Bedtime routine – 3 surefire tips

Bedtime routines are one of the issues that cause the most doubts for parents who come to us.

If, on the one hand, it is commonly accepted that having a routine is good for everyone (parents and babies/children), on the other, many parents struggle with what to do and how to know if the routine they have is the ideal routine for their child.

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After many questions posed to me and Aurora, here you go, 3 surefire tips for your rest and success in the “arduous” task of helping our most loved ones to sleep:

1. Have a stable routine.

A good routine is one that can be applied in 99% of the nights.

This scares many parents, but, to better understand, a routine is a series of recurring activities/actions that are done in the same order. If it is wearing pyjamas, bedtime story and good night kiss it is always pyjamas, story and good night kiss. If the night is at grandfather’s house, the grandfather will start by pyjamas, tell the story and kiss him/her good night. 😉 The child’s/baby’s bedtime routines are not fixed to places or people. But they must have a fixed order of activities. Until they have a fixed routine with good results, avoid exceptions. Be consistent.

2. Promote the appearance of natural sleep before starting the routine.

The outcome of the routine depends more on the existence of natural sleep than on the duration/type of activities of the routine itself.

Starting a routine with no sleep is like starting the party on an empty stomach. The routine should include some care for the child’s environment that favours the appearance of natural sleep, for example, the reduction of ambient and natural light 2 hours before bedtime. (Close blinds, use only weaker lamps and with warm tones (yellow), avoid digital screens without blue radiation filter and with a lot of brightness, etc …)

3. Do not make too many changes to the routine (even when it is not yet properly tuned).

We know that a routine is good (it works) when, regardless of the time it starts, it ends with the same result, that is, a child sleeping peacefully.

Many parents try many different strategies each night, a little out of desperation, perhaps. However, a routine is only a routine when it is stable. And, regardless of age, no more than one slight change to the routine should be introduced every 3 or 4 days, at the risk of causing the opposite effect, which is to let the child agitated and anxious due to the lack of stability brought about by replication of the daily routine. So think carefully before making changes, choose carefully and think long term, but when you do introduce them, be consistent (at least a few weeks) until you see the result.

Adapting to nursery, kindergarten or to daycare

Each child has different needs in terms of adapting to new realities/routines.

Entrance to the nursery/garden /kindergarten is always a source of concern for parents.

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A good option is to plan a few days of adaptation where you stay with him there. Evaluate, for yourself, if he is integrating and help him do it: helping to find toys, showing all the rooms, establishing trusting relationships with caregivers, introducing other children …

Another important aspect is our example: our children react instinctively like ourselves, that is, if we are anxious, they will show signs of anxiety, if we are suspicious of the people who will be their main caregivers, they will not trust those people, etc.

So I recommend that you take a deep breath, trust that it will go well, leave your watch at home on those days (go without schedules to leave or return), focus on your child and help him discover everything! He will give you all the signals you need to assess how you need to plan ahead!

As soon as you see that he is integrated, establish a goodbye routine (kiss and hug, for example) and leave. This may not happen on the first day or the second, but it must happen sometime. Mark at the calendar the deadline, the last day, for him and for you.

Never try to start thinking about leaving if you are not sure that it is the best decision and that you are going to leave (and leave him there). When you start the goodbye routine it should be a point of no return from which you should not hesitate or go back.

When you leave (alone), if your heart gets tight, it’s normal! If you want to cry, cry, throw it all away! Life is made up of stages and this is just one more. Above all, it is very important that you make sure that, deep down, you know that you are doing the best for your child! So prepare yourself and make your own adaptation to the new reality, but without interfering with his (and preferably without him realizing).

Good luck!

Signs that the child is ready to stop using diapers

  • Shows curiosity about using the toilet.
  • She/He wants to go with parents (or caregivers) to the bathroom.
  • Begins to mention when she/he has a dirty diaper.
  • Stop what she/he are doing when are “filling” the diaper.
  • It has the autonomy to fulfill a simple order (ex: Stay seated).

    Does anyone remember any more?
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When is water introduced into babies’ feeding?

As soon as you introduce foods other than milk. If the baby is being breastfed, ensure that the mother stays well hydrated, especially during the hottest days of the year. Up to 6 months, exclusively breastfed babies do not need anything else, not even water.

água
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If the baby is being fed with industrialized milk, ensure that the preparation of the baby is strictly followed by the indication of the amount of water and powder written in the package (do not forget that the measuring spoons must be shallow). You must ensure that you use good quality water and that it is not contaminated.

I suggest it be bottled water, preferably low mineralized (ideal for milk preparation) and balanced with pH 7. In order to avoid problems, the ideal is to vary in the brands, within those that present neutral pH (7), since its constitution in minerals is very varied. I suggest using small bottles to avoid possible contamination over time.

Signs that the child is ready for introducing solids

  • Can sit upright.
  • Lost the extrusion reflex (throw away everything that gets into your mouth).
  • Reached twice the birth weight and 6 months of age.
  • Shows curiosity about everything that comes into the mother’s mouth (or the main reference person).
  • Starts salivating when you see food (solid).

    Any other suggestions?
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Tips for teeth eruption

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Lots of “binkies” (pacifiers) in the freezer! (and change it several times for a cold one…)

P.S. Stay away from healers from the drug store. If it’s too complicated ask for some smoothing gel for teething with chamomile and apply it with your very clean finger and let the baby bite you because it helps relieve the discomfort.

P.P.S. When it is the first tooth it doesn’t hurt to let him/her bite you, with the followings it’s better to give them the teethers. It is also time to stop buying silicone pacifiers or bottle teats and start buying rubber ones (they are more resistant to sharp teeth). There are certain types of silicone that are already resistant to the bite, do not break so easily and are more elastic. If you can pull by the bottle teat/pacifier and stretch it, then this silicone is resistant to teeth. This should not stop you from paying attention to any signs of wear and tear that may occur in the meantime.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The pacifiers must be thoroughly dried before going to the freezer. If they get ice on it they should not be given directly to the baby.

My baby is hungry! (?)

“My baby cries a lot because he’s hungry.”

“He cries after he nursed because he’s hungry.”

“He wakes up every 2 hours because he’s hungry.”

“When I give him a supplement, he sleeps rested because he was VERY hungry!”

Shuné Pottier @ sxc.hu
Photo by Sergiu Vălenaș on Unsplash

Clarification: All babies cry! Crying is the only form of communication they have at their disposal. If we count the hours that we speak or express ourselves by gestures and facial expressions, perhaps the baby does not even cry as much. The baby cries because he is hungry (right) but also because he is too cold/hot, has a dirty diaper, wants attention/rest, or stimuli or is stressed by excessive stimuli. Summing up: it cries for everything and anything else.

Crying after breastfeeding is very common, especially in the more active babies. Just as we do when we eat in a hurry, we delay to feel satiety, so do babies. Between the stomach being full and the brain receiving this information go a few minutes (even 1/2 hour). Therefore, it is not usually a sign of hunger, but rather a sign of too much avidity in breastfeeding.

Breastmilk is the only food your baby is prepared to digest, so it is natural that in 1h30 it has already digested it all and wanted more. Giving supplementation only makes them sleep more because the digestion effort is so high that it ends up giving drowsiness. Realize that it is not a healthy sleep, it is another compulsory siesta so that the baby can digest the artificial milk. The breastfed baby is able to establish better and faster the sleep routine (it is understood to sleep all night) than a baby fed with artificial milk, which alternates between feeding and sleeping naps, day or night.

The hunger/good feeding of babies is not evaluated by crying but by the number of diapers soiled per day and weight gain (whether 5 g / day or 60 g / day, if increased, it’s growing and feeding well). By the way, babies do not always get fat every week, not even in proportion to what they got from food, but to the level of growth at that time. Growth works by peaks and it’s not an exponential increase.

So NO, your baby is NOT HUNGRY!

Maternity Hospital Bag

All Hospitals have the famous list of “what to pack to a hospital birth”. And if it is true that we should always consult the specific list of where we intend to have our child(ren), it is also true that many of these lists need to be properly filtered. Things like knowing whether they supply or we need to bring bath towels, baby sheets, clothing/gown to the birth room, are important to avoid carrying unnecessary items.

However, products like “silicone nipples”, “pacifiers”, “abdominal binder”, which are unnecessary should not even come on the famous lists. However, there is some advice that is not essential at all, but I usually give in my training on the subject and that I share here with you today. 😊

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There is a cosmetic product that should be part of every hospital list for birth but that is often overlooked … the “anti-dark circles”. In the hospital, the ex-pregnant/new mom spends the first of many sleepless nights. Whether it is a labor that occurs and/or lingers through the night, or through alternating and/or simultaneous interminable crying of all babies (including our own) or the cocktail of released hormones they leave you on the alert for any sigh whose volume is higher than the sound of a feather to fall, or simply because we are in contemplation of all the details of our latest masterpiece of art. And, in Motherhood, every day is a photo “to remember later” day, so we do not want to remember also the dark circles and the proof of difficult nights.

And speaking of photographic moments, it never hurts to remember that battery chargers, extra batteries, memory cards and the various accessories needed for proper recording of the time should never be forgotten.

Blood collection kits and/or umbilical cord, if they have made that decision, can not be forgotten. It is from those things that there is only a single moment to be used and there is no return to give in case of forgetfulness.

Food & Beverage. The truth is that “hospital food” is “hospital food” … it is usually insipid and has fixed times (there is no buffet 24/7). However, we have not yet figured out how to schedule (small) birth hours. Therefore, we can even spend several hours in labor and not eating, which does not mean that we will have all the meals that we skipped waiting for us when we go to the hospital room (postpartum). Therefore, speak the voice of experience, take some snacks in the bag, some crackers/cereal bars, some juice/milk and a bottle of water.

Magazines and/or non-maternity books because if it is true that many pregnant women have already “devoured” all the thematic literature existing during pregnancy, it is also true that those first days can give a bump in the impact of becoming a mother and responsible for a new Being that we put in the world. So, to have something that we can use that allows us to remember that we are equal (but different) to what we were before being mothers. Something that allows us to take a break from the intensive world of motherhood is something that I consider important.

How to handle newborn clothes

The newborn’s clothing should be washed with hypoallergenic (unscented) detergents. It must be rinsed with clean water after washing (in the machine, choose the program with more rinses). It must be dry to the sun, the sun rays disinfect. It should not be left to dry on windy days, it accumulates dust.

roupas
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It must be completely ironed on both sides (reverse and right) to disinfect. The complete seedlings should be stored in closed bags as they are taken to the maternity ward so that it is more practical to access (do not go to the drawer to get the body, to the shelf to get the pants, to the chest of drawers to look for the babygrow …).

Finally, it should be organized by sizes. Measure the parts for each other and not rely on the labels (there are big differences between brands for supposedly equal sizes). In the early days, everything that saves time is extremely valuable. The previous organization saves a looooooooooooooooot of time!

Some diapers myths

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In the case of a rash, it is not possible to use wipes on the diaper change and it is good to always wash with water

When there is a rash, or a redness, erythema, fungal or bacterial infection, in the diaper region, there is always someone who recommends that the skin should be washed with only water on all diaper changes. Like all generalist recommendations, this is one more that can screw all up.

Think about it: what would your skin look like if you take 6 to 8 baths a day? Water as harmless as it may seem can lead to excessive dryness of the skin. This, if in a healthy skin already requires extra hydration measures, if on already injured skin can potentiate the appearance of other problems associated with the loss of integrity of the skin barrier which, due to excessive dryness. It loses the fat layer (sebum / first barrier), loses the layer of dead cells (cornea / second barrier), thus become more exposed to viruses/fungi/bacteria, etc. Therefore, and in any affection of the diaper area, the most important is to minimize contact of the skin with stool and urine, either using more absorbent diapers (called “dry diaper”) or increasing the rate of exchange (ideally immediately after each use of the diaper). It is also important to ensure proper hygiene, removing all debris, and, finally, providing the skin with the ideal conditions for rapid regeneration.

Disposable Diapers Cause Allergies

In theory, any and all substances can cause allergy on a susceptible skin. And here we can include the metal of the reusable snap fasteners, the detergent impregnated in the cotton of it, the elastic ( from both disposable and reusable), etc…