Bath Time Essentials

Bath time is an important part of your daily routine with your small baby. Once the umbilical cord stump falls off you can start bathing your baby in a tub, but handling a wet, wriggly and crying baby in the water is quite tasking unless you have the experience and basic bath time essentials.

Before you prepare the basic bath time essentials, such as bathtub, wash cloth, mild soap, etc, it is good to decide on how often you will bathe your baby and what time you will do it. Babies do not need to be washed everyday but you should always clean the face and nappy area even if you are not bathing them. Here are some points to get you started on the journey and make bathing time easy.

  • Always keep the things you need closer to you before you start bathing
  • Keep the room warm as a wet baby can easily get chilled
  • Pour the cold water in the bathtub first then add the hot water to control the warmth
  • If you have just fed the baby give a few minutes for the tummy to settle
  • Start with the face and go down
  • Avoid using a lot of soap as their skin can get dry
  • Splash a cup of water repeatedly to keep them warm
  • Pat to dry rather than rubbing

Safety

NEVER leave your baby unattended. Whether you have them in a bath seat or they are old enough to sit.

Do not overfill the bath. The water should cover the shoulders but not more than that. Babies can drown in a small amount of water in a short period of time.

Fact

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, between 2006 and 2010 a total of 346 children under age 5 years old drown in bathtubs.

It might be a very scary thing to at first but it will become a ritual you will master as you do it often.

 

Things to consider before introducing solid food to your baby

Bear in mind that breast milk or formula are still their source of much needed nutrients and the additional food you will introduce are only supplementary.

(This first appeared on The Standard Newspaper on )

It is the most exciting thing mothers await anxiously, feeding solid foods. Well, I hate to break it to you but it is not all fun and games. Knowing what to feed them, deciding between blending or mashing, baby spitting or refusing the meticulously prepared food and crying over the spit up food are some of the reasons why you will be over the excitement faster than expected.

To make the  introduction easier, there are plenty of tips available on introducing solid foods with different approaches but they have a lot in common. This is what I have learned.

Things to consider before introducing solid foods

  • Unless it is unavoidable don’t introduce solid food before 6 months. Bear in mind that breast  milk or formula are still their source of much needed nutrients and the additional food you will introduce are only supplementary.
  • Make sure that the baby can sit supported and control the head well.
  • Observe if the baby is interested in food(following your hand or swallowing when you eat).

Once you are ready

  • Start with simple grains like rice or oatmeal cereals as well as maize porridge as they are easy to digest. They are also hypoallergenic, highly unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. Then gradually move to fruits and cooked foods.
  • Introduce slowly – few spoons a day and one food at a time. Giving the same food for a few days will help you observe an allergic reaction, which can be rash around the  mouth, vomiting or diarrhea.
  • You can start giving water after meals now. It will help in avoiding constipation.
  • Avoid fruits with citric acid(oranges, pineapples) for the first few months.
  • It is always advisable to consult your pediatrician before introducing new food.

Hand me downs or second hand?

This first appeared on The Standard on 04 December 2016

Babies are expensive. Almost everything they use is highly commercialized and designed to make parents spend more money with the ‘latest’ design. Unfortunately (or fortunately in this case) children outgrow their things so fast that the money spent on it does not equate with the time spent using it. As a parent you want to spend money on your child and give them the best of everything but that is not always economical. The good news is that there is a way out…hand me downs or second hand.  You can get almost every baby essential at a second hand market or some family members or friends might be willing to hand down things they used for their children. But not everything is reusable for babies. Here are some tips to keep in mind while acquiring baby second hand items: follow.

  • Sterilize, sterilize, sterilize! – Clothes and toys are the most common things your child will need but will outgrow fast. They also get in touch with your child’s sensitive body. Chemicals are usually applied on second hand clothes to preserve the fabric as it is.
  • Use your eyes – inspect the item thoroughly for damages or repaired  parts. Do not rush into buying. If the price seems too good to be true then it might be so. If buying an item online, ask, if possible, for a video of the item on top of the picture. This gives you more details before committing.
  • Check for expiry dates – did you know that car seats have expiry dates? Most materials used to make baby  products have expirations dates and it is advisable to confirm before purchase keeping in mind intended duration of use.
  • Check for instruction manuals –  things like bouncy seats, high chairs and strollers will need the instruction manuals to disassemble or fold  when you are on the go.
  • Get the history – Ask for the details.  When was it bought? For how long was it used?  A crib that has gone under maintenance or a car seat that was in an accident will not be a good thing to invest on. The harness might be damaged or irreplaceable exposing your child to danger.

Sometimes, used baby items might have a price tag that is close to the new one. Research well before doing any purchases. Buying second hand does not mean you are getting discarded items; it means you are getting a pre-loved baby item that another child outgrew.

Infant Eczema

Your baby has a very sensitive skin. It is easily affected by what you eat, the weather or simply by the cloth they wear. Infant Eczema is one of the most common skin conditions that affect the skin during your child’s first few months.

This first appeared on The Standard on 25 December 2016

What is it?

Your baby has a very sensitive skin. It is easily affected by what you eat, the weather or simply by the cloth they wear. Infant Eczema is one of the most common skin conditions that affect the skin during your child’s first few months. It usually appears on the cheeks, hands and sometimes behind the knees and diaper area. Eczema makes the skin dry, flaky and reddish and it develops pimples filled with fluid as it progresses. It is mostly itchy.

What causes it?

Eczema is common with babies in a family with history of allergies, asthma or eczema itself. But things like perfumed soaps, detergents and shampoos can trigger it.

How to treat it

  • Mild Eczema usually goes on its own but it is better to have the doctor review in person. Once you suspect your child had Eczema, visit the doctor.
  • The doctor will usually prescribe steroid creams. It is not harmful as long as you follow the doctor’s order.
  • Try to see if what you are using is the cause. If so, switch to mild unscented moisturizer, soap, non-fragrance laundry soap or fabric softener made for sensitive skin.
  • Keep the skin moisturized. The more it gets dry the more it gets itchy.
  • Breastfeed more often and apply the breast milk on the affected area. It contains strong antibodies and antitoxins that promote healing.
  • Keep bath time short and the water luke warm.
  • Cut your baby’s nails short to prevent scratching.

 

FACT

Eczema happens when the body makes too few fatty cells called ceramides. If you don’t have enough of them, your skin will lose water and become very dry.

Emergencies

This first appeared on The Standard on 11 December 2016

Children are very active can have an accident at a moment’s notice. A few months ago, a seven year old boy in our estate lost control of his bicycle and fell from a height of 20 meters. He was rushed to a nearby hospital but was referred to another one when it emerged that the injuries were extensive.We are often told to seek immediate medical attention in case of emergencies. But do you know what to do, God forbid, if there is an unfortunate incident, say at 2 am or during the rush hours? The suddenness of the situation can catch you off guard and make you waste a precious few minutes after an emergency. Whether you have a child with a medical condition or not, consider the following tips.

  • Do a prior search of medical centers near you – you do not have access to your doctor all the time. Be well acquainted with their working hours, emergency services and available medical staff. It is better to take your child to a medical center near you and call your doctor from there for the next steps when time counts most.
  • Keep your  child’s medical history –  it might not be easy to remember important information about your child’s health in an emergency. This can help a medical team make a better and quicker diagnosis. Make sure to include previous and existing medical conditions, medication, allergies, immunization cards.
  • Stay calm – this is easier said than done but it makes the situation easier to handle than when you are panicked and out of control.

 

First lessons for your child

 

Children are like a blank page in a book and you as a parent have the greatest responsibility of writing on those pages. What do you want to teach them first? However long your list is, please include the following;

  1. Humility – Greed, materialism and conceit are commonplace yet many of our problems can be resolved without aggression.Humility is among virtues that can be imbued in children at an early age. The must learn that being kind and selfless will not make them passive. Their training can begin – perhaps by encouraging them to share their toys. The more we teach our kids humility the better this world will be.
  2. Self reliance – let us be honest, giving your children everything they ask for doesn’t make you a great parent. If children are not taught to work for what they want, they could develop a sense of entitlement. Teach children to work and earn what they want, and to be responsible. They could, for instance, clear the dinner table after a meal or put away their toys after a play. But don’t stop there, children as young as 2 years can do some household chores like cleaning their own mess. (If you are not a perfectionist like your mother)
  3. Important information – I once heard that the first five words you should teach your child are; Yes, No, Stop, Come and Give. These words will cover most of your conversation in the first and half year until your child begins to speak. Later basic information such as parents’ names and phone numbers, where they live, or where to seek help when they are in danger will be important in case they get lost.
  4. Curiosity to learn –  get them fascinated about everything out there. Encourage them to ask questions by responding to their questions (as tedious as this may be)and learning things with them.

Raising a child is one of the most fulfilling experiences, you get to design the world your child will live in. Sadly, parenthood does not come with an instruction manual. You will make mistakes now and then but you can set an example by showing these traits yourself.

This first appeared on The Standard on 11 December 2016

Baby Proofing your House

I have been to the hospital a few times for interesting reasons when I was a small girl. One of the visits was to remove the chickpeas I had put in my nostrils. Once your baby starts moving around, you will be in for a surprise with the kind of things they can get themselves into. Your house is filled with items that can potentially harm them. Therefore, you will need to baby proof it.

This first appeared in The Standard on 30 October 2016

 

I have been to the hospital a few times for interesting reasons when I was a small girl. One of the visits was to remove the chickpeas I had put in my nostrils.  Once your baby starts moving around, you will be in for a surprise with the kind of things they can get themselves into. Your house is filled with items that can potentially harm them. Therefore, you will need to baby proof it.

What to pay attention to

It is ideal for you to be at your baby’s level and crawl. You will be in a better position to see what they can come across.

  • Mouth – There are many poisonous things they can swallow and easily choke. Pay attention to anything that fits in their hands. Coins, medicine, tiny toys, electric cords, any toxic substance etc.. need to be out of their reach. The nose and ears are also places they might use for storing interesting objects.
  • Fingers – those cute fingers are a curious bunch. Cover electrical outlets, fire and hot things, jiko, stove, etc… You will also need to have latches on doors and drawers.
  • Legs – if you have stairs in your house you will need stair gates. You also need to tighten any loose furniture they might use to pull and stand. Pay attention to water in any container as they can easily drown in a small amount of water.

These are the basic steps to baby proofing your house but they are not enough. Whoever will spend time with them will need to be vigilant, supervise their every move and have emergency numbers ready in case of an accident. It is also good to start teaching them early about dos and don’ts at home.

FACT

Household injuries are one of the top reasons kids under age 3 visit the ER, and nearly 70% of the children who die from unintentional injuries at home are 4 years old and under.1

1 http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/childproof.html#