Your Baby

From Breast to Bottle; An Adventure

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Ah yes, I remember breastfeeding my baby.

As a young and somewhat naïve mother, it was like stepping onto foreign soil. A place I’d never visited before.

For me, the most unexpected part of this ancient ritual was how painful it was at first.  I’d heard about the bonding it would bring, the day and night hours required and how if I ate certain foods before feeding, my baby could end up with a bad bout of gas.

However, no one mentioned that it was going to hurt like crazy until my nipples “toughened up,” (as my doctor was fond of saying) or how my breasts would become milk waterfalls cascading through my blouse while grocery shopping. Eventually, I got the hang of it and it began to feel like a natural extension of being a mom.

When it came time to transition to bottle-feeding, I actually felt a little sad about letting go of what had become a special time with my baby girl. Her fuzzy little head resting against my breast and her curious eyes watching my every expression as she ate.  We had a lot of one-sided conversations with me telling her about my day and her sucking, burping and falling asleep.

Alas though, one cannot breastfeed forever. So I began again with learning how to keep my baby well nourished while trying to figure out how much formula to give her and how to warm a bottle without scalding us both.

I breastfed for about 5 months – give or take a few weeks. Making the changeover left me feeling a little guilty. My little one seemed to really dislike the replacement bottle, so we did it in stages. I also added breast milk to the bottle at first so she would recognize the taste. It was not a smooth transition.

We ultimately came to an agreement that she would drink from the bottle if I would rock her and sing to her and make funny faces. Another caveat was we’d have to do it in short spurts of time – she would refuse-then accept, refuse-accept. I think it was so that she could feel like she had a little control over the whole unsettling situation. Agreed.

Shortly after we started working on the bottle arrangement, my pediatrician suggested that adding small amounts of solid foods to her diet might also be helpful in weaning her off the breasts.

My first response to this perfectly sane idea was... “What real foods? Biscuits and gravy? Scrambled eggs and toast? Shouldn’t I put these foods in a blender or something? I don’t think she can eat them straight-up.”

“Uh, no” she responded calmly. “Let’s start with a small amount of baby cereal.”

And so, a new tradition began. Here’s how it went.

Make a little baby cereal. Put it on a tiny little spoon and attempt to delicately get it in her tightly shut mouth.

Taste the baby cereal (to make sure it is not too hot, not too cold.)

Stir cereal and try again to get the itty-bitty spoon into her itty-bitty securely shut mouth.

Lead by example.

“Watch mommy. This is really good cereal. Mmmm – I think this is the best cereal I’ve ever eaten.” Actually it’s not bad.

Stick finger in cereal and rub on baby’s squeezed tight-as-a drum, never to be opened mouth.

Switch to a much larger spoon and start scooping.

“You’re missing out on some amazing cereal, sweetie. Yum, yum, yum.”

Repeat as necessary.

“Oh look… it’s all gone. Good job!”

It took awhile to finally make the switch from breast to bottle. It was quite an experience for both of us. Two important goals were eventually accomplished; my sweet baby survived and flourished and my breasts’ finally quit hurting.

If you’re breastfeeding, someday you’ll introduce a bottle, sippy-cup or spoon to your child. Expect a battle, it’s ok. Keep a grip on patience and humor. You’ll need them both.

Warm compresses can ease the discomfort of sore breasts and gradually nursing or pumping less will signal your body to stop producing copious amounts of milk.

I’d recommend keeping a small towel in your purse (speaking from experience.) You might also want to stash an extra shirt in the car – and a bra -just sayin.

And you know what? You can ask for help. Have daddy or grandparents, other family members or good friends hold the bottle and make funny faces. Sometimes it actually helps to have someone without your familiar breasts, smell and voice take part in introducing the bottle to your baby.

Every mother who has breastfed has her own stories to tell when it came time to wean her infant. You’ll have yours and most likely you’ll smile and say softly – Ah yes, I remember breastfeeding (and baby cereal). 

Your Baby

Should Women Eat Fish While Pregnant?

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Fish are high in several beneficial nutrients, including some that are related to healthy brain development. But several organizations, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), recommend that women who are pregnant limit the amount of fish they eat.

The reason is that most fish and shellfish contain low-levels of methylmercury.

Almost all people have at least trace amounts of methylmercury in their tissues, reflecting the organic compound’s widespread presence in the environment. Fetuses, infants and children are the most vulnerable to the possible adverse effects of mercury exposure.

One of the major concerns of the medical community and mothers-to-be is the possibility of a link between eating fish that contains mercury, and their child developing autism.  

A new study addresses that concern and says that children exposed to low levels of mercury in the womb because their mothers ate large amounts of fish, don’t appear to be at an increased risk for autism.

The new findings from more than 30 years of research in the Republic of Seychelles -- a group of islands in the western Indian Ocean -- found no such link, the study authors said.

"This study shows no evidence of a correlation between low level mercury exposure and autism spectrum-like behaviors among children whose mothers ate, on average, up to 12 meals of fish each week during pregnancy," study lead author Edwin van Wijngaarden, associate professor in the public health sciences department at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, said in a medical center news release.

"These findings contribute to the growing body of literature that suggest that exposure to the chemical does not play an important role in the onset of these behaviors," he added.

One autism expert added a note of caution, however.

"The study found no link between high mercury levels and later autism spectrum disorder behaviors. However, this should not be taken to mean that high levels of mercury are safe to ingest," said Alycia Hallday, senior director of environmental and clinical science at the advocacy group Autism Speaks.

"Other studies comparing this [Seychelles] cohort to those in other parts of the world indicate that this cohort may be spared from many adverse effects because it is consumed with nutrient-rich ocean fish," she explained.

For the study, the researchers initially determined the level of prenatal mercury exposure by analyzing the mothers' hair samples. Then the researchers used two questionnaires -- one given to parents, the other to the children's teachers -- to see if the children showed signs of autism spectrum-like behaviors. The tests included questions on language skills, communication skills and repetitive behaviors. While the tests don't give a definitive diagnosis, they are used widely in the United States as an initial screening tool and may indicate the need for additional testing, the researchers said.

The study also noted the concerns of and limitations recommended by the FDA and other organizations.

"This study shows no consistent association in children with mothers with mercury levels that were six to 10 times higher than those found in the U.S. and Europe. This is a sentinel population and if (the association between low-level mercury exposure and autism) does not exist here than it probably does not exist," Philip Davidson, principal investigator of the Seychelles Child Development Study and professor emeritus in pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center, said in the news release.

The finding lends support to an emerging belief that the good may outweigh the possible bad when it comes to eating fish during pregnancy. Specifically, if the mercury did not harm brain development at the levels of exposure experienced by the children in this study, then the benefits of the nutrients in fish may counteract or surpass the potential negative effects of mercury, the study authors said.

So, which fish have “low” or “high” mercury content? The American Pregnancy Association provides this list on their website.

Highest Mercury

AVOID

  • Marlin
  • Orange roughy
  • Tilefish
  • Swordfish
  • Shark
  • Mackerel (king)
  • Tuna (bigeye, Ahi)

High Mercury

Eat no more than three 6-oz servings per month

  • Sea Bass (Chilean)
  • Bluefish
  • Grouper
  • Mackerel (Spanish, Gulf)
  • Tuna (canned, white albacore) See tuna chart below
  • Tuna (Yellow fin)

Lower Mercury

Eat no more than six 6-oz servings per month

  • Bass (Striped, Black)
  • Carp
  • Cod (Alaskan)
  • Croaker (White Pacific)
  • Halibut ( Pacific and Atlantic) Jacksmelt ( Silverside)
  • Lobster
  • Mahi Mahi
  • Monkfish
  • Perch (freshwater)
  • Sablefish
  • Skate
  • Snapper
  • Sea Trout (Weakfish)
  • Tuna (canned, chunk light)
  • Tuna (Skipjack)

Lowest Mercury

Enjoy two 6-oz servings per week

  • Anchovies
  • Butterfish
  • Catfish
  • Clam
  • Crab (Domestic)
  • Crawfish/crayfish
  • Croaker
  • Flounder
  • Haddock
  • Hake
  • Herring
  • Mackerel (N Atlantic, Chub)
  • Mullet
  • Oysters
  • Perch (ocean)
  • Plaice
  • Salmon (Canned, Fresh)
  • Sardines
  • Scallops
  • Shad (American)
  • Shrimp
  • Sole
  • Squid (Calamari)
  • Tilapia
  • Trout (freshwater)
  • Whitefish
  • Whiting

The study was published online July 23 in the journal Epidemiology

Sources: http://consumer.healthday.com/pregnancy-information-29/pregnancy-news-543/breaking-brief-7-23-mercury-autism-epidemiology-urmc-release-678533.html

http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/fishmercury.htm

http://www.epa.gov/hg/effects.htm

Your Baby

Evenflo Recalls 1.3 Million Child Seat Buckles

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Evenflo Company Inc. is voluntarily recalling 1.3 million convertible car seats and harnessed booster seats due to the risk that during an emergency a child may not be able to be removed quickly.

The buckles on the car seats and booster seats may become stuck in the locked position. The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) said the buckles used in the recall models were manufactured between 2011 and 2014.

Evenflo’s website states that “These select models use a harness crotch buckle which may become resistant to unlatching over time, due to exposure to various contaminants (like food and drinks) that are present in everyday use of the convertible car seat or harnessed booster by toddlers. This condition may make it difficult to remove a child from the vehicle. There is no such risk if the buckle is functioning normally. These convertible car seats and harnessed boosters meet all requirements for crashworthiness under the federal FMVSS 213 safety standard and can continue to be used to transport your child safely, if you are not experiencing difficulty unlatching the buckle. Importantly, Evenflo has received no reports of injuries to children in connection with the use of this buckle on the seats that are subject to this recall.”

The recall models include:  

  • Momentum – Model number prefix- 385
  • Chase - Model number prefix- 306, 329
  • Maestro – Model number prefix- 310
  • Symphony - Model number prefix-345, 346
  • Snugli All in One - Model number prefix- 345, 346
  • Titan - Model number prefix- 371
  • SureRide - Model number prefix- 371
  • Secure Kid & Snugli Booster - Model number prefix- 308

Evenflo is providing consumers a remedy kit, free-of-charge that includes a replacement buckle and instructions for installing the new buckle. The remedy kit is available by placing an order with Evenflo on their website at www.buckle.evenflo.com, or calling 1-800-490-7591.

Evenflo requests that consumers not return the convertible car seats or harnessed boosters to retailers.

The website also contains a link for instructions on cleaning the buckles.

The NHTSA is also investigating the safety of Evenflo’s rear-facing infant seats.

Source: http://www.mbtmag.com/news/2014/04/evenflo-recalling-13m-child-seat-buckles

http://safety.evenflo.com/cs/sc/cssc99_RD.phtml?rid=EFR36&src=WEB

Your Baby

No Link Between Vaccines and Autism

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A new study slated to appear in the Journal of Pediatrics, says that there is no association between the amount of vaccines a young child receives and autism. Some parents have worried that there may be a link and have opted out of having their child vaccinated or reduced the number of vaccines recommended.

The percentage of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has increased by 72% since 2007. Some experts believe that changes in the diagnostic criteria may account for some of the increase as well as better screening tools and rating scales.

According to a statement released from the journal, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Abt Associates analyzed data from children with and without ASD.

Researchers examined each child's cumulative exposure to antigens, the substances in vaccines that cause the body's immune system to produce antibodies to fight disease, and the maximum number of antigens each child received in a single day of vaccination, the journal's statement said.

The antigen totals were the same for children with and without ASD, researchers found.

Scientists believe genetics play a fundamental role in the risk for a child developing autism (80-90%), but recent studies also suggests that the father’s age at the time of conception may also be a contributor by increasing risks for genetic mistakes in the sperm that could be passed along to offspring.

Parents have worried about a link between vaccines and autism for decades despite the growing body of scientific evidence disproving such an association.

Source: Luciana Lopez, http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/29/us-usa-health-autism-idUSBRE92S0GO20130329

Your Baby

Recall: 600,000 Angelcare Baby Monitors After Two Deaths

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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in cooperation with Angelcare Monitors Inc.®, of Quebec, Canada, is announcing a voluntary recall to provide cord covers for 600,000 Angelcare Movement and Sound Monitors with Sensor Pads. The cord attached to the baby monitor’s sensor pad is placed under the crib mattress, which poses a strangulation risk if the child pulls the cord into the crib and it becomes wrapped around the neck. 

Angelcare and CPSC have received reports of two infant cord strangulation deaths. In November 2011, a 13-month-old female died in San Diego, California, and, in August 2004, an 8-month-old female died in Salem, Oregon.  In both fatalities, the infant pulled the cord from the sensor pads, into the crib. In addition, there have been two reports of infants who became entangled in cords of Angelcare baby monitor models, which did not result in fatalities. In these incidents, it could not be determined if the “sensor pad cord” or the “monitor cord” was involved in the incident. 

The recall involves the Movement and Sound Monitor manufactured by Angelcare. This design of baby monitor includes a unique sensor pad placed inside the crib, under the mattress, to monitor movement of the baby.  An electrical cord about 11 feet long is permanently connected from the sensor pad to the nursery monitor unit. A cord within reach of a baby inside the crib creates the hazard. The cord can be pulled into the crib and can wrap around the child’s neck. The recall involves ALL versions of Angelcare sensor monitors including model numbers that did not include rigid cord covers offered in the remedy, such as:

  • AC1100
  • AC201
  • AC300
  • AC401
  • AC601
  • 49255

To find the model number, look on the back of the nursery monitor unit. The monitors were manufactured between 1999 and 2013. 

Angelcare is providing consumers with a repair kit that includes rigid protective cord covers through which the sensor pad cords can be threaded, a new, permanent electric cord-warning label about the strangulation risk, and revised instructions. 

The recalled baby monitors were sold at Babies R Us/Toys R Us, Burlington Coat Factory, Meijer, Sears, Walmart, Amazon.com, Target.com, Overstock.com, and nearly 70 small baby specialty stores, from October 1999 through September 2013 for about $100to $300. 

Consumers should immediately make sure cords are placed out of reach of the child and contact Angelcare toll-free at (855) 355-2643 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm's website at www.angelcarebaby.com to order the free repair kit.

Source: http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2014/Angelcare-Recalls-to-Repair-Movement-and-Sound-Baby-Monitors-After-Two-Deaths/

 Angelcare Movement and Sound Baby Monitor

A hand holds the cord that can be pulled into the crib.

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

Kids II Recalls Baby Einstein Activity Jumpers

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Baby Einstein Musical Motion Activity Jumpers are being recalled due to impact hazard, the sun toy can snap.

About 400,000 units in the U.S. have been sold and 8,500 in Canada.

Description: This recall includes Baby Einstein Musical Motion Activity Jumpers with model number 90564. The model number can be found on a tag attached to the underside of the seat. These stationary activity centers have a support seat covered in blue fabric attached to a large white metal frame and include a variety of brightly colored toys surrounding the seat. The yellow sun toy is attached to the seat frame on a flexible stalk with either three or five brightly colored rings. A date code is located in the lower right corner of the sewn in label on the back of the blue seat pad. The following date codes, indicating a manufacture date prior to November 2011, are included in the recall: OD0, OE0, OF0, OG0, OH0, OI0, OJ0, OK0, OL0, OA1, OB1, OC1, OD1, OE1, OF1, OG1, OH1, OI1, OJ1 and OK1.

Incidents/Injuries: The firm has received 100 reports of incidents including 61 injuries. Reported injuries include bruises, lacerations to the face, a 7-month-old boy who sustained a lineal skull fracture and a chipped tooth to an adult.

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the product and contact Kids II for a replacement toy attachment.

Sold at: Target, Toys R Us and other retails stores nationwide and online at Amazon.com between May 2010 and May 2013 for about $90.

Importer: Kids II Inc., of Atlanta, Ga.

For more information on this recall you can go to; http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2013/Kids-II-Recalls-Baby-Einstein-Activity-Jumpers or

Consumer Contact: Kids II toll-free at (877) 325-7056 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or online at www.kidsii.com, then click on the Recall link at the bottom of the page for more information.

Kids II Recalls Baby Einstein Activity Jumpers

Your Baby

Walmart Recalls Baby Dolls Due to Burn Hazards

1.45 to read

Twelve children have suffered incidents, including two reports of burns or blisters from “The My Sweet Love” and “My Sweet Baby” dolls sold nationwide at Walmart stores and online.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced that Walmart is now recalling these dolls. Consumers should immediately take the dolls from children, remove the batteries and return the doll to any Walmart store for a full refund.

The circuit in the chest of the doll can overheat, causing the surface of the doll to get hot, posing a burn hazard to the consumer.

The My Sweet Love / My Sweet Baby electronic baby doll comes in pink floral clothing and matching knit hat. The 16-inch doll is packaged with a toy medical check-up kit including a stethoscope, feeding spoon, thermometer and syringe. The doll’s electronics cause her to babble when she gets “sick,” her cheeks turn red and she starts coughing. Using the medical kit pieces cause the symptoms to stop. “My Sweet Baby” is printed on the front of the clear plastic and cardboard packaging.

The doll is identified by UPC 6-04576-16800-5 and a date code that begins with WM. The date code is printed on the stuffed article label sewn into the bottom of the doll.

Walmart has received 12 reports of incidents, including two reports of burns or blisters to the thumb.

About 174,000 dolls are being recalled and were sold from August 2012 through March 2014 for $20.00.

Consumers can contact Walmart Stores at (800) 925-6278 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. CT on Saturday, and from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. CT on Sunday, or online at www.walmart.com and click on Product Recalls for more information.

Source: http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2014/Wal-Mart-Recalls-Dolls/#remedy

Walmart Doll Recall

Your Baby

40% of Parents Start Baby on Solid Foods Too Early

2.00 to read

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

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