Day 94: Stainfighting for Childhood Stains

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If you want to be a father you have got to realize that it’s not for the squeamish. Every type of bodily fluid that can possibly come out of a baby will at one time to probably come out on you.

At times like this, it’s good to remember that they don’t do it on purpose…we hope. It is also good to remember that you probably did this to someone you know and love as well when you were little.

Here are a few tips to get you through the dirty days.

1. Prevention. There are many ways to prevent messes getting on your clothing. When you’re burping the baby, always do so with some sort of burp cloth or towel laid over your clothing in the direct line of fire.

When changing diapers, don’t do a haphazard job. Make sure that the seals are tight on both sides. Change your child’s diaper often enough so that it does not leak out. There’s only so much those diapers can do. Right after feeding, don’t roughhouse with your baby. Throwing the baby in the air or subjecting it any kind of motion can lead to increased spit up.

2. Treatment. You can try to prevent all you want, but the reality is that it’s going to happen. You might want to invest in a few pairs of spare pants and a few extra shirts not that you are a father. The baby does make a mess on your clothing, wash off what you can right away under running water if possible.

The next is to treat the stain. You can do this with special detergent such as Oxy Clean or other kinds of soap. Depending on the severity of the stain, you might want to let your clothing soak in detergent and water for a few hours or even overnight. Then, wash the clothing as usual. That should be enough to combat most stains.

3. Have solutions ready for the road. You will not always be able to take off your shirts and throw it in the laundry. In these situations, it’s best to still try to get off as much as you can, but also to carry some sort of portable stain fighting product. You can buy these that can fit easily in your pocket or purse how are you to treat the stain immediately and watch it later.

Above all, you just need to keep a good sense of humor. Though it may not seem so moments, incidents like this often become funny when you look back on them.

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Day 52: Bathing a Baby

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First things first—ever hear the phrase, “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater?” That’s good advice. Definitely don’t be throwing babies, with or without water.

One of the nice things about babies is that they don’t necessarily need a bath every day. Their skin is very sensitive and if you do it too often, you might actually dry their skin too much or cause a rash.

When you first start bathing your child, a sponge bath is usually enough. You can place your baby in an infant bath or other container to catch the water and gentle rinse their bodies. You can even place the baby on a comfortable towel or blanket.  Use a mild soap designed for babies (never regular soap) and start with the face and go from there. This keeps the cloth or sponge cleanest when cleaning eyes, nose and mouth.

You can do this at least until the umbilical chord falls off. When using baby baths after that time, remember that you do not need much water. Make sure the water is warm, but not too hot and do not leave the child too long in the bath as the water will quickly cool and can cause the baby discomfort.

The most important thing about bath time is to never leave your child unattended while bathing. Take it from the man whose brother nearly drowned on his first birthday. Luckily that story has a happy ending and he’s alive and well today, but it could have easily ended tragically.

Bath time can be a great time to bond with your baby and to soothe them. Enjoy it!

Here are some tutorials about bathing a baby:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/healthy-baby/PR00041

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RnxD-KRkw8

http://pregnancy.about.com/od/newbornbabies/ss/bathebaby.htm

Day 45: What is Colic? What Can You Do?

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What is Colic?

25% of all babies develop colic and if your baby seems to be crying for long periods of time then your baby may have joined the Colic Club.

Colic usually occurs between 2 weeks and 3 months when the digestive system is still forming outside of the womb.  Your baby’s digestive system is still maturing and will go through abrupt changes in the first 6 months. During that development period, the gastrointestinal tract is not ready to fight off bacteria and other pathogens.

When a baby cries inconsolably for long periods for many days or nights, it is a sign of colic. Colic occurs in the first few months of life when baby’s digestive system is still adjusting to life outside the womb. Symptoms sometimes occur after mealtimes. Signs of colic include, bloated tummy, gas, frequent spit ups, disrupted sleep patterns, inconsolable crying. During the episodes baby’s back may be arched, knees may be pulled to the chest, fists may be clenched and the arms and legs may flail. Symptoms may cease after a bowel movement or after passing gas.

Babies cry when they are, hungry, cold, hot or needs a diaper change However, if the crying continues frequently for long periods of time and on a daily basis, it may be colic. Even though colic may be distressing for both baby and parents, it is not harmful and has no long term effects on infant development.

The Juju Band is specially developed to help with the symptoms of colic. When the abdomen is distended, wrap the Juju Band snugly around baby’s tummy. The heat from the Juju Band will help to release the gas and bloating that baby is experiencing. Babies often stop the crying when the pressure of the gas is released. Allergies such as lactose intolerance can also cause symptoms.
If crying continues and you feel the need for more assistance, consult your pediatrician.

More About Bands

There are differences in bands.

Homemade bands that are often knotted are not advisable because the materials are not breathable and the knots can be too tight around your baby’s waist.  There has to be a certain “give” to the material so your baby can feel comfortable.

Elastic bands do not allow for your baby’s body to breathe through the fabric and this can cause your baby to overheat. Furthermore, elastic can be constricting for your baby. If you have ever worn a tight pair of pants with elastic for any length of time, then you know uncomfortable that feels.

Herbal packs are not really effective because they lose potency quickly. Exposure to heat, light, and moisture damage the dried botanicals. The heating methods are a gimmick and can be costly for parents without the benefits they are looking for.  Additionally, introducing new foods such as herbs can have the opposite effect because your baby may have allergies to the new substance and the addition of heat may cause a rash on your baby’s sensitive skin.  While some herbal pack makers recommend heating, it is always best to use caution when it comes to anything heated as it can cause rashes and burning in some instances.

A simple band that is made of a breathable material is best to help your baby’s colic.

Day 38: Feeding a Baby

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If you are bottle-feeding, it is a great chance for you to step in as a father, especially when your little bundle of joy wakes up in the middle of the night. (In fact, some of my sweetest experiences with my kids have been waking up to feed them. )

The first thing you need to think about, is how many ounces to feed the baby. This is something you should speak to your child’s pediatrician about. As they grow older, you are going to need to increase the number of ounces you use at each feeding.

You also need to know that in addition to bottle sizes, there are different kinds of bottle nipples. Some are “low-flow”, which release the liquid less quickly, while “hi-flow” nipples release more liquid at a time. There are nipples that are differently shaped for babies  who have feeding issues.

While feeding a baby, always make sure to support their neck and head and pay close attention. If they are struggling or coughing, you might need to remove the bottle until they recover.

For more info, check out the following sites:

http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/feeding-tools/bottle-feeding/

http://www.babycenter.com/0_bottle-feeding-basics_752.bc

http://www.drugs.com/cg/bottle-feeding-your-baby.html

Day 34: The Extra Thing

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Some of the most romantic gestures you can make to your wife are some of the smallest. I have found that a simple question works well for me. Once I am done doing something she has asked me to do, I ask, “What’s one extra thing I can do?”

For example, if I was supposed to load the dishwasher, I finish that and then take the trash out at the same time. If I’m supposed to put clothes in the dryer, I take the time to put a new load in the washer.

It is those little things that make a big difference in the quality of your marriage.

Question: What is some little extra thing you can do today?

Day 24: Dealing With Diaper Rash

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For anyone with an ounce of empathy, diaper rash is an awful, awful thing. It is caused by leaving a baby too long in a wet or soiled diaper. If it happens, don’t panic. Babies have naturally sensitive skin and it is something that happens to almost every baby.  It can cause your baby extreme discomfort, which disrupts everything from naptime to playtime.

If you see a rash when changing a diaper, change the diaper as quickly as possible and make sure everything is especially clean. Keep the area as dry as possible and make sure to change the diaper more frequently than usual.

You can apply diaper rash crèmes (zinc oxide or A&D ointment) to the area, and this usually cuts down on the length of time the rash is present.  Most importantly, show your little one a little more TLC.

For more info, check out these sites:

http://children.webmd.com/tc/diaper-rash-home-treatment

http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/skin-care/diaper-rash

http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/problems/baby/5-ways-to-treat-diaper-rash.htm

Day 17: Mixing Formula

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Many parents prefer to breastfeed, and it if it is an option, it is one that you should consider. Breastmilk is the healthiest option, but by no means the only one. With my second son, he had feeding issues and could not breastfeed.

If you do opt for formula, it does provide a way for you to be extra supportive as a father, because the baby can be fed by either father or mother.  There are several things you need to know when buying formula:

  1. There are different brands. Typically, when you walk into a store, you will have the option of Carnation, Similac and the store brand. If you baby is not doing well on one brand, you might switch it up.
  2. There are liquid and powdered varieties. What kind you get is a personal preference, as they are both usually mixed with water.
  3. There are different kinds of formula for babies with different kinds of allergies. Some babies have milk allergies and need to use a soy-based formula instead.

Many babies like their formula warm and it is best to add formula to a bottle, measure and heat the water and then add it to the bottle. If your baby is experiencing more spit-up than usual or has excess gas, it can mean they are having a negative reaction to their formula. You might need to switch to a different kind.

Always read the label and mix the formula to the recommended proportion unless otherwise instructed by your child’s pediatrician.

Check out the following tutorials for more information:

http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_newborn/formulafeed/formulafeed_storing.html

http://pregnancy.about.com/od/formula/ss/powderedformula.htm

http://similac.com/feeding-nutrition/formula-feeding/making-a-baby-bottle

Day 11: Top 10 Ways to Get Your Child to Help with a Household Project

If your kids are like my kids, you spend much of your parenting energy being a motivational speaker. Why not try some of the following tactics?

  • 10. Scatter gummy bears on the floor nearby.
  • 9.   Unpack your old ukulele and make up a ‘good helper’ song.
  • 8.   “If you don’t, Mommy and I will start smooching in front of you.”
  • 7.   Post embarrassing pictures of them on the family web site until the work is finished.
  • 6.   Tell them it involves paint … and a shovel.
  • 5.   Turn up the music WAY LOUD.
  • 4.   Promise not to rub their toys under your arm pits.
  • 3.   Remind them about the ancient proverb: “Thou that helpest will not incur the wrath of revelation, nor grow the spines of itchiness upon thy back.”
  • 2.   Perform your trusty tap dance routine.
  • 1.   Shameless bribery.

Source: http://www.fathers.com/content/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=328&Itemid=134

Question: What other methods do you use to encourage your children to help out around the house? It is very easy to resort to yelling or becoming frustrated, but with a little imagination, you can find other ways to motivate your kids.