Posts Tagged ‘toddler’

15 things you should know to care for baby

I thought this was a pretty good little article from USA Weekend.

15 things you need to know to care for Baby
Important lessons from the latest research
By Kelly DiNardo
Forget sugar and spice and everything nice. Your little one is a lot more complicated than that. USA WEEKEND wants to make sure you have a recipe for success, so each year we sift through the most recent scientific studies and research to compile this list of the 15 most important findings you need to know. From getting Baby to love her green beans to avoiding tooth decay, we’ve got you covered so your child can be the focus.

1 Help kids eat veggies. “Ignore the faces Baby makes when you introduce new foods,” says Julie Mennella, one of the authors of a study published in Pediatrics that found repeated exposure to veggies increased babies’ consumption. “We gave babies a taste of green beans for several days, and after about eight days, they were more willing to eat it. They learn to like their veggies.”

2 Lower Baby’s allergy risk. Breast-feeding for four to six months may protect against food allergies, says a newly published policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). “If you can’t breast-feed and you have a history of allergies, choose a low-allergen formula that’s not the regular milk or soy-based formulas,” says Scott Sicherer, M.D., author of Understanding and Managing Your Child’s Food Allergies. “Also, hold off on solid food until your baby is about 4 to 6 months.”

3 Try honey. In January, the Food and Drug Administration advised that children under age 2 should not be given over-the-counter cough and cold medicines because of potential side effects that include rapid heart rates, convulsions and death. Instead, soothe your child’s cough with a teaspoon of honey. A study done by researchers at Penn State Children’s Hospital in Hershey, Pa., compared a teaspoon of buckwheat honey, honey-flavored cough suppressant and no treatment in 105 children with an upper respiratory tract infection and found that honey worked best at calming coughs. However, do not give honey to babies under the age of 1, as there are rare but severe side effects, including infantile botulism. Instead, when Baby gets a cough or cold, treat symptoms with non-aspirin pain reliever and saline nose drops.

4 Quit smoking. Researchers at Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia found that if Mom smoked before breast-feeding, her baby’s sleep was disrupted, and Baby slept for a shorter period of time. “Ideally, Mom will quit smoking,” says Mennella, who co-authored the study. “But if she doesn’t quit, she can time the breast-feeding so that Baby is minimally exposed to the nicotine in the milk. It gets into the milk within a half-hour of smoking and takes two to three hours to leave the body.”

5 Take a test. Well-child visits take about 15 to 30 minutes and cover many issues, including vaccination schedules, so it’s no surprise that when pediatricians are trying to cover so much territory, they fail to identify up to 80% of developmental delays in kids. In a Pediatrics study, researchers found that when parents completed a screening test in which they answered questions about their baby’s development, referral rates for continued evaluation increased by 224%. “Push your doctor to use a standardized developmental tool,” says Hollie Hix-Small, one of the study’s authors. She suggests completing the Ages & Stages questionnaire at “It gives parents a better understanding of where their child should be.”

6 Watch Baby’s mouth. Decay in baby teeth is on the rise among 2- to 5-year-olds, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Keith Morley, D.M.D., president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, offers these tips to keep Baby’s teeth in tip-top shape:

Take Baby to the dentist at age 1.
The dentist can walk parents through a series of things to do with their little one.
Brush Baby’s teeth as soon as they come into his mouth.
Use a fluoride-free toothpaste until he can spit.
Do not let Baby take a bottle to bed if he has teeth.
The sugars in the milk or formula contribute to decay.

7 Go skin to skin. In a review of studies, researchers at Vanderbilt University found that babies who were placed on their mother’s chest with just a blanket over their back were more successful with the initial latching on to Mom’s breast and breast-fed longer. “If possible, hold your newborn there after the first [ever] breast-feeding for about two hours,” says Elizabeth Moore, one of the review’s authors.

8 Skip the bumper. Bumper pads on cribs and bassinets are meant to prevent Baby from hurting herself, but a study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that the risk of accidental death or injury outweighs their possible benefit. The researchers found that over 20 years, there were 27 accidental deaths and 25 non-fatal injuries of children between 1 month and 2 years of age that were attributed to the bumper pads.

9 Turn off the TV. Parents are ignoring the AAP recommendation that children under age 2 not watch TV. According to a study done by researchers at the University of Washington, 40% of babies are regular viewers by the age of 3 months, and 90% of2-year-olds are regular viewers. Studies have shown that early TV viewing is associated with a variety of long-term problems, such as slower development of reading and math skills. Toymakers also are introducing tech devices with screens, like children’s computers, for younger and younger kids. “I don’t see a reason to introduce those products to kids under 2,” says Frederick Zimmerman, the author of the TV study. “Interaction with other people, like parents and older siblings, is far better.”

10 Avoid unnecessary medication. “Every infant under 3 months of age is going to have reflux,” says Vikram Khoshoo, M.D. Khoshoo and researchers from West Jefferson Medical Center near New Orleans measured the reflux, or regurgitation of acid from the stomach into the esophagus, of 44 infants. They found that 42 of the babies were on anti-reflux medication, but only eight should have been. “If your child is gaining weight properly, not having recurrent respiratory problems, not excessively irritable, feeding well and not vomiting blood or bile, they do not need to be on medicine,” Khoshoo says. To help alleviate reflux, give Baby a smaller volume of milk and thicken it with rice cereal, and recline Baby at an angle of about 45 degrees during and after mealtimes. “If that does not help, the child needs to be evaluated,” Khoshoo says. “It’s not good to take unnecessary medications because we are still learning all of the effects.”

11 Check Baby’s head. Since parents have been told to put Baby to sleep on her back to avoid sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the incidence of positional plagiocephaly has increased fivefold. Positional plagiocephaly occurs when Baby’s head becomes slightly misshapen because her skull is soft, and she’s primarily sleeping on one side. Within a year or two, “as the baby starts moving around, they take care of the problem on their own,” says Monica Wehby, M.D., a spokesperson for the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. She suggests rolling up a blanket and angling it under Baby’s shoulder and hip to alleviate pressure on the head. “Don’t prop the head or you’ll risk them suffocating themselves. If you’re concerned or it gets worse, mention it to your pediatrician.”

12 Know the signs. It’s estimated that one in 150 kids are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), a group of disorders that affect social behavior and communication skills. Most parents become concerned when Baby is between 15 and 18 months. Although how the disorder presents itself varies, you may want to talk to your doctor if Baby ignores your efforts to draw her attention, seldom makes eye contact and hasn’t begun babbling after 9 months. If Baby has ASD, she may play differently, too. Kids with ASD often lack creativity, engage in repetitive play and develop attachments to common objects, like string, sticks and rocks, rather than store-bought toys.

13 Follow safe swim rules. After age 1, the primary cause of death for kids is injury. In the past five years, there were, on average, 2,200 children younger than 5 years old treated in emergency rooms for swimming pool-related injuries. “The No. 1 rule is that you never leave a child unattended around a swimming pool,” says Larry Baraff, M.D., professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “You have to be paying attention. You can’t be having an intense conversation.”

14 Check your home. More than 90% of injury-related deaths in children under 1 happen at home, according to the CDC. A study published in Pediatrics found that moms reported a greater use of home safety practices than were actually in use. For example, smoke detectors were found in 97% of participants’ homes, but only about half were working. The AAP recommends the following tips to keep your home safe for Baby:
Make sure drapery and blind cords are out of Baby’s reach.
Be certain the smoke detectors work and that there is one in or near Baby’s bedroom.
Place plug protectors in any unused electrical outlets.
Keep all medicines, vitamins, toiletries and any other potentially poisonous substances in cabinets with child-resistant safety latches.

15 Get Baby vaccinated. The AAP issued new vaccination recommendations in 2007. The changes include giving Baby a hepatitis A vaccine at 1 year of age as a two-dose regimen. Each dose should be given at least six months apart. The AAP also recommends two doses of the varicella vaccine (for chickenpox) — the first given to children between 12 and 15 months and the second between 4 and 6 years.

My comments: I think all these are good an important. However, I the AAP, WHO, AAFP and UNICEF all recommened breastfeeding for 6 months and then gradually offering supplemental foods starting at 6 months.

I would also add that there are many benefits to eating organic foods. Young children consume a great amount of pesticides from foods and this could lead to other health issues. Eating organic foods is much healthier.

I know #15 (vaccinating baby) is being debated by many parents. I believe that parents should do the research and decide what is best for their family. Dr. Sear’s “The Vaccine Book” has been very helpful in our decisions about vaccinating our children.

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BPA in infant formula
Breastmilk contains stem cells
Breastmilk cures
Importance of Breastfeeding
Disturbing news about ARA / DHA in infant formula

Nursing is more than breastfeeding

I thought this was a great little article at SAFbaby.

Breastfeeding isn’t only about providing mother’s milk. While seldom recognized in literature, doctors’ advice or common conversation, there’s a whole lot more to breastfeeding than nutrition and immunity, and some of this can be achieved during bottlefeeding as well.

Breastfeeding has taken quite a bashing over the last century. In order to rebuild acceptance of breastfeeding, breastfeeding advocates have focused on the importance its nutritive and immune support roles. But breastfeeding is designed to be much more than just providing food — it is a time for nursing, a time for comfort and nurturing. This is a time for studying and memorizing each other’s faces, for speaking or singing to your baby and developing her trust and nonverbal communication.
Read more…

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Britax Car Seat sale

Amazon is having a rare sale on Britax car seats, which are touted as being among the best/safest car seats available. I have one and LOVE it. Yes they are a little bigger and heavier than most, but they have performed better than other car seats in crash tests.

The sale is for one week only, so don’t delay! It looks like all Britax seats will also receive free shipping! When I purchased my Britax, all prices were very similar, so free shipping was important to me. But now there is a sale AND free shipping! Can’t beat that!

Britax offers a wide variety of car seats — convertibles, boosters — and in different models with different features. I have the Boulevard, which offers true side impact protection. I have a Civic, so that was an important feature to me. It also had a knob on the side allowing you to adjust the straps to where YOU want them all without having to remove the straps or the seat.

Another thing to watch for is weight limits. The Boulevard is rear-facing up to 35 lbs and forward facing up to 65 pounds. The Roundabout is rear-facing also to 35 lbs, but only forward facing to 40 lbs.

The most important thing about car seats it to make sure they are properly installed!! I NEVER install my own seats. There is a technician at one of the fire stations here who is recommended by Children’s Hospital. He is certified and does hundreds of installations every year. The fact is, death from improper use or installation of car seats is the leading cause of death in infants and children. It’s so not worth it — get it professionally installed fire stations will do this for free, so cost is not an excuse, just takes a few minutes. Your child is worth it!

Other tips for safe car seats and usage:

1. Make sure the seat fits your car and fits your child

2. Keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. This has nothing to do with age or how long your child’s legs are. Rear-facing is the safest position up to the weight limit of the seat or until his head reaches the top of the seat.

3. Use the seat every time! NEVER go anywhere without your child properly restrained in an approved car seat.

4. Watch for recalls, especially important if you are using a second-hand seat.

5. Lifetime of a seat is about 6 years because the plastic starts to breakdown. Again, especially important if you are using a second hand seat.

6. Use a 5 point harrness, LATCH system and tethers.

7. Inspect the seat regularly to ensure it is still secured properly (ideally you would do this each time before putting the child in the seat)

8. Make sure the straps are tight and secure each time you buckle up your child

9. Children up to 80 pounds, 4’9″ and 8-10 years old need to be in some restraint system

Other resources:

Aubrey Organics Kids Line: Product Review

I picked up some Aubrey Organics Kids shampoo, bath soap (liquid) and lotion at Whole Foods in my quest to replace my Arbonne Baby Line with safer products. Aubrey Organics is free of parabens, phthalates, PEGs, dioxanes and sodium laurel sulfate.  My first place of reference in deciding which products to try was the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetic Database. The Aubrey Organics line was rated a 2 out of 10, considered a low hazard.

I like the scent of the shampoo and body wash and it lathers nicely. In a nutshell, it gets the job done.

I did not like that these products were not tear-free. I also prefer an all-in-one shampoo and body wash, but it was not a big deal.

The lotion was also nice and smooth. You do have to shake well before each use and the scent of the lotion was very strong. My husband cannot tolerate it its so strong. And in my first trimester with baby number two, the smell got to me at times too.

The price was in line with most similar products, about $9 for an 8oz bottle.

All in all, it’s a good product line, but could be better. I give it a B- for not being tear-free or an all-in-one wash and for the strongly scented lotion.

BPA and Phthalate Free Pacifiers

Several have asked about BPA pacifiers, I have asked myself since I am 26 weeks pregnant and will be needing new pacis as well. I’ve done a little digging and these are what I found. Please note, this is not a comprehensive list, just the ones I have found. New BPA-free products are coming out all the time and it’s getting hard to keep up, which is a good thing! If you are aware of another product that is BPA free and not listed here, please let me know and I will certainly add it!

As far as I know there are not any BPA-free Avent or MAM pacifiers. The bulky part that sits on the baby’s mouth contains BPA, not the nipple. Silicone and latex nipples on bottles, sippy cups and pacifiers do not contain BPA. 

And since phthalates will be found in teethers, bath toys and rubber duckies for the next 6 months, I am working on lists for those too, so check back for more lists!

BPA & Phthalate Free Pacifiers

Born Free: 0-6 month Day and Night version and the 6+ month Day and Night version
Evenflo: Mimi Soft Touch, Mimi Premium, Mimi Neo One-Piece, Vizion, Fuzion, and Illuzion
Gerber: NUK Original, NUK Classic, NUK Nautical
Gumdrop Silicon Pacifiers
Happy Baby Soothers
Natursutten Natural Rubber Paci
Playtex: Playtex “Binky” (one piece silicone pacifier), Binky Most Like Mother Latex Pacifier, Binky Most Like Mother Silicone Pacifier, Binky Angled Pacifier, Ortho-Pro Pacifier  
The First Years: Soothies Silicone, Teething Pacifier,  Safe Comfort, Ultra Kip
Vice Versa Binky w/ Case

Please check back for more lists, coming soon!

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Congress Passes Ban on Phthalates

Recently, Congress voted to pass the Children’s Safe Product Act of 2008 which would ban phthalates, lead and cadmium from products targeted to children under 12.

Phthalates are used in children’s toys to give them their flexibility, as well as in many body care products (usually identified if the product contains “fragrance” as an ingredient. Phthalates are believed to cause early puberty in girls, premature delivery, impaired sperm quality and sperm damage in men, genital defects and reduced testosterone production in boys, genital defects and testicular cancer.

Lead, as everyone knows, is toxic and can lead to irreversible brain damage, particularly in small children. When the act takes effect, all toys will be required to go through lead testing BEFORE they hit retailers shelves (what a revolutionary idea). This falls under my “no duh” category, but grateful congress is finally seeing the light and taking steps to protect the most vulnerable consumers – our children.

While this is nothing short of great news, unfortunately, this will not be in time for parents to feel secure in buying safe products for Christmas, as the act will not take effect for 6 months. I also understand retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target will stop selling such products as of January 2009.

However, the act is certainly a good thing and a step in the right direction. From what I gather, the act is also supposed to continually review chemicals and ingredients in children’s products and constantly improve them and continue to ban harmful substances.

I do question what they are replacing phthalates with, and is it safe?  

News Articles:

Fox News
ABC news article
Bush to sign bill

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Kirkland Baby Wipes Contain Hazardous Ingredient
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BPA found in canned foods

This is really no surprise, but I found this Canadian article today discussing why this is an issue and why we should be concerned. The highest concern in canned foods is more acidic foods, such as tomatos and ravioli, but also chicken noodle soup. Foods often consumed by young children who are more susceptible to the harmful effects of BPA.

The article links to this great report done by Environmental Health Perspectives.


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