When Should You Introduce Fast Food to Your Child?

Fast food companies are starting to make their kids’ meals healthier. That being said, even adding apple slices to a meal does not cancel out the other unhealthy food that comes along. Things like French fries offer very little nutritional value, especially to a kid who depends on all the nutrients and vitamins for a normal development. Let’s be realistic though, very few kids are going to make it to adulthood without ever having fast food. It’s convenient, it’s easy, and kids love the little toys that almost always accompany their fast food meals. No child is going to perish with the occasional fast food.

But when should you introduce your kid do fast food?

NOT Too Early!

Any time before a year old is too early to introduce fast food to a kid. Before 12 months, they need little more than fruits, vegetables, and formula/breast milk. The risk of allergies is very high when introducing certain foods before the first birthday as well. Lastly, children under the age of 1 do not usually possess the teeth nor the skill to thoroughly chew any foods served at fast food restaurants. Sure, you could break up French fries tiny enough, but why? There is no reason to feed any child under the age of one anything from a fast food restaurant.

What does “too early” mean, though? Personally, I would say “keep the kids away from fast food forever”. We all know that it’s not going to happen, so let’s be a bit more realistic: no fast food before the age of three. Kids so young need vitamins and minerals, not a ton of calories and fat and salt to have their kidneys work like factories. Remember, most likely you haven’t eaten any hamburgers and fries until you were three either and not because people were stupid back then!

Toys

After the first year, it might be a little more acceptable to allow children to have fast food (by some). Their teeth and chewing skills are further along, they need more variety, etc. However, remember that even the toys they give along with the kids’ meals are rarely for any child under the age of three. Parents are urged to ask for special toys for children under the age of three. This should make a statement. Fast food companies cater to children and try to rope them in by adding a toy to meals. But even they do not want to cater to those under the age of three.

Keep in Mind

Keep in mind when deciding when to introduce your kid to fast food that all the experts agree that healthy eating habits are formed early on. Allowing fast food as an occasional treat can turn into a regularly served meal very quickly. After a few times, your child will start begging for French fries or chicken nuggets or burgers on a regular basis. It is up to you to say no, but once they really get a taste for this food, it will be hard to enforce healthy food anymore. If they don’t know how good it tastes (because of the extra salt and sugar and fat that are NOT BENEFICIAL to the kid’s health), they won’t ask for it!

Put it off

Obviously this is an individual parent’s decision. Some will introduce early and some will introduce later. Kids can do perfectly fine with the occasional fast food meal. In the end though, it is highly recommended to put off introducing for as long as possible. Your kids truly need to let those good, healthy eating habits get into place before they should be allowed anything else as a treat. Once they are in the habit of eating lots of fresh food, vegetables, and fruits, then they will be better able to handle occasionally having something unhealthy. Good luck!

Baby Screams and Cries When Changing Diapers – What to Do?

If your little wonder is anything like my son, whenever you try to change diapers, baby will scream and cry as if you’re torturing the little fellow. This was heart breaking at first, but it got old pretty fast and I started to wonder: what do I do to stop baby from screaming and crying and acting so crazy when I change his diapers? Especially since it’s starting to turn into a similar thing when I change his clothes.

The truth is that my baby (and yours) are not the only ones who don’t like to get their diapers changed. Most of the babies I know have the same problem: as soon as you put them on their back, ready to change diapers, they start screaming and crying. It’s even worse when trying to change a poopy diaper when they try to turn around and run away. It’s frustrating and discouraging, but you shouldn’t let this get to you as there are some methods to work this around!

How to stop baby from crying when changing diapers

Apparently, their biggest problem is that with having to lay on their back. All babies seem to hate that and until they outgrow it (mine is 13 months old and still hates it), we have to find some ways to distract them.

So the best way in my case – and I am sure it will help in yours – when you are getting ready to change the diaper is to give baby something to hold. Regular things won’t work that well: make sure it’s something that they’re not usually allowed to hold (like the remote control, a bottle of shampoo or anything that they haven’t seen yet and they might enjoy holding). This works like a charm and it will keep the baby busy long enough for you to change the diapers. But you still have to be very fast!

This means that in order to reduce the crying and fighting when changing diapers, you should first make sure that you have everything in order and ready to use: the wet wipes, the diaper itself and any cream that you’re using on your baby’s bottom. Then, as soon as you place the little one on their back, hand them the wonder object and be as fast as you can.

Another method that some mothers have tried and had partial or complete luck with was to start getting the baby used with laying on their backs. Every day, when baby is not fussy, just place them on their back for a while. Do it while playing with them or while they hold objects they are interested in and slowly increase the duration. In a week or two they could learn and accept to lay on their back for a couple of minutes, more than enough to change the diaper.

So worry no more, as you are not the only one having this problem, and the distraction method works like a charm. now we can only hope that they will outgrow this very soon and all the fighting and crying will soon become nothing but a bad memory.

Do you have any other tricks that you use for stopping the baby from crying? Let us know by commenting below

Does a Baby REALLY Need a Pacifier? NO!

TV shows, cartoons, commercials, your mother and your next door neighbor – they all tell you the same thing: your baby needs a Pacifier. The Pacifier is good. You “must” give your baby the pacifier, there’s no other way to do it.

But does your baby really need a pacifier? Certainly not, and even though I am not going to quote any studies or anything else than my personal opinion and a bit of common sense and knowledge, I will hopefully make you understand that indeed Pacifiers are not a must for your baby and they might actually cause more trouble than solve problems.

The general consensus is that Pacifiers help babies relax. They keep on sucking on those plastic bits and they seem so calm. No more screaming, no more shouting, no more temper tantrums… just silence and serenity. The babies love them, why shouldn’t you give yours one?

Well, because babies don’t love them, in the first place! No baby that I know – or parents that I have talked to – just gave the pacifier to their baby and they joyfully accepted it. Not, it was a long and difficult process of getting them used with them as all babies will initially spit them out, refuse them and even cry when you try to give it to them. Tricks to make them accept them faster are varied and usually unhealthy: from the kind-of-acceptable “put it in milk before giving it to the baby” method to strange ones like soaking them in syrup, honey or other foods, these are nothing but tricks that we use to get the babies used with the pacifiers.

Why are we doing this and we’re basically lying to ourselves that it’s a good thing? We do it to shut the baby up. Really, that’s the only real use of the pacifier, in my opinion.

Is the baby crying without a reason? Give them the pacifier! Is the baby screaming? The pacifier will fix that. Do you want to watch your favorite show? The pacifier’s the answer.

Just like with feeding the bottle to the baby, the pacifier is the easy way out. Less stress for you, a silenced baby, everybody’s happy. Or is it?

Using a pacifier comes with a bunch of possible problems related to it, like:

– teeth problems
– nipple confusion (aka just like most men nowadays, they start to prefer plastic to the real thing)
– long lasting bad habit

It might be difficult to get the baby used with the pacifier, but it’s a lot more difficult to have them stop using it. My parents joyfully told me that when I was little I had no intention of giving my pacifier away so they had to sprinkle hot paprika powder on it to make me stop using it. This is absolutely outrageous and just shows how difficult it is for a baby to stop using this little demon.

Based on my own experience with my little wonder who is now 14 months old – and was never given a pacifier – there are no reasons for me to wish to turn back time and get him used with it. People said that he will instead suck his fingers and that’s an even worse habit, but it didn’t happen. It had a couple of months when he indeed sucked on his thumb and we were worried that it’ll turn into a habit, but it’s been months now since he did that, so we can cut this off the list.

We were also told that he will scream and cry way more without a pacifier. I don’t really know how things would’ve been otherwise, but I am still here, sane and stress free as my baby didn’t seem to cry more than your regular kid. On the contrary, since his mouth wasn’t always full, he is laughing a lot, talking a lot and, at 14 months old, he already knows to replicate some animal sounds, has a dozen or so words that he constantly uses and and always talks the baby gibberish that my wife and I absolutely love.

In other words, I see no reasons why a baby would actually need a pacifier. We did just great without one and I am sure we’re not alone here. So don’t take the easy route and choose the pacifier to silence your baby – that’s not why you had him or her!

A Man’s Take on Breastfeeding in Public

Breastfeeding in public seems to be a delicate subject nowadays and a topic that’s getting more taboo than it should. Even more, for some strange reason, there is an increasing number of people that are completely against breastfeeding in public, from moms to dads, from strangers to doctors, from relatives to a couple aliens I chatted last night. And except for the aliens who have no idea how humans works, all the others who are against breastfeeding should take a deep breath, think about it for a second and understand that this time they are awfully wrong.

I guess that this intro makes it pretty obvious what’s this dad’s take on breastfeeding. I am completely for breastfeeding your little fellow and a big supporter of all the mothers worldwide who have the power to ignore an ever-growing mob that’s against this natural, normal, humanly thing to do.

First of all, a starting message for those who are against breastfeeding: if you’re 30 and over, then you have most likely been breastfed when you were little. For one year. Maybe two. Maybe more. Think about it!

And if you don’t think about it, here’s why this dad’s take on Breastfeeding is: “Go for it! Anywhere!”

When my son was born 15 months ago, I knew nothing about breastfeeding. I had no opinion about this, I didn’t even think about it too much. I had no idea that there are implications, diehard supporters and people who are against breastfeeding (usually in public) and I didn’t care.

But now, as a parent and even more, as a parent that kept learning and reading because he wants his son to get the best in life, now I have a strong opinion regarding breastfeeding. Now, after my wife – who’s obviously a pro-breastfeeding person too – took classes and became a little breastfeeding expert, now I understand that this is probably the biggest early mistake that we do regarding our children: not feeding them the ONLY thing that has been created by nature (or God, whatever your take is on this) specifically for the babies.

It’s not the formula, it’s not the veggies, it’s not the fruits or the meat, the water or the synthetic vitamins, the supplements and pills, it’s nothing else in this whole world. The only thing that has been and is being created naturally, exclusively and specifically for the feeding of a baby is their mother’s milk.

You can read a million things regarding the mother’s milk, you can easily find out why it’s so great, how incredible it is – changing in nutritional value based on the baby’s age and needs, but I will tell you one thing: I was surprised to find out how insanely beneficial it is to a kid’s health. And I will use my baby boy as an example:

Ever since he was born, he was breastfed. 15 months later he is still snacking on the delicious mother milk and we both hope he’ll continue to do so for the month to come. Last winter, when the little fellow was just several months old, I caught a terrible cold. That type of cold that keeps you in the bed for a few days. I was terrified that if my adult body was so weak, it will be even worse for my son. And it did happen: my wife had caught the cold and we both passed it to our son. Guess who had the easiest possible form? The little fellow that was being breastfed, getting the antibodies from the mother and getting the early advantage on the nasty virus.

If I hadn’t seen it, I wouldn’t have believed it. And that was the moment for me when I realized that this is the way to do it. This is the way to feed your baby: by using the natural mother’s milk.

There are interests worth billions of dollars that try to trick you into believing that you can’t feed your baby. That you will “lose” your milk (which is silly, because you only lose that milk if you stop giving it to your baby). That the formula is easier, it’s safer, it’s got everything your baby needs. Well, guess what? It doesn’t! It’s a mixture of chemicals, created in a lab. It’s something that you would no eat. It’s something that you would not order in a restaurant: if you were to choose from a tasty, succulent steak and a puree of chemicals, with a bland taste and a terrible smell, what would you choose?

Breastfeeding in public

Interests aside, breastfeeding is not such a big problem as long as mothers do it away from the eyes of the public. You can’t really criticize what you don’t know is happening. And then your little fellow gets hungry when you’re at the mall and you decide to do the natural thing: breastfeed. And that’s when all hell breaks loose.

Why? Because people are stupid.

Because people are uneducated. Because people are so bored in our society that they love to complain. And, of course, because people are stupid.

People are complaining that breastfeeding in public is disgusting. Do you know what’s disgusting? A 300 pounds bearded man eating chicken nuggets, licking his short, greasy fingers, with a mixture of mayonnaise and ketchup in his beard, dripping in his diet Coke that he’ll slurp instantly before burping.

People are complaining that breastfeeding in public is too sexual and is hurting the bigger kids. Do you know what’s sexual? That chick in front of you at the line, with her g-string visible above her four inches skirt, wearing a revealing top that’s three sizes smaller. Or maybe that huge billboard ad promoting the latest bikini model. Most of the music videos that your kids are watching. The internet.

When a mother is breastfeeding, she won’t take off her clothes, reveal everything and scream dirty words to the passers-by. No, if you have ever seen a mother breastfeeding, you have certainly seen… nothing! Just that tiny head positioned right where you know the boob would be. You see minimal skin (way less that you would normally see from a generic cleavage or your regular see-through dress) and if you get aroused by looking at that, you have a problem.

And do you know what’s the easiest way to deal with this? If you really hate breastfeeding in public, there’s one single thing you can do to solve the problem: DON’T LOOK! Problem solved!

And to all the mothers out there who breastfeed their kids, kudos to you all! You have my complete appreciation and I am not the only one. But this shouldn’t matter at all. What should matter – and should be the only thing that matters to all mothers – is that you’re doing exactly what’s best for your baby. And when you know that, nothing else matters. Let the people scream, let the people fight, let the people be stupid. All that matters in this world is your baby. And you’re doing it right. Congratulations!

Can You Really Work from Home with a Baby?

You probably have some friends who do it already. Maybe you’ve done this before Baby arrived and you’re considering to keep on doing this after she is born. Working from home is not that difficult, in the end, and the answer to the questions: “Can you work from home with a baby?” seems easy to answer. But can you REALLY work from home after the baby is born?

I will tell you, as a first hand experience, that things will be extremely difficult. I am self employed and I was extremely happy to know that I will be able to spend so much time with my son. Do some work at the same time and earn money? Sounds like a match made in heaven!

But the truth, the real, day by day, frustrating and tiring truth is completely different! It might be all pink popsicles and unicorns for the first few weeks – maybe a couple of months – but afterwards, when the little fellow starts to get moody and cranky and have needs and learn how to crawl and learn how to come to your office and want this and want that and want a hug, a kiss, a pen or just to smash your keyboard while screaming… then things become really difficult and you’ll understand that unless you are the master of procrastination and getting things done in very short bursts with lots of breaks and distractions in between, working from home with a baby is far from the idyllic “sip my cocktail while working” lifestyle you were hoping for (or having before the baby’s arrival).

Are you also acting as a stay at home dad (or mother, depending who’s reading this article)? Then I think that doing any work becomes almost impossible. I am fortunate enough to have my wife on a long maternity leave and she takes care of the baby while I do the work. But I still get interrupted a million times during the day, distracted and there are still things that need my presence. If I were to be the only person taking care of the baby, I would simply find it impossible to write a full article in 8 hours. A 500-word one, not a book!

Imagine that things similar to what I’m detailing below would happen, more or less, on a daily basis:

1. Baby wakes up whenever he wants to. In our case, anywhere between 5:30 AM to 7 AM. Wakes up fully rested and in a MAJOR need of some play time.

2. At 8, you’ve got to feed the angel. Depending on their mood, it can last anything between 10 and 60 minutes. Screaming, throwing food, laughing and munching on toes, fingers, the chair and the wrong end of the spoon are usually included.

3. A bit of extra time before the baby’s morning nap. 20 minutes when you think you can write something because you let him roam freely in the room. You don’t get much done with one eye on the laptop’s screen and the other making sure that Baby doesn’t eat that book or smash the toy car with his head.

4. It’s about 9:30 when you put the baby to sleep. If you’re lucky, you’ll have 60 to 90 minutes to do some work (but you actually realize that you have to wash the dishes, prepare some food for his lunch and clean up the room a little bit).

5. You’re unlucky. The Baby wakes up 20 minutes after going to bed, screaming. You try to put him back to sleep for 20 minutes before giving up. During the time, you get you earns and hair pulled even though you keep saying “NO”.

6. You take the baby for a short stroll. Depending on the mood, it can be a short one or a longer, more relaxed one.

7. You have to feed the baby at 1 PM. The food’s not ready and he starts to scream and get really irritated. Nobody loves to be chained to a chair waiting for food! The feeding process is similar to the breakfast and you can never predict how long it will take.

8. It’s play time again, after trying to wash the baby’s hands and face and getting soaked in the bathroom. All the things that you’ve cleaned earlier today turn into an even bigger mess. Maybe you get a total of 20 minutes of work, 10 seconds at a time.

9. You are already exhausted, but fortunately so is the baby. It’s 3PM and it’s time for the afternoon nap. For the baby, not you, because you have dishes to clean, carpet to clean, take your first shower and stretch your legs for 20 minutes, if you are lucky.

10. You’re unlucky (again). Baby wakes up earlier than usual and you know it’s going to be a long(er) day. He’ll want a short snack or maybe a bottle, then you lose 15 minutes trying to dress him up before taking the little fellow to the park. You can’t wait for him to learn to walk alone so you won’t have to carry him everywhere. Every other kid looks like an angel. They probably are not.

11. When you get home, you have to prepare dinner for the baby. If you’re lucky, your spouse is back home and they can help a bit, even though they did work the entire day too and they too need a break. But who can take breaks when parenting is involved? Instead, you both get stressed and even more tired.

12. After dinner, while the mom/dad catches up with the baby, you can finally get some work done. 60 minutes tops, because the baby needs you again!

So, pretty much, difficult! Of course, I have exaggerated a bit here, but a very bad day could look exactly like the one I have described above. The truth is that even during the best days you won’t be able to do much work done. But this is the challenge and charm of working from home and I still believe that it beats a regular 9 to 5 job.

How to Keep Your Children Entertained During the Winter

Winter is coming – and I am not only saying that as an excuse to randomly quote the famous line from the Game of Thrones series. I am saying it because, as the bad weather comes upon us, there are fewer and fewer things that our kids can do. Or at least that is the impression we have, because they stop being able to spend as much time outdoors as they did over the summer or when the weather was better.

But the bad weather and winter itself don’t have to be mean that your kids will spend all day long inside playing video games or watching TV all day long, getting bored and out of shape. On the contrary, there are a ton of things that you can do inside and keeping your children entertained during the winter will prove to be not so difficult if you put some energy into it. And since you’re reading this article, you are definitely ready to do it!

Of course, I will start by telling you what we do here in our family – things that have worked nicely over the years and kept the kids happy. They are growing older and we have to come up with new ideas, but this is one of the challenges of parenting, and this is something that we absolutely love doing. There are many things that people know – which I consider common sense things and I won’t share them here – but some really work in our case and they’re definitely worth sharing!

So here are a few suggestions of my own on how to keep your children entertained during the winter:

1. As soon as fall hits, we start spending as much time as possible outside gathering fallen leaves. We try to get as many colors and shapes as possible and stockpile a ton of leaves. These will be extremely useful during the winter, but they also keep the kids entertained when collecting them. It’s slowly becoming a favorite activity, allowing the little ones explore the world, make decisions and then see their choices turned into entertainment later on (as we paint the leaves, glue them onto pieces of paper and create funny characters and use them to build mini forts or houses for fairies).

2. We consider winter to be a great season for expressing one’s creativity, so we use everything that we have on hand: from paper mache to drawing, painting, building (Lego or anything else), our home becomes a workshop for their creativity and they absolutely love it.

3. It’s also a good time to help them socialize while keeping a closer eye on them. We like hosting parties (nothing fancy at all, it’s basically just kids coming over to play). Let them spend as much time as possible in the company of their friends, and they will absolutely love it!

In our case, it’s getting a bit difficult because two groups are formed, since our daughter is 7 and our son is 5 and they usually prefer doing different things, but eventually the groups join forces and play together. It’s a joy to watch the young ones interact and learn together!

4. Family bonding time is also increased during the winter. Although I’m not usually the kind of parent that enjoys encouraging their children to watch TV (since I want them to be as active as possible), I can’t ignore the bonding time that it offers. Since during the winter we like just being lazy on the couch watching a family-friendly movie, we get the kids close, tuck them in and watch the movie together. It’s absolutely beautiful and we all love it, so one day per week is reserved to watching a movie. It’s easier as they grow older, since they actually start to show interest in these movies. Love it to bits and I’ll miss it so much when they’ll grow older!

In case you want some more actual ideas and all sorts of great suggestions, you can check out a couple of articles that are filled with activity ideas that you can perform with your kids during the winter: this article of Artful Parent (my favorite) lists 89 activities for kids, while Buzzfeed comes with some interesting suggestions of their own in their article.

So don’t let the bad weather keep you bored and upset. There are a ton of things that you can do, things that will prove not to only keep the kids busy and entertained, but the adults as well!