Author Archives: Matt Jones

Parenting A Child That’s Difference

This is a very interesting, fascinating TED talking about parenting a child that’s different, that’s “not normal”.

[ted id=1756]

A woman had a daughter who was born as a dwarf. And she had to make a fundamental decision about the way she would parent her child.

Should she….

  • say “You’re just like everyone else, but a little bit shorter”
  • or create some kind of dwarf-identity, get involved with the Little People of America?

And thinking about this child demonstrated that they were “normal” parents who perceived themselves to have an “extraordinary” child.

There are two kinds of identities:

  1. vertical identities
    passed down from generation to generation. Things like ethnicity, nationality, language, often religion, etc. – you have them in common with your parents and children
  2. horizontal identities
    these are learned from peer-groups. They are alien from your parents, and you discover them by yourself.

When we look at these horizontal identities, these are the ones that are often tried to “fix”. Among them for example is something like being gay.

And there need to be three things to happen to really come to good terms with your horizontal identity:

  1. self-acceptance
  2. family acceptance
  3. social acceptance

When the family, and particularly the parents don’t accept the horizontal identity of their child, the person tends to become very angry and feel as if they’re not loved. But what actually is happening is that the parents simply don’t accept their social identity. They do love their child however.

It’s very worth watching the whole video, there are more good insights that he shares and if you’re parenting a child that’s different, it’s definitely worth watching.

Blood in Baby Stool?

Did you notice blood in your baby’s stool? Stay calm – in most cases this is a harmless condition, and it is in fact quite common.

What color is the blood?

Is it a typical “bright” red color, just like blood looks? Kind of a streak outside (or on top of) the poo? In those cases, the cause is probably just a small tear in the anal skin tissue (an anal fissure).

There’s not much you need to do – it will pass by itself.

If the blood looks darker and is mixed throughout the poo, then the bleeding probably occurred further up the gastrointestinal tract.

Causes of Blood in Baby Stool

The most common cause as already mentioned is a simple anal fissure, and there’s nothing you need to do about it, it will quickly heal.

Other causes:

  • Food allergies
  • the baby digesting blood from a hurt nipple of the mother (no problem, this doesn’t cause any harm to the baby)
  • intestinal infection
  • intestinal disorder
    • intussusception
    • colitis
  • breastmilk oversupply
  • supplementation of flouride or vitamin drops

When to see a doctor?

It’s best to contact a doctor whenever you notice blood in your baby’s stool, just to be on the save side. However, if your baby doesn’t show any other symptoms and seems healthy and displays a normal behavior, there’s probably no need to see a doctor right away.

However, if the bleeding persists or the amount of blood you see increases, then immediate bring your baby to be examined by a doctor.

How To Tell If An Infant Is Ready For Solids?

There’s no better food for a newborn baby than his mothers’ milk. It has all the nutrients the baby needs to grow and prosper at that age.

But at some point it’s time to “go solid”.

How can you tell when is the right time? Anywhere between four to six months of age is usually a good time, while my recommendation would be rather six months than four months. (More on that later…)

SPOON!

Just observe your baby.

How Heavy Is Your Baby?

If your baby is about double the weight of when he was first born

Well Functioning Neck Muscles

Also, your baby should be able to hold his head confidently and steadily without effort. Good head control is essential before introducing solids.

How Does Your Infant React When You Put Food To His Lips?

Does he open his mouth and kind of wants to put it in his mouth?

Does He Put His Fingers, Hands, etc. In His Mouth?

When your baby starts to put plenty of things in his mouth (mainly his own fingers) then this can be another sign that he’s ready for solids.

No More Pushing Things Out With His Tongue

Infants have what’s called a thong-thrust reflex (also sometimes called extrusion reflex). This is nature’s way of protecting them from choking. Everything that enters your baby’s mouth will be pushed out by your baby’s tongue again (with the exception of liquids). When the baby is ready for eating solids, this reflex gradually disappears.

Does Your Baby Know (And Show) When It’s Enough?

Your baby should be able to communicate to the parents when it feels full. Of course, not actually saying “I’m full, thank you very much mom, no more food for me now, that was just the right amount.” 😉

But by pushing the milk bottle (or breast) away, or turning his head away when he feels full.

Does Your Baby Want To Eat “Like You”?

If your baby observes you eating, and you get that kind of sense that he’s really interested in it, almost wanting to do it too, that’s another sign to watch out for. This is mainly because baby’s like to imitate their parents. It’s better to wait until you can deserve some desire in your baby to “eat like mom & dad”, rather than trying to push him to eat solids.

Has Your Pediatrician Recommended 4 Months?

Many pediatricians still recommend four months. Why? Simply because that has been the standard recommendation for decades. However, the current medical research strongly indicates that 6 months might be a better time point for most babies.

Why Do We Recommend 6 Months (Rather Than 4)?

Your baby’s intestine needs to mature. The intestine is not just a tube that pushes food from the stomach out of the body. It’s a filtering system that helps to take in nutrients and keep out harmful substances in the food.

The inner lining of your baby’s intestine is going through what’s called closure. It’s during this time that his intestine becomes more selective about what it let’s pass through and what not.

If someone in your family has a food allergy, we recommend even more urgently to wait 6 months rather than 4 months before introducing solid foods.

What Does The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Recommend?

The AAP recommends exlusive breastfeeding during the first six months of life. This strengthens the baby’s immune system and provides better protection against many diseases. And it reduces the risk of food allergies.

Other health organizations that make the same recommendation:

  • World Health Organization
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • American Academy of Family Physicians
  • Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine
  • United Nations Children’s Fund

Diaper Rash Relief

A diaper rash is a normal part of every baby’s life. It’s annoying and troubling. It causes discomfort to the baby and can damage her skin. So what can you do to prevent diaper rash relief?

Please read our article about diaper rash treatments first.

If you’ve already taken the steps we’ve outlined in our treatments article, there are some simple things you can do to ease diaper rash.

Using an herbal salve which contain calendula flowers can help by discouraging bacterial growth and soothing irritated skin. Just be careful that your child won’t have a reaction to these products – if there is some substance inside the cream, lotion or ointment that causes an allergic reaction or worsening of your baby’s rash, immediately stop using it.

You can also use Boudreaux’ Butt Paste (find it at Walgreens, Kmart, Walmart and other stores), which contains Peruvian balsam.

Here are some ways of providing diaper rash relief that are often recommended – however, we would rather discourage you from them as we don’t believe them to be the best methods.

  • using Denorex shampoo
  • baking soda + water
  • cornstarch (or any home made remedies which contain cornstarch)
  • shortening (lard)
  • antibiotic ointments like Neosporin (unless your doctor advises you to do so)
  • chamomile tea with oatmeal mix
  • silver water
  • egg white (separating the yolk from an egg and using just the raw egg white, applying it on the skin).

We are aware that many of these remedies do work for some parents and babies, so we’re in no way saying that they are wrong or ineffective. We just don’t think they’re the best, most effective and safe way to give your baby diaper rash relief.

Please also read our article about treatments for our recommended way of dealing with diaper rashes.

More about baby diaper rashes…

Diaper Rash Treatment

It’s a common condition, and in most cases you will not have to see a doctor. A normal diaper rash treatment is pretty straightforward. In this article you are going to learn everything you need to know about it.

How long does it take?

A diaper rash treatment usually takes between 1 and 5 days until the rash disappears. If your baby’s rash persists for more than three days after you’ve used our recommended diaper rash cream, we suggest that you take your baby to a pediatrician.

Frequent Diaper Changing

if you find a diaper rash treatment that works, your baby will be very happy

(C) Aloha Dolola

Simply changing your baby’s diapers often can help to ease the diaper rash. The reason why babies get a rash in the first place is because of the hot, wet and dark environment that a diaper puts them in. Add exposure to irritants (from pooing or peeing), it can aggravate the condition. (Learn more about the causes of diaper rash).

Freedom From Diapers

Also let your baby out of her diaper as often as possible. The air helps her skin to heal faster. Diaper-free time is fine, but just make sure to avoid accidents (a big load of baby-poo is probably not what you want on the floor).

Cleanliness

Keep your baby’s bottom clean and use fragrance-free and alcohol-free wipes or a moisturizing, mild soap. After you bath or wash your baby, pat her skin dry. Before you put on new diapers, always check that your baby’s diaper area is completely dry.

Don’t Use Soaps Or Scented Wipes

While your baby has a rash, don’t use soaps or scented wipes on the affected areas, as this can irritate the skin.

Other Diapers

Sometimes it’s the diapers that can cause your baby’s skin to have a reaction, and switching the brand or kind of diaper can provide relief. Sometimes there are chemicals in disposal diapers. Or sometimes a cloth diaper isn’t cleaned right or got in contact with dirt. Lots of trial and error needed if this is the case.

Chemicals In Disposable Diapers

Diaper manufacturers are not required to list the ingredients of their diapers, but sometimes some product or material that is used to manufacture the diapers can cause irritation to a baby’s skin.

Most disposable diapers have a thin polyethylene film on the outside, and polypropylene on the inside of the diaper. Both of these are considered safe for babies. Sometimes there are additional substances in the inner lining, most commonly vitamin E or aloe.

The center of the diaper (the part that absorbs moisture) is usually made from wood pulp and super-absorbent polymers (most commonly sodium polyacrylate). Wood pulp is usually bleached with chlorine, and that can lead to the creation of dioxines. Almost all diapers contain small amounts of dioxines. Dioxines are a health-hazard, but the amount found in diapers is so small that we consider disposable diapers safe. If you are concerned however, you can either use Earth’s Best diapers or Seventh’s Generation Diapers. Both are chlorine-free and don’t contain any dioxines.

Some diapers are scented, and thus contain some kind of fragrance.

Dyes are another substance commonly used in diapers, and are usually safe. However, there have been rare occasions where the dyes triggered allergic reactions.

Using Cloth Diapers?

If you use cloth diapers, make sure you wash them thoroughly. The benefit of cloth diapers is that they don’t contain chemicals which can be found in disposable diapers. The downside is that you need to clean them really, really well. Don’t use softeners, and use a mild detergent to wash them.

Not Too Tight Diapers

Don’t put the diapers on tightly. Apart from restricting air-circulation, it can also cause chafing and excessive rubbing on the waist and thighs.

Sometimes also using a bit bigger diapers (to allow for better air circulation) helps.

Diaper Covers

If you use diaper covers, make sure they allow for good air-flow (don’t use plastic diaper covers).

Other Baby Products

Many baby products have ingredients which could potentially cause a diaper rash – baby powder, baby oil, lotions, baby cream, baby bath, etc. Pretty much everything that comes in contact with your babies skin could be the cause of an irritation. So try different products, and in general you are best advised to stay with fragrance-free products.

There are some products that can help:

Creams

Use a diaper rash cream to make the rash go away faster. There are many different creams out there, and not all of them are equal. We recommend the Triple Paste Cream.

Antibiotics

In most cases antibiotics can be the cause of a diaper rash. However, in some rare cases when your infant’s rash is caused by a bacterial infection, your doctor might prescribe a topical or oral antibiotic.

Don’t Use Talcum Powder

In the past using talcum powder was common practice. Nowadays this is not recommended anymore. Why? Becase the talcum powder can find it’s way into your baby’s nose, mouth and lung. This can later lead to respiratory health problems.

Don’t Use Cornstarch

While many parents like to use cornstarch, it’s not a good choice for a baby rash, because it allows bacteria to grow.

Hydrocortisone As A Diaper Rash Treatment?

First of all, NEVER use hydrocortisone cream or ointment as a diaper rash treatment if your pediatrician hasn’t advised you to do so. Even though you can buy some hydrocortisone creams over the counter, this isn’t something you should apply easily on your baby’s skin. These products can have negative side effects and in our opinion isn’t particularly effective. Long-term use of hydrocortisone can have negative side effects and weaken the skin (making it thin, fragile and dry).

More about baby diaper rashes…

Diaper Rash Creams

A diaper rash is pretty much an unavoidable part of every baby’s life nowadays, no matter how well you try to take care of your baby. It’s important to not just let diaper rashes be, but instead help your baby to get rid of rashes as soon as possible, because the discomfort they cause can be very troubling and upsetting to your little one. And it is in fact in your own interest, because after all, you probably don’t enjoy your baby crying and shouting in pain either. But there are so many diaper rash creams out there – how do you figure out which one is best for you?

Our personal choice is without a doubt the Triple Paste (“Triple X”) cream.

#1 Triple Paste

This is in our opinion the best product to provide your baby with quick and gentle diaper rash relief. Read more…

 Babecology Diaper Balm

This is probably the best smelling and most “luxurious” baby diaper balm there is. Now if your baby doesn’t really have a rash, then this might be the right choice for you, just because it’s so pleasant and nice, and it’s the perfect way of making it into an actual pleasurable experience to put balm on your baby’s bottom.

Personally, we prefer non-sccented products though, because fragrances and perfumes can sometimes cause skin irritations.

Mei Mei Baby Nappy Cream

The reason why we like Mei Mei is because there are no petrochemicals or parabens, and the active ingredient is zinc oxide.

Nature’s Baby Organic Diaper Cream

This one is the choice for organic moms. No animal products or testing, all natural organic ingredients, no gluten, no parabens and no preservatives. Good to prevent rashes, however, once your baby has a real serious rash, this might not be the most helpful of creams.

More about baby diaper rashes…

Triple X Diaper Rash Cream

Now the “correct” name is actually Triple Paste Medicated Ointment – but many people just call it Triple X Diaper rash cream.

This is probably the best medical diaper rash cream on the market. I can really see no reason why you would chose anything else, except if you want to use a completely natural way to treat your baby’s diaper rash.

This is what your pediatrician or dermatologist will probably recommend for your baby. It provides gentle and quick diaper rash relief, and comes with an unconditional money back guarantee.

Ok For Daily Use?

It’s save to use this daily on your baby if you want to treat and prevent diaper rash.

Ok To Use For Baby Rash With Open Sores?

Yes, you can apply this cream also on baby rash when there are open sores.

Usage Instructions

Simply put a good layer of Triple X cream to cover the complete rash. In general it’s better to put on a little more than not enough, especially because this cream is really gentle on the skin.

Ingredients

The ingredients in Triple X cream are all hypo-allergenic and fragrance-free, and contain no preservatives.

Money Back Guarantee

They offer a 100% money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with their cream for whatever reason. You just call the number on the package and they’ll send you a postage-paid envelope and as soon as they have received your return they’ll refund the money to you.

Negative

  1. One of the ingredients in Triple Paste Cream is petrolatum. Petrolatum is the same thing like Vaseline, it’s also known as petroleum jelly. Now if you are using Vaseline, then you won’t have to worry about the little bit of petrolatum that’s in Triple Paste Cream. But what you might not know is that while petrolatum is considered safe, there is a risk of contamination by cancer-causing chemicals. However, the petrolatum used in cosmetic or pharmaceutical products like Tripe X Diaper rash cream has a very low risk of contamination, and in my opinion can be considered safe. (Again, if you worry about this, there are very few cosmetic products that you can use, because petrolatum is a widely used ingredient in cosmetics and baby care products).
  2. It’s a bit more difficult to apply because it’s thicker and a bit dryer than other creams. However, this actuallyis a blessing in disguise I think – because it won’t rub off easily onto diapers or clothes and the active ingredients can work better to reduce the rash.

When Best To Use It?

I’d really recommend using this for every kind of diaper rash – from light to mild to severe. (The only exception is a yeast diaper rash!). It’s safe, soft and effective – a rare combination to find. No negative long-term side effects. It’s what pediatricians and dermatologists recommend and what mothers rave about after they’ve tried all kinds of other creams and ointments. And most importantly, it’s what will help to relief almost any baby from the nasty diaper rash.

More about baby diaper rashes…

Yeast Diaper Rash: How To Recognize, Treat & Prevent It

Most people when they think about yeast infections, they think about women, not about babies. But both boys and girls can get a yeast diaper rash. Because pretty much everybody has some yeast in their body, which is just a kind of fungus.

This fungus grows best in warm and wet environments. So that’s why it’s so popular for women in that special place. But if your baby has a diaper rash, and you don’t do anything about it, it can turn into a yeast infection (Candida albicans).

How To Tell If It’s a Yeast Infection (And Not Just A Diaper Rash)?

In the early stages it’s quite difficult to differentiate a yeast infection from a normal diaper rash, but if the “diaper rash” turns beefy red (see picture) and the borders are very sharp (and not just kind of fading out) and kind of slightly raised (you can feel it when you move your fingertips along them) then it’s probably a yeast infection, and not just a normal diaper rash. There will usually also be “satellite” spots sprinkled around the main red area, and sometimes the skin can be scaly.

What’s more, a yeast diaper rash usually persists for more than two days, and the things that usually help to make a normal diaper rash go away won’t work.

Yeast Diaper Rash Treatments

What works most of the time are topical anti-yeast or antifungal creams:

  • clotrimazole
  • miconazole
  • nystatin

Follow the usage instructions that come with the cream, and of course ideally consult with a pediatrician first. Usually a yeast diaper rash will disappear after a couple of days if you do this.

Normal diaper creams don’t help.

Natural Treatments?

If you don’t want to use the above creams, you can also try acidophilus. This is basically the natural gut bacteria, but in powdered form. You can take the powder and mix it with a bit of water or breast milk into a paste, and than gently rub the paste into your babies mouth. If you’re bottle-feeding your baby you can also add a teaspoon of it into the bottle.


We recommend either Primadophilus® Children or using pure acidophilus powder. (Please double-check manufacturers dosage instructions and/or consult with your pediatrician).

When to see a doctor?

If after three days the rash hasn’t at least gotten substantially better, definitely see your pediatrician.

Other symptoms that require seeing a doctor:

  • fever
  • open sores
  • oozing yellow patches

sometimes seeing a doctor for a yeast diaper rash is a good idea

How To Prevent Yeast Diaper Rash

There are no guarantees, but the best way to prevent an outbreak of yeast infection are to not expose your baby to the environment in which the fungus thrives.

When you chose diapers for your baby, make sure that they aren’t too tight. In very tight diapers there is little air circulation, and that’s good for yeast, alas bad for your baby.

Also make sure that you change diapers regularly and as soon as possible when he has urinated or pooed.

Make sure to clean your baby’s bottom thoroughly after he has pooed, and don’t immediately put on the next diaper – let the bottom dry a bit in the open air. In general it’s a good idea to sometimes play with your baby with no diapers on.

And if you (as a breastfeeding mother) or your baby is about to undergo an antibiotic treatment, then taking acidophilus (see above) can also help to prevent a yeast diaper rash.

More about baby diaper rashes…

Causes of Diaper Rash

The most common of all baby skin problems is without a doubt the diaper rash. As a parent you don’t want that your baby will have a diaper rash, but there is almost no way to avoid it. Of course that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do something about it – there are some things you can do to reduce diaper rash and prevent it as much as possible. But don’t be hard on yourself or totally stressed out if your baby gets it anyway every once in a while.

Causes of Diaper Rash

Why do babies get it anyway? Well, one reason is that the diaper makes the whole area on the skin warm and moist. And that is the perfect breeding ground for a diaper rash. And every time when your baby pees or is making poopoo, it will only irritates the skin more.

Really bad diaper rash

(C) Aiden Carey

So leaving a wet diaper on too long can also make diaper rash worse. Also, when babies have diarrhea they usually can get diaper rash more often. (Exposure to poop is more irritating than pee, because of digestive enzymes).

Yeast Infection

Another cause of diaper rash can be a yeast infection, a bacterial infection or an allergic reaction, and of course most of the time it’s just the rubbing and chafing of the delicate skin of your baby against the diaper. This is particularly common when either the mother or the baby takes antibiotics.

Antibiotics

Antibiotics are also often a causing agent – either when the baby is taking antibiotics or when a breastfeeding mother is taking antibiotics. Because antibiotics not just fight the bad bacteria, but also the bacteria that are good for your babies immune system, and that makes the skin of the baby break down more easily. Most commonly what happens is that when a baby is exposed to antibiotics, the bacteria that prevent the growth of a yeast infection can’t fight anymore, and yeast infection develops and grows.

Diet

And as long as the mother is breastfeeding, the mothers diet affects her babies skin too and can contribute to diaper rash. So you might want to leave out some foods from your diet and see if your babies diaper rash get’s better.

Products Your Baby Gets In Contact With

Another cause of diaper rash can be the kind of diaper you use, the baby wipes, the detergent or fabric softener you use for washing your babies clothes, the baby powder or lotion that you use, or oils. In baby products the most common cause of irritation are fragrances, and I think it’s a shame that most of the big brands don’t sell fragrance-free baby products. The only reason why they are adding fragrance to these products is to that the mothers develop an emotional positive association to these products (because they smell good), but there’s no benefit for the baby at all in adding fragrance to baby products, in fact, it’s only a contributing factor to babies skin issues.

When do babies develop diaper rash?

Pretty much at any age this is a common condition. However, it’s most common and often the most intense when the baby is around 8 to 10 months. But don’t worry, if your baby is just a couple of weeks old and already has diaper rash – that’s not unusual at all, so relax.

Also, when your baby starts eating solid foods, that’s when he or she is more likely to get it.

However, the good news is that by the time your baby is about one year old, things usually start to get better and you’ll see less and less diaper rash because his skin is already getting stronger.

More about baby diaper rashes…

Responsible Parenting

Responsible parenting is really all about taking good care of your child. It doesn’t mean that you do everything perfect, or even try to do everything perfect – because every single parent we have seen who wanted to be a perfect parent made things so much more difficult and challenging on himself or herself, and often made many mistakes if he or she had taken a more relaxed approach to his new role as a father, or her new role as a mother.

Parenting

So doesn’t that seem kind of contradictory or paradoxical? Responsible parenting and relaxed parenting?

No, not at all.

Because one of the crucial skills in this life is to be able to handle stress and perform under pressure. It’s important in this life that you are capable of managing stress and not folding like a cheap chair under a massive two ton pressure when you’re in a stressful period in life. And if you’re not relaxed yourself, how can you teach your child to be relaxed and competent in handling stress?

So part of responsible parenting is that you are not just responsible for your child but also for your own wellbeing. It does take self-maintenance, and if you skip on that, nothing good will come from it. What’s more, you will teach your child (implicitly of course) that it’s not important to take care of himself or herself.

I don’t know whether you have a son or a daughter, or maybe both. When it comes to responsible parenting, then that means that you accept it all and completely embrace everything your child brings into this world. All his and her mistakes, all his and her wonderful little things that no one else could contribute to this society we call humanity.

Responsible parenting is about setting rules and discipline, and about giving your child the freedom he or she needs to blossom. And that’s not always easy to do. Almost every parent tends to be overprotective. But sometimes the best way to “protect” your child is to let your child figure out some things on his or her own, and then make sure that he or she learns from that experience and is capable of forming a good interpretation which can be used as a meaningful guideline for future behavior in your child’s life.

There is an interesting story about the childhood of Sir Richard Branson, the self-made multi-billionaire. When he was just a small boy, not even going to school yet, his mother set him out on the street alone and told him to get back home. This was several miles away from their home, and he didn’t really know the way. Of course many people would think of this as a bad thing, and as irresponsible, but it taught Branson very early on that it’s worth overcoming challenges – which is a big part of what made him as successful as he is today.

So responsible parenting is also about sometimes doing things that other people might view as irresponsible if you are certain that it’s the best for your kids. Of course talk about these things with other people, because there is a real possibility that you could be wrong. But in the end, don’t let other people’s opinions dictate how you raise your child.