Soon after many couples find out there is a baby on the way preparations start for the perfect nursery. If you love design and shopping it can be tons of fun (especially with a large budget) if you aren’t into searching the web or the baby retail store for ideas it can seem very overwhelming. My work as a night nanny and infant consultant has given me the opportunity to work in several baby nurseries over the past several years. When we found out early this year that we were going to need a nursery at our own place I immediately began to start looking for ideas and I knew right away that it would require a few key elements which many new parents overlook while they are busy picking paint colors and bedding.
Our nursery is very close to complete and will have a few final touches added once we find out if a boy or a girl will be joining us (Some pops of purple for a girl, and some lime green for a boy). We have done the near impossible and waited to find out what the gender is which can make doing a room even more of a challenge in some ways. We are so happy with the way our space has turned out and I hope that you will be able to more easily do your babies room, or add to it with some of these suggestions.
My list of must haves: Black out curtains or blinds, video monitor, sound machine, comfortable chair and ottoman, and storage.
Our room features: cool gender neutral colors that accommodate our style and go with colors that are in the rest of our home, wall decal set of birch trees, birds, and two fawns ordered from etsy.com (this completely made our room into the look and feel that it is. Easy to do and no need for a lot of expensive art work or wall hangings), a crib and mattress given to us from a friend, a Craig’s list changing table with storage that we gave a face lift to (we have never been afraid of DIY projects), baskets and IKEA storage that we repurposed from our former office, a comfortable and stylish swivel glider chair and ottoman (which was our splurge for the room) and one of my favorites, black out blinds that a friend volunteered to help with after I searched for the perfect fabric and color (I was picky) and came up with nothing! (Purchased black out fabric, and the grey fabric from Hobby Lobby for around $65 and I have 3 panels to cover my corner window).
A few considerations: A nursery should serve the purpose of a peaceful, sleep inducing space for your child. This is where baby will often be fed, soothed, and sleep the majority of the time. It often isn’t where children play, especially in the first year. Bright spaces, bold colors, mobiles, lights and music, toys and other distractions aren’t necessary to complete your baby’s nursery. Natural light is always good, but have a way to block it out especially during the summer. Colors and patterns are fun but a room as bright as the sun or as bold as a rainbow can be a lot. Have fun and enjoy the process of putting your space together. It will be a relaxing and inviting space that you will cherish time spent with your baby!
Are parents and caregivers possibly hurting babies when they swaddle them? Swaddling infants has been used for centuries as a way to sooth babies and recreate the womb environment they are used to. Often babies sleep better and more soundly while swaddled and it makes putting a baby to sleep on their back a more comfortable position for them. However, when it isn’t done correctly (too tight, too loose, or too thick and warm of blanket) it can have negative effects. I specifically have met with each nanny on my team to ensure that they are confident in the correct swaddling technique and we also teach parents of newborns correct swaddle technique. MMEZ has successfully swaddled dozens of babies. After two California caregivers were arraigned on child abuse charges for improper swaddling, the topic is receiving some negative press. It is worth noting that “Social services discovered the inappropriate swaddling, along with multiple licensing violations, during an unannounced visit” to the facility where they were working.
However, as even the American Academy of Pediatrics will state : “when done correctly swaddling can help calm babies and help them sleep better.” So lets teach ourselves, and others how to do it CORRECTLY instead of tossing the whole idea out altogether. There are any number of baby gadgets, equipment, and toys that we use for our infants which come with directions, or a number to call for questions so that it can use used properly and safely…this is no different.
It is every parent and caregiver’s worst fear: to come upon an infant that isn’t breathing. Unfortunately it happens hundreds of times each year and while some babies are able to be revived, others aren’t. There are various causes for why this may happen, some are known, others are not. “Sleep deaths (from SIDS and suffocation) continue to be the #1 infant killer (between 1-12 months).”
Dr. Harvey Karp is well known for his work in the area of newborn and toddler care. His work is well respected and something that Multiples Made EZ, LLC practices and teaches willing parents about. I have witness first hand the impact his teachings can have on newborns and their tired parents. In this article Dr. Karp addresses the simple steps that parents can take to make sure their infant is as safe as possible while sleeping.
Please Click Here to read the entire article.
In recent weeks my attention has come back around to the topic of probiotics. Commonly infant constipation, diarrhea or suspected formula sensitivity is what prompts the conversation and this case was no different. In working with many families over the years I am always surprised at the lack of information given to parents about probiotics for use in the whole family. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that are found in the digestive track naturally and help keep various functions of your body in balance. Commonly people hear probiotics and think yogurt which is true but there is more to it than yogurt.
Probiotics in food products or baby formula are good but should be thought of as a bonus, not your primary source. The amounts are often far too small to make an impact and lose potency during transport (almost all probiotic supplements must be kept refrigerated to maintain potency but there are a few that are shelf stable). I encourage all adults and parents to consider adding a probiotic supplement to your families’ health regime. It helps the immune system and can be a great preventative measure to help your body fight off sickness especially during fall and winter.
A couple of general guidelines when shopping for a quality probiotic are:
1. Multiple strains of bacteria (never purchase a probiotic with less than 4 strains)
2. Check the label to see if it includes a FOS. (Prebiotic)
3. Check that a serving contains at least: 3 billion CFU for infants, 3 billion for children, 5 billion or more for adults
The more strains and the more CFU (colony forming units) per serving the more it will cost but depending on your current health and other factors it may be worthwhile. Expect to pay around $15-30 for most probiotics.
Adult probiotics are usually a capsule you take orally , children’s are generally a chewable or powder, and infants are a powder that dissolves in milk or baby food.
There is a variety of products available and while I am happy to give you suggestions about what I have personally used I do not exclusively endorse any brand. While very few medical doctors will suggest a probiotic I have rarely come across those who are against their use. It is always good to discuss specific health concerns with a qualified health professional if you are unsure.
Please click here to read the article from Parents Magazine and learn more about probiotics.
Please note: The contents of this commentary are that of the author and are meant to be educational. The author does not intend to diagnose, prescribe for or cure any condition.
Many people will acknowledge the need for proper feeding and sleeping schedules for infants but often they overlook the true sleep needs of a toddler. Sleep is a somewhat individualized requirement but there are certainly guidelines to follow and better yet, results to consider. It’s common that I have moms of babies I have worked with tell me that their baby is like a new child after they implemented an age appropriate nap and sleep schedule. Often babies who develop good sleep habits and patterns turn into toddlers who have the same. Some parents think that their infant who doesn’t sleep well will mysteriously turn into an older infant or toddler who will…this isn’t usually the case. Of course there are the fortunate few who have their child’s sleep issues resolve with no real effort on their part but this is the rare case and not the usual sequence of events.
If you have a baby right now or are about to I encourage you to start early working with your infant to meet their sleep needs. If your baby has already turned into a young toddler it isn’t too late but it can be a bit more challenging to change the habits and patterns of a toddler than to guide an infant to an age appropriate sleep schedule.
It’s a question that most parents struggle with. When it comes time to teach your baby to fall asleep alone and sleep at night without your continued rocking, bottle feeding, etc. how is the “best” way to do it? Fortunately Multiples Made EZ has had experience helping parents establish timely and healthy sleep habits for infants so that this process involves minimal crying. In fact there are some infants who are able to fall asleep alone with NO CRYING after their parents have been taught a few sleep training tactics and they have practiced them regularly. When sleep training is started too young it is ineffective and when it is started too late it becomes more challenging and usually takes longer. The good news is that even with some crying involved there is not thought to be any negative side effects for your infant according to the study and the result is likely to be a better rested mom and baby!
Click here to read the article and study!