Tagged With babies

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Here’s a secret: Kids’ favourite toys cannot be found on any store shelf. Instead, just about everything you need to stimulate, captivate and exhaust your young offspring is probably already in your possession, hiding in your linen closet, kitchen cabinet or garage.

Once you start digging around your home (as my husband and I do, frequently at 5:00AM these days), you’ll find endless novelties to present to your kids without needing to shop, wrap or spend a cent — at least until they start begging for their own phone.

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As I prepare for life with a new baby, I’ve been hearing a lot of advice on how to help my five-year-old daughter Maggie transition into her role of a big sister, a title she isn’t entirely thrilled about.

“Read her some big sibling books,” people say. (Done.) “Let her help out.” (Definitely.) “Get her a gift ‘from the baby’.” (OK, though I’m pretty sure she understands that a fetus has not had time to rake in currency in the womb.)

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Changing the nappy of a baby who can stand is an exercise in swift reflexes and hope. There are many variables to factor in, including those pesky onesie flaps that dangle in the danger zone, if you know what I mean.

Here’s a trick to make the procedure much easier: Start by securing the onesie over one of your child’s shoulders, using the crotch snaps.

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When I was pregnant with my daughter, my husband went through the childproofing checklists, making sure our home wouldn’t be a danger zone for a tot who believes the entire world is just waiting to be touched, climbed and licked. We crawled on the floor in a quest for potential hazards. We bid farewell to our sharp-edged glass coffee table. We bolted our chests of drawers to the wall, locked up our cleaning supply cabinet, and put safety covers on our electrical outlets. My daughter is five now, and still alive.

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Babies. You buy them nappies, but they decide to pee on you during changing time. You make them gourmet pureed meals, but they're most satisfied gnawing on their boogers. You give them beautiful toys, but all they want to play with is the TV remote.

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Infant walkers, those wheeled contraptions that give babies who can’t yet walk the sudden ability to walk, are bad. This has been long established. But parents keep using them and so paediatricians are renewing the call for a ban.

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Toddler footwear: Adorable, yet problematic. The tiny shoes are just so... tiny. When my daughter was younger, I’d find lone miniature sneakers everywhere — under the couch, in toy baskets, at the bottom my handbag.

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It’s hard to know what sizes you need to keep a baby properly clothed. Maybe you’re a new parent who doesn’t know, well, anything; maybe you’ve had a bit of a gap since the last kid and you need a refresher. Or you’re a childless person who is about to go to a baby shower with half a dozen newborn-sized ball gowns. Put them down and read these tips for picking out baby clothes first.

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Here's my parenting brag: I've never bought any baby food. I've never had a mush of green mashed peas flung at my wall. I've never played "aeroplane" zooming a spoon toward my daughter's closed mouth. And I've never, ever begged her to eat a thing.

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Author Catherynne Valente discovered a passage in New Mother’s Guide to Breastfeeding — a book written in 2002, not 1952, mind you — that reads: “Fathers, if your wife is having trouble or pain, step in and adjust her technique, reminding her that successful breastfeeding is a priority for the development of the child and the formation of your new family!” Her reaction? No. 

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When my kid was an infant, I found myself in a deep relationship with something called a Boppy. A ubiquitous baby product, it is a pillow designed to help nursing mums breastfeed — you basically wear it around your body like a four-year-old going swimming.

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As anyone who works in a school or childcare centre will attest, Australian parents come up with some pretty weird names for their offspring - including Google, Tron and Hippo. While most names are reluctantly approved by the state or territory's Registry of Births, there are a few that you just can't get away with.