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White Noise May Help Baby Sleep

Posted on Jul 28, 2014 by No Comments

I made the mistake of bringing my crying, teething baby into my bed during the night. She’d fall back to sleep and so would I. That’s not only a bad habit, it’s not safe. So once she cut four teeth, I tried to break the routine.

I’d nurse her, put her back to bed, and a screaming unhappy baby doesn’t begin to convey the stress my husband and I experienced. I’d give in just to get some sleep. That was another mistake. All I did was reinforce that crying is how she’d get what she wanted.

When I talked with my pediatrician about it he instructed me to make sure all her needs were met and to let her cry. If she was still crying in 10 minutes to check on her but not to take her out of the crib. Three nights of this and she was sleeping through the night, but it was a nerve-racking experience.

Now parents are turning to white noise to help crying babies to fall asleep. Actually, this isn’t a new idea. In a bygone era, Grandma might have turned on the TV to an off-air channel or turned on an electric fan to get the same result.

White noise can work as a distraction and in some cases even contradicts conventional “be quiet the baby is sleeping” wisdom. Instead, white noise can help babies fall asleep and stay asleep.

Maybe a sound machine should be a nursery accessory. They even make them to look like toys that can be strapped to your crib or stroller if you’re on the go. These soft, adorable looking sleep-time sound machines play calming sounds perfect for helping a wailing baby to fall asleep.

While these sleep sound machines look like toys, they are not and should not be placed in the crib as they can pose a choking hazard to children under three.

For those who don’t want to invest in a toy-like sound machine, apps like Baby Soothe are available on iPhones and Androids. The app features repetitive soothing sounds like rain, waterfalls, heartbeats, fans, even vacuum cleaners and more. With the app, you can even combine sounds to create white noise that work best for your baby.

Photo credits: Amazon

Should You Use a Night Light for Your Baby?

Posted on Jul 24, 2014 by 1 Comment

When my daughter was three years old, all of a sudden she started waking during the night afraid of a “monster” in her room.

I finally figured out that during the winter months, the bare branches of the tree outside her window created a scary shadow on her wall that moved with the wind. I added a night light to her room and it scared the monster away.

Today, night lights can be purchased that complement your nursery décor or showcase other interests. But is it good to put a night light in your baby’s room?

Tardis night light

This Tardis night light is not recommended for children under three.

My daughter wasn’t afraid of the dark until she was three, and the dark never bothered my son. It turns out that children don’t experience night-time anxiety until they are two or three because that’s when their cognitive development has reached a stage where they can understand the concept of fear and can even imagine scary things like the monster on the wall.

Should you use a night light? Experts say that if your child fears the dark, a night light can help dispel that, but the light should not illuminate the room too much because toddlers sleep better in a dark room.

And if you decide to buy a decorative type night light, it’s important to check warnings because some include choking hazards and are not suitable for children under three years old. For instance, Dr. Who fans may love the idea of a tardis night light but it is not appropriate for young children!

If you’ve heard concerns about night lights harming your child’s vision, that belief dates back to the late 90s and has since been disproved. At that time, parents grew alarmed about night-lights and vision problems after a study found a link between night-light use for children under two and the development of myopia (near-sightedness).

Since then follow-up studies found no relationship between night-lights and near-sightedness and the authors of the original study have even backed away from those findings. Plus, kids under two don’t really need a night light! If you’re child is afraid of the dark, go ahead and get a night light.

Photo credits: Amazon, Amazon

Is Kate Middleton Pregnant with Second Child?

Posted on Jul 23, 2014 by 1 Comment

When I learned I was pregnant with my second child, I chose not to make mention of it for a few months. My first child was only 13 months old, and I just wanted to experience “normal” life for a little longer before people started asking all the pregnancy-related questions, and eyeing my belly for signs of the bump.

Now with the Internet abuzz with rumors that Kate Middleton is expecting her second child, I almost feel sorry for her.

The Duchess received all kinds of attention when pregnant with Prince George and people are ready for more…but is 32-year-old Kate Middleton ready for all that again this soon? The rumors are based on a childhood friend’s claim that a sibling is on the way, but Kensington Palace has said Kate hasn’t talked to that friend in years.

I tend to believe Kensington Palace, because anyone who is a true friend and learned Kate was pregnant would share the joy but keep the news to themselves. But now with these statements, people are looking at Kate with a critical eye searching for “the” signs.

Is her face fuller? After all, her face looked fuller when she was expecting the Prince. Other rumors suggest she holds something in front of her stomach when she is out among people, but really what is she suppose to do with her purse or the flowers someone hands her?

So is she pregnant or not? Rumors say yes; Kensington Palace has said…that she hasn’t been in touch with that old childhood friend for years. They did not say that she isn’t pregnant. So that has stirred more speculation because they didn’t deny the rumors.

It leaves the royal watchers chomping at the bit, but along with them we’ll all have to wait and see. This isn’t the first time rumors have suggested baby number two was on the way. Remember that little slip William made when accepting a baby gift from a woman in New Zealand? He told that woman she may have to make another one soon for baby number two. But Kate wasn’t pregnant.

Even if she is expecting now, she may want to wait a little while before making an announcement. Let’s give her some space. After all, remember how sick she was the first time round?

Photo credits: CLIKATV

Barnes & Noble Promises New Nursing-Friendly Policy

Posted on Jul 22, 2014 by No Comments

Back in March, an assistant manager at the Nanuet Barnes & Nobel told 22-year-old mom Shereen Matera that she would either have to cover up or leave the store if she planned to keep breastfeeding her five-month old son. Matera tried to calmly explain that the law in New York allows women to breastfeed in public, but the employee said the store had a different policy.

Matera went home where she ended up posting her experience on Facebook with the group Badass Breastfeeders of New Jersey. Members of the group were as upset Matera and the outrage spawned an organized nurse-in at the bookstore the following day.

This protest caught the attention of state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman who decided to look into the situation. For him it seemed to be an issue of women’s rights, and following months of deliberation, Schneiderman and Barnes & Noble came to a settlement which will result in some changes for the nationwide chain’s 42 stores in New York.

Barnes & Noble is now required to train its store workers on the state’s breastfeeding law which allows mothers to nurse in public. The stores will also be displaying the international symbol for breastfeeding at the store entrance, and they are donating $10,000 to a breastfeeding support group overseen by the Rockland Department of Health.

New York’s breastfeeding law has been around for 20 years, and according to Schneiderman, “All New York residents, including breastfeeding mothers, must be afforded equal protection under the law. No mother should endure harassment for breastfeeding her baby in public. There is one set of rules for everyone in New York, and I applaud Barnes & Noble for taking steps to ensure that moms are not harassed or discriminated against.”

Matera says she is pleased with the outcome, but says a simple apology would have been satisfactory.

Photo credits: Christine K

Giving Up Caffeine for Your Baby

Posted on Jul 21, 2014 by 1 Comment

Contradicting information surrounds caffeine and pregnancy. Do you have to give it up or not? Actually that’s between you and your doctor.

My doctor suggested limiting my intake. In the UK, the NHS recommends limiting caffeine intake to 200mg a day which is about the equivalent to two mugs of instant coffee or 2-3 cups of tea. However, a study of 1,000 women in their first trimester showed a doubling of miscarriage when drinking that amount of caffeine per day.

Another study in BMC Medicine linked caffeine to lower birth weights; babies who are at a higher risk of both short- and long-term health problems. So what’s a mom-to-be to do? After looking at all the conflicting information, I decided to play it safe and give it up.

When I decided to cut caffeine, no one warned me about the symptoms like the headache that was so bad it sent me to the bathroom vomiting. A friend told me to sip a half cup of coffee and the headache went away. Instead of quitting cold turkey, I cut back a little each day. I started with a half a cup in the morning. When I felt a hint of the headache, I had another half cup.

I gradually reduced my half cups to quarter cups and eventually quit drinking coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages all together. I also became aware of the caffeine in painkillers, ice cream, chocolate, and other products.

If you plan to breastfeed, I’d say you might as well wean yourself off caffeine totally before the baby is born because babies don’t excrete caffeine at the same rate as adults, and too much caffeine can make the baby cranky and keep it awake.

In my book, anything that lessens the chance of a fussy, sleepless baby is worth trying and once you’re done breastfeeding, you can always enjoy a cup of coffee again.

Photo credits: Joanna Bourne

Things to Think About When Making New Mom Meals

Posted on Jul 18, 2014 by 1 Comment

When I had my kids, my mother and mother-in-law were on the spot with meals. What a godsend!

Today, many people don’t live near family so friends step in to provide meals. When my girlfriend had her baby last year that was the case, and when I stopped in with another meal I saw a pile of casserole dishes waiting to be returned owners.

While that reflected the love of many, I thought about the extra work we had caused. She didn’t have to make the meals, but in her little kitchen the empty casserole dishes took up valuable counter space and were a constant reminder of something she needed to do. Return them.

Use Disposable Dishes: Since witnessing that collection of dishes piled on her counter, I’ve moved to using disposable containers that can go in the freezer when making meals for new moms. It eliminates clean up and removes the burden of trying to return all the dishes to the people who dropped them off.

Food Allergies and Preferences: Another thing to consider when making new mom meals is any food allergies, preferences, and restrictions. For instance, when making a meal for my girlfriend I knew not to include mushrooms if I wanted to keep her other children happy.

And if you don’t know the family well, be sure to ask about any food allergies. If a family has dairy issues, macaroni and cheese doesn’t work.

Along with this, if the new mom is breastfeeding, find out what foods her doctor has told her to avoid. For instance, my doctor told me to avoid tomatoes, chocolate, and spicy foods. With those kinds of restrictions in mind, I’ve made a mild chili and delivered it with a bottle of Red Hot to be added by those who want to add a little spice to their serving.

Call or Text Ahead: Don’t just pop in on the new mom. You certainly don’t want to risk waking her from a much needed catnap! Contact them first to see if it is okay to drop off a meal.

Along with bringing the meal, consider dropping off disposable utensils and plates so clean up is as easy as dumping everything into the trash. When you stop by with the meal, avoid the urge to stay and visit; remember those first couple of weeks are exhausting!

Photo credits: armigeress

One Little Boy’s Lemonade Stand Makes Big Difference

Posted on Jul 17, 2014 by No Comments

Four years ago, Zack Francom’s school challenged each class to raise $86 for a fundraiser. That $86 was enough to purchase a wheelchair. For his part, Zack sold lemonade and cookies and once the challenge ended, Zack decided to keep his cleverly named Zack’s Shack in business.

Now at age 11 he has been able to provide more than 330 wheelchairs for people in underdeveloped countries like Guatemala where one wheelchair costs more than a year’s salary.

When I read about Zack’s story I was happy to see that somewhere in this country, a child could still have a lemonade stand and learn the lessons that go with it. He lives in Provo, Utah, and runs his lemonade stand one weekend each year and then donates the money to LDS Philanthropies. In turn, with Zack running this charitable lemonade stand, he is teaching lessons to society, too.

As a kid, he could have used the money he made to buy a new gaming platform, a bike, or some other thing to entertain himself. Instead, he is looking at it as a way to help other people. He told a local news station, “I know people in wheelchairs, and it’s sad when they don’t have one.”

Zack has been operating the Zack Shack for four years now. He says, “My goal is to fly around the world someday and hand out the wheelchairs.” In some circles he is nicknamed “the wheelchair wonder boy”. I say that in any circle, this kid offers a good example of not only thinking of others but as someone who actively helps others.

And behind that kid are parents who have not only helped him see the value of living like this, but help provide the ingredients for the lemonade and cookies he sells. Mom and Zack make the cookies and lemonade together and Dad helps set up the stand.

Parents make a difference and raise kids who do, too.

Photo credits: LDSPhilanthropies

Baby Girl Survives Miscarriage of Twin and Abortion Pills

Posted on Jul 16, 2014 by No Comments

Little Megan Hui is a miracle baby. She was born last February and is now a healthy 18-week-old little girl.

She’s a miracle, because her mother suffered a miscarriage six weeks into the pregnancy. Then following the miscarriage, she was given abortion drugs to help clear out her uterus and as a precautionary method to avoid infection. Then 10 days later she went back to the hospital to have a surgical procedure to clear remaining blot clots that could be life threatening.

According to Megan’s 31-year-old mom, Michelle, the doctor said, “You are not going to believe it, we’ve got a heartbeat.” Can you imagine the roller coaster of emotions to she went through from losing her baby, to finding out she was still pregnant?

It turns out the Megan was a twin. Her mom had lost a baby after six weeks of pregnancy, and didn’t know that she was actually carrying two babies. She even underwent 5 different scans that confirmed she had lost the baby, and yet for some reason, little Megan survived the abortion drugs. I count that a miracle!

Michelle Hui went in to have the surgical procedure to have the potentially dangerous blood clots in her uterus removed. It was at this time that a scan picked up a faint heartbeat.

The medical team decided that since the baby had survived so much already that Michelle should continue her pregnancy. They think that perhaps the blood clots caused shadows that hid the surviving fetus, but however it happened, the result is that a healthy baby girl who weighed six pounds at birth.

She joins her older sister Mya, who is four, and her brother, Noah, who is two.

It turns out that I’m not the only one who thinks Megan is a miracle. Her story is considered extraordinary enough to be written up in medical journals and the doctors said it was a “blessing.” I agree!

Photo credits: Twitter

Another 1.9 Million Graco Car Seats Recalled

Posted on Jul 15, 2014 by No Comments

Back in March, Graco recalled over 400,000 car seats bringing the number of recalled seats to more than 4 million due to faulty buckles which could make it difficult to remove a child from the seat.

Now they are expanding that recall by another 1.9 million car seats that include some infant and toddler models. The expanded recall follows a five-month squabble with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Graco in which Graco had argued that infant seats are different than toddler models because adults can remove the whole seat during an emergency, rather than releasing the buckle.

Again those who own the recalled seats are supposed to contract Graco for a free replacement harness.

The Problem with the Buckles

The reason behind these recalls is that the buckles can get gummed up by food and drinks which make them sticky. This makes it difficult to remove children, and in some cases parents had to actually cut the harnesses to get their children free of the seat. The concern is that this increases the risk of injury in emergencies.

Newly Recalled Graco Car Seats

The original recall came about from Graco after 80 complaints were filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Those seats were sold between 2009 and 2013. The newly recalled car seats were manufactured from 2012 to 2014.

They include:

Infant Models and Expanded Recall Production Dates:

  • SnugRide (March 2011-May 2013)
  • SnugRide Classic Connect (March 2011-May 2013)
  • SnugRide Classic Connect 30 (July 2010-January 2013)
  • SnugRide 35 (May 2011-January 2013)
  • SnugRide Classic Connect 35 (May 2011-January 2013)
  • SnugRide Click Connect 40 (June 2012-December 2012)
  • Aprica A30 (July 2011-April 2012)

Toddler Models and Expanded Recall Production Dates:

  • Argos 70 (May 2011-2013)
  • Argos 70 Elite (May 2011-2013)
  • Classic Ride 50 (October 2011-September 2013)
  • Comfort Sport (October 2010-September 2013)
  • Ready Ride (October 2010-September 2013)
  • Cozy Cline (January 2006-April 2010)
  • Toddler SafeSeat – Step 2 (January 2006-april 2010)
  • My Ride 65 (April 2009-July 2013; Sept. 2013)
  • My Ride 65 with Safety Surround (April 2009-July 2013; Sept. 2013)
  • My Ride 70 (May 2012-July 2013)
  • My Size 70 (January 2012-July 2013; Aug. 2013)
  • Size4Me70 January 2012-July 2013; Aug. 2013)
  • Head Wise 70 with Safety Surround (January 2012-July 2013; Aug. 2013)
  • Nautilus 3-in-1 (October 2007-August 2013)
  • Nautilus Plus (October 2007-August 2013)
  • Nautilus Elite (October 2007-August 2013)
  • Smart Seat (December 2010-January 2014)
  • Smart Seat with Safety Surround (December 2010-January 2014)

Contact Information

To get your replacement harness, contact Graco at 1-800-345-4109 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. EDT Monday through Friday. Graco says parents can still use car seats while waiting for the replacement harness.

Photo credits: Amazon

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