Author: Donna Sundblad

Twin Births Not as Rare as They Used to Be

Posted on Jan 30, 2015 by No Comments

Twins run on my husband’s side of the family. His mother had twin sisters, and a couple of his aunts had twins. Plus one of his father’s brothers had a set of identical twins. While that doesn’t sound rare, twins were a rare thing.

My side of the family didn’t have any twins. When my daughter was pregnant, we wondered if it she might have twins, but both of her pregnancies were single births.

In 1995, 96,736 were born. That was up from 1990’s 93,865. While those numbers sound high, when you think about the 4,179,000 babies born in the U.S. in 1990, twin births were still rare.

Now with more and more couples using fertility drugs, the rate of twin births hit a new high in 2013, according to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCCS) at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The numbers had actually stabilized between 2009 and 2012 and then doctors saw a change.

In 2013 they delivered 33.7 sets of twins out of every 1,000 deliveries. Don’t ask me how they get a number with a decimal like that when it comes to children. I never could figure out how we can have 2.3 children. The point is that the 2% increase from 2011 to 2012 is considered large for a single year for a grand total of 131,269 twin births.

To put it into terms that are easier to understand, back in 1980, 1 in 53 babies was born a twin. Now it is one in 30 babies born in the U.S. That’s a big difference making twins less rare than they used to be.

Along with twin births being on the rise, the NCHS reports that in 2014 the number of triplet births and higher multiples is actually on the decrease. They attribute this to better control of fertility treatments that allow one embryo to develop rather than several at a time. Guess they figured we don’t need any more Octomoms.

As for twins, they are still special, but just not as rare as they used to be.

Photo credits: wikimedia

Napping Makes Your Baby Smarter

Posted on Jan 28, 2015 by 1 Comment

I always thought of naps as a break for moms. A time to regroup, a chance to catch up on things, or even a time to sit down and have a cup of coffee without someone tugging on my pant leg saying, “Mommy, mommy….”

Now a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that naps actually play an important role in the child’s development and ability to remember new skills!

While sleep is often linked to benefits in adults, until now it hasn’t been clear what, if any,  benefits it offers to babies. Findings conclude that napping actually helps preschoolers learn.

The research was based on two experiments that included a total of 216 babies who ranged in age from 6 months to 12 months old. The babies were taught how to take mittens off animal puppets. Then one group took a nap and the other did not. Babies were tested either four or 24 hours later to see if they remembered what they had learned.

They found the babies who had taken naps, after learning, remembered what they learned, especially after 24 hours. The evidence offered by these results suggests that an extended nap of 30 minutes or more, within 4 hour hours of learning, helps 6-12 month old babies to “retain their memories for new behaviors across a 4- and 24-hour delay.”

So next time you go to put your baby down for a nap and they fuss about it, remember it is for their own good. It’s more than a break for you, too. It’s helping them formulate long-term memories.

And if you think you might want to lie down for a nap for your own long-term memory, never mind. While naps do have a number of benefits for adults, we don’t need to nap in order to retain new things we’ve learned. But it will help you re-energize.

Photo credits: Jousha Blout

Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us Offer Discounts to Replace Recalled Items

Posted on Jan 26, 2015 by No Comments

When you hear about recalls, they can be handled a number of ways. You can throw away the item and replace it at your own expense. You can order a replacement part and try to figure out to fix the item yourself, or you can ignore the recall and just use the item.

But when it comes to the safety of your baby, you certainly don’t want to risk that last option. Now Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us  is giving us another option. It’s called the Great Trade In.

From Friday, Jan. 23 to Feb. 21, Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us are offering a 25 percent discount off cribs, high chairs, strollers, car seats and other baby essentials to customers who bring in their used and potentially unsafe second-hand baby items. This promotion will be available in 893 stores nationwide.

This isn’t something new. In fact, this year’s event is being dubbed the company’s 10th Great Trade In. In the past, the event has collected over 1.1 million items since 2009, including baby items that don’t meet today’s stricter safety standards due to missing parts or other damage.

With all the recalls on baby items last year, like the 2 million Graco strollers, various car seats, cribs and other necessities, Toys ‘R’ Us (along with Babies ‘R’ Us) is encouraging parents to turn in such recalled and potentially unsafe items.

During the month-long event, customers can bring in used cribs, strollers, car seats, high chairs, infant swings, bouncers, walkers, travel systems, play yards, and bassinets and receive a 25 percent discount on the purchase of a new baby item at full price.

For every item turned in, you can get an additionl 25 percent off a single baby item, with no limit on the number of discounts.

This is a great opportunity to get rid of broken, damaged, and recalled baby items that are unsafe to use. Spread the word on social media using the hashtag #BRUGreatTradeIn.

Photo credits: wikipedia

Shakira Shows Off Baby Bump for UNICEF

Posted on Jan 23, 2015 by 1 Comment

Last August, Shakira announced she was pregnant with her second child. She happened to mention it in an interview with Spain’s Europa Press as she talked about going back to work on her next album once she gave birth.

“Next year, I think after the baby is born, I’ll start producing my new album. A Spanish album, which is what has me most excited right now.”

I don’t know about you, but other people’s pregnancies always seem to go faster than mine did. Shakira posted pics of herself and her soccer player boyfriend, Gerard Pique, and others that included their two-year-old son, Milan, to Facebook and Instagram. She looks great, but it made me realize that her due date is already drawing near.

The pictures were part of UNICEF’s World Baby Shower campaign where people can purchase “inspired gifts” from life-saving items for babies. These items are donated to new families who live in extreme poverty.

The 37-year-old star and her 27-year-old boyfriend are encouraging parents around the world to host World Baby Showers as a way to provide all kinds of vital supplies to families in need, including medicine, food, vaccines.

In a statement published by E! they said, “In 2013, we welcomed Milan, our first child into the world. Thanks to your generosity, our first World Baby Shower for UNICEF was an incredible success!”

They went on to invite other expecting parents to join them with their own World Baby Shower. “You don’t have to be a celebrity to make a difference—the birth of your child can be a blessing that also saves thousands of children’s lives around the world!”

They invite everyone to either buy a gift or hold a shower. In this way everyone can help in their own small way and make a big difference.

Photo credits: Instagram

Do You Sound Like Your Mom?

Posted on Jan 21, 2015 by 7 Comments

My mom used to have those phrases that annoyed me, like “if your friends all jumped off the cliff would you?” Then by the time I became a parent, lo and behold, the same phrases seemed to find their way into my vocabulary on a regular basis!

Do you sound more like your mom than you thought you would? (Answer me when I ask a question.) Other moms I talk to say they do the same. It’s such a good example of the truth behind that statement “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

The reason we say the same things as our mothers is because we are running into the same issues they did. For instance, “Stop playing with your food and eat.” I used to think pushing those roasted carrots around on my plate would somehow make them go away. Or if I said I was full, I could get away without eating them.

It didn’t work. That practice annoyed my parents. Now I can relate.

How many times do we ask “did you?” You know what I mean. Did you clean your room (since I’ve already told you to do it 10 times). Or did you take out the trash, do your homework, brush your teeth, did you say thank you?

I used to call it nagging when I was a kid. Now I call it follow through. It’s how we teach them to be responsible, right?

On the heels of this comes the “I’m not going to tell/ask you again.” When you stand back and look at this one, you realize what an empty threat it really is. Of course you’ll be telling or asking them to do that something again. Remember; it’s part of the follow though.

Then there’s the really stupid, “What did you do?” when you can clearly see they’ve dumped your expensive bottle of shampoo into the tub for a bubble bath.

While we can laugh at most of these as moms, I have to say I always thought I would do things differently. But as I grew up and became a mom, the way I see things changed.

I grew up in a home where we respected our parents, and for the most part did what we were told. I want the same for my kids. I just never figured I journey along the path of mommy catch phrases to get there.

Photo credits: pixabay

Mom Fired for Pumping Breast Milk at Work

Posted on Jan 19, 2015 by 1 Comment

It is stunning enough how many people want to act like breastfeeding is an unnatural and disgusting act, but now one Colorado mom was actually fired for pumping her breast milk while she was at work.

For moms who want to breastfeed but have a baby who won’t suckle, or who have to return to work when their maternity leave is over, this is what they have to do.

The woman who lost her job, Ashley Provino, worked for Big League Haircuts in Denver and has filed a federal lawsuit in which she claims that the owner of the business, Kyle Reed, “adamantly refused” her request to take breaks so she could pump every four hours.

Regular pumping is necessary to keep the milk supply coming in. But Reed told her that the whole concept was “gross” and refused to grant her permission for the regular breaks to pump milk for her infant son. Instead, he cut Provino’s hours until she never worked for more than four hours at any given time and then he finally fired her.

At this time Reed says the accusations are untrue. In fact he says it’s total fiction, and that “She has dollar signs in her eyes and thinks she’s going to win a million dollars,” but another complaint pertaining to the case filed by lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado has an additional worker saying she experienced a similar situation with Reed.

In an ACLU statement, cooperating attorney Paula Greisen said, “Discrimination against breastfeeding mothers in the workplace is not only illegal, it is also bad for Colorado families and businesses, because it forces women out of the workplace.”

Many medical experts recommend breastfeeding as the healthiest option for the first six months. Ashley Provino had a hard time getting her son to suckle, but she was committed to offering him the benefits of breast milk. So she turned to the pump, and ran headlong into another one of those people with a distorted view of what breastfeeding is. Sometimes I think the world has turned upside down when it comes to common sense.

For now, notices have been posted at the shop informing employees about workplace laws, along with training for workers on the issue, and the creation of a private area for nursing mothers.

Thankfully Provino took steps that will pave the way for other mom’s so they don’t have to experience the stress and inconvenience she suffered just to feed her baby.

Photo credits: wikipedia

What We Can Learn From Kate Middleton’s Maternity Fashion

Posted on Jan 16, 2015 by 1 Comment

Pictures of Kate Middleton are popping up everywhere since she has passed her bout with severe morning sickness, and when it comes to maternity fashion the pictures don’t disappoint.

Somehow the princess pulls off looking elegant and sexy even when she’s pregnant. I confess, that is not a trick I learned when donning my maternity outfits. I choose maternity clothes to “make do” since pregnancy is a temporary condition, but that wasn’t necessarily the best decision I could have made.

So what can we learn from the Duchess of Cambridge’s maternity fashion choices?

Not that we can all look like Kate Middleton, but the thing we can learn from her is that she understands her assets and body type.

She has nice legs, so that sky blue double breasted coat she wears these days is cut just above the knee. The double breasted cut lays smoothly across her midsection, and she can wear it with a stylish pair of boots.

I recently spotted a picture of her wearing a black floor-length dress with lace sleeves which gives her a long lean look. Her hair was in an updo, which showed off her long neck. She accessorized with a single pair of dangly earrings that contributed to her elegant profile.

Kate Middleton Maternity
Another black, knee-length dress worn with heels and her hair down included an edgy pattern and a fitted waist. Again, she knows her body type, and her waist, even when pregnant is an asset.

The waistline was cut a little higher, but between the pattern in the dress moving the eye away from the belly, her slender legs accentuated with heels, a neckline that highlighted her collarbone, and a simple pair of earrings, she looked stunning.

So what can we learn from Kate Middleton’s fashion choices? It’s that it is much like fashion any time. You choose clothing that complements your new enhanced body type. She also reminds us that just because we are pregnant, doesn’t mean we have to give up on fashion.

Photo credits: Buzz60

Antibiotics Cautions and Your Child

Posted on Jan 16, 2015 by No Comments

When my kids were young, it amazed me how many other parents I knew would call the doctor and get antibiotics when their kids had a cold.

I’m not a doctor, but I know the cold is a virus and that antibiotics don’t make it go away. Over time, antibiotics have been over prescribed and now experts are talking about “antibiotic resistance” and even fear that a “post-antibiotic era” could be in our future.

One woman I knew experienced this first-hand about 10 years ago. Her 12-year-old son had a bacterial sinus infection, but he had taken so many antibiotics throughout his childhood, that the meds they prescribed didn’t touch his sinus infection.

They tried for months to get it under control, and to make the long story short, the infection spread and endangered his brain. Doctors had to do surgery to get it under control.

Antibiotic resistance is more common in the developed world, but it is now found in countries like India, too. Right now, that country is facing a superbug epidemic and they are having trouble getting it under control.

To put it in perspective, more than 58,000 infants died last year in India after being born with bacterial infections which were resistant to most antibiotics.

No one wants their child to be sick, but remember that antibiotics do nothing for viruses. And using antibiotics when they are not needed, can actually cause trouble later when they are needed.

Antibiotics usually don’t work against common ailments like colds, flu, bronchitis, or sinus infections (unless is it a bacterial sinus infection). Even ear infections are often the result of a virus, and in that case doctors can only offer treatment of the symptoms like a pain reliever to reduce pain and fever.

Many sore throats don’t require antibiotics either. Strep throat is an exception because it is a bacterial infection and requires antibiotics, but your child should have a test to confirm that it is strep.

When my kids were younger, parents would ask for antibiotics and doctors would prescribe them. Now it is time for parents to ask, do my kids really need antibiotics?

Photo credits: TheGreenAppleHome

Study Shows Nail Polish Can Lower IQ in Unborn

Posted on Jan 15, 2015 by No Comments

Many of us enjoy pampering ourselves with a manicure. It’s fun just to relax and have someone else take care of us, and when we walk out with those shiny, colorful nails we feel pretty.

Now a study shows that the chemicals found in nail polish as well as other cosmetics, called phthalates, may potentially be hazardous to the unborn.

The study which was conducted by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and published in the online journal PLOS ONE linked use of nail polish during pregnancy to lower IQ in children.

Preliminary results showed the unborn children exposed to elevated levels of two common chemicals used around the home, di-n-butyl phthalate (DnBP) and di-isobutyl phthalate (DiBP), had IQ scores more than six points lower, at age 7, than other kids who were exposed to lower levels.

When I read the results I wondered exactly how much exposure was required to reach “elevated levels.”

For this study, researchers studied the mothers-to-be’s urine to measure levels of four phthalates. Then when the children were born and reached age 7, the researches tested their IQs. Results “showed significant decrements in IQ associated with two specific phthalates.”

The moms with levels in the top 25 percent had children with IQs up to 6-8 times lower than children born to women who were in the lowest 25 percent of exposure to phthalates. That’s a big difference. In fact it was substantial enough that it even took the researchers by surprise.

While these chemicals are found in nail polishes, they are not the only culprit. These chemical compounds are used to keep products flexible.

Along with nail polish they are used in making cosmetics like soap, shampoo, perfume, hair spray, as well as plastic toys, shower curtains, wallpaper, plastic wrap, etc. They are listed as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.”

More research is needed to understand exactly how the phthalates are connected to the impact on IQ. Speculation is that phthalates may function like endocrine disrupters to the mother’s thyroid hormone which is necessary in the development of a child’s brain.

At this time, the authors of the study say, “These findings are important to inform policy makers of the potentially harmful effects of this class of chemicals.”

Photo credits: LaFemme5278