Archive for December, 2012

Tips to help your baby sleep

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Babies are not born with an understanding of the day/night sleep cycle and so it is a skill that they learn in the early stages of development. We have compiled a list of tips that researchers and parents have shown to be helpful in encouraging sleep in babies.

  • Practice safe co-sleeping practices. Click here for more information on SIDS, co-sleeping and breastfeeding.
  • Night feeds can be a great way to calm baby back to sleep so avoid changing the nappy at the end of the feed, instead change the nappy before or halfway through the feed.
  • Let baby fall asleep on the breast.
  • Get baby used to the idea of associating calm with night time by keeping the lights dim and avoiding play and using high energy levels at night.
  • Offer your baby another feed before you go to bed, even if they are not due for a feed. Don’t wake them, let them suck in their sleep.
  • Avoid caffeine if you’re breastfeeding. This will be transferred to your baby through the breast milk making them restless.
  • Wrap your baby, this will reduce the startle reflex making them feel more secure.
  • Rock your baby, a soothing motion will calm baby to sleep. Baby slings are perfect for this, where mum can get things done and soothe baby at the same time. Alternatively a rocking chair is also a good idea.
  • Play your baby soothing music. Babies are accustomed to loud noises whilst in the womb, silence is not natural to them! Soothe them with music or ‘white noise’ such as the maternal heartbeat.
  • Massage your baby and they may find it easier to fall asleep. Mums enjoy a massage, so it’s worth a try and it makes a lovely bonding experience between baby and parent.
  • Create a routine that signals to your baby that it is bedtime. You may give your baby a relaxing and warm bath before bed or dim the lights to signal that it is time to quiet down.
  • Look for signs of tiredness as a queue to get baby ready for sleep. A lack of focus and fussing are signs that your baby is tired and if not seen to they will turn grumpy which makes it hard to settle them down to sleep.

Parents are bound to lose some sleep when they welcome their new baby into the home however it is important to remember that the baby will develop this skill eventually and parents should see these moments as opportunities to bond with their baby. Enjoy the touch of your babies skin, their smell and how amazing they are, your special creation.

For more information on babies and sleep, visit some of our favorite links:

http://www.tresillian.net/tresillian-tips/settling-techniques-newborn-12-months.html

http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/sleep-naps-12/slideshow-naps

http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/getting_help_from_parenting_centres.html/context/612

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/baby-sleep/FL00118

http://www.earlychildhoodaustralia.org.au/resource_themes/baby_and_toddler_sleeping.html

 

Children and nature at home

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

We feel extremely lucky to live in a beautiful and protected part of the Australian environment. We’re awoken by birds, possums scrambling across our roof top and what we thought was someone chopping wood at 4 in the morning is actually one of our resident frogs! We have a small pond in our backyard and whilst neglected we have recently cleaned some of the leaf matter out and trimmed some marshes surrounding it so it gets a little sun to keep the mosquitoes under control. As it turns out on close inspection this pond is teaming with tadpoles and I always catch a glimpse of an elegant dragonfly or two which are drawn to the abundance of insects on the menu.

Everything in this pond and its surrounds, live in harmony, the tadpoles and the frogs eat the mosquitoes and their larvae whilst the dragonflies keep annoying small pests in our organic vegie patch under control. Nature is truly amazing and it is so important that we teach our children to respect and admire nature. Not only for the benefit of appreciating the simple things in life but the future of our ecosystems rely on the little people we are rearing to stand up and protect them. The ecosystems can survive without our interference but too often we encroach on the fragile nature of these systems upsetting a balance and causing irreversible damage. Encourage your own little ecosystem in your backyard and admire it with your child, show them how to respect nature and how to observe it. A pond is a terrific example of an ecosystem and your child can watch the development of tadpoles as they grow to be frogs.

 

Recently we set up a compost bin in our backyard. Thankfully our council promotes the use of a compost bin and doesn’t provide a green bin. We purchased our compost bin for $50 from Bunnings and it has been such a great investment for ourselves and the environment. Once the products of our green waste have been broken down by natural bacteria and heat we can use it in our organic vegetable garden which will save us a great deal on compost! Why throw this brilliant green waste into your council bin?! We have no smell coming from our compost bin, it is airtight and doesn’t smell at all unlike our rubbish bin! No bugs or small critters can get in, it’s perfect and so easy! I was so thrilled with the compost bin system that I nearly purchased everyone in our family one for Christmas! All households should have one, it would be a refreshing exercise for people to re-connect with nature and children would be in awe at how quickly the waste breaks down. Not to mention the joy on their faces when they see the effects of this green ‘rubbish’ on their garden.

Some great links to environmental information:

http://www.environment.gov.au/

http://www.csiro.au/Outcomes/Environment.aspx

http://www.bom.gov.au/environment/

Step by step – how to change a nappy

Monday, December 24th, 2012

The steps involved in changing your baby’s nappy will vary depending on whether you’re using cloth or disposable but for the most part the steps are basically the same. Either way it is important to change your baby’s nappy regularly to prevent nappy rash which is an uncomfortable condition generally brought about by leaving your baby in a wet nappy which harbors the growth of bacteria and fungus causing what we see as nappy rash. Nappy rash is best prevented in contrast to having to treat the area with antifungal/steroidal creams and managing a baby that is in extreme discomfort. Nappy rash can be prevented by changing baby regularly and ensuring their skin is kept clean and dry. A zinc barrier cream is useful to apply after baby has been cleaned and changed, this creates a barrier between the moisture in the nappy and the baby’s skin.

How to change a nappy:

  1. Have a clean and dry nappy handy
  2. Unfasten the tabs on the nappy whilst keeping it in place
  3. If your baby is a boy ensure the penis is covered with a cloth to prevent a sudden warm shower!
  4. Wipe away any poo with the nappy
  5. Fold the nappy in half underneath the baby. Clean side facing up
  6. Using a damp baby cloth wipe clean the front of your baby thoroughly, making sure if your baby is a girl that you wipe from front to back- always away from the vagina. Doing so will prevent bacteria entering the vagina which can lead to infection
  7. Lift your baby’s legs holding them with one hand and wipe their bottom using a damp cloth, with the other hand
  8. Dispose of the dirty nappy and get a clean nappy
  9. Place the clean nappy so that half of it is positioned under your baby’s bottom and the other half between the legs
  10. If you have a newborn ensure that the back of the nappy is positioned higher than the front to avoid irritating the umbilical cord stump. For boys tuck the penis down to prevent moisture escaping
  11. Fasten the nappy, making sure it is snug fitting without being too tight
  12. If you’re using cloth nappies, knock any stools into the toilet and place the nappy inside a nappy bucket making sure the lid is sealed tightly
  13. When washing cloth nappies make sure you wash them in a separate load and use hot water with a double rinse. Avoid softeners which may cause problems with nappy absorbance and baby’s sensitive skin
  14. Dress your baby and wash your hands

Here are some helpful resources relating to changing nappies:

http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/publications/attachments/ch43poster2.pdf

http://www.birth.com.au/Changing-nappies/How-to-change-a-nappy-step-by-step#

http://www.babycenter.com.au/a536384/nappy-changing-the-basics

Cigarette smoke & Meningitis, oxygen deprivation & ADHD and Mercury in vaccines

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

The latest news in the world of pregnancy and parenting has revealed a link between second hand smoke, pregnancy and an increased risk of children developing meningococcal disease. A loss of oxygen whilst in the womb or during birth has been shown to greatly increase the risk of ADHD and may help doctors and researchers identify and treat children who are at greater risk of developing ADHD. A debate has been fueled by a United Nations proposal to ban a Mercury containing vaccine preservative called thimerosal.

Avoid second hand smoke at all costs

A study published in the BMC Journal of Public health found that pregnant women and new parents should avoid being exposed to second hand smoke as it doubles their baby or child’s risk of developing meningococcal disease, which has a mortality rate of 5% and sadly leaves many patients with some form of disability. Children born to mothers that smoke during pregnancy are 3 times more likely to develop the disease than children born into non-smoking households. Further research is required to determine the mechanism explaining how smoking leads to the development of invasive meningococcal disease however a clear relationship has been identified and second hand smoke should be avoided.

A link between loss of oxygen before or during birth and ADHD

Researchers from the Kaiser Permanente department in Southern California have analysed health records of close to 82,000 children. The results of the study show that children exposed to a loss of oxygen in the womb displayed a 16% greater risk of developing ADHD. In contrast children who had a loss of oxygen during birth displayed a 26% greater risk of developing this disorder. The results do not show a clear cause and effect relationship and further research in this area is required.

A vaccine preservative contains Mercury

The vaccine preservative thimerosal contains Mercury and the United Nations has proposed a ban on its use. There is currently much debate over whether this is a realistic proposal given that many developing countries rely on using multi-dose vials to prevent disease despite this form of vaccine containing thimerosal. More developed countries such as the United States are able to avoid the preservative by using single dose vials however this is not a viable option for developing countries where resources are limited and vaccination rates are already very low. The Mercury used in vaccines is called ethyl mercury which is not to be confused with methyl mercury which is known to effect the development of children’s brains when present in the environment. Consequently mixed opinions surround the toxicity of thimerosal. While it appears to be safe, there is something unsettling about the fact that it must be disposed of as hazardous waste due to its mercury content and it is being injected into children in developing countries?

5 most popular nursery wall decals for 2012

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

We would like to share with you our 5 bestselling nursery wall decal designs for 2012!

The most popular wall sticker theme for Totsntales customers in 2012 has been the jungle nursery design. Many of our customers have customised these designs to suit their own room decor. We can make changes to these designs in terms of colour, size etc. Just ask us, our nursery wall decal designers would be more than happy to help. There are so many wall stickers to choose from online- to those that have purchased from Totsntales or taken inspiration from our nursery wall sticker designs, we would like to say thank you. Thank you for supporting an Australian made and owned product.

From most popular to least popular:

  1. Jungle tree nursery wall decals
Jungle wall stickers for baby nursery

Most popular nursery wall decal 2012

2. Transportation boys wall stickers

Boys nursery wall stickers

Transport nursery decals are popular in boys rooms

3. Custom cherry blossom wall decal

Cherry blossom wall stickers

Choose your own colours for this cherry blossom wall decal

4. Australian animals nursery wall decal

Animal nursery decals

Our bestselling Australiana outback wall decals

5. Under the sea nursery wall decals

Fish wall stickers

Under the sea nursery wall stickers add colour and life to any space

We have so many new designs under production for 2013 and we can’t wait to share them with you! Among them are some really unique and new ideas that we’re confident you’re going to love, so please stay tuned. There’s still time to get your Christmas orders in, we’ll be posting orders off tomorrow and we offer express post so please be sure to select this option if you require your order before Xmas.

To view some of our other bestselling nursery wall decals please visit our online boutique.

Latest collection of fabric wall decals

Monday, December 17th, 2012

We love our latest collection of farm themed fabric wall decals from Australian artist Barbara Kay. This range consists of a farm theme in bright colors and features an array of happy faces in amongst a diversity of farm life.

This collection has been tediously created initially by hand drawings and then brought to life by Wall Craft, the wall sticker specialists of Australia. Children are loving this design as it is so interactive. Parents are sending through praises for this product and their joy in watching on as their children place the characters around the farm and then effortlessly move elements to new positions, creating an entirely new layout! One customer has combined the farm collection with the transport design to create an agricultural city cosmos!

Some of our customers have purchased extra leaves to add to the tree and this is a great way for your child to learn all about the seasons of change in nature. Add the leaves in Spring and come Autumn the leaves fall to the ground and disappear for Winter, this is the beauty of Wall Craft wall stickers which are movable over and over again without loss of efficacy.

Available in 2 sizes, this design will suit most children’s rooms or nurseries. The smaller size takes up approximately 2m by 1m on a wall whilst the larger size is a whopping 4m by 2m tall!

Let us know what you think of this new design or learn more about it by clicking here.

Farm fabric wall stickers

Australian designed and made Farm wall decals

 

How we chose a dog for our family

Friday, December 14th, 2012

We recently adopted a new family member of the four legged variety. After doing lots and lots of research on all the different dog breeds available in Australia we finally narrowed our choice down to a small handful of breeds. In order to narrow down the breeds that were most suitable for our family situation we used the following criteria:

  • Must be great with kids including young children and babies
  • Must not be a breed that is known to bark excessively (we live in a quiet neighborhood)
  • Does not require more than a daily walk and a romp in the garden in terms of exercise
  • A small breed that will not knock small children over or eat us out of house and home
  • Short hair- Low maintenance in terms of coat care and not an excessive shedder
  • A great companion that loves to be around people and welcomes all guests into the home

Using this criteria we successfully narrowed our search down to one breed. A breed commonly referred to as the ‘little clowns’ of the dog world, the French Bulldog! After doing our research we felt confident in our decision to start searching for a suitable breeder and we went off to meet some of these delightful personalities in person. Our family loved everything about this breed, their cute faces, the snoring but most importantly their fun loving and comical nature. The perfect dog breed for our family.

After many months of waiting for the right puppy, now we can happily say we have our own French Bulldog and we would like you to meet Fifi the French Bulldog! Adorable, cuddly and charismatic, she is a ball of love and has settled into our family life perfectly.

We’ll keep you updated with photos as she grows!

French bulldog puppy

French Bulldog puppy 8 weeks old

Buying a French bulldog

French bulldogs make great family dogs

French bulldogs are little clowns

French bulldogs love children and make great therapy dogs for the elderly

 

BPA & pregnancy, IVF increases asthma risk, parenting increases lifespan

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

This weeks scientific publications in the area of pregnancy and parenting show us the tendency for BPA to accumulate in the livers of babies whilst in the womb. New research has shown that children resulting from IVF technologies have an increased risk of asthma and interestingly another study has observed that parents may live longer than childless couples.

BPA and pregnancy

Researchers have observed that babies are subject to high levels of BPA during pregnancy where the chemical builds up in their liver. Unfortunately babies have a reduced capacity to eliminate or clear BPA from their bodies, meaning the risk of it reaching toxic levels becomes very high.

Why is BPA dangerous and where can it be found?

  • BPA can be found in plastic bottles and surprisingly in food and drink cans.
  • Studies have linked BPA to breast and prostate cancer, childhood behavioral issues, poor semen quality, miscarriage and cardiovascular disease.

A study published in the Journal of Biochemical and Molecular Toxicology has measured the levels of BPA in the livers of first and second trimester fetuses. Strong evidence of widespread BPA levels in the livers of these unborn babies was found and some fetuses even displayed a high level of exposure to BPA. The researchers then went on to measure the levels of enzymes responsible for breaking down BPA and found that the fetus does not possess the enzymes required to efficiently break down and clear BPA from their bodies as compared to adults.

How does BPA enter the body?

  • Skin
  • Inhalation
  • Ingestion

The results of this recent study suggest that pregnant women should be avoiding BPA exposure at all costs. An easy way to reduce your exposure to BPA is to discard any plastic drinking bottles you may use and replace them with BPA free bottles. Do not re-use your flimsy water bottles that you buy from the shops. Look for containers and bottles that clearly state BPA free on their packaging.

Thankfully, our new range of fabric wall stickers are BPA & PVC free. Avoid PVC items! This study is evidence to show the benefit of avoiding vinyl wall stickers particularly in newborn and children’s rooms. They may be cheaper but think of the health implications for your little one.

IVF and the increased risk of asthma

Researchers are warning parents not to be alarmed by the results of a recent study which have shown that children born from IVF technologies may be at an increased risk of developing asthma. A study published in the journal of Human Repoduction which analysed data on 19,000 children showed that children born from IVF technologies were four times as likely to be taking asthma medications than children who were conceived naturally. Children born from mothers taking ovulation inducing drugs were twice as likely to be taking asthma medications. Although there appears to be some relationship between IVF reproduction technologies and asthma, more research is required to make any definitive conclusions.

Adoption increases lifespan of childless couples

A recent study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community has claimed that men and particularly women who become parents have a lower rate of death and psychiatric illness than childless couples. Doctors have attributed the reduced rate of death and mental illness to the positive effect becoming parents has on a couple and say that the effect is the same for biological and adoptive parents.

Popular baby names

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

We have put together a quick list of the most popular baby names our customers order for their handmade wooden names. These results are consistent with the results obtained by the Bureau of Statistics. This year so far the most popular names for baby boys have been, in descending order:

  • William
  • Lucas
  • Lachlan
  • Ethan
  • Oliver
  • Jack
  • Noah
  • Thomas
  • Joshua
  • Cooper

The most commonly chosen names for baby girls include:

  • Chloe
  • Ruby
  • Olivia
  • Isabella
  • Mia
  • Charlotte
  • Sophie
  • Sienna
  • Ava
  • Amelia

Another popular baby name is Charlie which is a great unisex name, making it perfect if you do not know the gender of your unborn baby. Some other unique and beautiful names we have come across include:

  • Cash
  • Quade
  • Charlton
  • Latoya
  • Syona

We can hand make your baby’s name using premium quality craft wood and you can select a colour to have the name painted in, a fabric to cover it in or you can receive it in plain wood finish to create your own original design! As all of our wooden names are made in house here in Australia if you have a fabric that you have in mind, we can use this in the manufacture of your order. We can also make wooden shapes and chalkboards to match your wooden name.

Baby wooden names and words

Custom made wooden names and shapes for the nursery

 

Our wooden names look fantastic in a nursery or kids room, unlike name wall stickers they are a beautiful keepsake for years to come and they look so classy, adding character to any space. If you’re looking for a unique and personal Christmas gift for a little person, one of these might just be it!