Archives for March 2008

Do you want to know what your baby’s cry means?

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Every mother knows the feeling of trying to soothe a screaming baby. I’m sure every mother has wished at one time or another that baby could just TELL me what’s bothering him! Is he hungry? Tired? Uncomfortable? Gas?

Now you needn’t guess any longer! Priscilla Dunstan’s eidetic memory (a photographic memory for sound) and mother’s intuition helped her discover a universal baby language. Her theory was tested with over a thousand babies, of more than 30 nationalities. Three independent international studies, confirmed the existence of a universal baby language – the Dunstan Baby Language.

Every infant from birth to age three months communicates using the same sounds. These five cries are based on various relexes that a baby has. The “neh” sound is based on the sucking reflex, and means the baby is hungry.  “Owh” is based on the yawn reflex and means baby is tired. “Eh” means baby wants to burp, “air” means baby has gas, and “heh” means baby is uncomfortable (too hot, too cold, needs a new diaper, etc.) These “words” occur even before a baby starts to cry.

If you want to learn more about communicating with your baby, check out the Dunstan Baby Language System. You can also watch Priscilla Dunstan in a video interview at iVillage.com.

Patemm: The latest in changing pads

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My aunt bought me the Patemm changing pad (“a revolution in diaper changing”) as a baby gift. She discovered it after her own daughter (my cousin) had a baby and someone must have bought her this latest mommy-must-have item.

What is it? It’s kind of like a portable diaper bag. When it’s opened up, it’s a large, round changing pad with an easy-clean, wipeable surface. Along the edges are pockets to keep spare diapers, wipes, ointment, and even a change of clothes. Then it folds up into a handy little square package with handles that make it easy to carry along with you wherever you go! It’s really a brilliant idea!

The Patemm pad comes in 22 fun prints all with chocolate brown trim and sewn-in polyester batting. Mine is baby blue, but I really like their patterned pads, such as the red&white “Emma“, or the grey&black “Jack Martin.”

They also have a super-handy, compartmentalized “bote bag” (bottle bag) and small pouches called pitakas which fit perfectly in the patemm pad pockets and can hold hold wipes, small ointments, etc.

Check out the Patemm website to view the funky patterns they come in and read parent’s feedback. It really is “A smart, stylish and practical solution to the diaper bag… makes changing your little one quick and simple… The mom-invented patemm™ pads have received national and international acclaim by parents, caretakers and the media and has truly become an essential baby item!”

Benefits of Breastfeeding

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We all know that breast milk is the ideal food source for young babies. What some people may not realize is that breastfeeding has benefits for the mother and for society as well!

Here are some of the many benefits of breastfeeding, from WomensHealth.gov:

BENEFITS FOR BABY:

  • Breast milk is the most complete form of nutrition for infants. A mother’s milk has just the right amount of fat, sugar, water, and protein that is needed for a baby’s growth and development. Most babies find it easier to digest breast milk than they do formula.
  • As a result, breastfed infants grow exactly the way they should. They tend to gain less unnecessary weight and to be leaner. This may result in being less overweight later in life.
  • Premature babies do better when breastfed compared to premature babies who are fed formula.
  • Breastfed babies score slightly higher on IQ tests, especially babies who were born pre-maturely.

BENEFITS FOR MOM:

  • Nursing uses up extra calories, making it easier to lose the pounds of pregnancy. It also helps the uterus to get back to its original size and lessens any bleeding a woman may have after giving birth.
  • Breastfeeding, especially exclusive breastfeeding (no supplementing with formula), delays the return of normal ovulation and menstrual cycles. (However, you should still talk with your doctor or nurse about birth control choices.)
  • Breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast and ovarian cancers, and possibly the risk of hip fractures and osteoporosis after menopause.
  • Breastfeeding makes your life easier. It saves time and money. You do not have to purchase, measure, and mix formula. There are no bottles to warm in the middle of the night!
  • A mother can give her baby immediate satisfaction by providing her breast milk when her baby is hungry.
  • Breastfeeding requires a mother to take some quiet relaxed time for herself and her baby.
  • Breastfeeding can help a mother to bond with her baby. Physical contact is important to newborns and can help them feel more secure, warm and comforted.
  • Breastfeeding mothers may have increased self-confidence and feelings of closeness and bonding with their infants.

BENEFITS FOR SOCIETY:

  • Breastfeeding saves on health care costs. Total medical care costs for the nation are lower for fully breastfed infants than never-breastfed infants since breastfed infants typically need fewer sick care visits, prescriptions, and hospitalizations.
  • Breastfeeding contributes to a more productive workforce. Breastfeeding mothers miss less work, as their infants are sick less often. Employer medical costs also are lower and employee productivity is higher.
  • Breastfeeding is better for our environment because there is less trash and plastic waste compared to that produced by formula cans and bottle supplies.

JLo’s crazy germaphobic parenting notions

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According to this story on HollyScoop, Jennifer Lopez is really setting out to spoil her twins. Not only has she hired a color therapist and professional baby masseuse to pamper her babies, she has also splurged on “Egyptian cotton cot linen, designer Babygros, diamond-engraved rattles and two small ponies.”

But that’s far from the most disturbing part. The “insider” has confided that JLo is “super-paranoid about hygiene. The twins’ wing is totally sterile and all flowers and presents are stored in a separate room, so they don’t contaminate the babies’ area… All house guests must also use an antiseptic hand lotion and wear surgical masks before they enter the children’s nursery.”

That is just crazy!

According to holistic practitioner Natasha Trenev, author of Probiotics: Nature’s Internal Healers, healthy bacteria such as Bifidobacteria and Bene bacteria guard against bad germs in the large bowel and stimulate weight gain in infants. “What we’ve done environmentally is sterilize everything. Healthy bacteria can’t thrive,” she says. There is no need for the current obssesion with sterilization and cleanliness. “A study done in Sweden and Astonia found that babies raised in sterile hospital environments experienced a six-fold increase in allergies.”

CNN calls it the “Hygiene hypothesis,” which holds that when babies are exposed to germs, it helps them fight allergies and asthma later. The presence of some germs allows babies’ and children’s immune systems to develop properly.

According to a study written up in Time Magazine, more people are coming down with allergies and autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis (MS) than in the past. One theory is that children live in cleaner environments and are exposed to fewer microbes. Researchers report that test subjects who had the greatest number of younger siblings, no more than six years apart in age, were the least likely to develop MS. It seems that the infections they caught from the younger kids helped train their immune system not to attack their own nerves, which is what happens with MS.

It’s also important to understand when and how to use antibiotics. Antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections (like strep throat) not viruses (like colds or the flu). C.Health states that the overuse of antibacterial products, including soaps, gels, and antibiotics for throat infections and other ailments, can result in stronger germs that are resistant to the effects of antibiotics.

So what’s the bottom line? If your toddler eats food that was dropped on the floor before you have time to snatch it away, don’t worry. Children are perfectly able to eat non-sterilized food and live in non-sterile environments! Even without the scientific evidence, it never made sense to me to be constantly sanitizing every surface your child comes in contact with. The best way to avoid harmful bacteria is simply good, old fashioned soap and water.

Newborn baby: Tests, shots, and other hospital procedures

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Right after the birth of you baby is a very special time! You will cradle that bundle of joy in your arms for the very first time and, with the labor behind you, bask in the amazing feeling of motherhood. Although you probably want to enjoy this time uninterrupted, the doctors and nurses may whisk your baby away to perform several important tests and procedures.

You can request a little more time to bond with your baby. But here’s an overview of the care you can expect from the hospital staff, from WomensHealth.gov:

Apgar Evaluation

The Apgar test is a quick way for doctors to figure out if the baby is healthy or needs extra medical care. Apgar tests are usually done twice: one minute after birth and again five minutes after birth. Doctors and nurses measure 5 signs of the baby’s condition. These are:

  • heart rate
  • breathing
  • activity and muscle tone
  • reflexes
  • skin color

Apgar scores range from 0 to10. A baby who scores 7 or more is considered very healthy. But a lower score doesn’t always mean there is something wrong. Perfectly healthy babies often have low Apgar scores in the first minute of life.

In more than 98% of cases, the Apgar score reaches 7 after 5 minutes of life. When it does not, the baby needs medical care and close monitoring.

Eye Care

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that all newborns receive eye drops or ointment to prevent infections they can get during delivery. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including gonorrhea and chlamydia are a main cause of newborn eye infections. These infections can cause blindness when left untreated.

Silver nitrate, erythromycin, and tetracycline are the three medicines used in newborns’ eyes. These medicines can sting and/or blur the baby’s vision. So you may want to postpone this treatment for a little while.

Some parents question whether this treatment is really necessary. Many women at low risk for STDs do not want their newborns to receive eye medicine. But there is no evidence to suggest that this medicine harms the baby.

It is important to note that even pregnant women who test negative for STDs may get an infection by the time of delivery. Plus, most women with gonorrhea and/or chlamydia don’t know it because they have no symptoms.

Vitamin K Shot

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all newborns receive a shot of vitamin K in the upper leg. Newborns usually have low levels of vitamin K in their bodies. This vitamin is needed for the blood to clot. Low levels of vitamin K can cause a rare but serious bleeding problem. Research shows that vitamin K shots prevent dangerous bleeding in newborns.

Newborns probably feel pain when the shot is given. But afterwards babies don’t seem to have any discomfort. Since it may be uncomfortable for the baby, you may want to postpone this shot for a little while.

Newborn Metabolic Screening

Doctors or nurses prick your baby’s heel to take a tiny sample of blood. They use this blood to test for many diseases.

All 50 states require testing for at least two disorders: phenylketonuria and congenital hypothyroidism. But many states test for up to 30 different diseases: All of these problems are impossible to spot without a blood test. And if left untreated they can cause mental retardation and even death. The March of Dimes recommends that all newborns be tested for at least 29 diseases.

Hearing Test

Many hospitals offer newborn hearing tests. Tiny earphones or microphones are used to see how the baby reacts to sounds. Newborn hearing tests can spot hearing problems early. This can help cut the risk of serious language and speech problems.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

Most hospitals now suggest that newborns get a vaccine to protect against the hepatitis B virus (HBV). HBV can cause a lifelong infection, serious liver damage and even death.

The hepatitis B vaccine is a series of three different shots. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend that all newborns get the first shot soon after birth or before leaving the hospital. If the mother does not have hepatitis B, the first shot can wait for 2 months. The second and last shot should be given before 18 months of age.

Complete Check-up

Soon after delivery most doctors or nurses also:

  • Measure the newborn’s weight, length, and head.
  • Take the baby’s temperature.
  • Measure his breathing and heart rates
  • Give the baby a bath and clean the umbilical cord stump.

Is baby safe around the family dog?

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A worried grandmother posted the following question on the ivillage message boards:

“Would you be concerned if your son and daughter in law planned to keep a Pit Bull mix (now 6 mos. old) after finding they are expecting twins? If so, what would your specific concerns be?”

A registered veterinary nurse who currently works in a busy pet emergency hospital answers with mixed feelings. She makes it clear is that “ANY DOG can be dangerous around children, REGARDLESS of breed. Children have been known to have been killed by the family Pomeranian. Cocker Spaniels are NOTORIOUS for biting kids…. A good quality well bred Pit who has been raised in a responsible, caring home, is no more dangerous than any other dog….” In her opinion, there are a few factors to be taken into consideration, including breed, mix, temperament, whether the dog has had obedience training, and whether the dog will be supervised around the baby AT ALL TIMES.

What is your opinion?

photo credit

Twins: Twice the Fun!

Win an Ann Taylor Loft Maternity outfit!

loft.jpgJust thought I’d let you in on the chance to win a lovely maternity outfit worth $103 from Ann Taylor LOFT’s new maternity line! You have until Friday, March 7th at Noon PST and the contest is open to those with a shipping address in the 50 US states and Puerto Rico. All you have to do is visit DearDrMoz, add a comment, and you’re entered!

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