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Ten Things to Remember When Your Child is a Baby

by Maxine
Posted July 30 2010 06:57pm
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1. Long before your baby can talk, he is learning about language.

He is sending you clues about what he needs, wants and feels. He will test different cries, gurgles and facial expressions to see how you respond. Then he’ll keep doing the ones that get the results he wants. As he learns that he can make things happen, he will develop confidence and want to try new things. Keep on talking with your baby. Try repeating the sounds he makes and adding new ones.

2. Learning to “read” your baby is fun, but can be a challenge.

She smiles – you smile back. She reaches out – you touch her hand. If she turns her head away when you speak, that can hurt you. But she may be telling you she is tired. Or maybe she needs your voice to be softer. She may just want to be left alone for a moment. It takes trial and error to figure out what your baby is trying to tell you, so be patient.

3. Babies experience relationships through their senses.

The best way to tell your baby you love him is with lots of talking, cuddling and eye contact. You cannot always be there when he wants a hug. But when he’s “asking” for a hug, do your best to deliver.

4. Your baby forms a secure attachment to you as you care for her.

Through daily routines, your baby learns that she can rely on you. She gains a feeling of safety. This trusting attachment sets the basis for her future relationships.

5. You cannot spoil your baby by responding to his needs.

Babies are born with a need for human contact. In the process of providing it, you learn more about him, and he learns more about you. He learns that he can count on you.

6. Special moments need time.

Not all of your one-on-one moments with your baby will be happy and special. You need to spend lots of time getting used to each other for those special moments to happen. They will happen more if you focus on your child while doing everyday things.

7. Babies are most ready to learn when they are calm and alert, in a quiet environment.

This is a good time to spend with your baby and to play.

8. Toys can’t take your place.

Giving your baby toys and other safe things to play with is good for her development. But playing WITH your child is even more important to her well-being.

9. Even when you are really busy, it’s important to make time for your baby.

Housework isn’t the top priority. If you have a partner, try to take turns with chores and with spending time with your baby. Build a circle of friends, relatives and neighbours. We can all use a bit of help!

10. You don’t have to be perfect to be a terrific parent.

So relax. And your child doesn’t have to be perfect to be a terrific child. You will both make mistakes, and you will both recover. So enjoy each other now because babies grow up quickly!

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Your Crying Newborn

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 02:22pm
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It’s common for new parents to worry that their baby is crying too much. And, like most new parents, you are likely being bombarded by advice and ideas on how to deal with this from your friends and family.

“It’s completely normal for new parents to be concerned when their baby cries,” says Karon Foster, a Registered Nurse and a Parenting Expert. “Of course parents feel uncomfortable when their baby cries, but all babies do. It’s the main way they have to tell you that they need something.”

“Parents worry that if they always pick up their baby when he cries they will spoil him, but that just isn’t true,” Foster continues. “Your newborn isn’t crying to please or upset you – he doesn’t know how to do that yet. He’s just letting you know that he needs something or that he’s upset and unhappy. In fact, babies that are soothed when they cry actually cry less in the long run. Also, if you don’t respond to your baby’s cries on a regular basis it can interfere with his ability to trust you and other people now and in the future.”

Our experts have put together some facts about crying and some tips to help you cope.

  • It’s common for many babies to cry more during the first six weeks. Gradually, as they learn to soothe or quiet themselves down, they’ll cry less and less. It takes a while for this to happen, though. Some babies who have very sensitive temperaments, can take a long time to learn to soothe themselves.
  • It’s typical for young babies to cry many times a day for a total of about 2 hours in a 24 hour period. But you have to remember, every baby is different. Some cry more often or for longer periods. This can add up to 3 or more hours in a day. Most of these babies are healthy and growing well.
  • Talk to your doctor about your baby’s crying at your next appointment. Ask if she has any guidelines about when to call or when you should worry. There are no real hard and fast guidelines, but if you want to know what’s typical and normal try filling out a crying log to show to your baby’s doctor.
  • And never hesitate to call the doctor if you are worried about crying. The staff will ask you more specific questions and help you gauge your baby’s needs.
  • Babies cry for lots of reasons. He could be hot or cold or have a tummy ache. Maybe he is just lonely and needs to be held. Finding the reason for his cries is part of the learning – in time you will learn most of his cues.
  • Babies do not need to cry to develop their lungs. Most babies don’t know how to soothe themselves for at least the first six months and sometimes longer. So always try to soothe your crying, young baby.
  • Avoid letting him ‘cry it out.’ Keep trying to soothe him. Your baby needs to feel your presence.
  • If you feel frustrated or angry, you can let your baby cry until you feel calm again. Letting your baby cry is better than you feeling the urge to shake him or worse. Try calling someone for support; ask for help. It’s OK to need a break now and then.
  • When your baby is fussy try consoling him by walking, rocking and talking softly to him. Sometimes a warm bath helps or singing. Some parents find taking their baby for a drive helps, as the motion of the car can be soothing.
  • There are two red flags to watch for when your baby is crying: one is a very high-pitched cry and the other is a really feeble cry. IF your baby cries in either of these two ways, or if you’re worried about your baby, call the doctor or take the baby to the emergency room.

 

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The Role of Routines – Starting a Routine

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 07:36pm
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For some parents, the idea of babies having routines sounds crazy, while others knowingly nod their heads in agreement. Both new and seasoned parents strive to help create some order out of the possible chaos of the few first months and routines are a great way to achieve that.

Babies are born into a world where everything is new to them, and they arrive without much memory to help them remember from one day to the next. Their brains are growing at an amazing rate, though! The more the learning circuits in their brains are repeated, the easier it becomes for them to learn—about us and how we live.

Starting a Routine

While it is important to feed your baby on demand for the first several months of life, once you start to follow a pattern, you'll help your newborn learn to trust that you will soothe her hunger—if not right this minute, then soon. The same goes for sleeping. Newborns don't know the difference between night and day. Starting from the first day at home with your baby, follow a nighttime routine of bathing, changing, feeding, lowering the lights and eventually leaving the room. This will help your baby transition into the nighttime sleep routine, teaching her that night is the time for sleeping.

Don't expect your baby to understand or stick to a routine right away. The patterns that will become routines will soon be clear to you.

To help pave the road to a routine, do things in the same order each day, as you get a feeling for your baby's rhythm and for what works for both of you.

Our experts have created a list to help you understand why it can be important to have a routine.

Routines help your baby learn about all of the following:

  • Your baby will learn to trust you and know that you will make her feel safe and secure.
  • A routine will help your baby learn and remember things. Repetition helps build your baby’s memory as she learns to recognize predictability in her strange new world. This makes your baby feel safe and secure. She’ll be able to relax and will have the energy she needs to be curious, to want to explore and learn new things.
  • Your baby will begin to build social and language skills. For example, if you always say “goodbye” when someone is leaving, your baby will learn the word “goodbye,” the meaning of the word and the social response that goes with it.
  • Routines will help teach your baby about the concept of past, present and future. The repetition of routines helps your baby become familiar with things, which boosts her brain development.
  • Your baby will start to build skills. Routines, like a daily bedtime story, give your baby a chance to learn and practice skills, practice taking turns and understand new ideas, such as “wet” and “full.”

Click here for some common routines you might establish with your little one.
 

 

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Your 12-Month-Old

by Maxine
Posted November 6 2011 09:51pm
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But for all the adventurous spirit that children show around this age, they really need the security of a parent or other loving caregiver to rely on. They want to keep you in sight and show off for you. And the more you are available and reliable when your child needs you, the more your child will learn to function independently.

At this age, children love repetition, and will learn by doing things over and over. They will begin asking you to read the same story over and over, and may point to familiar things as you read along. Children at this age are also great imitators of adults - they love performing, and the more everyone reacts and exclaims, the more they'll do it.

Because 12-month olds are more mobile, be sure that your home is properly childproofed. It's also time to start setting some limits, especially to protect your child from dangerous things - he will understand what "no" means, although it will be a while before he actually accepts what it means.

It's a good idea at this stage for both you and your child to spend time with other children and parents, such as at library story times, coffee groups or playgroups formed with your friends or through drop-in centres. Don't fall into the trap of comparing your child with others, though.

Remember, each child is unique. Not all children develop at the same rate in each area, such as movement, communication and relating to others, so the information on this website is meant only as a general guide. If you have concerns about your child's development, you should consult your child's doctor.

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