Thursday, June 25, 2009

Top 5 Things to Consider Before Buying for Baby

Full set or not? Do not buy a complete set of clothing and accessories for your newborn as is usually recommended by most stores. Use their list merely as a guide, not a must have. If ever there are any unfamiliar items in list, ask then think it over.

Every baby is different and therefore every baby’s (and the parent’s as well) needs are different. Remember – a store’s goal is to sell as much stocks as possible, yours is to get the best for your baby and your budget.

How often do you wash? Buy only the smallest suggested number of clothing if you’re planning on doing the laundry on a day-to-day basis. But if that’s not possible and your only available time is during weekends, then buy the largest reasonable number.

I beg your clothing. Hand-me-downs baby clothes from friends or family can save you a lot of money. If you trust where they’re coming from and they do appear to be quite useable, why not gratefully accept them.

You may initially think that the hand-me-downs aren’t exactly your style, but they sure might come in handy for those days when you just couldn’t do any laundry. It wouldn’t hurt to give your wallet a break. Remember to cross out similar items from your shopping list.

This one looks nice, and that too! Restrain yourself from buying items you won’t be needing right away (high chair, potty trainer, toys, and bike). Also hold back on your buying impulse for items you might end up not using at all simply because you might have too much too many. If possible, better wait until you’ve received all your gifts.

Comfy yet trendy. I know we love our babies to always look good. But when it comes to clothing, do consider baby’s convenience and comfort first, and fashion second. Look for garments made of soft easy-care fabrics that uses poppers instead of buttons (baby might be able to chew one off), with head openings that are roomy, and bottoms that conveniently open when it’s time to change diapers. Avoid rough seams that tend to irritate baby’s skin. Stretchable fabrics provide enough room for growth; you won’t believe how fast they outgrow their clothes during the first year.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Are You Ready To Be a Dad (or Mom)?

Before I became a dad, I was never a fan of any baby. Nor do I like watching Barney and Dora videos. I hate it when I felt their drool on the couch, much more on the TV’s remote. I get irritated when they cry.

Much to my surprise, the daddy-hood calling changed me. The transition from husband to father can never be really understood books or movies alone - you have to be one.

See if you are ready to say YES too to each of the following. May I point though that they’re not guaranteed criteria. No first time dads (or moms) are ever perfect for their babies. Parenting is a learning experience, mentally preparing for it can help.

Just by how much can you tolerate a crying baby?

Is it ok for baby to drool on your personal stuffs?

Are you willing to clean a baby’s poop?

Can you carry your baby until she falls asleep?

Are you willing to get up in the middle of the night?

Just How Much Can You Tolerate a Crying Baby?

Having been in the womb for nine months, a baby is dependent on her mother for everything – food, oxygen, shelter, and protection. Everything is being served to the baby on the spot without even saying “hey where’s my…” – VIP treatment.

But the moment a baby is born, she is introduced to a new environment – a permanent place for her to adapt for the rest of her life. And this period of adaption is going to be a tough one for her.

That’s why new born babies cry a lot – and I mean a LOT. Other than a few giggles, crying is what makes up their initial communication library.

Baby cries when she’s hungry. She probably never felt the sting of an empty stomach when she’s still in the womb. She never had used her mouth to eat; food was directly supplied through the umbilical cord. But now that baby is out, she doesn’t have anything to ease her hunger. It hurts and she cries.

Baby cries when she’s wet. While still inside the womb, your baby is surrounded by a protective fluid (amniotic liquid). So those who knew would naturally assume the baby would have some tolerance to a wet nappy. Assuming the baby doesn’t really mind, but prolonged skin contact against urine-soaked nappy triggers the skin to send “hey I’m about to get rashes”-type of signals to her brain. It irritates her and she cries.

Baby cries when she has a poop. As with baby pee, baby poop can easily cause skin rashes if not cleaned immediately.

Cutting it short, babies cry for a lot of things that bothers them. If your ears are not well trained enough to analyze the subtle variances between these cries, chances are you’ll get frustrated trying to figure out what they really want.

I had my share of short-temperedness way back when my baby kept on crying and, at the same time, I desperately wanted to get even a few hours of sleep. Good thing for me and wife, my in-laws were just a couple of knocks away. They’re almost always ready to lend an extra hand (even in the middle of the night) while I rush back to sleep.

My baby ended up kind of spoiled by my in-laws though. She probably figured that by crying she’ll get attention plus a new present each time. I can’t blame my in-laws because my then two month old baby cries louder than any four year old we knew.

Is it OK for Baby to Drool on Your Stuffs?

One unique behavior my wife and I noticed about our baby is that she didn’t develop that habit of putting objects in her mouth. Not even from toys we deliberately lay on bed for her to play with. Instead, she would hold them in front of her, wiggled them, tried to open, rotated, but never “tasted” any of them.

My niece, on the other hand, is that type of baby who would soak things wet with her drool. From toys, to socks, even my nose (I was napping), and just about anything that she could lay her grip on and put it anywhere near her mouth.

I was once surprised when I reached for my mobile phone only to find that its warm and the keypads… well drenched. True enough, my ever so inquisitive niece was there. If it were any other baby, I would have gotten furious to whoever was her mom. But knowing how babies are, that is how they satisfy their curiosity.

Unfortunately, my niece went curious with my disposable razor too (ouch).

Willing to Clean Baby's Poop?

Eew! No matter who or how many times people say “it’s your baby’s anyway” I still find poops icky. Yes I’m the daddy but wiping poops is not in my agenda. No @#$%& way! Let mommy do it (ehehehe).

Ever since we took the baby home, it was my wife who does the cleaning. I was in charge in disposing the dirty nappies.

Well guess what? God has His ways and made me realize.

My wife and I were having a hard time figuring out which formula brand is best for her. One brand we tried gave her frequent colic problems; the other occasional stomach upsets affecting the texture of her poop.

And one time, my baby was crying hysterically. Since she hasn’t pooped the entire day, we assumed she was constipated. Upon checking with her doctor, we were advised to use rectal stimulation.

With my wife comforting and holding our baby steady, I gently inserted a poop-inducing tablet up the baby’s rectum. The tablet was just halfway in when my baby started pooping uncontrollably. I held the tablet in place with my thumb while the rest of my palm caught most of her poop.

My hand was a mess but I was happy my baby got a relief. Imagine the story my wife had to share with my in-laws.

Can You Carry Your Baby Until She Sleeps?

If, unlike me, you’re blessed with a baby who can comfort herself to sleep, then you can probably just lay her on the crib and give her a one-time gentle swing.

But if you are not, then be prepared to do some cuddling extravaganza, standing up with matching side to side dancing until she relaxes, closes her eyes, and goes to sleep. Hopefully.

How long are you going to waltz with baby in your arms? It actually depends on a lot of factors. Assuming the baby is full (not hungry) and she is not irritated by any clothing, somewhere around 10 minutes. If you’re rocking her to hard, then she may never get that sleepy feeling.

Most of the time you’ll feel your arms get sore and your back ache. With constant practice, you’ll eventually get the soothing rhythm and the perfect grip that’s right for your baby. Unless, you had your share of babysitting before, nobody gets it on the first try. Perhaps a strap-on baby carrier can help.

After a while, if you feel that the baby is deep in her sleep, VERY carefully lay her down on her crib. Otherwise the baby may sense a shift in position and wakes up.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Willing to Get Up at Night?

From feeding, pooping to cleaning, your baby demands a lot of attention. There is basically nothing she can do to comfort herself. This translates to less time in doing your usual habits to more of babysitting and waiting for her to go to sleep.

Pretty much an easy task during daytime when your senses are all fired up. Besides, babysitting can be shared by whoever in the household is awake.

But during night time, first time parents may find it very daunting. No more revitalizing uninterrupted good night sleeps as you are likely to get up as often as every couple hours. You have to be alert at the very instant the baby cries.

The first time you wake up, you’re a little hesitant but you crawled out of bed anyway. Still sleepy, you managed to give your little bundle of joy her milk. Then you slithered back to bed.

Barely 2 hours has passed, your baby is up and crying again. She’s uncomfortable from the mess accumulating under her nappy. With eyes half open, you placed the baby onto a bassinet, removed her diaper, gently wiped her clean, and put on a clean diaper. You lay her back on her crib, made a quick dash to the kitchen trash (diaper may stink in the room), and checked back on baby to see if she’s ok. Afterwards, you went back to sleep.

Then for some reason (that you’re beginning to suspect that your baby doesn’t want you to leave her side), baby is up and crying… again. Perhaps she needs a cuddle this time.

You see, as soon the baby is out, you may only get a free pass to sleep once the baby herself is deep in her sleep.

To lessen the hassle on your night crusade, have everything you might need within reach. Organize small things such as creams, ointments, and bottled medicines so as avoid mistakingly using one from the other. If possible, keep mostly needed daytime stuffs within the room so you don't have to scamper to downstairs for a clean cloth.

The sooner you satisfy a baby's midnight dilemma, the lesser chance she'll burst into crying, the sooner she’ll probably get back to sleep.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Parents Should Quit Smoking

It’s a no-brainer that smoking is bad for your health. Go ahead and ask any legitimate medical doctor about it. When I say legitimate I mean one that is licensed and legal, not just any quacks.

Still, most people choose to ignore this fact to continue with their addiction. Others are driven by peer pressure, presuming that it is hip to smoke in public. While some, particularly the poor class, sadly choose to light up a cigarette to divert their attention from hunger.

Every smoker has his (her) reason – everyone will suffer in the end anyway. If it’s not them today, maybe it is just someone else. It’s their money, not yours. If you don’t like smoking, then don’t - find another place to stay.

But what if you have kids? What if you’re pregnant? Just how much will smoking your affect your baby?

As been pointed out in various studies, smoking by parents has been linked to an increased risk in health problems among infants and children.

Sudden Death Infant Syndrome (SIDS). It strikes without warning, and usually in seemingly healthy babies. The lack of probable cause even after thorough forensic autopsy and detailed scene investigation is what makes SIDS so frightening. Smoking along with drinking and drug use during pregnancy, has been tagged as one of the potential risk factors.

Impaired Lung Function (Reduced Lung Capacity). Lung problems that often show up in adulthood may begin even before the person is born. Fetus, from smoking moms, receives less oxygen inhibiting what would have been normal lung growth. Further more, substances (some of which are carried by the blood to the fetus) in cigarette smoke promotes lung inflammation than can eventually lead to its dysfunction. Studies further indicate that low growth rate and weight gain from the moment of birth is associated with impaired lung development.

Frequent Respiratory Illnesses (colds, flu, bronchitis, pneumonia, and asthma). Our lungs continue to grow even during our late teens. But this development is impaired once cigarette smoke in introduced in the lungs – destroying the delicate cells within. Contaminated mucus forms and gets trapped in the lungs reducing its ability to pass oxygen (and other nutrients) to our body.

The list of smoking complications described here is just partial. It even extends to behavioral problems such as the tendency of your child to smoke as well (and at a much younger age too).

So, if you’re a parent, your desire to continue smoking “because it has been your habit” is simply inexcusable.

And if you’re pregnant – by all means DON’T SMOKE!

You should quit smoking. Though, as with any other addiction, it’s not going to be easy – your mind and body will be against you. But if you’re determined for the sake of your baby, you can win over it. Seek support from friends and family.

By quitting, you not only give your baby a healthier life but a healthier parent as well.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Playstation is History

I always envied other people talking of how much fun they had playing on their Playstation (PS) console. Back then I knew this wasn’t priority in the family, daily expenses were taxing enough for my old folks.

By the time I had my first work, I was able to save enough to celebrate my first Christmas as an employee with my girlfriend and my family.

So I bought myself a budget-deal PS with several games to boot! Hot, hot, hot! And to cool things down a bit, I had it gift-wrapped. Now I’m even more excited for the eve of unwrapping.

Anyhow, after several years of buying accessories, dance pad, light gun, movie card, memory cards, and bundles of CD games (pirated ehehehe), my much-loved PS gave up on me (weep). No amount of electronic resuscitation was able to breathe life onto its mother board. Or was it the optical assembly?

It’s been years since I last played with it. Once it was at the pinnacle of family home gaming, it’s Jurassic by today’s standards.

I’ll never forget my PS. Hmm… where is it anyway?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Little Babies Make a Difference in Our Lifestyles

So, you’ve known each other for quite awhile, had fun together, watched a couple of movies, met a few folks from each clan, had occasional disagreements here and there, and so forth. You undoubtedly understood each other’s temperament and went on to tie the knot. In other words, you got married.

Fast-forwarding life a bit, your wife’s now about to give birth and show the world your little bundle of joy. Yeah… you already told yourself you’re really looking forward to having this baby. But still there is a teeny weeny part of you that worries that the lifestyle you and your spouse have been so used to will change completely.

Well guess what? It will! Most of everything about your lifestyle will.

No one is telling you to give up your leisure life (though I’m pretty sure that’s what my wife wants me to do) but there will be a new member of the family and she (or he) is going to need you more than anything else you have.

Quite a number of important aspects in your married life will change – priorities, attitudes, eating patterns, budgets, romance, and sleeping patterns.

Baby first before anything else. Remember, your baby can’t do anything for herself so you have to provide the things she needs. When she’s hungry, you give her milk. When she needs cleaning, you have to do so immediately to prevent rashes. When she sleeps, you make sure that there are no bedbugs and that her sleeping area is not a risk (unsecured cribs, big pillows can smother) to her.

Baby and wife needs extra caring from dad. Giving birth takes a lot of energy (not to mention courage) from your wife. So after birth, it’s fairly expected that she’s going to be weak at least for a couple of weeks. Aside from your baby, you have to take care of your wife as well.

A lot of tolerance needed. A crying baby can be irritating to handle for first time parents. You may think that isn’t a big deal. Probably… because you’re awake. But wait until your supposedly good night sleep is interrupted every two hours (when your baby’s hungry, needs cleaning, or cuddling).

You will have to learn to deal with it eventually. Like it or not, your sleeping pattern will never be the same again.

Adjustment has always been a challenge for most parents. But if you prepare yourself emotionally and financially, they can be exciting too!

Little babies do make a difference in our lives. Just how much of it will change depend on you, your spouse, and of course your baby. Later on you may find that you do not really miss your “child free lifestyles” like you originally thought you would.