Categories
Child care Health and fitness

Brain development activities for newborns and infants

It’s within a child’s first three years of life that are critical for learning and development. Parents wonder how soon their babies can start learning and if they can do anything for their child’s brain development. As each child grows day by day, they are constantly learning about everything around them through every engagement. The best and most active way to do so is interacting with them on the daily. Now that everyone is on lockdown, take this time to do just that! Read on for some brain development activities for newborns and infants.

Brain development affects all areas of a child’s growth. There are four main areas of development: motor (physical), language and communication, social and emotional, and cognitive. Brain development is part of cognitive development. Cognitive development describes how a child’s intellect grows, and includes thinking, learning and problem-solving skills. These skills affect all other areas of development.

Below are activities to encourage brain development for newborns and infants.

Playing

Playing is a fun and wonderful way to encourage brain development in babies. A baby is able to get a sense of wonder that allows them to understand what is going on around them and the interaction they get is a great engagement. Every and any form of play helps foster imagination and creativity.

Brain development activities for newborns and infants: playing

Simple yet great examples of play with babies are:

Brain development activities for newborns and infants - reading a story book

Reading / Talking

Reading is an absolutely great way of promoting and encouraging a child’s brain development. Constant reading and talking with your baby is a way for them to start realizing language and how to communicate. Moreover, this is a great way for them to learn even before they can start to understand letters or words.

Activities that include reading and talking with babies:

  • Read them a storybook
  • Greet them daily (good morning, good afternoon, good evening)
  • Responding to your baby’s cries with words of comfort
  • Singing nursery rhymes
  • Talking to them about what’s in the room
  • Talk to them with every engagement – changing their diaper, bathing them, feeding them

Brain development activities for newborns and infants - baby boy playing with toy cars

Physical movement

Any and every movement a child does and learns is the best way for them to trigger their brain to continuous development. From birth, a baby only knows how to communicate through their cries and body language. As they grow, they start to learn more about themselves – like discovering their hands, feet, face, body and learning what to do with them and how to communicate. Physical movements help develop brain and motor development.

Here are some physical activities to help with brain development:

Conclusion

In conclusion, babies are constantly learning and will continue to develop on their own, but with constant interaction and engagement with their parents, their development progresses better and it’s more fun for them!

Categories
Child care Health and fitness

Rashes – what’s common and what’s not

The journey of parenthood can be quite scary if not armed with enough knowledge or the right information. There are too many things that end up happening which can either set off a panic attack or push you off the road of sanity. One of the things that likely come up is baby rashes. As your baby grows, you’ll notice skin conditions developing or growing – some alarming and some not – but how to tell if it’s something you don’t need to worry about or something that needs medical attention? Read on to know more about rashes – what’s common and what’s not.

What causes rashes in babies?

To better understand what’s to be considered as something concerning or not, let’s first understand what typically causes rashes in babies.

Rashes - what's common and what's not - person covering infant with swaddling blanket

Newborn baby skin, even up to toddler life, can be very sensitive and susceptible to irritation – depending on family allergy history and other factors – there are many things that can trigger rashes in baby’s skin. Baby’s skin is easily affected by things like heat, dust, their own drool, and a lot more. Fortunately, most of these skin reactions and conditions are short-lived and tend to clear on their own – of course with proper hygiene practice and constant skin care.

In severe cases, however, there will be a need for creams, medication, ointments, and even steroids. Of course, all these will be prescribed by your baby’s pediatrician and the dosage for the need, depending on the severity of the rash.

Common causes of rashes in babies include:

  • heat
  • allergies
  • friction
  • dampness
  • chemicals
  • fragrances
  • fabrics

Rashes - what's common and what's not - close up photo of baby feet on white background

Common types of rashes

Some of the most common types of infant skin rashes include:

  • Heat rash
    Also called prickly heat or miliaria, occurs when sweat ducts become clogged and the sweat cannot get to the surface of the skin. Instead, it becomes trapped beneath the skin’s surface causing a mild inflammation or rash.
  • Cradle Cap
    Appears as patchy scaling or thick crusts on the scalp and greasy skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales. Cradle cap usually doesn’t bother the infant.
  • Baby Acne
    Also known as neonatal acne, is a common, usually temporary skin condition that develops on a baby’s face or body. It results in tiny red or white bumps or pimples. In almost all cases, the acne resolves on its own without treatment.
  • Diaper/Nappy Rash
    The main cause is wearing a wet or dirty nappy for too long. Soaps and detergents left on cloth nappies after washing can also contribute to nappy rash. Sometimes children also have other conditions like eczema, psoriasis, thrush or impetigo, which might make nappy rash worse.
  • Eczema
    Is most prominent on the cheeks, forehead, and scalp of an infant within the first few months of life, and often tends to make the skin look redder and “weepy” than at other ages. Eczema can appear on other parts of the body as well, including the diaper area.
  • Drool Rash
    Can appear around the mouth and cheeks, in the folds of your baby’s neck, and on your baby’s chest as a result of too much saliva causing wet skin.

When to be concerned with rashes?

If you answer Yes to the following questions below – then it’s a telltale sign that you should bring your child to their pediatrician for a checkup.

Categories
Child care Health and fitness

Teething and what you need to know

Your cutie patootie is growing and you’re starting to notice a change in behavior and/or something in their gums which seems to make them a little uncomfortable – if so, your little one is probably starting to teeth! For some babies, teething isn’t really a bother but for the most, it truly is. It’s important for mom and dad to know how to
deal with a teething baby so the household isn’t too stressed out. Read on for some facts about teething and what you need to know.

When do they normally start teething?

Understand that every child is unique with their growth – the typical eruption of a tooth can start anywhere from 3 months and could have no visible signs of the actual teeth yet. So your baby may start feeling gum tingling and the tooth may appear between 4 – 10 months.

For some babies, teething eruptions can happen one after the other consistently, while others may have huge break gaps – having some teeth come out months later after the first eruption. This continues on until 30-36 months of age, usually ending with the molars.

How do you know if your baby is teething?

Babies that start teething early on usually show signs of some discomfort/irritability. This can include disrupted sleep, inflammation of gums, loss of appetite, and a mild temperature. If you notice them starting to want to bite on more solid things – that’s one clear sign that teething is happening. There are other symptoms that will show to determine teething in babies but it’s best to know what is normal and what isn’t.

Teething may cause the following symptoms:

  • Fussiness
  • Increased want to latch on the breast for breastfeeding babies
  • Increased drooling
  • Restlessness
  • The constant need to put things in the mouth and biting
  • Rubbing the cheek or ear region

Teething and what you need to know - Baby biting a storybook

Importantly, these are symptoms worth noting that isn’t normal to be considered and would require you to visit
your baby’s pediatrician:

  • Fever (above 38.5°C)
  • Colds and Cough
  • Diarrhea
  • Body rashes

Is it normal for babies to have a fever while teething?

While teething can cause some distress to the baby resulting in tension and warming of the baby, teething does not and should not cause fever. A baby’s normal temperature, in their first year of life, can run up to 38.5 C – anything above that would be considered a fever. If your baby’s temperature goes beyond, you should
immediately see your baby’s pediatrician.

Teething and what you need to know - baby wearing a hat laying on the bed crying

What can I do to soothe my baby while teething?

  1. If you’re still breastfeeding, continue to breastfeed and let the baby latch as often as they want. This soothes
    them and helps with the fussiness they get from gum irritation.
  2. Freeze or chill fruits and offer them to your baby – ensure proper supervision.
  3. You can use approved baby gum soothing gels. Ensure to check with your baby’s pediatrician with what brand
    or type is safe.
  4. A cold/frozen spoon is a great soother which you can place against your baby’s gums.
  5. Massaging your baby’s gums is one way to help them soothe.
  6. Teething toys are a great way to help with the irritation and drooling.
  7. Keep the baby close to you and keep them lovingly cuddled!

We may not be experts with baby care but it’s important that we have some knowledge when it comes to teething.

Categories
Child care Others

Activities to do at home

The family is at home with the whole COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing. Days go by and the kids are starting to get restless, itching to go out or do something, but you’ve probably exhausted most things to do already! What else is there to do? Whether you have a tiny baby, a growing toddler, or a pre-teen/teen – here are some activities to do at home with the whole family.

Watch a new or old series and prepare food for it.

Got a Netflix subscription? Hulu? Disney Plus? Or even just a YouTube account? There’s a ton of series out today that you and your family can start watching or catch up on – if there’s already one ongoing. Prepare some snacks/food, and drinks that you’d want to try making at home – like that shake you’ve been wanting to have. Now’s the time to experiment and enjoy during your watch!

Activities to do at home - watching tv at home

Schedule “reading time” at home.

It can become pretty overwhelming to keep trying to do something. Here’s a win-win thought, a “quiet time” activity – like reading. You can schedule a certain time of the day with the fam to read any type of book. Kids get to choose their own and so does mom and dad. Even a mere 30 minutes – 1 hour will be good for everyone.

Activities to do at home - reading books at home

Make cleaning into playtime.

Tricky, tricky but not impossible! You can get creative and get the entire family to do some cleaning. Whether it be pretending to open up a car salon and clean the car or as some parents are doing, offer “money” (monopoly money for kids) for every household chore they can do. You can make it a themed way of cleaning so it doesn’t seem like a bore.

Activities to do at home - cleaning the home

Continue learning with free online classes/sessions.

There’s a ton of people and organisations offering free classes and art sessions. This can be a time for mom and/or dad to learn a new skill for work or to make out as income later or kid classes like art sessions for the kids to do at home. It’s always fun to learn and be able to connect with others online too.

Activities to do at home - learning and reading using an ipad

Doing DIYs.

All those saved links on Facebook and Pinterest boards can now be put to use! Get the family to do some fun DIY activity. Whether it be a food hack for some yummy snacks or arts and crafts for home decor – or even that fixer-upper that dad has been pending to do!

Activities to do at home - fixing up things

Conclusion

There are a lot of activities to do at home. There’s so much you can do if you just look around. Ultimately, use this time to be present and spend precious time with family. Let’s all do our part in helping the world heal by practicing social distancing and being home. And more than just scrolling through our social media feeds, let’s be present with the people surrounding us at this time – our family. Let your creativity run wild and do everything and anything at home!

Categories
Child care Health and fitness

Homeschooling during this outbreak

Most community quarantines have been set for 1-3 months, while others are on lockdown indefinitely due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Not only the businesses are affected but most schools around the world have also closed as citizens have been advised to stay home. Kids have no school and both mom and dad are home too.  As a parent, you worry about your children’s continuous education. You may want to consider homeschooling during this outbreak, as a solution.

How can we keep them learning?
Can we homeschool?
How do we start with our homeschool journey?

There are so many resources online and even parenting groups that parents can access – make it possible to do homeschooling. It seems appropriate to do so as well with the crisis this world is currently facing. But is it for you?

Homeschooling during‌ ‌this‌ ‌outbreak‌ - girl writing with a pencil during home study

Why homeschool?

Here are some reasons parents decide to do so.

  • Provide better focus with the parent teaching the child.
  • Want to be aware of what the child is learning.
  • Religious reasons – allow teaching faith in depth
  • Put less pressure on what the child needs to learn at certain ages.
  • Family reasons
  • The home atmosphere is more relaxed, and schedule can be tailored to the child’s needs
  • Focus on growing proper morals
  • Social problems usually encountered with traditional schooling
  • Student behavior problems at school
  • The child has special needs/disability
  • Transportation/convenience
  • Enable family to travel – These only to mention a few.

To help give a better understanding – here are some references on the benefits of homeschooling.

Homeshcooling during outbreak - boy-answering a written exercise during home school

Benefits of homeschooling

Don’t know how to start? Here’s a helpful guide for creating a lesson plan if you’re keen to do homeschooling during this outbreak.

Academic growth is better and more tailored.

The traditional school entails being of a certain age and having to learn specific curriculums. While this is “standard”, it’s not always at the child’s best interest. Children are unique and have their own pace – so for some, being able to have more freedom of what to learn and not be restricted allows them to learn better – resulting in doing better in academics.

It provides more personalized one-on-one learning opportunities.

A usual problem faced with classroom learning is that there is less focus on a child’s individual progress as a teacher would likely handle a large number of children. Homeschooling helps guide children better as there is more focused attention on one-on-one learning.

Social development.

Contrary to popular belief, homeschooled children are able to better socialize, provided with proper guidance and exposure, as they are not limited to just the kids in a classroom. If you’re a family who travels often, homeschooling provides a vast opportunity for social engagement. Children are able to speak with people not only of their age but with those that could provide wisdom.

Homeschooling during this outbreak - family walking taking a vacation togeteher

Families can take better vacations.

Because the world is the child’s classroom, they can learn anywhere and everywhere. Sometimes, travelling can be something that’s part of your learning curriculum – the exposure they get always provides something to learn from.

Conclusion

If you’re thinking of taking this time to switch to homeschooling – there are a ton of references online to get you started. You just need to be patient with learning the system and applying it at home.

What can we do during this outbreak? — read our helpful article.

Categories
Child care Food and cooking Health and fitness

Baby food for first-time parents

Giving your baby his or her first food is one of the most nerve-racking moments for first-time parents. When’s the right time? What solid food is allowed and what food is healthy for my baby? These are the types of questions that will run through our mind. Not to mention the recipe. Thankfully, there are now a lot of ways to make baby food around the internet. Read on to know more about feeding your baby plus a few tips.

When is the baby allowed to take solid food?

According to Mayo Clinic, newborns only need breast milk or formula, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast milk only for the first six months after birth.

Babies 4 to 6 months old are ready to begin eating solid foods as a complement to breast-feeding or formula-feeding.

4 to 6 months old: Puree them all!

A good steamer and blender are all you need. It doesn’t take a master chef to feed a baby. We suggest a simple single ingredient puree. You may ask, “why to use a single ingredient?”. Single-ingredient purees are the way to go simply because this will help you identify if your baby has food allergies or sensitivity to certain types of food. If you mix ingredients early on, it would be difficult to tell which ingredient caused the allergy. Make sure to check your baby’s tolerance to food if you are going to combine ingredients.

Tips:

  • You can only cook one vegetable at a time. This will ensure even cooking and a smooth puree, plus it makes the preparation super easy and quick.
  • You can use mild seasoning like cinnamon, basil, garlic powder, ginger and many more. This makes the food’s taste even better.
  • Always have a bib or towel ready when feeding your baby. Expect a messy table.

Baby foods for first-time parents - Baby's time to eat

7 to 9 months old: Unleash your inner chef

Babies around this age can enjoy various types of purees and mashes. You can now try a more complex combination puree. This is the time to experiment with new flavors and textures. Like we’ve mentioned, there are a lot of recipes floating around the internet that you can follow. On this stage, you can also start training them to hold the spoon and fork properly. In the next few months, they’ll be able to feed themselves and can join in the family meals.

Conclusion

Babies usually reject their first pureed food. Don’t be angry and don’t even try to force-feed them. This is because the taste and texture are new to them. If they refuse, it’s fine, you can try another day or another recipe. If this habit persists, go to your baby’s doctor just to make sure that the resistance is not a sign of a problem.

Being a new parent will require a huge amount of patience and understanding especially because your baby will not like each and every food you will prepare, that’s guaranteed. But whenever you feel tired, just look at your baby’s sloppy tray, gooey hands and sticky face! That’ll crack you up. It’ll be great to capture moments like this too, so when they’re older you can show pictures and videos of them wiping their face with puree!

Categories
Child care Health and fitness

What can we do during an outbreak?

The world is now in a pandemic due to the COVID-19 virus. Some countries are in lockdown and cities all around the world are following community quarantine. As parents, we are responsible for taking precautionary measures at home as well. Given the current situation – we shouldn’t fret. We must remain calm and continue to take care of ourselves and our home. 

What can we do during this time of an outbreak?

Maintain a healthy lifestyle.

A strong immunity helps protect yourself from the virus. If you’re a breastfeeding mom, ensure that you keep yourself healthy so your baby can keep reaping the wonderful antibodies from your breastmilk. 

“The CDC recommends that those with coronavirus continue breastfeeding or feeding expressed breastmilk to their child while taking precautions to avoid spreading the virus to them. Given low rates of transmission of respiratory viruses through breastmilk, the World Health Organization states that those with COVID-19 can breastfeed.”

Don’t take everything you see and hear to heart. Always fact check! Fake news is rampant so you’ve got to read and listen from credible sources. 

Worry Less

By limiting your time on social media. There are too many things you can read that can put you in panic. Instead, spend some wonderful, quality family time. Concentrate on creating a happy home for happy hearts.

Don’t panic

Don’t feel guilty for taking extra caution but don’t panic! While it may be tempting to give in and follow suit, panicking never leads to anything good. Avoid Panic buying – If everyone maintains normal buying levels, supply will be steady. Especially parents who are formula feeding, do not take more than what you need. It would be catastrophic if other babies aren’t able to get what they need due to panic buying. Refrain stockpiling formulas.

What can we do during an outbreak - Panic Buying

Stay clean and sanitize

Wash your hands frequently. The best way to take precautions and be preventive is to stay clean. As much as possible, avoid physical contact with others, respectfully, and frequent hand washing. As recommended by WHO (World Health Organisation), 20 seconds of hand washing is the best way to go about it. 

The world is now in a pandemic - Use hand sanitizer

The CDC recommends these things in preparing your family for a breakout.

Create a household plan of action to help protect your health and the health of those you care about in the event of an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community:

  • Talk with the people who need to be included in your plan, and discuss what to do if a COVID-19 outbreak occurs in your community.
  • Plan ways to care for those who might be at greater risk for serious complications, particularly older adults and those with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease.
  • Make sure they have access to several weeks of medications and supplies in case you need to stay home for prolonged periods of time.
  • Get to know your neighbors and find out if your neighborhood has a website or social media page to stay connected.
  • Create a list of local organizations that you and your household can contact in the event you need access to information, healthcare services, support, and resources.
  • Create an emergency contact list of family, friends, neighbors, carpool drivers, health care providers, teachers, employers, the local public health department, and other community resources.

It is always important to maintain a calm demeanor when facing a crisis. Keep calm so that others will follow suit. We shouldn’t be adding to the stressors we’re already facing and when in doubt – always ask – but ask towards credible sources.

Check real-time tracking of COVID-19

Conclusion

Share good and reliable information and refrain from actions that can cause an uproar or further panic.

Categories
Child care Health and fitness

Sudden infant death syndrome

Updated: May 27, 2020

Every mom has heard this but is probably confused by what it is – SIDS. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, sometimes referred to as “crib death” or “cot death”, is an unexplained death that usually occurs in infants during sleep. While this is known as “Crib/Cot death” it does not necessarily insinuate that it is the crib/cot that causes it – only that it happens often in it. Read on to understand how this sudden infant death syndrome happens.

While the cause of SIDS is unknown, those who have studied this have associated the likeliness if this to happen due to the infant’s inability to wake up from their sleep, low levels of oxygen intake and buildup of CO2 (carbon dioxide) in the blood. Because of this, parents have been discouraged to let their infants sleep facing down as they may breath exhaled carbon dioxide.

Up to date, there is still no way to guarantee the prevention of SIDS, however, there are ways to decrease the chances of leading up to it. There are ways that parents can do with and for their baby for safer sleep. The most encouraged tip is to place the baby on their back while sleeping on their first year of life.

What is the most common age for SIDS?

SIDS deaths chances are higher in babies from day 1 up until 4-6 months of age. The majority of SIDS deaths that have been reported are those under the age of 6 months. However, this does not mean that it cannot happen after 6 months of age as SIDS can happen anytime within the baby’s first year of life.

Factors associated with SIDS :

Premature birth

Premature birth usually leads to a low birth weight which is a factor that plays into the cause of SIDS. Along with other complications from a premature baby, because the baby has unlikely completely developed, they have less control over things like breathing and heart rate.

Brain defect

Brain defect is a high-risk factor as the brain controls breathing and this defect could lead to complications including being unable to arise from sleep.

Respiratory infections

Many infants who have died from SIDS have also had respiratory infections – since these can also cause difficulty in breathing.

Understanding what sudden infant death syndrome - Baby on crib sleeping

Practice the following to reduce the chances and risks of SIDS :

Let your infant sleep on their back

Infants sleeping on their stomach or side have more difficulty breathing and if not monitored, could stop midway sleep.

Clear the infant’s sleeping bed

Free from anything that could potentially block their breathing. In the infant’s first year of life, pillows and comforters are highly discouraged. Also, a more firm surface for a mattress is better for them as a soft surface could sink the baby’s head in and block their airway.

Well ventilated and cool area

Keep the baby in a well ventilated and cool area. Overheating is always a problem that leads to further complications – which includes SIDS.

Top 5 cribs and cots :

Conclusion

Parents should always keep a close eye on their newborns. Always seek help when something seems off or even the slightest change in your baby that potentially seems harmful.