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Dehydration

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 11:31am
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Dehydration happens when the body doesn’t have enough water to carry out its normal jobs. Babies can become dehydrated quickly and need to be watched carefully. This is especially true during hot weather and illnesses such as fever, vomiting and diarrhea. Watch for signs of dehydration when changing routines, giving new foods or even changing water sources.

The symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Dry eyes
  • Crying with few or no tears (after the age of 2 to 3 months, when tears are formed)
  • Slightly dry mouth
  • Increased thirst
  • Fewer wet diapers than usual. Babies from 1-3 days of age are expected to have the same number of wet diapers as their day of age.  A 4 –day old baby would be expected to have at least 6-8 heavy, wet diapers. A heavy wet diaper would feel like 40-60 ml (2-3 Tbsp) on a cloth or disposable diaper.  
  • Fewer dirty diapers than usual. Babies by 3 days of age are expected to have at least 3 bowel movements. Some babies may have 10-12 in a day and this is normal.
  • Less active
  • More sleepy or tired than usual
  • Muscle weakness
  • Irritable
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

Severe dehydration includes the following symptoms:

  • Very dry mouth
  • Sunken eyes
  • Soft spot on the top of baby’s head is sunken
  • Skin that stays stuck together and doesn’t spring back when it’s gently pinched then released
  • No urine or wet diapers
  • Intense thirst
  • Your baby is difficult to arouse or does not recognize you
  • Fast breathing
  • Fast heart rate
  • Cool, grayish skin colour
  • Very lethargic
  • Loss of weight

When mild dehydration occurs, there are steps you can take to stop this:

  • Offer your baby fluids frequently, this includes breast milk or other fluids your baby would normally take.
  • If you can’t get your baby to re-hydrate herself, call her doctor or go to the children’s after-hours clinic. If neither is available, go to the nearest hospital emergency room. It’s always better to take a dehydrated baby to medical experts sooner rather than later. Re-hydrating quickly is very important.


If severe hydration occurs, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

You can prevent dehydration in your baby by frequently offering her the breast or other fluids she would normally take. Watch your baby for signs that dehydration is getting worse. This is especially true when she has vomiting or diarrhea.

 

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Your Baby’s Sleep – Wake Patterns

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 04:11pm
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As a new parent, one of the first things you discover is that your baby’s sleep patterns are very different than your own. A baby’s sleep pattern is not predictable and it can be a big adjustment! Some newborns sleep 16 hours a day, some 21 and some only 11 – and over the course of their first 6 months, they will pass through a number of different stages.

In the first few months, your baby will pass back and forth between periods of sleep and wakefulness, each amounting to about 3 or 4 hours. Once your baby is 3 or 4 months old, nighttime sleep tends to lengthen.

“Adults tend to spend about 20% of their night in a light Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep, but very young infants spend about half of their sleep there,” explains Karon Foster, a Registered Nurse and Parenting Expert. “It’s normal for babies to lie quietly or seem like they’re neither really awake nor really asleep. If nothing catches their attention, they may just fall back to sleep.”

Sleeping and eating go together, so as time between feedings increases, your baby will have stretches where they will sleep for a longer period of time. But remember, babies wakeful times are not completely linked to food. Your baby’s internal clock regulates eating, sleeping, elimination and moods. As newborns, babies don’t know the difference between night and day – they sleep and wake at any time.

 

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Comfort, Play & Teach Everyday Moment Cards

by Maxine
Posted April 22 2011 02:19pm
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When is a meal more than just a meal? When you add a specific action to comfort, play with or teach your child and she responds in a developmentally-appropriate way. The Comfort, Play & Teach actions described in these cards transform daily routines into teachable moments to support many aspects of your child's healthy development. 

Below you can download PDF copies of individual cards or of the whole set. Make the most of the everyday moments you spend with your child with Comfort, Play & Teach.

 Download the Comfort, Play & Teach Everyday Moment Let's Learn Cards

 

 

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Two languages at home with your baby

by Maxine
Posted January 3 2012 12:14pm
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We often hear that children are like “sponges”, and that they can learn any language easily while they are young. This is true, but only when they have lots of exposure to the language. Children can only absorb as much as they are given. This means that for your child to develop his or her ability to use both languages equally well, your child must hear and eventually speak both languages often.

In some communities, this can happen naturally if both languages have equal status and the child is exposed to various people, in the family and beyond, who speak one language or the other (or both). In other cases, raising a bilingual child requires conscious planning and effort. Both parents will need to agree on their strategies for making this happen.

If one of you speaks English and the other parent speaks a minority language, like French in many parts of Canada, or any other language that is not widely used in your community, it is important to create opportunities for the child to be exposed to that language. Children understand from a young age that one of their languages is not used very much outside their home, and because they naturally have more opportunities to hear and speak English, their ability to use the other language may lag. This can lead to a situation where the child understands the other language, but does not speak it.

Here are some tips to help your child be bilingual:

Speak your own native language to your child. You are a better model for your child when you use the language you know best.

Develop a social network that includes both languages. Attending friendly gatherings, community events and doing other activities with people who speak each language provide opportunities to practice, and reinforce the message that both languages are useful and valued.

Ensure that your child develops a strong foundation in the minority language from a young age by enrolling him or her, if possible, in a child care or preschool where the minority language is the primary or only language spoken.

Research and create a list of services available in the minority language, and give them a preference (e.g. health professionals like doctors and dentists, as well as libraries, movie theatres, community centres, etc). This may involve planning ahead, or driving a little further, but your efforts will greatly benefit your child.

Make sure you have books, videos/DVDs and music in both languages in your home, and that your child is exposed to them. This reinforces your child’s language skills and strengthens your child’s appreciation of each of your cultures.

Arrange visits to and from family members who speak the minority language. Stays abroad or visits from extended family can give a boost to the language that tends to be neglected.

Depending on the languages you speak and the community where you live, some of these options may not be available. The important thing is to create as much balance as possible between the two languages, and to start doing this as early as possible in your child’s life.

Do you speak more than one language in your home? Do you encourage and provide your child with the tools he needs to speak both? Share your experiences below by leaving a comment.

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