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First Time Away from Baby

by Maxine
Posted August 19 2010 09:55pm
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Some parents look forward to their first outing without their new baby, while others dread it. Some are eager to think about something other than diapers and feeding, while others think two hours away from baby is far too long. Whichever category you fall into, there are strategies to help make time away from your little one easier.

For some of you, the first separation may have happened shortly after birth if Mom or your baby were unable to come home right away and were forced to be separated. Maybe a work or family commitment has called upon one or both of you to leave your baby for a few hours. For others, the day hasn't arrived yet. In fact, it may not be for several weeks or months after your baby is born. However, eventually, you will have to leave your baby in someone else's care for the first time.

The Stress of Leaving

It’s hard to leave when you know your baby is still so vulnerable, so you may experience different levels of distress at different times. For example, Dad, you may be going back to work just a few days or weeks after your baby is born while Mom may not leave baby for any reason for a couple of months.

Leaving your baby can be a very emotional time. It can bring up feelings of worry, guilt or even a sense of emptiness. These emotions can strengthen if your baby is upset just before you leave or is difficult to console when you return. You may feel terrible that your baby cried for a long period of time or refused to eat when you weren’t there. It's important to recognize that there is a wide range of experiences as to how parents react in general and how you react in particular when that "first time away" happens.

Dealing with It

If leaving your baby for the first time isn't that difficult for you, don't question yourself. This certainly isn't a measure of how much you love your baby. Enjoy your time away—guilt free!

However, if you are having a hard time leaving your baby, here are some ways in which to handle your first time apart:

  • Accept the idea that, eventually, you will need to leave your baby in someone else's care.
  • Talk about your feelings with your partner, other family members or friends.
  • Plan and put energy into selecting a childcare provider who provides you with a high level of confidence. Otherwise, when you're gone, you'll just be worried that your baby isn't receiving the level of care that you want her to have. Stress will be your destiny!

Time Away Made Easy

Being prepared for time away can also make it easier. Here are some strategies that can help you prepare.

Teach your baby to be at ease with other adults. Let others hold and comfort your baby. If you're the only one to respond to him when he needs comforting, he will have a more difficult time feeling calm when others take care of him.

Have your babysitter spend some time with your baby when you're home. Don't hover and interrupt. Let the caregiver have some independent time with your child.

Plan a "graduated" absence. The first time, go out for just an hour or even less. Go for a walk or for a cup of coffee. Go out in the yard and read, or go shopping. Each time you go out, stay away a bit longer until both you and your baby get used to the time apart. The idea is to do something where you can control the time and distance you're away.

Carry a cell phone or leave a number where the sitter can reach you. Knowing that they can contact you at any time can be reassuring.

Tell your sitter that you're struggling with the whole separation issue and may be checking in. It's important that your sitter doesn't become offended when you call to check on your baby—maybe even repeatedly. She needs to see it as helpful for your comfort level. Try not to overdo this though. Make a rule; for example, you'll only call once an hour.

Planning your Time Away

Make a plan with your babysitter. You know your baby best. You also know how much discomfort you think your baby can tolerate before you need to become involved. Decide in advance what your limits and your baby's limits are. Do you want to be called if your baby wakes up—no matter what? If so, then tell that to the babysitter. Do you want your babysitter to try her best soothing techniques for 20 minutes, and then if they aren't working, call you? If so, specify that. Babies under 1 year are too young to be left to "cry it out" with a babysitter. If you can't be reached and your baby is having a prolonged crying episode, be sure to list who the babysitter should call.

Plan your first outing so that it fits into your baby's schedule. Go out during your baby's usual sleep time. Plan your time away so it falls between feedings, especially if Mom is breastfeeding. Try going out during a time in the day when your baby isn't fussy.

Don't make a big fuss just before you leave. Your baby will pick up your stress, which is more likely to make him anxious.

Always leave an extra feeding. This is a wise idea, just in case you return later than you planned.

On your return, fall back into the usual routine. Avoid trying to make up to your baby for being gone. There is nothing to feel guilty about; you've done nothing wrong by taking some time for yourself.

 

How did you handle your first outing without your baby? How did you plan in advance? Leave a comment below and share your story with other parents just like you!

 

 

 

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The benefits of touch for your baby

by Maxine
Posted January 3 2012 12:01pm
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Is there anything more comforting to a child than the gentle touch of a loving parent? It is said that touch can speak louder than words and that touch is our first language. How true! When a father cuddles his baby or a mother rubs the back of a crying toddler, their touch is saying in no uncertain terms, "I care." This quiet yet clear communication between a parent and child is powerful, and its positive effects on children cannot be overstated.

Research shows that babies will cry less if they are touched regularly. We also know that a parent's touch does more than simply comfort babies; it has actually been proven that it helps them grow and develop.

In one study, premature babies who were touched and massaged regularly by their parents gained more weight and were more active, alert and responsive than babies who were not massaged.

So remember, when you comfort your young child, regardless of her age, touch can play an important role in how you communicate your affection and support.

It is also important for parents to be in tune with their children, and to read the cues and clues that children give about the type and amount of touch that suits them at a particular moment. Sometimes too much cuddling will make a baby cranky; if this happens, it's time to back off. In fact, some children are naturally more reactive and sensitive to touch than others and at times may find too much touch over-stimulating. They'll let you know when they need a break - your job as a parent is to recognize and follow their lead. Often, a casual touch on the shoulder is enough to let children know that you love them.

So read your child's cues, and remember that touch can speak louder than words. When it's used sensitively, it sends a powerful message of love and security.

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Is it harmful to yell at your baby?

by Maxine
Posted January 2 2012 03:42pm
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Some people might think that because they only yell at their child, and don't do anything physical, that it's really not that bad. But frequent, angry yelling can be as harmful as hitting your child because of the emotional hurt it causes.

If you do lose your temper and yell at your child, tell your child as soon as possible that you are sorry, and it wasn't right for you to behave the way you did. Also, explain that you will try very hard not to yell in the future. Most importantly, show your child that you will always love them. This is also great modeling for your child, who will learn that yelling is not an acceptable way of dealing with problems.

Yelling is usually a sign that you have lost control and so it will be difficult to parent effectively. When you are not in control, step back, take a few breaths or remove yourself until you are calm. You might ask your partner to step in for you as well.

If you are yelling at your child regularly, consult your physician about possible medical reasons for your anger.

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Dehydration

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 11:31am
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Dehydration happens when the body doesn’t have enough water to carry out its normal jobs. Babies can become dehydrated quickly and need to be watched carefully. This is especially true during hot weather and illnesses such as fever, vomiting and diarrhea. Watch for signs of dehydration when changing routines, giving new foods or even changing water sources.

The symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Dry eyes
  • Crying with few or no tears (after the age of 2 to 3 months, when tears are formed)
  • Slightly dry mouth
  • Increased thirst
  • Fewer wet diapers than usual. Babies from 1-3 days of age are expected to have the same number of wet diapers as their day of age.  A 4 –day old baby would be expected to have at least 6-8 heavy, wet diapers. A heavy wet diaper would feel like 40-60 ml (2-3 Tbsp) on a cloth or disposable diaper.  
  • Fewer dirty diapers than usual. Babies by 3 days of age are expected to have at least 3 bowel movements. Some babies may have 10-12 in a day and this is normal.
  • Less active
  • More sleepy or tired than usual
  • Muscle weakness
  • Irritable
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

Severe dehydration includes the following symptoms:

  • Very dry mouth
  • Sunken eyes
  • Soft spot on the top of baby’s head is sunken
  • Skin that stays stuck together and doesn’t spring back when it’s gently pinched then released
  • No urine or wet diapers
  • Intense thirst
  • Your baby is difficult to arouse or does not recognize you
  • Fast breathing
  • Fast heart rate
  • Cool, grayish skin colour
  • Very lethargic
  • Loss of weight

When mild dehydration occurs, there are steps you can take to stop this:

  • Offer your baby fluids frequently, this includes breast milk or other fluids your baby would normally take.
  • If you can’t get your baby to re-hydrate herself, call her doctor or go to the children’s after-hours clinic. If neither is available, go to the nearest hospital emergency room. It’s always better to take a dehydrated baby to medical experts sooner rather than later. Re-hydrating quickly is very important.


If severe hydration occurs, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

You can prevent dehydration in your baby by frequently offering her the breast or other fluids she would normally take. Watch your baby for signs that dehydration is getting worse. This is especially true when she has vomiting or diarrhea.

 

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