Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Diaper Bag Basics

You quickly learn that to take a trip anywhere with your baby, even a quick dash to the store, requires carrying a ton of STUFF along! Interestingly, though diapers are only a small percentage of the "necessities" you have to lug around, the luggage you cram it all into is inevitably referred to as a diaper bag. You never know what you will need when you are out and about! Babies are unpredictable by their very nature. It is one of the things that makes them so exciting and adorable. But, don't let them lull you into a sense of cooing comfort. Just when you think you have them figured out, they will throw you a Major League curve ball.

I found this out quickly, when I decided to just "run to the store" one day without a diaper bag. Little did I know that my daughter had scheduled a character building session for her mommy and high on the lesson plan was an exercise we will call "Ready Or Not, Here It Comes". It goes something like this, 1) your baby is quietly playing with a toy, 2) your baby makes a cute noise to get your attention, 3) your baby throws up what appears to be a weeks worth of cottage cheese, or baby food that resembles it closely, all over her outfit. The normal reaction is stunned silence, followed by a sudden sinking realization that you are left without a way to clean her up. You convince yourself that that is exactly why a super prepared mother like yourself left that clean sweatshirt in the car to begin with. To make it short and to the point, I was mortified!

Thinking I had learned my lesson, and fully expecting my daughter to spring a final exam on me at anytime, I started going out of the house "gunning for bear". I made checklists of every possible item I might need. I went over scenario after scenario to assure myself I would never be caught off guard again. The result? I over packed and wound up with an aching back within a few minutes out the door. The bag was so overstuffed with needless items that I couldn't even find the things I needed! I couldn't get it right!

Since I had my son, I found myself in a conundrum again with the diaper bag. How much did I need to pack anyway so that I would be prepared but not overburdened? I didn't want to be dragging unnecessary items along.

Here is a simple checklist of items that I found were must haves when I went anywhere for more than a few hours:

4 diapers

Baby wipes in a travel container

Diaper ointment-Try to choose an oinment that can do double duty as a moisturizer or lip balm, such as Aquaphor. If you're anything like me, your diaper bag may be doing double duty as a handbag too.

Changing pad (this is a must-never rest your baby on a surface that is unsanitary). You don't have to make it fancy either. You can choose to carry disposable pads that take up a bit less room.

2 extra changes of clothes-keep it simple, onesies and stretchies will do

1 burp cloth-this is good to have on hand since it can do double duty as a towel to use should you have a big mess and not have paper towels available

2 bibs -Depending on what stage your baby is in, you may be able to get away with disposable bibs. But you will want the fabric kind if your child is teething or drooling frequently.
Formula and bottles (depending on how long you will be out)

A small blanket

A small toy-something to use to distract a fussy infant could be the thing that makes your outting more bareable should you be delayed for any reason

A plastic bag for dirty clothes

Antibacterial hand cleanser or wipes (a must for places you can't wash your hands or to cut down on germs)

If your child loves the pacifier, by all means make this a must have. Don't leave home without it!!

Now as your baby grows and changes, you will learn what more or less you will need. But this simple checklist has helped me tremendously. Remember too, that nothing says you can't keep a spare bag in the car for additional items you may need. In fact, this is handy way to cut down on carrying too much. Having 2 bags, one you carry with you and one you stash in the car, is the best way to keep things simple and to ensure you have EVERYTHING you could ever need when traveling with children.

One more thing, if there is anything I have learned while having children is that it is nearly impossible as a Mom to keep YOUR clothes clean. So it's a good idea to have a change of clothes for you depending on where you are traveling to. To show up to your destination looking a mess because your baby spit up on you or had a different kind of accident, is no fun!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Safe Shopping Safety Tips

If you want to be a safe gift giver, here are the Consumer Product Safety Commission's Top Safe Shopping Tips. Be Aware of:

Magnets - For children under age six, avoid building sets with small magnets. If swallowed, serious injuries and/or death can occur.

Small Parts - For children younger than age three, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking.

Ride-on Toys - Riding toys, skateboards and in-line skates go fast and falls could be deadly. Helmets and safety gear should be sized to fit.

Projectile Toys - Projectile toys such as air rockets, darts and slingshots are for older children. Improper use of these toys can result in serious eye injuries.

Chargers and Adapters - Charging batteries should be supervised by adults. Chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to children.

The CPSC also recommends using the following tips to help choose appropriate toys for children:

Be a label reader. Look for toy labels that give age and safety recommendations and use that information as a guide. Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills and interest level of the intended child.

Look for sturdy construction, such as tightly-secured eyes, noses and other potential small parts.

For all children under 8, avoid toys that have sharp edges and points.

Immediately discard plastic wrappings on toys before they become dangerous play things.

Keep toys appropriate for older children away from younger siblings or neighbors.

Pay attention to instructions and warnings on battery chargers. Some chargers lack any device to prevent overcharging.

For 2008, the Commission has reports of 19 toy-related deaths and about 172,700 hospital emergency room treated toy-related injuries to children under 15. Almost half of these injuries, approximately 82,300 were to children younger than 5 years of age. Most of the deaths were associated with drowning, motor vehicle involvement, or airway obstruction from a small toy or small part of a toy. To avoid safety hazards and injuries, follow the tips above and you can't go wrong. Keep children safe and happy!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The "Middle" Wife

Every once in a while a funny email comes into my inbox. When I read this one, I just had to post it! I know it will make you laugh and brighten your day. Enjoy!

The Middle Wife-by an Anonymous 2nd Grade Teacher

I've been teaching now for about fifteen years. I have two kids myself, but the best birth story I know is the one I saw in my own second grade classroom a few years back.

When I was a kid, I loved show-and-tell. So I always have a few sessions with my students. It helps them get over shyness and usually, show-and-tell is pretty tame. Kids bring in pet turtles, model airplanes, pictures of fish they catch, stuff like that. And I never, ever place any boundaries or limitations on them. If they want to lug it in to school and talk about it, they're welcome.

Well, one day this little girl, Erica, a very bright, very outgoing kid, takes her turn and waddles up to the front of the class with a pillow stuffed under her sweater. She holds up a snapshot of an infant. 'This is Luke, my baby brother, and I'm going to tell you about his birthday. ''First, Mom and Dad made him as a symbol of their love, and then Dad put a seed in my Mom's stomach, and Luke grew in there. He ate for nine months through an umbrella cord..'She's standing there with her hands on the pillow, and I'm trying not to laugh and wishing I had my camcorder with me. The kids are watching her in amazement.

'Then, about two Saturdays ago, my Mom starts saying and going, 'Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh!' Erica puts a hand behind her back and groans. 'She walked around the house for, like an hour, 'Oh, oh, oh!' (Now this kid is doing a hysterical duck walk and groaning.) 'My Dad called the middle wife. She delivers babies, but she doesn't have a sign on the car like the Domino's man. They got my Mom to lie down in bed like this.' (Then Erica lies down with her back against the wall.)

'And then, pop! My Mom had this bag of water she kept in there in case he got thirsty, and it just blew up and spilled all over the bed, like psshhheew!' (This kid has her legs spread with her little hands miming water flowing away. It was too much!)

'Then the middle wife starts saying 'push, push,' and 'breathe, breathe. They started counting, but never even got past ten. Then, all of a sudden, out comes my brother. He was covered in yucky stuff that they all said it was from Mom's play-center, (placenta) so there must be a lot of toys inside there. When he got out, the middle wife spanked him for crawling up in there.

'Then Erica stood up, took a big theatrical bow and returned to her seat. I'm sure I applauded the loudest. Ever since then, when it's show-and-tell day, I bring my camcorder, just in case another 'MiddleWife' comes along.

Out of the mouths of babes......

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Morning Sickness Is Not Just for Mornings

I just recently found out I am expecting my second child. It was a planned pregnancy and we are totally excited. My first pregnancy seemed to be by the book, minus morning sickness. While my husband will tell you that I dealt with a few bouts here and there while I was pregnant with Olivia, I protest and tell people it was the pre-natal vitamin since I only remember getting sick when I took it. It was so bad that I started taking it at night and the "morning sickness" went away.

I am dealing with a totally new experience this time around. I had inklings I was pregnant weeks before I could test just based on the nausea I was experiencing. It would come over me like a wave and it wouldn't let up for hours. I even experienced it in the middle of the night. Being wakened out of a sound sleep to experience just plain misery! So it didn't come as a surprise that my pregnancy test was positive when I got around to taking it.

Now to this day I have not gotten "sick" I have only had to deal with full blown nausea, but for me that's enough! My heart goes out to anyone who has had to deal with morning sickness that has them running to the bathroom or not being able to keep anything down or getting sick at other inconvenient times. I cannot imagine what that must be like.

In dealing with this new experience, it sent me searching on the net to find out what was happening in my body and why I was feeling the way I was. Morning sickness is attributed to the change in hormones a body goes through when it is pregnant. Most often it only occurs during the first tri-mester but some woman have it throughout their pregnancy. Statistics show that more than half of pregnant women experience some form of morning sickness!

Once the news gets out about a pregnancy, it appears to give the green light for everyone to give you advice...about anything and everything! I have had no shortage of advice about what to do to treat my morning sickness. Here are few suggestions that I have found in my research on the net that have worked for me and other moms:
  • Never have an empty stomach. This only makes the feelings of morning sickness worse.

  • Try to eat 5-6 small meals a day instead of 3 big meals. This helps to keep the stomach full.

  • Stay away from fattening or spicy foods that can cause your stomach to feel unsettled. Fill up on vegetables and fruits.

  • Keep small snacks available on hand such as crackers, ginger snaps, Pepperidge Farm Gold fish. Have a stash even on your night stand for those times you may be feeling sick at night.

  • Non-caffeinated teas such as peppermint and ginger tea may help keep morning sickness at bay. Ginger ale has also been known to help.

  • Try taking naps and getting enough sleep. This will help your body to deal with morning sickness and will help you to take your mind off the discomfort.

  • Stay away from smells or odors that make you feel nauseous.

  • Drink plenty of fluids between meals to help you feel full.

For severe cases where morning sickness has caused serious problems with holding food down, weight loss, dehydration or other health issues, you will need to see your pediatrician immediately. There are things they can do to help!

There are hundreds of remedies out there that people will swear by. There is nothing wrong with researching and trying to find other helpful ways to combat morning sickness. Find what works for you. And remember...morning sickness is only temporary! Before you know it, it will be done and over with and you will have a beautiful baby to focus on. You won't even remember how morning sickness made you feel!

Here are some other helpful sites that I found:

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Must Haves for the Day you Bring Baby Home

When you are expecting a baby, you are often caught up in making sure you have everything you could possibly need for your newborn. A lot of new parents get caught up in the hype of registries and well meaning advice. Sometimes we also get caught up in advertising. I found out quickly that not everything that you list on your registry or that someone says you must have, do you actually need. In fact, if you are working on a budget or you are short on space and need to choose wisely, making the right decisions on what to have on hand is important. So here is my list of "must haves" from the first day you leave the hospital. As a first time Mom, I formed this list from experience:

Car Seat-The hospital simply will not let you leave with your newborn unless you have one. So this is the first must have on my list.

Diapers/Wipes/Diaper Ointment-Babies eat and then poop, these items are at the top of the must have list to have on hand. There is simply no getting around this.

Formula/Bottles-Even if you are nursing your baby, it is necessary to have these on hand. Afterall, you are still learning how your baby will react to nursing, so having a back up plan is a necessity. The hospital will most likely send you home with some to have on hand in case of emergency or just to get you started. Make good friends with the nurses in the maternity ward and you will find yourself leaving with more then the rest of the new moms!!
Onesies and Sleepers-Ultimately, these are the only clothes you need for your newborn for the first few days, or even weeks. Although newborn clothes are absoulutely adorable and I am sure you received TONS of outfits at your shower, your baby will be most comfortable in onesies and sleepers.

Crib/Portable Crib/Bassinet/Cradle-Whichever you choose, you will need somewhere for your newborn to sleep.

Blankets-Swaddling an infant is important within the first few days after they are born. It keeps them secure and reminds them of the womb. You can never have enough blankets.

Burp clothes-Do not be without these vital items when you bring your newborn home. They are great for more than just protecting your clothes from spit up or other bodily fluids that you will experience. They are great for wiping things up, can be used as lap pads for changing your baby anywhere such as the bed or couch. They can also be used by being rolled up and placed on the sides of the baby while they sleep to stabilize them. (I actually learned about this in the hospital). They are also a big help when bathing your baby. They can be placed in the sink as a cushion or used as a quick towel for clean up afterwards. There are hundreds of uses for burp clothes and I am sure you will find a few more of your own..trust me.

Baby Toiletries/Washclothes/Towels-Things get messy...fast. Having babywash and shampoo on hand along with ointments, powder, lotion, cotton swabs and alcohol pads (for the belly button) is necessary. Baby washclothes and towels are important too.

Ultimate Care Kit-It should include a brush, nasal aspirator,nail clippers, baby scissors (for those of us who are too scared to use the clippers at first), thermometer, cradle cap comb, and tweezers.

Some people would say a stroller is a necessity from the day you come home with your new addition. In my opinion, this can wait. While you will need it if you want to travel or take walks, it is not a must have for the first 2 weeks after giving birth.

So there you have it. If you think our list should have been longer, feel free to let us know what you think. Check out these other helpful sights too.