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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Verbal Child Abuse

by Maxine
Posted August 27 2010 01:58pm
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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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