Types of Toys for your Infant

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 10:15am
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Baby and toy stores are full of toys for babies. Our experts have put together a list of some of the most popular options to help you choose what will work best for your new baby.


Mobiles help your baby focus and improve her vision. Watching moving objects stimulates your baby to track the object with her eyes, and if the mobile offers music or sounds, this can enhance your baby's listening skills. 

  • Encourage your baby to take notice of her surroundings by pointing out the mobile's features, colors, characters or lights if it has them
  • Change the mobile's position every once in a while, or change your baby's position so she gets a new view.

Music Boxes

Playing music or recordings of sounds from nature is a great way to enhance your baby’s listening skills as well as to calm and soothe your infant. 

  • Use a crib soother to help stop crying or calm him down, this helps to support your baby's efforts to self-regulate.
  • Sing or hum along with the music to encourage your baby to focus attention on you and to feel soothed by the sound of your voice.

Soft or Stuffed Toys

These toys help to encourage your baby’s emotional and intellectual development. Babies recognize and respond to faces very early. As they develop the ability to focus, seeing a familiar face is comforting to them. The soft, cushy texture of a stuffed toy is also soothing, especially when babies are not being held and cuddled.

  • Place the toy or doll within her view at arm's length away. The doll's face will be a source of visual interest, and the soft texture of the fabric will be interesting to touch.
  • Hug, kiss and coo at her. Near the end of the first month, demonstrate cuddling and nurturing behavior on a stuffed animal. for your baby.
  • Move the doll up and down in front of your child, then a little to the left and to the right. Watch to see if your baby is able to track the doll with her eyes.
  • Be sure to remove any stuffed or soft toys from your baby’s crib when she is sleeping.

Child-Safe Activity Mirrors

Babies love to gaze at their own reflection; they are fascinated by what they see. This encourages self-recognition, enhancing their emotional development. It also fosters eye-hand coordination as baby reaches to touch the mirror.

  • Initiate your baby's sense of self-recognition by pointing to his reflection in the mirror, and then to your own.  Play a peek-a-boo game.  Also, point out your facial features to help your baby make the connections.
  • Go to other mirrors in the house and show your baby how your reflections show up in those mirrors, too.
  • Give him some tummy-time play. Position this mirror in front of your baby so when he's ready to put his face up, he can look at himself in a new way.

Manipulative Toys

Manipulative toys examples include simple rattles; teethers; light, sturdy cloth toys, squeeze toys; toys suspended above or to the side of baby for batting and grasping. Your baby will start to grasp these toys at about 6-8 weeks. As he moves his hand, he will be attracted to the colours and the sounds.

Although, these toys can encourage your baby's development, you will still remain as your baby's favourite toy!

Learn more about choosing baby toys for your infant

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Prepping for Cry It Out

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 02:32pm
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You’ve decided to try Cry it Out, also know as The Ferber method after the doctor who popularized it, but you want to make sure that your baby is ready. Our experts suggest that you start the Cry it Out method no earlier than 6 months, and preferably wait until your baby is 9 months old or older. They base this opinion on many developmental factors of infants. But, you need to decide what is appropriate for your own baby and your family.

If you're not sure whether your baby is ready, just give it a try. If you encounter too much resistance, wait a few weeks and then try again. Waiting doesn't mean that you're spoiling your baby; you're simply responding to your baby's needs.

There are a few things you need to do to ensure that you have a good chance for success with the Cry it Out method. Before starting, have a bedtime routine already in place, and wean your baby's night time feedings as much as possible.

Once that’s in place, talk to your partner and determine that you are both totally on board. It is essential that both parents understand and agree with how to proceed and create a unified parenting front. Be prepared for a few difficult nights – it can be excruciating to hear your baby cry and you need to support each other if one of both of you finds it hard to do.

“Parents should have a plan in place for how you’ll endure the periods of crying,” says Kris Langille, a Registered Nurse and Parenting Expert. “Maybe you’ll want to watch TV or listen to music to distract you from the crying. If one of you finds the crying too hard take turns staying close to the baby while the other leaves for a bit.”

You’ll also want to decide in advance how much crying you’ll allow before determining that this isn’t the right method for you or that your child isn’t ready. If you have a plan in place beforehand you will have an easier time then you would making a decision in the heat of the moment.

When you start the Cry it Out method make sure that both of you are relaxed. Maybe you’ll choose to start on a Saturday night or a long weekend when neither one of you has to be up for work the next day, and you have the emotional reserves to handle the first few nights of this method. You also want to make sure that the baby’s life is pretty stable. If you are expecting any major changes to your baby’s routine, and especially if you are going to be less available, it’s probably best to wait. Start the method well before or well after going back to work and don’t start close to vacation time or a move.

In Dr. Ferber's book, he suggests the following intervals for crying:

  • Night #1: Let your baby cry for 3 minutes the first time, 5 minutes the second time, and 10 minutes for the third time and any other periods.
  • Night #2: Let your baby cry for 5 minutes the first time, 10 minutes the second time and then 12 minutes for the third time and any other periods.
  • Night #3: and beyond: Make the intervals a little longer on each subsequent night.

There's nothing magical about these wait periods. You can choose any length of time, and any number of nights that you feel comfortable trying.

If you’re feeling frayed after a few nights try to relax and think about the end result. When it’s all over everyone in your household is going to sleep more easily and happily and that should make it all worthwhile.

Did you use the Cry it Out method? How long did it take for your child to adjust? How long did you make the intervals? Leave a comment below and share your story with parents just like you!

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No Bad Babies

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 07:52pm
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A sippy cup hits the floor with a thud and your baby laughs madly as you mop up spilled milk and remind her that we don’t throw our things.

Later, she pulls every item out of the kitchen cabinet, spilling pots, pans and cooking supplies all over the floor. As you stack up the extra dishes it can be hard to see the positives of this behaviour.

Your baby, however, is just experimenting and learning about her world. When she drops her cups or pulls items out of cupboards she wonders what will happen, what will you do? Will the same thing happen if she does it again? And again?

Babies are miniature scientists. They learn about their world by experimenting, observing cause and effect and testing everything—including you. And they are relentless!

A baby who is experimenting is not misbehaving. Babies and young toddlers are way too young to know right from wrong. It may try your patience at times, but when you scold your baby or deem the behaviour naughty it puts both you and your child into a negative space. Instead, be patient and positive. Your persistent little scientist—with not a whole lot of memory yet—will definitely need your patience and guidance through Positive Parenting. Stay positive by criticizing your baby’s actions, not your baby and setting a good example, not throwing items when you are angry or frustrated.

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Traumatic TV and Preschoolers

by Maxine
Posted August 27 2010 02:04pm
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It is important to limit children's exposure to TV and other media. In times when we are bombarded with images and stories in the media about difficult and upsetting topics, be they flu pandemics, natural disasters, wars or terrorist attacks, parents often cannot avoid their young children hearing or seeing information about these events. Here are some strategies to help you and your child manage the stress and upset that can result from seeing upsetting things in the media.

Through television and other media, four- and five-year old children can be exposed to violent and disturbing images of war, terrorism, pandemics, disasters and tragic accidents. Some preschoolers are affected by these images more than others. However, young children are very sensitive to their parents' and caregivers' reactions. If you and your spouse are upset, or if your child's regular caregiver or teacher is upset, chances are good your child will become distressed too.
It is a good idea to limit young children's exposure to violence or upsetting stories in the news. It is even more important to limit your own exposure, if it is preoccupying you or distressing you. Turn the TV and radio off. Reassure your child that you are basically all right, even if you are sad. If it is important for you to keep track of what is happening during a traumatic event, then turn on the TV or radio at key news moments to catch up. But turn it off again and reconnect with your child.

It is also important to limit the time you spend worriedly talking about the event or situation with others and give your child some quality attention.
Some children are very sensitive and if you are anxiously talking to teachers, grandparents, neighbours and others, even four- and five-year-olds can become quite disturbed themselves.

If your child does see some news event that upsets him, or upsets you, talk about it.
It is not necessary to explain it in detail. You can simply say that a sad thing happened and some people got hurt and died. In many cases you can tell your child that the event happened far away, and emphasize that you and your family are safe. Don't forget to tell him that the people in charge are doing everything they can to protect you against the danger, and to make sure this doesn't happen again. It may also help some children feel better if they help out in some way. For example, they can send drawings or letters to the communities touched by the event.

If your young child is still anxious over an event that happened more than one month ago, consult your child's physician.


How does your child respond to traumatic events in the news? How do you help him or her cope? Share your story by leaving a comment below. And don’t forget that you can also Ask and Expert if you have questions on this topic.

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