It all happens so fast. First, the baby starts to roll and crawl. Then they start “cruising.” And finally, your sweet little bundle of joy takes his or her first Frankenstein steps. And just like that, you have a walker!
Now, I may have been a little over-prepared when it came to baby proofing our house. After all, I am an ER nurse, and I have seen what can happen when a home isn’t baby proofed.
I wrote this baby proofing checklist in honor of emergency nurses weekand my desire to encourage other parents to take an active stance in baby-proofing their homes. If you are anything like us, you may be a tad bit sleep-deprived and overwhelmed. I hope this list helps to make it easier to create a more safe and baby-friendly home.
Why Is Baby Proofing So Essential?
Baby proofing is of paramount importance in creating a safe and secure environment for infants and toddlers. It involves taking preventive measures to minimize potential hazards and accidents in the home. By baby proofing, parents and caregivers can significantly reduce the risk of injuries and provide a nurturing space for their little ones to explore and grow.
Babies and toddlers can hurt themselves in an instant. The prevention of accidental injuries is the #1 reason why babies need safe physical boundaries in place.
Think of it like this: Playtime + baby-proofed home = safe space for growth and learning opportunities!
As parents, it is our responsibility to make sure our kids are in a safe environment. Children need a secure place to get messy, play, explore, learn, and have fun. By prioritizing baby proofing, parents, and caregivers can provide a nurturing and protected space where their child can flourish and grow with confidence.
Here Are a Few Things To Consider When Baby Proofing Your Home:
The first item on our baby proofing checklist is the safety gate. One second, your baby is playing in one spot, the next, they are on the other side of the house trying to open up the cutlery drawer in the kitchen. Once babies learn how to crawl or walk, they can be surprisingly fast! Safety gates help keep kiddos within a safe area. Remember that you want to make sure safety gates are screwed into the wall if they are at the top of a staircase.
Note: Although safety gates are a great way to keep your baby safer, it doesn’t mean that they can’t get hurt on them. A study from 2014 found that as many as 2,000 U.S. kids visit the emergency room for treatments resulting from injuries caused by climbing or falling through gates.
Although they appear to be just tiny pieces of plastic, corner guards and edge bumpers have been instrumental in preventing a few very BIG injuries. Why? Because many corners on tables and shelves are at the same height as toddlers’ heads when they are standing (or worse, running). Hello, head injury!
If your toddler runs into the corner of a piece of furniture with a corner guard or edge bumper, they are much less likely to sustain a serious head injury.
Doesn’t it seem as if toddlers like to explore every space you DON’T want them to be in? Small children are curious creatures, and forbidden places are exciting to them. They love testing their boundaries. Doorknob covers are great for keeping little ones out of the areas you don’t want them wandering into. Especially places like broom closets, bathrooms, or out the front door.
Door nob covers just spin in circles if a toddler tries to open them. But adults can easily open it by squeezing it tightly and turning the knob.
Sliding door locks are important for baby-proofing for several reasons:
First, sliding doors can pose significant safety hazards for babies and young children. They can easily slide open, providing unrestricted access to areas that may be dangerous, such as balconies, swimming pools, or staircases. Installing a lock helps prevent accidental falls and keeps children away from potentially hazardous areas.
Second, sliding doors can be a pinch point for little fingers, and they can get trapped or injured if the doors are not properly secured. A lock prevents the doors from being easily opened or closed, reducing the risk of finger injuries.
Baby-proofing measures, including sliding door locks, provide peace of mind for parents and caregivers. Knowing that your child is safe and secure within the confines of your home allows you to focus on other tasks without constant worry.
Remember, it’s important to choose locks specifically designed for sliding doors and to install them correctly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Additionally, regularly check and maintain the locks to ensure they remain in good working condition.
Toddlers love exploration and will open up every single drawer and cabinet in your home. And if there is one that isn’t locked, I assure you, they will find it! Use safety latches to keep household chemicals, cleaning supplies, and other hazardous things out of the reach of tiny hands.
There are several types of safety locks that you can buy depending on how much you want to spend and how much work you want to put in. We used these and they work great. You can install them instantly without any drilling and can uninstall them easily when you no longer need them.
The kitchen is one of the most dangerous places in the house for a toddler. It wouldn’t be difficult for a tiny hand to reach up and turn on a stove the moment you are not looking. Stove knob covers work very much like doorknob covers and makes it impossible for a toddler to turn on.
Note: It is a good idea to get into a new habit of using only the rear stove burners to reduce the chances that your little ones can get burned. If you do need to use the front burners, always make sure the handles of any pots or pans are facing inwards so those little ones can’t pull them off the stove and sustain a burn injury.
Second, in the event of an earthquake, you don’t want any heavy furniture falling over on the little humans below (we live in California, so we have to think about that here!). For aesthetics, you can anchor furniture from the backside, so you can’t even see it unless you are looking.
List of Things To Consider When Baby Proofing Your Home:
Install safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs.
Secure furniture, such as bookshelves and dressers, to the walls to prevent tipping.
Cover electrical outlets with outlet covers or safety plugs.
Use cordless window coverings or secure cords out of reach.
Keep small objects and choking hazards out of reach.
Lock cabinets and drawers with safety locks.
Install window guards to prevent falls.
Use door knob covers to limit access to certain rooms or areas.
Secure heavy appliances, like TVs, to prevent tipping.
Use corner guards or padding on sharp furniture edges and corners.
Store cleaning supplies, medications, and other hazardous materials out of reach.
Keep hot liquids and appliances, such as irons or curling irons, out of reach.
Ensure that cords from blinds or curtains are not accessible to children.
Cover sharp corners of tables or counters with edge protectors.
Place safety covers on stove knobs to prevent accidental burns or gas leaks.
Install toilet locks to prevent drowning hazards.
Remove or secure any loose rugs or carpets to prevent trips and falls.
Use baby gates to block off areas that may pose a risk.
Check for and repair any loose or unstable banisters or railings.
Keep plastic bags, including grocery bags, out of reach to prevent suffocation risks.
Consider installing a baby monitor to keep an eye on your child at all times.
Check for and repair any loose or exposed electrical wiring.
Lock away firearms and ammunition in a secure location.
Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in appropriate areas of the home.
Remember that baby proofing should be tailored to your specific home and the developmental stage of your child. Regularly assess your surroundings for new hazards as your child grows and becomes more mobile.
Baby Proofing Frequently Asked Questions
When should baby proofing be done?
Baby proofing should ideally be done before your baby starts to crawl or explore their surroundings independently. This typically occurs around six to eight months of age. However, it’s never too early to start preparing your home for a safe environment, especially by removing potential hazards and ensuring that essential safety measures are in place.
What do I really need for baby proofing?
The specific baby proofing items you need may vary depending on your home’s layout and potential hazards. However, some common essential items for baby proofing include outlet covers, cabinet locks or latches, corner guards, furniture straps, baby gates, door stoppers, toilet locks, and stove knob covers. It’s important to assess your home and identify potential dangers to determine which specific baby proofing products are necessary for your situation.
At what age can you stop baby proofing?
The age at which you can stop baby proofing your home will vary from child to child. It generally depends on their developmental milestones and individual behaviors. As a general guideline, most experts suggest gradually removing baby proofing measures once your child reaches around two to three years old and demonstrates a good understanding of safety instructions and limitations. However, it’s essential to remember that every child develops at their own pace, so it’s crucial to assess their abilities and behavior before removing any safety precautions.
What is the average cost of baby proofing?
The cost of baby proofing can vary depending on the size of your home, the number of rooms you need to baby proof, and the specific products you choose. On average, you can expect to spend a few hundred dollars on baby proofing essentials. However, keep in mind that investing in safety measures for your child is invaluable, and there are budget-friendly options available for many baby proofing items.
Do you really need to baby proof?
Baby proofing is highly recommended to create a safe environment for your child as they explore their surroundings. It helps prevent accidents, injuries, and potential hazards that may be present in your home. While constant supervision is essential, baby proofing adds an extra layer of protection and peace of mind for parents and caregivers.
How can I baby proof cheap?
Baby proofing doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are some cost-effective ways to baby proof your home:
Use outlet covers: Affordable plastic outlet covers can help protect your baby from electrical outlets.
Secure furniture: Use furniture straps or anchors to secure heavy furniture such as bookshelves and dressers to the wall, preventing tipping accidents.
Repurpose household items: Use rubber bands or hair ties to secure cabinet doors, or repurpose socks as corner guards.
Place foam or pool noodles on sharp edges: Cut pool noodles or foam pipe insulation and place them on sharp corners or edges to protect your baby from bumps and bruises.
Use doorknob covers: Instead of buying expensive door locks, consider using doorknob covers to prevent your baby from entering certain rooms.
Remember, while cost-saving measures can be helpful, it’s crucial to ensure that the safety measures you implement are effective and reliable in protecting your child from potential hazards.
I hope you enjoyed reading this baby proofing checklist, written by an emergency room nurse & mom. It is always better to plan ahead and create safe spaces for our little ones. Accidents happen fast, but by setting up a few safety systems throughout the house, you can decrease the chances of having to take your child to the emergency room. Stay safe!
*This post contains affiliate links. Updated from original post on 11/4/18
Working 12-hour shifts as a nurse can be physically and emotionally demanding, and these challenges are compounded for a nurse who is pregnant.
Pregnant nurses may have concerns about the impact of working long hours on their health and that of their unborn child. They may also worry about exposure to harmful substances, such as radiation, chemicals, or infectious diseases.
I had a lot of questions at the beginning of my first pregnancy when I worked as a nurse:
Would I tolerate being on my feet all day?
What is the best way to prevent dehydration as a pregnant nurse working 12-hour shifts?
How am I going to keep my energy up for my entire shift?!
But by taking proper precautions and always putting safety first, working as a nurse while pregnant is possible. In fact, some nurses work all the way through their pregnancies until a few weeks or days before they give birth. However, it is important to remember that everyone has a different experience, and it is important to speak with your doctor, nurse practitioner, or midwife before making any decisions about what is right for you.
Talk to Your OBGYN About Your Concerns About Working as a Pregnant Nurse
First off, it is always important that you talk to your doctor to discuss any occupational concerns you have during your pregnancy. Continue the dialog at your prenatal appointments as you move along with your pregnancy. If you have questions or concerns in between your appointments, contact your healthcare provider.
It is also crucial that you communicate with hospital management and your charge nurse about your pregnancy. They cannot help you avoid potential pregnancy hazards if they don’t know you are expecting.
Physical Challenges of Working as a Nurse While Pregnant
The physicality of working as a pregnant nurse can be very difficult for some women, especially for those working on high-acuity floors such as the emergency department or intensive care unit. However, many hospital units are able to offer modified duties for pregnant nurses who have instructions from their doctors to stay off their feet.
Fatigue is a common concern for pregnant nurses who work long shifts. Pregnancy can cause fatigue due to hormonal changes and increased physical demands on the body. Long shifts can exacerbate this fatigue.
There are also other physical challenges pregnant nurses should consider during nursing shifts:
Working night shift or rotating schedules
Standing and walking for long periods of time
Managing nausea during shifts
Additional Pregnant Nurse Precautions and Occupational Hazards to Consider
Pregnant nurses may be concerned about exposure to harmful substances in the workplace. Certain chemicals, such as cleaning agents and pesticides, can be toxic to developing fetuses.
Nurses who work in settings where radiation is used, such as radiology departments, may also be concerned about the impact of exposure on their pregnancy.
Furthermore, infectious diseases pose a risk to pregnant nurses and their unborn child, particularly if the nurse is working with patients who have communicable illnesses.
Therefore, it is always important to wear the correct protective equipment or even possibly refrain from working with some patients.
Here is a list of some pregnant nurse precautions to consider:
Radiation from diagnostic imaging
Standing and walking for long periods of time
Working with chemo or other teratogenic medications
Risk of infections such as C-diff, tuberculosis, cytomegalovirus, and influenza
The physicality of working as a pregnant nurse (such as pulling patients up in bed)
Increased risk of varicose veins due to standing for long periods of time
Compression socks and stockings may help pregnant nurses minimize or prevent varicose veins due to standing for long periods of time.
During pregnancy, a mother’s blood volume increases by almost 50%! That’s a lot of extra fluid to be circulating through your body when you are on your feet for 12-hour shifts. This is also why many pregnant women develop varicose veins during pregnancy. if you are a pregnant nurse and haven’t invested in compression socks yet, it’s time to get a couple of pairs ASAP.
Compression socks are often overlooked as a proactive way to prevent some of the chronic issues that come from working in a profession where you are on your feet for such long hours. Pregnant women may benefit from wearing compression stockings or socks during a 12-hour shift for a few reasons:
Prevention of varicose veins
Improved blood flow and decreased risk of blood clots
Decreased swelling of ankles and feet
I was able to continue working as an emergency room nurse up until the beginning of my ninth month of pregnancy because I invested in a few quality pairs of toe to waist compression stockings. I wouldn’t have made it past my 6th month without them!
The Reebok Women’s Classic Renaissance Sneaker is an example of a great nursing shoe for pregnant nurses. They are comfortable and supportive, with a slip-resistant sole that fits the activity level of being a nurse. Plus, they have extra cushioning in the right places to help you stay on your feet all day long. The added bonus is they also come at an affordable price.
3. Pack Healthy and Energizing Snacks
Working as a nurse while pregnant requires that you fuel your body with healthy nutrients to keep your energy up!
During my first trimester, when I was pregnant with my second child, I struggled quite a bit with nausea and an overwhelming feeling of “hungover-ness” (without any of the fun the night before). I was also training to be an ER nurse, so it was more important than ever to be alert and focused.
By packing a lunch with nutritious snacks every day, I was able to keep myself energized as well as fend off nausea enough to get through each shift. I just couldn’t go more than 2-3 hours without refueling myself with something.
Admittedly, when I forgot to bring food with me, I would eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from the stash we gave our patients. Although they were nothing special, for some reason, they were the best peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I had ever had. Never underestimate the hunger of a pregnant nurse. I always felt better and was able to continue working afterward.
Here are a few easy, fast, and high-energy snacks to help your pregnant body stay energized through your 12-hour shifts:
Consider throwing some healthy snack packs into your work bag for emergencies! It’s better to be prepared than tempted by the vending machine. Good luck, and remember – you got this!
4. Go to Bed Early
Pregnant nurses need their sleep!
You simply cannot sleep too much when you are pregnant. I don’t think there is any scientific evidence to back up my claim about this. However, that was definitely my experience during pregnancy.
Here is a sleep secret that got me through 12-hour shifts during my pregnancy. I would go down to the hospital meditation room during my lunch break, find a comfortable chair and literally pass out for 30 minutes. I set my phone alarm to make sure I was back to work on time. When it went off, I was so deep in REM sleep that sometimes I didn’t even know where I was when I woke up. I was that tired.
The only way you are going to have the energy to make it through your pregnancy while working 12-hour shifts is to make sure you get as much sleep as you possibly can every night- and during the day if needed. Utilize every lunch break you have at work to take mini power naps like I did!
5. Get Some Movement If Everyday (If Your Healthcare Provider Says Its OK)
Prenatal yoga may help pregnant nurses deal with stress throughout their pregnancies.
It seems counterintuitive, but exercising while pregnant may actually give you more energy to get through a 12-hour shift. In addition, exercise during pregnancy can help prevent gestational diabetes and hypertension.
(It is important to talk to your doctor about starting any exercise routine during pregnancy. There are some circumstances your doctor may advise you not to exercise while pregnant.)
Non-impact exercises for pregnant nurses may include:
Working the night shift can be especially challenging for nurses during their pregnancies. Consider switching to the day shift if you can.
The rigorousness of working 12-hour shifts as a nurse is exhausting as it is. Add pregnancy into the mix and you might find that you are even more tired than ever.
Some pregnant nurses who have already been working the night shift continue with that schedule and do just fine. However, those who have rotating day and night schedules might find it especially hard to switch back to the night shift once they become pregnant.
Talk to your doctor about whether it is safe for you to continue working night shifts. Communicate with your manager about your specific health needs during your pregnancy. You may want to switch to a day-shift-only schedule for the duration of your pregnancy.
7. Talk to Your Manager About Modified Duty
Many facilities are able to offer modified duty for pregnant nurses who can’t be on their feet all day.
As a pregnant nurse, it may be necessary to have a modified work assignment, especially for those who work in rigorous units such as the emergency department. The physical demands of pregnancy might be too much for those already struggling with fatigue, nausea, or having to carry so much extra weight.
Talk to your manager to see if there are alternative assignments you can have, such as working at the monitor, organizing paperwork, or auditing patient charts. If these options are not available, consider the possibility of working shorter shifts or working two days a week instead of three.
Remember, always ask for help if you need it!
8. Communicate With Management About Your Intended Time to go on Maternity Leave
It is important to keep open communication with administration about when you intend to go on maternity leave. Although with pregnancy, you can’t predict the future, and babies tend to come when they are ready. Things happen and you may have to leave early anyway, but keeping communication open istypically not a bad idea.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had every intention of working up until my 38th week. But when I had my appointment at 31 weeks, my doctor thought it was best that I didn’t work on my feet for more than six hours a day. While six hours may seem like a lot for most professions, it’s not much for a hospital nurse. Sometimes we are on our feet for 10-12 hours a shift!
Yet, I still didn’t want to go off work because, for some reason, I felt like I was taking advantage of the system – which, in hindsight, I realize was ridiculous. I thought I had the grit to work all the way through.
So, I waited for two weeks before I finally presented my doctor’s note to my manager. When I finally did, I gave it to him with tears in my eyes because I knew he would have to put me on disability at that time. My maternity leave started at that moment.
It was a good thing in the long run because I had a placental abruption two weeks later and had an emergency c-section seven weeks before my due date. It is wise to listen to your doctor’s advice!
9. Enjoy Your Pregnancy
Enjoy your pregnancy!
Pregnancy can and should be a beautiful experience, even when you are a nurse working 12-hour shifts. Far too often, many pregnant nurses focus on the inconveniences and difficulties they face at work during their pregnancies
But with proper precautions, it can – and hopefully is – a time filled with some good health, gratitude, abundance, and most of all, joy.
Working as A Nurse While Pregnant Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe to work as a nurse while pregnant?
Yes, it can be safe to work as a nurse while pregnant, but it depends on various factors, including the type of work you do, your health condition, and the pregnancy itself. You should always consult with your healthcare provider and employer to assess any potential risks and discuss any necessary adjustments to your work duties or schedule.
How long should nurses work while pregnant?
The duration that a nurse should work while pregnant can vary depending on the individual’s health, pregnancy condition, and the demands of their job. Some nurses may need to reduce their hours or stop working earlier in pregnancy than others. It’s best to discuss this with your healthcare provider and employer to determine the best course of action for your specific situation.
What should I avoid as a pregnant nurse?
As a pregnant nurse, you should avoid any tasks or activities that may be hazardous to your health or the health of your unborn child. These may include exposure to harmful chemicals, radiation, infectious diseases, and heavy lifting or repetitive motions that can cause strain or injury. It’s essential to discuss any potential risks with your healthcare provider and employer to ensure that you can safely perform your job duties.
Should I work 12-hour shifts pregnant?
Working 12-hour shifts while pregnant can be challenging, especially as the pregnancy progresses, and fatigue sets in. It’s important to discuss your work schedule with your healthcare provider and employer to determine the best course of action for your specific situation. They may recommend reducing your hours or taking more frequent breaks to help manage your energy levels and reduce stress.
What jobs are unsafe during pregnancy?
Some jobs may be considered unsafe during pregnancy, depending on the level of physical exertion, exposure to hazards, or risks to the health of the mother and baby. Examples of jobs that may be considered unsafe include those involving heavy lifting, exposure to radiation or chemicals, prolonged standing, or exposure to infectious diseases. It’s crucial to discuss any potential risks with your healthcare provider and employer to determine the best course of action.
Which work should you avoid during pregnancy?
As mentioned earlier, jobs involving heavy lifting, exposure to radiation or chemicals, prolonged standing, or infectious diseases should be avoided during pregnancy. Other jobs that may be physically demanding or high-stress may also be challenging to manage while pregnant.
What week should I stop working during pregnancy?
The ideal week to stop working during pregnancy can vary depending on various factors, including the pregnancy condition, the demands of the job, and the individual’s health. Some women may need to stop working earlier in pregnancy, while others may be able to work until closer to their due date. It’s essential to discuss this with your healthcare provider and employer to determine the best course of action.
What month should a pregnant woman stop working?
Similar to the previous question, the month that a pregnant woman should stop working can vary depending on various factors. Some women may need to stop working as early as the first trimester, while others may be able to work until the end of the second or even third trimester. It’s crucial to discuss this with your healthcare provider and employer to determine the best course of action.
How do you explain leaving a job due to pregnancy?
Explaining leaving a job due to pregnancy should be done with honesty and professionalism. You can simply state that you needed to leave your job to focus on your health and the health of your unborn child. It’s important to be clear and concise in your explanation and to provide any necessary documentation or medical notes as requested.
Up until around their 5th birthday, kids spend every waking moment with a caregiver nearby, often at home. Their world is small and secure, just as they like it. Then comes school— which is exciting for many kids but may also seem scary. Spending that much time away from their parents and house seems inconceivable.
Here are a few tips on how to prepare for your child’s first day of kindergarten:
Walk Through the School, Meet Their Teacher
One of the scariest parts about school is that it happens in a place other than home. While kids with older siblings may have some exposure to school, only children and first-born kids may each benefit from visiting their school before they begin the year, perhaps during an orientation. Walking the hallways and having their parent nearby to reassure them will help them feel more comfortable with the whole process.
An even better tip is to meet their teacher. These introductions stave off any of your child’s worries that their teacher is some larger-than-life, scary person. Though tours and teacher meetings may not be possible due to the current pandemic, make sure to take full advantage if they are available. If they aren’t available, try to arrange a video meeting instead.
You should also engage in conversations before and after this in-person walkthrough. Kids need to process their emotions, and they need a trusted guardian to help them do so. Be sensitive about questions and prepare to listen to their concerns, even if they seem insignificant. If your child feels in control of the conversation, they’ll likely start to grow more comfortable with the thought of heading off to school.
Given the unique circumstances this year, make sure to leave extra space for conversation about Coronavirus. These conversations allow you to calm your child’s fears a bit while reinforcing the need for them to take preventative measures such as wearing their mask and staying six feet away from other students.
Buy and Organize Their School Supplies Together
Our last piece of advice on preparing for your child’s first day of kindergarten is to buy and assemble their school supplies together. This step also affords your child control over the process. If they get a few school items they enjoy, such as a Star Wars-themed lunch box, they’ll be more likely to look forward to starting school.
As you shop, create a plan for color-coding the folders, art supplies, and other items they’ll use every day. This is wise because color has huge benefits on learning, memory, and organization. The school will seem more fun when they have a colorful system to keep their things in order so they can focus more on learning.
We must teach our kids a foundation for healthy eating habits. Unfourtuanelty, this can be challenging for busy nurse moms, who often struggle to eat properly, exercise regularly, or get enough sleep as it is due to our crazy working-mom lifestyles.
So, how do we help our families adopt healthier eating choices when it seems like life is always getting in the way? Here are a few fun suggestions that have worked for my own family. I hope they help you too!
Involve children in the meal planning process
Teach your kids healthy eating habits by involving them in the meal-planing process.
Kids love to feel like they are a part of things, and they are more likely to want to eat healthy foods if they are included in the food preparation experience.Grant your children some say in which foods you bring into the house.
For example, if I plan to purchase grapes at the store, I will ask my son which color he wants. When we go to the grocery store together, I let him help me select the produce items that he thinks are the most appealing.Search recipes together for inspiration, so you all can be excited about the meals you will have that week.
I personally love Pinterest and use it as my primary means of saving and organizing recipes. Each child can be allowed to make one or two “special requests” for either a specific food they would like to have or a particular meal they want to eat.
Sometimes it is not realistic to prepare a family meal every single night. Here is a solution for that: make double batches when you cook to ensure that you have extra nutritious food that can easily be reheated as leftovers later in the week. When I worked 12-hour day shifts, I would often make a tray of lasagna, enchiladas, or casserole on my days off. That way, my husband could easily prepare healthy dinners for the family in my absence.
By preparing meals ahead of time, we eliminated the temptation to pick up fast food on the way home when we were exhausted and starving.
Encourage children to help out in the kitchen
Teaching kids healthy eating habits by involving them in the kitchen.
Even young children can make handy kitchen porters. They can help mix, measure, and stir years before they are old enough to be trusted near a hot stove or sharp instruments.
My son picked out a set of miniature set of kitchen tools (a small spatula, whisk, and tongs) for himself, and it makes him feel extra special when he assists me in the kitchen.You may have to do a little extra clean up at the end, but be patient and praise your culinary apprentices for helping! Fond memories and a love of cooking will be ingrained for life.
Teach kids healthy eating habits – don’t encourage them to clean their plates if they are full.
Children are very good at self-regulating their food intake. Telling kids they must finish their food, even if they insist that they are not hungry, can cause them to tune out their innate cues of fullness and may set them up to become chronic overeaters later in life.
Lead by example
Kids are always observing, and you need to practice what you preach. The nutrition standards you set for them as a parent will go further than anything you say.However, don’t always expect perfection of yourself. Parenting is hard, and some days just getting the kids fed is an accomplishment.
Holiday get-togethers, family dinners, and parties with cake and candy are perfectly fine in moderation. The point is that if you eat a variety of wholesome foods each day, your children will develop an appreciation for fresh, healthy eating as well.
Additional Information to help teach children healthy eating habits
The American Academy at Pediatrics has an archive of articles with evidence-based advice on healthy eating for children that you can find here. Consult with your children’s pediatrician or primary care provider if you have questions regarding your children’s specific dietary needs.
Cyra-Lea Drummond is a registered nurse with 15 years experience in telemetry, cardiac ICU, cardiac rehab, and home health. She currently lives near Louisville, KY, and enjoys spending her free time playing outside with her husband, son, and their dog Daisy.Content goes here
(This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see our disclosure policy.)
Going back to work after maternity leave comes to an end can be a daunting, emotional experience. Just when you have gotten used to spending day after day bonding with your baby and developing a routine – just like that – you have to go back to work. Much of the time, many moms aren’t even getting close to a decent night’s sleep, and what they do get is usually fragmented and interrupted at best.
It is hard to trust another person to come into your home and take care of your precious baby. After all, you know how to care for your child best, where the diapers are, when they need to eat, what to feed them, where and what time they sleep, and what their favorite snuggle blanket is. Going back to work is hard, but leaving your baby in the hands of others is so much harder.
The only thing you can do it prepare the best that you can (and remember, it’s probably way harder for you then it is for them!).
Here is the list of essential items your nanny needs from you:
Moms know that nasal aspirators are a great tool to unplug the baby’s tiny nasal passages. And nanny’s need to have one available so they too can unplug stuffy noses when mom isn’t there. Because the infant’s nasal passages are so small, having a stuffy nose affects their ability to breathe, eat, and sleep, which makes the nasal aspirator an especially critical need for the nanny.
Having a First Aid Kit available for the nanny is a no-brainer. Because you just never know if or when an accident might occur. Also, let your child’s caregiver know that it is 100% OK for them to call 911 if there is any concern for your child’s safety. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Despite what many caregivers think, you cannot measure a baby’s temperature by feeling their forehead or skin. You need a digital thermometer to accurately measure a bay’s temperature to know whether or not they have a fever. An easy thermometer like this one makes it simple for the nanny or caregiver to assess the baby’s temperature correctly.
Initially, I didn’t realize that our nanny depended on having a diaper bag as much as I did! But it makes perfect sense as they need all of the items inside to take care of our child when we were not there: diapers, diaper cream, wipes, extra clothes, sunscreen, set of spare keys, baby toys, etc.
Our nanny used our diaper bag when we were not there and took it where ever she went with the baby – for a walk or to the park. This is the exact diaper bag that we have been using for years, and it is still in perfect condition, even considering how much wear-and-tear we put on it.
This is peace of mind at your caregiver’s fingertips. Make sure your child’s caregiver has important numbers they might need in an emergency so they can notify your doctor, pediatrician, or veterinarian in seconds.
This card includes areas to write your police, fire, doctor, pediatrician, pharmacy, utility companies, your address & phone numbers, emergency contact names, and phone numbers, and an area to write other relevant information.
Who knew that establishing a good eat, sleep, and poop schedule could be so important? Since your child’s caregiver probably doesn’t spend as much time with your baby as you do, they need a guideline for what your baby does on a routine basis.
Also, it is written documentation for you as well, so you know what happened with your baby when you get back home. We used this exact baby journal for the first ten months of both of our children’s lives, and it was so helpful!
If you have a secret key outside of your house, then it would be wise to show your nanny where it is! We didn’t show out nanny exactly where we hid our spare outside – and on the one single occasion that she locked the keys inside- she was unable to find (resulting in my husband having to leave work and let her in). One thing I have learned is that it is important to have at least one backup plan in place. And that includes having a spare key that our nanny has access to.
Unfortunately, many women in the US only get six weeks of maternity leave (8 weeks if you have a c-section). And if you are a per diem employee like me, none of that time off is paid. For that reason, I worked right up until my 9th month of pregnancy while working as an emergency room nurse at a level 1 trauma center (thank God for pregnancy compression stockings!).
Nurses work extremely hard to care for patients like they would care for a family member, yet when they have a baby of their own, they often have very little time to bond with their flesh and blood. Add the financial strain into the mix and it can become very stressful and overwhelming. So what is a nurse who is also a brand new mom to do?
Well, I have half-glass full mentality. So for the sake of finding solutions to this conundrum that so many women find themselves in, I compiled a list of ways for mothers to plan financially far in advance of baby’s arrival. You must take care of yourself first!
The average paid maternity leave in the USA is only six weeks for a vaginal birth and eight weeks for a c-section. And if you are a per diem RN then chances are that you will not be paid at all while you are on maternity leave.
Saving for maternity leave is crucial for moms so they can spend more time baby bonding and less time worrying about money!
Unpaid maternity leave for nurses: you need to save up in advance!
After my daughter was born in 2015, I went back to work as a per diem nurse (higher hourly rate and more flexibility, but no benefits – including disability or paid maternity leave). Therefore, eighteen months later when I went on maternity leave with my second baby, I had a completely unpaid maternity leave. It made the whole situation much more stressful for me. Thankfully I planned well in advance to minimize the financial burden.
Here is how I managed to save up an additional 20K for my second maternity leave:
#1. Open a new savings account dedicated to maternity leave.
One of the easiest ways to save money is to pay yourself first. When you set up direct deposit for each paycheck, you make saving much easier. That way, you don’t even see the money hitting your checking account. Liquid cash is good, so you can use it when you need it.
Suzie Orman (one of my all-time favorite financial gurus) says that you want to have as much money saved up for as many months as you plan to take off, as well as an eight-month emergency plan. You never know when an emergency can strike, for example, a medical emergency, a job loss, or worse. The faster you can start saving into an account dedicated to maternity leave, the more prepared you will be when it comes.
#2. Make a budget and stick to it.
I prefer more of a no-budget budget strategy. I decide how much I want to save each paycheck and immediately transfer it into an online savings account as soon as payday comes.
I am aware of everything I purchase and review it each month by using a program called Mint to track my expenses. If you aren’t using this, you should be. Since I have started using Mint I have watched my savings rate take off farther than ever. It is incredible how much you can save when you know exactly where your money is going!
I’m always surprised by how many people I talk to who have no idea what they spend in a month. Needless to say, this is a poor strategy for preparing for an unpaid maternity leave. You’ve got to have a plan.
#3. Make more money now or take on extra work.
If you are currently pregnant or even just thinking about it, now is a good time to take on extra hours at work. Especially if you can get overtime pay.
As a nurse, anything over 40 hours of work a week is considered overtime at my hospital. I don’t work overtime anymore now that I have small children, but I did it during my pregnancies just to add a little more to my savings.
Also, some holidays pay time-and-a-half rates. Therefore, I have been known to pick up shifts on Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, or even Christmas. It’s not my favorite thing to do, but my family handles it by celebrating these holidays on the day before or the day after the actual holiday. When children are young, they don’t know what day it is anyway, so this strategy has worked particularly well. It adds up quite a bit when you are saving to be out for a few months.
Nurse maternity leave: how to save up in advance
#4. Cut all recurring expenses that you aren’t using or don’t need.
Look at your monthly expenses and see if there is anywhere that you can reasonably cut. Are you using the 100$ a month gym membership? Or does it make more sense to take daily walks and do online yoga classes at home?
My husband and I talk about money often and try to be responsible about our spending. Saving money is all about establishing priorities and having set goals. This has kept us in good financial health and kept us on the same page with our spending habits.
#5. Look at the easy ways to cut back.
Families dropping from a dual income to a single income usually need to trim expenses somewhere. Make a list of everything you are spending money on, and be honest with yourself about what is an actual need. Here are a few ideas to throw on the table:
Nix the coffee cart habit = save $4 a day
Pack your lunches = save $12 a day
Cancel the cable you are barely using anyway = save $80 a month
Cook your meals at home instead of ordering take out = potentially $100’s in savings per month (if you eat out a lot)
Go on a 3-6 month spending freeze on things that are not an actual “need” = $$$
Do you see my point here? There is A LOT of money to be saved if you just pay more attention to what you are spending money on.
There are so many items that I was told I had to have for baby #1. Many of them are “nice to have items” that I barely even used (I’m looking at you grocery cart baby cover I only used three times!). Many of these supposed “must-have items” from my baby registry are currently being stored away in my garage and will, at best, find a new home in our local Goodwill.
I remember looking through Pinterest at lists of “must-haves” for the new mom. They are long and mostly unnecessary. Stay away from those lists!
For example, I was told that I “needed” the newborn insert for our stroller. But for the first few months I was using her car seat in her stroller. By the time I went to use the insert, she has already grown out of it. Same went for the ergo baby newborn insert- I didn’t even need it until she was too big to fit in it anyway.
If you need something, then go ahead and get it. These are just my thoughts as a second-time mom with a lot of baby registry regret. Except for a double stroller and a crib, I can’t think of any other BIG items I will need for our new baby.
#7. Consider the extra expenses that come with a new baby.
There will be some extra expenses after the baby is born. Some of the big ones for us are diapers, wipes, food, and additional childcare. None of these things are cheap, so it’s good to be prepared for the expenses in advance.
You could always decide to go the cloth diaper route. I know people who have done this and it does save quite a bit of money. That, however, was not in our savings plan. Some things of convenience are worth the money, and that was one for us.
Other significant expenses include childcare enrichment classes (MyGym, recreation classes, music classes, etc.) if that is something you are interested in.
Childcare is our single biggest expense besides housing. In fact, if I didn’t have a higher hourly rate that I get from being a per diem nurse, it might not even make financial sense for me to work as an RN. We have a nanny that comes every Monday and Wednesday, so those are the days that I work at the hospital (plus one day on the weekend when my husband is home to watch the kids). If you have family that can help on days you work, that would be a huge financial saving.
I have read that the average baby costs their parents $300,000 from the time they are born until the time they turn 18. And that doesn’t even include a college education! I don’t know about you, but that makes me think about how we budget our money. (We have college funds set up for both of our kids, which started the day they were born, but we are still going to encourage them to achieve scholarships!)
#8. Think about the big picture.
Having a baby is one of the most amazing human experiences I have ever had. I love being a Mom. However, it can also be stressful at times, even with the most thoughtful preparation.
At the end of the day you can only do the best you can. Saving for unpaid maternity leave is just one of the things I did to try and ease the financial loss that comes with having a baby. It is wise to try and eliminate as much stress as you can so you can joyfully relish in the awesomeness that comes with having a new baby.
Now, if only I could invent a healthy way to live on increments of 2 hours of sleep or less, I would be golden! Best wishes to you and your growing family.
Are there any other tips on saving money for maternity leave as a nurse you would add to this list? Leave a comment!
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