25 Ways to Prevent Sibling Rivalry

As I take some time to focus on my new little bundle of joy, today I am sharing a guest post from Brittany of 17 Hour Days on a topic that all parents with more than one child must face at some point: sibling rivalry. Make sure to read her helpful tips and share your thoughts!

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Sibling rivalry—it’s a time-honored tradition among brothers and sisters. Even the sweetest, most well-behaved children get into scuffles with their siblings at some point. It’s completely normal.

And not only is it completely normal, but sibling rivalry can even be GOOD for kids! That’s right, good! It can help them learn problem solving, listening and social skills. It helps them bond, keeps them entertained and helps them learn how the world works.

Of course, none of this helps your sanity when the four year old is bonking the baby on the head with a toy golf club, stepping right on top of the baby while he’s crawling across the floor and catching baby’s arm under the door (All three of which happened in my house yesterday alone!)

In times like these you don’t care who did what—you just want some peace and quiet for once! While you probably will never completely eliminate sibling rivalry, there are several steps you can take to help your favorite little munchkins play nicely together.
25 Ways to Prevent Sibling Rivalry

Before the New Baby is Born

The more you can prepare the older sibling before the baby comes, the better.

1. Tell your child first and in private so they have some time to adjust.

2. Read books about getting a new sibling (the library is full of them!)

3. Watch age-appropriate videos. We LOVE this video of a baby growing and developing in the womb.

4. Have the older child come to doctor’s visits and ultrasounds, if possible.

5. Let the older sibling help you tell friends and family the big news.

6. Practice being gentle with a baby doll.

7. Talk about all the fun things you will be able to do with the new baby.

8. Give the older sibling special privileges that are only for “big girls” or “big boys.”

After Baby Is Born

The time right after baby is born is a huge adjustment for everyone. These tips will help, but don’t expect perfection right away.

9. Arrange care for the first couple days, if possible. I was very lucky in that my second son was born at the beginning of a three day weekend. My older son had a blast at grandma’s for the weekend while my husband and I got settled in with the newborn. When my older son came home, we were better rested and ready for him.

10. Keep as much consistency in routines as possible.

11. Establish rules and consequences and always follow through.

12. Show the older sibling how to treat the baby gently. Children do not realize how big and strong they are compared to babies.

13. Teach the older sibling how to play with the baby. Children will love making baby laugh with games like peek-a-boo. This will help them bond.

14. Make the big sibling your special helper. My son loves running to get toys, diapers, wipes and anything else I need.

15. Neglect the housework. Spend time with your children instead. They are less likely to act up when they are well attended to.

16. Have one-on-one time with each child. Have daddy take one while you take the other, or stagger their schedules slightly.

With Small Children

Small children are generally still pretty self-centered, but they are learning to think of others and make others happy too. Plus, they generally genuinely want to please. Use this to your advantage.

17. Teach them good manners, such as “please,” “thank you” and “May I have a turn when you are done?”

18. Praise each of them throughout the day, and encourage them to praise each other.

19. Let them solve their battles themselves. If you are constantly playing mediator, they will never learn how to do it themselves. Give them the tools, and then let them use them.

20. Commend good behavior.

21. Do not compare your children.

22. Encourage the older one to help the younger one if they want to. They will be so proud–both of themselves and the baby.

23. Don’t take sides. If you weren’t there, you don’t really know who started it or who continued it. Punishing just one child breeds resentment.

24. Don’t play favorites. Even if you think you treat your kids equally, they will know if you prefer one over the other.

25. Get them working together. No one gets stories until all of their toys are picked up, for example.

Do your children experience a lot of sibling rivalry? What ways have you found to deal with it?

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Brittany is a stay-at-home wife and mother of two very energetic little boys. When she isn’t busy picking up toys, changing diapers or trying to get the boys to play nicely together, she blogs about finding God in the midst of it all on her blog, 17 Hour Days. You can find Brittany on Facebook, Twitter and Bloglovin‘.

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Must-Have Baby Items: 4 Things I Couldn’t Have Done Without & 4 Things I Wish I Had

As the day when baby number two arrives draws nearer, I’ve been giving more and more thought to all the things we still need to prepare.  Mainly just figuring out his sleeping arrangement, purchasing newborn diapers and re-washing clothes…because we’re lucky enough to have another Spring baby coming!

Must-have baby items for momsBut it also got me thinking about all those essential baby products that really helped a mom like me survive having a new baby in the house.  Not the standard things babies obviously need like a crib, changing table or diapers…but some of the more specific things you only notice once you’ve gone through the experience with baby number one.

Here are 4 things I could NOT have done without

1. Side-snapping onesies

This one is a MUST.  Newborns are so fragile and still lack any sort of head and neck control so you really want to minimize the times you have to pull a onesie over their little heads. Trust me. No matter how adorable the outfit is any experienced mama will tell you how much easier it is to dress baby with one of those side-snapping onesies.  I was fortunate enough to have received a few of these as gifts, but for those new moms shopping around, make sure to add this to the top of your list.  Note: Most hospitals will use these anyhow, so you can probably grab a few from there too!

2. Wipe warmer

I gotta say, I would have never known about this one if it weren’t for older sisters…and I’m SO glad I added it to my baby registry! Just think, when baby wakes up from a warm snug bed and has to feel a cool, damp cloth on his tush. Yeah not so comfortable! A wipe warmer helps make those night time (or just cold time) changes much more manageable. Definitely worth investing in!!wipe warmer

3. Humidifier

Because your baby is bound to develop a stuffy nose or become congested at some point, it’s imperative for every new mom to have some type of humidifier handy…especially during the dreaded cold season. I’ve definitely put both our cool and warm-mist humidifiers to good use over the last two years.

4. Sound machine

I never really gave much thought to adding a sound machine to my must-have list, but am so glad it was recommended.  I love the simple Graco one I have that features natural sounds like that of gentle ocean waves or the whooshing sounds a newborn has heard for months in the womb.  The sound machine has made it painless to drain out little noises that can keep the little one up at night. Even to this day, it lulls my toddler to sleep!

And now, here are 4 things I WISH I had the first time around

1. aden + anais swaddling blankets

I remember hearing about these blankets and seeing them on some registries, but decided not to include them in my own registry due to the high price.  I just thought the standard soft swaddling blankets at BabiesRUs would work just as well so I opted for those. However, I now know why so many other moms went with the aden + anais brand.  For starters these muslin swaddling blankets are super soft and breathable. They are perfect for gentle and sensitive skins. They are also HUGE.  That’s a plus when you are looking to use them for things other than swaddling: nursing cover, burping cloth and stroller cover to name a few. Definitely one baby item I regret not getting the first time…but happy to have the second time!

2. Video baby monitor

Even though I did a TON of research before finalizing my must-have baby items, I thought that a standard yet good-quality audio baby monitor would cut it.  I didn’t really think those fancy and typically over-priced video monitors were necessary…until experience taught me otherwise.  Sure the audio monitors are great for letting you know when baby is up and needs you, but if you’re worried about gas, reflux or simply making sure your child is breathing okay, a video monitor is a MUST.  You’ll be able to allay your fears and come to baby’s assistance immediately if anything looks out of the ordinary.

3. Umbrella stroller

Yes, I’m sure you already have some time of stroller on your baby item list — but did you remember to include a simple umbrella stroller you can use as baby grows? Umbrella strollers are typically inexpensive and can be much easier to handle when you’re traveling. I loved my snap-n-go Chicco stroller that worked during the early months for baby, but realized that the “grow-with-baby” jeep stroller I also got was way to bulky to travel with.  Would have purchased a lite-weight umbrella stroller in retrospect.

4. Portable high chair

The first time I saw one of these chairs I was amazed how convenient and easy they made traveling with a little one. Now I’m not just talking about any portable high chair. I’m talking about the ones that can clip on and easily attach to a table or counter top so you can feed baby anytime you visit friends and family who may not have a high chair handy.  portable high chairPlus, they are much less bulky than the standard high chair crowding your kitchen.  I learned about this one a little to late, but now see moms everywhere with them.  Make sure you add one to your list if you are still shopping around!

Hope this list makes shopping around for baby items a little easier for you new moms!

What must-have baby items would you EXPERIENCED MOMS recommend?

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Preparing Your Toddler for the New Baby

It’s the final countdown here…in a couple weeks we welcome our second little bundle of joy!  Although I’ve been in full “nesting” mode prepping old baby clothes and gear for re-use, feels like there’s still a bit to do…especially in terms of preparing our almost 2 year-old toddler to be a big brother!

introducing a new babyI am a bit scared to see that first reaction. When our guy sees mommy holding another baby…and then sees it happening all the time! I know he won’t be happy at first and it will probably take a bit of getting used to, so I’ve been looking for ways to make the introduction a little easier.

Although it’s still a work-in-progress for us (and may be tough for young toddlers to truly understand the concept of a new baby)…below are a few tips that have helped make the transition a little less traumatic.

1. Practicing with a Baby Doll

One of the MAIN things we wanted to teach our toddler about babies (especially newborns) was the need to be nice and gentle. As any boy would, ours likes to rough-house and doesn’t always play nice.  So we knew having a baby doll to practice on would at least get us moving in the right direction.

baby dollI used a Cabbage Patch baby boy to help our little guy practice being gentle.  Of course, at first he would throw the doll across the room and smack it every now and then.  But he gradually began to gently cradle the baby and give it kisses! I thought it was so precious and hope he will continue to practice this type of behavior for when the real baby arrives!

2. Talking about Mommy’s Belly

Once my belly really popped, I started to let our toddler carefully examine and feel around.  I told him that there was a “baby growing” inside mommy and tried to reinforce that idea by showing pictures of babies.  He would pat my belly each day it grew and eventually started to kiss it goodnight!

Although I’m sure he still doesn’t know a baby is coming out, he clearly can see the big belly growing before his eyes. Talking to him about what was going on and letting him be a part of the process really helped to set the tone.

3. Reading Intro to Baby Books

This is one of the easiest things you can try to help prepare your kid for a new sibling.  Toddlers love reading/being read to, so it’s a no-brainer to grab an intro to baby book.

For some reason, our toddler was fascinated by all my pregnancy prep books around the house (whoops!) and started to really enjoy seeing the pictures of babies in bellies.  That’s when I realized I had to get him a fun and age-appropriate illustrated book to read. One of my favorites was the Hello Baby! book by Lizzie Rockwell. I love the cute little story line, colorful pages and images of the baby growing in the womb.

Hello Baby Book

4. Giving a Gift from the Baby

Whether it’s a teddy bear or one of your child’s favorite farm animals, having a gift ready to give your toddler as if it were from the new baby is so important. It’s natural for your toddler to start feeling a little jealous when he sees a bunch of new stuff in the house that he’s not allowed to touch.  So a special gift(s) wrapped up for his new role as “big brother” may help him adjust a tad better.

farm animal gift

I plan on keeping the gift at the hospital to give right when our guy comes to visit. That way he can better make the connection that he has a special role to play in the new baby’s life!

What tips have helped you prepare a toddler for a new baby in the house!

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Delicious Rainbow Buttermilk Cupcake Recipe

Craving something sweet for St. Patty’s Day?  I know I am :)!  Today I’m sharing a simple yet delicious rainbow cupcake recipe I made just in time to share in the luck of the Irish!

rainbow buttermilk cupcakes

Note: For homemade cupcakes, follow the steps below. For partially homemade, replace steps 2 & 3 with pre-made cake box instructions.

Delicious Rainbow Buttermilk Cupcake Recipe
Recipe Type: Dessert
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Delicious rainbow buttermilk cupcakes for St. Patty’s Day.
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line muffin pans with paper liners or butter.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar at medium speed with electric mixer until light and fluffy in a large mixing bowl. Add in eggs, one at a time.
  3. Sift the flour with the baking powder and baking soda. Add one quarter of the dry mixture to the butter-egg mixture and then add the vanilla and a third of the buttermilk. Repeat beginning and ending with the flour mixture and scraping well after each addition.
  4. Divide the batter into 5 bowls and use food coloring packets to tint the each new batter. To create a rainbow in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, use red, orange, yellow, green and blue.
  5. Then pour a small amount of each batter into the cupcake pans, starting with the red, then orange, yellow, green and blue. Let the batter spread out and settle by itself.
  6. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
  7. Cool in pans of a rack for 5 minutes; Completely cool before frosting.

st patty's cupcakes

Enjoy the delicious and eye-catchy treats, sure to please anyone with a sweet tooth!

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Google Plus Growing Circles Hop {Co-host}

Welcome to the Google Plus Growing Circles Hop!

Interested in Co-Hosting?

Send an email to 2justByou(AT)gmail(DOT)com with “G+ Hop Co-Host” in the subject line and include your blog and G+ links for consideration. We’d love to have you! We are now scheduling for the end of April.

 

G+ is new to most of us so join us and we can learn and grow together.To make the most of this link party, please follow the rules below.

1. You MUST add your hosts and co-hosts to one of your circles before linking up. 

2. Link up your personal Google+ profile, blog or business G+ pages but NOT your blog URL. 

3. Share ONE post ONLY – (new or old) on G+ and use the hashtag #GrowingCirclesHop

4. Connect with others by clicking on your #growingcircleshop hashtag. Engage with at least 2-3 others by a Share, +1 or Comment. 

5. Add new friends to your circles.

6. Grab a button for your blog, if you’d like. Help us spread the word so we can keep trending on Google Plus each week! (You can edit size to fit your blog in the code).

Mommy Mentionables

Throughout the next 12 hours, check back on G+ and +1 posts with the hashtag #growingcircleshop.

Google+ Tips

The real participation comes with sharing a blog post to G+ using the party’s hashtag and engaging with others who are also sharing posts from this party. Interaction and engaging with others on G+ will bring you the most success!

You will notice some posts have a very large picture associated with their post and others have a tiny picture. To increase your chances of being shared, post a photo along with your post link and NOT the tiny one that gets posted automatically with the link. The bigger and more clear your photo, the better chance of it being shared because those are the posts that G+ users want to share with their followers.




For any questions about the hop, post them here so that we can get notification of your post.

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St. Patrick’s Day Jello Pot of Gold Sensory Activity

I’ve been searching the web for a fun and age-appropriate activity my almost 2 year-old toddler can partake in, especially as St. Patrick’s Day draws nearer.  Although there are so many cute and crafty activities out there for kids, many of them require a bit more skill that comes with age.

Jello Sensory Activity for St. Patrick's DayThat’s why I was so happy to find some inspiration in a St. Patrick’s Day sensory activity that didn’t involve glue, scissors or paints…just Jello and some creativity!  I thought jello would be the perfect substance to work with considering it was edible and easy to clean up.  I decided to put my own little holiday spin on it to make it more fun for my son.

Here’s what we used:

  • Lime/Green Jello
  • Container (to serve as the “Pot of Gold”)
  • Gold/Treasure (we used plastic dinosaurs and assorted candy)
  • Mini Marshmallows
  • Kool-Aid (to dye the marshmallows)
  • Tools for the “Treasure Dig” (mini shovel, spoon, cookie cutters)

Here’s what we did:

First, I decided to gather all the little items around the house that my son would consider “treasure”.  He loves dinosaurs, so I decided to grab a handful of the little plastic ones and set them in a clear “pot of gold” container I bought at Party City. You can use any kid-friendly object or toys your children prefer.

dino treasuresNote: Although I decided to add some candy, I would steer clear of this as it can get super mushy and lose flavor (live and learn!).

I then poured the Jello mixture into the container and set in the fridge over night.

marshmallow rainbow

Once the Jello was settled and ready, I decided to top it off with rainbow marshmallows to complete the look. I used Kool-Aid packets in four colors (red, orange, yellow and green) to dye the marshmallows.  Note: This ended up taking a bit longer than I anticipated so would recommend you simply buy colored marshmallows in the future!

Then I gathered some tools for the treasure dig and let my little guy go at it.

jello treasure for toddlers

jello treasure

jello activity st. patty

Not only did I get to introduce him to a new holiday, but he also had a great time digging around for treasure and exploring all the different objects.

I would definitely recommend this as an easy and educational St. Patrick’s Day alternative activity for toddlers!

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Easy Bubble Art Activity for Toddlers

If there’s one artsy activity my little guy enjoys more than anything it would definitely involve bubbles! He has always been fond of tracking bubbles with his eyes or trying to blow bubbles from very early on. So I knew I had to try my own version of all those painting with bubbles activities I had read about here and there. They just looked like such fun!

bubble art for toddler

Most activities with bubbles I found involved food coloring or actual paints, but I wanted to try something a little more toddler-friendly like Kool-Aid…just in case someone was keen on tasting the activity (as normally happens!).

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Dish soap or bubble mix (we had plenty handy)
  • 3-4 packets of different Kool-Aid colors
  • Straw or bubble wand
  • 3-4 bowls
  • Construction or stock paper (the sturdier the better)

Here’s what we did:

Simply fill a small bowl 1/2 way full with a mixture of water and whatever dish soap you have handy.  We used bubble mix since we had plenty.  Next just add a pack of Kool-aid to achieve the desired color.

bubbles + kool-aid

I then quickly demonstrated to my toddler what I wanted him to do, making sure I emphasized “blow bubbles” so he would not try to drink the mixture (although adding the Kool-Aid certainly helps with the taste!). It took a couple tries, but he managed to catch my drift quickly, hehe.

toddler blowing bubbles

Once we had about 3-4 colored bubble mixtures going, I took a piece of stock paper and lightly pressed it over the bubbles in random areas.  We also used the bubble wand to get a variety of bubble shapes and patterns added.  I think the combo of these two methods helps you achieve a really unique piece of art!

Here’s the final piece which came out MUCH better than expected too!

bubble art for toddlers

This was such a fun activity!! Definitely one of my favorite and less messier painting activities to try with the kiddos!

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Google Plus Growing Circles Hop {Co-host: MommyBundle}

Welcome to the Google Plus Growing Circles Hop!

Interested in Co-Hosting?

Send an email to 2justByou(AT)gmail(DOT)com with “G+ Hop Co-Host” in the subject line and include your blog and G+ links for consideration. We’d love to have you!

 

Growing Circles Google Plus Hop
If you have been using other social media sites to promote your blog and are frustrated with algorithms and reader engagement and want to learn more about G+ and grow your circles, then join us! Don’t be intimidated! G+ is new to most of us so join us and we can learn and grow together.To make the most of this link party, please follow the rules below.

1. You MUST add your hosts and co-hosts to one of your circles before linking up. 

2. Link up your personal Google+ profile, blog or business G+ pages but NOT your blog URL. 

3. Share ONE post ONLY – (new or old) on G+ and use the hashtag #GrowingCirclesHop

4. Connect with others by clicking on your #growingcircleshop hashtag. Engage with at least 2-3 others – Share, +1 or Comment. 

5. Add new friends to your circles.

6. Grab a button for your blog if you’d like. (You can edit size to fit your blog in the code).

Mommy Mentionables
Mommy Mentionables



Throughout the next 12 hours, check back on G+ and +1 posts with the hashtag #growingcircleshop.

Google+ Tips

The real participation comes with sharing a blog post to G+ using the party’s hashtag and engaging with others who are also sharing posts from this party. Interaction and engaging with others on G+ will bring you the most success!

You will notice some posts have a very large picture associated with their post and others have a tiny picture. To increase your chances of being shared, post a photo along with your post link and NOT the tiny one that gets posted automatically with the link. The bigger and more clear your photo, the better chance of it being shared because those are the posts that G+ users want to share with their followers.




For any questions about the hop, post them here so that we can get notification of your post.

If you want to be notified the next time the Hop starts, give us your email below and we will send you a quick notification the next time it goes live.



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Raising a Toddler While Pregnant: How to Get Through It

Never did I ever really consider how challenging it would be caring for a toddler while carrying another baby in my womb. When I found out I was expecting again, I knew two kids would be more work than one.  What I didn’t realize was from that moment on, I was met with the extra challenge of splitting time between feeding/changing/carrying/disciplining/playing with a very demanding toddler while attempting to care for the new life forming inside my body.

pregnant with toddler

Why so challenging you might ask?

Here are a handful of reasons and things you have to tackle simultaneously:

  • coping with morning sickness that goes beyond the first trimester
  • fighting the exhaustion from your toddlers 6/7 am wake up call or midday urge to roughhouse with you and your growing belly
  • finding time to eat a nutritional meal while preparing food for your picky eater
  • managing to cook yourself a meal while keeping your toddler from eating dog food, climbing into the fridge and breaking through the baby-proofed areas of your home
  • spending an hour wrestling with a toddler just to change a diaper and get ready for  bed

And I know raising twins or multiples must be an immense challenge in itself for new mothers to face, but at least with two babies (minus the big belly) you can tackle things a bit more fluidly without having to worry about your own body too much. Plus, it’s a bonus for baby to have a 24/7 buddy to play with when needed!

What I don’t think many people truly understand is how equally challenging it is to have toddler in the midst of the terrible-twos while you try all you can to protect and nourish your own body and unborn child. Let me just say it’s HARD. Realizing this, I wanted to put together a few tips for other moms going through the thick of things.  Tips to let them know they can get through it all…with support.  

Let go of expectations Forget about having an immaculate home…at least for now. You are totally within your right to slack off a bit and you shouldn’t feel guilty. With so much going on in your life keeping a perfectly clean house isn’t always possible if you are doing it alone. If you are hell-bent on getting that clean home appearance however, check out my easy tips for tidying up.

Prep for the morning at night I wish I had taken this piece of advice earlier in my pregnancy – makes perfect sense and would have helped immensely!  If you find yourself in the same predicament every morning (aka no time to make food for yourself while watching the little one) prepare something in advance which you can easily heat up in the morning. Whether it’s just pre-slicing fruit or boiling an egg at least you can have some type of nutrient-rich food waiting for you when you need it most.

Find support This is probably the most important piece of advice. You have to be willing to take help that is offered and ASK for it when needed. Otherwise your task may seem even more insurmountable. Even if it’s just an hour to nap or grab a quick bite to eat, making time for yourself is crucial to getting that second-wind and energy to face the everyday challenges you have before you.

Hang in there!

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Learn the ABCs of RSV to Protect Your Baby

Disclosure: This is is a compensated campaign in collaboration with MedImmune and Latina Bloggers Connect. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

Did you know there’s a seasonal virus contracted by virtually 100% of babies by the time they reach their 2nd birthday?

Yes, you read that correctly, 100%.  It’s called RSV: Respiratory Syncytial Virus.

But guess what?  If you haven’t ever heard about RSV (like me before writing this post) you aren’t alone. In fact, 75% of Hispanic mothers have never heard about it.  Sadly, about 1 in 5 only become aware of RSV once their child has contracted the virus.

Coincidentally, I just found out that a friend’s baby also contracted RSV as an infant! I guess it shouldn’t surprise me, given the statistics. That’s why it’s so important for new moms and experienced moms a like, to learn all the facts on how to prevent the virus.

What kind of virus is it exactly? RSV typically leads to a mild respiratory infection, although in some cases such as in preemies, the virus can become extremely severe due to the baby’s underdeveloped lungs and immune system. That’s why awareness is SO important.

Even though infants born from Hispanics and African-American mothers are at increased risk for developing severe RSV (especially given the high prematurity rates amongst Hispanic communities), ALL parents need to be aware of the key facts about RSV to protect their children.

Here are a few #ABCsofRSV and prevention tips to keep in mind:

RSV.jpgA is for Awareness

RSV typically causes mild to moderate cold-like symptoms in healthy, full-term babies. However, it’s not just any virus. Preterm infants are especially at risk because their undeveloped lungs and immature immune systems put them at heightened risk for developing severe RSV disease, often requiring hospitalization. Even scarier, RSV disease is responsible for 1 of every 13 pediatrician visits and one of every 38 trips to the ER in children under the age of five.

B is for Babies

Premature babies—born before 37 weeks gestation—are most at risk for developing severe RSV disease because they have underdeveloped lungs and fewer antibodies to fight the virus than babies born full term.

C is for Contagious

RSV is very contagious and can be spread easily through touching, sneezing and coughing. Additionally, the virus can live on the skin and surfaces for hours. Contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if your child exhibits these symptoms: persistent coughing or wheezing, bluish color around the mouth or fingernails, rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths or fever over 100.4°F in infants under 3 months of age.

For more information, please check out and share the infographic below.

RSV Infographic - ENGLISH

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