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Baby Development

  • 9 Engaging Activities for Baby

    Enhance baby’s growth with these fun, development-boosting activities.

    Article & Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    Babies are born scientists. From the moment they come into being, they are observing and absorbing the world around them. Countless studies tout the incredible growth and development of a child’s first 3 years. More specifically, experiences and interactions within the very first year of life have lasting impacts on a child’s foundation for thought, feeling and overall well-being. Here’s a list of engaging activities that stimulate development, nurture curiosity and foster happiness in children under one:

    During Reading Time. Everyone knows the importance of reading. Beyond simply reading a book, there are so many easy activities to incorporate into reading time to maximize the experience and impact.

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  • 6 Best Baby Bathtubs

    Find the Best Baby Bathtub for Your Lifestyle.

    Article courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    That very first baby bath is such a sweet milestone. And in everyone’s baby pictures, it’s like the cutest moment ever. In real life, though, it’s kind of terrifying: there’s crying and flailing and slipping and more crying…from baby and mom. It doesn’t help that there’s so many different choices in the baby bathtub aisle, each with a different size, shape and function. WTF!? Isn’t a bath a bath? Not when you’re only 7 lbs. Below, our breakdown of baby bathtubs, so you can find the best one to suit your lifestyle.

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  • When Should Baby Start Day Care

    Sending your baby to daycare is a major step as a parent. For some, the choice to attend day care is a given. For others, day care may be a decision reached due to a variety of factors. Regardless, finding a daycare that works for you and your family is important. Be sure to inform yourself on all of the local options available to determine which daycare you feel most comfortable bringing your child to. An equally considerable choice is deciding when your baby should start day care.

    Consider your family’s schedule. There is no blanket answer to when a baby should begin daycare, because there is no one family routine. Take a moment and look at the routine and rhythms of your own home. What is your work schedule like, and how would childcare overlap with work? If you or your partner is a stay at home parent, is there a period of time during the day when your baby could attend daycare? Do you need full time care, or a supplement? If both partners are working full time, daycare will likely begin earlier for baby. If there is flexibility in the family schedule, then you may choose to ease into daycare, waiting until you feel more ready.

    Choose the best daycare for your baby. There are many factors to consider when searching for a daycare, and be sure you understand the style of the care center you eventually choose. Some daycares have a busy atmosphere with lots of stimulation, music, and activity. This can be ideal for an active baby, always on the go. But it might overwhelm a more timid child. Other daycares follow a specific education style, like Waldorf or Reggio Emilia, but geared toward infants. These can be very calm places, but also might be more restrictive in their rules and philosophies. For example, some centers with an educational philosophy might not play music as ambient noise or implement restrictions on certain types of foods. You may choose a care that takes place in a daycare center. These usually offer care for your child in large, classroom-like groups. One pro of a daycare center is that they usually have a more sizable staff, which means your baby will have time interacting with a variety of adults. In-home daycares are also a choice. These tend to be smaller operations, and their legal requirements vary by state. For a child who loves to be active and see new faces, a daycare center might be better suited. In-home day care might be more appropriate for a shy child who thrives in very small groups.

    Be mindful of your baby’s personality. Just like some adults prefer extra social time, a quiet space for downtime, or adventurous activities, babies are all different, too. Think of your baby’s personality when you begin to consider daycare, and the frequency of time spent there: does your baby adapt well to new people? Does he adjust easily to new environments? Is she overwhelmed by busyness around her? Does he like to be a part of everything, or does he tend to hold back and observe? The answers to these questions will inform you when you think about when, and where, your baby should attend daycare.

    There is no one correct time to begin daycare. The best time to begin daycare is when it’s right for you and your baby. Young children will adjust to their care environment in different ways, and there will be a transition period no matter what. Reflect on what you and your family need in terms of childcare. Think about how your baby might thrive in a daycare environment if she is showing signs of social readiness. Some babies need more in terms of social interaction and stimulation, and they could be ready for low-stakes daycare earlier. If you have the option, you can also do a “slow start” by sending your baby to daycare just one or two mornings a week and gauging how the transition is working.

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  • How to Help Your Baby Talk

    10 ways parents can support infant language development

    Article & Photos courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    Whether your baby is almost babbling, just saying strings of babble while pointing at something he likes, or seems to be having a chat with you, the emergence of language and communication is how he begins to interact with others and the world around him. Here’s a few ways you can support language and communication from birth through 12 months:

    0- 3 Months: Gently begin to engage your baby through words, and consider baby’s response to your voice.

    In these first few months especially, we want to be sure we are helping baby stay calm and regulated, and we want to help bring them back to a place of calm when they are upset. When we begin to engage with baby through words, we want to be sure we are modulating our voices to match their needs in the moment. If baby is sleepy, or resting, or quiet, parents may want to speak softly and gently. If baby is awake and alert and starting to take an interest in the world around them, parents may want to speak in a still gentle, but slightly louder tone, perhaps even with a higher pitch (aka “mothereese”).

    3-6 Months: Take baby’s babbling ... Read more

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  • Extreme Baby Skills

    5 ways to take your baby’s skills to the next level.

    Articles & Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    Every so often, we hear the story of a baby (genius?) who’s potty-trained at 9 months or knows more sign language than any adult we know. The truth is, with a little bit — or sometimes a lot — of work, most babies can learn to do some pretty spectacular things at a young age. Here’s 5 few ways to get your baby on the fast track, if you’re feeling up to the task.

    1. ELIMINATION COMMUNICATION
    What it is: Say no to diapers with this potty practice that involves teaching baby to communicate about her elimination needs. Parents get in tune with baby’s bathroom patterns, and quickly respond by holding her over a toilet or sink to get the job done. Advocates point out that elimination communication is not potty training, but rather, a method of better understanding your baby’s needs.
    Benefits for you and/or baby: You’ll save tons on diapers (and save the planet a little too). Plus when all of your friends are potty training in two years, you’ll be sitting back and relaxing, dry floor and all.
    Get ready for these challenges: Expect accidents – there will inevitably be missed cues or slow response times. For city dwellers, there may be some awkward public exposure since bathrooms are not always at the ready.
    Difficulty rating (on a scale of 1 to 10): 8
    More info: diaperfreebaby.org

    2. BABY LED WEANING
    What it is: We know: sometimes baby food looks as appetizing as cat food. So why not hand over whatever you’re eating? Baby Led Weaning means letting your child move from breast milk or formula right into big people food, at around 6 months.
    Benefits for you and/or baby: Skip the annoying — and often unhealthy — purees, and jump right into wholesome family food.
    Get ready for these challenges: Many mamas that try Baby Led Weaning say gagging is a natural reflex…but it can still be terrifying. If you’ve got a caregiver, you may be out of luck — try telling your nanny that baby can nosh on a big broccoli stalk and let us know what she says.
    Difficulty rating (on a scale of 1 to 10): 2 for the actual skillset of handing your baby food as is; 10 for getting through the fear factor.
    More info: babyledweaning.com

    3. SIGN LANGUAGE
    What it is: Before we had babies, we hoped we’d have a “Look Who’s Talking” type — you know, the one who could speak full sentences by 4 months. But in case you don’t get one (we didn’t), you can still find ways to get your little one to communicate, like sign language. As early as 6 months, you can teach baby hand gestures to tell you he’s hungry, wants more, is all done, or wants to watch another episode of Girls. Just kidding on that last one.
    Benefits for you and/or baby: You and babe will both be less frustrated when there’s more to say than just goo-goo ga-ga. Many believe there’s also cognitive benefits like earlier speech.
    Get ready for these challenges: Well first, assuming you don’t already know it, you have to learn some sign language. Also, consistency is helpful; if you’re a working mom, you’ll need to get your caregiver on board.
    Difficulty rating (on a scale of 1 to 10): 7
    More info: babysignlanguage.com

    4. BABY DJ-ING
    What it is: If you haven’t already heard, you can get your baby on the nightlife circuit early with Baby DJ school. Seriously, we were pretty skeptical too, but at the crux of it, the class is all about exposing your little one to new interesting sounds, textures and movements — like any other music class.
    Benefits for you and/or baby: Not only does it help develop motor skills, but the class is an early intro to technology, which — like it or not — is the way of their life. Also, the music is way more fun to listen to than the usual kiddie fare.
    Get ready for these challenges: People are going to totally roll their eyes when you tell them you signed up.
    Difficulty rating (on a scale of 1 to 10): 5. Unless you’re also a DJ, this is not something you can teach at home. Thankfully, there’s now several Baby DJ locations around the city.
    More info: www.babydjschool.com

    5. BABY REIKI 
    What it is: If you’ve ever been in labor, you know the term “positive energy” is no joke. So we take it pretty seriously when someone says that Reiki can help us to balance and uplift baby, while addressing discomforts like teething and gas.
    Benefits for you and/or baby: Reiki is not only safe for babies, pregnant women and according to our friends at Purple Reiki, even plants (!). It is even used in some hospitals around the country to complement traditional Western therapies. Reiki can help restore energy and calm nerves for mama, while easing and relaxing baby.
    Get ready for these challenges: “You must be open and willing to receive it.”
    Difficulty rating (on a scale of 1 to 10): 3. You can’t do it at home, and it’s not free.
    More info: Shanti Baby Yoga

    This article is by Jessica Pallay courtesy of Well Rounded NY.  Conceived with love by former magazine editors Jessica Pallay and Kaity Velez, Well Rounded NY aims to be the singular pregnancy resource for city-savvy moms-to-be. Through reviews, profiles, expert Q&As, local guides and more, Well Rounded curates the New York City pregnancy and helps its readers come to terms – and term! – with pregnancy in the city.

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  • Picking Your Pediatrician

    Article & Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    There are important decisions to make for baby before the contractions begin.

    No matter how much you educate yourself on baby and childcare before your little one makes his or her debut, there are some things that just have to be left to the experts. Especially when it comes to health care. Luckily, says Dr. Deena Blanchard MD, a pediatrician at Premier Pediatrics, many doctors offer expectant parents an opportunity to meet with a prospective pediatrician and find out about the structure and the style of their practice. “Finding a pediatrician can feel like a big decision,” she says. “This is the person who will hopefully help to guide you through your child’s growth and development, and many of your parenting ups and downs.” Blanchard gives Well Rounded NY some tips on how to find the perfect fit for your growing family.

    When should you start looking?
    The best time to start looking is at about 28-30 weeks gestation. You may want to visit more than one office, and this allows you the time to do so. It is never too late to meet with someone. If the doctor has availability, meetings are still helpful.

    What will you talk about at this visit?
    First and foremost you will see if you like the pediatrician and he/she is a good fit for your personality. Look to see how the office staff interacts. Are they friendly? Are the doctors nice to the staff? Is the office clean? The doctor should review the structure of the practice, what hours it is open, how many doctors there are etc. You will want to know what the policy for emergency visits are. Are they walk in or made by same day appointment? How are after hours phone calls handled? Who answers routine phone calls? Can you see the same doctor for all your well visits? Some of these things will matter more to you more than others, you will want to pick a practice that meets your needs as well.
    Vaccine policies are often a topic of discussion at these visits. Most pediatric offices have a policy on whether or not they are willing to delay vaccinations. You will want to ensure that the practice policies are in line with your decisions and beliefs.

    If you don’t have a baby yet, and you don’t know your parenting style, how can you get a sense if a practice is the right fit for you?
    Like most things in life, relationships and parenting styles develop over time. As with your previous physician choices (your internist and OBGYN) you will have a “gut” feeling about whether you mesh well with the pediatrician. Many practices have more than one physician and you may find along the way that you mesh better with someone else in the practice and that is okay as well. It is ideal and wonderful to stick with one pediatric practice throughout your child’s life. That being said with moves and other life changes or choices you may need to or elect to change your physician and that is okay as well.

    I loved the pediatrician I met with but he/she doesn’t see babies at the hospital I am going to deliver at.
    That is no big deal. Most pediatric offices maintain hospital privileges at 1-2 hospitals and see newborns in the well baby nursery there. If the pediatrician you have chosen does not see babies at the hospital you deliver at a pediatrician will be assigned to see the baby in the hospital. After discharge you will see your pediatrician within 2-3 days of leaving the hospital. As many people deliver at hospitals that are not that close to where they live this happens all the time.

    Ooops! I didn’t get around to interviewing! Can I still get a pediatrician for my baby?
    Of course! Most people don’t meet their pediatrician until after their baby is born. Ask your friends for recommendations or look at parenting forums. These are often helpful in choosing which pediatrician to start with. The baby should be seen within 2-3 days of hospital discharge to make sure that they are gaining weight well and to go over your questions. You can have a great relationship with your pediatrician regardless of whether you had a prenatal visit.

    This article is by Jessica Pallay courtesy of Well Rounded NY.  Conceived with love by former magazine editors Jessica Pallay and Kaity Velez, Well Rounded NY aims to be the singular pregnancy resource for city-savvy moms-to-be. Through reviews, profiles, expert Q&As, local guides and more, Well Rounded curates the New York City pregnancy and helps its readers come to terms – and term! – with pregnancy in the city.

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