Archives for October 2011

10 Tips to Get Your Child to Burp

New parents quickly learn that gas is the enemy. Knowing that your child is experiencing discomfort is upsetting enough; the resulting screams are simply icing on the cake. The first step in combating gas is preventing it by getting your child to burp; here are ten pointers for helping your child expel any swallowed air.

  1. Be Gentle, But Not Too Gentle – While you certainly don’t want to be too rough, lightly tapping your child’s back isn’t likely to result in a burp. Firmly and rhythmically patting your child is key.
  2. Sit Up With Your Child On Your Chest – Positioning your baby so that he’s resting on your chest with his chin on your shoulder is one of the more popular burping positions. A tip: don’t forget to put a burp cloth over your shoulder to protect your clothes from inevitable spit-ups.
  3. Place Your Baby In an Upright Position – Sitting your child upright on your lap, supporting their chest and head with one hand while patting with another may be more effective; just be careful not to apply any pressure to delicate throats.
  4. Lie Them Flat on Your Lap – Some babies burp more easily in a prone position, flat on their bellies in your lap. Patting their back while holding them this way is another favorite; don’t be afraid to experiment with burping positions. As long as your baby’s head is supported and airways aren’t blocked, anything goes.
  5. Burp During Feeding – It may be more effective for your baby to burp periodically throughout feeding, rather than waiting until the end of a bottle or breastfeeding session. Babies who are fussy and seem disinterested in feeding despite having consumed less than expected may need to be burped before finishing.
  6. It May Be Necessary When Baby Isn’t Feeding – Because babies tend to swallow air when they cry for extended periods, colicky babies may need to be burped even when they haven’t been feeding.
  7. Follow Your Instincts – While advice from friends, family and baby books can be invaluable, it’s also important to do what works for you and your baby. Experimenting with burping positions, timing and other aspects of the situation may be more educational than all of the advice and book lessons combined.
  8. Bounce Very Lightly – Bouncing your baby gently during the burping process may also help him expel gas; however, it’s imperative that you do so very lightly. Shaking or bouncing your baby too roughly can cause serious injury.
  9. Gas Drops May Help – If burping is difficult for your child and gas is becoming a problem, commercially available gas drops and gripe water may be a valuable weapon in your arsenal. It’s important to continue burping your new baby; gas drops should be used as a last result.
  10. Be Persistent – Some babies may burp with minimal effort, while others require more attention. Persistence will pay off, though it may be frustrating after a late-night feeding that interrupts your sleep.

10 Tips for Caring for a Newborn Belly Button

The cutting of your baby’s umbilical cord will leave what’s known as an umbilical stump; a short remnant of the cord that’s still attached to your newborn’s body. When this stump falls off, it will leave a small wound that will become their navel. Here are ten tips for taking care of that belly button!

  1. Keep it Clean and Dry – Washing your baby’s umbilical stump is not only unnecessary as a maintenance measure, but could actually slow the process and create complications. Pediatricians recommend that the stump stay clean and dry, which means that you’ll need to wait for Baby’s first bath until the site has healed.
  2. Alcohol is Optional – Midwives and pediatricians once suggested that swabbing the stump lightly with rubbing alcohol would speed drying and prevent infection, but recent studies have indicated that it may actually slow the process by up to two days. If you’d rather use alcohol, by all means, do so; still, it’s not strictly necessary.
  3. Exposure to Air Speeds the Process – Fold Baby’s diapers down or spring for the newborn style with a special cutaway that exposes the umbilical stump in order to avoid exposure to moisture.
  4. Let it Fall Off – Even if that stump is barely hanging, never pull it off. It will fall off painlessly as it heals; attempting to speed things along by pulling the remainder away can actually hurt your baby.
  5. Know the Signs of Infection – Streaks of reddening around the stump, yellowish pus or discharge and swollen skin are all signs of infection, along with fever. If your baby is showing these signs, you should call your pediatrician immediately.
  6. Wait On the Onesie – Onesies are a favorite of new parents, but it’s best to wait until your baby’s belly button has healed to put them on. The snaps at the crotch make it difficult for air to circulate, which speeds healing. The best choice for clothing before the umbilical stump heals is a loose shirt and folded or cutaway diaper.
  7. Small Bumps are Normal – After the stump falls off, you may notice some small raised bumps around your baby’s belly button. These bumps, known as umbilical granuloma, are harmless and almost always go away on their own. If treatment is necessary, the procedure is painless.
  8. Wash Carefully if Necessary – In the event of a messy diaper or feeding gone wrong, it’s okay to use a bit of pH neutral baby wash to clean the area. Pat dry and allow as much air exposure as possible; while this as-needed cleaning is fine on occasion, it shouldn’t be part of your regular routine.
  9. Don’t Panic at the Sight of Blood – When the umbilical stump detaches, a small amount of blood is normal. While the sight of blood is never easy for a new parent, this is one time when it isn’t cause for alarm.
  10. Be Patient – Though your pediatrician and baby books will give you a basic idea of when your baby’s umbilical stump will heal, it’s important to remember that every child is different. Let this be your first lesson in newborn milestones: they happen at their own pace, regardless of the timeline set by baby authors. Your baby may still be sporting a stump for days after you expected it to fall off, or it may detach ahead of schedule. If you have questions or concerns, call your pediatrician.

10 Items on Every Newborn’s Daily Task List

Taking care of your newborn can seem overwhelming at first, but with some planning and organizing you should be able to keep things going at a manageable pace. Here are a few items to have on your to do list.

  1. Morning preparation – Hopefully you’ve had a decent sleep and you are up before baby. Now is the time for you to get yourself together for the day. Establish a little morning routine for yourself: do a little reading; have a devotional and/or prayer time; enjoy a cup of coffee or tea; meditate; do stretching exercises or yoga. Setting a peaceful tone for your day is a excellent way to get off to a good start.
  2. Meal preparation – Preparation for baby’s meals will depend on whether or not you choose to breastfeed. There is less preparation for breastfeeding than bottle feeding, unless you are expressing milk for back up. Some breastfeeding mothers express milk so that Dad can have a turn at feeding baby.
  3. Baby’s bath time – Having everything ready to go and laid out is going to make this time a lot more enjoyable for you and your baby. You might consider putting all of baby’s bath items in a little bucket or basket so that everything is handy. Some parents prefer morning baths, while others give baby a bath at night right before bed.
  4. Massage – You may have noticed your baby’s skin seems a little dry. This is not unusual. When you apply lotion, why not give your little one a massage at the same time? Gentle touch is vital to the newborn, and indeed, throughout life. Giving your baby a little massage every day may help in keeping baby calm.
  5. Play time – How do you play with a newborn baby? Very carefully! Spend time talking or singing to your baby. As baby gets older you can add in more physical play, but for now, just giving your baby undivided attention is fine for mental stimulation.
  6. Quiet time – Many families experience a lot of activity the first few days or weeks that a newborn is home. Family members and friends drop in to visit; everyone wants to see the new baby. If this is the case, you will want to include some quiet time for your little one. Set aside some time each day just for relaxation. You can take this time to read a book to your little bundle. And guess what? Any book will do! Some parents have been known to read names out of the phone book to their newborns. It’s not the story but the soothing sound and intonations of your voice that impacts your infant now.
  7. Nap time – There will be quite a few of these naptimes to start with. Unfortunately they can be extremely short, so don’t expect to get a lot done while baby is napping. On the other hand, you may be one of the lucky ones whose baby sleeps for hours at a time.
  8. Mommy time – This is time Mommy will need for herself. You may need help in making this happen, but it is just as critical as anything on this list. You need to keep up your strength and health, so that you can give your baby the best of what you have to offer. How you spend this time is absolutely up to you; just make sure you make time for yourself.
  9. Prep time – It’s a good idea to get ready for tomorrow at the end of the day, when things have quieted down for the evening. Get baby’s clothes laid out and get together everything you will need for the next day. Set up bottles and formula or whatever you will need for feeding times. Spending a little time the night before to plan for the day ahead will make your life a lot less hectic. This is an excellent habit to adopt if it isn’t one of yours already.
  10. Reflection – You may be too tired to think about anything, but if you aren’t, then take some time to reflect on your day. You might want to keep a journal of your thoughts or write in the baby book or on the calendar some of the happenings of the day. Time for reflection will deepen this experience for you and help you to be more mindful in your parenting.

Organizing and planning out your time is going to serve you well. Remember to be flexible because there are always interruptions to be handled. As you move along in your role as a parent, you will find the list of daily tasks will change. For your own well being, make sure you always include time for self care. When Mommy is happy, everybody’s happy!