If There Is Just One Thing You Do This Month, Do This…

It’s September and the school runs are back in full swing. While we are all talking about how ghastly the morning traffic is, it’s also the perfect time of year to talk about car seat safety, because September 17 – 23 is National Child Passenger Safety Week.

This means you’ll be seeing and hearing a lot of hard hitting statistics flying around. Stats like: Car cra

shes are the leading cause of death of children 1 to 13 years old.

It’s easy (and normal) to not want to think about such gut wrenching facts, so more than often we switch off as a method of emotional self -defense. But the truth is, the BEST defense is ALWAYS knowledge.

That’s the real idea behind National Child Passenger Safety Week – NOT to terrify parents, but to inform and support.

But we get it – parenting 2017 can feel like a LOT of noise. And we’re not just talking about inside the home! We live in a world where parents feel judged and are made to second guess their choices on a daily basis. Opinions, be it welcome or unwelcome, are constantly being fired towards us, through media as well as face to face interactions. It’s really hard to know what to tune in to right now isn’t it? Are people trying to help me or just sell me something?

But when it comes to child passenger safety, getting an expert opinion is ALWAYS a good idea. Because right now, there are currently hundreds of parents driving around with their kids in the wrong or poorly fitted car seat. It’s certainly not because they can’t be bothered, it’s simply because they just don’t know they’ve got it wrong.

There are parents out there who spent hours doing research online and in shops to find exactly the right seat, only to then install it incorrectly, reducing effectiveness.

There are parents who purchased the right seat, and who installed it correctly, but haven’t yet realized that their child has outgrown the seat, because darn, our kids grow so fast right under our noses!

Laws change. Cars change – do you know for sure that you have reinstalled the seat in your new vehicle correctly? Let’s be honest, car seat installation can get tricky!) Even care givers change – is Granny and Grandad using the car seat correctly in your absence?

So, your job this National Child Passenger Safety Week is to MAKE THE TIME to do a little car seat check-up.  In fact, it’s National Seat Check Saturday on September 23rd, so put the date on the calendar.

  • First, go online and get up-to-date with the latest CA laws to make sure you are following them correctly.
  • Then, dig out the instruction manual for your car seat (or find it online) and pay careful attention to the recommended weight / height restrictions – is your child in this bracket? If you’re eager to move your child to the next seat, remember, each time you “graduate” your child to the next seat, there’s a reduction in the level of protection for your child. It’s best to keep your child in each stage for as long as possible.
  • Also, look online for installation videos from professionals, plus details of how the harness should sit for a proper fit – is your harness currently snug enough? Do you put the chest clip at armpit level? Do you know why you should?
  • Finally, where possible, we highly recommend getting a professional safety inspection from a qualified child car seat safety technician like our wonderful Katie here at Babies in Bloom  – she has had hours of training and hands on experience with all types and brands of car seats. Check out her recent TV appearance on CBS 8 here, where she highlights the most common user errors she encounters. You can book consultations with Katie at Babies in Bloom here.

It’s not that much to do for huge peace of mind is it? So go on, have a car seat check-up this month and know for sure that you have the right seat for your child, fitted in exactly the right spot in your car. And don’t forget to share what you learn with anyone else who may look after your child!

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone
Save The Date!

date nightAnd by that, we mean your date night.

Any parent will soon tell you that once a baby arrives on the scene, date nights usually get relegated from ‘whenever’ to the ‘if ever’ category. They become luxuries, along with your hair cut, your wax, your pedicure….you get the picture.

It’s not that you don’t want one, it’s just there never seems to be a good time for one. And even when you do carve out a small window of time for a date, is there even enough energy for one?

And then there’s babysitters….

There’s probably only a small pool of people who you trust with your little one anyway and so the chances that your schedule will match theirs when you do finally decide to book a date night is usually slim.

Or perhaps you do get the date booked and then the grandparents’ car breaks down. Or the babysitter cancels. Or the baby gets sick. (*puts head in pillow and screams!*)

I think it was Winston Churchill who once said: “Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.” And seriously, what parent doesn’t go a day without dreaming of some time off with their other half? Yes, we completely agree, family date nights ARE adorable, but it’s important to have time as husband and wife as well as time as mom and dad.

Use this husband in England as your inspiration. Did a lack of babysitter stop him planning a night of fun for his other half? Of course not, he simply hired an inflatable Irish bar for their back yard – complete with a baby screen TV monitor. GENIUS! And hilarious.

So, for those who don’t want to quit – and who can’t find a sitter in time- here’s four fast date-saver ideas – minus the inflatable bar!

  • Check out the facilities at your local gym – a good few offer childcare as part of their membership. Granted, working out, swimming together, or playing tennis together might not be everyone’s idea of a date, but it’s pure adult time with the comfort of knowing your little one is just a corridor or two away with certified carers. If a workout isn’t what you had in mind – look around for daycare with weekend ‘Parents Night Out’ options like this one in Vista. This allows you to go for an uninterrupted local dinner with your other half for a few hours!
  • Make it a lunch date – for working parents whose littles are in daycare, why not opt for a leisurely lunch date instead of trying to cram a date into manic evenings and busy weekends. Take an extended lunch, (or better still, use up a sick day) and have some one-on-one indulgent time with your love.
  • Turn your home in to a spa – Why not hire a masseur to come to your home after baby’s bed time to give you both a well-deserved massage in the comfort of your own home? Luxury minus the childcare logistics – perfect!
  • Get creative at home – ‘Paint and Sip’ nights seem to be everywhere you look, but what’s to stop you setting this up at home? All you need is some paint and vino, then you can create your own masterpiece at home. For those looking to make the most of their date night, think ‘Titanic’ and get your husband to draw you like one of those French girls (wink, wink!)

Have fun lovebirds! You really do deserve it.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone
Summer Hiking With Infants

san diego hiking with babies infantsIf there’s one thing San Diegans are not short of, it’s hiking trails.

What you WILL find yourself short of are excuses! Because when there’s year round sunshine, there really is no excuse not to grab your shades, shoes and get outside.

A love of hiking needn’t change when a baby arrives on the scene. Sure, the thought of taking a little one along a trail might be a little intimidating at first, but with the right planning and determination, it’s TOTALLY possible! Not only are fresh air and fresh parents the perfect combo, a good hike is also a perfect way to help an older sibling burn off some of that seemingly endless energy.

With weeks of longer days still ahead of us, here’s a few of our favorite infant hiking tips:

  • Pick the Right Carrier – With so many options to choose from, it can be a little overwhelming, so please always feel free to come in and talk to our mamas at the Boutique about age appropriate and safe babywearing. You can bring your carrier and your baby to our Babywearing Clinic with our trained babywearing consultants. TOP TIP: Get your child used to a new carrier before hitting a trail – it can make all the difference.
  • Stick with what you know – At least initially. Don’t get too ambitious on your first family hike – go somewhere that you know well and where you know the terrain. If you want to try somewhere new, do your research and check if it’s flat / stroller friendly first etc. Try and limit that first hike to an hour or two – even if all is going well, don’t push your good luck!
  • Nap time – The hiking motion puts most kids in a carrier to sleep, so if you can, aim to hit a trail at naptime to help stick to your baby’s sleep cycle. If all the snoozy stars align, this nap on the go will give you some ‘me-hiking’ time, or adult time with your partner.
  • Bare Necessities – It’s tempting for any Mama Bear to try and bring everything for all eventualities, but any unnecessary extra weight is guaranteed to make the hike less enjoyable. Along with un-avoidables like diapers, spare clothes, think travel sized items for everything else, – like wipes, our ‘On the Go’ Think Baby Safe sunscreen (SPF 50+) in the Boutique, or the all-natural BALM! Baby Shue Bug spray. Don’t forget snack fuel for you too!
  • Hats, Camera, Action – don’t get us wrong, it’s always safety first when it comes to little ones outside, but safe doesn’t have to mean drab! We have a bunch of hip and trendy safe sun hats for little ones in the Boutique. We’ve even got some adorable ‘Babiators’ in store that make for the cutest baby photos (FACT!). So don’t forgot your camera while hiking.

Enjoy Mother Nature guys! She’s amazing – just like you are. It’s a mom thing!

Need trail ideas? Check out this article on best family friendly hikes in SD.

 

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone
5 Tips For Starting Your Infant On Solid Foods

By Rachel Rothman, MS, RD, CLEC

At your baby’s four-month visit, your pediatrician may have talked to you about starting your baby on solid foods and probably recommended to start between 4-6 months. It’s usually recommended that baby can be started on solids when they are sitting up mainly on their own, seem interested in food and open mouth when food is offered. As a pediatric dietitian, I answer many questions about infant nutrition and starting baby on solid foods. Here are just a few of the things to keep in mind when your baby is ready for real food:

  1. At the beginning, it’s just for fun.Your baby will still be getting most of his nutrients from breast milk or formula, so your goal should be to help him learn these new behaviors. Eating should be a fun experience, and not stressful. If you begin feeding solid food and your baby has a hard time with it – she’s gagging or fussy – wait and try again. You will not do any damage by waiting a bit.
  2. Consider some key nutrients and focus on variety. Key nutrients for babies and toddlers include vitamins A, C, and D, iron, total fat and omega-3 fats, and calcium. Each of these nutrients serves a specific purpose within the body; around 6 months of age, babies require these in other forms, above what is in breast milk or formula. Don’t be afraid to be creative with the foods you are offering to meet baby’s needs for these nutrients. Infant rice cereal may be what your grandmother recommends, and it’s no slouch – its high iron content is helpful. However, variety is important for teaching your little one to appreciate different food tastes and textures, so try purees of spinach, beans or lentils.  To help baby intake additional omega 3 fatty acids, try adding chia seeds, ground flax or ground walnuts to purees.
  3. Some foods should be avoided at the beginning.A few foods you will want to avoid until baby is 12 months include honey (because of the risk of botulism), cow’s milk (it contains too much protein and some other nutrients), and small solids (small chunks of raw vegetables, grapes, sausages, whole nuts and seeds can all be choking hazards). Allergens are another consideration. Recommendations about the foods to avoid (in order to minimize risk from allergic reactions) have changed over the years. A 2008 review of research by the AAP concluded that the top 8 allergenic foods (cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat) need not be avoided unless you have a family history of food allergies. In that case, it is best to speak with your pediatrician before proceeding.
  4. Serving sizes are small. I hear a lot from parents that their baby is not eating enough. But how much is enough? A typical serving size when starting solids is 1-2 tablespoons of a puree or food, or a few bites of a soft piece of food – it’s a small amount.  And you will want to start by offering one to two meals per day. Remember, baby will still be getting a good portion of her nutrition from milk or formula until age one. As baby gets older the serving size will increase, after 12 months the amount of food per meal should be around ¾ to 1 cup.
  5. Division of Responsibility. Renowned feeding expert Ellyn Satter gives parents the helpful suggestion of division of responsibility. Parents are responsible for the “what, when,and where of feeding; children are responsible for the how much and whether of ”  Do not force your child to eat more or stop eating if you feel they have had too much. Babies have the amazing ability to self-regulate (many of us adults have long since lost this ability). Eating is a behavior that does need to be learned but does not need to be rewarded.

When feeding baby don’t forget about mom and dad. All too often I see mom and dad focused so much on baby’s health and wellness that the parent’s health and wellness falls by the way side. Remember to practice good nutrition for yourself, this will not only help you to feel better, but to set a good example for your child. Healthy and happy mom and dad lead toward a healthy and happy baby!

Want to learn more about starting baby on solids? Join me at Babies in Bloom on February 14th at 11:30am.  Registration and details are here.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone