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"My purpose for My Baby Compass is to give you peace of mind through guidance you can trust."-Kathy

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For every book sold, $3 is donated to Autism speaks. When a child speaks the first word, it is memorable, but if a parent never hears the first word, it is most memorable.

How Long to Breast Feed Your Baby

Nursing is the most precious gift you can give your baby if you are able to nurse, even if you are only able to do it a short time.  Here are the facts.

Nurse for a few days:  he will have received your Colostrum, or early milk. Packed with nutrition and antibodies, it helps get your baby’s digestive system gives him his first “immunization”.  It helps your body get back into shape also.

Nurse for 4 to 6 weeks:  you will ease him through the most critical part of infancy. Breastfed newborns are rarely sick and have few digestive problems. It takes 4 to 6 weeks to establish your milk supply and a good nursing relationship. Your body will recover naturally from childbirth. Remember – nursing mothers usually lose weight more easily! As an added bonus, prolactin, the “mothering hormone” that is produced every time you nurse, will help you and your baby form a special bond.

Nurse for 3 to 4 months:  baby’s digestive system will have matured a great deal, and he will be much better able to tolerate the foreign substances in commercial formulas. If there is a family history of allergies, though, you will greatly reduce his risk by waiting a few more months before adding anything at all to his diet. Your baby will also learn to “taste” new foods from your own milk.  This may be beneficial for a “less picky eater” later on.  In addition, giving nothing but your milk for the first 4 months gives strong protection against ear infections for a whole year.

Nurse for 6 months:  you will supply all your baby’s nutritional needs for the first half year of his life. At this point, he may be ready to try some other foods. Nursing continues to ensure good health by providing antibodies to all the bacteria and viruses to which you or your baby are exposed. One study indicates that continued nursing reduces the risk of both childhood and some adult cancers. Remember, he still “tastes” the foods you eat.

Nurse for 9 months: , you will have seen him through the fastest and most important brain and body development of his life on the food that was designed for him – your milk. Nursing for at least this long will help ensure better performance all through his school years. Weaning may be easy at this age… but then, so is nursing! If you want to avoid weaning this early, be sure you have been available to nurse for comfort as well as for food.

Nurse for One year: you will have saved enough money to buy a major appliance! Your baby is now ready to try a whole range of new foods. This year of nursing has given your child many health benefits that will last his whole life. He will have a stronger immune system, for example, and is less likely to need orthodontia work.

Dealing with Change & Stress

A baby, new husband, new job, new move, new friends is hard.  I am going through changes now, and as you get older, it gets a little harder.  I have redone my website, switched PR firms, learned how to post my own blogs, set up my own speaking engagements and now I am learning how to present myself in front of the media.  Sometimes I feel overwhelmed, sometimes I feel great joy and sometimes I am fearful.   The last emotion is the most dangerous.  You freeze, you think don’t think logically, you can’t move forward and you certainly don’t get anything done.

Fear is a normal, biological response that is deep within our “reptile” brain.  I will call it the old brain.  What else goes on in there?  Well, I call it the area of the four F’s….Food, Fight, Fear….and Fornication.  I don’t address the last item, you will have to go another blog to get that information!  So lets look at the other three.  You see, we do have a new brain, the cortex, which uses logical thinking, reasoning skills, judgement, language…etc and that is suppose to overule the “old brain.”  Well, that is if we let it do that.  Throw in some stress, hormones and lack of time and money and we sometimes can’t find that area of the brain.  So, lets talk about each one and see how we can make it better.

Food:  We know we should eat in smaller portions, eat healthier food and listen to our body.  Do we?

Fight:   We do this very well.  Look at our relationships, the country policies and  the simple thing of who’s turn is it to take out the garbage?  We know we are capapble of better social interaction, we can reduce the ego’s dominance and compromise, we can show empathy and compasion.  Do we?

Fear:  We all have to beat down this little evil intruder.  We can make lists of our stengths, find support through professionals or reading material, breathe deep and reduce the stress through relaxation excercises.  Do we?

The reason I am bringing this up….is…as a young mother that is sleep deprived, overwhelmed with what to do next, hormonally up and down and presented with the responsibility of another human being for the rest of her life can send one over the edge.  So…remember….ARE YOU IN THE OLD BRAIN…or…DO YOU NEED TO USE THE NEW BRAIN!

How can you do that?

  • Learn relaxation excercises through breath control
  • Go for a walk with the baby in the stroller, get some form of excercise
  • Take a hot shower or bath
  • Play and sing along with your favorite music
  • Dance in the living room with your baby as your partner
  • Laugh…reading funny jokes, stories
  • Call a family member, friend or neighbor
  • Set up a support system of friends, family, neighborhood kids or church preschool (mother’s morning out)

And know….that you need to use your brain to get through those days that leave you exhausted and overwhelmed so that you can make plans to make it a better day tomorrow.

I appologize for the delay in getting my blog up and running…but I am in my New Brain now.

Have a great day

Kathryn Thorson Gruhn

Author of My Baby Compass,  A child develoment program that will make parenting easier

 

Dealing with Change & Stress

A baby, new husband, new job, new move, new friends is hard.  I am going through changes now, and as you get older, it gets a little harder.  I have redone my website, switched PR firms, learned how to post my own blogs, set up my own speaking engagements and now I am learning how to present myself in front of the media.  Sometimes I feel overwhelmed, sometimes I feel great joy and sometimes I am fearful.   The last emotion is the most dangerous.  You freeze, you think don’t think logically, you can’t move forward and you certainly don’t get anything done.

Fear is a normal, biological response that is deep within our “reptile” brain.  I will call it the old brain.  What else goes on in there?  Well, I call it the area of the four F’s….Food, Fight, Fear….and Fornication.  I don’t address the last item, you will have to go another blog to get that information!  So lets look at the other three.  You see, we do have a new brain, the cortex, which uses logical thinking, reasoning skills, judgement, language…etc and that is suppose to overule the “old brain.”  Well, that is if we let it do that.  Throw in some stress, hormones and lack of time and money and we sometimes can’t find that area of the brain.  So, lets talk about each one and see how we can make it better.

Food:  We know we should eat in smaller portions, eat healthier food and listen to our body.  Do we?

Fight:   We do this very well.  Look at our relationships, the country policies and  the simple thing of who’s turn is it to take out the garbage?  We know we are capapble of better social interaction, we can reduce the ego’s dominance and compromise, we can show empathy and compasion.  Do we?

Fear:  We all have to beat down this little evil intruder.  We can make lists of our stengths, find support through professionals or reading material, breathe deep and reduce the stress through relaxation excercises.  Do we?

The reason I am bringing this up….is…as a young mother that is sleep deprived, overwhelmed with what to do next, hormonally up and down and presented with the responsibility of another human being for the rest of her life can send one over the edge.  So…remember….ARE YOU IN THE OLD BRAIN…or…DO YOU NEED TO USE THE NEW BRAIN!

How can you do that?

  • Learn relaxation excercises through breath control
  • Go for a walk with the baby in the stroller, get some form of excercise
  • Take a hot shower or bath
  • Play and sing along with your favorite music
  • Dance in the living room with your baby as your partner
  • Laugh…reading funny jokes, stories
  • Call a family member, friend or neighbor
  • Set up a support system of friends, family, neighborhood kids or church preschool (mother’s morning out)

And know….that you need to use your brain to get through those days that leave you exhausted and overwhelmed so that you can make plans to make it a better day tomorrow.

I appologize for the delay in getting my blog up and running…but I am in my New Brain now.

Have a great day

Kathryn Thorson Gruhn

Author of My Baby Compass,  A child develoment program that will make parenting easier

 

The 2011 ASHA Convention was buzzing about Pinterest

The 2011 American Speech-Language-Hearing Convention was full of great ideas and products that speech-language pathologists, teachers and parents can use.  Many convention goers posted these new finds on Pinterest, a new social media platform that allows you to share your favorite things with friends.  I interviewed Heidi Kay, a partner in PediaStaff, to learn more about this interactive sharing tool.

What is Pinterest?

PediaStaff's Pinterest Page

Pinterest is a (free) visual pinboard and bookmarking site of the social networking variety.  I think it is best described as a virtual filing cabinet, but one you can see through!  Basically, it allows you to organize and share pages or photos that you find on the web with your friends and followers.   You “pin” these links to your own personal Pinterest site into “pinboards” that you create and organize in a way that’s meaningful to you.  Meanwhile, anyone you follow is sharing their finds with you so you might “re-pin” the great things they find.   The attraction is that it is SO visual.  Like most people, I never look at my bookmarks.  I will find something I want to save, it goes into a folder on my browser and I probably never see it again. This is an extremely intuitive system which is both easy to start and easy to keep using.

How do I get an account with Pinterest?

Pinterest is still a beta site.  To control growth, membership is by “invitation only.”  It is faster to get an invitation from someone who already has a Pinterest board.  Click here for our Pinterest site – you can request an invite from us there!

How did you learn about Pinterest and how can it help SLP’s?

We learned about Pinterest much the way most people are learning about it – through a friend.   Most people are pinning recipes, wedding and travel ideas.  My friend sent me an invite and I was looking through her boards and she had boards for “Books I want to Read” and “Recipes I Want to Try.”  Then I saw “Rainy Day Activities for Junior,” “Summer Practice” and  “Worksheets for Jane.”   That got me thinking about how great it would be to create a Pinterest site where pediatric and school-based  therapists could go to find all the therapy activities and ideas  they could possibly need.   

Why is your company interested in this site?

PediaStaff LogoOur company serves the pediatric and school-based therapy community (i.e., occupational therapists and speech-language pathologists), so that was our target audience.   Shortly after we started compiling the site, we heard that parents, special education teachers and regular classroom teachers were coming to it to find activities for their kiddos with both typical and special needs!   We never expected it, but are thrilled to be sharing ideas with so many different groups of people!

How does it work?

The best way to use our PediaStaff Pinterest site is to get an account and then follow our boards that most interest you.   “Re-pin” those you like onto pinboards on your own page.    You can even “like” your favorite pins for quick access later.  About once or twice a month we have been known to populate new boards with a whole lot of pins on one day to ensure a large variety of resources for new categories.   Some visitors prefer to visit our boards regularly or hand-pick certain boards to follow rather than subscribe to all our boards so they don’t get overwhelmed with notifications of all our new pins!

What do your pins look like and how many pins do you have?

Our pins cover a huge range of topics.  We have boards for specific focus areas for therapy, such as articulation, sensory and tactile, fine motor skills, literacy, etc.   We also have boards with all kinds of    holiday themes.   Pins include links to printable activities, crafts, blog posts of interest, interactive educational websites, videos and more.  We have almost 7,000 pins and almost 6,500 followers.   We follow about 30 different teacher and therapist blogs, who are also very active on Twitter.  In addition, we follow more than 8,000 pinners on Pinterest so we are putting up relevant content from all over the web daily.

Does the site have any glitches?

Well, because Pinterest is still in beta, there are organizational things the site could do better.   Many of our best pins were pinned early are buried deep in the individual boards.  Pinterest doesn’t yet let you prioritize what pins appear at the top of each board.   So my best advice is to grab yourself a latte and take your time looking through it, and Happy Pinning!

Thanks so much to Heidi for her time.  If you are looking for a position as an SLP contact Heidi at:

Heidi Kay, PediaStaff, Inc.
1411 Norris Way, Tarpon Springs, FL 3468
Ph: (866) 733-4278 ext 512
heidi@pediastaff.com

Be sure to follow PediaStaff on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN or subscribe to their newsletter.

Taking Care of Yourself While Pregnant and as a New Mom

During your pregnancy, make sure you are taking your vitamins, eating healthy foods and exercising because you will need your strength those first few months when you have a new baby in the home. It’s also a good idea to set up a support system so you can take a break and have some quiet time to yourself once the baby is home.  Here is a list of things that will help during pregnancy and those first precious months:

Health

  • Vitamins and healthy diet
  • Use natural skin care products (don’t use nail polish or polish remover)
  • Have ginger ale, crackers and Yummi Earth organic lollipops for snacks
  • Tums for upset stomach
  • Decaffeinated teas
  • Body butter and body oil (Aveda is nice) for stretch marks
  • Lansinoh nipple cream and nursing pads
  • Kotex pads

Clothing

  • Bravado Body Silk seamless nursing bras
  • Compression stockings and heating pad for varicose veins
  • Maternity dresses
  • Slip on shoes
  • Comfortable clothes for nursing

Home

  • Use natural cleaning products for laundry and household
  • Have house cleaned and filters changed
  • Grocery shopping to hold you over for awhile
  • Stock pile baby diapers, laundry detergent, toilet paper, paper towels, garbage bags

Love the information in this blog?  Purchase a copy of My Baby Compass, Birth to Two to know what to expect with your newborn and how to watch your baby learn from the time he is born.

– Kathy Gruhn, MA CCC-SLP, author of My Baby Compass series

What to Have for the Newborn Baby

When you’re expecting, there are lots of items you’ll want to purchase and put on your baby registry to be sure you are prepared when your little one arrives. I’m not paid to promote products, but I wanted to share my list of my personal favorites.  Locate a good used baby store, but remember, there are some things you don’t want to buy used.

Nursery Furniture

  • A safe crib that hasn’t been recalled.  If you buy a used one, make sure it meets safety codes, including tight screws.
  • Graco SnugRide infant car seat and stroller
  • Kiddopotamus Snuzzler and rear mirrors
  • Place a heating pad under a changing table and purchase a wipe warmer.
  • Pack-n-Play for sleeping in different rooms/traveling
  • Fisher Price Rainforest Bouncer
  • Boxes and tubs to pack outgrown clothes (can anyone say “hand-me-downs”?)
  • Comfortable chair with arm support while nursing – an overstuffed rocker works great!

Bath Products

Clothing

  • Longsleeve kimono tees w/fold –over cuffs
  • Infant gowns w/fold over cuffs
  • Longsleeve and shortsleeve onesies
  • Infant caps and socks
  • Bunting that works with the carseat
  • Footed sleepers
  • Lots of swaddling blankets, receiving blankets
  • Thick prefolded diapers for burp rags
  • Halo Swaddle Me, or other swaddling blankets

– Kathy Gruhn, MA CCC-SLP, author of My Baby Compass series

Books to Prepare You for Parenting

Bringing home your bundle of joy is an exciting new adventure.  During your pregnancy, I recommend learning about baby care, your needs, normal development and more.   Here are a few resources that will help you in the early phase of your parenting journey:

  • Baby Bargains – This book is full of helpful cost-saving ideas!
  • My Baby Compass, Birth to Two –  Available on Amazon.com, this comprehensive parenting manual details your baby’s developmental milestones along with activities to enhance your child’s developmental skills.
  • On Becoming Baby Wise – Perfect for parents who want a schedule to follow and a structured theoretical approach to caregiving.
  • Last Child in the Woods – Looking for ways to teach your child about nature and involve in him outdoor activities?  Then you’ll love this book –
  • Super Baby Food A must-read before introducing your little one to solid foods!

What were your first parenting challenges and what books helped you prepare for an infant?  Leave a comment below and check my next blog on preparing the nursery!

– Kathy Gruhn, MA CCC-SLP, author of My Baby Compass series

What Foods Do I Feed Baby Third?

Phase 3 of feeding schedule

In my last blog post, I provide a guide for feeding babies from seven to nine months.  This is the third post in my baby nutrition series.

When your baby is 10 to 12 months, foods should still be fork-mashed or pureed.  Even at this age, never leave your baby alone while eating.  Do not feed your baby foods that could cause choking (hot dogs, whole grapes, whole carrots, large chunks of food, popcorn, hard candies, etc.).  Add these foods to the list from the previous blog recommendations:

  • creamy peanut butter
  • homemade bulgur cereal
  • cooked whole grain cornmeal
  • whole grain pasta
  • ground sprouts
  • finely grated raw (summer squash, carrots, greens, sweet peppers)

At one year of age or older add the following foods:

  • cow’s milk
  • citrus fruits and citrus fruit juices
  • tomatoes and tomato juice
  • hard-cooked egg white
  • honey
  • diced strawberries, blueberries and other berries

This information was obtained from the book, Super Baby Food, by the author Ruth Yaron.  Other good resources are:  Whole Foods for Babies & Toddlers by Margeret Kenda, www.weelicious.com and www.wholesomebabyfood.com.

Also check out My Baby Compass, Birth to Two for a suggested feeding and quality time schedule. A speech pathologist also evaluates a child that is not properly sucking, chewing or swallowing his food.  This can be the result of muscle weakness, coordination difficulties or the timing of the swallow reflex.

– Kathy Gruhn, MA CCC-SLP, author of My Baby Compass series

What Foods Do I Feed Baby Second?

Phase 2 of feeding schedule

In my last blog post, I provide a guide for feeding babies from four to seven months.  This is the second post in my baby nutrition series.

When baby is eight months or older, gradually increase thickness, then chunkiness of food.  Offer bite-sized pieces of soft finger foods.  Watch very carefully for choking or gagging.  Add these foods to the previous blog recommendations:

  • Tahini
  • Ground nuts
  • Ground seeds
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Powdered kelp
  • Natural cheeses
  • Apricot
  • Apple
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honeydew
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Plums
  • Watermelon
  • Broccoli
  • Okra
  • Cooked parsley
  • Wheat germ
  • Peeled and quartered grapes (not whole grapes)

For 9 months or older add these foods to the ones from above:

  • Dried beans, lentils, split peas  (ground and cooked)
  • Pineapple
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach
  • Beets
  • Kale
  • Eggplant
  • Rhubarb
  • Cooked greens
  • Finely chopped raw parsley and cooked onion
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Blueberries (cut in half)

This information was obtained from the book, Super Baby Food, by the author Ruth Yaron.  Other good resources are:  Whole Foods for Babies & Toddlers by Margeret Kenda, www.weelicious.com and www.wholesomebabyfood.com.

Also check out My Baby Compass, Birth to Two for a suggested feeding and quality time schedule. A speech pathologist also evaluates a child that is not properly sucking, chewing or swallowing his food.  This can be the result of muscle weakness, coordination difficulties or the timing of the swallow reflex.

– Kathy Gruhn, MA CCC-SLP, author of My Baby Compass series

What Foods Do I Feed Baby First?

Phase 1 of feeding schedule

Here are some ideas and suggestions to help you feed your baby that will supplement your own intuition. There are foods recommended at certain times because of the texture, taste and ease of digestion. Consult with your health care provider about your baby’s nutrition and never leave baby alone while eating. Cooked vegetables, fruits and pastas can be made ahead of time by cooking in large batches and freezing in ice cube trays and then transferring to freezer bags.

When your baby is between four and six months, and beginning to eat solids, you need to mix the pureed baby food with enough liquid until it pours off the spoon into baby’s mouth. Food should be only slightly thicker than breast milk/formula.  Baby food for the first six months should start with:

  • ripe avocados, ripe bananas
  •  iron-fortified infant rice cereal
  •  cooked, pureed sweet potatoes
  • single grain iron-fortified commercial infant cereals (barley, millet, oatmeal)
  • cooked strained fruits (apricots, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, prunes)

When your baby is six to seven months, food should still be pureed or mashed until it is a smooth and lump less consistency. Food can be slightly thicker than for beginners – the thickness of thick cream.  Continue with the above foods and add:

  • whole-milk yogurt
  • homemade whole grain cereals (brown rice, millet, oat)
  • papaya, pears, mango
  • winter squash

When baby is 7 months or older add these foods:

  • homemade mixed cereals
  • tofu
  • cottage cheese
  • Hard-cooked egg yolk (not egg white)
  • Cooked pureed vegetables (asparagus, carrots, green beans, peas, summer squash, white potatoes)
  • Diluted, strained, mild fruit juices (apple, apricot, grape, papaya, pear, peach, prune and maybe orange juice)

This information was obtained from the book, Super Baby Food, by the author Ruth Yaron.  Other good resources are:  Whole Foods for Babies & Toddlers by Margeret Kenda, www.weelicious.com and www.wholesomebabyfood.com.

Also check out My Baby Compass, Birth to Two for a suggested feeding and quality time schedule. A speech pathologist also evaluates a child that is not properly sucking, chewing or swallowing his food.  This can be the result of muscle weakness, coordination difficulties or the timing of the swallow reflex.

– Kathy Gruhn, MA CCC-SLP, author of My Baby Compass series