Always place babies to sleep on their backs during nap time and at nighttime. Babies sleeping on their sides are more likely to accidentally roll on their stomach, therefore the side position is just as dangerous as stomach position. Avoid letting the baby get too hot. The baby could be too hot if you notice sweating, damp hair, flushed cheeks, heat rash, and rapid breathing. Dress the baby lightly for sleep. Set the room temperature in a range that is comfortable for a lightly clothed adult. Consider using a pacifier at nap time and bed time. The pacifier should not have cords or clips that might be a strangulation risk.
Place your baby on a firm mattress, covered by a fitted sheet that meets current safety standards. Toys and other soft bedding, including fluffy blankets, comforters, pillows and stuffed animals should not be placed in the crib with the baby. For more information about crib safety standards, visit the consumer product safety commissions website at http://www.cspc.gov
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Breast-feeding can be challenging. Use these breast-feeding tips to get off to a good start. Ask for help right away: Reading about breast-feeding is one thing. Doing it on your own is something else. The first time you breast-feed your baby — preferably within the first hour after delivery — ask for help. The maternity nurses or a hospital lactation consultant can offer breast-feeding tips, starting with how to position the baby and make sure he or she is latching on correctly. Your doctor or your baby’s doctor might offer breast-feeding tips, too. Let your baby set the pace: For the first few weeks, most newborns breast-feed every two to three hours round-the-clock. Watch for early signs of hunger, such as stirring, restlessness, sucking motions and lip movements. Let your baby nurse from the first breast thoroughly, until your breast feels soft — typically about 15 to 20 minutes. Keep in mind, however, that there is no set time. Then try burping the baby. After that, offer the second breast. If your baby’s still hungry, he or she will latch on. If not, simply start the next breast-feeding session with the second breast. Hold off on a pacifier: Giving your baby a pacifier too soon might interfere with breast-feeding, since sucking on a breast is different from sucking on a pacifier. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting to introduce a pacifier until breast-feeding is well-established, usually three to four weeks after birth. Once you’ve settled into a breast-feeding routine, keep in mind that sucking on a pacifier at naptime or bedtime might reduce the risk of SIDS. Gauge your success: When your baby is latched on successfully, you’ll feel a gentle pulling sensation on your breast — rather than a pinching or biting sensation on your nipple. Your breasts might feel firm or full before the feeding, and softer or emptier afterward. Look for your baby to gain weight steadily, produce at least six wet diapers a day and be content between feedings. Your baby’s stools will become yellow, seedy and loose. Take care of your nipples: After each feeding, it’s OK to let the milk dry naturally on your nipple. The milk can soothe your nipples. If you’re in a hurry, gently pat your nipple dry. If your breasts leak between feedings, use bra pads — and change them often. Make healthy lifestyle choices: eat a healthy diet, drink plenty of fluids, rest as much as possible, don’t smoke, be cautious with medication. Give it time: If breast-feeding is tougher than you expected, try not to get discouraged. Feeding a newborn every few hours can be tiring, and it’s OK to have a slow start. Just remember that the more often you breast-feed your baby, the more milk your breasts will produce — and the more natural breast-feeding is likely to feel. For more in depth information, click here.
Choosing a Formula
To maintain safety standards for infant health in this country, an act of Congress governs the contents of infant formula, and the Food and Drug Administration monitors all formulas. When shopping for infant formula, you’ll find several basic types. Cow’s milk–based formulas account for about 80 percent of the formula sold today. Although cow’s milk is the basis for such formulas, the milk has been changed dramatically to make it safe for infants. It is treated by heating and other methods to make the protein more digestible. Soy formulas contain a protein (soy) and carbohydrate (either glucose or sucrose) different from milk-based formulas. They are sometimes recommended for babies unable to digest lactose, the main carbohydrate in cow’s milk formula, although simple lactose-free cow’s milk–based formula is also available. Many infants have brief periods when they cannot digest lactose, particularly following bouts of diarrhea, which can damage the digestive enzymes in the lining of the intestines. But this is usually only a temporary problem and does not require a change in your baby’s diet. Specialized formulas are manufactured for infants with specific disorders or diseases. There are also formulas made specifically for premature babies. If your pediatrician recommends a specialized formula for your infant, follow his guidance about feeding requirements (amounts, scheduling, special preparations), since these may be quite different from regular formulas.
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Amount and Schedule of Formula Feeding
After the first few days, your formula-fed newborn will take from 2 to 3 ounces (60–90 ml) of formula per feeding and will eat every three to four hours on average during her first few weeks. (Breastfed infants usually take smaller, more frequent feedings than formula-fed infants.) During the first month, if your baby sleeps longer than four to five hours and starts missing feedings, wake her up and offer a bottle. By the end of her first month, she’ll be up to at least 4 ounces (120 ml) per feeding, with a fairly predictable schedule of feedings about every four hours. By six months, your baby will consume 6 to 8 ounces (180–240 ml) at each of four or five feedings in twenty-four hours. On average, your baby should take in about 2 1⁄2 ounces (75 ml) of formula a day for every pound (453 grams) of body weight. But he probably will regulate his intake from day to day to meet his own specific needs. So instead of going by fixed amounts, let him tell you when he’s had enough. If he becomes fidgety or easily distracted during a feeding, he’s probably finished. If he drains the bottle and still continues smacking his lips, he might still be hungry. More information, click here.
Can I start my baby on solid foods?
The following are some guidelines from the AAP book Nutrition: What Every Parent Needs to Know. Remember that each child’s readiness depends on his own rate of development.
•Can he hold his head up? Your baby should be able to sit in a high chair, feeding seat, or infant seat with good head control.
•Does he open his mouth when food comes his way? Babies may be ready if they watch you eating, reach for your food, and seem eager to be fed.
•Can he move food from a spoon into his throat? If you offer a spoon of rice cereal and he pushes it out of his mouth and it dribbles onto his chin, he may not have the ability to move it to the back of his mouth to swallow it. It’s normal. Remember, he’s never had anything thicker than breast milk or formula before, and this may take some getting used to. Try diluting it the first few times, then gradually thicken the texture. You may also want to wait a week or two and try again.
•Is he big enough? Generally, when infants double their birth weight (typically at about 4 months) and weigh about 13 pounds or more, they may be ready for solid foods.
NOTE: The AAP recommends breastfeeding as the sole source of nutrition for your baby for about 6 months. When you add solid foods to your baby’s diet, continue breastfeeding until at least 12 months. You can continue to breastfeed after 12 months if you and your baby desire. Check with your child’s doctor about vitamin D and iron supplements during the first year.
Once your baby learns to eat one food, gradually give him other foods. Give your baby one new food at a time, and wait at least 2 to 3 days before starting another. After each new food, watch for any allergic reactions such as diarrhea, rash, or vomiting. If any of these occur, stop using the new food and consult with your child’s doctor. Generally, meats and vegetables contain more nutrients per serving than fruits or cereals. Many pediatricians recommend against giving eggs and fish in the first year of life because of allergic reactions, but there is no evidence that introducing these nutrient-dense foods after 4 to 6 months of age determines whether your baby will be allergic to them.
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Bathing your Newborn
Your infant doesn’t need much bathing if you wash the diaper area thoroughly during diaper changes. Three times a week during her first year may be enough. Bathing her more frequently may dry out her skin, particularly if soaps are used or moisture is allowed to evaporate from the skin. Patting her dry and applying a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic moisturizing lotion immediately after bathing can help prevent dry skin or worsening the skin condition called eczema. During her first week or two, until the stump of the umbilical cord falls off, your newborn should have only sponge baths. In a warm room, lay the baby anywhere that’s flat and comfortable for both of you—a changing table, bed, floor, or counter next to the sink will do. Pad hard surfaces with a blanket or fluffy towel. If the baby is on a surface above the floor, use a safety strap or keep one hand on her at all times to make sure she doesn’t fall. Have a basin of water, a damp, double-rinsed washcloth (so there is no soap residue in it), and a supply of mild baby soap within reach before you begin. Keep your baby wrapped in a towel, and expose only the parts of her body you are actively washing. Use the dampened cloth first without soap to wash her face, so you don’t get soap into her eyes or mouth. Then dip it in the basin of soapy water before washing the remainder of her body and, finally, the diaper area. Pay special attention to creases under the arms, behind the ears, around the neck, and, especially with a girl, in the genital area. Once the umbilical area is healed, you can try placing your baby directly in the water. Her first baths should be as gentle and brief as possible. She probably will protest a little; if she seems miserable, go back to sponge baths for a week or two, then try the bath again. She will make it clear when she’s ready. Most parents find it easiest to bathe a newborn in a bathinette, sink, or plastic tub lined with a clean towel. Fill the basin with 2 inches (5.08 cm) of water that feels warm—not hot—to the inside of your wrist or elbow. If you’re filling the basin from the tap, turn the cold water on first (and off last) to avoid scalding yourself or your child. The hottest temperature at the faucet should be no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid burns. In many cases you can adjust your water heater. More information, click here.
Colic Relief Tips
Does your infant have a regular fussy period each day when it seems you can do nothing to comfort her? This is quite common, particularly between 6:00 p.m. and midnight—just when you, too, are feeling tired from the day’s trials and tribulations. The length of this fussing usually peaks at about three hours a day by six weeks and then declines to one or two hours a day by three to four months. As long as the baby calms within a few hours and is relatively peaceful the rest of the day, there’s no reason for alarm. If the crying does not stop, but intensifies and persists throughout the day or night, it may be caused by colic. About one-fifth of all babies develop colic, usually between the second and fourth weeks. They cry inconsolably, often screaming, extending or pulling up their legs, and passing gas. Their stomachs may be enlarged or distended with gas. The crying spells can occur around the clock, although they often become worse in the early evening. Things that may be worth trying for relief: First, of course, consult your pediatrician to make sure that the crying is not related to any serious medical condition that may require treatment. Then ask him which of the following would be most helpful.
- If you’re nursing, you can try to eliminate milk products, caffeine, onions, cabbage, and any other potentially irritating foods from your own diet.
- If you’re feeding formula to your baby, talk with your pediatrician about a protein hydrolysate formula. If food sensitivity is causing the discomfort, the colic should decrease within a few days of these changes.
- Do not overfeed your baby, which could make her uncomfortable. In general, try to wait at least two to two and a half hours from the start of one feeding to the start of the next one.
- Walk your baby in a baby carrier to soothe her. The motion and body contact will reassure her, even if her discomfort persists.
- Rock her, run the vacuum in the next room, or place her where she can hear the clothes dryer, a fan or a white-noise machine. Steady rhythmic motion and a calming sound may help her fall asleep. However, be sure to never place your child on top of the washer/dryer.
- Introduce a pacifier. While some breastfed babies will actively refuse it, it will provide instant relief for others.
- Lay your baby tummy-down across your knees and gently rub her back. The pressure against her belly may help comfort her.
- Swaddle her in a large, thin blanket so that she feels secure and warm. click here
Early Head Start
Early Head Start is a family centered program for income-eligible pregnant women and families with infants and toddlers under the age of three. Program participants will be matched with an Early Head Start home visitor who will meet with the family on a weekly basis. They are professionals with education and experience in early childhood development.
501 LeMieur St.
Little Falls, Minnesota 56345
Phone: Voice/TTY 320-632-3691
Choosing a Car Seat
Rear-Facing Car Seat
The best seat for your young child to use. It has a harness and, in a crash, cradles and moves with your child to reduce the stress to the child’s fragile neck and spinal cord.
•Infant Car Seat (Rear-Facing only): Designed for newborns and small babies, the infant-only car seat is a small, portable seat that can only be used rear-facing. Babies usually outgrow their infant car seats by eight or nine months. When that happens, we recommend that parents purchase a convertible or all-in-one car seat and use it rear-facing.
•Convertible Seat: As a child grows, this seat can change from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat with a harness and tether. Because it can be used with children of various sizes, it allows for children to stay in the rear-facing position longer.
•All-in-One Seat: This seat can change from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat (with a harness and tether) and to a booster seat as a child grows. Because it can be used with children of various sizes, it allows for children to stay in the rear-facing position longer.
For more information on which car seat is best for your baby, finding a car seat and how to install your car seat, click here.
Brain Hero Video
In 2009, the Center on the Developing Child launched a collaboration with the Interactive Media Division of the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California (USC) to develop and test new ways of communicating the science of early childhood development using interactive media. The “Brain Hero” video, depicting how actions by a range of people in the family and community impact child development, is the first product of this collaboration. This 3-minute video adapts the visual sensibility of interactive game models to a video format. Based loosely on such games as “Guitar Hero,” “SimCity,” and “The Game of Life,” the video portrays how actions taken by parents, teachers, policymakers, and others can affect life outcomes for both the child and the surrounding community. Watch the video here.
Child Development Core Story
This educational video series on the importance of the early years was created by the Project for Babies, a former initiative of the University of Minnesota Center for Early Education and Development. The short videos Explain: How the basic architecture of the brain is constructed through a process that begins early in life and continues into adulthood, Why “serve and return” interaction between children and significant adults in their lives is one of the most essential experiences in shaping the architecture of the developing brain, Stress- positive and negative, Pay now or Pay Later and Resilience.
Watch the video series here:
Stress- Positive, Tolerable, Toxic
- Positive stress response is a normal and essential part of healthy development, characterized by brief increases in heart rate and mild elevations in hormone levels. Some situations that might trigger a positive stress response are the first day with a new caregiver or receiving an injected immunization.
- Tolerable stress response activates the body’s alert systems to a greater degree as a result of more severe, longer-lasting difficulties, such as the loss of a loved one, a natural disaster, or a frightening injury. If the activation is time-limited and buffered by relationships with adults who help the child adapt, the brain and other organs recover from what might otherwise be damaging effects.
- Toxic stress response can occur when a child experiences strong, frequent, and/or prolonged adversity—such as physical or emotional abuse, chronic neglect, caregiver substance abuse or mental illness, exposure to violence, and/or the accumulated burdens of family economic hardship—without adequate adult support. This kind of prolonged activation of the stress response systems can disrupt the development of brain architecture and other organ systems, and increase the risk for stress-related disease and cognitive impairment, well into the adult years.
When toxic stress response occurs continually, or is triggered by multiple sources, it can have a cumulative toll on an individual’s physical and mental health—for a lifetime. The more adverse experiences in childhood, the greater the likelihood of developmental delays and later health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, substance abuse, and depression. Research also indicates that supportive, responsive relationships with caring adults as early in life as possible can prevent or reverse the damaging effects of toxic stress response, more here.
The best way to keep your child safe is with constant visual supervision. Plan or adapt the spaces in the facility so you/others can see and hear your child at all times. Do not leave your child alone whether in the car, at home, anywhere. Remember that exploring and learning go hand in hand! Click for more information: