News: infant sleep tips

10 WTF Surprises of Being a New Mom That You'll Never Read in Any Book

By Gen Cohen

Like most women, I was nervous about becoming a mom and worried a lot about what it would be like. I tried to prepare myself as best I could, and while I didn't read all the baby books, I definitely asked around. Before I gave birth, I knew I might be surprised by the challenges of breastfeeding and the weird noises my newborn would make in her sleep. I heard all about the squeeze bottle I'd soon keep by the toilet. And I was warned to get my sleep in now.

But there are some things I realized soon after becoming a mom that no one ever told me and I certainly didn't find while flipping through What to Expect When You're Expecting, or even when reading articles online chronicling the "37 Most Shocking Things You Never Knew About Motherhood." Here, 10 of the real WTF surprises and pieces of advice for first time moms.

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16 PARENTING HACKS FOR NEWBORNS EVERY NEW PARENT NEEDS IN THEIR LIFE

By Gen Cohen

 

 

Image Source: Flickr user Mariela M.

Having a newborn is a crazy ride, but it doesn't last for that long (just remind yourself of that when you're looking for the light at the end of the sleep-deprived tunnel). To make this fleeting time in your and your baby's lives a bit smoother — so that you can focus on the cuddles and kisses — we have 16 parenting hacks for newborns that will help you along your way through new-mama-hood like a pro.

Scroll through our baby tips for new parents below!

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Some Preggers "Rules" Examined...

By Scott Morris

Really? No sushi, no lunch meat, and I can't touch kitty litter?? 

[reposted from Lucie's List] 

There are TONS of pregnancy myths and fact about what you should-- and shouldn't -- be doing during your pregnancy. Perhaps you've already been admonished by an annoying coworker about the dangers lurking inside your turkey sandwich. 
 
The truth of the matter is that the majority of miscarriages, stillbirths, and birth defects occur from reasons that are totally outside of your control. This will either give you comfort or totally freak you out; hopefully it's the former.
 
As it turns out, many of the rules of the pregnancy police come not from actual data or studies, but from the "why-take-a-chance" philosophy that pervades American medicine, no matter how infinitesimal the actual risk.
 
First, a biology lesson.
 

Mr. (or Ms.) Fetus

Only half of your tiny peanut is identical to your own biology (the other half belonging, of course, to your sperm-donor-of-a-husband, or boyfriend, or fiance, or one-night-stand --- no one's judging here).

Fetus: nooo, don't attack meee!!

Because of this dissimilarity, your little ball of baby cells would normally be rejected by your body's own immune system (much like with a transplanted organ). Thankfully, our immune systems have evolved to NOT attack the developing fetus.

Essentially, your whole immune system lets down its guard for the duration of your pregnancy. As a result, pregnant women are more vulnerable to nasty stuff. This also explains why you'll get every strain of cold under the moon during the 3rd trimester, even if you are normally quite healthy.

So which of the rules are justifiable and which aren't? Let's have a look at some pregnancy myths that have been debunked or confirmed.

Listeria Hysteria

Listeria is the big bad bacteria that you want to avoid during pregnancy, mainly because it can cross the placental barrier and infect the fetus, which can result in miscarriage or fetal death.

True, pregnant women are about 20 times more likely to get listeria than the non-pregnant, but EVEN SO, it is EXTREMELY rare, infecting about 50-100 per million for those with a bun in the oven (3 to 5 million without).

~ This is even less likely than your chances of dying in a plane crash (1 in 30,000). 

* For comparison's sake, 1 in 84 people die in car crashes.

It should also be noted that most listeria infections in pregnancy occur in the 3rd trimester, when suppression of Th1-mediated immunity is at its maximum.

The highest risk foods for listeria are preserved fish (lox and stuff), cheese from unpasteurized milk, and deli meats. Pate (pa-TAAAAAY). Under cooked hot dogs. Stuff like that.

Bottom line: With those kinds of odds, you should worry more about your driving and less about your turkey sandwich.

Sushi 

Most American OBs say, "No sushi for you!" However, if you look at the data, 85% of seafood illness comes from eating raw shellfish -- that's right, bivalve mollusks, namely, raw oysters and clams

If you take those out of the equation, the risk of falling ill from eating seafood is 1 in 2 million servings. [By comparison, the risk from eating chicken is 1 in 25,000.] So... can we agree that we won't eat raw oysters and clams? I mean, really? Millions of Japanese women are not wrong (and yes, with some of the best public health officials in the world, they've looked into it).

Furthermore, fish eaten in a sushi restaurant in the US is almost always flash frozen before it gets to the restaurant, so any parasites or bacteria in the fish would have been killed during the process.

Salmon-ella, ha!

Bottom line: No raw shellfish, but your salmon roll shouldn't be any more scary than your chicken sandwich.

Freddy Mercury

"You should eat lots of fish when you're pregnant." No wait... "You should avoid fish when you're pregnant."

Well, which is it?

"Between the warnings about parasites in sushi and about mercury in certain species of fish, pregnant women are being scared off fish altogether. And that's bad news, since the fatty acids in fish are the ideal nourishment for a developing baby," said Steven Shaw, a former food writer for The New York Times.

Furthermore, researchers found that greater maternal intake of omega-3 fatty acids in fish was associated with better fine motor development, more pro-social behavior, and better social development.

So is there a "too much"? All researchers can do is guess at it, but many suggest that the warnings against seafood consumption are dramatically overblown.

In fact, a study in the Seychelles [a high fish-eating population] showed no link between the children's development over their first 6 years and the levels of mercury contained in their mothers' hair during pregnancy, which is a measure of the amounts to which fetuses were exposed.

Bottom line: Common sense would tell us to limit consumption of fish that are high in mercury, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish (sorry, no shark for you this week [snort]). 

The Truth About Kitty Litter

Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite whose only natural host is the cat. Reeeer.

The truth is if you've had an indoor/outdoor cat for years, your chances of being immune from a previous exposure are fairly high - perhaps as high as 90%.

Studies show... of the 10% of pregnant cat owners that are susceptible, about 2% of those are exposed to toxoplasmosis during pregnancy. Of those (now 0.2%), only 30% of the 0.2% become infected. If infected (this keeps getting better, huh?), only 30% of those are "clinically infected", meaning their newborn will be impacted in some noticeable way.

Where are we on the math? About 0.0018 (or, 1.8 in 100,000) of the fetuses of pregnant cat owners will get sick from toxoplasmosis. You can see why doctors really don't see this very often.

Should you tell your husband or partner that this really isn't a threat after all?

Hell-to-tha-NO! Let him think it's highly lethal for, like... the rest of your life (come on, you can't get drunk for the next few months, the least he can do is scoop some kitty crap, yeah?). It'll be our little secret. ;-)


Conclusion: Ladies, I'm not saying you can't get sick from things like listeria, sushi, and kitty litter. I'm just saying they're fairly unlikely (k, so don't sue me). The beauty is that everyone can decide based on their own risk tolerance. I love 'dis country!

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Ro•Sham•Bo Baby Sunglasses – Protect Their Eyes and Your Shades

By Scott Morris

Ro•Sham•Bo Baby Sunglasses – Protect Their Eyes and Your Shades

Before you read this kids' sunglasses review, let us just say how delighted we are that Everyday Men gave this shoutout to us and our bendable baby sunglasses!

From Everyday Men.

Saw the picture and thought “Nice sunglasses!” huh? Luckily for you, Ro•Sham•Bo Baby makes some pretty nice adult sunglasses too, so don’t fret. This post, however, is more “everyday carry for the everyday dad.” As winter is on the retreat and the summer approaches, we all bust out our shades. Although, for the parents out there with babies – your shades are in grave danger. My son, just about 10 months old, seems to be on a never-ending quest to take and destroy my glasses and sunglasses. So, for the sake of my (slightly more expensive) sunglasses, and protecting my son from harmful UV rays (first priority of course), there are Ro•Sham•Bo Baby's bendable baby sunglasses.

RSBB shades are, of course, for your baby – which solves the “I have to take dad’s” problem. They are also durable – and not just durable in the traditional sense of the word – these shades are nearly (if not completely) baby-proof. You can check out a video of the creator trying to destroy the frames himself on their website – to no avail. This solves the “find and destroy” problem. Additionally, they are bpa free and small parts compliant (fancy way of saying there are no bad chemicals and no small parts that might fall off and be a choking hazard for your little one!), and block 100% of UVA/B rays. Better still, they are guaranteed for a year against any breakage, and should your little one lose a lens, they’ll replace it (music to parents’ ears). Else, a portion of every sale goes directly to autism research at the Autism Research Institute in San Diego, California. Learn more and see the full line up of baby, junior, and adult shades here.

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Baby Sleep: When to Let Your Baby Cry It Out

By Scott Morris

Baby Sleep: When to Let Your Baby Cry It Out (tips from Parents.com)

    The biggest lesson I learned when I became a mom: Nothing is predictable--except for a shortage of shut-eye. "It's a given that babies get up a lot during the first three months, and it's important to have realistic expectations," says Harvey Karp, M.D., creator of the DVD and book, The Happiest Baby on the Block.

    By now, you've heard the basic tips for making those 2 a.m. wake-up calls more bearable: You know to keep the lights low and feed your baby before you hit the sack. So what else can you do? Get clued in to some lesser-known nighttime survival strategies.

    Don't make eye contact.

    You probably know to nix playing or singing during those wee-hour feedings, but you should also avoid gazing into your baby's eyes late at night. "When your baby locks eyes with you, it's almost like she's drinking a double latte-her heart rate speeds up, her blood pressure rises, and she becomes more awake," says Alan Greene, M.D., author of From First Kicks to First Steps. Do make plenty of eye contact during the day so she knows it's time to be awake (plus, it boosts brain development and bonding).

      Regulate the temp.

      You know how you sleep better when the room's a little cooler? Well, your bundle of joy is no different. Keep your baby's room warmer during the day and cooler at night, Dr. Greene suggests. The optimal temperature for infant sleep is between 65 and 70?F. If you don't have a thermostat you can control, leave the window slightly open or use a fan at night. (Just make sure your baby sleeps far away from windows and fans, and that the room never gets too hot or too cold.)

        Use dimmers.

        Light is one way to regulate babies' (and adults') circadian rhythm--the body's internal clock. Plug your lamps into dimmer units (available at hardware stores), and when the sun goes down in the evening, lower the lights--even if your baby isn't going right to bed. To reinforce these rhythms, make sure your home is brightly lit during the day, even if he's napping.

          Make some noise.

          Don't give your child the silent treatment. "Amazingly, the sounds they heard 24/7 in the uterus were about twice as loud as a vacuum cleaner, so babies love and need strong rhythmic noise," Dr. Karp says. Use a white-noise machine, a radio tuned to transmit static, or a nature-sounds CD?or let her sleep near the dishwasher.

            Do the swing thing.

            If you swaddle and use white noise and your baby's still waking up every hour or two, add the swing to the mix. Put your swaddled baby in the reclined seat and buckle her in. "It's a myth that you're starting a bad habit," says Dr. Karp, who adds that fewer than 5 percent of babies need the swing technique. You can gradually stop using it when she's better able to soothe herself.

              Cut the caff.

              You know too much java can rev you up and leave you wide-eyed. It can do the same for your little one if you're breastfeeding. Caffeine from coffee and soda can turn up in breast milk. "A large coffee drink can provide enough caffeine to affect anewborn," Dr. Greene says. "It accumulates in his body quickly and stays with him longer than it does with you?about 96 hours."

                Fill 'er up.

                Starting at around 5 p.m., decrease the time between your child's feedings. For example, if you usually feed her every three hours, do so every two hours in the evening. "This strategy gave my daughter a full stomach before I put her to bed and helped her sleep four- to five-hour stretches by week three," says Louise Johnson, a mother of two from Norwalk, Connecticut.

                  Give diaper duty a rest.

                  The truth is, you don't have to change your baby with each feeding. "If the diaper isn't soaked through or soiled and your child doesn't have extra-sensitive skin or existing diaper rash, skip this step," suggests Michel Cohen, M.D., author of The New Basics: A-to-Z Baby & Child Care for the Modern Parent. Just use absorbent nighttime diapers and a thick diaper cream to protect his skin.

                    Bypass burping.

                    Many breastfeeding babies nurse less avidly at night, so it's not a must to wait (and wait) for that little gust of air. "At night, she'll probably be eating more slowly and therefore swallowing less air--so burping usually isn't necessary," Dr. Cohen explains. See how your child does without the burp; skipping just one step in the feeding routine can give you some extra shut-eye.

                      Hit the bottle.

                      If your breastfeeding newborn wakes often, make it a goal to get him used to drinking your pumped breastmilk from a bottle so you and your spouse can trade off feedings. By sharing the night shift, you both get to enjoy longer stretches of sleep.

                        Make over your room.

                        Everyone's heard about using blackout shades in the baby's room, but put them in your own too. You'll sleep better at night, later in the morning, and snooze more easily during the day while your baby's napping.

                          Do a quick spa treatment.

                          Studies done at the Touch Research Institutes at the University of Miami School of Medicine found that newborns who had a bedtime massage fell asleep faster and slept more soundly than those who didn't have one. Before bed, give your child a 15-minute massage using slow strokes, moderate pressure, and a baby-safe oil.

                            Breathe easy.

                            One way to get into--and pass on--a mellow mood late at night? "Slow down your breathing. It sends your baby a signal to be calm," explains Georgia Witkin, Ph.D., author of The Female Stress Survival Guide. To pace yourself, use headphones to listen to music that's slower than your heartbeat (anything with fewer than 70 beats per minute, like a ballad), then breathe to the rhythm.

                              Give her a cozy sleep spot.

                              A bassinet can be moved into your bedroom and may improve the quality of your newborn's snoozetime. "Babies tend to sleep better in bassinets partly because they feel safer and more enclosed there, and partly because they're closer to their parents," Dr. Greene says. A co-sleeper can have the same effect.

                                See the light.

                                When it's time to rise and shine, get into bright light ASAP. "Exposure to light tells your biological clock that you should be alert," explains James B. Maas, Ph.D., author of Remmy and the Brain Train: Traveling Through the Land of Good Sleep. Head out for a walk with your baby or sit with her by a sunny window. It'll stimulate both of you?and help you remember the one other thing that's predictable about motherhood: No matter how tough the night shift is, the sun will come up tomorrow.

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