Febrile Seizures – Dangerous? Or Just Scary?

A few weeks ago Logan came down with a fever. He was fine at bedtime, but when I went to take him to the toilet a few hours later, he was burning up. That was the beginning of a very long night.

Logan woke a lot, calling for water, cuddles, blankets, etc. At one point it seemed he had been calling for a while but I was so tired I didn’t hear him. He wet his bed and I had to change him and the bed while he fussed about feeling cold. Just as he was settled, he yelled again and told me, “The castle is rising!” I should have realized then that his temperature was high, but my tired state had fogged my brain and I made him go back to sleep.

At 5:30 a.m. his yelling woke me out of a sound sleep. I dragged myself to his bed again and asked what he needed. It took a minute for me to realize that he was freaking out because he was having a febrile seizure. His body was shaking, his muscles were tense, and he was scared. It wasn’t the first time this had happened, so I was able to keep him calm by talking to him until the seizure stopped.

The commotion in the kids’ room had woken everyone except Scarlett by this time. Lila was asking what was going on and why Logan’s body was shaking like that. After what seemed like a few minutes, but probably wasn’t more than a minute, the seizure stopped. Glad and I got Logan cleaned up (he had wet himself, normal during a seizure) and back into bed. We gave him some paracetamol and put a cool cloth on his forehead to help bring the fever down.

Daddy lay down with Logan while I tried to get Lila to go back to sleep in my bed. Logan was delirious and kept talking nonsense. (Later in the day he told me his bed had been rising off the floor and he thought he had been dreaming while awake.) Once the medicine kicked in and he was cooler, I took his temperature and it was still 103F. I can’t imagine how high it was during the seizure!

This is the second or third time Logan has had a febrile seizure. Had I not read about them shortly before it happened the first time, it would have freaked me out.  Febrile seizures are generally not dangerous to a child’s health. They are usually caused by a rapid rise in the temperature of the fever. They occur in children between the ages of 6 months – 6 years, and are more common in boys than girls.  In most cases, a medical exam afterwards is not necessary, unless you notice that your child doesn’t seem like themselves after an hour or more, or the fever doesn’t go down after you’ve given them something for it, or if the seizure happens again during the same illness.

Some tips to remember if it happens to your child:

1. Breathe and stay calm- it is scary but not dangerous.

2. Make sure they can’t hurt themselves while their body jerks around. Don’t hold them, but stay close until it ends.

3. They may or may not lose consciousness during the seizure (Logan didn’t).

4. A seizure normally lasts between a few second and 5 minutes, but can go as long as 15 minutes.

5. The child may wet or throw up while it is happening. If they throw up, make sure they are lying on their side so they don’t gag on the vomit.

6. Once the seizure is over and your child is cleaned up and calm, you can give them whichever OTC fever-reducing medication you normally use. Make sure to follow the body weight dosage listed on the bottle and measure out carefully. A cool cloth on the forehead helps too.

This is only a rough listing of things to remember. I suggest you read more on febrile seizures so you can be well-informed and prepared should they ever happen to your child.

Medline Plus – Febrile Seizures

MayoClinic.com -this link has a lot of information on them, spread over several pages. Click the link at the bottom of each section to make sure you get all the pages.

Has your child ever had a febrile seizure? What was your experience?

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No More T.V. – For a While

Today I did something my kids still can’t believe – I took away their daily t.v. time for an undetermined amount of time. Let me explain why.

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Logan and Lila have been getting more and more familiar with me. Anytime I ask either of them to do anything, they have a reason why they can’t obey, or an excuse, or an outright “no”. I find I’m repeating myself too many times a day, trying to get them to obey.

What’s worse, they will obey daddy wonderfully, will clean up their toys when he asks, come when he calls, etc., well, most of the time. They even told me that they would only obey daddy. That got me mad and on more than one occasion, I had to get Glad to talk to them about needing to obey me too.

We’ve tried many different discipline methods, but the only thing they seem to respond to is loss of privileges, mainly t.v. and movies. We’ve used this many times in the past, mostly to get a lesson to sink in, and it seems to work, at least for a while. During the time when they know they are missing their favorite shows, Logan will ask me why he’s missing it and we talk about what he needs to change to get to see them again.

But after today, I think it will be awhile before they get their shows back.

See, I asked them to do something they have to do every day: tidy up their bedroom. I got the dinner done early, since it is better to go out a little later when it is cooler, and they spent that time playing.  Once I was done, I asked them to pick up the mess so we could go out. No response. I asked again. Told them we needed to go outside. Nothing.

Then it started raining. Not too much, we still could have gone with raincoats, but by now they were both saying they didn’t want to clean up. No, they wouldn’t do it. Logan went as far as to tell me to never ask him to clean up again!! This stinker is not even 6 yet. That is something I expect from a teen, not him.

I’d had it at that point. Not just because they wouldn’t clean up this time, but because of all the times lately that they have not listened to me at all. I just said there would be no more daily t.v. time until they learn to obey me. That did it! The tears! No, we want to obey. Oh, really? I’ve heard that one before.

I held my ground and left the room to wash dishes so as to not yell at them any more. We didn’t go out, they played around a bit, and cried more when they realized I was serious. Then daddy came home. Of course he had to hear the tale and of course he agreed with my decision. I actually heard them talking before he came, hoping he would say something different and change the punishment or drop it. Such stinkers!

In the end, Scarlett cleaned most of the mess, while Logan and Lila did a little. Then they sat for dinner with daddy and he talked to them about obeying me. Before bed, I again had to make it clear that it was up to them how long this t.v. ban would last. I know I’ll have to discuss it again tomorrow. And probably all of next week.

I’m actually curious to see how long it will take for them to get that I mean business. I know there won’t be an overnight change, since they are in the habit of not obeying the first time, ignoring me, arguing about having to obey, etc. It’s going to take me reminding them every time I ask them to do something and they don’t do it right away. I know this is going to be rough for me as well as them, but the hope is that in the end, they will be more obedient.

How do you handle disobedience with your children? Any tips or suggestions are welcome.

 

Update: November 2, 2013 – after one week I tried letting them have t.v. time back. Logan lost it again on the first day when he freaked out over Lila doing some small thing he didn’t like and biting her so hard he almost cut her skin. The girls aren’t into the t.v. as much as he is, so on those days when Logan wasn’t allowed it, I only put it on if they asked. Mostly they would just play and be happy on their own.

After 2 weeks, Logan is doing much better. He is listening to me more, obeying more, and he has yet to bite again. I consider this a success. So yes, they are again allowed to watch their shows. Hopefully they will remember this one for a while.

A Mom’s Mini Emergency Kit

When my kids were small, I had a variety of diaper bags – ranging from small, to medium, to large; colorful to plain; fancy to formal –  with everything I needed for outings with them. I struggled to carry a purse and diaper bag and eventually gave up on the purse altogether. Then I switched to carrying a large purse of some sort that was secretly a diaper bag with a small corner for myself, so that I could look a little more put together.

Having to lug around all the stuff that a baby or toddler requires was no fun. I often had marks on my shoulders from carrying a heavy bag that never got lighter. Sometimes I would remove something I felt wasn’t needed, only to need that exact item later that day (and it was never needed when I had it).

I was so happy that as my kids got older I could carry less stuff. No longer do I need to carry diapers, extra clothes, toys, bottles, blankets, etc. I can take all three of them anywhere with the clothes they are wearing, and perhaps a bottle of water, or something to occupy them with, depending on our destination.

The only permanent item I carry is a small emergency kit.

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I bought a small, transparent toiletry bag that measures 6 1/2″ long x 5″ wide x 3 1/2″ deep, and in it I keep several small items I always need when out with the kids. I chose to put them all in a small bag so that I can transfer it to whichever purse or shoulder bag I’m carrying that day. These are basic items that often end up in your purse anyway, but tend to get lost in the mess and can be hard to grab at a moments notice.

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Here is what I carry (from left to right):

  1. Tissues – always handy.
  2. Disinfectant hand wash – for those times when there is no water but they are hungry and need a snack “right now”.
  3. Antiseptic cream – for minor cuts and scrapes.
  4. Wet wipes – useful for everything from wiping dirty faces and hands to cleaning scrapes, or getting food off of clothes.
  5. Mosquito repellant – needed most of the year, though I usually have the spray instead of the cream.
  6. Bandaids – I use these a lot.
  7. Crocin tablets – for me. If I am able to curb a headache when out, things go much smoother.

There are plenty of other items I could carry, but these 7 are the must-haves that I can’t go without. Outings have been easier since I put this together.

Do you carry something like this? What would you add to it?

Scarlett’s Accident

(This is a backlog post. It should have gone up June 3.)

There comes a time in every child’s life when they experience something that can make a mother’s heart stop.

With Logan, it was his premature birth and 10 day hospitalization. With Lila it was the time she drank turpentine at 2 years, 1 month old. Scarlett had yet to do something to freak me out severely (other than running off in a bookstore and hiding when she was 18 months old), but that changed last week.

I will have to begin with some background.

It was Monday, a rather stressful day for me because it is grocery shopping day. I used to shop alone with Scarlett while the other two were at school, but now with the arrival of summer holidays, I have no choice but to shop with all three kids.

Logan was already fussing when we got to the mall because we were only doing grocery shopping, and he wanted to go to the arcade and toy shop. He has no patience for shopping so he was running around, touching everything – every display, every shelf, every food item. He broke candy bars, crushed bags of chips and grabbed everything he could. Normally he is fairly obedient and can manage a trip to the store without too much wildness, but this day his hyperactive nature had taken over and it was all I could do to not yell at him right there. (He has ADHD.)

He continued to be wild during lunch and rest time, and on into the afternoon. He was mean to the girls and kept making them cry. Any sort of punishment didn’t faze him at all.

I finally decided to take the kids to the playground near our house, hoping that some outdoor play could burn some of his energy and tire him out. Yet he continued to be wild. Several times I had to pull him aside from his play as he was biting and pinching the other children. He even bit his own lip when he fell as he was racing up the slide.

The whole time I was keeping half an eye on the girls as they climbed the jungle gym. They are both quite good at it, so, while I stay near them, I don’t have to be right there. At one point I had to go to Logan again, and I didn’t see Scarlett follow me, nor did I see her climb the straight metal slide (not the ladder but the slide) until she was at the top.

She learned to climb the slide some time ago (barefoot), but I’m always next to her as there are no safety rails and she hasn’t yet figured out how to turn from her climb to sitting without putting her butt over the side. I’m sure you can guess what happened next.

It was almost like seeing something in slow motion. I saw her at the top of the slide. I saw her begin to turn, and then I knew she was going to fall. I was too far away to get there in time to catch her. I left Logan and forgot his naughtiness as I ran to my baby.

The slide was about 6 feet at the highest point and she fell from the top, landing in the sand flat on her chest and tummy, hitting her lips hard on one side. Horror stories that I had heard of kids dying from falling off a slide filled my mind, and I struggled to push them away so I could focus on Scarlett. At first she cried while I carried her to a bench and tried to clean the sand off her face, but then she was quiet, scarily quiet. She just sat on my lap and looked at everything. I kept asking her questions but she wouldn’t answer. I managed to round up Logan and Lila, and we rushed home. All I could think of was getting her home, putting ice on her ever-swelling lips, and helping her recover from the shock she was in.

She wouldn’t let me put ice on her lip, nor did she want me to get the sand out of her mouth, both of which made her cry. I was afraid she had some internal injury since she was so quiet. I called Glad, who was working on the other side of town, and told him what had happened.

He asked some questions and then reassured me that she was probably fine but to keep an eye on her.  I held her close and told her how sorry I was that I hadn’t been close enough to catch her. I couldn’t do anything but rock her. After about 30 minutes (from the time she fell) she began to move around. I put a video on for her and then went to my room to cry. The guilt I felt was massive. How had I not noticed her following me? Why wasn’t I paying more attention? Why hadn’t I been right there to catch her? It was awful.

Finally I realized I had some hungry kids on my hands so I forced myself to get up and cook dinner, even though I wasn’t very hungry and could hardly stand to look at food. Surprisingly, Scarlett ate a good dinner! I thought she might just have some yogurt because she could hardly open her mouth, but she figured a way to slip the food in on the side that wasn’t sore. (Fried chicken liver, French fries, and cucumber slices.)

Afterwards she was perky and climbing around, even jumping! She was fine as I showered everyone and got them ready for bed. I let her lie in my bed and she went to sleep quickly.

Glad kept checking in every hour, and he was sure she didn’t have any internal injury, since she was breathing well, had eaten and didn’t throw up, nor was she complaining of any pains other than her massively swollen lip and a sore chest. I, however, was still freaking out inside.

I kept her in bed with me all night. At one point she scared me by waking up and just sitting there and staring straight ahead. After what seemed like forever, she told me she wanted water and to get up, but it was only about 4 in the morning so I convinced her to go back to sleep.

In the morning her lip looked scary. The top one on the right side was big and puffy, the bottom about half the size. Above, below, and on her lips were all the tiny scratches that had scabbed overnight. Scarlett herself was perky as ever, ate a good breakfast, had a normal bowel movement, and showed every sign of being ok internally. But just to be safe, Glad took her to the hospital for a checkup.

I didn’t feel relief until they got home. The doctor had confirmed that she had no internal injury, and her lip was going to be just fine. The swelling went down rapidly over the next two days, so fast, in fact, that we could see a difference from one hour to the next. Now, exactly one week later, all the scabs are gone and there is no evidence that she had such a bad fall.

Since that day I’ve made sure to stay right next to her at the park whenever she is climbing. She is daring, like Lila, and will climb on most anything, so I can’t let her out of my sight. She may be a good climber, but she is still a toddler and doesn’t have as good balance as Lila does.

I shudder every time I think back on that moment when she fell. I’m thankful she fell from the 6’ slide and not the higher spiral one that she so loves. I’m thankful I wasn’t far when she fell, so I could pick her up right away. I’m thankful she wasn’t seriously injured. And I’m most thankful she is still here.

What has your child done to freak you out?

Bathing Your Newborn

It has been a while since I have done a post specifically aimed at new moms, so here is one just for you – tips for bathing your newborn.

As you know, a newborn is completely helpless and you have no choice but to do everything for them. Bathing is one thing you may find difficult until you figure out how to do it.

For starters, you can’t give your baby a tub bath until the cord stump has fallen off, so until that happens (anywhere between 8 and 20 days after birth – 8 to 10 days is average, but some do take longer – Scarlett’s took 17 days) you will have to make do with a sponge bath.

You may find it easiest to give a sponge bath on your bed, or perhaps on a table or changing table. I always liked the bed because then I could sit during the bath. First gather the items you will need: soap, shampoo, lotion, diapers, towel, washcloth, clothes, changing pad. Lay the changing pad down first to protect the bed from getting wet, then put the towel on top. Make sure the room is warm. Turn off the fan or close windows if there is a breeze. In winter, heat the room well before undressing your baby.

Get your water in a small basin and make sure it is not too hot. Place this basin on the bed next to the bath area, or if you are ok to bend, put it on the floor. I always found it easier to keep it on the bed, though. Undress your baby carefully. Don’t yank the clothes off, but gently remove their limbs. If you have to lift something over their head, undo the snaps or stretch it as far as it will go and carefully pull it over.

Newborns will often pee as soon as they are undressed so you may want to put a cloth diaper or a folded towel under the baby’s bottom to protect the bath towel, otherwise you can leave the diaper on until you are ready to wash their bottom.

Using a soft washcloth, wet it and gently wash your baby’s face first. Then using some soap, wash the neck, arms and torso, taking care to clean all creases and behind the ears. Newborns have lots of folds in their skin, so you have to clean between them to avoid rashes, irritation or infection. You will have to gently pry their hands open and clean between the fingers as they gather an amazing amount of lint and dirt.

Next take the diaper off. If there is doo-doo, clean it away with wet wipes, then wash with your cloth and soap. Make sure you avoid getting the cord stump wet. Last of all, wash their legs and feet. Dry your baby well, gently patting instead of rubbing. If the skin is dry, apply some baby lotion, gently massaging it in.

Once the cord stump falls off, you can use a baby bath tub for baths, or you can take your baby with you into the regular tub or shower. You may not get yourself too clean, but perhaps you could have someone there to help you and they could hand you the baby after you wash yourself.

Logan at 10 weeks – his first tub bath.

If you are using the baby bath, make sure to support their head, neck and torso the entire time, and never ever lay them down in the tub on their own. The chance of drowning is there so don’t take the risk. Get everything you need together before you put the baby in, and if you do forget something, ask someone else to get it or take baby out.

Unless you have one of these tub supports. Even then, never leave your baby alone in the tub.

For hair washing, simply use your hand to wet the hair, add a drop of baby shampoo, rub gently, then rinse. If you are giving a sponge bath, use the washcloth to wet the hair, add the shampoo and rub, then rinse with the cloth. Newborns have such thin hair that a drop of shampoo is all you need.
If you have had a cesarean delivery, I recommend that you either have the tub at a level where you don’t have to bend, such as on a table or bed, or put it on the bathroom floor and sit there. You shouldn’t be lifting after the delivery, so you will need help to fill and move the tub. Or you can use something to scoop the water in and out of the tub, or just stick with sponge baths until you can bend comfortably.
 
It is important to dress a newborn warmly after a bath, and wrap them in a blanket too, as they can get chilled easily. You may find they will nap right away afterwards, so it is good to plan bathtime before naptime.
 
 
Do you experienced moms have any other tips to add to this list?

Before and After

It is amazing how your mentality and thought process changes from before you have kids to after. Do you recall a time when you inwardly critisized a mother for something you saw her do, only to find yourself doing the exact same thing with your own child? Or did you ever sware you would never do this or that, say this or that, or act in a certain manner, yet now as a mother you feel totally opposite about these same things? I know I have.

I remember watching mothers give in to a child’s demand, thinking I would never do that – yet I have. I swore I would never get upset and would always be calm with my children – ha. If you have never in your life gotten upset and yelled at your kids, please let us in on your secret!

Below I’ve listed just a few of the things I see I have changed from before I had kids to now.

Before: “That child is so picky. His mother really should have made him eat all that food. Mine will always finish all the food I serve them. And like it or not, they will eat their veggies!”

After: “Oh, you don’t like that any more? Ok, I you can leave it.” Forcing my child to finish food he doesn’t want is stressful for me and ends up with both of us upset and frustrated, him to gagging point … and the food still on the plate.
Somewhere around 2 1/2 – 3 is the magic age when kids begin to eat less and get pickier. Logan  was a great eater until almost 3 1/2, then he got super picky and I wore myself out trying to force him to eat. He is eating better  now at 4 1/2, and also because I no longer force him to eat. Lila is almost 3 and is getting pickier, and no amount of cajoling will work if she doesn’t want something. If they don’t want it, they won’t eat it, so why stress over it?
Right now, the only veggies they both really like are carrots and cucumbers; anything else they pick out of the meal. So as boring as it is (for me), I make sure they have what they like at least once a day so that they are getting some veggies in their diet. I still serve other veggies, often mixed with another dish or in a salad, and once in a while they will eat some of them, but if they don’t, I leave it.

B: “That child is a brat because he doesn’t get any discipline. Mine will be properly disciplined and will always listen to me.”

A: I am still figuring this one out. My kids have thrown tantrums, screamed at me, demanded treats and t.v., and they most definitly do not always listen. Maintaining proper discipline is one of the most stressful and exhausting parts of being a mommy. I find that I have to change my approach every so often, especially as they get older. Rules have to be adjusted or adapted, punishments changed or dropped.
One thing I have learned is – if a punishment no longer works, it is time to change it. Stop and evaluate why it isn’t working and don’t be afraid to experiment to see what does. It is also good to inform your children when you are changing something so that they are aware of it and you don’t surprise them with it at the moment when they are acting up.

B: “Look at the time. Shouldn’t that kid be sleeping now? She just has her mother wrapped around her little finger. My kids will always nap and go to bed at a decent hour.”

A: Now that I understand how sleep works a little better, there does come a point when children no longer nap. Or if they sleep late in the morning, they won’t nap. Or if they nap too long, bedtime will be late. And it can vary with each child in the family. I’m definitly more relaxed with this one now.

B: “I will be the only one to care for my child. I will never let anyone fill in because only I will know what they need and will be able to give it to them in the right way.”

A: How wrong I was on this one! Now I would give anything for a chance to get away and get a break. Often when my husband has a holiday from work, I find a reason to get out of the house and always make sure I am not able to take one or all of the kids with me, just so I can have a break.
I also love preschool because it gives me a few hours where I am not monitoring fights or listening to whines and demands. I can’t wait until June when both Logan and Lila will be in school in the mornings. It will be wonderful!

What is something that you thought about one way but then changed your stance on once you had kids?

Cradle Cap and Ear Piercing

About 10 days ago I got Scarlett’s ears pierced. Finally! It is not that I didn’t want to do is sooner, but I held off because she had cradle cap on her ears from birth. She is the only one of my kids to get it. It covered the top of her scalp and her ears – inside, outside, behind – everywhere.

I cleaned her ears daily with a wet cloth and my fingers, getting all the crust off her ears. It would cake up if left, especially behind her ears, so daily cleaning was a must. On her ear lobe it was easy to pick off.

For the top of her head I used (and still use) Johnson’s Baby Hair Oil. I just put a small amount in my hand, then apply it gently with my fingertips. Because of the soft spots, it is important to be gentle when cleaning off cradle cap. Allow the oil to sit and loosen the cradle cap for a half hour or so, then remove by gently rubbing with a baby hair brush, using a circular motion all over the head until it all comes off. Wash the hair afterwards with shampoo.

You may be tempted to use your nails to clean it off, but I know from experience that doing so scratches the baby’s head and seems to hurt more than using the brush. Make sure you are using a baby brush with soft bristles and not an adult one with hard ones.

In Scarlett’s case it took several months before her ears no longer had any cradle cap on them. She still has some on the top of her head, in lesser quantities than before, so it is going down. But it will be some time before it is totally gone. For most children, it clears up by age three, but for some it continues up to six or seven.

Update Dec.2012: She still has it at 2 years old and I needs it cleaned about every 2 months.

If you do decide to get your baby’s ears pierced, I’d recommend doing it earlier instead of later. The longer you wait and the older the baby is, the harder it will be to get it done. If you want to wait for her to choose when she is older, then wait. But if you want it done, then do it early. I actually waited a little too long with Scarlett (though I didn’t really have a choice). She plays with the piercings at times and that can hinder the healing, whereas a younger baby won’t do that because they can’t. I had Lila’s done at 6 months and she never touched them.

Everyone has their own idea of what should be done for them to heal properly. I used to use rubbing alcohol for cleaning the piercing, but read somewhere that it actually hinders healing by destroying the tissue instead of healing it. Here in India they recommend coconut oil, but I never tried that. Instead I use the most common thing for cleaning any open cut or sore that actually helps it to heal – water.

I have found – from cleaning my own piercings to Lila’s and now Scarlett’s – that just running some clear water over the piercing daily and turning them at the same time helps them to heal well with no infection. A piercing is like any open wound – touch it with dirty hands and it will get infected, so make sure your hands are clean before touching, or else do it when bathing your baby. That is actually the easiest time to do it, and it really only needs to be done once a day. Make sure to rotate the earrings so that the ear doesn’t heal onto them.

What do you think about baby ear piercing, yea or nay?

Beginning Solids

Starting your baby on solids is always an adventure, and I’ve learned a lot about it from my own 3. Scarlett is now 8 months old, and while she has had some solids off and on, she isn’t yet regularly eating meals of solids. Instead, most days she will have one meal of something like fruit or yoghurt, and breastfeed for the rest.

Breast milk is still the most important food for a baby. It is made for their digestive system, and your body adjusts the nutrients in the milk to meet your baby’s specific needs. This is why you have to continue a nutritious diet while breastfeeding.

A baby will begin to show interest in solids somewhere around 6 months old. There is no rush to introduce food so don’t worry if your baby isn’t interested by then. Usually this coincides with the arrival of the first teeth, which usually happens around 6 months but not always. Scarlett got her first two teeth at 3 1/2 months, but a baby’s digestive system is not mature enough to handle solids until after 6 months, so it is best to not give it to them before this age.

Something interesting I read recently on another mommy blog said that each tooth brings with it certain digestive juices, so foods should be introduced in a certain order depending on which teeth your baby has, but not before 6 months. Here is the order: central incisors – fruits and veggies; lateral incisors – proteins; molars and canines – grains.

She says:

I’m sure many of you are wondering why teeth show food readiness. The eruption of teeth produces saliva with contains digestive enzymes and this generally happen along the same time line as digestion and intestinal development of necessary enzymes. If you are feeding your baby grains before they have the necessary enzymes to digest the grains properly your baby’s body will not digest or only partial digest the grains leading to intestinal trouble and possible allergies.

Read her whole post here.

The first time you give your baby solid food, you are not trying to fill their tummy. Rather, you are just introducing the taste and feel of food to them. I like to use my fingers for their first taste of food since they are softer than a spoon. You could get a rubber tipped spoon for later feeding. My favorite first food is banana. I mash it with my fingers and put a tiny amount in the baby’s mouth, just a taste.

To be continued… click here

Better Safe Than Sorry

Safety is a topic that has been on my mind a lot lately. Ever since Lila (current age 2 years, 1 1/2 months old) drank turpentine thinking it was water, I’ve been keeping my eyes open for more potential hazards.

Every house has them, yet as adults we know they are dangerous and avoid them. We rarely, if ever, think about these things as dangerous, and many times it is not until our child gets hurt that we become aware of them again.

A child will taste something out of curiosity; they don’t know it is not edible so they put it in their mouth. This is something a baby or toddler has to do to learn about the world around them. Their taste buds are more sensitive than the nerves in their fingertips, so they learn about an object faster through tasting it. The only problem is, they can’t yet taste the difference between something that is edible and something that is not.

Start by keeping all poisonous items out of reach. If you use it to clean the house, your car, your laundry, or to kill pests, it is poisonous. The degree of danger varies with each item – some will only cause stomach upset, allergic reaction or vomiting – others can be fatal. These kinds of products are generally labeled as dangerous and will often tell you what to do if swallowed, but don’t count on it. If you have a poison control center in your area, then keep the number next to your phone (or in your mobile, labeled as such) so that you can call for help quickly if need be. The best thing you can do, though, is to keep these items out of your child’s reach at all times.

Look for other hazards in your house and do what you can to fix or remove them. Sometimes it can help to crawl around the house yourself so you can see things from your child’s eye view. If they grab that ledge to stand up, is it safe? Will they hit their head or eye on it while standing up? Is it loose? Could it fall off? Ask yourself these kinds of questions as you go from room to room and make a list of what you need to either fix, cover, hide or remove to ensure your child’s safety.

You should always know where you baby is playing at all times. With a toddler or fast crawler this can be harder, but is so important. See Random Safety Tips for a list of other things to be aware of with small children.

Random Safety Tips

Safety – it is so important with children, yet is so easy to take for granted. I know I do it sometimes. Even though I know something, I will ignore it, thinking the worst will never happen. As mommies, we can never be too careful with our children. This doesn’t mean we should freak out at the slightest thing, but we should always be on the lookout for dangers in order to protect those in our care.

Yesterday I was playing with the children on the roof. Scarlett had been in the walker for a while but got fussy, so I picked her up and was following the other two around as they ran from one side to the other. While standing by the edge looking over, out of habit I made sure to hold the baby away from the edge and that got me thinking: how many things do I do that are good safety rules to remember that others may not be aware of?

So here is a list of safety tips, in no particular order.

– Always check when closing a door that your child doesn’t have her fingers there. Often children will stick their fingers where the hinges are and get them jammed there.

– When on a balcony, roof, or any place that is above the ground, never hold your baby near or over the edge. It is too easy for a child to wiggle and be dropped.

– If you have a balcony where your child plays (or even if they don’t) make sure the rails are not wide enough for them to get their head through. Our balcony has gaps large enough for my kids to just slip through, so when we moved here, we had the whole thing covered with a plastic-coated wire mesh, so that they can still look down but can’t fall.

– Put the crib down to its lowest level as soon as your baby can pull up into a standing position, otherwise they could fall out of the crib.

– Don’t let a child play around your feet when cooking. They could trip you and you could drop a pot or hot food on them. A baby could watch from their highchair, or a toddler could sit at the table if they must be near you. Otherwise, it is safest for them to not be in the kitchen, especially near the stove, while you are cooking.

– If your baby is big enough to stand up in her highchair, make sure to strap her in. Otherwise she could stand up and fall.

– Only buy safe toys for your baby. A safe toy is one that does not come apart into small pieces that could easily be swallowed, can be tasted without paint coming off, doesn’t have any sharp edges. Fisher Price makes safe baby toys that don’t break. Logan has had some trucks since he was tiny that have been dropped, banged, thrown, sat on and stepped on, but have never even cracked.

If you have an older child who has smaller toys (i.e. Lego, doll accessories , make sure they put them out of the baby’s reach when they are done playing, or play with them somewhere the baby can’t get to – a bed, table, etc.

– Watch out for anything with a string attached, skipping ropes, belts, plastic bags, balloons, cleaning supplies, medicines, vitamins, matches. All these items can be dangerous or fatal!

– Since a baby puts EVERYTHING in their mouth, check your floors daily. Don’t assume they won’t try it. Choking is something that can happen when you least expect it, so be aware and on guard at all times. If it fits in their mouth, they will try it. Watch out for coins, nuts, hard candies, seeds, small toys, etc.

When you are out, watch what other people give them. Some people don’t know that hard candy can be dangerous for children (I have a hard time with it myself since it can’t be chewed) and they give it to them, thinking they will make the child happy. My kids know that if someone gives it to them, they should give it to me right away. And if your toddler really wants it, exchange it for something safer, like a piece of chocolate or a soft candy. (Or else just don’t give your child candy and they won’t know the difference. Logan never knew what it was, so he always gave it to me.)

– Staircases can be fun to climb but so dangerous to fall on. Have a safety gate in place to keep adventurous crawlers and climbers off of them, but do also teach them how to go up and down safely. The earlier you teach this, the better. You can teach your baby how to crawl down feet first, and when they start walking, how to hold the rail to go up and down.

– Watch out for edges of furniture and corners. If they fall on it, they could seriously injure themselves. You can put foam padding on corners, and store anything that could break (like that lovely glass coffee table) until they are older. Also, teach your child to look when standing up, especially if they like to play under the table, so they learn to not hit their heads all the time.

– Once your child is able to open doors on her own (usually around two years) you may find it necessary to lock doors you don’t want your curious toddler opening. You can put a lock on the outside of any door, high enough that they can’t get it. Be aware that if you often climb on chairs to reach things, they will try the same, so put the lock well out of reach. And don’t just lock rooms that could be dangerous. Put it on any door (including closets) that you don’t want them to open. For low cupboards you may need locks that need a key to open, or special child-proof locks.

I’ve heard of people who had older children (3-5 years) who would open the front door at night and get out. If your child tries this, you will need a high lock on all house exits, something that they can’t open.

– If you can’t lock things up, then put any item you don’t want them to touch out of reach. It will save you from having to say no 1,000 times a day.

– Sharp items (knives, scissors, nail files, etc.) should always be kept out of reach.

– Teach your child road safety early. You don’t have to wait until they go to school; start when they learn how to walk by holding their hands when crossing the street, etc.

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