5 Ways to Keep Babies Safe in Their Beds

Baby BedCradles and cribs are meant to be safe havens for a baby, but around 2,000 of them die each year in the beds due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. There is also the sobering statistics of about 4,000 baby deaths due to SUIDs or Sudden Unexplained Infant Deaths. As babies spend most of their early months in bed, it stands to reason that keeping their sleep environment safe is first and foremost the best prevention parents and caregivers should observe. Here’s how.

1. Babies should have their separate sleeping beds. Parents and the newborn can sleep in the same room, but should not share the same bed to prevent unfortunate accidents like suffocation and strangulation. It is not unheard of for babies to die of either one after an inebriated parent falls asleep on the bed shared with the baby. Even with utmost caution, babies sharing the same sleeping space with adults increase their risk of dying due to SIDS or SUIDs.

2. Babies should only sleep in beds that meet safety criteria. The Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Food and Drug Administration have established safety standards and regularly update the public on what baby products and crib or cradle add-ons may do more harm than good. The most basic is for the baby to sleep on firm mattress so this standard rules out other sleeping areas like sofas, rugs, beanbags and waterbeds.

3. Baby bedding should be properly fitted. Loose fabric from blankets or comforters can get in the way of breathing when the baby moves and comes in close contact with these sheets. Bedding made of thick fabrics should also be avoided to prevent accidental suffocation. When using crib bumpers, make sure they are securely tied to the crib. You can also opt to purchase bumperless cribs which, according to FDA, end up better for babies.

4. Babies need to sleep on their backs. This one is contested territory as most parents swear by putting their babies to sleep on their stomachs, claiming that they sleep better and longer, thus allowing parents to get the much-needed rest as well. But FDA has noted a 60% reduction in the occurrence of SIDS after they started the ‘Back to Sleep’ campaign in 1994.

5. Babies should be alone in their cradles or cribs. It’s very tempting to put the baby’s favorite toy alongside him or her while asleep, but these comforts can be dangerous. Even the so-called sleep positioners which keep babies in desired position have been given a red flag by FDA as a possible cause for SUIDs. In fact, there have been a dozen cases of SIDS directly associated with such sleep device, so keep the babies’ sleeping environment spartan to reduce this incidence.

5 Surprising Findings About Baby Names

Baby NamesWhat’s in a person’s name? A lot, say psychologists who study ‘nominative determinism’ or the tendency to follow future paths in life suggested by one’s name. A body of research indicates that the name you choose for your child could very well shape his or her future success or impact their lives in some other way well into adulthood. While it’s unfair to judge a person or to predetermine their future by their names, studies show that indeed, people with certain popular names achieve levels of success not shared by persons of less relatable names.

Parents would understandably want to convey the child’s uniqueness by his or her name. After all, your name is the one thing in the world that should be truly yours so sharing it with a thousand, if not million, others (as with the Chinese) defeats the purpose. Cultural practices, too, play a huge role in the baby-naming game. Greeks, for example, name their children after their parents, so it’s possible for grandchildren to share the same names (a point humorously conveyed in the smash hit ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’). The Spanish, on the other hand, adopt the father’s surname followed by the mother’s first surname, and usually get two first names, so they end up with lengthy names (as in the case of Pablo Picasso’s full name).

You may find the whole name game a challenging task even if you do not have Greek, Chinese, Spanish or any other non-Anglophone ancestry,. While names should not seal the fate of your child in the same way that your circumstances at birth should not shape your future, it pays to know the psychology behind names. Here are some of the most surprising finds.

1. Boys with girlish names tend to misbehave. Ashley is now commonly associated with a girl although in the past it was acceptable as a boy’s name. Today, a boy named Ashley or something girly or even neutral, like Shannon or Campbell, is likely to get into trouble more than children of the same age with more masculine-sounding name. The trouble-making may stem from being teased or thought of as wimpy, thus affecting the child’s concept of self and esteem. The same teasing also arises from names that are hard to pronounce, too ethnic or sound like taboo words (like comedian and singer-songwriter Kate Micucci).

2. Girls with boyish names tend to excel in STEM disciplines. ‘Maxine’ is likely to be called Max, and this masculine-sounding short name will impact a child’s future career choice which tends to be in the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics. In the same vein, feminine names like Elizabeth and Mary tend to choose humanities than those named Morgan, Andy (short for Andrea), Alex (for Alexandra) or Charlie (for Charlotte).

3. Some names are branded as troublemakers. More than 30,000 teachers were surveyed to find out if there are common names that, literally, spell trouble. Surprisingly, students with names like Callum, Courtney, Brandon, Charlie, Jack, Chelsea, Connor and Chardonnay were found to be teachers’ pet peeves.

4. Certain popular names are likely to do well in business (and become billionaires). Boys named David, John or Steve are likely to succeed in business, as those using traditional strong names like Paul, Alan, Richard, Peter, Michael, Tom, Bob, Bill and James. Names like Alex, Ben and Matthew are often thought of as creative. For girls, names like Abigail, Alice and Jacqueline are associated with power, fame and fortune (two former U.S. First Ladies, heiresses and literary luminaries).

5. Some names have strong occupational connotations. In the not-so-distant past, a person’s occupation doubled as his or her identification. But as bureaucracy evolved and record-keeping became mandatory, a person was no longer listed as ‘John the miller’ or ‘James the barber’; hence, occupational surnames such as Archer, Carpenter, Farmer, Butcher, Baker, Potter, Smith, Mason and Plummer. Today, however, certain names shape a person’s future, as in Usain Bolt (Jamaican sprinter), Daniel Snowman (an author of a book about polar regions), Laurie Drinkwater (author of a study about nitrates in groundwater), Ron Rumble (acoustic and vibrational engineer), and Dennis Smiles (dentist).

FAQs About Baby Boy Showers Answered

Baby Shower Hosting a baby shower but not sure on what to do and steps to take? If this is your first baby boy and you want to make it more memorable and make an impression, then it pays to cover all bases and get all steps right. Here are some of the most common questions asked about a baby shower, and answers that can help you get it right every step of the way.

 

Who hosts the baby boy shower?

 

Don’t get too excited and rush into planning mode just because your wife has already confirmed that she’s expecting.  Traditional shower etiquette suggests that non-relatives (think friends and office mates) are those that are expected to host the baby shower. But in recent times, it has been an accepted practice to let family members like sisters and moms to host these baby boy showers. The important thing here is to let someone takes the lead and announce to the world the arrival of a baby boy into the family.

 

What’s the best time to host one?

 

Tradition suggests that the baby boy shower should be hosted just before the baby arrives, or at least a month before actual due date. It is best is best to give the would-be mom ample time to shop for baby boy things and clothes that she needs that she didn’t received during the baby boy shower. Another variation is called the ‘welcoming baby boy shower’ and this is normally hosted a few weeks after the arrival of the baby boy. This is often selected to get gender-specific gifts.

 

Who are invited to the shower party?

 

It is often the mother’s prerogative on who to invite to the said shower party. If you are expecting your first-born, then it’s okay to invite your relatives, most of your friends and co-workers. But if it’s no longer your first-born, then its okay to just attend those who are close to the couple or those that have failed to attend the first few baby showers.

 

What are the best baby boy shower ideas available?

 

The excitement and fun that the guests will get from the shower party will be defined by the baby shower ideas and themes. So when you want your baby shower to be memorable, then it’s good to start off with some great shower themes and ideas. And because it’s a baby boy, you can’t go wrong with the colors and cartoon characters and images associated with boys. Beer, barbecue and mustache are great ideas that can serve as anchors for your celebration. Start from anything that excites you, implement it and surely your guests will get the same experience!

Are you a new mom?

New Family Are you a new mom, about to be a new mom, or just in the “old” habit of being pregnant and having another baby in the house (besides your husband, we mean)? We want to have a little word with you.

Are you fearing, dreading, or excited about losing that baby weight as soon as possible after the little bundle comes out of the oven? We bet you have gotten lots of advice from people who have tried to be supportive – from your OB/GYN to your neighbor to your mom (and she was last pregnant in the – *gasp* – Reagan administration? Doesn’t sound like a modern mom to you, right?).

You have gotten advice on what vitamins to take, what diet to be on and what exercises are best for the postpartun weight-loss crusade. And how many of you, when you get to the point of losing that weight, feel like you are the only one who can possibly understand your body, your mentality toward working out and how impossible it feels to be able to get back to your pre-conception weight?

It could easily be confusing to consider all the different pieces of advice that you get – so much so, that you could easily be paralyzed and wind up doing nothing. At least, we want to encourage you to try something to see if it works for you.

How about Baby Boot Camp? It is a rigorous workout class that can take place in virtually any neighborhood park with an instructor and several other neighborhood moms, and it includes some staple body-shaping and strengthening exercises in a fun atmosphere and with support from fellow classmates and the instructor.

This works in two ways – first, it gets you out of the house (with your baby, of course) and gives you a way to exercise, and it is a support system for you as you fight the good fight for your health and energy (in order to keep up when that baby becomes a toddler and toddles very fast and ad infinitum). You will likely make some new friends who are all fighting the battle with you and it can give you something to look forward to after the 2 a.m. feedings.

You have a lot of advice and a lot of things to consider. But don’t get paralyzed – at least try something. If it doesn’t work for you, then you can always try something else. But we beg of you, don’t be idle. Your baby (and other kids, including your husband) need you to be a strong, energetic woman to keep their lives happy and safe. Do this for yourself, so you can be there for them.

Tips for making parenting less frustrating

Parenting Parenting is not an easy task. There is no handbook that can teach you how to be a perfect parent because every child is different. The best any parent can do is to handle stress appropriately and try not to be angry or frustrated. Many parents feel angry and frustrated at some or the other time. However, some of the tips given below can help you find ways to effectively deal with your frustration:

  • If you stay isolated at home all day with your kids, it is easy to get stressed. Arrange play dates with other parents that you like spending time with. Meet other parents on a regular basis and do not be hesitant to vent your feelings to family and friends at times if you’re feeling too much pressure.
  • Try to remember why it is important to be a good parent to your kids. It will be easier for you to maintain motivation and enthusiasm if you have the “why” clear in your mind. Write it down somewhere so you can read it when you feel frustrated or angry.
  • Do not neglect yourself. If you ignore your own needs, you won’t have much to give to your kids. Parents become easily angry when they are stressed, tired and drained. Take a break from the kids to get a massage, meditate or indulge in a hobby every now and then.
  • If you can’t take too much time away from home, at least find 30 minutes of quiet time for yourself when you can read, think or do anything you want.
  • If you have parents or family living in the same city, arrange for your kids to spend time there regularly so you can take a break. Spending time with your family members will also allow your kids to form better relationships.

More than anything else, remember that you are not alone. Read about the experiences of other parents and their tips on how to deal with the frustrations of parenting at The Spoiled Mama Blog.

The Elusive Baby Sock

Socks When it comes to all the different aspects of being a parent of a little one, the issue with socks may continue on to be one of the most exasperating issues there ever has been or will be, ever.  There must be thousands or even millions of socks that lose their mates on a daily basis.  They just disappear, and while adult socks do the same thing, this is particularly in reference to babies, as right from the get-go, babies/infants may be small, but they find a way to kick those socks right off their little feet on a regular basis.

Sock-spenders?

So there are two issues at hand, when it comes to socks.  One is finding ways to keep them on the feet of active babies, and the other is keeping them in pairs.  For the first issue of keeping them on the feet of babies, there has yet to be a solution, as anything that might be tight enough to remain on their feet would also be circulation-restrictive and unhealthy.  Perhaps someone could invent a device called “sock-spenders,” which would work in the same way suspenders work, but instead of holding up pants, the suspenders would reach all the way down to the upper cuffs of socks, to hold them in place.

Preserving Sock Pairs

When it comes to so many lost socks, it’s especially hard to keep up with the socks of active children who are always taking off their socks in random areas.  Up to a certain age, the socks of babies and little kids are so small that it’s easy to lose them.  One solution would be to always only buy one particular design and color of sock, so that they would all match each other.

Another, more practical solution is to maintain a dedicated sock hamper, right at the location where you dress Baby.  For the bigger children’s socks, you could dedicate a special basket for sock collection.  Then when it comes time to wash the socks, put them all in a pillowcase or special mesh bag and run them through the entire washing and drying process in the bag.  This should help you considerably cut down (at least) on the numbers of socks that go missing each year.

Swimsuit Fun!

largeKids love to be in the water, and with so many indoor water parks available today they are able to put their suit on and go swimming and splashing around anytime of the year!

There are swimsuits that can be appropriate for every season. You will love the different trends that are available for your little one to swim in.

Many people like to get swimsuits that come in a set – they are very helpful because they can be extremely versatile. There is usually a bottom, top, and a hat that is included, and you have the freedom to use the pieces that you want! You will even find sets that have skirts or shorts in addition to regular swimsuit bottoms.

Children love to have suits that show their favorite cartoon characters! You can get Minnie Mouse, or other characters that children have learned to love! This will make the swimming experience fun for both you and your child. You can also use a suit like this as a keepsake.

Prints are becoming the number one trend for just about everything, and swimsuits are no exception! While shopping, you will see that the variety is huge. There are polka dots, stripes, and even animal prints on the swimsuits. This way the wet fun can be stylish and up to date as well.

Something that is becoming more and more popular for little girl swimsuits are one-pieces. The bikini stage for infants and toddlers is definitely still at the top, but one-pieces are beginning to join them. You can choose from many different colors, and other accents such as ruffles can be added to the suit as well.

Swimsuits will always be popular in the children’s fashion world. There is no reason for you not to have fun with the little wet suits!

YOU’RE NOT CRAZY; IT IS THAT HARD

Parenting is tough. Whether it’s adjusting to a colicky newborn or navigating adolescence, the first time we handle new parenting moments are challenging. When my daughter was born, I read everything I could get my hands on, watched all the recommended videos, and listened to everyone’s advice.

Still, when it became apparent at age three that my daughter was going to be what is often mislabeled “a difficult child,” I felt like I had no one to turn to. I sought out professionals, doctors, behavioral specialists, and they all had reasonable, practical-sounding strategies, but when the chips were down and it was just her and me, I had plenty of moments of doubt.

Could I really do this? Who can be expected to sit with her back against the wall and wrap a screaming, thrashing child up in her arms and legs, waiting for her to finally cry– because once she cries, she calms? I found that yes, I could do it; I had to do it because it turned out my little girl is a high-functioning autistic. That was why as an infant she would only sleep when I held her against my chest, why she didn’t speak until after age three, and why she’s still two years socially behind her peers in her late teens.

Parenting But when she was small, she couldn’t communicate her discomfort, her distress at being unable to process her own emotions. All she could do was thrash and cry and lash out. Like any first-time parent, I was at a loss. Thankfully, my doctors had put me in touch with a raft of skilled professionals who taught me the strategies I needed to help her thrive while keeping my sanity (for the most part).

If you, like me, have ever struggled with wondering if you can hold on in the face of inexplicable torment with your infant or small child, please talk to someone, get help, reach out. Services and even 24/7 hotlines are available so you can talk it through and diffuse the tension before you do something you’ll regret.

How to Create a Safe Sleeping Space for Your Baby

Baby SaftySudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, takes the lives of too many babies each year. Though contributing factors may be identified in some cases, there is no explainable reason in most. By providing a safe sleeping space for your baby, you can reduce the risk of SIDS by eliminating any contributing factors.

Here are a few things you can do to create a safe sleeping space for your baby to reduce the risk of SIDS and other injuries or health problems:

Start with a Firm Mattress

Newborns are not able to hold their heads up on their own or to roll over. A soft mattress or pillow could cause their heads to become stuck in a face-down position, which could lead to suffocation. By putting your baby down on a firm mattress, you can reduce the risk that he will roll inadvertently or become trapped. A crib, bassinet or co-sleeper can all provide the firm surface you need.

Remove Loose Bedding

As your baby flails an arm or leg during sleep, he can pull a blanket on top of his face and suffocate. Since he does not yet have motor control, he won’t be able to remove the blanket. Remove all loose bedding like blankets and pillows from your baby’s sleeping space. You can dress your baby in warm pajamas or a sleep sack to stay warm while sleeping.

Ensure There are No Small Spaces

Gaps between the mattress and the crib slats or wide gaps between the slats can all create a space where your baby can become trapped and suffocate. Make sure the mattress fits tight in the crib or bassinet, and make sure the slats on the rails are no more than 2 3/8 inches apart.

Take these simple steps to ensure that your baby stays safe during night-time sleep and naps. You’ll also sleep easier, as a result!

Finding the Right Car Seat for Your Child

thumbnail (38)Children car seats are just as important safety feature for the children as standard seat belts are for adult passengers. Car seats, however, usually don’t come with the car when you’re buying it – although some dealerships may throw one in when selling a car. In any case, if you have children that are younger than 12 years old, you will need a full-fledged car seat, or at least a seat booster.

Car seats are generally divided into three groups, depending on the age and size of the child. Infants, up to the age of 2 or 22 to 35 pounds of weight, have to ride in a rear facing child car seat. It’s generally a good idea to keep your child in the rear-facing seat for as long as possible, as long as they don’t outgrow their seat. Beside the weight limit, you’ll know your child is getting too big for the seat when his head is within one inch of the top of the seat.

Convertible children car seats are not children car seats that are used in convertible cars – they are the seats that can be used for both rear-facing and front-facing riding. That way, you can use them for your child until they’ve reached the age and size to ride with the booster seat only. If your child outgrows a convertible car seat you’ve used from infancy, it doesn’t have to mean that it’s time to switch to a booster seat – you should look for a bigger, front facing, children car seat. As is the case with rear-facing seat, it’s always a good idea to keep your child in the front facing seat for as long as possible. Seat manufacturers usually declare the weight and height of children that are supposed to ride in their seats, so you can keep your child in the seat for as long as they hadn’t reached the limit. If you find a seat that doesn’t have maximum height and weight declared, just walk away from it.

Booster car seats are the next step. You may find 3-in-1 children car seats, which can be used for rear-facing riding, front-facing riding and as a booster seat, and you can always buy a separate booster seat. Kids reach the booster-seat size starting from the age of 4. The idea behind the booster seat is that it effectively adds size to the child, allowing the car’s seat belt to be an effective safety measure – they don’t have a belt or strap of their own. These are used until the car seat belts suffice as a safety measure on their own – usually sometime between 8 and 12 years of age of your child. Still, when choosing a children car seat, it’s always best to look for weight and height that age. So, even if your child is 10 years old, but she’s still not very tall for her age, a booster seat should be used.