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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Dear Nanny - Changing Table Wiggles

Dear Nanny,

My baby has never liked having his diaper changed, but he has always tolerated it. That is, until now. He will do anything to avoid having his diaper changed, including crying, yelling, rolling away mid-wipe, and making a grand escape. It is an exhausting battle to change his diaper. How can I get him to stop?



Dear Frustrated,

Most babies go through this phase, and unfortunately they don't all outgrow it. The key is to be entertaining, surprising, happy, and quick. If you are worried for your child's safety, then it is time to move to the floor for diaper changes.

Here are some ideas for keeping baby still:

  1. Give baby a toy or book to look at, or hang a mobile above the changing table. Distraction is always helpful, and this way they aren't upset that they can't be playing.
  2. Talk to baby. If you are a silent changer, than it is time to liven up the conversation. Talk to baby about what you are doing, how the day is going, or your latest drama at work.
  3. Sing! Babies love to hear people sing, and they don't care if you are good. In fact it is funnier if you aren't. If one song isn't working, then it is time to change tunes. You may sing three different things in one change. Songs can be your favorite Adele song, a learning song (like the alphabet), or a commercial jingle. It really doesn't matter
  4. Be surprising! Make silly faces and noises. Baby will be so surprised that he'll stop moving to stare at you in either wonder or confusion
  5. Plan wisely. Don't pick up baby when they are in the middle of something fun, and warn them that it is almost time for a diaper change. It doesn't matter if they don't understand you yet.
  6. Get out all supplies before hand. If baby is really upset, unfold the clean diaper and have it at the ready. Also try warming the wipes with your hands before putting them on baby's bottom. Cold water in a sensitive area is never fun.
  7. If baby can stand, change them while they are standing (on the floor), many daycares do this to save time and tears.
  8. Use the belt attached to the changing pad if you have to. I never found that this worked for me, but some people swear by them. Once baby realizes he's immobilized he'll either freak or calm down.
  9. There is actually an aftermarket product available for this problem. The Hulabye Happy Changer is a vest that attaches to the changing pad to keep baby in place. People swear by this. I have never used it (the first four points have always worked for me), but every child is different.
Hope this helps!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Childcare that is Best for Your Family

Here are some pros and cons to different types of childcare.

NAEYC* Accredited Daycare
Pros: Socialization, open throughout the year, licensed and regulated, staff is trained in childcare, more affordable than a nanny for one child.
Cons: Not a 1 on 1 environment, won't provide sick child care, children get sick more often, rigid pick up and drop off times, expensive for more than one child, child is on daycare's schedule

Licensed* Home Based Day Care
Pros: Less expensive than daycare, home environment, smaller group than daycare, often can work with your child's schedule, more flexible drop-off/pick-up times
Cons: One caregiver to more children usually, no back-up if provider gets sick, less stringent licensing requirements, caregiver often has no degree in childcare.

Certified** Nanny
Pros: Nanny has a been trained in childcare, child is in their own home, child is on their own schedule, one on one attention, provides sick child care, will work with parents ideals, will take care of all child related housework, can drive the child to outings and school.
Cons: Child is less socialized, nannies are more expensive than daycare, no back-up if nanny is sick, lots of paperwork and taxes, someone else working in your home

Nanny Share
Pros: all the benefits of a nanny plus socialization and half the cost! 
Cons: Child may not be in their home, another set of parenting ideals to contend with, three-way communication, other parents may end their side at any time, no back-up if nanny is sick, more complicated than having your own nanny.

Pros: Child will learn about another culture, often do light housework, you really get to know the caregiver, flexibility and convenience because they live with you, one on one care.
Cons: no household privacy, expected that they are treated like family (they spend holidays with you, etc), no in-person interview, they only stay for a year or two - can be hard on children, lots of paperwork and teaching aupair about the area (like how to use bus), may have culturally different views on parenting, not necessarily trained in early childhood education.

Pros: Often free, in your home or a relative's house, 1 on 1 care, often there are shared values, sick child care, can drive child to outings and school
Cons: May not parent the way you do, hard to get them to follow your beliefs since they are family and not an employee. No employer-employee relationship. May not have a background or schooling in childcare

* NAEYC stands for the National Association for the Education of Young Children. A licensed home or regular daycare has to follow government standards for the safety of the children. Caregiver to child ratio, healthy meals provided, specific activities done to enhance both gross and small motor skills, safe equipment used, etc. There are unlicensed daycares, but I do not recommend them.
** A certified nanny attended nanny school or has some other degree in early childhood education. They know what to expect from working in somebody's home. They have years of experience and have made this their career. Often have already had background checks. A non-certified nanny is cheaper, but may be a gamble as they have no schooling in childcare and may not be certified in CPR.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

#1 Cause of Accidental Death

Well, it's officially summer! Time to wear our new bathing suits and hit the pools and beaches. Here is your reminder to stay on guard with your young children. 

#1 Cause of Accidental Death for Young Children = DROWNING

“Drowning is the leading cause of injury death among children aged 1-4yrs” - May 18 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Half of these deaths were in a swimming pool.
Children can drown in less than 1in of water; in toilet bowls, sinks, bathtubs, buckets of mop water, deep puddles, etc.
Infants and toddlers have exceptionally heavy heads. A baby’s head is a third of it’s body at birth. They fall into a bucket, toilet, etc. and they can’t pull themselves out.
“Eighty-four percent of drowning deaths among children ages 5 and under occur at a home, while 45 percent of fatalities among children ages 5 to 14 occur at a public pool.” -  safekids.org
Pool Safety
Four-sided isolation fencing around home pools could prevent 50 to 90 percent of childhood drownings and near-drownings. When used properly, door alarms, pool alarms, and automatic pool covers add an extra layer of protection.” – Safekids.org
“The use of specially-made drain covers, safety vacuum-release systems, multiple filter pumps and other pressure-venting pool filter mechanisms can reduce the risk of entrapment” – safekids.org
Keep toys away from the pool when the pool is not in use.
Empty blow-up pools after each use.
No tricycles or other riding toys at poolside. No stroller by the pool side
No electrical appliances near the pool.
No diving in a pool that is not deep enough.
No running on the pool deck.
Swim Lessons
Swim lessons are available even for infants just weeks old, but swim lessons will not ‘drown-proof’ your child. While they are great exercise and can help boost your child’s confidence and water safety knowledge, do not let yourself get a false sense of security
Ever hear of swim buddies? Everyone, no matter what their age or ability can drown. People should never swim alone, no matter what the age. Do not trust older children, teenage babysitters, or lifeguards to watch your children in the pool – that is your job. 

*Please note that no matter how well your little one follows directions, they do not have the mental capability to keep themselves safe. Children are naturally curious and easy to distract.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Baby Einstein Puppets

Today I got to employ a preschool trick. It's for children who are shy, sad, or just not opening up. Here's how it went:

Child (34mo) is crying because he doesn't want a bath, he won't listen to anyone. I grab a paper plate that I had painted Winnie the Pooh's face on the other day.
Winnie the Pooh: Hi, [Child's name]
Child (stops crying): Hi, Winnie the Pooh. I'm sad.
WP: You look a little sad.
Child: I don't want to take a bath
WP: You get to take a bath! I love baths!
Child: Me too!
Child and Winnie talked for awhile, and then child took a bath.

Why this worked:
Toddlers and preschool aged children sometimes have trouble expressing their feelings. When things are happening too quickly against their will (like a bath they don't want), it overwhelms them. They can't get their words out, so they cry, scream, or tantrum instead. The child doesn't want to listen to you, because you are trying to get them to do something against their will. A puppet is a neutral third party. In this case, the child just wanted his feelings recognized. Plus, he's really in to WP right now, so if WP says it's fun to take a bath, then it must be.

Young children have trouble separating reality from pretend (this is why children under five don't understand sarcasm or lying). A puppet is someone nonthreatening they can talk to. They feel a sense of kinship with their small friend. It doesn't matter if the puppet has your voice, to them the puppet is a whole other being. They know it's on your hand, but they don't see it as you. This is how a shy child will open up to a puppet, but not the person controlling it.

If you have a toddler/preschooler, consider making puppets too! Just be aware that a mask is not a puppet. Babies and young toddlers are frightened of masks because it is a distortion of your features. It looks like you have been mutated. Even a Santa Claus mask worn over your face can traumatize a littler one.

Great puppets can be made from anything, but most are made from paper bags or socks. Have fun!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Infant Crying

Babies cry. It is their way of communication. They can't say, "Hey, I have a wet diaper!" and they certainly can't change it themselves. They are helpless. So they cry to let you know something is wrong. When a baby cries, oftentimes people panic. The longer baby cries, the more panicked people become. The problem is that baby is not going to stop crying until you stop panicking.

Have you ever seen the 'Keep Calm and Carry On' signs? That is the way to handle those infant wails. Take a deep breath and mentally relax. Do a mental check, when did baby last eat? Sleep? Poop? One of the best pieces of advice I ever got concerning infants was from my mother. She pointed out how cute they look crying. Once I stopped worrying long enough to see the cuteness, I was fine. I haven't had a problem since. Years of experience help now, but a parent will get more experience than they know what to do with in just a few days of wails.

Here is my step by step guide to dealing with sobs:

  1. Take a deep breath and relax
  2. Go to baby and croon as you pick him/her up and cuddle. Sometimes crying will stop here, if they just wanted to be held.
  3. Simultaneously croon and listen to the cry. All cries are different, but the easiest to tell apart is physical pain. If it sounds like baby is in pain skip to step 5
  4. Do a mental check of when baby last ate/slept/pooped/peed/etc. See if baby seems overly hot or cold and need a fan/blanket. Address the probable needs. In most cases baby is now fine
  5. If it seems like baby is in pain, there may be a few reasons why. Is it possible baby was stung by a bee? Did baby hit themselves in the eye with their rattle or kick something hard? Did big brother pinch him? Does baby have gas pains? Is baby ill? Gas is usually easy to tell apart because baby will be curled around their stomach and they feel better when you bicycle their legs and/or are burped. In the case of bumps or bruises a minute or so of crying and a little cuddling usually fixes things.
  6. If you get overwhelmed, it is 100% ok to put the baby down somewhere safe or give them to someone else and walk away to calm down. NEVER SHAKE OR HIT A BABY. And yelling would only cause more problems.
  7. If all else fails, call your pediatrician. They are used to panicked calls from parents, and an experts advice may be just what you need.

Certified and Professional

What does it mean to be a Certified Professional Nanny?
It means I graduated from a nanny school (English Nanny and Governess School) where I studied a multitude of subjects, including:

  • Child Development (which I also took in college)
  • Infant Care - certified as a Newborn Care Specialist
  • Nutrition
  • Children's Literature
  • Children's Art (again, took in college)
  • Creative Play
  • Music
  • Defensive Driving and Car Seats
  • CPR and First Aid - certified in adult, child, and infant CPR, AED use, and First Aid
  • Special Needs and Learning Disabilities 
  • Boating/Water/Horse/Fire/General Safety
  • Childproofing
  • Infant Massage
  • Professionalism
  • Resumes, Interviewing, and Contracts
  • Budgeting and Savings
  • In-home practicum with newborn and toddler (interned in a daycare in college)
I have come to realize that the state of childcare in this country is deplorable. Every where you turn there is a bad nanny/daycare story. I see nannies all the time at parks and in stores who have no idea how to talk to children or deal with them at their level. I'm not perfect, no one is, but a basic understanding of child development never hurt anyone. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Car Seat Types

Car Bed
For low weight infants or infants with special needs, a car bed allows a baby who cannot be transported in a sitting position to be transported laying on back, side, or stomach.
For infants from birth to one year old and at least 20lb. Some hold up to 35lb to keep baby rear-facing longer. This car seat can also be used to transport baby outside the car with the handle, or clicked into a stroller to make a travel system.
A mix of the rear-facing infant seat and the toddler seat, a convertible seat can be used from birth until it is outgrown, many now at 50+lb! After baby has outgrown the rear-facing position, turn the seat around to make it a toddler seat. Some families use a rear-facing infant seat for the first few months to year for the versatility, and then switch to convertible to rear-face longer.
Forward-facing only, this seat is used after a child is at least 1yr and 20lb until they are old enough for a booster. Many prefer to use a convertible to rear face longer and skip this one. Some toddler seats transition to boosters.
High-Back Booster
Boosters are used to position your child higher up in the seat so that the seat belt hits them correctly. It is best to keep your child in a 5pt harness until they outgrow their car seat before moving them to a booster (And at the speeds we drive at nowadays, we should probably all be in 5pt harnesses)
Backless Booster
Backless boosters are not recommended for cars with low seat backs or no headrests. It is better all around to have a back on your booster to prevent from whiplash. Boosters with backs also help position the shoulder belt correctly.
*NOTE: “Children under 13 are 40% safer in the back seat, whether or not there are air bags.” USA TODAY

Premature/low birth weight/special medical needs baby-full term size: Car Bed
Birth-12mo: Rear facing only 'bucket-style" infant car seat
Birth-2yr+: rear facing in a convertible car seat. A child should be rear facing until they outgrow the weight limit. The AAP recommends no sooner than 24mo. Later if possible
2-8yr: Rear facing until seat is outgrown, then forward facing in a convertible, toddler car seat or harnessed in a harness-booster seat
8-12yr: Booster seat
12yr+: Belted in the back seat
13yr+: Belted in the front or back seat

*Always register your car seat so that you will be updated in the case of a recall.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Biking with Baby

Biking is not the safest mode of transport, but neither is riding in a car. For parents who take precautions, biking can be a safe and enjoyable experience for both parent and child.
1.Wear a helmet – you and baby should wear a helmet, you are no good to your child brain dead.
2.Use the seat belts supplied for your child - Your child cannot brace themselves, and they are more breakable than you are.
3.Pay attention – common sense maybe, but children are distracting. If baby starts to cry, pull over somewhere safe to see to their needs.
4.Check your equipment before use – check tires and brakes
5.Use lights, reflectors, and wear bright clothing at night
6.Babies should not ride – under 12mo, your child does not have strong enough neck muscles to endure the pressure and jarring. You could inadvertently cause Shaken Baby Syndrome.
7.Follow the manufacturers height and weight requirements

STATISTICS from bicyclinginfo.org
Bicyclist injuries in 2010: 51,000. That is fifty one THOUSAND in the US in 2010.
Bicyclist deaths in 2010: 618. Over SIX HUNDRED people have died in one year.

•It doesn't matter how good of a biker you are, accidents happen. What if you have a medical emergency while biking? What if a terrible driver comes out of nowhere and hits you? Just because you pay attention to your surroundings, doesn’t mean other people do too.
•According to the NHTSA, “A bicycle crash can happen at any time. A properly fitted bicycle helmet reduces the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent and the risk of brain injury by as much as 88 percent.”
•For information on how to get a proper helmet fit, go to: http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/pedbimot/bike/EasyStepsWeb/index.htm
•Many cities and 22 states have helmet laws. Find out if yours does here: http://www.helmets.org/mandator.htm

•Either mounted in front or behind the parent, child bike seats give baby a place to sit on the bike.
•Back seats allow the parent more freedom of movement, they can pedal without interference
•Front seats allow interaction with the child. When in back it can be hard to hear your child, and you can’t see them while you are moving.
•Many injuries from these when the parent lets go of the bike and it falls over. The kickstand cannot hold up the bike when your child is on it.

•Travel behind the bike, close to the ground.
•If a bike tips over, a trailer will always remain upright
•Because it travels behind the whole bike, it may be difficult for cars to see. Some studies report that using a trailer is safer than using a child bike seat.

P.S. I have no idea what happened to the formatting in this post.


I changed my settings to hook up with my accounts, so I'll post my "About Me" here:

Hi there!

I'm Katie, a Certified Professional Nanny, Newborn Care Specialist, and aspiring Baby Planner. I started reading pregnancy & parenting books when I was six, and I never looked back. I initially practiced my skills on my Bitty Baby (named Bitty) and my Lee Middleton Doll (named Jennifer). Since then it has been a series of neighborhood children, babysitting clients, and now with an absolutely wonderful family who have two toddlers. I consider myself to be extremely lucky! My focus is on young children and infants.

Mutsy EasyRider Review

This is my review from Amazon.com
I needed a stroller that I could easily use on the bus and train, that also had a decent recline on it for naps. Unfortunately most lightweight strollers have either no recline or a two inch one. I found this on sale (more than half off!) on Amazon and bought it. It was hard to find reviews on this stroller, as Mutsy is not a well known brand in the states, but it turned out to be perfect for my needs!

-They are tall handles! That was something else I needed as I am 5'7" and the other adults who'd be using the stroller are both taller than me. Also, they are well padded, making it extremely comfortable to grip. I was getting so tired of hunching over the short handles on the Chicco Capri Lightweight Stroller, Tangerine.

-A tall seat! Perfect for the 2.5yr old (at 95th percentile in height) who rides in it. It is well-padded for comfort - I would love a ride in this thing. The seat is equipped with a 5pt padded harness that is easy for an adult to do, but not easy for a bored toddler to get.

It has a wonderful recline that is very nearly flat. The manufacturer says it is for 3mo+, but with the addition of Summer Infant Snuzzler - Black it should be fine for a newborn. It is a strap recline, which I am not to fond of, and it takes a bit of pressure to get the seat up (w/out the child in it).

There is also an adjustable leg rest that is so nice for that in between age where baby's legs dangle off the edge of the seat, but don't make it down to the footrest. Exactly where my 11mo old rider is. Also nice for napping. And speaking of the footrest, it is not that flimsy, easily-stretched rubber that comes on most umbrella strollers, but rather a thicker, less saggy material

-The wheels are small, but mighty. The small single front wheels allow the stroller to maneuver easily through tight spaces, and the ride is so smooth! Also it easily rides over cracks that cause lesser strollers to stop suddenly. There is a one-touch brake that is so easy to do, and it is flip-flop friendly to undo too! You do have to use the top of your foot, but it is a simple flick. The front wheels can lock straight for rougher terrain.

-A good size for an umbrella stroller. Impossible to get to if seat is fully relined though.

Decent shade for a lightweight stroller, not terrific, but better that most l/w strollers. It has a peek-a-boo window that is mesh. I love that! The only problem with it is that there are 3 pieces of VERY noisy velcro affixed to it. I plan on removing the velcro and attaching some magnets instead. The canopy velcros to the back of the seat, and will stay on even as the seat is reclined. I bought the Protect-a-Bub Single Compact Sunshade, Black to use with this stroller.

-It has an automatic lock. That is the only good thing about the folding mechanism. It takes two hands and a foot to close the stroller...a pain in the you know where. You have to lift a lever, lift a latch, and simultaneously push up on a button with your foot. It isn't hard to figure out or do, but it is annoying. Unfolding is much easier, simply lift the automatic latch and push the stroller open, then step down on a button. You have to use a bit of force to get it to snap open, and the stroller rolls away while you're stepping - again, annoying. While I love that the brakes are so easy to do, unfortunately they do not work while the stroller is closed, so it is hard to balance the stroller upright.

-This stroller has a very sturdy construction. The frame is strong and sleek, and the fabric is comfortable and very durable. This stroller should last a long time, and through many children.

The stroller does not come with a cup-holder, but I bought a Diono Buggy Buddy Stroller Organizer, Black that works really well with it. The stroller also did not come with a rain cover, which I thought it was supposed to, but I bought Sashas Rain and Wind Cover for Mutsy EasyRider Single Stroller which is a terrific one. Another thing that bothers me is that the center of gravity is heavily weighted to the back. Meaning that I can not hang the diaper bag from the back without tipping it.

Aside from the folding annoyances, I really love this stroller. I would buy it again at full price. It is sturdy, attractive, and turns on a dime.

UPDATE 3mo later:
- We still love this stroller, but have found that baby gets hot in warmer weather in here (I'm talking low 70s, not even summer weather). I bought the Meeno Baby Cool Me Seat Liner Stroller - Silver, and that has helped tremendously.
- I have also found that the basket holds more than I thought. It is smaller in the front section, but you can pile things in - and they can stay there while seat is reclined (you just won't be able to get them.)
- We have had some problems with the stroller starting to tip if I put too much hanging off the back of the stroller and we are on a bus with a driver who makes quick stops. Other than that, no problems!


You look at a traditional pram (not a bassinet add-on for a luxury stroller, but an old world pram), and think, "That is gorgeous. I wish I had an estate I could push that on." Not because you'd need an estate to afford one (which you might), but because the act of pushing one of these would make you feel like a duchess. Or at least the governess of the future duke.

I used to think that there would be little point in owning a coach built pram apart from the aesthetic point. What was the point really? You spend a lot of money on a stroller that has little practical application in the real world, and that could only be used for a few months (unless there is a toddler seat available). Yet, if you add up the uses of a pram, it really isn't a bad purchase after all.

  • It's your stroller
  • It would take the place of a bassinet
  • It would take the place of a playpen/travel cot
  • It's a baby seat
  • It's your bouncy seat
With all those uses, why not have a pram? If you bought all high quality items, you would equal out the price of one nicely built pram. 

Friday, June 8, 2012


So, I have really gotten into babywearing recently. Let's do a tally:

  1. Hot Mama Ink Pouch Sling
  2. Maya Wrap Ring Sling
  3. Ergo Baby SSC (Soft Structured Carrier)
  4. Two homemade stretchy wraps
  5. Boba (Sleepy) Stretchy Wrap
  6. SevenSlings Pouch
  7. Didymos Woven Wrap
  8. Zolowear Mesh Ring Sling
  9. Two K'tan Double Pouch Sling/Wrap
  10. Two KinderPacks
=13 carriers, 14 if you count the Sakura Bloom Linen Ring Sling I'm waiting for. I would probably cry if I totaled how much I spent.

My mother has threatened to confiscate my computer and take control of my bank account! I do need to sell one KP (wrong size), both K'tans (wrong sizes), and both homemade wraps (I never use them). If I thought the SevenSlings would sell, I'd sell that one too. 

I desperately want a CatBird Mei Tai, but I have no use for it in this heat. I will refrain myself until late Sept when it starts to cool down.

Babywearing has been so useful with a baby and toddler (now two toddlers). I am able to take them on the bus, train, and into stores that I could never fit into with the double. If you want to babywear, I highly recommend looking up safety info. Here are my links:

http://www.hipdysplasia.org/Developmental-Dysplasia-Of-The-Hip/Prevention/Baby-Carriers-Seats-and-Other-Equipment/Default.aspx -they don't do a great job of illustrating, but keep in mind that baby's knees should be higher than her bum! No "crotch danglers" need apply! (I'm talking to you, Bjorn!)