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Giving your baby a bath for the very first time

 

The first few baths can send new moms into panic mode because babies are small and seem so fragile. Most new moms won’t have the confidence to handle them securely in water. Don’t worry, after a week or two, you’ll be a natural. Everything takes practice when it comes to babies. There are a few important things to remember and to get for your little one’s bath time.

 

1. There is absolutely no need to use any products on your baby for the first few weeks. You should only use warm water and cotton balls. No soap, shampoo, bubbles or anything like that. Your baby’s new skin is delicate which is why it is important not to apply any unnecessary chemical-laden products. If you want to shampoo your baby’s hair, please check the box below to make sure that the shampoo you choose is free from any of the chemicals mentioned there. Suggestion: a good time to start using products for babies is around the 2-3 month mark.

 

2. Always check the temperature of the bath water before placing your baby in it. A water thermometer is a useful buy. 

 

3. Take care not to jostle the umbilical cord stump, as you want it to fall off naturally. 

 

4. If your son had a circumcision, keep it clean with cotton balls and warm water (no wipes). 

 

5. Make sure bath time is short. You don’t want your baby getting cold. 

 

6. Do not use essential oils on babies. They are too strong for their little bodies. 

 

Remember that bath time is one of the best bonding moments with your new baby, so try to do it yourself (even if you’re scared). You will get the hang of it in no time. Warm water has a calming effect on most babies which makes them really enjoy their bath time with mom (and dad).

 

BATH TIME ESSENTIALS

BATH TUB

WASH CLOTHS

2-4 HOODED TOWELS

WATER THERMOMETER: Always check the temperature of your baby’s bath water. You don’t want to accidentally burn him. A water thermometer helps you do this accurately.

 

THINGS YOUR BABY PRODUCTS SHOULD NOT CONTAIN

1. PARABENS: Parabens are the most widely used preservatives in cosmetic products.

2.  PHTHALATES: Phthalates are a group of chemicals used in hundreds of products.

3. FRAGRANCE:Fragrance is only indicated in a vague way on labels because companies are not required to reveal what exactly is in the fragrance. So you never know exactly what you are getting when a product has a manufactured scent added. You always want to know what you are putting on your baby’s skin.

4. TALC: There are differing opinions on the safety of using baby powder (especially talc). I recommend not using powder at all for baby (and you) until we know for sure whether or not it is safe.

5. PROPYLENE GLYCOL: Propylene glycol is a chemical made by reaction of propylene oxide with water. Propylene Glycol raises a medium level of health concern because this ingredient is suspected of causing immunotoxicity, respiratory toxicity, and causing skin or sense organ toxicity, according to sources compiled by Scorecard (www.scorecard.org).

6.  FORMALDEHYDE: Formaldehyde is classified as a known human carcinogen, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Formaldehyde can also cause skin rashes in sensitive children.

7.  1,4-DIOXANE: This is a cancer-causing petrochemical.

Breastfeeding

 

This has got to be my favorite experience.  This definitely takes the cake.  I don't mean to brag but I had milk and I enjoyed breastfeeding my boys that, well, the let-down reflex was almost orgasmic for me!  But, with my great experience came a list of challenges that didn't make breastfeeding easy at first.

 

Well, let’s start off with the biggest obstacle --- NO MILK.  I believe that women’s bodies are made to produce milk.  Period.  Sometimes, we just have to work extra hard to get even just an ounce out but once we catch the groove, its smooth sailing thereon in.  The more we feed our baby, the more milk we produce.  Law of supply and demand!

 

LATCHING ON. It’s a shame that most of the hospitals in the country don’t give that much importance in aiding first time moms to learn how to make the baby latch on. When its breastfeeding time, the first time moms are usually left to fend for themselves. I was very lucky that my boys latched on pretty easily. It might be harder for those with inverted or small nipples… But there is always a way if there is a will.

 

SORE NIPPLES, ENGORGEMENT OF THE BREASTS and PLUGGED MILK DUCTS. These are all common and natural problems that arise during breastfeeding.  Believe me, I’ve had my share.  For sore nipples, I tried to feed more often to toughen my nipples (Yes, I’m masochistic like that. Lol!).  As recommended by my mother, I would rub breast milk on the sore areas to help heal it and it would actually work!  How amazing is that, right?  Engorged breasts, on the other hand, hurt like a *****!  The best way to avoid it was to let my baby breastfeed until my breasts were “empty”.  Then I would massage my breasts and put a bag of frozen peas on them to soothe the pain. I also avoided waiting too long to either feed or pump.  As For plugged milk ducts, the only solution that I found most helpful was to simply feed more often.

 

FEEDING IN PUBLIC. Since I breastfed my kids for an entire year, no matter where we were, when it was time to feed, I had to feed.  I personally have no qualms about either feeding in public or seeing other mothers feed in public.  Its so natural and so beautiful, there is absolutely no reason to be ashamed of it.  There were times though, that I had my share of stares and whispers.  But did care..?  Absolutely not.  When my baby wants/needs his milk, nothing could stop me from giving it to him.

 

The list goes on and on.  But these were the primary challenges that I experienced before.

 

Now let’s move on to the good stuff about breastfeeding.

 

It’s been said time and time again that BREAST MILK IS THE BEST FOR BABIES because it is THE best for babies!  It’s amazing how the body can produce this magic milk that gives the babies the best of everything they need!

 

AMAZING BONDING.  This is the ultimate QT (Quality Time).  It’s the most precious time and memory that you can actually have with your child.  There is this extreme eye contact… Like a love affair waiting to happen.  The fact that you, alone, can provide that one thing your baby needs is the best feeling in the world!  I still have very vivid memories of having my sons so close to my heart that I felt them memorizing the sound of my heartbeat. Even with his eyes closed, it felt like he could find me just by listening to the rhythm of my heart.

 

WEIGHT LOSS. Yes ladies, weight loss. We naturally gain weight while pregnant for the purpose of being able to provide the nutrients our babies need.  And that includes breast milk after the babies are born.  Making breast milk burns calories… About 500 calories per 20-25 ounces of breast milk produced.  To lose weight, all we have to do is put our bodies in a Caloric Deficit which means that we should eat fewer calories than we actually use.  In the average intake of 2000 calories per day, breast milk production can easily take a quarter off that lot, easily.  That's quite a chunk.  Keep that in mind.

 

ECONOMICAL. I felt like a gun was being held up against me every time I had to buy a can of formula.  Or every time a bottle was wasted because my sons fell asleep, or for whatever other reason.  Formulas, especially the really good ones, are not cheap.  In fact, during the baptisms and early birthdays of my boys, the gifts I appreciated the most were the cans of formula, which I had specifically asked my friends to give (and I will advice any parent to do the same.  It's brilliant!).  Although, I have to say that formula saved me numerous times like when I had to be away from my boys for days to work, and there just wasn’t enough breast milk in storage.  Just be sure to buy the best breast milk substitute there is.

 

Suma total, I do not think there is a reason out there for any mother not to breastfeed.  If you are having any kind of trouble, don't hesitate to ask for help.  Breastfeeding advocates like La Leche League and L.A.T.C.H. are more than willing to assist you.  Surround yourself with people who will support you and most importantly, trust yourself that you can do this.

Dealing with Allergies for Babies

 

What are allergies?

An allergic reaction occurs when a substance in the environment (called ‘allergens’) causes an immune reaction in the person with the allergy. When a child with allergies comes in contact with the substance she’s allergic to, by touching, breathing, or eating it - or having it injected - her body mistakenly views the substance as a threat and releases histamines and other chemicals to fight it off. It’s these chemicals that cause allergic reactions, like sneezing, itching, and coughing. Symptoms can range from mild (sneezing, itching) to severe (anaphylaxis), and can be ongoing or intermittent depending on exposure.

 

What are examples of allergens?

Some examples of allergens are food, drugs, dust mites, mold, pollen, and animal dander (mixture of skin and hair from furry animals such as dogs and cats). Allergens can cause respiratory problems like allergic rhinitis, and skin symptoms like eczema. In some, it can also cause intestinal problems leading to diarrhea or constipation.

 

Hay fever or seasonal allergies to pollen and grass don’t typically occur before 3 or 4 years of age due to limited exposure, though it is possible.

 

Common food allergens include milk, eggs, peanuts, seafood, wheat, soy, and some fruits. While what really causes allergies is unknown, the popular theory suggests that due to the increasing cleanliness of highly westernised societies, the body’s lack of bacteria and viruses to fight directs inappropriate responses to otherwise harmless substances, like pollen or food. This theory is called the ‘Hygiene Hypothesis’.

 

Food allergies also depend on where you live in the world. Peanut and tree nuts allergies are common in the United States, the UK, and Australia. While in South East Asia and Southern Europe, fish and shellfish allergies are common.

 

What symptoms should I look out for?

If your child has a nasal allergy, look out for these symptoms: nose is always stuffy or runny; constantly fidgeting with her nose; mucus is thin and clear, as opposed to green or yellow due to cold; constant sneezing; red, watery, and itchy eyes; dark or purple skin under eyes; persistent dry cough; mouth breathing; or irritated skin.

 

Meanwhile, symptoms of a food allergy can be similar to nasal allergies, but also includes: swelling of lips, eyes or face; flushed face or hives around mouth, tongue, or eyes; nausea, vomiting or diarrhea; and scratchy and itchy mouth and throat. While the severe symptoms include wheezing or chest tightness; swelling of throat, restricting airways; drop in blood pressure which can lead to shock; dizziness, confusion, collapse, and sudden loss of consciousness.

 

Meanwhile, symptoms of a food allergy can be similar to nasal allergies, but also includes: swelling of lips, eyes or face; flushed face or hives around mouth, tongue, or eyes; nausea, vomiting or diarrhea; and scratchy and itchy mouth and throat. While the severe symptoms include wheezing or chest tightness; swelling of throat, restricting airways; drop in blood pressure which can lead to shock; dizziness, confusion, collapse, and sudden loss of consciousness.

 

Sometimes, allergies can cause delayed reactions. Symptoms of delayed food allergies include poor growth, eczema, reflux, and stomach pain.

 

What should I do if I suspect my child has an allergy?

 

If symptoms are severe, seek immediate medical attention. Anaphylactic shock (swelling of the throat leading to restricted airways) can be life-threatening.

 

If you aren’t sure if your child has allergies or haven’t narrowed it down yet, keep a diary and write down any symptoms you notice. You can also have a ‘prick test’ done to test for any immediate allergies. Although for babies, since their immune system is still underdeveloped, these tests may prove inconclusive.

 

Once you know what exactly your child is allergic to - whether it’s food or pet-hair - avoid exposure to the allergen and carry antihistamines or, in case of severe allergy, adrenaline injections wherever you go. Zyrtec, an oral antihistamine, is the first and only FDA-approved drug for treatment of year-round allergies in infants as young as 6 months.

 

As your child grows, schedule regular appointments with your doctor to have her allergy status checked. If it’s been outgrown, gradually reintroduce the allergen into her diet/environment. While there are no straightforward cures for allergies as of yet, there has been promising progress in the research of desensitization.

 

 

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2017
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