Traveling With Children – Know Your Rights and Limitations
Sep 1 2008

And now for a fabulous guest post from the ex-general counsel at Expedia, Mark Britton.  I wish I had known about his site, Avvo, before I experienced my Traffic Court Tribulations

Being the ex-general counsel at Expedia and now running Avvo and its free legal advice Q&A forum, I get a lot of questions about travel-particularly travelers’ rights and responsibilities.  As a parent of three rambunctious little boys, I offer this post to help traveling parents everywhere.  On that note, I am reminded of one of Expedia’s great early ads which said something like, “Whoever said getting there is half the fun has never gotten there with a screaming two year old.”  

So, in that spirit, here are some nuggets of knowledge for your next child-laden trip: 

1.  Traveling with kids doesn’t give you special legal rights.  A lot of people assume that because they are traveling with kids they have special rights and preferences granted by the Federal Aviation Administration or some higher authority.  The reality is that your rights-with or without children-are largely whatever the airline chooses to give you.  Don’t think you can be involuntarily bumped with children?  Oh yes, you can.  Outraged that the airline denied you early boarding with your pokey young children? Tough beans.  Not able to avoid your child’s tantrums by letting her run up and down the airline aisle? It’s the flight staff’s call. 

2.  Add 30-60 minutes to get to your gate.  Let’s face it, kids take their time.  That dead cockroach en route to your gate may be disgusting to you, but it absolutely requires closer inspection by a five-year-old.  I learned long ago that rather than trying to whip your kids into an adult pace, allowing more time to get to your gate preserves family harmony.  Just going through security is stressful for a kid-take it slow and make it fun. 

3.  Reserve the allowed seats for your kids.  One place that the feds do get involved is where your children may sit on a plane.  They may not sit in an exit row, and if they are in a car seat, they must sit by the window.  So don’t think you will book your young child in an exit row and the airline will have to live with it-they won’t.  The flight attendants will move you-I see it happen all the time.  Also, don’t book two aisle seats-one for you and your car-seated kid.  Just take it for granted that your child will be sitting by the window and you will be sitting in the middle by the big hairy guy who hogs the armrest. 

4.  No need to smuggle your baby food.  Keep in mind that while you are not allowed to take liquids on a plane, you may take liquid-based baby food.  Many people don’t know this, and so they attempt to come up with creative ways to smuggle on formula or the always-popular peas and carrots.  Stow your criminal tendencies, and simply declare the baby food.  You can take up to one-day’s supply on board, but I have found that TSA personnel are always very sympathetic and accommodating when it comes to food for your infant.  

5.  Kids can get the boot too.  Finally, keep in mind that an airline can deny you boarding-or even ask you to deplane-if your kids are disorderly, abusive or violent.  This goes for adults too, but people are always surprised that it pertains to kids. 

I could go on and on (bring a DVD player with headphones, seat your child behind a parent, etc.).  However, I think I have already exceeded my word limit.  Of course, if you have any more legally related travel questions, we are always here to answer all of your questions.  You can go directly to our free legal advice Q&A forum to ask your personal legal questions- anonymously if desired-and real attorneys will answer them. 

Travel sanely. 

Mark Britton
Founder & CEO
Avvo, Inc.

Accredited Online
If you are interested in the law and your rights and want to interrupt the status quo, consider earning a law degree online. Taking courses online allows you to set your pace and live your life as you choose.

Author: | Filed under: baby tips, father, FYI, parenting, toddler tips, travel, working father | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

7 Tips for Successful Breastfeeding
Apr 26 2008

babytips.gifI babble about business, babies, and parenthood on this blog, so those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies. For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby!  To check out more baby advice, check out the baby tips category

7 Tips for Successful Breastfeeding
by Aruni Gunasegaram

My now 5 ½ year old son was born by emergency c-section making my post birth recovery time challenging because a) I was exhausted, b) he didn’t seem to sleep very much and c) I developed a breast infection.  Now a) and b) are par for the course when having a baby but c) knocked me senseless.  I didn’t want to take any more medication given that I had just come off of several after the c-section so I waited to see if the pain would go away.   When I reached the point where I would wake up from a restless sleep with tears in my eyes from the excruciating pain and I began having thoughts like “I wish I could die right now, but I can’t because I have to feed my baby,” I began a round of antibiotics.  Within a week or so I felt sane again.

Now part of the reason I contracted the breast infection was because I wasn’t breastfeeding correctly.  It took about 7 to 10 days for my milk to come in and then because of the infection probably 10 weeks for me to quit wondering how the human race survived before bottles and formula!  I ended up breastfeeding our son for about 7 months and our daughter about 9 months when it was apparent to me that we were ready to move on to the next phase of our mother/baby relationship.  Here are some tips that helped me establish a successful breastfeeding relationship with my children.

1. Mentally prepare yourself that it can take up to 8 to 12 weeks. Some insightful person…maybe a nurse or my lactation consultant, told me “Give it 8 to 12 weeks before making a decision on whether you want to quit breastfeeding.” So I told myself ‘this is a marathon, breastfeeding is important to me and my husband, and I can’t quit before 12 weeks.’ I remember saying that to myself almost every day and when I was 10 weeks into it I realized “Wow, this isn’t so bad. In fact it’s pretty darn neat!”

2. It’s OK to supplement! I know I will be chastised by the pure breastfeeding advocates for saying this, but in my opinion it is OK to supplement with formula especially if you feel something is wrong with you or your baby. I was so afraid to supplement because I was repeatedly told that supplementing was the worst thing I could do, which of course made me feel like an awful mom. But let me tell you, if you are exhausted and your baby isn’t gaining weight, it is one of the best things you can do. After feeling guilty for a week because my milk wasn’t coming in and my baby wasn’t gaining weight, and trying to survive a breast infection, I decided to supplement just a little bit and what a relief because it helped me gain my confidence back. I had more confidence when our daughter was born 2 ½ years later. I smiled at the nurses who said I shouldn’t supplement and did it anyway for the first few weeks of her life.  UPDATE: Based on a reader’s comment below, it wasn’t clear that even though we supplemented in the first several weeks, I also continued to pump.  It is so true that if you quit pumping, your body will think you need to produce less milk. So I pumped and I took time to rest a little longer to build up my milk supply and that’s why my milk came in! Supplementing is not for everyone but in my opinion the sanity and health of the mom and baby are of utmost importance!

3. Don’t be afraid to take that baby off! Some well meaning nurses told me that when the baby is finished he will fall off. They didn’t know my son. He would stay on for over an hour on each side just suckling half asleep if I let him. I remember breastfeeding sessions that would last 90 minutes which when I had to start over again in an hour and a half reduced me to tears. I believe not pulling him off when I thought he was done contributed to my getting the breast infection. With my daughter I produced so much milk that after 8 to 10 weeks I was able to take her off sometimes at 7 to 10 minutes!

4. Keep a breastfeeding log. So that you have an idea of how much time you are breastfeeding and maybe even what position you are breastfeeding in, keep a breastfeeding log. When our son was born I used a form I created in Microsoft Excel to jot down often illegible notes. Fortunately when our daughter was born, we had an alpha version of our mobile software program, Baby Insights, available. I could easily keep track of my pumping and breastfeeding schedule which helped me understand her feeding patterns and how much milk I was producing.

5. Drink plenty of water. Drinking plenty of fluids, eating well, and getting good rest is a huge contributor to successful breastfeeding. In fact a vast majority of breast milk is water. Keep a bottle of water next to you when you breastfeed.

6. Ask and/or pay for help. Whether it’s a lactation consultant, a post-partum doula, your significant other, or a friend who has breastfed before, ask for help. A good lactation consultant can give you great tips on how to get your baby to latch on and feed properly. If you can afford a post-partum doula a few hours per week, they can be a god-send with both household and breastfeeding support. Ask your spouse to help you keep the breastfeeding log, bring you water, fresh fruit, snacks, and the baby!

7. Relax. I know this is easier said than done, but I found the more relaxed I was, the more my milk flowed. Lack of sleep and stress actually reduces your body’s ability to create breast milk. And worse you may start to resent the process and maybe even your baby! Watch a funny show or movie. Take a nap. Take a leisurely walk. Chat with a friend. Or just bawl your eyes out…we all know what a stress relief that can be!

Once your milk flow is established consider donating to a Mother’s Milk Bank near you.  I donated to the Mother’s Milk Bank of Austin with my daughter and it was a wonderful feeling knowing that my milk was going to help sick and premature babies.

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If you like this tip, you might be interested in these too:

Increasing Breast Milk Supply by Carole Hayes at Alias Tex

15 Tips for Surviving The World’s Youngest Insomniac by Rose at From the Park Bench

Why Keeping a Daily Journal Is Important for Moms and Nannies

How To Properly Swaddle A Baby 

Tips on Co-Sleeping and Ways to use a Co-sleeper

Keeping a Baby Food Journal by Neena at A Mom’s Life at NeenMachine.com

Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com.  Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and lotsa link love!

Author: | Filed under: baby, baby advice, baby care, baby insights, baby tips, breast milk, breastfeeding, breastfeeding schedule, milk banking, nursing, pumping | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Why Keeping a Daily Journal is Important for Moms and Nannies
Apr 15 2008

I see the world of childcare changing before our eyes and having a place to keep up with your baby’s precious moments and activities can be a great way not only to share with your family and friends but also to make sure your baby is getting what he or she needs.  More often than not, these days there are many people involved in childcare from dad, to nannies, to sitters, to grandparents, to aunts, and communicating effectively with everyone about when your baby ate, slept, or had medicine can be extremely important!

One of the ways I am currently trying to get the word out about Babble Soft is through marketing relationships with nanny and sitter agencies, and I recently had the honor and priviledge to write the following article for the International Nanny Association.  

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Why Keeping a Daily Journal is Important for Moms and Nannies
By Aruni Gunasegaram, President and Founder of Babble Soft
Written for the International Nanny Association Spring 2008 newsletter

When a new mom leaves her infant in the care of a nanny or newborn care specialist, what are her concerns? What does she want to know? How can a nanny help her feel more connected to her baby and help her deal with possible feelings of guilt over leaving her baby?

A new mom’s perspective
As a new mom, I was so concerned about leaving my baby with anyone else … even my husband! When I returned, I wanted to know when he ate, if he slept, and practically everything he did. Now that I have two kids, I still ask their teachers and care providers what they did during the day. It’s so comforting to have an idea of how their day went. I sent our son to a home care on a part-time basis when he was a baby. I felt frustrated by the vague answers I received when I asked about the details of his day; but I bit my tongue, felt guilty, and walked away wondering what I had missed.

It was difficult to leave my son with someone else and thereafter, leave my daughter – but I wanted to work. My career is very important to me and I knew I would be a better mom if I was able to pursue my passion. However, I still wanted to stay connected to my babies. It would have been a pleasure to receive an email, a text message, a picture, or even have the ability to log in to a website to see how my babies were doing. It would have made my life so much easier if I was assured that although they might have cried a bit when left them, they were eating well, sleeping well, learning and having fun.

I was still breastfeeding when I returned to work, and I made every attempt to time my pumping sessions so that I could nurse my babies when I picked them up. If I arrived only to find out they had just been fed, I would have to go home and pump instead of feed them, making me feel very disappointed.  On the other hand, it was nice having breastfeeding support and knowing that I had expressed enough milk for them while I was away made me feel more connected to them.

What moms want to know
In the “old days,” moms had no choice but to stay at home.  They could get advice and make decisions based on one-on-one face time with baby, family members, and friends. Nowadays, moms rely on their nannies to communicate their baby’s daily activities, issues, fussy periods, smiles, and schedules. When moms are not present, having the opportunity to review their baby’s activities at a glance in a daily journal or report is not only powerful, it helps them and their nanny make better baby care decisions. It is also a great way to provide records for their pediatricians, which can aid in making medical decisions. Here are more examples that illustrate the importance of keeping a daily journal:

  • A new mom misses important milestones. While she is at work, baby shows off her biggest smile or makes a first attempt at crawling. Imagine a caregiver who captures the moment via a picture, includes a milestone caption, and emails it to the mom. What a way to brighten her day. Although the mom is not present physically, she can take delight in knowing that the true “first” was captured.
  • An infant spits up often but with no discernible pattern. Both the mom and nanny are busy and jot down handwritten notes, which might be stained or misplaced by the next day! Maintaining an online daily record of the baby’s feedings (with corresponding spit-up times) can help to establish a pattern of feeding times and a correlation between the feeding quantity and spit-up periods. The mom can forward the reports to the doctor to aid in a decision regarding whether her baby needs medicine for acid reflux or if there is a need to simply change the baby’s feeding schedule.
  • A baby has difficulty sleeping. Mom (or dad) puts the baby down in a specific manner and in a specific place during the weekends. The nanny arrives and puts the baby down in a different manner, thus she witnesses a different outcome. The baby appears confused, which results in additional stress for both the nanny and family. One solution is to review online reports that are designed to track a baby’s sleep patterns and reveal how the baby was put to sleep. The reports can serve as physical proof that specific baby sleep positions or methods work better than others for the baby. The reports can also give parents the assurance that their baby is okay, and shifting their behavior or the nanny’s behavior can make life easier for everyone.
  • A baby needs regular medications. Administering medications is a critical part of providing childcare. Therefore, it is beneficial to have a central place where medicine doses are recorded. This procedure can allow both the mom and nanny to ensure medicine doses, reactions, and duration are properly recorded and timed. Proper daily record keeping can help to avoid accidental overdoses and ensure a dose is not missed.
  • The nanny runs out of expressed breast milk for baby. If the mom keeps daily pumping records and both the nanny and mom keep daily bottle-feeding records, Mom can adjust her breastfeeding and pumping schedule to ensure there is enough expressed milk for her baby.

There are many more sound reasons to keep daily records. However, the most important reasons in my opinion, are for the health and well-being of the baby, and improved communication between the nanny and family. Although moms today have many more opportunities than they did in the past, they also have more decisions to make and more balls to juggle. Keeping daily records of an infant’s activities helps nannies and moms make better baby care decisions – and it helps moms feel more connected to their baby. A happy mom means a happier baby!

Aruni Gunasegaram is the President/Founder of Babble Soft and she blogs at entrepreMusings. To learn more about Babble Soft, please visit http://www.babblesoft.com.

Author: | Filed under: babble soft, baby advice, baby care, baby sleep, baby tips, breast milk, breastfeeding, breastfeeding schedule, mom, mother, nursing, parenting, sleep, working mom, working mother | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

15 Tips for Surviving the World’s Youngest Insomniac
Apr 2 2008

babytips.gifI babble about business, babies, and parenthood on this blog, so those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies. For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby!  To read other great tips, check out the baby tips category

Rose is a mother of one very energetic daughter (age 2 1/2) with another on the way in late August. Her blog, From the Park Bench, is about the latest in parenting news from recalls, to scientific research to fun stuff like which celebrities are expecting. It includes a feature to allow readers to submit stories they think would interest other parents. Before deciding to stay home with her daughter she was a senior software engineer for a Silicon Valley startup. In her “spare time” she loves to read, garden, experiment in the kitchen, hike, camp and play with computer programming.

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15 Tips for Surviving the World’s Youngest Insomniac
by Rose of From the Park Bench

I remember reading that babies sleep soundly for at least 4 hours right after labor. After being up all night I really looked forward to that sleep. However, the authors forgot to inform my new daughter. Sleep? Why would I sleep when everything is so new and interesting! Thus began life with our youngest insomniac. At a year old she still slept like a 3 month old. At two years a full nights sleep was still a 50/50 proposition. Our pediatrician even gave up on the it will get better when she’s older speech and started greeting my daughter with “So how’s my youngest insomniac?” So what can you do if it turns out your baby, well, sure doesn’t sleep like a baby! Here are 15 tips that helped us survive the first couple of years:

  1. Read The Happiest Baby on the Block and try all 5 soothing steps. The directions in the book are detailed and a life saver.
  2. Get a Miracle Blanket. It is the best swaddle blanket I ever tried. My daughter could fight her way out of almost any swaddle except this blanket. (Wash it often to keep it stiff for a snugger swaddle.)
  3. Get a sling. Babies that don’t sleep usually need a lot of soothing even when you are all awake. I ate out a lot more and had cleaner clothing thanks to my sling. Here’s an article I wrote about my favorite.
  4. Get help! Get a maid to clean every two weeks. Order more take out.
    Take up family friends for offers of cleaning, food, holding a baby while you take a nap, etc. If you are up all night you are not going to have the brain power to do everything during the day. Please don’t kill your sanity trying.
  5. Do your research. I really liked the book Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child because it told me what sleep patterns I should expect for what age. Sleep got a little better when I realize I was actually waiting too long for naps and she was overtired. (I ignored the cry it out advice the author gave and it was still very useful.)
  6. Trust your instincts. I spent the first 9 months of my daughters life trying to convince her pediatrician that something was wrong. I wish I had pushed harder because at 9 months hidden reflux became daily vomiting. Turned out she had food allergies that had been progressively getting worse since birth. (A tummy ache is a very good reason to be a bad sleeper.)
  7. Keep a food journal if you are breast feeding. Try a hypoallergenic formula if using formula. In our case we would have had a lot more sleep if I had figured out her allergy before she was 1.5 years old.
  8. You don’t need to be 100% baby focused. I remember a friend telling me that nursing was for bonding and I should spend every moment looking deep into my babies eyes. Well I forgot to ask how often her baby nursed. Mine nursed for most of the hours normal babies sleep. After almost having a nervous breakdown I gave up on 100% deep gazing. I read, surfed, made phone calls, watched a movie, grocery shopped (very discrete with a sling and blanket), etc. She got attention but I got some sanity.
  9. Research safe co-sleeping. I’m not suggesting you actually do so. That’s a personal choice. We chose not to. However figure how to do it safely before you are dead tired, tempted and don’t realize you are doing it dangerously.
  10. Remember you don’t need to be a perfect mom or dad, just a good enough one.
  11. See if you can get a longer maternity leave. If you can afford it seriously consider it. Lack of sleep at night is much more doable if you can take a nap at 2pm when your baby finally decides to take a 3 hour nap.
  12. Get a crib soother. Yes, I also thought I should hold my daughter every waking moment or the mommy police would start judging me. It’s ok to put down a happy awake baby in a safe location and try and get some desperately needed sleep.
  13. Remember every child is different and you are the judge on what works, even if your mother-in-law, best friend, coworker swears by it. I have a list of all the not so useful advice people have given me. “I’m really glad your kid is a great sleeper because you had them sleep in a bright noisy room for the first 6 months. I guess all my problems would be gone if I had only tried that! Oh, wait I did! And she was up for 12 hours strait!”
  14. No matter how desperate do NOT put a baby who can’t roll over to bed on their belly. The back to sleep program has dramatically cut the nations SIDs rate. That’s one piece of extended sleep that is never worth the risk.
  15. Remember it will get better! Even in our extreme case at 2.5 years my daughter sleeps through the night most nights. (That blessing requires cooking all her food from scratch with an eagle eye for allergens but well worth the tradeoff for everyone!))

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If you like this tip, you might be interested in these too:

How To Properly Swaddle A Baby 

Tips on Co-Sleeping and Ways to use a Co-sleeper

Keeping a Baby Food Journal by Neena at A Mom’s Life at NeenMachine.com

Increasing Breast Milk Supply by Carole Hayes at Alias Tex

15 Tips for Traveling with Baby by Maryam Scoble of Maryamie

Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com.  Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and lotsa link love!

Author: | Filed under: baby advice, baby care, baby sleep, baby tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

5 Tips For Your Child’s First Haircut
Mar 25 2008

babytips.gifI babble about business, babies, and parenthood on this blog, so those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies. For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby!  To read other great tips, check out the baby tips category

Now here’s a guest tip about kid’s haircuts by Michelle Breyer.  Michelle is the co-founder of NaturallyCurly.com.  NaturallyCurly.com sells hair products for people with curly hair and also provides a place for them to socialize online.  Check out their page for kids with curly hair.

5 Tips for your Child’s First Haircut
by Michelle Breyer of NaturallyCurly.com

curly-hair-1.gifI remember taking my daughter, Emma, for her first haircut. It seemed like no big deal for me. I was more concerned about saving a lock of hair for her baby book than anything else.

But that first haircut turned into a temper tantrum. Since then, I’ve learned there are a number of steps that can make that first trip to the hair salon a good experience rather than one filled with anxiety and tears. If done right, it can set a positive foundation for a child’s feelings about future haircuts, as well as their hair.

“It’s uncharted territory for parents,” says Cozy Friedman, who owns three Cozy’s Cuts for Kids salons/toy stores in New York City.

One of the biggest questions for many parents is when to get the first haircut. Some believe you should wait until their first birthday.

“There are no rules,” says Jody Mackenzie, owner of Banana’s Salon in Fort Myers, Fla. “You should get their hair cut when you think they need that first haircut. If it’s growing horizontal rather than vertical, or getting in their eyes, it’s probably a sign that the time has come.

Then it’s important to find the right place to get that first cut. Kids aren’t necessarily welcome at every hair salon, so make sure the place you choose knows how to work with children, and understands the difference between baby and adult hair.  Many parents – and children – favor children’s salons. In addition to being designed around the needs of children, they usually are chemical free.

At Cozy’s Cuts for Kids, children sit in a jeep, watch a video or play their favorite video game. There are balloons, lollipops, free toys and all the bubbles they can blow. When getting that first cut, the child receives a “First Haircut Certificate” with a keepsake lock of hair.  “My goal was to make it a place to feel really happy,” Friedman says. 

At Yellow Balloon in Studio City, Calif., there is a popcorn machine, a large play area with a mini-arcade and miniature toy boxes at each salon chair.  “Our stylists have had years of experience with children before coming here,” says assistant manager Christina Kirilova. “They curly-hair-2.gifentertain the kids with stories, toys and even magic tricks so they forget why they are here.”  For the baby’s first haircut, the Yellow Balloon includes a framed Polaroid picture commemorating the occasion, a certificate and a lock of the baby’s hair in a special envelope.

Maria Navarro of Classic Kids Hairstyling in Camarillo, Calif., puts colorful gel in little boys’ hair, and does special braids or twists in little girls’ hair.  “You want them to feel special,” Navarro says.

At Houston’s Playhouse Cuts, the stylists sing and dance and play with the kids to make them feel at ease. They also understand the limitations of their young clients.  “You have to have patience,” George says. “A kid’s tolerance isn’t that long. Even though they’re moving and wiggling, you have to keep going or you’ll never finish.”

Before ever getting the first cut, try to take the child by the salon before the day of the actual cut to make them feel more at ease.”Even a walk-through prepares them for it,” Friedman says.  Over time, it’s best to stick with the same stylist. That way, the child will develop a comfort level, and the stylist will understand the needs of the growing child.

When it comes to cutting curls, it’s a good idea to ask for a stylist who is experienced in working with curly or kinky hair. Make sure the stylist understands that curly hair shrinks – as much as three to four inches.  The right cut depends on the texture of the child’s hair.

“There is no one perfect haircut for every child,” Friedman says. Often the stylist will work with the parent on a strategy for their child’s hair, especially if the baby’s hair is just coming in. It may mean cutting the bottom layer over time to let the newer, top layer grow to the same length. “Have a goal, especially for the first time,” Friedman says. “It’s setting the groundwork for years to come.” With curlier or kinky hair, stay away from bangs, says Jami Walker of the Hairy Elephant in Ballwin, Mo. “They just kink up too much,” Walker says. Bangs can be a big commitment, and can be difficult to grow out. Many stylists encourage the parent to work on growing the child’s hair to one length or long layers.

Be an active part of your child’s haircut.”You may want a bob, but every stylist has a different interpretation of what a bob is,” Friedman says. “Be very descriptive. Bring pictures.” Make sure you’re realistic about what you want. If your child has tight curls, a pageboy haircut probably isn’t the right cut.

Finally, remember that the first haircut is a chance to make your child feel good about the experience, and about their hair. If the parent is anxious or talks about the hair as if it’s a problem, the baby picks up on it.  “Parents forget that children are sponges,” Friedman says. ”

5 Tips For Your Child’s First Haircut

  1. Always make an appointment. Otherwise, the child may have to wait.
  2. Try to get the first appointment of the day so the child can get in and out.
  3. Stay away from the word “haircut.” That can be scary for children, who associate cuts with pain. Instead, use the word trim.
  4. Bring snacks. A hungry child is unlikely to cooperate.
  5. Take the child at a time when they’re most relaxed. For some it might be after a nap. For others, it might be right before a nap.

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If you like this tip, you might be interested in these too:

5 Potty Training Tips That Will Make You Smile

Ten Tips To Keep Your Toddler Occupied on A Plane by Debbie Dubrow of Delicious Baby

Networking And The Stay At Home Parent by Thom Singer of Some Assembly Required

15 Tips for Traveling with Baby by Maryam Scoble of Maryamie

Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com.  Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and lotsa link love!

Author: | Filed under: baby, baby care, baby tips, parenting, toddler tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

5 Potty Training Tips That Will Make You Smile
Mar 20 2008

babytips.gifI babble about business, babies, and parenthood on this blog, so those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies. For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby!  To read other great tips, check out the baby tips category.

 baby-on-potty-amazon.jpg
Note: We didn’t use the above potty training contraption available from Amazon.  I just thought it was a cute picture, and I might have tried it out if I had known about it. :-)

5 Potty Training Tips That Will Make You Smile
by Aruni Gunasegaram

My kids are now 5 ½ and 3 years old and fortunately the potty training gods smiled on us because both were day-time trained around 2 ½ years of age.  Thankfully, our oldest (a boy) was trained about 2 months before our daughter was born.  He wore Pull-Ups at night until he was 4 but our daughter quit wearing pull ups when she was about 2 years and 9 months old.  Ah, it’s so nice not to have buy diapers or Pull-Ups anymore!

They each had a couple of night time accidents and we had a few more sheet changes with our son, but overall a less traumatic experience that I was bracing myself for.   We did the following with our kids.  Try these tips out and hopefully they’ll work for you.

1. Observe the signs. If your child is waking up dry from nap or night for at least a couple of weeks that is a big clue to start potty training. There are so many reasons to ‘ignore’ or not want to ‘see’ the signs that having your spouse, close friend or in our case a pre-school teacher throw some cold water in your face can really help. I was 8 months pregnant when our son’s pre-school teacher said you MUST potty train now. I was thinking to myself “are you crazy woman?! I can barely pick myself up let alone a toddler onto a potty.” I figured I’d wait until after the baby was born. I had been picking him up from pre-school and putting on a diaper/pull-up because I didn’t want to be unnecessarily cleaning a car seat. After being sternly warned by the teacher not to do that, I ended up putting a towel down on his car seat just in case.

2. Be consistent. When you are potty training make sure to take your toddler to the potty at least every 2 to 3 hours during the day. After a few weeks you’ll start to see the time between potty visits diminish. We observed that most accidents happened if we had forgotten to take them to the potty or were afraid to take them to the potty when they were in the middle of doing fun stuff for fear of the inevitable kicking and screaming.

3. Morning and Night. As soon as they wake up (even if it’s the crack of dawn and you’d much rather scream out loud than take them to the potty) put them on the potty. Even if they refuse to go, this will get them associating morning time with potty time and show them it’s OK to get up to go to the potty than to wet the bed. The same goes for night time. Put them on the potty right before going to bed so they create the same night time association as well.

4. Read a designated potty book. One of the things that worked really well for us with our son was identifying a potty book. I actually got this tip from Keys to Toilet Training by Meg Zwieback. Every night when we put him on the potty, we would read the same book to him. Since he was (and still is) so active, getting him to sit on the potty for any length of time was challenging. He liked reading the ‘potty book’ and because he sat longer he more often than not used the potty! This technique didn’t work so well with our daughter because she was fairly quick in going so she didn’t need to be entertained for long. Must be a girl thing (i.e., we’re less inclined to read newspapers and magazines while sitting on the toilet than guys are!)

5. Encourage and Reward. It is so important that you encourage and reward your toddler for going to the potty. You can do this with hugs, creating a chart, treats, activities, toys, etc. With our kids we used a chart that we would put smiley faces on when they went to the potty and sad faces if they had an accident. The chart gave them a visual to see how they were progressing and the act of us drawing a smiley face would make them so proud and happy! We also hugged them, gave them high 5’s, clapped, and sometimes gave them a Gerber fruit snack treat. When they went several days in a row without an accident, they would get to do something fun, get a treat, or better yet chose their own Spiderman or Dora the Explorer underwear!

Every child is different so try these tips and come up with your own that fit your unique situation.  We used these tips and achieved pretty good potty-training results.  Now, don’t go asking me about baby sleep tips because I’m still trying to figure out which ones worked and which ones didn’t!

The author of this article, Aruni Gunasegaram, is the President/Founder of Babble Soft, which offers web and mobile software applications that facilitate communication between caregivers by helping them with breastfeeding support bottle feedings, mom’s pumping, baby sleep patterns, diapers, immunizations and medicine doses as well as baby’s first year photo album.

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If you like this tip, you might be interested in these too:

Ten Tips To Keep Your Toddler Occupied on A Plane by Debbie Dubrow of Delicious Baby

Networking And The Stay At Home Parent by Thom Singer of Some Assembly Required

15 Tips for Traveling with Baby by Maryam Scoble of Maryamie

Throw A Baby Kegger For Your Buddy by Clay Nichols of DadLabs

Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com.  Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and lotsa link love!

Author: | Filed under: baby tips, toddler tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Ten Tips To Keep Your Toddler Occupied on A Plane
Mar 14 2008

I babble about business, babies, and parenthood on this blog, so those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies. For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby!  :-)  To read other great baby tips, check out the baby tips category.

Debbie Dubrow is a mother of two (ages 2 1/2 and 1) living in Seattle, WA. Her blog, Delicious Baby is about traveling with babies, toddlers and kids, and is filled with personal travel stories, family-friendly city guides, and lots of tips and advice for traveling with kids. Her blog post Advantage Rent A Car’s Frightening Car Seats spawned two under-cover news investigations and a sweeping change in corporate policy at a major rental car agency.  Debbie graciously shares with us this tip from her blog:

Ten Tips To Keep Your Toddler Occupied on A Plane – Guest Post

This time of year, every parent gets anxious about their travel plans and keeping their young kids occupied on long plane flights. Here are our top ten airplane activities for toddlers and preschoolers that won’t increase the size of your luggage!

  1. Go on a scavenger hunt through the airplane magazine. On each page, pick one item that your child has to locate. For older children, hand them the magazine and say “can you find a picture of an airplane?”
  2. Put some fun pictures onto your digital camera (you’re carrying it anyway). Good candidates are pictures of the people and places you are going to visit or pictures of a recent adventure (like the zoo). During the flight, you can relive the fun and tell stories about where/who you’re visiting.
  3. When the flight attendant delivers drinks, ask for a cup, a couple ice cubes, and a straw. There are endless games with this combination. Ice is fascinating to toddlers in and of itself, and you can teach them to swirl it on the bottom of the cup, or catch it on the straw (airplane ice usually has a hole in the middle). Watch that the ice doesn’t end up in their mouth though (choking hazard).
  4. Teach yourself some new finger rhymes (e.g. “where is thumbkin”) before you go.
  5. Get your children playing with the neighbors in front of and behind you before the plane takes off. (Peek-a-boo and kiss-blowing are hard for even the most stoic travelers to resist). Your seat-mates will be a lot more understanding if your children have a difficult time later once they’ve seen them at their cutest, and you never know what fun entertainment they’ll come up with.
  6. Extend snack time by challenging your child. “What is the is the smallest bite you can take” or “see if you can eat just one at a time (tricky for little fingers). Pack your snacks in Tupperware & the packaging becomes a toy when the snack is done.
  7. For young toddlers, screwing and unscrewing the top on a plastic water bottle is great fun (watch carefully as small tops are a choke hazard). Ask the flight attendant to bring you an empty bottle if you’re not carrying one.
  8. Learning how to fasten and unfasten an “old fashioned” seatbelt, jacket zipper, and snaps or buttons on their clothing (or a carryon bag) can keep them occupied for a long time
  9. Have your toddler help you make up fanciful stories about what you will do on your trip. For young toddlers, they might choose between two options, while older kids will be able to fill in parts of the stories.
  10. Three words: Barf bag puppets

You’ve already killed quite a bit of time without breaking into your secret stash of travel toys and books. Our next post will cover our favorite airplane toys for toddlers.

Related Links:
Flying with Babies, Toddlers and Kids
Ten Great Travel Toys you Already Have at Home
Our Favorite Travel Toys

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If you like this tip, you might be interested in these great ones too:

Networking And The Stay At Home Parent by Thom Singer of Some Assembly Required

15 Tips for Traveling with Baby by Maryam Scoble of Maryamie

Throw A Baby Kegger For Your Buddy by Clay Nichols of DadLabs

Keeping a Baby Food Journal by Neena of A Mom’s Life at NeenMachine.com

Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com.  Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and lotsa link love!

Author: | Filed under: baby tips, parenting, toddler tips | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments »

Networking And The Stay-At-Home Parent – Guest Baby Tip
Feb 21 2008

I babble about business, babies, and parenthood on this blog, so those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies. For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby!  :-)  To read other great baby tips, check out the baby tips category.

Thom Singer, our very own Austin-based networking guru, bravely accepted my invitation to write a guest baby tip.   Thom Singer is the director of business development for vcfo in Austin, Texas. He is also a professional speaker and the author of two books on the power of business relationships and networking: “Some Assembly Required: How to Make, Grow and Keep Your Business Relationships” and “The ABC’s of Networking.”  He is currently working on “Some Assembly Required for Women” with co-author Marny Lifshen. He also blogs at Some Assembly Required.  And now here is his fabulous baby tip:

Networking And The Stay-At-Home Parent

thom-and-family-crop.jpgHaving children changes everything. It doesn’t matter what kind of life you lived before or how your family handles the arrival of your bundle of joy(s), introducing kids into the equation shakes up all of your priorities.

When my first daughter, Jackie, was born I was thirty years old. I was working in a sales position, making decent money, and building my professional reputation and network of contacts. I was ambitious, and did not think that being a parent would make my life all that different. My wife had planned to quit her job and stay home with our children, and I figured I would continue along my career path un-affected by fatherhood.

While on maternity leave my wife received the word that she was being promoted to the job she had desired for seven years with her employer. While she did not make as much money as I did at the time, the opportunity was too good to pass up, and after much discussion and soul searching, I found myself quitting my job to become a stay-at-home dad for two years.

Being a full-time parent is hard work. Don’t kid yourself unless you have taken on this responsibility for more than a few days. There are no days off, no coffee breaks, no business trips, expense accounts or anything else that is an accepted corporate perk. I had never thought growing up that I would be a stay-at-home dad, as there was no such job description or role models who did such a thing. In the late 1990’s the concept was still even more rare than it is today.

I found this time to be very challenging, but also extremely rewarding. Eleven years later Jackie and I have a very close relationship and we share a wonderful bond from those early days of always being together. However, I also knew that this was a temporary role, as my wife would have preferred to have been at home, and I longed to have a blossoming career. Thus I spent much of the time continuing to network and cultivate relationships that would allow me to one day return to the work world. Although there were some naysayers who warned me that my professional career would never recover from the two years away, the reality was because of the active networking I was able to bounce right back into my career when the time was right.

Whether you are a man or a woman, if you decide to take on the role of stay-at-home parenting while your children are young, you need to keep your professional relationships alive. This will not happen by accident, and it takes time and effort (things in short supply when babies are teething, learning to walk, getting sick, and just being cute as all get out!), but neglecting your network can make it much more difficult to transition back to the workforce when that time arrives.

I was very proactive and made sure I had one breakfast and one lunch meeting each week. I was lucky, as Jackie was a very agreeable baby who was happy to sit quietly on my lap or in her stroller while I talked business with friends and former co-workers. While some people are self-conscious about bringing their kids along to business meetings, I never looked at this as a negative. Caring for Jackie was my job, and it was just as important (or more important!) as being a lawyer, accountant or financial planner. As she got older and was more mobile, I would often need to be more creative on setting up these meetings, working around my wife’s schedule or trading babysitting with a neighbor in order to have such appointments. However, there is always a way when you realize that something is a priority.

When it came time to return to work it was easy to put the word out that I was looking for a job as I was still a visible part of the business community. This was as much a state-of-mind as it was a result of my actions.

Choosing to leave the work world to be home with your kids can be both difficult and rewarding. The isolation of not having other grown-ups around can leave one feeling very disconnected. If you can relate to these feelings, then you need to take charge of your networking efforts and get back out into the world. Your future opportunities will all come from people, so you need to make, grow and keep your business relationships.

Have A Great Day.

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If you like this tip, you might be interested in these great ones too:

15 Tips for Traveling with Baby by Maryam Scoble at Maryamie

Throw A Baby Kegger For Your Buddy by Clay Nichols at DadLabs

Keeping a Baby Food Journal by Neena at A Mom’s Life at NeenMachine.com

Increasing Milk Supply by Carole Hayes at Alias Tex

Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com.  Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and lotsa link love!

Author: | Filed under: baby, baby tips, networking, parenting, stay at home dad | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

15 Tips For Traveling With Baby – Guest Baby Tip
Feb 10 2008

I babble about business, babies, and parenthood on this blog, so those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies. For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and have no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby! :-)   To see other great baby tips, check out the baby tips category.

Maryam Ghaemmaghami Scoble was kind enough to let me re-publish her January 30, 3007 tips on traveling with baby that she said was inspired after I asked her if she would write a guest baby tip for my blog.  She also sent me an adorable picture of her looking at baby Milan.  Maryam has been working as an event planner since 1995 and is now taking time off to be with her newborn son.  Maryam’s husband, Robert Scoble, is none other than the “Scobleizer” a strong presence in the blogging community.  Maryam spends her free time blogging about living, loving, and working with geeks as well as life, love, and everything else.   If you are new to the blogosphere, you might not have heard that she and Robert had a baby, but they did and now she has great tips to share!

Traveling with Baby? Here are fifteen things I’ve learned.

milanandmaryam400x267.jpgI honestly thought that my days of traveling adventure would be over once our baby was born. Not so! Barely four months old, Milan has accompanied us without much fuss to Paris, London and Vegas, traveling via Trains, Planes, and even on a bus. We are headed to Geneva next.

If you are traveling with child I highly recommend checking out My Traveling Buddy website.

Baby Center has a great checklist on things to take with you while traveling with child.

My advice based on my own experience:

1) Don’t pack too many little bags and suitcases. You will leave things behind or else won’t be able to carry all of them together. While it was easier before to have smaller, lighter suitcases, you now need to try and consolidate as much as possible. Remember in addition to the suitcases, you also have to push the stroller and you only have two hands :) I used to pack a suitcase, a carry on and a bag for each of us and it worked perfectly before, but now one of us has to push the stroller while the other carries everything on the cart. My heart goes out to single parents!

2) Don’t forget the baby Bjorn or other form of baby carrier with you. You need to check in your stroller and sometimes have to walk long distances before claiming it back after you get off the plane. You can check in the stroller right where you check in to get on the flight, but you won’t get it back when you land until you walk all the way to baggage claim. In London, we had to walk far and long, and wait quite a while before getting our stroller back. Thank God, I packed a baby carrier with me.

3) Don’t forget the bottle washer and soap. It’s hard to wash bottles without the bottle washer and the soap at the hotels or airports might be too fragrant for the baby. I had to send Robert out to search for a bottle washer in Vegas and I had a hard time finding a perfume free soap in beautiful Paris, home to many famous perfumes.

4) If you are using formula, make a bottle ready before going through security screening. They won’t let you carry a bottle of water but they would let you carry the milk through. The bottle would be safe for an hour and two and you are not forced to run around and look for bottled water in the airport. The security officer in the Vegas airport told me that I could get out of line, mix my formula with water and go through again if I wanted to. I didn’t want to wait in line again, but next time, I will just make the formula ahead of time.

5) Check in early for your flight so you can make sure your baby has a bassinet on board. You can’t reserve one on the phone and if too many babies are traveling on board, you may lose out to those who checked in before you. We were late to check in for our flight to London and couldn’t get a bassinet as there were twenty other babies traveling on board. We got smart on the way back and checked in early :)

6) Make sure your baby is sucking on a pacifier or a bottle during take off and landing. The air pressure won’t hurt their ears as much. We were feeding Milan while the plane was taking off and landing and he fell asleep each time without crying.

7) If traveling by train find out where the bathroom with diaper changing table is located and book your cabin close to that. I had to walk through over ten cabins while the train was moving with a baby that badly needed a change, all the while worrying if we were going to reach the station soon.

8)Pack enough formula and diapers. Babies sometimes show allergic reaction to different brands of diapers. It’s also very hard to find the same brand of formula while traveling abroad and babies stomach often react to new brands.We ran out of formula in Paris and I couldn’t even read the instructions on the formula I bought and had to trust the reluctant pharmacist advice. Luckily Milan liked the new formula and it worked fine for us. Next time, I will pack extra formula though.

9) Having a travel system based car seat and stroller (we use Graco) works best because you can use the car seat in the cabs, buses, trains and cars, and then place the seat easily in the stroller when walking around. The stroller folds easily and is light to carry around. You can also use it as a cart to carry stuff around.

10) If you have older children I suggest running them through the airport to let them exert some of that extra energy so that they are good and tired and ready to sleep in flight. Planning travel during their sleep time is also a good idea.

11) With older children taking some cheap new toys and coloring materials helps keep them occupied during flight. When Patrick was younger, I always bought him a bunch of magazines so he could read them during the flight and of course he had his trusty hand held game players.

12) Remember that there are different rules for traveling with babies domestically vs. internationally. For example, babies traveling on your lap can fly for free on United inside the US but you have to purchase a ticket for them while traveling abroad. It usually comes to about 10% of your adult fare plus taxes, etc.

13) You need a valid passport for children traveling abroad with you, even if your child is only four months old like ours.

14) Before traveling make sure to check with your pediatrician about any medical issues you need to be aware of. Traveling with babies under three months is not recommended and some airlines won’t even allow a new born to fly. Depending on the country you are traveling to, your baby may need to get special vaccinations. I packed over the counter  gas-relief medicine and baby Tylenol with us just in case.

15) Last but not least, check the weather and pack accordingly for your child. It was raining hard in London and Paris and we looked around for a long time before we were able to find a waterproof plastic cover for Milan’s stroller.

Bon Voyage and Happy travels!

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If you like this tip, you might be interested in our other recent guest baby tips:

Throw A Baby Kegger For Your Buddy by Clay Nichols at DadLabs

Keeping a Baby Food Journal by Neena at A Mom’s Life at NeenMachine.com

Increasing Milk Supply by Carole Hayes at Alias Tex

Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com.  Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and lotsa link love!

Author: | Filed under: baby tips, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

Guest Baby Tip: Throw A Baby Kegger/Shower For Your Buddy
Jan 17 2008

I babble about business, babies, and parenthood on this blog, so those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies. For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and have no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby! :-)

Today’s guest baby tip is written by one of my favorite dads, Daddy Clay.  Clay is the founder and Chief Creative Officer of DadLabs.  DadLabs creates all sorts of cool, informational, not-so-informational, and downright hilarious videos about being a father in this new era of “let’s share parenting responsibilities, shall we?”  On Monday’s they have a new video in The Lab, on Tuesday’s they are in The Lounge, on Wednesday’s they have Daditude (Daddy Owen is pretending to be pregnant by wearing a pregnancy belly), and on Thursday’s they are all about Gear Daddy.  Check them out!

clay-kids.jpg

Welcome any and all baby showers/keggers!

For lots of guys, as soon as the excitement of a positive pregnancy test wears off, the first concern is about money – well maybe the second concern – the first concern we’ll deal with in another post.  But money is definitely a big worry.  This concern hits an early peak on the first visit to the baby Mega-store – usually a scouting mission.  There, a guy silently tallies up the expenses of all the items on the “necessities” list while trying to seem enthusiastic to the expecting mother.   How are you gong to afford all the baby gear?

Women long ago figured this whole deal out. Need to outfit the nursery? They gather the gals for a baby shower to play cute little games and open gifts with nifty wrapping. They giggle and gossip. Sound like fun, fellas?

Get over it.  Go along if you are invited, and tap into the power of community.  Actively encourage your wife to land as many showers as possible.clay-son.jpg

And here’s a radical idea.  Throw a dad shower.  But we can’t call it a shower.  Not gonna happen.  Let’s adapt.  How about having a Baby Kegger instead?!

You provide the beer. If you don’t like the idea of setting up a gift registry, host an auction. Ask your funniest buddy to MC and offer various goods and services up for sale to the highest bidder. Any bids on the last round of golf with the expecting dad before his life changes forever? Got to let the motorcycle or the season tickets go? All proceeds go to the stroller fund – – or the 529 plan.

Let your guy friends in on the action of supporting your new life as a parent. 

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If you like this tip, you might be interested in our other recent guest baby tips:

Keeping a Baby Food Journal by Neena at A Mom’s Life at NeenMachine.com

Increasing Milk Supply by Carole Hayes at Alias Tex

Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com for possible inclusion.  Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and a link back to their site!

Author: | Filed under: baby tips, entrepreneurship, father, parenting, working dad, working father | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Guest Baby Tip: Keeping a Baby Food Journal
Dec 19 2007

I babble about business, babies, and parenthood on this blog, so those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies. For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and have no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby! :-)

The last baby tip was by Carole Hayes on wonderful, well-researched ways to increase milk supply and now we bring you…

Keeping a Baby Food Journal
by Neena of A Mom’s Life at NeenMachine.com

baby-hippo.jpgI am honored that Aruni has asked me to do a guest post here on entrepreMusings.  As a “seasoned” mother of four the Baby Tips category is right up my alley and a hard one to pare down (I have accumulated a lot of advice over the years – 11 to be exact!).  In later years, when our other children were ready to start solid foods, we were much better prepared. By being slow and meticulous we were finally able to have fun with the introduction of solid foods.The key to our success is what we called a Baby Food Journal. 

 

When our babies were around six months of age, and we made the decision to start the solid food phase, the journaling would begin.

Everyday, I would record the time of feeding, the amount, and the babies reaction to the taste (this one was for fun).

After the feeding, I would make notes of any unusual observations and the time they occurred. These would include skin rashes, health issues, upset stomach, gassiness, or general fussiness.  babybeingfed.jpg

The next day the process would be repeated. If the food seemed to agree with the baby then it was time to increase the amount and again record my observations. If I saw an unusual reaction a call the pediatrician would be in order. And if I was unsure whether the reaction was indeed caused by the food, something like fussiness for example, then I would feed the baby a small quantity of the same food and watch for a repeat reaction.

Only introducing one new food per week in the first few months of starting solids was my rule. If things were going well I would reduce the time between new foods to three or four days.

Keeping a Baby Food Journal took a lot of stress and uncertainty out of the feeding process. And it was good documentation to give the pediatrician if things weren’t going well.

*photos used in this post by belgianchocolate and joeltelling, respectively

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Check out Neena’s blog.  She has a lot of great things to share…with 4 kids she knows more than most of us about raising kids! :-)  Since her kids are older she never had the opportunity to use Babble Soft applications and she told me that when she was writing this guest tip, it crossed her mind that Baby Insights might help people keep track of solid feeding.  We will be adding that feature in the future but  interestingly our families often use the Medicine Dose pages to keep track of baby’s and/or mom’s food intake to discern patterns in baby’s reaction to foods or breast milk.  Go figure.  Our families are so awesome and so creative!

Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com for possible inclusion.  Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and a link back to their site!

Author: | Filed under: baby, baby care, baby tips, breast milk, food | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Guest Baby Tip: Increasing Breast Milk Supply
Nov 11 2007

I babble about business, babies, and parenthood on this blog, so those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies. For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and have no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby! :-)


Since there were so many views of my first baby tip on Increasing Milk Supply post, and I saw on Carole’s blog recently that she was dealing with the exact same issue, I asked her to write up a baby tip based on her experience for my readers.  Carole is one my faithful blog readers and a Baby Insights user.  She has 3 kids at home and blogs at Alias Tex.  She is an amazing person and an awesome Mom!  Thank you Carole for a great baby tip!

carole-and-christina-headshot-medium.JPG

I’ve nursed three babies and have had supply issues with all three.  I was not able to correct the issue with the first two, so I ended up supplementing with formula both times.  When I discovered that my supply was low the third time around, I decided to work with a lactation consultant.  I ended up supplementing with formula for about a month; in total, I think Christina ended up having about 2 1/2 cans of formula before my supply was enough to make it unnecessary.  Here are the things we tried, in the order in which we tried them:

– Pumping.  I pumped as often as I could, but at least 5 or 6 times a day, for at least 10 – 15 minutes each time. (The pumping was in conjunction with all of the other things I was doing — I’ve heard that for some women, pumping alone can help, but I wasn’t one of them.)

– Herbs.  I took fenugreek, blessed thistle, and alfalfa — the highest dose of each that I could find at Whole Foods — two or three of each, three times a day.  (This did increase my supply some, but not enough that I could stop supplementing.)

– Domperidone* — I take 20mg capsules.  I started out taking five of them a day, then — once my supply was established — dropped down to four.  I tried cutting back to three and discovered that that was too low to maintain my supply, so I rented a pump for a week and jumped back up to five pills a day again.  Now, I’m down to four capsules a day, and I have enough milk that Christina only nurses one side at a time — and doesn’t usually even empty that one!  (I don’t like having quite that much extra milk, so now every couple of days I’ll take only three capsules — it seems to be working out….)

– Oxytocin nasal spray** — 1OU/ML.  (1 spray in each nostril, 2 – 3 minutes before nursing.)  In addition to my supply issues, I’ve had problems with my letdown reflex.  Sometimes it worked just fine, but it was not uncommon for me to nurse her for 45 minutes or more without having a letdown!  I also tended to have them at random times throughout the day/night, and then I couldn’t have another one for at least an hour, so I had to try to nurse her whether she seemed hungry or not!  The nasal spray has changed all of that:  if I don’t have a letdown when Christina starts nursing, I use my nasal spray and I have a letdown within a couple of minutes.  The only times it hasn’t worked are when I was experimenting, trying to see if I could do just one nostril, or use a drop instead of a spray.  (It does work as drops, but I have to do a couple in each side, not just one.)

Now that I have it all under control, my days of sobbing in frustration seem like a bad dream — it almost makes me want to have another, just so I can see what it’s like to get it right from the start!  Imagine:  me, with a baby who has never tasted formula….  It could happen!  : )

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*Some of you may know that the FDA issued a warning about Domperidone several years ago. (On the same day that the National Breastfeeding Campaign was to begin!)  It’s actually a stomach medicine, and was prescribed off-label for breastfeeding mothers.  Because of the FDA’s warning, it’s no longer possible to just walk into a pharmacy and get a prescription for Domperidone; you have to go to a compounding pharmacy to get it, and even some of those are afraid of FDA reprisals if they fill the prescriptions.  Fortunately, for those of us who need it to maintain a normal milk supply, there are still doctors and midwives willing to prescribe it for us, and some compounding pharmacies who will still make it.

Domperidone is widely considered a safe drug when administered orally, and is approved by the AAP for use in breastfeeding mothers.  Many were outraged when the FDA issued its warning — especially since the cases it cites in the warning were decades old. 

Official statements from prominent physicians can be found here.

A very good summary of the controversy can be found here, and many more links here.

Side effects of Domperidone.

Side effects of Reglan, another stomach medication that can increase milk supply, which has no warnings issued against it — even though it is NOT approved by the AAP for use in breastfeeding mothers!

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**I also get my Oxytocin nasal spray from a compounding pharmacy.

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Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com for possible inclusion. Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and a link back to their site!

Author: | Filed under: baby tips, breast milk, breastfeeding, breastfeeding schedule, mom, mother, nursing, pumping, working mother | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

How to Trim Your Baby’s Nails: Baby Tip by Babble Soft
Oct 23 2007

Since I babble about business, babies, and parenthood here on this blog, those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies.  For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and have no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby!  :-)


 

babytipteether

When our son was born we were told to cut his nails while he was sleeping in his crib.   Being the sleep-deprived, paranoid mom that I was, following are the reasons why this did not work for me:

  • This boy barely sleeps and you are asking me to risk waking him and losing my sanity to cut his nails?!?  No freaking way!
  • What if he’s lying on one side and I can’t get to the hand or foot I want to get to?  Then refer back to item #1.
  • What if some of the little nail cuttings find their way into his mouth, ears, nose, or belly button, and he can’t breathe and he and I both go into shock?  What if one of them simply pokes him…then refer back to item #1.
  • What if I accidentally cut too much of his nail and cut his skin…then of course refer back to item #1.
  • How do I lean over his crib or bassinet with a huge post-partum belly and conduct what to me seemed like minor surgery on my precious baby without breaking my back or having a let-down?

So being the resourceful parent/entrepreneur that I am, here’s what I did:

  • Put him in a reclining bouncer (with neck support if needed) and either a) wait until he fell asleep or b) put on a Baby Einstein video (back then it was OK to watch Baby Einstein videos).  I also occasionally did this while he was still in his infant car seat.
  • If he fell asleep and I didn’t think he would wake up (usually from age 0 to about 2 months), I would get some Kleenex tissue and place is strategically under his hands or feet.  I would then gently press the nail down so just the part that needed cutting would stick out over the end and commence trimming with the Safety 1st nail trimmer, which we still use today, that you can buy here at Amazon.com.   I would collect the trimmings in the tissue and throw them in the trash when I was finished.
  • If he didn’t fall asleep (2 months to present), I would do what I did in item #2 above but with a video (e.g., Baby Einstein) I knew he could not take his eyes off of.  I would trim the nails on his right hand, take a break then move to his right foot.  I would repeat on his left side.

To this day, I cut both of the kid’s nails in front of the TV.  It is a much less nerve wracking experience for all of us to do it while watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse than while they are asleep.  :-)

Happy Nail Trimming!

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Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com for possible inclusion. Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and a link back to their site!

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She Went to School in a Pull-Up and Came Home Wearing Underwear
Sep 27 2007

We are in the midst of potty training our almost 2 ½ year old girl. Just last week, I sent her to pre-school wearing a Huggies Pull-Up (yes she likes the Cars ones) and 3 pairs of Happy Feet underwear that I got at Target. She came back wearing underwear and had no accidents that day. I was impressed. Unlike our son, who mastered the poo poo part first, she seems to be going for the pee pee part first, which makes for not-fun underwear clean-up. :-(

Erin was stressed that we missed her sweet spot for training a while back because we tried a few weeks ago and she didn’t seem phased at all about soiling her underwear so we went quickly back to diapers for a little while, but I wasn’t worried. I knew she’d eventually get it…definitely before she was 13!  :-)

Some of the techniques we used on our son didn’t work for her.  Apparently we really lucked out with our son. I heard horror stories about how hard it was to train boys. Thankfully, our non-sleeping son (he’s 5 and he still wakes up at night) made the potty training part of his life fairly easy for us. He started going poo poo in the potty a few months after his 2nd birthday…which I’ve been told is unusual. I’ve heard that most kids get the pee pee part down before the poo poo part.

When he was 2 ½, I was about 8 months pregnant. He was going to pre-school so the teachers had a system of lining up all the kids against the wall and having them take turns going potty. The teachers then said “He’s ready. Send about 5 pairs of underwear and we’ll work with him.” I was thinking to myself “Well OK, I don’t know. I want to wait until after our daughter arrives to start training him because there’s no way I can make a mad dash to the bathroom while carrying him being 9 months pregnant!”

So I reluctantly agreed and took him to school in a diaper (because I didn’t want to be cleaning a car seat mess) and gave them some Spiderman underwear. He had a few accidents and then within days they even took off the Pull-Up during nap. I would pick him up and put a diaper on him for the 25-30 minute ride home because there was no-way I was going to clean up a car seat!  Erin dropped him off one day and the teacher asked him if we were putting our son in a diaper when we got home and he said “Well my wife is 9 months pregnant and she can’t…” and the teacher, who has helped train hundreds of kids, interrupted him and looked at him with a no BS look on her face and said “If you don’t go all the way right now, you will live to regret it.” You have to know the teacher…if she says something, you do it no questions asked, and I’m so glad we did.

It was a bit inconvenient at first but we muddled through it and he was trained before our daughter was born. Phew. It made life much easier for us. I think he had day-time one accident after she was born which was understandable given all the changes going on.

Important: When someone says their kid is potty-trained they usually mean during the day hours when they are awake. Before starting the process I kept thinking “Wow that kid is only 2 and she’s potty trained…even when she naps and sleeps?” In 90% (unscientific generalization on my part) they still wear a diaper or Pull-Up at night and/or nap. Our son was not night potty trained until just after he turned 4.  We put him in underwear the night of his 4th birthday.  A couple of accidents later, he was done and we haven’t looked back!

So our daughter looks like she might figure out the whole pee pee thing in a few weeks but we’re still working on the poo poo part. She just won’t tell us when it’s happening. You have to be right there and see the look on her face and rush her to the potty just in time. She’ll go when she’s there but she won’t tell us before hand. If she’s quiet for too long, I ran frantically around the house to find her to see if she’s in progress. :-)

Also, she will just sit on the toilet to sit there, laugh, and pull the toilet paper out. Our son would sit there (and pull the toilet paper out) but 95% of the time something came out!  I actually purchased one potty book when we were training him and found the techniques the author presented to be very useful. In particular, we picked a book he liked to be his potty book (which happened to be Who Lives in the Pond – baby einstein book), and we read it when he sat on the toilet.  However, she wasn’t too into that book or others.  Although we bought one of those small potties, we barely used it because it’s not pleasant cleaning it up.  See link to the toilet training book below:

I hope our luck holds out with our daughter with regards to potty training. The process further goes to show that every child is different. If you have any ideas to share, please feel free to leave a comment.

Author: | Filed under: baby tips, toddler tips | Tags: , , | 4 Comments »

Reducing the Amount of Spit-Up: Baby Tip by Babble Soft
Sep 20 2007

So now that I’ve changed the name of the blog to entrepreMusings, how do I fit in baby tips?  I have a lot of readers who search for baby tips and kid stuff so it will be interesting to see if that changes over time.  I’m still shocked that my top viewed posts are on planning my son’s Transformer themed birthday party having close to 1,000 combined views already!  There has been only one post that had more views in a single day than those two posts and that was the one I did on Oprah and Obama, but it was only the top post for one day.  Go figure!

Since I am babbling about business, babies, and parenthood, those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship/business but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies.  For those who have babies and are in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and have no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know in business and encourage them to have a baby. As you know, it will change their lives! :-)

babytipteetherWe were blessed with two kids who were pretty good spitter uppers…our son more so than our daughter.  If scary, eerie music had started playing in our house when they spit up, I would have been looking for a nearby exorcist. :-)

Both of our kids also had ear infections and our daughter more so than our son (or maybe she just got them back-to-back…my memory is starting to fade on that particular torture).  Of course our parents swore we never had ear infections growing up yet the doctor’s told us ear infections had a strong genetic tie.  Anyhoo, I digress.  I’ll do a tip on ear infections in the future.  Here are some ideas that we tried that may help you bring down the amount of new baby spit-up a notch in your house:

  1. I’m sure you have all heard this before but try very hard to get baby to BURP after each feeding and even during a feeding.  If you are breastfeeding, feed on one side then burp him, then feed on the other.  If you are bottle feeding feed them a little, burp them, feed them some more, burp them, etc., etc.  The biggest cause of spitting up is a gas bubble in your baby’s tummy.
  2. Feed your baby while he is sitting upright.  Keep him upright for 20 or so minutes after feeding as well.  This will help keep his stomach elongated and reduce the amount of potential gas bubbles.
  3. Sometimes baby just has a mild digestive issue (warning: consult your doctor please) and if so putting some acidophilus (the stuff that’s in yogurt) in her bottle or on the breast might ease a bit of her issues.
  4. You can try gas drops like Mylicon (generic brands at Target, Walgreen’s, etc. are significantly cheaper and have the exact same ingredients) but we found that we gave the drops to them more because the action of doing so made us feel useful, but honestly it didn’t seem to do much other than that.  It just gave us another discussion item regarding ‘why just spent money on something that didn’t work but at the same time made us feel useful.
  5. Check out the information at Medline Plus (they have pictures) and kellymom for more detailed information and other ideas on how to address spitting up and reflux in a baby.

For those of you who don’t have babies or have not had kids yet, just be glad I did not include any pictures of babies spitting up…it’s not a pretty sight. :-)  

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Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to babblesoft blogger for possible inclusion. Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and a link back to their site!

Author: | Filed under: baby care, baby tips | Comments Off