Your Baby

Recall: 300,000 Playtex “Hip Hammock” infant carriers

1:45 to read

Moms naturally tend to carry their little ones on their hips when they are out and about. So, it was only a matter of time till someone devised a way to make toting baby around a little easier.  Hence, the infant hip hammock was born– a great idea as long as it is safe. With such a precious cargo depending on the strength and stability of such a sling, you want to make sure that your baby stays locked in close.

Playtex is recalling over 300,000 of their popular Hip Hammock infant carriers due to faulty buckles on the waist and shoulder straps that can crack or break, causing a baby to fall.

The Playtex Hip Hammock is an infant carrier designed to strap the baby against the caregiver’s body at the hip.  It is made of a soft, quilted fabric and intended for babies that are from 15 to 35 pounds.  The child seat is attached with straps that wrap around the carrier’s hips and shoulder. “Playtex Hip Hammock” is printed on a label sewn into the front of the carrier.  All model numbers are being recalled.  Model numbers 05300, 05301, 05302, 05306, 05307 and 05308 are sewn into the inside panel below the instructions for use. They come in basic and deluxe styles. The hip hammock’s fabric is suede or ultra-suede in black or navy colors on the outside, and the inside lining is black, black and white check or burgundy.

Incidents/Injuries

Playtex has received 87 reports of the buckles cracking or breaking, including two reports of injuries, where one infant required emergency room treatment.

Remedy

Consumers should stop using the carrier and contact Playtex for instructions on how to return the product for a full refund.

Sold at

Burlington Coat Factory, Target, Walmart, juvenile product, baby and discount stores nationwide and online at Amazon.com from June 2004 through December 2008 and January 2010 in Canada for about $40 for the basic model and $60 for the deluxe model.  

Some of these infant hammocks are older models, so the danger now is for new parents that may receive one that is passed down, bought at a garage sale or second hand retail outlet. If you own one of these carriers check the model number to make sure it isn’t covered in the recall.

Consumers can contact www.playtexproducts.com and click on Recall for more information.  You can also call Playtex at (800) 522-8230 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.

Source: http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2014/Playtex-Recalls-Hip-Hammock-Infant-Carriers/#remedy

infant carrier

Your Baby

Half of U.S. Parents Using Unsafe Bedding for Infants

2:00

Parents are getting better about using loose bedding and leaving soft objects in their baby’s bed, but about half of U.S. infants are still sleeping with potentially hazardous bedding according to a new study.

Blankets, quilts and pillows can obstruct an infant’s airway and pose a suffocation risk according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).  This type of bedding is a recognized risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

The researchers investigated bedding use from 1993 to 2010 from the National Infant Sleep Position study.

They found that from 1993 to 2010, bedding use declined, but remained a common practice. The rate of bedding use averaged nearly 86 percent in 1993-1995, and declined to 55 percent in 2008-2010. Prevalence was highest for infants of teen mothers (83.5 percent) and lowest for infants born at term (55.6 percent). Researchers also found that bedding use was highest among infants who were sleeping in adult beds, placed to sleep on their sides, or shared a sleep surface.

AAP recommends that the best place for a baby to sleep is in the same room as his or her parents and always in a crib, not in the same bed. The crib should be free from toys, soft bedding, blankets, and pillows.

Other safe sleep practices are:

•       Place your baby on a firm mattress, covered by a fitted sheet that meets current safety standards. For more about crib safety standards, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Web site at http://www.cpsc.gov.

•       Place the crib in an area that is always smoke-free.

•       Don’t place babies to sleep on adult beds, chairs, sofas, waterbeds, pillows, or cushions.

•       Toys and other soft bedding, including fluffy blankets, comforters, pillows, stuffed animals, bumper pads, and wedges should not be placed in the crib with the baby. Loose bedding, such as sheets and blankets, should not be used as these items can impair the infant’s ability to breathe if they are close to his face. Sleep clothing, such as sleepers, sleep sacks, and wearable blankets are better alternatives to blankets.

•       Place babies to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS. Side sleeping is not as safe as back sleeping and is not advised. Babies sleep comfortably on their backs, and no special equipment or extra money is needed.

•       “Tummy time” is playtime when infants are awake and placed on their tummies while someone is watching them. Have tummy time to allow babies to develop normally.

•       Remove mobiles when your baby is able to sit up.

Study authors conclude that while the numbers have improved significantly, infants are still being put to bed in an unsafe sleeping environment; about half still sleep with blankets, quilts, pillows, and other hazardous items.

It’s not unusual that many parents may not be aware of the dangers of blankets, pillows and quilts in a baby’s bed. Lots of people were raised with all these items in the bed, but that was also before scientists began to understand SIDS better and the possible causes. True, many babies did fine before these alerts and safety suggestions became more popular but a lot of children also died – we just didn’t know why.  Parents today are able to access better infant safety information than their own parents.

The study, “Trends in Infant Bedding Use: National Infant Sleep Position Study 1993-2010” was published in the January issue of the journal Pediatrics.

Source: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/News/Pages/Study-Shows-One-Half-of-US-Infants-Sleep-in-Potentially-Hazardous-Bedding.aspx

Your Baby

Tips to Help Soothe Baby’s Eczema

2.00 to read

Wintertime is the worst time of the year for dry, itchy skin. The cold air outside and indoor heating suck all the moisture out of the air and out of your baby’s skin. Winter is when eczema tends to rear its ugly scales.

If your child is itching and scratching all the time and has patches of scaly skin then he or she may have eczema. All the scratching is truly heartbreaking when your little one can’t seem to stop even when it leads to bloody fingers and sores. Fortunately there are several eczema treatments that can offer relief for your baby.

A lot of people think that bathing a baby every day will actually cause the baby’s skin to be drier, but the opposite is true. Baths add moisture to dry skin and get rid of surface bacteria that can cause skin infections.

“It can be fun for baby, and it's good for bonding with the parents,” says Amy S. Paller, MD, professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. “It's a wonderful way to get hydration into the skin.”

The type of soap you use is important. Make sure that it is fragrance-free, mild or try a soap-less cleanser for sensitive skin. Bathe your baby for five to 10 minutes in tepid water, pat her dry to retain some moisture on her skin, then apply moisturizer.

Moisturize your baby’s skin as least twice a day.  Dry skin can make eczema worse and bring out more inflammation, says Lawrence F. Eichenfield, MD, professor of pediatrics and dermatology at the University of California, San Diego. Moisturizing often helps break what he calls “the itch-scratch cycle.”

Creams and ointments are thicker than lotions and work better on your baby’s skin. If your doctor has prescribed an anti-itch cream, apply it before the moisturizer.

Different seasons require different types of moisturizers as well. A lighter cream is best in the summer and petroleum based ointments work best in the winter. Use caution when considering “natural” or organic products. Many of these products contain oil extracts and fragrance of flowers that some babies may be sensitive to. Check with your doctor about well-proven products that have been tested for sensitivities.

One particular bath that may sound too harsh but is actually very effective in treating eczema is the diluted-bleach bath. Nanette Silverberg, MD, director of pediatric dermatology at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City, suggests diluted bleach baths for babies over 6 months who have moderate or severe eczema. They’re especially helpful if your baby has crusting on the skin. Bleach helps remove staph bacteria -- a known eczema trigger -- without resorting to antibiotics. Talk to your pediatrician before giving your baby a bleach bath.

Use 1 teaspoon of bleach per 1 gallon of water or ¼ cup per full bathtub.

Many parents whose children have eczema put anti-scratch mittens on them, They can be very helpful in keeping babies from scratching, but not so much so for older babies and toddlers who can take them off. To reduce irritation, keep your child’s fingernails cut short and filed with an emery board, so they’re not sharp. If you notice your child scratching more than usual, take her to the doctor, who can prescribe anti-itch medicine.

Dress your baby in layers of soft, loose-fitting, breathable cotton to keep her skin comfortable. At night, however, it may help to swaddle your infant in a cotton blanket. Swaddling helps many babies sleep better.

Avoiding eczema triggers is key to helping your baby stay comfortable.

  • Fragrances. Products with fragrance can cause reactions. Use unscented products whenever possible.
  • Detergents. Ask your pediatric dermatologist to recommend a gentle, fragrance-free laundry detergent.
  • Rough fabrics. Consider your wardrobe, too -- change out of a wool sweater before cuddling your baby.
  • Saliva. Babies who drool when eating or sleeping can get rashes on their faces, because saliva can irritate sensitive skin. Put Vaseline on her cheeks before mealtime or naptime to create a barrier between the saliva and her skin.

The good news is that many children will grow out of their eczema when they reach their teens. At this time, eczema isn’t curable, but it can be managed and your baby can be more comfortable.

Source: Lisa Fields, http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/eczema/treatment-11/soothe-baby-eczema

Your Baby

Recall: Infant Video Monitor Rechargeable Batteries

2:00 to read

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

From Breast to Bottle; An Adventure

2:00 to read

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?

2.00 to read

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

Kids Left In Car Alert Devises Aren't Reliable

1:45 to read

It’s hot outside, but inside a car that's not running, it can be an oven. When the temperature is 88 degrees outside, a closed car will be 99 degrees in 10 minute. In 20 minutes it will be 117 degrees. During a typical Texas summer, it’s likely to be 100 degrees outside by noon.

Every summer children are left in hot cars and die. These are all preventable deaths.

Products designed to prevent parents and caregivers from accidentally leaving babies and toddlers in cars have become quite popular. But a review of 18 commercial devices, including systems integrated into a car, shows none works well enough to rely on.

“While these devices are very well-intended, none of them are a full or complete solution for making sure a parent never leaves a baby behind in a hot car,” David Strickland, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), told reporters.

NHTSA says 527 children have died of heat stroke after being left in cars since 1998, or about 38 every year. “In 2011, 33 such cases were reported,” NHTSA said in a statement, citing Jan Null of San Francisco State University, who tracks the reports.

“We aren’t only talking about the 98 degree day when you leave your child for eight hours while you are at work,” said Dr. Kristy Arbogast of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, who led the research. “This can happen very quickly.”

Arbogast and colleagues reviewed every product they could find: pads that sense if a child is in his or her car seat; devices that detect whether the seatbelt is buckled; chest clips that attach to the restraint; sensors that can tell if the back door was opened; and alarms that remind parents to check. They thoroughly tested three of the devices.

“The devices were inconsistent and unreliable in their performance,” they wrote in their report, commissioned by NHTSA and released on Monday.

“They often required adjusting of the position of the child within the child restraint, the distance to activation varied across trials and scenarios and they experienced continual synching/un-synching during use,” they added.

Sometimes a cell-phone interfered with the device, and spilled juice or milk could knock some out completely. “In sum, the devices require considerable effort from the parent/caregiver to ensure smooth operation and often that operation is not consistent,” Arbogast’s team concluded. “None directly address the root cause of the hot environment that led to the potential for heat stroke.”

Many relied on an alarm that was on the car’s key fob and that worried Arbogast. “What if my husband was taking the child and I forget to give him the key fob?” she asked.

“Most important, it should be noted that these devices which integrate into a child restraint would not be applicable in scenarios where the child is playing and gets locked in the vehicle (30 percent of fatalities) or in a scenario where the parent/caregiver intentionally leaves the child in the vehicle (17 percent of fatalities),” the report notes.

Parents have seen the reports of these tragedies and are looking for help to protect their child. “There has been a recent rise in demand for technologies to prevent these deaths by reminding the caregiver that the child is in the car, as about half of these children have inadvertently been forgotten,” the report reads.

Experts suggest that parents and caregivers “layer” their routine by adding steps to exiting the car. Put your purse or briefcase in the backseat as a reminder. You might even want to consider putting one shoe in the back seat, anything that will remind you to look at your child before you leave the car. 

Other suggestions parents or caregivers might want to try:

- Leave a large teddy bear in the front seat as a reminder.

- Setting an alarm on your cell phone to remind you to check for your child. Set it for about the time it usually takes to arrive where you are going.

- Having a routine with the child’s caregiver. “If it is well-established that when your child shows up in the morning, if they don’t show up within 10 minutes of that time the daycare provider calls you or sends a text,” Arbogast suggested.

Source: http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/07/30/13033698-devices-cant-save-ba...(direct)|utmccn=(direct)|utmcmd=(none)&__utmv=238145375.|8=Earned%20By=msnbc%7Chealth=1^12=Landing%20Content=Mixed=1^13=Landing%20Hostname=www.msnbc.msn.com=1^30=Visit%20Type%20to%20Content=Earned%20to%20Mixed=1&__utmk=69486035

Your Baby

Twitter Question from @GeenasMom

Jill writes:  Is it true that if a small child drinks too much milk it can deplete their body of iron?  I read that somewhere.

Dr. Sue says:  This true.  Too much milk can cause occult GI bleeding and loss of hemoglobin and subsequent anemia. While milk is great and wonderful for growing bones, you should limit a toddler’s intake to about 12 – 18 ounces per day. Thanks for the tweet!

Your Baby

A Kinder, Gentler C-Section Birth

2:00

When it comes to having a baby, whether a woman delivers vaginally or by cesarean section, the one thing they have in common is the desire parents have to hold their newborn.

Many women who have had a cesarean section will tell you that the surgical procedure left them feeling like they missed the pivotal moment in giving birth; the physical connection between mother and child.

Oftentimes, the baby is whisked away moments after birth leaving the mother without her newborn.

While C-sections have leveled off in the last couple of years, they are still up 500% since 1970. The reasons for cesarean delivery have changed dramatically from ancient to modern times.

The origins of the cesarean birth are somewhat clouded in mystery, but according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “… the initial purpose was essentially to retrieve the infant from a dead or dying mother; this was conducted either in the rather vain hope of saving the baby's life, or as commonly required by religious edicts, so the infant might be buried separately from the mother. Above all it was a measure of last resort, and the operation was not intended to preserve the mother's life. It was not until the nineteenth century that such a possibility really came within the grasp of the medical profession.”

These days C-sections are performed for a variety of reasons. In most cases, doctors perform cesarean sections when problems arise either for the mother or baby or both during birth. However, there are also times when possible health issues are known ahead of time and a C-section can be scheduled to prevent complications.

For the most part, the procedure hasn’t changed much since it began being used in modern times.

During a planned traditional C-section, the woman is given medications to dry the secretions in her mouth, her lower abdomen is washed with an antiseptic solution and possibly shaved. She is given an anesthetic and a screen is placed in front of her face to keep the surgical field sterile – blocking her view of the delivery. She may or may not be able to hold her baby immediately after birth.

A new approach to C-section deliveries may offer some families an option they never dreamed possible.

Doctors and nurses at the Center for Labor and Birth at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) have developed new procedures to make the C-section more family-centered. Dr. William Camann, Director of Obstetric Anesthesiology, explained that the goal of the family-centered cesarean, or “gentle-C,” is to make the delivery as natural as possible.

For example, Dr. Camann realized that by using both clear and solid sterile drapes, obstetricians could switch the solid drape for the clear one just before delivery and allow mom to see her baby being born.

“We also allow mom a free arm and place the EKG leads on her back so that she is able to hold, interact, and provide skin-to-skin contact with her baby in the moments following the birth,” said Camann, who teamed up with BWH registered nurse Kathy Trainor, to make this option available to patients and their families.

Skin-to-skin touch isn’t just an emotional fulfillment for the mother, research has shown that normal term newborns that are placed skin-to-skin with their mothers immediately after birth do better physically and psychologically as well.

“Allowing mom and baby to bond as quickly as possible after the delivery makes for a better transition for the baby, including better temperature and heart rate regulation, increased attachment and parental bonding and more successful rates of breast feeding,” Trainor said.

With the updated procedure, dads can also hold and touch their newborn. 

Camann acknowledges that changes in the traditional cesarean section require some readjusting from the hospital medical staff.

“It requires (doctors and nurses) to just think a little bit differently than the way they have usually done things,” Camann said. “Once they see this, they usually realize it’s really not that difficult.”

Nationwide, the procedure is starting to take hold as more hospitals begin offering the "gentle-C".

Camann says that the procedure isn’t recommended for every C-section birth. He also emphasizes that it’s not in any way meant to promote more C-sections.

 “We would all like to do fewer C-sections. But there are women who need a C-section for various medical reasons and if you do need a cesarean, we want to make this a better experience,” he said.

Sources: http://healthhub.brighamandwomens.org/the-gentle-cesarean-a-new-option-for-moms-to-be#sthash.hxehc5es.dvbG5DgD.dpbs

A. Pawlowski, http://www.today.com/parents/family-centered-gentle-c-section-turns-birth-surgery-labor-or-2D80542993

http://www.webmd.com/baby/features/what-to-expect-cesarean-delivery

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