Friday, January 31, 2014

Child Care: Finding the Right Fit for Your Baby – Part 1

Today we’ll be starting a series on child care about finding the right fit for your baby and easing the transition from home to the child care setting.  First, we’d like to share some tips on matching your baby’s specific temperament to the right type of child care. This information is based on the handout “Matching Your Infant’s or Toddler’s Style to the Right Child Care Setting” by Zero to Three, a nonprofit organization focused on early child development. We spend a lot of time finding the right caregiver for our babies, but do we think about what setting is the best fit for their personalities? While we realize that your choices may be limited for child care options, especially if you live in a small town, here are a few things to consider about your baby’s temperament when choosing child care.

  • Personal Style: How would you describe your baby? Is she adaptable/flexible, cautious or intense? If your baby is adaptable, she will probably do well in a large group setting with lots of social interaction. If your baby is more cautious, look for a smaller group setting that’s less stimulating. And if your baby is very intense in her emotions, whether the setting is large or small, make sure she has a primary caregiver that will get to know and understand her specific needs (of course, this is best for all babies!

  • Sleep needs: Does the setting allow individual schedules, separate sleep areas, and a quiet sleep environment? Since in reality this is not always possible in large centers, it’s important to find out if the provider will work with you to facilitate ease of transition in your baby’s sleep patterns. Find out ahead of time what the center sleep schedule is and you can gradually transition your baby closer to their schedule.

  • Social vs. slow to warm up babies: If your baby is very social she’ll do great in a group setting that allows her many opportunities to play with others. On the other hand, if your baby likes to take it slower and tends to be shy around strangers, find a setting that allows your child to gradually transition from alone play to playing with one other child or a small group as she warms up. Responsive caregivers will be sensitive to your baby’s temperament and support her in slowly warming up to her new environment.

  • Tolerance to change: If your baby is sensitive to changes and challenges, a setting with children the same age as her will be more comfortable.  A baby that adapts more easily to change will do well in either a mixed-age or same-age setting.

We realize that you may not always have a choice as to what type of child care setting you choose. You may live in an area with only large centers, or you may live in a rural area with no large centers. Either way, it’s important to consider your baby’s personality when choosing a caregiver and child care setting and find the best fit that’s feasible for your family.
No matter what your baby’s temperament, it’s important to find a caregiver that is willing to adapt his or her approach to meet your child’s needs.  Responsive caregivers treat each child as unique. While all babies show similar cues, they each have individual temperaments and personalities. For more information about temperament read these posts:

Babies with Personality! How Temperament Influences Babies' Relationships (Part I)

Babies with Personality! How Temperament Influences Babies' Relationships (Part 2)

Next time we’ll cover important questions to ask when researching childcare programs.


Matching Your Infant’s or Toddler’s Style to the Right Child Care Setting” by Zero to Three.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Friday, January 17, 2014

Back in the News: Baby-Led Weaning vs. Spoon-Feeding

Last year we wrote about a study showing that allowing babies to feed themselves resulted in less obesity compared to babies being spoon-fed by the parent.  Now a related study contributes more evidence about the role of weaning style and how it influences a child’s responsiveness to satiety (fullness) cues and weight status.

This study compared “traditional or standard weaning”, defined as the spoon-feeding of purees, to “baby-led weaning” Which the authors define as allowing infants to self-feed foods in their whole form starting at 6-months.  For baby-led weaning, maternal control is minimal because the foods are placed in front of the baby and the baby chooses which and how much to eat. There is also lack of puree use with baby-led weaning.

In the first phase of this study, 423 mothers of infants aged 6-12 months reported the age of solid food introduction and weaning style (standard versus baby-led), among other variables. Then, in phase 2, 298 mothers of 18-24 month olds reported their child’s weight and eating styles, including “satiety-responsiveness”(ability to regulate intake in response to fullness cues), “food-responsiveness” (desire to eat when not hungry), “food fussiness” (pickiness & limited food choices) and “enjoyment of food.”

·       Babies who fed themselves were more responsive to fullness cues (better appetite control) and less likely to be overweight than babies who were spoon-fed by parents.

·       Babies who fed themselves were significantly less “food responsive” (desire to eat food when not hungry).

·       Babies who breastfed longer were more responsive to their own fullness cues and less picky.

·       Infants starting solid foods earlier were perceived by their parents  to be pickier at 18-24 months, compared to infants starting solids later.

·       A greater percentage of infants who were overweight were spoon-fed compared to finger-fed (19.2% vs. 8.1%).
The authors conclude that following the baby-led weaning approach helps babies develop healthy eating patterns and promotes eating based on appetite. Infants are better able to set the pace and size of the meal and parents are less likely to consciously or unconsciously try to control portion size.

It is noted that further research is needed to confirm these findings. Parents, self-report was used in this study, so authors addressed the need for more objective measures in future studies.

What are your thoughts? How have you started solid foods with your baby? What worked and didn’t work?

Brown A and Lee MD. Early Influences on child satiety-responsiveness: the role of weaning style. Pediatric Obesity. 2013 Dec 17. [Epub ahead of print]

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Babies' Emotions: A Review

This week we're sharing some classic posts on babies and their emotions.

Where do babies learn about emotions? What role do you play in the development of your baby's emotions? We've covered these topics in the following posts:

Babies Emotional Development: The Power of Synchrony

Babies Emotional Development: Social Referencing Part 1

Babies Emotional Development: Social References Part 2

We've also shared several posts on how parents influence their babies' view of the world. Your baby is learning about emotions and how and when to display them from watching you! Remember that next time you drop something on your toe:

The Two-Way Mirror: How Parents Influence Babies' World View

Polishing the Mirror: Simple Ways to Reflect the Best of Yourself to Your Baby

For those of you with older babies and toddlers, we also wrote a series of posts to help you understand and cope with tantrums:

Let's Talk about Tantrums: The Basics

Let's Talk about Tantrums: Common Triggers

Let's Talk about Tantrums: Preventing and Coping with Tantrums

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! We'd like to welcome you back to our blog! We took some time off for the holidays, but now we are back. For those of you new to our blog, welcome! We would like to start the new year off with a little tutorial about how our blog works and where you can find "The Basics" of Baby Behavior, which is a great series of posts to start with if you are new, or if you haven't been around here in a while. You can begin with our overviews on your baby's cues, crying, and sleep patterns.
Everything else we've posted is available to you and there are a few ways you can find what you are looking for.
  • On the left side, in the section titled Blog Archive, you can find links to every blog we've posted (the titles of each blog are listed with the most recent at the top).
  • If you have a specific topic you are interested in, you can use the keyword links, in the Labels section, to find related entries.
  • If you just want to browse full entries, you can use the older posts link at the bottom right of the page. This link will take you through the posts, beginning with the most recent.
We hope that you find the information we've provided useful. If you don't find what you are looking for or if you have any questions, please send us a comment. We love to answer our readers' questions and are always accepting new ideas for future posts!