Sunday, June 29, 2008

Toddlerhood series : How can I help my child behave?

Keep your toddler busy. Keeping your toddler busy may sound like an absurd suggestion, since toddlers are seldom still for a moment. But by providing constructive outlets for his energy, you can

encourage your toddler to behave well. When he seems fussy or cranky, he may settle down if you offer him a distraction or make him laugh. He enjoys many kinds of toys—pull toys, play clay, big

cardboard blocks, simple wooden puzzles, cars and trucks, riding toys, toy telephones, and computers. He also likes lots of things you might not think of as toys—a wooden spoon to bang on a

pot, or a stack of plastic containers to build with. Don’t forget the great outdoors, either. You can set up wonderful pastimes outside (some of them indoors, too, with proper precautions). Give him a shallow pan of water and some kitchen utensils—a plastic measuring cup, a set of measuring spoons, a plastic turkey baster, and a sieve, and he’ll be happy for a surprisingly long time. Give him a spoon to dig in the dirt with, and a bucket to fill and empty. Go for walks, and talk to him about the things you see—trees, buses, dogs, other children. Visit playgrounds that offer a variety of climbing equipment. The busier you can keep him with acceptable activities, the less time he’ll have for things that are dangerous or destructive.

Set limits on what he’s allowed to do. It can be hard for parents to set limits for active children. You want your child to love you. But your job isn’t to be your child’s favorite person all the time. It’s to

keep your toddler safe from harm and help him grow in appropriate ways, even when he might prefer to have all the freedoms of his big brother. Your child needs you to ask him to do some things he won’t like, and keep him from doing others that he would like. He needs you to set a consistent bedtime for him, to keep him from hitting other children, and to let him know he can’t fill up on candy every day just before dinner. He may react angrily when you put limits like these on his behavior, and that’s natural. It’s probably a sign that you’re doing you’re job as a parent if he occasionally stomps away or yells, “I hate you!”

Remove unnecessary temptations. Keeping your child away from temptations might seem to be an impossibility. After all, your toddler is at an age when everything seems to tempt him—the fragile vase on a living-room shelf, the hot cup of coffee on the breakfast table, the scissors you’re using to clip a few coupons. But you and your toddler will have fewer struggles if you can remove (or take other steps to protect him from) the items that could harm him or that you don’t want destroyed. Right now you never know what he’ll want to get into, so the best approach is to simply keep him away from anything you don’t want him to touch, swallow, or use as a plaything.

Source : Questions Parents Of Toddler Ask. Ceridian Corporation.2001

Friday, June 27, 2008

Toddlerhood series : Why does my toddler act the way she does?

As your toddler begins to explore the world, he needs you to set firm but gentle limits on what he can and can’t do. You don’t want to stifle the curiosity and spirit of adventure that makes life so exciting for your toddler now. But you do want to keep him safe, and you want to teach him how to behave.

At this stage, your child is becoming her own person, separate from you. She wants to explore the things that interest her, which won’t always be the same as the things that you want her to explore. You’ll have fewer struggles over her behavior if you build some flexibility into your approach. If you want to look at the flowers with your toddler—but find out that she wants to make mud pies instead—she isn’t trying to be difficult. She’s just following her natural curiosity about the world.

It’s helpful to keep in mind that children don’t really begin to develop self-control until about age 3. Until then, your toddler has few internal “no’s” to stop her from doing what she wants even if she does know it’s something you don’t approve of. You have to help your toddler control her impulses because she can’t do it by herself.

Depending on her maturity, your toddler may be able to control certain things about her behavior, such as whether or not she kicks a playmate or pulls the cat’s tail. But she can’t control her feelings. She can’t help whether she feels happy or sad, or angry or calm. And she can’t control whether she wants to pull soup cans off the supermarket shelf even though you’ve asked her not to. So she usually isn’t trying to disobey when she has a tantrum or makes a mess. Instead, she’s saying, “Help! I don’t know what else to do right now.” She’s telling you that she needs you to help her keep from reaching her boiling point or find appropriate ways to express her feelings if she does.

Remember that your toddler doesn’t really want her own way all the time, even if it sometimes seems that way. She wants some control, but having it all would be scary. When she pushes, she’s trying to find out what is OK and what isn’t.

So your job is to decide what’s acceptable to you and what isn’t. It’s essential not to compromise on safety issues, such as using a car safety seat or requiring your child to hold your hand while crossing streets. But on some issues there may be no clear-cut line between what’s “best” and what’s not. You may have very different ideas from a close co-worker about what kind of snacks or toys your toddlers should have, and each of you can be making the right decision for your child.

Source : Questions Parents Of Toddler Ask. Ceridian Corporation.2001

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Toddlerhood series : What are these years like for you?

These two short years are probably the most exhausting years of parenthood, but they can also be some of the most exhilarating. Sometimes you may think that you spend all your time trying to protect your toddler from harm and trying to save your home from total destruction. It’s natural to feel frustrated and exasperated a lot, especially if you have another job outside the home.

You might look forward all week to spending time with your toddler at the park on Saturday, showing him the ducklings you know he’ll love. When the weekend arrives, you find that he wants to go to the park, too, but he wails when you try to put on his jacket. When you come home, he doesn’t want to get into the bath, and then he doesn’t want to get out. He throws his food on the floor, then cries because it’s gone. Conflict may take up much of your life with him. On the other hand, your toddler can be enchanting. You may come home from work after a tough day and find that your concerns melt away when he crawls into your lap. He’s so full of wonder and excitement that some of it rubs off on you and you see the world through his fresh eyes. The sun and moon look bigger and flowers seem to pop up when he walks by. Watching him grow in skill and understanding brings delight and triumph every day.

These years may be easier if you

• Expect the unexpected

• Remember that every child develops at his own pace

• Take advantage of community resources

• Get together on your lunch hour with co-workers who have toddlers

• Accept that your child’s favorite word may be, “NO!”

• Visit Internet Web sites for parents of toddlers

Source : Questions Parents Of Toddler Ask. Ceridian Corporation.2001

Monday, June 23, 2008

Are there any food safety issues related to pregnancy?

Pregnant women are especially susceptible to foodborne and waterborne hazards due to the physiological changes in pregnancy that may increase the exposure of the mother and fetus to hazardous substances.

To reduce the risk for foodborne illnesses, pregnant women need to follow general food safety guidelines: wash hands and surfaces often, don’t cross-contaminate, refrigerate perishable foods promptly, and cook food to proper temperatures.

Foodborne illness can be very harmful. For example, listeriosis can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, or acute illness, and toxoplasmosis and E. coli can cause severe fetal infection. Pregnant women should avoid raw fish and seafood, and any fish that may be contaminated with methyl mercury and PCBs. The FDA recommends that pregnant women avoid swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tilefish. Nutrition counseling during pregnancy should address these food safety issues.

Source : Healthy Eating During Pregnancy. International Food Information Council Foundation. 2003

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Can morning sickness and other forms of GI distress be relieved?

Although some expectant mothers never experience it, morning sickness is common and does not necessarily occur only in the morning. Feelings of nausea may be relieved by eating low-fat, easily digested carbohydrate foods, such as dry toast, plain crackers, cereal, pasta, rice, or fruit.

For nausea and vomiting, small, frequent meals tend to be tolerated better than large ones. Fried, gas-forming, or spicy foods may cause discomfort. Fluids often are better tolerated between meals rather than with them. A snack before getting up or bedtime may help. If the problem persists or becomes severe, the woman should seek advice from her health professional. Constipation also can be a problem and may partially result from decreased intestinal motility, characteristic of the second and third trimesters. Foods high in insoluble fiber, such as fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grain breads and cereal, can help alleviate constipation. Liberal consumption of fluids and a regular pattern of moderate physical activity also can help. Iron supplements may promote constipation, especially if fiber intake is low; check the dosage. Unless advised by a health care provider, laxatives are best avoided.

Source : Healthy Eating During Pregnancy. International Food Information Council Foundation. 2003

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Toddlerhood series : What happened to my “good baby”?

As your toddler begins to experience all these changes, she may seem like a very different person from the baby you held in your arms not too long ago. Suddenly, she’s slipping and staggering, climbing and collapsing, all around your home.

Walking, a joy in itself, opens up all sorts of possibilities for her. She can climb on things, reach things, and carry things. She’s interested in motion for its own sake, and she only keeps still when she’s sleeping. In fact, studies have shown that even professional athletes cannot go through all the movements of a typical toddler day without exhaustion and muscle soreness.

Your toddler wants to know everything about her environment. She uses all five senses. Give her something to hold, and she’ll touch it, smell it, taste it, and shake it to see if it makes a noise. So many things that were out of reach before are now accessible, and she’s interested in all of them—the knobs on your dresser drawers, the pans in the cupboard, the jar of pencils on the shelf, and the fragile china figurine on the table. She can take a reasonably tidy room apart in ten minutes.

It’s no surprise that parents, trying to keep up with this little tornado, sometimes wonder, “What happened to my good baby?” What happened is that she has become a curious toddler. She’s still “good,” but she sees the world from a different perspective now that she’s up on her feet. This change places many demands on parents and other caregivers. The care of a toddler is much more strenuous than the care of a baby. Toddlerhood involves many mood swings and much negativity.

It’s no wonder some people call this age the “Terrible Two’s.” Toddlers can be happy, throw a tantrum, and laugh again, all in the space of a few minutes. They can be demanding and persistent. They are famous for the number of times they can say “no” in a day. Saying “no” is their declaration of independence: “I’m me, an important person with ideas of my own, and now that I can do things for myself, I don’t have to do everything you want me to.”

To form her own identity and begin to separate from you, your toddler must establish the differences between you and her. This can be hard on parents. That it’s a normal part of development doesn’t make it any easier to cope with, but it should be reassuring. It means your toddler is trying to grow, and that’s just what you want her to do.

Source : Questions Parents Of Toddler Ask. Ceridian Corporation.2001

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Is it necessary to take a vitamin/mineral supplement during pregnancy?

Though it’s possible to meet the requirements for most nutrients through a balanced diet, most experts recommend pregnant women take a daily vitamin/mineral supplement as a safeguard.

Supplementation should include 30 mg iron and 600 micrograms (mcg) folic acid daily. Vegans, women under age 25, and those who choose to avoid milk products also are advised to take calcium supplements (600 milligrams per day).

In addition, the U.S. Public Health Service and the March of Dimes recommend that any woman of childbearing age who might become pregnant should consume 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily. This is the amount found in most multivitamins.

Vitamin/mineral supplements are also recommended for women who may be at nutritional risk. That includes women who are strict vegetarians (vegans), breastfeeding, follow restrictive diets, are heavy cigarette smokers, and/or abuse alcohol, or are carrying twins or triplets. For strict vegetarians, vitamin B12 supplements (and perhaps vitamin D and zinc) are recommended. Because excessive levels of vitamin A can be toxic to the fetus and adequate levels are available through a balanced diet, vitamin A supplementation is not recommended during pregnancy except at low levels. There is no evidence that vitamin B6 supplementation is an effective treatment for morning sickness. No scientific evidence exists to justify recommendations for herbal products. Some may have serious side effects.

Source : Healthy Eating During Pregnancy. International Food Information Council Foundation. 2003

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Toddlerhood series : What kinds of changes will I see in my toddler?

Every toddler grows at his own pace. Your child may be using a fork and speaking in complete sentences before his favorite playmate is doing either of those things, but both of them can be normal and healthy children. Just about the only thing that’s certain is that your toddler will seem to be changing continually. So you’ll want to use this list as a guide to the kinds of changes you can expect, not as hard-and-fast rules.

Physical changes. This is a time of explosive physical growth. Your child is acquiring much more control over his own body, and this will enable him to do many things on his own, such as feeding, dressing, washing himself, and using the toilet. He’s becoming more coordinated, too, and this will allow him to learn to climb, throw objects, and run and jump. He’ll also develop the ability to do such things as finger-paint, pour from a cup, use a fork and spoon, and draw with a crayon.

Intellectual changes. As your toddler explores his world, he’ll be learning many new things, because he’ll also be developing intellectually. This is a time of intense curiosity and adventure. Your toddler recognizes himself as a separate per son from others and wants to find out all he can about the things that don’t look like him (though he has a big interest in his own body, too). He’ll learn the difference between hot and cold, things that taste good and things that don’t, and objects that break and those that don’t. He’ll figure out that keys fit in keyholes, that shirts go on the top and pants go on the bottom, and that he can turn things on by hitting a button or switch. Toddlers also take a huge step forward in their ability to use language. Within two years, they acquire a vocabulary of about two hundred words and unconsciously pick up the rules of grammar and sentence structure. A toddler who says “I waked up” is applying one of the common rules of English—that most verbs form the past when you add “ed.” He hasn’t yet learned the exceptions, but he has learned the rule just by listening to normal speech patterns. At the same time, he’ll be starting to develop the ability to recognize and name colors, letters, numbers, and many kinds of sounds.

Social changes. Your toddler’s awareness of himself as a separate person brings many social changes, including the development of a clear style of personality. He discovers that he has needs that go beyond physical comfort, and he’ll experiment with ways to get what he wants. But as he’s testing you, your toddler will also be learning to play with others his age. He doesn’t interact with his peers in the same way older children do, but he can form emotional attachments, and may become upset when he no longer sees a favorite playmate or caregiver.

Source : Questions Parents Of Toddler Ask. Ceridian Corporation.2001

Friday, June 13, 2008

Toddlerhood series : How will my child grow and change during these years?

The day your baby starts to walk, she becomes a toddler and begins the work of growing into a self-reliant person. Toddlerhood has no fixed boundaries, but this stage of life usually lasts from about ages 1 to 3. It ends when you can see that your child has gained a lot of the skills and maturity that she’ll need to start school in a year or two.

Toddlerhood is a long process of growth and development, but it’s filled with many joys for both of you. As your toddler begins to figure out who she is, you’ll take pride in watching her grow into an eager and curious child with ideas all her own. You’ll also discover that your toddler has new fears and uncertainties and needs lots of guidance—as well as love and understanding— from you.

Source :
Questions Parents Of Toddler Ask. Ceridian Corporation.2001

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Is it safe to consume low-calorie sweeteners during pregnancy?

Low-calorie sweeteners can be used by pregnant women who have diabetes, who need to control caloric intake, or who enjoy the taste of products containing sweeteners. Since pregnancy is a period of increased energy (calorie) demand for most women, caloric restriction usually is discouraged.

In the United States, there are five low-calorie sweeteners approved for use in foods and as tabletop sweeteners: aspartame, saccharin, acesulfame K, sucralose, and neotame. Aspartame consists of two amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine as the methyl ester, the basic building block of protein. Aspartame has been extensively studied and all reports indicate that aspartame is safe for the pregnant mother and fetus, except for women who have phenylketonuria (PKU) and must restrict their intake of phenylalanine from all sources.

Studies show that PKU heterozygote pregnant women (those who carry the PKU gene but do not have the disease themselves) metabolize aspartame sufficiently to protect the fetus from abnormal phenylalanine levels.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved aspartame as a safe food ingredient for the general population, including pregnant women. A task force of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition also concluded that aspartame is safe for both the mother and developing baby.

Saccharin is not metabolized and passes through the digestive tract unchanged. Although saccharin can cross the placenta, there is no evidence that it is harmful to the fetus. Both the American Dietetic Association and the American Diabetes Association recommend saccharin can be used in moderation

during pregnancy. Saccharin is not a potential carcinogen, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Acesulfame K is not metabolized and is excreted unchanged by the kidneys. Reproduction and teratology studies in animals Sucrolose, which is not well absorbed, is excreted basically unchanged. Studies show no reproductive risk.

Neotame, the most recently approved low-calorie sweetener, is rapidly metabolized, completely eliminated, and does not accumulate in the body. Neotame is safe for use as a sweetener and flavor enhancer by the general population including pregnant and lactating women, children, and people with diabetes.

Source : Healthy Eating During Pregnancy. International Food Information Council Foundation. 2003

Monday, June 9, 2008

Is caffeine consumption during pregnancy safe?

Is caffeine consumption during pregnancy safe?

Studies have found that moderate caffeine consumption has little or no effect on the reported time to conceive, however, high caffeine consumption may increase risks of delays in conception. Major studies over the last decade have found no association between birth defects and caffeine consumption. Even offspring of the heaviest coffee drinkers were not found to be at higher risk of birth defects.

Evidence from other human studies also supports the conclusion that low to moderate consumption of caffeine by pregnant women probably does not predispose the mother to miscarriage or pre-term delivery. Some studies suggest that drinking more than two or three cups of coffee daily (approximately eight cups of tea or nine cans of caffeinated soft drinks) increase the chances of low birth weight. Because caffeine can cross the placenta and affect the fetus, pregnant women should apply the principle of moderation to caffeine consumption and discuss it with their personal physician.

Breast milk can also transfer caffeine from mother to baby. Very high caffeine intake in nursing mothers may make babies irritable. A reasonable guideline for daily intake of caffeine is up to 300 mg caffeine per day. The following chart provides the approximate caffeine content of various foods and beverages. A variety of caffeine-free beverages are available for women who wish to limit or avoid caffeine during pregnancy.


The table below shows the approximate caffeine content of various foods and beverages



Coffee (8 fl. oz. cup)

Brewed, drip method ..........................85 65 - 120

Instant .................................................75 60 - 85

Decaffeinated........................................3 2 - 4

Espresso coffee (1 fl. oz. cup)..............40 30 - 50

Teas (8 fl. oz. cup)

Brewed major U.S. Brands..................40 20 - 90

Instant .................................................28 24 - 31

Iced (8 fl. oz. glass) .............................25 9 - 50

Some soft drinks (8 fl. oz.).................24 20 - 40

Cocoa beverage (8 fl. oz.) ...................6 3 - 32

Chocolate milk beverage (8 fl. oz.) .....5 2 - 7

Milk chocolate (1 oz.) ..........................6 1 - 15

Dark chocolate, semi-sweet (1 oz.) ....20 5 - 35

Baker’s chocolate (1 oz.) ...................26 26

Chocolate-flavored syrup (1 fl. oz.).....4 4

Source : Healthy Eating During Pregnancy.
International Food Information Council Foundation.2003