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100 Health Hacks Every Mom Should Know
April 14th, 2010
Becoming a mom means that you wear many hats, from chef to family nurse. Most moms don’t have a nursing degree, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use a little medical knowledge at home. Check out our collection of hacks to take care of your little ones like an expert.
Here you’ll find general health hacks.
- Speak up: Don’t be a silent bystander-be your child’s advocate.
- Listen to fear: Use fear as a signal that you need to know more.
- Get vaccinated: Prevent your child from contracting diseases by following the recommended vaccination schedule.
These hacks are especially for the first years of your child’s life.
- Breastfeed: Breastfeed your child for at least 6 months to improve health and help cut down on the risk of death.
- Never wake a sleeping baby: Respect your baby’s sleep needs, and avoid waking him or her up from sleep.
- Don’t be afraid to breastfeed in public: With the right location and cover-up, you can successfully breastfeed in public.
- Put babies to sleep on their backs: Always place babies on their backs to sleep.
- Use a fan in your baby’s room: Slash the risk of SIDS by keeping air moving and preventing carbon dioxide from pooling around your baby.
Make bedtime and sleeping a breeze with the help of these hacks.
- Keep your child’s room cool and dark: Be sure that your child’s bedroom is dark and kept at a cool temperature.
- Don’t give your child caffeine six hours or less before bed: Avoid food or drinks with caffeine less than six hours before bedtime.
- Get babies used to everyday noise: Don’t tiptoe around your baby-allow them to get used to the noises of your home.
- Put kids to bed when they are tired but still awake: Put your child in bed before they fall asleep.
- Avoid large meals close to bedtime: Don’t feed your child large meals before bed.
- Establish a regular bed time: Set up a regular bed and waking time and do not vary from it.
- Keep after-dinner play relaxing: Too much activity close to bedtime can keep your child awake.
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine: Give your child a warm bath or read a story before bed.
- Keep distractions to a minimum: Do not allow TV, radio, or music when your child is going to sleep.
Use these hacks to keep your kids safe at home and beyond.
- Know your poison control number: Be sure to have your poison control number handy at all times.
- Store poisons out of sight and reach: Keep poisons like medicines, cleaners, and paints in their original packaging away from children.
- Teach your child to dial 911: Take a few minutes to teach your children how to call 911.
- Check products for safety recalls: Look up your products to find out if they’ve been recalled for safety reasons.
- Keep CFLS out of lamps: Avoid using compact fluorescent bulbs in lamps that children can reach and knock over.
- Use barriers: Stair gates and window guards can help prevent falls.
- Use child safety latches: Protect children from harmful products with latches on child-accessible cabinets.
- Use a code word: Use a code word that is only known by you and close friends so that your child will know who to trust.
- Always use safety caps: Keep all medicines in containers with safety caps.
- Set your hot water temperature to 120 degrees: Prevent scalding burns by setting your hot water heater to 120 degrees or lower.
Support your child’s mental health and healthy stress levels using these hacks.
- Listen without criticism: Discuss your child’s fears and concerns.
- Focus on the positive: Help children count their blessings, even in times of trouble.
- Provide a secure environment: Be consistent and dependable so that kids feel safe.
- Lead by example: Teach your children to deal with stress by managing stress successfully yourself.
- Build your child’s self esteem: Help your child with the coping skills they need to manage low levels of stress.
- Spend relaxation time: Spending relaxed time with children will allow you to connect and practice good role modeling.
- Don’t stress too much about video games: Video games can boost problem-solving ability and dexterity in children.
- Instill confidence: As your children get older, let them build their confidence by resolving problems on their own.
- Encourage your child to express their feelings: Acknowledge your child’s feelings and assist them with comfort and encouragement.
These hacks will help you avoid accidents.
- Use and test smoke alarms: Put a smoke alarm on every level of your home and test it regularly to improve your chances of getting out alive in a fire.
- Take an infant/child CPR class: Get instructions on what to do when your child is choking with an infant/child CPR class.
- Keep hot drinks away from children: Your tea or coffee can scald a child, so keep your drink out of reach.
- Never leave a child alone in water: Don’t leave children or babies alone in the bath, even to run out for a towel.
- Avoid latex balloons: Latex balloons have been associated with a large amount of choking deaths among children.
- Keep the loops of blind cords away from children: Move children’s beds away from window blinds.
- Keep our home clean: Be sure your home is clear of small items that can cause choking.
- Check bathwater for temperature: Before you put your child in the bath, check the temperature with your elbow.
- Choose toys without small parts: Look for toys with parts larger than 1 3/4 inches.
- Keep tools out of reach and sight: Be sure to keep hammers and other tools away from children.
Food & Nutrition
Use these hacks to give your child the nutrition necessary for healthy growth.
- Minimize distractions: Turn off the TV, remove books, and toys at the table.
- Respect your child’s appetite: If your child isn’t hungry, don’t force them to eat a meal or snack.
- Never allow kids to run and play while eating: Reduce the threat of choking by keeping your child from running or playing while eating.
- Don’t make dessert a reward: Dessert as a reward sends the message that dessert is the best food.
- Don’t bribe: Don’t bribe or force your child to clean their plate, or it may result in a food power struggle.
- Don’t prepare separate meals: Don’t be a short order cook and prepare separate meals for your picky eating child.
- Give your child vitamin D: Ensure that your child gets at least 400 IU of vitamin D every day, whether it’s from milk or supplements.
- Stick to routines: Serve meals and snacks about the same time every day so that your child has a chance to be hungry.
- Cut food into small pieces: Reduce the risk of choking by cutting food into small pieces, especially hot dogs.
- Be patient with new foods: Let your child test and get repeated exposure to new foods.
- Freeze pureed veggies: Cool your child’s meal down with pureed veggies you’ve frozen into cute shapes.
- Make food fun: Serve vegetables with dip or sauce, use cookie cutters, and serve breakfast for dinner.
- Choose developmentally appropriate foods: Avoid foods that your child is not developed enough to eat, such as hard, smooth foods before developing the necessary grinding motion.
- Ask for your child’s help: Ask your child to help you select fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods.
- Keep only gross candy: Curb candy cravings by making sure the only candy around is unappealing.
- Set a good example: Eat a variety of healthy foods to encourage your child to follow.
- Supervise children while eating: Be sure to watch your children while eating and encourage them to chew their food completely.
- Encourage your child to wash their hands frequently: Make sure your child washes his or her hands before eating and after using the bathroom.
- Sneak healthy food in: Add vegetables to spaghetti sauce, casseroles, and fruit to cereal.
These hacks can help cut down on allergy symptoms.
- Keep pets out of your child’s bedroom: Help prevent your child from being exposed to dog and cat dander by keeping them out of your child’s room.
- Use protective covers: Make use of protective covers for your child’s mattress and pillow, and wash bedding once a week in hot water to kill dust mites.
- Keep your bathroom clean and well ventilated: Zap mold in your bathroom by keeping your bathroom clean and well ventilated.
- Introduce solid foods gradually: Introduce solid foods gradually to slow allergies.
- Wipe down counters: Keep mice and bugs at bay by wiping counters and keeping food put away.
- Wash or suffocate stuffed animals: Wash stuffed animals in hot water or tie them in a garbage bag for 24 hours to suffocate the dust mites.
- Gradually increase milk to fight a milk allergy: Improve your child’s milk intolerance over time by gradually increasing amounts of milk under MD supervision.
- Clean carpets weekly: Use a HEPA-filter vacuum once a week and keep your child out of the room to avoid dust in the air.
Build your first aid kit with these hacks in mind.
- Assemble a first aid kit: Keep your first aid supplies handy and all in one place with a first aid kit.
- Sanitary earplug holder: Use a contact lens case to keep earplugs sanitary and handy.
- Leaf band aid: If you need a band aid, but have none handy, tie long leaves in a pinch.
Germs & Immunity
Give your child an immunity barrier using these hacks.
- Make bubbles: Encourage your child to make bubbles with soap when washing hands.
- Expose kids to the natural world: Allowing kids to pick up germs and dirt-within reason-can help build their immunity.
- Don’t share lip balm: Avoid sharing lip balm between family members to stop sharing germs.
- Wipe one surface: Don’t use wipes on more than one surface-toss it after each one.
- Spot clean: Pay attention to areas where germs linger and make sure they are clean.
These hacks will keep your child’s skin healthy and irritation free.
- Use lip balm as thumb balm: For kids that damage their skin by sucking on thumbs, cover them with unflavored lip balm.
- Bumless diapers for diaper rash: If your child is suffering from diaper rash and needs to air out, simply cut the back out of diapers when you know a #2 is not imminent.
- Use lip balm for tissue irritation: Stop tissues from irritating your child’s skin by covering the affected area with lip balm.
- Turn old socks into scratch guards: Cover bug bites while they heal with old socks.
- Use chilly diapers for diaper rash: Help ease the pain of diaper rash with diapers stuck in the freezer.
Make medicine work for your child with these hacks.
- Call medicine "dragon juice": Encourage your child to take medicine by calling it something more appealing.
- Give your child choices: Ask if your child wants to take medicine upon waking or after brushing teeth, and give the option to take purple or red.
- Never give children aspirin: Aspirin can affect organs of the body and may be fatal, so avoid it, even "baby aspirin."
- Be generous with rewards: Offer lots of praise to give them something to look forward to with medicine.
- Use one nasal spray bottle per person: Be sure that you’re not sharing nasal spray among family members.
- Explain that you take medicine too: Show your child how you have to take medicine or a multivitamin to stay healthy.
- Don’t use multi-symptom medicines: Avoid multi-symptom medicines that can overmedicate your child.
- Have your child suck on an ice cube: Help your child tone down their taste buds by sucking on an ice cube.
- Tape empty tissue boxes to full ones: Manage germs by taping an empty tissue box to a full one as a trash can.
- Ask before crushing pills and mixing with food: Some medicines are time-release pills and shouldn’t be mixed with food.
- Avoid decongestants: Decongestants can cause unwanted symptoms including a dangerously rapid heartbeat.
- Don’t trick your child by mixing medicine with food: It’s hard to ensure the entire dose has been taken, and it takes control away from children.
- Offer a chaser for liquid medicine: Have juice or another drink ready for your child to drink right away when downing liquid medicine.
- Cure hiccups with peanut butter: Give kids a spoonful of peanut butter to stop the hiccups.