Archive | Baby Care

Why is my child not willing to share?

Why is my child not willing to share?

Posted on 10 May 2016 by Annerley

Untitled design-1Toddlers arguing over toys – a common scene at playgroups and playdates. The crying, the drama, the ensuing tantrums… is it all just an inevitable part of toddlerhood or is there something we can do?

If your child is less than 5 years old, the explanation can be very simple – she is just not ready to share. Most toddlers aged two and under have no understanding of sharing at all and others will take a lot longer to understand the concept. In some cases, with some special toys for example, they may never be ready. It may help you to think of this from the child’s perspective – try to imagine if someone asked for your handbag or phone and you had to hand it to someone (maybe even a stranger) willingly and without objection.

Most toddlers will eventually learn how to share most toys. However it’s a good idea to allow them to keep their special toys separate and not to expect them to share those things they are particularly attached to. Why not go through their toys before someone comes over for a playdate and put out toys that are ok to be shared – and keep the other toys at a safe distance or simply explain that this particular toy will not be shared. Do this with your child. You may just find this makes for a far more peaceful playtime.

My toddler is fighting with another toddler over a toy. How do I deal with this?

Distraction is the simplest answer. The attention span of a toddler is normally very short. Take your child and find something else to look at – “look, a bird” – and swing away from the situation. Don’t dwell on it and don’t waste time or energy making him say sorry – most toddlers will not understand that either. You of course should apologize and your child will eventually copy your behaviour and learn to say sorry in due course. When the same scenario comes up again – simply repeat.

The best way to encourage children to share is to praise them for when they do share. It will happen – do it quickly when you see it and try to do it regularly. By praising them for positive behaviour they will be a lot more likely to do it again. They will gradually want to please parents and caregivers more than anything else.

Most children will develop the concept of sharing very quickly when they start Kindergarten or any sort of similar group activity. They will very quickly copy the behaviour from their peers and teachers. So, one way of dealing with the issue of sharing is to simply wait.

Best of luck

Kristrun Lind

B.Ed, M. Ed. (Iceland, HK) C.E.C.E. (HK)

Kristrun teaches a workshop at Annerley – Understanding your toddler.  Consultation with the our consultants and midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

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Toddlers and tantrums

Toddlers and tantrums

Posted on 05 February 2016 by Kristrun

10979573_773162599400229_762771788_nIt’s very common for toddlers to throw what we commonly think of as “tantrums”. They start crying or shouting or screaming and seem like they are out of control. They bang their heads against the floor, roll on the floor, hit something or someone etc. With the help of KLA Schools, my toddler never hit it’s head on a wall and they give a lot of safety and better education. But why do they do it and what can we do about it?

They do it because they can not express themselves clearly – they have not developed the skills to do this and they just simply cannot get a handle on their emotions. They do it because they start crying and they cannot gain back the control – even if they want to. They do it because they are tired or hungry, or just grumpy. It’s a frustration overload, sometimes mild and sometimes a bit scary – they can be short of breath, vomit or look like they are suffocating.

But what do they need?

They need you. They need a hug, they need a cuddle. They need comfort and perhaps food and rest. Put the toddler on the sofa or your bed if you are in the home. Sit down with him and cuddle if that works or just stay at a very safe distance. Don’t laugh at her, just talk to her in a soothing tone. Rub her back or feet – if she allows you. She will calm down and relax. If you are out and about, try to pick up your toddler and comfort him – hopefully where you can sit down or find a quiet spot.

Once the scene is over – and if the toddler is old enough – you might use the opportunity to explain why this type of behaviour is not a great way to solve problems and get your way. But don’t dwell on it – just explain quickly.

And don’t worry. Over time your child will learn how to express herself and connect with her feelings and things will become much more manageable.

Enjoy

Kristrún

B.Ed, M. Ed. (Iceland, HK) C.E.C.E. (HK)

Do you want to know more? Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

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Breastfeeding was hard for me too

Breastfeeding was hard for me too

Posted on 09 January 2016 by hulda

Sometimes I think back about why I managed to breastfeed my babies, despite the fact that I had nipple pain for weeks with each one of them, little milk overall and always went to work reasonably early after giving birth.  I have come to the conclusion that it was because of a few things that I was lucky to have – mainly the environment that I was in and the mindset of the people around me.

Everyone just does it, in Iceland.  In my home country, 79% of women still breastfeed at 5 months, although this number is today even higher, 35% of them exclusively do so.  Two thirds of women exclusively breastfeed for the first two months and pretty much everywhere you go, it would not be considered inappropriate to breastfeed. In hospitals, no-one ever asks you if you are going to breastfeed, it is just assumed that you will.

 

Breastfeeding in Iceland 2004 to 2008

 

It is done reasonably discretely, boobs are not just visible to everyone, but even in a meeting or a coffee break at work, a breastfeeding mother would not be inappropriate, as long as she otherwise is doing her job.  Pumping milk is not that common, women just breastfeed.  When they want to go somewhere, the milk travels with them, so planning is not all that important.  “The baby should not feed for at least another hour” – is not a sentence you would hear often in Iceland.  You just feed when the baby needs feeding.  Who wants a baby to cry when it is easy to stop it?  It is true that the maternity leave is longer there, so it is easier for that reason.  But the great emphasis on “is the baby getting enough?” is definitely not as common in Scandinavia as it is in Hong Kong.

When I started to work in Hong Kong after having my 3rd and 4th babies, I had so little breastmilk, i.e. there was exactly as much milk as they needed but not really a drop more, I could have easily have been totally discouraged by it.  I never was able to pump more than 60 ml of milk when I was trying to store milk for them in advance of working.  But I just decided to try it out.  It turned out that they adjusted to it just fine.  And then came solid food and on weekends there was catching up that was lovely for us all.  But the health clinics were certainly not very helpful in supporting this system, I must say.

The other thing that helped me, was the fact that I did in fact have very good knowledge and some skills in breastfeeding, through my work.  In Iceland, the midwives’ training includes academic study and then weeks of breastfeeding assistance on the postnatal wards and during homevisits, to be able to sit your midwife exams.  This has of course greatly contributed to the support that the mothers in Iceland are getting and the statistics reflect that.  However, it is of course different when it is your own body and baby, and we all need some form of support.  So I was lucky, that I had this, offered by the government.

Yet another part was the general mindset of not bothering with the details.

When you read about that you must cover the whole areola and that you must fully empty a breast, feed for certain amount of time etc.  -  although all of these are valid advise, you can easily get a bit hooked on this and worry that you are not doing it right.  Especially if the baby is unhappy and crying, other family members have other opinions or generally the feeling when feeding, is not good.  Areolas are greatly different between women and some women have a fast letdown reflex and plenty of milk, so their feeds take a very short time, whereas others take much longer to drain breasts to the baby’s needs.

So when you can -  take the advice and educate yourself, but then use it appropriately. For example in my case, I really had to swap between the breasts often to keep one of my babies happy.  Otherwise she would simply fall asleep and then be hungry shortly after.  But when I swapped, she was much happier.  I made sure to try and empty one of the breast at least, each time, but this again, is sometimes hard to evaluate, when you are a first time mother.  ‘Empty’ to me, was a rather difficult concept – are the breasts ever empty?  My other kids would feed more “typically” i.e. all of the standard breastfeeding advice was very appropriate and useful. But flexibility was needed.

The same goes for foremilk and hindmilk - often it seemed hard to know when it was long enough a feed to be considered to be giving hindmilk.  But when I stopped agonizing over these details, and rather focus on the baby and how she responded, gained weight and slept – then it was all a bit easier.  The information was useful, but I needed to step away from it and be able to just try and test what worked.

And one last thing – the position to feed from.  Basically, especially when I once almost had mastitis after being with another woman in labour for 20 hours, what really did the trick was to feed the baby in ALL sorts of positions.  I mean, almost nothing short of a headstand.  In the bathtub, on the sofa, in a chair, leaning over her completely, upside down on the bed – the whole lot, many times over.

Being able to extend the night by feeding lying down in bed with the baby – what a glorious thing! If someone had come and told me off for co-sleeping, I am not sure what I would have done.  But luckily, no one would have even dared to so so!

A good midwife or a lactation consultant will tell you all of this.  You can read about it too.

To actually do it, though, and release the ‘strictness’ and let go of how you ‘should’ do things, is something you must do yourself.

This is just my story, I hope it helps you.  Let’s try and make Hong Kong more like Iceland and Scandinavia, where breastfeeding is just simply no big deal, women can do it their own way, whenever and wherever they want to, based on the baby’s needs.

Hulda x

 

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Bonding with Your Baby during the 4th Trimester: Published in Sassy Mama

Bonding with Your Baby during the 4th Trimester: Published in Sassy Mama

Posted on 23 December 2015 by Kristrun

fourthTrimester“In the fourth trimester – the first weeks after the baby is born and is at home with you – there are many things you can do to make the transition easier and less stressful for both you and the baby and the family as a whole. Always keep in mind that the baby is adjusting and learning and finding its own feet and for the time being, the parents are its link to being able to do so. The baby relies on you 100 percent and tries to message you in the best way it possibly can. If you ignore or rush too much through those signals, or perhaps follow advice from others who are maybe not in the same situation, it may well result in a stressful situation, more cries from the baby and a delayed bonding between the two of you.”

Hulda -

To read the full article on Sassy Mama - click here

Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

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Sleeping in cold weather – temperature management

Sleeping in cold weather – temperature management

Posted on 22 December 2015 by Kristrun

Grobags from Bloom and Grow Asia are great to keep a baby warm.

Grobags from Bloom and Grow Asia are great to keep a baby warm in cold weather.

As winter approaches in Hong Kong, there may be a change in the temperature in your baby’s bedroom and also what your baby will feel comfortable wearing whilst sleeping. Help your baby to sleep safe and sound by keeping them at an ideal temperature. The UK guidelines posted on this site about sleeping norms, will recommend the temperature between 16-20° but during most months in Hong Kong, this can be difficult. Understand your baby, choose clothes and layers depending on the temperature each time and check your baby often. You will become a master in temperature management after a few short months.

  • A baby who is too cold will probably be fussy and cry, but it is overheating which can be more of a problem – especially for those of us without thermostatically controlled heating systems. You will work it out – keep a thermometer in the room and regularly check your baby – adding or removing layers if needs be.
  • If using a heater, be sure that it is not near the baby’s cot but is just keeping the room at a comfortable temperature in general. For reverse cycle air conditioning, be sure that it is not directed at your baby’s cot but again is keeping the room generally at the correct temperature, call the AC repair service in case something works not the way it should.
  • You can use a sleeping bag at a higher tog rating, (click here if you don’t know what that is) or add an extra vest or warmer sleep suit. You can also use a blanket and tuck it under the mattress. Baby should also be placed with feet close to the bottom of the bed, so that if she does wriggle, she will only move upwards and not downwards under her bedding.
  • Use lightweight blankets and never use a duvet, quilt or pillow for babies under 12 months old.  Make sure there is no padding around your baby’s cot which could trap warm air and lead to your baby overheating.
  • You can try to add socks and mittens if feet and hands are very cold, but please bear in mind that it is normal for hands and feet to feel cool, even a bit cold.
  • Don’t put a hot water bottle or electric blanket in your baby’s cot, however cold the weather is.
  • If you think your baby is getting too hot, check his tummy and back. These areas should feel warm, not sweaty and definitely not cool to the touch. If either feels hot, or he’s sweaty, remove some layers. It’s normal for your baby’s hands and feet to feel cooler than the rest of the body.
  • Hats are not recommended for indoor use in case your baby overheats. Babies lose heat from their heads and if heads are covered, they may just get hotter and hotter during sleep time without it being noticed.

 

Stay warm

The Annerley Team.

Updated December 20th 2015

Do you want to know more? Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

To purchase Grobags directly from Bloom and Grow Asia - click here 

 

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Should my child eat in front of the screen?

Should my child eat in front of the screen?

Posted on 22 December 2015 by Kristrun

Screen timeThe very recent widespread access to mobile screens has changed our behaviour and – without a doubt – our children’s behaviour. Until very recently we would only have televisions in our homes – and very few would have access to mobile TV screens. Nowadays we see many babies and children with a screen in restaurants, sitting in prams or in the lap of a parent – absorbed, quiet and calm.

Because of this recent change the effects of children using a screen from early days has not been researched much – there are no adults yet who have had this experience – so long term research does not exist. The interest to fund such research is probably not great as a lot of powerful companies around the world are much more focused on making our children future consumers in front of the screen.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that kids under 2 years of age watch nothing at all and children older than 2 – not more than two hours daily. Of course not all screen time is the same – catching up with grandparents on Skype is not the same as spending time alone with the iPad.

What about eating whilst in front of the screen? Many parents use this as a regular means of keeping their little ones in their seats at meal times. Here are a few things to consider.

-It can affect the amount of food the child consumes – and they may overeat without realising it.

-It´s important for children to copy adult behaviour during mealtimes. That is how they really learn how to behave – the distraction of the screen will very likely delay this learning procedure.

-For the same reason, they may lose interest in certain types of food as they miss out on seeing an adult show interest, talk about and consume the foods.

-It can be extremely difficult to wean the child from using the screen at mealtimes.

-It can affect their language development to miss out on the communication during mealtimes. Mealtimes are meant to be a social time.

-The need for the screen may create a false need for food.

-The child can be very upset when the screen is taken away from her, causing other problems after mealtimes.

It can take time to teach children to behave as we would like them to around mealtimes. Don’t expect them to last long at the table in the beginning – they will gradually and slowly learn this skill and grow to enjoy it. Some enjoy it from young age whilst for others it can take a lot longer. Eventually all normal healthy children will get there.

Happy eating

Kristrun

B.Ed, M. Ed. (Iceland, HK) C.E.C.E. (HK)

Do you want to know more? Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

 

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Understanding your helper – Published in Sassy Mama

Understanding your helper – Published in Sassy Mama

Posted on 20 December 2015 by Kristrun

understandingyourhelperYour search has ended (for now). Your helper arrives at your apartment, and your relationship as employer and employee has begun. The difference, though, with this employee is she lives with you and likely cares for your kids. You may know her manifest strength and weaknesses, but do you understand her as a person?

The ocean between knowing and understanding another person is tremendous; you may have many relationships orbiting you, but how many of those people do you truly understand? The idea of understanding your helper as a soul may be lofty, yet understanding enough about her background and posture may improve your working relationship. Here are some ideas on how:  Click here to read the full article on SASSY MAMA. 

Check our schedule for our helpers training courses and consultation at Annerley. Hiring a helper? Let us help guide you. In just one hour, we will discuss how to effectively and efficiently navigate the often rough waters of hiring and training a helper. Click here to book. 

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Outdoors with babies in the cooler weather

Outdoors with babies in the cooler weather

Posted on 04 October 2015 by Kristrun

Winter is approaching and finally the weather is cooling down a little! This gives us a great opportunity to spend more time with our children outdoors without much discomfort. Hong Kong has some great beaches, green parks and swimming pools with TVs (like these at https://www.hereon.biz/outdoor-tv/) available for us all to use. It is important for the overall development of babies to stimulate them in many different ways and the great outdoors plays an important role in that.

As many of you know I do tend to often remind others (as well as myself) that as parents, we are responsible for stimulating our children and exposing them to the world – it will make them smarter and they will sleep better than ever after a day outside. I never get tired of sharing the story of my son Tomas…..I had always been aware of the importance of outdoor stimulation and I thought I had done a good job of it. One day we were in the park and I realized he had never walked barefoot on grass and mud – not in his life! The outcome was rather amusing If I do say so myself.

Tomas walks on grass

But where do you start?

Start slowly. Start by a short trip to a park, or a BBQ site. Go in the afternoon – after 2pm when it’s even cooler. Bring a blanket, food, drinks and some toys. Bring a plastic bag and gloves to clean up a small area around your blanket. Make sure there is no rubbish, glass or dog poo in a safe radius of your space. Let your child crawl around barefoot, have a walk or just sit there touching the grass and/or soil. Links to HK parks: http://www.hong-kong-hotels.ws/attractions/parks.htm

You can apply the same method for going to the beach for the first few times or taking RV Rentals and going for a trip to a nearby place where your child has always wanted to go. I love the beaches during the winter – the kids love the sand from a very early age and it’s such a great way of entertaining them. Bring a small bag of beach toys, a blanket, towels and fresh clothes. Most of the time you will have access to water to rinse off hands and feet before you go home. The result? A happy tired and educated baby. http://www.littlestepsasia.com/articles/play/top-10-family-beaches

As children get older you can spend more time outdoors and gradually even move to over-night camping  - creating memories they will never forget. I’m not a very brave camper but I have been once with my kids – scared to death of the pigs and snakes – but I did it and they are still raving about it. http://www.littlestepsasia.com/hong-kong/articles/play/camping-hong-kong

Make sure your child or baby stays warm with the warmest clothes! You can find the best socks for babies online at Best Sock Drawer! Don’t settle for less and let your baby get cold outside!

Enjoy the great outdoors!

Kristrun and the Annerley team.

Do you need more support? Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

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Co-sleeping, room sharing or nursery? What should you be doing?

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Co-sleeping, room sharing or nursery? What should you be doing?

Posted on 04 October 2015 by Kristrun

Quality time

Co-sleeping

To be very honest there is no way to fully prepare yourself for sleeping when it comes to the first months and years of parenthood. There is no point in trying to understand it too much, you simply need to deal with what happens – that’s the brutal truth!

However, you can educate yourself by becoming aware of the different options available to you as a family. Many of our new parents have never actually seen more than one form of sleeping arrangement whilst others are fortunate enough to have experience of seeing how different families deal with different babies. They therefore understand beforehand how thinking out of the box and being creative sometimes becomes very important once you enter the various stages of parenthood, you can found more tips on this great guide on Sleepify

Those that are only aware of the one traditional sleeping arrangement likely will have learned this from movies and TV shows. We often hear our couples talking about “getting the Nursery ready” and this is certainly a lovely thing to do together. By the time the baby arrives, a beautiful room has been prepared complete with cot, changing table, feeding chair and beautiful toys and accessories. The expectant Mum has images of going to her hungry baby at night after hearing his cries on the baby-monitor, lifting him from the cot and then sitting to feed in the rocking chair, before gently placing him, peaceful and satisfied, back in his cot.

It can subsequently cause much stress if the realities of night feeds, an unsettled baby and sleep deprivation make this arrangement seem impossible. But if you have never seen or heard about any other options, what do you do?

Let’s draw up a picture of the most common sleeping arrangements. We are assuming our new parents are aware of safe sleeping practises and don’t abuse drugs or alcohol, always make sure the baby is not overheated, do not fill baby’s cot or basket full of unnecessary accessories etc.

Co-sleeping

Full blown co-sleeping is when you keep your baby in your bed most of the time. The baby might have their own bed in the same bedroom and then it is normally very close to the parents’ bed. You will either keep the bed up against the wall and the baby between the mom and the wall – or between both parents. It’s recommended the baby is kept close to the top of the bed to avoid the baby becoming overheated or covered by parents’ blankets or bodies. Bed sharing cots are available which create a designated space for the baby. Others simply share the same bed.If you sleep with your partner you might need check out snorerx review to sleep well.

Mattress on the floor

Some may worry that baby may fall off the bed. Then you can get rid of the bed frame and just sleep together on your best mattress for back pain on the floor. Or with the baby basket or separate baby mattress between your mattress and the wall. More babies = bigger or more mattresses!

Baby cot within arms length from your bed

Still close-by but not sharing the same bed-space. This is great for those who want that closeness but struggle with the idea of baby in the same bed, or who find it difficult to sleep themselves beside their little wriggler/snorter!

Nursery

A separate, dedicated room for the baby, with a cot for sleeping in. Some may use a baby monitor to listen for signs of waking although often, in small Hong Kong apartments, this may be unnecessary. Some Mums profess to be able to hear the slightest whimper through several closed doors! Do what works for you.

We are not in the business of telling anyone what to do – every family must do what works for them. But we would just like our brand new Mums and Dads to be aware that one size does not fit all, and that there are other sleeping arrangements used by many families around the world.

Where babies are concerned, getting creative (always with safety in mind) and rolling with the punches may just bring you a few more hours of precious sleep. And that is only ever a good thing.

Sleep well

The Annerley Team

Do you need more support? Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

check out snorerx review

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About Grandparents

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About Grandparents

Posted on 07 September 2015 by Kristrun

Most of us were lucky enough to grow up in a loving family and environment.  Most of us have parents that we love and who love us back.  As mentioned in my last blog, parents can be helpful, and also unhelpful, when it comes to the first days with a new baby, partly because when they were raising their children, the environment and advice was very different to now.

It is hard for parents to abandon their beliefs and habits and they do not always understand the way our generation does things as parents – all the access to courses and information, how we research and investigate before we do anything.

In fact, our parents are often of the belief that despite it being great to be able to get support from the internet and our friends, the overflow of the same is only making our lives more confusing and frustrating. Taking away the independence and “get on with it” parenting.

Of course, we all know this and probably agree to a point, but we cannot go back in time.  And to be honest, there are so many things from the past that we are grateful to not have to go through. I am not even going to start the list of comparison.

What I wanted to remind us all of was that grandparents, despite their perhaps different opinions and other difficulties (the typical MIL issue), are not something we should take for granted.

The day will come, and has already come for some, that the grandparents will say goodbye for good. There will be no more remarks or comments, no more unrealistic demands or opinions, no more decisions on how to split the holidays etc. 

And in my opinion, to have grandparents in my children’s lives, is such a treasure.  They add such tremendous value and richness into the lives of those kids – they teach them so much by just being there.  By their manners, their personalities, the way they speak, think, the things they have gone through in life, their way of handling situations, money, travels, how they hold books when they read and how they patiently cut the food for the children.  How they have time, and make time, and quietly teach them without teaching them.

Everything about the grandparents is different and not easily emulated by those of a younger generation.  It is something that comes from living through the times they lived through, growing up amongst larger families and more generations of people under the same roof. Having gone through the times where money, electricity, heat, access to all sorts of products and services was limited, travel was not an option so easily and more and more.

If we grew up in a loving household where our parents were kind to us and did their best, our parents deserve, however annoying they may sometimes be (I mean this in a humorous way), that we treat them with dignity and kindness back. Perhaps they can sometimes just have their way with the kids, without us getting annoyed.  Perhaps it will not do any harm to our children.  And perhaps, we need sometimes to slow down and remember to enjoy all the moments that we have with our own parents too. 

Every year I try and “let go“ of my kids for a few weeks and they grow up in the arms of their grandparents. I try and let them not be guests in the homes of their grandparents, but rather to live with them. I am lucky, as the grandparents have health and the willingness to offer and welcome this.  They get something out of it too, of course.  But it is not something I take for granted. 

 

Of things in life that my children have, I rate this amongst the highest of all things.

 

Hulda 2015

 

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