Category Archives: Pregnancy Resources

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

Portability

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.

Aperture

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.

10 Ways to Make Birth Announcements Fun and Easy

10 Ways to Make Birth Announcements Fun and Easy

Your newborn is here! Your community wants to join in the celebration, and you want to tell the world. However, it can be hard to imagine adding anything beyond a Facebook post to your to-do list. After all, caring for your infant is your top priority.

The good news is that there’s no reason to put unnecessary effort into preparing and sending your birth announcement. You’re announcing one of the most joyous occasions of your life, so make the process enjoyable. With our tips and tricks, you’ll be ready to send out your birth announcements with ease.

Here are 10 tips for simplifying birth announcements so you can focus on your newborn

Pick your design beforehand

The easiest way to simplify birth announcements is to start before your new baby is born. You can probably find a spare moment during your nine months of preparation. Spend some time picking a birth announcement design. Bella Baby has several options that will fit any family’s style. Already had your baby? Don’t worry. This won’t take long. You can find a design you’ll love in less than five minutes.

Find an expert

Most birth announcement designs prominently feature a photo of your newborn – recipients want to see the adorable face of your little one. Now that you’ve had the beautiful pictures taken at the hospital featuring your new bundle of love – it’s time to take some shots with the whole family. Go easy on yourself – schedule a newborn portrait session, and let a professional capture some of your most cherished moments with your whole family. You’ll have photos for your birth announcement and memories for years to come.

10 Ways to Make Birth Announcements Fun and Easy

Don’t rush

It’s logical to have a sense of urgency around birth announcements. Your newborn is here, and you want to share the news as soon as possible! Thankfully, no one expects a fast turnaround. The people who care about you understand your situation. Even etiquette says you can send birth announcements up to six months after your infant is born.

Buy a return address stamp

Time is unbelievably valuable during your first weeks with a newborn. There’s no reason to write your return address over and over again. Streamline the process by purchasing a self-inking return address stamp or return address labels. The address will look beautiful, and you can invest that saved time into a treat, like an extra few minutes of sleep.

Gather addresses online

There are few things more stressful than trying to wrangle addresses. It’s impossible to keep track of who moved and when. Don’t add that anxiety to an already busy time. Gather your addresses online using a tool like I Need Your Address. Email or text the link to your online address book, and watch the addresses roll in. As a bonus, you’ll have an updated list for holiday cards as well!

Prep your envelopes

Simplify the process of sending birth announcements by preparing your envelopes ahead of time. You can start stamping and addressing envelopes before your newborn even arrives. Preparing just a few envelopes a day will make your life easier when the time for sending announcements actually comes. Work on envelopes as you tune into your must-watch TV show or listen to your favorite album. You’ll be having such a good time that you’ll barely notice you’re working.

10 ways to make birth announcements fun and easy

Involve your family

If there’s one thing having a new baby teaches you, it’s that you can and should accept help. Get your family–or your friends who feel like family–involved. Let your other children play a role in announcing the birth of their new sibling by stamping and stuffing envelopes, and help you prepare your birth announcements!

Make it your own

Traditional birth announcements include your newborn’s full name, his or her date of birth, and measurements. Feel free to add special touches that are representative of your family. You can use informal wording, if that fits your style. Some families even add a link to a photo gallery or birth story. Your infant is the newest addition to your family. Let the birth announcement showcase who you are.

Spread it out

Batch processing can be a parent’s best friend. Consider sending out your birth announcements in waves to make the task more manageable. Start with family. Expand to friends, and send to colleagues or acquaintances last. No one is keeping track of when they receive your birth announcement. Spread out the process, and keep your sanity.

Announcing the birth of your newborn should be fun and easy, and with our tips, you’re well on your way to avoiding any birth announcement related stress. Do you have advice of your own? What are your tips for taking the stress out of the process?

 

Preparing Your Home for the Baby

Preparing Your Home for the Baby

There’s a lot to do before your new family member comes home. We know that preparing for your baby can be overwhelming and stressful, so take it one step at a time and enlist help from your spouse, relatives, or friends.

Prioritize Important Tasks

Remember that you don’t need to complete every single step of preparing your home before the baby arrives. It’s ok if you didn’t have time to find that perfect lighting fixture for your newborn’s room. As long as you have the basic necessities, you can take care of the little details later on.

Make a List

Get that long to-do list out of your head and onto paper. Put more important tasks at the top (crib, safety, supplies) and cosmetic items (decor) at the end. Share the list with your spouse to divide and conquer. Show it to a close friend to see where they can help out as well.

Preparing Your Home for the Baby

 

Baby’s Room

A crib/bassinet and bedding are the most important purchases you’ll need to make or add to your baby registry.

Crib

There are so many options from standard to modern when it comes to crib designs. There are plenty of choices within whatever your budget is, so explore your options. You could purchase a basic one, then head to Pinterest for some DIY inspiration.

In addition to a crib, you’ll need some additional Baby Sleep Essentials. A crib mattress, waterproof mattress pad, fitted sheets, swaddles or sleep sacks, and a monitor should be added to your list. Also, consider a rocking chair or swing to help put your baby to sleep.

Decor

This should be a last step. Most decorative items will end up being gifts, especially if you have a baby shower. Choose a theme or color story for your newborn’s room so that you can provide relatives with some direction when they shop for gifts.

Wait till after your baby shower or after your baby is born to purchase any non-essential items. This way, you’ll avoid duplicate items and just accumulating too much stuff. However, if you find something that you absolutely love, go ahead and buy it!

Consult a New Baby Checklist and create one of your own to keep track of what you need. Start with essentials like a car seat and crib, then move on from there.

Safety Around the Home

Babyproofing your home is another important preparation that should be on your list. You should start thinking about safety before your baby comes home. Babies start to crawl around six months, so you’ll want to start anchoring furniture and making more significant changes a few months later.

Think About Choking Hazards

Choking is a serious concern for newborns. Go around your house and put away anything that contains small pieces. Don’t leave your purse lying around as it probably has candy, mints, and a number of other things that your baby could get their hands on.

Anchor Furniture

Prevent furniture tip-overs by purchasing and installing anchors (also called restraints or tethers). They’re pretty inexpensive and you can find them at stores like Target or Bed Bath & Beyond. You’ll need at least two per each piece of furniture. After installation, check them regularly in case they need to be tightened.

Cover Sharp Edges

You’ll want to pad up anything that your baby could bump into. Even before they’re able to walk, you don’t want grandma to accidently knock your infant against the corner of a dresser while carrying them. Cover all edges of cabinets, dressers, mirrors, and anything else below chest level. You’ll also want to purchase a bath faucet cover to protect your baby’s head. You can cover sharp corners on the cheap by purchasing foam pipe insulation from a hardware store.

Cover Electrical Outlets

For obvious reasons, you don’t want a curious little one to stick their fingers into an outlet. Get a 48-pack of outlet covers from Bed Bath & Beyond for $4.99.

Check out a Childproofing Checklist to cover all your bases, then invite another mom over to go around your house and point out anything you may have missed.

Next, check out our post on Everything You Need to Know About Car Seats Before the Baby Comes. 

 

The Go Bag: What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag

Everyone tells expectant mothers to have their hospital bags, or go bags, packed well before the baby is expected to arrive. There are cautionary tales of mothers who went into labor at 36 weeks and had to throw together a go bag as they wrestled with contractions. In those tales, the expectant mother inevitably leaves something important at home. Then there are joyous stories of mothers whose pre-packed hospital bags were their saving grace. And though advice-givers are quick to tell expectant mothers to pack the go bag, they aren’t always as quick to detail what all should be included.

As with many things in pregnancy, some items are necessary for every mother while other items are up to the discretion of the individual. We’ve compiled a comprehensive go bag packing list so that you can focus on other facets of birth preparation rather than worrying about what to bring to the hospital

Here are our suggestions for packing the ultimate hospital bag

When packing your go bag, it helps to think about the birthing process chronologically. What items will you need at each stage? Some items are non-negotiable, no matter your birth preferences. Start your packing with those must-haves. Then customize from there.

Stage One: Hospital Arrival

Upon hospital arrival, you may need to provide insurance and medical information, even if you’ve pre-registered.  Gather your documents in a folder or binder.

Make sure you have the following:

  • Your health insurance card – Labor is not the time to be searching for the card at the bottom of your purse
  • Medical records – You want to be sure the hospital has the full context of your health and your pregnancy
  • Your birth plan – If you took the time to create a birth plan, you’ll want to have it on hand during childbirth
  • Pediatrician contact information – Your baby will be the pediatrician’s newest patient! The hospital will want to notify the pediatrician when your newborn arrives

Stage Two: Labor and Delivery

The length of labor varies greatly among women and is generally longer for new mothers. The goal here is to make sure you’ve packed everything required to make labor as comfortable as possible. Remember that having a baby is messy. Anything you pack has a high likelihood of coming home in less than perfect condition.

Add these items to your go bag:

  • Toiletries – Pack your toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash, and deodorant. Moisturizing toiletries like lotion and chapstick are particularly important in a hospital environment. Fill your toiletry bag with whatever else you need to freshen up during a long labor or wash up after deliver
  • A robe or nightgown – Hospital gowns don’t provide much warmth or comfort. Include an outfit that will make you feel at home
  • Socks and underwear – Over prepare. Pack more than you think you will need because there’s no telling where the journey of childbirth will take you. Many moms prefer non-skid socks for labor so they are free to walk around without fear of slipping
  • Hair ties – Hair ties have a habit of going missing when they’re most needed. Pack extra hair ties to ensure you’ll have something to keep your hair out of your face
  • Tech necessities – Your phone charger. Ear buds. They’re both so small, but forgetting them or their counterparts adds a lot of unnecessary stress. Consider buying backups that live in your hospital bag
  • Distractions – What will make labor more enjoyable for you? A beach read? A celebrity gossip magazine? Your favorite podcast or album? Whatever distraction works for you, add it to your go bag

Stage Three: Headed Home

It bears repeating: every pregnancy, delivery, and recovery is different. Some parents bring their child home the next day while others spend several days in the hospital. Eventually, you will go home.

And when you do, you’ll be glad you packed these items in your hospital bag:

  • A change of clothes – Set aside a particularly comfortable outfit to come home in. Your body will still be recovering from the delivery, so avoid anything too restrictive
  • Maternity bras – Whether you choose to breastfeed or not, the arrival of your newborn sparks physiological changes.Your body will thank you for packing a maternity bra
  • Baby’s first outfit – Choose a special outfit to bring your little one home in. Pay attention to the weather. Depending on the season, the outfit might need to include a hat, a coat, and extra warm socks
  • Car seat – A car seat won’t fit into your go bag, but it is a necessity. If space allows, install the car seat well before your due date to avoid extra stress later
  • Baby blanket – The weather plays a role in this item as well. Pack an appropriately weighted blanket that can provide relief from the sun and protect your newborn from the cold

By now, your go bag is well equipped with the basics. Add special touches that tailor the hospital bag to your own needs. Do you think there’s an item that belongs in everyone’s go bag? Share with us in the comments below.