From one generation to the next, knowledge and know how-sometimes referred to as common sense-is lost. If one looks back a few generations, one finds mothers with fewer conveniences, more focused child rearing time and a point in history when being both practical and frugal was an essential part of life.
Call these ideas old fashioned or plain bunk if you will, but this author believes there is wisdom to be found in grandmotherly advice-especially when the advice is in the baby care category. Here are some of my favorite baby care tips-straight from the grandmother.
Baby Care Tip #1 – Bonnets and Booties – Whether they were boys or girls babies were kept in bonnets and booties. This is not a far fetched idea. Most of the body’s heat is lost through the head and the feet. Little bodies that are struggling to maintain core body temperature are less able to fight off attacks from germs and viruses. Just because you are warm dose not mean your baby is warm. Just look at the difference in size and mass and you should understand that you will hold heat longer. Additionally, there is something to be said for keeping the ears covered and protected from wind, cold or even a stiff breeze. Did you ever notice that hospitals keep the baby’s feet and head covered. Don’t throw that tacky stocking cap away, when you arrive home from the hospital. I have never met a bonnet baby who has needed tubes in his ears.
Baby Care Tip #2 – Cloth Diapers – OK, OK. You are too busy for cloth diapers. While cotton cloth diapers are still the best in my grandmother’s book, they do require a significant amount of time and energy to maintain. Besides being a natural fiber, cloth diapers have a limited level of absorbency, so babies must be changed more often, which reduces the amount of time sensitive skin in exposed to urine. There is a tendency to neglect the changing process when you “believe” the change can wait due to all the great product claims. Go ahead, use the new ultra absorbent diapers, but don’t leave them on the kid forever!
Baby Care Tip #3 – Diaper Rash – There has always been one diaper rash cure in generations of our households. Besides keeping the diapers changed, we use Cloverine Brand Salve. By age alone, it can be considered old fashioned, but for the price and the result, it is all we use. It has worked better than anything and is great for cuts and scrapes-even chapped lips and hands.
Baby Care Tip #4 – Breast Milk – Breast milk is the best, if for no other reason than it is specifically and naturally made for human babies. You know what is in it and its source. However, there were occasions, even in the old days, when breast milk was not available. Grandmother’s solution: fresh goats milk containing a fresh egg yolk, beaten, and a table spoon of honey. She raised many children of her own and helped with neighbors children regularly. They all turned out pretty normal and healthy. When I asked, why goat’s milk, she said it was easier on baby’s tummy. My research said that goat’s milk is, for the most part, already homogenized when it exits the goat and it is more easily digested than cow’s milk. The egg yolk, she said, was for added protein and vitamins. As for the honey-she said she didn’t remember why, but her mother told her to use it in everything.
Baby Care Tip #5 – Swaddling – Say what? OK, the term may seem a bit antiquated, but the idea is still valid. When a baby is tucked securely inside mom, he has a sense of closeness and security-things are snug. Once he exits into the world, there is suddenly too much open space. New babies will often cry for what may seem no reason. Sometimes all it takes is a swaddle. To swaddle a baby:
Take a receiving blanket and lay it on the bed like a diamond. Fold down the top point about ¼ of the length of the blanket from point to point. Place the baby’s head just above the fold, so you won’t be covering the face. Bring the right or left point of the diamond over the baby and tuck under the baby’s back. Bring up the bottom point of the diamond and place it on the belly-leave enough room at the bottom of the fold so that the baby’s legs are straight. Now bring the remaining point of the blanket over the baby and snug. There have been times when this action has instantly stopped crying.
Baby Care Tip #6 – Colicky baby – colic is a fancy term for a belly ache and it can have an assortment of causes. You should always consult with your pediatrician, if your baby seems to cry too much or has many bouts of colic. One of the most common causes for upset tummies, when babies are breastfed, is what mom has eaten. That garlic bread may taste great to you, but may turn baby’s stomach. Grandma had two solutions for colic. The first involved a drop or two of peppermint oil in a bottle of warm distilled water. The second involved carrying or rocking the baby tummy down on the lower arm with the baby’s head resting in the palm and the legs and arms hanging from each side of the forearm. I have to admit, it did look a bit weird, but it seemed to stop the crying. Apparently, the light pressure of the baby’s own body against the forearm relieved the pain.
I hope you enjoyed these grandmotherly baby care tips. If you have a favorite of your own, leave it in the comments. You may help someone with your long lost bit of baby care knowledge.