by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 12:48pm
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It’s hard not to be worried when you touch your child’s forehead and she’s burning up. Fevers are very common in childhood, but they need to be monitored closely.

A fever itself is not an illness, but rather a symptom of an illness as the body tries to fight off infection. The source of the infection may be a virus or bacteria.

If you think your baby may have a fever, check her temperature by placing the end of a mercury or digital thermometer in her armpit. Bring her arm close to her body, covering the end of the thermometer, and hold it there for the required time:

  • Glass thermometer: 5 minutes
  • Digital thermometer: when it stops flashing or it beeps (see product directions)

Ear thermometers are not recommended for children under the age of 2 years. Pacifier thermometers are not as accurate as digital or glass thermometers.  By the time your child is 4 or 5 years old, you’ll be able to take his temperature by mouth.

Normal body temperature ranges from 36.5°C (98.6°F) to 37.5°C (99.5°F). Fever is when body temperature is elevated above 37.5°C (99.5°F).

Babies can “spike” a fever relatively quickly. This means it may go quite high very suddenly. So, if you think your baby is running a fever, check it often. Babies also respond to fevers differently. Some babies hardly ever have fevers. Other babies seem as uncomfortable with a low fever as those with a very high fever.

The goals of treatment are to lower the fever and to make your baby comfortable.

Go to the hospital if the following occurs:

  • Your baby is under 1 month old and has a fever.
  • Your baby has a fever and a rash or purple spots on her skin.
  • Your baby has a fever and convulsions

Contact the doctor if the following occurs:

  • Your baby is under 3 months old and has a fever.
  • Your baby or child is older than 3 months with a fever of 39°C (101°F).
  • Your baby is 6 months or older with an unexplained fever for longer than 24 hours.

Take the following steps to treat a fever:

  • NEVER give your baby aspirin or acetlysalicylic acid for fever or pain. Aspirin has been linked with Reye’s syndrome, which can affect your baby’s neurological development and liver. Ask your baby’s doctor whether you can give acetaminophen or ibuprofen. At an appropriate dosage, it can make your baby more comfortable.
  • Give plenty of fluids. If you are breastfeeding, feed your baby frequently. It not only provides fluids, but gives your baby the anti-infective properties to help her recover.
  • Remove blankets and clothing that may be keeping body heat in.
  • Try not to make your baby so cold that she shivers. This will produce more body heat and raise her temperature.
  • Do not give your baby sponge baths or rub your baby down with alcohol. These can actually lower the temperature too quickly, causing your baby to shiver and spike the fever again.

A fever is a symptom—not an illness—that is part of the body’s fight against infection. The best way to prevent fever is to prevent infection, which is covered under the following topics.


Has your child had a fever? How did you cope? Leave a comment below and share your story with other parents just like you!


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Good Night Habits: During the Night – 6 to 12 Months

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 04:12pm
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Once your baby is asleep, you still need a routine in place to help you deal with wake-ups, feedings and other disruptions.

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.”

During the Night

Once your baby is asleep, you still need a routine in place to help you deal with wake-ups, feedings and other disruptions.

Don't respond to every noise that your child makes.
Learn to distinguish a real cry from a sleepy whimper. If you're not sure, it's okay to wait for a minute to find out. If your baby is sleeping in your room and his noises are keeping you awake, now might be the time to move your baby to his own room to sleep.

Use the words and sounds that signal to your baby that it’s time for sleep if he seems really awake.

Repeatedly whisper something like “night, night” or “sh-sh-sh” as you gently place your baby on his back and start massaging his temples or patting his tummy. Linking the words with your soothing touch will help your baby link the phrases with going to sleep.

Move to holding and rocking your baby if she’s still crying.

When your baby cries, one of the most effective responses is to provide comfort.

Offer your baby the breast or bottle, ONLY if other soothing attempts have not helped your baby fall back to sleep.

In general, the experts advise against creating a routine that attaches feeding to waking up in the night. However, if other strategies don’t work, then feeding your baby might just do the trick.

Try to put your baby back in bed before she is fully asleep.
When you put your baby to bed while she’s still a little bit awake, she can learn how to fall asleep on her own.

Remember, even if your baby was sleeping through the night, she may start waking again if she’s been through an illness, is going through a growth spurt or is experiencing other changes. These changes may include such things as Mom returning to work, a vacation or a move to a new home. Some changes are longer or more significant than others. If you’re vacationing in a motel or with relatives, you may use a feeding to help your baby fall asleep, rather than disturb others. If your baby is sick for 3 days, you may decide to rock him to sleep every time he wakes. But afterward, it may be like starting over to get back to what used to be normal.

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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When your baby cries – Pinpointing the problem

by Maxine
Posted June 21 2011 02:12pm
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When your new baby is crying, sometimes it seems impossible to figure out what she is trying to tell you.

She isn’t wet, she’s just been fed, what could be causing her so much stress? Don’t worry, it’s normal for babies to cry, sometimes for up to two hours a day, and you will soon start to understand your baby’s cues and be better able to determine what those cries means.

Here are some possibilities to consider:

  • Is she hungry or thirsty?
  • Is her diaper soiled?
  • Is she lonely? She might just need some comfort time with one of her parents.
  • Is she too hot or too cold?
  • Is she in pain?
  • Does she have gas?
  • Is she tired?
  • Is she bored?
  • Is she over-stimulated?
  • Is she sick?

Remember, sometimes baby’s cry for no apparent reason at all, but this checklist might help you pinpoint a problem.

Think about your own baby, what reasons have you found for your own baby to cry? What soothing techniques do you use? Leave us a comment below – your suggestion might help another parent who is going through this just like you did!

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How play is good for your baby

by Maxine
Posted January 2 2012 03:35pm
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When children play, they are practicing skills in every area of development: thinking, solving problems, talking, moving, sensing, cooperating and making moral judgments. This natural form of learning is very similar to the real world, because instead of learning one thing at a time, children have to learn - and use - several ideas and objects all at once. Playing is also fun - it makes children happy, and leads to easier and more effective learning.

In the early years, children explore or play by doing the same thing over and over again. For example, babies hold, manipulate and suck on blocks. Children learn what objects are like, and what they can do with them. They are beginning to make sense of their world.

As children grow, they add make-believe to their play. When children pretend, they are showing what they know. For example, when they put a block to their ear and say "Hello," children are showing that an object can be a make-believe telephone, and that a telephone is used for talking to people. When children build a castle or an airport, they have to think about their goal, and figure out how to make the castle or airport. That involves being creative and solving problems.

In pretend play, children are making sense of the world, trying out things they've learned and seen, and thinking about their feelings. They sort out fantasy and reality. You can tell a lot about what your child is feeling and thinking just by watching her play.

Around the time your child begins school, games with rules become part of play. Games encourage children to use strategy, logic and moral judgments to follow the rules. Board games like Snakes and Ladders, card games and team sports are all games with rules that help children learn to take turns, negotiate, problem-solve and get along with others.

Video Alert!
Watch our Baby Playtime video to learn how to incorporate Comfort, Play & Teach into the playtime you spend with your baby.

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