Archive for the Mothers Category

Oh baby, oh baby! It’s Cold Outside!

Let’s be honest, baby oh baby it’s cold outside! Winter is this amazing time of year that brings food, fun and family together, but the temperatures are dropping. Dressing a baby, or toddler, in the winter can be quite the task. Are the clothes too tight? Are they comfortable?! Are they sweating under here?! Can the cold air still get to them?!

 

So many questions right!? Well here are five tips to keep your bundle of joy warm in the winter time.

 

  1. Layer! Layer! Layer!

This trick will be your best friend and save you time and time again. Let’s start with the basics, a onesie or t-shirt, then a one-piece of leggings and an outer shirt. Pair that with socks and boots and you’re in for a treat, and your little one will be all cozy.

 

  1. What’s one more item!?

One of the good rules to follow is plus one. So you dress your baby, or toddler, in a similar outfit to what you’re wearing and just add an extra piece on top of that. Simple right?! Here’s an example. If you have on a button up, jeans, socks, boots and a jacket, simply dress your child the same and just add a hat.

 

  1. Let’s cover that gorgeous head of hair!

Your child’s head should always be safe from the cold. So why not get a cute beanie or hat with a chin-strap to ensure your child’s warmth?

 

  1. Check the feet and stomach!

When checking the temperature, always make sure it’s not too hot or too cold. A good way to check on this is check for the toes, if the toes are cool (not cold) and check the belly for warmth. It’s an age old trick that works every time!

 

  1. Breathe!

It’s going to be okay and you’re going to have questions, after all that’s what blogs, forums, mom and dad groups, and other sources of information are for. Everything is going to be alright and you’ll get through this winter just fine.

Baby Feeding Guide

Use this guide to find out what and how much to feed your child in the first year. The amounts are general recommendations only, so don’t worry if your little one eats a bit more or less than suggested. It’s always a good idea to discuss your plan for starting solids with your child’s doctor before getting started.

Also, you don’t have to introduce solids to your child in any special order. If you want to give your baby a taste of tofu at age 6 months, go ahead, even though it’s not listed on our chart until age 8 months. And while cereal is a traditional first food in the United States, it’s fine to start with mashed fruits or vegetables instead.

Age: Birth to 4 months

Feeding behavior

  • Rooting reflex helps your baby turn toward a nipple to find nourishment.

What to feed

  • Breast milk or formula ONLY

Feeding tip

  • Your baby’s digestive tract is still developing, so solid food is off-limits for now.
Age: 4 to 6 months
Signs of readiness for solid food

The following are some guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Your child is likely ready to try solids when he:

  • Can hold head up and sit upright in highchair
  • Shows significant weight gain (doubled birth weight) and weighs at least 13 pounds
  • Can close mouth around a spoon
  • Can move food from front to back of mouth

What to feed

  • Breast milk or formula, PLUS
  • Pureed vegetables (sweet potatoes, squash)
  • Pureed fruit (apples, bananas, peaches)
  • Pureed meat (chicken, pork, beef)
  • Semi-liquid, iron-fortified cereal
  • Small amounts of unsweetened yogurt (no cow’s milk until age 1)

How much per day

  • Begin with about 1 teaspoon pureed food or cereal. Mix cereal with 4 to 5 teaspoons breast milk or formula. (It will be very runny.)
  • Increase to 1 tablespoon of pureed food, or 1 tablespoon of cereal mixed with breast milk or formula, twice a day. If you’re giving cereal, gradually thicken the consistency by using less liquid.

Feeding tips

  • If your baby won’t eat what you offer the first time, try again in a few days.
  • Introduce new foods one at a time. Wait two or three days, if possible, before offering another new food. (Wait three days if your baby or family has a history of allergies.) It’s also a good idea to write down the foods your baby samples. If he has an adverse reaction, a food log will make it easier to pinpoint the cause.
  • The order in which you introduce new foods doesn’t usually matter. Your child’s doctor can advise you.
Age: 6 to 8 months
Signs of readiness for solid food

  • Same as 4 to 6 months

What to feed

  • Breast milk or formula, PLUS
  • Pureed or strained fruits (banana, pears, applesauce, peaches, avocado)
  • Pureed or strained vegetables (well-cooked carrots, squash, sweet potato)
  • Pureed meat (chicken, pork, beef)
  • Pureed tofu
  • Small amounts of unsweetened yogurt (no cow’s milk until age 1)
  • Pureed legumes (black beans, chickpeas, edamame, fava beans, black-eyed peas, lentils, kidney beans)
  • Iron-fortified cereal (oats, barley)

How much per day

  • 1 teaspoon fruit, gradually increased to 2 or 3 tablespoons in four feedings
  • 1 teaspoon vegetables, gradually increased to 2 or 3 tablespoons in four feedings
  • 3 to 9 tablespoons cereal in 2 or 3 feedings

Feeding tips

  • Introduce new foods one at a time. Wait two or three days, if possible, before offering another new food. (Wait three days if your baby or family has a history of allergies.) It’s also a good idea to write down the foods your baby samples. If she has an adverse reaction, a food log will make it easier to pinpoint the cause.
  • The order in which you introduce new foods doesn’t usually matter. Your child’s doctor can advise you.

Age: 8 to 10 months

Signs of readiness for solid and finger foods

  • Same as 6 to 8 months, PLUS
  • Picks up objects with thumb and forefinger
  • Can transfer items from one hand to the other
  • Puts everything in his mouth
  • Moves jaw in a chewing motion

What to feed

  • Breast milk or formula, PLUS
  • Small amounts of soft pasteurized cheese, cottage cheese, and unsweetened yogurt
  • Mashed vegetables (cooked carrots, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes)
  • Mashed fruits (bananas, peaches, pears, avocados)
  • Finger Foods (O-shaped cereal, small bits of scrambled eggs, well-cooked pieces of potato, well-cooked spiral pasta, teething crackers, small pieces of bagel)
  • Protein (small bits of meat, poultry, boneless fish, tofu, and well-cooked beans, like lentils, split peas, pintos, or black beans)
  • Iron-fortified cereal (barley, wheat, oats, mixed cereals)

How much per day

  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup dairy (or 1/2 ounce cheese)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup iron-fortified cereal
  • 3/4 to 1 cup fruit
  • 3/4 to 1 cup vegetables
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons protein-rich food

Feeding tip

  • Introduce new foods one at a time. Wait two or three days, if possible, before offering another new food. (Wait three days if your baby or family has a history of allergies.) It’s also a good idea to write down the foods your baby samples. If he has an adverse reaction, a food log will make it easier to pinpoint the cause.
Age: 10 to 12 months
Signs of readiness for other solid foods
  • Same as 8 to 10 months, PLUS
  • Swallows food more easily
  • Has more teeth
  • No longer pushes food out of mouth with tongue
  • Tries to use a spoon

What to feed

  • Breast milk or formula PLUS
  • Soft pasteurized cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese (no cow’s milk until age 1)
  • Fruit mashed or cut into cubes or strips
  • Bite-size, soft-cooked vegetables (peas, carrots)
  • Combo foods (macaroni and cheese, casseroles)
  • Protein (small bits of meat, poultry, boneless fish, tofu, and well-cooked beans)
  • Finger foods (O-shaped cereal, small bits of scrambled eggs, well-cooked pieces of potato, well-cooked spiral pasta, teething crackers, small pieces of bagel)
  • Iron-fortified cereals (barley, wheat, oats, mixed cereals)

How much per day

  • 1/3 cup dairy (or 1/2 ounce cheese)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup iron-fortified cereal
  • 3/4 to 1 cup fruit
  • 3/4 to 1 cup vegetables
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup combo foods
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons protein-rich food

Feeding tip

  • Introduce new foods one at a time. Wait two or three days, if possible, before offering another new food. (Wait three days if your baby or family has a history of allergies.) It’s also a good idea to write down the foods your baby samples. If she has an adverse reaction, a food log will make it easier to pinpoint the cause.

Helping Your Child Recognize Their Feelings

Not too long ago it was thought that the conventional wisdom was that babies were pretty much blobs who didn’t think or feel much before they could speak in words around the age of two.  Such an idea that a six-month-old could feel fear or anger, no less sadness and grief, was preposterous.  But thanks to an explosion in research on infancy in the last 30 years, we now know that babies and toddlers do feel deeply. Starting in the earliest months of life, well before they can use words to express themselves, babies have the capacity to experience peaks of joy, excitement and elation. They also feel fear, grief, sadness, hopelessness and anger—emotions that many adults understandably still find it hard to believe, or accept, that very young children can experience. Research has also shown that children’s ability to effectively manage their full range of emotions—also known as self-regulation—is one of the most important factors for success in school, work and relationships into the long-term.So the critical first step in helping your child learn to cope with her feelings is not to fear the feelings, but embrace them—all of them. Feelings aren’t right or wrong, they just are what they are. Sadness and joy, anger and love, can co-exist and are all part of the collection of emotions children experience. When you help your child understand his feelings, he is better equipped to manage them effectively.

One major obstacle in doing this which I see quite often in my work with parents is that they are operating under the assumption that having a happy child means he needs to be happy all the time. Muscling through difficult experiences, mastering struggles, and coping with sadness and grief builds strength and resilience, and is ultimately what brings children a sense of contentedness and well-being.

What can parents do?

  • Starting in the earliest months, tune in to babies’ cues—their sounds, facial expressions and gestures—and respond sensitively, which lets babies know their feelings are recognized and important. This might mean stopping a tickling game with a four-month-old when she arches her back and looks away, signaling she needs a break. Or taking a nine-month-old to the window to wave good-bye to Mom when he is sad to see her leave for work.
  • Label and help toddlers cope with feelings. Emotions like anger, sadness, frustration and disappointment can be overwhelming for young children. Naming these feelings is the first step in helping children learn to identify them and communicates to children that these feelings are normal. This might mean acknowledging an 18-month-old’s anger at having to leave the playground, validating a two-year-old’s frustration at his block tower repeatedly falling or empathizing with a three-year-old’s sadness that his grandparents are leaving after a long visit.
  • Don’t fear the feelings. Feelings are not the problem. It’s what we do—or don’t do—with them that can be problematic. Listen openly and calmly when your child shares difficult feelings. When you ask about and acknowledge feelings, you are sending the important message that feelings are valued and important. Recognizing and naming feelings is the first step toward learning to manage them in healthy, acceptable ways over time.
  • Avoid minimizing or talking children out of their feelings. This is a natural reaction—we just want to make the bad feelings go away. “Don’t be sad. You’ll see Joey another day.” But feelings don’t go away; they need to be expressed one way or another. Acknowledging a child’s strong feelings opens the door to helping her learn how to cope with them. “You are sad Joey has to leave. You love playing with him.  Let’s go to the window to wave goodbye and make a plan to see him again soon.” When feelings are minimized or ignored, they often get expressed through aggressive words and actions, or by turning them inward, which can ultimately make children anxious or depressed.
  • Teach tools for coping. If your 18-month-old is angry that playtime is over, guide her to stamp her feet as hard as she can or to draw how angry she is with a red crayon. Help a two-year-old who is frustrated at not being able to get the ball into the basket brainstorm other ways to solve the problem. Take a three-year-old who is fearful about starting a new school to visit his classroom beforehand to meet the teachers and play on the playground so that the unfamiliar can become familiar.

Our children’s emotional reactions trigger our own emotional reactions, which can lead to a knee-jerk need to rescue or “fix” whatever is causing our child distress. But it’s important that we manage our own feelings and avoid this temptation, as it creates a missed opportunity to help children learn strong coping skills. Instead, see these experiences as teachable moments to help your child learn to name and manage the emotions—positive and negative—that add depth and color to our lives.  Show your child that a full, rich life means experiencing both the ups and the downs. Feelings are not “good” or “bad”—they just are. You are your child’s guide in sharing the joys and coping with the challenges. And it starts on day one.

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