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Infant - Week #39

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Books, Spoons, and Family Reunions

By Mary Perrin, edHelperBaby

  Encouraging Your Baby's Development
           Your baby's understanding of the world continues to increase each and every day.  Her language acquisition is getting stronger and stronger.  Reading to your baby daily will aid her in developing a deeper understanding of spoken language and help lay a foundation on which she will build her knowledge of worldly concepts.  Concepts about animals, nature, feelings, routines, etc. can be taught through the reading process.  There are millions of books on the market.  Read together for pure enjoyment, and read together to help overcome any developmental obstacles you might be facing.  If your child is having a difficult time sleeping at night, search for a board book such as Goodnight Moon written by Margaret Wise Brown to read with your child.  It is never too early to show by example and foster communication on an issue your child may be experiencing.

       Board books range in size, shape, content, and color.  They can also differ in their ability to offer your baby interactive play while reading the book.  When you have a few minutes, peruse the shelves at your local library or book store and take notice of how many board books offer a multi-sensory approach to learning.  Outlined below are seven board books, the topics they discuss, and the interactions they can offer your baby.  The books are samples of what you will find at your local retailer.  Regardless of what book you choose, the main focus should be snuggling up with your baby and reading together.  Your baby's development ‘read'quires it!
  1. Picture Me, Baby's Birthday; Playhouse Publishing - Place baby's picture inside the book.  As you flip each page, your baby will be able to see herself as she celebrates her birthday by way of the book's storyline.
  2. Peekaboo, Blue!; Simon Spotlight/Nick Jr. - Play peek-a-boo with Blue from Blue's Clues.  Read each page and lift the flaps to discover where Blue is hiding.
  3. Watch The Colors Grow; Gerber - Babies love food, bright colors, and other children.  This book captures all three.  Each page displays a color word and pictures creatively made from foods that same color.  For example, on the green page a hot air balloon is made out of a pear, pea pods, and an apple. The trees are made of broccoli, and spinach makes up the nice green terrain.  There are also flaps on each page to reveal at least one small child wearing clothes of that same color.
  4. Old MacDonald Had A Farm; Cartwheel Books - This small board book is attached to the palm of a hand puppet.  Each finger of the puppet is a different animal from the story.  As you read this story to your baby, you can shake the finger of the farm animal that you are singing about which adds an element of anticipation.
  5. Little Lamb: Finger Puppet Book; Chronicle Books - Read this little lamb rhyming book, and manipulate the lamb using the die-cut hole on each page.
  6. Farm Friends; Baby Einstein - Learn about animals with this interactive pop-up book.  Your baby can learn about individual animal sounds with just a simple push of a button.
  7. What's That Smell?:  A Lift-and Sniff Flap Book; Janelle Cherrington - Bear tours his big blue house looking for different smells.  Participate in the process by lifting the flaps on each page and sniffing.  Your baby will also enjoy lifting the flap on the last page to discover her own reflection in the mirror.


  Out And About With Baby
           Taking your baby to a family reunion - There is typically a set of people in every family who are thought of as the people who "hold the family together."  Family events are scheduled by them and at their house.  They are the ones who are the point of contact with extended family members and share information about the well-being of others.  When family reunions are organized, the matriarch and patriarch typically are involved in planning and organizing food, facilities, and the invitations.  Your family reunion is just days away, and you are unsure of what to expect now that you have a baby in tow.  Keep in mind that your family can provide your baby with love and adoration.  They most likely will dote over her and recall your infancy.  There are a few simple things to consider prior to attending your next big family get together.

       Consider how you feel about her being passed around from person to person and how you anticipate she will react.  It will be helpful to have a united front with your partner so that one of you isn't rubbed the wrong way by the other's decision.  The last place to have an argument is in front of all of your family.  Speak privately regarding any disagreements to eliminate any awkwardness and insecurity your baby (and family members) might pick up on.

       Consider capturing multi-generation pictures.  By capturing multi-generation pictures, you will be demonstrating to your child the importance of family heritage and strong family relationships.  Pass these precious photos on to your child when she gets older.  She will be able to connect and hold onto a little piece of her family even if the people in the photos are no longer able to serve actively in her life.

       Consider the timing of the event.  It will be difficult to justify not attending a family gathering due to a sleeping baby.  Plan head for sleeping arrangements.  Take along a stroller or portable crib.  Familiarity is the key.  Your baby will be more likely to fall asleep and catch some zzzz's if she feels safe and secure in a familiar place.  You might even be able to get in on a game of cards during those moments of shut eye.  If your baby refuses to fall asleep and you know that she really needs it, then consider excusing yourself from the party to lie down with her or even leave and return after her nap if that is an option for you.


  Understanding Simple Tasks
           Obtain three clear plastic bottles.  Place a few small rice puffs or oat cereal into each one.  Set a bottle in front of your baby.  Encourage her to get the food out of the container.  Does she try to reach her hand into the container?  If so, does this strategy work?  Does she shake the bottle?  Can she turn the bottle upside down to obtain the food?  Does she get frustrated?  After a few minutes, show her how to get the food out if she does not do it on her own.  Then give her the second bottle.  Is she able to obtain the food this time?  Give her the third bottle.  With each attempt did her skills improve?


  From A Parent's Perspective
           Out of pure determination, my daughter was able to finally obtain the item on the third try without any assistance.  I purposefully used a plastic bottle because I knew she would not be able to reach her hand down inside it to get the food.  Since she is a pro at using her fingers at pincers, the goal was for her to find an alternative method for solving the problem.  Her facial expressions and grunts were priceless.  I could really tell she was pondering her predicament.  After shaking and finally spilling the cereal onto her highchair, she squealed with excitement as if to say "Wow! That was a lot of work, Mommy."  I plan on doing this type of activity often to help her improve upon her skills.  Hopefully, soon she will be able to shake, spill, and master her objective without any difficulty.


  Learning How To Use A Spoon
           You have been feeding your baby with a spoon for a while now.  He understands the routine and anticipates your actions.  He opens his mouth wide between bites and waits for a spoonful of yummy goodness to stimulate his taste buds.  Try giving him the opportunity to feed himself using the spoon.  It doesn't have to be a messy experience.  Try these simple tricks and tips for developing the necessary hand-eye-mouth coordination.

       Feeding Tips and Tricks
  1. Shop for a looped handle spoon.   The looped handle will assist him with gripping.
  2. Have two spoons on hand; one for you and one for your baby.
  3. If your baby becomes frustrated, take over the feeding process and try again at the next feeding.
  4. Dip a baby food item, such as a puff, in applesauce or yogurt.  Then place the item on the spoon.  The wetness will help the food stick to the spoon to prevent it from slipping off as your baby moves the spoon up and into his mouth.
  5. Roll a spoon in cream cheese and chill it in the refrigerator.  Once it is hardened, give your baby a small bowl of oat or rice cereal.  The cereal will stick to the cream cheese as your baby attempts to scoop the cereal.


  How YOUR Life Is Changing
           When your baby is attempting to climb the stairs or an older child is trying to sneak in a snack thirty minutes before dinner time, what do you say?  "No!"  For the most part, adults are not nearly as good at telling other adults no.  It may seem ironic that as you attempt to teach your baby the meaning of the word no, you yourself may need to consider using it more often when it comes to outside obligations.  Think about all the hats you wear during the day and try to prioritize them.  You don't want to spread yourself too thinly.  Overcommitting will put unnecessary stress on you and your family. If you feel like you are overcommitting yourself, make a jot list of all of your obligations and attempt to readjust the way each hat fits.  You may need to wear some hats more often, while other hats can and may need to be tossed altogether.


Iron Baby!
By Alicia Magee, edHelperBaby

           At your child's nine month check-up, your doctor may conduct a quick finger prick blood test to test baby's iron levels. Young babies are born with stores of iron at birth, and tend to get enough iron from breast milk or fortified formula. However, between six to nine months of age, baby may not have adequate levels.

       Your doctor should call you and let you know what your child's iron level is, and if there are any measures you should take to increase their iron level. If your baby's iron levels are only slightly low, your doctor will most likely recommend increasing your baby's intake of iron-fortified cereals. They may suggest giving baby oral vitamins as well. It is important to talk with your doctor before taking an iron supplement yourself or giving supplemental iron to baby-excessive iron or supplements can cause constipation or other health issues. Always feel free to talk with your doctor if you are concerned about any food issue with your child.       

“NO”, “NO”, "NO!"
By Lindsey Hill, edHelperBaby

           Teaching your baby or toddler what the word "no" means is a head-scratcher at times. You often feel like you are saying it more than any other word in the English language and therefore tends to lose its effectiveness with everyone, even in serious "no" situations. Give a few of these ideas a try the next time you feel a "no" coming on. However, keep in mind that your baby or toddler is developing her vocabulary, so it will take consistency and repetition to come to a final understanding of this new language.
  • STOP or FREEZE: When your baby or toddler is doing an action that needs to cease, try saying "stop" or "freeze". She will eventually connect these words with their meanings.
  • If she is about to grab your drink from the coffee table say "That's Mommy's juice", for example, and she will eventually learn what is hers and what is not. Do this for any items that do not belong to Baby.
  • OUCH: If she is grabbing at something prickly (a household plant) or a night light in the hallway, say "ouch" so she will learn that it might cause her harm.


Don't Be Scared, Baby!
By Alicia Magee, About my child Keenan

           As Halloween and the winter holidays approach, Keenan is becoming more aware of the decorations and costumes that go along with the season. He is especially aware of life-size figures and masks. He is simply intrigued by some, while others, especially with human voices or movement really scare him. We have mainly tried to avoid anything that really frightens him or saying, "Look at that silly thing" and move on. It is both challenging, dealing with the worry or tears, and exciting to see him growing and actually understanding more. We are getting excited to share future holidays when he is older and can enjoy the decorations and fun!

Opposites Attract Attention
By Lindsey Hill, About my child Camden

           Teaching your baby or toddler about the opposites in his world can be exciting. With a few simple activities in his high chair, around the toy chest, up the stairs, or riding in the car, your baby is offered chances to understand the differences and will begin using them to solve problems around him. He will always remain intrigued by each new skill and eager to try it again and again. Be sure to say the word "in" for example, as he places a Cheerio into a bowl or "out" as he takes it back out by pouring or using his fingers. Encourage repetition and be consistent.

       Some opposites to practice in the beginning are:
  • Over and under
  • Open and close
  • Inside and outside
  • Up and down
  • In and out
  • Happy and sad


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