Terrible Two’s: Oh No!

My Kite wont Fly

It may seem like the massive rebellion has struck when your relatively amiable child suddenly becomes someone unfamiliar overnight. Nothing you say or do seems to calm the fire within your little two-year old, and you may be at wits end. While most children do not start exhibiting “terrible two” behavior until around their second birthday, some start earlier and a few even start later. Here are a few key indicators that your child may be in the thick of the terrible two’s.

Tantrums

One of the key indicators of the terrible two’s is tantrum throwing. If you have ever been through the store and see a small child flailing on the ground, chances are he/she is deep in the middle of the terrible two’s. As a parent, one of the worst things you can do when your child throws their first tantrum is give in. Stand your ground and do not let your child manipulate you. If you give in to the fit, you are starting down a long road and showing your child that every time they do not get what they want, a simple fit will solve the problem. Experts suggest that ignoring the child or even turning your back on the child will hasten the fit and keep it from happening again. It takes persistence and consistency though, be careful not to fight sometimes and give in other time.

No, No!

It seemed like when my children all reached around their second birthday they learned a new word, NO! While it may be perfectly normal for a two-year old to say no and want things to go their way, it does not make it any less annoying. Because toddlers are just learning how to think, they don’t understand how their actions affect other people. Saying no is just their way of saying, “I want it my way”. Every time that a child says no in a defiant manner, it is imperative that correction happens swiftly and gently. Perhaps you teach them to say “no thank you,” instead of just NO! Or if you ask them to do something and they respond by saying no, make sure that you still have them do what you have asked, in other words, do not give them a choice. Breaking rebellious toddler behavior without breaking a child’s spirit, takes a lot of patience but eventually; your toddler will emerge more agreeable and easier to get along with.

Physical Aggression

Some parents may think it is cute when their toddler strikes at them when asked to do something, or even for no reason. Hitting, kicking and biting are common with toddlers, but should never be acceptable. This is certainly not a funny situation. Toddlers who become aggressive with parents or siblings need immediate correction. Parents need to maintain their cool but act swiftly to diffuse the situation. It is vital to give the child the tools it takes to handle their frustration differently. Some children may require a “time out” which helps them calm down. It may be useful to remind your child to “be kind’” or “use their words,” when they feel like hitting.

Reinforcement

Reinforcement takes time and a lot of energy, but in the end, it is well worth every effort. Ignoring rebellious behavior when a child is two could lead to serious problems down the road and you are not doing your child any good when you do not give him/her the tools to deal with difficult or stressful situations.

 

 

About the Author: Susan Patterson is a mother of three children and has had her fair share of experiences with the “terrible twos.” When not home schooling her girls, Susan can be found writing for a variety of parenting and health sites including Family Cord.

Beat the Heat: 10 Things to Do With Your Kids This Summer

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Having the kids at home all summer can begin to wear on parents halfway through the summer. While you and your children are waiting for school to start, you can enjoy spending time with them with these fun (and cheap) ideas that will break up the monotony of the dog days of summer:

 

Be creative: Art supplies is one of the cheapest and most entertaining ways to get involved with your kids. Buy a big pack of chalk and draw masterpieces on the sidewalk or driveway. Colored pencils and crayons on construction paper will yield beautiful new drawings to hang on the fridge. For the extra crafty, get out the sparkles and glitter to glue together all kinds of art projects, or get card stock and have the kids make their own cards for birthdays and Christmas – they’re less expensive than Hallmark and more genuine!

 

Play dress up: Gather up the clothes you don’t mind your kids wearing and give them new costumes. Hats, gloves, purses, shoes, capes, and masks are great options. Make sure that jewelry is only given to those who are old enough to wear it. Host a tea party, put on a play, or just hang out and try on new outfit combinations.

 

Plant a garden: Buy cheap seeds from your local nursery of fruits and vegetables you want to eat, like tomatoes, squash, and other herbs. Teach your kids the basics of nature by having them water and take care of the plants – even the littlest ones can pull weeds or rake leaves with a toy rake. When autumn comes, you’ll be able to reap the rewards of your summer planting with fresh veggies.

 

Get wet: There are lots of ways to beat the heat in the summertime. Wash down the car in the driveway and let the kids give it a good scrub while getting sprayed with the hose. Run through the sprinkles in the afternoon as a quick fix for hot days. Or head to the public pool for the day for some real swimming, where most day passes are less than the cost of a Happy Meal.

 

Turn your kitchen into a testing ground: With the kids at home to tell you want they want from the grocery store and what they want to eat, it’s fun to try cooking new recipes. Not only will you be teaching your kids how to cook, but also learning new recipes for the rest of the year when they’re back in school. Plenty of sites have kid-friendly recipes where they can help out.

 

Go to the library: Lots of public libraries host reading programs where kids can participate in reading a certain number of books and earn a personal pizza. With or without a prize, showing your kids the importance of reading will lead to a lifelong appreciation for learning. Find some books that you can read together before going to bed at night (and pick up a few bestsellers for yourself).

 

Author Bio: Nadia Osman is a freelance writer and blogger who writes about lots of different topics, including adoption and children for Fertile Future.

What to (Really) Expect during Labor and Delivery

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If you’re a first-time mom nearing your due date, your concerns about what’s going to happen in the delivery room may be growing as fast as your excitement to see your little one. Unfortunately, labor is the type of thing that’s impossible to really get your head around until you’ve been through it. However, what we can do is clue you in .

 

Labor Is (Usually) Not Sudden

You have seen it a thousand times, in thousand different shows. A pregnant woman suddenly clutches her stomach and tells her husband “It’s TIME!” The reality—especially for a first pregnancy–usually has a lot of “hurry up and wait” involved. Contractions typically start out scattered and far apart. Once real labor starts, it can take hours to get to the point where you should head to the hospital, which is typically when contractions are five minutes apart for an hour. Once at the hospital, it may take hours to actually deliver the baby.

 

Sometimes Labor is Sudden

Sometimes contractions jump suddenly from scattered and far apart to five minutes apart. If that happens, don’t wait an hour—head to the hospital once you see a clear five-minute pattern. Sometimes, in some pregnancies, a lot of the labor takes place painlessly “behind the scenes,” and a woman becomes almost fully dilated before she begins to have contractions, followed by the sudden urge to push. This is rare, but it does happen.   

 

Labor is Messy

Between losing your mucous plug, leaking amniotic fluid and expelling blood during delivery, there is a fair amount of mess involved in the labor process. If you’re not aware of this fact, it can be frightening. Directly after the birth, you will bleed heavily—far heavier than a period—for several days. Your doctor will check you to make sure your bleeding isn’t heavier than it should be. Lighter bleeding and spotting can continue for as long as six weeks after the birth.

 

Labor is Intrusive

Unlike on TV, where the woman is neatly covered in a hospital gown and the hospital staff is gently encouraging, you can expect a “whatever it takes to get the job done” mentality. Expect to be poked, prodded and manipulated—sometimes at very inconvenient times–and don’t expect the hospital gown to offer much in the way of coverage. If you prefer an experience that’s less invasive, talk to your doctor about your options for a more hands-off approach.

 

Labor May Cause you to go Temporarily Insane

You may be one of those lucky women who sail through labor with nary a whimper. But, you will more likely experience a few moments of temporary insanity during the labor process. Don’t be surprised if you find your usually mild-mannered self, screaming choice words at your partner, accusing the nurses of torture, or ordering the doctor to remove the child immediately. This is all normal, and you will return to your senses—perhaps apologizing profusely—between contractions and after the birth. Remember: it is not weak to ask for pain meds—if you need them, get them.  

 

Labor is an intense process that’s not for the faint of heart. But the payoff is cuddly, sweet, and nothing short of a miracle. Stay focused on that, and everything will turn out just fine.

 

 

 

Jessica is a freelance writer who writes on numerous topics, including child development, parenting and cord blood banking.

Sleeping Beauty: Helping Your Child Get to Sleep at Night

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Parents can expect to be up a few times a night with a newborn, but when their toddler refuses to go to bed or gets up several times in the night, it starts to get old. Many children experience difficulty going to sleep at night, and this can take a tremendous toll on parents. There is no one set method for helping all kids fall asleep and stay asleep all night; some parents have to try several things before they are successful. However, it is crucial that parents help their children get to sleep so that they too can enjoy a decent nights rest. The following tips are certainly worth trying.

· Establish a Bedtime Routine

There is nothing more comforting to a child than a reliable and nurturing bedtime routine. A warm bath, a nutritious snack, a story or soft music are just a few tools that you can use to relax your child and prepare him/her for bedtime. Once the child gets used to the routine it will seem automatic to go to sleep. Try to have your child in bed at the same time each night and stick to the routine the best you can for optimal success.

· Naps

Naps can work for or against getting you child to sleep at night. A child who is overtired will be devilishly difficult to put down at night and may fight bedtime. Conversely, a child who no longer requires a nap and still takes one may not want to go to sleep at an appropriate time. Assess your child’s need for a nap and adjust accordingly. Most toddlers require between 10 and 12 hours total of sleep per night. Use this figure as a measuring tool against total nap and nighttime sleep hours.

· Exercise

Be sure that your child is getting enough outdoor time, fresh air, sunshine and loads of exercise. Toddlers have a lot of steam to burn off and must be given plenty of space to move.

· Quiet the House

If you are trying to put your toddler down to sleep in a house where there is loads of activity, it may be highly distracting. If possible, try to keep the noise level to a minimum or even use a white noise machine in your child’s room to cover-up outside sounds.

· Help Your Child Feel Secure

Some children have a difficult time falling asleep if they feel insecure or are frightened. Give your child a few tools to help with the insecurity such as a special blanket, stuffed animal or favorite toy. This way, the child learns to depend on these tools for comfort and not the parent. Eventually, the child will give up the tools altogether.

· Avoid Caffeine or Large Meals

Caffeine and sugar tend to wind kids up tight. Do not feed your child anything that contains sugar or caffeine six hours prior to bedtime. Avoid large meals close to bedtime, as well. A light and nutritious snack is acceptable prior to bedtime and should not interfere with your child falling asleep.

 

About the Author: Susan Patterson is a freelance writer and a mother of three children. When not teaching her children she can be found writing for a number of different parenting and health sites including Family Cord.

When You Need Nursing Help-The Benefits of a Lactation Consultant

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For something that’s so natural, nursing doesn’t always come so easily. First time moms are most likely to struggle with breastfeeding, but moms who have nursed successfully in the past can have trouble with the process too. Milk production can change with age, with illness, with hormone fluctuations, and with medications. Babies can have physical problems that make it hard to latch on.

 

Just a few short decades ago, if you had trouble nursing, formula was the only answer. Fortunately, the importance of breastfeeding has been reemphasized in recent years, and moms now have access to breastfeeding help. Hospitals and pediatricians increasingly offer lactation consultant services to new moms, and if they don’t, moms can hire independent lactation consultants if they need to. Here are three reasons a lactation consultants can make all the difference when it comes to feeding your baby.

 

Commitment to Breastfeeding

 

Lactation consultants are passionate about breastfeeding and the benefits it offers mothers and their babies. So, for as long as you are willing to try, they are willing to hang in there with you, offering new ideas, techniques and support any time you may struggle. Some consultants will actually make house calls and offer phone support. Always interview a consultant before hiring her to make sure you’re on the same page, and that she will ultimately respect your choices. Some consultants will only advocate breastfeeding to the exclusion of all else. This is fine if you’re on board, but there’s no reason to be berated or made to feel guilty if you want to supplement or are open to the idea of using formula if all else fails.

 

Knowledge

 

Most lactation consultants have considerable training and experience. Some have certifications with respected lactation organizations, and some are even trained nurses with specialties in lactation consulting.

 

Physical Support

 

A lactation consultant will observe you as you nurse to evaluate your technique. She will also examine your baby’s mouth to determine whether he has a physical problem that prevents him from latching on properly. She will examine you for signs of infection and/or clogged ducts, which may make it painful to nurse. She will assist you in perfecting your nursing technique, suggest ways to hold your baby that work with his preferences and your needs, and help you find the right nursing support pillow if needed. She will also recommend supplements, techniques and tools that help you meet your specific needs, whether it’s soothing engorged breasts or increasing your milk supply.

 

Emotional Support

 

If you badly want to breastfeed but are struggling, a lactation consultant can offer a great deal of emotional comfort and support. She will be sympathetic to your desire to breastfeed, and encourage you when others may tell you that it isn’t worth the effort. She can help you get through times where you’re frustrated and tempted to give up and help you celebrate your successes.

 

To find a consultant in your area, contact your obstetrician, your pediatrician, or a breastfeeding organization like La Leche League.

 

Jessica is a freelance writer experienced in a range of topics including pregnancy, child care, and fertility preservation.

Doubly Blessed—The Different Types of Twins

I don't care what you say, Mommy loves me more!

Twins are special. Everything about them, from how they grow together in the womb, to how they interact with each other, to how Mom manages to take care of two newborns (or two toddlers) when the rest of us struggle with one,  is fascinating.  There are two main types of twins, each of which is conceived in different ways.

Fraternal Twins

Normally, a woman releases one egg each month. If that egg is fertilized by a sperm, an embryo is created. That embryo attaches to the woman’s womb, and begins to divide and grow, usually into a single child. Sometimes, however, a woman’s body releases two eggs (or sometimes more). This is called hyperovulation.  If each egg is fertilized by a separate sperm, two embryos will form and grow simultaneously. Each will have its own amniotic sac and its own placenta. This type of twin is called dizygotic, “di” meaning two and “zygotic” meaning eggs. Fraternal twins share 50 percent of their genes, just like most siblings, so they will only resemble each other in the way that regular brothers and sisters do. Because there is a hereditary component to hyperovulation, fraternal twins tend to run in families.

Identical Twins

In the case of identical twins, a single egg is fertilized. Then, for reasons scientists still don’t fully understand, two days after fertilization the embryo divides into two, creating two separate human who share one amniotic sac and one placenta, In cases of fraternal twins, different eggs and different sperm are used, so the genetic “blueprint” in each twin is different. However, in cases of identical twins, because the same egg and the same sperm combined, the genetic material in each twin is exactly the same, so they will inherit the same physical traits. In scientific terms, identical twins are monozygotic, “mono” meaning one. There’s no known factor that makes it more likely for a woman to have identical twins; it appears to be a spontaneous occurrence.

Rare Types of Twins

Believe it or not, there are other, far more unusual types of twins. For example, in very rare cases, twins inherit the same genes from their mother, but different genes from their father. These are called half-identical twins. In some cases, if a woman releases two eggs and has relations with two different men at around the same time, each egg can be fertilized by a different man’s sperm.  This isn’t as rare as you might think: one in 12 sets of fraternal twins have different fathers. In very rare cases, a woman may release two eggs weeks apart, causing one pregnancy to begin while one is already underway, and leading to twins who are born days, or even weeks apart, and potentially with different fathers.  

Fun Facts

·   Identical twins are not actually identical. While the genetic blueprint is the same, the genetic sequence, or genome, is different.  In addition, slightly different womb environments and different experiences make them different.

·   Identical twins do not have identical fingerprints.

·   The odds that a woman will give birth to identical twins are 3 in 1000.

·   Ployzygotic triplets are sets of triplets that contain one fraternal   sibling and a set of identical twins.

·   One-third of all twins are identical.

·   The most common gender combination among fraternal twins is boy-girl.

·   The number of births of multiples has increased dramatically, largely due to a rise in the use of  in vitro fertilization, where multiple embryos are placed in a woman’s womb in the hope of increasing the chances of one live birth.

·   Overweight women are more likely to have fraternal twins.

Jessica is a freelance writer with experience writing on a number of subjects, including cancer fertility and cancer and infant and child care.   

 

Resources:

http://curiosity.discovery.com/question/how-different-types-twins-conceived

http://curiosity.discovery.com/topic/human-genetics/genetic-make-up-multiples-quiz16.htm

http://www.omg-facts.com/view/Facts/42337

Snacks that Count: Ideas for Toddlers

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Far too often parents, without knowledge, fill their children’s bellies with food items that have very little, if any, nutritional value. When it comes to choosing snacks for their growing toddlers, parents need something that is easy to prepare, high in nutrients and low in sugar.  Always have an ample supply of fun and tasty snacks on hand that will provide just what your growing little one needs.

 

What Toddlers Need

 

As a child transitions from infancy to toddlerhood, they gain a new independence, begin feeding themselves and start to take control over their food choices. At the same time, toddlers are developing motor skills, and food preferences. Nutrient requirements remain high during this highly active stage. Toddlers need a steady supply of nutrient-dense foods. Toddlers should get 16 grams (64 calories) of protein per day, 44 grams (396 calories) of fat and 210 grams (840 calories) of carbohydrates for a total caloric intake of about 1300 calories per day. In addition, toddlers should consume foods high in vitamin C and A. Calcium is important for growing children as is zinc, iron and folate.

 

 

Best Foods for Snacks

 

It is best to stick to whole foods and avoid processed foods, if possible.  Whole foods that have not been processed have a large supply of readily abundant nutrients. Boxed, packaged and pre-made foods are not the best option and will often cost more than they are worth. Stick to vegetables, fruits, whole grains and healthy protein.  If you do buy packaged foods be sure to check the label. Do not purchase anything with more than five ingredients and if you cannot pronounce the ingredients, do not buy the product either.

 

Healthy Snack Ideas

· Organic peanut butter and apple slices
· Organic peanut butter and celery
· Cottage cheese and fresh pineapple
· No-sugar added applesauce and cottage cheese
· Organic cheese and whole wheat crackers
· Fresh, frozen berries and organic yogurt
· Frozen organic fruit bars
· Baked potato with salsa
· Sweet potato with raw honey and butter
· Hummus and whole wheat pita chips
· Whole wheat pretzels
· Cucumbers with organic dressing
· Organic yogurt with raw honey
· Black beans and salsa
· Roasted chick peas
· Organic milk smoothie with fresh fruit
· Organic granola and organic milk
· Guacamole and whole wheat pita chips
· Baked zucchini sticks
· Dehydrated banana chips

Snacking Tips

· Toddlers love to be on the move – Try to initiate a sit-down snack time each day so that your toddler gets a chance to slow down and relax while eating.

· Have a healthy snack with your child – It does no good for your child to see you eating junk food, eat healthy to set a great example.

· Offer water – Toddlers need to be offered plenty of water, preferably before they eat their snack. Stay away from sugar-laden juices.

· Timing – Never offer a morning snack too close to lunch or an afternoon snack too close to dinner, it will spoil your child’s appetite.

 

 

About the Author: Susan Patterson is nutrition and a mother. When she is not teaching her children or advises clients, Susan can be found writing for health and parenting websites such as California Cryobank.

How Attached is Too Attached? The Attachment Parenting Basics

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There are pretty much as many theories about parenting as there are parents. One theory that has garnered a lot of press lately is attachment parenting. The term “attachment parenting” may conjure up ideas of baby-wearing, family beds and—most notably—Time Magazine’s controversial cover photo of a mother defiantly breastfeeding her older child.

 

But what exactly is attachment parenting? Does it have real benefits, or is it just another theory by a self-proclaimed “parenting guru?”

 

Attachment Parenting History  

Largely championed by respected parenting authorities like Dr. Spock in the 1950s and Dr. Sears, who has promoted the concept for over 30 years, attachment parenting is a type of parenting that’s child-based, instinctive and natural. The idea grew out of a rejection of traditional authoritarian parenting and the behaviorist parenting theories that ruled the day in the late 19th and early 20th century.

 

Basic Premise

The concept is that, rather than be governed by a set of parenting “rules,” parents, particularly mothers, should work at being intuitively responsive to the needs of their infants. The more parents meet their baby’s need for attention, physical closeness and security, the happier and well-adjusted the baby will be, not just in infancy, but in childhood and adulthood as well. It’s an individualized approach that relies on parents’ abilities to interpret their baby’s unique cues. So, the more hands-on you are, the more you understand your baby. The more you understand your baby, the more secure and happy he feels, and the less likely he is to frustrate you

 

Behaviors

To promote physical and emotional bonding, attachment parenting encourages “baby-wearing,” where an infant is carried close to her mother (or father) in a sling or wrap; co-sleeping, where an infant shares a bed with his parents; and on-demand nursing, where parents take feeding cues from their infants; People who practice attachment parenting  respond immediately to their baby’s cries, and in fact try to  “read” their baby’s signals to meet her needs before she reaches the point of distress.

 

Criticisms and Concerns

Critics of attachment parenting suggest that hyper-attentiveness to children can cause them to become spoiled, dependent and self-absorbed, They also suggest that encouraging constant attentiveness fails to respect a parent’s needs as an individual and can cause moms in particular to feel inadequate, unfulfilled and burnt-out. Proponents of attachment parenting counter that babies who feel secure in their parents’ affections are more independent and happier, and that the investment of time and energy at the beginning, when a child is most needy, gives parents a happier, more pleasant child and a more enjoyable and fulfilling experience.  

 

While not everyone agrees that attachment parenting in its strictest sense is the way to go, medical research has shown the benefits of some aspects of the philosophy. Doctors now encourage breastfeeding, on-demand feeding and skin-to-skin contact. This, along with the longevity of attachment parenting and the support by respected parenting experts make attachment much more than a fad, and something worth further consideration.

 

Jessica is a freelance writer with experience writing articles on a wide range of subjects, from parenting, to nutrition, to sperm banks.