How to play with your baby

Just feeding and sleeping well does not amount to the complete development of your baby. To help your child learn better in the new environment around him, it is important to play with him. The mother is the best person to play with the child because with mother a child shares a special bond. However, the father and grandparents of the child can also have a good time playing with the baby.

For playing, you must choose a time when the baby is most alert and at the same time fresh. He should not be hungry, tired or sleepy. Playing can make the best use of child’s receptive ability. However, if the baby expresses any discomfort or boredom, your preference should be to soothe him first. Your sensitivity will make the baby feel good and safe and want to dare to experience and learn more and more together with you.
Activities of just a few minutes can do wonders with your baby. A baby’s attention span is very short. However, it increases as the baby grows. When he is alert, he will learn these brief activities and will keep it with him and one day it will stretch longer. Babies are great learners. I began making a ‘broo’ sound to my baby, which after some time he picked up and made it back to me. I was thrilled and really surprised. However, be considerate to your baby’s needs. Stop the game at once if you feel that he has had enough.
Music is a wonderful game that soothes and entertains the babies. You can put on a soothing classical number or a dance number. Then, hold the baby in your arms and gently sway with the tunes. You can also put on your dancing shoes and perform an interesting dance number in front of your baby. He will be all full of smiles.

Make funny faces while your baby is on the bed or in your arms. You can show your teeth, tongue or make funny sounds. The idea is to entertain the baby and boost him to imitate.

Buy good baby toys which have lights and music, but are safe to play. Make your baby focus on them as you play with them, shake them. Rattlers are other good toys that your baby can also gradually play to himself. You can also try the same with cellophane sheets or wrappers, but be sure he does not take them in his mouth.

Once your baby starts rolling while lying on bed, make most of this time as it helps make his neck and shoulders muscles stronger. You can lie with him on the bed and sway him gently side to side making some funny sounds. Keeping his attention engaged with his toys is also works.

During this age, the baby tries to touch everything possible. He will also pull your hair or nose. You can give them objects that make sound so that he bangs them together and gets entertained by the sound.

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Postpartum Depression in Men

Well you are not only one to get depressed after giving birth to a baby. Your husband or partner might also be suffering from postpartum depression.

Studies indicate that one in ten fathers suffer from postpartum depression. In women, postpartum depression is triggered by various factors such as fluctuating hormones, difficult labor, total lack of sleep, fatigue, stress, feelings of inadequacy, weight gain and lack of free time.

One might argue as to why fathers are depressed after the birth of the child since there are no hormones involved there. This is probably why, postpartum depression in men is often ignored and therefore not treated, resulting in many broken families and long-term behavioral problems in the child.

Reasons for postpartum depression in men are the same as the women except for the hormones. Initial symptoms of postpartum depression in men would sleep deprivation, stress, fatigue, loss of interest, aggression, suicidal feelings, restlessness, feelings of inadequacy and guilt. With men, it is quite difficult to diagnose postpartum depression since they are likely to hide it from their partner or withdraw from others.

Studies indicate that postpartum depression in men would develop over the course of the year unlike women who would experience it immediately after the birth of the child. Men in general, will not be vocal about how they are feeling and this worsens the situation with the passage of time.

Men with postpartum depression will classically exhibit the following symptoms – increased anger and conflict, increased use of alcohol or smoking, violent behavior, loss of weight, recklessness, rash driving, extra-marital affairs, loss of interest in sex, suicidal thoughts, irritation and problems with concentration and motivation. Some men, typically would lose all interest in work or they would become obsessive about their work. However all these symptoms will not manifest at the same time.

In most cases, when left untreated this condition brings much unhappiness and discontent in the family resulting in separation and divorce.  The causes of postpartum depression in men could be due to jealousy. Some actually envy the new arrival for taking the attention of their partner. In some cases, the mother is over-protective of the child and is not willing to share the child with the spouse. This kind of behavior makes the father feel unloved and unwanted. It also becomes difficult for him to bond with the new born.

Women who are depressed often cry out loud and seek help by talking their heart out but men do not do that. It is not a manly thing for them to admit they are under stress or depression. This kind of typical mental make-up is what makes it very hard for the doctors to detect that they are suffering from postpartum depression.

Seek help before it is too late. Talk to your friends who have had babies of their own. Join support and help groups or counseling sessions to help you come out of depression. The support of your partner and family is also a very important thing during this period. Talk frankly to your partner and express your feelings clearly. If taking care of the baby is an issue, then you can look at other options such as hiring a nanny or nurse. Enlist the help of your parents, relatives and friends to help you out with the baby.

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Diarrhea During Pregnancy

Diarrhea is not a symptom that you would encounter regularly during early pregnancy but some women do experience it. Hormones might be one of the reasons of diarrhea or unclean food could have triggered it.

Most often, pregnant women suffer from constipation because of the prenatal vitamins that they are supposed to take. The high levels of iron content in these tablets can cause chronic constipation and fecal impaction where the stool partially obstructs the bowels.  This will often result in diarrhea that is accompanied by vomiting and abdominal bloating. Consult your doctor immediately if you are having all of these symptoms.

Diarrhea in early pregnancy is caused due to hormones then it might be accompanied by some uncomfortable cramps. Along with diarrhea if you were also vomiting, then it would best to consult your doctor immediately. Firstly you should avoid getting dehydrated since you are losing a lot of fluids. Dehydration will cause premature birth.

If your diarrhea is mild, with just once or twice in a day, then make sure that you take lots of fluids. It will probably pass off in one or two days. But if you are passing stools 3 – 4 times in a time and if it turns out to have mucous clotted with blood then contact your doctor immediately.

Diarrhea in late pregnancy is an indication that you are likely to go into labor soon. However if the diarrhea is very severe, it might be triggered because of something you ate. If food poisoning is the reason for diarrhea then it will subside within 24 hours.

Diarrhea causes dehydration and in cases where it is accompanied by vomiting as well dehydration is faster. It is therefore important that you keep drinking lots of fluids to avoid going into a premature labor. Avoid taking milk and milk products during diarrhea as it might worsen the situation. Drink lots of water, juice and hydrating liquids such as Gatorade instead. Eat bland food such as toast, rice or bananas and avoid spicy food during diarrhea.

Diarrhea can be avoided during pregnancy by eating a well-balanced meal. Diet with lots of fiber, fruits and leafy vegetables will avoid constipation and also the resultant diarrhea that is caused due to impacted bowels. Avoid taking lots of caffeine or soda as this will cause more constipation. Avoid any food that you feel has triggered your diarrhea. If you have become allergic to milk and milk products then consult your doctor and see what alternatives protein substitute you can have instead. Avoid eating spicy, oily and fattening foods. This will not only irritate your stomach but you will also inadvertently put on a lot of weight, which you might find difficult to reduce after the baby is born.

Diarrhea during pregnancy is not a happy combination but do not stress yourself by worrying whether the infection is likely to affect your baby. If your diarrhea is due to virus or bacteria infection or due to food sensitivity it will have no impact on the health of the baby since the infection is confined to the digestive tract. Just remember to drink a lot of water and keep yourself from getting dehydrated.

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Five Guidelines to Getting your Child to Eat Healthy throughout their Lives

I am a mother, and as I mother I am well aware of the daily struggle of teaching my children to eat healthy. I often see them staring at their bowl of baby carrots, looking at the Oreo cookie commercial on television and then looking at their bowl of carrots in disgust. Why can’t they be as happy as the kids eating the cookies on television? I know, as I am sure other mothers know, once I get my kids started on snacks of cookies and unhealthy meals, they will never want anything else. It will be a struggle for me to get them to eat their vegetables. In fact, I am pretty sure that most will end up on the floor. And while this will please my pet vacuum cleaner, AKA my dog, it will not please me. Continue reading

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Pregnancy after Miscarriage

It is understandable if you are anxious about your pregnancy especially after a miscarriage. Miscarriage is a very traumatic experience both for the mother and the partner. Apart from losing your precious little one, it also sets in fears about future fertility and pregnancy.

It is but natural for you to wonder whether you would get pregnant again or if you would be able to carry the baby to term this time. Firstly don’t stress yourself about losing the baby again. Anxiety and fears will only make it worse for you. Maintaining your calm and composure is very important, especially when you are pregnant again.

Firstly consult your doctor and have a thorough check up. Just because your first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage it does not mean that your second one will. However it  depends on the reasons as to why the first pregnancy miscarried. There are many factors that can be responsible for miscarriages such as chromosomal abnormalities, infection, immune disorder, hormonal abnormalities and anatomical abnormalities. According to research, women who have miscarried their child in the second trimester are at a greater risk of having a second miscarriage or a premature birth. If you fall in this category, then you will have to be extra careful this time round and monitor your pregnancy more carefully based on your doctors recommendations.

Some women are advised against getting pregnant immediately after a miscarriage while some feel that it is the best way to cope with the loss.

For many couples, trying for a baby after miscarriage is quite a scary preposition. Some want to try immediately, while for some miscarriage can be so traumatic that they want to give themselves some time before trying again. However it is best to consult your doctor about this, before you start trying. In some cases, the doctor would recommend you to wait for a certain time period before you start trying. Before you start trying again, it is recommended that you get a full check up done to eliminate any possibilities of a second miscarriage.

If there have been some risk factors in your lifestyle that have caused you to have a miscarriage then it would make a lot of sense to sort them out before you try for a baby again. If your miscarriage was due to some infection or a sexually transmitted disease then it would be best to wait until you are completely cured before trying again.

For any pregnancy to be successful and safe, the mother ’s physical and emotional welfare must be taken into account. If you are having excessive fears, and anxiety about having a second miscarriage then it would be better to address them before you get pregnant again. If you were struggling with conflicting emotions and fears would only worsen the situation more and compromise your health and pregnancy for the second time. Seeking counseling and therapy can help you rid of your fears and guilt about the first miscarriage.

Just because your first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage it does not follow that the second one should be the same. There are many women who have successfully carried their child to term and have given birth to healthy babies.

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How Accurate is Your Due Date?

Statistics show that only 4% of babies arrive on their due date. Of the 96% of babies who aren’t born on their due date, 30% early and 70% late. Babies arriving early can catch women off guard, while babies arriving 2 weeks after their due date can result in very uncomfortable, restless mothers-to-be! So why are so few babies born on their due date? Continue reading

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Getting Your Kids to Eat Healthy

If your kids are like mine, they love to snack.  Anything from popcorn to chips to crackers.  It can be really difficult to get them to eat anything at mealtimes that isn’t empty calories.  I can’t say I blame them, I was exactly the same way.  But I do care that they’re getting enough nutrition through their food since they are both incredibly active and burn through a bag of Cheetos in an hour.  Below are some tips I found helpful to getting your kids to eat the healthy stuff too. Continue reading

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A Shift From Climbing Trees To Video Games – Are Today’s Kids Doomed To Obesity?

You may think the above is a pessimistic title for a blog piece – but it’s really based on extensive research which has conclusively determined that, yes, large numbers of children simply don’t get the levels of exercise which would have been considered the norm just a few decades ago.

This writer grew up some time before the days of there being a TV set in every child’s bedroom, and computer games being such a massive part of young people’s lives. Continue reading

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Preparing Your Child for a Visit to the Eye Doctor

Children with poor vision often don’t realize anything is wrong. Their vision seems normal to them, and they don’t realize it can be any different. The idea of visiting an eye doctor can seem frightening to them, particularly if they are very young. However, you can set your child’s mind at ease and make the experience a positive one by following these tips. Continue reading

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Conjunctivitis, How It Affects Your Child And How To Treat It

When our children are old enough to go to school, we both look forward to and dread their first day. They’re growing up and entering the big wide world of education, and soon will be mixing with other children and making new friends.

With this comes the unfortunate reality that if one child catches a cold, has a stomach bug or gets head lice, chances are your child will get it too.

Conjunctivitis is a horrible complaint for a child to have, and it is one that is so often passed around the playground. Here is our guide to what it is, how it affects your child, and how to treat it. Continue reading

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