Step by step: how to bathe my baby?

Bathtime is a great way to transition from day to night. Doing it at the same time each day will help teach your baby that bedtime will soon come. Likewise, bathtime should be a quiet and relaxing time that slows the pace from the day’s activity and prepares your child for sleep. Below are some tips and steps you can take to successfully bathe your little one:

• Choose where you will bathe your baby. It can be in the kitchen sink, the bathroom sink, or in a portable bath tub placed on a flat and safe surface. It’s best to choose a place that allows you to be in a comfortable position and at the height of your little one, this way you can provide greater security. If you choose the sink, be sure it’s large enough so your baby doesn’t get hurt. Similarly, be sure it’s very clean to avoid contaminating or irritating your child’s skin.

• Pour 5 centimeters of water in the portable tub or sink at a warm and pleasant temperature. Use your elbow to check the temperature and modify accordingly. If the water is too hot it can burn your baby’s skin; be careful that it does not exceed 40 degrees Celsius (100 F).

• Meanwhile, prepare the things you’ll need and place them near you:

  • Unscented baby soap
  • Pitcher or cup to pour water
  • Delicate cloth
  • Hooded towel
  • New diaper and clean clothes.

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My baby’s first sponge bath

During your baby’s first weeks of life, when he still has his umbilical cord stump attached, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends bathing your baby with a sponge bath. To learn how to proceed, follow these instructions and you’ll be an expert in no time:

  • Make sure the room where you’ll bathe your baby is at a comfortable temperature.
  • Prepare all the necessary materials: basin with warm water, gentle baby soap and shampoo (optional), a delicate wash cloth, cotton balls, a soft towel with a hoodie, a new diaper, and clean clothing.
  • Before you begin, gently narrate every step you take to help keep your baby calm during his bath.
  • Undress your baby, but leave the diaper on, wrap him with the towel, and lay him over a safe surface.
  • Head: dampen his hair and add a bit of soap or baby shampoo. Softly massage the scalp and rinse thoroughly, being careful not to expose his eyes to soap.
  • Face: take a cotton ball, dip it in clean water and softly wipe one of your baby’s eyes from the tear duct out. Then, grab a new cotton ball and do the same with the other eye. For the rest of the face, take the wash cloth and delicately clean it starting with the nose mouth and chin all the way out to the ears.
  • Neck and chest: Take the wash cloth, water and a bit of soap and clean the neck and chest making sure to thoroughly clean the folds and creases.
  • Abdomen: gently wash your baby’s abdomen with the wash cloth. When you reach the umbilical cord stump, switch to a damp cotton ball free of soap, gently clean the stump and let air dry completely.
  • Arms: wipe one arm at a time and be sure to clean each hand with soap.
  • Back: place your baby on his belly making sure his cheek lies comfortably on the surface. With the damp cloth softly clean his back.
  • Legs: clean each leg with soap and cloth making sure not to forget the area behind the knees and between each fold. If your baby moves his legs, don’t worry, gently talk to him.
  • Diaper area: take a cotton ball and clean the area without soap. If your baby is a girl make sure to wipe from front to back. If your baby is a boy, clean between folds, the scrotum and penis without moving the foreskin (skin at the tip of the penis) back. If your child is circumcised follow your doctor’s specific instructions.
  • All done! Your baby is nice and clean, make sure his whole body is completely dry. To do this gently pat him dry with the towel. Place a new diaper and clean clothes on your baby’s body and continue with your daily routine.

Remember, babies do not need to be bathed daily. Talk to your pediatrician about bathtime and ask him or her about soap and shampoo use.

Care and cleaning of cuts and scratches

Cuts and scrapes in young children are fairly common. If your little one falls down and cuts himself there is no need to panic. Most cuts are superficial and minimally harm the outer layer of skin. When this occurs a hug, kiss, and proper cleanliness of the affected area with soap and water, is the best way to console your toddler.

In some cases, a fall or sharp object might provoke a deeper cut. If this occurs, remember to stay calm. The following tips will help you care for the cut properly while identifying if there is need to contact your doctor or go to the emergency room.

What to do?

  • Apply pressure to the affected area to stop the bleeding. Certain body parts are more prone to bleed (for example, the head) and require applying pressure for 10 minutes.
  • After applying pressure, thoroughly wash the cut with soap and warm water.
  • If you consider it necessary, apply an antibiotic cream recommended by your doctor to the cut.
  • Cover the cut/scratch with an adhesive bandage or gauze if needed.
  • If the wound is large or gets dirty, clean it every day, apply ointment and cover with a new bandage/gauze.
  • When a scar forms, leave it to heal without cover.

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How to help my little one take medicines that taste bad?

We’ve all taken medications that make us grimace! Even as adults we don’t like to take them, so imagine children! Despite their terrible flavor we cannot avoid them. Sometimes they are necessary for our health. Here we will talk about our favorite tips to help you make this moment a little less stressful.

  • Begin by telling your child you love him very much and that you’re giving him this medication to make him feel better. Explain in simple terms why medicines are important and how they destroy viruses that make us sick and feel bad. Admit that they don’t taste very good and that you understand him.
  • Give your child a popsicle to numb his mouth and provide a good taste in his mouth. He can taste the popsicle, take the medicine and keep enjoying the popsicle afterwards.
  • Store the medication in the fridge to administer the medicine cold; it helps to reduce some of its bad taste.
  • You can channel your inner Mary Poppins and give him a spoonful of sugar after the medication or with the medication.
  • Sit with your little one, caress him, and give him the medicine slowly.
  • If your child needs to chew a pill you can crush it and give it to him on a spoon with ice cream, chocolate syrup, honey, maple syrup, or any other food that doesn’t require chewing. It’s recommended to give him a few tablespoons of the food on its own first. Tell your little one to pass it without chewing, so he will have sufficient practice for when you give him the spoonful with medicine.
  • Give him a sweet after the medicine to reduce the aftertaste.
  • Prepare a glass of milk, chocolate milk, juice, or any drink he likes; he can take it right after the medicine.
  • You can choose to give the medicine slowly in a syringe instead of a spoon. This way you can see which way he prefers to take it. If you put the syringe to the bottom of his cheek, he may swallow the medicine easily. Try to avoid ejecting the medicine at the back of his throat to prevent nausea or suffocation.

Remember that sometimes it’s difficult to take medication. Sometimes, despite all attempts, young children won’t take it. If this is the case, don’t forget to show empathy. Tell your child that you understand him and apologize for the bad taste. Don’t try to trick him or become frustrated; instead use love and praise his courage. Explain the reason why he has to take the medicine, and acknowledge his efforts. If your child still resists, you’ll have to give the medication by opening his mouth and inserting medicine gently, pointing the liquid to the cheek and not directly to his throat to avoid choking. Don’t forget that you can stir it with something sweet or a stronger taste to disguise it. Finally, do not forget to contact your doctor if you need further help, he or she can help you identify what is best for your child.

How to reassure my baby after a vaccination?

Despite being extremely important and necessary, vaccines are painful and can increase anxiety in your child. The pain is such that you will notice that most babies end up crying inconsolably after the doctor’s visit. What can you do to comfort your baby after his vaccines? Here are some tips:

  • Wrap your baby in a blanket; place him on his side or on his back and quietly rock him back and forth to provide comfort.
  • If your baby uses a pacifier, give it to him as suction provides comfort.
  • You can give your child a small dose of sugared water before an injection; studies have shown that it decreases pain after vaccination.
  • Breast milk also helps. In fact, babies who are exclusively breastfed are less likely to suffer from fever after an injection.
  • Talking calmly to your baby before and after the injection is also very beneficial. Explain to him calmly that injection is for his own good, to keep him healthy, and because you love him very much.
  • Hug him and embrace him. This is an excellent opportunity to cuddle with him and show him all your love.
  • Use his favorite toy to distract him.
  • Breathe deeply together. Hold your child to your chest and breathe deeply to convey your calmness.
  • Ask your doctor about anesthetic cream. If he recommends one, it must be applied before the vaccine, since it will take about an hour to start working.
  • At home, gently move his leg or arm (depending on where the injection was administered) to reduce pain.
  • Massage the skin around the area of injection to distract him from the pain.
  • Don’t forget to praise your baby for his courage; positive reinforcement is very important.
  • If your baby suffers from a fever after his vaccines, remember to follow your doctor’s instructions. Most likely, he’ll give him paracetamol or ibuprofen to reduce fever or pain.

That itches! Treating insect bites

Insect bites usually cause an immediate reaction that makes your skin itch. This occurs when the insect bites the skin and sucks a little blood from the body. The insects that can bite us include mosquitoes, fleas and bedbugs. The mosquito bite causes a small red swelling in the affected area. Fleas and bedbugs can cause inflammation or even a blister in sensitive children. Now, the good news is that these insect bites can be treated at home. Below are various treatments you can apply.

Home Treatment

  • Apply a mix of baking powder with water or calamine lotion on the swollen area.
  • If it is a bedbug bite and it causes severe itching, ask your doctor whether you can apply 1% hydrocortisone cream (sold without prescription).
  • Encourage your child not to scratch by distracting her; scratching can hurt the skin and make it more prone to infection.

Bite Prevention

  • Apply insect repellent moderately on exposed skin or on clothing when going out.
  • Be sure to use a repellent containing 30% DEET or less if you’re applying directly on the skin. This type of repellent has been approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics to be used on children who are at least 2 months of age.
  • Try not to apply it on her hands if she sucks her thumb.
  • Only apply repellent on exposed skin, but don’t apply it near her eyes or mouth.
  • Don’t apply repellent on skin rashes or burns.
  • If you have pets, be sure they don’t have fleas.

Ouch! Treating wasp or bee stings

Most of the time, insect stings instantly cause a skin reaction, causing painful red swelling on the affected area. A wasp or bee sting hurts because their venom is injected into the skin. Although the pain is uncomfortable, most of the time it can be treated at home with the exception of an unexpected allergic reaction. Find out how to treat and prevent these painful stings.

Allergic reaction

First and foremost, it is very important to know that for some children might have an allergic reaction to insect bites. Contact your doctor or emergency number immediately if:

  • Your little one cannot breathe or swallow (call emergency number).
  • If he is covered, or starts to get covered with red bumps.
  • Has 10 or more bites.
  • The bee or wasp stung him inside the mouth.
  • If you think your son needs to be checked out. Continue reading

Ouch! Treatment for painful insect bites or stings

Insect bites or stings, like those of ants, certain caterpillars and centipedes, cause the skin to swell and itch, it can be painful and uncomfortable. Find out how to treat and prevent these painful bites.

At-home Treatment

  • Rub the affected area with a cotton swab and apply a mixture of baking soda and water for 10 minutes.
  • If the pain and inflammation persists, if your doctor has indicated that your little one can take it, you can give her a dose of ibuprofen to reduce the symptoms.

Bite and Sting Prevention

  • If you see an anthill, don’t let your little one near it, and explain that she should not approach it.
  • Also talk to your little one about centipedes and certain types of caterpillars that could be in your area, so that she learns they can sting and should not touch them.
  • Remember to use insect repellent on exposed skin when you go outside. Apply a repellent approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics (these contain 30% DEET or less). Avoid applying repellent on your little one’s hands, eyes or mouth.
  • You can also apply insect repellent on your little one’s clothes so that she is even more protected.

Bumps and bruises

At this stage of development your child’s life involves a lot of movement. Any space is like an amusement park and she is ready to play! Since her gross motor skills continue improving and she won’t stop exploring around, the bumps and bruises will be very common and hard to avoid. Here are a few tips to help you take care of your little one’s inevitable bumps and bruises.

How do I take care of a bump or bruise?

Most bruises are not painful and usually heal with time, on their own. With bruises, bleeding occurs under the skin and therefore there is no risk of infection, but it may require care in the early stages, especially if your little one is in pain. As they heal, bruises change color and are less and less painful. If it’s red it may be more painful to the touch, but as it becomes purple or blue, and finally transitions to become green or yellow, pain will diminish. If your little one is uncomfortable, relieve inflammation with the following steps:

  1. Apply a cold compress, frozen product pack, or an ice bag over the bruise for about 10-15 minutes. At the same time, distract your little one cuddling with her and even telling her a story.
  2. If your little one is still in pain, apply a little anti-inflammatory ointment over the affected area. Ask your doctor for an ointment recommendation, and keep it at home.
  3. If the bruise is large, place a warm cloth over it 48 hours after applying the cold compress.
  4. Bruises heal by themselves in about 2-4 weeks; they’ll go through the entire range of colors as they heal.
  5. Finally, keep in mind that children look towards us after a stumble to see our reaction. Try to remain calm and respond according to the situation. This way, your little one will feel safe and won’t be frightened. The best remedy for any bump or bruise is love; give your little one lots of hugs and kisses.

When should I contact my doctor?

Contact your doctor if your little one hit her head hard, if she fell from a particularly high place, or if the accident was of greater impact. Contact your pediatrician if:

  • The blow to the head has caused a bruise behind the ears or you think your little one might have a fractured skull.
  • If the pain is strong and persists for more than 24 hours, even without touching the affected area.
  • If your child has stopped using the body part where she hit herself and can’t move it.
  • If the bruise seems unusual.

Finally, remember that tumbles are natural and most of the time harmless, so keep calm and trust your instincts to ensure your child’s well-being. Also remember that if the fall caused a scrape, it’s important to clean the area with warm water and then use soap on the area around the cut.

Help, my baby is a picky eater!

If you have a child older than 12 months of age, you may notice that his appetite has decreased, his food choices have become selective, and he gets fussy when eating. This is very common and usually occurs when little ones begin to acquire and desire independence. Also, the major growth spurt little ones go through during their first year of life is beginning to decelerate. For this reason, some days you might notice your baby eats well and others, it seems as if he doesn’t eat anything at all. You may believe that your little one is very fussy; however, most of the time it’s just that his interest lies in playing and exploring, rather than on food. His decrease in the rhythm of growth and his interest in play are not the only factors that cause children to be picky. Researchers in psychology and nutrition have identified that genes may also play a role in food rejection. The fear of trying new foods may be due to the temperament of your child; however, this doesn’t mean that the behavior can’t be modified. So what should you do? First of all, take a deep breath and follow the next 11 tips to ensure that mealtime doesn’t become a battleground. Continue reading