Category: Parenting

How to Take Care of Baby’s Umbilical Cord

Posted on Apr 18, 2014 by No Comments

When I brought my first child home from the hospital, there were things I had no clue about, and back then there was no Internet. I had been an only child, didn’t do a lot of babysitting, and  frankly, I was scared as hell.

Of all of the new things I had to learn, one of the most frightening was that weird looking umbilical cord stump. What if I accidentally pulled it off? What if it got infected? What if I hurt my baby somehow?

Guess what? She and I both got through it without too much emotional scarring and her belly button is lovely. While these are tried and true tips, keep in mind that I am not a medical professional. Always follow your health care provider’s instructions and talk to her about any concerns that you might have.

Diapers

Keep the diaper under the cord stump. The diaper creates a moist environment that encourage all kinds of bacteria. Fold the diaper down to keep it under the area and keep it low enough that it doesn’t rub. Some newborn diapers actually have a notch cut into them for this very reason.

Sponge Baths Only

Don’t put your baby in that cute, little bathtub you got at your shower. The cord should be kept clean and dry until it completely falls off. Just wash the baby with a soft washcloth and comfortably warm water. It doesn’t need to be real wet. A quick spongebath is perfect. The bonus to this is that it gives you a little while longer to take it easy.

Naked Time

I used to give my babies some time each day to be naked. I’d put them on a blanket covered with a waterproof pad on the floor. This is much easier in the summer than the winter! It gives the cord stump as well as their bottoms a chance to dry out a little. A big benefit is that bacteria don’t like fresh air and sunlight, so there is less of a chance of infection or diaper rash.

Dress Her in Loose Clothing

I always liked to use drawstring gowns for both boys and girls for those first few weeks. You know the kind, the ones with the drawstring on the bottom so you can pull it tight with the babies little feet inside the gown? These cover enough to keep your baby warm but are loose enough that the cord gets plenty of air circulation.

Alcohol Swabbing or Not?

Not. At least I didn’t swab it with alcohol. I left it alone.

Is It Getting Infected?

I looked for signs of infection hundreds of times every day. Was it redder than normal? Did it smell funny?

Here are the signs of infection:

  • Bleeding
  • Cloudy discharge or pus oozing
  • Stinky
  • Abnormal redness
  • Fever of 100F or more

If you are concerned that your baby may be getting an infection, call your health care provider. It’s always best to be safe rather than sorry.

photo credit: Stupid Dingo via photopin cc

Link Round-up: Cleaning Tips, Recipes, DIYs, Springtime, and More

Posted on Apr 17, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has cleaning tips, recipes, DIYs, and more.

Chocolate Covered Katie gave us a recipe for cherry blossom cupcakes that celebrate spring.

Kenarry shared some tips for spring cleaning with small children.

Crafts Unleashed showed us how to make a bird feeder by recycling things you probably have around the house.

link ru salmon dip
Designed Décor shared an easy salmon dip recipe.

Purl Bee taught us how to make bunny hand puppets.

Sew 4 Home shared a tutorial for making stretchy headbands that are perfect for everything from errands to yoga.

Scary Mommy shared a funny post about feeling overwhelmed by chores around the house.

Photo credit: Chocolate Covered Katie and Designed Décor

Latch Board Offers a Quiet Learning Toddler Toy

Posted on Apr 16, 2014 by No Comments

It’s been awhile since my kids were toddlers, so when shopping for a birthday gift for my girlfriend’s little guy last week I found several new products. He is a curious one year old who loves to open every cabinet, drawer, and investigates anything that has moving parts. I found the perfect learning toddler toys for him in a latch board.

If you haven’t heard of a latch board, it is a board with plenty for busy little hands and inquisitive minds. It has lock and latches, numbered doors that swing open, and when they are opened toddlers find a picture. This wooden board is an educational toy that builds fine motor skills and can be used to learn about colors, numbers, animals and more. Plus, it doesn’t require batteries and yet offers hours of quiet play!

I mention quiet, because I have a toy I bought for him that I keep with toys at my house for when he is here, and it also teaches colors but I am very tired of hearing the phrase “yellow circle” over and over. I’m thinking maybe his favorite color is going to be yellow.

The Melissa and Doug Deluxe Latches Board is beautifully crafted with polished metal locks, latches and clasps. It’s quality all the way with smooth sanded pieces. The toddler in my life loves it, and it’s light enough that he is able to pick it up and carry it.

I’m thinking perhaps I should buy another to have here at my house. Then maybe he won’t notice if the “yellow circle” toy disappears. It’s one of those learning toddler toys that can grow with the child whether they are learning fine motor skills, colors, numbers, or more…quietly.

Photo credits: Amazon

True Confessions – Did You Immediately Fall in Love with Your Baby?

Posted on Apr 16, 2014 by No Comments

Every mom I have ever talked to remembers the first time she saw her baby. I have never had anyone say anything that was anything but love-gush and I am wondering if that is common. Did we all fall head over heels in love with our babies the first time we saw them? Did we all think they were the most adorable things on the planet?

I remember my dad laughing and telling me (after the fact) that he had been so concerned about my firstborn’s looks that he asked a doctor if she was going to need surgery to make her head look right. It had been a long, hard birth and her head was a little misshapen. He said that the doctor looked at him like he was nuts and told him that she would be fine.

I am happy to report that she is now a gorgeous, 31 year old who has also given birth to gorgeous children.

I have given birth eight times and, for the sake of total disclosure, I don’t think I thought any of them were adorable the first time I saw them. I got used to how new babies look after the first couple, but I am not sure that the screaming, red body covered in goo was ever something that I looked at and thought, “Whoa! Stop the presses! That child is adorable!”

I was usually still in pain, covered in ick, trying to push out a placenta, and exhausted. I am pretty sure I didn’t look very good to my babies the first time they saw me, either.

Do we give women who are pregnant for the first time unrealistic expectations about their immediate feelings for their children? It can’t be just me that needs a Dr Pepper, a turkey sandwich, and a few minutes to wrap my brain around how I’ve spent the last 12 hours before I am ready to fall in love with my baby!

It’s been a long time since I was pregnant with number one child, but I can remember feeling nervous about the whole thing. Would I be a good mom? Would it hurt? Would it all be OK? Then finally, what if I didn’t love my baby or think it was cute? OMG! What if I had a super unattractive child?

If a young women is feeling all of those things and she is told not to worry, she’ll love her baby the moment she sees it, I wonder if we are not setting her up for stress and feelings of failure if, the first time they lay that wet bundle on her chest, she looks at it with horror. What if it takes her a few minutes, hours, or even days to really fall in love with her child and to really think that it’s adorable?

When I have been asked about my experiences by pregnant women I usually tell them that sometimes the baby looks weird and sometimes it takes awhile for all of those maternal feelings to gush in. If they aren’t there immediately, she should know that they will be soon. Her mind just needs to process everything.

How about you? Did you fall in love immediately or did it take a little longer?

photo credit: madaise via photopin cc

Link Round-up: Recipes, Cleaning Tips, Crafts, Easter Decor, and More

Posted on Apr 15, 2014 by 4 Comments

Today’s link round-up has recipes, cleaning tips, crafts, and more.

Designed Décor shared her way of cleaning the microwave — the easy way.

Chocolate and Sunshine shared a recipe for chocolate lasagna.

Kenarry shared a cute Easter egg finger painting craft.

Crafts Unleashed shared some crafty ideas for using up those toilet paper rolls.

link ru spring egg display
A Beautiful Mess shared an adorable spring Easter egg display.

Chubby Hobby shared a tutorial for creating a plush ballet bunny.

Fishstick Designs taught us how to make homemade chocolate syrup.

Photo credit: Designed Décor and A Beautiful Mess

Prince George Visits New Zealand with Mum and Dad

Posted on Apr 15, 2014 by No Comments

Traveling with a baby can have its challenges, and I have to wonder about the big picture for Kate Middleton and Prince William as they made a trek to New Zealand.

First off, they didn’t have the freedom to just make a trip together with their son because typically two heirs to the throne are not allowed to fly together. But the Queen gave special permission, so they could check that off their list and fly as a family.

They traveled together from London to New Zealand – a 25 hour trip to Sydney where they transferred to a New Zealand Air Force jet for the last leg of the journey. That’s a long-haul even without an 8 month old. The flight’s arrival had been delayed because of stormy weather. Yet, when they arrived, Kate stepped off the plane looking as fresh as ever.

Kate's Legs
The Duchess of Cambridge disembarked wearing a double-breasted Catherine Walker scarlet dress and coat ensemble with a matching pillbox hat. She accessorized with a necklace and the Queen’s diamond and platinum silver fern brooch which is an emblem gift from New Zealand. It offered the perfect fashion complement, and when a blustery gust of wind blew Kate’s hemline, it offered a glimpse of her perfectly slender legs.

Not only did she look great, but Prince George cooperated with the cameras as they disembarked. Later, when he joined other young children for a “crawl-about”, it made for a perfect photo op, too.

No one yanked a toy away from anyone else or pulled anyone’s hair. It all went smoothly as he crawled around like a royal in his navy-blue shorts and white shirt. Makes one wonder if the children were screened ahead to be sure they were all mild-mannered tots.

Life “appears” to go so smoothly for them! Kate’s figure is back to perfect, her baby plays well with others, everyone is healthy, she and her husband seem to get along…no I’m not jealous. My kids are all grown.

I’m just saying, it would be fun to see behind the scenes wouldn’t it? Because there’s one thing we all know. Stuff happens and no one’s life is perfect. However, I have to say, Kate has stepped into royal shoes and portrays the royal image thing flawlessly. I applaud her. It can’t be easy.

Photo credits: The Royal Family ChannelANIMAX2013

When an Older Sibling Leaves Home

Posted on Apr 14, 2014 by 2 Comments

I didn’t expect to deal with empty nest syndrome when my oldest left home to get married. At that time, I had six younger children that kept me quite busy.

It was just that the house felt weirdly out of balance with her gone, but I figured that it was just me. It didn’t take me too long to realize that the family was emotionally limping because the dynamic had changed. Over time, we compensated and things began to feel normal again.

A couple of years later, we did the same thing again when my son went into the military. Oddly, although we had plenty of experience with people leaving home, we went through another bout with empty nest when my next son went into the military. Now we are facing it again and I have no delusions that things will stay the same — everyone will be affected.

For some reason, when your family is young you feel like nothing will ever change. There are diapers to change, meals to get, a house to clean, possibly a career to juggle, and then you fall into bed and do it all over again the next day.

This goes on for years until one day your child isn’t there for dinner. She’s home less and less, and all of a sudden she’s gone. Even if your kids have been at each-others’  throats for years, the siblings left at home are going to feel the change.

It could be as simple as the blues, tears, acting out, or complaining of nausea. There is a feeling of loss that they might not even realize is there.

When the time comes that your kids begin leaving home, plan on the whole family going through a period of mourning. It’s normal.

photo credit: Aislinn Ritchie via photopin cc

Mom’s Favorite Doesn’t Change with Time

Posted on Apr 11, 2014 by 1 Comment

People often ask me if I have a favorite child and the answer is always yes. I do, and I readily admit it. I have eight of them. Each is my favorite in a uniquely different way, from the one that makes me laugh to the one that knows when I am hypocalcemic just by looking at me. Some remind me of myself and others are delightfully different.

A study by Purdue University indicates that the favorite child doesn’t seem to change over time and that is usually the one that is the preferred caregiver when Mom reaches the age that she needs help making decisions.

They found that mothers usually have one consistent favorite over time. This was usually the child that had the most similarity to their mother, as well as the one who provided the most emotional support over the years.

I think all of my kids provide me with emotional support, friendship, family, and I believe any of them would make good choices for me if I needed them to. Maybe it’s the difference between a large family and a small one, but I believe that my children would make a decision about my care together.

My choice of a caregiver would be the child that was in the best position to implement the decisions that the others helped them make and I would expect all of them to share equally in the responsibility. Oh, not because I want them to. They’d do it because that’s how our family is.

I read the study with interest, and it made me think about my own future plans and needs. I honestly can’t imagine having a favorite and I think it’s best that, long before it’s necessary, you sit down with your older children and talk about your future plans.

It’s also important to broach this subject with your parents so that you know what their wishes are. It’s not an easy subject but it is a necessary one.

photo credit: Renata Diem via photopin cc

Link Round-up: Easter Crafts and Foods, Flowers, and Spring

Posted on Apr 10, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up is all about spring—Easter crafts and foods, flowers in a birdcage, and more.

Mommypotamus shared 50 creative ways to use mason jars.

Cincy Shopper showed us how to make Easter chick deviled eggs.

Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons showed us how to make the cutest easy bunny buns with Pillsbury crescent rounds.

link ru nutella granola bars
Chocolate Covered Katie taught us how to make Nutella granola bars.

Crafts Unleashed shared 20 adorable Easter crafts you can enjoy.

I Should Be Mopping the Floor showed us how to plant a birdcage to make a gorgeous spring display.

Melly Sews shared 10 upcycle tutorials.

Photo credit: Mommypotamus and Chocolate Covered Katie

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