Friday, February 27, 2009

In Action: Looking to Self First

The first Sunday of last February, Brayden had a really bad day as far as behavior goes. It was the worst of his life thus far. He was disobedient, defiant, and flat out told me no when I instructed him to do something. The crowing act was when he took Kaitlyn's cup of milk. I told him to give it back, and he ran away. He then threw it to me. It wasn't an aggressive throw at me, but he threw it to me and that is obviously something we don't allow.

At the end of the day when Brayden was in bed, my husband and I discussed the day. We knew something was really off for him. This was such odd behavior for him. We tried to figure out the reasons for his disobedience. We didn't talk about what a bad child he was or anything like that. We looked to ourselves to see what we had done to contribute to this problem.

First, this was a sudden major swing in behavior. He was fine one day, terrible that one day, then fine the next. However, we knew there was something (or several somethings) that needed to change. It was a once-in-his-lifetime occurrence, but something that showed us something was wrong.

The first thing we acknowledged is that the day before he had not had his naptime. We had driven a few hours to visit cousins, visited a dinosaur museum, and driven back home. He had spent a lot of time in the vehicle and hadn't had any rest time, not to mention independent play or anything. Then the day in question, he had a shorter than usual nap because of church. By the way, his behavior at church was fine. Our problems were only in the 4:00-8:00 PM hours. But it seemed like all day :).

We knew this lack of normal routine and rest for two days were definitely contributors to the problem. Brayden has always been one who needs his structure. However, at 3.5 he is a lot more flexible and has experienced worse disruptions in the recent past without the disobedience problems. We knew it was a factor that contributed to this problem, but it was not the cause.

My husband realized he had been rather impatient with Brayden that day and very picky about his behavior. He was very fast to point out every wrong step Brayden took that day. He was looking for ultimate perfection. We knew this also would have been a contributor. Brayden does not do well behaviorally with criticism. It usually makes him behave more negatively. This is something my husband knows well because my husband is and was the same way. This was another contributing factor to the behavior, but we knew there had to be more.

I realized that we had been really busy lately trying to get things ready for our baby's birth. We have been remodeling a room and I have been sewing the baby bedding. We realized Brayden wasn't getting enough one-on-one time with his parents. An important thing for him is quality time. We have also been really busy with our service activities and other various activities. Story time before bed had been severely shortened. We decided we needed to put back in place our long story time before bed. We alternate nights of which parent reads the story.

We also put more conscious effort that we spent quality time with the children doing things they enjoyed, not just being with them in presence but mentally also. We figured Brayden was feeling neglected, though I doubt he could verbalize the feeling he was having. Kaitlyn is also around a lot more now that she has basically the same schedule that he does. So he doesn't have as much opportunity for one-on-one time with parents.

The lack of parental one-on-one time proved to be the main culprit of the problem. Brayden loves to help do things. We have been sure to include him in our activities. He loves it. He even loved the day I had him help me scrub the grout on the tile floor. Our story time is back up to thirty minutes before bed. This means we have to be sure to be home and ready for bed in time for 30 minute story time. We are sure to do fun things with him individually where he is our only focus.

We were able to find the underlying problems. He then had some extenuating circumstances that basically 'pushed him over the edge' and he basically snapped that day.

We had that one bad day that taught us a lot as parents. As parents, we always need to be evaluating ourselves and what we are doing to ensure we are offering our children the best we can. Brayden has been awesome ever since. He has been better than ever. Our realizations and efforts have helped him to feel more loved, which has led to him being more obedient, which has led to all of us being happier.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Happiest Baby on the Block: Sucking

The 5th S talked about by Karp is Sucking. He calls it the icing on the cake. Karp lists reasons sucking makes baby happy (page 174):

  • It satisfies hunger: I actually would see that as a danger to sucking. If they are hungry, they should eat. But I don't know that sucking satisfies hunger so much as their desire to simply suck. But Karp later says that if your baby is hungry, she will suck for only a minute before demanding real food, but if what she wanted was non-nutritive sucking, she will happily suck.
  • It turns on the calming reflex.

Tips for Pacifiers (page 176-177):

  • Try different nipples until you find the one your baby likes best.
  • Don't force it. If she refuses, don't try to force her to take it. Use the other four S's first.
  • When your baby is calm, offer her the pacifier. When she starts to suck, give it a tug (but not so hard it comes out). She should respond by sucking a bit harder. Do this again 10-20 times, each time you give the newborn the pacifier.

Pacifier Pitfalls (page 177-178):

  • Avoid the pacifier for the first 2-3 weeks in order to avoid nipple confusion if breast-feeding. If you are having breastfeeding problems at 2-3 weeks, wait longer.
  • Get rid of the pacifier by 4-5 months old. Stopping after 6 months is much more difficult.

Related Posts:

DVD:

Babywise On Twitter

For anyone who uses or wants to use Twitter, Babywise is now there. Here is the address: http://twitter.com/Babywise

Hank Osborne is managing this group. He manages several websites for the Ezzos. He is providing feed from Babywise-friendly sites on Twitter. It is a good place to go to connect with Babywise-friendly people out there. The Twitter page is just over a week old, so it is still a work in progress.

So check it out if you are interested! It is just another resource for you on the Internet for helpful information.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Poll Results: What was the average length of naps for baby ages 8-9 months? (approximate)

Results:

45 minutes: 9 votes (8%)
1 hour: 7 votes (6%)
1 hour 15 minutes: 12 votes (11%)
1.5 hours: 33 votes (29%)
1 hour 45 minutes: 16 votes (14%)
2 hours: 27 votes (24%)
More than 2 hours: 9 votes (8%)

Total of 113 votes

Related Posts:
Reminder: You can leave comments on poll results posts if you would like to add to the poll after it has closed. This would be helpful for those who have more than one child, those whose children have reached certain ages after a poll closed, and those who didn't visit the blog while that poll was open. To find closed polls, click on the poll results link above.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Baby Stuff I Love: Newborn List

I have a list I compiled while I was pregnant with Brayden of things you "need" for your new baby. I made it from several different lists that I had found in books and online. I was just going over it for my next baby, and thought I would post the list here. Then you all can add anything you want to.

CAR ITEMS

  • Car Seat: I use this early on--obviously. I recommend that before you buy a car seat at any age, you consult Consumer Reports. It is nice to get opinions from other moms and read reviews online, but moms and reviews don't know the safety level unless they have been in an accident with it. Infant Car Seats
  • Hanging Toys: I hook a hanging toy on the carseat handle from birth, though the baby doesn't enjoy it immediately. Hanging Toys
  • Mirror: I love the car mirror. It is a must from day one for me. It is a mirror that is in front of baby, then the driver can look in the review mirror and see baby. The front passenger can look back and see baby in the mirror, also. I use the Fisher-Price Rainforest Deluxe Auto Mirror. It will not match the decore of your car, but it will be interesting to baby.
  • Blanket: I like to have a designated blanket for the carseat. I am planning on making a blanket this go around that is attached to the carseat. That way, it won't fall on the ground!
  • Cover: I also like to cover baby with a blanket if she is sleeping. I have always used an afghan that my grandmother would make for my children. She has passed away since Kaitlyn was born, so I am going to make something a friend of mine has that attaches to the car seat. Once again, it won't fall off.
GEAR (see also Big Toys for Baby (not BW))
  • Stroller: With Brayden, I used my Graco stroller/carseat combo. By the time Kaitlyn came along, I didn't really enjoy the big bulky-ness of a stroller like that, so I didn't use a stroller until she was old enough to sit reclined and go on walks (she was about 6 weeks). But I love strollers for walks. I am just not a stroller-in-the-store kind of gal. There are a lot of strollers out there. When choosing one, if you want to be able to take baby for walks in the stroller at a young age, be sure it either reclines or can have the car seat hooked on. Strollers
  • Playard: This is also known as a playpen or pack-n-play. I love having this. It is where I do independent playtime. It is also our portable bed we take places when we travel. Even when we go camping, we bring the playard. Playards
  • Playard Sheets/Protectors: If you get a playard, be sure you get a mattress protector and a a sheet. I like two so one can be in use while the other is being washed. It is much easier to clean sheets and protectors than the mattress. Playard Sheets and Playard Mattress Pad
  • Bassinet: This is not something I had for Brayden. We got it for Kaitlyn and I loved it. They are small, so they take up little space. I kept it in my room for about 7 months and she took a nap in there a couple of times a day. Bassinet Of course, if you get this, then you will want a couple of sheets: Bassinet Sheets
  • Carrier/Sling: I have a front carrier. It can also go on your back when baby is big enough. Both of my children disliked this. However, I have had several friends and family members who have borrowed it and loved it. Front Carriers. Since Brayden was born, slings have really come to be a popular item. While I wouldn't use it for napping as I moved about the house, it appeals to me for replacing with the carseat or stroller when you go out. I have a couple of friends who had babies in December. They each have a sling that they put baby in at church to sleep. It isn't cumbersome and people don't disturb the baby. I am going to try it out with this baby. I am not sure which brand they have for sure, but it looks similar to this: Infantino Sling Rider Baby Carrier
  • Swing: I love swings. This is also not a need; I have a good friend (and fellow BW mom) who has two children and has never owned a swing. But I love my swing. Swings
NURSERY ITEMS
  • Crib: I love the crib, naturally. I think most Babywise Moms like the crib. That is where baby sleeps :)
  • Crib Sheets: I would get at least two so one can be washed while the other is in use. Crib Sheets
  • Crib Mattress Pad: I would get at least two of these also: Crib Mattress Pad
  • Changing Table: I love a changing table, though I know people who get along just fine without one. Changing Tables
  • Monitor: We got an inexpensive monitor when Brayden was a baby. We then bought a really nice and expensive one when Kaitlyn was born. The inexpensive one was totally fine for short range. We got a more expensive one for Kaitlyn because we had moved into a house with a lot of land. We wanted to be able to be out in the garden and still hear her. Baby Monitors
  • Video Monitor: Many readers have sung the praises of the video monitor. I am getting one of these for baby #3!
  • Blankets: You might want some receiving blankets as well as some blankets to swaddle. Receiving Blankets and Swaddle Blankets
BATH ITEMS (see Baby Stuff I Love: Bathtime)
  • Bath Tub: I like to put baby in the bathtub once real baths can happen. I know people who do the sponge in the tub or just put baby in the sink. I like the baby bathtub. You don't need anything right away, though, since you don't give baths until the umbilical cord falls off. I think something like this is nice: The First Years Sure Comfort Newborn to Toddler Tub
  • Towel: I use hooded towels. I like to have two so one can be washed while the other one is in use. Super-soft Hooded Bath Wrap
  • Washcloths: I used washcloths also. I like to have about 5-6 so we can have fresh washcloths for each bath. Also, I buy new washcloths for each baby and use them only on baby. Baby Washcloths
  • Shampoo
  • Soap: Some soaps and shampoos are combined. That is nice and convenient for the newborn.
  • Baby Lotion
  • Cotton Balls: These are good for cleaning the face--especially the eyes. Kaitlyn had a plugged duct for her first few weeks, so we went through quite a few.
  • Baby Oil: I have never used baby oil for any of my children thus far in life.
  • Baby Powder: I also have not used baby powder for my children, though I did discover it is useful for keep insulation off of your skin, so if you and/or your husband ever work with insulation, rub baby powder on your exposed skin first.
  • Brush and Comb: I use the brush on my babies, but the comb comes much, much later. I have actually never used a comb for Brayden--except when I cut his hair. Baby Brush and Comb
  • Nail Clippers: If you are like me, you will definitely want baby nail clippers (not the ones you use). Some people prefer a nail file. You do need these rather soon after birth. Nail Clippers
DIAPERING ITEMS
  • Diaper Genie: This is what I have always used and I have no complaints with it. I know there are a lot of diaper systems out there, so if you have one you love, share! I always just throw wet diapers in the garbage and use the diaper genie for soiled diapers. I am frugal like that. Diaper Genie
  • Diaper Genie Refills: If you use a system like this that requires refills, I suggest you have at least one for the system and one extra. Refills are also found here: Diaper Genie
  • Wet Wipes: I really like Huggies Natural Care unscented. The thing I like about the Huggies over a store brand (because I have tried them; I am frugal) is that you need fewer Huggies wipes to clean a poopy bum. I figure this makes up for the extra money spent on them in the first place.
  • Rash Cream: I use Boudreaux's Butt Paste. I love it! It is expensive, but it will really last you a long time. We put it on each night to protect skin through the night. We have only purchased a few tubes in the last four years. Boudreaux's Butt Paste
  • Diapers: You might use disposable, you might use cloth, but you must use something :). With a newborn, I do buy the more expensive diaper brands and get the diapers made for a newborn size. As baby gets a little bigger, though, I move to just the store brand.
MEDICAL ITEMS (see Baby Stuff I Love: Sickness)
  • Rectal Thermometer: I don't use this. I use a temporal scanner. Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer MODEL# 2000C
  • Infant Acetamenophine: You won't be using this right away, but you can use it relatively soon. I would consult with your pediatrition before your first time, though.
  • Mylicon Drops: These are gas drops. I used these a lot with Brayden. Kaitlyn never needed it.
  • Bulb Syringe: AKA Nasal aspirator. Bulb Syringe
NURSING ITEMS (see Baby Stuff I Love: Nursing/Bottle Feeding Stuff )
  • Lansinoh: I sing its praises all the time. I love Lansinoh. I put it on once a day a month before I have the baby. Then at first, I put it on after every feeding. It really makes a HUGE difference for me. I have only had to buy a few tubes over the years. Lansinoh Lanolin Nipple Lotion 2 oz
  • Nursing Bras: Get a good one. Also, you might want to wait until after you have had the baby to get one so you can be fitted. I bought a few before Brayden was born based on what the clerk told me should happen. They were really uncomfortable. When he was two weeks old, I bought another one, and I love it! I now purchase these a couple of weeks after baby is born, though I have some to use until then.
  • Nursing Nightgown: My mother-in-law gave me one of these when I had Brayden. I really like it. I don't use it the entire time I am nursing. I only use it for the first few weeks, but it is really convenient. You don't have to hold a shirt up or anything, which is great when you are so tired. Nursing Nightgowns
  • Nursing Pillow: I love the Boppy. Boppy Bare Naked with Miracle Middle Pillow. If you get this, you will also want at least one pillow case. Two are nice so one can be washed while the other is in use.
  • Nursing Pads: When I was nursing Brayden, I used the absolute cheapest nursing pads out there. I figured there was no reason to use more expensive pads. I had been given lots of samples of other brands while in the hospital and wasn't impressed. Well, one time while nursing Kaitlyn the store didn't have the cheapest ones and only had Lansinoh. I had never tried it, but was forced to buy them. What a difference they made! They never got soaked all the way through, so my shirts never did either. They also were less conspicuous and more comfortable. I only ever had to change them because that seemed like the right thing to do. With the next baby, my plan is to use the cheap ones for my heavy engorgement time at first (except for when I am out in public). Once that is over, continue on with Lansinoh brand Lansinoh 20265 Disposable Nursing Pads, 60-Count Boxes (Pack of 3)
  • Breast Pump: The breast pump you get will depend on how often you pump. I don't need to pump often, so I just have a couple of hand pumps. One is Medela and one is Avent. I like them both. Breast Pumps
FEEDING
BOTTLE STUFF
  • Bottles: I like to give my baby a bottle once a week to ensure baby can and will eat from the bottle. I have previously used Avent, which I have have loved. The bottles I have, though, have BPA in them, and I figure better safe than sorry, so I am purchasing new bottles for baby #3. I am going to try the Adiri Natural Nurser
LAYETTE
  • Onesies/Bodysuits: These are great for a newborn. You can have them as undershirts or as the shirt. I find them great for the 0-3 month old especially. I then just put some pants or skirt with the onsie and I have an outfit. Onesies
  • Nightgowns: These are nice for an easy diaper change at night. The thing I don't like about them is that they creep up. Nightgowns So then I use something like this: Sleep Bag
  • Footed Pajamas: This is what I have my babies sleep in unless it is too hot once they are past the nightgown stage. Footed Pajamas
  • Outfits: You will want a few outfits for your baby. Newborns are handled easiest in clothes that are all snapped up like the onesies I mentioned above. But there are still times you want baby to be all cute and dressed up. I just don't use a lot of outfits for the 0-3 month stage.
  • Hats: You will need winter or summer hats depending on the time of year. Baby Hats
  • Jacket/Sweatshirt: If you have a baby in cooler weather, you will want one of these for newborn stage.
  • Socks/Booties
TOYS (see also Big Toys for Baby (not BW) and Best Toys for Baby: Ages 0-3 Months)
  • Bouncy Seat: Your baby will be able to sit in a bouncy seat relatively soon after birth. I like to be stocked up for several months, but if you aren't that type, you would wait a month or so before looking into getting one. Fisher-Price Kick & Play Bouncer
  • Gym: The gym is a place that can be used from birth. Baby Gym
  • Soft Book: I start reading to my baby each day from birth. I got Brayden a little soft cloth book that I read to him each day for quite a while before I started varying which book we read. I used the same for Kaitlyn and plan to do the same for baby #3. Baby Cloth Books
OTHER
  • Pacifiers: I don't use them, but I always have a few in case. I don't know why I have them since I don't use them, but I do.
  • Anti-scratch Mittens: I bought these before Brayden was born, but I never found a real use for them with him or Kaitlyn. I do know people who love them, though. Mittens
  • Nightlight: I use this at first at night while there are several feedings, but I don't like to keep it a constant in life. Not that there is anything wrong with it. I just avoid things that would have to be transported when we travel.
  • Diaper Bag
  • Scrapbook: Okay, this is definitely not a need. I love to scrapbook and prefer to do pages as we go rather than falling behind and playing catch up (not to say this is the way it always goes, but it is what I prefer). So I like to have it from the beginning.
  • Baby Book: If you don't get a baby book right away (or ever), be sure you have somwhere you record things. You think you will remember it forever, but you won't. I really like the Carter's Baby Books or other brands owned by Carters (Just One Year & Child of Mine).

Monday, February 23, 2009

Discipline Methods: 10 Months and up

On Becoming Babywise II lists methods of correction appropriate for babies 10 months and up. Some of these can be used sooner. These are found on page 60.

  • Verbal Correction: This is something you can start using sooner than 10 months, I think. This is my method of choice for all ages. I use it with my children. For this to work, your child has to obey your voice. He will have times when he absolutely just ignores you. Many times, he does this to test if you mean it. You will also find that he obeys well, then will start ignoring you again. This usually accompanies a new skill. One example is when he starts to climb the stairs by himself. Part of his choice to ignore you is his strong desire to climb those stairs over and over to practice. There are ideas in On Becoming Toddlerwise for addressing situations like this. See Substitution: Toddlerwise. Another part of his choice to ignore you is that his new skill has brought with it new freedoms. He needs to test his limits of those freedoms.

    Don't underestimate the power of verbal correction. Like I said, it is what I use the vast majority of the time for all ages thus far (Brayden is approaching 4 years old). We aren't special around here; it can work for you, too. Part of our success is that I use it from the beginning. For the entire span of my children's lives, I have been correcting them verbally. Another part is that I expect them to obey that verbal direction. Children live up to expectations. I have noticed that even Kaitlyn obeys her brothers "verbal direction" above the percentages expected for her age. He doesn't need to be giving her verbal direction, but that is a whole other topic. The point is all he does is verbally instruct her and she obeys. He does use any other method of persuasion to get her to listen to him. A third reason we are successful with verbal correction is that I am very consistent. I am consistent with what is okay and what isn't. I am consistent with providing that verbal correction. Finally, we are successful because I also offer a lot of verbal praise when they choose the right thing.
  • Isolation in the Crib: If your child refuses to listen or is emotionally out of control, you can remove him from the situation and put him in his crib (or a pack-n-play). At 10 months, you can be sure your child can easily learn cause and effect relationships. The most common worry for parents with this method of correction is that they child will start to hate the crib. Your child is smart enough to associate the difference between isolation time and sleep time. I have never heard a parent who does isolation in the crib say that their child started to hate the crib.
  • Loss of Privilege: This is to reinforce verbal instruction. You use it if the child does not obey the verbal instruction you have given. This is my second most used method of correction for all ages. He can lose a privilege, a toy, etc. If he refuses to listen to your instruction to not go up the stairs, then he might lose his privilege to climb himself at appropriate times. If he throws something off the highchair, he loses it, etc.
  • Hand Squeeze: This is light to moderate. This is used to gain the child's attention, not as punishment. I personally don't ever use this.

  • Mommy Glare: This is my own addition. In conjunction with the verbal instruction, I give them what I call my "Mommy Glare." This is that look you give that tells your child what they are doing is inappropriate. Often times for me, just the look is enough to stop the child if he already knows what he is doing is inappropriate.

Methods to Avoid:

  • Anger: Avoid getting angry. When applying these methods, remain calm and matter-of-fact. Getting angry about it does not help your child to obey.
  • Emotional Manipulation: This is really along the lines of getting angry. Don't make your child feel like he is about to lose the love of his parents because he did something wrong. Apply the consequence for the action without holding a grudge and without trying to apply a guilt trip. Again, tie no emotion to it. It just is what it is. Child did something he shouldn't have so now he has the consequence for it.
  • Spanking: "Spanking, as traditionally practiced in our society, is not an acceptable form of correction during the pretoddler phase of development" (page 60).

Related Posts:

Friday, February 20, 2009

More Than Making it Through the Day: 9-12 Months

Many of us get quite nostalgic during this age range. Your baby is almost a year old! Your baby is almost not a baby anymore! Your baby is almost a toddler! I think most parents start to be thinking more about character training by this point. 6-9 months might have seemed really young, but 9-12 months starts to seem more appropriate. You start to really see some need for discipline (remember that discipline does not mean to punish but to correct).

Let's go through the day for ideas on this age range. It can be a hard age range for blanket statements. Some babies start walking. Others are content to just sit in one spot, not even attempting a crawl. For this reason, there will be varying degrees for need of discipline. You have little need to correct the child who can't move to a place she shouldn't be.

Mealtimes
By now, your baby is most likely eating solids and even finger foods. Most babies will have four liquid feedings. Some five, and some three. Here are some things to think about during this time period as far as mealtime goes:
  • Finger Foods: If you haven't started finger foods yet, here is a link to my post about it:
    Finger Foods: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2007/12/finger-foods.html
  • Snacks: As your child is awake longer and better at communicating, she might start asking for snacks. Be careful that you maintain the healthy eating patterns you have spent the last 9 plus months making. If your child needs a snack, that is fine. Be sure it is healthy and be sure it isn't so large that it interferes with the next meal. Snacks should be a planned part of the day. See: Snacks
  • Aligning Meals: This is the age range you might start to align meals with the family. Don't worry if your child isn't able to fully get there; there is plenty of time for it and it will come. See this post for more: Solids: Aligning Meals with the Family: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2007/12/solids-aligning-meals-with-family.html
  • Feeding Your Pre-Toddler: Some babies (like Brayden) are quite content to continue eating baby food as the main bulk of a meal during this age range. Others, like Kaitlyn, never really enjoyed baby food in the first place and really want to move on to bigger and better things. See this post for ideas if your baby is done with baby food: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/02/feeding-your-pre-toddler.html. If not, don't stress. Just continue to serve the mushy stuff :)
  • Avoid Sweets: I recommend you avoid sweets and other snacky items as long as you can. This is really easy with an only child. You can save those items for when baby is not around. Older siblings tend to expose baby to those items earlier. I know it can be fun to give these treats, and I know that grandparents often really want to feed these items to baby. The longer you wait, the better. Your baby will have more opportunity to develop a love for foods that are healthy.
  • Avoid Salt: Your baby also doesn't need salt and other spices on the food. Give your baby an opportunity to learn to like food as it is. You baby will have more than enough exposure to salt later in life.
  • Throwing Food: You baby might start (or continue) to throw food off the highchair. See: Throwing/Dropping Food off of the Tray
  • Three Feedings: Some babies might be able to go down to three feedings around this age. I didn't do that with mine. Both were on four until at least one year old. Brayden was quite a bit older before he went to three. See this post for more: Dropping the 4th Feeding
  • Weaning: You might start weaning during this period, or you might be planning on the 12 month mark (or later). This can be weaning from breast or bottle. If your baby is fed by bottle, I would suggest you start to work on weaning now. You can take it really slowly. If your child is nursed and you plan to wean at 12 months, I suggest you start thinking about how to do it so you can have a game plan in place. See:
    Weaning: Breast, Bottle, and Formula: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/weaning-breast-bottle-and-formula.html
    and
    In Action: Weaning from Breast
Naptimes
Generally speaking, there are few nap problems during this age range. If your child does have nap problems, please don't now freak out. Some do. But most don't.
  • Watch for sleep props: If your child has a favorite toy, blanket, finger, or pacifier to sleep with, this is the age range I noticed both of my children really get a strong attachment to these security items. Before this age range, they liked the items while sleeping, but didn't seem to give them a second thought once they were out of bed. During this age range, an emotional bond seemed to form. I recommend you don't let your child carry the item with her everywhere. Leave the pacifier in the crib. Instruct her gently to remove her fingers when they go in her mouth. It is fine to have these in bed, but try to prevent them from becoming a difficult habit to break in the future.
  • Third Nap: If your child hasn't dropped the third nap yet, she will during this age range. See: Dropping Naps: A Quick Reference and Dropping the 3rd Nap (evening): http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/dropping-3rd-nap-evening.html. Once this nap is dropped, baby's nighttime sleep will most likely extend by 30-60 minutes--at least for a short period while she gets used to having the nap gone.
  • Disruptions: Most disruptions that happen during this period are due to the child learning to stand, crawl, and or walk on her own. This will cause major disruptions for a couple of days. See: Nap Disruptions: Rolling, Standing, Crawling, etc: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/nap-disruptions-rolling-standing.html She might also start to play in the crib. See: Playing in the Crib/Bed
  • Remain Consistent: Many babies seem to need less sleep, and you might be tempted to skip naps or forget to put baby down in time for a nap. Optimal waketime is still important to the baby in this age group. Also, with all of the new activities you might be introducing, you baby might get overstimulated. If you are having nap problems, be sure there is not overstimulation or too long of a waketime.

Now on to the waketime activities.

Playtime
Here are some general thoughts for playtime:
  • Safety: If your baby is moving in any way, there is a good chance you have thought about Baby-Proofing. You want to keep things safe, but you also want to provide learning opportunities.
  • Toys: Your baby is about to leave baby-hood. Make sure you aren't assuming she still likes those toys she loved a few months ago: Out With the Old, in With the New (toys) Here is my post for toys in this age range: Best Toys for Baby: Ages 10-12 Months
  • Old Classics: There are many nursery rhymes and other games you may have forgotten about. Here is a list of some of the old classics that involve movement: Peek-a-boo, Patty Cake, Itsy-bitsy Spider, This Little Piggy, Ring-a-Round the Rosies, and Pop Goes the Weasel.

Independent Playtime
If you have been doing this from the beginning, or at least prior to this point, things pretty much continue as they did. See this blog label for all independent playtime posts: independent playtime

  • Keep it up!: Keep up independent play. It is very much worth it. Be sure it is a scheduled part of each day.
  • Resistance: You might find resistance to independent play as new skills came along. This is what happened to Brayden. He was fine with independent play. He did 30 minutes at a time with no problem. Then he learned to stand on his own. For some reason, he was then very angry with independent play. I made the mistake of stopping for several months. Don't make my mistake. Stick to it. See: Resistance to Independent Playtime
  • Adjust Length: Chances are you will need to adjust length now that your baby is likely gaining new physical skills: Independent Playtime Lengths
Free Playtime
Free playtime should look the same as it did in the past. Free playtime can be in the presence of other family members. She can sit in her highchair and play with toys while you make dinner. Once she can sit up on her own well, you can give her a basket of toys on the floor to play with. See Free Playtime for more on this.

If your child can now move on her own, remember that free playtime does not mean the child gets to wander the house looking for interesting things.

Sibling Playtime
If you have more than one child, you can have sibling playtime. You do not have to leave your children alone for this. What you do will depend on the age and maturity of the older child. During this age-range, Brayden was nearing three. I felt comfortable leaving them in the room together for up to five or so minutes, but I was never more than two seconds away. The two children interacted with each other a lot more during this age range, but still basically played side-by-side rather than together. Brayden did find that he could really make Kaitlyn laugh, and both really enjoyed that.

Sibling playtime can be in a toy room, outside, and really you could have it be with something like a walk. See this post for more on sibling playtime: Sibling Playtime. I wrote it when Kaitlyn was 10 months old.

One-on-One Time With Each Parent
Be sure that you have some time set aside each day for each parent to spend quality time with the baby. This can be in conjunction with other daily activities (reading, bathing, feeding solids, etc.) or it can be simply the parent playing with the baby. This is time when you are 100% baby's. As your baby gets older, you will most likely enjoy doing things that are more playful. You can play with toys. Dad might rough-house.

One note, if you have this one-on-one time be another activity, be sure you are focused on baby. If it is during feeding solids, don't have the TV on, don't be talking on the phone, etc. You are spending time with baby.

Play Dates
You can start or continue play dates. Interaction during this time will be similar to those described in the sibling playtime section above.

Language Development
Many babies will say their first word during this period if they haven't already. You will start to see language recognition in your child, and you will most likely be astonished as you come to realize how much she understands. See this post for more: Language Development.
  • Sign Language: Your child can most likely really take off with learning Sign Language. Make a goal to introduce as many words as your baby can learn. Some might be able to do one a day. Some might be able to do a few a week. Give her a chance to learn.
  • Read. Read books to your child. We have story time routinely with our bedtime routine. You can also have other stories during the day if you want to. Non-BW: The Value of Reading: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/non-bw-value-of-reading.html
  • Repeat: When your baby talks to you, respond. You can repeat what she says. Maybe she says "Yummy." You then say, "Is that food yummy? I am so glad." When she knows you are listening to and understanding her, it will give her more motivation to speak. If she is signing, sign and say the word back to her.
  • Listen: When she babbles, look at her and listen to what she has to say. I will say things like, "Really?" "That is very interesting" or "I love your stories."
  • Require Language Use: Once your baby has demonstrated a consistent ability to use a word, encourage her to use words. This can be either verbal or through signs. Don't be discouraged if she mixes words up or seems to forget things she used to know. Don't allow a tantrum to take the place of using a word she knows. See the Discipline section below for more.
  • Label: Label everything your baby sees. Help her to know what things are called.

Bathtime
As your baby gets older, bathtime only gets more exciting. Remember that as your child gets older, you need to be mindful of times you need to correct behavior. Bathtime can bring opportunities. Decide on what is and isn't okay with you. Is standing in the tub going to be okay? This is the age range that Brayden started to try to stand in the tub. Decide before this happens what is allowed and what your course of action will be when it does. Your child will splash, and how much splashing is appropriate will depend on you. See these posts also:
Best Toys for Baby: Bath Toys
Baby Stuff I Love: Bathtime

Time Outside
Assuming the weather is good enough for your baby during this time period, spend time outside. Since your baby is now much more aware of what is going on around her, this will be a much more fascinating activity. There is so much for your baby to take in. During this age range, Brayden was absolutely obsessed with going outside. It was a good activity for his expanding waketime. Physical activity is important, and the outdoors is a great place to encourage it.

  • Walks. Walks continue to be loved by baby. There are so many new things to see. Baby will likely try to communicate to you during the walk, so pay attention so you can respond to the 'questions' and attempts at words. Walking to destinations is fun. You can walk to the park, the duck pond, the store, etc.
  • Bicycle Rides: Your baby should now be strong enough to sit in a seat on your bicycle or in a bicycle trailer. This is a fun activity to add to your outside time.
  • Park. Your child isn't old enough to run around the playground equipment, but she might enjoy swinging or having you help her down the slide. She also might enjoy people watching. If she can move, she will try to get to things. Keep her safe and be sure you don't let her try things beyond her physical ability.
  • Bubbles: Your baby might enjoy watching you blow bubbles. She might even chase after them.
  • Just Outside. You can spread a blanket out, bring some toys, and let your child sit and play. There will be much for your child to observe. If your child can move, she will like to move on her own outside. She might also enjoy passing a ball back and forth to you.
  • Hikes. If your family enjoys this, you can go for hikes.
  • Other. There are so many different outdoor activities you can introduce your child to. Swimming is one. Perhaps a trip to the corn maze. Maybe sledding.

Artistic Time
Baby might be able to do some artistic activities. Keep them age appropriate. This can range from possibly coloring to singing. See Baby Stuff I love: Art Time for ideas.

Discipline
Your need for discipline will vary on the baby. Some have basically no need yet. Others have a large need. Most likely fall somewhere in between. When Brayden was this age, I remember trying to think of what was okay with me and what wasn't. There was a lot that didn't bother me, but I decided to make the off-limits just so he could get the training in. With Kaitlyn, I already knew what was and wasn't okay with me so it didn't take much initial thought.

Remember that at this age, your child doesn't make moral decisions. Much discipline comes just because baby has no idea if something is or isn't okay to do. Other times, baby is simply trying to figure out life and is interested if things are always no, or if it was that one time. She also is trying to figure out what about that last time was no. She is trying to learn. See these posts for discipline ideas for this age range:

Other Goals
Here are a few posts for further ideas for goals in this age-range:

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Happiest Baby on the Block: Swinging

The fourth S, as discussed in Chapter 11, is Swinging. "Swinging refers to all manner of rhythmic motions" (page 158). Karp says the swinging is another item that turns on the calming reflex. Here are some ways he lists for swinging (page 156):

  • Baby slings and carriers: Karp states, "Babies adore infant carriers" (page 156), but I have to say, both of mine hated them.
  • Dancing
  • Infant swings
  • Rhythmic pats on the back or bottom
  • Hammocks
  • Rocking in a rocking chair
  • Car Rides
  • Vibrating bouncy seats
  • Bouncing on an exercise ball
  • Brisk walks

Karp says for a really fussy baby, the swinging must be fast and jiggly. To successfully apply the swing (page 158):

  • Start out fast and jiggly.
  • The movement of the head, not the body, turns the reflex on. But please, be cautious of damaging baby's head. Remember, tiny movements. Do not whip head around, which would cause shaken baby syndrome (page 160)
  • Follow baby's lead. Just like with the Shh..., the intensity of the jiggling should reflect the intensity of the crying.

Swings (page 168):

  • Karp says babies can easily be weaned from swings by 5 months of age.
  • Karp says a swing will not calm a screaming baby, but it keeps a baby calm and lulls him to sleep.
  • Karp says to swaddle, buckle baby in, recline seat as far as it will go, and use the fastest swing speed.

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DVD:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Using This Blog

This blog is intended to be a quick reference to find answers to questions you encounter while implementing Babywise, Toddlerwise, Childwise, etc. See the Blog Index for a list of all articles on the blog. In the index, posts are grouped together in categories so you can quickly find what you are looking for. The blog index is linked on the top right corner of each page. You can also refer to the blog labels, listed on the right, to see all posts in a certain topic.

If you have a question or problem that is not addressed, simply ask it in the form of a comment on any post. I will respond directly to your comment on the same post. Please do try to find your answer in the many posts I have written before you ask a question. I spend hours answering questions each day. I am happy to answer them, but the more questions there are, the longer it takes to answer them, which means the longer the wait time before people receive answers.

If you are here to debate, please see my debate policy.

The current wait time for me to answer a question is about five days. If I haven't answered it within that time frame, I most likely was not notified of it. If so, simply comment again (on the same post) saying you posted a question. Please feel free to leave your own experiences and advice on the subject of the post also. The more the merrier.

You can subscribe to receive email notifications of posts by entering your email address on the right. Another option is to become a follower of the blog, which is also to the right. Enjoy!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Edited 3-31-2009

Since I have a baby that is only a few days old, my response time to comments will be quite long. 90% of the answers I give are simply references to posts I have written, so you can more than likely find the answer to your question in this blog. I will answer questions as quickly as I can, but it will take some time as I attend to my family and heal :)

If you do ask a question and then later find the answer, it would be helpful if you posted a comment on the same post as your original question to let me know you no longer need help. Thanks so much for your patience at this time!

Poll Results: What was the average length of naps for baby ages 7-8 months? (approximate)

Results:

45 minutes: 12 votes (7%)
1 hour: 16 votes (9%)
1 hour 15 minutes: 17 votes (10%)
1.5 hours: 44 votes (27%)
1 hour 45 minutes: 20 votes (14%)
2 hours: 44 votes (27%)
More than 2 hours: 12 votes (7%)

Total of 165 votes

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Reminder: You can leave comments on poll results posts if you would like to add to the poll after it has closed. This would be helpful for those who have more than one child, those whose children have reached certain ages after a poll closed, and those who didn't visit the blog while that poll was open. To find closed polls, click on the poll results link above.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Toys in Bed

Every so often, I get a question about the appropriateness of toys in bed. As in most things with parenting, this depends on your child. Not only does it depend on your child in general, but it depends on your child at the moment. At some stages, toys are a distraction from naptime. At other stages, they are something that seem to help naptime happen.

Young Babies
As a newborn, your child does not need any sort of toy in bed. You might have a mobile. If so, be mindful of the possibility that the mobile could distract from sleep. Some babies might look at it and get overstimulated or be so interested in it that they miss the sleep window. Others might look at it and peacefully slip into slumber.

Both of my children had a mobile as a young baby. It wasn't a problem for either child. Our mobile has very mild colors. It also is just a mobile; it doesn't move or make music at all. If your mobile does move and/or play music, I would caution you against turning it on for naptime or bedtime. You don't want your child to become dependent on it for sleep. You want to avoid sleep props .

You want to be sure you take the mobile down once your child can reach it. Brayden only had it for a couple of months, but Kaitlyn had it for quite a while (though I can't remember exactly how long).

Older Babies
You might put a stuffed animal in the bed with your baby. I did this with Brayden around 6 months. I actually started it with Kaitlyn from birth, but it was at the opposite end of the crib from her so it wasn't anywhere near her. If you do this, be sure it is a safe stuffed animal with no parts that can come off and be choked on (like buttons or eyes that could be pulled off). These stuffed animals are "friends" for my kids. They have never been a problem for sleep. Both of my kids would go to sleep without a problem. When they woke up, they would "talk" to the "friends."

12-24 Months
This is an age when any sort of toy can really start to become a distraction. Both of my kids still had stuffed animals in this age range. Kaitlyn (21 Months) likes to hug one sometimes as she falls asleep. She doesn't ever play with them before sleep. We have to set them up so they are all sitting along one crib rail. Then she goes to sleep. When she wakes up, she will play with them and talk to them. If I go in to get her right away, she is disappointed because she wanted to play with her babies.

When we moved Brayden from the crib to his twin bed, I was really glad he had his "friends" that he was familiar with. When we moved him, he moved beds and bedrooms. I was glad for him to have something familiar to sleep with. We plan to move Kaitlyn this month sometime, also, and I am sure her babies will help with a smooth transition. See crib to bed transition for mroe on this.

Also, Brayden has a love for one of his "friends" in particular. When he had his surgery last month, he was able to take that friend in the operating room with him. They bandaged him up just like Brayden. His bond with this stuffed animal helped him through this scary process.

2-3 Years
You can continue with the special friends. You might also start to think about something like a toy car for your child to play with. If you do give him a car, pay close attention to what happens. He might play with it for a few minutes then drift to sleep. But he also might play with it so long it takes him past his second wind and prevents sleep from happening.

3 Years and Up
During the third year, your child will likely start to drop the nap some days. Throughout Brayden's fourth year (ages 3-4), we have had to vary what does and doesn't go in his bed. At the beginning of his fourth year, he had nothing in bed with him for naps except for a blanket and pillow. That helped him to sleep better. As the year went on, he started to not sleep well for naps. So we gave him one to two cars and a couple of "friends" for a nap. That again got him sleeping well.

Over the last 2-3 months (he is currently 3.5 months shy of 4 years old), he has moved more and more toward rest time rather than nap time. He now has one or two cars, his friends, and a few books. Some days he sleeps, others he doesn't, but during his nap or rest time, he is quiet and stays in bed without a problem.

Summary
No matter the age of your child, whether or not toys are in bed with him is up to you to decide. There is no "rule" that says it is always okay or always not okay. If you see toys are a problem, remove them. If you see toys help naptime go more smoothly and happen, use them. Here are a few guidelines I would use:
  • Delay Introduction of Toys in Bed: I would wait until you see a need for a toy in bed before you ever introduce it. Putting it in earlier than the child is able to handle it is akin to giving a freedom too soon. If it turns out the toy is a hindrance to naptime, your child might be really upset when you take it.
  • Analyze All Angles: Before trying the toy in bed, be sure you analyze all other possible reasons for poor naps. You don't want to offer a toy when what your child really needs is more waketime. See sleep problems and optimal waketime for help in this.
  • Keep the Quantity Low: Your child doesn't need every beloved toy in bed with him. A couple will suffice.
  • Take Note of Effect: This might be a good time to keep a log (see log ). Before you give the toy, keep a log of how long it takes him to fall asleep and how the nap goes. After you give the toy, do the same. Then you can concretely see if it is helping or hurting.
  • Pay Attention: If the toy helps, pay attention to watch for it to become a problem. It can. If the toy becomes a distraction, remove it.
  • Avoid Props: I would avoid letting this become a prop. I would rotate toys if needed to ensure that your child will not be particular about which toy, book, or stuffed animal he has. I like to have my children able to sleep so that wherever they are, they can go to sleep. I don't want to have to remember to pack certain toys or items to help them sleep. If we are at Grandma's, I grab a stuffed animal she has there. Even though my kids have had the same stuffed animals for basically their entire lives, they are fine with having different ones. Monitor your child so you don't create a prop.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Proactive and Directive Parenting

In On Becoming Babywise II, we learn that parenting should be proactive and directive rather than reactive and restrictive (page 57). What this means is that you should direct your child in what is right to do before she does something she shouldn't. When you wait until after she has done something she shouldn't, then you have to restrict that behavior.

This doesn't mean that for your 7 month old you sit down and give a lecture on what she can and cannot do. That would probably lead to you trying to delve into the moral reasoning behind a situation, which your 7 month old definitely is not ready to understand.

This means that you try to think of things she could do that she shouldn't and train her to do something else that will prevent the behavior from happening. An example in the book is where to put hands during mealtime. The proactive approach is to have a specific place for your child to put her hands. The reactive approach is to let her put her hands wherever she wants to. When she then tries to put her hands in her food, the directive parent tells her that is a no and reminds her where her hands do belong. The reactive parent spends her time just trying to keep the hands out of the food without having somewhere for the hands to go. If she remembers the idea of putting hands on the tray, the child might be resistant to this new confinement after being able to put her hands wherever she wants to.

Children respond much more successfully when you tell them what then can do rather than just what they can't do. Just telling the child, "No hands in your food" leaves the world too wide open for them. Even Brayden now, at 3.5 years old, responds much better to, "You can't do X, but you can do Y or Z." Children do not have the experiences that we do as adults to tell them, "If X is bad, then I shouldn't do W either, but Y or Z should be acceptable." They need to know what to do with themselves.

There are going to be times, despite your best efforts, that your child does something you never even considered a possibility. In that case, you will be taken by surprise and have to react to the situation. If you have been directive where you can, then this shouldn't be a huge problem. You might even be able to pull from other directives you have given and apply them to this surprise. Even if the child isn't your first, subsequent children can take you by surprise. Each child has her own personality. But you do get better at spotting potential problems the longer you have been a parent.

I know it can seem crazy to direct a 7 month old in such a manner. She seems so young. But she isn't too young to be trained and directed to behave in the right way. The more training you do early on, the less training you will have to do in those toddler years. Trust me that a 7 month old is much more compliant than a 17 month old.

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