Amy's Corner. our lactation consultant answers your questions about nursing.

5 Ways to Get Kids to Drink Water

kid drinking waterIn the heat on summer, dehydration can cause parents major concern for their kids.  As one of our most basic bodily needs, water is essential to your child’s health.  But reaching for a glass of water may not be their first instinct, and telling a child to drink water because it’s good for his health usually doesn’t cut it.  That’s why today we’re sharing five ways to get kids to drink water.

Water is required for almost every function of your child’s growth and development, as well as his immediate health and performance.  Water keeps muscles, joints and organs working properly and helps blood deliver nutrients and oxygen throughout the body.  Dehydration can make kids lethargic and impair their concentration and ability to learn.  Use these tips to get your kids to drink water this summer:

Do me a favor and add some flavor:  Water may seem boring to your kids, which is why they probably prefer juice.  Spice things up by adding some flavor, texture and color to your kid’s water by dropping in a few slices of fruit.  You can mix it up and let your kids pick their flavor every day, and you can even come up with fun concoctions by adding multiple fruits at a time.  Let your little ones mush or twist their fruits to fully enjoy the flavor of the day while they also benefit from the nutrients of that particular fruit.

Fun is in the eye of the cup-holder:  For kids, sometimes, drinking water is all about the cup or the straw.  Make a special trip to the store to let your kids pick several fun water-only cups.  If they want to use these new awesome cups, they’ll need to drink water.  They may opt for cups with their favorite characters or they might pick ones with funky, twisty straws.  It doesn’t take much to make a kid go wacky for water when you give them a cool cup of their choosing.

Melt away the objections:  Another terrific way to get kids jazzed about water is through fun ice cubes.  You can make flavored or colored ice cubes in traditional ice trays by adding fruit or natural food coloring.  Alternatively, you can buy ice trays in fun shapes that will make your kid want to drink their way to the bottom of their cups.

Clear the way:  Water is an important substance in nature and biology, so use drinking water as a lesson about the human body.  Teach your kids that water helps flush the system, including making them have to urinate more often.  If your kids are potty trained, you can make a game out of trying to produce clear urine by drinking lots of water every day.

Don’t leave home without it:  Water should always be accessible to your kids.  If they aren’t old enough to get a cup for themselves, strategically place cups of water throughout your house so it is always available.  For older, more responsible children, you can leave a jug of water with a nozzle dispenser on a table so they can refill their own cups.  Also, take water bottles with you wherever you go.  Whenever your child has down time, such as riding in your car, encourage water drinking.  And remember, the more active your kids are, the more water they should drink.

Side Sleeping During Pregnancy

pregnant-woman-sleeping-on-side-Sleep during pregnancy, or lack thereof, may be nature’s way of preparing new moms for sleepless nights with a newborn.  Many pregnant women have trouble sleeping because it’s downright hard to get comfortable.  With a growing belly, back pain and heartburn, in addition to anxiety over bringing home a new baby, sleep may be hard to come by during pregnancy.  But when you do, side sleeping during pregnancy is the best position for optimal sleep for both you and your baby.

It is quite common for pregnant women to toss and turn to find a comfortable sleep position.  Although staying in one position all night long is unlikely, side sleeping during pregnancy offers the maximum benefits of sleep, circulation and relieving back pressure.  Specifically, side sleeping on the left side is absolutely the best way for pregnant women to sleep.

Why is left side sleeping during pregnancy best?

Many experts believe that sleeping on the left side helps maintain blood flow throughout the body, especially to the placenta.  Of course with blood comes oxygen and vital nutrients that baby’s need to grow and thrive.  Left side sleeping also aids kidney function by allowing kidneys to flush waste and fluid from the body to reduce swelling or edema commonly associated with pregnancy.

Sleeping on your side may not come natural but training yourself to side sleep during pregnancy is important.  Start early before your abdomen gets large and your body becomes extremely uncomfortable.  Every time you wake up during sleep, turn from one side to the other, favoring your left.

Some moms-to-be find the strategic use of pillows helpful for sleeping during pregnancy.  Placing a pillow between your knees while side sleeping can keep you ergonomically aligned.  You may also want to place a pillow behind your back or to prop your chest.  Often elevating the chest can help reduce heartburn and acid reflux that can exacerbate nausea and vomiting.

As you progress in pregnancy, it is best not to sleep flat on your back or on your stomach.  This may be a difficult habit to break if these have been your sleeping habits for years, but you’ll want to make the effort for your best health and the safety of your baby.  Back sleeping can put a lot of pressure on your spine and back muscles that are essential to supporting your movement during pregnancy.  It can also disrupt your digestion and restrict blood flow to your heart placenta.  Back sleeping has been known to cause hemorrhoids and shortness of breath as well.

For obvious reasons, stomach sleeping will become uncomfortable as your baby bump grows bigger.  Even before you begin to show, you will want to break the stomach sleeping habit and avoid putting major pressure on your abdomen.

If you are a back sleeper and find yourself in need of solid sleep on your back, try sleeping in an upright recliner.  This alleviates pressure on your back while keeping you upright enough for good blood flow.

Remember, side sleeping during pregnancy is best whenever possible.  And be sure to take plenty of opportunities for rest before your baby arrives. Sweet dreams!

Gender Neutral Parenting

Gender neutral parenting is a trend in raising children that aims to allow children the freedom to explore their world without gender based restrictions.  While there are many extremes to this parenting philosophy, the basic premise is to avoid stereotypes, offer children a variety of choices in their life, and to let their personality emerge without regard for social gender limitations.

Today we’re taking a look at the very basic form of gender neutral parenting from birth.  Of course this starts with your baby’s name.  The trend of gender-neutral names may be the most popular path to gender neutral parenting and has gained traction in the past two decades.  Even a reversal of gender names is now common.  Many parents select a name before knowing the sex of their baby, which ensures no gender bias.  After all, one’s name is their very first expression of identity.

Colors are another huge gender stereotype in our society, which many parents try to quash.  Most of us associate pink with girls and blue with boys, but gender neutral parenting advocates the use of all colors. To reinforce gender neutrality, families often select yellows and greens for their nurseries, as these colors are not typically associated with either sex.  Gender neutral nurseries frequently use patterns, a mixture of solid colors or nature themes.  Decorative blocks, alphabet lettering and framed artwork can add age-appropriate style and detail to gender neutral nurseries.

Colors also come into play when selecting baby gear, such as blankets, bath towels, bouncy chair covers and car seats.  Many manufacturers offer a variety of gender specific and gender neutral options for families to make their own choices.  Many patterns avoid the typical pinks and blues to appeal to a range of parents.

Baby toys are often gender neutral by nature, but as children grow, toys tend to be more gender specific.  Gender neutral parenting suggests offering a variety of toys – those that may seem stereotypically “boy” toys like trucks and tools, and those that are stereotypical “girl” toys like dolls and princess dress-up clothes.  By introducing choices, children can explore without boundaries and discover their own creative expression.

When children grow to the age when they can pick their own hobbies and interests, freedom from gender stereotypes is important too.  Luckily, modern society embraces female athletes in most sports so girls who want to play soccer or take karate are accepted.  Alternatively, boys may gravitate towards art and cooking, which should be encouraged as well.

Gender neutral parenting attempts to defy stereotypes in the home with parental role models.  Parents try to avoid discussions that align moms with cooking and raising kids and dads to working outside the home and doing yard work.  Rather, these families show that men and women can do anything and no one should be restricted by their sex.  Parents that employ gender neutrality are quick to point out female doctors and male nurses, female firefighters and male receptionists, and female religious leaders and male teachers.

Parents and psychologists often question the social aspects involved in gender neutrality.  Within the confines of the home, children are loved and accepted for who they are.  But in social environments, children can be ridiculed for gender-defying choices.  Boys wearing skirts or nail polish and girls playing rough and tumble with action figures may not be understood by their peers exhibiting more stereotypical behavior.

Gender neutral parenting is a personal choice that may or may not be a good fit for your family.  However, broadening your horizons to explore a variety of parenting styles can open your eyes to the perfect way to raise your kids.

Swimming with Baby

We’re smack dab in the middle of swim season so we thought a little discussion about swimming with baby would be appropriate.  Young infants usually love water because it is familiar to them from their time in the womb where they were floating and bobbing for 9+ months.  But easing baby into the pool may be wise to make her feel comfortable with water on this side of mom’s belly.

One of the best ways to start swimming with baby is in the bathtub.  In addition to making solo baths a fun, soothing and relaxing time, make it a grander family experience by hopping in the tub with your baby from time to time.  You can hold your baby the way you would in a pool to let her know you’ll be there to comfort and protect her throughout her early stages of swimming.  Make joint baths an exciting sensory experience by helping baby splash water with her hands and feet, pouring water into containers and watching it fall out, and playing with bath and pool toys.  If your baby is particularly attached to a toy in the bath, be sure to bring it along when you head out to the pool.

imagesWhen you’re ready for your first pool adventure, keep a few health and safety tips in mind before taking a dip.  Select a saline pool that doesn’t have too many chemicals that may be harsh on your baby’s eyes and skin.  While it’s not recommended that babies drink pool water, she may swallow some so you don’t want it to be laced with tons of harmful chemicals.

Also, the water temperature should be slightly warm.  If you don’t have access to a heated pool, wait until later in the day to swim so the sun has a chance to warm the pool.  Your baby is not yet able to regulate her own body temperature and can get cold very easily.  And don’t forget the sunscreen and protective clothing.  You certainly don’t want to associate sunburns with swimming, and baby’s sensitive skin is more at risk for burns than older children and adults.

When it’s time for the plunge, hold your baby while sitting on a step to simulate the bathtub swimming experience.  Then slowly ease her into the water, holding her tightly so she feels secure.  She may be more comfortable completely submerged in water as wet skin exposed to cool air can be chilling.  Plus, the feeling of being underwater is pretty neat for a baby when she can sense her weightlessness and move her body through the water gracefully.  Be sure to make pool time lots of fun by singing, splashing and playing with toys.  Many classics like “Ring Around the Rosie” and “Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall” work nicely as pool games too.

You can also use an upright baby float so your baby can sit in the water while you glide her around.  Never take your hand off the float though as these may not be completely secure.  Many baby floats have a cover to shade your baby from the sun, a nice added bonus.  But experts agree that strap on floatation devices are not a good way to introduce babies to the water as it will give them a false sense of safety around water.  They may grow to learn that they can always float in water and test their theory when not wearing floaties.

If your child seems to enjoy the water, you may want to begin swim lessons as early as six months old.  Usually introductory classes are group lessons with parents participating to continue feelings of trust and security in the water.  Certified instructors can help you teach your baby pre-swimming skills such as blowing bubbles and kicking.  As your baby grows into a toddler, you can take more advanced and individual swim lessons to sharpen swim and water survival skills such as floating and being able to get to the side of the pool.  This is especially important if you live near water or have your own pool.

Remember, make swimming with baby a fun, bonding experience so she will love this summertime activity for a lifetime.

Juggling a Newborn and a Toddler

iStock_000003032321SmallBringing home a newborn is tough enough, but having a toddler at home as well may be one of the most challenging experiences of your life.  Juggling a newborn and a toddler can be particularly hard when schedules collide and meltdowns occur.  But never fear, it can be done!

Today we’re discussing some tips of juggling a newborn and a toddler to avoid some of the hardships that this exciting and challenging time may bring.

Prepare your Toddler for the Arrival of your Baby

Your toddler may be very excited about the prospect of a new baby, but does she really know what that will mean for her life?  Prepare your toddler by talking about how newborns act and the attention your baby will need, including lots of sleeping, some crying, being held often and breastfeeding.  Read books about babies so your child has some idea of what to expect during these early months with a new sibling.  Discuss ways she can help out with the baby, such as rocking and singing to the baby or being mommy’s special helper.  Talk about how sweet, adorable and fun your older child was when she was a baby and how the new baby will be equally as charming.

Foster Independence and Some Degree of Separation Before Baby Arrives

The more independent your older child is, the easier it will be for you to tend to your baby’s needs.  You certainly don’t want to abandon your toddler or give her the impression that the baby always comes first.  However, when a baby needs to be fed or changed, it’s nice to know that your toddler will be safe and occupied for some period of time.

First, be sure your house is child-proofed for the safety of your toddler.  Knowing she won’t get hurt when you look away for a few minutes will be a big relief to you.  Teach your toddler to do some things on her own, like walk up and down stairs (or crawl up and scoot down), feed herself and independent play.  If dad or another caregiver will be stepping in to help, strengthen this relationship before the baby arrives so your toddler won’t be clinging to you when you’re trying to focus on your newborn.  This also invites a wonderful bonding opportunity for other family members.

Keep your Routine as Normal as Possible

When the baby arrives, try to keep your toddler’s schedule very routine.  If school and playgroups are part of her normal life, continue that schedule.  If possible, have someone stay at your house with your child while you are at the hospital so as not to disrupt her daily life.  Some times of the day will be more challenging than others, such as meal times, nap times, bath times and bedtimes.  Discuss the challenge with your partner and decide if having an extra pair of hands around at some of those times might be helpful.  Baby-wearing is a terrific way to keep your baby close and happy while tending to the needs of your toddler and other familial responsibilities.

Breastfeeding your Baby while Managing a Toddler

If your toddler has not been exposed to breastfeeding, she may be particularly curious about this most nourishing practice.  Never feel ashamed to breastfeed in front of your children.  It’s a wonderful experience you can share as a family.  While you may be less mobile while breastfeeding, you can still spend quality time with your toddler during feedings.

After a few weeks, you’ll probably get the hang of one-handed feedings, which will free up a hand to play with your older child.  Sitting on the floor building with blocks or doing a puzzle are great sedentary activities you can do together.  Reading is a great way to spend your breastfeeding sessions with your baby and toddler.  Your older child can enjoy her favorite books and turn the pages for you, and your baby will benefit from hearing constant words and chatter.  Also allow your toddler to do some independent play while you are breastfeeding, such as coloring, stickering, play-doh, putting on a concert or play for you and the baby or playing with toys in the same room.  Don’t feel it is necessary to separate yourself while breastfeeding, but rather embrace this time for togetherness.

Spend Time with your Toddler Individually

As exciting as a new baby may be, your toddler may feel sad or frustrated by this attention-grabbing addition to your family.  Ensure you spend one-on-one time with your toddler and don’t completely abandon some special activities you did together before the baby was born.  Also, make your toddler feel important as an older sibling and special helper in your family.  Encourage her to embrace this crucial role so she feels integrated in your family’s wonderful new joy.

When things get tough, remember that the next phase will relieve some of your current issues and bring on new joys and challenges.  And even when things are easy, remember that the next stage is not far behind.  Count your blessings and enjoy the moment.

The Science behind the Terrible Twos and How to Navigate the Terrible Twos

toddler_temper_twosWhether you’re there already or looking ahead at your future, there are big changes that occur around the time your baby turns two.  This transitional period is marked by greater physical capabilities, a broader understanding of language and ability to communicate, and the emotional evolution that comes with asserting independence while still craving nurture.  With these huge psychological shifts, tantrums, dangerous curiosity and other forms of misbehavior may arise, hence the name “Terrible Twos.”

The good news about the Terrible Twos is that it’s only a stage and, with understanding, proactive and compassionate parenting, you can navigate the terrible twos with minimal struggle.   Although every child is different and reacts individually to his particular environment and feelings, today we’re explaining the science behind the Terrible Twos to help ameliorate some of the negative effects on you, your toddler and your family.

Much like puberty, the transitional period around two-years-old is about physical, emotional, neurological and psychological changes.  It’s a period of self discovery and independence when your child’s true personality is likely to emerge.  As your toddler becomes more mobile, she’ll be able to make choices about where she wants to go and what she wants to do, much to the chagrin of parents.  This gives her the opportunity to get into things she shouldn’t and wreak havoc anywhere you go.  That can be a frustrating situation for both of you, since she will surely need to be deterred and your anxiety will elevate.

Additionally, your little one will be able to understand much more of what you’re saying and even communicate back to you.  With more words, comes more freedom to express personal thoughts and desires, many of which may conflict with your own.  While having words should make things easier to communicate with your child, they sometimes cause you to butt heads.  And your child is now all-too-aware that she is her own being and she can make choices in the world, aside from you.  Although she may appear pleased as can be that she’s marching to the beat of her own drum and testing her limits, her independence and freedom often causes an internal struggle as she still longs for a parents’ nurture, affection and direction.

When all of these transitions come to a head at the same time, major frustration can occur for both children and their parents.  The most important thing to remember is to stay calm.  Your child will feed off of your reaction and your behavior, and ultimately this is the response she will learn when faced with an adverse situation.  If your child is not in a position to be reasonable, comfort her without addressing the issue first and also ensure she is safe.  Once she has calmed down, use positive discipline methods to help you discuss what happened.  Try to boil down the feelings involved in the situation since that is ultimately what tantrums are about.  And once you understand the feelings and triggers, you can better navigate away from them in the future.  This is truly a learning opportunity for both of you.

Redirection, humor and compassion are all terrific ways to navigate the terrible twos.  Sometimes all it takes is distraction and a goofy attitude to snap your little pal out of that bad mood.  Most of the time, tantrums are short-lived and forgotten when the stressor passes.

The science behind terrible twos tells us that they are very normal and an important part of developing a healthy psyche.  It’s the way we as parents handle them that can make all the difference.

The Healing Powers of Breast Milk

If you thought breast milk is only for babies, you’ve got a lot to learn about the healing powers of breast milk.

Breast milk may be the most powerful natural substance on the planet.  The incredible benefits of breast milk for babies and mothers begin at birth and extend throughout a lifetime.  Breast milk is, of course, the most nourishing and beneficial nutrients for babies.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants are given breast milk for at least one year of life and recognizes the benefits of prolonged breastfeeding too.

fridge-breast-milkBreast milk is so phenomenal because it offers a range of hundreds of nutrients including amazing antibodies that help protect babies from illness and disease immediately and for their whole lives.  These antibodies have powerful healing properties that prevent and treat infection and inflammation.  That’s why breast milk is quickly becoming popular beyond its initial use of nourishing babies.  The healing powers of breast milk make it an extraordinary remedy for many minor health problems for children and adults.

Today we’re sharing some of the exceptional uses of breast milk other than feeding your baby.  Fresh or frozen breast milk will work beautifully.  Try rubbing breast milk on affected areas several times daily for great results.

Baby Rashes and Skin Conditions:  Babies sensitive skin is more susceptible to rashes and outbreaks but breast milk can help heal these skin issues.  Diaper rash caused by yeast, baby acne and eczema, dry skin on a baby’s head called cradle cap, circumcision wounds and heat rash can all be remedied with breast milk.

Cuts and Bites:  Scrapes, scratches and cuts can benefit from the antibacterial properties of breast milk.  Breast milk helps these skin lacerations heal faster and with less risk of infection.  Additionally, breast milk is terrific for easing soreness and redness from mosquito and other insect bites as well as bee and wasp stings.

Eye Infections and other Eye Issues:  Breast milk can be combined with liquid eye drops to help clear up conjunctivitis or pink eye.  The antibodies help fight these and other viral eye infections.  Babies tend to get clogged tear ducts as their eyes are still very immature during infancy.  Breast milk can help open ducts.  Here’s another interesting use for eyes:  add breast milk to your contact solution to moisturize and cleanse your lenses.

Dry and Cracked Skin:  Skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and general dry skin can improve with the ultimate natural nourishing moisturizer, breast milk.   In winter months when skin and lips are dry, cracked and flakey, apply breast milk for faster repair.  Also, breast milk is excellent (and very convenient) for healing cracked, sore nipples after feedings.

Ear Infections:  Ear infections are all too common in infants and toddlers.  Breastfeeding is a proven way to reduce risk of ear infections, yet they are still very common in infants and toddlers. Applying 3 to 5 drops of breast milk to the entrance of the ear canal can help resolve ear infections in children and adults.

Burns and Itchiness:  As an anti-inflammatory, breast milk can relieve pain and swelling from burns, sunburns and other skin irritations.  Cold breast milk is the best way to soothe both red and inflamed skin so use chilled or frozen milk for burns.  Also keep breast milk in mind for reducing irritation from chicken pox.

Congestion:  In children and adults, breast milk can help clear nasal passages.  Squirt a few drops in each nostril to reduce sinus congestion.  This is a much better alternative than many medications that have a range of side effects.

Glowing Skin:  Under-eye bags, acne, fine lines and age spots don’t necessarily require expensive creams and serums.  Try all-natural breast milk as Mother Nature’s best formula for beautiful, youthful skin.  Also, use it as a daily cleanser by applying it all over the face and then washing it off just like soap.

Sore Throats:  Breastfeeding can help soothe a sore throat in a baby or toddler.  In adults, gargling breast milk and allowing it to coat the throat can assisting in relieving a tender, raw sore throat.

Next time you are in need of a natural remedy, think about the incredible healing powers of breast milk!

Healthy Snack Tricks for Kids

Your mom may have told you not to play with your food but we believe in the exact opposite.  Getting your kids to eat a healthy diet may be a challenge, in part due to the abundant availability of many unhealthy snack foods.  We’re here to help you overcome this snack-time problem with healthy snack tricks that will make your kids want to eat their fruits and veggies.

Shape it Up:  Some fruits and veggies lend themselves to certain shapes:    Strawberries make lovely hearts; Cantaloupe slices are natural smiles; Star fruit look like stars, of course.  You can also cut out shapes using small cookie cutters.  Squash and zucchini slices are much more edible in fun shapes.  Apples make a wonderful pallet for carving shapes as well.

Funny-food-Art-FaceMake Funny Faces:  Who can resist an edible funny face?  The possibilities are endless.  Grapes for eyes, a carrot nose, a banana mouth, green beans hair.  Let your little one help you create a super silly face and watch her devour her healthy snack afterwards.

Do the Dipty Dip:  Dipping foods always make them more fun to eat.  Hummus, tomato sauces or a low-fat ranch dressing are all wonderful dipping choices for celery, carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers and broccoli.  The added flavor may also make raw veggies more appetizing.

Smoothie it Out:  Smoothies are a great way to pack in some healthy ingredients for kids (and adults).  Use a yogurt or milk base to make it smooth and creamy.  Let your children help you make smoothies and pick their colors by selecting the fruits and veggies to add.  Try a “gross green” with green grapes, spinach and kiwi fruit.  How about “outrageous orange” using oranges, carrots and orange tomatoes.  Or go for “perfect pink” with strawberries, raspberries and watermelon.

rainbow skewersTaste the Rainbow:  Make snacks that include every color of the rainbow.  When you’re feeling especially crafty, put them in rainbow color order and shape them into a rainbow arch.  Or, select a color of the day and focus on fresh foods of that color.  This will teach your kids an appreciation for a variety of fruits and vegetables while also learning their colors.

Stick ‘em Up:  There is something about putting food on a stick that makes it so much more appealing.  Using toothpicks, make small fruit or veggie skewers.  You can add cheese for protein as well.

Spell it Out:  Spell your child’s name with fruits and veggies.  This works especially well with smaller foods such as peas, blueberries, edemame and beans.  Your little one will love seeing her name and it’s more likely she’ll want to snack on it too.

So go on, play with your food and encourage your kids to do the same!

Thumb Sucking: Why Kids do it and How to Gradually Wean Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is quite an adorable habit for babies and young toddlers.  And beyond looking cute, sucking is one of the first and most basic instincts of human babies.  That’s how babies know to suckle from their mother’s breast during breastfeeding.  It’s a natural reflex that cannot be stopped.  But some babies have a more intense desire to suck than others, which is where thumb sucking comes into play.

Some babies begin sucking their thumbs as early as in the womb.  Parents are often surprised to see ultrasound images of their babies sucking away before birth.  Not surprisingly, those babies are more likely to be thumb suckers a few months later when they are on the other side of the womb.


The Upside to Thumb Sucking

Contrary to what many parents believe, thumb sucking is not a psychological problem.  Rather, it’s a way for children to comfort themselves by using their innate suck reflex.  Thumb sucking is actually a wonderful method of self soothing that many parents value.  It’s a sign of maturity that a baby can pacify himself with a thumb that will always be available.  As children grow older, they may use thumb sucking as a form of comfort when they feel uneasy about a situation, are tired or feel ill.  The familiarity and reassurance of his own thumb can help him get through tough situations without crying or displaying other undesirable behavior.

The Downside of Thumb Sucking

Dentists are not a fan of thumb sucking because vigorous sucking can push teeth out creating misalignment.  However, thumb sucking up to age 2 will probably not cause that problem and thumb sucking before permanent teeth appear (around age 6) will usually not create lasting issues.  Kids who suck their thumbs often can suck their thumbs raw and form sores sometimes resulting in infections.  Also, it can be problematic if thumb sucking prevents a child from participating in activities or speaking.  Older thumb suckers sometimes run into issues when peers make fun of their thumb habit.

How to Handle Thumb Sucking

Most kids grow out of thumb sucking between the ages of 2 and 4.  Experts agree that the very best method is to let your child gradually wean himself from thumb sucking.  Nagging your child to stop or putting a deterrent on his thumb will usually backfire and is an unfair punishment to a very natural, comforting habit.  Because there are not severe repercussions in early childhood, try not to worry and wait until your child is ready to give up the thumb.  He will likely reach the conclusion on his own.

If thumb sucking is causing dental or behavioral issues and you need to intervene, try these tactics:

  • Keep your child’s hands busy so he doesn’t have the opportunity to suck.
  • Offer comfort in other ways, such as singing to him, rocking or giving him a massage.
  • Suggest an alternative habit, such as sitting on hands or pinching fingers together.
  • Create a relaxing environment that won’t prompt the need for self-comforting.
  • Show your child how thumb sucking is affecting his teeth.
  • Help your child identify when he’s sucking by using a silly catch-phrase that will make him laugh and release the thumb.
  • Set a reward for the eventual end to thumb sucking.

It’s highly unlikely that your child will leave for college still sucking his thumb.  Be patient, understand the reasons behind thumb sucking and employ techniques to wean when the timing is right.

Father’s Day Gift Ideas that Remind You of Mother’s Day

Dads deserve a special day designated to celebrate them as fathers and dudes.  Father’s Day is the perfect opportunity to shower dad with love and gratitude, while giving him some much-needed relaxation too.  In fact, much of what dads could use on Father’s Day reminds us a lot of what moms often get on Mother’s Day.

Today we’re sharing Father’s Day gift ideas that remind you of Mother’s Day…but with a manly twist.  Check these out for inspiration when selecting the perfect gift for the dads in your life:

bambooFlowers:  Real men can appreciate a beautiful bouquet of flowers.  While you may not select pinks roses for your guy, you can certainly create a vibrant and masculine bouquet using bold colors and the right flower choices.  Use a base of thick green leaves of twigs rather than baby’s breath or other more delicate stems.  Alternatively, potted cactus plants, bamboo or bonsai trees are a masculine take on the traditional floral bouquet.

Spa Pampering:  Guys can use some pampering too.  Book a deep tissue massage, luxurious facial and shave experience, or a foot massage for dad for some much needed relaxation on his special day.  He’ll surely appreciate the time to himself and feel refreshed and ready for the rest of his celebratory day.

Homemade Gifts:  Just like moms, dads love getting homemade cards and gifts from their kids.  Work with your children to make Father’s Day cards, paint pottery or make a special craft that dad can display.  This interactive experience for your kids will be fun and give them a sense of pride in giving dad something beautiful they have created from the heart.

courtesy of takepart.comBreakfast in Bed:  Usually designated for moms, breakfast in bed is a terrific treat for dad on Father’s Day.  Let dad sleep in while you and the kids whip up his favorite breakfast.  Make it fun for everyone by decorating the meal for dad.  If you’re making pancakes, cut out a big “D” for dad or make a silly face on his waffle using fruit for the facial features.  When it’s ready, everyone can hop in bed with dad to watch him enjoy the feast.

Framed Photos:  Proud dads love showing off their adorable kids and beautiful family.  Frame a few of your family’s best photos for him to display in his office or on his bedside table.  This will bring smiles to his face time and time again.

Grooming Products:  Sweet-smelling lotions, perfumes and glam products are usually associated with gifts for mom, but masculine grooming products make a great gift for dad too.  Look for a kit of products that you think the dad in your life will enjoy that may include body lotion, shave gel, cologne and hair gel.

Date Night with Mom:  Wine and dine your guy just like you’d like to be treated.  Plan a special date night as a gift from mom to dad.  He’ll certainly enjoy the adult time and it will give you time to reconnect as a couple.  After all, isn’t that how he become a father in the first place?

We hope these Father’s Day gift ideas will satisfy all the dads on your list.  Remember, dads want many of the same things as moms so when in doubt, think about what you would want.  Just add a manly spin and he’ll be thrilled on his big day.

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