How to Swaddle Your Baby in 3 Easy Steps

By Vanesa Sallego

Swaddling has been found to be an effective way to soothe a fussy or colicky baby, as well as a way to help your baby sleep better. This method for wrapping your baby, which mimics the warmth and comfort they felt in the womb, needs to be done properly in order to be effective and safe.

The following are step-by-step instructions on how to swaddle a baby.

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Arsenic in Your Baby’s Rice Cereal and Other Rice Products

By Lisa Pecos

Rice isn’t just a staple in most adult diets, but it’s also a big part of many infant’s diets too, commonly by way of rice cereal, which many parent’s use when introducing their babies to solid foods. Parents may want to look for a better alternative to rice cereal based on mounting evidence connecting inorganic arsenic in white and brown rice to immune system damage and intellectual development in children.

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Pacifiers: Good or Bad?

By Lisa Pecos

Binky, dummy, choo-choo—regardless of what you call a pacifier, parents have long debated whether or not they’re a godsend or a mistake when it comes to a baby’s health.

Babies naturally have a strong sucking reflex, which is why many even begin sucking their thumbs and fingers in the womb. Besides sucking being the way they get their nutrition when feeding, babies also find sucking calming and soothing. But are there any other benefits to pacifiers?

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Benefits of an Organic Diet for Expectant Moms

Organic Diet for Expectant Moms

By Jamell Andrews

When you find out you’re expecting, your priorities shift instantly and from that moment on, your love for your baby takes center stage. This is the time when many women begin thinking more about their health and the things that they can do to ensure that their baby is healthy as can be. For many expectant moms, this includes making the change to a healthier and even organic diet.

The Difference between Organic and Conventionally Farmed Foods

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More Evidence that Early Exposure to Peanuts May Prevent an Allergy

By Lisa Pecos

With food allergies on the rise and peanut allergies in particular affecting approximately 2 percent of U.S. children, it’s natural to be weary of exposing your baby to peanuts. Up until recently, parents were told to not give their babies foods containing peanuts to avoid triggering an allergy. The recommendation was to avoid feeding peanuts to high-risk babies until the age of 3. Two recent studies, however, suggest that feeding babies peanuts and other known allergy-inducing foods is more likely to prevent an allergy.

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What Is the APGAR Score?

What Does a Newborn’s APGAR Score Mean?

The APGAR score (also called “newborn scoring”) is the first test that your newborn baby will ever be given. It is performed in hospitals throughout the world by the doctor, midwife or nurse. It is usually done twice, at 1 minute after birth, then again at 5 minutes. Occasionally, if the baby does not appear to be doing well, or the score was low at 5 minutes, the test may be done a third time 10 minutes after birth.

The APGAR scores are simply a way for the healthcare provider to quickly assess a newborn’s physical condition, and determine whether extra medical or emergency care is needed. The tests indicate if the infant needs help breathing or is having heart trouble.

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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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