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Toddler: Myths, Facts & Tips

Baby & Toddler: Myths, Facts & Tips

Becoming a mother means you have to think twice now: once for you and once for your baby. Having a little help to make the right decisions can make all the difference. And mean you have more time for the important stuff, like hugs and kisses. Below are some myth’s, facts and tips so make the most out of your time with you and your growing toddler.

1. Myth:

Your newborn can’t actually see you just shadows.

Fact:

Infants are near-sighted. In the early days after birth your baby’s vision will be fuzzy and his eye movements will be short and jerky. At 8 to 10 weeks both of baby’s eyes will work together to follow objects moving horizontally or vertically. He still can't see minute detail but instead he’ll tend to fix his eyes on points of contrast, like black and white things. You can encourage this by posting simple black and white pictures at baby-eye level, by the change table or other places where you regularly put your little one. One thing is for certain: parents and pros alike agree that baby's favourite thing to look at tends to be his mother's face, which works out well since moms love to look right back.

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2. Myth:

If you carry your baby around too much, he will always want to be in your arms.

Fact:

Evidence shows just the opposite. Responding to your baby’s needs quickly leads to babies who are less fussy and easier to calm later on. It’s just the thing to help develop security and confidence later in life, too.

(Canadian Paediatric Society. Attachment: A connection for life. 2011. http://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/attachment Accessed: February 28, 2014.)

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3. Myth:

Babies will sleep through the night by three months of age.

Fact:

Sleeping through the night for a baby means sleeping for five and half hours and while you may hear that some babies are sleeping through the night by 3 months it isn’t common. Sleeping through the night is actually a developmental process that babies go through. For the first 3 months, babies generally sleep 16 to 20 hours per 24-hour cycle, but they tend to spread it out in 3-4 hour chunks. So they'll sleep for up to 3 hours and then be awake for up to 3 hours throughout the day and night. Then at around 4-6 months, babies start to get a sense of day and night, and may start to do a longer nighttime stretch. By about 9 months 75% of babies will sleep “through the night” (five and a half hours) but 25% will not. Don't fret too much if baby doesn't seem to follow the schedule, every little person develops at their own pace, even if that means keeping mom and dad up for a few more months at night.

(Friedman J., & Saunders N. Canada’s Baby Care Book: A Complete Guide from Birth to 12 Months Old. (The Hospital for Sick Children). 2007. Toronto, ON: Robert Rose Inc.)

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4. Myth:

Temper tantrums are used by children to get “their way”.

Fact:

Remember, your young child is not a miniature adult and really can't think like one yet. You'll be comforted to know that temper tantrums are part of normal toddler development and a temporary phase almost every child may go through as part of their developing communication skills. Young, pre-verbal or early-verbal children will have difficulty expressing their needs so they sometimes act out loudly to get their parents to meet these needs. Just as your baby cried to be fed or changed (remember?) toddlers cry and tantrum for other needs to be met by parents. Your little guy may tantrum because he wants to be picked up, hugged, kissed or he may just want to talk to you about something important in his little world. Yes, toddlers sometimes "just" need attention and this need continues throughout all developmental stages in children. So try not punish this behaviour, but reward it with a kiss, you might be surprised how it turns out!

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Did You Know?

Just because your baby is drinking from a cup doesn’t mean she’s ready for cow’s milk.

Whole cow's milk is a poor source of iron and should be avoided as the fluid portion of baby's diet until your baby is at least 9-12 months of age. The Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) recommends that breast milk remain your baby's primary source of nutrition for the first year, with iron-fortified infant formula being the next best choice. Why? Growing babies have growing needs, like iron and calcium. These nutrients are now more important than ever.

Iron is a vital nutrient that contributes to the normal growth and development of infants and young children. When babies don’t get enough iron they can become iron deficient and may be less active than usual and could develop more slowly. What's more, around 6 months of age, your baby's iron stores (iron he got from you in utero) become depleted, so he needs even more iron in his diet. And don't forget calcium too. It's crucial to help build babies' strong, healthy bones and teeth.

That's why making sure your baby gets the right nutrition, at the right stage, is key.

(Canadian Paediatric Society. Iron needs of babies and children. 2012. http://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/iron_needs_of_babies_and_children Accessed: February 28, 2014.)

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Did You Know?

Health Canada recommends that babies’ first foods be iron-rich.

Babies 6-12 months of age need 11 mg of iron per day for healthy growth and development. It is important to include iron-rich foods in baby's diet every day. Iron-rich foods include meat and meat alternatives and iron-fortified baby cereals. Serve iron-rich plant-based foods with vitamin C rich foods such as fresh fruits.

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Did You Know?

Babies may experience separation anxiety, which usually peaks around 8 or 9 months, though it can happen even earlier.

At this age, they begin to distinguish between familiar and unfamiliar situations, which may cause them to become fearful of strangers. It is a very normal part of your baby’s development. There are many ways to help your little one become more comfortable in situations that cause them anxiety.

(Canadian Paediatric Society. Taming the monsters: Helping children deal with their fears. 2010. http://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/taming_the_monsters Accessed: February 28, 2014.)

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Did You Know?

No parent wants to hear that their child has been bitten (or has bitten another child), but it does happen - particularly with toddlers (age 13-24 months).

Young children are very active, and bites can happen by accident when they are playing. Or some children may become aggressive or anxious, and may bite on purpose. The good news is that most bites are harmless and don't break the skin. What can you do? Teach your child not to bite. Do not pretend to bite your child or let your child bite you in play. When your child is old enough to understand, teach her that biting hurts and can be dangerous to her and to whoever she bites.

(Canadian Paediatric Society. Biting in child care: What are the risks?. 2013. http://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/biting_in_child_care Accessed: February 28, 2014.)

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Did You Know?

Many young children go through periods of being fussy eaters and this is a normal part of growing up.

Children often want to eat a certain food, in a certain spot, at a certain time, and in a certain way. Many children, especially those from 1.5-5 years of age, can sometimes be picky eaters. At this stage, they may eat what appears to you as a very small amount of food, and yet they are well, active, growing normally and thriving. Children have an incredible way of telling and showing you when they're not getting what they need. Try concentrating on what your child eats throughout a week rather than what he eats in one day particularly in terms of amounts and variety. You may be surprised that he's getting most of what he needs.

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Tip!

Baby attempts hold the cup

Let your baby help you find the right time to introduce a cup but many parents find that around the time baby starts solid foods works best. While it is ideal to get your little one drinking out of an open cup, many parents opt to introduce a sippy cup for when you and your little one are on the go. Learning to drink from an open cup is challenging and will require you to assist in holding the cup at first. Your patience will be worth it, as babies enjoy learning new skills and healthcare experts recommend this progression to a cup early in life, in order to help prevent early dental cavities.

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Tip!

Baby’s first birthday party.

You may need extra help during the party. Think about hiring a local teenager to help with chores like cleaning up spills, wiping dirty hands, or picture taking (or enlist the help of baby’s grandparents or uncles and aunts).

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Tip!

A teething baby.

Gently massage Baby’s gums with your fingers. Give Baby something cold but not frozen to chew on, like a refrigerated teething ring. It works to really soothe swollen, sore gums.

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Tip!

Helping baby with talk time.

Read, speak and sing to your little one. Use rhymes, games and songs. Ask your little one questions. Babies love to babble, encourage these early sounds with lots of hugs, kisses and smiles. Here are some tips to help encourage your little one to speak his mind. Talk as much, and as often as you can, directly to your little one. Try to make some of these conversations just between you and him. Look at him while you talk, and always let him see your face and your gestures. Let your little guy see what you mean, by matching what you do to what you say. "Off with your shirt," you say, taking it off over his head; "Now your shoes, sweets", removing them. And let him see what you feel by matching it to real, genuine facial expressions. He might not understand the words without the other cues to go with them. Over time, he will learn the meanings of the words themselves through understanding them, again and again, in helpful contexts. Reading to your baby will help him to match images to words as you point to objects on the page.

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Tip!

Plant safety for your little one.

Now that baby is on the move, safety proofing your house has never been more important. Here is an alphabetical list of common house and garden plants that are poisonous and/or hazardous to young children. This is not a complete list and you should contact your local poison control centre if you have any question regarding other plants. Some plants include; apple tree, autumn crocus, azalea, belladonna lily, bleeding heart, buttercups, cherry tree, christmas rose, chrysanthemum, clematis, daffodil, dieffenbachia, elderberry, elephant's ear, English holly, English ivy, fig tree, horse chestnut tree, hyacinth, hydrangea, iris, lily of the valley, milkweed, mistletoe, morning glory, narcissus, nightshade, oleander, peach tree, philodendron, poinsettia, poison hemlock, poison ivy, poison oak, potato (eyes, stems, spoiled parts), rhododendron. rhubarb leaves, strawberry bush, sweetpea, tobacco, tomato leaves, wild mushrooms (all wild mushrooms, fungi and toadstools should be considered toxic until known to be otherwise), wisteria, yellow jasmine.

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Tip!

Try, try, and try again.

Offer your toddler lots of flavours and textures. Remember, a food that's refused today may be accepted tomorrow. It may take up to 10 to 15 tries before your toddler really decides if he likes a new food — or not. When you are offering foods up to 10 times try to get creative, one day offering carrot soup and if that doesn’t work offer lightly steamed carrots with plain yogourt to dip them in. Toddlers love dips, just be sure they are healthy. Be sure to eat and enjoy the same foods that you are trying to introduce to your toddler; you’re the main role model for his future healthy eating habits.

 
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