Welcome to Kingston

Baby Games

ID-10055340After the third month your baby will start to interact with you more and more. This interaction also serves as learning time for your little one. They learn what makes them happy and you smile, what is funny, and what limitations are. You teach all of these whether you are conscious of it or not.

Some of the best games are free, such as Peek-a-Boo, This Little Piggy, and Round’n Round the Rose Bush, these are great for babies and toddlers because they involve direct interaction between you and your infant. Your baby will also enjoy songs with actions too, such as Skinny Marinky Dinky Dink, The Itsy Bisty Spider, and I Love You-You Love Me. Even now, my three year old daughter will start doing the hand motions and sing with me if I start a round of Skinny Marinky Dinky Dink.

If you’re having trouble remembering any baby games, you should look into play groups organized by your local library, city or community, you can even search online for a hand-full of mothers who gather together a few days a week for play dates. Facebook and Google are your best engines for finding play groups, or you can always start your own with other mothers you know.

As your baby grows into a toddler you may think about giving them a tablet or your cell phone to play with. There are two camps on this subject. Those from the go-outside-and-play camp, and the it’s-all-right camp. There are studies that show too much digital interaction isn’t good for children, but on the other hand there are studies that prove some interaction with technology is helpful and rewarding for children.

The distinction here is in how much time is being spent online or stuck in front of a screen. Obviously too much is just that, too much. But allowing your children to play and discover is not harmful as long as it’s guided. You should never allow your children of any age under 15 online without being present and aware of what they are doing.

There are many free websites that have interactive games designed for children as young as 18 months. Search around and get referrals about which are the best. Sesame Street has been around for years and has numerous games that teach counting, the alphabet and more for toddlers and young children.

Just remember that games are best played with the family. Your little one will soak up everything you teach them, which is why it’s best that they learn from you rather than from the television.

 

Child Safety and Childproofing

DiapersWhen you first bring your little bundle home you’re so happy to be out of the hospital and nervous because there’s no handbook for being a parent. Once you settle into parenthood you’re so excited by all the mile stones your little one’s passing, but are you ready for the non stop months ahead where your babies mobility will cause you pride and restlessness?

I have two children who are completely different from one another, where my son would listen to “No”, my daughter would charge full speed ahead into whatever she wanted. My son who is the elder child never seemed to have that many scrapes and bruises, on the other hand it seemed as though my daughter was constantly hitting her head to the point I felt like wrapping her in bubble wrap. My son never put anything in his mouth, not even his toys, my daughter would eat dust bunnies if she found them. Sometimes I couldn’t believe the differences in my children, but it’s all a learning process.

I childproofed by placing plugs in all the electrical sockets and put plastic rods in the drawers so they wouldn’t open unless you applied the right amount of pressure to release them. We tied the doors to cupboards together and put up a fantastic baby gate. We even attempted to attach rubber corners to our coffee table that was just high enough that if my kids were to fall into it they would get a nasty bump, but those rubber ends insisted on falling off so we became hyper vigilant with the kids around the table. And these are all good and necessary things you need to do, but here’s some things that you may not even be thinking about yet.

Where are you going to be spending the most time with your baby and soon to be toddler? Take a look around your house on your hands and knees and pay close attention to what’s available at that height. Things like CD/DVD/Blueray cases should be moved or placed behind a door the baby can’t open, because babies love to pick these up, carry them around and suck on their corners. Buttons on your electronics will get pushed all the time, especially if they make a sound and have lights that flicker on at the touch. Do you have any knick knacks or chotchkes around? You may want to either put them in a new room for now or watch your little one very closely with these items, because they will be explored!

When you’re child proofing you almost have to think like a child, you don’t want your house to be one big play room, but having toys ready for your little one can cut down on the amount of time you chase them around trying to wrestle your household objects out of their little hands. By switching the toys around on a schedule you make old toys feel like new and this can renew interest in them. Try not to get upset or frustrated, enjoy every moment. Guided exploration of your house is healthy for kids, teach them about your house and the objects in it. If your child knows why they shouldn’t touch this or that it helps to curb their interest in that object. Children are sponges, they soak up whatever you teach them. Remember that this is a time that might feel like it’s going to last forever, but it ends as abruptly as it begins.

Recovering From a Caesarean

Pregnancy PicWhether you plan to have your baby by caesarean or have had to have surgery due to a medical issue the recovery process can be slow. Doctors say it takes four weeks before you can do anything strenuous, such as: exercise, do heavy lifting, or laundry even.

How are you going going to get through those weeks? With patience and help. If your parents and in-laws are able to help the problem almost solves itself. You should have someone to help you get around, do the daily things you won’t be able to do, and help to get you adjusted to your new life as a mother.If you find yourself in a situation where you have no support system, what can you do?

Ask your nurses or doctor for references to local government or programs designed to help women. Through these programs you will be connected to a community of women who are willing and able to help you get back on your feet. There’s the New Parent’s of Central Frontenac Community Services Corporation – 613-376-6477
Their offices are o.pen Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm.

Personal Care help from Canadian Red Cross, Kingston & Quinte – 1-866-991-9956
Their offices are open Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm.

There is also the KFL&A Public Health, Sexual Health Clinic, that can help with public health issues. You can contact their offices at,  613-549-1232, their offices are open 24/7.

Additionally there is the One Parent Families Association of Canada that has resources for single parent families too. You can reach them at 613-389-5607  to leave message.

Brushing Baby Teeth

ID-100145883Once you’re baby starts teething you might wonder when you should start brushing their teeth. You should introduce your baby to the sensation of having their teeth and gums rubbed once they start teething. They already put their teether rings in their mouth for comfort from the pain, and these are usually stippled for a gentle sensation on the gums.

Once the teeth begin to rupture the gums you should begin cleaning the teeth twice a day only using water to begin with to clean, using a piece of gauze or a cloth. Once the teeth have come out of the gum completely you should begin brushing the teeth with tooth paste that is child recommended. Only apply a rice sized amount of tooth paste to the brush. Ensure your child spits out the paste afterward.

Adjusting your baby to having their teeth cleaned means that as they get older it will be easier to get them to clean their  teeth, because they will be more willing. Although dental professionals say that you should brush your child’s teeth until they are seven so the dental hygiene will be done properly.

You should think about getting a dentist and taking your baby for their first dental exam once the teeth start coming in. That way your baby will get used to the dentist and their office. By the time your baby is two and a half all their teeth should be in, 20 in all. Although they will only keep them for a few years, the dental hygiene they learn will last a lifetime.

Try to get yourself into a routine of brushing teeth that makes sense. It will make it easier for you to remember to brush your baby’s teeth. To stop tooth decay decrease the amount of sugar in your baby’s diet and make sure hey don’t fall asleep with a bottle full of milk or juice.

Baby Car Seats

ID-10085603Choosing the right baby seat can be a snap when you know the sex of your baby. If you want to know which infant seat is the safest here is a review of the seats currently on the market.

On the Consumer Reports Reviews website they tested infant seats for safety, ease of use, features and help or support from the company. Out of the ten seats they reviewed I will only discuss the top three in safety.

Graco Snug Ride 35
This was the only car seat that got a perfect score across the board. At $144.99 CD this seat is the top of the line in safety and presentation. The reviewer chose this seat as the best because of the how easy it was to install. The infant seat comes with a winter cover for  your baby and inside padding to keep your baby comfortable and safe. The shoulder straps are also padded and buckle in the front a standard feature of infant seats.

Britax B-Safe
While the Britax B-Safe scored perfect in safety and support, this infant seat doesn’t come with all the features the Graco does, the pads inside the seat are removable for cleaning, but are not machine washer friendly. The reviewer found installation instructions the easiest to follow and the LATCH connecters easy to attach and therefore overall the easiest to secure. The best feature of this seat is that it comes with a stroller for $159.74 CD.

Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air
This seat includes a high tech side impact system that the reviewer said would cause this to be recommended as one of the best available. This seat has an extended use warranty and value, but the seat cushions aren’t machine washer friendly. There is a customizable insert in the seat and a carry curve handle for easier distribution of the baby’s weight. One of the safety features is the one LATCH system making the installation process easier as well. However for the price of $183.36 CD this seat doesn’t come with a stroller or a winter cover.

While installing the seats may not be rocket science, it’s not always intuitive or easy either. Always read the instructions and make sure the seat cannot move easily after installation.

For information on recycling car seats visit David Suzuki’s website.

For information on car seats and child sizes visit the Ministry of Transportation’s website.

Baby Toys

ID-10060576Babies need stimulation as much as we do, and although you might look at your little one and think they are too young for toys, you are mistaken. When you are purchasing a toy always read and observe the age restrictions. These age limits are to protect babies and young children from hurting themselves with the toys.

The best baby toys are those that teach them to use their motor skills and cognitive skills. These toys help babies and toddlers learn how to open, close, turn and push button to make the toy work. These help to develop critical thinking skills and puzzle solving skills.

Musical toys not only help children to learn songs, but pitch, rhythm, and tempo as well. The bright colours engage their optic senses by introducing primary colours and associating them with a certain sound on the instrument.

Books that have pages they can feel and interact with also help babies and children to learn the difference in surfaces and textures through tactile sensory stimulation.

You can always use this time as bonding time as well, because most children model the behaviour of their parents, you should introduce the toy and show your child how it works and then give it to them to mimic your actions and learn how to do it on their own. Once your child has mastered one toy expand their horizon by introducing a more challenging toy. Play time can be fun for you too!

Sleep Safety

Sleeping BabyWhen you bring your newborn baby home you want to keep your precious bundle safe and warm. How do you do this while they sleep you might ask. Well the following are tips to help you keep your baby safe while they sleep.

As a new parent you might want to decorate the crib, but pediatricians now recommend parents not place the bumper pads inside the crib. Health Canada says that babies heads can become caught between the pads and the crib, also the strings and and ties can entangle the baby or possibly strangle them. Toddlers and mobile babies can even use bumper pads to pull themselves up and possibly fall out of the crib.

Doctors also recommend babies sleep on their back. According to Kids Health, since pediatricians have been telling parents to put babies to sleep on their back the rate of SIDS has dropped by more than 50%.

There are products that hold babies in back sleeping positions, but Health Canada does not recommend using these either. In fact Health Canada says you should not place extra blankets, towels, stuffed animals, or pin pacifiers to baby’s sleepers or clothing while they sleep.

Until a newborn grows big enough to be able to turn themselves over, a baby should not have anything placed in their sleeping zone.

Even co-sleeping is hazardous for babies because they may get trapped in the blankets during the night, suffocate in the comforter, or be rolled upon by older siblings or adults in the bed.

For a complete list of safe sleeping habits for your baby you can consult the Health Canada website.

Baby Bonding Time

ID-100198815Newborns are soft and smell good. You might be scared to cuddle them too much because you don’t want he baby to become needy, but you can never cuddle too much with your baby. Here are some quick tips on how you can bond with your new born.

Baby Massages
You can use some baby safe oil or your baby’s body lotion. Rub some into your palm and warm it up. Then take your baby’s arm, leg, foot, hand, back or belly and rub it in gently and in slow moving circles. You may find that your baby enjoys this so much that he/she falls asleep.

Skin-to-Skin
You and the father should spend some time skin-to-skin, which is shirtless with the unclothed baby. You can do this in a pool, or shower, or on a hot summer day, or snuggled under a blanket in the winter time.

Baby Talk
Talking to your baby using “baby talk” comforts your baby and makes them feel safe and all right.

Doing any of these are sure to make for perfect bonding time with you and your baby.

Starting Solids

ID-100198815There is a lot of literature and differing advice about starting solids with a baby, but here are some general rules of thumb to guide you through this new phase.

Most babies start solids between 5-6 months, or when they are more hungry and the milk supply isn’t enough to satisfy them. Breast feeding mothers may not have enough milk for the demand, and bottle fed babies will be looking for more not too long after they’ve finished their bottle. If this is what you are experiencing then your baby is ready to try solids.

It’s recommended that you start with vegetables since the fruit will obviously taste better and the baby will favour them over their vegetables, so start with the vegetables and introduce the fruit after you’ve gone through all the vegetables. If your baby genuinely doesn’t like the vegetable or fruit do not force feed your baby. This won’t make feeding time a happy time. Play games and use positive reinforcement to reward your little one, let them know they’ve done a good job.

Do not feed your baby something that you yourself are allergic to before consulting with your pediatrician. Food allergies that are easy to spot will react shortly to the food being eaten. A delayed reaction is harder to spot, but is becoming increasingly more common. Delayed reactions usually take the form of diarrhea, colic, reflux, constipation or eczema.

Start with the food that isn’t mixed with something else, like a jar of carrots and only feed your baby from this jar for the first week. If there is no reaction, then your baby is okay to continue eating this food and you can start on another jar of your choice as long as it consists of only one vegetable.

If your baby has allergies to a specific food he/she will have one of these symptoms; develop hives around the mouth, eyes and nose, swelling of lips or eyes and face, sneezing or blocked nose and watery eyes, itchy mouth and irritated throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or eczema that breaks out on the skin.

If your baby has a severe allergy they will go into anaphylactic shock. This is wheezing, drop in blood pressure or trouble breathing. If this occurs, call 911 immediately. Anaphylaxis can be deadly if the infant isn’t given proper medicine and care within a specific time frame.

Don’t let this make you nervous to feed your baby, these reactions are rare, most babies have a mild reaction if any at all. Just remember to take it slow and feed only one type of food a week until you’ve tried them all. Afterward you can mix foods together. Enjoy feeding time with your baby!

 

Crying

Sleeping BabyNew born babies cry, some more than others, but that is their only means of communication. It doesn’t mean that you are necessarily doing anything wrong, it’s just how they let you know they’re uncomfortable. These are the main reasons your baby is crying: hungry, dirty diaper, tired, wants to be held, gas or tummy troubles, needs to burp, feeling too hot or cold, teething, wants more or less stimulation, or they’re not feeling well.

Ask yourself if you have tried to satisfy any of these problems. If it’s hunger your baby will eat once they are less distressed and you introduce the breast or bottle. Newborns tend to eat on a cycle of every  hour and fifteen minutes. As long as it’s once every one-two hours. If you notice your baby sucking in their sleep, this is a clear sign that they are hungry, other signs are stirring and stretching.

After the baby has fed try to burp them. Don’t give up burping your baby, if they don’t burp after they eat the gas will cause tummy trouble and crying. Just rub the back and pat until your baby burps.

A dirty diaper simply needs to be changed and then your baby would probably enjoy a good cuddling. If snuggling with your baby calms them down then it was your presence they wanted, but make sure you’re not turning into a helicopter mother who is always standing over her baby. They need some alone time too. Tired babies need their sleep, try rocking, swaddling, singing, swinging, anything you have noticed calms them down, do this and they will fall asleep.

Always be aware of the temperature of your rooms and your newborn. Babies should dress for the season. If it’s a hot summers day put the baby in a summer outfit. If it’s a cold winter day dress your baby warmly. Just be sure that you’re not going overboard. If after you dress your baby a few minutes later they crying but it’s not from hunger or dirty diapers, it could be you’ve under or over dressed them.

Teething will always cause crying, it’s a painful experience. The best thing to do for your baby is to buy leak proof, PSB free teething rings, or freeze a damp facecloth for your baby to munch on. This will numb the gums naturally and provide some relief. Over the counter medicines that are advertised as teething aids may contain chemicals that your baby will become used to and become useless the more you use them. Research natural remedies such as Camilia.

If you check your baby and they are hotter than normal take their temperature under the arm in the armpit for the most reliable temperature. Any temperature in a baby less than six months old that is more than 93 degrees or more you should take the baby to see a doctor. Newborns do not typically get fevers, so if your new born has one take them immediately to see your pediatrician.

If you have checked all of the above and the baby is still crying, what should you do? Just relax, the baby is just working through something. It can be hard to listen to, but if you’ve taken care of them then you have done your job. If you feel that it is upsetting you, it’s okay to walk away and take a breather. You’re not a bad parent if you need to do this, all mothers need a break, so just take five and relax, then you can go back to your baby with a clear mind.