Savvy parents are always looking for tricks to save time and money while becoming better caregivers. These six simple hacks will make you feel like a superstar parent while giving your little one the best.
(BPT) - Whether it's your first child or you've been around the baby block a few times before, having an infant in your life is an unforgettable experience. While there are countless joys you'll cherish forever, there are also a few challenges you'll likely face along the way.
Savvy parents are always looking for tricks to save time and money while becoming better caregivers. These six simple hacks will make you feel like a superstar parent while giving your little one the best:
1) Fast and tidy diaper changes
Wiggling legs can make fast messes, especially when it comes time to change the diaper. To make diaper changing quick and easy, try placing a clean diaper on the changing table before laying your baby down on the table. Remove the diaper tabs, clean your baby up, pull away the dirty diaper and instantly you have a clean diaper ready to go. You'll save time and consolidate messes in the process.
2) Clean stroller travel
Saving your back and making travel smooth and easy, a stroller can take you and your baby anywhere from the park to the mall and beyond. However, with those adventures comes all the nasty dirt, grime or worse that gets on the wheels. Before putting your stroller in your car for transport, place shower caps on the wheels. Your car will stay nice and clean no matter how messy those stroller wheels are.
3) Save money on essentials
Babies need many things and the costs add up fast. Shopping sales and using coupons is a good start, but you can save even more money without sacrificing quality by looking for store brand items like diapers, wipes and infant formula. Store brand infant formula is the ultimate parenting hack, offering the same complete nutrition as the big-name brands but saving families up to $900 a year, based on prices from an October 2019 retail price survey of assorted stores.*
*Retail prices from October 2019 retail price survey of assorted stores. Actual prices and savings may vary.
4) Streamline bath time
A warm baby is a happy baby, and what parent doesn't want to see their little one cozy and cooing? While you're bathing baby, have someone place a towel in the dryer for five minutes. Remember to never leave your child alone in the bathtub, so you'll need a partner or older sibling to do this. Once the dryer is done, have them bring you the towel so you can wrap baby in warmth right out of the water. You'll never see tears from a post-bath chill again.
5) No more noisy toys
Kids are noisy. Kids' toys that make noise can add to the commotion. Those loud bells and songs can test even the most patient parent. When children are done using noisy toys, cover the toy’s speaker with tape to avoid any excess noise. This also works if a toy is particularly loud and could use a bit of muffling, even on the low setting. A small piece of tape lessens the noise so baby can still enjoy without Mom and Dad getting a headache.
6) Stay informed
Knowing what's best for baby is a combination of using your instincts and staying informed. Having quick resources for getting useful information about important topics like health, nutrition and savings can give your parenting game an edge. For even more tips on all things feeding baby, check out the latest MommyMD Guide to Feeding Your Baby Right and visit storebrandformula.com as a resource to help make the wild ride of parenting a little bit easier.
Science shows that human brains grow faster between the ages of 0-3 than at any later point in people’s lives, forming more than one million neural connections every second. Nurturing relationships, early learning experiences and good health and nutrition influence all areas of a child’s development, setting a strong foundation for the rest of his or her life. In order to help make babies a national priority, consider letting your policymakers know you care about the policies and programs babies need for strong starts to their lives.
Pushing for a Strong Start for Babies
(Family Features) More than 10,000 babies are born each day in the United States. Where they are born and where they live during the first years of their lives can make a difference in their chances for strong starts.
Science shows that human brains grow faster between the ages of 0-3 than at any later point in people’s lives, forming more than one million neural connections every second. Nurturing relationships, early learning experiences and good health and nutrition influence all areas of a child’s development, setting a strong foundation for the rest of his or her life.
According to the “State of Babies Yearbook: 2019,” published by Zero To Three, an early childhood development nonprofit organization, babies in many states face persistent hardships that undermine their ability to grow and thrive, such as staggering child care costs and lack of comprehensive paid family and medical leave.
“Families are struggling every day, in every state, and we are urging our leaders to act,” said Myra Jones-Taylor, chief policy officer of Zero To Three. “Most of our investments in early childhood start too late, at age 4 or older. By that time, some of the most important years of brain development have passed. Today’s babies become tomorrow’s workers, parents and leaders. Now is the time for policymakers on both sides of the aisle to make every baby a priority through policies built on the science of brain development and budgets that put babies and families first.”
To help ensure a brighter future for all babies, the organization is working with Congress through events like “Strolling Thunder” to help drive support for policies and programs that prioritize the needs of babies, toddlers and their families. Its policy agenda includes establishing a comprehensive national paid leave program that provides adequate time off to care for newborns or newly adopted children, and allows families to take leave if their child or another family member is experiencing a serious illness; expanding access to quality, affordable child care by increasing investments in the child care system while also working toward a comprehensive, long-term solution for working families; and increasing investments in programs that support babies’ healthy development, such as Early Head Start, and infant and early childhood mental health.
“As a director of an early childhood education program, I can speak firsthand to the struggle associated with providing high-quality care and education programs for young children while balancing that against what parents can reasonably afford to pay for child care,” said Jessica Carter, a “Strolling Thunder” parent from North Carolina. “As a mother of two, I can also speak firsthand to the fact that if I did not receive discounted tuition at my center, I would not be able to afford child care costs and would be forced to stay at home with my children. As a result, our family would not have affordable access to health care. Further, our children would not benefit from the social and educational benefits they receive in a group care setting.”
In order to help make babies a national priority, consider letting your policymakers know you care about the policies and programs babies need for strong starts to their lives, and join the team that’s fighting for their futures at thinkbabies.org/strollingthunder.SOURCE:
Zero To Three
From taking steps toward the stairs to learning that bubbles don’t taste good, exploration is a part of development for babies and young children. While it’s an exciting time, it also can be coupled with anxiety and hesitation as parents find themselves saying “no” or jumping in when baby discovers a new space. To help raise resilient, confident and adventurous humans, consider these tips.
5 Ways to Raise a Confident, Adventurous Child
(Family Features) From taking steps toward the stairs to learning that bubbles don't taste good, exploration is a part of development for babies and young children. While it's an exciting time, it also can be coupled with anxiety and hesitation as parents find themselves saying "no" or jumping in when baby discovers a new space.
An Open for Adventure survey from Babyganics found a majority of parents (69 percent) believe a child can learn to be more confident if he or she is allowed to explore freely as a baby. However, letting go doesn't always come naturally for parents.
Aid in discovery. Encourage and applaud baby's healthy risk-taking, such as mastering a challenging stair climb or pushing through moments of frustration and failure. Additionally, create teachable moments that introduce your child to necessary limits. For example, if you have hot coffee in the morning and your little one wants to touch the mug, let him or her gently touch a warm area of the mug with a fingertip and repeat that the mug is "hot" to help encourage exploration and flex baby's senses.
Let baby be free. While you may think baby gadgets are necessary for playtime, consider rethinking those toys. Instead of searching for stimulation through lights and sounds from a toy, allow your baby to explore the natural environment. Look for opportunities that allow him or her to make a manageable mess and even get wet or dirty. This could be as simple as playing with a container filled with water or letting your baby pull up grass in the backyard. These small unstructured play adventures can help develop independence and confidence.
Engage the senses. Exposing your baby to new flavors and smells helps engage him or her on a multi-sensory level. For example, allowing your baby (at an appropriate age, typically between 4-7 months) to try new foods can provide a feeling of accomplishment while also exposing him or her to different textures and flavors. Encourage even more sensory exploration by allowing your baby to smell the food and even play with it using his or her fingers.
Provide early exposure to new places. Bringing baby along to restaurants and other public spaces allows for positive exposure to new places, people and sounds, which can help build the immune system, encourage social interaction and support development. While letting a child explore in a public setting like an airport or train station can make many parents anxious, carrying products such as Babyganics Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizing Wipes can help ease parents' apprehension and keep little hands germ-free while on the go.
Wait a moment. It's common for parents to intervene the moment baby awakes from a nap or starts moving toward the stairs. Try pausing, allowing your little one to naturally find his or her limits while managing your own fears and worries. This tactic can allow your young explorer an opportunity for cognitive and social-emotional development with you as a safety net nearby.
"Parents often look to their own internal response to guide parenting: 'If I am worried then it must be dangerous, and I should not allow my baby to do it,'" Wegner said. "When in fact, parents should prioritize their baby's exploration and needs to provide learning opportunities rather than allowing their own anxieties to impede their children."
For more information, visit babyganics.com.SOURCE:
To help parents who are looking for answers to the questions that keep them awake, including those regarding poop, sleep and tummy time, consider this advice from the experts at KinderCare.
3 Common New Parent Questions
(Family Features) Almost every new parent knows the feeling: It’s 2 a.m., you’re bleary-eyed and you want nothing more than everyone to get some sleep. However, you’re up, and so is your new baby.
Though most parents wish their little one could tell them what’s keeping him or her awake, sometimes there’s no clear answer.
To help parents who are looking for answers to the questions that keep them awake, including those regarding poop, sleep and tummy time, the experts at KinderCare, who’ve been caring for new babies for almost 50 years, offer this advice.
1. Why is my baby’s poop a weird color?
When you have questions about poop, however, you may find there’s an app for that. Many apps also track sleep, feeding, pumping, weight and more, making them useful tools to add to your new-baby starter kit.
If you see a change in your baby’s poop, track it. It might be no big deal, but it’s easier to remember what happened a week or even a day ago when you have all the data right at your fingertips. Also remember, if you see anything out of the ordinary, it’s worth a quick call to your doctor’s on-call nurse hotline to make sure it’s nothing to worry about.
2. What’s the big deal about tummy time?
Tummy time doesn’t have to be long to be effective. Talk to your doctor to see what’s recommended for your baby. Though tummy time can be any time, you might be more successful right after a nap or diaper change when your baby is well-rested and comfortable.
If your baby just won’t take to tummy time, try making it fun with toys and make sure you’re getting down on the floor to play, too!
3. What if my baby just won’t go to sleep?
According to Super, by around 6 months of age, many babies no longer need a middle-of-the-night feeding and are ready to start learning how to self-soothe. However, about 25 percent of 1-year-olds still have problems waking up in the middle of the night.
“They should be sleeping through the night and can be doing it, but it’s very common that they’re not,” Super said. “Know that lots of kids have sleep issues, and sleep issues will come and go as they grow.”
In other words, if your baby has trouble sleeping, you’re not alone. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, and it’s important to choose an approach that fits your family. That might mean adjusting your schedule to accommodate an earlier baby bedtime (Super recommends 7-8 p.m.) or coming up with a simple bedtime routine like taking a bath, brushing teeth, reading a book, and going to bed.
For answers to more questions that can keep new parents awake, visit kindercare.com.SOURCE:
Getting adequate sleep may seem impossible with a new addition to your family, but it is essential for managing stress and preparing for the day ahead. While there isn’t a magical formula for getting enough sleep, these strategies can help.
5 Ways for New Parents to Get More Sleep
(Family Features) Between feedings, changing diapers and household chores, sleep is often put on the back burner for new parents at the end of a busy day.
In fact, a survey of 2,000 parents, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Mattress Firm, found the average parent loses one-third of his or her nightly sleep after a baby arrives, decreasing from an average of six hours per night to just four. The same study also found that nearly half (48 percent) of new parents said sleep loss is their biggest obstacle to overcome.
Getting adequate sleep may seem impossible with a new addition but it is essential for managing stress and preparing for the day ahead. While there isn’t a magical formula for getting enough sleep, these strategies can help:
Find time for rest
Establish a routine
Try soothing techniques
Choose the right mattress
Remember, the sleepless nights won’t last forever; the American Academy of Pediatrics notes almost all babies should be able to sleep through the night by 6 months of age. For more strategies for helping new parents sleep, visit DailyDoze.com and follow along on social media with #WorkHardSleepHarder.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
(BPT) - Few things are more daunting for first-time moms than the prospect of childbirth. They wonder: Will my baby be OK? What will labor and delivery be like? Moms who have been there offer the low-down on labor and delivery and their message is comforting. Yes, childbirth is painful. But it’s manageable. In fact, nearly half of first-time moms (46 percent) said the pain they experienced with their first child was better than they expected, according to a nationwide survey commissioned by the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA).
The survey findings suggest that being proactive in managing pain with your physician anesthesiologist is important, whether laboring moms demand an epidural right away, choose other medical pain management methods, use complementary techniques only or opt for a combination. Nine out of 10 women said pain management was effective, no matter what method they chose.
But the survey also revealed that many first-time moms held some false beliefs about labor pain management before they experienced childbirth:
* 74 percent thought you couldn’t have an epidural after a certain time in labor (you can have one up until the baby’s head begins emerging, known as crowning)
* 44 percent feared pain at the epidural injection site would last for a prolonged time
* 26 percent believed an epidural slows labor
* Most concerning, 20 percent believed only one pain management option could be provided during labor and 16 percent didn’t know
Expectant mothers should work with their health care providers, including their physician anesthesiologist, to discuss what pain management methods may work best for them.
“First-time mothers need to know that a wide variety of options exist to manage pain, from epidural to massage, nitrous oxide to breathing techniques and that it’s acceptable to change methods or use a combination during nearly every stage of labor,” said ASA President James D. Grant, M.D., M.B.A., FASA. “But it’s also important to be flexible, since it may be necessary to change pain-management methods based on the labor process itself.”
When it hurt most and what it was like
While slightly more than half said having contractions was the most painful aspect of delivery, about one in five noted pushing or post-delivery was most painful. Moms 18 to 39 were more likely to say post-delivery pain was the most painful aspect than those 40 and older. The most common description of the level of pain experienced was extreme menstrual cramps (45 percent), while 16 percent said it was like bad back pain and 15 percent compared it to a broken bone.
So, what pain management did they choose?
While the epidural reigned supreme as the most common option, chosen by 73 percent, 40 percent of women used complementary techniques (breathing, water birth, massage, visualization or hypnosis). Additionally, pain management during labor and delivery may not be “one size fits all,” with 31 percent having used both medical (epidural, medication delivered through an IV or injection, spinal block or nitrous oxide) and complementary methods.
And while nitrous oxide has received a lot of attention recently, the survey results suggest it’s rarely used. Only 2 percent of moms had nitrous oxide, and none 40 and older or who lived in the Midwest used it to manage labor pain. “This suggests that despite the buzz, nitrous oxide may not be widely available yet, or that mothers aren’t convinced it would be very helpful,” said Dr. Grant.
In the future
If they were to give birth again, most moms would choose the pain management method, whether medical and/or complementary, they originally chose during their first childbirth, with the majority (60 percent) opting again for an epidural to manage their pain.
“Every woman’s pain during labor is different and talking with your health care provider and physician anesthesiologist can help you decide which pain management method will give you the best labor and delivery experience,” said Dr. Grant.
The 10-question ORC International CARAVAN(R) Omnibus Survey was conducted online April 3-11 among 912 mothers (18 years or older) of children ages 0-8, whose first child was born either via vaginal childbirth or Cesarean section (C-section) after the onset of labor. Ultimately, 73 percent had a vaginal childbirth.
For more information about pain management during labor and delivery and the importance of seeing a physician anesthesiologist, visit asahq.org/labor.
The American Society of Anesthesiologists
Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 52,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology. ASA is committed to ensuring that physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care that every patient deserves.
For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists online at asahq.org. To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit asahq.org/WhenSecondsCount. Like ASA on Facebook; follow ASALifeline on Twitter.
It is widely known that breast milk is best for babies. However, many people are not aware that babies born prematurely need more calories and protein than breast milk alone can provide. This is why for preemies weighing less than 3 pounds, 5 ounces (1,500 grams), the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends fortifying mother’s milk or pasteurized donor milk, using a product called human milk fortifier (HMF).
Best for Preemies
(Family Features) It is widely known that breast milk is best for babies. However, many people are not aware that babies born prematurely need more calories and protein than breast milk alone can provide.
This is why for preemies weighing less than 3 pounds, 5 ounces (1,500 grams), the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends fortifying mother’s milk or pasteurized donor milk, using a product called human milk fortifier (HMF).
This product name can be a cause of confusion for many because it suggests the fortifier is made from human milk. Yet, this is not the case; nearly all commercial HMFs are made from cow milk.
“In the past, we’ve had to rely on bovine milk – cow milk – protein to help preemies grow, and that’s not natural,” said Amy Hair, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, neonatologist and director of the neonatal nutrition program at Texas Children’s Hospital.
While some cow milk-based nutrition may be OK for full-term infants, clinical studies show that the risk of several severe complications, particularly necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), increases with every 10 percent of cow milk in a premature infant’s diet, according to research published in “Breastfeeding Medicine.” NEC is one of the leading causes of death among preterm babies.
In fact, NEC affects 1 in 6 extremely premature infants who receive cow milk-based nutrition in their diet, according to research published in the “Journal of Pediatrics.”
“Provision of an exclusively human milk diet during the early postnatal period, a diet devoid of cow milk protein, is associated with lower risks of death, NEC, NEC requiring surgery and sepsis in extremely preterm infants,” said Steven A. Abrams, MD, director of the Dell Pediatric Research Institute and chair of pediatrics at the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
(BPT) - The MythBusters on TV’s Discovery channel tackled hundreds — if not thousands — of myths in their 19 seasons on the air, but many questions still surround one topic never covered: infant feeding. Baby feeding has many pervasive myths, especially about infant formula. Here are five of those myths debunked by Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH, family physician and co-author of The Mommy MD Guide to Your Baby’s First Year:
Myth 1: Breast is best.
Fact: It depends on the mother and her baby. Baby formulas are a completely acceptable, doctor-approved and time-tested option when feeding baby. Breastfeeding is hard. It seems like it should be natural and easy, but so often it isn’t. A recent study conducted by Perrigo Nutritionals found more than half of moms experience issues when it comes to breastfeeding baby with low breast milk supply being the top concern. Additionally, while only 18 percent of new moms expect to introduce infant formula to baby during the first three days of life, in reality 45 percent relied on infant formula during those first days. If you experience breastfeeding challenges, look to formula as an ally — it can be used as a supplement while breastfeeding to provide some relief or used exclusively depending on mom and baby’s needs. Also, know that you can find help and support. Consider talking with a friend who has nursed her babies, your pediatrician, a lactation consultant or a local La Leche League.
Myth 2: You have to sterilize your baby’s bottles.
Fact: You do not need to sterilize your baby's bottles. This is another time saver for you! You should sterilize new bottles and nipples before you use them for the first time. Simply put them in boiling water for five minutes. After that first time, however, you probably don’t need to sterilize them again.
Instead, you can run bottles and nipples through the dishwasher. Or if you’re “old school,” wash them in hot, soapy water. Rinse them carefully to remove any soap residue.
Myth 3: Babies prefer warm formula.
Fact: Not necessarily. It’s perfectly fine to feed your baby formula at room temperature (as long as it’s freshly prepared), or even a little cool from the refrigerator. Your baby is most likely to prefer his or her formula at a consistent temperature. In other words, if you start warming it you’ll probably have to continue warming it.
Here’s an easy way to warm your baby’s bottle: Set the filled bottle in a container of warm water and let it stand for a few minutes. Check the temperature of the formula on the inside of your wrist before feeding it to your baby. It should feel lukewarm, not hot.
Myth 4: Measuring formula isn’t a big deal — just “eyeball it.”
Fact: The instructions for preparing your baby’s formula are important. Follow the directions on the label carefully. If you put too little water in your baby’s formula, it can give baby dehydration or diarrhea. If you put too much water in the formula, you’re watering it down and your baby isn’t getting enough nutrients. It’s critical to measure carefully each and every time.
Myth 5: Brand-name formula is best.
Fact: Nationally advertised, brand-name formula and store-brand formula are practically identical but have different effects on your family budget! Did you know all infant formulas sold in the United States must meet the same FDA standards and offer complete nutrition for baby? That means store-brand formula is nutritionally comparable to nationally advertised brands. In fact, store-brand formula is clinically proven to support baby’s growth and development and proven to be just as well tolerated by your baby as those other brands.
So, what’s the main difference? Store-brand formulas cost less because they don’t spend millions of dollars on marketing. Think about all the ads you see on TV and all the samples that get handed out in doctors’ offices. In the case of those big brands, those marketing costs are passed on to you in the form of a higher price tag on each container of formula.
Once you get into the groove of feeding your baby, it will all feel like second nature. And then it will almost be time to give up the bottle!
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