Month: August 2010

My babe survived the plane ride (wooohoooo)!

 - by Sarah Lipoff

© Sarah Lipoff 2010

We’ve returned from our wonderful family vacation and are starting to get back into our normal routines. But, while washing the dirty clothes and unloading the dishwasher, I still catch myself shaking my head in amazement.

Our babe didn’t freak out on the plane!

The hubs and I figured that the ride there was a fluke – maybe she was just excited about a new adventure. But, when she actually seemed to enjoy the return flight, we both had to restrain ourselves from cheering gleefully! Yes, we let her watch a couple of hours of Sesame Street on the laptop and kept her mouth full of either grapes, cheese, or crackers (her favs of the moment) along with a gut filling combo of sippy-cup and bottle. BUT, not once did she scream out in complaint over being restrained in such a small space.

Speaking of gut-filling, all that liquid dangerously loaded my daughter’s diaper to the point I was worried there

might be an overflow if something wasn’t done about the situation. I wasn’t about to stop the intake of tasty beverages, so off to the lavatory we went. If you haven’t visited a plane bathroom with a child, it is truly a fabulous experience full of amazing maneuvering and utter mess.

First off, the changing table is seriously two feet by one foot (yes – I’m exaggerating a bit). My babe hasn’t been that small since birth! And, there’s no room to stand a wee tot to pull off a diaper and replace in an upright position. So, I wrangled her onto the changing table, and attempted diapering.

My daughter is also utterly fascinated with new things, and found the plane’s soap dispenser, paper towels, garbage, toilet flush knob, and pretty much every other part of the bathroom the coolest thing ever. AND, what made things worse was that she could reach all these items, pulling them out, down, pressing levers, and alternately shoving her hands into the garbage.

Awesome.

Getting the diaper on her wasn’t as challenging as I thought. Cleaning up the bathroom after our short visit was the bigger problem.

As we excited the lavatory, my daughter squealed with delight as she caught sight of her dad’s head and the glowing view of Elmo.

The frustration of the bathroom melted away and I started doing calculations in my head to determine if we could afford a trip to Hawaii anytime soon.

Now, how much ARE those tickets?

Parenting tips

 - by Sarah Lipoff

© Sarah Lipoff 2010

The other day I was chatting with some ladies at Parents.com about super-secret parenting tips – or sanity tips. You know, those things you’re not sure you should share with others, but are lifesavers in your house? When I sat down to think about what salvages my day, I discovered that my solutions are a bit silly more than any kind of secret!

*Start a nighttime routine and stick to it! The day we brought our daughter home from the hospital I started a bedtime routine – no joke. The essential part of our beddy-bye time is NOT making eye contact with baby after she’s in the crib. I give her a bottle, zip her into snuggly-soft jammies and then –without making eye contact, lay her down. If she causes a fuss, I wait five minutes, offer a pacifier, which she only gets during sleepy-times, and her blanky (no eye contact!). Most nights she falls asleep in 20 minutes – no crying. I know some of you hate me just a little bit right now, but that’s okay.

*Sometimes yelling isn’t bad, or some really loud music. Distraction is one of the best ways to change your babe’s (and your) mood. I’m not talking ear-splitting noise level or anything, but put on some Lady Gaga and dance around while holding your wee one. If she’s not into music, yelling out the ABC’s might do the trick. My neighbors probably think I’m insane, but when my babe’s a grump she seems to find it fantastically silly when I jump up and down and yell the ABC’s.

*INDULGE. I got a stroller as a baby gift and it wasn’t the one I wanted. I went and purchased the stroller I had put on my baby registry and have no regrets – even though it cost a ton! Splurge on the baby items that you’ll be with for a while (stroller, high chair, crib, car seat, etc.). If you do a lot of walking like I do, you’ll feel better pushing your wee tot around in the stroller you wanted instead of suffering with one that was a good deal.

*Take the baby in the shower/tub with you. This may be the only way you get clean. Seriously. Once my babe could sit on her own, I plopped her down with a couple of wash clothes around her for support. Now that she’s older, I can actually enjoy a shower while she enjoys some splashing. And, she ends up sitting on the wash cloths, which help her from slip-sliding away! I also put a towel right outside the tub so when we’re done, I can lift her directly onto a fresh towel and wrap her up. Often, she runs off dragging the towel after her, but at least she’s not dripping wet (and I wont freak out worrying she’s going to slip and crack her head open).

*Oh, and schedule “special time” with your partner. Sex makes you feel good and strengthens and the bond you have with your mate. When I feel wonderful about myself, I’m a better parent.

What are your secret sanity tips?

Healthful Mondays: Baby colds

 - by Sarah Lipoff

© Sarah Lipoff

Yes – it’s that time of year again. The weather is changing and some wee tots are heading off to preschool, which means baby colds! Having a baby with the sniffles is no fun, especially when it is causing them to be up all night sneezing, coughing, and making sad little gurgling noises.  Before rushing off to the doctor, there are a couple home remedies to try that may ease all the ickiness.

Start by wiping the whole place down and shoving everything in the laundry machine and dishwasher.  Getting everything cleaned up sparkly-clean will stop the spread of any further nasty viruses and bacteria, keeping everyone else in the house (hopefully) from getting sick.  Make sure to use HOT water to clean pacifiers, toys, baby bottles, and sippy cups.  Launder sheets, blankets, and stuffed animals.  Wipe off anything the baby puts her mouth on – which in most cases is just about everything!

Once you have a sparkling clean house, start hydrating that sniffling baby.  Hydration will help break up the mucus and start moving that cold out of her system.  A small amount of water is just fine for a stuffed up baby, or make some watered down formula for her to suckle on.  Stick to water – fruit juice for wee babes isn’t recommended.  Juice is mostly natural sugar (or added sugar), and can cause digestive issues such as constipation.

If your infant is eating cereal or munching on solid foods, add some extra vitamin C.  Don’t run for the oranges – grab the red peppers instead!  Red peppers have huge amounts of vitamin C, and 1/2 cup has over 100 mg of the happy-healthy cold fighting stuff.  Don’t think your babe will like it?  Mine couldn’t get enough when her nose was running.  Steam small chunks of red pepper until soft and then puree.  Let cool, and spoon away.

Set up baby’s room for success by investing in a humidifier.  There is some discussion as to which works best for easing colds, but the main concern is that warm-mist humidifiers can cause burns if your baby touches – which is NOT something any parent wants.  Either only use warm-mist humidifiers when your baby is safe in the crib, or try a cool-mist humidifier.  Whichever type you go with, turn it on and crank it up when your wee one has the sniffles.

Now, what to do with all that snot?  It comes out when the baby sneezes, drips constantly from the nose, and causes raw red areas under the nose and chin.  Help keep your baby’s face and nose happy by using soft items to wipe the nose.  Cut up and old t-shirt into squares and use as hankies. Apply Lansinoh to the nose, upper lip, and chin area to alleviate red irritated skin.  Many of us have some hiding around from the beginnings of breastfeeding (ouch) -remember that?  If you don’t have any Lansinoh, Vaseline will do nicely.

Yes, there is always the wonderful bulb syringe.  This lovely little item can help suck the snot out of an infant’s nose like a turkey baster. But, finding a baby that enjoys this process is almost impossible.  If you can get your babe into a comfortable head-tilted-back position to attempt using a bulb syringe, start by dropping some saline solution into each nostril.  Squeeze the air out of the syringe before placing it into your baby’s nose.  Then, put the tip of the bulb syringe in one nostril and release the bulb syringe allowing it to suck out all that nasty mucus.  Go ahead and try the other side – that is if your baby is still sitting calmly on your lap complying with this atrocious nose sucking!  If you are successful, make sure to clean out the bulb syringe with warm soapy water.

I don’t know about you, but I am exhausted just thinking about it all!  Getting the crib ready for a good night’s sleep is beneficial to easing nighttime wakings from colds.  By elevating one end of the crib, the baby will be on a slight incline when sleeping, which will alleviate that back of the throat drip-drip dripping.  Putting a pillow or blanket under one end of the crib bedding is another option.  If your baby is into sleeping in her infant car carrier, try a letting her sleep in it and see how it goes.

Lastly, take a look at yourself.  How are you feeling?  The best thing you can do for your baby is to stay healthy.  Take some vitamin C, pop the baby in the stroller (even if it is nasty or cold outside) and head outdoors for some fresh air. Make sure to get some sleep. Keeping yourself healthy is the first step in keeping your baby healthy.

Make sure to contact your doctor if you are concerned about how your baby is breathing or if her symptoms get worse.  Never feel like you are bothering your doctor with silly questions or concerns when it comes to your baby.  Just like the saying goes, it is better to be safe than sorry!

First photographs

 - by Sarah Lipoff

As you know, I’m visiting with my family for a long weekend, and we DID survive our plane ride – but that’s for another time…

What I really wanted to share were the first photographs my daughter took. She picked up my camera (while I wasn’t looking) and proceeded to snap away. Amazingly, she got some really lovely pictures! Here’s the thing, your kids CAN take pictures on their own, even ones as young as mine (eighteen months) and totally understand they are doing something creative with awesome results.

Wonderfully, my daughter took her photos and then brought the camera to me before she deposited it in a not-so-happy location, like the dishwasher.

Family reunion

 - by Sarah Lipoff

Tomorrow we are leaving bright and early on an adventure. We’ll be taking our daughter on her first plane voyage (keep your fingers crossed for us), visiting with my parents, and seeing my sister, her husband and children. A family reunion that hasn’t happened in eight years.

I miss my family, but did make the choice to move away. I think we all, at some point, want to stretch our wings and see where life takes us. It took me half way across the country – so it sure makes visits special and our time together memorable.

As I’m writing this my daughter (who decided NOT to nap this afternoon) is pulling desperately on my skirt begging for some attention. All I know is that for the next couple days she will be getting SO much attention that I might actually get the chance to look at a magazine without the pages getting torn, take a shower by myself, eat a meal without interruption – just use the BATHROOM by myself.

I am beside myself in anticipation.

Of course, I’m looking forward to slathering some love on my little niece and nephew, and spending some time with everyone else. But I’m going to be honest, I can’t wait to have some extra helping hands for a couple of days – even if it means enduring a potentially hellacious plane ride to get it.

I’m packing magazines with high hopes. Maybe I’ll even toss in a book…

Healthful Mondays: Make your own baby food

 - by Sarah Lipoff

Baby food is expensive, and somewhat wasteful with all that packaging, so I decided to make my own.  Even though I know my way around the kitchen, I was totally worried about making something that wasn’t safe for my babe. But, after doing a little research, I discovered that making your own baby food is quite simple, safe, and saves tons of money.

All you need is a decent sized pot with lid, a blender, ice cube trays, and a couple plastic bags.  After you get the hang of it, there are tons of combinations you can make for your wee tot.  It’s a good idea to stick with one ingredient for babe’s first foray into solid food to ensure she doesn’t have any food allergies. You can also mix pre-made food with a little breast milk or oatmeal cereal to thin it out.

I discovered a basic recipe for super simple baby food using 2-pounds of the fruit or vegetable of choice and 1-cup water.  You might need more water for denser items such as sweet potatoes, but the process doesn’t take very long, and IS really easy.

I started out with peas. I figured peas are sweet and tasty – and they’re green! How fun is that for baby! To make the pea baby food, I used a 2-pound bag of frozen peas. I  poured them into a nice sized pot and covered them with 1-cup of water.  I slapped on a lid, steamed on medium heat for a couple of minutes, and then blended away. Instant baby food! How easy is that?!

So, what to do with all the leftovers? I put the remaining mushy peas in ice-cube trays and froze overnight. Then, I put the cool green pea cubes in plastic bags and dated and labeled – even though I’m pretty sure I’ll remember they’re PEAS. And the frozen baby food can hang out in the freezer for up to 3 months.

You can re-heat the frozen cubes in the microwave or in a small sauce pan. I usually pull out  two or three and place them in a dish on the counter or in the fridge for a couple of hours. I figure one cube is about 1-ounce, so you can determine the right amount for your kiddo.

Once you and your babe have mastered the single ingredient baby food, you can get creative with different combinations. My daughter’s pretty partial to apple, pea, and carrot. Super sweet and super yummy. Sometimes I even add a sprinkle of cinnamon to the mix to tingle her taste buds.

 

Don’t be afraid of making your own baby food!  It is easy, healthy, and loads cheaper than buying your own!  It is also very eco-friendly with out all that packaging to deal with!