helping parents and caretakers keep their little ones safe, healthy, and happy 
Being conscious of your baby's cognitive and emotional development can help to keep your child happy and healthy.  
Support your child through this important growing experience. Remember to talk to your daycare provider about baby's mental health and wellness as well as his/her physical development!
Working parents know that childcare is often a necessity, but it can be a very good experience for a child- teaching social skills and learning about other cultures.
The most important thing is to make sure the center is both safe and educational. Ask these questions:
Are parents allowed to visit? Are unannounced parental visits welcome? You want an "open door policy"
  Does the center provide all meals and snacks or must you provide food? If meals and snacks are provided, are they nutritious?
Is the center licensed by the Department of Health?
Is the staff certified in CPR and First Aid?  Make sure they follow the AAP and SIDS guidelines!!!!
Are there gates across stairways and electrical outlet covers? This is a good one to really look closely at.
Is the playground area safe and supervised?
  Is the environment clean?
Is the center secure (i.e., no children can wander off and no strangers can enter)?
  Are the caregivers trained in child development?
Do the caregivers have a sense of humor, do they feel good about themselves and their job, are they someone with whom you can have a relaxed and sharing relationship?
Are they talking to each other or relating to the kids?
Are they professional yet caring? Do they speak in an appropriate, nurturing manner to the children?
Are there regular meetings between staff and parents?
Do the children appear to be happy, well-cared for and content?
Is the space appealing, with adequate heating, lighting, ventilation and moderate noise levels?
Are babies held? Do they provide adequate stimulation and time with infants?
Is there a pleasant atmosphere in which a baby will thrive: soft music, pleasant smells, warm voices?
Are you encourage to call or stop by frequently, and unannounced? 
What type of play activities do they use? How do they build imagination? How are these activities age appropriate?
Are age-appropriate toys available for infants, such as rattles or mobiles? and MUSIC!!!!
and finally... ARE THEY ATTENTIVE TO YOUR CHILD AND LISTEN TO YOU AS YOU EXPRESS YOUR CHILD'S NEEDS?  Be sure your child's needs are met!!!
Nature's perfect food! Teach your daycare or childcare provider about breastfeeding benefits so they can help you continue to breastfeed even when you go back to work.
Here are some perks:
Breast feeding protects your newborn from illnesses is the immune molecules, called antibodies, that are present in breast milk. Antibodies are made by your body's immune system and are very specific molecules that help you fight each illness. 
Mothers throughout history have always known, and research now shows, that babies are happiest, healthiest, and smartest, if they are kept in close contact with their mother or another family member most of the time. Asleep or awake, happy or sad, babies like to feel and smell your warm embrace. Research shows babies grow faster and learn about their world more readily when up on mother's level. 
Some physical benefits of breastfeeding for the mother are reduced rates of breast cancer and ovarian cancer. The time saved for mother is immense also. As a breastfeeding mother, you can feed your baby even during stressful times such as when normal supplies of food and water are not available.
-La Leche League 
for the nursing workshop, click the mama and baby above
REMEMBER- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast feeding AT LEAST A YEAR and the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding AT LEAST 2 YEARS. 
Exposure to Smoke in Utero May Increase Risk of Infant Death
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Dec 18 - Among infants between the ages of 8 and 12
weeks, when the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the highest, those who have mothers who smoked during pregnancy have an altered arousal
response compared with infants of nonsmokers, according to a report in the January 2003 issue of the Archives of Disease in Childhood.
A key feature of the apnea theory for SIDS is failure of the arousal
mechanism, the Australian researchers explain. "We evaluated whether in utero
smoke-exposed infants have altered arousal response to  standardized auditory
stimuli and/or sleep pattern, as recorded on overnight complex sleep
polysomnography," Dr. A. B. Chang of the Royal Children's Hospital, Brisbane,
Queensland, and colleagues, write.
Dr. Chang's group attempted to rouse infants 8 to 12 weeks of age during REM
and non-REM sleep. Half of the 20 infants in the trial had been exposed to
smoke in utero.
There was no difference in smoke-exposed and non-exposed infants in arousal from REM sleep, the researchers report. There were also no differences
between the two groups in EEG, heart rate or respiratory rate.
However, during non-REM sleep, five infants exposed to smoke in utero did
not have an arousal response to maximal aural stimuli, whereas all the infants of nonsmoking mothers were arousable during non-REM sleep, Dr. Chang's team found.
Dr. Chang and colleagues conclude that "at the age when the incidence of
SIDS is at its peak, infants of smoking mothers are less rousable than those of
nonsmoking mothers in non-REM sleep, and this may partly explain why such infants are more at risk of SIDS."
Arch Dis Child 2003;88:30-33.
Your interaction with and attention to  your child will help to teach him or her:

*social skills 
*communication skills 
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome cannot be prevented, but there are steps you can take to
reduce the risk. 
* Place baby on back to sleep
* remove fluffly bedding from rest area
* do not smoke or allow smoking around  your baby
* do not let baby get too warm during sleep
* make sure baby's head and face remain uncovered at all times
* nursing does wonders
* co sleeping helps regulate breathing and body temperature when done responsibly
At the National Summit On America's Children on Capitol Hill last year, Jill Chasse was involved with discussions on increasing early mental health and emotional wellbeing in daycares which is being presented to the 110th congress through Nancy Pelosi's committees. 
CLICK to learn more about the SUMMIT
Pregnancy is your first shot to make an impact in your child's life. Having a healthy pregnancy will affect the way your baby grows-physically, emotionally, and mentally
brought to you by:
"Before you were conceived I wanted you Before you were born I loved you Before you were here an hour I would die for you This is the miracle of life."   -Maureen Hawkins 
Wear your baby! Keeping them close is healthier for both mom and baby! Slings and wraps are easier to carry around than a stroller, baby skin to mama skin contact initiates calming, communication between mom and baby is smoother, comfort and security is increased, and nursing is easier!
DADDIES! Remember they are SO important to your child and your family! Click on the daddy to learn more

"You're living proof that dreams do come true;I love you and I'm here for you." 
- Will Smith; Just the Two of Us (to his son)

to learn more, click the baby
to learn more, click the daddy
Questions? Comments?
email me
to learn more, click the mama
 Are you raising your kids to respect the earth and the seasons with magic and love and light in their lives? Are you using herbal teas to calm tummies, meditations for birthing, and celebrating the solstices? 
Check out    )*Circle Round *(    a parenting group for natural parents of all faiths that respect the earth, seasons, nature, and magic. 
Ask an Expert - Visit my Virtual Office at Kasamba
A joint Harvard and McGill University study of over 170 countries found that the U.S. is one of only four countries that doesn't have any paid leave for new mothers. For example, mothers in France get 10 weeks and mothers in Germany get 14 weeks of fully paid leave. 

Seehttp://www.contempo raryfamilies. org/subtemplate. php?t=pressRelea ses&ext=surveyfivecount ries.  
See also: "The Work, Family, and Equity Index: How Does the U.S. Measure Up," by Jody Heyman, Allison Earle, and Jeffrey Hayes.  http://www.mcgill. ca/files/ ihsp/WFEIFinal20 07.pdf; and "More Moms Take Paid Leave," by Cheryl Wetzstein, The Washington Times, February 26, 2008.   http://www.washingt apps/pbcs. dll/article? AID=/20080226/ NATION/336107852

Daddy time!!
Click above for CIRCLE ROUND