Archives for March 2013

30 Expert Parenting Bloggers Moms of Newborns Must Follow

No matter what lengths you go to in order to prepare for your baby, as a new mom you’re going to have a lot of questions. This is a natural part of becoming a mommy, and a healthy approach to your new responsibilities, too. As you explore and discover all the wonderful, fun, frustrating and sometimes frightening aspects of being a mom, you may feel overwhelmed. These 30 parenting blogs for moms of newborns deal with different aspects of motherhood and can help you make sense of this new adventure.

Baby’s First Weeks

The first weeks with your baby will present you with challenges that you can’t imagine. The only way to truly prepare for what’s ahead is with first-hand experience. You will, like millions of mommies before you, learn as you go along. You’ll make mistakes and may even unfairly label yourself a bad mother. However, where there’s a will there’s a way – or a number of ways, if you take your cue from these five expert parenting bloggers.

Coping with Feeding Time

Feeding time is a steep learning curve for almost every new mom. No two babies take to feeding the same way, regardless of whether you decide to breast or bottle feed. This time in your baby’s life is an excellent time for mom and baby to bond, so take the time to enjoy the experience and time you spend with your newborn. What’s important is finding a feeding schedule and method that works for you and your baby. These five bloggers write on topics that cover feeding babies, with each presenting a unique perspective to fit every mom’s preference.

General Baby Care & Communication

The subject of baby care is one that cannot be addressed in a single topic. While some parenting bloggers concentrate on specific subjects, others provide information on the broader topics of child care. There is no one “right way” to take care of your baby; however, there are a number of best practices that will keep your baby fit and in good health. These five blogs are essential reads when it comes to taking care of your newborn and finding tips that will help you cope with every situation.

Natural Mommy Bloggers

Every mom has her own ideas and preferences for how she wants to raise her baby. Sometimes traditional parenting bloggers do not cater to every mom, however. Some moms, for instance, prefer to take a more natural approach to motherhood. This can include everything from natural feeding to making your own clothes and cleaning products. If you are interested in being an eco-friendly, natural mommy, then these five bloggers are just what you’ve been looking for.

Products for Mom & Baby

Finding the right products for both you and your baby can be a trying experience. There are so many products to choose from, and you just don’t know if they are right for you until you try them out. The trouble is that baby related products are expensive, so you don’t want to needlessly throw away your cash. These five bloggers make a living out of finding the best products for baby and new mom.

Decorating Baby’s Room

When your newborn baby arrives you may get the urge to decorate your entire home in the style of a nursery. However, there is no reason that your baby’s décor should take over every room in your home. With that being said, you can make sure that your baby’s room is a warm, comfortable environment, full of vibrant colors, beautiful bedding, and exquisite furnishings. With advice from these five expert decorating bloggers, who specialize in all things baby related, you can create a living space that suits the entire family.

10 Reasons Babies Love to be Swaddled

It is believed that swaddling babies began in the paleolithic era, though the New Testament holds the most famous account of swaddling in its recording of the birth of Jesus. The practice continued through the ages unquestioned until the 1500’s. At that time, a Swiss surgeon by the name of Felix Wurtz challenged the practice, stating that he did not see the use of it and that the tight bindings caused discomfort to the child. It was not until scientists of the 17th century criticized swaddling that it began to fall out of favor, but modern parents are beginning to adopt the practice again as indications showing that swaddled babies may sleep more soundly on their backs than their unswaddled counterparts are rising. Because the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends that babies sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, it may be a smart move to swaddle your little one so that she gets a safe, restful sleep. Parents love swaddling because it can help babies sleep longer, but here are some of the reasons why the little ones love it as well.

  1. Swaddling Can Make Babies More Calm – Swaddling babies often seems to calm them down, even when their fussiness knows no bounds. When newborns get fussy even though they’ve been fed and their diapers are dry, often wrapping them snugly in a receiving blank or swaddling wrap will cause them to settle down after a short while.
  2. They May Sleep More Soundly – Medical information clearinghouse WebMD has published the findings of a sleep study conducted in 2005 that indicated that swaddled infants sleeping on their backs seemed to have a better quality of deep sleep.
  3. Swaddled Babies Get More Sleep – When an infant is swaddled he is more likely to sleep longer, in addition to getting a better quality of sleep overall. In Brussels, Belgium research was conducted at the University Children’s Hospital that showed that infants between six and 16 weeks of age who were swaddled and in the supine position slept longer. This is good news for parents.
  4. Reflexive Actions May Not Wake Them Up – Newborns experience a phenomena called the Moro reflex. This happens when they feel a sudden loss of support. They abruptly extend their arms, bring them back in and then cry. Swaddling an infant prevents this unexpected feeling of instability, and keeps her from waking herself up. This reflex occurs somewhat frequently when a baby is in the supine position, which also happens to be the safest sleeping position for infants. Swaddling can prevent the reflex from waking a newborn in a safe, supine position.
  5. Swaddling Mitigates SIDS Risks – In 2007, a meta-analysis of research on swaddling was conducted by the Journal of Pediatrics. The study found that there was a reduction in the SIDS rate for babies who were swaddled and placed in the supine position for sleeping. It is assumed that swaddling prevents the baby from turning over and sleeping in the prone position, which has a higher incidence of SIDS.
  6. Their Faces Are Protected – Another good reason for swaddling is that, when done correctly, the baby will not be able to inadvertently cover his face with anything. SIDS is also linked to accidental covering of the head in newborns. Proper swaddling can prevent this from happening.
  7. Swaddling Recreates the Sensations of Mother’s Womb – Your baby has just spent nine months in a small, cozy space. Now, she’s been thrust into a rather cold, bright and noisy world where everything is unfamiliar. Researchers cited by the Mayo Clinic have found that swaddling may simulate the feeling of being in the womb, since the baby is snuggly wrapped and her movement is slightly inhibited.
  8. Swaddling Helps Babies Establish a Sleep Schedule – Some infants get droopy-eyed and ready to go to sleep when the swaddling process begins because they’ve learned to associate being swaddled with resting. When the swaddling ritual is instituted before going to sleep, she may become accustomed to the idea that nap time has arrived.
  9. Swaddling Can Feel Like Cuddling – Touch is vital to an infant’s normal development and babies thrive on being cuddled. Unfortunately, it’s just not practical to remain in constant, cuddly contact with your baby. To a certain extent, swaddling your baby imitates cuddling, and therefore can be a soothing and comforting alternative.
  10. Parents are Happier and More Alert – There is a saying, “When Mama’s happy, everybody’s happy.” Swaddling your baby means he is more content and sleeps better and for longer stretches of time. That means you get more restful sleep yourself, and well rested parents are better able to meet the needs of their babies to keep them happy and healthy.

Swaddling can help your baby sleep better, be more comfortable and may even reduce the risk of SIDS. Improper swaddling techniques, however, can actually lead to hip problems later in life. The International Hip Dysplasia Institute recommends that parents learn to properly swaddle infants in a manner that will not inhibit hip movement or put their child at risk for hip dysplasia as she gets older.

10 Obnoxious Questions Strangers Ask New Moms

Adding a new member to the family is supposed to be one of the most exhilarating, rewarding times of your entire life, and for the most part, it certainly is. There are times, though, when the prying questions and rude inquiries of others serve to momentarily spoil the mood of baby bliss. Most of the people who ask these inconsiderate questions aren’t even aware of how rude they’re being; in fact, they feel as if they’re only being nice. There’s just something about a baby that makes people feel as if it’s acceptable to meddle in a new mom’s affairs, and these are 10 of the most irritating things that regularly come out of those busy mouths.

  1. “When Are You Due?” – To the chagrin of many a first-time mom, it’s not uncommon to still be wearing maternity jeans for weeks or even months after the birth of a child. When well-meaning passersby and casual acquaintances inquire about the remaining length of a pregnancy weeks after delivery, it can just compound the frustration of dealing with stubborn baby weight along with the demands of new motherhood.
  2. “Are You Breastfeeding?” – There’s no doubt about the fact that breast is best, but that doesn’t mean that breastfeeding is feasible or even possible for all new mothers. There are plenty of extenuating circumstances that can affect a woman’s decision to breastfeed or go with formula, up to and including a simple disinclination to nurse. Regardless of others’ feelings on the subject, how a new mother feeds her baby is ultimately her own choice.
  3. “Did You Have a Natural Childbirth?” – Few medical procedures open the door to invasive questions like a discussion about childbirth. Everything from anesthesia to bodily functions seems to be on the table and a valid topic of conversation, regardless of how invasive or personal those questions might be.
  4. “Are You Going Back to Work?” – Some new moms will go back to work, and others will stay home with their children. Whichever choice they make, there is someone on the opposite side of the fence that will find fault with their decision.
  5. “Isn’t Motherhood Great?” – For some women, new motherhood is a glorious and life-affirming experience that brings them more joy than anything they’ve ever known. Others, however, suffer from the very real symptoms of postpartum depression and may not feel like motherhood is something so altogether grand, after all. Excited inquiries about how wonderful they’re finding the world of parenting are great when they’re echoed, but they’re just hurtful and awkward for those moms that are struggling to settle into their new role.
  6. “Is That Your Grandchild?” – Changes in the social structure and advances in modern medicine have also brought about changes to the face of modern motherhood. These days, it’s not uncommon for a woman to give birth well into her forties, leading plenty of confused onlookers to come to the conclusion that she’s looking after a grandchild.
  7. “Did You Adopt?” – There’s more than one way to become a mother, and one of them is adoption. While there’s no shame in adopting, there are plenty of adoptive parents who would prefer to avoid the subject. Asking pointed questions about the origin of a child serves only to satisfy curiosity, and can be quite upsetting to a new parent.
  8. “Are You the Nanny?” – Genetics work out in strange ways sometimes, leaving a biracial child looking far more like one parent than another. Being regularly confused for the nanny of a baby that more heavily favors his father is not only insensitive, but can get tiring very quickly for a new mom.
  9. “When Are You Going to Have Another?” – When a baby is still in diapers, the last thing that most mothers are thinking about is adding another baby to the mix. Just as it’s rude to prod newlywed couples about when they’re planning to have children, it’s also very intrusive to ask a new mother about her plans to have another while her first is still an infant.
  10. “Are You Getting Enough Sleep?” – In short, the answer will always be “no.” Asking a new mom if she’s getting enough sleep can feel like a kind of commiseration, but it’s also a question she’s been fielding since the moment she brought her child home from the hospital. Reminding her of the sleep she isn’t getting is more likely to bring on gritted teeth and short replies than anything else.

Even if you feel that you’re sharing great advice to a clueless new mother, try to keep in mind that unsolicited advice is almost never well received. Your opinions on co-sleeping, vaccinations, pacifiers and every other hot-button parenting topics are your own. Asking nosy or leading questions as a means of foisting your parenting wisdom upon a new mother may not have the results you’re hoping for, even if she smiles politely and squelches the urge to roll her eyes at you.

15 Tips for Keeping Your Newborn Healthy

Bringing your new baby home is one of the most exciting times in a parent’s life, but it can also be one of the most nerve-wracking. A newborn is so small and vulnerable, it’s not hard to believe that their immune systems aren’t quite developed enough to fight off illnesses. Keeping a newborn healthy is essential, but it certainly isn’t impossible. These 15 tips can help you protect your little one until her body is better able to fight off infections, maintaining her health and your emotional well-being in the process.

  1. Be Firm With Friends and Relatives – It’s natural to want to show your newborn off to your nearest and dearest, but they can present a health risk for her. It’s important to keep in mind that not only is it okay to be firm in regard to your child’s health, it’s imperative. Don’t let a cousin with a case of the sniffles handle your new baby or allow loved ones to pick her up before washing their hands.
  2. Insist on Good Hand Washing Habits – One of the most effective ways of protecting your newborn’s health is to insist that everyone who touches her wash their hands thoroughly before doing so. Hands come into contact with so many germ-laden surfaces and objects throughout the day that it’s just not a good idea to skip a thorough scrubbing before cuddling.
  3. Keep the Kisses Away from Baby’s Face – Newborns are so cute and cuddly, they seem to be just begging for affection. No matter how much you want to cover her little face with kisses, it’s smart to keep in mind just how many germs are carried by your saliva.
  4. Don’t Skip the Vaccinations – There’s a battle raging amongst parents about the efficacy of vaccinations versus their perceived risks, but vaccinations do prevent many illnesses. Not only should your infant be immunized according to doctors’ recommendations, but so should older siblings and adults that will be caring for her.
  5. Remember that Breast is Best – Breastfeeding isn’t always an option, but it’s one that should be carefully considered if there’s any feasibility at all. In cases of adoption, low milk production or a mother’s need to be on medications that can be excreted through breast milk, formula is a perfectly adequate nutritional substance. It doesn’t, however, contain the antibodies that boost a baby’s new immune system.
  6. Avoid Crowded Places – Shopping malls, restaurants or even dinner parties can be crowded areas with high concentrations of people who are carrying communicable illnesses. In the interest of keeping your baby healthy, it’s wise to save his big debut for a time when his immune system is a bit more developed.
  7. Pay Special Attention to Older Siblings – Older siblings who attend preschool, daycare or elementary school are exposed to illness-spreading germs all day long, and they may have developed a resistance that allows them to still carry those germs without exhibiting symptoms of illness themselves. Make sure that your older children understand the importance of good hygiene, especially when it comes to spending time with a new baby.
  8. Keep Your Doctor’s Appointments – Time is a commodity that new parents seldom have an adequate supply of, but it’s important to remember that appointments with your pediatrician should be kept if at all possible.
  9. Hire an Experienced Caregiver – The rookie nanny you’re considering might be enthusiastic, but she may also lack the experience or training that will allow her to confidently care for a newborn without spreading illnesses. While it’s perfectly acceptable to hire a nanny with little to no practical work experience, you should make sure that she’s well-versed in the care of newborns and minimizing the spread of germs.
  10. Keep the Nursery Clean – When you’re sleep deprived and living on the quick snacks you can fit in during Baby’s naps, the idea of house cleaning probably isn’t an appealing one. Making sure that your newborn’s nursery is clean, however, is one of the best ways to prevent her from becoming sick.
  11. Practice Good Crib Safety Habits – Guarding your newborn’s health doesn’t just mean keeping her clear of illness-causing germs; it also requires you to be focused on her safety. Fluffy pillows, snuggly blankets and soft crib bumpers may seem like great tools for keeping her comfortable, but they can actually increase her risk of SIDS. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants’ cribs contain no pillows, plush toys or thick blankets.
  12. Minimize Play Dates – If your older children are accustomed to hosting play dates, it may be a smart move to consider putting them on hold for a few months or working with other parents in your playgroup to find alternate hosting solutions until your newborn is a bit older.
  13. Keep Pets Clear of the Nursery – Fido might be man’s best friend, but he doesn’t need to be licking your newborn’s face or spreading dander throughout her nursery. Making the baby’s room a pet-free zone for a while can reduce the number of germs and contaminants that she’s exposed to during the earliest days of her life.
  14. Sterilize Bottles and Nipples – It simply isn’t possible to keep every germ away from your newborn, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make an effort to protect her from them when you’re able. Sterilizing the bottles and nipples that she puts into her mouth during feeding time is one of the measures that you shouldn’t neglect.
  15. Take Care of Yourself! – An exhausted, overworked parent’s immune system might not be the most effective, so it’s important that you make every effort to take care of yourself, too. When you’re sick, it’s difficult to avoid passing those illnesses on to your baby. Guarding your own health and well-being isn’t self-indulgent; it’s a necessary step of preventing the spread of illnesses to your child.