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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Sleeping Safely

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 03:50pm
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Most new parents have heard about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or “Crib Death,” as it is sometimes called. The sudden and unexpected death of a healthy infant under the age of one occurs more often than you would think – in Canada, three babies a week die from SIDS. Why this happens is still unknown, but certain factors are known to increase the risk of SIDS.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to reduce the risk.

“SIDS is a scary prospect for parents,” says Karon Foster, a Registered Nurse and Parenting Expert. “But through a few simple precautions there are some strategies you can use to limit your baby’s risk.”

  • Put baby to sleep on his back. Unless your baby’s doctor has told you otherwise, the safest position for newborns to sleep is on their backs. Contrary to what lay people may have told you, this position is not more likely to cause your baby to choke. When babies are old enough to turn over on their own, you do not have to force them to sleep on their backs.
  • Ensure there is good air circulation around baby’s face. Check that the mattress is firm and flat, and that it fits the crib well. Don’t forget to throw away the plastic wrapping that the mattress came in. This will help prevent your baby from smothering. Also, to prevent suffocation, do NOT put pillows, comforters, stuffed animals or bumper pads in your baby’s crib.
  • Make your baby’s environment smoke and drug free. To reduce the risk of SIDS and other causes of disease and disability, moms should not use drugs, alcohol, tobacco or illegal drugs before and during pregnancy, or while breastfeeding. As parents, you will need to make sure that nobody smokes near your baby. This is healthier for your baby and it reduces the risk of SIDS.
  • Don’t let baby get too hot. Babies need to be warm, but making them too hot can increase their risk of SIDS. How can you tell? Chances are that if the room feels warm enough for you, it’s warm enough for your baby. Feel the back of your baby’s neck, rather than your baby’s hands and feet – they’ll always feel cooler. If the back of his neck feels warm, your baby is warm. Put the same number of layers as you’re wearing on your baby, with maybe an extra light layer. Your baby should not be sweating.
  • Try breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is not only the best way to feed your baby, it may also protect from SIDS.

No sleep environment is completely risk free, but you can do a lot to keep your baby safe. In addition to the recommendations above, The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends:

  • Place your baby in a crib that meets the Canadian Government’s safety standards. This is the safest sleeping environment for your baby in the first year.
  • Do not share your bed with a baby under the age of 1 year. This increases the risk of SIDS. If you want your baby near you at night, put your baby’s crib in your room.
  • Avoid air mattresses, waterbeds, pillows, soft materials and loose bedding. They are unsafe—even for temporary sleeping arrangements.
  • Avoid using foam wedges or rolled towels for positioning your baby for sleep.
  • Don’t use your baby’s car seat or infant carrier as a substitute crib—even when travelling. The harness straps could cause your baby to stop breathing.
  • Do not sleep or nap with your baby on a couch, recliner or cushioned chair. It could result in a fall, injury or suffocation.
  • Don’t leave bottles of milk or juice in your baby’s bed because these are choking hazards.

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

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Mountains and Molehills

by Maxine
Posted August 19 2010 12:02pm
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There is an old saying;
“Don’t Make a Mountain out of a Molehill”.
John Fox, The Book of Martyrs, 1570

It’s wise advice, but many of us fail to take it. Have you ever noticed that some of the biggest fights you’ve ever had started with something that was, if you really admit it, pretty insignificant? Maybe someone forgot to close the cereal box or the wrong brand of soap was bought – whatever it was, it was probably trivial in the grand scheme.

In the book Gulliver’s Travels, by Jonathan Swift, a young man travels to strange worlds, one of which finds him a giant. In that land there is a great war between two countries, Lilliput and Blefuscu. When Gulliver asks what started the war the answer is clear, “They cook their eggs wrong”.

“People often make things bigger than they are when they let their emotions overwhelm them and stop thinking things out,” says Greg Lubimiv, a Parenting Expert at The Phoenix Centre for Children and Families.

As well, an exaggerated response may come because there are other things that have happened.

For example, Jim comes in the door from work and finds a meal waiting for him, but there is no milk for the tea. Jim starts to yell at Janice, saying she had all day to get some milk and knows he won’t drink tea without it. Janice runs crying to her room, taking the baby with her and Jim sits in front of his meal, upset but no longer hungry. What Janice doesn’t know and Jim has already forgotten is that the absence of milk was really a molehill. However, there were a number of things that happened to Jim which led to his explosion. Getting a reprimand at the office, being caught in a traffic jam, which made him late for an important meeting and ripping his favourite coat on a fence churned up feelings of anger, frustration and worry. Jim came into his house like a volcano that finally erupted. It seems, also, that it is more common to make big issues out of little ones with those we are closest too, perhaps because that is where we actually feel the safest to let out our pent up feelings.

Our experts have come up with some strategies to help you and your partner keep things in perspective. First, take a deep breath and count to 10 before you say or do anything; or take a ‘time out’ and physically remove yourself. Once you are feeling calm, then try to deal with the issues If you notice your partner might need to calm down first suggest they use a time out or other relaxation technique that will make it easier for you to have a discussion.

You can then ask yourself or your partner the following questions.

  1. On a scale of 1 to 10, how important will this be tomorrow? (1 being not important and 10 being absolutely critical.)
  2. Is there anything else that was bothering me before this happened?
  3. What is the solution to this problem/issue and will my being upset lead to the solution or create more problems?


Do you sometimes find yourself making mountains out of molehills? How do you manage when that happens? Leave a comment below and share your story with other parents just like you!


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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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