Walking is perhaps one of the most looked-forward-to milestones in a tiny tot’s progress. Now that your baby’s first steps seem to be just around the corner, it’s not surprising that you’re becoming quite the anxious parent. Take a few deep breaths, and let M&B’s road map to walking set the right pace.
My son is two years old and is an active child. While he met all his milestones as per his age, I’m worried about him as I’ve recently learnt that he’s having trouble making friends with other children at his daycare centre. He interacts with everyone at home and enjoys playing with all his cousins but his teachers have informed me that he does not interact a lot with his peers and likes to play all by himself. What could possibly be the reason that he shuts himself at his play school? Should I be concerned? Please advise.
Tarika Bhatia, Mumbai
Query answered by Dr Bijal Shrivastava MBBS and MD (Pediatrics), neotologist at Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital. She works full-time as a pediatric consultant and has been a pediatric practitioner for the last 12 years.
Thank you for writing in. Let me assure you that this concern is one that you share with a lot of mothers, and you’re not alone. Remember, this is all a part of growing up. If you try and understand the personality of toddlers, you will realise that this is all part of their development and you have nothing to worry about.
Your son might not have any problems interacting with all at home, as his family members are all familiar people and he is accustomed to them. However, you may have noticed that your child hides behind you when you have guests over, or someone unfamiliar to him comes to visit. You may have also noticed that he takes some time to get acquainted with that stranger. This is known as ‘stranger anxiety’, a normal development phase in all children, beginning at around eight to 10 months of age. Now that he’s attending playgroup, you have to understand that he’s suddenly surrounded by strangers. Add to that the fact that it’s not just one or two new people, but many! Moreover, this unfamiliar environment may cause his body to release the stress hormone, known as cortisol. However, don’t be alarmed as this is all part of your child’s healthy development, and it will gradually settle down over time.
Another reason your child may have difficulty opening up is because at home, he is constantly surrounded by the people he loves, and is showered with attention. At the day care, your son is not the only child present, and the attention by the teachers and caretakers, will be divided amongst all the children. All children share similar experiences of trying to adjust to their new surroundings and learn how to play and share with others. Initially, toddlers indulge in what is known as parallel group play. This is where they participate in lone play with toys. However, if you closely observe them, you’ll notice that they are observing others and imitating them. The ‘give and take’ form of play, known as cooperative play, does not really develop till they are four to five years old.
Your concerns are completely understandable, but your son’s behaviour is nothing to worry about. When he is ready, he will adjust to his surroundings, as all toddlers do. The only difference remains that some children adapt quickly while some take a little time. With the amount of information available online, you may be worried about certain disorders like autism spectrum disorders. However, children with such disorders don’t only indulge in sole play, they also have reduced eye contact, have speech delay, etc., and this form of behaviour continues even in their home environment.
I advise you to be just a little patient. In time, your son will seamlessly fit in with his new environment, and before you know it, will make plenty of new friends. |MB
BY SIMONA TERRON
It can be hugely rewarding to have an impressionable mini-me mimicking our every move, trying so adorably hard to sound just like mommy or look exactly like daddy. This is indeed how children learn from an early age and watching parents, siblings and assorted caretakers, is what gives them their cues about what to do and what not to. Psychologists have identified the concepts of mirroring and modelling as two ways in which very young children learn about the world, each other and most importantly, themselves, just by watching their parents. But while imitation is the best form of flattery, at what point does it become unhealthy for the child?
What they see is what you get
Children model their behaviours, tastes and even their life decisions later on, based on what they observe their parents doing, wearing, and saying. And while this may be desirable within a certain context, do you know how far you want this to go? Do you want your child to be a mirror image of you, with all your flaws and imperfections, or do you want them to bloom as special little people with personalities that are uniquely their own?
When it comes to sartorial choices, parents can tend to use the opportunity of dressing their child as an outlet through which they channel their creative energies. For moms and dads who spend so much time with their offspring, it is only natural that they use their baby as a cute little model whom they style with adorable outfits and even more endearing accessories.
Too much too soon
What is worrying is when parents start to dress their children like mini-adults, whether it is branded clothing that costs a bomb, or tiny kitten heels on a child who has barely learned to walk straight, or even putting on make-up at a terribly young age on a regular basis. If your baby is turning heads because he looks like a miniature version of a full-grown fashion model, perhaps you do have something to be thrilled about but will you maybe also start to examine your motives?
The trend of dressing kids in clothes that are clearly not child-friendly, and definitely nowhere near pocket-friendly, is inspirational for sure. Who doesn’t want complete strangers remarking on how good looking your child is? Or to revel in the satisfaction of seeing your little one perfectly fitted out in a coordinated get up that most adults would kill for? But does it justify spending all that money, time and energy if your child is not really benefiting from all this? And what about the fact that they may actually get negatively affected by too much focus on their appearances? Let’s also add to the fact that your child is more likely to grow out of those expensive clothes, even before they go out of style.
Trapped in the web
It’s no secret that social media bears much of the responsibility of fuelling this trend of ‘fashion kids,’ as they are known. And parents who initially get swept up in the craze just for fun, tend to get carried away in a bid to attract higher online traffic. So some moms spend hours styling and shooting their child just so they can post every day to Instagram. And certain dads splurge on diminutive versions of designer sunglasses and handcrafted shoes only so their child’s outfit is that much more ‘authentic,’ which will ensure that the pictures will get shared even more or even featured on some Best Dressed Kids blogs.
Creating mini-me me mes
Perhaps the biggest fallout of this trend that’s seemingly taking over the parenting world, is the messages we’re unknowingly imprinting on our children’s impressionable minds. Don’t you think this obsession with appearances is going to create little consumerist monsters of the future who are painfully superficial? That the amount of time we spend styling, dressing and accessorising a child will get them used to an unusual amount of attention being focused on them? It’s alarming to think also of the four-year-old who hesitates to run and jump on the playground because his skinny jeans are too tight or because her pretty little dress might get dirty and stained.
This time is precious
A lot of parents fall prey to the phenomenon of guilt-parenting; to make up for the lack of quality time they spend with the child, they shower them with gifts of toys and expensive clothes. This can only create a false sense of closeness, especially if the parent tries to make the child dress like them.
Instead, why not revel in this really super special time where our children are young, innocent and so much fun to be with? While a smart looking baby is always a delight, do remember that they have just this tiny window of time in which to dress as kids, for they have the rest of their lives to dress as adults. Because when else will it be perfectly acceptable to run around in a fluffy pink tutu while also sporting a Mickey Mouse hat with the giant ears? We’d rather let that happen now than, heaven forbid, watch them do this when they’re in their twenties, like some hipsters nowadays! |MB
By Rishu Gandhi, Founder & Head- Brand Strategy, Mother Sparsh
Today wipes are an indispensable item, especially while travelling with babies. Before wipes came into our world, cloth scraps or store-bought clothes were used as baby wipes, they could be washed and re-used. And then in the late 1970s, some companies manufactured disposable wipes for cleaning of hands, or other clean-ups while on the go. Over the years baby wipes have evolved as a necessity, that can be used as a quick cleaning solution anytime, anywhere to gently wipe away the dirt and discard after a single use. These days with fast-tracked lifestyles, nuclear families, and working mothers, we are constantly on the lookout for convenience based quick fixes. And baby wipes is just one of the ready to use options. Here’s how you can use them effectively.
- Mild wipes or a warm, wet washcloth can be gently used to cleanse the baby’s skin. Wipes can be used to clean the baby’s bottoms and genitals from front to back, during the diaper changing process. It is suggested to wipe from the cleanest area towards the dirtiest area so that impurities are not spread. To dry the skin before putting on a new diaper, allow baby’s bottom to air dry for 15-30 seconds after wiping.
- Do not use wipes on mucous membranes, as the area is very sensitive. Avoid rubbing the bottom of the baby with wipes during a nappy change. Wipe slowly and gently and do not use it to clean the baby’s bottoms. You need to avoid using wipes to clean the baby’s mouth and other body parts thus reducing the chances of an allergy.
- Since the baby skin is highly sensitive, using wipes that are alcohol-free and unscented, water-based and cotton wipes to minimise irritation. Some doctors suggest that baby wipes be used after the baby is at least a month old. For the first few weeks, during diaper changes, ultra-soft paper towels or clean cloth and warm water can be used for cleaning the baby. If required gentle baby wash soap can be used since diapers change is done at least six to seven times a day.
- If your baby’s bum looks red after using the wipe, it may be because of a reaction. If the rashes persist, you need to consult a pediatrician. You may need to try a few wipes’ brands before settling down on one of the brands. You must discontinue their use in case of any kind of discomfort.
- Most wipes contain some chemicals as preservatives. Therefore, you need to be cautious about using synthetic baby products, which may cause allergies and irritations on the baby’s sensitive skin.
- Apply a thin layer of baby cream or petroleum jelly to the baby’s bottoms after every nappy change. This will avoid contact with the chemicals in the wipes with the baby’s skin. The baby cream will be like a cover between the baby’s skin and the chemicals in the wipes.
- While at home, and with enough time, you can avoid using wipes. If you are hard pressed for time, use of organic and chemical-free baby wipes would be the best solution. Water wipes, made from natural materials, are safe to be used on the baby’s delicate skin.
- Use of extra thick wipes may be a good and economical option for cleaning the baby’s bottoms area thoroughly. However, the used wipes need to be disposed of immediately. Some of the wipes are not bio-degradable and flushable, so you need to be judicious in their use.
With such a wide spectrum of baby wipes to choose from, it is a blessing for parents with babies. They give you the flexibility to multitask, meet all their responsibilities with grace and travel with ease. There is a wide range of baby wipes available with different characteristics like wipes which use different degrees of chemicals, 100 per cent plant fabric-based wipes, water-based wipes and wipes made of biodegradable material. You need to make informed, aware and socially responsible decisions for your baby, in terms of his health and the effect these products will have on the environment in which your baby will grow and live.
Image source: Shutterstock Images
A toddler between 18 to 30 months is frisky and temperamental needing constant supervision, care and mother’s nurturance. Therefore, toddlers may find it difficult to settle in a daycare centre for long hours amidst unknown adults and children of varying ages, many of whom seek attention from time to time. However, if you seriously want to send your toddler to a daycare centre, there will be trained staff in early childhood care and education and support staff to act as substitute caretakers to look after your child’s developmental needs and requirements. They will also help your child adjust to the group setting. Let us delve into the pros and cons comprising advantages and disadvantages, to help you make an informed choice about a good daycare centre for your toddler.
- First of all, a formal day care centre is licensed and regulated by local authorities. Being a group care for children from infancy to middle childhood, it is affordable, unless flashing a huge brand name.
- A good daycare centre offers a daily program which includes meals, sleep time, play and co-curricular activities with close supervision both indoors and outdoors.
- There is the provision of nutritious meals, age-appropriate activities, and hands-on experiences for children. Sufficient space and materials are provided at all times.
- Facilities such as first aid and paediatric consultations are provided whenever needed. Most daycare centres are equipped with a hygienic kitchen, clean bathrooms and changing areas, and individual cubbies for children’s belongings.
- Nowadays it is mandatory to have a closed circuit surveillance to upgrade the children’s security.
- Many daycare centres maintain regular contacts with parents to discuss the health and welfare of their wards.
- It is usually a challenge to find good daycare centres that meet all your expectations. For instance, the preferred one may be either full or far away from your residence, with rigid hours for dropping and collecting your child.
- If there are many younger children at the centre, the staff will be hard-pressed to meet their individual needs, especially as it is easy for little children to fall sick in group care.
- Many centres compromise on some aspects of their program which fall outside the ambit of the prescribed norms. For instance, on some days the support staff may bundle younger children together in smaller spaces, during nap time, for personal convenience.
- The holidays followed by the centre may not match with your holidays as a working mother, so you may have to make alternative arrangements on those days.
- You may have to drop off your toddler early in the morning with his extra clothes, munchies, and water, which may be very inconvenient for you.
The advantages of a dycare far outweighs the disadvantages at such centres.
It is important for you to study the pros and cons of daycare and narrow down a few choices. It is then advisable to visit these centres to observe the setting and meet the staff and parents before you make a final decision.
Think your baby has another pearly white on the way?
1 Knowing his early warning signs really helps
Your baby won’t teethe in quite the same as any other baby on the planet. But play detective and you’ll be able to pinpoint what’s normal for him. While a tooth is on the way, he might make extra saliva, which means he may dribble or cough. And swallowing all that drool might mean you have a few choice nappies or an out-of-the-blue nappy rash to deal with. A warm or flushed cheek might be a clue, or he might not be as keen on drinking, eating or sleeping as usual. Perhaps he’ll pull at his ear, chew his fingers or bat his face. Some babies get clingy and some get cranky, others cruise through the whole thing with a big gummy smile.
2 Teething doesn’t cause a fever
There’s no evidence to link teething to fevers, so don’t attribute a raised temperature to his fangs and the same goes for diarrhoea. Ear infections can present a very similar stack of symptoms to teething. As a general rule, if you’d be worried by his symptoms if he wasn’t teething, see your GP.
3 Cold works
Keep a sealed tub of teethers in the fridge. If your baby is already weaned, pop a couple of pots of apple purée in there too for a gum-easing snack, and chilled cucumber sticks and bananas are also effective if he’s old enough to have these. Make your wn toddler-sized ice lollies from yoghurt or fruit pureés.
4 You need more than one type of teether
The type of pressure that eases the pain of a sharp little incisor might be very different from what works for a chunky molar. And what soothes a grumbling peg a month before it pops up won’t be the same as what helps the pang as it cuts through the gum. So buy a few teethers and let your baby experiment to find which one works for him right now. As well as teethers made from hard wood through to soft rubber, aim for flat, round, smooth and knobbly surfaces. Find a teether that features terry-towel fabric too and make sure there are different shapes so there’s something that will reach even if that troublesome tooth is right at the back of his little mouth.
5 Nothing works better than the crook of your little finger
First wash your hands thoroughly, then let him gnash away on it with his gums to relieve his discomfort. Think of it as sharing the pain.
6 It’s not only the tooth that’s about to come through that’s hurting
When your baby was born, the crowns of all 20 of his milk teeth were almost completely formed. So although you might not see his front teeth until they pop up in a few months, or those big-boy molars for another couple of years, they’re all busy growing. And the long process that forces them up or down from your baby’s jaw and out into his mouth would test the patience of a saint. So when you’re rubbing a clean finger on his gums to ease the pain, let him guide you as to where it hurts. And don’t dismiss that he’s teething when there’s not so much as a hint of a swollen gum, let alone a glimmer of white under the surface.
7 Use pain relief when you need to
If pressure isn’t enough to appease your teething baby, then your next step should be to reach for a sugar-free teething gel with a mild local anaesthetic to numb the pain. Make sure it’s one made specifically for infants, check the minimum age as brands vary, and stick to the recommended dose and frequency. Try homeopathic teething granules too: your baby will either love them or hate them, and it’s worth finding out which. If he’s still in pain, then a medicine made specifically for young children containing paracetamol or ibuprofen is a last resort, but don’t use this as a long term treatment—the rule is don’t give it for more than three days without seeing your doctor.
8 Comfort the way you know best
Cuddles with you on the sofa often win the top prize for soothing a teething baby. Motion takes the runnerup spot, so combining the two for a walk with your baby in a front sling can settle him like nothing else.
9 Control the things that you can
Teething can lead to other issues that add to his discomfort, but not if you get there first. All that dribbling can cause a rash on his chin, so smear on a barrier cream before it gets red. The same goes for protecting his bottom. Sucking as he drinks can trigger pain, so hunger can escalate the hardship too. So if you find him bobbing on and off your breast or the bottle, see if he finds it easier to drink facing the other way: just swap the arm you’re holding him with if you’re bottle feeding, or let him feed from both breasts on his most comfortable side by popping his body under your arm like a rugby ball to feed from the second boob. Or he might find it less painful to sip from a cup. If he’s weaned, be led by him if munching on something dry like toast brings relief or he can manage soft foods better.
10 Have teether friends
Emotional comfort alongside the physical works wonders, so invest in a tasty new best pal for your little one. MB