Parenting

May 2018 Newsletter

NEWSLETTER - May 2018

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Original article by Isabelle Dagenais (http://www.motherforlife.com)

What is the foundation of a mother and child relationship? If you bet on unconditional love, read on and find out that even this love can face troubled times.

As for every other aspect of maternity, we don’t know what personality our child will have. We all dream of a lovely baby who only cries when they need something and who can easily be calmed down and you might get lucky… But others will have a child who suffers from colic, gastric reflux or other medical issues. Some babies have “intense needs” and cry for hours every day and no one can satisfy them. This situation can cause suffering and give you a feeling of worthlessness, especially if it happens regularly.

Nevertheless, we must adapt to their ways of showing their needs! Adapting to the temper of our child may take some time, especially if they do not meet our expectations. In this case we must forget about the ideal baby… and one day, we will accept them and things will be better!

What also helps is to realize that we are not responsible for our baby’s temper. If you doubt that babies are born with their own temper, ask the mother of twins and she will tell you how different they were from the beginning. It doesn’t mean that we have no impact on our child! Of course, our perception of the situations, our emotions and reactions influence our child and that is why we should take good care of our emotional state.

Mother-child relationship

Each mother-child relationship is unique and begins long before our child is born.

Remember the time when you desired a child or your thoughts when you realized that you were pregnant. Not to mention your pregnancy and labor…

  • Did you want a child?
  • How did you react to the news?
  • What physical and psychological state were you when you were pregnant?
  • How did the delivery go?
  • How was your first contact?
  • Do you adapt easily to your child’s temper?

Each of those steps was influenced by thoughts and emotions… Each of those steps is part of your lives and of your relationship with your child.

Regret and guilt

Many of you regret some thoughts, emotions or reactions. You wish things had been different and you are afraid of the consequences on your child or on your relationship. Or you feel guilty and you want to fix the “wrongs” that you think you have caused to your child.

Is there a thought or a reaction that you had related to your child and you still couldn’t forgive yourself?

If you have regrets or if you are feeling guilty, it is important to try to forgive yourself and to accept what you have been through. Remember that you acted to the best of your knowledge and that you had no bad intentions. Make peace with the past to avoid dragging this energy into your relationship with your child. Your guilt could influence your behavior or make you feel even guiltier when your child will go through tough times.

To begin feeling better, I suggest an exercise that is in my book. Write a letter to your child and express your regrets, your emotions, your deceptions and the way you feel as a mother. Avoid censorship so that it is truly liberating and once you are done throw the letter away!

Relational challenges

Most people believe that because we wanted a child, our relationship with them will be wonderful! We believe that our love will protect us from problems and conflicts. In fact, love will help us to remain engaged in this relationship when disagreements will occur.

Through their temper, their behavior or their attitude, a child can trigger unwanted emotions. Sometimes, our relationship with our child may be difficult if we are constantly forced to face our limits and our flaws. It is as if some situations were getting to the worst of us. Most of our scars, limits and flaws will be highlighted on this road to motherhood. It is, therefore, necessary to learn to do some soul searching to understand the way we feel and learn from the situation. Blaming our child is never an option.

By taking full responsibility, we build strong foundations to this relationship that we care about so much. Whether we have a baby, a young child or a pre-teen, the goal is to build our relationship every day, to accept their temper, to tolerate a behavior that displeases us, to express compassion for their distress and to do so even if we don’t understand!

In conclusion, I want to share this inspirational quote:

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February 2018 Newsletter

NEWSLETTER - February 2018

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Original article by Meg Faure

Bonding has been defined as “The emotional and physical attachment occurring between a parent or parent figure, especially a mother, and offspring, that usually begins at birth and is the basis for further emotional affiliation.”

Bonding plays a critical role in your baby’s emotional development, which in turn is the basis for all future relationships. One cannot underestimate the importance of attachment and bonding.

The cycle of love

Bonding is more than a warm fuzzy feeling – it is a critical, deep emotional involvement with and trust in another person. It is a journey of getting to know, trust and rely on another person. There is a misconception that bonding occurs like ‘love at first sight’. The reality is that it is a process that develops over time. Bonding may begin in pregnancy or even before conception; it may occur like a flash at birth or may in fact take months to develop.

Falling in love in pregnancy

Some parents have waited a long time for their little one and being pregnant brings wonderful feelings of joy. For many pregnant mums, the hormones and expectancy lead her into a love relationship right from the start. In this case, you may begin dreaming of your baby and as you rub your tummy feel the swell of love for your baby. This process has been fast tracked by technology – we know we are pregnant way before women in the past years did. By 17 weeks most parents have seen their little one at least once. We share early photos of our baby in the womb and so begin to bond early. When your baby beings to move and wriggle you may feel love for this little person. In fact, many mums mourn the end of those fluttery feelings after her baby is born.

For others however, pregnancy may be difficult, unwanted or scary. Antenatal depression is being recognized more and more and we now know that it is not uncommon for a woman to feel very ambivalent towards her baby. Likewise, Dads may experience depression and anxiety in pregnancy and this will impact on their bond with their baby at that time.

The good news is that this is not reason to predict a poor or inadequate bond at a later stage. Most parents will go on to bond well with their little one later.

Falling in love in the delivery room

The moment we meet our babies we expect to feel overwhelming love. For some parents, this is the experience, as they look at this tiny, beautiful, helpless being they are flooded with feelings of love. Natural delivery of your baby will facilitate this emotional response as all the hormones released by birth create a flood of endorphins that give you a high. If the delivery is difficult or very long or either mum or babe are in danger, the feelings may be very different. Exhaustion and despair if things don’t turn out well can negatively impact on those love juices. Your feeling may be of gloom and being overwhelmed and this will mean you don’t feel like you are bonding. On the other hand some mums have a wonderful birth experience and meet their perfect baby and yet feel no love or great fascination with their baby.

Once again the good news is that this immediate emotional response does not predict your relationship with your baby and love and bonding may come later for you.

Falling in love after a period of months

For other parents, love is a long slow journey. There are no A-Ha moments, just a gradual development of a love relationship. If this love develops within the context of a caring, consistent relationship, it is no problem at all for your baby.

It is vital that mums know that not everyone is overwhelmed with love at the sight of their baby. If however, you never feel love towards your baby and your mothering role is a process of acting out the motions and you are overcome with depression or anxiety, you do need to get help for Post Natal Depression as this condition may impact on your baby emotionally.

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January 2018 Newsletter

NEWSLETTER - January 2018

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Original article by Meg Faure

Science and wisdom tell us that play is vital for a child’s development. The problem is that as a busy parent, it may feel like an enormous challenge to find the time to play or you may find that you are unsure about how to play with your little one. In chapter 10 of Baby Sense, we talk about 4 guidelines for stimulation and we use the acronym T.E.A.T:

1. Timing

Play with your little one when he is well rested and not hungry, preferably in the calm-alert state. This is the state that is best for learning and making brain connections. You will know your baby is receptive to activities, when he is calm, making eye contact – reaching for toys and showing interest in the world.

The opportunity can present it self in normal daily activities such as nappy change time, bath time or mealtime. In addition, it is worth setting aside 15 minutes a day to get onto the floor and focus 100% on your child.

2. Environment

To focus happily on play, you will want a space that is firstly safe – without hazards such as plug holes, loose book shelves and open water. Try to de-clutter the space and not have too many toys on offer. Put your mobile device away and get onto the floor with your child and offer 3-5 carefully chosen activities or toys. In this way the play environment is conducive to fun and learning.

3. Activities

An activity is simply an interaction with your little one that enhances development and is fun. Games such as peek-a-boo or reading a book together, learning a new nursery rhyme or finger painting are all examples of activities that spark interest as well as teach vital skills. 

4. Toys

Carefully chosen toys are a fabulous way to spark your child’s imagination and teach skills. Toys should be matched with your child’s age. The best toys require one of two things from your baby:

  • A toy may spark imagination – such as a doll, a toy phone or a pretend kitchen. These toys are brilliant for encouraging language, creativity and collaboration with you. You and your little one can take on roles and pretend play together.
  • A toy may enhance skills – such as a ball, shape sorter or a puzzle. These toys demand a certain level of interaction from your little one. Watch for interest in a certain area and offer a toy that will provide just the right challenge to your child.

Enjoy playing with your little one and know that through appropriate timing, a stimulating environment and the right activities and toys, you can spark your child’s brilliance.

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Traveling When Pregnant

Traveling When Pregnant

It’s wrong to assume being pregnant prevents you from jetting off on the holiday of a lifetime. While having another member of the family on the way poses a new challenge to anything you’ve experienced before, it doesn’t need to have a significant impact on your travel plans.

That said, a vacation when pregnant will be different to your previous trips. It’s for that reason we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide, which details how to successfully head off on holiday when you or a loved one are expecting.

Regardless of the stage of pregnancy, this resource will provide travellers with the confidence to head abroad, safe in the knowledge they’re doing no harm to themselves or their baby.

READ MORE..

December 2017 Newsletter

NEWSLETTER - December 2017

Original article by Meg Faure

Summer is around the corner and we are all looking forward to spending more time soaking up the warm rays in the long sunny days. Summer means wonderful new experiences for your baby as you spend more time outdoors and may even go to the beach or swimming pool.

Now the thought of taking your baby near water should bring to mind the critical safety elements one need to consider in summer. Obviously, all babies need to be closely monitored whenever near water. In addition, the long sunny days and water play bring the risk of exposure to the sun.

Why is it important to prevent your baby’s skin from exposure to the sun?

  • Exposure to the element has similar effects on baby skin as it does on adult skin but your baby’s skin is considerably thinner and thus more susceptible to dehydration as water is easily lost through her skin.
  • Baby and toddler skin also has much less brown pigment (melanin), which protects us from UV light. This means that if a baby gets sunburnt or overly exposed to UV rays, the long-term risk of Melanoma cancers increases dramatically.
  • Sunburn is a painful condition and since your baby’s new skin is more susceptible to sunburn, you will want to prevent any chance of this otherwise you will likely have a very bad night’s sleep.
  • Exposure to water and swimming pools will cause baby’s skin to dry out quickly and it is therefore necessary to ensure that you moisturize babies skin on a regular basis, even in summer.

So, understanding that sun care is vital, what should you do:

  • Do not take your baby outdoors over midday – the reflection off water and ambient sunrays are way too risky to manage well.
  • Use multiple measures of protection than relying on one measure over the other. Multiple measures include avoiding the sun wherever possible, the use of long sleeve garments that are lightweight and sun hats together with sun cream.
  • Protect your baby by staying under a shade
  • Use a well-researched baby-friendly sun cream and be vigilant with reapplying. On this point, remember that because your baby’s skin is thinner than your skin it is more likely to absorb ingredients from sun creams so carefully consider using a reputable brand, who test their products and do not use harmful ingredients.
  • For babies less than 6 months, protect them by avoiding the sun, clothing them well, use sun hats and stay under the shade.
  • Do not apply sun cream to a baby who is less than 6months as their skin is still sensitive.
  • You can apply sun cream on the skin of a baby who is 6months and above but try a certain area first for example the back of the hand as a test sign. If the child does not react to the cream, you can continue use.
  • Your baby’s delicate skin loses moisture 5 x faster than adult skin, in conjunction with adequate sun protection it is essential to follow a regular moisturizing routine.
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September 2017 Newsletter

NEWSLETTER - September 2017

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Original article by Meg Faure

Newborn babies (under 6 weeks) are generally good sleepers during the day. They are still quite sleepy and may even sleep from one feed to the next. They are very likely to wake to feed as often at night as during the day – usually 3 hourly.

If your baby wakes more often at night than during the day, she may be experiencing ‘day-night reversal’. In this case, you need to guide your baby towards more lively interactions in the day and less engagement at night.

It is relatively simple to improve your baby’s night-time sleep by keeping night feeds strictly business affairs. Here are 5 simple tips to differentiate night-time from day:

  • Unless your baby is premature or your doctor advises you otherwise, don’t wake your baby for feeds at night– take her lead for waking at night. This allows your baby to establish natural sleep cycles.
  • Try not to smile or talk to your baby at night – keep these happy interactions for day light hours.
  • Feed in semi-darkness – use a dimmer, nightlight or a passage light instead of the bright bedroom light.
  • Don’t change your baby’s nappy at night – buy the best nappy you can afford for night-time and leave it on from one feed to the next, unless she has soiled her nappy. A good quality gel nappy can be left on all night as they soak up all the urine and the bottom remains dry.
  • In the very early days (the first 6 weeks), do not ‘dummy’ your baby in an attempt to decrease night feeds. Rather feed her when she wakes for feeds at night, if more than two and a half hours have passed since the last feed.

Follow these simple strategies and in a short time, your baby will start to have one longer stretch between feeds at night and by 3 months should have a good 6-8 hour stretch once at night.

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August 2017 Newsletter

NEWSLETTER - July 2017

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Original article by Meg Faure

Just as you think you have got on top of your baby’s sleep routine, suddenly you will find that he changes the game plan. As your little one gets older, his need for day sleeps become less and so you will find that fitting all the day sleeps into the day with longer awake times, mean that bedtime is suddenly at 10pm.

Research has shown that the more attention given by parents to language development in the early days, the better the child will achieve in later literacy and communication skills.

How do you know when your baby wants to drop a day sleep?

There are four common tell-tale signs that its time to drop a day sleep at about these ages:

  1. Your baby/toddler is suddenly VERY hard to settle to sleep for day sleeps.
  2. Your baby/toddler starts to fight bedtime and it gets later and later because his last sleep of the day goes on too late
  3. Your baby/toddler starts to wake VERY early – like 4am – and won’t go back to sleep
  4. Your baby/toddler wakes at night and stays awake for a long period

When your baby shows one or more of these signs, its may well be time to drop a sleep

How to drop a day sleep

Every age can be done a similar way – incrementally. So lets look at dropping from two to one day sleep: At around a 12-14 months your baby will be at the right age to drop down from two to one day sleep.

  1. Move the morning sleep later – to 10am and the midday sleep to 2pm for a few days.
  2. Then move the morning sleep to 11am (with big snack at 10:30am plus a tiny milk feed – then to sleep). He will be dog tired with the new routine for a few days so you will need to entertain him to get him through to 11am.
  3. On these days, he will probably sleep from 11am until 1pm and not have an afternoon sleep. So bring bedtime back to 6pm.
  4. Every third day do two sleeps if he needs it for 2 weeks.
  5. Then in the third week, move morning sleep to 11:30 and eventually 12. That is your new routine
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