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Baby Tips and Tricks New Moms Need to Know

Baby Tips and Tricks New Moms Need to Know

Exhausted doesn’t even describe the newborn days. Waking up delirious from sleep deprivation multiple times a night. Struggling with the initial discomfort of breastfeeding, all while recovering from childbirth.

Life with a newborn also made me doubt myself and question every decision I made. I wondered what in the world I got myself into as I wished for easier days (and reminisced about my old life). I wasn’t sure whether I was even fit to be a mom.

(Read more about the expectations and realities of life with a newborn.)

Baby tips and tricks

But as with all things parenthood, I learned on the job. I discovered little hacks that made the days easier and more manageable. I researched baby tips and grew more confident and better equipped to handle a new baby. And I reached out to fellow moms and discovered their secrets to surviving the newborn stage.

In short, these are the cool baby tips I wish I knew from the start. They’re quick wins when we need them most—baby care tips for new moms to better manage.

Below are my best baby tips I hope you find useful as well:

1. Onesies can also be pulled down during messy accidents

Nearly every onesie will come with those envelope flaps near the collar. At first I thought this was designed to accommodate different-sized heads and to make it more comfortable for baby to pull a shirt over his head.

Turns out, those envelope flaps are much more functional than fitting over a baby’s head. They allow you to pull the onesie down.

Normally, you’d undress the baby by lifting the onesie over the head. But at some point, you’ll likely face the dreaded poop explosion. One so full it spills out of the diaper and onto the onesie—not exactly something you’d want to pull over the baby’s head.

The envelope flaps allow you to then pull the onesie down over the baby’s shoulders, removing it without going near the baby’s head.


Onesies can also be pulled down in case of poop explosions.

2. Eliminate gas with the elbow-to-knee trick

One of the biggest challenges with newborn baby care after birth is the baby’s gas and digestion.

My little guy had a serious case of gas, so much so that he was difficult to put to sleep. He’d fuss and cry, and I felt helpless with how to help him. I tried gas drops, which only seemed to help a little. I even tried different bottles, hoping that a new brand would ease his troubles.

Nothing seemed to work—that is, until I learned the elbow-to-knee trick.

Now, I had heard about doing bicycle kicks with a baby to expel gas. I tried this move, moving my baby’s knees closer to his chest, hoping he’d toot a little gas out of his tummy. It still didn’t work.

But then I tried the elbow-to-knee trick, which instantly removed my baby’s gas. Every time I’d touch his elbow to the knee, he’d give a little fart, then another when I repeated with the opposite limbs. It seemed like a miracle!

So, here’s how you do it:

  • Lie your baby down on his back.
  • Move his right elbow and left knee towards each other as if they were going to touch.
  • Do the same with the opposite elbow and knee: Move his left elbow and right knee towards each other.
  • Alternate a few times until your baby stops farting.

Hopefully each time you connect one elbow to the opposite knee, your baby will fart and expel some gas. This will keep him be more comfortable and better able to sleep.

3. Keep your baby awake no longer than an hour and a half to avoid over-stimulation

Before I had kids, I figured babies sleep anywhere. After all, at family parties, we’d pass babies from person to person, and I never considered whether they were asleep or not.

When I had my first, I did the same. I didn’t follow any type of routine, much less look at the clock to see how long he’s been awake.

The result? He felt cranky and overtired, which made it harder to put him to sleep. I couldn’t lay him down drowsy and awake—instead, I had to hold him in my arms, rock or feed him to sleep.

Turns out, babies can only stay awake for so long. And more importantly, they don’t “just fall asleep” when they feel tired. If they’re overstimulated, hungry, uncomfortable or tired, they have a hard time falling asleep.

I then began to be more conscious of how long my baby was awake. I learned that an hour and a half is about the most a newborn can stay awake. And I looked for sleep cues and didn’t hesitate to put my baby down for a nap, even he’d only been awake for 45 minutes or an hour.

And guess what—he began to sleep better. He was less cranky and overtired and instead seemed to welcome his next nap. When I had twins a few years later, I remembered this handy trick and avoided keeping them awake too long, making them easy sleepers from day one.

Sure, this isn’t always convenient, especially if you feel stuck at home, but it can make a huge difference with how easy it is to put your baby to sleep.

4. Track your baby’s feedings and diapers

Your doctor will likely ask a few questions about your baby’s progress:

  • what types of bowel movements he’s had
  • how often he pees
  • how many ounces of milk or minutes he nurses

And if you breastfeed, you’ll want to track how many minutes he nurses and on which breast. If he’s bottle-fed, track how many ounces he drinks.

For accurate answers, record your baby’s feedings so you don’t have to pull the information from memory.

Track your baby’s diapers as well, including, the kind of poop he had, such as color, texture, and how often he peed or pooped. Not exactly enticing, but necessary.

Keeping track of all your baby’s latest feedings and diaper changes can feel overwhelming. Get a convenient way to track feeding and diaper times with my FREE printable tracker! Download it below:

Keeping track of your baby’s latest feedings and diaper changes can feel overwhelming. Get a convenient way to track feedings and diaper changes with my FREE printable tracker! The set comes with templates for both breastfed and bottle-fed babies. Click the button to download!

5. Feed your baby after he wakes up

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links, which means I will earn a commission—at no extra cost to you—if you make a purchase.

It didn’t take long for me to see that my baby would fall asleep with nursing. I even prided myself for being the only who could put him to sleep—I had “mama’s touch,” I assumed.

Trouble is, he’d only fall asleep through nursing (or rocking). Nap times became horrendous—I’d spend several minutes rocking him to sleep only for him to wake up the minute I laid him down.

This also made nap times short. Forget about two-hour naps—each time he stirred, he wouldn’t know how to put himself back to sleep. I’d either resort to rocking or nursing him all over again, making both of us miserable and sleep deprived.

Secrets of the Baby WhispererThen I read Tracy Hogg’s E-A-S-Y technique (eat/awake/sleep/you). Rather than feeding your baby to sleep, you’d feed him after he woke up. At first, I was doubtful. This was, after all, one of the ways I could put him to sleep. But when I saw how much he relied on external sleep aids to fall asleep, I knew I had to try a different way.

I then changed my routine. Rather than feeding my baby to sleep, I fed him after he woke up, which allowed him to try to fall asleep on his own. He stopped tying nursing with sleeping and instead expected to eat when he woke up.

Here’s how it works:

  • Feed your baby (eat) after he wakes up (awake) so he’ll have energy for her awake time.
  • After your baby has been awake a while, put him to sleep drowsy but awake (sleep). He can explore different ways to put himself to sleep, such as sucking on his thumb or rocking his head side to side.
  • Once he’s asleep, you can tend to yourself (you) and repeat the cycle.

6. Find alternative ways to hold your baby

The first day I was home alone with my twins felt like a juggling act. With two babies to care for and only one set of arms, I needed to bounce between one baby to another to get them to sleep.

Because a baby’s preferred position? In your arms. The snuggling feels good, but isn’t sustainable. After all, you need your arms to get things done, from using the restroom to preparing food. And it’s not always safe to fall asleep with the baby in your arms.

Instead, use other techniques to hold the baby. I relied so much on baby gear to hold my babies, giving me time to tend to the other twin or catch a break.

These are the items I recommend the most:

  • Swing: The swing was perfect for lulling my babies to sleep, where they often fell asleep for a nap. The motion soothed them when nothing else seemed to work, or at least kept them entertained during awake time.
  • Baby wrap: A baby wrap allows you to keep the baby close while freeing your arms to do other tasks.
  • Stroller: Many babies will fall asleep in a stroller, making for convenient errands or a walk around the block. A stroller is also helpful for quick shopping trips, placing the baby in the stroller while you put items inside.
  • Infant cushion: The infant cushion below uses the baby’s weight to give the feeling of being held.

Snuggle Me Organic

Infant cushions mimic the feeling of being held in someone’s arms.

Using several baby items to hold your baby is also convenient so that, should he fuss with one, you have other options handy.

7. Swaddle your baby for better sleep

For months, your baby grew accustomed to the tight spaces of your womb. To go from the fetal position to lying flat on his back isn’t the easiest transition. He also has the Moro reflex, which explains the sudden flailing of the arms that can startle him awake or even hit him on the face.

Enter the swaddle. By wrapping your baby systematically in a blanket, you’ll prevent his arms from flailing and waking him up. And by recreating the snugness of the womb, you’re more likely to help your baby sleep longer stretches.

Here’s how to swaddle your baby:
  1. Place a square swaddle blanket (like these Aden+Anais ones I loved) flat on a surface like a diamond.

    Aden + Anais

    Aden + Anais

  2. Fold the top corner down 5-10 inches towards the middle so that the diamond now looks like the top part got cut off.
  3. Place your baby on top of the swaddle with her neck aligned with the straight line you folded.
  4. Keep your baby’s arms straight next to her body. Then fold the left corner of the swaddle over her body and tuck it under her back. Her left arm should still be free.
  5. Fold the bottom corner up and over her left shoulder, tucking it inside the swaddle.
  6. Holding her left arm down, fold the right corner over her arm and entire body, tucking the flap into the swaddle.

Mom holding a baby wrapped in a swaddle

Swaddles help babies sleep longer and feel snug.

Follow this step-by-step illustration of how to swaddle a baby.

For a more convenient option, use a Velcro swaddle blanket or the Baby Merlin Magic Sleepsuit. Both keep your baby snug, are less likely to come undone and take less steps—especially useful in the middle of the night.

A Velcro swaddle is a convenient way to keep baby snug with less steps to do.

The sleep suit is another option to keep your baby snug during sleep.

8. Use white noise so your baby doesn’t startle

In the womb, your baby heard a constant white noise, from the beating of your heart to the muffles of the outside world. But now, he wakes up over the slightest sound.

I learned the magic of white noise early on, when the constant hum of a fan would help my baby sleep much longer than when I didn’t have it running. I was better able to shuffle around the house without tiptoeing, and I didn’t have to worry about noises from the neighbors.

Place a fan or heater in the room your baby is sleeping in to help him fall and stay asleep. Not only is the white noise comforting, it also muffles sounds from elsewhere. If you’d rather get a white noise machine so you don’t affect the room’s temperature, check out these highly-rated options:



Wave Premium

9. Hang darkening curtains to extend baby’s naps

You may have heard that you should have your baby nap in a bright room during the day to help him learn day from night. You’re avoiding long naps in the day that he should reserve for nights.

I disagree.

Yes, we want our babies to sleep longer at nights, but we want them to take long naps, too. Hang darkening curtains in your baby’s room—even during the day—so he can sleep longer stretches. As anyone with a baby who only naps in 30-45 minute chunks, a dark room can make a huge difference.

Another benefit of a dark room? Drawing the curtains helps signal that it’s nap or bedtime. These routines let your baby know that he should be sleeping rather than playing.

Rarely does a baby nap for five or more hours during the day (I can count twice for mine). And should you want to avoid those long naps, then wake the baby up. Otherwise, dark curtains help your baby stretch shorter naps to longer ones.

And even with darkening curtains during the day, your room won’t get pitch black the way it does at night. So even then, your baby will still learn that darkness means long stretches of sleep at night.

I hung darkening curtains like these:


Welcoming a baby can be one of the most challenging periods in a parent’s life. While nothing can make the hardships disappear completely, we can rely on baby tips to make those months much smoother.

As a recap, here are the newborn care basics we learned:

  • Onesies can also be pulled down during messy poop accidents
  • Expel gas with the elbow-to-knee trick
  • Keep your baby awake no longer than 90 minutes for better sleep and less fussiness
  • Record your baby feedings and diaper changes to monitor his progress
  • Feed your baby after he wakes up to reduce the reliance on feeding to sleep
  • Find alternative ways to hold your baby to free up your arms
  • Swaddle your baby for longer stretches of sleep
  • Use white noise to muffle outside noises that might startle your baby
  • Hang darkening curtains to help your baby fall and stay asleep

Taking care of a newborn is tough enough as it is, but with these baby tips, you’ll have an easier time caring for your baby.

p.s. Want resources to help your baby sleep well, especially if he only sleeps in your arms? I created a guide just for you! Learn about “How to Get Your Baby to Sleep without Being Held” here.

Are your arms tied because your baby will only sleep in them? If your newborn only sleeps when held, don't worry—there are ways to cope and eventually get your child to sleep in other ways. Get the guide that will help ease your baby out of your arms.

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4 tips for New Moms

4 tips for New Moms

baby safety

September is Baby Safety Month, which just so happens to coincide with our anxious wait for the arrival of our first child…how fitting! Leading up to September has been a fun and strange combination of gearing up while also paring down. We got the cute outfits, figured out how to execute the perfect “swaddle” and made room in order to create a cozy nursery. But just as important, we focused our energies on making our home safe for our little man.

First things first, my husband, JP, and I knocked out the easiest steps: checking our carbon monoxide detector and smoke alarm to ensure they were both in working order. Check! (Admittedly, creating and crossing off checklists became a serious sport for me during this time. It also perhaps gave me an inflated sense of accomplishment, which explains the exclamation points.)

After we got our crib—in 7,000 little pieces/husband not enthused—we assembled it and then made sure to make it a safe sleeping environment for baby. As tempting as it was to fill it with cute stuffed animals, a chic bumper and a bunch of sanity-saving accessories, those items have no place in a baby’s crib. Simplicity is the name of the game here: a firm mattress covered with a tight-fitting crib sheet is really all you need. Check!

Next up was our car seat. Being a Safe Kids employee doesn’t grant me immunity from an improperly installed car seat. In fact, 73% of car seats are not used or installed correctly. That’s why we made sure to review car seat safety guidelines and check out a local car seat check up event to ensure we’re safely transporting our bambino. Check!

Even though our baby won’t be eating solid foods for awhile, it’s never too early to think about choking prevention , too. Children under 5 should not be given foods that are small, round or hard (think hot dog pieces, cheese sticks or chunks, hard candy, nuts, grapes, marshmallows or popcorn). These food items can put your child at risk for a choking episode. And while we’re on the subject, it’s a great idea to sign up for a CPR class as a new—or repeat—parent as well. The more peace of mind, the better. Check!

As a soon-to-be new parent, I can attest that taking these preventative steps has been fairly simple but also has provided JP and me with a sense of confidence and calm. I know that we can’t control everything that may or can happen to our little guy. All those bumps, bruises and crazy little things that you can’t predict are part of growing up, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. But I also know that if you have the knowledge and tools to reduce serious risk, than why not check it off the list?


20+ of the Greatest Mom Tips Ever

20+ of the Greatest Mom Tips Ever

Even though some of my mothering skills came naturally, like realizing I could nurse my newborn son, Conrad, while walking up the spiral staircase, my confidence as a new mom was hard-won. I always assumed there was a book, or a gadget, or one of Angelina Jolie’s nannies, who knew how to do everything better than I could. Worse, I thought my lack of mothering-nerve was a blemish on the image of the perfect mom I wanted to be. (I hadn’t yet realized that trying to be perfect was ridiculous.) I kept my insecurities to myself and continued to shop for stuff I didn’t need and buy tomes that were better used as stacking blocks.

Then I got a card from an older family friend, and all she wrote was this: “One day you will feel like you know what you’re doing.” Six years, many mistakes, and another baby boy later, I do. But that card let me start to trust myself more every day. Well, dear reader, consider this your own card from an old friend. We’ve gathered the best, most ingenious it-worked-for-me tips from moms and childcare experts to help you sail, not sob, through all the small but significant day-to-day acts of being a mom. Confidence, here you come.

3 Insta-Soothers You Can Count On

Try The Triple Play Rub lavender essential oil on the back of your neck for a calming scent (feel free to swipe your kid’s Johnson & Johnson lotion). Then wrap your baby in a blanket and gently bounce on a fitness ball or the edge of the bed, suggests Jill Wodnick, a doula in Montclair, NJ, and mother of Nathaniel, 7, Sebastian, 4, and Emerson, 2.
Head To the Loo Need help fast? Run the bathroom fan and faucet. Low, droning noises remind your little one of hearing your heartbeat in utero, says Dr. Altmann, mother of Avrick, 4, and Collen, 2.
Create a Toddler Cocoon “When toddlers throw tantrums, they often need to block out stimulation in order to calm down,” says Corinne G. Catalano, school psychologist at the Ben Samuels Children’s Center at Montclair State University. So instead of picking up your tot, make a “cave” or cocoonlike space by throwing a blanket over a small table and allowing him to climb under it. If you’ve got a pop-up kid tent, that will work, too. Give him his lovey and a pillow, and he’ll have the soothing sanctuary he needs to regroup.

Help the Medicine Go Down (or In)
Who hasn’t squirted Motrin into her toddler’s ear when he’s putting up a feverish fight? Take a cue from Mary Poppins and mix a dose of medicine with chocolate syrup, suggests Tanya Altmann, M.D., author of Mommy Calls. For toddlers and older babies on solid foods, medicine will seem like a treat! Another option: Refrigerate OTC meds. Cold can mask the taste. For eyedrops, lay your baby on her back and put a toy on her belly so she’ll look down. If she’s old enough to follow directions, just tell her to close her eyes. Place a drop on the inner corner of the eye, right by her nose. When she looks up or opens her eye, the drop will fall right in. (Works for drowsing pets, too!)

10 Things You Never Knew You Could Do With One Hand
make spaghetti
feed a pet
wrap a present using a mini-shopping bag, tissue, and a stick-on bow
brush an older child’s hair
fold baby clothes and put back in drawers
repot a plant
write thank-you notes
whip up a smoothie
tend to husband’s personal needs (if you know what we mean)

Happier Hair Washing
Turn this often torturous process into something your toddler will look forward to: Treat her to a salon visit right in your own home, suggests Parenting Mom Squad expert Denene Millner, of Snellville, GA. What to do:

1. Talk in a fancy voice and ask her to lie down on the kitchen counter, with her head hanging over the sink, just like she would if she were sitting in the shampoo chair at a salon.
2. Roll Up a towel and ut it under her neck for support.
3. Let her lean back and enjoy. Use your fingers to give her a head massage while you shampoo.
4. Rinse, wrap hair up in a turban.
5. Accept kisses as tips.

Better Bangs: The unfortunate hallmark of an at-home trim is poorly cut bangs. The secret? Don’t cut them from ear to ear. Instead, trim them in from the outside edge of each eyebrow.

Car Seats on the Fly
Many a parent has suffered a long flight with a crying baby only to discover that she can’t get the car seat out of the airplane seat. Because airline seatbelts open with a pull lever, the belt can easily get wedged in the car-seat back once it has been tightened. If you can’t pull the lever, well, you’re stuck. Avoid this problem with two solutions that are FAA compliant: Ask your airline attendant for a seat-belt extender, suggests Troy Lanier, coauthor of DadLabs Guide to Fatherhood. The extender attaches to and lengthens the belt so you can reach the buckle when deplaning. If you can’t get their attention in time, simply turn the buckle over so that the clasp opens in a different direction.

How to Defuse Road Rage
We’ve all been there: You’re making great time on a trip home from the mall and then, bam!, traffic. Your child, who was happy moving at 50 miles per hour, is hysterical when your speedometer drops below 10. Some quick tricks to avoid crying jags.

Turn on cool tunes As soon as you see a stream of brake lights ahead, pop in a customized CD that sings your child’s name in every stanza ($14.95 to $19.95; “When my girls hear their names in a song, they instantly stop crying,” says Tomlin, who’s the author of Chaos 2 Calm: The Moms of Multiples’ Guide to an Organized Family and mom of 3-year-old twins, Peyton and Sydney.
Dial it in Low-tone cell-phone ringtones can be calming, says Catalano. And that’s why when Nancy Caron’s 18-month-old son, Parker, is inconsolable, she whips out her cell phone and plays tones that are heavy on the drum and bass. (If she’s in the driver’s seat, she pulls over first!)
Stash some magnets Dig out an old metal cake pan or small cookie sheet and load it up with large magnetic pictures or letters (they should be larger than 1 3/4 inches in diameter). The magic of magnetism can keep them entertained for hours (okay…many, many minutes).

3 Nighttime Tips
Think Big To avoid 2 a.m. diaper leaks, Brooke Harmon of Phoenix puts her son in a diaper one size up: “It absorbs all the pee and never makes a mess.”
Go Backward Tonia Tomlin of Plano, TX, got so tired of her twin daughters’ late-night ritual of ripping off their pj’s that she put their footless zip-up sleepers on backward.
Do Diaper Prep Pre-fill newborn dipes with ointment before bed to save time during middle-of-the-night changes.

Better Mothering Through Technology
Heather Gibbs Flett and Whitney Moss, authors of The Rookie Mom’s Handbook, offer up four ways to convert your iPhone into the ultimate mother’s helper.

Make It a Baby Monitor You’re at a dinner party and are worried you won’t hear your sleeping baby in your host’s bedroom. Download the application at$4.99), then stash your phone near the babe. If he stirs, your phone will call a number you’ve chosen (e.g., Daddy’s cell).
Let it Lull Download the white-noise ambient application ($1.99; and place the phone in your baby’s car seat or stroller. The app also offers a variety of sounds, including some as quietly calming as lapping waves and rain.
Turn it into a Tracker Log your baby’s diaper changes and feedings with the applications at (99¢, $7.99). Both store a history of your data, in case you need to share it with your doctor.
Have it Wooo Them Download the Wooo Button ( It’s simple: You press a button and a man shouts “Wooo!” Kids love it, and it’s so harmlessly addictive that you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish!

Must-Know Multitasker
Now that you have a kid, you’ll never get to go to the bathroom alone again. How to master the pee-and-feed with ease.
1. Wear elastic-waist pants or a comfy skirt you can lift with one hand.
2. Get the babe happily latched on.
3. Do your business.
4. Flush later—no need to chance a startle.

Tasty Teething Trick
Frozen washcloths are great, but your baby may stay at it longer and get more relief if you add some flavor into the mix. Try putting large chunks of these in a mesh teether:
Sour pickles (surprised? kids adore all things tangy)
Cool cucumbers
Sweet carrots

Stand-Up Comedy (aka the Vertical Diaper Change)
1. Wrap one arm around your child’s belly to hold him still, then tear off the old dipe.
2. Ask him to touch his toes if he can, then use your free hand to wipe.
3. Place new diaper over the front of his body, push it through his legs, and then over his butt.
4.Secure tabs. Hike it up gently, then adjust tabs again if necessary.



What’s a good way to deal with tantrums?

What’s a good way to deal with tantrums?

Don’t Give Them An Audience

One thing that helped me when my daughter went through this phase was to make sure she didn’t have an audience for her tantrum. I’d put her in her room. If she screamed for an hour, she screamed for an hour; I would not enter the room or call for her to be quiet. Eventually, she would tire out. At first she would try to come out of her room, but I would pick her up and carry her back. The first time she came out, I’d say, “Stay in your room until I give you permission to come out.” If she came out after that, I would simply pick her up, carry her to her room and place her there without saying a word or giving any sort of facial expression to indicate my frustration. Sometimes it took several times, but eventually, she learned that I could be more stubborn than she is and she gave up.-Maggie

Talk Him Through It 

It’s hard for children to understand at this age, but they need to learn that they can’t always have what they want. My 19-month-old has thrown some horrible tantrums. He doesn’t hit or try to hurt me, but he will try to push me away. He gets extremely distressed – there’s nothing fake about it. I’ve found that he’s usually upset because he is trying to get something across to me that he just doesn’t have the words for yet. Most of the time, if I talk to him calmly and start going over things with him, I hit on what he’s trying to communicate and he lets me know that I got it right. Then I go over the word he needs, over and over, until he starts trying to repeat it to me. Sometimes I just can’t let him do or have what he wants and he still gets upset, but not for nearly as long as he would have. At those times that I can’t please him, I tell him why he can’t have or do what he wants, and leave it at that. – Sarah S.

Time out 

Your son is at an age where he wants to be independent, but physically he just isn’t able to. Try letting him take part in some of the decisions you make for him, like picking out his clothes or which veggies to serve with dinner. If you don’t want him to be totally in charge of these things, let him pick between two choices that you find acceptable. This will make him feel as if he has a voice and some control over what happens to him. Under age 2 is still kind of young to understand what a time-out is, but a minute to cool out can be very effective. – Jessica H.

The Expert Opinion

When it comes to toddler tantrums, one of the most important things to remember is that children are born with a limited ability to control their emotions, especially when they are upset. “They are like tiny cavemen,” says Dr. Harvey Karp, creator of the book and DVD “The Happiest Toddler on The Block.” “We have to teach toddlers how to be civilized and handle their emotions.”

Dr. Karp discourages time-outs for tantrums. “You may need to punish a child’s behavior, but emotions shouldn’t be punished unless the child is being disruptive or aggressive.” Instead, he encourages parents to speak “toddler-ese” to help their little ones navigate through the tantrum. This means speaking like your toddler – using short phrases and repetition, and mirroring the child’s tone of voice and gestures to acknowledge the emotion. Most important, don’t distract, yell or talk overly calmly to the toddler in the midst of a meltdown. “Just like adults, toddlers have a hard time recovering from their upsets until their feelings have been acknowledged,” says Dr. Karp. Talking calmly could frustrate a child, because it does not effectively communicate that you are acknowledging his feelings.

If a toddler continues to tantrum, practice the ‘kind ignore” – after you speak toddler-ese, step away for a few seconds (to take away the audience) and then come back and repeat your words of acknowledgement. Continue the cycle of going away and coming back until the child begins to calm down.

10 Signs Your Toddler is Ready for Potty Training

10 Signs Your Toddler is Ready for Potty Training

Taking off Dirty Diapers Himself

A sure sign that your toddler is becoming aware of what’s going on is taking off dirty diapers himself. If it’s a poopie diaper, let him watch you put the poop in the potty to see where it goes. Praise him for understanding that dirty diapers are uncomfortable, and let him know using the potty is a great way to avoid that icky feeling.

Telling You Her Diaper is Dirty

Before she starts letting you know she has to go, she’ll begin letting you know she’s already gone. Once she’s aware that she’s gone to the bathroom ask her how she felt right before she went. Recognizing how it feels when she needs to go is an important step.

Showing Interest in Seeing Her Own Waste

Gross, right? But being interested in what’s coming out shows a level of awareness of the process as a whole. Let her have a peek and let her know the potty is a great place to put waste. Try not to tell her it’s stinky or dirty—encourage her to feel positive about everything surrounding this new adventure.

Showing Interest in Your Potty Behavior

Modeling after mom and dad comes naturally. Playing dress up or pretending to talk on the phone just like the adults can be fun—use that to your advantage. Don’t discourage him from asking questions about what’s going on in the bathroom. Answer everything in a matter of fact way so he knows that the potty is a normal part of daily life.

Being Dry After Sleeping

A great sign that your toddler has developed bladder control is when they start waking up dry. Being dry after a nap will happen a lot earlier than being dry overnight, so look for that first. Encouraging your toddler to sit on the potty right after napping can reinforce bladder control.

Understanding Multi-Step Commands

There’s a lot to do surrounding the potty. You have to get undressed, sit down, wipe, get dressed, wash your hands—that’s a lot to remember and do. When you start to notice that your toddler does all of the steps when you say, “Please pick up that toy, put it in the box, and close the lid,” that’s a good sign that she’s intellectually prepared to take on the entire process of potty training.

Undressing Himself

It’s kind of obvious; if you can’t undress yourself, you’re going to wet your pants. It’s a skill that takes some forethought and coordination, but once your toddler has mastered it there’s a chance your house will become a bit of a nudist colony. It’s another step toward living diaper-free, so take a chance on naked time—just set a timer so you get your toddler on the potty at regular intervals.

Understanding Potty-Related Words

If your toddler doesn’t have the right vocabulary words it’s going to be difficult to discuss potty training with him. Figure out which words work best for your family. Cutesy words like, “pee-pee” and “poo-poo” work fine. If you’re feeling more academic, go with “urination” and “defecation.”

Pooping with Purpose

Children tend to quickly pick up how to pee on the potty, but going number two is an entirely different thing. Many children need time to figure out the mechanics of how to poop with purpose. Watch for signs like your diapered toddler going to a secluded area of the house, squatting, and/or grunting. This means your toddler is becoming aware of the muscles needed to get the job done when sitting on the throne.

Seeking Independence

Have you gotten to the, “Me, Me, Me” stage yet? Is your toddler’s response to every attempt at help a resounding, “No! I do it!”? Independence, and the desire to be a big kid, is a key factor in your child’s desire to be out of diapers. Use it to your advantage and you’ll be rid of diapers in no time.

Top 10 Tips To Get Baby To Sleep – Part 2

Top 10 Tips To Get Baby To Sleep – Part 2

We know the basics: early bedtimes, soothing music, getting junior to settle himself to sleep. But many of our kids still struggle with sleep problems. Perhaps try a scientific approach. Trick her body into producing sleep hormones, or providing it with proteins that promote sleep, may work better than any gadget or lullaby.


Make the Bedroom a Sleep-only Zone

Much as you may want to stash your child’s toys in bins by their bed, it might be distracting. If your child has trouble sleeping, make her room a single-use facility, for snoozing only. You can even read stories on the couch, and then sneak into that cool, dark and cave-like room just for z’s.

Invent a Ritual

One sleep scientist wraps a towel around her head each night. As soon as her face touches that terrycloth, her body knows it’s time for sleep. Your sleep ritual can include listening to a particular piece of music or inhaling a consistent aromatherapy scent—anything that a kid’s body can recognize as the last thing before bed.

Get Grandma, the Babysitter, or Your Best Friend to Do Bedtime

Often kids will resist bedtime, or wake up more often, if their parents are around; they might misbehave at home but be peachy at school, with Grandma or with the babysitter. If you have the resources, spend up to a week having someone else do bedtime, to help junior establish a new routine.

Press the Right Points

Acupressure in an ancient Chinese medicine that involves pushing on specific pressure points in the body to relieve stress or toxins. Some practitioners believe that manipulating the 12 acupressure points in children can help them sleep. Companies like Holistic Baby recommend pressing on the specific spots several hours before bedtime, but of course you’ll have to take a class or get a video to learn them.

Consider Crying Uncle

If you’ve spent several years and hundreds of dollars—doctors, objects, self-help books—trying to get your kid to 1) fall asleep on her own and 2) stay asleep, and it’s to no avail, then perhaps the best thing is to give in. Lie down with her until she falls asleep—you can read a book on an e-book reader app, fitted with the special filter of course—and let her crawl into your bed if she just won’t stop. Some experts say that the real secret to a good night sleep is to get it any way you can.