Age-Appropriate Toys for Your Infant Sprout

Blog Post 4.25.15 Toys Cover PhotoThis topic is a highly requested one among my readers, and for one reason or another, I’ve always put it off. I think it’s because I’ve either been inspired by a more pressing health topic or because part of me wanted to write a post – something along the lines of – My Must/Wish/Ditch List - A post that featured things I couldn’t survive without, toys or gadgets I didn’t know existed until it was a little too late (but want to make sure to order for baby #2), and things that ended up being over-marketed, overrated, and/or a waste of money that could’ve been much better spent on a better, cooler item (like, why didn’t we get a stroller that could CONVERT to a double stroller? Hindsight is 20/20). Kinda like a Baby Buyer’s Guide, helpful for grandparents, mamas prepping to register for gifts, baby shower guests, etc.

So maybe that’ll come in the next few weeks. For now, I’ll stick to what my readers have requested – toys that correspond to your baby’s developmental age.

Onto the TOYS! … Continue reading

What’s She Doing Wednesday: Bubble Baby!

WSDW 4.22.15 BubblesThis week has been a fun one, here’s a little recap:

  • Bubble Baby: After going to her first kiddie birthday party with a little container of bubbles in her goodie bag, she’s been so entranced when I blow them for her, but she either wanted to blow them herself (which she wouldn’t, she would just put the wand in her mouth after dipping it into the solution) or she wanted to play with more pretty bubbles. So we got a bubble fan machine for her and she is so happy and entertained! 
  • Camera-Ready! This was by far the most entertaining discovery this week! We were at the playground at the outlet shopping center near our house and wanted to take pictures of Jia and Jeff since they were wearing matching Orioles gear. Jeff was holding Jia and I held up my phone, counting “1…2…3!” and she knows to plaster this huge excited enthusiastic smile, it’s the cutest thing ever! Such a huge smile that you can count all 10 of her teeth! haha… I love this!
  • She loves walking – Never really crawls unless she’s climbing on the playground equipment. She squeals with excitement as she runs and is being chased by us or she goes back and forth from Jeff and me, showing us twigs, flowers, leaves, anything she finds that interests her. She’s just such a happy baby! We’re so lucky :) 
  • My little eater is getting a bit better! Peanut butter & jelly sandwiches on whole wheat, even scrambled eggs with smoked salmon are going well so far. Her favorite cheese so far is goat cheese (takes after her mama), she’ll eat chunks and chunks of it by itself. She likes hummus with little pieces of pita bread. Loves Boston Market’s meatloaf (doesn’t like my homemade meatloaf… sigh) and their lemony garlicky spinach. Still into homemade sweet potatoes, which I prefer her to eat since they’re purely seasoned with unsalted butter and cinnamon. I also mashed cooked cheesy cauliflower for scrambled eggs and she did well with those, too.
  • Naps are still 1 hour 15 minutes to 2 hours and 30 minutes. It changes day to day, with no predicting which it’ll be. Jia still goes to bed at about 7:30/7:45 PM, we are now waking up at 6:45-7:15 AM (boy do I miss the days she slept in until 8 AM or even 8:30 AM!) and takes one nap at 11:30 AM until about 12:45/1 PM.
  • Stridin’ Rite! We got her first pair of rubber soled shoes! She’d been wearing a pair of Robeez that her Gran got for her for Easter and put some good yardage in with them. Then we’ve noticed she is getting much better at walking, so we took our trip to Stride Rite and got her some pink sparkly Mary Jane sneaker-shoes on sale for $29.99. Those suckers cost around $40-42 a pair at Stride Rite! Anyway I love them, she loves to wear them and walk around everywhere now!
  • Got her first boo-boo. We were walking outside before her nap and she took a little stumble to her hands and knees but since she was on the slight downslope on the driveway, she tipped head-first when she propped herself on her hands to get up. She was tough and cried for about 10 seconds but didn’t like when I cleaned up her scrape and put cold triple antibiotic ointment on. She forgot about it pretty fast. 
  • She is getting very mom-attached. She used to let Jeff play with her in the morning after waking up. But, now she makes a bee-line to our bedroom door to find me and is an unhappy camper if he doesn’t let her into the room. No more sleeping in an extra 45 minutes while Jeff plays with her, it’s go-time right from the start! 
  • Where’s the Milk?? She’s starting to tug at my shirt and play with the clips of my nursing tops before feedings. Uh oh… Hahaha… 

Continue reading

Part 2: Overheating & SIDS

Blog Post 4.18.15 Overheating and SIDS Part 2

For part 1, click here!

Intro

Well, for the better half of Jia’s first year, I was slightly obsessive over taking precautionary measures to minimize Jia’s risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). SIDS is the sudden death of an infant less than 1 year of age that occurs during sleep, that is unexplained after investigation through an autopsy. And in 2010, according to the National Vital Statistics System at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, SIDS is the #3 leading cause of infant death in the United States. (Congenital malformations (deformations and chromosomal abnormalities) and short gestation/low birth weight were the first and second causes, respectively.)1 (this is the most current death data available)

A triple-risk model (how a combination of 3 contributing risk factors) for SIDS was published in an issue of Pediatrics2, and defined vulnerable infants as the following: 

Image from Trachtenberg et al., Pediatrics; 2012. 129(4): 630-638.

Image from Trachtenberg et al., Pediatrics; 2012. 129(4): 630-638.

As you can see from the image, “genetic polymorphisms” in the “vulnerable infant” category is a harder one to really pinpoint or know unless you had extensive genetic analysis performed or knew that SIDS deaths ran in your family. Babies in the critical developmental period are those infants <1 year, and exogenous stressors are environmental/situational things that can play a role. 

The Back to Sleep/Safe to Sleep Campaign3 reminds us that SIDS is:

  • NOT Death by suffocation
  • NOT caused by vaccines/immunizations/shots
  • NOT caused by vomiting or choking
  • NOT completely preventable (though measures can be taken that greatly reduce the risk)
  • NOT caused by cribs

I studied maternal and child health for years and worked in public health long enough that the “Back to Sleep”/Safe to Sleep Campaign burned a permanent slogan into my head, when it came to the topic of infant sleep. After all, according to a research study by Trachtenberg, et al., the Back to Sleep Campaign, which began in 1994 by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, almost immediately and significantly reduced the number of SIDS deaths by more than 50% over the course of 10 years after its inception.2

So obviously, since the arrival of Jia, we had to be sure we were taking all measures to make sure everything was done right. Continue reading

What’s She Doing Wednesday: Le Artiste

WSDW 4.15.15 cover 2

Jia:

  • Our Little Artist: As you can see from the post photo, Jia now has an art table. I snagged this table + 2 chairs from good ol’ Ikea for $19.99! A steal! Regular price! It weighs about 5 pounds and it has great little tiny person chairs that come with it. I haven’t been to Target yet, to stock up on some Washable Crayons or those special magic kid markers that only mark on special paper, but those are on the Target shopping list. She really loves her little table and the markers, really likes trying to eat the markers in between scribbles, actually. But, she is really good at putting the caps onto her markers (my highlighters) now. It only took her a few minutes after I showed her. She’ll turn the cap to the correct side in her hands and insert the marker tip. She loves doing it! I’m guessing this is the appropriate age for this sort of thing, but all I’m thinking is, “you’re such a little genius!” Haha… 
    • So since she loves putting the caps onto markers, she like, REALLY loves it. She’ll hand me markers so I can take the caps off of them, and if I don’t, she lets me know. (by yelling at me) So, as the loyal servant to my child, I keep uncapping the markers for her, and she keeps on scribbling on the table itself, scribbling her chin, drawing on the paper, getting blue and green on the corners of her mouth, dropping markers on the floor, and then, eventually, re-capping them. 
  • Our witching hour is now 4 PM until bath time. No, scratch that. It’s 4 PM-bathtime and then again during PJ time. She becomes irate if she doesn’t have additional food options in front of her. She’s irate if I don’t pick her up, after I was just holding her and she pushed away from me. She gets mad if I take her clothes off for her bath, but squeals out of giddiness to run down the hallway naked. Ha :) Little crazy person. 
  • But if she’s mad, taking her outdoors completely eases her frustration and keeps her occupied for an unknown length of time (because I have always taken her inside before she even hints at being finished with the yard). 
  • She’s experimenting with different terrain, learning to steady herself while walking and standing.
  • I think we’ve weaned away from one of her four feedings. She used to nurse at 8 AM, 11 AM, 4 PM, and 7 PM, but for the past week she’s been pretty much completely dropped the 4 PM feeding (disinterested, would rather play, impatient). I wonder what’ll happen naturally with the remaining feedings; if they’ll drop naturally at all. 

Continue reading

Part 1: Overheating & SIDS

Blog Post 4.11.15 Overheating and SIDSTo all my readers, I know Saturday is Sproutings Saturday, but I am just exhausted. Usually I have enough energy and time to get these posts out, but this week I’ve been having some inexplicable combination of writer’s block, fatigue, and intimidation with the topic I chose. I felt like a mess this week, I literally couldn’t finish a phone conversation with Jeff because I was feeling so anxious about the pressure to post this week. 

So this will be a two-part installment. 

I started to outline and draft my post, but realize that the topic is so important that rushing to publish the post would not do it justice.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is such a devastating conundrum where the reasons for why it happens cannot be predicted, quantified, or defined. It just happens. There is a lot of research that has been conducted, task forces built, and powerful public health campaigns that have been created that have a continued impact on the incidence of such a heartbreaking condition. But there are still gaps in our knowledge about the topic.  Continue reading

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