Caring for Babies

How to Make a Cover for a Baby Mobile

Place the fabric on a flat surface with the wrong side facing you. If possible remove the hanging accessories from the baby mobile.

Make a baby mobile cover from a circle of fabric.
Make a baby mobile cover from a circle of fabric.

Center the loop of the baby mobile on top of the fabric. According to "Consumer Reports," “Crib mobiles are for looking at, not for touching. They often have string or small attached pieces. Make sure your little one cannot reach the mobile so he can't become entangled or pull anything off. When he is able to push himself up on his hands and knees, the mobile should be removed from the crib.”

Use scissors to poke a hole in the center of the fabric small enough for the connecting portion of the baby mobile, usually a hook or clip, to fit through the fabric. Pull the hook through the hole.

Lightweight cottons or satins work best for baby mobile covers.
Lightweight cottons or satins work best for baby mobile covers.

Hold the baby mobile in the air so the fabric drapes over the mobile loop. Pull it so there are no wrinkles or folds. The fabric is “inside out”. Use chalk to indicate where the fabric hits the bottom edge of the baby mobile loop. Remove baby mobile from the fabric circle.

Place the fabric on a flat surface with the wrong side facing you again. Using the chalk mark from Step Four as your guide, draw a circle around the fabric returning to the chalk mark. If you have trouble keeping the circle curve, try using a dinner plate or pizza pan to trace the edge as you move along the fabric.

Cut out the fabric circle with scissors along the chalk line.

Remove baby from crib while working on the mobile cover.
Remove baby from crib while working on the mobile cover.

Hang the baby mobile from the crib. Remove the baby from the crib. Place the fabric circle over the baby mobile loop through the hole poked in the fabric’s center in Step Three.

Use a glue gun to draw a fine line of glue around the fabric circle edge and press gathered lace, such as nylon or eyelet cotton, around the edge of the fabric circle. If you don’t like the raw edge beneath the mobile, you can also glue a row of gathered lace to the inside of the fabric mobile cover.

Things You Will Need

  • Tape measure
  • Fabric - ½-yard cotton or satin
  • Chalk
  • Scissors
  • Glue gun
  • Glue sticks
  • Gathered lace

Tip

Ribbon roses or bows or small embellishments can be securely glued to the baby mobile cover for decoration, but make sure they do not come loose to pose a choking hazard for the infant in the crib.

Warning

According to REKA, if your skin makes contact with the hot glue, “cool it cold water immediately. Do not try to remove hot melt from the skin first. If necessary consult your doctor.”

Is It Safe to Take a Baby on BART?

Baby Carriers

Using an infant sling is probably the easiest way to take your baby on BART. When your baby is very young, hold him close in a sling, and use your hand to cup his head to help mitigate the effects of jerky motions. It is easier to find a seat while carrying your baby than if he is in a stroller. The BART website states that it is not safe to carry a baby on the escalator, though, so take the stairs instead. Also, take care to watch the gap when entering the train.

Strollers

A stroller is another safe place for your baby on a subway train, provided that you have fastened your baby securely into the stroller, according to The Brooklyn Hospital Center. However, you should not attempt to take your stroller on the escalator. You should fold up the stroller and carry it up or down the stairs, along with your baby. Alternatively, BART offers elevators at all stations, which go to all platforms. On the train, park the stroller near the door, preferably in a spot reserved for wheelchairs, and lock the stroller brake.

Station Safety

Stand back from the area where the BART train arrives. You and your baby should be well behind the yellow line. Lock the wheels on the station platform to ensure that your baby does not accidentally roll away. Allow other passengers to enter the train before you, so that you can remain near the door.

Timing

Though you and your baby should be safe in a BART train, it is important to note that accidents are more likely to happen during morning and afternoon rush hour when people are traveling to and from work. Avoid these times, and the chance that you will be caught in a rush of people is less likely, because going during rush hour could become dangerous.

How to Clean a Baby's Cradle Cap Dandruff Painlessly

Moisten a soft washcloth with warm water. Rub your baby’s scalp gently with the washcloth to loosen the flakes.

Wash your baby’s head once a day. Brush the scalp gently with a soft baby hairbrush, then wash her head with mild baby shampoo. Brush her scalp gently again while shampooing the hair. Rinse your baby's scalp well to remove any loosened flakes.

Put a few drops of mineral or baby oil onto your baby’s scalp. Rub it in gently with your fingertips for a minute or two to loosen the scales. Let the oil sit on the baby’s scalp for five minutes, then shampoo your baby’s hair as usual. Do this once a day to remove the flakes.

Wash your baby’s hair with a mild antidandruff shampoo, if the cradle cap isn’t affected by the above treatment. But be sure to contact your baby’s pediatrician before using antidandruff shampoo. Take care not to get antidandruff shampoo in your baby’s eyes because, unlike baby shampoo, antidandruff shampoo is meant for adults and can sting and irritate the eyes.

Things You Will Need

  • Soft washcloth
  • Soft baby hairbrush
  • Mild baby shampoo
  • Mineral or baby oil
  • Mild antidandruff shampoo

Warning

Consult your baby’s pediatrician if the cradle cap begins to spread to the face, neck or body.

Be gentle when washing or massaging your baby’s scalp. Babies have soft spots -- also called "fontanels" -- that are gaps between the infant’s skull and bones, and these areas are especially delicate.

How to Prevent a Baby From Scratching

Clip your baby's nails with specialized baby clippers. It is often easier to do this when the baby is asleep. Clip the nails once or twice each week so they stay nice and short. Be very careful not to clip them too short though as it will cause your baby discomfort and they may try to bite their fingers and actually end up hurting themselves. After clipping your baby's nails, smooth out any rough edges with an emery board.

Put mittens on the baby's hands after cutting his fingernails. There are several kinds of lightweight cotton mittens that will cover their hands and thus prevent them from being able to scratch themselves.

Swaddle your baby before sleep. Swaddling mimics the womb and holds a baby's hands down at her sides in a tight cloth that wraps all the way around the body. It's not only good and comforting for your baby, but it also prevents her from touching her face and scratching herself. The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued precautions for safe swaddling. Do not swaddle your baby past the age of 2 months, to prevent her from accidentally rolling over. Swaddle with the blanket loose over the hips and legs to prevent injury. Prevent overheating by dressing your baby lightly. Check on your baby frequently while she's swaddled.

Things You Will Need

  • Nail clippers
  • Emery board
  • Baby mittens
  • Lightweight blanket

Tip

Watch your baby to see if they tend to touch their face or not so you know when you can stop these techniques.

Warning

Don't use anything too bulky that the baby might suffocate with.

How to Lift and Carry a Baby

Proper Body Mechanics

Before lifting a baby of any age, place your feet shoulder width apart, keep your back straight, bend your knees and lower into a squatting position, advises Chiropractor Robert J. Evans, with the Dundas University Health Clinic. Grasp the baby and pull him close to your body, centered between your shoulders and hips, so your body absorbs the additional weight. Lift the baby using your thigh muscles. Do not twist your body as you lift the baby because this can result in back injury. Think about movements before you make them to avoid moving quickly and injuring yourself.

Lifting Techniques for Newborns

To lift a newborn from the floor, kneel on one knee with the other foot beside the baby’s head. Place one hand beneath the baby’s head and the other hand beneath the baby’s bottom and gently lift the baby so she’s even with your bent knee. Shift the baby to support her with your forearms and bring her close to your body. Support the newborn’s head and neck carefully at all times. Stand up straight while holding the baby close to your body. To lift a newborn from an elevated surface, such as a crib or changing table, bring her close to your body first, bend your knees slightly and then lift her into your arms.

Lifting Techniques for Older Babies

Prepare to lift an older baby before you lift him so the child is ready. Position equipment to prepare to lift your child -- adjust the car seat so you face it squarely or move the high chair tray out of the way, for example. Place your hands around the child’s midsection first, establish eye contact and say something such as “Up we go!” Practice proper body mechanics of bending your legs, softening your joints and pulling the baby as close to your body as possible. As you lift the baby, allow him to support his upper body as much as possible to lessen your strain. By approximately 4 months of age, an average baby has the strength and coordination to balance his head, neck and trunk when he's in a supported position, states the MyHealthAlberta website.

Carrying Tips

Keep the baby centered on your body. Avoid carrying a baby on one hip because this often leads to a postural imbalance that could cause lower back pain. Keep your back straight as you hold your baby. If you must hold your baby with one arm, switch arms frequently to minimize strain, suggest the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists. Avoid carrying and holding a baby for an extended period, instead sitting with cushion or pillow support when possible.

How to Help a Gassy Baby

Burp your baby during and after feedings to release any pent up gas by placing her up and just over your shoulder -- so that there is pressure from your shoulder on her tummy -- and patting her on the back. If you are bottle feeding, pause to burp your baby every few ounces, as well as when your baby is finished eating. If breastfeeding, burp your baby before switching sides.

Lay baby gently on his back on a firm surface and move his legs to imitate the motion of pedaling a bicycle. The circular movements of the legs help the intestines to shift and can release gas that is trapped.

Place baby on his stomach when he's awake during the day. The extra pressure from gravity during tummy time can help push out any trapped gas.

Place baby on her back and rub her tummy gently in a clockwise motion with one or two fingers and then pull your hands down the curve of her belly to push the gas downward.

Tip

Feeding baby less food at shorter intervals may help with gas pains. If you are breastfeeding, eliminating gas-producing foods such as onions and broccoli from your diet may be helpful. If bottle feeding, feed baby at a thirty- to forty-five-degree angle to help her avoid swallowing air. Experimenting with different bottles and nipples may also help, as well as trying concentrated or already-mixed formula instead of powdered types.

Warning

A pediatrician should be consulted if the baby is inconsolable for an extended period of time.

Ways for Expectant Fathers to Connect to Their Unborn Child

Prenatal Appointments

Accompany your partner to her prenatal visits. In the first trimester, you will be able to hear the baby’s heartbeat during an ultrasound. The second trimester will have an ultrasound where you can see the baby’s profile, arms, legs, fingers and maybe even find out what sex the child is. If you feel uncomfortable with joining her in the exam room for the routine checkups, you can always stay in the waiting room and be there to support her before and after the exam.

Keep Up-To-Date

Keep up-to-date on your baby’s current development. The internet and numerous books can give you this information. Week-by-week, you can read about how big your baby is and what new developments are taking place around that time. This also opens up some bonding conversations with your partner.

Communicate With Baby

Even if you feel weird about it or think it’s a one-sided conversation, try communicating with the baby. Around week 23, your baby starts to hear. Take this opportunity to talk to the baby. You can sing, chat or read a book to the baby bump. You might feel silly, but he can hear you and will start to distinguish your voice from random sounds. Put on some music and sing along, it if you want. When the baby starts to kick, place your hand in that area of your partner’s belly. You can lightly tap the area too to see whether he will kick back. Gently massaging the belly is a way to connect with your partner and your baby.

Staying Connected

Staying connected with your partner is critical. Preparing for baby can be stressful for both of you. Speak honestly about your fears, excitement and any other emotions you are feeling about this new phase of your life. Having a happy and comfortable mom-to-be is the best environment for your baby to grow. Provide a loving atmosphere for your baby before he joins the two of you in the outside world.

Be Prepared

Take a childbirth class with your partner. This information will come in handy when that special day arrives. Many classes will also teach helpful parenting tips, such as how to change a diaper, feed the baby, burp him, hold him properly, put him to sleep safely and proper installation of a car seat. This is all valuable information to know. Plus it takes some of the “I don’t know what to do” anxiety away and helps you get excited about the baby.

How to Connect With Your Baby While Pregnant

Talk and communicate with your baby as much as possible in a calm, clear voice. For example, wake up every morning and greet your baby with a “hello.” Talk to your baby throughout the day and explain what you’re doing, such as standing in line at the grocery store or visiting with his grandmother. Reading to your baby is another option. Choose a favorite book from your childhood or even read a newspaper. Remain relaxed and use soft, gentle tones.

Play music for your baby. According to AskDrSears.com, babies as young as 28 weeks respond in a variety of ways to music. For example, the baby might become agitated or begin to kick when it hears your favorite rock music. Conversely, a beautiful, gentle lullaby or classical music can have a soothing, relaxing influence.

Touch and rub your belly throughout the day. An amazing connection with your baby can occur by simply rubbing your belly and realizing your growing baby is inside. The combination of talking to your belly while you rub it is an amazing way to begin foraging a bond with your unborn baby.

Play a game with your kicking baby. Once your baby begins to kick, which generally occurs between 16 and 25 weeks, according to WebMD, lie down in a quiet, comfortable place, such as your bed or the living room couch. Wait for your baby to kick, then poke at the spot on your belly afterward. Wait a few moments to see whether your baby responds by kicking again.

Speak to your gynecologist about having an ultrasound. Seeing the baby through an ultrasound can help the experience of having a baby seem more real to the mother, according to Dr. Thomas Ivester, cited in an article at WebMD.com. 3-D and 4-D ultrasounds are available, and provide a more distinct image of the baby. Ask the doctor or ultrasound technician for a photograph of the baby to take with you and enjoy each time you want to feel a connection to him.

How to Cut Your Baby's Bangs

Enlist a helper. Ask your spouse or friend to be there with you for support and to distract your baby as you cut their bangs.

Sit your child in a highchair or seat with straps that keeps them upright. Once seated, give your baby a small blanket or favorite toy to hold.

Wet your child's bangs with a washcloth.

Hold your child's hair in between two fingers, keeping your fingers horizontal. This will help you maintain a straight line and keep hairs the same length.

Cut the hair from the center of your child's forehead to the edge of the bangs. Repeat on the other side. Cut a short amount at a time to make sure you do not cut off more than you want to.

Wet your child's hair again with the washcloth once you have reached the desired length. Flatten the hair against their head. Even out any areas that are uneven.

Things You Will Need

  • Highchair
  • Blanket or toy
  • Washcloth
  • Scissors

Tip

If your baby has not yet developed good head control, avoid cutting their hair or do so very cautiously. Be patient with your child and take breaks if needed. Do not continue cutting your child's hair if they become upset.

Is It Normal for a Newborn to Always Want to Be Held?

Baby Carrier

Some parents find a baby carrier to be a lifesaver when it comes to caring for their new babies. Some attachment parenting experts, such as Dr. William Sears, recommend that parents always pick up babies and respond to their cries during the first four to six months of life because this is an important part of building a strong bond with your baby. Placing the baby in a sling or baby carrier can be an ideal way to carry your baby while freeing your hands to complete other household tasks, or even to work.

Swaddling

Swaddling your newborn baby can be another way to make him feel secure enough to be set down. Swaddling the baby wraps him tightly, much like how he was in the womb. In addition, swaddling helps prevent newborns from being woken or disturbed by their startle reflexes, and keeps them warm in the early days when their internal thermostat is not yet working efficiently. Swaddling allows many newborns to feel secure enough to be set down for naps or for a few minutes while you complete a task around the house.

Training Baby to Lie Alone

Some child care experts, such as Dr. Carrie Brown, a pediatrician and columnist for the BabyCenter website, advocate slowly training your newborn to be comfortable with sitting or lying alone. Brown suggests beginning by setting the baby down alone, but staying nearby. In the first few attempts, pick her up before she begins crying. Gradually, set her down for longer periods and start moving farther away. Begin picking her up only when she cries. After a few days or weeks, your baby will learn that being alone is normal and safe and she will fuss less when she is set down.

Have Patience

The most important element for a parent of a newborn is patience. Your new baby is adjusting to life outside of the womb, and that adjustment does not happen instantly. Learning to sit alone is a process, much like potty-training or learning to read. When you start to feel frustrated, remember to cherish these early days because before you know it, your new baby will be all grown up.

How to Make My Baby the Gerber Baby

Find a photograph of your child that you would like to submit. The photo should show the child's face, and your baby must be fully dressed with no distinguishable logos on his clothing. You must own the rights to the picture you want to submit, which means that you can not use professionally taken portraits.

Go to the Gerber Generation website (see Resource) and click "Upload Image." Find the baby picture that you want to submit, and upload it to the website.

Type your baby's first name into the box and select a milestone, which is a symbol for your baby's stage of development (see Resource). For example, if your baby can sit with some support, he is a "supported sitter." If he is crawling, choose "crawler." Below that, enter the date the photo was taken. The picture must be recent. Click "Next Step." Create an account with Gerber and verify your address. Your baby will be entered into the contest.

Tip

After your submission is posted, give your family and friends the link to the website so they can vote for your baby to be the next Gerber Generation baby.

What Are the Dangers of Falling Asleep While Holding a Baby?

Falling

Falling asleep while cuddling your baby could pose significant risk to the baby, warns the National Sudden and Unexpected Infant/Child Death and Pregnancy Loss Resource Center. If you fall asleep while holding your infant, your grasp on the baby may relax while you sleep. If this occurs, you could inadvertently drop your baby. Depending on your position and the surroundings, dropping your baby could have a significant impact. A chair without sufficient arm support or cushioning could result in the baby falling all the way to the floor.

Wedging

With the relaxation of sleep, your baby may move from your arms and wedge down into the chair or bed frame, cautions the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. If this occurs, your baby has an elevated risk of suffocation or injury, which could be potentially fatal.

Alcohol or Drugs

An adult who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs may not have adequate awareness and wakefulness when caring for a baby, advises Dr. William Sears, author and pediatrician. Falling asleep while holding or cuddling a baby when you have alcohol or drugs in your system may lead to dangerous positioning of the baby, which could lead to injury. The impaired adult may not realize the danger until after a tragedy has already occurred.

Safe Alternatives

While it can be pleasant to snuggle a drowsy or sleeping baby, try to avoid becoming drowsy yourself. Always place your baby on a firm crib mattress to sleep. Ensure that the mattress is free of pillows, comforters, bumper pads, stuffed toys and anything else that could pose a risk of suffocation. A baby’s head should always stay uncovered while she's sleeping. Ensure that everyone who cares for your baby follows these recommendations to keep your baby safe.