So you'd like to...

know how I blended science and tradition with my baby

A guide by Earthnut (Seattle, WA USA)

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Here are some notes from my daughter's first year - resources and ideas that I found helpful and techniques that worked. Of course, every baby develops differently and what works for my baby may not work for yours. However, I try to find methods supported by science and I hope what I found will help you. My favorite resource on the web is http://www.parentingscience.com and I think every parent should check it out. Read as much as you can and come to your own conclusions.

For the first 2-3 months, a baby is very focused on you, her parents, and her own internal feelings. Her body is adapting to life outside the womb and she is learning about what all the sensations in her body mean. Useful books at this time were Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn (4th Edition): The Complete Guide and Caring for Your Baby and Young Child, 5th Edition: Birth to Age 5. I wrote down all the things I used for the first 3 months in another 'so you'd like to...' guide: http://www.amazon.com/gp/richpub/syltguides/fullview/R1C73RY3DQ4THN/ref=cm_sylt_byauthor_title_full_1

Around 2-3 months, my baby's world-view expanded and she became interested in toys and strangers. At this time in her life the weather became warmer and she spent an hour or two a day naked on a towel in the back yard, in the shade. This helped her diaper rash immensely and she loved looking at the trees, clouds, and birds.

At 4 months, she started grabbing for things and teething. Her favorite toys, and the ones most effective for teething, were Vulli Sophie the Giraffe Teether, Brown/White (Discontinued by Manufacturer) and Bright Starts Lots of Links Accessory. Small bibs became really useful at this point because of all her drooling from the teething.

At 5-6 months, my daughter became interested in food. My baby started on purees at 5 months, but if I were to do it over again, I'd go straight from exclusive breastfeeding to Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods - and Helping Your Baby to Grow Up a Happy and Confident Eater at about 6 months. My baby absolutely adored her finger food meals at 6 months and ate more than any of her pureed meals. It was also easier to prepare (she ate soft foods directly from the table), though it required a big bib (OsoCozy All In One Cloth Diaper Ver 3.0 (Large, Aqua) worked great) and more clean-up afterwards. Fisher-Price Healthy Care Deluxe Booster Seat, Blue/Green/Gray is a great booster seat that contains the mess, is great for restaurants, and is easy to store. The solid meals did not replace any nursing sessions until 10.5 months. Even with the solids, I kept breastfeeding about every 2 hours throughout the first year, as per the AAP and WHO recommendations.

At 5-6 months, I started putting my baby on a BABYBJORN Potty Chair, Blue first thing in the morning, using Diaper-Free Before 3: The Healthier Way to Toilet Train and Help Your Child Out of Diapers Sooner as a guide. Once she began feeding herself, her poop became much more solid and she was acutely uncomfortable with it in her diaper (whereas before she did not seem to notice the mustardy poop against her skin). With her potty time on a predictable schedule she quickly learned to hold her poop for the potty. I praised her when she voided on the potty and put her in a fresh diaper. Once she seemed to "get it", I increased the amount of times she was put on the potty to first thing in the morning, after naps and food, and before bed, the times she would usually need her diaper changed anyway. Sometimes I also put her on the potty if she seemed like she needed to go or if I needed to go and she hadn't gone for a while. By 7 months she was pooping exclusively in the potty. She seemed happier and it is more sanitary with the poop not rubbing against her private parts. Studies show that early potty training is healthier: http://pottytrainingearly.com/health-benefits-of-potty-training-early/ It really is not much more work than changing a diaper, and after my baby became mobile at 10 months, it was clear that helping her use the potty was a lot less work than changing a poopy diaper on an active baby.

Also at 6 months, we phased out her swaddle sack at night. She liked to be swaddled but with her arms free and she used the swaddle sack as a security blanket at night. I attempted gentle sleep training methods but was not very successful. I read The Sleep Lady®’s Good Night, Sleep Tight: Gentle Proven Solutions to Help Your Child Sleep Well and Wake Up Happy when she was 11 months and by then it was clear she needed a nipple in order to fall asleep. Within a week, she was sleeping for 12 hour stretches, and I wish I followed the advice in that book a lot earlier.

At 9 months, I introduced the highly allergenic foods (nuts, shellfish, and eggs) to her. She was now allowed to eat anything that was not a choking hazard. This was based on current AAP policy: http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;121/1/183.

At 10 months, my baby started crawling. Suddenly it was necessary to have a clean floor! I love the Quickie Hardwood Floor Mop for mopping because you replace the head with a clean one for each use, meaning that you're not 'cleaning' with a dirty mop and the heads are washable so you're not throwing away money. Mopping is essential for keeping our hard floors clean. I also love the BISSELL Little Green Multi-Purpose Portable Carpet Cleaner, 1400B for cleaning our area rugs and upholstery. I only use water; it cleans quite well and has no chemicals with dubious health effects.

With her new mobility, we started encouraging her to crawl to the potty when it was time to go. Also around this time she started peeing less in her diaper and I could use a daytime diaper at night. She nearly always peed when placed on the potty. I attribute much of this change to her use of cloth diapers. Formerly it did not seem to matter whether she wore cloth or disposable diapers. Her discovery of crawling and her increased activity may also have played a role. I also switched her nighttime feeding to the beginning of the bedtime ritual, as per Pantley's book, and put her on the potty afterward so she could empty her bladder before bed. My favorite diapers are now OsoCozy All In One Cloth Diaper Ver 3.0 (Large, Aqua) and Sprout Change One-size v2 Shell (Chili Pepper). These covers have the nice perk of being able to be put on a sitting baby. I also discovered the Kalencom 2-in-1 Potette Plus, Blue which is a very versatile little potty that can be used as a toilet topper, meaning I don't have to clean out the potty anymore!

When she starts to walk, I plan to put her in training pants or underwear. This is based on Lekovic's book. When she starts talking in phrases, I intend to use the techniques of Tools of the Mind: The Vygotskian Approach to Early Childhood Education (2nd Edition) to help her learn about her world, and am seeking out a preschool that uses those techniques.

Products mentioned include:
1.  Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn (4th Edition): The Complete Guide  by Penny Simkin
$11.06 Used & New from: $2.92
4.4 out of 5 stars   (166)
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2.  Caring for Your Baby and Young Child, 5th Edition: Birth to Age 5  by American Academy Of Pediatrics
Used & New from: $0.50
4.7 out of 5 stars   (199)
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3.  Vulli Sophie the Giraffe Teether, Brown/White (Discontinued by Manufacturer)  by Vulli
$23.20 Used & New from: $17.06
4.3 out of 5 stars   (4,827)
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4.  Bright Starts Lots of Links Accessory  by Bright Starts
$4.47 Used & New from: $3.68
4.5 out of 5 stars   (733)
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5.  Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods - and Helping Your Baby to Grow Up a Happy and Confident Eater  by Gill Rapley
$8.44 Used & New from: $4.45
4.3 out of 5 stars   (217)
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6.  OsoCozy All In One Cloth Diaper Ver 3.0 (Large, Aqua)  by OsoCozy
$16.95
4.5 out of 5 stars   (82)
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7.  Fisher-Price Healthy Care Deluxe Booster Seat, Blue/Green/Gray  by Fisher-Price
$28.49
4.7 out of 5 stars   (3,205)
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8.  BABYBJORN Potty Chair, Blue  by BabyBjörn
$22.93
4.6 out of 5 stars   (1,398)
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9.  Diaper-Free Before 3: The Healthier Way to Toilet Train and Help Your Child Out of Diapers Sooner  by Jill M. Lekovic
$11.98 Used & New from: $0.01
4.2 out of 5 stars   (74)
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10.  The Sleep Lady®’s Good Night, Sleep Tight: Gentle Proven Solutions to Help Your Child Sleep Well and Wake Up Happy  by Kim West
$11.07 Used & New from: $0.96
4.4 out of 5 stars   (391) | 1 customer discussion
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11.  Quickie Hardwood Floor Mop  by Quickie
$13.72
3.1 out of 5 stars   (11)
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12.  BISSELL Little Green Multi-Purpose Portable Carpet Cleaner, 1400B  by Bissell
$84.38 Used & New from: $65.57
4.2 out of 5 stars   (653)
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13.  OsoCozy All In One Cloth Diaper Ver 3.0 (Large, Aqua)  by OsoCozy
$16.95
4.5 out of 5 stars   (82)
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14.  Sprout Change One-size v2 Shell (Chili Pepper)  by Sprout Change
$16.95
3.4 out of 5 stars   (10)
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15.  Kalencom 2-in-1 Potette Plus, Blue  by Kalencom
$17.99 Used & New from: $13.72
4.4 out of 5 stars   (1,125)
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16.  Tools of the Mind: The Vygotskian Approach to Early Childhood Education (2nd Edition)  by Elena Bodrova
$30.59 Used & New from: $17.71
4.4 out of 5 stars   (23)
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Author

Earthnut (Seattle, WA USA)
Qualifications: Mom of a baby and avid researcher
Last updated: 2/16/11
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