Category: First Year

babies are smart, 8 Brilliant Ways Babies Are Smarter Than You Think

8 Brilliant Ways Babies Are Smarter Than You Think

By | First Year, My Newborn 0-6 M, Parenting | No Comments

Sure, babies are chubby, cherubic, and drooly. But babies are more than just lovable lumps, according to intriguing new studies that reveal the genius behind those “ga-gas” and “goo-goos.” Babies are smarter than you think!

Infant brains develop at an astonishing rate—doubling in size by the time a newborn turns one year old. Their brains grow to full adult size by the time they reach kindergarten four years later. To aid this growth and learning, babies’ brains have around 1,000 trillion synapses (connections between brain cells). That’s twice that of an average adult!

It’s no wonder that new parents and grandparents look at their babies and think, “Just what is she thinking?” These days, there’s more proof than ever that your child has a lot going on upstairs.

Babies know when a different language is being spoken.

We’ve long known that babies’ brains are uniquely suited to learning more than one language. Recent research helps explain how they’re able to do this. A University study found that even four month-olds can discern from visual cues when a different language is being spoken (based on the rhythm of speech and the shape of the speaker’s mouth). According to a university press release, the “babies growing up in a bilingual environment advantageously maintain the discrimination abilities needed for separating and learning multiple languages.”

Another study revealed that babies who live in bilingual homes have a longer length of time when their brains are flexible enough to learn different languages. This window only lasts a short while though, suggesting that a baby’s propensity to pick up a new language is a bit of a “use it or lose it” situation.

Babies understand others’ emotions.
Even infants who have had few interactions with dogs were able to match sounds of angry barks and friendly yaps with photos of dogs displaying threatening or welcoming body language, according to a study published in Developmental Psychology. Previous research from the same lab at the university found that infants can pick up on mood swings and changes in Beethoven’s music.

Very young babies “understand” what words mean.

Certain child development experts believe that infants don’t understand the link between images of objects and object names (knowing a picture of an banana is the word “banana”) until around age one, but a University study found that babies as young as six months old can possess this ability, long before they are able to say these words themselves.

The authors of this study had six- to nine-month-old babies look at images of food and various body parts. Next, their parents gave them simple directions (“Where’s the ear?”). The researchers found that the babies looked more at the item that was named than any other image, indicating that they knew the word’s meaning. The study authors say this is proof that parents should talk to their babies, even if they seem unresponsive to the words they are being told.

Young toddlers can gauge fairness.

Every parent of a toddler is familiar with the phrase “that’s not fair!” What you may not know is that babies learn about “fairness” as young as 15 months. Scientists at the University studied babies watching videos in which milk or crackers were distributed either equally or unequally between two people. The babies paid more attention when the distribution was unequal, indicating they can tell—and were surprised by—the difference.

Fascinatingly, the babies who were most sensitive to the violation of fairness in the food task were also most likely to show signs of altruism (by sharing their own toy) in a subsequent study.

Babies appreciate rightfully deserved punishment.

Babies may not appear vindictive, but children as young as eight months old seem to enjoy when bad things happen to bad people. Last year, University researchers presented different scenarios of puppets acting either negatively or positively toward other characters. The babies were shown puppets either giving or taking away toys from these “good” or “bad” puppets. The babies preferred the puppets that mistreated the bad puppets in the first scenario compared to those who treated the bad puppets nicely.

The study authors think this may be a precursor to social behaviors kids express later in life, such as tattling on “naughty” kids. This indicates that this may be an innate trait rather than a learned one.

Young children value altruism.

Young kids and babies may seem selfish, but a study published earlier this year found that toddlers are actually happier when they give things to others. The researchers gave a group of toddlers Goldfish crackers and asked them to give them to a puppet. Then the toddlers were given an extra treat to give to the puppet (so they could keep one and give one away). When researchers videotaped the toddlers’ behavior and rated their happiness, they found the children were happier when they gave away their own treat as opposed to the “extra”.

Toddlers’ desire to give suggests that the capacity to derive happiness from helping others is an innate part of human nature.

Toddlers are influenced by peer pressure.

According to a 2012 study published in the journal Cell Biology, if you want your baby to share, eat his vegetables, and take good naps, you should surround him with well-behaved friends. Researchers found that two year-olds were more likely to copy behaviors when three or more of his peers were doing it, compared to just one–a sign that even young kids are susceptible to peer pressure.

Music makes babies’ brains thrive.

Most parents have heard about the link between music and IQ. New research even suggests a link between playing an instrument during childhood and a reduced risk of dementia later in life.

Recently, a Canadian study suggests that even young babies can benefit from making music. One-year-olds who took interactive music classes (learning hand motions to songs and “playing” percussion instruments) showed better communication skills (including pointing at hard-to-reach objects, waving goodbye, and showing less distress in new surroundings) than babies who took classes that only used music as background noise.

So. Babies are much smarter than they appear. Babies are thinking much more than they let on. How we interact with them while learning this information is what will help us make better parenting decisions.

6 Moments You Need to Let Dad Have With Baby

6 Moments You Need to Let Dad Have With Baby

By | First Year, My Newborn 0-6 M | No Comments

Do you love watching your partner interact with your baby? I definitely do. One of the most meaningful and energizing things that I experience is watching my husband interact with our son. I may be biased, but my husband is patient, playful, and attentive. On occasion, I will sneak outside of the door to listen to them make noises at each other. It is adorable!

As a mother, I feel like it is my responsibility to help grow the bond between my husband and our son, because our son spends most of his time with me. Because of that, I know their time together is important and imperative for establishing a strong relationship.
 
Here are a few ways we do this at our house:
Let dad feed the baby
Since I breastfeed our son, it is rare that my husband gets to actually feed our son. Especially because I use breastfeeding as a bonding time with our son when I get home from work (he has pumped breast milk at daycare). Does that mean dad is excluded from feedings? No way! My husband takes over when it is time to burp and we usually end up laughing at the mess he makes. This has created a family ritual for us that has let our son be close to his dad.
 
Let dad and baby cuddle!
Evenings are hectic. Between caring for a newborn, handling feedings, doing diaper changes, folding laundry, making dinner, and even just spending a little time with your spouse. One thing that has helped a lot is letting dad and baby have their alone time to cuddle. Sometimes I will ask my husband to just relax on the couch with our son. This gives me both hands to get some long overdue housework done fast, and encourages them to have some great bonding time together. This is a win for everyone!
 
Make bath time a family event
Do you love bath time with your baby? Our son loves the water, and he loves getting a baby massage. We have found that when the whole family participates in bath time, it is more fun and much easier. While my husband washes his body, I wash his hair. Some of our greatest memories up to this point have involved bath time. It is also great watching dad increase his confidence while holding our slippery, squirmy son.
 
Make dad a part of your established morning routine
Morning routines vary from household to household (read more about our’s here!). Dad’s prepares baby for the day by giving him a dry diaper and dressing him. He then plays with him for a little while while I finish getting ready for my day. Those early morning moments are really meaningful to my husband and are a wonderful little boost of time with the baby before going to work. While this might not work out exactly for your schedule, be creative! I am sure there are ways that you can combine quality bonding with your needed morning routine.
 
Let dad and baby develop their own thing
Sometimes as a mom (or woman?)I like to have control over everything. Is this something you relate to? However, I have found that one of the best things is when I just let my husband do his own thing with baby. That may simply mean tummy time, reading a book, or looking at the Christmas tree, I can see that they find really fun things to do with each other and enjoy it a lot more when I take a step back.
How does dad and baby bonding happen in your life?

A Guide to Baby Poop, Pee and Spit Up Everything you wanted to know about baby’s bodily fluids (and then some)

A Guide to Baby Poop, Pee and Spit Up Everything you wanted to know about baby’s bodily fluids (and then some)

By | My Newborn 0-6 M | No Comments

Babies are just like little adults, so it should come as no surprise that what comes in must also go out. Your baby is going to pee, poop and spit up way more than you can even imagine, leaving you to wonder if anything is actually getting through. Don’t worry; your little one is not going to wither away to nothing due to malnutrition. This is completely normal, and any other parent is going to sympathize with these feelings. No matter the case, there are a few things you need to understand about your baby’s bodily functions.

Mind Your Pees and Qs
First, you should know that it takes just a few days for the baby’s system to really start working. If you choose to breastfeed, your milk does not fully come in for up to five days. Once this happens, your baby will start to make up to 10 wet diapers each day. When you are in the hospital, staff members will help keep an eye on production. When you get home, you need to ensure that the initial five wet diapers increases after two to three days. It is important to contact your baby’s pediatrician as soon as possible if urine output fails to increase soon.

Today, disposable diapers tends to be super-absorbent. In fact, it might be tricky for you to determine if the diapers are really wet. We advise that you become familiar with the texture of the diapers you intend to use. Get to know what they feel and look like when they are dry, examining the layers and puffiness. These diapers work with gels that inflate as urine absorbs into them. As a result, the diaper feels heavier than when it is dry. You might even notice a slight sag.

If you still aren’t sure that the diaper is wet, take a whiff. You can smell the front leg area of the diaper for that unmistakable scent of urine. It’s not the most fun way to spend these early years, but it can save you plenty of trouble in the long run.

Let’s Talk About Poop
You have already heard that babies who are breastfed tend to have runnier bowel movements. You might even notice that they tend to be more mustard-colored than normal feces. This tends to happen after the first week or so, and it’s totally normal.

Immediately after birth, babies tend to produce poop that is thicker, almost like tar. This is called meconoium, and the nurses tend to handle things like this. You might not ever see it.

Once you get home and start to breastfeed or use formula, you will notice that stools become pastier. Babies who are fed formula will continue with this type of stool, except that it becomes more formed and colors may vary. Breastfed babies will experience thinner, yellow stools.

Next, you need to know how often you should expect to change a soiled diaper. Breastfed babies often soil their diapers during or right after each feeding, but this is not the case for each little one. Babies who are fed formula experience bowel movements after nearly every feeding. Babies who are fed formula are definitely less frequent to create soiled diapers. It may take several days for some.

Unfortunately, this irregular system can create some concern in new parents. It is easy to see when babies are passing stools; they tend to strain and grunt; however, it is also easy to see when they are constipated. Fortunately, this is not very often. Babies simply have their own bowel habits. Any pediatrician is likely to halt your concerns. Just make sure to check the stool to make sure it is soft. If it is hard, there could be a problem.

It is important that you pay attention to the amount of iron your baby is getting. In adults, iron supplements can cause severe binding. With babies, this is not the case. Low-iron formulas are not a good idea, and most medical experts agree. Your baby needs lots of iron for her brain to develop properly. Best of all, it will not cause constipation. Your pediatrician may even recommend iron supplements if your baby is breastfed. Don’t let anybody talk you out of this; it’s important.

Spit Happens
While the mouth may be at the opposite end of the body, it creates fluids of its own. Babies can spit up as many as 12 times each day. Sometimes it’s a major eruption, and other times the spit sort of trickles out. No matter the case, it can be pretty messy. Baby is going to spit up on you or herself at some point. It may be a nuisance, but it’s a pretty big one.

Why do babies spit up so often? It has a lot to do with the digestive tract and the muscle between the stomach and esophagus. It is quite immature, failing to tighten up until the baby is about six months old.

You don’t need to concern yourself with spitting up. There is not very much nutrition lost to spit up, usually only one tablespoon, but it may seem like more. Just make sure that you have lots of bibs, towels and a change of clothes ready. You might want to consider keeping an extra change of clothes for yourself while you are at it.

Try these tips to minimize spit up:
Provide more frequent feedings throughout the day, but make them smaller.
Don’t force your baby to finish a bottle if she seems to be full.
Keep your baby in an upright position post-feeding. The gravity helps your baby digest food.
Make sure to burp the baby regularly.
If you use formula, discuss spitting up with your pediatrician. You might find that some brands are easier for your little one to digest than others.

Spit-up warrants medical attention in only a few situations. For instance, if your baby becomes irritable and fussy after feedings, you may have a problem. It is also a problem if your baby becomes prone to spitting up all the time. The issue could be as simple as reflux, which is easily solved via medication prescribed by the doctor.

You also need to pay attention to the spit-up itself. Make sure your baby is not vomiting, which includes expelling a large amount of her stomach contents. You also want to make sure that your baby is not experiencing diarrhea, bloating and lack of weight gain in addition to spitting up. Milk allergies are also not uncommon in babies, so you should discuss concerns about the condition with your doctor. While these conditions may not be the most common, they do happen. If you notice your baby is spitting up blood or there is a yellow-green bile blockage, it is important to call your doctor.

Doctor Has A Great Trick To Calm Crying Babies In Just Seconds

Doctor Has A Great Trick To Calm Crying Babies In Just Seconds

By | First Year, My Newborn 0-6 M | No Comments

Dr. Hamilton, a pediatrician in Santa Monica, CA shows how to calm a crying baby using “The Hold”. This technique has been utilized by Dr. Hamilton (Dr. Bob) to quiet infants during office visits. Parents have learned it and have experienced great success at home. You can too. His Pacific Ocean Pediatrics is in Santa Monica http://pacificoceanpedriatics.com. He also leads Africa medical missions with Lighthouse Medical Missions http://lighthousemedicalmissions.com.

Baby Milestones, 0 to 6 Months

Baby Milestones, 0 to 6 Months

By | First Year, My Newborn 0-6 M | No Comments

Every baby learns and develops at his or her pace. While you look at a list of developmental milestones, please know that this information is an estimate of when your child will begin to do the following developmental tasks. Don’t be worried about your child’s development unless you notice some of the warning signs mentioned.

Milestones to Notice at One Month Old

Your baby’s eyes can only focus on objects about one foot away. Shapes and patterns are interesting to your baby at this age. Your baby should be able to respond well to sounds. Even though your baby can lift his or her head for a moment or two, the baby’s head and neck still need to be supported. Your baby may also be able to find his or her mouth with their hands.

What You Can Do to Stimulate Your One Month Old

You can’t spoil a baby. Make sure she is cuddled, loved, changed and fed. Other activities you can do to stimulate your child’s development are:

· Place your baby on his tummy.

· Put toys a bit out of his reach so he can stretch and strengthen his muscles.

· Take your baby for walks and to spend play time outdoors to experience many various people, places, and things. Your child also needs the Vitamin D that the sun provides.

· Provide lots of eye contact and physical contact with your baby.

· Mimic the sounds your baby makes.

· Learn to read what your child needs if he is tired, hungry or needs a diaper change.

Behavioral Concerns for Your One Month Old

You need to be concerned if your one-month-old:

· Doesn’t suck well or seems to feed slowly.

· Doesn’t appear to be able to focus her eyes.

· Doesn’t seem to notice bright lights objects moving by her.

· Does not react to sounds, especially loud ones.

· Seems very stiff or very lax and floppy.

If your one-month-old displays any of these concerns, contact your baby’s health care provider right away. Babies do develop at widely varying rates, so consult an expert if you aren’t sure your baby is making real progress.

Milestones to Notice at Three Months Old

Your three-month-old responds to your interaction by smiling at this age. He makes babbling sounds and may begin to imitate some of the sounds you make. He may not need you to support his head and can lift his head and chest away from the ground. He can close his hands as well as open them. He actively plays with toys by touching them and trying to put them in his mouth. He can also push with his legs if you hold him in a standing position.

Your baby’s hand to eye coordination as well as his vision is improving. He can see you and recognize you even across the room as well as watch shiny or other interesting items. .

What You Can Do to Stimulate Your Three Month Old

· Respond to him quickly to help him feel that his needs are being met. Offer him his pacifier or let him suck a thumb to begin to learn to self-sooth.

· Continue to use tummy time to develop his muscles.

· Spend lots of time interacting with your baby by cuddling, talking to and playing with him.

Areas of Concern for a Three Month Old

While every baby develops at his own rate, you may need to check with a pediatrician if your child:

· Can’t hold up his head very well.

· Can’t grab toys or other objects.

· Doesn’t follow moving objects with his eyes.

· Doesn’t smile or respond to your interactions with him.

· Doesn’t react to new faces.

· Doesn’t respond to loud sounds.

· Is upset by new surroundings or people.

Milestones to Notice at Four to Seven Months

At four to seven months, your child responds to the world by smiling, babbling, laughing and mimicking you. He responds well to people and his surroundings. By seven months old your baby can move by himself. He can bounce when you hold him as well as roll from his tummy to his back. He can also sit up with very little, if any, support. She uses a raking grasp to pull objects closer and can hold toys and move them from one hand to another.

Your baby responds to your voice, simple commands such as “no,” and responds to her name by looking at you. She loves to play games that find hidden toys and play Peekaboo. She loves to study objects as they move, and can appreciate colors. She also loves to gaze at herself in a mirror.

What You Can Do to Stimulate Your Four to Seven Month Old

Playing and interacting with your baby is one of the most important activities you can do for his development. Continue to provide cuddling, singing, talking to and playing with your baby. Some other activities you can do to enhance your baby’s development at this age are:

· Read to your baby every day, naming objects and making appropriate noises to go with the pictures in the book.

· Give your baby many opportunities during the day to move, stretch and strengthen his back by placing him on his back and stomach and allowing him to move.

· Make sure your baby’s environment is safe and baby proof so he can move around safely.

· Be sure he has toys or safe household objects to play with, like measuring cups, wooden spoons, etc.

· Establish routine playing, sleeping and feeding times.

· Start solid foods at about the age of six months or as recommended by your baby’s healthcare provider.

Areas of Concern for a Four to Seven Month Old

Contact your baby’s healthcare provider if you notice:

· She seems quite floppy or quite stiff.

· She can’t hold up her head well.

· She can’t sit up alone.

· She doesn’t react to loud sounds or noises.

· She doesn’t respond to her family or those close to her.

· She doesn’t play with or reach for objects.

 

My Newborn, 7 to 12 Months

My Newborn, 7 to 12 Months

By | First Year, My Newborn 7-12 M | No Comments
4 to 7 Months Milestones

Your newborn is totally ensnared by the world surrounding her. She smiles, giggles, and even “talks” to you. Plus, she’s always on the move. By the time your baby is 7 months, she can likely roll onto her stomach and then back again, sit without assistance from you, and support her weight with her legs so that she can bounce. Your baby uses her strong grasp to pull items close to her and can move toys from one hand to the other with ease.Suddenly, your newborn is becoming more sensitive to your voice, even listening to your warnings when you tell her not to do something. In fact, your baby even knows her name now. She turns to you when you call out to her.

Peekaboo is now her favorite game, and she enjoys searching for items that you have partially hidden. She sees the world in complete color now, and she can see farther than before. She follows toys carefully with both of her eyes, and she even looks at herself in the mirror.

Your Role
At this point, your child thrives on interactions with you, so you need to integrate play into everything you do together. She loves to smile and cuddle, and you should reply when she talks so you can encourage her communication. Read with her every day, naming the items you see in books, pictures and other things around you.

It’s time to give the baby opportunities to build strength. Do this by helping her sit up and by setting her so she can play on her tummy and her back. Before she learns to crawl, make sure that you have taken steps to childproof the house and that you keep her area safe to explore.

Your next step is to provide age-appropriate toys and other items (like a large wooden spoon or box) to spend time exploring. Establish a solid schedule for sleeping, eating, and playing.

By the time she is 6 months old, your little one may be ready to begin eating solids.

Red Flags
Every infant grows at her own pace, but you should speak with your baby’s pediatrician if she:
• Appears either extremely stiff or very floppy
• Is unable to hold her head steady
• Is unable to sit without help
• Will not respond to sounds or grins
• Is not affectionate with people she is familiar with
• Will not reach for nearby items

8 to 12 Months Milestones
Your baby is really going now! He has become eager to explore, and it is surprising how rapidly he can get around scooting and crawling. He even sits on his own, grabbing anything within reach to pull himself up to stand. He may even take a couple wobbly steps before his birthday.

Your infant’s chattering sounds more like an actual conversation, and you are going to hear his first words soon – typically “mama” or “dada.” Soon your little one will talk in short phrases, but in the meantime he uses his hands to show what he wants – or does not want – and pays careful attention to words you use.

Baby’s hands are becoming very nimble. He entertains himself by putting things into containers and then removing them. He also uses his thumb and his finger like pincers to eat solid food. Your infant wants to be exactly like you. He shows this by brushing his hair, sipping from a “big boy” cup, and acting as if he is babbling on a phone.

Your baby may appear outgoing, but he might be reserved around people he doesn’t know well. When you leave the baby alone, he might get upset. Don’t worry; separation anxiety is a normal reaction right now.

Your Role
Keep chattering with the little one. This is a critical era for developing language skills. Frequently describe your routine, what you’re doing, what you will be doing next, and what you see.

Your baby learns about feelings when you describe what you are thinking. Read to your baby frequently and play games like peekaboo and hide-and-seek.

As baby becomes increasingly active, it is important that he has safe places for his adventures. While he may not be walking just yet, you help him prepare by holding him so that he puts weight on his legs.

It’s important to pay extra attention to things your baby likes and that you give him freedom to use his five senses to learn new things. Offer your baby crayons, paper, blocks, empty containers, pots and pans for playtime.

Offer praise and rewards for positive behavior. If your baby gets into trouble, a simple “no” and and direction toward something else is sufficient. Although your baby is too young to comprehend and listen to rules, you can show him which actions are not allowed. This will help him find appropriate activities.

Respect your baby’s separation anxiety. Build trust by allowing him time to get used to new caregivers and by always saying bye when you leave.

Red Flags
Every baby develops at his own speed, but make sure to make a pediatric appointment if your baby:
• Will not crawl
• Drags one side while crawling for longer than a month
• Is unable to stand with assistance
• Will not try to find objects hidden in front of him
• Does not say any words
• Will not use gestures, such as shaking his head or pointing

 

Breastfeeding, The Benefits for You & Baby

Breastfeeding, The Benefits for You & Baby

By | Breast Feeding, First Year | No Comments
While breast milk provides your baby with the very best in nutrition, the benefits of breastfeeding extend well beyond sustenance. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that you breastfeed exclusively for the first six months because breast milk teems with disease-fighting substances along with all the vitamins and nutrients necessary to make your infant thrive. If a total commitment to breastfeeding is not feasible, then you can give your baby some benefit through occasional nursing. In fact, scientific studies show that breastfeeding is also good for the mother’s health. It prevents postpartum depression and lowers your susceptibility to some forms of cancer. Although breastfeeding is natural after childbirth, it is not always easy. Your doctor is available for consultation as well as many certified lactation consultants.

Among the most important benefits of breastfeeding is the protection that it gives your baby from a long list of illnesses. Worldwide research indicates that breastfed babies suffer less often than others from ailments such as ear infections, stomach viruses, lower respiratory illness, and meningitis. Even when they do experience these infirmities, the symptoms are not normally severe. Exclusive breastfeeding, with no formula, solid food, or water, appears to offer the most protection.

According to the results of a very large study by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the risk of infant mortality is reduced by breastfeeding. The length of time that a baby nurses seems to directly affect the risk level with long-term, exclusive breastfeeding lowering the baby’s chances of death by about 20 percent. The main immune factor is the substance called secretory immunoglobulin A (IgA). Since this antibody forms a protective layer over the mucous membranes in your baby’s intestines, throat, and nose, it is highly effective in warding off harmful germs. The first milk that your body produces after childbirth, the colostrum, contains secretory IgA in abundance. This protective substance continues to exist in your mature breast milk but in lower concentrations.

As your body responds to pathogens (bacteria and viruses), it produces very specific secretory IgA to combat them. The antibodies are passed on to your baby through your breast milk and work to keep your baby safe from the germs to which you are exposed. Your body’s milk is, therefore, specially tailored to your baby. The protection seems to stay with your child even after the breastfeeding has ended. Although scientists cannot explain the reasons, youngsters who were breastfed as infants are at a lower risk than most kids for certain childhood cancers. Likewise, breastfed babies appear to have increased immunity to diseases like type 1 and type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel issues, and high cholesterol. When preemies are fed breast milk, they tend to develop an unusually strong resistance to high blood pressure throughout childhood. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis have been linked by researchers to an absence of breastfeeding.

The protective covering over the child’s intestinal tract may help to prevent allergic reactions to food. Researchers have found that babies who are fed cow’s milk or soy-based formula suffer from allergies significantly more than those who are breastfed. Without the shielding layer, inflammation may develop causing the intestine wall to become “leaky”. Undigested proteins that cross the gut can cause allergic reactions and other health problems. In recent studies, formula-fed babies have also been found to react more severely to immunizations while breastfed infants are less likely to develop fevers.

Even your baby’s intelligence level may be affected by your choice to breastfeed during the first year of life. Scientists have found a connection between breast milk and cognitive development. In one study, researchers followed more than 17,000 children from birth to age 6 1/2 years. They concluded that the kids who had been breastfed for a prolonged time period scored higher than other children on a variety of intelligence tests. Those who had been exclusively breastfed for several months showed a significant measure of cognitive skills. A different test involving nearly 4,000 children resulted in higher vocabulary test scores at age five among kids who had been breastfed as infants in comparison to those who had been formula-fed. Once again, the longer the child had been breastfed, the better he did on the test.

The mental development of preterm infants with very low birth weights is advanced by a diet of breast milk. Preemies who start receiving breast milk shortly after birth show a big improvement in cognitive skills by the time they are 18 months old. At age 2 1/2, they still appear to be developing at a healthy rate while preterm babies who have not been breastfed fall behind. Additionally, premature babies who are not given breast milk are more likely to return to the hospital after release with respiratory infections. While experts believe that the fatty acids in breast milk trigger mental development, they also think that the emotional bonding associated with breastfeeding may play a role in the baby’s progress.

Based on the analysis of 17 studies published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, breastfeeding your baby decreases the risk of teen and adult obesity. The findings in these studies are consistent with previous tests in that the babies who were breastfed for the longest duration grew up with the greatest advantage. Scientists presume that the link between breast milk and later weight-related health exists for the following reasons.

  • Breastfed babies establish good eating patterns because they stop feeding when their hunger is satisfied.
  • Breast milk contains less insulin than formula and, therefore, stimulates less creation of fat.
  • Breastfed babies have more leptin in their systems than babies who are given formula. This hormone may regulate appetite and fat.
  • Formula-fed babies gain weight very rapidly during the first weeks of life.

If you worry about sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), then breastfeeding is a viable option for you. In a 2009 German study, researchers concluded that a one-month-old baby who breastfeeds exclusively has his risk of SIDS cut in half. Even if your baby’s diet consists partially of breast milk, the danger is lowered. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that mothers breastfeed their babies for as long as possible for protection against SIDS.

Since childbirth and motherhood are life-changing events, your stress level may be higher than usual. Women who breastfeed their babies often feel relaxed during the process due to the release of oxytocin. Although this hormone is widely known for causing your uterus to contract and limiting your after-birth bleeding, many studies of both humans and animals indicate that it also triggers feelings of nurturing and relaxation. It may keep your blood pressure down as well. Postpartum depression is an issue for many mothers, but breastfeeding may keep it under control. Experts at the National Institutes of Health claim that the risk is higher for women who either don’t breastfeed at all or stop nursing after a short time. One study determined that half of breastfeeding mothers have high levels of oxytocin in their systems as opposed to only eight percent of formula-feeding moms. If you are struggling with depression, you can still breastfeed your baby. Simply ask your doctor about safe ways to treat your depression while nursing.

Another benefit for a breastfeeding mother is a lowered risk of breast and ovarian cancer. At least one year of nursing can greatly reduce your chances of getting breast cancer. Although scientists are unsure about how lactation works to prevent cancer, they suspect that it may be related to the resulting structural changes in breast tissue. The reduced amount of estrogen that is produced by a nursing mother’s body probably prevents both breast and ovarian cancer.

Researchers are consistently discovering new benefits in breastfeeding for both the mother and her baby. The process, however, can sometimes be difficult. If you are struggling in your quest to nurse your baby, don’t hesitate to contact your healthcare provider or a certified lactation consultant for help or support.

 

Why do I still look pregnant?

Why do I still look pregnant?

By | First Year, Post Birth Recovery | No Comments

You may be exceptionally amazed by the way your tummy appears after giving birth. Despite the fact that your infant has been delivered, you may in any case have a round, squishy midsection that makes you seem as though you’re six months pregnant.

Numerous ladies likewise have a dull line down their stomach area (called a linea nigra) and a web of stretch imprints, which are scars brought about by stretching the skin extensively. Those who have had a c-area have surgical scars to battle with also.

It requires a specific amount of time for your body – particularly your stomach – to completely recuperate from pregnancy. Envision your belly as an inflatable, gradually swelling as your infant develops. Labor doesn’t pop the balloon; it just begins a moderate leak. Yet, don’t stress – it’s a steady transition.

From the minute your infant is born, hormonal changes make your uterus contract, returning it back to its pre-pregnancy state. It takes six to eight weeks for your uterus to come back to its ordinary size.

The linea nigra and stretch marks persevere through longer. The uplifting news is that stretch marks normally turned out to be extensively less obtrusive six to 12 months after you have your child. Their pigmentation blurs and they normally get to be lighter than the encompassing skin (the shading will shift contingent upon your skin shading), but the texture will remain the same.

The dim shade of the linea nigra will slowly blur over a year, however that too may not totally vanish.

To what extent does it take for a post-pregnancy stomach to return to normal?

We’ve heard of stories about new mothers whose tummies are firm and tight promptly after delivering a child. In spite of the fact that this happens, it’s uncommon. For most ladies it takes months to dispose of the “pregnancy belly” – and some of the time it never goes away completely.

Patience if of essence. It took nine months for your stomach area to extend to suit a full-term child, so it only natural that it would take a while to return to normal.

The speed of this transition depends to a great extent on your typical body size, the amount of weight you picked up during pregnancy, your activity level, and your DNA. Ladies who gained under 30 pounds and exercised regularly during pregnancy, who nursed, and who have had just one baby will probably thin down rapidly.

In case you’re not breastfeeding, you’ll have to observe the amount you’re eating with a specific end goal to lose pregnancy weight. You require less calories now that you’re not pregnant.

Each cell in your body that swells during pregnancy starts to discharge additional liquid, which is disposed of from your body through sweat, urine, and vaginal secretions.

Also, the additional fat you put on to support the child begins smoldering off (particularly in case you’re nursing and working out). Be that as it may, it takes no less than a couple of weeks to notice significant results.

What would I be able to do to tone up my post-pregnancy midsection?

Breastfeed

Breastfeeding can help, particularly in the early months after labor. Ladies who breastfeed use additional calories to make milk, so they for the most part lose pregnancy weight more rapidly than ladies who don’t nurse.

Nursing likewise triggers the uterus to contract, making it a workout for the entire body. Be that as it may, numerous breastfeeding mothers say they experience difficulty losing the last 5 to 10 pounds.

A few specialists theorize that the body holds on to some fat to help in milk creation. Science hasn’t yet addressed this inquiry authoritatively. See our survey on whether breastfeeding offers you some assistance with losing weight to realize what other nursing mothers experienced.

Exercise

Postpartum fitness routines likewise makes a difference. Whether it’s a walk around the square or light cardio, physical movement tones stomach muscles and smolders calories. A thorough activity regimen that incorporates a vigorous workouts and movements that puts emphasis on the mid-region can produce amazing results. (Be that as it may, before beginning an activity schedule, ensure your body is prepared.)

Some baby bumps require more exertion. In a few ladies, the left and right half of the muscle that covers the front surface of the stomach can isolate, a condition called diastasis recti. This will probably happen on the off chance that you’ve been pregnant more than once.
It isn’t agonizing, and frequently the main indications of the condition during the beginning of pregnancy are additional skin and delicate tissue before in front of the stomach wall. In later months, the highest point of the pregnant uterus can now and then be seen protruding out of the abdominal wall. Your specialist can let you know whether you have this condition and propose activities to fix the problem after your infant is born.

Can shedding pounds diminish my postpartum-belly?

On the off chance that you put on a ton of weight during pregnancy, losing some of those pounds can diminish your stomach. A low-calorie eating regimen can offer you some assistance with losing weight, yet give nature and activity time to work first. Begin after six weeks – and ideally a couple of months – before reducing calories, particularly in case you’re nursing.

Ladies need 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day to keep up a sound weight. To lose around a pound a week, cut out 500 calories a day either by diminishing the amount of food you eat or expanding your action level. Losing more than a pound a week may make you feel exhausted and adversely influence your mood.

Try not to go on a serious diet routine – fast weight reduction influences your capacity to breastfeed. Compelling eating less carbs puts your body in starvation mode, and the anxiety and weakness decreases the measure of milk you create. Likewise, when you count calories excessively, you may not eat enough foods rich nourishments, which implies your infant may not get all the fat and vitamins she needs from your milk.

 

Teaching you & baby healthy sleep habits

Teaching you & baby healthy sleep habits

By | First Year, Sleep Problems | No Comments
Getting a good night of sleep is not just a dream; it can be a reality. The parents at ParentingandBabies have tips for you to use to get help from your partner, and to get a good night of rest.

The Biggest Factor for Parents was Teaching their Babies Healthy Sleeping Habits:

“Something that I wish I could have learned sooner was how important a sleeping schedule is for children. For a long time, I would only put my son to sleep when he was fighting it, but that was a huge mistake.”

“If you want to keep your baby in “sleep mode,” be sure to dim the lights and keep him swaddled, especially when you feed the baby at night. Also, you only need to change the diaper during the night if it is really dirty!”

“I wish I knew then what I know now; just follow your parental instincts and let things work out naturally. You will sleep again, so remain patient. One of the best tips I can give you is that the earlier you put your baby to sleep; the longer she will sleep.”

“The “cry-out” method is okay, but you need to implement this method early on, before your child learns how to stand on his own. I learned the hard way, and as a result, my daughter would jump and down crying for long periods of time.”

“Do not be overwhelmed with the advice and tips that you receive pertaining to sleep training; and remember that no matter what, you are not doing anything wrong. I felt that way, but my friend assured me that parents and babies need time to adjust. It’s natural.”

“It was difficult for me to hear my baby fussing in his nursery, and my first instinct was to jump up, run into the nursery, and pick him up. However, I learned that you should give your baby a chance to settle down on his own.”

“I thought allowing my son to sleep for three hours or more, in one sleeping session, was fine; I was wrong. Once I stopped it, my baby began sleeping throughout the night like a pro!”“Consistency is key. We put our son down for bed between 8:30 and 9 every night, and he goes to sleep without any fuss.””No two kids are alike. My first wouldn’t sleep at all his first 3 months. He slept in our bed for 9 months. My second slept through the night at 2 months, nearly always in his crib. My parenting wasn’t different; my kids were.””The best phrase I heard (after the fact, of course) was ‘Start as you mean to go on.’ The younger the baby is, the easier it is to break bad habits, or better yet, to create good ones.””It’s really important to put a child to bed awake but tired, so he learns to fall asleep on his own.”

“When they get a little older, it’s OK to let them sleep in a weird position rather than wake them up by moving them.”

“It’s all about routine! My baby started sleeping through the night when we started what we call the Four Bs: bath, bottle, book, and bed.”

“When my daughter was 6 months old, we realized that we were keeping her up too long. Within two weeks we had her bedtime set at 6:30, and now she sleeps 12 hours every night. No more fussy evenings.”
“Don’t beat yourself up if you wind up bringing the baby into your own bed, especially if he’s sick. Sometimes they just need Mommy and Daddy. You will not scar them for life.”

“Baby massages are very helpful in calming a child before bedtime.”

“Have your doctor check the baby for an earache if he has too many sleepless nights in a row.”

“Partners and other caregivers need to be on the same page about sleep training methods.”

“I wish I’d specified to my son’s daycare center not to put him down for a nap with a bottle. Breaking him of the habit has been torture.”

“I learned that giving my baby a binky was the worst way to get him to sleep through the night. As soon as the binky falls out, he wakes up looking for it.”

“There is no one solution for every baby or for every family. No matter what anyone else tells you is the only way, do whatever helps you and your baby get some sleep.”

“I wish that I had figured out earlier to put the baby down for her nap at two-hour intervals. Once I started doing this, she began to sleep on a regular schedule — and for longer!”

“I wish I had trained my son to nap in his crib earlier. I used to need the naps myself when he was younger, so we would nap together. Now he sleeps in his crib at night with no problem, but he won’t nap there.”

“All the methods talk about going in to the baby’s room to soothe him if he cries, but these visits just aggravated my son. I learned one night that he’d fall back asleep in under ten minutes if I didn’t go to him at all, as opposed to 45 minutes of really hard crying if I went in and then left. Just three days after I realized this, he slept through the night for the first time.”

“I make it a point not to be quiet around my baby, and now he sleeps anywhere and through anything.”

“I wish I had realized the importance of naps. When my son didn’t seem tired, we would allow him to skip naps here and there. We would pay for it during the night!”

“Planning is necessary. When my husband and I put a plan in motion pertaining to how we would approach the baby waking up during the night, it would go a lot smoother. Do not wing it when you are half-asleep.”

Tools and Useful Props That Could Help your Baby Sleep

“Something that worked out well for me at night was taking the pre-bedtime feeding burp cloth and placing it in the crib with my baby. The cloth would smell like me, so quiet naturally, my baby would be comforted by it.”

“Those expensive noise machines are not necessary. Instead, do what I did and turn the radio on to static, but be sure to keep the volume really low.”

“We learned that using a vaporizer was a two-in-one; it cleared out our baby’s nose, and the noise would soothe her during the night.

“We started giving our baby a stuffed bird that was her favorite, but the key was to only allow her to have it when she was going to sleep. We never gave her the bird at playtime.”

“We live on a busy road, so we leave a fan and a TV on in the room next to the nursery. She’s able to sleep over 12 hours, even with the sirens and traffic.”

“Putting my baby in a sleep sack keeps her covered even if she moves all over the crib.”

“We’ve recently discovered the benefits of a cool-air humidifier. Not only does it help with the dry air, it’s also a great white-noise generator.”

Getting your Partner Involved in Night duty

“When the baby wakes up during the night, my husband will usually change her diaper before I feed her. This helps me a lot, but it also teaches our baby that Daddy is also there for her at night, which will be important when she is no longer nursing and he can handle more of the nighttime duties.”

“Since I’m a stay-at-home mom and my partner works, I cover the night shift Sunday through Thursday. Fridays are my night off, and we swap Saturdays.”

“My partner gets up with the baby on Saturday mornings so I can get a little rest. I found that clearly communicating my need for sleep without nagging was the easiest way to get him to do this.”

“My husband has his own ways of helping her sleep. It gives me a break, and the variety helps our child get used to different methods.”

“We agreed to let her cry for 10 minutes. Being on the same page about that made it easier for us to get through those times — and made it feel like a joint success when she stopped crying and went to sleep.”

“To prevent making it difficult for my baby to adjust to different schedules and sleeping methods, I just let my husband determine his own routine from the beginning. This also meant that I would have help.”

“One weekend, I went away to give my husband a true parenting experience. This opened his eyes, and after my two-day getaway, he started helping out more. My husband realized quickly how hard being a 24-hour parent was.”

“Whenever I ask my husband if he wants to do the dishes or hold the baby, he usually chooses the latter!”

 

Bottle Feeding During the First Year

Bottle Feeding During the First Year

By | Bottle Feeding, First Year | No Comments
 How often should I bottle feed my baby?

You may notice a pattern within four to eight weeks, but most experts agree that you shouldn’t follow a rigid feeding schedule in the early weeks.
Don’t force feed, but offer your breast or the bottle every two to three hours in the beginning or as your baby shows signs of hunger. Until your child reaches about 10 pounds, she’ll probably take one to three ounces per feeding. Your baby’s doctor should advise you about suitable amounts for your child as she grows.

Do I need to sterilize the bottles?
You shouldn’t need to sterilize your bottles, nipples, and rings every time unless you have well water. In that case, it’s probably best to continue proper sterilization. Generally, you should only sterilize them before the first use. Submerge them in a pot of boiling water for at least five minutes. Allow them to air dry on a clean towel. After that, a good cleaning in hot, soapy water or a cycle through the dishwasher is sufficient.

Minimize exposure to harmful chemicals such as bisphenol A. Sometimes found in plastic bottles, these chemicals are released when heated (such as when boiled, heated in the microwave, or when washed in the dishwasher) and may end up in your baby’s milk.
Bottle-feeding gear, such as bottle drying racks and dishwasher baskets can be found at most baby supply stores. Research which bottle is right for you and when to replace nipples.

Can I mix breast milk and formula?
There’s nothing wrong with mixing breast milk and formula in the same container. However, it’s not recommended simply because you don’t want to waste a single drop of your precious breast milk if you’re pumping and supplementing with formula. Instead, feed your baby whatever breast milk you’ve expressed, and then follow that up with an ounce or two of formula if she wants or needs more. Find out more.

What’s the best way to warm a bottle?
There’s no health reason to heat the milk first, but your baby may prefer it. When you’re ready to feed your baby, you can heat up the bottle in a bowl of warm – not hot or boiling – water, or by running it under the warm tap water. You can also buy a bottle warmer designed for this purpose.
If your baby is accustomed to drinking bottles at room temperature or slightly cold, you save yourself the time and hassle of preheating bottles. This is especially useful when she’s crying to be fed.
Never use a microwave to heat a bottle of breast milk or formula. A microwave heats unevenly and can create hot pockets that may lead to burns. High temperatures can also cause nutrients to break down.

How can I make sure my baby is drinking comfortably?
Listen and observe your baby as she eats. If you hear a lot of noisy sucking sounds while she drinks, she may be taking in too much air. To help your baby swallow less air, hold her at a 45-degree angle and tilt the bottle so that the nipple and neck are always filled with breast milk or formula and not air pockets.

Never prop a bottle as this can cause your baby to choke. Besides, bottle-feeding, like breastfeeding, can be a wonderful time for nurturing your baby by holding her close. Use this feeding time as an opportunity to snuggle and bond with your baby.