Archives for November 2014

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

Gobble gobble! Today’s Thanksgiving and that means all the turkey, stuffing and love a happy home could ask for. But with all the decoration, cooking and socializing, most people forget how this wonderful holiday came to be.

This year, take the time to brush up on your Thanksgiving facts and even teach some to your little ones!

 

Facts of the First Thanksgiving

Duck Hunting

Waterfowl was plentiful around the settlement of the Pilgrims and, because of this, duck hunting was very common. Duck was most likely the main course of the first Thanksgiving, not turkey.

 

Preparation

While the women would pluck and roast the ducks their husbands hunted and brought home, their children would most likely be helping by grinding fresh corn into samp, a corn-based oatmeal.

 

King Massasoit

The Plymouth Pilgrims would never have survived without the Wampanoag and their King, Massasoit, so it is only appropriate that they joined the Pilgrims for their feast!

 

Wampanoag Gifts

The Wampanoag brought numerous previously hunted deer to the feast, helping the already bountiful plenty!

 

The Weeklong Feast

The feast of 1621 was not a single gathering and sit-down meal. Instead, it was a weeklong event of meals inside and outdoors! Sometimes the Wampanoag and Pilgrims ate together, sometimes they ate separately. But, no matter the situation, all were thankful for their health, their families, and their new friendships.

 

This Thanksgiving, think back on our wonderful history and be thankful for its passing. Without it, we may not have this joyful, loving day!

 

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Nap Time

If you are a new parent you’ve probably attempted to get in a little sleep while your little one takes their daily nap. But when that nap is cut short, you are immediately back on the clock!

So how can you get your baby to nap longer? And why do they keep waking up?

If your little one is waking up after her traditional amount of rest, there’s really nothing you can do. They’re awake and no matter how tired you are, you’re about to be awake as well.

But if their naps are being cut short for another reason, it may be time to rethink their sleep schedule.

Below are a few suggestions that may help to encourage your little one to nap longer:

 

Nap Time1. Sleep Schedule

Figuring out your little one’s sleep schedule is essential. Every baby is different: while some may take one or two long naps a day, others may take three or four short naps. Both of these are normal and over time and through a few periods of trial and error you will come to learn your own child’s schedule. Once you do, don’t stray from it!

2. Sleep Patterns

Your baby’s sleep patterns are just as important as their sleep schedule. If you put your little one down for their nap too late, they may fidget and struggle to sleep due to overtiredness. If you put them down for their nap too early, they may be too awake to fall asleep. Find the happy medium and stick to it!

3. Environment

Where are you putting down your little one for their naps? Make sure it is comfortable, cool and dark and remember that, traditionally, babies will nap better where they sleep at night.

4. Routine

Consider your current naptime routine and how you’re putting your baby down for their nap. Are you nursing them, rocking them, reading to them? Are they falling asleep in your arms? Once you put them down are they staying awake or constantly waking up wanting attention? While some babies who wake up early will go back to sleep with a little loving encouragement, some might not know how to fall back asleep on their own. Helping your baby find ways to soothe themselves to sleep may solve many naptime issues.

 

Generally, most children can begin to transition from three to two naps between 3 and 6 months and then from two naps to one between 12 and 18 months; occasionally younger babies are ready to make this transition early.

If your baby seems to have constant sleep issues, make sure to set up an appointment with their doctor. All children are different and unique steps and suggestions may be recommended.

A New Mom’s Survival Guide to the Holidays

A New Mom’s Survival Guide to the HolidaysThe holiday season can be a stressful time for anyone.  What with all the family gatherings, presents to buy, traveling and straying from your typical schedule.  For expectant and new moms, the holiday season can be especially trying.  It’s not that you’re in a bad mood or don’t want to celebrate.  There’s just a lot to accomplish and a lot of activity when you are already juggling the anticipation of a new baby or your newborn.

If you are feeling a little scroogey this holiday season, you are not alone.  Many new moms and moms-to-be feel this way.  We’re here to help with our New Mom’s Survival Guide to the Holidays:

Be Prepared:  You may still be figuring out your registry and making lists of items for your nursery, or you may just be getting into the swing of things with your new baby.  All of that preparation really paid off so attack the holiday season the same way.  Discuss you holiday schedule, menus and gift lists with your partner to create a plan for the next few months.  Since you may not be the same size as previous holiday seasons, think about what you’re going to wear to various holiday gatherings too.  Don’t leave shopping for gifts, food or clothes to the last minute.  That will contribute to stress and make you feel overwhelmed.  With a plan in mind, you and your partner can get everything done with enough time to enjoy the season leisurely.

Travel Smart:  This may be the first time you are traveling with your baby.  Make a checklist of what you need to ensure you are both comfortable on your journey and at your destination.  Be sure to bring the items you’ll need for breastfeeding, which may include your breast pump, plenty of extra bottles, breast milk storage, a nursing cover and burp clothes.  Try to leave larger items like your nursing pillow at home and make due to with regular pillows or blankets if you need some help propping your baby.  As you are traveling with baby, try to keep things as calm and routine as possible.  Babies thrive on habitual activities.  Keep feedings and sleep hours as close to normal as you can.  And remember, with a baby, everything takes longer than you think so build in extra time as you travel.  If you are pregnant, be sure to get up and move around regularly on flights or car trips to keep your blood circulating and prevent swelling.  Always have your doctor’s number on hand and know where the closest hospital is in case you need urgent care.

Watch What you Eat and Drink:  With all the deliciousness that may surround you this holiday season, it’s hard not to over-indulge.  During pregnancy, be sure to avoid the foods that are unsafe, such as certain types of fish, alcohol and soft cheeses.  And you’ll probably want to avoid foods that give you indigestion or heartburn.  While breastfeeding, be aware of how new foods may affect your baby and limit alcohol.  You should certainly partake in the tastes of the season, but make sure you are still eating well-balanced meals with plenty of protein and vegetables that good for your baby, whether she’s on the inside or outside.  A stable blood sugar level is good for you, your baby and your breast milk.  If you are longing for cocktail, try a mocktail instead, such as virgin egg nog or sparkling juice.

Avoid Conflict:  When a baby is on the way or already on board, everyone has an opinion.  Between views on breastfeeding and sleep training, to what you are eating and how you are coping with pregnancy and motherhood, someone is bound to say something that irks you.  Adopt the attitude that everyone is entitled to their opinion just as you are entitled to yours.  However, now that you are in charge of this new tiny life, your opinion and your partner’s opinion counts the most.  Avoid conflict when possible, but if someone questions your parenting, simply explain that you are grateful for them respecting your decisions.  End of discussion.  Pass the peas please!

Breathe and Relax:  While you’re trying to please everyone else, gift yourself a little something too.  Chill!  The holidays are supposed to be a fun and festive time with friends and family.  Don’t let a few blips in the road wreck your entire holiday season.  It’s really not good for you or your baby.  In the womb, babies can sense distress and may be affected by elevated cortisone levels released by moms experiencing anxiety.  This hormone can also transfer to newborns and infants through breast milk.  If you’re feeling uptight, step back and take a deep breath. Ask for help; chances are there are tons of family members around who would love to lend a hand, especially if it means they can care for your baby.  Try not to sweat the small stuff.  The bigger things – your health and your baby’s health – are most important.  Use this time to unwind yourself so you are refreshed and ready to tackle a new year.

 

We hope you enjoy your holiday season as a new mom or mom-to-be.  We’re delighted to join you in celebrating this wonderful time in your life!

Ferber Method

First off, who is Richard Ferber and what is the Ferber Method?

Founder of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at the Children’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusets, Richard Ferber is a well-known Pediatrician and the foremost (debated) expert on children’s sleep. His published book Your Child’s Sleep Problems is both used and rejected throughout the country.

The Ferber Method is a technique stating that, in between 3-5 months of age, your child can learn to lull him or herself to sleep on their own. This method had been widely questioned, criticized, and reworded over the years and, while the controversy continues, the overall process is often misunderstood.

Ferber Method The main variation of this misunderstanding has come to be known as the ‘cry it out’ method. However, Ferber himself never refers to this statement.

 

In reality, Ferber recommends these steps:

  1. Following a loving and familiar bedtime routine
  2. Putting your baby to bed while they are still awake
  3. Leaving them alone for gradually longer periods of time, even if they cry

Parents are then instructed to comfort and lovingly pat their baby after each prearranged period of time, but not to pick them up. The scheduled time, according to Ferber, is determined by how comfortable you are with the method and how long you have been using it. The entire process is referred to as ‘progressive waiting’, not the cry it out method.

The theory states that after a few days to a week of progressively increasing the waiting time, most babies will learn that crying does not earn them a reward and they will then learn to fall asleep all on their own.

While some medical professionals praise the technique, others claim it has the capability to leave severe emotional scarring. But whether this method is right or wrong for you as a parent is completely up to you.

 

Before trying the Ferber Method, it is a good idea to speak with your child’s doctor and discuss progressive waiting in full.

Swaddling

Swaddling your newborn is a much-loved and useful technique! To swaddle is to wrap your little one up in a snugly blanket for the warmth and security they’re used to receiving in your womb. Moreover, it can help to prevent them from startling themselves or becoming overstimulated.

Make sure your baby is not hungry, wet, or tired before swaddling and always make sure not to swaddle them too tightly! This can cause pain and physical issues with their soft cartilage and joints.

To prevent improper swaddling, make sure there is enough room at the bottom of the folded blanket for your little one to bend their legs completely up and out.

 

We have gathered 10 quick and easy steps to help you learn to swaddle your little one! Besides helping them to feel safe and cozy, this technique may even help them to fall asleep.

 

swaddlingSteps:

  1. Position blanket into a diamond shape
  2. Fold the top corner down
  3. Lay your baby on top of the blanket, with their head above the top
  4. Pull one side of the blanket over your baby’s chest
  5. Tuck under their arm
  6. Pull the bottom of the blanket over your baby’s feet
  7. Tuck behind their shoulder
  8. Pull the remaining side of the blanket across your baby’s chest, over their arms
  9. Tuck underneath
  10. Check to make sure your baby is comfortable and your swaddling is not to tight

 

Generally, once your baby is about a month old, you will want to stop swaddling them while they are awake, as this can interfere with mobility. Most doctors recommend that mothers stop swaddling altogether when their little one can roll over, about the time they are 2 months old.

 

Make sure to always talk with your child’s doctor before swaddling and learn the safe and proper method first hand. Every baby is different and specific techniques or steps may be recommended for their safety.

Is My Baby Lactose Intolerant?

If you’re worried that your baby is lactose intolerant because you’ve noticed symptoms related to his or your eating habits, chances are he is not.  It is very rare for babies to be lactose intolerant.  With centuries of evolution in your corner, babies are meant to drink milk, well, at least your milk.

Lactose intolerance is a condition when the body cannot produce enough of the lactase enzyme required to digest lactose.  Lactose is the main sugar in cow’s milk and that is in all dairy products including cheese, yogurt, ice cream and butter.  Lactose intolerance is not a dangerous condition but can be very uncomfortable for those who suffer from it.  Symptoms include indigestion, upset stomach, gas and diarrhea.

Between 30 and 50 million Americans are lactose intolerant.  It is genetic with strong ethnic correlations.  Asian Americans are highly likely to be lactose intolerant, hence the lack of dairy products in their cuisine.  African Americans, Jews, Native Americans and Hispanics are also more likely to be lactose intolerant.

Happy mother breast feeding her sonUsually lactose intolerance develops in the adolescent or teenage years.  The very few babies born with lactose intolerance have two parents that passed along the gene.  The symptoms would present immediately upon birth.  Diarrhea, cramping, bloating and gas would occur relatively quickly when fed breast milk or any formula made from cow’s milk.  Premature babies are more susceptible to lactose intolerance as regulation of the lactase enzyme develops at the end of the third trimester.

If your baby is suddenly showing symptoms of distress after breastfeeding but had otherwise been OK since birth, the cause is most likely an allergy, not an intolerance.  Allergies are an immune response.  Cow’s milk allergies are more common in babies. When a baby drinks breast milk that contains dairy products, they will have a reaction.  Symptoms of food allergies range from gastrointestinal problems to rashes, hives, diaper rash, fussiness, vomiting, unwillingness to sleep, inconsolable crying, runny nose and ear infections.

The best way to determine whether your breastfed baby has a cow’s milk allergy is to eliminate dairy from your diet for three weeks.  It can take that long for all of the milk protein to run its course.  If your baby shows signs of improvement, you have discovered the culprit!  You may be able to slowly add back some amount of dairy without your baby showing symptoms.

The easiest items to remove from your diet are the obvious things like milk, cheese and yogurt.  Foods with trace amounts of diary may not bother your baby.  If they do, cut them out again.  The less exposure during this critical time, the less likely your baby will be to have severe allergic reactions in the future.  Remember, consuming lactose-free foods will not necessary solve the problem if they still contain cow’s milk protein. Luckily, many babies grow out of their cow’s milk allergies by the age of three.

If you are having trouble identifying the source of your baby’s allergy, keep in mind that the most common baby food allergies besides cow’s milk are soy, eggs, wheat, corn and peanuts.  You should also consider foods that other family members are allergic to as the allergy may be genetic.  Other allergy offenders may be foods that mom is eating a lot of during pregnancy, whether because she likes it or she thinks it is healthy to eat while breastfeeding.  And think about whether you’ve introduced any new foods to your diet lately

Food allergies are not a reason to stop breastfeeding.  In fact, breastfeeding boosts your baby’s immune system and reduces allergies in your child’s lifetime.  It may be challenging to sacrifice foods you like in the short term, but it’s well worth your baby’s health.

 

Nursery Ideas

Nursery Ideas

Every practiced, new, or soon-to-be mom knows the seemingly un-accomplishable list of preparing for a new baby. There are books to read, classes to take, food to eat, things to buy. And on top of everything there is the planning, preparation and creation of the little one’s future nursery!

Instead of focusing on cute animals, princesses, sports, trains, etc. concentrating on a specific color scheme can make the job a lot easier. If you’re waiting till their birth to know if you’re having a little guy or gal, there are a multitude of unisex outlines to choose from.

 

For Your Little Lady

While there are numerous baby girl color options, one particular scheme seems to stand out from the rest: grey, blue, yellow, and pink.

Without forcing the traditional baby girl pink onto your little lady, it combines a creative scheme to allow her to grow using her own imagination, with promise for a future pink princess or a sporty little tomboy!

 

For Your Little Guy

Growing boys are pushed to choose their future course early on in life. Instead of stuffing their room with sports, sciences, and the like, try an American theme! Your little patriot can choose their own path later on. For now? Focus on our simple, much-loved colors!

 

For Your Little Surprise

If you are waiting to know the gender of your baby, but still wish to prepare their nursery early on, don’t fret! Simply decorate with the colors lime green, navy and citron and your little one’s room will come flawlessly together. These colors are not only unisex, but universally loved!

 

No matter what colors, prints, or patterns you choose, never stress out over the creation of your child’s nursery. It’s your love and affection that they truly need and will always remember.

Nonetheless, consider adding a loving quote canvas to their wall. It may not mean much to them now, but it will always reveal how you truly feel.

Thanksgiving Crafts for Kids

Thanksgiving Crafts for Kids

Chilling winds and baggy sweaters are being spotted everywhere and that can only mean one thing: November has arrived! And while it’s sad to think that the year is coming to an end, moms everywhere know that it’s time to look back and remember everything they’re thankful for.

The number one thing: They’re children.

Celebrate your little ones this November by crafting a few fun and easy decorations to stick up around the house! Even add a little interactive learning by helping them to name the different colors, words, and relating letters associated with this loving holiday!

 

Pinecone Turkeys

Adorable and fun, these pinecone turkeys will be your little ones’ favorite craft this Thanksgiving! Set them on a shelf for decoration or use them for make-believe play!

 

You will need:

  • Pinecones
  • 2 small pom-poms per pinecone
  • Googly eyes
  • Yellow or orange construction paper
  • Orange and red pipe cleaners
  • Scissors
  • Glue

 

Directions:

Join your kids in a backyard hunt to locate their very own pinecones! Do a quick check for pesky bugs before bringing them inside and then set them aside. Glue one googly eye per pom-pom and then glue to pinecone to create eyes. Next, cut out a small beak out of either the orange or yellow construction paper and glue below eyes. Finally, cut pipe cleaners to create six one-inch toes. Glue three on each side of the bottom to create feet. Make sure to do the gluing yourself if you are planning on using hot glue.

HINT: If you are particularly nervous about sneaky bugs, bake your pinecones on a foil-lined baking sheet at 200 degrees for about a half an hour. Make sure to check them every so often so they do not burn. Once the pinecones have slightly opened and the sap begins to ooze they will be done and bug-free!

 

Thankful Hand Turkey

This craft will definitely come in handy to help remind your little ones what they’re thankful for! Hang them up on the fridge for years to come!

 

You will need:

  • Brown, red, yellow, and orange construction paper
  • A black permanent market
  • Safety-Scissors
  • Glue
  • Pencil

 

Directions:

Have your kids trace one of their hands on brown construction paper and (while your monitor) cut out with safety-scissors. Next, have them trace and cut out an assortment of feathers from the red, orange and yellow construction paper. Glue to the back of their hand tracing so the feathers stick out in-between the gaps of their fingers. Help them to trace and cut out a small beak and beard for the turkey’s face and glue accordingly. Finally, using the market, draw the turkey an eye and have them write down four things they are thankful four on their four finger tracings. In the turkey’s stomach write: “I am thankful for…” If your child is too young to write, help them out or enjoy their imaginative squiggles!

 

The Mayflower

Sail into some interactive learning by helping your child create a Mayflower painting out of their adorable handprint! Maybe brush up on some Mayflower fact to discuss while crafting, as well!

 

You will need:

  • Light blue and white construction paper
  • 3 paper plates
  • Brown, white, and blue finger paint
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Black or blue permanent marker

 

Directions:

Pour the brown paint onto one of the paper plates and the blue and white onto the remaining two. Have your little one stick their hand into the brown. Press their hand against the blue construction paper and wash hands. Next, have them use their hands (or paintbrushes if old enough) to paint in the blue under their handprint to create the sea. Wash hands. Have them press their hands or brushes into the white and paint in a few clouds! Next, help them to cut out three sales out of the white construction paper. Glue pieces onto their fingerprints to create the ship’s sales. Write “The Mayflower” on this new piece of art and allow to dry before hanging up.

 

During the fun, remember to date each craft and have your little one sign! Each and every creation they make is special and craft-time will be a wonderful reminder of just how thankful you are.

The Benefits of Foreign Language for Babies

Everyone says it and you’ve probably already experienced it:  Babies and toddlers are like sponges.  They soak up the world around them and are eager to learn.  So then what better time to introduce a foreign language?

Many parents are concerned that a foreign language will interrupt primary language development, but studies indicate that the opposite is true.  And the benefits for your baby are enormous.

The Benefits of Foreign Language for BabiesThe human brain is hard-wired to learn multiple languages during the window between birth and age five.  Before babies even begin to speak, they are learning by listening to everyone talking around them.  They are not only listening for individual words, but also accents, inflection, patterns, sounds, rhythm and pronunciation.  While languages can be learned at any age, the most advantageous time is when children are young and can process these cues as their brains are developing.  In fact, even in infancy, babies are able to discern their native language from a foreign language.  After age five, children have a harder time determining subtle language sounds and phonetic pronunciations, and lose the ability to pick up a new language quickly.

The thought of having a bilingual child may be very appealing, but beyond the dual languages your child may eventually be able to speak, there are tremendous cognitive and social benefits of foreign language for babies as well.

Research indicates that most babies who learn two languages at once are learning both languages at the same pace as babies only learning one language.  Because they are learning dual speech patterns and words, they become more flexible learners overall.  Brain power also increases as babies expand their knowledge through language.  Children who are bilingual tend to score higher on IQ tests and perform better in academics.  They are also better able to grasp additional languages in the future.  Plus, the primary language doesn’t suffer from introducing a second language.

Learning a foreign language encourages global awareness and cultural curiosity as well.  As you child grows, he will want to converse with people in his second language.  He’ll want to know where they come from, what their families are like and other interesting things about their culture.  This creates a student of the world – One who has an international and social understanding well beyond just his lifestyle.

If your family is bilingual or members of the household speak different languages, you’re at an advantage.  Just like a native language, foreign language is learned through daily repetition and exposure.  So speaking, reading, signing and eventually watching TV in a foreign language will help your child learn.

For families that only speak one language in a household, there are many ways to expose your baby to foreign language.  If your family decides to pursue another language for your children, pick one that you may hear in your daily lives, such as one that a relative, friend or neighbor may speak. You can also learn a new language along with your baby.  As you start teaching your baby simple words in your primary language – ball, chair, hat – you can repeat these words in a second language to reinforce that there are different words for the same object.  As your baby’s vocabulary expands, yours will too.

There are plenty of books, toys and CDs you can buy to reinforce a second language too.  Much like all infant and toddler learning, learning a language should be done in a fun and casual environment.  At this young age, the traditional methods of reading, writing, and grammar are not necessary.  Many preschools now offer bilingual or language immersion programs, or classes that you and your baby can take together.

So go on, create a citizen of the world.  Whether he learns to speak a second language fluently or simply expands his learning potential, there are many benefits of foreign language for babies.

Breastfeeding Positions

Breastfeeding Positions If you’ve begun nursing, you have probably undergone a few frustrating arm positions to try and hold your little one in the most comfortable spot. And while there are a number of ways to safely hold your baby while breastfeeding, mothers must be aware of the strain they could potentially be putting on their child’s neck.

We have collected a few safe breastfeeding holds that allow your little one to nurse comfortably without turning his or her neck.

 

 

The Cradle

Place your baby’s head in the crook of your arm and support their back with your forearm and bottom with your hand. This allows your little one to lie sideways while facing you, with your breast directly in front of them.

 

The Football

Position your baby under your arm like a football and support their head with your hand and their body with your forearm. Like the cradle position, this allows them direct breast access.

 

Breastfeeding Positions The Side

One of the more relaxing positions, this allows you to lie down on your side with your baby facing you. Use pillows to prop up your head and shoulder and nurse comfortably with your baby resting by your side.

 

 

No matter what position you choose, remember to always stabilize your child’s head and neck and speak with your lactation specialist to learn to best course for you. Every mother is unique and specific actions may be recommended for you and your child.

 

Happy Nursing!