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'babies' Parentelligence posts

What's the perfect baby shower gift

One of my worst nightmares is receiving an invite to a baby shower. I end up standing in a corner, watching all the presents get opened and in my head repeating things like “Cute, but it’s not safe” and “Yep, everyone has that but it’s not recommended.”

So, here you’ve just received the dreaded Baby Shower Invite, now you’ll need to venture into the land of pink and blue bears to purchase something that chances are the parents will end up not using. There is so much stuff on their registry, so you have to make a decision by reconciling what you like with your budget. If you know nothing of babies, it’s quite a mystery as to where to start.

Here are some great baby shower gifts. They won’t be the flashiest, but they’ll be useful and practical, so the parents will appreciate them all the more when the time comes:

Hey, Baby, What's Your Sign?

When a baby is 9-months-old and waves bye-bye, they are using the sign that you’ve taught them. The baby has the motor skills to sign and communicate but not the verbal skills yet.
Using sign language with babies can greatly reduce the frustration that is felt by both the parents and the child.

There comes a time when your child wants something but they can’t verbalize what it is. They will usually point and whine. Then we play the guessing game.

Mom: “Would you like juice?”

Child: shake of the head, more point and whine.

Mom: “Would you like a snack?”

Child: stomp the foot, more point and whine.

Mom: “Ugh, I don’t know what you want. Would you like a cookie?”

Child: (Through body language) Oh? A cookie? Sure, why not!

Mom: Whew!

Child: (Learns that point and whine will get me either what I want or a cookie. I’ll need to do that more often.)

Starting at about 6 months of age, you can expose your child to signing. By about 9 months of age, they can communicate their needs.

Signing will not slow their speech; in fact, by showing them that communication goes both ways, they can learn to speak sooner. You’ll want to show them the sign and say the word with it, so they learn to associate the word with the sign.

Here are a few basic signs that are easy to teach, but very helpful:

Which car seat should I get?

Picking out a car seat is one of the most daunting chores when having a baby. I can tell you the least important aspect of which car seat to buy is the color. The baby doesn’t care what color, and in a crash it won’t matter.

When expectant parents find out I’m a car seat technician, the most common question is “Which seat should I buy?” I will not deny that car seat technicians all have their favorites. There are some car seats that are easier to install than others, but I am always apprehensive to name a specific seat. There is not one seat that fits every situation. (The examples I have in this post are just examples, not endorsements or recommendations.)

Ease-of-use is a huge selling point. It can mean that parents are more likely to use it properly.

For newborns, there are two ways to go. You can start a baby in either an infant-only/rear-facing only car seat with a carry handle, or you can start them out in a convertible that typically stays in the car and will eventually turn forward-facing.

The features to look for in a car seat for an infant (either type) are:

Hold the baby

In the US, we have a culture that encourages independence but are we performing our babies a disservice by isolating them in a car seat carrier or stroller?

Think about what we do when we’re holding the baby and walking around. We are bonding through touch, smell, eye contact, and talking. We can talk to them and teach them about the trucks and airplanes, the art work on the walls and flowers or the different colors on the packages at the store. Even when they listen to us talk to a companion or on the phone, they’re being exposed to communication. The more you talk with your baby the better. All of this starts with the children as newborns.

What sort of interaction do babies get when they’re isolated in a car seat carrier or stroller covered with a blanket or staring at the ceiling?

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