5 Ways to Let Your Little One Help Decorate This Halloween

Pumpkins are a must-have decoration during the fall, but unless your child is patient enough to watch you carve the pumpkin, it can be hard to include the little ones in the fun. Your child can express their creativity by decorating the outside of a pumpkin. Here are five ideas for pumpkin decorating with young children:

1. Use Paint

Toddlers love finger painting (and making a mess), but this way, they can paint as many layers with as many colors as they want. Make sure to use washable paint so the mess is easier to clean! If using tempera paint, mix it equal parts with washable glue to prevent flaking after the paint dries.

child's hands covered in paint

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2. Use Stencils

Whether it’s a shape or an animal stencil, you can hold it onto the pumpkin while your child fills it in. This offers some guidance, while also letting them have at it. Switch it up with different colors and different stencils for a unique design!

3. Decorate with Stickers

The great part about this method is that you can use old stickers that have been laying in your craft supplies for a while or buy stickers from the dollar store! Your little one can decorate while also working on their motor skills.

little girl in a pumpkin patch

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4. Use Glitter

While glitter is the messiest way to decorate a pumpkin, it can also be the most fun! Will your child dump the glitter over the whole thing? Will they strategically pour the glitter? Or will they simply toss it up in the air and let it fall where it may? Pick a nice day and decorate outside with your child if you choose this route.

5. Make it a Costume Party

If you really want a mess-free decorating experience, opt for dress-up! Your child can dress the pumpkin in hats and scarves and call it a day. You could even have a pumpkin fashion show!

pumpkin decorated with a witches hat

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Reasons to Call your Baby’s Doctor

baby at the hospital

As a parent, your child’s health and safety is your number one priority. The littlest sniffle or the slightest change in behavior may worry you, especially if you are a new parent. Sometimes Googling your newborn’s symptoms may not give you clear answers because there is an overabundance of parenting advice and warnings online. To put your mind at ease, call your child’s Doctor.

We’ve put together a list to help you know when the appropriate time is to call the Doctor.

  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes. This could be Jaundice.
  • Difficulty breathing
  • A continuous cough
  • Persistent crying or irritability
  • Blue or grey coloring around the mouth when feeding or crying
  • Vomiting or not holding food down
  • Unusual/different bowel movement from normal
  • Lethargic behavior
  • A rectal temperature greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
  • A rash, especially if your baby has a fever too

This list is not all-encompassing, but if you are concerned, call your Doctor! That is what they are there for – the wellbeing of their patients.

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Preparing for Flu Season – Useful Information You Need to Know

person sick laying on a couch

Flu season is fast approaching. Take preventative measures and know what to do before you or your child falls ill.

How do I prevent the flu?

1. Get a flu shot

2. Eat healthy, exercise, and maintain healthy practices

3. Boost your immune system

Getting the flu shot is not a guarantee that you will not catch the flu but getting the vaccine could help lessen the symptoms of the flu. The flu shot takes about two weeks to become effective, so a good time to get the flu shot is by the end of October. Healthy children 6 months or older can get the flu shot.

Taking care of your body and overall health should be a priority regardless of if it is flu season or not. Proper nutrition, drinking plenty of water, and exercise does wonder for your body and immune system. Maintaining healthy practices includes washing hands, disinfecting surfaces, washing clothes and bedclothes regularly, using separate cups and utensils, and sneezing or coughing into the inside of your elbow. To get a leg up over flu season and boost your immune system, try implementing a multivitamin to your daily routine.

What can I do if I or my children get the flu or another virus?

If you or your child has the flu, make sure to drink plenty of fluids, rest, and manage fever and pain. Check with your health care physician or pediatrician first, but acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used to alleviate pain and fever symptoms.

In addition to pain medications such as ibuprofen, applying heat using a heating pad or other methods to areas that are painful and sore can help reduce pain. Taking a warm bath can help break a fever.

If you or your child has a stuffy nose and cannot breathe properly, try using a humidifier or the CLEARinse Nasal Aspirator to clear the nose. This nasal aspirator was developed by an ER Doctor and made with young children and babies in mind. As always, wash your hands and disinfect surfaces and other areas in your home.

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Tummy Time Benefits

baby on tummy

What Is Tummy Time?

Tummy Time is the time during the day your baby spends on their tummy while they are awake. Tummy Time is an important activity for your baby’s development and is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Because the AAP recommends that babies sleep on their backs for safety reasons, babies need enough supervised Tummy Time during the hours they are awake to strengthen head, neck, and upper body muscles. This will help their head control and core muscles develop and allow them to reach their expected developmental milestones.

Why is Tummy Time Important?

Thanks to guidelines established by the AAP in the 1990’s, parents’ awareness has been improved of the importance of putting infants to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

But, all that time spent on their back can cause a flat spot on your child’s head, known as Positional Plagiocephaly or flat head syndrome, as well as causing twisted neck or positional torticollis which is when the neck muscle is stiff and tight. Getting your child time off of their backs can help prevent this, which is another reason why it is so important for babies to receive supervised Tummy Time every day.

Risks of Not Incorporating Tummy Time with your Baby

New parents are told of the importance of babies sleeping on their backs to avoid SIDS, but they are not always informed about the importance of tummy time. The popularity and increased use of infant seats, swings, and carriers have also meant less tummy time. As a result, today’s babies have fewer chances to practice using their arms, back, neck, and head to lift themselves up and there has been an increased frequency of early motor delays in babies younger than six months. Infants who spend too much waking time on their back may have an increased risk of delayed motor development, as well as cognitive and organizational skills delays, eye-tracking problems, and behavioral issues.

There has been an increase in babies that have gross motor and fine motor developmental delays. They can have atonicity, which is a lack of muscle tone for various reasons. Besides back sleeping and lack of tummy time, other factors can cause this, such as prematurity, increased numbers of twins and triplets, and increased survival of children with cardiac, neurological, and genetic disorders. Babies after cardiothoracic surgery usually stay off their bellies and chest for 2-3 weeks postoperatively, and those few weeks in a developing baby can cause some delays.

Benefits of Tummy Time

Giving Tummy Time can help babies meet their milestones, such as strengthening the baby’s back, neck, and core muscles to help build a foundation needed to meet motor milestones including head control, reaching, rolling, sitting, crawling, and walking. Also, can help develop eye and hand coordination. By looking down at their hands, the baby is seeing how they move and what they can do. It also can help their sense of touch by feeling different textures such as blankets, playmats, carpet, etc. on their arms, hands, and face. Positioning the baby differently helps develop their movement and balance as well as them moving they gain a sense of body awareness.

When Should Baby Start Tummy Time?

Tummy Time can start as soon as your baby comes home from the hospital, although some providers recommend starting it once the umbilical cord falls off. Aim for a few minutes at a time, several times a day.

You can begin with 3 to 5 minutes per session, doing at least 10 minutes a day, to eventually working up to a total of 30 to 60 minutes daily as your baby grows. Tummy Time can be done in short sessions throughout the day, based on your baby’s tolerance and needs. Some babies like being on their tummies, but many dislike it at first. Some don’t like the world from a face-first perspective. You may have to help your baby learn to enjoy tummy time.

Once your child is rolling over and independently spending time on his stomach, usually by 6 months old, you can stop dedicated tummy time since they will be doing tummy time all on their own.

Have you Heard about Tumzee?

Tumzee is designed for babies who are old enough to hold their head up on their own and can be used until your baby has learned to crawl and no longer needs daily Tummy Time. The unique
design allows for babies to be positioned on their tummies on a 15-degree incline, letting your baby engage with toys, games or books and easing the frustration that many babies feel during Tummy Time.

Tumzee is built with a unique “T” support to prevent your child from sliding down the incline and raised sides to prevent your child from rolling off the side of the support. This provides a secure environment for your child’s Tummy Time, allowing them to play and develop in a safe way. No other product on the market offers the stability and support to prevent your baby from sliding down or rolling out or off of the product.

Tumzee is made of Polypropylene and is BPA and phthalate free. Its soft yet firm design allows your baby to be comfortable while still providing them with full support.

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Pros and Cons of Children Using Devices

girl using tablet

Children are increasingly using devices more and more every day. Chances are, you know a parent who occupies their children by letting them watch videos or play games on their cell phone. Letting your child use devices is completely your own choice. Hopefully, this post will help you make that decision!

Pros of Using Devices

There are so many things your child can learn from engaging with a device. There are several educational applications, videos, and more that they can learn from. Your child can learn colors, types of animals and noises, math, geography, and so much more. If your child is fussy or misbehaving, the device can occupy them while you handle the situation.

By using devices, your child will be comfortable with using technology. Using devices can help them stay ahead of the curve in society and school because of the widespread dependability on technology. It can even develop their cognitive skills quicker.

Cons of Using Devices

When children use devices, they may have trouble making friends in the future because they have not learned how to communicate with others to a certain degree. They also may have issues with their eyesight from looking at the blue light the device screen gives off. Sometimes, children may use earbuds. This could cause earwax impaction because they earbuds go inside of the ear. Earwax impaction is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. They may have a higher risk of obesity because using devices requires them to be sedentary.

How can I give them the best of both worlds?

Try limiting their screen time. This allows them time to learn and play on their devices, but also ensuring that they put them down too. Teach them that having the chance to use technology is a privilege. This can be accomplished by having a routine of chores/homework first and then screen time.

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How to Swaddle your Baby

swaddled baby

What is Swaddling?

Swaddling is wrapping your baby snugly in a lightweight, usually cotton, blanket. This helps your baby feel secure and safe. Many people use swaddling to help their babies fall asleep. Swaddling can help soothe your baby if they are fussy or crying excessively. It should be done from birth to when your baby learns to roll over. Swaddling mimics the sensation your baby felt when they were in the womb.

Swaddling can help your baby sleep better and longer. Your baby may jerk in their sleep. This is normal and is their startle reflex. Swaddling can help prevent your baby from waking themselves up when they jerk.

Dos and Don’ts

Do not swaddle your baby too tightly as this may cause discomfort or hip problems in the future. Your baby should have room to move their feet and bend their legs and knees.

Do not swaddle your baby’s face with the blanket.

The blanket used should be very lightweight such as muslin.

Do not lay your baby down to sleep face down when swaddled as this increases the chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Lastly, feel of your baby’s neck or stomach to ensure they are not too hot.

Swaddling Steps

Step 1: Lay out a swaddling blanket in a diamond shape, and fold the top corner down making the diamond into a triangle. Place your baby on top of the blanket where their shoulders are even with the top of the blanket.

Step 2: Pull one side of the blanket across your baby’s chest and tuck under their arm.

Step 3: Pull the bottom of the blanket over their feet and tuck behind the shoulder of the arm in step 2.

Step 4: Pull the last side across the baby’s chest and tuck into the blanket.

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Tips for New Parents

swaddled baby

Having a baby is a life-changing experience. Not only will having a baby completely change your world, but they are also expensive. The constant diaper changes, cleaning products, food and clothing from each stage of your baby’s growth will go into the thousands of dollars.

Here are a few tips for raising a healthy newborn baby, while also saving you some money.

Healthy Food Choices for a Newborn Baby

Obviously, babies need milk and food to grow. Manufacturers have seemingly made it easy for parents in today’s society, as they promise that all of the nutrition a newborn baby needs is available in a jar of food, or from a powdered milk source. However, according to many experts, breast milk is the best source of nutrition for a newborn baby. It is the richest source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which supports the brain development in a baby.

Some experts recommend that breast milk exclusively be fed for the first six months, then alternate between breastfeeding and food until the age of two; however, some mothers continue to breastfeed their baby for longer. Breast milk is the perfect temperature for a baby, plus it saves a mother time, energy and money. After all, it’s free!

As your baby gets a bit older and you want to ensure they receive the highest levels of nutrition possible, then fresh food is best. Cook meals from scratch. Blend chicken, potatoes, carrots, and gravy for a tasty meal that your baby will grow to love. Pureed fruit, including apples and mixed berries, is a healthy dessert choice to feed your baby. Another good choice is rice pudding. Remember that meals cooked from scratch do not contain preservatives, and are much less expensive than manufactured foods.

Safe Products to Use on a Newborn Baby

It is very important that a baby receives healthy fats during their growth. Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) is abundant in breast milk. A rich source of monolaurin (immune boosting properties) is coconut oil. Rubbing this nourishing oil into your baby’s skin will heal rashes and skin irritations. It is important that you remember the skin is the largest organ in the human body and the skin of a baby is precious.

Baby oil contains mineral oil, plus synthetic fragrance. When applied to the skin, mineral oil blocks the pores and does not allow the skin to breathe. The skin must release toxins through perspiration and if a baby is unable to release toxins, they may be more prone to illness and infection. Healthier oils to use on a baby include coconut oil, shea butter and Vitamin E oil. Stick to gentle products that are paraben and fragrance-free, made with nourishing oils, including sunflower seed, wheat germ, grape seed, and canola oil.

Using a jogging stroller could be great for you and your baby. It maintains your active lifestyle and will get you out of the house at a time in your life when you may be overwhelmed through responsibility.

To help your newborn baby getting better sleep, use the Baby Shusher. It works like magic and will save you hours of frustration trying to get your newborn baby to sleep. Swaddling can also help your baby sleep better and longer. Your baby may jerk in their sleep. This is normal and is their startle reflex. Swaddling can help prevent your baby from waking themselves up when they jerk.

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Establishing a Sleeping Routine

sleeping baby routine

It’s not unusual for newborns to have strange sleeping habits, particularly for them to want to sleep during the day and stay awake at night. If you are a new parent, you’ve likely received advice from many parents on how to achieve a sleeping routine. If your baby’s sleeping habits need some adjustment, here are some ways to get your baby on track.

  1. Don’t keep quiet during the day when he’s sleeping – When your baby sleeps during the day (and all babies will) leave the door to his room open, and go about your normal daily routine. Keep the television or stereo on. This will accomplish two things. First, he will learn to sleep even through the noise, which is important, since this child will be taking naps in your home for four or five years. Secondly, he will get the idea that the daytime is not the right time for long periods of sleep.
  2. Start slow. Your baby doesn’t need a bedtime routine right away. A newborn will sleep a lot when first brought home. They will not sleep for several hours in a row because of their eating needs. After a month or so, try starting a nightly routine. For example, bath time, massaging, feeding, and then singing a lullaby.
  3. If your baby sleeps more than three hours at a stretch, wake them. Babies should nap during the day, of course, but more than three hours is not a nap. Once your baby is awake, sing or talk to your baby to keep them awake. This is a great time to put him on a mat for some tummy time if it’s not feeding time. Now, of course, the second half of this problem is the staying awake at night. This is going to take some time, and babies usually make some significant adjustments within about three weeks, though you will be getting up for feedings at least once at night for a bit longer.
  4. Put him in bassinet or cradle for the first few weeks. A crib can seem huge to a newborn, so you might find that he sleeps much better in the coziness of a smaller space.
  5. Give him some soothing sounds. Not only will this act as a sort of “white noise” to block out other sounds, it will also be soothing to him. Soft, classical music works well, but so can the constant hum of a fan or the Baby Shusher.
  6. Keep the room at a comfortable temperature. If your baby too cold or too warm, just like the rest of us, they will not sleep as well.
  7. Establishing a sleeping routine. Your child will sleep better if they have an established sleeping routine for day and night. Put your baby down for naps at the same time each day, and put them down for bed at the same time each night. Create some bedtime habits that will signal to the baby that bedtime is near. A bath or a story can be a nice way to wind down and get ready for restful sleep.

Sleeping habits are a challenge for most new parents, primarily because you’re so tired yourself. One word of advice – don’t try to make baby sleep at night by not allowing him to nap during the day. It will backfire. Babies need lots of sleep, and naps are a critical part of this. Just don’t let your baby sleep for too long at a stretch during the day. Give it some time, and take some naps yourself, and before you know it, everyone will be sleeping soundly through the night.

 

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Water Safety Rules Parents Need to Know

water safety

Summer is officially here! It’s time for fun in the sun and plenty of pool days. It’s no secret that swimming at the pool poses a risk to your children — drowning. It is a fear every parent has, so we’re going to give you a list of water safety rules you should know as a parent to help keep your kids safe!

Rule #1

Always, always, always, watch your children at the pool. An accident could happen in the blink of an eye. So, put your phone away and be alert.

Rule #2

Take your child to swimming lessons. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children ages 4 and older take swimming lessons. You can even sign your child up for lessons younger than 4 years old if you wish to do so. This will teach your child to be comfortable in the water, how to float, how to control their breathing, and more. Even though your child has had successful swimming lessons, they should still be monitored in the water.

Rule #3

Learn CPR. A lifeguard may be on duty at the pool, but you may see your child or another in need of assistance before the lifeguard. In other cases, if your child is playing in the water at home or somewhere a lifeguard is not present, knowing CPR will save lives.

Rule #4

Teach your child the rules and how to behave at a pool or anywhere around water. Do not push people into the pool, no running, do not hold people underwater, wait for an adult to be present before swimming.

Rule #5

Toddlers and Infants in water should be no more than an arm’s length away so that you may provide touch supervision. This means that you are able to touch or hold the child if help is needed.

We hope these rules help you keep your kids and others safe when around water. Happy swimming!

 

How to Prepare for Labor

pregnancy

What To Pack

Whether you’re planning to have your baby at home, in a hospital or with a midwife, you’ll definitely want to pre-pack in preparation for labor. It’s best to get a few things ready at least two weeks before your due date.

You may get a list from your midwife or from the hospital. Here are a few things you could include:

  • Something loose and comfortable to wear during labor that doesn’t restrict you from moving around or make you too hot. You’ll probably need about three changes of clothes.
  • Comfortable and supportive bras, including nursing bras if you’re planning to breastfeed.
  • Sanitary pads.
  • A bag with a toothbrush, hairbrush, soap and other toiletries.
  • Books, magazines, and music to help pass time after birth.
  • Front-opening or loose-fitting nightgowns or tops if you’re going to breastfeed, and any other clothes you will feel comfortable in.
  • Loose, comfortable outfit to wear after you have given birth, and to come home in.
  • Clothes, a hat, and diapers for the baby.
  • Swaddles or blankets to wrap baby in.
  • Baby Shusher
  • Tushy Tote for diapers.

Transportation

Decide how you will arrive at the hospital or midwifery unit. If you’re planning to go by car, make sure it’s running well and that there’s plenty of gas in the tank. Have a backup plan just in case your little one makes a surprise arrival.

Emergency and Important Numbers

Wherever you’re planning to give birth, keep a list of important numbers in your handbag or program them into your phone.

You need to include:

  • Your hospital or midwife’s phone number.
  • Your partner or birth partner’s phone number.
  • Your own hospital reference number.

Stocking Up

When you come home after labor, you won’t want to do much more than rest and care for your baby. Do as much shopping and planning in advance as you can. Stock up on basics, such as toilet paper, diapers, groceries, and needed household items. It’s also a great idea to pre-cook some meals in advance and freeze them.

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