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When to Start Potty Training – Some Tips

Starting potty training is welcomed by some parents and feared by others. This is a time when you must keep your patience, stay positive and think happy thoughts to stop you from getting frustrated.

The most difficult thing in the entire process is knowing exactly when to start potty training. Start your child to early and the process may take longer than it would if you started them at the correct time. So when is the right time? Most children are ready to potty train at around two years of age. But as you know yourself, every child is different. But there are a few signs to watch out for to make the decision to start potty training a lot clearer.

If your child becomes fidgety and uncomfortable in wet underwear and they are capable of letting you know before they want to do a ‘tinkle’ or ‘poopy’, this is an obvious sign. Also, if your child can keep the diapers dry in excess of 2 hours and/or can pull the diapers up and down with no problems, this is an indicator. Another big tell sign is if your child wakes up from nap time with a dry diaper.

But this still does not suggest it will be an easy task to undertake. Some toddlers will happily play in wet diapers. You can ask them if they need the toilet and they will tell you they don’t, even though they do. If this happens, having a playful looking potty chair can help. A potty chair that looks fun to use can promote them to get into the habit of going when needed.

Some toddlers will be easier as they won’t like to be in a wet diaper and they will be very vocal in letting you know that! It only takes a short while for them to get the hang of potty training as they will do anything to avoid being in a wet diaper.

You can also try to introduce some kind of reward system. Every time your toddler performs their duty into the potty, they get a sticker or a candy. Even at this age, the human mind can be enticed by the ‘what’s in it for me?’ attitude.

But above all else, a healthy dose of patience is needed. Just remember that your toddler will learn the ropes. Some learn quicker than others but they all learn in their own time. There will be plenty of mistakes so try not to get angry when they happen as this may only serve to put added stress and pressure on both you and your toddler, which will more likely slow down the learning process.
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Potty Training Twins

Potty Training and toddlers require a certain amount of patience.

Potty training twins requires the patience of a saint!

For the first couple of weeks we seemed to be struggling and it was fairly frustrating when you would have a full day with both of them dry and then the following day we seemed to take a step backwards and went through every pair of pants we had.

Remember twins come in two’s so you go through twice as many clothes and have twice the amount of “accidents” as you would normally have with potty training one toddler in a day so it seems like you constantly have a child on the potty or are clearing up an accident and changing clothes again.

I am a firm believer in educating children using positive appraisal rather than negative disapproval.

That means emphasizing, praising and really showing your children how pleased you are in a positive manner when they get things right, rather than scolding and emphasizing how annoyed you are in negative manner when they get things wrong.

Although it might not always seem like it, children naturally enjoy pleasing their parents and are far more likely to respond more rapidly to praise than disapproval.

I also believe that when it comes to getting children out of nappies that it’s not something that can be forced and it should just take its natural course.

Your toddler will naturally start to feel uncomfortable wearing nappies especially when they are wet or soiled and will also feel out of place having their nappy changed in the nursery in front of all their friends. They will also notice when their playmates aren’t using nappies anymore and want to be the same.

We had our major breakthrough on Monday morning when on dropping the girls off at nursery, they immediately removed their own nappies and have refused to wear them in the daytime ever since!

They still wear nappies at night times as at only 28 months old they still haven’t started to wake up to go to the toilet or are able to go all night without a pee yet but apart from the odd accident when they don’t get to the potty in time fingers crossed, they seem to be completely out of nappies in the daytimes now.

My advice to anyone starting to potty train twins. Be patient, persevere and at all costs don’t ever be tempted to revert back to the odd nappy for your own convenience as it will only have a negative effect and put you all back to square one.
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5 Reasons To Learn Natural Childbirth Techniques (Even If You Plan To Use An Epidural)

If you know you are planning to use an epidural to help you manage pain during childbirth, you may not be thinking about natural childbirth techniques. In contrast with an epidural which almost always provides good pain relief with no effort from the mother, natural childbirth techniques take time to learn, time to practice and you don’t know which ones will help you most until your labor begins. But as is so often true in life, there is great value in the things you have to work harder for.

Your labor may move faster than you expect – the typical labor may start slow, and slowly build to active labor, but not all do. About 2% of women experience a precipitate labor, one in which the early stages pass so easily they are unnoticed and the mother suddenly finds herself dealing with a fast active labor. If your labor starts fast, the natural childbirth techniques you learn will not only keep you comfortable, but also help you stay calm and as relaxed as possible until you get to your birth place.It can take 20 minutes to an hour or more from the time you request an epidural to the time you get pain relief. Instead of being a specific medication, epidural and spinal are advanced anesthetic techniques. This means you need an anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist to administer one. Unlike simpler, less effective pain relief methods which your midwife, doctor or nurse could administer, when you choose an epidural you need to wait for the anesthesiologist to be available.

You could have pain relief in as fast as 20 minutes if everything was already set up and the staff ready, or you could be waiting for another woman to have an epidural administered first, or waiting for an anesthesiologist to finish assisting a cesarean surgery or come to the hospital. In some smaller hospitals, epidurals are not available “after hours,” the staff relying instead on simpler methods of pain relief which are not as effective. Natural childbirth techniques will be your only choice for pain management until things are ready for an epidural to be administered, and can be helpful if you receive a less effective pain medication.

Holding off on an epidural allows you to use positioning to move the labor along as quickly as possible. Once you receive an epidural your mobility is greatly reduced, if your baby is not in a good birth position at that point, it becomes harder to get him to move. Epidurals inhibit fetal rotation for a posterior baby (commonly known as back labor). Henci Goer reports in The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth that one study found a 450% increase in persistent posterior (the baby never turned) with epidural use.

Ms. Goer also reports that first time mothers with an epidural are more likely to have a cesarean surgery for failure to progress. One study showed women with a slow labor who had an epidural were five times more likely to have a cesarean surgery than women with a slow labor who did not have an epidural. Delaying an epidural gives you the best chances of getting your baby into a good position and labor progressing normally.

The longer you can wait to receive pain medications, the less medication you and your baby will receive. This means you lower the potential risks during and after childbirth. Even with lower dose epidurals to reduce the side effects, there are still some. Minimizing the time you have an epidural minimizes some of these side effects, such as risk of maternal fever. Minimizing the time you have an epidural also minimizes the amount of medication you and your baby are exposed to, further reducing risks of side effects.

Using natural childbirth techniques can give you the ability to manage pain and discomfort well into active labor. You may find you labor so well with them, you do not need to add the risks of medications. This can mean a faster recovery from the birth, since your body does not have to spend time removing the medication.

Natural Childbirth Techniques are helpful for all stages of life, not just giving birth. Comfort skills such as massage and relaxation, can help you relieve tension or stress on a day to day basis. Good positions for childbirth can be helpful for relieving backaches and other discomforts during pregnancy. Women who practice relaxation techniques use them to sleep better before and after their baby is born. The good nutrition and exercise habits learned through most natural childbirth programs can help keep your whole family healthier.

Many women find the coping mechanisms they develop using natural childbirth techniques in labor increase their self confidence which helps them manage other parts of their lives. Other women express that even though labor hurt, they were glad they did it because it challenged them in new ways and showed just how strong they were. There is no link to satisfaction with labor and the use of pain medication, which means you are no more likely to look back at labor favorably whether you use medications or not.

Natural childbirth techniques are useful in unexpected labor situations, when you can’t get what you want and when things are not going quite the way you planned. Knowing the medications have risks, and there are benefits to using natural childbirth techniques beyond labor, it can make a lot of sense to try for a natural childbirth with the understanding an epidural is available if you decide you want it.
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Using Your Fabric – Every Bit Of It

If you quilt or sew, it is quite certain that you have a stash of fabric. That little stash often grows into an insurmountable mountain! Going to the fabric store only makes matters worse. There is a new floral print that would look very nice as curtains for the bathroom; then there is that seasonal print that could adorn your Thanksgiving table; or how about the piece of fabric with the cute little lamb in the center? You know you could use all of these fabric pieces for something! Hence, the fabric stash grows and grows.

First of all, knowing how to quilt or sew is an exceptional gift or talent. You have made so many people happy with your gifts of love. You have used those large pieces of fabric to make a keepsake that will be passed down from generation to generation.

Now we will get to the real truth of the matter. You have made all of these beautiful projects and given most of them away or fully displayed then in your own home. But what has become of the scraps from those beautiful handmade items? You can’t throw them away! You will use them sometime, right?

Now is the time for action! Here are a few ways to make good use of those cherished scraps of fabric.

Quilts: You are probably saying to yourself, “Yes, I have made quilts!” But, have you utilized those leftover scraps as you should or simply bought new fabric to match the new wall paper in your home? Patchwork quilts can look thrown together or really planned. The planned ones are the most beautiful! Here are a few tips to planning your patchwork quilt.

1. Sort your scraps of fabric by colors. Use the 3 primary colors of red, yellow and blue. Then go to the secondary colors of green, orange, and purple. Now sort the browns, blacks, tans, off-whites and whites.

2. Next, find a quilt pattern that you could use for a patchwork quilt. The log cabin pattern is a favorite. Try using the off-white fabric on one side of the log cabin quilt block. Then use shades of greens in medium, dark and darkest to do the strips on the other side. It doesn’t make any difference what pattern the off-white fabrics are or what order you place them as long as they are off-white. Then do the same with all of the other fabric colors. To make your quilt look more planned, keep the off-white theme going throughout all of your quilt blocks. This will make your patchwork quilt look planned even though you have used those scraps of leftover fabric. The log cabin is just one simple quilt block that could be used. There are many quilt block patterns that could accomplish the same effect.

Now, you still have smaller scraps that will never cut into strips for quilting. There is hope for those small and sometimes irregular pieces of fabric. Here are a few tips for using them.

Foundation Paper piecing: This method of piecing together your fabric scraps is fun and relaxing. The end results will look as if you spent tedious hours of cutting and piecing when actually all you do is sew by number! You will find a variety of Foundation Paper Piecing patterns at your local library or bookstore. That takes care of lots of those precious fabric scraps. Now take the rest and make RUGS! Here is an excellent article that give wonderful instructions for rug making.

Now go and use up that precious stash of fabric and make something created just by you!
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Potty Training – When is the Right Time?

As parents we think that by the time our children are 18 months we have the schedule and routine of family life down pat. Gone are the days of stressing over how to breastfeed, introduce foods and sleep train. That is all easy now! Until… we realize that it is probably time to start potty training, or so our parents keep telling us.

Let’s examine why we think we should begin potty training.

1. You are expecting another child and do not want to deal with two children in diapers.

2. You are tired of spending hundreds of dollars on diapers – time to put that money to better use!

3. You feel pressured from your parents to start toilet training.

4. You hear from someone in your mommy group that they have successfully trained their child to use the toilet in just three days.

Whatever the reason for feeling pressured, the decision of when exactly to start potty training can be a stressful one. Some experts say that a child is not developmentally ready to be toilet trained until they are three years of age, however others say that by waiting, parents are just enforcing diaper dependence and will have to persuade their child even more forcefully because their child will feel secure and safe with their diaper.

The debate will continue, however the trend seems to be shifting back to times passed. Techniques to train your child in short periods of time are available and many parents are experiencing great success.

My opinion as a child expert is this. When a child is old enough to understand the vocabulary of poo, pee, and toilet they are at the early stages of being ready for training. If they can follow commands such as, “Please bring me your shoes” then they are most likely ready for training. And by in large, if they are 22 months old, most children are developmentally ready both physically and emotionally to be trained how to use the toilet.

The decision is still an individual choice, however your choice should be based on your beliefs and understanding of your child, not your parents’ beliefs, as well as research.
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Potty Training Help

There are often bumps along the potty training road. Knowing where to find help can make it easier for parents to get the potty training program back on track.

Your Pediatrician

He or she deals with potty training questions all day long and can well be the best person to turn to for help. The pediatrician not only can tell you about potty training in general, she can assess your child and give you her opinion of your child’s readiness to get started.

All the good advice in the world will be of no help if your child is not developmentally ready to be potty trained. She can also give your child a physical and identify any medical issues that may complicate it such as a urinary tract infection.

Books

Look for advice in parenting books, and while you’re at the bookstore, get a kid’s book about potty training for your child. He’ll enjoy having his own book and you can use it to talk to him.

Day Care Providers

If your child goes to daycare, talk to your provider. She’s probably been through the process with several children and can give you good advice about what’s worked well in the past. It’s also important that she be part of your team and uses the same process you use at home to potty train your child.

Older Children

If you have older children at home or if your child is around older children elsewhere, you already know how much little kids want to be like big kids. If your child realizes that big kids use the potty and little kids wear diapers, he will soon make the decision for himself to cooperate.

Reinforcements/Rewards

Often implementing a reward system can get a stalled potty training routine moving again. A simple sticker chart and some stickers may be all your child needs to find the motivation to use the potty.

Getting to choose his sticker and put it on his chart can give your child a sense of involvement in the process.
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Choosing Complimentary Fabric Colors for Your Quilting Project

How often have you made a quilt and after it was all done, you wish you would have chosen different fabric colors? All the work you did on the project seemed to have been in vain. You are not happy with the outcome at all!

You may have purchased a variety of color wheels in the hope that by some magical formula it would display the right color choices for you. But try as you may, the colors just didn’t seem right. In fact, you just couldn’t trust this little gadget no matter which way you turned it.

It is possible that you have thought about throwing the whole project into the trash bin. Then your unselfish side comes out and you attempt to give it to goodwill, but who would want something that look so poorly assembled? What’s worse, your friends may see you taking it there and know that you made it!

Hopefully you haven’t taken such drastic measures, but the truth is, you really wish you had a knack for choosing the right fabric color combinations. Help is on the way! Have you ever thought how interior decorators match colors together?

I know you have been to the painting section of your local hardware store. In this section are hundreds of colors. They are all put together in (you guessed it) the right combination of colors. There are paint chips with different hues of all one color. Then there are paint chips with four different colors on one card. These colors are put together by designers who actually know what they are doing with color! You can trust that these colors will go beautifully together!

After you have picked up a few of these paint cards that interest you, consider where the quilted project will go. Think of the color of the walls, maybe one of the colors on this paint chip is the color of the walls in a room in your home.

Now that you have chosen the colored paint chip that appeals to you most, you are ready to shop for fabric. Take the paint chip you have chosen to your favorite quilt shop and choose fabrics that match those on your paint chip. It is really that simple.

Your fabric colors are guaranteed to match perfectly! And to think someone else did all the deciding for you!

Happy Quilting!
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How To Wean Your Baby From Breastfeeding

Weaning your child from breastfeeding is not the easiest thing
to do. As I understand it, weaning a baby from breastfeeding is
like quitting smoking or giving up chocolate. It’s best not to
quit cold turkey. It’s not easy for you or the baby, but it has
to be done. You can wean baby to a bottle or a cup. I
recommend weaning baby to a sippy cup. Some babies will make it
easier on you the mom, and start to lose interest in
breastfeeding usually around nine months or so, and some babies
need their nightly night cap, making it close to impossible for
you to wean your baby. Well for all you moms out there, whose
baby needs their nightly night cap, here are some tips to help
make it easier for you to wean your baby from breastfeeding.

-Long before you even try to start weaning your baby from
breastfeeding you should get baby used to drinking from an
alternative source, a cup or a bottle; preferably a cup as
mentioned earlier. Still continue to breastfeed but give baby
either water, juice or breast milk from a cup. Try this at
mealtimes when feeding baby solids or when giving baby a snack.

-For the stubborn baby who refuses to take a cup or bottle, it
can be a good idea to skip a breastfeeding session once daily
usually after breakfast or lunch, and only offer him/her what’s
in the cup. This may be hard for three or four days, but after
that baby will get the idea. Once baby is used to drinking out
of a cup once daily, you can skip another breastfeeding session
and drink what’s in the cup. Do this until you are only nursing
once at night before bedtime.

-Wait at least a week in-between skipping a breastfeeding
session, so both your baby and your breasts get used to the
changes.

-If baby is sick or there is another event such as a move or a
change in daycare postpone weaning baby for a couple weeks to
ensure baby is okay and ready to wean.

-The last feedings to go are usually the morning and the night
time feedings, I recommend cutting out the morning feeding
first. Your baby will be hungry and will eat a good nutritious
breakfast.

-When it is finally time to wean baby from the night time
feedings, it is easier to have your breasts out of sight.
Having your spouse put baby down for bed can make this
transition easier. Tell your baby goodnight and hand baby off
to dad. It takes a good week of dad putting baby to sleep for
baby to get the hang of it. Before you put baby to bed make
sure baby is full. Give baby a nighttime snack and a full cup
of milk. When the week is complete go back to your regular
bedtime routine only replacing breastfeeding with milk.

This isn’t the easiest thing to do and it takes quite a bit of
time, but with some patience it will happen for you and your
baby. Good Luck!!
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Breastfeeding And Smoking

Smoking is one of the hardest habits to break. Whilst it is in your baby’s best interests to stop smoking, this isn’t always possible for some mothers. It is especially hard to give up an addiction at a time of stress or major disruption, which having a baby undoubtedly is. Should you find yourself unable to stop smoking but still wish to breastfeed here are some points to consider.

Do your best to cut back. Any reduction in your in-take of nicotine is of benefit to your baby; if you smoke, certain levels of your nicotine are passed onto your baby through smoke inhalational and breast milk. You should also be aware that studies show that smoking reduces milk supply, so any reduction in smoking will help your milk supply. To help keep levels high enough to satisfy your baby’s needs, feed on demand as frequent feeds helps to encourage milk production.

Always smoke AFTER you’ve breastfeed your baby. It goes without saying that you should smoke in another room from your baby. Never smoke in enclosed location with your baby. Smoking outside helps keep your baby from inhaling second-hand smoke – a risk factor for SIDS and life-long respiratory problems. Also, smoking after breastfeeding your baby will help to reduce the amount of nicotine in your blood supply and, therefore, breast milk.

Consider using nicotine patches as these can reduce your blood and milk levels of nicotine. Your baby also gets the benefit of not having to inhale smoke. Do not use both cigarettes and nicotine patches as you will be adding further chemicals into your baby’s milk supply than from smoking alone. Nicotine gum is also beneficial. Like smoking, nicotine levels go up and down, so ensure that you use the gum AFTER you’ve breastfed your baby.

There are other things you should be aware of when you breastfeed. Others – and your baby – may be able to smell nicotine in your expressed milk. You baby is certainly able to taste it and may, therefore, take to breastfeeding less easily than babies whose mothers don’t smoke. You baby’s blood stream will contain nicotine passed on through your breast milk. His urine will also contain traces of nicotine.

So, should you breastfeed at all if you smoke? The answer is yes. Breast milk, unlike formula milk, contains your antibodies and your nutrients that will help your baby fight off infection and help its immune system: something formula milk does not have and is not able to do.
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Breastfeeding Tip: Avoid Triple Nipple Syndrome

There are several reasons why you, as a breastfeeding Mom, will want to avoid or limit artificial nipples. Avoid Triple Nipple Syndrome if you want to nurse your baby for that important first year (or longer!).

Using artificial nipples, meaning supplemental bottles and pacifiers, reduces the time your baby spends at the breast. Time spent nursing at the breast tells your body how much milk to make, meaning that using artificial nipples can reduce supply.

Artifical nipples may lead to nipple confusion, which means a difficulty transitioning from bottles to the breast and back. Some babies get nipple confusion, and some don’t. Some babies will flat out reject the breast after having one bottle. Some babies can have a supplemental bottle and go back to Mom, and some will refuse the bottle altogether.

However, studies show that using artificial nipples increases the likelihood that baby will wean before one year. So, wait until breastfeeding is well established and your supply is adequate for baby’s needs before introducing artificial nipples, and even then, limit their use.

Using a supplemental bottle of formula when you think your milk supply is low can be a Catch 22 because giving baby a bottle can further lessen the milk supply. If you want to increase your milk supply, the best way to do so is to increase the number of times you offer your breast to the baby, or increase the time spent at the breast. When baby is going through a growth spurt you may want to reduce your activities as much as possible for a day or two and spend more time in skin to skin contact with baby. Your body will send more milk because of the increased demand.

As a side note, the American Academy of Pediatrics recently issued a statement saying that pacifiers can reduce SIDS risk. Interestingly, breastfeeding also reduces the risk of SIDS. Some breastfeeding experts have noted that it is the sucking, not the pacifier itself, that keeps baby stimulated at night which helps him “remember” to breathe.

While it’s not for every family, the practice of Co Sleeping or Sharing Sleep, helps Mom and Dad get more sleep, helps Mom have a hearty milk supply and makes night feedings easier.

Families all over the world (in fact, most of the world’s population) share sleep with babies quite safely, and happily too and have been doing so since the beginning of time!
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