Archives for May 2010

Fun Friday Photo — May 28, 2010

"Just ship me to Grandma’s!"

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Thanks to Kiki E. for this great photo!

Photos wanted! Send us your funny, cute, or just plain fun pictures for our Fun Friday Photos. Each Friday we will post a new "Fun Friday Photo." E-mail your photo and a suggested caption describing the photo to parentlife@lifeway.com. Visit the blog each Friday to see if your photo was chosen!

10 Tips to Maintain a Germ-Free Nursery

It wasn’t long ago that I was working diligently to prepare a nursery for our little boy, Jack. I vividly remember wanting everything to be organized, clean, and beautiful. Every parent wants Baby’s room to be safe and clean. Consider the following 10 tips from Dr. Benjamin Tanner.

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1. Identify the germ “hot spots” within your nursery and clean them often. Germ hot spots within the nursery are the areas that come in contact with waste in diapers and other body fluids, either directly or indirectly. Diaper waste — and the millions and millions of germs in it — can be spread by hands and objects that come in contact with it. Since germs are microscopic and invisible to the naked eye, it’s easy to spread many of them to clean surfaces without knowing it. Areas where most bacteria typically gather include:

  • Changing Table – This is the place where diaper messes and germs are transferred from the diaper to baby’s skin – and possibly mom’s hands. And a dirty diaper likely has more germs inside it than anything else in the nursery.
  • Laundry Hamper – Studies have shown that laundry, especially if it has come in contact with bodily fluids, can harbor great quantities of bacteria and even spread them to clean clothes through normal washing cycles.
  • Floor – Germs on the floor are not a concern for adults, but the floor is where babies lay, crawl, and play. Most floor germs aren’t of the harmful type, but it’s still a hot spot to keep an eye on.
  • Toys/Toy chest – The average toy isn’t loaded with germs, but toys will transmit them easily if they become contaminated, since toys come in contact with playmates’ hands, skin, and mouths.

2. Learn the difference between cleaners and disinfectants, and which is appropriate for your nursery. Cleaners remove most soils, but may spread germs around. Disinfectants actually kill germs when used correctly.

  • To use a disinfectant correctly in a nursery, remove your baby from the spray or wipe zone and apply the product liberally. After the label-specified contact time elapses, wipe off the surface with a wet cloth or paper towel to get rid of any irritating residual chemicals so your baby’s delicate skin does not touch these chemicals.
  • It’s also wise to disinfect hard floors and vacuum carpets routinely to keep germ levels low. Tip: Disinfectants say “disinfects,” “antibacterial,” or “sanitizes” on the label

3. Set aside a special place in the nursery for disinfectants so they are readily available for quick cleaning but safely out of reach of children. Even “non-toxic” cleaners can be dangerous to children, so keep cleaners on a high shelf in the closet or a child-proofed drawer of the dresser.

4. Keep messes (and germs) to a minimum when changing dirty diapers in the nursery.

  • Establish a quick, mess-free diaper changing routine, and keep supplies handy and close by.
  • Create a dedicated changing area that can be easily cleaned and disinfected.
  • Take extra care to handle diapers from the outside surfaces and avoid touching waste.
  • Get rid of diapers in a hygienic fashion that keeps germs sealed away. I recommend the Diaper Genie II Elite™ Disposal System. It seals odor into the pail and out of your nursery unlike an ordinary trash can and plastic bag. Diapers only touch the disposable film, not the pail, so there is one less thing to clean. The Diaper Genie II Elite™ Disposal System also has Antimicrobial Protection built into the plastic to inhibit odor-causing bacteria.

5. Keep soap and warm water, or where soap and water are not available, antibacterial hand wipes, nearby to use after changing your baby in the nursery. This will help stop the spread of germs within the nursery. Tip: When soap and water are not available, consider using an antibacterial hand wipe, such as Wet Ones® Antibacterial Hands and Face Wipes. Wet Ones Antibacterial Hands and Face Wipes are clinically proven to be just as effective as gel hand sanitizers in killing 99.99% of germs, and also clean away dirt and messes.

6. Keep baby bottles away from germ hot spots, such as the changing table, and only handle them when your hands are clean. Harmful germs can grow very quickly in formula and breast milk — be sure to keep bottles clean and dry when not in use.

7. Keep a special hamper inside the nursery to use specifically for heavily soiled baby laundry. This special, separate hamper will help prevent bacteria on heavily soiled laundry from spreading throughout the rest of the nursery. Also, take special care when laundering heavily soiled baby clothing and bedding to prevent the spread of germs through the laundry.

  • Use hot water and/or chlorine bleach.
  • Dry laundry in a hot dryer cycle.

8. Take special precautions within the nursery when baby is sick to prevent spread of illness to other children and throughout the rest of the nursery.

  • Disinfect nursery “hot spots” more frequently.
  • Reduce time other children spend in the nursery and with Baby.

9. Take special precautions in the nursery when you or other family members are sick to keep from giving your infection to baby and spreading throughout the nursery.

  • Cover all coughs and sneezes.
  • Wash hands before contact with baby and when entering the nursery.

10. Reduce pet access to the nursery.

  • Reptiles and birds frequently harbor dangerous germs, like salmonella. Make sure that children wash hands well with soap and warm water after handling reptiles and before coming into the nursery, and keep bird bedding/litter out of the nursery altogether.
  • Dogs and cats are less risky but still may carry certain kinds of harmful bacteria. Cats may harbor a parasite that is of particular concern to pregnant women — if you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, avoid changing cat litter to reduce exposure to the parasite toxoplasma.
  • If a pet makes a mess on the carpet, make sure to spray it with a non-bleach disinfectant after cleanup to prevent those germs from spreading to baby during playtime.

What tips have you found to be helpful to keep your baby’s nursery clean? Are there products that you have found to be helpful?

 

Award-Winning BabyLife

The ParentLife team has some great news we wanted to share with you!

BabyLifeCover.jpgOur most recent edition of Babylife (special edition of ParentLife) won a Bronze Eddie Award from Folio Magazine — a magazine serving the entire magazine publishing industry. The Eddie and Ozzie Awards is the largest awards competition in magazine publishing. The Eddies recognize editorial excellence, while the Ozzies recognize excellence in magazine design.

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There were lots of categories, but we earned Bronze Eddie in "Supplemental Annual/One-Shot, Full Issue," third only to Golf Digest Index 2009 and Discover.

We are so excited and truly honored to receive this prestigious award!

BabyLife will soon be getting an updated cover with the same award-winning content! If you don’t have a copy, be sure to check it out!

Fun Friday Photo — May 21, 2010

11-month-old Mae shows off her sweet smile!

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Thanks to Bethany G. for this great photo!

Photos wanted! Send us your funny, cute, or just plain fun pictures for our Fun Friday Photos. Each Friday we will post a new "Fun Friday Photo." E-mail your photo and a suggested caption describing the photo to parentlife@lifeway.com. Visit the blog each Friday to see if your photo was chosen!

Letting Go … Sort of!

I’m struggling to let go of my little boy! No … he’s not graduating from high school and going off to college like so many parents are dealing with these days. He’s not even moving from elementary school to middle school this fall or headed off to summer camp soon. After all, he’s not even 2 yet … but I’m still struggling. Confused?

You see … often working moms have to put their children in day care because it is their best (or only) option. But my husband and I have been blessed with wonderful mothers that live close enough to take turns caring for Jack on the weekdays while we are at work. I’m not saying it’s easy to leave him every day, but at least I completely trust his caregivers because I know they care for him just as much as I do. They truly take care of him as if he was their own … except for maybe the occasional spoiling that grandmothers are entitled to!!

132_Jack_Worm.jpgBut lately I have been wondering if Jack would enjoy going to a mother’s day out or weekday preschool program and being around other children. Being the worrier that I am, I worry that without frequent interactions with other children and adults Jack is missing some important social development skills. I also think structure is healthy for every child and it would be good for him to get used to structure. I wonder if he would start talking more often and more clearly if he had the chance to interact with his peers more than just on Sundays. Not to mention that fact that Jack LOVES other kids. His face lights up when other kids are around.

Being totally honest and transparent … I still get nervous leaving Jack with preschool volunteers at church. We recently took advantage of a parent’s night out hosted by our church and I had knots in my stomach for the first 30 minutes after we left him. But it turns out, he was in great hands and had a blast!

So that is where the letting go comes in.  I really want Jack to benefit from a mother’s day out/preschool setting (not to mention give the grandparents a break), but I have a very hard time trusting other people to care for my child. The thought of leaving Jack with people that don’t love him like I do and I don’t know very well terrifies me. 

All of this makes me wonder if it will ever get any easier? What will it be like to send him off to kindergarten, elementary school, summer camp, … ? The list goes on and on (and I’m breaking out in a sweat just thinking about it)! All I know is that I have to learn to trust that God is in control … and though it’s hard to fathom, He loves Jack even more than I do. Jack belongs to God (not me) and his every move is in God’s hands. I just need to pray that God will help me loosen my grip when the time is right!

Does it ever get any easier to let go? Do you struggle trust issues like I do … with others … with God? What helps you as you face these challenging situations?

Puberty and Your Preteen

Have you had "the talk" with your preteen? Every parent knows exactly what talk this is and more than likely dreads it! However, there is another approach to this talk – that of an ongoing conversation about boundaries, roles, anatomy, and your child as a special creation of God — that renders the talk a natural outgrowth of previous conversations. In other words, it is not the talk, but an ongoing conversation.

In the May issue of ParentLife, be sure to catch both approaches! Check out our feature on a lifetime of conversation with your child and the preteen Growth Spurt (pp. 16-17) about talking to your child about sex. In addition to this article, the author provided a few extra facts that sheds light on the changes boys and girls go through during puberty.

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The Normal Life of Boys in Puberty
A boy experiences five to seven surges of testosterone each day. This will affect his body as it grows and changes. It also will affect his feelings. He will be sad, happy, embarrassed, and angry, often all at the same time. He also will think about girls and sex on a very regular basis (statistics say every 20 seconds).

The Normal Life of Girls in Puberty
A girl’s brain moves into hyper drive during puberty. The brain connections grow rapidly, affecting two things predominantly: her memory and her self-confidence. So she periodically will not remember even things that are important to her. She often will feel bad about herself for no reason at all. The changes in her hormones also will cause her moods to fluctuate often and with great intensity.

What has helped you in conversations with your preteen about these sensitive topics?

 

When Conflict Happens

In her May 2010 ParentLife article "A Step of Faith," Mary Ann Bradberry helps parents of infants feel more comfortable taking their babies to church and leaving them with church caregivers. But what do you do when conflict arises between you and your child’s teachers?

Misunderstandings between parents and teachers often are inevitable. However, because the church is a partner in the spiritual development of your child, it is essential to work out differences. These tips may help create a positive outcome when you face a conflict.
 

  1. May-18_baby.jpgTalk to the teacher. However, avoid an angry outburst when picking up your child. Instead contact the teacher to discuss the situation. If the teacher is unwilling to talk with you, contact the person responsible for the preschool ministry.
  2. Listen carefully. Ask specific questions to get the facts about the situation. Use open-ended questions such as “Can you explain to me the policy for contacting parents when a baby is upset and cannot be soothed by a teacher?” Follow-up with more specific questions and express your concern about not being paged or notified that your child was upset. Often teachers want parents to enjoy a worship service without interruption.
  3. Brainstorm a solution together. Often expressing your desires will solve the problem. Most conflicts arise from miscommunication between parents and teacher.

Be sure not to miss "Seven Signs That Babies Matter" (p. 9 of May 2010 ParentLife) for characteristics of a quality church program for infants.

Have you ever had a problem with your child’s teachers at church? How did you handle the conflict?

May Giveaway — BornFree Gift Set

BornFreeStarterSet.jpgDon’t forget about our May giveaway. BornFree has generously provided ParentLife with one Smart Start Gift Set to giveaway this month. The gift set is packed with BPA-free products including one sterilizer, three 5-ounce bottles, one 9-ounce bottle, one twin pack level 2 nipples, one day and night silicone pacifier, and one twister brush set!

Everyone* who posts a comment on our blog during the month of May will automatically be entered to win this starter kit. A winner will be drawn randomly on June 1, 2010. So let us hear from you!

*LifeWay employees are not eligible for this giveaway. Multiple comments do not increase chances of winning.

What products did you find most helpful as the parent of a newborn? Any recommendations for our expectant parent readers or parents of newborns?

Fun Friday Photo — May 14, 2010

Elijah and Josiah are brothers … and best friends!

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Thanks to Ken and Lygia L. for this great photo!

Photos wanted! Send us your funny, cute, or just plain fun pictures for our Fun Friday Photos. Each Friday we will post a new "Fun Friday Photo." E-mail your photo and a suggested caption describing the photo to parentlife@lifeway.com. Visit the blog each Friday to see if your photo was chosen!

Cook With Your Kids

christopher.jpgOK, I admit it. I like to cook! And so do my kids, especially 6-year-old Christopher. We made scrambled eggs together one day for breakfast this week. But Christopher loves to mix, stir, blend, pour, and … taste as we go! And remember, not all cooking involves the stove. One of our favorites is the Friday morning smoothie! We love to feature cooking info in ParentLife and thought about sharing a few great Web sites for cooking with your kids. So surf and find the perfect recipe you can use to have some fun cooking time with your child!

Disney’s Family Fun — familyfun.go.com/recipes

Parents® — www.parents.com/recipes

“Parent Helpers; Cooking With Kids,” PBS Parents — www.pbs.org/parents/parenthelpers/cooking.html

Cooking With Kids — www.cookingwithkids.com

Tell us some of your favorite things to cook together!