The World of Binkies

binky1Pacifiers: can’t live with them, can’t live without them. Nowadays, everyone has mixed feelings about giving baby a binky. Several studies have shown that there are many advantages to using a pacifier, while others have shown its negative effects. Read as Carmel Blue breaks down the world of pacifiers, compares the good versus the bad and gives you some tips on how to say bye-bye to the binky.

Introducing Pacifiers and Breastfeedingbinky

Pacifiers should not be introduced for at least the first 4 weeks. If you are a breastfeed baby, it is recommended that you avoid the pacifier until mom’s milk supply is well established, typically 7 weeks. This way, mom has already established a pretty good milk supply and didn’t lose any essential breast stimulation to a pacifier. Studies have shown that babies who take the pacifier tend to detach earlier than those who do not. This is because baby’s innate need to suck is met by something other than a breast.

 

Binky’s Benefits

Binkies are a great strategy for parents who need to soothe a stressed baby, especially when baby has yet to discover his/her fingers. The sucking motion is soothing to newborns and can help them fall asleep. Studies even show that pacifiers might reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Researchers are led to believe that pacifiers may keep babies from rolling onto their faces or that it may keep their tongues away from their airways. Best of all, pacifiers are disposable, while thumb sucking can be much harder to stop.

 

Pacifier Cons

Becoming dependent on the pacifier is easy for a child at any age, whether a newborn or toddler. This can result in less sleep for parent’s who have to wake up to replace the binky that has fallen from their infant’s mouth and for long-term pacifier users, usually age 2 or 3, it can cause dental problems such as an overbite and cross bite. In addition, some experts even think pacifiers interfere with speech development since baby is less likely to babble and practice talking. Recent studies have also linked extended pacifier use  with 3 times higher risk for middle ear infections.

 

Goodbye Binkybinky4

There is no age set in stone that states when baby should quit using the pacifier. Doctors recommend letting it go when baby is 6 to 12 months. By stopping pacifier use at this age, you are reducing baby’s risk of ear infection, according to the  American Academy of Pediatrics. Many children however do continue the pacifier habit well into their toddler and even preschool years. At this point though, it is no longer a soothing tool, but a transitional object to help them adapt to new or stressful experiences, such as taking a long car ride or starting a new daycare. If your child shows no sign of surrendering the binky by age 3 or 4, this is where you, as the parents, step in.

 

Greetings from Israel!
Any mom who has been in our moms group knows that I have a thing for pacifiers. I always mention how Carmel was a tri-paci baby, who needed 3 pacifiers at night: one in his mouth and one on each hand.  He would then twiddle the ones in his hands loud enough for us to hear it on the monitor.
As we approached age two we limited paci use more and more till we prepared him for the big boy’s goodbye to baby Binky.  We gave him the choice between1)throw it over board the Blue Gold ferry, 2) tie it to a his stomp rocket and launch it to outerspace, 3) plant it in the garden.
Hoping to grow a binky tree he chose #3. And he never looked back.
This summer visiting a nice shady park in Tel Aviv we stumbled upon the local’s colorful solution:  the paci tree.
Soon in North Beach?

Lots of love to you all, S & C
carmelpacifier1

pacifiertree1

The Secret To A Fussy Baby: Massage

infantmassageResearch has shown that baby massage can help ease teething pains, tummy troubles, boost muscle development, and soothe a fussy baby to sleep. Out of the five senses, touch is the one that is most developed at birth, which is why infant massage has tremendous benefits for supporting baby’s growth and development. Here’s an introduction to the art of baby massage.
Pick a Comfortable Ambiance
Make sure the room is at least 75 degrees Fahrenheit so baby doesn’t catch a chill, dim the lights, and play some relaxing music. You can massage baby on your bed, on their changing table, even on your couch. Just remember to put a towel underneath to avoid oil stains.
Unscented Massage Oils Are Best
If you’re going to use an oil so your hand glides more easily over baby’s body, we recommend going with something unscented and vegetable/fruit based. Good oil options are olive, grape seed, coconut, and avocado to name a few. These oils are easily absorbed into baby’s skin. We recommend staying away from nut oils because of potential allergies and mineral oil because they can clog pores. Here’s one of our favorite.
Read Your Baby’s Cues
Not all babies like being massaged all the time, they have to be in the mood. If as soon as you lay your hands on them they start to cry, save the massage session for a later time. And not every session needs to include a full-body massage. If your baby decides he’s had enough after you massaged his feet and legs, that’s fine as well.
The Importance of Baby Massage
What matters is that you try to turn baby massage into a daily routine. It sets aside a special time where you can bond with baby one-on-one and help them find their inner-zen, as well as yours. This is also a great opportunity for dads to get hands-on care time with baby, especially if they work and baby is breastfed. The important thing to remember, whether it be mom or dad, is that the warmth and stroke of your hands on baby releases a feel-good hormone that instantly soothes and helps them develop mentally, socially, and physically.
Don’t Miss Our Baby Massage Class on June 28th! Sign Up Hereinfant-massage-foot-
In this two hour class you will:
-Learn how to give your baby a basic full-body massage
– Learn protocols to relieve gas, constipation, colic and stress
– Learn songs and rhymes to accompany massage
– Learn through massage how to nourish your child’s well-being, enhancing brain development and emotional and physical health
– Bond with your baby
– Build confidence in caring for your child

Baby’s Summer Safety Checklist

Summer-Safety-Guide-for-BabiesThe sun’s out, the pool is glimmering, the barbecue’s a sizzling, but before you and baby enjoy it all, here is a quick checklist for summertime safety.

– No Sun for Baby. Babies under 6 months should never be exposed to direct rays. Pull out the sunhats, stroller umbrellas, and anything else that creates lots of shade. And don’t forget about the sunscreen! Here’s our favorite.
– Caution in Water. Keep children under 4 years within arms reach when in a pool. Once your child is 4, you can enroll him/her in a swim class for water survival skills. We strongly recommend taking a CPR class as well. Next class is July 20th
Hot Surfaces. Before you let your little one roam free at a playground, make sure there is no metal equipment (especially slides) that can heat up under the sun. Burned bums aren’t fun!
Beware of Bees. Keep your distance from areas that attract bees and other bugs, such as open foods and gardens. Also avoid putting on fragrances and wearing floral-patterned clothing.
Keep em’ Cool. Heat exhaustion is a major concern as temperatures rise. Symptoms include extreme thirst, muscle cramping, and fatigue. If you notice heat illness, spray them with cold water, fan them, and get them in the shade.

Is Your Baby Now A Toddler?

Here are the 5 Signs :

1. Mobility
Your baby is now more mobile and with mobility comes bruises from all the falls and tumbles they take with their steps toward independence.
2. Communication
Baby is now babbling with greater diversity, making new sound combinations and intonations. You may also notice baby trying to imitate your speech, putting consonants and vowels together.
3. Surprising Behaviors
Your baby is now doing things like hiding your keys, phone, and remotes. Or refusing food, biting, and other behaviors you have never experienced with them before.
4. Whining
You will notice that your baby’s cry is now less frequent and more specific. Let’s not forget louder. Welcome to the world of whining!
5. More Assertive
Now that baby can move, they are able to get the things they want, but previously couldn’t get to. This makes them more assertive in claiming “mine”. 

5 Easy Tips to Protect Yourself from Everyday Radiation

radiationSince everyone is hooked up to cell phone, ipads and wifi every day all day, We do get asked a lot about whether it affects baby or not, and to be honest from reading the research I still can not tell one way or another.  This is where I refer to your own “parental common sense”.  I do get a lot of customers from Europe and Asia looking for the shielding blanket so I wanted to mention it in our products and also list easy ways to lessen your and your family’s exposure.

1. DISTANCE – Keep your cell phone, computer and other electronics from being in direct contact with your body. (Read the fine print that comes with your cell phone – most manufacturers direct you to always keep 1/2 – 1-inch between yourself and your phone.) You can do this by:

  • Using earphones and speaker phones (but be sure to keep the phone away from your pregnant belly as well).
  • Don’t place laptops or tablet computers directly on your body, especially your pregnant belly – and if you must, then use a pillow between the device and your body.
  • Don’t carry your cell phone right next to your body – carry it in your bag instead. If you don’t have a bag and must put it in your pocket, face the front to your body so the radiation is directed away from you or turn it to airplane mode.
  • Text instead of calling, but be sure to keep your phone away from your pregnant belly.
  • Don’t sleep with your phone under your pillow or close to you on the night stand.

2. AIRPLANE MODE – Turning your device to airplane mode turns off the cellular and wireless signals. If your child must use a cell phone or tablet computer, switch it to airplane mode. Any time you don’t need your device to be on (especially if you are carrying it next to your body), turn it to  airplane mode (this will also save battery life).

3. LIMIT TIME – When possible, limit your time using your cell phone and other devices. Use a corded landline for long calls.

4. BUY SMART – Not all cell phones are created equal. The radiation emitted varies significantly between them. Cell phone manufacturers are required by law to list a measure known as the SAR (specific absorption rate) of the phone, which is a measure of the radiation absorbed by the user. CNET, Environmental Working Group, and others keep up-to-date compilations of the best and worst phones for radiation emission and can be found by searching for “cell phone SAR ratings”.  However, regardless of the SAR, avoid using cell phones directly next to the body.

5. SHIELDING – Shielding is a safe and convenient way to reduce radiation exposure while you are using radiation emitting devices, as well as helping to reduce ambient radiation from cell phone towers and wireless networks. Reducing this exposure is especially important during times of high risk – pregnancy, early childhood, and even while trying to conceive.

Communications At Every Age

babytalkGood Communication is fundamental to the health of any relationship – and it is definitely true as you embark on your journey as a parent communicating with your child during pregnancy.

Here are some tips for communicating through the ages:
In Utero – Don’t skip this one!  While still in Utero your baby hears and absorbs all the sounds and voices around them.  This is a great time for them to get to know the voices of both Mom and Dad: read to them, play them music, strum the guitar etc.  Dads – talk to the bump!  Your baby will recognize you all the better once they are born.

Infants – Your baby will be curious about noises, but none more so than the spoken voice. Talk to your baby whenever you have the chance (narrate what you are doing if you have run out of things to say…..). Even though your baby doesn’t seem to understand what you are saying, your calm, reassuring voice conveys safety.
Communicating with newborns is a matter of meeting their needs. Always respond to your newborn’s cries – babies cannot be spoiled with too much verbal attention. Indeed, prompt responses to babies’ cries lets them know that they’re important and worthy of attention.

Babies – Introduce Baby Sign Language.  This gives children the opportunity to communicate long before they can verbalize their wants and needs and the confidence that they are understood.  Research studies show that signing with babies accelerates language acquisition, reduces frustration, enhances a child’s self esteem, and  deepens the bond between parent and child.  Take one of our intro classes or play series to learn more.

Toddlers – This time of development is huge in terms of speech and language development. It can also be a challenging time, however, because often times toddlers understand much more than they can say and therefore they can become frustrated sometimes…which can lead to tantrums and tears. It is challenging for them and even more challenging to us as parents – the way we respond to them can make a huge difference in how their behavior and emotional intelligence take shape.  Learn how to respond in “real time” with our Toddler play and learn series. 

Do’s and Don’ts of Newborn Care

doula service babyTips for handling a newborn

  • Do: Wash your Hands (or use a sanitizer) before handling baby. Since Newborns are susceptible to infections because they do have not have a strong immune system, it is crucial that anyone who handles an infant wash their hands.
  • Do: Support both the neck and head when handling a newborn. Cradle the head when carrying your baby and support the head when carrying the baby upright or when you lay your baby down.
  • Don’t: Place your newborn to sleep on their belly. Always place a baby on its back. This will help them maintain a good sleeping posture and is the best precaution against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • Do: Practice Skin to Skin. Studies have shown there are important benefits of practicing skin to skin for babies and for mom (and dad!) after birth and in the weeks following. Find out more about skin to skin and baby wearing
  • Do: Join your local mom’s group.  Come to ours – Free!  Every Wednesday at 12:30.

3 Tips for Introducing Time-Outs

1. Location is Key: “A good time-out spot should be reasonably convenient and in a location where you can monitor it to make sure your child isn’t being hurt and that she stays,” says Dean Pearson, Ph.D.
temper
This could be a stool, a mat, bottom step or any seat that is in a boring area and free from the distractions of other siblings, toys, television, or any object they could use to irritate you.

2. Timing a Time-Out: A timing strategy that works for most is one minute per year of your child’s age. So, a 2-year-old will spend 2 minutes in time-out, while a 4-year-old would get 4 minutes. If this timing strategy is not having a desired effect, increase by half the time (so a 4 year-old would get an extra two minutes, for a total of six). Keep track of time using your smartphone or kitchen timer. There is no limit to the number of time-outs you can use, but when your child realizes that the consequences are firm, the need for repeated time-outs will diminish.

3. Introduce the Spot: Don’t wait until your child misbehaves to surprise him with the time-out spot. When you are both in good moods, show your child the time-out spot and explain that this is a quiet space you will send him to if he does not behave or if he needs to cool down. List 3 to 5 examples of behaviors that result in time-out, such as hitting, biting, tantrum throwing, etc. Also let him know how long the time-out will last and that he can only get up when the timer rings.

Your Guide to Picking the Perfect Babysitter

babysitter-questions1. Determine Your and Your Child’s Needs By Age
Your child’s age is one of the most important factors when looking for a sitter. For infants, you should look for a sitter with experience in newborn care and who has taken an infant CPR class. As your child becomes older and more rambunctious, you should look for someone who is fun and energetic, but can also set boundaries.
2. Talk on the Phone First
This will give you a sense of the potential sitter’s personality and the opportunity to ask about availability and pay. If the sitter’s schedule does not meet yours or she charges too much, there is no point in meeting in person. If the pay sounds reasonable, ask for references in order to do some research.
3. Set Up a Time to Meet in Person
If you like what you hear from the references, invite the sitter over to meet you and your child. This is a good time to see how she handles your infant or how she and your child interact. This is also a good time to discuss expectations such as sleep time, food options, etc. Get to know her more by asking these type of questions:
  • Are you working with any other families at the moment? If so, please describe the family.
  • Do you know how to prepare food for children?
  • How would you deal with a child who is behaving badly?
  • What activities do you enjoy doing while babysitting?

4. Found a Match? What To Do Next:
Leave all your emergency telephone numbers and information in a central location such as the fridge or kitchen counter. When the sitter arrives, walk her through the house one more time and make her feel comfortable. Try your best not to linger  around too long or else your child may get confused or upset.

Traveling Sleep Tips By Age

Baby-Sleeping-Plane-800x350Shared by CB Sleep Expert Angelique Millette

0-4 months:
– Most newborns don’t have a sleep schedule and will sleep every few hours. For this reason, flying with a newborn may be a lot easier than flying with an active toddler.
– Since newborns are not eating solids, you can easily breastfeed or offer a bottle of pumped breastmilk or formula. A quick tip for heating a bottle on the plane: pour hot water into a clean barf bag.
– While on your trip, sleep and feed baby on demand/as needed.
– Most importantly, be sure to speak with your baby’s doctor about traveling with a baby under 4 mos and if necessary, speak with your baby’s doctor about necessary vaccinations pre-trip.
4-12 months:
– If needed, bring a sound machine. Curious and social babies four months or older may have more trouble sleeping if there are a lot of interesting new sounds.
– Babies may have a more consistent sleep-feed schedule starting around 3-6 months so when possible, try to plan feed and sleep times around travel times.
– If you are planning on making sleep changes or using “sleep training” try not to do it right before departing for a trip. Better to give your baby 1-2 wks or more before the trip. Or, after returning from a trip you may need to delay sleep training to adjust for time zone.
Toddlers:
– Some toddlers may not do well with new surroundings and may resist going to sleep or may be scared by new surroundings and faces. Try to help your toddler get used to a new sleep space by spending time together in the new room before bedtime.
– Try spending an additional 10-15 min with your child at bedtime the first few nights. This will mean that you want to start bedtime a little earlier than you normally would at home.
– If you have not been bed-sharing at home but find yourself bed-sharing with an anxious or scared toddler while traveling, the first night home from your trip, plan on moving your child back to his bed.