Hygiene plays a crucial component of a baby's overall care. Practicing a good hygiene is extremely important to keep your baby happy and healthy all the time.

Eight essential hygiene rules for your baby. Here are eight simple good hygiene practices to adopt when you have a baby.

  • Washing your hands with a good antibacterial soap is essential for removing harmful bacteria and germs that cause colds, flu, diarrhea and other infections. Be sure to dry your hands properly and wash your hand towels regularly. It's especially important to wash your hands before feeding your baby, after handling raw food, after changing a nappy or going to the toilet yourself, after touching pets, after touching anything dirty such as dirty nappies, rubbish or food waste.
  • You don't need to clean the house every day from top to bottom with disinfectant, you just need to pay particular attention to the surfaces that are most likely to harbour germs and bacteria. Focus on the areas that have a lot of contact with food, bodies and hands, such as bathrooms, kitchen benches, tables, crockery, cutlery and glassware. You need to be cleaning these properly. Use hot water with detergent for crockery, cutlery and glasses, while kitchens and bathrooms will need a thorough clean with a good disinfectant. Pay particular attention to taps, toilet seats, benches and door handles. Dry surfaces as well if they are not in a well-ventilated area with natural light.
  • Babies love to put things into their mouths, and toys are often the closest thing to hand. Be sure to regularly give your child's toys a clean with a good disinfectant. Wipe hard plastic toys down and make sure you rinse them thoroughly or put plush toys through the washing machine.
  • A good bath is essential for keeping your baby clean and tidy, but you need to make sure you are not over-washing as this is damaging to your baby's sensitive skin. In the first year of your baby's life a full bath is necessary only two or three times a week. Check out our step-by-step guide to bathing your baby.
  • These are three areas that need some special attention. Always keep your baby's nails well-trimmed so that they can't scratch themselves — the best time to trim them is when your baby is asleep. Be sure to use baby-sized nail clippers and not to cut the nails too short as these will hurt your baby.
  • Only wash the outside of your baby's ears, never the inside, and never insert cotton wool buds into your baby's ears. If your baby is unhappy and touching their ears repeatedly, this could be a sign of infection — be sure to get this looked at by a medical professional.
  • Clean any dried mucous from your baby's nose, as this can cause difficulty breathing. Use a damp wash cloth to gently remove the dried mucous. A nasal syringe may be needed to help remove excess mucous, but consult your baby's health practitioner before using one of these.
  • Be sure to keep your baby's eyes clear of any dried mucous. Use damp cotton wool to gently clean their eyes and seek medical attention if you notice your baby's eyes are irritated.

Screen time can lead to your toddler developing sleep problems

How screen time affects your toddler's sleep

Studies have found that the more time toddlers spend using touchscreen devices, the more likely they are to develop sleep problems. By Kim Bell

The post Screen time can lead to your toddler developing sleep problems appeared first on Living and Loving.

How screen time affects your toddler's sleep

Studies have found that the more time toddlers spend using touchscreen devices, the more likely they are to develop sleep problems. By Kim Bell

The post Screen time can lead to your toddler developing sleep problems appeared first on Living and Loving.

How screen time affects your toddler's sleep

We are raising a generation of children floating in a digital marinade, says creative parenting expert and author Nikki bush, who co-authored Tech-Savvy Parenting with Arthur Goldstruck.

“By virtue of the fact that your child was most likely born in the 21st century, or at the tail end of the 20th century, they have been surrounded by digital their entire lives. In other words, they have been digitally nurtured. As a result, they are wired for technology and there are no barriers to their entry into any new digital playground.”

However, Nikki and Arthur add: “Children are born human and, therefore, their first language is not digital, it is love. They are born into a human world surrounded by touch, multisensory stimulation, and emotion. Our first and most important role in their lives is to marinade them in love.”

Between the ages of 0 and 24 months, your child is learning how to coordinate various parts of her body and how to defy gravity, which is a big thing, say the experts. “From birth to age two, the body takes the most phenomenal journey, from the warmth and comfort of the womb to opening up from the foetal position, activating and then shutting down various important reflexes that are part of human development, to learning how to roll over, kneel, crawl, sit, stand and walk. What drives most of this development is a curiosity to explore the world.” Emotionally, Bush says, babies and toddlers are bonding with their parents and caregivers, learning how to trust them. “From 18 months, they embark on a journey to independence by discovering that they are actually separate from their mothers. By the age of two, they start to become more social and interact with other children. From birth, children need to hear their parents’ voices and we need to talk them clever.”

What this means, in a nutshell, is that this is a huge growth and development time – one that can be either helped or hindered by tech usage.

Babies and toddlers, say Nikki and Arthur, are multisensory learners who need more than just a screen. One of the questions they are often asked is, “My child can’t fall asleep without my smartphone or tablet in their hand, is that OK?” One of the biggest problems with this, says Nikki, is that that this hinders your baby and toddler developing the life skill of being able to put themselves to sleep, which is known as self-regulation.

ALSO SEE: 3 things tech devices should not be used for

Why screen time before bed is not a good idea

Sleep and screen time has been the topic of much research in recent years, and studies have found that the more time toddlers spend using, in particular, touchscreen devices, the more likely they are to develop sleep problems. According to researchers at the University of London and King’s College London, three quarters of children aged six months to three years are exposed to an iPad or smartphone every day. Lead researcher and psychology lecturer, Tim Smith, explains that the light emitted by electronic screens has been linked to lower levels of melatonin (the sleep-regulating hormone) in adults, and this is believed to have the same effect on children. Smith’s study found that for each extra hour a baby or toddler spent on a touch-activated screen, they lost nearly 16 minutes of sleep.

Australian sleep expert, Dr Sarah Loughran, concurs. She says too much screen time can hamper your toddler under two in the following ways:

  1. The use of phones and tablets can lead to delays in bedtime, which results in less time for sleep.
  2. The content your child is watching may be engaging and stimulating the brain, rather than calming and getting ready for sleep. This may trigger emotional and hormonal responses, such as the increase of adrenalin, which reduces your child’s ability to fall and stay asleep.
  3. The light emissions from electronic devices disrupts your child’s naturally occurring circadian rhythm by increasing alertness and suppressing the release of melatonin, which is required for regulating a healthy sleep-wake cycle.

What you can do:

Nikki explains that children at this age should be more off-screen than on, as the best way to learn about the world is though concrete, physical, multisensory interaction to help them make sense of the world. Under the age of two, it is recommended that your child has under an hour a day.

  1. Your child learns by your actions, so restrict your own screen time when you are together.
  2. Set a “bed time” for all media devices. Ideally, this should happen a good one to two hours prior to your child’s own bedtime (try this yourself as well, so you all have healthy sleep habits).
  3. If screen time is a problem in your household, ban media devices in the bedroom.
  4. Limit food and drinks during screen time (and in particular at night). Electronic devices tend to be linked to mindless eating, which can also stimulate the body and lead to an imbalance of hormones.
  5. Create a regular routine for sleeping, playing and eating.
  6. Babies need loads of human contact, including cuddling and rocking and hearing your voice. If your baby does have screen time, perhaps cuddle her on your lap at the time, and talk to her.
  7. Read to your toddler on your lap. “This provides real, warm, fuzzy connection moments,” say Nikki and Arthur. “Encourage reading and a love of books by providing them with a variety of board books, including touch-and-feel options with different textures, sound buttons and clear pictures.”

Did you know? Not all screen time is bad. In fact, research has found that touchscreen devices can help improve motor skills. It is the when, the where, the why and the length of time spent on electronic devices that leads to problems.

The dangers of tech addiction

Dr Nicholas Kardaras, one of the top addiction experts in the US and author of Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction Is Hijacking Our Kids, reveals that reliance on electronic devices can neurologically damage the developing brain of a child the same way that drug addiction can. He believes we should let children’s brains develop fully before being exposed to “digital drugs”. He was quoted as saying: “I’ve worked clinically with over 1 000 teens over the past decade plus and one of the most amazing things that I observed was that kids raised from an early age on a high-tech/high-screen diet suffered from what seemed to be a digital malaise. They were, almost universally, what I like to call “uninterested and uninteresting”. He added that they lacked a natural curiosity and a sense of wonder and imagination that non-screen kids seemed to have. “Kids’ brains develop during key developmental windows when they engage their active imagination in such things as creative play. These windows are when the body builds the most neuronal connections. Kids who are just passively stimulated by a glowing screen don’t have to do the neural heavy lifting to create those images. The images are provided for them, thus stunting their own creative abilities.”


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