Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Need Help Finding The Perfect Baby Shower Gift?

While some people have their own ideas as to where to shop for
a baby shower gift, there are others who may love to shop but
still have absolutely no clue as to where to get the perfect
gift for mom and the new baby. The best solution for this is to
discover the wonderful world of online retail before venturing
out to your local shopping mall.

When beginning your quest for the perfect baby shower gift you
may be surprised to learn that not every store carries
baby-related items. Sometimes it takes a little work to find
baby products that are different from what everyone else is
buying. Searching online for a unique and creative gift is a
great time saver and is also excellent for those who may live in
a rural area without as many stores to choose from. But if you
happen to live in an urban area there shouldn't be a problem
finding something such as a department store like Macy's or one
that specializes in children's items like Toys R Us.

Nordstrom and Pottery Barn are two yuppie favorites for
newborns and many people who are attending a shower will take
some of the favorite little newborn outfits and outerwear these
two top retailers provide for their customers. The best of the
best can be bought at baby clothing stores such as The
Children's Place and Carter's Outlets. JC Penney still carries a
wide selection of baby clothes and many other old favorites are
around to ensure the gift you give for the baby will long be
remembered as being a gift from you. Of course, that's only
until the baby grows out of it if you buy clothes.

If you are looking for something that will be extremely useful
for the new baby as well as the mom-to-be, consider a playpen or
a car seat. While babies quickly outgrow carry-all seats, a car
seat is adjustable and will last for a while. Car seats are also
items that are often overlooked when shopping for baby shower
gifts as many people tend to gravitate toward gifts such as
clothing or bedding. Any of these items can be found at some of
our well-known favorites as well as new super shopping centers.
K-Mart, Wal-Mart and Target all carry a wide variety of baby
related products such as playpens, car seats, clothing and

Wal-Mart and K-Mart also have a large selection of baby toys
for the baby growing into a toddler. While you may not want to
go overboard with this now, remember, the newborn will get an
abundance of clothes and blankets for the infant stages but what
about when the baby begins to toddle around. Then what? The
second six months of a child's life can be a financially
draining moment on the new parents too so make an effort to look
into the future and see what they will need. When in doubt, buy
an outfit for six months or older and throw in a gift card for
good measure to be used later!

Before making a purchase, you may want to check online to see
if there are any recalls or warnings about the particular
products you are interested in. Consumer ratings site are
especially helpful and offer advice about specific products. By
doing your homework you can easily find a great and suitable
baby gift.

About The Author: For more great baby shower ideas, visit us at

Saturday, March 15, 2008

When You Drink When Pregnant, So Does Your Baby: Dangers Of Drinking When Pregnant

Remember that when you drink alcohol, so does your baby.

According to leading experts, the consumption of alcohol,
during pregnancy is the leading known preventable cause of
mental and physical birth defects in the United States. It
has also been shown to be the leading known cause of mental
retardation in the Western world.

Despite these very real and frightening dangers, many
pregnant women still drink alcohol. Statistics indicate
that every year in the United States, one out of every 750
infants is born with this pattern of physical,
developmental, and functional problems, while another
40,000 are born with what is referred to as fetal alcohol
effects (FAE). The main effect of FAS is a permanent
disability caused by severe and permanent central nervous
system damage, especially in the brain, leaving no way to
effect a cure for FAS.

Children who are affected by the syndrome usually exhibit
multiple signs starting with facial abnormalities,
including smaller eye openings, flattened cheekbones, and
an indistinct philtrum (an underdeveloped groove or divot
running between the nose and the upper lip). A thin upper
lip and smooth philtrum are signs used by a professional to
diagnose FAS. The presence of FAS facial features indicates
brain damage, though brain damage may also exist if they
are not. The risk factor for brain damage increases
significantly as the eyes get smaller, the philtrum gets
flatter, and the lip gets thinner. In fact in studies, the
more the face presents these FAS-like attributes, the more
likely the brain is to be abnormal.

Individuals with FAS also exhibit learning disabilities,
poor impulse control, do not understand personal
boundaries, cannot manage anger, show signs of
stubbornness, tend to be far too friendly with strangers,
show poor daily living skills, experience delays
developing, have poor attention or concentration making
them easily distractible. mental retardation, epilepsy,
display confusion under pressure, show trouble trying to
distinguishing between fantasy and reality, have slower
thought processing, display poor judgment, and lack fine
motor and gross motor skills.

Since the problems associated with FAS tend to intensify as
children go into adulthood, these people also show an
increased incidence of mental illness, are more likely to
be suspended, expelled from school or dropping out of
school, and are more likely to be charged or convicted with
a crime. FAS-affected individuals are more likely to
exhibit inappropriate sexual behavior through sexual
advances, sexual touching, or promiscuity, and suffer from
alcohol and drug abuse or dependency. Children with FAE
display the same symptoms, but to a lesser degree.

Every pregnancy is different. Drinking alcohol may cause
damage to one baby more than another. You could have one
child who is born healthy and another child born with
problems. Mothers consume alcohol during the first
trimester of pregnancy have kids with the most severe
problems because that is when the brain is developing. The
connections in the baby's brain don't get made properly
when alcohol is present.

Brain cells and structures are underdeveloped or malformed
by the prenatal exposure. The risk of causing brain damage
exists throughout the entire pregnancy, though, since the
fetal brain develops continually through each trimester.
Although full-blown FAS is the result of chronic alcohol
use during pregnancy, FAE and ARND may occur with only
occasional or binge drinking, seriously damaging a
developing nervous system.

Clearly, abusing alcohol during pregnancy is dangerous. No
evidence exists which determines exactly how much alcohol
ingestion will produce birth defects. Individual women
process alcohol differently, and many women don't even know
they're pregnant in the early months.

Alcohol is a teratogen, and the only certain way to prevent
FAS is to avoid drinking alcohol anytime before becoming
pregnant or during a pregnancy. Since experts do not know
whether the difference in the quantity of damage done to
the fetus is caused by the amount, how frequently alcohol
is consumed or at what time during a pregnancy the alcohol
is consumed, the current recommendation first made by the
Surgeon General in 1981 and again in 2005, is for a woman
not to drink at all while she is expecting or planning to
become pregnant.

Alcohol easily passes the placental barrier and the
developing fetus is not equipped to eliminate alcohol so,
the fetus tends to receive a high concentration of alcohol,
which lingers longer than it would in the mother's system.
She runs the risk giving birth to a child who will pay the
price for her alcohol consumption, both in mental and
physical deficiencies, or behavioral problems throughout
the course of his or her entire life. People with severe
problems may experience physical and emotional
disabilities, may not be able to take care of themselves as
adults, and quite frequently, they may never be able to
work, causing a burden both to the prospective parents and
society, as a whole.

About the Author:

Tell your story! Pick up recovery tips and tricks to
enhance your life in recovery. Bill Urell MA.CAAP-II, is an
addictions therapist at a leading residential treatment
center. He teaches healthy life styles and life skills.
Visit our growing community at:

Friday, March 07, 2008

Tips For Traveling With A Toddler

Traveling is an exciting time for the entire family, and if you
are taking a toddler along on the trip, you'll need to plan
ahead with activities, snacks, and all the right tools to stay

Traveling with kids is much more fun when everyone is
well-prepared for the adventure; this means packing the right
items, making sure there are enough activities to keep the kids
busy, and keeping everyone's safety in mind. Whether you're
planning a short weekend getaway or a few weeks on a family
vacation, here are some simple tips for traveling with a

1. Car seats, baby carriers, strollers, and booster seats.
Making sure you have a safe car seat, a stroller and booster
seats available, will make it much easier to travel to different
venues with your toddler. Car seats can ensure a safe drive,
while your own collapsible stroller will make it simple to tour
and visit different areas without having to rent equipment.
Leave room in your car to pack the stroller easily, and take
along a booster seat if you have some extra space. You may also
want to bring a sling or baby carrier to reduce the amount of
gear to pack if your child is not too heavy for you to carry.
Most slings can support a child up to 35 lbs. Check with your
sling's/carrier's manufacturer for details.

2. Comfortable clothing. The right outfit for the day of
traveling is important, since you want your toddler to be
comfortable and enjoy the experience. Light-colored clothing
works best, especially if you're traveling to a warmer climate.
You'll want to pack at least two outfits for the days you'll be
traveling on the road or in an airplane, as your toddler may
spill food and drinks on their clothes and that will require an
outfit change.

3. Diaper bags and accessories. You'll need a place to store
those extra diaper bags, toys, videos, snacks, and clothing, so
that everything is within easy reach. If you are traveling by
car or van, pick up an organizer bag that you can just hang over
the car seat, or a tote-style box/organizer that you can slip
into the trunk of the car.

4. Puzzles and games. Puzzles and games will keep your toddler
and kids busy during those very long travel times, so make sure
you're taking along a tote bag of their favorite toys, coloring
books, and games. Games don't have to contain lots of pieces
when you're on the road – think about simple activities such as
coloring books with crayons, picture books, and activity books
that will keep them occupied. You also may want to create a
surprise bag of little games/treats for each hour/certain number
of miles passed. This keeps them entertained and wondering what
will come next.

5. DVDs and media activities. A portable DVD player, an iPod,
or just a simple CD player are other activities that can keep
your toddler and kids occupied on a long trip. Rent some of
their favorite movies for the DVD player, or just pick up some
fun books on tape for them to listen to. These activities can
keep kids busy for a few hours, and are especially valuable for
those extra-long trips.

6. Snacks and food. Taking along enough snacks is essential
when traveling with kids, especially since you don't want to
waste lots of money on food and snacks along the way. Packing
your own snacks and food will also ensure that your kids can eat
healthy when traveling, so think of simple and tasty snacks the
whole family can enjoy. Fruit wedges, granola bars, peanut
butter sandwiches, and even homemade trail mix are great foods
for traveling, and can make long hours of traveling much more

7. Immunizations and medical records. If you're traveling out
of the country, you'll need to have your kids immunized against
various diseases and conditions, but you'll also want to have
everyone get a health checkup before leaving and upon your
return. Make an appointment with the doctor or physician at
least two to three weeks before your travel dates, so that
everyone can enjoy the trip in the best of health.

8. Passports, visas, and identity cards. Make sure you have all
of the paperwork and materials you will need for your travel
plans well ahead of time, and pack all of these in a separate
case for easy access. All of your personal records need to be in
an easily accessible place in case of emergency, so be sure to
make a place for these and keep them on close-at-hand during
your trip.

Whether you're traveling on a long road trip or taking an
airplane ride with your kids, making sure they are comfortable,
safe, and enjoying the experience should be a top priority. Stay
organized and plan ahead, using all of these simple strategies,
so that you can deliver a fun vacation the whole family will

About The Author: April Aguren is the owner of, a kids' travel accessory website. She has
traveled extensively as a marketing event manager for work and
with her family for fun. For more information on travel
accessory gear for your baby, toddler or preschooler, see her
site at

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Toys For Teaching Infants

When an infant reaches the age of three months, he begins to
become playful. He starts playing with anything he sets his eyes
on. Anything that fits in his hand or has something that is able
to be grabbed on it.

This is also the stage in a child's life when he begins what is
called "teething." That means that the child is beginning to
grow his first set of teeth in and he is anxious to give them a
go, which means that anything that the child picks up goes
straight into his mouth.

That is why it is important that the child is given toys that
are appropriate for this stage. Anything that he picks up may
contain pieces that come off easily when pulled. This could pose
a danger for a small child, seeing as how they could choke
easily on anything that enters their mouth.

That is why toys for their age have been created. Not only are
these toys fun for children that age, but they are also
educational. Infants are also in a stage where they are
beginning to learn new things and specially designed infant toys
aid in their learning of new things.

For babies who love to place everything in their mouth, there
are all kinds of toys that are soft and squishy that can go in
their mouth without posing any kind of threat to their health.
They come in all shapes and sizes, but they all serve the same
purpose. They are for infants who love to put things in their
mouth. With these toys, your child can do that without any

Another thing to consider is that children at this stage are
always open to learn. Making sure they learn the right thing
should be a priority.

One such toy is a device with several buttons that produce
musical sounds when they are pushed. Several babies at this age
enjoy hearing music. Depending on the kind they hear, they are
relaxed by it. When they play with these buttons, they come out
with their own unique "songs." Who knows? Your child may become
the next Beethoven or Mozart and this little device could help
them in that process.

Another toy is another machine, but this one helps the child
learn new words. These machines vary, seeing as how some teach
words for animals, objects such as a lamp or book, or other
words. These devices have been known to help children with new
words and recognition of objects.

Infant toys such as these should be able to help babies in the
first stages of their life. They are very open to learn anything
and it is imperative that they learn the right things the right
way. They may not know as much as adults do, but that means
their mind is open to learn anything that comes their way.
Thankfully, there are infant toys available to babies that help
the, learn the basic things in their early life.

About The Author: Nathan Nunez is ready to answer your
educational toys questions. For more tips and information about
educational baby toys, please check out