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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!

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Health and fitness Pregnancy

Preparing or giving birth during the COVID-19 pandemic

Updated: May 21, 2020

2020 came with much surprises. From bush fires around the globe, reports of the Antarctic ice breaking due to global warming – and now the COVID-19 pandemic putting most of the world into a lockdown. It seems to be a very scary time to be bringing a new born into this world right now – but the baby is inside of you and coming out very soon. Read through for some tips whether you’re preparing or giving birth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The number one advice every health practitioner will tell you, especially when you’re pregnant, is not to stress yourself too much. Does this even seem possible at a time like this? With the news and the need to prepare for both your newborn, this time really calls for proper “stress management”.

Here are some ways to help prepare for your newborn during this trying time and some stress management tips.

Clean/disinfect and rearrange the household

Preparing or giving birth during the COVID-19 pandemic - disinfecting the house

We all know that keeping good hygiene and constant disinfecting is a great way to prevent the virus from entering. If you’re nearing labor – you’re probably already in your “nesting phase” where you’re trying to get everything ready for the baby already.

Here are some recommended cleaning and disinfectants:
Stress management tip :

Take this time to really focus your time and energy on getting the household “baby ready”. If you have to go online – use this time to search for baby room ideas. We all know how addictive it can be to look at cute nursery rooms and DIY decor making. Get creative, not stressed!

Stock up on your needs/ essentials

Preparing or giving birth during the COVID-19 pandemic - doing groceriesIf you’re able to – now would be the best time to do all the grocery and buying in preparation for when the baby arrives. You’re going to be spending most of your time taking care and getting used to life with your newborn – so things like going out for your weekly groceries or last minute buying will become challenging.

Stress management tip :

Make a list of everything that you need. You can separate your lists per place for buying. Example : Make a list for all your food groceries, another list for all baby equipment needs, another list for all mommy and daddy needs, and another for something you’ll need that’s meant to be bought elsewhere. Try to think long term – so you won’t need to end up buying something you’ll need soon at the last minute. If you have everything ahead – you’ll be less worried and stressed and will be able to focus on caring for your newborn.

Check ahead for your preferred pediatrician

Preparing or giving birth during the COVID-19 pandemic - call your preferred pediatrician

If you already have a preferred pediatrician in mind, you may want to check their availability ahead. See if they are able to do online consultations or even via phone. It’s essential to know that your preferred pediatrician is readily available, willing, and someone you’re comfortable with – since they’ll be someone you’ll be calling frequently for any baby related matters.

Stress management tip :

Get in touch ahead or with their secretary. Let them know that you’re expecting your newborn soon and opting for them to be your child’s pediatrician. You can search online as well for feedback/reviews to see how they usually treat their patients and if they may be how you expect them to be. You don’t want to end up with a doctor who you’re not comfortable with or someone you cannot be completely open to. So check around ahead.

Hopefully these tips will help you manage stress and things in your household – in preparation for your newborn. Most importantly, try to stay away from the things that usually trigger your stress so you can welcome your newborn happily. We all need to stay safe and healthy during this pandemic.

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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.