Breast feeding and colic in your baby – Foods to avoid

Over 40% of babies suffer from colic.  It is normally considered to be colic if a baby cries for a period of up to three hours a day for more than three days a week.  Colic is not a clinical term as there is no common cause.  There are a variety of reasons why babies are thought to get colic they vary from intestinal gas, muscle cramps, allergies due to the foodstuffs Mum eats and even anxiety in the Mum herself.

Colic normally develops at three weeks and continues until about six weeks.

So what can a breastfeeding Mum do to help with colic?

  • Colic can develop when a baby  does not have a good latch as the baby will be gulping  in air as she feeds.  So make sure you get yourself really comfortable before breastfeeding,  sit  on a comfortable chair and have lots of pillows to lift the baby to your breast.  Bring your baby to your breast and then ensure that as much of the aereola is in the babies mouth as possible!  If you are struggling talk to a lactation consultant they can help or check with a friend who also breast fed.  Remember bottle fed babies get colic too so it may not just be you!
  • Breast milk changes throughout a feed with the majority of the fats and calories being given in the hind milk at the latter stages of the feed.  So if you feed from both breasts at one feed then sometimes the baby may not be receiving all the fats that will ensure your baby is fully satisfied.  So consider feeding your baby off one breast until your baby has completely finished.  Even considering putting your baby back to the same breast after he has appeared to finish at one breast so that you ensure that your baby has all the nutrients and calorific content from the feed.  If your baby is still hungry then feed him from the other breast.
  • Your baby may be struggling because your let down reflex may be too powerful and your baby just cant cope with the fast flow of milk.   So if your baby is gagging and choking at the breast consider changing your breast feeding position lying down on your side and feeding or even lying on your back and latching your baby on!  It sounds strange but gravity will be working in your babies favour! Feed your baby before your baby is ravenous so your let down reflex is not quite so strong.  It may be worth considering expressing your milk if you believe this may be the cause and then feeding your baby once the flow has slowed.  You can always feed your baby with the expressed milk by bottle which may reduce the colic but this would be a last resort if you as a Mum want to continue breastfeeding as the baby may find the bottle easier to manage than the breast!
  • Remember to wind your baby if your baby especially take more care if your baby has colic!  I used to put my baby over my shoulder and rub her back.  Or sit your baby on your lap holding her chin and rub her back but try to bring up some wind after a feed if the colic is due to wind this will help.
  • Use your instinct as a breastfeeding Mum. What have you eaten?  May your baby be sensitive to the dairy products in your milk? Although evidence suggests this is very unlikely it is always possible.   Cut dairy products from your diet including the hidden dairy products in processed food for a period of 7 days and then gradually reintroduce the foods and see whether there is a change in your baby.  Could certain fruit or vegetables upset them? There are some suggestions that cutting out all fruit from your diet in the first six weeks will help and other information to cut out certain vegetables and if this helps your baby and you give it a go.  However always ensure that you are still taking on the essential nutrients needed for your baby and you to remain healthy.  I would always suggest talking to  your GP or your dietician if you believe any foodstuffs in your diet are causing the colic in our baby.
  • For me as a breastfeeding Mum though the thing I found most helpful was not to worry I knew two of my babies would be very unsettled in the evenings so I just made time for it.  I would make sure I got all those jobs done that I needed to before my baby became unsettled and then if I needed to feed for two or three hours then I did.  Try really hard not to listen to those people saying oh your milk is no good or you are letting baby rule the roost…this is what you and your baby need!
  • Also evidence suggests that babies who are carried cry less.  Pop your baby in a sling and carry your baby if they seem to get distressed at a certain time of the day!  I also would take them for a walk or even pop them in the baby seat in the car and take the for a drive to settle them…not always possible I know but sometimes anything is worth a try!

Pacifier vs. Thumb Sucking: Which Is the Lesser Evil?

If you’re a first-time or expectant mom, you might be on the fence as to how you’ll help your little one learn to self-soothe. Which prop will you use? It’s the thumb vs. the pacifier and I’m here to help you weigh the pros and cons.

When I was pregnant for the first time, I was staunchly against pacifiers. I can hardly remember all of the reasons why, but breastfeeding interference surely topped the list. I wanted to be as natural as possible and get everything right, like most first-time moms.

Then the baby actually came out and she was colicky. Very, very colicky. Colicky as in my husband and I didn’t eat dinner together or have a complete conversation for the first five months of her life. I actually gave in and tried to plug her with a binkie, but it was too late.

Sometime during her fifth month, she found her thumb. At about the same time, I sleep trained and broke her of her nipple-to-sleep habit. The thumb worked for her. Her little sister followed suit. I was happy! There was no searching for a lost paci in the middle of the night; they both simply slipped their thumbs right back in their mouths.

It wasn’t until they were toddlers that I began to have a problem with thumb sucking. Mall play areas are a favorite spot during the cold winter, but they’re also a hot-bed of germs and viruses. It seemed like after every visit we were all sick for weeks. “Why are your kids sick all of the time?” my mom would ask. Eventually, I came up with the answer — their thumbs.

I’m vigilant about hand-washing, but with the inability to separate my kids from their thumbs, they had them in their mouths before I could even say, “Wash your…” It only got worse after they started school. A cold a month seemed to be a fact of life for us until I finally got them to wash up before plugging their muzzles.

When my son was born, I decided to take immediate action. It was a pacifier for him. He took to it well and stayed healthier than his sisters. When the time came, the pacifier went bye-bye. He missed it, but once it was gone, it was gone. Yet, his sisters still have their thumbs.

So, go for the pacifier, folks. You might wake up a few more times a night, but in the end, it’s a much easier habit to break.

Snoring Problem in Children

There are 84 different ways your sleep can be negatively affected, according to the American Sleep Disorders Association. Insomnia, sleepwalking, talking or eating in your sleep, sleep apnea, bedwetting and snoring are just a few.

Of the 84 ways, snoring is one of the most common problems that affect millions of people throughout the world each night — 35 percent of those people are children.

Experts say children need periods of uninterrupted sleep — it is important for their physical and emotional health as well as growth and development. A good night’s sleep helps children perform better at school, comprehend, problem solve and keep their attention on tasks. However, when a child has a sleep disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (better known as snoring), their sleep patterns may be disrupted, which affects how they function during waking hours.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, no one sleeps through the night without waking — adults or children. From birth until death, people will go through various stages of light and deep sleep, as well as the normal cycles of awakening that occur within. The periods of wakening are brief, so we learn to return to sleep on our own.

In addition, since these episodes are so brief, we oftentimes don’t even remember them in the morning. But when a sleep disruption occurs, our sleep patterns are altered. It becomes harder to fall back to sleep and the amount of deep sleep that we need for our bodies to regenerate is decreased, resulting in sleepiness or tiredness during the day, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

“Our bodies have a rhythm of sleep and waking that they repeat each and every night of our lives,” says Dr. Stephen Sheldon, director of the sleep medicine center at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. “If anything occurs that disrupts this rhythm, then a sleep disorder can occur which complicates how we sleep as well as how we function during the following day.”

So how does snoring cause this alteration in sleep patterns? Sheldon says snoring is “the collapse of the upper airway — usually the throat — during respiration at night because of high resistance in the airway.” As this resistance can make it difficult for a child to breathe easily during sleep, they may wake up abruptly to catch their breath or in some occurrences, the sound they are actually making when trying to get air — snoring — may wake them.

“Two of my three boys have allergies,” says Adam Shoemaker, a father of three from Chester, Va. “They have always snored from time to time so I didn’t think anything about it. But when the oldest began snoring and waking the other two up, I realized that it wasn’t due to the allergies anymore. He would wake himself up, his brothers and at times even me.”

There are various causes for snoring or obstructive sleep apnea. Dr. Sheldon says the most common cause for snoring in children is large tonsils and adenoids. However, there are other causes or conditions that will result in a child’s snoring as well.

“There are a variety of medical conditions that can also attribute to the presence of sleep apnea,” says Sheldon. “Snoring is commonly seen in medical conditions where there is decreased muscle tone such as with Down syndrome. It is commonly seen in children whose jaws are too small. Children who have had a repair of a cleft palate, they are prone to sleep apnea. Children with cerebral palsy or with tumors in their head and neck can also be prone to obstructive sleep apnea or snoring. In addition, children who are overweight and have a larger neck circumference may also snore. We see these children more commonly in the referral center because we are a referral center. However, they are nowhere near the most common cause of sleep disorder breathing; tonsils and adenoids are by far the most common cause.”

“My oldest son has snored since the age of 6,” says Carrie Eichler, a mother of three. “When it began to wake him up every night and he ended up being tired the next day, I knew it was time for him to see a doctor.”

The presence of intermittent snoring — when it only occurs from time to time — does not indicate the presence of obstructive sleep apnea. Children who have frequent chest colds, sore throats or allergies may snore during these times but do not snore on a regular basis. It is the children who tend to snore every night regardless of their health that may need medical intervention, Sheldon says.

The signs and symptoms of snoring or obstructive sleep apnea may help in determining whether or not a child may need medical intervention. These signs and symptoms include:

  • The presence of snoring, whistling or low pitched wheezing coming from the throat during sleep
  • Restless movements or sleeping restlessly
  • Frequent headaches in the morning upon waking
  • Problems with memory or concentration
  • Extreme daytime sleepiness that continues regardless of change in bedtime or waking time

If the signs and symptoms persist longer than a week, parents should seek medical attention and perhaps a referral to a sleep disorder center.

“I think the best place to start is the pediatrician,” says Sheldon. “The pediatrician would do a comprehensive evaluation and would make appropriate recommendations. There are pediatric sleep medical centers available throughout the U.S. They are accredited sleep disorder centers that only see children and specialize in pediatric sleeping disorders.”

The proper diagnosis of a sleep disorder can only be done in a sleep laboratory. Sheldon says there are other means of testing but none that offer a concrete, dependable diagnosis.

“No matter what the other specialists say, there is no other way to clearly diagnose obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) syndrome except with a sleep study — an overnight sleep study in a sleep laboratory,” says Sheldon. “There is no other way to diagnose it as of yet. There are no screening tests, you cannot diagnose by history and home studies are generally inadequate.”

Treatment for snoring or obstructive sleep apnea in children varies depending upon what the determining cause is found to be. The most common cause — enlarged tonsils and adenoids — is treated with a simple surgery to remove the cause. Children who snore because they are overweight are usually put on a moderated diet in an attempt to lesson the stress on the throat. Due to the wide variety of causes, treatment for snoring or obstructive sleep apnea must be individualized based on the results of sleep testing.

“There is no one treatment that is used for all cases of OSA just as there is no one antibiotic used for all illnesses,” says Sheldon. “Parents need to begin by having their child evaluated by their doctor, get a referral to a sleep clinic and then choose the treatment best suited for their child based on the findings. It is not a difficult disorder to treat, just individualized.”

What it all comes down to, Sheldon says, is children need sleep.

“And when something interferes with that needed sleep then it is up to the parents to do all they can to correct whatever problem exists,” he says. “Ask any parent and they will tell you that when kids don’t sleep well, it is not just their sleep that suffers.”


7 Tips for Fathers to Make More Time for Baby

Previous generations of fathers worked tirelessly to provide for their families but played a negligible role when it came to baby care. Today’s more involved dad faces a unique challenge: He needs to work just as hard as his predecessor but at the same time is expected to help take care of the adorable creature who has just entered the family fold.

Maintaining progress in one’s life and career while being a modern dad can be tricky, but, with a little planning and a lot of effort, it can be done. Here are 7 tips to help you make time for Baby without losing momentum in other areas.

1. Quality Doesn’t Mean Length

Many fathers mistakenly think they need to spend long periods with their babies to forge a bond. This couldn’t be more false. Even brief interactions serve as building blocks in your relationship. Five minutes of singing, three minutes of making funny faces and even 30 seconds of just staring into the baby’s eyes makes a difference. And there’s no reason you can’t integrate the baby into your normal routine. If you don’t want to give up reading the stock quotes in the morning paper, why not read them to your newborn?

“Infants couldn’t care less whether you’re reading an exciting novel or the yellow pages,” says Armin Brott, author of The New Father: A Dad’s Guide to the First Year . “They just like hearing your voice.” Instead of poring over the financial section while downing your bowl of cereal, make up a funny poem about the baby instead. Your stocks won’t change over breakfast, but you might miss an unforgettable smile.

2. Reserve Daddy Time

Making time for Baby can be complicated when Mom is in full swing, as you may feel like you’re throwing a wrench into her carefully planned routine. That’s why it’s important to establish times when you take the baby alone for a walk around the neighborhood, a ride in the car or even to mail a letter or pick up a few items from the grocery store.

“During each of my kids’ first year, I tried to take him or her out for a weekly breakfast to bond a little,” says David Fabian, father of 4-year-old Matthew and 2-year-old Jillian from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. “It didn’t matter that they couldn’t hold a conversation yet. It was time just for us, and that benefited our relationship later.”

3. Stick to It

When you do schedule time to be with Baby, treat that time as sacred. If you have a Monday morning deadline, commit to getting it done but not during the special time with your son or daughter. If Tuesdays and Thursdays are your nights to give the baby his bottle, don’t try to get out of it because you feel tired. (Your partner is twice as tired.) If you say you’ll bathe the baby when you get home from work, don’t walk through the door announcing that you need to keep plowing ahead on the Peterson file.

During your reserved baby time, make it all about him and you. Shut down the laptop, power off the cell phone and place aside the Palm Pilot. Instead, savor this private time. Relish the way the wondrous little creature gazes into your eyes with unconditional love and appreciation. Show him some comical expressions or sing a song in an exaggerated manner. It’s a good bet one little grin is going to make you forget your e-mail even exists.

4. Don’t Define Quality Time Narrowly

When it’s 4 a.m. and you’re changing a diaper so Mommy can catch an extra 10 minutes of sleep, you might think Baby barely notices. Wrong.

“Infants appreciate the differences in scent, skin texture [and] resonance of voice as well as the handling differences between moms and dads,” says Dr. Lillian Beard, associate clinical professor of pediatrics at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. In other words, your baby not only recognizes but loves your hairy knuckles and clumsy diapering technique. So appreciate those special middle-of-the-night minutes you put in: They represent time during which you both give a critical break to your partner and grow closer together.

“Never pass up an opportunity to do the mundane stuff,” says Brott. “It’s not particularly glamorous to change diapers, but even those few minutes are great opportunities for Dad to get to know Baby and for Baby to get to know Dad.”

5. Seek Creative Ways to Manipulate Your Schedule

Employers today are nearly as sensitive to new dads as they are to new moms. Maybe you can come in earlier and leave earlier a few days per week, allowing you some precious afternoon hours with the baby. Maybe you can work from home every Friday, turning your usual commuting hour into a Dr. Seuss or Curious George reading hour (which is way more fun).

Finally, taking some paternity leave – unless you feel it will seriously hinder your career and thus prove damaging to your family – is a great way to bond with your newborn, says Dr. Beard. Even a week of getting to know your baby at the beginning of her life will make a significant difference in the long run.

6. Take It a Step at a Time

The job of caring for a baby is more difficult than any other in part because it involves so many different aspects. No one can be expected to master them all at once (OK, mothers can, but no one else), so try to use your time with Baby to get the hang of one element at a time, ultimately making yourself a more effective father.

Force yourself to change as many diapers as possible during the course of a weekend. After that, practice boiling and preparing bottles every evening from Monday to Friday. Then commit to learning at least three new baby songs by the first of the following month. The more you throw yourself into these separate tasks, the more you’ll learn about your baby’s preferences, tendencies and cues. You’ll be surprised how far a little self-imposed immersion goes.

7. Don’t Wait until the Baby Arrives to Start Bonding

Your easiest, and least disruptive, opportunity to bond with Baby may be the period when he or she is still in your partner’s tummy. Even if you have to work late on a given day and don’t come to bed until after midnight, you can still sing the baby a little tune, give it a gentle rub or just tell it about your day before you drift off, too.Even if there’s a belly between you and Baby, don’t think the interaction isn’t meaningful. Research shows that unborn babies recognize and respond to different sounds in the womb and can distinguish between light and dark. Making time for Baby before he arrives also can mean blocking out time in your work schedule to attend ultrasounds, join your partner for prenatal checkups or help with stroller or crib shopping. And watch out – you just might enjoy it.

Best Nappy Disposal Bins in UK

Babies create lots of messy diapers in their first years, so you’ll need an easy, effective way to dispose of all that mess. There is no reason why you should not have a handy nappy disposable bin to help you do your job well!  If not, you will be constantly changing the wastebasket whenever you have a soiled diaper to keep odors down.  Whether you choose a simple trash can or a high-tech, odor-eliminating diaper disposal system, there’s a diaper pail out there to meet almost anyone’s needs and budget.

Quick Comparison Chart

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What to look for when choosing a nappy bin

As you know, changing a poopy, stinky diaper is probably not the highlight of your day, but it must be done. What you really need is a way to keep those dirty diapers out of sight and out of mind easily.

Odor control and convenience are extremely important to have in a diaper disposal system, but which one is the very best? You want something that is best suited to your needs to help you stay as close to the baby as possible while changing them. If you have to bend down too much it might become difficult and at the same time you should not have problems opening up the top cover.

While it is true you do not want to spend an arm and a leg on the newest and hottest nappy bin, you still want something that works well enough to make your life just a little bit easier.

How Does the System Work?

Take a few minutes to examine the nappy disposal bin and note how the system works. Does it use special bags that seal the diapers into an individual space? Does it use standard trash bags and an air filter to reduce smell? Do you want to purchase extra bags and accessories in order to make your diaper disposal system work? For some parents, buying these extras is not a hassle, but some find it frustrating. Also be sure that you can operate any moving parts easily, as some nappy bins have a top that you must flip or turn to dispose of the diaper.

What is the Capacity?

Changing the bag in your baby’s nappy bin is not going to be pleasant no matter which system you choose. Some nappy bins may have small bags that require daily changing. Other diaper disposal systems have large capacities that allow you to wait several days to change the bag. Each side has its own disadvantage – you either get to deal with the nappy bin daily, or you deal with increased stinkiness and more diapers a few days later.

Will It Really Keep Your Nursery Odor-Free?

Some nappy disposal bins really do a great job of keeping the diaper smell from escaping into the nursery, so a high-tech nappy bin is a worthy purchase for some parents. It’s hard to keep the smells from happening altogether, though, so if the diaper disposable system keeps odors from escaping, you can imagine that when it’s time to change the bag, the smells have collected inside the bin and sometimes don’t want to leave at that point. A stick-on deodorizer or some crumpled newspapers left in the bin for a few days may help, but the bin is full of smelly diapers, after all, so you can’t expect it to smell like roses.

Easy to use

This is another factor that you should look when buying a nappy disposal bins. Most nappy bins function in two different ways:

  1. Diapers are pushed through an opening and past a clamp-like device.
  2. Diapers are placed in an opening, and then you need to move a handle which pushes the diaper down into the bin.

For dry use with disposable diapers, only a regular trash bag is necessary. But be aware that cotton diapers that are wet will require at least a double bag. Most wet diaper bag holders are sealed, which is not the same as a normal trash bag.

The most popular features of the best diaper pails include foot pedals for one hand use, sealed lids to prevent smells, deodorizing disks or charcoal filters, and easy bag removal.

Nappy Bin Odor – How to Deodorize

Nappy disposal bins after a while smells very nasty. There has been many a parent who choked and gagged her way to setting out the weekly garbage. What’s worse – after a while the stench seems to infest the bin itself and the thing stinks even when it is empty. While there is no fool-proof way of keeping your diaper pails smelling like something other than a diaper pail, there are some things that you can do to help keep stinky odors at bay.

Be Proactive – Prevent Smelly Nappy Bins

The first thing that you should do to keep that aroma from knocking you off your feet is prevent it from becoming a huge problem. There are several things you can do in this regard:

  1. Use nappy bins with a plastic liner.
  2. Throw poopy diapers directly out in your outside trash can or plop the poop right into the toilet before tossing in the nappy bin.
  3. Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of the bin and pinch in a little at every diaper change.
  4. Take the diapers out to the outdoor trash and treat you nappy bin to a dousing of an antibacterial spray, like Lysol, at the end of the day.
  5. If baking soda isn’t helping to cut back the odor, try tossing other strong-smelling items in the bottom to help mask the odor. A per-measured coffee filter, a few whole cloves, a drier sheet. You might be surprised that one of those helps.

Getting the Smell Out of Nappy Bins

Once the odor has leached into the porous plastic of the bin, it can be very difficult to evacuate that unwanted smell. While it can be done, the problem is that some of the chemicals used might erode the plastic of the pail. Obviously, they can be harsh to use on both the pail and the person nominated to do the cleaning. Always test out an area of the plastic first and use wise safety and handling precautions with cleaners.

You can try and sanitize your pail with good, old-fashioned chlorine bleach. Take the pail outside with a bottle of bleach and a large resealable bag (like the Ziploc bags used for storage of large items). Pour the bleach over the bin, coating it inside and out. Seal up the bag and let the bin steep in the cleaner for a day or two.

Be sure to open the bag up outdoors, being mindful that the bleach doesn’t get on to your grass or plants. Give it a good scrub and hose down. Hopefully, that will have been what you needed to combat the smell.


Is Your Kid Latch-Key Material?

There is no affordable after-school program in your area. Your 10-year-old has been nagging you to let her/him come home alone after school. Soccer practice only happens twice a week. So you have begun to consider having your child come home alone after school. But when and how should you start? How can you make it work? Different families will need different rules, but parents and educators offer some tips for finding your own solutions.

Consider the Age
In her workshop, “The Unsupervised Child,” Patricia Mayer, vice president of the San Diego-based Parents Institute for Quality Education, tells parents there is no set legal age for leaving a child home alone in California. But she suggests that most children under 12 should not be left unsupervised for long periods.

Note: You should check the legal rules in your state before letting your kids be alone after school.  In certain states, there are set legal ages for this.

Know Your Child
Rona Renner, host of Childhood Matters (a weekly Bay Area parenting radio show), emphasizes the importance of temperament in deciding whether a child is ready for self-care. “Children usually considered shy or sensitive typically need more preparation. They might need time to slowly adapt to the change. They might need just A, B, or C to be OK. This might be a favorite video or music—whatever may increase their comfort level.”

She recommends starting by leaving a kid alone for shorter amounts of time, like half an hour, and paying attention to how the child seems when you get back. “I started leaving my son home alone for 15 minutes max when he was 10,” says Watsonville mom Rita Moreno, “but I noticed sometimes when we came back he was very anxious. You have to be very careful, because for some children, being alone a short while can seem an eternity.” Because of her son’s “very sensitive” nature, “after I got home I made it a point to talk to him about his feelings.”

Moreno’s second son, a “spirited child,” shows more curiosity and confidence. Because such a child “will get easily bored and restless,” she notes the importance of making very clear rules, such as “Don’t go into the yard alone.” David Valladolid, president of the Parents Institute, recalls that at age 12 his daughter began “rebellions against the babysitter, calling her grandmother to complain, almost demanding to be left home alone.”

“Parents are often surprised how well their children do,” says Renner. “Parents are more anxious. A lot of it is about parent fear.”

Have a Clear Plan
Valladolid encourages families considering the latch-key option to make a to-do list including: a back-up plan if keys are lost and a child has no access to the house, emergency phone numbers, including neighbors available to help, and a scheduled phone call to parents.

“With teens,” Renner stresses, “you need to be very clear.” She recalls a time when she had said “no parties” and came home to find several other teens in the house—they just didn’t consider that a party. She also recommends now and then coming home earlier than expected.

“I didn’t have to tell my children the stove is off limits, or jumping out of the window is off limits,” Moreno points out. “I teach them how to use things so they don’t use them in inappropriate ways.”

Renner suggests that parents practice home alone role-plays with their children. Parents should “make it a game of ‘What if?’ rather than something scary.” Perhaps the most important things children should rehearse is how and whether to answer the phone and door.

A phone call to parents upon arrival at home is a key rule. “This not only reassures parents, but gives the child a sense of security and connection” says Mayer. Parents who work in restaurants or stores can use their breaks to check in with their children. “My child is 16,” says Mayer. “I still expect him to call me at 3:30—I call him again at 5.” Cell phones, she says, can be “life-saving” for children, “knowing they can reach mom or dad at any moment. I know how helpful it has been for my son.”

Decide How Much Structure
Jan Eatre, of Berkeley, doesn’t give her son a strict set of rules and schedule because, “he hates being told what to do. He gets that at school all day. [Also,] he’s very self-sufficient, grounded.” Your family’s latch-key rules, she says, “depend upon your relationship with your child already. If you don’t trust your children, then you have a problem. Parents transfer their fear to their children. Our children are fine. They need more respect.”

In contrast, Mayer feels that “at 13 to 15 years, it is important to give unsupervised children some structure.” She suggests parents and child agree upon “a schedule with expected outcomes to be completed by the time a parent arrives, for example, first homework, then write a letter, then cook the pasta or make the salad.”

A believer in schedules, Mayer says “Idle time often gets children into trouble.”

Consider Your Community
“ Low-income neighborhoods can have more issues of safety, and often less resources,” says Valladolid. But “usually there is more of a cultural community, people are more dependent upon each other.”

Another major consideration may be how the community treats your particular child. Eatre notes, “Our culture is safer for white kids than it is for kids of color. I know that a white 14-year-old found ‘experimenting’ will be treated differently than a kid of color. Parents with children of color are dealing with racism. There is more fear,which may make them more protective, with stricter rules.

Look for Alternatives

When parents are really anxious about leaving kids alone, Mayer suggests they consider alternatives. Some may be able to cut their work hours or juggle work schedules with other family members.

Vallodolid had live-in relatives until his children were 12. He suggests extended family might help with child care, or older children might care for younger ones. But parents should be careful of their children’s feelings, Mayer notes. They may resent being “pushed to maturity.”

Or perhaps finding an affordable after-school program just involves doing more research. Despite budget problems, California has increased support for after-school programs in the last few years, and some are free or low-cost. Karla Rosales, director of an after-school program in San Francisco, says in her program parents pay only $30 a month. Kids get a snack, homework help, and recreational activities ranging from art to dance, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Parents should inquire at schools, churches, libraries, community organizations, and the YMCA. If they don’t have programs of their own, they may know where else to look.

“Ready for It”

Eatre’s son Daniel started staying home alone at 12. He says he was “was ready for it. Now (at 14) my parents know my friends that come over.” The rule is, “Just no girls!” Daniel admits that at first, with his new freedom, he thought, “Maybe I should do something my parents wouldn’t let me, now that they are not home!” But then, “I thought it wouldn’t be so smart.”

Books to inspire, comfort & cultivate compassion in children

Books to Inspire the First Giggle

The development of humor and enjoyment of life is just as important as any other developmental continuum, but rarely do we talk about how specifically to encourage this growth in our babies and toddlers. Connecting through laughter and smiles is a profoundly powerful way to experience the joy of love and emotion. And there is nothing more delicious than the sound of our baby laughing for the first time, that tiny gurgle in the back of his throat, that moment where you turn to your spouse, partner or friend and say: “Did he just…!” It’s a thrill of a lifetime. Books can draw this out in a baby, and we can nurture the development of joy through the silliness of the world’s best picture books.

Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant and Other Poems by Jack Prelutsky

In this collection of poems and great wordplays, Jack Prelutsky introduces us to the Umbrellaphant, the Alarmadillos, the Pop-up Toadsters and the Clocktopus; we even get a glimpse into a day in each of their crazy lives. See what crazy creatures you can invent when you put together real animals and everyday objects as you share these silly rhymes and pictures with your little one.

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems

When a bus driver leaves his bus unattended to take a break, he gives specific instructions: “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.” But the mischievous pigeon tries to weasel his way into getting permission to drive by bribing, conjuring sympathy and using other tricks. Will the pigeon get behind the wheel before the bus driver gets back? Share your curiosity with your little one as you linger over Willems’ funny phrasing.

This is the House That Jack Built by Simms Taback

This book repeats the phrase, “This is the house that Jack built” on every page, layering each refrain with vivid illustrations and anecdotes that seem to burst off the colorful pages. The busy pages and fast-pace of the phrasing make the rhyming story feel exciting and fun for even the littlest listeners.

Books to Comfort a Grieving Child

Dr. Spock has said many wise words about how to comfort a child. Childhood is sometimes a tough road to navigate, and never more so than when there has been a serious loss in that child’s life. Whether pet or human friend, loss is real and intense, and children feel things so, so deeply. The right book can be a tremendous comfort to the small child, helping her to see she is not alone, and giving her ways to find slivers of sunlight on the dark moments that even childhood can bring.

Badger’s Parting Gifts by Susan Varley

Badger’s friends are heartbroken by his death. But they soon realize that Badger is not truly gone—he lives on through his friends’ memories of him and his kind, caring and helpful nature. In this heartfelt look at what it means to lose a friend, the animal protagonists create a safe, imaginary space to talk about feelings about death and loss.

A Grand Old Tree by Mary Newell DePalma

There was a grand old tree that lived for many, many years. “Her roots sank deep into the dearth, her arms reached high into the sky.” Every year she flowered and became home to many animals and insects. After a long time, she grew old and died, leaving behind the roots for many new beginnings. The metaphor of the tree leaving behind a legacy and memory for future generations is a compassionate way to help children bear the death of a loved one.

Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs by Tomie dePaola

Tommy loves his Nana Upstairs and his Nana Downstairs and eagerly awaits his weekly visits with them. When he arrives at the house of his two Nanas, Tommy runs between the two floors, sharing special traditions with each. One day, Tommy learns that his Nana Upstairs has died and he must learn how to come to terms with the loss of someone he loves. This story can help children dealing with similar situations express their feelings through Tommy’s story and find a similar positive place.

Books to Cultivate Compassion

We all want to raise our children to be loving, but even beyond that, to be people who reach out to others, even those they do not know and may never have met. Compassion can be cultivated and books are an incredible resource for helping our children connect with others and to develop a sense of understanding of the struggles and joys of others. Through these understandings, our children are able to grow as people who will take care of friends and strangers in ways that will make you proud.

Mama, I’ll Give You the World by Roni Schotter

Luisa visits her mama at Walter’s World of Beauty every day after school. While Mama saves money for Luisa to go to college, Luisa does her schoolwork and crates portraits of the clients. Luisa plans a special gift for her parent who is working so hard to give her the world. This touching story will inspire conversations about giving back to people in our lives who give us so much.

Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco

Three young children want to buy their friend Miss Eula a beautiful Easter hat to show their appreciation for her Sunday chicken dinners. The children need to find a way to earn money so they decide to sell decorated eggs. After they are accused of throwing eggs at Mr. Kodinski’s shop, their plans are halted and seem to be unraveling. Will they ever be able to prove their innocence and earn enough money to buy the hat they believe their friend deserves? The challenges the children face when trying to give a simple, thoughtful gift will bring questions about race and tolerance to light in a fresh and encouraging way.

Diapers – Everything You Need to Know to Get Started

Before you decided to venture into the world of parenting, you may have found diaper talk comical, the appropriate butt (sorry) of jokes. But as a new parent, you swiftly realized that babies, even little tiny babies, pee and poop a lot, and diapers began to earn new respect in your eyes. You also promptly learned that the condition of your baby’s hindquarters is no laughing matter when her comfort and hygiene is concerned. And considering that a child typically goes through anywhere from 5,000 to 8,000 diapers from the time she’s born until she’s toilet trained, you’re about to get up close and personal with a whole bunch of them. If you haven’t already, chances are you too will get deeply, even passionately, involved in the Great Diaper Debates.

What’s all the fuss about? Well, you have two fundamental choices when it comes to diapers: disposables, which are thrown away after they get wet or soiled, and non-disposables, typically known as cloth diapers, which get cleaned after each use. Which option you choose has a good deal to with personal philosophy (i.e., how you feel about chemicals and plastic, as well as your concern about the environment), but there are many practical considerations as well. And even when you’ve settled on a particular category, there are still decisions to be made, such as whether you’ll wash cloth diapers at home or use a service, or which of the myriad types–ultrathin, overnight, supreme, premium–of disposables to buy. So read on; the article is  designed to help you get to the bottom (sorry again) of this matter.

Disposable Diapers

No one is neutral about disposable diapers. They’re either reviled as Mother Earth’s worst enemy or hailed as a parent’s best friend. Make that many parents’ best friend. Consumer Reports estimates that 95 percent of American moms and dads elect to use them on their babies.

Absorbing issues


Disposable diapers are generally made of some combination of paper pulp, plastic, and super-absorbent chemicals. They come pre-folded and have little sticky or Velcro tabs that hold them shut. Even the most fumble-fingered novice can figure out how to put them on and, when the diaper is soiled, you simply shake out any fecal matter into the toilet and then toss them in some form of a trash receptacle.

Although manufacturers market many different varieties, disposable diapers fall into three general types: basic, which tend to be bulkier than most parents like; ultrathins, which, as the name implies, are thinner and more absorbent; and premium (or supreme), which are thin, highly absorbent, and often have cloth like covers and special fasteners that are easier to reclose after a quick diaper check. A fourth type–overnight–really is a souped-up premium. All come in different sizes keyed to a baby’s weight and age, and their styles vary a little–you’ll have to experiment to see which type fits your baby best.

The advantages of disposables
Disposable diapers are extremely easy to put on and remove, readily available, and preferred by daycare centers both because of convenience and hygiene. They hold much more urine and can fit more snugly than cloth diapers, preventing leakage. Although there is some debate whether cloth or disposables are better at warding off diaper rash and other skin irritations, many people maintain that disposables have the advantage because they absorb the urine quickly and lock it in layers away from a baby’s skin. Perhaps best of all, you won’t face stacks and stacks of urine- and feces-soiled diapers on laundry day if you wash your own.

The disadvantages of disposables

Sound perfect? Actually, disposables have a few downsides. First, they are more expensive than cloth diapers, even if you spring for a diaper service. Second, they fill up landfills with plastic material that is extremely slow to decompose and baby feces that pollute the ground water (remember, even with disposables you need to shake out the feces into the toilet). Third, in the past year, a German study suggested a possible link between disposable diapers and to both testicular cancer and low sperm counts–much more research is needed to establish an actual cause-and-effect relationship, but the widely publicized study gave many parents pause. Fourth, many parents don’t change disposables as often as they should because they think their baby is being kept dry. Finally, dirty diapers in your garbage or diaper pail can smell really, really bad after even a few days.

The bottom line


If you decide to go with disposables, keep in mind that your baby probably will go through 10-12 diapers a day at first. Laying in three or four packs of disposables (150-200 diapers), will save you repeated trips to the supermarket. To save money, you can buy in bulk–packages of 100 versus 20, for instance, or even cases versus individual packages. But be sure to check the actual price per diaper when you do; you might be surprised to find out that in some cases, especially when diapers go on sale, that the smaller packs may cost less per diaper than the economy size. You can also put every member of your extended family on a coupon alert, and stock up on diapers when they go on sale–even diapers the next couple of sizes up.

Cloth Diapers

Reusable and made of soft cotton, these are the old-fashioned kind of diapers that your grandmother, and maybe even your mother, used. They come either pre-folded (with a center strip more absorbent than the outer strips) or flat (so you can fold them to the shape you want), and they have to be used with some kind of waterproof cover to keep your baby’s clothes dry. (Several brands also combine the cotton diaper with a built-in cover.)

The advantages of cloth diaper


Advocates of cotton diapers say they are more comfortable (i.e., softer), healthier (because they’re free of chemicals), and more environmentally friendly than disposables since they’re reusable and won’t end up clogging a landfill. In some ways, they are also more convenient: If you use a diaper service, they’ll bring you a nice pile of fresh, snowy-white diapers every week, and you don’t have to haul those bulky packages of disposables home from the store.

They also can save you a bundle of money. Disposable diapers cost between £0.15 and £0.25 apiece, which can set you back between £40 and £75 a month, depending on the age of your baby. Over the course of three years, you’ve shelled out about £1800 in diapers alone. Diaper services can cost up to £50 a month; over the course of three years you can spend some £1800 on the service, plus another £100 on wraps. But buying, say, four dozen diapers for your growing child, at about £25 per dozen, plus a range of diaper covers, can cost you as little as £300 for those same three years.

The disadvantages of cloth diaper


Before you pat yourself on the back for saving the earth and your family some bucks by going with cloth, you should realize that the argument is not that straightforward. For one thing, the environmental claim is debatable. Cotton diapers require both energy and water to wash, which can make them an ecological liability, especially in regions that don’t have a lot of those resources. Most cotton also requires heavy amounts of pesticides to grow, and diaper services may use harsh chemicals or chlorine for washing, none of which of which is good for the environment. Diaper-service trucks use gas to deliver their wares and disgorge pollutants into the air as they tootle around town. (You can buy organic cotton diapers to solve the pesticide problem, but they’re more expensive. If you forgo the diaper service, washing your own diapers in environmentally friendly detergents and drying them on a clothesline will reduce their ecological costs.)

Cloth diapers also entail extra work. If you have a diaper service, you must remember to put out your dirty diapers every week to be picked up, and you’ll probably need to fold the diapers before you put them away. If you buy your own cotton diapers, you’ll need to wash them. (This isn’t nearly as hard as it sounds–you just shake out any fecal matter into the toilet, soak the dirty diapers in a pail of water with vinegar or baking soda, then throw them in the wash.)

As far as your baby’s comfort is concerned, if you’re not scrupulous about changing your baby’s diapers when they get wet, he can end up with a nasty case of diaper rash-you may dislike the idea of the chemically treated layers in disposables, but they do a good job of whisking moisture away from the skin. And unless you wrap very carefully, cotton diapers can leak more than disposables do. Finally, many daycare centers won’t use cotton–they insist on disposables because of convenience and hygiene concerns-so you might end up buying disposables for the center even if you use cloth at home.

The bottom line


If you decide to go with cloth, you can safely estimate that you’ll go through 10 to 12 diapers a day at first; having three or four dozen cloth diapers on hand will save you daily laundry bouts if you’re washing your own. If you elect to use a diaper service, ask friends about their experiences with local services to find a dependable and economical agency (one that uses earth-friendly detergents is another boon). The service typically will supply you with 50 to 60 diapers your first month. And don’t forget to lay in a supply of waterproof covers. They’re available in several styles, from plastic pants to plush, breathable fabric covers that hold the diaper in place and wrap up like a disposable.

Preventing Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is a serious concern. Obese children have adverse health effects during childhood, and it increases their risk of future chronic disease in adult life. Over nutrition from the wrong types of foods is the greatest nutrition-related risk to children today. Fortunately, providing your children with a variety of plant foods can provide all the nutrients they need to grow and develop normally while minimizing their risk for excess weight gain and future chronic diseases.

Contrary to what you may have heard, studies show that our childhood obesity crisis is not due to a lack of exercise or more time in front of the television and computer. While physical activity is key to good health in general, when it comes to keeping a healthy weight, what you eat is more important than what you burn off through exercise—this is simply because it is so difficult to burn off the large number of calories in junk foods and fast foods, especially for a child.

Children with weight problems tend to consume more calories, fat, fast foods, and energy-dense choices, which are generally foods and beverages with added fats and sugars. By consuming less of these types of foods, eating breakfast regularly, and consuming more fruits and vegetables, children have a lower risk of developing weight problems.

Since plant foods are packed with fiber along with nutrients, they tend to be lower in calories compared to the same portion of animal products, which are void of fiber. It’s easy to see why people who tend to eat the most amount of plant foods and the least amount of animal products can most successfully maintain a healthy weight. Vegetarians have been shown to be leaner than their meat-eating peers in a number of scientific studies, and vegetarian diets have also been shown to be effective in weight loss.

So, what should you feed your children to prevent unhealthy weight gain? Well, the same types of foods that keep your children healthy will keep you healthy, too. According to health experts changing the types of foods children eat rather than the amount of food they eat. He encouraged shifting the entire family away from oily fried foods, meats, and dairy products and toward low-fat, plant-based foods: grains, pasta, vegetables, legumes, and fruit. When this is done, he stated, “weight loss typically occurs without anyone going hungry.” This is the key to lifelong weight maintenance. The scientific evidence is clear: The closer a family gets to a pure vegetarian diet, the healthier and leaner they’ll be.

Helpful Tips & Hints

  • Limit the quantities of highly processed foods and sugary beverages (otherwise known as empty-calorie foods) and help children understand reasonable portion sizes. Under most circumstances, restricting the calorie intake of children is not recommended. Children continue to grow and develop into their early 20s, so they can’t afford to shortchange nutrients. However, switching out the empty-calorie foods with healthy options ensures growing kids get everything they need—except the excess calories!
  • Children and adults can benefit from learning to listen to their natural hunger and fullness cues, rather than focusing on cleaning their plates. Help children learn to pay attention to natural internal signals to keep from overeating. If a child does not want to finish his or her meal now, the plate can be wrapped and saved for when the child is hungry later. Promising dessert as a reward is best avoided as well, as it encourages overeating and makes less healthful foods seem special.
  • Teach children the value of good nutrition. Parents, guardians, and teachers can work with children toward an understanding that food is a fuel for health and fitness rather than a comfort, friend, enemy, or boredom reliever. Reading books to children that present nutrition in a fun and interesting manner is also a good educational method.
  • Get kids engaged in the food procurement and preparation process. Gardening; picking berries, apples, or other produce at you-pick farms; or visiting the local farmers market or fruit stand can spark an interest in healthy foods. Invite them also to participate in menu planning, as well as cooking. Even very small children can help stir cold or room temperature items, wash produce, or pour ingredients. These simple experiential lessons will often go a long way to promoting healthy eating habits.

Best Baby Cribs in UK

It’s estimated that babies spend as much as 15-18 hours a day in their crib during their first year, which means that you and the crib are pretty much going to be your baby’s whole world. You’ll want one that fits your style, but you’ll also want something comfortable and safe.

Luckily, safety standards are regulated, so you don’t have to worry about any crib you buy new. However, this is one instance where you’ll want to avoid hand-me-downs, because safety standards are always evolving. For example, drop-rail cribs are no longer sold, and some older cribs have rails that are farther apart than is considered safe.

That said, the crib is the foundation of your nursery, so have fun with it! Here are some things to consider while shopping…

Design: Style is the one thing you absolutely do not have to sacrifice when baby comes along. As you know there are plenty of ways to stay chic during and after pregnancy as well as a whole slew of fashions for baby. Cribs are no exception! Whether you are into the more traditional look, are looking for something more modern or have pure luxury in mind there is something for every taste. Cribs come in a lot of different styles, with all sorts of materials and finishes to choose from, so it’s easier than ever to find something you love.

Budget: Cribs are available in a range of prices, too, from a couple hundred pound for a simple crib to thousands for a high-end designer option. The variation owes more to design than to features, so how much you’re willing to spend depends largely on how much you love the way it looks.

Multi-stage: Most cribs  convert into a toddler bed with the addition of a simple conversion kit that opens up one side so toddlers can get in and out. Some also cover the bassinet stage, as well. If you’re looking to the long-run, this is a great way to get the most out of your investment.

Health: Since babies spend the majority of their day in the nursery, you’ll want to create as healthy an environment as possible. A good solid crib is made of solid wood such as pine, beech or birch. Finishing should also be non-toxic. In addition, cribs should also make sure small, metal parts, such screws and other nuts and bolts, are hidden well. Check the crib’s materials list for low or no-VOC paints, stains and finishes; no-formaldehyde MDF; and take a look at the manufacturer’s commitment to sustainable forestry and Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certification.

Size: A standard, full-size crib measures 28” x 52” but there are other choices that are non-standard, like the stylish Stokke Sleepi that is oval-shaped. If you’re considering a non-standard crib, just keep in mind that you’ll have to buy a custom mattress and custom sheets.

Space: Although the crib’s interior has a standard size, the exterior does not. Even among standard-sized cribs, some have bigger footprints than others, so measure to make sure your choice will fit. If you’re particularly short on space, consider a bassinet, the Dream Cot or a mini crib like the fabulous Alma Urban Cot.


Make sure that the slats are no further apart then 2 3/8 inches apart. This could pose a problem for baby if farther apart because they could get appendages stuck in between the slats. When they are younger the potential of slipping their head through these slats if bigger is considerably higher.

Adjustable mattress heights

This is a great feature for when a child begins to sit or stand that they don’t climb out of fall out of their crib. This is almost essential when a baby starts to sit up. This is another great protective feature that some new mothers wouldn’t think about in a crib until something happens or their child doesn’t want to stay in their crib.


A good crib is one which can help you easily attend to your baby. Ask yourself what features can help you check, pick-up, and even lay your baby to sleep. You may decide to buy a model with double drop sides (where both left and right railings can be dropped down).  Some of the best cribs to buy are those with convertible features. These may be more expensive but can be used longer by your child. For convertible types there’s the 3-in-1 and the lifetime.

3-in-1 convertible cribs are those that turn from crib to toddler bed to day bed. Some of these also come with storage drawers. The lifetime convertible cribs, on the other hand, can turn into all the three types of bed present in the 3-in-1, but with the last stage which is the full size bed. If you’re opting for convertible ones, make sure to get one that is easy to assemble and convert.  Make sure it comes complete with all the knots and bolts, even the additional parts that make each bed stages it converts to.


Before purchasing a crib, check first if it has a warranty. As a norm, items are given at least a 1 year warranty. Also ask if this comes with a supply of spare parts in case the one you have breaks. Supplying all of these is a sign that the company who manufactured the crib is committed in providing you with the best customer care.

Best Baby Cribs in UK 2019

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Benefits of Convertible Cribs

Convertible Cribs are a popular choice among parents today. There are many great reasons to have one, but the number 1 reason to have a convertible crib is the value this crib will bring to the home of your little ones. Here are few more fantastic benefits that these cribs bring to new and experienced parents, before you make your final decision.

Convertible cribs grow with your child. The very best benefit of a convertible crib is that as a baby grows and becomes a toddler and eventually an older child, many of the basic cribs can be converted into a regular full sized bed. This saves the customers the high cost of purchasing additional new furniture as the little one grows, thereby getting the full value of two beds in one economical price. By simply turning the crib into a regular bed, it will also save parents all those hectic hours of shopping time.

Save money by buying a convertible crib. Another benefit these cribs have is by providing a big savings in the family finances. Quality cribs can be costly and it is obvious that by the necessary purchasing of more furniture in a short time will definitely put a big dent in the family’s bank account. Also, Convertible Cribs are a real bargain being priced reasonably and the quality of the workmanship makes them durable for many years to come. All this saves families money which would otherwise be spent on additional beds and cribs.

Easy To Assemble. The next great benefit these cribs bring to a home is that they are very easy to set up. This can be an essentially important point because the person setting up the crib may be pregnant or even someone recovering from an injury incurred during their pregnancy. These are some of the important reasons that these cribs are such helpful items, being designed for easy setup, which other brands do not carry.

Convertible cribs are trendy and stylish. One other benefit these cribs bring is the improved style and durability which have progressed over time. Most recently, models are made from softer woods which are now under the practice of improved treatments. Soft wood is often used due to it’s durability. Customers love the stability and durability these cribs maintain over years making them much loved items of the quality of heirlooms.

Many styles and brands to choose from. The last benefit to mention is that there are many great styles to choose from these days. Manufacturers are providing many more options than ever in the past. Customers have the ability to choose from a whole host of options designed to fit their child’s personality and preferences. Due to the fact that these cribs are not new items, many problems and improvements have already been addressed in the process of manufacture.