Friday, December 15, 2017

Tricks of the Trade

Stepping out of mohel shoes for a moment, I'm going to share with you some of the "daddy-tricks" (which are equally good for mommies!) that I've picked up over the years of having the chance to hold (and change the diapers of) many hundreds of babies.

1. Getting everything ready FIRST
Whenever a baby needs to be cleaned, whether a full bath or a simple diaper change, it is always easiest if all necessary items are laid out in advance. Those who have a large changing table will have the easiest time with this, while smaller (regular) changing tables have everything within arm reach. The less you need to search, however, the quicker your changing job will go.  Of course, with a bath, when the water-use raises the stakes significantly, the quicker baby is out of the water and in a towel, pre-set on the counter, changing table or bed, the quicker we can all breathe easily.

2. Wipes
Don't use them. Seriously.
I know I have them listed in my list of supplies, but that's mostly because I never know the lay of the land where the bris will be taking place. And for me, in the event that I need to clean the baby, the wipes are a convenience.
HOWEVER, in my experience as a dad I've found that the number one cause for diaper rashes is... (brace yourself...) WIPES! They leave a moisture residue on the tush that gets trapped in by the diaper. Moisture of this nature is breeding ground for a rash.  My wife and I have been taking paper towels, wetting them with water and squeezing out the excess, to create the perfect wipe. No it doesn't smell like a summer breeze. But none of our babies (and we've had a bunch) over the last ten years - since we made this discovery - have gotten diaper rashes. And this moisture (water) can be patted away easily.
So use wipes as a last-ditch effort, but not as your first-attempt at cleaning. You'll save money on diaper-rash products, and you'll save your baby from the pain of the rash.

3. Method of changing 
Always put the new diaper, opened and prepared, down first, THEN put the baby on it while he's still wearing the old diaper. Open up the soiled diaper, clean baby, remove soiled diaper, CLOSE PREPARED DIAPER, then deal with folding up and throwing out soiled diaper. This method will save a lot of laundry from needing to be cleaned. You will get the occasional wasted diaper from the baby's previous mess or from his prematurely eliminating new wastes before diaper is closed. But it's a price worth paying.

4. Mohel swaddle
I really need to demonstrate it for you. Suffice it to say that you won't learn a better swaddle, not even in the hospital. (The only exception I've seen are women who have Russian ancestry (whether Jewish or not Jewish) in their blood have a good swaddle-method. )

5. Holding baby
Everybody must use common sense for how to best hold a baby. The baby might also dictate what he likes best. Some babies like being rocked in a rocking chair, while some babies hate when the person holding them is sitting down! When a baby is crying, however, other than changing his diaper, feeding him (nursing or bottle), his calmness may be dependent on how he is he held/rocked. When an adult puts one hand under baby's chest (thumb and pinky under baby's armpits) a simple and gentle up and down motion could be soothing. Also putting baby on one's shoulder, and creating a rocking sensation from the adult's knees, takes baby's soft skull concern (meaning, the worry about the damage shaking the baby could cause) out of the equation, alleviating the problem.

Hopefully we'll have clean and calm babies and households!

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