• Understanding Your Newborn’s Language

    Father talking to his newborn baby.

    Communicating with Your Newborn

    Babies cry, everyone knows that. What you might not realize until you become a parent, though, is that different cries mean different things. Because it’s an ability they’re born with, babies use crying to communicate their needs, and part of your job is to try to figure out exactly what those needs may be. Don’t worry! In any new relationship, it takes a while to get to know the person and understand his or her style of communication. It’s no different with your new little one, and you will get the hang of it before you know it.

    What Does Baby Need?

    Babies cry because they are hungry, need a diaper change, are uncomfortable, or are in pain. They also cry when they’re overwhelmed by all the stimuli in this brand-new world, so be a little bit patient when you are trying to figure out the issue. Paying attention to other signals, like facial expressions and body movements, can help you get to know your baby better and understand what he or she is trying to say. Some people also find it helpful to begin teaching baby sign language around six months old, just to provide another communication tool.

    Connecting with Your Baby

    As you try to determine what your little one is communicating, use it as an opportunity to bond. Don’t just communicate when little one is fussy, either. Watch how your baby responds to your voice, your touch, and your body language. Talk to your baby as much as you can, while you are playing, during diaper changes and feedings, and when you are just relaxing and getting to know each other. Talking to babies is important, because it makes them feel safe and helps them develop language skills. Always respond to your baby’s cries, to offer reassurance as well as comfort. Knowing that you will meet their needs helps babies grow into secure people.

    When Will Your Baby Talk?

    Of course, communication becomes easier when children learn to talk. This will happen in stages, as baby begins to babble and coo, then make sounds that sound like words, before they actually begin to engage in coherent speech. They understand earlier than they can talk, though, and most babies know what the word “no” means by about six months of age. You can reasonably expect your child to say his or her first work around the first birthday.

    Should I Be Worried?

    Like every other element of a baby’s development, speech evolves differently for different babies. If your little one isn’t hitting every milestone “by the book,” don’t be alarmed. However, talk to your doctor if your baby won’t stop crying, or the crying seems strange, or it is accompanied by other signs that something could be wrong. If your baby doesn’t react to loud sounds by five months of age or isn’t making different sounds by that time, talk to your pediatrician. It may not be anything to worry about, but it’s always good to make sure everything is proceeding normally as you learn to communicate with your baby.

    Happy Families Start at Center for Vasectomy Reversal

    Communication is the key to any successful relationship, and learning to communicate with your children is a big part of building a happy family! At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we love helping people grow their happy families. We pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.

  • Why it’s Important to Teach your Children Good Manners

    Little girl with good manners helping her sister put a bicycle helmet on.

    Are Manners Outdated?

    You’ve probably heard older people lament the manners of modern children, and to an extent, the expectations have changed. Modern kids have more autonomy than prior generations, and as our society has shifted to a place of less civility, adults in the public eye often provide a poor example for children to follow. However, this doesn’t mean that manners are obsolete. A vintage manners book for children summed it up succinctly: “Good manners make a person nice to know.” As parents, we have a responsibility to raise people who are nice to know, and that means teaching manners.

    How Learning Manners Benefits Your Children

    When children learn to be mannerly, they’re really learning respect for others. People appreciate someone who is thoughtful and appreciative, respectful and grateful, and treating others with respect is universally recognized as good behavior. When your children are polite, people will remember them in a positive light, whether in school, on teams, or out and about. Instilling polite habits at an early age will help your children throughout their lives, opening up opportunities for them and helping them to succeed.

    Manners that Matter

    The definition of manners varies, but there are some standard practices that are always accepted as mannerly.

    • It starts with please and thank you. From earliest childhood, teach your child these simple expressions of polite behavior. Other, related phrases, including “how are you”, “you’re welcome” and “may I” are also important for children to learn. Get them into the habit of
    • Teach children to greet others respectfully. Though handshaking has fallen out of fashion post-pandemic, it’s still important to greet people properly. Even shy children can be taught to look others in the eye and say hello. Practice this skill by demonstrating the right way to greet someone and role playing with your child. Encourage children to call adults Mr. and Ms., because using a title and a last name is the most respectful way to address someone. Teach kids to wait their turn before speaking, and to say “excuse me” rather than interrupting a conversation.
    • Prioritize human interaction over screens. Children are becoming focused on screens at younger and younger ages. Model polite behavior, practicing good cell phone etiquette and putting the phone away at the table and when interacting with others. In public, teach children to notice other people, holding the door for someone carrying groceries or offering help to someone who needs it. This doesn’t just equate to good manners, but it demonstrates empathy.
    • Instill good sportsmanship and gracious behavior. Teach your children to be a good sport, win or lose, and you will be imparting a skill that will serve them well throughout their lives. Teach good playdate manners, too, reminding kids to follow the rules at other people’s houses and use their inside voices. Teaching your children the importance of gracious behavior will help them to be people who are always welcome wherever they want to be.
    • Teach kids to write thoughtful notes. Thank you notes are a good place to start, but it’s also smart to teach children to wrote polite texts and emails. Explain the basics, like how to right in a clear tone, and as your kids get older, teach them to be polite on social media, never posting rude comments.
    • Practice talking on the phone. Home phones are few and far between, but children need to learn the skill of phone etiquette. Use play phones to demonstrate how to have a polite conversation, and get your child in the habit of talking to relatives and friends when he or she is old enough to do so clearly and politely.
    • Work on table manners. Have dinner as a family, and practice good table manners. Teach kids to wait until everyone is seated and served to begin eating, demonstrate how to properly use a napkin and silverware, and work on etiquette together. This will instill confidence in your child, and you can be sure that your child will behave well even when you are not at the table. Practice conversing at the dinner table, too, and you will help kids learn how to have a conversation.
    • Limit media consumption. Watch television or go online, and you are sure to see incivility and downright rudeness. Limit your children’s exposure to this, and you will also be improving their lives in general; research indicates that less screen time means better health, grades, and behavior.
    • Model acts of service. Kindness is at the heart of polite behavior. Little acts of kindness, like holding a door or giving up your seat on a bus, can go a long way. Take it a step further, and perform acts of service as a family, participating in park cleanups or city-wide service days.

    Teaching Manners

    Now that we’ve established the importance of manners, and which manners are important to teach, how should you go about teaching them to your children? Being too strict is unlikely to be effective, and the same goes for threats and punishments. Modeling desired behavior has a stronger impact, and positive reinforcement can help make manners stick. Role play situations that may test your child’s manners, explaining why manners are important, and encouraging polite kindness to other people. Keep your expectations in check while your child is young and still learning.

    Center for Vasectomy Reversal is Here for Your Family

    Good manners help your children grow into well-rounded, good mannered people, and kindness and respect are two of the core values of happy families. At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we love helping people grow happy families. We pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.

  • How to Navigate the Challenges of Parenting Teens

    Father and teenager son playing video games.

    Parenting in a Shifting Landscape

    One thing about parenting is that it is everchanging. Just when you’ve got one stage under control, your kids move on to the next one, and you have to relearn the job all over again. The teenage years are one of the most challenging stages, because it comes with so much change, as your teens transition from children to adults. These years are hard on everyone. They’re hard on the teenagers because they are going through so many changes, and hard on you as a parent because of your changing relationship with your egocentric teen.  How can you support your child and ease the transition, while maintaining a good relationship?

    Understanding Your Teen’s Mind

    The teen years are a time of breaking away from childhood attachments and forming an independent identity. Your teens may cycle through activities, interests, peer groups, and mindsets, in search of a persona they feel is authentic. Managing all of this through hormonal changes, while overcoming insecure feelings about their bodies, can be extremely challenging. Many teens are intensely self-critical and self-doubting, and this negative self-perception can lead them to spend time alone and avoid their parents. Hyperconscious of all of these changes, parents may begin to criticize and question more than before, and be more suspicious and protective, because of their own anxiety. The anxiety is understandable. Teenagers take risks, act like they don’t care, and lie to, pick fights with, and manipulate their parents. If parents can take a step back from their own anxious feelings, recognize that transitions are natural, and remember what it’s like to be a teenager, this time will be a little bit easier. It can also make conflict with your teens easier if you recognize that teens who are comfortable enough to be contentious with their parents are actually displaying trust. If you can reign in your instinct to demand obedience and instead be willing to debate issues, it will foster respect in your relationship.

    Providing Support During Transitions

    One of the best things you can do for your teens, as they’re navigating this challenging landscape of change, is to be supportive. Understand that your teens have a lot of big feelings, and be willing to listen without judgement. As much as possible try to maintain steady routines, and encourage your teen to focus on healthy habits, like getting enough sleep, eating nutritious meals, exercising regularly, and managing stress. Offer your teens the chance to voice their opinions and make choices, but maintain rules and boundaries so that your kids feel secure and know what to expect. Counter your teens’ anxiety by reminding them of past accomplishments and successes, and try to manage your own anxiety in a way that keeps it separate from theirs.

    Guiding With Empathy and Encouragement

    It is easy, as adults to forget how intense things felt when we were teenagers. The challenges teens face today are different than those of past generations, but the physical and social changes are similar, and if you listen, you might discover that your teen is facing some of the same difficulties that you experienced when you were a teenager. Be mindful of this, and try to extend some grace. Maintaining empathy for your teen can help you stay connected, and if you can talk to your teens about some of your experiences, they may be more willing to listen to your viewpoints. When kids are little, they respond to positive reinforcement and praise, and these tactics are just as impactful for teens. Work on helping your teens build their self-confidence, focusing on their positive characteristics and helping them to cultivate a sense of self-compassion. Encouraging them to help others through acts of service can also help them feel better about themselves and give them a sense of purpose.

    Navigating Conflict

    One thing common during the teen years is clashing with parents. Fortunately, these conflicts do not mean that the relationship is weak. Teens may rebel against authority, parents try to clamp down and preserve their authority, and this escalates the conflict. It is important to understand that teens pick fights over everyday issues because they see them as deeper problems that challenge their identity. Limitations on their activities may be seen as a lack of trust or a challenge to their maturity, and this can trigger self-doubts that cause the teen to respond with anger. It is important for parents to listen to their teens and help guide them toward the right decisions, rather than setting unenforceable limits and causing teens to rebel and distance themselves further. Keep the lines of communication open can help let teenagers know that they can go to their parents for support and validation.

    Staying Connected

    It can be difficult to stay connected to your teenagers, when they keep their heads down, looking at their phones, and then lock themselves in their rooms without talking to you. Keep engaging, so that your teens know you’re a safe space and someone they can come to with issues. Recognize that physically distancing from you is a developmentally appropriate move for a teenager, and their self-imposed solitude allows them the time and space to try out some autonomy, spend time in introspection, learn to regulate their moods, and figure out who they are. Keep trying, modifying your connection to meet your teenager’s life stage. If your teenager is pulling away physically, try giving pats on the back instead of snuggles. Keep saying I love you, even if your teen doesn’t say it back. Stay accessible and available, because even when your teens seem to be pulling away, they still need their parents’ love and guidance.

    Support for Your Family as it Grows

    We hope these tips will help you to guide your teenagers and promote harmony in your home as your family grows. At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we love helping people grow their happy families. We pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.

  • Why you should Teach your Kids about the Importance of Education

    Father and daughter reading books.

    Education Begins at Birth

    From the moment they arrive, children are learning. Little children soak in knowledge like sponges, and if you think about everything they learn and accomplish in the first few years of life, it’s really very impressive. Most little ones are innately curious and eager to learn, but often, once they start school, they begin to lose some of that love of learning. It’s important for parents to encourage kids to power through their negative feelings about school, by instilling in them a love of learning and an understanding of the importance of education.

    Why is Education so Important?

    Countries whose populations are well-educated have better outcomes in terms of economic growth, health, and lower rates of violence. However, these are not facts that will mean anything to children. Even explaining to children that education will lead to a better future for them will not typically have much impact, because kids don’t really start to form clear future goals until high school, at the earliest. If you can connect education to someone your child looks up to, or to some goal that relates to the near future, they’ll be more apt to embrace the concept. Ultimately, education is vital for the personal and professional development of a person, and children need to embrace learning to be successful, not just professionally, but personally.

    Why Do Children Get Discouraged?

    There are many different factors that affect a child’s attitude towards learning. Sometimes, as parents, we unintentionally denigrate education by saying things like, “I hated school,” “I was always bad at math,” or even, “that person is such a nerd.” Make sure you don’t allow this kind of anti-intellectualism to creep into your interactions with your children. Another thing that can impact a child’s love for learning is boredom, and a feeling that what is being taught isn’t applicable or pertinent. Then, too, children have different learning styles, and when this is not acknowledged and embraced, kids can become bored and discouraged.

    Explaining The Importance of Education

    When you talk to your child about education, don’t make it all about grades, or future job success. Instead, encourage your children to pursue their interests, acknowledging that learning doesn’t just happen in school. Help them engage with things that interest them, fostering their natural curiosity by embracing their passions.

    Practical Ways to Promote Lifelong Learning

    • Find the right learning environment for your child. Determine your child’s unique learning style, and find a place that meets the child’s needs. If you have a child who is constantly complaining about school, it may be time to talk about possible alternatives.
    • Provide a wealth of learning opportunities. Learning doesn’t just happen in the classroom, and children who are exposed to diverse learning opportunities are more likely to be interested and engaged. Sports and other extracurricular activities, visits to museums and historical sites, travel, volunteering, and even apprenticeships are all great ways to stimulate a child’s love of learning.
    • Model a love of learning. It’s true in just about every aspect of parenting: children learn by example. If they see their parents as people who are interested and interesting, they’re more likely to want to learn. Find your own learning opportunities, and let your children see you reading, researching current events, trying new things, and being curious.
    • Encourage kids to talk about their interests. We get it, you don’t want to hear any more about that video game. However, it’s important to let children talk to you, so that you can get to know them. Ask questions about things they’re interested in and things they’re learning, and why certain things are important or interesting to them.
    • Acknowledge difficulties. Especially when it comes to schoolwork, education is sometimes a challenge. Help your children see that challenges are an opportunity to learn and grow, and mistakes are a natural part of learning.

    Starting a Healthy, Happy Family

    At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we love helping people grow their happy families. We pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.

  • How to Teach your Children about Empathy and Kindness

    Son showing his dad kindness.

    Teaching Core Values to Children

    We all want our children to grow into worthwhile adults, but how do we go about raising people who will make the world a better place? It starts with establishing core values that help define your children’s character, and the character of your family as a whole. Which values should be on this list? We believe empathy and kindness should be top priorities.

    Instilling Kindness in Children

    If there’s one thing the world needs more of, it’s kindness. Kindness is a term that encompasses various emotions, including sympathy, empathy, respect, remorse for wrongdoing, and satisfaction in doing the right thing, as well as unselfish acts done for the good of others. When children understand how the acts of kindness can help others, and learn to intentionally act in ways that benefits others, they’re growing into kind, compassionate people. Helping your children to develop kindness and incorporate kind acts into their daily activities can help them learn to instinctively be empathetic people. The good news is that children have natural empathy, and if you give them some guidance, it’s not difficult to nurture.

    Incorporating Kind Acts into Everyday Life

    • Teach and model the golden rule. Teaching children to treat others the way they’d like to be treated is an important part of raising an empathetic child. Remind your children to put themselves in other people’s shoes, considering how they’d feel about something before doing or saying it to someone else. Show them how to do this, by showing kindness and empathy in your day to day interactions.
    • Watch what you say. Try to be in the habit of only saying positive things, and encourage your children to follow your example. Teach them that if they can’t think of a positive comment, it’s best to stay quiet. Help them to learn how to find positive things to say, though, getting around criticism by striving to offer encouragement and praise.
    • Model positive interactions with strangers. While we certainly want to teach our children to be wary of strangers, we also need them to get into the habit of being kind to the people they meet. This is a delicate balance, but the best way to manage it is to show kindness to others in front of your children. Teach them to thank retail workers or servers, encourage them to interact positively with neighbors, and say hello when you are out together and someone greets them.
    • Teach your children good manners. Greeting people properly is just one part of practicing good manners. Teach your children to say please, thank you, and excuse me, and role play different situations, so they’ll know how to use good manners, even when you’re not around.
    • Steer clear of spoiling. Encourage your children to be charitable, and not to expect to get everything they want. Patient, thankful children with self-control will be kinder than children who are spoiled.
    • Be kind to your children, and encourage them to model kindness. Let’s face it, children can try our patience. Disciplining them with love and striving to be kind to them will help them learn to be kind to others. When we show empathy to our children, it empowers them to be empathetic to others and it helps us build a strong, secure, loving relationship.
    • Warn kids about bullying and cyberbullying. Keep a close eye on your children’s interactions, particularly when they’re online. Make sure they are educated about bullying and cyberbullying.
    • Offer opportunities to practice kindness and empathy. Make sure you let your children know that caring for others is a priority in your family. Set a high ethical standard, delivering a clear message about how much you value kindness. Guide them in being kind to family members and peers, and talk to them about ethical dilemmas that help them stretch and grow in kindness.
    • Connect your kids with the greater community. Volunteer, and take your kids along with you. Talk to them about people who may be having a hard time. Help them to feel that they are a valuable part of the community, even from a young age.

    Center for Vasectomy Reversal is Here for Your Family

    You might notice that, with most of these, the example of the parent sets the stage for good behavior on the part of the children. Kindness and empathy are two of the core values of happy families, and at the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we love helping people grow happy families. We pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.

  • Promoting Positive Body Image in Children: Encouraging Self-Love and Acceptance

    Father with children.

    The Benefits of Positive Body Image

    Your body image- how you think and feel about your body, is important to your overall wellbeing. Your body image may not have anything to do with your actual appearance, but when you accept, appreciate, and respect your body, you develop better self-esteem and self-acceptance. People with a good body image tend to take a balanced approach to diet and physical activity, while those with a negative body image are likely to experience negative effect on their physical, psychological, social health. Disordered eating, compulsive exercise, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem are all results of negative body image. Additionally, having a negative body image can cause a person to feel self-conscious or distressed, which can lead to avoidance of social interactions and disengagement from daily activities. This causes feelings of loneliness, isolation, and a lack of acceptance from others, further damaging self-esteem.

    Helping Your Child With Body Image

    Fortunately, you can help your child develop a positive body image and strong self-esteem.

    • Start by being a good role model. Be mindful of the things you say, and steer clear of negative talk about your body or the bodies of others. Work on your own relationship with your body, and encourage your child to talk about his or her feelings regarding body image. Talk about societal messages and images that promote unrealistic body ideals, and encourage your child to challenge narrow idea of attractiveness.
    • Encourage healthy habits. Proper nutrition and regular exercise are both important for a healthy body. Don’t encourage your child to diet, and never label foods as good or bad. Rather, work with your child on eating a healthy variety of nutritious foods. Teach children to reach for nutritious snacks, and listen to their bodies’ cues on when to eat and when to stop eating. When it comes to exercise, work to make your family an active one, encouraging physical activity as a habit, rather than a chore. Engage in activities that are fun and physical, and talk about how amazing our bodies are and what they can do.
    • Help your child build confidence and develop self-acceptance. Encourage self-expression, help your kids develop problem solving skills, and help them build confidence in their own abilities by showing your confidence. Teach healthy coping strategies, and encourage your children to assert themselves, learning to say no when they need to and not allowing others to mistreat them. Give your children age-appropriate household tasks, to help them feel they play an important role in the family.
    • Talk about body image, at home and in the community. Avoid making comments about other people’s physical appearance, instead mentioning characteristics like persistence, kindness, or optimism. Create an environment where there is no teasing about looks, and no hurtful comments. Work with other parents and people at your children’s school and other groups, to create a positive environment that encourages positive body image and self-esteem while discouraging bullying and negative peer pressure.
    • Monitor media consumption. Our children are exposed to so much negative information online and through movies and television. Pay attention to what your children are consuming, and help them develop a critical eye towards media messages.
    • Focus on health, well-being, and inner qualities. Talk about bodies in terms of what they can do, and how to keep them healthy. Discuss how a healthy lifestyle improves overall wellbeing, rather than how it impacts appearance. Celebrate your child’s creativity, resilience, and kindness, fostering an environment in which character traits are valued above external appearance.
    • Prioritize gratitude and self-care. Being grateful helps children develop a positive mindset, and that includes how they feel about themselves. Teach them to engage in self-care activities like hobbies, mindfulness, relaxation techniques, and just taking breaks.
    • Celebrate differences. Teach your children to appreciate differences in abilities, appearance, and backgrounds, valuing diversity as something that enriches our lives. Foster an environment of support and inclusivity, and encourage them to stand up against body shaming and bullying. When we teach our children to treat others with respect and kindness, we are helping to build a healthier world.

    Helping Healthy Families Grow

    At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we love helping people grow their families. We pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.

  • How to Balance Child Care while Working from Home

    Dad working from home while watching child.

    The Delicate Work-Life Balance of Work from Home Parents

    It’s a conundrum faced by many work from home parents. One of the reasons many of us work from home is to be more present for our children, yet children tend to get in the way of work. How do we strike a balance between providing financially for our families, yet being there for our children when they need us. How do we maintain productivity, while taking care of our children? We have some helpful tips on balancing child care while working from home.

    Don’t Believe the Influencers

    Working from home, either completely or partially, is the new normal, with 58 percent of Americans reporting that they can work from home at least once a week. It’s inevitable that you will come across work from home parents on Instagram, in spotlessly clean homes, with perfectly behaved children and beautifully organized offices. Don’t believe the hype. If you are struggling to keep your head above water while working from home with children, you are certainly not alone. Being a work from home parent can be truly rewarding, but it’s not easy, and it does require creativity, flexibility, and careful planning.

    Have a Strategy

    Actually, it’s better if you have a few. Be realistic with your expectations, and what’s going to happen when your children are home. Will they stay quiet when you’re in a meeting? Even the most well-behaved kids are, well, kids. They’re going to have wants, needs, and crises that don’t always fit neatly into your work schedule. Here are some strategies you may find effective:

    • Work during naps. The great thing about babies and toddlers is that they sleep a lot. Some even keep a nap schedule until kindergarten! Use this time wisely, focusing on your most intensive tasks, or scheduling meetings during nap time.
    • Plan activities they can do alone. Activity boxes are a godsend for a work from home parent, and you can purchase them or create your own, using different themes to keep it interesting. Have arts and crafts, games, books, and building toys at the ready, so that you can get your children settled doing something that will occupy their minds and free up your time.
    • Shift your mindset on screen time. As parents, most of us try to keep screentime to a minimum. If you had really strict standards before you started working from home, you might want to rethink that attitude. There’s nothing quite like an animated movie or a game on a tablet to hold a child’s attention, so that you can put your attention on something else. Don’t overdo the screentime, but keep it in reserve for when you desperately need some peace and quiet.
    • Build your schedule around theirs. Maybe this means doing shift work, planning your schedule around when the kids are sleeping or at school. It could also mean planning to work not only during school hours, but in the waiting room at doctor’s appointments, on the soccer field, at the dance studio, or while your child has a music lesson. The secret to successfully working from home is to remain creative and flexible.
    • Let some things go. If your kids load the dishwasher and put away their laundry while you’re working, you can be sure it’s not going to be done perfectly. That’s ok! Ease up on your expectations of a clean house, and on the demands you put on yourself, letting others take over some tasks, even if they don’t do them as well as you would. Take a look at your extracurricular schedule, too. When parents work from home, people often put extra demands on them to volunteer or take on little tasks. Learn how to say no, and that being a good parent doesn’t necessarily mean being at the school every time a volunteer opportunity arises.
    • Be present. Try to limit the amount of time you spend multi-tasking. If you’re with your kids, be with your kids. If you’re working, make it clear that you’re working. Focus on what you are doing, be present in the moment, and you’ll find that you feel a lot less stressed and pulled in different directions.

    Get Some Help

    There’s no rule that says work from home parents have to go it alone. If your children are preschool age, consider a mother’s morning out program, to give you a day or two of dedicated work time each week. You might also be able to find a neighborhood tween who’d like to act as “mother’s helper,” playing with your children after school for a reasonable fee. If your children are a little older, arrange playdates. Ideally, look for other work at home parents who are interested in working out some sort of cooperative routine, swapping childcare responsibility on a regular basis.

    Set Boundaries

    With babies, there’s not much you can do. With older kids, though, you can teach them to leave you alone while you’re working. This requires some patience on your part and practice on theirs, and you also need to be careful not to be working so much that they feel they never have your attention. Work out a signal that means “do not disturb,” but also let them know when it’s ok for them to come and hang out with you while you work.

    Take Breaks

    When you work from home, it’s tempting to work all the time, but it’s not good for your family life or your mental and physical health. Set hours for work, and be firm about the hours you’re not working. Occasionally, take a mental health day, to relax with your family or practice some self-care.

    Center for Vasectomy Loves Helping Parents

    We hope these tips helped you get a handle on how to find work-life balance while you’re working from home. At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we love helping people grow their families. We pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.

  • Traveling with a Babies and Young Children

    New parents traveling with toddler.

    Can you travel with a baby?

    Before you had a baby, travel was easy! You could pack up and go any time you had a whim and some time off, with very little hassle. Now that you have a new little one, though, the idea of packing up all the baby gear and heading off on a trip feels daunting. Can you even travel with a baby? How old does a baby need to be before it’s safe to travel? You probably have a million questions, so we’ve got some tips to help make traveling with a baby easier.

    When can you go?

    Before you make plans to jet off to Grandma’s with your newborn, slow down and talk to your pediatrician. Little ones are still developing their immune systems, so it’s important to get guidance from a healthcare professional before planning a trip. When you do travel with your baby, make sure you wash your hands frequently, use hand sanitizer, and avoid visibly ill travelers, to help keep your little one safe and healthy.

    Planning Ahead

    In addition to clearing the trip with your healthcare provider, make sure your child’s immunizations are up to date and that you pack all medication and important documents you will need on the trip. Whether your child is an infant, and older baby, or toddler, it’s better to have more than you need than to forget something. While you’re planning your trip, research your accommodations and amenities, making sure you will have everything you need for a successful stay with your little one. Be prepared for travel-related maladies like colds, sore throats, diarrhea, and car sickness, as well as things like mosquito bites and bedbugs. Take preventive measures to avoid these issues, and have remedies on hand just in case. Perhaps most importantly when planning a trip with a child, allow plenty of extra time for packing the car, getting to your destination or to the airport, going through security, checking into your hotel, or eating at a restaurant. When you have plenty of time and you’re well-prepared, the trip will go more smoothly.

    What to Pack

    Really, when packing to travel with a baby or small child, more is more. Make sure you bring everything your baby will need, from a traveling crib to a stroller to bottles, bibs, diapers, wipes, pacifiers, and plenty of clothes. Bring favorite toys and blankets, pack books, craft supplies and other activities, and bring bedding from home to help your child feel more at ease. Check the weather for your destination and pack accordingly, being prepared for the weather to take an unexpected turn.

    Where to Go

    Plan trips that are age appropriate and will be interesting to your child. When visiting the grandparents, take time to visit playgrounds. When planning a vacation, consider a beach or some other location with plenty to do and explore outside. Make sure, wherever you go, that you’re keeping a close eye on toddlers and small children who can easily get into dangerous situations, particularly around water.

    What to Keep on Hand

    You’ve packed all the essentials, but some things need to be easily accessible while you’re traveling. A first aid kit, plenty of water, disposable diapers, and snacks should all be on the list when you’re traveling with a small child. Be prepared to provide entertainment for an older baby or child, whether that means singing songs, playing games, or reading a book. Pro tip: if you have older little ones, audiobooks are a wonderful way to occupy the whole family on a long road trip.

    Consistency is Key

    The younger the child, the more important it is to keep feeding and sleep schedules consistent when you travel. If you are going to cross time zones during your trip, try to gradually adjust the schedule to the new time zone two or three days before you leave for your trip. Having a consistent routine will help your child feel more secure, and will make for fewer meltdowns.

    Anticipate Challenges

    Your child may experience some big feelings when the routine changes. Sleeping in a strange bed, being away from home, and missing the normal routine can be hard for kids to manage. Stress, confusion, and fear can all come out in the form of temper tantrums, crying, or otherwise acting out. Some of this can be alleviated by keeping a regular sleeping and eating schedule and bringing familiar items from home. It’s important, though, to allow your child to make some decisions, and to respect their boundaries, avoiding forcing them into any activities or interactions they strongly resist.

    Be Patient

    Sometimes, you’re going to have to move more slowly than you’d like on a trip with a baby. Children need breaks, naps, and down time, and it’s not easy for them to sit for long stretches in a car or on a plane. Plan for this, building in breaks, helping them “get their wiggles out”, and giving them extra hugs, snuggles, and overall patience.

    Accept Assistance

    Don’t be shy about asking the flight attendant if there is something special available for a fussy child, like a pack of crayons or a picture book. If you need something from the hotel, ask. If you’re staying with family, don’t try to care for your baby all by yourself, but accept help from well-meaning family members.

    Help With Starting a Family

    At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we love helping people grow their families. We pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.

  • New Parent Hacks and Tricks

    New parents using helpful parenting tips.

    Embracing New Parenting

    Do you have a new baby? Congratulations! New babies are amazing, and even though people told you before you became a parent, you probably were unprepared for how much you’d love this little person. Unfortunately, even though people probably also told you how overwhelming parenthood can be, you might have been fully prepared for that, either. Being a new parent is a wonderful gift, but it’s also hard, and if you are feeling frustrated, you’re not alone. Don’t worry! We have some hacks and tricks from experienced parents to help you navigate this brand new experience with your brand new little person.

    Care and Keeping of Baby

    • Bathing your baby in the kitchen sink means you don’t have to bend or kneel to reach the bathtub.
    • Cradle cap can be managed by moisturizing it with a little bit of coconut oil and then using a baby comb to gently remove it.
    • If you don’t have baby nail scissors, nose-hair scissors with rounded tips are the perfect substitute. Whatever you do, don’t bite your baby’s nails! Another nail tip: cut your baby’s fingernails when your little one is sleeping or feeding, to make it easier.
    • When you need to give your baby medicine, stick the medicine dropper in a bottle nipple and administer the dose while your baby is happily sucking the nipple.
    • Layer few covers on your changing pad, so that you can easily change to a clean one. Alternately, skip the covers and buy a simple changing pad you can wipe clean.
    • Fold your newborn’s diaper waistband down to keep it away from the umbilical cord area while it’s healing.
    • Swipe a wet wipe under your baby boy’s belly button immediately before a diaper change. That way, he’ll get a cold sensation that causes him to pee the diaper before taking off the diaper allows cool air to prompt the same reaction and cause him to pee on you!
    • Olive or coconut oil on a newborn’s bottom will help make cleaning sticky meconium easier.
    • Before you take off your baby’s diaper, put a fresh diaper underneath it, just in case.
    • Rather than a diaper pail, you can use a regular trash can, keeping plastic bags in an empty wipes container so that you can throw away poopy diapers conveniently.
    • When the inevitable blowout happens, pull the onesie down instead of over baby’s head. That’s why onesies have those little folds on the side of the neck hole- to widen the neck area and make them easier to pull down.
    • Make foaming baby wash with equal parts baby wash and water in an empty bottle of foaming hand soap.
    • Start tummy time with your baby on your chest or belly, so they get the benefits while also feeling close to you.

    Sleepy Time

    • Instead of onesies or PJs, use newborn nightgowns in the early days.
    • When choosing sleepers, pick the ones that zip instead of snapping. All those little snaps never seem to line up correctly when you’re trying to change your wiggly baby in a hurry.
    • Make swaddling easy with a swaddle that has Velcro.
    • Get your baby into a good day and night routine. Interact with your little one during the day, making it easier for everyone to sleep at night.
    • Use a white noise machine so that your baby won’t wake up with every noise. You’ll be glad you did when your child is a sound sleeper.
    • Dream feed your baby, waking your infant for a feeding right before you go to bed for the night.

    Hushing the Fuss

    • Hold on to the exercise ball you got for labor so you can bounce your baby during fussy times.
    • If your baby fusses at bath time, try swaddle bathing, wrapping the baby in a tight blanket and carefully unwrapping one limb at a time to wash, rinse, and rewrap.
    • Learn the 5 S’s. Swaddling, shushing, swinging, sucking, and side laying are the perfect techniques for calming a fussy baby.
    • Gripe water is a lifesaver and the fastest way to ease a baby’s gas to quiet a fussy tummy.

    Out and About

    • Keep your hands free by using a backpack instead of a diaper bag. This is especially helpful if you’re wearing your baby.
    • Pad your car seat handle with a cut-up piece of pool noodle to make the heavy car seat easier to carry in the crook of your arm.
    • Bring a change of clothes for yourself as well as your baby, in case of a spit up, diaper, or breastmilk incident.
    • Use a baby hammock to hold your baby in a grocery cart so that you can shop and your baby can be comfortable.

    Making Your Life Easier

    • Stash wipes all over your house and in your car, because baby messes can happen anywhere.
    • Create a portable diaper changing station to keep near you so you don’t have to keep running back to the changing table. This is particularly useful if you live in a multi-level home.
    • Breastfeed while lying down so that you can get some rest while the baby eats.
    • Grab a water before you breastfeed, to keep from getting dehydrated.
    • Sleep when the baby sleeps is not a cliché. Even if you feel like you need to get things done, it’s better to get some rest whenever you can when you have a new baby.
    • Learn to wear your baby. This can promote bonding while also leaving your hands free so you can get things done while your baby is awake.
    • Keep a pack and play nearby. Set up your pack n play in a room you use frequently, so that you can set your baby down safely when you need to get something done.
    • Take help that is offered to you. This is perhaps the best tip we can offer to new parents! When people offer help, let them do something for you, whether it’s bringing you dinner, watching the baby long enough for you to take a shower, running an errand for you, or helping you with housework. Other parents understand how hard it can be when you have a new baby, and their offers to help are sincere, so don’t wear yourself out trying to do it all on your own.

    Center for Vasectomy Loves Helping Parents

    We hope these tips helped you get a handle on how to manage your newly growing family. At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we love helping people grow their families. We pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.

  • What is Cradle Cap?

    What is on your baby’s scalp?

    It happens to most new parents, and it can be disconcerting. You’re snuggling your sweet new baby, inhaling that delicious baby smell, when you notice something a bit, well, icky. Red scaly or crusty yellow patches disrupt the sweet softness of your infant’s scalp, blotch your baby’s beautiful face, or appear in the diaper area. What is that? It’s cradle cap, and here’s what you need to know about it.

    Cradle Cap is a Common Condition

    Cradle cap is scientifically known as seborrheic dermatitis, and it can develop when a baby is between two and 12 months old. Generally, it starts on the scalp, as red or yellow patches that are greasy, scaly, or flaky, but it can also start on the face or in the diaper area, armpits, or any other place where the skin folds and creases. In creases and folds like the neck or behind the ears, it appears red and moist. It may look uncomfortable, but it doesn’t typically bother infants. Unlike atopic dermatitis, it is not itchy.

    Causes of Cradle Cap

    No one really knows what causes cradle cap, but it’s probably more than one thing. Oil buildup in the oil glands and hair follicles, combined with yeast found on the skin, play roles in its development. It is also thought that hormones passed along from the mother to the child before birth can contribute to the formation of cradle cap. What is known is that it is not the result of poor hygiene, and it is not contagious. A doctor can diagnose cradle cap by looking at it, and it will generally get better whether it’s treated or not. However, you might want to treat it, just to get those scales off of your baby’s scalp.

    Treating Cradle Cap

    Sometimes, cradle cap can be prevented with daily hair washing. Wash your baby’s scalp with a mild, tear-free shampoo, and remove the scales with a soft brush or toothbrush. If the scales are too stubborn for gentle shampoo, try a bit of baby oil, mineral oil, or olive oil, allowing the oil to soak into the scales so that you can loosen them with a soft brush. Once you’ve done that shampoo as usual. Be careful not to use any shampoos with nut oil on a child under five years of age.

    Does cradle cap require a doctor visit?

    If the cradle cap won’t clear up with regular shampooing, you might want to ask your pediatrician for help. He or she might recommend a mild steroid cream or antifungal shampoo, or a cream for parts of the body other than the scalp. Don’t use any over-the-counter anti-seborrhea shampoos, steroids, or antifungal creams on your baby without asking your doctor first. In some cases, seborrheic dermatitis in skin folds or the diaper area can get infected. If you notice signs of infection, like warm, red skin or fluid draining, call the pediatrician. Usually, though, cradle cap and seborrheic dermatitis clear up by 12 months of age, but may come back during puberty as dandruff.

    Healthy Babies Start with Healthy Parents

    At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we love helping people grow their families. We pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428. For more parenting tips, click on the link to our blogs!