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Baby Box Ontario
babyboxco.com

Inspired by Finland’s longstanding tradition of providing a safe sleep environment for infants to new parents, the Baby Box Company is now providing a certified Baby Box to expectant mothers and fathers across Ontario free of charge for those who register and complete the online form.
The Baby Boxes are usable up until six-months of age and arrive complete with mattress, waterproof cover and cotton sheet.  In addition to the bassinette-style sleep space, the box includes a kit full of baby products from diapers to body wash, breast pads to teething toys.

Uses of Baby Box in Ontario

“Approximately 80% of parents who receive a Baby Box in Ontario use it as a primary safe sleep space for their infant, up to about six months of age,” said Jennifer Clary, CEO of The Baby Box Co. in an online statement. “A Baby Box program can have a real and measurable impact on both the health and well-being of Ontario’s infants, and the confidence of Ontario’s new parents.”

According to the website, parents who are expecting a child between August 1, 2016 and August 1, 2017 are eligible to sign up for the program. The company is expecting upwards of 145, 000 Baby Boxes to be delivered annually in Ontario through hospitals and various community agencies.

Baby Boxes will be rolling out in provinces across Canada later this year.

 

Prolonged exposure to sun and heat can be very harmful to babies and young children.  It is important – especially at this time of year – for parents to refresh themselves on best-practices for keeping kids safe over the summer.

In 2015, the Government of Canada posted a comprehensive checklist of strategies and tips to guide parents through the year’s warmest months; please see below or refer to the Government of Canada website for more information.

Summer Safety Tips

Babies

  • Infants should be kept out of direct sunlight to prevent skin damage and dehydration.
  • Never leave children in a parked vehicle.
  • Keep babies consistently hydrated
  • Consult your baby’s healthcare provider before applying sunscreen to a baby younger than six months

               

Kids

  • Consult daily UV index readings to plan outdoor activities. Rays are strongest between 11am-4pm which is typically the hottest time of day. Extra protection is needed during these hours.
  • Children should wear a rimmed sun hat, breathable clothing, sunglasses and sunscreen when playing outdoors.
  • Never leave children in a parked vehicle
  • Keep kids consistently hydrated with cool liquids
  • Sunscreen should be regularly reapplied especially after swimming. Extra attention should be paid to areas of the body that are most exposed (face, lips, ears, neck, shoulders, back, knees and tops of the feet)

Following these tips will help protect vulnerable young children from the dangers of sun and heat exposure.  Though this checklist is thorough, it is only intended as a guide and shouldn’t be considered a substitute for doing your own research or consulting a trusted healthcare provider.

Stay safe and enjoy our beautiful Canadian summer!

FOR MORE SUN SAFETY TIPS VISIT THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA! http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/healthy-living-vie-saine/environment-environnement/sun-soleil/tips-parent-conseils-eng.php

RELATED LINKS:

SUMMER HEALTH TIPS

SUMMER FUN

ALL SUMMERED OUT

TAKING THE FAMILY ON THE ROAD

 

JetBlue/FlyBabies Ad

A new ad by U.S. airline JetBlue is putting a positive spin on flying with babies, a scenario often dreaded by fellow passengers.

The campaign titled “Fly Babies” was released just ahead of Mother’s Day and features a handful of moms discussing their pre-flight apprehensions about traveling with a young child.

“I don’t want to be that lady with the baby who’s screaming for four hours,” said one woman.

“I think the worst thing that could happen on this flight is that he’ll get overtired which causes a lot of screaming and people definitely give you some dirty looks,” added another.

In an innovative and unexpected twist later in the video, a flight attendant takes the microphone to announce that for the first time, a crying baby on-board an airplane will actually be a “good thing.”

She then announces that for each infant outburst, passengers will be awarded 25% off their next flight, meaning four consecutive cries will yield a free trip.

It is a weird and wonderful sight from that point on to see the plane full of passengers cheer every time they hear a tiny tantrum.

The video then ends with a nudge to future passengers,  “Next time, smile at a baby for crying out loud.”

See the emotional ad here:

 

 

Who knew date night could be so controversial?

Model Chrissy Teigen found herself embroiled in an internet controversy this past weekend when online photos surfaced of her and husband John Legend enjoying a (gasp!) night out without their newborn daughter Luna.

Detractors immediately took to social media to slam the star for leaving her baby at home less than two-weeks after giving birth, calling the outing “disgraceful” and questioning her dedication to motherhood.

“I’m not saying new parents have to be tied to their babies 24/7 but I find it hard to understand how any new mother can tear themselves away from a much longed for baby at nine days old for the sake of a night out,” wrote one Facebook commenter in response to a Daily Mail article.

Unwilling to take the criticism lying down, Teigen – a prolific social media user – faced her haters Sunday morning, posting: “I went to dinner. People are pissed. Good Morning!”

Teigen’s Twitter and Instagram pages have since been flooded with supportive comments telling her to turn a blind eye to the cowardly critics.

“Of course you have the right to go on a date,” wrote one Instagram user. “It is even a MUST for a healthy, well-balanced family. Let these bitter b**ches talk. Luna has one hell of a mamma. May you raise her as fierce as you.”

Teigen is a public figure so it’s natural to assume she’s caught-up in controversy and judgment simply because of her fame.  Unfortunately, the hostility extends well beyond Hollywood to the greater parenting community illustrated by the nearly 1-million search results for the term “Mommy Wars” on Google.

Furthermore, a 2013 poll conducted by Quester and commissioned by Parents magazine found that 63 percent of U.S. mothers believe that so-called “mommy wars” exist, yet less than half those respondents recognize that behaviour within their own social circle.  The study was unable to elaborate on the reason for the drop, but it’s safe to assume the anonymity of social media has at least something to do with it.

With the challenges of work-life balance still facing many 21st-century mothers, why is the parenting community so quick to turn on itself? How much further along could we be as a community without all the friendly-fire?

It should be noted that while the internet can be a catty cesspool of mom-on-mom hostility, it can also be a source of solidarity and support if you look hard enough. Hashtags like #momlife and #dadlife aggregate thousands of encouraging and often hilarious posts that perfectly capture what it means to be a parent in this day and age.

Still, as Teigen’s experience demonstrated this past weekend, there is a plethora of anonymous negativity and online judgment to go around, which begs the question: Wouldn’t we all be better off if we spent more time practicing good parenting and a little less time preaching it?

I sure think so.

RELATED LINKS:

“Meanest Mom Ever” Trashes Ice Cream to Teach Kids Hard Lesson on Manners

Keeping Up in the Era of Social Media

No App for That! A Parent’s Guide to Explaining Simpler Times

Are Manners Passe?

Teaching Civility & Manners

Korean Beef Bowl Prepared by Corey Etherington for Week 3 of Nutrition Week

By: Corey Etherington

Another successful week on our journey to healthy living!

This week we focused on portion control, something that’s been a challenge for us in the past as I tend to serve larger-than-necessary helpings that often lead to overeating. Our goal for the last seven days was to pay close attention to how much we were eating, to listen to our bodies and to walk away from the table feeling satisfied – not sick.

By applying the other lessons we’ve learned to date, including meal-planning and cooking with quality ingredients, we were able to prepare reasonable sized portions that were both healthy and delicious – and the slow-cooker only made an appearance once!

Here is what Week 3 looked like in our house:

Monday: Slow Cooker Asian Beef with Brown Rice

Ross & Corey’s Rating: Delicious!! Prep is insanely fast and easy and comes with a fun ginger peeling trick.

Edie’s Rating: Delicious!! Edie absolutely loved this dish. She even asked for it again on Tuesday night.

Corey’s Tip 1: The recipe says to cook for 3.5 hours but there isn’t a lot of liquid in this recipe so I decided to only cook it for 3 hours. Turns out that was a good decision as any longer and the meat would’ve been really dry. But… every slow cooker is different so just like Amanda told us to learn about our oven, learn about your slow cooker too.

Dietitian Tip: Cut the amount of brown rice by half and try making this dish with cauliflower rice to increase your daily vegetable intake.

Dietitian Tip: Add a green veggie like kale and serve the beef on top to add an extra crunch to the mix. Kale is a great source of Beta Carotene and C which are both antioxidants!

Tuesday: Skillet/Oven Chicken Burgers with Greek Salad

Ross & Corey’s Rating: WE LOVE BURGERS!

Edie’s Rating: More! More! More!

Corey’s Tip 1: I made a few modifications to the recipe, including: using ground turkey instead of chicken, eliminating cumin (personal taste) and barbequing the burgers for that delicious, charred quality. Lesson here – make whatever easy modifications you need to in order to ensure the family is eating a balanced, healthy homemade meal.

Corey’s Tip 2: Greek salad dressing is a staple in our house. I never put the salt in and I cut the sugar in half. I also use the optional oregano. LINK: http://www.food.com/recipe/greek-salad-dressing-57642?nl=email_share

Dietitian Tip: Corey is absolutely right! Modify recipes and replace herbs and spices that you’re not fond of with ones you love.   Experimentation is key!

Wednesday: Buddha Bowl

Ross & Corey’s Rating: Maybe we should go vegetarian?! This was so delicious!

Edie’s Rating: Edie tried this on Thursday night but only ate some sweet potato dipped in the tahini sauce. She liked it but was more interested in leftover turkey burgers.

Corey’s Tip 1: Mix-up the flavours according to your preference. This dish will work with any vegetable you have in the fridge and if the recipe is too spicy, modify it!

Dietitian Tip: This dish calls for Tumeric, the spice that gives curry its yellow color. Here are some healthy facts you might not know about it:

  • Curcuminoids or curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric
  • Research being conducted looking at the the beneficial effects of cucumin on;
    • Inflammation, aging, depression, prevention of Alzheimers Disease
Preparing vegetables for the Week 3 Buddha Bowl
Preparing vegetables for the Week 3 Buddha Bowl

Thursday: Citrus Marinated Chicken

Ross & Corey’s Rating: Ross is obsessed with this chicken, the fresh ingredients taste like an explosion of summer!

Edie’s Rating: Edie wasn’t feeling the cilantro in this dish.

Corey’s Tip 1: I used chicken breasts instead of thighs. I prefer white meat so again, personal preference.

Corey’s Tip 2: This recipe calls for broiling. I am not good at broiling – I tend to overcook everything I broil so instead, I just baked the chicken.

LINK: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Citrus-Marinated-Chicken-Thighs-51178850

Dietitian Tip: Setting timers is very useful! Broiling can be an important part of a recipe but sometimes it just needs a couple minutes. Turn the oven light on and keep on eye on your food.

SUMMARY

Week three was a really good lesson for us. We listened to our bodies and as a result, our meal planning really paid off. We had leftovers for lunch and even dinner if we wanted it! One of the best parts of the week was that Edie had something new every night and because I was so prepared, we were able to sit together as a family and eat dinner every night. Edie is such a good eater when we are eating too and she is more willing to try new things. It’s awesome!

I can honestly say that this journey has been an amazing experience so far and we have learned so much.

Week 4 is all about trying new things so wish us luck and follow along!

For more expert advice on healthy eating, contact:
Amanda Lapidus, RD, BSc.Registered Dietitian, Simply Nutrition

RELATED LINKS:

Week 3: Prioritize Portions

Week 2 Recap: Quality Counts!

Week 1 Recap: Meal Plan Your Way to Success!

Stocking-Up On Nutrition Month Essentials!

Following One Family’s Journey to Healthier Eating

5 Ways to Teach Kids About Nutrition

Reading Nutrition Labels

Show Your Fruits and Vegetables Some Love this Valentine’s Day

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Introducing solid foods into your infant’s diet can be a source of trepidation for parents. It seems health guidelines for what you should feed babies and when you should start are constantly changing, creating a feeling of confusion and even fear around the process.

One philosophy of introducing solids stands in contrast to other theories because it encourages novice eaters to self- feed rather than be fed by a parent or caregiver. This technique has become known as Baby Led Weaning (BLW), a term coined by UK healthcare professional Gill Rapley.

We spoke with Toronto-based dietitian and Baby Led Weaning consultant Amanda Lapidus who explained the basic tenets of this method and addressed some common misconceptions.

1. What is Baby Led Weaning?

Baby Led Weaning is an alternative method for introducing complementary foods to infants where the infants actually feed themselves, meaning they self-feed as opposed to being spoon-fed by a caregiver.

2. Please describe some of the research behind Baby Led Weaning?

In terms of the gold-standard of research (a double-blind, randomized control study) there hasn’t been any but I don’t think that type of research is possible or necessary for this. Observational evidence suggests Baby Led Weaning encourages improved eating patterns and can lead to healthier body weights because babies were able to self-moderate. They were also seeing in observational studies that babies were developing better chewing skills, better dexterity and better hand-eye coordination.

3. Will we see that type of “gold standard” research next?

I think randomized studies will be done which is what most of the studies have suggested in terms of future research in this area.

4. At what age are babies typically ready to feed themselves?

I recommend 6 months with Baby Led Weaning, which goes along with World Health Organization recommendations. The reason is at six months, babies have the developmental skills to get food into their mouths and should be able to sit upright.

5. Some parents are worried about the possibility of choking? Is this a concern?

The risk of choking goes along with feeding regardless of whether you practice Baby Led Weaning or you feed with purees. The risk is more related to what you’re feeding your child. If you’re feeding them foods that are choking hazards, then they will be at an increased risk. With Baby Led Weaning, as long as you’re offering them safe foods they’re not at an increased risk. Their gums are strong enough to chew soft food.

There is some observational evidence that you’re actually decreasing a baby’s risk of choking as you’re working with their gag reflex to improve their ability to handle foods. When you’re pureeing food, they’re just learning to swallow as opposed to manipulating the food on their own.

When they put the food in their mouths, they might gag a little but gagging is good. Gagging is a safety mechanism to prevent choking. It’s a retching movement that actually pushes food away from their airway. It’s mostly just scary for a parent to see.

The difference between gagging and choking is that with choking, the airway is completely blocked and usually there’s no sound at all and that’s when a caregiver would intervene.

Another key is that you’re never leaving a child alone. I would say regardless of what you’re feeding them, never take your eyes off of them when they’re eating.

6. What are common foods to introduce at the outset of BLW?

It doesn’t have to be complicated. My own daughter started with a piece of boiled carrot from curried soup. Avocado and cucumbers are also good examples. The important thing is the size of the food; it should be big enough that it’s actually poking out of the hand and not stuck in their palm. At that developmental stage, babies can’t open their hand to see that it’s in there.

7. What are examples of foods to stay away from?

Basically anything you might normally consider a choking hazard, for example: hot dogs, sausages, pretzels, popcorn, whole nuts or large pieces of nuts and boney fish. Grapes and cherry tomatoes should not be served whole; they should be cut lengthwise so they’re long and skinny.

8. What are some advantages of BLW?

If your child self feeds not only is it easier for you (especially if you have more than one child), but also they can join in on the family meal and you can eat too. Imagine that? They get to explore the food that they’re eating, making it more fun for them. They can explore textures and play with their food using their hands and their mouths. It helps them develop their hand-eye coordination and their pincer grasp.

Observational studies suggest that baby led weaning encourages improved eating patterns, leads to a healthier body weight and decreases likelihood of picky eating which can be a huge problem.

9. Who should avoid Baby Led Weaning?

Any child under six months of age should not begin Baby Led Weaning particularly if they are unable to sit upright. Children with impaired chewing skills or fine motor skills may not be able to self feed and parents of babies born prematurely should speak to their physicians to discuss whether baby led weaning is the right approach to take.

10. How would you advise parents who are interested in BLW to go about it?

I always recommend doing research of your own. There are a ton of blogs and videos online that help empower parents and caregivers to use this method. Talk to other people you know who have done it as well.

I always tell people and encourage them to know that it’s not the only approach. You don’t have to stick to just Baby Led Weaning. I work with my clients to know they can do a combination. Speaking for myself, I provide finger foods and I spoon-feed my son, you don’t have to be strict about one versus the other, it’s really about what makes you comfortable and whatever decreases your own anxiety. Eating shouldn’t be stressful, it should be fun!

ABOUT AMANDA: Amanda Lapidus, RD, BSc. is an experienced, innovative and supportive dietitian, mother and wife, living and working in Toronto. She is one of the few dietitians who offers personalized and family focused care in the comforts of your own home. Amanda completed her Honours Bachelor of Science in Foods and Nutrition at The University of Western Ontario and her postgraduate internship in clinical nutrition at Mount Sinai Hospital. She is a member of the College of Dietitians of Ontario, Dietitians of Canada and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Amanda draws from a diverse career in the field of nutrition with a wide range of physical and mental health knowledge and a special interest in integrative and functional medicine. Amanda works using real foods and believes in making nutrition in your home simple, satisfying and sustainable. CONTACT: Amanda@simplynutrition.ca , 416-805-2584

Disclaimer: This is not a replacement for any advice or guidance you would normally seek when making decisions for you and your child. Intended for informational purposes only.

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Pregnant and postpartum populations should be screened for signs of depression, according to a study by an influential U.S. panel.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) updated its 2009 findings on depression screening for adults to include, for the first time, expectant and postnatal women. The panel also recommended treatment and follow-up plans post-delivery.

“The Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends collaborative care for the management of depressive disorders based on strong evidence of effectiveness in improving depression symptoms, adherence to treatment, response to treatment, and remission and recovery from depression” read the report published in The Journal of the American Medical Association in reference to the study’s findings of all adults. “This collaboration is designed to improve the routine screening and diagnosis of depressive disorders, as well as the management of diagnosed depression.”

The study recommends Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as a form of treatment for pregnant or breastfeeding women because of the potential harms to a fetus or newborn from certain pharmaceutical drugs. According to the findings, the risk of harms associated with CBT treatment in postpartum and pregnant women is “small to none.”

Other medical associations, including The American Academy of Pediatrics and The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend depression screening at least once during the perinatal period.

RELATED LINKS:

Part 1: Understanding Postpartum Depression

Part 2: A Snapshot into Life with Postpartum Depression

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Whether you like it or not, giving birth exposes you to a myriad of tips and a mountain of advice courtesy of your fellow parents. From breastfeeding to sleep habits and everything in between, it seems everyone is an expert when it comes to surviving those postpartum days.

I found myself on the receiving end of many mommy pro-tips when I was pregnant and have to admit that some came in pretty handy (others not so much…others not at all). In my experience, the best advice was rooted in pragmatism rather than platitude, meaning anything in the vain of “Sleep when the baby sleeps” was pretty much useless.

It’s in that spirit of practicality and sensible support, that I give you my 5 easy tips for streamlining life with a newborn:

  1. Family room essentials: Keep a duplicate stash of necessities (i.e. diapers, wipes, etc.) in the family room to keep from running to the nursery every time the baby needs a change.
  1. Save Space: To prevent the bottomless pile of outgrown newborn attire from overtaking your house, invest in some vacuum bags that shrink when the air is sucked out, a real space saver!
  1. Dim those lights: Installing a dimmer switch in the nursery will avoid the need to turn on jarring overhead lights or bright table lamps for those overnight feedings.
  1. Pump-it: Baby shampoo, hand-sanitizer and anything of the sort should be in a pump bottle providing for convenient one-handed dispensing when you’re holding onto a squirmy infant.
  1. Hassle-free hydration: In case you haven’t discovered it already, breastfeeding can be extremely dehydrating. To avoid feeling parched in the middle of the night, keep a water bottle in the baby’s room and refill it after every use so it’s ready to go.

Having a newborn can be an uphill challenge at times, testing a parent’s patience and endurance beyond their wildest imagination. It is comforting in those early days to be able to draw on the wisdom and experience of the parenting community to smooth the way for all the amazing moments ahead; trust me, there are too many to count.

RELATED LINKS:

Things I Never Thought I’d Miss About Having a Newborn

Practical Tips for Flying with a Baby

RELATED VIDEO:

Diapering Newborns and Crying

 

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Like practically everyone else on the planet, I committed to eating healthier in 2016 as part of my New Year’s resolution. I’ve made this pledge in the past, but this is the first year I have a child whose diet also depends on my dietary choices, so I’m more determined than ever to stick with it.

During the course of my healthy-eating research to find nutritious, delicious and somewhat simple ideas, I stumbled upon a recipe for zucchini noodles or zoodles that looked incredibly tasty and well within my skillset as a novice chef.

The next day, I purchased a spiralizer (a handheld and inexpensive tool for turning vegetables into pasta-like ribbons) and before I knew it, I was making Pasta Bolognese and Pesto linguine using fresh zucchini in place of pre-packaged noodles.

Talk about a time saver! Because you don’t have to boil any pasta, you save yourself the preparation time in addition to the extra dishes. Simply spiralize your zucchini (I used two large zucchinis to feed my family of three) and mix the noodles into your sauce long enough for them to absorb the flavor.

I know what you’re thinking, ‘there’s no way spiralized zucchini noodles taste as good or as filling as a hearty bowl of spaghetti.’ Wrong! It is just as satisfying and because you’re saving so many empty calories on the pasta, you can load up on healthy stuff like meat sauce, cheese and even a slice or two of (whole grain) garlic bread.

Once you get into it, you’ll realize the list of fruits and vegetables you can spiralize is long and the possibilities are endless. Not only is it a healthy and fun way to incorporate vegetables into your family’s diet, it’s an excellent time-saver and leaves more room for everyone to focus on the important things, like…dessert!

RELATED LINKS:

ARTICLES:

5 Ways to Teach Kids About Nutrition

Routines for Healthy Learning

VIDEO ARCHIVES: