Category Archives: Babycare Advice

Lots of ideas and advice to help guide you

Social Media and your children's photos

Do you put photos of your child on social media?

Photo by Tracy Le Blanc from Pexels

Someone close to me said they were not going to put photos of their newborn child on social media, for safety. But this isn’t what happened. Photos of child are on social media all the time, as are photos of mine.

There are disturbing stories about children’s photos being shared without permission, sold or used for profit, and being collected by those who would do them harm. Yet more and more parents are sharing photos of their children on their personal and public social media.

There are concerns for the child’s privacy and right to consent. Concerns about the focus on image for children’s self esteem, and for the way these photos can be shared, and who owns them.

But there is a desire to connect with other parents, with friends and family who may not see the children any other way. And there is a normalising of the personal being made public. This normalisation may not be a problem for those raised and becoming adults in that climate as much as it seem to those from a more private period in history. But we also cannot know what the children growing up on camera now will think when they are the grown ups.

Photo by samer daboul from Pexels

So what can we do?

How do we balance sharing photos and maintaining privacy? How to we make use of social media to connect with others through our children’s stories while still protecting our loved ones from being exposed in dangerous ways?

Personally I have a few ways I try to contain my children’s images on the internet.

No nude photos. Ever. Same goes for anything I’d consider “private.” That means no sharing photos on the toilet, even though I have some really funny ones with a toddler and their gumboots. If my children choose to share naked photos of themselves that should be their business.

The vast majority of photos of my children are shared in private invite only groups, open only to my family and real life friends. Some photos are shared to my wider online friend community and a minimal amount are shared to my public social media. Sharing photos is mostly, for me, a modern way of sharing a slide show with friends or passing around snaps at a family gathering.

Photo by Jessica Lewis from Pexels

This mentality keeps my children’s images on the free internet to a minimum. And the photos that are there show them always fully clothed and are not embarrassing or private.

Do you put photos of your child on social media?

If you do, have you have any rules for yourself?

If you don’t, how you share photos with those who wish to see them?

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Filed under Babycare Advice, General, Thoughtful

Why is my baby shaking their head from side to side?

You might be worried that your baby’s head shaking side to side means that something is wrong. You may even be worried this is an early sign of autism. But chances are this is a normal behaviour. If your baby is crying and head shaking many parents become concerned that their baby is sick, hurt, or autistic. But there are lots of good reasons your baby might shake their head from side to side. Even if your baby is crying, it is most likely nothing to worry about.

Does your baby shake their head from side to side while they are breastfeeding?

This is a common time to see a baby shake their head, sometimes they will also grunt and fret. This is the baby trying to latch and find the best position to feed. By moving their head side to side they can ensure they latch onto the nipple correctly. You can help them by encouraging them into the right position and by assisting them to attach well. A very hungry baby will often shake their head a lot while latching in their eagerness and frustration that the milk isn’t flowing yet. Very normal and nothing to worry about!

Does your baby shake their head from side to side while they are trying to go to sleep, or when you notice they are very tired?

Even very young babies can have self settling skills and this may be one of them. The shaking of the head may make baby slightly dizzy and help them fall asleep. It may feel comforting to feel the material rub against their cheeks. It may also be a sign of frustration that they cannot relax and fall asleep as they would like, especially if they are also crying. Very normal and nothing to worry about!

Does your baby sometimes shake their head from side to side when they are playing, or when they are interacting with you?

It’s fun to move your body isn’t it? Your baby doesn’t have a lot of control over their body so when they are having fun they may shake their head with excitement. They are practising new skills all the time and are testing out what their body can do – look I can turn my head to one side, and now I can turn it to the other side! You might notice this during tummy time in particular. If you are turning your head while playing with them they may try to imitate you, the earliest way they know how to communicate with you and join in with your activities. Very normal and nothing to worry about!

What if something is actually wrong?

There are a few reasons why a baby turning their head from side to side may be a cause for concern.

  • Ear Infection or other illness
  • Febrile Seizure
  • Rash/ itch
  • Autism

If your baby has an EAR INFECTION they may find the sensation of a blocked ear canal very uncomfortable. They may turn their head from side to side in an attempt to relieve the pressure or pain. If they feel unwell in general they may turn their head in frustration. If head turning is accompanied by a fever, fluid weeping from the ears, or any other concerning symptoms you might suspect an ear infection and should visit a doctor.

Sometimes if your baby has a sudden rise in temperature they may experience a FEBRILE SEIZURE or convulsion. While this is not uncommon or life threatening it can be very scary. In this instance your baby would not just shake their head, their entire body would go stiff and jerk and they may lose consciousness. Don’t panic! These kinds of seizures are not harmful and do not cause brain damage. Keep them on a soft surface and wait until it’s finished then seek medical attention from your GP or hospital to confirm your child is well and safe and to identify any underlying illness.

You may have noticed any redness or dryness or a rash on your baby, especially on their face, they may be turning their head from side to side in an attempt to itch. Young babies with limited control over their arms and hands will be particularly vulnerable to an itch they cannot scratch.Babies with parents who have ECZEMA or asthma or other allergies are more likely to have eczema and itchy skin themselves. Keep baby’s skin moisturised and watch for irritation. If you see a spreading rash take your baby to the doctor to rule out any illnesses.

When you see your baby shaking their head from side to side you may think of stimming and other repetitive behaviours that you’ve heard are sign of AUTISM. Head shaking on its own, however, is not usually a sign your child is autistic. So long as your child makes eye contact with you, smiles (if they are older than about 8 weeks), makes gestures such as pointing or waving and imitates you (if they are older than about 9 months) it is unlikely they are autistic and more likely they are displaying one of the very normal head shaking behaviours. If you are concerned your baby’s head shaking from side to side is excessive and/or you feel they are not meeting other milestones and not engaging with you by making eye contact, smiling or gesturing then you are wise to seek the advice of your doctor. Early diagnosis of autism is becoming more possible and early intervention can help an autistic child to thrive.

so….. should you be worried?

Probably not.

A baby shaking their head from side to is very normal and common. It’s usually a way for them to share something with you, to let you know they are hungry or tired or happy and excited. It is often fun for them and interesting to experiment with their bodies. It may be a way for them to tell you when they are uncomfortable and to try and communicate with you. Babies turn their heads from side to side for lots of reasons and most of the time it is nothing to worry about at all!

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Filed under Babycare Advice, General, Should I be Worried?

#8. Top 10 things you don’t need for your baby.

Photo by mehul R parekh on Foter.com / CC BY-SA

No sooner have you brought your bundle home than the months start flying by and before you know it, it’s time to start solid food. You inevitably begin to think about where your tot will sit and turn your eye towards the multitude of high chair options. But 9 out of 10 are complete overkill and some could even be dangerous. Keep it simple.

#8 Thing you’d be wasting your money on: A huge fancy padded high chair.

Like so much baby gear, the highchair is a good idea gone rogue. Yes, your baby needs to sit up to eat. In fact if they can’t sit up well they are not ready for solids yet. And yes it’s convenient they sit up at table height. And, of course, they need some straps and such to keep them safe. But what they do not need, and what you will regret having to clean, is a highchair built roughly the size and shape of a spaceship, with all the complications and a price tag to match.
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Filed under Baby Product Advice, Babycare Advice, General, Tips and tricks

Messy is Necessary

Photo Credit: Cornybeard / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA
Photo Credit: Cornybeard / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

I heard from a parent today that they don’t allow their 11 month old to make a mess when he eats.

Now before you start sniggering, I knew exactly what she meant. If little Goggins throws his food everywhere just to make a point/see the reaction/get out of eating it/see the reaction (oh wait, I said that already) they don’t turn a blind eye. They are trying to teach him some rules. I do the same. 11 months old is an appropriate age to start asking your child to hand you food they don’t want when they’re finished, not throw it against a wall, and it’s perfectly fine to tell an 11 month old” no” if they tip their food on the floor 5 times in a row while screaming at you.

But if there’s also an element of simply not liking the aesthetics of yoghurt in your baby’s eyebrows, and of wanting to keep the shaggy white rug under her highchair as snowy as they day you bought it (the day before you found out you were pregnant no doubt), then I’m afraid it’s time someone told you – babies are messy.

If you want to keep your white rug white, your wooden floors scratch-free, your vintage dresses & designer tea towels & first edition books & original art works and hand blown glasswear pristine, you have two choices:

  1. Keep them in a part of the house your child never goes (and at some point, rest assured, they will still go to that part of the house). 
  2. Don’t have children.

I know it’s tempting to think the third choice is to keep your children under control and clean and calm. And even though you can probably do those things sometimes, hell, most of the time if you’re focused, there’s almost no chance you’ll do it All the time.

Babies make mess.

They are exploring and learning. Often it requires pushing your hands into your porridge and then rubbing into your eyes, sometimes feeding yourself is so hard that only half of it makes it to your mouth and rest falls innocently on the floor, and sometimes it means feeling so frustrated that your limited coping skills induce you to throw half a peach at the wall.

By all means, try to keep eating under control and try to keep your house clean enough to feel comfortable in, but it’s best if you also try not to worry about a bit of mess at meal time. It’s a necessary part of being a baby.

Does your baby make a mess at meal times?
Do you have any handy tips to keep the mess (slightly) under control?

You might also like:

Messy kids who play with their food may be faster leaners: Huffington Post

Top 5 reasons why kids want to get messy with food: One Handed Cooks

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Filed under Babycare Advice, General, Just for Fun

Potty mouth!

English: "No Swearing" sign along At...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You dropped a glass. It shattered as it hit the ground, sending glass splinters skating across the floor and a pool of shard filled juice creeping under the fridge.

“F**k.”

A fairly common response. Except you didn’t say it. Your 18 month old toddler watching you from the doorway did.

My baby has a potty  mouth before he’s even potty trained!

He’s so cute at this age. Now he understands around 200 words and can probably say about 60. You can share jokes together, he is beginning to follow your simple rules and instructions, and is able to tell you what he wants to eat and how he likes to play. I bet you love to show off to others how he can repeat a word for you – “Can you say, ‘shark’ ?? … Tell Grandma what this is! …”

What an excellent mimic! And isn’t is he adorable when he tries to use the broom or the phone or the remote just like you do? And now he’s swearing, just like you do. It’s enough to make you want to say, “F**k!” 🙂

How did this happen?!

Your toddler thinks you are the bees knees. You are the bestest, smartest, most wonderfullest person and he wants nothing more than to be like you and to have your approval.

If he’s heard you repeat a word or a phrase often enough, and to be honest it doesn’t have to be that often, he’ll want to try and say it too – to be like you. And if you react when he says it with amusement or attention, even negative attention, he’ll want to keep eliciting that response from you.

As far as your toddler is concerned, he’s ticking all the boxes every time he says ‘the F word’. He does it just like you do, and he gets plenty of attention for it as well.

What should I do to clean up his act?

Remove both the reasons he’s doing it in the first place. Don’t give him something to mimic and don’t give him attention for saying the word.

Believe me, I love a good curse word, when used in the company of adults who appreciate it! But those blissful days of babyhood when you could talk about whatever you wanted, using whatever language you liked and know your child had no clue what was going on are O-V-E-R. And if you can’t spell you’re in trouble, too, because you’re going to spell rather say say things like, ‘ice cream’, or ‘park’, or ‘bedtime’, for many years to come.

Be more mindful of what words you say, and the content of your conversations, from now on. Encourage your child to say a phrase like, “Oh Oh!” when there’s an accident and be sure to do the same yourself.

If he keeps using unwanted words, tell him not to say it, but don’t make a fuss. Do not laugh, no matter how inappropriately hilarious it is to hear your munchkin unknowingly swearing like the proverbial sailor. Keep a blank expression on your face, not one of disapproval either. After briefly telling him not to say the word, go about your business, preferable something unrelated to your child. Now he is no longer getting any worthwhile response from saying this word.

Soon enough he will forget about it and choose to use language that he mimics from your own and that is reinforced by your interactions with him. That is, until he goes to school and learns them all over again from the other kids!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When has your child said something inappropriate?

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Filed under Babycare Advice, General, Just for Fun, Tips and tricks