Your mom has been there through the ups and downs, the heartaches and the good times, but she doesn’t know everything. In fact, when it comes to baby care, there are a few tricks even she doesn’t have up her sleeve. These simple baby care tips will help you be a fab mom right out of the gate.
Crying doesn’t mean colic — necessarily
Experts once thought that uncontrollable crying automatically meant colic. These days, though, we are well-educated on another culprit: Acid reflux, which can be a painful (but totally treatable) condition for kids.
“My mom talked a lot about my twin sister and me having colic as babies. When my son was born, she called his crying ‘colic,’ as well,” says mom Hilary Hamblin. “After three months of nearly constant screaming, back arching, not sleeping and excessive spitting up, a friend mentioned these as symptoms of acid reflux. After some research online and a visit to our pediatrician, we started my son on Axid for acid reflux. Within 24 hours, he was a different, happier child.”
Holding a baby is good
For decades, it seems, moms have been made to feel guilty about holding their babies too much. Ignore the critics and repeat after us: You cannot spoil a baby by holding her. Really. It’s true. “Babies who are held often and have their needs met right away are more likely to have higher self-images and learn they are respected and worthy,” says Linda C. Donovan, RN, MHA, IBCLC. So, even if you keep hearing people tell you not to do it, rest assured that holding your baby is a good and natural thing.
Skip the baby wipes
Baby wipes are expensive and, for some sensitive bums, they can hurt. The good news? You really don’t need to buy ’em.
“I know people will not believe this, but a 100 percent breastfed baby doesn’t need baby wipes. Not at all. Breastfed baby feces are low in acid and bacteria, watery and wipe off easily; breastfed baby urine is dilute and noncorrosive,” says Wendie A. Howland RN MN CRRN CCM CNLCP and the editor of the AANLCP Journal of Nurse Life Care Planning. “Wipe that baby butt with the damp cloth diaper you’re taking off, re-wrap in a new clean cloth diaper, and you’re both good to go. I did this for both of my babies, and neither of them ever had a rash once.”
Formula feeding? You can still skip the commercial wipes in favor of a wash cloth and mild soap.
Protect from long-sleep leakage
We love double-duty things, and this tip falls firmly into that category. “If you have a baby who sleeps long and hard, a maxi pad in the diaper is a great solution to soaked sheets and jammies,” says Annie Ory, a certified life coach.
Not comfortable with that approach? That’s OK. There are also lots of highly absorbant nighttime diapers now available from Huggies, Pampers, Seventh Generation and more.
Sterilizing is easier than you think
Sterilizing all the baby doodads (you know: Bottles, pacis and more) can be time-consuming if you do it the old-fashioned way in a pot with water. But guess what? It can be so much easier — and you don’t need a pricey home sterilizer. Instead, toss everything in your dishwasher (sans soap) and run it on a short, hot cycle.
Be ready for the spray
News flash: When cool air hits a baby’s privates, he’ll tend to pee. So open that diaper carefully (read: Slowly!) so that you can catch the stream before it’s all over you and the nursery. You can also cover Baby’s privates with a washcloth, which will absorb the spray before it gets you.
They say that music can tame the savage beast. It also can calm a child down or, in the car, even put him to sleep. Slide in a CD and see how something that’s soft and soothing can make everything a little more relaxed.
Skip the shoes
Look: Until your child can walk, she really doesn’t need shoes. Socks? Absolutely! But not shoes. If you still put them on, be honest: It’s about you, not her. Save the money until she really needs them.
No juice boxes? No problem
It used to be that kids needed the necessary skill of juice-box drinking for when they hit school days. But these days, parents tend toward reusable bottles for school drinks. So, just make sure your child is well versed on using reusables — and he’ll be just fine.
Get them to sleep later
Have an early riser? That can be super tough. And if yours is really little, you might not be able to explain sleeping in to her. So, make it a little harder to wake up by hanging blackout curtains in Baby’s room. Close them at bedtime. You won’t be sorry. For older children, teach them that they can’t get up until a certain time. It will save your sanity.