Raising Kids Today

Newborn Tips#1: Don't Hush-A-Bye-Baby
You don't have to be quiet while the baby is sleeping. The womb is loud, and newborns are used to the noise. When ours first came home, we watched television and I would vacuum, wash dishes and talk on the phone around her while she slept. She got used to sleeping with noise, and I could get stuff done. I am still able to vacuum in her room while she sleeps (she is 14 months), and she is peaceful and well rested when she wakes up.
Newborn Tips#2: Soothe Your Wailing Newborn
When my baby cries, I comfort her by patting her back in a heartbeat-like rhythm. That helps her burp more quickly, and it also helps her relax if she's crying from insecurity. If this doesn’t work, I also try one or all of Dr. Harvey Karp's five calming moves: swaddling, shushing, holding her on her side, swinging her or letting her suck. Sometimes it takes all six!

Additional Information:

Raising kids today has been more challenging than ever before. Parents face more choices and problems in healthcare, education, transportation, safety, nutrition, and all other aspects of life. With advances in medicine, we are able experience improved fertility success and decreased infant mortality. While these advances allow us to become parents more easily, they don't help us resolve the challenges we face.

Today's children enjoy many conveniences and luxury the previous generations simply didn't have. Kids now have toys for every aspect of their development for every age, gender, and hobby. They play with video games, computers, iPads, iTouch, and smart phones. It's not uncommon to see a two-year old tapping on a smart phone and gets to exactly where they want to go. On the other hand, children also face their own set of problems that the previous generation didn't even think possible.

Childhood obesity has been a major issue discussed among physicians, educational institutions, government agencies, and politicians. With over 12 million children classified with weight issues, associate health risks later in life can significantly affect their quality of life as well as implication on the healthcare system. Quality of a child's life can be in jeopardy here. An obese child can't play the same way or participate in sports of his/her liking. Obese kids are also more likely to be bullied than their thin classmates. Such negative experience in the school may lead to anxiety, depression, social isolation, low self-esteem, and lack of interest in academics. The obesity issue has even caught the attention of the first lady. Mrs. Obama's childhood obesity campaign has brought much needed attention on the subject. Hopefully, with increased awareness and intervention, this obesity trend can be stopped, reversed, or slowed down.

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Newborn Tips#3: Help Get Your Baby to Latch
If you are having latch-on issues while breastfeeding your baby, you can use breast shields to help the process. This was a wonderful tip that I learned from my lactation consultant. I had to use the shields for an entire month before my baby would latch onto my own nipple without them. Had it not been for the breast shields, I would not have been able to continue nursing my baby.
Newborn Tips#4: Get Prepped
At 3 weeks, babies’ days and nights become more predictable, and you can focus on yourself in addition to your newborn. One way to do that is by reducing your stress level - and having everything ready for your hungry baby and yourself is one way to do that. Start by prepping for the next feeding as soon as the previous one is over. For example, after an 11 p.m. feeding, get ready for the 2 a.m. one by prepping whatever you need for feeding and putting out fresh drinking water for yourself so you don’t have anything to think about in the middle of the night. During the day, take advantage of the baby’s naps to work out, shower or catch up on e-mail, or take a nap too.

Autism is also on the rise among American children. According to the Center for Disease Control, 1 in 88 children are diagnosed with autism. It's far more common in boys than girls. Celebrities such as Jenny McCarthy have brought more public attention onto the illness, but further research is needed to find a treatment. Currently, autistic children require extra medical and therapeutic treatments. These healthcare costs can add up quickly and present as tremendous financial burden for the average family. In addition, healthcare specialists are limited in this area, leaving many families waiting months, if not years, to get their children into therapy.

In addition to medical issues, environmental factors can play a part in a child's health and wellbeing. In today's world, we are surrounded by hundreds of chemicals on a daily basis. They are found in our walls, furniture, office supplies, shampoo, body wash, deodorant, nail polish, and the list goes on and on. The personal care products we use on a daily basis can contain a number of potentially harmful chemicals. These include sodium lauryl sulfate, mineral oil, DEA, MEA, synthetic fragrance, and more. Many of these chemicals are known toxic or carcinogenic chemicals, others haven't been research thoroughly. Daily contact with them over long periods of time can lead to a number of health issues, especially for children since their little bodies are just developing and are vulnerable to external factors.

As children get older, the challenges don't get any less. Parents just face a different set of them, such as driving and texting. This is a deadly combination. Roughly one third of drivers admit to sending or receiving texts while driving, many do so on a regular basis. This has become the new drunk driving. Car accident is already the leading cause of death for American teenagers, and texting make it more likely to occur. Multiple states have already banned texting while driving; others have residents lobbying for the same regulation. Courts are handing out tougher punishment for offenders, hoping to deter others from repeating the same offense.

There's no doubt that parenting is the toughest job on earth, but also the most rewarding. With the unique challenges parents and children face today, we all struggle to counter the problems the best we can. As more issues surface, there is more motivation for people to take the initiative to make a difference.

Newborn Tips#5: Keeping Your Baby Awake During Feedings
When our baby was eating slowly and sleepily, my husband and I would massage her cheek to stimulate her to eat faster. A gentle stroke with a fingertip on her cheek was all it took, and on those long sleepless nights, this simple trick was a godsend! Our friends have found it works great with their infants too. When babies eat efficiently until they're full before going to sleep, they sleep for longer between feedings. And that means you’re both likely to be calmer!
Newborn Tips#6: Help Your Baby Bond with Dad
Make sure your baby has ample time alone with Daddy. His touch and voice are different than yours, and this will begin a bonding process and give you a break. Plus, it gets the baby used to being with someone other than you. The first few times can be hard. Make sure your baby is fed and well rested, as this will give you at least one or two hours before you're needed again. Then leave Dad and the baby alone. If you stay nearby, make sure the baby can’t see or hear you, and resist the urge to go into the room and "fix" things if she starts crying. Your baby cries with you and you experiment to find out what's wrong. Dads need time to do this too - in their own way. By allowing this time, your child will learn there is more than one way to receive comfort, which will help immensely when you leave your baby with a sitter or another family member for the first time. You could have your partner bathe her, put her to bed or just read or talk to her.
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