Baby in a back seat located child safety seat

Preventing Children’s Deaths in Hot Cars

children-are-still-dying-in-hot-cars--dont-let-it-happenA parent’s worst nightmare is something happening to their child.

Compound that nightmare by knowing it was preventable and was their own fault? Already this summer, numerous children have died after being left in a vehicle. The outside temperature does not even have to be hot in order for a car to become too hot to live in for even a short period of time. Even in mild temperatures, the interior of a car can become hot enough to lead to death during an extended period of time. What is so frustrating is this happens every single summer.

The excuses for leaving a child in the car vary: my baby was sleeping and I didn’t want to wake him up…or I thought I’d only be gone a few minutes. Perhaps the most heartbreaking is I forgot my child was in the back seat. While some say they can never imagine forgetting their child was in the vehicle, it can happen with a change of routine, sleeping child, fatigue, and a host of other reasons. My heart breaks for these people and their families, and I hope with these tips it will never happen to another family.

Tips to Help Prevent Leaving Children Behind:

  • Make a habit of always looking in the back seat when you get out of your car – even when you know your child is not with you
  • When arriving home, get your kids out of the car first before getting your groceries or whatever out of the car
  • Put one of your children’s toys on the front seat as a reminder that they are in the back seat
  • Put your cell phone, briefcase, or purse in the backseat on the floor in front of your child
  • Put a sticky note on your dashboard to remind you
  • Use one of those child safety mirrors in the back window so that each time you look in your rear-view mirror you see your child as well
  • Set an alarm on your cellphone for your anticipated arrival time at your destination with a reminder about your child

Some of you may think that this is all common sense and we don’t need reminders like this. But children are still being left behind in cars during hot weather with fatal effects. I

If you see a child in a car, don’t hesitate – call 911.

men-in-labour

When Men Experience Labour Pain

If you had the chance to have your husband or boyfriend experience what it was like to give birth, would you? Sure, many women who have given birth will tell you it is a pain like no other. And, I am sure there are many men who think it can’t be as bad as we make it out to be and that they would endure it better than the women. The screams and cries of a woman in labour have elicited fear and have been the topic of movies,comedy routines, and more.

Well, here are a couple of men who thought women exaggerate the pain. They were up for the challenge – with their wives are by their side.

Me? I think my husband has a solid appreciation for the pain of childbirth, and why would I want to inflict that pain on him (he’s a pretty darn good guy, after all)? What do you think?

newborn-and-toddler

First-Born Jealousy

Question: Our first-born is showing extreme jealousy towards the new baby. He’s obviously mad at us for disrupting the predictable flow of his life with this new challenger for our attention. How can we smooth things out?

Think about it: Before the baby entered your family, your toddler was told he’d have a wonderful little brother to play with, and how much fun it would be. Then the little brother is born and your toddler is thinking, “Are you kidding me? This squirming, red-faced baby that takes up all your time and attention is supposed to be FUN?” He then “plays” with the baby in the only ways he knows how. He plays catch. You yell at him for throwing toys at the baby. He plays hide-and-seek. You yell at him to get the blanket off the baby. He gives the kid a hug, and you admonish him to be more careful. Is it any wonder that your toddler is confused?

Teach: Your first goal is to protect the baby. Your second, to teach your older child how to interact with his new sibling in proper ways. You can teach your toddler how to play with the baby in the same way you teach him anything else. Talk to him, demonstrate, guide and encourage. Until you feel confident that you’ve achieved your second goal, however, do not leave the children alone together. Yes, I know. It isn’t convenient. But it is necessary, maybe even critical.

Hover: Whenever the children are together, “hover” close by. If you see your child about to get rough, pick up the baby and distract the older sibling with a song, a toy, an activity or a snack. This action protects the baby while helping you avoid a constant string of “Nos,” which may actually encourage the aggressive behavior.

Teach soft touches: Teach the older sibling how to give the baby a back rub. Tell how this kind of touching calms the baby, and praise the older child for a job well done. This lesson teaches the child how to be physical with the baby in a positive way.

Act quickly: Every time you see your child hit, or act roughly with the baby, act quickly. You might firmly announce, “No hitting, time out.” Place the child in a time-out chair with the statement, “You can get up when you can use your hands in the right way.” Allow him to get right up if he wants – as long as he is careful and gentle with the baby. This isn’t punishment, after all. It’s just helping him learn that rough actions aren’t going to be permitted.

Demonstrate: Children learn what they live. Your older child will be watching as you handle the baby and learning from your actions. You are your child’s most important teacher. You are demonstrating in everything you do, and your child will learn most from watching you.
Praise: Whenever you see the older child touching the baby gently, make a positive comment. Make a big fuss about the important “older brother.” Hug and kiss your older child and tell him how proud you are.

Watch your words: Don’t blame everything on the baby. “We can’t go to the park; the baby’s sleeping.” “Be quiet, you’ll wake the baby.” “After I change the baby I’ll help you.” At this point, your child would just as soon sell the baby! Instead, use alternate reasons. “My hands are busy now.” “We’ll go after lunch.” “I’ll help you in three minutes.”

Be supportive: Acknowledge your child’s unspoken feelings, such as “Things sure have changed with the new baby here. It’s going to take us all some time to get used to this.” Keep your comments mild and general. Don’t say, “I bet you hate the new baby.” Instead, say, “It must be hard to have Mommy spending so much time with the baby.” or “I bet you wish we could go to the park now, and not have to wait for the baby to wake up.” When your child knows that you understand her feelings, she’ll have less need to act up to get your attention.
Give extra love: Increase your little demonstrations of love for your child. Say extra I love yous, increase your daily dose of hugs, and find time to read a book or play a game. Temporary regressions or behavior problems are normal, and can be eased with an extra dose of time and attention.

Get ’em involved: Teach the older sibling how to be helpful with the baby or how to entertain the baby. Let the older sibling open the baby gifts and use the camera to take pictures of the baby. Teach him how to put the baby’s socks on. Let him sprinkle the powder. Praise and encourage whenever possible.

Making each feel special: Avoid comparing siblings, even about seemingly innocent topics such as birth weight, when each first crawled or walked, or who had more hair! Children can interpret these comments as criticisms.

Take a deep breath and be calm. This is a time of adjustment for everyone in the family. Reduce outside activities, relax your housekeeping standards, and focus on your current priority, adjusting to your new family size.

Excerpted with permission by NTC/Contemporary Publishing Group Inc. from Perfect Parenting , The Dictionary of 1,000 Parenting Tips by Elizabeth Pantley, copyright 1999

diaper3

Diapers – Wet or Dry Pail Method

Cloth diapering has come a long way! However, unless you use a diaper service, you will need to launder the diapers – but what do you do with them in the mean time?

WET PAIL METHOD (SOAKING)
This method allows you to soak your diapers until ready to wash. The benefit to this method is easier stain removal, and less frequent laundering.
HOW TO DO IT:
Fill your pail 1/2 full with cold water and 1/4 cup of vinegar or baking soda.
Dispose of flushable liner or shake off excess poop into toilet. No rinsing is necessary (especially if your baby is breastfed exclusively).
After 3-4 days or at about 2 – 3 dozen dirty diapers – empty the contents of your diaper pail into the washer and spin out the excess liquid.
Proceed with washing instructions.
Please make sure if you are using this method that your pail is securely fastened and out of reach of children.

DRY PAIL METHOD (NO SOAKING)
The benefit of this method is a lighter pail and no diaper soup!
HOW TO DO IT:
Sprinkle baking soda at bottom of pail and line your pail with a washable bag for easy transport to washing machine.
Dispose of flushable liner or shake off excess poop into toilet. No rinsing necessary (especially if your baby is breastfed exclusively).
Put wet or soiled diapers in the pail
Do a quick cold-water rinse cycle before your regular wash cycle so as not to set any stains in the hot water wash.
Proceed with washing instructions.
If you use this method you will need to wash about every 2 days or your diapers will stink!

baby_carrier1

Choosing a Baby Carrier

By Elizabeth Pantley

Most parents find a baby carrier to be invaluable during the first year of their baby’s life. There are many types and styles to choose from. The different types of baby carriers fall into three main categories: slings, front packs and backpacks.

Slings
These are made of fabric and are available in a wide variety of styles. They “sling” sash-style over your shoulder to hold baby in front of you. Slings offer many benefits to both baby and parent.

Here are some of the most commonly cited by experienced sling-users:
A sling is perfect for the newborn months, when Baby needs to be held often in your arms, as opposed to being pushed at arm’s length in a stroller.
A sling is an excellent way to carry your baby around the house because it keeps your baby happy while leaving your two arms free to go about your daily tasks.
Sling carriers are multi-purpose. You can use them to carry your baby, to create privacy for breastfeeding, and to cover your sleeping baby. Some feature a tail that can double as a blanket or coverup.
Putting your baby into (and getting him back out of) a sling is a breeze. You can even get a sleeping baby in and out of one of these soft carriers without waking her.
You can carry your baby in a variety of positions.
Slings are small, lightweight and easy to transport.
Slings are wonderful to use when a stroller would be inconvenient, such as up stairs, through large crowds or narrow aisle ways, or over rough terrain – or when you’ll be going in and out of the car frequently.
Slings put your baby at the height of people’s faces instead of at their knees.
You can use a sling right up through toddlerhood, when little legs get tired of walking.

An important note about baby slings: They can be confusing to use at first, and your baby can slide out of the bottom if not positioned correctly. Try to find an experienced sling-user, a how-to video, or a knowledgeable sales clerk to help you master the art of baby slinging. Your local La Leche League leader may be able to offer pointers, too.
Slings are very much worth the effort. I bought a sling when my second baby, Vanessa, was born. I couldn’t figure it out, so I left it in the closet. When my third baby, David, was born, I attended a mother-baby class, learned how to use my sling and was immediately hooked! I used slings extensively with my third and fourth babies and found them to be a marvelous baby care tool.

PARENT TIP
“I put my newborn in the sling so I could sit in bed at night with my toddler and read books. It kept us all together, my hands free and gave reading time to BOTH boys!”
Amy, mother of AJ (4) and Ryder (2)

Front packs
Front pack carriers are similar to slings in use but are more complex in their structure. They have a seat that attaches to the front of you with straps that crisscross behind you; these straps secure the carrier to your body.

Here’s what you need to know about front packs:
The benefits of front packs are similar to many of those of slings, such as their light weight and portability, and the fact that you can carry your baby while keeping your arms and hands free.
Some allow you to choose between carrying your baby facing inward toward you or outward, facing the world – which is often fun for older babies.
Settling the baby into and out of the carrier require more steps than a sling does.
Moving a sleeping baby into or out of the carrier is difficult, unless the seat unbuckles separately from the harness.
Front packs are better suited to a baby who is strong enough to hold his head upright.

Backpacks
A back carrier is similar to a camping backpack. It has a seat for your baby that attaches to your back with a frame and straps that cross over your shoulders.

A few things to know about backpacks:
They’re perfect for an older baby who loves to look around and be carried high on your shoulders.
Many backpacks have pouches for holding supplies.
Some models have a canopy for inclement weather or sun protection.
Getting a backpack off (and putting it on) are typically two-person tasks.
Backpacks are best for an older baby who can sit up well.
They’re great for an all-day trip, such as hiking, shopping or visiting an amusement park

How do you decide which carrier to use?
No single baby carrier is perfect for all parents. Every parent has different needs, preferences and proportions. Many people actually begin with one type of carrier and move on to another when their babies get older.
First, think about how you plan to use a carrier. Will you use it primarily at home, instead of a stroller while away from home, or both? Do you already have a stroller, or must your carrier fill all your baby-carrying needs? Defining its purpose will help you choose which carrier is best for you. Read the information (or talk to other parents who own a similar carrier) to learn which purposes it serves best and to determine if it matches your needs.
The very best way to decide? Try carriers on either at the store or with a friend who owns one. Actually putting your baby in the carrier will give you the best idea as to fit, but if you are shopping without your baby (or don’t have your baby yet!) try using a stuffed animal from the toy department.

PARENT TIP
“A baby carrier can help new adoptive parents to decline politely those who want to hold your baby while he still needs exclusive Mommy or Daddy contact. The carrier can be especially helpful in difficult situations such as visits to your child’s orphanage or former foster parents.”*
Laurel, mother of 16-month-old Crystal
* This is also an excellent idea for parents who blanch at the thought of their tiny newborn being passed around the room from person to person!

Points to consider when purchasing a carrier:
Comfort. Does the carrier feel good to you?
Fit for your baby. Does it seem to suit your baby well?
Fit for you. Does it fit your size and body type? Can you carry the baby without strain?
Safety. Will the baby be secure and well supported?
Features. Does it meet your needs?
Usability. Can you easily get your baby in and out of the carrier? How about putting it on and taking it off? Keep in mind that some models require practice.
Construction. Does the fabric suit your wardrobe, climate and needs (i.e., lightweight for summer, weatherproof for outdoor use)?
Care. Is it machine-washable or easy to wipe clean?
Flexibility. Can you carry your baby in various positions?
Adjustability. Can it be tightened or adjusted to fit you when you are at home in indoor clothing or outside wearing a coat? Can you adjust it easily for use by others?
Adaptability. Will it work for your baby now as well as six months from now?
Appearance. Do you like the style? Will you enjoy wearing it?

This article is an excerpt from Gentle Baby Care by Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, 2003)

baby-food1

Benefits of Making your Own Homemade Baby Food

by Bridget Mwape

Making your own homemade baby food will ensure that what your child is eating is fresh, nutritious and free of additives. By making your own baby food, you’ll be saving money. Also, you will have total control over what is put into your baby’s food. You can therefore take the extra steps to ensure that only high quality foods are selected and used. You will be able to feed your baby according to his or her needs because you will know what foods are best suited for your baby from experience.

Making your own baby food also ensures that your baby is exposed to a greater variety of tastes and textures. This will help your baby when making the transition to table foods and also help him or her develop healthy eating habits.

Baby Food Preparation Tips
1. As babies are susceptible to digestive upsets, always work with clean hands and use clean cooking utensils, preparation surfaces, pots and pans etc., when making home made baby food. Prepare foods immediately upon removing them from the refrigerator and freeze immediately after cooking any foods you want to store.
2. Steaming vegetables is the best method of preparation. This softens them, makes them easier to chew, and preserves more of the vitamins and minerals than boiling. A steamer basket is cheap and by cooking fruits and vegetables in it, you’ll be sure of keeping the nutrients in the food, instead of in the cooking water.

3. To puree your foods, you can use a fork, a food mill or blender. A blender quickly purees almost anything into the finest consistency. When your baby first starts on solids, you’ll be pureeing things to a very fine consistency and, as baby gets a little older, you will make foods a little coarser. You may wish to buy a food mill which comes in large and small sizes. It is very handy and inexpensive. The food mill strains most cooked foods to a very smooth consistency, although meats can be a problem as they will have a coarser texture. Remember all the tools you need to make baby food are probably already in your kitchen.

4. You can prepare large amounts of foods at once and freeze them.
Take your prepared foods and plop by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet. Freeze the plops right away and then take them off the sheet when they are frozen and put them into plastic bags. You can also freeze the food in plastic “pop out” ice cube trays. Small tupperware jars with lids serve the same purpose and stack easily. Special Baby Food Cubes are also available. Label and date the packages rotate them putting the most recently frozen foods behind the previously frozen ones. Frozen baby foods can be stored for up to two months.

5. When you take frozen foods out for baby, warm the food in a cup placed in a saucepan of boiling water with a lid on. If you use a microwave to thaw or warm baby food, be sure to stir the food well to avoid hot pockets.

6. Cereals are typically the first foods given to a baby because they contain lots of iron. You can prepare your own, by running oatmeal through your blender. Fruits are generally given next. Except for raw, mashed banana, you will need to cook all other fruits till they are soft.

7. Try making your own apple sauce and pear sauce; don’t add any sugar, as these fruits are sweet enough on their own. You can also peel peaches, plums and apricots and boil or steam them.

8. Buy and use organic fruits and vegetables. Use fresh and organic vegetables whenever possible in order to provide the best nutrition and flavor for your baby. Your baby deserves pesticide-free foods. Frozen vegetables are better to use than canned.

9. Yogurt, mashed cottage cheese, mashed pumpkin, baked potato, avocado and tofu (oriental soy bean curd) are all popular with babies. One good idea is to blend together cottage cheese, banana and fresh orange juice – delicious!

10. Meats should be added slowly. They can be boiled or broiled, then put in the blender with a little milk and perhaps banana or cream of rice to get the right consistency. Chicken is generally the first meat baby is introduced to and usually goes down fairly well.

11. There is no rush to start your baby on solid foods. Milk is his most important food. Your doctor’s recommendations and your own intuition will help you to know when to begin introducing solids to your baby’s diet. Introducing solids prepares the baby for the transition to adult food and offers further vitamins and minerals as the baby grows. Always remember to be patient with your baby and allow at least a few days between newly added foods to make sure the baby doesn’t suffer any reactions.

Copyright © 2005, Bridget Mwape writes for the Baby Shop UK: http://www.baby-shop.org.uk/ which features baby information including articles and discounts on baby products, gifts and advice from other parents.

search1

3 Simple Steps in Searching for a Baby Name

by Joy Oneisis

1) BRAINSTORM
It is a good idea to pick a baby boy, girl, or a unisex baby name, even if the sonogram has already shown you the sex of your baby, after all, surprises do happen. Set aside time with no interruptions to clear your mind and brainstorm names that appeal to you and write them on a piece of paper. You may want to honor an endeared relative, or choose a name with religious meaning. Or perhaps you have heard a name before and said to yourself `Hey, that’s a cool baby name’. If you want the name to have a specific meaning, for example `strong’, do an internet search, or look it up in a book. Check out the most popular baby names list for the last few years. It is surprising how many names you thought were unique are actually very popular. If you want an unusual baby name, skim the dictionary or a favorite book to see what pops out at you. Surf the internet for sites with free or paid baby name wizards, usually you answer a few questions and the wizard suggests possible baby names, for more ideas.

2) ELIMINATE
Hopefully you have a good-sized list of possible baby names by now. Takes a few days break after your brainstorming session to clear your mind. Then, write your names neatly on another sheet of paper,
including all combinations of possible first and middle names with your last name. You may be able to automatically eliminate a few that may have sounded appealing when you were brainstorming, but now you
wonder `what was I thinking?’
Now, eliminate names in which the last letter of either the first or middle name ends with the first letter of the last name, for example Allison Newman, or Allison Ann Newman (makes pronunciation difficult because there is no clear distinction where the last name begins and the first name ends). Eliminate names whose initials spell undesired acronyms, for example Richard Arthur Turner = RAT, unless you want to make it as easy as possible for other children to poke fun at your child in school. Do some internet or book research to find out the meanings of remaining names. You may want to eliminate names with undesired meanings, for example `naïve’, while you may discover others that are definitely keepers, for example `brave’.

3) DECIDE
I know, deciding on a baby name is easier said than done. Give yourself a few days break again, and then reassess your list. You should be able to eliminate a few more. Ask friends and family for their opinions, or post your finalists on an internet poll. You can do this for free on many sites nowadays.
And you also have to decide how you want to spell it! Many people nowadays are creating exotic ways to spell traditional names for example Kaysey or Caisee, and like most things, this has pros and cons. It gives originality and uniqueness to your childs name, however your child will go through life constantly correcting the spelling of his or her name.
And remember, the most important thing is that YOU are happy with whatever baby name you choose. Happy Hunting!

Joy is the webmaster at http://www.babynamesetc.com – home of the free and unique baby name generator.

hello

Unique and Unusual Baby Names

by Susan Harkavy

Today one of the biggest trends in naming is choosing a unique name. Those of us who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s undoubtedly knew multiple Jennifers, Amys, Michaels and Johns, and many parents want their child to have a more unusual name. Parents have dusted off old classics, combined names and altered spellings in the hopes of saving their child from the fate of being known throughout their school years as “Amy with a Y” or “Michael R, the one with brown hair.”

So how do you find a name that is unique and unusual? Here are some suggestions, along with a few warnings.

1. If you live in the US, look through the top 100 names from the Social Security lists for the past few years to get a sense of what names are currently popular. You may be surprised at just how many children share a name that sounds fresh and unusual to you.

2. Look for unused classics. Literature is a great source of names that were once popular but have since fallen down the charts. Read the names in your family tree or look at Social Security lists from the early 1900’s and you may just fall in love with a forgotten classic.

3. Anticipate the trends. Right now, names from the 1900’s-1930’s are very hot for girls. In another decade, that will probably move forward to names from the 1940’s and 1950’s. Look at those names now and see if any appeal to you.

4. Create your own name by combining two family names or altering a name that you love. Be cautious in this, however, as not all created names sound appealing. You may want to ask family and friends for opinions before committing to an invented name.

And now for the warnings:
1. Keep in mind that names used in popular television series or films are likely to skyrocket in popularity, as are names of celebrity children. For example, the name Ella and its variants have become extremely popular since a few celebrities used it and it appeared as a baby’s name on the show ER.

2. Beware of creative spellings. While it’s true that Keightl’nne looks very different from Caitlin or Katelyn, it is still pronounced the same way and is still ultimately the same name. You may be causing your child a lifetime of confusion as she attempts to spell her name over the phone, while she is still one of five or six Caitlins in her class.

3. Beware of punctuation in names, which could cause problems when filling out computerized forms.

4. Be careful not to take the hunt for creative names too far. Imagine the name as your own, or try the “profession test”. Would you wish to be known forever as Egwene? Can you picture The Honorable Judge Tequila Mad’y’syn being called to the bench?

5. Above all, remember that what really matters is finding a name you love, one that grows well with your child. Even the top names are being given to fewer and fewer children these days, so if you fall in love with Emma or Jacob, don’t let fears of popularity force you to use another name you don’t really care for.

Written by Susan Harkavy for StorkNet.com’s Baby Names Cubby (http://www.storknet.com/babynames ) . . . a one-stop shop for all things baby names including featured names and a babynames database. Visit StorkNet for support and information on all topics related to preconception, pregnancy, and parenting including childbirth, breastfeeding, pregnancy loss and more.

diaper2

Why Modern Moms Are Going Back to the Basics – The Evolution of the Cloth Diaper

by Tiffany Washko

Having a baby is one of the most exciting times of your life. It is also one of the most stressful. So many decisions have to be made about nearly every aspect of your baby’s comfort, safety, and happiness. You spend hours pouring over pregnancy and child rearing books, picking out the perfect crib, finding the most adorable and comfortable clothing, and envisioning the safest and most peaceful birth for your baby as possible. No doubt somewhere in your planning you have thought about how many diapers you will need for your new little one and perhaps you have even purchased some in advance. If you are like the majority of parents out there, then you have automatically decided upon disposable diapers without ever giving it a second thought.

Stop right there! There is an alternative; consider using cloth diapers.

Cloth diapering today is not what it used to be. When many parents think of cloth diapers they think of flat diapers that need to be folded in several, origami-like folds and fastened with diaper pins before they are covered with plastic pull on pants. Generally they also think that the clean-up involved with using cloth diapers would be tedious and messy. Cloth diapers have been stereotyped and it seems as though many parents have missed the total evolution of the cloth diaper that has occurred over the past decade or so. I know, because I was one of them.
My own personal decision to use cloth actually came with my second child. With my first child I used disposable diapers, as most do, and thought nothing of it. When I became pregnant a second time I joined a pregnancy discussion group online and in one particular discussion I saw a signature line that contained a link to a work at home mother that sold handcrafted cloth diapers. It was an “Ahaaa” moment for me. I had no idea how far cloth diapers had come. I had dismissed all previous thoughts about using cloth diapers with an exaggerated “Ewwww!” I didn’t want to clean messy diapers and I didn’t want to stick my baby with safety pins. But these diapers were fitted, they had Velcro-like closures, and they were CUTE. I search far and wide for adorable clothing for my babies so how could I resist adorable diapers?

New choices in materials and high tech fabrics are causing an increasing number of parents to reconsider whether disposable diapers are the best choice. We have options now that provide us with cloth diapers that are elasticized so that they are fitted and snug, waterproof many instances, and manageable with Velcro-like closures or snaps, making them just as easy and convenient to use as disposables. It is not just their functionality and convenience that has been affected by this evolution either. Cloth diapers available today are infinitely more attractive. They are available in a variety of different colors, prints, and textures. Cloth diapers made from silk and cashmere are not uncommon. This is a big selling point for many parents because there is nothing cute about a disposable diaper. Quite simply, cloth diapers are convenient, cost effective, healthier for our children, and better for the environment. I feel as though the real question parents should be asking themselves is why use disposables?

As a general rule, it is almost always cheaper to reuse than to buy new every time. This is no different with cloth diapers. Most parents go through 6 to 8 thousand diapers per child, from birth to about age three. If we take an average of what those diapers cost, that equates to between 2000 and 3000 dollars per baby. Once those children are potty trained those diapers are gone. They can’t be re-used. So a significant chunk of our hard earned money has gone to buying, what is essentially, garbage. In comparison, enough cloth diapers to last for three years will usually cost between 3 to 8 hundred dollars. At minimum that is about a 1200 dollar savings. But wait, consider too, that those cloth diapers may last for one or more successive children and your savings doubles and even triples.

What should also be of serious concern to all parents are the toxic chemicals present in disposable diapers. Dioxin, which in various forms has been shown to cause cancer, birth defects, liver damage, skin diseases, and genetic damage, is a by-product of the paper-bleaching process used in manufacturing disposable diapers, and trace quantities may exist in the diapers themselves. Dioxin is listed by the EPA as the most toxic of cancer related chemicals. Disposable diapers also contain sodium polyacrylate. If you have ever seen the gel-like, super absorbent crystals in a disposable diaper then you have seen this substance first hand. Sodium polyacrylate is the same substance that was removed from tampons because of its link to toxic shock syndrome. No studies have been done on the long-term effects of this chemical being in contact with a baby’s reproductive organs 24 hours a day for upwards of two years. Cloth diapers, on the other hand, are free of the many chemicals contained in disposable diapers.

Then there are the environmental reasons for using cloth. According to the Sustainability Institute eighty percent of the diaperings in this nation are done with disposables. That comes to 18 BILLION diapers a year, just in the US. They require thousands of tons of plastic and hundreds of thousands of trees to manufacture. After a few hours of active service these materials are trucked away, primarily to landfills, where they sit, entombed or mummified, undegraded for several hundred years. The idea of a “disposable” diaper is a myth. The ramifications of that myth will stay with us for centuries to come. They are the 3rd largest single product in the waste stream behind newspapers and beverage containers. The urine and faeces in disposable diapers enter landfills untreated, possibly contaminating the ground water supply. When you consider the unnecessary depletion of our valuable forests, the huge volume of garbage created, the toxic air and water pollution and the potential health risks to children, it is very difficult to comprehend how washing and reusing cloth diapers could ever be considered an inconvenience. No, they are a rewarding investment all around; a financial investment, an investment in our children’s health, and an investment in our planet.
Tiffany Washko is president of Jelly Bean Diapers, http://www.jellybeandiapers.com. After working several years in corporate healthcare marketing and public relations, she took time away to be a mother. This new pursuit lead her to a new passion, helping new moms make the decision to return to the basics and use cloth diapers.

 

baby_cry

Why Babies Cry

Babies cry — it’s just a fact of life with a baby! And while it can be frustrating for parents, it’s the only real way that your baby can communicate with you for the first few months of life. So, just why do babies cry?

Dirty or Wet Diaper?
While not all babies mind a wet or dirty diaper, most do, and a clean diaper will stop the crying.

Hunger?
Possibly the most common reason for crying. Is your baby hungry? Even if it seems like they just ate, bebies sometimes feed more frequently than others.

Looking for a Cuddle?
Most babies like to be cuddled. Sometimes all that they need is someone to hold them. I am a firm believer that you can not spoil a baby by holding them too much.

Temperature?
Your baby may be to hot — or too cold. A good rule of thumb is to dress your baby much as you are dressed, and maybe one layer more (ie: a little undershirt).

Stress?
Sometimes adults feel “I can’t take it anymore” and need a break. Well, babies are no different. Sometimes a change of scene into a quiet place will calm your baby.

Just Fussy?
Many babies just have times where they will fuss and are not easily soothed. This can range from a few minutes of hard-to-console crying to full-blown colic. Colic is usually defined as inconsolable crying for at least three hours per day, three days per week or more.

Sick?
Other than the crying, is your baby acting differently? Is the cry different than usual (weak or sickly sounding?) Does he or she feel like they have a fever? If you are unsure, call your doctor or the hospital. My philosophy is it’s better to check with them and have nothing be wrong than it is to have your baby get very sick because you were worried about needlessly calling the doctor and wait to call.

Ok, you’ve done all these things and your baby is still crying! Now what?

Swaddling
Wrap and hold your baby close. If you have trouble swaddling a baby as I did, a swaddle blanket is a great thing to have. Mind you, some babies find swaddling or cuddling too constrictive and will respond better to other forms of comfort.

Rhythm and Sound
Babies are used to the sound of your heartbeat and all the other swooshing and swishing sounds that were heard while in your womb. There are things available that will mimic these sounds but I found the vacuum cleaner also worked well! Many times my son would fall asleep in his Baby Bjorn while I was vaccuming! If you had a bola ball during your pregnancy, wear it now too! It may help soothe your baby wonderfully.

Movement
Sometimes just carrying your baby around the house will be enough to calm the crying. Rocking chairs, car rides, or baby swings are also good things to try. A great way to carry your baby for extended periods of time is with a carrier or sling. Sometimes a bit of a gentle bounce in your set can help too.

Sucking
Babies also like to suck. Nurse your baby or offer a pacifier or one of your fingers to suck on. There were times I felt like a human pacifier, but if nursing was what would calm my son, then that’s what I did.

Rubbing
Rubbing your baby’s back or tummy can be very soothing. Try this while sitting, lying down, or walking around with your baby.

Remember, crying in itself will not hurt your baby. If you have tried everything and are feeling very frustrated, sometimes it is a good idea to call someone to come and help you out. If there isn’t anyone to take over for you for a time and you are at the end of your rope, calmly place the baby in a safe place such as their crib or on a mat on the floor and leave the room for a few minutes. Take some time out for yourself. Whatever you do, never ever shake your baby.

baby3

Using Music To Calm Your Baby

Music is a wonderful way for you to calm and soothe your baby, especially during the first year. How many times have your heard parents say that there was nothing that they could do with their crying, fussing baby until they tried music. This is because music does indeed soothe the savage beast, or in this case, the baby.

There are certain distinct sounds that have been proven to calm even fussy babies: the sounds of nature, white noise, and music. Even if your baby isn’t fussing or crying you may want to use music as often as you can to encourage that feeling of calm and peacefulness. All it takes is a few minutes every day and before you know it your baby will be looking forward to hearing that certain song emanating from the CD player.

There is nothing complicated or mysterious about introducing your baby to music from day one. You don?t need to search for the perfect song or a certain type of music. All you have to do is start by having your baby listen to your favorite songs and music. If jazz is on the top of your list, let your baby listen to the sounds of John Coltrane as he sits in his baby seat watching you in the kitchen. It doesn’t matter if you play the schmaltzy songs of the eighties or some wicked African beat, your baby is going to listen and his mood is going to be altered by any musical sound that he hears.

Besides the music that you yourself can introduce your baby to, there are hundreds of CDs on the market today that are filled with baby songs and lullabies. At the end of the day you may want to play a CD of quiet baby songs that have a slower beat. There are so many CDs for you to choose from that you will have a hard time making up your mind. Choose something that interests you. Many baby CDs will have lullabies and faster beat songs on the same CD.

Playing music has other benefits besides soothing your fussy, crying baby.
These benefits include:

– Babies are introduced to musical sounds.
– Music enhances your baby’s behavior and cognitive skills.
– Relieves stress for the entire family.
– Will stimulate curiosity and an interest in music.

Take time to find a variety of music CDs for your baby to listen to. You’ll soon notice which music your baby is most drawn to and can use that music when he is particularly fussy or is crying.

Emanuele Accenti is the author of the best-selling Ebook “Babies First Year – What Every Parents Need To Know” – and offers a free newsletter for new parents at http://www.babies1styear.com

 

baby6

First Week Home with Baby

The first week of your baby’s life brings big adjustments for both of you. You are adjusting to being a mother and caring for your baby and your baby is adjusting to life outside the womb. It is a time of great joy — and possibly immense fear! Although you’ve been preparing for the birth of your baby for months, now he is here and depending on you for everything which can seem overwhelming. Don’t expect too much of yourself during these first days! If anyone offers you help — take it!

During your baby’s first few weeks of life, he will be concentrating on getting to know you and his surroundings. Your baby needs to be handled so that life outside the womb seems as little different as possible to life inside the womb. Your baby’s needs, while they may seem overwhelming to you, are really simple: food, warmth and comfort from cuddling. Wrap him snugly and warmly, hold him closely, handle him slowly, and feed him when he’s hungry. Your baby will have the routing and sucking reflexes as well as tongue thrust. These are needed to get nourishment from the breast or bottle. You can also use this time to bond with your baby with lots of skin to skin contact.

Whether you decide to breast or bottle feed, feeding in the first few weeks is not an effortless process. Try to have early feeding sessions in a quiet setting with as few distractions as possible. Make sure you are in a comfortable position as it takes new babies a while to eat and you don’t want to end up stiff and sore. Cuddle and caress your baby as feeding time is a wonderful opportunity to show your baby how much he is loved.

If you are breastfeeding, be patient while you and your baby are getting the hang of it! The benefits of breastfeeding are many and in order for it to be successful, it is important to start out right. Keep in mind though it may take several weeks until you both feel comfortable and get a feeding schedule down.

Most new moms feel and experience:

  • Exhaustion!
  • Bloody vaginal discharge for the first week or so
  • Discomfort or pain in the perineal area if you had a vaginal delivery
  • Incision pain or numbness if you had a cesarean delivery
  • Abdominal cramping (afterpains) as the uterus contracts
  • Elation or depression or swings between both
  • Breast discomfort or engorgement
  • Fears about your adequacy as a mother
  • Profuse sweating after the first couple of days

Although it may be tempting to try to be a ‘supermom’, now is not the time. The best advice that I received as an new mom was to accept the help of others, eat regular meals and sleep when the baby sleeps. Now it’s my turn to pass that advice on to you.

Is Mothering Wearing You Out?

By Margaret Paul, Ph.D

I always wanted to have children and I was completely thrilled when I had my first child. Nothing, however, prepares a mother for what it’s like to be responsible for a child 24/7.

Before my son was born, I had time – time to read, to be creative, to spend time with friends, to take long baths, to spend time with my husband, to breathe.Suddenly there was no time for me. And, of course, after two more children, having any time for me became even more challenging.

That’s when I started getting sick. Not sick in the way you could name it – just sick in the way of being fatigued all the time. As much as I loved being a mother as well as continuing my practice as a psychotherapist, I was wearing out. Something had to change.

The real problem was in knowing how to take care of my children and myself, instead of just taking care of my children. I had been brought up to be a caretaker, which meant that everyone’s needs came before mine. That was really what was wearing me out. Not only that, but putting their needs before mine was creating children with entitlement issues – the more I put myself aside for them, the more they demanded and felt entitled to my time and attention.

Unfortunately, I didn’t discover this problem until my children were adolescents. By that time I was headed for serious illness. My immune system was shutting down and various doctors said I that if I didn’t change my lifestyle, I would end up with cancer or something equally serious.

It’s not easy to start to attend to yourself when you’ve always put others’ needs before your own. Yet for me it felt like a life-and-death situation. I had always been afraid that if I said “no” to my husband and children, I would discover that they really didn’t care about me. I was afraid to find out that they wouldn’t support me in learning to take care of myself. Yet I finally reached the point where I was willing to lose them rather than continue to lose myself and my health.

It was at this point that I began to develop a strong spiritual connection, and Spirit eventually guided me toward a self-healing process which we now call Inner Bonding. (For a free Inner Bonding course, see www.innerbonding.com). It was through practicing the six steps of this powerful process that I was able to start taking care of myself while I was working and taking care of my family, and my health gradually returned.

I had always had enormous compassion for others but generally lacked compassion for myself. My challenge was to turn my eyes inward to my own feelings and needs instead of always being tuned in just to others’ feelings and needs. I needed to learn to treat myself as well as I treated others. I needed to learn to stand up for myself when my family demanded that I take care of them to the detriment of myself. I needed to learn to have the courage to withstand their anger when I didn’t do just what they wanted me to do. I needed to learn to stand in my truth regarding what was loving to myself and others instead of trying to control their love with my compliance. It’s been a long and sometimes painful road, but one with great rewards.

In a session with Renee, one of my clients, she told me that she was struggling with this same issue. She was exhausted most of the time, and often felt depressed. She told me of a recent incident that had happened with her nine-year old daughter, Sarah. Renee had told Sarah that she wanted to watch a particular TV program at 8:00 that night, so Renee wanted to make sure that Sarah didn’t need anything from her after 8:00. When 8:00 came around after Renee had been spending time with Sarah, Renee said she was going to watch her TV program. Sarah said, “Mom, so the TV program is more important than I am.” Renee got confused by this, bought into the guilt, and gave into Sarah, thereby enabling Sarah’s already strong entitlement issues. Then Renee felt even more exhausted and depressed.

What Renee needed to say to Sarah was, “Honey, it is you who is being selfish in not caring about what is important to me and just wanting me to do what you want. I need you to care about me like I care about you.” Then she needed to watch her program, thus taking care of herself and at the same time role-modeling personal responsibility rather than enabling Sarah’s entitlement issue by giving herself up.

Learning to take care of ourselves is essential for our own health and the health of our family.

 

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is the best-selling author and co-author of eight books, including “Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By You?”, “Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By My Kids?”, “Healing Your Aloneness”,”Inner Bonding”, and “Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God?” Visit her web site for a FREE Inner Bonding course: http://www.innerbonding.com or mailto:margaret@innerbonding.com

breastfeeding1

Breastfeeding Myths

1. Many women do not produce enough milk.

Not true! The vast majority of women produce more than enough milk. Indeed, an overabundance of milk is common. Most babies that gain too slowly, or lose weight, do so not because the mother does not have enough milk, but because the baby does not get the milk that the mother has. The usual reason that the baby does not get the milk that is available is that he is poorly latched onto the breast. This is why it is so important that the mother be shown, on the first day, how to latch a baby on properly, by someone who knows what they are doing.

2. It is normal for breastfeeding to hurt.

Not true! Though some tenderness during the first few days is relatively common, this should be a temporary situation which lasts only a few days and should never be so bad that the mother dreads nursing. Any pain that is more than mild is abnormal and is almost always due to the baby latching on poorly. Any nipple pain that is not getting better by day 3 or 4 or lasts beyond 5 or 6 days should not be ignored. A new onset of pain when things have been going well for a while may be due to a yeast infection of the nipples. Limiting feeding time does not prevent soreness.

3. There is no (not enough) milk during the first 3 or 4 days after birth.

Not true! It often seems like that because the baby is not latched on properly and therefore is unable to get the milk. Once the mother’s milk is abundant, a baby can latch on poorly and still may get plenty of milk. However, during the first few days, the baby who is latched on poorly cannot get milk. This accounts for “but he’s been on the breast for 2 hours and is still hungry when I take him off”. By not latching on well, the baby is unable to get the mother’s first milk, called colostrum. Anyone who suggests you pump your milk to know how much colostrum there is, does not understand breastfeeding, and should be politely ignored.

4. A baby should be on the breast 20 (10, 15, 7.6) minutes on each side.

Not true! However, a distinction needs to be made between “being on the breast” and “breastfeeding”. If a baby is actually drinking for most of 15-20 minutes on the first side, he may not want to take the second side at all. If he drinks only a minute on the first side, and then nibbles or sleeps, and does the same on the other, no amount of time will be enough. The baby will breastfeed better and longer if he is latched on properly. He can also be helped to breastfeed longer if the mother compresses the breast to keep the flow of milk going, once he no longer swallows on his own. Thus it is obvious that the rule of thumb that “the baby gets 90% of the milk in the breast in the first 10 minutes” is equally hopelessly wrong.

5. A breastfeeding baby needs extra water in hot weather.

Not true! Breastmilk contains all the water a baby needs.

6. Breastfeeding babies need extra vitamin D.

Not true! Except in extraordinary circumstances (for example, if the mother herself was vitamin D deficient during the pregnancy). The baby stores vitamin D during the pregnancy, and a little outside exposure, on a regular basis, gives the baby all the vitamin D he needs.

7. A mother should wash her nipples each time before feeding the baby.

Not true! Formula feeding requires careful attention to cleanliness because formula not only does not protect the baby against infection, but also is actually a good breeding ground for bacteria and can also be easily contaminated. On the other hand, breastmilk protects the baby against infection. Washing nipples before each feeding makes breastfeeding unnecessarily complicated and washes away protective oils from the nipple.

8. Pumping is a good way of knowing how much milk the mother has.

Not true! How much milk can be pumped depends on many factors, including the mother’s stress level. The baby who nurses well can get much more milk than his mother can pump. Pumping only tells you have much you can pump.

9. Breastmilk does not contain enough iron for the baby’s needs.

Not true! Breastmilk contains just enough iron for the baby’s needs. If the baby is full term he will get enough iron from breastmilk to last him at least the first 6 months. Formulas contain too much iron, but this quantity may be necessary to ensure the baby absorbs enough to prevent iron deficiency. The iron in formula is poorly absorbed, and most of it, the baby poops out. Generally, there is no need to add other foods to breastmilk before about 6 months of age.

10. It is easier to bottle feed than to breastfeed.

Not true! Or, this should not be true. However, breastfeeding is made difficult because women often do not receive the help they should to get started properly. A poor start can indeed make breastfeeding difficult. But a poor start can also be overcome. Breastfeeding is often more difficult at first, due to a poor start, but usually becomes easier later.

11. Breastfeeding ties the mother down.

Not true! But it depends how you look at it. A baby can be nursed anywhere, anytime, and thus breastfeeding is liberating for the mother. No need to drag around bottles or formula. No need to worry about where to warm up the milk. No need to worry about sterility. No need to worry about how your baby is, because he is with you.

12. There is no way to know how much breastmilk the baby is getting.

Not true! There is no easy way to measure how much the baby is getting, but this does not mean that you cannot know if the baby is getting enough. The best way to know is that the baby actually drinks at the breast for several minutes at each feeding (open–pause–close type of suck). Other ways also help show that the baby is getting plenty.

13. Modern formulas are almost the same as breastmilk.

Not true! The same claim was made in 1900 and before. Modern formulas are only superficially similar to breastmilk. Every correction of a deficiency in formulas is advertised as an advance. Fundamentally formulas are inexact copies based on outdated and incomplete knowledge of what breastmilk is. Formulas contain no antibodies, no living cells, no enzymes, no hormones. They contain much more aluminum, manganese, cadmium and iron than breastmilk. They contain significantly more protein than breastmilk. The proteins and fats are fundamentally different from those in breastmilk. Formulas do not vary from the beginning of the feed to the end of the feed, or from day 1 to day 7 to day 30, or from woman to woman, or from baby to baby. Your breastmilk is made as required to suit your baby. Formulas are made to suit every baby, and thus no baby. Formulas succeed only at making babies grow well, usually, but there is more to breastfeeding than getting the baby to grow quickly.

14. If the mother has an infection she should stop breastfeeding.

Not true! With very, very few exceptions, the mother’s continuing to breastfeed will protect the baby. By the time the mother has fever (or cough, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, etc) she has already given the baby the infection, since she has been infectious for several days before she even knew she was sick. The baby’s best protection against getting the infection is for the mother to continue breastfeeding. If the baby does get sick, he will be less sick if the mother continues breastfeeding. Besides, maybe it was the baby who gave the infection to the mother, but the baby did not show signs of illness because he was breastfeeding. Also, breast infections, including breast abscess, though painful, are not reasons to stop breastfeeding. Indeed, the infection is likely to settle more quickly if the mother continues breastfeeding on the affected side.

15. If the baby has diarrhea or vomiting, the mother should stop breastfeeding.

Not true! The best medicine for a baby’s gut infection is breastfeeding. Stop other foods for a short time, but continue breastfeeding. Breastmilk is the only fluid your baby requires when he has diarrhea and/or vomiting, except under exceptional circumstances. The push to use “oral rehydrating solutions” is mainly a push by the formula manufacturers (who also make oral rehydrating solutions) to make even more money. The baby is comforted by the breastfeeding, and the mother is comforted by the baby’s breastfeeding.

16. If the mother is taking medicine she should not breastfeed.

Not true! There are very very few medicines that a mother cannot take safely while breastfeeding. A very small amount of most medicines appears in the milk, but usually in such small quantities that there is no concern. If a medicine is truly of concern, there are usually equally effective, alternative medicines that are safe. The loss of benefit of breastfeeding for both the mother and the baby must be taken into account when weighing if breastfeeding should be continued.

 

newman@globalserve.net Handout #11. Some Breastfeeding Myths.
Revised January 2000 Written by Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC
May be copied and distributed without further permission

Dealing with Unwanted Parenting Advice

By Elizabeth Pantley
Author of Gentle Baby Care

“Help! I’m getting so frustrated with the endless stream of advice I get from my mother-in-law and brother! No matter what I do, I’m doing it wrong. I love them both, but how do I get them to stop dispensing all this unwanted advice?”

Just as your baby is an important part of your life, he is also important to others. People who care about your baby are bonded to you and your child in a special way that invites their counsel. Knowing this may give you a reason to handle the interference gently, in a way that leaves everyone’s feelings intact.

Regardless of the advice, it is your baby, and in the end, you will raise your child the way that you think best. So it’s rarely worth creating a war over a well-meaning person’s comments. You can respond to unwanted advice in a variety of ways:

Listen first
It’s natural to be defensive if you feel that someone is judging you; but chances are you are not being criticized; rather, the other person is sharing what they feel to be valuable insight. Try to listen – you may just learn something valuable.

Disregard
If you know that there is no convincing the other person to change her mind, simply smile, nod, and make a non-committal response, such as, “Interesting!” Then go about your own business…your way.

Agree
You might find one part of the advice that you agree with. If you can, provide wholehearted agreement on that topic.

Pick your battles
If your mother-in-law insists that Baby wear a hat on your walk to the park, go ahead and pop one on his head. This won’t have any long-term effects except that of placating her. However, don’t capitulate on issues that are important to you or the health or well-being of your child.

Steer clear of the topic
If your brother is pressuring you to let your baby cry to sleep, but you would never do that, then don’t complain to him about your baby getting you up five times the night before. If he brings up the topic, then distraction is definitely in order, such as, “Would you like a cup of coffee?”

Educate yourself
Knowledge is power; protect yourself and your sanity by reading up on your parenting choices. Rely on the confidence that you are doing your best for your baby.

Educate the other person
If your “teacher” is imparting information that you know to be outdated or wrong, share what you’ve learned on the topic. You may be able to open the other person’s mind. Refer to a study, book, or report that you have read.

Quote a doctor
Many people accept a point of view if a professional has validated it. If your own pediatrician agrees with your position, say, “My doctor said to wait until she’s at least six months before starting solids.” If your own doctor doesn’t back your view on that issue, then refer to another doctor – perhaps the author of a baby care book.

Be vague
You can avoid confrontation with an elusive response. For example, if your sister asks if you’ve started potty training yet (but you are many months away from even starting the process), you can answer with, “We’re moving in that direction.”

Ask for advice!
Your friendly counselor is possibly an expert on a few issues that you can agree on. Search out these points and invite guidance. She’ll be happy that she is helping you, and you’ll be happy you have a way to avoid a showdown about topics that you don’t agree on.

Memorize a standard response
Here’s a comment that can be said in response to almost any piece of advice: “This may not be the right way for you, but it’s the right way for me.”

Be honest
Try being honest about your feelings. Pick a time free of distractions and choose your words carefully, such as, “I know how much you love Harry, and I’m glad you spend so much time with him. I know you think you’re helping me when you give me advice about this, but I’m comfortable with my own approach, and I’d really appreciate if you’d understand that.”

Find a mediator
If the situation is putting a strain on your relationship with the advice-giver, you may want to ask another person to step in for you.

Search out like-minded friends
Join a support group or on-line club with people who share your parenting philosophies. Talking with others who are raising their babies in a way that is similar to your own can give you the strength to face people who don’t understand your viewpoints.

This article is an excerpt from Gentle Baby Care by Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, 2003)
Reprinted with permission.

Going Visiting With Your Baby

By Elizabeth Pantley
Author of Gentle Baby Care

Babies love new places! There’s so much to investigate and new things to touch. But many people aren’t too happy to have your little one crawling or toddling freely about the house exploring everything in sight. While you think its adorable that Baby found the Tupperware, your host may not think it’s cute that her tidy cabinet has been rearranged by sticky baby hands. If your host has a big heart she’ll let you know that your baby’s exploring is okay. But even then, you run the risk of your baby breaking or losing something.

Bring toys!
The best thing you can do is bring along a bag of toys to seize your child’s attention. You can purchase new items, or dig through your baby’s toy box to put together a collection of forgotten favorites. Avoid bringing loud toys that may annoy others, and bring toys that will hold your baby’s attention for a long time.

Bring your own supplies
Think about things that keep your baby happy at home or in the car, and bring these with you, such as your sling, a favorite blanket, a Boppy pillow, or a special lovey. If you are prepared, then your baby will be more content.

Safety issues
Visits with a mobile baby are tricky, especially if you’re at a home that isn’t childproof. If you want to avoid physically shadowing your baby around the house, bring a few safety tools, such as outlet plugs and a folding baby gate to section off stairways. When you arrive, assess the area and ask if chemicals, medications, or fragile vases can be put away during your visit. Remember that you’re certain to miss some hazards, so keep a close eye on Baby during your entire visit.

Food and eating
Whether your baby is new to solid food or has been eating it for a while, bring along a few favorites. If you don’t bring snacks with you, your baby may not touch the dinner that’s served and may cry for her favorite crackers. In any case, don’t feel you must push your baby to try something new to the point of a temper tantrum. Politely requesting something simple like toast or cheese is perfectly okay and will be welcomed more than a loud and tense test of parent/child wills.

What if you’re breastfeeding and your baby is hungry?
Do what comes naturally: Feed him! Breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed a baby. If your hosts aren’t used to seeing a mother breastfeed, then you’re doing our world a favor by introducing one more person to the beauty of baby feeding.

Be thoughtful about other’s sensitivities
This doesn’t mean you need to hide, but your efforts to be discreet are a courtesy for those around you and may help others feel more comfortable about seeing you breastfeeding your baby. Using a sling, blanket or nursing shirt are easy ways to accomplish this.

Changing Diapers
Bring a changing pad; this will protect the surface you’re using. If you don’t have a pad, ask for a towel. Ask where your host prefers that you change the baby, or suggest a location: “Do you mind if I lay the towel on your bed to change the baby?” Bring along (or ask to use) plastic bags to store messy diapers. Make sure that they are sealed so that they don’t create odors. If you use disposables, put used diapers in a sealed bag and offer to take them out to the trash. People don’t like stinky diapers in their bathroom trash.

Sleeping and napping
If your little one sleeps in a cradle or crib you may want to bring along a portable crib. If you don’t have one, or if you co-sleep at home, this is a time when “anything goes.” If your baby will sleep in your arms, then go ahead and enjoy an in-arms nap. If your baby is flexible, put a blanket on the floor and set up a sleeping nest. Don’t leave Baby alone, since the area probably isn’t childproof. A great nap solution is to bring your car seat into the house and strap your baby in securely, or fashion a bed from a large box or an empty dresser drawer. Keep your baby close by or check on her frequently.

For co-sleepers, your first order of business is to create a safe sleeping place. Inspect the furniture placement in the bedroom. If you know that pushing the bed against the wall would make the situation safer for your baby, then politely explain to your host. Let her know that you’ll move it back before you leave (and then remember to do so).

Be prepared for anything
Life with a baby is filled with surprises. Take a deep breath, and do your best to keep your baby content….and if things don’t go as well as you’d hoped, remind yourself that “This too shall pass.”

Show your appreciation
If you’ve had an overnight stay, if your host is helpful, or if you made special requests during your stay, remember to send a thank you note that expresses your appreciation.

This article is an excerpt from Gentle Baby Care by Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, 2003)
Reprinted with permission.

Stop the Diaper Changing Battles

By Elizabeth Pantley
Author of Gentle Baby Care

Babies are little bundles of energy! They don’t want to lie still to have their diapers changed. They cry, fuss, or even crawl away. A simple issue can turn into a major tug-of-war between parent and baby.

Diaper changing as a ritual
The position of parent and baby during a diaper change is perfect for creating a bonding experience between you. You are leaning over your baby, and your face is at the perfect arms-length distance for engaging eye contact and communication. What’s more, this golden opportunity presents itself many times during each day; no matter how busy you both get, you have a few moments of quiet connection. It’s too valuable a ritual to treat it as simply maintenance.

Learning about your baby
Diapering offers a perfect opportunity for you to truly absorb your baby’s cues and signals. You’ll learn how his little body works, what tickles him, what causes those tiny goose bumps. As you lift, move, and touch your baby, your hands will learn the map of his body and what’s normal for him. This is important because it will enable you to easily decipher any physical changes that need attention.

Developing trust
Regular diaper changes create rhythm in your baby’s world and afford the sense that the world is safe and dependable. They are regular and consistent episodes in days that may not always be predictable. Your loving touches teach your baby that he is valued, and your gentle care teaches him that he is respected.

A learning experience for your baby
Your baby does a lot of learning during diaper changes. It’s one of the few times that she actually sees her own body without clothes, when she can feel her complete movements without a wad of diaper between her legs. Diaper-off time is a great chance for her to stretch her limbs and learn how they move.

During changing time, your baby is also a captive audience to your voice, so she can focus on what you are saying and how you are saying it – an important component of her language learning process. Likewise, for a precious few minutes, you are her captive audience, so you can focus on what she’s saying and how she is saying it – crucial to the growth of your relationship.

What your baby thinks and feels
Many active babies could not care less if their diapers are clean. They’re too busy to concern themselves with such trivial issues. It may be important to you, but it’s not a priority for your child.

Diaper rash or uncomfortable diapers (wrong size or bad fit) can make him dread diaper changes, so check these first. Once you’re sure all the practical issues are covered, make a few adjustments in this unavoidable process to make it more enjoyable.

Take a deep breath
Given the number of diapers you have to change, it’s possible that what used to be a pleasant experience for you has gotten to be routine, or even worse, a hassle. When parents approach diaper changing in a brisk, no-nonsense way, it isn’t any fun for Baby. Try to reconnect with the bonding experience that diaper changing can be — a moment of calm in a busy day when you share one-on-one time with your baby.

Have some fun
This is a great time to sing songs, blow tummy raspberries, or do some tickle and play. A little fun might take the dread out of diaper changes for both of you. A game that stays fresh for a long time is “hide the diaper.” Put a new diaper on your head, on your shoulder, or tucked in your shirt and ask, “Where’s the diaper? I can’t find it!” A fun twist is to give the diaper a name and a silly voice, and use it as a puppet. Let the diaper call your child to the changing station and have it talk to him as you change it. (If you get tired of making Mister Diaper talk, just remember what it was like before you tried the idea.)

Use distraction
Keep a flashlight with your changing supplies and let your baby play with it while you change him. Some kids’ flashlights have a button to change the color of the light, or shape of the ray. Call this his “diaper flashlight” and put it away when the change is complete. You may find a different type of special toy that appeals to your little one, or even a basket of small interesting toys. If you reserve these only for diaper time, they can retain their novelty for a long time.

Try a stand-up diaper
If your baby’s diaper is just wet (not messy), try letting her stand up while you do a quick change. If you’re using cloth diapers, have one leg pre-pinned so that you can slide it on like pants, or opt for pre-fitted diapers that don’t require pins.

Time to potty train?
If your child is old enough and seems ready for the next step, consider potty training.

 This article is an excerpt from Gentle Baby Care by Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, 2003) 

Reprinted with permission.

Just What Exactly Is Postpartum Depression?

By Sara Duggan

Hello my name is Sara and I am the proud Mommie of 2 beautiful boys. I enjoy my job very much. I can say that now with much confidence, but there was a time that I couldn’t. There was a time that I despised being a Mommie. I can remember that just the touch of my children sent me into a rage. This made me feel very sad and empty. Although I had these negative feelings, somewhere deep inside of me I still wanted, with all my heart to be the Mommie I was meant to be to my two little boys. I didn’t know what was going on with me. I read up on Postpartum Depression prior to the birth of my boys but what I was going through did not match up to what I had read.

I thought I would be a little flighty, weepy, and sad, but I also thought that it would go away soon after it came. Another thing I didn’t know is that Postpartum Depression can happen anytime within the first year after the birth of your child. (I didn’t experience postpartum depression with my second child until about 3months postpartum.)

Many people, like myself, think they know what postpartum depression is but, unless you have lived it, you will never know. Most women experience the “baby blues” which is crying and a little mood swings. They usually occur anywhere between 3 days to 2 weeks after she has the baby. It soon subsides and she starts to feel like herself again.

Postpartum Depression is something completely different. It is like a deep hole that you sink into and can’t get out of. It is feeling like you are unworthy to be a mom or to be alive. It is feeling like everything you say and do is wrong. It is not being able to care for your hygiene needs or the needs of your baby. It is not being able to get out of bed in the morning; the afternoon, the evening, and pretty soon, you’re just not getting out of bed. It is thinking that your children/husband/partner will be better off without you in their life. It is wishing you did not have this baby to care for. It is feeling like running away. It is angry outbursts and loving caresses. It is not wanting to hold the baby, hear the baby, or love the baby.

Sometimes it is intense fear of going outside, paranoia, or fearing someone is trying to take your child away from you. It could also be overly obsessing over the cleanliness and health of you and your child, to the point where you do not feed or care for the both of you properly.

Sometimes someone may look like a “together” Mommie, doing all the “things” she is supposed to be doing, but on the inside she is a wreck about to explode. All of these and more go on inside the head of a Mommie experiencing Postpartum Depression. More than likely, she is not aware of these feelings or does not completely understand what is going on inside of her. Is it normal? Should she tell someone? What if they think she is crazy? Or worse, What if they think she is a bad Mommie and take her baby away?

It is wise to note that PPD can happen anywhere from 3 days after the baby is born to 1 year postpartum. A mom can do well for the first 5 or 6 months postpartum and fall into a deep depression. Also, if you have had PPD with previous pregnancies, there is a chance that you will have it in subsequent pregnancies. Make sure you let your care provider know if you have had PPD in the past and they can curtail the symptoms before they cause deep depression. There are medications available today that are safe to take while breastfeeding. So don’t let that keep you from taking care of you. After all, if you take care of you, you’ll be able to care for your baby!

Although this is a dark place, with help, the time you are in the “hole” is lessened with medication and talk therapy things can and will get better. PPD affects a lot more women than most are willing to admit. It is very normal. It is a sickness and needs to be treated right away at the first signs. For a preliminary test to see if you are risk for Postpartum Depression, visithttp://postpartumstress.com/ppd_risk__assessment_during.html

It is also helpful for husbands/partners to read the questions because sometimes it is they who recognize the signs first. Contact your doctor or therapist when you feel these symptoms. Sometimes all you need is talk therapy and a support group. Other times medicine may be necessary to get your hormones to balance out. For help online go to http://www.ppdsupportpage.com

Another illness likely to appear after the birth of the baby is Postpartum Psychosis. This is a very dangerous disorder. It can occur from 3 days to about 2 weeks postpartum. Its symptoms include paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations. IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT YOU GET THE MOTHER TO A DOCTOR OR AN EMERGENCY ROOM. This is nothing to take lightly. She could harm herself or others, including her children.

Having said all this, I would like to add, that PPD is very treatable. The sooner it is noticed and treated the sooner the mom will feel better. You can get past it. You can see the light at the end of the “hole” and you can get out. I am an example of this.

One more thing before I close, most women, about 80%, have baby blues and they go away within 2 – 3 weeks. Some even experience a heightened time of awareness and clearness. They feel Good and Happy with Mommiehood.

Something that you may want to keep in mind when preparing for the birth of your child is a Postpartum Doula. What is a Postpartum Doula you may be asking? Well, it is someone specially trained to support, encourage, and educate the Mommie during her postpartum period. You can check out the National association of Postpartum Care Services NAPCS for recommended certified doulas.

A postpartum doula will provide the Mommie with physical support, emotional support and household support. Unlike the Baby nurse, who is there for the babies needs, a Postpartum Doula is there for the Mommie. However, Postpartum Doula’s do not diagnose medical conditions for the Mommie or the baby, but they will refer them to a healthcare provider. Postpartum Doula’s do not take over the care of the baby, but assists the Mommie, in learning to care for her and her baby’s needs.

To better understand the differences between the “baby blues”, “Postpartum Depression” and Postpartum Psychosis, visithttp://www.geocities.com/mommie_care/defineppd.html where you will find my Definition of Terms.

Sara Duggan is the proud Mommie of Noah and Jonah. She is the wife of Terrence, her best friend. She owns MommieCare, a place for Mommies to turn to when they need information or products to enable them be the BEST they can be. She is a Volunteer Doula and plans on opening a Volunteer Postpartum Doula Practice in the Near Future. For more information click here

Pregnancy Week 40

It is now 39 weeks from your last menstrual period. Your baby is now at 37 weeks gestation and is almost 14 inches long from crown to rump (19 inches from head to toe) and weighs about 7 pounds.

The vernix that covered your baby’s body is mostly gone now.

WOW! Your baby has grown from one tiny little cell to over 200 million! Your baby will be born when he or he is ready — maybe as much as two weeks from now. Only a very small percentage (about 5%) of babies are born on their due date.

Advice for Mom

If you are planning to breastfeed, remember it is not instinctual. Remember that it might take a little time for you and your baby to adjust to each other. Seek support and guidance.

Note any passing of fluid and notify your doctor immediately.

Congratulations! You will be holding your baby in your arms in no time!

Find out what to expect for your first week home with your baby!

Calendar Home