Having a baby is one of the most beautiful things that could happen in a parent’s life. Yet, it is also challenging. Raising your newborn child is not easy. It takes a lot of effort and patience to nurture your child until he or she reaches the stage of complete development. Though some of the time this task is can be quite challenging, the joys certainly outweigh any negatives. Here are some suggestions for successful baby nurturing:

1. Feeding

Breast milk is recommended for the first year of a newborn’s life. This is to give the baby the optimum sustenance to grow and progress. Generally speaking, the newborn child should be breastfed about 8 to 10 times a day during the baby’s first few weeks. As a parent, it is necessary that you know when your baby is getting the proper nourishment needed. Some indications that your baby is feeding well is when he or she is having four or more wet diapers a day or having a bowel movements 3 times or more a day.

2. Sleep

Don’t be surprised if your newborn child spends the majority of their time sleeping. It is common for infants to sleep most of the time, around 12 to 20 hours a day. When putting your baby to rest, it is advised by most doctors that you put your baby on his/her back, on a firm mattress. During cold weather, it is best that you dress your baby with warm pajamas to keep him warm rather than using a bedspread.

3. Bowel movements

Determining if your newborn child is having a bowel movement is easy. It is usually apparent when he starts to become quite hard to please, his face turns red, and he starts to cry and tends to move his legs. It is natural for newborn babies to pass a lot of gas so don’t be surprised if this happens often. If your baby is breastfeeding, it is quite normal that he will pass stools a couple of times a day. On the other hand, babies that are formula fed do not pass stools quite as frequently. Should you ever see any signs of blood in the stool of your baby, immediately give your baby’s physician a call.

4. Dressing your newborn

Providing your baby with the proper clothing is very important. Keep in mind that you should use clothing that is comfortable and appropriate. During cold season, you should clothe your baby with knit caps and booties. Though parents often want their baby to look fashionable, it is better not to overdress your newborn. Babies struggle to regulate their body temperature and therefore rely on layers of clothing to stay the right temperature.

5. Baby’s day out

Taking your newborn child can be fun. However, you need to consider when and where you can take your baby. Limit outings to nice days. It is important to keep your baby away from people with colds or any other form of illness. Also, avoid direct sunlight for this may harm your baby’s skin. In addition, avoid taking your baby to crowded places while your baby is only a couple of months old.

To sum it up, proper nurturing of your newborn child is a rewarding experience. You’re not only able to personally attend to your child’s needs, but you also get to enjoy quality time where you and your baby can bond together.

As with every generation, mothers and daughters share a special bond. Though one is not quite a woman and one, in many ways, is still no longer a girl – they each bear the qualities of each other. Little girls want to grow up fast, and dear sweet moms want to regain their youth. Mothers also know how important it is to be a good role model for their daughters.

So, with only the best of intentions, moms and daughters travel their journeys through life. It is every mother’s hope that their daughter grow to be strong, independent, caring, and giving. A mother’s dream is to enjoy the fruits of her labor (no pun intended) …to know that her daughter is happy, confident, and kind to all. There are many detours and roadblocks along the way, but you can overcome them using these four building blocks to obtain and maintain a relationship with your daughter that will last a lifetime! Because of your efforts in developing this relationship now, not only will you enjoy a close unique friendship with your daughter, you will also pass on to her the wonderful gift of future strong relationships with her own children. Really, what can be more important and rewarding than that? Not much, it ranks right up there at the top!

Life is based on building blocks. Relationships, too, are based on the same. Given the tools, you can build yours strong…strong to last the bumps in the road and the trials of life. A strong foundation provides the anchors to weather any storm. It’s never too late to begin. With each new day comes renewal, forgiveness, and a positive step towards building once again.

BLOCK #1…TRUST.

Without trust, any relationship doesn’t stand a chance! Trust often is confused as a “given”. A God given right! As a loving mother, your daughter has grown to trust YOU. She knows you will pick her up when you say you will. She knows that she is cared for and provided for by YOU. Your daughter also knows your love is unconditional and that regardless of her doings, you’ll be there. She might get yelled at, but she TRUSTS you above all. Realize that YOU have earned her trust through word, credibility, and actions.

How about her perception of earning trust? Each young lady must understand that TRUST is earned. The same way YOU earned her trust in YOU! Ask yourself: Why is it that sometimes we feel the need to accredit our children with attributes that should be earned? Our daughters need to understand that trust is patient. The small steps/small rewards process is a journey to gaining their independence. They need to take responsibility for earning the trust, and guarding it dearly, as one of the most valuable aspects of your shared relationship. When you, as her mother, make this important, it becomes important.

There are five steps to establishing trust between a mother and a daughter. Each important and well guarded. They include: HONESTY; AWARENESS; FOLLOW UP; CONSEQUENCE; and finally, PRIVILEGE. Knowing each of them and how to apply these steps to a working relationship is key in maintaining a loving relationship.

BLOCK #2…COMMUNICATION.

Funny when our children are born, we seem so in tuned to their needs. We know the difference between a hungry cry and a mad cry. We can sense the slight mood change and worry for hours that there is a cold coming on. As our little girls grow, we teach them to talk. We repeat sounds and clap for joy when they say “ball” and “Mama”. We are elated to know that our little girls are on their way. We pay close attention to all of their needs and kiss them softly and quietly goodnight.

Just because we teach language, an ensemble of “sounds” does not mean we teach communication. Communication as defined by Webster is: an act of transmitting OR an exchange of information or opinions. Think about this, “an act of transmitting” which can mean giving orders, commands, and/or instructions. This of course is necessary at times. It means we mean what we say – and do it! No questions, no discussion. This form of communication is certainly acceptable and appropriate at times. Taking the other side of the definition, “an exchange of information” we understand this to be a form of exploring another’s opinion, thoughts, and logic. This too is very important. As a matter of fact, this is the foundation of effective communication involving two people.

When does it start? As our girls learn their words at the age of 2, they also begin to learn communication skills. These skills are mostly taught by our physical reactions and not our verbal capabilities.

Physical reactions involve the delivery of our words, the tone of our voices, and the actions of our body. It is not about getting through – it’s about logical reasoning and openness to understanding another human being. Since your daughter has already achieved a level of trust in you, she will embrace your skills of communication if delivered in a manner that support her best interests without threatening her own desires. YOU, as the parent, are in control at all times. YOU just need the tools to help educate your daughter on the ways of the world. With these tools and exercises, you are able to begin to lay the strong foundation of open-minded, free exchange of information without losing your position of authority. Remember communication can be a “two way street” or a single command. Your choice, your control.

BLOCK #3…EFFECTIVE LISTENING.

Now that we have defined communication, I urge you…don’t spend too much time talking. Teach by actions as well! How? It’s easy…(once you understand how). Spend a lot of time listening!!! Effective listening provides an avenue showing insight into your daughter’s life. There is so much you can learn by listening and observing. Listening not only involves what your daughter says, it involves what others say too. This includes her friends, teachers, enemies and anyone she has contact with. I’m not suggesting you spy or have “reports back”. Just listen – you’ll learn more than you can imagine. Listening is a skill. Creating environments of opportunity is what you want to do. For example…Car pools are painful to be sure, but when you pick up a bunch of her friends, keep the music to a soft level – don’t talk – just listen! The girls will be open with their chatter and you’ll be able to interpret not only the quality of her friendships, but the collective views of the group. This can be very valuable in future conversations you may have with your daughter. It’s also a great way to get to know her friends! Subtle suggestions from your side will have a better impact if you are more informed…remember what you learned regarding communication…Since your daughter has already achieved a level of trust in you, she will embrace your skills of communication if delivered in a manner that support her best interests without threatening her own desires. YOU, as the parent, are in control at all times.

BLOCK #4…LETTING GO.

Letting go is the ongoing process we all deal with. When, how, just enough, not too much. Knowing when to allow your daughter to find her way and knowing when to hold her hand and guide her. There will be times when your heart breaks for her, when you want to take her pain, her place, her path – but the same lessons we’ve learned, so too shall they. We realize we can’t (and should not) always shield her from everything. If you think about it, looking back on our own life – some of the most painful situations taught us the most powerful life lessons. Whether that was empathy and compassion for others, or our ability to forgive and move on; whatever crisis we face we have a choice – We can choose to be “bitter or better”. It’s a choice. In being there for your daughter, while letting go you provide the strength she’ll need to stand on her own. Through pain we grow and through growth we become whole. Sometimes there are no words, sometimes silence and solidarity speak louder than any great speech. If you have built upon the three previous blocks, letting go will be a natural process of love. There is no fear where love dwells. Your goal is accomplished – you have the strong foundation for a lifelong, healthy relationship with your daughter.

Being there involves just that…being there as a friend, a parent, a role model, a mother. Learning today how to build and enjoy a mother/daughter relationship is the best gift you will ever give to both yourself and your daughter. This is a gift that can be passed down from generation to generation, building stronger and deeper each time.

Learning about enriching your relationship with your daughter is one of the most valuable educations you will ever do for yourself. The building blocks can show you the way. From beautiful baby girl in your arms, through the turbulent teens, the age of independence and self discovery, to watching her gain total confident independence. Your reward is knowing that your job of parenting has now become your fruit of friendship.

Putting your toddler to bed can sometimes be an exercise in frustration. If you have experienced this, you might want to consider one of the following techniques to make bedtime a peaceful time.

Be consistent about bed times and waking times. Your toddler is more likely to respond positively if he’s used to a specified schedule. The earlier your child’s routine is established, the easier it is to put them to bed without incident.

Make the activities the same every night, and make the time before bed quiet and peaceful. Whether a parent tells the child a story, provides a bedtime snack, puts in a short video, or plays quiet games before putting the child in bed, consistency is the key.

Try not to lie in bed with your toddler until he falls asleep.  This might actually have the opposite effect, and might encourage your child to stay awake, and ask for drinks of water and more bedtime stories. An alternative might be telling your toddler you’re going to complete a chore and that you’ll come back in and check on them in a few moments.  It’s most likely that the child will fall asleep while waiting for mom or dad to return.  You might also want to talk about your child’s day with them.  Keep your tone soft and quiet, and try not to excite your child in the process.  Turning this into a nighttime story with your child as the main character is a fun option as well.

As the child grows older, if a consistent bedtime is maintained the task will become easier. The most important issue is consistency and repetition. If the child can expect the same thing every night, and these customary tasks are pleasant, bedtime can become a delightful family ritual. If however, your child is continually resisting sleep, talk with your child’s pediatrician, as their might be a medical problem at the root of it.

It goes without saying that the earliest food for any baby, including a vegan baby, is breast milk. It benefits your baby’s immune system, offers protection against infection, and reduces the risk of allergies. Be especially careful that you are getting enough vitamin B-12 when breastfeeding. Also, ensure your infant receives at least 30 minutes of sunlight exposure per week to stimulate the body to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D, since human milk contains very low levels.

The iron content of breast milk is also generally low, no matter how good the mother’s diet is. The iron which is in breast milk is readily absorbed by the infant, however. The iron in breast milk is adequate for the first 4 to 6 months or longer. After the age of six months, it is recommended iron supplements are introduced.

Soy milk, rice milk, and homemade formulas should not be used to replace breast milk or commercial infant formula during the first year. These foods do not contain the proper ratio of protein, fat, and carbohydrate, nor do they have enough of many vitamins and minerals to be used as a significant part of the diet in the first year.

Many people use iron-fortified infant rice cereal as the first food. Cereal can be mixed with expressed breast milk or soy formula so the consistency is fairly thin. Formula or breast milk feedings should continue as usual. Start with one cereal feeding daily and work up to 2 meals daily or 1/3 to 1/2 cup. Oats, barley, corn, and other grains can be ground in a blender and then cooked until very soft and smooth. These cereals can be introduced one at a time. However, they do not contain much iron, so iron supplements should be continued.

When baby becomes used to cereals, fruit, fruit juice, and vegetables can be introduced. Fruits and vegetables should be well mashed or puréed. Mashed banana or avocado, applesauce, and puréed canned peaches or pears are all good choices. Mild vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, and green beans should be cooked well and mashed. Grain foods such as soft, cooked pasta or rice, soft breads, dry cereals, and crackers can be added when baby becomes better at chewing.

Your baby’s cold can be just as hard on you as it is on her.  But you can help ease your baby’s discomfort and keep the infection from worsening by ensuring she gets sufficient rest and liquids, which would include breast milk or formula if she’s less than four months old.  Older babies can have a little water, and by six months she can begin drinking juices.

To relieve congestion, try squeezing some over-the-counter saline solution drops into each nostril, then suctioning with a rubber bulb syringe after a few moments to remove the mucus and liquid.  This works well about fifteen minutes prior to a feeding if it’s difficult for your baby to breathe nasally while nursing. A bit of petroleum jelly to the outside of your baby’s nostrils can help reduce irritation.

Sitting with you in a steamy bathroom while the hot water’s on in the shower for about 15 minutes, or using a cool-mist vaporizer or humidifier to increase the moisture in your baby’s room should also help provide some relief for her.  A warm bath could also work, and might provide her some additional comfort.

Sleeping at a slight incline may also help relieve postnasal drip. However, don’t use pillows in her crib to accomplish this; the risk of suffocation is too great.  Try placing a couple of rolled up towels between the crib springs and mattress, or you might also want to try allowing her to sleep in her car seat in a slightly upright position.

Be sure to contact your pediatrician at the first sign of any illness in an infant less than three months old, especially in instances of a fever of 100.4 degrees or if she has a cough.  Your pediatrician can give you guidelines about what constitutes a fever in older infants.  If baby’s symptoms don’t improve within five to seven days, her cough worsens, she’s wheezing or gasping (possible pneumonia or respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV), or tugs at her ear (possible ear infection), your pediatrician should also be notified immediately.