Little baby, big boy

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Hi there! Sorry for these few days of silent, but I had a good excuse! My boy just started school! 🙂 So, today I’m here to share some thoughts with you, maybe the same feelings some of you already experienced one day.

Almost four years ago, I was about to become a mother for the very first time. Since then, so many things happened… The little baby grew… I got pregnant again… Me and my husband decided to move abroad… Our little princess was born… We moved to Luxembourg… and now our boy started preschool… And I realised that my little baby has become a big boy!

First day at the big school was right there. I have to confess something to you: I’m not sure who was more anxious, my boy or myself! At home he complained a lot about going to the new school, but, just a few seconds after seeing the other children, he was already with a smile in his face. The natural curiosity of a little child became stronger and he started exploring the new play room.

Everything is new for me, and even new for us as a family: new country, new friends… A whole new reality to explore. And what about them as children? Being in a new school, getting to know new teachers and new friends, each one speaking a different language with different cultural backgrounds… This mixed feelings are overwhelming, but good and scaring at the same time.

How about you? Do you feel the same? Please share your personal experience.

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Shoes or socks?

Hi! With these rainy days around here, it just came to my mind the image of outdoor activities with kids.

Fortunately there are quite a few places where to take the kids, but there is one simple detail always worring me: my little boy looks like Speedy Gonzales all the time, as he has this endless energy. This is actually a good thing, but also a constant worry, as we never know when he’ll slip on the floor once again.

So, we always use this Decathlon gymn shoes as it seems the very best solution: they are comfortable as if you were wearing a good pair of socks, but at the same time its rubbery sole makes it actually safer, by no doubt. We use it since he started crawling, as there are also smaller ones for babies.

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On the other hand, we also have a very good ‘friend’ when it comes to swimming pools. These old-school beach sandals are a great help to prevent accidents by the swimming pool. Sometimes, simple solutions are the best, right?

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Breastfeeding – Tips for success

Being able to breastfeeding a baby is one the most rewarding things in life a woman can face (besides being a mother, of course!). I really don’t understand how is it possible some mothers simply decide not even try it. It is not only the best nutrition for the baby’s development, but also the best solution for the mother when recovering from the pregnancy. And it is so delicious seeing those little things becoming so relaxing after a good ‘meal’… 😉 Amazing!!

However, I understand that breastfeeding is not always easy and there are some crucial moments when you could face some strong doubts whether to continue or not:

Crucial Moment Number 1: The first moments with my baby. Am I going to be successfull doing it?

> At this point, you should accept all the precious help from the nurses at the hospital. They will be more than happy to help you and your little one at this first steps knowing each other.

> It is perfectly ok if your baby is sleepy. You’ll have to use your imagination to find the best way to awake him in order to breastfeed him every couple of hours.

Crucial Moment Number 2: How can I possibly know the best position to breastfeeding my baby?

> You won’t be able to answer this question from the first moment. Instead, you will learn it, gradually, with your baby. You should simply relax and use a trial-basis approach to each position until you feel you are quite confident doing it.

> Most important of all, you need to be comfortable! As well as your baby, of course!

20121113-144214.jpg Find out more in ABC Parenting

Crucial Moment Number 3. What should I expect from the first days of breastfeeding?

> I think those moments would really depends on each woman’s own experience. And even more between a first and a second baby. However, there are some common ‘stages’:

> Nipple sensitivity is one of those challenging moments. You could use some appropriate cream to moist the area (e.g. Bepanthene Ointment or Uriage Bariéderm). This would minimize cracked nipples or even bleeding.

> By day 3 or 4 after the birth, the milk ‘comes in’. By this time you should feel a heaviness in your breasts (this is quite a phenomenon, it always surprises me!!). Feeding as frequently as possible would be the best solution to avoid more discomfort. Also, a warm shower or hot gel pads would be very helpful.

Crucial Moment Number 4. What to do when I’m feeling exhausted or a lack of confidence?

Even after the first couple of weeks, you’ll feel every now and then a bit of a weakness feeling. It’s perfectly natural that you doubt yourself and your hability to breastfeeding. Most important of all, if you are really into it, and decided to go further, you need to gather all your interior forces and continue. Unless very specific and exceptional medical conditions, your body will continue to produce all the milk your baby asks for. Even when they seem reluctant or a little cruncky, it’s just their own way to grow and adapt to this new environment challenges. Ask for professional help (nurses from the maternity), go to breastfeeding groups (La Leche Legue, for example), talk to other moms…

Breastfeeding is great to every mom who really wants to do it. But of course, if you don’t want to or you don’t feel enough confidence to continue, it’s only up to you and there are lots of formula milk brands to feed your baby. And they will grow healthly anyway. It’s only up to you. Just make sure that you understand that the moment you decide to stop there is no way back…

What about the other moms in the block? Any other good ideas to share?

Going out with kids

Me and my husband are totally oriented to ‘Be Allways in Family’ and ‘Do Everything in Family’. Basically, we go everywhere with our children, except if it is an adult only activity, of course! 🙂

But we have a rule: we won’t tolerate public tantrums! Other people don’t have to be disturbed with our kids, right? So, we continuously do some research and work with our kids in order to find solutions that will better entertain them every time we go out.

In our first weekend out with our boy, we were very anxious as we had no idea of what to expect from his behaviour in outdoors.

He was only 4 months old. Of course we’ve been out with him before, but allways for shorter periods of time, just a few hours to a full day. I planned all the details for days! All the things I would need (and a lot more of unnecessary items, of course!). The best of the best: I was breastfeeding my baby. And, if you are breastfeeding your baby, at least until he is 6 months old, you can go everywhere you want and not worry a bit with his meals! Amazing!

So, this post is dedicated to those who love to go out with their children, and those who want to but are so scared of doing so!

Rule #1: Do Not Stress

If something has to happen, it will happen! No matter what!

I remember once we’ve been out for 2 weeks. Our little Gus was 8 months old. We went on a car trip around the north of Portugal. On the 3rd day, Gus started crying and nothing would stop him, specially at night. We were so embarrassed… And worried…

Tip: Try to calm your child (and yourself)
Firstly, to calm him in public areas, I was allways carrying him in my fantastic baby sling. This, of course, will only works with babies up to 2 years old. 20121011-121545.jpg

If you have a toddler, you should try to comfort him in your arms and a very low tone of voice.

Tip: Try to understand your child
If you have a little baby, check his temperature, his diaper, his clothes… You would find more tips in this post. In our personal episode, we found that our baby started to reach high temperatures, and we needed to see a doctor. It turned out to be an otitis (his first one, just in our vacations!)

If you have a toddler, try to understand if it’s just a tantrum, or if he’s hurt or sick. If you found out it is a tantrum, try to apply Dr Harvey Karp method from ‘The Happiest Toddler on the Block’. I really recommend it!
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Rule #2: Find the best solution to your needs

If you’re planning to go on holidays, try to follow some of the following ideas.

With little babies, you don’t have to worry too much with the hotel infrastructures, as they’ll want to play more in your lap than in a playground! And as you already know, I’m a huge fan of baby slings, so do not forget your babysling! 🙂

With toddlers, it’s really important to have some playgrounds or at least public parcs where they could run freely.
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Don’t forget to bring a ball to play and some beach towels to play in the ground. Also, a soap bubbles toy will entertain them a lot.20121011-122544.jpg

It would help if the hotel/restaurant has a baby corner where you can prepare your baby’s food. It would be even better if the hotel has prepared meals for babies and toddlers! Some years ago, we went on vacations to Italy and stayed at a Club Med. It was the best decision ever, as Gus was only 9 months old and the hotel was full of little details for families with little kids: we had a 24-hour opened room with microwave, sterilizer, yogurts, cookies… At the restaurant, there was a fantastic baby corner with 2 options: daily prepared food for babies up to 1 year or baby canned food. There was also a doctor prepared to attend your kid without additional costs (english/french/german/italian spoken – fantastic!). Not to mention the various adult/kid activities you could choose to do! I’m wondering to have the opportunity to stay at other Club Med again! 🙂

Of course, there are other children-friendly hotels available around the world, and cheaper! Like the ‘Riu’ spanish hotel chain, for example. It’s just a matter of looking around, do some research on the internet, and ask other parents, of course!

Please tell me about your experiences! Have you ever stayed in a really family-friendly hotel you recommend? I’d really like to hearing from you!

Rule #3: Don’t be scared of flying

Travelling by plane isn’t so scared as it my might seem to be. Some years ago, a friend of mine told me about her secret tip: a portable dvd player! 🙂 It was the best tip ever! Gus has travelled a lot by now and fortunately we hadn’t have those incredibly plane tantrums yet. Not even once, when he was a little sick and we had to travel from Menorca to Lisbon (about 2 hours and a half, by plane).20121011-123601.jpg

Rule #4: Having a box of entertaining items ready-to-go

Every child is different, and you have to do your homework and find what best entertain yours. However, there’s some toys that will maintain your kid entertained for once a while. Here are some ideas:

-A colouring book, a chalk board or self-erased board
-Some crayons, wax or chalk pencils
-Stickers
-Little puzzles
-Mini figures of his favourite cartoons20121011-124856.jpg

Calming a baby – Swaddling

One very effective method of calming a baby is to swaddle him. Swaddling consists basically of wrapping your baby in a soft and warm blanket in such a way that his arms are tight but the rest of his little body is comfortable enough to move if needed.

You can also try the new easier solutions to wrap the baby. I’m a huge fan of SwaddleMe. It’s very easy to use, even when the baby is very fussy. My baby girl used it most of the day and especially to sleep, until she was 6 months old.

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However, most of the times, just swaddling isn’t enough. Besides that, you should use the 5 S’s technique defended by Dr. Harvey Karp:
Pediatrician Harvey N. Karp tells parents to use his “Five S’s”—which simulate the womb’s environment—to turn on an infant’s calming reflex and help her sleep longer. Tip: Practice with a doll or sleeping baby.

– Swaddling – Wrap the baby securely in a blanket with his arms tucked inside.

– Side/stomach position – Hold the baby snugly in your arms on his side or stomach.

– Shushing sounds – Make yourself the sound of ‘sush’ or use white-noise machines, humidifiers, fans, vacuums, etc. The shushing should be as loud as the baby’s crying.

– Swinging – Sit yourself, put your baby in his side/stomach position and balance him slightly but effectively, without holding his head (you should just protect his head from balancing too much).

– Sucking – Let your baby suck on your finger or a pacifier.

You may learn more about this technique watching the following video: