Thursday, March 31, 2005

Breast pads and Leaks

by Eliza Ferree

If you breastfeed then you are all too familiar with the little wet sensation that goes with feeding your baby. You know that leaking feeling when you are in a store or laying in bed late at night? Breast pads work great but it's a matter of finding the right one that works for you, not all of them work. You don't want one that is going to leak and you don't want a huge one that is going to look bulky in your shirt. Here are a few reviews and a bit about my experience with them.

When my first child was born I had no true knowledge of anything "mom" related. I had no clue that you would spray at every holler of a passing baby, or leak any time during the day whether you were feeding or not.

One day I was going in to see my doctor at a regular scheduled meeting, I was in one of those blue gowns that they have you put on for exams. If you are like me you hate those, they reveal way too much even when they are suppose to be revealing nothing. My son was in his car seat in the corner sleeping, not making a sound but suddenly just by looking at him I started spraying. This little blue uniform I was wearing was now getting wet circles and I was really feeling embarrassed. How could this happen? Why now? He wasn't making a sound! I quickly cupped my hands over the circles and searched the room for something to put over them. If I could just wake him up I'd throw his blanket over the top of me and no one would know. That's when the doctor knocked on the door. I knew it was him, it wouldn't be anyone else.

"Come in," I squeaked. There was no use bending down to get my son, after all then I'd be showing everything else. I'd just sit turned and hope he really didn't have to have me moved.

Of course the first thing he needed was me to face him, my face must've turned a bright red and the nurse handed me something to cover up with. "It's okay, this happens all the time," they tried reassuring me.

Yeah, it might happen all the time for them but not me. This was my first of many experiences with this and it doesn't get any easier but as time does go on I do think of comments and stuff. This time made me realize that I didn't want it to happen again so I went in search for some protection against it and came up with two products that I love.

The Light Weights

Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads are extremely thin and have a little tape on the backside that sticks to your bra. This is perfect as it won't slip out like others do. They are very thin so if you leak a lot you DO NOT want this one. But if you leak very seldom then this is the one for you. The box comes with 60 pads in it and they are all individually wrapped, which is perfect for sticking a few in your purse. The backside is a dry lining so your bra doesn't get wet. Perfect if you want to stay dry all day and not show the world you are wearing them.

Heavy weights

The Milk Diapers Breast Pads are great! This is for those that are going to leak a lot. I know the name isn't that appealing but you don't wear the name so everyone can see it anyways right? These are cloth like and are very soft, I got these for a shower gift and loved them. At the end of the day toss them in the laundry and wash them, most bra pads you must toss in the trash at the end of the day but not these. More for your money I like to say. The colors are natural and white; they might have other colors by now. Yes, these do hold a lot of milk. You must make sure you put them on correctly as well, or they will leak.

Hope these help you out and keep you dry.

Baby Van Gogh – An Obvious Choice for an Artist’s Son!

Being the child of an artist (his father, not me!), getting the Baby Van Gogh video (from the Baby Einstein series) seemed a good idea. We didn't expect it to do anything more than entertain our child, but since it concentrated on colors, and had a lot of puppets and classical music, we thought this would be good stimulating fun entertainment for our toddler to watch as an alternative to his beloved Baby Mozart video.

It arrived and we put it straight into the machine to watch it. My son, by that time on his feet, was "cruising" around the living room and stopped to come and sit down beside us - about 2 minutes into the tape. He, like us, watched the entire video without moving. It didn't concentrate so much on the work of Van Gogh, although his major works are featured in small sketches, as on colors, and the antics of the puppets in particular a blue goat hand puppet by the name of Van Goat! He loved it, and even laughed at some of the antics the puppets got involved with. When it finished, he stood up and went over to the machine, wobbling on his still unsteady little legs. We rewound the tape and started it playing, and again he sat straight down and watched it all the way through. It soon became part of his daily routine!

As we were already working on his colors with him, I didn't really think he was learning anything new from the video until one day, when he was about 2.5 years, and I was browsing through a magazine. My son, sitting eating his lunch, looked at the page I was reading, leaned over and pointed saying "Van Goat!" To my astonishment he was pointing to a small copy of Van Gogh's "Sunflowers" painting which was advertising an art exhibition. Ok, so Van Goat isn't Van Gogh, but it's not that far off, easily correctible, and more than many non-arty adults would have known. To say I was impressed is an understatement! My 2.5 year old can identify a Van Gogh painting. How about that? I couldn't wait to tell my husband when he returned home from his studio.

The learning curve of a toddler can obviously not be too overstated, and I'm glad that we were so careful about the things we allowed him to watch in his baby years. I never expected him to get anything intellectual from the video, but it's amazing how his brain has managed to retain what information does come through the play and music. Today, aged 4.5 years, he still enjoys these videos when he sits down to watch them with his younger brother. We've certainly had our money's worth from this video.

Katie-Anne Gustafsson

Baby Blocked!

When Jake, my son, was born I envisaged a small book of poetry that I would write about him, and what he means to me. After all, I've already written some gloriously mushy poetry about my husband that simply oozes with romance and slushy bits, so writing about our precious child would be natural progression from there. Or so I thought!

In my mind I had it all worked out. It would be about postcard size, have a Wedgwood blue cover with a sketch of Jake on the front. The sketch would be inside an oval frame in the centre of the page and around the oval would be embossed white rattles. Inside this frame would be a photo of my little pride and joy, and then pages of poems that I had lovingly composed about my feelings for him. Once the first feverish weeks of sleepless nights and daytime crying settled down, I sat next to his Moses basket one afternoon with my pen poised over my notebook ready to create beautiful timeless pieces of loving maternal poetry. Nothing came. The sacred seconds ticked on and still my pen was motionless. I knew that this afternoon nap afforded such a rare and short time to write so I pondered and started, then scribbled it out. I wondered where my inspiration was.

Then I looked down into the basket and I knew that my muse was as spellbound as I was. Watching the gentle rise and fall of his tiny ribcage, the way his beautiful long eyelashes rested on his soft skin, the reckless way one foot was draped over the side of the basket and one arm protectively draped around Jessie, his "puppy", I felt such emotion building up inside me. My words couldn't begin to describe the feelings I had towards this precious sleeping baby. I know that in the years to come Jake will provide many incidents that will work their way into my writing - both fiction and non-fiction - but for the moment I'm proud enough to confess that this beautiful boy has rendered me speechless as I watch with ever increasing humility the miracle of life before me. And as for the poetry book, well I think that this will have to be written in retrospect, once I am able to control my emotions!

Katie-Anne Gustafsson

Babies in the womb can hear you shout and getting upset

Babies are really fascinating.

I often look at my now 15-year old son and remember the time when he was a baby. It comes back to my mind so vividly, like it was just the other day and not the decade and a half that it is.

And one particular, extremely fascinating aspect sticks out. This one has to do with the ability of a baby to hear and react to sounds while it is still in the mother's womb. Amazingly babies still in the womb can even react to people's emotions (like to enthusiastic and excited dads trying to talk to them by patting and talking at the mother's protruded tummy.)

But let us not go too deep now. My intention is to keep it simple for this article and dwell only on the more obvious and common examples that clearly show that babies do hear quite clearly and very well, long before they are born.

Mothers will quite often talk about how a baby reacts to a slamming door. They will often be startled and the mother will easily feel this in her womb as the baby reacts. Nobody can argue against that. It is something many dads have experienced. (Please note that this article is mostly directed at dads who tend to be extremely ignorant most of the times. Mothers basically know everything, or at least most of this stuff.)

About my son, at the time his mother was pregnant; my marriage to his mother was going through some trying moments, a stage I believe every marriage has to pass through. So, shouting matches between us were a little too frequent. The idiot I was at the time, I would never have believed that I was upsetting the person in her bulging stomach.

Do not ask me what we used to argue about or the reason for our regular high pitched shouting matches - that is probably the topic of another very different article. But the sad fact of the matter is that these sessions of shouting increased in frequency as the babies arrival drew closer. There are some folks who say that most boys will repel towards their fathers when they are in the womb and cause the mother to do the same against her husband. This may have been a slight contributing factor to our frequent rows, but I take full blame for my very bad behavior.

Sometimes in bouts of extreme guilt over this matter I tend to think the whole episode may have been the cause of some of the difficulties my wife had during the birth of this child. Mainly caused by the fact that the child was reluctant to come out to such a violently noisy world where they could not only hear but witness my terrible behavior. I have no scientific proof or expert opinion to back this.

Anyway, what was even more interesting was how the boy started behaving after he was born. To this day he loathes confrontations that involve any shouting or screaming at each other. He also deeply disliked being shouted at. He is the type that usually steers clear of trouble, but on the few occasions when he does something wrong and his mother screams at him, it really gets to him. To him it has a devastatingly larger impact than a slap or being hit.

Not to mention that when he was barely out of his diapers he would stand between my wife and I and scream for peace if there was sign of misunderstanding between us.

The scientists, experts and shrinks, I am sure will have plenty to say about all this. But personally I find it amazing and fascinating stuff.

Sadly I am mostly filled with emotions of sadness and regret that I should have behaved better.

Fathers do be very wary and careful about the guy walking around your house with your pregnant spouse that you think does not yet exist.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Baby Names

Naming your child is one of the most difficult and exciting parts of becoming a parent. Many people look to tradition to name their babies, some look to the most popular Hollywood names, while other parents find the names for their babies in the Bible. Every year there are a number of baby names that are overwhelmingly popular. These popular names reflect changes in society, and are a sneak preview of new baby names for years to come.

Years a go, names like Barbara, Linda and Patricia were exceptionally common for baby girls. These days, though, it is very rare that you will find a baby girl being called Patty. In 2004 the top five most popular baby girl names were Madison, Emma, Abigail, Riley, and Bailey. Looking back to 2003, the top five names in that year were Emily, Emma, Madison, Hannah, and Olivia. For the coming year, it is difficult to tell what the top five most popular names will be. Celebrities and television shows tend to have an effect on the names that prove to be prevalent. For instance, the names Beyonce, Brandy, Selma, and Penelope have gained popularity due to the notoriety and success of the stars of the same names.

For boys, names have also changed dramatically over the years. To go along with the Lindas and Barbaras of a couple of decades a go, boys were often named William, Harold, Richard and Lawrence. Now, though, baby boy names have become a bit edgier. In 2004, the top five baby names for boys were Aiden, Ethan, Caden, Caleb, and Dylan. In 2003, the five most popular names were Jacob, Michael, Joshua, Matthew, and Andrew. Most likely there will be some new and interesting baby boy's names to add to the list for 2005.

If you are looking for inspiration for your new baby's name, nothing is off limits. Books, movies, television, even Shakespeare and the Bible, may provide you with a baby name idea that sounds and will be the perfect fit for you and your new little one.

The Mommy Brain Fart..

The Mommy Brain Fart
By Eliza Ferree

Have you ever wondered how you became so forgetful? I swear after having babies I lost some memory somewhere in between them all. Ever happen to you? I call it the mommy brain fart, okay the fart part is from my kids.

I'll show you an example of my forgetfulness lately, in the last two weeks I've had several occurrences of this. I was going to take my kids to go on a local Easter Egg Hunt, I couldn't wait to see my baby see her first bunny. Yes, she has seen the Easter Bunny before but now she has that knowledge of people and it'll kind of be like the first time again. I hurried them up because I wasn't paying attention to the time, my baby hadn't slept yet so I was really hoping she wouldn't fall asleep in the car or just as we got there. Happens all the time. I grab a few diapers and tossed jackets towards the kids and told them to put their shoes on in the car. Trust me this is the best way to save time, you don't have to worry about doing it in the house and it takes a few minutes to get to where you are going. With the help of my son the girls got their shoes on. I looked at the time again it was 2:30, the Festival was to start at 2, most events I'd been to around here normally didn't kick off until an hour later. As I pulled up I couldn't help but notice the cars pulling out, but wait it said fun and games, the Easter Bunny and arts and crafts. Was it over? I asked a lady getting in her car.

"Yes, they are always quick. The kids get here promptly at 2 and we blow the whistle. No there was no crafts or games, just egg hunting."

I feel crush, I turn back and hear my middle child ask, "Mommy, are we going to find eggs?" My baby is sleeping in the back seat, at least she has no knowledge of what we just missed. I tell the lady thank you and ask about the games.

"Oh we were only doing games if it rained and it was a perfect day."

Double bummed, man if my brain had only worked I would've got there on time. This is what I mean by a brain fart, my brain had quit on me for just a few minutes.

Another Example: This past Saturday I took the kids to yet another Easter Egg Hunt and this one we got there early. Yep, maybe a bit too early but we weren't missing it again. My baby got to see the Easter Bunny and I did have a brain lapse when I didn't think to introduce her first to him. I called my three kids over to get pictures, my middle one jumped right up for pictures and smiled away. My son, the oldest, didn't want pictures but I convinced him to hold his baby sister and he was happy to do it. However, she WAS NOT, she'd never met the thing before and didn't want to be near him. The cameraman snapped the shot just as she started screaming. Yep, classic picture and I forgot my brain somewhere. Now she wasn't going to get near the bunny. The bunny felt so bad it kept trying to come over and she’d grab my leg and try pulling herself up on me. "Mommy, mommy, mommy." She'd look at the bunny, "No no no."

After a few hours of seeing her sister run around and dance with the bunny she did hug him and even got some nice pictures with him. Now if I'd only thought of letting her see her sister with the bunny first I think that first shot would've been great. But that's not the only time my brain died on me Saturday, nope on the way home I saw the little dummy light in my car go off. I thought, I'd fill it up later when I get closer to home.

I had to take my 4-year old girl to ballet practice. This was her first practice and it's already in the middle of the season so I don't want her late at all. My mind starts wandering and doing the what ifs, ya know what if I have to stop at a light and the car dies type of thing. I have three kids in the car, I can't just leave them and I can't exactly walk with all of them to the gas station. Not to mention I didn't have one of those gas tanks to fill it up with. I kept hoping the car wouldn't stop and would make it this journey, I looked at the time, and there was no way she was going to be there on time. I couldn't help but feel worse that I was only driving 25 mph, with this amount of speed I'd lose all the gas. Finally we reached 45 mph but I had to wait for cars to pass me, great I thought to myself. Right after I start my 45 we have to stop for a light which takes 20 minutes, no not really it was probably only two but you can imagine my stress by now. This was the busiest road where I live and if it stopped here I had no clue what I'd do, probably get a ticket and a lecture about driving around with three kids and no gas. I hadn't intended on doing this but it happened, I don't think I could explain to the officer what a mommy brain fart was either. I look around as the cars all gather around me and think how it feels like the cars are laughing at mine, "haha, she forgot to give you gas." I kind of lean in towards the steering wheel as a truck pulls up beside mine and I see a man look over, I picture him seeing my light and laughing at me. I feel the world is all staring at me and I can't do anything, if the car stops no one will help they will all drive by, or if they stop they'll ask if I need help but are really busy and will calls someone for me. I feel like bashing my head on the steering column just as the light turns green. Phew, finally! I roar away and up a hill, okay if the car is going to give out on me this is going to be the place..the worse place as I'm afraid of heights and overpasses. Growing up in California has made me hate these things. Slowly we cruise over the hill, we are just about there, and only a few streets left I take all possible shortcuts I can.

With about 8 minutes to spare I see the gas station. Yes, I knew there was one near the dance class but wasn't sure if it was working, that part of town always looked like a ghost town and knowing my luck I had just made it over here where I'd be stuck all night. I look around as I pull in, the neon light shows it's OPEN but could it be an error. I don't care, I pull up to a tank and get out, pushing the buttons to start the gas. My car is thirsty and gives me no problems this time, normally I have to fumble with the lever of the gas to get it started, I intended only putting $5 in this time as I knew I'd be putting in more later but by the time I look again I have 8 okay well I'll go to $9 and stop it there. My daughter is fretting inside that she is going to be late and never be able to go to class. Yes, drama queen moment but I understood it. I had forgot to stop at the bank on the way over which meant I only had the cash on me, however it was at this point I went to grab my purse. My purse was gone! Vanished! I searched the entire car in panic mode but it wasn't here. Then it dawned on me that I was in such a rush that I'd left it at home on my chair. How was I going to pay for gas? I didn't have money on me or my cards, they were all in the purse that sat happily at home. I had the money but were they going to believe me inside? Would they let me drive home and come back to pay them? Yeah right, not in my dreams. My son at this point reminded me that I always have change in my jacket. I smile and nod, I did remember this but I never had that much. Amazingly though as I ransacked my jacket I came up with well over $10 in coins, yes this included pennies as well. Now to count it all up again and see if they take all change. At least I wouldn't go to prison right? Yes, I was able to pay with change, but I did learn from now on that when that dummy light flashes remember to fill the tank and never leave home without your cash...or purse in my case. This is what a brain fart is and mommies have them all the time.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Best baby shower gifts

One of the most challenging things for people without children can be purchasing baby gifts for friends who are expecting. Unsure what the new baby really needs, they often pick things that are lovely but impractical. These tips can help a novice pick the perfect baby shower gift.

First, consider the circumstances of the family having the baby. Is this a first baby or a second or third? If it is a subsequent baby, were the children close together in age or is likely all the baby gear was sold at a garage sale long ago? If it is a first baby, the parents probably need more of the basics. Concentrate on practical items such as strollers, car seats, diaper pails, and manicure sets. If there are previous children, consumable items or items that wear out with one baby (diapers, baby shampoo, bibs, burp cloths, pacifiers, and diaper pail liners) are usually greatly appreciated as are extra blankets and clothing. Gift certificates to baby stores are always useful since parents can replace any worn out items or gear they never had. If the previous babies were boys and the new one is a girl, clothing, blankets and room decor in feminine color schemes are a good idea.

Second, find out whether the parents have signed up for a gift registry. Since most stores offer registries, it is easy for parents to indicate the items they need or would like to have. While some people feel shopping from the registry takes the surprise out of gift giving, what could be more considerate than giving the parents exactly what they need? If you must give a surprise, choose an item from the registry and then add another small item (such as clothing, a toy or a book) that is not listed. This way you have the best of both worlds.

Some ideas for basics that new parents nearly always need:

- Baby blankets
- Footed sleepers
- t-shirts, onsides, socks
- hats
- Diapers or a subscription to a diaper service
- Diaper pail
- Burp cloths (or cloth diapers)
- Hair brush and comb
- Manicure kit
- First aid kit
- Cradle or crib bedding (mattress pads, sheets, bumper, dust ruffle)
- Baby towels and washcloths
- Baby bath tub
- Diaper bag
- Toiletries and medicine basics: baby shampoo, diaper cream, baby powder, baby Tylenol
- Infant thermometer
- Car seat
- Stroller
- Bouncy seat
- Bottles/ formula (if the parents plan to bottle feed)
- Swing
- Playpen/port crib
- Furniture and decorative items for the nursery

Sunday, March 27, 2005

From Ears to Video Monitors..

From Ears to Video Monitors
by Eliza Ferree

Wow! Technology sure has come a long way, it was once upon a time ago when mothers just listened carefully to the first sounds of their baby moving around in their bedding and today we have little computers with web cams to show us the first movements of our young ones. Of course this new technology doesn't come to us as cheaply as a monitor or a mothers sharp hearing, but it does come in handy. The price may be pretty steep for some that are used to buying only the monitor devices but it can be very useful.

A mother or father can now leave the baby in his/her own room. Maybe they want to spend some alone time now that the baby is sleeping. Or you just want to watch some television or get on your computer. With this little computer also known as a video monitor, you can do practically anything you want and still get to see your baby.

With my first two children I got the hand monitors, which worked out fine except when the neighbor would get on the phone or a plane with fly over. I also wanted to try a video monitor but could never bring myself to buying one at the cost. My girlfriend later bought one and I could tell it really would've been perfect for me.

The video monitor actually comes in with a 6.5-inch screen, ac/adapter which means you don't have to waste batteries and an audio monitor. The audio monitor lets you hear your baby but don't worry he/she won't hear you. I am waiting to hear that they've made one that you could talk to your baby too, especially for those that sing their baby to sleep. This works great at night and during the day so don't worry about not being able to see your child in the darkened bedroom. So, if you are the type of parent that has a child that needs watched during their sleep or just you want to watch them purchase a video monitor.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Baby Mozart - The Best Money We Ever Spent on the Baby!

When I was pregnant I was determined that my baby wasn't going to watch TV shows such as Teletubbies! Don't ask me why but I have some kind of irrational dislike for these "things" for want of a better word! Nor was he going to watch a lot of the drivel produced in the name of "children's television" - having sat through a few shows I realized that there was a good reason for many children running around screaming - that's what they were taught on television! So what would my baby be watching? I had no idea!

One day, towards the end of my pregnancy, I was reading a message board at one of the pregnancy websites, and someone mentioned Baby Mozart. She was so enthusiastic about it that I went to the Baby Einstein website and checked it out. It sounded great but was the official site's opinion to be trusted. I next went to Amazon.com and read the reviews. I wasn't totally convinced but the people who reviewed it seemed to think it was great and that their babies and small children enjoyed it. I decided that it was definitely worth gambling on, and so placed an order for a copy. Around this time my pregnancy, complicated from the beginning, went spiraling downhill and a few days later I was the mother of a 3lb preemie. Five weeks and one emergency heart operation on the baby later, we brought our beautiful tiny baby home where an Amazon package containing Baby Mozart awaited us.

The days passed quickly taking care of this tiny babe, but eventually I got around to opening the package and putting it in the video machine. I'd intended to just listen to it, but as it started, it caught my attention and I sat and watched it. It was exactly the kind of thing I'd been looking for. As Jake lay in his basket or his crib, I would play the video. He couldn't see it, but he loved the music. As he developed he'd wave his rattle round when the music was playing and move his feet. When he was unsettled I'd put the music on and he'd calm down almost instantly. When he was about 6 months, we would sit him up and he'd watch the video. He loved it! At 12 months he was on his feet and bringing the box to me when he wanted it on. We had other videos for him by then (in fact I think he was about 3 years old before he realized television didn't come on a video tape!) but when he chose one, this was always the one he'd pick.

He was still watching it, although not quite as often when I become pregnant with baby number 2. The video was now 2.5 years old and had been played on average at least once every day during that time. When Connor was born, he also loved the music. He didn't see the video from his crib, but he listened. When it started he would turn his head towards the music, and like his big brother would stop fussing when the music started.

Like his big brother, he also started to sit up and watch the video at 6 months. The magic repeated and the video played everyday. By the time he was 18 months, this past Christmas, we had to make a decision. The video had been played almost daily by then for 4.5 years. It was worn and tired. Did we replace it? Or just phase it out. We decided that as our eldest was still enjoying it, we'd replace it and so we ordered a new copy, this time in DVD format.

Buying another copy of a video you already possess, especially in a home where disposable income isn't exactly plentiful, may seem extravagant, but that first video owes us nothing! It was certainly the best money we've ever spent! .....Oh and the new DVD is still played at least once every day! If you've got babies or young children I couldn't recommend anything better to buy for your little ones. And it sure beats listening to hyperactive adults pretending to act like no children I've ever seen, or semi-English speaking Teletubbies!

Katie-Anne Gustafsson, 2005

Friday, March 25, 2005

Dealing with colic

Experts estimate that approximately one in four healthy, new babies has colic. Yet, they don't really know what colic is. How can they diagnose something that they don't fully understand?

Colic is the term used to describe uncontrollable crying that has no specific cause in babies between 2 and 12 weeks of age. If the crying happens several times a week and lasts for at least an hour each time, it is usually diagnosed as colic. Current theories on colic ascribe it to immature nervous systems or digestive systems.

Doctors assure parents that babies all outgrow colic. And, they do. However, in the meantime, dealing with a colicky baby can be nerve-wracking, stressful, saddening and frustrating. The most difficult thing for new parents is that their baby seems unhappy and there seems to be nothing they can do to soothe her. In addition, the non-stop sound of shrieking is sure to wear on the nerves of any sleep-deprived person.

Since doctors can't get rid of colic and the only way to cure it is to live through it, consider the following strategies for coping with a colicky baby:

- Constant motion: For some reason, motion often soothes colicky babies. Try the stroller, the vibrating bouncer, the swing and the rocking chair. Go for a drive in the car. Walk back and forth, bounce and remind yourself in the middle of the night that all that exercise is burning off the baby weight at a record pace. Some babies respond well to crib vibrators; make sure the unit is heavy-duty enough to really vibrate the mattress.

- White noise: Some babies respond favorably to soothing music or white noise. You don't have to invest in a white noise generator. Try a window fan (not aimed directly at the baby), letting water run or a CD of ambient sounds.

- Get help: Since dealing with colic can be really grueling, make sure you get some help. Try to arrange schedules so that both parents can take turns with the colicky baby or have a friend or family member come in to offer a little relief.

- Take a break: If the frustration of dealing with a constantly fussing baby is really getting to you and you cannot find anyone to take over for awhile, remember that it is okay to put the baby in a safe place such as her crib for a few minutes, close the door and walk out. Take a long cool drink. Use the bathroom. Take some deep breaths. You will be much better equipped to go back and comfort your unhappy baby and she will be none the worse for the wear.

In some cases, babies with acid reflux or other digestive disorders exhibit symptoms of colic, so make sure if you believe your baby is colicky that you consult with your doctor to rule out any other causes of her distress.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Choosing the best baby monitor

Parents of infants find that a baby monitor is very useful for tracking their baby when they are out of the room. A baby monitor broadcasts from one unit to one or more receiving units so that the sounds the baby makes can be heard from other rooms in the house. This is especially handy when the baby is sleeping and parents are working or resting elsewhere. However, there are so many baby monitors on the market it can be difficult to know what to buy. The following features guide will help new parents select the best monitor for their needs.

Range
The package of each baby monitor will indicate the range for which the monitor is most effective. Make sure the monitor you purchase is powerful enough to transmit throughout your home since a weak monitor will be useless to you.

One or two way transmission
Most baby monitors transmit in one direction; in other words, one unit broadcasts the sounds and the other receives them so someone can hear them. Some baby monitors can be set to transmit in either direction. These allow you to use either unit to hear sounds from the other (usually with a switch to activate it for transmission). These are handy if you think you will commonly want to talk to someone who is in the baby's room, but many parents feel the extra expense for these units is unnecessary.

Number of receivers
The most basic baby monitors come with one transmitter and one receiver. However, if you have a large home or commonly spend time in multiple rooms while listening for the baby, a multiple receiver unit may be the best for you. This allows you to hear the transmissions on more than one unit so, for example you can leave a receiver in your bedtime for night-time and your office for naptime.

Audio or audio/video
A few baby monitoring units on the market offer video capability as well as audio. These units are substantially more expensive, but can provide peace of mind since you can see as well as hear your baby. If you are a nervous parent or have a special needs baby, this may be the best solution for you.

Other features
Some other features to consider are the weight, especially if you plan to carry the monitor around with you. Most audio monitors are meant to be portable and have clips to allow you to carry them hands-free. Also look for units that can use either battery or AC power outlets for the most flexibility.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Creating Easter Baskets for Babies

By: Rae A. Costa

Although babies won't grasp the meaning of Easter, they'll still enjoy receiving their very own Easter basket. Personalized gifts are a great way to show someone you love and care about them. With Easter fast approaching, now is a good time to start making a basket for that special little one in your life.

  • Choose baskets that can be used long after Easter. Brightly colored baskets that can be used to store toys or other baby items will be much appreciated. If you want to buy a basket specific for Easter, make sure it's made from a plush material so it can be held and chewed on without causing injury.
  • Include books with colorful pictures and personalized with the baby's name. Think about books beyond their current age level, so they'll be able to enjoy them as they grow. Classics, such as Winnie the Pooh or Charlotte's Web are perfect additions to any child's book collection.
  • Line baskets with a cashmere or fleece blanket or embroidered quilt instead of straw or plastic grass which can be a choking hazard.
  • Include soft and cuddly stuffed animals or dolls the baby will enjoy snuggling and holding as he or she grows.
  • Mobiles, teething rings, rattles, age appropriate toys, or play mats are great additions to the baby's Easter basket. Choose items that are visually and mentally stimulating.
  • Clothes printed with little bunnies or ducks can be worn not just at Easter, but year round. Include bibs, rompers, pajamas, booties, or a beanie with an Easter design.
  • Bath toys and other items, such as hooded duck towels or natural soaps and shampoos can be included in the basket as well.
  • Create memories to put in your basket. Make a picture frame celebrating baby's 1st Easter. Include a baby journal to record baby's milestones. Personalize a photo album or scrapbook for important baby pictures. Create a CD with your favorite bedtime stories and lullabies.
  • Other items which might be perfect for your basket could include pacifiers, bottles, sippy cups, or even diapers.
  • Make a personalized piece of baby jewelry like a bracelet or anklet. Make a matching one for Mom or Dad too!
  • Avoid sugary sweets. Natural foods, teething wafers or biscuits are a much better choice than candy.
  • Of course include something for Mom or Dad, such as a gift certificate, gourmet coffee, a babysitting coupon, or a chocolate Easter bunny.

With any gift personalization makes it that much more special. Spend an extra moment choosing or making gifts to suit the baby they're being given. Mommy or Daddy will surely appreciate your effort and thoughtfulness.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Why use an Umbrella Stroller?

The Umbrella Stroller isn't a bad purchase, I know many people think why buy something that is cheap. But really it's not cheap. An umbrella stroller can come in handy in more ways than one.
1. First they are lightweight, which means you can take them just about anywhere and it's easy for lifting. Moms will love this, especially when they are trying to hold the baby and get the stroller out of the back end of a truck. They fold up much easier than one of the more expensive brands do and they are small enough to fit just about anywhere in your car.
I remember buying one of those double strollers for my second child, thinking it would be great because I had two. Sure it was great but it wasn't always convenient. My three year old would sit in it as well as my younger one, but when I needed a ride home one day due to the heat, it was very hard putting it in someone's car. First, we tried folding it up but it gave us a hard time. We finally managed to fold it and then we had to find a spot, it wouldn't fit in the spot behind the passenger seat, not with the kids in the car. We tried putting it in the front with me, it almost fit, my feet curled in my lap and all. After rearranging all her groceries in the trunk we managed to shove it in a spot and slam the trunk down before it decided to pop up or something. I thought about how it would've been easier if I had had the umbrella stroller that day, it would've easily fit in any of those spots we'd tried without a problem and would've got us home much faster.
2. The prices are great. They range from 9.99 on up, but normally for just a plain umbrella stroller they won't go over $20. They have a lot of versions that are much higher in price, but this would all depend on what you really were going to use it for, ie, if you were a jogger they have some great umbrella jogger strollers.
When it was time to purchase an umbrella stroller I knew I didn't want to spend a lot of money but wanted one that wouldn't break for a while. I use strollers for every day trips, whether I'm walking the block or going to the store. I also do a lot of frequent trips to the library and the stroller ends up being the book carrying case, while I hold the baby. This stroller would have to be able to hold books and I knew if it could hold my child it was a good purchase. I looked around and didn't like the way the $10 ones looked so I walked towards the character ones. There was Spongebob and Barbie, knowing my husband Barbie was out of the question and the kids loved the other. To this day I still use it, just this afternoon I used it at a ballpark while watching my son play baseball.
3. The umbrella part of it is light and will keep the bright sun off your child's face and body. However if it starts to rain this will not keep them dry.
Here are some reasons you may choose not to use one:
-If you don't like saving money
-Know that you will have more than one child in it
-Plan on keeping all your groceries in it
-If it rains a lot where you are
-You have a newborn
Remember just because something doesn't cost an arm and a leg doesn't mean it's a bad purchase. It might actually be worth it in the long run.

Innocence of babies

The babies make their own world of unknown fantasies that are not known even to them even, but they keep on making them and engross themselves in it completely. However, there is a hungry and querying mind that propels them to learn about the new things that they can cognize and can have the hand upon. And according to psychologists, this inner drive motivates them to acquire new arts and methods, language, and all other things that are required to live in this world comfortably.

Parents like to provide toys to their children, so that babies can have a good time and feel engrossed and the parents can resume their routine chores. For, a child never allows it mother to father to work comfortably, if it is not given some work to enjoy or something to play with! And this is where a very interesting fact comes before the eyes of the grown-ups, as almost all the children try to open up or tore the toys that they are handed. What for? --Just to know what is lying inside it! Yes, this is very interesting factor for the people who have some spiritual or mind towards the higher values of the human birth. These savants say that the human mind is eager to know what lies inside every element and atom, but it does not make any try to find what lies inside itself! Very strange observation, as it may sound, but for the people who have a ear for these kind of things, it is an eye-opener and almost the essence of all the advice. They go on to say that the God resides inside us and we should make every try to realize this fortune of us that we are born as human beings. And there is no argument that babies are believed to be the most beloved of God, for, they are innocent and possess no evil thoughts for anybody. So we must become like the little babies and try to explore within!

Buying baby clothes

To buy clothes for somebody else is a hectic work and sometimes you end up totally wrong-fitting clothes, though you thought that you have bought the best! And if you have to buy the clothes for a little child, it becomes doubly easy. For men who knew lesser about the fitting of the child, this shopping is a cumbersome process and they generally tend to avoid it. I had a similar experience when my friend asked me to shop with him for his sister's baby boy, as he wanted to make a gift on its birthday that was fast approaching!

We were doing some job at that time and were staying away from our homes and, therefore, there was no female member with us who could have helped us immensely. However, we entered the showroom that has a large collection of baby clothes. We asked the salesgirl to show us some good baby cloth pieces that could be gifted! She asked the size, the color and some styles that we never heard about; for, we knew about the styles of our age, but nothing we knew about the styles of little babies and, therefore, we showed our helplessness in telling her exactly what we wanted!

Then we decided something else and told her the age of the baby and asked her to show whatever she had for that age babies. That worked and she showed some fine pieces of baby clothes and also told the prices for all the particular articles. It was a hard choice, as almost all the pieces were lovely and we wanted to buy them all, but had not the money to do so. It is a very general opinion that the baby clothes are more comely than the clothing for adults! However, we arrived at a consensus of buying a "Shervani", which is a famous attire at the time of the marriage for the bridegroom. This article was becoming famous at that time and particularly for that age babies. It was of maroon color and looked good, and my friend imagined how it would suit the color of his sister's son!

We asked the salesgirl for the price of those articles again, as we were confused about the prices of so many clothes, and when she told us we were a little taken aback! --It was more than my friend expected to spend on the gift and he was thinking what he could do. Then we calculated some other things and finally settled with the price, as the salesgirl offered some relaxation in the price, and he also though that he would somehow manage the money. We get the suit packed and came out of the showroom and looked in one another's eyes, for, we both were amateurs and had never done that type of shopping before. Really it was a very good experience and at that time of our life we came to know the value of having a female member while shopping baby clothes, for, the females knew almost everything about them and make the shopping easy and pleasing!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Bringing Home Baby: The Necessities

We would all love to be able to bring our newborn babies home to fully furnished nurseries stocked with all the toys and supplies we could fit into the room. But for many first-time parents, that scenario is just not financially possible. Although it goes without saying that each baby's individual needs may vary, in this article I will tell you which basic items you probably shouldn't try to do without in the first few months after birth. Most everything else can wait.

Transportation
There are laws requiring that children, including newborns, be strapped into car seats when traveling in a motor vehicle. Some hospitals will even send staff members out to inspect your vehicle to make sure you have a car seat installed prior to releasing you. When shopping for a car seat, be sure to buy one designed specifically for infants. Infant car seats are smaller than toddler car seats and offer more support for weaker newborn bodies.

For mobility outside the car, you will also need a stroller with a reclining seat. Newborns cannot sit in an upright position (and shouldn't be propped up for long periods), so the reclining seat is a necessity. Please bear in mind that public carts and strollers found in supermarkets and shopping malls are not suitable for infants. Do not count on using those for your newborn.

Bedding
Newborn babies spend approximately two-thirds of the day sleeping, so you will definitely want to have a comfortable place for your little one to rest. Most babies sleep in cribs or bassinets. New cribs are expensive, and many parents hesitate at spending so much money on a piece of furniture that will be used for such a short time. Buying a second-hand crib is a reasonable option that will certainly save money. A bassinet is cheaper than a crib, but will be outgrown sooner.

As an alternative, you might want to consider purchasing a playpen. Playpens these days often come as "combination" models, with both bassinet and changing table attachments in addition to the play area. Once your baby outgrows the bassinet, it can be removed and you can still get a lot of mileage out of the playpen. The removable changing table, with sloping sides and a safety strap, is also a very handy piece that can be used for a long time. Most playpens are portable, which is great for giving your baby a sense of home when you are on the road.

Regardless of whether you choose a crib or a bassinet, you will need to equip your baby's sleeping area with proper bedding materials. A firm mattress and properly sized sheets are a must for safety as well as comfort. Seasonally appropriate blankets are necessary, too.

Clothing and Diapers
Newborns go through a lot of clothes in one day because they spit up quite a bit. As a general rule of thumb, you should plan on having at least four clean outfits available per day for each day of your laundry cycle. For example, if you do laundry twice a week, you will need to have about 12 or 16 outfits in order for your baby to get through the three- or four-day period between washings.

Newborn clothing does not have to be fancy. Your baby's first wardrobe should consist mostly of one-piece bodysuits, bibs, several pairs of socks, some sleepwear, and seasonally appropriate outerwear, including hats and caps.

Diapers, along with wipes and baby powder, are another essential part of a newborn's first months at home. Be prepared to change your baby's diapers every 2-4 hours throughout the day and night. Whether you choose disposable or cloth diapers, you should budget accordingly and make sure you always have plenty of new diapers on hand to keep your baby clean, dry, and comfortable.

Bottles
If you plan to give your newborn formula, you will need to have several baby bottles, plus nipples and caps, available for daily use. You can definitely get by with two or three bottles, as that number gives you time to sterilize between feedings. Realistically speaking, however, you will soon get tired of having to sterilize bottles immediately after using them. Therefore, you should probably have six or eight bottles, which will be enough to get your baby through an entire day of feedings. Even if you plan to breastfeed, you will still need to have bottles (although you can get by with fewer) for those times when you use a pump.

Miscellaneous
In addition to the above-mentioned items, I recommend that you purchase:
  • A baby bathtub with a contoured seat area. Baby bathtubs can fit inside a large sink and are designed to help you hold your infant in place more easily. This will make bath time less stressful for you, and safer for baby.
  • A comprehensive baby reference book. There are many excellent reference books on the market, so spend some time browsing through them and choose one that looks appealing to you. A good reference book tells you which developmental signs to look for in your newborn at different stages of infancy. The book might also describe common problems you may encounter with your baby, such as colic, and give suggestions for dealing with those problems. This will be an invaluable tool for inexperienced parents.
The first few months at home with a new baby can be overwhelming enough for first-time parents without having to worry about being able to afford all the latest "must have" gadgets and equipment. The truth of the matter is that you can raise a perfectly healthy and happy baby with just a few basic necessities.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Crucial things at the time of birth

The time of birth is very crucial for your babies and there are certain things that need to be taken care of, and perhaps the doctor has already suggested some precautions for you. There are dietary controls, work control and movement controls that you need to address before the birth of the baby.

However, we will discuss some other types of practices that were very famous in ancient India, and these in turn, ensured a bright future for the child. Many of the people in India itself have regarded them as just superstitions and never done the things, but there are scientific reasons behind some of them, and therefore, these practices can not be completely ignored.

It was very clear that why these practices lost their effect on the minds of Indian itself, for, these were spiritually oriented and sometimes look like superstitions. But mind you, they are potent and have scientific support to prove their efficacy!

One one of them, was to avoid reading, watching and talking the stuff that is not very good for the growth of a child, like back-biting, obscene movies and abuse-filled sounds. These all have a lot of effect on the baby inside the womb of the mother, and there was a similar story of Abhimanyu in Mahabharata--an ancient epic of India--who learnt the art of military in the womb itself, while his father Arjuna was relating some stories to his mother Saubhadra! Dr. Har Gobind Khurana also proved that genetic changes could be accomplished before the birth of a baby, and he was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work. In ancient India, women used to read and listen to the glories of God or some other godly men, who had led an exemplary life. And no wonder that the people of that era was more peaceful and loving to all the creatures of the world!

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Baby Names

It is some natural event that whenever a child takes birth, the family members rejoice, and there is no limit of their happiness! The parents and other members of the family thanks God for the gift! And if the Grand parents are also there, their joy is doubled with the arrival of a cherub.
The parents starting planning about so many things that they have to do about the child, and how they could be able to ensure a safe future for it. But the first thing that comes in the mind is the name of the baby. This is a big task, as there are lots of reasons for the baby to be named with a particular name.

The trend of naming a baby depends upon the language of that country. Because the name is a part of the language, so it plays a major role in finalizing the name of a child. There are lot of reasons for naming a child and some of them are given below:

Historical background of the name
Regional background of the name
A good literal meaning of the name
A famous personality having that name
Reference in old books of the name

All these factors plays important role in determining the name for a child, and choosing one of them depends upon the choice of parents or the authorized person to which this duty has been assigned. Sometimes people prefer to name a baby by a spiritual leader or a person, who has dedicated his or her life to the divine. This practice is very popular in India and almost all the people here prefer a name that has got some spiritual significance or some historical background. The rich culture of India provides a variety of India and the number of languages in India, which is above 550, provides a rich variety for the language factor also. However, the major part of these names has a meaning in Sanskrit or Hindi and Arabic!

However, due to the shortage of books in Sanskrit in common household, who are educated in other languages, there is always a problem to find a suitable name. These people refer the astrologers and these astrologers give them a consonant to choose the name. This practice of going to the astrologers is very old and almost everybody does it in India. However, sometimes these astrologers refer a consonant that is no so common for getting a name, and the problem starts. First there are shortage of books and other materials, which have a good store of stories, and also there is lesser number of people who know languages by good reasons. This makes the problem a considerable one.

And this is where the resources on the Internet play a good hand in providing the names and their meanings in various languages that are compiled by the specialists. There are also printed books available for getting a suitable name, and these books are getting famous in the households.

Recently, one of my friends had such a problem. --His sister gave birth to a baby boy and they were searching hard for a good name that has some spiritual meaning with it. We were studying in the college and we had Internet access there, and his family members were trying to find a suitable name in the spiritual books that they had in their house. My friend searches long on the Internet and found a name that he liked, for, it sounded good and also had a potent spiritual meaning. He returned home happily; for, he had found a name after all, and when he told his mother about the prospective name, she wondered much! Why? --She also found the same name in the spiritual book and the coincidence concreted their belief that this was the right choice for the name. Indeed it was a good coincidence.

Really, Internet has everything for you: whatever you search for, you will get it and perhaps may have some coincidence like my friend had!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Baby Related Articles And Commentary Are Soon To Follow

Check back soon as we will be posting articles and commentary related to babies. We can't tell you exactly what it will be, but note that it should be interesting.