November 21, 2017

How to maintain interest in potty training

One of the most difficult things you will do as a parent is train your child to use the potty correctly. Most parents have no formal teacher training when it comes to this activity, so they tend to simply do the best that they can with what they have. However, this often produces some real frustration as children make mistakes and lose interest in the process. It seems so strange to have to teach something that comes so naturally to everyone. We can’t remember the hours and the energy our parents put into to training us. Because the situation is so frustrating you should learn as much as you can about potty training before you start the process. A little bit of knowledge mixed with some patience can lead to a much more successful experience, both for you and your child. One of the most difficult things about potty training is keeping your child interested in the process. Kids have short attention spans for most things, and potty training is hardly the exception. They might seem interested at first, but after you have forced them to use the toilet or potty a couple of times they will know what it is all about. They will start to fight you and try to get away in order to do something more interesting. If you have encountered this type of resistance to your potty training attempts you should read some of the ideas below.

One of the best ways to keep your child interested in potty training is to make the process a little bit more fun. Start by decorating the potty chair together. This could include painting it a certain color or covering it with favorite stickers. Next, when the child goes to use the potty play some sort of favorite music or movie. Many parents find that a rewards system works very well; kids are always interested in getting a reward, so if you can figure out what your child wants most and promise it to them, you will see definite results fast. Another thing to do is to associate potty time with another activity—something more exciting and engaging. This could be playing a game or watching television.

Most kids would like to act as though they were adults, and you can use this to your advantage. Explain that potty training is a big part of what makes him or her a big person. Tell them that wearing underpants all the time will make a hugh difference, and that they will be able to do adult things when they can wear underpants all day.

Because each child is different you will have to come up with a unique scheme for keeping them interested in the potty. Sit down with your spouse or a friend and think about the sorts of things that interest your child. Write down a plan and be patient while you implement it. It will probably take some time to get your child interested in potty training, but if you can do it the pay off will be tremendous. You will not only form a stronger relationship with your child, but will see the potty training process go by much faster. The sooner your child is potty trained the better—this seems to be a statement that everyone can agree on. Some constructive potty training brainstorming will get you to where you want to be quickly. Remember to use positive reinforcement when potty training; negative reinforcement will only make the process terrifying for the child an prolong potty training.

Pediatrician or Family Physician – which is better?

Choosing a doctor for your child is not the easiest thing in the world. Whether you are getting ready for a new baby or you moved and have to look for a new physician in your neighborhood, finding the right doctor for your child can easily become an overwhelming experience. There is a lot to consider when looking for a doctor, other than looking for a personable staff and good location, you must also decide whether to use a pediatrician or a family physician.

There are differences between pediatricians and family practitioners and it is important that you determine what factors are most significant to your family before choosing your child’s doctor. These factors are going to determine which is better for you.

So what do they have in common? Both pediatricians and family physicians are considered specialists, and both have had several additional years of training beyond medical school. So how are they different? The main difference between the two is that the family physician has a broader knowledge. This is because the family physician takes care of patients of all ages. A pediatrician on the other hand has a concentration of study on conditions particular to infants, children and teenagers.

Thus you can see that both have their advantages. While family practitioners are able to treat the entire family, children frequent the doctor’s office more often than most adults do, so chances are parents will make more office visits for their individual children than for general check ups for the entire family. Additionally, since pediatric practices only take care of children, the environment is likely to be more conducive to children’s needs.

However, regardless of these facts, you may find that your family physician is perfectly capable of treating any and all of your child’s ailments, and that the environment of his or her office is perfectly fine for your child.

Neither is better or worse per say unless your child has a severe problem, and in that case you would most likely go with a specialist for that problem. So how do you choose? One of the best ways to find a great pediatrician or family physician for your child is to ask around. Find out who people like and why.

Don’t settle on one or the other until you explore your options. The following is a list of tips to help you decide which is better for you, and pick the right care provider for your child:

  • Visit more than one office or doctor.
  • Notice how the office staff treats you. Do they believe in the “no question is stupid” philosophy? You must feel comfortable in calling them with all your questions, regardless of how big or small they seem to be.
  • Is a physician on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to handle emergencies?
  • Does the doctor provide a phone number parents can call with non-emergency questions?
  • What are the fees for well-baby checkups and sick visits?
  • What lab work is done on site? Are more extensive tests performed nearby or will you have to drive to another location?
  • Is the doctor affiliated with a particular hospital system? This could determine how quickly or easily it is for your child can be admitted to a particular hospital should special medical care be required.

The best way to get this information is to ask for it. Set up an initial consultation with the child care provider and choose one that satisfactorily answers all of these questions and any others you may have.

Leaving baby with a sitter – a babysitter’s checklist

When you have a new baby it is always difficult to leave them for the first time. You spend most of your time away thinking and worrying about the baby, and not enough time enjoying your break. Leaving baby with a sitter does not have to be as traumatic as all that, in fact, it can be a worry free event if you handle things correctly.

The following is a babysitter’s checklist to help you have a worry free babysitting experience.

For you:

  1. If you do not have a babysitter in mind, find one that has experience, and qualifications. Look for a babysitter the same way you would for a receptionist, etc. You want to review why they would make a good babysitter. Are they CPR certified? Do they baby-sit often? Do they have a good track record? Etc.
  2. Find someone you are comfortable with, and negotiate pay before you leave. This is going to make you and your babysitter more comfortable because it means you can come home with cash or a check for the right amount, and you do not have to be awkward or uncomfortable about asking after the job is done, what they expect to make.
  3. Don’t stress out too much.

For the Babysitter:

  1. Leave a list of emergency contact information. Make sure your cell phone, a neighbor, relative, hospital, poison control center, etc all have numbers on this sheet. Also, place the sheet on the fridge or near a phone so that in case of an emergency it is easy to find.
  2. Make sure you include a list of any foods, etc the child may be allergic too. The last thing you want is for a hysterical fifteen year old to call you because they innocently fed your child a banana only to have your child break out in hives.
  3. Have a set schedule for your baby so that your babysitter does not feel overwhelmed or unsure what to do. If you put things in writing it will be much easier for your sitter to remember. For example,
    1. 5:00 You leave- Let baby play with toys, sit in swing, or read to baby
    2. 6:00 Feed baby dinner: there is spaghetti in the fridge, or bottles of baby food in the cupboard to the right of the stove, if the baby is still hungry after eating these feel free to feed him or her rice cereal which is made by adding water. This cereal is on the counter, he or she likes peaches mixed in with the cereal.
    3. 6:30 Clean the baby up, give him or her a bath, use the Johnson and Johnson baby shampoo, and the duck washcloth. His/Her towel is on the hook near the tub.
    4. 6:45 Dress the baby in PJ’s, and a clean diaper. PJ’s are found in the second drawer in the dresser. Diapers are on the changing table.
    5. 7:00 Rock the baby for five to ten minutes and read Winnie the Pooh.
    6. 7:15 Turn on noise machine, it is next to the crib. And put the baby down for bed.
    7. The baby may cry some, if he/she cries for more than half an hour then go in and rub his or her back for a few minutes, this should calm her/him down. If that does not work, just let him/her cry themselves to sleep.
    8. Feel free to eat whatever you would like in the fridge or cupboards. There is a pumpkin pie on the second shelf of the fridge that is for dessert tomorrow so please do not eat that. There are cookies, chips, cheese and crackers, pasta, chicken, fruit, veggies, etc. Please do not hesitate to make yourself comfortable. Just rinse your dishes and leave them in the sink.
    9. We have Cable TV so feel free to watch anything you want, or there are movies in the cupboard to the left of the entertainment center.
    10. I will be home at 9:00, if I am going to be later than that I will call you by 8:30

This whole listing everything thing may seem a little over the top, but by writing out as much as you can, you leave no room for questions, and therefore you ensure that the babysitting goes smoothly. Also, you help your sitter feel comfortable by letting them know what they can and can’t do, and exactly what you expect from them. You want them to enjoy babysitting for you so that they will come back, and you want them to do a good job.

Infant acne – how to take prevent and care for infant acne?

When your sweet baby enters your life you want to ensure that everything is perfect, and that the baby is healthy. You may find that a few weeks or months after your baby is born that they develop what looks like zits! This is called infant acne. Most mothers are not excited that their two week old has skin like a fourteen year old, but that does not change the fact that your baby will probably get some infant acne. So, what is it, what causes it, and what can you do?

Where does baby acne show up?

Infant acne is very common. It can be present at birth, but more often it shows up after a couple of weeks, usually on the cheeks and sometimes on the forehead, chin, and even the back. It may start out as one or two areas and spread, or it may be contained to the cheeks etc. It is going to vary for every infant.

What does it look like?

Usually it looks like small whiteheads that might be surrounded by reddish skin, and they can become more pronounced when your baby is hot or fussy, or if saliva, spit-up milk, or fabric that’s been washed in strong detergent irritates his or her skin.

What causes infant acne?

Just like the acne your teenager gets, there’s no clear answer as to the cause. For some time, experts have pointed to the hormones your baby received from you at the end of pregnancy as a cause of baby acne. But researchers continue to study other factors and have yet to agree on one culprit. If you take certain medications while nursing, for example, or if your baby takes certain medications, they can trigger baby acne. So, while it looks unpleasant, unfortunately you can’t do much to prevent it because the cause is unknown.

How long does it last?

Luckily, infant acne usually clears up within a few weeks.

What can you do until it clears up?

Really you can just wait. There is not much you can do to help the complexion out other than give it time.

What shouldn’t I do?

Although there is very little you can do, there are some things you should not do.

Number one is Don’t scrub. Baby acne isn’t caused by dirt. In fact, too much washing can further irritate it, so don’t overdo the cleansing. Simply wash your baby’s face with water and some mild baby soap once a day.

Number two is Don’t put creams or oils on his skin, either, because these can also make the acne worse. If your baby’s acne is severe and likely to scar, his doctor may suggest an over-the-counter treatment like benzyl peroxide or even a prescription medication. But usually patience is the best course of action. Your baby’s acne doesn’t bother him in the least, so try not to let it bother you, either.

Other considerations:

Basically infant acne is part of having a baby. It comes and goes, some baby’s get it worse than others, some get it for extended periods of time while others may only have it for a few weeks. The thing to remember is that you can’t go picking at it. It does not bother the baby. Patience is the best cure. And, if you are worried, or if it does not seem like the typical acne baby’s get, then take your child to a physician for some expert advice.

Unfortunately infant acne seems to crop up at the wrong times—pictures, special events, etc—but don’t forget that your baby is beautiful despite his or her adolescent like skin.

Immunizations for babies – the first 2 years

The first two years of a baby’s life are critical, there is a lot of growth, and a lot of firsts, so, it is important to protect your baby from some of the risks associated with those firsts. Such as the first time the baby gets sick.

Most parents hate watching their baby get shots. However, immunizations are designed to protect your child from serious diseases and may be the most important part of your child’s well-baby checkups. Some of those diseases (such as polio and diphtheria) were much more common a hundred years ago, and now you never see them. But the reason they are now rarely seen in the United States is thanks to immunizations. So, immunizations are pretty important.

What are immunizations exactly? Well they are shots that are vaccines made of either weakened or “killed” versions of the bacteria or virus that causes a particular disease. The idea behind the vaccine is that once these altered viruses and bacteria are injected into the body, the immune system mounts an attack that stimulates the body’s production of antibodies. Once produced, these antibodies remain active in your child’s body and will be ready if he’s ever exposed to the real disease.

So, the way to ensure your child has the proper antibodies is to help them develop them before they contact the real disease. This is why there are certain immunizations that are recommended, and other immunizations that are required for school etc.

According to the schedule recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), your child may receive as many as 20 doses of seven different vaccines during his or her first 18 months. The recommended immunizations are as follows:

•  Hepatitis B (HBV)- This immunization is generally given at birth or shortly after, at 1 to 4 months, and again between 6 and 18 months, to protect against hepatitis B.

•  DtaP- This immunization is usually give at 2, 4, and 6 months (and then another at 15 to 18 months), and then again between ages 4 and 6, to protect against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough). Plus: a Td booster to prevent tetanus and diphtheria, at age 11 or 12, and then every ten years throughout adulthood.

•  Hib- this immunization is given at 2, 4, and 6 months and then again between 12 and 15 months, to protect against Haemophilus influenza type B, which can lead to meningitis, pneumonia, and epiglottitis.

• Polio (IPV)- This immunization is generally given at 2 and 4 months and then again between 6 and 18 months (and a fourth shot at age 4 to 6), to protect against polio.

• MMR- This is immunization is generally given between 12 and 15 months (and again by age 4 to 6), to protect against measles, mumps, and rubella (German measles).

• Varicella- This immunization is generally given between 12 and 18 months, to protect against chicken pox.

• Pneumococcal- This immunization is generally given at 2, 4, and 6 months and then again between 12 and 15 months, to protect against pneumococcal disease, which can lead to meningitis, pneumonia, and ear infections.

Because immunizations are considered to be extremely important, many health insurances will cover 100% of the cost, and do not even require a copay for the visit. If you do not have insurance, you can get highly discounted prices for these immunizations, and many are free, or paid for by the government to ensure that every child is immunized regardless of the parent’s financial situation.

How to prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)

There is a common concern among new parents for the welfare of their infant. Stories of sudden infant deaths and the tragedies of SIDS scare many parents. No one knows for sure what causes sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

What is SIDS exactly? SIDS is the diagnosis given when an apparently healthy baby under the age of one dies without warning, usually while asleep, and doctors and investigators can’t pinpoint a cause.  Thus preventing SIDS becomes a struggle.

Researchers studying this tragic mystery are beginning to think that SIDS may result from more than one problem, or that several events must happen together for SIDS to occur. Possible causes include a defect in the brain, a developmental delay, and constriction of neck arteries. When babies with any of these problems are confronted with a challenge — such as sleeping on their stomach and rebreathing carbon dioxide, overheating, breathing cigarette smoke, or momentary loss of blood pressure during sleep — they may be too vulnerable to survive.

Preventing SIDS completely is impossible, but you can take steps to reduce the risk.  The steps you can take are important, and by following them closely the chance of your baby suffering SIDS is unlikely. There’s no guaranteed way to prevent SIDS, but you can do a number of things to greatly decrease your baby’s risk:

Put your baby to sleep on his or her back.

The first, and most important thing you can do is put your baby to sleep on his or her back. Doctors used to recommend stomach sleeping so babies wouldn’t be in danger of choking on their own spit-up or vomit, however, experts estimate that thousands of babies’ lives have been saved since the “Back to Sleep” public awareness campaign began in 1994. Having your baby sleep on its back all of the time can contribute to a condition called plagiocephaly, in which your baby develops a flat spot on the back or side of his or her head. Also don’t let your baby spend too much time in a car seat or bouncy chair, because these can also contribute to plagiocephaly. And be sure to give him or her plenty of time on the tummy when the baby is awake, to help the baby develop his or her muscles properly.

Also don’t let your baby spend too much time in a car seat or bouncy chair, because these can also contribute to plagiocephaly. And be sure to give him plenty of time on his tummy when he’s awake, to help him develop his muscles properly.

While sleeping on the stomach is nott good if you are trying to prevent SIDS, most people don’t know that side sleeping isn’t safe, either. In fact, if your baby sleeps on their side rather than on his or her back, the chances of getting SIDS are doubled. That’s because if you place your baby on its side the baby can easily end up on his or her tummy. Of course, by the time the baby is 5 or 6 months old, your baby will be able to roll over in both directions, making it a challenge for you to keep him or her on their back at night. At this age the risk for SIDS will start to drop, though, so just do your best to get the baby settled on their back, and then don’t worry if they roll over.

Take care of yourself and your unborn baby while you’re pregnant.
Another great way to help prevent SIDS is to make sure your baby is born as healthy as possible. To ensure your baby’s health and reduce the risk of a premature birth or low birth weight (which are risk factors for SIDS), you should be sure to get proper prenatal care and nutrition. And you definitely won’t want to smoke cigarettes or use illegal drugs during your pregnancy.

Don’t allow smoking around your baby.
Smoking greatly increases the risk of SIDS. Keep the air around your baby — at home, in the car, and in other environments — smoke-free. If you feel you can’t quit, go outside the house to smoke and make sure others do the same, never let a smoking habit endanger the life of your child.

Choose bedding carefully.
Soft bedding, pillows, toys etc in the baby’s sleeping area increase the risk of SIDS. So, to reduce the risk of SIDS put your baby to sleep on a firm, flat mattress with no pillow and nothing but a fitted sheet under him. Don’t put stuffed toys or other soft materials in the crib, either. If you need to cover the baby, use a thin blanket, and tuck it around the mattress, only as far up as the chest. If you think your baby is chilly, simply dress the baby in warmer clothing such as footed pajamas or in a onesie under a “wearable blanket”
Avoid overheating your baby.
To keep your baby from getting too warm while he or she sleeps, don’t overbundle, and don’t cover the baby’s head with a blanket. The room the baby sleeps in shouldn’t be too toasty, either; it should be comfortable for a lightly clothed adult. Signs that your baby may be overheated include sweating, damp hair, heat rash, rapid breathing, restlessness, and fever.

Try to reduce exposure to infection.
SIDS sometimes occurs in tandem with respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, so to reduce the risks of SIDS try to reduce the risk of infection as well. So, with that in mind, it’s fine to ask people to wash their hands before holding your baby. And of course, whenever possible, avoid exposing your baby to sick  people, especially other children as they tend to spread illness quickly.

You cannot prevent SIDS, but you can reduce the risks. Taking some common sense precautions will aid you in your desire to reduce your infant’s chances of suffering from SIDS.

How to live with a baby with colic

A baby is hard enough to take care of because they need constant care, but a baby with colic can sometimes be overwhelming, frustrating, and can sometimes be too much. Especially if it is you first child you may find yourself asking why you, or what can you do. This is probably not the life you envisioned in those months of preparation and planning, but it is what you’ve got. So how do you live with a baby with colic and make it bearable?

Even though babies cry on and off for no apparent reason, especially in the early evening, colicky babies cry a lot more than others and can be difficult or impossible to soothe. A colicky baby’s crying usually intensifies between 6 and 8 weeks of age, and then tends to diminish when the baby is 3 months old. Colic means that even though your baby is healthy, your life for the next couple of weeks is going to be pretty tough.

First, let’s get down to the basics, colic is a label for a pattern of crying in a healthy, well-fed infant under 3 months of age that has no explanation. That is probably why it is so difficult to deal with, you can’t contribute the crying to anything, and therefore you do not know what to do to fix the problem.

There are lots of theories and advice on how to deal with a colicky baby. Many of these theories do not really work. However, information on some of the reasons for colic, if they apply to your baby, may help you decide what to do. Here are some possible causes, and what you can do to try and help:

• Your baby’s central nervous system may be immature and unsettled, and he or she is not yet ready for the unpredictable stimulation of the world. This baby may cry less if he or she is swaddled or carried in a front pack, rocked, or kept in motion in a swing. The baby may settle when you expose it to continuous noise or vibrations that block out other stimulation, perhaps by taking him or her on car rides or placing him or her near a humming household appliance. Your baby may calm down if they suck on a pacifier or fingers, or if you massage them gently, or take them on a walk outside.

• Your baby’s gastrointestinal system may be immature. You may have noticed that your baby seems to have gas or pain, especially after feeding or before bowel movements. If your baby seems to have gas or needs to burp a lot, make sure they aren’t swallowing air from a bottle, and burp your baby frequently even if you breastfeed. If your baby seems to have a severe case of gas, your healthcare provider may suggest antispasmodic medications or herbal remedies such as weak teas brewed from fennel, chamomile, or anise. You can also learn simple baby massages to help alleviate the gas, and calm your baby down by ridding them of the painful gas more quickly.

• Your baby may be having a digestive or allergic reaction to the milk they are drinking. If you are breastfeeding, you can try changing your diet to see if you notice less crying. You may want to eliminate spicy foods, high-fiber grains, beans, broccoli, cabbage, and caffeine. Some babies do better if their mom eliminates all milk products from her own diet. If your baby is on formula, try soy or other hypoallergenic types of infant formula — check with your baby’s doctor before making changes. Feed your baby whenever they seem hungry, since some young babies will cry and fuss from hunger if parents try to schedule their feedings.

• Your baby may simply be temperamentally sensitive and highly reactive. Your baby may be hard to soothe because their need for sleep and food are unpredictable. Hard-to-soothe babies are often those born a few weeks premature and in need of some catch-up time, or those trying to recover from a difficult birth. The best thing to do is let them make their own schedule, do not try to force one upon them.

If your colicky baby starts to stress you out too much, or you feel tense, put your baby down for a little bit and leave the room. You are not the cause of your baby’s distress, but they are causing yours, and you do not want to be embittered by it because you can’t do anything to help. If you need a break, call a relative, or sitter, and take some time to rejuvinate.

How to deal with teething

When babies teethe it is a hard time for not only the baby but for the parent as well. A fussy unruly child can be wearing on the nerves, and can leave mom frazzled and unhappy. So when your baby teethes there are some things you should know and do to ease the pain to help both YOU and YOUR BABY deal with teething.

The first thing you need to do is recognize that the cause of your baby’s pain is from teething. When do most babies teethe? Although teeth actually start to develop while the baby is still in the womb, the vast majority of babies sprout their first teeth when they’re between 4 and 7 months of age. An early developer may get their first white cap as early as 3 months, while a late bloomer may have to wait until they are a year or more. (In rare cases, a baby’s first tooth is already visible at birth.) Teething patterns are hereditary, so if you got your teeth early, chances are your child will, too.

What should you expect when your baby’s teeth come in? Well, generally speaking your baby’s teeth come in a specific order… First the bottom front teeth, then the top two middle ones, then the ones along the sides going back. The last teeth to appear (the second molars, which are the farthest back in the mouth) are usually coming into place by your baby’s second birthday. By age 3, your child should have a full set of 20 baby teeth, which shouldn’t fall out until his permanent teeth are ready to start coming in, sometime around age 6.

What are the symptoms that come with teething? Well, every baby, and every tooth is going to be different, however, the following tend to occur: most babies are cranky and drool a lot for weeks or months before the first tooth makes it to the surface. Many parents say their babies become feverish or have loose stools or runny noses just before a new tooth arrives. Many babies do not want to eat, or take a pacifier, or let anything near their mouth. Some experts believe that teething will frequently cause diarrhea and a mild diaper rash because your baby’s excessive saliva ends up in the gut and loosens the stools. Inflammation in the gums may be the cause of a low fever (under 101 degrees Fahrenheit) in some babies.
Some babies get a red rash on his chin and lower lip from all the drooling. The wetness can irritate the skin, particularly at night when the baby rubs its face against the crib sheet.

It is debated as to whether or not all of these symptoms are directly related to teething, or if they are caused by other illnesses the child becomes more susceptible to because of the stress of teething. The one thing all experts agree on is that you should call your pediatrician if your baby has a fever over 101 degrees F (or over 100.4 degrees F for babies younger than 3 months.)

Why is teething usually so painful? As your baby’s teeth push their way out, they irritate the gums, swelling and inflaming them. (This is why your baby may temporarily reject your breast or a bottle. Sucking causes more blood to rush to the swollen areas, making them especially sensitive.

What can you do to ease the pain? One of the best things you can do is give your child something to chew on, such as a firm rubber teething ring or a cold washcloth. If your baby is old enough for solid foods, they may also get some relief from eating cold foods such as applesauce or yogurt — the cold may temporarily numb the pain. Or you can try giving a baby a hard, unsweetened teething cracker.
Some parents find that simply rubbing a finger over sore gums can numb the pain temporarily, this is a great thing to do before nursing or bottle feeding as it  will numb the pain temporarily enough to get the baby eating. Oral analgesics such as Orajel or Zylactin are popular and generally safe to use, though their numbing effect is short-lived. You may want to check these methods with your pediatrician first. And, some of these numbing gels make the situation worse once the numb wears off because it can toughen the gum making it harder for the tooth to break through.

Some pediatricians don’t recommend the oral analgesics because if you use them too much they can numb the back of the throat and decrease the baby’s gag reflex (which helps prevent him from choking on his own saliva) and in rare cases, they may cause an allergic reaction. Some physicians recommend giving a teething baby a small dose of children’s pain reliever such as infants’ acetaminophen, but check with your doctor before giving your baby any medication.

It may even work to give your child an ice cube to suck on, which simultaneously numbs the gum and gives the baby some fluid and something to chew on if desired.

The one good thing is that teething does not last long, so although it may be extremely stressful for you and your child, remember it is temporary.

How do I take care of the umbilical cord stump?

So you have an infant, and you want to do everything you can to ensure that your child stays healthy and happy. You know that when the umbilical cord is cut, it leaves a stump, which then dries, heals, and within 1 to 3 weeks falls off. What you don’t know is how to take care of the stump to ensure it does not get infected etc.

Years ago complex care methods were used to ensure a healthy umbilical cord stump. However, today the procedure is much more simple. During the time the cord is healing it should be kept as clean and dry as possible. To keep it dry you basically can’t give your infant a “bath” until it falls off. So, sponge bathe your baby rather than submersing him or her in a tub of water. If the cord does get wet or soggy, it needs to be dried. The best way to do this is to gently dry it with a hair dryer set on warm. However, you want to be really careful not to burn the baby’s skin with air that is too hot.

While not every doctor will tell you to do this, and your baby may be fine without this precaustion, a great way to keep the umbilical cord stump clean is to apply rubbing alcohol to the baby’s cord every time you change the baby’s diaper. This is done by gently holding the end of the stump and pulling up just slightly in order to clean the base of the cord with the alcohol. You can use a cotton ball, Q-tip, or a packaged alcohol swab. It is important to squeeze the alcohol around the stump of the cord and clean off any drainage that may be present.

Be careful when you are doing this because rubbing alcohol is easily absorbed through the baby’s skin, so do not use too much. If you accidentally spill the rubbing alcohol on your baby, immediately remove all clothing and wash it off.

One thing that most nurses and doctors will tell you to do is to keep the diaper turned down off of the cord. You do not want it to get pulled off prematurley because it catches on the diaper. This may cause infaction, bleeding etc. Also, do not leave the area wet with alcohol as it can be irritating. Blot the alcohol with an clean absorbent pad or gauze then fan the area slightly with your hand to dry it thoroughly.

If you choose to apply alcohol, it is wise to continue to apply the alcohol for a few days after the cord falls off to ensure cleanliness until the area is completely healed. This is particularly important if the cord is an “innie” because you cannot see the remainder of the stump and air cannot circulate around it.

A word of advice that is very important is simply watch for prolems. Most babies do not have problems with their umbilical cord stump, or if they do they are easily treated if caught in time. So, observe the umbilical cord for infection. This does not occur frequently, but can spread quickly if infection does occur. Signs of infection would be:

  • foul-smelling, yellow drainage from the cord
  • redness and tenderness of the skin surrounding the cord

Another infrequent problem to watch for is active bleeding. This usually occurs when the cord is pulled off prematurely. Allow the cord to fall off naturally, even if it is only hanging on by a thread. Active bleeding is defined as every time you wipe away a drop of blood, another drop appears. If the cord is actively bleeding, call your baby’s doctor immediately.

Do not get overly concerned about the umbilical cord stump. Problems rarely occur, however, occasionally instead of completely drying, the cord will form a granuloma, which is pink scar tissue. This granuloma drains a light-yellowish fluid. This condition will usually go away in about a week with frequent application of rubbing alcohol, but if not, your pediatrician may need to cauterize the granulation tissue.

The umbilical cord stump should dry up and fall off by 8 weeks of age. If your baby’s stump remains beyond that time, it may suggest an anatomical abnormality or immunological problem. If it still has not fallen off by the time your baby is a little over 2 months old, you should see a physician.

How do I get my baby to sleep through the night?

The terminology “I slept like a baby,” takes on a whole new meaning after you actually have a baby. “To sleep like a baby” used to mean you sleep really well…right? Now “to sleep like a baby,” means that you wake up every two hours and cry.

So, the problem you now face is lots of interrupted sleep, and wishing for the days when you could sleep in, sleep uninterrupted, and actually sleep. Of course as your child gets older you will be getting more and more sleep, but it will never be the same. Sleep is a typical frustration for parents of children of all ages.

So, in order to overcome some of that frustration, you need to get some sleep. So to get your baby to sleep through the night…

If your baby is age newborn to three months-

Although newborns sleep a lot — it will not be altogether. They sleep 16 hours or so, but they are often interrupted. You won’t be getting much uninterrupted sleep. At night you’ll need to get up to feed and change your baby; during the day, you’ll play with him, too. And while some infants sleep through the night as early as 6 weeks, many babies don’t reach that milestone until they’re 5 or 6 months old. You can help your baby get there sooner by teaching him good sleep habits from the start. For example, you can establish rituals for bedtime, such as a bath, story, song, etc.

Begin to teach your baby the difference between day and night.
Once your baby is about 2 weeks old, you can start teaching your baby to distinguish night from day. When your baby is alert and awake during the day, play with him or her as much as you can, keep the house and room light and bright, and don’t worry about minimizing regular daytime noises like the phone, TV, or dishwasher. If the baby tends to sleep through feedings, wake them up. At night, don’t play with your baby when they wake up for a feeding. Keep the lights and noise level low, and don’t spend too much time talking to him or her. Before long the baby should begin to figure out that nighttime is for sleeping.

Give him a chance to fall asleep on their own.
By the time your baby is 6 to 8 weeks old, start giving your baby a chance to fall asleep on their own. How? Put them down when they are sleepy but still awake, don’t rock or nurse your baby to sleep, even at this young age. Babies learn their sleep habits early, so don’t start anything you do not want to continue. If you rock your child to sleep every night for the first eight weeks, why would he expect anything different later on?

Between three to six months-

Your baby will be able to sleep through the night at 6 months, but that does not mean that they will. There are some things that you can do to help them.

Establish set bed- and naptimes — and stick to them.
When your baby was a newborn, deciding when to put your baby down for the night was as easy as watching for signs of sleepiness (eye-rubbing, ear-pulling, and so on). Now that your baby is a little older, you should establish a specific bedtime, as well as consistent naptimes, to regulate sleep patterns.

A good baby bedtime is usually between 7 and 8:30 p.m. Any later and your baby is likely to be overtired and have a hard time falling asleep. You can set naptimes the same way you set bedtimes — plan them for a specific time each day — or put your baby down two hours after he or she last woke up.

Begin to develop a bedtime routine.
If you haven’t already done so, now is also a good time to start a bedtime routine. Whatever bedtime routine works for your family is fine, as long as you do it in the same order and at the same time every night. Babies thrive on consistency.

Wake your child in the morning to set your baby’s daily clock.
It’s fine to wake your baby in the morning if they sleep past their usual wake time to help set their daily clock. Your baby needs to follow a regular sleep / wake pattern and recharge with naps during the day. Waking them at the same time every morning will help keep his or her naps on target.

Ok there are a million other things that you can do to help your baby sleep. The big thing is make your baby get regular sleep habits by being consistant.