Monthly Archives: May 2010

Should You Overspend with Children?

How much is too much when you consider spending with new children? Some parents, especially those with their first child, want the best for their child. Starting from the beginning, this may be the finest clothing and the most sturdy and beautiful furniture. But, after a while, practicality sets in, and new parents see that, after two years, many of the high-quality furniture and clothing they purchased can no longer be used. At this point, what do you do?

Some keep the designer baby furniture for future children, while others end up giving it away to second-hand stores. Then, because a child has grown significantly from a baby into a toddler, more furniture and clothing need to be purchased at some point.

Does the pattern of wanting to spend on your child ever end?

A recent article suggests, however, that you can spend but still be reasonable. For example, don’t go for the most expensive baby pieces, when you know a child will grow out of it in a few years. The same goes for clothing. Some pieces can be purchased second hand, particularly if you know a child will grow out of it quickly. Others, instead, should be durable, particularly the crib and basic baby clothing, but “durable” doesn’t always mean “expensive.”

Another possibility is investing in children’s furniture that’s convertible and multipurpose. Convertible cribs are one option. These beds start out as ordinary cribs and, when a child starts growing, the crib folds out into a toddler-size bed that can be used for a few years. In this case, the bed you purchased for your baby will last until the child is about four or five years old. Additionally, other basic pieces for a child’s room, such as dressers and tables, can be purchased as high-quality furniture in adult sizes, particularly as a child won’t be using many of these for a few years.

How to Incorporate Reading with Your Baby

One activity parents are told to get involved with early on is reading. From helping a child learn new words to simple interaction, reading can be done even before a child is one years old. But, one issue facing many parents is, “How do I keep my child interested?” In this recent advice column, the writer compiles several perspectives from parents and experts in regards to reading with your child. In essence, as long as you have the age-appropriate reading material (don’t attempt reading The Odyssey to your infant, for example, and expect full attention), the benefits from reading are possible.

Ideally, when you’re reading with children under three years of age, the books should have large and colorful pictures and even interactive features, like hand puppets and pop-up drawings. In fact, some baby books are even designed with the red, black, and white color scheme designed for babies. The bright pictures and few pages covered in words allows children to be more interested in the story – no matter if you’re reading directly from the page or making one up. In fact, some books designed for babies and young children simply have this purpose: for you to interact with your child in creating a story only from pictures.

Aside from using interactive or colorful books, another option to get a child interested in reading – hearing the story and not simply ripping pages from a book – is making books seem like toys. A baby or child often has some toys in a crib, in the nursery, and for the bath, so why not do the same with books? Plastic books for bath time are carried by various baby product retailers, while soft cloth crib books can be placed along the outline of a child’s bed. In either instance, you can still interact with your child through the task of reading and creating a story.

Increase in Cases of Shaken Baby Syndrome

Is shaken baby syndrome on the rise? According to a recent article in the Log Cabin Democrat, Arkansas has experienced an increase in cases that have occurred during the first six months of the fiscal year. According to the linked article, these cases have been associated with the economy and stress. However, no explanation has been studied as to why this state is experiencing more cases of shaken baby syndrome.

According to the article, the last fiscal year in Arkansas saw 21 incidents of children under two years of age with shaken baby syndrome. Four out of these 21 children died. But, since the start of the current fiscal year, the state has seen what appears to be a sharp increase in incidents. So far, 12 incidents have already occurred during a course of six months.

On a national level, 1,200 to 1,400 cases of shaken baby syndrome are seen each year. One quarter of this amount dies and a significant percentage of the rest will need medical attention for the rest of their lives. Typically, it appears that a large percentage of these cases are associated with a parent – usually male – unable to stop a crying baby.

If you’re presented with this situation, what do you do? As seen by the rise in incidents in Arkansas, the answer isn’t shaking the cries out of your child or becoming frustrated. Although frustration is a natural reaction in some cases, you can combat your emotions before they escalate. As mentioned in the article, parents with a crying child should seek out medical attention. Perhaps your child has some kind of problem that’s causing pain? After ruling this out, one option for parents dealing with a crying child is to simply set the child down at home and walk away. This isn’t neglect, however. In nearly all cases, the child simply out-cries him or herself.

Ban on Fatty Acids in Organic Baby Foods

Recently, the current administration announced that two additives commonly used in organic baby foods and formulas will be banned. These two synthetic additives, omega-3 fatty acid DHA and omega-6 fatty acid ARA, are currently added to 90 percent of organic baby foods and formulas on the market. They’re often added under the guise of promoting brain and eye development much in the same way that breast milk does, although no evidence supports or retracts from this point. The USDA, on the other hand, stated three years ago that such synthetic fatty acids violate federal standards for organic foods, and baby food should be no exception.

If you’re a parent who has been going green and organic with your child, what do you do at this point? The Obama administration, as mentioned in the linked article above, has mentioned that new guidelines for organic baby food will be formed over the next year to not only make sure baby food is up to national standards but to also phase out all products using synthetic fatty acids at the moment. While none of these organic products appear to be harmful to your child, they’re not considered organic, so you have two options: finding baby products that are truly organic or, in the meantime, waiting until the standards for organic baby food are revised.

However, this article is an example for all instances of going organic: How do you know the products you’re purchasing truly are? In the case of clothing, organic bamboo fabric has been found to be supplemented by rayon and, for cotton, color might have been added through synthetic dyes. This article indicates that doing research is necessary before purchasing any organic baby products, particularly to see if the food or clothing is supplemented by something synthetic.