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.

A Baby Food Processor Will Let You Keep Your Baby Healthy and Happy Throughout Their Growing Years

Recently baby food processors are becoming extremely popular as more parents have become concerned with keeping their babies more healthy by feeding them healthy, high quality foods. To make sure this happens more parents are placing great emphasis on preparing their baby’s food themselves. This is the only way to know what goes into the mouth of your baby. This will guarantee your baby is getting the right amount of nutrient and not too much artificial flavored food. For most parents the best and quickest way to do this is to purchase a baby food processor. For most people the only issue is knowing whether to purchase a baby food processor or just to use a regular blender to do the same job. Blenders can process food to some extent; however I would certainly not recommend using them to blend foods for your baby’s need.

You might think purchasing a baby food processor is a waste of money however let me tell you it is not because a food processor do not operate the same way a regular blender does.

For a blender to breakdown food adequately, you have to consistently add water to reach the right consistency. With a food processor this is not the case. It is able to blend food without you adding water until the foods is properly liquefied for babies to digest. Since you do not need to add water the food will retain its taste and nutritional value.

However you should realize that not all appliances are made equal, therefore here are a few tips to keep handy:

1. Price should not be the only determining factor. You should try to purchase the right size, design and speed for your individual situation although it might be a bit pricier you might end up saving yourself money and headache over the long term. And you will sure have peace of mind knowing the quality food you will be feeding your baby. There are several different appliances to choose from and I am sure there is one that will fit your budget.

2. You should carefully consider the size of the baby food processor that you purchase as some process different quantity of foods at a time. Choosing a smaller appliance you might only be able to make just enough food for one meal. This will cause you to spend time preparing foods several times per day. Choosing a larger processor that will allow you to process larger quantity will save you time and you can store the food for different meals. This will give you more time to spend with your baby.

3. A powerful motor is very important if you decide to make your own baby food every day. Verify the wattage on the processor you plan to purchase and select one that has a high wattage to ensure that it will be sustainable over a long period of time. A higher wattage baby food processor will give you more power to get the job done without any hassle.

Consider adding a baby food processor to your list of equipment purchase as you plan your baby’s meals. Remember you want to ensure your bundle of joy gets a good head start in life by feeding them with high nutritious meals and you won’t have to worry about additives and artificial flavorings.

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.