Friday, June 30, 2006

Day 130 - Take the night off

Today’s Tip – Don’t feel bad about taking a night off

I don’t think my wife and I realized how tired we were until we had a full night’s sleep and were actually well rested. My mother-in-law was down for the night, and in true “I’ll go above and beyond to help even though you told me not to” fashion, she woke up and took care of the baby when he cried. Since I’m a deep sleeper, I had no idea, and my wife just thought the baby went back to sleep on his own. She was that quick.

We both woke up the next morning excited because our son had slept through the night for the first time. We were disappointed, but grateful when she told us he had been up a couple times.

You need sleep just as much as your baby does, so don’t feel like you’re not entitled to a full night’s shut eye now and again. If you and your wife alternate feedings, have one person take them all one night. Or if you’ve got a set of parents that love every second they get to spend with their little grandchild (I think everyone does), enlist their help.

Don’t feel like you have to run yourself ragged over treating yourself to a full night’s sleep. No one expects you to do it all while only getting four or five solid hours of shuteye.

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Day 129 - Good Night, and Good Sleep

Today's Tip - Eliminate sleeping crutches to help your baby sleep through the night

By the time your baby is four months old, he should be able to sleep through the night, or at least only wake up for one feeding. If he insists on waking you up every few hours, there may be something wrong with the way you're putting him to sleep.

If you rock, hold or feed him as he nods off, you're actually building in a dependency on doing those things every time he needs to go to sleep. Not a big deal during the day, but if he wakes himself up in the middle of the night all alone, he's going to need those things before he goes back down.

Do everything you can to lay him down awake. Even if it means just waking him up a titch after a feeding so that he'll learn to fall asleep on his own. Stick with it, and you should see results soon.

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Day 128 - Giving medicine

Today's Tip - Squirt liquid medicine from a dropper into the side of your baby's cheek

At this young age, babies can't take medicine out of a spoon that well, and they might not want to, given the disgusting taste. So if you're giving a fever reducer or something that can't be mixed with breastmilk, put the recommended dosage into a dropper, and squirt it into the side of your baby's cheek. It'll be far enough back in their mouth that they'll have to swallow it, but you won't be squirting it directly down the back of their throat, which could cause them to choke or throw up.

If your baby does throw up after you give them medicine, check with your pediatrician to make sure they aren't having an allergic reaction, and to find out if you should give them another dose.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Day 127 - Investing for College 101

Today's Tip - Think about all your options when investing for college

If you're like me, investing for your child's future doesn't just mean socking money away for college. It means money for weddings, for graduations, etc. etc. So I had to look at all the options open to me in the U.S. for investing. So here are some basic tips and info you can use to understand what's available to you and to form a base strategy.

Step 1 - Write down your goals

Knowing where you want to go will help you get there. Do you want money for just college, or for other expenses? Is it important that your child have money if they want to go to school out of state? Do you want your child to have control of the money once their 18?

Step 2 - Investigate the different types of investments

Here are some of the plans available to you and their pros and cons.

  • 529 Plan - Lets money you invest today grow tax free. Once you take it out, however, you have to use it on qualified school expenses (tuition, fees, etc.) or take a 10% or so penalty plus pay taxes. And, depending on your state, you might not be able to use your money at out of state colleges
  • Coverdell (ESA) plans - Lets you invest today and your money grows tax free. While there aren't restrictions on what state, the benefits you get depend on lots of restrictions and what tax bracket you are in. Also, the child gets control of the account once they get to school.
  • Prepaid tuition - Lets you pay for tomorrow's college tuition at today's prices. You'll protect yourself from inflation and get a real deal on college expenses, but once you put in the money, you have to use it at an in-state public college. If you put all your money in this and your child doesn't want to go to a public university in-state, you're stuck.
  • Custodial - Lets you invest on your child's behalf, and the money grows essentially tax-free because it's based on your child's income (they don't have any until 16, when a large portion of your investment growth is done). You can then use the money for whatever you want. You can either give over control of the account when the child turns 18 or 21. (This is what I chose for investing)
  • Regular investing - You invest your money, get to use it for whatever you want, keep control forever, but you pay taxes on your growth. And that can severely hurt your earnings by a third over the long run

Step 3 - Diversify your portfolio

A good portfolio has a mix of international and domestic funds, and a good mix of income, growth and income, growth and aggressive income type funds. The exact mix you have depends on how much time you have left before you'll start withdrawing from the fund.

  • 10+ years to withdrawal - Your portfolio should be more aggressive because you have more time for the large gains to offset any large losses you have by being more risky
  • 5-10 years to withdrawal - Your protfolio should be easily balanced, still risky enough to grow, but it has a stable base that will grow at a steady rate
  • Less than 5 years to withdrawal - Your portfolio should become more conservative and stable as you want the assets you've accumulated to not drastically decrease because the market turns down. Slow, steady growth should be your goal.

Step 4 - Buy the funds

Lastly, choose the funds you want. Depending on your investment saavy, you can do the research and investing yourself. Pick no load funds with a long track record of growth. If you aren't comfortable enough to do it yourself, you can go with a financial advisor you trust. He should take care of most things for you and guide you to good decisions, but there are no guarantees and you will be paying a fee out of the gate, so you'll have less money to work with. It all depends on your comfort level.

Good luck!

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Monday, June 26, 2006

Day 126 - Buy Clothes in Groups

Today's Tip - If you find a great outfit on sale, buy several sizes.

Let's say you are at the store, and you see a cute outfit with a soccer ball on it. It's cheap (in the neighborhood of a buck fifty) made of some nice sturdy cotton so it'll stand up to the urine, poop and vomit trifecta. You snatch it up, only to have your baby outgrow it in a month. By that time, the costs of baby clothes have quadrupled!

A good way to get the most for your money is to pay attention for those great deals. And then, buy out their stock in the next three sizes. That way, you'll have a cheap outfit that's cute for a year or so. Almost like he's wearing big people clothes!

My grandma bought our son the same outfit in a 9M size and a 12M size so we could pick what size fit him better. Both did...we want to hang on to them both! Babies don't get razzed in US Weekly like celebrities do for wearing the same clothes to an event, so feel free to stock up on good deals. And once he gets older, he'll have an outfit for a year or so because he doesn't outgrow it, so I don't see anything wrong with the practice.

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Day 125 - Try, try again

Today's Tip - Keep trying with the solid foods

If my son's reaction to solid foods is any indication, he'd be on a liquid diet from now until the day dentures required him to suck food out of a straw anyway. But the important thing to remember is, you have to teach your baby everything. If he doesn't get that he has to open his mouth to get food, or if he scrunches up his face at rice cereal, keep trying and don't give up easy.

It takes 5-10 tries of introducing a new food to a child before they begin to take to it, and this applies whether its their first solid food or the carrots you give them later on. Just remember to be patient, and check out these tips and have fun with it, even if your baby can't seem to get the hang of it.

You'll be rewarded the first time he opens his mouth and swallows his food without making a sour face. Our son started opening up like a baby bird when we gave him the spoon tonight, but he still seems to be put off by the taste. Maybe he'll like his fruits and veggies better.

And its also important to remember that while its OK to try night after night, don't force the issue if they get fussy. Try feeding them until they start crying or acting annoyed. It won't help to shove the food at them and it'll cause more stress for you and the baby.

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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Day 124 - Ask for Help

Today's Tip - Don't be afraid to ask for help, even from total strangers

Babies don't come with manuals. It'd be a lot easier if they did. There is one nice thing about babies. You probably know at least 50 people who have had one before. Your parents, your grandparents, your boss, the guy you run into every morning when you drop your kid off at day care. They've all gone through what you're going through. Tap them for knowledge. You might as sure beats guessing.

And if you can't bring yourself to get advice from it anonymously. There are links on the right side of this blog to great parenting resources, and you can always turn to everyone's favorite search engine, Google.

There are also online communities like Minti where there are lots of people wading through this experience with lots of knowledge to share. You can be as anonymous as you like, and there's a lot of great information out there on this "internet" thing. Really, I'm surprised this fad has stuck around. ;)

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Friday, June 23, 2006

Day 123 - Solid

Today's Tip - Figure out with your pediatrician if you should introduce solid foods

Well, it seems that my son still has to get a handle on solid food. From the look on his face, you'd think we were feeding him lemon juice. Not to mention most of what we gave him ended up on his face and ours. But it was lots of fun and we got him to take a couple swallows before he'd had enough of sitting is his high chair.

After your baby hits four months old, your pediatrician might encourage you to begin introducing solid foods. It's a decision you should make based on your own research and their advice.

The choice to begin introducing solids isn't necessarily based on age, but on physical and developmental signs. Your infant could be ready if:
  • He has good head control and can sit with support
  • He has doubled his birth weight and weighs at least 13 pounds
  • Is still hungry after 8-10 breastfeedings or drinks 32 oz. a day

These aren't hard and fast rules but merely a guide. Once you've made the decision to start feeding your baby solids, get ready for feeding time to get a lot messier. Infants have to learn how to eat, and they'll probably push food out with their toungue, play around with it in their mouth and reach for the spoon to try and touch the food. Once they get the hang of it, they'll recognize the spoon is coming and open their mouth.

A good food to start off with is rice cereal, since it's one of the most hypoallergenic options out there, and because it mixes well with breastmilk. You can find cereals fortified with iron, fiber, calcium and vitamins, like Gerber's Single Grain Rice Cereal for Baby.

Sit your baby in a highchair and prop them up with some pillows if you need to. Make sure he's sitting up straight right in front of you and facing you so he's less likely to choke. Hold the spoon out in front so he can see it and wait for him to pay attention. Let him touch the food and discover the new sensation. Don't rush things. It's OK to talk and comfort your baby, but don't get all crazy and excited to make him think its play time. Let your baby set the pace and set how much he wants to eat. To start with, try putting the food on his lips so he can use his sucking skills.

Mix the rice cereal with some pumped breastmilk or formula for the first feeding. Do 1 tablespoon with 4 tablespoons of breastmilk. Do this once a day. Then, each day, add another tablespoon to the mix until your mixing 4 tablespoons of cereal and milk together.

Pay attention to your baby after he eats. You want to make sure he's not going to have an allergic reaction. If he gets a rash, diarrhea or vomits, stop feeding him and call your pediatrician.

After 3-5 days of giving him a food has gone by without any allergic reactions, you can introduce another kind of single grain cereal, like barley or oatmeal. And once he's OK with those, move on to multi-grains. And so on and so forth, moving through cereal, vegetables, fruit and meat in that order as time progresses. A good rule of thumb is to allow a month in between introducing a new food type.

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Day 122 - How You Know When You Know

Today's Tip - If you haven't had that "I'm a parent" moment will

Up until now, I hadn't really felt like a dad. Not when I marked down on registration forms that there was a child in my household. Not when people wished me a happy first fathers day. I was beginning to think it would be this gradual thing that sort of came over me after a year or so.

But today was the day that we started our son on solid foods. I found myself at work getting all excited over going to the grocery store, buying some rice cereal and then setting up the video camera to videotape our son's first foray into solid foods. And that's when I realized that I was responsible for nurturing another life. I was looking forward to seeing him grow and accomplishing things in life. The only thing I wanted to do tonight was to make sure I was around to feed my son with my wife. Tonight was the night I finally felt like a father. If it hasn't happened to you yet, don't worry. You'll have your moment.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Day 121 - 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 90 degrees
  • Laugh out loud
  • Follow an object in an arc about 6 inches above the face for 180 degrees (from one side to the other

Probably will be able to:

  • Hold their head steady when upright
  • Raise their chest with the arms on their stomach
  • Roll over (one-way)
  • Hold a rattle held to the backs or tips of fingers
  • Pay attention to a raisin or some other small object
  • Reach for an object
  • Squeal in delight

They might also be able to keep their head level with their body when pulled to a sitting position, turn in the direction of a voice, especially his parents, say ah-goo or some other vowel-consonant combo, make a wet razzing sound, bear some weight on their legs when upright, sit without support, fuss if you take an object away or turn in the direction of any voice.

Taken from What to Expect the First Year

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Day 120 - Bugger off

Today's Tip - Protect your baby from mosquitos with insect repellent

Now that mosquito season is in full force, you'll want to protect your little one from those whiny bloodsucking creatures. They can carry blood-borne diseases like malaria, which isn't that common in the western world, and West Nile Virus, which can be more of a problem.

When you're looking for repellent, its important to note that you can use a repellent with DEET as long as your baby is older than two months. Just don't put it on their hands, head or face. Look for an insect repellent with a DEET concentration of around 10%.

Only put the repellent on exposed areas of skin. Spray it on your hands, then rub it on your baby. Don't apply it on cuts and scrapes, and it's probably a good idea to wash off your baby's skin when you head back inside.

You should always send them outside in light weight clothing that covers as much skin as possible. And try to go for neutral colors, and bright colors and flower prints attract those winged vampires.

If you don't want to put DEET on your kid, there are some non-DEET products out there, like Little Forest Bug Block. Give it a try and see if it works.

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Day 119 - Four Month Vaccination

Today's Tip - Get your baby vaccinated at his four-month appointment

It's nearly time for the four month appointment. Along with checking your babies physical development (height, weight, head circumfrance), ears, throat, eyes, and overall health, your pediatrician should recommend vaccinations for your infant. Your doctor will probably also recommend that your baby get on some type of solid foods over the next couple months.

He should be due for vaccines against:

  • Diptheria

  • Tetanus

  • Pertussis

  • Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib)

  • Polio

  • Pneumococcal Conjugate (PCV7)

While he's getting the shots be sure to stay near, he'll need comforting. Afterwords, you should expect your baby to be more tired and fussy than usual, maybe for a day or two. A fever is also a possibility, but if he gets above 102.5, call your pediatrician. The injection site might also be red and irritated, but if it becomes bumped up, call your pediatrician.

Give your baby infant tylenol before the appointment and it may make the shots easier to take. After the shots, give him the recommended dosage of infant tylenol every four hours if he develops a fever.

DIPHTHERIA - Diphtheria is a very serious disease. It can make a person unable to breathe or cause paralysis (unable to move parts of the body) or heart failure. About one in every 10 people who get diphtheria die from it.

TETANUS - Tetanus (lockjaw) can occur after a cut or wound lets the germ into the body. Tetanus makes the person unable to open his or her mouth or swallow,and causes serious muscle spasms. In the United States, tetanus kills three out of every 10 people who get the disease. Those who survive have long hospital stays.

PERTUSSIS - Pertussis (whooping cough) may be mild or serious and is easily passed from person to person. Pertussis can cause spells of coughing and choking that make it hard to eat, drink or breathe. The coughing can last for weeks. Pertussis is most dangerous to babies under one year old. Babies with pertussis are so sick that nearly half must go to the hospital. About one baby in 100 with pertussis either dies or is left with permanent brain injury. Serious illness is less likely in older children and adults.

HAEMOPHILUS INFLUENZAETYPE B (Hib) - Hib disease is caused by an infection spread by coughing, sneezing or close contact. Hib disease can cause a swelling of the brain that can lead to developmental disability, hearing loss, weakened sight, or speech problems. Before a Hib vaccine was available, Hib infected one of every 200 children before age five. It is most dangerous for babies under age one.

POLIO - Polio is a very dangerous disease. Some children and adults who get a serious case of polio become paralyzed (unable to move parts of their bodies). Sometimes polio may make it difficult to breathe without the help of a machine. In some cases, it can even cause death.

PNEUMOCOCCAL CONJUGATE(PCV7) - Pneumococcal disease is a serious illness that is responsible for about 200 deaths each year among children under five years old. Children under two years old are at highest risk for serious disease. It is the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in the United States. Meningitis is an infection of the covering of the brain.

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Day 118 - Happy Fathers Day

Today's Tip - Have fun on Father's Day

Sorry this post was late, but I was busy enjoying my first father's day. I suggest you do the same. Take your daughter to the ballgame. Take your son to the zoo. Have a waterbaloon fight. Take naps. Watch some world cup soccer games. Treat yourself to something you don't usually do. Most of the time mother's get pampered for mother's day, so make sure you get the same treatment, you deserve a break just as much as anyone else.

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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Day 117 - Gone Swimmin'

Today's Tip - Take extra protection from the sun when you take your baby to the pool

Took my son to the pool for the first time today with my friend Nick. Just like all guys, he didn't really like the 74 degree water when it got near his waist, but after awhile he was splashing and having some fun.

If you're going to take your kid to an outdoor pool, take some extra care with protecting your baby from the sun. The sun's rays bounce off the water and hit your skin with a double-UV-whammy. Put on plenty of waterproof sunblock, a hat and some baby sunglasses are a good idea too. Once you get out of the pool, have some pants and a lightweight long-sleeve shirt on hand to cover up your baby's sensitive skin.

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Friday, June 16, 2006

Day 116 - Make the Most out of Playtime

Today's Tip - Pay attention to your baby's mood to get the most out of playtime

As much fun as babies are, they aren't always in the mood to play or be "ooh'd and ahh'd" at. Whatever you do when playing with your child, you should definitely pay attention to his moods so that he gets the most enjoyment and benefit out of it. For instance, my son's routine is wake up from a nap, get a diaper change, eat, have active play where he's free to explore a play mat or the ground on his own, active play with my wife and I, then some quiet reading or "conversation", and by that time he's usually ready for another nap.

You can tell if your baby is ready to be done with whatever you're doing when he starts fussing or looking away. Take his cues and follow them. It'll also help them get into the routine of being active when they wake up, and then wind down for a nap.

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Day 115 - Sleep Positioner

Today's Tip - Ditch the sleep positioner once your baby can roll over

When your baby comes home from the hospital, you'll definitely want a sleep positioner to keep him from thrashing onto his stomach and becoming a victim of SIDS. But once he starts to roll over on his own, with strength, the sleep positioner could be dangerous. Since it's probably soft material, his face could sink down into it and make it hard for him to breathe, suffocating him.

The sleep positioner we have has two velcro "humps" that go along the baby's side. They've got velcro on the bottom, so we put down a blanket in his crib, put the humps on either side of him with the cushy bottom of the sleep positioner gone. That way if he happens to roll over its onto the hard foam of his crib and his face won't sink into it.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Day 114 - Can't Take the Heat

Today's Tip - Warm up bottles under running warm water

It's a lot easier to use microwaves to heat up bottles, but if you do that there could be hot pockets in the milk that can burn your baby's throat. You can use the microwave if its an absolute last resort and your baby won't take it cold, but be sure the check the temp every few seconds and swirl the milk around to make sure it heats evenly. Using the microwave also isn't recommended because the nutrients break down.

The preferred method is to run it under hot water, and you can run it into a dish or container to hold the hot water around the bottle longer. This takes longer but it's much safer. To check the temp, drop a little milk on the inside of your forearm. Your hands are less sensitive than your arms and if something is too hot it might not register on your arm.

You could also buy a bottle warmer for the purpose of heating up a bottle. The Quick Serve bottle warmer from The First Years is a good bet.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Day 113 - A Whole Lotta Love

Today's Tip - Teach your baby through affection

You want your baby to learn as they grow, but in the early months there's not really that much they can accomplish. Grabbing a stuffed animal or holding their head up is important, but isn't necessarily that much fun for you. Something that'll help your baby develop immensely and make you feel all warm and fuzzy while you're doing it is by giving affection.

Through affection, you teach your baby many things. And most importantly, you're raising a happy baby in a happy environment. And that's the best environment of all. Here's how your baby and you can learn through affection:

  • Capturing their interest and holding their attention with looks of love and smiles
  • Talking or cooing when you're interacting with them through sound or looks
  • Making sounds and motions with their mouth, arms, legs, or body in rhythm with your movements
  • Smiling back and forth with ear to ear grins
  • Staring at your face while you feed them or play with them (my favorite)
  • Relaxing when you hold or rock them
  • Sharing laughter
  • Strengthening their hands through touch and close contact

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Monday, June 12, 2006

Day 112 - Take a Hike

Today's Tip - Take the stroller you want for a test drive before you buy it

My wife and I wanted a smaller stroller than the giant SUV that we have for trips to the mall and off-road adventures, so we picked a cheap-o umbrella stroller up from Target and called it good. Then when my wife tried actually walking around with our son in it, she got annoyed. There was a bar across the back that kept her from walking behind it without sticking her butt out, so she has to walk to the side of it.

Next time, we'll probably get it out of the box, walk it around the store for a bit, kick the tires, take some sharp turns with it, just to see how she really handles.

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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Day 111 - Rolling around

Today's Tip - Keep an eye on where your kid can roll into

When your baby starts rolling around, he's going to throw his body around with absolutely no regard for his safety or where his open mouth could end up. My son's rolled into a mess of dog hair, under the fridge, into a chair, among other things. When you set him down, wedge something on either side of him (like blankets or a Boppy) if you don't want him to move. Otherwise, make sure that he's got clearance for about three feet on either side of him in case he decides to do an alligator death roll. And always keep an eye on him, don't leave him alone in a room.

Some possible trouble spots could be steps, wheere a rug turns into hardwood, the couch, a bed, table legs and chair legs, pets, dust or pet hair, metal grates, rough surfaces, to name a few.

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Saturday, June 10, 2006

Day 110 - Lather Up

Today's Tip - Slap some sunscreen on your kid before you take them out in the sun

Yeah, yeah. No one wants to be that "overprotective" parent that puts their kids in long sleeve shirts and pants in the middle of summer, topped off with a sun hat, sunglasses and a coconut nose of sunscreen. But just one bad burn can increase the chance of skin cancer later on, so I think your kids will probably forgive you for any embarrassment you subjected them to when they were four months old, especially since they won't remember it.

Any super long periods in the sun (baseball games, the beach, etc.) you should make sure skin's covered up and that they are in the shade for a majority of the time. There are light-weight clothes out there specifically designed to block the sun and keep your kid cool at the same time. Sunscreen isn't an opaque layer between your infant and the sun. And it wears off. For shorter periods outside (walks, playtime outside for a half hour or so), throw on some sunscreen and try not to have any one area in direct sunlight for too long.

As far as picking sunscreen, waterproof is always a must at the beach. Pick one with a healthy spf, 30 or higher. And if you want to save money, go generic. The protection is the same, but it just might not smell or feel as good. It's your call.

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Friday, June 09, 2006

Day 109 - Baby Proof

Today's Tip - Baby proof the house before you actually need to

Maybe you were super organized and baby proofed the house before they even arrived, but if you're like me, it fell lower on the priority list than it should have. After all, they can't even move around for the first 5 or 6 months anyway. But, you don't want to wait until they're crawling around to start making the house safe. You might miss something in your hurry or worse, you'll be prompted into action by them sticking a paper clip into an outlet.

So before your baby is born, and definitely before they even come close to rolling over, make sure you take care of the following around the house:
  • Put plastic outlet covers in all open outlets
  • Lock cupboards and drawers that your baby can reach
  • Put all dangerous chemicals and substances out of reach
  • Keep scissors, knives and sharp objects put away
  • Make sure all large, heavy objects are on the ground or on stable bases so they can't be pulled down on top your baby
  • Put a baby gate across stairs
  • Keep pet food and kitty litter put away and out of reach
  • Place fragile objects out of reach
  • Move houseplants out of reach, they can be toxic
  • Make sure medication is out of your purse and into a medicine cabinet
  • Cover any sharp corners with padding
  • Get down on your hands and knees, think like a kid to find other trouble areas
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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Day 108 - Mix it In

Today's Tip - Try mixing medicine into 1 oz of milk to get your baby to take it (check with the pediatrician first)

Whenever we tried to give our son amoxicillin, he'd scrunch his face up, spit it out or throw up his entire previous feeding altogether. I think that nasty bubble gum as medicine taste did him in. (Made me sick just to smell it).And when we gave him children's Tylenol, he'd sometimes spit it out or hold it in his mouth and drool it out.

Our pediatrician suggested mixing the amoxicillin into an ounce of his milk and feeding it to him. It worked fine and he has no problems keeping it down. Don't mix it into more, if they don't finish the feeding then you really have no way of gauging how much they got or giving them the rest. And, you should ask your pediatrician before trying it. She said amoxicillin was fine to do, but I'm sure there are drugs you shouldn't do this with. Just check to be safe.

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Day 107 - Make it Fun

Today's Tip - Make exploration and everything fun for your baby

I'm a big believer that the environment you're raised in determines your personality and outlook on life, so I try to make everything my son does fun and exciting. Everything from diaper changes, to singing, to being bounced up and down, and even sneezing. I never thought I'd see a kid with such a huge grin after sneezing or coughing, but he loves it because we smile and laugh at all his little accomplishments.

I also have a co-worker that made taking medicine fun for her little girl. Now whenever she sees the syringe with medicine in it she gets super excited. I think if you take this type of attitude right from the beginning and apply it to everything, your kids will pick up on it and soon everything becomes an adventure and something they enjoy doing. I'm hoping it works with mowing the lawn and scooping up dog poop, but maybe that's wishful thinking.

Plus, there's plenty of time to be serious later in life. Why not make the mundane, tedious and sometimes uncomfortable a big laugh?

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Day 106 - Taking Temperature

Today's tip - Take a rectal temperature to get the most accurate reading

While my son has an ear infection, we're checking his temp often to make sure he doesn't get too hot, and so we know when we can send him back into day care. We're checking it orally and under the arm, but the readings seemed a little inconsistent. Plus all the documentation I've seen for "normal" ranges is calibrated for the rectal temperature. To take it:

  • Use a digital thermometer that is designed to take a rectal temperature
  • Put some vaseline on the end of the thermometer
  • Insert the thermometer a half inch into the rectum
  • Wait for the thermometer to beep
  • Read the temperature. Usually, a range of 97-100 F is good
  • Clean the thermometer with a little soap and water

If you still want to check orally and under the arm, keep in mind that you'll need to alter the number a little bit. Add a degree to the oral temperature, and add two degrees to the under the arm temp.

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Monday, June 05, 2006

Day 105 - Ear infection

Today's Tip - A trip to the pediatrician and some antibiotics or a comparable home remedy are needed to stave off an ear infection

Our son had his first illness ear infection. I was surprised to learn they're one of the most common ailments for infants. The pediatrician thinks our son got his from bacteria in the stuffy nose he's had for the past few days. The bugs got back in there and wreaked havoc. Our son had a fever of 102 F and was sleeping quite a bit during the day. (if yours does this at a young age like 3 months, you should head in to the pediatrician)

Some common signs of an ear infection are:

  • Fever
  • Increased difficulty sleeping
  • Fussiness, crying, especially when laying down
  • Shaking of the head

Of course, these symptoms separately might not indicate an ear infection, and they could have one without some of these symptoms.

Our pediatrician prescribed amoxicillin. Here's some information about the drug. There are home remedies out there too, and if anyone knows of something they've had success with, I'd love to hear about it.

If your baby's fever doesn't go down within 48 hours of starting the amoxicillin, call your pediatrician for advice. And of course, if the fever gets above anything but a low-grade fever, call your pediatrician as well. The good news is, even though they are common, ear infections are completely treatable and rarely lead to more serious complications unless they're allowed to run rampant.

It's important to treat an ear infection because they can lead to meningitis or to problems with hearing and speech development.

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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Day 104 -

Today's Tip - Don't be afraid to ask for help

Most people I know have a thing about asking for help. It's probably human nature or something deep seeded like that. But when it comes to raising a baby, you're going to need help at one point. And you should never be afraid to ask, especially when you're asking family.

We're lucky enough to have great parents who adore our son. We're in a bit of a pickle this Friday, our day care has an "in-service" day, and both of us have to work. Rather than one of us having to take the day off, my wife's mother is driving a couple hours to come down and watch the baby for the day. And, so we wouldn't have to pay $200 a week in day care costs, my mother practically begged us to let her drive two hours every week and stay with us two days to watch him. Grandparents love their grand kids, and chances are they'd love to help out any way they can. As long as you're comfortable with it and they're not intruding on your parenting style or your personal space, there's no harm in letting them do it.

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Saturday, June 03, 2006

Day 103 - Calm Down

Today's Tip - You can't spoil a baby, a little comfort could be just what they need to calm down

We've been trying to put our son down to sleep while he's still awake, so that he learns how to go to sleep without food or any special circumstances. And sometimes he's laying down on the ground completely fine and then he'll start wailing for no reason other than the fact that he wants to be held. I don't buy into the fact that you've got to teach babies to self soothe. I could listen to him cry for a half hour while he works things out on his own, or I could pick him up for a minute to calm him down and then he's fine for his nap or for more playtime on the ground. As the parent, you know what's right. If your instincts are telling you to pick up your baby and comfort them, do it.


Friday, June 02, 2006

Day 102 - The hardest button to button

Today's Tip - Pick out clothes without buttons, which are a choking hazard

Instead of going for clothes with buttons, opt for ones that snap or zip. Your baby can grab ahold of the buttons and rip them off with that iron grip they're all born with. And since the hand finds the mouth more often than not, they could choke on them.

Clothes that zip and snap are also a lot easier to put on when your baby is squirming all over the place.

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Day 101 - Certified

Today's Tip - Your baby's birth certificate should arrive around 3 months after their birth

We just got our son's birth certificate and social security card today, after what seemed like forever. Seems to be pretty standard, from what I gathered from other parents. When you're at the hospital, be sure to ask them to start the process of getting your baby's SS# along with the birth certificate. It is something you have to ask for and it could be a lot bigger hassle if you have to do it yourself. Could take longer too.

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