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Teething

bcWhen a baby starts teething they are more irritable and sensitive than when they were first born. Teething is a painful process that can cause diaper rash, excessive drooling, crying, sleeping and eating disruptions, sore and swollen gums, and biting. Teething can start as early as 3 months, or as late as 1 year old. In some rare cases babies can be born with some teeth already in place, but these will fall out and the baby teeth will grow again. Babies should have their full set of teeth (20) by the time they are 3 years old.

There are some things that you can do to help ease the pain for your little one. You can freeze a wash cloth for your baby to chew on, refrigerate teething toys, give them jello or ice cream, and possibly give them something for the pain. There are some oral medicines that relieve pain, but these should be used as little as possible. If this over the counter medicine is used too much, the baby will build up a tolerance to the medical ingredient and then the topic will lose its effectiveness in fighting the pain.

There is a natural solution called Camilia. This is given in a pre-packaged dose and can only be given a few times a day. It’s effectiveness varies from baby to baby. Some mothers see an almost instant improvement, while others might not see any at all. In any case, using a combination of these is sure to bring relief to your infant. Just remember that your patience and understanding is very important during this non-verbal phase, so be sure to be loving, and if you need a break, take one!

*Always consult with a doctor before giving your baby any sort of medication whether it’s natural or over the counter!*

Avoid Using Spray Sunscreen on Children and Babies

bcThis summer Consumer Reports has issued a warning to parents and child care providers that spray sunscreen should be avoided for children and babies. This comes after research has shown that spray sunscreen has adverse affects to the respiratory system in mice. This alarms scientists and doctors because the human respiratory system has similarities to that of mice.

The reason spray sunscreen can be dangerous is because the chemicals in the spray can be inhaled through the mouth or nose while the product is being used. However, if you spray it into your hand and then apply it that reduces the risk of inhaling the chemicals that can cause asthma attacks or allergic reactions. Another reason spray on sunscreen is not as effective as the creams is the coverage is not a sure if you are not rubbing the spray around on your body, and if you’re spraying on a windy day, the spray might not cover enough of your skin to stop you from being burnt.

The FDA in the US advises parents to only use spray on sunscreen when it is a last resort and always be sure to avoid the eyes and mouth when applying any sunscreen. The spray is still safe for adults, but the same precautions should be taken, avoid inhaling the spray when using it, and avoid the eyes and the mouth.

The FDA advises consumers to apply the spray twice to be sure that they are getting complete coverage with the sunscreen. I would also add to be careful spraying it directly on your clothing as I have had some of my summer outfits ruined by spray sunscreen. I have had shorts and shirts turn a dusty yellow colour from spray.

For more information read the Consumer Reports website.

Finding Daycare and Babysitters

ID-100198815The thought of leaving your baby with someone else might make you weak in the knees. Allowing someone to watch your child is a huge responsibility. It requires that you place a large amount of trust in the person to watch over your children with vigilance. Finding the right person can be difficult, but with the following tips, finding the right person just got a whole lot easier!

Expereince
Be sure that the daycare employees/babysitter has adequate experience or training to watch over children. In the event that you ask a teenager to watch your child, make sure that they have help from a parent if they’re under experienced. The best people to watch over children will have CPR training.

Similar Values
Finding a person who believes as closely to what you believe is the first step to being able to trust the person with your child. Because you can gage that they will protect, watch, and care for your child in a similar fashion to your parenting style.

Referrals
Knowing that this person has watched over other people’s children will not only set your mind at ease, you will know instantly what their approach to childcare is. Not to mention that in most cases referrals go a long way to putting your mind at ease because other people were satisfied/not satisfied with the level of childcare at the establishment, or with this person.

Cleanliness
Cleanliness is next to godliness for a reason! Be sure that the level of cleanliness is up to your standards. As a general rule, you shouldn’t leave your children in a house you wouldn’t eat in.

Never leave you children with someone who is unwilling to let you see where your children will be kept, or who refuses to give referrals. These are red flag warnings! Always conduct an interview with the person you’re considering for daycare or babysitting. This is how you will gage your comfortability with them watching your children, not to mention find the answer to the above questions.

Protecting Your Baby’s Ears

ID-10062117Summer festivities often times means loud music in public places. This loud music can damage a baby’s hearing, permanently. If you go to a concert, do you have ringing in your ears afterward? If so, that ringing is a sign of hearing loss. Hearing loss is permanent, there is no way to repair the damage done to the inside of your ear drum, and it doesn’t heal itself over time. A good rule of thumb for noise levels is this; if you can talk over the noise without having to raise your voice, then the sound isn’t too loud for your baby.

I’m not advocating that you stay home until you have a teenager, but you can be properly prepared for these summer events with a little planning. You can’t control the volume of the music, but you can protect your baby’s ears by providing ear plugs when you go out. The best kind are the soft ones that you squeeze between your fingers to make small and once in place they mold to fit in your ear and block out the loud sounds.

You can buy a case of them from Shoppers Drug Mart or from Canadian Tire. They only come in adult sizes, so If you think they’re to big for your baby you can cut them in half before placing them in the ear, but don’t make them so small they get stuck inside the ear because that can damage the ear as well. Place them inside the ear enough that the foam can spread and be held in place, they don’t need to go in deep to stay in place. That doesn’t mean they won’t fall out, check on your infant form time to time to make sure they’re still in the ear, if they fall out, just put them back in.

How to Keep Your Baby Cool This Summer

baby swimmingWe all look forward to those sunny days, especially as parents, you want your little one to run and play, and you also want to get some fresh air. Going outside means being prepared, especially when you take out young children, here’s a list of things you should put in your diaper bag and leave there until the later end of September.

Hat and Sunscreen
Your baby needs this to keep the sun out of his/her eyes and to keep shade on their face, neck and shoulders. With rates of skin cancer on the rise be sure to use sunscreen every two hours and to keep your baby from looking directly into the sun.

Change of Clothes/ Bathing Suit
You’re going to need to pack a change of clothes anyway for your baby, so why not throw in a bathing suit and some tank tops and shorts. If you find the weather hot, then so will your baby. If it wasn’t appropriate for babies to wear summer clothes no clothing manufacturer would make them. Don;t be afraid to shed some layers for your newborn, just make sure you’ve got the sunscreen and hat ready for you baby.

Sandals
Even your baby’s feet need some air, so get them some sandals for those hot days. This is another way your baby can explore the world, through the things that touch their feet in the summer time.

Sunglasses
These aren’t just cute accessories, they are a must have, but only with an SPF blocker in the lens. By protecting your baby’s eyes you’re stopping them from developing spots in their line of vision. These are more commonly known as floaters. They’re tiny pieces of your retina that harden and break off, floating into your line of sight.

Now that you have these things in your bag you’re ready to head out. You can take your baby to your park that has a splash pad, the beach, the public pool, YMCA, or a friend’s backyard pool. Just remember that the sun is the strongest between 10am-2pm, meaning the rays are more dangerous to your skin, so protect yourself and your baby when your outside during these times.

Anything you enjoy to keep cool they will too, so be sure to bring cold water and eat refreshing food like popsicles, watermelon, and fresh fruits. These will also help to keep you cool when you’re out and about, so you might want to think about packing a cooler or lunch bag with these items.

Enjoy your summer and your baby!

Baby Projects

ID-100117143Your newborn is special and you want the world to know it. Your little darling is only going to be little for such a short amount of time so you should make the most of the time you have with your little baby. Making baby projects is a popular trend that is growing online. Whether you document everyday of your baby’s life through photography or videography, make hand and foot stamps every month, or something that has special meaning to you and your family (the iconic marking how tall you are in the door jam), these are projects that will bring you joy and memories over the years.

Most computers come with a video editing suite on them making it easy to produce home videos that are anything but boring to watch. If you have Microsoft Office you can use pictures in a slide presentation to document your babies first years. Scrap booking is another way to produce a loving memory of your babies firsts. If you are an avid reader you should make a bookmark out of your baby’s photos. This is an easy project. Cut and paste 3 pictures into a word document making the photos 1 3/4 x 2″ and then print these out and glue them onto card stock. Now you have a beautiful keep sake of your baby.

If you’re not sure what to do, head down to your local arts and crafts store, the store will have plenty of projects to think about, and the staff might even have the perfect idea just for you. Remember this is just a craft and not an art exhibit,so if it doesn’t turn out exactly the way you pictured it, it’s okay it’s the thought, time and energy you put into it that counts. It will be something that you and your child will look back on and be happy that you did.

 

What to do When Your Baby is Sick

ID-100228847No one wants to be sick, but it’s easier to treat someone who can talk than someone who can’t. If your infant becomes ill, stay calm and everything will be okay! Fevers and illnesses are more serious for infants 3 months and younger. In these cases if your baby is sick you should immediately contact your doctor.

For the common cold it’s handy to have a nasal aspirator, these devices suck the nasal drip from the infants nose when squeezed and slowly released. Your infant might not like the sensation and cry, but don’t stop using this gadget, it’s better to have a few seconds of discomfort rather than not be able to breathe through the nose. Additionally, you don’t want the baby to wipe their nose mucus into their eyes because this can cause conjunctivitis in the eyes and then spread to you. If your baby’s cold becomes worse you can take them to see their pediatrician. The doctor might might recommend a type of over-the-counter medicine for your little one.

If your baby develops a fever give them a fever reducer from the drug store. If the fever rises above 100.4 and you’re baby is not acting like themselves then you should take a trip to see the doctor. If your child has a fever and the medicine doesn’t take away the fever then you should take the baby to the emergency room, or if the fever reaches 104 degrees you should head straight to the emergency room.

If your baby has a high fever accompanied with vomiting and diarrhea you should see your family doctor. Check for signs of other illness such as cough, loss of appetite, earache, fussiness, and sleepiness. These could be signs of something more than a cold.

You may have heard bout letting your baby’s immune system fight the infection through the fever. Letting your baby sweat it out only works if the fever is a low grade fever, a high grade fever may need the medicine to allow the infant to feel comfortable while awake or sleeping in order to more effectively fight the infection. You can give your baby a bath in lukewarm water and sponge their forehead with a cool cloth.

Whenever you give your baby medicine, make sure your doctor has recommended it. Ibuprofen is usually not prescribed or given to children 6months and under. Acetaminophen is the most common fever reducer given to children. When giving doses always follow directions closely, paying attention to the weight of your baby more than the age. And most importantly, never give more than the daily recommended dosage.

Baby’s First Outing

ID-10064572As a new parent the thought of leaving the comfort of your own house can seem a bit intimidating. But after you talk yourself off the ledge, you’ll realize that you’ve been the only road block getting yourself out the door. You shouldn’t fear breast feeding your baby in public, or poopy diapers. Generations have done it before you and have survived to tell the tale, so you will too. All you need is some preparation and baby steps to getting comfortable taking your baby out of the house.

Baby Bag
Inside your baby bag you should always keep diapers, change pad, wipes, and cream for your babies bum. Many places sell travel sizes of your baby essentials, so go ahead and get yourself travel sizes to leave in the baby’s bag for outings. Before you go out you should pack a change of clothes in case the diaper fails to hold of the waste. Also have blankets for keeping baby warm or for spit ups. In winter make sure you’ve got warm blankets, hats and mittens. In summer make sure you’ve got a bottle of sunscreen, you and your baby will need to wear this. Once you’ve got all these packed in your baby bag, it might look ready to explode, but you’re ready for anything, literally!

Stroller
Where you keep your stroller can make life easy or difficult. I used to keep mine in the trunk of the car that way I never forgot it when I went out, and it was already outside when I wanted to go for a walk. Your newborn can wait in their car seat as you get your stroller ready, so go ahead put them in the seat, even if they cry you can still comfort them by talking to them.  Though be sure to cuddle them before placing them into the stroller if they’re really upset about being placed in the car seat while you get everything ready.

Outings
You might feel that you have no where to go with your newborn, I know I felt this way for a long time. The truth is that there really isn’t anywhere you can’t go with your newborn! The best places to take your baby are places that are baby friendly, like classes for mommy and baby (yoga, swimming, or fitness groups). You can even attend baby friendly events events at your local library, special movies for mommies and babies, and even walking around your neighbourhood or mall can make a great outing.

Doing these activities allows you to get outside the house and meet other mothers which is great for socializing yourself and your baby. Just remember that if your planning an outdoor outing to be sure and cover the baby during the day’s strongest UV rays, between 10am-3pm.

Feedings and Changing
You can breast feed your baby anywhere. Of course you might feel self conscious of people staring at you, but the truth is no one’s really looking at you. If you feel like covering yourself you can always buy special blankets made for breast feeding mothers that attach behind the neck to secure a private place underneath where you can feed your baby without baring your breasts in public.

If your baby soils themselves while your out, just change them like normal. The change pad can be used anywhere and washed at home if you have a washable one. Place the change pad on the change table in the washroom or on the floor. I routinely changed my children on the floor, this way they never fell off a change table and I could always keep track of them. Get your babies new diaper, cream and wipes all ready before you take your baby out of the stroller, this way you can clean your baby and get them back in the stroller before you clean up the diaper mess.

Hopefully after reading this you’ll feel better about taking your baby on outings. You and your baby need to get out of the house. Staying home all the time can be lonely, so get out and enjoy life with your baby! Find baby friendly places and meet new people with babies. It makes the world feel like a bigger place after being confined to your house with the baby. The happier you are, the happier your baby will be.

Baby’s First Shoes

ID-100117143When your baby begins to crawl and stand it’s amazing, you’re overwhelmed at watching them pull themselves up and walking alongside the couch. Once your baby is comfortable pulling themselves up you should begin to think about the type of foot wear that they will need once they begin walking. For now just getting to their feet all they need is soft soled shoes or socks. But once start to walk they’ll need support.

Toddlers need a sole that is made of leather or rubber to stop them from slipping when they walk. Soft soles cause unsure footing and therefore result in more slips and falls. The best type of shoe for a beginner walker is a running shoe made of leather or canvas. These shoes allow the foot to move and mold the shape of the wearer which is important. The best news is that you buy cheap or expensive running shoes and they have the same benefits.

Although you might be tempted to use hand-me-down shoes from a friend or neighbour, this is a bad idea because the shoe molding to the foot of the original wearer is what keeps the foot stable and supports from the foot up to the knee and lower back. Using another person’s shoes will cause blisters and problems, so it’s a good idea just to buy a toddler new shoes.

Before you know it they’ll be running, so enjoy all the little moments because they are precious times you won’t ever get back.

Swimming Lessons for Your Baby

baby swimmingWith warm weather around the corner you might be wondering how safe is it to take your baby swimming. The good news is there is never a wrong age. The earlier your baby is introduced to the water the earlier they will learn to relax and enjoy the water alongside you. In fact getting your children into swimming lessons as early as you can is best since drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury or death in Canadian children one to four years of age.

If you’ve just had a cesarian section you’ll have to wait the six weeks after your surgery to enter the water. If you’re going to an outdoor pool or beach make sure the baby is covered in a sunscreen 60SPF or greater. You should make this a fun time for your baby holding them close and securely make sure that water isn’t getting into their eyes and mouth with your knowledge. As your baby gets older you can teach them to stick their mouth in the water and blow bubbles. You can even find life jackets and preservers for young toddlers as well at your local hardware store or sports store.

If you want to put your infant in swimming lessons they can begin as early as several months of age. These programs are designed to introduce young children to water, build water confidence, and teach water safety to parents and guardians. Although children don’t typically master swimming skills to swim alone until age four. Swimming lessons enable children to approach water with a calm demeanor rather than impatience.

The basic rule of thumb is NEVER leave your children at any age unattended in the pool or on the beach. It only takes a second for babies and toddlers to get in over their heads and without the ability to keep their head above water, drown. If being around the water with your baby makes you nervous then you should sign up for the swimming lessons, as much for your little one as for yourself. In these classes you will be taught CPR and other instructions to ensure swim time is fun time.