Archives for May 2013

10 Flowers Parents Name Their Kids After and What Each Means

Whether you’re an earthy mama looking for baby names that reflect your love of nature or are in the market for something timeless to bestow upon your impending bundle of joy, there’s something about botanical baby names that never quite seem to go out of style. The ten names on this list are all plant-related, and can help you lend a bit of nature’s grace to your child’s name.

  1. Calla – Etymologically Greek and originally meaning “beautiful,” the name Calla is most commonly associated with the lily variation of the same name. While it’s not as popular today as it was in the latter part of the nineteenth century, parents looking to evoke the grace of these beautiful flowers are happy to bestow a less common name upon their daughters.
  2. Daisy – The mental image conjured by the mention of a daisy is often one comprised of bright, sunny days and somehow smacking of innocence, which could be a reason why some parents opt to bestow the name upon their little girls. The name is Old English in origin, but is also a nickname given to girls named Margaret, as the French equivalent of “daisy” is “marguerite.”
  3. Alyssa – While your first thought upon hearing the relatively common girls’ name “Alyssa” may not be of flowers, the name is actually derived from the alyssum flower. Greek in origin, it also means “rational.”
  4. Danica – You may think of famous female racecar drivers or actresses turned mathematical geniuses when you hear the name Danica thanks to women like Danica Patrick or Danica McKellar of Wonder Years fame, but it’s actually derived from Slavic and Latin language meaning “morning star; from Denmark.” It’s also referenced by the very famous and pricey “Flora Danica” china pattern from Royal Copenhagen.
  5. Flora – Latin in derivation, Flora literally means “flower.” In Roman mythology, Flora is the goddess of springtime and was one of the more popular names on the 1990 United States Census, coming in at number 353 or 4276.
  6. Heather – Middle English in origin, Heather is a very common name for American girls that references the flowering, evergreen plant that thrives in the normally barren highlands of Scotland.
  7. Jasmine – Forget the princesses of animated films, Jasmine is the name for both girls around the world and a climbing, sweet-smelling flower from the olive family. There are also dozens of variations, including Jaslyn, Jessamine and Yasmin. Jasmine is of Old French and Persian origin.
  8. Lily – A symbol of innocence, purity and beauty, the lily is not only a flower but also a girls’ name of Latin origin. Lila, Lillian and Leila are all derivatives of the name Lily, and there are a number of variant spellings for creatively-minded parents who want their little flower to stand out from the pack.
  9. Anthony – Flower names aren’t reserved strictly for girls! The name Anthony, a very popular one for boys, is derived from a Roman clan name and means “highly praiseworthy.” Seventeenth century spellings of the name Anthony was heavily associated with the Greek word anthos, which means “flower.”
  10. Jared – Dating back to pre-flood Biblical times, Jared is another name for the word “rose” in the Hebrew language.

10 Reasons to Rethink Bed Sharing with Your Baby

Few subjects are as hotly debated among parenting experts and pediatricians as the practice of bed sharing with infants. While many attachment parenting gurus sing the praises of co-sleeping, it’s important for new parents to make fully informed decisions about the sleeping arrangement they choose for their new bundle of joy. These are 10 of the reasons why you may want to think twice before entering into a bed sharing arrangement with your new infant.

  • You’re Not Breastfeeding – The most common reason for parents to opt for a bed sharing arrangement is in order to practice breastfeeding on demand. Breastfeeding certainly doesn’t reduce the chances of overlying or accidental suffocation, but choosing to share a bed when you’ll be forced to get up in order to prepare formula does nothing to mitigate sleep deprivation during Baby’s first few months of life.
  • You Drink Alcohol, Even Socially – One of the most common factors in cases of suffocation or overlying was the consumption of alcohol before sleeping. If you or your partner drinks at all, even socially, it’s simply not safe to run the risk of sharing a bed when you’ve been imbibing.
  • You Plan to Have Pillows or Blankets on Your Bed – The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be placed on their backs to sleep, in cribs that do not contain plush blankets, fluffy pillows or toys that could present a risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Because your bed will almost certainly contain pillows and blankets, you might want to give the practice of bed sharing a second thought.
  • You’re a Smoker – A study published in the SLEEP journal showed a correlation between maternal cigarette smoking and an increased risk for SIDS due to an association between maternal smoking and an alteration in the infant arousal process. The authors of that study suggested that maternal sleeping was the greatest modifiable risk factor for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, replacing even stomach sleep positions. Because bed sharing has also been associated with infant mortality, it’s wise to forgo the arrangement altogether if Mommy is a smoker.
  • You Share Your Bed With Older Children – The more bodies in your bed, the higher the likelihood of someone accidentally rolling over onto a vulnerable newborn that’s also sharing the space. If you have older children that still sleep in your bed, sharing is far from an ideal arrangement.
  • You Plan to Transition to a Crib Later – Some babies have a more difficult time transitioning to a crib in their own rooms after a lifetime of bed sharing with Mom and Dad. The transition may be relatively smoother when your baby reaches six months of age, but can get more difficult to successfully make at a later age.
  • Your Baby Was Premature – Premature babies are also at a higher risk of SIDS than most, which means that bed sharing only introduces another factor that could increase that risk as well. Stacking risky behavior on top of a non-controllable factor can definitely be construed as reckless.
  • Your Bed is Elevated – Even if you never roll over onto your child, there’s never an incidence of suffocation or SIDS and your baby never becomes wedged between the mattress and a headboard or wall, most beds are still high enough off the ground to present a risk of serious injury should your infant roll off of the bed.
  • Your Bedroom Can Accommodate a Crib – Non-elective bed sharing happens when financial circumstances or severe space constraints force parents to share a bed with their new baby and has been linked to an increased risk of infant mortality in a study sponsored by the University of Notre Dame. If you do have room for a crib and are not forced by circumstance to share a bed with your new baby, it’s better to err on the side of caution by room sharing without sharing a bed.
  • You Want Your Bedroom to Be a Calming Retreat – While the American Academy of Pediatrics does recommend room sharing, there are still plenty of parents that opt to put Baby to sleep in her own room. If you have any desire to create an environment in which your bedroom is a reprieve from the demands of parenting, sharing a bed with your new baby is not the way to make those dreams a reality.

The American Academy of Pediatrics does recommend room sharing, but not the practice of sleeping in the family bed. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission has also ordered the recall of some devices intended to place infants alongside an adult bed for easy access, so be sure that you carefully research any products before purchasing them. Remember that co-sleeping doesn’t necessarily mean sharing the same bed, as the term is generally used to describe an arrangement in which newborns and infants sleep in a crib or bassinette placed in their parents’ bedrooms.

How to Help a Baby Take a Bottle

Breastfeeding your baby provides her with the most complete form of nutrition available and exposes her to antibodies that can decrease her risk of contracting some illnesses. Breast milk is such a valuable commodity that it’s often referred to as “liquid gold,” and is even banked in some communities so that babies whose mothers aren’t capable of breastfeeding can still receive the nutrition they need. The World Health Organization recommends that babies be breastfed exclusively for the first year of life, but what’s a mom to do when she plans to return to work at the end of her scheduled maternity leave? Convincing a breastfed baby to take a bottle can be a challenge for even the most experienced caregiver, but it’s not impossible. These tips can help you get your child accustomed to accepting sustenance from a bottle so that she’s well fed when Nanny’s in charge.

Start Early

While attachment parenting guru Dr. Sears does suggest that babies under four weeks of age not be introduced to bottle feeding to avoid nipple confusion, he also asserts that introducing a bottle around two weeks before Mom’s scheduled return to work can ease the transition. Slowly integrating bottle feeding in the weeks leading up to your return doesn’t have to mean that you’re switching to expressed milk exclusively, either. As long as you’re alternating between the breast and the bottle with only one or two bottle feedings per day, she should be able to adapt to both methods.

Practice With Dad

Watching Mom bond with the new baby and be exclusively responsible for feeding can be a bit frustrating for a new dad who feels that he’s been sidelined when it comes to the care of his child. When you start introducing bottle feeding in preparation for your return to work and the employment of a nanny, let Dad take the reins with bottles. Not only will this help your baby become accustomed to the idea of being fed by someone other than Mom, but also give the two of them time to bond as well.

Mimic Mom’s Scent

Draping a shirt that smells like Mom over the shoulder of someone else doing the bottle feeding can have good results when it comes to helping a breastfed baby take a bottle. The Palo Alto Medical Foundation suggests this method, asserting that some babies will find the scent of Mom to be comforting enough to encourage successful bottle feeding in her absence.

Make Mom Leave the Room

Bottle feeding a breastfed baby is typically more difficult if Mom is in the room, as it reminds a baby that her mother is nearby and that there is a breast available. Getting Mom to leave the room during bottle feeding sessions might help them to be more productive, and is especially important if it’s almost time for her return to work.

Experiment With Positioning

Just as every adult is different and each has their own set of individual likes and dislikes, so are babies. Some may prefer to be fed from a bottle while sitting upright or even facing away from a caregiver, while others respond better to the traditional cradle hold with plenty of skin contact and interaction that mimics the breastfeeding experience to a degree. Be prepared to try variable positioning to find what your baby responds to best.

Don’t Wait Until Baby is Extremely Hungry

Attempting to introduce a new experience or help an infant master an unfamiliar skill when she’s desperately hungry isn’t likely to have successful results. The feeling of being hungry is frustrating enough, and being unfamiliar with the sensation of feeding in a different way will only exacerbate that anxiety. Rather than waiting until a baby is extremely hungry in hopes that she’ll latch onto any form of sustenance available, try to bottle feed her when she’s feeling a bit more secure and content.

Choose Your Nipples Carefully

Silicone nipples designed for premature babies are recommended by the La Leche League for breastfed babies in preparation for a nursing mother’s return to work, but there are a variety of options on the market. As with positioning, every baby will have their own individual preferences. Try to have a variety of nipples on hand, and don’t be discouraged if one doesn’t seem to work out well. Baby’s refusal of one nipple doesn’t necessarily mean that he won’t accept a bottle at all; it just may require a bit more experimentation to find the one that he likes.

10 Questions to Ask Your Child’s Pediatrician at Her First Checkup

Becoming a parent is an exciting moment in your life, but it also a hectic one. There are so many questions to answer that entire sections of bookstores are dedicated to the demystification of pregnancy and early childhood; still, it’s not always easy to understand every aspect of parenting a newborn. Your baby’s first well child visit is a great opportunity to ask her pediatrician all of the questions that have been plaguing you, and to get a personal response instead of impersonal information printed in a book. These are ten of the questions that you should ask your pediatrician at your baby’s first checkup, along with any others that may be plaguing you.

  1. “How Can We Reduce the Risk of SIDS?” – Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is relatively rare, but it’s a heartbreaking situation that you should be well-informed about in order to mitigate the risk. Speaking with your pediatrician about the best practices and accepted methods of doing so is essential to her health, and something that should be addressed as early as possible.
  2. “What Should I Know About Umbilical Cord Care?” – That little stump left over from your child’s umbilical cord can be a confusing thing to deal with, and your pediatrician can help you to understand it more thoroughly. While the labor and delivery nurses will almost always give you a crash course in umbilical cord care before you leave the hospital, it’s easy to lose track of those tips in the onslaught of advice and information you’re given. Approaching the subject with your pediatrician can make it a bit less confusing.
  3. “Is Our Feeding Routine an Effective One?” – Whether you’re breastfeeding or you opted for formula, you’ll need to keep track of your feeding times, the duration of each session and how much your child takes at every feeding so that you can ask your pediatrician for verification that your routine is working out properly.
  4. “Can You Recommend a Lactation Consultant?” – Breastfeeding is recommended by the World Health Organization as the exclusive source of nutrition for your child’s first year of life, but that doesn’t mean that it’s always easy. Because your pediatrician is focused on the care of your child more than the care of her parents, it’s wise to ask for a lactation consultant recommendation if you’re having difficulty breastfeeding.
  5. “Should I Wake My Baby For Feedings?” – Even in the earliest days of your child’s life, you want her to sleep as much as possible so you can get a bit of rest as well. Still, it’s difficult to know whether or not you should wake her for a scheduled feeding. Your pediatrician can give you answers to questions related to sleeping and feeding, helping you to make an informed decision.
  6. “How Many Diapers Should We Be Using?” – There’s a reason why the hospital staff kept track of your newborn’s diaper changes: they can be a valuable source of information. Quizzing your baby’s doctor about the expected frequency of diaper changes can help you both determine whether or not everything is progressing as expected.
  7. “When Should We Give Her a Bath?” – When your child gets older, she’ll discover a talent for getting filthy that defies imagination. During early infancy, however, it’s not always clear when she needs a bath. Rather than bathing her too frequently and running the risk of drying out or irritating delicate skin, you may want to discuss the matter with her doctor.
  8. “Can You Explain Your Recommended Immunization Schedule?” – Some parents opt to forgo immunization altogether, but vaccination is one of the most reliable ways to prevent the spread of infectious disease and lower your child’s risk of contracting dangerous illnesses. Discussing the matter with your pediatrician at length is recommended before you decide to skip them altogether.
  9. “Do You Provide On-Call Care, and Is Your Practice Reachable After Hours?” – There will be times in your baby’s life that she’s sick enough to require care after hours, but not so sick that a trip to the emergency room is justified. For this very reason, most pediatricians offer after-hours services and on-call care, and you’ll need to know how to obtain that help when it’s needed.
  10. “What Will Happen If You’re Not Available?” – Doctors and nurses go on vacation just like anyone else, and they also deal with personal emergencies that can remove them from the office. In larger pediatric practices, you will probably be seen by another doctor within the practice if an appointment or illness happens when your regular pediatrician is unavailable. Being prepared for this situation in advance can make it less stressful for you, and may provide you with the opportunity to meet the other pediatricians within the practice as a formality.

Making a list of questions for your pediatrician, including these and any others you may have, can help to keep you on track during the appointment so that nothing is forgotten. Don’t hesitate to pursue information you don’t have; a good pediatrician will never make you feel rushed or like a burden for taking up his time with parenting questions.