Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Still 52 More Things that Every New Mom Should Know:

Hi Moms,
I haven't written a tips and tricks post in a while, in order to make sure that the information on here really is as helpful as can be, regardless of the stage your little one is at.

Below are 52 more things to help make your life a little easier as a new parent. Note that as my brat gets bigger, the tips on here are also applicable for older kids.

For those who missed my previous tips and tricks posts, and for tips for wee bitty babies, click here to read 51 things that every new mom should know, another 56 things that every new mom should know, and yet another 50 things that every new mom should know.

Still 52 More Things That Every New Mom Should Know:

Baby stuff: 

1. Playtime is for fun of course, but it also when your child takes in more of the world, so feel free to make playtime a little educational by stacking blocks, using things from around the house, and showing your baby how to build things, pick up things and even knock everything over. 

2. When selecting toys, keep in mind that your child is likely to enjoy the box as much as the toy! Don't let that offend you, just join in the fun. (Banging on a box of cardboard when your little one is giggling away can be surprisingly gratifying).

3. The pincer grasp is something that babies are able to do close to the 6 month mark, but often after. It is when they can lift objects between their two fingers instead of with their palm. Feel free to let them try this out with little things, but keep in mind that the safest little objects are food pieces (since small toys are a choking hazard).

4. When you reach the stage when your baby wants to be down on the floor instead of in your arms (this is great for after you have had time to build up your biceps with that baby dumbell), you child is then also the right age to start wearing shoes more regularly.

5. The type of shoe is now important and should be conducive to movement - go for leather, cloth or canvas, as it takes your child's foot shape and can help them balance better. Low tops ofcourse, no heels for those little heels, and limit rubber and plastic as they don't move or breathe well. Antiskid socks are also a must if you plan to keep those feet covered.

6. There's nothing that will put you on cloud 9 faster than your baby showing you some loving (sorry dads, it's true!). They will soon be licking, kissing, and even biting to show affection.
Priceless kisses..
7. To get unwanted objects out of a baby's mouth - squeeze their cheeks with thumb and forefinger which will get their mouth to open and then use a hooked finger to grab that item. (It works, though you need to be quick if your baby has pearlies).

8. When your baby is transitioning to a big tub: start by putting the small tub in the big tub for a few days, and eventually, make sure to distract your baby with bubbles, toys but most important of all - keep an anti skid mat ready. Don't be afraid to get in there with your little one and show him or her how bathtime can be fun!

9. Babyproofing is more controversial than one would imagine. There are two schools of thought - one that says you can teach your child to stay away from things they should not be messing with, and the other says its safer to cover everything. Then there's a version (my own) where you wait to see what your child is really after and baby proof accordingly. Lift all breakables ofcourse, and cover plug points (for those who have budding electrical engineers like I do) but you don't need everything covered in foam, because kids, unlike puppies, actually do learn pretty quick.

Baby Food:

10. Don't shy away from letting your little one try new things. (I will post sample menus soon). Just beware of chocolates, nuts, strawberries, and added sweet and sugar. Experimenting with different tastes and textures will help your child to learn to be accepting of new foods (which is important, coming from someone who is definitely not).

11. Babies can chew even before they have visible teeth as their gums harden (actually called "gumming"). By the time they are ready to crawl they are also ready to munch.

12. Gradually switch to thicker purees and then pieces as you feel your child is ready. There is no defined age - you are the best judge of how your baby is doing.

13. Give your little one several opportunities to feed themselves, though don't worry if they arn't quick at it. Most kids - (or atleast mine), will put everything in his mouth - except what's edible! Keep finger foods handy though, they will get it eventually.

14. Dairy - while you may be limiting cow's milk till a certain age, dairy products can still be introduced. Start small, till you know your child is not lactose intolerant.

15. Cheeses (pasturized), plain or fruit yoghurt, custards, and even home made ice cream (no sugar added ofcourse), are great sources of calcium, for your little one.
Yummy, yummy..

16. Another thing cheese is good for: it increases the secretion in the mouth (don't zone out, I'm getting there..) which is great, because it helps keep those teeth healthy by clearing cavity causing acids from the mouth.

17. I hear people shying away from meats but by 6 months your baby can digest them and they are actually really good for their growth. Specially red meat which is a great source of iron and zinc, and even fats - that your child needs for brain development. So don't shy away from the lamb, or beef. Fish and chicken are great sources of protein too.

18. What goes in comes out: and sometimes with kids, it doesn't. Pear juice (diluted) and mashed pear, plum (dried as prunes or whole), and figs help move things along when they are stuck. Hold baby's legs up and pressed against their belly, or show your little how to squat if they are old enough, to help them when stuck (sorry about the image!)

19. Around 9 months or so, your child is likely to experience a drop in appetite. This is nothing to worry about, the rate of growth is now slowing and your baby is no longer burning as much energy as before, and so they need less to keep growing.

20.  For moms who are nursing, kudos to you! However, don't be afraid to wean when you are ready. Your tot may never be ready, but they is a point where your milk is no longer as beneficial and they can move on. Exactly when, is your call but for those who were are ready to wean as I was (more on some hopes and fears of weaning here), tips on how to do so are below.


 (I officially weaned at 11 months, my goal was 12 months but I reached a point where I knew I was ready to move on - even more so because my son has 6 teeth ... )

21. Have a plan on how you want to do this - it doesn't have to be written, but it needs to accommodate you, your baby and your milk supply.

22. If your baby needs time to wean, you will need a longer drawn out plan. However, if you think your supply will drop too fast once you cut feeds, you will have to get through the process quicker.

23. If you are close to a year, you do not have to wean to formula, you can move straight to cows milk. It's easier for your baby to take, and accept.

24. Skip the bottle - you don't want any reminders or any nipples involved here! Use a sippy cup.

25. If you have a pumped supply, now is a good time to start using it up.

26. Drop one feed at a time. I was down to 4 feeds and dropped one a week - over a month. By drop I mean I substituted nursing for a sippy cup (pumped milk, at first, and then when I dropped more than one feed he had pumped milk for one and then cows for the rest). Note - I was not still pumping, I haven't been able to do that for a few months, I had a frozen stash to work through and didnt want to increase my supply - though if you are trying to keep your supply up while you go through this process you can pump.

27. How much milk in the sippy cup, just depended on how much he wanted. I started by measuring 4 ounces and then adjusted accordingly. Sometimes he had less and sometimes more, he has always been on demand and I have continued with that. Keep in mind that cows milk and formula can be heavier so do not panic if your child is consuming much less than he or she did before. 
Now graduated to the straw cup!

28. The last feed to go should be the middle of the night one. If you no longer have a night feed (I haven't had one for months), the first feed in the morning should be the last to go.

29. Don't worry about losing your bond, this can still be an activity that you do together. Hold your baby on your lap and cuddle while they drink up. (If they let you that is, my little mover makes me crawl after him while he feeds himself from his sippy cup). You will have plenty other things to bond over in the future.

30. Do not be surprised if your milk takes a while to dry up, but if you wean slowly, you will not be engorged or sore.

31. It will take time, but your body will begin to feel normal someday, as will your appetite (or so I hear, I will let you know when I get there!)

32. Some kids may not take the cup from their mom - ask your spouse to help, and try not to be offended. It's just because they love you.

33. If your brat is anything like mine, he may be pulling your shirt down and giving you hickeys for week to come. Try not to feel too sad over it, you did what was right for yourself and your baby, but sometimes it's time to move on. 

Baby Health: 

34. Amber teething beads are all the rage, but they can actually harm your little ones and have not been proven in anyway to be beneficial.

35. Unfortunately, during teething, nothing really helps outside of tylenol and advil (for children over 6 months). These too may help during teething pain and can improve the chances of you getting some sleep, but when a tooth is really pushing out, you are likely to still lose 3-5 nights of sleep (per tooth).

36. For those who want to know more about my teething woes, click here. Unfortunately though, everything has been tried, tested and experimented with, and nothing other than time, distraction cold towels, and teething rings, help.

37. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but baby powder can cause respiratory problems and trouble breathing, at least talcum powders. You do get talc free powders if u desire (made from clay and other things) honestly - I've never bothered, lotion smells so much better!

38. For baby's who sweat a lot, give them some open time (yes, that means nude - almost nude for girls, since they are more prone to infections), when at home.  Just a few minutes can help cool them down, and refresh. Also, bathe them more often and in cooler water.

39. When your little one is crawling, they will be more prone to infections, as it is completely impossible to wash their hands everytime they get down on the floor or are on the go (atleast immediately). Do try and keep wipes handy though and around the house, but make sure you dry their hands too.

40. Try to limit the amount of paper your little goat eats, while it is organic it is not easy for the human intestine to digest. (Though, it is the safest non-food item out there, so you need not rush to the doctor for a small amount of ingested paper).
Yes, that is paper!

41. When your little one has a fever, try not to panic (they pick up on this), a fever needs attention when it is over 100.4 degrees F and has persisted for a few hours. For lower grade fever, if it appears multiple times over different days, see a doctor.  However, try to remain calm while keeping a watchful eye (I know it's easier said than done) often your child's body is just working out something they have ingested.

42. When your baby has a cold - be prepared for more poop and some puke/ spit up, even from babies who have long given up this habit. (It's their body's way of expelling the mucus.)

43. Dehumidifiers or humidifiers (depending on where you live), can help your congested little one sleep better at night. But for those who want to clear those little noses completely (as I hope you all do), run the steam in the bathroom and then give baby a warm bath. You can gently squeeze out the mucus with your hands, or use an aspirator if your child will let you (mine never has and likely will be a teenager before he gets over his fear of those things).

44. You can also use saline drops (non medicated),  and then clean out baby's nose.

45. Raising your baby's head is also helpful, while they sleep. You can do this by putting a foam wedge below your child's mattress, or even folded up sheets. Vapor bath, by Johnson and Johnson, and/or eucalyptus drops (on baby's pillow), and baby balm (on baby's clothes, not skin), can help keep those nasal pathways open through the night.

46. Thumb sucking, can be a hard habit to break in the long run, however, it is not actually harmful to your child and is a good mechanism for them to learn to self sooth. It is a built in calming mechanism and unlike a pacifier, it is always at hand, literally.

47. Somehow our new age kids are born reaching for the cellphone, literally. Try to distract them and keep them away from this for as long as you can (seriously, your phone lies everywhere and is as filthy as a toilet bowl). However, if you are trying to avoid a tantrum and do give them your phone, make sure it is wiped down and on airplane mode (off is even better but I've learned that I'm outsmarted, and it brings on a tantrum anyway).

48. Cord Blood Banking is as essential as insurance, so if you haven't had your baby yet. Look into this. More information on this can be found here, on American

Baby sleep:

49. If you are over the 4 month sleep regression, try not to get too comfortable. There is a 9 month sleep regression and it will be on you before you know it. This one was shorter for me, but also more difficult as my baby was sitting and eventually standing in his bed. So give them plenty of time to practice their new skills in the day, and increase their activity. This eventually will also pass.

50. For more on factors that affect baby sleep, click here. For info on sleep training, click here.

Fur babies:

51. If your little one is attacking your pets, be careful (Yes, I said the little one was attacking the pets not the other way around). And I don't mean be careful of your pets, I mean curb your babies. In that you should distract and divert them, or pick up your pet and show affection. Any conflict between them can lead them to be scared of the other and damage their relationship in the long run (not to mention that one or the other of your little babies could get hurt). 

Baby milestones:  

52. It's not easy, but try not to get caught up in comparing where your little one stands (or doesnt stand), when it comes to milestones. They will be running everywhere before you know it and you may wish that you could (atleast for a few mins), send them back up where they came from.
Enough said.

So, try to take things a day (or minute) at a time, and enjoy the ride.
Hope this was helpful. Feel free to get in touch if there is something specific I can tell you about.
More to come!

P.S. Please excuse any typos, with all the juggling of motherhood, proofreading is the ball I am choosing to drop.

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