Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Day 8 - The Cord Stump

Todays Tip - Clean your baby's cord stump twice a day with rubbing alcohol

It's black. It's ugly. You hate to touch it. But first time parents have to get over their squeamishness to take care of it correctly. Keep it dry. Keep it uncovered. Don't bathe your baby in standing water, and limit tummy time until it falls off, which should be after a week or two. Don't be afraid to rub the alcohol around the area where cord stump meets skin, if your baby cries its more than likely from the cool sting of the rubbing alocohol.

Warning signs of an infected cord stump include yellow or green pus around the base of the cord stump, red, irritated belly button skin, an odor coming off the cord stump. If any of these occur, call your pediatrician or hospital immediately. Infections can get really nasty, really fast. You may notice some reddish brown pus in his diaper around the time it is ready to fall off. As long as its not excessive, you don't need to rush to the hospital. Just place a call to your pediatrician or hospital to make sure and for your own peace of mind.

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Monday, February 27, 2006

Day 7 - Switching Baby Formula

Today's Tip - It's OK to switch brands of baby formula, not type

In the months leading up to the birth of your first baby, you probably received a dearth of formula samples and coupons. The hospital probably started him on one, and even if you're breastfeeding, you'll probably want to supplement breast milk with formula. Does it mean you have to stick to one brand and throw out all the other freebies you've gotten?

The answer is no. As long as the formula type (milk-based, iron fortified or soy) stays the same, you should be able to switch freely between Enfamil or Similac as long as your baby doesn't mind switching tastes. If you've got your young one on a special diet, always check with your pediatrician before you make any changes to their diet.


Sunday, February 26, 2006

Day 6 - Let's Talk

Today's Tip - Talk to your baby

Even though you might feel ridiculous, start talking to your baby as soon as he comes out of the womb. Even though they can't talk back, the sound of your voice becomes another tool in your bag of tricks to calm and reassure your baby when he's upset. I also found it therapeutic for my wife and I to keep ourselves calm and focused on hearing a sound other than his crying. And, when he gets older and starts to learn language, you'll already be well on your way in teaching him words and sounds. If they never hear you speak, how can you expect them to learn?

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Saturday, February 25, 2006

Day 5 - Teamwork

Today's Tip - Raising a child is a team effort

Mothers and fathers working together form a formiddable diaper-changing, feeding team. It's important to discuss expectations and to clearly communicate what you want to each other, and understand there will be miscommunications and agreements. At the end of the day, what's most important is that you help each other during this critical time with support and love. Daily tasks will become easier and go quicker, you'll be less stressed and you'll have more and more time to focus on things that aren't baby related...which you will have to do at some point to maintain your sanity and finances.

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Day 4 - Don't stress

Today's Tip - Learn how to deal with "the cry"

All babies cry. They cry often, they cry loud and frantically. The more used to it you become, the easier time you'll have helping him out, and it'll do wonders for your stress level. Just realize that its just their method of communicating, them not crying would be like you or I not saying a word all day long. At this stage, all they need is food, clean diapers, sleep and love. Enjoy being able to fix them up so easily while you can, before they come to you asking what to do about the bully at school. A relaxed set of parents makes for a relaxed baby at home.

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Day 3 - Take advantage of help

Today's tip - Ask every question that pops into your head

Use the hospital. It's a great resource for new parents, and our nurses at Oakwood Dearborn Hospital were more than we ever could have asked or hoped for. Enjoy having experts at your beck and call. Take the classes they offer. Ask nurses whatever you want. Be lazy and enjoy getting to know your baby. Prepare yourself as much as possible for when you head home.


Day 2 - Trouble in Paradise

Today's Tip - Don't create early problems for yourself (or at least know you're doing it)

The first few days can be the most difficult, but also the most rewarding. You have all day to get to know your baby, and you'll be suprised how quickly you learn what he likes and doesn't like. When you make decisions about whether or not to room-in at the hospital, do them with open eyes.

Rooming-in is keeping your baby in your room the whole time. We sent ours to the nursery at night even though we were breastfeeding so that we could recover. It was great and put us in fabulous spirits, but it came at a price. It was a lot harder to teach him to breastfeed, and once we got him home, he was more active at night and slept during the day. If you know the pros and cons of the decision, it'll be easier to deal with the consequences when they come.

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Day 1 - Trust, Trials and the Time of Your Life

Today's Tip - Have an OB that you like, trust and knows your wishes.

Even though its common sense to trust your doctor, its even more important to like them and to know without a doubt that they're looking out for your best interests. My wife and I chose an OB/GYN with 5 doctors, and for pregnancies they all rotated both office visits and hospital coverage. Of course, we had two favorites, one we disliked, and two we didn't know that well.

When the time came to suggest a C-section to my wife after 13 hours of fruitless labor, we were both relieved that our favorite doctor was on to talk us through it. Had it been one we didn't like or didn't know that well, we probably would have fought the C-section. But we trusted him, and even though we didn't like it, we knew he would only suggest it in our best interests. Turns out it was the right call, our baby was very big, 10lbs, 23.5", he was sideways in my normally 114 pound wife and he had the cord wrapped around his neck.

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