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The Benefits of Baby Massage

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 11:00am
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Many health care professionals agree that infant massage is a wonderful way to strengthen the parent-child relationship and contribute to a baby's healthy development. It’s a good idea for parents to learn massage techniques from a certified Infant Massage Instructor in a class with other parents and babies.

That way you’ll come to understand how to individualize the massage to your own infant's needs, developmental level and temperament and this can be a great opportunity to meet other parents in your community.

There are a number of benefits of infant massage:

  • It's relaxing! Most babies love being touched in this gentle and nurturing way. The loving touch can reduce fussiness and irritability.
  • It helps with digestion.
  • It can provide relief with gas or colic.
  • Premature babies benefit from appropriate massage. Research connects infant massage to weight gain in premature babies.
  • Massage promotes bonding. Both you and your baby will come to enjoy this special time just for the two of you.
  • It helps with communication. You become more attuned with your baby's nonverbal cues.
  • Sleep patterns improve. Your baby is learning to relax, and the result is often more sound and longer sleep.
  • It provides stimulation. The gentle stroking stimulates muscles and circulation.

 
If you’re considering baby massage, check out our Safety Tips for Massaging Your Baby and our Baby Massage Tips.

Sources: Tina Holden, Child, Youth & Family Consultant, British Columbia.
Jill Vyse, Massage Therapist, International Association of Infant Massage, Canadian Chapter.

 

Did you use baby massage with your baby? How did you find the experience? Share your story with other parents by leaving a comment below.
    

 

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Your Baby's Sleep Patterns

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 03:32pm
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Babies sleep patterns are unpredictable, but here are some guidelines that might help.

Between birth and 3 months: Your baby will probably sleep between 14 and 18 hours per day. As well, by about 6 weeks, most babies will sleep one long period of about 5-6 hours. While you’d probably prefer something that’s similar to your old schedule, like midnight to 6 a.m., your baby will probably prefer something more like 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Between 3 and 6 months: Your baby’s sleep needs will shrink to 14-16 hours and then to 12 to 14 hours somewhere between 6 months and 2 years of age.

Remember, when it comes to babies and sleep, “normal” is hard to define. Even the experts sometimes disagree on what parents should expect. As long as your baby is fed and comfortable, don’t worry if they’re below average on the sleep scale.

It might help you to keep a sleep activity log for a 7 day stretch. It may show that your baby does have a clear sleep-wake pattern, which will help you to figure out with to be available for your baby’s ‘best times.” These logs can also be helpful to your health care provider, if you find your baby’s sleep patterns are a problem.
 

Click here to learn more about your sleep and your baby. 

How much did your baby sleep for the first few months? Share your experience and how you cope with other parents by leaving a comment below!

 

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Sleep Strategies for New Parents

by Maxine
Posted August 19 2010 11:57am
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When you’re a new parent, sleep is at a premium. Taking care of your newborn is a round-the-clock job that completely ignores the routines you might have had before. Every baby is unique, but lack of sleep and exhaustion is one of the common complaints of new parents.

There is a good reason to worry about losing sleep. Research shows that, after 24 hours of poor sleep, people tend to become more short-tempered, think less clearly, have more difficulty making good decisions and feel a constant lack of energy. Lack of sleep has also been linked to postpartum depression for both parents.

Perhaps most importantly, your mental and physical state affects how you relate to your partner and to your baby. It's hard to enjoy your latest addition if you are hardly able to keep your eyes open.

Our experts have put together some sleep strategies to help you and your partner get more rest after your baby is born.

Sleep when your baby sleeps. Although this does not always work for parents, you may want to consider letting that chore go that you were going to do when baby fell asleep and instead—get some rest yourself.

Take turns. While Dad is bathing baby, Mom can take a nap and vice versa.

Simplify your daily routines. Try to reduce your chores.

Ask your doctor about magnesium and calcium supplements. Both of these are associated with healthy sleep.
 
Use sleep aids to help you go to sleep faster:
Use some of your comfort measures or other techniques to help you relax and sleep. A few suggestions follow:

  • Drink warm milk.
  • Take herbal remedies—check with your doctor, midwife or pharmacist about using these, particularly if Mom is breastfeeding.
  • Try relaxation techniques.
  • Play soft music.
  • Darken the room if it’s daytime or wear a sleep mask.

Ask for help. Have friends and relatives help out. They can do some of your chores (shopping, cleaning, picking up dry cleaning, etc.) or watch your baby while you get a power nap.

Reduce your intake of caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant and many people need to reduce or eliminate it to get a good sleep.

 

How did you get enough sleep when your baby was born? Or did you? Leave a comment below and share your experience with other parents.
 

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Traumatic events in the media and your toddler

by Maxine
Posted August 27 2010 02:10pm
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It is important to limit your child'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 children can sometimes be exposed to violent and disturbing images of war, terrorism, pandemics, disasters and tragic accidents. Some 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. 

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. 

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