Archives for July 2014

SIDS and Breastfeeding: Crib and Sleeping Safety Tips

New moms have a lot to worry about.  Among the most common fears is SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.  This is the name given to unexplained infant deaths.  However now doctors believe there are risk factors that contribute to SIDS that vary depending on the age of the baby.

The National Center for Health Statistics estimates that SIDS effects 81 in every 100,000 babies.  That’s a pretty scary statistic for new parents.  So it’s important to educate yourself on the risk factors of SIDS, which are most commonly related to suffocation.

SIDS and Breastfeeding: Crib and Sleeping Safety TipsIn 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics changed its recommendation for safe sleeping positions for babies.  Their “back to sleep” message dramatically decreased SIDS deaths.  Why is it important for babies to sleep on their backs?  A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics found that most SIDS deaths occur because the baby stops breathing for some reason and does not change positions to clear her airways.  Many infants who sleep on their stomach are more prone to sleep soundly and therefore not wake up when their airway is blocked.  This is especially apparent for babies who typically sleep on their backs but somehow end up on their stomachs and aren’t accustomed to accommodating their new position.

Risk of death due to sleep-breathing issues is most common in young infants; reports of SIDS deaths fall off after around 6 months.  But for older babies who die of SIDS, the risk factors usually involve their sleep environment more than their own ability to regulate breathing.  The same study found that older infants who died of SIDS were either co-sleeping with an adult or had blankets, pillows and stuffed animals surrounding them.  This type of sleep setup increases risk for unintentional suffocation.

There are things you can do to reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS.  First, follow the AAP recommendation of putting your baby to sleep on her back.  She may roll over, but if she’s strong enough to do that, she is probably strong enough to regulate her breathing.  To help strengthen muscles, be sure to give your little one plenty of tummy time every day starting as soon as you get home from the hospital.  Even if it’s not your baby’s favorite position, a few minutes will make a big difference as her muscles develop.

Keep your baby’s sleep space clear.  Avoid blankets, pillows, toys and bumpers that are potential risks of suffocation or strangulation.  Until your pediatrician gives you the green light, all your baby needs is a crib with four sturdy rails and a fitted sheet.  Even mobiles can be dangerous if your baby can swat at it or if any of the pieces could accidentally fall into the crib.

Co-sleeping is a risk factor for SIDS, but becomes a tricky subject for breastfeeding moms.  If you want to preserve your own sleep as much as possible, the happy median is putting a crib in your bedroom to give your baby her sleep space while allowing you very easy access to her during feedings.

The good news is that breastfeeding is associated with a lower risk of SIDS.  Renowned specialist in pediatric care Dr. William Sears says there are several reasons why breastfeeding helps reduce SIDS:  breast milk fights respiratory infections (as well as many other inflections too); breastfeeding builds smart brains that can signal the respiratory system to react faster; breast milk is pure and doesn’t clog airways with allergens; breastfed babies have less acid reflux that may be a choking hazard; breastfeeding is soothing and promotes calm and well-organized sleep cycles; and breastfeeding improves breathing and swallowing coordination.  Dr. Sears also suggests that hormones stimulated in the mother from breastfeeding make her more in-tune and alert with changes in her baby, even while sleeping.

Educate yourself on the risks of SIDS for every stage of infancy and take the necessary precautions to keep your little lovey safe.

What Can Trigger a Baby Boom?

What Can Trigger a Baby Boom? Floods, earthquakes, tsunamis—these large-scale natural disasters are not usually seen in a positive light, but what if they’re catalysts for more pregnancies? A recent article about an uptick in babies delivered in D.C. hospitals 9 months after the temporary government shutdown reminds us that sometimes radical changes give way for unexpected results, and in these cases, baby boom periods.

One of the most well-known baby boom periods in recent American history followed the soldiers’ return after World War II. So many babies were born in the following year that the newest generation earned the nickname “baby boomers” which sticks even today. In the case of natural disasters, storms and tornados can leave people out of work temporarily, in new housing, or heighten fears, all which can lead to more opportunities for pregnancy.

Even though the United States government halted non-essential positions for two weeks in October 2013, Sibley Memorial Hospital in D.C. confirmed that they have welcomed an additional three babies per day so far in July. Another hospital in Arlington noted that they have delivered 99 additional babies this spring compared to expected number of births. Though there’s no official link between the shutdown and a higher number of births, some doctors confirm that their patients oftentimes link a pregnancy’s beginning to a certain event or circumstance similar to those already stated. Blackouts, blizzards, a full moon—these are all examples of times which inspire conception according to one OB/GYN’s recount in the ABC News article.

Do you think there’s a connection between baby boom periods and out-of-the-norm events? Let us know in the comments!

Enjoying Tummy Time with your Little One

Enjoying Tummy Time with your Little One Welcome home, little one! What’s the best way to introduce your baby to life outside the womb? By making tummy time an everyday adventure that develops your little one’s essential motor skills. Tummy time focuses on letting your little one develop neck strength and head control independently. Simply lay your baby on his or her stomach for a significant period of time each day and let them explore the mechanics of pushing up, rolling over, and eventually crawling. Of course a newborn is not going to have the same range of motor skills as a 5-month old, but starting tummy time earlier is developmentally favorable compared to waiting a few months for baby to grow.

Dedicating time for your little one’s motor skills development is very important considering how much time your baby spends on his or her back. At night, your baby should sleep on his or her back because it reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and while you’re on-the-go together during the day your baby is toted around in a stroller or car seat, both of which typically place your little one in a reclined position. Because your baby isn’t used to spending a lot of time front-facing, he or she may be distressed or upset during your first tummy time attempts. This is a typical infant reaction and shouldn’t make you feel as though your baby isn’t ready for tummy time; developing head control is uncomfortable for your baby but a necessary development phase.

Put your little one at ease during tummy time by joining in the fun. Playing together will help distract your baby and encourage more time spent front-facing. Peek-a-boo is a great way to engage your little one while lying down and a lot of fun for you as well. You can try laying your baby on your own stomach to help ease discomfort if your baby seems to fuss a lot while on your carpet or a special play mat. Make your tummy time space a fun, colorful area to further encourage play. Play mats with mirrors and lights can be enjoyable for baby, or you can place soft toys nearby to encourage more movement.

Be patient with your little one while they move through the pre-crawling movements and actions. Pushing up, rolling over and sitting are all small moments you will enjoy watching your little one accomplish. Make sure that your little one isn’t sleepy or hungry before starting tummy time though, as your baby should be alert and ready to play to make the most out of your time together. Your baby will be less fussy if there’s no wet diaper or hungry belly getting in the way of playing during tummy time.

Learning Your Ovulation Symptoms and How to Track Your Ovulation Calendar

Learning Your Ovulation Symptoms and How to Track Your Ovulation CalendarIf you’re ready to start a family, you’ll want to learn your ovulation cycle like the back of your hand. Even if you download a simple ovulation tracker app or use an ovulation calendar, it doesn’t hurt to know the pre-and-post ovulation body signs so you can recognize how long your individual cycle is and when it falls in your month. Ovulation, which is one part of your overall menstrual cycle, is when your eggs are released and travel down your fallopian tubes. If you are trying to conceive, then this is the time when sperm can successfully meet your eggs for fertilization. Even though every woman with a menstrual cycle experiences ovulation, no two cycles are alike; on top of that, some women might experience regimented ovulation cycles while other women do not ovulate on any kind of schedule.

Ovulation cycles do not usually become important until family planning begins, which is why some women have trouble learning what signs to watch for at first. The biggest focus is placed on the menstrual cycle itself, which typically lasts 28 days. Your ovulation falls before your monthly period and will last between 1 and 3 days on average. This is a much shorter window of time for conception, which is why women who struggle to conceive will pay special attention to their ovulation symptoms as they occur. Some of the general ovulation body changes that occur include a light (usually white or clear) fluid discharge or internal body temperature changes. If you monitor your ovulation cycle by taking your temperature every morning, then you will see this ovulation trend firsthand: just before you ovulate your core temperature will decline slightly, but after ovulation you will a temperature spike upwards. Once you’ve recorded this temperature flux, you will know that you’ve passed through your ovulation cycle.

Other ovulation cycle symptoms include light cramping, spotting, feeling bloated, and changes that might remind you of your period symptoms. Not all women experience these feelings, but if you frequently cramp 10 days before your period, then you can chalk up the pain to your ovulation cycle. A good way to learn your ovulation cycle is to begin recording your symptoms and when you experience them in a day planner or on your phone calendar. After you note your experiences for a few months, look and see if there are any common threads in what you’ve written down. When you understand your body’s overall menstrual cycle, you can better anticipate at what points you’re most ready to conceive. Don’t stress out if the first few months seem to follow no schedule; it may take time for you to properly learn your cycle. Once you think you know your cycle, try recording your daily temperature in the morning to see how accurate you are.

Twin Pregnancy on the Rise in the US, Learn the Facts about Carrying Multiples

Twin Pregnancy on the Rise in the US, Learn the Facts about Carrying MultiplesTwin pregnancy is on the rise in the United States; The Mayo Clinic reports that 3 percent of US moms-to-be deliver multiples (including twins and triplets) and that specifically twin births are also becoming more prevalent among new parents. If you find yourself expecting two babies instead of one, these tips and twin pregnancy facts will help prepare you for a healthy pregnancy and delivery. It’s said that twins are simply double the fun, and it seems as though doubling up on vitamin intake, morning sickness chances, and other pregnancy adjustments are common for moms expecting twins.

Researchers report that women trying to conceive in their 30s and 40s have a higher chance of naturally becoming pregnant with twins. These figures do not include women who’ve undergone fertility treatments or have received donor eggs. So if you’re starting your family later in life, you have a slightly higher chance of carrying twins than a younger you. Medical experts explain this twin pregnancy advantage by noting that once you pass 25 years old, you r ovulatory cycles cease to be regular. But, if you are still ovulating there’s a higher chance that you’ll produce two follicles at the same time—and if both of those eggs are successfully fertilized, you’ll be carrying two buns in the over instead of one.

What else can you expect from a twin pregnancy? Well, you’ll need to be mindful of your nutrient and vitamin intake. If you’re carrying multiples you’ll need to up your folic acid quota and make sure that you’re eating enough calories to support yourself and your little ones in utero. Your doctor should be able to designate a target weight gain that’s tailored to your pregnancy with multiples. Your chances of experiencing more severe morning sickness bouts go up when you carry twins as well. Even though your morning sickness episodes will leave you feeling worse than another mom carrying only one baby, you can rejoice in the fact that your morning sickness won’t last longer than the standard 12-14 week period.

Finally, you have a good chance of meeting your babies earlier rather than later when you carry twins. Twin pregnancies typically don’t span the same length of time as a singleton pregnancy. Sure, you’ll experience labor sooner than another mother, but that also means you’ll be past labor pains quicker as well. The difference between a full-term twin birth and a singleton birth isn’t that large, either: many moms carrying twins deliver between 36 and 37 weeks, whereas a solo baby is usually delivered around 40 weeks.

What do you think, moms? If you’ve had twins, do any of these twin pregnancy conditions sound familiar to you?


Learn Common Biting and Teething Signs During Breastfeeding

Learn Common Biting and Teething Signs During Breastfeeding Now that your infant’s teeth are beginning to appear, are you worried about how their presence will affect your breastfeeding routine? Most moms experience temporary biting issues during breastfeeding, but they do not derail the journey altogether. With gentle persistence and careful attention to your baby’s moods during nursing, you’ll be able to find the source of biting and stop the habit before it forms.

If you notice a change during your breastfeeding sessions now that your little one’s teeth have started to come in, the emerging nibbling issue will most likely have to do with teething pains. To avoid your infant using your nipple as a teething relief, keep teething rings and other distractions on hand while nursing. Your infant’s sucking motions might slow down before the biting begins; because of how the tongue naturally covers the lower set of teeth, you baby will not be able to bite you in the middle of a proper latch. If your baby seems irritated or distracted while nursing, try disengaging and replacing your nipple with a cool teething ring or suitable substitute.

Disinterest during breastfeeding is a clue that your baby might be biting out of boredom. If you feel as though your child is biting out of a reason not including teething, immediately end the nursing session once the biting begins. Calmly but firmly unlatch your little one from your nipple without a big fuss. When you lead by calm example your baby will not get the satisfaction of getting a rise out of you. Do not reward biting with a dramatic gesture; simply end the nursing session firmly but without forcible words or actions. You want to avoid giving into your little one’s desire for a reaction because it is possible that your little will continue biting others to continue receiving attention. Remember, if you set the tone that biting is not acceptable during breastfeeding your little one will respond appropriately.

To continue avoiding biting, make sure to avoid play fighting or “love bites” so your little one is not confused by your actions. If you want to truly avoid the habit, engaging in playful biting only confuses your child as to what is appropriate. Make clear boundaries concerning biting others with your little one to avoid bad behavior inside or outside your home. Just because your little one is biting during breastfeeding does not mean that it is necessarily time to end nursing; be patient and usually you will be able to resolve this minor issue with attention to your baby’s actions and moods.