Children's Health

Good Oral Hygiene Starts at Day One

July 19, 2011

Teeth brushingGuest contributor and Marin dentist Dr. Steven McConnell gives us some tips on oral hygiene for babies, young children, and parents. Good oral health begins at day one, so make sure you get your children on track for a lifetime of healthy habits.

  • Caring for kids starts with caring for yourself, not only because periodontal disease can be contagious, but it is always good to lead by example.
  • For babies be sure to use dental friendly pacifiers and bottle nipples. The classic is the Nuk design.
  • Always avoid putting babies to bed with any bottles as the pooled milk or juice can lead to severe decay.
  • On babies, before teeth are present, use single gauze or thin wash cloth to gently displace bacteria-rich film that sticks to gum ridges. As they get teeth, continue to use gauze or wash cloth. Be sure to use dental-friendly pacifiers and bottle nipples. Never put them to bed with a bottle as the pooled milk or juice can lead to severe decay.

Amazing Babies Moving Workshop This August

July 17, 2011

Amazing Babies MovingDiscover the essential knowledge of natural movement development, social interactions and self-motivated learning in the baby’s first year in the Amazing Babies Moving Program for Educators, Professionals and Parents. The Amazing Babies Moving Program provides participants with a unique two-part framework for understanding natural movement development in the baby’s first year. The benefits of this approach is that it provides a clear guide to understanding movement development, pre-verbal communication and self-motivated learning in babies. Parents, educators, and professionals will find it an effective way to communicate this important information to actively support parents and babies in the first year.

The Amazing Babies Moving Approach covers natural movement, communication and learning development from birth to walking.

  • The Pre-Locomotion Baby: Newborn–5 months
  • The Locomotion Baby: 6–12 months

Get Baby to Sleep the Natural Way with the Hand-to-Heart Sleep Swaddle

June 28, 2011

Hands-to-Heart Sleep SwaddleMarin parent coach, family therapist, and sleep researcher Angelique Millette has helped countless parents, especially in the area of getting babies, toddlers, and children to get the good night's sleep they need. She is also the creator of the Hands-to-Heart Sleep Swaddle, a combination swaddle and sleep sack that helps babies go to sleep the natural and safe way.

If you're a parent, you're either actively involved in swaddling your baby to try to get her to sleep, or you remember doing it. I always thought it was incredible the way the Marin General maternity staff wrapped up both our kids snug and tight. When we tried it, they'd invariably develop amazing "Houdini Hands" skills and wriggle their way free from the swaddling, no matter how snug and comfy we thought it was.

Outdoor Safety for Families: Poison Oak is Not Your Friend

June 5, 2011

Poison oakWith our copious amounts of rainfall this season, it's little wonder that we're seeing lush amounts of vegetation in Marin's forests and meadows. Unfortunately, much of this otherwise beautiful greenery is in the form of poison oak, an irritating plant that anyone participating in outdoor activities this summer should be wary of, especially children who may not be on the lookout for this distinctive shrub with leaves grouped in threes.

Please note that this post should not be a substitute for proper medical advice—if you suspect that someone in your family has developed a reaction to poison oak, go see your doctor or a dermatologist.

Outdoor Safety for Families: The Tiny and Terrible Tick

May 24, 2011

Adult deer tickWe just got back from our first camping trip of the season, and ran into a notorious and ubiquitous outdoor pest—the tick. We managed to get up-close-and-personal with one of the nasty little critters when we found one hanging out on my son's shoulder when we were getting him ready for bed. Fortunately, it hadn't bitten him yet, and we caught and disposed of the tick quickly and easily. It did reinforce for us the need to be vigilant in looking for ticks after most outdoor activities.

Often as small as a sesame seed, these nasty little parasites can be found all over California—you've no doubt seen the tick warning signs at many trailheads throughout Marin and the Bay Area. While in times past they were regarded as more of a nuisance than anything else, in the last 20 years or so they’ve become vectors for serious health problems, including the infamous Lyme disease. Of course, this article should not be a substitute for genuine medical advice, so if you suspect a real health problem, talk to your pediatrician.

Language Development and Possible Causes for Concern

May 23, 2011

Baby talkingHow should your child's language development be progressing? Marin Speech Pathologist Cydney Doerres, MS, CCC, fills us in on children's important developmental milestones and potential causes for concern in this guest article.

Do you recall how excited you were when your child said his first word? Talking and walking are two of the most important developmental milestones in a child’s and a parent’s life. We, as parents, often gage our children’s overall development based on the language that he understands and is producing. Catching a speech or language delay early is important as the ability to communicate helps your child to develop learning, play and social skills in preschool and earlier.

As a Speech and Language Pathologist/Therapist the most frequent question I hear from professionals, family, friends and parents is “Is my child talking at the right level for his/her age?” If I feel that I have observed the child well enough, then I can provide a confident answer, however, I have often only just met the child!

Secrets of a Baby Nurse by Marsha Podd, RN

April 20, 2011

Secrets of a Baby NurseVeteran parents will probably remember joking about forgetting to pick up the manual for their new baby when leaving the hospital. Of course there isn't a baby user manual, but the Secrets of a Baby Nurse: How to Have a Happy, Healthy, and SLEEPING Baby from Birth (185 pages, Rising Star, 2011; $17.95), the new book by seasoned maternal-infant nurse and "baby sleep wizard" Marsha Podd, RN, might just be the next best thing! Marsha has over 20 years of experience working with parents and small children, and is the author of numerous articles, including guest posts on Marin Mommies.

In Secrets of a Baby Nurse, Marsha provides new parents with just about everything they need to know about their new baby, especially when it comes to sleep (both yours and the baby's). Her helpful advice and tips are the product of years of experience and plenty of scientific research. It's kind of like having your own personal baby nurse on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I really really wish I had this book when my kids were babies—I don't think my son slept at all until he was three (at least it seemed like it at the time).

Combating Nature Deficit Disorder

April 2, 2011

girl in natureMarin Mommies is pleased to present a guest article by Ally Kushin, Camp Director for Coastal Camp at Headlands Institute. She discusses the increasing problem of nature deficit disorder and highlights local opportunities to connect children to the natural world. Ally has worked in the field of environmental education for the past 9 years as a naturalist, park ranger, and camp director.

In 2005 the book Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv popularized the term “nature deficit disorder.” In it, he refers to the trend of children spending less time outdoors, resulting in a wide range of behavioral, social, and medical problems. Louv claims that causes for the phenomenon include parental fears, restricted access to natural areas, and the “lure of the screen,” referring to increasing electronic media consumption.

Children who spend more time in nature are known to develop increased concentration, memory, and self discipline. The latest research has established amazing connections between the amount of time spent in nature to everything from better grades to increased immunity to germs to stronger bones.

Temperament: Who is this Kid Anyway?

February 8, 2011

Marin Mommies presents another guest article by Marin marriage and family therapist Kate Brennan.

We are all born with certain temperament traits. Some of us are active while others less so. Some of us are extraverts while others prefer to stay behind the scenes. This begs the question: Is it nature or nurture? Well, it turns out it is both. How does a child with an active temperament fare in a household of quiet sensitive types? Fine, if the parents realize this and make space for the active child to express him or her self. If given the opportunity, the active child will be able to channel the extra energy into sports perhaps, while the sensitive child may discover latent artistic talents. Temperament is the force that gives shape to certain aspects of personality. For example, a sensitive child may develop aptitudes that lead to a more quiet and reflective life as an adult.

Having a working knowledge of your child’s temperament can help you in being able to choose the best approach when working with them. It can help the preschool teacher to know in advance if they have a slow-to-warm-up child who may need extra time to enter a group, and It can help the doctor to anticipate how much compliance they are going to have if they know the level of tolerance the child has in their examining room.

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