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Diarrhea

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 11:46am
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When your baby has diarrhea it can be a messy moment for both of you! It can also be worrisome, as diarrhea is often coupled with dehydration or other illnesses.

Diarrhea, which is also called gastroenteritis, is liquid stool that is passed frequently. Stomach cramps and vomiting sometimes accompany diarrhea. It’s usually caused by a virus or bacteria or sometimes by food that the body cannot easily digest. Like vomiting, diarrhea is the body’s way of getting rid of the virus or bacteria. Diarrhea is common in babies and children – they are the most likely of all ages to get it.

Mild stress can sometimes cause diarrhea, so you may see this as a reaction to changes in your baby’s routine. Always take extra diapers if you are traveling or going to a party, just in case. Be sure to have some hand sanitizer too, in case there is no soap or water available.

“The main goal for treatment of diarrhea is to avoid dehydration,” says Karon Foster, a Registered Nurse and Parenting Expert. “Diarrhea takes away water and other important matter from your child’s body, if they are not replaced by drinking and eating he will get dry and dehydrated.  Be sure your child gets lots of rest and liquids, as well as any solids recommended by your health care provider.”

 Don’t give your child medication unless your doctor tells you to do so. And be sure to talk to your health care provider if any of the following things happen:

  • Your child is under 6 months and has more than 10 to 12 watery stools in a day. Note: Some breastfed babies may have up to 10 soiled diapers in a day their bowel movements tend to be soft with a seedy or mushy appearance.
  • Your child is over 6 months old and has more than 6 large, water bowel movements in a day or the diarrhea lasts for 2 days or more.
  • There is blood in the diarrhea.

 
There are a few things you can do to try and prevent diarrhea from happening at all. These include:

  • Breastfeeding your baby. Breastfed babies usually have fewer cases of diarrhea.
  • Introducing new foods one at a time. Wait 1 week between each new food to allow it to interact with all of your baby’s systems.
  • Setting up and keeping a predictable routine – especially if your baby’s digestive system seems to be sensitive to changes in his daily life.
  • Trying to limit contact with others’ illnesses.
  • Washing your hands for 15 seconds before feeding your baby or handling food. This is especially important after using the bathroom, diapering, coughing and sneezing. Also, carry hand sanitizer for those times when water and soap aren’t available.
  • Properly handle and store food to prevent contamination from bacteria. This is especially important when preparing or giving your baby food.

 
 

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Good Night Habits: Before Night Time – Birth to 6 Months

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 04:12pm
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Often parents don’t consider what they do during the day when they are trying to set up night time sleep routines. But good going-to-sleep habits don’t just begin at bedtime.

Your baby’s sleep habits are very different than what you’re used to! If your baby isn’t sleeping or is sleeping poorly, we encourage you to check out our articles on those areas, but if you’re wondering what you can do to encourage good going-to-sleep habits (and hopefully more regular sleep), read on to see what our experts suggest.

“Everyone wakes up several times each night for brief periods of time,” says Karon Foster, a Registered Nurse and Parenting Expert. “As adults, we put ourselves back to sleep most of the time. We often do it so quickly that we don’t even remember the next morning. If your baby hasn’t learned to put himself back to sleep, he may wake up crying in the night, even if he’s not hungry, teething or lonely.”

Before Night Time

Often parents don’t consider what they do during the day when they are trying to set up night time sleep routines. But good going-to-sleep habits don’t just begin at bedtime.

Make sure your baby has a regular daytime schedule
For the first month your baby’s day and night schedule does not vary much; she will eat and sleep about every 2-3 hours. By 3 months, your baby will have a period where she will be awake during the morning, afternoon and evening with a longer stretch of sleep usually between 7pm and 1 am.  For many babies, bedtime seems to go more smoothly if their daily schedule has been consistent. Have your baby nap, eat, play and get ready for bed at about the same time every day; she'll be much more likely to fall asleep without a struggle.

Encourage your baby to get plenty to eat during the day
Except during those times when a baby is going through a growth spurt.  In the first few months this may happen around 2-3 weeks, about 6 weeks, 3 months and later; the spurts usually last for a few days although for some babies may last longer.  During these times your baby will need to feed more frequently. Feeding your baby more often will help to increase your supply of milk. As your baby gets older after 6 months this strategy is especially important if your baby becomes so involved in what he is doing that he forgets to eat. If you help him get enough to eat during the day, he'll be less likely to wake up hungry during the night.

Establish regular naps
A consistent nap routine helps to regulate your baby’s 24-hour sleep/wake cycle.

Create a comfortable sleep environment

Create and tailor a comfortable sleep environment for your child. Some babies need more quiet and darkness than others. You may want to use recordings of soft music, nature sounds or the sound of a gurgling aquarium. These can be very soothing. Also, don't overdress your child or overheat the room. If your child is a light sleeper and rouses easily with noise or changes in light, try using a baby monitor or video monitor instead of opening his door to check him.

For more about bedtime routines, see the following articles:

 

Click here to learn more about your sleep and your baby.


Video Alert!
You can also watch this video from our Comfort, Play & Teach video series, Bedtime with your Baby, to learn more.

 

 

 

 

What are your sleep routines with your baby? Does having a routine help? Share your experiences with other parents just like you in the comment section below.

 

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Crying Logs

by Maxine
Posted June 21 2011 02:05pm
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The sound of your baby's cry can really tug at your heart. Sometimes it seems like all your baby does is cry! But the question is, is your baby crying too much? How can you tell?

Keep track of the total amount of your baby's crying in a 24-hour period in your crying log. This may help you figure out when your baby is most likely to cry, how much he cries, how hard he cries and what seems to trigger his crying.

Below, we have provided a crying log for you to use. Print as many copies as you need.

If you use a crying log, try to keep track of your baby's crying for a minimum of 3 days in a row; a week would be even better, especially if you are seeking outside help. This log will help you and your baby's doctor identify patterns, if any exist. Some babies are triggered by weekend changes to their schedule, others by a strange babysitter. The longer you keep the log, the more likely you are to notice a pattern. Many parents with highly fussy babies keep the log as a regular part of their parenting. For these families, just as their baby seems more settled at one point, something changes and sets off a new round of increased crying. The log helps them figure out what is happening.

   Download the Crying Log (PDF)

 

 

 

Do you keep a crying log? Were you able to identify patterns in your baby's crying? Share your experiences below by leaving a comment

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What position should you lay your baby to sleep

by Maxine
Posted January 3 2012 12:39pm
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Experts recommend that babies are always placed on their backs to sleep because this reduces the chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). SIDS, also called crib death, is when a baby dies suddenly and unexpectedly, for no apparent reason.

Some babies, however, develop flat spots on their heads as a result of always lying on their backs. This occurs because the weakness in their neck muscles can cause them to turn their head to the same side over and over again, and this puts pressure on their soft skulls.

Head flattening does not affect brain development, but in some cases it can be permanent. There are some things you can do to prevent flat head. For example, when putting your child to bed, you can alternate putting a mobile to the left and to the right of your baby, so he turns his head a different way every night. It's also important to make sure your child spends some time during the day lying on his tummy (learn more about tummy time), when you are there to watch him. In addition to helping you prevent flat head, spending time on their tummy is also important for babies' development.

For more detailed information on SIDS and flat head and other practical suggestions on how to prevent them, visit Caring for Kids (from the Canadian Paediatric Society) If you continue to be concerned about your child's flat head, however, talk to your doctor.

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