Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Day 100 - Big Noise

Today's Tip - Pay attention to the volume of your voice when you're holding your baby

If you carry your baby upright on your shoulder, you've got to worry about more than supporting his neck. Chances are, your mouth is right by his ear, so essentially everything you say is right in his ear. So if you yell at the dog, the other kids, your spouse (not recommended) you could do some serious damage to his tender eardrums. Not to mention you might scare the crap out of him.

Even talking in a raised voice or a normal voice could be harmful depending on how you hold him or how loud your voice is. I try to turn as far away from his head as possible when I'm speaking, and if I need to yell at the dog, I switch positions first. The dog loves it because she gets away with murder.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Day 99 - Gassy Baby

Today's Tip - If your baby is gassy all the time, try altering your diet if he's breastfed, or talk to your pediatrician if he eats formula

All babies have gas, there's just no way around it. But if you notice your baby belching or passing gas constantly or waking themselves out of naps, it could be something in their diet. Breastfed babies might have an issue with something in mom's diet. Try eliminating one thing every few days to see if you can find the offensive food. Dairy, citrus fruits and juices, nuts, cabbage, onions, and broccoli are likely culprits.

If your baby is formula fed, they could have a problem with cow's milk or soy, depending on what you've got them eating. Talk to your pediatrician about what formula is right for your infant.

You should also call your pediatrician if the gas continues past their first birthday, or if there's vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, bloody stools, or rash along with the gas. They could be symptoms of serious intestinal problems.

In the meantime, the most likely solution is to let it pass, burp your baby to lessen the air bubbles in their stomach, and hold them on their stomach if they seem uncomfortable.

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Monday, May 29, 2006

Day 98 - Heat Wave

Today's Tip - Keep your house around 72 at night during the summer to keep your baby from overheating

Michigan summers are hot and sticky...we were reminded of this over Memorial Day weekend when temps got up into the 90s. Since our house has plaster walls, lots of windows on the west side and no air conditioning, it gets pretty toasty upstairs in the evening, and its pretty much impossible to cool it off.

Not good nes for the baby. Overheating is one of the probable causes of SIDS, so we were faced with a dillema. Here are some ideas for keeping your kid cool in a hot house.

  • Set the A/C for 72F. (For those of us lucky enough to have it)
  • Have a fan circulate the air in the baby's room
  • Let your baby sleep in just his diaper
  • Move the crib to a cooler room in the house, like the basement
  • Stay at a friends with air conditioning
  • Don't use any blankets
  • Use sheets made of a thin, flame retardant material

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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Day 97 - Does this size diaper fit

Today's Tip - Keep a handle on what size diapers your baby should be in...or face the consequences

Our son seems to be growing way too fast for us to keep up. How do we know? Once he gets too big for his diapers all his bowel movements seem to find a way to leak out the sides and on to us. It'd be nice if we could rely on the pediatrician visits to montitor his weight, but alas, we've got to be more vigilant.

The easiest way to see how much your baby weighs is to step on a scale with him, note the weight and then weigh yourself without him. Then take a look at the diaper package and see if he's too big or two small for it. And, in our case, another big indicator he needs to jump up in size is leaky bowel movements or a diaper that seems to fit awkwardly when you put it on.

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

Day 96 - Burning Up a Fever

Today's Tip - If your baby has a fever, onitor his under arm temp once every hour or so

Our son had his first fever in the middle of the night last night. It came after his first week in day care...big surprise. When I took his temp it was 99.6, just abit above normal. I called the registered nurse at the children's hospital and she told me not to give him children's tylenol, but to strip him down to a t-shirt and a diaper, keep the house around 72 and don't put a blanket on him. She also told us to keep an eye on his under-arm temperature about once an hour and to make sure it didn't break 101 F. If he did, a trip to the pediatrician might be necessary at his young age of 3 months.

We did that, kept him in light clothing today and monitored his temp once an hour. He never got above a 100 F and tonight he was back in the 98 degree range.

If you do give your baby children's tylenol, call a registered nurse or your pediatrician to get the correct dosage if your baby is under 2 years old. They base the dosage on weight.

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Friday, May 26, 2006

Day 95 - Say My Name

Today's Tip - Say your baby's name rather than "you" when you talk to him

Baby's start to develop a sense of self around 4-8 months, and chances are they'll start to recognize their own name and respond to it before they begin to understand the concept of "you". So whenever you're doing your running commentary or talking with your baby (and you should be doing it lots by this point) try to inject their name in the conversation as much as possible. You may feel silly doing it, but chances are you'll be helping his development.

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Day 94 - Shed those pounds

Today's Tip - Lose that extra baby weight by making small, manageable lifestyle changes

One of the big things my wife wanted to do after she had our baby was to get back to her original weight. That can be extremely tough, since you can't really go back to the lifestyle you had pre-baby. There's more sitting and holding the baby. You're more likely to be worn out and not feel like exercising. Maybe you're eating easier, higher fat meals because you have less time to cook.

It seems that the best way to get rid of those extra pounds is to do a few little things to make the weight loss manageable rather than getting discouraged that you can't spend an hour or two at the gym three times a week.

Here are some quick tips to help you get back to looking svelte:

  • Cut back on calories. Drink one less soda. Say no to one dessert. Go for a salad instead of a burger. Make some healthier tweaks to your diet without completely changing the way you eat

  • Park farther away whenever you can

  • Take the baby out for a walk. He'll love being outside and you'll burn calories pushing that cute baby weight around

  • Eat breakfast. Eating smaller meals more often helps your metabolism

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator

  • Breastfeed. It burns up to 500 calories

  • Switch to whole wheats

  • Join an exercise class you can do with your baby like Mommy and Me Yoga

  • I watch the baby twice a week so my wife can play soccer. If you've got a spouse who'll help you, you're already ahead of the game.
  • Eat more fruits and veggies
  • Buy a cheap pedometer and walk an extra 1,000 steps a day

Pick a few small things you can do and stick to them. As your lifestyle changes, add a few more once they become second nature. Before you know it, you'll have lost a few pounds, and you'll probably be healthier too.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Day 93 - Marked at Birth

Today's Tip - Don't freak out if your baby has a birthmark, they don't hurt and may go away later in life

My son was born with a huge birthmark on his right calf. And when I say huge, I mean it takes up a good 50% of his lower leg. It looks a like he fell off a bike and skidded his skin across some pavement. People who have held him and then noticed the mark afterword have exclaimed "Oh my gosh! What did I do to hurt him!"

The type my son has is a strawberry hemangioma. It's bright red and sticks out of the skin, which is where it gets the strawberry in its name from. Sometimes the birthmark will vanish by the time the child is 5 years old. Nearly all of them will disappear after the nine year mark.

There are other types of hemangiomas, which make up a vast majority of birthmarks.

Cavernous - This means the mark is deep in the skin and it has more of a bluish-red color. A cavernous hemangioma doesn't usually go away on its own.

Regular hemangioma - It's a cluster of blood vessells that cause the skin to look red. The most common of these is found on the back of the neck. I know a few people that have these still as adults, but they're usually hidden behind hair and are completely invisible.

Port-wine stain - these are usually deep maroon or purple and are on the outer level of skin. They don't usually go away on their own, but they can be taken care of with surgery.

All birthmarks are cosmetic features and aren't bad things at all. I think they give people character. They don't hurt, and you might want to leave it up to the child to decide if he wants his birthmark removed when he's older.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Day 92 - Little help here

Today's Tip - When your baby is attempting to roll over, give them a little help

When babies are discovering new things they can do, a lot of the time they're alllllmost there, and you just want to give them that extra nudge to help. Don't feel bad at all about doing it. You're actually showing them what its like to have success, and it'll make it easier for them to figure out how to tuck that arm underneath or push off extra hard with their foot.

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Monday, May 22, 2006

Day 91 - Day Care

Today's Tip - Have a day care diaper bag and a "other times" diaper bag

It's just like packing an overnight bag for your baby. Except for the fact that you're probably on a tight schedule in the mornings, and you can't afford to be rushed when you're trying to get yourself, your baby and their bag ready to head out for the day.

If you can, pack the bag the night before. It's one less thing you have to worry about. My wife and I have a diaper bag that goes with him to daycare and one that we use for other trips out of the house or if we're giving him to a babysitter. It makes it easier for us to know what to stock back up and gives us a spare if were coming back from day care and need to head right back out.

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Day 90 - Can you do this?

Today's Tip - Track your baby's milestones to make sure they're developing correctly

Its important to make sure that your infant doesn't have any developmental problems, but if he or she seems slow in one area, don't worry about it too much unless they're way behind or your pediatrician seems concerned. Everyone loves to compare their accomplishments to others, but the fact is some babies are fast in verbal development, but slow in the physical department, or vice versa. If you're worried about it, ask your pediatrician. At the end of the third month, your infant should be able to:

  • Lift their head up 45 degrees

  • Follow an object in an arc about 6 inches above the face past the midline (straight ahead)

Probably will be able to:

  • Squeal in delight

  • Bring both hands together

  • Smile spontaneously

  • Follow an object in an arc 6 inches above the face from one side to theother

They might also be able to hold their head steady, raise their chest when on their stomach, roll over, grasp a rattle, pay attention to a small object, bear some weight on their legs, reach for an object, keep head level with their body when pulled to sitting, turn in the direction of a voice, say a vowel-consonant combination, make a wet razzing sound.

Taken from What to Expect the First Year

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Day 89 - By the Arms

Today's Tip - Once your baby starts to gain control of his neck, gently pick him up from his back without supporting his head

Our son's had pretty decent control of his head from the moment he was born, but he's still come a long way since then. And, since he doesn't really enjoy tummy time that much, we had to find another way to help him strengthen his neck. He loves to stand up, so we started pulling him up from laying down without supporting his head. Gently though, we don't want to yank him around and end up hurting him. It helps strengthen his neck muscles and helps him gain control of that big bald melon of his.

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Friday, May 19, 2006

Day 88 - Switching Sides

Today's Tip - If you're bottle feeding, hold his head with different arms so he sees both sides of your face

While this won't apply if you're breastfeeding, its important for the bonding experience of feeding if your baby gets to see your face from two different angles. Most people have a tendency to favor one arm over the other when bottle feeding, but if you switch him off every time you break to burp him, you'll be doing well.

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Day 87 - A Cry in the Night

Today's Tip - If your baby starts fussing at a wierd time in the night, let it go for a couple minutes and see how it goes.

Our son usually wakes up at 1:30 and 6:00 at night, so when he started fussing at 11:00 p.m. we were a little surprised. I started to warm up some milk, and then he fell back asleep. I'm glad my wife didn't head up to pick him up immediately. We could have provoked something more than just him waking up from a dream or to a noise. Turns out he just worked it out on his own after a couple minutes and went back to his usual routine.

Babies often wake up in the middle of the night and go back into sleep, just like adults do. Most of the time, we don't notice it. Teaching a baby to self-sooth around bedtime and during the night without noise, food and contact is important if you're ever going to be sane, so we were happy that he did it on his own. If you know your baby isn't sick, hungry or in need of a change, its alright to let a cry go on for a little. Let it go for a few minutes, and then if it doesn't get any better, calm them down, reassure them everything is fine, make sure there isn't something else going on, and then try putting them down for another few minutes on their own.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Day 86 - How to Deal with Baby Acne

Today's Tip - Keep your baby's skin moisturized with a mild, unscented lotion like Vaseline or baby lotion to help with baby acne

If you notice little pimples, usually on your baby's face, don't go out and buy tons of clearasil just yet. Most infants usually develop it in the first few months or so and it can come or go without warning. If your baby has sensitive skin, try a special lotion like Lubriderm for just such a case. If it doesn't have any effect, have your pediatrician check it out to make sure it isn't anything more serious.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Day 85 - Enjoy it while you've got it

Today's Tip - Enjoy every moment with your baby, time goes by quick

My wife is starting to work again next week, and the closeness of her start date has made her even more appreciative of the time at home she has with him all day. And last night we looked back at his hospital pictures - already he's grown up and changed quite a bit. Even though some phases might seem tough, enjoy them as much as possible. You'll find yourself wishing for the days when they were completely dependent on you and learning everything for the first time.

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Monday, May 15, 2006

Day 84 - The Big Move

Today's Tip - Make any new sleeping environments as familiar as possible for your baby

Tonight was the big night, our son graduated from sleeping in our room to his own "big boy" crib that my grandfather made for us. Since we had him sleeping in a play yard and the crib mattress was foam, we figured the switch wouldn't be seamless. But tried to keep as much the same so that he didn't revert back to his 4 wakings a night from the 1 he's at now. We made sure to:

  • Swaddle him like we did when he slept in the play yard

  • Use the sleep positioner he slept on in the play yard

  • Moved the white noise maker from our room into his

  • Put his crib in a corner away from light, just like in our room

  • Kept the bedtime routine the same - bath, change into PJs, eat, relax with music and a bedtime story

He woke up once more than usual, which I was pretty happy with. Since babies are such creatures of routine, if you do switch something on them, make sure to keep as much the same as possible. And if you can't figure out what's wrong, ask yourself, "What's different?"

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Day 83 - Happy Mother's Day

Today's Tip - Make the mother in your baby's life special

Make her breakfast. Get her something she really wants. Make a memory. Plan a family picnic. Get a family picture. Have your baby make something unique for his mom. Pamper her. Let her sleep in. Let her go out and have some time to herself. Whatever the mom in your baby's life could need, make sure she gets it. She deserves it.

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Day 82 - Stay seated please

Today's Tip - Sit your baby up to help his stomach muscles

It used to be an old wives tale that sitting a baby up was bad for them, but its actually very good for their muscle development. Our baby likes to sit up after he eats, and if we prop him in the corner of the couch he can focus on a toy in between his legs. He's starting to try to grab for things and that'll help his motor skills too.

We also found the coolest seat in town for a baby. It's called a Bumbo. It's basically a foam seat that makes sure they sit up straight. You just wedge them right in there and (as long as they like it) they won't tip over. You can also use it for a portable high chair so you don't have to lug anything around. It seems to all be one piece too...which spells easy cleaning.

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Day 81 - Imitation

Today's Tip - To get your baby to do something, show him how

My wife and I were reading What to Expect the First Year, and we noticed that our baby should be able to laugh. He smiles tons and is an extremely happy baby, but he doesn't make much noise when it comes to squealing in delight or laughing. Then, we realized that we smile and play with him a lot, but we don't really laugh out loud around him. Which explains why he hasn't yet. We haven't shown him how.

When it comes to learning things he can imitate, he'll copy you exactly. He smiles with his mouth wide open rather than having an ear-to-ear grin, because that's how we end up smiling at him, with out mouths open. If you want him to learn to clap or sign or laugh, do it around him often so that he can pick it up.

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Day 80 - Ride the growth wave

Today's Tip - If your baby starts to eat more and sleep more, let him, it's probably a growth spurt

Every baby goes through periodic growth spurts from birth until adulthood, but early on they seem to be more frequent and are marked by increased apetite for food and sleep. Instead of fighting it, just roll with it. Your baby needs the extra nutrition and rest to gain weight and height.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Day 79 - Low supply

Today's Tip - Ask your doctor about Reglan if your breastmilk supply can't keep up

If you don't seem to be producing enough milk, ask your doctor if Reglan is a good option for you. It's usually used to treat nausea, but it also promotes the flow of breastmilk. It's seemed to help my wife keep up with our giant baby's appetite.

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Day 78 - Follow the leader

Today's Tip - Exercise your baby's eyes as much as his body

Our son is coming along nicely in the physical development department, but he didn't seem to be tracking objects well. It makes sense to give him tummy time and to talk to him for vocal development, why not exercise his eyes too? I started doing that and three weeks later he's following objects like a champ. OK, like a baby.

The best way to go about it is to find an object he's interested in, which usually has bright, contrasting colors and makes noise too. Have him try to follow it side to side and up and down. Repeat until he grows tired of it. It'll be pretty quick in the beginning, but soon you'll find he stays interested and focused longer.

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Monday, May 08, 2006

Day 77 - What's cooler than being cool?

Today's Tip - In addition to making sure milk isn't too hot, make sure milk isn't too cold

My son was having none of it when I tried to feed him a bottle straight from the cooler. I had met my wife at her soccer game, and since there was no microwave in sight and her milk was in a little cooler tote, I foolsihly tried to have him eat milk at a temperature he wasn't used to. After struggling with it for a few minutes, I trekked across two fields and into the public bathroom, where I warmed up the bottle under running water just enough so that he'd eat it.

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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Day 76 - No astringent

Today's Tip - Don't use anything harsh on your baby's skin

Our baby has had baby acne for a while now, so we've been keeping his scalp clean and dry as much as possible to encourage those little bumps to go away. Today, my wife tried putting astringent on the area to open up his pores.

Turned out, it irritated his skin quite a bit, turning it red. So we washed it off and the redness went away after a few minutes.

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Saturday, May 06, 2006

Day 75 - Overnighter

Today's Tip - Leave explicit routine instructions for your babysitter

Otherwise, they won't get followed. We spent our first overnight away from our son today - the second time we've left him with a sitter. Both times, they haven't really followed the bedtime routine, so when we get him the next day his schedule is a little bit off.

Its not a huge deal, but you generally want your baby's schedule messed around with as little as possible. Make a list for your sitter and reassure them that its ok to wake up a baby to feed them, etc. Remember, they aren't used to your infant day in and day out.

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Friday, May 05, 2006

Day 74 - Get support

Today's Tip - Find a group of parents that gets together in your area and check it out

You just might like it. Something like MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) is good because it gives you a support network of people that are going through, or have been through what you are. It'll keep you sane, give you a group of people you can rely on if you need help and it'll get you out of the house once or twice.

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Day 73 - Get your mothers day shopping done early

Today's Tip - Plan ahead for mother's day, and get the first one right

Gift shopping isn't as easy as it used to be. Now that my wife is home and doesn't want me to spend money on her for mother's day (or her birthday, which is a few days before) I have to be careful about when I go look for a gift. Since it's the first mother's day for her, I think its important, and I want it to be a suprise. I suggest you do the same, first time dads.

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Day 72 - Keep a watchful eye

Today's Tip - Always keep a hand on your baby when he's up on the changing table or any elevated surface he could roll off of

This is especially true now that your baby is getting around the age that he's going to start experimenting with rolling over. Infants only need a couple seconds to just pitch themselves right off that changing table, even if it does have raised edges. To be safe, pick him up if you need to go somewhere out of reach, or just keep a steady hand on him at all times.


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Day 71 - Mr. Crankypants

Today's Tip - Try putting your baby down for a nap if he gets upset

When our son used to be tired, he'd usually just drop off to sleep and we wouldn't hear a peep from him for an hour or so. Now, he cries and fusses until we wrap him up and either rock him into a state of being half asleep or if we set him down and he goes to sleep on his own. So if your baby is crying and food, diapers and comfort don't work, try getting him into nap mode.


Monday, May 01, 2006

Day 70 - Drink Up

Today's Tip - Pump out your breast milk if you have more than one alcoholic drink per two hours

Most women look forward to being able to unwind with a glass of wine or go out partying with the girls after they've given birth. But if you're breastfeeding, and you don't allow your body to get rid of the alcohol, it can be harmful for your baby. One generally won't harm him, but don't do it too often without pumping out your supply.

Give your body two hours to get rid of a drink (12 oz beer, 1 oz liquor). So if you have three drinks, pump out your supply for up to six hours.

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