Soothing a Teething Baby

We’ve finally entered The Teething Zone. I’ve heard plenty of stories about this stage in infant development, but I guess it’s not something you can fully grasp until you’ve witnessed it first hand.

For months Frances has been drooling and rubbing her index finger obsessively over her lower gums. When someone pointed it out I’d shrug and say, “I guess she’s teething”. Ha! In the past week she’s gone from a quiet, happy baby who contentedly plays by herself for hours, to one who can’t be left alone for more than five minutes.

One thing I didn’t anticipate was the scream that accompanies the fussing. Movie scripts would write this as, “blood curdling”. It’s the kind of scream that sends you running towards her, only to find Frances grinning widely at the look of concern on your face.
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Playing with Fire

Forest fires blow!

I’ve seen some bad forest fires over the years, living in the west as we do, but this year takes the cake. I guess it was overloaded with one too many lit candles!

It’s been days since we saw the mountains just across the valley, and it smells like a campfire inside the house. I’m not sure what I miss more, the blue sky or opening the windows at night to enjoy the cool breeze.

Worst of all is being stuck inside all day! We’re grumpy enough from cabin fever, and the irritated throats and itchy eyes aren’t helping one bit. What’s a mom to do?
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Does Extended Breastfeeding Cause Tooth Decay?

My daughter has had four cavities in her four short years of life. How is this possible? I can’t say we’re religious flossers, but the rest of our dental routine is pretty admirable. Regular brushing? Yep. Fluoride tablets? Absolutely. Hard candies? Not allowed.

According to our dentist, my daughter’s tooth decay could have been caused by extended breastfeeding. She pointed out that once solids are introduced, bacteria in the mouth can change and breast milk can actually cause cavities.
extended breastfeeding and cavities
After doing a bit of my own research though, I have to disagree. Repeated studies have shown that breast milk has proteins and antibacterial qualities that prevent tooth decay. My older son was also breastfed until well over two years old and has never had a cavity to this day.
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How Did They Raise Kids Before the Internet?

My cousin Erin had a baby in April. She marveled to her mom (my aunt), “How did anyone have a baby before the Internet?” My aunt remembered back when she was raising babies in the 1970s. She was an army wife and got issued a pamphlet with everything she needed to know for the baby’s first couple years. She referred to it over and over as her babies grew. And they seemed to turn out okay.

I am pretty sure my mom had a dog-eared copy of Dr. Spock she would refer to if she needed some baby advice.

In a way it sounds kind of nice to have nothing more than a pamphlet to help guide all your parenting decisions. When do I start solid foods? Look it up in your pamphlet, and there will be one confident answer. How do I wash cloth diapers and what do I do about cradle cap? Look in the pamphlet!
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Going Back to Work

Working MotherEven before I got pregnant I knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, at least until the kids start kindergarten.  But when opportunity came a-knockin’, I couldn’t say no!  I’m not going back full time, I told myself.  It’s just a few hours a week.  Well, today is my first day and I’m feeling a little unprepared.

I must have been in denial about being away from Frances, because I only have a few ounces of milk saved up.  And that is the extent of my preparations.  I’m sure there are other things I’m supposed to be doing.  I probably should type up a list of emergency numbers, for example.  What else am I forgetting?  I could definitely use some advice!
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Safe Blanket Use

When Frances went from co-sleeping to crib sleeping at about 6 weeks, I put her in a snuggle nest inside the crib. She had already spent a week or so in the snuggle nest because I wanted to make it an easy transition. She stayed in the snuggle nest for months mostly because she looked so small in that big crib, and it was easy to tuck a blanket around her bottom half without worrying she’d get caught up in it.

The past couple of nights she has scooted her way out of the snuggle nest and when I get her up in the morning she’s wedged into the corner of the crib. Not terribly so, but enough that I think it’s time to pull out the snuggle nest.
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Bug Spray for Babies

My ineffective bug spray

My ineffective bug spray

Since you’ve all been so helpful with recommendations for other summer products, I have another item to ask about.

I’m a bug magnet. If you’re looking for a chemical-free bug spray, just stand next to me. It’s yet to be seen if Franci inherited my bug-loving composition, but I figure I should have some baby-friendly bug spray on hand just in case.

Even with essential oil insect repellents,  I’m worried Frances will ingest more than her share (her hands and clothes spend more time in her mouth than out these days). My home-made spray contains the following oils: citronella, cedar, peppermint and lemongrass. Not only is the smell overwhelming, but it doesn’t even work!
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Sunscreen Woes

Fun in the sun

Fun in the sun

Frances loves swimming, so we’ve been hitting the pool pretty regularly this summer. I’m a bit paranoid about her getting a sunburn since her skin is still that perfect newborn white, so I try to keep her in the shade and slather her with plenty of sunscreen. I’m running into some problems with the sunscreen, however, and it’s driving me crazy!

Episencial Sunny Screen SPF 35 is so difficult to apply, and Franci isn’t happy about it. I make sure to put it on before we even leave the house so we’re not trying to do it pool side, but it still doesn’t absorb by the time we get to the pool. So there she is, sticky and white as a ghost with streaks all over, and once she’s wet she becomes as slippery as a greased watermelon! I’m afraid she’s going to slip through my fingers.
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Cradle Cap

At first I thought that Frances had gotten makeup foundation on her forehead from rubbing back-and-forth on my cheek, but it wouldn’t wipe off.  Then I tried scraping it lightly with my fingernail, and the skin flaked off.  I looked a little closer and her whole scalp looked a little yellow.  I hadn’t really noticed before, because she has so much hair, but there is definitely something going on.  My suspicions were confirmed when I noticed her trying to scratch her head when she wakes up (which is adorable and a little sad at the same time).

I have read about cradle cap, so I figure that’s what it is.  I looked up images online and if it is cradle cap, it’s a mild case.  Nothing worth seeing a doctor over.  A lot of websites say to use a brush or washcloth to scrape off the scales.  Is it really necessary to remove the scales in order for it to go away?
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Thumbs vs. Pacifiers

When Frances was 3 weeks old we started giving her a pacifier. Even as brand new parents we could tell she needed to comfort suck, and feeding on demand was giving her a lactose overload. She would gladly take the pacifier but as soon as she’d start to relax the pacifier would fall out of her mouth and she’d start crying again. After a few days we tired of this game and stopped. I was reading the archives and saw that Joy had better luck with pacifiers.

Thumb Sucking Practice

Thumb Sucking Practice

In the absence of a pacifier, Frances continued sucking on her whole fist to self-sooth. This produced a sound so loud, I swear you could hear it next door. I don’t think she was happy with it either. I half-heartedly tried to show her how to suck her thumb a few times, but I wasn’t sure it was a good idea. I mean, it’s just a bad habit to have to break later, right?
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