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Dummies for babies!!

As a Midwife and Child Health Nurse who works closely with babies, I’ve learnt  a thing or two about the use of dummies that I would like to share with you. The decision to use one or not will be then up to you.

Not all babies take to sucking a dummy but there are certainly babies who do benefit.

Seven positive reasons for a baby to use a dummy

  1. Babies 3 to 4-weeks old who attach and feed well from the breast may at times need to keep sucking for comfort or stress relief. This is when a dummy can come in handy to give your nipples a rest. 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. However, by aiding the digestive process this then can cause them to become hungrier earlier
  3. Provide pain relief when hurt or when having an immunization
  4. Sucking a dummy can reduce the pain of gastro oesophageal reflux allowing for a bit more sleep for everyone!
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. A baby who settles to sleep easier with a sucking action. Commonly, a baby who is fed milk from a bottle requires a dummy to increase sucking time each day.

Seven reasons why a baby is disadvantaged using a dummy

  1. An increased risk of bacterial infections. Sterilise dummies daily and throw out ones with cracks or worn areas where bacteria can settle
  2. Using a dummy after 4 to 5-months can set up strong sleep associations that can lead to unsettled sleep in the months that follow
  3. Regular and frequent use of a dummy has been shown to decrease the length of time a mother will continue to breast feed
  4. Too much dummy sucking may make a baby too tired for milk feeds
  5. Sucking a dummy after 9-months may disturb good sleep patterns if used for settling to sleep or interfere with speech development if used during the day
  6. It’s a choking hazard if faulty or worn out
  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.

  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 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, there is a place for dummies for some babies, providing that it is an appropriate dummy used at an appropriate time and preferably for the first 4-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 dummies can be discarded.

You will make the right decision for your baby. Don’t feel guilty with the decision to use a dummy or not.

If you like this information you will love

‘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.

Toddler Tantrum

By Jan Murray

Your toddler has boundless energy and keeps challenging whoever is around until she gets the result she wants. If she never gets it she will stop trying and eventually move onto something else – she learnt the boundary. If you give in, even once, your toddler will keep going until you break again.

Your toddler has a very strong desire to get things right. When she is unable to get things to go her way, she gets very frustrated and acts out what toddlers are famous for — tantrums. Depending upon her temperament, she may experience regular tantrums, whereas others have them occasionally. A similar behaviour is also evident in babies just before a physical milestone such as crawling. This frustration helps to propel them forward to achieve.

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Tantrums are a physical outburst of the frustration felt by your toddler when things aren’t going the way she would like them to. Common tantrum behaviours exhibited by yours or other toddlers include:

  • Stamping the feet
  • Screaming and yelling
  • Kicking
  • Squealing
  • Throwing herself to the floor
  • Head banging on the floor or a wall
  • Holding her breath until she passes out (now there’s a fun one)
  • Biting
  • Deliberately not eating
  • Holding on to poo.

It is important to recognise that a tantrum is normal behaviour in your toddler’s development. Tantrums can be of two types – manipulative tantrums and frustration tantrums.

Manipulative Tantrums arise out of desires. Your toddler may use manipulative tantrums to get things done her way such as to force you to buy a toy or a lolly. It is best to ignore and walk away from this type of tantrum.

Frustration Tantrums arise because of their inability to express an emotion. Sometimes your toddler’s mental and motor skills have progressed more quickly than her ability to communicate. Not being able to express herself enough for you to understand what she wants to do or get done, leads to a frustration tantrum. Don’t ignore this tantrum but help her work whatever it is out.

It is important to help your toddler understand and learn what is acceptable behaviour and what is not (some adults have never learnt this). A tantrum indicates that your toddler is gaining a healthy sense of identity and independence. Your response to a tantrum is therefore significant for what your toddler learns about controlling emotions and making acceptable choices. Eventually, she will learn self-control and constructive willpower. By managing tantrum behaviour in a positive way you will help her come out the other end at three years old having learnt valuable character traits.

What you can do to survive these challenging years:

  • Set sensible expectations and limits of behaviour and BE CONSISTENT when enforcing them as your toddler quickly learns you mean what you say if you follow through but are confused when you don’t.
  • It is important that both parents discuss and set the same boundaries to enforce.
  • When going on outings, explain to your toddler in simple terms where you are going and what behaviour you expect from her. Your toddler likes to know what is happening and what is expected. Keep expectations positive, not negative. For example, we walk when we are inside Jane’s house rather than we don’t run in Jane’s house. Saying it this way helps the brain to program pictures better.
  • Help your toddler understand what she can do to help herself feel better, such as, when I feel sad I look at a colourful book to help me feel better. Then do it with her so she can experience how it helps them feel better
  • Try to avoid situations that are likely to result in a tantrum. For example, if your toddler is tired and hungry, that is not the time to take her shopping
  • When a tantrum does occur, respond to it immediately and don’t bring it up again later or wait until daddy gets home! Forgive and move on — she will.
  • Let your toddler know that her behaviour is not acceptable, rather than she is not acceptable. For example, “biting Ava was a bad thing to do”, rather than saying, “you are a bad girl for biting Ava”.
  • Keep instructions simple and to the point.
  • If it is appropriate, ignore some of her behaviour or place her in a safe place until she calms down – avoid using the bedroom. This area needs to be a happy place not one of punishment or you will find it a battle to get her to bed at night.
  • Time out disciplines usually work best for the toddler over 2 ½ years old. Avoiding situations, distracting and moving her away works best for the younger toddler (12 months – 36 months).
  • Keep focused through this stage of development and remember you are teaching your toddler to learn about self-control, consequences of her actions and acceptable choices.
  • Give your toddler consistent messages. For example if you laugh at an action she did at home but get angry at the same action when she is out, the message she gets is inconsistent and confusing
  • Celebrate what she does right by praising her behaviour rather than concentrating on the things that she does wrong.
  • It is your tone and pitch of voice as you praise her behaviour that is just as important as the words you say.

Handling tantrums at public places:

  • Your toddler may get uncomfortable with new surroundings. If she often throws tantrums at public places like shopping malls and gives you a hard time, then it is quite possible that she may not like to be out in an unfamiliar place and around unfamiliar people.
  • Let your baby know you are there with them. Be with her all the time. Do not ignore her. Give her a hug or pick her up gently and take a stroll. This calms her down and then you may carry on with your work.
  • Be prepared to feed your toddler. Always take food and water along so that you can feed her if she feels hungry or thirsty at a public place.
  • Take your toddler away from the crowd. If your toddler is not settling down you may take her to a quiet place like a restroom or to your car and let her calm down. Once she is better, talk to her in a gentle tone – reassure her that you are around if she feels afraid.
  • Carry her favourite toys along. You may carry her favourite possessions like water bottle, sipper cup or her favorite toy to create companionship. If you find it difficult to manage so many things along with an uncomfortable toddler, take her pram. This way, you can put her to rest and tuck her belongings in the pram as well.

 

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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. 

Managing Twins in the Early Months

By Jan Murray

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Finding out you are having more than one baby at the same time creates all sorts of emotions, questions and physical changes for both you and your partner. But take heart, many parents have enjoyed the journey and have thrived amidst the chaos.

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Once you are all home from hospital, there is no one way to do things when parenting multiples. Every baby, every parent and every family environment is individual and you do what is best for your family at the time. However, there are some basic tips and techniques that can help with the unique challenges you face. For example, if your babies are different weights or one has a health concern and the other doesn’t, you would usually need to feed them at different times or in different ways for a while. If your babies have different temperaments that require different settling techniques, you will learn what technique works best. Managing these issues in the early days is easier with an extra pair of hands but if you don’t have anyone to help, make it easy for yourself by using gadgets such as swings, a light stroller for moving the babies around in the house, dummies and rockers. Carry slings are a wonderful investment, even with twins. Wear an unsettled twin or when two adults are available, use two slings and go for a walk.

Low birth-weight babies (as multiples often are) may have difficulty regulating their temperature and have minimal subcutaneous fat layers to keep them warm. Therefore, ensure rooms are warm (around 24°C) and that you have plenty of suits and bedding made of natural fibres. Synthetic materials trap in heat and can cause overheating.

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Buy plenty of nappies! Your babies will need nappy changes every two to five hours. You could be looking at a hundred to a hundred and twenty nappies per week or 5,000-6,000 per year. In fact, why not put in a request for packs of nappies or reusable nappy pants and liners (in a variety of sizes) for your baby shower?

Large swaddling wraps of 100 per cent cotton are an excellent tool for establishing good sleeping patterns during the early months. Your babies will generally be happy sleeping together in the same cot or ‘co-sleeper attachment’ until around four months old but you can have them in separate bassinettes from day one if you choose. Have them sleep in your bedroom, or close by, in the early months as you will be up several times feeding overnight. Avoid the babies developing cranial flat spots by changing what side of each other they sleep on or sit on when in the stroller.

When breastfeeding, you may need to support and position babies on a pillow while they are small. A pillow will also take the strain off your wrists, arms, back, and shoulders. It is usually easier to master the art of breastfeeding one baby at a time before trying tandem feeding, which is where both babies feed at the same time. A couch, bed or floor provides the most space for this type of feeding. Some babies swap breasts and some stay on the same side. With multiples it is best to seek professional lactation advice during the early days of feeding as good attachment and feeding comfort is vital for the ongoing success of breastfeeding.

Bathing twins in the same bath is impossible to perform safely on your own. If you are bathing them alone, the easiest and safest spot would be on the floor or a large dining room table or kitchen bench (before they can roll),and have all the bathing items at your fingertips. You could bath babies one after the other at the same time each day or every few days. You could also bath one baby at a time after different feeds each day or on alternate days. Your personal hygiene is also important but some days you may not get a shower and actually end up staying in your pj’s all day! Other days you’ll get organised and grab a shower before your partner goes to work or during the babies’ first morning sleep.

You are your babies’ first and most important teacher but don’t worry if you feel you don’t have time. Attending to their needs with your gentle touch, warm smile and soothing voice says a lot but if it all becomes too difficult, seek professional advice from your GP. Your babies need you to be healthy.

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The first months home from hospital are going to be tough. Parenting multiples can be an overwhelming responsibility so there will probably be crying from you as well as your babies. Join the local Multiple Birth Association for support and accept any offers of help. Don’t just say thanks for the offer. Pin offers of help down to a time and action something straight away. Employ help if you can and give yourself time to adapt.

For more information ‘Twins & More’

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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.

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. 

Babies First Three Months

By Jan Murray

Functioning day to day on broken sleep and often in physical discomfort in a lifestyle that is totally foreign can cause anxiety. This coupled with the overwhelming responsibility of a newborn cause’s memory glitches and decision making blips. Don’t panic – life will run smoothly again. Here are some realistic things you can anticipate while caring for your baby in the first three months.

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You’ll find looking after your baby in the early months tiring or even exhausting. To help you through, accept offers of help or use paid help. Rest and put your feet up after lunch, eat well and get fresh air and a little exercise every day.

The first two weeks with your baby may be heavenly. You’ll think how perfect he is as you watch him contentedly feed, sleep and pass bodily fluids. Then the mystical three week mark arrives when this blissful life with a newborn in the house turns to chaos – your little one is growing up and becoming more alert. It is from here your baby needs more awake time – about one to one and a half hours between sleeps which includes feed time and floor play. Make sure you don’t get too love struck and keep him up too long. An overtired or overstimulated baby is very difficult to settle to sleep. It normally takes about ten to fifteen minutes for him to settle to sleep. Expect him to then sleep for one to one and a half hours. This period of sleep consists of three or more sleep cycles. Be mindful not to get him up too early. Just because the eyes are wide open when you go in and check on him doesn‘t mean he is ready to get up. It’s probably the stare that happens just before he settles back to sleep. Try not to hover and interrupt natural processes as without adequate sleep your baby is grumpy and doesn’t feed well. At night, let him wake for feeds. He may give you four to five hour stretches of sleep. If he doesn’t, don’t worry he will. Feed with low light, no interaction and stimulation and he will improve. Some bubs have night and day mixed up – sleeping in the day and waking frequently overnight. Help turn this around by waking bub regularly during the day for feeds, sleeping him in daylight areas and letting him wake on his own overnight. In total your baby will usually sleep about fifteen to sixteen hours in twenty-fours during these first few months.

Breastmilk is premium nutrition for your baby in the first three months. Unfortunately, as committed and as hard as some mums try, breast feeding ends early. Thankfully there is a variety of infant formulas when breast milk is not available. Seek professional advice before starting infant formula. Breast milk is easily digested and needs to be offered every three hours during the day. Most infant formulas are offered every four hours. The length of a breast feed is not a good indication of how much milk bub is getting. Some will suck efficiently and down enough in fifteen minutes while others take forty minutes to drink the same amount. Others feed for over an hour but are not getting much due to poor attachment. Forty-five minutes is a long enough feed, after this length of time bubs suck will not be effective enough to get much milk and he would be better off catching up on needed sleep or stimulation. Weighing your baby every couple of weeks is the best way to see if he is getting enough milk. Rumbling hungry tummies or discomfort is usually what wakes him in the early weeks. If your baby is due for a feed, don’t delay the feed fiddling around changing the nappy, start feeding and change the nappy after ten minutes when the sucking slows down. Newborns have a habit of dosing off before completing a feed.

Following feeds during the day your baby will enjoy watching you and the surroundings for a while. At six weeks, introduce bright toys, mobiles and rattles for extra stimulation at this wake time. Lay him on a soft mat on the floor on his tummy and back and not just in bouncers and rockers. Give nappy free time for air and sun kicks. This activity is important to tire him before a sleep.

Watch for at least six wet nappies in a twenty-four hour period. Poo can vary between fifteen times a day to one every three to five days or even once every ten days in totally breast fed bubs. Infant formula fed babies need to have a bowel motion every day or two as they risk constipation.

How to give your baby a bath

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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. For more online resources visit

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Cleaning Newborn Sensitive Bits

By Jan Murray

Your newborn is tougher than you think but there are a few sensitive areas that need to be handled with a little more care. These include the ears, eyes, nose, umbilical stump, and genitals.

Cleaning the ears

Earwax is formed in the outer ear canal and travels towards the outer ear edges with jaw movement. Ear wax is assists in natural ear cleaning and lubrication and protects the inner ear from bacteria, fungi, water and insects. Problems of infection and impacted earwax arise if wax builds up in the inner ear canal. Therefore, clean the ears using a moistened cotton wool ball or soft wipe only around the outer ear folds and behind the ear; NEVER put a cotton bud or other narrow implement inside the ear canal as it can perforate the ear drum and push wax further in.

Cleaning the eyes

Clean the eyes using cotton wool balls or soft wipes moistened in clean water. Using a clean moistened piece for each eye, wipe the eye area from the nose edge to the outside. At times you may notice the eyes weeping and stuck together. This is referred to as ‘sticky eye’ and is not an uncommon or harmful condition and is usually due to blocked tear ducts that more often than not resolve themselves.

Cleaning sticky eyes

Eyes can remain sticky for several weeks and often months despite regular cleansing. It is important to keep the eyes cleansed. If you are breastfeeding, squirt a little milk into bubs eyes. This helps cleanse and protect the eye from infection. To help release the blocked tear duct, firmly massage the inner canthus area (inner end) of the effected eye. Always clear the eyes of built up matter before nursing and seek professional advice if the eye becomes red or discharge increases.

Clearing the nose and sneezing

Your newborn starts life as a nose breather. Therefore, it is important to keep the nose clear. He cannot blow his nose or cough effectively so he sneezes regularly to clear his air passages. Keep his nasal secretions moist to assist clearing. Do this by regular feeding and squirt a little water or normal saline up the nose. A humidifier may help keep air moist. When nasal secretions are moist, use a little rubber bulb purchased from a pharmacy or twist the end of a tissue and gently grip any matter at the base of the nose. NEVER push cotton buds (or anything for that matter) up into the nasal space.

Cleaning the umbilical stump

The umbilical cord changes in appearance and odour until the point of separation (7-10 days). It becomes darker, dryer and maybe a little offensive. Clean with a cotton tip applicator dipped in normal saline or cool boiled water and a little added sea-salt if gets contaminated with poo. When the area is inflammation, cleanse and protect the skin with a natural barrier cream. Continue to air and keep dry and seek professional advice if the area continues to weep or bleed for longer than a week after the dried cord stump has fallen off.

Cleaning boy bits

When wiping baby boy genital bits don’t forget to gently lift up the scrotum and wipe underneath. Change his diaper every three to four hours as urine or poop left in contact with skin for too long forms an acid that burns. Never pull back the foreskin of an uncircumcised penis as this can do harm. A daily bathe will keep this area clean and don’t stop self-discovery, it’s normal.

Cleaning girl privates

Baby girls’ vaginal area is delicate so avoid wiping deep into the inner vaginal folds. The white substance you’ll see is natural and stays to give added cleaning and protection. Gently hold the vaginal folds apart and wipe downwards with a soft diaper liner or cotton wool ball soaked in warm water. Avoid using treated cleansing wipes as these often aggravate delicate skin and mucosa and disrupt the natural PH balance. Change her diaper every three to four hours as urine or poop left in contact with her skin for too long forms an acid that burns. Always wipe the vaginal area in a downward direction to avoid wiping faecal matter into the short urethra. A discharge of blood streaked mucous may appear in the first six weeks. This is a pseudo-menstruation so just gently wipe it away, it’s normal.

Video Clip on how to bath a newborn . . .

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This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance.

Summer with a Newborn

By Jan Murray

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The Australian summer can bring extremely hot weather that lasts for months. The heat can be humid with rain or dry with wind and no rain. Whatever kind of summer you experience the effects of hot temperatures can be stressful for you and dangerous for newborns. Keeping cool yourself helps babies feel relaxed and comfortable; try cooling down with frequent quick showers and regular cold drinks.

Newborns are unable to regulate their body temperature like adults do, which leaves them at risk of overheating and dehydrating. Babies can become too hot internally when lost liquids are not adequately replaced. Newborns lose fluids regularly from weeing, pooing, vomiting and perspiring and the lack of liquid causes little bodies to dehydrate and overheat. When dehydration is severe the risk of heatstroke and SIDS is increased. Keep an eye on the bottom end. Newborns need to have at least six wet nappies in a twenty-four hour period—less than six is an indication that babies are becoming dry. Newborns may poo after every feed or only every few days or so. Poo should not be hard pebbles as this is constipation and a sign of not enough fluid. Offer babies extra liquid at regular intervals during the day. Either extra short breast feeds or if using infant formula give cooled boiled water between milk feeds.

Humid, hot, and airless environments cause fungal infections to thrive. Keep a check on places such as the nappy area, under baby’s chin, between creases and folds, as well as your nipple area. You can reduce the risk of thrush developing by regularly exposing these areas to air and keeping them clean and dry; if you are breastfeeding, eating yoghurt and reducing your yeast and sugar intake can also help. When reddened areas won’t go away with these measures seek professional advice.

Skin-to-skin contact is important for newborn development but it can make you both hot and sticky. When breast feeding on steamy days, if you place a wet cloth under your arm or around the back of your neck, and a small cotton cloth between you and your baby it can make feeding a little more comfortable.

Water is cooling. Ensure babies have a sponge down with a wet cloth, bath or shower at least daily. Wet your hand or a washer with lukewarm water and regularly wipe over bubs head on really hot days. If infant skin is dry, add a little natural oil to the bath water or moisturise the skin after a bath.

While feeling hot can make anyone irritable, the heat can also make it particularly difficult for newborns to settle and go to sleep. But don’t worry, there are some things that you can do to help keep them cool. Increase airflow in the cot by using a firm cotton mattress and remove any waterproof protectors, as these hold in heat. Spread a towel over the mattress under the sheet to absorb perspiration and be sure to remove any unnecessary bedding, toys and bumpers from the cot. Use natural cotton or bamboo fabric for clothes and bedding as synthetic materials trap heat and can cause babies to overheat.

For additional cooling, if you don’t have the luxury of air-conditioning, drape wet towels and a dish of water in front of an oscillating fan. Dress babies in only a nappy and light cotton wrap to sleep. When regulating an air-conditioner, take into account their fat layers, prematurity and general health, and set temperature to around 24°C. At this heat, babies would need a loose sleep-suit and swaddling wrap and perhaps another cotton blanket over the top. If bub is too hot his head will be sweaty as this is where newborns loose heat. Because babies loose heat from the head, place their feet at the end of the cot, which allows air flow around the head—this is also in line with SIDS safe sleeping recommendations.

If your house is hot, escape in an air-conditioned car or to an air-conditioned shopping centre or library for a break. When going for a walk, avoid going between 10am and 3pm as this is when the sun is most harmful. Avoid having babies in a stroller for too long as these tend to be hot and airless. This also applies to the car restraint when the car is stopped. These contraptions can heat up very quickly and cause body temperatures to rapidly rise, which can put babies at risk of a febrile convulsion. It is also important to use UV protectors on windows and over strollers to stop the sun’s strong rays from burning delicate skin.

Enjoy summertime with your newborn but remain alert to the hazards of heat. Seek professional help if your baby has less than six wet nappies in a twenty-four hour period, has dark circles under dry eyes, hot dry skin, sunken fontanels (soft spot on his head) a dry mouth and tongue or is floppy and difficult to arouse.

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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.

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.

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.

If you like this information you will love

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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 Poo What’s Normal

Baby poo is a good indicator of how your baby is tolerating feeding. Therefore, it is a good idea to know what normal baby poo looks like.

What does normal baby poo look like?

A newborn’s first bowel movement is greenish-black, thick and sticky. These first poos consist of epithelial cells, lanugo, mucus, amniotic fluid, bile, and water, which are intestinal substances that an unborn foetus ingests while in the womb.

As a newborn begins to ingest colostrum (mother’s first breast liquid), breast milk and or infant formula poo will change from greenish-black to dark brown that is less sticky.

When a baby is breastfeeding the poo will progress to a mustard colour containing tiny, white, grainy seed-like pieces.  It is a loose consistency and can occur at every nappy change or every few days or even up to 14 days. Unlike formula fed babies, it is rare for breast fed babies to get constipated.

When a baby is regularly ingesting infant formula poo is a pasty consistency and often green in colour (each brand of infant formula creates a slightly different variation of the colour green). Bowel movements can be less frequent than a breast fed baby but he will need to be passing a poo every day or every second day to avoid getting constipated.

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A baby that is breastfeed with top ups of infant formula will have a variation in-between these two poos, which will depend on the ratio of breast milk to formula.

What does abnormal baby poo look like?

ABNORMAL BABY POOP INDICATES THE NEED FOR FURTHER ASSESSMENT BY A HEALTH PROFESSIONAL.

1. Green frothy poo and possibly associated with irritability, bloating, wind and nappy rash
2. Very liquid consistency with no white seedy bits
3. Poo is a pebble like consistency
4. A formula fed baby who has not passed a poo for 3 or more days
5. Poo with streaks of blood in it
6. Green poo with a stringy egg white consistency
7. Projectile vomiting after 3 consecutive feeds associated with no bowel movement

Moving on: Introducing solids to your baby

When thinking about introducing solids to your baby, my eBook ‘taste it’  provides answers to your questions and easy and nutritional first food ideas.

or read more about what is normal in a developing baby by downloading my eBook
‘Mum, Baby & Toddler – together we learn’

Jan Murray has committed to studying and working as a Registered Nurse, Midwife and Child Health Nurse for over 25 years. Jan is a mother of 5 and co-founded and directs Settle Petal. Through her business Jan provides information and support for parents with babies and toddlers to develop their knowledge base and confidence. Receive your FREE Routines eBook at http://myoptinpage.com/?pid=2151223 to help babies settle, sleep and grow.