Swaddle Your Baby Back to Sleep

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This title has so much to say, not just about swaddling your baby, but also putting your baby down in their crib on their back. Since the mid 1990’s doctors have been telling new parents the best position for a sleeping baby is on their back. So placing your baby in their crib, without plush items such as stuffed animals or even bumpers and on their back is the best way to prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). As a new parent, I was very uncomfortable with this position for fear of aspiration and chocking, so I would lay my baby on the side.
Later I realized this would not have worked if I swaddled my babies when putting them to sleep. What is swaddling, it is when you wrap your baby up in their blanket in a fashion so they feel tight and secure. Many new born babies need this tight position to settle into a good sleeping patter of rest. Ways to know if your baby needs to be swaddled, do they startle when crying. stardled baby This is your first sign your baby may need to be swaddled. The arms stretched out and unconsoled crying is your baby telling your they need to feel secure the way it felt in the womb. So if you are struggling with your baby experiencing these moments, it is a great suggestion to learn the technique of swaddling your baby to help them learn to self-sooth at a very early age.
How to swaddle your baby is very simple and once you do it a few times you will be a pro.
First you need a large blanket and place it on a firm service, I like to use the changing table.
Place on point with the top folded down and lay your baby’s head just beyond the fold. swaddle immages
Second you will take the opposite end and bring it up to your baby’s chin. Then place your baby’s arms on their side and tightly tuck each side around your baby to create a tight snug fit.
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Now here is the true test if you need to swaddle your baby, once you do this a pick up your baby and cradle in your arms, they will settle down and drift off to sleep.
With my 20 years of experience as a Special Education Infant Teacher I can tell you I have used this technique often and it works every time I have a baby that just needs to be swaddled. Please keep in mind not every baby has this need and you will need to listen to your baby’s cries, and action to pick up on their communication of just what they need to get a good night’s sleep (or nap).
Hope this helps and you can find some PEACE.

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Thankful for Loving a Young Child

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There are many people out there who for what ever reason cannot have a child, and then there are those who are blessed with the love a child, even it the child is not their own. No matter the circumstances if you blessed with a life of a young child in yours, Thanksgiving is not the only day to be thankful for that child being in your life.
Often it is easy to become lost in all the things we need to do for a young child, from clothing, diapering, feeding, calming and tending to a sick child. That we forget a young child is a gift and we need to cherish this special gift everyday. No one ever said being a parent was going to be easy, all I ever heard was, “it’s the one job you can never quit!” and this is the truth.
Take the time to just sit back and watch your young child as they make new discoveries, as you help them to develop traditions and more importantly, as they grow up into a responsible young adult. So with Thanksgiving now passed, as we rev up for December and all the festivities of the holidays which are upon us, remember to still be thankful for the special young life you have been entrusted with, which is true gift from above.
Short but honest with this post, praying everyone will find their PEACE…

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Babies and Young Children are Always Communicating

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Often new parents are lost in how to connect with their new baby or young child. They forget it is nature for humans to communicate through every method possible, from the simplest cry for attention to the pain cry of teething. Children are always expressing their wants and needs to us. As parents and care-givers we need to stop and really listen to them.
As a special education teacher, I encourage my babies to use sign language to communicate. The spoken word in most babies does not start till around 10-11 months of age with calling Mom or Dad, and soon will build to about 50 words or more for the average young child by the time they are 18 months old. However, they are still communicating to us for their likes, dislikes, wants and needs. A coo and or smile is a great way of telling us they are happy. A startle or wailing cry can tell us they are scared or need someone to hold them to feel safe.
Crying Baby Boy with Messy Face
I love this picture because this babies is saying “I am teething!” Some of the simplest gestures are communications. This is why it is easy to teach young children simple signs such as MORE babymore
One sign I find very helpful is when you teach a young child to ask PLEASE please
So if you have not guessed by now, first I not only support but truly want to encourage you to teach your child simple signs to become effective communicators. Second, sign language will not prevent or stall your child from using their voice, but rather, help them to express their wants and needs with less crying and frustration. You can start to teach your child simple signs as young as 5 months and just keep using them every time you talk to your child and practice hand over hand to help them learn to use the signs.
If you are persistent with using simple signs your child will begin to sign to you and you will see less crying for wants and needs.

Hopefully this post is useful to you and if you feel the need to want to learn more, please post a comment and I will gladly suggest more helpful signs to teach your young child who has not developed verbal conversational communication.

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Children are Great Imitators

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These words speak to me and it should for you as well. Children are like small sponges, and they are watching everything we do and say. The holidays is a very busy time of the year and often we forget our children are watching us. We need to stop and look at the world through their eyes. Just why the grownups in my life so busy they forget to say I love you. What are they doing and how can I be like them.
Stop and think for a moment, when you were little what do you remember most about the holidays, the smell of a special food, or the decorations around the house or sitting and writing Christmas cards. Now fast forward to today, do you like to make that same food at the holiday, or just have to have that one decoration out every year, and you never forget to send a card to the family member who made you feel special. Yes you are imitating what you learned as a young child and now your child is doing the same.
So with the holidays season upon us, think about just want you want your young child to imitate of your actions, words or gestures when they grow up. Be someone your child will tell the world later in life that they learned to celebrate a special way because of you. You will feel very proud when you realize your child wants to be just like you. However, you need to remember they are learning it now, so stop and make it something great.
PEACE…

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Phoning It In

The phrase “Phoning it in” is a very powerful statement on many levels but when it comes to parenting it becomes scary. Lately I have gone back to basics with my weight loss and began to redo my Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred. 6 years ago when I first did it I was all about following her workout; this time I actually hear what she is saying and her favorite line is “don’t phone it in”. What does this mean, don’t be fake, actually do the workout for the best results.
Well the same is true with parenting, don’t be a fake parent, be in the moment and love these early years that go by so fast (now I’m sounding like the song, “Your Gonna Miss This” by Trace Adkins.) If you are so lost in your own life you will miss out on all the beauty of your child growing up. Many parents are unaware their child as young as 7 months begin to fully understand what you are saying and react to the tone and facial expressions on your face. So by “phoning it in” your not present. phoning in
It is important to remember what you say and do with your child will last a lift time. When your child has something important to show you STOP what you are doing and be real about their news. Show emotions, praise them, tell them your proud of them and celebrate their achievements, not matter how big or small they are!
Often I encourage parents to find time everyday to just sit and play, first you are teaching your child how to explore the world, second you are showing your child you are vested in their life. Going to the park is not about parents hanging out for grownup time (ie: phoning in) but rather about playing in the park with your child. These become the memories they keep forever. Think about it, your child will never forget and if you do phone it it you will one day regret not being there and you can never get that time back.
So make a commitment to yourself to be there, be real and be in the moment with your child no matter how silly you may think you are being, these are the times your gonna want back. So please don’t phone it in, but be in the moment and love every minute of it!
Hey I am not phoning in my workouts and seeing the results, think about the results of being real with your young child….
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PEACE

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The Stages of Grief

When a couple learns they are going to have a baby, most being to picture their new world with this perfect baby. All to often, during the pregnancy or for some during their early years in life, parents learn that “perfect” baby is not is not “perfect” after all. More and more parents are discovering their baby has a “disability” this is a word I am not fond of yet it covers such a large area of things from physical disabilities to learning and for other sensory.

Lately we hear a lot about children living on “The Spectrum” and it can range from a child with high abilities but lost in an overly stimulating social world to a lower functioning child on the opposite end of the spectrum with physical as well as social emotional demands that need to be addressed on day to day need.
When parents are told their child has a disability they will experience 6 different levels of grief and this if very normal. As a parent, I too when through these stages and feel the need to share with you today as a means to help people understand, the word grief is there because you are grieving the loss of that “perfect baby” you though you had, when in fact, your baby is still perfect, you just need to learn to live in their world and stop trying to impose them to live in ours.

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The first stage is SHOCK- this is normal and we all experience shock when we learn of “bad”news. I put bad in quote because to me this is far from bad new but just the opposite. You now know why you are having difficulties reaching your child so if anything it is great news so now you know you can help your child.

Stage two is DENIAL- most parents get stuck in this stage, but I did nothing wrong, or they just don’t see what I see. The reality is you did nothing wrong. As parents we need to accept not all children come into this world the same as we are and again this is why you need to accept the reality of our child having special needs and learn to live in their world.

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The third stage is Anger, and it is big one. In the anger stage, you are angry at everyone, the doctors for telling you, the school for “pushing you” to get your child evaluated and at your partner as well playing the blame game. It is in this stage many couples relationships are redefined as either coming together to help their child or falling apart because they are stuck in this stage.

The forth stage is SHAME, GUILT and HELPLESSNESS-in this stage many parents sink into a stage of depression. How do I take my child out in public, people will think I am a bad parent, I can’t control my kid. These are just some of the feelings parents experience in this stage. If parents do no learn to ask for help they can never move beyond it. There are many organizations parents can turn to for help in helping their child. A parent should NEVER feel shame because their child has a disability but pride in knowing not everyone is cut out to have the gift of a special needs child. (something I truly believe)

The fifth stage is ACCEPTANCE. When parents reach this stage something magical happens, the healing process is begin. This is the time when parents have made important choice to help their child and are starting to see changes in their world and with their child by accepting the reality and learning how to live in their child’s world.
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After parents reach the acceptance stage the last one is MOVING FORWARD. Once a family is able to move forward and begin to see all the amazing possibilities their child possesses thing begin to come together for everyone. For many reaching this stage is very hard and can take years. When everyone, the family and intervention team (child study team) are all working on the same page great things begin to happen.

As a parent of a child living on the spectrum and a special education teacher I can honestly tell you, once you are ready to move forward you begin to learn your child is amazing in their own unique way as is every child. It becomes our job to help our children shine and find their way in this world. We need to be there for them to help them see they can do anything and we need to teach them to problem solve when they face new challenges.

The funny part to this whole topic of grief is, do you see yourself as special, face the fact no one is perfect we all have our little quirks about us that makes us “special” so what is the difference if some doctor has given your child a “label” it is just that, the same way you gave your child a name, your child has a gender, are these not labels as well? So please understand learning your child has special needs please accept it as just that, there is a special way to help your child be amazing in this world. Live in your child’s world and see how great it is. If you feel I need address more of this or you have questions, please post them and I will reply. PEACE…

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