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Infant - Week #32

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Ways to Connect with Family and Dealing with Diaper Rash

By Mary Perrin, edHelperBaby

  Encouraging Your Baby's Development
           What an exciting time this is for you and your baby.  Your baby's ability to interact with the world around her is becoming more pronounced each day as she continues to develop fine and gross motor skills at a rapid rate.  Keep that baby book and/or journal handy because she will keep you on your toes over the next few months as she crawls, walks, and even begins to say her first words.  Celebrate each of your baby's accomplishments no matter how small they may seem, and even though she is becoming more independent during playtime, continue to engage her in thought-provoking and interactive activities that will stretch her both cognitively and physically.       

       Your baby mimics sounds, and even though she is not intentionally calling out to you or her daddy, the sounds she is making may sound a lot like "mama" and "dada."  She can mimic sounds but most likely she is not able to link objects and words together just yet.  Cherish the babbles because they will not last long.  Before you know it, she will be talking nonstop.  She will talk herself to sleep, talk to her baby dolls, talk to her siblings or other family members, talk to herself, and talk your ear off, but don't wait for her to start talking to hold a conversation with her.  Even if it is one-sided, she will learn so much from your verbal and nonverbal communication.       

       Frustrated baby?  Your baby may be experiencing a higher level of frustration than normal during this next month.  She may want to move to obtain a toy or keep up with other siblings and find it difficult to do so.  Until she is able to fully coordinate her upper body with her lower body and get where she wants to go, you may find her lying flat on her belly, kicking her legs, flailing her hands, and crying in frustration.  Don't panic, this is completely normal.  These moments of flailing frustration often spur on a new and unexpected motion that will help her realize that her body is able to do something other than what she is used to it doing.  Obviously, though, you don't want to allow her to lie screaming on the floor by herself for an extended period of time.  Get down on the floor with her.  Place a toy in front of her and become her nurturer, her teacher, and her cheerleader.  After a moment or two, provide a way for her to feel success by obtaining the object she desired.  And if you haven't babyproofed the house yet, you may want to consider doing so as your baby will soon be cruising around in high gear.


  Something Different Activity
           Bridge the distance!  If you have dear friends and/or family that live far away and you wish they could have a closer relationship with your child geographically speaking, then the following activities might be of interest to you.

       Little Hands Pull on Heartstrings:  Take a few moments each month to trace your child's hands and cut them out.  On each hand write a little saying, the milestones your baby has reached that month, and/or a snapshot.  The recipient will love to see how your child's little hands have grown from month to month and find that this simple act enables him to feel like he is physically able to witness each stage of your baby's development.  Don't forget to make one for yourself as well.  Babies turn into toddlers quickly.  Take advantage of this opportunity as babyhood doesn't last long, and you'll love to look at your collection and marvel at each stage of his infancy.       

       Get Your Camera Rolling: Take and send pictures/video each month of your baby.  Utilize the power of a web cam or an online photo album to give your loved ones the opportunity to feel like they are right there involved in the action.  Video of your baby learning to crawl, learning to walk, watching her feed herself, or doing other notable firsts are priceless timepieces that can be shared with others with very little effort.  Talk to your desired recipient and devise a plan that is practical for corresponding back and forth on a regular basis.


  From a Parent's Perspective
           When our son was three months old, we mailed a letter, including a cutout of his little hand, to our parents who live four hours away.  My mother-in-law who bakes the best cherry pies attached the cutout just inside her baking cabinet in the kitchen.  Since then she has commented numerous times on how much she treasures that little hand and how she is reminded of him each time she opens the cabinet to begin baking one of her delicious pies.  The irony of the whole thing is that my son's favorite pie is cherry.  Each time he sees Grandma the first thing he asks her is, "Grandma, did you make me a cherry pie?"  I know that each time she begins to make him a pie she begins with a sweet smile and warmth in her heart as she knows his hands are triple the size of the handprint she holds so dear.


  Parenting 411
           Your child is not feeling well; would you offer to take her place if you could possibly free her of any discomfort she may be experiencing? If so, imagine what it would feel like if you woke up one morning with a red, irritated bottom, also known as the dreaded diaper rash.  Your baby will most likely get a diaper rash at some point.  Diaper rashes most often occur in babies eight to eleven months of age when babies begin eating more solid foods.  If your child wakes up in the morning with an awful red rash on her bottom, don't be quick to blame yourself.  You may be the best parent and still be greeted in the morning with a little red rump.  Diaper rashes can come in all shapes and sizes.  Most commonly, diaper rashes consist of one or more of the following: redness, blotchy spots, pimples, sores, or a slightly swollen bottom. The rash occurs in places where the diaper touches your baby's skin.  The location of the rash will give you insight as to what is causing it. For example, if your daughter sleeps primarily on her tummy at night and she tends to have a slight redness around her pelvic area, then it is most likely urine that caused the irritation.  Rest assured that there are ways to prevent diaper rash as well has helpful ways for clearing one up if one should occur.  Please consult your child's physician if the diaper rash does not continue to get better or you feel that it is more than just a typical diaper rash.  Your physician will determine the severity of the rash and take greater measures for clearing it up if necessary.

       Eight Ways to Avoid and Clear Up a Diaper Rash
  • Use unscented diapers and wipes.
  • Opt for alcohol-free wet wipes.
  • It is a fact that diapers are expensive but don't maximize their absorbency.  Change your child's diaper often and immediately after each bowel movement.
  • Dry your baby's bottom thoroughly after bathing and after each diaper change.  Not to make you cringe, but germs thrive in moist dark environments. Clean your baby's bottom well.  Then try fanning her bottom with the diaper for just a few seconds to help eliminate any remaining moisture.
  • Use ointment at the onset of a diaper rash. Diaper rash ointment provides a barrier between your baby's bottom and your baby's waste.  Some babies are more sensitive than others.  For babies who are more sensitive, ointment may be necessary at each diaper change.
  • Be brave enough to allow your baby to go diaper free.  The absence of the diaper will allow air to hit her bottom and give her a few minutes of freedom from having the diaper rub and irritate her skin.  If you think the diapers are too coarse on her sensitive skin, then try buying the next size up or consider changing brands altogether.
  • When diaper rash occurs, blot your baby's bottom; do not rub.  Rubbing will only continue to irritate the rash.  Also, consider using a warm (not hot) washcloth instead of wet wipes for greater relief for your baby.
  • Do not use plastic pants.  Plastic pants tend to lock in moisture.
  • Reduce the amount of fruit your baby is eating.


Forming Good Sleeping Habits
By Stacy Dennis, edHelperBaby

           At eight months of age, my son still was not sleeping through the night and was not a consistent nap taker.  He would take naps randomly in his swing but would not nap in his crib at all.  I was fed up.  I asked my pediatrician for her advice on what to do.  I just assumed that since my baby was breastfed that he could not go the whole night without eating.  My pediatrician told me that my son was very capable of making it through the night without a feeding and that I was robbing him of forming good sleep habits by allowing him to nap randomly and only in the swing.  Desperate for some rest myself, I followed her advice and within two weeks he was sleeping through the night and taking two regular naps a day in the crib!       

       Our pediatrician called it a routine for a reason.  Here is the bed time routine she advised:
  • Following a consistent pattern at night allows the baby to associate your actions with bedtime.
  • Our routine consisted of a bath and then a story which was followed by singing two songs.
  • I would then lay my son down in his bed and leave the room.  The first week was rough.  He would cry for what seemed like hours and go to sleep.
  • If he woke in the night, at first I would go to him, but would not give him any milk and would not pick him up or speak to him but just laid him back down and patted his tummy.
  • After three nights, the crying when I first put him down was minimal because he knew I was not going to return.
  • After a week, it had stopped altogether.  As far as the waking in the middle of the night, once he realized he was not going to get my milk, he started learning to self soothe and fall back to sleep on his own.
  • After a few days of going up to pat his tummy, I started just letting him cry for a few minutes and he would almost always go back to sleep on his own.
  • By the two week mark, he was not waking in the middle of the night at all.
  • The time may vary from child to child but I have heard countless mothers say that this was a lifesaver for them.  I only wish I had tried it sooner.
       Naps were a real struggle at our house for the first few months of my son's life.  He snoozed when he wanted to but there was no consistent nap time.  He also relied on the swing to put him to sleep and if I tried to move him to his crib he would throw a fit.  My pediatrician recommended the same type of thing for naps as bed time.  I was concerned about leaving him in his bed crying.  She said that leaving him in his crib for up to an hour crying would not hurt him as long as it was a safe environment.  So, I followed her advice and set up a nap routine.  This routine was much shorter than our bedtime routine.  We sang one song and then I laid him in his bed.  He cried for the whole hour the first time.  After an hour, I went in and got him and nap was over.  I did not let him sleep again until it was time for the second nap of the day.  I followed the same routine.  This time he cried for about thirty minutes and then gave up and fell asleep.  I continued this nap schedule daily and within two weeks, there were no more tears or struggles with nap time.       

       My son is now two and he has benefited so much from the sleep habits he learned as a baby.  He now sleeps twelve hours each night and takes one three hour nap every afternoon.  We have had no sleep issues since I implemented these strategies.  If you are desperate for sleep like I was, give this a try.  It worked wonders for me and I hope it will for you as well.       


I Want Mommy!
By Stacy Dennis, About my child Jackson Dennis

           At eight months of age my son, Jackson, was so attached to me.  He wanted his mommy all the time.  He loved his daddy and his grandparents but we had a special bond.  This bond was wonderful at times but difficult at times as well.  If I was not around, he did well with others but if I was around, he wanted me.  This was frustrating for his daddy and loved ones.  They wanted his attention too.  I remember wondering if he would ever outgrow this.  I was worried that our family would think he did not like them.  Little did I know that I should have enjoyed that stage more because it certainly did not last forever.  As he approached his first birthday, he started to venture out away from me more.  He still wanted me close but he started to bond more with his daddy and realize just how much fun he was.  He also started to really enjoy all of the extra special attention he got from his grandparents.  Now that he is two, he is the life of the party wherever we go.  He talks to anyone he sees and is thrilled to go Grandma's house, with or without me.  He runs to his daddy in the evenings with excitement and can not get enough of him until bed time arrives.  As my baby grows up, I am learning to not stress so much over the stages he goes through and just enjoy them as much as I possibly can.


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