My husband and I welcomed four babies into the world last August. We already had a one-year-old son who was the love of our lives and is now a big brother to four more little loves. Although there’s a lot more on our to-do lists and life is hectic our world has changed in the best way! With the support of our friends, family, and each other, my husband and I are raising five little ones together.
Honest asked me to share what surprised me most about having multiples, and I guess it’s not really a surprise, or shouldn’t be, but I’m surprised that I barely have any time to sit down, or finish a cup of coffee, or eat lunch. I’m going practically nonstop from the time I wake up. Even on the days I have help! There’s just always something that needs to be done. Actually, there’s always lots of somethings to be done! I’m so glad we prepared ahead of time! Of course, you can never fully prepare for everything four babies require but planning was our best friend before the babies arrived.
I wrote a blog post in December about our experiencing having quads. In the more than five months since I had them, we’ve learned a lot. Below are some tips for parents expecting multiples, or anyone expecting.
For any soon-to-be parent of multiples, here is what I’ve learned:
You can read more about Kerry’s life with quads on her blog, Quads Make It Seven.
One of my biggest life-altering events was the birth of my two boys. If you feel anxiety about being a new parent, you’re not alone. Many new parents feel overwhelmed when it’s time to bring their new babies home from the hospital. As a nurse in the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Newborn and Infant Critical Care Unit (NICCU), I am positioned to help give you the confidence in caring for your newborn. Continue reading for helpful newborn care tips!
Getting Started Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is a team effort between you and your baby. One of the keys to successful breastfeeding is simply sitting up while you breastfeed—sit up in bed, in a comfortable armchair or in a rocking chair. Use pillows behind your back, under your elbow and on your lap to support the baby. Use a footstool to bring your knees up or use pillows under your knees if you are sitting up in bed. You should be relaxed with none of your muscles straining. Your baby should be lying on his side with his whole body facing you and his knees pulled in close to your body. There are a number of breastfeeding pillows to help, but you don’t necessarily need one of those to succeed.
Overcoming a Poor Latch During Breastfeeding
Getting your baby to latch onto your nipple properly helps promote successful breastfeeding. A poor latch (nipple is too shallow in your baby’s mouth) at the breast will cause discomfort and can make your nipples sore or cause them to crack and bleed. Here are some suggestions to help overcome poor latching:
Mary, my fellow RN Remedies blogger, talks about how to properly handle, store, and thaw your breast milk.
Curing a Stuffy Nose
Babies are born nose breathers, probably because that how they breathe during breastfeeding—mouth breathing begins later. If your newborn has a stuffy nose, not only does it interfere with breastfeeding but it can cause other respiratory issues. If your baby shows signs of a stuffy nose (e.g. nasal secretion around their nostrils, sneezing) here are some ways to help clear their nasal passage to promote better breathing. One of the most effective ways to remove blockage in their nose is to use a bulb syringe:
Your newborn’s nails grow quickly and will require a trim at least once per week. If you forget, you’ll be reminded by a small scratch on your arm or hand, or they may accidentally scratch themselves.
Safe Sleep for Your Newborn
Since 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that infants sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). SIDS is the sudden and unexplained death of a baby under 1 year of age. Even though there is no way to know which babies might die of SIDS, there are some things that you can do to make your baby safer:
It helps to educate anyone who cares for your baby about safe sleep for your baby. This RN Remedies blog post can help.
By Robert Giesler, BSN, RN, CPST, Pediatric Nurse, Newborn and Infant Critical Care Unit (NICCU) at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
To read more of Robert’s pediatric health care tips, visit WeTreatKidsBetter.org!
Little ones have the sweetest smiles, but brushing their toothy (or toothless) grins doesn’t always leave them happy. Many toddlers run the other direction when you mention it’s time to brush their teeth. Or curious infants see their toothbrush as a teething toy and eat up their paste like a snack. But we all know that, no matter what, brushing our teeth is a must do.
In fact, The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends starting to clean your baby’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water as early as birth. As soon as he or she pops the first tooth, you can use a “smear” of toothpaste for brushing teeth (your toddlers can try a “pea-sized” amount). Of course, make sure to visit your dentist when your baby’s first tooth breaks through—and no later than the first birthday—so she can provide the best oral care plan and options for your family.
Naturally, we want to help you promote healthy teeth and habits at home too. So, we’re excited to introduce Honest Toothpaste and Honest Kid’s Toothpaste. Our fluoride-free and vegan formulas have absolutely no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or dyes—no questionable chemicals, ever! Adults can enjoy refreshing minty cleaning, while little ones will open wide for the yummy and safe-on-their-tummy strawberry flavor.
If your kiddos still need a little coaxing to brush those pearly whites (although we’re pretty sure they’ll love our natural toothpaste), you can lend a helping hand with these great tips from the AAPD…
And our Honest Community…
What are your teeth-brushing tidbits?
We recently received an inquiry asking us why we say our sunscreen is baby-safe when sunscreen isn’t recommended for babies under 6 months old. It’s a good question! And, with skin cancer on the rise, we felt it was important to help all parents in our community better understand infant sun safety.
Why babies are more vulnerable
Infants are at higher risk of UV damage and skin cancer because their skin is thinner and has lower melanin concentrations than an adult’s skin. According to the article UV protection and sunscreens: What to tell patients, what this means is that “UV penetrates more deeply into skin that is less able to absorb UV radiation.” The doctors who authored the article go on to say, “Animal studies suggest that the skin of children, especially infants, is immunologically immature and less able to respond to UV damage than adult skin. Therefore, extra care must be taken to protect children from UV exposure.”
The latest skin safety recommendations
Previously, the “extra care” recommendation was to keep babies under 6 months of age out of direct sun and covered by protective clothing. Sunscreen was not recommended at all for babies this young. But in the past few years, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has modified that recommendation. Now they say:
For babies younger than 6 months. Use sunscreen on small areas of the body, such as the face and the backs of the hands, if protective clothing and shade are not available.
Keeping babies out of the sun is still the safest way to protect their delicate, vulnerable skin from the harmful rays of the sun. That’s a fact. But public health officials now recognize that’s not always a possibility and that the safety of shade is relative to the situation. Consider this, even sitting in the shade of an umbrella at the beach cannot entirely protect you from UV rays. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Surfaces like snow, sand, pavement, and water reflect much of the UV radiation that reaches them. Because of this reflection, UV intensity can be deceptively high even in shaded areas.”
At those times, protective clothing can help close the gap and increase skin protection. But there’s inevitably still a little bit of skin exposed (e.g., face, hands, ears)—and that’s when a little bit of sunscreen might be necessary. When that’s the case, the consensus is generally that a broad-spectrum sunscreen made from physical barriers such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the most effective and safest for baby’s sensitive skin.
Why physical barriers are better
In sun protection, there are two categories of active ingredients: chemical absorbers and physical barriers. Chemical absorbers, such as oxybenzone or octocrylene, work by absorbing UV radiation before it affects or damages the skin. However, these ingredients are increasingly being linked to negative health impacts. (For example, oxybenzone — also known as benzophenone - was recently added to California’s Prop 65 list as known to cause cancer and octocrylene is a “strong allergen linked to contact dermatitis in children.”)
The second category of active ingredients in sun protection is physical blockers, such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. When the sun hits these blockers it is reflected and bounces away from the skin (versus getting absorbed). These ingredients (unless they’ve been nano-sized – which ours have not been) are natural, generally not absorbed by the skin, and are far gentler on both our skin and the environment.
Honest Sunscreen does not contain chemical absorbers like oxybenzone or octocrylene. It contains only 1 active sunblock ingredient: zinc oxide.
Additional sun safety tips for infants
The FDA recommends keeping the following in mind this summer when outside with infants:
Keep your baby in the shade as much as possible. If you do use a small amount of sunscreen on your baby, don’t assume the child is well protected.
Make sure your child wears clothing that covers and protects sensitive skin. Use common sense; if you hold the fabric against your hand and it’s so sheer that you can see through it, it probably doesn’t offer enough protection.
Make sure your baby wears a hat that provides sufficient shade at all times.
Watch your baby carefully to make sure he or she doesn’t show warning signs of sunburn or dehydration. These include fussiness, redness, and excessive crying.
Hydrate! Give your baby formula, breast milk, or a small amount of water between feedings if you’re out in the sun for more than a few minutes. Don’t forget to use a cooler to store the liquids.
Take note of how much your baby is urinating. If it’s less than usual, it may be a sign of dehydration, and that more fluids are needed until the flow is back to normal.
If you do notice your baby is becoming sunburned, get out of the sun right away and apply cold compresses to the affected areas.
NOTE: Please consult your family health provider with any concerns about sun safety and using sunscreens on your children. The information in this blog post should not replace professional medical advice.
As parents, the wonder, excitement, and exhaustion of having a new baby can overwhelm us. And, of course, we want to remember it all—even the smallest details. Despite our good (sleep-deprived) intentions, recording and organizing schedules, milestones, and memories is easier said than done. And Honest’s Director of Design Tim Hankins—the man behind our new HonestBaby app’s chic visual display—remembers these feelings like they were yesterday, even though his son is now three years old.
“My wife and I tracked every last bit of info about our son’s early development in notebooks. Every diaper change, every feeding, how long he slept. We tracked it all manually. I knew apps existed that tracked that sort of information, but nothing grabbed my attention. So, we continued with our stack of notebooks around the house,” recounts Tim.
But like all moms and dads, Tim found inspiration in his life at home and came up with a solution to the piles of notebooks. “I wished there was an app that satisfied our tracking needs, but was also really fun (and easy) to use and great to look at so we would continue going back to it,” shares Tim. “I truly think we’ve accomplished that goal with HonestBaby—something intuitive, fun, a delight to use, and also a beautifully designed experience to keep people coming back.”
Tim’s partners in the app development process—and our tech team colleagues—felt the same way. “Developing the app was interesting because we saw an opportunity to create something both visually appealing and functional. Throughout development, we made it our goal to make tracking early childhood fun and personal. Taking inspiration from modern apps such as Path, Facebook, and DayOne, helped us craft something we hope parents will enjoy,” says Tony Huynh, Mobile Software Developer.
HonestBaby will help parents chart their children’s daily activities and development, all conveniently within reach and in one organized place on their iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Now, you can track feeding, diaper changes, sleep, growth, doctor visits, and honestly special moments before you forget. And if you’re an Honest member, HonestBaby provides you the added benefit of managing your account, subscriptions, and other orders.
Download your HonestBaby app for free via the iTunes App Store, and stay tuned for a Windows Phone app in the near future.