A Book Review: Active Baby, Healthy Brain

Active Baby, Healthy Brain: 135 Fun Exercises and Activities to Maximize Your Child’s Brain Development from Birth Through Age 5 1/2
Margaret Sasse
The Experiment, New York 2010

Margaret Sasse has provided parents with an invaluable manual on how to maximize your child’s brain development. She has divided the first 5 1/2 years of life into 8 stages with numerous activities for each stage. In the beginning of the book the reader finds two pages of defined terms. Parents learn in the preface to choose activities to develop a wide range of skills.

Also, three important words are introduced: intensity, frequency and duration, reminding the parents that no activity should last more than two minutes and should be done slowly. With short, frequent activities both parent and child can put their full effort (intensity) into it for maximum benefit. This concept applies to all ages, though as one matures the “short” activities increase in length.

Most of the book describes and illustrates all of the activities. Here are sample activities for each stage:

Stage A – birth to six months: massage and gentle roll overs

Stage B – six to twelve months: creeping, cruising, walking

Stage C – walking to eighteen months: vision and balance

Stage D – eighteen to twenty-four months: dance, beanbags and balloons

Stage E – 2-2 1/2 years: music, rhythm, nursery rhymes, and songs

Stage F – 2 1/2-3 1/2 years: Massage in crocodile position

Stage G – 3 1/2-4 1/2 years: Rhythm sticks, ropes and cords

Stage H – 4 1/2- 51/2 years: mini-trampoline, tumbling, rocking, swinging

Further, she discusses the foundational subject of nutrition. While Sasse uses only one page to discuss nutrition, she hits the important aspects that can have a major impact on learning: “artificial colorings, additives and excessive sugar.” Food sensitivities including wheat and dairy must be explored as well. Sasse refers her readers to: http://www.fedupwithfoodadditives.info

Pros:

  • Terms are defined in the front of the book.
  • 8 Stages are outlined.
  • Each activity is described and illustrated.
  • Format is easy to reference.
  • An ample bibliography gives the reader direction for further study.

Cons:

  • It stops at 5 ½ years…
  • Sasse has other books that have “limited-availability”

For those who want to learn more about the topic of brain development, the author provides an ample bibliography. Even if your child is older and if there seems to be some delays in one or more areas of development / learning, some of these activities would still be appropriate to stimulate that development. Sasse died in 2009, but left behind over 100 centers that use this information having founded Toddler GymbaRoo in Australia.

Preparing for Baby: Home Safety Tips for Baby’s Healthy Start

Preparing for a baby is so exciting! But while you wait for that moment when labor begins, there are so many details to get your home ready. Some essential home safety tips are obvious, some are usually overlooked.

Home Safety Tips for a Healthy Baby

Sleeping Safety: Make sure the bed is safe. The mattress needs to be firm and fit the crib tightly. Although we love all the cute cuddly toys, pillows, bumper pads, comforters and the like they aren’t safe for a new baby. The baby can get trapped in the folds and be unable to breathe.

Diapering Safety: You’ll be amazed by how fast a tiny baby can roll away. It can take just a second as you reach for something. If you use a changing table make sure it has straps, and use them.

Bath Time Safety: Serious accidents happen in bathtubs. A special baby bathtub that offers baby support and a no-slip bottom is the best plan. If you plan to bathe your baby in your own tub, use a rubber mat. When she is big enough to sit up, you can use a baby bath chair. Be sure to set your water heater no higher than 120 degrees F and look for special tub spouts that prevent hot water burns. Also, keep everything you need in easy reach.

Fire Safety: Smoke detectors are a must. Keep them in working order and check them monthly. Also, have a fire extinguisher on hand. Make a plan for rescue and escape, if a fire does break out.

Carbon Monoxide Safety: If you use gas or oil heat or have an attached garage, be sure to install carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in your home. Check the batteries twice a year.

Paint Safety for Baby’s Room: If you’re in an older home attend to paint that’s flaking or peeling in your baby’s room. Have a professional remove or seal it. There may be dangerous lead in the paint. If you wish to freshly paint your baby’s room be aware of the chemicals that fresh paint can release into the air. Have someone (other than the expectant mom) paint your baby’s room at least a few weeks prior to your baby’s arrival and make sure to thoroughly ventilate the room, so the air quality is safe.

New Carpeting: New carpets are great, but they can out-gas for at least a month. As with fresh paint, if you plan to lay new carpet in your baby’s room, do it in time for the out-gassing phase to be over by the time baby comes home. Also, be sure to use non-slip pads under any area rugs you use in the room.

EMF Exposure Safety

Avoiding exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) is unavoidable. EMFs are generated from your home electrical grid and all wireless devices, like cell phones, cordless phones, Wi-Fi and baby monitors. Babies and little children are especially sensitive and since EMFs are linked to many childhood health problems, you need to use EMF protection in your home safety plan as you’re preparing for your baby. There are a number of products on the market for this. Look for a company that has a good history, guarantee and well-informed customer service.

Preparing for a baby can be a lot of fun. Follow these few home safety tips and then relax and anticipate the joyful arrival of your new baby.

Keep Your Baby Healthy: The Best Ways to Keep Your Infant From Catching a Cold

The common cold can affect any one during this cold, dry time of year. Infants are especially susceptible to contracting the common cold because they don’t yet have a strong immune system or a sufficient amount of antibodies to combat this virus.

Here are some ways to help prevent your infant from catching a cold:

Wash your hands

Because you, as a parent, are constantly in contact with your baby it is important to wash your hands on a regular basis so you do not passunwanted germs along to your baby. Washing your hands is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of illness, both for yourself and your infant. However, don’t be afraid of holding your baby. In order to strength the immune system, an infant needs to be exposed to many different germs in order for their immune system to strengthen and learn how to combat them.

Don’t spread your own germs

Be sure to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and avoid coughing or sneezing on or near your baby. Make sure to wash your hands afterward before handing your child. Be cautious of exposing your newborn to people that currently have a cold. Unneeded expose to the virus makes it more likely that your infant will contract it.

Be careful of who else your baby is exposed to

Be wary of who you expose your newborn to in the first few weeks of birth. Avoid exposing him or her to large groups of people until they are a few months old and have a stronger immune system. Exposure to many people increases the likelihood of your infant to catch a cold or other virus because there are so many different germs whirling around.

Adequate nutrition

Help to strength your child’s immune system. Make sure your baby is eating properly and getting the adequate nutrition that he or she needs. Breastfeeding a newborn is the best way to ensure that your infant is getting the necessary nutrition. Breast milk contains antibodies that fight against the illnesses that you, as a mother, have already experience, which will help to strength the immune system of your child.

Adequate rest

Make sure that your baby is getting enough sleep. Newborns need 16 or more hours of sleep each day. Adequate sleep is vital to your baby’s development and a lack of sleep will result in low energy for your baby and make it more difficult for their immune system to fight off the cold virus.

Vitamin C

Along with an adequate diet and sleep, you may also want to give your child vitamin C, which is believed to help prevent colds and reduce the durations and severity of a cold. Babies as young as 6 months can be given Vitamin C drops. Before giving your child Vitamin C or any other medication, consult your pediatrician.

Immunizations

It is also important to make sure your infant has all the necessary immunizations. Vaccines can prevent a variety of diseases and ailments that can really harm a newborn.

Stress reduction

Stress is another fact that may play a part in causing a cold. Even infants can become stressed, which is not healthy for themselves or their immune system. In order to reduce stress, keep your baby active and moving. Whether that is taking your baby for a walk outside, or playing interactive games with him or her. Any moving activities and exercises can help to reduce stress and foster a healthy child.