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When looking out to the open road, here are tips to planning a road trip with the kids.

8 Tips For Planning an Awesome Road Trip with the Kids

Road tripping may be the preferred American mode of transportation, but it became ten times less enjoyable when you had kids. Your children may fill your heart with love, but they fill your backseat with loud, sticky messes. But you’re in luck! With just a little extra planning, you can stave off the whining and set your family up for an enjoyable road trip with the kids. Whether you’re heading into the wilderness for a few days of camping, or over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s, here are some useful road trip tips to help you and your children enjoy the journey AND the destination.

  1. Make a road trip kit for each of your kids.  If you’re driving a long distance, you can plan ahead to make the journey as seamless as possible. Here’s how: Each hour of the trip, let the kids open a new gift or activity which you keep concealed in the front seat with you. For each hour, have a new toy (small, inexpensive toys you can find at a dollar store), an activity, stickers, a CD, a snack, etc. This helps the time go by quickly, keeps your little ones occupied and distracted from that nagging “are we there yet?” feeling.
  2. Get your kids to look out the window by planning a scavenger hunt.  Create a simple worksheet to check the boxes as they find each item. This can be as simple as finding road signs for each letter of the alphabet, license plates from each state, or color-based items such as a blue building, a red barn, a cow, etc.
  3. Although you might want to avoid buying every toy a child spots at a roadside rest stop, it can be a fun idea to allow your child to pick out one souvenir that is representative of the trip. A great way for them to remember the trip you took together, it can also be an item to schedule in the road trip kit – plan it at a strategic time when they need a good distraction.
  4. No matter what your mother may have told you, it is okay to pack in laundry baskets. Though you may feel awkward arriving at a hotel with baskets in lieu of suitcases, it will pay off when you arrive back at home with neatly sorted baskets of clean and dirty clothes.
  5. This one’s a no-brainer.  Bring trash bags for the car.  Empty your trash ritually at each gas station – a clean car will help maintain your sanity. Don’t forget a plastic baggy of paper towels, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, and a small pocket knife for slicing fruit, cheese, or bread.
  6. Have picnics instead of fast food.  You might have to invest a little time driving around to find perfect picnic spot, but it will be worth it.  Whether you pack food from home or stop at the grocery on the way, you’ll save money, have a healthier lunch, and enjoy a great view. Picnics can quickly become a cherished family tradition.
  7. Even if your toddler is borderline potty-trained, don’t risk it.  Opt for the pull-up and eliminate even the marginal risk of road trip pant-wetting.
  8. Build up the anticipation and eliminate any arguments by selecting a movie ahead of time.  Save the movie for after dark to allow some quiet time before the little ones (fingers crossed!) drift off to sleep.

RELATED QUESTIONS

Taking an 8 hour road trip with my man child and two babies. Any advice?

We have a 5 hour road trip planned at Christmas. My daughter will almost be 7 months. She is bottle fed formula. Anyone have suggestions on how to heat/keep her bottles warm?

My lo is 5wks. Has anyone taken baby on a road trip? How far? Was it hard? I’m anxious to get out.

Any advice or opinions on how a 11 month old baby would do on a 22 hour road trip? I know craziness but it’s kind of for an emergency…

My husband and I are considering a road trip from Toronto Canada to Florida in January during his 2 weeks off. We figured by driving we can bring everything we need which will amount to quite a bit for twins who will be 6 months old at the time. Do you think the drive will be too much for the babies?

Need to keep breast milk frozen 3 day road trip any ideas? Total about 225oz.

My friend is going to be about 10 weeks pregnant when they will do a cross-country road trip. It will be about 5-7 days that they will be traveling. What are the things that would make this trip a bit easier for her?

Best snacks for a 16mo for an 8 hour road trip?

How soon would you take your LO on a 5 hour road trip to see family? My MIL wants me to take my LO up to her dads house that is 5 hours away after the baby is born in July. He’s dying and he really wants to see my LO before he passes.

Preparing for our first 9 hour road trip with LO (4.5 months) from Ontario to Quebec City. Debating at the point if we should drive through the day or overnight. Anyone else make this far of a trip with little one?
 

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How to Deal With Picky Eaters - SmartMom

How To Deal With Picky Eaters  

It all started with an innocent looking jar of green beans, a six-month-old, and a white oxford shirt.  With the first spoonful, my crisp work shirt was covered in green, like a paint-splattered canvas, and my baby girl had her lips puckered, her mouth locked, and refused to eat another bite. I had a picky eater on my hands. The problem? I didn’t yet know how to deal with picky eaters.

Baby girl did not like anything green, anything orange, anything with an odd texture, basically anything that was healthy for her.  As a parent, having picky eaters can be very frustrating and worrisome.  Are they eating enoughAre they getting the nutrition they need?  Are their bad habits going to be a problem in the future?

The good news is that child development research says not to worry too much about how to deal with picky eaters. Selective eating often occurs during ages one to three.  While significant growth occurs in the first year of a baby’s life, growing slows down during the second year.  On top of that, toddlers are learning so many other fun new skills, like walking, running, and climbing, which are much more interesting than eating.  Plus, with a stomach the size of her clenched fist, your toddler isn’t capable of eating large amounts at a time.

However, don’t make the mistake of becoming a short-order cook for the picky eaters in your family.  You’ll exhaust your time, energy, and patience trying to appease everyone.  Instead, here are a few tips you can use to help your family deal with picky eaters:

Don’t Force the Issue  

Avoid bribery or force to get your child to clean his plate or eat certain foods.  You don’t want your child to associate eating with frustration, anxiety, or a power struggle.  Minimize distractions, like the television or toys at the table, so that your child can focus on eating.  Even if he doesn’t eat, encourage your toddler to stay at the table until the family is done eating.

Let Kids Help

Letting children pick out healthy items at the grocery store and help to prepare a meal gives them ownership and familiarity with all types of foods.  When toddlers lend a hand with the measuring, pouring, and stirring, they will most likely try to taste the final product as well.

Offer Healthy Options

Stock your fridge with items like yogurt, cheese, fruits, and vegetables.  Make sure there are more healthy options in your pantry than unhealthy ones, like whole grain crackers, pretzels, and dried fruits.  Try to eat healthy foods yourself, and make sure your child sees you eating healthy foods.

Drink Fruits and Vegetables

Sometimes, drinking essential vitamins and nutrients can be much easier than eating them.  Smoothies are fast, easy, and packed with nutrition vital to your child’s health.  Try some of these yummy smoothie recipes to get picky eaters to drink their fruits and veggies (psst…you can’t even taste the spinach!),

Serve Food on a Stick

When trying to get my daughter to eat, I discovered something brilliant that was right under my nose: toothpicks!  It’s amazing what kids will eat when it is skewered on a stick.  A favorite in our house is apple and cheese cube kabobs.  You can also try other fruits, vegetables, lunch meat, chicken, small meatballs, pasta noodles, or some of these variations here.

Be Sneaky

As parents, we’re entitled to a little subterfuge and when it comes to getting kids to eat things like cauliflower and kale, sometimes we have to be downright sneaky.  Ever heard of black bean brownies?  How about carrot mac and cheese?   These popular books are sure to get your picky eater eating all kinds of nutritious foods, without even knowing it. 

Never Give Up

Don’t give up trying to introduce new foods.  Stick to a routine of breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the same times every day.  Make sure that at each meal, there is something your toddler likes and recognizes, plus a few new, healthy foods on the same plate.  She may not try them, but children need to be offered a new food as many as 15 times before they will eat them.  Make sure to give your toddler small portions of whatever you are eating as well—a good example goes a long way.

Baby girl is now five years old and heading to Kindergarten.  Although she is still a little more selective than her younger siblings, the good news is that her eating habits have gotten much better.  Every meal gets easier and she is trying new things and discovering that she actually likes them.  Green beans, however…we’re still working on.

 

Holidays can present some of the hardest times for picky eaters. Here’s some help.

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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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Ways to Discipline your Kids - SmartMom

Nine Ways to Discipline Your Kids

Photo by Nagano Toyokazu

Discipline isn’t (and shouldn’t be) something to be afraid of. There are numerous ways to discipline your kids as a natural part of life.  Everything we do has a reaction and a consequence and those who have discipline in life tend to get further than those who don’t, both in business and personal ventures.

For a parent who is madly in love with their children, the act of punishing them is not exactly what I would call a “joyful experience.” I don’t like taking away privileges or restricting them for doing things they love. However, I do appreciate how discipline makes them mindful of their behavior in certain circumstances. And remember, not all discipline is negative. Sometimes it’s a positive.

No two kids are alike, so what works for one child might not for another. And in the same vein, you should begin disciplining them at different times. Here are nine ways to discipline your kids, depending on their attitude and personality.

Give Your Child a Choice

Offering a choice allows the kids to feel like they’re in the driver’s seat, when really you’re just getting them to do one of two acceptable behaviors. For instance, you can say, “you can either clean up your mess now and then go play or you get a five minute time out and then you have to clean up your mess after that.”

Use the Time Tested Time Out

Pretty cut and dry here. Have a “time out” area in your home and when your child acts up, they have to sit there one minute for each year of their age (i.e. my 2 year old sits for 2 minutes).

Clearly Outline the Consequences

If your child doesn’t eat their nutritious dinner, then they don’t get any dessert. This is a natural consequence that they have to follow, not to mention the fact that they’re going to be hungry later. Tell your child “If this happens, then this happens” so they can start to see cause and effect.

Don’t Give in to the Tantrum

Picture this: one of the kids wants to leave the grocery store RIGHT NOW and when you insist that you have to get food for the house they begin SCREAMING at the top of their lungs. If you leave, you’ve given in to the tantrum and they’ve gotten exactly what they wanted because you didn’t want to make a scene.

Try to just have to ride out the tantrum, even if you’re extremely uncomfortable. This doesn’t always work due to the situation you might be in, but when you give in, your child learns what works to get what they want.

Be Consistent

Don’t change the rules on a day-to-day basis. Keep your rules consistent and the punishment / reward models the same too. Then, your kids know what to expect and when to expect it.

Enforce Your Rules

Say what you mean and mean what you say. Don’t tell the kids, “if you do that one more time, we’re not going to the pool,” then watch them do whatever it is one more time and still head to the pool. If you say you’re not going, don’t go. Otherwise, your kids won’t respect you when you try to lay down the law.

Reward Good Behavior

Just like negative behavior needs negative consequences, good behavior deserves to be recognized. Find ways to celebrate all the good things that your kids are doing so that they crave more.

Model Good Behavior

I’ve talked about this before, but if you want your kids to act a certain way, you need to show them how to act. Don’t live by a “do as I say, not as I do” way of life. It’s just confusing.

Limit Yelling

If you yell all the time at home, it doesn’t register as anything with the kids as something to pay attention to. It’s just more noise to them. Work on keeping yourself calm but firm when handling disciplinary issues.

I’ve learned that if you want your kids to have great behavior, you can’t just wish for it. You have to enforce it. But it’s worth it in the long run.

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Siblings Sharing a Room - SmartMom

Siblings Sharing a Room: How to Avoid the Drama

Earlier this summer our family made a big move: from Connecticut to Maine. After accepting a job (my dream job!) at a newspaper, I decided that we’d have to temporarily downsize to make the move work, which means my young son and daughter are sharing a bedroom for the first time since they were toddlers. While siblings sharing a room is not ideal, we are figuring it out and have a few tips about how to make co-habitation work. 

Personal Space 101

My kids share bunk beds. My son has the top bunk, where he has his trusty star comforter and his favorite stuffies, which include a snake and a turkey. My daughter has the bottom bunk, which is covered in her pink patchwork quilt, a ton of pillows and a few dolls. These spaces are sacred – and each one can keep what they want on their beds (within reason!).

We also have two dressers, two bookcases and two toy boxes – because siblings sharing a room still each need their own space within the shared space.

Stick to Routines

We’re lucky that the kids have always had the same bedtime. That’s eased the transition into a shared room, since it’s easy to keep up our routines. When I say it’s time for bed, they both go…and usually with minimal fuss. Each child loves to read to themselves before drifting off, so I just remind them that it’s not talk or playtime. That helps too.

Set Boundaries

One important thing to remember is to share boundaries for everything from bedtime rules to modesty. For my kids, that means that only one can change in the bedroom at a time (the other can change in the bathroom or my bedroom). Also, they both know that each other’s personal space is sacred so they don’t go through it.

Be Flexible

What if one night one of the kids just wants to sleep alone? I have a backup plan in place – and a backup to the backup. Between air mattresses, sleeping bags and cozy spots around the house, there are a few options for the kids if they need a night away from their shared room. But shh! I haven’t told them that yet.

Make it Fun

A close friend gave my kids lava lamps for their new room and that fun touch has taken the space to a whole new level of fun. Whether it’s something special like a reading nook corner or something whimsical like artwork that touches on each child’s interests, making the room a fun space helps make the transition to a shared space easier on everyone. I mean who doesn’t want to live in a fun room?

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The First Toothbrush - SmartMom

The First Toothbrush: How to Care for Baby’s Dental Health

I have to admit that I was a little skeptical when I learned that we should be “brushing a baby’s gums” long before teeth appeared.  Like most first time Moms, I continued relishing in my weekly emails telling me about my baby, only this time instead of telling me what size fruit he was, it was telling me various things I needed to do to ensure a healthy and well-adjusted child. Enter: baby toothbrushing. I do believe starting early with the first toothbrush has put us on the path to a life of oral hygiene, but we’ll have to wait and see when we have our first dentist appointment.  In the meantime, here are some of the tips that worked for our family.

Use a Finger Toothbrush

Buy a finger toothbrush that you can use to brush the baby’s gums. It’s much easier to maneuver and seems less aggressive than shoving a foreign object into an unsuspecting baby’s mouth.

Create a Routine

We brush morning and night, but from what I’ve gathered, it can be once a day early on. We brush in the morning after getting dressed and brush in the evening while he’s taking a bath.

Buy a Child-Sized Toothbrush.

There are some with thicker handles so when the child is able to grasp things, these are easier for them. If they can hold the brush, they’re more likely to stay interested in the process.

Make It Fun

Let the child play with the toothbrush. I’m not sure our son loves anything more than sticking the toothbrush under the faucet while we fill up the bathtub.

Lead by Example

Let your child watch you brush your teeth, too. My son watches me brush my teeth in the morning with the same wonder and admiration as if I’m performing brain surgery.   He especially likes it when I exclaim “AHHH” after rinsing.

See a Dentist

I have a few friends who have told me they waited a little too long to see the dentist only to be informed upon the child’s first visit that they had numerous cavities due to things like low fluoride in the water.  I’m no dentist, but the last time I got a checkup, I asked when I should bring my son in and my dentist told me between 2 ½ and 3 years. Most of all (and this is what I’m slowly learning is the golden rule of parenting) model good behavior. If you brush your teeth, your child will want to emulate that.   Think to yourself: this is an activity your child will complete multiple times for the rest of their life, so it’s worth investing in a positive beginning.

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Parenting a Child with Autism - SmartMom

When Your Friend is Parenting a Child with Autism

We’ve all heard what the media says about the diets, the vaccines, and the swarm of attention that autism has gained. And it’s not surprising, considering that 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (commonly known as ASD).

As a SmartMom, you will encounter friends, co-workers, or fellow volunteers who are parenting a child with autism. Or, perhaps you yourself are parenting a child with autism.

Either way, here’s what’s important to know about ASD (and how to talk to friends who are parenting a child with autism).

When you’ve met a child with autism, you’ve met one child with autism.

There is no perfectly accurate profile of a child with ASD because they are all so different. Autism entails diagnostic criteria of impaired social interaction, disturbed communication, and stereotypical behavior, interests, and activities. However, autism is a spectrum disorder, and these criteria can greatly differ from child to child.

For this reason, it’s important not to pretend that you understand a child simply by knowing their diagnosis.

Avoid saying: “Yeah, I know all autistic kids love Thomas the Train.
Instead say: “How can I help? How are you doing?

It’s especially critical that you listen to those parenting a child with autism, because they know the most about their child. Therefore, avoid comparing their child to other children with (or without) ASD. Your friend is likely already highly aware of the typical developmental norms in which their child doesn’t fall, and they don’t really need your reminders. Letting your friend know that you are there to listen helps her feel less isolated in her parenting.

You may be asking, “I know what not to say, but what can I say?” Many parents of children with autism are overwhelmed. Can you offer a couple of hours to help them with laundry or meals? Letting your friend know that you desire to help and come alongside her in this journey may be the greatest gift you can offer (and then actually follow through).

If you’re a researcher, be an informed one.

Believe me, your friend is doing everything she can to stay informed and to take care of her child in the best way. Many people will give her suggestions, advice, and tips–most of which will be taken from non- reliable or non-credible sources. If you’re interested in autism, it’s not wrong to do research, but be selective about what you choose to believe. Remember that the Internet is an open forum, and autism is a highly publicized topic.

If you have the research bug, I’ve found Google Scholar to be a great place to easily find credible research articles. I choose to read articles that are peer-reviewed and published within the past 10 years. Now, just because you’ve done your research, it doesn’t mean that you need to prepare a presentation for those parenting a child with autism. Likely, your friend works with a team of therapists and doctors who are informed with the latest research. You have the unique opportunity to be a supportive friend; don’t trade that awesome role for being the worried Internet researcher.

Avoid saying:I read on a blog that you should…
Instead say: Nothing–unless your friend has huge respect for your Google Scholar researching skills.

When you’re referring to a child with autism, use people-first language.

You may not notice the subtle difference, but the parents of children with autism likely will. When you use people-first language, the diagnosed condition doesn’t describe their child. Instead, ASD is something about their child, but not the identifying component.

Even though your intentions may be admirable, it’s important to know how what you say can be perceived. Here’s an example:

Avoid saying: “My friend has an autistic child.”
Instead say: “My friend has a child with autism.”

It’s important to keep this in mind with any child that you talk about. Ultimately, a diagnosis doesn’t define us, but it does affect us. Most parents don’t appreciate when their child is defined by autism, but also don’t appreciate when their child’s differences are ignored.

As a friend, valuing their child may mean recognizing their differences and caring for them despite these differences. Be open to hearing her experiences, and be willing to offer help and continual friendship.

For more information about ASD visit:
Autism Speaks for a great overview and introduction to ASD, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association for information about
geared towards the speech and language component of ASD or National Autism Center for those interested in the research behind ASD treatments.

 

Parents also have a role in a child’s development, read this post to see what you can do.

 

RELATED QUESTIONS

My son is 2 years old. He is not talking yet..psychologist told us that he has mild autism. What should I do?

I just found out my daughter has autism and I want to cry. I just don’t want life to be hard for her. Any advice?

My 10 year old son has an autism disorder, a mood disorder and ADHD, and is bullied..

My 2 year old was diagnosed with autism. On different sites people recommend camel milk for improvement. Anyone have experience with camel milk?

My son sometimes freaks out when he is off his routine..he has been tested before and there’s no sign. My sister insists I need to get a second opinion. Any advice?

Moms of children with autism: Prior to your child being diagnosed, did you have any inklings that something wasn’t right?

My 6.5 month is so fidgety. My BF keeps saying that he has autism or some developmental problem causing him to do this..

I am currently convinced my daughter has mild autism. Any moms of autistic children with tips, advise, etc.?

My daughter was recently assessed as having a language delay..she is also being evaluated for any other developmental delays.. can having such a label negatively impact her?
 

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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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How to be a Successful Stay at Home Mom - SmartMom

How to Be a Successful Stay at Home Mom

Photo by Marapytta

When my oldest child was born, I stayed home with her while her dad worked. Half of it was great, the other half… well… not so great. I was frustrated, lonely, and in all honesty, pretty lost. I tried filling the days with activities, volunteer efforts and projects around the house, but let’s face it: there’s only so much you can do with a seven month old.

Just as I was really getting comfortable with how to be a successful stay at home mom, I went back to work. I thought I would love going back to work and that it would make me an even better mom.

I was wrong. I struggled with that too. 

It’s not because I was better at staying home, or better at working. It’s not because I’m a good or bad mom. I just wasn’t good at being happy with where I was. The grass always seemed greener, you know?

Anyway, the whole transition from stay at home mom to full time working mom (and now to work at home mom) has given me a lot of perspective on what it takes to manage each of those roles. All of them are demanding in their own ways and it’s critical to know the challenges going in so you can be prepared for them.

Looking back on my own experience and talking with other stay at home moms has shown me that there are three keys that help women learn how to be a successful stay at home mom:

Have structure.

I finally learned that it was better for me to have a set schedule rather than trying to figure out what I was going to do each day. I set up designated days for different events or activities. For instance, Monday was grocery day, Wednesday was errand day and Friday was “field trip” day where we did something fun in our neighborhood. I scheduled out tasks and projects and set weekly goals for myself. I got up at the same time everyday even if the baby was sleeping in and I went to bed at a reasonable hour. I provided our daily routine with a lot of structure, which was great for me and, of course, the baby too.

Have a social life.

There’s a reason why there are so many “Mommy & Me” groups out there: moms crave socializing. They don’t just want to sing nursery rhymes and finger paint all day, every day. They want adult conversation. Once I found some girlfriends that I could really hang with, I felt more comfortable in my own skin on a regular basis.

Have a sense of self.

I love being “mom.” It’s one of my favorite things in the world. The cuddles, the hugs, the tears, the craziness… I love it all. I relish being a mom. But I’m also Angela. I had to learn (and sometimes re-learn) what I like and what I don’t like. I’ve tried (and dropped) hobbies to keep me interested in things outside of my kids. The more I have balance in my life between “mom” and “Angela” the better I am at being both. I read, I knit, I watch sappy movies. And it’s all good stuff. Need more motivation? Having a balanced mom makes life easier for kids too! They can see that you have a variety of interests and thereby encourage them to seek out their own likes and dislikes, too.

Being a stay at home mom is hard. I have the utmost respect for women who do it and do it well. If you are a stay at home mom, what helped you learn how to be a successful stay at home mom? Share your tips and experiences below. Who knows? Maybe you’ll help someone else out.

 

RELATED QUESTIONS

How do SAHMS have it all together?
How many moms on here enjoy being a stay at home mommy?
How do you stay at home moms afford to do so?
How many of you are SAHMs? Do you ever sometimes just feel like you need a little me time?
How do SAHMs do it? I’ve been jobless for a year now..
How can I help my wife who is a SAHM feel less lonely and disconnected…
How do all you sahms do everything? My husband is about to go back to work…
How do you sahms manage the never ending pile of laundry?
How do you mommies meet and make friends with other mommies as a SAHM?
How many SAHMs on here and loving it?
 

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