Bringing home a bundle of joy isn't always a walk in the park, but one nurse and soon-to-be mom of four, Karrie Locher, is making it easy for moms about to welcome their newborns.
Last Spring, Locher, who is a registered nurse, launched her Instagram to help families transition from hospital to home.
On her Instagram, she shares advice based on her professional and personal experience -- from tips on breastfeeding to changing a baby's diaper to bath time, the 29-year-old is shedding light on postpartum so new parents don't have to go through the process alone.
"When I had my own child and went home, I was like, 'Wait, nobody told me about this, nobody told me about that,'" Locher told "Good Morning America." "I found ... that there was such a big lack of education for parents going home and of what to expect. I feel like there's this highlight reel of what you see it's going to be like and then when it's not that way, it can feel very guilt-inducing for new moms."
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Locher said she also noticed that a lot of hospital classes that teach new parents these postpartum lessons are no longer being held.
So, Locher started her Instagram to help parents get the information they need. And in just one year, the 29-year-old has created a loyal audience of over 230,000 followers including Marisol Mena, who is set to welcome her baby girl, Olive, next month.
Locher personally helped Marisol with a basic course on what to expect once her baby girl is home from the hospital.
Read on for some of Locher's top tips.
Make bath time an easy, 2-step process
Locher says many parents aren't aware that newborns can only have sponge baths for the first couple of weeks.
"You can't actually submerge your baby's abdominal area in water because that umbilical stump is in place for the first couple of weeks," said Locher. "We're really not supposed to get that area wet because the whole purpose is for it to dry up and fall off on its own."
So, Locher suggests a sponge bath done in a two-step process, on something as simple as your baby's changing mat. First, Locher says to focus on the baby's body. Have a warm basin of water nearby and a washcloth with shampoo.
Once you get your baby all cleaned up, Locher suggests parents dry them off and put them in a fresh diaper and new pajamas. Then, Locher says to swaddle your baby so that you have control of your baby's head while you can wash their hair.
"She can be looking at you and enjoying herself, and that's what makes bath time so fun in those early weeks, especially because you want to bond, too," added Locher. "You want to have fun with the bath. It's not just like a chore, you know?"
For when tummy troubles strike
One of the toughest things Locher says new parents struggle with is helping their newborns deal with gas.
"We don't really touch on it much with discharge instructions," said Locher. "You get home and you're like, OK, what can I do to help my baby? She's struggling, she needs to pass gas -- she might be a little bit more fussy… it's heartbreaking as a parent."
To help your baby, Locher recommends an "I love you" abdominal massage to relieve gas.
"What I found the most effective was actually infant tummy massage and just massaging her belly after a bath," she said. "It helped so much."
Locher said with your fingertips, draw an "I," an "L'' and a "U" on your baby's left side of their abdomen.
"You just go downward to make the 'I' and then you start on the other side, the right side of their abdomen, go across and down to make that 'L,' and then you just do a nice big arch to make the 'U' at the end," said Locher. "You always want to be moving in a clockwise position because that's the way the baby's gut moves."
Create a nursing cart
To help make things convenient as a new mom, Locher suggests creating a nursing cart filled with mom and baby essentials like snacks, water and diapers.
"I always found myself like running to get more things," said Locher. "I'm like, 'Why don't I just have something on wheels that I can just take with me?' It's so much more convenient."
Other things that Locher says she puts in her nursing cart are nail files and extra rags.
Editor's note: This was originally published on April 12, 2021.