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Types of Toys for your Infant

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 10:15am
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Baby and toy stores are full of toys for babies. Our experts have put together a list of some of the most popular options to help you choose what will work best for your new baby.

Mobiles

Mobiles help your baby focus and improve her vision. Watching moving objects stimulates your baby to track the object with her eyes, and if the mobile offers music or sounds, this can enhance your baby's listening skills. 

  • Encourage your baby to take notice of her surroundings by pointing out the mobile's features, colors, characters or lights if it has them
  • Change the mobile's position every once in a while, or change your baby's position so she gets a new view.

Music Boxes

Playing music or recordings of sounds from nature is a great way to enhance your baby’s listening skills as well as to calm and soothe your infant. 

  • Use a crib soother to help stop crying or calm him down, this helps to support your baby's efforts to self-regulate.
  • Sing or hum along with the music to encourage your baby to focus attention on you and to feel soothed by the sound of your voice.

Soft or Stuffed Toys

These toys help to encourage your baby’s emotional and intellectual development. Babies recognize and respond to faces very early. As they develop the ability to focus, seeing a familiar face is comforting to them. The soft, cushy texture of a stuffed toy is also soothing, especially when babies are not being held and cuddled.

  • Place the toy or doll within her view at arm's length away. The doll's face will be a source of visual interest, and the soft texture of the fabric will be interesting to touch.
  • Hug, kiss and coo at her. Near the end of the first month, demonstrate cuddling and nurturing behavior on a stuffed animal. for your baby.
  • Move the doll up and down in front of your child, then a little to the left and to the right. Watch to see if your baby is able to track the doll with her eyes.
  • Be sure to remove any stuffed or soft toys from your baby’s crib when she is sleeping.

Child-Safe Activity Mirrors

Babies love to gaze at their own reflection; they are fascinated by what they see. This encourages self-recognition, enhancing their emotional development. It also fosters eye-hand coordination as baby reaches to touch the mirror.

  • Initiate your baby's sense of self-recognition by pointing to his reflection in the mirror, and then to your own.  Play a peek-a-boo game.  Also, point out your facial features to help your baby make the connections.
  • Go to other mirrors in the house and show your baby how your reflections show up in those mirrors, too.
  • Give him some tummy-time play. Position this mirror in front of your baby so when he's ready to put his face up, he can look at himself in a new way.

Manipulative Toys

Manipulative toys examples include simple rattles; teethers; light, sturdy cloth toys, squeeze toys; toys suspended above or to the side of baby for batting and grasping. Your baby will start to grasp these toys at about 6-8 weeks. As he moves his hand, he will be attracted to the colours and the sounds.

Although, these toys can encourage your baby's development, you will still remain as your baby's favourite toy!

Learn more about choosing baby toys for your infant

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Dressing Baby for the Weather

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 02:56pm
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When you’re taking your baby outside, especially in very cold or very hot weather, it can be tough to decide how many layers your baby needs. Dressing your baby can be different from dressing yourself, so making the right decisions take some thought. Here are a few tips to get you through winter and summer weather.

Summer

Avoid the sun as much as possible. Too much sun exposure can lead to skin cancer later in life. Avoid using sunscreen on babies younger than six months of age. If your baby is less than six months old, your best bet is to keep his skin covered and stay out of direct sunlight. For babies older than six months, avoid being in direct sunlight during its peak hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on days when the UV index is 3 or higher, your baby should be wearing sunscreen. Use unscented sunscreens that:

  • Have a rating of at least SPF 15
  • Block both UVA and UVB rays
  • Are waterproof

Avoid sunscreens with ingredients such as PABA, which can trigger allergic reactions. Slater the sunscreen on your baby 15 to 30 minutes before heading outside and reapply every 2 to 3 hours, or after your baby gets wet or sweaty.
During hot weather alerts, keep your baby indoors or in the shade, and avoid the sun during peak hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

Baby’s summer wear:

  • Dress your baby in loose-fitting lightweight clothing with long sleeves to cover arms and legs.
  • Put a wide-brimmed hat on your baby.
  • Put UVA/UVB-blocking sunglasses on your baby to protect her eyes.
  • If you’re using a baby carrier or sling, make sure that it’s not lined with heavy fabric and that your baby is not too hot.

In hot weather, because babies and toddlers dehydrate and get sunstroke more easily than adults, be sure to give your baby lots of extra fluids in addition to the ones he gets at meal-time.
 


Winter

Babies cool down much quicker than adults, so they’re more prone to frostbite and wind chapping. Keep that in mind when you’re picking their clothing and use these rules of thumb:

  • Dress your baby in one layer more than you’re wearing .
  • Don’t stay outside for too long – if your baby is suddenly fussy, that could mean she’s not comfortable.

Be sure to watch for the physical signs of frostbite and keep an eye out for exposed fingers and toes: A frostbitten nose, ears, fingers or toes will start to turn white.

Baby’s winter wear:

  • A hat that covers his ears is a must.
  • UVA/UVB-blocking sunglasses and a visor on baby’s hat protect his eyes on sunny days, especially from light reflecting off snow and ice.
  • Warm socks, booties, a scarf or neck warmer, and mittens keep your baby’s hands and feet toasty.
  • Dress your baby in lightweight fabrics such as polyester or fleece.
  • When riding in a car seat put your baby in a snowsuit or bunting bag that will allow for correct placement of car seat straps.
  • When riding in a stroller put baby in a fuzzy-lined stroller seat, or a bunting or baby jogger bag if you regularly walk with him.
  • Rain covers on strollers can protect baby from wind, rain and snow.

 
Does your baby have a favourite winter or summer outfit? Do you have great photos of baby bundled up in her snowsuit? Leave a comment or post a picture below!

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Diaper Rash

by Maxine
Posted August 19 2010 09:33pm
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When your baby’s bottom is red and sore, it’s hard not to feel like you’ve done something wrong as a parent. But almost every baby gets diaper rash at least once before outgrowing diapers. This can be painful for your baby and upsetting for you, so what is diaper rash and how can you prevent it?

“Diaper rash is a form of dermatitis, which is a skin irritation or inflammation that’s confined to your baby’s diaper area around the buttocks, genitals and thighs,” explains Karon Foster, a Registered Nurse and Parenting Expert. “When your baby has a diaper rash the skin in one or more of those areas will appear red and puffy and will feel warmer than other areas of your baby’s skin. He might appear fussy or cry, especially when you touch him in that area.”

When your baby is wearing a diaper, that diaper can keep his bottom warm and damp, which is the most common reason for diaper rash. If the diaper or other clothing fits too snuggly it can also chafe and irritate baby’s sensitive skin, leading to diaper rash. Other reasons include urine and stool irritating baby’s skin, a change in stool when your baby begins to eat new foods after six months of age, bacteria or a yeast infection and, occasionally, it is caused by a reaction or allergy to a product such as laundry detergent or lotion, or to the fragrance in such products.

While diaper rash can’t always be prevented, Foster says that there are several things you can do to decrease the chance that your baby with get it.

  • Change your baby’s diapers often, especially when they are soiled with stool.
  • Clean your baby’s diaper area and then apply a layer of petroleum jelly or zinc oxide ointment over the area before putting on a fresh diaper.
  • Make sure the diaper isn’t over-tightened.
  • Diaper liners and breathable covers for cloth diapers can help to keep your baby’s skin drier.
  • Wash cloth diapers in hot water and mild detergent, after pre-soaking them if heavily soiled. Avoid fabric softeners and fragrances.

 
Have you ever dealt with diaper rash? How did you cope? What worked best for you? Share your experience with other parents by leaving a comment below!
 
 

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Tips for long drives with your baby

by Karon Foster
Posted April 24 2012 01:44pm
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Travelling as a family with baby in tow, can be fun, but it does require some planning ahead.

Consider the following if you are traveling by car:

  • plan that the drive will take longer than you would normally expect.
  • take a break after every 2 hours - this gives your baby some time to be in a different position than the car seat - consider some tummy time or time on his back so he can kick and wiggle.
  • have one parent sit beside baby so you can be close by to attend to her needs - take turns with your partner - it provides each of you a break from driving or entertaining your baby.
  • you know your baby and baby's schedule, if possible plan your trip when your baby normally naps or has a longer sleep, this will allow him to have part of their nap during the time you are driving. Try and avoid driving when your baby is having their fussy time of day.
  • some babies are more sensitive to travel than others - tummy upsets, changes in elimination or eating may happen, carry extra diapers, hand wipes and waterless wash where it can easily be reached.
  • have toys, rattles, books, music or items to distract your baby when she gets bored - even singing to her will help.

Packing:

  • pack items for baby that are used frequently at the top of their bag i.e. diapers, wipes, bibs, a variety of mix and match clothes in dark colours (they hide any spills or stains) suitable for changeable weather, suitable outdoor clothes including a hat, any diaper creams or ointments.
  • baby's blanket, soother, or special toy, stuffed animal that baby likes will help her feel more comfortable during your trip.
  • any medication or vitamins that baby takes.
  • take a large resealable plastic bag for smelly and dirty clothes.
  • remember baby's health card, and if you are travelling outside of your country your baby's passport.
  • some parents find it helpful to pack a nightlight to use in their hotel room; it provides enough light if you need to attend to your baby in the middle of the night.
  • don't forget your stroller or baby carrier
  • place an extra change of clothes at the top of your suitcase, just in case baby has a spit up that lands on you.

At your destination:

  • see if your hotel provides cribs and book one in advance of your trip.
  • when possible try to maintain baby's normal routine including bed time routine.
  • use soft lighting or a plug-in night light if baby wakes during the night.

 

How do you prepare for a long car ride with your baby? Let us know and leave a comment below!

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