It’s no surprise. A study finds that at-home Moms cook, shop, play more with kids. But an expert advises that working mothers can still take steps to make sure kids eat right and keep active.
Your baby’s first food doesn’t have to be a commercial infant rice cereal. You can make your own — and there are other good choices like Pears and Bananas.
Here are three homemade “first foods” for baby.
Organic Brown Rice Cereal
1/4 c. rice powder (organic brown rice ground in blender or food processor)
1 cup water
1. Bring liquid to boil in saucepan. Add the rice powder while stirring constantly.
3. Simmer for 10 minutes, whisking constantly, mix in formula or breast milk and fruits if desired
Vitamins: A, C, Folate
Minerals: Potassium, Phosphorus, Selenium, Magnesium, Calcium
1. Peel a ripe banana – do not cook
2. Place banana in a food processor/food mill or blender and puree
3. You can also mash the banana in a bowl using a regular fork – heat in microwave for 25 seconds prior to mashing for extra softness
4. Add formula/breast milk or water to thin or add cereal (if desired) to thicken up.
Vitamins: A, C, Folate
Minerals: Potassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Calcium
1. Peel and cut into chunks so as to avoid the little seed portion.
2. Steam gently until tender;
3. Place in a blender/food processor and puree until smooth. You may be able to just use a fork too.
4. Use the leftover cooking water if needed but Pears tend to be very runny and watery without adding liquid – Add some baby cereal to thicken if needed.
Relieve your aches and pains
Loosening of the pelvic joints during your pregnancy — not to mention moving, lifting, standing, sitting, or sleeping in an awkward position — can put extra stress on your back while you’re pregnant.
Although back pain often improves on its own, there are some safe, easy ways to help you feel better faster.
- Lie on your left side with your knees bent and a pillow between your legs. (Avoid sleeping on your back after your fourth month.)
- Change positions every 30 minutes. If you must sit for a long time, take breaks to stand up and walk around frequently.
- Put cold packs on your back for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, several times a day. (Be sure to use a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.)
- Soak in a warm (but not hot) bath.
- It may feel good to take short walks or do gentle stretching. Ask your practitioner about safe, back-strengthening exercises.
- Swim or wade in a pool. The feeling of weightlessness you’ll get in the water can be a welcome break for your back.
- If you need to pick up something, squat instead of bending over.
- Ask your practitioner about taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain. Do not take ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), or aspirin unless advised by your doctor.
When to call your doctor
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your practitioner if your back doesn’t feel better after a week.
Call your practitioner if:
- you have regular contractions (5 to 6 minutes apart, lasting at least 45 seconds each) or are experiencing preterm labor.
- you have new pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness, especially in your buttocks, genital or rectal area, legs, or feet.
- your back pain gets worse or more frequent.
Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are drugs you can buy without a doctor’s prescription. This doesn’t mean that OTC medicines are harmless. Like prescription medicines, OTCs can be very dangerous for children if not taken the right way.
Be sure to read the package instructions on these medicines carefully. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before giving OTC medicines to young children.
Here are some safety tips for parents and other caregivers:
- Don’t give children medicines intended only for adults.
- Always follow the directions on the “Drug Facts” label. This label tells you how to give the medicine safely and in the right amount. It lists warnings, tells you how often to give the medicine, and helps you know if the medicine is safe for your child.
- Check the “active ingredients” listed on the label. This is what makes the medicine work. If you use two medicines with the same or similar active ingredients, your child could get too much.
- Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before giving your child more than one OTC medicine at the same time.
- Talk to your doctor before you give fever medicine to a baby who is 3 months of age or younger. This is to make sure a young baby’s fever is not a sign of a serious illness. The exception is if your baby has just had an immunization.
- Don’t give aspirin to anyone younger than 20 unless your doctor tells you to. Aspirin increases the risk of Reye syndrome, a serious illness.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist about any vitamins, supplements, foods, or drinks that shouldn’t be mixed with your child’s medicine.
- Don’t take medicine in front of children, since kids will often copy what you do. And never call medicine “candy” to get your kids to take it.
- Be extra careful with liquid medicines. Infants usually need a different dose than children do. And some liquid forms are stronger (more concentrated) than others. Always read the label so that you give the right dose.
Giving the right amount
- Always follow directions about your child’s age and weight when you are giving a dose.
- When giving medicine, use the tool that comes with the medicine, such as a dropper or a dosing cup. Don’t use spoons instead of the tool. Spoons can be different sizes. If the medicine doesn’t come with a tool to give doses, ask your pharmacist for one.
- Know the difference between the amounts in a tablespoon (Tbsp) and a teaspoon (tsp). A tablespoon is three times as much as a teaspoon.
- Never increase a dose because your child seems more sick than before.
- Talk to your child’s doctor before switching back and forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.
Storing medicines safely
- Store medicines where children can’t see or reach them. Many OTC medicines are colorful, taste good, and can be chewed. Kids may think that these medicines are candy.
- Use medicines with a childproof cap. Lock the cap after each use by closing it tightly.
- Don’t buy or use medicine from a package that has cuts, tears, a broken seal, or other problems. Check the medicine at home to make sure the color and smell are normal.
- Check your medicine supply at least once a year. Ask your pharmacist how to get rid of medicines that are past their expiration date.
- Always store medicines in a cool, dry place or as it says on the label.
- Keep all medicines in their original containers. This way you avoid giving the wrong medicine by mistake.
Using cough and cold medicines
Studies show that over-the-counter cough and cold medicines don’t work very well. Some of these medicines can cause problems if used too much. These medicines don’t cure the cold or cough. And they don’t help your child get better faster.
Use these medicines exactly as your doctor says and keep them out of children’s reach.
- Check the label before you give cold medicines to a child. They may not be safe to give to young children.
- Don’t give antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl, for example), to your child unless you’ve checked with your doctor first. Antihistamines are sometimes used in cold medicines, so check for them on the label.
- Try other home treatments besides medicines. A humidifier may soothe swollen air passages or help a cough. Honey or lemon juice in hot water or tea may help a dry cough. Do not give honey to a child younger than 1 year old.
- Don’t give your child too much acetaminophen or ibuprofen. If you are giving your child fever or pain medicine (such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen), don’t give your child a cold or flu medicine that contains the same ingredient. Your child could get too much medicine.