Is Your Baby Eating Enough?

Of the long list of things new mothers have to worry about, whether or not the baby is eating enough is one of the more common concerns. Although many women worry about baby’s food intake, most babies are getting enough to eat and it’s rare that this becomes an actual problem. Still, a little reassurance can go a long way towards alleviating this common fear of new moms, so here are the ways you can tell your baby is getting enough to eat, even if he seems to be hungry all the time.

Steady Weight Gain

As long as your baby is gaining weight steadily, he is likely getting enough to eat. Your pediatrician will monitor baby’s weight gain at regular check ups. During the first year of life, your baby will likely gain weight at a fairly rapid pace. There is a great deal of variation in weight gain, however, depending on your baby’s body type and genetic predisposition towards being a smaller or larger person. A small baby may gain weight more slowly or gain smaller amounts of weight each month, but as long as the gain stays within a normal range and the baby stays on his growth curve, there is no cause for worry.

For new moms who just can’t stand waiting in between check ups to keep tabs on baby’s weight, most pediatric offices will arrange simple weight checks, where you can bring the baby in and have a nurse check his weight. If you really need to know, this is a better idea than checking baby’s weight on a home scale. Your scale at home may not be sensitive enough or may not be as accurate as the one at the doctor’s office.

Feeding Regularly

Babies who are bottle fed will normally feed on a schedule, while breastfed babies generally feed on demand. Bottle feeding offers the advantage of knowing exactly how many ounces your baby has consumed in a day, while with a breast fed baby there is no way of knowing.

Although your breastfed baby might seem to be hungry all the time, especially compared to a bottle fed baby, there generally is no reason to worry. Breast milk is easier to digest and is therefore absorbed into baby’s body faster than formula. Because of this, breastfed babies are hungry more often than formula fed babies, and may seem to be eating far more often than you would expect. Because every mother is different in how much milk she can store in the breasts and therefore have available for feeding at any given time, there will be a great deal of variation in how often a breastfed baby will eat. As long as your baby feeds regularly and is gaining weight, things are probably fine.

Check the Diapers

A baby who is getting enough to eat will generally have a wet diaper at least every 6 hours and a dirty diaper about every 24 hours – although babies can go several days in between bowel movements, especially breastfed babies who can go up to two weeks. As long as your baby is going through diapers on a regular schedule, odds are good she is getting plenty to eat.

As long as your baby continues to gain weight and to have plenty of wet and dirty diapers, you probably have no need to worry about food intake, even if she seems to want to eat all the time.

Is Your Baby Ready for Solids?

The transition to solid baby foods is the first major transition your baby will face, and everyone has an opinion on the subject. Knowing when your baby is really ready for solids can be a bit tricky, but there are some signs to look for. There is also a great deal of misinformation regarding the transition to solid foods that can cause mothers to add solids before baby is ready. Check your knowledge and find out if your baby is ready to try!

At What Age Should Solids Be Started?

Although traditionally the answer to this question has been anywhere from 4-6 months old, the AAP now officially recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life. Every baby is different, however, as you have heard on so many subjects, and there are better indications than age to determine when a baby is ready. While the 6 month mark is a good place to start, your baby might not be ready until 7 months, so don’t stress it! Eventually, your baby will get there.

What are the Physical Signs of Readiness?

There are some physical abilities your baby must master in order to be ready for solid foods. Until baby is physically ready, you won’t have much success and you risk choking. Watch for these signs your baby is good to go:

  • Able to sit up with moderate support, such as in a high chair. This means that baby isn’t just propped up in the chair, but can lean forward as well, and really only needs the chair to prevent falling over.
  • Able to hold up the head well – this should go along with sitting up, most babies who can sit up well enough to start solids have developed their neck muscles enough to hold their heads up well.
  • Losing the tongue-thrust reflex. Babies have a reflex that helps to protect them from choking by causing the tongue to push out foreign matter in the mouth. By 4 months old this reflex starts to fade, but it often isn’t gone entirely until 6 months old. This reflex will make it difficult to get baby to swallow any solid foods. Also around 6 months old, baby will start to master the ability to use the tongue to push food to the back of the mouth to be swallowed.

What Other Signs of Readiness are There?

In addition to the physical development needed to eat solid foods, there are a few other signs you can look for in your baby to tell if it’s a good time to start solids.

  • Baby shows interest in how the others at the table are eating and may reach for your food. The best way to watch for this sign is to bring baby to the table. Pull the high chair up when you are eating, so that your baby can watch what is going on and develop an interest.
  • Baby mimics your eating behaviors, such as bringing food to the mouth or opening up for a bite.
  • Baby has the ability to indicate yes or no either through gestures or simply opening or closing the mouth.

What is Not a Sign of Readiness?

There is some misinformation out there, mainly perpetuated by well-meaning friends and relatives, regarding a baby’s readiness for solids. Just because you have a large baby does not mean you need to start solids earlier. No matter your baby’s size, breast milk or formula are all that is needed for the first six months. Also contrary to popular belief, there is no evidence that starting solids earlier will help a baby sleep at night. Night wakings are not a sign of readiness.

Watch for the above signs of readiness to make sure that your transition to solids goes smoothly for everyone!

C-Sections and The Health of Your Baby

Old Title: Is It True That Having a C-Section May Affect My Baby’s Immune System?

There is a great deal of anticipation when it comes to the birth of your baby. If you take a birthing class, then they tell you to create a birth plan. Even if you have one, there are always the unforeseen circumstances that you can’t quite plan for. Giving birth to a child is a very intense process and involves a great deal of factors to be lined up. If you go in assuming that things will go one way, they will almost certainly go another way. It just goes to show that when it comes to delivering your baby, you should be prepared for anything. There are many moms out there that worry about a C-section, and understandably so. There are however certain times when it can’t be avoided, but you do want to know what it means for your baby.

The Potential Risks

Though there is contradictory evidence, you can find information to support that a C-section could somehow create health problems for your baby down the line. What many believe happen is that the DNA is somehow compromised using a C-section as a method of delivery. When that happens, it can lead to a potentially weakened immune system or may even make them susceptible to health problems such as diabetes or asthma later on. This doesn’t become a certainty, but as you can see that the potential risks are there.

It is believed that babies delivered via C-sections don’t have time to properly prepare for birth. This means that it can put additional stress on the birth and the experience overall. While some may debate this, others believe that this is what can lead to all of the potential problems down the line. It’s important to talk to your doctor to see if this is the best delivery method for you. It is also important to talk to your doctor to understand when it is safe to plan for a C-section if that is deemed necessary. Anything before 39 weeks of pregnancy should be seriously questioned as baby’s full development isn’t complete.

There Are Instances Where It’s Safer

It is important however to remember that there are instances where a C-section may not only be desirable, but actually recommended as well. When the baby is breech and shows no signs of flipping in time for delivery, then the C-section creates a much safer delivery for mother and baby. When the woman has had another C-section in the past, there are many conditions that must be in line to ensure that vaginal delivery is even possible. Therefore a planned C-section may be the best possible option for a woman in this situation. If there is any distress within the baby or anything that could cause potential harm to mother or baby during delivery, then this too is an instance where a C-section is recommended.

The timing of the birth is an important factor, and many will find that the baby will respond much better to a planned C-section over an emergency one. So while there may be potential risks that can be scary to mom, doing whatever is best for the baby is what rules out in the long run. If a C-section is recommended, just ask a lot of questions and be sure that everything is happening as it is meant to so that there is no worry of potential health problems down the road.

Looking For and Building Up Fine Motor Skills In Your Baby

There’s just so much to take in throughout baby’s first years. They will change so much from month to month that you may even feel as though you don’t recognize your little one on certain days. They grow leaps and bounds just within a given week. They accumulate new skills and traits all the time, leaving you marveling at all that they can do.

It seems that almost overnight your little newborn baby who is more of a blob than anything else turns into this charismatic little person that has more personality than you can believe. Babies are truly marvelous in all that they accomplish, and many of these milestones happen right in front of our very eyes. When it comes to fine motor skills, this is something that you want to be tuned into in terms of your baby’s development. You want to be on the lookout for it and you want to help foster and develop it as a parent, as it will provide great benefits later on.

What Can You Look For?

First and foremost, it’s important to note that this is not something that you want to force. You don’t want to push your baby as they won’t reach any milestones until they are ready. If you push too hard you may get the opposite reaction. However, you do want to keep tuned into their fine motor skills as this is something that they will utilize their whole life through. See if baby is reaching for things, grabbing for items, sucking on her hand, or discovering things such as their own body parts. These are all good examples and exhibit a sense of fine motor skills that are rather important for baby’s development. These are important to ensure that they keep on track, and they are actually things that you can facilitate on your own.

You want to watch for these things in the first few months of your baby’s development. By five months as an average, baby should be trying to reach for things or at least be interested in things. It may take some time and encouragement from you as a parent, but the simple act of reaching or grabbing is a great sign that baby is doing what they are supposed to do. Every baby will work on their own timetable as some babies start grabbing or reaching far sooner. Others may skip over this phase and then move onto the next. This all shows possible coordination and shows that baby understands what to do to get what they want. All of these things are important for fine motor skills and the development of your baby overall.

How Can You Facilitate It?

This doesn’t mean that you should be shaking a rattle in front of your newborn relentlessly every day. It does mean though that as your baby grows and shows signs of readiness, that you are on the floor playing and interacting with them. Introduce different toys such as puzzles and different colors of toys. Things that are interesting to them will help them to reach and grab, and eventually pull items towards them. The point is that you as a parent can set up an environment that doesn’t force but encourages your baby to develop these skills and build upon them as they get older.

Preparing For and Understanding Baby’s First Words

Many parents look at their baby’s content little faces as they sleep and wonder what’s next. There are so many different milestones to look forward to as a parent. As you make it through the first year of baby’s life, there is much to work towards and much to enjoy. You want to be sure that you enjoy every moment, even the little ones. You also want to know what you have to look forward to. It may almost feel like a race sometimes – you make it through one milestone and enjoy it, wondering what will be next. This is a common sentiment amongst new parents, particularly as they await some of the larger milestones. One of the biggies is by far hearing baby’s first words, and it’s an exciting one. So what can you expect in terms of baby’s first words?

Detecting Baby’s First Words

The reality is that baby’s very first words may be a bunch of jumble. If you look at this chart for example, you see that baby’s first words change and evolve as they grow older. At three months they will be rambling or just responding to the sound of your voice. By six months however, that may be turning into a limited and somewhat difficult to decipher vocabulary.

As with any other milestone it is important to note that there is no real set time limit to encounter these things. So before you set yourself or your baby up for unrealistic expectations, know that it will all come in time. Sure if your baby isn’t saying anything as they near their second birthday, then it’s time for some outside help. However up until then enjoy their sounds as they prepare to utter those first words.

How Can You Get Them Talking?

Though it’s all likely to happen in its own due time, the reality is that there are certain and very simple things that you can do to get them talking. Baby’s first words are likely to be very simple one-syllable words that they can easily utter. The reason that many babies utter “dada” first is that it comes off of their tongue so easily. Whereas “mama” requires more pronunciation that their little mouths aren’t really ready for. So while this may serve as a disappointment to moms everywhere, this is why the first word is often “dada” or even something else – it’s not due to lack of love or appreciation.

What you can do to help the language along is to talk to them. Many parents find that talking to their babies as they move about their day can help to properly prepare them for the words that they will say. Tell them what you are doing as you are doing it, even the simple things. Have a conversation with your little one as they will be fascinating by the sound of your voice and seem interested in what you have to say to them. You can also get them talking if you show them toys or pictures of things and then tell them what it is. This is a more educational type of play, and it does wonders for developing a baby’s vocabulary. It may not mean that they start uttering words tomorrow, but it will most certainly work towards their overall development and vocabulary moving forward.

Taking the Stress Out of the Last Days of Your Pregnancy

Early on in your pregnancy you may feel as though you can’t wait for your due date to arrive. You are inundated with symptoms of all varieties, and you may feel as though nine months is an eternity away. You make it through your pregnancy, your series of doctor’s appointments, tests, and ultrasounds to arrive at the big day. You had such high hopes and anticipations for what it would be like to get to the end, and you initially feel excited.

Once the reality that your due date is near hits you, it’s likely that you are feeling a whole host of other things. Many women feel a great deal of stress as they approach the final days of their pregnancy. It’s not that they’re not excited to meet their little babies, it’s just that they know their lives are about to change. Additionally they may feel as if they aren’t quite ready for labor, and so it’s important to take the stress out of this final stage of pregnancy.

Getting Your Head on Straight at the End

The problem for most women is that they feel as though they have so much to do. They feel like they are grossly unprepared for the birth and arrival of their little baby. Though you’ve likely been planning for the birth for nine months now, it can still feel like it comes at you rather quickly. One of the most important things you can do to take the stress out of your final days of pregnancy is to relax. This means that you should try to get in all of the naps and restful nights of sleep that you possibly can. There is nothing wrong with putting your feet up and closing your eyes for a few minutes – as a matter of fact that may be a good recommendation. This can help you to get your head on straight and to decompress as your due date approaches.

Get Ready and Then Wait

The final few days of a pregnancy are almost a game of “hurry up and wait” so just be prepared for this. The best thing that you can do is to be prepared in every sense of the word. Take your preparation time very seriously and take your time with it. Avoid the temptation to pack everything in at the last minute, as the baby may arrive faster than you thought. Take your time along the way to get baby’s room ready for their arrival. Also be careful to get your overnight bag packed well in advance of your due date as this can always work to your advantage. There is no such thing as too prepared when it comes to your due date, and this really helps to take a lot of the stress out of your final days.

Once you have learned to embrace relaxation and done everything you possibly can to get prepared, then it’s time to sit back and wait for that little baby. Try not to let your mind wander and let all the bad or scary thoughts in. You will be just fine and you will give birth as millions of women have done before you. Doing your part in advance and learning to embrace relaxation can do wonders for your final days of pregnancy, and of course for your labor and delivery as well.

Understanding the Crawling Milestone for Your Baby

The one thing that you will learn early on as a parent is that no two babies are created equal. You will quickly learn that just because one baby is doing something at a certain point in their development doesn’t mean that every baby will do it the same way. Even amongst siblings, developmental patterns can be totally different. This is an important lesson to learn early on as a parent so that you ignore the urge to compare your little one to others.

If you’re in a playgroup or have friends with a baby about the same age, then you may be tempted to look from their baby to yours and wonder why the milestones are happening as they are. It’s natural but it can be a destructive behavior! Understanding how the milestones work is a good idea, particularly when it comes to one such as crawling.

Is Your Baby Crawling On Time?

You will hear experts say that the typical baby crawls anywhere between six and ten months. This is an average and therefore not something to be taken as anything but a guideline. There are some babies that will crawl far earlier than that, and then some babies that will crawl far later than that. Some babies may not even crawl at all because they prefer scooting and can get to where they want to be using this method. Add to that the fact that some babies will skip over crawling altogether. They may roll or scoot and get what they want until they one day get up and start standing and walking.

So as you start fearing that your baby is behind, know that there is no real set time limit. If you are ever in doubt or concerned, then by all means talk to your pediatrician. Know though that every baby handles this rather large milestone in a totally different way.

They All Do Things Differently

Babies get mobile in the first place to get to items that they want. They see something across the floor that they want and then they go for it. As you can see even experts such as Dr. Greene are reluctant to give true time limits to crawling. If the baby sees something that they want, then they will start off by rolling to get to it. This can quickly evolve into crawling, though it usually does take time and has a process involved with it.

If you see your baby “army crawling”, that is using their forearm to move them along and bringing their bottom half up behind, then they may be getting close. They may use these alternate methods solely as it’s easy for them to get around. So be sure not to put any pressure on your baby or your expectations because they are still doing what they are conditioned to do.

Ignore the myths that say if a baby avoids crawling or is late to crawl that they may not be as coordinated. This is simply not true and if your baby is moving around and doing everything else that they are supposed to do, then they are right on track. It’s easy to get caught up in measuring the milestones, but remember that every baby is different and that crawling is an activity that is quite different for everyone.

What Daddy Should Pack for the Hospital

There’s so much emphasis on the mother-to-be throughout pregnancy, and often the dad is overlooked. As he is just as important a part of the process, there should be some thought put into the role that he plays. Without the dad or a similar system of support, the entire experience is made much more difficult for the mom. Both partners need each other and that’s why it’s so important to ensure that dad is available and present.

The dad wants to be a part of the birthing process just as much as anybody. He can offer comfort and support as the mom makes it through all of the different stages of labor. Every dad wants to be there to meet their new little bundle of joy for the first time, as it’s one of those precious moments in life that you will always treasure. So just as the mom has to get ready for the big arrival, the dad should be prepared and packed for the hospital stay as well.

Playing the Support Role

Though this role is crucial to the birth of his child, the dad will ultimately play a support role. As he packs for the hospital, he should ensure that many of the items on his checklist reflect this role and are in place to help mom through the stages and get everything in order after the birth. Take a look at this checklist for example whereby many of the items recommended for daddy to bring include those which will support his partner. Consider bringing items such as a stop watch and a pad of paper to write down contraction times and track the labor overall. Be sure to bring along a video camera, regular camera, and anything else that can be used to capture every aspect of the birth that you will surely want to remember later on.

Bring whatever is necessary to keep your partner comfortable and focused. This can include massage oils, scented items to keep her calm, pillows, special comfort items, and of course music. Talk to your partner in advance and be sure that you know what she would like to help keep her calm and as happy as can be throughout the birth process. This is where your support role becomes very important and therefore you want to be prepared to help out in any way that you can.

Getting Yourself Comfortable

Chances are that you’re going to be in the hospital for a while. Either the labor may carry on longer than you had anticipated, or you may be staying with your partner throughout the duration of her hospital visit. Either way you want to be sure to pack a change of clothes and even something comfortable like pajamas for the occasion where you spend the night. Bring some pillows along for you as you can’t always be sure of what the sleeping arrangements will be.

Pack some snacks for yourself as you need to keep your energy up during the long birthing process. Also be sure to bring some money as you will surely have to grab a meal or a snack from the cafeteria during your stay. Along with the camera and any other items that you bring to capture the precious moments, be sure that you bring along the phone numbers of anybody that you’ll want to contact with the good news after the birth. All of these things will make your stay more comfortable and allow you to focus on your partner and your new baby.

Baby’s First Tooth

Has your baby not quite seemed like themselves lately? Many parents can tend to pinpoint when something is amiss and when their baby seems to just be a bit off. It can be a sign of the baby being sick, or it may be a sign of something more routine and common that every baby goes through.

Teething is an aspect of baby’s first year that is on the minds of parent, and it can be a rather challenging one to contend with. The reality is that every baby is different and therefore to say when it will happen or how strenuous it will be on parent and child is hard to predict. Some parents will tell you that their baby was virtually unaffected by the teething ritual. Others will tell you that it was one of the most challenging parts of the first year. Every baby is different and therefore how they cope with teething can be a completely unique experience.

Planning for the Milestone

Every parent looks anxiously in their baby’s mouth from early on to see if that first tooth has finally popped through. Even when they are showing signs of teething, though, it may be a long road until you see the first tooth. As you can see from this baby development chart, the average age for a baby to get their first tooth is anywhere between four and seven months. This, however, is a rather wide range and there are babies at either end of the spectrum. Some may not even have their first tooth by their first birthday, and that’s just the way they are built. This is not a sign of imperfection nor of any sort of developmental issues. This is just how each baby is built and how they develop, so it’s nothing to be concerned about. You can plan for the milestone with a few simple supplies that can make any potential teething issues run much smoother.

Are They Showing Any Signs?

Sure there are some parents that will tell you that they had no idea that it was coming. That they woke up one morning, looked in their baby’s mouth, and suddenly a tooth was staring back up at them. While this does happen, it’s an exception to the rule. Even if your baby doesn’t necessarily have a difficult time with teething, they will often show some sort of signs to indicate that it’s coming.

So what are the signs? One of the first and most obvious signs is that the baby is drooling a lot. This is due in large part to the excess fluids gathering in the mouth as a result of the teething, and therefore comes out almost constantly. You will see your baby drooling, sometimes almost like a faucet, and the only thing you can do to contain it is to put a bib on them.

Many babies are also known to put absolutely everything in their mouth. If they are chewing on their toys, your hand, or anything else in sight that they can fit in or around their mouth, then they may be teething.

You will notice in some babies that they get fussy or that their sleeping or eating patterns get disrupted. This may go on for a bit of a while as the tooth actually breaks through, but it’s a good thing overall. That tooth will come in no time and you can enjoy yet another milestone with your little love.

Baby’s Preparation for Delivery

You know that the moment is nearing because your due date is just around the corner. You are now at the stage where you go in for weekly appointments, and therefore the time is coming closer and closer. You feel as though you are ready though you have anxiety about the big arrival. It’s an exciting time and you give much thought to what you are ready for and how you will fully prepare.

You’ve probably not given that much thought to what your baby goes through in anticipation for the big arrival. As your body gets ready, you know that things are happening as you can just feel it. There are many stages and things happening that get you ready for the big delivery. Just as you prepare both physically and mentally for the baby’s arrival, the same things are happening with the baby. Though they can’t really prepare emotionally, they are going through some changes at the last minute to ensure that they are ready for the big arrival as well.

Is Baby Really Getting Ready Too?

There are certain things you can feel and certain things that you can’t. You will be made aware of some of the changes that are occurring as you go through the weekly doctor appointments. Your doctor is checking to see if you are dilated at all or if your cervix is thinning in preparation for the big arrival. While all of these things are going on with you and your progress, baby is going through some important stages as well. You may be feeling a bit less movement than you have throughout the second and third trimesters. Not only has baby run out of room to romp about, but she has also begun her descent downwards towards the birth canal.

Your baby has developed all of their organs and body parts by the third trimester. However what they are doing up until the moment that they are born is bulking up, that is adding a whole lot of weight onto their tiny little frame. By week 38, they have fully developed lungs that they are working at until that very week. These are all important sings that they are getting ready for their big debut, though there’s a good chance that you’re not feeling a thing at all. The baby will do everything on their own time schedule and will get themselves ready for the arrival all on their own, often without you knowing a thing.

Getting Into Position

The most important thing that baby does to get ready for the big arrival is to get into position. This is something that you may or may not feel, and the way it works out will determine the type of delivery that you can have. If all goes as it should, then baby will move into the “heads down” position as she prepares for her entry into the big world through the birth canal. This may be felt by mom as a flip or some major movement as they move lower in the uterus and work towards the necessary “heads down” position.

Sometimes baby doesn’t really want to cooperate and may be “bottom down” which presents some problems for a vaginal delivery. If this happens, then the baby is considered to be breech and a C-section may very well be necessary. Remember that baby will do everything that she can to get herself ready for the big arrival, and they will do son their own timeframe.

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