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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Your Baby’s Sleep – Wake Patterns

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 04:11pm
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As a new parent, one of the first things you discover is that your baby’s sleep patterns are very different than your own. A baby’s sleep pattern is not predictable and it can be a big adjustment! Some newborns sleep 16 hours a day, some 21 and some only 11 – and over the course of their first 6 months, they will pass through a number of different stages.

In the first few months, your baby will pass back and forth between periods of sleep and wakefulness, each amounting to about 3 or 4 hours. Once your baby is 3 or 4 months old, nighttime sleep tends to lengthen.

“Adults tend to spend about 20% of their night in a light Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep, but very young infants spend about half of their sleep there,” explains Karon Foster, a Registered Nurse and Parenting Expert. “It’s normal for babies to lie quietly or seem like they’re neither really awake nor really asleep. If nothing catches their attention, they may just fall back to sleep.”

Sleeping and eating go together, so as time between feedings increases, your baby will have stretches where they will sleep for a longer period of time. But remember, babies wakeful times are not completely linked to food. Your baby’s internal clock regulates eating, sleeping, elimination and moods. As newborns, babies don’t know the difference between night and day – they sleep and wake at any time.


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Making Time for You

by Maxine
Posted August 19 2010 12:20pm
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One of the major challenges for new parents is to find any free time at all! However, when you do come up with some specific strategies that fit your schedule, you’ll quickly reap the benefits. Taking a break helps keep you from becoming too overwhelmed and helps preserve your mental health.

Here are some things that you might try:

  • Give each other spontaneous gifts of personal time. Both of you can benefit from mutually supporting each other in taking breaks from parenting. Whenever you think it's needed, send your partner off for a relaxing bath, a workout at the gym or to call a friend for a nice long chat—while you take over. Remember, for it to be a gift, offer up this personal time with a smile.
  • Set aside a regular time each week where the two of you trade off personal time in exchange for baby care. For example, every Saturday morning, one of you takes complete charge of your baby while the other sleeps in, showers or reads the paper; then switch places.
  • Trade babysitting services with other parents. They are in the same boat as you are with the same tight budgets. If you can find the right people, this is a good strategy.
  • Hire outside help to buy a little time for yourself. This will only work if you and your baby feel comfortable with the caregiver. There is no benefit to you spending your personal time worrying about how your baby is getting along with the caregiver. Be sure to ease yourselves into any new caregiver situation.
  • Make some outside commitments to get you out the door. Follow your instincts. Whatever you need to do to relax and stay in touch with the inner you—play hockey, sing in the choir, take a fitness class or play bingo—just sign up and make it happen!
  • Turn commuting time into personal time. Listen to your favourite music, read or plan your next project. If you're driving home, take the back roads for a few extra minutes to calm yourself and transition back into parent mode.

Setting up regular routines and activities that allow you to enjoy your own interests and needs can go a long way to improving family connections, reducing stress levels and decreasing parental burnout. While life as a parent is busy, it’s critically important to not give up on your quest for personal time.


Do you have any suggestions to add to our list? How did you find personal time when your baby was young? Leave a comment below and share your story with other parents just like you!


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Toddlers Who Are Shy

by Maxine
Posted August 27 2010 02:33pm
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Some children are shy. They "hang back" in groups. They need your assistance to learn how to become comfortable talking and playing with others.

The main things to remember when trying to help a child like this to cope with new situations are:

  • Don't label a child "shy" or introduce your child as a "shy child." Sometimes children will define themselves as this and never move beyond the label.
  • Don't push your child into situations that he might find overwhelming. It's important that you accept your child's nature and help him develop ways to overcome his shyness - that may take time and patience. Instead of pushing, offer your child opportunities to be involved with others with your support.
  • Prepare your child ahead of time by talking about new situations, such as what she will encounter, or who may be there, and talk with her about ways to become involved in groups.
  • Don't nag your child about being shy. Parents who get irritable or impatient with a child's shyness may find that their child reacts by being even shyer.

Remember, every child is unique. Some children will be shy, to a greater or lesser degree, all their lives. It's important for them to feel valued for who they are.

Is your toddler shy? How do you handle it? What tips do you have for other parents in the same situation? Let us know by leaving a comment below!


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