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Archive for September 2015

Mimic the Womb Environment

Your newborn will need time and support to make a smooth transition from being warm and secure inside the womb to feeling comfortable and secure in the outside world. By mimicking the womb environment for a period of time most babies find this transition a lot easier.

Babies born prematurely will often need to go the extra step of sleeping in a sling next to your body for extended periods of time until they reach their original due date.

The womb can be mimicked in the following ways:

  • Warm and snug in the womb becomes swaddling  and cuddling up close out of the womb
  • Rhythmical movements from felt while inside the womb become rocking and swaying outside the womb
  • Internal womb noises of the placenta, heartbeat and bowel sounds become humming, ‘white noise’, shhhing, singing, and holding them close to your heart beat outside the womb          
  • It is important to keep your baby secure and snug as they settle to sleepSwaddling is an age-old practice of wrapping babies snugly in breathable material, blankets or similar cloth so that movement of the limbs is restricted. A baby is born with a startle reflex which may cause them to wake during their lighter phases of sleep. Swaddling prevents this reflex occurring allowing them to sleep for longer periods.Have you seen my ‘How to Swaddle a Baby’ video clip  ?

    If you watched this video you will see that I swaddle with baby’s arms resting on their chest rather than straight down by their side. This is a natural position that allows your baby to touch her face with slight movements while keeping the arms secure inside the wrap. You will be shown many ways and alternative suggestions on how to swaddle as well as finding many types of wraps to choose from. What you choose is up to you (and how well a product has been marketed) but the main tips I recommend to help your baby sleep well using a wrap are:

  • Keep her tight and secure with arms in even if she at first protests
  •  Use a natural breathable fabric
  • Allow for slight arm movement within the wrap
  • Learn more in ‘Mum, Baby & Toddler – together we learn’  

 

This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. She publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

Infant Formula for Babies and Toddlers

By Jan Murray

Breast milk is the best milk for your baby during the first year. If breast milk is unavailable there are suitable Infant Formula alternatives. Which one do you choose?

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Previously, babies were given watered down ‘carnation milk’, ‘condensed milk’ or cow’s milk. Research shows these milks are not the best choices for babies and can do harm. Today, in 2016, Infant Formula is researched, modified and tested to provide milk that is closest to breast milk. It is commercially synthesised and fails to reach the premium standard of breast milk but it is a better alternative than our ancestors used.

Until the age of 12-months babies require Infant Formula for optimum digestion and nutrients. There are many types and brands of alternative milks listed under the age categories of starter (1), follow on (2) or toddler (3).

‘Starter’ and ‘Progress’ formulas are complete food substitutes but ‘toddler milk’ is not. ‘Progress’ (2) formulas have added iron and nutrients for optimal growth and development. However, if ‘starter’ formula is more convenient and solid foods have been introduced there’s no need to change formulas at 6-months.

Cow’s milk based Infant Formula.

This is commercially modified cow’s milk to resemble breast milk and is suitable for most babies. It is not suitable when babies have a cow milk protein allergy, lactose intolerance or have parents who want to keep away from animal based foods. Some milks have been further enhanced with added docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) Omega – 3 fatty acids and prebiotics and probiotics for added immunity and digestion. Research is ongoing for more refinements.

Goat milk based Infant Formula.

This commercially modified goat milk contains slightly less lactose than cow’s milk with the protein similar to cow’s milk but forms a softer non-clustered curd. These facts may make goat milk formula easier to digest for some babies. It is more rapidly digested therefore may be helpful for a baby with reflux.

Soy based Infant Formula

This milk is commercially made from the soya beans that have similar protein content to cow’s milk. It contains lactose. During processing the protein is isolated without its co-factors that are needed for digestion and metabolism and is not suitable for babies under 6-months of age.

Lactose free Infant Formula (LF).

This milk is usually cow milk based and has no lactose. This formula may help young babies who suffer from excessive wind, explosive poos and unsettled sleep patterns due to lower bowel pain. Lactose is important for immunity and should not be removed from an infant’s diet unless necessary.

Anti Reflux Infant Formula (AR).

This is usually a cow milk based formula that has been thickened using either carob bean gum or maltodextrin (enzymatically derived from any starch but usually corn or wheat). This thickened milk is for babies who have difficulty keeping milk down (reflux). Depending on the thickening agent used this milk may not be suitable for babies who are lactose or wheat intolerant.

Protein modified cow milk Infant Formula (HA).

In this milk the cow milk protein has been broken down to make it easier for babies to digest and has been used as an alternative milk for babies who are a primary risk of dairy allergy. However, evidence is not strong on whether HA milk prevents the development of dairy allergy.

Protein free Infant Formula.

An extensively hydrolysed 100% whey protein specialty formula for babies with a diagnosed dairy protein or soy allergy. Medical supervision is required for babies on this formula and in Australia this milk is only available by script.

Casein dominant or whey dominant Infant Formula.

Whey and casein are the proteins found in milk. Whey dominant formula is the most common on the market, is closest to breast milk, and digested quicker than casein based milk. Very hungry babies are thought to do better on casein dominant formula. ‘Follow on’ Infant formula is usually casein based.

Weaning onto solids ‘taste it’

From 12-months of age

After 12-months of age a baby’s gut is usually mature enough to progress onto cow’s milk or an alternative such as rice milk, oat milk, soy milk, goat milk, almond milk or toddler milk. The choice of which one to use is yours. Babies require full fat milk until at least 2 years old.

Goat milk.

Goat milk has a similar protein in a comparable quantity to cow’s milk but forms a softer, non clustered curd and contains slightly less lactose, possibly making it easier to digest. It is more rapidly digested and may be helpful for an infant with reflux or frequent positing. It is usually not tolerated by those who have a cow milk protein allergy.

Cows milk.

Cow milk is a nutrient dense food when ingested in its raw organic form (breast milk or unpasteurised milk) but unfortunately vitamins and minerals are lost today with the pasteurisation and homogenisation process (heating it to make it better for us!) There is also a difference in milk produced from relaxed cows grazing in open fields of grasses and flowers to a mass produced commercially fed cow living in overcrowded cement floor stalls. A2 milk has been found to be better tolerated by some. Milk just isn’t the same milk as years past. Lactose free cow’s milk is also available.

Soya milk.

Soya milk is made from soya beans. Soy milk has the equivalent amount of protein to cow’s milk and is not a good alternative for cow milk protein allergy. Research shows processed soy can prevent the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. The commercial processing involved in isolating the protein in soya beans omits natural digestive and metabolism co-factors, making soya milk difficult to digest.

Rice milk

Rice milk is made from brown rice and has no lactose. It is usually fortified with vitamins and minerals, and is higher in carbohydrate and lower in protein and calcium. Rice milk is a suitable milk alternative when cow, goat and soy milks are unsuitable.

Oat milk

Oat milk is made from whole oats and is higher in fibre than other milks. It is usually calcium fortified and naturally sweet.

Toddler milk

Toddler milk is marketed for toddlers (1 to 3-years of age) and contains added nutrients and iron. This milk is not for toddlers who are gaining weight and developing appropriately. However, these milks can increase appetite by improving iron levels when the required amount of 1 – 2 cups is given. More than this amount slows eating as milk is filling but NOT a substitute for food.

I am nearly 6 months old’ eBook

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This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. She publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

Has My Baby Got Colic?

The word ‘Colic’ is a broad term used to label an unexplainable unsettled period that babies can experience. It is a time when all the techniques that had been working or could work to settle your baby are not working anymore.

Your baby is pulling their legs up and crying a desperate sounding cry. They may stiffen their back and not want to be cuddled. All the usual comforting measures are not working and your baby is getting more desperate.

This is a difficult time for most parents and not for just first time parents. You feel useless and hope that you aren’t missing something serious.
Often there is an explanation for pain but if it is misdiagnosed it can be just labelled ‘colic’.

Some causes of misdiagnosed ‘colic’ include:

* An overtired baby
* A growth spurt
* General evening ‘witching hour’ when your baby’s nervous system has been overstimulated with experiences during the day. This can occur until they are 9 weeks old
* An overfed or underfed baby
* No routine or satisfactory space between feeds to allow for digestion, activity and sleep.
* Smothered with love or over handled
* Suffer from allergies or intolerance to their diet (even if they are breast fed)
* Misread personality needs such as always holding them when they would like some space sprawled out on the floor.

How to help your baby:

Use ‘other methods’ of settling (see below) Relax in the thought that they will grow out of it. If the unsettled behaviour continues think about the list above and consider having your baby checked by your GP or other Child Health Professional as medication may be required for relief from Reflux.

‘Other Methods’ for settling:

* Use the pram to rock them off to sleep
* Use an electronic swing or a carry sling
* Give them a relaxation bath either on their own or in a deep one with you. Try putting a cup of camomile tea in the bath water and a warm washer over their tummy
* Extra breast feed or suck on a dummy
* Go out and meet someone or take a brisk walk with them in a stroller or sling
* Lay down with them and hold them tight
* Loud ‘white noise’ or music playing
or whatever else you might think would work for your baby, making sure to take their personality into consideration?

Try and stay calm yourself and always give your baby to the one who is the calmest. If you have a network of friends and family around you, don’t be too proud to ask for help. You will benefit from a break. Babies are quick to pick up on emotions.

If you are having issues with getting your baby or toddler to sleep there is more detailed information in ‘Putting them to Sleep eBook‘ or ‘Mum, Baby & Toddler – together we learn’ 

Jan Murray has been committed to studying and working as a Registered Nurse, Midwife and Child Health Nurse for over 25 years. Jan is a mother of 5, Child Health Consultant who co-founded and directs Settle Petal. Jan provides information and support for parents to develop their knowledge base and confidence. Receive your FREE Routine at http://myoptinpage.com/?pid=2151223 to unlock a secret to helping babies settle, sleep and grow.

Growth Spurts in a Young Baby

My husband and I thought we were doing well in our role of new parents as I had learnt how to successfully breast feed every 3 hours (from the start of one feed to the start of the next) and settle my baby to sleep about an hour and a quarter after every feed during the day. At about 2- 3 weeks everything went pear shape. Ben started to cry a lot and he wanted to feed constantly. I felt terrible and that it was my fault that I could not stop him crying or even work out why he was crying. I wondered if I was doing something wrong and whether my milk had dried up or perhaps he was sick or constipated. I now know that he was experiencing a growth spurt.

During a growth spurt a baby will display unsettled, hungry, windy, wakeful behaviour and they may not poo as often as they have been. If you give your baby extra breastfeeds or make up an extra amount in each bottle (if you are already bottle feeding) and use extra settling techniques when they are awake and be patient, this behaviour will usually settle in 1-2 days.

Growth spurts in a young baby are expected to occur at 3days, 7days, 2-3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months and 6 months of age.

During these unsettled times try not to cram too many outings or visitors into your day. Expect to be breast feeding more frequently and use a variety of methods to try and settle your baby. These may include a warm bath, walk outside in a carry sling or stroller, extra feed and cuddle. You will not spoil them! This period will pass in about 24 – 48 hours. You will know it has passed as your baby will appear more alert and responsive as well as sleeping for longer stretches. However, if this is not the case and their unsettled behaviour continues, have your baby checked by your General Practitioner or Child Health Nurse for other causes.

The eBook on ‘Putting them to Sleep’ will hold some relevant information for you if you are struggling in the area of sleep with your baby or toddler.

If you have found this information useful you will love ‘Mum, Baby & Toddler – together we learn’

Jan Murray has studied and worked as a Registered Nurse, Midwife and Child Health Nurse for over 25 years. Jan is a mother of 5 and co-founder and director of Settle Petal – About Author Through her business Jan provides information and support for parents to develop their knowledge, understandings, skills and attitudes needed to maintain and enhance personal health and physical development of all members of their family.

Dummies for babies!!

As a Midwife and Child Health Nurse who works closely with babies and children from birth to 5 years old, I have discovered some useful insight into the use of dummies for babies that I would like to share with you. The decision to use one or not will be up to you. Not all babies take to sucking a dummy but there are certainly babies in the world who do benefit from sucking one. Once you have heard my findings the decision to use one or not will then be up to you.

Six positive reasons for a baby to use a dummy

  1. Babies who are three to four weeks old who have learnt to attach and feed well from the breast may need to continue non – nutritive sucking for comfort or stress relief. In this situation, the breast feeding mother and her nipples could do with some relief and possibly repair from constant sucking. It is however, important not to substitute a breast feed for a dummy as this can reduce milk production resulting in an undernourished and unsettled baby.
  2. A baby sucking a dummy can reduce tummy discomfort, cranial discomfort and wind pain until the cause of the pain and discomfort is diagnosed and relieved. However, by aiding the digestive process this then can cause them to become hungrier earlier.
  3. Sucking a dummy can reduce the pain of gastro oesophageal reflux allowing for a bit more sleep for everyone!
  4. Recent knowledge indicates a baby sucking a dummy can reduce the incidence of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). This is thought to be due to a baby being in a more alert state of sleep and having their airways in a more open position allowing for better air entry. There are also other factors relating to the reduction of SIDS
  5. Premature babies are given dummies to help them suck when they are fed via a tube and to stimulate their suck before they are able to breast feed efficiently. Research indicates this helps reduces their stay in NICU.
  6. A baby who settles to sleep best with a sucking action. Commonly, a baby who is fed either breast milk or infant formula from a bottle requires a dummy to build up the length of sucking time they require in a day.

Seven reasons why a baby is disadvantaged using a dummy.

  1. There is an increased risk of bacterial infections from dirty dummies. Sterilise them regularly and throw out any that have cracks or worn areas where bacteria can settle
  2. The continued use of a dummy after three or four months can set up strong sleep associations that can lead to unsettled sleep in the months that follow
  3. The regular and frequent use of a dummy has been shown to decrease the length of time a woman will continue to breast feed
  4. A young baby who sucks too often on a dummy can be too tired for nutritional breast or bottle feeding
  5. The use of a dummy after nine months can not only disturb good sleep patterns but it can also interfere with speech development
  6. Choking hazard from faulty or worn out dummies
  7. Sucking on a dummy when your baby could be awake and babbling restricts the natural development of language

Which dummy to choose? 

There are many dummies on the market and it can be difficult to know which one is best. Consider one that closely mimics your breast nipple.

  1. Look for the dummy that is soft and supple. The brown latex rubber is usually the softest.
  2. Choose a shape that is similar to your nipple, this is usually the round cherry or bulb shaped dummy. Large or small.
  3. It needs to be large enough to reach the soft palete in your baby’s mouth but not too far back to touch the ‘gag reflex’. This will depend on the size of your baby’s mouth.

With the above information in mind, I believe there can be a place for dummies for some babies, providing that it is an appropriate dummy used at an appropriate time and preferably for the first four months of life when a baby’s strong sucking reflex is present. After this age (with guidance) they discover other ways to soothe themselves and dummies can be discarded.

If you like this information you will love

‘Mum, Baby & Toddler – together we learn’

Do you have a baby around four months old?
 ‘I am nearly 6 months old’

This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. She publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

Creating Happier Day Care Kids

How parents manage their children at home has a direct influence on their behaviour at family day care. Here are three of the top influences that could be affecting your child’s behaviour.If you have ever felt a wave of panic when you drop your children off at family day care; you are not alone. Many parents are concerned about how happy their children are throughout the day and their associated behaviour.

Influence One: Sending your child off for the day without a suitable breakfast or no breakfast. Food is fuel to a child’s body. What they eat determines the capacity of their output. If your child has no food or unsuitable nutrition at breakfast, it can lead to them having poor concentration with emotional outbursts of frustration or an inability to cope in challenging situations. They can also be uncoordinated and clumsy leaving them more at risk of falls.

What to do instead: Avoid giving your child milk throughout the night. This will allow them to be hungrier in the morning. Ensure the foods you offer for breakfast include protein, complex carbohydrates, fruit, essential fats and iron. Avoid simple sugars and processed cereals containing preservatives.

Influence Two: Putting your child to bed too late in the evening. Being overtired before going to bed makes it hard for your child to settle to sleep. When they eventually fall asleep their sleep is often restless and fitful with waking. Their activities before a late bedtime often include watching TV and mischievous behaviour, both causing unsettled sleep.

What to do instead: Introduce an age appropriate evening routine. This will include a suitable meal time, bath time and play time before a pre bed time routine of books. Encourage family time with no TV distractions during the one and a half hours before bed.

Influence Three: Eating foods that provide an unsuitable and adverse effect on a child’s body. Research shows obesity now affects 1:4 children in Australia and allergies and intolerances have increased 500% over the last 6 years. These preventable health issues are rapidly becoming the number one focus for our health industry’s funding.

What to do instead: Go back to basics. Avoid or at least reduce the amount of pre packaged food that your child consumes. Buy a lunchbox suitable for presenting natural foods in. Understand your child will not starve and you can create new habits with their eating behaviour. It is important to know; it is not up to your child to choose what to eat, only whether to eat. It is up to responsible adults to show children how to build a strong and healthy body for their future.

Who is Jan Murray? A Private Child Health Consultant who focuses on helping parents to establish healthy eating and sleeping patterns in their babies and young children.

Her book ‘taste it- easy baby & toddler recipes along with professional child health advice’ is specifically helpful for parents wishing to address the influences discussed in this article.

This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. She publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

Car Trip Entertainment for Kids

By Jan Murray

The combination of long hours, confined space and young children can make car trips a trying occasion. But they also give families the opportunity to bond and create memories for a lifetime. Some of the funniest stories and best memories my own grown-up children have today come from the many holiday car trips they went on as youngsters.

Today, mini-DVD players and iPods are probably number one on the list of car trip entertainment. Although they’re an easy way to keep kids entertained and ensure peace in the car, their use largely prevents parents using car trips as an opportunity to strengthen family bonds, extend sensory stimulation for growth and development and build lasting memories.

Make the trip an experience in itself: the destination is not the main event; it is just a part of it.

Prepare for your trip by visiting discount outlets and buying up appropriate toys, books, scrap book and other items. Have these in a different bag. Pack lots of healthy snacks in resealable bags with names and for drinks, fill several small bottles or pop tops with water. Avoid juice, cordial or energy drinks to avoid over-stimulation and dehydration. Pack all these in an esky and have it near to where you sit. It is helpful to set the scene before you get in the car: believe it is going to be fun, enjoy the preparations and plan your stops. Let your children know how many stops there will be.

Here is a list of ideas for trips by veteran family travellers:

  1. Plan to stop every 1 ½ hours. Pick somewhere with swings or where the kids can run around for ½ hour.
  2. Eat food going along leaving the breaks for playing and collecting items for their scrap book. Hand out drinks and real food snacks regularly. Reduce illness and challenging behaviour by making good choices.
  3. Scrap book the journey along the way (use leaves, biscuit wrappers, photos or whatever you like).
  4. Bring out a toy after each stop or when the kids are really restless.
  5. Have a car organiser or bag strapped to the back of the seat with books, pens and toys. Use a lap table.
  6. Sing-a-long to music.
  7. Spot a ‘red’ specific coloured car.
  8. Spot a ‘ute’ specific make of car.
  9. What does that cloud look like?
  10. Play When I grow up I want to be…?
  11. Listen to story CD’s with or without a read-along story (you can often borrow these from the library).
  12. Tell stories. One starts and another continues.
  13. Watch out for and spot animals.
  14. Make words and phrases from number plates (e.g. MNG “My Naughty Giraffe”).
  15. I Spy with my little eye something beginning with… (Our longest game was when our daughter had something starting with ‘W’, which turned out to be ‘R’oad!)
  16. Have your mp3 player and earphones handy loaded with your music for when things get so bad you have to retreat.

Make the experience of your trip last a lifetime.

Safe travelling and remember the car can be detailed when you get back.

Healthy food ideas here

This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. She publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

Breast Feeding

Important Breastfeeding Tips

  1. Breast feeding is a complete source of nutrition for the first 4 – 6 months of your babys life
  2. Be comfortable with your choice to breast feed then sit comfortably and relax to establish breastfeeding.Three significant factors in the success of establishing breastfeeding are:

    Efficient milk removal
    Requires good attachment and effective sucking

    Milk removal
    When your milk is ‘in’ feed long enough to clear foremilk (carbohydrates and sugars) and hind milk (fat and protein) from one breast before changing to the other breast. The times vary with each baby but this usually takes 35 – 40 minutes in their first 6 weeks.

    Express a small amount to create softness in the nipple area if it is firm and preventing the baby to latch.

    Frequency of milk removal
    Feed approximately every 3 hours during the day and whenever your baby wakes overnight during the first 3-4 months.

  3. Be organised and have things you will need within arms reach. This would include things you may need for your toddler as well.
  4. All is not right with breast feeding when you experience any of the following.
    – Cracks, blisters, abrasions, itching or tender nipples
    – Painful lump(s) in your breast. The lump can be usually released within 24 hrs with warmth and gentle massage and continued feeding or expressing.
    – Reddened, hot and painful area on your breast with or without suffering from general headaches and flu like symptoms
    – A baby who is continually asking to be fed more than every 3 hours during the day and has poor weight gain
    – An unsettled baby that doesn’t relax after a feedIf you do experience any of the above, we recommend you seek professional help from your Child Health Nurse, Lactation Consultant or General Practitioner.
  5. If you are feeling self conscious about feeding in public, try draping a soft scarf over your shoulder and breast while you are feeding.
  6. Enjoy your breastfeeding journey and share your experiences and concerns with your Child Health Nurse, Lactation Consultant, GP and mothers groups.

For more information about breastfeeding? For more information on breast feeding and everything else relating to a babies normal development read ‘mum & baby together we learn’

This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. She publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

Be Healthy From the Very First Mouthful

I am sure that I am not the only adult who has battled weight gain. Today, merely looking at a piece of cheesecake adds centimetres to my hips. Could this be linked to my poor childhood eating habits? Research reveals, yes. Unfortunately, obesity is not just a physical problem restricting movement but it leads to the body breaking down with conditions such as liver disease, heart disease and diabetes. Add to this low self esteem and social awkwardness leading to relationship challenges and behaviour disorders and the future looks pretty bleak. One in four children suffers obesity in Australia today. As quoted by Jamie Oliver at TED awards “these children are looking at a future with a life expectancy 10 years less than their parents”. Statistically, diet related disease is fast approaching as the number one killer and is a generational and global problem.

 

Obesity is a preventable disease largely due to the following four areas:

One: The increase consumption of processed and takeaway foods. Everything needs to be quick or better still instant and readily available with minimal preparation. I am not just talking about teenagers; it is starting with babies. 

Two: A poor understanding of natural foods and why they are important for good health. Children start their life with canned and packaged foods with no involvement in the preparation or culture around healthy eating.

Three: Minimal outside play. We live in a community with larger houses and smaller backyards and the fear of paedophiles and kidnappers in our streets. Parks can have hidden needles on the ground leaving inside activities a safer more appealing option.

Four: Tired parents who are working and stressed keeping up with the demands of life and financial pressure, take the easy option for pre prepared foods. Children are often tired and cranky after being in care and getting home late. Giving them what they demand isn’t always the healthiest option but it prevents arguments.

Would you like some practical insight and ideas into how you can live with your toddler? Being a Toddler 

Here are four easy steps to start a healthy future for your baby or child

One: Be kind to their developing liver and limit or better still avoid highly processed and packaged foods containing preservatives.

Two: Decrease their likelihood of developing obesity and related diseases by limiting or avoiding simple carbohydrates and refined sugars which are stored as fat if not used.

Three: Encourage plenty of supervised playtime in the fresh air. Create bigger backyards.

Four: Take control. Shopping shelves are stacked with nutritionally lacking foods but it is you who chooses what stays out and what goes in your trolley.

When you familiarize babies and children with whole foods eaten at regular intervals with daily physical activity, you are demonstrating healthy habits for life. Weight gain and associated lifestyle changes creep up slowly and insidiously, robbing us of abundant life. Don’t do this to your babies and children. Be healthy from the very first mouthful. ‘taste it – easy baby & toddler recipes along with professional child health advice’ will give you practical guidelines for a healthy start to your baby’s eating habits.

If you would like to include this article in your newsletter or website; you can, providing you include the following blurb with it:

This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. She publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

Pacifier for baby

As a midwife and child health nurse who works closely with babies and children from birth to five years old, I have discovered some useful insight into the use of pacifiers for babies that I would like to share with you. The decision to use a pacifier or not will be up to you.

Not all babies take to sucking a pacifier but there are certainly babies in the world who do benefit from sucking one. Once you have heard my findings the decision to use one or not will then be up to you.

Six positive reasons for a baby to use a pacifier

1. Babies who are three to four weeks old who have learnt to attach and nurse well from the breast may need to continue non – nutritive sucking for comfort or stress relief. In this situation, the nursing mother and her nipples could do with some relief and possibly repair from constant sucking. It is however, important not to substitute a breast feed for a pacifier as this can reduce milk production resulting in an undernourished and unsettled baby.

2. A baby sucking a pacifier can reduce tummy discomfort, cranial discomfort and wind pain until the cause of the pain and discomfort is diagnosed and relieved. However, by aiding the digestive process this then can cause them to become hungrier earlier than anticipated.

3. Sucking a pacifier can reduce the pain of gastro oesophageal reflux allowing for a bit more sleep for everyone.

4. Recent knowledge indicates a baby sucking a pacifier can reduce the incidence of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). This is thought to be due to a baby being in a more alert state of sleep and having their airways in a more open position allowing for better air entry. There are also other factors relating to the reduction of SIDS

5. Premature babies are given pacifiers to help them suck when they are fed via a nasogastric tube and to stimulate their suck before they are able to nurse efficiently. Research indicates this helps reduces their stay in NICU.

6. Commonly, a baby who is fed either breast milk or infant formula from a bottle requires a pacifier to build up the length of sucking time they require in a day.

Seven reasons why a baby is disadvantaged using a pacifier

1. There is an increased risk of bacterial infection from dirty pacifiers. Sterilise them regularly and throw out any that have cracks or worn areas where bacteria can settle

2. The continued use of a pacifier after three or four months can set up strong sleep associations that can lead to unsettled sleep in the months that follow

3. The regular and frequent use of a pacifier has been shown to decrease the length of time a mother will continue to nurse

4. A young baby who sucks too often on a pacifier can be too tired for nutritional nursing or bottle feeding

5. The use of a pacifier after nine months can not only disturb good sleep patterns but it can also interfere with speech development

6. Worn out or faulty pacifiers can be a choking hazard

7. Sucking on a pacifier when your baby should be awake and babbling, restricts the natural development of language

Which pacifier to choose?

There are many pacifiers on the market and it can be difficult to know which one is best. Consider one that closely mimics your breast nipple.

1. Look for the pacifier that is soft and supple. Brown latex rubber is usually the softest

2. Choose a shape that is similar to your nipple, this is usually the round cherry or bulb shaped pacifier. Large or small depends on your nipple size

3. It needs to be large enough to reach the soft palate in your baby’s mouth but not too far back to touch the ‘gag reflex’. This will depend on the size of your baby’s mouth

With the above information in mind, I believe there can be a place for pacifiers for some babies, providing that it is an appropriate pacifier used at an appropriate time and preferably for the first four months of life when a baby’s strong sucking reflex is present. After this age (with guidance) babies discover other ways to soothe themselves and pacifiers can then be discarded.

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This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep,nutrition , activities and family balance. She publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.