How To Know If Your Baby Has A Hearing Problem

Children rely a lot on their hearing when learning new things. If hearing loss is not detected early, it can result in weaker speech/language skills, reading difficulty, and trouble with social skills in the future.

While most babies are born with perfect hearing, there is a chance that your child is affected by partial or full hearing loss. It is also crucial to identify and remedy problems as early as possible. Better to be safe than sorry, as they say.

Source: Tesco

How do I know if my baby has a hearing problem?

Hospitals will usually screen babies for hearing problems, among others, before declaring him or her safe to take home. However, hearing loss might develop in the later months.

Here’s a quick guide on what to expect if your baby has hearing problems:

  • doesn’t startle in response to sudden loud noises
  • doesn’t respond to sounds, music, or voices
  • isn’t soothed by soft sounds
  • doesn’t move or wake up at the sound of voices or nearby noises when sleeping in a quiet place
  • doesn’t make vowel sounds like “ohh” even after 2 months
  • doesn’t become quiet at the sound of familiar voices even after 2 months
  • doesn’t turn his/her head or eyes toward a sound that can’t be seen
  • doesn’t try to imitate sounds at around the 6-month mark
  • hasn’t begun to babble
  • seem to pay attention to vibrating noises (those that can be felt) but not those that can only be heard
  • doesn’t say single words like “dada” or “mama” when they are 1 year old
  • doesn’t pronounce different consonant sounds at the beginning of words when they are 1
  • doesn’t understand words that are common in everyday speech like “shoe”, “bye-bye”, or “come here”

This list is by not means exhaustive and is only a quick guideline.

If you notice that your baby has the above symptoms, bring them to a doctor for immediate screening tests.

Sources: Australian Hearing, Baby Center.

A Guide Line To Healthy Screen Time For Babies & Toddlers

Let’s be honest, smartphones and tablets might be seen as irresponsible parenting, but there are times when you just need to keep your baby occupied, right?

While too much screen time can be bad for your child – resulting in cognitive and social problems – limiting the time on apps or TV shows can actually help in developing your baby’s skills.

It is actually not recommended for children under the age of 1 to have screen time, other than video-chatting, of course. Once your toddler hits 18 months, screen time is recommended only if it is high quality content.

Source: Shutterstock

What is good quality content?

Good quality content means that your children get to learn something from it – be it literacy skills by singing along to nursery rhymes, or motor skills by dancing along to a song.

Good quality apps and games for your toddler:

  • Encourage creativity, by getting them to come up with story ideas or draw pictures
  • Encourage problem solving, by asking them to match objects to colour/shape
  • Develop their communication skills, by teaching them another language or improving their current language skills
  • Build on their interests, by getting them to solve puzzles or the such

Good quality TV programs, movies, or videos:

  • Have positive messages about relationships, family, and life
  • Inspire new play ideas 
  • Have positive stories where your child will learn life values
  • Are simple and easily understandable 
  • Do not have scary stuff such as explosions, yelling, or violence
  • Have little to no commercial exposure
Source: Codes

While watching shows or playing with an app can be a positive experience for your child, keep in mind that it is also important to balance this with other activities, such as physical play time. Also, remember to manage screen time by only allowing them a certain amount of time.

Sources: Raising Children, Common Sense Media.

Too Much Screen Time Can Be Bad For Your Baby

Smartphones and tablets are an easy way to keep babies occupied and take your hands off them for a ‘lil while. Sadly, too many parents are neglecting their responsibilities and choose to use this easy way instead of playing with their babies.

Researches have been done regarding this issue, and to no one’s surprise, researchers found that too much time in front of a screen and not getting enough required stimuli from the real world can result in stunted development.

Source: The Guardian

The negative effects of too much screen time

While many educational apps and TV shows are aimed at promoting brain development, most of the essential stimuli needed for child development in the early years can’t be found on screens. Children with extended exposure to electronic media can also be diagnosed with delayed cognitive development.

Dr Aric Sigman, an associate fellow of the British Psychological Society, says that too much screen time can result in permanent damage to the still-developing brains of very small children. He explains that too much screen time “is the very thing impending the development of the abilities that parents are so eager to foster through the tablets. The ability to focus, to concentrate, to lend attention, to sense other people’s attitude and communicate with them, to build a large vocabulary – all those abilities are harmed.”

Source: Life Hack

Problems that could arise

Having a short attention span, an inability to concentrate, a sensory system that may become hypo or hyper sensitive, under developed fine and gross motor skills, and poor social skills – these are just some of the problems that could affect your baby.

When used to watching the screen, children are disconnecting from society, which limits their interactions with children their own age or family members. They might also develop identities from the TV shows they watch.

This is because moving images spoon-feeds images, words, and pictures all at once to a baby’s brain. “Rather than having to take time to process a mother’s voice into words, visualise complete pictures, and exert a mental effort to follow a story line, kids who follow stories on their smartphones get lazy. The device does the thinking for them, and as a result, their own cognitive muscles remain weak,” explain Liraz Margalit, a psychologist at ClickTale.

Source: Simply Well

So, before you shove a tablet or smartphone to your baby, keep in mind the possible consequences.

Source: Active Baby Smart Kids.

Baby Poop: What’s Not Normal

Baby poop can be a very important indicator of your baby’s health.

Not so unlike an adult’s poop, baby poop can come in an array of colours – green, blue, orange, red, or more. It can also be solid, runny, and really watery. So, how do you determine if the poop comes from a healthy baby or one that needs medical attention?

In our previous article, we wrote about the types of normal poop excreted by babies. In this post, we will talk about the not-so-healthy poop.

Source: PBS

1. Runny Baby Poop

When a baby’s diarrhea is green, yellow, or brown – it can be quite normal. However, if it is green, yellow, or brown, AND runny, it can be an indication of an infection or allergy. If it goes too long without being treated, this could lead to dehydration.

2. Poop that is too hard

If your baby has poop that is too hard and is pebble-like, there might be a problem – your baby might be constipated. This could happen because of the introduction to solid foods, or it could be a sign of sensitivity to milk or soy (for example, lactose intolerance).

3. Red poop

Red poop? This means that there’s blood in your baby’s stool, right? Before you jump into conclusions, calm down. Yes, it can be an indication that your baby has a bacterial infection, but it could simply mean that your baby ate or drank something red – whether it be a tomato or fruit punch. To be sure, monitor your baby’s food intake and if there is no red food consumed, take them to the doctor.

4. Mucus in poop

If there is slimy, green-coloured streak with glistening strings, it means that there is mucus. Mucus in baby poop can mean that your baby has an infection.

5. White poop

As mentioned, chalky white poop can be a sign that your baby is not digesting food properly. It suggests that there is no bile from the liver present to help with digestion. It may also indicate a possible problem with your newborn’s bile ducts, including a cyst, tumour, or inflammation. Other possible ailments could be liver infections or gallstones

Source: Unity Point.

A Guide To Baby Poop

Baby poop can be a very easy way to determine your baby’s health. However, to new mothers, the array of colours and solidness of the poop can be very confusing.

To help you, we’ve prepared a poop guide:

Source: Mom Tricks

1. Meconium (newborn poo)

Colour: Dark green

Characteristic: Thick, sticky, shiny, and tar-like. Usually doesn’t smell and is comprised of bile, cells, mucus, and amniotic-intestinal fluids.

Occurrence: This will be your baby’s first bowel movement and it takes place 24 hours within birth.

2. Transitional poop 

Colour: Dark green, brown

Characteristic: Sticky but soft. Mixture of meconium and breast milk/formula.

Occurrence: This happens within 2 to 4 days, until your baby is eating well.

3. Breastfeeding poop

Colour: Yellow/yellow-green

Characteristic: Seedy, soft, and squishy and usually has a sweet smell.

Occurrence: Your baby will produce this kind of poop within 3 to 5 days. It is an indication that your baby is getting mature breast milk.

4. Formula poop

Colour: Yellow-brown, green-tan brown

Characteristic: Thick and firm and usually smellier than breastfeeding poop.

Occurrence: If your baby drinks formula, this will happen within the first and second weeks

5. Breastfeeding/formula combination poop

Colour: Dark yellow, brown

Characteristic: Thicker than formula poop

Occurrence: Your baby will have this kind of poop if they consume both breast milk and formula. Happens within the first month of birth.

6. Solid food poop

Colour: Dark brown, brown-yellow

Characteristic: Thick and firm but also soft and mushy. Might also be red, orange, green, or blue, depending on the types of food consumed. May contain undigested food chunks. It is also usually very smelly, depending on the food eaten.

Occurrence: When your baby starts on solids – usually after 4 to 6 months.

Sources: Baby Center, Parents.

How To Change Your Baby’s Sleeping Pattern

Is your baby’s sleeping schedule messing up your life? Do you need to find a way to change your baby’s sleeping pattern because of other factors? We’re here to help you with that.

Before we go into detail, you need to know that it takes some time to change your baby’s sleep pattern. It could take from 3 days to 14 days. Just like how it takes you a few days to adjust your body after experiencing jet lag, your baby need some time to adjust to their new change too.

Source: Health Line

Here are the steps needed to change your baby’s sleeping pattern:

1. Identify your baby’s sleeping habits

Does your baby need music to fall asleep? Do they fall asleep in the exact same place every night? Do they need to hug a dummy to sleep? All these habits are important indicators. Take note of them and try your best to recreate them when you want your baby to go to sleep.

2. Phase out existing sleeping habits.

If your baby falls asleep when he or she is being fed, it might be one of their sleeping habits. In that case, try to feed your baby at an earlier time, or change the feeding spot. This helps break the link between feeding and sleeping. If you want your baby to settle independently during the night, phase out night feeds altogether for babies older than 6 months. This is only one of the examples. If needed, find ways to remove the dummy from your baby and to subtly switch off music when its bedtime.

3. Establish a positive bedtime routine

This routine involves organising bedtime around a series of constant activities and tasks, which you should do in the same order and the same time every night. It also helps if your baby is getting enough sleep in the day. This is because babies who are overtired find it harder to settle to sleep at night. An example of a positive routine include having dinner, having a bath, brushing teeth, reading a book together, getting into bed, and ending with a goodnight kiss. Feel free to fix your own routine.

4. Teach your baby to settle back to sleep.

You need a strategy to teach your baby to get back to sleep by themselves. To help them, you can use a behaviour management technique like controlled comforting or camping out. Controlled comforting is when you spend the minimal time comforting and settling your baby when putting them back to sleep. Gradually cut back on the time and attention until your baby learn to sleep by themselves. Camping out is when you stay in your baby’s bedroom to help them settle. Gradually cut back on the time you stay in the room until they are able to fall back asleep without your help.

Source: Raising Children.

Things You Need To Know About Baby Sleeping Patterns

Baby sleeping patterns are really irregular, which might cause distress to you and your family. However, irregularity might be a sign that something’s wrong with your baby’s sleeping patterns. This could also be a sign of a larger problem.

Source: Lulla Doll

The lack of sleep can cause a chain of problems, which might cause a rift in the family.

The chain reaction is as follows:

1. A tired baby means a grumpy baby which has more demands, and is harder to comfort and settle.

2. This means that you won’t be getting enough sleep either, as you need to constantly be on your toes.

3. This could cause you to feel exhausted and stressed – which in turn could lead to your falling sick more often

4. Lack of sleep can also lead to anxiety and depression.

5. As it gets harder to deal with day-to-day demands of caring for your baby, you could resent them.

6. Being tired can make it difficult to think straight, and you might have trouble concentrating.

7. Parenting will be tough, but so will balancing your job.

8. This is turn will bring up problems with other family members and colleagues.

How do you determine if your baby has a sleeping problem?

For the first 6 months of their life, it’s difficult to ascertain any problems just by their sleeping patterns as it varies too much. For example, it’s totally normal for your baby to wake up regularly at night for feeding. That’s not to say your baby will have regular sleep after 6 months.

However, your baby might have a sleep problem is they show these signs for about 3 months, even after they are 6 months or older:

  • consistently wakes more than 3 times a night,
  • consistently takes more than 30 minutes to settle, or
  • has difficulties with sleeping and settling that cause you a lot of distress.

Talk to your doctor to determine if these irregularities are a cause for concern. Try to settle in a schedule and set up a positive bedtime routine. If you feel that it’s out of your control, get professional help for settling babies.

Source: Raising Children.

What Should I Do If My Baby Is Lactose Intolerant?

While it is uncommon for babies to be lactose intolerant, it does happen.

If your child is affected by it, do not go into panic mode. It is not a life threatening issue, but it can make your baby feel really uncomfortable. So what should you do if your baby is lactose intolerant?

Source: Motley Fool

1. You can continue breastfeeding him or her.

This is because breast milk has so many nutritional benefits and lactose is actually good for your baby’s growth. Your baby can also usually tolerate a small amount of lactose, and gradually increasing it can help his or her body produce more lactase. However, consult your doctor before proceeding with this.

2. Change to a low-lactose or lactose-free infant formula.

If you do not want your baby to feel uncomfortable, you can switch to formula. There are a few types of formula targeted at lactose intolerant babies. Do take note that if your child is under 6 months old, it is best to avoid using soy-based infant formula.

3. Read all food labels!

If you’re hellbent on avoiding all products with dairy, reading food labels is an important step. Products like pancake, cookie mixes, cereal, instant soups, and some breads contain lactose, so stay away from them if possible. If ingredients such as whey, curds, milk byproducts, dry milk solids, and nonfat dry milk powder are listed, it means that there is lactose in the product.

4. Watch your baby’s reaction.

Your baby might be lactose intolerant, but there is different levels of the conditions. Some can digest small amounts of lactose, while some develop symptoms just from a small amount. Different kinds of cheese have different amount of lactose, and live-culture yoghurt has less lactose than milk or other dairy products. Observe your baby and adjust their diet accordingly.

5. Make sure your baby still has a healthy diet.

Removing lactose from your baby’s diet means that you are cutting off a crucial source of nutrition. If you are taking off milk products, make sure that your baby consume enough calcium for their growth. Alternatively, lactose-free products are also easily available nowadays.

Sources: Raising ChildrenBaby Center.

The Causes & Symptoms Of Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance is a condition that is characterised by the body’s inability to break down a sugar called lactose. This occurs because the body doesn’t have lactase enzymes. Although it’s rare for babies to be born with lactose intolerance, it does happen.

Lactose is also heavily present in a baby’s diet, with breast milk, formula, dairy milk, and other dairy products all containing it. The disaccharide is crucial for your baby’s health and development and provides around 40% of your baby’s energy needs and helps them absorb calcium and iron.

Source: Today

What causes lactose intolerance?

It is difficult to determine why the condition affects some and not others, but it is definitely not rare. Scientifically, the condition is caused by these 3 reasons:

1. Lactase non-persistence (hypolactasia)

This is the most common type of lactose intolerance, with around 70% having this condition. It is genetics and happens when the child’s lactase enzymes gradually start to decrease. Symptoms can appear after the age of 5 but are usually more noticeable in teenagers and young adults.

2. Congenital lactase deficiency (alactasia)

This is when a baby has no lactase enzymes at all. Babies can also only be lactose intolerant under one condition – if the parents are both lactose intolerant. If affected, the baby would experience severe diarrhea and be unable to tolerate lactose in breast milk or formula.

3. Secondary lactose intolerance

This is a kind of short term lactose intolerance. It happens when your child’s digestive system is upset by tummy bugs like gastroenteritis – which irritates the lining of the stomach and small intestine. It will go away after a few weeks.

Source: Motley Fool

How do I know if my child is lactose intolerant?

Some common symptoms are wind, stomach pain, bloating, and/or diarrhea.

For babies, they will be cranky and have trouble settling. Other issues include attachment problems during breastfeeding, failure to gain weight, and nappy rashes.

There are some ways to diagnose it.

While it could be easy for you to determine that your baby has lactose intolerance just because of the above symptoms, you are still advised to see a doctor. This is because some of these symptoms are also common in healthy breastfed infants.

Doctors will advise you by running these tests:

1. Hydrogen breath test

It tests the amount of hydrogen is your child’s breath, as lactose-intolerant children have higher levels of hydrogen.

2. Elimination diet

This simple test involves removing all foods containing lactose from your child’s diet. If their symptoms improve, they most likely are lactose intolerant.

Sources: Raising Children, Baby Center.

4 Healthy Snacks Alternatives That Your Toddler Will Love

There are loads of snacks for your child out there – but not all of them are healthy.

Here are some alternatives that your kids will love, and is easy to prepare as well:

1. Smoothies

Source: Tesco Baby Club

To make a healthy alternative, opt for nonfat vanilla yoghurt. You can add any fruits you want – whether its orange, banana, or something else altogether. It’s also a great way to sneak in some servings of fruits or vegetables that your kids hate.

2. Strawberries

Source: 1Zoom

These vitamin C-packed strawberries are perfect to add to your baby’s diet. Just remember to wash them before you give ’em to your kids!

3. Yoghurt pops

Source: Healthy Kids

Instead of the conventional ice pops made with juice, try something different by using yoghurt. You can add berries, bananas, or any fruit that you want to it too!

4. Cheese

Source: Midwest Dairy

This high protein snack will keep your child’s energy levels high until its time for their next meal. To tempt them, you could pair it with apple slices or carrot sticks (or any vegetables or fruits to your child’s liking). Although it provides your child with calcium, do not add it to every meal or snack as it could have adverse effects.

Sources: Parents, Food Network.