Monday, 30 November 2009

Healthy sleep for your baby and child

Sleep is very important to your child’s health and well-being. Children who do not get enough sleep may have trouble getting through the day and, later, settling at night. Good sleep habits start from birth.

How much sleep does my child need?
Every child is different; some sleep a lot and others much less. This chart is a general guide to the amount of sleep children need over a 24-hour period, including nighttime sleep and naps.

Newborns (birth to 6 months)
16 hours a day (3 to 4 hours at a time)

Older babies (6 months to 1 year)
14 hours

Toddlers (1 to 3 years)
10-13 hours

Preschoolers (3 to 5 years)
10-12 hours

Newborns (birth to 6 months)
Newborns may sleep as much as 16 hours a day, for 3 to 4 hours at a time. It’s normal and healthy for babies to wake up during the night to feed. As your baby gets older, she will stay awake longer during the day and sleep for longer stretches at night.

Babies, just like adults, need the right cues to learn when it is time to sleep. For example, if you always put your baby in her crib to sleep she will learn to understand that this is the place where she sleeps. Even if it doesn’t work right away, over time your baby will come to understand.

Sometime after 3 months, your baby’s sleep habits will become more predictable and you can start developing a regular nap schedule. Trust your baby’s cues – she will let you know when she is tired. A sleep diary might help you to recognize a regular sleeping pattern.

Try to develop a naptime routine. It might include a regular, quiet cuddle time in a darkened room before it is time to nap. By 4 months, most babies need three naps a day, one in the morning, afternoon and early evening.

Healthy sleep for your newborn:

An over-tired baby will have more trouble sleeping. Napping actually helps a baby to sleep better at night, so keeping your baby awake during the day will not make your baby sleep longer at night.
Put your baby in bed when he is drowsy but awake. Remember to put him to sleep on his back in his crib using a firm flat surface, clear of soft items like pillows and stuffed animals.
It is okay to cuddle and rock your baby. You cannot spoil a newborn baby by holding him.
A pacifier might be comforting and help your baby to settle. However, never start using a pacifier until breastfeeding is going well.
Your baby will stir during the night. Give him a few minutes to try and settle on his own before going to him.
Avoid stimulation during nighttime feedings and diaper changes. Keep the lights dim.
Babies (6 months to 1 year)
At this age, babies will sleep an average of 14 hours in a day, but anything less or more can be normal for your baby. By this time you should have a fairly regular routine of naptimes, bedtime and wake times.

During this period your baby will probably change from 3 naps a day to 2, longer naps in the morning and afternoon. Every baby’s napping needs are different. Some nap for as little as 20 minutes at a time while others for 3 or more hours.

Healthy sleep for your older babies:

Maintain regular daytime and bedtime sleep schedules as much as possible.
A consistent bedtime routine is important. Many parents like to use the “3 Bs”: have a warm bath, read a book and settle into bed.
Avoid putting your baby to bed with a bottle.
If your baby wakes at night and cries, go to her to ensure there is nothing wrong such as being too cold or too warm, but don’t take her out of the crib. Comfort her by stroking her forehead or talking softly to reassure her that you are there.
Toddlers (1 to 3 years)
Most toddlers sleep between 10 and 13 hours in a 24-hour period. Sometime between 2 and 3 years your toddler will probably drop a nap, or will have some days when he needs a nap and others when he doesn’t. At this age many children experience sleep problems and resist going to bed.

Healthy sleep for toddlers:

Keep your toddler on a predictable sleep schedule. The bedtime routine that you established during the first year will be even more important for your toddler.
Naps should not be too late in the day as they can affect nighttime sleeping.
Avoid offering your child something to drink before bedtime. A full bladder can interrupt good nighttime sleeping.
Start to help your child wind down about a half hour before bedtime, ideally at the same time each day.
Be gentle but firm if your child protests.
Make the bedroom quiet, cozy, and conducive to sleeping.
Soft, soothing music might be comforting.
Security items (such as a blanket or stuffed animal) may become important at this age.
Preschoolers (3 to 5 years)
Preschoolers typically sleep about 10 to 12 hours a day. Children give up daytime naps during this period, some as early as 3 years. Consider using naptime as a quiet time for your child to read and relax. It’s common for preschoolers to wake up during the night, and to have nighttime fears or nightmares.

Healthy sleep for preschoolers:

Avoid stimulants, such as drinks with caffeine.
Avoid television before bedtime. Don’t allow your child to have a television, computer or video games in his bedroom.
Some children will try to delay bedtime. Set limits, such as how many books you will read, and be sure your child knows what they are.
Tuck your child into bed snugly for a feeling of security.
Don’t ignore bedtime fears. If your child has nightmares, reassure and comfort him.
What are some common sleep problems?

Sleep deprivation: Some children do not get enough sleep. If your child is fussy, cranky or has difficulty staying asleep at night it might be because she isn’t having enough nap time or is not going to bed early enough.
Separation issues: Your child may have difficulty relaxing and going to sleep if she feels upset that you are not there. An extra long cuddle before bedtime, a security object such as a blanket or stuffed animal, or leaving her door open when you put her to bed may help.
Nightmares: Most children will experience nightmares at one time or another. Nightmares can happen after a stressful physical or emotional event or can be caused by fever. Your child may call out to you for comfort. Talk calmly, cuddle and reassure your child.

When should I talk to my doctor?

Loud snoring
: If your child is snoring loudly on a regular basis, this may be a sign of a problem. Talk to your child’s doctor.
Sleepwalking: Sleepwalking is a disorder where a child awakens partly, but not completely, during the night. The child may sit up in bed and repeat certain movements, such as rubbing his eyes. He may get out of bed and walk around the room. When you talk to your child, he usually will not answer you. If your child sleepwalks it is important that you ensure the area is safe. Gently guide your child back to bed without waking him. If the problem continues, contact your doctor.
Night terrors: These are different from nightmares. Children with night terrors scream uncontrollably, may breathe quickly and appear to be awake. If you wake them, they are likely to be confused, and may take longer to settle down and go back to sleep. They usually occur between the ages of 4 and 12, but can happen to children as young as 18 months. Most children will outgrow them, but if they persist talk to your doctor.

Snack Foods For Your Baby

There are times when your baby may need some snack foods. Healthy snack foods for baby are great foods to take with you when you're running errands, at a playgroup or when traveling with your baby.

Our Travel with Homemade Baby Food talks about how you might pack homemade baby food when you go on vacation either via air, train or car; and when you will be staying in a hotel or even camping. Snack foods for babies can be made ahead of time and used for all sorts of travel.

What to Pack in Your Snack Pack -

Fruits - My snackpack always included a banana, an apple, a pear in ziplock bags. Bagging is important so that the fruits don't smoosh all over your diaper or hand bag. Try baking some apples and then dice them; they make for good finger foods to travel.
Veggies - Soft cooked veggies make for great travel and take-along foods. Steam up some veggies and freeze in small portions. You can offer your baby these veggies at room temperature or warm them up.
Sippy Cup
Mesh Feeder - Great for babies who cannot handle finger foods well. Peel a banana or other fruit and toss it into the mesh feeder for a quick snack.
Homemade Baby Teething Biscuits or Baby Cereal Cookies
Oatie O's - skip the Gerber Puffs and other foods that have additives including added sugar
Make Ahead Meals for the Snack Pack

Create little meals and freeze them in individual containers. This is particularly helpful if you know you are going to have a busyweek out and about. For example, try chunks of apple, shreds of chicken and cheese mixed with some rice.

Leave the containers to thaw overnight in the fridge and you have a great take-a-long meal.

Baby Formula

Of course, breastmilk is best for just about all babies.
So when choosing a baby formula, you should first think about the more important choice of whether to breastfeed or give formula.

If you are thinking about a formula to use to supplement your breastfeeding baby or because breastfeeding isn't going well, try to get some help from your Pediatrician or a lactation consultant before you start giving your baby formula.

Choosing a Baby Formula
Once you decide that you are going to feed your baby formula, you have the difficult choice of which one to use.

If you include all of the different store brands of formula, there are literally 100's of different formulas to choose from.

What makes them all different?

What should influence your choice?

The most important thing to keep in mind is that all infant formulas are regulated by the FDA and so the 'safety and nutritional quality of infant formulas are ensured by requiring that manufacturers follow specific procedures in manufacturing infant formulas.' Under the Infant Formula Act, all formulas marketed in the United States must meet minimum nutrient requirements.

So any baby formula you buy should be safe and provide all of the nutrition your baby needs.

Each formula company has their own proprietary formulation or 'recipe' for making their formula, so all baby formulas aren't the same though.

Baby Formula Prices
In addition to having different 'recipes,' it is easy to see that the various brands of baby formula have different prices.

Should you let price influence your choice of buying a formula?

Sure. Buying baby formula is a significant cost for a family (and highlights one of the benefits of breastfeeding), so you should consider the price of a formula when making a choice of which one to buy.

That doesn't mean that you should simply buy the most expensive or the cheapest formula though. Just keep in mind that since all brands of baby formula must meet the minimum nutrient requirements of the FDA, a more expensive formula isn't necessarily 'better' than a cheaper formula.

And would you feel more comfortable buying a store brand formula, which are generally less expensive than name brand formulas, like Enfamil Lipil, Similac Advance, or Nestle Good Start Supreme, if they simply raised the price a few dollars?

Baby Formula Differences
There aren't really any convincing studies that prove that one formula is better than another, so you kind of have to go by what the formula companies say about their 'recipes' and see what works for you.

Among the major brands of formula:

Enfamil Lipil
is one of the latest formulas from Mead Johnson, which 'has been dedicated to patterning infant formula after the nutritional composition of breast milk.' It provides a 'whey-to-casein ratio of 60:40. Just like breast milk' and they claim that 'no other formula is closer to breast milk than Enfamil LIPIL.'

Nestle Good Start Supreme contains 100% whey, partially hydrolyzed 'comfort proteins' that are supposed to be easier to digest. It is also supposed to have a faster gastric emptying time, which may help children with reflux, and promote soft stools, which may help infants who are constipated. Instead of creating a formula that is like breastmilk in composition, they seem to be trying to make a formula that behaves like breastmilk.

Similac Advance is made without palm olein oil, which they claim helps their formula promote increased calcium absorption and greater bone mineralization. Similac Advance also contains 'special breast milk nutrients called nucleotides' that are supposed 'to help support the development of a baby's immune system,' however, even their website says that 'whether this development provides immune protection like breast milk has not been shown.' And all formulas contain nucleotides.

Store Brand Formula, like from Albertsons (Baby Basics), Target (Healthy Baby), and Wal-mart (Parent's Choice), are made by Wyeth Nutrition and are based on the old SMA formula. They provide a 'nutritionally complete, sensibly priced formula option' for parents.

First Ugandan "Healthy Baby" born

Kampala - It was all smiles for the midwives and the mother who recently gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, using the new MSI Uganda Healthy Baby vouchers to claim her medical assistance.

Jeninah Komugisha, 35 and pregnant with her fifth child, walked into the Angella Domiciliary Clinic with labour pains, showed her Healthy Baby voucher to midwives and requested assistance. A few hours later, and she was the mother of a beautiful, healthy baby girl. “I feel very grateful to the Healthy Baby scheme…. there are many more mothers who ordinarily would find it difficult to access such facilities when delivering simply because they lack the money,” said Jeninah.

The HB scheme is part of the wider output-Based Aid (OBA) initiative in Uganda, which financially empowers patients to make choices about where they receive their healthcare. The vouchers are part of Phase II of the initiative. Phase I, which began in 2006, provides vouchers for STI diagnosis and treatment and to date over 26,000 treatment episodes have been reimbursed through the STI OBA voucher programme.

Under the HB scheme women like Jeninah purchase a voucher for 3,000 Ugandan shillings (approximately US$1.50) from a network of Community Based Workers (CBW).

Having purchased a voucher the woman then submits it to her chosen healthcare provider in return for four antenatal visits, delivery services (including surgery if needed), and one postnatal visit. The scheme targets the very poorest in the community to ensure that they have access to quality services and providers that they would otherwise not have.

In turn, the healthcare provider submits the completed claim form and voucher to MSI Uganda, who, as the scheme’s management agency, pays the hospital or clinic for the cost of services provided to the woman. MSI Uganda also manages the distribution of the vouchers, activities and information to encourage behaviour, fraud control, quality assurance, and provider accreditation.

The project is a public/private partnership with the Ugandan Ministry of Health, with funding provided through the German Development Bank (KfW) and the Global Partnership for Output Based Aid (GPOBA), a World Bank Trust. “It is wonderful to have welcomed the first OBA baby into the world,” said Christine Namayanja, Programme Director of MSI Uganda. “Since then, five other babies have been born! The HB scheme is proving to be a great success.”

Aasha Pai, Regional Director, East & Southern Africa, said, “This is great news. MSI Uganda has worked hard to expand this project and this is what it’s all for: to increase access and choice for women who seek a safe delivery. There’s increasing interest in OBA approaches from donors and governments to make aid more transparent, and there’s so much other MSI Partners can learn from MSI Uganda’s experiences.”

The Healthy Way

Pregnancy, Prenatals, Healthy Baby - What You Need to Know

Pregnancy is a critical time. The female body is changing and that the child is in creating new demands on the body of the mother. You want to do everything you can do to make sure that your baby is healthy and has a good start in life.

Some birth defects have been associated with a lack of vitamins and minerals. How can you get proper prenatal vitamins to ensure healthy pregnancy? If only you trust your doctor or need to know more? If prenatal and post pregnancy? We examined in greater depth a mother, you should know before and after pregnancy.

Pregnancy is a critical time, and we want to do everything possible to ensure the matrix provide the “right” of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids for a healthy pregnancy. Pregnancy and breastfeeding place high demands on your body and can result in omega-3 fatty acids. The goal of each stage of pregnancy with a good balance of nutrients.

Studies have shown that mothers are having the recommended amount of DHA during pregnancy, babies with attention span increased over the first two years of life. The benefits of taking omega-3 DHA before, during and after pregnancy are truly amazing.

Remember that your baby takes what it needs to first develop and grow, and so your body can change when you are not always enough vitamins and minerals needed during pregnancy is necessary.

Healthy Baby

All vitamins, minerals, all nutrients have an important role to play now for you and your growing baby. The development of your baby’s development depends. Vitamins to build your baby’s bones and teeth and make sure your baby a healthy start in life.

Eating a variety of healthy foods is important, but with hectic schedules, morning sickness and changing nutritional needs of your developing baby can be difficult to achieve a good balance of nutrition. Diet is also crucial in the recovery and care for their newborns.

Prenatal vitamins

Prenatal Vitamins are nutrients that help to fully support and nourish your growing child and your body during pregnancy. As prenatal vitamins are best for your company? What are you looking at prenatal vitamins?

Prenatal vitamin supplements are vitamin supplements, a woman must take each day to ensure it receives adequate amounts of essential nutrients during pregnancy. Prenatal nutrition is important, but can cause nausea and vomiting, women, food and important nutrients as a balanced diet and prenatal vitamins jump.

Just take some vitamins common in the pharmacy is not enough for a healthy pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins contain important nutrients in stronger dose of regular multivitamin supplements (even if this formulation for women). Vitamin rather not take the place of eating nutritious, but it can balance the scales in your favor, and her baby. Researchers at the University of Maryland found that many commonly prescribed prenatal vitamins do not dissolve and which leads to poor absorption of nutrients.

March of Dimes reports that birth defects of the spine, skull and brain, such as spina bifida and anencephaly, are more likely if the mother does not receive enough folic acid in the first weeks of pregnancy — even before they know you are pregnant.

Prenatal vitamins may reduce the risk of childhood cancer and the intake of omega fish oil has been linked to higher IQ in children. New research at the School of Medicine, Boston University, recommends a higher intake of vitamin D, like so many others are deficient. Women with vitamin D were associated with frequency of milk consumption and its use are prenatal vitamins.

The increased concentration of zinc and vitamin B6 may increase immunities necessary for pregnancy and sufficient B6 has been shown that children offer the benefits of growth. The B-vitamin can neural tube defects if taken to avoid early pregnancy, especially in the first quarter. Zinc promotes growth and normal development during pregnancy.

Calcium and magnesium are important during pregnancy. A good prenatal vitamin should folic acid and calcium, including nutrients that are important for a healthy pregnancy and baby. In the last trimester of pregnancy, skeletal growth is higher calcium and the fetus directly to the parent company. In addition, studies have shown that supplying adequate calcium during pregnancy may reduce blood pressure and reduce the incidence of premature birth. Magnesium promotes strong bones and may help maintain normal blood pressure and muscle comfort during pregnancy.
Folic acid is the prenatal supplement most commonly prescribed for the month before becoming pregnant as well and is essential for health and child growth, especially for brain functions.

The female body’s requirement for vitamin C during pregnancy more of this vitamin promotes the normal growth of the baby and supports building strong bones and teeth. It is also compatible with the absorption of important nutrients during pregnancy: iron.

Iron is recommended that the mother suffers from anemia due to the demand of the baby is configured to prevent the absorption of iron. Iron is an essential mineral and is responsible for supporting the mother and the child’s blood to carry oxygen. Iron deficiency can cause serious birth defects for the baby.

Women have an increased need for biotin during pregnancy, and biotin deficiency may occur in up to 50 per cent of pregnant women. This deficiency may increase the risk of abnormalities.

Adequate vitamin A help to promote the health of babies by promoting the growth and normal development of the embryo and fetus and supporting genes that determine the sequential development of organs in embryonic development. Beta-carotene is a plant nutrient that the body will be converted into vitamin A.

Prenatal vitamins can be taken after pregnancy, a balanced supplement to offer. With the tight schedule of the mother and lack of time, prenatal vitamins are a perfect choice for a supplement regime after pregnancy.

Pregnancy proper prenatal and maternity leave is essential.

Developmental milestones: Talking


When it develops

How it develops

What comes next

Your role

When to be concerned


Your baby will gradually learn to use words to describe what she sees, hears, feels, and thinks as she makes mental, emotional, and behavioural leaps. Researchers now know that long before a baby utters her first word, she's learning the rules of language and how adults use it to communicate.

When it develops


Children learn to talk during their first two years of life. Your baby will begin by using her tongue, lips, palate, and any emerging teeth to make sounds (ooh and ahhs in the first month or two; babbling starts shortly thereafter). Soon those sounds become real words ("mama" and "dada" may slip out and bring tears to your eyes as early as four to five months). From then on your baby will pick up more words from you, your partner, and everyone else around her. And between one and two years, she'll begin to form two- to three-word sentences.

How it develops

Your child's wail at birth is her first foray into the world of language. She's expressing the shock of being out of the confines of the womb and in a new and unfamiliar place. From then on, she's absorbing sounds, tones, and words that later shape the way she speaks.

Talking is inextricably linked to hearing. By listening to others speak, your baby learns what words sound like and how sentences are structured. In fact, many researchers believe the work of understanding language begins while a baby is in utero. Just as your unborn baby got used to the steady beat of your heart, she tuned into the sound of your voice. Just days after birth, she was able to discern your voice among others.

One to three months
Your child's first form of communication is crying. A piercing scream may mean she's hungry, while a whimpering, staccato cry may signal that she needs a nappy change. As she gets older, she'll develop a delightful repertoire of gurgles, sighs, and coos, becoming a mini sound factory. As for her ability to understand lanugage, linguists say babies as young as four weeks can distinguish between similar syllables, such as "ma" and "na."

Four months
At this stage, your child will start to babble, combining consonants and vowels (such as "baba" or "yaya"). The first "mama" or "dada" may slip out now and then, and though it's sure to melt your heart, your baby doesn't quite yet equate those words with you. That comes later, when she's almost a year old.

Her attempts at talking will sound like stream of consciousness monologues in another language, endless words strung together. Vocalisation is a game to your baby, who is experimenting with using her tongue, teeth, palate, and vocal chords to make all sorts of funny noises. At this stage, babbling sounds the same, whether you speak English, French, or Japanese in your home. You may notice your child favouring certain sounds ("ka" or "da," for example), repeating them over and over because she likes the way they sound and how her mouth feels when she says them.

Six to nine months
When she babbles and vocalises, she'll sound as if she's making sense now. That's because she's using tones and patterns similar to the ones you use. Foster your baby's babbling by reading to her.

12 to 17 months
She's using one or more words and knows what they mean. She'll even practise inflection, raising her tone when asking a question, saying "Up-py?" when she wants to be carried, for example. She's realising the importance of talking and how powerful it is to be able to communicate her needs.

18 to 24 months
Her vocabulary may include as many as 200 words now, many of which are nouns. Between 18 and 20 months, children learn words at a rate of 10 or more a day. Some learn new words every 90 minutes, so watch your language. She'll even string two words together, making basic sentences such as "Carry me." By the time she's two, she'll use three-word sentences and sing simple tunes. Her sense of self will mature, and she'll start talking about herself -- what she likes and doesn't, what she thinks and feels. Pronouns may confuse her, and you may catch her avoiding them, saying "Baby throw" instead of "I throw."

25 to 36 months
She'll struggle for a while to find the appropriate volume to use when talking, but she'll learn soon enough. She's also starting to get the hang of pronouns, such as I, me, and you. Between ages two and three, her vocabulary will increase to up to 300 words. She'll string nouns and verbs together to form complete though simple sentences such as "I go now."

By the time she turns three, your child will be a more sophisticated talker. She'll be able to carry on a sustained conversation and adjust her tone, speech patterns, and vocabulary to her conversation partner. For instance, she'll use simpler words with another child, but be more verbal with you. By now she may be almost completely intelligible. She'll be fluent at saying her name and her age, and will readily oblige when asked.

What comes next

As your child grows, she'll become more of a chatterbox. You'll scarcely remember the time when she hardly spoke at all, and you'll enjoy hearing about what projects she did at playgroup, what her friend Cassie had for lunch, what she thinks about Cinderella's wicked stepmother, and anything else that occupies her mind. She'll also start to tackle the more complicated skill of writing.

Your role

It's simple: talk to your child. Research shows that children whose parents spoke to them extensively when they were babies have significantly higher IQs than other children. Their vocabularies are also richer than those of kids who didn't receive much verbal stimulation. You can start as early as when you're pregnant, so your baby gets used to the sound of your voice. Read a book out loud or sing to your baby when you are in the bath. When the baby's born, talk to her as you change her nappy, feed, or bathe her, and give her time to respond with a smile or eye to eye contact. At around five months, you may notice her watching your mouth intently. Keep talking, and soon she'll start trying to talk back.

Baby talk has its place, but also speak in real sentences. Your child will learn to speak well only if you teach her to do so. You don't have to avoid using complicated words. While you may need to simplify the way you talk so your child will understand what you mean, the best way for her to expand her vocabulary is to hear you using new words. The same goes for toddlers and preschoolers, whose language skills will continue to grow as long as you continue to stimulate them with conversation.

Reading is a great way to help develop your child's language skills. Babies will delight in the sound of your voice, toddlers will enjoy the stories, and preschoolers may even jump in to tell you what's going on in a book.

When to be concerned

Babies with hearing problems stop babbling at around six months. If yours isn't making any sounds (or even attempting to) or eye contact with you, consult your doctor. While some kids start forming words at nine months, many will wait until they are 13 or 14 months. If your child isn't saying any words by 15 months, or you still can't understand a word she's saying, discuss the matter with your doctor or health visitor.

If by age three your child continues to drop consonants (saying "ca" for "cat," for example) or substitute one sound or syllable for another (saying "car" as "tar", for example, or "fish" as "sish"), she may have a speech or hearing problem. Talk to your GP or health visitor, who can arrange for her to be assessed.

All toddlers sometimes stammer and stutter from time to time. Sometimes they're so excited to tell you what's on their mind that they can't get the words out easily. Allow her to finish her sentences, and avoid jumping in to help her out. That can feel like a put-down and won't help her learning.

However, a persistent stutter should be checked out by a speech and language therapist. A child will usually make best progress if he is seen in the first six to 12 months after the stutter is first noticed, regardless of his age. You could ask your GP for a referral, but most speech and language therapy departments will also accept referrals directly from concerned parents.

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