by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 12:48pm
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It’s hard not to be worried when you touch your child’s forehead and she’s burning up. Fevers are very common in childhood, but they need to be monitored closely.

A fever itself is not an illness, but rather a symptom of an illness as the body tries to fight off infection. The source of the infection may be a virus or bacteria.

If you think your baby may have a fever, check her temperature by placing the end of a mercury or digital thermometer in her armpit. Bring her arm close to her body, covering the end of the thermometer, and hold it there for the required time:

  • Glass thermometer: 5 minutes
  • Digital thermometer: when it stops flashing or it beeps (see product directions)

Ear thermometers are not recommended for children under the age of 2 years. Pacifier thermometers are not as accurate as digital or glass thermometers.  By the time your child is 4 or 5 years old, you’ll be able to take his temperature by mouth.

Normal body temperature ranges from 36.5°C (98.6°F) to 37.5°C (99.5°F). Fever is when body temperature is elevated above 37.5°C (99.5°F).

Babies can “spike” a fever relatively quickly. This means it may go quite high very suddenly. So, if you think your baby is running a fever, check it often. Babies also respond to fevers differently. Some babies hardly ever have fevers. Other babies seem as uncomfortable with a low fever as those with a very high fever.

The goals of treatment are to lower the fever and to make your baby comfortable.

Go to the hospital if the following occurs:

  • Your baby is under 1 month old and has a fever.
  • Your baby has a fever and a rash or purple spots on her skin.
  • Your baby has a fever and convulsions

Contact the doctor if the following occurs:

  • Your baby is under 3 months old and has a fever.
  • Your baby or child is older than 3 months with a fever of 39°C (101°F).
  • Your baby is 6 months or older with an unexplained fever for longer than 24 hours.

Take the following steps to treat a fever:

  • NEVER give your baby aspirin or acetlysalicylic acid for fever or pain. Aspirin has been linked with Reye’s syndrome, which can affect your baby’s neurological development and liver. Ask your baby’s doctor whether you can give acetaminophen or ibuprofen. At an appropriate dosage, it can make your baby more comfortable.
  • Give plenty of fluids. If you are breastfeeding, feed your baby frequently. It not only provides fluids, but gives your baby the anti-infective properties to help her recover.
  • Remove blankets and clothing that may be keeping body heat in.
  • Try not to make your baby so cold that she shivers. This will produce more body heat and raise her temperature.
  • Do not give your baby sponge baths or rub your baby down with alcohol. These can actually lower the temperature too quickly, causing your baby to shiver and spike the fever again.

A fever is a symptom—not an illness—that is part of the body’s fight against infection. The best way to prevent fever is to prevent infection, which is covered under the following topics.


Has your child had a fever? How did you cope? Leave a comment below and share your story with other parents just like you!


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Good Night Habits: During the Night – 6 to 12 Months

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 04:12pm
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Once your baby is asleep, you still need a routine in place to help you deal with wake-ups, feedings and other disruptions.

Your baby’s sleep habits are very different than what you’re used to! If your baby isn’t sleeping or is sleeping poorly, we encourage you to check out our articles on those areas, but if you’re wondering what you can do to encourage good going-to-sleep habits (and hopefully more regular sleep), read on to see what our experts suggest.

“Everyone wakes up several times each night for brief periods of time,” says Karon Foster, a Registered Nurse and Parenting Expert. “As adults, we put ourselves back to sleep most of the time. We often do it so quickly that we don’t even remember the next morning. If your baby hasn’t learned to put himself back to sleep, he may wake up crying in the night, even if he’s not hungry, teething or lonely.”

During the Night

Once your baby is asleep, you still need a routine in place to help you deal with wake-ups, feedings and other disruptions.

Don't respond to every noise that your child makes.
Learn to distinguish a real cry from a sleepy whimper. If you're not sure, it's okay to wait for a minute to find out. If your baby is sleeping in your room and his noises are keeping you awake, now might be the time to move your baby to his own room to sleep.

Use the words and sounds that signal to your baby that it’s time for sleep if he seems really awake.

Repeatedly whisper something like “night, night” or “sh-sh-sh” as you gently place your baby on his back and start massaging his temples or patting his tummy. Linking the words with your soothing touch will help your baby link the phrases with going to sleep.

Move to holding and rocking your baby if she’s still crying.

When your baby cries, one of the most effective responses is to provide comfort.

Offer your baby the breast or bottle, ONLY if other soothing attempts have not helped your baby fall back to sleep.

In general, the experts advise against creating a routine that attaches feeding to waking up in the night. However, if other strategies don’t work, then feeding your baby might just do the trick.

Try to put your baby back in bed before she is fully asleep.
When you put your baby to bed while she’s still a little bit awake, she can learn how to fall asleep on her own.

Remember, even if your baby was sleeping through the night, she may start waking again if she’s been through an illness, is going through a growth spurt or is experiencing other changes. These changes may include such things as Mom returning to work, a vacation or a move to a new home. Some changes are longer or more significant than others. If you’re vacationing in a motel or with relatives, you may use a feeding to help your baby fall asleep, rather than disturb others. If your baby is sick for 3 days, you may decide to rock him to sleep every time he wakes. But afterward, it may be like starting over to get back to what used to be normal.

For more about bedtime routines, see the following articles:

Click here to learn more about your sleep and your baby.

Video Alert!
You can also watch this video from our Comfort, Play & Teach video series, Bedtime with your Baby, to learn more.





What are your sleep routines with your baby? Does having a routine help? Share your experiences with other parents just like you in the comment section below.


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When the crying makes you crazy

by Maxine
Posted June 21 2011 02:21pm
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New parents are often at their wit’s end dealing with a baby’s crying. Sometimes it feels like the baby will never stop crying and nothing you do seems to soothe her. So what do you do when you feel like you just can’t handle one more minute of your baby’s cries?

"It can be hard to walk away from a crying baby, but if you’re starting to feel especially stressed out or frustrated, the best thing to do is put the baby down in a safe place – usually her crib – and remove yourself for a few minutes until you’re calm enough to be safely with her," says Karon Foster, a Registered Nurse and Parenting Expert. "Remember that it’s normal for babies to have these crying spells when nothing seems to work and, while it’s important to try to comfort and soothe her, it’s equally important to know when you’ve reached the limits of your patience."

Foster suggests that new parents have a back-up plan, someone who they can call to come help, or who can talk it out with you until you feel calmer. Unfortunately, sometimes a parent will get so frustrated that they will shake their baby to stop the crying. This is very dangerous and can lead to injury or even death. No one means to hurt their baby, but it does happen. That’s why it’s so important to put your baby in a safe place when you’re at the end of your rope.

When these moments hit, try turning on your favourite music, or running the dishwasher or washing machine. Sometimes white noise will help to muffle the sound a bit and it can give you a short break to calm down and a different noise to focus on. This white noise may even be soothing for your baby and help her to settle.

It’s also important to remember that your babysitter or other caretakers for your child may have the same frustrations. Babies are even more likely to have a crying spell when someone else is caring for them, so talk to your sitter about ways to cope if she feels like she’s losing her patience.

Never be afraid to call your doctor or go to the emergency room if you are concerned about your baby’s cries. You are the best person to judge the condition of your baby.

Who would you call if your baby has periods of inconsolable crying during the day or at night? What relaxation strategies would you use? Do you have any suggestions for other parents who are dealing with this? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Your 3-month-old

by Maxine
Posted January 3 2012 01:07pm
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As your infant grows a little older, here are some things to add to your daily routine.

It’s a good idea, whenever you're with your baby, to just carry on a running conversation about what you're doing. This is an important way of preparing him to speak for himself later on.

Realize that since crying is still your baby's main way of communicating with you, it helps to learn to be more aware of what many of your child's cries mean, such as "I'm hungry," or "I need changing," or "I'm tired or bored," or "I want attention."

And, as your baby becomes more interested in exploring her world with you, and shows interest in colours, music and touching things, it's best not to over-stimulate your child. For example, there's no need to buy all sorts of toys at this age, although your child will enjoy toys such as rattles to grasp and bright objects to look at. Ordinary household objects and regular routines like feeding, bathing and dressing usually provide enough stimulation.

What was your 3-month-old baby like? What do you remember about that age and stage? Leave a comment and share your experience with other parents just like you!

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