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Babies, Toddlers, Kids & Childrens

 

The Basics Of Baby Laundry

Ah, the sweet smell of a clean baby! You may be tempted to enhance that clean, fresh smell by running baby diapers and onesies through a final rinse with fabric softener - but don't! The perfumes in fabric softener can irritate a baby's sensitive skin, or spark allergies that cause uncomfortable rashes. With all those adorable Babies, Toddlers, Kids & Childrens and teddy bears on fabric softener packages, who would have guessed?

Here's another handful of tips for taking care of baby's clothes during ...

baby laundry, laundry detergent,baby\'s clothing

Ah, the sweet smell of a clean baby! You may be tempted to enhance that clean, fresh smell by running baby diapers and onesies through a final rinse with fabric softener - but don't! The perfumes in fabric softener can irritate a baby's sensitive skin, or spark allergies that cause uncomfortable rashes. With all those adorable Babies, Toddlers, Kids & Childrens and teddy bears on fabric softener packages, who would have guessed? <br> <br>Here's another handful of tips for taking care of baby's clothes during the first year, focusing on laundering and stain removal. <br> <br>Choose a detergent that's free of dyes and perfumes. There are a number of brands of laundry detergent that are specially formulated for baby's clothing, including Ivory Snow and Dreft. It's really not necessary to resort to those, though. You can wash baby's clothes with yours, as long as you use an allergen free, no-dye, no-fragrance detergent. <br> <br>Baby's sleepwear especially should be washed in a mild detergent made without animal fats or other water conditioners. Flame retardant sleepwear is specially treated to keep children's pajamas from flaring into flame if ignited by a spark. The flame retardant chemicals can be affected by fabric softeners and conditioners. Don't use them on baby's sleeping gowns and stretchies. <br> <br>Getting Rid of Baby Stains <br>Formula, baby food and - well - baby poop, are among the worst challenge for laundry detergents, thanks to their high protein content. To keep spills from becoming tough stains: <br> <br>-- Scrape off as much as you can, being careful not to scrub it in instead. <br>-- Get the stained item into cold water as soon as possible. If you can get it into the washer right away, let it agitate in cold water through a cycle - without soap. If you catch the stain before it dries, it may be enough to keep the stain from setting at all. <br> <br>-- Do NOT use hot water on formula stains, baby food stains or baby diaper stains. The heat can set the stain permanently by 'cooking' it into the fibers of the fabric. <br> <br>-- If the cold water cycle doesn't do the trick, add another tub full of cold water and detergent, and let it soak for half an hour. Run it through, wash in warm water, rinse and repeat. If it's really stubborn and still there after a soak and two washes, try it one more time - soak in detergent and cold water for at least half an hour, then wash in warm water, rinse and repeat. <br> <br>-- If you use bleach to help get the stain out, make sure that you rinse well to get out all traces of bleach that can irritate baby's sensitive skin. <br> <br>Cloth diapers call for special treatment. If you don't have a diaper service, make sure that you have what you need to deal with the laundering. The basics are a covered diaper pail, Borax, baking soda, bleach and vinegar. <br> <br>First: Fill the diaper pail with warm water and half a cup of Borax. Rinse diapers out before placing them in the Borax solution to soak. <br> <br>Second: When you're ready to wash, use laundry detergent, hot water and bleach. <br> <br>Third: Wash a second time, using just water to remove bleach and detergent residue. Add vinegar to the final rinse to help loosen detergent residue and whiten diapers. You can also add baking soda baking soda to the final rinse to help soften fabric.

 

Watch Out For Allergies With Baby Laundry!

So you're having a baby. You think you've thought of everything, but at the same time you're terrified that you've missed something. Here's one thing you may or may not have thought of: laundry. Yes, you know that you will have more, but have you considered the basic differences between your baby's laundering needs and yours? If you regularly use perfumed detergents, bleach, or fabric softener, your laundering habits may need some reform.

Gone are the days of washing cloth...

So you're having a baby. You think you've thought of everything, but at the same time you're terrified that you've missed something. Here's one thing you may or may not have thought of: laundry. Yes, you know that you will have more, but have you considered the basic differences between your baby's laundering needs and yours? If you regularly use perfumed detergents, bleach, or fabric softener, your laundering habits may need some reform.

Gone are the days of washing clothes just because they smell. Your baby is going to burp up stuff you've never thought of, and your laundry piles are going to skyrocket. This is only one new concern, however, since your baby's skin is much more sensitive to chemicals than you and your spouses’ grown up skin. Laundering the baby's clothing in detergents that are free of perfumes and dyes is one quick way to help ensure that your baby does not get unnecessary discomfort from irritating chemicals. There are detergents formulated specifically for Babies, Toddlers, Kids & Childrens, but for the most part as long as you stay away from perfume and dye heavy products, your baby should be just fine. There are of course rare cases in which the baby has specific allergies, in which case it is probably best to find one brand that works for your baby's skin and stick with it. Unfortunately for your baby, this may mean a short trial and error process. As with food allergies, just keep a keen eye out and make sure you seek immediate medical treatment when you are concerned about anything.

Another thing that is important when laundering baby clothing is to make sure that you launder any cloth diapers separately. If you are using cloth diapers, you may think of the obvious reason: these items of clothing are obviously much more soiled than the average baby clothing item. It is best to launder these items twice: once in bleach with a double rinse, and then a second time with just vinegar during the last rinse cycle. This is important because not only is the baby using these items a lot more frequently (so they get a lot more wear), but also they are the closest to the baby's very sensitive skin. So making sure that cloth diapers are as allergen free as possible is a key factor in keeping your baby comfortable and happy.

The last item on our laundry agenda will keep your laundry service or electric company well fed, and you plenty busy. As your baby quickly outgrows each new item of clothing, and a new one needs to be purchased to replace it, the new items should all be washed before being put on the baby. That includes outerwear and bath accessories, but is especially important for things that you buy a lot of, like undershirts, socks, and onesies. The first couple of months are particularly crucial in determining what kind of laundering ritual is best for your new addition. This is also a time in which you will be getting used to a lot of specifics about your new baby. Make sure no matter how you launder your baby's clothes, you keep a good eye out for possible allergic reactions and rashes. A comfortable baby is a much happier baby.

 

Spit-Ups: Baby Problem or Laundry Problem?

You've had your baby home a month or so, and he's a cutie--no doubt about it. There's one problem though, a problem you hadn't considered before he arrived: He pukes all the time! And it's not just a...

reflux, gastroesophageal, GER, GERD, spit-up, vomit, infant

Copyright 2006 Mike Patrick Jr, MD

You've had your baby home a month or so, and he's a cutie--no doubt about it. There's one problem though, a problem you hadn't considered before he arrived: He pukes all the time! And it's not just a little urp. We're talking over your shoulder and through his nose kind of stuff. You're embarrassed to let others hold him. Aunt Betty, the one who always knows best, thinks your baby needs to see a specialist right away, and your neighbor tells you she knows someone who knows someone who had a spitty baby who choked and died in her sleep.

You start making middle-of-the-night nursery runs to check your baby's breathing. The baby monitor is turned up so loud you can hear its electric hum, and you promise yourself once more that in the morning you really are going to call the doctor and ask to see a specialist. In the meantime, your baby is asleep. There's no unusual sound on the monitor, and no vomit in the crib. Your baby is fine, but the situation is driving you crazy.

So is
this spitting-up okay? Or is it a problem?

Most of the time, baby spit-up is a temporary form of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It's a condition caused by a loose valve on top of the stomach. From a mechanical point of view, the stomach is pretty simple. Food goes in, mixes with acidic digestive juice, and gets churned. Then the stomach gives a great big squeeze, forcing food into the small intestine.

For many, this is the problem stage. When the stomach squeezes, the valve on the bottom is supposed to open, and the valve on top is supposed to stay closed. But in Babies, Toddlers, Kids & Childrens with GERD, the valve on top also pops open, so food goes both ways--up and down.

Unfortunately, GERD is not the only cause of infant vomiting. There are life threatening causes as well. Bowel obstruction. Infection. Metabolic disease (such as PKU). So how do you tell the difference? Well, you don't do it alone. You find a doctor you trust and you let her decide. Here are some questions she'll ask:

Is the spit-up projectile? Bowel

obstructions create a great deal of pressure. These Babies, Toddlers, Kids & Childrens have very forceful vomiting, often across the room.

Is there blood or bile in the vomit? These are serious signs. Blood may indicate erosions or high blood pressure in the GI tract, and bile is common with obstruction.

Does your baby choke on the spit-ups? We're talking more than a little red-in-the-face gag here. If your baby is having pauses in breathing or is dusky blue in the face, you should seek medical help immediately. While severe reflux can cause this problem, heart defects, blood infections and meningitis can too.

Is your baby gaining weight appropriately? Severe reflux can cause weight loss, but your doctor will want to eliminate other possibilities.

Your answers to these questions, along with physical exam findings, will determine the next step. If there is a reason to suspect a cause other than reflux, some testing is likely. The most common test is the "upper GI." Your baby drinks a bottle of barium, and the radiologist takes x-rays. The barium lights up, showing the structure of the intestinal tract. If all goes well, your baby will have a little spit-up action during the exam. The radiologist will see the reflux as it occurs, and you'll have your culprit. On the other hand, your baby might not cooperate. He might not show any reflux during the test even when reflux really is the cause of the problem. Don't worry; it won't be the last time he refuses to show off for you.

Other tests are possible, but only a handful of Babies, Toddlers, Kids & Childrens need them. For most, reflux can be diagnosed on the basis of the history and physical alone. It's like my grandma used to say: If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck.

So let's say we establish that your baby has reflux. What's next? How do you make it go away? After all, that's the question that brought you in. Well, you might not like the answer. The answer is you do nothing, unless the reflux is causing a problem. Dirty laundry doesn't count here. We're talking constant fussiness or breathing difficulty or weight loss.

For fussiness, something to reduce stomach acid usually does the trick--antacids and Zantac are good examples. Your baby will still spit up, but at least he'll smile at Aunt Betty as he soils her blouse. Babies, Toddlers, Kids & Childrens with breathing problems or weight loss are a more difficult bunch. They need reduction of their vomiting.

You can start by decreasing feed volume. Refluxing infants tolerate 2 ounces every 2 hours better than 4 ounces every 4 hours. Also, try to keep your baby upright during and after feedings. This allows gravity to keep milk in the bottom portion of the stomach. Your doctor may have you add rice cereal to the milk. Not Rice Krispies. Rice baby cereal. Don't laugh. I've seen it done. Thicker milk stays down better, but it comes with a price--weight gain.

Sometimes these simple measures aren't enough. Your baby may need medicine and possibly surgery to stop the vomiting. This is reserved for the most severe cases of reflux. Medicine and surgery may have side effects and unexpected results, so it's best to make sure their potential benefit outweighs the risk of consequences. Your doctor will help you decide.

For most Babies, Toddlers, Kids & Childrens, reflux treatment is not necessary. These are the Babies, Toddlers, Kids & Childrens without projectile vomiting. There is no blood or bile in their spit-ups. They aren't choking. They have no breathing difficulty. No weight loss. No extreme fussiness. It's okay to let their milk fly over the shoulder or out the nose. It's even okay if it soils Aunt Betty's blouse. What you have there is not a baby problem. It's a laundry problem--and that's something Aunt Betty knows all about.




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