Posts Tagged ‘baby’

Babies and Sunscreen

April 30, 2015

round-kids-sunglasses-2012-trends-for-babyOriginally posted here.

When is it OK for a baby to wear sunscreen?

Sunscreen is OK to use on babies 6 months or older. Younger babies should use other forms of sun protection. Consider these guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Food and Drug Administration and the American Cancer Society:

  • For babies 6 months or older. If your baby is 6 months or older, liberally use sunscreen. Also, avoid exposing your baby to the sun during peak hours — generally 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. — and dress your baby in protective clothing, a hat with a brim and sunglasses.
  • For babies younger than 6 months. If your baby is younger than 6 months, keep him or her out of direct sunlight. Protect your baby from sun exposure by dressing him or her in protective clothing, a hat with a brim and sunglasses.

When choosing baby sunscreen, pick a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more. Apply sunscreen generously, and reapply every two hours — or more often if your baby is spending time in the water or perspiring.

To avoid irritating your baby’s skin and eyes, consider using a sunscreen that contains only inorganic filters, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Avoid using products that combine sunscreen and the insect repellent DEET, since sunscreen must be regularly reapplied and insect repellent typically doesn’t need to be reapplied.

Remember, just a few serious sunburns can increase your baby’s risk of skin cancer later in life. Taking simple steps now can go a long way toward protecting your baby from the risks of sun exposure.


10 Common Mistakes Nannies Make With Newborns

February 12, 2014

Photo by Partha Sarathi Sahana via Flickr Creative Commons.

Originally posted here.

During my work as a newborn care specialist (NCS), I have assisted many families in training their nanny to start care immediately after my contract with them ends. These training sessions often include a few days of shadowing and observation of the nanny at work. Based on my experiences, I have compiled a list of the ten most-common mistakes I have observed of nannies caring for newborns.

Missing Sleepy Signs

Sleepy signs can be easy to miss if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. Yawning, rubbing eyes, becoming quiet, avoiding eye contact, jerky movements, fussiness, and crying are all signs of a sleepy newborn. Many newborns are ready for a nap after being awake for 45 minutes to 2 hours. There is a common misconception that allowing a baby to stay awake longer will mean a longer nap. Unfortunately, however, if the baby is allowed to become overtired, they may become inconsolable and nap poorly. Because sleep is so essential to a newborn’s development, newborns need as much as 16-18 hours of sleep per day.

Using Motion for Naps

Parents, nannies, and other caregivers often resort to motion when baby won’t sleep. Common forms of motion include swings, car rides, and walks in the stroller, to name a few. If motion becomes habitual, the baby is likely to develop a need for motion to fall asleep, making it extremely difficult for the child to sleep in a crib. Therefore, the need for motion during naps can quickly become a problem when baby outgrows the swing or if the weather is bad.

Unsafe Sleep Settings

This is one of the most dangerous things a nanny can do wrong. Babies should always be placed on their backs to sleep; and, until a baby reaches one year of age, the only things that belong inside a crib are the child and a sheet. This means no bumpers, blankets, or stuffed animals. I feel this is so important that I require parents to empty cribs before I accept work. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) saw a significant decline in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) incidents after starting their “Back to Sleep” campaign in 1994.

Improper Formula/Breast Milk Storage

Unfortunately, many nannies are unaware of proper formula/breast milk safety guidelines, and that lack of awareness can put babies at risk for illness. Once formula is prepared, it should be used or discarded within 1-2 hours. If the bottle is prepared and immediately stored in the refrigerator, it may be used up to 24 hours later. Each formula is different so be sure to check the label for exact time recommendations.Breast milk can be stored at room temperature (70°F) for up to 6 hours. However, there is some debate about the storage of remaining breast milk after a feeding. The main concern with the storage of leftover formula/breast milk is the introduction of bacteria into the bottle. Because there are many factors that can influence the amount of bacteria in breast milk, nannies should consult their MomBoss on how they’d like their breast milk to be handled and stored.

Putting Baby Down Fully Asleep

Babies should be put in their cribs in a drowsy state rather than fully asleep. Babies need to learn how to fall asleep on their own and this is a great start. The end goal of this technique is that the child gains the ability to fall asleep completely on his or her own.


After nine months in the womb, newborns are used to the quiet and continuous swooshing sounds of their mother’s heartbeat. From the color of your clothing to the toys in front of them, newborns can become overstimulated very easily. Signs of overstimulation can include fussiness, uncontrolled movements of the arms and legs, arching the back, and avoiding eye contact. Often, swaddling or taking baby into a dark quiet room will help calm the baby back down.

Incorrect Car Seat Usage

This is also incredibly dangerous. If the nanny is using the car seat in any capacity, she needs to read through the car seat manual. Car seats and car seat recommendations are continually changing. Rules and guidelines that applied to the last infant a nanny cared for may not be the current recommendation. Nannies and parents can check with their local police department to find a car seat inspection station.

Improper Product Usage

Straps were made for a reason. If straps are included with the gear, they need to be used. You never know what could happen. The baby could flip over in the swing for the first time, fall backwards out of a seat, or the stroller could suddenly stop and fall forward. This also applies to leaving the baby unattended on a high surface like a changing table, sofa, or bed. Falling from such heights can be very dangerous for babies.

Not Maintaining a Three-Hour Feeding Schedules

Newborns should be fed at least every three hours during the day to take in enough calories to sustain them through the night. Look for early hunger cues such as smacking lips, opening and closing mouth, sucking on lips or hands, rooting, or fussiness.

White Noise

Because noises can be stimulating to newborns, nannies should be sure to use white noise during nap time. The white noise helps to drown out other noises in the household and allow the baby to have a deeper sleep. There are several white noise apps or tracks available online. A CD on repeat is also a good option.

Reading List for Expectant Moms & Nannies

November 13, 2013

44102035_woman-reading_203-203_spl-150x150Originally written and posted here.

While pregnancy is new to me, babies are not. Being a nanny has totally prepared me for this next stage in our life with our own child. I have found myself re-reading old books, now relating to them towards raising my own child.

Nannies can prepare for a new child just as expectant moms do. They can be a support  to families by offering their experience along with learned knowledge from experts.  I asked a question to moms and nannies on Facebook that got some great responses. 

“I am writing an article on must reads with a baby on the way. What do you recommend?”

Here is the collaborative go-to list (in alphabetic order):

  1. A Mom’s Ultimate Book of Lists – Michelle LaRowe
  2. Baby 411 – Denise Fields & Alan Fields
  3. Baby Bargains – Denise Fields & Alan Fields
  4. Changing Your Word One Diaper at a Time – Marla Taviano
  5. Colic Solved: The Essential Guide to Infant Reflux and the Care of Your Crying, Difficult-to-Sooth Baby – Dr. Bryan Vartabedian
  6. Great With Child – Debra Rienstra
  7. Happiest Baby On the Block – Harvey Karp
  8. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby – Dr. Marc Weissbluth
  9. Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting From Birth to Six Years – Jim Fay & Charles Fay
  10. Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way – Susan McCutcheon-Rosegg
  11. On Becoming Baby Wise – Gary Ezzo
  12. Pregnancy Sucks: What To Do When Pregnancy Makes You Miserable – Joanne Kimes
  13. Raising Godly Tomatoes – L. Elizabeth Krueger
  14. Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby – Tracy Hogg & Melinda Blau
  15. Shepherding a Child’s Heart – Tedd Tripp
  16. The Baby Book: Everything You Need to KNow ABout Your Baby from Birth to Age Two – Williams Sears
  17. The Baby Care Book: A Complete Guide from Birth to 12-month Old – Jeremy Friedma
  18. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Pregnancy – Michele Isaacs Gliksman, Theresa Foy DiGeronimo
  19. The Naked Mom: A Modern Mom’s Fearless Revelations, Savvy Advice, and Soul Reflections – Brooke Burke
  20. The No-Cry Series – Elizabeth Pantley
  21. The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth – Henci Goer
  22. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding – Gwen Gotsch
  23. Twelve Hours in Twelve Weeks: A Step-by-step Plan for Baby’s Sleep Success – Suzy Giordano
  24. What to Expect When You’re Expecting – Heidi Murkoff
  25. Your Baby’s First Year Week by Week – Glade B. Curtis & Judith Schuler
  26. Your Pregnancy Week by Week – Glade B. Curtis & Judith Schuler

Hopefully this list gives you some books to add to your reading list! For some reviews, sample chapters, or summary of  a book check out

What baby book has made the biggest impression on you?


Should I Put My Baby on a Schedule?

June 26, 2013
Expert Answers with Judith Owenspediatric sleep expert. Originally posted here. 

While your baby’s a newborn, he should call the shots when it comes to his eating and sleeping schedule. This may mean that days and nights are interchangeable and that there’s no clear pattern, but that’s okay for now.

Your baby actually did have an intrauterine pattern that was disrupted by labor and delivery. New babies typically are alert for an hour or so after birth before settling into a deep sleep or grogginess for the next 12 to 24 hours. During this time, hunger probably woke your baby every hour or so. You may have been able to discern a bit of a pattern by the fourth or fifth day. (If you or your baby had any complications, it may have taken a bit longer. And any medications or anesthetics that you had during labor also could have affected your baby’s sleep/awake pattern.)

While respecting your brand-new baby’s peculiar rhythms, you can gently help him begin to establish patterns that are a bit more regular. (If you’re in the hospital, keep him in your room if you can, because the stimulation of the hospital nursery can discourage any kind of natural schedule.) Feed your baby at least every two to three hours, and encourage his alertness during the day, with lots of talking, eye contact, and cuddling. At night, keep the lights and your voice low.

Internal factors, such as hunger and fatigue, seem to drive the rhythms of babies under 3 months, while older infants seem to be more influenced by environmental factors. Your baby’s maturity and temperament also play an important role. And babies who eat, sleep, and wake in erratic patterns tend to be a bit more challenging in terms of temperament, too!

As for sleep schedules, in the first year of life there’s a pretty wide range of what’s considered normal. Some babies can sleep five to six hours at a stretch by the time they’re 2 months old, for example, while others don’t until they’re 3 or even 9 months old. (In fact, 30 percent of babies don’t “sleep through the night” at 9 months.) As long as your baby seems alert, playful, and happy during his waking hours, he’s probably getting enough sleep.

Regardless of your baby’s tendencies, there are a couple of things you can do to encourage him to sleep longer at night so that his pattern becomes more family friendly: Keep naps short, about one to two hours. And add as much predictability as possible to his day. Give him meals, baths, walks, visits to the park, and bedtime on a consistent schedule.

At the same time, if he seems hungry again before his usual feeding, go ahead and feed him. And if he’s out of sorts, perhaps he needs to get to sleep a bit earlier than planned. Your goal should be to provide your baby with a consistent schedule that respects his natural patterns and personality, too.

Sooner or later, your baby will probably settle into a fairly predictable daily schedule. Even then, don’t count on its being permanent.

Your baby may keep regular hours for a while and then become completely irregular, time-wise — during a growth spurt, for example, or when he’s learning something new, such as how to roll over or sit up. At times, he may need to feed more often or require more breast milk or formula at each feeding. When this happens, rest assured that your baby will get back into a rhythm again, probably after just a couple of days.

The Power of Talking to Your Baby

April 30, 2013

By: Tina Rosenberg
Originally posted

By the time a poor child is 1 year old, she has most likely already fallen behind middle-class children in her ability to talk, understand and learn. The gap between poor children and wealthier ones widens each year, and by high school it has become a chasm. American attempts to close this gap in schools have largely failed, and a consensus is starting to build that these attempts must start long before school — before preschool, perhaps even before birth.

There is no consensus, however, about what form these attempts should take, because there is no consensus about the problem itself. What is it about poverty that limits a child’s ability to learn? Researchers have answered the question in different ways: Is it exposure to lead? Character issues like a lack of self-control or failure to think of future consequences? The effects of high levels of stress hormones? The lack of a culture of reading?

Another idea, however, is creeping into the policy debate: that the key to early learning is talking — specifically, a child’s exposure to language spoken by parents and caretakers from birth to age 3, the more the better. It turns out, evidence is showing, that the much-ridiculed stream of parent-to-child baby talk — Feel Teddy’s nose! It’s so soft! Cars make noise — look, there’s a yellow one! Baby feels hungry? Now Mommy is opening the refrigerator! — is very, very important. (So put those smartphones away!)

Click here to read the rest of this article.

Tina Rosenberg

Tina Rosenberg won a Pulitzer Prize for her book “The Haunted Land: Facing Europe’s Ghosts After Communism.” She is a former editorial writer for The Times and the author, most recently, of “Join the Club: How Peer Pressure Can Transform the World” and the World War II spy story e-book “D for Deception.”

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