Mar 25, 2009

Cool Down Hot Food

Instead of putting your toddler's food in the fridge to cool down, mix some frozen veggies (corn and peas work great!) into the food. The hot food will heat the frozen veggies and the veggies will cool the hot food. Plus, you get some extra veggies into their diet!

Increase Milk Flow Through Baby Bottles

Baby's frustrated with the low-flow nipple on her bottle, but you can't run to the store right now to buy a high-flow version. No problemo. Heat a pin, insert it into the nipple and leave it there while running the nipple under cold water. Ahhh, if only low-flow boobs were this easy to fix.

The Benefits of Breastfeeding

Breast milk is the perfect food for babies, serving up all the nutrients a baby needs at any given stage of life in exactly the right proportions. A toddler may be drinking from the same breast that he drank from as an infant, but there's an entirely different beverage on tap!

Breast milk is higher in cholesterol than formula. This may not sound like a good thing—after all, isn't cholesterol supposed to be bad for you? But studies of animals have indicated that early exposure to cholesterol may help prepare a baby's body to process cholesterol more efficiently during adulthood, thereby providing some measure of protection against heart disease.

Breast milk is packed with antibodies. This is because breast milk contains immunoglobulin A proteins, which line the baby's respiratory and intestinal surfaces, thereby protecting the baby against certain types of viral and bacterial agents during the period in his life when he needs such protection most—while his own immune system is still very immature. Not surprisingly, studies have shown that breast-fed babies are less likely to develop gastrointestinal infections, respiratory infections, middle ear infections, food allergies, tooth decay, pneumonia and meningitis than bottle-fed babies. Breastfeeding even improves the effectiveness of vaccines, which helps to ensure that your baby will get the ultimate boost from each of his booster shots.

Breast-fed babies are less susceptible to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) than bottle-fed babies. They also enjoy added protection against intestinal disease, eczema, certain types of heart disease, allergies, cancer and obesity—health benefits that last long after weaning.

Breastfeeding helps to promote normal development of the jaw and facial muscles. Bottle-fed babies are more likely to require orthodontic work than their breastfed counterparts.

Breastfeeding helps your uterus to contract after the birth, which reduces the amount of blood lost after the delivery and helps you to regain your pre-pregnancy shape more quickly.

Breastfeeding helps to suppress ovulation and consequently your menstrual periods. If you breastfeed exclusively, you probably won't menstruate for about six months after giving birth, and possibly even longer. In addition to avoiding the inconvenience of getting your period (to say nothing of the cost of all those tampons and pads), you will have the chance to build up your iron reserves once again, because you won't be losing the same amount of iron that you normally do when you're menstruating. The one benefit that you shouldn't count on, however, is built-in birth control. Breastfeeding is not a reliable method of contraception.

Breastfeeding helps you to burn your extra "baby fat" without dieting since breastfeeding a baby requires about 500 calories worth of energy per day.

Breastfeeding may help to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer and uterine cancer later in life.

Breastfeeding may reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis down the road. Some studies have found that older women who breast-fed during their child-bearing years face only half the risk of experiencing bone fractures as women who did not. What's more, the longer a woman spent breastfeeding, the lower her risk of fracture.

Breastfeeding is convenient. There is no best-before date to worry about, and your baby's food is always ready to serve! What's more, breastfeeding forces you to take regular breaks throughout the day—the very thing that a new mother should be doing.

Mar 21, 2009

Top Tips For a Happy Baby Bath

You always need to be gentle when washing your baby. Here are a few tips that may help you learn the basics of washing an infant. Making sure that the water is not too hot, put your baby in the water very carefully making sure that his or her ears are not underwater. There should not be too much water in the sink or tub you wash your baby in.

After soaking baby's washcloth in the bath water with a little bit of mild baby soap, ring it out and use it to gently wipe your baby all over. Beware that using bubble bath or harsh soaps containing perfumes in your baby's bathwater may cause rashes so it is best to avoid them. Using a few drops of baby oil in the water will help keep your baby's skin soft. When washing your baby, make sure to wipe the head and neck, behind both ears, and between fingers and toes. Be sure to always support your baby's head while he or she is in the tub.

Although it is not necessary to bathe your baby daily, you should still clean the face, diaper area, or any other spot on their body that becomes soiled by wiping gently with water and a soft washcloth. You only really need to wash your baby's scalp about once or twice a week with a mild baby shampoo. Every other day it is fine to wash your baby with just water and a soft cloth.

Mar 18, 2009

Baby Sleep Tips

Improving Your Infant's Sleep Without Crying

"Does your baby sleep through the night already?! What did you DO??

Recognise the situation? Everybody else's babies seem to sleep through the night in a snap, but yours...

What did they do that I don't???

Well, chances are that the lucky parents didn't do anything, if the infant is still really young.

There are actually babies that sleep through the night already at the age of 2 months without any help at all.

If your baby is like that - well, congratulations! Head on to other parts of this website, or better still, immediately share your tips with all other mothers hungering for sleep.. Drop me an email and I'll post your tips right here!

(Desperately in a hurry to read the baby sleep tips? Here they are!)

For the rest of us, things do get better. 50% of all babies sleep through the night at the age of 1. Ehh, wait, 50%.. What about the rest..? Yeah, there are definitely good reasons to learn some about baby sleep patterns and how you can help your baby sleep through the night. What you do as well as where the baby sleeps might have a real impact.

There are also safety issues to think about, to decide where you baby should sleep as well as in what position.

As I'm sure you've heard, babies should sleep on their back, to reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

But wait, won't they get a flat head then? Or choke? Click here for answers.

Our oldest child slept through the night at the age of 4 (years!). My second when she was one year old and my youngest at 4 months old. But then he started waking up again as many do at around 4-5 months old. A few months later he slept through the night again with no problems at all.

The big difference between how we acted with our kids is when we started helping them to sleep better. Still, I now know I started way too late with our girl (Not to mention our oldest son; no training at all!) - when she was 10 months old. In just a few days she went from waking up every second hour to twice a night. Two months later she slept the whole night.

With our youngest baby, we gently started his baby sleep training when he was two months old.

So what's the clue?

Well unfortunately there is no magic key that will solve all your baby sleep problems. The goal is though to teach the infant to fall asleep by himself and to get to used to eat only at day time.

Before listing the tips, here are a few words about baby sleep patterns. Would you want to sleep like a baby..? Probably not!

Babies, especially really young ones have much more light sleep than adults and older children. This means that they have more opportunities to wake up and when they do, many infants need help to get back to sleep.

Think about it, while in your stomach, the baby's "bed" was in constant movement, rocking him gently back to sleep. Food supply also never stopped. Quite different from a steady, roomy crib and no food for many hours..

Follow this link to learn some more about your baby's sleep pattern.

So other then biding your time, waiting for your child to get older, the key is to teach him to self-soothe and go back to sleep on his own.

If you're wondering how much your baby "should" be sleeping day and night, click here for a sleep schedule per month.


Mar 15, 2009

How do I find a good babysitter?

There is a positive side to the lack of good babysitters … and to the high rates that they charge, as Jerry Toher, managing director of MINT said, "Some parents are devising clever solutions to recruit babysitters such as sharing a babysitter, or teaming up with other parents to form a 'babysitter bank'. Parents want to ensure their children are in reliable hands at all costs but this does not have to mean the much deserved nights out by themselves have to be forfeited." It certainly doesn't.

Babysitting circles are a popular choice amongst some babyworld members like Jill, "I'm part of a babysitting circle but mostly I'm the babysitter for one couple who also have three children, like me. Usually, my husband babysits; since they don't have a TV, he gets loads of work done!"

This situation also works for Lisa, who gets to let her hair down once a month for the cost of a box of confectionary. "We have a babysitting club amongst four friend - we take it in turns to be the babysitter so, once a month, I get a night out and, once a month, I am around someone else's house babysitting… it works well and all it costs me is a packet of fancy biscuits and a small box of choccies."

Babysitters that you don't know

For some babyworld members, however, finding a babysitter presents more worrying issues than monetary matters. The mere fact of allowing a relative stranger into the house is unsettling for many mums like Hannah, "I don't think I'd feel comfortable leaving my son with someone who I would have to pay, not because I would have to pay them, but because the people who I would trust wouldn't expect payment, ie family and close friends. (Though they may expect a pizza on arrival!) I can't imagine leaving my son with a babysitter whom I didn't know, fully qualified or not."

Fredi has never employed a babysitter for her son, after an incident with a childminder. "I don't like the idea of leaving my son with someone i''m not related to. The only exception is a childminder who's a good friend of mine, but I'm having doubts about that now too, as last time he came home with a huge bruise on his head. She told me he'd fallen down the stairs. I am not happy. I get my parents or sister to babysit. If they can't do it, I don't go out."

Ships that pass in the night

It's one thing worrying about where the babysitting money will come from but quite another to never be with your children as a couple due to different working patterns. In another recent survey by IdentifyMe, seven out of ten parents admitted that they split time spent with their children rather than looking after them as a couple. This means that an average dual-income couple spends three or fewer hours together taking care of the kids, as opposed to families where one parent stays at home. Given a choice, parents would prefer to have more time together but the financial and other pressures of modern life means that they are often having to adapt to shift work in order to bring in the much needed money. Babysitting doesn't sound like an issue to them, but being able to spend time together as a family certainly does.

Mar 10, 2009

Learn to read your baby's cues

Websites, books, your baby's doctor, and other parents can all help as you figure out an appropriate schedule for your baby. But your child will be an important guide, and he'll tell you what he needs — if you learn to read his cues.

"When parents take the time to be with their baby, the information they receive gets sifted through their own experience. 'Instincts' come from learning about your baby's temperament and what works for him," says pediatrician Daniel Levy, president of the Maryland chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland.

Mom Liana Scott says paying close attention to 9-month-old Keaton has helped her anticipate his needs, which makes life easier and more fun for both of them.

"Now I'm able to feed him before he's really hungry and put him to bed before he's overtired and fussy," says Scott.

Learning what your baby needs when takes time and patience. But you'll see patterns emerge over time. And if you log your baby's naps, feedings, playtime, and so on in a notebook or on the computer, you can use this record to come up with a timetable for doing things.

Teach your baby the difference between night and day

Many babies mix up their days and nights at first, sleeping long stretches during the day only to perk up once the sun goes down. Helping your baby learn to tell day from night is a key first step to getting into a workable routine.

Amy Shelley, mom to 8-month-old Alex, offers these tips: "During the day, keep the house bright. Do the exact opposite at night: Keep the house dim and quiet. Don't talk to your baby much during night feedings. Let him learn that night is for sleeping and daytime is for socialization and playtime."

Get your baby used to a bedtime routine early on

Once you have a consistent bedtime worked out, a daytime routine will fall into place, says Tanya Remer Altmann, a pediatrician and editor-in-chief of The Wonder Years: Helping Your Baby and Young Child Successfully Negotiate the Major Developmental Milestones.

And the easiest way to establish a regular bedtime is to start a predictable bedtime routine that you and your baby can depend on night after night.

"The bedtime routine is the most important thing to consider when establishing a schedule," says Altmann. "You can't force it in the first few months, but you can start practicing at around 2 months."

Altmann says to keep it simple: a warm bath, jammies, a feeding, then lights-out. It's fine if feeding lulls your baby to sleep in the early months, Altmann says, but by 3 or 4 months you may want to try putting him down awake so he'll learn to fall asleep on his own.

Mar 2, 2009

When Should Your Baby Wear Shoes?

There is actually a bit of controversy about this
question. Some pediatricians recommend that your
baby not wear shoes until at least 15 months of age.
Others feel that a child should start to wear shoes
as soon as they're walking.

Why should your baby wear shoes?

You have to consider where your baby is walking. If they are cruising around your own home, then there is usually no need for shoes. But what about outdoors? Obviously you wouldn't want your child running around barefoot on cement or in the dirt. Babies should be wearing a firm shoe in this case to prevent injuries (and dirty socks).

Shoes are also protection from sunburn, cold weather, scratches and bumps. Plus they are just way too darn cute! Just make sure that when your baby has the opportunity to go barefoot, take their shoes off. And don't keep shoes on for too long at a time.

What kind of shoes should your baby wear?

If you do purchase outdoor shoes for your baby, make sure they fit properly. Their tiny toes should not be cramped. Also, make sure they are flexible enough that their feet can still wiggle in them.

After hearing so many moms rave about Robeez footware, I decided to check them out for myself. I absolutely love them. These little shoes are the closest thing to your baby going barefoot, but with the protection they need from cold floors or rough surfaces outside. They also provide better grip on smooth surfaces, like a kitchen floor. They're also great because they're the only shoe I've found that actually stays on my baby's feet.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure it's for the best interest of your child. Don't make them wear shoes all the time for the sake of looking cute. Barefoot is best at home, and when they are outdoors, make sure they have a soft sole for the most natural fit.

How To Deal With A Screaming Toddler

A screaming toddler can be a nightmare for parents, especially when you're at the grocery store or a restaurant (I have a few tips to avoid tantrums at restaurants here). Most toddlers go through this stage - in fact, some toddlers go through this stage more than once. Both my children are little screaming maniacs right now and they're 1 and 3 at the time of writing this.

Sometimes it may seem like your toddler is screaming just to frustrate you, but this isn't the case. It's usually a cry for attention, or it may be simply that they just feel like it. Screaming in a big building like a mall can generate a pretty cool echo, so it's only natural that they'll want to experience it.

In a lot of cases, screaming means they want something which is normally something they can't or shouldn't have. My son threw a hissy fit in a store the other week because he wanted out of the cart. I had to cut my shopping trip short and take him out to the car.

Dealing with a screaming toddler

Don't retaliate - Sometimes you may want to scream right back at your child, but believe me, this doesn't work. In the end, it turns out to be a competition to see who is louder and the outcome is nothing but some sore throats and maybe a few tears.

Distraction - A better bet is to use distraction as your weapon against a screaming child. For example, if your child spots some candy in the grocery store and starts screaming, try pointing out some healthy snack options instead. Or you can try playing a game like "Eye Spy". This works well in my case, although a lot of times I have to try a few different things before I'm successful. For my little guy who is almost 2, I point things out that are new to him and get him to repeat what I'm saying. I say it with as much enthusiasm as possible so that he gets excited too.

Prepare - Planning ahead is a great idea when you have errands to run. I always have snacks in my purse along with a sippy cup. If it's going to be a long day, I'll also throw in a few toys. I try and keep separate toys just for our outings so that they're always interested in them because they're special.

Schedule - Before you head out, make sure your toddler is well-rested. A good time to go out is right after nap time or right after she wakes up in the morning. You'll also want to make sure she's got a full stomach. Toddlers can get pretty cranky when they start to get hungry.

Get them involved - Involving the kids as much as possible is also a great way to avoid screaming. My daughter loves to press the "OK" button on the ATM machine when I run to the bank. She also loves to help pick out grocery items. This keeps her mind occupied on the task at hand, and not on something else that she can't have.

Choose family friendly places - If you're planning on eating at a restaurant with your toddler, opt for the more family friendly places rather than a quiet or more formal setting. I always choose one particular restaurant in town when I take my kids out. It's always packed and noisy. That way, if my kids start screaming it won't be as noticeable. I also order a "baby plate" as soon as we sit so the kids can eat right away.

Indoor voice - Something as simple as asking your toddler to use their indoor voice may just do the trick. I'm always surprised at how well it works. I learned that from watching Barney! That funny purple dragon or whatever he is sure comes in handy sometimes. Or is he a dinosaur? I can never remember.

Stay calm - Keeping your voice and your tone quiet and gentle will help set a good example for your child. As much as you might want to raise your voice, maintaining a neutral tone will keep from making the situation worse. This can be extremely hard to achieve, but it's worth it in the end. It will also take a lot of practice, but I'm sure that by the time your toddler has grown up you will have plenty of it!

Bail - If you're out in public and nothing you're trying seems to be working, it might be best to just leave with your toddler, even if it means leaving a grocery cart full of food in the middle of aisle 12.

Acknowledge, but don't give in - If your child is screaming because they're upset about something, acknowledge their feelings and help them work through it. If they're screaming because they want something they can't have, don't give in just to have some peace and quiet. That's only going to make things worse in the long run.

One thing to remember is that this stage will pass. It may be hard to think about that when you're in the middle of a crowded place and you feel like everyone is staring at you because your child is screaming at the top of their lungs. Chances are however, that none of those people will remember you the next day. What matters is your family, and how you deal with them at difficult times. Don't sacrifice an opportunity to encourage good behavior for the sake of a few strangers' opinions.