How to become a pro at baby’s bath time

How to become a pro at baby’s bath time

Before I had a child, I would have never fathomed what a science in itself your baby’s bath time is especially if you have a newborn. My husband and I spent hours watching videos online researching the most appropriate baby bathtub and being fascinated at how organized some of these YouTube moms kept their baby bath caddies. I was very grateful that these moms shared their experience and expertise because – let’s be honest- no new parent has any idea what they’re really doing. Now after bathing my son every single night for the last two-and-a-half-year, I learned a thing or two so hopefully,  these tips below will help some new and expecting moms.

  1. Have an appropriate bathtub for the baby’s stage

Keep in mind that babies develop in different stages. So obviously, don’t throw your newborn who can’t even sit up yet in the adult bathtub. Since babies can only lay on their back at the beginning, I’d highly suggest getting an infant tub that they can lay in. We loved our tub from Four Moms (unfortunately discontinued) since it would display the temperature and display when it would get too warm (super important since you do not want to burn those little feet) and you would be able to drain the accumulated water and refill it (because no one wants to lay in poopy water). It is important to not wet the belly button of a newborn until the umbilical cord comes off. So until it comes off, it is best to give them a sponge bath. If you are delivering at a hospital, you or your partner can watch how the nurses do it at the nursery given that they still allow it during COVID -19 times. My son had to stay an extra day in the nursery for some phototherapy so I saw plenty of newborns coming in being bathed with a sponge by the nurses which helped me learn a lot. Once we were home we would set up our infant bathtub in the kitchen sink every night which brings me to the next super important point: read on to see how to efficiently and effortlessly to set up your bath time caddie. 

 2. Organize your diaper caddy

Like I mentioned before, we would set up the infant tub in the kitchen so we had to take all the needed items as well. Even if you’re bathing your child in the bathroom, I highly recommend having an organized diaper caddie with all of the baby’s items ready in one place so you don’t have to look for them. Trust me on that, as a mom you want to make sure you are organized and don’t waste your time looking for things, and also since mom brain is totally real you do not want to add an extra headache to your life. I love the diaper caddie from Baby and Sunshine. It looks like a fancy beach bag and has a divider that you can either use to be more organized or take out of what you like. Here are the must-haves for my baby’s bath time caddy:

  • Baby shampoo and body wash
  • Baby conditioner
  • Washcloths
  • Vaseline (always worked the best for my baby but if you use butt cream, rash cream, or anything else, you should add that to the caddie too. You should avoid baby powder as it can cause breathing issues and choke.)
  • Diapers
  • Baby wipes
  • Toys (be careful with the squeeze toys that have a hole in it. Even if you squeeze out all the water after each use, there will still be some moistness in there. Given that they are wet and dark inside, these toys quickly develop black mold and other bacteria which are extremely detrimental to your child‘s health. I personally would recommend buying bathing toys that do not allow water to enter)
  • Baby brush
  • Baby towel 
  • Optional: baby nail file/clippers and baby toothbrush 

3. Make sure to dry baby off right away

To ensure that your little one does not catch a cold, make sure to dry them off with a warm towel immediately after the bath. I love hooded towels as they cover their hair. If your baby‘s hair is still very short, rubbing it dry with the hood might be all you need. I love Baby and Sunshine animal hooded towels: in addition to looking super adorable, they are also a lot softer and bigger than the other store-bought towels I have used. If your child’s hair is a bit longer, you may want to blow dry them after towel drying them. Just make sure the temperate is not too hot and that your baby can’t touch the outlet. I like to blow dry my son’s hair in front of a mirror to do some speech exercises at the same time, e.g. asking him for different parts of his face and have him point at them in front of the mirror.

Hooded towel from Baby and Sunshine

4. Transition to the bathtub 

Once your child can sit up by themselves, you can start transitioning them to the adult tub. Just be sure to be very careful with the water temperature. Some parents like to use a baby dam to make the bathing area a bit smaller. If your child already stands up, I would recommend getting a non-slip mat that sticks to the floor of the bathtub. For yourself, I’d advise you to buy a mat for outside the tub so you can kneel down more comfortably. Last but not least, I need to point out that it is super important to never ever leave your child unattended during bath time. Not even for a few seconds! I hate to be a fear monger and Negative Nancy but I personally know parents who lost their baby in a drowning accident. And these are not negligent parents but these incidents can, unfortunately, happen in a heartbeat.

I hope these tips were helpful for your little one’s safe and fun bath time. I hyperlinked some of the recommended products but you can also find them here. Also, follow me on Instagram to see more of my life with my toddler and follow Baby and Sunshine to see more of their amazing products.

How being grateful can positively contribute to a mom’s life

How being grateful can positively contribute to a mom’s life

I cannot believe it – November is already here! While this year was full of surprises (and not always the good kind), it seems like it has flown by. Surely, this year has been tough for a lot of people: the unexpected outbreak of a global pandemic has led lots of people to losing their jobs, homeschooling their kids while working from home, and lots of other challenges. But there is one thing that has not only helped me throughout this year but has significantly improved my life: practicing gratitude every.single.day.

Appreciate the time you have with your child – it will go by fast

This year most parents have spent a lot more time with their kids than they are used to (and, let’s be honest, than they want to). The shut-down of schools and daycares nationwide has led to a lot of parents juggling working while taking care of their children at the same time, or even homeschooling them. I personally had a moment around April when I thought I would have a nervous breakdown due to being overwhelmed with a high workload while taking care of my very active and needy toddler. Just before I was about to get into having really dark thoughts, I changed one thing: I turned my frustration into gratitude which turned my 2020 from negative to positive. Instead of being frustrated about having so much on my plate, here’s what I did:

  • I started to be grateful for having all that time with my son, and mostly, for having him at home with me safe and sound. A lot of parents with older kids, tell me that this time goes by fast and that they wished they could still carry their kids in their arms. I have lot of people telling me they miss the stage where they fed their kids food with a spoon and they told me to enjoy every single second of this stage even if that includes waking up late at night and diaper changes. Without a doubt, all of us parents with babies and toddlers can clearly learn from these parents. They will never get that sweet time with their little ones back. So, let’s enjoy it to the maximum no matter what life throws at us.
  • I started journaling. Since gratitude is an incredible strong power, you will see how many more great things will come to your life. I started writing down everything I have that I am grateful for. If you think about it, there are a lot more things than you might think. Even if you are not a millionaire, the fact that you are alive, that you have access clean water, that your children are healthy and that you are able to provide a roof over their head and food is something to be thankful for. If you do not believe me, here are just a few things that happened to me after practicing gratitude and journaling every day:
  • I became a U.S. citizen this year. While all immigration proceedings were on hold due to Covid-19, I was selected as one of 500 lucky people to have their naturalization ceremony right before 4th of July
  • I got a promotion at work and shortly after an even higher paying job offer
  • My side hustle as a mom blogger and influencer took off in ways that I would have not expected especially not during these crazy times
  • Our house sold for more than asking price and I moved to the area I have always dreamt off
  • Focusing on being grateful for the things I have, made me a more patient and more focused mom. While I had always put my son’s well-being first, I believe that before I was a bit of a robot of our society: very focused on how things should be and very annoyed if they wouldn’t. I stopped sweating the small things. Even when I was working from home on a tight deadline and my son wanted to cuddle, I made the conscious decision to stop what I am doing and take a few minutes for my son. These moments with him are the most precious moments in the world to me that I cherish more than anything. It would help us bond and give me so much energy as well. And guess what, I would still meet all my deadlines just as well.  Also, not being able to attend events at activities made us explore all the nature in our area and focus more on our family.

The roughest day of my life

The roughest day of my life

When I first found out I was pregnant with my first child in September 2017, I was overjoyed and at the same time I really didn’t know what to expect. But I wasn’t too worried. I figured the mom instinct would kick in naturally and I would learn everything by doing. Also,  I pretty much had the “perfect pregnancy.” By that I mean, I was completely healthy the entire time with barely any morning sickness. I gained the exact amount of weight you were supposed to gain, the baby developed and measured as it was supposed to be. It was almost like clockwork. Nonetheless, to make it all perfect, I decided to educate myself as much as could to ensure that everything would be a 100% and I wouldn’t have to worry about anything!

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The final countdown

I took TWO childbirth classes that consisted of several lessons just to make sure I would be fully prepared. I learned a ton of things about sitting bouncy balls when you’re in labor, bringing esoteric oils to the delivery room and to chill out once the contractions kick in and not run to the hospital right away. The latter was actually a helpful advice. When the day finally came at 38 weeks and a few days pregnant (a baby is considered full-term after 38 weeks of pregnancy), I was still working from home all day and did two conference calls all while having contractions until I decided to make my way to the hospital after rush hour traffic. The delivery went smoothly and quickly.

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Reality is kicking in

When my son David was finally born, things were surreal. I remember they had my husband go to the nursery with the baby which is a common practice. My husband had told me they informed him that the baby tested Coombs positive which meant they the baby and I have different blood types. I still didn’t think anything bad. After all, I hadn’t heard of it in any of my classes, so I can’t be a big deal, right? Granted, those first 48 hours after giving birth are just complete insanity but I still felt things were under control. I did notice though that the nurses were being very on top of me about feeding him every 2 hours. I didn’t understand the urgency since I never heard of that. I thought babies would wake up whenever they feel hungry. At one point, I fell asleep for 3 hours while the baby was asleep and the nurse was frantic when she realized. From then on, they checked on me every two hours almost like I was in the military so I started to realize that something was off. Before I delivered, I swore to myself I wouldn’t give him any formula and I would exclusively breastfeed him (everyone is a perfect parent before they actually have kids). But things were different now. I started to understand that he had very high bilirubin levels (which basically means he had jaundice) and the only way for him to get rid off of it was to pee and poop it out. After birth a woman’s body produces only produces colostrum – breast milk does not come in after a few days after. Colostrum is a very thick substance but it has a lot of nutrients; therefore, small quantities are enough to nourish a newborn at the beginning. However, I was worried if it was enough given the condition he was in. I made the call to supplement with formula so his body can get rid of the bilirubin.

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Nothing had prepared me for that!

The day I was released was the day when all came crashing. After two nights of staying at the hospital, the OB determined in the morning that I am good to go home and signed my release order. They would run the baby’s final bilirubin level tests in the afternoon and if they were fine, then we could go come together with the baby. IF! I had my last visitors stop by to bring me lunch that day. The nurse kept coming to my room but left when she saw there were people there. I immediately started getting a bad feeling in my stomach. I couldn’t wait to hear what they would tell me but got so worried at the same time. When the hospital’s pediatrician came, she gave us the news: his bilirubin levels were still too high and the baby would have to stay in the hospital for light therapy until he gets better. Alone. Without us! My world broke apart. Nothing had prepared me for that! I had never even heard about this in spite of taking all these classes. My eyes started filling with tears. My husband who held my hand teared up, too. I couldn’t help but wonder if I could have done anything different to avoid it. I felt so guilty and started blaming myself. By that time, the pediatrician had come over to me to console me. I asked her: “could I have done anything different? It’s my fault, right, because I didn’t feed him for three hours one time? I shouldn’t have given him formula…” I kept beating myself up! She assured me that it wasn’t my fault at all and that these things are very common. Again, why weren’t they talking about this in the birth preparedness classes instead of bouncy balls that I never even used? I couldn’t shake off the feeling that it was my fault. Every single person working that day who had helped me during my stay (nurses, lactation consultants, etc.) all came to my room to try to cheer me up and to confirm it wasn’t anything I did. They all were so compassionate and felt bad for me. We still did not want to face reality that we would have to leave our newborn baby at the hospital. Our world came crashing down. It felt so incredibly empty to leave the hospital with all the flowers, gift basket and arrangements that were sent to us but WITHOUT the baby. That was not what I imagined it to be. I imaged me leaving the hospital happily taking a pic with the baby in an outfit I had picked for him like I had seen so my families do before. That was the saddest car ride we had experienced in our life. Even though we had just “met” the baby two days earlier, it felt like a huge part of us was missing. It kept hitting us throughout the evening. At night when I walked by, my husband looked at me and said to me in the saddest voice “Oh, you’re not pregnant anymore.” Psychologically, it was unbearable for him to see me without my pregnant belly but with no baby at home either.

 

The longest day

We visited the baby that night and I was on a mission to pump every two hours to make sure my breast milk would come in ASAP so I can feed him. There were people that told me that I should see it positively since I would be able to rest that night. They were completely wrong. I did not sleep at all that night. I called them at 5 am to see how he was doing. We went there all day the next day and stayed with him during visitation hours. It felt so absurd to me to call to see how my baby is doing and to have hours where I can visit my baby. It was so hard seeing my baby in the incubator and only being able to touch him through the glass. I felt like Dumbo’s mom in that scene where they locked her up and she was only able to touch her baby with her trunk through the bars of the cage. But on the other hand, this experience was a bonding experience and the first real challenge for our little family. They left him in the nursery with the healthy newborn babies (and not on the NICU side) . All day we would witness new proud Dads walking in with their babies which was a beautiful experience.

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The verdict…

At night, they took another “fate determining” bilirubin test to see where his levels were at. We were so nervous because the results would determine if we could take him home or he would stay another night(s) which would have been devastating for us. They finally came with the results: his levels had dropped! We would take him home FINALLY!!!  We had to stay outside the nursery for their shift change between 6 pm and 7 pm so I used that time to freshen up! These 72 hours were absolutely nerve-wrecking. We got our happy ending! I ended up getting my “taking the baby home” picture and this car ride with him was a much happier one. He gained weight quickly in the first weeks and all his tests after were fine. He has developed perfectly without any issues. He is turning 18 months now and is such a happy and healthy baby! See for yourself!

 

Note: I am fully aware that there are parents who have to leave their preemie babies in the NICU for weeks and months. My experience probably does not seem like a big deal compared to what they have gone through. I am not writing this for pity and neither am I claiming this is the worst thing that can happen to someone. I am writing this hoping I can help parents with the same experience or even more importantly, that I can make parents-to-be aware that this could happen so they aren’t caught by surprise like I was. I wish I would have learned anything about this beforehand and hope this will be included in child birthing classes in the future.