Nourishing a Baby’s Skin

A baby when born is very delicate and gentle. The environment outside the womb is new to them. Add to that their delicate skin which is usually very sensitive in most babies. When born, babies have thin skin so special care is necessary for nourishing and taking care of their skin.

Luckily, skin care essentials for babies are simple to follow and implement, where the key mantra is ‘less is more’.

Nourishing skIncare for babies

A few basic pointers to keep in mind while caring for a baby’s skin are mentioned below.

  • Use water sparingly

A baby’s skin is wrinkly at birth along with being dry. The dry skin slowly clears out on its own in a few days. However, if a small baby is given frequent baths the skin will be robbed of its natural moisture and become even more dry and scaly. Thus, baths should be kept at a minimum for a small baby, say 2 to 3 times in a week. Or you could even give sponge baths and just clean the genitals and creases more thoroughly, albeit gently. A cleanser can be used to get rid of dirt and bacteria. In case the baby has hair, a shampoo can be used every time you give a full body bath. Once the little one has grown by a few months the regularity of baths can increase.

  • Choose ingredients and products carefully

Ideally, a baby must not be smothered with a number of products. Choose just a few basic ingredients and choose them with care, ensuring they are free of chemicals, fragrances, and any other ingredients that can cause irritation to a baby or is a health hazard. A basic cleanser is necessary to clean away the dust, sweat and bacteria from the body. Soap-free cleaners are best recommended along with tearless shampoos for the hair. A moisturizer is a must for the baby’s skin but a good option would be to choose from petroleum jelly or ointments, or creams over commercial lotions. Wet wipes must be alcohol-free, or a better alternative to clean the genitals is to use a washcloth and water. A diaper cream is a must to avoid infections but either petroleum jelly or zinc oxide creams are best for the baby. The ingredients and composition of all the products must be carefully read before choosing an appropriate one.

  • Protection against the sun

A baby is too small to have skin thick enough to provide protection against the sun. Therefore, for babies upto 6 months, direct exposure to the sun must be avoided. Also, cover them with full sleeve clothes and pants plus hats that keep the harmful rays of the sun away. If at all exposure to the sun cannot be avoided, use a sunscreen with spf 30 and one containing zinc oxide.

Additional skincare tips

Apart from keeping in mind the basic skin care essentials, remember to change your baby’s diapers regularly. Staying in soiled diapers for long can lead to rashes and infections. So, change diapers often and use a cream or jelly after cleaning the area. Also, clean the drool or spit of a baby immediately before it dries and irritates the skin. And remember to moisturize the baby especially in the areas exposed often to water and drying.

Is your Child Allergic To Gluten? How to Know

Gluten has become a more widely discussed topic in recent years. The line between perceived and actual gluten intolerance has grown ever so blurry. People are more aware of their health, and while this is a good thing, it sometimes leads to an exaggeration- such as with the growing population of people with poor gluten tolerance. This is not to say that there is no allergy to gluten.

Perhaps what should dominate this topic is its effect on children. A gluten allergy can be distressing, seeing how many of the foods we have that contain it. And its symptoms, if triggered, are not easy to deal with. The discerning parent should know to investigate the allergy before it presents itself.

Understanding Gluten

Gluten is a protein which is found in grains, like oats and wheat. It is usually added in the manufacturing process for wheat-based products. Ingesting packaged or processed foods can lead to an ingestion of higher amounts of gluten than you would have if you stuck to natural foods. This can consequently lead to lower glucose intolerance or an allergy.

Identifying Gluten Allergy

There is no easy or cheap way of testing for this allergy, so you will have to abide by a checklist to identify any displayed signs of intolerance.

  • Know the risk factors– For a child that has other allergies, the chances of being able to tolerate gluten is really low. This risk increases if they particularly have protein allergies, and if they are young. Age is a big factor.
  • Track after-meal reactions– Allergies trigger a hypersensitivity reaction and it does not take long for the symptoms to show up. That said, you should check for both immediate ones- such as anaphylaxis, to delayed ones, such as eczema.
  • Know the symptoms– besides the above two, other symptoms of allergy include headaches, fatigue, and gastrointestinal disturbances, such as diarrhea, joint pain, and agitation.

You should especially check for any respiratory symptoms. Anaphylaxis has to be addressed immediately, since the outcome worsens with delay. Any signs of labored breathing, swelling in mouth or throat should necessitate a visit to the ER.

Dermatological symptoms, such as hives, spots, or a rash, after eating gluten are fairly conclusive of an allergy.

An appointment with a physician, ideally an allergist, is recommended. They can be able to test for the allergy and reach a definitive diagnosis.  This is important to rule out any serious conditions, such as celiac disease.

Life without Gluten

Your child can live free of gluten if they have an allergy to it. It takes a bit more effort since your food choices are somewhat limited, as are your eating locations, but many people have found life still as fulfilling after going totally gluten free.

Those with only intolerance to gluten and not a full-blown allergy may be able to eat gluten again, but there is no guaranteed outcome. It’s usually better to avoid it altogether.

There are many gluten-free diets and recipes offered online, so there is really a life without gluten.

How to Play With a Toddler

As parents or adults we might view play as just plain ‘playing’ as far as toddlers are concerned. But, for toddlers, playtime is a serious ‘work’ where they are picking up and honing a lot of new skills, developing creativity and imagination too. It could be something as simple as tugging onto a truck or stacking blocks on top of each other but any kind of play is special. Play time can be made even more special by spending quality time with your little munchkins and helping them learn and explore via activities.

Following suggestions will guide you to make playtime more special and meaningful.

Pointers on how to make playtime more meaningful

  • Choose an apt play area

The play area has an equally important role to play as the object of play itself. An open, child friendly space, with no other distractions and safe to run around or enjoy activities, is ideal.

  • Take things slowly and let your child lead you

It is best to let your little one take the lead after you have given him or her any toy to play with – how to hold it, what to do with it, which is the right side, how to maneuver the toy should be left to the child to explore. You can show him once how it is to be done and then let your child take the lead. Also, do not rush him or her into showing what the ‘right’ thing to do is or how to play with the said toy. Instead of doing things for the child, he is more likely to learn by trying to do it by himself. You can help out by showing them once how to play with the particular toy or help them out when stuck. This will prevent frustration in the kid. However, the help should be limited to only that much, else it will interfere with their learning and exploring process.

  • Be quick to decipher your toddler’s signals

Toddlers have a limited concentration and attention span. Playing with the same thing for long can lead to frustration in them and eventually maybe a tantrum. So check out for the tell-tale signs, in the form of facial expressions, sounds or certain gestures. In order to avoid a tantrum, you can quickly wind-up the given game or switch to something else beforehand upon noticing the familiar signals. This will also help you understand which toy or activity your child prefers more over the others.

What kind of toys or activities to pick?

There are a variety of toys, games or activities to choose from to play with your young one. But while choosing one, you can think if it will enhance the toddler’s fine motor skills, gross motor skills, or visual development, or sensory development. Also, check if it encourages their creativity and imagination skills. The play might help with their physical development or introduce them to the world in general and teach skills like how to interact with others.

So, choose messy play, water play, singing, scribbling, stacking, pulling and pushing- your child is learning while playing with anything. A key point to remember is to be ready for repetition as toddlers love to do the same thing again and again until they master it.

Caring For Your Toddler’s Nails

Toddler Nail Trimming

Good nail hygiene is an important part in rearing your toddler. Despite having tiny adorable fingers, the nails on them do grow fast, and can easily scratch. There is also the risk of infection that they introduce as fingernails, which are known to hide dirt. Caring for your toddler’s nails is an easy part of parenting, and one that is easy to learn for those who have had their first child.

Some Key Points

There are some points that are worth highlighting beforehand

  • Trimming nails is essential in the best method of preventing in-grown nails. These are as uncomfortable for toddlers as they are for adults, and prevention is always the best.
  • Nails are easiest to cut or trim right after a bath. Warm water does make the nails a little less rigid and a little more flexible so that they are easier to deal with.
  • You should not bite your toddler’s nails down. It might seem the road of least resistance when it comes to nail care, but this carries its own set of risks.
  • Nail care, if for no other reason, should be done because its results are aesthetic.

Toddler Nail Trimming Tips

Toddler Nail Trimming

It is important to have some kind of frequency for trimming their nails- once a week is considered as ideal by most of the parents. Nails grow at some predetermined rate, and after a week, there is enough new growth on them to necessitate trimming. This is for fingernails. Toenails grow more slowly so once every two weeks should suffice.

A nail clipper is the ideal tool for trimming nails. It should be blunt, and have rounded edges. Clippers with sharp edges and scissors are riskier to use if you have a child that cannot sit still. Forego the use of these until the toddler is no longer in infancy, and has the patience to allow you to trim without moving around.

Nail clippers might be a bit intimidating to your toddler at first, so allow them to watch you use them on yourself and other members of the family. This will wear down any worries they have, and they will become more receptive to their use.

If you have to play games with them as they eat, bath or relax, there is no need to stop now. Invent a silly game that will trick them into letting you trim the nails, each finger at a time. This is not manipulation, it’s simply good parenting.

Nail Care

Good nail care extends past the trimming. There are a few more things you can do to ensure your toddler’s nails remain strong and healthy.

  • Wash your toddler’s hands often especially if they grab things, or interact with a lot of people.
  • Some lotion or moisturizer applied to the nails following a bath goes a long way in maintaining healthy cuticles.
  • Hangnails should be cut with a clean clipper.
  • Any infected nails should warrant a visit to the doctor. The affected hand should be soaked warm salty water as it will reduce the number of germs before treatment becomes available.

Managing Vomiting In Kids

Vomiting is a normal occurrence in children, and it often accompanies mild illnesses that might be related to viruses. While vomiting does pass without any intervention, much like it does in adults, it is important to know when an intervention is required. There are antiemetic and antinausea medication that can be taken to alleviate the symptom, but you should not reach for them with the first episode.

Understanding Vomiting

Vomiting is the body’s natural response to any ingested substance it perceives as toxic. It can also be triggered by motion or nausea.

Vomiting differs from regurgitation. While both are involuntary reflexes, regurgitation or spit up is visibly effortless and mostly inconsequential. Vomiting involves more force, and involves the diaphragm and abdominal muscles. It is very dislikeable, and the amounts produced are more than with regurgitation.

It’s hard to tell between the two in newborns and infants because the presentation is often identical.  A pediatrician is needed when they occur regularly, or if there is some force behind them. In children, the most common cause of vomiting is gastroenteritis, which is of viral origin. Like most viral infections, it is self-limiting and resolves by itself in 48 hours or less. Nausea, diarrhea and fever are usual accompanying symptoms.

In the event that a child has ingested something toxic, do not try to induce vomiting. Instead, contact your doctor immediately.

How to manage vomiting in kids?

When your kid starts vomiting, you should not reach out to a medical professional just yet, until it is established that it won’t resolve. Before then, you should try to limit the spread of any pathogen that might be causing it. This means cleaning the vomit and disinfecting the surface immediately, and routine and proper hand washing for both the affected, and every other member of the household.

Medications, such as antiemetics, can reduce the regularity of the vomiting episodes, but they must first be prescribed by a doctor.

As a guideline, you should see a physician when the vomitus is green, red, or brown, there’s severe abdominal pain, high fever, lethargy, dehydration above moderate, and if the vomiting is forceful and persistent for more than 24 hours. The physician will do a clinical assessment and derive a differential diagnosis.

Is there any risk associated with vomiting?

The biggest risk that vomiting brings is dehydration. Since vomitus is mostly fluid, the body is deprived of life-sustaining water, and it must be replenished. Signs of dehydration include an acute thirst, dry mouth, sunken eyes and reduced urine production. The child should eat a regular diet as well as can be tolerated, and kept on fluids. Artificial drinks or processed foods should be avoided. Cereal with milk is usually good for rehydrating. Where the vomiting is recurrent and if there is diarrhea as well, electrolyte balance should be restored. Oral rehydration Therapy is recommended for this.

Shall I continue breastfeeding my baby?

For infants, breastfeeding should continue. If vomiting occurs immediately after, you can adjust your breastfeeding intervals by increasing their frequency, but reducing the amount of time spent each time. If the vomiting does not improve, contact your doctor.