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parenting

05 Dec 13

Bond with your little one through baby massage

For some first-time parents, the words “baby massage” make their heads turn. It might sound strange at first, but babies love massage just like the rest of us! It also has many benefits. Not only is it a proven way to soothe a crying baby, but it can also help your baby sleep more soundly. It can help you and your partner bond with your baby, as well. There are even theories that say massage can help your baby stay healthy and stimulate your baby’s brain development. Baby massage chemistry The soothing strokes of mum or dad’s hands stimulate the production of a feel-good hormone called oxytocin in both the giver and the receiver. This hormone, which is also released during breast-feeding and labour, is responsible for that warm, loving feeling you have when you hold your baby close to you. Physical touch also reduces the levels of the stress hormone […]

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30 Nov 13

Soothing a crying baby

As a first-time parent, one of the first things you will have to learn is how to soothe your baby when he or she is crying. The first step to soothing a crying baby is to find out why he or she is crying. It can be a challenge, like learning another language! For new parents, trial and error is a good way to start until you learn to distinguish between cries. Your baby may cry because he or she is hungry, tired, bored, too hot, too cold, overstimulated, has a dirty nappy, has wind, or simply wants a cuddle. Depending on the reason, here are some ways to comfort them. Suckling and singing The action of suckling can be soothing for your baby. If you are breast-feeding, try letting your baby suckle your breast, or if you are bottle-feeding, give them a sterilised dummy. Do not dip it in anything sweet […]

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21 Nov 13

Effective and humane ways to discipline your children

Parenting, while a joy most days, can be challenging for first-time parents faced with a naughty child. Your patience may wear thin and you may feel overwhelmed or frustrated, especially if your child continues on with his or her bad behaviour. It is important to humanely discipline your children, but it is just as important for parents to understand the purpose of discipline. It is not about serving justice – your home is not a courtroom, and the parent-child relationship shouldn’t model itself after that of a judge and defendant. Discipline is about changing behaviour for the positive. The technique that you use to enforce good behaviour in your children will vary according to their age and level of understanding. Try reading up on child development to better assess which technique is appropriate for which age groups. For example, distraction is an effective discipline method with younger children and toddlers – when they are […]

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14 Nov 13

A first-time parents’ guide to cleaning the nursery

As many first-time parents soon find out, little babies are particularly good at making big messes. This means your nursery can harbour all kinds of germs in its nooks and crevices, which can make cleaning the nursery a daunting task for worried new parents. Parents shouldn’t work themselves into a tizzy over sanitizing anything and everything near their little ones. Actually, experts say that some exposure to bacteria and viruses will help build up your child’s immune system. But this is no reason to let the filth pile high. Besides promoting good hygiene and preventing infections, keeping the nursery clean makes for a more comfortable environment to play and bond with your baby. The hot spots So where to begin? If you have a changing table, wipe it down every day or more often if it is dirty with antibacterial cleaning products to prevent infection. Disinfectant wipes are really handy for […]

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08 Nov 13

How to prevent your baby from choking

It’s one of new parents‘ worst fears and a very real hazard for babies – choking. As babies learn to chew and swallow food, it is common for them to explore their environment and put new foods or objects into their mouth. But young children have small airways, so it is not always easy for them to cough up or splutter out food or objects that become lodged in the throat. Parents, don’t despair! There are certain things you can do to prevent your baby from choking, including knowing which food and toys are age-appropriate and what to do in the event that your child is choking. High-risk foods Motor skills are a very important part of swallowing correctly, but most babies do not develop sufficient motor skills to swallow until they are at least 4 months old. Do not introduce solid food to babies until they are able to swallow. Steer […]

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31 Oct 13

Coping with sleep deprivation as a new parent

As a first-time parent, your life has changed significantly. You are now charged with the care of a precious little infant who, among other things, doesn’t yet have a sleep schedule in sync with yours. Sleep deprivation as a new parent can be tough – it’s fairly common to average only four consecutive hours of sleep a night. But this can have a knock-on effect on your performance and ability to focus during the day. It’s important that first-time parents know the best ways to cope with this inevitable lack of sleep. If baby sleeps, you sleep A good rule that new parents should follow is: if your baby is sleeping, you should be sleeping. If you take advantage of the time that your infant is asleep, you will find that you get more hours of sleep overall. They may not be consecutive hours, but every little bit helps. Some parents have […]

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24 Oct 13

How to soothe your teething baby

Teething can be a very uncomfortable time not only for baby, but also for first-time parents. Parents want to do all they can to help their baby, but because little ones cannot communicate exactly where and how they are hurting, it can be difficult to know what to do. Teeth usually begin to emerge in infants around the six-month mark, although all babies are different. Some of the sure-fire signs of teething include red gums, flushed cheeks, and more frequent or excessive dribbling, and although some babies happily get on without any discomfort, others have a rough time of it. If your baby’s symptoms are severe, contact your physician. For mild to moderate discomfort, here are some tips on how to soothe your teething baby. Teething rings and face cloths It can be very painful if you are breastfeeding and your baby tries to teethe on you breast. Fill a […]

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07 Oct 13

Top and tail: Bathing your newborn

A new baby can be overwhelming for first-time parents. Between feeding, soothing and spending time with your newborn, there is a lot to do! But for the first month or so until a baby’s umbilical cord drops off, new parents don’t have to worry about giving baby a bath. However, just because your newborn isn’t ready for a sink or a bath tub doesn’t mean that he or she shouldn’t be washed. Instead, you can keep your baby squeaky clean using the “top and tail” method. Topping your baby Topping and tailing a baby means washing him or her from head to toe using cotton wool and warm water. Although there is nothing wrong with giving a newborn a proper bath, the top and tail method is an easier or less frightening alternative for some babies during their first few weeks of life. In order to top and tail your baby, […]

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03 Oct 13

Parenting no-nos: Comparing your child to others

A common mistake that first-time parents make is comparing their child to others, whether positively or negatively. Even seasoned parents do this! For some, it’s the worry that something is wrong because their child is learning to do new things later than other children. For others, it’s the excessive pride they feel for their child that turns into unhealthy competitiveness. Whatever the reason, comparing your child to others will cause you and possibly your child unnecessary stress. A child’s development isn’t a competition! Baby milestones When it comes to walking, talking, and sleeping, children hit milestones at different times. For example, the general trend for babies is that they take their first steps sometime between nine and 12 months. But it’s not a problem if your child takes a bit longer. It’s perfectly normal for many children not to walk until they are 17 or 18 months old. As for talking, it’s a […]

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29 Sep 13

Letting your baby cry it out

First-time parents often cannot resist rushing to their baby’s side when he or she starts to cry. This is good! After all, crying is a baby’s first form of communication. A child’s tears tell mummy and daddy that “I’m hungry”, “I need a new nappy” or “I feel ill” in place of speech. But when it comes to sleep, sometimes letting your child cry for a bit before offering comfort isn’t such a bad idea. This can be tough for new parents, but the Cry It Out technique is important for babies to learn how to self-soothe and fall asleep on their own. Many paediatricians and sleep experts such as Richard Ferber, author of the book Solving Your Child’s Sleep Problems, say that crying is often an unavoidable part of baby sleep training. Sleep training Just like learning to chew, crawl and talk, learning to fall asleep is a skill which babies […]

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