Archives for April 2012

10 Careers Focused on Newborns

Caring for newborns can be one of the most fulfilling and eventful careers available. For those who wish to work with infants, there are several professional options. From the medical to the childcare industries, here are ten careers that cater to the care of newborns.

  1. Midwifery – Midwives can be nurses with specialized training or lay midwives, with no medical training outside the scope of labor and delivery. As the popularity of natural birthing options increases, so does the demand for trained midwives.
  2. Neonatal Nursing – Nurses who work in labor and delivery wards are called neonatal nurses, and are primarily responsible for the care of new moms and their babies.
  3. Doula – A doula provides support during pregnancy, acts as an intermediary between laboring moms and medical staff, and helps new mothers adjust to caring for an infant. Depending on the needs of the new mother and the workload of a doula, the post-partum support relationship can continue for quite some time.
  4. Lactation Consultant – While many lactation consultants provide prenatal training, the bulk of their work consists of helping newborns and their mothers learn proper breastfeeding techniques and providing support to those having difficulties with the breastfeeding process.
  5. Nanny Specialist – While many nannies work with children of all ages, there are also a group that specialize solely in the care of newborns and helping new mothers adjust to the stressful job of parenting. These nannies typically only stay with a family for the first three months of a baby’s life, leaving infant and toddler care to nannies who work with children of all ages.
  6. Pediatrician – Pediatricians provide medical care to newborns and children, including routine checkups and illness care. Many also offer advice for nutrition, parenting and other aspects of newborn care.
  7. Feeding Specialist – Formula-fed babies sometimes have difficulty digesting certain types of formula, which is where a feeding specialists job begins. A feeding specialist works with parents to find the best possible option for nutrition during the newborn period.
  8. Obstetrics – With their extensive medical and specialization training, obstetricians are able to deliver babies naturally and also to perform cesarean sections in the event of an emergency. Most children are delivered by an obstetrician.
  9. Sleep Training Specialist – A sleep training specialist typically reports in the evening and works throughout the night, helping a newborn establish sleeping patterns and learn to self-soothe. Unlike a newborn nanny, sleep training specialists provide no daytime care services.
  10. Specialized Day Care Provider – Most daycare centers do not accept infants under three months of age; newborns are generally relegated to centers that specialize in the care of brand new babies. Employees of these dedicated centers are typically highly trained and capable of working under the high-pressure conditions than an all-newborn environment creates.

Working with newborns requires some type of training, regardless of the chosen field. Specializing nannies and day care providers should be proficient in infant CPR and well-versed in the needs of a very young infant.

10 Big Surprises for New Parents Around the Birth

If you’re expecting, hopefully you and your spouse are taking classes to prepare for the big event. Here are some tips to help you on this remarkable journey. Take them to heart and your new baby’s arrival will go a lot smoother.

  1. It takes a lot of things to take care of a new-born.  I remember thinking it was kind of people to give us a baby shower, but did not understand the VALUE of the shower until I got ready to go to the hospital. The hospital gave us a list of things we would need and I was amazed! So much for one little guy!
  2. You don’t have to go to a hospital. There are options to giving birth in a hospital. Many           people choose to use a mid-wife at home. The advantages of this are many. For one thing, you don’t have to worry about leaving other children behind. You will have the sense of safety one only gets in their home and the newborn will be brought into an environment which will not have to change in a few days.
  3. Contractions don’t necessarily mean the baby is on its way. Wow, what a disappointment! Most new mothers go through a series of false labor. This means you will feel strong contractions, even at a regular rate without being true labor.  If you are going for regular checkups, your doctor should be able to tell you when there are signs that you can expect to go into labor. Talk to him/her about the signs of real labor vs. false labor. This will save you unnecessary trips to the hospital  (and the embarrassment.)
  4. Consider which relatives will be involved. You won’t believe how emotional of an issue this can be. Talk with everyone who would be considered close relatives and come to a conclusion which would work best for you. DO NOT feel compelled to let people in the delivery room you are not comfortable with.
  5. You really can’t MAKE the baby come. You will hear lots of myths on how to bring labor on when you can’t stand it anymore. The truth is, that baby is going to come when he/she is ready. You can induce, but that can take hours and hours and unless the baby is in danger, it will be safer to wait for natural processes to take place. Mopping the floor, taking a walk etc May help the process, but ideally it is best to wait.
  6. Your water will probably break. With all the new products, it might be wise to start wearing adult diapers toward the last two weeks of your term. More than likely, your first sure sign that the baby is ready is that your water will break. There’s no way of knowing when it will happen, all you can do is prepare.
  7. Breast feeding may be natural, but not necessarily easy. Many mothers go through the great frustration of not being able to breast feel immediately. There can be problems with your milk not coming down or the baby just isn’t ready to latch on. Be patient. There’s nothing wrong with you or the baby. Ask your nurse to help coach your little one and for methods on encouraging milk production. Talk about this before the birth – options to use a bottle are not the end of the world.
  8. What a mess! Okay, so now you’ve brought your little bundle home. It’s so easy to have a vision of the ideal baby. You have no idea how MESSY this little can be. After the first few diapers with little messes, he/she should be having a bowel movement 3 or 4 times a day. Make sure you have lots of diapers and wipes. It’s always good to have someone else on standby in case you reach your limit.
  9. Make him stop crying! One of the biggest reasons for infant abuse is the fact that they won’t stop crying. Make sure you’ve discussed this with your doctor or nurse for healthy options in dealing with a crying baby. Crying for hours is NOT natural. If the crying persist, your baby might be allergic to your milk or something you’re eating or there could be something else going on. Contact your doctor is the crying persist.
  10. Finally, you should know that you are going to be thoroughly exhausted! Going through the birth process and the return home is just the beginning of this very tiring experience. Make sure you have someone who can relieve you so you can get some sleep and take every measure to be at your best.

There you have it. You can do this! Women have been for thousands of years. Believe in your own instinct and take advantage of the love of those around you! Happy birthing!

10 Serious Diseases that Strike Infants

There is no greater concern for new parents than the health and well-being of their infant child. Proper nutrition, adequate medical care and vaccinations have reduced the risk of infant diseases greatly in recent years. Nevertheless there are a number of diseases that are particularly a threat to infants. The following are 10 serious diseases that strike infants:

  1. Cystic Fibrosis – A genetic disorder that affects primarily the lungs and digestive system. Children who have cystic fibrosis are very susceptible to lung infections. The body’s mucus, which acts as a protective barrier to germs, becomes thick and sticky. Instead of removing germs, it traps them in the passageways, often resulting in infections.
  2. Cerebral Palsy – A group of disorders that are generally caused by injury to, or abnormalities of, the brain. Though most of these problems develop prior to birth, an infant can experience them at any time within their first two years.
  3. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) – The sudden death of an infant up to one year of age, which is unexplained by medical investigation or autopsy. This condition has become much less prominent through education of parents, as some of the causes are believed to be the position of the infant when sleeping, the use of tobacco, drugs or alcohol by the parents, and teen pregnancies.
  4. Phenylketonuria – An inherited metabolic disorder caused by a deficiency of the enzyme, phenylalanine hydroxylase. The resulting buildup of phenylalanine in the victim’s body causes damage to the nervous system and brain.
  5. Sickle Cell Anemia – An inherited blood disorder which strikes primarily infants of African or Hispanic descent. The hemoglobin molecules which carry oxygen throughout the bloodstream are defective, forming a sickle-shape and resulting in anemia and pain for the victim.
  6. Maple Syrup Urine Disease (MSUD) – An enzyme deficiency which causes symptoms in the baby that include a burnt sugar odor to the urine, hence its name. This disorder primarily affects populations in which intermarriage is common, as with the Mennonite (Amish) community.
  7. Spina Bifida – “Split spine” in Latin, also known as Myelomeningocele. It is a birth defect caused by the incomplete closing of the backbone and spinal canal before birth. According to the website for the Spina Bifida Association, it is “the most common permanently disabling birth defect in the United States”.
  8. Chronic Lung Disease – The infant’s lungs have tissue damage, which causes problems with its breathing and overall health. Also called bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), it is usually not fatal and is often outgrown.
  9. Respiratory Distress Syndrome – A breathing disorder in which the infant’s lungs have a deficiency of surfactant, resulting in difficulty breathing. This occurs most commonly in premature infants.
  10. Wolman Disease – A genetic disorder that is caused by a mutation in the LIPA gene. Infants who contract this disease can exhibit a wide array if symptoms including: poor weight gain, low muscle tone, enlarged liver/spleen; vomiting, diarrhea, anemia, poor absorption of nutrients. Severe malnutrition often develops and the victim will generally not live beyond early childhood.

10 Facts About Baby’s First Bowel Movements

After spending a lifetime being taught that bowel movements are not an appropriate topic of conversation, many new parents find themselves amazed at the ease with which such distasteful subjects present themselves. Worry for your newborn’s health can cause a parent to analyze every aspect of baby care, including the contents of their diaper; here are ten facts about your baby’s first bowel movements.

  1. The Very First One Could Happen Before Birth – Baby’s first-ever bowel movement often occurs before or during birth; the substance that fills their intestines in utero is called meconium. Ranging in color from dark green to black, it will probably make up the first few of your babies bowel movements.
  2. Texture For Breastfed Babies – Babies who are breastfed will typically have a yellowish bowel movement with small, seedlike particles. It will be significantly more loose than those of a baby’s formula-fed peers.
  3. Texture For Formula-Fed Babies – If you opt to feed with formula, it will affect the texture of your child’s bowel movements. These will be thicker and stickier than those of a breastfed baby; generally somewhere in the consistency neighborhood of peanut butter.
  4. Hard Stools Are Cause For Concern – If your newborn’s stools are hard and dry in texture, it’s a red flag that she may be dehydrated. When these hard, dry stools are accompanied by a fever or fussiness, it’s a good idea to call your pediatrician.
  5. Detecting Diarrhea Can Be Tricky – Because your newborn’s diet consists solely of liquids, the texture of their bowel movement is likely to be watery and loose. This can make it difficult to detect diarrhea; if your child is having more frequent than normal bowel movements, seems fussy or has a fever, she could be suffering from diarrhea.
  6. You May Be Asked to Track Them – There may be times when your pediatrician will ask you to record your baby’s bowel movements and document any details. It’s important to record everything you can about diaper actions in this situation, as it can be a diagnostic tool for digestive problems.
  7. Expect Fewer Diapers From Breastfed Babies – By the age of three to six weeks, a breastfed baby may have as few as one bowel movement as week. Because breast milk generates very little solid waste, there’s simply no need for daily movements.
  8. Formula Can Constipate – Bottle-fed babies should typically have at least one bowel movement a day, due to the solid waste generated by baby formula. Fewer diaper actions, straining and hard stools are all indications of constipation, and should be addressed with your pediatrician.
  9. Frequency Varies – While there are basic guidelines for the expected frequency of bowel movements based on a breast milk versus formula diet, it’s important to remember that babies are all different. Some may have a bowel movement immediately after a feeding, some may take longer.
  10. They’re Magic – Baby’s bowel movements are among the most powerful magical tools in the world: the moment they’re detected, everyone in the room suddenly disappears, leaving the one holding the baby also holding the bag.

10 Pleasant or Not Surprises for Newborn Dads

Perhaps because of their relatively passive role during pregnancy, even the most supportive expectant dad will face myriad surprises after the birth of a child. Some are wonderful surprises, while others are anything but. Here are ten of the things that typically catch a new father off guard.

  1. His Partner’s Gross-Out Threshold Disappears – Women whose delicate sensibilities were offended by the slightest hint of unpleasantness become immune to gross-outs after the birth of a child. This drastic change in his partner can be one of the more amusing surprises of new fatherhood.
  2. Mom Cries, Too – Many a father has returned from work or a trip to the market to find a crying partner holding a screaming baby. Post-partum depression, anxieties about parenthood and feelings of inadequacy can leave a new mother in an emotional mess, and it almost always blindsides a brand new dad.
  3. The Great Diaper Con – The first few diaper actions of a newborn baby are relatively mild. Dads who prepared for nuclear mess find themselves relieved, and convinced that the whole “diaper thing” is overrated. Then the meconium leaves their baby’s system, and actual products of digestion take its place; it’s often a shocker to find that those early diapers were a cruel trick.
  4. Complete Change of Perspective – Most fathers think that they’re prepared for the birth of a child, and that they have a basic idea of what parenthood will feel like. Upon the arrival of their new baby, most find that they weren’t prepared for the level of devotion and love that they feel at all; this is, hands down, the very best surprise fatherhood has to offer.
  5. Babies Are Actually Fun – In theory, newborns just sleep and make a mess. They don’t say much, and are terrible at playing catch. After a new baby’s arrival, most dads find themselves fascinated by every facial expression and movement; it turns out that newborns are fun, but only when they’re yours.
  6. Fear – Men understand on an intellectual level that having a baby is scary. They may even feel a little bit of fear before the birth of their child; real fear sets in with the first contraction, and exists in the form of worries for the safety and well-being of a child for the rest of a father’s life.
  7. Sleep Deprivation – All of the advice in the world doesn’t prepare a person for the level of sleep deprivation that comes from having a newborn infant. New dads are always surprised at how exhausted you can be while still managing to function.
  8. Utter Confusion – Conflicting advice and no practical experience conspire to create the most complete form of confusion most men will ever know. Fathers find themselves shocked at the bewilderment that comes with their new baby.
  9. Baby Blues – Many expectant fathers assume that post-partum depression will only affect their partners; though the Baby Blues aren’t hormonally driven in new dads, they’re still very real. The feeling of exclusion from the new baby and their partner as moms handle most of the care and worries about providing for a growing family can blindside a man after the birth of his child.
  10. The Need For Strategy – When a simple trip to the corner market requires an arsenal of tools and carefully plotted course, new dads can find themselves overjoyed at the prospect of turning everyday errands into a plot worthy of an action film.