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Introduction to Temperament

by Guest
Posted August 26 2010 11:58am
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Picture this scenario: Ava and Theresa are sitting in the park with their newborn babies. Theresa’s baby, Hannah, seems fussy and is crying continually. Ava’s baby, Mike, on the other hand, appears calm and peacefully stares at his mom’s face and around him. 

Theresa, looking frustrated and very tired, wants to know how Ava keeps Mike so calm. She shares with Ava how baby Hannah had been this fussy since her birth and she’s afraid that she may have been doing something wrong. She has to rock Hannah all the time in order to calm her down. Ava explains to Theresa that Mike has always been a quiet baby, and advises Theresa to speak to her doctor or nurse about Hannah’s behaviour.

Did Ava advise Theresa wisely? What advice would you have given to Theresa?

Understanding a Temperamental Baby
From birth, babies differ in personality. Some may be more fussy or quiet, energetic or calm and sensitive or insensitive to loud noises. These behaviours are what we call temperament, and much of this is first seen in the first few months after birth.

A lot of the parenting you provide hinges on your expectations for your baby’s temperament and behaviour. An active baby of active parents may be accepted as “just right,” while the very same baby born into a family of quiet reserved parents might be thought to be “hyperactive.”  Sometimes our culture sets our expectations. For example, a boisterous boy baby receives quite a different reaction in most settings than a boisterous girl baby. And a fussy baby is challenging to almost every parent.

Learn more about temperament by reading other articles and watching our temperament video

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A Father’s Depression

by Maxine
Posted August 4 2011 12:23pm
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We've all heard about women who suffer from postpartum depression or who go through “the baby blues,” but few of us realize that dads often develop postpartum depression too.

"If a woman suffers from postpartum depression her partner is more likely to suffer too,” says Karon Foster, a Registered Nurse and Parenting Expert. "His symptoms frequently appear after mom has already developed symptoms."

Depression is also more common if a new dad has experienced his own previous depression or any of the following circumstances:

  • He has been very anxious during Mom's pregnancy.
  • He has grave concern about Mom's well-being.
  • The couple relationship is strained.
  • He feels so inadequate at baby care that he has trouble bonding with his baby.
  • He has not had a good relationship with his own parents.
  • Or if Mom is also experiencing postnatal depression.

The following list includes signs of depression:

  • Feeling worthless, helpless or without hope
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Feelings of anxiousness, guilt, sadness or grief
  • Preoccupation with finances
  • Withdrawal from the family
  • Irritability
  • Changes in sleep—either insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Change in eating habits—eating more or less than normal
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Decreased interest in sex
  • Loss of interest in activities that were previously enjoyed
  • Thoughts of suicide or death
  • Cynicism
  • Indecisiveness
  • Aggression

If Dad experiences more than three of these symptoms, he should talk to his doctor or therapist who will help him with proper treatment.

Treatment for depression includes:

  • Social support: more emotional and practical support from Mom and others; and increased social support from friends, relatives, peers (for example support groups) or self help groups
  • Individual or couple therapy: family counselling and psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy
  • Medication such as antidepressants and or other treatments

There are other strategies that can help both parents when they are dealing with postpartum depression.

  • Support: Both Mom and Dad should talk about the changes in their lives and how they feel. They should support each other as they adjust to their new roles as parents.
  • Encouragement: Mom, family and friends should offer encouragement as Dad adjusts to his new role. Mom can encourage him to talk to his doctor or therapist if he shows signs of depression.
  • Reassurance: With treatment, Dad’s mood will improve.
  • Discussion: Talk to other new Fathers and parents who can provide support.
  • Being physically active and eating a nutritious diet with good sources of omega 3 fatty acids may also help. Exercise often helps to elevate mood and there is some science that shows omega 3 may help to moderate mood.

Parents can use resources, such as support groups for Fathers with postpartum depression, if they are available in their community.

Here are some helpful websites:
Mood Disorders Association of Ontario - http://www.mooddisorderscanada.ca/
Postpartum Dads - www.postpartumdads.org
Pacific Postpartum Support Society - http://www.postpartum.org

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Birth Control - Hormonal Methods

by Maxine
Posted August 19 2010 02:33pm
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These methods include synthetic forms of estrogen and or progesterone to prevent ovulation and prevent pregnancy.

The hormones also cause the fluid in the cervix to thicken which hinders the sperm’s ability to enter the uterus. The hormones are available as: pills; a patch; a vaginal ring; an injection or an implant.

The Pill

Effectiveness
The Pill contains the hormones estrogen & progesterone. If used consistently, with no missed pills, the pill is considered 90 to 99% effective.

Benefits

  • Easy to use.
  • Mom’s periods may be lighter, more regular and less painful.
  • May relieve premenstrual tension (PMS).
  • May protect against cancers of the uterus and ovaries.
  • May reduce acne.
  • May decrease ovarian cysts and fibrocystic breast changes.
  • Can be used for emergency contraceptive.
  • Does not interfere with sexual spontaneity.

Limitations

  • Requires a prescription and check up by Mom’s health care provider.
  • If Mom is breastfeeding, these pills may decrease Mom’s milk supply.
  • Does not protect Mom against sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Must be taken every day and at the same time of day, which may be difficult for some Moms to remember.
  • May interact with other medications. Mom should first tell her health care provider about any other medications she is taking.
  • Increases the risk of heart attacks and stroke if Mom smokes.
  • Moms who are not breastfeeding should wait until after 4 weeks postpartum to begin using the pill to decrease the risk of clots.
  • May cause the following side effects: irregular bleeding or spotting; nausea; breast tenderness; weight gain or water retention; mild headaches; skin discolouration; mood changes including depression or decreased sex drive.

Not Recommended
Mothers who have the following conditions may be advised not to take the pill:

  • History of heart attacks and stroke
  • Blood clots
  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • Cancer of the uterus, ovaries, cervix, breast or vagina
  • Suspected pregnancy
  • Liver disease or gallbladder disease
  • Migraines
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Epilepsy
  • Sickle cell disease

 

Mini Pill

Effectiveness
Minipills contain progestin only. These pills have effectiveness ratings of 95-98% and are considered 100% effective for breastfeeding moms. Moms should wait until 6 weeks post delivery before starting this pill.

Benefits

  • Do not contain any estrogen so can be used by Moms who can't use combined pills
  • Easy to use.
  • Mom's menstrual periods are lighter, less painful and less frequent.
  • May relieve premenstrual tension (PMS).
  • May protect against cancers of the uterus and ovaries.
  • May reduce acne.
  • May decrease ovarian cysts and fibrocystic breast changes.
  • Does not interfere with sexual spontaneity.
  • Can be used in Moms who wish to breast feed as it will not decrease the amount of breast milk.

Limitations

  • Requires a prescription and check up by Mom's health care provider.
  • Does not protect Mom against sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Must be taken every day and at the same time of day which may be difficult for some Moms to remember.
  • May interact with other medications. Mom should first tell her health care provider about any other medications she is taking.
  • Increases the risk of heart attacks and stroke if Mom smokes.
  • May cause the following side effects: irregular bleeding or spotting; mild headaches; mood changes including depression or decreased sex drive.

Not Recommended
Mothers who have the following conditions may be advised not to take the mini pill:

  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • Cancer of the uterus, ovaries, cervix, breast or vagina
  • Suspected pregnancy

 

Contraceptive Patch

Effectiveness
The Contraceptive patch contains estrogen and progesterone. With consistent use the patch is 95 to 99% effective in women who weigh less than 198 lbs. It is slightly less reliable in women over 198 lbs.

Benefits 

  • Easier to use than the Pill as it only requires once a week application.
  • Mom's periods may be lighter, more regular and less painful.
  • May relieve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
  • May protect against cancers of the uterus and ovaries.
  • May reduce acne.
  • May decrease ovarian cysts and fibrocystic breast changes.
  • Does not interfere with sexual spontaneity.

Limitations

  • Requires a prescription and check up by Mom's health care provider.
  • If Mom is breastfeeding, this may affect Mom's milk supply.
  • Does not protect Mom against sexually transmitted diseases.
  • A new patch must be applied once a week which may be difficult for some Moms to remember.
  • May interact with other medications. Mom should first tell her health care provider about any other medications she is taking.
  • Increases the risk of heart attacks and stroke if Mom smokes.
  • May cause the following side effects: irregular bleeding or spotting; nausea; breast tenderness; weight gain or loss; mood changes including depression or decreased sex drive; skin reaction at the site where the patch is applied ; change in vision or inability to wear contact lenses for Moms who wear contacts.

Not Recommended
Mothers who have the following conditions may be advised not to take the contraceptive patch:

  • History of heart attacks and stroke
  • Blood clots
  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • Cancer of the uterus, ovaries, cervix, breast or vagina
  • Suspected pregnancy
  • Liver disease or gallbladder disease
  • Migraines
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Epilepsy
  • Sickle Cell Anemia

 

Vaginal Rings

Effectiveness
Vaginal ring contains estrogen and progesterone. It is 99% effective if used consistently and correctly.

Benefits

  • Easier to use than the Pill or patch as it only requires insertion once per month.
  • More private than a pill dispenser or visible contraceptive patch.
  • Mom's periods may be lighter, more regular and less painful.
  • May relieve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
  • May protect against cancers of the uterus and ovaries.
  • May reduce acne.
  • May decrease ovarian cysts and fibrocystic breast changes.
  • Does not interfere with sexual spontaneity.

Limitations

  • Requires a prescription and check up by Mom's health care provider.
  • If Mom is breastfeeding, this may affect Mom's milk supply.
  • Does not protect Mom against sexually transmitted diseases.
  • May interact with other medications. Mom should first tell her health care provider about any other medications she is taking.
  • Increases the risk of heart attacks and stroke if Mom smokes.
  • May cause the following side effects: irregular bleeding or spotting; nausea; breast tenderness; weight gain; headache; vaginal discharge; vaginal irritation; mood changes including depression or decreased sex drive.

Not Recommended
Mothers who have the following conditions may be advised not to use the vaginal ring:

  • History of heart attacks and stroke
  • Blood clots
  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • Cancer of the uterus, ovaries, cervix, breast or vagina
  • Suspected pregnancy
  • Liver disease or gallbladder disease
  • Migraines
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Epilepsy
  • Dropped uterus
  • Dropped bladder
  • Rectal prolapse
  • Severe constipation
  • Easily irritated vagina
  • Sickle cell disease

 

Injectable Contraceptives

Effectiveness
Injectable contraceptives contain progesterone only. They are almost 98 to 100% effective.

Benefits

  • Convenient: only requires one injection every three months.
  • Does not require regular supplies.
  • Effective within 24 hours of the injection.
  • Does not contain estrogen, so Moms do not have estrogen related side effects.
  • May decrease risk of uterine cancer and pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • Does not interfere with sexual spontaneity.
  • Mom can start injections 6 wks after giving birth.
  • Mom may have less menstrual cramping and fewer menstrual periods.

Limitations

  • Requires an injection by Mom's health care provider every three months.
  • If Mom is breastfeeding, this may affect Mom's milk supply.
  • Does not protect Mom against sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Delays the return of Mom's fertility.
  • May interact with other medications. Mom should first tell her health care provider about any other medications she is taking.
  • Mom's will need to wait until at least 6 wks post delivery to begin this method due to concerns about the effect of progestin on baby's brain, lymphatic and genitalia development.
  • Causes the loss of bone density; Moms should exercise regularly and eat calcium rich foods to help decrease this loss of bone density.
  • May cause the following side effects: spotting; heavy bleeding or no monthly bleeding; weight gain from 5-10 lbs after one year of use; headache; breast tenderness; acne; hair loss; backache; bloating; mood changes including depression or decreased sex drive.
  • Side effects may last for a long time. It may take over 6 months for the drug to leave a Mom's body.
  • Slight risk of preterm baby if Mom becomes pregnant while taking Depo-provera.

Not Recommended
Mothers who have the following conditions may be advised not to use injectable contraceptives:

  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • Suspected pregnancy
  • Liver disease or gallbladder disease

 

Implants

Effectiveness
Implants contain only progestin. They are considered 99% effective.

Benefits 

  • Very effective.
  • Provide contraceptive protection for 3-5 yrs depending on type used.
  • Mom's fertility returns within 3 months from when the implant is removed.
  • Mom can use the implant if she is breastfeeding, although she should wait 6 weeks post delivery to have it inserted.
  • Can be removed if Mom changes her mind.
  • Does not interrupt sexual spontaneity.
  • May decrease Mom's risk of uterine cancer, ovarian cancer and pelvic inflammatory disease, and anemia.

Limitations 

  • Requires insertion by a trained health care provider.
  • Does not protect Mom against sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Delays the return of Mom's fertility.
  • May interact with other medications. Mom should first tell her health care provider about any other medications she is taking.
  • May cause slight increase in ovarian cysts.
  • Can be difficult to remove and requires a trained health care provider.
  • Although rare, may cause an infection in the site they are inserted usually the arm.
  • May cause the following side effects: irregular bleeding or continuous spotting; weight gain; headache; acne; abdominal pain; painful periods; hair loss; mood changes including depression or decreased sex drive.
  • Side effects may last for a long time.
  • If Mom becomes pregnant while using implants she may have an increased risk of a tubal pregnancy. A tubal pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg implants in a fallopian tube instead of the uterus.

Not Recommended   
Mothers who have the following conditions may be advised not to use implant contraceptives:

  • Heart problems
  • Intolerance to irregular bleeding
  • Allergies to Progestin
  • Depression
  • Known or suspected breast, cervical or endocmetrial cancers

 

 There are other methods of birth control. Learn More >>

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What impact does an involved father have on the life of the child and father?

by Maxine
Posted August 26 2010 12:07pm
Filed under:

Dad's involvement in his baby's life is important for baby's development as well as a healthy family life. The early years are critically important to a child’s healthy development and positive parenting is the most powerful path to ensure that healthy development. Yet, nearly 30% of Canadian children under the age of 6 have a social, emotional or learning problem that is related to the kind of parenting these children experience.

Expectant dads dream of being the best dad in the world and are committed to doing everything possible to realize this dream. Here are some facts about the impact a father's involvement has on his family.

  • Children who have involved fathers are more likely to be curious and eager to explore their environment.
  • Men's emotional involvement with their children provides a mental balance to their work-related stress, giving them something besides work that is very important in their lives.
  • Studies show that children who have involved fathers are more likely to grow up to have long-term, successful marriages.
  • Fathers who are involved in their children's lives find parenthood satisfying, are happier in their marriage in mid-life,  are more likely to participate in the community and are less likely to abuse substances.

Dad's involvement is needed to create a healthy, stimulating environment for his new family. This will certainly provide your baby with the best opportunities for a long and healthy life. Moms can help dads become more involved in their children's lives by supporting dad’s parenting abilities, viewing him as a competent parent and approaching parenting as a joint effort.
 

 

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