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Baby Health

Surviving the NICU As a New Parent

How to Survive the NICU As a New ParentRecently, a friend of mine had a baby. She had a textbook pregnancy and gave birth right on schedule to an almost nine-pound baby. It should have been the happiest day of her life.

But it wasn’t.

At some point during the delivery or before, the baby inhaled meconium and developed an infection. Instead of cuddling her new little one in her arms, the mom and dad were frantically driving to a hospital in a larger city as their new baby was airlifted to their Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or NICU for short.

How do families deal with having their dreams deferred by a side trip to the NICU? How can you prepare for an experience like that? How can you help a friend of family member that is looking at their baby through a plastic crib cover? [click to continue…]


Choosing the Best Pacifiers for Baby

hevea orthodontic pacifier

Pacifiers are so helpful when you’re a new mom. Sometimes the best way to soothe a cranky, screaming baby is to just insert a pacifier into your baby’s mouth. Babies have a natural instinct to suck; many infants in utero suck their little thumbs. The sucking action can calm your baby and help him or her sleep. Some babies are suckers – these infants will suck on their thumbs or fingers if there’s no pacifiers around. Plus, another benefit of using pacifiers is that it may reduce the risk of SIDS – sudden infant death syndrome.
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Baby Congestion: How to Clear Baby’s Stuffy Nose

how to clear baby's nose

Baby congestion can be hard to handle, and play with your mommy feelings. A baby with a stuffy nose are cranky and miserable, and as a parent, it hurts your heart to see your baby all congested and crying. A baby’s stuffy nose can make it hard for her to breathe well, and if you’re breastfeeding, it can make it more difficult for your baby to nurse well. Young babies under four months old with congestion can have a difficult time sleeping and feeding, so it’s your job to clear your baby’s congested, stuffy nose and get them to feeling better soon.

Infants can’t blow their nose – they don’t start learning how to until they’re toddlers. It’s up to you to help your baby feel better – fast. So what can you do to clear your baby’s congested, stuffy nose?
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How to Keep Baby Warm in Winter

Keeping Baby Warm in Winter

How do you keep your baby warm in winter, especially when it is freezing outside? This most recent winter is the harshest most of the United States has experienced for fifteen to twenty years. And if you have a new baby at home, you might be worried on how to best keep your little bundle of joy warm and comfy.

Keeping a baby warm in the winter can be tricky, because piling on layers of blankets and bedding is simply not an option with a young baby. You don’t want to run the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which can affect any child under age one. Too many blankets or bedding can also run the risk of a baby overheating, and accidental suffocation.

So, what’s a new parent to do?
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The APGAR Score – Your Baby’s First Test

Apgar Scoring SystemThe APGAR score is a quick assessment performed immediately after your baby is born, usually between one to five minutes after delivery. This simple test gives the doctors and nurses an idea of your baby’s overall health and well-being.

Childbirth can sometimes be traumatic to infants entering the world, and the APGAR test can give your healthcare team vital information on how a baby tolerated birth, and whether your new child needs additional medical care.

APGAR Scoring can range between 0 (a deceased or stillborn baby) and 10 (a perfectly healthy baby).  [click to continue…]

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News: Circumcision Rates on the Decline

Infant Circumcision RatesAn interesting new government report, just released in August 2013 from the National Center for Health Statistics, says that the in-hospital circumcision rates have decreased around 10 percent in the last 30 years – from 65 percent in 1979 to only 58 percent in 2010.

The drop was most noticeable in Western states, according to the report. In these states, the rates dropped to 40.2 percent in 2010. This is almost a 20 percent drop in parents choosing not to circumcise their sons. In the Midwestern states, however, circumcision rates remain high – around 71 percent.

Circumcision is the removal of a baby boy’s foreskin from his penis. It is a routine surgical procedure that is typically performed within the first few days of a little boy’s life.

The growing decline in circumcision may be due to a number of factors – from the growing anti-circumcision movement within the parenting community to the growing immigrant population in the USA, to the fact that the federal Medicaid program for lower income families has stopped paying for infant circumcisions in about 18 states.

Historically, circumcision is a mandatory ritual in the Jewish community, and a very common practice in the Muslim community. Outside of these faith communities, many Americans choose to have their sons circumcised for the potential health benefits – including decrease the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs) in their son, reducing the risk of penile cancer later on and even STDs, such as AIDS.

In recent years, circumcision has been a hot button topic across the country, with some areas wanting to ban the practice. Proponents of circumcision see it as a unnecessary procedure.

In response to this anti-circumcision movement, in August 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a statement saying that the health benefits of circumcision outweigh the risk of the surgery itself.  Risks of infant circumcision includes bleeding, infection, reaction to the anesthesia, injury to the penis and surrounding areas.

What are your thoughts on the decline in circumcision rates? Sound off in the comments!


Baby Food Allergies – Symptoms, Common Food Triggers, Treatments, When to Call 911

Food Allergies in Babies

No parent wants her baby to have a food allergy, but it’s important that you know the signs of a baby food allergy, so that you act quickly to prevent it from getting worse. In this article, you will learn the basics of food allergies in babies, including symptoms of an allergic reaction, common foods that trigger allergies, and when to call 911.

Food allergies in children are on the rise. According to 2011 statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 5 percent of all children under age 18 have a food allergy. In 2000, only 3.5 percent of kids had food allergies.

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Why Circumcise Your Baby Boy?

Why Circumcise

Having a little boy comes with a big decision – should you circumcise your baby? Circumcision is a hot button topic. It ranks up there with baby ear piercing (which happens to be one of my most controversial, intensely debated articles).

There are pros and cons of circumcision, and the choice is ultimately the parents.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) used to be neutral on the subject of circumcision. But in 1999, they changed their opinion and they do not recommend routine circumcision. The AAP argues that circumcision is not essential to your baby’s health, so as parents, you must choice what is best for your son. You should think carefully about the benefits as well as the risks of the procedure.

As of January 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend all baby boys to be circumcised. The benefits are not sufficient for them to recommend circumcision. However, by August of the same year, there was new evidence that the health benefits outweighed the risk for infant male circumcision. The American Academy of Pediatrics revised their policy statement, and still said that the health benefits were not strong enough to recommend routine circumcision for all little boys. So the choice to have your son circumcised is still up to you – the mom and dad.

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Colic in Babies: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

colicky baby Photo Credit: Milan Jurek

Babies cry — quite frequently. Since infants can’t talk yet, crying is their way of communicating when they’re hungry or tired. Sometimes, your baby’s cries are his or her way of indicating that something is wrong. If you’ve tried every soothing technique imaginable and your infant just constantly cries, he or she may actually suffer from colic.

What is Colic?

Colic is a condition that affects some infants’ gastrointestinal system, causing acute abdominal pain, bloating, and intense cramping. It can be some of the most intense pain your child will ever face during their infancy stages—hence the excessive crying.

While it typically affects babies only in their first month of life, it can in fact last up into a year (although this is rare). Colic tends to be worse when babies are between 6 to 8 weeks old, and it usually disappears by the time they’re 14 weeks old. [click to continue…]

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