Monthly Archives: March 2010

More BPA News

We’ve discussed before various alternatives to using baby bottles with BPA. But, while many baby product retailers, both large and small, have eliminated or reduced the amount of products with BPA in them, whether the chemical is banned in baby products on a larger level is up to the states, according to an article published recently in USA Today. So far, according to the article, Connecticut and Minnesota have banned the use of BPA in products meant for children under three years of age. Other states are on the way with enacting similar bans.

But, although we’ve seen some alternatives to using bottles with BPA, mainly breastfeeding and using stainless steel bottles, what do you do when you might possibly have an older cup or bottle that could contain BPA? Some options include:

• Finding out if it actually has BPA. Often, plastic products with recycling codes 3 and 7 on the bottom contain BPA. If these are meant for children, throw them out.
• If you’re unsure about any plastic products, don’t put warm or hot liquids inside. If the plastic product is scratched, throw it out, as well.
• If using plastics makes you nervous, rely on an alternative method, such as the stainless steel bottles mentioned above or breastfeeding.

BPA in baby products, including bottles, formula cans, and baby food, has become an issue recently. The chemical, which seems to have hormone-altering effects, can possibly have long-term effects on a child’s brain development. Typically, the chemical is commonplace in many plastic products for hardening and also for lining metal cans. In fact, if you’re an adult, you’re probably exposed to some BPA on a daily basis. But, while the effect isn’t significant for adults, it can be for children, which is why many states are currently pushing for bans on this chemical.

Traveling with your Baby

What’s it like for you to travel with a new baby? Whether you already have a child or are planning for one, going anywhere far away with your young child can be difficult. Large pieces of baby gear need to be brought along for the necessities, including a diaper bag, stroller, travel crib or playpen, and car seat. Additionally, airlines often charge more for transporting these items. It seems almost practical to stay home and not go anywhere until your child turns two. Of course, this doesn’t always have to be the case, and in Edmonton, Canada, a recent business opened that allows traveling parents to rent baby products.

With such a service, all of the necessities needed for your baby are already in the city and the cost isn’t in transporting them but renting them. The Edmonton-based business, called One Tiny Suitcase, carries many standard baby items and even has them delivered if you need them. This includes all of the items listed above that parents will need for a vacation with their child. Additionally, many of the products supplied by One Tiny Suitcase are from high-end brands, so the chance of receiving a product that isn’t stable or has been recalled is less.

The article linked above claims that many cities in the US and Canada offer such services. As the cost of transporting baby items is nearly equal to their cumbersome nature, such services are practically necessary for families with a new baby wanting to go on vacation. In this case, look up any small businesses while planning your trip that would allow you to rent any basic baby products. See what they offer – do they meet all of your needs? – and base your packing decisions on what you’ll be able to rent.

More Disproving Baby Einstein

So, in addition to interacting with your baby or young child to help with language skills, you think that using Baby Einstein – or My Baby Can Read, or a similar DVD series – that claims to enhance your child’s language skills simply by watching. But, does this actually help? Although we’ve seen studies disproving this notion, a recent article published in Time Magazine details why such language-enhancing DVDs don’t actually do anything. While many educational toys for infants – even those red, black, and white ones – are designed to enhance physical skills, the issue with language DVDs is overstimulation – even to the point of paralysis.

Like past studied to determine the value of Baby Einstein videos, University of California at Riverside took another look at this subject recently, as mentioned in Time. They used the Baby Wordsworth DVD from the series and tested children between 12 and 24 months old. They were to watch it each day for six weeks and then the children were tested for their language skills at the end of the period. Predictably, none of the children’s language skills improved during that period.

Instead, this study – and similar ones before it – found that the best way for a child to develop language skills is through a live speaker, particularly one who is repetitive with certain words. Although why a live speaker is better than an video hasn’t fully been studied, some claim that the parent-ese – or baby talk used – is easier for a child to understand and respond to. As a result, the best way for a child to acquire new words is through interaction. Whether going outside, playing together, or reading, you and your child can learn new words, particularly is certain ones are repeated over and over. Over time, this interaction and repetitive approach will cause your child to pick up on language skills.

What is the Best Time to Have a Baby?

While plenty of articles discuss women’s fertility in relation to the ideal age to have children, being at the most fertile – early 20s, according to the linked article from the Washington Post — doesn’t correlate with being emotionally and financially secure enough to have children. As the 20s are now considered an extension of the teenage years in terms of finding one’s self and becoming settled with a career, the 30s are a period with more emotionally stability. As a result, more career women and their husbands end up having children in their early 30s because of this stability. Why bring a child into the world at 22 when you can barely support yourself a few months out of college?

A survey recently done by The Bump and Forbes.com tried to find the ideal age for having a baby. Their study, however, didn’t entirely some up with an exact answer and, instead, perspective makes up the bulk of the results. Some of the findings include:

• Mothers between 30 and 34 wish they had their first child younger, from 25 to 29 instead.
• Older women above 39 wish they had their first child between 30 and 34.
• Those who had children between 25 and 29 were somewhat content with this period.
• A significant percentage – nearly two-thirds – thought that having a child negatively impacts their careers. This was found to be an assumption for both working and stay-at-home mothers. Mothers who went back to work, however, often had negative feelings, particularly guilt and not caring, upon returning to their jobs.

So, based upon these results, is there any time in which both emotional and financial security and fertility meet? Probably within the 25 to 29 years of age period. But, nevertheless, the “right” time is all about perspective. If you’re not emotionally or financially ready, even at 30, having a child then might not be the ideal time.

Women Giving Birth Later Puts Children at Risk for Autism

A recent study indicates that women who get pregnant over age forty increase the risk of autism in their children. This study, which examined 4.9 million births in the 1990s, found that women who have children after 40 are more likely to have children with some autistic spectrum disorder. Autism isn’t the only risk for having a late-life pregnancy, however. Risks of birth defects, lower birth weights, and downs syndrome also increase. In fact, according to the article in link above, the chance of having an autistic child if you’re over 40 increases to 51 percent, although only five percent of total autism cases are from women who had children later in life.

What could be some of the causes? One explanation, according to the article, is changes to DNA. The older a person gets, the more damage their DNA endures. This, inevitably, increases the likelihood that a child born to a woman older than 40 years may experience birth defects more so than a child of a women in her 20s. But women aren’t the only ones to blame. Men also increase these factors, as well, when he is older and his wife is younger than 30.

Autism is said to be a growing concern, with every one out of 110 children born with some autistic spectrum disorder. But, because the definition of what is autism has expanded, since 1994, to include Asperger’s syndrome, more severe autism cases, and PDDNOS, the increase of children being diagnosed correlates to the increased definition and inclusion of the milder Asperger’s syndrome. Although the cause still isn’t fully known, theories involving vaccines have recently been detracted. Nevertheless, if you’re considering becoming a parent, the risk of having a child born with autism increases in your 40s, in addition to the other birth defects mentioned.