General Baby

Get answers to your questions about all things newborns and infants, including sleep, breastfeeding, bottles, postpartum recovery and your new role as a parent.

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Breast to bottle: Quick tips for a smooth transition

Even if your baby is breastfeeding now, you may eventually want to supplement with or transition to a bottle. The baby may find the transition from breast to bottle feeding difficult in the beginning. However, with your constant love, support, and efforts the baby will accept this change. Introducing or changing feeding methods can often be difficult. The following tips given below can help make the transition easier for both you and your baby. Pick the right time: Introduce a bottle an hour or so after a feeding, not when your baby is hungry. Have the right equipment: Experiment with bottles and nipples to find the ones that work best. Although there’s no “right” nipple shape, the nipple’s hole can make a difference. If it’s too big, it can cause your baby to gag; and if it’s too small, your baby may have to work too hard to draw out liquid. Know when to seek help: Ask for bottle-feeding help from someone else (who doesn’t smell like you). A baby can easily smell his mother, even from a distance. Have your partner, a grandparent, or a caregiver give bottle feeding a try. Offer a sample: If you’re pumping milk into a bottle, put a few drops on your baby’s lips as a sample. Some moms start by pumping breast milk to deliver via a bottle—or even mix breast milk and formula together in the bottle. This helps babies adjust to this new method before changing over to formula exclusively. Watch your baby for cues: If a bottle-feeding session isn’t going well, it’s OK to stop and take a break. Sometimes it’s best to try again later, after your baby has calmed down. Let baby lead the way: As he drinks from a bottle, give your baby the opportunity to pause and restart, just as you did with breastfeeding. This will help him realize that the two feeding processes are similar. Feel the love: Both bottle feeding and breastfeeding provide an opportunity for you and your baby to snuggle and relax. Feed your baby just as you did from your breast—with lots of skin and eye contact and affection. Content source Featured image source

Potty training twins

Typically, one will be ready and begin potty training and the other will follow closely behind. This can turn out to be a great benefit, as twins can essentially train each other, so to speak. Children like to mimic other children, so if one twin starts toilet training, the other may want to "copy" the behavior. This is especially true with twins of the same gender. In this sense, many parents have found it easier to potty train twins over a singleton, who knew? Individual Success Each child wants to be recognized for his or her successes, so if you plan on using a sticker chart or other reinforcement system, be sure each child has their own. It may be hard, but be sure NOT to compare them. Pointing out to Lucy that Samantha used the potty better than she did today may build resentment and resistance on the next go around. Try to tune in to each twin's specific needs, and don't stress if one is just NOT ready or having way more accidents. Some twin pairs, especially boy/girl pairs may toilet train as much as a year apart. Be sure to reward and cheer for even the slightest progression towards going pee or poo on the potty. You can do simple things like a little dance or song that can include both twins even if only one went on the potty. Don't ever scold or be angry when a child has accidents, but instead, make light of it and encourage them to try again the next time they have to go. Buying Double When you're potty training twins, you'll need supplies for each child. Let each one pick out their favorite underwear, potty chair and any other items you've decided to use (i.e. Pull-Ups, or chart stickers). This makes it much more personal to each twin and can also add some excitement and build-up to accomplishing goals. The use of two potty chairs or seats is almost a necessity with twins because it never fails there will be times when both need to go at the same time! Schedule a Time Make the extra time to potty train a priority when your children or child seems ready. A solid routine will reinforce the habit to go on the potty. Some parents find it helpful to set aside a week or two where they focus on this. Grab a colorful children's book that's all about going potty. There are several variations available with lots of different characters. Pick one or two that your twins really enjoy and set aside a time to read periodically to add extra encouragement and fun to the whole process. You may want to have one or both twins go without bottoms around the house during this period. Either totally "commando" or with training underwear and other light clothing. This allows the child to have a more immediate reaction to the process. If you or your twins are feeling overwhelmed with the routine, try only potty training during the day with a diaper or Pull-Ups at night. Often times, children will have no problem during the daytime, but still, struggle with accidents at nighttime. Although it may be easier to have both twins potty training at the same time, it still boils down to the readiness of each child. Regression is normal in all potty training children. Toilet training twins is no exception. It can be very difficult to deal with two children in regression at the same time or to have one making stellar progress and the other regressing badly. Patience along with gentle persistence are the keys to success here. Take some pressure off by taking a short break from toilet training or trying a totally new approach. Even a new potty chair can sometimes help. We love this one (pictured right) that looks just like a real toilet! If the regression persists or the child seems uncomfortable, it may be a good idea to have a doctor check for other factors such as an undiagnosed urinary tract infection. Don't Stress Okay, this one is probably the hardest! But, take a deep breath and constantly remind yourself that this stage WILL pass. The challenge of potty training twins will be well worth it when you end up with two children finally free of diapers...I know because I have been there! Content Source Featured Image Source

Infant potty training: All that you need to know

What is infant potty training? Also called "elimination communication" or "natural infant hygiene," infant potty training is the practice of introducing your baby to the toilet or potty at a very early age – usually between birth and 4 months. Some parents who do this avoid diapers completely by racing their baby to the nearest bathroom whenever they anticipate a poop or pee. Others use diapers on and off. By 18 months, in most cases, their children have "graduated" – that is, they know when they have to use the toilet and get themselves there successfully. While the notion of potty training a very young infant seems radical to many American parents, it's not a new idea. Before 1950, most children in the United States were toilet trained by 18 months. And today, most African, Asian, and European babies are trained well before their second birthday. So why are many babies and their parents so attached to their diapers? Many think it's due in part to the changing views of experts about toilet training, as well as the invention of disposable diapers. In the 1950s, pediatricians and other experts began advocating a more relaxed approach to toilet training. Then, in the 1960s, pediatrician and parenting expert T. Berry Brazelton advocated an even gentler, more "child-centered" philosophy: He encouraged parents to allow children to follow their own timetable when it came to giving up diapers. Brazelton's view caught on around the same time as disposable diapers, which tend to be more comfortable for babies (they're so absorbent that babies don't feel wet) and easier for parents to deal with. Against this backdrop, it's no surprise that the average age of toilet training crept up. What are the advantages of infant potty training? There's little scientific data on toilet training in general, much less on infant potty training. But proponents claim many advantages: It promotes parent-baby bonding. Advocates assert that infant potty training brings you closer to your baby. Because you're constantly watching your baby for signs of being about to eliminate, they say, you become more in tune with his needs. Says Jennifer Lynch, a mother of two (both potty trained as infants), "The best thing about it is that you're more connected to your kid. There's this 'conversation' you're having with your 3-month-old." Parents who use the technique are also likely to embrace attachment-style parenting – an approach to childrearing that encourages practices like the family bed, prolonged breastfeeding, and carrying your baby close in a sling. It's more comfortable for your baby. Infant potty training advocates believe that babies often cry and fuss because of diaper discomfort, even when they're wearing disposables, and that you can spare your baby rashes by allowing him to go diaper-free. It allows your baby to exert his growing independence. As he becomes more mobile and starts wanting to do things his own way, it can be easier to encourage him to "crawl to the potty" or "go use the big boy toilet" on his own than to engage in daily diaper change battles. It reduces diaper waste. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, disposable diapers last for centuries in landfills, and a typical baby goes through about 8,000 of them. Using fewer cloth diapers helps the environment, too, since those require energy and other resources for washing and delivery. And reducing your diaper use isn't just good for the earth; it's a nice break for your family's budget. It's normal and natural. Infant potty training mimics the time-worn practices of women in parts of Africa and Asia, where mothers often carry around their undiapered babies. These moms manage to avoid being soiled by their bare-bottomed children by learning to anticipate their elimination needs: When a mom notices a signal or pattern that suggests her child is about to relieve himself, she holds him away from her body And it doesn't require an unrealistic amount of attentiveness, says Elizabeth Parise, a spokesperson for DiaperFreeBaby and mother of five (two of them potty trained as infants). "You don't have to sit home and stare at your baby all day looking for signs. The awareness just becomes part of your routine – the same way you notice signals that your baby's hungry or sleepy." What are the disadvantages of infant potty training? Various experts are skeptical of the approach, and the effort involved may be too much for many parents: It takes lots of time and dedication. While infant potty training enthusiasts say you don't have to use the technique around the clock for it to be helpful – you can let your baby go diaper-free just during a certain time of day, for example, or only when you're at home – you're more likely to succeed if you use the technique as often as possible. This means infant potty training can be hard to do if you're a working parent, particularly if you and your partner both work full time. And no daycare facility would be willing – or permitted under licensing restrictions – to enroll a diaperless infant, nor would many babysitters consider this a part of their job description. Your baby might not be physically ready for it. A set of child development experts, including physicians at the American Academy of Pediatrics, say that babies are just starting to be aware of the sensation of a full bladder or rectum by 12 months old and have only slight control of their bladder or bowels by 18 months. Mark L. Wolraich, a pediatrician and professor at the University of Oklahoma, is one of them. "In most cases, children can't go deliberately – or even indicate a need to go – much earlier than 18 months. The age does vary greatly, though, depending on the child." Wolraich is wary of starting the training process too early. "Toilet training is more likely to be a positive experience if done when your child is developmentally ready," he says. "It doesn't need to be a competition, and early potty training doesn't mean your child will develop earlier in other ways. I'm not convinced it's of real benefit to your child." Expect trip-ups along the way. Infant potty training isn't always a snap. Online community forums are full of notes from parents who find the process difficult and exasperating. Some babies use the potty for a few weeks, then go back to having frequent accidents; others eliminate without ever giving a signal; and still, others stop having bowel movements. Pediatrician Wolraich also cautions that parents should watch out for whether they're getting frustrated with their children. "Infant potty training is a form of conditioning, much like how Pavlov conditioned dogs to salivate at the ringing of a bell. I worry that for children who aren't easily conditioned, the process can create negative parent-child interactions." Be prepared for messes. With infant potty training, accidents are par for the course. While advocates insist that the approach is overall less messy than diapers, you'll want to be ready with cleaning materials for the times when your baby's signals don't work perfectly or you can't quite get him to the potty in time. (Enzyme-based cleaners for pet accidents work well for human waste, too.) Does infant potty training work? That depends on what you mean by "work." If your goal is to use fewer diapers and get your baby practicing a skill that he'll certainly use later, the answer is yes. If your goal is to have a young baby who never needs diapers again and never has an accident, the answer is probably no. Given parents' success stories, some babies apparently can learn to read their bodies' signals and get themselves to the potty as soon as they're mobile – but undoubtedly others will need more time to develop the skill (or, perhaps, the interest). There's no way to know how it'll go for your child unless you give it a try. If your main goal is getting your child trained sooner than average, that's something you can attempt whether you use the infant potty training method or the more common approach. If your child isn't taking to it, though, it's probably worth waiting until he exhibits signs that he's ready. How can I get started? It's best to start between birth and 4 months, according to those who've used infant potty training. (If you start with an older child, it may take longer for him to learn, as he'll have to "unlearn" his diapering behavior.) Here are the basic steps: Watch your baby and get to know his elimination patterns. When and how often does your baby go to the bathroom? Does he always go at a particular time of day – right after waking up, for example? Does he make any particular noises, gestures, or expressions when he has to go? When your baby makes one of his typical elimination signs, hold him gently over a toilet, a potty, or even a bucket or pot, which may better suit his tiny size. While he's relieving himself, make a noise that your baby will learn to associate with elimination (many parents use ssssss or some other waterlike sound; others use a word or phrase like "go potty"). Repeat this sound or phrase whenever you see that your baby has to go, and also while he's going, so he'll learn to recognize it as a signal and connect his own impulses with the act of using the potty. When an accident happens, be matter-of-fact about it and stay relaxed. Advocate and mother of five, Parise says your attitude helps your child stay relaxed about the process, too. During the nighttime, keep a potty right by the bed and put your baby on it before nursing or if he's restless during the night. Some advocates say that babies rarely pee or poop during deep sleep and will usually become restless or give some sort of sign sufficient to wake a parent when they need to go – assuming that you're co-sleeping. Other advocates say that using diapers at night is fine. Even self-proclaimed infant potty training "evangelist" Lynch admits, "In our house, sleep trumps pee." If you opt to put your baby down sans diaper, place him on a waterproof mattress pad in case of an accident. Be flexible. You don't have to be a purist to practice infant potty training. As mentioned above, it's fine to use diapers sometimes (at night, or when you're out, for instance) if it makes life easier. If you can, use cloth diapers, since disposables are so absorbent that your baby often won't realize when he's wet or soiled. Stay positive. Don't use pressure or punishment. However and whenever your child learns to use the potty, training should be gentle and positive, and done with a sense of humor. The goal is to help your child get in tune with his body and feel good about using the potty. Content Source Featured Image Source

10 Super-Foods for New Moms

Losing those pregnancy pounds might be at the front of your mind. But there’s something that's even more important for your body after your baby arrives: eating foods that give you the energy to be the best mom you can be. Routinely eating healthy foods throughout the day will maximize the little energy you probably have as a new mom. If you’re nursing, the quality of your breast milk stays pretty much the same no matter what you choose to eat. But there's a catch: When you aren't getting the needed nutrients from your diet, your body will provide them from your own stores. So make sure you get all the nutrients you and your baby need. It will benefit both of you. Try to make these healthy foods a regular part of your diet. 1. Salmon There's no such thing as a perfect food. But salmon is pretty close to it when it comes to a nutritional powerhouse for new moms. Salmon, like other fatty fish, is loaded with a type of fat called DHA. DHA is crucial to the development of your baby's nervous system. All breast milk contains DHA, but levels of it are higher in the milk of women who get more DHA from their diets. The DHA in salmon may also help your mood. Studies suggest it may play a role in preventing postpartum depression. One caution: The FDA recommends that breastfeeding women, women who are pregnant, and women who might get pregnant limit how much salmon they eat. The guidelines recommend an average of 12 ounces, or the equivalent of two main servings, per week. The reason is to limit the amount mercury your new child is exposed to. The mercury level in salmon is considered low. Some other fish, such as swordfish or mackerel, have a high amount of mercury and should be avoided altogether. The 12 ounces are an average. Eating more in 1 week -- such as having three servings instead of two -- won't hurt as long as you eat less the following week. 2. Low-Fat Dairy Products Whether you prefer yogurt, milk, or cheese, dairy products are an important part of healthy breastfeeding. Milk delivers a boost of bone-strengthening vitamin D. In addition to providing protein and B vitamins, dairy products are one of the best sources of calcium. If you're breastfeeding, your milk is loaded with calcium to help your baby's bones develop, so it's important for you to eat enough calcium to meet your own needs. Try including at least three cups of dairy each day in your diet. 3. Legumes Iron-rich beans, particularly dark-coloured ones like black beans and kidney beans, are a great breastfeeding food, especially for vegetarians. They’re a budget-friendly source of high quality, non-animal protein. 4. Blueberries Breastfeeding moms should be sure to get two or more servings of fruit or juice each day. Blueberries are an excellent choice to help you meet your needs. These satisfying and yummy berries are filled with good-for-you vitamins and minerals, and they give you a healthy dose of carbohydrates to keep your energy levels high. 5. Brown Rice You might be tempted to cut back on carbs to help lose the baby weight. Don’t. Losing weight too quickly may cause you to make less milk and leave you feeling sluggish. Mix healthy, whole-grain carbs like brown rice into your diet to keep your energy levels up. Foods like brown rice provide your body the calories it needs to make the best-quality milk for your baby. 6. Oranges Portable and nutritious, oranges are a great food to boost energy. Oranges and other citrus fruits are excellent breastfeeding foods, since nursing moms need more vitamin C than pregnant women. Can't find time to sit down for a snack? Sip on some orange juice as you go about your day -- you'll get the vitamin C benefit, and you can opt for calcium-fortified varieties to get even more out of your drink. 7. Eggs Eggs are a versatile way to meet your daily protein needs. Scramble a couple of eggs for breakfast, toss a hard-boiled egg or two on your lunchtime salad, or have an omelette and salad for dinner. Opt for DHA-fortified eggs to boost the level of this essential fatty acid in your milk. 8. Whole-Wheat Bread Folic acid is crucial to your baby's development in the early stages of pregnancy. But its importance doesn't end there. Folic acid is an important nutrient in your breast milk that your baby needs for good health, and it's crucial you eat enough for your own well-being, too. Enriched whole-grain breads and pastas are fortified with it, and also give you a healthy dose of fibre and iron. 9. Leafy Greens Leafy green veggies like spinach, Swiss chard, and broccoli are filled with vitamin A, which is good for you and your baby. The benefits don’t stop there. They're a good non-dairy source of calcium and contain vitamin C and iron. Green veggies are also filled with heart-healthy antioxidants and are low in calories. 10. Whole-Grain Cereal After yet another sleepless night, one of the best foods to boost energy for new moms in the morning is a healthy breakfast of whole-grain cereal. Many cold cereals are fortified with essential vitamins and nutrients to help you meet your daily needs. Whip up a healthy, hot breakfast by stirring blueberries and skim milk into a delicious serving of oatmeal. Content Source

Umbilical hernia in children - An overview..

If your baby has a bulge around his belly button, he may have an umbilical hernia. Before his umbilical cord falls off, you may notice that the area seems to stick out a little more when he cries. Or maybe, once the cord is gone, you see that his navel sticks out (an “outie,” as it’s commonly called). In some cases, even if you can’t see a bulge, you might be able to feel one. What Are the Symptoms? You’ll be able to see the hernia most clearly when your child cries, coughs, or strains as he tries to poop. That’s because all of these things put pressure on his abdomen. When he rests, you might not be able to see the hernia. Usually, they don’t hurt. Your child’s doctor can tell if he has one during a physical exam. You’ll want to keep a close eye on your child’s hernia for signs that the intestine has been trapped in the hole and can’t go back in. Doctors call this an incarcerated hernia. It can cause the area around the belly button to become painful, swollen, and even discolored. If you notice any of these symptoms, take your baby to the emergency room. What’s the Treatment? Most umbilical hernias don’t need any treatment. Usually, the hole heals on its own by the time your child is 4 or 5 years old. Even if it doesn’t, it’ll likely get smaller. That’ll make surgery a bit easier. You might think it looks like your child needs to have an operation, but his doctor might suggest you wait to see if the problem goes away on its own. If the hole is large, he may recommend surgery before your child turns 4 or 5. The procedure is done in a hospital or outpatient surgery center. It takes about 45 minutes, and your child will be given anesthesia so that he will not be awake. The surgeon will make a small cut just below the belly button. If any part of the intestine pokes through, he’ll put it back where it belongs. The doctor will use stitches to close the hernia. He’ll also sew the skin under the navel to give it an “innie” look. Then, he’ll seal the cut with surgical glue that’ll hold the edges of the wound together. It’ll come off by itself once the site heals. After the procedure, your child will stay at the hospital while he recovers from the anesthesia. Most kids can go home a few hours later.      

Are you sleep deprived? Here are some tips to manage work without enough sleep

You may find that you spend a lot of your working day just struggling to stay awake, never mind completing spreadsheets, or making small-talk with customers. This can seem particularly hard when you’ve just started back to work after maternity leave. It can take a while to get back into the swing of things so let your body catch up. In the meantime, here are some tips to help you cope with sleep deprivation: If you have a long commute to work and you feel drowsy while you're driving, open the window and get a blast of cold air. Try to pull over at a safe place and step out of the car. Stretch or have a cold drink or a coffee to give you a boost. Driving while you're sleepy reduces your reaction time and can make you more likely to have an accident. So take public transport if you can, or car-share. Be aware of when your energy levels are at their highest and lowest. Tackle your toughest tasks or meetings when you're most alert, which will probably be first thing in the morning. During your mid-afternoon sleepy period, work on more straightforward, routine tasks. If you start to feel sleepy, move away from your desk. Run an errand, stand up, stretch or go for a walk, even if it's just around the building. Before a meeting, try walking up and down the stairs so you go in as refreshed as possible. If you can, have a short lunchtime nap somewhere quiet, but don't forget to set your phone alarm! Try to eat a healthy diet at home and at work. Snack on energy-giving foods at your desk, such as a handful of nuts or a banana. Sugary snacks and drinks may give you an initial energy boost but will leave you feeling more lethargic in the long run. So you'll need to work on your willpower when the office biscuit tin beckons! Dilute one or two drops of invigorating essential oil in a teaspoon (5ml) of base oil. Dab this on your wrist and sniff when you need a boost. Peppermint, orange and neroli are good options. Pop a facial spritz in the fridge at work and spray it directly on to your face when you're flagging. Don't have caffeinated drinks after lunchtime, as these may keep you awake when it's time to sleep. Swap your evening cup of tea for a caffeine-free drink, or some warm milk. If none of these tips seem to be helping, you could ask your employer to consider flexible working.

Colic: Lifestyle and home remedies

  Colic should go away by the time your baby is 4 months old. Until then, try these tips. They may give both of you some relief. Help him swallow less air. Try a special bottle designed to reduce gas or a nipple with a smaller hole. Sit him up while he eats so he swallows less air. Remember to burp him during and after feedings. Bright lights and sounds can overwhelm a colicky baby. Your baby may calm down if you: Lay him on his back in a dark, quiet room. Swaddle him snugly in a blanket. Lay him across your lap and gently rub his back. Try infant massage. Put a warm water bottle on your baby's belly. Have him suck on a pacifier. Soak him in a warm bath. You may have heard that some home remedies can relieve colic. Most aren’t proven and they could hurt your baby. Always talk with your child’s pediatrician before trying something new. These are things you may have heard about. Rice cereal in a bottle. This is a definite no-no. It's a big choking hazard, and it is not proven to work. Herbal remedies such as chamomile, or gripe water. It’s best not to use these. The FDA doesn’t regulate over-the-counter remedies. You can’t be sure what they are made of, and ingredients aren’t always labeled. Some can have things in them that are very bad for your baby, like alcohol or opiates. Babies can also have allergic reactions to them. They’re also not proven to work. Simethicone gas drops. These can be OK to try. But will they work? They may or may not help.

Menstruation, your period and ovulation after baby

Immediately following the birth of your baby, the blood loss is slightly heavier than a normal period, and the colour a bright red. Blood loss shouldn’t exceed what can be managed with a sanitary pad every four hours (if it’s heavier than this, check in with your care provider). The flow decreases over the next week, and the colour will alter to a paler red, then a brownish-red colour. The discharge (also known as lochia) can become yellow-white in colour before it ceases. You will notice an odour, which is strong but not offensive. The blood flow should stop after a week or so, but light blood loss might last for about 6 weeks after the birth and is not a cause for concern. It differs for each woman, but if you’re worried, contact your midwife or doctor for advice. It’s important to use sanitary pads and not tampons after the birth of your baby. Tampons obstruct the blood flow and can encourage the growth of bacteria, which could lead to infection. Make sure you change your pad every four hours (or more often, if required) as bacteria can build up quite quickly, particularly in lochia. Some women prefer to use the thicker maternity pads initially, as they are more padded and protective. When you are ready, you can always switch to ultra thin pads.

What to do when your baby hates bathtime

Has your splash-happy baby suddenly started crying through bathtime? Don't worry, you're not alone! Bathe with Your Child. Try bathing your baby to give her confidence that both baths and the water are safe and fun. If you smile and laugh as you play with bubbles and bath toys, your child may want to jump right in to join the fun. Try a Different Time of Day. Sometimes timing is everything. "In the beginning my daughter hated having baths at night so I gave them to her in the morning and she loved them," shared Jackie Y. Every baby has their own fussy times, so try giving your baby baths at a different time of the day - before the last feeding of the night, after the last feeding, or even in the morning. Keep the Water Warm. cold bath water may be one of the culprits. "My little one gets mad when she gets cold," says Jaime M. "I constantly pour warm water on her while she is in there so she doesn't get too cold." Fight Fear of the Drain. Some children are actually afraid of the drain. When Amy D.'s son was scared of going down the drain, she waited until he was out of the room to let out the water. "After a period of time I was able to reason with him and show him it was impossible to go down the drain but it took a while!" Offer Distractions Galore! There are lots of easy ways to make bathtime fun.