Monday, November 30, 2015

Month 2 with the baby

Our beautiful prince is already two-month old...Time goes fast but our baby is growing up even faster. This second month from the life of our baby boy was less eventful health-wise, except  the vaccination session that went actually great with only half a day of serious problems. We also had a little eye infection that was fixed with proper medication - although was warned that sometimes in Germany they exaggerate a bit with the antibiotics. The colics problems were fast solved with the help of the 15 drops of BSimplex that we give him before every milky meal. 

Working in shifts

We, as parents, we got used with the sleep deprivation, and were smart enough to plan the night shifts. Given the fact that at the end of the second month I started to work again full time, this time management detail helps me very much to maintain a healtlhier night life program. Also the baby sleeps much more, with around 5 hours in a row in the evening, after the bath and evening meal. But he also seems to be more demanding, with more and intense sessions of crying. Often he is unhappy with the load on the pampers or he wants to eat or to sleep, but it also happens that he is just bored and needs our company. Yes, sir!

More organised

We did not have too much time to breath, but we got more organised: we write down the eating hours and we started to buy in advance diapers and milk powder. (This after a couple of late Saturday evening or Sunday crisis when we realized that we may not have enough changes or milk for the baby). We bought a milk powder separator that helps to have everything ready and prepare the bottle within minutes. We also got more information about baby products and we purchased a special bottle cleaning substance and special laundry cleaning material. In order to avoid the bad smell of diapers, we keep putting the use ones in small bags that we close afterwards. 

Nails cutting made easy

We got much more experience in the field of nails cutting, but contrary to all the advices we did it not during sleep but after the bath. He cooperated very well and the operation succeeded withot incidents. In comparison with many other children, he enjoys staying on the belly and we tried to practise this exercise as often as possible. Overall, we are much better and our hard work is more and more often rewarded with big sincere natural smiles. Long enough to allow us to take so many pictures to send to our family and friends from far away.
To be continued...

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Pro or against pacifiers? A couple of reasons

Shortly after we were back from hospital, a big question preoccupied us: with or without pacifier - or inspirelly called peace makers? We read a couple of articles before, and listened to various opinions, but we also feel that a pacifier will just help the baby - but also us - to sleep. There was also the option of just having a baby that rejects it but it was not mean to be so we were back to step one.
Carefully, we set up a list of pros and cons, but as in the case of many other things in life, moderation is key. We accepted it as a temporary solution for maximum 2 years and things look more bearable.

As for the reasons, here is my pro and cons list for now:


- It has a soothing effect that calms both the parents and the baby
- It offers a temporary distraction to the kid, especially when at doctor, during flights and during a visit
- Reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) - more about that in a next post
- Compared to the finger sucking, it is disposable, being up to the parents when to stop it
- Make the kid more secure and helps to control feelings
- Avoid the risk of overfeeding


- It may interfere with breastfeeding and can decrease the appetite for mother's milk
- If intensively used after 12 months it can lead to a certain delay of speech
- Increases the risk of middle ear infection (otitis media) as it may increase the pressure in the middle ear
- If used after 3 years old it creates dental problems
- For sensitive children, it can cause latex allergy or oral ulcers. It may also be associated with exhaustion. 
- It may create dependency and if not used it it the cause of various sleep troubles

And now, a couple of advices:

- Try to use the BPA-free type
- Do not use a cord, because it presents life risks
- Do not share it with other children
- Clean it properly
- If the kid doesn't want it, do not give it to him. Especially avoid to feed it into his mouth.
- The square orthodontic shaped pacified will most likely avoid too many dental problems. 
- The best time to introduce it to the toddler is between 2 weeks and 4 months, when there is the peak for extra sucking. After 10 months most probably the kid will use it discontinously.
- Before one year, try to plan getting ride of it, little by little. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

How BPA free should you be?

Very often on many bottles and other plastic products for baby, the 'Free BPA' mention is included. Curious to learn more about baby life I tried to figure out what are the main issues with that and this is what I discovered:
- BPA stands for Bisphenol A, an industrial chemical substance used since the 1960s to produce various plastics and resins. Is is a colorless solid soluble in organic solvents but poorly soluble in waters.
- It is used for the production of various consumer goods, containers that store foods and beverages, baby formula cans and sippy cups, bottle tops, food cans, but also dental sealants, contact lenses and CDs. Also some shields of pacifiers can have this ingredients, but not the nipple. 
- Plastics marked with recycle codes 3 or 7 may be made with BPA.
- According to medical studies, once the BPA seep into food or beverages through heating, it may lead to negative effects on the brain and behavior of children - ADHD -, prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children. However, there are not definitive studies and not direct evidence that BPA may create such problems. 
- At low exposure, most experts say that studies shows that the material is acceptably safe.
- The National Institute of Environmental Health Science advices against microwaving polycarbonate plastics and putting them in the dishwasher. Plastic can break dow and it allows BPA to leach into foods.
- In order to avoid BPA-related risks it is recommended to use as alternatives products made of glass, porcelain or stainless. Also, do not use those with BPA for hot foods and liquids. It is better to throw up any plastic products - like bottles or sippy cups - that are chopped or cracked. Besides the BPA risks, such problematic products can also harbor germs.
- Many companies started to produce alternatives to the BPA in canned foods. 
- BPA-free does not mean that the products are free from other harmful chemical ingredients that are included in the category of hormone disruptors (substance that interfere with the normal functioning of the hormone or endocrine system, by duplicating, blocking or exaggerating hormonal responses. In most cases, the effects of these substances was not studied yet.

After going through all the materials regarding BPA, my conclusion is that I will try if possible to use BPA-free bottles and where the mention about this substance does not exist, to be careful with the overused products. Knowledge is power but exaggeration never helps.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Visitor at Babywelt Berlin

Part of my last professional and personal assignments, I visited this weekend the Babywelt fair in Berlin, one of the most important gatherings dedicated to baby and children. With a significant audience of parents and pregnant women and new parents, the exhibitional space from Arena Berlin near Treptower Park offered for three days a dialog between companies - insurance, food, interior design, hotels, fitness centers - and the public.This year, the fair is held also in Munich and Stuttgart and from the next year Frankfurt am Main is added to the list.
For me, it was the first such fair I ever visited and thus, I spent an impressive amount of time talking with companies and trying to understand various opportunities and products. Significant discounts and coupons were offered, as well as complimentary packages and small gifts for children. Significant discounts also applied and given the usually high prices for furnitures and buggies, it was a good investment. Card payments were available and, if not, a small ATM center was set up at the entrance. 
It was easy to recognize various typically German - and Berlin - products, dedicated to carry children on the bikes, which usually are quite expensive on the market. 
For the completely new beginners in life, we tried to have a look at some classical pieces of furniture and took of the package with coupons as well. I just got my card from Toysrus and will have more opportunities for knowing more about their offer.
As usual, small companies are my favourites. For personalized, limited edition, furniture and baby products, Kleine Fabriek offered a good choice. Breastfeeding moms were offered a variety of covers, made of special materials and with different functionalities, by Zellmops.
Getting ready for the next sport achievements of the baby, I purchased a babyswimmer a tool that can be used in the bath tube or swimming pool from the first month of life on. 
Keeping memories of the children is precious and various companies offered diversified services in this respect, such as Kindheitkiste. You can gather memories of the first days, photos, foot prints, marks of the first important events etc. 
 Or you can chose to print his or her name of the food box or other personalized items.
Entertainment moments were offered to the participants, either some children music or some special baby-mother fitness exercises. Personally, I booked a Kanga class and another fitness hour for the next week and can't wait to test them.
Given that the medium age of the children participants was less than one year, a special huge space was created for breastfeeding mothers. Breastfeeding consultants were also present, as well as (less) known, for me, health insurance companies. An interesting idea was the offer presented by the Waldfriede Hospital in Zehlendorf where you can give birth in a hotel-like place. You can check-in and out as a family while benefiting of high-end medical services. Available classes for parents, some of them also in English, were also offered, but unfortunatelly for me, nothing available in the next months.
High-end design and medical standards were meeting in the case of many products. This nose cleaner must be used only when the baby has a cold and can be attached to the vacuum cleaner.when the baby has a cold and can be attached to the vacuum cleaner. Stomatologically tested pacifiers were presented by Dentistar, with a design offering more place for the tongue and various jaw-friendly settings. Anyway, the opinions on pacifiers are so divided that the choice for or against seems to be a matter of free will. From the category of medically designed products, MAM brought its anti-colic sets.
Snooze baby is just another Dutch smart company, and their car seat blanket with special places for feet is definitely a great idea that helps the kid to feel comfortable. A great choice is also the blue and white blanket with Dutch tiles inspired motifs. Another products made with love were offered by Tinylove, music boxes with different repertoire -from lullabies to classical - that can play for around 40 minutes. Very helpful when you need a long term program for the baby.
For the parents and bigger kids, special boxes with healthy food and vegetables were ready to deliver. Very helpful when you have no time to do live shopping.
The fair experience was very rewarding, not only for the coupons I gathered, but also for the knowledge about new products and the healthy ideas gathered. Right now, I have many new topics to write about and ideas to apply in the daily baby life. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

In the world of Fatboy

Having a baby means a completely change of the perspective and shopping agenda, also when it comes to interior design and furniture choices. During my regular trips to interior design shops I am interested in finding inspiration for the boy's room and, as usual, for smart products. The Dutch design is such a source for me and I cannot have enough to discover new and new creative companies. My favourite of the last week is Fatboy, located on the huge interior design and furniture shop in Kantstrasse 17 in Berlin. I spent there more than half an hour, discovering the products under the professional guidance of the extraordinary sales representative. The shop in Berlin is the first worldwide, but online shopping is possible for the less luckier fans of the brand. 
What I appreciated at this brand is the multi-functionality and the creativity. Although the great outline of the product is set, you can pick up your own choices and do an inspiring setting, like in the case of this lamp, made up of different pieces of different shapes. This lamp can be hanged inside or outside, for a party or an intimate dinner. Many of their products are water proof.
 Another fun discoveries are the bed lamps that are rechargeable and comes in a unique shape.
You can never have enough of them as you can change the cover all the time. A nice choice of a present, I think.
The lounge chairs, water proof and made of different materials can be put together to create a bigger chair or even a sofa. The prices are moderate to high, but when thinking ahout the multiple destinations of many of the products, there is a worthy investment to do. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Does my baby have too much hair or what is lanugo hair?

'This baby has so much hair', I said to myself minutes after the little D. was brought to me shortly after giving birth and I was able to touch his fine skin as he lied naked on my body. His silky brown head was not a surprise for me, as especially in the last 3 months of pregnancy, heartburns were very frequent (some say that the remedy might be eating a lot of pineapple, but as I did not try myself I cannot say it for sure), a clear sign that the baby will not be born bald. 
Over one month ago, this tiny dark hair that covered his fine ears, shoulders and back is almost away. As I found out later, this fine hair is called lanugo - a derivation from the Latin word wool. Soft and unpigmented, it looks like the peach soft fuzz and usually develops in utero to regulate the baby's temperature in the womb starting from the 5 month of pregnancy. Some kids born without it might loose it while in the womb, because they ate it or because born after the term. 
Nothing to be scared or worried about after all, everything is the work of nature and aimed to protect the child before the parents are acknowledging how to protect their children. 

The 3 important things a new mother should do

After the pregnancy ends and the baby is out in the world, the woman's body goes through just another couple of changes and challenges. Get ready for a lot of sleepless nights and daily trials and worries, especially when the baby is the first. Regardless of your previous baby experience the first days after coming back from hospital are difficult and the woman's body is going through hard times. Although time is scarce, once in a while, you should find a way - especially with the support and understading of your life partner - to pay some important visits. As for now, only 3 of them...

1. Generalist doctor for a medical overview

Women doctor is very important and during the pregnancy it was a regular presence into your life. Now it is time to do one more general check of your post-pregnancy situation. Blood tests, eye test, blood pressure, heart and kidneys are only some of the important things to check. It does not take too much time and you can get in time the right advice about the vitamins and life changes eventually you should make in the next weeks and months.

2. The dentist

Pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding...All of them will require a lot of your calcium and vital minerals. If you already have a history of bad dentition, expect unpleasant decays and even to loose some of your teeth. Added to the unavoidable post-pregnancy weight problems, this will bring you a bad and embarassing mood. The solution: try to get as soon as possible an appointment to your dentist for checking and start planning the next preventive and reparatory steps. 

3. Massage - and spa treatments

Don't misunderstand me...Yes, the life with a baby means a lot of sacrifice and putting the kid on the first place. But if you do not feel well and you go through a lot of stress the baby will be for sure influenced. One of the first consequences is the breastfeeding problem as the more stressed you are the higher the danger for your milk. One more hour can be enough to take most - if not all - the weight away. Handled by a professional, it can be the start of your getting your body back, bringing back wellness and reestablishing the proper blood and muscle functioning. 

As a rule, with the help of an efficient time management and the family help and support you can do it! And you do not need to feel guilty, just to realize that your wellbeing is important for the good life of your baby too.