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Living smoke-free with your baby

by Maxine
Posted January 2 2012 04:10pm
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Breathing in second-hand smoke causes over 1,100 deaths in Canadian non-smokers from lung cancer and heart disease every year. A Health Canada Report in 2007, noted that 7% of Canadian children under 12 years old were exposed to second-hand smoke from cigarettes, cigars or pipes. Although this number is dropping, it still means that about 300,000 children under age 12 continue to be exposed regularly to second-hand smoke.

The good news is that most Canadian families agree they should avoid exposure to second-hand smoke in their home and car. Currently, four out of five (82%) Canadian homes already restrict smoking in some way and parents report there is general agreement about these restrictions among family members. Parents also report that the primary reason they want to cut back on the amount of second-hand smoke in their home is because of their children.

Tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals which are known to be linked to cancer. Second hand smoke also contains these chemicals; 2/3 of the smoke from a burning cigarette remains in the environment such as a room or a car-the other 1/3 is inhaled by the smoker. Third hand smoke also contains the same chemicals. This is the smoke that gets trapped in hair, skin, fabric, carpets, dust and toys; which accumulates over time. Babies and young children may take in more third hand smoke because they put their hands in their mouth and they spend more time playing on the floor.

Children are more vulnerable to the effects of second-hand smoke because:

  • They breathe faster than an adult and will breathe in more air relative to their weight and, therefore, absorb more toxins.
  • Their immune systems are less developed than an adult and their lungs are still developing.
  • Their airways are smaller and more sensitive to impurities in the air.
  • Children may not be able to move to a less smoky environment (e.g. go to a different room or get out of the car).
  • Exposure to second-hand smoke in children has been linked with health problems such as colds and upper respiratory infections, bronchitis, croup, ear infections, asthma and allergies.
  • Babies exposed to second-hand smoke are more at risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

What do these statistics mean to you as a parent? Well, for one thing, they mean that you are not alone. Across Canada, hundreds of thousands of families are struggling with the issue of second-hand smoke and are looking for ways to protect their children from its harmful effects. For a guide on how to make your home and car smoke free visit Health Canada’s Website or visit The Canadian Lung Association website which has tips on how to protect yourself from Second and Third Hand Smoke.

Visit Health Canada's website for A Guide for Parents: Making Home and Car Smoke-Free.

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Vomiting

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 12:04pm
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One of the first things you learn as a new parent is that some baby’s throw up quite often. Some throwing up is really more like a hiccup or burp, and is called “spit up.” The medical name for this is regurgitation.  This can happen when your baby is full, is not swallowing completely or there is a gas bubble that brings food along with it. This happens without much effort and is normal. Vomiting happens when the stomach contracts and forcefully pushes out some of its contents.

If vomiting is accompanied by fever, it’s usually caused by a virus or bacteria. This is one of the body’s ways of getting rid of it, or telling us that something is wrong. However, some infants and young children vomit because their digestive systems are sensitive. Other infants vomit because they have allergies to certain foods. Others react to changes in their routine with upset stomachs.

Some vomiting is called “projectile vomiting.” This kind of vomiting is forceful. It expels food far in front of your baby. You would be surprised how far such vomiting can go!

Some babies vomit a lot and others hardly at all. If your baby vomits a lot—whether due to allergies, sensitive digestive system, fever, illness or just a general upset of her routines—keep track of the amount of vomiting. Be sure to let your health care provider know if your baby is frequently vomiting or is having projectile vomiting.

Vomiting can lead to a more serious condition known as dehydration, which can be very serious for babies and young children.

When your child vomits, stomach contents are emptied through the mouth. It may be a single episode or multiple episodes.

When treating vomiting, the main goal is to avoid dehydration. Vomiting gets rid of water and other important matter from the body. If these are not replaced by drinking and eating, your baby becomes dry or dehydrated.

After your baby has vomited, give her tummy a rest before giving her anything by mouth. Wait about a half an hour. When you think your baby’s tummy is calm, try to breastfeed. If your child is not breastfeeding offer small sips of clear fluids. If this stays down, then after one hour other fluids that your child usually drinks can be offered, solid foods can then be gradually added. Consult your doctor if you have any concerns about your child.

Make sure your baby gets lots of rest and liquids.

Do not give your baby medicine to settle her stomach unless instructed by her doctor.

 

Contact your doctor if the following conditions occur:

  • Your baby is running a fever and is vomiting.
  • Your baby is unable to eat or drink, and is vomiting.
  • Your baby is vomiting often and has been vomiting for more than 4 to 6 hours in a day.
  • Your baby is projectile vomiting.
  • Your baby is having fewer wet diapers or dirty diapers than would be expected. See dehydration article.
  • There is blood in the vomit or the vomit is green or brown in colour.
  • Your child received a bump on their head or an injury to their head prior to the vomiting beginning.
  • Your child is also having abdominal pain, or a headache or a sore neck.

 

There are ways you can try and prevent vomiting:

  • Introduce new foods one at a time. Wait a week in between each new food to allow it to interact completely with all of your baby’s systems.
  • Start and keep to a predictable routine—especially if your baby’s digestive system appears to be sensitive to changes.
  • Breastfeed your baby. This helps fight against infection and reduces allergies
  • Try to limit contact with others’ illnesses.
  • Wash your hands for 15 seconds, especially after using the toilet, diapering, coughing and sneezing and before feeding your baby or handling food.  And carry hand sanitizer for those times when water and soap are not available.
  • Teach young children to wash their hands before eating, after using the toilet and after sneezing and coughing.
  • Properly handle and store food,especially breastmilk, fluids or any food given to your baby, to prevent contamination from bacteria.

 

 
Does your child throw-up often? How do you cope? What advice would you give to other parents? Leave a comment below and share your story with other parents just like you!

 

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Good Night Habits: At Bedtime – 6 to 12 Months

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 04:12pm
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Once you have a good daytime routine, your bedtime routine should go more smoothly. Here are some tips to help.

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.”

At Bedtime

Once you have a good daytime routine, your bedtime routine should go more smoothly. Here are some tips to help:

Put your baby to bed early.
Keeping your baby awake to make her more tired is a myth! This will not help her fall asleep sooner or sleep through the night. Be sure to put your baby to bed early. Overtired babies seem to have a harder time regulating their sleep at night.

However, if you need to move your baby from a later bedtime to an earlier one, make the change gradually. Don't suddenly move her bedtime from 9:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Gradually move her bedtime a little earlier each night until you reach the time that seems best for you and your baby.

Stick to a bedtime routine.
You and your baby will both benefit from a regular bedtime routine that is at the same time every night. For most, it’s quiet play, a bath, a book and then lights out. You may want to add or substitute a last feeding, a song or a quiet game. Just be sure to follow the same routine every night. Babies thrive on consistency!

Use words and sounds to signal that it’s time for sleep.
Whisper something like “night, night” or “sh-sh-sh” over and over when you are soothing your baby to sleep—or back to sleep. Soon he'll link the phrase with going to sleep.

Give your baby plenty of chances to fall asleep on his own.

Put your baby in bed when she's relaxed and drowsy, rather than nursing or rocking her all the way to sleep. This helps her learn to fall asleep on her own. Without this skill, she will probably need you to help her fall asleep when she wakes up during the night. Partial wakenings in the middle of the night are normal even after baby is 6 months old; a baby who can self-soothe will be able to fall back asleep without your help and you will be able to get the sleep that you need.

 
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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Verbal Child Abuse

by Maxine
Posted August 27 2010 02:00pm
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Verbal abuse is repeatedly insulting a child; or calling a child names. When telling a child he is stupid, fat, lazy, useless or whatever, it can be just as harmful as hitting a child, because it makes her feel as if she is no good.

Children in these situations come to believe they're worthless or stupid, and feel it's hopeless to try to be anything different. A child needs to feel loved, wanted and safe in order to feel worthwhile.

Any type of abuse can lead to a whole range of behavioural, emotional and physical problems.

If you or your partner is using verbal abuse with each other or with your child your child will not be able to thrive and you should speak to your doctor or a counselor in your area.

In Canada, anyone who believes a child is being abused is required to report it to the police or child protection authorities.

 

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