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Signs Baby is Ready for Solid Food

By Jan Murray

Studies show babies are not developmentally ready to tolerate solid foods before 17 weeks of age.

If your baby is hungry and not gaining weight before 17 weeks, you can increase their weight by providing extra breast feeds or introduce an additional bottle of Infant Formula. Seek professional guidance for the appropriate Infant Formula to use for your baby.

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When to consider starting your baby on solid foods:

  • The ‘tongue thrust’ is gone.
  • Baby can sit in a semi-controlled, upright position. Not being able to sit or hold his back reasonably straight will prevent him focusing on eating
  • Baby’s weight gain has slowed down
  • Baby is waking at erratic times overnight when previously had been sleeping through
  • Baby is constantly dissatisfied when being breastfed. They are constantly pulling off and on the nipple and feeding is becoming less enjoyable
  • Baby is wanting to breastfeed more regularly during the day instead of spacing it out to every four hours
  • Baby is watching you eat with greater interest and could even be trying to take the spoon or food from your hand.

If you see any or some of these signs start your baby on some soft and sloppy foods.

Start your baby on soft solids once a day during their awake-time after a milk feed. This is best offered after the mid morning feed when your baby is alert and less tired. Add another solid feed mid-afternoon when your baby looks ready and willing for more.

Milk is still important for your baby’s nutrition so avoid introducing too much food too quickly. Introduce a third meal when ready.

More information on solids with recipes here

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Quantity

This can vary depending on:

  • Individual metabolism
  • Energy requirements, especially if they are sick or very active
  • Interest in food
  • Whether they are eating in a stressed or rushed atmosphere.

Bon Appetit!!

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.

Ten Tips for When the Next Baby Comes Along

By Jan Murray

After baby number two arrives things may get a little tense between you and your toddler. Put yourself in your toddler’s shoes for a moment…

You’re the center of attention and all your needs are met the moment you demand 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 may cry 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’s a few things you can try to help make life a little less stressful:

  • 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 from a cot 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.
  • Ensure child safe areas for your toddler to roam in when you are breastfeeding.
  • 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 at your toddler’s eye level.
  • 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.
  • 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.

 

Baby Sleep Techniques

Sleep is a natural biological rhythm but sleeping well is a skill that takes time to develop.

Sleep habits develop from birth and are a combined result of nature (genes and developmental milestones) and nurture (parental guidance and support).

Infant sleep ‘training’ techniques are used to help babies get to sleep or stay asleep. Working out what technique to choose can be difficult because all sleep ‘training’ techniques can work. However, some only work in specific circumstances and some suit some babies and parents more than others.

Consider your baby’s age, temperament, ‘goodness-of-fit’ with your temperament, health, and the environment in which he lives before you choose a suitable technique.

Newborn

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Until 4-months of age your newborn has immature sleep/ wake rhythms, he needs frequent milk feeds and has reduced mental capacity, which makes him unable to respond to all techniques.

Types of techniques

Sleep ‘training’ techniques are divided into two groups:

The first techniques were based on extinction. These include: (a) cry it out, (b) controlled crying, (c) camping out, and (d) the chair method (works best with toddlers older than 16-months).

The more recent techniques are cue-based techniques. These include: (a) responsive settling and (b) hands on settling.

All babies, environments and situations are different. Cue-based techniques are more gentle than extinction techniques but that’s not to say extinction techniques are wrong. In fact, in some situations with strong-willed infants extinction gets results quicker and is less frustrating for everyone. Conversely, extinction may not work if your baby needs more touch and reassurance to calm and sleep. Some babies self-soothe and re-settle overnight easier than others who need support or sleep-props to enter sleep and resettle.

Different situations different techniques

Controlled-crying/ comforting (intermittent comforting) is not used for babies less than 4-months of age and needs a plan outlined by your child health professional. It won’t work if it is done randomly. The technique is tough going so make sure you have support around you. Ensure bub is healthy, there are no distractions in the cot, and all outside commitments are on-hold for 4-days. Work on both day and night sleeps. This technique works quickly when used for the right baby at the right age with the right emotional commitment but can backfire and cause added stress and insecurity, for all concerned, if it’s not the appropriate choice.

Camping-out (sleep alongside bubs cot) is a good technique if you don’t want to leave the room and bub wants you close. You often don’t need to do anything, it’s your mere presence that helps your baby feel secure enough to drift off to sleep. As your baby gets older and more confident with sleep (around 16-months) this technique becomes the chair method and you can slowly move out of the room.

Responsive-settling tunes in to infant cries. It takes focused listening and being close to give comfort and support when needed. Sometimes it will be a cuddle and other times a shhh pat in the cot to help your baby drift off to sleep.

Hands-on-settling involves your comforting touch at all times. It could involve stroking the forehead or applying gentle pressure over the chest and legs with or without a rocking action. Both these gentle techniques work well but can be irritating when used for babies that don’t enjoy constant touch or when you are anxious.

It takes time

It takes your baby about 20-minutes of light sleep to fall into deep sleep. Get to know your baby and how you can help him settle and sleep. Give her time to form a habit (4-days to 3-weeks depending on age and circumstance). Consult your child health professional for personalised advice if you and your baby are struggling to get sleep.

References:

http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/controlled_comforting.html https://www.tresillian.org.au/

http://www.karitane.com.au/

http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/health-concerns/sleep-problems

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http://psychology.org.au/inpsych/2014/April/Blunden/

Gagging is not Choking

It is important for parents to understand the difference between when a baby gags on food and chokes on food… gagging is normal infant development whereas choking can be harmful.

Learning in the mouth

During the first year of life babies learn through senses in the mouth. Different textures, temperatures and tastes stimulate learning and the development of neural pathways in the brain. Until four to six months of age babies only swallow liquid. Swallowing is different when food is involved. There are different tastes, textures and temperatures to explore and become familiar with. Some babies are sensitive to these changes while others are not.

Swallowing

Soft, pureed or chewed food pass over the tongue touching the gag reflex at the back of the throat on the way to the stomach. Suitably prepared food, softened and mushed (mechanically or in the mouth) slides down the oesophagus into the stomach and intestines for further digestion.

This process of swallowing often involves gagging when the food is new. Choking occurs when food items are too hard or large. Gagging is not the same as choking.

Choking

Choking occurs when a substance gets lodged in the small oesophageal tube and pushes into into the trachea (airway) lying alongside it.

Food matter can partially obstruct the trachea or completely obstruct the tube. This depends on the size and firmness of the lodged substance. Sitting upright helps food matter slide down.

Never offer babies food that could get lodged in this tube such as peanuts, raw carrot, apple, and hard biscuits that don’t soften with saliva.

Gagging

Gagging is when babies are getting use to different textures. When food travels down the oesophagus babies may regurgitate it up from the back of their throat but often swallow it again. It is important for babies to be in an upright position to aid this process. Gagging is necessary for babies to understand how to chew and swallow different textures. Giving babies soft foods that are age appropriate will usually not cause choking but often causes gagging during the chewing and swallowing process.

Always sit with babies when offering them solid food. Avoid showing panic reactions in front of them if they do gag. Instead, smile and be encouraging, knowing that they are capable of regurgitating and re-swallowing. If you panic babies may inhale the food they have in their mouth.

Enjoy the experience of eating 

Help babies enjoy the experience of eating in a non-rushed, non-distracted atmosphere. Sit in front of them face-to-face with an encouraging smile and keep a ‘sippy cup’ of water handy.

Staying on mush

Many parents hold off moving their infants onto textured food. This can lead to fussy eating and slowed speech development. Parents may fear choking or only use processed foods from jars, squeeze packets and tins, which are kept soft for legal reasons.

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.

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.

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

  • climbcotClimbs or falls 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 pre-bedtime ritual on the big bed such as reading and chatting
  • Tuck your toddler in bed firmly 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. More information here Putting Them to Sleep

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. 

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

Choose complex carbohydrates and protein foods that contain the amino acid tryptophan for an evening meal and pre-bedtime snack because they boost the sleep-triggering hormone melatonin and control hunger.

Some ideas are:

  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.

How to Get Your Toddler to Drive You Crazy?

There are FIVE key parenting skills that will produce a toddler who will drive you crazy. If you are the parent of an enthusiastic toddler and you haven’t worked out what these are yet, read on.

There are habits and daily practices that aggravate a toddler’s behaviour and others that will calm. Here are five ways to encourage a tantrum throwing, stubborn and argumentative toddler who generally sleeps poorly:

1. Let your toddler dictate when they eat and sleep every day.

Toddlers have bounds of energy, keen to investigate how objects work and how others react to what they do. Have you noticed a toddler doing something, then immediately turns to see what reaction they get? Toddlers think they haven’t got time to eat and they certainly can’t spare the time to sleep! A poorly balanced and fluctuating metabolism is a great way to encourage tantrums and argumentative behaviour.

Do you need a routine? ‘Suggested Daily Routines‘ eBook

2. Let your toddler graze on as much packaged and processed foods laced with additives, colours and refined sugar as possible.

Allow your toddler free range of the fridge and pantry. Make sure it is stacked with packaged and convenience foods. After all, these foods are much easier and quicker to prepare, to pack on outings and they keep fresher for longer. Allowing your toddler time to graze constantly reduces the mess at meal times because they are generally not hungry. However, this type of diet may lead to digestive issues such as constipation, bloating or diarrhoea.

3. Have minimal outside play and let your toddler watch TV while you do what you want to do most of the day.

Toddlers learn by what they see, touch, feel, smell, taste and hear and television certainly offers two of those senses. Backyards are often too much work to look after and it is much easier to keep your toddler clean when they watch television. They can just snack while they sit mesmerized at the screen, which means at least they eat. This way you can avoid the mess and fussiness at mealtimes. Conversation around the family meal table is  replaced with television viewing.

4. Fill your toddler’s day with lots of outings, car trips and stroller rides leaving them little time to actively explore at their own pace.

Keeping your toddler busy with lots of outings is a great way to avoid messing up the house with toys. Confining them in strollers and car seats keeps them under control. This way there is no chance of having them run off and get into any mischief.

5. At the end of the day let your toddler dose on the lounge in front of the television while you prepare dinner.

Give your toddler a main meal of meat and vegetables, fruit and ice cream for dessert about 7pm when you have yours. When they refuse to eat allow them to get down and watch television until they decide they want to go to bed about 10pm. This ensures a reduced amount of sleep every night which ultimately leaves them chronically tired with poor concentration and reduced patience.

Would you like to know more about ‘Being a Toddler’?

Naturally, like most things, there are exceptions but generally speaking you can be assured of an exhilarating, frenetic and exhausting ride with your toddler by doing these things that I have outlined above.

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. For more online resources visit http://www.settlepetal.com

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 who were over playing with my children. First aid prevents an injury or situation becoming worse.

Most parents face the responsibility of administering first aid at some point to their own or other children. Gaining a first aid certificate or first aid skills will give you the calmness and confidence you need to act quickly.

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, hot fluids, flame, sun or chemicals (ingested or superficially to the skin).

Seek out a course nearby today. 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.

Baby’s Ear Ache

Earaches are painful and distressing.

When and where ear pain occurs

Ear pain can occur when your baby is teething, flying in a plane, swimming, or after an illness. Pain can come from the outer or middle ear.

Structure of the ear supports infection

Babies are at risk of ear infection because the Eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear to the back of the throat and nose, is short and straight. This shape makes it easier for bacteria from infections in the nose and throat to travel up into the middle ear.

Fluid becomes trapped in the middle ear creating a wet, dark, warm environment, perfect for growing bacteria and viruses. Trapped thick fluid builds up in the middle ear causing the eardrum to bulge. This condition called Acute Otitis Media. If your child’s immune system is strong, inflammation and infection will clear and pressure will be relieved before the eardrum perforates.

Ear infections are not directly contagious but can follow viral or bacterial illness. Regular hand washing is the best defence against the spread of germs. Fever is nature’s way of fighting bacteria so don’t be too quick to give medications to reduce fever; let fever do its work first. Giving fluids, rest, cuddles, and pain relief may be all your baby needs to recover. Even when the drum perforates, fluid drains and it heals quickly on its own.

Glue ear and grommets

If thick fluid doesn’t drain and is constantly in the middle ear it is referred to as Glue ear, a condition, which stops the ear functioning as it should[i] and results in hearing loss and subsequent behaviour and language problems.[ii] To avoid this happening, some babies will be prescribed a course of antibiotics to help clear the infection. Your GP may suggest seeing an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist who may recommend an operation to insert an artificial tube (Grommet) through the eardrum. This tiny tube allows air and fluid to flow freely through the ear. Grommets usually remain in place for about six to 12-months if they don’t fall out earlier.

Hearing loss

If your baby has more than three or four ear infections a year, a hearing test (by an audiologist) will rule out any hearing loss that can hinder language development.

In-flight sucking

In-flight earaches occur during take-off and landing due to changes in air pressure within the middle ear. Try reducing your baby’s ear pain by getting her to suck on a dummy, breast or bottle when taking-off and landing.

Learn how to clean ears: Caring for newborn sensitive bits

References:

[i] http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetails.aspx?p=114&np=303&id=1855#2

[ii] http://www.babycenter.com/0_ear-infections-in-babies_83.bc#articlesection1

[iv] http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/ear_infections.html/context/645

[v] http://healthychild.org/five-natural-remedies-for-ear-infections/

[vi]http://www.rch.org.au/kidsinfo/fact_sheets/Ear_infections_and_Otitis_media/

 

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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.

Reflect on Your Parenting

This will touch you heart, especially if you have been short with your toddler or preschooler 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.