adventure, turn your home into a jungle safari. DIY a jungle cruiser and backdrop for guests to take photos. Tons of stuffed animals, animal crackers, and bananas are just a few ideas to get you started.

10 Unusual and Adorable Celebration and Gift Ideas
Image source – The Wise Baby

  1. Time Capsule Gift

Your one-year old probably has plenty of toys, so ask guests to instead bring one meaningful item to place in a time capsule that will be opened on your child’s 18th birthday. Suggest writing a letter with predictions or advice for the future.  

10 Unusual and Adorable Celebration and Gift Ideas
Image source – Denver Metro Moms Blog

  1. Build Your Baby’s First Library

Ask guests to bring a favorite book or two to add to your baby’s library. They’ll be reading and writing before you know it! Share a Google spreadsheet via email so that guests can share the books they plan to bring and avoid duplicates.

10 Unusual and Adorable Celebration and Gift Ideas

Image source – Project Nursery

  1. Elephant/Circus Themed Party

An elephant themed party is a classic for a reason. The decor is cute and sweet, and can be adjusted to your preferences. Choose one or two colors to make your party cohesive. This theme also works for a girl or boy. Or, swap out elephants for your baby’s favorite animal and center your party around that.

10 Unusual and Adorable Celebration and Gift Ideas

Image source – The Sweetest Occasion

  1. Strawberry Party

Take a girly pink, red, and lime green color scheme one step further with an all strawberry theme. There are so many great food and drink options – strawberry lemonade, anyone? This is an especially great theme for summer parties.

  1. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Party

Your little one is the little star of the party, so you might as well run with that theme. Choose neutral colors accented with plenty of gold of glitter. Cake toppers and star wands are easy to DIY. Showcase photos from your baby’s first year at the party.

10 Unusual and Adorable Celebration and Gift Ideas

Image source – Simply Real Moms

Start planning early and enlist the help of a friend to eliminate unnecessary stress. Take one more task off your plate by scheduling a first year photoshoot with Bella Baby. Our talented photographers will capture this special moment in your child’s life with high-quality, creative images. You can gift a photo as a party favor to relatives who attend the celebration.

9 tips for surviving your first week home with a new baby

9 Tips for Surviving Your First Week Home With a New Baby

Congratulations! You spent nine months preparing and planning. And now you’ve made it home with your newborn! If you’re anything like most parents, you feel the exhaustion of a job well done, and it feels daunting to think that there is more work ahead of you.

We want to make the transition as easy as possible for you. Parenting your newborn should be about savoring moments, not feeling stressed.  Take a deep breath, and take it one day at a time.

You can thrive during your first week with a newborn with these nine tips

Accept Help

If you are lucky enough to have a community of people who want to help you, let them. Now is not the time to be a hero. Say yes to offers of a home cooked meal, free babysitting for your other little ones, and any other acts of kindness that come your way. It takes a village to raise a child, and that village can start contributing on the first day.

9 tips for surviving your first week home with a new baby

Take it Easy

You’ve just had a baby. And now you’re home and making it through the first days with feedings, diaper changes and naps. Don’t expect to cross anything off your to-do list this week (and maybe the next several, as well). Your focus should be on the baby and yourself. There is always time later to get back to that to-do list.

Write it Down

With the lack of sleep you are most likely getting, it’s hard to remember anything. Many parents find tracking tools useful in helping remember the last feeding (and if breastfeeding, which side you started with last time) and how many wet/dirty diapers the baby has had each day. Eat Sleep, Baby Connect and Baby Log are a few of our favorites, but there are many options out there, so find the one that best fits your needs.

Trust Your Gut

Whether this is your first or seventh time bringing home an infant, know that some things cannot be taught. There are some things that you just know. Trust your gut. Don’t ignore the inklings, the nudges, or the internal warnings. More often than not, your intuition will lead you where you need to go, and it will only get more accurate as you continue your parenting journey.

Cherish This Moment

The first weeks of parenting a newborn are a whirlwind. Before you know it, your newborn will no longer be an infant. Take a couple of minutes each day to reflect on what’s happened, the good, the bad and the ugly and keep a journal of your parenting journey and/or your little ones milestones. As everyone says, time flies by and you may want to look back and reflect on the memories of what day-to-day life was really like with a newborn. Try The Five Minute Journal or the Day One app for memory tracking.

Build Your Tribe

You will have innumerable questions during your first week with your infant, ranging from “Does this look normal to you?” to “Will I ever stop feeling so overwhelmed?” Find the people and resources who will be your go-tos when you’re not sure what to do. Everyone has advice for parents, and it’s up to you to decide who is worth listening to. Your tribe will probably consist of a mix of doctors, family members, close friends, books, and online resources. We can’t tell you what people to include in your tribe, but we can suggest a few of our favorite digital resources:

  • The Bump: This website will answer most of your questions about newborns and connect you with a community of other parents through their message boards
  • Scary Mommy: The pieces on this website will make you laugh, cry, and most importantly, realize that you are not alone in the craziness that is parenthood
  • Parenting: It’s all in the name. Consider this a catchall resource for your parenting questions


It’s all too easy to get caught up in the busyness of diapers and feedings, completely forgetting that you have a partner in raising this child. You both are running on very little sleep and a lot of adrenaline. Communicating well may take more energy than usual, but it will save you effort in the long run. Be clear about how you are feeling. Are you discouraged? Do you need your partner to handle the next diaper change so you can take a shower? Are you noticing a negative behavior trend that needs to change? Set an expectation of transparency so that you can both find joy in parenting rather than resentment.

Rethink Productivity

You may have breezed through to-do lists in the past, and now it feels like changing clothes is an accomplishment. That’s okay.  Having a newborn will alter your idea of productivity. Caring for your new baby is now the number one item on your to-do list. Everything else will happen at a slower rate. If there are tasks you must finish this week, schedule only one per day. Remind yourself that making it through another day with your newborn is an accomplishment in and of itself.

Be You

One of the best gifts you can give your child and your partner is the gift of yourself. Savor your role as the parent of a newborn. Give yourself and your partner at least five minutes a day to do one thing that energizes you, whether that’s playing a song on your instrument, taking a hot shower in peace, or making progress on a puzzle. A little bit of “you time” each day will go a long way in helping you avoid parent burnout.

You can step confidently into your first week with a new baby, knowing that there is always more to learn. This time with your newborn will be both awe-inspiring and challenging, and the best thing you can do is savor each day.

Did you survive your first week with an infant? Share your tips below!

Top Six Ideas for Announcing Your Baby's Birth on Social Media

Top 6 Ideas for Announcing Your Baby’s Birth on Social Media

The phrase, “Pics or it didn’t happen”, started on online message boards when users made farfetched claims that couldn’t be verified without photographic proof. Today that phrase is part of society’s ethos. Did you really go on vacation, eat a trendy meal, or get married if there isn’t at least one picturesque photo to show for it?

Babies take this craze to a whole other level. We all have that friend who posts naked pictures of their little one on a weekly basis. On the other hand, you likely have friends that live in other cities, and you wish you saw updates about their children more frequently on social media.

Today, parents need to create their own rules of engagement around that they will and will not share about their child on the internet. It’s best to make these decisions well before the due date.

Discuss these three questions as you draw your own boundary lines:

  • Will we make our child’s life public on the internet?
  • Who will be allowed to see photos of our child on the internet? (ie; Will we create a private Facebook group for family and friends?)
  • Are there any types of photos that we’ll never publicly share on the internet?

These clear guidelines allow you and your partner to enjoy taking photos that are meaningful to you rather than blindly following trends. With those boundaries in mind, you’re ready to start planning an epic, yet tasteful, social media birth announcement. There’s an option for every parental privacy preference.

Here are our six favorite ideas for social media birth announcements

The status update

If you’ve decided to keep your child’s life more private, or if you don’t want to worry about crafting an epic announcement of your baby’s birth, consider a simple status update. This option allows you to focus on savoring your first moments with your newborn, and you can save the pictures for your closest family and friends.

The private announcement

We can control who sees our social media content, and it’s a right that we often forget to exercise. There are several ways for you to share a post-birth photo with a target audience of your choosing. Consider creating a private Facebook group for your inner circle or a group chat in Messenger, Instagram or Snapchat. Instagram and Facebook also allow you to exclude certain people from viewing a post. The private birth announcement is a nice middle ground between not sharing photos at all and sharing photos to the world.  

The sneak preview

You’re just getting to know your little one’s face, and you may not want everyone to see it just yet. That’s understandable! Why not post a photo of your newborn’s tiny hands or feet? Our Priceless Little Pieces photos are cherished by our clients. Your friends and family will see just enough of your new baby to fall in love.  

Top Six Ideas for Announcing Your Baby's Birth on Social Media

The mother and child shot

There are two questions that loved ones ask after the baby’s birth. “Is the baby healthy?”, and “How is mom doing?” You can answer both questions with one picture. There’s a certain magic in a picture of a mother and child in the calm after the chaos of birth. Maybe it’s the look of love in the mother’s eyes. Maybe it’s the post-birth glow. Because it is an intimate shot, and it’s impossible to predict how you’ll feel in the moment, have a backup birth announcement photo planned.

The family shot

Your baby is the newest addition to your family. Show exactly where your newborn fits in by using a family photo for your social media birth announcement. We’ve captured countless new family photos, and they never cease to warm our hearts. From parents marveling at their newborn to siblings experience their little brother or sister for the first time, these photos are an ideal way to introduce your new baby to your circle.

Multi-photo announcement

Sometimes you’re so enraptured by your little one, that you can’t choose just one photo. You don’t have to! Create a Facebook album or make use of the multi-photo gallery on Instagram, and share away. There are also several collage apps that are a parent’s best friend. Try Pic Collage or PicArt to put all of your favorite photos in one place.

These ideas will help you announce your baby’s birth on social media while staying true to your own privacy preferences. Nothing beats the convenience of having a photographer come to the hospital to capture the beauty of your newborn. If you’ll be DIYing your photos, here are a few tips:

  • Clothe your child. Your newborn can only wear those tiny outfits for so long, and not everyone wants to see a naked baby in their newsfeed. A fully clothed photo will probably garner a more positive response.
  • Keep it simple. It’s trendy to use props in birth announcement photos, but you’ll be tired from giving birth. Don’t waste your energy on styling a perfect photo.
  • When it doubt, go black and white. Hospital lighting can be weird. If your photo doesn’t look the way you want it to, know that a black and white filter can work wonders.

How did you announce your new baby’s birth on social media? Are there any boundaries that you set? We want to know! Share them in the comments below.

Baby Photography 101: 5 Key Differences Between an iPhone and a Professional Camera

Baby Photography 101: 5 Key Differences Between an iPhone and a Professional Camera

How will you capture the memories of your newborn as they grow more and more each day? You may have considered this question as you prepared for the birth of your new baby, and you may have been overwhelmed as you searched for the answer.

Between Facebook and Instagram, it seems like everyone somehow becomes an expert in baby photography as soon as their child arrives. Your feeds are filled with beautifully shot photos. Are they all buying a camera you just haven’t heard of yet?

There are countless cameras that seem ideal for baby photography. It’s hard to know which one is best for capturing images of your newborn. Are iPhone photos all you need to preserve lifelong memories, or should you invest several hundred dollars in a professional camera? We’ll break it down in this blog post.

Let’s review five differences between an iPhone and a professional camera


This difference seems obvious, but it is worth stating. Your iPhone fits in your pocket and is always on hand for documenting precious moments. You’re already carrying a newborn. Carrying a professional camera, as well as several lenses, is a lot to manage. It’s difficult to beat the convenience of an iPhone camera, so, for parents of newborns especially, it makes a lot of sense to rely on your smartphone for everyday photos.

Baby Photography 101: 5 Key Differences Between an iPhone and a Professional Camera

Ability to capture detail

From wisps of hair to tiny eyelashes to miniature nails, baby photography is all about the little details. For truly breathtaking portraits, you want a camera that has the ability to capture every aspect of your child. In photographer’s terms, you want a camera that takes high resolution photos.

iPhones cameras have come a long way. The latest iPhone even has a dedicated portrait mode. However, the resulting images still cannot compare to professional cameras. One photographer described the iPhone camera as “good enough.”  It’s perfect for documenting the beauty of the everyday, but not the right choice for documenting and showcasing the intricacies of a newborn life.


The best photographers have an innate understanding of light and depth; their cameras are a tool for harnessing those elements. The aperture is the part of the camera that lets in light or blocks it out. Professional cameras have adjustable apertures, putting the photographer in charge of the richness of the photo. However, the aperture on the iPhone is unchanging. Users can try different tricks to create the appearance of depth, but they are ultimately are at the mercy of the iPhone.

Baby photography is especially dependent on lighting, using light to highlight and contrast all the features that make your little one unique. An iPhone could produce a wonderful shot in ideal natural lighting, but professional cameras are best when you desire more control over the photographic outcome.

Baby Photography 101: 5 Key Differences Between an iPhone and a Professional Camera

Image stabilization

Babies don’t often stay still, so image stabilization is key for baby photography. You want to avoid the blur of your newborn moving their hands and feet. Additionally, image stabilization improves low light photography–perfect for sneaking a photo of your newborn as they sleep! In this area, iPhone and professional cameras achieve at a similar level. The newest iPhones have optical image stabilization that, some say, rivals professional cameras.

Zoom capabilities

Zoom shots are the hallmarks of baby photography. We even have a photography product called Precious Little Pieces that is dedicated to showcasing hands, feet, and other adorable little parts of your newborn.  

Baby Photography 101: 5 Key Differences Between an iPhone and a Professional Camera

A professional camera can be outfitted with specially crafted lenses for taking zoom shots. That’s not the case for iPhones. One article described it this way, “The iPhone doesn’t actually have the ability to zoom, just the illusion of doing so. You’re actually just enlarging a portion of the image.” The photo gets grainier and grainier as you zoom in, which is probably not the look you want. Go with a professional camera when you want to capture your newborn’s little pieces in full detail.

So what’s the verdict? You don’t have to choose between an iPhone and a professional camera! You’ll probably be happiest if you use both to document your newborn’s growth. iPhone cameras are perfect for quick snapshots, but they don’t compare to the quality of a professional camera. That doesn’t mean that you need to spend your diaper budget on a fancy camera. Use your smartphone to capture everyday moments, and invest in the use of a professional camera for momentous occasions.

In fact, professional cameras produce the best results when they’re in the hands of a professional. Work with a baby photographer to get gorgeous photos that can be shared for generations to come– and all for less than the cost of buying a professional camera of your own.