Flat Head

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 09:52am
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Placing babies on their backs to sleep can decrease the risk of SIDS. However, some babies who sleep on their backs develop flat spots on the backs of their heads. 

This does not affect brain development, but the flat spot can develop over several weeks and become permanent over time. This is often called Flat Head. 

By alternating the way you position your baby in the crib or infant seat, you can help to prevent flat head. For example, one day place your baby with his head pointing toward the headboard of the crib; the next day, place him with his head pointing toward the footboard of the crib. Babies can turn their heads and will do this, especially if they have something interesting to look at, like a brightly-coloured toy or mobile. Make sure you place it close enough for your baby to see—about 10 to 15 inches away.

The other way to help prevent flat head is to be sure to give your baby some tummy time several times every day while your baby is awake.  Tummy time not only takes the pressure off the back of your baby’s head it also helps the muscles in your baby’s neck, to develop further.  You can do this in a variety of ways

  • Lay on your back and place your awake baby on your chest;
  • Place a blanket on the floor and place your baby on their tummy - you can even lay beside them and talk or sing to them;
  • If you have an exercise or birth ball you can rest your baby tummy-side down on the ball, hold the baby in this position and gently move the ball.

Some babies may not like being on their tummy, listen to your baby’s cues and try again at another time.  Begin with short periods of time at first and gradually increase the amount of time they are on their tummy.

Have you dealt with the issue of flat head? Didyou make sure your baby had enough "tummy time"? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Prepping for Cry It Out

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 02:32pm
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You’ve decided to try Cry it Out, also know as The Ferber method after the doctor who popularized it, but you want to make sure that your baby is ready. Our experts suggest that you start the Cry it Out method no earlier than 6 months, and preferably wait until your baby is 9 months old or older. They base this opinion on many developmental factors of infants. But, you need to decide what is appropriate for your own baby and your family.

If you're not sure whether your baby is ready, just give it a try. If you encounter too much resistance, wait a few weeks and then try again. Waiting doesn't mean that you're spoiling your baby; you're simply responding to your baby's needs.

There are a few things you need to do to ensure that you have a good chance for success with the Cry it Out method. Before starting, have a bedtime routine already in place, and wean your baby's night time feedings as much as possible.

Once that’s in place, talk to your partner and determine that you are both totally on board. It is essential that both parents understand and agree with how to proceed and create a unified parenting front. Be prepared for a few difficult nights – it can be excruciating to hear your baby cry and you need to support each other if one of both of you finds it hard to do.

“Parents should have a plan in place for how you’ll endure the periods of crying,” says Kris Langille, a Registered Nurse and Parenting Expert. “Maybe you’ll want to watch TV or listen to music to distract you from the crying. If one of you finds the crying too hard take turns staying close to the baby while the other leaves for a bit.”

You’ll also want to decide in advance how much crying you’ll allow before determining that this isn’t the right method for you or that your child isn’t ready. If you have a plan in place beforehand you will have an easier time then you would making a decision in the heat of the moment.

When you start the Cry it Out method make sure that both of you are relaxed. Maybe you’ll choose to start on a Saturday night or a long weekend when neither one of you has to be up for work the next day, and you have the emotional reserves to handle the first few nights of this method. You also want to make sure that the baby’s life is pretty stable. If you are expecting any major changes to your baby’s routine, and especially if you are going to be less available, it’s probably best to wait. Start the method well before or well after going back to work and don’t start close to vacation time or a move.

In Dr. Ferber's book, he suggests the following intervals for crying:

  • Night #1: Let your baby cry for 3 minutes the first time, 5 minutes the second time, and 10 minutes for the third time and any other periods.
  • Night #2: Let your baby cry for 5 minutes the first time, 10 minutes the second time and then 12 minutes for the third time and any other periods.
  • Night #3: and beyond: Make the intervals a little longer on each subsequent night.

There's nothing magical about these wait periods. You can choose any length of time, and any number of nights that you feel comfortable trying.

If you’re feeling frayed after a few nights try to relax and think about the end result. When it’s all over everyone in your household is going to sleep more easily and happily and that should make it all worthwhile.

Did you use the Cry it Out method? How long did it take for your child to adjust? How long did you make the intervals? Leave a comment below and share your story with parents just like you!

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No Bad Babies

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 07:52pm
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A sippy cup hits the floor with a thud and your baby laughs madly as you mop up spilled milk and remind her that we don’t throw our things.

Later, she pulls every item out of the kitchen cabinet, spilling pots, pans and cooking supplies all over the floor. As you stack up the extra dishes it can be hard to see the positives of this behaviour.

Your baby, however, is just experimenting and learning about her world. When she drops her cups or pulls items out of cupboards she wonders what will happen, what will you do? Will the same thing happen if she does it again? And again?

Babies are miniature scientists. They learn about their world by experimenting, observing cause and effect and testing everything—including you. And they are relentless!

A baby who is experimenting is not misbehaving. Babies and young toddlers are way too young to know right from wrong. It may try your patience at times, but when you scold your baby or deem the behaviour naughty it puts both you and your child into a negative space. Instead, be patient and positive. Your persistent little scientist—with not a whole lot of memory yet—will definitely need your patience and guidance through Positive Parenting. Stay positive by criticizing your baby’s actions, not your baby and setting a good example, not throwing items when you are angry or frustrated.

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Nursery rhymes & your baby's language development

by Maxine
Posted December 4 2011 11:14pm
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Did you know nursery rhymes actually improve your baby's language skills; that they play an important role in helping her learn to read and to understand the grammatical structure of language?

And you thought Itsy Bitsy Spider was just entertaining your baby!

Now researchers have found that song-like rhythmic patterns that make rhyming fun are the very thing that draws attention to the rhythm of language. And when you tap or clap along to the beat of the story, you're really helping your child develop an awareness of the syllables and sounds that make up words. For example, in the rhyme Hickory, Dickory, Dock, each syllable can be clapped as you say the word Hick - o – ry (3 claps).

Nursery rhymes also set the stage for early reading by making children more aware of their own language and how sounds are combined to make words that sound alike - like "clock" and "dock".

Reciting nursery rhymes teaches the rhythm of speech and intonation as well as the grammatical structure of language. You can change your intonation to emphasize certain words or phrases, such as "climbed up the water spout " and …"washed the spider out". This emphasis is present in our everyday language. We raise our voices at the end of a question, and pause between sentences or phrases to emphasize a new thought.

Nursery rhymes also help a child articulate or say consonant sounds clearly. In "Hey diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle", the "d" sound is repeated several times. The sequence of words makes you use different tongue movements and change the position of your teeth against your lips. So the rhymes help children become more fluent in their speaking skills, and able to pronounce sounds they have trouble with.

Using the classic nursery rhymes below, try these activities with your child.

  • Point out rhyming words and ask your child to find more words in the rhyme that sound like these.
  • Point out words that start with the same sound(s) and ask your child to think of other words that start with the same sound.
  • Using things like a pencil on a tin can, tap out each syllable of the rhyme with a "drum" beat.
  • If your child knows the rhyme well, say parts of it and let him complete it. For example, let him fill in words at the end of lines that rhyme – like dock and clock.


Hickory, dickory, dock,
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck one,
The mouse ran down,
Hickory, dickory, dock.

The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the water spout.
Down came the rain and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain.
And the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again.

Hey diddle diddle
the cat and the fiddle
the cow jumped over the moon. The little dog laughed
to see such sport
and the dish
ran away with the spoon.


Content provided by Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network

What are your child’s favourite nursery rhymes and how do you use them to support her language development? Share your thoughts with other parents by leaving a comment below.


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