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How to Effectively Baby-proof a new House

How to Effectively Baby-proof a new House

When you’re a parent even the smallest lifestyle changes can seem daunting. You’re no longer able to think like a young student without a care in the world, and you definitely can’t make impulsive decisions. For young couples, moving to a new home is a fairly straightforward affair – you find a house that you both like, make sure to inspect for little problems, pack up your things, move and clean up before moving on to interior decorating.

Sure, there are still a lot of mistakes you’ll want to avoid when buying your first house, but things get a lot more complicated when you have a baby. After making sure that everything is in order, and you’ve bought the house, it’s time to start an extensive baby-proofing project. There will be a lot of tricks you’ll pick up along the way, but you’ll need to tackle the most glaring safety issues first. Let’s go over some of the most important areas that you have to cover.

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The Nursery

This is the place where the baby is most vulnerable, as it is the only place where you’ll leave the little rascal unsupervised for longer periods of time. There are several basic safety issues to consider here:

  • Make sure that the crib is structurally sound and up to safety standards
  • Avoid placing toys, blankets and pillows in the crib until the baby is at least 7 months old
  • Make sure everything is tucked in tightly, including the baby, and make sure the baby sleeps on her back
  • Use open shelves and add a thick rug
  • Go for age-appropriate toys and keep them in a big open box
  • Install plastic locks and pinch guards where needed
  • Have a good baby monitor near the crib
  • Throw some pillows on the floor

The nursery should be a place of rest and fun, so it’s best to go for a minimalist approach when it comes to furniture, and keep everything soft and fluffy. Apart from a few basic precautions, it won’t take much work to get this room to the highest safety standards.

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The Kitchen

You’ll probably find the kitchen to be the most dangerous place for a baby in the entire house. There are tons of sharp or easily breakable objects, chemicals, cabinet doors that swing open and so on. Here are a few big safety improvements you can make right now:

  • Install plastic cabinet and drawer locks
  • Keep all your cleaning products up on the highest shelf in the cabinet
  • Move all the knives and sharp objects, as well as plastic bags higher up
  • Glassware should be kept out of the way, with only plastic containers, cups and plates on the lower shelves and in low cabinets
  • Unplug all equipment when not in use, and keep the cables out of the way
  • Use plastic knob covers and locks on the oven and stove
  • Buy a baby seat that straps firmly onto a chair and secures the baby in place

As long as you plan smart and cover all the bases, you won’t need to spend much to baby-proof the kitchen, but you’ll need to set some boundaries as well. Let the child know that some things are off limits, and have additional safeties in place, just in case. There are tons of useful books on parenting, and regular reading has all kinds of added benefits, so be sure to do plenty of research – you can’t just rely on safety equipment to keep your baby out of harm’s way.

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The Living Room

The biggest problem with the living room, as far as baby safety is concerned, is that there are all sorts of things to trip over and bump into. To make the living room a much safer place for your little bundle of joy, make sure to take the following precautions:

  • Move the furniture around so that there is plenty of open space for the baby to crawl and run around
  • Add a thick rug to help cushion falls
  • Use plastic covers to smooth out the edges and corners of tables, desks and other furniture
  • Make sure that there are no chairs or shelves near the windows, and avoid leaving the windows wide open
  • Big flat screen TV’s need to be wall mounted or firmly secured on a quality stand, as they are easy to push over
  • Keep remotes and other small objects up high, and have a dummy remote or smartphone that the baby can play with safely
  • Install safety gates, particular around staircases
  • Anchor bookcases to the wall, and keep heavier items and baby toys on the lower shelves, but avoid placing small decorations like snow globes and figurines high up, because they can fall on the baby
  • If there is a fireplace, cover it with a screen and keep the firewood out of reach
  • Install cordless blinds

With a little bit of work, you can make any living room reasonably safe, but don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security – always keep a watchful eye on the baby.

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The Bathroom

Since babies go to the bathroom in their pants, and multiple times a day at that, you won’t be spending too much time in the actual bathroom, but there are still a few precautions that you should take:

  • Get a decent thermometer to ensure that the water is just the right temperature when preparing for a bath
  • Remove shower curtains or get them out of the way
  • You should keep the baby on the end of the tub furthest from the faucet
  • If you only have a walk-in shower, get a plastic baby bath
  • Put a plastic lock on the toilet and all the cabinets
  • Store all electrical equipment out of sight, preferably locked in a cabinet

All in all, you should probably keep the bathroom off limits by simply locking the door, but you’ll need to have these additional safety measures in place as well.

These tips are definitely something that all new parents and homeowners should look into, but don’t let the fact that it takes plenty of work to raise a family discourage you, because as they say: “Nobody ever said life was easy… they just promised that it would be worth it.”

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Nemanja Manojlovic

Editor at MyCity Web

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Published on November 30, 2018

Signs of Postnatal Depression And What to Do When It Strikes

Signs of Postnatal Depression And What to Do When It Strikes

Postpartum depression (PPD) strikes about 15% of women around childbirth.[1] Moreover, this mood disorder is estimated to affect 1% to 26% of new fathers.[2] The causes of which are thought to be linked to hormonal changes, genetics, previous mental illness and the obvious change in circumstance.

The stigma of mental health – with or without support from family members and health professionals – often deters women from seeking help for their PPD. In this article, I will show you 10 ways to begin overcoming PPD.

Symptoms of Postnatal Depression

Postnatal depression is defined as depressive disorder, beginning anytime within pregnancy up to the first year of the child’s life. The symptoms of post natal depression are the same as those of depression. In order to receive a diagnosis from the doctor, 5 symptoms must be shown over a two week period. The symptoms and criteria are:

  • Feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness, nearly every day, for most of the day or the observation of a depressed mood made by others
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
  • Weight loss or decreased appetite
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Loss of concentration or increased indecisiveness
  • Recurrent thoughts of death, with or without plans of suicide
  • Lack of interest or pleasure in usual activities
  • Low libido
  • Fatigue, decreased energy and motivation
  • Poor self-care
  • Social withdrawal
  • Insomnia or excessive sleep
  • Diminished ability to make decisions and think clearly
  • Lack of concentration and poor memory
  • Fear that you can not care for the baby or fear of the baby
  • Worry about harming self, baby, or partner

Should you, a friend or your partner be showing any of these signs, I recommend you to seek medical advice.

Causes of Post Natal Depression

It is worth noting here that there is a difference between what is commonly known as ‘The Baby Blues’ and post natal depression.

Postpartum blues, commonly known as “baby blues,” is a transient postpartum mood disorder characterized by milder depressive symptoms than postpartum depression. This type of depression can occur in up to 80% of all mothers following delivery. The Baby Blues should clear within 14 days, if not it is likely an indicator of something more in depth.

It is not known exactly what causes post natal depression, however there are some correlating factors. These factors have a close correlation and haven’t been shown to cause PPD:

  • Prenatal depression or anxiety
  • A personal or family history of depression
  • Moderate to severe premenstrual symptoms
  • Stressful life events experienced during pregnancy
  • Maternity blues
  • Birth-related psychological trauma
  • Birth-related physical trauma
  • Previous stillbirth or miscarriage
  • Formula-feeding rather than breast-feeding
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Low self-esteem
  • Childcare or life stress
  • Low social support
  • Poor marital relationship or single marital status
  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Infant temperament problems/colic
  • Unplanned/unwanted pregnancy
  • Elevated prolactin levels
  • Oxytocin depletion

One of the strongest predictors of paternal PPD is having a partner who has PPD, with fathers developing PPD 50% of the time when their female partner has PPD. [3]

Ways to Overcome Post Natal Depression

1. Seek Medical Help

As knowledge of PPD grows, more and more physicians are becoming aware of the indicators and risk factors. This means that health care providers are looking for signs as early as their first prenatal care visit.

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If you are at risk, letting your provider know early in your pregnancy means that you’ll be given extra support and care throughout the process. It is best to seek treatment as soon as possible.

If it’s detected late or not at all, the condition may worsen. Experts have also found that children can be affected by a parent’s untreated PPD. Such children may be more prone to sleep disturbances, impaired cognitive development, insecurity, and frequent temper tantrums.

2. Therapy

This is the first line of defence against post natal depression and will commonly be prescribed alongside medication. Around 90% of post natal depression cases in women are treated with a combination of the two treatments.

You don’t need to do anything special to prepare. Your counselor will ask questions about your life, and it’s important you answer honestly. You won’t be judged for what you tell, and whatever you talk about will be just between the two of you. Your counselor will teach you how to look at some things differently, and how to change certain habits to help yourself feel better.

Therapy is personalized for everyone, but women in counselling for postpartum depression often discuss topics including; who you’re feeling, your behaviour, your actions and your life. (If you need immediate support please call the San Diego Access and Crisis Line at (888) 724-7240. The toll-free call is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.)

3. Medication

There have been a few studies of medications for treating PPD, however, the sample sizes were small, thus evidence is generally weak.

Some evidence suggests that mothers with PPD will respond similarly to people with major depressive disorder. There is evidence which suggests that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are effective treatment for PPD.

However, a recent study has found that adding sertraline, an SSRI, to psychotherapy does not appear to confer any additional benefit. Therefore, it is not completely clear which antidepressants are most effective for treatment of PPD.

There are currently no antidepressants that are FDA approved for use during lactation. Most antidepressants are excreted in breast milk. However, there are limited studies showing the effects and safety of these antidepressants on breastfed babies.

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4. Communication with Partner

Don’t blame yourself, your partner, close friends or relatives. Life is tough at this time, and tiredness and irritability can lead to quarrels.

‘Having a go’ at your partner can weaken your relationship when it needs to be at its strongest. It can be a huge relief to talk to someone understanding.

By spending time with your partner doing activities that you both enjoy, like going for a walk, can really help. This change of state, from moving location, can significantly elevate mood whilst providing ‘neutral ground’ in which to open up communication.

Be honest with your partner and show ways in which they can support you best through this time, even if it’s just talking or letting you have time to go take a shower.

5. Self Care and Rest

Don’t try to be ‘superwoman’. Try to do less and make sure that you don’t get over-tired. It’s common that women are the experts at ‘being busy’ and ‘doing it all’.

Rest whilst the baby is sleeping, and really take time to prioritise yourself. Throughout life, if you’re constantly giving out energy, you will be left feeling unbalanced. It’s important to become aware of one’s energy and making sure to give yourself energy first, before giving out is imperative.

Your body has just been through the trauma of the birth, which is very stressful. It therefore needs time to recover so taking time to yourself is important. Things as simple as a cup of tea, or shower or listening to music will really help.

6. Supplementation (especially DHA)

St John’s Wort is a herbal remedy available from chemists. There is evidence that it is effective in mild to moderate depression. It seems to work in much the same way as some antidepressants, but some people find that it has fewer side-effects.

One problem is that St John’s Wort can interfere with the way other medications work. If you are taking other medication, you should discuss it with your doctor. This is very important if you are taking the oral contraceptive pill. St John’s Wort might stop your pill working. This can lead to an unplanned pregnancy.

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It is also worth noting that fish oil (containing DHA) is being shown to correlate with lower instances of PPD. DHA consumption during pregnancy — at levels that are reasonably attained from foods — has the potential to decrease symptoms of postpartum depression,” conclude study researchers led by Michelle Price Judge, PhD, RD, a faculty member at the University of Connecticut School of Nursing.

7. Movement

Before starting any exercise program, you should consult with your doctor and find a fully qualified pre and post natal specialist. That being said, there is plenty of movement that can be done prior to ‘hitting the gym’, such as walking.

Not only does being outside positively benefit you by getting some fresh air and vitamin D. The same is said for your baby, who will likely sleep better once they’ve been outside. Exercise gets your endorphins going, which helps alleviate depression symptoms, It can also get you focused on something for yourself. In an analysis of data from 1996 to 2016, researchers discovered that moms who stayed physically active after birth experienced fewer depressive symptoms.[4] In contrast, one study found women who led a more sedentary lifestyle were, in general, more likely to experience postpartum depression in the first place. [5]

The type of workout doesn’t matter much. Yoga for pregnant women, stretching, and cardio are essentially equal in terms of making you feel better.

8. Socializing and Support Groups

Do go to local groups for new mothers or postnatal support groups. Your health visitor can tell you about groups in your area. You may not feel like going to these groups if your are depressed.

See if someone can go with you. You may find the support of other new mothers helpful. You may find some women who feel the same way as you do.

9. Accept Help

Some cultures believe that the symptoms of postpartum depression or similar illnesses can be avoided through protective rituals in the period after birth. Chinese women participate in a ritual that is known as “doing the month” (confinement) in which they spend the first 30 days after giving birth resting in bed, while the mother or mother-in-law takes care of domestic duties and childcare.

Whilst this may seem extreme, it’s worth noting that being able to accept help from your friends, partner and family can be extremely beneficial.

10. Avoid Smoking, Drink and Drugs

Which may seem common sense, however you may be tempted by the short term ‘fix’.

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Don’t use alcohol or drugs. They may make you feel better for a short time, but it doesn’t last. Alcohol and drugs can make depression worse. They are also bad for your physical health.

Final Thoughts

Most women will get better without any treatment within 3 to 6 months. One in four mothers with PND are still depressed when their child is one-year-old. However, this can mean a lot of suffering.

PND can spoil the experience of new motherhood. It can strain your relationship with your baby and partner. You may not look after your baby, or yourself, as well as you would when you are well.

PND can affect your child’s development and behaviour even after the depression has ended. So the shorter it lasts, the better.

Sometimes there is an obvious reason for PND, but not always. You may feel distressed, or guilty for feeling like this, as you expected to be happy about having a baby. However, PND can happen to anyone and it is not your fault.

It’s never too late to seek help. Even if you have been depressed for a while, you can get better. The help you need depends on how severe your illness is. Mild PND can be helped by increased support from family and friends.

Featured photo credit: Derek Thomson via unsplash.com

Reference

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