- Breastmilk storage - how to do it safely? - Baby
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- How much iodine is needed during pregnancy? - Early Stages
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- How to improve preconception health to maximise IVF success? - Early Stages
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- Is a preconception visit necessary? - Early Stages
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- What is preconception? - Early Stages
- What is Beta - Casein? - Baby and Toddler Formula
- How much formula does my baby need to drink? - Baby and Toddler Formula
- How do I mix up the formula correctly for my baby? - Baby and Toddler Formula
- I want to change formula stage or formula type. When and how should I do this to have minimal impact on my baby? - Baby and Toddler Formula
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- How to get picky eaters to eat veggies? - Picky Eaters
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- Will my baby grow out of lactose intolerance? - Symptoms & Allergies
- How do I know if my baby is lactose intolerant? - Symptoms & Allergies
- What causes lactose intolerance? - Symptoms & Allergies
- What is lactose intolerance? - Symptoms & Allergies
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- How to deal with constipation? - Symptoms & Allergies
- How to introduce solids and allergens to your baby? - Symptoms & Allergies
- Which foods cause allergies? - Symptoms & Allergies
- What are symptoms of food allergies? - Symptoms & Allergies
- How to reduce the risk of food allergies for your baby? - Symptoms & Allergies
- How do you know a baby is lactose intolerant? - Symptoms & Allergies
- How is diarrhoea treated? - Symptoms & Allergies
- Does my baby have diarrhoea? - Symptoms & Allergies
- What should I do if I think my baby may have Cow's Milk Protein Allergy? - Symptoms & Allergies
- What are the benefits of hydrolysed formula? - Symptoms & Allergies
- What is hydrolysed formula? - Symptoms & Allergies
- What are the symptoms of cow's milk allergy? - Symptoms & Allergies
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- What should my babies poo look like? - Symptoms & Allergies
- How often should babies poo? - Symptoms & Allergies
- How to relieve constipation in babies? - Symptoms & Allergies
- Does sweet potato cause constipation in babies? - Symptoms & Allergies
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- How to reduce colic in babies? - Symptoms & Allergies
- How do I help my baby with colic? - Symptoms & Allergies
- Does avocado cause colic in babies? - Symptoms & Allergies
- How do babies act when they get colic? - Symptoms & Allergies
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- Can iron supplements cause constipation in breastfed babies? - Symptoms & Allergies
- Do I need to avoid cows’ milk if I’m breastfeeding? - Baby and Toddler Formula
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- How is cows’ milk allergy managed? - Symptoms & Allergies
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- How to tell if your child has cows’ milk allergy? - Symptoms & Allergies
- What are the benefits of breastfeeding? - Baby
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- What are the benefits of certified organic and certified grass fed cows’ milk? - Baby and Toddler Formula
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- How to support your partner? Tips for mums and dads with a new baby - Baby
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- Why colds may help strengthen kids' immune systems - Baby and Toddler Formula
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- What are fatty acids? - Baby and Toddler Formula
- How can you protect yourself and your baby from Coronavirus? - COVID
- What if my child is stressed about Coronavirus? - COVID
- How should milk powder’s utensils be disinfected? - COVID
- Can a baby wear a mask to go outside? - COVID
- Does the Coronavirus affect babies? - COVID
- My baby is between 0 and 6 months: What should I do if my baby has symptoms of the Coronavirus? - COVID
- I'm breastfeeding, is it safe for a mother to breastfeed if she is infected with the Coronavirus? - COVID
- Can pregnant women pass the Coronavirus to unborn children? - COVID
- How to handle your toddler’s fussy eating phase - Baby and Toddler Formula
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- What are the essential nutrients for my baby? - Baby
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- Feeding solids to your baby: when and what to feed them - Baby
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- If I am not breastfeeding, how can I include prebiotics in my baby’s diet? - Baby
- How does the gut flora affect my baby’s immune system? - Baby
- What is the relationship of prebiotics to my baby’s gut flora? - Baby
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- How can prebiotics can help your baby’s immune system? - Baby
- How to help your baby have a healthy happy tummy? - Baby
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- How to manage constipation? - Symptoms & Allergies
- What exercises should I avoid while pregnant? - Early Stages
- Need motivation? Here are some of the benefits of doing exercise when pregnant. - Early Stages
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Common ways to help get an overtired baby to sleep include holding baby close (preferably skin to skin), rocking in a rhythmical fashion, pushing them in a pram, speaking or singing in soothing tones.
- It can be a mutual decision - the easiest and most comfortable way to do this is when baby starts to show an interest in food
- Mother-led weaning
- Baby-led weaning – when baby stops showing an interest in breastfeeding.
For the first 6 months of life babies only require breastmilk. From 6 months water can be introduced, however the water will need to be boiled and cooled first. This should be continued until at least 12 months.
Whole cows’ milk is not recommended as a main drink in infants under 12 months of age as it can lead to iron deficiency.
A newborn baby has approximately 300 bones.
There’s no question about it – the sleeping patterns of babies are irregular and constantly keep parents on their toes. When a baby is born, their circadian rhythm isn’t yet formed so they can be awake during the night and asleep during the day. A newborn will need up to 16 hours sleep a day, and will wake for 45 -90 minutes only. At 7 weeks, babies typically start to go drift off to sleep earlier and stay asleep for 2-3 hours at the start of the night. By the time your baby is 12 weeks, sleeping stretches can reach up to 6 hours.
It is important to understand the pros and cons of introducing a dummy. Babies can sleep with a dummy, however if the dummy falls out while they are sleeping it should not put back in. it is recommended that a baby stops using a dummy after 12 months.
Typically, 90% of vitamin D is obtained by the action of sunlight on the skin (90%). The remainder is obtained through food, particularly through dairy products, eggs and fish. It is almost impossible to achieve adequate vitamin D status through diet alone and therefore some sun exposure is important. Read more here
In the early years of life, the main way children learn and develop is through play. The more play time a child has, the more opportunities they have to try different things, experience success, make mistakes and build relationships. Each experience over time is a building block to resilience.Resilience is a normal part of development and is essential to be able to cope with the ups and downs of life. There are some fundamentals a child needs for this normal part of development and 3 of these are:
- Good nutrition
- Opportunities to play indoors and outdoors
- Positive relationships
Prebiotics possess 2 important characteristics:
- The fibre must pass through the gastrointestinal tract undigested
- They must stimulate the growth and/or activity of certain ‘good’ bacteria, called probiotics, in the large intestine
You might read lots of articles about your baby’s tummy, stomach, gut, gut flora and gut microbiota, and wonder what it all means. You might ask yourself, “Are they all the same thing?” Let’s break it down. ‘Stomach’ and ‘tummy’ are generally used to mean the same thing. The stomach (or tummy, if you prefer) digests food using acids and enzymes.‘Gut flora’ and ‘gut microbiota’ can be used interchangeably. These terms refer to the bacteria that live in our digestive system. Having a diverse gut flora means having lots of good bacteria.When the term ‘gut’ alone is used, it often refers to the entire system that starts at the mouth and ends at the anus. Along the way, this includes the stomach (or tummy), small intestine and large intestine. We all know how uncomfortable an upset stomach can be, so we don’t want our babies going through that discomfort. Here are 6 things you can do to help your little one have a healthy and happy tummy.
Probiotics are the good bacteria that live in the large intestine. Prebiotics stimulate the growth of probiotics. Think about prebiotics as the favourite and only food for probiotics.
The immune system is made up of a network of cells, tissues and organs around your body. Its fundamental role is to fight off infections and enable immune responses. An important part of the immune system is the gut flora or gut microbiota: millions of healthy bacteria that live in the digestive system and thrive off prebiotics and probiotics.
Prebiotics possess 2 important characteristics:
- The fibre must pass through the gastrointestinal tract undigested
- They must stimulate the growth and/or activity of certain ‘good’ bacteria, called probiotics, in the large intestine
Around 70–80% of the immune system is located within the gut. While it’s not yet fully understood why or how, it is recognised that a diverse gut flora – by this we mean having lots of different microorganisms – may play an essential role in how your baby’s immune system develops and responds to challenges like bacteria, viruses and allergens. In addition to immune system support, it is also believed that a healthy gut microbiota plays an important role in:
- Producing beneficial vitamins, such as B12 and folate
- Helping your baby’s body to digest certain foods, such as dietary fibre
The best way to promote resilience is to let your child discover the world right from the start. Their resilience will grow with every experience they have. Resilience develops in a very simple cycle: every experience leads to more resilience. Having lots of resilience enables them to collect all kinds of new experiences. From their first paddle in a swimming pool to their first bike ride – every early contact with people and the environment supports the development of their resilience.
Prioritise foods that are nutrient-rich. We can look at the foods in 5 areas:
- A rainbow of different vegetables, plus legumes and lentils where possible
- Plenty of fruits (including the washed skin) in a variety of colours
- Breads and cereals, focusing on wholegrains, as well as rice, pasta, couscous and quinoa
- Quality meats – like chicken and beef – and meat alternatives, like tofu
- Dairy sources – milk, cheese and yoghurt – and dairy alternatives
Independence is a quality that we should strive to teach children. As they move through the world and begin to conquer milestones, it’s essential that they develop autonomy and a sense of self-esteem derived from their own choices and actions. Here are 7 simple ways that you can encourage your child to begin to spread their wings.
Resilience is a characteristic we should strive to cultivate in children. Broadly, it is the ability to confront challenges and negative experiences and emerge on the other side with positive changes. While some children will naturally be more adept at handling tough scenarios than others, resilience is in fact a learned skill, and all children can benefit from learning resilience skills and lessons. Developing resilience skills allows them to navigate the everyday challenges of daily life, and it also lays the foundations for tackling bigger problems as they grow older. From starting school, to moving to a new house or the death of a family pet, resilience is a necessary trait for moving through life’s highs and lows. The Children’s Resilience Research Project, a guide developed in conjunction with Beyond Blue to assist practitioners to promote resilience, describes resilience as a learned quality that can change over time. So, as your child grows, how can you improve your little one’s ability to be resilient?
- Consider the timing
- Consider a theme
- Pick a location
- Plan the menu
In a newborn’s delicate sleep routine, one of the trickiest things to negotiate is keeping them awake during feeds. Here’s why it’s important and how to do it. Why not let them sleep? While it’s lovely to watch your baby start to drift off to sleep as they feed, this can cause them to form a feed-to-sleep association – which is a difficult habit to break. Newborns can only handle between 45 and 90 minutes of wakefulness before they need to sleep again, so keeping your baby awake while feeding will help to foster good habits in both areas. When to feed? Your baby’s body clock (which signals when to sleep, eat and digest) is still developing during the first six months of their life, so they need some help to get on track. After observing the physical and emotional signs your baby gives off to show they’re hungry or tired, you can follow their cues and feed them when they’re most wakeful. This will be either right after they wake up, or well before the next sleep. One place to feed, another to sleep Use the environment to signal to your baby that it’s time to either feed or sleep – not both at once. If you wrap your baby in a warm swaddle and lay them in a dark room to sleep, try the opposite for feeding: sit in a well-lit room and expose their body to cooler air. Use their senses Don’t be afraid to introduce some sound and movement to your baby’s feeding routine to keep them alert (without overstimulating them). Try one of these:
- Burp your baby or change their position while they feed
- Remove the bottle or gently unlatch them to keep them roused
- Change their nappy mid-feed Stroke their feet
- Gently blow air on their cheeks or forehead
- Sing or speak to your baby while they feed
- Play some music or make gentle noises
Research shows that organic foods, including cows’ milk, may have nutritional benefits for the consumer and positive benefits for the world we live in. But there are so many buzzwords around health and nutrition these days that it can be confusing to know what’s good. Let’s take a closer look at six benefits of organic and grass fed cows’ milk. Nutrition: beneficial fatty acids Certified organic cows’ milk has a more favourable fat profile than conventional cows’ milk. Omega-3 fatty acids are known as healthy fats because they help support the health of the brain, eyes, heart, joints and nervous system, and strengthen the immune system1. Globally, organic cows’ milk has been shown to contain more omega-3 fatty acids and Conjugated Linolenic Acid (CLA) than conventional cows’ milk2. And because organic cows’ milk has proportionally more omega-3, they offer a better ratio of omega-3 to omega-63,4. Why is this important? Studies suggest that a lower ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 plays a role in reducing the risk of many chronic diseases 5. Supporting sustainability Organic farming fosters biodiversity and sustainability because it involves practices that keep the land in good condition. The practice of organic farming only allows for the use of specific fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides – the majority of which are non-synthetic – while it also promotes the use of practices such as composting, crop rotation and cover crops6. The practice of crop or pasture rotation reduces soil erosion and nitrous oxide emissions. Plus, diversifying crops helps with soil quality7,8,9. Not derived from GMOs Certified Organic foods and the ingredients used in making them are not derived from GMOs. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are organisms (i.e. plants, animals or microorganisms) where the genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination10. The foods produced from GMOs, referred to as genetically modified (GM) foods, are not compatible with the principles of organic production methods. In organic food production, the use of genetically engineered organisms or their derivatives is not accepted7. This includes animals, seed farm inputs such as fertilisers, soil conditioners, or crop protection materials, as well as, ingredients in the final product. Cows’ have a grass-based diet A grass fed certification for a farm ensures that feed of the milking cows is strictly managed. Milking cows’ on grass fed farms are fed on a diet which constitutes 95% grass-based feed. The Grass Fed Standard enables appropriate livestock density and pasture management to ensure that nutritional needs of the animals are met by grazing during milk supply. Certified Organic milk is made without the use of synthetic growth hormones and antibiotics* These are not intentionally added to the farming or manufacturing process of Certified Organic milk. Antibiotics are often used by primary producers to keep animals healthy11. Growth hormones are sometimes used to speed up growth in animals as part of food production, too. Under requirements for NZ dairy and organic food production, synthetic growth promoters or stimulants must not be used in feeds6,12,13. And, unless an exemption is granted, the use of synthetic veterinary drugs or antibiotics will cause the animal to lose its organic status. * *Exemptions may be granted when withholding such medication will result in the unnecessary suffering of the cows. Care for animal welfare Ethical treatment of animals is at the heart of organic and grass fed farming practices. The Organic Standard certification process governs pasture management and includes information on animal welfare provisions6. Cows on organic and grass fed farms have access to roam on pastures in the open air, feed on high-quality grasses and have sufficient protection against the weather.
Srednicka-Tober et al (2016) Higher PUFA and n-3 PUFA, conjugated linoleic acid, α-tocopherol and iron, but lower iodine and selenium concentrations in organic milk: a systematic literature review and meta- and redundancy analysis. British journal of Nutrition, 115, 1043-1060.
Ellis, K. A., et al (2006). Comparing the fatty acid composition of organic and conventional milk. Journal of dairy science, 89(6), 1938-1950.
Bloksma, J., et al (2008). Comparison of organic and conventional raw milk quality in the Netherlands. Biological Agriculture & Horticulture, 26(1), 69-83.
Simopoulous A P. (2008) The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids. Biomed Pharmacother. 56 (8):365-79
Regenerative Organic Agriculture and Climate Change, Rodale Institute, Available at: https://rodaleinstitute.org/assets/WhitePaper.pdf
David Pimentel et al. (2005) Environmental, Energetic, and Economic Comparisons of Organic and Conventional Farming Systems, 55(7), 573–582
Seufert, V et al. (2012) Comparing the yields of organic and conventional agriculture, Nature 485, 229–23
Baby feeding cues can be early, mid or late. Early cues (‘I’m hungry’) are stirring, mouth opening and turning their head. Mid cues (‘I’m really hungry’) are stretching, increasing physical movement and hand to mouth. Late cues (‘Calm me, then feed me’) are crying, agitated body movement and colour turning red.
Combination feeding, also known as ‘mixed feeding’, is when a mother chooses to feed her baby a combination of breastmilk and formula. This can be due to several reasons, including insufficient breastmilk supply, mum going back to work, or mum wanting a break from constant breastfeeding, among others.
It is important to follow your baby’s feeding cues. Unrestricted feeding, both day and night, is a key factor in successfully establishing breastfeeding and results in optimum milk production. If you are concerned about your baby’s feeding patterns, please consult with a healthcare professional.
Young infants may feed eight to 12 times in 24 hours, including several times during the night. Unrestricted feeding, both day and night, is an important factor in successfully establishing breastfeeding.
Most newborns feed every 90 minutes to three hours. In the first few weeks of life, it is normal for babies to nurse more often. As they get older, they will nurse less often and may establish a more predictable schedule.
At three months of age, an infant should be exclusively breastfed (if possible) or, alternatively, formula or combo fed. Introducing foods into a child’s diet is an important milestone that can begin at around six months old.
Most babies will show signs they are ready to try solid food at around six months. Here’s what to look for. At around six months of age you should start to notice signs that your baby is becoming interested in food. She may be watching you eating, she may start to lean forward and reach for food, or even open her mouth to show she wants to get in on the action. These signs indicated that you’re about to enter the wonderful, messy world of feeding your baby solids. The best time to start solids Before you introduce solids, your baby should have good head control and be able to sit comfortably while supported in a high chair or baby seat. Now is the time to invest in one, if you haven’t already done so. For their first taste of solid food, they need to be able to close their mouth around a spoon and keep the food in their mouth. Research suggests that around six months (but not before 4 months) is the optimal time for introducing solids to your baby’s diet. Before then, they will be getting all the hydration and nutrients they need through breastmilk or formula – which will remain their major source of nutrition for their first year of life.
The introduction of solid foods at around six months should start with iron-containing foods, including iron-enriched infant cereals, pureed meat, poultry and fish, or cooked tofu and legumes. Vegetables, fruits, and dairy products such as full-fat yoghurt, cheese and custard can then be added to their diet. Other than starting with iron-rich first foods, there are no recommendations on the order in which things should be introduced. The most important factor is nutrient content, including adequate amounts of iron and zinc, fat, protein, vitamins and other essential minerals. Try and select foods that represent each of the five food groups. Also, even from an early age, fruit and vegetable purees should be varied to ensure adequate energy and nutrient supply. Some examples of appropriate first foods include:
- Single-grain iron-fortified cereal mixed with breast milk or formula. Start with one or two teaspoons.
- Pureed vegetables or fruit with no added sugar or salt. Start with single ingredients like mashed banana. Then, after three to five days, introduce mashed avocado, then mashed pear, mashed pumpkin, and so on.
- Bite-size soft finger foods like a spoonful of a small pasta like risoni, small amounts of cottage cheese or ricotta, or well–cooked meats like bite-size pieces of soft chicken.
Babies feed more often in the first weeks of life and can also go through periods of rapid growth where they may feed more than usual. As they grow older, they may want to feed less often, especially once they start on solid foods.
Be careful not to offer a child any foods that might cause choking, including small round things (like cherry tomatoes and grapes) or hard foods like nuts. Offer safe sizes of food for them to eat and ensure your child is alert and sitting up straight. It’s safest to watch them eat, as well.
As your baby grows, their nutritional needs change. Breast milk naturally changes to meet the nutritional requirements of infants, helping with their development. This is the best source of nutrition for your infants. If your baby is formula fed, there may come a time when they need to switch to a different age-specific formula that better supports their changing nutritional needs. Here are some simple tips for recognising if it’s time to switch to a more age-appropriate formula, and how you can go about it.Switching to a new formula isn’t complicated. That said, there are a few things you can do to make the transition as seamless as possible. Don’t fret though – the process is probably more straightforward than you think!
- Provide three main meals and up to three snacks a day – toddlers need a steady stream of nutrients each day. Get into a routine that includes a pause for healthy meals and snacks at regular intervals.
- Offer foods rich in iron – as mentioned above, iron is an essential nutrient during the toddler years. It supports normal brain development, and your toddler’s brain is developing fast! Research has found that almost a quarter of one-year-olds are not getting enough iron. To give your toddler more iron, add iron-rich foods like red meat, chicken, leafy green veg, fish and fortified milks to their daily meals.
- Discourage fussy eating – many toddlers are fussy eaters. This is completely normal; yet it may not happen until later in toddlerhood. To avoid problems down the track, offer your toddler a healthy, balanced diet; make mealtimes fun; and eat together as a family where possible. Let your toddler explore different foods and textures, and accept that they will get messy in the process!
- Cut back on milk – beyond their first birthday, your toddler’s main source of nourishment comes from meals and snacks. Milk no longer plays such an important role – from 12 months, they only need about 400mL of milk per day. You can prepare them for this in advance by gradually reducing their milk intake in the lead-up to their first birthday. And remember, by 12 months old, all drinks other than breastfeeds should be from a cup/beaker and not a bottle.
Navigating the toddler years can be tricky. Get through the terrible twos with our top tips for managing your toddler’s behaviour.Toddlers like to have things their own way – which can make them difficult to manage. One moment everything seems perfect; the next a switch has been flipped and your toddler is in full meltdown, throwing a tantrum in the middle of the supermarket. While it might feel like everyone around you is judging your parenting, you are not alone. Your toddler is yet to learn the skills and understanding they need to react in an appropriate way.
Keep your coolWhile you gently guide your toddler through these difficult years, it helps to remember to set a good example by controlling your own emotions and behaviour. Don’t lose your cool – take a deep breath, stay calm and remember that you are the adult. Unwanted behaviour such as screaming, kicking, hitting, biting and throwing things needs to be addressed with consistent responses.
Five ways to manage a meltdown1. Try to avoid situations that cause tantrums – if you anticipate a change in your toddler’s mood, distract them or move on to a new task. This can help stop a meltdown. 2. Help them feel secure – make sure you let your little one know that you love them after they have calmed down. If you use time-out be sure to talk it over with your child afterwards. They may need extra cuddles. 3. Let your toddler explore and test their limits – this is important to help build confidence and self-esteem. 4. Offer choices to your child – by explaining the consequences and giving them a choice of two outcomes, they will learn how to make decisions and feel like they have some control. This may not work until closer to 3 years old so don’t be alarmed if you have to make a judgement call. 5. Praise good behaviour – and avoid rewarding bad behaviour. Toddlers have a short attention span, so keep your verbal instructions short and simple. By being consistent in the way you help your toddler to manage their emotions they will feel more secure and gradually begin to self-regulate their outbursts.
Newborn babies have unpredictable sleeping patterns. As the weeks pass, you can help them sleep soundly for longer. Sleep deprivation is one of the biggest challenges of being a new parent. Newborns have unpredictable sleep patterns, waking up at all hours demanding attention. Your baby’s circadian rhythm is not yet developed, and usually won’t mature until around 4 months of age. During the first few months, newborns average 16 plus hours of sleep in a 24-hour period with short bouts of wakefulness lasting only 45-90 minutes. Hang in there! Around the time that your baby begins smiling at you – from about 7 weeks – her bedtime will start to drift earlier, and she should start sleeping for a solid 2-3 hours at the start of the night. By around 12 weeks, she should be sleeping for longer stretches (typically 4-6 hours). Until then, though, you need to be patient and ride out her unpredictable sleeping patterns as best you can. While her biological clock is still developing, there are things you can do to help her (and you) sleep. Use light and dark cues to help develop the circadian rhythm Keep your baby’s sleeping environment dark when you want her to sleep. Conversely, expose your baby to daytime natural light during her awake playtime. Ensure your baby gets enough daytime sleep Overtiredness can hinder your baby’s ability to self soothe and regulate her little body throughout the night. Don’t keep her awake for longer than she is comfortable during the day, in the hope that she will sleep longer at night. Create an optimal sleep environment Give your baby every advantage to sleep well at night by providing a cool, dark and quiet sleeping space. Make sure it is safe, too – place your baby on her back on a firm mattress (such as in a bassinet or bedside co-sleeper) free of any loose bedding or clothing. Follow your baby’s lead Watch your baby closely during weeks 7-12 to see new sleep patterns emerge. When she starts sleeping more in the first third of the night, avoid waking her to feed. Instead, let her body’s natural pattern emerge (unless instructed otherwise by your pediatrician). Let your baby practice falling asleep Encourage your baby to learn how to fall asleep independently. Observe what time she nods off each night, and start laying her down just before this time so she can practice falling asleep on her own. She may need lots of support at first with shushing, tummy rubbing or a soothing cuddle. Feed her well during the day If your baby is sleeping longer stretches during the day without waking to eat, but sleeping shorter periods at night with the need for lots of calories, you may need to encourage more daytime feeding sessions.
Sure, store-bought jars of baby puree are convenient to feed your baby. But there is something very satisfying and nurturing about making your baby’s first foods yourself. By making your own purees, you have complete control over what you are feeding your baby. You can also reduce the amount of packaging and waste in your home – all you need in order to make purees are some fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s much cheaper, too. The cost of baby food is up to three times the cost of making it yourself. Before you get started Babies are more prone to food-borne illnesses than older children or adults, so it is very important that you are careful with your preparation. Always wash your hands before handling foods and make sure your bench or work area is clean. The food itself should be rinsed thoroughly, and always cook to recommended internal temperatures to avoid cross-contamination. Choose your method of cooking Most fruits, vegetables and grains need to be cooked before you can puree them. You can choose from a range of methods – if you have other kids and a busy kitchen, then go with whatever works! Each method has pros and cons in terms of ease and nutritional value:
- Steaming – quick and easy, steaming retains maximum nutrients and you can use the leftover water as stock for pureeing
- Boiling or stewing – while very easy, this method loses more nutrients than steaming
- Baking or roasting – a big batch of roast vegetables is easy to pop in the oven, and they retain most of their nutrients
- Microwave cooking – very easy for small quantities, but just watch out for uneven cooking
- Pressure cooking – this takes a little more effort and equipment, but is great for retaining nutrients
Baby development milestones
Baby milestones refer to baby’s “firsts”, when they are able to show new developmental skills. These include crawling, walking and talking.
By the end of the second month, you’ll notice changes to your little one almost every day. As well as being more alert, your baby may already be growing out of those size 000 onesies. As your baby’s grasp reflex lessens, grabbing at all sorts of things will become a natural instinct. Keep your little one stimulated with talking, reading and touch – these are their best toys. You may also have a range of baby-safe toys with bright colours and textures which can aid in play time. Your baby’s hearing is improving too, so by talking, reading or singing you are likely to help your little one to recognise you, and may help settling at sleep time.
Three months in and you may notice some significant changes to the way your little baby sleeps, feeds and – most noticeably – interacts with you and the wide world around them. Playtime is easy at this age, as your baby’s personality is starting to really emerge and develop. As your baby becomes more responsive to play, you can try introducing more baby-safe toys. It is important that you play with the toys with your baby too. You’ll find that your little one will still be fascinated with hands (yours and their own). Keep up the tummy time too – 15 to 30 minutes a day is recommended to help develop coordination and muscle development. You can break this down throughout the day if needed. Ensure that playtime still involves lots of touch. At this stage, touch makes your baby feel safe, and is a great way for the two of you to communicate with each other.
At 4 months old your baby is moving and wriggling more, and possibly rolling, it’s important to ensure small objects are well out of reach. Four-month-olds often explore objects by putting them up to the mouth; make sure nothing can fit inside! They have very strong touch receptors on their lips and mouth that are still developing in their fingers. When your baby is able to grip enough to pick up objects, create games where you drop things and see if bub can pick them up. Continue talking, reading and singing to your baby, and check whether your library or community group have song or story sessions; a great way to keep your little one stimulated.
More settled, more predictable and more entertaining; your 5-month-old keeps building skills, bit by bit, getting the body and brain ready for the big challenges ahead. Your baby loves to laugh, so little tickles are always fun. Take the time to make eye contact and laugh along; it’s actually hard to resist. Tummy time continues to be important. As your baby’s stomach muscles develop, you can put toys just out of reach. Stretching will help with strengthening and to encourage your bub to roll.
Easing into solid foods, developing a tighter grip and become more and more mobile mark the development of your 6-month old baby, who will also start to understand what you’re saying. Your little one will become slowly more independent as they learn to move around by themselves. As sitting confidence grows, your bub may start to crawl, pull themselves up to a standing position or slide around on their bottom. Now’s the time to move all those precious vases out of reach, and make sure access to cupboards and stairs are secure. Remember that crawling happens at different times for different babies, and may never happen at all. Continue spending time with your little one at floor level, encouraging rolling, crawling, reaching and grasping. With a strengthening grip, babies also now realise how much fun it is to let things drop (especially with a full spoon of pureed mince). Grin and bear it; it’s your bub’s way of discovering the world.
The eyes of a baby at the time of birth may appear grey or blue due to a lack of pigment. They change in colour during the first 6 months of life.
The first 18 months of your baby’s life is filled with exciting milestones – in fact, your baby will achieve more in this short space of time than any other period of his/her life! Key developmental milestones include the very basic – such as grasping and coo’ing – through to crawling, eating solids and saying actual words.
The third largest component of breastmilk (after carbohydrates and fats) is prebiotics. Breastmilk is the best possible source of prebiotics for your baby. Breastmilk also contains many immune factors (such as immune cells, maternal antibodies, nucleotides, fatty acids and carbohydrates) that can’t be replicated.
As at any time, getting a tattoo increases your risk of getting an infection such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C or HIV. Therefore, it is extremely important to use a reputable tattoo artist and parlour to reduce this risk.