Friday, March 31, 2006

Day 39 - The Difference Between Mom and Dad

Today's Tip - Sometimes your baby will need his Mom instead of Dad, and vice versa.

Newborns are very intelligent when it comes to differentiating between his mother and father. If you were active and moving around alot during your pregnancy, the baby will associate his mother with activity and moving around. If the father read at bedtime to the baby every night, he'll associate him with relaxing and sleep.

The baby will prefer a different parent at different times. If food and a clean diaper don't make him stop fussing, try handing him off to a partner to see if he's just craving a different person.

, ,

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Day 38 - The Most Disgusting Snack Possible

Today's Tip - Always throw dirty diapers in a sealed garbage container if you have a dog.

Your pet will eat them. Ours tore through five diapers we had in a trash bag we had set out, ready to go to the curb. Absoutely disgusting. Last night the dog was up three times pukinng, and her bowel movements this morning looked extra painful. We're lucky that something worse didn't happen.

I don't know what it is with dogs and other feces, but they seem to love them. Diapers don't digest well, so keep them in a hard garbage can until they go to the curb. Your dog will thank you.

, ,

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Day 37 - More College Savings Tips

Today's Tip - Sign up for uPromise before your baby is even born

Free money is an excellent thing. If you sign up for uPromise, you get exactly that. Basically, it works like a cash back program on your credit card. You make purchases, and then those companies kick back a percentage of the price you paid into your uPromise account. Just put in your credit card, grocery cards and sign up for the Citi uPromise card on the site. Do all your online shopping there. Family and friends can get in on the act. Little by little, over a twenty year period, it'll add up.

It's easy, you only have to sign up once. And you just have to keep using your credit card and grocery cards normally for it to work. They've also got some nice options for investing what you save on uPromise into a 529 plan.

, ,

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Day 36 - When good milk goes bad

Today's tip - Breast milk will last for up to 4 hours at room temperature

If you're pumping, or if you need a little extra supply, or if you're headed out on a trip, knowing how long a bottle can sit at room temperature is important. A safe time frame is usually four hours, and once milk is warmed up it can be refrozen or refridgerated once, as long as it's not sitting out for an extended period of time.

Here are some other important breast milk time expiration periods

, ,

Monday, March 27, 2006

Day 35 - Sit down, stand up, lie down

Today's Tip - Change your baby's position often to promote physical development

Just like learning math or the alphabet, your infant needs to practice things like sitting down, standing up and crawling to master them. If he stays wrapped up all day, he'll probably be slow to pick up the necessary gross motor skills. Try to spend twenty minutes each day in the different positions with supervised play time and fun music.

, ,

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Day 34 - Swaddle for better, longer sleep

Today's Tip - Swaddle your infant to help him sleep through the night

If your baby keeps waking himself up when he startles in his sleep, or if he fusses when he's out of your arms, try swaddling him in a thin blanket. It'll keep him feeling secure in his crib and will make it easier for you to keep him in a proper position to prevent SIDS.

However, overbundling can cause overheating, so make sure the blanket is thin, his head isn't covered, the room isn't too hot, and never place a swaddled baby to sleep on his stomach.

Read more about SIDS

, ,

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Day 33 - Imitate Sounds to Promote Language

Today's Tip - Imitate the sounds and faces your baby makes to encourage learning

Even though you might feel silly making oohs and ahhs back to your infant when he talks, you're actually flattering him. By encouraging communication through imitation, you help your baby vocalize and practice at making the sounds he needs once he starts gibbering in words. He'll learn to enjoy going back and forth with promises on whether or not it'll help when he's fifteen and won't tell you how his day at school went.

, ,

Friday, March 24, 2006

Day 32 - Mom stays home all day, Dad goes out to play

Today's tip - Make sure both of you are able to go out every once and awhile.

Hasn't happened to us yet, but I've heard plenty of warnings from other first time dads. All their wives, at one point, got a little hot under the collar at the fact that it was very easy for their husbands to go out and have a good time, while they were tied down at home. So dads, make sure you're wife can have a girls's night out. My wife hasn't taken one yet, but she knows the offer is always there, no matter what. It seems to make it easier on our relationship when I want to head to the bar or catch a movie, since she knows I'd do the same for her in a heartbeat.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Day 31 - Bow-legged baby

Today's Tip - Don't worry too much if your newborn is bowlegged early on.

My wife and I were worried when we noticed our son's legs had a definite curve to them, as if he'd been riding a horse while he was in the womb. Turns out that's fairly normal early on. Once he begins using his legs it should correct itself, so we're not worried for the time being.

If time goes by and your baby still looks like he's walking with legs bowed out, talk to your pediatrician.

, ,

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Day 30 - Cluster Feeding

Today's Tip - Don't be alarmed at your baby's wacky feeding schedule

When they're young, infants can be all over the place with their feeding amounts. One time they'll go for seven ounces, another time they'll go for one. It's called "cluster feeding." Usually a big feeding is followed by a long nap. So if it happens right before bedtime, rejoice and enjoy a nice long snooze yourself.

, ,

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Day 29 - Co-Sleeping - A Short Term Solution

Today's Tip - Start weaning your newborn into their own room and crib once they sleep through the night

It seems so much easier to keep your baby close at all times, and to bring them into bed with you to cuddle when they just won't go to sleep on their own. It'll make it ten times harder later on when you want them to break the habit and finally move out of your space. Co-sleeping and keeping your infant in your bedroom is great when they need hourly attention, but once they start staying down for the whole night, it's time to train them to sleep on their own.

Here's a good article on getting your newborn to sleep

, ,

Monday, March 20, 2006

Day 28 - It's Good to be Dim

Today's tip - A dimmer switch or lamp in the baby's room is great for establishing routine

Have it bright when you want him up and playing. Have it dim when its time to relax and go to bed. Being able to control the light level in the room has been pretty helpful for us. Sometimes before I even begin rocking him, all I have to do is turn down the lights and my newborn already has heavy eyelids. Then, when he finally grows up and moves out, you can use the dimmer switch for mood lighting. Though it is quite a ways off.

, , ,

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Day 27 - Go Easy on Yourself

Today's Tip - Do chores when they're small and manageable, but don't beat yourself up if things slip

When I was a kid, my mom did laundry nearly every day. I didn't understand it until I had my own baby. Between his laundry, our laundry, the dishes, the dog hair and the litter box, we've got our hands full. The trick is to take five minutes here, five minutes there every day to keep things managable. That way you don't have a littany of chores to do, which can feel overwhelming.

That being said, if things slip, don't feel bad. Rather, take a hot bath, relax for an hour, or just close your eyes. (If your infant needs constant attention or won't nap, have someone else give you a break). It'll help you cope and leave you feeling a little refreshed and ready to tackle the chores.

, ,

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Day 26 - Tie up your loose ends

Today's Tip - When breastfeeding, keep your hair tied back and necklaces off

THis tip comes from my wife, who's got tired of constantly pulling her hair back from her face and of having our son grabbing onto her necklaces. Sometimes her hair would fall down in his face and he'd try to root in the direction of her hair, which only complicates feeding time.


Friday, March 17, 2006

Day 25 - Never to early to think about college

Today's Tip - Set up a fund for your child as early as possible

Even if junior doesn't head off to be the big man on campus, it'd still be nice to have money around for his wedding, first house, graduation, etc. Or, if he opts to not go to college, toss the money in a Roth IRA and get his retirement well on its way. Or, buy yourself a boat!

There are many financial choices out there, and if you're new to investing, don't hesitate to talk to an advisor to get a feel for your options. If you pick a fund with stable, steady growth, the earlier you start, the better. The interest you earn will begin to compound itself, and the benefits of compounding only grow over time. Check out this article at MSN Money

, , ,

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Day 24 - A Burp an Ounce

Today's Tip - Burp your baby for every ounce he eats, or when you switch breasts.

Infants don't like to be filled with air, and they can get pretty fussy when they are. That's why its a good idea to burp your baby every ounce if you're bottle feeding, or when you switch breasts if you're breastfeeding. You'll keep the air from building up inside them, and keep them more comfortable. And a comfortable baby is a happy baby.

, , ,

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Day 23 - Music Soothes the Savage Baby

Today's Tip - Music, lights, massage and other stimulus can help calm your baby down.

It's bound to happen. Our first happened today...our baby had a fit of crying that food, diaper change and comfort couldn't fix. He went on and on and on, and finally I turned on some of Count Basic, followed by The Postal Service, and he calmed down. In talking to a couple other parents today, it sounds like most babies have fits like this, so be forewarned, and be sure to have a full arsenal of infant calming techniques like music or massage to battle the inconsolable cry.


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Day 22 - Gifts, gifts and more gifts!

Today's Tip - It's OK to donate or sell the shower gifts you won't use.

There's no sense in keeping the twenty stuffed animals or nine blankets you received between the shower and the birth of your infant. A newborn can't sleep with anything in the crib anyway because of the danger of SIDs, so you may as well just keep a handful of the multiples you have. There are always worthy charities like the Salvation Army or United Way that will take donations, but if you're looking to make a buck, there are plenty of buyers out there on ebay.

, ,

Monday, March 13, 2006

Day 21 - How much to feed your baby

Today's Tip - Feed your baby an ounce an hour as a general rule of thumb

Babies don't usually overeat, so if you're worried about him getting too much, its probably a fear you can put to rest. If your baby is eating less and not gaining weight, you should definitely contact your pediatrician. Sometimes your baby will eat one ounce every three hours, and other times he'll down seven ounces at a feeding. Be in tune with your infant and give him what he needs - if there's a problem with the amount he'll let you know by demanding more with a cry or demanding you stop by refusing to suck.

, ,

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Day 20 - Let your baby call the shots

Today's Tip - Base feedings, sleep and diaper changes around baby's schedule, not yours (in the beginning)

While there are plenty of rules and regulations on when you should feed your infant, when he should sleep, etc., there's no better indicator of what he needs, when he needs it, than him. In the beginning, forcing him to go hours at night between feedings is just going to stress him, and you out.

So for the first month or so, set a loose routine of feeding every 2-3 hours, diaper changes whenever he wants, and do your nightly bedtime routine, but understand that it can and will fluctuate. By setting a loose routine, you'll be laying the foundation for when it becomes more solidified later. By being flexible, your baby comes to know he can rely on you and you'll have to deal with less hour long crying sessions because you're a slave to the schedule.

, ,

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Day 19 - What temperature is right for my baby?

Today's Tip - Your infant should be comfortable at 68F in one layer of clothing.

We were afraid our baby would be cold in our house, so we dressed him up in warm jumpers, almost as if he were going outside. Turns out, it's unecessary. A newborn is just as comfortable as you are in one layer of clothing at 68F, so dress him accordingly. Otherwise he may sweat, overheat or get dehydrated. Save the snowsuits and warm fuzzy hats and mittens for trips outside into the snow.


Friday, March 10, 2006

Day 18 - Pet Jealousy

Today's Tip - If you have a pet, watch them and play with them.

Our dog couldn't have reacted better when we brought our newborn home. She's motherly, protective, and very gentle around the baby. Even so, she's extremely needy and attention starved, and whenever we leave her home alone now she chews up something different - dirty diapers (gross), bottles, jumpers, paper, etc.

We have to send her into her crate whenever we leave, and I'm sure to watch her carefully around the baby. Even the most well behaved pet can do something out of character. Some things you can do to lessen the effects of jealousy when you bring home a child to a pet include:
- Play with your pet first when you come home
- Interact with your pet while you're attending to your infant
- Encourage pet and child play, but supervise it. Praise the pet frequently


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Day 17 - It's Bath Time!

Today's Tip - Bathe your infant once every two days until they start crawling.

Before babies start moving around, they really can't get that dirty. They'll still sweat, come in contact with dirt on you and on the floor during tummy time. A bath every other day should be sufficient, and be sure to keep their bottoms clean every time you change a diaper.

To bathe your child, start with the eyes, wiping away from the nose with clean sections of a washcloth, no soap. Then, wipe the face and outside of the ears. The insides should clean themselves naturally. Soap up his scalp, and then move down to the torso, neck, arms and hands. Be sure to tilt his head back, get under his armpits, behind his ears and in all the little folds. Wash his back, then legs. Then, soap up his bottom and front, and rinse him off.

Don't worry if he seems to hate his bath. Some babies do, and some infants love it from the beginning.


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Day 16 - Capture Everything

Today's Tip - Take all the pictures and video you can.

Sometimes you might think you're going to wear out the lens in your digital camera, or that you'll run out of tape for your camcorder. Don't. It may seem like you'll never forget it now, but three or four years down the road, you might have completely forgotten how your baby used that blanket as a cape, or how he and the dog would lie on their backs and stare at each other for hours. Get it all, and then when they move off to go to college, you'll be wishing you had more than the thousands of pictures and days of video footage.

, ,

Day 15 - Keep it Clean

Today's Tip - Don't just rinse bottles, pacifiers, toys and hands. Wash them.

It may look clean, but your infant's immune system says otherwise. While they're developing, be especially careful with things that go in their mouth. Either boil water or throw things in the dishwasher if they hit the ground or come in contact with a pet. If people are going to be handling your baby, make sure they aren't sick, and ask them to wash their hands. It's always better to be safe than sorry.

, ,

Monday, March 06, 2006

Day 14 - Back to Work

Today's Tip - Prepare for your return to the work force

Whether you're male or female, going back to work after your infant is born is tough. You'll both probably go through some seperation anxiety, and you don't need to feel like a bad employee if you call home or call your day care to make sure everything is OK. Once your baby is old enough to know you're leaving him, make sure he knows your coming back. Focus on the fun he'll have at day care or at home, not the fact that you'll be apart. Reassure him that you'll be back to pick him up, and don't get into the habit of long goodbyes. Pretty soon he'll assimilate to his day care providers and the other kids, and you'll only need to check in once or twice to make sure all is well.

, ,

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Day 13 - Tummy Time

Today's Tip - Give your baby plenty of tummy time as soon as the cord stump falls off

Finally, the cord stump is gone, the cirumsion has healed...your baby is ready to start crawling! Maybe not yet, but daily tummy time is essential to developing your infant's motor skills. With SIDS looming large on everyone's mind, babies won't get any time on their stomach unless you supervise it. So when their on their bellies, watch them. Play with them. Make learning to hold their head up a fun time. Don't worry if they struggle or don't seem to get it. Try try again. And, after all, if they never try something, how will they learn?

, ,

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Day 12 - The Cord Stump - Revisted

Today's Tip - Don't cut or pull the cord stump matter what!

Congratulations! Your infants cord stump just fell off. Scrapbook it and save it for when he's 18.

But before that, make sure you don't preempt the moment by pulling the stump off, no matter how ready you think it is. Our baby's stump was hanging by the thread of all threads today, but we still didn't cut or pull it off because we didn't want to risk infection or a blood flow we couldn't handle. Check out my previous post on cord stump care

If this happens to you, clean your child's belly button with rubbing alcohol, and then put him in a shirt that let's the stump, belly button and connecting thread dry. It should fall off in a day. If it hangs for more than two weeks, or if it's attached past 6 weeks, you should call your pediatrician.

, ,

Friday, March 03, 2006

Day 11 - "You" Time

Today's Tip - Make time for yourself

Do whatever you need to do and maintain your sanity. Take a nap, read a book, watch a movie, go out with friends - do whatever relaxes you. You're not a bad parent for wanting time to yourself. You're human. And if every second of every day is focused on your child, you'll find yourself burned out and bitter.

I make sure to give my spouse the opportunity to take a couple hours off each day, and she has no problem watching our son if I need to get out of the house for a bit. It's made being new parents easier, and we're happier parents for it.


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Day 10 - Day Care

Today's Tip - Make your plans for child care as early as possible

If you plan on sending your child to some form of day care, you should figure out the specifics early on so that you don't find yourself in a bind later. Some child care facilities won't take infants, some will fill up and not have openings, and the one you want may cost more than you budgeted for. Look into all these things before you even have the baby and you'll be well prepared to go back to work when you want, and on your terms.

Questions parents should ask when choosing child care -
-Late pick-up/drop-off policy
-Are parents allowed to visit during the day
-Are they sensitive to breastfeeding parents
-What holidays are they closed? Do they have alternative arrangements for those days
-What's their policy on sick children
-How are children grouped? By age?
-Is diversity encouraged?
-Are developmental and social needs looked after?
-How many children per caregiver?
-Are they licensed child care providers?
-Are they sensitive to seperation anxiety of children and parents?

, , ,

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Day 9 - A little pick-me-up

Today's Tip - Pick up your newborn and comfort him when he begins to cry

When your baby is so young, crying is the only way for him to tell you what he needs. Since it's impossible to spoil an infant, listen to your inborn parenting skills and pick him up to comfort him right when he begins crying. I read in What to Expect the First Year that a child comforted more in the early stages in more likely to be happy around the 3rd or 4th month.

If your child gets colic or as he gets older, letting him cry out his troubles is encouraged.

, ,