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Safety Tips for Massaging Your Baby

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 11:00am
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Our experts have created these safety tips to help you when you’re massaging your baby. Remember, it’s a great idea to learn about baby massage from a certified Infant Massage Instructor.

  • Do not massage a baby that is sick or has a fever.
  • Do not massage over areas that have a rash or are red. This could cause further irritation to these areas and may be painful for your baby.
  • Avoid using nut-based oils when doing massage to decrease the risk of an allergic reaction.
  • Do not use oils around baby's eyes or mouth, as these may get into their eyes or mouth during massage.

Sources: Tina Holden, Child, Youth & Family Consultant, British Columbia.
Jill Vyse, Massage Therapist, International Association of Infant Massage, Canadian Chapter.

Find out more about baby massage: 

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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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Building effective communication with your toddler

by Maxine
Posted August 19 2010 11:14am
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According to our experts, the key to effective communication between you and your toddler is active listening and providing an appropriate positive response.  This may sound simple, but sometimes we forget to use these important skills with our young children.

Here are their suggestions to enhance your communication with your child:

  • Active Listening:  when your child is speaking with you make sure you are:
    • Looking at your child (“what you are saying is important,” is your message) 
    • Eliminate distractions (music, reading, etc)
    • Don’t interrupt  (let your child finish what they are saying)
    • Summarize (what you said is…so and so….did I get it right?)
    • Let you child know that you appreciate them sharing their thoughts or concerns with you.  It doesn’t mean you have to agree, but if your child feels you have heard them it gives them a greater sense of connection with you and actually decreases arguments.
  • Providing an appropriate response:  Sometime children will say something that upsets us, or we jump to a conclusion, or we provide a consequence to a child for something that they told us they did.  These responses teach children not to communicate with us.  Instead, thank your child for sharing with you and, if there is an issue, ask the child what they think would help or should be done.  Children are usually pretty fair and understand right and wrong, as well as the need to “fix” things. Instead of responding to their confession with, “That was a bad thing you did, so go to your room,” you might say, “Thank you for letting me know about that.  I am proud of you for telling me the truth, but now we need to do something about what you did.  What do you think would be fair?”
  • Timing:  If you child is in the middle of something, (watching a TV show, brushing his teeth, etc.) you should tell him that you would like to talk about something and wait for him to finish.  Remember that if you are busy, or you know you have to leave in a minute, you will not be able to be an active listener.
  • Play:  One of the best ways to communicate is while a child is playing a game or with a toy where he is also able to talk with you. Colouring, building blocks or puzzles are some examples.  As he is enjoying his activity you can ask him about his day, what was interesting, etc.
  • Create routines:  Have a “talk time” every day at the same time. You can schedule one early in the morning, at supper or just before bed, whenever you regularly have a bit of quiet time together.  For young children this would only be a few minutes, but it becomes a part of their daily life to have time to communicate with you.  At supper, for example, you might have each person say one thing that was good about their day and one thing that was not so good.
  • Go on an adventure:  Go for a drive in the car, a hike, visit the museum or beach and talk about what you are seeing, hearing, feeling, etc. You can even do this in your imagination and pretend you are flying in a plane and talk about what you are seeing or doing.
  • Read:  Reading books to each other and talking about the story afterward is a wonderful and easy way to foster communication with your child.  You can do this with TV shows or movies as well.  Ask your child what they think about things that are happening.  “What do you think he is feeling right now?”  Why do you think she did that?”  “How would you feel if they did that to you?”  If you are watching a show together don’t have the communication get in the way of your child following the story.  If that is happening wait and talk about it once the show is over.

Keep in mind that even if you do all these things, your child may still not want to talk with you.  Pressuring children to talk will usually make them clam up even more. Talking about things that your child is interested in will help, but sometimes the key is to wait until you child initiates a discussion.  When this happens make sure you are using your active listening skills.

Do you practice active listening with your child? Leave a comment and tell us about your experience or send a question to one of our experts!

 

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Is your child ready for toilet learning?

by Maxine
Posted August 27 2010 02:19pm
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As much as you're looking forward to being through with dirty diapers, you can't rush your child’s learning to use the toilet. Some children may start to be ready for potty training at 18 months others are not ready until they are about two or three years old, they don't have the necessary physical control along with the ability to tell you they need to use the toilet.

Typically, the following signs show your child may be ready for toilet learning:

  • She begins to dislike being in a soiled diaper and indicates she wants to be changed
  • She is able to stay dry for a couple of hours between diaper changes
  • She has regular and predictable bowel movements
  • She shows an interest in the toilet or potty and why it is used
  • She can follow one or two simple instructions
  • She can recognize that her bladder is full or she has the urge to have a bowel movement. She might pull at her pants, hold her genital area, squat or tell you.

But even then, if your child won't use the toilet or is worried, frightened or upset about it, wait and try later.

To begin toilet learning, choose a time with no stress for you and your child. Toilet learning requires an easy-going parent and a relaxed child. Avoid times when your child is dealing with change - like a new baby in the family, a move to a new home, parents’ separating or starting daycare.

 

How did you know when your child was ready? Share your experience by leaving a comment below!

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