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Archive for January 2016

Ten Tips for When the Next Baby Comes Along

By Jan Murray

If you have recently had baby number two and things are getting a little tense between you and your toddler put yourself in their shoes for a moment…

You are the center of attention and all your needs have been met at the time you usually demanded them.

Cuddles when you need them, sitting on a knee to have stories anytime and food as requested, then all of a sudden your mummy goes away for a few days and life just isn’t the same. She brings back a little bundle that cries night and day and demands her instant attention.

Your mummy seems tired and she doesn’t spend time with you like she used to. She gets cranky at things that normally didn’t matter and you have to try really hard to get her to notice you and give you the attention you were used to.

This can be a difficult time for all the family but there are a few things that can be done to help this situation be less stressful. These include:

  • Try to avoid making any changes in your toddler’s life either two months before or two months after a new baby arrives. This could include things like toilet training, changing into a bed, starting day care and moving house.
  • Introduce your toddler to visitors as the big brother or sister not the baby as their little baby. This makes your toddler feel important.
  • Use a toddler feeding bag. This is a small collection of your toddler’s popular food choices (not junk), favourite books that they can look at alone or with you, puzzles that are age appropriate, a new toy from the baby, easy to use drink bottle of water and a short dance or music DVD. Have all these items in an easy to open bag or box that your toddler brings out only at baby’s feed time, then puts it away when feed time is finished.
  • Have your toddler fetch and carry things for you; it makes him feel important and a valuable member of the family team.
  • Don’t push your toddler away from being with you and the baby. Instead, help him to be involved and show him the behaviour that you expect. Just telling your toddler to be gentle and not poke the baby’s eyes will not be enough. Show him how and where is acceptable to touch the baby such as stroking her head or feet.
  • Read books together about families.
  • Give your toddler attention when the baby is up not only when she is asleep.
  • Keep your toddler’s life as routine as it was before the baby was born. If you don’t have a routine, it will be a good time for you to establish one.  Routines eBook has routines for babies and toddlers.
  • Give extra cuddles and make eye contact down at your toddler’s level as much as possible.
  • Understand that your toddler’s world has changed and for a while he may regress for a short time with more night waking, toilet accidents (if previously toilet trained), and food refusal. Hang in there and keep your cool while encouraging acceptable behaviour, it will pass.
  • COVERS_3D_BEINGATODDLER__50844_zoomThis 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.

 

Moving your Toddler from a Cot to a Bed

By Jan Murray

You can help your toddler make the transition from a cot to a bed when you are ready and/or your toddler shows signs that he is ready.

You may find this transition easiest to manage after he turns two years old. However, some toddlers are ready earlier than this though.

Below are some signs that indicate that it is time for your toddler to move out of the cot:

  • climbcotClimbs or falls head first out of the cot
  • Thrashes around in the cot and appears unable to get comfortable
  • Asks for a “big bed”
  • When she is toilet trained by day and then starts to call out at night to use the toilet
  • A new baby is on it’s way and the cot will be needed. Make sure this transition happens 2 months before the new arrival.

Suggestions that can help your toddler move out of a cot and into a big bed

  • Make the changes when there are no other big changes happening in his life
  • If another baby is on the way, make the changes at least two months before or after the arrival
  • Your toddler or older child may like to help you chose the sheets
  • Idea One: Take away the cot surrounds and place the cot mattress on the floor in the same spot for a few days or a week before changing into the bed
  • Idea Two: Bring the big bed into the same room as the cot, leaving the cot assembled and start day naps and reading books on the new bed for a week before sleeping in it
  • Have a calm and comforting pre bedtime ritual established well before making the transition
  • Have some of the prebedtime ritual on the big bed such as reading and chatting
  • Tuck your toddler in and ensure he knows you expect him to stay in bed
  • If he gets out of bed, take his hand and walk him back to bed calmly and confidently, with no eye contact or conversation. Continue walking him back in this manner until he stays there. Do this consistently for three weeks before a new habit is established.

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.

Reflect on Your Parenting

This will touch you heart, especially if you have been short with your toddlers or preschoolers today.

‘I ran into a stranger as he passed by,vegemite
“Oh excuse me please” was my reply.

He said, “Please excuse me too;
I wasn’t watching for you.”

We were very polite, this stranger and I.
We went on our way and we said goodbye.

But at home a different story is told,
How we treat our loved ones, young and old.

Later that day, cooking the evening meal,
My son stood beside me very still.

When I turned, I nearly knocked him down.
“Move out of the way,” I said with a frown.

He walked away, his little heart broken.
I didn’t realize how harshly I’d spoken.

While I lay awake in bed,
God’s still small voice came to me and said,

“While dealing with a stranger,
common courtesy you use,
but the family you love, you seem to abuse.

Go and look on the kitchen floor,
You’ll find some flowers there by the door.

Those are the flowers he brought for you.
He picked them himself: pink, yellow and blue.

He stood very quietly not to spoil the surprise,
you never saw the tears that filled his little eyes.”

By this time, I felt very small,
And now my tears began to fall.

I quietly went and knelt by his bed;
“Wake up, little one, wake up,” I said.

“Are these the flowers you picked for me?”
He smiled, “I found ‘em, out by the tree.

I picked ‘em because they’re pretty like you.
I knew you’d like ‘em, especially the blue.”

I said, “Son, I’m very sorry for the way I acted today;
I shouldn’t have yelled at you that way.”
He said, “Oh, Mom, that’s okay.
I love you anyway.”

I said, “Son, I love you too,
and I do like the flowers, especially the blue.”

Do you need some help to live on ‘Planet Toddler’?

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.

Do you Know First Aid?

Jan Murray

I can recall in ONE DAY I had to administer first aid to three boys at my home – they were friends over playing with my children.

Two boys (one of them mine) stepped on a rusty nail that was lying face up in a piece of
wooden paling in the back yard (should have been cleared away but wasn’t) and one split his head when he fell off the bike and hit his head on the side of the rock wall. He had a helmet on but it doesn’t protect the forehead from a jutting out stone!

Most parents will face the responsibility of administering first aid
at some point to their own or to children who are visiting.

Gaining a first aid certificate or first aid skills will give you the calmness and confidence
you need to act quickly.

First aid prevents an injury or situation becoming worse.

It is reassuring for you to know how to act quickly in situations such as:
– Choking (partially or completely)
– Bites by a spider, bee, snake, tick or wasp
– Febrile convulsion
– Near drowning incident (more common than you would like to know and mostly in backyard pools)
– Falls and breaks a limb
– Burns with steam, flame, sun or chemicals (ingested or superficially to the skin).

First Aid courses available around Australia

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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.

Words of Encouragement Help Children Grow with Self-Confidence

Your children need your words and actions of encouragement.

From a very young age children want and need to feel worthwhile and valued. Children need to be accepted and encouraged while they grow and discover their own direction in life. Therefore, raise your children to see that they are a worthwhile participant in life and that they can achieve?

You can do this by offering your child words of encouragement and show them actions of acceptance, rather than giving constant correction and criticism.

Acceptance

From birth, a baby can sense when an adult accepts them:

  • Through a calming voice and regular eye contact a baby’s soul is nurtured.
  • With a gentle cuddle and an affirming hug a baby’s heart is soothed.

You can reach the heart and soul of your child by giving positive acknowledgement when they do something right. Ensure they feel encouraged when you are in their presence as their heart is not won through criticism but acceptance and believing in who they are.

Words of Encouragement

Praise a child’s behaviour rather than always picking up on the things that they do wrong. When anyone is encouraged rather than corrected it makes them try harder the next time.

Here are some phrases you might like to use when you praise your child’s behaviour. If you include their name (………) in the sentence it will make an even greater positive impact.

“That’s it; you’ve got it ……”

“You’re doing a good job getting the pegs out of the basket ………..”

“You’re learning fast………”

“Way to go, high five…….!”

“Keep on trying …….., you will get there”

“…….., now that’s what I call a fine job of packing away the blocks”

“Wow, good remembering to shut the door………”

“You make painting look easy………….”

“Now you’ve figured it out; great page turning ……….”

“……..you’re getting better with cleaning your teeth everyday”

Talk to your child about how to manage their feelings. Explain to them that it is ok to feel a certain way and then help them do something that will make them feel better. (For example: Feeling SAD: “it’s ok to feel sad, Sam. When I feel sad I look at a colourful book and that makes me feel happy. Come on, let’s find one and look at it together”)

 

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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.

Food Effects Baby and Toddler Sleep

Food has a calming effect on the body or an energizing effect.

When you have children who do not sleep well, knowing what type of food fuels energy and what type of food fuels the release of sleep-triggering hormones serotonin and melatonin is helpful.

Sleep-triggering snack 30-minutes before bed

The effect of food on the body begins about 30-minutes after eating. Therefore, give your baby or toddler an appropriate snack or drink 30-minutes before you expect him to sleep. If on solids, this does not mean holding off his dinner but rather giving him a little something extra after dinner as well.

Get a suitable routine for your child’s age

Too busy digesting to sleep

Give red meat, sausages, ham, simple carbohydrates such as white rice, pasta and sugary foods (including fruit) earlier in the day to avoid the effect of increased energy in the night. Complex-carbohydrates such as brown rice and wholegrain bread are better choices for sleep.

Protein foods that contain the amino acid tryptophan are suitable choices for an evening meal and pre-bedtime snack because they boost the sleep-triggering hormone melatonin and control hunger.

Dinner and evening snack ideas

  1. Wholegrain cereal with warm milk
  2. Natural yoghurt and sliced apple or banana
  3. Wholegrain rice cake spread with natural peanut butter
  4. Melted hard cheese on wholegrain toast
  5. Cashew or peanut butter spread on a dry wholegrain and oat wheat-bix
  6. Cottage cheese and tuna with avocado and wholegrain pasta
  7. Cooked eggs and wholegrain toast fingers
  8. Rice pudding made with brown rice
  9. Banana smoothie made with coconut milk.

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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. Jan 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.

Separation Anxiety

Ever had a ‘Velcro baby’ where she’d hold tight and not let you go? You’d step away and she’d cry and reach out for you in a desperate attempt to go with you. Even going to the bathroom or having a shower proved difficult without your baby dissolving into a flood of distressed tears. You probably found that these acts of insecurity were heightened when she was unwell, teething, tired or hungry.

It’s normal behaviour at certain ages

But don’t panic—it’s a normal stage of developmental that occurs around seven to nine months of age. It’s a time when most babies start to crawl.

Handling a new stage of development

Your baby is developing ‘object permanence’ where just because something is out of sight and out of hearing doesn’t mean it no longer exists. Coupled with the new skill of crawling she takes herself away from her place of security, her primary carer (usually mum).

The passion to explore, plus her leap in brain development, makes her feel unsure whether she can get back to mum or that mum will come back to her. How you handle this period of separation anxiety will have a strong influence on how well your baby learns to separate.

Help baby adjust

To help your baby adjust, don’t always rescue her and pick her up and take her with you. Instead, help her feel comfortable with separating. Come back to her and play for a few more minutes before going again. As you leave the room, let her see that you feel confident saying goodbye. Talk to her in an upbeat tone as you leave, assuring her that she’s ok and that you’ll be coming back to her. This is the same when leaving her at day care or grandmas. Give her time to feel comfortable in the company of a new carer before you leave. It will help her to separate with a minimum of distress. Avoid sneaking away, always say goodbye otherwise an unexpected disappearance can leave your baby wondering when and if you will return, which builds mistrust and feelings of insecurity.

Baby’s temperament

Temperament has a major impact on how she copes with this stage of her development. You may have already noticed one of the three temperaments[i] (easy, difficult, and slow-to-warm) in babies that you know, and recognised the different ways they handle change.

Home environment

The harmony of the home environment and whether dad works away for extended periods, also impacts on her ability to separate

Separation anxiety returns

‘Object permanence’ isn’t completely established until two years old, which means your toddler may go through this stage of separation anxiety again at around 15 to 18 months old. At this age your toddler’s inquisitive nature and spirit reaches a new level that often causes the clingy behaviour and distress of separating from significant carers to reoccur. This is because her brain development has taken another leap and her understanding of the world has changed. At this age your toddler has an amazing grasp of language and can understand what you say, even if she can’t say it back yet. For this reason, talk to her, tell her what is happening, where you are going, and when you will be back. Wave goodbye and eventually she’ll associate going away with coming back.[ii]

Keep her life stable and help her through this period of insecurity and uncertainly. Have a regular routine, feed her healthy food and encourage good day and night sleep patterns. Stay calm yourself knowing this time will pass.

Bub can also experience separation anxiety at bedtime, as this is a period of long separation. Avoid cry-it-out strategies to encourage sleep during these times as this will only cause more distress. ‘Putting them to Sleep[iii] eBook has alternative bedtime strategies for you to try. Again, temperament and the family environment are factors that interfere with her ability to manage separating, leaving her to cling for longer.

While separation anxiety can prove difficult for you and your child, try to accept that it’s a normal stage of brain maturity and infant development, and remain patient, encouraging and reassuring. Be sensitive to individual temperament and needs.

Push away or hold on tight

Try not to push her away too soon or hold on too tight for too long, as this can hinder the developmental process of independence and self-assurance. Avoid comparing your baby with others of the same age as every child and every environment is different and as always seek professional help if you feel that separation is an ongoing problem.

References:

[i] Peterson, 2004 referred to in (Burton, 2011, Psychology)

[ii] http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetails.aspx?p=114&np=141&id=1848

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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. Jan 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.

Co-sleeping with Your Baby

By Jan Murray

In many cultures it is normal practice for parents’ to co-sleep and bed share with their children. However, for families in western cultures such as Australia the act of co-sleeping and bed sharing with babies can be a complex issue, which often leads to controversial discussions. Forming close bonds of attachment doesn’t just happen in bed; there are many other factors involved. In the early years connecting with your baby is more about fulfilling his individual needs that are based on genetics and the environment in which he lives.

It’s true that co-sleeping brings comfort and sleep to many babies and their parents. Sleeping close can increase baby-parent connections, improve breast milk supply, and make breastfeeding easier. However, it doesn’t work like that for all babies and all parents. In fact, some babies are happier and more settled sleeping in their own space. Babies may be active, noisy sleepers that keep their parents awake.

In recent years co-sleeping and bed sharing have become a contemporary parenting practice. For families who have one parent working away for weeks at a time or where both parents work away from home for long hours, co-sleeping may be the best chance your baby has for spending time with his busy parents. Babies have developmental needs and busy parents often need to be creative with how to meet those needs.

If you do choose to co-sleep with your baby, follow safe sleeping guidelines and relax and enjoy the experience. Sudden Unexplained Infant Death (SUDI) of which Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is included has been linked to co-sleeping but it is not usually a cause unless safe sleeping practices have not been followed. Research findings show some babies are more vulnerable to SIDS than others. Therefore, following safe sleeping practices is a wise decision in case your baby is one of the vulnerable ones.

When co-sleeping, avoid the risk of your baby suffocating. Share a hard bed surface such as the floor or a firm mattress and avoid soft surfaces such as a mattress with a soft woollen underlay, waterbed, sofa, lounge or beanbag. Don’t risk sleeping with your baby if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol or if you are obese. Sleep your baby on the outside edge of the bed rather than between you and your partner as when he is snuggled between you his head can easily be covered by blankets or he can overheat. Avoid using heavy doonas and quilts. Instead, use breathable cotton blankets just as you would if he were in his own cot. Unfortunately, being at the edge of the bed increases the risk of injuries from falling out of bed. Use a bed-rail and avoid pushing the bed up against the wall as babies have suffocated after becoming wedged between the mattress and wall. A ‘bedside attachment’ or ‘snuggle bed’ are great options for a safe sleeping space within the parental bed. There is an increased risk of SIDS in babies born premature, small for gestational age or that are less than four months old. Therefore, in these circumstances it is best to avoid co-sleeping.

Despite the talk of co-sleeping increasing the risk of SIDS, it has also been found to reduce the risk of SIDS. When mum and bub snuggle close together they become more in tune with each others breathing patterns.

Sleeping apart is considered a separating experience and for some babies this can be very difficult. Genetic factors, temperament, and environmental issues may increase your baby’s anxiety levels, making the thought of sleeping separately stressful. Co-sleeping in this situation can provide much needed calming relief to a baby during the early years of development.

When following safe sleeping guidelines, co-sleeping is only a problem if it is a problem for you or your baby. If sleeping close in the early years works for your family delight in the experience of sharing a bed surface together. But if it doesn’t work for you or your bub enjoy the fact that you both have your own space to enjoy sleeping in. But because sleep is vitally important for everyone it is recommended that you seek professional help if neither sleeping option encourages sleep.

This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, 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. Jan 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.

References:

http://www.epjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/ep05102183.pdf

http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/health-concerns/sleep-problems/co-sleeping-yes-no-sometimes