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.

Christmas Gift Ideas for Babies and Toddlers

The season is now upon us: Christmas!!! I love Christmas, even more now that I have children to share it with. I have been excitedly buying and stashing gifts for them, some requested and some surprises.

Maybe it is your child’s first Christmas and you want to make it memorable. Or maybe you have opted to make their second Christmas special since on their first they were too young to join the fun and enjoy it. (I can understand this because two of my kids were born in November and were only about 7 weeks old on their first Christmas.)

But as a first-time mommy it is understandable that you might be stumped as to what to get them. You see so many great things, but what is best? My top recommendation is Fisher-Price toys. Why?

1. Quality – they are sturdy and solid.
2. Colorful – they attract children and are fun to use. I find them attractive for me too.
3. Educational – the majority of them teach some skill or educate the child in some way.
4. Most importantly – they don’t break. Toys that break after a few uses are a waste of money. Invest in quality items and they will last a long time.

Here are some of the Fisher-Price toys my children have or had.

 

This was Logan’s first Christmas gift and his first toy. It is still attached to my stroller even now and Scarlett is using it.

I bought him these trucks when he was three months old and we still have them, except for the smallest one. It got lost.

 

 

This was Logan’s first birthday gift. He loved it and played with it until it didn’t make noise any more. He just kept those songs going and going all day long. (Warning: Noisy toys can make mommies go crazy. So if you really want to get a toy like this, do yourself a favor and get some earplugs too.)

 

 

 

Another gift. See it in his hand?

 

Lila was 8 months old on her first Christmas so I got her something she could work with, as opposed to a rattle. She figured it out quickly.

 

For her first birthday, Lila got these two toys. Too bad the book got lost; they enjoyed it a lot. We still have the shape sorter and Scarlett uses it now.

 

Scarlett just had her first birthday and I got her this Tiger Stacker. She really enjoys it.

 

And for Christmas, she is getting this toy, the Growing Baby Musical Xylo Fish. I can’t wait to see how much she enjoys it.

While I consider Fisher-Price a top brand for small children’s toys, it is by no means the only good brand out there. Some other good ones that I am familiar with are Duplo and Playskool. I also love good wooden toys, though I don’t have a specific brand in mind for that.
I hope this is a help to you. Happy shopping!
Disclaimer: I’ve written this as an idea-giver. It is not a review for Fisher-Price toys. I was not asked to do this and all thoughts and ideas are my own.
What is your favorite toy brand and what do you think you will be getting your child this Christmas?

Rainy Day Activity

First, I must apologise for my absence. All the kids got colds one at a time, and then I got it, and well, I just couldn’t keep up with anything more than the absolutely necessary. You know, the cooking, dishes, diaper changes, baths, laundry – we mom’s don’t really get a break when we’re sick. Add to sickness heavy rain and we were stuck indoors for about 10 days or so. Today the sun has finally come out, but the kids were cooped up for a long time.
One activity I tried to keep them occupied during this time was playing shopping.
I looked in my cupboards for boxes I didn’t need and empty plastic food containers. To make them last a little longer, I put folded newspaper inside the boxes. Not enough to make them heavy, but enough for them to hold their shape. Then I sealed them with wide clear packing tape and let the kids loose. Lila enjoyed it the most. Putting boxes in and out of a bag, then pretending to go home and put the food away kept her busy for a long time.

See the newspaper inside the box?

To keep this activity from getting old quickly, when they were done, I put everything away out of reach. Had I left it on the toy shelf everything would have been damaged. Of course, since these are products I buy regularly it is easy to replace a box if it gets too messed up to play with, but I am trying to teach them to care for their things.
This is an easy activity to add to. Just add new boxes and containers as you get them. You can make the game go further by using play money and acting it out.

What are your children’s favorite rainy day activities?

I’m Embarrassed to Say

It would seem that one of a child’s many goals in life is to embarrass his parents; unintentionally, of course. They go around doing little things in the process of exploration and learning that leave us feeling, well, embarrassed. Logan is one such child. I am not someone who gets embarrassed easily, and I was sure my child could never emabrrass me … until he turned the magical age of 2. Then it happened. It seemed overnight he started doing things just to keep me on my toes.

I have found people here in India to be quite accepting of small children’s actions, and so far I haven’t had anyone get upset at me or Logan for the things he has done. Thankfully. Because some of the things he has done are enough to make me want to hide.

One thing he has done for a long time and only recently stopped was touching any person that passed us on our walks. Most women wear flowing saris and dupattas, and his little hands couldn’t resist touching and sometimes grabbing them as they went by. On a few occasions some of them were startled to feel a touch so low on their bodies while walking, but quickly got over it when they saw it was just a tiny kid. (Here, purposefully touching someone you don’t know is considered indecent.)

When we first moved into this house over a year ago, Logan was a little over 2 1/2. The little park near our house has its share of regulars, one of which is a small group of old men who meet almost daily. They sit in the same benches by the playground, at the same time each day, talking about whatever it is that old men talk about. There are at least 6 or 7 of them.
One day while playing there, Logan went up to one man and took the water bottle out of his hands. The man willingly let Logan have a drink, but instead of returning the bottle, Logan dumped it on the ground, right on the man’s foot. Yes, I did try to make him think I hadn’t noticed.

On more occasions than I can count, he has walked up to people and take food out of their hands, food that they were about to eat or were already eating. He has marched up to other children and taken their snack or drink right out of their hand and proceeded to consume it himself. Most times I have managed to stop him, yet lots of people insist on letting him eat whatever it was he was trying to take. But this is the “icing on the cake” incident. Recently we were in a department store waiting to pay for some stuff. Right near the entrance was a small coffee shop that was only enclosed with a low wall and there was a bench on the outside.

Too late I noticed Logan kneeling on the bench, leaning over, grabbing a chocolate doughnut off a little girl’s plate and stuffing it down his throat. I wished I could have melted into the floor. I, of course, told him he shouldn’t do that, that he needed to ask me if he wanted food, and apologized, and the mother was very understanding. The girl amazed me even more that she didn’t cry when he did that. She was about Logan’s age, and if someone had done that to him, he would have shouted and burst into tears.

I know there are more incidents and if they come to me I will record them, but this is all I can think of for now.

Has your child done something unintentionally that emabarrassed you? Tell us about it.

The Great Sippy Cup (Mis)Adventures

As a new mom, everything in the world of baby items is new. It is a vast, undiscovered, fun, exciting, and at times frustrating and downright annoying arena.

Logan at 20 months with the first cup, and
probably the 3rd top.

When Logan was about 10 or 11 months old, I bought him his first sippy cup. After looking around at all the varieties, I settled for one that (now that I think about it) was very overpriced but looked like something useful. Instead of the usual hard tip, it was soft, like a nipple was. I thought he might drink from that so I got it.
It wasn’t long before I discovered the first problem – he liked to bite the tip. He used it for some time (at that time just for water) but eventually I knew I’d have to replace the tip … and this is where the problem grew. I couldn’t find a replacement! The manufacturer hadn’t put one out and the only solution was to buy a new cup. This bugged me A LOT because I had paid so much for this supposedly great cup to have my kids teethe on it and I couldn’t replace it? Finally, after much searching, I found a top by a different manufacturer. It didn’t fit perfectly but I made do and the cup lasted a little longer.
By this time, he was using the cup for milk and problem number two had shown up – milk caked in the tip. Frustration doesn’t describe the feeling as I spent countless hours soaking, scrubbing, and picking with a toothpick all the milk that got stuck when it wasn’t washed immediately.
Eventually I’d had enough with the cup, so I got him a new one with the usual hard tip. And yes, he chewed that one up too, and I had the same milk-caked-in-the-top problems. I think until he was almost 3 I got him a new cup every few months cause he would chew on the top and I figured it must feel funny to drink from. Then I just gave him a regular child’s cup, plasic but no lid and he had to learn to drink carefully.

Opening gifts the morning after her
first birthday.
With Lila I was more aware of what to look for, and she happily drank from a bottle, so I waited until her first birthday to get her a cup, plus plate, bowl, and utensil set, all matching in pink (of course). Yes, the cup problems continued but … she didn’t bite the tip of the cup. Wow. The cup could last longer, and it did. I made sure to wash it as soon as she was done so the milk couldn’t cake up, or so I thought.
But over time it did and I soon got her a new one which lasted all of 2 hours, since as soon as we got home, Logan proceeded to bite up first his cup and then hers. Groan.
I think I waited a month or so, and then got her a new one, which she still has … cause I’ve learned the secret to getting all that milky gunk buildup out:
1. Wash it right away, or soak with water if I can’t.
2. When it won’t come clean with a wash, soak with a drop of bleach for a few hours and then wash well. You have to make sure the lid of the cup is completely submerged to get it clean, so put something heavy on it to keep it from floating.
If you have a spray hose at the sink, the force of the water can help dislodge milk that is in parts you can’t get into to clean.
3. Q-tips work great for cleaning hard-to-reach spots.
Of course cups do eventually have to be replaced but trying these cleaning methods can make them last longer.
Scarlett’s birthday is next month, so guess what I will be buying her? (I think, though, that I will just get her a cup, a plate that has divided sections and a spoon. Everything else is not really necessary.)

Anyone else have sippy cup stories you want to share?

There Must Be a Toy Monster in the House

Before I had my own children, I spent a number of years as a fulltime live-in nanny/caregiver/preschool teacher (yes, I did all those things with the children I cared for). One thing that used to bug me was when toy sets were incomplete or puzzles had missing pieces or when books were damaged. I hated it. It messed with my desire to keep things orderly and complete.
When my son was born, I bought him some toys and books, and was determined to never lose a piece to a set or to let them get damaged in any way. Of course a newborn hardly even bothers to look at his toys, so there was no problem there.
As Logan got older, I kept tabs on his toys and made sure to pick them all up when he was finished playing. I would even count the plastic animals and Lego pieces to make sure they were all there. Books were limited to reading with mommy since he took to biting them early on. Aside from wanting complete sets and mint-condition books, I didn’t want to waste money by things being lost or destroyed when it was preventable.
I don’t know when I first noticed it, but ever so slowly things started to disappear. First one plastic animal, then another, then a piece of Lego. At first I would scan the house, looking in every nook and cranny and at times finding something that was missing, but what bothered me the most was things that never showed up. Where were they going??
I think he was over 2 when both his bottle and sippy cup disappeared in the same week. I couldn’t believe it. They were no where to be found. I gave him the cup one morning full of milk, and minutes later he didn’t have it and I could not find it. Sometime later I saw him throw a cloth over the balcony. That is when it clicked. Why had I not thought to check if he was throwing stuff over? I had never seen him do it so I never thought he did it.
That was when I took to checking the ground below the balcony whenever something went missing. Often I found what he threw down and other times they had already been taken. I guess the people finding the toys figured no one wanted them and kept them.
Logan got good at losing toys and I eased up on keeping perfect tabs on his toys. After all, I have more important things to spend my time on. Yes, he has cost me a lot of money in the last 4 years. He has destroyed more books and puzzles and lost more toys than I ever thought was possible. Every time I sware I won’t buy him any more, yet I continue to do so. You’d think I’d learned my lesson, but how can I say no when he asks for yet another farm puzzle or a book about animals?
My job now is teaching him to care for what I give him. In the mean time, I keep all the good books on a high shelf, and if I do give in and get him a puzzle for his soon-coming birthday (he’ll be 4 next month), I guess I’ll have to watch it closely too and keep it out of reach when he isn’t using it. Too bad for me; those things are supposed to keep him busy when I have other things to do, not give me more work.

Anyone else experience this? How have you taught your toddler or preschooler to care for their things?

This post was inspired by this one from Amber at Crappy Pictures. Check her out.

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?

"Mommy, My Tummy Hurts"

I’m sure you have heard this one before, and if you haven’t yet, you will. There comes a point, usually during the toddler years, that a child becomes more aware of bodily pain. The problem is that, since they are too young to identify what could have caused or is causing the pain, they tend to freak out and just cry.
Here is a little tip for when your child comes crying that their tummy is hurting – ask them where the pain is. They can’t tell the difference between stomach pain and lower abdominal pain, and the different causes for each one. Even if your child can’t talk yet, they can point to where it hurts.
If they point to their stomach, it could be hunger, nausea, or pain from overeating. You should be able to figure it out depending on when they last ate, what they had, and how they have been acting since then. Often a child who is about to throw up will whine and fuss, want to lie down, or be with you. My son is scared of throwing up, and will cry about it more once it happens than before. Lots of comfort and emphasizing that it is all over is needed to calm him down.
If they point to the lower abdomen, the most likely cause is a need empty the bowel. This one happens to Logan almost daily. He will fuss and cry about how much his tummy hurts, then within minutes, he will be on the toilet and then everything is ok. Other causes could be gas, or, more rarely. appendicitis. This last one can be serious and will require medical attention. (Read this link if you want to know the symptoms.)
With Logan, each time he says his tummy hurts, I talk to him and find out where the pain is, and I explain to him what it might mean. Of course, I don’t say everything I listed above, only what applies to him at the moment. This helps him to learn the difference in hunger pangs and needing to use the toilet, or feeling sick in his stomach.

What do you do when your child says his tummy hurts? How do you handle it?

What to Bring for an Outing with Your Toddler or Preschooler

Last time we learned what should go in a diaper bag when going out with a baby. But what about outings with toddlers and preschoolers? Do you need to bring stuff for them? What kind of stuff is needed and how much? What kind of bag should you carry? I’ll try to answer all those questions here.
Remember that what you bring depends on where you are going, how long you will be out for, and how many kids you are packing for. When I go out, I have to bring stuff for a baby, toddler and preschooler. Thankfully most of the items overlap so I don’t need to double them up.

Toddlers

Going out with a toddler takes a lot more out of you than going out with a baby. Toddlers can run you ragged and you need both hands free to keep up with them, so you may want to opt for a backpack, though a shoulder bag or even your regular diaper bag could work too.

You will want to pack:
– 2 or 3 diapers – if you haven’t begun potty training yet

– A few pairs of underpants or training pants – if currently potty training

– Change of clothes or two
– Snacks – cookies, crackers, carrot sticks, rasins, cut fruit (non-messy), banana, etc.


Scarlett at 6 months and my
current trusty diaper bag.

- Milk bottle or sippy cup, if needed

– Bib
– A few favorite books and toys
– Wet wipes
– Hand disinfectant
– Tissues or handkerchief

Optional:
– Sun hat and sunscreen
– Sweater or jacket, other winter essentials
– Blanket
– Anything else you personally need for your child

Preschoolers
Since they are older, they need less stuff when out. You could always have them carry their own essentials in a small backpack.

You may need some or all of the following:
– Wet wipes, hand disinfectant, or both (I use both all the time. If I am somewhere where there is no water to wash their hands, i.e. the park, I use the wipes to get the dirt off and then the disinfectant for extra cleansing.)
– Change of clothes, especially pants and underwear
– Snack
– Waterbottle
– Tissues or handkerchief
– Sun hat and sunscreen
– Sweater or jacket, other winter essentials
– Small books or toys
Remember, these are only suggested items. You may need some or all of them; you may even need aditional items depending on your destination. Also, when you aren’t sure if you should bring an item or not, remember the adage that says, “It is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.”

Mommies, what do you pack for your outings? Do you have tips on packing for more than one child, and more than one age group?

Teething

Teething is often a painful experience for a baby. Why is it so difficult? I wish I knew. It has been different for all my babies.
 
Symptoms can vary from general fussyness, having a runny nose and more frequent naps to non-stop crying and fevers. You can tell where the tooth is coming by a slight swelling in the gum. Often a baby will rub this area with his tongue or finger. They will also drool a lot (though this can also vary, see below).
 
Often a teething baby will stop eating solids because it is painful on the part of the gums where the tooth is coming in. They will either nurse more, or stop eating altogether. Their sleep may also be disturbed; they will wake more often and be fussy.
 
Logan always got at least a 24 hour fever before his teeth broke through. I spent many days carrying and cuddling him as he was very fussy when teething and refused to be put down. Lila drooled a lot but I don’t recall her ever having fevers. Scarlett got her first teeth early, at only 3 1/2 months. She drooled then, but with later teeth she didn’t. The last 3 came within 10 days of each other – not a happy time for us. Amazingly, she never drooled. Instead, she makes this “ck” sound all day long and I think she is swallowing the extra saliva (she still does this even though she isn’t teething right now).
 
Difficult as it is, there is no way around teething. The best we can do is make them comfortable and walk through it with them. Here are some things you can try to soothe your baby:
 
 

– First-time teethers may find comfort in gnawing on your finger. Just don’t try this once the teeth are through, especially top and bottom, cause you will be bitten for sure. And teething babies bite hard!
– Something cold to bite may be soothing cause the cold will lightly numb the gums. Try using a water-filled teething ring, chilled in the fridge (don’t freeze). A peeled carrot could work too, though don’t continue this once they are able to bite chunks out to avoid choking.
– You may be able to interest them in something cold to eat, like blended fruit or yoghurt.
– Some babies may like to bite wooden spoons or any large spoon from your utensil drawer.

If your baby is crying non-stop and seems to be in a lot of pain, you could first try giving them gripe water. I don’t know what it is about it, but my kids always stopped crying almost instantly after having it. If you feel it is needed, you could also give them a children’s painkiller. Here I get Crocin in a syrup. Look for whatever you have locally available and make sure to follow the dosage exactly. Also, make sure it is for babies, as some are specifically only for children over a year or two.

If the bottle comes with a dropper, use that. Otherwise, get your own dropper or use a medicine spoon or bottle. These make it easy to give medicine to a baby. Make sure you don’t just drop it on the tip of their tongue or they will spit it out, and medicines can stain. Use a cloth or bib to protect their clothes. Squeeze the dropper into the back of the mouth so that they swallow it right away.

I have never used teething gels, mainly because I always heard they were dangerous. But I have never researched this so I can’t say for certain. I’d recommend doing some research before trying it.

Happy Teething!

Mommies, do you have any tips to share? We’d love to hear them.

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