Updated October 2018
This is a synopsis, see the full article on baby medicine here.
You know those baby first aid and grooming kits, which come with, like, 50 items? You don’t need all that crap. Seriously.
Here’s what you really need:
Did I mention the razor sharp baby claws already? Yes, I think so. For whatever reason, baby fingernails grow fast and are incredibly thin and jagged. Please arm yourself with some baby nail clippers and be not afraid to use them.
Honestly? I find the cheapest/simplest clippers work the best. Safety 1st is good. The built-in lights and skin guard that others have just get in my way.
Get two and put one in your travel kit.
Yes, someone always chimes in about now and says, “ya know, you can just bite them off with our teeth?” Go right ahead, if that’s your jam. I suggest everyone else clip your baby’s nails like a normal person.
The key is to distract baby with something (TV? sure) and trim her nails in good light. Eventually, your nail-clipping jitters will fade away.
Another option is to use a baby nail file. I suggest the Baby Blue Giraffe nail file (below) – it’s gentle and works fast. Yes, you can also use the .99 cent emery board from the drugstore, but note that the grit is quite large for newborn nails.
Another cool “filing” option is the Little Martin’s Drawer (~$29) electric rotary trimmer. It comes with pads for your toddler and yourself. It’s super quiet so it won’t scare baby and it even has a light on the tip if you need it. Just know it’s battery operated!
Yet another option is to use nail scissors, like these Piyo Piyo Nail Scissors, another mommy favorite.
Those are your nail trimming options in a nutshell 😀
This stuff works wonderfully. Be extra sure to follow the dosing instructions on the package (make SURE you are using INFANT, not CHILDREN’S, though I’ve been told recently that they are the exact same thing – but always check the package!). Tylenol, tried and true for years, works just fine.
Remember, you can also use baby Motrin, but not until 6 months of age; this stuff works wonders for teething pain.
Note from Dr. Pope (my friend and amazing pediatrician): “Remember: NOTHING before 2 months (call the doctor!), acetaminophen after 2 months (but call the doctor if fever is persistent and/or over 101 F), and from 6 months on you can use acetaminophen (every 4 hours) OR ibuprofen (every 6 hours)…but still call the doctor for a fever over 101 F.” Got it?
*Note, if your little one doesn’t like to take medicine from a syringe, try the Pacidose. Invented by a doctor. Medicine is fed through the syringe into a pacifier for fuss-free delivery.
You may find that about 90% of your baby’s woes are related to gas pain. Babies’ immature digestive systems are prone to gas problems. If you’ve ever had bad gas pain, you understand the discomfort it causes. Welcome to “colic.”
Look for the active ingredient “simethicone,” which is the same active ingredient in Gas-X, etc. Simethicone weakens the surface tension of gas bubbles, thereby allowing them to break up (i.e., burping or farting). I recommend Little Remedies for Tummys.
You may also look into gripe water (Mommy’s Bliss seems to be the favorite). Many moms swear by this too. I used the crap out of this stuff with baby Alice; it’s hard for me to say if it worked or not. Personally, I was taken aback by how MUCH was in one dose (4 vials full). I could rarely get her to stomach that much at once. *Note you need to refrigerate it after opening.
- Whether or not any of this stuff actually works is still a mystery to doctors. There isn’t conclusive evidence either way. Anecdotally, it seems to work — or it could just be the sweetness that seems to alleviate crying.
- If your baby has terrible, chronic gas pain (especially after finishing a course of antibiotics), I highly recommend a high-quality probiotic. When I say this stuff worked miracles on Alice’s digestive system, I’m not even kidding. She went from being up several times a night screaming with pain to sleeping peacefully through the night (well, sort of). Note that you need to buy this stuff in person because it also requires refrigeration. You can find it at Whole Foods and many times, your local drugstore pharmacy will special order it for you (24 hours notice). *Consult your pediatrician with questions.
Lesson #1 of motherhood: make sure your baby can breathe. You will probably be sent home from the hospital with an old-fashioned bulb syringe (a bulb aspirator) and strict instructions about how to suck mucus out of your baby’s nose. This is critical because newborns ONLY breathe through their nose and if it’s blocked…it’s bad news.
I recommend taking it a step further and getting NoseFrida the Snotsucker. Yes, that’s really the name.
Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it looks. And NO, the snot does NOT go into your mouth (yuck).
An alternative to the NoseFrida is the BabyComfy nasal aspirator (~$13). The main difference between the two is that BabyComfy uses a tissue as a filter vs. NoseFrida which uses their own filters that you may have to repurchase (only if snot touches the filter). BabyComfy comes with a newborn and a standard tip vs. NoseFrida which is one-size fits all.
You can also find battery-powered snot-sucking devices if you aren’t up for the [ahem] mouth job. These are also very highly rated and easier to use.
This is essential for when your baby gets his first cold.
There is something I need to clear up right away… you know those great little digital ear thermometers? Well, guess what, those do NOT work on babies for… a long, long time. The reason is because their ears are too small to get an accurate reading (unless you are a trained professional and know how to do it right every time).
The gold standard in pediatric temperature-taking is [sorry to say] the simple rectal thermometer. It’s the most accurate, tried and true way of taking a baby’s temperature. I don’t like it either, people, but it works!
For those about to email me and say, “But the nurse at the hospital said to never use a rectal thermometer because I might puncture my baby’s bowel…”
A rebuttal from Dr. Jessica:
“Rectal is definitely best, I don’t want to imagine what you would have to be doing to cause a bowel perforation. If you use a little lube and only insert the silver tip and not the whole darn thing, it’s hard to go wrong.
With very young babies, the armpit temp is pretty close, but at that age you really want to know for sure, so rectal is still the way to go. For older babies and kids, armpits are usually about a degree lower than core temp, so you get a pretty good idea this way and knowing the exact temperature after a certain age isn’t that crucial.
Ear thermometers are a waste of money. Temporal thermometers work well in settings where they can be calibrated often, but aren’t very reliable when you buy them from the store. So… yeah, good old-fashioned rectal or sub-lingual temps are still the most accurate, and anyone who is really worried about bowel perforation is doing it SCARILY wrong.”
An alternative to these is the aforementioned temporal artery thermometer. I find the Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer to be really quick and easy, although I will go back and take a rectal temp if I’m questioning the temporal reading. *Full disclosure: I (Meg) received a free sample to test, but these opinions are all my own.
With a simple swipe across the forehead, you can get a very accurate, hassle-free temperature reading. This thermometer takes some practice (it’s a little strange because you start with it in the OFF setting), but once you master it, you’re good to go.
There are a handful of ailments that nearly every infant experiences in his/her first year of life: cradle cap, diaper rash, dry skin – oh, and let’s not forget about diaper thrush from H-E-double toothpicks. And don’t even get me started on the eczema.
Read more about our favorite skin care products by Baby Pibu here.
Another simple skincare staple to have in your drawer is Coconut Baby (100% organic), which can be used for so many ailments: cradle cap, eczema, psoriasis, and diaper rash to name a few (note: will melt if too hot!). I have stolen this from my kids so I can use it myself, mwaaaaaa. Sorry kids!
These are the six items I don’t travel without.
Five weeks and counting. Woot Woot!!
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