Category Archives: Parenting

What to Do about Infant Reflux?

Babies vomit even after they don’t seem to be a too full or sudden change in position. Parents must be vigilant. This is often a warning phenomenon for babies suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease in newborns. Parents should examine children to avoid dangerous complications like diastolic valve opening, sinusitis, bronchitis.

Reflux in babies – The disease is easy to confuse

Many babies experience vomiting after about 15 minutes of feeding or eating. Frequent vomiting will be very easy for babies to urge a sore throat, swallowing difficulty, and fussy. This is a symptom that makes parents think vomiting is a normal physiological phenomenon in young children. However, the above symptoms show you if your baby gets affected by gastroesophageal reflux disease.

The children suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease, especially infants, are exploding. Besides, the parents are subjective, unable to inform apart between physiological reflux and pathological phenomenon. This has led to several unfortunate consequences, affecting the health of the child. Therefore, parents have recognized the symptoms of the disease earlier and have more knowledge to differentiate these two diseases.

Reflux in babies – Symptoms in infants

Young children having short-term gastroesophageal reflux with a low frequency and do not cause any other symptoms, is physiological reflux. If the baby vomits but remains playful, has good weight gain, there aren’t any signs of wheezing, this can be physiological reflux. Parents can assure these with the physical conditions of their babies. This phenomenon will subside.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease in newborns will occur more often and prolong. Babies will experience some symptoms like

  • Persistent vomiting
  • Slow weight gain
  • Anorexia
  • Thin body for an inability to absorb nutrients
  • Wheezing
  • Recurrent pneumonia
  • Difficulty in breathing

If a child has these symptoms, parents should take the child to see the doctor early to ensure the safety of the child’s health.

Reflux in babies – Parents must be vigilant

Gastritis is very common in babies. In step with statistics, up to 50% of babies under 3 months old have signs of gastroesophageal reflux disease. When children are from 4 to 12 months old, the incidence increases to about 70%. Parents must alert and recognize the symptoms, causes, and treatments of the disease at the earliest. The timely intervention will avoid affecting the child’s health.

Symptoms of gastric reflux in the newborn

Infants with gastroesophageal reflux will cause food to travel back from the stomach to the esophagus without getting in the natural direction from the esophagus to the stomach. The severity of this disease depends on the health and body of every child. Most children with gastroesophageal reflux often follow unusual physical symptoms.

  • Vomiting after suckling, milk drips up the nose
  • Stirring crying, hoarseness
  • Bend over to scale back stomach discomfort
  • Difficulty breathing, wheezing breath
  • Often irritable
  • Chest and stomach pain
  • Slow weight gain, poor physical development
  • Prolonged cough, lung infection, pharyngitis
  • Vomiting with blood, cyanosis, shortness of breath, apnea
  • Diarrhea, constipation
  • The body is thin, pale, not suckling
  • Ear infections, sinusitis, bronchiectasis
  • Awakening in the middle of the night, having trouble sleeping

Causes of gastric reflux in babies

Reflux in babies is a disease caused by many reasons. Determining the precise reason for the disease will help treat the disease more effectively. Here are several foremost common causes that parents must know.

The digestive system is not complete

The baby’s gastrointestinal system is underdeveloped. The muscle ring between the esophagus and also the stomach (lower esophageal sphincter) keeps food within the stomach closed and only opens when the baby swallow. As this organ is underdeveloped in the newborn, the gastroesophageal reflux occurs when the baby gets breastfed.

Milk will go from the mouth down the esophagus into the stomach. Within the stomach, the esophageal sphincter, the diastolic valve muscle are very weak and spongy, causing food to stagnate. This condition will cause gastroesophageal reflux disease in the newborn.

Breastfeeding in an incorrect position

When the newborn’s stomach is horizontal or tilted to the right. If the mother breast-feeds the baby in the wrong position, it will cause gastroesophageal reflux. Milk will flow into the esophagus and mouth as the baby sucks. Some children may choke on milk, vomit blood, nosebleeds, cyanosis, apnea. This may seriously affect the child’s health, especially diseases associated with the respiratory tract steamed.What to Do about Infant Reflux

Other causes

Besides the above reasons, this reflux also occurs for several other causes such as

  • Premature babies, underweight
  • Children often lie on their back, lying too much-making food within the stomach
  • The diet is liquid, soft, so it passes through the openings easily
  • The baby’s body doesn’t adapt to breast milk or formula
  • Children suffer from dangerous diseases like pyloric stenosis, allergic esophagitis, food intolerance

Reflux in a newborn – What should parents do?

Vomiting may be a normal physiological phenomenon in babies. However, this symptom also warns children that they are experiencing health problems. If you notice that your baby has symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease within the newborn baby like fussiness, coughing, vomiting, purple facial skin parents should take the child for early examination and treatment.

Also, parents should pay attention to the subsequent issues to early control of the disease for their children. One of the leading factors contributing to reflux in healthy children is lying on their backs. The lying position is ideal while the baby is sleeping, but not perfect when the baby is awake. The most effective simplest best baby swing for reflux will have various positions for recline.

You can adjust the recliner chair so that your back is straight, but not on your back. Practice swinging after meals rather than lying upright. A baby swing is not a way to cure reflux, it is how to attenuate reflux. Proper lying on your back helps to regulate the flow of food and reduces the risk of choking.

Reflux in babies – Preventive measures

  • The mother should breastfeed the baby in the correct position to avoid lying down.
  • Don’t feed your baby too much and divide it into small meals to avoid vomiting.
  • If the baby is bottle feeding, the mother should not keep the bottle on its side and fill the bottle. When feeding your baby, let the baby’s head position be higher for 15 – 20 minutes. Gently pat the baby’s back when he/she shows signs of belching.
  • During breastfeeding, the mother mustn’t shake but keep the position. Let your baby suck on the left breast first, keep the baby on the right side and move the baby to the right breast so the milk will go down the stomach more easily.
  • Wipe the child’s mouth with warm water.
  • Parents might not arbitrarily use medications for gastroesophageal reflux disease without a doctor’s prescription. Misusing drugs will affect the immune system of the liver, kidneys, and increase the risk of drug resistance, impairing the baby’s health.
  • When the baby shows signs of choking on milk, cyanosis, apnea, the mother should let the baby lie on his/her side, patting the back.
  • Do nasal suction if the baby is choking milk within the nose.
  • Consult your doctor about breastmilk and formula if your baby has a milk allergy.
  • Children must not expose on to tobacco smoke and polluted environment.
  • Don’t allow the baby to lie on his tummy because it will make the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux faster, increasing the risk of sudden death for the newborn.

What to Do about Infant Reflux

Conclusion

Hope the above information will facilitate your better understanding of reflux disease in babies. This is a very common phenomenon in children and always hidden dangers to the baby’s health. Therefore, parents mustn’t be subjective. If you notice that the child’s body shows signs of illness, quickly take the child for early examination. With this disease, parents should pay attention and forestall it from affecting the child’s health.

10 Ways to be a Better Dad

The positive effects on a child from having an involved and nurturing father are many.

They include beneficial impacts on the child’s happiness, social and academic success, self-esteem, and emotional stability.

» Respect Your Child’s Mother

A father and mother who respect each other provide a secure environment for their child. When children see their parents treating each other with respect, they will emulate this behavior, thereby, treating others with respect.

» Spend Time With Your Child

Spending quality time with your child is one of the most important building blocks in developing your child’s self-esteem.

» Talk To Your Child

Take the time to talk to your children about various subjects when everything is going right, not just when you have to be the disciplinarian.

» Discipline With Love

All children need guidance and discipline – not punishment. Teach your children that there are consequences for their actions, but discipline in a calm and fair manner.

» Be A Role Model

Fathers can teach their children what is important in life by demonstrating positive attributes.

» Be A Teacher

A father who teaches his children the difference between right and wrong and encourages them to always do their best will see his children make good choices.

» Have Family Mealtime

Sharing a meal together (breakfast, lunch, or dinner) can be an important part of a healthy family life. Take this time to listen to your children without the distraction of a TV, newspaper, or magazine.

» Read To Your Children

Begin reading to your children when they are infants. When they are older, encourage them to read to you. Reading with your child will not only increase your child’s understanding and thought processes, but will also provide you the opportunity to spend time together.

» Show Affection

Children need the security that comes from knowing they are wanted, accepted, and loved by their parents. Fathers need to feel comfortable and willing to hug their children every day.

» Realize That A Father’s Job Is Never Done

If a solid foundation has been built when the child was young, the additions to the father/child structure will always continue.

Taking Care of Baby

Bathing Your Baby

Many parents worry about giving their baby her first bath. They may be afraid that they will drop or somehow hurt the baby. The baby may also be apprehensive and cry at first.

But, by applying the following instructions, bath time should turn into a safe and enjoyable experience. Parents will learn to be more confident and the baby will come to understand that it is not something to be afraid of but instead, something that is fun.

NEVER leave your baby alone in the bath!

It only takes a few inches of water for a baby to drown. If the phone rings or someone is at the door, always wrap your baby in a towel and take her with you. Do not leave the baby unattended in the bath.

ALWAYS test the water temperature first

Dip your elbow or wrist in the bath water to make sure it is not hot.

START with sponge baths

Most doctors recommend sponge baths until the baby’s naval has healed.

Place a water-proof cloth or pad on your lap, a bed, or a changing table.

» Start with the baby’s head. Wipe each eye with a ball of cotton. Wipe from the inside corner of the eye toward the outside.
» Use a washcloth to wipe around the face and neck, especially the mouth, nose, and ears.
» Do not poke anything into the baby’s ears or nose.
» To wash the baby’s scalp, reach under the baby’s back and hold the head in your hand so that it tilts backward just a bit. Squeeze a little water onto the scalp. Wipe in a circular motion.

USE soap sparingly

Use a mild or special baby soap once or twice a week. Rinse twice to get all of the soap off. Pat dry with a soft towel.

MOST of the rules are the same for tub baths

Follow the same basic washing procedures and safety rules as for sponge baths. Also,
» Fill the tub with approximately two inches of warm – not hot – water.
» Place a towel on the bottom of the tub to make it less slippery.
» When washing your baby’s back, lean the child forward across your arm. Do not turn your baby over.
» Never let go of your baby.

HOW you hold your baby is important

» Keep the baby’s body and face well above the water level. Pour warm water over the baby’s body frequently to keep her warm.
» Use one hand and reach behind your baby’s neck, gently grasp the top of the opposite shoulder with your thumb and the baby’s armpit and ribs with your fingers.• Let the baby’s head rest against your wrist.
» Hold your baby’s thigh with the other hand when you lift your baby into and out of the tub.

ALLOW for some play time

Give the baby some extra time to splash and play in the water.

Dental and Oral Health

Regular dental care needs to start at an early age in order to provide good oral health for your child. There are ways to help prevent cavities even when the baby is very young. Consult your dentist to determine when you should take your child in for her first appointment.

For Babies

» Do not put the baby to sleep with a bottle. Hold the baby while he drinks his formula or juice, then put him to bed after wiping his teeth and gums with a moist cloth.
» If you breastfeed your baby or there is little fluoride in the drinking water, your baby may need fluoride drops. Discuss this with the baby’s pediatrician.
» When multiple teeth appear, begin brushing your baby’s teeth using a soft toothbrush and a very small amount of toothpaste with fluoride.

For Older Children

» Brush after every meal and before bedtime.
» Dental sealants can help prevent cavities. Discuss this option with your dentist.
» Using dental floss can help prevent cavities and gum disease.
» If a permanent tooth is knocked out, rinse it gently and put it back in the socket or in a glass of cold milk or water. See a dentist immediately.

Pacifiers and Thum-Sucking

Some babies suck their thumbs or fingers before they are born.  Should they be allowed to continue sucking their thumbs/fingers or be given a pacifier?

Regardless of the method, it is best that children quit sucking on their fingers, thumb, or pacifier by the time they are 4 years of age. 


Pacifier pros and cons

Pros

  • May help reduce Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • Offers a brief distraction while you are preparing her bottle or to nurse
  • May have a calming effect on a fussy baby
  • Easier to break the habit than thumb or finger sucking because the pacifier can be taken away

Cons

  • May interfere with breast-feeding if given before breast-feeding is well established
  • May increase middle ear infections
  • The baby may become dependent on it to fall asleep, waking when the pacifier falls out of his mouth

Tips for using a pacifier

  • See if your baby is hungry or needs changing before giving him a pacifier
  • Use a one piece pacifier that is dish washer safe. Until the baby is 6 months old, clean in the dishwasher. After that, wash in soap and water.
  • Never tie a pacifier around the baby’s neck or to the crib with a long ribbon or string. Instead, use special made pacifier clips with short ribbons.
  • Never dip the pacifier in sugar or honey. Honey can cause botulism and the sugar can damage the baby’s teeth.
  • Keep more than one pacifier of the same brand and type that your baby uses – many babies will refuse a different kind.

Stopping the use of a pacifier

  • Do not use past 12 months old
  • Limit the amount of time your child uses the pacifier
  • Give praises for not using the pacifier
  • Once it has been taken away for good, do not give in to the child’s requests or tantrums wanting it back again

Stopping thumb-sucking

  • If a child is still sucking his thumb after age 5, steps need to be taken to help him quit
  • Give praises for not sucking his thumb, do not nag or discipline for the behavior
  • Involve the child in deciding how to stop
  • A commercial product, that does not taste good, can be applied to the thumbnail
  • Be patient – some children may revert back to thumb-sucking after quitting if they are extremely tired, scared, or worried.  Support him in his efforts to quit again – do not ridicule or be upset about his setback.

Teething

Teething is the process of new teeth emerging from the gums. It can be a frustrating time for both the baby and the parents. Teething usually causes the baby to be fussy, have excessive drooling, and want to chew on everything. Teething may also cause a drool rash, diarrhea, cough, or fever.

Babies usually get their first tooth between 3 and 6 months.

Signs of teething:

Swollen gums, excessive drooling, acting fussy, tendency to chew on everything, low-grade fever, and sometimes diarrhea.

What to do:

Swollen gums

» allow the baby to chew on a cool, damp washcloth
» use a topical anesthetic such as Ora-Gel, etc. on the gums
» gently massage the baby’s gums with your finger

Excessive drooling

» use a petroleum-based ointment on chin

Fussiness

» occasionally give non-aspirin pain reliever

Chewing

» give the baby a teething ring or soft wash cloth

Fever & Diarrhea

» give a non-aspirin pain reliever for the fever
» the diarrhea does not require treatment as long as it is only once or twice a day and does not occur every day

Call the doctor:

If the baby’s temperature is continually higher than 100º or if the diarrhea is more frequent than twice a day and/or occurs every day

Infant Massage

Infant massage has many benefits for the baby and the parents.  Through touch, the baby learns the comfort and security of being loved.  It also promotes bonding between the parent and child.  Expectant parents should take an infant massage instruction course before the birth of their child so they will be prepared to start immediately.

Benefits for the Baby

  • Pain relief from the discomforts of teething, colic, gas, etc
  • Relaxation
  • Improves digestion
  • Improves sensory awareness
  • Helps induce sleep
  • Enhances the bonding process between parent and child
  • Boosts the immune system

Benefits for Parents

  • Helps increase the parent’s confidence
  • Provides quality time with the child
  • Promotes bonding between parent and child
  • Relaxing for the parent also

Babies learn security and love through touch.  Infant massage should not be performed immediately before or after the baby eats.  The best time to massage your baby is before naptime or bedtime.

Choose a room that is warm and use a natural vegetable, nut, or fruit oil to prevent friction.

Massage Positions

  • Place the baby on your lap, knees bent and baby supported on your stomach and thighs
  • Sit on the floor with both legs straight out or one leg bent at the knee and your foot tucked into your groin with the baby on the floor in front of you
  • Kneel on a cushion and sit back on your heels with baby on the floor in front of you

Massage Strokes

  • Legs and Feet

Starting with one leg, gently grasp the baby’s ankle with your left hand.  With the right hand, grasp the inside of the thigh and stroke (or milk) down to the foot.  Now grasp the baby’s ankle with the right hand and stroke with the left.  Repeat several times on each leg.

Using both hands, gently squeeze and twist all the way down the leg.  Repeat several times on each leg.

Stroke your thumbs from the heel to the toes several times on each foot.

  • Stomach and Chest

Massage the stomach using a circular motion with one hand and then the other.

Place both hands together at the center of the chest and then sweep out to each side following the ribcage.

With both hands, sweep down from the chest to the stomach.

  • Arms and Hands

Gently stroke the armpits several times

Form a circle around the top of the baby’s arm with your fingers and thumb.  Stoke down the arm towards the wrist.

Roll the arm between your hands beginning at the shoulder and moving down to the wrist.

Stroke the top of the hand moving from the wrist to the fingers.

Gently rotate each of the baby’s fingers between your index finger and your thumb

  • Back

Sit the baby up on your lap or lay them on their tummy on your lap with your legs extended

Gently stroke down from the shoulders to the lower back.  Mold your entire hand to their back.

Make little circles all over their back with your fingertips.

  • Face

With both thumbs, softly stoke from the middle of their forehead out towards the temples.

From the side of their nose, stroke diagonally down across the cheeks.

Starting at the top of the forehead, use your fingertips to stroke down over the ears, behind the ears, and under the chin.

Gun Safety and Children

Nearly half of all households in the United States have one or more guns.  So even if you do not have a gun in your own household, your child is likely to be exposed to a household that does at some point in time.

It is important to talk to your child about gun safety and what to do if he finds one.

In 1999, 3,385 children between the ages of 0-19 were killed with a gun.  Of these deaths: 73 were children less than 5 years old, 416 were 5-14 years old, and 2,896 were 15-19 years old.

Teach your child the following rules regarding gun safety if he comes in contact with a gun:

  • Stop
  • Don’t touch
  • Remove yourself from the area
  • Tell an adult

If you have a gun in your home:

  • Make sure the gun is unloaded
  • Lock the gun in a storage cabinet that is inaccessible to the children
  • Lock the ammunition in a separate place from the gun
  • Store the keys to the gun and ammunition cabinets out of the reach of the children
  • Store all gun-cleaning supplies, many which are poisonous, in a locked cabinet also
  • Never leave the gun unattended while cleaning or handling it

Gun Safety Away From Home

  • Discuss gun safety with other parents if your child spends time in their homes and they own a gun

BB Guns, Pellet Guns, and Toy Guns

  • BB and pellet guns should only be used under adult supervision, as they can seriously hurt and even kill someone
  • Police officers may mistake a toy gun for a real one
  • Teach your child to never point a BB gun, pellet gun, or toy gun at himself or another person
  • Do not put caps from toy guns in your pocket, they can ignite and cause serious burns

Older children are more at risk for injury or death as a result of horseplay with a gun.  Teenagers use them more for suicide and to commit a crime.

Fire Prevention and Safety

Every year children set over 100,000 fires and 20% of all fire deaths are children.  We need to teach our children fire safety, fire prevention, and steps to take in the event of a fire.  Preparing your child for a fire emergency may save her life.

Fire Prevention

  • Do not over use extension cords.  Make sure they are not frayed or worn and do not run under a rug.
  • Do not overload outlets
  • If you live in an older home with the original wiring, have an electrician check it periodically to ensure its safety
  • Make sure the light bulbs being used are the correct wattage for the lamp
  • Allow plenty of space around TVs, computers, radios, and stereos to prevent overheating
  • Keep lamps away from curtains, bedspreads, etc

Portable heaters contribute to the increase in fires during the winter months.

  • Never place a heater where a child or pet will knock it over
  • Keep the heater at least 3 feet away from anything flammable including the wall
  • Never place a heater near a bed or drapes
  • Never leave a heater on when not in the room
  • Never use an extension cord with a heater

Fireplace

  • Keep the fireplace clean and covered with a screen
  • Do not store newspapers, kindling, or an exposed rug in front of the fireplace
  • Never leave a fireplace burning unattended
  • Have the chimney professionally cleaned once a year

Bicycle Safety

Although bicycling is fun and teaches children self confidence, they must be taught to cycle safely.

Approximately 250 children in the United States die each year from bicycle-related accidents.  Another half a million are injured. The best way to teach a child to cycle safely is by example.

Bike safety begins with teaching your child how to ride a bike safely.

  • Teach them to balance, steer, and pedal the bike in an open area such as a parking lot or driveway – not in the road
  • Next let them ride on sidewalks – show them that there are cracks, rocks, holes, etc. that they will need to maneuver around
  • Teach them to always stop at the corner and look both ways before preceding across the street
  • Next they will begin riding in the street – ALWAYS ride with the traffic, not against the traffic
  • Stop at all stop signs and obey all traffic signals
  • As their skills advance, they should be taught to use hand signals to indicate a turn

Buying the right bike for your child is essential for bike safety.  Most children can balance a bicycle by four to five years of age.  Make sure the bike is the right size for the rider.  The child should be able to sit on the seat with her feet flat on the ground and the handlebars should be no higher than her shoulders.

Bicycle helmets should be worn at all times while riding a bike.  Three out of four bicycle accidents involve a head injury.  Wearing a helmet could prevent brain damage or even death.

A Bicycle Helmet Should:

  • Be a bright color that is easy for car drivers to see
  • Be lightweight
  • Have wide straps that fit snugly beneath the chin
  • Always have the straps fastened while riding
  • Sit level on the child’s head – do not tilt it forward or backward

Basic safety rules

  • No riding on busy streets
  • Keep at least one hand (preferably two) on the handlebars at all times
  • Ride with the traffic
  • Stop at all stop signs and obey all traffic signals
  • Do not ride too close to parked cars – doors may open suddenly
  • Never wear headphones while riding
  • Only one person on the bike at one time
  • ALWAYS wear a helmet

Effective Step-Parenting

Patience is the most important attribute a step-parent can have.

It takes time for everyone involved to gain mutual respect for each other. Make a conscious effort to overlook small differences and avoid criticism or condescension when communicating with your step-children.

» Do not expect an instant “family”. Take time to get to know your step children and for them to get to know you.

» Be prepared for them to react negatively. Respond with positive remarks and actions. Remember, you are the adult and should set the example of treating each other with respect.

» Allow your step child to have alone time with her/his biological parent. This will help to eliminate the child’s feeling of competition for your spouse’s attention and affection.

» Also, spend some one-on-one time with the step child yourself. Taking the time to be interested in her and what she likes or dislikes will help form a bond between the two of you.

» Never say negative comments about the other biological parent in front of the child. This will only damage your relationship with the child. Even if the child knows that the negative comments are true, they may feel a sense of duty to defend their biological parent.

» Move slowly in building a relationship with your step child. Many times they are already feeling jealous or distrustful of you. It takes time to build respect and trust.

» Defer to the biological parent for discipline. If you disagree with your spouse, do not confront him/her in front of the child. Discuss and come to an agreement on methods of discipline with your spouse before there is a need to apply them.