Category Archives: Baby Health

Introducing Your Baby to Solid Food

baby eatingBabies can begin to eat solid foods between four and six months. Until that time, breast milk or formula will provide all the nutrition your baby needs.

You will know that you can start to introduce solid food when your baby is able to sit up well and hold up his or her head. Your baby should also stop trying to push food out with his or her tongue. Your baby may also begin to make chewing motions and seem hungry even after eight to 10 feedings per day of breast milk or formula. Your baby will probably begin to show interest in foods that you are eating. Most babies are ready to try solid foods when they have doubled their birth weight and are at least four months old.

When introducing solid foods, you should first give your baby breast milk or formula. Then give the baby pureed solid food, such as sweet potatoes, squash, applesauce, bananas, peaches, or pears, or a small amount of single-grain cereal mixed with enough breast milk or formula to make it semi-liquid. Use a soft-tipped plastic spoon, and begin with a small amount of food on the tip of the spoon. Do not add cereal to your baby’s bottle, because he or she may not realize that food is meant to be eaten with a spoon while sitting up. After your baby gets used to eating pureed or semi-liquid foods, you can progress to strained or mashed food, and then to small pieces of finger foods.

Introduce new foods one at a time, and wait at least three days to see if your baby has an allergic reaction before introducing a different food. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include diarrhea, vomiting, swelling in the face, wheezing, or a rash. Your pediatrician may recommend that you wait to introduce foods that have a greater likelihood of causing an allergic reaction, such as soy, dairy, eggs, wheat, fish, and nuts.

You do not need to introduce foods in any particular order. If your baby doesn’t seem interested in a particular food, wait a week and try again.

Begin feeding your baby solid food once a day, and give him or her time to get used to the spoon and swallowing food. You can gradually increase the amount of solid food and mix less breast milk or formula with the cereal. Feed your baby solid food once a day at first, then twice a day at six or seven months, and then three times a day at eight months. If your baby leans back in the chair, turns his or her head away from the food, plays with the spoon, or refuses to open his or her mouth, your baby has had enough to eat.

If you are feeding your baby jars of baby food, put some in a bowl and feed your baby from that. If you put the spoon in your baby’s mouth and dip it back in the jar, you will not be able to use the leftover food later. Throw away any jars of unused baby food within two days of opening them.

You can start feeding your baby in a car seat or bouncy seat and switch to a high chair when your baby is able to sit up on his or her own.

Your baby’s stools may smell different and become firmer after you introduce solid food. If your baby becomes constipated, avoid rice cereal, bananas, and applesauce and give other fruits and vegetables and oatmeal or barley cereal instead. You can also offer your baby two to four ounces of water in a sippy cup.

; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA;”>You should still give your baby breast milk or formula until one year of age. Solid food cannot replace all of the vitamins, iron, and protein in breast milk or formula.

Does Your Baby Have Colic?

pediatricianIf your baby cries a lot and you can’t figure out the cause, it could be colic. Colic is defined as uncontrollable crying in an otherwise healthy, well-fed baby for more than three hours in a row on three or more days per week for three or more weeks.

Colic usually begins when a baby is two to three weeks old, or two to three weeks after the due date, if the baby was premature. Babies with colic frequently cry in the late afternoon or evening. The crying usually is at its worst around six weeks, improves considerably between three and four months, and ends by five months.

Colic is common in babies regardless of whether they are first-born or later-born, male or female, and fed breast milk or formula. There may be multiple causes.

Your baby could have colic because his or her digestive system is immature or sensitive and is having trouble breaking down the proteins in breast milk or formula. Crying and screaming can also cause your baby to swallow air, which can contribute to gassiness. If you notice that your baby’s crying gets worse after a feeding or before a bowel movement, it could be a result of digestive problems.

Some experts believe babies can become colicky due to overstimulation. They can be overwhelmed by all the sights, sounds, and sensations around them and cry as a result. Try to reduce the amount of stimulation around your baby. Some babies respond well to hearing music or background noise, such as a running dryer or vacuum.

If you breastfeed your baby, he or she may develop colic because of something in your diet. Dairy products are one of the most likely causes. Try cutting back on milk, cheese, and yogurt for two weeks to see if the crying lessens. Other possible causes from your diet might be spicy food, wheat products, nuts, strawberries, cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower), garlic, caffeine, and alcohol. Try avoiding all of these foods for a few days. If your baby cries less, you will know that one of them was causing the crying. Reintroduce the foods one at a time every few days. If your baby starts crying again, you will know which food was the cause and can avoid it in the future.

Formula generally does not cause colic, but your pediatrician may suggest that you switch to a formula that does not contain cow’s milk protein. Colic is also more common in the babies of women who smoked during or after pregnancy.

If you think your baby might have colic, schedule a visit with your pediatrician. He or she can rule out other possible causes, such as an intestinal or urinary infection, and help you decide how to deal with it. If your baby experiences fever, vomiting, or bloody stools, call your pediatrician right away. These are not signs of colic.

If your baby’s crying is wearing you out, take a break and spend some time doing something you enjoy. Ask a family member or friend to take care of the baby for a while so you can regroup. Don’t hesitate to discuss your problems with your pediatrician. He or she can help you find a solution.

Should You Give Your Baby a Pacifier?

Many parents have heard conflicting advice on whether or not they should let their baby suck on a pacifier. Pediatricians say there are pros and cons.
A pacifier can be an effective way to calm a crying baby. Babies soothe themselves through their suck reflex. Some babies do not get enough time with a bottle or breastfeeding and may benefit from sucking on a pacifier. It is also easier to get a child to stop sucking on a pacifier than to stop sucking on a thumb.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents let a baby fall asleep with a pacifier for the first year to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). It is helpful to have the baby suck on the pacifier while falling asleep, but there is no additional benefit after the baby has already fallen asleep.

There are potential downsides to allowing your baby to suck on a pacifier. If a pacifier is introduced too early, a baby who is just learning to nurse may become confused. You should wait to introduce a pacifier until after your baby has gotten used to nursing, which typically takes a few weeks. Parents also sometimes offer their baby a pacifier when the baby is really hungry.

baby pacifierA study has found that children who use pacifiers are more likely to develop ear infections. Researchers believe this may be due to a change in pressure between the middle ear and the upper throat.

Babies who suck on a pacifier too much can develop misaligned teeth if the mouth becomes fixed in an unnatural position. Talking with a pacifier in the mouth can also lead to speech problems.

If you decide to give your baby a pacifier, check the label to be sure it is the right size for your child’s age. Select a pacifier with a symmetrical nipple and a shield that is wider than your baby’s mouth and has air holes. Choose a bisphenol A-free plastic pacifier. Studies have shown that some plastics can disrupt infants’ endocrine systems.

You should never put a pacifier on a cord around your baby’s neck or crib because the baby could be strangled. You should not allow children to share a pacifier. Do not dip the pacifier in anything sweet, especially not honey, before giving it to your baby. If the pacifier falls on the floor, rinse it well, or better, clean it with soap and water.

Pediatricians are divided on when is the appropriate time to wean a child off a pacifier, with some suggesting nine to 12 months and others saying by three years.

When you decide that it is time for the pacifier to go, tell your child in advance so that he or she is prepared. You can gradually wean your child off the pacifier by limiting its use to certain rooms or times and by not putting it back in your baby’s mouth if it falls out at night. You can cut the pacifier, show your child that it is damaged, and throw it away together. Never give a damaged pacifier to your child. Many children naturally lose interest in a pacifier around six to 12 months of age. Once you have decided that your child should give up the pacifier, be consistent and do not give in if your child asks for it.

Study says Bottle-Feeding Doubles Obesity Risk for Babies

Bottle Feeding

A new study published in Pediatric obesity found that by babies who are formula fed are at higher risk of becoming obese by age two. Formula fed babies were found to be two and a half times more likely to be obese than babies who are breast fed during their first six months of life.

The study involved over 8,000 babies. Researchers also found that there were two other feeding patterns that increased the threat of early childhood obesity. Feeding your child solid foods before four months increased their risk by 40 percent, and putting them to bed with a bottle increased their risk by 30 percent.

Does formula make babies fat?

Research has shown that breast fed babies are less likely to become obese, all the reasons for this link are not known. Lead study author Ben Gibbs, Ph.D., said;

“While there are nutritional differences between formula and breast milk, there is also a cluster of unhealthy feeding behaviors that can go along with using formula, such as the expectation that the child should finish the bottle. It’s like insisting that kids clean their plate at mealtime, which teaches them to ignore their natural hunger signals.”

There are substances in break milk that help infants know when they are full. Babies will just stop nursing when they are full during breast feeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that you should exclusively breastfeed your child for the first six months.

Are you over-feeding your baby?

Many parents who feed their baby formula often make the mistake of constantly giving their baby a bottle at the first signs of fussiness. Many times the reason for their behavior is not hunger related. Your baby will turn their head away from the bottle or start chewing on the nipple instead of sucking when they are full. Pay attention for these signs if you formula feed your baby to avoid over-feeding them.

How to protect your baby from obesity

There are many things you can do to protect your child from becoming obese. Here are a few:

• Avoid feeding your baby solid foods before 6 months.
• When you do introduce solid foods, start with vegetables and cereal, and other foods that aren’t sweet.
• When they do start eating solid foods, stop feeding your baby when they start pushing the spoon away.
• Do not give your baby sugary drinks, they are the #1 cause of childhood obesity.
• Make sure your baby gets lots of opportunities to be active.

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March of Dimes Raises Money for Babies

March of Dimes

Every week in New Jersey alone, 2,122 babies are born. However, 254 of them are born prematurely and about 176 will be born with low birth weight. 12 of these babies will not get to see their first birthday. In the United States, nearly half a million babies are born prematurely and more than 120,000 will be born with serious birth defects. Every year the March of Dimes helps raise funds for research and outreach programs for those babies who are affected.

As a national organization, the March of Dimes strives to prevent birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. The foundation raises funds for research, education, and advocacy all across the United States and has been doing so for 75 years.March for babies

If you are a parent of one or more of the 12,419 babies that were born prematurely in New Jersey this year, you will have benefited from the work of the March of Dimes. A family whose baby is in the NICU can know that their child will receive specialized care, thanks in part to the March of Dimes organization. Thanks to support from other companies, the March of Dimes is making progress in reducing the rate of premature birth.

The Middlesex County March for Babies hopes to help raise funds and awareness. The goal of the walkathon is to raise $100,000. The March for babies is held in 778 communities across the United States and involves more than 7 million people every year. It is a great event for a great cause. The Middlesex County March for Babies will be held on April 28th at Johnson Park, in Piscataway.

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How to Make Chalkboard Lids for Baby Food Jars

Chalkboard Jar Lids

As your child starts to get older they will stop using breast milk and formula and start eating solid foods. Many parents are making their only baby food and freezing it to save money and give their kids more natural foods. However, jarring your won baby food in bulk can make the contents hard to figure out and when you made it will be impossible to remember. Creating chalkboard lids for the jars is a creative way to keep track of the contents and when you made them.

Making chalkboard lids for your baby food is great whether you made the food yourself or purchased them at the store. You might have multiple children and one may have a food allergy. By having the ability to write the contents on the lid you will never give your child the wrong food. If you bought the baby food at the store, the chalkboard lid will give you the ability to write when you opened it, so you will never feed your children old food. Here is how you make the chalkboard lids:

Supplies:
• Chalkboard Spray Paint
• Baby food glass jars and lids
• Chalk Ink food-safe non-toxic washable markers
• Double sided tape
• cardboard box

Step One: Cut one side of the cardboard box to make a three-sided spraying booth. Place double sided tape on the bottom of the box and place the lids on top – this will keep them from blowing around while being sprayed.

Making Chalkboard Lids

Step Two: Carefully spray fine coats of chalkboard spray paint, building up layers as you go. **Be sure to avoid spraying the inside of the lids if one should flip over.**

Spraying Lids

Step Three: Write on the lids using the chalk ink marker. Hand wash the lids using a damp cloth when you wish to write something new on them. Over time the lids can chip a bit. Re-spray them as needed.

Chalkboard Lids

The chalkboard lids will save you money, save the environment by recycling, and provide clear labels for all of your children’s food.

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Children and Sugar: How Much Is Too Much?

children and sugarAlthough the direct association between sugar and hyperactivity has been debunked, another issue has arisen in recent years: Just how much sugar should a child receive? High levels of added sugar in a diet have been correlated with increased risks of obesity, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes, and breakfast cereals geared toward children, some of which are 56-percent sugar by weight, certainly don’t help.

A March 2012 piece from the May Clinic indicates that, while children consume less than they used to, 16 percent of their daily calories, on average, come from added sugars, including honey, high fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, and any other non-naturally occurring sugar products. Ideally, just five to 15 percent of a child’s diet should be from added sugars.

The Mayo Clinic further indicates that most of these calories are consumed at home – not in school, as programs like Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution get many to believe. In response, it ultimately comes down to the parents to determine how much sugar a child consumes. So, what should you consider?

Sugar Levels: Preschoolers should have no more than 170 calories per day, and 4 through 8 years olds no more than 130 calories per day.

Always Read Nutrition Labels: Because labels seldom have “sugar” and may have, instead, a product like “anhydrous dextrose” or “corn syrup solids” added, parents should check all labels for added sugars before buying.

Watch What They Eat: Also contrary to previous notions, sugar mostly comes from foods consumed, rather than beverages. In either case, opt for whole grains instead of white or starchy foods, and choose water and unflavored milk over juices and sodas. Additionally, check “healthy” seeming foods, such as yogurts, for high amounts of added sugar. Although sweets shouldn’t fully be cut from your children’s diet, limit treats and desserts down to just once a week.

Baby Born With HIV Considered Cured

hiv babyReported last week, a Mississippi baby born with HIV two years ago has been “functionally” cured. While the child has not been identified, he or she no longer displays signs of infection, despite not taking medications for a year. Although the child is not officially cured, if the baby remains healthy, he or she will be the second person in the world cured from the virus.

With the findings announced at the 2013 Conference on Retrovirus and Opportunistic Infections in Atlanta, the study found that the child was diagnosed at birth, without the mother receiving prior prenatal care or HIV treatment. In 30 hours after birth, he or she was transferred to the University of Mississippi Medical Center for antiretroviral treatment, and eventually, doctors prescribed three aggressive drugs.

The child’s viral load, upon birth, was high but then decreased in the first month. Although he or she continued to receive care until 12 to 15 months of age, doctors lost touch with the mother; the child, as a result, was no longer on medication. At 23 weeks, however, the baby was examined again, and at the time, the viral loads were still undetectable.

Although a notable and likely rare case, this instance, the New York Times points out, is not as clear cut as HIV-infected to cure. Multiple factors must still be resolved. First, as the mother never received treatment in pregnancy, which can stop the spread of the virus to the child, researchers must prove the baby was born infected and that treatment didn’t simply block the child from absorbing the infection. Second, researchers must also find out that the treatment – far more aggressive than what is typically administered – didn’t simply produce exceptional results. Should both of these be determined, however, the treatment could end up being used globally.

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Study Correlates Smog Exposure With Lower Birth Weights

baby weight smog studyLow birth weights, often associated with premature babies, are a significant concern for parents. An international study published recently reveals that areas with higher concentrations of smog, or particulate pollution, are correlated with this risk.

Smog can originate from a vehicle, coal power plant, or similar source, but certain regions control and regulate it better than others. The published study involved analyzing data from 3 million births in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, with low birth weights constituting any child born under 5.5 pounds. Although there is no cause-and-effect relationship, the results found that children born in areas with higher concentrations of such pollution were more likely to have been underweight.

About the results, Tracey Woodruff, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, stated: “What’s significant is that these are air-pollution levels to which practically everyone in the world is commonly exposed. These microscopic particles, which are smaller than the width of a human hair, are in the air that we all breathe.”

While the U.S. has tighter regulations regarding smog than other parts of the world, quickly-developing countries, such as China, do not have such standards in place. Also involved in the study, Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, of the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Spain, stated about this concern: “From the perspective of world health, levels like this are obviously completely unsustainable.”

A long list of health concerns follow children born in this weight range. Although some end up healthy, others, early on, have greater risks of respiratory distress syndrome, intraventricular hemorrhage, patent ductus arteriosis, necrotizing enterocolitis, and retinopathy of prematurity. Later on, children that survive are prone to high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.

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Baby Perfume: Good or Bad?

Dolce Gabbana baby perfumesLast week, news of a Dolce & Gabbana baby perfume set the blogosphere on fire. Such a product’s uselessness, marketing techniques, and safety were called out, but in writing about it, Forbes indicated that this typically-European item is part of a luxury baby products trend, one that grew 8.6 percent from 2000 to ’12 and is predicted to increase an additional 7.6 percent by 2016. Additionally, the magazine pointed out, Dolce & Gabbana isn’t the first to make baby perfume; Johnson & Johnson, Bulgari, and Burberry already have such products.

What does this scent smell like? Honey, citrus, and musk. According to marketing copy, the combination is meant to replicate and enhance a baby’s natural smell: “How can babies smell even sweeter than they already do? That familiar smell associated with babies that melts our hearts will only be accentuated by this Dolce&Gabbana fragrance.”

What’s next? Baby cosmetics to enhance a child’s already-delicate features?

Forbes goes onto highlight the concerns associated with baby perfumes, including a U.S. loophole that does not require fragrance manufacturers to disclose all ingredients. In several cases, according to a 2010, chemical DEP – associated with developmental issues – has been found in perfumes and scented products.

Blog Fashionista, in investigating this phenomenon, interviewed Frederick Bouchardy, the founder of Joya Perfumes. While explaining such products have already been around for several years in Europe, Bouchardy went onto say that adult’s and children’s scents are similarly-designed and meant for bonding: “I think it’s supposed to be a shared experience–mom and child are meant to smell the same.”

The only difference, at least when it comes to European products, is the use of alcohol; baby perfumes typically do not add it as an ingredient. Additionally, Bouchardy pointed out, several baby products already have fragrances included.

Where do you stand on the issue of baby perfume? Is it unnecessary, something parents should be concerned about, or an issue that’s not such a big deal?

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