Friday, December 18, 2015

5 tips for a happy baby


The parents have spoken and Gerber® listened! That's right- a pretty significant amount of parents have let Gerber® know that they want their formula to be made without the use of genetically engineered ingredients. To go along with the release of the new Non-GMO Gerber® Good Start® Infant Formula line, I've teamed up with Gerber® to share my tips for a happy baby.


Create a routine. I know this one is pretty basic and is easier said than done, but when you can get your baby on a routine you're almost guaranteed a little more sanity and a happier baby. Newborns are a little tricky to "train," but try to start a loose routine as early as possible and it will pay off later. For us, at almost 17 months old, it's wake up, diaper change, morning snuggles, breakfast, Sesame Street and playtime, then lunch, followed by another diaper change before naptime. Afternoons can be a little tricky with the older kids coming home from school and the house being thrown into chaos, but sticking to a pretty rigid morning routine ensures Harper always takes a good nap and I get a little time to myself too. Our dinner and bedtime routine helps wind her down and prepare her to go to sleep on her own at the same time every night, with absolutely no resistance. She actually loves bedtime now!

Read to your baby. Even when your baby is, well, a baby, reading to them is important for their little brains. Plus, it will get them interested in books for when they are older and are required to read for school. By the time Harper was a year old she was bringing us her favorite books when she knew it was close to her bedtime (see- routine helps a lot!) Now her books keep her entertained all on her own and she will happily sit on the floor with a stack of them and flip through the pages, stopping to kiss the animals or characters. It's the cutest thing! She loves when her big brother and sister read to her too.


Wear your baby. This is one I wish I would have mastered way before baby number three came along because it's been such a lifesaver this time around, as well as a huge source of comfort for Harper. I put her in the baby carrier at the grocery store, at Target, at church, at the kids' sports meets and activities, and around the house when she wants to be close but I need to be hands-free. I can't tell you how cozy and happy she is when she's in her carrier! Everyone at the store always comments on what a great little shopping buddy I have while she's hanging out comfortably on my chest, and people at church have asked me if my baby ever cries (which I assured them she does- she's just really happy when she's being worn by mama. She used to nap in it while I ran errands and I could always get her to snooze in it when she was super fussy and we were away from her crib. I heart baby-wearing!


Turn off the TV & electronics. I know this one is really hard these days, but you should seriously consider limiting the amount of time your baby spends in front of a screen. I am guilty myself of using the TV and video games as a babysitter with my older kids, or caving and letting them play on my phone when I just need them to behave for a few minutes. I mean, we adults spend a good amount of time on our devices, right? How do you deny the little ones? Well, try. Hard. Kids need interactive, creative, fun, imaginative play that uses all of their senses, and they can't get all of that from a touch screen. I've seen some toddlers who can navigate an iPhone better than I can! There will be plenty of time for them to stare at a screen when they are older. Much, much older. 

Feed your baby good food. This one is huge, and you need to start early to create good eating habits. Over the last year (pretty much since Harper started eating solid foods) my entire family started changing the way we were eating, little by little. I realized how much junk we were consuming and I was worried about feeding it to a baby. Now, we try to stick to mostly organic fruits and veggies, organic milk and eggs, farm-raised meat, and we've cut way down on the amount of processed foods we eat. Sure, some weeks are better than others (depending on my mood and hormones at the grocery store), and we still indulge on foods we love sometimes, but it's easy to see how much we, the parents, affect our little ones' eating habits. If your home is stocked with junk and your baby sees you eating nothing but junk they are going to mimic those eating habits. Set a good example and eat healthy foods- encourage your baby to eat good, nutritious, healthy food that will help them grow and have energy, and hopefully they will continue those habits into adulthood and pass them along to your grandchildren!

I am so happy and proud of Gerber's decision to make all of their Good Start® Infant Formulas Non-GMO. Because they have made this change, Gerber® can offer non-GMO products to moms with a wide variety of needs, like those who supplement, those with babies who need a soy formula, those who have babies with tolerance issues, etc. 

What is your though on the Non-GMO initiative? I'd love to hear your own #formulaforhappiness tips and tricks as well.


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