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Family Matters: Gripe Water

Gripe WaterWhen my younger son, Luke, was about four weeks old, he started screaming in the afternoon. Every afternoon, all afternoon.

He’d usually scream until about 7pm, so that was a solid three hours of a super cranky baby, an even crankier momma and a confused older brother who was 19 months old at the time.

A wailing baby, a crabby toddler and a worn out mother do not make for a good combination, let me just tell you.

Sometimes I could hold Luke over my shoulder at just the right angle for him to get some relief, but you try doing that for three hours a day when you have a toddler running around.

I could wear him in a sling, which is what I usually did, but I didn’t want to cook dinner and deal with hot foods with a baby strapped to my chest.

The worst part was that I didn’t know what was making him cry.

The doctor diagnosed Luke with colic and gave me some prescription gas drops for the baby, but I didn’t like to use those as they smelled like alcohol when my poor infant burped. Ewwwwwww.

So, I tried Gripe Water, which doctors, nurses and grandmothers around the world claim help soothe colic and constipation in babies.

Gripe water is made with herbs like ginger, chamomile and fennel, which will soothe and settle down the stomach by lessening the gas and also calm baby. Gripe water is sold over the counter and doesn’t have side effects. Given that the digestive system of the baby is not wholly matured, gas will be built up in their stomachs and that hurts baby. When the gripe water is given to colicky babies, it changes the small gas bubbles into one larger gas bubble that can be belched out easily, thereby relieving the baby. Gripe waters are flavorless so most babies like them.

I felt like Gripe Water was a safe and effective alternative to a prescription medication for my Luke. The Gripe Water lessened his pain and made for much more pleasant afternoons in our house, I can assure you!

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Posted in: Baby, Natural

Family Matters: Teething

TeethingThe age range for teething is huge, but it’s safe to say that a lot of teething will take place between the ages of 7 and 12 months.

Teething, or when your baby’s teeth start to break through the gums, is easy for some little ones and harder on others.

My older son got teeth without me even realizing it half the time because it just didn’t bother him. My younger son, on the other hand, was in constant pain from teething. Because it’s no longer recommended to rub whiskey on baby’s gums (spoken like a true child of the 1970s), pediatricians have other recommendations for easing the pain of teething.

Baby can take a small dose of ibuprofen to help the swelling and the pain.

Baby can gnaw on something cool for relief, whether it be a damp washcloth (watch that baby doesn’t rip a piece off and swallow it) or a frozen piece of fruit (again, watch for choking hazards).

Some babies like a pacifier when they are teething as sucking is a soothing instinct for baby.

Even before baby has teeth, you should be rubbing their gums with a soft toothbrush. As their teeth begin to emerge, keep up the good oral hygiene and use toothpaste formulated for infants. Rubbing their gums might also help relieve some of the discomfort of erupting teeth.

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Posted in: Baby

Family Matters: Gerber Bitty Bites

Gerber Bitty BitesToddlers love to snack, and it’s good for them, too! The average toddler should eat about two snacks a day, and Gerber Bitty Bites provide good nutrition that can easily be enjoyed at home or on the go.

Gerber Bitty Bites come in great flavors like blueberry and strawberry. They are made with a whole-grain blend of corn, sorghum, millet, brown rice, teff, amaranth, quinoa and wheat bran, providing five grams of whole-grains per serving. They are also a good source of vitamin E, iron and zinc.

Bitty Bites are easy to pick up and great for toddlers to feed themselves. There are no artificial flavors or sweeteners and best of all, no mess!

Perfect for toddlers 15 months and older, these snacks are kid-tested and mom-approved.


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Posted in: Baby, Kids, Nutrition

Family Matters: Diaper Changing Made Easy, Anywhere

Diaper Changing Made Easy, AnywhereIt’s a little known fact that you spend 99 percent of your child’s first year changing diapers.

Okay, it’s not that much, but it sure can feel like it.

That’s why it’s important to make the job quick and easy, anywhere in your house.

You probably have a diaper-changing station set up in your baby’s nursery. I started out using a waterproof, wipeable plastic pad that I set on my son’s toy box. That proved kind of awkward, so I bought a Jenny Lind changing table that I kept in his room for easy diaper changes.

However, his room isn’t the only place I needed to change a diaper quickly, especially when my second son came along and I didn’t want to leave him alone in one spot while leaving to change the older one’s diaper (or vice versa, especially with a toddler who can move!). I set up another diaper-changing station in my living room. I bought a cute basket and stocked it with diapers, wipes, an extra set of clothes, a mat or pad I could easily wipe down, plastic bags for disposing of dirty diapers and a few toys to distract baby during diaper changes.

I created a similar portable changing station in my bedroom with a box I could slide under the bed.

A basket, decorative box or even a fabric bag can make cute, portable changing stations all throughout your house so a quick diaper change is only a grab away.

Family Matters: Self-Feeding Snacks

Self-Feeding SnacksBy now, your baby has acquired some mad fine motor skills and wants to put them to use at all times, especially when they’re eating.

My son used to slap my hand away when he saw the long-handled silver baby spoon coming his way. He’d much rather painstakingly pick up morsels from the tray of his high chair than have me feed it to him.

There are plenty of snacks your baby can enjoy and exert some independence by feeding himself. Gerber Graduates Yogurt Melts are one of those.

Yogurt Melts are little bite-sized yogurt nuggets, freeze-dried and easy for snacking at home or on the go. They are a good source of vitamins A, C and E, and they are made with real fruit and yogurt. They are easy to chew with no mess! Yogurt Melts are made with live and active cultures, and contain no preservatives, artificial sweeteners or flavors.

Whole-grain cereals, like Cheerios, are another tried and true favorite. Baby can pick them up, enjoy their whole-grain taste, and either chew or gum them, all by themselves.

Small bits of banana, slightly smashed peas, avocado, toast and cheese are also great snacks for baby to pick up and eat by himself.

Family Matters: Diapers and Pull-Ups

Diapers and Pull-UpsSometime in the next months, your baby will transition from diapers to pull-ups. Big kid diapers, as we used to call them.

I loved when we finally hit the stage where they could take their own diapers off and on (carefully, with some help, of course). They felt pretty empowered, too, and it spurred them on to potty training!

Pull-ups are diapers that function more like regular underwear. Still absorbent and ready to catch whatever your little one eliminates, pull-ups can be pulled up or down, or opened at the sides, if necessary.

They are not as bulky as regular diapers and, at least in the case of my boys, made them more interested in using the potty and wearing “big boy” underpants.


Family Matters: Fun and Games

Fun and GamesEven when your baby is a tiny infant, they are learning to develop an ear for speech and communicate for themselves. Any time you talk to them or sing to them, you are helping to facilitate their blossoming language skills. So, what does that mean for baby? Talk to him all the time. Baby is a captive audience and who better to hear you out than your little one?

You can play games with baby to help that language development. All you need is a cardboard tube from a paper towel roll.

Place baby on a safe surface where it’s comfortable for you to get up close and personal.

Tell him, “I’m going to tell you a secret.” Place the tube next to baby’s ear and WHISPER something short and simple, like “I love you.” Move the tube to baby’s other ear and repeat. If he seems confused, let him see your mouth move. You can also blow GENTLY into the tube to tickle baby’s ear. Remember: gentle.

You can move the tube safely away from baby’s ear and make all kinds of noises also. Make them through the tube and without the tube. Let baby grab for the tube (just don’t let him put it in his mouth). When he starts vocalizing and making coos, hold the tube to his mouth, too.

Family Matters: Magic Number 9

Magic Number 9Nine months is a magical time for many babies.

They should be able to stand holding onto furniture or their crib rails.

At nine months, most babies will be able to roll across the floor. Watch out because some will have mastered the art of power-rolling and can get from point A to point B faster than you think they can.

At nine months, some babies will be crawling, whether that’s army crawling on their bellies or scooting across the floor on all fours.

By this point, their fine motor skills are becoming more advanced. They should be able to pick up small objects using a finger and thumb in a pincer grasp.

Baby might start getting excited by their favorite foods and be able to pick up Cheerios, or pieces of toast or banana.

At nine months old, baby can wave goodbye or hello, and could be saying things like “Dada” or “Mama.”

However, it’s important to remember that there’s a huge range of normal development for children, and it’s okay if they aren’t doing these things yet. However, it is worth mentioning to your pediatrician if it seems like baby isn’t hitting any of his milestones.

Family Matters: Making Bath Time Fun

Making Bath Time FunSplish, splash, baby is taking a bath!

Toddlers can bathe every day unless you have a little one with extremely sensitive skin, and it’s always more fun if parent and baby are both having a blast.

  1. Help teach your toddler colors by making each bath time a themed color. Add a few drops of food coloring to the bath and place objects of that color into the bath with your toddler. We promise a few drops of food coloring won’t stain your child or the tub.
  2. Ice, ice baby – Put a few ice cubes into the warm bath water and let baby chase them.
  3. Bath paints are easily made by adding a few drops of food coloring to shaving cream. Let baby go to town all over the tiles.
  4. Give baby a strainer or colander to play with. They’ll love seeing the water flow through the bottom.
  5. Foam shapes are fun. Cut them out of sponges you can buy at Brookshire’s.
  6. Blow up balloons and add them to the bath.
  7. Play music in the bathroom.
  8. Read baby a book while he’s relaxing in the bath.
  9. Set up a glow-in-the-dark bath! Use washable glow paints, dim the lighting in the bathroom and have glow-in-the dark stars for baby to play with.
  10. Have baby dive for treasure. For an older toddler, let them put on goggles and throw marbles or coins into the bath water. They don’t actually even have to put their face in the water, but it might help baby be comfortable getting their head wet.

Of course, closely supervise all these activities.

Family Matters: “Me Time” for Mommy

“Me Time” for MommyWhoooo weeeeee, those first six months of baby’s life are quite the ride.

You’re exhausted beyond all possible endurance, your body is doing all kinds of amazing – and weird – things that you weren’t expecting and another human is attached to you at almost all times.

You wouldn’t trade it for the world, but you still need a break.

“Me time” is good for new mothers. It makes you a better parent, gives you some respite from your rapidly changing world, and refreshes and rejuvenates you.

Getting “me time” in can be as simple as taking a long bath. Don’t just let it be a bath; make it a spa experience with scented body washes from the personal hygiene aisle at Brookshire’s. Treat yourself to your favorite scent and soak away. Or, add about 1/4 cup Epsom salts to your bath, sprinkle in your favorite essential oil and relax. Give yourself a facial at the same time by mixing oats with raw honey and placing slices of cucumbers over your eyes to help the bags (yes, you probably have them, we all did).

“Me time” can also come in the form of finding a quiet corner (let Dad be in charge of baby!) and reading your favorite book or magazine with a cup of Brookshire’s Best Coffee.

Make time for your favorite hobby. Mine, at the time my boys were little, was scrapbooking with actual paper, scissors and glue! I would spend any free time I had at my work table, happily creating new designs. Is your hobby sewing? Make time for 30 minutes a day for that. Do you love crossword puzzles or yoga? Make sure to schedule time for yourself.

Whatever it is, from a monthly Girls’ Night Out or Bunco game to quiet time to rest and recharge, make “Me Time” a priority!

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The products mentioned in “Share, the Brookshire’s Blog” are sold by Brookshire Grocery Company, DBA Brookshire’s . Some products may be mentioned as part of a relationship between its manufacturer and Brookshire’s.

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