Bye-Bye Baby, Hello Toddler!

MOMMY ON BOARD - Kristalle Marie Garcia-Kekert (The Philippine Star) - July 2, 2012 - 12:00am

My baby's first year in life has come and gone, so its now officially bye-bye baby and hello toddler! Throughout this natural process of raising my child, I have learned so many things including the not-so-common ones to begin with but have perfected them these past few months.

Every single day has been a different experience but it has made every moment of raising a child well worth it, right from when my baby was put into my arms ensuring that I have the right grip and that the head is well protected. Then I moved on to breastfeeding by trying out all the correct positions to see what works best for my baby and me. In between all that, changing my baby's nappy requires putting a lot of thought into (i.e. cleaning/airing out properly to avoid any rash, applying cream if needed by letting my baby hold still during the process, sprinkling the right amount of powder after baths or when required and putting on the diaper with complete eye-for-detail). These are just three important points in handling a baby. The rest I have listed below is what I call a "learn-as-you-go" from my son's first year in life.

BABY CARRIER. It is highly important when transporting a baby when a buggy (stroller) isn't available. It is useful for a short walk outside of the house or when traveling on a plane or boat. It's amazing how this art of carrying a baby has taken on for centuries without fail.

BABY LAUNDRY SOAP and BOTTLE CLEANSERS. They're designed for babies for a reason. They're extremely mild and most products smell nice, too. The Cycles brand (laundry soap), Tiny Buds (bottle cleanser), Pigeon brand (bottle cleanser) and Baby Clean brand (laundry soap and cleanser) are my favourites.

BATHS. In a country where weather is constantly hot and humid, a bath once every morning is preferable. Nearing a year old, early evening baths were sometimes added into my baby's schedule due to lots of walking and crawling. Having tried out so many bath products in the market, my favourite ones include Avon Baby, Nivea Baby, Personal Collection baby range and Mothercare.

BED. Babies are bulletproof, these little ones would and can sleep anywhere at anytime, but I still require a good and durable mattress for a comfortable sleeping position. The thicker the mattress the longer lasting it will remain, and you won't have to keep replacing them.

BOTTLE/FOOD WARMER. Warm food soothes your baby's tummy and with an actual warmer, the timing and temperature are predefined to suit your baby's needs. This makes it helpful as well when doing other things in between and letting the milk/tea/food sit on the warmer until ready.

BRUSHING TEETH. To protect my baby's teeth, I was always advised that once those little whites pop out, tooth-care is needed. I use the Sansfluo tooth range, which is available almost anywhere. It has since then become a habit to brush my baby's teeth twice a day - morning and night without fail. After all, the healthier the teeth, the better.

CAR-SEAT. Owning and using a baby car seat protects you and your child on the road. It saves lives. Yes, I agree that car seats are a little costly but no amount can pay for the life of your child.

CHANGING TABLE. A nursery isn't complete without it. With this table, you have everything right at hand and since changing tables normally come with a strap attached to it; this item makes it more secure for your little one.

CLOTHING. Babies grow fast and it's not too difficult to believe that! But if you see your baby everyday, you might not notice the changes, but you will definitely see it from their clothing that used to fit perfectly but suddenly have become small and tight! It's very simple, think twice and don't get carried away by buying too much or anything too expensive. Special occasions are the only exceptions I made.

COMMENTS. Advice when NOT needed most especially when it is NOT being asked for is the worst ever, but I think that parents will go through this at least once in their life. So just take a deep breath, let it out the other ear and brush it off with a smile!

CONVERTIBLES. No doubt that these are all cost-effective. This includes your baby's cot to bed, car seat (extendable), changing table to desk/bookshelf or multi-purpose table, pram to buggy (stroller) and chair (Stokke Tripp Trapp Chair makes a fantastic option from birth onwards, I call it the "forever" chair). The lesser things you acquire, the less junk you own.

INFANT MASSAGE. You might not know it, but babies love getting a massage and actually enjoy it! It's a wonderful option for your child's overall well being.

MEALS. At four months old (recommended age is six months) was the time when I first started feeding my son solids. Washing, steaming and blending mixed fresh vegetables (top food include carrots, squash, peas, dark green vegetables, broccoli, potatoes, asparagus, chayote and more to add to this list) with no additives was what I did (and still ongoing) on a daily basis without fail. You can't ever go wrong with fresh food. Plus, it's a very cost-effective way of preparing your baby's meals.

MOBILES. Highly important for infant visual stimulation and brain development most especially if one is made in bright colours! This accessory plays a huge role in most nurseries, making it feel more complete. I recommend having one.

NAPTIME. The older your baby, the lesser sleep he/she will have. I have learned that babies do cry when they want to fight their sleep (crying doesn't always mean hungry). Creating a naptime for your baby to follow through will eventually fall into place. My son had a regular sleeping pattern at an early age of just less than two months old (again, it is different for everyone, but I consider myself very lucky).

PERSONALITY/DEVELOPMENT. No two babies are the same, but this is something I didn't really know about until I had my very own child. Some babies cry more than others but some don't. Some are more sociable, but some are the complete opposite. Adding to that, there is no "right" time when your baby first lifts his head, says "a-goo" (baby talk), claps hands, waves hello/bye-bye, crawls then walks, etc. There's just no comparing - some babies tend to do this earlier or later than others and it's a fun process. Make a list of each of these important dates since we all can't turn back the time.

REFRIGERATOR. "Why can't my baby use the same fridge as hubby and I", I once asked all confused. Though not necessarily a requirement, (ofcourse its alright to share the same fridge) having a separate refrigerator it makes it more convenient in storing sterilized items and having lesser contamination for your baby.

STERILISER. Babies are susceptible to germs so its one of the obvious things to have in the nursery. All hospitals recommend you to have one at home. This was what I was told when before taking my baby home with me.

TEETHING. Normally arriving between the 6th to 9th month, but could be earlier or later, I was made aware to look out for the signs, but fortunately, I didn't get to see any of these symptoms (thank goodness for that!). This includes drooling, getting a fever, constant crying, refusing to eat, ear pulling/cheek rubbing, biting hands or hands constantly in mouth, sleeping difficulty and diarrhea.

TRAVELING. Hubby and I can't do without traveling so this puts us in a place where we have to work around our baby's time. We do it often and it's very simple. If you think about it very clearly, then the overall experience will be easy to manage. I however, require at least two days of packing for my baby to ensure that I always have the necessary extras. This includes working around your baby's meal times, nappy changing, naptime and more (you can add more to this list i.e. any special toys or blankets, etc).

VISITING THE DOCTOR. The amount of shots is endless and needless to say expensive, but it is highly important to follow through with them. This wouldn't be possible without the help of Dr. Generosa Solano, who has been ever so helpful towards my baby right from the start.

WATER. Distilled or filtered water is best used for your baby when preparing food and drinks as well as sterilizing and heating food/milk/tea using the food/bottle warmer (to avoid any lime scale, which can eventually damage your sterilizer and food/bottle warmer).

WIPES. This is one of those inventions where you tell your self, "If I could go back in time before Wet Wipes were invented, I would be an instant millionaire". This useful and handy invention when water isn't available is an absolute necessity and I can't count how many of them I go through in a day!

So this is what I've learned from my baby's first year. I did it! What a fun ride! Now say hello to the toddler years!

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