Category: Baby Stuff

Napping Makes Your Baby Smarter

Posted on Jan 28, 2015 by No Comments

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

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

Breastfeeding Could Save Millions in Healthcare Costs

Posted on Jan 14, 2015 by 2 Comments

We live in times when many in our culture lean toward thinking of breastfeeding as something immodest or even disgusting. That mindset isn’t just here, but also thriving across the pond.

In fact, I just read an article regarding the Princess Michael of Kent calling it the “dreadful practice of breastfeeding” and that her nanny said it was “disgusting.” Yet, UK researches say that if more women breastfed for at least the first four months that healthcare cost savings could be significant, not to mention beneficial to both mother and baby.

Subhash Pokhrel, a health economist at Brunel University in London who led the study said, “Studies show that there is often an unsympathetic public attitude to breastfeeding outside of the home, an acceptance of formula feeding as a normal and safe way to feed babies, and a lack of expertise and experience of breastfeeding among health service staff.”

Results of this recent study point out several health benefits for both mother and baby along with the financial savings that could be realized when it comes to breastfeeding.

To start, previous studies have shown stomach, respiratory, and eye problems being more common in bottle-fed babies, and this study suggests that if 75 percent of the babies in British neonatal units were breastfed (rather than the current 25 percent) it could save the country’s healthcare system the equivalent of $9.6 million on a serious intestinal problem called necrotizing enterocolitis, which affect premature babies.

The benefits of breastfeeding don’t just affect childhood health, either. They reach into the future and include the estimated lifetime costs of treating maternal breast cancer which adds up to another $1.5 billion.

The study suggests that increasing breastfeeding rates from 7 to 21 percent at four months could save $3.14 million per year in hospitalizations and $471,250 in general practitioner costs for ear infections.

And by doubling the number of mothers who breastfed for 7 to 18 months, the researchers calculated that the UK would save $49 million in maternal breast cancer costs.

With all this crunching of numbers in the UK, I can’t help but think of Kate Middleton’s example. She breastfed Prince George and now is expecting her second baby. If she breastfeeds again, the popular royal may encourage others to do the same.

Statistics show the number of women who breastfeed in the UK has increased over the last 20 years from 62 percent to 81 percent, but only half of them breastfeed after the six week mark.

Photo credits: Thomas Widman

Woman Breaks News She’s Pregnant in Photo Booth

Posted on Jan 14, 2015 by 1 Comment

When I was younger and photo booths were more prevalent, I would regularly drag unsuspecting victims in there and get them to do goofy things and captured it all in those few snapshots.

For instance, I’d say, “For the first picture I’ll bend down, so it’s just you. On the second one, you bend down and it will be just me. Then we’ll both be up.” I wouldn’t give them time to think about it.

Along with various friends, I’ve got some with my mother, mother-in-law and even my grandmother. The photos show us laughing together during those moments in time when memories are created. They make for precious keepsakes for sure.

In December I read about a guy by the name of Kevin Morran who proposed to his girlfriend, Molly McGinnis, in a photo booth. I thought, “What a great idea.” The two of them were high school sweethearts and had known each other for seven years. He practiced his one-hand presentation of the ring beforehand so he wouldn’t mess up.

Not only did they get pictures that captured the exact moment, the company that makes the photo booth even gave Kevin a code so he could access video of the entire proposal! It captures his nervousness, her surprise, and their genuine happiness. It couldn’t have been better if it had been staged by a professional photographer.

Now the two of them frequent photo booths regularly. Jessica even tapes her phone to the front of the booth so she can capture video, too.

This worked to Jessica’s advantage when she decided to capture another milestone on film. She brought her fiancé back to the photo booth, but this time it was her turn to add the element of surprise. They started out with the standard smile at the camera pose. Just before the flash, she held up a little cap that said “baby” into the frame.

The footage is priceless. It captures all the surprise, disbelief, and tears of happiness. I can’t help but think how much this will mean to their son or daughter some day in the future, too.

Photo credits: Jessica Devins

A Look Back at Big Baby-Related Recalls of 2014

Posted on Jan 12, 2015 by No Comments

Today we have all kinds of rules and regulations designed to help keep our children safe.

From the time we place our precious newborns in the infant car seat to bring them home, to the conversion strollers we buy for exercise and fresh air, to popular toys and must-have items for mom, there are times such things are recalled because they are deemed hazardous or unsafe.

So as we head in to a New Year, it’s a good time to get rid of recalled items or at least order the fix offered by the manufacturer. Here’s a look back at some of the biggies:

  • Playtex pacifier clips: Last January more than 1.25 million pacifiers were recalled due to potential choking hazard.
  • Ikea Junior Beds: Following a 2013 recall of 40,000 Junior beds, Ikea recalled an additional 3,500 Kritter and Sniglar Junior beds that posed a laceration hazard.
  • Britax strollers: Britax recalled 200,000 plus strollers from store shelves after they received eight reports of the hinge breaking and cutting and/or amputating users’ fingertips.
  • Graco strollers: Graco also pulled five million strollers after receiving 11 reports of injuries, including full and partial fingertip amputations.
  • Baby Trend Inc. Car Seats: Baby trend issued a voluntary recall of almost 17,000 TrendZ Fastback 3-in-1 because customers and difficulty unlatching the harness buckle.
  • Graco Car Seats: After discovering the buckles could become stuck making it difficult to remove a child in the event of an emergency, Graco recalled almost four million car seats.
  • Evenflo Car Seat: Evenflow also recalled 1.5 million car seats when the harness crotch buckle grew hard to unlatch over time making it unsafe if the child needed to be removed quickly.
  • Summer Infant Baby Monitor Batteries: 800,000 rechargeable baby monitor batteries were recalled after receiving reports that batteries overheated and ruptured resulting in smoke and minor property damage.
  • Ikea Night Lights: Following the strangulation death of a 16-month old from the lamp’s cord, Ikea pulled four million night lights in April.
  • Oeuf Sparrow Crib: Oeuf recalled four models of its Sparrow crib due to reports that the slats/spindles and top rail detached from the crib.

If you are looking for items like these on the second-hand market, be sure to double check whether or not the item you are buying is safe to use for your baby, because while millions of recalls were made not everyone follows through and actually fixes or replaces the item.

Photo credits: Amazon

New Year’s Baby Shares Birthday with Parents

Posted on Jan 7, 2015 by No Comments

When I was growing up, we had neighbors that had two kids who shared the same birthday. That birthday happened to also be the couple’s anniversary.

Back then, I wasn’t sure what to think about it. I grew up in a family of eight kids and we all had our own birthdays…no sharing. I kind of liked it like that.

Makes me wonder what the odds are for family members to share birthdays. One little New Year’s baby really beat the odds when she arrived ten days early.

Little Autumn Rain Stover not only arrived as the first baby on New Year’s Day, she also shares her birthday with both of her parents. According to USA Today, the parents had no idea of the odds of the three of them sharing the same day, but according to Fox News the odds are 1 in 48 million.

Autumn Rain was born at the University Hospitals MacDonald Women’s Hospital in Cleveland. She’s the first child to Qiana and Raheem Stover who are happy to share their special day with their new arrival. Her mother said, “I knew she was coming today,” and called her new daughter a blessing.

The baby has made headlines as the first baby to be born at the hospital on New Year’s Day, but once news got out that she shared the same birthday as her parents the popularity of her story skyrocketed. After all 1 in 48 million aren’t unbelievable odds.

At first I wondered if the labor had been induced to make it all happen, but it turns out the it was all coincidental. Mrs. Stover was due on January 10, and little Autumn Rain decided to come early all on her own, without any extra help from the medical staff.

When Raheem was asked how he felt about his daughter being born on the birthday that he and his wife share, he said, “I think we are all special.”.

Photo credits: GhettoALB

Guardians of the Galaxy’s Zoe Saldana Gives Birth to Twins

Posted on Jan 6, 2015 by No Comments

Back when the ALS ice bucket challenge was hot on the Internet, Zoe Saldana, famous for playing the green skinned alien woman in Guardians of the Galaxy, posted a challenge video.

It started out with a close up of her face, and then as the camera panned out, she announced she wouldn’t actually be doing the challenge herself because she was pregnant.

Instead, she dumped the icy cold water on her husband Marco Perego. That’s when I learned she was expecting. Her baby bump was a definite bump that looked like she was probably six months along at least.

Zoe Saldana Instagram post

Turns out that her babies were born at the end of November. That’s right, babies. She gave birth to twin boys, but it wasn’t until her Instagram post on January 2 that the boys names were revealed to the public.

She posted, “Our boys CY and BOWIE are finally here. #marcoperego and I wanted to thank you for your beautiful wishes and for your patience.”

The twins are the first children for 36-year-old Saldana and her husband, who were married in a secret ceremony in 2013, in London.

She had talked about baby names back in October when she appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. She talked about how her Puerto Rican and Dominican parents and her husband’s Italian parents kept leaving voicemails with potential baby names including: Rocco, Giovanni, Luigi, Antonio, Ramon, and Jose. Saldana went on to say, “We’re kind of hippie. We want it to be like, Lavender. I’m joking!”

Being a new mom takes patience, and having twins takes a double dose.

Maybe the 2-3 hours Saldana had to sit in the makeup chair just to apply her prosthetic pieces for her part in Guardians of Galaxy, was preparing her for her real life role. Because it wasn’t only 2-3 hours, it was all the time getting airbrushed with green and then the rest of her makeup. Even her scalp was green.

All total, she was in the chair for 5 hours, and it took another 45 minutes just to get it all off. And then there was the unexpected development of a topical eczema.

Yes, I think her role in Guardians of the Galaxy gave her some practical experience to be a mom of two. I send out congratulations to her and her husband and wish them all the best.

Photo credits: Instagram