Being a Parent
Being a parent is a role that can bring you great joy and happiness as well as challenges to deal with. Nurturing your child and watching them grow and develop into their own unique person can add meaning and purpose to your life
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A working woman's guide to pregnancy hormonal changes
The hormonal and physiological changes that come with pregnancy are unique. Pregnant women experience sudden and dramatic increases in estrogen and progesterone. They also experience changes in the amount and function of a number of other hormones. These changes don’t just affect mood. They can also: create the “glow” of pregnancy significantly aid in the development of the fetus alter the physical impact of exercise and physical activity on the body Estrogen and progesterone changes Estrogen and progesterone are the chief pregnancy hormones. A woman will produce more estrogen during one pregnancy than throughout her entire life when not pregnant. Pregnancy hormones and exercise injuries While these hormones are absolutely critical for a successful pregnancy, they also can make exercise more difficult. Because the ligaments are looser, pregnant women may be at greater risk for sprains and strains of the ankle or knee. Weight gain, fluid retention, and physical activity Weight gain in pregnant women increases the workload on the body from any physical activity. This additional weight and gravity slow down the circulation of blood and bodily fluids, particularly in the lower limbs. Sensory changes Pregnancy can dramatically alter how a woman experiences the world through sight, taste, and smell. Breast and cervical changes Hormonal changes, which begin in the first trimester, will lead to many physiological changes throughout the body. These changes help prepare the mother’s body for pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. Hair and nail changes Many women experience changes in hair and nail growth during pregnancy. Hormone changes can sometimes cause excessive hair shedding or hair loss. This is especially true in women with a family history of female alopecia. Stretch marks Stretch marks (striae gravidarum) are perhaps the most well-known skin change of pregnancy. They’re caused by a combination of physical stretching of the skin and the effects of hormone changes on the skin’s elasticity. Blood pressure and exercise There are two types of circulatory changes that may have an impact on exercise during pregnancy. Pregnancy hormones can suddenly affect the tone in blood vessels. A sudden loss of tone may result in the feeling of dizziness and perhaps even a brief loss of consciousness. This is because the loss of pressure sends less blood to the brain and central nervous system. Dizziness and fainting Another form of dizziness can result from lying flat on the back. This dizziness is more common after 24 weeks. However, it can happen earlier during multi-fetal pregnancies or with conditions that increase amniotic fluid Respiratory and metabolic changes Pregnant women experience increases in the amount of oxygen they transport in their blood. This is because of increased demand for blood and the dilation of blood vessels. This growth forces increases in metabolic rates during pregnancy, requiring women to up energy intake and use caution during periods of physical exertion. Body temperature changes An increase in basal body temperature is one of the first hints of pregnancy. A slightly higher core temperature will be maintained through the duration of pregnancy. Women also have a greater need of water during pregnancy. They can be at higher risk of hyperthermia and dehydration without caution to exercise safely and remain hydrated. Dehydration Most women who exercise for 20 to 30 minutes or who exercise during hot and humid weather will sweat. In pregnant women, loss of bodily fluids from sweat can decrease the blood flow to the uterus, the muscles, and some organs. The developing fetus needs a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients carried through the blood, so injury may result from a lack of fluid.
Preparing for a baby: Getting your finances in order
Planning ahead for conception (as opposed to those oops! pregnancies) means you’ll also have time to plan for the financial changes you’ll experience once baby makes three (or more). When you’re financially preparing for a baby, don’t stress out about tackling every line item at once (no need to worry just yet about how you’ll pay those college bills), but anything you can start taking stock of now will make money matters down the road easier on your wallet and your sanity. Next, make a list of your expenses and then add in the baby costs you’ll be calculating soon: diapers, bottles, formula (if you don’t plan on breastfeeding), baby clothes, baby gear, baby food, baby toys, etc., so you can get a clearer idea of what your expenses really will be once your family starts to grow. Before you panic about all the baby-preparing you’ll need to do, remember, you’ll be getting plenty of those mommy necessities and niceties as gifts; others you’ll be able to borrow from friends and family. Finally, think of ways (big and small) to cut corners and generate extra cash for baby expenses. Some almost painless ways to save big when you’re preparing for your baby include: Cutting back on luxuries such as expensive restaurant meals and high-priced lattes (you don’t need all that caffeine now, anyway). Using the old “loose-change-in-a-jar” trick: Just be sure to move the money periodically into a savings account (preferably an interest-bearing one that you’ve both sworn not to dip into). Looking critically at monthly expenditures for home and cell phone services, cable, gym memberships, and the like. Not that you need to live without these conveniences, but you may be able to switch to cheaper ones. Often just calling to threaten a switch can snag you a better deal. After all, companies like to keep their customers. Reducing credit card debt by avoiding late fees, paying more than the minimum each month, and rolling balances onto low-interest cards. Diverting some of your current savings into a “baby fund” for your various baby expenses. content source
How to cope with a toddler and a new baby?
Most parents prefer to wait until the first trimester is over. You'll probably want to let your child know about the same time you announce your pregnancy to the rest of the world. Once you've told your child, he/she will want to share the news (you can't expect a toddler to keep a secret). And once you've told all your friends and family, it'll be much harder to keep the information from your child because people will want to congratulate you and talk about the pregnancy and also mention to them that they are going to be a 'big bhaiya or big didi'. It's best if your child hears about a new sibling from you and not from other family members, friends or neighbours. The best way is to make the toddler understand and help him in adjusting with the new guest of the family and below are the following steps which will help your young toddler to cope with jealousy towards the new baby :- 1. Acknowledge your child’s feelings. Know that your little one may express negative feelings or act out, and don’t scold. Instead say, “Being a big sibling can be hard. Sometimes you will feel sad or mad or do things you don’t mean to do and that’s OK. We will always love you and want to help you feel better.” 2. Spend regular one-on-one time together. Try to give your toddler a bit of undivided attention, even if it’s just 10 to 20 minutes a day. One way to accomplish this more easily is to wear your newborn in a sling, which gives you two free hands to play a game with your older child. And have your older child cuddle while you’re nursing. Feeling frazzled? Enlist help from a relative, who can tend to your newborn as you spend time with your oldest. Or suggest your partner schedule special activities together with your child, like whipping up weekend waffles or heading out to the movies. 3. Offer a gift (or two). No doubt there’ll be awesome baby gifts arriving by the truckload, which can be pretty rough for a tot who’s sitting on the sidelines watching the loot accumulate. So once in a while, surprise your older child with a big-kid present you happen to have at the ready. Nothing fancy — just a little something that says “being a big sib rocks,” like a new set of markers and a giant pad, a coloring book, a book, a puzzle or even a sheet of stickers. When friends arrive with (yet another) giant box for the baby, let your tot unwrap it for him (what a good helper!). If it’s an item that your newborn is too little to use (like a doggie pull-toy or set of blocks) let your big kid (gently) break it in. 4. Praise often. Reward your child with hugs and compliments for showing patience (waiting without wailing while you change a diaper), cooperativeness (handing you that diaper instead of winging it at the wall) and empathy (“The baby’s crying, Mommy. Maybe he’s hungry”). Make a fuss, especially in front of others: “Thank you for handing me the diaper, sweetheart! What a great big sibling!” Content source
Transitioning back to work after the baby: Tips for working moms
Top Seven Tips for Moms Returning to Work (outside the home): 1) If at all possible, return to work on a Thursday (if you work full time) so that you have a short work week initially. Then you have the weekend to review how to make necessary adjustments for the following week. And you enter the new week knowing you can do this! It is empowering to get through the first week, even if it is a short one. 2) If pumping, find out ahead of time where you can have privacy. Is there a lactation room at your work? Or an office with a lock on it? You don’t want someone barging in on you while in a vulnerable position. If you try pumping, and you find you just don’t have the energy to continue, perhaps partial supplementation with a formula for your baby will be just fine. Then you can breast-feed when you are with your baby at night and on weekends. 3) Bring snacks and water. It is so important to stay hydrated and keep blood sugar even. It’s easy to forget to eat or drink water when multi-tasking. Remember that proper nutrition, including continuing with prenatal vitamins (if breastfeeding and doctor recommends), is essential to good mood health. Bring high-protein snacks (like almonds and string cheese) to graze on throughout the day and before/after lunch. What is good for your body is good for your mental state. 4) Allow yourself to cry. You will miss your baby. A lot. Initially, it will be very tough. Bring Kleenex. Give yourself the time and space to let the tears flow in the company of supportive people who understand your transition. Then distract yourself with tasks at hand to ground yourself back in the present. Reward yourself with some nice adult conversation and a cup of delicious coffee or herbal tea. Savor being able to enjoy a chat with your colleagues uninterrupted by baby’s needs. 5) It may be helpful to bring a transitional object that reminds you of your connection with your baby, like a picture of the baby, or a little bootie with his/her scent. Some women laugh that they have a “baby shrine” of baby photos at their desks so that they feel connected to their little one while away. Leave a photo of you with the baby and an item with your scent on it (a robe or article of clothing). You stay connected through your senses that way throughout the day. 6) Align yourself with other working moms. They are invaluable as support when you are having a tough day balancing it all. These mammas are doing what you are doing and more than likely have some emotional support and tricks up the sleeve that has helped them weather the storm of transitioning back to work. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Go to the seasoned mammas for support and guidance. 7) If at all possible, work for a family-friendly company. All moms/families deserve to have the flexibility they need to make work/family life balance possible. Sadly, not all employers embrace this philosophy. Some employers also have generous family leave policies. Check Working Mother magazine for the top employers who are “family-friendly.” I especially love companies that have on-site daycare. Content Source
Slow weight gain in breastfed babies
Most breastfed babies will get enough breast milk and gain weight in a consistent and expected pattern as long as they latch on well and breastfeed often. But, what if you think your child isn't getting what he needs to grow and thrive? If you're breastfeeding and your newborn is gaining weight slowly or inconsistently then he may not be getting enough breast milk. So, here's what to look for and what to do if you think your child isn't gaining weight well. Breastfeeding and Slow Weight Gain Breastfed newborns can lose up to 10 percent of their birth weight during the first week. Then, by the time a child is two weeks old, he should regain the weight that was lost. After that, for the next three months or so, breastfed babies gain about 28 gram per day. Of course, every newborn is different, and some children just normally grow more slowly than others. So, as long as your baby is breastfeeding well and his health care exams are on target, a slower weight gain may not be an issue. When Slow Weight Gain Is a Problem Weight gain is the best sign that a child is getting enough breast milk. When a baby is gaining weight slower than expected, it could mean that she's not getting enough. So, if your newborn is not back to her birth weight in two weeks, or she's not gaining weight consistently after that, it may be that there's a breastfeeding issue that's preventing your child from getting enough breast milk. The Reasons Your Baby May Not Be Gaining Weight as Expected Your newborn is not latching on well: A good latch allows your child to remove the breast milk from your breast without getting tired out and frustrated. If your baby is not latching on correctly, or latching on to just your nipple, she won't be able to remove the breast milk very well. Your baby isn't breastfeeding often enough: Breastfeed your newborn at least every two to three hours through the day and night for the first six to eight weeks. If he wants to breastfeed more often, put him back to the breast. Your child is not breastfeeding long enough at each feeding: Newborns should breastfeed for about 8 to 10 minutes on each side. As your child gets older, she won't need to breastfeed as long to get the breast milk she needs, but during the first few weeks, try to keep her awake and actively sucking for as long as you can. Your little one is in pain: If your baby is not comfortable because of a birth injury or an infection such as thrush in her mouth, she may not breastfeed well, and therefore she may be gaining weight slowly. You have a low breast milk supply: A low milk supply can prevent your child from getting enough breast milk, but it could also be the result of your baby not breastfeeding well. It's a bit of a vicious cycle. The good news is that a typical low milk supply can often be recovered pretty easily. Content source Featured image source
Are you a working parent? Here are some tips
You can choose from a range of childcare options that are available nowadays. Most of them can accommodate any kind of working hours, so you should be able to find one that suits you: 1. Daycare centers or crèches: These are more common in cities and are usually open between 7 am and 7 pm on weekdays. In some metros, daycare centers may offer extended hours and some may even be open for 24 hours to cater to the growing number of parents working night shifts. 2. Part-time maids, ayahs or nannies: These work well for those mums who need a child carer for a few hours during the day and don’t want live-in help. 3. Live-in maids: These work well for parents with long working hours, travel often for business and have unpredictable work schedules. 4. A trusted family member: Usually, people living in joint families find it easier to rely on some family members to look after their child. Usually one finds grandparents are flexible and happy enough to look after your child, whenever it is required. It's a good idea to see different people and places before making a decision. This will give you an idea about types of childcare available, and the variety in quality and cost. Base your decision on what feels right for you and your child. If you really want to get back to work after having your baby, then do so. However, if you’d rather care for your baby instead of putting him in childcare, then stay at home. Looking after your child is a full-time job. How can I cope with going back to work in an office? Show that you are committed to your job, but make it clear you need to keep to strict working hours. This should give you time to get your work done and allow you to leave promptly to collect your child from childcare. Ask to be given as much notice as possible if you're required to work longer hours or take a business trip. This means you can be prepared to inform your childcare in advance or sort out back-up care. If you find yourself overloaded with work, you may be able to find a way to prioritize or delegate to a colleague. Also try to keep your mind off how your child is coping at childcare while you're working, so you stay focused on your job. Only contact your carer during the day if you really need to. Likewise, they can contact you if they really must. Otherwise, you are bound to pick the time when your child is crying, which will worry you for the rest of the day. If you want to stay in contact when you first return to work, ask your carer to call or text you when your child is napping or quietly playing. How can I work at home? To tackle most work at home jobs you'll almost certainly need some regular childcare. So decide what time of day you would like to work, then organize childcare to fit in. For example, if your brain is sharpest in the mornings, book childcare for those hours. Then you have a set period of the day to get everything done. Set up your workspace, too. If it isn't anywhere obvious in your house, think whether you could set up in the store, guest bedroom or dining room. Ideally, find a place where work can be left out, so you don't have to clear away each time. If necessary, store work items where your child can't get at them, such as on high shelves or in lockable cupboards. How can I fit in quality time with my child as a working parent? First of all, don't feel guilty and don't try to cram in too much to make up for a lost time. There are some simple ways to fit in quality time with your child, even if you're working full-time: Have a routine so your child will know when he will see you. So on weekdays, be there to wake up your child, give him breakfast, and if possible, take him to childcare. And try to collect him at the end of the day and hear all about what he's been doing. When you're with your child, be focused completely on him. So turn off your phone, the television and computer, so you're free to play games and have a cuddle. Make mealtimes special. Get your child to help you with the cooking or preparing, such as rolling Rotis or shelling peas for matar paneer. Then sit down at the table as a family and take your time eating so you can chat about your day. Even if your child isn't talking yet, he will enjoy seeing you and sharing food together. If you work particularly long hours, at least try to be there for his dinner, bath, and bedtime. Make the most of the weekends by doing something fun. Give your maid a leave and even joint family try to spend alone time with your baby. Go on a trip to the playground, do some artwork together, or watch his favorite movie. If your child makes a fuss when you see her at the end of the day or at weekends, try to be patient and don't blame yourself. Chances are she's just missed you and wants some hugs and attention. Content Source
Introducing solid foods to your baby: Quick tips
As your baby gets older, she starts to need solid food so she can get enough iron and other essential nutrients for growth and development. For about the first six months of life, your baby uses iron stored in his body from when he was in the womb. He also gets some iron from breastmilk and/or infant formula. But your baby’s iron stores go down as he grows. And by around six months, he can’t get the iron he needs from breast milk or infant formula alone. Introducing solids is also important for helping your baby learn to eat, giving her experience of new tastes and textures from a range of foods, developing her teeth and jaws, and building other skills that she’ll need later for language development. Signs that it’s time for introducing solids: Your baby’s individual development and behaviour will guide you when you’re trying to work out when to start introducing solids. Signs your baby is ready for solids include when your baby: Has good head and neck control and can sit upright when supported Shows an interest in food – for example, by looking at what’s on your plate Reaches out for your food Opens his mouth when you offer him food on a spoon. Most babies start to show these signs around six months, but the signs happen at different times for different babies. It’s not recommended to introduce solids before four months. If your baby is nearing seven months of age and hasn’t started solids, you might like to get some advice from your child and family health nurse or GP. How to introduce solids: Food timing When you’re first introducing solids, it’s a good idea to offer solids when you and your baby are both happy and relaxed. Your baby is also more likely to try solids after a feed of breastmilk or formula. This is because when babies are really hungry, they just want the breastmilk or formula that they know satisfies their hunger. They’ll still have room to try new foods after they’ve had a feed of breastmilk or formula. As time passes, you’ll learn when your baby is hungry or full, not interested or tired. Signs of hunger include your baby: Getting excited when she sees you getting her food ready Leaning towards you while she’s sitting in the highchair Opening her mouth as you’re about to feed her Signs your baby is no longer interested include: Turning his head away Losing interest or getting distracted Pushing the spoon away Clamping his mouth shut Content source Featured image source
Baby sleep facts and myths every parent should know
During the first few weeks, newborn babies are asleep more than they are awake. A baby’s sleep needs are, on average, between 16 and 22 hours per 24-hour period. It varies a lot among babies, but it can also vary from day to day for the same baby. As a new parent, you might think that you’ve found a routine at the beginning. But it’s common that this changes frequently. The duration of your baby’s sleep periods can also change. On some days their waking and sleeping times are longer, and on other days your baby might sleep more but for shorter periods of time. Here are some facts related to baby's sleep: NEWBORN SLEEP PERIODS ARE SHORT A newborn baby usually sleeps around 18-20 hours a day. This sounds like a comfortable existence for new parents, doesn’t it? But then why do many new parents experience such a lack of sleep in the early days? It probably has to do with the duration of the sleep periods. A newborn sleeps for a while, is awake for a while and then falls asleep again. And it can be this way around the clock during the first few weeks. Eventually the baby will adapt to ‘our’ circadian rhythm, remaining awake for longer periods of time during the day and sleeping for several hours at night Just as with adults, a baby’s sleep is made up of different cycles of deep and light sleep. “A newborn does not sleep deeply all the time, but instead switches between sleeping deeply, being drowsy and sleeping lightly. In between, the baby is either awake and lively, alert and cranky, or screaming and crying.” FEELINGS OF HUNGER AND BEING FULL CONTROL HOW A NEWBORN SLEEP. In the first few weeks, food and sleep dominate the newborn’s world. Eating takes a lot of energy, making your baby tired and so making them fall asleep. And when they wake up again, hunger is often the cause. Newborn babies sleep according to their own internal clock and fall asleep when they need to. A change usually takes place around 4-7 weeks, when your baby begins to become curious about its surroundings and may sometimes need to be soothed to fall asleep. NEWBORNS FOLLOW THEIR SLEEP RHYTHM FROM THE WOMB So much of everything that happens when a baby is born is cleverly designed by nature. But the fact that newborn babies have a different circadian rhythm than their parents is less ingenious. No one is really sure why. Newborns tend to stick with the sleep pattern they had in the womb, sometimes a week after birth, sometimes up to several months. Almost all babies in the womb are more awake and active during the late evening and night, and sleep soundly during early morning and morning Naturally, this poses a challenge for many new parents. “Of course, it feels frustrating when your baby is awake when you want to sleep. But be patient when it comes to sleep – your baby will gradually begin to sleep longer through the night. A one-year-old will definitely have outgrown their newborn sleep cycle. There’s no user manual to follow when it comes to newborn sleep. But she’s happy to share some good pieces of advice and tips for new parents. Getting constant advice from your parents, in-laws, and friends about your baby’s sleep cycle? For new parents, one of the hardest things to do is understand how to manage to get some rest while making sure that the baby is resting enough too. You are probably overwhelmed at the thought that you are not going to get any shuteye once the baby arrives. What you need is the right information about good sleep and your baby. In fact, there are several myths about sleeping babies that you need to know about to ensure that your baby gets all the rest that he needs in these growing years. Myth 1: You get to decide when your baby sleeps and for how long. Newborn babies spend most of their time sleeping. That said, they will only sleep when their body is ready. Their waking up depends entirely on cues such as hunger or wetness of the diaper. Instead of creating a schedule, it is best that you follow your baby’s cues to ensure that he is well rested. Myth 2: Babies can be allowed to sleep on the side Sleeping on the back is not safe for babies as it can lead to them rolling over onto their stomach. This increases the risk of issues like Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. In fact, a campaign called “Back to Sleep” was initiated to urge parents to put babies to sleep on their back for safer and sounder sleep. Myth 3: Swaddling does not help put the baby to sleep Swaddling is one of the best and most tested techniques to get your baby to sleep. This is exceptionally calming for the baby. The only issue is that a tight wrap around the baby can lead to overheating. In addition to that, knowing the right position to swaddle the baby also makes all the difference. Learning this from your pediatrician can be very useful in helping your baby fall asleep faster. This is indeed not an outdated method as most people may suggest. Myth 4: If your baby sleeps in the car or during a stroll, it does not count. What matters is that your baby should have a sound sleep. This can even be away from his crib, and he will still get as much rest as he needs. If you notice that your baby has fallen asleep in an area outside the crib, you need to put him back in. Allow the baby to wake up on his own before you change his place of sleep. Myth 5: Babies sleep better when you add some rice cereal to their feeding bottle. This method is not proven to have any effect on the sleep cycle of children. In fact, it can also be quite risky to give your baby rice cereal when they are too young. Babies are unable to digest it until they are at least four months old. Content source Featured image source
Baby feeding and sleeping schedule: Breastfeeding 4 to 6-month-old
A newborn’s sleep schedules take time to set and therefore it is very tough to get into a consistent routine before 4 months of age. Bedtimes can also be quite inconsistent and erratic in the first 3 months. Now that your baby is 4 months old, this is the perfect time to get your baby into a routine as they naturally settle into a 4-5 nap schedule. Here is your 4 month old breastfeeding schedule: 8am – Wake Up & Nurse 9:30am – Nap 11am – Nurse 12:00pm – Nap 2pm – Nurse 3pm – Nap 5pm – Nurse 6pm – Nap 8pm – Nurse / Bottle (We do a pumped bottle from 8pm onward) 8:30pm – 9pm Bed *Sometimes there is a middle of the night feed around 5am. It is common for baby to still get up 1-2x per night after the first 5-8 hour stretch at this age. Note: If your baby wakes up earlier, adjust the times above accordingly. For example, if your baby wakes up at 7am, then bedtime should be around 7:30-8pm. How many naps for a 4 month old? As you can see your 4 month old is napping 4 times a day now. This schedule has naturally emerged from following a 1.5-2 hour wake time in between naps and trying to do an “Eat, Activity, Sleep” schedule. The crucial point here is that you want to feed your baby AFTER they are awake. This way they are not associating nursing with going to sleep and will likely sleep better at night. This isn’t always possible to do this based on your baby’s nap schedule. Some days the schedule may get thrown off and you may have to nurse right before your baby goes to sleep. And that’s OK! Just try to implement it as often as you can. Naps at this age are typically 45 mins to an hour. Babies at this age haven’t yet learned to connect their sleep cycles so it’s common to have a nap that is just one sleep cycle. 4 month old babies usually nap 4-5 times a day. The key is that you’re wanting your baby to get 15-16 total hours of sleep a day (including naps & night time). How often to nurse a 4 month old? As far as nursing during the day is concerned, you may follow approximately 3 hours intervals in between nursing schedules. You may also nurse on demand and therefore if your baby gets hungry before 3 hours you may feed her. But, it will be ideal also to keep the 3 hours interval in mind. 4 Month Old Breastfeeding Schedule You don’t need to stick to a schedule to the T. Every day will be different and you can adapt and change it as you need to. The key elements of a schedule for a 4 month old is knowing that they will likely need at least 4 naps in the day. Carve out the approximate times for when those naps will be (morning, noon, early afternoon, late afternoon) and plan your day around that. Content source Featured image source
How can I keep my baby healthy through weather changes?
When the weather changes, it is the time that adults often come down with viral or bacterial infections. There are a few simple steps you can take to help prevent your baby from getting sick as well. Breastfeed and immunise: Studies show that breastfeeding and staying up to date with your baby's immunisations help to build your baby's immune system. So giving your baby her vaccines on time and exclusively breastfeeding for her first six months are a good place to start to keep her healthy. Dress for the weather: Dress your baby appropriately, especially when you are planning to be out for a couple of hours. It is best to dress your baby in layers so that you can remove or add layers to keep your baby comfortable through the day. Bathe your baby safely: It is easy for your baby to catch a chill when having her daily bath or massage. Follow these simple steps to prevent this: Keep the temperature in the bedroom and bathroom the same. If this is not possible, choose the room that is most comfortable and do the bathing and massage there. This might mean you need to give your baby a bath in a tub in the bedroom near a heater for a few weeks. If you prefer not to get your bedroom floor wet, you can set up a safe changing table in the bathroom for massages. The key is to avoid exposing your baby to sudden temperature differences. Make sure there are no drafts or gusts of cold air while you are massaging or bathing your baby. Find a time of day when your baby is least likely to feel cold and try to give her a bath then. This might not always be possible though so if you do have to bathe your baby when it is very cold, heat the room up to a comfortable temperature before undressing her. If it doesn't get very cold where you are, be sure to dress your baby before turning on the fan, air conditioner or cooler. Make sure to dry her hair thoroughly as well. Also, protect her from the direct blast of cold air. Give your baby a balanced diet: If your baby is already on solids, make sure that she has well-balanced meals. A good diet can give her the vitamins and minerals she needs to help fight infections. It's even more important to make sure your baby gets enough vitamins and minerals if she is a fussy eater or is on a restricted diet. Pay attention to hygiene: The easiest way for your baby to get sick is by catching the bug from an infected person around her. Illnesses can be passed on from one person to the next through mucus, most often by sneezing or coughing. If you are ill, the antibodies in your breastmilk will help keep your baby healthy. But she can be exposed to viruses and bacteria from others. If infected mucus remains on a toy at a doctor's waiting room or on someone's hands as they feed your baby for example, she can get sick. Here are a few steps to help prevent this: Make sure that people handling your baby wash their hands properly. Bring your own toys or books when you take your baby to the doctor for her immunisations. Keep your baby away from crowded places as far as possible. If your baby goes to a creche or day care, ask the supervising adult to discourage sick children from attending. In some places, the ayahs check the temperature of all the children coming and send home any child with a fever. This is done to prevent all other children attending the same creche from getting sick as well.
FAQ: Introducing your baby to solid foods
Introducing solid food to your child is a big step ahead in their growth chart. A lot of mothers, whether new or old, have a lot of questions revolving around this crucial step forward in their child’s life. We made a list of some of the questions, after studying the primary questions posed by mothers to their pediatricians, their own mothers, fellow-mothers or on group threads, social media, and discussion boards, and answered them. When should I introduce solid foods to my child? Ideally, six months is the right age to introduce a baby to solid foods. Before this, you might notice your child not allowing the spoon to enter their mouth or their inability to swallow solid food. Additionally, initiating solid food too early also reduces the production of breast milk, if you are breastfeeding the child. Introducing food before this age might also increase their chances of developing a food allergy or becoming obese. Though, this is an ideal time to start solid food, each child is different and would give you the clues as to when they are ready to start solid food. These signs would include the following: The baby can grab and reach for objects. The baby shows interest in food and tries to reach for the food you eat. The baby can sit straight independently. This is the biggest indicator that they would have lost their tongue-thrusting reflex. The baby has an increased appetite where their milk times have increased or you notice them taking in more milk than their usual at a mealtime. Look out for these clues before you introduce solid food to them. Why does a baby need solid food at six-months? By the time the bay reaches six months of age, they have used up their stores of essential nutrients that they were born with. Now, to grow further they need essential vitamins, nutrients and minerals, like iron and zinc, which solid food can provide them easily. By this time, their digestive system would be ready for solid food. This would be demonstrated by the fact that the baby’s hunger is not satisfied by breast or formula milk alone. This is also the right time to introduce allergy foods. Further, familiarizing them to solid food is the first step in making them independent for their forthcoming life. How often should I give my child solid food? In order to get your child used to the idea of eating, schedule a breakfast, lunch and dinner time for them. Even if they are not hungry, do sit them down with a tablespoon of whatever you have planned for them. This would get them used to the idea of a mealtime and also help them fall into a schedule for the day. You would notice that most six-month olds would be comfortable eating just once a day. And as the majority of their nutrition comes from breast or formula milk, it is all right if they do so. As your child grows, they would slowly get used to the idea of eating regularly and would develop a routine of eating three meals a day along with the family. My baby appears to be not interested in solid foods. Should I force them to eat? No. Never force your child to eat. This will only make them averse to food. In fact, if you feel that even after trying for a sufficient amount of time, they are not interested in eating anything, get them out of the high chair or any other chair that you use for feeding and move on to the next scheduled activity. Further, at times, the first feed is a little strange for the child, so they might not be able to accept it. As it has a different texture, smell and taste, they just might end up spitting out the whole thing. But don’t worry. Remove the food from their vicinity and try again the next day. Just like at times we do not want to eat, babies also might not want to eat. Moreover, they are yet to fall in a habit so it’s all right if they skip a meal. What should be the size of the meals that I offer my child? At four to six months, feed the child between two to four tablespoon of the planned meal. Remember, their meal intake might change from meal to meal and from day to day. So don’t get worried if one day your baby is eating four tablespoons of food and the next day, they are eating just three. Also, as the child gets used to eating, their appetite will increase naturally. As this happens, increase the amount of food by a half-a-tablespoon till you feel that they are feeling full. What is the best way of feeding a six-month old baby? When you are about to feed your child, turn off the television and any loud music. Wash the baby’s and your hands so that they know that it is mealtime. Reducing other stimuli from the environment will help your child recognize the flavours in the food and also understand how their body reacts to food. They would be consciously aware of when they are full and would give you a clue to that. Which foods should I first introduce my baby to? Though every family might have a different tradition as far as the first solid feed of the child is concerned, even science does not follow any hard and fast rules. However, there are a few suggestions which seem to work well for the babies. These include single-grain cereals and boiled or pureed fruits and vegetables. Single-grain cereals can be initially prepared in the ratio of one teaspoon of cereal with 5 teaspoons of breast or formula milk. Once the child is used to this, the cereal can be gradually thickened. Fruits like bananas can be mashed, whereas apples can be par-boiled to soften them a little. Use brightly coloured fruits and vegetables as these are nutrient-dense and the colours appeal to the child. By the time your child reaches the age of nine to 12 months, they can be introduced to raw fruits and vegetables. Other suggestions include mashed potatoes, well-cooked rice or pulses, whole wheat biscuits, bread fingers and rusks. Full-fat yoghurt, cheese and custard can also be tried. Ensure that the first foods that are introduced to a child are fortified with iron or are iron-rich foods. This is because, the child has finished its iron reserves and needs extra iron to grow and avoid being anemic. Additionally, once the child starts taking solid or semi-solid food, they stop absorbing iron from the breast or formula milk. Should I use only boiled food at this stage? Depending on the type of food you are offering the child and the presence of teeth, boil, puree, chop or grind the food, fruits and/or vegetables. You can prepare clear soups or use vegetable stock to prepare their food. As the child gets used to swallowing semi-solid food, move to finger foods like French fries or a slice of boiled potato. The child can hold this in their hands, while getting used to its taste and texture. Be prepared for a mess as babies love to throw their food around and the hand-eye-brain coordination that the child needs to place the food in their mouth is still not fully developed. What kind of food should be avoided? Any food that is too hard, like a carrot stick, should be avoided. Further, small, hard foods, like grapes, hard candies, small pieces of toast, etc.should be avoided. If not given in the appropriate manner, these types of foods can choke the child. Other foods that come with a choking hazard include peanuts, nuts, popcorn and nut butter. Also avoid honey before one year of age as it can cause infant botulism, which may prove fatal. Additionally, do not give highly spiced or greasy foods. Further, cow’s or any other animal’s milk as a drink should be avoided until 12 months of age. Also avoid coffee, tea, and artificially sweetened drinks and juices. Try not to give any plant-based milk, like soy, almond or rice milk, till one year of age. However, these can be used to cook their food in from six months onwards. Do not give spinach, carrots, beans and beetroot to babies less than 6 months of age as these have enough nitrates to cause a blood disorder called methemoglobinemia. Aren’t juices healthy? Well, not as healthy as whole fruits. Juices cannot be considered as a part of a baby’s diet. Too much juice may contribute to weight problems and lead to diarrhea. Moreover, it hinders the appetite of the child. Sipping on juice the entire day or just before bed can lead to tooth decay. If you have to give your baby fruit juice, then ensure that it is 100 percent fruit juice with no artificial sweetening, and that you do not serve more than 120 to 170 ml of it in a day to your child. What are the other ways in which I can encourage my child to eat? A lot of children need stimulation other than that provided at the mealtime. This can be offered in the form of stories based on fruits and vegetables, showing them pictures of different foods and talking to them about the benefits of consuming a particular food, even if they do not comprehend what you are saying. Should I put cereal in my baby’s milk bottle? No. Putting cereal in the baby’s milk bottle will not enable them to learn the difference between solid and liquid foods. Feeding them seated and from a bowl/plate and a spoon, just like adults do, helps them learn about taking bites of food, moving it around in their mouth for either chewing or swallowing, rest between bites and the sensation of having had their fill. All these things help the babies develop healthy eating habits. How soon should I introduce new foods to the baby? You should wait for at least five to six days between introducing new foods to your baby. This allows you to watch out for allergic reactions to any food and also gives the baby time to get used to the flavor and feel of the new food. My baby appears to be constipated since I introduced solid foods? What should I do? Now that your baby is eating solid foods, they are getting more fiber than what they were used to. To help move the fiber around and digest it, they also need more water. Further, foods like cereal and fruits like bananas cause constipation. So to avoid this, it is important to introduce children to water at this stage. Use boiled water to minimize the chances of water-borne infections. If your pediatrician has still not given you a green flag for water, then ask if you can use diluted pear or any other juice to change the stool’s consistency. How can I ascertain that my child is allergic to some kind of food? If you notice that your baby vomits, has loose motions and stomach ache, develops a rash or swollen lips and eyes, or has any other adverse reaction or changes that you have not noticed before, then they might be having an allergic reaction. However, irritation around the anus does not mean that the baby has an allergic reaction to a food. Another good indication of an allergic reaction would be the stool. If the stool has mucus, is loose and watery, then it means that their intestinal tract is getting irritated. Try removing the latest introduced food to improve symptoms. If there is no symptomatic relief, then you must visit a doctor. Will my baby’s stool change once I introduce them to solid foods? Yes. Your baby’s stool will change once you introduce them to solid foods. It would become firmer and would have an odour. As some foods are hard to digest, you might see them as it is in the diaper. These would include things like peas, corn and tomato peels. What are the other things that I should keep in mind when feeding my child solid food? Wash your baby’s and your hands every time before a meal. Check the temperature of the food before you feed it to them. Ensure that you wash your baby’s hand, only when the food has cooled down enough to be fed to the child. Making the baby wait after building the anticipation is too much for them. The baby is going to push the food around, creating a mess of it. Be prepared for this and don’t fret as this is the natural process of learning to eat. Should solid food replace breast or formula milk? Not at all. Solid foods at six months are not meant to replace breast or formula milk but only complement it. It is the first step in introducing them to new textures and getting them used to experimenting, exploring and building on new experiences. Breast or formula milk remains the baby’s primary source of nutrition till about the end of the first year. Should I breast or formula feed before or after the solid food meal? This depends on the goal of breast and formula feeding. Usually, in the first year, the goal is to supplement breast or formula milk with solid food. In this condition, it is important to feed the child breast or formula milk an hour before the solid intake. This way ensures that the primary source of nutrition is the breast or formula milk and that the mother’s production of breast milk does not recede. Understand that the amount of breast or formula milk ideally remains the same and the increasing appetite of the child is satiated with the help of solid food on top of the breast or formula milk. How can I tell when the baby is full? Babies have their own way of communicating that they are full. They may turn their head away, bat at the spoon, refuse to open their mouth, is more interested in throwing away the spoon and the food as a way to play with it, or leans back in their chair. Look for the cues and you will soon understand their language and do things accordingly.
7 signs to show that your child loves you
We love them endlessly, and we constantly tell them that as well. However, most of our little ones haven’t mastered the art of speech yet. But, they do tell us they love us in different ways given below: 1. She stares into your eyes: Newborns love to look at faces, and yours is her favorite. That soulful gaze is a survival instinct designed to attract love and attention from a caregiver. It's also the beginning of her love for you – she's realizing just how important you are in her life. 2. She recognizes your smell: Given the choice between a dozen fragrant roses and your sweaty, milk-stained T-shirt, your baby will go for the shirt every time. "Even a 1-week-old will turn his head toward a breast pad soaked with his mother's milk. According to experts, when it comes to your newborn, nothing smells sweeter than you. 3. She smiles at you: The first time your baby gives you a true, fabulous grin is a magical moment. It's her way of saying "I love you." 4. She wants you around: About halfway through your baby's first year, you'll notice that she's not happy with your absence. She may scrunch up her face or cry when you step out of the room, and she'll smile upon your return which is a sign of her growing attachment. 5. She shares your interests: Whether you are involved in dusting the home or washing the clothes, if you scrutinise it, your baby will do the same. Called mutual attention, this behavior can start when your baby is just a few months old, but it's more pronounced at 9 to 12 months. "It's a sign that your child is engaged with you and values what you're paying attention to. 6. She uses you as a shield: Don't be surprised if your baby buries her head in your chest when someone new appears on the scene. "Stranger anxiety" is a normal phase, and turning to you for protection means your baby loves you and trusts you to keep her safe. 7. She turns to you for rescue: You're walking through the park when a big dog runs up to your toddler. She raises her arms for you to pick her up and hold her close. She trusts you to help her, and that's a way of showing love. Content source Featured image source