You're a busy mom and there are times when you have errands to run and places to go.  For most of us, baby will go where mom goes. I'm sure you have discovered that some places are not the most "baby-friendly" locations. Travelling to these places may cause your baby to be bored, antsy or fussy; and an unhappy baby will make your job harder and cause stress for both of you. 


However, there are things you can do to make the outing more enjoyable. Be prepared and plan ahead! Decide on which toys and books you will bring, think about what you will talk about and consider playing a game or even making up a song while you are out! Thinking of some simple ideas before you head out the door will increase your chances for a happier outing. 


Running errands with a baby

Brain Science for Your Baby

Think of taking your baby on errands with you as another way to build his healthy brain.  There is so much new to see!  Brains like new experiences (as long as they aren't too overstimulating).  Getting outside allows your baby to see and hear new things.  As you run errands, talk to your baby or toddler about new things - he will hear new words.   Research tells us that experiences strengthen connections between nerve cells.  Read more on experience and brain development

We know that experience can even "turn on" and "turn off" genes in the neurons (nerve cells) of the brain.  Animal experiments have shown us that a "rich environment" - with lots of toys, lots of room to explore, and lots of interaction, can affect how genes in the brain are expressed. Learn more on how the experience can change how genes are expressed (epigenetics).

A Baby Buffer Prescription for Your Baby

Play your own version of the "I spy game" where ever you are (e.g., at the grocery, laundry mat, pharmacy, restaurant, etc.). Describe what you see in these locations. Follow baby's interests. 


Don't ignore baby as you complete your errands, talk, talk, talk to your baby and describe what you are doing at each stop. You can even make up a song about what you are doing!


Give you baby safe objects to look at and explore (this can be fun in the grocery store).


If you are out for a long time, find a spot where baby can safely crawl, cruise or walk around. Letting baby get some exercise and move around will improve her mood!


Make sure to pack a lovey, blanket and plenty of snacks for baby. Exploring new places is hard work and a break will be needed!


Try to avoid outings that interrupt baby's naps or feeding schedule. 

A Baby Buffer Prescription for You   


Even when you are prepared, sometimes outings with baby can be difficult. Set realistic expectations. Don't keep your baby out too long and try to avoid nap and feeding times.


Get yourself organized before you go. Make a list of things you need to accomplish while you are out and be sure to pack everything that you need. A snack and some water are a good idea for you too, especially if you are still nursing.


Don't stress if you have to cut the outing short. Remember there is always next time and your baby is most important.


Invite a friend, relative or neighbor to go along with you. It's always nice to have an extra set of hands and some support. 





What Your Baby Can Do - Developmental Milestones 


Emotionally, one-year-olds are just learning to recognize and manage their feelings. They experience a wide range of emotions and have tantrums when they are tired or frustrated. They may also respond to conflict by hitting, biting, screaming, or crying. One-year-olds want their independence, and may say, "No!" to adult suggestions or insist that they, "Do it!" Then, moments later, they might cling to an adult's leg or ask for help.

Gene's Research Tip

A new study from the journal Science Translational Medicine looked at the microbiome bacteria of placentas, after birth.  The idea was to see who baby TSK was sharing time with, at least very soon before birth.  Now, in the past, we had noted there seemed to be a difference in the microbiome of infants born by C-section vs vaginal delivery, and so assumed this was related to the mother's birth canal bugs.  But this study of about 300 placentas showed that the placentas' bacteria load was most similar to... are you ready?...the mothers' mouth bacteria.  Bet you didn't see that one coming! The researchers didn't, either.  So, if the mom had more bacteria in her mouth that cause cavities, so did her placenta. Read More 

Baby Buffer Blog
Written by Kathy Ellerbeck, MD, MPH, FAAP

During breakfast in the mornings before preschool I admit that we used to let our youngest watch cartoons on TV.  Until we figured out that she couldn't watch TV and chew at the same time!   


There is good evidence that "multitasking" is over-rated...most of us don't multitask very well! And mealtimes should be about eating and talking...not eating in front of the TV. I think we all know that. But now there is the cell phone in my pocket. At all times. And there's (always) work to be done that I could be doing while eating. Or playing. My cell phone is addictive, a constant temptation...and I think that that's true for lots of parents.


In March of this year there was an article published in Pediatrics about the mobile device use of 55 caregivers of young children eating in a fast food restaurant. The study was observational, and the caregivers didn't know that they were being observed. The researchers chose to observe caregivers and children during meals because mealtime is a daily routine in which face-to-face caregiver-child interactions are considered to be a good thing.  Read More

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