Thursday, February 21, 2008

Getting Baby To Sleep

Getting your baby to sleep will be one of the most challenging things that parents face. Many times parents wonder if their baby would ever sleep through the night or at least sleep comfortably. They are some tips that can help parents teach their babies to get a better night's sleep.

Babies in the early stages of their lives can be taught to distinguish between night and day and this can help them establish better sleeping habits.

Early Development

When your baby is a few weeks old teach them the differences between morning, nap time, and bed time. During the course of the day, make sure that you play with your child, feeding them and talking to them. During the night, keep the lights low, and limit the amount of noise and voices that your child is exposed to. When your baby is between one to two months, put them to bed as soon as they begin to show signs of being tired.

During the Day

You have to make sure that when baby naps during the day it is different from sleeping at night. During naps let the baby sleep in a portable crib or bassinet. The room should not be left completely dark. This way they begin to recognize what constitutes naps from bed time.

At Night

Newborn babies will sleep an average of sixteen to eighteen hours a day, babies need plenty of rest. In order to try and get your child into a step by step routine to establish bed time, you should try and do the following to settle them down for the night.


  • First you should try and give baby a bath or at least wash her or his hands. This will give them a soothing feeling and help them to relax.
  • Change the baby's diaper and put on his or her pajamas, this will give them indication that it is time for bed.
  • You can sing softly to the baby or play low music. This will allow baby to hear a familiar voice and recognize the voice before drifting off to sleep. Again this provides a comfortable surrounding for the baby and knowledge that they are not being left alone.
  • You should put your baby in your arms and rock them before you lay him or her down to sleep. Don't prolong the situation make it short, put them into their crib while they are still awake and leave the room.

Things to Avoid

They are some things you should avoid doing before putting baby down for bedtime:

  • Don't put cereal in his or her bottle at night, it gives them a feeling of being full and does not allow them to sleep comfortable. They might have problems digesting the food while sleeping, leading to an upset stomach.
  • Don't let the baby fall asleep with a bottle or while nursing, before going to bed. This will get them into the bad habit of expecting you to feed them when they are awake, so that they may go back to sleep.

While no two babies are the same, the important thing to remember is that promoting a consistent sleep routine will help your baby fall asleep faster and will eventually sleep through the night. By following these routines, the baby will begin to understand that going to sleep does not mean that mommy or daddy is leaving them, but putting them to bed for the night. It will also help to establish a pattern for when they get older, hopefully, making it easier for them to continue to sleep on their own.

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Infant Teething And Dental Care


Dental hygiene begins as soon as your child consumes food products of any kind. In the early stages of development, children experience the teething process. Parents should think of creative ways to ease this pain and maintain a commitment to their child's life-long dental care.

Dental Health

Parents must establish beneficial dental hygiene practices with their children as early as possible. Dental care is an invaluable preventative care measure that will lead to years of positive dental health.

Parental Care

Prior to the first year of age, parents assume sole responsibility for infant dental hygiene. Parents should wipe a soft, damp washcloth over an infant's gums after feeding their child. This reduces levels of oral bacteria that lead to infection. As teeth emerge, parents may choose to use an infant toothbrush. Parents should only brush with water, as toothpaste may be toxic to a young child.

Children’s Dental Care

The American Dental Association recommends that children receive formal care after the first birthday. By age one, most youth display six to eight teeth. At that point, dental visits educate parents and children on appropriate dental hygiene practices. When two teeth begin to touch, the dentist will introduce flossing as a vital element of quality dental care.

Infant Teeth

Although some children are born with a tooth or numerous teeth showing, most infant teeth do not emerge from the gum line prior to 4-15 months. By a child's first birthday, parents should see up to six teeth. These should be incisors. All teeth should appear by two years of age.


Teething is the process by which teeth become visible. Children may mimic teething actions several months prior to tooth emergence. Teething may seem as hard on the parent as it is on the child because when children teethe, they note a sense of discomfort.

Teething discomfort varies among children. Some infants experience little pain while other babies demonstrate periods of irritability. Irritation and pain may cause your infant to cry a lot. However, while teething may cause discomfort, it does not cause extreme pain, fever, diarrhea or episodic afflictions. If these conditions are noted for an extended period, contact your doctor immediately.

Easing Discomfort

When your child teethes, you may notice increased drool and chewing motions. To ease discomfort, some infants enjoy sucking on a pacifier. An alternate way to soothe pain is to have a child suck on a frozen plastic-wrapped Popsicle. The cold sensation will temporarily numb the pain, infants will have an object to chew on, and there is virtually no mess because the contents of the container are sealed in plastic. If you choose this method, do so cautiously. Do not leave your infant unattended.

Levels of Dental Care

At two years of age, you should introduce your child to self-maintenance. Have your child imitate your brushing motions. Youth may use small amounts of toothpaste and should brush their teeth after each meal.

Tooth Development

Usually, teeth will not develop cavities until three or more years of age. However, if you observe areas of concern, do make a dental appointment.

After 3 years of age, visit the dentist twice a year for an examination of tooth surfaces and structures. Children will gain permanent teeth after 5 years of age. After the wisdom teeth emerge in the late teens, there will be 32 permanent teeth.


Dental care is a lifetime commitment that begins at birth. Parents should teach their children good dental hygiene habits as early as possible. After six months of age, when the teething process commences, children should receive formal checkups from a dentist. Parents should consult with med ical professionals if problems emerge between medical visits.

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Beauty Care of Babies

All babies are beautiful, but parents must take an active role in keeping their babies as beautiful as possible. Infant beauty relies on medical care and normal development.

Medical Visits

Parents should consult with a physician to provide and care for the needs of a developing child. Family doctors are trained to address concerns regarding developmental needs. In addition to growth charts, doctors will update youth immunization records and monitor the development of organs such as the lungs and heart.

The ‘Well Baby’

Scheduled visits are “well-baby visits.” These medical checkups are traditionally scheduled 2-3 months apart, or at the discretion of your doctor. Regular checkups will screen for disorders within the cardiac, respiratory and endocrine systems. Early detection is key to managing your child’s health.

Healthy, or ‘normally developing” children, require medical checkups by a physician on a regular basis. As always, if emergencies or areas of concern arise in between formal visits, parents are urged to contact a medical professional as soon as possible.

Specialized Care

If the family doctor notes areas of concern, he may refer your child to a specialist. For example, children that are slow to respond to hearing tests will need a specialized auditory examination.

If it is noted that the child is developing slowly, doctors may choose to conduct specialized developmental tests. However, children will progress at their own developmental rate.

Dietary Needs

Your child’s dietary needs will vary as he or she ages. Healthy diets stimulate growth and development. Balanced diets consist of food items from diverse food groups. Each year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture releases a recommended view of the ideal balanced diet. This visual aid is commonly referred to as the “food pyramid.”

Essentially, a balanced diet consists of grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, and proteins. Children do need to consume adequate levels of fats and oils to balance out their diet. Sugars should be consumed in moderation. Excessive sugar intake can aggravate or contribute to the development of juvenile diabetes.

Food Allergies

If your child develops allergies, you will need to contact a physician in order to obtain a medication to stave off bodily reactions. Food allergies occur when the human body recognizes a certain food as dangerous to its immune system. Eggs, fish, peanuts, milk and wheat commonly trigger allergic reactions in both children and adults.

Food allergies are sometimes confused with food intolerance. Unlike food intolerance, food allergies are potentially life threatening. Food intolerance, on the other hand, causes mere discomfort.


As infants age, they will come into increased contact with person and things outside of the home and immediate family. To keep your baby beautiful, carefully monitor their contact with objects and exposure to non-family individuals. Day care centers are useful, but exposure to day centers do increase the number of germs that infants interact with on a daily basis. Parents must wash the child’s hands, feet and face frequently to reduce the possibility of infants catching the “common cold.”

Bath Time

Bath time has the potential to deepen the level of intimacy between parent and child. To ensure child safety, bathe your infant in an enclosed space. You may prefer to bathe your infant in a basin fitted inside a sink or inside of a bathtub. Never leave your child unattended. Children have drowned in as little as one inch of water.

The temperature should be neither hot nor cold. Do use a mild soap, or a soap specially formulated for babies, to wash your child's skin and hair. Children's shampoo decreases the likelihood of irritation to the eyes and scalp.


A beautiful baby is a healthy baby. Consult with a medical professional to ensure your baby's health and normal development. Parents must carefully monitor dietary needs, environmental concerns and developmental stages in order to keep their children healthily beautiful.

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Baby Scales

A baby scales is one of the most crucial pieces of medical equipment that is used. These scales have to be precise and accurate when measuring baby’s weight. When a baby arrives before time or has a medical problem to scale check its weight. It is also used to measure breast milk. This way, you can weight it before and after a feeding.


If a baby does not gain weight it is a very serious thing. Weighting should always a done on the same scale. Since all scales can have a slight difference, you should try and weigh your baby at least once a week, due to the fact that baby’s weight will vary due to bowel movements and urination. If the baby’s weight remains the same, and he or she is not gaining or losing any weight, then they should be seen by their doctor.

If baby’s weight is increasing, but not by the recommended amounts then you many need to change how you are feeding baby. Maybe you need to make more feedings or change the type of formula you are using. After about six months baby will start to eat solid foods, baby scales will help to determine if baby is gaining weight in accordance with the standards. Healthy babies will usually double their weight between four and five months after their birth.

Types of Scales

They are many types of scales depending on what you are looking for; here is a list of the top scales on the market today:

334 Digital Scale- This type of scale offers safety and accuracy when you are weighting baby. It does have a large tray; this feature still does not make it bulky and requires little space for storage. The scale is very easy to read, and is easy to clean up after use.

736 Digital Scale-This scale was developed with advanced features. It offers a specially designed scale, and advanced weighing and measuring options. This makes accuracy a key component of the scale’s features and one of the most important ones.

851 Digital Diaper Scale- This scale measures the accuracy of a baby’s output. This scale can help keep track of everything that is in your baby’s diapers. By doing this it can help you more accurately determine what the baby’s weight is and what it should be. It is very easy to read and is convenient to store away.

727 Electronic Baby Scale-This is the best scale for a squirming baby and makes it easy to read. The model eliminates the variation and guess work out of determining what baby’s weight should be. This scale delivers accurate measurements.

728 Electronic Baby Scale- This scale was original designed with baby’s health in mind, where the smallest in deviations can make a huge difference. The scale holds its accuracy for an extended period of time, by self testing it self every two seconds. It also has an additional option that allows you to check baby’s length also.

While a scale may seem like a small piece of equipment it is a major necessity in determining the growth of your baby. Your baby’s weight has to be checked and monitored to make sure that he or she is gaining the right amounts. If they are not, they the doctor will have to reevaluate what you are doing, and why the baby is not gaining weight. Having a precise scale will help doctors better determine how much a baby is gaining per month, per week, and even per day. The scale further reduces the chances of making errors with the weight.

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Baby Eye Care: Vision Problem,Tips for Choosing a Doctor


In the flurry of parental commitments, do not overlook vision care. The ability to see is a gift, and parents and medical professionals alike must be prepared to monitor a child's eye development.

Infant Vision

Following the birth of your child, a doctor will examine your infant. Among a slew of medical tests, the doctor will conduct an abbreviated vision exam. This establishes a point of reference for the future care of your child.

Newborns are able to see but cannot focus their eyes until six months of age. Infants will commonly exhibit a yellow pigment in their eyes known as jaundice. As the liver processes waste, this yellow tint will disappear. If jaundice does not disappear after one week, parents should contact medical professionals.

Monitoring Vision

When you take your bundle of joy home, monitor your child's vision on a daily basis. At this stage, vision is defined in terms of responsiveness. Infants should attempt to follow faces and eyes from side to side as people or things capture their visual interest.

The First Six Months

Eyes complete development by six months of age. Accordingly, the first vision appointment should be scheduled at six months. The eye care professional will examine visual acuity, (the ability to see clearly), by observing responsiveness to movement.

Vision Problems

Some infants struggle with the infamous "lazy eye." Technically known as strabismus, it occurs when one or both eyes turn in or out while focusing on an object. In some cases, if left untreated, strabismus will lead to diminished vision or complete vision loss. 'Lazy eyes' are noticeable after four months of development.

Newborns may appear cross-eyed because eye muscle coordination is undeveloped. This problem should significantly diminish by 6 months of age. If the problem persists, parents should consult an eye care specialist. Treatment may necessitate usage of an eye patch, muscle exercises, and/or surgery. Options vary according to severity and the age of the child.

When to See an Eye Doctor

It is extremely difficult to establish visual acuity until age four. However, parents must schedule the first formal eye exam at 6 months. Future appointments will be scheduled as recommended by the eye care specialist. After two years of age, children are monitored annually, or as frequently as is preferred by the specialist.

Choosing an Eye Care Specialist

Eye care experts observe the pupils and scrutinize visual acuity and eye movement. Parents may utilize an ophthalmologist or optometrist. Although both professionals are trained to examine internal and external eye structures, there are critical differences between these vocations.

Types of Specialists

Ophthalmologists specialize in the medical and surgical care of the visual system, inclusive of eyes and eye muscles. Ultimately, ophthalmologists assist in the prevention and treatment of eye disease and injury. This type of eye doctor is a doctor of medicine (MD) or doctor of osteopathy (DO).

Optometrists are eye doctors of optometry (OD). They do not provide surgical services. Scope of care is limited to visual examination and disorder detection, prescriptive and corrective non-surgical care.

Affording Care

Consult with your insurance agency to understand provided vision care coverage. Plans may restrict treatment to an ophthalmologist or optometrist. Insurances companies may recommend practitioners covered by your health care plan.

Choosing a Doctor

Parents and children must feel comfortable with the doctor and the facility. Appropriate facilities boast a clean, youth-friendly environment in a safe neighborhood. Offices should be outfitted with modern medical tools.

The best way to locate an eye care specialist is through referrals from parents or family doctors. Alternatively, contact hospitals and government regulated agencies for a list of competent ophthalmologists and optometrists.

Summary: Parents must provide adequate medical care for their children. Vision care is an integral component of lifetime health development that should be formally monitored after 6 months of age.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sleep Aids For Pregnancy

If you're reading this article, chances are you've been spending too many nights tossing and turning. Knowing this is normal during pregnancy — especially in your first and third trimesters — doesn't make it any easier to bear. Now you're desperate to get some shut-eye, and we can help. If you're already practicing good sleep hygiene but still not slumbering peacefully, here are a few remedies to help you get the sleep you crave.

Using pillows to support your belly and back in bed can mean the difference between a sleepless night and a peaceful slumber. Tucking a pillow between your bent knees supports your lower back and may make side-sleeping (your best option as pregnancy advances) more comfortable. A pillow tucked behind your back can also help you to maintain a side-lying position while you sleep. Maternity pillow abound, but regular pillows work fine, too.

Single or dual pregnancy wedge
Wedge-shaped pillow support your belly when you lie on your side. You can also use them to prop yourself up to a semi-recline when you're lying on your back. The dual pregnancy wedge is two pillows (attached with adjustable Velcro tabs) that provide simultaneous support in front and back.

Full-length body pillow
Body pillow are at least 5 feet long and are designed to support the back and cradle the belly.

* Sleeping Bean
Support your belly and your back by wrapping yourself around this column-shaped pillow. It makes a good nursing pillow later, and you can use a smaller Sleeping Bean as a bolster or bumper to protect your baby in his crib. Available from Bean Products ; call (800) 726-8365.

What you eat — and when you eat it — can affect the quality of your sleep.

Warm milk
Drinking a glass of warm milk before bedtime is a time-tested way to bring on sleep. Experts believe the amino acid L-tryptophan (found in milk and other foods such as turkey and eggs) makes eyelids heavy by raising the level of a chemical in the brain called serotonin. Others suggest the somnambulant effects of warm milk may be all in your head. But if it helps you snooze, does it really matter? Warning: Don't go all the way and take tryptophan supplements — they're not safe during pregnancy.

Protein-packed snacks
If bad dreams, headaches, or full-body sweats are disturbing your sleep, you could be suffering from low blood sugar. To fix the problem, try a high-protein snack before bed such as an egg, some peanut butter, or a slice of turkey on bread to keep your blood sugar up during the night.

Relaxation techniques
If you're tense, anxious, or overtired, sleep can seem as hard to grab as your own shadow. Try these simple, time-tested techniques to help calm your mind, relax your muscles, and put sleep within your grasp.

Yoga and stretching
In addition to helping you relax, yoga and stretching have the added benefit of keeping you toned and flexible during pregnancy. Many gyms, health clubs, and YMCAs offer yoga and stretch classes; some are designed specifically for pregnant women. Or you can create your own stretch routine with simple moves for your neck and shoulders, calves and hamstrings, and back and waist. Although you don't want to work up a sweat too close to bedtime (see Exercise, below), gently stretching your muscles during the day and before bedtime can make falling asleep easier.

Getting a massage relaxes tense or tired muscles. If you visit a professional massage therapist, make sure he or she has experience working with pregnant women and uses a table and pillow designed for that purpose. Professional massage can be expensive, but getting a foot, hand, or neck massage at home from your generous partner is a perfect way to wind down before bed.

Deep breathing
Breathing deeply and rhythmically can ease muscle tension, lower your heart rate, and help you fall asleep faster. Lie down on the carpet or your bed with your feet shoulder-width apart. (If you're in the second half of your pregnancy, rest on your side with a pillow between your legs for support or wedge a pillow partly under the right side of your back so you're tilted slightly to the left.) With your mouth closed, breathe slowly through your nose, feeling your stomach rise as you gradually fill your diaphragm and lungs with air. Hold for one second before exhaling through your nose to the count of four.

Progressive muscle relaxation
It may take you several weeks to master progressive relaxation, but once you do, it can really help you sleep. Lying on your bed or even on the floor, you can release tight muscles by first tensing and then completely relaxing them. Focus on one group of muscles at a time and alternate between your right and left side. Start by tensing and releasing your hand and forearm muscles, followed by your biceps and triceps, face and jaw, chest and shoulders, stomach, thighs, and so on until you reach your feet.

Guided imagery
Picture yourself in a quiet, relaxing scene — lying on a warm sandy beach or walking in a field of wildflowers. Now imagine every detail of the scene, including the sounds, smells, tastes, and textures around you. If you can't picture a relaxing setting, use an image from a photograph or magazine and fill in the missing details. It may take some practice, but guided imagery can calm your restless or anxious mind and help you slip into a deep sleep.

Regular exercise during pregnancy makes you healthier both physically and mentally, and it can help you sleep better, too — provided you don't exercise vigorously within four hours of bedtime. Working out too close to bedtime can rev you up and even rob you of deep sleep by interfering with your natural sleep cycle. Instead, work up a sweat in the morning, afternoon, or early evening.

Prescription and over-the-counter medications
Ideally you should avoid all medications (including herbal remedies) during pregnancy, since most drugs have not been tested on pregnant women and it can be hard to know what affect they may have on your baby. If you have a severe sleep problem or disorder, your practitioner may recommend a prescription or over-the-counter drug to use during your second or third trimester. But you should never take any medication during pregnancy without first consulting your doctor or midwife.

Over the counter medications
Ask your doctor or midwife if you can take an antihistamine. Diphenhydramine hydrochloride and doxyalamine (brand names include Benadryl, Sominex, and Unisom) are generally considered safe during pregnancy, although drowsiness is a side effect — not the primary effect — of the drug. Since other possible side effects include impaired alertness and dizziness, you should not drive or operate machinery after taking this medication.

Prescription medications
If you're suffering from severe insomnia or anxiety, your healthcare provider may recommend that you take a prescription sleeping medication. Warning: Never drive or operate machinery after taking a drug to help you sleep.

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Sleep Aids For New Parents

Some weary new parents are shocked to find that instead of falling asleep the minute their head hits the pillow, they suddenly can't get to sleep at all. If you've eliminated all the usual sleep-spoiling suspects, such as caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine, and your normal bedtime routine still isn't working, you may need some extra help, whether it's a glass of warm milk, a cup of chamomile tea, or even — as a last resort — an over-the-counter sleep aid (but only if you're not pregnant or nursing).

Warm milk
A favorite of babies and parents alike, drinking warm milk before bedtime is a time-tested way to fall asleep. The amino acid l-Tryptophan (found in milk and other foods such as turkey) is thought to play a role in making you sleepy by upping the level of serotonin in the brain, although the benefits may be purely psychological. A drop of vanilla extract in the warmed milk can help make it more palatable.

Herbal remedies
Herbal remedies come in many forms, including the fresh or dried plant, pills, tinctures, and powders. Although herbs are considered natural alternatives to certain drugs and for the most part have a good safety record, they can be equally powerful, as well as toxic. That's why it's vital to consult a knowledgeable herbal expert and to let your primary caregiver know before taking any herbal remedy, either on its own or in combination with other herbs or medications, particularly if you're breastfeeding. Also, since the quality of herbs varies among manufacturers, ask an expert to recommend a brand name.

Your grandmother was probably a big believer in chamomile tea. Some studies have found chamomile to have a mild sedative effect. It's also used to calm the stomach in cases of indigestion, flatulence, gastrointestinal spasms, and inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. The FDA says chamomile is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Sleeping on a pillow stuffed with dried hops (a common ingredient in beer) is a traditional remedy for sleeplessness and nervous conditions. Hops can also be taken as a bitter tea or as a freeze-dried extract in capsule form.

Aromatherapists love lavender. You can sprinkle lavender oil on your pillow or put it in a warm bath with some lemon balm for a soothing aroma that should make you feel sleepy. But not all lavender is tranquilizing: Watch out for Spanish lavender, which can be stimulating.

Lemon balm
Also known as melissa, lemon balm is a sedative and stomach-smoother often used in combination with other sedative herbs. Add 2 or 3 teaspoons of the dried herb to a cup of freshly boiled water and let steep for 5 to 15 minutes for a soothing, good-tasting tea.

Though it sounds like an aphrodisiac (it was named for Christ's passion because of the cross at the center of its flower), this plant is actually a mild sedative. It is usually taken as a tea — about 3 to 6 teaspoonfuls a day, combined with other sedative herbs — for various types of nervous conditions, including insomnia and related disorders. No side effects have been reported.

Generally thought of as an effective and reliable sedative, valerian can help relieve anxiety, insomnia, and nervous irritability. It's not habit-forming and doesn't have any hangover-type side effects. Put 2 to 3 droppersful of tincture made from fresh valerian roots (or 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried valerian root) in hot water for a bedtime time. If the strong smell doesn't appeal to you, try it in capsule form.

Over-the-counter medications
Antihistamines are the operative ingredient in most over-the-counter sleep medications. Benadryl (whose active ingredient is also found in Tylenol PM) and Chlor-Trimeton, two of the most common types of antihistamines available in drugstores, also have a sedative effect. They're not addictive, but dizziness, dry mouth, and next-day drowsiness are potential side effects. Over-the-counter sleep aids, such as Sominex and Unisom, contain antihistamines and can also leave you with a "hangover" effect the next day. Pregnant and nursing women should check with a doctor before taking any of these products. They're not recommended for chronic insomnia, so don't take them for more than two weeks at a time.

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone often touted as a cure for jet lag and insomnia. It's available in most health food stores in synthetic and natural forms (usually from sheep), but little is known about its safety, side effects, interactions with drugs, and long-term effects. Women who are trying to conceive, are pregnant, or are nursing a baby should not take melatonin.

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