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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Who is Really Stressing You Out?

Motherhood and stress – I find those words together a lot. Mothers all over the internet complain about how their children stress them out.

“My children are fighting and the noise is stressing me out.”

“Driving my children anywhere is so stressful.”

“I can’t shop with my children. Their antics stress me out.”

“Anytime I go anywhere with my child I end up stressed.”

We know that children are high-maintenance, and I’d be lying if I said I never feel stressed. But the question is, is it really the children who are stressing you out? Or are you allowing yourself to be stressed?

Yes, I said allowing. We have the power to decide whether or not to allow a situation to stress us out. We can either let the challenges of parenting get to us, or we can learn how to overcome them.

I know it is easier said than done, but for a mother to maintain her sanity, learning to avoid stress is so important.

Here are a few things I do to keep stress at bay.

1. Exercise

We all know that exercise is a stress-buster, but most of us don’t do it, for whatever reason. We allow our own health to sit on the back burner while we tend to those around us. It might seem noble to put yourself last, but it isn’t good for you.

Exercise is one of the best stress-relievers there is. If you can’t get away from your kids for it, do it with them. Dance in the living room, run at the park, go for a walk. Any exercise is better than none at all! So make time in your schedule for exercise.

2. Breathe

When your children’s antics are getting you riled, stop and breathe. Just take a minute to compose yourself by taking a deep breath, closing your eyes, and letting it out slowly. Go ahead. Try it now and see how good it makes you feel. Look out the window at nature, or step outside for a minute and breathe, and tell yourself you can handle whatever is bothering you. I promise you will feel the stress melt away.

3. Take time for yourself

Do something for yourself every day. Nap when your child does, read a book or your favorite blog, take a shower (and don’t feel bad if it takes an extra cartoon or two). Put on some makeup or brush your hair. Get dressed. Do something that will help you feel more like a woman and not just a “mom”.

I like to get up early for exercise, then take a shower and have my coffee before the kids get up. Thankfully my kids love to sleep late so early for me is up by 6. If your child is an early riser (or has to get up for school), see when else you can fit in time for you.

4. Keep a schedule

This will help you fit in numbers 1 and 3. Time for yourself is imperative so scheduling it will make it happen.

5. Be mature

Remember, they are just children. They are still selfish and self-absorbed. Everything is about them. Don’t take personally anything they say or do.

 

Now it’s your turn. What do you do to keep stress out of your life? Tell us about it in the comments.

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?

Having Trouble Getting Your Overtired Toddler to Bed? Try These Tips

Overtired kids make for worn out, nerve wracked mommies. I want to share some tips of what I have found that works for me when my little ones have been overtired yet didn’t want to go to bed.

Usually I keep them on a good sleep schedule, but it does happen from time to time that schedules get blown to the wind and naps get missed. The other day Scarlett woke up at 6 a.m. and came into our bed, but instead of going back to sleep like she normally does, she stayed awake. By 11 a.m. she was ready to sleep but I knew that if she went down at that hour, she’d be up even before the other two went for a nap.

I tried to keep her up but she cried even more and kept begging to be carried. By 11:30 I’d had enough but she was too worked up to just lie down and fall asleep on her own like she normally does, so I had to put her to sleep myself.

Here are the steps I used.

#1 Hard as it is to do when your child is screaming or whining (especially if it has been going on for a while), keep yourself calm. This is the first step to calming your child. If necessary, go to another room for a few minutes and just breathe. Tell yourself that you are in control of your own emotions and you will get through this.
I made sure to keep myself calm while she threw herself and tried to get away as I put her diaper on. (She is almost completely daytime potty trained but still wears a diaper for naps and nighttime.)

#2 Go to your child, and in a calm, soothing voice, tell her it is time for sleep. As I got her ready for nap, I made sure to keep my voice calm. I have in the past let myself get upset because my kid was upset and all that came of it was an extra-tired child screaming and an upset, frustrated mommy angrily forcing them to sleep. Not a good combination at all.

#3 Lie your child down in her bed and sit next to her (if using a toddler bed) or sit in a chair next to the crib. You will want to sit as this part may take some time. Scarlett sleeps in a toddler crib that is rather low to the floor so I just sat on the floor next to her. It has removable bars so she can get in and out on her own. Make sure the room is darkened as much as she is used to for sleep, and close the door if there is noise in other parts of the house.
Alternately you could lie your child in your bed with you lying next to her, if you think that would work better. While I prefer my kids to sleep in their own beds, getting to lie in mommy’s bed can have a rapidly soothing, almost magical effect.

See the bars? There were 3 but the plasic parts broke after being used by all my kids and at this time, I can’t put any of the bars in place, meaning Scarlett gets out of bed often at night. Excuse the walls. 🙂

#4 At this point, your child may already be calming down, but if she is struggling to get up, firmly place one hand on her bottom and hold her down. At the same time, gently pat or rub her back with your other hand. Though it may be hard over the screaming, try singing her favorite lullaby or shush her by chanting “shh, shh, shh” in a rhythmic pattern. This is what I do. I find it works better for getting Scarlett to stop crying than singing, but sing if that works for you.
The goal here is to take control of your child falling asleep and at the same time let her know you sympathise with her tiredness and want to comfort her. Keep your voice calm and make sure you don’t show any frustration with how long it is taking. Actually, the calmer you are, the faster she will calm down. Don’t ask me how it works; it just does.

#5 Once she stops screaming and lies still, you can take your hand off her bottom, but you will want to continue patting or rubbing her back. You can either stop the vocal soothing or keep going, depending on how your child best falls asleep.

#6 Stay there until you are sure she is asleep. You will know she is in a deep sleep because her breathing will become rhythmic and she won’t open her eyes or try to get up when you move.

#7 You can let out that sigh of relief now. Take a deep breath and congratulate yourself. You just got your overtired toddler to sleep without becoming a bundle of nerves yourself! Take a few minutes for yourself and enjoy the peace.

Of course you may have other children to tend to and you may feel the need to get back to them, especially if they were coming into the room while you were putting your toddler down. I had to send Logan and Lila out several times, using silent hand motions and facial expressions so as not to disturb the atmosphere while I was putting Scarlett down. Even though I could hear them fighting and hurting each other, they had to wait as I knew it would be easier to deal with them once Scarlett was down. Thankfully they were quiet when they came in, but if your older children barge in and disturb you, calmly tell them they will have to wait ’till the younger one is asleep. Lock the door if necessary. Or just make sure your older ones are busy with some engaging activity before you go to put the younger one down.

These tips may also work with older babies (over 8 months) and even with children older than toddler age. Logan rarely naps any more, but some days I notice he is cranky so I lie him down and sit next to him and he will sleep faster than if I leave him to fall asleep alone.

What works for you when your child is overtired? Share it with us.

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?

Potty Training 103

Previous two parts can be found here and here.In this post I want to talk about nighttime potty training. While I had some experience with daytime and naptime training before my kids came along, I had never done any nighttime training and didn’t  know where to start.

The thing that propelled me into starting Logan into nighttime training was that he started to outgrow the diapers and I couldn’t get a larger size. I had actually wanted to start him around his 3rd birthday, but I waited because Scarlett was born then and I couldn’t pick him up for a few months, so Logan was 3 years and 4 months old when I began. He was staying dry all night most of the time, so that gave me the courage to take him out of diapers.

At first I took him to the toilet at least twice a night, then eventually it went down to once. Most mornings he woke up dry, though I did notice he was more likely to be wet when it was raining or cold. He doesn’t stay covered so well (many kids don’t) and though I dressed him extra warm, he would still pee.

Now that the weather is warming up, he is mostly staying dry again, and I have even had nights when I would forget to take him and he would wake up dry. He often comes to our bed in the night, and if I happen to be awake (nursing the baby), I tell him to go on his own and he will. But if I’m not awake, chances are that either he already wet or will wet … our bed. And it is always on daddy’s side. Ha.

With Lila I may wait longer before starting her nighttime training. (She is 2 years, 9 months now.) Up till now she has only woken up dry a handful of times, so she is not yet ready for it. One bonus I have with her is that pull-ups are now available here, so I plan to use them during her training time.

The way I see it, you have two choices: either keep your child in diapers/pull-ups until they are dry all night, every night, or take the time to get up in the night and take them to the toilet until they can either do it themselves or until they no longer wet in their sleep.

I don’t think there is a perfect way for night training; I am still learning as I go. I also feel it is important to separate daytime and nighttime training. They are two separate things and will be learned at different paces, so, even though I know it is possible for a child to be completely daytime trained by 2, it could take a few more years before they will be nighttime trained. It may not, cause I have heard of children picking up on both quickly, but it more likely will take that extra time.

If you do want to go the waking-them-in-the-night method, then here are a few things I have learned.

-Pick a time to focus on it and go for it. Take the diapers off and don’t look back. (Though you may like to try using pull-ups since they are easy to pull up and down, and if your child does wet, you are spared the bed change.)

-Talk to your child about it. Tell them about your plan and get their ideas too.

-Make sure you start at a time when your child’s home life is stable and they aren’t facing any other big emotional issues like starting school, a new baby in the house, sickness, or any other situation that could cause them emotional upset. Trying to potty train during such a time can make it harder and the chance of them succeeding will be lower.

-If you are going the diaperless route, be prepared for wet beds. Invest in a good plastic sheet to keep the mattress safe, and keep extra sheets and pajamas at hand so you don’t have to hunt for them in the dark.

-An idea I read about somewhere was to make the bed in layers with several plastics and sheets on top of each other. That way, when one is wet, you just have to take it off and the next is there, ready to go.

-You may find it helpful to set an alarm for yourself so you will actually wake up to take them to the toilet.

– I find it debatable whether curbing liquids in the evening works or not. Some people sware by it while for others it makes no difference, so you may have to experiment and see what works best for your child. Since we live in a hot climate, often the kids will want water at night, so I give it to them. I’d rather they need to pee than feel thirsty.

-If your child is a very deep sleeper and doesn’t wake up when you get them up, you may have have to actually wake them for them to pee at all. With Logan, I would stand him in front of the toilet and would have to shake him awake or he would just flop around, sometimes trying to sleep on the toilet.

-Very important – don’t punish them if they wake up wet in the morning. They were asleep when it happened and didn’t do it on purpose. Just reasure them that it isn’t a big deal and help them get cleaned up.

Mommies, we need your success stories! Please share what helped you when night time training your child and at what age you started and by what age they were staying dry all night.

Potty Training 102

Logan at 16 months.

In my last post on potty training, I discussed daytime training. Now I want to talk about naptime training.

I don’t think there are any tricks to it. With both Logan and Lila, there came a point when I noticed that they were waking up from naps dry, and they would, at that age (between 20 – 24 months), nap a minimum of 2 hours a day, sometimes more. Though I had taken them out of diapers during the day, they wore one for nap until they were able to go for a while without waking up wet. Of course if I didn’t put them on the potty as soon as they woke, then they would wet, but once they got used to going on the potty after nap, they would hold it until I put them on. Once they reached that point, then I could let them nap without a diaper.

Lila is currently 2 years, 8 months old. She is daytime and naptime trained, but that isn’t to say there are never accidents. These mostly happen when she has had a lot to drink, enough that she has to pee several times in one hour. At those times I do remind her that she has to remember to get to the potty instead of peeing where she is – on the floor, couch, playmat, balcony, my bed, etc.

It is important to remember that, even once a child is trained, accidents can and will happen, but it doesn’t mean you have to go back to diapers. Some reasons a child might have an accident are:

– Forgetfulness. Toddlers need lots of reminders, not because they can’t remember things (try to get them to forget that song they heard on t.v. two weeks ago that they only heard once and won’t stop singing), but because often fun gets in the way. They are busy playing and exploring the world. In other words, their minds are engaged in what they are doing and they don’t notice that they need to go until it is too late.

-Not recognizing the need to go. Learning to recognize the feeling of needing to go is important and it takes time.

– Some children try but just can’t hold it, others wait until past the feeling before they say anything. I remember doing that as a child, why, I don’t know. Logan will also wait until the last second before he says anything and then he can hardly hold it, but he does. I can’t remember when he last had an accident. (He’s 4.)

– Too much to drink. Input equals output. The more they drink, the more they will pee. It isn’t rocket science.

I think that what it comes down to is that you have to remember for them until they can do it for themselves. If it has been a while and you suddenly think about it, put them on right away. I know that when this happens to me and I ignore the feeling, next thing I know is that Lila is wet. It happens often and you’d think I’d have the lesson down by now. Let’s hope I get it before I begin Scarlett’s potty training.

Potty Training 103 -night training.

How did naptime training work for you and at what age was your child staying dry during their nap?

Potty Training 101

For some time now I’ve been putting off writing about potty training. Why? I guess there is so much out there about it, so many opinions and personal viewpoints. These range from those to think potty training should begin as soon as a child can sit to those who hold out until their child is 3 or 4 years old. On this blog I try to cater to everyone and make it easy for anyone to feel welcome, yet I know that won’t always be the case.
 
Almost every time I blog about something that is a big deal, I tend to want to cover all angles so that no one feels slighted or left out. Problem is, I am not always familiar with all the angles and won’t be able to do them justice. Then I remember that this is my blog and that what I write about should be what I think, how I feel, and my personal experiences on the subject. While it is good to consider everyone’s feelings, in the end, trying to please everyone will result in making a mess of things.
 
So when you are reading this, remember that I am writing from my experiences with my children. If I suggest something that is not to your liking, you are not obligated to like it or do it, just like I don’t have to do what you say on your blog. Our blogs are our own personal expressions and should be seen as such.
 
I also want to offer a disclaimer – when I talk about at what age you should do something or how to do it, I am talking about children who are healthy, who don’t have physical disabilities or health problems that would hinder or delay them from being able to potty train at the age I am suggesting. In such cases you as the parent will have to decide if they are ready or not and how to best go about it.
 
Your child may or may not progress in the same way mine did. Actually, it is highly likely that they won’t, since every child is different and progresses at different paces. Also, right now I am only referring to daytime training. Nighttime training is a whole other subject that will be covered separately.
 
Ok, keeping all of that in mind, let’s get into the basics of potty training.
 
First off, the age at which you decide to begin potty training is really up to you, but from personal experience, I have found it can be started as early as 12 months and it is possible for a child to be trained as early as 14 months. If you feel that is too early, then sometime between 18 and 24 months is reasonable. I know many people like to hold off until their child is over 3 or in some cases 4, but I feel that is too long to wait. Why they feel it is easier to keep a child in diapers until then beats me, not to mention how gross diaper changes for a child that age would be.
 
I started Logan on the potty at 12 months. It was only to get him used to the potty and let him get comfortable on it. I made it a regular part of our day to put him on the potty at intervals, though I have never had set intervals. You can time it, or you can get a feel for how often they go by watching them for a few days and noting when they go.
 
Logan’s first time on the potty,
a few days before his first birthday.
In the beginning I only put him on a few times a day – morning when he woke, midmorning, before nap, after nap, midafternoon, and before bed. I was using cloth diapers at this time since it is easier to tell when they are wet and can be removed easily for pottying. He still wore a diaper all day. That way if he didn’t make it to the potty there was no floor mess to clean. (I should mention that I was pregnant with my second at this time.)
 
When Logan was about 16 months, I took him out of diapers and just let him run around in underwear. I continually reminded him to tell me when he needed to go so that he would get the idea. Since he wasn’t talking yet, each time I would point to his pants and pat them while reminding him. He eventually would pat his pants when he needed to go.
 
Between 16 and 17 months I focused on his training. I wanted him trained, at least for when he was awake, before the new baby arrived, and he was. Often, if I put him on the potty as soon as he woke from his nap, his diaper would be dry, but if I waited it would be wet.
 
But then he regressed. I had the baby and spent 5 days in the hospital away from him (C-section). He was with daddy all the time and daddy didn’t keep up the training like I had so he lost what he had learned. Since I couldn’t bend or lift him for some time, it had to wait, and we picked up again when he was about 19 months old. Since he was already familar with the process, he relearned quickly.
With Lila I was wiser and, while I introduced the potty early, I held off her focused training until she was about 20 months. The reason? Yes, I had another baby and another C-section. It was planned that time so I knew it would be best to wait for when I could handle it physically. Since she was already in the habit of sitting on the potty at intervals, it wasn’t too hard for her to learn.
 
My plan with Scarlett is to wait another month or two and then start. Since I am not/will not be pregnant, I won’t have to worry about that interruption. She is now 13 months, but I want to wait out the cold months and train her when all she has to wear is a diaper and maybe a t-shirt. She has sat on the potty once or twice, but only for a second and usually after seeing Lila use it. She still thinks the potty is a toy and likes to play with it if I don’t keep the bathroom closed.
Logan at 19 months.

So here are some tips:

– Decide when you want to start and go for it. Don’t do it on and off as that will be confusing for your child.
 
-Make sure that things are relatively peaceful when you start. Heavy teething, sickness, weaning, passing through a time of emotional difficulty, or a having a new baby could make it difficult for your child to focus on the training.
 
-You may want to wait for warm weather to train. Children pee more when they are cold, and if they are wearing several layers it will make more work for putting them on the potty.
 
-A child will pee more when they drink more. Some books recommend offering more drinks during the training time so that they will need to go more often and get in the practice. The problem often is that they go so frequently you will finish your stack of undies before the day is out.
Lila’s first time on the potty at 11 months.

-Hearing water running will often make a child go. When they sit on the potty, you can turn on a faucet and let it run a little. If they don’t go within a few seconds then they probably don’t need to go. But you don’t want them to only pee when they hear water or you will be in trouble when you pass a fountain, it rains, etc.

 
-Remind your child to tell you when they need to go. It is good to do this so that they get the idea, but don’t depend on it. And don’t ask if they need to go – 99% of the time the answer will be no. And you won’t get a reply if they aren’t talking yet, so save your breath. If they haven’t gone in a while and you feel they need to go, put them on. Just say, “It’s time to go potty now.”

 

-Teach non-talkers a signal for how to tell you when they need to go.
 
-Potty time should be fun. There is no need to leave them for a long time. If they don’t go after a few minutes, take them off and wait a while. While they are sitting, you can use the time to look at books or sing songs together. Especially if they fuss about it, do something to distract them.
-Some people prefer to start on a potty and others go straight for the toilet. I prefer to start with a potty. It is easy for a child to sit on and eventually they can sit without you being there. Some children find the toilet scary, too.
 
-Learning to use the potty is a new skill for a child, so it isn’t fair to them to punish them when they have accidents. Accidents happen; when they do, just remind your child in a cheery voice, “Pee goes in the potty.” And leave it there. Don’t keep harping on it.
 
-Draw attention to the positive by getting excited and clapping for them when they do go, even if it is just a dribble. Positive reinforcement is the way to go.
 
-I don’t think it is good to get in the habit of offering treats to get them to go potty. You don’t want to connect food with praise, nor do you want them to depend on getting a reward every time they use the potty. Food is for nourishment, not reward. Offering food treats can get them in the habit of always eating to reward themselves and could later lead to weight problems. Instead, offer lots of verbal praise, claps and cheers.
 
Lila at 2 insisted on using the toilet.
-On the other hand, if you feel a reward would help them, try something like getting new undies with their favorite cartoon character on it, or a new toy, or a trip to the playground. It doesn’t have to be big. You don’t want to have to buy them something for every potty run. Such rewards could be for success over a certain time frame, one that is easy for your child to reach. An immediate reward that you will always have is story time with you. Most children love that, and you could offer it whenever you want.

-Potty training success will take time and effort on your part. Don’t give up too soon. But don’t feel you have to keep going if it isn’t working for you. You can always wait a few weeks and then try again.

Logan, 2 yrs. 5 months; Lila, just days before her first birthday.
 Next time we will discuss nap training.
 
Mommies, please share your tips and what worked for you. Also mention the age at which you started and why. First-time potty trainers need all the help they can get so let’s give it to them.

Caring for Your Baby’s Teeth

Ok, I’ll admit that when it comes to tooth care, I am not the best one to talk about it. I have not taken good care of my own teeth; actually, except for daily brushing, I’ve neglected them entirely. I don’t like dentist visits (had a painful experience once), and I actually let one of my teeth rot during my pregnancies rather than get it taken care of. Bad, I know.

But just because I don’t like it for myself doesn’t mean I should ignore my children’s dental needs. If anything, I should teach them proper dental care so that they don’t have to suffer cavities like I have. 

When my oldest was a baby, somewhere around his second or third tooth, I decided to get him a toothbrush. Since then, I have tried to faithfully brush my kids’ teeth twice daily. Here are some things I have learned about children’s teeth care.

– You have to start cleaning their teeth once they begin solids. You don’t have to clean them if they are only breastfeeding.
– Use a soft bristle toothbrush that is made for babies, but don’t buy an outrageously-priced one. Those are no different from regular brushes; they are just made by companies that want your money and know you will pay any price for something that is for your baby if their logo is on it.
   I recently got a good one for Scarlett made by Johnson and Johnson for a decent price. Colgate has decently-priced ones too.
– I remember reading about a dentist who recommended using a little gauze on your finger to wipe your baby’s teeth and gums after eating. It may work well, but if your baby is a biter (what teething baby isn’t) you may find a toothbrush will save your fingers.
– Since a baby doesn’t chew its food, you don’t really have to scrub their teeth. Just gently brush them.
– Toothpaste is not needed for babies. I started putting a small smidgen of it on the brush, just barely a hint of it for taste when they were past their first birthday.
– Special children’s toothpaste is not needed, unless you are having a hard time getting your kids to brush their teeth. Mine have always been ok with the regular minty stuff.
– Teach your child to spit the toothpaste out from the beginning. Most will swallow it at first, which is why I put so little to begin with, but will eventually learn to spit it out.
– Let your child see you brush your teeth and they will want to do it to.
– You will have to do the brushing for your child for a few years, until they learn how to do it properly on their own. Right now for my kids, I brush their teeth first, and then let them do some so they can learn how to handle the brush.

Here are a few links with reference to when it is best to begin dental checkups and how to find a good pediatric dentist.

Oral Care and Dental Health for Toddlers and Children
Your Child’s First Visit to the Dentist
Majority of parents schedule child’s first dental visit two years too late

Which reminds me, I’d better look into finding a pediatric dentist myself.

Mommies, what has your experience been in caring for your child’s teeth and taking them to the dentist? Do you have any tips or advice you would like to share?

Packing Your Diaper Bag

Picture this: it is your first outing with your newborn. You are excited about going somewhere since you have been stuck in the house for so long, waiting for your baby to be old enough for outings. You get dressed, dress the baby, grab your purse and head out. It isn’t until you get where you are going that you remember you were supposed to bring … something. What was it?
Baby decides it is time to do one of those poops, the kind that leak and spread all over his clothes … and you. Now too late, you remember what you forgot – the diaper bag.
Hopefully this hasn’t happened to you. I’d never wish such horror on anyone (unless I hate them. Then I might just laugh.) Going out with your baby means lugging enough supplies for a small army. How can you keep it down without forgetting anything?

The following is a basic list of items you should pack in your diaper bag. Not everyone will need every item, so I have divided them into must-have’s and optionals.

Elegant yet practical.



Must-have’s:
2 or 3 disposable diapers – how many you bring will depend on how long you plan on going out for
Package of wet wipes
Changing pad – some diaper bags come with one attached. If yours doesn’t, pack one.
Change of clothes – in case of diaper leaks, throwing up, etc.
Empty plastic bag to place soiled items
1 – 2 bottles and formula – if you don’t breastfeed or if your destination doesn’t provide privacy for breastfeeding. You could either bring the sterilzed water in the bottles and the can of formula, or carry the water in a separate bottle and measure the formula into the clean bottles before you leave. How much you bring will depend on how long you will be out and how many feeds your baby will need in that time frame. Bring a bottle brush if needed.
Hand disinfectant – so you can clean your hands even if you aren’t near a bathroom.
Light-weight sheet for covering baby or to put down on a seat or bed before you put the baby down.
Tissues or a handkerchief.
Cute
Optional:
Sun hat and sunscreen
Blanket
Sweater or jacket, other warm clothes
Drool or meal bibs
Snacks or baby food – if your baby is old enough for solids and will need them.
Pacifier
A toy or two.
Fancy and fun
Bag options are endless, so whether you have a bag with lots of pockets for sorting everything (my personal favorite), or you have one where everything goes in one place, try keeping it sorted and organized in some sort of order so you don’t have to dig through it when looking for something. Keeping each item at your fingertips will make it easier for you to use your diaper bag. It should be your friend, not something you come to dread carrying.
Mommies, care to share what you put in your bag and how you use it?
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