Your Baby

Does Your Baby Need Water?

2.00 to read

Since most of the country is sweltering with summer heat and temperatures well into the upper 90’s and even over 100 degrees, I guess I can understand parents’ concerns about giving their babies water. It seemed like a strange question to me when I first started hearing, “Dr. Sue, how much water does my baby need to drink every day?”  I know I am continuing to talk about staying hydrated during the heat wave, but we are really talking about those children and adults who are spending time outdoors, especially when involved in physical activity.

I have actually been telling parents with newborns that there is really no reason to take that sweet new baby outside for any length of time. I think it is too hot to enjoy being outside, and an infant doesn’t miss going to the playground like a 2 or 3 year old would.

But, when you have young children you have to get out (or go crazy inside everyday), so everyone just suffers through the heat. Remember to take your sunscreen and fluids and head out for an hour or two, in the morning or later afternoon if at all possible. These children need lots of water breaks, as do their parents and caregivers.

So, back to the water and baby question. Infants in the first 6 months are getting fed breast milk or formula which is made up of free water, so therefore a baby is staying hydrated by eating every  2 -3 hours. A baby doesn’t “need” water every day for any particular reason.

With that being said, it does not mean that your baby cannot have a bottle of water. This is especially true for a breast fed infant whose mother may have run out for an hour but is coming back to breast feed.  But what if the baby awakens or gets hungry 30 min or so prior to mother getting home.  This might be a good time to “stall” by giving the baby a bottle of water, rather than formula. In this case it is fine to use tap water (yes bottled water is not necessary, unless you have a well or something) in a bottle and see if the baby will even take it. Most babies don’t just gulp down 8 ounces of water!

If you are out in the heat with an infant, just remember to feed them every 2 – 3 hours and make sure they have nice drool in their mouths and wet diapers. If you are concerned about hydration take along a bottle of water for both you and your baby. You will probably need it more than your baby!

That’s your daily dose for today.  We’ll chat again tomorrow.

Your Baby

Moms-to-be Need Folic Acid

1.45 to read

One of the best ways to have a healthy baby is to take good care of your own health.  Folic acid has been shown to help prevent certain birth defects, but now a new study suggests when a woman takes it in the first two months of pregnancy; her child may be less likely to have severe language delays.

Folic acid is a B vitamin (B9) found mostly in leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach, orange juice, and enriched grains.  It’s also available as a supplement.

American companies often add folic acid to their grains to help make sure that pregnant women are getting enough of the B vitamin.

“We don’t think people should change their behavior based on these findings,” said Dr. Ezra Susser from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York, who worked on the study.

“But it does add weight to the public health recommendation to take folic acid early in pregnancy,” he told Reuters Health.

And, he added, it shows that “what you do during pregnancy… is not only important for birth but also for subsequent development".

The study took place in Norway, where 40,000 women – a few months into their pregnancy- were surveyed on what supplements they were taking in the four weeks before they got pregnant and eight weeks after conception.

When their children were three years old, Susser and his colleagues asked the same women about their kids’ language skills, including how many words they could string together in a phrase.

Toddlers who could only say one word at a time or who had “unintelligible utterances” were considered to have severe language delay. In total, about one in 200 kids fit into that category.

Four out of 1,000 kids born to women who took folic acid alone or combined with other vitamins had severe language delays. That compared to nine out of 1,000 kids whose moms didn’t take folic acid before and during early pregnancy.

The pattern remained after Susser’s team took into account other factors that were linked to both folic acid supplementation and language skills, such as a mom’s weight and education, and whether or not she was married.

The study can’t prove that folic acid, itself, prevents language delay, they wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association. But Susser said the vitamin is known to affect the growth of neurons and could influence how proteins are made from certain genes.

“The recommendation worldwide is that women should be on folate (folic acid) supplements through all their reproductive years,” Susser said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all women of childbearing age — and especially those who are planning a pregnancy — consume about 400 micrograms (0.4 milligrams) of folic acid every day. Adequate folic acid intake is very important before conception and at least 3 months afterward to potentially reduce the risk of having a fetus with a neural tube defect.

You can boost your intake by looking for breakfast cereals, breads, pastas, and rice containing 100% of the recommended daily folic acid allowance. But for most women, eating fortified foods isn’t enough. To reach the recommended daily level, you’ll probably need a vitamin supplement.

Your Baby

Babies Born In High Pollen & Mold Months At Wheezing Risk

A new study shows that children exposed to high levels of pollen and mold in their first few months of life are more likely to develop wheezing.A recent study shows that children exposed to high levels of pollen and mold in their first few months of life are more likely to develop wheezing, which is a possible early symptom of asthma.

Researchers from the University of California Berkeley studied more than 500 children in California's Salinas Valley. They found that children born in high mold season (fall and winter) were three times more likely to develop wheezing by the age of two than children born at other times of the year. The findings help clarify why babies born in the fall and winter appear to have a higher risk of developing asthma than children born in the fall. As many as 40 percent of children who wheeze early in life may go on to develop childhood asthma. Study author Kim Harley, associate director of health effects research at UC Berkeley's Center for Children's Environmental Health Research said she and her colleagues were continuing to follow the children in the study. "We are not in a position to say conclusively why some children develop asthma, or to even suggest precautionary measures to help babies born in the fall and winter," study senior author Dr. Ira Tager, professor of epidemiology, said in a news release. "We already know that family history is a major risk factor for developing asthma, but the role environmental factors play is still being fleshed out. What this study does is provide valuable clues about airborne allergens that are worth exploring further."

Your Baby

Parents Urged to Check Cribs Due to Recall

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is urging parents to inspect the stability and hardware of their cribs after the recall of 1.6 million cribs.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is urging parents and caregivers to inspect the stability and hardware of their cribs after the recall of 1.6 million cribs. The move comes after the suffocation deaths of two infants. The deaths happened when the infants got stuck in a gap created when the movable side came off of its guide track. Both incidents involved cribs made by Delta Enterprises.

The CPSC said the incidents involved safety pegs that are intended to prevent the drop side from lowering too far and slipping off the track. If these pegs are not installed, or if they fail to engage, the drop-side can detach and create a dangerous gap where babies can get stuck. "The CPSC is committed to making sure a your-baby's sleep environment is as safe as possible," said Acting Chairman Nancy Nord. "It is that ongoing commitment that is driving the agency to explore new crib requirements and educate the public of the dangers associated with some cribs." The Delta Enterprises recall included 985,000 drop-side cribs of various models, because of the potential for missing safety pegs. These cribs were sold by major retailers including Wal-Mart, Kmart and Target.com between January 1995 and September 2007. The recall also included 600,000 cribs of various models with spring-loaded safety pegs that sold between January 2000 and January 2007. The recall doesn't affect any cribs now in retail inventory. The company will offer consumers replacement safety pegs or spring peg kits. More Information: Consumer Products Safety Commission

Your Baby

Co-sleeping Infant Deaths on the Rise

2:00 to read

Some parents prefer the closeness of sleeping with their infant during naps and through the night; often called co-sleeping, bed sharing or family bed. However, the facts support that using a crib is much safer for baby.

Texas, like some other states, is seeing a dramatic rise in infant deaths related to co-sleeping. So far this year in Texas, there have been 164 cases reported, which is on pace to surpass the record of 174 co-sleeping deaths investigated by CPS in 2011.

The state has responded by launching a $100,000 ad campaign to discourage co-sleeping between parents and babies.

“The main message is we want parents to create a safe sleeping environment for their babies,” said Paul Zimmerman, media specialist with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS).

Children under one year old are at the most risk of dying during co-sleeping according to the DFPS. Of the 164 deaths reported so far in 2014, 160 were under one.

Babies aren’t strong enough to move themselves if they end up face down in a pillow, blanket, arm or chest.  The most common cause of death during co-sleeping is when the parent accidently rolls over on the child.

The DFPS website provides the “ABCs of Infant Sleep.”

  • A - Babies should sleep alone.
  • B - On their backs with no blankets or bedding.
  • C  - In a crib and cool (70 degrees).
  • S  - In a smoke-free environment.

“These are preventable tragedies, and risk can be minimized when parents/caregivers follow some common sense do’s and don’ts,” Zimmerman said.

Other suggestions to help avoid infant suffocation are on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) website. 

  • 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 or her face. Sleep clothing, such as sleepers, sleep sacks, and wearable blankets are better alternatives to blankets.

Co-sleeping advocates say that there are benefits to sharing the bed with an infant such as babies go to sleep quicker and sleep longer. Breastfeeding is easier and mothers are more rested. They often recommend the same safeguards such as a firm mattress and no toys or pillows.

Pediatricians and other childhood health experts, on the other hand, believe that co-sleeping is too risky and that these types of infant deaths are totally avoidable by placing a crib or a bassinette next to the bed instead.

Sources: Blake Ursch, http://lubbockonline.com/health/2014-07-04/texas-launches-campaign-curb-infant-sleeping-deaths#.U8ghVRZUMpE

http://www.healthychildren.org

http://www.dfps.state.tx.us

Your Baby

Recall: Baby Recliners Linked to 5 Infant Deaths

1.30 to read

Baby Matters LLC is voluntarily recalling its foam rubber Nap Nanny and Nap Nanny Chill infant recliners and their covers, in exchange for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) dropping an administrative complaint that it filed in December 2012.

From 2009 to the present, the Commission staff has received at least 92 incident reports involving the Nap Nanny and Nap Nanny Chill products, including five infant deaths. CPSC is aware of four infants who died in Nap Nanny Generation Two recliners and a fifth death involved in the Chill model. In the incident reports received by CPSC, there were 92 reports of infants hanging or falling over the side of the products, including some infants who were restrained in the product’s harness.

In December 2012, four major retailers—Amazon.com, Buy Buy Baby, Diapers.com, and Toys R Us/Babies R Us—announced a voluntary recall of Nap Nanny and Chill models sold in their stores. Consumers who purchased a Nap Nanny from one of these retailers should contact the retailer for instructions on how to obtain a refund for the product.

About 165,000 of the Nap Nanny and Chill products were sold between 2009 and 2012 for about $130. The recalled products were sold at toy and children's retail stores nationwide and online, including at www.napnanny.com.

Baby Matters LLC is no longer in business and is not accepting returns. CPSC urges consumers to immediately dispose of the products to ensure that they are not used again.

Consumer contact:

-       Amazon.com:
http://www.amazon.com

-       Buy Buy Baby: Toll-free at (877) 328-9222,
http://www.buybuybaby.com/productRecalls.asp

-       Diapers.com: (800) 342-7377, http://www.diapers.com

-       Toys R Us/Babies R Us: (800) 869-7787, 
http://www.toysrusinc.com/safety/recalls

Source: http://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2013/Four-Retailers-Agree-to-Stop-Sale-and-Voluntarily-Recall-Nap-Nanny-Recliners-Due-to-Five-Infant-Deaths/

Baby Matters baby recliner

Your Baby

Protect Infants From The Sun

2.00 to read

Whether it’s vacation, shopping, hanging out at the pool or lake or simply in the backyard lots of families will be spending time outdoors. Because their skin is thinner and they lack the ability to sweat, experts want parents and guardians to know that babies need extra protection from the sun.

You might think that sunscreen is the solution - and many parents trying to do the right thing, do cover their little ones in it - but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the American Academy of Pediatrics, does NOT recommend sunscreen for infants under 6 months old.

Dr. Hari Cheryl Sachs, a pediatrician with the FDA, said parents should avoid putting sunscreen on their infants. Sachs explained that young babies' skin is much thinner than that of adults and can absorb the active, chemical ingredients found in sunscreens more easily. She noted that because they have a relatively high surface-area to body-weight ratio, they are at greater risk for allergic reactions or inflammation from exposure to sunscreen.

"The best approach is to keep infants under 6 months out of the sun, and to avoid exposure to the sun in the hours between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when ultraviolet (UV) rays are most intense," Sachs said in an FDA news release.

Stroller canopies or an umbrella can offer shade if you have your infant outside. If there are no other options available, a small amount of sunscreen with a sun-protection factor of at least 15 can be applied to small areas of exposed skin, such as the cheeks and back of the hands. Applying a small amount of sunscreen to the baby's inner wrist first to test for sensitivity is a good idea, Sachs noted.

Sachs and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offered additional tips to ensure infants are protected from sun exposure, including:

  • To prevent sunburns, dress infants in lightweight pants and shirts with long sleeves, as well as hats with brims that shade the ears and neck, advised the AAP. Sheer fabrics should be avoided because they could still result in a sunburn.
  • Ensure babies are well hydrated. Offer them their usual feeding of breast milk or formula, said Sachs. Use a cooler to store the liquids if they will be out in the sun for more than a few minutes.
  •  Monitor babies for signs of sunburn or dehydration, including fussiness, redness, excessive crying and lack of urination.
  •  If sunscreen is applied to babies, steer clear of products containing the insect repellant DEET.
  •  Babies who become sunburned should be taken out of the sun immediately, and cold compresses should be applied to the affected areas.

The AAP has more sun safety tips for kids older than 6 months.

  • The first, and best, line of defense against harmful ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure is covering up. Wear a hat with a three-inch brim or a bill facing forward, sunglasses (look for sunglasses that provide 97% -100% protection against both UVA and UVB rays), and cotton clothing with a tight weave.
  •  Stay in the shade whenever possible, and limit sun exposure during the peak intensity hours - between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  •  On both sunny and cloudy days use a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or greater that protects against UVA and UVB rays.
  •  Be sure to apply enough sunscreen -- about one ounce per sitting for a young adult (18-21 years old.)
  •  Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.
  •  Use extra caution near water and sand (and even snow!) as they reflect UV rays and may result in sunburn more quickly.

We all know how damaging and painful sunburn can be. If you have a baby, most likely he or she will be included in some of the family’s outdoor activities this summer, just make sure that your little one is protected from the sun.

If you have questions about your child and sunscreen, talk with your pediatrician about it. He or she can give you the best advice on when to begin using suncreen and the SPF that’s right for your particular child.

Sources: http://news.yahoo.com/keep-infants-sun-heat-experts-warn-130406184.html

http://www.healthychildren.org/English/news/Pages/Summer-Safety-Tips-Sun-and-Water-Safety.aspx

Your Baby

Meningococcal Disease Vaccine Approved For Infants

2.00 to read

Meningococcal disease can cause death or severe brain damage in infants and young children. The U.S. Food and Drug Association has now approved a vaccine against the disease for children as young as 9 months old.

Dr. Karen Midthun, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, says neisseria meningitidis is a leading cause of meningitis in young children -- it progresses rapidly and can cause death within hours although early symptoms are often difficult to distinguish from influenza and other common illnesses. Even with appropriate antibiotics and intensive care, between 10 percent and 15 percent of people who develop the disease die and another 10 percent to 20 percent suffer complications such as brain damage or hearing loss, Midthun says. The safety of Menactra in children as young as 9 months was evaluated in four clinical studies in which more than 3,700 participants received the vaccine. Injection-site tenderness and irritability are the most  common adverse events reported in the youngest study participants. Occurrence of fever was comparable to other vaccines routinely recommended for young children, Midthun says. Menactra, manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur Inc., was originally approved January 2005 for use in those ages 11-55 years and was approved in October 2007 for children age 2 and older. Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. People sometimes refer to it as spinal meningitis. Meningitis is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Knowing whether meningitis is caused by a virus or bacterium is important because the severity of illness and the treatment differ depending on the cause. Viral meningitis is generally less severe and clears up without specific treatment. But bacterial meningitis can be quite severe and may result in brain damage, hearing loss, or learning disabilities. For bacterial meningitis, it is also important to know which type of bacteria is causing the meningitis because antibiotics can prevent some types from spreading and infecting other people. Common symptoms of meningitis in anyone over the age of 2 are high fever, headache, and stiff neck. These symptoms can develop over several hours, or they may take 1 to 2 days. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, discomfort looking into bright lights, confusion, and sleepiness. In newborns and small infants, the classic symptoms of fever, headache, and neck stiffness may be absent or difficult to detect. Infants with meningitis may appear slow or inactive, have vomiting, be irritable, or be feeding poorly. As the disease progresses, patients of any age may have seizures. Early diagnosis and treatment are very important. If symptoms occur, the patient should see a doctor immediately. The diagnosis is usually made by growing bacteria from a sample of spinal fluid. The spinal fluid is obtained by performing a spinal tap, in which a needle is inserted into an area in the lower back where fluid in the spinal canal can be collected. Identification of the type of bacteria responsible is important for selection of correct antibiotics. The bacteria can mainly be spread from person to person through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions. This can occur through coughing, kissing, and sneezing. Fortunately, none of the bacteria that cause meningitis are as contagious as things like the common cold or the flu. Also, the bacteria are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been. However, sometimes the bacteria that cause meningitis have spread to other people who have had close or prolonged contact with a patient with meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitidis (also called meningococcal meningitis) or Hib. People in the same household or daycare center, or anyone with direct contact with a patient's oral secretions (such as a boyfriend or girlfriend) would be considered at increased risk of getting the infection. People who qualify as close contacts of a person with meningitis caused by N. meningitidis should receive antibiotics to prevent them from getting the disease.

Your Baby

Breastfeeding Could Save 1.3 Million Lives

Teaching new mothers how to breastfeed could save 1.3 million children's lives every year, but many women get no help and give up trying.Teaching new mothers how to breastfeed could save 1.3 million children's lives every year, but many women get no help and give up trying, said the World Health Organization. Less than 40 percent of mothers worldwide breastfeed their infants exclusively in the first six months, as recommended by the WHO. But many abandon it because they don't know how to get their your-baby to latch on properly or suffer pain and discomfort.

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"When it comes to doing it practically, they don't have the practical support," said WHO expert Constanza Vallenas. This is a problem in both rich and poor countries, she said, calling for more assistance in hospitals, health clinics and communities for new mothers who need information and help. The WHO recommends that babies start breastfeeding within one hour of their birth, and ingest only breast milk for the first six months, avoiding water and other drinks and foods. This can give children vital nutrients and strengthen their immune system to fight diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia. Formula milk does not provide the same immunity and local water can be contaminated or unsafe in many parts of the world. Raising to 90 percent the global breastfeeding rate for infants to six months would save an estimated 13 percent of the 10 million under-age-five deaths a year, Vallenas said. In a statement released to mark World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said it was also important that mothers in disaster zones be given the support they need to continue or restart breastfeeding. "During emergencies, unsolicited or uncontrolled donations of breast milk substitutes may undermine breastfeeding and should be avoided," Chan said, arguing abandoning breastfeeding could put vulnerable child lives at extra risk. "The focus should be on active protection and support of breastfeeding."

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