How often to bathe a newborn baby?

Bathing a newborn could be an appalling experience. Your baby may not prefer it, either. With a little preparation, you would both begin to have a more pleasant feel at bath time. You should immediately begin to learn baby shower basics.

How regularly should you bath newborn?

You need not bath your newborn daily. You can make them have a bath three times a week. This might be enough until your baby grows further mobile. Bathing your baby too often could easily dry out his or her skin. Change the diapers when it filled up and clean the area that requires much attention. You can simply wipe the whole body and diaper parts for better freshness.

When should you bathe your baby?

The choice is up to you. You can choose a time while you are not hurried or possibly be disturbed or interrupted. Some parents prefer morning baths since their babies would be alert. Others would make their baby take a bath at night as a part of a quiet bedtime ritual. Do not try to bathe your infant immediately after feeding and it is better to wait for your baby’s stomach to settle a little first.

How about a sponge bath?

Many Pediatricians recommend sponge baths until the umbilical cord stump drops off and this might take one or two weeks. You should follow the following steps to give a sponge bath to your baby.

  • First of all, you need to have a warm and flat-surfaced place such as a bath area or long table, or firm bed. These places would work perfectly for a sponge bath. You can also use a blanket or towel on the floor and even the pad hard surfaces with a blanket or towel will be enough to have a sponge bath.
  • The next step is to spread out soft blanket, towel or changing pad and make your baby lie on it.
  • You should certainly keep your one hand free and hold your baby on the other hand. If you use a changing table, then you should use the safety strap.
  • You should make a sink or simple plastic basin for holding the water. You can also run warm water into the plastic basin or sink. Do not forget to check the temperature of the water with your bare hand and you should make sure that it is not too hot.
  • You should keep all the essential supplies right nearby you and prefer best body wash for baby. You should collect all the baby cloths and towels that are required frequently. Take the bathing things such as baby wash, soap, a new diaper and changing clothes.

The first step to be followed while making your baby take bath is to take their clothes off. Then, gently cover a baby into any soft cloth. You should lay your baby on his or her back in the prepared place for taking bath. You should just try to keep your baby warm. You must only try to expose the baby’s body parts that you are about to wash and clean. The next step is to wet the washcloth thoroughly and strain out excess water. Take the washcloth to wipe your baby’s face. Slowly wipe each eyelid right from the corners of inside to the outside. You can clean your baby’s body by using plain water or a mild, moisturizing soap. You should pay special care to tucks under the arms, back ears, around the neck as well as in the diaper area. Additionally, you should wash your baby’s fingers and toes thoroughly.

What should I wash first?

Most parents begin with the baby’s face and clean down the dirtier parts of the body. This retains cleaned areas with soapy water again. If your baby has hair and if you think it requires washing, then you can go ahead with it. You need to gently massage your baby’s whole body with a drop of body wash. You need to cover your babe’s head with your hand and pour the water slowly in order to protect their eyes and to keep suds out of it. You can also use best body wash for baby for complete freshness.

A Prayer for Coffee: How to Avoid Tossing your Child Out the Window

Four years ago, during Lent, I quit carbonated beverages and searched for a healthy alternative, so I ordered McDonald’s coffee on the way to work and loaded it with cream and sugar. I purchased the largest cup available and forced it down my throat. The cheap coffee jolted me through the front door of my workplace. Eventually, I upgraded to sophisticated coffee, but more on that later.

I need you to know:  coffee has become my friend, addiction, and hobby, but mostly it keeps me from tossing my toddler out the window.  I need it.  I cling to it.  Without it, I am a mess.  If you are the parent of a small child, YOU need coffee too.

Following the birth of my son, coffee became a way of life.

“Dada,” he yells. My eyes struggle to focus in the dark room.  Henry sits erect in the bed like a meerkat on watch.  He jerks his finger through the air and repeats my name. I need to file a sleep extension, but that ain’t gonna happen. He’s awake, so I’m awake.  It’s 5:30a.m. I need coffee.

Before rising, I offer my daily prayer. God, grant me the coffee I need to keep my toddler son alive, courage to make it through this day, and wisdom to order more coffee. Amen.

I need prayer.  And I need coffee.  I need both before and after the day unravels.  If you are the parent of a small child, YOU need the Almighty and coffee in your corner.  I repeat:  you need high-octane java to propel you through the day, especially when your toddler bites you on the inner thigh like a rapid dog.

In case you are struggling with your need for coffee, allow me to provide YOU, a sleep-deprived parent of a small-child, a few examples of when you need a cup of joe:

1.  You repeatedly get on the subway going the wrong direction.  Been there, done that.

2.  You pour breast milk in your cereal.

3.  You decide to take your dog to the ground floor of your building for a pee break, and find yourself in the elevator holding your baby and a leash with no canine attached.

4.  In mid-sentence, you find yourself struggling to remember a basic word like fork.

5.  When you find yourself dazed on aisle 4 of the grocery store, and you snap awake on your feet but have no clue what you were trying to find.

When you decide to quit life, coffee is your best option.  It’s a necessity for toddler supervisors.  Let me break down our morning ritual for you (yes, I said our ritual because my toddler participates).

Henry and I take the grinder apart and empty the stale, trapped grounds.  I brush it clean.  The scale turns on, so I push the tare button.  I measure twenty-six grams of beans and let Henry dump them into the top of the grinder.  They grind to sand-like powder, while Henry, my Jedi apprentice, hangs on my hip and motions towards the kettle.  We fill the silver kettle with filtered water and set the stovetop to high heat.  My favorite part comes next. I remove the plastic tray containing the fresh grounds and place it under my nose.  I inhale.  Henry pulls the tray towards his nose, breathes deeply, and yells.  “The Force is with you young Skywalker, but you are not a Jedi yet,” I say.  I don’t want him getting cocky.

The steam pushes the lid off the silver kettle.  I grab it from the stove and pour water into a red funnel resting on a glass coffee pot.  I pour enough to saturate the grounds, which leads to a magical dance between the grounds and water, until a mushroom-shaped bubble forms and collapses.  It’s time to pour 400 grams of water in a slow, circular motion.  This is what my wife means by obsession.  The steaming coffee moves through the paper filter and drips into the pot.  My work is done. We observe the coffee collect in the pot.  Henry grows restless.  “Patience you must have my young padawan,” I remind him.

I drink coffee at 5:30a.m.  Mid-morning, I drink it during Sesame Street.  In the afternoon, I drink it when I lose momentum.  On the worst days, I wish I could hook myself to a coffee IV.

8 Things NOT to Say to a Stay-at-Home Dad

Stay-at-home dads receive peculiar comments. Why? In the minds of many people, we remain a new concept. Despite a significant increase in men choosing to provide full-time care for their children, we are at odds with mainstream gender role expectations.  The comments and questions we encounter range from innocent to insulting. It never fails at the playground, grocery store, or doctor’s office someone will offer their opinion. To be fair, there are many people, especially women, who praise our efforts, but there are more who question our status.

I want to help my fellow dudes by sharing eight things not to say to a stay-at-home dad. This is not an exhaustive list. Actually, it’s only the beginning.

8. Does your wife wear the pants in your family? Choosing to stay at home does not mean I surrender power in my marriage. My wife and I understand marriage as a partnership, which means both of us wear the pants. If truth be told, as a stay-at-home dad, I rarely wear pants, unless I am leaving my home. My son and I spend the morning in our underwear. My son probably thinks his father only wears pants after noon. If this means others believe my wife wears the pants in the family, I’m comfortable with that because she literally does.

7.  Did you lose your job? So, it’s hard for you to imagine a man choosing to stay at home. You assume I was forced into this situation because I got fired, laid off, or proved generally incompetent in the workplace. Allow me to offer you a thought:  if you can’t fathom a man choosing to stay at home to care for his children, perhaps, you hold a narrow understanding of fatherhood. Bear in mind, masculinity is not determined by employment. Stay-at-home dads are dudes whether they are employed or not. Please don’t assume we are inadequate employees.

6. Are you trying to be unconventional? No, I’m not attempting to make a statement on gender roles. I am doing, at the moment, what makes sense for my family. While my wife is a great mother, my temperament is better suited to stay at home. I am content with the intense, yet unstructured, life of a stay-at-home parent. From early morning until late afternoon, I patiently endure blocks thrown at my head, yogurt spit on my face, tiny fingers in my belly button, and naptime battles, while resisting the urge to thrown my son out the window. I don’t need a medal, but it would be nice if you gave me a badge to wear on my sleeve.

5.  “When are you getting a real job?” Seriously? Have you spent more than ten minutes with a toddler? Since you asked this question, I’m guessing you haven’t because monitoring a toddler all day long equals pure exhaustion. Parenting small children is the toughest job and it comes with no salary or benefits. If they choose to skip their nap, prepare for hell.

4.  “Do you feel weird allowing your wife to be the breadwinner?” Listen here:  the 1950’s called and they want their gender roles back. If you are threatened by a woman earning more income than you, that is your problem, not mine. Real dudes do what is in the best interest of their family, not their ego.

3.  “Are you babysitting ?” This question makes me want to thump you on the forehead. Please stop asking it. You would never ask a woman my age that question. I’m parenting my child, a responsibility required of every father, whether stay-at-home or not. Babysitting is what sixteen-year-olds do for gas money. Just no.

2.  “Are you Mr. Mom?” No, I am not Mr. Mom. That title was funny twenty years ago, but now it’s dumb. I am a dude, not a woman. As a stay-at-home dad, I don’t need to alter my gender in order to want to care for my children. Stop asking that question.

1.  “You must have a lot of free time. Do you watch TV all day?” I watch an hour of TV most days with my toddler son. At the moment, we are watching season two of True Detective, season four of Game of Thrones, and season one of House of Cards. Actually, my television consists of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Curious George, and Sesame Street. I can tell you the letter of the day, but that is about it regarding television. During the first year of my child’s life, the only free time I had during the day was nap time, which meant I crashed on the couch to regain my sanity.

Next time someone asks why I am a stay-at-home dad, I’m going give them my friend and fellow stay-at-home dad’s standard answer: “I retired at thirty-five after winning the lottery.”

Self-Care and Parents of Small Children: The Good, the Bad, and the Sleep Deprived

“How long can this wait?” I ask.  Before answering, she turns off the glaring, operatory light hanging over my face.  Mint rinse lingers on my tongue.

“It can’t. If the infection spreads in your jaw, it can create an abscess,” she responds. Her furrowed brows and stern eyes leave no room for negotiation.

I tighten my grip on the plastic covers of the chair arms, muscles still tense from the metal probes banging against my teeth.  Later, I Google “abscessed tooth.”  I don’t encourage you to do the same, unless you enjoy dental nightmares.

“What are my options?”

“You need a root canal to clean out the infection.  It’s grown for the last six to nine months in your tooth.”  She shows me the x-ray image of my mouth to pinpoint the exact location of the infection.  My untrained eye notices nothing unusual, but she assures me the unfriendly bacteria

I sigh and agree to come back the next week.

Why did I wait over a year to go to the dentist? Considering my history of dental problems it was a poor decision, and the infection in my tooth could have been disastrous.  I cannot play the lack of dental insurance card,  because we have adequate coverage. There is no valid excuse for my lack of self-care.  Actually, there is one excuse.

“You know how it’s easy to ignore your self to focus on caring for your child,” a friend recently said over coffee.  I nodded in solidarity with her struggle.   Yes, I have the root canal to prove it, I thought.

The more I thought about her comment, the more I reflected on the wide gap between the care I provide for Henry, my eighteen-month-old son, and my own standards of self-care.  I approach his daily routine with an intensity I would never focus on myself.  My kid eats well, yet I eat like an animal.  My kid sleeps like a champion, yet I walk the earth like a zombie. My idea of self-care involves the Wendy’s drive-thru on the way home from the playground, or retreating to the bathtub to watch Netflix in the dark.  Please don’t ask me the last time I entered the doors of a gym.

For parents of small children, self-care proves elusive.   We struggle to shower and finish meals, much less find time to care for our own needs.  We relinquished the hope of regular sleep a long time ago.  Friendly warning:  if you mention the topic of self-care to a parent of a small child, you will probably receive an annoyed facial expression.  We are too sleep-deprived for your lectures.

Henry is my best excuse for avoiding the dentist.  The year I ignored my dental issues I was consumed with changing diapers, filling bottles, and begging him to sleep at 3a.m.  Caring for him justifies my neglect, right?  Actually, it doesn’t.  Deep down inside I know using him as an excuse is a cop out.  As much as I want to believe it was noble to neglect myself to meet his needs, my conscious tells me I am not doing anyone a favor with this approach.

I find myself asking what is more beneficial:  a parent who intensely focuses on their child’s routine, habits, and actions, while neglecting themselves, or a parent who gives adequate care and offers a model of self-care for their child to observe.  I believe the latter is the wise investment.

The way we model self-care will teach our children how to care for themselves.  When they are young we can focus intensely on their diets and behavior while neglecting self-care, but eventually they will grow aware of how we care for ourselves and take their cues from our habits.  Putting all of my energy into maintaining unreasonable standards, while neglecting my self, is modeling behavior I don’t want my child to see.  I want him to witness someone who values themselves enough to care for themselves, especially in the most vital ways.

What will my child see?  This is the question bouncing around in my head.

The scary part is how closely our children are watching. Henry is eighteen months old and already in tune with how much time – too much time – I spend using technology.  The way I see him mimicking me using a smartphone amuses and terrifies me.  He watches me down enough coffee to float a battleship, then pretends to make his own coffee and drink it.

I hope to spend my time around Henry with more mindfulness.  Parenting perfection is not my goal and my words are not intended to promote guilt; rather, my aim is at remaining conscious that parenting is a relationship, not a one way street.  My child is a mirror reflecting back to me the areas of my self in need of improvement.  I do my part by not ignoring the mirror’s reflection.