Don’t Touch My Child!

Photo Credit vegeta the saiyan, Reddit.com

Hi Medical Mama fans and followers. I want to talk about how easy it is to spread germs to a newborn/baby/young child. I think the number one thing I hear moms with new babies (not to be confused with first time moms) is that everyone seems to think it’s okay to touch a baby’s face, or put their fingers in the baby’s mouth. Gross!

Let’s Make a List:

Don’t touch a baby’s/child’s face.

Don’t touch a baby’s/child’s mouth.

Don’t put your hands or fingers near or in a baby’s/child’s mouth.

Don’t smoke around a baby/child.

Don’t cough or be around a baby/child if you’ve been under the weather at all.

It just amazes me how many people think it’s okay to do these things.

What Do Statistics Say?

I’m glad you asked. This is going to sound like beating a dead horse, but keep in mind you got vaccinated as a child. You are an adult, so your vaccinations have been completed. You are a fully functioning adult with semi good health. No history of diseases or viruses that could be prevented had you not been vaccinated because you were vaccinated completely as a baby (now give your mom a call and thank her). Babies (especially those before 1 year of age) are not able to fight off things that can be prevented from being vaccinated. They have not grown enough to have received all of their vaccinations or developed a fully functioning immune system yet. This is why it is so important that we 1) vaccinate our children, and 2) keep our hands/face/kisses/germs to ourselves.

Hand washing

hand washing
Photo Credit Gary Kibble, Perpetual Preparedness

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) hand washing can reduce the risk of respiratory infections by 16% (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013). That might not seem like a big number to you, but it is to me and anyone else who could potentially die from contracting a respiratory infection. I’ve seen what respiratory infections do to low immune system patients. Washing your hands can save a life.”Researchers in London estimate that if everyone routinely washed their hands, a million deaths a year could be prevented; More than 50% of healthy persons have Staphylococcus aureus living in or on their nasal passages, throat, hair, or skin; Trachoma, the leading cause of preventable blindness worldwide, is related to the lack of facial hygiene” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013).

We have had pediatric patients come in not being able to breathe and have to go to the hospital because of a respiratory infection. My daughter has asthma so badly enough that every time she gets sick any respiratory virus symptoms is exaggerated for her because of her asthma. I have had to take her in to the hospital in the middle of the night because she can’t inhale any air. She can only cough without taking a breath to keep air moving through her body.

baby intibated
Photo Credit Kristy Ramirez, Baby Gaga

If that were your child how would that make you feel if someone came up to your baby and stuck their hands in your child’s mouth? What if when your child got sick it was that bad every single time? You have nails and crevices in your hands and fingers. Think about all the bacteria being harbored there. The nails are the first place that get other people sick. They are hard to wash and keep clean. This is why nurses are required to keep their nails short. There isn’t as much space for the breeding ground of infections, viruses, bacteria, microbes, etc. Please think before you touch someone’s baby. Ask them. More than likely they will say “Yes.” They will not allow you to do things like touch their baby’s face or stick your fingers in the baby’s mouth.

Kissing the Baby

dont kiss the baby
Photo Credit Erin, Baby Memes

This is a huge one at the hospitals that families visiting immediately wants to do to your newborn baby. Don’t kiss the babies! Some huge issues with kissing babies include cold sores (Herpes Simplex Virus), RSV, food allergies, chemicals on clothes or body, Mono, stomach viruses, whooping cough, and hand foot mouth disease (Ramirez, K., Unknown). I highly encourage everyone to read this article. Let’s also not forget the flu and cold viruses you could be carrying on you (or in your finger nails that you you’ve been sticking in your mouth and touching your face with all day long). In case you were not already aware all of those things mentioned above does have the potential to kill a baby. Just because you don’t “feel sick,” or you don’t “look sick” doesn’t mean you aren’t carrying something. You could have the virus on you and it is not effecting you because you already have the antibodies to fight off this virus. A baby does not, by any means, have any way to fight off these viruses and infections. Their immune systems are not fully developed and functioning yet. They also are not big enough to get all their vaccinations at once.

Smoking Around a Baby

smoking around baby
Photo Credit Cardiff Student Media

I realize I am more than likely going to get some criticism from this, but let’s be real and talk about smoking. We don’t live in the era where we we’re not educated about smoking and it’s effects on ourselves and others. We live in 2018. We know what smoking does.

Let’s talk specifically about second-hand smoke. “Removing cigarette smoke from a home can reduce the risk of SIDS by up to 80%” (Vaping Daily, 2018). Are you willing to put a baby’s life at risk because you want to light up around baby?

second hand smoking
Photo Credit U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services

Not to mention all the harm it does to not only your lungs, but to baby’s lungs as well. Again, we know this. This has been researched and followed for decades. It’s not like this is a news flash. Please be considerate and put a baby first. Put their health first.

Being a Smoker and Holding a Baby

third hand smoking
Photo Credit newyou.com

This is considered third hand smoke. Just because you don’t smoke around a baby/child does not mean you are not hurting the baby/child. You have smoking residue on your clothes and on your breath. Did you know this will increase the risk of SIDS for that baby? It can be fatal. I am not saying you should change your lifestyle. I am saying though that the baby/child is not choosing to smoke. Change your clothes and take a shower. Wash your hands too. Make sure you scrub all the way down before touching/holding a baby. Don’t put your child in a smoker’s home where this could increase your baby’s risks. The smell also irritates the nasal passages. This makes breathing harder for baby. If the child has asthma that is an even bigger issue.

Please Stop and Think Before You Touch Someone’s Baby!

germs
Photo Credit Mayo Clinic Staff

If you are a family member, friend, distant relative, or you are a stranger who sees an adorable baby please stop and think before you just go touching someone’s child. Think about all the viruses, bacteria, microbes, GERMS you could be carrying on your body. Even if you wash your hands you still have some of those potentially harmful things on your skin. My advice to moms is just keep your baby at home as much as you can for a while. I understand that is not practical, but as a mom you have to do what you can still.

Good luck to all the moms with babies and who are having these issues with others touching their babies. It’s scary taking your baby in public. I understand. Hopefully sharing this article with others will help educate others on the potentially harmful things that people carry on them every day.

As always please share your story below in the comments section. This not only helps other moms, but it helps anyone who is thinking about children as well.

Resources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Hygiene Fast Facts. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/hygiene/fast_facts.html

Ramirez, Kristy. (Unknown). 13 Horrific Reasons Not to Let People Kiss the Baby. Retrieved from https://www.babygaga.com/13-horrific-reasons-not-to-let-people-kiss-the-baby/

Vaping Daily. (2018). The Dangers of Tobacco Use: Daycare Staff and SIDS risk. Retrieved from https://vapingdaily.com/support/newborns-toddlers-health/

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Getting Your Baby to Sleep: 5 Tips and Tricks

A while back my mother had posted this video on to my social media wall about how to get your baby to go to sleep easily. I kinda rolled my eyes and thought “Well this ought to be good”. It was this video explaining 5 easy steps on putting your baby to sleep.

This is all on the premise of imitating the womb for baby.

P.S. Make sure to check out the video below for more details.

Let’s jump right in!

1) Swaddling

swaddled baby

This means baby is wrapped tightly in a blanket. Please use a swaddler for safety. Your baby should be swaddled with their arms down to their sides. You can also swaddle them with their little hands by their face, but still tightly wrapped in the blanket. This provides comfort for them.

In the womb your baby is squished inside with their hands close to their body. They are also warmed by your body heat and snuggled inside of you. Comfy right?

Dr. Harvey Karp, Author of “Happiest Baby on the Block,” explains that some babies fight the swaddling, but it really is better for them to be swaddled while trying to fall asleep.

2) Side or Stomach Position

side laying baby

First, I want it to be known that side position and stomach position are only for getting baby to fall asleep. NOT for actual sleeping. Back is best for sleeping.

Dr. Karp also explains that side position is the best position for calming a crying baby.

3) Shushing or White Noise

gods work

Don’t forget that for nine months your baby has been inside your womb where there has been noise constantly. Babies don’t sleep well with no noise. Don’t worry, that’s new information for me too.

Do you sleep with the fan on? I love having that white noise in the background to help me fall asleep. Babies need that background noise because it is familiar to them.

Try using a white noise machine by their crib or bassinet.

4) Swinging

rocking baby

Again, in the womb there was constant movement. Did you work while pregnant? Did you walk? Exercise? This constant motion is familiar to them. Rocking them gently helps them feel “at home” in the womb again.

5) Sucking

baby with pacifier

Pull that binky out and give it to baby. Baby wants to suck on something. It’s soothing to them and something to calm them throughout the day.

For more tips and tricks be sure to watch the video below.

Breast Feeding, Bottle Feeding, Formula Feeding: Which is the Right Choice for Me?

Photo Credit Disqus

I want to start off letting all the parents out there know that this article focuses on what is best for baby, and not what is necessarily the best choice overall. I am not bias one way or another. How you decide to feed your baby is a personal decision. It is the decision you make based upon what is right for you and your baby. Feeding your baby is more important than who is doing it the “right way” per other people’s perspectives. I hear so many moms shaming other moms because they don’t/didn’t breast feed. Did you know some moms can not breast feed? Some moms try to breast feed. They do everything they can to get their milk supply up. They don’t give up, but it just does not end up working out for them. Sometimes it doesn’t end up working out for baby either. There are so many factors in this.

My mother, with both her children, was able to breast feed. She would tell me she basically was a cow in the fact that she leaked milk constantly. She also has always been able to be at home doing something. She clearly is a great candidate for breast feeding her children. My sister and I did not have any issues latching on. We were fed a la breast.

Breast Feeding: Is This the Right Choice for Me?

Some of you may be reading this thinking “Of course this is the right choice. It’s the only choice.” Did you know this is not the only choice of feeding your baby? Breast feeding exclusively takes a lot of time and patience. It also takes dedication and willingness to offer your baby your breasts at every moment of the day. Every day. Working moms have a harder time with this. At-home-moms may have a hard time with this as well depending on their family’s needs, other children, etc.

mom-breastfeeding-baby

Just remember breast feeding is a personal decision. Do not let others sway you one way or the other. This decision is between you and your baby. Breast feeding has so many benefits for you and your baby.

 

 

Photo Credit Thayer Allyson Gowdy

*Breast Feeding: Benefits for Baby*

My personal reason for wanting to breast feed is that baby receives your antibodies from your breast milk. That is how baby stays healthy. If baby catches a virus that you already have had your body will have the antibodies for it and make it easier for baby to fight off the virus. Another great reason to breast feed is breast milk has the perfect amount of nutrients via what you put in your body. There’s fats, proteins, vitamins, etc. “Babies who are breast fed exclusively for the first 6 months, without any formula, have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and bouts of diarrhea. They also have fewer hospitalizations and trips to the doctor.” (WebMD, 2005-2018).

mriPhoto Credit Telegraph Media Group Limited

The more interesting thing I have found though is that children who are breast fed seem to be smarter overall. They are more successful as adults and in their academics and careers. Some other great benefits I would like to highlight include the physical aspect of it for baby AND for mommy. The skin to skin/one on on for baby helps brain development. The touching stimulates the brain and helps it to grow. They have found babies who are interacted with have bigger brains and are smarter than babies who just lay in their cribs all day being ignored. Also, babies who are breast fed have a lower risk for SIDS.

*Breast Feeding: Benefits for Mommy*

breasfeeding-benefits

Photo Credit greatbabytips.com

Now let’s talk about how breast feeding can help you as a mother. I am pretty excited about this section. There are so many wonderful benefits. My personal favorites include helping your body heal after deliver, keeping weight off (and who doesn’t love that benefit), and being able to consume more calories. Some other great benefits are it helps you save money because you’re not buying formula, bottles, nipples, etc. It also help reduce your risk for ovarian cancer. You also have a less likelihood of developing osteoporosis. How fantastic are those benefits as well?

breastfeeding-benefits-and-awareness-4-638Photo Credit Anu Minivannan

Okay, now let me go more in depth with this. After you have your baby your uterus is still going to be stretched out and swollen. “It releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps your uterus return to its pre pregnancy size and may reduce uterine bleeding after birth.” (WebMD, 2005-2018). When you are breast feeding you are also burning calories like crazy. That is why you are allowed to consume more calories, an extra 500 calories to be exact (Baby Center Medical Advisory Board, 2015). I don’t know about you, but when I’m not pregnant I count calories to stay in shape or lose weight, so if you are already in the calorie counting game this should be easy for you.

Bottle Feeding: Is This the Right Choice for Me?

Photo Credit Bundoo

bottle feeding baby

 

Bottle feeding can imply both formula and breast fed babies. If you choose to pump but use a bottle that is perfectly fine too. Just remember feeding your baby is more important than how you feed your baby.

bottle

Photo Credit Dr. Brian Palmer, DDS

Okay, let’s jump in to this. Make sure you do your research about nipples and bottles. I prefer the NUK brand. No, I am not getting any kind of benefits for saying that. I feel the nipples are more shaped like my nipple when it’s inside my baby’s mouth. They seem to be easier for babies to latch on to as well. Please be aware of nipple confusion though. You can learn more about it here. Nipple confusion is simply your baby has so many things to learn and latching on to a nipple should not be one of them. If you use more than one brand of nipples your baby will have a harder time latching and feeding. This can cause all sorts of problems as you can imagine.

nuk

 

 

Photo Credit NUK

* Bottle Feeding: Benefits*

Benefits to bottle feeding include the fact that dad or brother/sister can feed the baby. Anyone can feed the baby. This is more ideal when baby starts going to daycare, or if you’re lucky enough to be able to get a nanny. I recommend if you are going to bottle feed that you also need to do skin to skin like you would with your breast. Still take your shirt off and have skin to skin time with baby, but use your bottle instead of your breast if you are not able to breast feed. You don’t have to worry about what you put in your body if you are using formula in the bottle. You also don’t have to worry about having to offer your breast at every moment of every day whenever baby is hungry. Bottle feeding is also easier for baby to learn.

*Bottle Feeding: Disadvantages*

There are plenty of disadvantages to bottle feeding. When you are trying to monitor nutrient intake it is hard to make sure your baby is getting everything they need. Of course this applies to formula feeding. When you know what you consume and you offer breast milk in a bottle then you know exactly what nutrients they are receiving. It costs money to keep bottles and nipples for baby. Nipples have different flow rates. When baby gets older they will want a higher flow rate because they will be able to take in more at a time. If you use formula that costs money as well. I remember how expensive that was when my daughter was a baby. I felt like we were buying formula weekly at $25/container. Ouch! Warming up a bottle takes time to do. My nephew does not like to wait for his bottle. He gets very impatient, and your baby might too. When you go out in public you have to make sure you have bottles on you. If you formula feed as well you have to make sure you have formula with you on top of that.

There are so many factors with bottle feeding to consider. Again, this is a personal choice and you as the mother should be the only one making this choice for you and your baby.

Formula Feeding: Is This the Right Choice for Me?

Formula feeding has some great advantages and some great disadvantages; just like the bottle feeding option. It also is a great alternative when you are not able to breast feed, or you are having an emotional time with breast feeding. When it’s time to move on and give up breast feeding you will know. Being stressed out over it is not worth it. Trust me, I’ve been there. Your emotional/mental state of mind is more important than being depressed while trying to take care of a baby.

*Formula Feeding: Advantages for Mom and Baby*

When you formula feed it is so much easier to monitor ounces that baby took in. When your baby is not getting enough breast milk then formula feeding is great for supplemental. It is more important for baby to be fed, than how they are fed. I know so many lactation nurses who push for breast feeding. That is great. The only issue is that they tend to forget that feeding baby is more important than making you feel like crap because you are not able to feed your baby via breast.

My sister recently had a baby and had a lactation nurse tell her that she should not even be offering her son formula (even though he was losing weight from not being able to get enough breast milk) because that was a bad choice. She felt like a horrible mother for even considering supplementing with formula. When she took her son to the pediatrician he reassured her that feeding is the only option. There are no “better choices” when it comes to your baby’s health. She is now formula feeding only. My nephew started gaining weight, and is now a healthy, solid cutie pie.

I also want to let everyone know to compare formulas when buying formula. Not all brands and categories are the same when it comes to formula. My daughter did better with Enfamil than with Similac. This time around with baby #2 we are going to give Similac another shot. Look at all the nutritional facts on the back of the containers. How do they compare? Does your baby have special dietary needs? Mine does. Do you need something more cost effective so you are looking at the store brand formula? How does that store brand compare with other brands?

Some other things to consider when choosing formula include you can take medications without having to worry about passing that to the baby. You can also drink alcohol, a cup of coffee, etc without having to worry.

Feeding You Baby is a Personal Decision:

Just remember feeding your baby is a personal decision. It is your decision. It is not your mother’s decision, your mother-in-law’s decision, or even  your husband’s decision. It is a decision for you and your baby to decide upon. Do not feel shameful if you are not able to produce enough milk to feed your baby. It is okay to use formula to supplement, or feed exclusively. If you are able to breastfeed exclusively that is amazing too.

I would love to hear your personal stories. Please comment below.

 

 Resources:

WebMD. (2005-2018). Breastfeeding Overview. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/nursing-basics#1

Women’sHealth.gov. (2018). Making the Decision to Breastfeed. Retrieved from https://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/making-decision-breastfeed

Baby Center Medical Advisory Board. (2015). Diet for a Healthy Breastfeedng Mom. Retrieved from https://www.babycenter.com/0_diet-for-a-healthy-breastfeeding-mom_3565.bc

Murkoff, H. (2014). Nipple Confusion. Retrieved from https://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/ask-heidi/nipple-confusion.aspx

 

10 Breastfeeding Tips and Tricks

Photo Credit Melissa Willets, Parents.com. (2018)

Let’s talk about breastfeeding. Sometimes it comes natural to moms. Others have to work at it to keep their supply up. Others are not able to breastfeed at all. I just want to say this article is not bias one way or the other. What matters most is feeding your child. I don’t care if you breastfeed, bottle feed, or formula feed. Please just feed your child.

I also want to let my readers know we are about to get up close and personal about breastfeeding.

Okay, let’s dive right in.

1) Let’s Start With Nipple Care

applying nipple cream
Photo Credit babyclub, tesco-baby.com. (Unknown)

Make sure you find a good cream to apply before AND after breastfeeding. They make some that are okay for baby to ingest while breastfeeding. I wrote a great article on “10 things to bring to the hospital with you when you deliver”. In it there is a section on nipple cream and how to choose the right one. You can read about it here. So I am not going to go in depth about it. It is a good read though for those of you who are wondering what to bring, or the moms who haven’t had a baby in a while and need a refresher (myself included).

I use only creams that I can understand everything I read on the back (the ingredients). Make sure you invest in one that is safe for baby to ingest as well. Applying that cream before and after breastfeeding is important.

If you don’t invest in a good cream you will be faced with dry, cracked nipples. This forces you to heal your nipples and not be able to feed your baby while you wait for it to heal. Also, if one is cracked and “out of commission” then you are forced to use your other breast more often you will naturally produce more milk on the side you use more often. Your milk supply may go down in the other breast that is “out of commission” for the time being. That would not be a great start to breastfeeding baby.

2) Try a Nursing Pillow

boppy pillow
Photo Credit TeraPeak.com, terapeak.com. (2018)

We’ve all heard of those darn Boppy Pillows. I actually LOVE these! Albeit they’re expensive, they’re worth every penny. I like the ones where you can actually Velcro your baby in to it. It worked great for when my daughter was a baby and had a cold or something that was making her cough. She was able to sleep propped up. That helped with breathing and coughing. In the picture to the right of this section it shows the different ways you can use the Boppy with the Velcro. Again, I highly recommend getting one with the Velcro.

Okay, back to breastfeeding: having a great support pillow, or nursing pillow, for you and your baby is a major advantage. It keeps your baby comfortable and at a good height for breastfeeding. It also is great for baby’s positioning with breastfeeding. They’re able to lay down at a more horizontal angle than being propped up in an awkward position while still trying to learn to latch on to you. It makes your job and baby’s job easier, and who doesn’t want that?

3) Find the Right Feeding Position for You and Baby

Let’s talk about feeding positions. There are several to choose from. They all depend on what works best for baby though. They can also get a little confusing at time. Just be patient while learning. You and baby are in this together. There’s the cradle hold, the cross-over hold, the clutch or football hold, or the reclining position. There is a fantastic article here that I highly recommend. It goes more in depth about the different positions and what they are best for. Read it!

breastfeeding positions
Photo Credit Sakra World Hospital, sakraworldhospital.com. (2018)

My personal favorites were the side-lying and the cradle positions. I am a bigger chested woman, so those positions were great for both me and baby. My daughter was able to latch on and I didn’t have to worry about suffocation. I was so worried my breast size would smother her while she was feeding. These positions made breastfeeding easier on both of us.

4) Be Patient While You Wait for Your Milk to Come in

woman looking at watch
Photo Credit Vector Toons, vectortoons.com. (2018)

I’m sure if you’ve read my other articles then you know I’ve touched on this subject. Do not expect your milk to come in as soon as you deliver. Sometimes this happens for moms, and sometimes it takes a couple days. Just because it doesn’t come in right away doesn’t mean you will have issues later on. Just be patient.

Mine came in AFTER we had left the hospital (4 days later). I remember laying in bed at home and I could feel my breasts start filling up with my milk supply. They started hurting and I felt immediately engorged. That is when you need to feed. If you get too engorged it is harder to feed.

Be patient while your milk comes in. The more you feed the more your supply will increase and naturally try to keep up supply with the demand for feedings. Supply and demand at it’s finest!

 

5) Get Help From a Lactation Specialist

lactation specialist
Photo Credit Higher Education Articles, educationcareerarticles.com. (2013)

There is nothing wrong with getting help to help feed your child. Most hospitals have a lactation specialist on the maternity floor to help moms with breastfeeding. Take full advantage of that.

They will guide you with the best way to position baby for feedings, and talk to you about the different feeding positions. They’ll even help you position your baby properly. If baby is having a hard time latching on they can usually pin point if there’s an issue with baby’s mouth, nipple shape, etc.

I can not stress enough how much I support seeing a lactation specialist.

6) Try a Nipple Shield

nipple shield
Photo Credit Nuk, nuk-usa.com. (2018)

Some babies and moms do better with a nipple shield. A nipple shield can make it easier for baby to latch on to your breast. My daughter had to use a nipple shield. I know several other people who breastfed that had to use a nipple shield for breastfeeding. It just makes it a little easier for everyone involved (this is never a bad thing).

If I haven’t said it already I am picky and very brand loyal. I actually have talked about this several times in my other articles. For a nipple shield I use the NUK brand. You can find it here.

7) How do I Know My Baby is Latched on?

Correct breastfeeding position
Photo Credit Insured Ameda Direct, insured.amedadirect.com. (2018)

One of the biggest questions (other than the one I will address in #8) is “How do I know that my baby is latched on properly to my breast?” I’m glad you asked!

If you look at the picture to the right of this section there is a check mark and an X. Baby’s mouth should be a wide angle and your nipple should be covered with baby’s mouth. There is a great article here you can read about that focuses on the proper latch. I highly recommend it!

You’ll also know baby has a good latch because you’ll see baby swallowing up the milk from breastfeeding.

8) How do I Know My Baby is Getting Enough Milk?

I think this is also one of the most asked questions I hear. I am so glad moms want to know though. You will know that baby is getting enough milk by how they act when they go off of the breast. They will feel satisfied and relaxed. Your breast will also feel softer from them depleting your milk supply. Your baby will also continue to gain weight. When I worked pediatrics we could tell the babies that were not getting enough milk because they would weigh significantly less than a week before. There’s always a solution if this happens though. Don’t stress about it. Your baby will urinate frequently and stool frequently. Their urine should be normal. There should be no concentrated smells or colors (from dehydration). Their stools should also be soft. Hard, dark stools could mean baby is not getting enough breast milk from feedings.

9) What Should I Put in My Diet While Breastfeeding? Is There a way to Increase Milk Supply Naturally?

breastmilk nutrients
Photo Credit Simply Remedies, simplyremedies.com. (2018)

Breast milk is much better for baby than any other milk. If you plan to breastfeed you need to keep taking your prenatal vitamins to ensure baby is getting all of those vitamins/nutrients as well.

I just want to point out that if your baby has a food allergy make sure you take that in to consideration when planning your diet. If baby can’t have lactose that means you can’t have lactose either. If baby can’t have peanuts, you can’t have peanuts either.

Make sure you eat a lot of proteins. Baby needs proteins to grow and develop. Make sure you incorporate lots of fruits and vegetables as well. Your diet should be a wide array of different foods. That is the only real way to make sure baby is getting enough nutrients.

Try to avoid things like processed foods, mercury exposed foods such as fish, and things high in fat. Basically, whatever you know isn’t healthy to eat, don’t eat it (Murkoff, H., 2014).

fenugreekHow Do I Increase My Milk Supply Naturally?

I know a lot of you might be wondering “How do I naturally increase my milk supply?” There is an over the counter supplement you can take called Fenugreek that you can take to help increase your milk supply naturally. Honestly, beyond that there really isn’t anything else you can do except keep on the pumping and nursing. There are things that are “hear say” that people recommend “because it worked for me!” Don’t buy in to that. Working pediatrics for a while we never encouraged moms to do anything else except take a supplement and increase nursing/pumping.

 

10) Practice Makes Perfect

Be patient. Practice makes perfect. You and baby will figure it out. You and baby will find a schedule and a routine that works best for you and baby. You guys will get in to a groove of what to do. Keep on the feedings and pumping every 2-3 hours and your body will learn to keep up.

I hope this article helps a lot of you moms out there. What is your breastfeeding story? Any tips and tricks you would like to share as well?

 

Resources:

Baby Center Medical Advisory Board. (2015). Positions and Tips for Making Breastfeeding Work. Retrieved from https://www.babycenter.com/0_positions-and-tips-for-making-breastfeeding-work_8784.bc

American Pregnancy Associations. (2018). Breastfeeding Latch. Retrieved from http://americanpregnancy.org/breastfeeding/latch/

Kimberly Tchang. (2018). Is My Baby Getting Enough Breast Milk? Retrieved from https://www.fitpregnancy.com/baby/breastfeeding/my-baby-getting-enough-breast-milk

Baby Center Medical Advisory Board. (2017). How to Tell Whether Your Baby’s Getting Enough Breast Milk. Retrieved from https://www.babycenter.com/0_how-to-tell-whether-your-babys-getting-enough-breast-milk_617.bc

Heidi Murkoff, What to Expect. (2014) The Breastfeeding Diet. Retrieved from https://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-diet.aspx

 

Formula: What Should I Look For?

Photo Credit Admin, IMGtoys.com, 2017

There are so many different brands of formula on the market today. There’s so many categories too. Should I get soy? Should I get extra iron? Should I get advanced? Should I just get the cheapest? These are all great questions to ask yourself. I want to talk more in depth about that today.

This is not a bias article saying you should feed your kid formula. Feeding your child, however you may do that, is what matters. Breast, formula, baby food, etc. Just feed your child.

Okay, let’s jump right in.

How is Formula Made?

I want to start this article off with talking about how formula is made. 1) I find it interesting, and 2) it will help you, the consumer, understand what you are getting in to.

I recommend going here to the FDA website and reading more in depth about the process and how it works. I am only going to give you a general idea of how the process works. There’s 2 general processes for making baby formula. There’s dry blending and wet blending, or spray blending.

Dry Blending

dry blending
Photo Credit baanmu.com, 2013

You can read more about here.

“The dry blending process begins with the receipt of the ingredients. The ingredients are typically stored until they are tested for conformance to specifications, including microbiological contamination. Since microbiological contaminants may be present in low numbers and may be non-randomly distributed within the lot, it is difficult to assure microbiological quality by lot testing alone. Therefore, manufacturers of dry-blended products try to develop and maintain close relationships with their ingredient suppliers. Each supplier must produce their product in a manner that assures that harmful bacteria will not contaminate the finished ingredient. This is usually accomplished by a combination of appropriate process controls and strict adherence to good manufacturing practices” (FDA.gov., Unknown).

“Dry ingredients are blended in large batches (1, 000 to 5,000 lbs.) in a ribbon blender or other large scale blending equipment. The ingredients must be blended until the nutrients are uniformly distributed throughout the batch. The blended product is then passed through a sifter to remove oversize particles and extraneous material. The sifted product is then transferred to bags, totes or lined fiberboard drums for storage. In some cases, the powder is transferred directly to the powder packaging line. At the packaging line, the powder is transferred to a filler hopper that feeds powder into the can filling line. Filled cans are flushed with inert gas, seamed, labeled, coded and packed into cartons. Typically, finished product is held until it undergoes a final check for conformance to specifications, including testing for microbiological contaminants” (FDA.gov., Unknown).

Wet Blending

wet blending
Photo Credit ausnutrients, 2011

“The wet blending – spray drying process begins with the receipt of ingredients from suppliers. As with the dry blending process, ingredients are stored until they are tested for conformance to specifications. Ingredients are blended with water in large batches (1,000 – 5,000 gallons) then pumped to a heat exchanger for pasteurization. The severity of the pasteurization process varies among manufacturers, but it is always sufficient to destroy the vegetative cells of harmful bacteria. After pasteurization, the liquid is homogenized. [Note: Some manufacturers homogenize product prior to pasteurization.] After pasteurization, certain heat sensitive micro nutrients (e.g., vitamins, amino acids and fatty acids) are added to the product. The microbiological quality of these nutrients is critical, since the product may not receive further heating sufficient to destroy harmful bacteria. After the addition of micro-nutrients, the liquid may be concentrated by passing it through an evaporator or it may be pumped directly to the spray dryer. If the product is evaporated, it is heated to 145 – 170°F during the process. In some cases, the concentrated liquid may be cooled to less than 45°F and stored in a large tank (10,000 – 30,000 gallons) until needed. Prior to spray drying, the product is pre-heated to 160 – 200°F and passed through a high pressure pump to the spray dryer nozzles. The product is atomized into the spray dryer where the inlet air temperature ranges from 280 – 400°F, depending on the dryer model and process requirements. The spray dryer may be either a horizontal box-type dryer or a vertical funnel shaped dryer. As the droplets of product pass through the dryer, water is evaporated and the dry powder falls to the bottom of the spray dryer. The outlet temperature of the dryer is approximately 220°F. The temperature of the powder at the spray dryer outlet ranges from 110 – 175°F. The warm powder is passed through a fluidized bed where it is cooled by a stream of chilled air. At the end of the fluidized bed, the powder has cooled to approximately 70°F. Typically, HEPA-filtered air is supplied to the spray dryer and fluidized bed to minimize the risk of product contamination. After spray drying, the product may be agglomerated to increase the particle size and to improve its solubility. The finished powder is passed through a sifter then transferred to bags, totes or silos for storage. In some cases, the powder may be transferred directly to the powder packaging line. At the packaging line, the powder is transferred to a filler hopper that feeds powder into the can filling line. Filled cans are flushed with inert gas, seamed, labeled, coded and packed into cartons. Typically, finished product is held until it undergoes a final check for conformance to specifications, including microbiological contaminants” (FDA.gov., Unknown).

 

What are the Most Common Brands out There?

common forms of formula
Photo Credit Eduardo Cantoral, Newborn Care. (2012)

In my area the most common brands that come to mind are Similac, Enfamil, Parents Choice, Gerber, Nestle Good Start, the other generic brands per each super store’s brand.

How Do I Know Which one to Choose?

I’m so glad you asked! There are so many brands out there to choose from. Did you know not all brands are a safe choice? There are so many things to take in to consideration. My biggest thing is if you read the ingredients and you have no idea what even ONE of the ingredients is then PUT IT BACK ON THE SHELF. Yuck. Why would I want to feed my child something that I can’t even pronounce the name of, let alone know what it is. Yes, we can pull out our handy dandy smart phones and look it up. But realistically do you want to feed your kid something that you don’t even know what it is? Now, I know a lot of you are going to say “Well there’s so much in formula. I looked it up and it says it’s safe.” Okay good! I’m glad you did your research. If it’s safe, per formula guidelines with research, then yes. Pick it up and buy it if it’s what you are looking for.

There is a fantastic article by the Mayo Clinic about the different types of formula (soy, cow milk protein, protein hydrolysate formula). You can find that article here.

Cow’s Milk Protein Formula: This is the “normal” formula you can buy from the store. It is made of cow’s milk protein. It most closely resembles breast milk. It provides nutrients that your baby would get from breast milk.

Soy Based Formula: Soy based formulas are for babies who are lactose intolerant. You can also use it if you are trying to avoid any kind of animal in your formula (nutrition preferences).

Protein Hydrolysate Formula: This formula is for babies who have a hard time digesting the protein found in cow’s milk. They can’t digest the soy or the cow’s milk. They usually have a protein allergy as well.

I Want to Know More:

Some other things I want to mention really quickly is your baby needs iron fortified formula. Your baby needs iron to grow and develop (Mayo Clinic Staff., 2016). There is a lot of concerns about DHA/ARA in formulas as well. Some studies suggest it helps with developing eye sight. There have been other studies though that have said no this is not the case. If you are unsure about the possible safety of this I would just recommend avoiding it.

Don’t use used formula. Don’t buy contaminated (opened) formula. Don’t use expired formula.

If you want to buy the generic formula from your local super store make sure you look at the ingredients. It should also say something on the front like “Compared to (insert brand)”. Make sure you look and make sure it is actually comparable.

I really like the video below. It’s very informative! She goes in depth in a more visual aspect.

Make sure you talk to your doctor before you make any final decisions.

 

 

Resources:

FDA.gov. (Unknown). Powdered Infant Formula: An Overview of Manufacturing Processes. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/03/briefing/3939b1_tab4b.htm

The Mayo Clinic Staff. (2016). Infant Formula: Your Questions Answered. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/infant-formula/art-20045782

 

My Baby Won’t Stop Crying!: How to Deal With the Colic Baby

Photo Credit Naturopathic Pediatrics

What is Colic and What Does it Mean?

I understand all babies cry. They cry for various reasons, and yes because their tummies hurt is a very common reason. I’m talking about a baby who cries with what seems to be constant for no reason. When your baby seems to cry for no reason and nothing helps that is colic. I’ve been there. It is no fun. My daughter’s nick name is “Bear.” When she was little we would jokingly say “Oh the bear is awake.” Or we would say “Oh the bear is growling again.” The definition of colic is “a condition characterized by acute spasmodic abdominal pain, esp that caused by inflammation, distention, etc, of the gastrointestinal tract.” (Dictionary.com, 2018).

With colicky babies they cry out a painful cry randomly for long periods at a time. When I say long periods at a time I really mean hours at a time. Nothing will console them. The only thing you can do is just hold them and cling to your sanity as you try to figure out what is wrong. Their eating and sleeping gets disrupted from the crying from what is going on. When they are crying they may throw their legs up in the air towards their chest. They might make fists and clench their hands. They might get a concerned look on their face. Your baby may get really gassy, or start spitting up. There are several signs your baby might have colic. Keep an eye out.

And What is Causing My Baby to be Colicky?

colic chart

Photo Credit Karlapalem

There is no exact evidence pointing to why babies get colic. There are several reasons babies could develop colic though. These include an under developed digestive tract, baby acid reflux, food allergies or sensitivity to foods, or tobacco exposure. Some other theories include the baby not being used to his/her surroundings yet. They will eventually learn to tune out noises and not be so over stimulated and scared (Murkoff, H., 2017). It could also be from their nervous system still developing. Please do not ignore your baby’s crying. There could be something even more serious going on. They could have colic though. It is your job as a parent to see what you can do to help them if you are able to. If it’s a food allergy or sensitivity to food that is something that can be fixed.

About 20%-25% of babies have colic. That makes my heart break. The colicky crying seems to be worse at night. If your baby is colic that does not mean your baby is unhealthy. “Many colicky babies may pull up their legs or extend their legs, clench their fists, and pass gas. Some may have hardened or distended tummies filled with gas. (Gas does not cause colic, but seems to be a symptom of colic from babies swallowing too much air when they are crying.)” (American Pregnancy Association, 2017).

Help!: How Do I Help My Colic Baby?

If you suspect your baby is colic you should take them to the doctor to make sure there isn’t a serious underlying condition. Also, you should try changing things one thing at a time to see if something helps your baby. It might be an easy fix. Instead of using a high iron baby formula, switch to a sensitive type of formula. If you are breast feeding maybe you are ingesting something that is hurting your baby. Is your baby having issues with stooling? If your baby is maybe try a little bit of watered down apple juice in their bottle to help them pass the stool. The pediatrician will point you in the correct direction depending on the reason your baby might be colic.

There are things you can buy over the counter. These include gripe water, probiotics, and anything else you can buy over the counter that promises to help with colic. Please consult your pediatrician first. I have used these over the counter remedies and you should get more information first. I did not have any luck with these things, but I know parents who swear by them.

mom holding baby

Photo Credit Shutterstock

If you get overwhelmed with your colic baby please remember it is okay to put your baby in their crib and let them cry for a few minutes so you can pull yourself back together and get a break. There is not shame in that. It is common to feel resentful or angry towards your little one when dealing with this. Don’t feel guilty or shameful. It is better for you to walk away and take a break than you shake your baby or do something like hurt them from being overwhelmed. It is so easy to not even realize your are about to do something like that.

What Babies Are More at Risk to Have Colic?

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Babies of mothers who smoked during pregnancy are at a higher risk to have colic after they are born. Babies who take formula have a higher risk. Some other risk factors include over feeding, and a low birth weight. Please also be aware that every baby is at risk for being colic.

If you went through colic with your baby already there is a funny article here about being a “colic baby survivor.” It made me giggle, and it is pretty funny.

Resources

Dictionary.com. (2018). Colic. Retrieved from http://www.dictionary.com/browse/colic?s=t

The Fussy Baby Site. (2018). The Aftermath of Colic: Are You ‘Over It’? Retrieved from http://www.thefussybabysite.com/blog/the-aftermath-of-colic-are-you-over-it/

Murkoff, H. (2017). Colic in Babies: Signs, Causes and Tips for Parents. Retrieved from https://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/health-and-safety/what-is-colic/

American Pregnancy Association. (2017). Colic. Retrieved from http://americanpregnancy.org/first-year-of-life/colic/

Brennan, D. (2017). Could Your Baby’s Crying be Colic? Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/what-is-colic#1

 

Safe Sleeping and Co Sleeping: What You Need to Know!

Photo Credit St. Joseph Health

I am not bias one way or the other. In this article I want to talk about co sleeping and safe sleeping. The two definitely do not go hand-in-hand. However, I’ve personally had to have a co-sleeping situation despite my vas knowledge of safe sleeping practices.

safe

Photo Credit Kids Kloset

What is SIDS?

Why Should I Know as Much as I Can About SIDS?

SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is “the unexplained death, usually during sleep, of a seemingly healthy baby less than a year old. SIDS is sometimes known as crib death because the infant often die in their crib” (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2017). If a baby dies and after an autopsy everything else is ruled out then it is deemed SIDS. There is no known cause of SIDS. It is a sad, silent killer. “About 90% of SIDS deaths occur in infants younger than 6 months of age” (Carolan, P., 2018). SIDS risks can be lowered by education and safe sleep practices. It is no one’s fault when a child dies from SIDS. You can not predict if/when it will happen. It is not hereditary or contagious. It is a sad event that happens all over the world. There are a lot more resources you can read from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) here. I highly advise you click on the link and go through the information.

Breakdown of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death by Cause, 2011

Photo Credit CDC/NCHS, National Vital Statistics System, Compressed Mortality File.

How Can I Reduce My Baby’s Chances of SIDS?

With all that being said, there are several things you can do to lower your baby’s chances of SIDS. Using swaddlers and sleep sacks during bedtime and nap time is one way. Do not use a blanket to swaddle your baby while they are sleeping. You can also eliminate blankets in the crib (which is why you should use the sleep sacks and swaddlers). No pillows in the crib as well. Padded crib bumpers are also a big contributor to SIDS. Everyone wants to buy the matching crib sets that comes with blankets and padded crib bumpers. Do not use them. You are contributing to your baby’s risks of SIDS by using those things in the crib while they are still a baby. As great as it would be for baby to sleep with a stuffed animal as well that is also not a good choice. There should be nothing in the crib with baby. There is another fantastic read about reducing your baby’s chances of SIDS here. I encourage all of my readers with babies to read this. This is a very serious issue that can easily be reduced by education.

I saw a photo on my social media someone had posted of their granddaughter laying on a couch. The baby was only about a month old at the time. The baby was on her side with her head and neck tilted in a V-like position leaning on the arm of the couch sleeping. When you prop up baby on their side like that you are potentially blocking their air way. Please think about these things when laying your baby down for bed time or nap time.

The number one thing you should be doing is placing baby on his/her back during sleep time. Do not place baby on their side. Do not place baby on their tummy. If they vomit in their sleep and are not able to roll over from their stomach they can actually suffocate.

backisbest.gifPhoto Credit https://www.safekidssonomacounty.org/

Co-Sleeping. What’s That?

Cosleeping-With-Baby-Is-It-Safe-Research-by-Mama-NaturalPhoto Credit Mama Natural

There are many forms of co sleeping. This can include the more prevalent type of baby sleeping in the bed with mom. It can also mean baby sleeps in a bassinet or crib in mom’s and dad’s bedroom. Basically, co sleeping is anything where baby is in a close reach for mom and dad to take care of baby. There are many advantages of co sleeping with your baby. When baby sleeps in the same room as their parents it helps reduce night time anxiety. It also helps the nursing mother. Baby is in a closer proximity and makes nursing easier. Studies show that you can actually get more sleep at night if baby is in the same room as you. Mom doesn’t have to wake up fully to take care of baby like you would if baby was in the other room. Baby feels more secure and can easily sync sleeping patterns for mom and baby (Mama Natural, 2018). When baby is in the same room as mom and dad it can actually lower the risk of SIDS.

Co Sleeping in Bed: My Story

I would like to talk about the more traditional form of co sleeping where baby is in bed with mom. My daughter had colic so bad we would just cling to our sleep. If she stayed asleep for more than an hour at a time without a tummy ache we felt like we were given a break. She cried all day. Everything upset her. I remember just letting her cry sometimes because there was nothing I could do. The only way to get my daughter to calm down and stay asleep for long periods of time was for her to sleep in bed with us. I don’t mean in a bassinet in the bed either. I mean she would have to be sleeping on my chest, in an upright position. I had to lay propped up on several pillows, up against the wall. We also would sleep in the rocking chair in the nursery sometimes. Later on we found out she has a lactose allergy. However, we did not find that out until she was about four years old. She is five now.

Now, I’m not saying her sleeping on my chest was the best of choices. I am saying though that each child is different and needs different things. My daughter would not sleep in a bassinet next to us. She would not sleep in a co sleeping bassinet in the bed either. We tried. She did not like to be laying down on her back in our bed either, plus the thought of that with the covers, sheets and pillows made me extremely nervous. This is what I had to do for her so she could get some sleep. This is putting my baby first, and I will argue with anyone who says otherwise.

 Co Sleeping in Bed: More Information

If you got to the March of Dimes website (here) you can read a lot of useful information about bed sharing. There are many, MANY risks with sharing a bed with baby. Some of those include baby getting trapped by a bed frame, head board, or foot board. Other risks include falling off the bed, getting rolled over on top of, or suffocation from pillows and blankets. “About half of all SIDS deaths happen when a baby shares a bed, sofa or sofa chair with another person.” (March of Dimes, 2015). Again, I encourage all of you to go to the March of Dimes link I provided above. There is so much education and information about this subject that everyone who has children/grandchildren/baby sitters/nanny/daycare providers/etc should know about. SIDS can easily be reduced by education. I whole heartedly believe this.

If you can avoid a co sleeping situation where baby is in bed with you please do so. Please do everything you can to keep your baby safe. I do not promote in bed sleeping and I recommend you do not do it at any cost.

 

Resources:

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2017). Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sudden-infant-death-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20352800

Carolan, P. (2018). Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Retrieved from https://www.medicinenet.com/sids/article.htm#what_is_the_cause_of_sids

CDC. (2017). Sudden Unexpected Infant Death and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/sids/data.htm

Sheehan, J. (2018). New Ways to Reduce the Risk of SIDS. Retrieved from https://www.parents.com/baby/health/sids/new-ways-to-reduce-the-risk-of-sids/

Mama Natural. (2018). Cosleeping With Baby-Is it Safe? Retrieved from https://www.mamanatural.com/cosleeping-with-baby/

March of Dimes. (2015). Bed-Sharing. Retrieved from https://www.marchofdimes.org/baby/co-sleeping.aspx