Troubleshooting: How to Communicate with a Toddler

Toddler Communication

By Jamell Andrews

Having a toddler can be frustrating. When they need something, they don’t yet have the vocabulary to express their needs in a way you understand as a mom. This can lead to a series of battles you may not even need to fight in the first place.

There are a couple of ways you can handle communication in a way they can understand, and it will make your life as a parent so much easier.

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What is a Chromosomal Abnormality?

chromosome-abnormality

By Lisa Pecos

Chromosomes are structures that carry our genetic material, and more specifically, genes. They are located within every cell of our body, within a structure called the nucleus. When there is an abnormality in the structure or number of one or more chromosomes, this is called a chromosomal anomaly, or abnormality. These abnormalities can occur either at the time of fertilization or during pregnancy and cause negative effects on the growth and development of the baby.

A chromosomal abnormality differs from a single-gene genetic disorder in that an individual can have the normal number of chromosomes, 46, that are structurally sound and still have a genetic disorder. This is because there is a mutation of only one gene, located on a chromosome, that does not affect the structure or number of chromosomes.

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Lactation 101

lactation

by Alicia Kenny

New baby? Lactation, or breastfeeding, is not only a natural, healthy way to provide the perfect mix of nutrients, hormones and proteins for your newborn, but it also creates an invaluable opportunity for mother and child to bond and develop emotional intimacy. Here are the basics:

  1. Establish breastfeeding within the first week of your baby’s birth and remember that the breasts work by “supply and demand” so you don’t have to wait for the milk to come before starting. (And colostrum, the yellowy substance secreted by the breast in the very beginning, gives your baby protection against disease!)
  2. Do your best to stay relaxed and comfortable while breastfeeding, giving Baby plenty of comforting skin contact and soft words. If necessary, help open Baby’s mouth with your finger and gently guide his or her mouth to the breast.
  3. Let Baby suck on one breast until it feels empty or for about 10-15 minutes, then offer the other one. Don’t be afraid to breastfeed whenever Baby is hungry which will probably be eight or more times per day, and unless your doctor tells you otherwise, give your baby nothing other than breast milk for the first six months. The American Dietetic Association says that, “Exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and breastfeeding with complementary foods for at least 12 months is the ideal feeding pattern for infants.”

Besides the emotional and psychological benefits of lactation for both you and your little one, there are numerous positive physical effects for the two of you as well. For one thing, breast milk, which has been called the “gold standard of infant nutrition,” contains fatty acids essential to healthy cognitive development and visual acuity. Breastfed babies have a decreased likelihood of developing intestinal infection, eczema, allergies and dental problems. Mother’s milk contains antibodies that help protect the baby from illness and in the case of premature and critically ill babies, it is extremely important not only for the infant’s nutrition but also for the child’s very survival. Breastfeeding may also help prevent childhood obesity!

Lactation is of great value to mothers also. Postpartum hemorrhage is prevented and uterine involution (the return to a non-pregnant state) is promoted. Breastfeeding mothers also have a decreased risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, heart disease and iron-deficiency anemia. Breastfeeding will help prevent another pregnancy from occurring within the first six months after his or her birth ensuring that the mother will have plenty of time to recover physically before her next pregnancy. Finally, as milk production uses an average 200-500 calories per day, breastfeeding can contribute to the loss of excess weight gained during pregnancy, a boon that has given many new moms something else to smile about! If you do make the choice to breastfeed, be sure to discuss your decision with your pediatrician or lactation consultant. Also, be aware of organizations and consultants that exist to help you with questions or problems that may arise. Two such resources are:

  1. La Leche League International – (800) LALECHE
  2. International Lactation Consultant Association – (919) 861-5577

Pregnancy Nutrition

Pregnancy Nutrition

by Alicia Kenny

Hello New Mom! It’s you and Baby now, so you’ll want to eat what’s best for both of you. Keep in mind that while you are eating for two, only one of you is a full grown adult so you will probably only need to take in an extra 200-300 calories per day while pregnant. The bottom line? Do eat for two, but don’t overeat.

In general, you should eat a healthy, well-balanced diet full of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, protein, foods rich in vitamin C, iron and calcium plus plenty of water. While you don’t need to eliminate salt and fat from your diet, you should take care to eat salty foods and high-fat foods only sparingly.

Also, as an expectant mom, you’ll want to make sure to take the prenatal vitamins prescribed by your physician and pay attention to your intake of folic acid in particular. Folic acid is a member of the B vitamin family and occurs naturally in orange juice, green leafy vegetables, beans and lentils. The synthetic form of folic acid, which is more easily absorbed by your body, can be found in fortified breakfast cereals, enriched grain products and vitamins. Folic acid helps prevent and decrease the risk of several common birth defects and supports rapid growth of the placenta and fetus.

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Eight Tips for Potty Training Your Toddler

Potty Training

Getting your toddler to perform toileting independently is a welcome milestone for any parent. Few of us want to be changing diapers much past the child’s second birthday. However, children vary greatly in their adoption of the potty routine which is influenced by a child’s innate ability, aptitude and maturity. However, there several tips and techniques you can use to hasten the blessed day when your toddler says: “Mommy, I did potty by myself”.

  • Get your child ready – explain to your child that it’s time to do “pee-pee” and “poo-poo” in the potty. Promote the benefits of being trained such as no more diaper rash, interruptions for diaper changing, being clean and dry. Discuss training as an important stage of growing up.
  • Make it fun – first and foremost, make this a game. Children will naturally resist anything which is not framed as a fun learning experience. Use play, music, toys, and stories as part of the experience to keep the child from getting bored or distracted.
  • Create a ritual – try to make the experience repeatable so your child knows what to expect each time and gets into the routine of sitting and staying on the potty.
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Finding the Right Pediatrician for You and Your Baby

finding the right pediatrician

Congratulations, you’re pregnant. As the count-down to the birth of your new child approaches, you should consider finding a pediatrician who will work the best with your soon to be expanding family. Having a pediatrician on-hand though the formative weeks and years of your child’s life is in the best interests of both you and your child. Waiting until your child gets sick or needs a check-up is absolutely not the time to be going through the selection process, which can be stressful even when everything is going according to plan.

Beginning Your Search

There are several sources you can tap into to locate qualified pediatricians in your community.

  • A good place to start is the “American Board of Pediatrics (ABP)”. A pediatrician who is certified by them will have will have graduated from four years of medical school, received three years of resident training, and passed their written examination. They provide pediatrician search service on-line.
  • Another source is the “American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)”. They also provide a referral database of participating members.
  • Certain health plans require you to choose a pediatrician from their approved network.
  • You can also ask is your obstetrician. Obstetricians and pediatricians often interact to oversee the care of both mother and baby.
  • Ask other moms in your neighborhood including friends, family or co-workers. They may be able to relate their personal experiences about specific individuals.
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What is Gripe Water?

What is Gripe Water

Gripe Water is a liquid that is used to treat infants who are experiencing colic, gastrointestinal discomfort, reflux, teething, hiccups, indigestion, and other stomach irritants. It is commonly made with water, sugar, sodium bicarbonate, dill oil, and in the past was made with alcohol although most gripe waters have eliminated the use of this ingredient. Some Gripe Waters are made using all natural ingredients such as chamomile, fennel, caraway, peppermint, ginger, aloe, lemon balm, blackthorn and vegetable carbon so as to eliminate any unnatural ingredients that may harm their baby’s overall health.

History of Gripe Water

The first Gripe Water was formulated by William Woodward in 1851, and contained 3.6% alcohol, dill oil, sodium bicarbonate, sugar, and water. Woodward was born in Stamford in 1828, and later apprenticed under pharmacist John Halliday Thomas of Boston where he served seven years and learned everything from business to the practice of pharmacy. After his apprenticeship he moved to London, and in 1851 purchased a pharmacy in Nottingham.

Woodward was well known and respected for his creation of remedies and simple ailments, and had many early successes including gripe water. He gained inspiration for the gripe water formula from a recipe that a group of Nottingham doctors were using to treat Fen Fever also known as malaria. It was not until later that it was noted that Woodward’s gripe water formula was not just effective for the treatment of malaria, but also towards the treatment of gastrointestinal discomfort in infants.

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Postpartum Depression and Colic – How They’re Linked

“Baby Blues.” “Depressed.” “Sad.” These are all ways to describe postpartum depression, which can kick in about five days after a newborn’s delivery, and usually goes away after two weeks. For some mothers (and dads!), postpartum depression is much more serious and treatment is needed. A new mother with postpartum depression will often feel sad, guilty, worthless and take no interest in her new baby. These moms feel shamed for feeling this way, and are too embarrassed to seek help. As a result, postpartum depression can be overlooked.

A 2006 study done by Brown University shows that it is vital for mothers who have the baby blues get professional help. Why? The study says there can be a link between a mother’s depression and a colicky baby. The study, which is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and is run by the state of Rhode Island, consists of a survey titled “Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System.” The idea behind it is to help prevent infant mortality and ask about health and environmental factors in the baby’s household that may impact his, as well as the mother’s, health. The survey had already asked about depression, but in 2006 a new question was asked, “How inconsolable is your baby?” From these answers, it was determined that those mothers who were depressed also commented that their baby was very inconsolable, or, colicky.

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Newborns & Food Allergies – What Are They & How Do Babies Get Them?

As a new mother, you’ve probably heard that “breast is best” and when it comes to preventing food allergies in your new baby, this is especially so. Though allergies have been on the rise with children (1 out of 5 will usually develop an allergy by the age of 20), it has been shown that those children who were breastfed are less likely to develop allergies.

Babies tend to develop and allergy to those foods which they try first. Since a breastfeed infant is receiving trace amounts of what the mother eats, the likelihood of that baby developing an allergic reaction to solid foods diminishes.  However, every baby is different–for example, if a mother eats peanuts and then nurses, the baby could, in extreme cases, go into anaphylactic shock.

It’s important to keep in mind that having an allergic reaction to food and having an irritant due to the food are two separate things. An irritant will cause a temporary reaction, while an allergen (a substance which causes an allergic reaction) will be more severe and longer lasting. For instance, a child may be fussy due to gas which was a result of the mother eating broccoli. This would be considered an irritant, not an allergen. The most common irritants are chocolate, cruciferous vegetables, onions and bell peppers. However, foods that babies can have an allergic reaction to are cow’s milk, soy, wheat, corn, shellfish, citrus fruits, eggs and peanuts. Also be wary in trying foods that other family members are allergic to, as the likelihood that the baby will be allergic to it as well is increased.

When trying to see if a baby is sensitive to a certain food, a mother must keep in mind that fussiness caused by food is different from normal baby fussiness. If it’s a reaction to food, then the baby will be irritable directly after feedings. They may cry non-stop for long periods of time, sleep very little, or, when they do go to sleep, wake and seem very uncomfortable. Other allergy signs are:

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Breastfeeding Nutrition

breastfeeding

by Alicia Kenny

So you’ve decided to breastfeed your baby! You’ll want to make sure that both you and your little one are getting all of the nutrients you need to stay healthy and strong. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, nursing mothers need to eat about 300 calories more each day than they normally would and at least 1500 calories every day. Your daily food consumption should consist of a variety of healthy foods with extra protein, calcium-rich foods and plenty of water. In addition to these general guidelines, you should also:

  • Pay attention to feelings of hunger. Eat until you’re satisfied and consume plenty of nutrient dense foods such as whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables.
  • Monitor your baby’s reactions. If you notice that he or she is consistently colicky or develops gas after you eat certain foods, then you may want to decrease your intake of those foods or eliminate them entirely while breastfeeding.
  • Expect that you may be especially thirsty during the first few days after delivery as your body sheds excess fluid accumulated during pregnancy. Increase your consumption of fluid that isn’t filled with empty calories in order to prevent dehydration.
  • Limit your intake of caffeinated beverages as they may make your baby jittery or irritable and even make it difficult for him or her to get to sleep. Consider drinking caffeinated beverages right after you nurse in order to minimize negative effects on the baby.
  • Continue taking your prenatal vitamins unless otherwise directed by your physician.
  • Make sure to eat foods that are rich in zinc as it enhances a baby’s ability to produce antibodies. Some food sources of zinc are hamburger, chicken breast and whole wheat bread.
  • Limit your consumption of wine to 2 or fewer glasses per week.
  • Be aware of food sensitivities that can result from common allergens such as cow’s milk, eggs, shellfish, wheat, nuts and peanuts. Some signs of food sensitivity are diaper rash, skin rashes, chronic runny nose, diarrhea and excessive fussiness.

Unless you are severely malnourished, your milk will provide all of the nutrients your baby needs, so if there is something lacking in your diet it will most likely be you and not Baby that suffers. For your own well-being, do your best to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. That’s the best way to ensure that you have the stamina and strength you’ll need to be the best mom you can be!