KIDS & PARENTS

BABIES

THE BENEFITS OF BREASTFEEDING

Breast milk is best for your baby, and the benefits of breastfeeding extend well beyond basic nutrition. In addition to containing all the vitamins and nutrients your baby needs in the first six months of life, breast milk is packed with disease-fighting substances that protect your baby from illness. For starters, it protects babies against respiratory illnesses, ear infections, gastrointestinal diseases, and allergies like asthma and eczema; it also seems to reduce risk of obesity later in life.

BREASTFEEDING PROTECTS YOUR BABY FROM A LONG LIST OF ILLNESSES

Numerous studies from around the world have shown that stomach viruses, lower respiratory illnesses, ear infections, and meningitis occur less often in breastfed babies and are less severe when they do happen. Exclusive breastfeeding (meaning no solid food, formula, or water) for at least six months seems to offer the most protection. Breastfeeding's protection against illness goes beyond your baby's breastfeeding stage. Studies have shown that breastfeeding can reduce a child's risk of developing certain childhood cancers. Scientists don't know exactly how breast milk reduces the risk, but they think antibodies in breast milk may give a baby's immune system a boost. Breastfeeding may also help children avoid a host of diseases that strike later in life, such as type 1 and type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and inflammatory bowel disease. The benefits of breastfeeding extend to moms, too. Breastfeeding helps nursing moms return to prepregnancy weight, decreases postpartum bleeding and decreases the risk of breast and ovarian cancers.

TIPS FOR GETTING YOUR BABY INTO A GOOD SLEEP ROUTINE

One of the first things you’ll notice about your newborn, other than how perfect he is, is how long he spends sleeping – on average an amazing 16–18 hours a day in the first couple of weeks. The safest place for your baby to sleep is in his own cot in your room for the first six months. The reason your baby needs so many hours sleep is simple: he’s got an awful lot of learning to do and because there’s so much around to take in, he uses his sleep to process all the information. During the day, allow plenty of sunlight into the house or take him outside. Put your baby down for daytime naps in a well-lit room (unless he has trouble falling asleep at nap time). To induce night time sleepiness, consider installing dimmers on the lights in your baby's room, but also in other rooms where you both spend lots of time. Lower the lights in the evening (up to two hours before bedtime) to set the mood. It's fine to use a night-light in his room, but choose a small, dim one with a bluish tone that's cool to the touch. (The vivid yellow and bright white varieties are more stimulating.) If your child wakes up during the night, don't turn on the lights or carry him into a brightly lit room. The shift from dark to light tells his brain it’s morning time. Instead, soothe him back to sleep in his dark bedroom. If early morning sunlight prompts your child to wake too early, or if he has trouble napping in the afternoon, consider installing room-darkening shades

NIGHT FEEDS

The toughest test for any mum will be night feeds. Feeding your baby through the night (up to every two hours in the first few weeks) makes it hard for you to sleep for any real length of time, and this can be tough (mentally and physically) to cope with. Nature does lend you a helping hand though, if you’re breastfeeding your hormones will reorganize your sleep patterns to match those of your baby. ​ It’s important to take a nap when your baby sleeps in the day, not just in the night, or you’ll never catch up on all those missing hours.

INTRODUCING A ROUTINE

As your baby’s sleeping patterns become more settled you may find it helpful to introduce a bedtime routine. Some babies are happy to settle into a routine from a very early age, others take a lot longer. Even if your baby doesn’t settle easily, putting him in his cot while he is drowsy but awake at around the same time each night will eventually encourage him to fall asleep on his own. Learning to go to sleep by himself is a skill he will need when he wakes in the night. It will also teach him that his cot is the place where he goes to sleep and that it is a safe and secure environment for him to be in. Your baby is likely to wake for feeds during the night until he is around six months. Your baby needs to learn that you will feed him and change his nappy if necessary, but that night time isn’t the time for fun and games. A wet nappy can cause discomfort which may disturb your baby’s sleep, so you may find it helpful to use a nappy or nappy liner which offers extra protection at night so that your baby remains dry and comfortable for longer.

HELPING YOUR BABY TO SLEEP

Your baby doesn’t need peace and quiet to be able to sleep so you don’t need to tip toe around, talking in whispers. Some babies sleep better if there are background noises going on, in fact, noise from the television, vacuum cleaner or the washing machine have been known to settle some babies. What your baby has to learn is that he doesn’t need you with him for him to be able to go to sleep. You can help to teach him this by putting him into his cot and then staying with him while you tell him a story or sing a lullaby before kissing him and leaving the room. If he cries leave him for a few minutes before going back in and reassuring him. Try talking gently to him and stroking him, but it’s best not to pick him up as he may well settle himself. Of course, you should never leave your baby crying for very long, especially when he is tiny. If he becomes upset you will want to cuddle him and reassure him before putting him down again and leaving the room.

PUT YOUR BABY TO BED WHEN SHE'S DROWSY, NOT ASLEEP

This is a tall order, especially for breastfeeding moms, but master the timing and both you and your baby will rest easier. Babies who drift off on their own are more likely to learn to soothe themselves to sleep .Try to put your baby to bed your baby as she's quieting down, just before she nods off. Create a sleepiness scale from 1 to 10 when your baby is 6 to 8 weeks old. (1 is wide awake and 10 is out cold.) Wait until your baby hits 7 or 8, then put her down to sleep.

WAIT A MOMENT BEFORE GOING TO YOUR BABY

If you jump at every squeak heard over the baby monitor, you're only teaching your child to wake up more often. Wait a few minutes to give her time to settle back to sleep on her own. If she doesn't, and it sounds like she's waking up, try to reach her before she escalates into a full-blown howl. Stepping in before a meltdown means you'll catch her before she's too worked up to fall back asleep. Either way, it's okay to turn down the sensitivity on your baby monitor. Set the volume so you'll be alerted when she's distressed but won't hear every gurgle.

TRY NOT TO LOOK YOUR BABY IN THE EYE

Many babies are easily stimulated. Just meeting your baby's gaze can engage her attention and signal its playtime. Parents who make eye contact with sleepy babies inadvertently encourage them to snap out of their sleep zone. Instead if you go to your baby at night, don't make eye contact, talk excitedly, or belt out her favourite song. Keep your gaze on her belly and soothe her back to sleep with a quiet voice and gentle touch.

RELAX THE RULES ON DIAPER CHANGES

Resist the urge to change your baby every time he wakes up. Instead, put your baby in a high-quality, nighttime diaper at bedtime. When he wakes up, sniff to see if it's soiled and change only if there's poop. To avoid waking him fully during nighttime changes, try using wipes that have been warmed in a wipe warmer.

TEETHING

The first signs of teething are often a red area on the cheek, excessive dribbling and chewing on the fingers. Your baby may also be irritable and unsettled and she may not feed as well as usual. Some babies start rubbing at the ear on the side where the tooth is coming through. Sometimes, some or all of these signs are accompanied by nappy rash. If your baby has a high temperature (above 37.5°C), diarrhoea or you suspect she has earache, don’t just assume that this is caused by teething. It could be a sign of illness.

HOW LONG DOES THE PAIN TAKE?

There is no way of knowing how long a tooth will take to come through. Your baby may show signs of teething for just a few days before a tooth appears in her gum, another time she may be teething for weeks before a tooth can be seen. The first teeth usually cause the most trouble so you may find that the next teeth come through without causing too many problems. At around a year old, your baby’s molars, the big teeth at the back of her mouth will start to appear and these can cause a lot of discomfort. By the time your baby is two-and-a-half years of age all her first, or ‘milk’ teeth should be through.

HOW TO SOOTH THE PAIN

Rubbing the sore area of the gum with your finger or the back of a cold teaspoon can help relieve the pain. Teething rings – try giving her one that has been stored in the fridge – can also be soothing as the pressure of chewing may relieve the discomfort. Choose a solid ring rather than a liquid-filled one as these could leak and cannot be sterilized. If your baby is over six months old you could try offering her an unsweetened rusk or bread-stick to chew on. She may find chewing on a piece of frozen fruit or vegetable soothing. Always stay with your baby when she has food in case she chokes. If your baby is three months or older you can give her infant paracetamol or ibuprofen. Check with your pharmacist if you are unsure how much your baby should have and always stick to the recommended dose.

CLEANING YOUR BABY’S TEETH

It’s really important to clean your baby’s teeth every morning and evening. You’ll probably find it easier to first clean the teeth by using your finger wrapped in a soft cloth. Once your baby has got used to the idea of having her teeth cleaned you can start using a soft baby toothbrush with a tiny bit of children’s toothpaste. As soon as your baby's first teeth appear, they should be cleaned every morning and at night. Brushing your baby’s teeth from an early age will get him into a routine and used to tooth brushing. You need to continue cleaning your child’s teeth until he is old enough to clean them himself. Even then, you will need to supervise your child until he is around seven years of age, by which time he will have the dexterity to brush them properly himself.

HEALTHY EATING AND DRINKING

Try to encourage your child to develop a savoury rather than a sweet tooth from the time you start weaning. Avoid sweets and biscuits and fizzy drinks and snacking on unhealthy foods between meals. If you give your child pure fruit juice, you need to remember that although it sounds healthy it contains a lot of natural sugar so it needs to be diluted; one part fruit juice with six to ten parts water. Only offer diluted fruit drinks at mealtimes and always give them in a cup rather than a feeding bottle. Don’t let your child suck on a feeding bottle of juice or milk for any length of time – prolonged contact of the drink with the teeth, especially the front ones, can cause severe decay.

BRUSHING

Many manufacturers produce flavoured children's toothpaste, which contains fluoride, and a pea-sized amount on a child’s toothbrush is all that is required to clean a mouth full of teeth. Encourage your child to spit out the toothpaste after brushing, but not to rinse his mouth out with water as this reduces the benefit of the fluoride in the toothpaste. ​

COMMON TEETHING SYMPTOMS

Most babies grow their first tooth around 7 months old, although there's a wide variation in timing of teething. For example, some babies grow their first tooth as early as two or three months whereas others don't get one until after their first birthday. Teething symptoms, however, can precede the actual appearance of a tooth by as much as two or three months.

DROOLING: It's hard to believe so much fluid can come from the mouths of tiny babes, but teething stimulates drooling, and the waterworks are on for many babies starting from about 10 weeks to three or four months of age. If you find that your baby's shirts are constantly soggy, fasten on a bib to keep her more comfortable (and cleaner), and gently wipe her chin throughout the day to stave off chapping.
TEETHING RASH: If your teething baby is pouring out prodigious amounts of drool, the constant drip may cause chafing, chapping, redness and rashes around her mouth and chin (and even on her neck). Patting away the drool will help prevent the rash. You can also create a moisture barrier with Vaseline or Aquaphor, and moisturise with a gentle unscented skin cream as needed. Have some nipple cream (like Lansinoh) on hand? It's great for protecting tender baby skin, too. Coughing and/or gag reflex: All that drool can make babies gag and cough (you'd choke too with a mouthful of spit). It's no cause for concern if your baby has no other signs of cold, flu or allergies.
BITING: Pressure from teeth poking through under the gums causes baby a lot of discomfort — and that discomfort can be relieved by counter pressure (aka, biting). Teething babies will gum whatever they can find, from teething rings and rattles to your soon-to-be sore nipples (if you're breastfeeding) and fingers.
CRYING: Some babies breeze through teething with nary a whimper, while others suffer from a good deal of pain due to the inflammation of tender gum tissue — which they feel compelled to share with you in the form of whining or crying. First teeth usually hurt the most (as do the molars, because they're just plain bigger), although most babies eventually get used to what teething feels like and aren't quite so bothered later on. Talk to your doctor about when to offer pain relievers like infant acetaminophen.
IRRITABILITY: Your baby's mouth will ache as that little tooth presses on the gums and pokes up to the surface, and, not surprisingly, it'll probably make her feel out of sorts. Some babies may be irritable for just a few hours, but others can stay crabby for days or even weeks.
REFUSAL TO FEED: Uncomfortable, cranky babies yearn to be soothed by something in their mouths — whether a bottle or the breast. But the suction of nursing may make a teething baby's sore gums feel worse. For that reason, teething babies are fussy about feeding (and get more frustrated as neither their discomfort nor their hungry tummies find relief). Babies eating solid foods may also refuse to eat during teething. Keep at it, and call your paediatrician if the strike lasts more than a few days.
NIGHT WAKING: The teething fairy doesn't only work days. As your baby's teeth begin to emerge, her discomfort may disrupt her night-time slumber (even if she previously slept through the night). Before offering comfort, see if she can settle herself back to sleep; if she's still restless, soothe her with patting or lullabies but avoid a return to night-time feeding (which will come back to haunt you when teething is done).
EAR PULLING & CHEEK RUBBING: Teething babies may tug furiously at their ear or rub their cheek or chin. The reason? Gums, ears and cheeks share nerve pathways, and so an ache in the gums (especially from erupting molars) can travel elsewhere. (Babies with ear infections will also yank on their ears, so do check with your paediatrician if you suspect your baby may be bothered by more than just teething.)

BEST TEETHING REMEDIES

CHEWING: Teething babies love to chew, and for good reason. The gumming action provides counter pressure, which relieves the aching pressure of new pearly whites pushing up and out into the mouth. Bumpy rubber teething rings, rattles and other teething toys work well (including — your baby has probably figured out

COUNTER-PRESSURE: Your clean finger, teething toys with nubbly edges or a soft, wet toothbrush (no toothpaste) rubbed firmly on baby's gums can provide the same soothing counterpressure. Your baby may balk at first because it seems to hurt initially, but it soon brings relief
COLD DRINKS: A bottle of icy cold water can offer chilly relief to achy gums for babies over six months (when water can be introduced), or, if baby doesn't take a bottle or balks at sucking, give (ice-free) water in a cup. Pain relief: If chewing, rubbing and sucking chilly foods don't do the trick, break out the baby acetaminophen — but only after checking with your pediatrician.
COMFORT : Extra snuggles, extra kisses and lots of patience are what a teething baby wants most.

TODDLERS

Toddlers are famous for making mealtime feel like a battle. You'll need some serious strategies to maintain control at the dinner table as well as get your kid to get well. It is the parent's job to offer healthy food options, and it is the child's job to choose what and how much he will eat.  As difficult as it may be, this is where parents have to realize that they can't control how much or whether or not their kids eat. Many parents worry that their kids will not get the proper nutrition or will wake up hungry if they don't eat a full meal. Remember that kids will take in exactly what they need. Many paediatricians will say that it's more important to look at how kids eat over the course of a week versus just one or two days. Take the pressure off yourself.
  1. For some kids, it can take 10 times of being exposed to a new food before a child will try it. To avoid a power struggle, simply and calmly offer healthy food items and let your child take it from there. Also, make sure your child is well hydrated throughout the day. Resist the urge to beg, plead or bribe your child to eat because that will only fuel a power struggle.
  2. KIDS MODEL WHAT THEY SEE: Kids learn by example, so make sure you have a variety of healthy options on your plate. Model how fun it is to try new foods and express how enjoyable meals can be. Simply enjoy your food without putting pressure on your child to enjoy his.
  3. GET KIDS INVOLVED IN THE PROCESS OF COOKING AND MEAL PREPARATION: Our kids are always looking for ways to belong, feel significant and in control. What better way to help meet these needs then by enlisting their help in the kitchen? Take your child to the grocery store with you. Go to the produce area and point out all of the vibrant colours. Pick up a vegetable and ask him what he thinks it is. Talk about where it comes from and the amazing things that fruits and vegetables do for our bodies.

    Ask your child what he would like to help you make using the fruits and vegetables he sees. Get out a recipe book, preferably one with pictures, and give him some choices. Not only is this a way of educating your child, but it's a way to bond while choosing healthy meals and cooking together.

  4. INTRODUCE THE CHILD TO THE MEAL: The “polite one bite” rule is great, but leaves it at that. The goal is not to get them to eat the broccoli today but to help them actually like the broccoli long-term.  Introduce a new food in little bits but make sure there is at least one thing on the child’s plate that they already know. If they didn't like what they tried, fine. Eventually your child will be exposed to a wide variety of flavours and turn out to like one of them. Try to schedule a new food when you know your child is hungry – a snack of mango slices when she has the afternoon munches. But when you've got a kid who refuses to eat anything on her plate, anxiety often kicks in, leading you to make desperate offers of healthy staples you know she'll like: “How about a bowl of cereal?” or “Let me get you a container of yogurt.” Instead, consider giving her some control over the menu.
  5. Structure your child's eating so that he/she has three regular meals a day and two healthy snacks in between meals.  Introduce new foods one at a time and in small amounts. Instead of an entire meal of unfamiliar foods.  Minimize distractions at the table. If a sibling is running around nearby or a cartoon beckons from across the room, your toddler may lose interest in the food being served.

TIPS TO GET YOUR RELUCTANT TODDLER TO BRUSH HIS/HER TEETH

When your child is small, you’ll have to do the brushing for him. As he gets bigger though, he’ll need to start doing it himself. But what if every time you ask him to brush his teeth, you’re confronted with a tear-filled tantrum that results in you having to chase him around the house until you can grab him, pin him down and then give him a haphazard brushing that probably didn’t effectively clean his teeth? If that’s the case, give these tips a try to help ease him into the world of teeth-brushing:

Let your toddler make the choice

When children are given a choice (about pretty much anything ever), they always feel like they have control. Take your child to the store with you. Buy some toothpaste or toothbrushes for you and your spouse and then pull out some children’s brushes from the shelves. By giving him a choice, he feels in control of the brushing. Plus, he’ll be excited about using it if it’s something he really likes. Do this with the toothpaste too. Show him the children’s toothpaste and then let him choose which one he likes best. Be aware of flavours too. For example, if your child always gags at grape-flavoured things but loves strawberry flavours, be sure to get the flavour that your child likes or it will be a disaster.

Brush along with him.

If your reluctant brusher sees you brushing, he’ll be more likely to follow suit. You can incorporate it into your morning and evening rituals. Maybe put on fun music as you brush, do brushing teeth dance .You can also do a race to see who can finish brushing every tooth first. If your child has any older siblings, enlist their help in inspiring your child to brush too. The whole family can be in on it, which can make brushing fun for your child.

Offer Lots of Praise

Remember, everything to kids seems like a much bigger deal than it does to us. So when your child listens to you and brushes without resistance or starts making progress, make sure you acknowledge it with a robust round of praises.

Get A Good Dentist

Paediatric dentists know how to work with kids, plus they take extra care to be even gentler than dentists that work on adults. Sometimes, it takes motivation from an outside source. The dentist can also show your child how to brush properly, give them a fun tour of the office, give them stickers and make them feel extra special for brushing.

Be Patient

If you give your child the tools to brush his teeth correctly along with your love and support, he will get it. He will stop resisting eventually. It can be incredibly frustrating for us as parents when our children defy our wishes, but if we stay calm and let them know we’re there, they will soon stop fighting us on it and start to see this as a normal activity that is part of everyone’s daily routine.

HOW TO DEAL WITH TANTRUMS IN TODDLERS

It’s always a good idea to see tantrums as part of your child’s learning process. Taking into consideration your child’s physical inability to connect the emotional stimulus to the correct mature response will be a good place to start.

Work On your child’s communication skills

Try Looking at the situation through your child’s eyes. Think of a time when you’ve been deeply aggravated…what was your response? As adults, we tend to feel that children who have no responsibilities and no worries also have no reason to be frustrated, but it’s simply not so. By seeing things from your child’s perspective, you might find the core of his problem and be able to offer a long-lasting solution. It will also take your mind off the injustice of the screeching and give you a constructive outlet for your own frustration. ​ Calmly ask your child to explain what has caused her to become so angry. If your child doesn't want to discuss it with you, she may feel comfortable "talking" to a pet, puppet a friend or any other relative they are free with. Encourage the child to do things he enjoys: drawing, reading .This can help refocus his thoughts away from anger. Let your little one know that you genuinely care about his situation and feelings. Toddlers can be comforted by your physical presence. You can give a hug to make him feel loved. Never underestimate the power of a hug to make a child feel loved and accepted. Model the correct responses. This is by no means an immediate fix and some children take longer than others to pick up on modelled behaviour. Children mimic adults so the way you handle your own anger and frustration is sure to affect your child. Model positive coping skills. In addition, use very short phrases like don’t touch that! Stop it! Repeat those phrases more than once to get the child to focus on what you are saying. Speak in a tone of voice and with gestures that reflects your command.

FOR BOYS

Get equipped. You’ve got two choices: a separate, low-to-the-ground potty chair or an insert that fits on the big toilet seat to make it small enough for little bottoms a. Start with sitting. Have him sit down for both peeing and pooping at first. For now, it’s tough enough just getting to the potty in time without having to decide whether to sit or stand. Once he’s really got the hang of things, he can stand “just like Daddy. b. Point in the right direction: Whether he’s standing or sitting, show your son how to aim. He needs to point his penis down into the toilet to make sure the pee goes where it needs to go. c. Teach ups and downs. Now is the time to teach your son some basic potty etiquette. If he’s standing up to pee, show him how to raise the seat (all the way, so it won’t fall down on him midstream) and then lower it again when he’s finished. And don’t forget to flush!
Most experts recommend starting when your baby is between 4 and 6 months old. By about 4 months, babies have typically started to develop a regular sleep-wake cycle and dropped most of their night feeding. These are signs they may be ready to start sleep training. Many babies this age are also developmentally able to sleep for long stretches at night.

Of course, every baby is different: Some may not be ready for sleep training until they're a bit older. Some babies sleep seven hours or longer at an early age, while others won't until much later. If you're not sure whether your baby is ready for sleep training, ask his doctor.

HOW TO PREPARE FOR SLEEP TRAINING

Set the stage for successful sleep training with these suggestions:

  1. Introduce a bedtime routine. You can start when your baby is as young as 6 weeks, but don't worry if your baby is older – it's never too late. A routine can include a warm bath, a book, and a lullaby before putting her to bed. (For more ideas, see our article on bedtime routines.)
  2. Pick a consistent bedtime. Experts recommend between 7 and 8 o'clock so your baby isn't overtired and fighting sleep.
  3. Follow a predictable daytime schedule. Try to get your baby up around the same time every morning, and feed her and put her down for naps at about the same times during the day. This predictability helps her relax and feel secure, and a relaxed baby settles down to sleep more easily.
  4. Make sure your baby doesn't have a medical condition that could affect her sleep. An underlying condition, such as sleep apnoea, needs to be addressed by your baby's doctor before you consider a sleep training program.
  5. There are a number of things you can do to establish an excellent bedtime routine to ensure that your toddler gets enough sleep. When setting up a bedtime routine, keep these things in mind:
  6. Stick to the same set bed times and wake up times each day. Don't short change nap time either – make sure that it does not occur too late in the day or that it is too brief – either of these will result in lack of a good night's sleep.
  7. Maintain a consistent bedtime routine. Establish calm and enjoyable activities in the 30 minutes right before bedtime, such as taking a bath or reading bedtime stories to help your child wind down. It is helpful to set clear limits as to how many books you will read or songs you will sing. Allow your child to pick out which pyjamas he or she wishes to wear and which stuffed animal to take to bed, etc. This choice of security object (stuffed animal or blanket) helps your child feel more relaxed at bedtime and all through the night.
Make sure the bedroom environment is quiet, cool, dark, and comfortable for sleeping. A night-light or area light on the very lowest dimmer setting is fine. Playing soft, soothing music is fine. Remember to reserve the bed for sleeping only – it should not be used as a platform for playing. Television watching in the bedroom should not be allowed. Any other form of screen time (iPad, smart phones, etc.) should not be part of the bedroom environment. These can over-stimulate the child and make it harder for them to fall asleep later. Limit food and drink (especially any drinks containing caffeine) before bedtime. Remember, many clear beverages contain caffeine, so check the label. Tuck your child into bed in a sleepy but awake state. This will help your child learn to fall asleep on his or her own and help your child return to sleep again if he or she wakes up in the middle of the

PARENT’S CORNER

Postnatal care is pre-eminently about the provision of a supportive environment in which a woman, her baby and the wider family can begin their new life together. It is not the management of a condition or an acute situation.

Your health after the baby

Having a child can be bring so much joy to a mother. From picking baby clothes to picking baby names, the arrival of the little bundle of joy can bring so much anticipation and excitement, but it is sad to think that after having the baby we could still face some health problems. This is why postnatal care is very important. Those visits to the hospital is not just to monitor the baby’s progress but the mother’s too. According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence some common problems include Baby blues, Perineal pain, discomfort, stinging, offensive odour or dyspareunia, Headache, Persistent fatigue, Backache, Constipation, Haemorrhoids, Faecal incontinence ,Urinary incontinence, Urinary retention (within 6 hours of birth). The body also goes through some normal changes, changes especially after a normal vaginal birth. Conditions to expect, even though you may or may not experience these change includes Vaginal soreness, Vaginal discharge, Contractions, Urination problems, Hemorrhoids during bowel movements, Sore breasts and leaking milk, Hair loss and skin changes, Mood changes and Weight gain.

The Postpartum checkup

About six weeks after delivery, your health care provider will check your vagina, cervix and uterus to make sure you're healing well. He or she might do a breast exam and check your weight and blood pressure, too. This is a great time to talk about resuming sexual activity, birth control, breast-feeding and how you're adjusting to life with a new baby. You might also ask about Kegel exercises to help tone your pelvic floor muscles. Most of all, remember to share any concerns you might have about your physical or emotional health. Chances are, what you're feeling is entirely normal. Look to your health care provider for assurance as you enter this new phase of life.
Pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks, counting from the first day of your last normal period. The weeks are grouped into three trimesters during which your baby is growing with each passing day, week after week.

Pregnancy, What to Expect

For many women that positive sign on the pregnancy test brings joy. To others get mixed feelings of anxiety and happiness. Then there is the few that have issues with the timing of the pregnancy and may not be so excited at the first sight of that positive sign. Whichever category you may be in you will find out when you finally have that child that is the warmest most fulfilling feeling you will ever have. That journey though, is a long one. Find out what's happening with you and your baby in the different stages.

First trimester (week 1- week 12)

During the first trimester your body undergoes many changes. Hormonal changes affect almost every organ system in your body. These changes can trigger symptoms even in the very first weeks of pregnancy. Your period stopping is a clear sign that you are pregnant. Other changes may include, Extreme tiredness, Tender and swollen breasts. Your nipples might also stick out, Upset stomach with or without throwing up (morning sickness), Cravings or distaste for certain foods, Mood swings, Constipation, Need to pass urine more often, Headache, Heartburn, Weight gain or loss. As your body changes, you might need to make changes to your daily routine, such as going to bed earlier or eating frequent, small meals. Fortunately, most of these discomforts will go away as your pregnancy progresses. And some women might not feel any discomfort at all! If you have been pregnant before, you might feel differently this time around. Just as each woman is different, so is each pregnancy.

Second trimester (week 13-week 28)

As your baby’s sleeping patterns become more settled you may find it helpful to introduce a bedtime routine. Some babies are happy to settle into a routine from a very early age, others take a lot longer. Even if your baby doesn’t settle easily, putting him in his cot while he is drowsy but awake at around the same time each night will eventually encourage him to fall asleep on his own. Learning to go to sleep by himself is a skill he will need when he wakes in the night. It will also teach him that his cot is the place where he goes to sleep and that it is a safe and secure environment for him to be in. Your baby is likely to wake for feeds during the night until he is around six months. Your baby needs to learn that you will feed him and change his nappy if necessary, but that night time isn’t the time for fun and games. A wet nappy can cause discomfort which may disturb your baby’s sleep, so you may find it helpful to use a nappy or nappy liner which offers extra protection at night so that your baby remains dry and comfortable for longer.Most women find the second trimester of pregnancy easier than the first. But it is just as important to stay informed about your pregnancy during these months. You might notice that symptoms like nausea and fatigue are going away. But other new, more noticeable changes to your body are now happening. Your abdomen will expand as the baby continues to grow. And before this trimester is over, you will feel your baby beginning to move!
As your body changes to make room for your growing baby, you may have:
⦁ Body aches, such as back, abdomen, groin, or thigh pain
⦁ Stretch marks on your abdomen, breasts, thighs, or buttocks
⦁ Darkening of the skin around your nipples
⦁ A line on the skin running from belly button to pubic hairline
⦁ Patches of darker skin, usually over the cheeks, forehead, nose, or upper lip. Patches often match on both sides of the face. This is sometimes called the mask of pregnancy.
⦁ Numb or tingling hands, called carpal tunnel syndrome
⦁ Itching on the abdomen, palms, and soles of the feet. (Call your doctor if you have nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice or fatigue combined with itching. These can be signs of a serious liver problem.)
Swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face. (If you notice any sudden or extreme swelling or if you gain a lot of weight really quickly, call your doctor right away. This could be a sign of preeclampsia.)

Third trimester (week 29-week 40)

Some of the same discomforts you had in your second trimester will continue. Plus, many women find breathing difficult and notice they have to go to the bathroom even more often. This is because the baby is getting bigger and it is putting more pressure on your organs. Don't worry, your baby is fine and these problems will lessen once you give birth.
Some new body changes you might notice in the third trimester include:
⦁ Shortness of breath
⦁ Heartburn
⦁ Swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face. (If you notice any sudden or extreme swelling or if you gain a lot of weight really quickly, call your doctor right away. This could be a sign of preeclampsia.)
⦁ Hemorrhoids
⦁ Tender breasts, which may leak a watery pre-milk called colostrum (kuh-LOSS-struhm)
⦁ Your belly button may stick out
⦁ Trouble sleeping
⦁ The baby "dropping", or moving lower in your abdomen
⦁ Contractions, which can be a sign of real or false labor
As you near your due date, your cervix becomes thinner and softer (called effacing). This is a normal, natural process that helps the birth canal (vagina) to open during the birthing process. Your doctor will check your progress with a vaginal exam as you near your due date. Remember to keep taking your prenatal vitamins, stay clear of alcohol and drugs and do everything the doctor prescribes all through your pregnancy. It is also very important to learn to love and appreciate your pregnant body as the days go by. Get excited — the final countdown has begun!

Whether you’re new at parenting or introducing a new addition to your family, having kids change your life, sometimes in a challenging way. You can make these changes cool, fashionable and highly desirable. Time to live like a trendy mom!

Being Mommy and Fabulous

Losing your sense of individuality and sometimes even your peace, is common with being a mother. Those days you dress up only to have a child pee on your outfit, that constant new born puke after feeding or even that toddler that is giving your flooring a hard time during potty training is enough to make you gave up taking care of yourself and your home.
Being miserable because you are raising kids is not trendy just because you hear most women complain about the sleepless nights. Don’t despair there are some fabulously stylish and happy moms out there and you can be one too. Taking care of yourself is not just for mothers who have helps for every type of chore in the house.
Mothers everywhere have a problem with managing time. 24 hours in a day is just not enough to get everything done. The entire family spends on you to take care of everyone else and be there for them when they need you. But it is important to realize that your family is happy when you are happy so it is essential for you to have mommy time to rejuvenate and relax. The first step is spending time for yourself is to making time for yourself. Organisation is key.
Try to organize every section of your house and reduce clutter by giving out old toys and clothes every time you bring in new things. Designate a time for chores and stick to it, you can always continue the next day if you don’t finish on time, otherwise have someone babysit for a few hours while you do you chores if your children are not. You can also do chores when your baby falls sleeps. Food ingredients that need cutting should be done in large quantities and stored in the fridge, as well as precook part of complex dishes and store in the freezer. For example, if you cook meat before you fry, precook the meat and keep it in the freezer.
Still don't know where to start? Determine first of all the duties that require your immediate attention and which you can do later. Stacey Crew of Charleston, South Carolina, author of The Get Organized Guide for New Moms, recommends making a list of weekly commitments and write down how much time each one takes. Remember to include everything from scrubbing toilets to volunteering in your child's classroom.
The list will enable you to see what has to be done and what you can skip. This list will also indicate whether you can handle extra responsibilities like pitching in with your child's preschool newsletter or helping a friend who asks for a favor.
Susan Newman, mother of five and author of The Book of No: 250 Ways to Say It — and Mean It — and Stop People-Pleasing Forever advises take a firm stands and say no when people the give you added task that will be difficult for you to do. It is worse for you not to follow through your plan, leading to stress and emotional exhaustion and affecting how you interact with your kids.
Also, Crew suggests that you involve your kids in chores, too. You don't need to do it all. "Kids want to learn," says Crew, a mom of two girls. "They want to help."
At the end of the day, Newman says, it's more important to spend time with your family or on your own than to fixate on finishing chores. Put away your phone, log off the Internet, and focus on your kids. Once their bedtime rolls around, take 15 minutes to rejuvenate yourself by sipping a cup of tea or going for a walk.
The key to staying ahead of the chaos is being prepared for everything that might happen or be needed so keep a daily planner and stay on schedule. Remember also to make time for exercise even if it is for 20 minutes every day, eat healthy so your children can learn from you and look good while doing everything you do….the better you look, the better you feel.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WAYS TO ENCOURAGE YOUR KIDS TO DO CHORES

As parents we need to work to share the understanding with our kids that these chores are expected and necessary to keeping a household running successfully and efficiently. We also should take special care to handle the delegation of chores to children so they don’t become a source of frustration or create arguments. Here are some tips and tactics to get your child to help with the chore process:

LET THEM HAVE A SAY

Allow your child to have an active say in the delegation of chores and even give them choices. Nothing is worse than feeling like you are being forced to do something you loathe. Allow your child to voice his or her opinion and then make your choice based on that feedback. We all have household chores that we don’t like to do, but if it’s a chore the child enjoys doing then there’s less likelihood it will create a battle in the end. Most kids appreciate having the chance to be heard and having a choice. As parent, we also need to be mindful to walk the talk when it comes to chores as well. So be sure to set a strong example for the kids by completing your own personal chores each day so they can watch and learn too!

SET BOUNDARIES

Kids also seem to do best when they have clear expectations and boundaries. It’s important to set parameters early on for the successful completion of a chore or task. If the leaves need to be raked, be specific about a time-line, method (“use the wheelbarrow and the green rake”) and even what to do with the leaves once cleaned up. If the chore is not progressing like you instructed, you may just need to take a moment and show them what can be done for improvement.

DON’T BE A PUSH-OVER

Ever heard the saying “give them an inch, they will take a mile?” Kids don’t mean to be devious, it’s just human nature to try to cut corners or wiggle out of work. Make sure your child understands there will be repercussions if they only put forth a minimal effort or do a sloppy job. And don’t allow a child to undermine your authority by battling with you over a designated chore. Stand your ground and don’t give in, and emphasize the consequence and negative effect an uncompleted chore has on the family.

CONSIDER A CHORE CHART

It can be very frustrating to ask your child over and over again to complete their chores. If there are daily chores that seem to be “slipping” your child’s mind, consider creating a chore chart. Things to add to the chore chart might be daily tasks like emptying the dishwasher, emptying the garbage, or cleaning their room. It could also include reoccurring tasks that need to be done weekly like mowing the grass or yard work or cleaning his/her study table.

DON’T FORGET THE REWARDS

Everyone, young and old, is motivated by rewards. Rewards are a great way to say “good job” and keep everyone excited and wanting to keep helping. Some parents use this opportunity for their kids to earn an allowance and some have them work towards a goal like a trip to the fun park.

What should I do before I get pregnant to ensure a healthy pregnancy for me and my baby?

  • A typical pregnancy is nine months long, but to give your baby a healthy start, think of it as twelve months -- including the three months before you get pregnant. This means that when you start thinking about trying to conceive, you should:
  • See your doctor for a prepregnancy checkup. Don't forget to ask about things like family medical history, risk of birth defects, genetic conditions, and chronic illnesses. Discuss all the medications you take and make sure they're safe during pregnancy.
  • In addition to eating a healthy diet (lots of leafy greens, lean proteins, and fiber), boost your nutrients with a multivitamin specially formulated for pregnancy -- usually called a prenatal vitamin. It's particularly important to get sufficient folic acid before getting pregnant. This nutrient helps prevent birth defects like spina bifida; because many of these conditions arise very early in pregnancy, you need healthy levels of folic acid right from the start. Look for a multivitamin that contains 400 micrograms of folic acid. Ask your doctor or midwife to recommend a vitamin for you.
  • If you smoke, quit. Smoking poses a host of risks to a developing baby, including birth defects and low birth weight. It also doubles your risk of having an ectopic pregnancy. You may also find it more difficult to become pregnant in the first place if you smoke, as smoking is strongly linked with infertility in both women and men.
  • Get checked for hepatitis B and C, sexually transmitted infections, and HIV.
  • Get any health problems -- like diabetes and high blood pressure -- under control. If you are seriously overweight, talk to your doctor about how to maintain a healthy weight.

What should and shouldn't I eat while I'm pregnant?

  • While pregnant, you're eating for two, as the old saying goes -- but just what are you two supposed to be eating?
  • Get all essential vitamins and minerals daily. That means sticking with the prenatal vitamins you started prior to becoming pregnant, as well as eating a healthy diet.
  • Fill your plate with leafy greens, fruits, veggies, and whole grains (like wheat breads and cereals). Get plenty of calcium-rich foods like broccoli and low-fat milk and yogurt, to help build your baby's bones and teeth. Stick to lean meats like chicken and turkey.
  • Foods to avoid during pregnancy include:
  • Fish with lots of mercury. High levels of mercury can damage a baby's developing brain. But don't cut out fish completely -- they give you important omega-3 fatty acids. Cut out fish like swordfish, tilefish, and shark. If you love your tuna and snapper, you can still eat it -- just cut back to no more than one serving a week. You can eat up to two servings of fish like salmon, catfish, mahi mahi, and cod, along with shellfish like shrimp, crab, and scallops. For a more detailed list of fish and their mercury levels, go to http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/sushimercury.htm.
  • Raw fish. Sorry, sushi and sashimi lovers.
  • Unpasteurized soft cheeses like brie, Camembert, feta, gorgonzola, and Roquefort. They may contain bacteria called listeria that can cross the placenta, potentially causing miscarriage or leading to a life-threatening infection.
  • Unpasteurized milk, which can also contain listeria.
  • Cold ready-to-eat meats, like hot dogs and luncheon meats; these can also contain listeria. Reheat these foods until they are steaming.
  • Uncooked or cured eggs and meats, like prosciutto, runny eggs, and sauces made with raw eggs (like some hollandaises).
  • Alcohol. There is no known safe level of exposure to alcohol for a fetus. Prenatal exposure to alcohol can interfere with healthy development and lead to fetal alcohol syndrome, one of the most common causes of mental retardation and the only one that is completely preventable.
  • Caffeine. While some studies show that moderate caffeine intake during pregnancy is OK, others have found a link to miscarriage, so it's particularly important to steer clear of caffeine during the first trimester. Large amounts of caffeine have been linked to premature birth and low birth weight, so do your best to switch to decaf. If you can't cut it out entirely, limit intake to 300 milligrams per day or less (1-2 cups of coffee).

Are there other activities I should steer clear of while pregnant? Do more of?

Do's this. Don't do that. Wait, no, do this! Don't do that! It seems that the list of things you should and shouldn't do in pregnancy just keeps getting longer. Here are some key dos and don'ts:

DO's:

  • Exercise. Light to moderate exercise during pregnancy is good for you, strengthening your back and abdominal muscles, improving your balance and helping to speed your recovery after delivery. (See more about this in question 4 below.)
  • Have sex. Unless you have a high-risk pregnancy and your doctor has advised you against it, sex during pregnancy is safe. The baby is cushioned by your amniotic fluid. Especially in later pregnancy, though, avoid lying flat on your back during sex; the uterus can compress the veins in the back of your abdomen and leave you lightheaded or nauseous.
  • Wash your hands before preparing food, before meals, after handling raw meats, and after using the bathroom.
  • Clean house. Sorry, most household cleaning products, including bleach, are safe for use during pregnancy. Just be sure the room is well ventilated, read warning labels, and avoid mixing chemicals (like ammonia and bleach) -- good advice for cleaning safety whether you're pregnant or not.
  • Travel by airplane -- sometimes. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says that the second trimester is the safest time for air travel, when you're at the lowest risk of miscarriage or premature labor. Generally, if you have a healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy, there's no special risk posed by commercial air travel. (ACOG recommends that pregnant women stop flying at 36 weeks' gestation.) Be sure to stay hydrated during the flight by drinking plenty of fluids, and keep your seat belt on! And no matter whether you're traveling by car, train, bus or plane, get up and move around every so often, and be sure to stretch your legs and back.
  • See your dentist. Preventive cleanings and annual exams are a very good idea during pregnancy, as your rising hormone levels can cause bleeding gums and irritation. Since gum infections have been associated with preterm births, keeping your mouth healthy is important.

DON'T:

  • Change the cat's litter box. No, this isn't just an excuse to get out of an icky task; cat feces can transmit an infection called toxoplasmosis, which can lead to severe problems in newborns, including low birth weight, jaundice, mental retardation, and convulsions.
  • Use saunas, hot tubs, and tanning booths. Excessive heat can be harmful to the baby, and has been linked to spinal malformations.
  • Paint. Let somebody else paint the baby's room; pregnant women shouldn't be exposed to toxic substances and chemicals, which include paint and cleaning solvents.
  • Get an X-ray. Unless you absolutely have to, avoid tests like X-rays and mammograms while pregnant, because they can be dangerous to your growing baby. If you absolutely must have an X-ray, make sure that your doctor or dentist knows you are pregnant so they can take extra precautions.
  • Ride the Great American Scream Machine or the Tower of Terror. Though no studies have been done to document this, there is concern that the rapid stops and jarring forces of rides like this could cause placental abruption (premature separation of the placenta from the uterine wall). Play it safe and stick to the Ferris wheel until the baby's born.

What can I do to relieve or prevent pregnancy symptoms like nausea and vomiting, heartburn, leg cramps, and hemorrhoids?

Pregnancy may come with a host of uncomfortable symptoms, but you don't have to suffer. Here are some tips for preventing some of the most common symptoms of pregnancy or at least easing some of the discomfort.
  • Nausea and vomiting: Get up slowly in the morning; movement can make nausea worse. Don't let your stomach completely empty: eat five or six small meals throughout the day. Drink plenty of fluids, get lots of fresh air, and avoid fatty foods that are hard to digest. And trust your instincts. If something smells good to you and the thought of it doesn't make you nauseous, you can probably eat it.
  • Leg cramps: Exercise regularly, get plenty of fluids, and avoid sitting in the same position for a prolonged period of time. Stretch your legs before going to bed by straightening your leg heel first and wiggling your toes. Massage your legs and apply heat to relieve a cramp.
  • Heartburn: Avoid greasy or fatty foods, garlic, spicy foods, and drinks containing caffeine. Eat smaller meals, and avoid bending or lying down right after a meal.
  • Hemorrhoids: Drink plenty of liquids, eat a high-fiber diet, exercise regularly, and avoid long periods of standing or sitting. To relieve hemorrhoid pain, take periodic sitz baths, apply cold compresses, and ask your doctor which OTC creams are safe to use.
  • Backache: Wear low-heeled shoes with good arch support to avoid straining your lower back muscles. Avoid lifting heavy objects or standing for long periods of time. Make sure your mattress is firm, and that chairs you sit in have good back support (a small pillow placed in the small of your back can help). Don't take medications for back pain unless OK'd by your doctor. Try a heating pad, warm water bottle, or cold pack instead.

How should I care for my newborn’s umbilical cord? How should I clean it? And when will it fall off?

“The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends keeping the umbilical cord clean and dry,” responds Dr. Eve R. Colson, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at Yale University School of Medicine and director of the Well Newborn Nursery at Yale-New Haven Hospital. “As it starts to crust and/or fall off, and you want to clean it, use a small amount of rubbing alcohol a couple of times a day. If you notice a lot of redness or foul odor, have your baby seen by the pediatrician. The cord should fall off in one to two weeks.” (Read more about caring for your baby’s umbilical cord, here.)

When is a baby’s fever high enough for me to call the doctor?

Dr. Colson recommends that for infants less than three months of age, you should contact your pediatrician any time your child’s temperature is greater than 100. She adds, “In general, if your baby is not acting well, call your pediatrician whether there’s a fever or not.” For more fever facts, read on.

When can my baby take a pain reliever without a call to the doctor first?

“Irritability and fever before three months of age should be evaluated by a physician,” responds Dr. Robert M. Jacobson, MD, chair and professor of pediatrics at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “Between three and six months, for mild illness with or without fever, a parent may administer acetaminophen for a few days. But parents should seek medical attention for fever if it is high (104 or more), unexplained, or lasts more than three days.”
Dr. Jacobson also suggests seeking medical attention when a baby is experiencing irritability which prevents sleeping or eating, and/or lasts more than three days, and adds, “After six months of age, with the same guidelines, parents may use ibuprofen.”

How long is it OK for a baby to cry?

“Generally speaking, you don’t need to let your newborn infant cry,” says Dr. Colson. But it’s OK to put a crying baby in a safe place if you need to go do something, like answer the telephone or help an older child. “It also depends on the age of the baby and the exact issue you’re dealing with, says Dr. Colson. “If you’re having trouble getting your baby to sleep, for example, contact your pediatrician for advice.” (And learn more about soothing your wailing baby in our Crying & Comfort Guide.)

Should I wake a sleeping baby to feed him?

“In newborns who are small (especially less than six pounds at birth), you really need to consider waking the baby every three hours,” Dr. Colson points out. “It is not true that every baby will let you know when he or she is hungry, especially during the first weeks of life. Larger babies, who have many feedings during the day, may be able to sleep longer stretches at night without waking for feedings and still have plenty to eat. It really should be evaluated on an individual basis depending on your baby.”
The best way to tell if an exclusively breastfed baby is getting enough food is to closely monitor her diapers. “By four days of age, the newborn should have at least four stools and they should be changing from dark meconium to light brown, and then yellow,” says Dr. Colson. If your exclusively breastfed baby is not stooling much during his or her first month, you should bring him or her to the pediatrician to be weighed.

Does my breastfed baby need vitamin supplements?

The answer is yes, says Dr. Colson. “The AAP recommends Vitamin D for all breastfed babies from birth and some source of iron when the baby reaches six months of age.”
I know babies are supposed to sleep on their backs, but mine keeps turning over on his tummy. What should I do?
“I feel particularly passionate about this topic,” says Dr. Colson. “We recommend that all healthy newborns be placed on the back to sleep.”
She also suggests only putting babies to sleep in a safe environment and on a firm mattress, with no stuffed animal, heavy blankets, or pillows. “At about five months of age, the baby may learn to roll over,” Dr. Colson adds. At this point, parents no longer have to flip their baby onto his or her back in the middle of the night. However, SIDS precautions should still be taken.

When should my baby sleep through the night without a feeding?

“No baby really sleeps through the night,” explains Dr. Jacobson. “Even the ones that quietly proceed through the night without waking their parents are waking about every hour and a half. I think that babies can get through the night without a feeding as soon as [they’ve] regained [their] birth weight, are feeding frequently during the day and evening, and are continuing to gain weight normally.”

When can my baby sleep without a hat or without being swaddled?

“I don’t recommend that babies sleep with hats at home unless they are small for gestational age, premature, or are struggling with weight gain,” Dr. Jacobson says in response to the first part of this common question. Regarding the second part, he adds, “Swaddling means different things to different people. In general, babies should wear one more layer of clothing than their parents. If, by swaddling, you mean wrapping tight, then think of swaddling as a comfort measure for the newborn and young infant. Parents should abandon it when it no longer comforts the infant.”
Dr. Jacobson also suggests, “In the first few weeks of life with a full-term child, the parents might swaddle the baby below the arms leaving the arms and hands free. Some babies like that as they get older.”

When can I take my new baby out in public? I’m afraid she’ll catch a cold—but I need to run errands. What should I do?

Dr. Colson recommends avoiding crowds until your infant is at least three months of age. “If an infant under three months of age gets a fever (greater than 100), it’s hard for clinicians to tell if the infection is serious because babies don’t localize infections like adults, so they often have to admit the infant to the hospital for tests,” she explains. Also, you should request that people wishing to hold your baby first wash their hands, and anyone with an active illness should not be around your little one.

How do I know when my baby is hungry?

Watch your baby for these early signs of hunger:
Sucks her hand
Licks her lips
Moves and stretches her arms
Opens her mouth
Turns her head from side to side
Turns her head toward your head or chest
Don’t wait until your baby cries before offering your breast. A crying baby is has a hard time latching.

How do I know when my baby is full?

Let baby decide when she is full. Watch for these signs:
Sucking slows down or stops
You no longer hear swallowing
Baby’s arms and hands relax
Baby lets go of the breast, and does not attempt to latch again
If you believe your baby is finished, lift her onto your chest and wait several minutes to see if she reinitiates feeding.

How much breastmilk does my baby need?

The amount of breastmilk a baby takes depends on her age. A newborn’s stomach is very small, and is not ready to digest a large volume of milk.
Day 1 = about 1 teaspoon per feeding
Day 3 = about 1 tablespoon per feeding
Day 10 = about 2 oz. per feeding
1 month+ = about 2–3 oz. per feeding
Baby’s intake does not increase very much after 1 month of age, even though her weight continues to increase. The average intake for a 1–6 month old is about 25 oz per day, and the normal range is 19–30 oz per day. At about 6 months, when baby starts solids, her milk intake gradually decreases.

Does my newborn need a bath every day?

"No," says Mika Hiramatsu, MD, a pediatrician in Castro Valley, California. "In fact, a lot of babies get rashes and dry skin from too many baths." Until her umbilical-cord stump falls off, wash your baby with a soft sponge or cloth instead of putting her in the tub. "When the cord has healed, she only needs a bath once or twice a week," says Dr. Hiramatsu. After a few months, daily baths are fine (though not necessary), but use a moisturizer as soon as she's out of the tub.

How can I get my newborn to sleep through the night?

At first, you can't, so don't bother trying. A newborn wakes up frequently to eat, sometimes as often as every two to three hours. "If she's sleeping too much, she's not eating enough," says Laura Jana, MD, coauthor of Heading Home with Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality. Over time, your baby will be able to go longer stretches without food. Meanwhile, you can help her learn to fall asleep on her own by laying her down when she's sleepy but still awake. Try to avoid nursing her to sleep after the first month or two so she doesn't get into the habit of needing milk to drift off. "You'd think that falling asleep is just something people do automatically, like breathing, but it can involve more of a learning process than most parents realize," says Dr. Jana. By 4 to 6 months, babies are usually able to sleep for longer stretches, with just one or two nighttime feedings. It usually isn't until somewhere between 9 and 12 months that most babies truly sleep through the night.

When should my baby/toddler start: sitting up, crawling, talking, and walking?

Just as with sleeping through the night, every baby is different and these "milestone" events will happen at different times for different children. Some will crawl early and not talk until much later -- and vice versa. And babies born prematurely will usually reach these milestones based on their due date, not their birthday -- that is, a baby born two months premature will likely sit up two months later than full-term babies. But preemies usually "catch up" in development between ages 2 and 3 (earlier for babies born at or after 28 weeks' gestation; later for babies born prior to 28 weeks). So don't panic if your son isn't talking yet while another child in his playgroup already says a dozen or more words. Let your baby develop at his own pace -- but if you're worried that your child is lagging behind, talk to your pediatrician.
By the end of 3 months, most babies can support their head well, begin to babble, follow a moving object with their eyes, and raise their head and chest while lying on their stomach.
By the end of 7 months, most babies can roll both ways (back to front and front to back), sit with the support of their hands, recognize their own name, laugh and squeal, and support their whole weight on their legs (while you keep them balanced, of course).
By the end of 1 year, most babies can sit unaided, get into a hands-and-knees position and crawl, pull themselves up to stand and "cruise" by holding onto furniture, say simple words like "dada" and "mama" and use simple gestures like waving bye-bye, and feed themselves finger foods.
By 15 to 18 months, most babies can say several simple words.
By their second birthday, they can walk unaided, and use simple phrases and short sentences like "No juice" and "Want that."

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