Common Baby Conditions: Diarrhea, Rash, Constipation, Colic

Baby Diarrhea

Diarrhea in babies can be a serious concern. If your baby has diarrhea it should be very obvious to you. When changing a baby’s diaper it will normally be looser then a normal persons stool. When a baby’s stool is more frequent, watery and abundant, it is diarrhea. You may also notice a change in color and smell.

Causes of Diarrhea in Babies

Infant diarrhea can have multiple causes. Some require a change in Diet while other should be brought to medical attention immediately.

  • Food allergy or sensitivity to medicines can cause diarrhea, try cutting problem foodsfrom your diet or stop taking medication.
  • If you have your baby drinking a lot of fruit juice, it is likely the cause of diarrhea. Give your baby more water, breast milk or formula.
  • Diarrhea in infants can also be caused by infection. Babies can easily pick up as they are constantly touching things and putting them in their mouths. An infection is a more serious problem and warrants medical attention.
  • Your baby may also be suffering from poisoning. Make sure that you use only baby friendly products and keep all of your dangerous chemicals under baby locks.

Symptoms and Signs of Diarrhea in Infants

Besides the obvious signs, there are a few signs and symptoms the point to your baby losing too much water in her stool. It is important to notice these signs as soon as possible as a baby can become dangerously dehydrated in a matter of days. Newborn diarrhea is troublesome, because dehydration is particularly dangerous in infants younger than 6 months. If you see any of these symptoms contact your doctor at once.

  • Your baby has no tears while crying.
  • Your baby is consistently sleepier.
  • Your baby is unusually cranking for an extended period.
  • Your baby has a dry mouth.
  • Your baby is urinating less frequently.
  • Your baby’s skin becomes less elastic.
  • Your baby has sunken spot on its head.

These are the basic symptoms of dehydration and definitely should not be ignored. If you see these symptoms and any of these more seriously symptoms it is indicative of a serious problem with your baby: black, white or red stool; fever; vomiting; lethargy; abdominal pain.  If your baby has any of these contact your doctor right away for advice, as your baby may need emergency medical attention.

Baby Gas

Gas is a less serious problem for your baby’s health but is more of an issue for her comfort. Nobody likes a stinky and fussy baby, and it can be handle a gassy baby. Gassy newborns are particularly common. Symptoms of a gassy baby are: bloating, burping, hard belly, crying, cramps and of course farting. Babies normally pass gas as much as 20 times a day. If your baby has gas then she is going to be unhappy and she is going to make sure you know it. So why do babies get gas?

Causes of Infant Gas

Gas happens when air gets trapped inside the baby’s digestive tract. A baby will get gassy when she swallows air this can happen a few different ways. It can happen when feeding whether it is from the breast or the bottle, it can happen when your baby is sucking on a pacifier, it happen when your baby is crying or the baby could just swallow air when it is sitting around or playing.

Infant Gas Relief

Treating your baby’s gas at home is simple to do, and can only require a few adjustments to your routine. While feeding try to keep your infants head above her stomach so that air mixes with milk or formula less. If bottle feeding keep the bottle pointed up so air goes to the top.  You may also want to try a slower flowing bottle nipple so that your baby has more time to swallow the formula.

Make sure that you always burp your baby after feeding. You may even want to stop mid feeding session to burp your baby. To burp your baby hold her firmly on your lap or at your shoulder and gently pat her back. Make sure that you have a bib and/or a shoulder cloth to protect yours and the baby’s clothes from spit up.

There are a few massages that can help get stuck gas out of your baby. Letting your baby lay on her stomach can help let some air out. Be sure to keep a close eye on her if she is not crawling as she may not be able to hold her head up.  Laying your baby on her back and moving her legs back and forth can also help.  Another method is to just give you baby a warm bath. The heat from the water can help get the gas moving out of your baby.

If you are feeding your baby solid food it might be time to switch to something else. Some foods cause more gas then others, so it is important to find something that taste good and works well.

Gas drops should be a last resort. With all these other methods that work well gas drops are just another expense, and may not work that well if your baby is just swallowing a lot of air. It is also something you may not want to put in your baby’s body if you don’t have to. If nothing else is working for your gassy newborn, they may be worth a try.

Baby Rashes

Rashes can occur for a number of reasons and be more or less serious. Use this guide to decide whether your baby needs medical attention or just a bit of lotion.

Types of Rashes and Cures

  • Cradle Cap:Cradle cap is a rash that forms on a baby’s head and looks like greasy, yellow, scaly or thick patches on your baby’s scalp. To treat cradle cap use baby shampoo when bathing your baby and use a soft bristle brush to gently brush away the infected skin. If Cradle Cap is persistent ask your doctor about treatment options.
  • Diaper Rash: Diaper rash forms around a baby’s bottom and looks red and sometimes bumpy or blistery in severe cases. It is can be caused by chafing of diaper, but is usually cause by being in a dirty diaper for too long. To treat and prevent diaper rash, let you baby go diaperless for short periods of times apply diaper rash ointment or lotion every time you change diapers.
  • Heat Rash: Heat rash looks like small bumps on your baby’s skin. Heat rash is not much of a health concern, just remove some clothes from your baby and let her sit in a cooler area and the bumps should go away. Try to dress your baby in layers so it is easier to keep your baby at a comfortable temperature. If your baby is too hot she will probably let you know before heat rash occurs.
  • Baby Acne: Baby Acne looks a lot like normal acne and will appear on your babies face. It is more common skin condition in younger babies. To treat baby acne wash your baby’s face genitally. Ask your doctor if it does not improve after a month or so, it may be triggered by hormones in your breast milk.
  • Baby Eczema: Eczema is patchy, flaky or scaly skin. This baby skin condition can ooze and patch over. If Eczema is all over babies body, see you baby’s doctor at once. Eczema can be triggered by extreme temperatures or caustic chemicals coming into contact with your baby’s skin. To treat bath your baby second or third day to help reduce irritation and apply baby lotion to effected areas. Do not scratch at areas or try to scrub it away. You may even want to put scratching mitten on your baby to keep her from scratching.
  • Milia: Milia are small white bumps on a child which they can be born with. If your child has Milia wash her face daily wish water and baby soap, and it should clear up in a few weeks.
  • Yeast Infections and Thrush:Yeast infection happen where skin touches skin and look red and bumpy. They are easy to mistake for diaper rash as they often occur around the bottom, but can happen in armpits, fat fold and even the mouth. When a yeast infection happens in the mouth it is known as thrush. Thrush looks like creamy white sores in the baby’s mouth. Thrush is problematic as it can be passed to a breastfeeding mother, causing pain in the breasts.  Yeast infections are caused by a breakout of naturally occurring microorganisms. If you suspect a yeast infection seek a medical advice from a doctor as you might need an antifungal to fight the infection.
  • Hives: Hives are not actually a rash, but an allergic reaction. They are red splotches that may or may not be raised. If your baby has hives it could be a number of reason including: bug bites, food, medication or product allergies. Hives should go away in a few hours if your baby is removed from the allergen. If your baby starts to swell, or appears to be having trouble breathing contact your doctor immediately.
  • Chicken Pox:Chicken pox is uncommon in babies under one year old, but since they cannot get there first vaccination until their first birthday, there is a possibility that your infant catches it. Not to worry, although chicken pox can make life difficult for you and your baby, it is not a serious health concern. Chicken Pox are small red liquid filled blisters all over the body of the baby. To help sooth, put scratching mittens on your baby to prevent scratching, bath your baby in cool water regularly, and add baking soda to the water for extra soothing. After bathing put calamine lotion on sores to help itchiness. Remember that chicken pox is highly contagious, so you should keep you child at home to prevent spreading the infection.
  • Jaundice: Jaundice can happen in newborn babies. The baby’s skin appears yellow because its liver has not yet begun to perform its proper function. It can last for about a week or longer in premature babies.

If none of these symptoms describe your baby’s skin then it may be worth taking a visit to your doctor, particularly if the rash covers a large part of the baby’s body. Rash and skin conditions can be harmless but everyone wants their baby to look happy and health, so it is worth taking the time to cure them.

Baby Constipation

Constipation can be a serious issue if it last too long, as it can interfere with a baby’s ability to feed. Constipation will also cause a lot of discomfort for you baby. If your baby seems to be in pain during bowel movements, has hard or pellet like stool or is having less frequent bowel movements, then your baby is likely constipated.

Causes of Constipation in Babies

Constipation is usually associated with the weaning process and the switch to solid foods for babies. It is important not to rush these processes as it is hard on the baby’s digestive tract. If you just started using solid foods try cutting back on the amount you give your baby or try a different type of food. For older babies who have been eating solid food for a while, it is good to try to giving your baby more water or fruit juice in a sippy cup. Adding more liquids might be all it takes to soften your baby’s stool, but if constipation continues, there are other foods that help constipation.  Try feeding your baby pureed peas or prunes. These foods can go a long way in loosening stool up.

If your baby’s constipation won’t go away it might be time to try a glycerin suppository. Consult your doctor to see if this is that right option for you.  Glycerin suppository are not particularly invasive but should only be used occasionally if other measures have failed to work.

Colic Baby

Many people are unsure of what colic is in babies. Whether it is just crying more than usual or a medical condition.  Colic is essentially extensive crying with no apparent health, sanitary, or hunger based reason to explain it. A baby is colicky if it meets the 3 3’s criteria. If your baby cries for more than 3 hours three days a week for three weeks. Even if your baby does not meet this criteria waking up to a bawling baby of over the baby monitor at 3 am, who does not need a change and is not hungry will get on anybody’s nerves.

Causes of Colic

The symptoms and signs of colic are easy to spot (or hear). A fussy, crying or screaming baby can be considered colicky, but there can be many underlying causes which are a bit harder to notice. If you cannot find out what the problem is, it is hard to help your baby with it. Somethings that can cause a baby to become fussy or colicky are:

  • Stomach aches
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Gas
  • Over stimulation (sound, light or smell)
  • Smoky environment
  • developing nevus system
  • acid reflux
  • muscle spasms related to growing
  • eye irritation

It may be a good idea to consult your doctor about the cause of your baby’s fussiness if she meets the 3 3’s rule. It may be caused by one of these more severe conditions.

  • Infection
  • Pressure or inflammation around the brain
  • irregular heartbeat
  • Broken bones, muscle Injury or finger injury

While all of these causes are possible, it may be that none of them are the cause of your baby’s colic. Your baby might just have a fussy mood. Luckily while each of these problem have their own specific cures, there are some general remedies you can perform to sooth your baby.

 

Colic remedies

To cure colic a baby will need to be distracted or calmed. If there truly is an underlying problem then, these methods probably will not last very long, but may help to sooth your baby. Some methods can be used together for added effect.

  • Swaddle your baby and rock genitally.
  • Nursing can help sooth a baby if they are willing to feed.
  • Holding or keeping in a frontal baby carrier or sling can help calm your baby if she wants more attention.
  • Put on white noise. This could be a fan, static on a TV, a vacuum cleaner or an app on your phone.
  • Give you baby a gentle massage, sometimes more contact is all your baby needs.
  • Try using a pacifier
  • Infant swings can help calm your baby.
  • Try taking your baby for a drive.
  • Give your baby a warm bath.
  • put a hot water bottle or warm towel on your babies tummy

If you are interested in medications which might help with colic it is best to consult your baby’s doctor before giving anything to an infant. Colic may not be life threatening, but it definitely will make your life difficult. Try to find a remedy that takes effect as quickly as possible.

 

 

 

Formula Bottle Feeding

Why not to bottle feed

This section is not to be negative, but it is highly recommended that you breastfeed your child. There are many reasons that breastfeeding is more advantageous to you and your child. Bottle feeding is also not recommend because it can make your life more stressful. It makes more clean up, with all the bottles you use; feeding your child requires preparation such as heating bottles and mixing formula; it is significantly more expensive to bottle feed, so if your budget is already tight, bottle feeding might not be an option. Of course if you are set on bottle feeding, are unable to breastfeed or want to try a mix of breast and bottle feeding, then bottle feeding is still a legitimate option for you to provide your child with nutrition.

Picking the Best Formula for Bottle Feeding

Picking the right formula for you baby can be hard, it has to have a taste that your infant likes, there are also concerns about allergy to lactose and cow products. You will also want to consider how to proteins, fats and carbohydrates in the formula are sourced. Depending on your needs you will want to use a different one of the following.

  • Cow’s Milk Based Formula:This is the go-to formula. If you are not concerned about protein sourcing and your baby does not have any problems with lactose then cow’s milk formula should be fine for your infant.
  • Soy Based Formula:Soy based formula is made from plant proteins while still offering the nutrients that your baby needs. If your baby has problems with lactose or if for some reason you want your baby to be vegan, then this is a great option. However if your baby may also have a soy allergy so this kind of formula can be problematic.
  • Lactose Free Formula:Lactose free formula, like the name implies, is meant specifically for babies that are lactose intolerant. Usually these formulas have alternate sugar sources such as corn syrup so be sure to read the label to be sure you know what you are feeding your baby.
  • Formula for Early or Light Babies:These are formulas designed to help babies gain weight by having extra proteins and fat. Your doctor will likely advice you on your feeding if you have an early or low weight baby. You may want to consider starting with breastfeeding until your baby is a healthy weight before switching to formula. This way your child will get some of the most important benefits of breastfeeding and be able to gain weight quickly.
  • Extensively Hydrolyzed Formula: These formulas are extra processed to have the proteins more broken down for your baby. If your baby has trouble digesting formula, this kind of formula could be helpful. This formula can also be helpful for certainskin conditions.
  • Human Milk Fortifier Formula: This kind of formula is meant to be used in conjunction with breastfeeding. This is the formula you want to use if you are trying a mixed breastfeeding and bottle feeding schedule.  Be careful not to overuse this kind of formula as it relies on a regular breastfeeding schedule. Some are even meant to be mixed with pumped breast milk.
  • Specialty Formulas:Specialty formulas are formulas targeted at curing specific ailments. This could be formulas things like gas or colic. Usually these products should be avoided as they are mostly overpriced marketing ploys. If your baby has an issue, try finding the underlying cause rather than trying to use expensive formulas to cover the problem up.

Besides the types of different formulas, there are different ways that formula are packaged. These different types of packaging affect, the cost, convenience, and clean up after using the formula.

  • Premixed Formula:Premixed formula comes ready to be used. They just need to be heated and put in a bottle for you baby. Premixed formulas are usually the most expensive and take up the most cabinet space since they have the most volume. They will also likely need to be replaced more often.
  • Liquid Concentrate Formula: Liquid concentrate formula is slightly less convenient then premixed formula, but it is usually a bit cheaper and comes in smaller packages that have to be replaced less often. Just at water and a good shake and you are ready to feed you baby.
  • Powdered Formula:Powder is the most common type of formula and is the most cost effective. Mixing this type of formula can make a bit of a mess, but the contain will go a lot further than any of the other types. It will also make your prep time for feeding quite a bit longer.

There are a lot of factors to consider when picking a formula and price is not the least of them. Baby formula will likely cost you over $1000 in the first of your child’s life, and you will need to keep your baby on formula for the first year if not longer. So picking the right one for your baby’s health, your time and your wallet is not easy. One helpful tip is to try buying generic brands that have the same ingredients as more expensive big brands. Just because a company spends thousands on marketing does not mean they make more nutritious formula. One of the first rule of parenting is to save money where you can.

Picking the Best Baby Bottles

Surprisingly there is a lot of variation in baby bottles. You will want several bottles in different sizes along with several bottle cleaning accessories. Your baby will also help you decide which bottle and nipple combination is right, by simple refusing to use some.

Best Baby Bottles

Different brands of bottles have different designs, what this means is that the bottle will have different part. Often this can make clean up more difficult, but it could mean a less fussy baby if the bottle is designed so that less air is swallowed while feeding. When you are starting off try buying a couple brands of bottles in different sizes. Experiment a little trying different combinations with nipples. If you or your baby find one type unbearable, just toss it in the bin. After finding the right type of bottle stock up on a set of them. You will probably want four 4 ounce bottles when your baby is younger and four 8 ounce bottles once your baby gets a little older. By the time you are buying 8 ounce bottles you should know what works and what doesn’t. Luckily bottles and nipples are not too expensive so you can experiment relatively cheaply.

The material your bottle is made out of is also an important consideration. Although almost all plastic bottle come BPA free these day, plastic still has a tendency to deteriorate over time, so they need to be replaced. Glass bottle are more expensive, however if you are careful with them they can last until your baby is eating solids. If you are worried about damaging your bottles you can buy a protective sleeve that slides onto the bottle. Another option that makes clean up a lot easier, are bottles with disposable liners. If you are using disposable liners then you can hold onto a plastic bottle for a lot longer.

Best Baby Bottle Nipples

Nipples for baby bottles come in several shapes, sizes, flow speeds and material. Of course you want to make sure your nipples fit with your favorite bottle or vice versa. Make sure that your baby is happy with all aspects of a nipple before stocking up on them, as some babies won’t let nipple they don’t like touch their lips.

The shape of a nipple can be very important with picky babies. Orthodontic nipples are designed to be easy for babies to hold in their mouths, while wide and flat topped are meant to feel like a mothers nipple. The latter is best for babies switching off of breastfeeding to make the transition a bit easier. For most babies a traditional bell shaped nipple will work.

The size and flow speed of a nipple are usually related and change as your baby grows. Younger babies usually have small and slower flow speed nipples to make feeding easier for them, as the age the graduate to bigger sizes. Most nipples come with an age recommendation written on them, but you do not need to follow those recommendations exactly. If you find that your baby is becoming gassy after moving up a nipple size, it may be a good idea to move back down for a little longer, because a faster flow speed can cause your baby to swallow more air while she is feeding.

Material, like shape, can make or break a nipple. If the nipple is too hard then the baby might not like it. If it is too soft the baby could tear it while feeding, and make a mess. Latex nipples are the softest, so they are also the least durable and will need to be replaced often. Your baby may also be allergic to latex so it may not be an option for you. Silicon is still flexible, but is a bit better at holding its shape. Rubber nipple won’t need to be replaced often, but your baby is likely to be upset by their hardness.

Best Bottle Feeding Accessories

The mark of a good bottle feeding accessory is that it saves you trouble, time and space. If it just sits on your counter adding clutter to your space, then it is not a good accessory. Bottle feeding accessories are supposed to make prep time and clean up shorter and easier. Here are some of the best accessories:

  • Bottle and Nipple Brush: This is essential for properly cleaning your bottle and nipple. Use this every time you wash to prevent build up from formula especially on the nipple.
  • Dish Washing Basket: If you have a lot of bottles and nipples a dish washing basket can make clean bottles just the press of a button away. Be sure to hand wash nipple and bottles every once in a while so that you do not get build up on them.
  • Bottle Air Drying Rack: This will help keep your clean bottles clean and in one place. Also help you not lose parts and have bottles parts all over your kitchen.
  • Insulated Bottle Carrier and Ice Packs: This can keep formula or breast milk nice and cool for hours while traveling or just when out for the day. A must have for a mom on the go.
  • Bottle Warmer: This nifty kitchen appliance can heat up bottles in a matter of minutes with no cleanup afterwards. Find a nice compact one that fits your preferred bottles.
  • Car Bottle Warmer: The portable version of the bottle warmer plugs into a cars cigarette lighter port, and works well with an insulated carrying case.

If some of these don’t sound useful to you, do not bother with them, but many moms swear by them. Also check out our newborn checklist for more things you will need for you baby.

 

Newborn Baby Registry Checklist

As a new mother it is hard to know everything you are going to need when your bundle of joy arrives. Writing up your own “baby list” can be tough since you cannot be sure about everything you will need. In my experience it is better to be prepared when a problem arises, especially when your baby is young. At the same time filling your house with unneeded clutter while not help you in the first couple of motherhood, and hopefully these things will help keep your space more organized. Not to mention the extra draw on your pocketbook unneeded things make. That is why I have put together this list with other mothers to make sure you have essentials and nothing more.

Baby Checklist

Feeding

  • 8 Burping clothes to keep your clothes clean
  • 8 feeding bibs to keep you baby clean

For Nursing Mothers

  • Nursing Bras and Clothes. You will need a whole new set for the year you will be
  • Breast milk Jars and Bags along with cooler and icepacks for transportation
  • Disposable breast pads
  • Lotion for sore nipples
  • Nursing pillow
  • Breast Pump.

For Bottle Feeding

  • 6 four-ounce bottles and nipples
  • 6 eight-ounce bottles and nipples
  • Bottle and nipple brush. This is necessary to properly clean your bottles for use by your baby.
  • Dishwasher basket for bottle parts
  • Bottle-drying rack. To keep all your bottle parts together while they air dry
  • Make sure that you do your research and find the right formula, but don’t stock up to much on one brand before you know if your baby likes it.

For Solid Feeding

  • High chair. Make sure to get a sturdy and well balanced one.
  • Splat mat. Goes under high chair to protect you flooring and make clean up easier.
  • 3-5 small plastic bowls
  • 3-5 baby spoons
  • 3-5 sippy cups
  • Baby food. It is important to find a food that your baby likes to make the weaningprocess easier.

Diapers

  • Diapers that are comfortable for your baby.
  • Diaper Pail and liners. This is very important if you do not want your house smelling like dirty diapers.
  • Diaper rash cream
  • Baby wipes
  • Diaper bag. Do not skimp on this, make sure to get one with some extra pockets.

Clothing

Clothing can be tough with babies since they grow so quickly you will be buying them new clothes often. Luckily baby clothes do not have to fit really well right away. They just have to be clean and keep your baby warm. Singlets and blankets should do for the first few weeks but after that you will need normal baby clothes.

  • 6-8 singlets mix of short sleeve and long sleeve.
  • 3 swaddling blankets to keep your baby warm and cozy.
  • 2 wearable blankets
  • 7-8 sleepers and pajamas
  • 5-8 shirts
  • 4-6 pants or leggings
  • 4-6 socks
  • 1-2 pair of booties. Booties have a tenancy to get lost so it is good to have a backup pair.
  • 2 pairs of scratch mittens to keep the baby from scratching their face.
  • 1 sunhat. Baby’s skin is very sensitive, so it is important to make sure that they are protected.
  • 2 jackets or sweaters. Zippers make things a lot easier.
  • 1 set of winter wear if you live in a cold area.

Nursery

You will need to make a space in your living area that is devoted to caring for your baby. By making this your baby’s space, you help make sure that the rest of your house is not taken over by your child. This can help reduce stress when you are taking a break. It also help your baby be comfortable if you have everything you need for her in one place.

  • Changing table or pad
  • Crib and mattress.  You do not need a pillow in your baby’s crib.
  • 3+ sets of crib sheets
  • 3 large cotton blankets
  • 2 waterproof mattress pads for crib to protect mattress from diaper leaks.
  • This may seem silly, but a mobile can really help with distracting a crying baby and getting her to sleep.
  • Rocking Chair or Glider, to help sooth your baby and put her to sleep.
  • White noise machine. Also help a baby fall asleep. This can be a life saver especially if you have a colicky baby. You can also get a white noise app on your phone. A fan can also work, but you have to be careful that your baby does not get cold.
  • Night Light. This is not just to make your child feel comfortable, but to keep you from stepping on any toys that find their way onto the ground.
  • Baby monitor to make sure your baby is sleeping.

Toys

Your baby will do three things with her toys, shake them put them in her mouth or throw them. You want enough toys for your baby that you can keep her distracted. You may find that your baby gets bored with toys quickly and won’t play with them anymore, but if you have too many toys they will end up all over the place.

  • 0-3 pacifiers. If your baby likes pacifiers, you will probably want a few of them. If your baby just spits them out whenever you put one in her mouth, you will need to find something else to distract her.
  • Play pen, jumper seat, activity center or baby swing. You might want just one of these are all four. These are good for keeping your baby in one place and entertaining them. You will need one of these if you want to get any work done while watching your child. It is important that you do not use the crib for this purpose. If you use the crib for both sleep time and play time, you may find it harder to put your baby to sleep.
  • Books, start with toy books that your child can use as a chew toy and get familiar with the idea of books. Also start a small library of books for your child that you can start reading to her when she gets a little older.
  • 4+ Teething toys, when your baby starts to teeth, make sure she has plenty to chew on or else she will start chewing your things.
  • Toy. Some parents don’t want to give their child too many toys, but feel free to get your child any toy you want to. Just try not to go too far over board.

Baby Gear

Having the right gear to get your baby is important for her safety. Don’t skimp on this section as it is very important.

  • Baby stroller. Make sure to get an adjustable one with a good sunshade to protect your baby.
  • Car seat. This is a must have if you are driving with your baby. Getting the right one can be the difference between a long loud ride of crying and smooth sailing.
  • Baby carry or sling. There will be times when you cannot take your baby stroller places and you will need to keep your baby with you but have your hands free. Decide whether you want a frontal one to keep a better eye on your baby or a backpack style holder to keep her hands out of your face.
  • Safety gates. Keep your baby away from dangerous areas of your house.
  • Safety locks for your draws with dangerous chemicals.

Bathing

Having the right supplies for bath time can make the difference between a fun bonding experience and a messy nightmare that leaves you needing a shower. Know the space where you will be bathing your baby so you will know exactly what you will need.

  • Baby Bath Tub. Depending on what kind sinks and baths you have, you may need to buy a dedicated bath tub for your baby. You can buy inflatable ones or hard ones. The inflatable ones do have a reputation for popping though.
  • Baby Shampoo and Body wash. It is important that you actually buy brands meant for babies as the adult versions of these products can be too harsh for a baby’s skin.
  • Soft bristled baby brush
  • Soft bristled baby hair brush
  • 10 wash clothes for dedicated bathing use.
  • 4 hooded towels for drying off.

Health Products 

These products are import to make sure that your baby is happy and healthy. Some of them may not seem that important, but you will be glad you bought them when you the occasion arises. Your child’s safety and health should not be taken lightly.

  • Nail scissors or clippers. You will need a smaller set for those tiny hands and feet.
  • Bulb syringe used with saline solution to clear out stuffy noses
  • First aid kit. This is important to have on hand in case of cuts or bumps.
  • Digital thermometer. If your baby seems sick, then it is important to be able to check if she is feverish, so you can decide if you need to see your doctor.
  • Lotion or baby powder for rashes.

Breastfeeding Diet and Tips, and How to Stop Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding Tips

Breastfeeding Benefits

Choosing whether to breastfeed or to bottle feed your newborn baby can be a tough decision for a first time mother, however if you are able to and willing to deal with the draw backs of breastfeeding, there are several benefits to breastfeeding you and your baby.

  • Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby. As your baby grows, your breast milk changes to suit your baby’s needs.
  • Breastfeeding protects babies from illness.The antibodies, cells and hormones in breast milk protect your child from a number of diseases including, asthma, ear infection and diarrhea.
  • Breastfeeding can help the mother’s health.Breastfeeding can lower a mother’s risk of type 2 diabetes, ovarian cancer and certain types of breast cancer.
  • Breastfeeding can help you lose weight. You expend more calories feeding your baby this way. Woman who breastfeed for three or more months, have an easier time getting back to their pre-pregnancy weight.
  • Breastfeeding saves money. A year’s worth of formula can cost more than $1000.

After seeing this list most new mothers throwing out their formula and bottles, but there is also good reason not to including breastfeeding pain, inconvenience or just inability to do so. Many women are unable to breastfeed. This can be because of past surgeries on the breast, illness or even nipple shape.

Breastfeeding Pain

Pain while nursing is one of many breastfeeding problems, new mothers might encounter. There are a few types of pain a nursing mother can encounter, but they normally not too excessive. The first kind is similar to a menstrual cramp. This cramp like feeling is actually the uterus shrinking, which is the body’s natural response to breastfeeding. This shrinkage can also contribute to reduced blood loss for the new mother.

The second kind of pain happens when the baby latches. It can last up to a minute, but should subside as you continue nursing. This kind of pain results from the infant pulling the nipple and areola into its mouth. If the pain last longer than a minute it may mean that the baby has not latched properly. If pain is consistent throughout your feeding session, the problem might warrant medical attention.

A clogged milk duct is a common occurrence in breastfeeding women, but is not normal. If you have sore breasts with a lump, it is likely your problem. Luckily, there are a few simple ways to treat a clog.

  1. Try applying heat to the lump or sore spot before breast feeding. This can be done with a hot towel or a shower.
  2. Try using your pump to extract excess milk.
  3. When feeding try to have your baby feed from the clogged area. To do this try to point your baby’s nose at the lump. If your baby cannot latch properly in this position, it is best to try something else so that you don’t end up with a sore nipple in addition to a clogged milk duct.

If the lump does not go away after a couple days you should see your doctor as it could be a more serious problem. To help prevent clogged milk ducts try to feed or pump regularly. You can also help the flow of milk through the milk ducts by firmly massaging from the base to the tip of your breast with your thumb. If this hurts at all, try doing it more gently or just stopping. These step can also help prevent breast engorgement and infection.

Breast Infection is also a concern for mothers who breastfeed. Mastitis is an infection of the milk ducts. If you have red spots or streaks, along with a fever or symptoms similar to a flu it is likely that you have a breast infection. Treatment is simple, just contact your doctor, and if she diagnoses mastitis then you will be prescribed a round of antibiotics. Continuing breastfeeding if you have an infection can help to clear it up, however it is up to the mother’s discretion, if she wants to pass the antibiotics to their baby.

It is also possible to get a yeast infection in the breast know as thrush. Thrush is accompanied by shooting or burning pain deep within the breast or around the nipple. It is also characterized by itching and burning nipples that are red, pink, cracked or have a rash. If you suspect you have a thrush infection you should consult a medical professional. The tricky part about thrush is that it can be passed back and forth between a mother and child, so if both are not treated simultaneously then the infection can come back.

How to Breastfeed

Breastfeeding seems like something that comes naturally to all women, however some women (or babies) have trouble making it work. The important thing to remember is that there are no universal rules that work for all mothers, and that if something works for you, then you should stick with it.

To breastfeed hold your baby up to your bare breast with your baby’s tummy against yours. If the baby does not take notice try rubbing the baby’s check against the breast. Now the baby should latch on to your nipple and begin sucking. This is where a lot of mothers have trouble. If the baby does not latch correctly, then you can hurt your nipple, making it difficult to feed later. There may be an initial pain as the baby latches, but it should not last any longer than a minute. If you stop lactating then try switching to the other breast. Once the baby is done feeding, bring it up to your shoulder to burp. It is a good idea to put a towel or cloth on your shoulder or a bib on the baby to protect from spit up. To burp your baby gently pat it on the back. If that does not work try a different position. There is no need to be rough when trying to burp your baby.

Besides the basics there are plenty of different things worth knowing about breastfeeding.

  • You should nurse 8 to 12 times a day. This is both to keep your baby happy and to keep the milk flowing in your breasts.
  • There are many different positions to breast feed in, pick one that is comfortable for you and your baby, however it is also good to get some variation to help drain all areas of the breast.
  • If your baby becomes fussy during nursing, try stopping and burping before you continue feeding.
  • Buy an over the counter nursing lotion to help with nipple dryness. Apply when not nursing.
  • If your baby does not unlatch well, try sticking your pinky into its mouth and rotating to break suction before pulling your baby away. This can reduce irritation
  • Nurse with the breast that is less sore.
  • Apply heat to breast before feeding.
  • Drink lots of fluids (mainly water) and rest as much as possible.

Breastfeeding Diet

What to Eat While Breastfeeding

New mothers need to have a good diet to be able to produce enough quality milk for their baby. Remember that it is better to consistently a nutritious and balanced diet, than it is to cram “superfoods” down your throat ever meal. That being said, most people agree that the breastfeeding diet can be a lot less strict then the pregnancy diet. For those asking how to lose weight while breastfeeding, look no further, because you will be burning 500 calories a day breastfeeding your child. That is about the same amount you would lose from a five mile run. You are now burning the same amount of calories in a week as an elite running athlete burns, and you can do it all from your couch. Now this does not mean you get a free pass on eating junk, so put the tub of ice cream back in the freezer. What this does mean is that there is no need to stress over your calorie count. Losing weight while breastfeeding can take month just like any other weight lose program. Focus on making sure your baby is healthy and happy, and you will be down to your normal weight, even slimmer in no time.

Eating well, comes down to eating all of the nutrients our body needs, while not eating too much that it does not need. This is twice as important for new mothers, as they need to produce milk. What this is going to mean for your diet is that you want more whole foods and less processed foods. Now we could all use a little less sugar in our diet(maybe a lot less), but the main thing to consider is whether or not something is just empty calories, not that you are counting them. Here are some guidelines to help you get started thinking about what you want to eat.

  • Protein:You should have at least three servings of protein a day. You need protein to make milk.  Meat is obviously a good source of protein, but so are fish, dairy (preferable low fat), eggs, beans, tofu or tempeh and nuts. Be careful with nuts if your family has a history with allergies though, as your milk could give your baby a reaction. Some of the best sources of protein are lean beef, salmon, black beans and eggs in your favorite style. As usual hold back on the sauce.
  • Iron: Having iron in your diet is important to keeping your energy levels up. Luckily for you if you are keeping up with your protein intake, you have likely already taken care of iron. Red meat, eggs, dark leafy greens and beans are all great sources of iron.
  • Fruits: You know them and you love them, but for some reason you do not eat them very often. Everyone loves fruit, they are like nature’s candy, but their short expiration date makes them hard to keep in your kitchen. Try to hit fruit aisle every time you are in the grocery and make sure to eat them two to three times a day.
  • Vegetables:This is where a lot of people have trouble. It’s important to get a variety of vegetables, not just leafy greens. Check the frozen foods aisle of your grocery store and they will probably have several bags of mixed veggies that are easy to eat up and serve with lunch or dinner. Just don’t let the bag sit in your freezer at home. Try and get to two to three servings a day.
  • Whole Grain Foods: If you didn’t get the memo, white bread is out. Start buying whole grain breads, cereal and pastas. Not only are they far more nutritious, but they also taste better (yes, they do). Try and get three servings a day, or one with each meal.
  • Water:This cannot be stressed enough, you need more water. It is easy to become dehydrated when you are breastfeeding. Dehydration will sap a lot of your energy and make getting through the day a lot more difficult. Try and drink at the very minimum eight cups a day.
  • Multivitamin:A multivitamin is the best way to cheat on your diet and make sure your baby is not suffering the consequences. By taking a multivitamin you are filling in all the blanks that you couldn’t get every day. Be sure to find a multivitamin for new mothers, there are many on the market, and take it as directed on the bottle.

Remember that these are just guidelines. You have more important things to worry about then every single meal being perfect. You can still have your guilty pleasures, just don’t go overboard. For more information on eating right check out My Plate.

Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding

New mothers always want to know what not to eat when breastfeeding. Unlike most things, dieting should be approached from a negative perspective. Deciding what is bad and not eating it is better than deciding what is good and always trying to fit it in. Cutting dessert is much better for you then drinking that “super healthy juice mix” or having a shot of wheat grass twice a week. You already know you should not be eating too much junk food. Fortunately, the do not eat list has gotten shorter after childbirth, but as long as you are breastfeeding you need to be mindful of what goes into your body because it will also likely end up in your baby’s body.

If you are having trouble producing milk or if your baby is fussy during or after feeding. It might be time to try cutting things from your diet. Pick a food and don’t eat it for a week and see how your baby responds. Some common problem foods are: peanuts, citrus, mint, parsley, garlic, fish and wheat. These foods can be problematic for various reasons, but there is no need to eliminate them if your baby is not having any problems. The only two things you should be concerned about your consumption of while breastfeeding are caffeine and alcohol.

 Alcohol, Medicine, and Drugs While Breastfeeding

When breastfeeding you have to be careful what you put in your body, because what you put in your body ends up in your milk. Now that you are not carry your baby around in you all the time, there are reasonable periods between feeding session that some medicines, alcohol and caffeine can be used.

Breastfeeding and Alcohol

It is recommended that you stay clear of drinking alcohol while breastfeeding , however, if you were dying to have a glass of wine or a cold beer during your whole pregnancy then it is possible to have a drink while maintaining your feeding schedule without any adverse effects on your child.  The bad news is that the only way to be sure it is not effecting your baby is to wait two to three hours before your next feeding season. This is only if you had one drink, if you have more than one you would have to wait even longer for the alcohol to clear out of your system.  This means that you definitely cannot have any big nights out (not that you would have time for that), but having more than one drink is definitely a bad idea. It is a good idea to make sure you have pumped some milk so you have some on hand if you need it before all the alcohol has cleared your system.

Babies are very sensitive to alcohol and ingesting it can affect the development of their motor skills. It also can affect their sleeping schedule making life harder for both you and your child. So it is very important that you are careful about this. It is still your best option not to drink at all. You have already gone nine months without a drink, so you can definitely handle another year.

Breastfeeding and Smoking

Breastfeeding mothers should not smoke. Hopefully you have not been smoking during your pregnancy, and can take this opportunity to quit for good. Not only does smoking decrease the amount of breast milk you produce, but it also decreases the quality. Both of these combined make it difficult for your baby to gain weight at this critical time in its development. It also lowers your baby’s ability to fight infection. Smoking puts nicotine in your breast milk which has several adverse effects on your baby. Nicotine is likely to make your baby fussier or even colicky, which will be harder for you to deal with if you are smoker. Nicotine will also likely make it harder for your child to sleep. The most serious threat to your baby, however is secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke can seriously affect your baby’s health. Secondhand smoke increases the likelihood of ear, sinus and lung infections in your baby, combine this with its weakened immune system and it compounds the risk. Babies in smoky are also at higher risk of having asthma, a debilitating and life threatening condition. Worst of all secondhand smoke increases the risk of every parent’s worst nightmare, sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS.

If you cannot quit or do not want to quit smoking you should still breastfeed. The reason for this is that the benefits of breastfeeding will help protect your baby from the hazards of living in a smoky environment. If you are going to smoke when breastfeeding there are some measures that you can take to help protect your baby.

  • Don’t smoke in your house or around your baby
  • Wait until after feeding to smoke
  • reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke
  • try switching to other nicotine products such as pads or gum

While these measures help they will not be completely effective in protecting your baby. The best option is to just quit smoking. This will improve both yours and the baby’s health for the rest of your lives.

Caffeine and Breastfeeding

Caffeine is completely acceptable to take while breastfeeding, just be sure not to go overboard. Experts say that less than 300 mg of caffeine a day should not have any serious effects on your baby. What this means is that you can have your morning cup of coffee or tea every day, but you should probably skip the second cup in the afternoon. Try and keep your caffeine habit from escalating and it should not become a problem.

Caffeine can make babies more jittery and irritable, on top of that it can affect you and your baby’s ability to sleep, which is important to both for both of you. If you notice any of these symptoms, then it is time to cut back on the caffeine. Older babies are able to handle caffeine a little better so if you want to drink more in a month or so you can always give it a try. As with all things the key is moderation. Find what works for you and your child and stick with it.

Breastfeeding and Smoking Marijuana

No

Unlike the other drugs we have covered so far the main active ingredient in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, is fat soluble. What this means is that if you are smoking weed while breastfeeding then no amount of time spacing can prevent it from getting into your milk. Which means that if you do smoke marijuana, it will affect your baby, and the more often you smoke the more THC will stay in your system and be transferred to your child.

While there is plenty of anecdotal evidence of Marijuana smoking having adverse effects or not for breastfeeding babies the truth is that there is not a lot hard evidence that says it’s safe. It has been claimed and a few studies support that a baby will have trouble with motor development, will be more lethargic and diminish brain development. The fact of the matter though is with so much uncertainty it is not worth risking your baby’s health for a recreational habit. Unlike tobacco, marijuana is not physically addictive so there is really no excuse for not cutting it out of your life. To those mothers who purposefully smoke to get a more docile baby, it can only be said that they are being both irresponsible and selfish. Beyond the effects on the baby, marijuana can diminish your ability to take care of your child.

Breastfeeding and Medicine

If you are on any prescription drugs, ask your prescribing doctor or your baby’s doctor about how it will affect your breastfeeding. For more common medication such as pain relief medicine, cold medicine or birth control the same considerations have to be taken as with all other things; do you want it in you babies system?

For pain relief you should always try to stay in the lower dosage range and wait two to three hours after use to breastfeed. It is recommended that you use Tylenol or ibuprofen rather than aspirin.

You just had a baby and you are not looking to have another anytime soon. So you want to take birth control while breastfeeding. This however is a tricky one as some birth control methods are safe and others are not. You should consult your doctor to see if your favorite type of birth control is safe to use with breastfeeding and if not what your options are.

With taking cold medicine while breastfeeding you have to be careful of liquids and pills that treat multiple symptoms, as they likely contain multiple active ingredients. Look on the back label of the box or bottle to see if it contains more than one. If you want to relieve individual symptoms them these are the best drugs to take:

  • Pseudoephedrine is considered a safe decongestant for breastfeeding mother. It is thought by some that it might decrease milk supply, but there is no evidence to support this claim. Pseudoephedrine is found in Sudafed, Suphedrine, SudoGest and Wal-Phed.
  • If you need a cough suppressant then dextromorphan is generally considered safe. Dextromorphan is found in Delsym.
  • For antihistamines it is best to use loratadine or fexofenadine, rather than chlorpheniramine or diphenhydramine. Some good brands for these two are Allegra and Claritin.

If you have any question about any of this, it is always best to consult your doctor just to be sure. While it is safe to use these drugs, the lower the dose the better.

Weaning Breastfeeding

When to Stop Breastfeeding

Knowing when to stop breastfeeding can be hard for a lot of mothers. Some mothers cannot wait to stop while others are reluctant to give up the bonding with their child. Weaning should start as early as six months as you introduce other liquids and foods into your baby’s diet. It is recommended that you continue to feed your baby breast milk until at least their first birthday. This does not mean that you have to stop then, and it can even be beneficial to continue for as long as another year.

The choice really comes down to you and your baby. Are you tired of breastfeeding, is your child preferring other foods, then it may be time to stop. Technically if neither one of you wants to stop you could continue indefinitely. There are causes of children being breastfed until the ages of five, while it does seem strange to many people, it is a common practice in many cultures. Above all else do not let somebody else, friends or family pressure you into stopping breastfeeding before you are ready. There is no evidence that extended breastfeeding will cause behavioral problems or “clinginess” down the line, while there is evidence that breastfeeding beyond a year can help with your child’s growth.

Another reason you might need to quit breastfeeding is for medical reasons. If you are unable to breastfeed or your child cannot drink your milk, then it is important to have your child drinking formula until the first birthday. Weaning off of formula is a much more simple process as there is little emotional attachment to it and it does not pose health concerns for the mother.

How to Stop Breastfeeding

Now that you have decided when you are going to stop, you need to know how to wean from breastfeeding. As you already know you should start introducing other foods into your baby’s diet at six months in addition to continuing breastfeeding. When you are ready to start weaning, the main concern is your own comfort. If you try to stop breastfeeding cold turkey you risk breast engorgement, clogged milk ducts and infection. If you really need to cut your child off, it is a good idea to pump breast milk frequently at first and then slowly taper off as you start to produce less milk. The process is essentially the same if you continue breastfeeding, however you can take it as slowly as you like.

To make the weaning process easier on your child it is important to find a food that they like. This will make it make it more likely that your child is on board with the weaning process. If you find the right food your child may choose to stop breastfeeding right away if they are old enough. It is more likely that your child will be reluctant to stop breastfeeding, so you need to be firm and stick with your decision. Any leniency at this stage will just make things more difficult down, so stick with the weaning schedule you choose. Once your child is used to eating baby food, start offering it more often instead of breastfeeding.  Weaning can take as long as six month so be sure to be patient with your child, it will make thing easier on both of you.