Establishing a Sleeping Routine

sleeping baby routine

It’s not unusual for newborns to have strange sleeping habits, particularly for them to want to sleep during the day and stay awake at night. If you are a new parent, you’ve likely received advice from many parents on how to achieve a sleeping routine. If your baby’s sleeping habits need some adjustment, here are some ways to get your baby on track.

  1. Don’t keep quiet during the day when he’s sleeping – When your baby sleeps during the day (and all babies will) leave the door to his room open, and go about your normal daily routine. Keep the television or stereo on. This will accomplish two things. First, he will learn to sleep even through the noise, which is important, since this child will be taking naps in your home for four or five years. Secondly, he will get the idea that the daytime is not the right time for long periods of sleep.
  2. Start slow. Your baby doesn’t need a bedtime routine right away. A newborn will sleep a lot when first brought home. They will not sleep for several hours in a row because of their eating needs. After a month or so, try starting a nightly routine. For example, bath time, massaging, feeding, and then singing a lullaby.
  3. If your baby sleeps more than three hours at a stretch, wake them. Babies should nap during the day, of course, but more than three hours is not a nap. Once your baby is awake, sing or talk to your baby to keep them awake. This is a great time to put him on a mat for some tummy time if it’s not feeding time. Now, of course, the second half of this problem is the staying awake at night. This is going to take some time, and babies usually make some significant adjustments within about three weeks, though you will be getting up for feedings at least once at night for a bit longer.
  4. Put him in bassinet or cradle for the first few weeks. A crib can seem huge to a newborn, so you might find that he sleeps much better in the coziness of a smaller space.
  5. Give him some soothing sounds. Not only will this act as a sort of “white noise” to block out other sounds, it will also be soothing to him. Soft, classical music works well, but so can the constant hum of a fan or the Baby Shusher.
  6. Keep the room at a comfortable temperature. If your baby too cold or too warm, just like the rest of us, they will not sleep as well.
  7. Establishing a sleeping routine. Your child will sleep better if they have an established sleeping routine for day and night. Put your baby down for naps at the same time each day, and put them down for bed at the same time each night. Create some bedtime habits that will signal to the baby that bedtime is near. A bath or a story can be a nice way to wind down and get ready for restful sleep.

Sleeping habits are a challenge for most new parents, primarily because you’re so tired yourself. One word of advice – don’t try to make baby sleep at night by not allowing him to nap during the day. It will backfire. Babies need lots of sleep, and naps are a critical part of this. Just don’t let your baby sleep for too long at a stretch during the day. Give it some time, and take some naps yourself, and before you know it, everyone will be sleeping soundly through the night.

 

Photo by Carlo Navarro on Unsplash

Water Safety Rules Parents Need to Know

water safety

Summer is officially here! It’s time for fun in the sun and plenty of pool days. It’s no secret that swimming at the pool poses a risk to your children — drowning. It is a fear every parent has, so we’re going to give you a list of water safety rules you should know as a parent to help keep your kids safe!

Rule #1

Always, always, always, watch your children at the pool. An accident could happen in the blink of an eye. So, put your phone away and be alert.

Rule #2

Take your child to swimming lessons. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children ages 4 and older take swimming lessons. You can even sign your child up for lessons younger than 4 years old if you wish to do so. This will teach your child to be comfortable in the water, how to float, how to control their breathing, and more. Even though your child has had successful swimming lessons, they should still be monitored in the water.

Rule #3

Learn CPR. A lifeguard may be on duty at the pool, but you may see your child or another in need of assistance before the lifeguard. In other cases, if your child is playing in the water at home or somewhere a lifeguard is not present, knowing CPR will save lives.

Rule #4

Teach your child the rules and how to behave at a pool or anywhere around water. Do not push people into the pool, no running, do not hold people underwater, wait for an adult to be present before swimming.

Rule #5

Toddlers and Infants in water should be no more than an arm’s length away so that you may provide touch supervision. This means that you are able to touch or hold the child if help is needed.

We hope these rules help you keep your kids and others safe when around water. Happy swimming!

 

How to Prepare for Labor

pregnancy

What To Pack

Whether you’re planning to have your baby at home, in a hospital or with a midwife, you’ll definitely want to pre-pack in preparation for labor. It’s best to get a few things ready at least two weeks before your due date.

You may get a list from your midwife or from the hospital. Here are a few things you could include:

  • Something loose and comfortable to wear during labor that doesn’t restrict you from moving around or make you too hot. You’ll probably need about three changes of clothes.
  • Comfortable and supportive bras, including nursing bras if you’re planning to breastfeed.
  • Sanitary pads.
  • A bag with a toothbrush, hairbrush, soap and other toiletries.
  • Books, magazines, and music to help pass time after birth.
  • Front-opening or loose-fitting nightgowns or tops if you’re going to breastfeed, and any other clothes you will feel comfortable in.
  • Loose, comfortable outfit to wear after you have given birth, and to come home in.
  • Clothes, a hat, and diapers for the baby.
  • Swaddles or blankets to wrap baby in.
  • Baby Shusher
  • Tushy Tote for diapers.

Transportation

Decide how you will arrive at the hospital or midwifery unit. If you’re planning to go by car, make sure it’s running well and that there’s plenty of gas in the tank. Have a backup plan just in case your little one makes a surprise arrival.

Emergency and Important Numbers

Wherever you’re planning to give birth, keep a list of important numbers in your handbag or program them into your phone.

You need to include:

  • Your hospital or midwife’s phone number.
  • Your partner or birth partner’s phone number.
  • Your own hospital reference number.

Stocking Up

When you come home after labor, you won’t want to do much more than rest and care for your baby. Do as much shopping and planning in advance as you can. Stock up on basics, such as toilet paper, diapers, groceries, and needed household items. It’s also a great idea to pre-cook some meals in advance and freeze them.

Photo by Ryan Franco on Unsplash

Preventing Hot Car Related Deaths

You may be thinking, “I’ll never forget that I have my child with me in the car.” Most deaths related to hot cars are not intentional. Parents who have had these accidents happen to them probably said the same thing before. It is human nature to forget things from time to time. And, it is better to be safe than sorry. It only takes forgetting your child one time for a fatal accident to happen. Afterall, your child is irreplaceable. A few states have even made it illegal to leave children in the car unattended.

On average, 37 children die from a heat stroke from being trapped in hot vehicles a year according to kidsandcars.org. We’ve put together a list of ways you can prevent accidentally forgetting about your child in the backseat.

  1. Leave your left shoe in the backseat.
  2. Place your cell phone, purse, bag, etc. in the backseat.
  3. Put the diaper bag in the front seat after putting your baby in their car seat.
  4. Talk to your child while driving to your destination.
  5. The BackSeat App
  6. Kars4Kids Safety App
  7. Car seat alarms, reminder key fobs, etc.

All of these tips and ideas remind you to check your backseat before leaving your car.

More backseat reminder technologies can be found at fatherly.com.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Summer Essentials when Traveling with Kids

traveling with kids

Let’s be real for a moment. Traveling with kids can sometimes be a pain! In their defense, it isn’t their fault. They’re not used to being confined to sitting in their carseats for long hours at a time. We have gathered a list of essentials you need to make traveling with kids easier, not to mention keeping you sane.

Portable DVD Player or Tablet

Purchasing a portable DVD player may be the best investment of your life. All jokes aside, your kids can watch their favorite movies (on repeat if necessary) and will be totally content doing so. This could buy you at least an hour or more into your trip, and by then, someone will likely need a potty break.

If your kids have their own tablets or can use yours, download fun children’s games for them to play. Or, download the endless amounts of kids movies for them to watch on Netflix.

Favorite Toy

Bringing their favorite toy on the trip is a no-brainer. Your kids can play with their favorite toy for a good chunk of time.

Activity Books

These are so much fun for kids! You can make your own (thank you Pinterest!) or buy them from places like Walmart, Target, Barnes and Noble, or even Amazon. Kids especially enjoy the no-mess painting books. Another idea, pack their favorite coloring books and a handful of crayons.

Kids Music/Podcasts/Stories

Load up your phone with plenty of kids music, podcasts, or books to listen to! Music-hack: download their favorite cartoon/TV show theme song. This is sure to keep them happy! You can download children books via Audible or another service you may use already.

Favorite Blanket and Pillow

Packing their favorite blanket and pillow is just like their favorite toy. Your kids will likely fall asleep if they have the blanket and pillow they’re used to sleeping with already. This will also help to make them more comfortable in the car ride.

Snacks and Drinks

Bring plenty of snacks and drinks! Buying these from a gas station or convenience store can get expensive. Packing some you may already have at home, or buying them in bulk at the store can save you time and money!

Father and Child Relationship

father and child

Mother’s innately have a special relationship with their child because they have nurturing instincts, carried their child for 9 months, and even things such as breastfeeding cultivates the relationship between Mother and Child. But what about the Father-Child relationship? When Dad spends quality time with his child, there are benefits for the child as well as Dad himself.

Why is it important for a Father to build a relationship with his child?

Children learn a lot from their Dad or Father Figures in their lives. For instance, bonding together could help develop social skills, curiosity, and vocabulary. It could also aid in reducing psychological and behavioral issues in the future. For Dad, spending time with his child could reduce stress, establish the Father role in the child’s life, and improve the family relationship and dynamic.

When should Dad start bonding with his child?

As soon as Mom-to-be knows she is expecting, Dad should be making an effort to build a relationship with his child. Dad, did you know you can begin bonding with your baby before birth? Try talking, singing, or placing a hand on Mom’s belly. All of these simple actions help build and nurture Dad’s relationship with his child!

As a Dad, how can I build a relationship with my child?

Make a point to spend time with your child for starters. Activities that help build a relationship with your child will change as they develop and grow. When your child is a baby, you can help with daily duties such as:

  • Diaper changes
  • Baths
  • Feeding
  • Holding

When your child is older, activities should be ones that involve a great deal of communication between you and your child– hence developing social skills and vocabulary. A few ideas include:

  • Go to the playground together
  • Read books together
  • Bake cookies or make sandwiches together
  • Play make-believe
  • Work on a craft or project together such as building a birdhouse

The possibilities are endless when it comes to bonding with your child. Just simply being present and playing an active role in your child’s life can speak volumes for their future.

Don’t forget about Family Time!

Although spending one-on-one time with your child is important, spending time together as a family is just as valuable. Family time could help develop your child’s self-esteem, teach appropriate group behavior and skills, create memories, and overall nurtures the family relationship. A few family time ideas include:

  • Playing board games
  • Reading, singing, playing with toys together
  • Cooking meals together
  • Eating dinner together

Happy Father’s Day!

To all the Dads out there, you are doing a great job! Thank you for being in your child’s life, spending time with them, and teaching them all that they need to be respectful members of society. Give yourself a pat on the back and keep being your child’s superhero!

Breastfeeding Benefits for You and Your Baby

breastfeeding

The decision to breastfeed your baby or not is an important decision. It can be a controversial topic, but no matter what decision you make, it is your choice and you will do what is best for your baby and you.

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly recommends exclusively breastfeeding for the first 6 months and continued breastfeeding along with solids after that.

Breastfeeding Benefits for your Baby

Breast milk provides the perfect nutrition for your baby. It is made up of vitamins, protein, and fat. Breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria. It is also easily digested when compared to formula.

Breastfeeding your baby provides more than just nourishment for them to grow; it also lowers their risk of having asthma or allergies, fewer ear infections, and respiratory illnesses. Skin-to-skin contact with your baby helps create a bond so that they feel secure.

A breastfed baby reaps benefits throughout their growing years even after you have stopped breastfeeding. Your baby will have fewer doctor visits and illnesses, even the possibility of a high IQ!

Benefits for You 

Breastfeeding your baby can help you lose your pregnancy weight. It can help your uterus return to its normal size from the release of Oxytocin. It can also save your family money since you will not have to purchase formula, bottles, and other supplies. When you breastfeed exclusively, your menstrual cycle will be delayed for 6-8 months because you are not ovulating.

We hope this post helps you in your decision and understand a few of the benefits that breastfeeding can give to you and your baby. Keep doing your research, and remember that whatever choice you make will be the best for your little one and you.

Title Photo by Oleg Sergeichik on Unsplash

Protecting your Child from Heat Exhaustion

 

heat exhaustion

What is Heat Exhaustion?

Heat exhaustion is when the internal temperature of the body overheats passed the normal body temperature of about 98.6°F. This can happen when a person is outdoors, in the sun, for too long, dehydration, wearing clothes that prevent your sweat from evaporating from your body. Your body sweats in order to cool your body’s temperature. Children 5 and under are at a higher risk of overheating.

What are the Signs or Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion in Children?

Signs of overheating are slightly different in young children than in adults. For adults, symptoms can include muscle cramps, dizziness, headaches, nausea, and more. As for children, look for these warning signs:

  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Rapid breathing
  • Irritability
  • Clammy skin
  • Dehydration

Treatment for Heat Exhaustion in Children

If you believe your child is at risk of heat exhaustion, take your child inside where it is air-conditioned or move them to the shade. Have them drink a sports drink to increase electrolytes. To cool their internal temperature quicker, give them a cool bath or wipe their body down with a cool washcloth. After you wipe them down, sit them in front of a fan. You may need to remove clothing so that their body can cool quicker.

As always, seek medical attention if needed. If your child’s temperature reaches 105°F seek medical attention immediately.

How can I prevent Heat Exhaustion?

  • Take plenty of breaks in the shade or inside
  • Drink lots of fluids (especially water)
  • Wear light, airy clothing

Photo by Myles Tan on Unsplash

How to Make your Own Baby Food

 

baby food

Once your baby the right age, or you have clearance from your pediatrician, you can start solid foods when your baby is around 4 to 6 months old. While the baby food from your local supermarket is a great, quick option, making your own baby food is another easy alternative.

There are several baby food making tools in the market such as blenders, mills, mashers all commercialized specifically for making your own baby food. However, if you do not want to make an investment into a kitchen gadget, you can simply use a fork or another utensil for mashing.

Preparing Your Own Baby Food

Before you begin the process, make sure your surfaces, utensils, anything you think you may use, including your hands, are washed and dried.

With produce such as apples or carrots, you will need to wash them like you normally would before eating them. You will want to remove any seeds, peels, pits, etc. from the produce. From there, produce can be baked, boiled, or steamed before pureeing in a blender, grinding, or mashing them. Breastmilk, formula, or water can be adding to ensure the baby food is the right consistency for your baby. Herbs and spices such as cinnamon can be added to enhance the flavor, but be sure to ask your pediatrician before incorporating any herbs and spices.

Any grains or baby cereals will need to be ground first and then cooked as directed. Liquids can be added to thin out the grains as needed.

When it comes to meat and poultry, they should be trimmed of any fat or skin and bones removed. Meat and poultry can be cooked, pureed, and added to vegetables that your baby already loves such as peas or sweet potatoes.

Things that Should Not be Added to Baby Food

  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Honey
  • Butter

Storing Homemade Baby Food

Baby food will last in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and in the freezer for 3 months. For easy serving, store baby food in single serving containers or silicone ice cube trays. Pop it into the microwave and defrost or place the baby food in the fridge to defrost overnight the prior day. Never refreeze food once it has been thawed.

Benefits of Making your Own Baby Food

The big benefit of making your own baby food is knowing what exactly you will be feeding your baby. It is no secret that pre-packaged consumables at grocery stores have some type of preservatives to help the product last longer on the shelves.

By making your own baby food, you get to choose your own produce to put into your baby’s food. No more guessing if the produce that was used was fresh.

Your baby can try eating new things that pre-packaged baby food does not have such as avocado or melons.

Saving your family money could be another benefit of making your own baby food. This all depends on what you buy, season, or even location.

Lastly, making your own baby food will get your baby used to eating what the rest of the family eats.

 

Photo by Tanaphong Toochinda on Unsplash

Preparing for the Birth of a Baby – Essential Baby Clothes

Preparing for the Birth of a Baby Essential Baby Clothes

If you are expecting a baby in the next few months, the chances are you will have started planning for some of her important things, if not doing them and buying them already. Her crib may be chosen; her nursery may be painted and decorated; you may have some beautiful bedding to match the baby decor of her room; and you may have bought a few gorgeous newborn outfits with which to adorn your newborn.

However, there may be a whole host of things you have not really thought of seriously, especially if you are a first time parent. It is so tempting to focus on the pretty things, and forget, or not learn of, the practical ones. So, when it comes to baby clothes, leave all the cute outfits to the baby shower guests, and concentrate for a while on the things you will really need. After all, you do not want your baby to be caught with her diapers down!

Having a baby is a combination of joy and stress for most people, and I suppose that is true of most major events in our lives. There is nothing to compare to the pleasure and happiness that a mother feels when she holds her new baby for those first few days after the birth; or the father showing off pictures of the baby to his friends and family.

Unfortunately, there is also nothing quite like the stress in worrying that everything is going to be all right on the night, or day, as the case may be. To reduce the chance of those stresses taking over, and to ensure that the family is properly prepared for their joyous new addition, it is as well to get organised with the practical things for the baby layette. Let the person who is to organise the baby shower sort out all that side of things, while you ensure all the most practical items are in place by month 7 of the pregnancy.

New parents quite often fall into the trap of being unprepared when it comes to suitable clothing for their baby. So, here are some of the essentials you will need to complete your preparation for the baby’s arrival:

  1. Cotton bodysuits, absorbent baby blankets, bibs, and baby booties are items that a new parent can never have enough of. Babies, God Bless them, are messy little things sometimes. For all the cuteness and adorability that they possess, they do dribble, slobber, vomit and overfill their diapers with some of their profuse outputs, and they are like that for about the first year or so of their lives. As such, their clothes do get messy quickly and often; so be prepared, and be practical. A mum may find herself changing her baby’s clothing almost as often as she changes her diaper – sometimes more.
  2. The best plan is to stock up on the practical things such as “onesies” suits, baby tees, and mess-cleaning cotton blankets so that you always have plenty on hand. Buy these practical items in abundance, but not so many that you’ll quickly be stuck with a pile of baby items that no longer fit the baby. It is a good idea to have at least five clean outfits at any time; that is clean items, and not awaiting the next wash. If you are going out on a long outing, you will need to pack extra, so always make sure that you have plenty of clean backups. Do not underestimate your little baby’s ability to take your laundry load to record levels, unlike anything you have seen before if you are a first time parent.

The cute and adorable baby outfits, and the stores are stuffed full of those, are fine for taking baby to church, for visiting grandparents, or for taking family photos. However, be prepared for the baby to make a mess over that precious little outfit. While planning and preparing for the arrival of your new offspring, forego some of the cute outfits so that you can stock up on more of the practical essentials. The guests at the baby shower can provide the cute things, while you ensure that you are truly prepared for the reality of having a bouncing new baby in the house.