Archives for November 2010

Checklist: What you need to Buy for Baby’s Arrival

Layette (baby clothes, for those who need translation!)

  • 8-10 bodysuits or onesies (like little undershirts that snap at the crotch)
  • 4-6 one-piece PJ’s
  • 2 blanket sleepers for winter nights (these are like little wearable sleeping bags, very handy for drafty daytimes, too)
  • 1-3 rompers or other “dressy” outfits
  • 4 pairs of socks, or booties (I find that socks often fall off and get lost. You’re better off with footsie pajamas if it’s cold weather)
  • 2-3 hats (sun-hats with brims for summer baby, warm  hats that cover ears for winter baby)
  • Bunting bag or fleece suit for winter outing

http://www-davincicrib.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/baby-boy-clothes1.jpg

image credit

Nursery

You can skip some of this for a while if you plan on keeping baby nearby (which is best in my personal opinion), either in a bedside bassinetter or in your own bed.

  • Crib, cradle or bassinet (follow safety guidelines)
  • Firm, flat mattress that fits snugly into crib
  • 2 washable mattress pads
  • 2-4 fitted sheets
  • 4 soft, light receiving blankets
  • 1-2 heavier blankets for winter
  • Comfy chair for nursing, or pillows to prop yourself up in bed
  • Baby monitor, if you will out of hearing range of baby’s room
  • Nightlight (this is for you, to make nighttime feeding and changing easier)
  • Dresser for storing baby clothes and paraphernalia
  • Swing or bouncy chair

Diapering station

It’s nice to have a changing station where you have everything handy for changing your baby. But you can always improvise by putting a changing pad down on your bed or on top of a dresser (never leave baby alone there, of course).

  • Changing table or cushioned changing pad
  • Changing table pad cover
  • Diaper pail and liners (optional but handy)
  • Diaper cream
  • Unscented baby wipes (these are supposed to cause less irritation, although simply rinsing baby’s bottom in the sink is even better!)
  • Disposable newborn-size diapers, or 6-10 dozen cloth diapers and 6-8 diaper covers

Bath

Again, you can improvise when baby is small by plugging up a  bathroom sink,  lining it with a towel (to keep baby from slipping around) and filling it with warm water.

  • Baby bathtub
  • Baby shampoo (can use for hair and body)
  • 2-4 soft towels/hooded baby towels
  • 2-4 soft washcloths

Feeding

For nursing moms:

  • 1-3 nursing bras (Start with one size larger than your maternity bra, as breasts swell right after birth. After a couple weeks you can purchase additional bras.)
  • Nursing pads (bra inserts that protect you if you leak)
  • Nipple cream (alleviates soreness for beginner breast feeders)
  • Nursing pillow (props baby up so you don’t hurt your back by curling up over him)
  • Pump and milk storage bags (in case you ever need to leave baby for an extended amount of time)

For bottle feeding mothers:

  • 10-16 bottles and nipples, both four and eight ounce
  • Liners, for disposable bottles
  • Bottle warmer (cuts down on nighttime trips to and from the kitchen)
  • Bottle sterilizer (some dishwashers have one)
  • Bottle brush
  • Formula (if not nursing)
  • 4-8 bibs
  • Burp cloths/cloth diapers
  • High chair (not necessary until baby can sit up on his own)
  • 2-4 pacifiers

Medicine Cabinet

  • Baby nail clippers
  • Cotton balls (to clean baby’s nose, ears, umbilical cord)
  • Baby thermometer
  • Bulb syringe/nasal aspirator
  • Infant acetaminophen (Tylenol) and medicine dropper
  • Antibiotic cream and sterile gauze (for circumcision care)

Travel

  • Infant or convertible car seat
  • Stroller (reclining for infants)
  • Diaper bag
  • Changing pad
  • Baby carrier/sling

If you can check off most of the things on these lists, then  you are probably ready for for the stork’s special delivery. Congratulations!!

Common Misconceptions about Adoption

November is National Adoption Month in the United States, “a month set aside each year to raise awareness about the adoption of children and youth from foster care.”  This year there are 115,000 children and youth in foster care waiting for adoptive families.

You don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent.” That’s the theme for National Adoption Month 2010, and is an important point to ponder for anyone thinking about adoption. All parents, whether biological or adoptive, are in a process of growth, wherein we try to be better, more patient, more creative, more supportive parents.

Shannon LC Cate at BlogHer, an adoptive mother herself, takes this opportunity to clear up some of the most common misconceptions people outside of adoption tend to have about it.  Here they are condensed below, see her blog for the original post.

1. Birth mothers are all teenagers.

Birth mothers (sometimes called “natural” or “first” mothers) come in all ages and from all walks of life.  These days, the reasons for placing children in adoptive families tend to be more diverse than mere age or marital status.

2. Open adoption is confusing to kids.

Most international adoptions are “closed” by default, because the first parents are unknown and perhaps untraceable. But there is a growing trend in domestic adoption to open the process and maintain some connection between birth and adoptive families.  Research is starting to show that adopted people who at least know a little bit about their first families have a better chance of adjusting healthily throughout their adolescent years of identity formation and on into later life.

3. They hate girls in China.

The circumstances that lead to so many girls being available for adoption in China are complex. But, in short, it is more the tradition of wives being absorbed by their husbands’ families that is the root of the problem in China. When you combine this with an economy that relies on adult children’s care of aged parents and a law restricting most families to either one son or two children (when the first is a daughter), the problem is seriously exacerbated. Some families — by far the small minority — with a first-born daughter feel pressured enough to have a boy on their second try, that a second daughter is sometimes abandoned so they can try again for a boy.

4. Black babies are the latest trend among celebrities.

The fact is, African American babies are still the last to be placed in adoption in the United States.  Perhaps the reasons more than one white celebrity has a Black adopted son is because celebrities live such cosmopolitan lives that when the social worker doing their home study asks “are you open to adopting a Black boy?” they say yes more often than other people. And if you say yes to a Black baby boy, you will probably get one — and fast — because not many people say yes.

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5. Adoptive parents are saintly for adopting.

Adoptive parents are always hearing how great they are for having adopted. The fact is, most adoptive parents adopted because they wanted to be parents, not because they are special saints. Also, adopted parents love their kids like other parents love theirs– it doesn’t require any special, saintly effort!

6. Adopted kids are lucky.

If the alternative is dying on a roadside in China, then you might consider adoption good luck.  But in fact, the adopted person had the rotten luck of getting stuck on that roadside in the first place. Now she’s been utterly displaced from her culture, language, religion, and country and sent to live with strangers. All children deserve a loving, protective family. It would be more accurate to say that adoptive parents are lucky to have their beloved children.

7. Adoption costs a lot of money and only rich people can afford it.

Some adoptions are more expensive than others, but some are virtually free. (Many state adoptions are free and/or come with financial subsidies to assist adoptive families.) There are a number of factors involved including what kind of professionals are involved, whether travel is required, whether an employer gives adoption benefits and many more. Don’t assume an adopted baby is a “luxury.”

8. There is a high level of risk that once adopted, a child will be given back to/taken back by biological family members.

Cases in which children are moved after they have been living with “adoptive” parents for many months — even years — get so much publicity they can scare people into doing as closed an adoption as possible to defend against this outcome. But the fact is that adoptions are almost never overturned, once final.  It’s also important to note that the courts in the United States favor adoptive families so strongly that when a child is removed from a prospective adoptive home, it can almost always be assumed that the reasons were excellent and much more than fair.

9. Birth mothers are saintly for placing their children in adoption. OR Birth mothers are demons for getting pregnant unintentionally/being “unfit”/not loving their children enough to raise them.

Birth mothers are women who have experienced a crisis pregnancy and dealt with it as best they can under their particular circumstances. Nothing else can really be assumed about them.  Birth mothers are severely judged in U.S. society. Some never tell a soul for the rest of their lives. Try to remember, the next time you’re talking about adoption, that the woman you’re talking to might in fact, be a birth mother. It’s time to make it safe for these mothers to “come out.”

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image credit

Can You be Forced to Vaccinate?

You might be surprised to learn that you are not required by law to vaccinate  your children, even when you want to enroll them in a school or daycare.  All states offer either a philosophical, medical, and/or religious exemption from vaccinations. It is important for parents to know this, since many believe that the law is children must receive “x” amount of vaccines. However, you do have the right to design a vaccine program that is right for you and your child.

image: Prison Planet: Revolt Against Dangerous Vaccines

The National Vaccine Information Center has the info on each state and what type of exemptions are available. Click here to find out the requirements and exemptions in your state. For example, in California, a parent can “submit a letter or affidavit stating that the immunization is contrary to his or her beliefs.” You can also submit testimony from a clergyman that vaccinating is against your religious beliefs, or a doctor’s letter explaining why you do not vaccinate for medical reasons.

Whether you choose to vaccinate your child is a personal decision. While my first two children were vaccinated according to the recommended schedule, baby number three (who is now 7 months old) is going to be different. The more I read, learn, and discuss, the more compelled I am to take a stand against routine, unquestioned vaccinations, some of who’s benefits may not outweigh the risks.

What do you want for your child? The only way to find out is to research and talk to others about it. Some parents want their child to be vaccinated, but only one or two at a time. This would call for an alternative vaccination schedule. Some advocate waiting until a child is 2 years old before starting a vaccination program. Others make a decision that certain vaccines are a worthwhile investment while others have risks that outweigh the benefits. And some will not vaccinate at all.

Learn the facts. Research both sides of the equation. The bottom line is, you are the only one who can take full responsibility for your child’s health. Neither the government nor your child’s school nor even your doctor can force you to do something you feel goes against your child’s best interest.

You’ve probably heard the arguments in favor of vaccinations. For more info on potential issues:

A User-Friendly Vaccination Schedule

National Vaccine Information Center

Dr. Bock’s Proposed Schedule of Vaccines

Generation Rescue: Do I vaccinate?

Rotavirus: The Vaccine Nobody Wants

Baby Center: Alternative Vaccination Schedules

Postpartum: Riding the Emotional Roller Coaster

You’ve just given birth! This is a huge moment in your life, one of the most memorable things you will ever experience.  You may find it hard to sleep… or you may find it hard to stay awake! You may feel blissfully  happy… or tense and irritable. You may feel madly in love with this new little creature… or overwhelmed by your new responsibilities.

photo: Sears portrait studio

It’s all OK. It’s all normal. Here are some of the emotions you may be feeling right after your baby’s birth:

Thrilled. You are on a natural high. It’s hard think or talk of anything but your baby. You  may feel compelled to tell your birth story to anyone who will listen, followed by a detailed account of every yawn, diaper change, and feeding.

Overwhelmed. Taking care of a baby is a 24-hour-a-day job, and it’s all yours now. You may be worn out from labor and birth, but there’s not time for a vacation now! The first few months are the hardest, but soon you’ll be out of the postpartum fog and back on a bit more normal schedule!

Let down. After the emotional highs come the emotional lows. Feeding and caring for your baby may not be as easy as you hoped it would be. You may feel a twinge of sadness about no longer being pregnant. And it may be difficult to share the baby with your partner, family, and friends.

Weepy. They call them the “baby blues” and it’s totally normal. All the sudden changes in your life and in your hormones may cause you to feel anxious and worried about your ability to care for your baby, which may be followed by guilt. Be sure that you are being well cared for and have lots of support.

Beat up. Nearly every muscle, joint, and organ of your body was worked overtime to push the baby out. No wonder you feel battered from head to toe. You can expect your body to feel the effects of delivery for at least a few weeks, longer if you’ve had a c-section. You may have popped some blood vessels in your eyes or face from the intense pushing, which will disappear in a few weeks. You may look and feel washed out, pale, and exhausted. This too shall pass.

Feeling faint. The end of pregnancy brings a sudden shift in blood volume and total body fluid; it takes a while for your cardiovascular system to adapt and compensate for changes in position. So you may feel lightheaded and dizzy after delivery, especially when changing position from lying to sitting, sitting to standing. Until this woozy stage subsides (usually after a day), you may need to seek assistance when getting out of bed or walking.

Shivers and shakes. Immediately after delivery, many women experience chills and whole-body shakes, probably due to a resetting of the body’s temperature regulating system after a long bout of hard work. Rest and a warm blanket will help these chills subside within a few hours after delivery.

Bleeding and vaginal discharge. After birth, the uterus continues to discharge leftover blood and tissue, called lochia. In the first few days the discharge is comparable to a heavy menstrual period, and it may contain a few clots. After a week it becomes reddish- brown and thinner, then changes from pinkish to yellowish-white. Any activity that stimulates the emptying of the uterus, such as standing, walking, or breastfeeding, will also increase the amount of discharge.

To get yourself back on track, it’s important to get a lot of rest. Try to accept any help that’s offered to you. Relax and relieve sore muscles by soaking in a warm bath or getting a massage.  Replenish your energy by eating nutritious foods and drinking plenty of water. To get your mind off your aches and pains, focus on the miracle of your new baby and the new joys in your life.

For more of Dr. Sears’ postpartum information and advice, click on any of the links below.

Emotional Changes You May Feel
Postpartum Depression
Common Postpartum Changes
Easy Ways to Relieve Postpartum Stress
When to Call Your Doctor About Postpartum Bleeding
What to Do If Bleeding is Heavy
Afterpains: Normal or Not?
8 Ways to Get Your Urinary System Working Again
8 Tips to Relieve Nipple Soreness
4 Ways to End Postpartum Constipation
5 Ways to Reclaim Your Pre-pregnancy Weight

Do you REALLY want to know what’s in your baby’s formula?

Oils, sugars, genetically modified organisms, aluminum, silicone, cadmium, MSG, Bisphenol-A… are you slightly horrified yet? What Everyone Needs To Know About Infant Formula Ingredients states, “This information is not readily available unless you work hard to seek it out, but I think that once you know it’s important to share it so others may benefit. I chose to write this for any parent who may be unaware of the full implications of formula feeding. Education is power and everyone deserves the ability to make an informed choice.”

Instant baby formula has saved lives. But to say that it is “just as good as” breast milk is very misleading. As scientist try to replicate breast milk as closely as possible, they are creating a substance that is increasingly more complex and questionable.  Because baby formula is categorized as “food” and not under “pharmaceuticals,” the FDA does not monitor the so-called “safe” ingredients that are added to it.

Some of these questionable ingredients include lactose, fructose, glucose, maltodextrose, carbohydrate (corn maltodextrin, modified corn starch ,corn syrup solids), protein (whey, casein, soy protein isolate), fat (soy oil, coconut oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, palm or olein oil) which are usually sourced from GMO’s (genetically modified organisms). Lots of sugar– in order to modify cow milk the protein and mineral content must be reduced and the carbohydrate content must be increased, which is done by adding sugars.

More unappetizing stuff: The DHA in infant formula is extracted from fermented microalgae, Cryptecoiunium cohnii, and ARA is extracted from soil fungus, Mortierelle alpina. These are new to the food chain,l therefor the long term effects of these ingredients are not known. The way they get this stuff (using hexane, a petroleum-refining by-product- a known neurotoxin and air pollutant) is concerning, too.

You might also find a mix of aluminum, silicone, cadmium, MSG, phytoestrogens, GMO soybeans, phosphate, phthalates and Bisphenol-A in your baby’s formula. And even the water used as the base can pose a hazard- even in developed countries.  Chlorine by-products, arsenic, solvents, insecticides and weed killers are common. Formula-fed babies are up to 25 times more likely to die of  diarrhea than breast-fed babies.

You can read more about this at Breastfeeding Moms Unite.

Also of interest is Dr. Mercola’s statement: Soy formula is FAR worse than conventional formula. He says that the estrogens in soy can irreversibly harm your baby’s sexual development and reproductive health. Infants fed soy formula receive a level of estrogen equivalent to five birth control pills every day! In addition, soy formula has up to 80 times higher manganese than is found in human breast milk, which can lead to brain damage in infants, and altered behaviors in adolescence.  So please, do not ever feed your baby soy formula, and warn others who are pregnant or who you know are considering using formula over breastfeeding. The next best alternative to breast milk is to make a healthy homemade infant formula. There may be others, but here is one recipe for homemade formula created by the Weston Price Foundation, which I believe is sound.

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