Sleep is very important for infant growth, as well as physical and mental development. Infants will generally sleep about 18 hours of the day. By the time they are four months old, a baby’s sleep cycles include active sleep and quiet, deep sleep. The active sleep phase is important to the development of learning and memory, while during the deep sleep phase human growth hormone is release to help the baby grow.
While sleep is an important part of a baby’s life, it can be dangerous. Providing a safe sleeping environment for your baby is a must. As a parent, you can play a key role in creating a safe sleeping environment for your child.
• The safest way for babies to sleep is on their backs. The stomach-down position can put pressure on their face and cause them to re-breathe air that does not contain enough oxygen. When a baby sleeps on their back it reduces the rate of sudden infant death syndrome and sudden unexpected infant deaths.
• What they sleep on matters. Your baby should sleep on a firm surface with a fitted sheet. Avoid loose bedding in their crib and don’t put your baby to sleep on a couch or sofa.
• A safe sleep area looks plain. There should be no pillows, blankets, quilts, or stuffed animals. All of these things can obstruct a baby’s breathing or create a low-oxygen environment.
• Avoid overheating. Infants can’t remove their clothing when they become hot, so it is best not to bundle them up in a warm room or during hot weather.
• Keep cords and strings away from your baby’s sleep area. Avoid any strangulation possibilities by doing this. If your baby uses a pacifier, make sure it does not have a string on it.
• Keep the crib away from the wall, windows, blinds, and curtains. This will help protect your baby from getting trapped or entangled.
• Use a crib that meets safety standards. Check with your baby’s health care provider and parent education resources to find out about product safety. Make sure there are no recalls on the products you buy for your baby.
• Keeping your baby’s sleep area in the same room as where you sleep is beneficial. They will be close to you and you can easily check on them during the night. Make sure they are sleeping on their back and check to make sure they do not feel hot.
Babies seem to grow up so fast. You probably remember the first day your baby started crawling around and causing trouble. Now you might be anxious about them getting to their biggest milestone of all, learning to walk. Every baby is different, but here is how to know when your baby is ready to walk and how to help them learn!
When will my baby be ready to learn to walk?
Walking is a major milestone because it marks a time where babies become more independent and explore their world in a new way. They will be developing new muscle groups they didn’t use before and be very clumsy at first. Your baby will most likely start walking anywhere between 8 and 18 months, it all depends of genetics, level of determination, and physical strength. Every baby is different and yours will start trying to get up on two feet once they are ready.
Tips for helping your baby walk
You may see a few clues that your baby is ready to walk. If they are using furniture to get around or trying to take a step before falling down, they are probably ready. Here are a few things you can do to encourage and help your baby walk.
Use a push toy – A push toy that resembles a vacuum or lawnmower can be great for helping your baby walk. Walkers will keep your baby contained, while a push toy won’t. A push toy will help build up arm and leg strength, while maintaining a wider stance for balance. They will also encourage problem-solving skills that help a baby walk, like turning around or backing up. When your baby is using a push toy offer words of encouragement and praise!
Safe-proof the cruising area – Cruising is when your baby uses furniture to aid them in traveling around. By creating safer surroundings in the cruising areas you will protect them from potential falls and make them feel safer, which will make them more willing to keep trying. Secure any heavy furniture, cover exposed outlets or sharp table corners, and install baby gates wherever cruising is off-limits. If your baby does take a spill, stay calm because it will make them feel okay about getting up and trying again.
Know what can hold them back – There are certain things that can actually hinder your baby’s attempts to walk. Help your baby walk without socks and shoes, this will create better balance and allow them to develop stronger muscles in their feet, ankles, legs, and hips. Avoid walkers because they can be dangerous, will encourage babies to walk on their toes, and hyper-extend their lower legs. Also, try not to hold your baby or hover too much when they are cruising. Babies learn by trial and error, so let them make mistakes!
Potty training is big step for kids and their parents. While many children will show interest in potty training by the age of 2, others may not be ready until a half a year later. It is important to remember that there is no rush when it comes to potty training. Every child is different and will be ready at different times. There is no one way to potty train either, you have to adapt different methods to find out which strategy works best with your child.
Many parents aren’t sure when their child is ready to start potty training. Here are eight signs that you can look for that will indicate that you can start potty training your child:
1) Your child stays dry for two hours or more at a time, or is dry after a daytime nap.
2) Your child tells you in words or behavior that wearing a wet diaper is uncomfortable and wants you to change it.
3) Your child asks to use the potty.
4) You usually know when your child is likely to have to do a number two.
5) Your child wants to start wearing “big boy underwear”.
6) Your child can understand and follow simple instructions.
7) Your child uses words or shows in behavior that they need to go to the bathroom.
8) Your child can put on some of their clothes on their own.
If you are a parent and your child does at least three of these signs, they are probably ready to start potty training.
Parenting, especially if you have several children, can be a job in itself. We use technology every day at work to make our jobs easier, so why not use technology to make parenting easier? While it is a big debate on what age is the right age to get your kids a cell phone, there are many apps that you can load onto an iPhone or iPad that can actually make parenting a lot easier by keeping you connected. SO whether you are potty training a little one or want to keep track of chores, here are 5 great apps that make parenting a little bit easier;
1) If you’re potty training your toddler….
Potty Time With Elmo – This app is great for helping your little one learn how to use the potty. Elmo will help teach your child the basics of putty use with the help of fun songs and stickers. ($2.99)
2) If you have a picky eater….
Awesome Eats – If you have a picky eater in your family, you can benefit from this app. It will make even the “grossest” of healthy vegetable seem yummy through gameplay. Over 50 characters will give your child healthy eating tips. (FREE)
3) For getting chores done….
Chorma for Chores – This app is an easy and fun way to organize chores for the whole family. You just simply list out the chores on one device and everyone in the family can sign up for the ones that they want. Each chore is worth point totals, so the more chores you do the more points you earn. You can set up prizes for earning a certain number of points and who knows, your kids might actually WANT to do chores. (FREE)
4) If you’re a parent with a special needs child….
Kids in Story – This app is specifically designed to benefit children with autism and other special needs. It makes it fun and easy to create visual stories to support leaning, early literacy, and social modeling. ($6.99)
5) For the household dominated by kid art….
Artkive – Is your child bringing home tons of art from school or drawing all the time at home? It can be hard to keep track of all the drawings and find a place to display them. With this app you can snap pictures of their best artwork and turn them into one hard cover book! (FREE)
Every week in New Jersey alone, 2,122 babies are born. However, 254 of them are born prematurely and about 176 will be born with low birth weight. 12 of these babies will not get to see their first birthday. In the United States, nearly half a million babies are born prematurely and more than 120,000 will be born with serious birth defects. Every year the March of Dimes helps raise funds for research and outreach programs for those babies who are affected.
As a national organization, the March of Dimes strives to prevent birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. The foundation raises funds for research, education, and advocacy all across the United States and has been doing so for 75 years.
If you are a parent of one or more of the 12,419 babies that were born prematurely in New Jersey this year, you will have benefited from the work of the March of Dimes. A family whose baby is in the NICU can know that their child will receive specialized care, thanks in part to the March of Dimes organization. Thanks to support from other companies, the March of Dimes is making progress in reducing the rate of premature birth.
The Middlesex County March for Babies hopes to help raise funds and awareness. The goal of the walkathon is to raise $100,000. The March for babies is held in 778 communities across the United States and involves more than 7 million people every year. It is a great event for a great cause. The Middlesex County March for Babies will be held on April 28th at Johnson Park, in Piscataway.
Many parents struggle to get their children to eat the foods that are good for them. So many kids are picky eaters and can become fussy when given foods they don’t like. If you want your children to not be picky eaters, you need to teach them to be adventurous eaters at a young age. Shy away from the traditional “kids menu” and introduce our children to different foods to increase their palate.
Put off introducing them to “fun foods” as long as you can
Young children do not have the ability to make conscious decisions on their own about what is good for them to eat. This is where the parents come in. Giving your kids “fun foods” like PB & J or macaroni & cheese will only train their palate to like these foods that you know they will love. If they are used to these foods and then you give them spinach, they will think “well, I don’t like this as much as the other food you gave me.” Now it will be impossible to get them to try anything new and different. Introduce vegetables and other healthy foods early on, so they can get used to eating them.
Have patience with them
Many parents get frustrated and have a short temper with their kids when they won’t eat certain foods. Instead of getting mad, let them take a break and come back to the food later. Don’t force the food on them because that will only make it more difficult to get them to eat it.
Don’t hide food in their food
Parents sometimes think the best way to get their children to eat foods they don’t like is to hide it inside foods they do like. By doing this, you are only enforcing the fact that they shouldn’t like it because you have to trick them into eating it. Instead, incorporate the less desirable food into the dish. You can chop it up and add it into a sauce or dish, but let them know it is there. You can say, “You know that spinach on your plate is in the lasagna that you love too.”
Involve them in food prep
One great way to get your kids to try more foods is to involve them into the food prep. If you get them to help you prepare and cook the food, they will be more likely to want to try it. Instead of thinking that vegetables are yucky, they will want to try them because they helped prepare them. When you add the element of fun into it and you cook as a team, your children will feel a sense of pride and will want to eat it.
As your child starts to get older they will stop using breast milk and formula and start eating solid foods. Many parents are making their only baby food and freezing it to save money and give their kids more natural foods. However, jarring your won baby food in bulk can make the contents hard to figure out and when you made it will be impossible to remember. Creating chalkboard lids for the jars is a creative way to keep track of the contents and when you made them.
Making chalkboard lids for your baby food is great whether you made the food yourself or purchased them at the store. You might have multiple children and one may have a food allergy. By having the ability to write the contents on the lid you will never give your child the wrong food. If you bought the baby food at the store, the chalkboard lid will give you the ability to write when you opened it, so you will never feed your children old food. Here is how you make the chalkboard lids:
• Chalkboard Spray Paint
• Baby food glass jars and lids
• Chalk Ink food-safe non-toxic washable markers
• Double sided tape
• cardboard box
Step One: Cut one side of the cardboard box to make a three-sided spraying booth. Place double sided tape on the bottom of the box and place the lids on top – this will keep them from blowing around while being sprayed.
Step Two: Carefully spray fine coats of chalkboard spray paint, building up layers as you go. **Be sure to avoid spraying the inside of the lids if one should flip over.**
Step Three: Write on the lids using the chalk ink marker. Hand wash the lids using a damp cloth when you wish to write something new on them. Over time the lids can chip a bit. Re-spray them as needed.
The chalkboard lids will save you money, save the environment by recycling, and provide clear labels for all of your children’s food.
Although the direct association between sugar and hyperactivity has been debunked, another issue has arisen in recent years: Just how much sugar should a child receive? High levels of added sugar in a diet have been correlated with increased risks of obesity, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes, and breakfast cereals geared toward children, some of which are 56-percent sugar by weight, certainly don’t help.
A March 2012 piece from the May Clinic indicates that, while children consume less than they used to, 16 percent of their daily calories, on average, come from added sugars, including honey, high fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, and any other non-naturally occurring sugar products. Ideally, just five to 15 percent of a child’s diet should be from added sugars.
The Mayo Clinic further indicates that most of these calories are consumed at home – not in school, as programs like Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution get many to believe. In response, it ultimately comes down to the parents to determine how much sugar a child consumes. So, what should you consider?
Sugar Levels: Preschoolers should have no more than 170 calories per day, and 4 through 8 years olds no more than 130 calories per day.
Always Read Nutrition Labels: Because labels seldom have “sugar” and may have, instead, a product like “anhydrous dextrose” or “corn syrup solids” added, parents should check all labels for added sugars before buying.
Watch What They Eat: Also contrary to previous notions, sugar mostly comes from foods consumed, rather than beverages. In either case, opt for whole grains instead of white or starchy foods, and choose water and unflavored milk over juices and sodas. Additionally, check “healthy” seeming foods, such as yogurts, for high amounts of added sugar. Although sweets shouldn’t fully be cut from your children’s diet, limit treats and desserts down to just once a week.
Reported last week, a Mississippi baby born with HIV two years ago has been “functionally” cured. While the child has not been identified, he or she no longer displays signs of infection, despite not taking medications for a year. Although the child is not officially cured, if the baby remains healthy, he or she will be the second person in the world cured from the virus.
With the findings announced at the 2013 Conference on Retrovirus and Opportunistic Infections in Atlanta, the study found that the child was diagnosed at birth, without the mother receiving prior prenatal care or HIV treatment. In 30 hours after birth, he or she was transferred to the University of Mississippi Medical Center for antiretroviral treatment, and eventually, doctors prescribed three aggressive drugs.
The child’s viral load, upon birth, was high but then decreased in the first month. Although he or she continued to receive care until 12 to 15 months of age, doctors lost touch with the mother; the child, as a result, was no longer on medication. At 23 weeks, however, the baby was examined again, and at the time, the viral loads were still undetectable.
Although a notable and likely rare case, this instance, the New York Times points out, is not as clear cut as HIV-infected to cure. Multiple factors must still be resolved. First, as the mother never received treatment in pregnancy, which can stop the spread of the virus to the child, researchers must prove the baby was born infected and that treatment didn’t simply block the child from absorbing the infection. Second, researchers must also find out that the treatment – far more aggressive than what is typically administered – didn’t simply produce exceptional results. Should both of these be determined, however, the treatment could end up being used globally.
- HIV has been cured in a child for the first time (io9.com)
- A Newborn May Be Cured of HIV. Is the End of AIDS Near? (healthland.time.com)
- EPIC WIN OF THE DAY: Baby Born With HIV…IS CURED! (allhiphop.com)