14 Secrets to Influencing Gross Motor Skill Development

14 Secrets to Influencing Gross Motor Skill Development

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

If you are a parent with a baby that is more than a month old, you have probably heard about the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ-3).  This is a questionnaire that you will fill out every couple of months for your baby for the first five years, and it’s designed to screen for developmental delays.  The questions center around development in skills separated into 5 categories – communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem solving, and personal-social.  Each category contains 6 skills and asks you to rank each one on whether your child does it always, sometimes or not yet.  The score for each category is compared to what is considered average for a child of the same age.  It then is easy to tell if your child is at risk or falling behind in a certain category. 

While all the categories are important, this article answers the question “how to help baby develop gross motor skills” by focusing on activities that can be used to improve gross motor skill development in babies up to 18 months old.

14 Secrets to Influencing Gross Motor Skill Development

My son is one of those kids that is overly cautious and not into working any harder than necessary.  The result is that he has been behind in gross motor skill development pretty chronically for the first 1.5 years of his life despite being on track for the other 4 ASQ-3 categories. 

If you find yourself in a similar situation, here are some activities to incorporate to encourage the development of these important skills.  However, before you start, you will want to figure out what motivates your child.  For my son, food and car keys were the ultimate motivators.  Other items just didn’t hold enough appeal to get him to do things he didn’t want to.

Babies Not Yet Crawling

If your baby isn’t crawling yet, then focus on activities that build a strong motor skill base.

            Tummy Time

Tummy time is important from birth.  This is the first type of exercise baby will do start working on those motor skills.  If your baby hates tummy time, don’t be disheartened.  There are ways to do modified tummy time to get baby used to the idea.  Some ways to modify include using a Boppy pillow to prop baby’s chest up and laying on your back and putting baby on your chest.  These methods get baby off her back and used to being on her stomach.  However, it’s important to eventually progress to traditional tummy time for the full benefits.  You should aim for increasing amounts of tummy time (at least 30 to 60 minutes a day), but this can be broken down into sessions that are only a couple of minutes long.  Doing a minute or two of tummy time after every diaper change is a way to get in some good practice.


            Rolling

Rolling is one of the first major gross motor milestones.  Lots of tummy time helps encourage this skill, but once baby develops it, keep encouraging rolling.  Rolling is a great way for baby to start getting from point A to point B before crawling, and all that rolling helps further strengthen the abdominal muscles which are important for the upcoming gross motor milestones.

Baby rolling over to reach a toy is a great way to encourage motor skill development.

            Sitting

Baby will likely want to sit and look around well before she is actually able to stay upright on her own.  Encourage this by sitting baby on the floor between your legs.  Let her use your legs to help balance.  Slowly decrease the amount of support you provide and see how long she can sit before you need to help her rebalance.  At first this will be exhausting for baby but doing this consistently will quickly build up her stamina.

Baby sitting in a Bumbo seat to strengthen gross motor skills.

            Kneeling

Once baby has the core strength to roll over and stay sitting on his own, you can start encouraging him being on his knees.  There are a few ways to go about doing this.  An activity table is great because it’s low enough that baby can kneel and reach the buttons.  However, it’s too high to reach them while sitting.  Putting baby on his knees to balance against the table and play helps him get used to supporting his weight with his knees which is important for crawling. 

You can also help baby get into a crawling position and hold the hands and knees pose for a minute.  This can be done by helping to support baby’s legs in the crawling position and gradually decrease the support as baby gets stronger.

Baby kneeling by a play table helps get him ready to crawl.

            Jumperoos

Jumperoos can be fun for babies as they start to reach the point of having enough core strength to sit up.  These encourage putting weight on the legs and bending the knees to bounce.  However, keep in mind that while the legs get stronger, the support provided by the jumperoo is enough that core strength isn’t developed as much, so it’s important to encourage core strength development through other methods.

Note: Some babies are very interested and willing to get moving.  However, others are more reluctant and would prefer to have mom and dad (or older siblings) move them from point A to B.  Pay attention to your baby’s personality and know that you may have to let him struggle for a bit to learn that he is capable of moving himself.  With my son, he learned to roll, sit and stand while leaning against something.  However, he had no desire to move himself from laying to sitting or sitting to standing. 

A baby sitting in a Jumperoo and smiling.

Babies That Are Crawling (or close to it)

            Encourage Pulling To Stand

Before baby can walk, he has to be able to stand.  Some babies quickly figure out that they can get into a lot more trouble by pulling up on coffee tables and grabbing papers, cell phones or food.  However, if your child is more hesitant, pull out the super desirable object you identified at the beginning and place it on a low table.  Make sure your child is sitting near the table and knows the object is there. For some children that may be enough to entice them to stand.


Couch Climbing

If your baby isn’t willing to pull up on a coffee table, you may need to start with a lower object.  In this case, remove your couch cushion.  Sit baby on the floor by the cushion-less couch and use your tempting object to convince baby to pull up.  You may need to provide a little boost, and that’s okay.  Keep trying and each time provide a little less help.  Chances are good, baby will figure out he actually is capable of doing it himself. 

Once your child is pulling up, you can still use the cushion-less couch trick to teach baby to climb onto things.  A couch without a cushion is the perfect height for a new climber to gain some confidence.


            Playgrounds

Climbing is great for babies to continue developing their gross motor skills.  Playgrounds with play equipment involving steps, tunnels and slides are great for encouraging your child to explore, navigate different terrain and work on those climbing skills.  I suggest finding a playground that has separate play areas for little kids versus older kids.  This seems to keep a slower paced area that is safe for your little one to play without getting trampled by the bigger kids.  These little kid play areas are usually shorter which makes it easier for you to stay close and offer a helping hand while keeping your feet on the ground.

If you are struggling with bad weather, don’t forget to look for indoor playground options.  Many fast food restaurants and shopping malls have indoor play areas.  Many cities have indoor play centers of various designs as well.  These places can be great for getting energy out of a new mover on a rainy day.

Toddler playing at a playground.  Playgrounds are a great way to encourage gross motor skill development.

            Push Toys

Sometimes our kids are reluctant to walk because they lack confidence.  Push toys can be great for strengthening the walking muscles but still providing a secure, supportive feeling.  I really like this Melissa and Doug Alligator Push Toy as a starter push toy.  It’s solid and sturdy which provides a lot of support.  However, once walking with this got easy, a plastic push lawn mower was a good next step.  The plastic push toy wasn’t as stable, so it required more self-support from my son. 

I suggest incorporating a walk with the push toy into your daily routine.  We started walking down the street every day after I got home from work.  My son would push his toy down the sidewalk, and I would supervise and make sure he stayed on the sidewalk.  This helped him develop the necessary muscles while still feeling secure.  I found walking outside was more effective than inside because inside he kept running into things and would quickly get frustrated.


            Toys Requiring Hands-Free Standing

Toys that require your toddler to stand without holding own are great for distracting them enough that they will stand without support.  We got a plastic t-ball set that my son was intrigued by enough that he would stand and take an occasional step without any support. 


            Shopping Carts

This goes along with encouraging more walking.  Some stores have kid-sized carts that are just the right height.  However, if your local stores don’t have these tiny carts, kids can still help push the full-sized cart.  You will need to help, but pushing a big cart makes your toddler feel important and gets in valuable walking muscle exercise while you are shopping.


            Walking While Holding A Hand

Once our son would walk while holding someone’s hand, we started having him walk everywhere holding a hand.  When we went to the store, we would have him walk from the car into the store while holding our hands.  When we run errands, he spends a lot of time in a car seat, so this routine helps him get exercise while we get things done. 

We found that this, plus daily push toy walks and pushing the shopping carts really helped him get the confidence to take his first steps.


            Walking On Uneven Ground

Walking on surfaces that are completely (or almost) flat and hard is a great way to start.  However, to up the difficulty level for your little one that doesn’t want to let go of your hand, go for some uneven surfaces.  Walking through the grass or on the mulch at a playground is a great way to work on stabilizing muscles.


            Tempt the First Steps

Eventually, your little one will need to get brave and take the first unsupported steps.  You will start to notice when your child is ready to take the first steps and just needs to develop the confidence.  This is where you can pull out the shiny object you identified above.  Tempt your child with something they love but usually can’t play with, but only allow them to have it if they are standing unsupported.  You can also encourage them to step forward one or two steps to reach it.  Just make sure that you do provide the reward and let your child play with the object.

We did this with our son and car keys.  We went into the middle of the room and stood him up, then gave him the keys and let him stand on his own.  He was so entertained that he forgot that he wasn’t holding onto anything.  When he would realize and sit down, the keys went away, and we would start over.  We then started getting him to take one or two steps to get the keys.  Once we did that a couple of times, he suddenly realized he could walk and started walking everywhere.

Toddler standing up and looking in a wallet.

Did your child take off walking early or were they a late walker?  What worked for you to encourage gross motor skills?

14 Secrets to Influencing Gross Motor Skill Development

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Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

How To Entertain a Toddler on a Plane

How To Entertain a Toddler on a Plane

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

How To Entertain a Toddler on a Plane

If you are traveling with a baby that’s younger than 6 months, chances are good that he’ll sleep for a good portion of the flight.  However, if you have an older baby or toddler, a plane is way too exciting to allow for sleep in many cases.  Instead of sleeping they get frustrated that they can’t crawl/walk around the plane or kick the seat.  Therefore, it’s important to have a bag of tricks to keep your tiny human happy while trapped in a flying tin can.

Things that make for good travel activities have a few characteristics in common. 

  1. Quiet
  2. Low mess
  3. Easily contained
  4. Lightweight/easy to pack

Here are 10 activity ideas that are great for travel entertainment to get you started.

Sticker Activity Books

How To Entertain a Toddler on a PlaneHow To Entertain a Toddler on a Plane

These are great because of all the variety and ways they can be used for various ages.  For older babies, you can get small stickers and stick them on their nails.  Figuring out how to get them off can provide a nice span of quiet entertainment.  For toddlers, sticker books are good fine motor skill practice as they peel the stickers up and stick them in the desired location.  Many sticker books have scenes where once the stickers are on, you can have your older toddler explain the story they created with the stickers.  You can also create your own sticker activities by using a sheet of stickers and having your toddler sort them into groups based on certain characteristics.  You can also find sticker books that have reusable stickers to create endless fun.


Traditional Activity Books

How To Entertain a Toddler on a PlaneHow To Entertain a Toddler on a Plane

These are great for older toddlers.  They can provide a variety of educational activities.  Mazes, handwriting, counting, and letter identification are just a few of the activities you can find.  These books are often lightweight and provide educational entertainment.

I love this activity book because it wipes clean for reuse on every trip.


Magic Coloring Books

How To Entertain a Toddler on a PlaneHow To Entertain a Toddler on a Plane

One of the requirements of airplane activities for kids is that they be low mess.  Markers are great fun for toddlers; however, they often manage to color on everything except the page.  These magic coloring books come with specific markers that only work on the pages.  Therefore, your toddler can enjoy coloring with markers while you relax knowing they won’t redecorate the tray table.


Colored Beeswax

How To Entertain a Toddler on a PlaneHow To Entertain a Toddler on a Plane

This is a little-known activity idea.  Colored beeswax is great once your child is ready for Play-Doh.  Unlike Play-Doh, the beeswax doesn’t smell, or crumble and make a mess.  If your child likes to play with Play-Doh at home, pulling out the beeswax on a flight, can be a novel change that is sure to excite your little one.


Pre-Downloaded Movies/Cartoons

How To Entertain a Toddler on a PlaneHow To Entertain a Toddler on a Plane

I know, I know, you are thinking that you don’t want to encourage screen time. However, when entertaining a toddler while flying, the rules need to go out the window.  This is the perfect time to allow screens that are limited at home.  Having an Amazon Fire Kids Edition is a great way to have readily available, kid-friendly entertainment.  All kids enjoy this, but those that have limited screen time at home, are often extremely entertained by this normally “forbidden” item.


Favorite Books

How To Entertain a Toddler on a PlaneHow To Entertain a Toddler on a Plane

These can be a little more challenging as they often add bulk and weight to already overflowing carry-ons.  However, one or two favorites can be a good edition.  If you are flying overnight and hoping for sleep, books commonly used during a bedtime routine can help set your little one up for successfully sleeping.

A classic story like, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, is always great or some kids prefer books with flaps or different textures to feel.


Magnetic Blocks

How To Entertain a Toddler on a PlaneHow To Entertain a Toddler on a Plane

Many toddlers love to play with blocks.  However, these can be tricky on a plane as they fall and get lost easily.  Magnetic blocks make it easy for your toddler to build creative structures and towers, but they are going to tumble everywhere as easily as traditional blocks.


Favorite, Small Toys

How To Entertain a Toddler on a PlaneHow To Entertain a Toddler on a Plane

If your child has a favorite toy that isn’t too hard to pack, bring it along. This includes stuffed animals and blankets used as comfort items.  However, be forewarned that many times toys that are loved at home just aren’t that exciting on a plane.  See the next idea for a solution to this problem.

This skwish toy is quiet and flattens down to easily fit in a carry-on bag.


Small Presents

How To Entertain a Toddler on a PlaneHow To Entertain a Toddler on a Plane

Wrap up a few new, small toys and let your child open them at intervals throughout the trip.  Because of the excitement of flying, items that are readily available to play with at home may not hold the same appeal.  However, what kid doesn’t like unwrapping a new toy.  Collect a few small toys and wrap them up before leaving.  Then at different intervals throughout your trip or when your struggling to provide entertainment, let your toddler open the small present. The toy inside may provide 3 or 30 minutes of entertainment, but either way it can serve as a distraction to prevent an oncoming tantrum.

Pro Tip: Get something that comes in a set with a variety of items, like these tiny toy trucks, so you have a bunch of little toys to unwrap.


Coloring Books and Crayons

How To Entertain a Toddler on a PlaneHow To Entertain a Toddler on a Plane

Coloring books are a staple of toddler entertainment.  However, traditional crayons are likely to roll right off the tray table and all over the plane.  Invest in some triangle or square-shaped crayons specifically for flying.  These are often larger and much easier to keep track of as they aren’t rolling everywhere.


For more trips on flying with kids, check out these posts:

What are your best airplane entertainment ideas for toddlers?  Let me know in the comments.

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How To Entertain a Toddler on a Plane

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

6 Tips For Dealing with Postpartum Depression

6 Tips For Dealing with Postpartum Depression

For new and expecting moms alike, the phrase “postpartum depression” can feel like a boogeyman. We’ve all heard the horror stories of extreme, postpartum psychosis, but what most don’t realize is that postpartum depression is much more prevalent than you think.

According to a study that surveyed 10,000 new mothers, just over 20 percent of mothers experience depression within the first year postpartum, illustrating just how prevalent a problem it is. However, the study also showed that the unfortunate stigma surrounding postpartum depression and mental health in general causes many suffering mothers to keep quiet about their issues. These results are apparent due to the fact that only 14 percent of pregnant and postpartum women sought out help or treatment for their depression –as compared to 26 percent of the general population. That’s why it’s important to highlight issues like postpartum depression to show these women that they’re not alone.

A sad woman with her face in her hands.

In fact, when you include the common and brief spell of depression most mothers shortly face after delivery knows as the “baby blues,” the number of mothers dealing with some form of depression or anxiety-based issue leaps to an astonishing 80 percent. Between that number and the high percentage of women dealing with full-on postpartum depression, there’s never been a better time to focus on this serious problem and give you useful tips to combat it.

But before we can fight the issue, it’s important to fully understand what postpartum depression is and how it’s different than the “baby blues.”


Postpartum Depression or Just Baby Blues?

One of the hardest questions anyone potentially dealing with any form of depression asks themselves is, “Am I really depressed, or am I just sad?” And for moms who can barely find time to eat, sleep, or shower, that question can quickly turn to, “Why did I even have a baby?” But the most important thing to remember when asking yourself either of those questions is that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed – everyone does from time-to-time.

It’s impossible to pinpoint the problem if you waste energy beating yourself up just for having emotions, and once you’ve accepted that feeling sadness, frustration, and even anger are normal, you can work on identifying the problem and finding a solution.

When it comes to differentiating baby blues from postpartum depression, there are actually medically established standards to identify each issue, so deciding which you may have is fairly simple. For the baby blues, symptoms can include bouts of anxiety, crying, insomnia, moodiness, and sadness along with feelings that you may not be capable or prepared to take care of a baby. These feelings are normal due to the massive swing in hormones that occurs in the days following delivery, where your hormone levels drop drastically, something that commonly leads to symptoms of depression. However, due to the reactionary nature of these symptoms, the baby blues typically only last for one to two weeks and disappear as your hormone levels stabilize again.

This occurrence is in contrast to postpartum depression, which, in addition to similar symptoms of moodiness and feelings of inadequacy, also includes trouble bonding with or feeling close to your baby. Symptoms of postpartum depression typically pop up within three weeks of giving birth and can last indefinitely if not addressed. Unlike baby blues, postpartum depression does not usually go away without some form of intervention, which makes finding ways to fight back crucial.

So to help you make a plan to beat postpartum depression, we’re offering six tips for dealing with the debilitating issue. And even if you don’t think you’re dealing with full-blown postpartum depression, these tips can help you get over those baby blues just as well:


1. Seek Professional Help

Too often, getting help from your general practice doctor or mental health professional is seen as the last resort – something you fall back on when you’ve tried everything else. However, the sooner you make your concerns known to a qualified professional, the quicker you can get back to feeling normal again. But it’s important to remember that going to a doctor doesn’t just mean you’ll be pumped full of pills, especially if you’re nursing or having to stay alert to take care of your newborn.

So as soon as you feel like your symptoms are getting beyond your ability to control, don’t wait to have a complete breakdown, just reach out and get help making a detailed plan to deal with your symptoms. Additionally, by making this your first step, you can run the other tips by your doctor and make sure that they each work well with your unique health situation.

Professional reaching out to help a woman that is covering her face because of postpartum depression

2. Exercise

Exercise is the most highly prescribed methods of dealing with depression, and it’s also one of the most effective.

Staying active has a nearly endless number of physical and mental health benefits to help you tackle the baby blues, postpartum depression, AND your New Year’s resolution, especially if you exercise outside. From a scientific perspective, exercise has been shown to enlarge the hippocampus, the area of the brain involved in both regulating mood and creating new memories. Which means that not only does regular physical activity help you stay in a good mood, it can help clear up the forgetfulness and fogginess that often comes with depression as well. And that’s without even considering the age-old adage “look good, feel good.” So get moving, look good, and feel better.

These tips can help you fit in a workout as a new mom.

Mom and dad walking with a toddler and pushing a stroller. Exercise helps with postpartum depression.

3. Healthy Diet

“Diet & exercise” get lumped together as often as peanut butter and jelly, but too often people think doing just one or the other will solve all their problems. As the saying goes, “You can’t outrun a bad diet,” so no matter how hard you’re working out, if you’re eating poorly, you may feel like exercise is doing nothing to help your depression.

In fact, having a healthy diet may be even more important to your mental health than we previously thought, as a recent study observed a link between gut bacteria and depression. What the study found was that the same two types of bacteria were absent in each of the subjects that reported suffering from either mild or severe depression, illustrating a possible connection that links the food we eat to the way we feel – which shouldn’t be that surprising.

Think of it this way – if you’ve got a high-powered sports car and you fill it with regular gasoline, sure it’ll run, but you’re going to have a lot more issues later down the road than if you had used premium and the same applies to your body. Avoiding low-grade fuel like sugar and heavily-processed food in favor of premium ingredients and fresh-made meals is an indispensable part of sustaining your mental health.

Fruits, veggies and nuts.  Healthy eating can help with postpartum depression.

4. Natural Options

In addition to a healthy diet, there are supplements and other natural alternatives that can combine with diet and exercise in the pursuit of whole-body wellness.

Some of the most common sources of natural healing are essential oils, which are commonly useful for aromatherapy, which uses certain scents to elicit specific responses in the body. For example, lavender, chamomile, and bergamot oil are three of the most common, essential fragrances used to help ease the symptoms of anxiety and depression, but there’s also another type of all-natural oil that’s recently taken the nation by storm for its anxiolytic effects – CBD oil.

CBD oil has become increasingly popular for its wide-ranging effects that help people deal with things from pain to depression to lack of sleep, all without any reported side effects. The science of CBD oil can be a little complicated, but to put it simply, CBD works hand-in-hand with things like the digestive, immune, and nervous systems to keep your body well-balanced and running smoothly. However, when it comes to beginning a regimen of either essential oils or CBD oil, it’s best to talk to your doctor – especially if you’re nursing – to make sure that they are right for you.

Have you been considering try silver supplements? Check out my review of alkaline structured silver.

A glass bowl with supplement capsules.  Natural products can be helpful for postpartum depression.

5. Make Time for Sleep

This tip may be the most difficult item on the list, but it’s one of the most important.

Parents, and in particular new parents, have almost no time for sleep, which means getting sleep when they can is extremely crucial. Lack of sleep can be tremendously harmful to your overall mental state and is a driving factor of depression for many people – with one study showing that people with restrictive sleep apnea—a disorder which severely impacts sleep—were five times more likely to suffer from depression. This effect is one of the driving factors behind why baby blues are so common, and it’s also largely responsible for why some cases of postpartum depression pop up or stick around despite other forms of treatment.

One of the most often repeated words of advice is to sleep when your baby sleeps, rather than trying to use that time to catch up on emails, phone calls, or housework. This sync allows you to at least get small pockets of sleep throughout the day since getting a full eight hours at night is going to be next-to-impossible.

A woman laying in bed with a mug of tea. Getting sleep can help with postpartum depression.

6. Support System

Regardless of how you choose to tackle this stressful period in your life, you won’t be able to handle it on your own without having a complete and total breakdown. For this reason, having a support system is extremely important for new mothers to be able to both feel emotionally supported and receive physical help with childcare.

Research has shown that loneliness and isolation can lead to a host of negative health consequences, including high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, and lack of sleep. Those consequences are precisely why finding a support network is so crucial – because no matter how much you want to be “supermom,” even superheroes need help sometimes. Even if your support system is just one or two close friends or family members, simply having someone to confide in, relate to, and depend on when things get difficult can be the difference between a bout of the baby blues and full-on postpartum depression.

A dad, mom and baby have their hands stacked.  A family support system can help with postpartum depression.

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MyDoctorSuggests Alkaline Structured Silver Review

MyDoctorSuggests Alkaline Structured Silver Review

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

MyDoctorSuggests Alkaline Structured Silver Review

Recently I had the opportunity to review the collection of Alkaline Structured Silver Products from MyDoctorSuggests.com.  These products are marketed is being effective for a wide variety of issues affecting the typical young family.  According to the product site, these products may be helpful for yeast infections, acne, diaper rash, gut/microbiome, flu/colds, cuts, scrapes and burns, scaring and anti-aging among other things. 

I don’t know about you, but my family struggles with many of these things, so I was curious to see if structured silver would be a natural answer to the problems. 

Before I get into my experience using the products, I want to cover a little background on silver supplements.

Silver containing remedies have been used throughout history and are still used topically in some instances in traditional medicine today.  The first documented use was in the 1800s.  When talking about silver supplementation, there are two types of silver, colloidal silver and structured silver.


Colloidal Silver

Colloidal silver is a liquid that contains tiny silver particles and has been marketed as a dietary supplement on the internet.  However, this product has been shown to not be safe for oral ingestion and can cause serious side effects such as argyria where the skin gets a bluish-gray discoloration.  In short, you don’t want to ingest colloidal silver.


Structured Silver

Structured silver was developed around 2010 and it’s 99.999% water and 0.001% silver that is bonded to the water.  Older products are acidic while newer products are alkaline making them more similar to the normal pH of blood.  The alkaline form of structured silver is designed to be taken every day and as needed.  These products do not accumulate in the body like colloidal silver, making them much safer.


Why Does Silver Work?

It has antibacterial properties and may have antiviral and antifungal properties as well. It’s important to make sure to talk with your doctor prior to starting to use oral silver products. Likewise, talk to your vet before using silver-containing products for your pets.


What Products Did I Try?

I tried the following products:

  • Silver Solution
  • Silver Mint Mouthwash
  • All Natural Silver Lozenge (honey and lemon)
  • Silver-Infused Moisturizing Hand & Body Lotion
  • Organic Silver Soap (all natural lavender)
  • Silver Gel with Aloe Vera
  • Silver Gel (activated for maximum strength)

I also received 3 booklets with helpful information.

  • The Silver Miracle
  • Health & Beauty Secrets for Her
  • Silver and Animals

So, What Did I Think of the Products?

Note: I did receive the products mentioned in this post as a gift.  However, this review is my own opinion and not influenced by the company in any way.

Silver Solution

The suggested use for an adult is 2 tsp twice a day.  For children over 4, it’s ½ tsp twice a day.  The liquid tasted like stale water.  Therefore, it was tolerable to just drink it straight.  However, I preferred to mix the two tsp into my tea.  When I did that, I didn’t even notice it was in there. 

I can’t say that I noticed any specific benefits of the solution.  However, I didn’t see any negative effects.  My husband and I both used the solution and while using it we stayed healthy.  Was this because of the silver or because it’s not cold/flu season anymore?  I’ll leave that to you to decide. This was probably my least favorite product. Keep reading to see which one was my favorite.

a bottle of alkaline structured silver solution from MyDoctorSuggests

Silver Mint Mouthwash

This was by far my favorite product.  The directions for this are to swish a mouthful for 30 seconds twice a day and then either swallow it or spit it out.  The taste was like a peppermint candy.  At first it was a little surprising because I was expecting the strong taste of other mouthwashes.  However, the taste was pleasant and left my mouth feeling refreshed.  An added bonus for this mouthwash is that it doesn’t contain alcohol.  Therefore, it didn’t leave me with horrible dry mouth like most other mouthwashes do.

I would say we saw benefit from this product.  My husband has horrible breath even when he has recently brushed his teeth and used normal mouthwash.  I’m guessing he has some bacteria built up in his mouth which is causing the bad breath.  While using the Silver Mint Mouthwash twice a day, I noticed a big difference in his breath.  I think the silver component helped knock down the bacteria in his mouth to improve his breath. The taste and my husband’s improved breath, put this product at the top of my list.

a bottle of silver mint mouthwash from MyDoctorSuggests

All Natural Silver Lozenge (honey and lemon)

These can be used to sooth sore throats or to provide silver supplementation instead of using the solution.  These were soothing for a sore throat, and they tasted amazing – like eating a piece of candy.  I didn’t try using them for supplementation. Other than tasting better than normal lozenges, I didn’t see a big benefit.  However, the silver could theoretically be beneficial if you have strep-throat due to its antibacterial properties.

All natural silver lozenge package from MyDoctorSuggests

Silver-Infused Moisturizing Hand & Body Lotion

I have really dry hands because my job involves washing hands frequently and using hand sanitizer.  I decided to try the lotion on my hands to see if it would be strong enough to moisturize them.  It did seem to work well.  My torn cuticles finally started to heal while using this lotion.  The silver component likely played a role by providing antibacterial effects to protect the broken skin. 

Silver infused hand & body lotion from MyDoctorSuggests

Organic Silver Soap (all natural lavender)

I really liked the soap.  I’m not usually a fan of bar soaps because they are difficult to use and I never feel like I get clean.  However, this Organic Silver Soap lathers really nicely, smells great and has a nice moisturizing component.  I liked the lavender scent, but there are other scents available that I would try. My husband even commented how much he liked this soap!

organic silver soap from MyDoctorSuggests

Silver Gel with Aloe Vera

I decided to make a habit of using this on my legs.  I have a horrible time with razer burn, and I can’t seem to find a razor that doesn’t cause it at least a little.  Therefore, my lower legs are always dry, sore and irritated.  I figured this gel would be perfect because it indicated it’s hydrating and the aloe vera sounded soothing. 

I used the gel every time I shaved, and I did notice a difference.  Traditional lotion hadn’t worked, so I was pleasantly surprised to see an improvement using this gel.  The only downside is the gel leaves my hands feeling sticky, but it’s easy enough to wash off.

pH Balanced Structured Silver Gel with Aloe Vera from MyDoctorSuggests

Silver Gel (activated for maximum strength)

While I kept the gel with aloe in my bathroom, I dedicated this gel to my son’s changing table.  I decided we would test it out for diaper rash treatment/prevention.  It seemed to work okay, but I don’t think I would replace traditional diaper rash creams as I don’t think a gel is quite as protective as a cream base. 

Even though I won’t be using this for diaper rash, I will be keeping this gel in the first aid kit.  My son is just figuring out the whole walking thing which means scrapes are somewhat common in our house.  This gel works really well on scrapes and burns because the silver is antibacterial and the gel itself is soothing.

Extra strength structured silver gel from MyDoctorSuggests

The booklets aren’t something that I would purchase on their own, but as an accompaniment to the products, they provide interesting background and recommendations.  Here is briefly what’s contained in each booklet.

The Silver Miracle Booklet

This booklet is designed to provide all the info you need about the history, benefits and future of silver products.  I did find some of the information helpful; however, some of it was a little doomsday-esque for my taste.  There is a helpful section that goes over all the possible uses and exactly how much of a product to use and how to use it which is helpful.

The Silver Miracle booklet from MyDoctorSuggests

Silver for Animals Booklet

This booklet includes background information as well as ideas for how silver may be beneficial for animals.  I don’t have a dog, and I wasn’t willing to administer anything that isn’t absolutely necessary to my cats, so I can’t say much more about this.

Silver and Animals booklet from MyDoctorSuggests

Health & Beauty Secrets for Her

This booklet includes quite a bit of background on silver products as well as recommendations for various uses.  The recommendations are detailed and easy to follow.

Health & Beauty Secrets for Her booklet from MyDoctorSuggests

Final Thoughts

Overall, I really liked the mouthwash, the soap and the aloe-containing silver gel.  I will also keep a bottle of the regular gel handy for first aid use, but hopefully won’t need it too often.  I didn’t really see sufficient benefit from the oral solution to justify continuing to use it, and I’m still debating on the lotion.  However, I’m off to try that on my son’s roughed-up knees, so he may be getting a new brand of lotion.    

Products like this work differently for different people.  If you are striving for a natural lifestyle, these may have some benefit.  If you want to give the products a try, you can get 20% off your first purchase at MyDoctorSuggests.com using my unique link. 

If you have tried silver products, leave a comment to let me know what you thought of them.

MyDoctorSuggests Alkaline Structured Silver Review

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Tips for Traveling with Babies and Toddlers

Tips for Traveling with Babies and Toddlers

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Baby in a car seat surrounded by luggage

Traveling in general can be difficult for anyone. All the planning, packing, and effort can make trips feel more like work than a vacation. When adding a baby or toddler to the mix, traveling can become even more overwhelming. However, having kids doesn’t have to stop your adventures. Try out these tips for traveling with toddlers (many work for babies too) to make your trip as stress-free as possible.

Book Hotel Rooms Wisely

When it comes to booking a hotel room, it’s better to ask specific questions when making your reservation to make sure the hotel has all the accommodations you need before you arrive. If you have a baby, you can check if your hotel has cribs available. You may want to consider booking a suite or two connecting rooms; otherwise, you may be stuck using a flashlight trying to do work in the bathroom while the kids are sleeping. Plus, you will want a bigger room to fit the crib and your luggage. Trust me, the extra square footage is worth it. When booking a hotel room, ask if you can have a room that is away from pools, elevators, ice machines, and other areas you don’t your kids to be near. Request a room that is not on the ground floor as they are easy to break in; however, make sure the balcony doors are secure, so your kids don’t wonder out there without any supervision. Lastly, check to see if your hotel room has a mini bar with sensors (meaning if you touch or move anything in the fridge you will be charged). If so, you may want to ask the hotel to empty the mini bar so you can use the fridge for milk and other snacks and not have to worry about getting charged top dollar for candy bars (your kids won’t be able to resist them!).

Here are some additional tips for staying in a hotel with a baby or toddler.

Baby sitting on the floor of a large hotel room.  A large hotel room is a tip for traveling with a baby or toddler.

Betty – Mom Brite


Travel Overnight or During Nap Time

We have traveled extensively throughout my toddler’s life so far, both domestic and international and including long road trips and plane travel. The best tip I could give after all this traveling is to try and plan, at least the bulk of your journey, overnight if it’s a long trip. If it’s a short flight or drive then take it right around nap time!
As well as making the actual travel experience much easier, keeping baby or toddler in their usual routine will make things run much more smoothly when you get to your destination.

Run through your normal routine before you leave the house or whilst at the airport. If you usually do pajamas, story time, milk and a cuddle, for example, do this exact same routine at the airport. Sure, it won’t be exactly the same but the familiarity will still be there.

We recently flew long haul from Brisbane to London. I paid a tiny bit extra to get flights both ways that traveled overnight. I was sure it would be a total nightmare and my daughter would not sleep but to my surprise she had a 9 hour sleep on one of the flights!!

Baby sleeping on an airplane seat.  Traveling during nap time so baby sleeps is a tip for traveling with a baby

Sophie Marie – Baby Toddler and Kids


Take One-Day Trips by Car

Traveling is awesome, but many new parents fear traveling with a toddler. And, sometimes, I have to agree that it is not easy. However, we discovered that taking short trips by car allows us to both travel and to get back home in one day, have the child sleeping in his bed, and avoiding the stress of traveling by public transportation or airplane.

The first trip we took with our son was when he was three weeks old. We took a day trip to the mountains and we had a great time. We packed light – just the bare minimum – and it was more than enough! Diapers, food, a change of clothes and that was it. Oh, and there was another vital item: a good mood!

We had a great time that day and took many more such trips ever since. It’s something that I recommend to all those who can easily get to some wonderful places within 1-3 hours – so that you have enough time to enjoy that place and make it back in the evening.

Toddler sitting in a car seat in a car

Loredana – Earth’s Attractions


Plan All the Details Ahead of Time

Traveling with kids requires more planning than traveling alone. However, it can be daunting to try and remember all the details and plan them out ahead of time. I use a family travel planner to plan all the details in advance. I set a goal to work through a certain number of pages of the planner every week until the trip is completely planned. This has made traveling with my son when he was a baby and now as a toddler so much easier because we are appropriately prepared for each aspect.

It’s also helpful to use checklists to make sure you don’t forget anything. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Filled out pages of a family travel planner.
Photo courtesy of Gwendolyn at Nurturing Family & Self

Use a Lightweight Car Seat

One piece of gear we always seem to need on our family trips is a car seat. Our best hack for making flying with a car seat much easier is to bring a lightweight travel car seat rather than the bulky full-featured car seats we usually use at home. They all pass Federal safety testing and are fine to use, but a travel car seat could weight nearly 20lbs less! It’s easier to transport through the airport, get through security, install on the airplane, get to the rental car… and do basically everything else you’ll need to do during travel days. There are many different options for travel car seats depending on your child’s age and size, so check out this extensive guide to choose the right one.

Toddler sitting in a car seat.  Traveling with a light weight car seat is a tip for flying with a baby or toddler.

Get a Lightweight Travel Stroller

One of our hacks for traveling with a baby is to take a compact travel stroller with us.  There is only so much baby carrying that my back can cope with so to have a stroller when we travel is an essential item. But, when we first traveled with a baby we took a full size one and it was such a pain to have to haul it around with us on and off the buses and trains. I started to resent having it with us even though it came in handy at times. So, we did a bit of research and discovered that compact strollers have really come on in the last few years. Forget about flimsy umbrella strollers that are no good to anyone, things have moved on and you can now transport your little darling in complete comfort and luxury in a stroller that folds up to the size of cabin baggage. You’ll be amazed by the latest lightweight travel strollers. They weigh almost nothing and can fold up small enough to take on the airplane with you. There is even one that would fit in a handbag!

Baby sitting in a lightweight travel stroller.  Lightweight strollers are great for traveling with a baby or toddler.

Don’t forget all the other essential items when traveling with a baby or toddler!

Take a Beach Wagon

I have three young kids including twins (at one point I had three kids under three!) so I know how challenging it can be when traveling with multiple toddlers and a baby. They are older now, but we still face challenges if we go for a day out to the beach or the zoo. There is always a lot to carry with drinks, snacks, picnics, hats and sunscreen….and the kids don’t want to carry anything! Plus our youngest always gets tired legs and she is just too big now to be carried.

Thankfully we discovered a folding beach trolley solved all of our problems! A folding wagon can carry all of your things to the beach, park, sports event or festival and the bonus is that it can also carry tired toddlers when they can’t walk anymore! You can even use an empty wagon to lay down a sleeping baby or toddler when you’re on a day out or a night out for dinner. It has been a game-changer for our family. Plus everyone wants to pull it, so we no longer have arguments about who is carrying what. It folds down small meaning it is really great for road trips, even if you are short on space.

3 kids sitting in a collapsible beach wagon.  This is a good item to have when going to the beach with kids.

Embrace Babywearing

When it comes to traveling with kids my first tip is always “get a carrier!” It keeps a runner contained, a doddler moving, a fussy baby close and (more) content, and your hands free. Baby is close to you, easier to monitor, and you don’t have a bulky stroller to navigate through crowds, over stairs, and around obstacles. We use carriers for our kids from newborn until they are three or four years old (and I know people who have put older kids “up” when they needed that close connection).

Most people are familiar with a soft-structured/buckle carrier (think Ergo, Beco, BabyBjorn, Tula or the dozens of others on the market) and stretchies (K’Tan, Moby). Other options include Ring Sling, woven wraps, meh dai/mei tai, hiking carriers and so many more. Just as every parent and child is an individual, the carrier that works best is individual. I found woven wraps tied a certain way worked best for my daughter on me, and my son preferred a ring sling, while my husband has always worn a buckle carrier.

Carriers exist at all price points, but I recommend spending over $100 if buying new. Quality is important! If you can only get one carrier I prefer a meh dai. The basic carries are quick to learn, it’s easier to tie on someone else, there are no metal bits to worry about if you’re dealing with security scanners, and you don’t have to adjust anything between wearers.

Always be aware of safe babywearing practices.

Baby in Ergo baby carrier looking up at mom. Baby wearing is a tip to make traveling with a baby easier.

Jenn Meria – Meria Inspired


Bring a Baby Carrier

A baby carrier is an absolute essential when traveling with kids and toddlers especially if you will be flying. A stroller can definitely be useful when traveling but if you are flying somewhere in particular, a carrier is likely to be more useful. This is because a carrier is easier to use to navigate through security and immigration checks both on arrival and departure. In fact, often flights will check in your stroller, even at the gate, and you won’t get it back until luggage collection.

A carrier is also invaluable once you are on the plane especially with a non-walking toddler or baby as you can use it to walk around the plane and help calm your baby. Depending on where you are going, a carrier can be very useful at your destination if you are going somewhere without good sidewalks or with lots of stairs. This can particularly be the case in Europe where apartments can be upstairs and streets can be filled with cobblestones or in Asia where sidewalks are often non-existent.

Baby in buckle baby carrier looking up at mom. Baby wearing is a tip to make traveling with a baby easier.

Suzi – Survey Suzi


Breastfeed

As fun and inspiring as traveling with your children might be, it can be very, very tiring as well. Every parent wants to avoid a meltdown on a flight or in the middle of a hot square. Of course there are many ways to calm them down, but I find that the best way to deal with a difficult moment is to nurse them. From the moment we started traveling with our daughter (at about 4 months), breastfeeding has been our biggest asset.

Apart from tackling a (nearing) tantrum, it is perfect for nappy time as well. Whether we would be on a long-distance bus or in a restaurant, when she was tired I would latch her on and she would fall asleep in a matter of minutes. The same goes for night time sleeps, a new bed did not matter as her ‘titi’ (and mommy of course) were always there.

Another big breastfeeding plus has to do with eating. When traveling, it might be more difficult than at home to have snacks and food at hand at all times. Nursing your child will provide them with everything they need, even when you run out of something solid to give them.

Breastfeeding as long as possible is my ultimate hack for traveling with (young) children as it will make your trip so much easier and carefree.

Baby breastfeeding on a beach. Breastfeeding is a tip to make traveling with a baby easier.

Use a Puddle Jumper for an Easy Time at the Pool or Beach

When we first started traveling with our young kids, one of the problems we encountered is that our kids were petrified of the water! We would plan a week-long trip to the beach or a resort and our kids wouldn’t want to get in and swim! Finally, we discovered the puddle jumper, which is rated for toddlers 30 lbs and up. The puddle jumper brings kids faces up out of the water preventing them from getting a huge gulp of water and I think this really helped our timid kids be comfortable. The natural swimming position makes it easy for kids to learn proper the swimming position. Our eldest now can swim independently and we had no difficulties with him being too reliant on the floatie. With the puddle jumper, our kids are really independent in the water and this means that aren’t clinging on to dear life and we can actually enjoy our vacation. We don’t go anywhere warm without this kids travel hack now! 

Here are more details on the best toddler floaties from Tear Free Travel.

Toddler on the beach wearing floaties.  Floaties are a way to make beach travel with a toddler easier.

Travel with a Sound Machine

A must-have for any road trip with an infant or toddler is a travel sound machine. It can easily hook on the infant car seat carrier bar which makes it easy to stay secure and for the baby to be surrounded by the relaxing white noise sounds while traveling.

Our family arranges our road trips around sleep times for our baby and this travel sound machine makes naps on the go possible! Our children use white noise at bedtimes at home, so having that familiar hum is relaxing, calming and comforting to our baby when traveling. It reminds the baby of home and signals to them that it’s time for sleep.

This is also handy when out and about with baby during your vacation. The sound machine can also easily be attached to a stroller to allow for sleeping while touring too. It is my favorite baby shower gift to give and a must-have infant item for every family who ever leaves the house!

Baby in a car seat with a sound machine.  A portable sound machine is a tip for making traveling with a baby easier.

Get more tips from Emily about Traveling with an Infant.


Take a Battery-Operated Night Light

A great tip, especially for those with younger babies, is to take a night light on your trip. We love taking battery operated ones so that we don’t have the hassle of having to take a plug converter with.

When we travel to a few different destinations and hotels on one trip, it can be a bit confusing when you are sleep deprived and you have to remember which hotel you are in and where all your baby supplies are located, so the night light can be a life saver! The night light is fabulous as it gives you enough light to change nappies during the night, to make bottles or to breastfeed your little one without them having to fully wake up from the bright light.

We found it especially beneficial when our little one used to wake up regularly during the night, but just recently we reached the age where our toddler is scared of the dark, and so the night light has been super useful in taking away that fear, allowing her to sleep more peaceful. The night light is a small item that takes up little space, so we never travel without it.

A night light.  Having a battery-operated night light is a tip to make traveling with a baby or toddler easier.

Jolene – Mum Knows Best


Bring Extra Clothes

Traveling – whether by car or by plane – can make you feel a bit grimy on the best of days. Add a little kid to the mix, and you can pretty much count on some evidence of lunch – or, much worse, your toddler’s tendency to reverse his lunch thanks to motion sickness – to end up on your shirt. That’s why I always travel with an extra set of clothes for myself and the kids. Diaper leaked all the way through onto my pants? No problem! Lid wasn’t on the sippy cup properly? No big deal. Try leggings, light tee-shirts and other items that can be rolled up and compacted easily. I like storing them in a small zippered packing cube. Bonus tip: bring a plastic bag to hold the dirty clothes, since they’ll likely be wet and/or gross.

Stepwise process of rolling an entire baby outfit into a small oval to make it easier to store in a diaper bag.  Taking extra clothes is a tip for traveling with a baby or toddler.

Olivia – Happy in the Hollow


Use a Diaper Backpack

Traveling with a baby is a whole new level of adventure.  Though they are tiny little people, babies require a lot of items for general care and well-being.  From an abundance of diapers, to burp cloths, multiple changes of clothes, bottles, wipes, and a million other items.  Where should parents put all this?  

The best and most efficient baby hack when traveling is to purchase a backpack diaper bag.  Backpack diapers bags are significantly different than backpacks and diaper bags in that they are more portable, made for travel and comfort and provide all the essentials that parents need to store all their baby items.  Diaper backpacks typically have the proper function, capacity, design and storage options needed such as bottle holder pockets, wipes pocket, padded straps, insulated compartments and a host of other pockets and storage areas not typically found in regular bags.  They are compact and designed with parent and babies in mind.  Many diaper backpacks are waterproof and have amazing storage capabilities, which is great for parents.  Check out our guide on finding the perfect backpack diaper bag for your needs at The Elusive Family.

Once you have your perfect diaper bag, use a diaper bag packing list to make sure you don’t forget anything.

A petunia picklebottom diaper backpack.  Using a backpack style diaper bag is a tip to make traveling with a baby or toddler easier.

Have a Multi-Purpose Toddler Suitcase

We love this suitcase for toddlers as it has so many advantages when flying! Our 2.5 year old daughter played with this ride-on suitcase for hours at the airports which was great. She loved to move around on it and we loved the fact that she was happy and that we didn’t need to carry her around. We could take the Bedbox with us as carry-on luggage into the plane where she would enjoy having her own suitcase with her books and teddy-bears. The best part though was the fact that inside this ride-on suitcase is a small mattress / cushion which you can put on the aircraft seat. When using the tray of the suitcase you can easily build a small bed. Our daughter felt so proud and loved to just lay down on it. Anyone with a toddler knows how special that is 😉 She slept for hours on her seat / bed. Definitely the best toddler travel hack for us at airports as well as in airplanes!

A toddler suitcase that can be ridden and converts the airplane seat into a bed.

Lauren – Relaxed Babies


Use a Foot Pillow for a Toddler Airplane Bed

Flying long-haul with toddlers can be a challenge.  However, that doesn’t mean that parents should shy away from traveling the world with their tots in tow.  Everyone knows that sleep is absolutely essential for children, but getting a toddler to sleep on a plane isn’t always an easy feat.  Once we discovered a few ways to make a toddler travel bed on an airplane, those long-hauls got a bit easier.  While there are actually quite a few options for creating a bed, such as a suitcase that converts to a bed, or a hammock for a baby, our favorite is using a blow up foot pillow.  While some are marketed as just for toddlers to sleep on during flights, any ‘ol blow up foot pillow will do.  They are extremely affordable and incredibly easy to use.  The only caveat is that some airlines have restrictions on items that could be a tripping hazard, so just check before your flight.  However, we’ve been on dozens of flights and have yet to have an issue.  Knowing that our kiddos have a safe and comfortable place to sleep makes those long flights so much more bearable for everyone involved!!

A toddler sleeping on an airplane bed made by using an inflatable foot pillow.

Invest in Sticker Books

Entertaining young kids during long car trips or airplane flights is a big headache. My life saving trick has always been sticker books. These books usually contain several pages of stickers and several pages of scenes (backgrounds) where the stickers can be applied. Some sticker books have glossy pages and repositionable stickers for endless fun. These books are easy to pack, light in terms of weight, mess free and typically cost less than ten dollars.

Another thing I like about the sticker books is that they are usually themed. If your child is into dinosaurs you can buy one with prehistoric scenes; if your child is into space exploration, you can find one with planets, spaceships, etc. When the “sticky” part is done you can ask you child to “read” the book to you, i.e. explain what is the story behind the scene he/she has created. Sticker books never failed us on any long trips and my kids are actually looking forward to trips because there is a new surprise activity book waiting for them.

Melissa and Doug sticker activity books.

Tatiana – Family Road Trip Guru


Allow Screen Time

At home, I am a strict enforcer of no screen time.  This rule also applies to parents so we’ve made it a habit to even limit our smartphone use around the kids.  Travel days, however, are a whole different story.  On those days, I am a strict enforcer of do whatever works and make everyone’s life (including fellow passengers’) easier.  This is why our trusty Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablet is always packed whether on a road trip or on an airplane.  I only pull it out when absolutely necessary but it has been a lifesaver during delays or flight cancellations when meltdowns are most likely to happen.  We preload educational books, apps and shows and while my kids are always entertained, I don’t have to feel too guilty as the rest of the time we are talking, playing, etc.  The best part is you can limit the amount of total time or show time if you want to ensure you don’t go over the recommended screen time for their age.   Free Time Unlimited from Amazon is a great way to curate the educational content for your kids. You can get a month for free here.

Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablet.  Having a kid-friendly tablet is a tip to make traveling with kids easier.

Get other great ideas for travel gifts for kids from Matilda.


Snacks and Screens to the Rescue

I’ve traveled with my 3 children since they were infants. Now that they are 3 (twins) and 5, I’ve only found two things that are successful in keeping my children happy and entertained while traveling. Two words: screens and snacks.

Maybe it’s partially due to the fact that we are pretty limited in screens and snacks at home, but it works amazingly well. Whether we’re driving or flying, my kids get grumpy from not being able to move. They aren’t entertained for long by new toys or coloring books, AND they tend to drop them. Screens and snacks to the rescue!

I give them each an individual snack cup and fill it up with whatever they want. Once they are a little older, they will graduate to a baggie of snacks, but for now, snack cups it is. If we’re driving, they all watch a movie on the DVD player in the van. If your children are farther apart in age than mine, you could give them separate tablets. Free Time Unlimited from Amazon is a great way to make sure the screens provide educational entertainment. If we’re flying, we use portable DVD players and tablets. It’s been brilliant for us and I couldn’t imagine traveling without them!

A mom sitting between twins on an airplane.  The twins are eating a lollipop.  Snacks are a way to make traveling with a toddler easier.

Caitlin – Twin Mom and More

Speaking of screens, make sure to download these apps for traveling with kids to make your life easier.


Surprise “Gifts”

One of the things that has really helped us during our extensive travels with a toddler is surprise gifts. I don’t mean big, flashy, expensive toys or anything like that. We simply take a trip to Kmart or the dollar store before we travel and get whatever little toys and trinkets we can for a dollar each.

Usually I will wrap them up and hide them in our carry on luggage before we leave. Then, either at set intervals or just when my daughter seems to be getting cranky, I’ll whip them out as a little surprise. She loves unwrapping them and discovering what is inside.

We have had varying degrees of success and I would recommend getting a few extra than you plan on needing. Sometimes the unwrapping is the part she enjoys and whatever is inside gets tossed pretty quickly, other times the trinket has kept her occupied for a good 30 minutes. That half hour could be all it takes to make you feel a bit more sane! Then there have been a few occasions where I’ve hit the jackpot and randomly found something that she has been obsessed with for an eternity.

A baby surrounded by small toys.  Having surprise gifts that are little toys is a tip to make traveling with a baby or toddler easier.

Sophie Marie – Remote Rainforest Mum

Want all the info on flying with a baby or toddler? This Ultimate Guide to Flying with a Baby answers all your questions!

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Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

How to Help Your Toddler to Start Talking?

How to Help Your Toddler to Start Talking?

Every parent wants their children to develop in the usual way. If their kids don’t start speaking until a certain moment in their lives, parents become concerned about their children’s speaking ability.

In that case, it’s important that you don’t put additional stress on your kid’s back.

What you should do is help them to start uttering words and phrases in many amusing ways.

Here’s what I think can be useful for every parent and toddler.

How to Help Your Toddler to Start Talking?

1)    Use short words and speak slowly

The reasons why your toddler still doesn’t want to speak may vary. If you and your partner tend to speak too fast and use too many words, that could confuse your toddler.

Also, the kid will recognize if you don’t include him or her in your conversations.

For starters, you need to address your toddler as much as possible. You should do that using short words that the kid can relate to.

Instead of saying ‘Take that toy and put it back in the box’, you can take the toy and say ‘The bear is going to sleep’. In the latter example, the keywords are the bear and sleep. You can also imitate the act of sleeping to provide another illustration for the meaning of the word.

parents walking with a toddler

When you’re cooking, show every ingredient you use to your kid and name it. You can keep repeating the drill. Then you can also add colors to the activity in one of the later repetitions.

If you use more short words related to tangible things in your home, the toddler is more likely to memorize them.

2)    Wake up the animator inside you

For some toddlers, it’s not enough just to keep showing them things and naming them.

Simply put, some kids are more demanding, and we don’t say that in a negative way.

On the contrary, they simply aren’t easily amused. If you and your partner are such people, it’s highly likely that your toddler will follow suit.

In that case, both of you need to wake up the animator inside you. This means that you should use more facial expressions and physical motion when you’re teaching your toddler to speak.

Here are some actions and expressions you should use frequently:

  • Nod your head when saying ‘Yes’ and shake it when you mean ‘No’.
  • Point to the things you want your kid to bring to you or put into the box.
  • Imitate eating when you’re feeding your toddler.
  • Do the actions from the songs you’re singing, such as “If You’re Happy” and use other expressions to boost your toddler’s speech.

You can also make up songs using some common words from your kid’s everyday environment. Those songs need to be short and simple, just like “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”.

If you notice that your kid likes to play Hide and Seek, you can hide different toys and objects around the house. The act of finding those things and naming them with you will be delightful for your toddler. As a result, he or she might learn how to name them.

mom reading to a toddler

3)    Encourage speech in all situations

Some children might find it easier to speak in their comfort zone. That’s why your toddler might want to talk at home but be hesitant about it outside.

This is where you should play a boosting role and encourage them to keep saying words everywhere they go.

For instance, when you’re at a supermarket, you can turn the entire process into a word-learning game. You can let your kid touch different fruit and vegetables and name them. As explained by the London nanny experts, some toddlers are kinesthetic learners, i.e. they learn more easily through touching and moving. Parents and nannies need to ensure that such kids can learn things in their favorite way.

Moreover, you can join your child in playground activities. While the kid is swinging, you can encourage him or her to say the colors of the clouds and the trees in the park.

If you teach your kid words in a fun way outside the house, they’ll be excited to go out with you and do those activities.

toddler pushing a small cart through a grocery store

4)    Treat them with respect

Speech development is a part of the toddler’s cognitive development. That’s why it’s important to treat your kid with respect to everything he or she does.

For starters, avoid yelling at them, especially immediately after they’ve just learned a new word. Even if you’re raising your voice for a good cause, they might not be able to understand that.

Also, avoid using baby talk with older toddlers. You may notice how toddlers aged 2 or 3 refer to those younger ones as babies. It’s important for them to feel they’re treated in accordance with their age.

Likewise, expose them to appropriate teaching materials. Instead of plain baby books with words, use classic picture books and stories for bedtime.

Conclusion

Every kid has their own tempo in everything they do. The same goes for the development of speech. Parents need to be patient and keep doing the things recommended by speech therapists and experts.

In many cases, toddlers say only a few words and then start babbling overnight. There’s no reason to worry as long as your toddler is generally developing in a natural way.

So, apply our strategies in your daily activities with your toddler and always show your kids ultimate support in everything they do. Eventually, they’ll be able to utter more and more words.

How To Manage Living Far From Family When You Have a Newborn

How To Manage Living Far From Family When You Have a Newborn

Depending on who you ask, it can be a blessing or a curse to live far from family when you have a baby.  I spent an entire post outlining the pros and cons of having a baby when you live far from family. However, it may be the situation you find yourself in.  Here are tips for labor, delivery and postpartum when you live far from your family.

How To Manage Living Far From Family When You Have a Newborn

You probably don’t need your family there while you are in the hospital.

Your due date is really just a guess on when your baby will be born.  In reality, it will likely fall somewhere in a 4 to 5-week range.  This can make it really hard for family to plan travel to be there precisely when you are in labor without risking missing the baby entirely. 

Also, while you are in the hospital, you have your husband to help and an entire team of nurses and doctors taking care of your every need.  We didn’t even change a diaper until we got home because the nurses did it every time.  Depending on if you have a natural birth or C-section and what complications occur, you will be kept in the hospital anywhere from 24 hours to 4 + days after giving birth.  There really isn’t much for your family to do other than be in a cramped room.  To solve this, ask your doctor how fast past your due date they will let you go prior to induction.  Have the first family visit take place a week after that date.  This will ensure that baby is here and you are home prior to having family come.


Take advantage of family visits. 

When you live far from family, they are likely planning to visit for a week or more at a time to make the trip worth it.  Take advantage of this to have round-the-clock help.  I wanted my mom to be the first to come visit, and my mother-in-law to be second.  Therefore, I had my mom come 2 weeks after my due date (based on the above formula).  She stayed for 2 weeks.  Then my mother-in-law came and stayed for a week.  During this time, I pumped enough to have a bottle prepared prior to bed each night.  Then our moms would get up with the baby for the 6am feeding.  They were already awake because of the time difference, and it gave us a solid 6 hours of sleep before I needed to be up for another feeding.  The result was we felt pretty human the entire first month.

photo of a grandma with her newborn grandson who is yawning

Practice going out while you have help. 

While you have family visiting, go out to eat, go to church, go to the mall, etc.  Use the extra set of hands to help while you are learning how to juggle a newborn and everything that goes with a baby.  Make sure to get all my tips for going out with a newborn.


Plan for time without family prior to going back to work. 

If you will be returning to work after having a baby, you will want a week or two right before you go back where you don’t have family visiting.  This gives you, your husband and your baby time to figure out a routine that will work.  Check out my other tips for returning to work after maternity leave to make your transition as smooth as possible.


Schedule family visits with a buffer in between. 

When our son was born, the day my mom left, we dropped her at the airport in the morning and picked my mother-in-law up a few hours later.  In hindsight, it really would have helped to have at least a 24-hour buffer to adjust.  I was still emotional from my mom leaving, and not mentally ready for another visitor that fast.  I also wanted time to just hold my son and let him sleep on me without having to share him with family.


Plan the next visit before the current one ends. 

With the emotions after birth, it can be difficult saying goodbye to family.  I found it was easier to know when we would see each other again before the current trip ended.  Sometimes this was our family visiting again, other times, we visited them, or sometimes we met somewhere in the middle for an extended weekend.


Estimate how much time your guests will want you to entertain them versus entertaining themselves or simply being happy to take care of the new baby. 

My mom was happy to go out and do things, but also brought work with her to occupy herself if the baby was asleep and we wanted to rest.  We had other family that wanted time to go do the tourist things in the area and were happy to do this on their own.  Figuring out what everyone wants helps to manage expectations.

photo of parents with grandparents and a baby with napa valley in the background.

Get involved with a church. 

This is a great way to meet like-minded people.  If you find a church full of other young parents, they can be great support for you as you navigate new parent life.


Final Thoughts

If you are pregnant and don’t live near family, there are many pros and cons.  However, it’s important to make the best of it and have a plan in place prior to giving birth.  Consider who will be coming to visit, how long they want to stay, and what order you want them to come in.

Pros and Cons of Having a Baby While Living Away From Family

Pros and Cons of Having a Baby While Living Away From Family

Maybe you love where you grew up and couldn’t imagine living far from the place you have always called home.  Maybe you are on the other end and spent high school counting down the years until you could escape to somewhere more exciting.  Either way, as a responsible adult you are now considering having kids and are wondering if you are better off raising your children near family or farther away. 

I’ve lived on the other side of the country from my family as well as my in-laws while having my first child.  Here are some things to consider about having kids while living far from family.

Pros and Cons of Having a Baby While Living Away From Family

I’m a positive person, so we will start off with the pros of living far from family.

Pros of Having a Baby While Living Away From Family


1. There is no pressure to allow family to be present at birth 

If you live a short drive from family, there is a good chance your mother, mother-in-law, sister, aunt, grandma, or anyone else you can think of may decide they are entitled to be present for the birth of your child.  You may not want an audience, but it can be really hard to tell the well-meaning family they aren’t invited.   If you live a plane-ride (or very long drive) away from the family, you won’t be able to predict exactly when you will go into labor, so they won’t be able to plan a visit without risking their stay ending before the baby is born.  It was really easy to have a labor, delivery and hospital stay without anyone except for my husband.  I was happy to show off our new baby once we got home, but the hospital stay was a whirlwind of recovering and figuring out breastfeeding.  I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else there.

Mom holding a newborn baby in the hospital.

2. You have more freedom to develop your own parenting style 

There are so many opinions on the “right” way to be a parent.  However, the right way for you is the way you and your husband decide to parent.  This should be a decision made based on your preferences and not on pressure from family.  Being far away means you don’t have family around offering their input as often.


3. You have more power over the visit schedule 

If you live near family, well-meaning family may feel entitled to drop by for a visit whenever the mood strikes them.  If they happen to be coming over to clean for you, then it may be welcome.  However, they likely aren’t planning on that.  If you live far from family, it requires planning visits ahead of time.  This allows you to make sure both families aren’t there at once (unless you approve it), and to have buffers between visitors if you desire. 


4. You and your husband learn to rely on each other 

If you have a great relationship with your mom, it may be really easy to get her help and input on every parenting question and call her for babysitting frequently.  However, it can be easy for you to rely more on family than your husband which can make it hard to form a parenting team.  Being far away decreases your ability to rely on family and allows for a stronger parenting team to be formed between you and your husband.


5. When family visits they stay with you 

This means that they are already planning to be present for those 2 am wakeups.  If there is a large time difference, you can utilize it to have family help with overnight feedings or rocking baby back to sleep.  We had almost four weeks of help between our mothers visiting right after our son was born.  During this time, I pumped enough to have a bottle prepared at bedtime each night.  Our mothers would get up with our son and give him a bottle for the 6 am feeding which gave my husband and me a six-hour stretch of sleep before I needed to be up for the next feeding.  The result is we actually felt pretty human during the first month.


6. Your child gets well-traveled at an early age

I believe helps make baby and the parents more adaptable to new situations.  My son went on 10 round-trip flights during his first year.  The first trip was stressful, but after that we got a system figured out and it wasn’t a big deal.  Here are all the tricks I learned for flying with a baby

Dad holding a baby on an airplane.

Cons of Having a Baby While Living Away From Family


1. If you want family present at birth, this can be hard to plan 

Often affordable plane tickets have to be purchased well in advance.  With a 4 to 5-week range around the due date, it’s difficult to pinpoint when people should come to visit. 


2. Family doesn’t get to visit as much 

For your family to visit the new baby, either they need to travel to you, or you need to travel to them.  Also, when they come, they usually stay with you which means extended time with family versus short visits.  Depending on your situation, ever-present family may be a major additional stress when you are already stressed with a newborn. 


3. Family visits can be difficult if you have parents that don’t travel or have health problems that make traveling difficult  

If you are in this situation and will have to be the one traveling, make sure to get all my tips for flying with a baby.  You can also use my Family Travel Planner to make the travel planning process much easier.


4. You might feel like you are missing out 

We lived a 5-hour plane flight from all of our family for almost 3 years.  The only times I really broke down because I didn’t have family nearby was when we found out we were having a boy and when my mom left after visiting right after my son was born.  These were times when I did really want to share them with my family, and I felt like a phone call or FaceTime just didn’t cut it.

A couple holding a baby boy balloon.

5. You don’t have as much help 

When you live near family, they are often happy to babysit or be an extra set of hands.  However, living far from them means that you don’t have these built-in, free babysitters.  Friends can be helpful, but you can only impose on them for free babysitting so much.  Living far away meant we couldn’t go to the movies without paying a babysitter or going when we had people visiting.  We made a point of taking our son out to restaurants, the store and the mall starting when he was only a week old.  Therefore, it became normal for him and us, so going out to eat or shopping with him in tow isn’t a big deal.  Definitely get my tips for going out with a newborn to make your life easier.


6. Holidays can be hard 

For holidays, you will likely be traveling back to family or spending them without family.  Either way it can be hard.  We traveled back to visit family.  Like I mentioned above, traveling itself wasn’t a big deal.  However, with Christmas, it was difficult having to consider luggage allowances and making sure our son didn’t get too many large or heavy gifts that we would need to figure out how to get home.

Baby in a car seat surrounded by luggage.
This was the amount of luggage that we traveled with when visiting family for two weeks over Christmas and New Years.

7. Guilt trips from family about living far away 

You may hear comments from family (likely grandparents) about how they don’t get to spend time with their grandchild because he lives so far away.  Even if you don’t hear these comments, you may feel guilty that your parents don’t get to spend much time with their grandchild.  This is likely to be more significant if your baby is the first grandchild. 


Final Thoughts

Do the pros of living far from family outweigh the cons?  That depends on your family situation.  For us, we made do and logged some serious frequent flier miles.  It was good for my husband and I to grow as a couple and figure out the whole “new parenting” thing.  However, we will now live driving distance to our families.  It’s not close enough that people can drop in unexpectedly, but it’s close enough we can fill an entire car for the holidays and not have to worry about how much baggage we are dragging along.  For us, I feel like that is a good compromise.

What do you think? Do the pros or the cons weigh heavier in your opinion? Let me know in the comments!

Pros and Cons of Having a Baby While Living Away From Family

Tips for Going Out with a Newborn

Tips for Going Out with a Newborn

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Tips for Going Out with a Newborn

Before becoming a mom, leaving the house to go to the store, or a restaurant or anywhere really was easy and took little thought or planning.  However, once you become a parent, leaving the house is a whole new level of difficulty. 

When my son was a newborn, leaving the house looked something like this:

  1. Nurse the baby
  2. Change a diaper and make sure clothing for everyone was weather appropriate
  3. Make sure diaper bag is fully stocked (don’t forget to grab my diaper bag packing list)
  4. Eat a snack/meal
  5. Nurse baby again
  6. Change diaper again
  7. Finally leave the house (~3 hours later)

Obviously, the amount of time it takes to prepare to leave the house can keep many new parents home bound.  However, getting out of the house as a new parent is essential for your sanity!

Unless you or your newborn has health issues or the weather is absolutely awful, I suggest starting to make short outings the first weeks after you come home from the hospital.  Here are my answers to common questions and tips for different activities that are completely doable with a newborn.

Where to Take a Newborn

Newborns are surprisingly portable.  Until about 4 months, they are able to sleep anywhere, and you can transport them both in and out of the car with a car seat and stroller travel system.  You can take a newborn most places that you would go anyway. 

It does take a little practice to juggle all the extra items you need to bring, and plan for feeding sessions. If you have family visiting, enlist help for your first few outings.  It’s great to have an extra set of hands and the person can spend time with you and the baby and no one is thinking about how messy the house is.

During my son’s first 2 months, we went to the grocery store, target, various restaurants, the mall, church, and wine tasting.  Enjoy the portability of your baby now because once they get older they become less portable and require more planning. Follow the tips below, and you can take your newborn out as part of your normal activities.

Taking a newborn out doesn't have too be extremely difficult.  You can do most activities with a newborn in tow.

Taking a Newborn Out Before 6 Weeks

Six weeks seems to be the magic number with babies, but things don’t really change that much at six weeks.  Your baby is still portable, and many children don’t get their first vaccinations until they are closer to 2 months.  The biggest thing that changed for us at six weeks was I went back to work (read more about that here and here).

The biggest concern with taking a very young baby out is that they will catch a virus.  Viruses that are minor annoyances for adults can result in severe illness in babies.  However, a few precautions can greatly decrease the chance of your baby catching something.

1. Don’t let others hold your baby

If someone asks to hold your baby, you are allowed to say no.  Exercise this right!  The less people that hold your baby, the less likely baby will get sick.  This also applies to letting people rub his hair, kiss him or touch his skin.

2. Utilize a car seat cover

Many respiratory viruses are passed through coughing and sneezing.  If you use a stretch car seat cover like this one, you can block respiratory particles from infecting your baby.  It also helps keep people from touching your baby and provides a dark, quiet area for sleeping.

3. Practice baby wearing

If you aren’t planning to carry the car seat with you once you get where you are going, then your best defense is baby wearing.  This keeps baby snug against you and protected from respiratory particles.  It also helps deter people from touching or wanting to hold your baby.


When can you take a newborn out for a walk?

You can take a walk with your newborn as soon as the weather cooperates.  You want to do your walk at a time of day where it isn’t super hot or super cold.  Also make sure to provide adequate warmth and/or sun protection.  Newborns have very fragile skin, so err on the side of too much sun protection in the form of a stroller shade, car seat shade, and/or car seat cover.  If the weather is okay taking the baby for a walk can be great for both of you, and you usually won’t have to fend off too many people.

The best time to take a newborn for a walk will vary by location.  You will want to decide based on the weather and what you feel like.  Chances are good your newborn will sleep for most of the walk anyway, so at this stage, you don’t need to worry about nap times.  Usually, earlier in the morning or early evening work well because the sun isn’t as bright as it is midday.  However, if the sun is out, you will still want to make sure baby is shaded.



When can I take my newborn to a restaurant?

You can take baby out to a restaurant as soon as you are ready to go out.  You will want to make sure your diaper bag is fully packed, so that you are prepared for any dirty diapers or feeding needs.  I found that taking the car seat into the restaurant is the best way to have a calm meal.  Infant car seats generally will fit into the booth and restaurants often have high chairs that when flipped over hold a car seat.


When can I take my newborn to church?

We took our son to church when he was 1 week old.  You will want to follow the tips above about keeping people away, so your baby doesn’t get sick, but otherwise, it’s pretty easy.  We took the car seat into the church and sat at the end of the pew so the car seat could be on the floor next to us.  This also allowed for a quick escape if necessary.  Just make sure you don’t pick a seat right next to a speaker. 

Many churches have a room for nursing mothers.  Scout out the location of this room when you arrive, so you are prepared if necessary.  Churches also usually have child care that extends to infants.  However, I would recommend keeping your baby with you for the first couple of months – usually they will sleep anyway.


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Can I take my newborn to a wedding or other family gathering?

Major family events are often ones you don’t want to miss, but your family and friends likely didn’t plan their special day around the age of your baby.  Therefore, you may find yourself needing to choose between taking your newborn or staying home.  My best friend got married when my son was 4 months old, so off to a wedding (on the other side of the country) we went.  Many of the principles from above apply here.  However, if it’s something that is going to have a DJ or other loud music, make sure to grab a pair of these baby headphones.  Without them loud noises can quickly overwhelm a newborn.  However, with the earmuffs, a party with flashing lights and dancing can be great fun for a baby.  My son loved dancing and looking at the lights with his headphones on.

Taking a newborn to a wedding with noise canceling baby headphones works well.
Photo taken by Josh + Jeanette

Final Thoughts on Leaving the House with a Newborn

Getting out of the house is good for the whole family, so you shouldn’t be scared to leave the house with a newborn.  Just make sure to follow these tips and plan short outings initially.  Pretty soon you will gain confidence and running errands or going places with your newborn won’t be a big deal at all.

Taking a baby out on an airplane doesn't have to be overwhelming.  This infant in a car seat looks very content in the window seat.

If you start getting really brave, you could fly with a newborn.  If you decide to brave that (we did when our son was 4 months old), make sure to read these Tips for Flying with a Baby.

Tips for Going Out with a Newborn

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Giving Medicine to a Baby 101: The Essential Guide

Giving Medicine to a Baby 101: The Essential Guide

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Giving Medicine to a Baby 101: The Essential Guide

We all have our go-to medications stocked in our medicine cabinets for the adult members of the family.  Maybe yours include Motrin, Tylenol, Triple Antibiotic Ointment, and/or allergy medications.  Most of us have a pretty good idea how to use these safely and can follow the directions on the bottle.  However, the game changes when we are talking about babies and toddlers.  They get the same ailments such as pain, fever, and allergies, but the directions on the packaging often don’t cover our littlest family members. Here is everything you need to know about giving medicine to a baby or toddler.

As a pharmacist, I wanted to provide answers to the most common questions parents ask. However, this information should not be taken as medical advice because I don’t know all the details of your child’s illness. 

Each situation is different, so it’s important that you use this information only as a guide and speak to your pharmacist and/or doctor about your child’s specific symptoms, and other characteristics.


When Should I Call the Doctor?

As a general rule of thumb, things are more severe the younger your baby is.  If you have a newborn, it’s a good idea to contact the nurse helpline or doctor whenever your baby is sick.  However, once your baby is a little older, you can treat low-grade fevers and minor colds at home as long as he’s generally healthy otherwise. 

Doctor’s offices will usually have a nurse helpline that you can contact with questions and they can help you determine if your baby needs to be seen.  When in doubt, err on the side of caution and call this number.  It’s free and the worse that happens is you sit on hold for a bit waiting for your call to be answered.


Reading Medication Labels

Over-the-counter medications or OTCs are medications that you can purchase without a prescription.  These are medications that the FDA has determined can be used safely based on the directions on the label. 

Drug Facts

The Drug Facts section on the label is where all the information you need to use the medication safely is located.  This is what the FDA has determined is necessary for you to know to use the medication without a doctor or pharmacist being involved.  It includes 7 sections which I will go over below.

Active Ingredient

The section states what ingredients are included in the medication with the intent of providing the intended action.  The drug is listed by its generic name and the amount and purpose of the medication are stated.  This section is how you can tell the difference between products with similar packaging and names. 

If you see ‘HPUS’ included in this section, it means that the medication is a homeopathic remedy.    Homeopathic remedies are beyond the scope of this article.  However, the basic principle is that illness is cured by giving tiny amounts of a substance that would be toxic in larger amounts.  Homeopathic remedy strength is indicated by HPUS and the less of a substance that the product contains the stronger it is.

Uses

This section lists the different symptoms the medication is likely to work for when dosed based on the information on the box.

Warnings

The warnings section is often the longest, but it’s a very important section.  Here you will find warnings about allergies, when to stop using and when to talk to a doctor or pharmacist prior to using the medication.

Directions

The directions are often what people jump to first, but the above sections are also important to read.  The directions state how much of the medication to take and how often to take it.  This is often divided into sections based on age.  However, you will find that many medications don’t providing dosing for children under 6 months or under 2 years.  This is because the FDA doesn’t think the medication can be safely used in this population without oversight from a doctor.

Other Information

This is other information that may be helpful such as how to store the medication.

Inactive Ingredients

These are the ingredients that aren’t expected to have beneficial effects.  These products are added to help form the tablet or liquid or to add color or flavor.  Medications all contain inactive ingredients in addition to the active one.  You would want to look at this section if your child has allergies as there may be an inactive ingredient that they are allergic to.  However, if you aren’t concerned about allergies, you can generally ignore this section.

Questions or Comments?

The final section is a phone number to contact the drug company if you have any questions or comments about the medication.


Giving Medications to a Baby

Medications for babies are in liquid form.  You will need a method to measure the dose and a method to administer it.  For measuring, you could use a syringe or measuring container.  Generally, medications will come with a plastic cup or syringe for measuring.  These are marked with milliliter or mL.  The directions on the packaging will tell you how many mL to give.  If the medication doesn’t have a measuring device or it gets lost, you can purchase one at most drug stores.

The measuring devices can also work to administer the medication. However, depending on the age of your child, a small cup may not work for giving the medication, but a syringe often works well for giving medication to a baby.  There are many handy devices available if you prefer.  These include pacifiers and tiny bottles that are designed for you to put the medication into them and then baby gets the medication while sucking.


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Giving medication can get challenging though, so parents have come up with some hacks for making the process easier.  For babies, a pacifier with an open back (like the hospital gives you) is about the right size for fitting a syringe into.  Cut a hole in the tip and while your baby is sucking on the pacifier, slowly squirt the medication out of the syringe.

For toddlers that have mastered drinking from a straw, cut the back out of an empty juice box.  Then put the medication in a small cup into the juice box for the toddler to drink from a straw.

What you don’t want to do is mix the medication into a bottle or sippy cup filled with milk or another liquid.  The reason is that often a child won’t drink the entire amount and then you don’t know how much medication was actually consumed.  Also, letting the medication sit in liquid for an extended period waiting for your child to drink it, can make the medication less effective.  If you do mix a medication into a drink, make sure that the entire drink is consumed in one sitting.

Antibiotic-Specific Tips

For antibiotics, you will need to make sure you shake the medication well before measuring out a dose.  Antibiotics come as suspensions which means that when they sit for an extended period, the medication will sink to the bottom of the bottle.  By shaking it, you make sure that the medication is evenly mixed before you measure a dose. 

Many liquid antibiotics need to be refrigerated and they are also only good for 10 to 14 days.  The pharmacist will tell you if it needs to be in the fridge and how long it’s good for.  It’s important that you keep antibiotics in the fridge if they require it.  This can also make it taste better which is a win. 

It’s important that your child take the entire course of antibiotics.  If the doctor prescribes it for 10 days, then you need to give it for 10 days.  Your child should start to feel better well before 10 days is up, but if you stop the medication too early, the infection can come back.  At the end of the prescribed treatment, you want to discard any leftover medication.  Antibiotics aren’t good for very long once they are mixed, so the medication won’t keep for future use.


Over-the-Counter (OTC) Baby Medicines

Baby Medicine for Fever

A fever is the body’s natural defense mechanism and indicates that there is some type of infection the body needs to fight.  Therefore, it isn’t completely bad.  If your baby has a mild fever and doesn’t appear to be too affected by it, then it may not need treated.  However, if a fever gets too high it can lead to seizures.  If your baby or toddler has a fever, it doesn’t hurt to contact the nurse hotline.  They may tell you it’s okay, but it never hurts to check since a fever does mean there is something else going on. 

If you need to treat the fever, the medications that could be used are Infant’s Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Infant Motrin (ibuprofen).  These medications are both available over the counter.  Make sure to read the directions on the product you are using because there can be slight differences. If you need help figuring out how much to give, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. 

When your baby has a fever, dehydration is more likely.  Therefore, it’s a good idea to have Pedialyte on hand to help encourage fluid intake.

Baby Medicine for Colds

There are a variety of readily available medications for adults with a cold.  However, these are not recommended for use in babies or toddlers.  If you see a product advertised as cold medicine for a baby or toddler, it’s likely a homeopathic remedy. 

Having a nose suctioning device like this or this is helpful to decrease congestion.  For a full list of what you can do to help your baby feel better, check out this post.

Baby Medicine for Allergies

This is another condition where the adult medications are usually not appropriate.  If your baby appears to have seasonal allergies, talk to your doctor about recommendations.  If you are concerned about food allergies, bring your concern up to your doctor prior to introducing solid foods.  Your doctor can recommend something to have on hand in case an allergic reaction occurs.  Benadryl is a common recommendation, but the dosing on the package only goes down to 2 years old.  Therefore, your doctor needs to tell you what dose to give.  It is worth noting that children can react to Benadryl differently than adults.  Adults will usually get sleepy from the medication, but children can actually become excited.  Therefore, this medication should never be used to help your child sleep.


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Baby Medicine Cabinet Essentials

When preparing for a baby, it’s a good idea to have certain medicine cabinet essentials on hand.  The following are the items I recommend having about home before you actually need them.


There are the tips straight from the pharmacist’s mouth.  As you can see, there are a lot of times when you will need to contact the doctor with regards to your sick baby.  You will eventually get a feel for what requires a call and what doesn’t.  I also strongly recommend asking your pharmacist for advice.  These tips are general information, but your local pharmacist can provide more specific information for your situation.

Giving Medicine to a Baby 101: The Essential Guide

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.