Posted by Vered on September 16 2010
As hard as you may try to keep your baby healthy this winter, chances are your baby WILL get the common cold at least once (and likely more than once). Here are a few tips for dealing with a sick baby. Remember that in most cases, the common cold resolves within about a week and that as inconvenient as having a sick baby is, being sick does build your baby’s immune system.
Give Her Plenty of Fluids
This is especially important if your baby runs a fever or has diarrhea. Breastfeed as often as your baby will nurse. If bottle-feeding, add water too.
Use a Humidifier
The moist air from a humidifier will thin your baby's mucus secretions, helping to calm his cough and relieve congestion. Using a humidifier is especially important during the night and when your baby naps. Otherwise, he may have trouble sleeping. To avoid bacteria buildup, clean the humidifier daily and disinfect it weekly.
Use a Bulb Syringe
Oh, how I hated using that bulb syringe on my sick babies! But the reality is that they can’t yet blow their noses and need your help. As much as they suffer and protest while you do it, removing mucus with the bulb syringe, especially before naps and at night, provides important relief and helps them breathe more easily. It also helps them eat better.
Make Sure He Gets Plenty of Rest
A sick baby may need to rest more often than a healthy baby, since her sleep is disrupted. Try to lie down with her and snuggle – sick babies need comfort and you are probably exhausted too!
Know When to Call the Doctor
Most cases of the common cold resolve on their own within about a week. But look out for signs of a more serious illness. Call the doctor if your baby is pulling on his ear, is wheezing or has trouble breathing, or if he has diarrhea or vomiting. You should also call the doctor if your baby is younger than 3 months and has a temperature of 100.4 degrees F or higher. Most importantly, listen to your instincts, and don’t ever hesitate to call the doctor if you feel worried. If in doubt, it’s always a good idea to call the doctor and speak to the advice nurse.
Posted by Vered on September 13 2010
Although some illnesses such as the common cold are pretty much inevitable, especially during winter season, there are some steps you can take to protect your baby from being exposed to riskier illnesses.
Unfortunately, we’re in the midst of a whooping cough epidemic. While this illness is usually mild for older kid and for healthy adults, babies under six months can get serious complications if they contract the disease. Make sure your baby gets vaccinated according to the recommended schedule, and make sure everyone around her, including babysitters and older siblings, is vaccinated too.
The best way to protect your baby against the common cold is to make sure both he and the people around him wash their hands often. It’s a good idea to avoid playing with a child who has obvious cold symptoms and to keep sick family members away from him. Other than that, for a healthy baby, the common cold is rarely an issue and should resolve after a week or so.
If your baby is at least six months old, get her vaccinated. Other family members should get the flu shot too. Keep her away from sick people, including family members. Ideally, from November until April it’s best to stay away from large crowds and to avoid allowing a large number of people to touch and hold your baby. Easier said than done during the holiday season, but it’s a good idea to keep in mind that you want to limit your baby’s exposure during the flu season.
Boost your baby’s immune system naturally by breastfeeding if you can, and by offering a wide variety of solid foods once he’s ready for them. A daily baby multi vitamin is also a good idea. Check out our next blog post for advice on how to deal with a sick baby, and remember that most winter illnesses pass after about a week and that being sick does build your baby’s immune system.
Posted by TinyTotties on November 11 2009
Babies are expensive, but many parents don’t really think about it before deciding to have a baby. I know I didn’t! I was quite surprised to learn how expensive those first twelve months can be.
Of course, going for it without worrying too much about the cost is very human and not necessarily such a bad thing: having a baby is an emotional decision just as much as it is a financial decision.
Still, before even trying to conceive, it’s a good idea to sit down and try to figure out how much of your income will go towards raising your baby.
Major baby-related expenses every couple needs to consider
Prenatal healthcare. This can get expensive if you end up with a high-risk pregnancy, which requires many doctor visits, tests and even hospitalization. This may or may not be covered by insurance, and if it’s covered – it may be just partially covered. Check your insurance policy before trying to conceive. If you chose a policy in the past that doesn’t offer maternity benefits in at attempt to lower your premiums, you may want to reconsider that decision now.
Delivery. The nationwide average expense for all deliveries was $6,898 in 2006, the most recent year available from the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s annual medical-expense survey. Of course, a normal pregnancy and delivery will cost less than a high-risk pregnancy and a C-Section, and you should also be aware that in some regions and in certain hospitals you will end up paying significantly more. Check to see if your hospital would be willing to give you an estimate.
Well baby visits and vaccinations during the first year. Again, these will hopefully be covered by insurance but check to make sure. You will also start paying more in health premiums – a policy that covers an entire family can cost significantly more than an individual or a couple’s policy. Of course, if your baby has medical issues, medical costs will be much higher.
Baby supplies for the first year include diapers, wipes, formula and bottles if you’re not exclusively breastfeeding, a breast pump if you are, baby food, special soaps, lotions and detergents, towels and crib bedding.
Big-ticket baby items may include setting up the nursery and buying a crib, a stroller and a car seat. This is the bare minimum: many parents buy lots of toys, books, DVDs and gadgets to stimulate their baby and keep her occupied.
Baby clothes are irresistible and are fun to buy, but the costs can really add up, especially because babies grow out of their clothes so fast.
Childcare or loss of income. One of your biggest expenses after having a baby is paying for childcare. If one of you stays at home you may not need childcare, but you should still factor in loss of income.
When you add up all of these costs, the result can be staggering. But life is not just about money! Expanding your family and having children is one of life’s most profound experiences. There’s no need to give up on having a baby because of the cost, but ideally, you should be prepared.
Try to get at least a general idea of how much having and raising your baby is going to cost in your region during the first year and considering your individual health and insurance situation. Then – if at all possible – try to have that amount set aside in a separate savings account. Just like you need to prepare your body for pregnancy, you should also prepare your finances.
Posted by TinyTotties on October 13 2009
When my babies were teething, I often fantasized about a world where teeth erupt without causing so much pain and suffering, to baby and to parents! But the reality is, the teething process causes babies a lot of discomfort. Let’s take a quick look at the process of teething, symptoms of teething, and how you can help your baby with the pain.
The Teething Process
The process of teething greatly varies from baby to baby because it usually follows hereditary patterns. Some babies teeth early, some later. Some babies hardly suffer, while some go through weeks of pain and discomfort.
On average, teething begins around the age of six months with the eruption of the incisors, and ends around age two with the eruption of the second molars. Most children have a full set of primary teeth by the time they are around two to three years old.
Which means that just as you’re getting your baby to sleep for longer stretches at night, teething begins, and with it, many sleepless nights. Who said parenting was easy?
The symptoms of teething greatly vary from child to child. Almost all babies experience some level of pain or discomfort, but some suffer with other symptoms such as fever or diarrhea. Because some teething symptoms may also be symptoms of an illness, it is always a good idea to check with your doctor if your child experiences general illness symptoms while she is teething.
This was one of my own babies’ main teething symptom. It was incredibly frustrating for us as parents, because we were just getting them to sleep better at night around the age of six months, when teething began and all hell broke loose. To this day, I firmly believe that parents should not expect to sleep well until their child is around 2 years old.
Babies tend to be more fussy than usual during the teething process, probably because their gums are constantly sore. Can you imagine going through that kind of pain? I certainly can’t blame them – I would be irritable too!
Extra Saliva Cause Drooling, Coughing and Diarrhea
Teething stimulates the production of extra saliva, which causes your baby to drool and cough. Drooling can also cause a chin rash, because contact with saliva irritates the skin. If your baby drools a lot, try wiping her mouth and chin several times throughout the day to prevent a rash. The extra saliva also loosens baby’s stools, but if your baby has diarrhea while he’s teething, it’s best to check with your pediatrician to make sure nothing more serious is going on.
Biting and Gnawing
Biting helps relieve the pressure from under the gums caused by the teeth erupting. Teething babies love to bite and gnaw. You can buy teething rings - toys that are filled with water and cooled in the fridge. These provide extra relief by slightly numbing your baby’s gums.
Pulling on Ears
Teething babies sometimes pull their ears or rub their cheeks in an attempt to relieve teething pain. However, it’s important to remember that ear pulling could also be a sign of an ear infection.
Low Grade Fever
Some parents report that teething causes low-grade fever in their babies. Not all doctors agree that teething in itself causes fever, so if your baby has fever, do check with your doctor.
Relieving Teething Pain
As mentioned above, teething rings are very helpful in relieving teething pain. We used to keep several of them in the fridge. Remember to wash teething rings in warm soapy water each night, then put them right back in the fridge. Cold foods such as chilled applesauce and yogurt may also provide temporary relief.
Some babies love to chew on their parents’ fingers while teething. By all means, offer your fingers to your child – just make sure you wash your hands often.
Some doctors recommend giving your baby Tylenol at night during the toughest periods of teething pain. Others recommend the use of Baby Orajel, although some pediatricians say it is washed off the gums almost immediately and so is not very effective.
Remember to always check with your doctor before administering medicine to your child and if she shows general signs of illness. Never assume it’s “just teething.” Above all, be patient: teething is tough on babies and on parents, but like many other baby milestones, you can rest assured: this too shall pass.
Posted by TinyTotties on September 10 2009
Toddlers are notorious for being picky eaters. I remember being so excited when my babies reached the age of 6 months and started experimenting with various foods – they loved food and loved to eat! As they got older, they were especially excited about food they saw us eating.
Fast-forward a few months, and all of a sudden they developed a mind of their own! Toddlers know what they like, and they know what they don't like, and this is true for everything, from the clothes they wear to the foods they eat (or don't eat, as the case may be).
The thing is, you can't expect to reason with a toddler. They are not reasonable, and they are not supposed to be reasonable – they haven't yet developed that ability. So it's futile to say "but it's good for you" and it's definitely never a good idea to try to force children to eat – this could lead to miserable battles, and even if you "win", to a lifetime of food issues for your child.
Instead of reasoning, forcing or begging, try enticing. We all appreciate food when it's presented in a way that appeals to our senses, and toddlers are no different. Since toddlers are very independent and love to feed themselves, one of the best ways to get them excited about food is to give them finger foods.
An ideal daily menu for toddlers should include about 3 ounces of grains, 2 cups of milk, 2 ounces of meat, beans or legumes, 1 cup of vegetables, 1 cup of fruit, and a tablespoon of fat and oils.
This is not a lot of food – in fact, if you were to take all the food your toddler eats in a day, it could easily fit on a dinner plate. The trick is to get your toddler to actually eat all those "good for you" foods voluntarily.
When searching for toddler meal ideas, the concept of finger foods comes up fairly often. This is because finger foods give toddlers a sense of control and independence, which are very important to them – so they tend to eat finger foods happily or at least are open to trying them.
For example, a simple toddler recipe that tends to become an immediate hit with most toddlers and is also very healthy, is to cut half an apple to slices and serve it to your toddler with a tablespoon of peanut butter for dipping, and a glass of milk. This simple meal, which your toddler is likely to eat happily, takes care of half of her milk, meat and fruit requirements for the day.
Another great toddler meal idea is to serve half a cup of baby carrots with a dip made
From either hummus (if your toddler will eat it) or cottage cheese.
A few more simple toddler finger food recipes and ideas:
String cheese is a huge favorite with toddlers. My toddlers used to like it so much that I was actually taken by surprise when they reached school age and decided that they don't like it anymore! String cheese and a piece of fruit make a great meal for toddlers.
Cooked whole-wheat pasta of any shape, with a little olive oil and grated cheese on top.
Banana wrap. Warm a flour tortilla in the microwave for 10 seconds, spread with peanut butter and jelly, place a banana at the edge and roll over to make a wrap.
Mini "Pizza." Spread catsup over half a mini-bagel (whole wheat is best), add shredded cheese and toppings (my kids used to love black olives) and warm in a 350-degrees oven for about 5 minutes or until the cheese melts. Catsup is rich in anti oxidants and can be considered as a veggie serving. Try to find a brand that does not contain high fructose corn syrup.
Fish sticks. Either make them yourself or buy frozen ones. Serve with catsup or applesauce for dipping – toddlers love dips!
When planning a daily menu for toddler, it's important to remember that all you need to do is offer a variety of healthy foods, and let your toddler decide how much she wants to eat. Don't pressure your child to eat more than she wants to. Even if her diet seems out of balance on a particular day, usually it will balance out over the course of a week.
Posted by TinyTotties on August 20 2009
I looked at my baby. She looked back at me with her large, trusting brown eyes. She was tiny and helpless and completely dependent on me and on my ability to care for her. As panic settled in, I reached for a few trusted parenting books and started reading.
By the time I had my second baby, two years later, I was already a pro. Here are my tips for taking care of your baby's basic needs:
Enjoy your baby!
Before I dive into technicalities, this is really the key to properly taking care of your baby. If you allow yourself to enjoy her, caring for your baby will come naturally. After all, there's so much to enjoy. Babies are small and soft and cute. They smell great and when their tiny fist closes around your finger, it feels so good!
Yes, taking care of a baby is a lot of hard work, and you are also sleep deprived which makes things even more difficult, but do remember to enjoy the good aspects of parenting a baby.
Touch your baby a lot and hold her as often as she wants to be held. Babies thrive on touch and on human attention. Use skin-to-skin contact often, and hold your baby close to you. Remember: you can't spoil a baby. Unlike older children, babies are incapable of manipulating you. The rare exception is that some babies get over-stimulated easily and don't like to be touched. That's OK too. Just follow your baby's cues.
Holding and Head Support
When you lift your newborn from his crib, and when you hold him, always support his head and neck. Young babies can't hold their head up by themselves and need your support.
Caring for the Umbilical Cord
The cord stump should fall off within one to three weeks after birth. When you change your baby's diaper, gently clean the cord with a cotton ball soaked with alcohol.
Always respond to your baby's cries. Yes, babies cry a lot – it's the only way they have to communicate their needs at this point. As I said above, babies can't use crying to manipulate you, so don't worry about spoiling your baby by responding to his cries. Click here to read more about why babies cry so much and what you can do to calm them down.
Newborns usually eat every three to four hours. You should listen to your baby's cues, though – some babies are hungry every two hours, especially breastfed babies, since breast milk is easier to digest.
Let your baby tell you when he's done eating – he will usually signal being full by turning away from the nipple or from the bottle. Healthy babies, who don't east solid food yet, rarely need water in addition to milk.
Babies tend to swallow air while feeding and need to be burped after each meal. Getting your baby to burp may prove to be a challenge though! There are several burping techniques. The one that worked best for us was to hold the baby upright, with her head against our shoulder, and gently pat her back.
You can expect your newborn to sleep a lot – 16 to 20 hours a day. However, you should also expect her to wake up a lot during the night. Waking up every 2-3 hours during the night is perfectly normal for very young babies.
To prevent suffocation, place your baby to sleep on a firm, flat mattress and avoid soft, fluffy items in the crib while baby sleeps. To minimize the risk of SIDS, healthy infants should be put to sleep on their backs.
Until the umbilical cord falls off, avoid a full bath – simply sponge bathe your baby. Once the cord falls off, there's still no need for a daily bath – every other day is plenty. I used to bathe my babies in the bathroom sink. I never bothered with buying a baby bath. If you're alone in the house, do remember to gather everything you will need close to you. You must never leave baby unattended in the bathtub.
It's important to change wet or soiled diapers immediately. While there's a valid argument that with today's highly absorbent disposable diapers you can go a little longer between changing wet diapers, I always felt better when changing my babies' diapers often.
When changing a baby girl's soiled diaper, it's important to wipe from front to back. It's a good idea to use gentle, fragrance-and-alcohol-free baby wipes.
To prevent baby from scratching herself, trim nails frequently with blunt edged small scissors, cutting the nails straight across.
Taking care of your baby's basic needs is a lot of hard work. In fact, it's endless work. But it's not a thankless job. On the contrary: your baby will reward you by blossoming into a wonderful, happy, secure human being.
Taking care of your baby may feel awkward at first, but before you know it, it will feel easy and natural. Very soon, you will be a pro too!