There’s been quite an uproar about the Fisher Price Apptivity iPad Seat for Infants and in a wave of similar dissatisfaction now the iPad iPotty has been named the worst toy of the year by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC).
I use technology every day, but when is it okay for our children to use it every day? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has offered a whole list of recommendations on how to manage time spent with various media, “by limiting screen time and offering educational media and non-electronic formats such as books, newspapers and board games, and watching television with their children, parents can help guide their children’s media experience.”
However, media technology has really changed since then and researchers are just starting to look at the effects of the use of touchscreens on toddlers and there is concern that it can cause long-term damage.
The problem is we think we are educating the kids, but doctors and therapists are worried that it can hurt their developing bodies because they won’t be doing the activities that develop their various muscles.
Dr. Ari Brown, the lead author on the American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement discouraging screen time for babies under 2 said, “The concern for risk is that some kids who watch a lot of media actually have poor language skills, so there’s a deficit in their language development. We also have concerns about other developmental issues because they’re basically missing out on other developmentally appropriate activities.”
We’ve survived up until now without the aid of a tablet during the potty training process. I’m thinking the use of a tablet or iPhone eliminates an opportunity for us to interact with our kids. It kind of reminds me of propping up a baby’s bottle during feeding instead of holding them.
A potty seat with a stand that holds an iPad for toddlers to play games and watch videos during the potty training process might just be training our kids in ways we aren’t realizing. And as for it being the worst toy of the year, that’s says a lot. A toilet is not supposed to be a toy.
Photo credits: Amazon
Premature babies face an untold number of health struggles. According to American Family Physician website, preemies who are breastfed have “better developmental scores at 18 months of age than formula-fed infants.” Now researchers in Los Angeles are taking a look at whether “personalized” mother’s milk can further improve a premature baby’s growth rate.
When I read about this study, I wondered about messing with what is already working, but premature infants are often fed human milk fortifiers which are added to breast milk fed by bottle or tube as recommended by the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
For babies able to suckle, a supplemental nutritional system is available that provides fluids through a tube while the infant is breast feeding. This can be used to help ensure the baby is receiving enough calories during regular breast feeding. The Los Angeles researchers are studying whether personalizing a mother’s breast milk can improve a baby’s growth rate.
We all know proper nutrition is important for growth, and the doctors at Maxine Dunitz Children’s Health Center want to make sure preemies are getting the nutrition they need. In an effort to make sure this happens, they have analyzed breast milk.
On average, breast milk is thought to offer about 20 calories per ounce, but the study has tested more than 200 samples and found that caloric content varies from14 to 24 calories per ounce. Equipped with that information, Dr. Charles Simmons said, “We’re finding that 10 to 20 percent of the samples would fall low in a range where we would likely recommend supplementation.”
With all this focus on your preemie’s development, remember that every baby develops at their own speed. Just stay in close contact with your pediatrician and don’t hesitate to ask questions.
Photo credits: bradleyolin
As soon as the weather turns cool and the heat comes on in the house, my skincare routine changes to fight everything from dry elbows and heels to dry lips. If you have a little one, it’s also time to take special steps to look after their delicate skin.
Babies are smaller and lose heat faster than adults and are more vulnerable the effects of the cold. Skincare starts with how you dress your baby. Dress them in layers of light to medium weight clothing. This traps air to produce an effective insulator.
Natural fabrics like fleece and cotton work best. It’s also important to have a warm coat, hat, mittens, and socks to protect your baby’s skin outdoors, but what I’m talking about is combating the effects of dry air caused by central heating and dry winter air.
I moisturize two times a day…morning and evening, and we should do the same for our babies. For their delicate skin, the best products are fragrance-free hypoallergenic lotions like Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Fragrance Free Lotion or the fragrance-free Aveeno Baby Daily Moisture Lotion.
When applying lotion remember cheeks, nose and lips which tend to get really dry during the winter months. In fact, baby’s faces are washed often, and it can help to moisturize the cheeks and lips more often if your baby’s skin is dry.
If your child is a toddler and spends time outside playing in the snow, the lotion you use should also include a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 because the sun reflects off the snow.
Choose alcohol-free wipes like the Johnson’s Baby Hand and Face Wipes. They gently remove dirt and germs from your baby’s face and hands without drying their delicate skin.
When you think about it, baby skincare really isn’t much different that adult skincare…except they depend on someone else to do it for them.
I remember nap time in kindergarten. I only attended half a day and time at school included a snack and nap time. When my son attended preschool it included a nap time. For him, that was a learning experience because he was one of those kids who tried to stop taking a nap at 18 mos.
To prepare him for his preschool experience, I told him he didn’t have to sleep but he had to lie there for naptime. Once it was part of what everyone was doing, he did lie down and “nap” without a fuss.
A recent study shows that napping should be part of preschool curriculum because it helps kids learn. As preschoolers nap, their brains process and store memories which are the basis for learning.
Rebecca Spencer, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Massachusetts Amerst and her team conducted a study of 40 preschoolers. They taught the kids a version of the memory matching game with pairs of pictures face down placed on a grid. Once the pictures were revealed, the kids had to remember their place in the grid in order to pair identical images.
After the first time the kids played through the game they napped for about 77 minutes, and then they played the game again with improved memory. The following week, these same preschoolers repeated the process without the nap. It revealed a 10% drop in the children’s accuracy.
Researchers adjusted for the fact that children may have been more tired and distracted by letting them play the game the next day, after a good night’s sleep, but the link between better performance and naps remained strong.
These findings support a previous study that showed naps might boost cognitive performance. Scientists believe it makes it easier for the brain to access and retrieve information later because the brain works while they sleep. Memories are filed into long-term “storage” while napping which frees up the hippocampus where new experiences are “recorded” like remembering which image is where in a matching game.
Photo credits: wecometolearn
Did you know that 55% of women in the United States will eventually suffer from spider veins and/or varicose veins?
Spider and varicose veins can be caused by many things, including age, obesity, pregnancy, and menopause. Your family history also plays a role. If you have a mother or grandmother with vein problems, you’re at a higher risk of developing unsightly spider or varicose veins as you age.
Spider or varicose veins are seldom indicative of a serious health problem, but they can be uncomfortable and make you feel self conscious about your appearance.
Dr. Luis Navarro, Founder and Director of The Vein Treatment Center, says there are many things you can do at home to help prevent spider veins or varicose veins.
Photo credit: The Vein Treatment Center
Whether or not you should pierce your baby’s ears is a matter of conscience. Though if you decide to do it, don’t be surprised if some people react negatively.
In some cultures, like Spain and Latin America, piercing a baby girl’s ears is done in the hospital. In other cultures, it is treated more as a rite of passage performed around age 10, and in still others it is thought to be reserved for gypsies or women of ill-repute.
Realize that your decision won’t please everyone, and it doesn’t have to.
I grew up in a household where my father told me that, “if God wanted you to have holes in your ears you’d have been born with them.” As a teen, he finally relented and I got my ears pierced at Claire’s Boutique. When my daughter was 10, she received pierced ears as a birthday gift, so I guess I fell into the rite of passage group. I just figured she’d be old enough to keep her piercings clean and cared for.
Now many pediatricians will pierce baby’s ears at age 3 months and up. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says there is little risk at any age if the piercing is performed carefully and it’s properly cared for. However, they do recommend waiting until the child is old enough to take care of the piercing (yay, I did this right).
If you do decide to pierce when your child is an infant, be sure not to place the earring hole too low on their earlobe, because as the baby grows, the hole will become lower. Keep a close eye on your baby’s ears for any sign of infection and stay in touch with your doctor if you have any questions. Be sure to notify them if your baby runs a fever or the earlobe becomes swollen or red.
Photo credits: abardwell
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported on November 21, that Angelcare Monitors Inc. is voluntarily recalling 600,000 baby monitors following the death of two infants due to strangulation. A cord attached to the sensor pad, which is placed beneath the mattress of the crib to monitor movement of the baby, is said to pose a strangulation risk if it is pulled into the crib.
According to the report, along with the two infants who have died due to strangulation from the cord, two others have been entangled but not fatally.
Angelcare, which is based in Canada, is making a repair kit available that includes a rigid protective cord cover. The cord will thread through this piece to keep it safely tucked away out of reach and will also include a new electric cord warning label and revised instructions. Consumers should stop using the product immediately and contact the company for the repair kit.
The recall includes all versions of Angelcare sensor monitors including model numbers:
Look for the model number on the back of the nursery monitor unit.
This is a voluntary recall on the part of Angelcare Monitors, Inc. For more information, visit the website or call toll-free at 1- 855-355-2643 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. EST Monday through Friday, or email at email@example.com.
Photo credits: cpsc.gov
Jessica Simpson caught a lot of grief when she gained 70 pounds with her first child, daughter Maxwell, who is now 19 months old. She admitted that with that first pregnancy she didn’t pay attention to her weight, so after the baby was born the scale delivered a hard truth.
She worked to lose that weight and even signed on as a spokesperson for Weight Watchers, but before she dropped all that weight she found out she was pregnant again.
Simpson gave birth to her second child, son Ace, in June, and while she didn’t gain as much the second time around, she still gained more than she had hoped. In an interview with Us Weekly she admitted, “I am just one of those pregnant women who gains a lot of weight,” but she was not resigned to staying overweight.
With 19-month-old Maxwell to chase after and a new infant, Simpson knew she needed an eating plan simple enough to fit into her busy life. She wanted a plan that would offer guidance as to what to eat, but also a plan that would offer the support she would need.
She turned back to Weight Watchers because it works, and on November 8th she debuted her slimmed down figure on Instagram. In the pic, the 33 year old mom is wearing tight dark jeans, a fitted button down white blouse and a beautiful smile as she walks through a grain field.
She looks great and is happy with the results. She posted, “Couldn’t stop smiling on set for my new @weightwatchers campaign today! #happy.”
I’m happy that’s she’s dropped the extra weight. I know how I felt when faced with the reality of baby weight, and I didn’t have to deal with a bunch of fair-weather fans talking about my weigh all over social media. I felt sorry for her when so many turned on her just because of her weight.
We need to remember that celebrities are people, too.
Photo credit: Instagram
I listened to music while pregnant because some studies said it might make my baby smarter, but there still isn’t any real conclusive research to back that up.
However, there is new research which was presented by researchers from the University of Montreal at the Neuroscience 2013 conference in San Diego on November 10. It showed that moms-to-be who exercise as little as 20 minutes 3 times a week during their pregnancy can advance a newborn’s brain activity.
The study randomly assigned 60 women into one of two groups. One group was given an exercise regimen to follow and the others were not. The women kept exercise logs and used pedometers and accelerometers which let the researchers track their level of activity more accurately.
When the babies were born, the researchers recorded the newborns’ brain activity for the first 8 to 12 days. The results showed that the babies whose moms exercised had brains that were more fully developed.
We’ve heard for years that exercise is good for us while we’re pregnant, and now we learn it is good for our babies, too. I did exercise while pregnant, but that was because I was trying to manage my weight. I have to admit, I never would have thought it had anything to do with my children’s brains!
The current recommendations by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists advises women to exercise moderately for about 30 minutes almost every day. This can help alleviate backaches and improve sleep and even mood. Now this study shows it also brings about improved brain function in newborns.
While this is promising, more study is needed…like following these babies in life to see if the effects continue with accelerated development as they mature. If they do, we could looke at exercise during pregnancy as part of college prep!
Photo credits: Patrick Feller