Thursday, February 25, 2010

Napping is Necessary!

My baby has (luckily) been a good napper from the beginning, but after a recent ear infection, he has been off his nap schedule for about a week now. Not having those long, restorative naps has made my little guy a little off kilter. (It made me off kilter, too! I need those down times as well.)

Being off schedule this week made me realize how important those naps are...not only do they rejuvenate moms and babies, but according to a new study from the University of Arizona in Tuscon, babies learn better when they nap within four hours of learning something new.

The study shows that babies who are able to take a daytime nap are more likely to exhibit an advanced level of learning known as abstraction. Abstraction is a level of learning where the brain detects patterns of new information.

One of the researchers of this study, Lynn Nadel, stated that babies should get some sleep within a reasonable amount of time after learning new information. If a baby doesn't sleep within four to eight hours of learning new information, they most likely will lose everything they just learned.

So what does this mean, parents? It is important to stimulate your baby with reading, talking, playing and other stimuli, but these stimuli need to happen within a timeframe that includes adequate sleep.

Interesting, huh? Nap schedules are important for your little one's disposition and for their learning, too!

For more information on the nap study, click here.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Teething Is the Pits....

My little guy got his first tooth last week…at five-and-a-half months old! I forgot how hard teething can be on both babies and parents! Long, sleepless nights and fussy, irritable babies make teething one of the hardest parts of raising your baby for some parents.

Here are some ways to cope with the inevitable milestone in your little ones life…teething!

• Look for signs of teething. Excessive drool and cramming anything and everything in their mouths are sure signs that a baby is teething. Other signs of teething include swollen gums, sleep issues, and biting behavior. If you know your baby is teething, you can sympathise with them during this trying time.

• Wipe your baby’s mouth and face often when they drool. This will prevent what is known as “drool rash’ from appearing on their mouth, chin, and cheeks.

• Give your baby something to chew on, such as a teething toy or a frozen wet washcloth. Make sure it is big enough to where your baby cannot choke on it, and that it also cannot break into little pieces.

• One way to soothe your baby while teething is to rub his or her gums. Make sure your fingers are clean before you put your fingers in the baby’s mouth.

• If you baby is eating solids, sometimes cold foods, such as chilled applesauce or pears feels good on your baby’s gums and is a good remedy for teething.

• If all else fails, give your baby Infant Tylenol. Before giving your child Infant Tylenol, always check with your pediatrician first.

Teething is the pits, but remember it does end...eventually!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cabin Fever Got You Down?

Our household was recently blessed with some awesome winter weather, and the whole family enjoyed sledding, eating snow cream, and making snowmen! However…after a weekend of winter bliss, we were plagued with days of closed schools, cabin fever, and cold, wet rain.

Are you feeling the effects of winter in your household? Cabin fever got you down?
What are some ways you can combat the winter blues? Here are a list of ideas on how to make the not-so-great indoors become fun for the whole family.

- Have a movie date with your kids, complete with popcorn and treats! Create a comfy atmosphere with pillows, sleeping bags and blankets and curl up and enjoy the show!

- Host a game day and invite neighborhood kids over to compete against one another. Play Candy Land, Monopoly, Uno, and other family friendly board games and card games all day long…you and the kids will love the competition and camaraderie!

- Put together puzzles as a family. You can do this over an extended period of time. Once you finish a puzzle, it’s time to pull out another one and start again! Always have a puzzle out for family members to work on during times it’s too cold to go outside.

- Stock up on arts and crafts supplies. Before winter weather heads your way, stock up on fun crafts you can do with your kids. Glue, crayons, scissors, glitter, foam shapes, stickers and paper are sure to create hours of fun for your little ones!

- Cook with your kids! Everyone loves to eat when you are snowed in, so make preparing the meals a family affair! Have everyone join in making warm soups, delicious baked goods and yummy comfort foods.

Being snowed in with your family can be a wonderful bonding experience. Enjoy the time together and when cabin fever starts to creep in, use your creativity to make your time at home fun for the whole family!