Thursday, January 27, 2011

Baby Growth Spurts

Parents know when something is “off” with their child. Baby suddenly gets extra fussy, or seems to be hungry all the time, or isn’t sleeping like he or she used to. Maybe it’s a combination of these factors. Either way, things are not quite right with your baby.

Before you panic and call the pediatrician, consider your child’s age. What you’re experiencing could simply be a growth spurt. When my nursing son hit the one month mark, it seemed like all he wanted to do was eat. Considering that that was all he had done for the first four weeks of his life, it was nearly unfathomable that he might want to eat even more than what he was already consuming. But he did! Because, as it turned out, it was a growth spurt.

Growth spurts can be sometimes difficult to identify but, in general, they occur around the first few days after arriving home from the hospital, then at about 1 week old, 2-3 weeks, 4-6 weeks, 12 weeks, 16 weeks, 6 months and 9 months. In addition, after one year of age, growth spurts may occur again every few months or so until your child becomes a teenager. Of course, as with most things baby related, your timing may vary a bit. Growth spurts usually last two or three days.

Signs of a growth spurt include:

  • Baby is hungry all the time
  • He or she frequently wakes at night to eat
  • Baby is more fussy or cranky than usual

For nursing moms, if your baby seems to be hungry all the time, just go along with it and feed your baby when he or she wants to eat. Don’t worry about running out of milk; your milk supply will adjust to your baby’s needs. In addition, if you are nursing, you might also be hungrier or thirstier while your baby is experiencing a growth spurt. It’s nature’s way of telling you that you need to eat more for baby. Just eat or drink more each day (opting for healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables and plenty of water, of course.)

If bottle feeding, bring on the bottles! Remember that babies are simply incapable of overeating. If he or she is fussing and seems hungry, try giving a bottle.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Babies Going Swimming

Our local public pool offers swimming classes for parents with babies. This sounds like fun, but I’m wondering: Is this something I can do safely with my eight-month-old baby?

Learn about it
Swimming classes can be a fun experience to share with your baby and with other parent-baby pairs. The term “class” in this context shouldn’t mean that your baby will “learn” anything. Until a child is over four years old, any swim program should be viewed as simply a pleasurable way to introduce your baby to the fun of being in the water.

At what age can you take a baby in a pool?
As long as the water and weather are warm enough, you can take any baby over a few weeks old into a pool while in your arms. The younger the baby, of course, the more closely you’ll need to monitor the reaction to the water, and the more careful you’ll need to be about the chill that can occur when wet skin hits cooler air. Keep in mind that your baby will chill before you do, and if your baby is shivering or his lips look blue, he should have been out of the water some time ago. Quickly wrap him up and warm him.

How can I make our swimming experience safe?
The one most important rule for swimming with a young baby is to always keep him in your arms when he’s in or near the water. Always.

How can I help my baby enjoy his first swimming experiences?
When taking your baby for a swim, make sure he isn’t hungry or tired so that he and you can both enjoy the water. Avoid taking a swim immediately after your baby has been fed. Very young babies don’t really need any floats or swimming aids, since they will not be out of your arms at any time (right?). If you decide to let your older baby float around in a baby boat or swim ring, always keep in mind that these are not designed for safety or protection; you should keep your hands and eyes on your baby at all times. Follow your baby’s lead. If he seems happy and curious, then move him around in the water. If he seems nervous or frightened, don’t push him beyond his comfort zone. Some babies take time to warm up to the idea of a big body of water, even if they love to splash in the bathtub at home. You may even find that your baby takes numerous trips to the pool or beach before he’s even willing to get wet. Be patient!

How do I choose a class?
Ideally, look for an instructor who has knowledge of child development in addition to swimming. A teacher like this can gear the class activities to the proper developmental abilities of the babies in the group. It’s important to work with a teacher who understands children and can be sensitive to a baby’s fear or uncertainty of the water, and who doesn’t expect a baby to do more than what he is comfortable doing ¾ even if that means just dangling his feet in the water for the first few lessons, or even just looking at it from a deck chair!

What should your baby wear?
At the beach, your baby can wear a diaper, a bathing suit, or a birthday suit ¾ whatever you and he are comfortable with. Many parents keep their babies in a t-shirt to protect against the sun. If your baby is a walker, you might want to invest in some aqua socks to protect little feet against sand, rocks, and shells and to prevent slipping while walking poolside. If you are in a pool, disposable or reusable swim diapers are a great option. These don’t swell up like a sponge, but they do retain the unmentionables that other swimmers would rather not see floating in the water!

Protect your baby from the sun and chemicals
If your swimming extravaganza is taking place outside, be certain that you protect your baby from the sun with a hat and (if the baby is older than six months) sunscreen. This is very important, since the sun’s rays are magnified when reflected off the water. Be cautious about emerging your baby in a pool that has a high level of chlorine as this may irritate his delicate skin.

Apr├Ęs swim
Remember, just like you, your baby will probably be ravenous after a swim so plan to feed him soon after you’re out of the water. A breastfeed, bottle-feed or snack will keep your baby happy. And a snuggly feed after a swim is extra warm and cozy for both mom and baby.

An important warning
No matter how many swim classes your baby has had, and no matter what his comfort and skill levels while in the water are, and no matter what kind of swimming float he is wearing, you should never, ever leave your baby unattended while in or near water ¾ not for even a second. Babies are unpredictable. They easily can fall into the water and drown even in water just a few inches deep. Swimming lessons for babies have nothing whatsoever to do with reducing the risk of water hazards. As a matter of fact, they can increase the risk of water accidents when parents are lulled into thinking their baby is safer because he has had swimming lessons ¾ which is not the case. Plus, swimming lessons, if they are successful, dispel your baby’s natural wariness about water and make it more likely that he’ll explore on his own if given but a second. You are many years away from watching your child swim independently while you sit on the beach in a lounge chair.

babbies online

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Moving From Bottle to a Sippy Cup

One of the hardest stepping stones for a mother and her baby is moving on from the bottle to only a sippy cup. It is hard to know when the “right” time is to make this change, however most experts say the earlier the better. As a child approaches their second and even third birthday, they have formed an attachment to the nipple that gets harder to break, and is based more on comfort than getting nutrition.

Chances are, if you introduce the sippy cup to your baby with anything but juice, or another sweet drink in it, he will not be in a hurry to drink from it. Nipples are much easier for the baby to get formula or breast milk from, than a sippy cup. Most pediatricians will tell you NOT to give the baby sweet drinks in a sippy as a way to get them to drink from it because it can lead to the baby ONLY wanting to drink juice from that sippy cup, making the switch to formula or breast milk that much harder.

One way to break your baby from their bottle is gradually. Cutting down the number of bottles you give during the day and only offering sippies. This works well for some mothers, if you have the patience and time to do it. Most will start by cutting out a bottle at a time for a week, normally starting with the morning bottle and offering just a sippy cup. Every few days or week cut out one more feeding till you only offer a bottle before nap and bedtime as a way to help their baby relax and fall asleep. Eventually cut out that nap time bottle, teaching your baby to fall asleep without the comfort of the bottle, hopefully making it easier to remove the bedtime bottle as well. Some mothers believe this it he kinder, easier way to wean from the nipple to the sippy cup.

The other way to break your baby’s habit is cold turkey. Cold turkey however requires a lot of patience and willpower on the part of the mother. When my daughter was 9 months old I decided to wean her off the bottle cold turkey. At that point she had no interest in the sippy cup. To avoid confusion I took away the pacifier at the same time.

If you are going to wean your baby cold turkey, you have to be prepared. Stock up on your baby’s favorite food and snacks. However, don’t be surprised if your baby doesn’t want them at first. Have a sippy of formula or milk waiting for your baby and available to your baby at all times throughout the day. Offer him the sippy, and food, but do not give in when he cries for the bottle. Don’t be surprised if the first and even if through the second day your baby refuses the sippy cup and all most of the food you are offering him. Remember, if your baby gets hungry enough he will eat. At this point it is a battle of wills between you and your baby. The first day will probably be very hard for both of you. There will be a lot of crying and screaming from your baby. By the end of the day you will be exhausted if not screaming to yourself as well.

The second day will go about the same, hopefully by the evening though your baby will have started to give in a bit and be willing to drink some from the sippy, and eat the other foods you offer. By the time the third day comes to a close, the worst is over and your baby has probably completely given in. The sippy is as welcome to them the morning of the forth day, as a bottle would have been, and they are back to eating and drinking as normal. This cold turkey method works well for most, if the mother has the willpower to stick to it.

There is no “right” way to wean your baby off of the bottle. It is best to make the decision based on your family and on their needs, planning appropriately ahead of time.

Sumber : Babbies Online

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Child Photography Challenges

When we use our children as photography subjects we are faced with a wide array of challenges. Maybe it’s those tricky toddlers or maybe it’s the weather that won’t comply? Whatever the challenge, though, there are ways to overcome various photography hurdles. Pictures don’t have to be perfect to be well received and treasured for years to come. It’s all about the emotion a photo evokes. Jumping the hurdles is easy, you just have to try.
• You have a child who just won’t smile or when he does smile it’s all forced and fake?
o How about capturing him when he’s not looking. Get him drawing on the sidewalk with chalk, blowing bubbles, or jumping on the trampoline.
• The rain is relentless and you haven’t taken a picture for days because you are most interested in naturally lit photographs.
o How about popping that flash and just snapping. You could be missing the best shots ever because you don’t want to use your flash.
• You have multiple children and there is always one who looks away or closes her eyes. You just want one great picture of all of them together.
o How about following them as they walk hand-in-hand on the beach, or you get them all playing together in the yard, or swimming in their kiddie pool? There aren’t any rules that say you must have them all looking and smiling.
• The tantrums are plentiful and your fear is that you won’t get a decent picture of your terribly terrific toddler.
o How about you put that bubble machine to use and capture some shots of your child playing amidst them, or maybe bath-time is a happy time and will yield some big smiles. Pick out times that your child is happy and get snappy!
Pictures that will be treasured don’t need to be posed. In this era of the digital camera we are afforded the option of taking as many pictures as our memory cards can hold. Keep those cameras within reach and start photographing the little moments, those ordinary –yet extraordinary– moments!

Sumber : Babies Online

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Science of Mother Love

by Cori Young

A growing body of scientific evidence shows that the way babies are cared for by their mothers will determine not only their emotional development, but the biological development of the child’s brain and central nervous system as well. The nature of love, and how the capacity to love develops, has become the subject of scientific study over the last decade. New data is emerging from a multitude of disciplines including neurology, psychology, biology, ethology, anthropology and neurocardiology. Something scientific disciplines find in common when putting love under the microscope is that in addition to shaping the brains of infants, mother’s love acts as a template for love itself and has far reaching effects on her child’s ability to love throughout life.

To mothers holding their newborn babies it will come as little surprise that the decade of the brain’ has lead science to the wisdom of the mother’s heart.

According to Alan Schore, assistant clinical professor in the department of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at UCLA School of Medicine, a major conclusion of the last decade of developmental neuroscience research is that the infant brain is designed to be molded by the environment it encounters.1 In other words, babies are born with a certain set of genetics, but they must be activated by early experience and interaction. Schore believes the most crucial component of these earliest interactions is the primary caregiver - the mother. “The child’s first relationship, the one with the mother, acts as a template, as it permanently molds the individual’s capacities to enter into all later emotional relationships.” Others agree. The first months of an infant’s life constitute what is known as a critical period - a time when events are imprinted in the nervous system.

“Hugs and kisses during these critical periods make those neurons grow and connect properly with other neurons.” Says Dr. Arthur Janov, in his book Biology of Love. “You can kiss that brain into maturity.”

Hormones, The Language of Love
In his beautiful book, The Scientification of Love, French obstetrician Michel Odent explains how Oxytocin, a hormone released by the pituitary gland stimulates the release of chemical messengers in the heart. Oxytocin, which is essential during birth, stimulating contractions, and during lactation, stimulating the ‘milk ejection reflex’, is also involved in other ‘loving behaviors’. “It is noticeable that whatever the facet of love we consider, oxytocin is involved.’ Says Odent. “During intercourse both partners - female and male - release oxytocin.” One study even shows that the simple act of sharing a meal with other people increases our levels of this ‘love hormone’.2

The altruistic oxytocin is part of a complex hormonal balance. A sudden release of Oxytocin creates an urge toward loving which can be directed in different ways depending on the presence of other hormones, which is why there are different types of love. For example, with a high level of prolactin, a well-known mothering hormone, the urge to love is directed toward babies.

While Oxytocin is an altruistic hormone and prolactin a mothering hormone, endorphins represent our ‘reward system’. “Each time we mammals do something that benefits the survival of the species, we are rewarded by the secretion of these morphine-like substances.” Says Odent.

During birth there is also an increase in the level of endorphins in the fetus so that in the moments following birth both mother and baby are under the effects of opiates. The role of these hormones is to encourage dependency, which ensures a strong attachment between mother and infant. In situations of failed affectional bonding between mother and baby there will be a deficiency of the appropriate hormones, which could leave a child susceptible to substance abuse in later life as the system continually attempts to right itself.3 You can say no to drugs, but not to neurobiology. Human brains have evolved from earlier mammals. The first portion of our brain that evolved on top of its reptilian heritage is the limbic system, the seat of emotion. It is this portion of the brain that permits mothers and their babies to bond. Mothers and babies are hardwired for the experience of togetherness. The habits of breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and babywearing practiced by the majority of! mothers in non-industrialized cultures, and more and more in our own, facilitate two of the main components needed for optimal mother/child bonding: proximity and touch.

PROXIMITY, Between Mammals, the Nature of Love is Heart to Heart
In many ways it’s obvious why a helpless newborn would require continuous close proximity to a caregiver; they’re helpless and unable to provide for themselves. But science is unveiling other less obvious benefits of holding baby close. Mother/child bonding isn’t just for brains, but is also an affair of the heart. In his 1992 work, Evolution’s End, Joseph Chilton Pearce describes the dual role of the heart cell, saying that it not only contracts and expands rhythmically to pump blood, it communicates with its fellow cells. “If you isolate a cell from the heart, keep it alive and examine it through a microscope, you will see it lose it’s synchronous rhythm and begin to fibrillate until it dies. If you put another isolated heart cell on that microscopic slide it will also fibrillate . If you move the two cells within a certain proximity, however , they synchronize and beat in unison.” Perhaps this is why most mothers instinctively place their babies to their left breast, keep! ing those hearts in proximity. The heart produces the hormone, ANF that dramatically affects every major system of the body. “All evidence indicates that the mother’s developed heart stimulates the newborn heart, thereby activating a dialogue between the infant’s brain-mind and heart.” says Pearce who believes this heart to heart communication activates intelligences in the mother also. “On holding her infant in the left-breast position with its corresponding heart contact, a major block of dormant intelligences is activated in the mother, causing precise shifts of brain function and permanent behavior changes.” In this beautiful dynamic the infant’s system is activated by being held closely; and this proximity also stimulates a new intelligence in the mother, which helps her to respond to and nurture her infant. Pretty nifty plan - and another good reason to aim for a natural birth. If nature is handing out intelligence to help us in our role as mothers we want to be awake ! and alert!

“The easiest and quickest way to induce depression and alienation in an infant or child is not to touch it, hold it, or carry it on your body.” - James W. Prescott, PhD

Research in neuroscience has shown that touch is necessary for human development and that a lack of touch damages not only individuals, but our whole society. Human touch and love is essential to health. A lack of stimulus and touch very early on causes the stress hormone, cortisol to be released which creates a toxic brain environment and can damage certain brain structures. According to James W. Prescott, PhD, of the Institute of Humanistic Science, and former research scientist at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, sensory deprivation results in behavioral abnormalities such as depression, impulse dyscontrol, violence, substance abuse, and in impaired immunological functioning in mother deprived infants.4 For over a million years babies have enjoyed almost constant in-arms contact with their mothers or other caregivers, usually members of an extended family, receiving constant touch for the first year or so of life. “In nature’s nativity scene, ! mother’s arms have always been baby’s bed, breakfast, transportation, even entertainment, and, for most of the world’s babies, they still are.” says developmental psychologist, Sharon Heller in, The Vital Touch: How Intimate Contact With Your Baby Leads to Happier, Healthier Development.5

To babies,touch = love and fully loved babies develop healthy brains. During the critical period of development following birth the infant brain is undergoing a massive growth of neural connections. Synaptic connections in the cortex continue to proliferate for about two years, when they peak. During this period one of the most crucial things to survival and healthy development is touch. All mammal mothers seem to know this instinctively, and, if allowed to bond successfully with their babies they will provide continuous loving touch.

Touch deprivation in infant monkeys is so traumatic their whole system goes haywire, with an increase of stress hormones, increased heart rate, compromised immune system and sleep disturbances.6

With only 25% of our adult brain size, we are the least mature at birth of any mammal. Anthropologist, Ashley Montagu concluded that given our upright position and large brains, human infants are born prematurely while our heads can still fit through the birth canal, and that brain development must therefore extend into postnatal life. He believed the human gestation period to actually be eighteen months long - nine in the womb and another nine outside it, and that touch is absolutely vital to this time of “exterogestation.”7

Newborns are born expecting to be held, handled, cuddled, rubbed, kissed, and maybe even licked! All mammals lick their newborns vigorously, off and on, during the first hours and days after birth in order to activate their sensory nerve endings, which are involved in motor movements, spatial, and visual orientation. These nerve endings cannot be activated until after birth due to the insulation of the watery womb environment and the coating of vernix casseus on the baby’s skin.

Recall Dr. Janov’s claim that you can kiss a brain into maturity. Janov believes that very early touch is central to developing a healthy brain. “Irrespective of the neurojuices involved, it is clear that lack of love changes the chemicals in the brain and can eventually change the structure of that brain.”

Breastfeeding: Liquid Love
Breastfeeding neatly brings together nourishment for baby with the need for closeness shared by mother and child; and is another crucial way that mother’s love helps shape baby’s brain. Research shows that breastmilk is the perfect “brain food”, essential for normal brain development, particularly, those brain processes associated with depression, violence, and social and sexual behaviors.8

Mother’s milk, a living liquid, contains just the right amount of fatty acids, lactose, water, and amino acids for human digestion, brain development, and growth. It also contains many immunities a baby needs in early life while her own immune system is maturing. One more instance of mother extending her own power, (love) to her developing child.

Limbic Regulation: The Loop of Love
Another key to understanding how a mother’s love shapes the emerging capacities of her infant is what doctors Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini, and Richard Lannon , authors of A General Theory of Love, call limbic regulation; a mutually synchronizing hormonal exchange between mother and child which serves to regulate vital rhythms.

Human physiology, they say, does not direct all of its own functions; it is interdependent. It must be steadied by the physical presence of another to maintain both physical and emotional health. “Limbic regulation mandates interdependence for social mammals of all ages.” says Lewis, “But young mammals are in special need of it’s guidance: their neural systems are not only immature but also growing and changing. One of the physiologic processes that limbic regulation directs, in other words, is the development of the brain itself - and that means attachment determines the ultimate nature of a child’s mind.” A baby’s physiology is maximally open-loop: without limbic regulation, vital rhythms collapse posing great danger, even death.

The regulatory information required by infants can alter hormone levels, cardiovascular function, sleep rhythms, immune function, and more. Lewis, et al contend that , the steady piston of mother’s heart along with the regularity of her breathing coordinate the ebb and flow of an infant’s young internal rhythms. They believe sleep to be an intricate brain rhythm which the neurally immature infant must first borrow from parents. “Although it sounds outlandish to some American ears, exposure to parents can keep a sleeping baby alive.”

The Myth of Independence
This interdependence mandated by limbic regulation is vital during infancy, but it’s also something we need throughout the rest of childhood and on into adulthood. In many ways, humans cannot be stable on their own-we require others to survive. Recall that our nervous systems are not self-contained; they link with those of the people close to us in a silent rhythm that helps regulate our physiology. This is not a popular notion in a culture that values independence over interdependence. However, as a society that cherishes individual freedoms more than any other, we must respect the process whereby autonomy develops.

Children require ongoing neural synchrony from parents in order for their natural capacity for self-directedness to emerge. A mother’s love is a continuous shaping force throughout childhood and requires an adequate stage of dependency. The work of Mary Ainsworth has shown that maternal responsiveness and close bodily contact lead to the unfolding of self-reliance and self confidence.9 Because our culture does not sufficiently value interpersonal relationships, the mother/child bond is not recognized and supported as it could be.

The ability of a mother to read the emotional state of her child is older than our own species, and is essential to our survival, health and happiness. We are reminded of this each time a hurt child changes from sad/scared/angry to peaceful in our loving embrace. Warm human contact generates the internal release of opiates, making mother’s love a powerful anodyne. Even teenagers who sometimes behave as if they are ’so over’ the need for a mother’s affection must be kept in the limbic loop. Children at this age might be at special risk for falling through the emotional cracks. If they don’t get the emotional regulation that family relationships are designed to provide, their hungry brains may seek ineffectual substitutes like drugs and alcohol.

Children left too long under the electronic stewardship of television, video games, etc., are not receiving the steady limbic connection with a resonant parent. Without this a child cannot internalize emotional balance properly.

Our hearts and brains are hardwired for love, and from infancy to old age our health and happiness depend on receiving it.

As the research keeps coming in and we gain a gradually expanding vision of how mother love shapes our species, we see an obvious need to take steps to protect and provide for the mother/child bond. We can take heart knowing that all the while we carry in our genes over a million years of evolutionary refinements equipping us for our role as mothers. The answers sought by science beat steadily within our own hearts.

Sumber :

Thursday, February 26, 2009

New Mom....New Baby....New Debt ?

by Susan Koiner ( babiesonline )

Ah, there is nothing like being an expectant mom. Along with your expanding waistline comes the ever growing list of products for you and your new bundle of joy. Preparing for a new baby can be a costly experience, especially in the areas of clothing and nursery furniture. The good news is that it does not have to be!

Let’s talk about buying baby clothes…think RESALE! Every new mom gushes over the adorable clothing available for babies, but they often come with a not so adorable price. Resale clothing costs a fraction of the retail price. Buying resale clothing does not equal buying trash! Moms sell their baby’s clothing to resale stores for a variety of reasons. Babies outgrow clothes so quickly (normally before they show any wear) they simply cannot use them anymore. Many precious newborns receive more clothes than they can wear in a season (everyone loves to buy baby clothes for shower gifts–they are just too cute!) that cannot be returned and they end up in resale stores with the tags still on! If you have the time and know what you are looking for, you can find plenty of designer and brand name clothing for a steal!

Buy now…save later! There is more beauty to the changing of the seasons than just the landscape! As the temperatures change, so do the prices of baby clothing! Most stores slash the price of their clothing up to 75% by the end of the season to make room for new clothes. Take advantage of this by buying a size or two larger than your baby’s current size for him/her to wear the next year. The savings are amazing!

Another large expense when you are preparing for a new baby is furniture for the nursery. A good place to start when considering which pieces to buy is determining how much room you have to work with? Do you have a large room or do you need multipurpose furniture? A crib is a necessity and a given; however, you can pick and choose other nursery pieces. Combination pieces such as dresser/changing table combos are available at some stores and can save you from buying two pieces. Cribs with attached drawer space that convert to toddler beds are also available and will save you a lot of space. Thinking ahead when buying nursery furniture will save you both time and money in the future. By buying a combination piece of furniture for your nursery, you eliminate having to sell furniture you no longer need, as well as spending time looking for and more money on new “big kid” furniture.

Now that you have decided what to buy, it is time to shop! Once again, think resale! There are many children’s resale stores that carry pre-owned nursery furniture for 50% or more off retail. They usually have several styles to choose from in different price ranges. If you find something you like, they will usually hold it for you (if you were not really prepared to take it home) and some stores may even have lay away plans.

Another great place to buy pre-owned furniture is the classified ads in your local newspaper. Seller’s usually place ads on Thursday or Friday so they can catch the weekend readers. If you find something you are interested in, call quickly! Good furniture does not last long! Make sure you ask the seller plenty of questions. It is important to know before heading out to look at furniture things like the manufacture name, the age, if they have pets (if you are buying cushioned items and allergies are an issue for your family) and the exact color (if it is not adequately described in the ad). Asking these questions may be uncomfortable, but they can save you a lot of time and gasoline looking at something you know you will not be interested in. When you do look at pre-owned furniture from the newspaper, take someone with you and know what you are looking at. Are the style and the manufacturer of the furniture worth what the seller is asking for it? Is the furniture reasonably priced for it’s age and condition? With a little knowledge, buying pre-owned nursery furniture can save you BIG money!

Awaiting the arrival of your new baby is an exhilarating time! Add to the excitement by saving money on quality gently worn (and sometimes new) clothing and pre-owned nursery furniture!

Friday, February 20, 2009

High Chair Hygiene

Meal times are a time of learning and exploration for babies and toddlers. Not only are they exposed to a variety of new textures, but to tastes and smells as well. While your baby is still eating purees from the spoon, fewer messes are to be expected; once he or she graduates to finger or table foods, however, all bets are off.

When our daughter first began eating table foods, it was an adventure. Not only did she have the joy and frustration of discovering different tastes and textures, but she also was able to explore her food for the first time not only with her mouth, but with her hands as well. After meal time was over, we’d find crumbs and small pieces of food tucked away into her hair, down her shirt and even underneath her legs where she was sitting. The high chair fared no better – food would be found all around the padded seat cushion, including on, inside and underneath it, not to mention crusted onto the tray.

What’s a somewhat clean-freak parent to do? Before getting out the bleach and spraying down the entire high chair, my husband and I decided to take a more calm approach. After taking the tray and padded cushion off the chair, we read the manufacturers’ instructions and proceeded to clean the chair accordingly. The tray goes to the kitchen sink, where it’s washed with dish soap and warm water, then dried and returned to the eating area. Then we use a non-chemical all-purpose cleaner to spray down the vinyl seat cushion, the chair underneath, and the foot rests. For the straps that hold her in, we scrub those with the cleaner and a sponge and, when they get really bad, soak them in soapy water or run them through the washing machine.

As for our daughter, we’ve learned a few tricks to keeping her clean at meal time, too. We use a receiving blanket tucked around her neck and down over her chest to catch any crumbs that fall down from her hand or mouth, and try to wipe down her hands with a damp wash cloth before she gets a chance to rub her eyes, hair, face or anything else within reach.

It’s not a fool-proof method, but it usually keeps the messes to a minimum.

Written by: Juliet ( babiesonline )