Making the decision to start a family can be one of the most exciting times of a young couple’s life. There are many things to consider when deciding to bring a life into the world such as, “Do we have the finances available to raise a child?” or “Am I willing to put my child above everything else in my life?”
Many couples or single women find themselves in the position of being pregnant without having made a conscious decision to become so. Some women do not even realize they are pregnant; if their period is irregular they may not realize they are pregnant until the first trimester is already over. Some more uncommon signs of pregnancy are breasts that are tender and hurt when touched, a stuffy nose or nose bleeds, constipation, and insomnia.
Once a baby comes into the home there are a whole other set of questions that arise such as developmental milestones and proper diet. It is going to be much easier on the new parents if a friend or family member can stay at the home for a while (or just stop by every day to check in), to help the new parents and allow them to get some rest. Sleep deprivation is one of the most common issues with new parents and can cause unnecessary tension or arguments. Bonding with the newborn is extremely important during the first few weeks, and baby massage is a great way to make baby feel the love.
Toddlers come with their own set of issues such as biting, kicking, running away from a parent, throwing items at people, and night terrors. Night terrors can be quite alarming as there is seemingly no direct cause for the behavior. A parent will be enjoying a quiet evening at home when suddenly they hear their child screaming. The parent will run into the child’s bedroom to find them screaming and flailing about, with no obvious cause.
Night terrors are different than nightmares because it usually happens during a different point during sleep. A dream or nightmare will occur when a child or adult is in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, while the night terrors usually occur in the first couple of hours after a child goes down for sleep. Ensuring that your toddler is getting enough sleep can help with this, as well as ensuring they hear no scary stories before bedtime. Trying to wake them if they are still asleep can make things worse, so just holding them and talking in a soothing voice will help to calm them. If the toddler is displaying seizure type movements such as drooling, their body stiffening or eyes rolling in their head a physician should be contacted.
If a parent is concerned about their child’s behavior by all means talk to other parents and do some research, but remember that the family physician is the one who knows your child and his or her medical history.