Making Toys Count by Christine Satterfield

Before I had my son, I knew nothing about children. I never had siblings or cousins to “practice” on and babysitting wasn’t my thing. So the first time I walked into the big baby warehouse with my husband I was floored! Who knew babies needed so much stuff?

Well, I’ve since found out that children don’t need much. Diapers, clothes, a lot of love, and — if you don’t have empty boxes and plastic containers around — a few toys will keep them occupied for hours.

Picking out toys for our children, though, can be quite cumbersome. If you frequent one of the big toy warehouses you may know all too well the temptation to buy every single toy in the store. Even trips to the consignment sale and discount store can tempt you into buying more than needed, because the toys are such a good deal! Toys are tricky. As parents, we want to provide our children with every opportunity to learn, but we don’t want to overwhelm them with so many choices that they don’t even know where to begin.

I’ve decided to be quite choosy with the toys my son has at home. The toybox isn’t overflowing, so we try to be very purposeful with the toys he has to play with. The goal is for each toy to help instill the Word of God in his heart and reinforce the principles and stories of the Bible.

Instead of choosing a cartoon coloring book, I’ll choose one with a Bible story theme. Instead of letting him watch cartoons on TV, I’d rather he watch something like VeggieTales. When he’s learning shapes, we’ll choose the toy pictured here most often so he can hear the story of Noah’s ark.

Being choosy with toys won’t necessarily ensure that our children will grow up to love God with all their heart, soul and strength. But I want to utilize every opportunity to teach my son (and future children) about God and His Word. I want to live out Deuteronomy 6:5-9 and literally repeat His Word to my children, talk about it when we sit in our house, walk along the road, when we lie down, and when we get up.

Christine Satterfield loves Jesus, her family, and the church. She spends as much time as possible playing with her son, and she’s constantly cleaning his toys. You can find out how she cleans them on her blog iDreamofClean as well as learn other household cleaning tips and tricks for the busy mom.

Originally published October 10, 2010.

Real Life Solutions: Pacifier Use

We are proud to have Dr. Linda Mintle in ParentLife each month answering questions submitted from readers. To submit a question for Dr. Mintle, e-mail it to parentlife@lifeway.com and include “? for Dr. Mintle” on the subject line. This month we have an extra Q&A from Dr. Mintle we wanted to share.

Pacifiers in the tree
source: Dilona

Q: I have been trying very hard not to have my baby use a pacifier. I’m the only one of my friends who seems to be overly concerned about this. My mother-in-law is telling me to lighten up. I’ve read that pacifiers can affect a baby’s speech. Am I overreacting?

A: This is a generational question that parents must consider. Pacifiers are typically used to soothe and distract a baby.

Here is what we know. One positive finding about pacifier use is that it has been linked to reduced risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in sleeping babies. On the negative side, thumb sucking, pacifier use, and even bottle use have been associated with an increase in the risk of speech disorders when the sucking is long-term.

Breastfeeding did not have this effect on children and in fact, promotes positive oral development. And pacifier use can interfere with breastfeeding.

In terms of pacifier use, the results from a 2009 study published in BMC Pediatrics were based on children who used pacifiers for more than three years. These kids were three times more likely to develop speech impediments. Now, the authors of this study also said that pacifier use and thumb-sucking for less than three years increased risk. The reason has to do with how the sucking motion changes the normal shape of the dental arch and bite.

We also know that pacifier use can be associated with middle ear infections. However, the Mayo Clinic tells us that when the risk of SIDS is the highest (birth to six months), rates of middle ear infections are also low.  The recommendation to reduce SIDS is to offer a pacifier at bed or naptime until the age of one.

So the information is a bit confusing. I don’t believe you are overreacting. The concern about pacifier use grows as your baby grows. You can choose other ways to soothe your baby. I’m a big believer in nursing because there are so many benefits to the baby and you. If you are breastfeeding, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you wait until four to six weeks after birth to introduce a pacifier. Certainly, don’t give a baby a pacifier all day, choose a silicone one-piece to avoid breaking (a choking hazard), and don’t force the use.

Resource: Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5

A Twist on Tummy Time by Brian Dembowczyk

Tummy time
source: dryfish

Tummy time helps your baby develop muscles that help with rolling over, sitting up, and crawling. Always put your baby to sleep on her back, but she can enjoy tummy time during the day.

For a new twist on tummy time …

  1. Use a bolster or rolled up towel to prop up your baby.
  2. Dim the lights and lie down next to your baby.
  3. Shine a flashlight on the wall.
  4. Draw your baby’s attention so she can focus on the beam of light.
  5. Move the light side to side very slowly.

Did your babies enjoy tummy time? 

Growth Spurts: On the Way

pregnant
source: summerbl4ck

In our October 2012 issue, you can learn about childbirth class and not smoking on our Growth Spurts: On the Way page. Here are a few more pointers we couldn’t squeeze in the magazine.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes shows up as a complication for some mothers during pregnancy. Your doctor will test you between weeks 24 and 28. Typically, you can control gestational diabetes with a healthy lifestyle.

  • Eat healthy foods. If you test positive for gestational diabetes, your health care team can help create healthy meal plans for the duration of your pregnancy.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise helps keep blood sugar under control. Consult with your doctor about how often to exercise and what types of exercise are appropriate for you.
  • Monitor blood sugar. Your blood sugar levels can change quickly. Check with your doctor about how often to check your blood sugar.
  • Take insulin. Sometimes pregnant women with gestational diabetes need to take insulin. Take insulin only as directed by your doctor.
  • Get tested after pregnancy. Get tested for diabetes again 6 to 12 weeks after delivery and then every 1 to 3 years. Typically, gestational diabetes goes away after delivery. However, 50 percent of women with gestational diabetes develop Type 2 diabetes later in life. Consult with your doctor about being retested and continue maintaining a healthy lifestyle of eating well and exercising.

DOCTOR Appointments

Mom, be prepared to attend several doctor’s appointments. The first visits will be scattered apart with a preliminary ultrasound to confirm the baby’s heartbeat. The appointments will become more frequent the closer you get to your due date.

 

Are you pregnant? If so, how far along? I (Jessie) am almost 16 weeks with my third baby. I’ve found lemon-lime glucose drink is the trick to having the gestational diabetes test without gagging!

It’s About Faith, Baby!

Are you looking for faith-based clothes for your baby or toddler?

44_FaithBabyLogo.jpgCheck out Faith Baby (www.faithbaby.com). Faith Baby, a Christian children’s clothing Web site, promises one-of-a-kind designs to enlighten the heart and celebrate faith. Faith Baby offers high-quality clothes and gifts for babies and toddlers featuring positive messages to rejoice in God’s smallest blessings.
 
The site offers an alternative to the recent trend of “attitude-wear” for babies by featuring positive messages of Christian faith on onesies, tees, pants and accessories with a stylish, modern sensibility.
 
Ideal for baby showers, birthdays, baby dedications, or simply to celebrate one’s joy over the birth of a new baby, Faith Baby products are made of super-soft 100% cotton. Onesies come in a variety of colors in sizes from 3 to 6 months to 12 to 18 months. Toddler t-shirts come in four color options in sizes 2T to 4T. The new “frilly” infant pants are one-size fits most from 6 to 12 months, and will soon be available in new color variations.