Your Baby

Fussy Baby: Walking or Rocking Most Calming?

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When your baby cries should you pick him or her up and walk or find a good rocking chair and rock back and forth? A new study from Japan says that infants respond best when mom (or any caregiver) picks them up and walks around.

Researchers said that the babies’ rapidly beating hearts also slowed down, proving that they felt calmer.

"Infants become calm and relaxed when they are carried by their mother” said study researcher Dr. Kumi Kuroda, who investigates social behavior at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Saitama, Japan. Interestingly, the study also observed the same response in baby mice.

For the study, researchers monitored the responses of 12 healthy infants ages 1 month to 6 months. The scientists wanted to discover the most effective way for mothers to calm a crying baby over a 30-second period — simply holding the baby or carrying the infant while walking.

Results showed that infants carried by walking mothers were the most relaxed and soothed compared to babies whose mothers sat in a chair and held them. As a mother stood up with her cradled her baby and started to walk, scientists observed an automatic change in the baby’s behavior.  

These results held even after the researchers took into account other factors, such as the child's age and sex, and the mother's age and walking speed.

Kuroda said she was surprised by the strength of the calming effect. Researchers noted that the rhythm of walking might be more effective in soothing infants than any other rhythmic motion, including rocking.

Babies cry for a variety of reasons. If an infant is hungry or in pain, they’ll most likely start crying again when they are laid back down. But sometimes a baby just feels a little anxious or unsure about their environment and will relax when held close and comforted. Kuroda acknowledged carrying might not completely stop the crying, but it may prevent parents from becoming frustrated by a crying infant.

The findings may also have implications for the parenting technique of letting babies cry in order to help them learn how to “soothe themselves”.

"Our study suggests why some babies do not respond well to the 'cry-it-out' parenting method," Kuroda said.

Babies crying during separation and maternal carrying are both built-in mechanisms for infant survival. These behaviors have been hard-wired for millions of years. "Changing these reactions would be possible as infants are flexible, but it may take time," she said.

While the study looked at a baby’s response to its mother, Kudro said the calming effect was not specific to moms. Dads, grandparents and caregivers were able to provide the same calming effect by carrying the baby and walking

Many moms and dads instinctively know to pick up a baby that’s crying, hold them close, pace around while gently patting baby on the back. This study just points out that if your baby is really upset, walking about may have a faster calming effect than rocking or sitting in a chair.  Plus it adds more evidence that simply ignoring a baby while he or she cries isn’t going to teach them how to soothe themselves. We all need a hug and a gentle pat on the back when we’re upset. Babies need it maybe even a little more.

The study was published online in the journal Current Biology.

Source: Carl Nierenberg, http://www.today.com/moms/carry-study-finds-its-good-

Your Baby

40% of Parents Start Baby on Solid Foods Too Early

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When should babies be introduced to solid foods? Many physician groups and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend waiting till your infant is at least 6 months old before solid foods are introduced into his or her diet.

But a new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reports that 4 in 10 parents start feeding their babies solid foods before their four-month birthday.

Why should parents wait? According to the AAP, it’s partly because early solid foods have been linked to obesity and other chronic conditions. Public health experts also agree that a mother’s breast milk or nutritionally fortified formula is best fed exclusively till the baby is about 6 months old.

"Introducing solid foods early means that the baby gets less breast milk over the course of their infancy, and that decreases the ability to get optimal benefits, like protection against infection," said Dr. Alice Kuo, from the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities.

Choking on solid foods is another concern experts have noted.

"Infants should be able to sit up (and) take food off the spoon," said the CDC's Kelley Scanlon, who worked on the research." Sometimes if they're not ready, if they get presented with the food, they might not open their mouth… or they might spit it back up."

The team’s research included 1,334 new moms who filled out questionnaires each month about what their baby had eaten in the past week. The surveys were conducted between 2005 and 2007, when AAP recommendations called for starting solid foods no earlier than four months of age. Just over 40 percent of parents reported their babies were eating solids, such as cereals and purees, before that point.

Why were the mothers feeding solid foods so early? They gave several answers. They thought their baby was old enough, their infant seemed hungry – even after being breastfed or given a bottle, and surprisingly many reported that their doctor or nurse had recommended they start introducing solid foods.

"There's not clear communication of the recommendations or the potential health impacts of early introduction," Scanlon told Reuters Health.

9% said they had actually introduced baby solid food before their child was one-month old according to findings published in the journal Pediatrics.

Women who reported exclusive breastfeeding during their baby's first couple of months were less likely to introduce solid foods earlier than recommended compared to formula-feeding mothers, the CDC researchers found.

Mayoclinic.com says that between 4 and 6 months old, babies begin to develop the coordination needed to close their lips around a spoon as well as move solid foods from the back of the their mouths for swallowing.

Starting solid food too early can:

- Pose a risk of aspiration — or sucking food into the airway — since most babies don't have the oral motor skills to safely swallow foods before age 4 months.

- Cause a baby to get too much or not enough calories or nutrients.

- Increase a baby's risk of obesity.

Kuo said the new findings are further evidence that pediatricians should tailor their messages about breastfeeding and solid foods to each particular parent and child - rather than always giving "the same spiel" about introducing solids at the four-month visit.

"The decision to start solid foods in babies has to be a compromise between what makes sense for the baby and what makes sense for the mom, who most likely is working," she said.

And what about the old wives tale of feeding a little solid food at night will help baby sleep better? Research has shown that it doesn't.

Genevra Pittman, http://news.yahoo.com/many-parents-introduce-solids-4-months-cdc-195553198.html

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/starting-solids/AN02145

Your Baby

Recall: Infant Video Monitor Rechargeable Batteries

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In cooperation with the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Summer Infant, Inc. announced a voluntary recall to replace certain rechargeable batteries in baby video monitors due to overheating and burn hazards.

The recall involves about 800,000 rechargeable batteries in certain Summer Infant handheld color video monitors. The rechargeable batteries in the monitors are about 1 ½” tall by 2 ¼” wide and are ¼” thick, black, and are marked with TCL on the lower right corner of the battery. 

Monitors are sold with a matching camera and A/C adaptors. The rechargeable battery can only be found in the monitor. Batteries that may be affected will include a letter & number combination in the beginning of the serial number on the back of the battery.

The battery in certain handheld video monitors can overheat and rupture, posing a burn hazard to consumers.

Summer Infant has received 22 reports of overheated batteries and ruptured batteries, including incidents of smoke and minor property damage.

Consumers should stop using this product and remove the battery. You can complete the online form to receive a replacement battery.  The monitor can continue to be used on AC power with power cord.

The product was sold at mass merchants, online retailers and independent juvenile specialty stores from about February 2010 through 2012 for approximately $149-$349.

Consumers can go online at www.summerinfant.com/alerts/batterty-recall to fill out a replacement battery form and for instructions on how to replace the battery. There is also a link where you can view the recalled batteries, battery numbers and the monitors that are affected.

Source: http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2014/Summer-Infant-Expands-Recall-to-Replace-Video-Monitor-Rechargeable-Batteries/

Summer Infant battery recall

Your Baby

Do Helmets Correct “Flat Head” Syndrome?

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The good news is that more parents are placing their babies are their back to sleep therefore reducing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).  The risk of SIDS is much higher for babies who sleep on their side or stomach. These positions can put your baby’s face directly into the mattress or sleeping area causing them to suffocate.

One side effect from following this important habit for baby’s safety, is that the number of babies with what’s known as "flat head" syndrome has increased. 

One controversial treatment for treating flat head syndrome has been for the baby to wear a specially constructed helmet. These helmets are typically expensive.

A new study has looked at whether the helmets are actually effective and determined that they are about as good as letting the baby’s head naturally reshape. 

Researchers in the Netherlands looked at 84 babies who had moderate to severe flattening of the head. Starting when they were 6 months old, half of the babies wore a custom-made, rigid, closely fitting helmet for 23 hours a day over six months. The others received no treatment.

By the time the children were 2 years old, there was no significant difference in the degree of improvement in head shape between the two groups, nor in the number of them who made a full recovery to normal head shape -- 25.6 percent of those who wore helmets and 22.5 percent of those who did not, according to a journal news release.

Babies who wore the helmets also experienced side effects such as skin irritation (96%), an unpleasant smell (76%) and pain (33%). Cuddling with the baby was noted as being more difficult as well.

When the children reached 2 years of age, parents in both groups reported that they were generally satisfied with the shape of their child's head. Among parents whose babies wore helmets, the average satisfaction score was 4.6 out of 5, and among those whose babies had not received the treatment the score was 4.4 out of 5, the study found.

"Based on the effectiveness of helmet therapy, and the high prevalence of side effects and high costs, we discourage the use of a helmet as a standard treatment for healthy infants with moderate to severe skull deformation," concluded researcher Renske van Wijk, at the University of Twente, in Enschede, and colleagues.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that the majority of flat head syndrome cases can be treated with physical therapy and other noninvasive measures.

The study was published in the online edition of BMJ.

If your baby’s head has become misshapen from lying on his or her back, talk with your family doctor or pediatrician about what therapies might be helpful as your little grows out of the infant stage.

It’s still very important to make sure your infant sleeps on his or her back.

Source: Robert Preidt, http://www.webmd.com/children/news/20140502/helmets-not-helpful-for-babies-with-flat-head-syndrome-study

Your Baby

Similac Baby Formula Recall

Abbott Laboratories, manufacturers of Similac baby formula recalls up to 5 million powdered products for insect contamination. The makers of Similac baby formula, is voluntarily recalling several products due to insect contamination.

Abbott Laboratories is recalling their powdered baby formula sue to the possibility of small insect parts and beetle larvae. The beetles were found in the production area of one of Abbott’s manufacturing facilities that makes Similac. There is currently no reported immediate healthy risk to infants drinking Similac baby formula.  Parents should look for any gastrointestinal symptoms such as refusal to eat or stomach aches as possible symptoms of ingesting the recalled formula. The Similac recall includes the following products:

  • -all lots of Similac formula powder product lines offered in plastic containers, including 1.38-lb, 1.45-lb and 2.12-lb containers
  • -Similac Sensitive Isomil Soy - 12.4-oz cans - only lots numbers containing RB
  • -Similac Advance - 12.4-oz cans - only lots numbers containing RB
  • -certain lots of Similac formula powder product lines offered in sizes such as 8-ounce, 12.4-ounce and 12.9-ounce cans
  • -Similac formula powder in 8-ounce sample cans that could have been given out in doctor's offices and hospitals

The Similac recall does not affect the ready-to-feed or concentrated baby formula or specialty Similac formulas. Check out the recalled brands at www.similac.com/recall for all brands and lot numbers or you may call Abbott’s consumer hotline 800-986-8850.

Your Baby

Can Babies Learn Nursery Rhymes in Utero?

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Can a fetus learn from experience before he or she is even born? Absolutely, says an interesting new study.

Researchers from the University of Florida say that they began their study with 32 women who were in the 28th week of pregnancy. They had them repeat the verse of a nursery rhyme, twice daily to their babies, between weeks 29 and 34 of their pregnancy.

Four weeks later, the moms were brought back into the lab to determine whether the rhyme had been learned.

The problem was how to test the fetuses to see if they actually were learning the verse. While tricky to figure out, the scientists came up with a simple solution.  As it turns out studies have shown that a late term fetus’s heart rate will slow down when something familiar is heard.

During the testing, the moms listened to Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” with headphones so they couldn’t hear what was being said. During that time, a stranger recited the same nursery rhyme that the mothers had repeatedly spoken to their babies.

The researchers found that when the babies heard the stranger’s voice recite the nursery rhyme their moms had recited, their heart rate slowed down. But, when they heard the stranger’s voice recite a different rhyme, their heart rate remained the same.

“We were basically asking the fetus, if your mother says this repeatedly, will you remember it?” said the study’s lead author, Charlene Krueger, an associate professor in nursing at the University of Florida. “As a take away message I would want mothers to understand is that their speech is very important to the developing fetus. When a mother speaks, not only does the fetus hear, but also the whole spine vibrates.”

Speech isn’t the only thing that babies absorb while in the womb. Studies have shown that around the 20th week of pregnancy the sensory systems for taste and smell have developed. That allows the baby to experience some of mom’s favorite foods as nutrients pass into the womb.

An earlier study by Dr. Christine Moon, an affiliate associate professor in the department of speech and hearing sciences at the University of Washington and a professor of psychology at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, may show that Kruger’s pre-term research is on the right path.

Moon’s study showed that when healthy one- hour- old infants heard recordings of their mother’s voice, they began to suck faster on a pacifier than babies who heard a recording of a stranger.

Krueger’s study is pushing the envelope as far as when babies actually begin to learn, but the results may suggest that they are capable of acquiring recognition much earlier than originally thought.

While interesting, this type of research is still very much in its infancy.

The study was published in the journal Infant Behavior and Development.

Source: Linda Carroll, http://www.today.com/parents/fetuses-can-learn-nursery-rhymes-moms-voice-study-finds-1D79962083

Your Baby

Oeuf Recalls 14,000 Sparrow Baby Cribs

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The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is recalling 14,000 Oeuf Sparrow cribs.  The slats/spindles and top rail can detach from the cribs and pose an entrapment hazard to a child.

The recall includes four models of Oeuf Sparrow cribs. The cribs were sold in the colors birch, grey, walnut and white.

The recalled cribs were manufactured between July 2007 and January 2014 and have one of the following model numbers:

  • 1SPCR
  • 2SPCR
  • 4SPCR
  • 5SPCR

The manufacture date, in the MM-YYYY format, and the model number are located on the warning label attached to the crib's mattress support.

Oeuf received four reports of the slats/spindles and the top rail detaching from the crib. No injuries were reported.

As with all recalled products, consumers should immediately stop using the cribs and contact Oeuf to receive a free repair kit.

Information on obtaining a repair kit and instructions are available on the Oeuf website at www.oeufnyc.com, and also by calling the Oeuf toll-free number at (844) 653-8527 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.

The cribs were sold at independent juvenile specialty stores nationwide and online for about $800.

Source:http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2014/Oeuf-Recalls-to-Repair-Cribs/#remedy

Sparrow crib recall

Sparrow crib model number

Your Baby

Graco Agrees to Infant Car Seat Recall

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Graco Children’s Products has been in a battle with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTSHA) over the recall of its infant seats. In February, the company recalled 4.2 million toddler seats because the harness buckles could stick and be difficult to unlock. The NTSHA also wanted Graco to recall its infants seats because its buckles could get gummed up. The stuck buckles could make it hard to remove infants quickly, particularly in an emergency situation such as a car fire or car wreck.

Graco argued that infant seats are used differently, and in an emergency, an adult can remove the whole seat rather than using the buckle. However, parents had filed complaints with the agency and the company about the stuck buckles.

When Graco announced the initial recall in February, NHTSA sent the company a sternly worded letter questioning why the infant seats weren't included.  The letter also accused the company of soft-pedaling the recall with "incomplete and misleading" documents that will be seen by consumers. The agency threatened civil penalties.

But Graco, a division of Atlanta-based Newell Rubbermaid Inc., told The Associated Press at the time that rear-facing infant seats weren't being recalled because infants don't get food or drinks on their seats.

So, the battle was on with Graco hoping to avoid the largest seat recall in history. 

All that changed this week. Graco has announced that it will comply with the NTSHA’s demands and is now recalling the additional 1.9 million infant car seats.

Graco has agreed to send replacement buckles to owners of infant seats upon request.

In a June 27 letter to NHTSA, however, Graco said that further investigation showed a "higher than typical level of difficulty" in unlatching the infant seat buckles.

The company says there have been no injuries reported because of the problem. Spokeswoman Ashley Mowrey said in a statement that Tuesday's move, which brings the recall to 6.1 million seats, comes after months of sharing data and research with NHTSA. The company said the recall "is in the best interest of consumers and underscores our shared commitment to child passenger safety."

The infant-seat models covered by the recall include:

  • SnugRide,
  • SnugRide Classic Connect (including Classic Connect 30 and 35)
  • SnugRide 30
  • SnugRide 35
  • SnugRide Click Connect 40
  • Aprica A30

Graco will replace the buckles for free. The company says owners can check to see if their seats are included by going to www.GracoBuckleRecall.com or by calling (877) 766-7470.

USA Today reports that only 10 percent of people respond to child products safety recalls.  "The return rate of recalls is really abysmal," says Nancy Cowles, Kids In Danger’s executive director. "The government makes announcements, but people don't hear about them or don't respond."

The Kid’s Dr. has been following and reporting on the recall of Graco products because of the possibly dangerous situations that are associated with these toddler and infant products.

If you own a Graco toddler car seat or infant seat, be sure and check the model numbers to see if it is one of the recalled products. You’ll be glad you did.

Sources: Tom Krishner, http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory/graco-agrees-recall-infant-seats-24383544

Alicia McElhaney, http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2014/02/18/child-safety-recall-effectiveness-report/5425555/

Your Baby

Infant Antibiotic Use and Asthma

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Antibiotics are a common treatment for bacterial infections in children and adults however; some infants who receive antibiotics in their first year of life may be twice as likely to develop asthma, as they grow older.

The drugs themselves may not be the culprits though.

A child’s impaired immune system and genetic variations could explain why some kids face a higher likelihood of developing asthma.

The study, reported online May 15 in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, also didn't find any link between early use of antibiotics and development of allergic diseases.

The study’s authors noted that this contradicts a theory that antibiotics increase the risks of allergic asthma by disrupting a child’s immune system.

Antibiotics are often given to children for ear and respiratory infections. While the study found an association between infants who receive antibiotic treatment and asthma later in life, it was not designed to prove an actual cause and effect link.

In the new study, British researchers analyzed statistics from a study that tracked more than 1,000 children from birth to 11 years of age.

Information on antibiotic prescription, wheeze and asthma exacerbations were taken from medical records. Skin reaction tests that show whether a child is hypersensitive to allergens were done at ages 3, 5, 8, and 11 years. 

At age 11, blood was collected from children who had received at least one course of antibiotics or no antibiotics in the first year of life to compare their immune-system cell response to viruses and bacteria. Genetic testing was also done to look at the links between common genetic variations on chromosome 17, known as 17q21, and antibiotic prescription.

The study’s findings are believed to be the first to show that children with wheezing who were treated with an antibiotic in the first year of life were more than twice as likely as untreated children to experience severe wheeze or asthma exacerbations and be hospitalized for asthma. 

"We speculate that hidden factors which increase the likelihood of both antibiotic prescription in early life and subsequent asthma are an increased susceptibility to viral infections due to impaired antiviral immunity and genetic variants," lead author Adnan Custovic, of the University of Manchester, said in a journal news release.

"However, further studies will be needed to confirm that the impaired immunity was present at the time of the early childhood respiratory symptoms and predated antibiotic prescribing rather than as a consequence of the antibiotics," Custovic added.

The study was published in the journal The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

Source: Randy Dotinga, http://www.webmd.com/asthma/news/20140515/study-probes-link-between-early-antibiotic-use-asthma

http://www.manchester.ac.uk/discover/news/article/?id=12094

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