Saturday, January 12, 2008

Breast Milk Is Best for Your Baby

Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby. It is the only food your baby needs during her first six months. A baby is not ready for other foods, except formula, during the first few months of life.

A breastfed baby usually doesn’t need water. However, you may give her water if the weather is hot and your home is not air-conditioned. Don’t add sugar or honey to the water. Don’t give flavored drinks or soda pop to your baby. Don’t give fruit juice to a newborn baby.

Breast milk is best for your baby’s health. Breastfed babies don’t get sick as often, and they usually don’t have as many allergies. They may even be smarter! Also, breastfeeding seems to protect mothers from certain types of health problems.

Mothers often find that breast milk is the easiest way to feed their babies. Also, there is no cost.

You don’t have to wash and sterilize bottles and nipples when you breastfeed. This leaves more time for other things. Breastfeeding your baby can even help you lose some of the weight you gained when you were pregnant. Breastfeeding can be a pleasing experience for baby and mom.

Read More..

Your Baby Should Sleep on Her Back

You want to keep your baby safe when she sleeps. Most babies are healthy and have no problems when sleeping. But sometimes babies die in their sleep. This is called Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or crib death. Doctors have not found out what causes SIDS.

Research shows that babies who sleep on their backs are less likely to die from SIDS. If your baby has a health problem, your doctor may tell you to put her in another position. Otherwise, always put your baby to sleep on her back.

Other factors in lowering the danger of SIDS are:

• Breastfeeding–Your breast milk is the perfect food for your baby. Breast milk helps protect your baby from many illnesses, as well as SIDS.
• Smoke-free environment–Don’t smoke around your baby. Don’t take her around others who smoke. Babies in smoke-free homes have fewer colds and infections.
• Closeness–Keep your sleeping baby nearby. It’s good for your baby to learn to sleep in her own crib. Be sure you can hear her if she cries or is in distress.
• Bedding–Be sure your baby is sleeping on a firm mattress. Don’t put your baby to sleep on soft or fluffy things, such as a pillow, quilt or waterbed. Keep stuffed animals out of the crib at sleep time.
• Temperature–Make sure your baby is warm but not too hot.
• Doctor visits–Take your baby in for her regular checkups. Any time your baby seems sick or has trouble breathing, take her to the doctor or clinic.

Read More..

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Your Baby’s Nine-Month Checkup

Babies need to go to the doctor often, even when they are well. They get shots to keep them from catching diseases. They get a physical exam to see how they are growing. If a problem is found, your doctor will suggest what to do. Taking care of small problems now will often keep them from becoming big problems later.

Doctor visits are also a good time to learn more. Ask the doctor or nurse about such things as:

• taking the baby’s temperature,
• giving medicine or home remedies,
• feeding milk and solid foods,
• giving vitamins or other supplements,
• putting the baby to sleep, and
• following advice on baby care that others give you.

Read More..

Games for Learning

Children learn through play, and your nine-month-old is ready to learn. Try some of these activities to help him learn about his world while you both have fun.

Read pictures. Share pictures, magazines and the newspaper with your baby. Point to and name things, actions, colors and people. You might, for example, look at a colorful ad. Point to the girl, boy, stove, radio, lawn mower, blue shirt and gardener.

Feel textures. Cut squares of fabric and glue them to a piece of cardboard. Try to have a variety of textures like corduroy, satin, burlap, vinyl and fake fur. Let your baby sit with you and help him feel each of the different textures with his hands. Describe the textures with words like rough, smooth, soft, bumpy and prickly.

Fill and dump. Gather five or six small, empty food containers like gelatin boxes, an oatmeal box and small cereal boxes. Tape or glue the containers closed. Give your baby a small paper bag. Show him how to fill the bag with groceries and dump them out again.

Love the baby. Give your baby a large baby doll or stuffed animal. Show him how to rock and cuddle with the doll. Point to and say “eyes,” “nose,” “mouth,” “ears,” “tummy” and “legs,” for example. Show your baby where these features are on his body. Say “Here are the baby’s ears. Where are your ears?”

Read More..

Other Possible Hazards Need Special Attention

Electrical cords: Cords invite pulling and tripping. Secure the cords along the base of the wall with clips or tape.

Electrical outlets: Cover outlets with plastic plug inserts available at the grocery or hardware store.

Blind cords: Mini blinds and drapes often have long cords. Tie these up, out of your baby’s reach.

Lead paint: Wooden trim in older buildings is sometimes covered with paint that contains lead. This long-acting poison can hurt your child.

Lightweight furniture: Before long, your baby will be pulling himself up to stand. Almost all children use furniture to hold on to as they stand. Top-heavy furniture, like a TV stand, could topple over onto your baby. Rearrange furniture now, and you won’t have to worry later.

When your baby does begin to reach for something he shouldn’t, telling him “no” in a warm but firm voice will help him learn what’s not okay to touch. It will take many “nos” before your baby will avoid reaching for something he shouldn’t. You must say “no” and continue to watch your baby carefully. Babies this age are too young to trust to do the safe thing. Anger isn’t helpful and may only scare him.

Read More..

Water safety

Water is great for cleaning and drinking. But it can be a hazard for babies. They can drown in only a few inches of water. Here are some water safety tips:

• Empty your mop bucket right after using it.
• In the house and outside, store buckets, wash tubs and other large containers upside down.
• Always keep one hand on your baby while he’s in the bath.
• Use a rubber mat, rubber decals or a bath chair to keep your baby from slipping in the bathtub.

• Keep toilet lids closed. Use safety latches, if possible.
• Save swimming until your baby is out of diapers. Play with a trickling hose or sprinkler instead. Babies are not toilet trained, so they can leave germs in swimming pools. Chlorine kills most swimming pool germs but not all of them. And it takes only a tiny number of germs to cause infections.
• If you live near a swimming pool, make sure it is fenced and has a locked gate. Keep your baby away from any pools, ponds and creeks.

Read More..

Safety First—at Every Age

Always remember

• Buckle your baby into a car safety seat every time he rides in a car. Make sure the safety seat is correctly secured.
• Stay with your baby when he is playing near or in water. Watch him closely.
• Never, ever shake your baby.
• Put your baby to sleep on his back unless your doctor tells you to do otherwise. Insist that others who care for your baby do the same.

• Serve healthy foods. Avoid sweetened, salty or fatty ones.
• Lock up alcohol, drugs and other chemicals. These can kill your baby.
• Put away knives, guns, matches, bug spray, medicine, detergents, disinfectants and other items that can hurt your baby. Put them in a place your exploring baby can’t reach or open.
Home hazards

Your baby is moving around a lot more. At this age, babies are naturally curious and get into everything. But they don’t know what can hurt them. It’s up to parents to keep babies safe. Check your house for safety hazards often:

• Vacuum or sweep the floors. Pick up any small items such as buttons, coins and paper clips.
• Latch window guards or open windows from the top.
• Latch safety gates across stairs.
• Lock the doors to balconies and decks.
• Move electric fans out of baby’s reach.
• Place a protective screen around a space heater. Keep the heater away from curtains, paper and other materials that can catch fire.
• If you have a gun, store it under lock and key. Make sure it is not loaded.
• Check toys. If you find any loose or broken parts, repair the toy or remove it right away.

While your baby is awake and moving, stay close. Look for possible dangers. A pencil may seem harmless, but in a baby’s hand it could poke an eye. Your careful watching will prevent accidents.

Read More..