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Monday, March 30, 2015

Day Care Providers BEWARE!

Of Accepting Payments from a Child Care Resource Service
Previously published on Associated Content / Yahoo Contributor Network September 13, 2008

You provide daycare for children because you love them. And yet you feel sorry for people who can't afford your services. How can you help them, you wonder. If you are considering becoming part of your state's childcare resource service, read on.

And if you live in the state of Illinois, you might want to prepare yourself for what you will encounter by joining their service. Maybe my experience will help you decide.

Having never worked with the program, I had no idea what to expect, whom to call, or how to initiate the program. A couple came to me asking me if I would agree to accept payment from the program for providing care for their two children. I agreed - if somebody in the state office could explain to me what my role in the program would be.


In my first conversation with the state I asked not only how much I could expect to make, but also when I could expect to receive compensation (I had previously heard that the state was notoriously late in making payments). "In one month," I was told.

"OK," I began, "so if I start watching the children on the 8th of July, I can expect payment for that day by August 8th."

"You have to wait until the end of the month to turn in your form."

"So what you're saying is that I won't get paid until two months from now."

"You'll get paid in one month."

"But if I start watching them on the 8th of July and I can't turn the paperwork in until the end of the month, and it takes one month to process the paperwork, actually I'll be waiting two months before I receive payment."

"You'll get paid in one month," he repeated.

I didn't get paid until the middle of September, and I would imagine that if I called him to tell him I didn't get my payment until September, he would say something like, "See? One month."

So heed your first warning: BEWARE OF HOW LONG IT WILL TAKE YOU TO GET PAID. Here is the second warning:


During my initial inquiry with the state, I was told that I could expect to receive $21.60 per child over the age of 2 (full time), the current rate (2008) for Illinois State paid childcare. I was also told that if I charged more than that amount, I could ask my client for a co-pay. What the state failed to mention was that it had already figured out what that co-pay should be. What the family who hired me failed to mention was that the state's co-pay was much higher than the one I agreed to accept from them. I had no idea what the state's co-pay was - the state did not send the paperwork to me until after I agreed to accept the client.

If you agree to accept state paid clients, find out BEFORE you assume responsibility for their children exactly what that co-payment will be. The reason? While you may be expecting to be paid $21.60 per day for each child, the state will deduct the co-payment from your check. If you don't receive from the client that co-pay amount, you won't receive it at all.

Translation: if you worked only 10 days during any one month for two children over the age of two, and you were expecting to receive $453.60, but the co-payment was $271.53, you will receive only $182.07 for those 10 days. And if your client bails out of his commitment to make the co-payment, you just made a whopping $1.82 per hour for the 100 hours you spent caring for BOTH of his children.

If the clients are asking you to accept state payment, they know what their co-payment will be. Get it in writing.


If you provide service on the last day of the month, you are considered the provider for the entire month. Whoever provided service prior to you is deleted from the program for that family. Obviously, it works the other way as well - if you provide service for one month and the parents pull their children out of your daycare on the last day, the provider who watched the children on that last day will get paid for that month.

In terms of payment, that means that if you cared for your client's children from September 1st through September 21st, and somebody else cared for them the final week of September, you will receive nothing. I assume this is the state's way of keeping money that belongs to somebody else.

Not every state program is run the way Illinois runs its programs. Check with your individual state's childcare resource service center - if these warnings did not dissuade you from deciding to accept state-paid clients.

Remember, this post was published in 2008. Maybe Illinois has changed its procedures since then. Always check!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Ingredients to Avoid for an Allergic Baby: How to Choose Hypoallergenic Products

Previously published on Associated Content / Yahoo Contributor Network

Annoying Allergies
When I was a child and I was invited to birthday parties, I was the only one present who was unable to eat cake and ice cream due to my egg allergy. Even now, my allergy restrictions prevent me from visiting loved ones who own animals.
The good news is that I am no longer allergic to food. But in a strange twist of events, my mother, who never in her life had allergies, now has food allergies. Allergies can also be life-threatening, especially for babies or infants. Interestingly, allergies are hereditary. So if you have allergies, there is a good chance your child will, too, and you should try to purchase hypoallergenic products whenever possible.
Today, in order to prevent allergies, doctors suggest introducing foods and ingredients to babies slowly. The goal is to avoid causing an intense allergic reaction in a baby.
What is Hypoallergenic?
Children who are allergic to one thing may also be prone to other allergic reactions, and so the best choice of products for these children are hypoallergenic products.
By staying away from common food and ingredient allergens, you could prevent your baby from developing allergies. Researchers now know some of the common allergens that trigger attacks. Knowing those triggers will help you choose hypoallergenic products for your baby.
Allergens Found in Non-Edible Products
Some materials contain common allergens, and until you know your child can handle these products, do a skin test before exposing a baby to these materials. Materials to avoid include latex, wool and various metals. Before exposing your child to these materials, test the material by rubbing it on a small part of the child's skin. If a rash develops, the child is allergic, and the material should be avoided.
Common Allergy-Producing Foods
According to The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), "Eight foods account for 90 percent of all food-allergic reactions.They are milk, eggs, peanut, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat. Some of these allergens may be outgrown, but others, such as peanut and shellfish, will remain lifelong allergies."
Some foods serve as ingredients, so introduce them slowly to your baby and beware of foods that include the following ingredients:
Milk and Dairy Products
Many doctors recommend not giving cow's milk to babies until they reach one year of age, but even at that age, use caution - milk is one of the ingredients used in many meals.
An allergy to eggs means not eating eggs or any foods that use eggs as an ingredient. Refrain from feeding them to your baby until they are at least one year of age. When you introduce them, watch for any physical reactions such as shortness of breath or hives.
Feeding peanut butter to infants is just asking for trouble. Not only will they have trouble digesting it, but they will also have difficulty swallowing it. Peanuts are one of the first ingredients doctors recommend not giving to babies. Again watch for physical reactions. Peanuts may cause throats to swell in addition to shortness of breath or hives.
Tree Nuts
Many cereals and breads use tree nuts as ingredients. Always check the package for nutritional information and steer clear of tree nuts (pecans, chestnuts, pine nuts {pignolia nuts}, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts; macadamia nuts).
Soy allergies are problematic for babies who also have dairy allergies. But by reading labels, you will know if soy is an ingredient in the product you are purchasing. According to the Food Allergy Initiative, "The federal Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) requires that any packaged food product that contains soy as an ingredient must list the word 'Soy' on the label." According to the same web site, "The following ingredients indicate the presence of soy protein: Edamame, Miso, Natto, Shoyu sauce, Soy (fiber, flour, grits, nuts, sprouts), Soy (milk, yogurt, ice cream, cheese), Soy protein (concentrate, hydrolyzed, isolate), Soy sauce, Tamari, Tempeh, Textured vegetable protein, Tofu."
A gluten-free diet is not always easy to accomplish. Many foods contain gluten, which is, as described by Merriam-Webster, "a tenacious elastic protein substance especially of wheat flour that gives cohesiveness to dough." In addition to being found in wheat, gluten is also found in barley and rye.
Babies prone to developing Celiac's Disease are prohibited from eating anything containing gluten. provides an extensive list of foods that contain gluten. Avoid giving your baby this ingredient until you know for sure that he or she can handle it. Click Safe Gluten-Free Food List.
Because wheat is closely related to gluten, since gluten is one of the ingredients in wheat, products to avoid include anything that contains the word wheat or the word gluten. Other ingredients to avoid that might include wheat are gelatinized starch, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, vegetable gum and vegetable starch. Many cereals, breads, cookies, cakes, pastas and crackers might contain wheat as well.
Sulfites are sometimes attributed to causing allergies. Ingredients that contain sulfites appear on food labels as Sulfur dioxide, Potassium bisulfite or potassium metabisulfite, or as Sodium bisulfite, sodium metabisulfite or sodium sulfite.
To learn which foods may contain sulfites, read Allergies and Sulfite Sensitivity.
Check Restaurant Ingredients
Introducing foods slowly may diminish your child's susceptibility to becoming allergic to these common foods and ingredients. But avoiding them takes more than just reading labels. Restaurants may serve some of these offending agents. Before you choose a meal for your baby, either bring your own baby food or make sure you request a list of ingredients from your server.
Photo from Morguefile

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Which is Better – Tobacco, Alcohol, or Marijuana?


You could argue that everyone already knows the harmful effects of tobacco and yet – every day – both adults and CHILDREN start smoking, despite billboards sprawled across our landscape and despite lessons heard (but not learned) in school. If parents smoke, children will likely smoke. What kids see when they grow up is what is comfortable for them. You can’t teach your children to listen to what you say and then assume they will ignore what you do. They will emulate you. 

And let’s not forget how peer pressure contributes to our children’s choices. If kids don’t have a strong sense of themselves and their individual right to think for themselves, they will succumb to stronger individuals who force them to “just try it.” We need to educate our children, but we also need to reinforce their sense of “self.”

We hear so much about what tobacco does to our lungs, but we may not care and we may not be aware of some of the other negative effects tobacco has on our bodies. According to the American Lung Association, “Smoking increases your risk of age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in adults over the age of 65.” Smoking also contributes to Type 2 Diabetes and affects poor circulation to legs and feet. When blood doesn’t flow to the feet, you risk gangrene and amputation. 

Smoking narrows the blood vessels all over the body and could result in erectile dysfunction. Ectopic pregnancy, a life-threatening reproductive complication, is more likely to occur in smokers. Because smokers lose bone density at a faster rate than do non-smokers, hip fractures become a risk for smokers. And smoking is a contributing factor for colorectal cancer. Smoking is also a factor in the development of rheumatoid arthritis.

Babies born with a condition called orofacial cleft (cleft lip/cleft palate) more than likely came from mothers who smoked. Even the process of getting pregnant can be difficult for some smokers, because smoking reduces fertility in women and can contribute to other problems during pregnancy.

Gum disease is another problem that affects smokers. Gum infections destroy the bone that supports your teeth and heavy smoking could result in tooth loss.


Like tobacco, alcohol is readily available and considered legal, though when you look at the effects alcohol has had on society – when it is abused – you can see the devastating effects of alcohol abuse. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), “Alcohol affects every organ in the drinker's body and can damage a developing fetus. Intoxication can impair brain function and motor skills; heavy use can increase risk of certain cancers, stroke, and liver disease. Alcoholism or alcohol dependence is a diagnosable disease characterized by a strong craving for alcohol, and/or continued use despite harm or personal injury. Alcohol abuse, which can lead to alcoholism, is a pattern of drinking that results in harm to one's health, interpersonal relationships, or ability to work.”

Every year, more children are finding their way into their parents’ or friends’ parents’ liquor cabinets and unconsciously preparing themselves for lives as alcoholics. In 2014, according to the NIH, 66% of 12th graders will have tried alcohol. 66%! How old is your child?

Wisdom has taken a back seat to knowledge. Our educational instructions aren’t working! Or maybe they are. We can’t ask our teachers to tell our children about the evils of alcohol if we’re getting drunk in front of our kids or if they see and smell the morning-after effects alcohol has on us. Children don’t care what we tell them. They act the way we act.


In my title, I ask which is better, but now I’m asking, which is more harmful? According to the American Lung Association, “Like tobacco smoke, marijuana smoke contains cancer-causing chemicals. There are 33 cancer-causing chemicals contained in marijuana. Marijuana smoke also deposits tar into the lungs. In fact, when equal amounts of marijuana and tobacco are smoked, marijuana deposits four times as much tar into the lungs (italics mine). This is because marijuana joints are un-filtered and often more deeply inhaled than cigarettes.” 

Other health effects include impairment of short-term memory and motor coordination, slowed reaction time, moods, judgment, and decision-making. In some people marijuana causes severe anxiety and loss of touch with reality.

So which is better?

I think we can all agree that marijuana is better than meth, but maybe, instead of choosing our drug of choice, we need to think of alternate ways to cope with our challenges. Smokers and drinkers will tell you they know what they are doing is bad for them, but they can’t stop now, because – and they go on to list a multitude of circumstances occurring in their lives about which they cannot cope. 

The reason they smoke or drink, they tell you, is because they are under too much stress to quit. But the ability – or inability – to cope with stress is not a reason – it’s an excuse. Stress never ends. It changes, but it never ends. 

We are all stressed. We are all facing challenges. The problem is not stress itself, but our inability to cope with stress. We all need to learn how to cope with stress, and we need to learn how to cope with stress without the use of drugs or alcohol. 

Do you drink or smoke in moderation? Do your children see you drinking or smoking? Do they know the difference between using alcohol or drugs responsibly and abusing alcohol or drugs? We teach by our actions, not by our words.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

How to Prevent Colds from Becoming Asthma Attacks: Help for Asthmatics

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) states that the number of children suffering from asthma is 6.8 million, which accounts for 9.3% of children in the United States. 18.7 million adults, which accounts for 8% of the population, suffer from asthma. Pollutants, pesticides, pollens, weeds, and a number of other allergens send 1.8 million people to the emergency room every year, and while medicine helps to alleviate the symptoms of asthma, 3,630 people still die from the disease. 

If you have a child who suffers from asthma, I hope the following information will help you both prevent future asthma attacks and know how to care for your child when s/he is in the throes of an attack.

The following article was previously published on Yahoo Contributor Network September 7, 2008. Updates have been added.


I have had asthma for over half a century. A few years ago I discovered that I am also borderline COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). Any cold I get is potentially dangerous as it can lead, and has in fact lead, to a full-blown asthma attack.

Winters ago, as the blustery Chicago air stung my lungs on my way to work every day, I often found myself in the emergency room waiting for an injection of Epinephrine and Aminophyline. Without those injections my wheezing would have increased and my internal organs would have shut down. I would have died.

Only after several visits did I discover one simple act that prevented the cold air from entering my lungs -- a heavy scarf. Breathing into the scarf as I walked to work allowed moist air to enter my airways. That one action saved me from what had become daily emergency room visits.

Before I learned the scarf trick, one emergency room visit landed me in the hospital for nearly three weeks. About a week and a half into my stay, my asthma became so bad I needed a breathing treatment long before the next one was due. The nurses were unable to reach the doctor but made an emergency call to the respiratory therapist who stood ready to deliver the treatment as soon as the doctor gave the go-ahead.

I sat on the edge of the bed facing the window and leaned forward (a common position for asthmatics in the throes of a vicious attack), praying for oxygen and wondering why the respiratory therapist was just standing there. I didn't know the doctor had to give his approval first.

So focused on trying to breathe, so afraid this might be my last day because I could breathe in so little air, I was unaware that my room had filled with nurses. Usually only one nurse came in to take my vitals and administer my drugs. Six of them stood around my bed, rubbing my arms, rubbing my back, stroking my hair, telling me everything would be OK. A room crowded with nurses and a respiratory therapist waiting for permission to administer treatment - all of them looking at me with a certain knowing, that if the doctor could not be reached immediately, I would die - was the scariest moment in my life. I saw fear in the eyes of everyone in the room. Could they allow me to die because they couldn't reach the doctor, or would somebody step forward to administer the drugs that would save my life?

The doctor, whom I met in the emergency room at the hospital the night I was admitted, was the type of doctor who believed his patients should accept an immobile life. He placed me on numerous medications and, after I left the hospital, made appointments for me to visit his nurse twice weekly for three allergy shots each visit. As the doctor bills mounted, so did my dependency on him. Fortunately I had insurance. And even more fortunate for me, I decided I did not want to live the rest of my life as an invalid. I switched doctors and found one whose goal was to get me completely off allergy shots and numerous medications.

Over the years, I have seen other allergists. Some were good. Some weren't. All of them required me to "visit" them every six months or at least once a year. All I needed was medication and inhalers. I knew what I had. I knew what I needed. If I left work for every medical problem I had, and if I purchased medication for every condition that required it, I would soon be without a job.

As is common these days, my insurance company kept increasing my co-pay and kept decreasing the amount of allowable services. The last company I worked for decided to put a halt to pay increases and over the years had gone from a 4% raise to nothing. Staying alive had now become a full-time job.

When my asthma crossed the border to a COPD-type respiratory problem, I now experienced two types of attacks, and I discovered that none of my asthma inhalers worked anymore for this COPD clone. A COPD attack felt different from an asthma attack. I no longer knew what I needed.

Within the last several years a new product surfaced to help those with COPD. Taken daily, not as a means to thwart an ongoing attack, but as a preventive measure, Advair proved to work well in keeping my COPD under control. Today, though, like many Americans, I am without insurance (update – I am now on Medicare). I (still) cannot afford to pay what this drug would cost every month. As a result, I have had to learn how to cope with my inability to breathe without relying on a physician.

Asthma and COPD aren't my only problems though. Combined with chronic lower back pain (I was born with scoliosis), painful arthritis down my spine, a persistent swollen right foot (even doctors at the University of Chicago were unable to figure that one out), and a proliferation of hemangiomas that are spreading like wildfire throughout my body, until this country decides that its strength is determined by the health of its citizens, I am left with only one option - being my own healer.


I have read various health books, paying particular attention to lung, asthma, or COPD-related articles. The Internet is also a great source for health-related information (stick to .gov, .org, and .edu for the best results). I plugged words like COPD and asthma into search engines. Combined with medical literature, the information I received furnished me with enough material to make the right decisions about the type of treatment that would prevent my cold from getting worse.

Consultations with pharmacists have proven to be invaluable too. I don't come to them with questions relating to diagnoses. I research my findings first and then ask their opinions about non-prescription treatment options.

What I am about to relate are procedures I follow to prevent colds from become asthma attacks.


The first and most important thing I've learned in my war against the common cold is to avoid those things to which I'm allergic. Avoiding allergens is not always easy, though, because some of the people I love the most own cats and dogs (I'm highly allergic to both). If I want to live, however, I have to avoid them (the pets - not their owners).

I sit outside at family gatherings even though allergies to grasses, pollens, weeds, and trees, put being outside in a very small time slot. Smoke, even when smokers stand across the yard, still manages to find its way into my lungs, burning them as it enters. I have had to accept over the years that I just cannot attend some functions and family gatherings. It helps to hold the get-togethers at my house.

Fragrances that some people wear cause instant migraines or immediate wheezing. Fortunately Advil Migraine (3 tablets) rids me of head pain if I can lie down for 20 minutes. Cupping several tissues over my face helps to obliterate the smell of heavy perfumes and colognes and sometimes prevents an attack.

People who drench themselves in fragrances often don't realize they reek so heavily of their scent that they make other people sick. Asthma inhalers help when the attack is an immediate response to an allergen, but my preferred method of dealing with allergens is to remove myself from their presence.


Allergies cause noses to run clear. Noses run yellow or green when the person is experiencing a cold. Yellow usually indicates infection, while green usually indicates some kind of fungal organism. Both colds and allergies can lead to asthma attacks. Colds exacerbate allergies and vice versa. Having both at the same time requires another type of attack.


In addition to avoiding allergens, I work proactively to prevent attacks at the first sign of a cold. Once the sniffling starts, once the nose starts running, I have limited time before the cold travels to my throat and into my lungs. If I can't thwart an attack at that point, I'm fighting a battle that will only worsen - and quickly. And if it starts in my nose and throat at the same time, I bring out my whole arsenal of medical weaponry.


Asthmatics are susceptible to attacks when emotions run high. Keeping my emotions on an even keel is important for two reasons: High emotional excitement restricts airways, and the less air that enters my lungs, the more upset I become. It creates a cycle that spins so out of control - it's like trying to jump off a Tilt-a-Whirl while it is still spinning. I had to learn to slow down my breathing.


If you are an asthmatic or if you love somebody who is one, you know how frightening an attack can be. But to get an idea of what an attack feels like, try this experiment. Pinch your nostrils together with one hand, place your hand over your mouth with the other and allow only the tiniest bit of air to enter your mouth, choosing perhaps a small space between your fingers. How long can you breathe that way before you remove your hand from your mouth or nose and inhale deeply?

When a person is in the midst of an asthma attack, the prospect of dying is foremost in her mind. The way I always explained how I felt to people was to say that, at its worst, it felt as if I had only a hairline of air entering my lungs - very scary.

To prevent myself from becoming emotionally distressed, I tell myself things like, "This too will pass" or I make myself a cup of herbal tea. After decades of dealing with this disorder, I know that I have to take control of my emotions and concentrate on my breathing.


To alleviate stress I breathe in slowly through my nose and exhale slowly through my mouth, a process made all the more difficult when a cold prevents me from breathing through my nose. I have discovered, though, that holding a cloth over my nose while initially breathing through my mouth will eventually open up my nose so that I can breathe through it. Even in the midst of a cold, it is necessary to get moisture into the nose and mouth. Holding a cup of freshly brewed tea to my nose and mouth helps breathing too. (Update: face masks, like the type doctors and nurses wear, are readily available at pharmacies.)


Vitamin C tablets, Green Tea, Echinacea tea (I often use Celestial Seasonings Echinacea Complete Care tea purchased from my local grocery store) or Echinacea tablets, juices, and LOTS of water are the products I use in my first line of defense.

If the cold worsens, I step up my program, ingesting even more vitamin C and Echinacea and adding Hyssop tea to my regime. I frequently buy through Puritan's Pride, because they sometimes offer great "buy one - get two free" deals. Yogi Tea's "Breathe Deep" helps as well. 

Another addition to my daily defense - if I notice the cold getting worse - is an OTC (over the counter) medication - called Mucinex. At this point when mucus forms in the lungs and makes it even more difficult to breathe, Mucinex relieves congestion.

One herb I haven't tried yet, but will purchase just to have on hand is Horehound. The herb is not suggested for pregnant or nursing mothers or for children under the age of two. I found the least expensive bottle of horehound at Herbal Love Shop.


Neti pots and other nasal washing systems cleanse the nasal cavity and may prevent the cold from getting worse. If used often, they may prevent the cold from occurring in the first place. In addition to relieving allergies, they claim to help sinusitis as well.


While nasal inhalers work, becoming addicted to them doesn't. I had gotten so addicted to nasal sprays, I couldn't breathe without them. At the same time I discovered I was pregnant with my second child, I also discovered that holding tissues over my nose while breathing through my mouth eventually opened my nostrils enough, so that I was able, after several nights, to throw away the sprays. I didn't want to be addicted to anything during my pregnancy.


Another consideration when caring for an asthmatic who is experiencing cold symptoms is eliminations. Why is proper elimination necessary? According to different sources, when your digestive system is sluggish, toxins remain in your body. They either find release through your pores or through your lungs or other organs. Proper eliminations prevent the buildup of toxins in the system. Edgar Cayce spoke often of eliminating toxins from the system to maintain good health. He believed that the inability to eliminate toxins caused a variety of disorders.

While everybody would prefer to flush out the system the way nature intended, nature sometimes needs help. When you don't want to use harsh laxatives or enemas, herbs once again come to the rescue. You can find them in any health food store and you can often find them near the vitamins at your local grocery store.

Three herbs in particular work well, especially when combining two of them together. Any of the following herbs will cleanse your system: cascara sagrada, senna, or psyllium husks. Pay attention to these next few words. THESE HERBS WORK. Prepare to be close to washroom facilities. Take them at night before you go to sleep. WARNING: DO NOT go anywhere the next morning, except to the nearest latrine. And DO NOT use them every day.


Move! I'm not talking about your bowels anymore. I'm talking about your body. The doctor who expected me to live my life as an invalid wanted me to sit perfectly still and have others take care of me the rest of my life. I was twenty-five years old at the time. I was not allowed to climb stairs, to fold blankets, or to do anything that would cause my respiration to increase.

A sedentary life will put you at risk of getting all sorts of illnesses. Walk more. Get your blood circulating. The more you move, the better able your lungs will function. Exercise them.


Get plenty of rest. Yes, you've heard this admonition before, but it's true. Pay attention to your body. When you get a cold, your body knows you need rest. Listen to it so you can prevent your cold from becoming an asthma attack. Believe me when I say that if you push your body too far, it will retaliate.


At the time of my worst asthma attack, I had a cold that progressed to a respiratory infection, I was smoking, I had cats (knowing I was highly allergic to them), and I was cleaning an apartment that had several layers of dust covering every inch of the room. I was dangerously allergic to dust. I could have prevented the attack that nearly killed me if I had:

1) Given my cats to a loving home.
2) Paid somebody to dust the apartment I was going to rent.


For more information on living with lung disease, please visit the American Lung Association.

Friday, March 13, 2015

How Often Should I Change My Newborn's Diaper?

Previously published on Yahoo Contributor Network
In the Old Days
Many years ago, when I was a raising my children (who are now grown), I used cloth diapers. Cloth diapers in the '60s, '70s and even in the '80s were nothing like diapers available today.
The common practice in those early years was to use a petroleum jelly product to prevent diaper rash in newborns, but even after frequent diaper changes, the petroleum jelly didn't last, and it didn't always work to prevent infant diaper rash.
I was grateful for days when I could use disposable diapers, but even then, more than twenty years ago, disposable diapers were not nearly as absorbent as they are today. I checked bottoms constantly. And I frequently had to change my newborns' clothing, because infant diapers had a habit of leaking.
Both cloth and disposable diapers are more absorbent and last longer than diapers of yesteryear. Unless baby defecates, he or she can probably go for several hours without needing a diaper change. Still, new parents wonder how often they need to change their newborns, so they find themselves checking baby often throughout the day.
How many times do you need to change your infant? According to Dr. David Geller at, "A newborn can have as many as eight to ten bowel movements a day..." So does that mean you need to change your newborn eight to ten times a day? Absolutely.
New Parents
As new parents who are getting to know your newborn's habits, you should always err on the side of caution. In other words, until you know what your newborn needs, change your baby's diaper frequently. The longer you spend time with your infant, the more you will become accustomed to your baby's habits. Some infants require only a couple of diaper changes a day. Others, for a variety of reasons, require diaper changes more frequently.
One of my newborns often soaked the bedding and clothing, while my other newborns rarely awoke with wet clothes.
First Thing In The Morning
Baby will usually awaken hungry, so depending upon how long he or she has been sleeping, you may have to change your baby's diaper immediately. If your infant isn't soaked, but is only mildly hungry, use this time to teach your baby the art of patience. While you change baby's diaper, play and talk with your newborn to distract baby from feeling pangs of hunger, or wait to change your newborn's diaper until after you have fed your baby.
After Every Meal
Some babies are very vocal about their bowel movements and will strain so much to move their bowels, you will know instantly when they will need their next diaper change. Usually within 20-45 minutes after a meal, baby is ready for a diaper change. Each baby is different, however, so pay close attention to your newborn's signals.
Before Bed Time and Throughout the Night
Before bed time and after an evening bath, put a fresh diaper on your infant. Until you become accustomed to your baby's rhythms, whenever your baby awakens during the night for a feeding, change your newborn's diaper either before or after each feeding.
Repeat the Cycle
Eventually, you will get into a rhythm and understand your newborn's cycles. You'll know how long baby can go before needing a diaper change, and you'll know how many diapers you will need each week.
Feed your newborn, love your newborn, and keep your newborn healthy and happy. Clean bottoms make for happier babies.
Sources: Personal experience and

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