Posts Tagged ‘infants’

Cloth Diapering a Solid Food Eater

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

CLoth diapering a solid food eaterThe days of only bottle/breast feeding come to an end eventually. Perhaps this is a time of joy if you are tired of washing bottles or you are feeling like a 24-hour drive thru window lately. With solid food comes a whole new world of diaper changes.

If your baby nursed up until this point you may have rarely dealt with cleaning bowel movements as exclusively breast-fed poop tends to be water soluble and can go straight into the wash.

The change might take time. When introducing solids, your child may take in so little that you don’t notice a difference. At some point between 6 months and a year, most kids undergo a change in the consistency of their bowel movements. It may be more marked for breast-fed children. You will know it when you see it. A child’s poop may look different than others’, some more plop-able and others more peanut-butter yucky. If you are unsure of your babe’s bowel movement tendencies and patterns always check with your pediatrician to ensure your babe’s health is in order.

Otherwise, consider these tips in dealing with the new poo:

  • Liners are your friend, especially for out and about if you don’t want to dunk and swish your diapers in public toilets or carry a very dirty diaper with you until you return home. Liners often catch everything or at least limit the mess. Some are cut wider or longer than others. We like GroVia liners best. Though they are wide enough to stick out of the diaper slightly, that means they also generally keep poop from getting into the elastic areas of the diaper.
  • Diaper sprayers add a level of intensity to your arsenal of diaper cleaning tools. Most attach to your toilet, though there are options that can attach to your sink. You can also use a shower head if it stretches to your toilet. The power of water helps to almost all remnants of poop removed from the diaper, but the power of spray can also cause messes.
  • Solutions for messy spraying. Get to know your sprayer. I find I can manage the water pressure with how tightly I squeeze the handle on my sprayer. You may be able to negotiate water pressure by turning the nozzle directly on your toilet, lowering the amount of water the pipe allows through. Or there is always the Spray Pal if you’d like another gadget where you can clip in your diaper and spray with all your might without fear of poop on your toes. Diaper Dawg also has a few accessories that can help with preventing messes.
  • Know your child. Maybe your kiddo is a morning pooper or napping pooper. The sooner you get that diaper off, the easier the poop usually comes off (and the happier your kiddo’s skin will be too!). Or use liners only at those times you know your kiddo often has a bowel movement so you don’t waste liners. (Some people reuse liners once washed if they were only urinated on.)
  • Likewise, spray/scrape/swish as you go if possible. Some prefer to wait and do all the poopy diapers at once. As they sit though they often dry, often making the poop harder to remove. If you are going to let them sit, do not leave out in the open where little hands can get to them. Wrap them shut and place them out of your child’s reach.

Lynette Moran shares her life with her husband and two sons, ages 1 and 3 years. She has cloth diapered both since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living. 

Celebrating the First Birthday

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Celebrating the first birthdayIf your child’s first birthday is quickly approaching, party planning might be lurking in the back of your head. Birthday parties often are a genuine outpouring of love and joy with underlying motivation and pressure to live up to expectations mixed in.

Every family has different constraints they work with. For some, the budget causes stress; others may feel a need to “make up” for not being as present as they’d like (due to work, travel, sickness, divorce, or many other factors). Many families grapple with how to kindly refuse gifts upon gifts from doting family and friends. I’ve also heard some mothers talk about the need to live up to what their friends did for their children’s birthdays.

Pinterest offers endless ideas and variations on everything from decorations and favors to birthday cake design and thematic games. Attending parties that are catered or otherwise dressed to the nines also can set up an expectation among parents and children that all birthdays are decked-out parties.

Parties can create interesting tensions. The tendency to invite all students in a child’s classroom to his or her birthday party adds bulk to the guest list and presents to the pile. The celebration of milestones seems to have increased, even now celebrating finding out the sex of a baby still in utero or milestone developments after birth.

These things, along with other factors, give recent rise to what I call the “celibracation” of everything. We have many reasons to celebrate our children every day. This may feel especially true for families who waited for years to have their babe in their lives or have a loved one living far away, in the military or otherwise.

I think what kind of party you have ultimately comes down to motivation, which only you can know. Once you know your motivation for your party, you know what you need to plan. If you are a social butterfly, maybe the large guest list makes sense but the fancy décor is not necessary. If you are particularly crafty and love attention to detail, perhaps the theme and articulation of it is part of the way you express your love. If you want your child to feel special, especially when things have been hard this year for x, y, or z reasons, talk to your kiddo about what would really make them feel special. Maybe instead of catering for thirty, your kiddo just wants a special day out with you.

No matter what you decide, here are a few ideas that can tailor to your own family traditions for years to come:

  • Write an annual birthday letter that encapsulates the notable moments of the year. Involve the whole family if possible, giving siblings an opportunity to share a reason why the birthday child is loved.
  • Prepare for receiving by giving. Rummage through the year’s toys and belongings in your kiddo’s room to make way for the coming year. Depending on your child’s age you can find ways to incorporate a spirit of giving and gratitude before the birthday arrives.
  • Small decorations, big bang. Keep it simple but effective with décor. Filling a room with balloons or placing streamers across their door during the night is one way to start a birthday with a pow (or pop!). Decorate your/their vehicle with the age-old “honk for my birthday” sort of fun.
  • Have a special meal. It could be breakfast, lunch, or dinner, but let your birthday kid choose. If it’s a school day, wrap up each part of their lunch as a gift to unwrap.
  • Celebrate the real day. Maybe it’s easiest to have your get-together the weekend before or after the actual birthdate. Still make the birthdate special by having a cupcake or other treat.
  • Use a special dish each year. Instead of ushering in mega usage of disposable plates, let the birthday kid use a special celebration plate for the day. It could be a beautiful plate that looks of gold or a crafty handmade ceramic at the local clay-activity store.
  • Count down to the minute of birth! Build the suspense up almost like the celebration of New Year’s. Or you can countdown to the actual day on a chalkboard or poster—“3 days until Jimmy’s birthday.”
  • Consider gifts that aren’t purchased. Yes, this could be homemade items. Expand beyond that to consider giving a later bedtime or a “big kid” serving of cake as a way to mark the milestone of birth.
  • Match the pep of the party to your individual child. If your child needs quiet, stay low key. If your kid wants to invite strangers to the party, then maybe a more sociable gathering is a good fit. Children can become quickly overwhelmed by celebrations, so keep their interests in mind to ensure everyone has a good day. If possible, consider the needs of your child’s close friends. If there are those who have special needs, talk with parents to ensure your child’s friend will have a great time too.

Lynette Moran shares her life with her husband and two sons, ages 1 and 3 years. She has cloth diapered both since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

Percentiles, Explained

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

Percentiles, ExplainedIf you’ve taken your little one to a well-child checkup, you’ve probably heard the numbers. In fact, you might be more motivated to know the numbers than your pediatrician. In the many ways we concern ourselves with our children’s development and milestones, growth percentiles are among the most tangible. “We’re in the 90th percentile,” your friend touts. You might feel anything from disappointment in your child’s growth to annoyance at your friend’s pride. Take a deep breath and let those feelings go, because that is not what the growth chart is about.

Percentiles provide comparison of typical growth, not for the sake of comparison so much as to ensure your child’s general well-being. If your child is in the 50th percentile for height, among 100 children about fifty would be taller and fifty shorter than your child. Height and weight measurements continue through the years of adolescence, while doctors only monitor head circumference for the first three years of life when development is so rapid. Observing head circumference allows doctors to assess adequate brain development in a child and rule out any concerns if little or excess growth occurs.

Two common charts come from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States and the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO growth standards utilize 6 countries in the world that provide “optimal growth” environments for children ages 0 to 59 months. The six countries include: Brazil, Ghana, India, Norway, Oman, and the United States. This means that, among other things, both mothers and babies studied met the minimum international nutrition recommendations for optimal health. The project was funded by a combination of governments, United Nations agencies, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

WHO more fully represents growth standards associated with breast-fed children compared to the CDC. Even the CDC says its own charts lack some of the methodological standard that WHO utilizes. CDC uses small sample sizes in the first 6 months of life compared to WHO’s frequent evaluations over time (longitudinally) of a more representative population. The CDC’s charts were updated in 2000 to better represent America’s diversity.

The bottom line is WHO growth standards more fully incorporate breast-fed children in their growth curves and have more accurate data in the early months. WHO also more fully represents a global perspective on “optimal” growth as opposed to simply a comparison of typical growth in the United States. This could matter for a family who has a healthy but lower birth weight child or a child who is exclusively breast fed beyond the more typical 0-6 months in the United States.

Ultimately, you know your child best. Your child’s individual curve is most important. If your child has always stayed in the 25th percentile, your child’s smaller stature is not necessarily concerning. If your child was always in the 75th percentile and, in the last year, has fallen to the 25th percentile, your doctor might be concerned about why your child has not continued to grow as is typically (or optimally) expected. Even still, a small dip or jump here and there can be typical as children hit growth spurts, have illnesses, and picky habits at different times. Genes, the environment, nutrition, and activity can affect your child’s growth.

Growth charts offer a clinical impression of a child’s growth at any given age, but if used wisely, they also provide room for the nuances of every individual child’s unique story.

Lynette Moran shares her life with her husband and two sons, ages 1 and 3 years. She has cloth diapered both since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

Best Places to Breastfeed in DFW

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

Best Places to Breastfeed in DFWTexas is big, with enough space to nurse wherever you’d like and, sometimes, specific places made just for you. All of these places are in the midst of daily life because, let’s be honest mamas, that’s what we’re in! One major perk of DFW is that it’s two cities’ worth of museums, attractions, and eateries all within one metroplex!

There aren’t just a handful of museums, but rather several each of zoos, aquariums and museums related to history, science, and children. The Perot Museum (with plenty of fun for those under 5) is one of the newer and most family friendly options with numerous spots to comfortably nurse. Fort Worth also has a children’s museum (housed within a larger museum) with a dragon entrance as hot as a Texas summer.

Although numerous large lake areas exist and offer a variety of park space and water-related activities, White Rock Lake is most well known in the urban Dallas area for its beauty and shaded spots, all of which are nursing friendly.  Burger’s Lake is fashioned for good old family fun if you are looking for nursing with a side of summer entertainment (though it comes with a price tag).

If you’re in an A/C, mall sort of mood, Stonebriar Center has two nursing rooms and a child’s play area. The Galleria in Dallas has a play place and nursing friendly areas. Nordtrom’s, known in mommy circles for their posh nursing room amenities, is located in both of those mall centers as well as NorthPark Center. Whether you want to shop, need a break in the A/C, or are just driving through, these shopping areas are easily accessible for a stop where kids can play and nurse as needed.

If you are in the need of airport services to begin and end your stay, know that DFW has you covered (or not!) when flying, too. DFW has several nursing facilities, notably in terminal A by gate 19 and terminal B by gate 40. They also have several children’s play areas. Dallas-Love Field also has a kid’s area and nursing area in case you need a spot to stop as you head through the main hall to your gate.

The Stock Yards in Fort Worth take you down memory lane to the old west, but the roads are a little slim and busy. Certainly there are nooks and crannies you can nurse at if you need, or head down the road just a little to Sundance Square with its many shops, food venues, and large plaza with kid-friendly water fun.

Lynette Moran shares her life with her husband and two sons, ages 1 and 3 years. She has cloth diapered both since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living. She’s lived around three major Texas cities as well as a few in the north east, and has nursed in every one of them.

When Your Baby Won’t Eat

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

When Your Baby Won't EatAt some point in baby’s young eating life (between 8 months and 2 years generally), a regression, “pickiness,” or outright refusal of food may temporarily take place.

One innocent reason behind the recent strike your kiddo has placed on food may involve his or her growing independence. Why sit still to eat when you can crawl, toddle, or walk about and discover the world around you?! As baby becomes more independent in these ways, he or she may find security in the old days of just the breast or bottle. Food becomes yet another new thing in a quickly expanding world and the safe nuzzle in your arms to eat may be what your child seeks.

First, rule out underlying issues that might be causing food aversion symptoms. Visit your pediatrician if you have concerns.  Your doctor may want to know information like how often does child eat, how much, and what? Are there particular things your child does or does not like or is it all food? What have you noticed about your child’s digestive system? Are there also instances of spitting up, vomiting, gas, or constipation? Is this new or consistent with baby’s food and digestive history? These sorts of observations can help a doctor determine a young one is just “going through a phase” or has an underlying issue that needs further evaluation.

Also ensure your baby is ready for food. Baby-led weaning encourages letting baby set the pace on the introduction of solid foods. If baby is younger than or close to six months, it may not be food refusal—he or she simply may not be ready yet. If you’re kiddo struggles with food refusal, consider a few options you may have:

  • When you do offer food, make it the most bang for baby’s buck. Filler foods have their place sometimes, but nutrient-dense fruits, veggies, and eggs/dairy (if age-appropriate) offer big bites of nutrition, even in small portions. Continue to offer milk or formula if baby is willing. Breast milk, formula, and milk in and of themselves offer a variety of nutrients to sustain baby.
  • Try new foods or old foods in a new way. Depending on your babe’s age and feeding abilities, maybe that smooshed banana or avocado can now be offered in small solid slivers. Add new flavors as you are able to give a variety of options. Perhaps baby wants to eat, but the same old peas and carrots just aren’t jiving with him or her anymore.
  • On the other hand, try going back to basics. Again, with all those changes in the world around him or her, a new texture or taste of food may be too much. Go back to old favorites or add a side of something new along with the tried and true. Refrain from using favorite foods as a reward for eating things they don’t like. This quickly adds stress to the eating experience for you both, among other things. Respecting baby’s food preferences, fears, and aversions during this age of food discovery will help build a bridge of trust between baby and both you and food.
  • Give it time, meal time that is. This phase may be quickly or slowly outgrown, but even in the midst of it time is important. Offer plenty of time for your child to eat. Rushing a baby to eat can create pressure to preform, even increased risk of choking. Perhaps your young one needs to touch and even play with food to feel comfortable with eating it at first. This also offers babe a sense of agency, whether he or she decides to eat or not.
  • Eat together. This may mean separate plates but with your babe on your lap; you may prefer to just share a plate and fork. Sometimes baby doesn’t want something until he or she sees you want it too. You are your child’s guide and inspiration often times, so take it as a compliment and share in your meal together. This doesn’t have to become a habit of every meal or every day—I know sometimes my meal is the only thing that feels like mine during my day with young ones around! This practice can help create a secure environment for baby to explore new tastes though.
  • Consider other behavior modifications. Evaluate how the whole eating process happens in your home. Is the TV on? Are you tense, with raised voice and high demands? Is everyone else sitting or moving around while your child is attempting to eat? Perhaps sitting together or going into a quiet room, just you and babe, can offer a more soothing and inviting atmosphere for your child to eat.

Lynette Moran shares her life with her husband and two sons, ages 1 and 3 years. She has cloth diapered both since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.