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How to Treat Cradle Cap in Infants - SmartMom

How to Treat Cradle Cap in Infants

Photo from Mini Republic

Cradle cap is a term used for the flaky, dandruff-like spots which can appear on a new baby’s scalp. Often the cradle cap manifests as yellow or brown patches of crust on the skin. Doctors call it infantile seborrheic dermatitis and though the name sounds intimidating, cradle cap is harmless to babies. Most babies lose their cradle cap between 3-12 months old, however, in the meantime if you’re wondering how to treat cradle cap in infants, there are some easy and natural home remedies to try. 

Though it may be tempting,  never pick at the affected areas of your baby’s cradle cap. Picking at the skin could cause infection in the baby’s sensitive skin. Further, steer clear of any shampoos or treatments that contain harsh chemicals or ingredients. Avoid skin irritants and instead, look to a few of the wonderful, completely natural and harmless methods that explain how to treat cradle cap in infants.

Coconut Oil

The most successful and popular natural treatment for cradle cap is to use coconut oil on the scalp. Coconut oil smells wonderful, has natural antibacterial properties and is a natural moisturizer.

Coconut oil can be found at most major groceries or online. Note that coconut oil comes in solid form, so you will want to take some in your hands first to soften before rubbing on the scalp.

Apply a small amount of coconut oil to your baby’s scalp and massage in well. Let it sit for a few hours, or even overnight. This will soften up the dry skin, and make it easier to rub off.

Use a mitt or brush made for rubbing off cradle cap, a cradle cap sterile bristle brush or even a baby washcloth to gently rub the areas of cradle cap on the scalp.  Between the oil and the gentle exfoliation, you should be able to remove most of the dry skin.

To finish, wash your baby’s hair with some warm water and normal shampoo.

Olive Oil

If you don’t have coconut oil in the house, olive oil is a second best bet. It may not have the antibacterial properties like coconut oil does, but if you rub it in, and brush it off, it is sure to reduce cradle cap.

Shea Butter

Shea butter is a safe and natural method for parents looking for tips on how to tread cradle cap in infants. It is easily absorbed into the scalp and does not leave a greasy residue. If you want to let the treatment sit overnight on the scalp, it will be less greasy than other options.

Massage shea butter into scalp, let sit for a minimum of 20 minutes, and then gently rub the patches of cradle cap, until it flakes off. To finish, rinse the baby’s head with warm water. It may take a few times to get most of the dry skin off, so be patient and repeat process daily.

Baking Soda

Also a successful and natural method for new moms wondering how to treat cradle cap in infants, baking soda can be made into a gentle cream. To make a baking soda cream, mix 1-2 teaspoons of baking soda with a small amount of water or oil (coconut or olive).

This will form a paste to apply to the affected areas of the scalp, let it sit for around twenty minutes, use a soft brush or washcloth to rub off flakes, and then rinse.

Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is another cure-all treatment, which also is a tried and true treatment for baby’s cradle cap. Mix two teaspoons of water with one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (or any 2:1 water/vinegar ratio), massage into baby’s scalp (be mindful to not get into baby’s eyes), leave for ten minutes and then wash off with baby’s normal shampoo.

 

For information about natural treatments for other baby illnesses, check out this post.

 

RELATED QUESTIONS

Cradle cap won’t go away! I’ve tried shea butter, coconut oil, healing balm..any thoughts?

Cradle cap help please! I have a one month old and I am noticing dry, flaky skin on top of her scalp.

My son is almost 3 months old and I believe he has cradle cap. The peds didn’t prescribe him anything..

Hey mommas anyone have any tips on cradle cap? I know about olive oil and I have hydrocortisone..

Coconut oil for cradle cap?

My LO is bathed every night before bedtime and I scrub it gently but nothing helps. Any suggestions?

Any of your babies have or had cradle cap? What can you/did you do for it?

I think my LO has cradle cap..Scalp is dry and flaking…What can I do?

My son had cradle cap for the first 6 weeks..Now at 10 weeks it’s starting to come back..

My LO has severe cradle cap and now it’s on his face too. I have tried oil and brush treatments. Any advice?

 

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natural remedies for teething babies - SmartMom

Natural Remedies for Teething Babies That Actually Work

Most babies begin teething between four and six months old. Though you may not see any tooth buds appearing in your baby’s mouth, it does not mean that they are not in pain trying to cut that tooth. Teething can be very painful for infants and can cause sleepless nights (for parent and baby), congestion, and fussiness. However, there are natural remedies for teething babies which all parents can feel safe administering to their little one in order to relieve some teething pain.

Cold Washcloth

Have nothing on hand but a freezer and a washcloth? You’re in luck! A very simple, but proactive way, to curb teething pain is by sticking a wet washcloth in the freezer. Let the little one suck on the cold towel and it is bound to alleviate some of their gum soreness. Some moms soak the towel in chamomile tea and then freeze it, as chamomile is known to ease pain.

Mesh Feeders

All the rage now are the popular mesh feeders, which resemble pacifiers, but have a mesh pocket for the baby to suck on. Mesh feeders are perfect natural remedies for teething babies, as you can insert some frozen fruit or ice cubes into the mesh pocket and there is no harm of baby choking. You can buy the baby safe feeders here.

Ice The Bottle

The freezer has a plethora of natural tricks for helping ease teething pain, such as icing the baby’s bottle. Fill the bottle with water, turn upside down, and freeze. When it’s frozen the baby can gnaw on the frozen nipple and rub it against their sore gums.

Facial Massage

Often you will notice your little one is teething because they rub their ears or cheeks. If they are in a relaxed state, try a gentle facial massage to calm their nerves and settle them down. Not sure how to give your baby a face massage? Check out this easy tutorial video and see if it helps soothe your teething baby.

Biter Biscuits

Sometimes it helps a teething baby to chomp down on something to relieve some of the pressure of the cutting tooth. Biter biscuits are historically a wonderful natural teething method. When it comes to teething biscuits there are many options: you could buy them, or make them. These Earth’s Best Organic Teething Biscuits are made from non-genetically modified ingredients and are a great option for babies 12 months and older.

If you need a gluten free teething biscuit, the Suzie’s Rice and Gluten Free Teething Biscuits are made from all real ingredients and a delicious cookie for a teething baby. If you’re into baking, check out this recipe for homemade teething biscuits that only has four ingredients. Steering clear of wheat? This recipe is easily adaptable for any flour and oil, which suits your baby’s needs.

Frozen Food

If your baby has tried different fruits and shows no allergy, than a simple teething solution is to freeze the fruit. Frozen pineapple rings make a perfect teether, as do slices of watermelon, and frozen bananas.

Your little one will love rubbing the cold fruit on their budding teeth, as well as tasting the natural sweetness.  Always monitor babies when eating in case they break off a chunk of food, which could be a choking hazard.

Teething Rings

If you need quick natural remedies for teething babies that involve neither food nor freezers, invest in some healthy teething rings for your baby. Wooden teething rings are a fantastic option, as they are healthier than plastic, just ensure that they aren’t coated with any toxic finishes.

These Waldorf teething rings are made from maple wood and are hand sanded to a smooth texture, with no coating or finish applied. This bear shaped teething ring is made from organic cotton and is sure to be soothing to pained gums.

Want to make teething a little more palatable for mama and baby? Check out these gorgeous chewable necklaces for mamas from Chewbeads. They are made from 100% silicone, so they are safe for both mama to wear, and baby to gnaw on, also a great gift for a new mom.

 

Once your little one’s teeth have grown in, here are some tips about getting them to brush those teeth! 

RELATED QUESTIONS

Any other moms sometimes leery or hesitant about using all natural or homeopathic remedies for teething and cough?

My 3 month old is teething so badly and I’ve tried everything and nothing is working. Any ideas?

What can you do to ease teething pain and how long does it take before they cut through? And also has anyone used an amber teething necklace?

Any tips on pain reliever for teething that is not meds or orajel or tablets?

Any natural suggestions for teething that is not tylenol?

My baby is teething and miserable. Has anyone given tylenol?

Any natural remedies for teething that anyone has tried?

My 2.5 month old is chewing on everything lately. Could he be teething this early and what are some tips I can use to help soothe his pain?

My 6 month old just cut her first tooth and we are having a hard time coming up with natural teething remedies. Any ideas?

Has anyone tried orajel naturals?
 

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Introducing Solids to Babies: A Complete Guide - SmartMom

Introducing Solids to Babies: A Complete Guide

There is no subject that divides parents more significantly than introducing solids to babies.   Whether it’s the time (4 months vs. 1 year?), the method (purees vs. food in its original form?), the food (organic and homemade vs. jarred?), the location (in a high chair vs. on the floor?), controversy looms around every corner of the solid food terrain.  

With all that being said, I’m aware that no matter what I say, someone will disagree with something in this article.  So, let’s acknowledge that and move on.

Here are some tips for introducing solids to babies that have worked for my family.

Timing

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that’s babies be breastfed exclusively for at least six months.  This is obviously something that varies from family to family, but if you use the APA as your guide, you can begin introducing solids around the six month mark.

Holding fast to a date on the calendar is not necessarily as effective as watching your baby’s cues for readiness.  These cues are: your baby can sit up relatively well and hold his/her head up, he/she no longer thrusts their tongue when something is placed in their mouth, your child is doing some sort of motion that looks like chewing (even though there isn’t a tooth in sight), and  your child takes an interest in what you are eating.   These are all signals that it might be time to start introducing solids to babies.

With that being said, it’s also acceptable to delay introducing solids beyond 6 months if you do not think your child is ready.  For the majority of the first year, your child is getting most of his/her nutrients from milk, so they won’t go hungry. We always tried to feed our son after I had nursed him just so we would not be replacing a meal.   This ensured that my supply didn’t decrease at all.

Method

We started off with purees.   I relied heavily on the book “The Wholesome Baby Food Guide: Over 150 Easy, Delicious, and Healthy Recipes from Purees to Solids” by Maggie Meade.   Not only did this book have great recipes, but it also had information about the entire process of introducing solids.   Offering a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables was important to me, and this book helped me plan and prepare for something way outside of my realm of understanding.

We used a regular old food processor to make the purees which was just fine, oftentimes thinning out the puree with breastmilk or water.   We also gave our son soft finger foods to experiment with.  He loved bananas and puffs since they were easy to grasp and he could gum them down.

Food

I tried to stick to organic fruits and vegetables as much as possible, but the cost and effort often got in the way.  We always tried to make sure we bought organic for the “dirty dozen” (fruits and vegetables with the highest levels of pesticides).

We bought a lot of frozen fruits and vegetables since they are quite nutritious as they are flash frozen at their peak ripeness.   This also allowed for us to stock up and cook when we could rather than feel the rush to prepare the purees before the food spoiled.  We froze the purees in ice cube trays or silicone baby food containers that created individual servings that we would defrost and serve.   This worked swimmingly.

Location

We always had our son sit in the high chair, even if he only played with cheerios.  The act of sitting down and eating together was something we wanted him to get comfortable with (mostly because we did not want to give up going out to dinner on the weekends!).   He now knows to expect food when he sits in his high chair and can communicate to us that he’s hungry just by going to the chair.

Overall, introducing solids to babies is not very complicated. Your child will let you know when they’re ready and what they’re ready to eat.  Watch for their cues and resist the urge to rush.  Once you have introduced solids, you’ve opened your floor up to a whole new level of filth that you will be scrubbing at until your child goes off to college.

RELATED QUESTIONS

My 6 1/2 month is eating some solids and is BF. I know I’m supposed to BF first then feed solids but after he nurses, he is full and not wanting the solids. What am I doing wrong? Also since he’s BF, I have no clue how much milk he’s getting each day. Especially since he’s on the breast every 2-3 hours still, is that normal?

I’m just trying to understand: why is there such a rush to introduce solids? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting until 6 months, with a few exceptions, of course…

Any moms start their LO’s on “solids” (rice, oatmeal, baby food) sooner than the recommended 5-6 months? DD is just not satisfied with milk anymore, the amount she drinks to get full is ridiculous.

Hi moms! How do you guys feel about giving a 7month old Cheerios? He doesn’t have any teeth yet but he shows so much interest in solids besides his baby food that I feel bad…he even eats beans…

When did all you mommies start your babies on solids? Jar food, cereal, oatmeal, fruit? How often and what age? Also any suggestions on what’s most healthy for them and what they liked best? I have a 4 month old. Is it too early?

When did you stop breastfeeding? LO is 6 1/2 months and has never had formula or anything but after starting solids breastfeeding has become so difficult….

I started feeding my 8 month old solids and so far she’s had applesauce, sweet potato, zucchini, carrots, banana, green beans, pear, tortillas (corn and flour), avocado, and baby cereal. Of all that, she did not like carrots, banana, baby cereal, pear, applesauce, and green beans. What else can I add to her diet? She’s EBF.

What was your baby’s favorite new food once you started introducing solids?

How long did you continue breast feeding once solids were introduced? There is so much literature but what do moms actually do?

When introducing solids, (I have 5.5 months old son), I hear you’re supposed to introduce one type of food at a time and wait for three days. I guess that means only formula or breast milk for those 3 days?
 

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Natural Cures for Diaper Rash - SmartMom

Seven Simple and Natural Cures for Diaper Rash

There is a common misconception that babies’ bottoms are supposed to be smooth skin and rash free. However, most babies have sensitive skin on their behinds and add to that the fact that they sit in a diaper all day long, it’s practically a recipe for diaper rash.

Diaper rash is very common for babies and toddlers of all ages and though it is harmless, it can be uncomfortable, and if not treated, can cause yeast or bacterial infections. Luckily there are natural cures for diaper rash, which are perfect for your baby’s sensitive skin.

Change the Diaper

One of the easiest natural cures for diaper rash is to make sure that you change your baby’s diaper as soon as they go to the bathroom. The longer the baby sits in the dampness of the diaper, the more likely it is that bacteria or yeast can grow in the moist environment. When putting a diaper back on a baby, make sure that their bottom is as dry as possible. After wiping, use tissues to blot the wetness off the baby and then diaper.

Check the Wipes

When changing the baby, especially if changing the baby’s diaper often, make sure to use very sensitive diaper wipes, or simply use plain water to wash their behind. Often baby wipes have chemicals or harsh ingredients in them, which can perpetuate irritation on the baby’s sensitive skin.

Go Diaper Free

If changing the diaper often or using sensitive baby wipes fails to help prevent diaper rash in your little one, try going without a diaper completely. The diaper provides a moist environment of urine or feces, pressed up against the baby’s sensitive skin. This can make the skin raw, irritated, and breed yeast or bacteria. Let your baby go diaper free for as much time as possible.

This will allow the skin to air out and breath. Worried about the baby messing up the house? Try letting them run around sans diaper outside, or use rubber mats, towels, or plastic tablecloths under them inside the house.

Breast Milk

Yes, breast milk is one of the most unsung natural cures for diaper rash. Apply a few drops of breast milk to your baby’s bottom and rub in gently. Breast milk is not just a great way to heal diaper rash, but a completely safe way to prevent diaper rash, as well. After application, let air dry, and then diaper.

Coconut Oil

Another cure-all for babies is coconut oil. It’s one of the most perfect natural cures for diaper rash, as it’s safe for baby skin, contains antibacterial properties and above all, smells delicious. Apply a thin coat of organic coconut oil either to heal diaper rash or prevent it. Coconut oil is a fantastic wetness barrier for a baby’s behind, so it is wonderful at preventing too much moisture from accumulating on the baby’s skin.

Oatmeal

Oats have long been a cure for skin ailments, as it has soothing properties that can heal irritation and itching, one of the best natural cures for diaper rash. Place some oats in a blender until they form a fine powder; mix into a warm bath until the bath looks milky. Let the baby soak in the bath for 15-20 minutes, and then pat dry. This will help ease and diaper rash redness and irritation, and thus allow the skin to start the healing process.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Another kitchen staple that has natural antibacterial and anti-fungal properties is apple cider vinegar. Mix a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with half a cup of warm water; dip a clean washcloth in the mixture and dab on baby’s bottom. Let dry thoroughly before diapering. This will help prevent any yeast or bacteria from growing, as well as helping the raw skin heal.

RELATED QUESTIONS

HELP! Diaper rash is the pits! My poor red bottom, 8 month old little girl! I’ve tried everything I can think of and then some. Any mommy’s out there know something I don’t? I hate seeing her in pain.

Hi Moms! My 9 month old little girl is continuously getting diaper rash & heat boils on her bottom. I consulted with her doctor and he prescribed ointments which help but don’t eliminate it all together. Do you have ladies know of any other ways I could be helping her?

I know I can google this and trust me I have but I need real moms responses, what is the best thing to do for diaper rash?

Diaper rash question! What’s the best way to help it? My son and I both just got over the stomach bug but from pooping so much my son now has a really bad diaper rash where it’s got a little blood. I use Desitin rapid relief and the second I noticed it I started putting it on him. Any suggestions?

My LO has a horribly diaper rash. I’ve been using extra strength Desitin but it’s not working. Any tips on what I could use to help it?

My daughter has a horrible red, angry diaper rash and I don’t know what it’s from! She hasn’t changed foods or anything. Nothing has helped clear it up in 3 days. Any suggestions?

What do you mommies do for newborn diaper rash? It was so bad on my LO that he bled. We used Desitin but it really didn’t work…

Are there any other reason why babies get diaper rash? I thought they get because the diaper brand or baby wipes brand aren’t right for their skin…

Any moms out there love a specific diaper rash cream? We use Aquaphor regularly however, my son has a very bad rash right now…

HELP! My daughter has had a diaper rash for over a month I was using Desitin for about 3 weeks. It wasn’t working then I took her to her doctor…
 

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Baby Sleep Myths - SmartMom

5 Baby Sleep Myths, Debunked

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When I was a new mom, I pored over books and blogs, and talked to all my mom friends looking for “answers” to questions about my baby’s sleep schedule. I’ve since learned from my experience as a parent and my training as a sleep consultant that there are some pretty big myths circulating.  But when you’re wading through advice it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction (especially if you’re exhausted from lack of sleep!)

Here are some of the baby sleep myths I’d like to bust, once and for all:

1. Feeding your baby more will help him sleep longer.

Newborns need to eat frequently – sometimes as often as every hour. This is normal. Their tummies are tiny, milk is digested quickly, and they are growing like crazy, which adds up to lots of feedings, night and day.

It seems somewhat logical that if you feed a baby more (for instance, by giving him a big bottle or mixing in rice cereal) that he would sleep longer, but this is simply not true. Babies sleep for longer stretches when they are developmentally ready to do so (although they often need assistance learning this skill – see myth #3). Over-filling their tummies will not make that happen faster.

2. Your baby will naturally give up night feedings when he or she is ready.

Again, the idea is that when babies wake at night, it is always due to hunger. However, for many babies, eating at night becomes a learned habit.

If I eat a bowl of ice cream at 9pm every night while watching TV, my body will learn to feel hungry at that time. Babies are the same way.

Most infants past the age of 6 months are ready to go pretty long stretches at night without a feeding – 10 or 12 hours. But they may not give up their nighttime eating habit without a little nudge. It’s fairly easy to wean your baby from these feedings by gradually reducing the number of ounces in the bottle or the number of minutes you’re nursing (always check with your pediatrician first). Your baby will adjust by consuming extra calories during the day.

3. Your baby will figure out how to sleep on his own.

This is similar to myth #2. Some babies do seem to figure out how to sleep on their own, just like some kids hop on a bike and start pedaling away on the first try. Many babies, though, need some encouragement. Sleeping is a natural state, but going to sleep is a skill – a skill that comes more easily to some than others.

If your baby is still waking regularly in the night by the time he is about 6 months old, consider some gentle sleep coaching strategies (see myth #4). You may think it will get easier as he gets older, but generally the opposite is true.

4. “Cry it out” is the only way to help your child learn to sleep

In the world of infant sleep, “sleep training” is often equated with “crying it out” – i.e., putting your baby in her bed, leaving the room, and letting her cry until she goes sleep.

Many parents simply can’t stomach leaving their babies alone to cry, though, and no sleep coaching method is going to work if you don’t do it consistently.

The good news is that there ARE alternatives that are just as effective – alternatives that enable you to be present to comfort and sooth your baby.  As your baby’s sleep skills improve, you can gradually reduce the amount of reassurance you provide.

5. Your baby should be on a predictable nap schedule.

Some sleep books suggest that by the time your baby is 3 or 4 months old, his naps will have taken shape. While this may be true for a few lucky moms, most babies this young still have great variation in their naps from day to day.

If your little one is under 6 months old and his naps are all over the place, don’t worry! What’s most important at this age is to observe his sleepy signals and get him to sleep frequently. Most young babies can’t stay awake more than 90 minutes to 2 hours, sometimes even less, without becoming over-stimulated and over-tired. Even older babies have fairly short “awake windows” of 2 or possibly 3 hours.

Sleep is so important to your baby’s health and well-being – and yours! Arm yourself with solid information, be prepared for the inevitable shifts that come along with each stage of your baby’s incredible development, and gently work to establish healthy sleep habits. These healthy sleep habits will serve you both well for years to come!

RELATED QUESTIONS

Formula helps babies sleep better/longer at night. Myth or truth? Has any mommy tried/experimented?

So moment of truth…. Myth or no myth… Sleeping or laying on your back when your pregnant is it really a huge deal? Please explain…

Here is a good read on the myth of sleep regression. Thought some of you moms would enjoy. http://www.pinkymckay.com/the-myth-of-baby-sleep-regressions-whats-really-happening-to-your-babys-sleep/

 

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sick baby - SmartMom

10 Ways to Help Your Sick Baby Feel Better

You know your baby better than anyone. You know what she’s like when she’s happy, you know what she’s like when she’s sad, and you’ll be the first to know if she’s feeling under the weather.

Here are 10 ways you can help a sick baby feel better a little faster.

Make applesauce “lollipops” to soothe sore gums.

By the time we celebrated my daughter’s first birthday it honestly felt like she had been teething for 90% of her life. Cutting teeth can be an extremely miserable experience (for everyone involved!) but there are a few things you can do to help your baby feel more comfortable. One of my favorite teething-survival methods is to spread a spoonful of applesauce in the center of a clean washcloth, then fold and twist it up so that it resembles a lollipop. Stick it in the freezer for 20 minutes or so and then let your little chew on it. It will soothe their aching gums, and the yummy applesauce will keep them interested.

Serve frozen treats to sooth sore gums.

Once my babies are old enough, I let them chomp down on frozen peas or frozen blueberries when they’re teething. This works like a charm and my kids totally love it. But I will warn you- blueberries stain. Bad. One time I even tried to outsmart the blueberries by stripping my baby down to his diaper before letting him loose, and he was purple for 2 days. You have been warned.

Use a pillow to help relieve congestion.

If your baby is congested you can help her get some sleep by placing a pillow under the crib mattress so that it’s slightly inclined. (Just slightly. You don’t want her rolling down it.) This will help the mucus drain better, and she’ll have an easier time breathing.

Use saline solution for stuffy nose relief.

Saline solution can work wonders on a stuffy nose. Just put a few drops in each nostril before using an aspirator to remove the mucus.

Avoid bulb syringes.

Speaking of aspirators, those blue bulb syringes are a mom’s worst enemy. My 11 month old has developed a burning hatred of them. It takes 3 fully grown adults to tackle him, pin his arms to his side, hold his head still, and try to stick the thing up his nose without accidently taking his eye out. And even after all that work, the results leave something to be desired… if one can in fact desire mucus. In search of a better alternative I stumbled across this device. It has rave reviews but I haven’t been able to bring myself to try it yet. What are your thoughts? Have you ever used one? I’d love to hear about it!

Use essential oils.

We love oils at our house. The ones we use the most on the kids are peppermint, lavender, eucalyptus, melaluca, and wild orange. We use them for everything from ear infections and bronchitis to a sore throat. Coconut and olive oil can both be used to treat cradle cap. Just be sure to do your research on how to use essential oils properly. Some of them will need to be diluted before you can safely use them on your baby.

Practice infant massage.

This kind of goes hand in hand with essential oils. When my babies have an ear infection I like to use a drop of diluted lavender and eucalyptus oil and massage in a downward direction behind their ear, on their neck. Then I apply gentle inward pressure in front of the ear toward their cheek (where their sideburns would be). It’s relaxing, and seems to help their infections clear up quickly.

Use rice packs.

I know I’ve mentioned our obsession with rice packs before, but seriously… they are fantastic! We use them on sore muscles, upset tummies, and earaches. It’s always the first thing our kids ask for if they are sick.

Talk to your pediatrician about baby Tylenol.

If your baby has a fever Tylenol can help make him a little more comfortable. Depending on your child’s age you may need to check with your pediatrician first. He may even tell you to alternate between Ibuprofen and Tylenol.

SNUGGLES.

Last but not least,  forget your daily list of things to do and spend some quality down time with your baby. It will help him feel more comfortable, and guaranteed you’ll enjoy the cuddling too.

 

RELATED QUESTIONS

Would any mom leave work or call in if their baby was sick?? Even if the job doesn’t take doctor excuses..

11 weeks pregnant and I can’t hardly eat anything.. anything I can do to fix this? And is it going to affect my baby?

My twins are so congested from nose and now my 3 month baby is sick as well..help please

A family member was sick for two weeks.. would it be okay to bring them around my baby?

I hate that I am sick and I have to literally ask for help..

My baby girl is sick for the first time..

My baby has been going to daycare since he was 6 weeks old and is now sick.. Is this something that should be expected because he is in daycare?!

My poor baby girl woke up and has gotten sick.. Should I take her to the doctor? What can I do to help her get better?

My 9 month old baby is sick for the first time with what seems to be a common cold..

My daughter has had a high fever since yesterday.. no sneezing or runny nose, nothing..

 

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Birthing at Home - SmartMom

Why Some Moms Choose Birthing at Home

Photo by Rhonda Robbins

The reason I am a midwife today is because I had my son Larsen at home 22 years ago. Many people are embarrassed to admit this, but not me. The main reason I looked into birthing at home at that time was because the cost was lower than that of a hospital birth.

Today, home birth remains a safe, relaxing, and affordable option for birthing moms and their partners. Though everyone has different reasons for choosing a home birth, there are a few that are common among expectant parents.

Home Birth is Affordable.

In Utah, home birth costs approximately $3,000. It is my own belief that in most areas of the United States, the cost of a home birth remains much less than a hospital birth. For some, it costs even less than the co-pay for most insurance providers.

When I tell my prospective clients my fee, the most common response is an incredulous: “does that include everything?”  It does. Though extra tests like ultrasounds and lab work can add a few hundred dollars, those are not always necessary for everyone. In our world of rising health care costs, it amazes me that parents can welcome their baby into the world with an affordable option.

Home Birth is Nonintrusive. 

Many midwives offer what I call a “no-hassle” approach to childbirth.  Midwives generally believe that birth is a natural body process, not a medical emergency.  We subscribe to the belief that that if let alone, without disturbance, the birthing can master the task at hand – delivering her baby – better than she would with most forms of medical intervention.  In the case of a healthy pregnancy, the expectant mother simply needs good encouragement and support.

Home Birth Provides a Positive Environment. 

During a prenatal appointment, midwives typically take vital signs on the mom and baby, measure the baby, track maternal weight and do a urinalysis. These are all basic, non-invasive medical screenings that are simply good common sense. Assuming that a mom is healthy, we look for a healthy outcome from a pregnancy. Sometimes I wonder if there Is a bit of a hyper vigilance in the medical community that can actually scare moms.  Of course, there are a few situations that require medical attention and intervention, but in a typical pregnancy, a more positive approach can lead to a more positive outcome.

This notion carries over to the baby’s actual birth as well as the prenatal care. In a healthy pregnancy, we believe it’s better to focus on the positive than to look steadfastly for a problem. When it comes time to deliver, a mom can labor and birth in a more peaceful, positive environment, free from stress. A mom who is fed, hydrated, rested, and comfortable will be more than adequately equipped to deliver her baby. As her care providers, her midwives and doulas become the true support staff with mom at the center.

Home Birth Allows More Creature Comforts. 

Many of the moms whose babies I deliver at home opt to have a water birth. Water can be a wonderful comfort during the most intense periods of labor. Some parents choose to buy, rent or borrow a special birthing tub, while others prefer to labor and/or birth in one of the tubs already in the home. We especially recommend “garden tubs” or “jetted tubs” as the most relaxing for a laboring mom.

To ensure that the baby is safe and healthy during delivery, midwives use Doppler technology to monitor the baby’s heartbeat. Most midwives even do cervical checks in the water – so the mom won’t even need to get up and move in the throes of a contraction.

Once the baby arrives, one of the best parts of having a homebirth is that your recovery process begins as soon as you deliver.  There is quite honestly no place like home, and once a woman has delivered her baby, she can go straight to her own bed.

When a new mom has great support and is able to rest at home, she’ll rest better than anywhere else on the planet.  With the right care and preparation, a home birth is a safe and healthy way to bring a baby into the world – surrounded by all of the comforts of home.

 

For information on C-Sections, read this post.

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What to Pack for the Hospital - SmartMom

What to Pack for the Hospital

Photo by Eden Frangipane

One of the first things that you’ll learn as a mom is that you need to be prepared for everything. Along with planning your baby registry, organizing and stocking your nursery and baby proofing your home, one more thing you need to prepare if you plan on a hospital or birth center birth is thinking through what to pack for the hospital.

To stay ultra-organized, have your bag packed before you hit full-term, which for most moms is 37 weeks. Before you stock up on nursing pads and newborn diapers, ask your hospital or birth center what supplies they provide — you might be able to save a few dollars!

Hospital Bag Must-Haves

Paperwork: Most hospitals and birth centers require you to have all of your insurance information and hospital forms filed prior to your delivery. Some will offer you the opportunity to preregister, while others will give you the forms to fill out at home. The last thing you’ll want to do when your water breaks is fill out your medical history!

Comfortable Clothing: Even though you’ll likely be issued an ever-so-stylish hospital gown, some moms prefer to labor in their own t-shirt or nightclothes. You’ll also want to have a warm robe or sweater on hand, as well as two or three pairs of warm, non-skid socks in case you need to walk the halls during labor.

A supportive maternity bra and nursing pads. If you plan to breastfeed, come prepared. Though many hospitals and birth centers have lactation consultants who will help you navigate those early days of nursing, it’s better you come equipped with the proper gear than have to send your partner on a last-minute store run.

Toiletries and personal items. Though your hospital stay might feel a bit like a weekend getaway, your bathroom won’t be equipped with hotel-sized shampoos and lotions. Pack your lip balm, hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, face wash, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, contact lens case and solution. You might not care what you look like during labor, but afterwards, you’ll want to feel human again!

Headband or ponytail holder. If you have longer hair, you’ll want to bring something to keep it away from your face. Avoid clips or anything metal, as you won’t want any additional pain or distraction with a baby on the way.

Cell phone and charger. Hospitals aren’t known for having the best cell phone service, so be sure to bring your charger. You might want your smart phone to time your contractions — and to send your baby’s first photos to friends and family after the birth.

Camera, battery or charger. Even in the midst of your post-birth bliss, you’ll want a few snapshots of the special moment. If your partner is your labor coach, delegate the photographic responsibilities to a nurse.

Clothes and basic hygiene products for your partner. Even though the focus will be on mom and baby today, dad might want to take a shower and freshen up for the onslaught of visitors who want to meet your newest addition.

Clothes for your baby. Bring a few outfits for your baby, even though they’ll probably be fine in a diaper for the first 24-36 hours. Bring at least one “going home outfit” and then one or two more changes of clothes. If you’re planning on using cloth diapers, bring those along too, as most hospitals will provide disposables.

Hospital Bag Nice-to-Haves

Extra pillow. Hospital bedding isn’t the most luxurious, so if you’re in for a multi-night stay, you might want a few comforts of home. Outfit your pillow with a case that you don’t mind ruining or leaving behind.

Comfortable going-home clothes. Contrary to what you read about celebrities amazing post-baby bodies, it can take some time to get back into svelte shape. Bring maternity clothes to wear home, in six to nine month maternity size. Even if they’re too big, you’ll want to feel comfortable.

Birth tools or supplies. If you’re planning a natural childbirth, bring along anything that will help you focus, like a labor playlist loaded onto your iPod or an exercise ball for bouncing. Your labor room may be equipped with these, but if they’re essential to your birth plan, better that you come prepared.

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baby proof your home

How to Baby Proof Your Home

Photo by Jamie Jones

When your little bundle of joy becomes a baby on-the-go, you’ll sleep better knowing that your home is baby-proofed.  Most parents wait until their children start to crawl before baby-proofing the home, but to avoid a last-minute panic, you can begin the baby-proofing process  before your baby even arrives.

Whether you’re a first time parent or a veteran looking for a few more savvy tips, here’s everything you need to know about how to baby proof your home.

Straighten up with the “Toilet Paper Rule.” 

Once your baby can crawl, she’ll want to put everything in her mouth. Before your baby arrives, make sure that everything small enough to fit in a toilet paper roll is placed securely out of reach. Who has time to clean once the baby arrives anyway?

Cover Outlets and Install Latches.

Once your baby is here and you become consumed with late-night feeding schedules, it’s going to be harder to remember some of the most minute details. Simple outlet covers are available at your local hardware store or you can reduce clutter with a version equipped with cord shortener. You can also place child-guard latches on every drawer and cabinet that your little one can reach. It might be an annoyance at first, but you’ll be glad this is taken care of once they’re crawling or even taking first steps.

Place Potential Dangerous Items Out of Reach

You’re already nesting, so in between cleaning the house and stocking your the freezer, take a moment to assess what items could pose potential danger for a crawling infant. Place your cleaning agents, medicines, hand sanitizer, vitamins, toiletries and other potentially toxic items out of reach, such as on a high shelf or tall cabinet. Remove any houseplants that could contain potential toxins (such as philodendron) and move them out of reach.

Secure Unstable Furniture

Sometimes, the most fashionable and modern furniture for homes can be the most unstable and dangerous for babies. Attach corner and edge guards to any sharp corners, such as on your coffee table or bookshelves. If you have tall shelving units or chests of drawers that could topple over, anchor them to the walls. Anchor your flat-screen TVs or heavy lamps to sturdy furniture with safety straps so that they don’t fall over and keep additional heavy items as far from the edge as possible.

Check Loose Cords or Drapes

If your child can reach any cords or drapes in your home, replace or shorten them to avoid strangulation. If you can’t replace them, tie them so that they begin at a higher length and avoid placing your baby’s crib or play space nearby.

Are you baby proofing while pregnant? Here are a few helpful ways to prepare for a newborn from your mom friends at SmartMom.

RELATED QUESTIONS

My daughter has recently started crawling. Does anybody know how we can baby proof our fireplace? It’s brick and I’m nervous about the corners.

Any advice on baby proofing your house?

Tips on baby proofing the house what is most beneficial?

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What are some ways that you moms have baby proofed your houses?

I have not baby proofed my house yet. We moved to our house in November and may be moving into a different house again. (My husband is military). What are the basic necessities I will need? No stairs in this house currently, but our next one will. My son is turning 6 months on tues.

I have a wine rack built into the end of our cupboards. Our baby is now very mobile, I’m trying really hard to just teach him no instead of baby proofing, but I was hoping somebody might have some great ideas as to how to baby proof the wine to stay in the rack so he can’t pull it out.

Any baby proofing tips/tricks? I have twin boys who are about to start walking. Also, we live in a townhouse and the bottom level has concrete floors. I’ve already purchased a couple baby gates

I was so excited when Eli became mobile….then this happened. Guess I need to do some more baby proofing!

My 8 1/2 month old boy is crawling full time and pulling himself up. What are some things I need to watch out for that I may have missed. And what are some suggestions on baby proofing the house?

 

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How to keep your baby warm this winter - SmartMom

Baby, It’s Cold Outside! How to Keep Your Baby Warm This Winter

Baby, it’s cold outside! The frigid temperatures have begun across the country, with negatives in many northern places in the past few days and tons of snow! The frigid air is more than just an inconvenience, it’s dangerous – especially for a small baby.

Here are a few simple things you can do to keep your baby warm this winter.

At home:

If you feel like your house is a chilly you can dress your baby in light layers. It’s also a good idea to purchase a few blanket sleepers for bedtime. They will keep your baby warm all night, and are much safer than wrapping him in blankets.

Nothing makes my teeth chatter like climbing between a pair of icy cold sheets at night. No wonder our babies cry when we lay them down- their cribs are probably freezing! One thing we have been doing to make bedtime a little cozier is using microwavable rice heating bags. Each evening when we start our bedtime routine we heat up the rice bags and place one in each child’s bed. By the time the kiddos are ready to go to sleep their beds are all warmed up, making it easier to snuggle in for a long winter’s nap. You can do the same thing with a hot water bottle or a heating pad. Just be sure to take it out of the crib before you put your baby down.

Still chilly? Maybe a space heater is the way to go. We ended up getting a small portable one. Even though we bought it with the intention of putting it in the nursery, it does a fair amount of traveling. Recently I’ve been taking it downstairs in the morning and setting it on the floor in the kitchen while we eat breakfast. Why be cold if you don’t have to be? It was pretty inexpensive ($25) and has a built in thermostat, so it turns on and off by itself to regulate a safe and cozy temperature.

On the Go:

Warm hats are a must. Unless you’re my son, in which case hats are the worst possible form of torture. Don’t worry; I tricked him by buying a coat with a fleece- lined hood, which he tolerates for the most part.

When we’re out and about I also like to put little mittens on his hands.  I keep an extra pair of them in the diaper bag because he tends to chew on them, and once they are wet they are of no use to either of us.

Be sure to dress your baby in layers so that you can remove a layer any time you go indoors. If your baby starts to perspire the extra moisture will make him even colder when you go back outside.

In the Car:

Please spend a few minutes reading the latest researching regarding bulky winter coats and car seat safety. Anything between your child and the car seat straps becomes compressed in the event of a crash, which creates negative space and increases the chances of serious injury.  Adjusting to not wearing coats in the car has been a battle for us this winter, but I think the kids have finally accepted our new routine. We pile the kids in the car, take off their coats, buckle them in, and then put their arms through the sleeves of their coats so they’re wearing them backwards. I’ve also been known to use our trusty rice bags to warm up their car seats when I’m on the ball… which, for the record, is almost never. But when it does happen the kids are much happier to climb into their seats.

Well folks, my fingers are officially turning to ice, which means it’s either time to swipe the space heater from my son’s room, or it’s time for hot cocoa. I’m going to go with the latter. For all the negative aspects of the cold weather, there are a few things I love about it. Freezing temperatures make it so much easier to just stay inside, snuggled up with the ones I love… which is what I’m going to do right now!

Hang in there, winter doesn’t last forever! Here’s some advice on what to do during a snow day!

 

RELATED QUESTIONS

Hi mommas! So as my due date is approaching (December 28th) I’m wanting to get our hospital bags ready, just incase…

What do you keep the temp in your house at during the winter? And what’s your fave baby lotion for cold, chapped winter skin?

Any mommies have give birth in the winter months? If so what did you pack for baby to come home in?

We use a lot of body oil on our baby. We’ve been using Johnson’s for the past few month but with winter nearing I want to switch to something that won’t evaporate too fast. Any suggestions?

During the winter when you go to take your baby out, do you put the snowsuit on your baby and put then in the car seat or do you put them in the car seat and then the snowsuit on when you arrive where you are going?

My LO will be 1 December 21st- his name is Harbor- so I wanted to do a nautical theme birthday party- but it’s winter & figure that would be weird. Any ideas on a first birthday party in the winter for baby boy? We live in Alabama so not too cold- but still…

Im having A Fall / Winter Baby, what are some must haves?

It’s about to get very cold here. I’m trying to figure out a way to keep my 14 month old warm, yet safe…

Just wondering if I should be putting a hat on my baby while she’s at home and during the night. At 3 months she doesn’t have much hair and our Canadian winters are cold here…

My baby hates pants. All of the pants. It’s going to be a long winter…

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