Laughter is Always the Best Medicine

Laughter is the best medicineWe’ve just survived another Blue Monday – the most depressing day of the year – so the arrival of ‘Global Belly Laugh Day’ this week was most welcome!

Belly Laugh Day is not just a day for having a good ol’ chuckle, but a much needed reminder for us to do it more often. Because laughter really IS the best medicine.

It does so much more than make you feel good mentally – laughter induces actual physical changes in your body. Blood flow is increased; as is your intake of oxygen-rich air which stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles; it aids muscle relaxation, reducing some of the physical symptoms of stress; boosts our immune system and improves efficiency, mental focus and concentration. Yes, to all that please!

Best of all laughter is FREE! And available to you every day – even on the roughest of parenting days.

You don’t even need to rely on humor, jokes or comedy for belly laughs – you can fake it yourself with Laughter Yoga. Have you heard of that? Google Offices use it. Even Oprah Winfrey swears by it.

Laughter Yoga is a practice of prolonged voluntary laughter – because voluntary or ‘forced’ laughter still delivers the same physiological and psychological goods as spontaneous laughter.  And trust us, (we’ve tried it), it might start off as fake laughing, but you end up feeling so ridiculous that it soon turns in to a genuine fit of the giggles!

There are an increasing number of laughter clubs across the US where you can practice laughter yoga in groups, but you can also do it at home alone, or with a partner. Take a look at this video and you’ll get the idea. Here’s also a list of 150 laughter exercises to try yourself at home – our personal favorite is forcing yourself to ‘laugh’ Beethoven’s Fifth: Ha ha ha haaaaaaaa, ha ha ha haaaa!! We’re giggling even typing it.

In a nutshell, laughter yoga not only offers every parent a simple way to relieve stress, it also gives them a license to act like a crazy spontaneous toddler again! So, what’s not to love!? Your kids will find you hysterical – and most likely join in too.

Go on, give it a try! Find the jolly in every day – you’ll probably feel very silly, but our bet is, you’ll probably feel pretty great too!

 

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Taking Care of Tiny Teeth

Christmas may only feel like last week, but somehow we find ourselves hurtling towards February 2017.

February brings a lot to smile about however. Quite literally – it is National Children’s Dental Health Month, a month where thousands of dental professionals join together to educate and support both parents and teachers on oral health and hygiene.

The older children get, the more sugary temptations they face, and while there is nothing wrong with an occasional treat, this year’s campaign asks parents to be mindful of the impact regular fruit juices and sodas can have on little teeth. The 2017 slogan is: “Choose Tap Water for a Sparkling Smile” – you can find lots of fun activities, coloring sheets and 2017 campaign posters for home or school here.

But enough of the bigger littles. Let’s talk about the little littles and how / when to start taking care of their tiny choppers.

While baby teeth aren’t forever teeth, their health, and the health of tiny gums, can impact future permanent teeth as they are important space holders for the ‘big’ teeth that are growing under the gums. A good set of teeth will also help an infant chew, speak and smile, so…..

START EARLY.

You can introduce oral hygiene practises even before the teeth come in. The American Dental Association suggests starting from as early as two days old. You can gently wipe the gums after feeding with a clean, moist gauze or washcloth.

When a tooth, or teeth, do eventually pop through (ouch!), start taking good care of them ASAP. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry says that: “Parents should use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste to brush baby teeth twice daily as soon as they erupt and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Once children are 3 to 6 years old, then the amount should be increased to a pea-size dollop and perform or assist your child’s toothbrushing. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively.”

ASK YOUR DENTIST ABOUT FLOURIDE.

The right amount of fluoride can strengthen tooth enamel as teeth are forming. Let your dentist evaluate the fluoride level of your drinking water – he may suggest fluoride supplements. Both the ADA and the AAPD recommends that Baby get his first dental exam at age 1, or when his first tooth appears.

 

MAKE IT FUN.

Not all children will enjoy having their teeth cleaned. Some will despise it –especially if their gums are already sore from teething. Just be patient and be gentle! If old enough, try distracting them with a silly song, or just let them play with the brush to satisfy their curiosity. As they become more familiar with the tool, you might even find them sticking it in their mouths, all by themselves.

Like most things, if you start and support early enough, you will instil good dental habits for years to come!

We always stock a range of teething and dental hygiene products in our Boutique, so please, feel free to pop in for a visit and take a look around. Teething can be hard for both baby and parents – trust us, we’ve been there! We’re here to listen and help where we can.

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Why Do Moms Hold Babies On The Left More Often?

Particularly in the early weeks of an infant’s life, it is said that mothers tend to cradle babies more on the left.

Many have long assumed that handedness determines how you hold your baby. So, right handed mothers will tend to hold their baby on the left to ensure their leading hand is free….and as there are more right-handers in the world than left, you naturally tend to find more babies on the left.

That kind of practicality makes sense right? Except, I’m a leftie and have always held my littles on the left hand side too!

Fascinating new research suggests that baby positioning is actually down to how our brains are wired.

It’s all to do with the two completely different sides of our brain you see.  The right hand side of a mammal’s brain is responsible for processing social cues, relationship building and also receives signals from the left eye. Some researchers therefore think that moms will keep their littles on the left so they can better monitor, and connect, with that all important left eye.

As a child grows stronger, less vulnerable and more independent, this left positioning by mom can change says scientists.

However, it’s not just mom that has a preferred side – little mammals on the move prefer to keep their mom on one side also. The left.  A team from the University of Tasmania, Australia, studied 11 wild animals – including horses, sheep, walruses and even whales – and recorded nearly 11,000 position choices for 175 mom-infant pairs.

Around 75% of the time, the littles wanted mom on the left! Because keeping mom on their left meant they are better able to keep track of her, not get left behind and therefore increases their chance of survival.

However, a threat reverses roles says the lead researcher, Janeane Ingram: “Infants keep their mother on their left in normal situations such as moving forward or suckling,” she says. “But when faced with stressful situations such as when fleeing, mothers prefer their infant on their left side so they can better monitor them,” Left is mama’s protective mode.

They say this research could have great implications in studying development disorders associated with reduced eye contact between mother and infant, such as autism spectrum disorder.

The human body never ceases to amaze us. We are one heck of a design plan the way our bodies work aren’t we? Remarkable. Go, Mother Nature!

The full story on the research can be found here.

 

 

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Forget All The “New Year, New You” Promises…

Just be you in 2017.  And love YOU. Because you are fabulous, just as you are.

Sorry to go all Bridget Jones on you there and quote Mark Darcy, but maybe you needed to hear that.

2016 threw a lot at us – there’s no denying it was a hard year. But ask yourself this, how hard were you on yourself?

Because we (parents) are really good at that aren’t we? Beating ourselves up. Doubting ourselves. Comparing ourselves. Guilt-tripping ourselves…over and over again.

So this year, instead of aiming for an all new ‘better’ you, how about promising to be a little kinder to the now you?

We’re not saying don’t be ambitious in 2017 – by all means set goals. We’re saying be unashamedly and unapologetically realistic.

As parents, we already have our hands full day to day, so when it comes to new year goals,  don’t set yourself up for failure by over promising. If you do, chances are, in less than three weeks, you will find yourself right back where you started – with added guilt, self-doubt and a big ol’ dollop of defeat.

When it comes to resolutions, maybe 2017 is the year where you will start saying ‘I will NOT’ instead of ‘I will‘? And best of all, feel good about saying it:

Like, I will NOT take on any more in 2017.  If you already feel overwhelmed, it’s ok to say no to the dealer. There is no shame in sticking with your current hand – it can still be a winner. You might want to drop a dress size or two, take on a new language, or simply find the time to do lots more crafting with the kids – but first, make sure you feel comfortable with what is already on your plate – or else all those other new spinning plates will come tumbling down like a circus act.

I will NOT feel guilty if I don’t get everything ticked off my list. Instead of focusing on what you don’t achieve, focus on what you do achieve each day – and give yourself a pat on the back. Remember to always leave some wiggle room in your ‘to do’ list – being flexible is good for the soul.

And last but not least, our favorite, I will NOT forget about myself in 2017. Say it. Now repeat it. Be selfish every now and then and take time for yourself, be it a book, a bath, a spa, or even a whole weekend away. There is no greater investment than an investment in yourself- a recharged you makes a happier you, a happier parent and a happier year!

So c’mon, 2017! We’re ready for you. Just as we are.

 

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