Eating Salmon is Good for Pregnant Women & their Babies

A healthy diet is important for everyone, but even more crucial during pregnancy. Fish is a great choice, and here’s another good reason to add it to your menu: Eating two servings of salmon a week during pregnancy is beneficial both for the mother and child, according to University of Granada researchers (Medical News Today).

This study showed that the intake of salmon increases omega-3 fatty acid levels both in the mother and child and improved their antioxidant defenses.  It should be noted that the salmon used in this study was reared in a fish farm under a controlled diet including special ingredients (vegetable oils and food as algae and zooplankton); through this diet, salmon became rich in omega-3 fatty acids and presented high concentrations of antioxidant vitamins – as Vitamins A and E – and selenium; in addition fish contained very low contaminant levels.

Read more about the study here.

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Save a Bundle on Your Little Bundle!

How can something so tiny cost so much? New parents have been known to spend $4,500 and upward, for just the basics– a crib, mattress, and baby furniture, clothes, wipes, diapers, formula (if not nursing) and other miscellaneous items.

If you are looking for some ways to save– not skimp– on your baby, here are some tips to try!

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1. Breastfeeding: It’s free, and it will save you $1,200 in formula costs! That’s big, but even more important is the fact that by breastfeeding you will pass along important immunities to fight diseases, as well as DHA/AA, two critically important fatty-acids that aid in mental and heart development. See www.LaLecheLeague.org for more information.

Total annual savings: $1,200

2. Formula: If you must bottle-feed, then by all means use store brand infant formulas – these milk and soy-based formulas made by Wyeth Nutritionals are sold by most major retailers under the store’s own proprietary name.  The FDA tightly regulates all infant formulas, and so all of the standard first year formulas are nutritionally equivalent. The only difference is the price! Store brand formulas sell for up to 40% less than the national brands. See Storebrandformulas.com for more information.

Total annual savings: $500

3. Clothes: Many parents spend $500 or more on their baby’s clothes. But if you wear your baby in a sling, no one will even know what he’s wearing!  Babies don’t care what designer label is in their clothes, but they do care to be worn close to their mother. Dr. Sears encourages all of his patients to wear their babies in specially design slings, which creates a special bond of trust between parent and child that actually enhances the mental development of a child. See www.attachmentparenting.com for more information!

Total annual savings: $250

4. Diapers and Wipes: Diapers and wipes can cost over $1,000 during the first year. Once again, you can save up to 30% by using store brand wipes and diapers.

Total annual savings: $300

5. Baby furniture: Stay out of high-end specialty baby shops that sell the latest crib, mattress set, and changing tables, where you will end up with a big bill and several weeks of waiting for your furniture. The best place to buy baby gear is at mass retailers where they sell a high volume of quality baby furniture that they stock at every store. As such, their margins are lower, saving parents a bundle.

Total potential savings: $500

5. Know what you DON’T need: Liz Pulliam Weston at MSN Money points out that many things that people buy for their baby are simply unnecessary. A second-hand, waist-high dresser works great in baby’s room, and can double as a changing table if you put a changing pad on top!  A simple willow basket inside the cabinet replaces a diaper stacker. One car seat and a base for each car is great instead of one car seat for each car. And those coordinated crib sets are cute but mostly useless- bumpers, pillows, and fluffy blankets are not recommended for infants!

6. Go with hand-me-downs! Family and friends may be a great source of baby clothes and other gear that’s free and still in near-perfect condition. You can also find clothes, name-brand strollers, toys and other baby gear for a fraction of the new price by shopping at consignment shops, thrift stores, and garage sales. Don’t worry about germs, just about anything can be thrown in the wash or sprayed with disinfecting cleaners.

7. Free entertainment: Parents.com points out that your local library can be a great source of free mommy-and-baby activity.  Some offer mom-and-baby yoga classes and weekly story time for pre-walkers, wooden puzzles and other toys, and, of course, lots of great books.


Brachial Plexus Injuries: A Preventable Newborn Injury- Please Read!

Three out of every 1,000 babies born in the USA suffer from injuries that could have been prevented. More children are inflicted with Brachial Plexus injuries at birth than suffer from Down’s Syndrome, or Muscular Dystrophy, or Spina Bifida.  The terrifying reality is that Brachial Plexus injury is a doctor-cause damage, occurring when a baby’s head is tugged or twisted in order to pull him out of the mother, damaging the delicate nerves in a newborn’s neck.

Symptoms may include a limp or paralyzed arm; lack of muscle control in the arm, hand, or wrist; and a lack of feeling or sensation in the arm or hand. The tragedy is that most of these birth-related injuries are preventable.  Like many of today’s problems, a little bit of education can go a long way.

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The problem is that a baby’s shoulders can become lodged behind the mother’s pelvic bones. Some practitioners panic and start pulling on the babies head. They call it “gentle traction” but it is hardly gentle.  In order to help shift the baby’s position, the mother needs to change positions, and this will help the baby to “slide out like a little fish.”

How? Laying flat on your back during labor is the WORST position for childbirth.  Although it is deemed most convenient for doctors, it narrows the birth canal by up to 30% and makes it much harder to push the baby out. Simply rolling over on your side, standing up, squatting, kneeling, or getting down on all fours will help. But never, never, never let anyone pull on your baby’s head.

C-section babies can also be injured.

Why aren’t more people aware of Brachial Plexus injuries?

The United Brachial Plexus Network explains that the reasons are complicated and include the following:

* Since there is no mandatory reporting or tracking of this injury, the widely stated assumption that the injury is usually transient cannot be validated.
* Misconceptions exist regarding the life-long implications and disabilities associated with this injury.
* Birthing practitioners do not want to take responsibility for enabling these injuries through medicinalized labor protocols.
* Medical providers are resistant to the idea that this injury is often preventable.
* Birthing practitioners have succumb to the belief that brachial plexus injuries are an unpreventable and acceptable risk of vaginal childbirth.
* Patient’s guardians often feel the injury is minimized by hospital personnel and are usually told the injury will go away after a few days or weeks.

Please watch this 5-minute video and visit the United Brachial Plexus Network website for more information. A full-length 25-minute video is available there.

The Breastfeeding-Cosleeping-Postpartum Depression Connection

These days, it’s rare to find anyone who’s gonna argue with you that breastfeeding is best for baby, whenever possible.  What they don’t realize is that breastfeeding is best for MOM, too.  And there are still plenty of people with their fists up, ready to knock down any mention of co-sleeping, despite all the benefits that co-sleeping moms and babies report (that is, I’m sure the babies would report, if they could speak!)!

So I was intrigued to read Nancy Mohrbacher‘s blog entry, Formula Supplements Put Mothers at Risk, which explains a number of reasons that breasfeeding and cosleeping are best for mom as well as baby.

Many moms are mistakenly informed that if they bottle feed and let someone else help with night feedings, they will sleep better and longer. Some people also believe that if mom sleeps separate from her baby, she will sleep better, undisturbed.  They conclude that a well-rested mother will be better equipped to hand the stresses of the post-partum period, thus relieving symptoms of postpartum depression.

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Not so, says a new study!

This study, which will appear in the June issue of the journal Clinical Lactation, surveyed 6410 mothers during the first year after birth.  Although all new mothers experience fatigue, it found that exclusively breastfeeding mothers not only slept significantly more hours during the night than other mothers but also reported significantly more energy during the day, a better mood, better overall health, and a greater sense of well-being.  Another surprising finding was that there was no statistically significant difference in any of these areas between the mixed-feed and the exclusively formula-feeding groups. (From Formula Supplements Put Mothers at Risk)

So while we all want to make sure new mothers, especially those at-risk for PPD, are happy and well-rested, strategies that separate and supplement newborns are misguided.  Instead of making mom’s life easier, they actually put her at greater risk of poor sleeping, poor health, and depression.

These benefits are in addition to many others! Breast milk builds your baby’s immune system, improves his brain function and raises IQ, reduces mom’s risk of cancers and other health conditions, helps her loose her pregnancy weight faster, and provides emotional comfort and bonding for both mothers and babies… among others!

Read more on the benefits of breastfeeding at nancymohrbacher.com.

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

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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!!

Tips on Taking Baby Pictures by Anne Geddes

I’m sure you’ve seen photos by world-renowned Anne Geddes before, even if you’re not aware of who was behind the camera. They’re everywhere– on calendars, gift cards, your pediatrician’s walls!  Her images of babies and nature are created after hours of preparation, under careful controls in her studio, supported by a team of talented professionals. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn a thing or two about taking great baby photos!  Baby Center asked her for some tips and tricks can help you capture memories that will last a lifetime.

Always be prepared

Keep your camera handy at all times.  This way you’ll always be ready to capture those special spontaneous moments.  Plus, the more familiar your baby is with a camera, the less he’ll be distracted when you whip it out, and you’ll be able to take more natural looking pictures.

You don’t need an expensive camera to take a great photograph, just a good eye and a magical moment.

Getting Ready

The logical way to start out is by ensuring that your baby is well fed, happy, and comfortable. (Tired, cranky babies do not make good models!) Keep your background simple (like a white sheet or a dark colored carpet) to let your baby take “center stage.”  For a more personal point of view, get down to your baby’s eye level.

Lighting your photo

Anne loves using natural light. Soft, directional light coming from a window is always more flattering than the flash on a camera. If you are photographing outside, take advantage of the early morning or late afternoon light. The mid-day sun doesn’t bring out the best in anyone, not even your perfect baby!

Candid camera

The loveliest shots of your baby will most likely be candid ones.  You can forget the flower pots and teddy bears, and let it just be about your beautiful baby. If you can, take pictures in settings that is meaningful for you; this will give them an even deeper resonance.  On a special occasion, try for a sense of place, so you will always remember that day or the story behind the image.

Show proportion

Your newborn is tiny for such a short time. Even as they grow, each stage passes faster than you want it to. You might not believe it now, but you will forget how small your baby was in the beginning, so try to show your baby’s size in relation to the surroundings. A picture of your baby cradeled in daddy’s hands is so poignant because it captures that sense of scale.

Don’t forget to include yourself!

If you are usually the one behind the camera, don’t forget to include yourself in as many photographs with your family as possible!  Your children will want to know what you looked like “way back then” and will thank you for it later!

Save and organize

Try to download your pictures from your camera on a regular basis, saving them to files grouped by months when your baby is young. Save your images by naming them, which will make it easier to loacte them later on. Instead of “Amy Summer,” try “Amy 6mos in hat. Always back up your digital images, which are valuable and irreplaceable. Use digital photo websites where to can share albums with family, scroll through smaller “thumbnail” images to find favorites, play and share slide shows, tag and favor photos, comment on them, and much more.

Use the video

Try out the short video feature on your digital camera. Those spontaneous moments will be beloved, and your kids will enjoy seeing themselves “live” as babies.

Read more: 20 tips from Anne Geddes for taking great photos

View Ann Geddes most amazing baby pictures of the year

View 50 Amazing newborn photos by real moms

Getting Kids Excited about a New Baby

Younger toddlers won’t have a clue about a baby “growing in your tummy.” Because they can’t see it, they won’t be able to understand much of the explanation. Even when you are in your ninth month, big as a house, your older baby won’t take much notice of the bulge, except to realize that it is harder for her to sit on your lap.

Being pregnant with young children in tow can be both challenging and exhausting. Involving your kids in your pregnancy makes things a bit easier and is often fun. Here are some ways to involve everyone in the “family pregnancy” and prepare them for life with a newborn.

Arrange Baby Time

Make to be around very young babies. This lets your children see what they look like, hear how they sound, observe you holding one now and then, notice that they need comforting, and learn about nursing.

Baby Talk

Small kids: Once your belly is really big, eight months maybe, talk about the new baby. Your toddler will feel more secure if you refer to it as “Suzy’s new baby.” Let her feel kicks, help her talk or sing to baby, and stroke your belly.

Bigger kids: Tell older toddlers and preschoolers about the baby early on in the pregnancy. The older the child, the sooner you can tell him; very young children may be confused or disappointed when the baby fails to arrive the next day. With an older toddler or preschooler, try all of the toddler suggestions above, and in addition, use the diagrams in books on birth to talk about how the baby is growing, month by month. You’ll be surprised by questions like “What part did baby grow today, mom?”

Read Books about Babies

Show her simple children’s books about new babies. Show pictures of when she was a tiny baby and tell her about all the things you did for her. Say things like “Mommies hold tiny babies a lot because they need that.”

Explain Your  Moods

Depending on the age and level of understanding, tell your child why you are feeling so tired, grouchy, short-fused, impatient, and whatever else you feel while pregnant: You might say, “Baby needs a lot of energy to grow, and that’s why mom is tired and sleeps a lot…” Or, “The hormones baby needs to grow make mommy feel funny…”

Talk about the  Future

For example, let them know babies cry (some cry a lot) and they like it when you talk to them and make funny faces. Explain to them “You can help me change the diaper, bathe baby and dress baby. Babies can’t do anything for themselves for a long time, and they can’t play games until they grow bigger. They need to be held a whole lot, just like I held you when you were little.”

Hands on Demo

Usually by the fifth or sixth month, older children can feel their baby brother or sister move. During the time of the day when your baby moves the most, sit down and invite your children to feel the show. Let them guess which body part they are feeling.

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image: The Johns Hopkins Gazette

Baby Bonding

Invite your children to talk to and about the baby. If you already know the gender and have chosen a name, you can encourage them to use it when referring to the baby. Or you can welcome the baby nicknames your child invents. Babies can hear around 23 weeks of age, so this is a good time for the kids to start talking to the baby so he or she will get to know them. After about three months of this, their voices will be very familiar to the baby still in utero, and bonding will already be under way. Studies show that babies tend to turn toward voices they recognize right after birth.

Little Helping Hands

Realize that it’s impossible to give other family members the same degree of attention they are used to while you’re pregnant. Sooner or later the children will realize that they must share mom with another tiny taker in the family. Fortunately, pregnancy provides you with plenty of time to prepare your older children for what life will be like after the baby arrives. Getting them used to helping you while baby brother or sister is still inside is actually another good tool for bonding. The children will have invested their time and energy already even before baby comes, and the baby will have more personal value to them.

Adapted from 10 WAYS TO INVOLVE CHILDREN WITH YOUR PREGNANCY

feature image: The Johns Hopkins Gazette

10 Reasons Babies Cry

There are many reasons your baby cries. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what it is, and you conclude that she’s just “crying for no reason!” But we believe that happy, content, comfortable babies just don’t cry, so if she’s bawling– or even just whimpering– there’s usually a good reason.

Here’s a checklist to help you figure out what it could be:

1. Hungry

When my husband is holding a fussy baby, it’s the first thing he thinks of! “Here honey, he must be hungry!” Well, sometimes they are and sometimes they aren’t, but it’s good to recognize the signs of hunger so can feed your baby before the crying stage.

In newborns, watch for fussing, smacking of lips, rooting (a newborn reflex that causes babies to turn toward your hand when you stroke their cheek), and putting  their hands to their mouth.

I find that a good rule is to feed my baby every time he wakes up from a nap. This way, the next time he starts fussing, I know it’s because he’s tired (usually) and ready for a nap– not hungry. Trying to feed a baby when there’s something else bothering him is usually futile and ends up frustrating you and baby!

2. Dirty diaper

It’s funny, but some babies really can’t stand being dirty– or even wet. My babies are like that. Then there are others who just don’t seem to mind at all.  Either way, this problem is easy to check and fix!

3. Tired

Have you ever wondered why babies just don’t go to sleep on their own? After all, we’d give anything to be able to stop, drop, and nap any time we felt sleepy!  Instead, babies tend to fuss and cry when they get tired, and it just gets worse the more over-tired they get. Try to catch your baby at the first yawn and do whatever it is you do (rock, pat, sing) to get her to sleep.

4. Needs to burp

You don’t have to burp baby after every feeding, but it might be a good idea. Sometimes, a good burp is all he needs. Babies swallow air when they breastfeed or suck from a bottle, especially if they aren’t feeding peacefully for some reason. And we all know that having air in our tummies is not a pleasant feeling!

5. Wants attention

You fed, burped, and changed your baby’s diaper. It’s not nap time yet. So why is he fussing?  He wants some attention, of course! Babies get bored too, and need stimulation, talking to, and cuddling. They like to see your face, hear your voice, and just be held close.

There is no such thing as “spoiling” your baby, or holding him “too much.” Babies thrive on love and being close to their parents. But if your arms need a break (and you need to get the housework done), try wearing your baby in a carrier or sling.

6. Tummy-ache & Colic

If your baby is crying a lot, tummy troubles associated with gas might be the problem.  Babycenter defines colic as inconsolable crying for at least three hours a day, at least three days a week, at least three weeks in a row. For colic help, read more than 20 strategies for soothing a colicky baby.

Even if your baby isn’t colicky, an occasional bout of gas pain can make him miserable. If you think that may be the culprit, try putting him on his back, and pressing his legs up toward his tummy; or move his legs in a gentle bicycling motion.

7. Too hot or cold

Newborns like to be warm and cozy — but not too warm. The basic rule is, a small baby is comfortable wearing one more layer than you would need to be comfortable. To test if your baby is too hot, feel the back of his neck, under his clothes. If he feels overheated and sweaty, you need to remove a layer!

If baby is too cold, that might make him fussy as well. A draft or a cold wipe to the bottom might tick him off!

8. Something Hurts

There are all sorts of other “little” discomforts your baby might be enduring. The infamous hair wrapped around a tiny toe or finger might be cutting off circulation– not comfortable! Some babies are extra sensitive to things like scratchy fabric or clothing tags.

Then again, baby might be teething!  To check if that’s the reason for the crying,  try feeling his gums with your finger. On average, the first tooth breaks through between 4 and 7 months, but it can happen earlier. Find out more about teething and how to ease the pain.

9. Too much stimulation

Babies learn a lot from the world around them, but if there’s too much going on for too long, they may have a hard time processing it all.  If  the commotion, the noise, the blur of faces is too overwhelming, baby may have a meltdown.  See if you can retreat to a quieter spot and try soothing him until he’s calm again (most likely a nap is in order, too)!

10. Not feeling well

If your baby is sick, you may notice that his “sick cry” is distinct from his “normal” crying. If your baby’s crying “just doesn’t sound right,” trust your instincts and call or see a doctor.  He could be coming down with something. You may want to check his temperature  and be alert for other signs of illness.

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Newborn: Umbilical Cord Care

Umbilical cords are probably the least attractive part of your newborn, but they usually don’t cause problems and eventually fall off by themselves. You may be understandably worried when you notice bleeding or discharge from your newborn’s belly button. But knowing what’s normal will keep you calm and prevent you from running to call your doctor unnecessarily!

What’s Normal

Bleeding: For the first week or two, most newborns will have a bit of bleeding from the belly button before and after the cord falls off. You’ll see it on the diaper or baby’s clothes. You may notice it right away, or it might not appear until a week or more after the cord comes off. Bleeding is especially common if the cord comes off within the first week of life from accidental tugging.

Discharge: Almost all belly buttons will have some yellow or green drainage, which looks like pus, before and after the cord falls off.  This may go on for one or two weeks, but will eventually stop and is nothing to worry about. If there seems to be excessive oozing, your doctor can applying silver nitrate to help dry it up, but this is rarely necessary.

When to Call the Doctor

Bleeding: If you see dripping blood that reappears immediately after wiping it away, pack several pieces of gauze over the belly button (you can also use a baby washcloth or tissue). Keep the gauze firmly pressed against the belly button under the diaper, wrap him up snugly in a blanket, and wait for 15 minutes. Then undress him and carefully check for continued active oozing or dripping. If it is stopped, there is no need to call your doctor, but keep a close eye on it. Keep gauze packed on it for another day, and check it once an hour, even overnight. Some blood on the gauze is normal.

If the active dripping or oozing continues after the 15 minutes, you should call your doctor right away.

Discharge: Normal discharge looks like pus, but is not cause for worry. The only time you need to call your doctor is if the cord has become infected.

Here is how to tell:

  • The drainage smells very foul
  • The skin around the cord is very red and maybe swollen
  • Baby may or may not have a fever

If you think the cord might be infected, call your doctor.

Caring for the Umbilical Cord

It’s important to keep the stump clean and dry. Clean the area around the cord every time  you change baby’s diaper. Use a wet cotton ball or q-tip to wipe away any discharge. As of 2006, a research study found that that it is not necessary to put alcohol on the umbilical cord.

When diapering your baby, keep the stump exposed, which helps it dry out faster. You may have to fold down the top of the diaper so it doesn’t cover the belly button area.

When to give baby her first bath is a matter of some debate. It is generally advised to sponge bathe your baby until the cord falls off (and, when applicable, the circumcision heals), although other doctors believe that an immersion bath does not increase the risk of infection. Check with your doctor. If you are still seeing discharge around the base of the cord, it’s probably a good idea to sponge bathe your baby.

The umbilical cord will shrink and dry out just before it falls off. Don’t try to loosen it or pull it off. One day you will change your baby’s diaper and notice that it has fallen off on it’s own.

Source: Dr. Sears

feature image: Real Simple

20 Newborn conditions that are Weird but Normal

You envisioned a sweet, soft, adorable baby — round and rosy with beautiful skin and a tiny button nose. So what are these spots and splotches? These swollen eyelids and hairy shoulders? These runny, yellow diapers and horrible cries? Your baby is a work of beauty in progress… Just wait, he’ll soon become the  perfect angel you imagined! Here are some common situations that often worry first-time parents… but are completely normal and will soon pass!

Puffy eyelids: This is caused by fluid she’s retaining to tide herself over until feeding is established. It’s just temporary and nothing to be concerned about.

Swollen breasts: This will also disappear on it’s own. This is caused by your hormones, which still linger in your baby’s system. You might even find a few drops of milk!

Swollen down there, too! Your baby boy’s huge testicles are actually a result of pressure exerted on your baby during birth, as well as by fluids trapped in tissue. Mom’s hormones, which are still circulating in their body, cause enlarged testicles in boys; in girls, they cause the labia to swell. This will subside over the first couple of days.

Flaky skin: In the womb, baby’s skin was protected by a coating of white, waxy material called vernix. After birth and exposure to air, the vernix is rubbed away, the upper layer of his skin dries out and begins to peel. Your baby’s entire body may peel (although it’s most noticeable on the hands and feet).  The flaking usually lasts one to two weeks, and there’s no need to break out the moisturizers or exfoliaters, either. It will go away on its own.  Another condition, called Seborrheic dermatitis, or cradle cap, can also cause scaly, flaking skin on your baby’s eyebrows, behind her ears, and on her neck. Again, no treatment is necessary, it will clear up by itself.

Cone head: If your newborn’s head looks a little odd, that’s because he probably spent hours wedged in your pelvis. Openings in the skull allow it to mold its shape to fit through the birth canal, which protects against fractures or brain injury during a vaginal delivery.

Hairy little beast! Some infants have fine hair, called lanugo, covering their bodies. Not to worry, this will fall off within the first few weeks.

Splish Splash: Babies skincare is simple. Rinsing baby with warm water and, at most, a mild baby soap, is all that’s needed. Baby cremes, powders, and moisturizers are usually not necessary, unless baby’s skin seems dry.

Diaper Doody: At birth, your newborn will excrete meconium, a dark and sticky substance that looks weird but is totally normal. After the first week, her poop will change in color and consistency. If you are breastfeeding, it will be yellow, seedy, and runny. Formula-fed babies have stools that are tan-colored and soft.

Diaper Rash: A universal condition, is best prevented by changing diapers regularly, and espeically promptly if baby is dirty. Diaper rash creams (for example: Desitin, Balmex, A&D, Aveeno, Baby Aquaphor, Triple Paste, and creams from Huggies and Gerber) can cure most rashes. More info on other types of rashes by clicking here.

Blood or discharge in the diaper: Maternal hormones again! Don’t worry if you see a small smudge of blood or bit of staining on your baby girl’s diaper in the first weeks of life. clear or whitish discharge is also normal at first. Bright red blood, however, is unusual and warrants medical attention.

Cold Feet: If your baby’s hands and feet look chilly, pale, and purple, don’t just assume she’s cold. Baby’s circulatory system is still developing, and his hands and feet are the last body parts to get a good blood supply. A good rule of thumb is to keep a newborn wrapped in one extra layer than you would be comfortable in.

Umbilical cord: After birth, the umbilical cord is cut and clamped. The remaining stump dries up, looks black and ugly, and falls off usually between 1 and 3 weeks. Baby should be sponge-bathed until it falls off, and the stump should kept clean and dry. Some doctors will tell you to clean it with alcohol, while others think this is unecessary and only causes the umbilical cord to stay attached longer.

Baby acne: This unexpected skin spoiler typically erupts in the first few days to weeks of life, and is a result of mother’s estrogen which is still circulating in the baby’s body. Another skin condition called milia, tiny white pimples on the face, is caused by blocked oil glands. Baby acne and milia will disapear on their own after a few weeks. Erythema toxicum, small white or yellowish bumps surrounded by red, blotchy skin, is usually seen in babies under 10 days old, and generally lasts only 3-5 days.  No treatment is necessary.

Blister on lip: Vigorous sucking on a bottle or breast may cause a nursing tubercle or blister, which doesn’t bother baby and may actually make grasping the nipple easier. The callus will disappear on its own.

Oral rash: If you find small, white bumps on the roof of baby’s mouth, don’t stress — they’re harmless cysts, known as Epstein’s pearls, that will disappear as your baby gets older. However, if you spot big, blotchy white areas in your child’s mouth or tongue, this could be thrush, and you should see a doctor for treatment.

Seeing red: You may see small, red hemorrhages on the whites of the eyes from tiny blood vessels rupturing during delivery. These red marks normally disappear within a few days.  And don’t worry if baby sometimes looks cross-eyed, or if his eyes occasionally wander: Newborns may not always focus their eyes together.

Hello yellow! Jaundice, which causes yellowing of the skin, occurs in 60 percent of healthy newborns. It comes from bilirubin, a pigment made by red blood cells a newborn’s immature liver can’t effectively clear away. Jaundice typically peaks between 3 and 5 days after birth and resolves by 1 week of age. You should consult a doctor to find out if any treatment is necessary.

Breathing funny! It may seem alarming, but it is actually normal for infants to take slight pauses (up to 20 seconds) and then go through periods of rapid breathing. This is part of the development of the diaphragm (the muscle that enables breathing) and neurological system. By about 6 weeks old, your baby should develop a more regular pattern of breathing.

Toes turn in: Sometimes, a newborn’s feet turn inward. This is due to the pressure of being curled up in utero. It should self-correct within a few months.

Spit up everywhere! A little dribble is one thing, but projectile spit-up that covers everything in sight is quite another.  But as long as baby seems happy and is gaining weight normally, there is nothing to worry about (except clean-up!).

Losing it! Babies typically lose about 10 percent of their body weight by day 3of life. (Breast-fed babies may lose a little more than bottle-fed ones because breast milk doesn’t usually come in until the third day postpartum.) This is because babies are sleepy from the trauma of birth, and they’d rather sleep than eat. In addition, they’re also shedding some of the fluids they were born with, which can lighten their load. But don’t panic, babies enter the world with enough fluid to get them through the first 3-5 days, whether they feed or not. By a week, they’ll have started gaining weight again.

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Photo from crmcwy.org

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