Archives for March 2012

10 Signs and Treatments for Newborn Gas

Gas pains can cause the most placid newborn to screech in misery, leaving already-anxious new parents in a state of bewildered helplessness. Being able to spot the signs of gas and knowing how to treat it is almost as important as learning to help prevent it; here are ten of the warning signs that your crying newborn is suffering from gas and ways to treat it.

  1. Burp After Feedings – The single best way to treat gas is to prevent it by burping your newborn after or even during feedings. While this method is by no means foolproof, it will greatly reduce the amount of air that remains in the stomach.
  2. Gas Drops – Over the counter simethicone gas drops are a must-have item on many new parent’s list. While they shouldn’t be used in the place of burping, they can be a lifesaver when all else fails.
  3. Fussiness – A warm baby with a clean diaper and a full tummy that continues to cry or whimper is most likely suffering from gas. This fussiness could easily progress to an all-out meltdown if pains increase; attempting to burp a fussy newborn is always a good idea when you’re out of others.
  4. Drop-In Bottles – Bottles with a drop-in liner are great for preventing your infant from swallowing air during feeding. If you’ve been struggling with a gas problem, switching to this type of bottle might be helpful.
  5. Angled Bottles – In addition to drop-in style bottles, the specially-designed angled bottle also helps to prevent gas. Many parents find these easier to use than the drop-in variety; they’re also a bit more earth-conscious than disposable plastic drop-ins.
  6. The Bicycle Method – Gently pushing your newborns legs closer to their chest and mimicking the motion of peddling a bicycle with their feet is another of the more effective methods for expelling gas and relieving discomfort.
  7. Reluctance to Feed – Gassy babies are often reluctant to feed and may consume less than they normally would due to the uncomfortable “full” feeling of air in their little tummies. A newborn that stops feeding too soon may need to be burped or even treated with gas drops.
  8. Body Language – Newborns with gas may pull their legs up towards their chests and be more squirmy than normal; knowing your baby’s body language is a great way to determine if tears are the result of gas pain.
  9. Change Burping Position – The standard position, with your newborn against your chest and his chin resting on your shoulder, may not work for all babies. Experimenting with burping position and even using more than one method after a feeding session may be more effective.
  10. Wait and Try Again – Sometimes, a newborn simply will not burp. It can be helpful to wait about five minutes, and then try again. As air separates from the milk or formula in their stomachs, it may be easier to expel.

10 Reasons to Avoid Smokers with Your Baby

Smoking is still a pretty big thing in our society despite the large number of people have quit or are in the process of quitting. It wasn’t that long ago that mothers could be seen smoking while feeding their babies or holding their child in one hand and holding a cigarette in the other. Through research and with the resulting onslaught of information regarding the damage smoking and inhaling secondhand smoke causes, life with cigarettes has changed dramatically in the last few decades. Here are some reasons you should not let your baby be around smokers.

  1. Smelly baby – Probably the least important reason but still applicable; babies are known for smelling so clean and fresh. The smell of cigarettes is potent, and clings to anything and everything it touches. You really don’t want your baby to smell like an ashtray do you?
  2. Fussy babies – It has been shown that infants do not do well in a smoke filled environment, and some studies have even correlated second hand smoke to a higher incidence of crankiness in babies. The smoke can irritate their lungs and eyes and make them uncomfortable.
  3. Asthma – Studies confirm that children raised around smokers have a higher incidence of asthma than those raised in environments with cleaner air. Also, children who are exposed to secondhand smoke may have more frequent and more severe asthma attacks.
  4. Poisons – Do you really want your baby breathing in all of those poisons? The fact is that secondhand smoke is full of irritants and chemicals that are harmful to the lungs. These chemicals include formaldehyde, arsenic, benzene, and vinyl chloride among others. Since babies have such small and delicate lungs that are still in the process of developing they are more vulnerable to the ill effects of these poisons.
  5. Cancer – Research shows that second hand smoke can be just as harmful as smoking. In some cases, people who never smoked but were around smokers came down with cancer while the smoker remained relatively healthy. Secondhand smoke is a known human carcinogen containing a plethora of carcinogenic chemicals; chemicals your baby does not need to be breathing.
  6. Lung damage – Recent studies reveal that babies who are subjected to secondhand smoke incur damage to their developing lungs which are quite possibly permanent damages. Their lung function decreases which can make them more susceptible to respiratory problems
  7. Ear infections – The adverse effects aren’t limited to the lungs; in fact inhalation of secondhand smoke can cause fluid buildup in the ears resulting in ear infections.
  8. Bronchitis – This is another respiratory issue that is seen more frequently in babies exposed to secondhand smoke.
  9. Pneumonia – Babies breathing in smoke are more likely to come down with pneumonia than those in a clean air environment.
  10. SIDS – One of the most frightening reasons to keep baby out of a smoke filled environment is that infants exposed to secondhand smoke are up to four times more likely to die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

By now most people should know that smoking around babies and children compromises the health of the child. Babies are still developing vital systems in their bodies and the toxins found in secondhand smoke can inhibit or alter growth patterns or cause systems to malfunction. Healthy babies require healthy environments, so make sure your baby’s air is smoke free.

10 Famous Books about Caring for an Infant

Parents can sometimes feel overwhelmed by all the information available about caring for infants. There are so many schools of thought to choose from, and so many different styles of parenting, that after awhile, it can be frustrating. The following list of ten famous books on infant care may serve as a guide, if only because these selections managed to withstand the test of time.

  1. Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care – It’s been around for over 65 years, yet it is still a favorite with parents. The eighth edition was updated in 2004 by Dr. Robert Needlman, also a renowned pediatrician. Dr. Needlman addresses the issues of parenting in the 21st century.
  2. Your Baby’s First Year – This book by the American Academy of Pediatricians is the one book most recommended by pediatricians. It is comprehensive and covers all the basics that you will need to know and want to know about caring for your newborn. It includes milestones on baby’s development.
  3. Baby 411 – Very popular with new moms, this book is a favorite gift at baby showers. A compilation of wisdom from parents and professionals, it gives you all the information you need to help you in caring for your baby. Information and advice is given in a straight forward professional fashion with humor.
  4. The Baby Book – Dr. Sears, Martha Sears and Drs. Bob and Jim Sears have created a classic that some call the Baby Bible. If ever there was a manual on how to care for your baby, this is it. The updated version includes important information on every aspect of life with a new born. It is unrivaled in scope and authority.
  5. The Happiest Baby on the Block – Pediatrician Harvey Karp instructs parents on how to sooth and calm their babies by using age-old techniques. He also explains why these techniques work. This book is quickly becoming a classic and it is already the best friend of parents all over who are dealing with colicky babies.
  6. The Mother of All Baby Books – This guide book includes all kinds of information written with warmth and knowledge. You will be brought up to date with the latest information in the charts and tables included in the book. It also has tips on shopping for baby.
  7. Be Prepared, A Practical Handbook for New Dads – This is a book every new dad should read. Written for dads in a style that they will find appealing and humorous, it covers all the basics they need to know so they will be prepared to step up to the plate when mom goes out with the girls.
  8. The Baby Owners Manual – This was the manual that was supposed to be included when your bundle of joy arrived. For parents who have a sense of humor, this book is full of advice on how to operate your new baby. This book is perfect for the geeky parent.
  9. Eat, Sleep, Poop – Written by an award winning pediatrician while experiencing his own newborn child, this book has a unique perspective. Dr. Scott Cohen gives advice from both a doctor’s point of view and what’s best for you as a parent.
  10. Heading Home with Your New Born, From Birth to Reality – Another book written with humor and expertise, this volume written by pediatricians Laura Jana and Jennifer Shu presents advice and information in a way that alleviates the guilt and fear that often plagues new parents. This book covers the first eight weeks.

Becoming a parent can be a scary thing, but if you are well prepared and have an idea of what to expect, you will find that your job can be easier than you imagine. With all the great books to choose from, you are sure to find something that you will enjoy reading and will answer most, if not all, your questions too.

10 Reasons to Hire a Newborn Care Specialist

Some parents will hire a newborn care specialist right off the bat. In fact some parents will look for one right after they find out they are pregnant. Other parents will balk at the idea, thinking it is either too expensive, too high class or too unnecessary. Here are a few reasons to reconsider if you fall into the latter category.

  1. Expertise – A newborn specialist is just that – a specialist, and therefore has expertise in the care and well being of newborns. This doesn’t mean you lose your job as mother, it just means you have some help to ease you into parenthood.
  2. For help – Some women are very fortunate to have husbands that are very involved and very helpful. Many are not. Consequently, they get over-tired, and some even wind up ill trying to take care of the new baby and all the family obligations as well. A newborn specialist can provide some much needed help.
  3. For guidance – The specialist will be right there guiding you as you learn how to properly care for your new baby. It used to be that mothers and grandmothers were around to help a new mother with their expertise, but things have changed, and in our society, that is not often the case. A specialist can fill in that gap.
  4. Support – Sometimes you just want to know that you are doing things in the right way. Especially when it comes to taking care of a little human, it would be nice to know if what you think is the right way to do a thing, really is the right way. A newborn care specialist can provide that kind of support.
  5. Respite – Most new mothers need rest because newborns have a tendency to keep late hours and they love to party in the middle of the night, plus they always like to raid the refrigerator and have midnight snacks every two hours. It gets exhausting. Having a newborn care specialist can provide you the time you need to get some much needed rest.
  6. Company – The specialist is going to be an adult, and it’s going to be nice to have another adult around. Even with a husband around, they generally aren’t inclined to talking with you about the eating habits of the baby and the color of today’s poop and how much or how little the baby slept.
  7. Medical reasons – If for some reason you cannot care for the baby adequately, a newborn specialist can manage that for you. If you are will enough to be at home, you will still have access to your little one, but you will also have the peace of mind knowing that your baby is being well cared for.
  8. Special needs – Occasionally a baby will have special needs and a specially trained newborn specialist will be able to provide care that you may not be prepared to give.
  9. Work – If you need to return to work right away or even if you work from home, having a specialist to take care of your baby will free you up to do what you need to do.
  10. Special circumstances – There may be some temporary circumstances that make it necessary for you to either be away from your baby or a situation in which you may not be able to attend to your baby’s needs consistently throughout the day. Even if the circumstances are short term, your baby needs constant care, so a newborn specialist can provide that care until the situation changes.

Certainly, for some people, having a newborn specialist is just a luxury they can afford, but for others, it can be a necessity or it can be a help at a time when help is needed. Whatever the reason, hiring a newborn specialist can provide peace of mind for parents who may just need a little break.

10 Great Videos All About Caring for Newborns

You are going to receive all kinds of advice from family, friends, professionals and perfect strangers on how to care for your brand new little one. It will take you some time to figure out what’s right for you, and you may even feel a little overwhelmed at times. But in those still quiet moments (if there are any!), if you find that you really want some instruction, here are some great videos you may want to check out. In fact, you may want to check some of these out before your little bundle arrives.

  1. Newborn Care  A Guide to the First Six Weeks – This award winning video from InJoy starts with the basics. A variety of parents share their experiences with their newborns on such subjects as reading your baby’s cues, feeding and diapering your baby, keeping your baby clean and much more. This 32 minute video may be available for check out at your doctor’s office or from an Early Childhood Family Education program.
  2. KAISER PERMANENTE – The Permanente Medical Group has short videos available on their website that inform you about feeding your baby, taking care of the umbilical cord, caring for circumcised and uncircumcised boys and a variety of other topics.
  3. ABC’s of Baby Care – This DVD comes highly recommend by dads who admit that they are not avid readers or didn’t have the time to read baby care books. It’s also recommended by moms who confess that dad has a very short attention span. Straight forward and full of information this may be good for the father who is nervous about taking on the role of being second in command of baby’s care.
  4. Bringing Baby Home The Ultimate Baby Care DVD – Like most of the DVD’s about newborn care this video covers the basics along with a little about before the birth and the importance of Mom caring for herself. There is also a section for fathers which some have found helpful.
  5. Laugh and Learn about Newborn Baby Care – This 50 minute video gives great instruction with a sense of humor. Some reviewers did not feel it was as comprehensive as it could have been, but others give it high marks.
  6. The Happiest Baby on the Block – Dr. Harvey Karp has apparently found the “off switch” for baby’s crying. The method explained in this DVD helps calm crying babies and gets them to sleep for longer periods of time. You definitely will want to give this video a look if you’re the parent of a colicky baby.
  7. Baby’s Home … Now What? – Experts and parents walk you though the garden of newborn baby care. Included are sections on post-natal body issues, what to expect in your relationship and how to prepare your home. If you don’t have a clue – this video will give you a few!
  8. Newborn Care 101 – Pediatricians put this video together along with a guidebook. If you’re wondering what the doctor’s have to say about bringing home the baby, this video will tell you. It comes highly recommended by new parents and seasoned parents.
  9. Complete Baby Care – A collaboration of health care specialists, parents and child care specialists created this guide to help you learn all you need to know about your newborn.
  10. You Tube – For information and presumably entertainment in some cases You Tube always has tons of videos. You can find a video covering any aspect of newborn care.

There is a plethora of information out there about new born care. Find out if your doctor or pre-natal care giver has any recommendations. They may even have some DVDs you can borrow. Most parents are nervous about the prospect of bringing home this tiny human being who will need all kinds of care and will make all kinds of noise and produce all kinds of interesting substances. But this little person will also bring all kinds of joy, so grab a video, a healthy snack and curl up on the couch and learn about all the fun stuff you are about to experience. Congratulations!


5 Things You Need to Bathe Your Newborn

Bathing a newborn for the first time is nerve wrecking and scary if you don’t know what to do.  Have no fear it’s easy and all you need are warm hands and patience. Best way to begin bathing your newborn is to be ready, here are a few things you will need and want to do to get prepared:

Extra Hand– The first several times you do this you will need help. Have your spouse or a friend help you bathe your newborn. It’s great to have an extra hand in case you forgot something or just need support. And once you are ok with bathing your baby alone remember to keep a hand on your baby at all times, never leave your baby alone in or near water.

Bathing Tub-There are many bathing tubs on the market. Most parents prefer the freestanding tubs over anything else. Place the tub on a flat surface in a warm area. Also dim the lights above your newborns eyes. Then use warm water and fill the bathing tub 2-3 inches. Throughout the bathing process you can pour warm water on your baby’s tummy to keep them warm.

Sponge, Washcloth, Towel– It’s best to start out with sponge baths for your baby’s first bath. Find a soft and large baby bathing sponge and once you feel comfortable you can use a soft washcloth. Have a towel set aside and ready. A towel with a built in hood is best, you want to get your baby wrapped up as soon as you finished bathing.

Mild baby shampoo and soap– There are many different kinds of baby shampoos and soaps; look for mild and tear free brands. Your baby has very sensitive and new skin, you want to protect it. Ask relatives and friends for suggestions or brands that they personally trust.

Diaper and Clothes-As soon as you finish your newborns bath you want to wrap him/her in a towel. Make sure you have a diaper and clothes set up on a flat surface and close to your bathing station.  Once the baby is dry, put them in their diaper and clothes.

Bathing your new baby is simple, just take your time and enjoy it. It is a great bonding experience for you and your child. Remember being prepared is key and to always keep one hand on your newborn. Happy bathing!

10 Tricks to Help Your Crying Newborn

There’s nothing more heart wrenching than listening to a newborn cry.  Sometimes they will stop the minute you pick them up.  Other times they are hungry or need a clean diaper.  However, what do you do if you’ve done all of that and they are still crying?  Check out 10 tricks to help your crying newborn.

  1. Washing machine: Put the baby in its car seat and put the car seat on the washer while it’s running.  The dryer will work too.  The vibrations and sounds often mimic that of being in the womb and it will soothe the baby.
  2. Vacuum: Many times people try to be quiet around babies, but if you are quiet around your baby you will always need to be quiet around your baby if you catch my drift.  You don’t want to spend your free time tip toeing around the house.  The vacuum has an especially nice sound that babies find soothing because it again reminds them of being in the womb.  Plus, you can get some vacuuming done; it’s a win-win situation.
  3. Swing: If you don’t own a baby swing you need to go out today and buy one.  This is by far the most sanity saving tool for mothers on the market.  They have improved over the years and now they include mobiles, vibrations and other soothing elements.  The motion alone will help your baby stop crying and it is okay if they fall asleep in the swing.
  4. Shushing sound: This is a trick from the baby whisperer I think.  It has worked wonders for me.  Put your mouth up to the baby’s ear and say, “Shhhh” as loud as they are crying.  It does no good if they can’t hear you.
  5. Arm swinging: No, I don’t mean you grab the baby by its arms and swing it.  That would not be a good way to stop crying.  Hold your baby tight in your arms and swing their weight in your arms from side to side.  There’s something about the motion that they like.  This can be combined with the above shooshing sound.
  6. Swaddling: Hopefully they covered this trick at the hospital, but just in case they didn’t this one is probably one of the most useful for newborns.  Lay your baby on a baby blanket diagonally.  Bring up the bottom point until it hits their feet.  Then bring one side over and wrap it around the baby and follow that with the other side.  Wrap the baby snuggly.  Tighter than you think you should.  Now you don’t need to get your foot up there for leverage or anything, but do it pretty tight.  This mimics the close quarters in the womb.
  7. Rocking from side to side: This one is funny.  Parents do this so much that you’ll sometimes catch them rocking when they are not holding the baby.  Bounce the baby a little as you shift from one leg to the other leg in a rocking motion.  It all needs to be smooth and non-jostling. 
  8. Sing: It doesn’t matter what you sing, but I would recommend something slow and soothing.  Try it sitting down in a rocking chair or try it standing while doing the above rocking motion.  Your baby doesn’t care how well you sing either.
  9. Take a drive: Babies tend to fall asleep in the car so it stands to reason that you can use this technique if they don’t want to settle down for a nap or won’t stop crying.  Something about the sounds of the road and the feel of the car that is very soothing for them.
  10. Patting on your lap: Sometimes newborns have trouble getting rid of gas on their own.  We burp them when we get done feeding them, but sometimes it’s not enough.  It’s hard to tell when to stop burping them.  Is one or two burps enough?  Try this technique, lay the baby on their tummy on your lap and pound on their back.  Gentle pounding, but firmer than you might think as you are trying to work those gas bubbles up.  If the baby doesn’t like it on their tummy you can get on the floor with them and lay them on a blanket and grab their feet and push their feet into their tummy and back out in a rocking sort of motion.  Babies usually like this and it help to press and work the gas bubbles out.  You’ll know it’s working when your baby starts passing gas.