U.S. to Ban Drop-Side Cribs

Pottery Barn Recalled Crib

Pottery Barn Recalled Crib

Heads up, mommies and mommies-to-be! After 153 baby deaths in the past four years, and 9 million drop-side crib recalls over the last five, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has voted to ban them. This move was inspired by today’s recall of 82,000 Pottery Barn Kids cribs after seven babies were hurt when the drop sides detached or otherwise malfunctioned.

Even if you don’t have a drop-side crib, lots of daycares have them, as well as hotel chains, so this ban is important to note. If you have a drop-side crib, contact the crib’s manufacturer for more info.

Can My Baby Be Too Fat? 4 Tips To Keep Your Baby At A Healthy Weight

With new studies that link infant baby fat with childhood obesity, new parents might be intimidated as their new arrival starts to “chunk up.”  But as a parent, your number one job is to help baby grow and these guidelines should help you get off to a successful start.

1.  Know when your baby is full. According to John Worobey, Ph.D. at Rutgers University, a baby will tell you when they have had enough to eat.  Signs include closing their eyes, spitting out the nipple or pulling away from their food source.    If this happens, don’t insist that your baby continues to nurse.

2.  Try not to use food as a soothing technique. Of course you have to feed your newborn often and on demand but regardless of a new baby’s age, there will be times of fussing between meals.  The automatic response should not be to feed.  Try other soothing techniques first such as offering a pacifier, rocking, singing, shushing or bundling.  Offering food should be an option after you have exhausted this list.

3.  Solids enhance breast milk or formula. During the first year, the primary source of your baby’s calories should come from breast milk or formula.  Even though your baby is going to be introduced to solids around 6 months, it is to give babies the experience of eating food, experimenting with texture and “practice” eating.

4.  Keep guidelines as a “mental check. If you are tracking weight, your baby will have roughly doubled their birth weight at 4 months and tripled by 12 months.  It’s worth peace of mind to talk with your pediatrician if your baby is ahead of these guidelines.

What’s that rash?

As a new parent, you may be extra cautious about what comes next to your baby’s skin.  But even giving your baby the best care possible may not be able to prevent a rash on your little one’s soft skin.  We’ve outlined four of the top infant skin ailments to help you determine what to look for and how to treat it.

 Eczema:  Eczema can appear anywhere on a body but usually doesn’t show up before 3-4 months.  It will usually show up in dry, patchy areas but it can, in worse cases, look like windburn (think red with possible oozing and pus.)  For mild cases, wash the skin with a gentle, fragrance free cleaner and then use generous amounts of moisturizer.  For ongoing or worsening cases, seek a doctor’s advice.

 Prickly Heat: When your little one gets overheated or is exposed to prolonged heat, tiny red bumps that appear on the face, neck, back or bottom.  As temperatures rise, keep your baby’s clothing loose and cool; the rash should fade within 30 minutes of being in a cooler environment.

 Seborrhea: Often known as cradle-cap when its located on the baby’s scalp and eyebrows; but this rash can also appear on the neck, ears, cheeks and chest.  Seborrhea is most common for babies under 6 months of age.  Although no one knows what causes it, there are two easy methods for getting rid of the problem.  Rub a small amount of olive oil on the area to loosen the dry scales or skin then gently brush them off with a baby brush or you can wash the affected area with a small amount of anti-dandruff shampoo.

 Contact Dermatitis: This rash will look like red bumps at the contact site and may itch.  The rash is simply a skin reaction to something your baby came into contact with such as soaps, detergents or even grass.  If the rash looks dry, apply a moisturizer to the area.  If the itching is causing discomfort to baby, talk with your doctor about a hydrocortisone cream.

Why Your Pregnant Thoughts Matter

Let’s face it; when you are pregnant, your thoughts can be all over the map.  Your hormones are in full swing and so are your moods and its hard to get any forewarning when they might go up or down.  But new research suggests that what you do concentrate on or about just might matter to that growing baby inside your belly.  A recent study has shown that what we as mothers do while we are pregnant will have life-long effects on our babies.  This  is not cause for moms to panic; in fact, this information should be used to empower moms into being conscious of what they do and think during their pregnancy.

Scientists now know that a pregnant woman’s moods (and the corresponding chemicals produced by those moods) can have profound impacts on her baby’s brain development while in the womb.   If a mother is chronically stressed during pregnancy, the hormones secreted during those elevated stress periods will send “messages” to the baby’s developing brain which will gradually adapt to being in a “stressed” environment.  This newly formed baby’s brain will be better suited to react quickly and a dampened ability to remain calm.  If a mother can consciously spend time focusing on the joy of her pregnancy, or in other words “think happy thoughts” then  the development of her baby’s brain will be reflective of serenity and calmness.

So what is a mom to do?  Even taking five minutes a day to bring awareness to your thoughts and streamline them into positive feelings will manifest positive outcomes in your baby’s brain development.  Having a rough go at it?  Not to worry; put on your favorite music, treat yourself to a favorite food or nourish yourself in a way that gives you those good feelings.   This conscious approach to caring for your baby in the womb will be just another gift you can give your baby.

Thinking Positive with Gestational Diabetes

My first pregnancy didn’t go quite the way I planned. I came from a line of women who couldn’t say enough good things about their pregnancies. My mother and grandmother always told me that they felt their best when they were pregnant. Naturally, I thought my pregnancy would be the same. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

For the first six months I experienced what has erroneously been called “morning sickness”. The error in this label lies in the word “morning” as this sickness can last all day or hit you unexpectedly at any time of the day. It was not at all attractive.

Towards the end of my third trimester, I was finally able to keep food down. I felt stronger and happier. It was nice to be able to indulge in some of the yummy treats many women crave during pregnancy. I still lacked energy, but I reasoned this was just a result of my getting bigger. I figured my last trimester would be a breeze.

Then the results of my routine glucose screening tests came back. My numbers were higher than normal. I returned to the lab for a glucose tolerance test which confirmed glucose intolerance. My numbers were just shy of the diabetes mark. At first I felt relieved, but my OB/GYN said since I was borderline, I had to treat it as gestational diabetes. The only difference was I didn’t have to prick my finger four times a day as long as I was able to manage my weight gain through proper diet and exercise. Great.

According to the American Diabetes Association, (ADA) gestational diabetes affects 4% of all pregnant women. It is one of the most common health problems in pregnancy. It begins when our bodies are not able to produce and use all the insulin we need during pregnancy. When gestational diabetes is left untreated, our pancreas works overtime to produce the insulin needed to support us and the development of our growing babies. While insulin does not pass into the placenta, glucose does. The increased amount of glucose puts stress on the baby’s pancreas to create more insulin to get rid of the extra blood glucose. As a result the baby gets more energy than it needs and this extra energy is stored as fat. Babies with excess insulin at birth face a number of health risks including breathing problems, and macrosomia.

I had my nutritionist explain this to me about three or four times. If only I had Dr. Swaim’s explanation in the podcast referenced below, I may have grasped it quicker. The bottom line was I needed to stick to a specific diet or my health and the health of my baby would be at risk.

The diet itself wasn’t bad. It was basically portion control and balancing the right amount of carbohydrates throughout the day. But the last thing a pregnant woman wants to hear is the word “diet”. At first I focused on all the things I couldn’t eat. What was I going to do with that wonderful bag of peanut butter cups in the pantry? How would I get by without potato chips? Is life worth living without cookies n cream? I realized quickly that if I was going to succeed, I had to turn all my negatives into positives.

  1. Positive #1: Getting in my five servings of fruits and veggies everyday

    At first glance this may not look like much of a positive. Who wants broccoli when you’re salivating for Doritos? I’m very competitive though. So I made my mind over and convinced myself that this was a game – and I had to win it. Every day I made it my aim to eat all five of my servings of fruits and vegetables. To my surprise this made it easier for me to make better food choices.

  2. Positive #2: Taking full advantage of my three snacks a day

    This was my opportunity to feel like I was eating more rather than eating less. Eating more often during the day kept me feeling full and I didn’t overindulge at dinnertime – nighttime eating has always been my downfall. In that last month, these regular snacks really helped to chase away the crankies.

  3. Positive #3: Enjoying the things that I could eat

    I had to let go of my grudge against healthy foods. A handful of almonds paired with a cup of fruit or applesauce was my snack of choice. And it really was yummy – no, not yummy as chocolate or ice cream is yummy, but it did the job most of the time. I also found that indulging in a sugar-free Jell-o pudding snack cup or a “Baby Needs Chocolate” Belly Bar helped out when the chocolate cravings were just too much.

  4. Positive #4: Using exercise as a way to bond with my husband

    My late pregnancy was in the winter, so we took advantage of our local mall and just walked circles around it. It sounds monotonous, but it was a great opportunity to talk about the baby, what we looked forward to, what we weren’t looking forward to, our hopes, and our fears. It really helped us to stay connected as a couple and fortified us for the change we had ahead.

  5. Positive #5: The satisfaction of knowing I was fulfilling my responsibility as a Mommy

    Sounds cheesy, yes, but it really did help. I felt I had gotten a head start on Mommyhood which is full of sacrifices and making changes in my lifestyle for the sake of baby. Of course, pregnancy alone does this for any Mommy to be, but this mindset kept me motivated on the rougher days.

By following the diet and including regular exercise in my weekly activities, I found myself having more energy – in a relative sense of course, it is true that pregnancy takes a lot out of us. At 41 weeks I gave birth to a beautiful and healthy baby girl. In the end, whatever I endured during my pregnancy was well worth it. My gestational diabetes went away immediately, but I found the strategies of the diet to be a sensible way of eating that I try to continue to this day.

For more information about gestational diabetes, its causes, symptoms and treatment visit:

Bottle-feeding vs. Breastfeeding: Pros and Cons

Among the many decisions every expecting mother must make, how we choose to feed our new little bundles is one of the most important. It probably seems everyone in your life has an opinion on this: your mother, your neighbor, your grandmother, your co-worker, your friend, your friend’s co-workers’ grandmother… and the list goes on. While advice and opinions on this matter may be well-intentioned, they can also tend to be overwhelming for a mother-to-be. Each mother must carefully consider both options and make an informed decision on what is best for her and her baby.

We have all heard the motto “Breast is Best”. It is plastered on our ob/gyn’s wall, in our pregnancy books and we even hear it on television. However, there are pros and cons for breastfeeding and bottle-feeding alike.

Breastfeeding

Pros:

  • Can create a unique closeness between you and your baby.
  • May help you lose weight faster – Breastfeeding burns up to 600 calories a day. Of course, a mother who is breastfeeding needs to consume more calories a day. Talk to your nutrition specialist about your diet so that you may optimize your weight loss while breastfeeding.
  • Helps the uterus to shrink faster and reduces bleeding
  • Decreases your risk of certain cancers, type 2 diabetes and strengthens bone density
  • Enhances your baby’s immune system – There is nothing on the market that will match the natural antibodies found in your breast milk.
  • Reduces your baby’s risk of upper respiratory problems (asthma, allergies, etc.), chronic diseases (diabetes, obesity, hypertension, etc.), and SIDS
  • Babies who are breastfed are more likely to excel in school
  • Breast milk may be easier for your child to digest – Some breastfed babies spit up less often than their formula-fed peers. This, however, is not a hard and fast rule.
  • Content in breast milk changes to suit your baby’s changing needs – The colostrum milk (a thick, sticky substance usually yellow to orange in color) produced during pregnancy and in the early days of breastfeeding works as a laxative to help your baby pass his early stools. It also works as a “vaccine” to protect your baby from environmental viruses in his early stages of life. After about two or three days, your milk supply will change to mature breast milk (thinner, opaque to white substance).
  • Less expensive than buying formula – Breastfeeding is not necessarily “free”. Breastfeeding mothers must invest in nursing bras and breast pads to prevent leaking. However, on a long term basis, this is still less expensive than buying formula.
  • Available anytime, anywhere

Cons:

  • Increases your risk for breast infection or mastitis
  • Higher levels of jaundice are found in babies who are breastfed
  • Baby may get dehydrated easier
  • Risk of cavities in infants who are breastfed for over a year – Please note, however, that the risk of cavities is still higher for formula-fed babies.
  • Risk of rickets (vitamin-D deficiency) – especially in darker skinned babies
  • Not necessarily convenient – Although promotion for breastfeeding has made leaps and bounds over the years, there are few places in public that cater to the breastfeeding mother. Many mothers can end up feeling very frustrated over this severe oversight.
  • Must always be available for feeding or provide pumped breast milk if absent – After a long pregnancy and grueling delivery, a new mother needs her rest to recover. Newborns must eat every two to three hours for the first weeks of life. The constant caring for her newborn can leave an already tired mother feeling even more fatigued.
  • First weeks of breastfeeding may be very painful
  • Certain medications can interrupt breastfeeding
  • Your diet can have an effect on the baby

Bottle-feeding

Pros:

  • Allows father and other family members to bond with baby – This also allows the mother to get some much needed rest or “alone” time.
  • Sometimes more convenient – Once the bottle is made you can feed your baby anytime anywhere.
  • You don’t have to worry so much about your diet as it won’t affect your baby
  • Easier to monitor the amount of food your baby is eating
  • Some formulas provide vitamins and nutrients that breastfed babies have to get through supplements
  • Since most formulas are richer than breast milk, frequency of feedings may be decreased

Cons:

  • Although nutritious on their own, formulas just don’t match the antibodies and nutrients of breast milk
  • You will have to strictly follow the preparation instructions – Unless you buy pre-made formula (which only lasts a few hours in the refrigerator once opened) you will have to go through the tedious process of boiling water for each bottle for at least the first six months.
  • According to your baby’s preference, you may have to warm up the bottle before each feeding – This is especially inconvenient while out and about.
  • Baby’s stomach may be more easily upset with formula as it is harder to digest
  • More expensive – Depending on the brand you choose, formula can cost between $50 and $200 per month.

There are so many decisions you have ahead of you with regards to yours and your baby’s well-being. You shouldn’t have to feel pressured to go one way or the other when it comes to whether you breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby.  Every mother’s set of circumstances is different. Every baby is different. Choose which option is best for both of you and move on with this wonderful new phase of your life. Afterall, the most important thing you can give to your baby is your love and affection – and that isn’t hard at all!

Related Podcasts:

CNN Pediatrics Journal: Breastfeeding Saves Lives and Money

This can be a touchy subject in Mommy World, so I want to be careful…

There is a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, according to CNN:

If most new moms would breastfeed their babies for the first six months of life, it would save nearly 1,000 lives and billions of dollars each year.

I don’t care for the way that’s written.  “If most new moms would breastfeed” sounds like scolding.  And since the CDC reports that only 74% of new moms even try nursing, it’s scolding a lot of loving and well-intentioned women.

Despite my problem with the tone of that statement, however, I have no trouble believing those numbers.  I have interviewed eleventy billion experts who say that while formula is indeed “nutritionally sound”, it’s not mother’s milk.

They call the first doses of mother’s milk your baby eats liquid gold.  Colostrum comes in small doses, but packs a huge punch.  Not only does your colostrum provide the exact things your specific baby needs for optimum health, it does a bunch of other things, like coat and seal your baby’s GI tract, decreasing eventual allergy risks.

And, in fact, your milk evolves with your baby.  When you nurse, you and your baby are interacting on a biological level.  Your baby’s saliva on your skin is telling your body “Hey, Mom, I need a little more of this and a little less of that.”  The composition of the milk you make changes in response to that.

Mother’s milk is a designer product!

Formula is nutritionally sound.  But it’s not a designer product.  It can’t be.  It would cost a jillion dollars if it was!

You also can’t underestimate the value of early nursing to the cognitive and emotional development of your baby in a way that has nothing to do with milk.  The closeness, the skin-to-skin contact, the actually physical connection you make with your baby on a sometimes exhaustingly frequent basis encourages healthy attachment.  I’m not talking about the mother-infant bond, here.  You and your baby will be bonded no matter how you choose to feed them.  Attachment is a much broader concept that includes all aspects of child development.

Nursing encourages secure attachment beautifully.

This is not to say formula fed babies cannot be securely attached!  My daughter was combo-fed (formula and human milk) and is quite securely attached.  Nursing moms can also be insecurely attached to their babies.  Every mom and baby are different.

It’s just that nursing is one nice and effective way to foster secure attachment.

I’m so very glad the article doesn’t go much further into the scolding area of this debate.  One of the study’s authors, Harvard Dr. Melissa Bartick, says:

Moms shouldn’t be blamed, because they receive mixed messages and often lack support from the moment their babies are born.

Ain’t that the truth!  And…

(Bartick) says the biggest priority should be to improve maternity care practices. Bartick refers to a 2007 CDC survey of hospitals and birthing centers, which scored each facility to determine how well it complied with recommendations meant to encourage women to breastfeed.

According to that survey, Bartick says, “U.S. hospitals scored a 63 – that’s a D.”

Hear, Hear!  I am all about improved maternity care!

The point I’m trying to make out of all of this meandering is this.  We all know breast is best.  Blah blah blah.  We’ve heard it until we don’t even hear it anymore.  But the fact is, mother’s milk is superior to the nutritionally sound alternative of formula for so many reasons.

So for the 26% of you who aren’t even thinking about trying it…why not just consider — just consider doing it for a few days, a least until your baby has a body full of colostrum?

You can do anything for a couple of days, right?

That is my challenge to you…<3

Related Podcasts:

Vitamin D Deficiency

I have been doing a lot of reading about Vitamin D lately, and was shocked to find deficiency is thought to be pandemic. I was also surprised to find Vitamin D is more than just your garden variety vitamin. It works more like a hormone, which has many implications for your pregnancy.

Gestational Diabetes, Pre-Eclampsia, C-sections…most of those pregnancy complications we are working so hard to avoid *may* be linked – in some cases – to Vitamin D deficiency.

I’ve recently added it to my regimen, and I’m not even pregnant! My daughter is getting a little extra, too!
Don’t wait -talk to your doctor as soon as possible about this and see what they say. In the meantime, a little bottle of d3 might be worth the investment.

Some natural sources of Vitamin D include:

  • Fatty fishes, such as  salmon, Sardines, Tuna, and Fish liver oils
  • Whole eggs
  • Mushrooms

Visit MayoClinic.com for more information about Vitamin D deficiency.

How Will The Health Care Bill Affect My Pregnancy?

The recent passing of the health care bill has been big news this week. While there are those who are thrilled with the news and those who are less than excited, one thing remains true – in form or another, this bill will have an affect on every person in some form or another. However, it can be hard to cut through all of the excess and figure out the hard facts.

A question many pregnant women are facing today is:

How will the health care bill affect my pregnancy?

Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, has been quoted saying that the bill features help for women’s health care issues: “It’s personal for women. After we pass this bill, being a woman will no longer be a pre-existing medical condition.”

Immediate Effects For Women:

  • Insurance companies will no longer be able to charge higher premiums on the basis of gender.
  • All health plans will also now be required to cover maternity and newborn care, as well as pediatric services expanded to include dental and vision care.
  • Medicaid will expand services to pregnant women and new mothers, offering more family planning services, home visiting programs and postpartum education and support.
  • Working moms will also get a boost, as employers will be required to offer breaks and space for nursing mothers to pump breast milk.

Read more about how the health care bill affects women at Forbes.com.

Check out The Washington Post for a calculator to find out how the health bill will affect your health care costs.

Benefits of Breasfeeding: Weight Loss?

Just found a very interesting, in-depth article about the benefits of breastfeeding at babycenter.com. The article, which is reviewed by the BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board, is organized into sections that describe each health benefit in detail. Among the commonly-known facts, there are few interesting pieces that some people might not be aware of. For instance – did you know that breastfeeding helps you lose weight? And not only does it help you slim down, but it may protect against obesity later in your baby’s life.

Of course every piece of good news comes with a dose of reality. According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “breastfeeding leads to the release of hormones which enable your uterus to return to its normal size. However, breastfeeding alone won’t bring down your weight.  You need to combine it with a sensible diet and a moderate exercise program.” Getting in some exercise shouldn’t be too much a problem for new moms -I’d recommend investing in a good stroller and take your baby out for walks when the weather is nice.

Read more about the benefits of breastfeeding at Baby Center.

Find more information about breastfeeding and bottle feeding in our free podcasts:
Breastfeeding Tips and Hints: Advice to Make It Work For You
Bottle Feeding: Whether It’s Formula Or Breastmilk, How To Prepare For The Bottle