Friday, June 11, 2010

Mother wrongly told baby was dead after hospital scan

"If she had taken the drug two days later, the baby would have died."

Michael Redmond was speaking about his wife Melissa, who was eight weeks pregnant when she was wrongly told her baby was dead.

After a check-up at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda last July, a procedure was arranged to remove the fetus.

The mother-of-three, from Donabate, north Dublin, said it was lucky she sought a second opinion and her baby boy, Michael Jr, is now 13 weeks-old.

Mr Redmond said they had not anticipated any problems when his wife went for the scan, as she felt the same way as she did when pregnant with her first two children.

"We had just come back from holiday in the west of Ireland, and we were fully sure the pregnancy was going ahead because Melissa was feeling very sick.

"She had four previous miscarriages and after a very quick scan at the hospital they said the pregnancy was not proceeding and then we would have gone for a dilation and curettage procedure.

"We were thinking this was going to be our last child and then we were given the devastating news.

"However, Melissa trusted herself and after speaking to a friend, she decided to get a second opinion from a local doctor who has a scanner.

"My God, that was a day. I felt anger, I felt joy, I felt everything, just in the space of a few seconds.

"The doctor was amazed, he couldn't believe what he was looking at, the sound of the baby's heartbeat in the room was joyous."

That afternoon, the couple went back to the hospital to confront senior staff and demand an explanation.

"We wanted them to confirm that the baby was there, which they did that Friday afternoon.

"We spoke to senior hospital staff but we didn't speak to the doctor who gave the original diagnosis - we never want to speak to her again.

"We were angry but at the same time they were saying you were going to have your baby."

Mr Redmond said they felt they had to go public with their story to prevent other mothers from going through a similar ordeal.

"When we decided to go forward with the story we knew there was going to be stories like this coming out, we knew there would be women wondering if the same thing happened to them," he said.

"We also had to think about those women who would be approaching the hospital in the future to see if they were pregnant.

"The health scanner was not fit for purpose; it was six years old and needed to be changed.

"The machine was finally changed six months after our diagnosis.

"We are very private people, but we had to so this to make other people aware of it."

The Irish Republic's Health and Safety Executive said in a statement that a review was undertaken after the incident, and a number of measures have been put in place at the hospital as a result.

Source

Pregnancy may trigger or worsen OCD symptoms

A new study adds to evidence that pregnancy may worsen or bring on symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder in some women -- suggesting, researchers say, that certain cases of the disorder involve abnormal responses to hormonal changes.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is an anxiety disorder in which people have persistent, unwanted thoughts that compel them to repeat routines and rituals over and over. An obsession with germs or cleanliness, for example, may drive a person to wash his or her hands constantly throughout the day.

It's estimated that just over 2 million U.S. adults have OCD, with the symptoms often arising in childhood or the teenage years.

However, a few studies have found that OCD can also arise during or soon after pregnancy, and that pregnancy may worsen OCD symptoms in some women who already have the disorder.

The new study confirms and extends those findings, according to lead researcher Dr. Ariadna Forray, of Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut.

Using medical records and interviews with 126 women treated at the Yale OCD Clinic, the researchers found that of the 78 women who had ever been pregnant, 24 (32 percent) had their first OCD symptoms during or soon after pregnancy.

And when the researchers looked at pregnancies among women with pre-existing OCD, they found that the women's OCD symptoms worsened one-third of the time. (In a smaller number of pregnancies -- 22 percent -- symptoms actually improved.)

Forray's team also found that women whose pre-pregnancy OCD typically got worse in the premenstrual period were at greater risk of exacerbations during pregnancy. That finding, the researchers say, supports the notion that there is a "hormone-related" subtype of OCD that affects some women.

"These women may have a differential sensitivity to reproductive hormones, and, as such, normal reproductive events are triggers for the onset or exacerbation of OCD," Forray told Reuters Health in an email.

It is not known why such differences in hormone sensitivity may exist, she said, but it could involve differences in genes that help regulate, or are regulated by, reproductive hormones.

Forray said the findings suggest that women with OCD, and their doctors, should be aware that pregnancy might worsen their symptoms -- particularly if they normally have exacerbations in the premenstrual period. They and their doctors can then keep track of their OCD symptoms during pregnancy and possibly make changes in how they are managing the disorder.

The standard treatments for OCD include cognitive-behavioral therapy, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.

Women and doctors should also be aware that OCD can arise during or soon after pregnancy, according to Forray.

It is normal for expectant or new mothers to have some anxiety and worries. But, Forray said, if certain thoughts and behaviors -- like worries about cleanliness, order, or the baby's well-being -- start to cause distress and interfere with everyday functioning, then it is time to discuss it with your doctor.

The current findings also suggest that women who develop OCD around the time of pregnancy may be particularly likely to have symptoms related to fear of "contamination" -- germs and dirt.

Of women whose symptoms arose during or after pregnancy, 67 percent had such worries. That compared with 36 percent of women whose OCD onset was not pregnancy-related.

Source

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pregnant or Fat?

A pregnant woman stands on a crowded subway train - and stands, and stands and stands...

No one offers her a seat. That's because chivalry is dead and the modern world is a callous place and strangers don't put themselves out for anyone, right?

Perhaps. But the website of the BBC yesterday explored another explanation:

...is she pregnant, fat, or just wearing a baggy top?

Whatever the discomfort of offending a pregnant woman by staying seated, is it preferable to the excruciating awkwardness of effectively telling a woman, within earshot of about 20 people, that her tummy is so inflated it looks as if there’s a baby inside?

The article is in response to a survey on gurgle.com, which is owned by the company Mothercare, showing that 84 percent of pregnant women regularly have to stand on public transportation. The company’s solution? Badges that say “Baby on Board.”

Other solutions? The BBC’s website offers some tips to would-be samaritans trying to make the distinction between the two. Among the signs of pregnancy one can look for:

  • Huffing and puffing
  • Belly and back-rubbing
  • A coat that doesn’t fasten
  • Flat, very comfy (not necessarily attractive) shoes
  • Swollen ankles
  • A pregnancy book sticking out of her bag
  • A waddling sort of a gait
  • Swaying from side to side when standing still

But the two most useful suggestions are probably these:

… if in doubt just go ahead and offer your seat anyway. If she is pregnant she’ll be deliriously grateful. If she isn’t, then you’ve just done your good deed for the day anyway.

And

It would be even clearer, of course, if more pregnant women asked politely for a seat, rather than suffered in seething silence.

Have you been mistaken for pregnant when you weren’t? Have you ever made that mistake with someone else? Any tips on how to tell the difference? Or is it as simple as pregnant women learning to speak up when they need some help?

Source

Does light drinking in pregnancy have benefits?

Could a glass of wine a day early in pregnancy yield better behaved kids?Maybe, according to results of a new study.

Researchers found that the children of women who were light or moderate drinkers (2 to 6 drinks per week or one per day) early in pregnancy tended to have "more positive" behavior than the children of mothers who did not drink at all early in pregnancy.

"This positive behavior meant that the children of light and moderate drinkers had less emotional and behavioral problems through childhood and adolescence," Dr. Monique Robinson, from Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in West Perth, Western Australia, told Reuters Health by email.

The new findings, published in the obstetrics and gynecology journal BJOG, are based on 14 years' worth of data in the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study.

The women provided information on their weekly drinking habits during early pregnancy: 59 percent of women reported no drinking; 20 percent reported occasional drinking (up to one standard drink per week); 15 percent reported light drinking (2-6 drinks per week); 3 percent moderate drinking (7-10 per week); and 2 percent reported heavy drinking (11 or more per week).

The behavior of 2,370 children was assessed every 2-3 years between the ages of 2 and 14.

Compared with mothers who did not drink in the first 3 months of pregnancy, those who were light drinkers during this time had better behaved children over 14 years, as indicated by better scores on a standard checklist used by psychologists.

Children of light to moderate drinkers early in pregnancy had a "clinically meaningful" lower risk of internalizing behavior (in which negativity is directed inwards, for example depression) and externalizing behavior (such as aggression), than children of nondrinkers.

As an example, at the age of 14, 127 children of nondrinkers had internalizing problems (14 percent) and 159 (18 percent) had externalizing problems. By comparison, among light drinkers, only 32 children (10 percent) had internalizing problems and 45 (13 percent) had externalizing problems.

Research has shown that moderate drinkers are mentally healthier than both abstainers and addicts, which could help explain these findings, the researchers say. There may biological reasons as well; namely, low doses of alcohol in pregnancy may help calm the mother-to-be, perhaps yielding calming kids.

"Given what we know about the dangers of frequent heavy consumption of alcohol in pregnancy, these results may initially appear surprising," Robinson admitted. For example, fetal alcohol syndrome is a well-described condition. "However, we need to be cautious about generalizing the effects of a heavy alcohol intake to a light consumption of alcohol -- they are not equal."

Robinson also noted that some studies have found a light consumption of alcohol in pregnancy to be associated with positive cognitive outcomes for children. "But the light-to-moderate intake results tend to be overshadowed by the focus on harm at the excessive intake end of the scale," she said.

With about half of all pregnancies in Australia being unplanned (with similar figures for the US and UK), the current findings should be reassuring to women, Robinson said.

"Women may be drinking alcohol in small amounts prior to recognition of the pregnancy and we feel these data highlight that it is unlikely that this has harmed their unborn child's mental health," she said.

"Women should not feel guilty or anxious about low-level drinking effects prior to recognition of the pregnancy. However, binge and large alcohol intake should still be avoided as this does have potential for harm," Robinson emphasized.

Nonetheless, Robinson does not advise women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant to head to the local pub. She also emphasized that child behavior is "just one of many outcomes that might be assessed with regards to alcohol consumption during pregnancy. While our study found light drinking during pregnancy was not associated with increased risk for the child, national guidelines recommend the safest choice is to avoid alcohol once the pregnancy is known."

"The best option," Robinson said, "is for women to ask their obstetric care provider (obstetrician, midwife, family doctor, etc) and work with that person on their decision regarding alcohol."

Source

Will all babies get tested for autism in the womb?

British researchers have identified up to 300 genes that cause autism, and they hope to have mapped all the genes responsible for the condition within two years. And they believe that eventually, all newborn children could be tested for autism.

A group of Oxford researchers, writing in the journal Nature, say that they've identified several new genes that could help create a predisposition for autism, and they hope to identify all of the genes involved in the condition within the next two years. The newly identified genes relate to things like connections between brain cells, and signaling between brain cells. This makes autism seem more like a genetic condition — and it seems much less likely that vaccinating your children causes them to become autistic.

Talking to the BBC, the researchers hold out the promise that eventually their research could lead to more drug therapies for autism, but that's probably a long way off. More immediately, though, their findings are giving us more insight into the origins of this condition, which may spring from the interaction of these genes with the child's environment.

And Oxford professor Tony Monaco seems confident that we could have a genetic test for susceptibility to autism pretty soon. He tells the BBC:

"The idea is to track these genes in their families and see if we can offer genetic counselling and what information we can offer the patient. If we can show the efficacy of that in the clinical care of the patients then we can push for it into genetic testing in the NHS. We'd hope that within two years we'd come up with clinical practice guidelines. So families can expect that we might be able to offer in the very near future some further DNA analysis of all patients."

Monaco seems to be referring to testing newborns for a susceptibility to autism before they actually develop the condition, which could allow for more counseling and possibly some early treatments. But his remarks also raise the specter that parents could get tested before conceiving, to see if their genes might lead to a child with a tendency to autism. Or we could start routinely testing embryos for autism in the womb.

Source

Antiseizure Drug Increases Birth Defect Risk

Using the antiseizure medication valproic acid (Depakote) in the first trimester of pregnancy significantly increased the risk of six types of birth defect, European researchers found.

In an analysis of more than 98,000 pregnancies, the risk of the serious spinal defect known as spina bifida was increased more than 12 times for children of mothers on the drug, according to Lolkje T.W. de Jong-van den Berg, of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands and colleagues.

The risks of another five defects were increased between two and seven times, the researchers reported in the June 10 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Those findings support recommendations by the American Academy of Neurology to avoid the use of the drug in pregnancy, the researchers wrote. In the clinic, they continued, the risks of birth defects associated with valproic acid should be routinely considered in women of childbearing age.

Looking at past studies and comparing them against an antiepileptic-study database set up by the European Surveillance of Congenital Anomalies (EUROCAT), the researchers found that six malformations were significantly linked to a woman's valproic acid use in her first trimester of pregnancy. In addition to spina bifida, the children of these women faced a more than doubled risk of a heart condition known as an atrial septal defect and a five-fold risk of cleft palate.

The risk of hypospadias -- a condition in which the opening of the urethra in boys is on the underside of the penis rather than the end -- went up nearly five times with a mother's use of the drug. Craniosynostosis, a condition in which the bones of the skull close too early, was nearly seven times as common in these children, and polydactyly, a condition in which a child has more than five fingers per hand, was more than twice as common.

On the other hand, the researchers found, absolute risks of malformations remained low, ranging from 0.1 percent for craniosynostosis to 0.7 percent for hypospadias. The absolute risk for spina bifida associated with valproic acid was 0.6 percent, they found.

The researchers also cautioned that the study was observational, so it could not indicate anything about cause and effect. They were also unable to say anything about possible confounding by indication, since the drug is used for several clinical indications, or the effects of varying dosages.

Source

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Slightly early births linked to autism, dyslexia

Babies born just 1 or 2 weeks before their 40-week gestation due date are more likely to develop learning difficulties such as autism or dyslexia, according to a British study published on Tuesday.

The findings show that even babies born at 39 weeks -- the point at which many women who choose to have a Cesarean section delivery -- have an increased risk of a developing a learning disability compared with babies born a week later at 40 weeks.

Scientists in Scotland, analyzing the birth history of more than 400,000 schoolchildren, found that while babies born at 40 weeks have a 4 percent risk of learning difficulties, those born at 37 to 39 weeks of gestation have a 5.1 percent risk.

It is already known that a baby born prematurely -- for example at 24 weeks of gestation -- is more likely to have learning difficulties. But the risks for babies born in the 24 to 40 week range had not previously been studied.

Around a third of babies are born between 37 and 39 weeks of gestation, either by cesarean section or natural vaginal delivery.

Pell, whose study was published in the Public Library of Science Medicine journal, stressed that cesarean sections were not the only factor behind early-term births, since some women go into labor naturally before 40 weeks of gestation.

But she said doctors and women should consider the risks of learning difficulties when thinking about a cesarean.

Source

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Due Maternity's Great Gifts for New Dads

Due Maternity is featuring a great selection of gifts for the new dad. Baby carriers, diaper bags, funny t-shirts and more can be found on their website.

More evidence preterm birth can run in families

Women who were born prematurely or had siblings who were may be at increased risk of having a preterm baby themselves, a large UK study finds.

The findings, from a study of nearly 14,000 women who gave birth between the 1970s and 2008, add to evidence that genes are involved in the risk of preterm delivery (birth before the 37th week of pregnancy).

Researchers found that women who were either born prematurely or had siblings who were had a 35 percent to 49 percent greater chance of preterm delivery, compared with women without such a family history.

The risk to any one woman, however, was not great, according to findings published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Among women born preterm, 9 percent had a premature baby themselves. That compared with just over 6 percent of women who had been born full-term.

So while the findings bolster evidence for a role of family history in preterm birth, they are not going to change how women's pregnancies are managed, according to an editorial published with the study.

That is, women who were born preterm do not need to be considered high-risk for premature delivery and monitored with extra prenatal tests, writes Dr. William H. Barth, Jr., of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

In general, experts believe that preterm birth results from a complex mix of genetic susceptibility and environmental factors and behaviors. Some of those factors have been identified; studies suggest, for example, that smoking and drug use, as well as certain infections -- particularly genital infections -- raise the risk of preterm birth. But in most cases, the cause is unknown.

Recent studies have solidified the belief that genes play a role. In one that analyzed nearly 1 million births in Sweden, for instance, researchers found that sisters of women who had delivered preterm had an 80 percent higher risk of early delivery, versus women without that family history.

There was no evidence that the increased risk shared by sisters was explained by non-genetic factors that could influence the chances of preterm delivery, like smoking or lower education level.

For the current study, Sohinee Bhattacharya and colleagues of the University of Aberdeen used information from a database that has tracked births among Aberdeen-area women since the 1950s.

They focused on births to 13,845 women whose own mothers were also included in the database. Of those women, 471 had been born preterm.

In general, the researchers found, women who had been born preterm were 49 percent more likely than their full-term counterparts to have a premature infant. That was with factors such as age, weight, smoking habits and socioeconomics taken into account.

Similarly, there was an increased risk among women whose mothers had had any preterm birth; they were 35 percent more likely to deliver prematurely than women without a similar family history.

Researchers do not know precisely how genes may influence preterm-birth risk. Genes that regulate the conditions of the uterus during pregnancy, for instance, may be involved, but that remains to be shown.

Source

Patemm Pads on Sale

The patemm pad was named as one of the Top 10 Green Baby Shower Gifts by Green Parents' List and was selected according to baby-appeal, parent-appeal, green-appeal, and most importantly, absence of lead, phthalates, heavy metals, and other chemicals.

Green Parent's List provides concerned parents with a resource to allow them to easily locate children's products that have been verified to comply with restricted substances laws.

In honor of this recognition, Patemm is offering 20% off all patemm pads. Enter GREEN in coupon code box when ordering at www.patemm.com

Offer expires June 30, 2010.

Scientists Show Active BPA Crosses the Placenta

A new study shows that active BPA and its inactive metabolite freely cross the placenta from a pregnant mother to the fetus.

Balakrishnan and colleagues used human placentas gathered from Cesarean section births. A pump that simulated the mother's heart was hooked to the mother's blood vessels in the placenta. Solutions containing 10 nanograms per milliliter of BPA were pumped for several hours. This concentration was chosen because it is thought to be in the upper range of actual human exposures. The fluid that was pumped from the maternal side of the placenta to the fetal side was collected and levels of "free" and active form of BPA and the metabolized BPA-glucuronide were measured.

In the study, Balakrishnan and colleagues show BPA can cross the human placenta from mother to fetus. They found that 27 percent of the BPA applied to the mother's side of the placenta is carried to the fetal side.

In addition, more than 95 percent of the BPA recovered from the fetal portion of the placenta was still in the free, estrogenic, active form. Therefore, very little of the BPA that crossed from mother to fetus was inactivated, indicating that the human fetus is exposed to the estrogenic type of BPA.

The results are especially concerning because they indicate the fetus may be at greater risk from BPA exposures than previously thought. In non-pregnant adults, researcher believe BPA is rapidly converted to inactive forms like BPA-glucuronide and then removed from the body in urine. The findings suggest that adults can process BPA differently and are more protected from its effects than the fetus.

Exposure to BPA during fetal development is of paramount concern. BPA in its active form can act like an estrogen hormone, although its weaker than most natural hormones. In the womb, exposure to estrogens at the wrong time or in greater or lessen amounts than normal can cause adverse effects in the development of many organs and systems, including the male and female reproductive tracts, the brain, the mammary gland and the immune system.

For the past several years, scientific and regulatory experts have debated BPA's safety in light of its widespread exposure in adults, developing fetuses, infants and children. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and other regulatory agencies that determine whether exposure to chemicals like BPA is safe have come to different conclusions. Following the lead of the National Toxicology Program, the FDA’s latest decision is that BPA may cause adverse effects in humans, including altered brain development and behaviors.

Source

Monday, June 07, 2010

America's Top Ten Best Places To Raise A Family

The top 10 cities for families aren't flashy. Most don't draw throngs of tourists or boast enviable night life. But then that's not what most families are looking for. Instead, Forbes list has metros like Ogden, Utah; Syracuse, N.Y.; and Knoxville, Tenn.--places where crime is low, educational prospects are solid and most people can readily afford the daily essentials.




No. 10: Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y.

  • Cost-of-Living Rank: 4
  • Crime Rate Rank: 36
  • Commuting Rank: 4
  • Household Income Rank: 82
  • Home Ownership Rank: 64
  • Homeowner Costs Rank: 23
  • Education Rank: 12

No. 9: Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y.

  • Cost-of-Living Rank: 45
  • Crime Rate Rank: 17
  • Commuting Rank: 23
  • Household Income Rank: 30
  • Home Ownership Rank: 68
  • Homeowner Costs Rank: 33
  • Education Rank: 8

No. 8: Knoxville, Tenn.

  • Cost-of-Living Rank: 33
  • Crime Rate Rank: 55
  • Commuting Rank: 7
  • Household Income Rank: 89
  • Home Ownership Rank: 21
  • Homeowner Costs Rank: 3
  • Education Rank: 10

No. 7: Pittsburgh, Pa.

  • Cost-of-Living Rank: 22
  • Crime Rate Rank: 9
  • Commuting Rank: 72
  • Household Income Rank: 79
  • Home Ownership Rank: 15
  • Homeowner Costs Rank: 12
  • Education Rank: 7

No. 6: Ogden-Clearfield, Utah

  • Cost-of-Living Rank: 31
  • Crime Rate Rank: 16
  • Commuting Rank: 61
  • Household Income Rank: 21
  • Home Ownership Rank: 1
  • Homeowner Costs Rank: 38
  • Education Rank: 35

No. 5: Provo-Orem, Utah

  • Cost-of-Living Rank: 34
  • Crime Rate Rank: 6
  • Commuting Rank: 44
  • Household Income Rank: 28
  • Home Ownership Rank: 16
  • Homeowner Costs Rank: 52
  • Education Rank: 1

No. 4: Syracuse, N.Y.

  • Cost-of-Living Rank: 11
  • Crime Rate Rank: 13
  • Commuting Rank: 9
  • Household Income Rank: 72
  • Home Ownership Rank: 47
  • Homeowner Costs Rank: 20
  • Education Rank: 6

No. 3: Rochester, N.Y.

  • Cost-of-Living Rank: 6
  • Crime Rate Rank: 18
  • Commuting Rank: 6
  • Household Income Rank: 57
  • Home Ownership Rank: 28
  • Homeowner Costs Rank: 40
  • Education Rank: 20

No. 2: Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pa.

  • Cost-of-Living Rank: 24
  • Crime Rate Rank: 10
  • Commuting Rank: 26
  • Household Income Rank: 40
  • Home Ownership Rank: 25
  • Homeowner Costs Rank: 15
  • Education Rank: 25

No. 1: Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa

  • Cost-of-Living Rank: 21
  • Crime Rate Rank: 28
  • Commuting Rank: 3
  • Household Income Rank: 32
  • Home Ownership Rank: 8
  • Homeowner Costs Rank: 26
  • Education Rank: 4
Source

Tips for Natural Newborn Care

  1. Avoid using most baby products.

    WebMD advises parents to keep their newborns away from harsh powders and shampoos to protect their delicate skin and immune systems.

  2. There is a right and a wrong time for infant massage.

    Gagazine’s article on infant massage explains how the time just after a bath or diaper change is perfect for a little touch therapy. Try to avoid touch therapy when the baby appears hungry or cranky.

  3. Be gentle when cleaning nipples.

    When breastfeeding an infant, Medline Plus recommends that mothers prevent drying and cracking nipples by avoiding soaps and drying with harsh cloths or motions. Uncomfortable nipples negatively affect both mother and child.

  4. Cleanse baby acne with water.

    As a residual of connecting with his or her mother’s hormones, some newborns break out into small acne patches. Avoid using oils or lotions that can irritate it further, but very mild, all-natural soaps may work in more severe cases.

  5. Wash cloth diapers with baking soda and rinse them with vinegar.

    Avoid using harsh detergents when cleaning cloth diapers, even those without artificial dyes or fragrances. A wash in baking soda and a rinse in vinegar should suffice.

  6. Wash newborn eyes with water.

    Normal tear duct issues need to be discussed with a pediatrician, but parents needing to clean their newborn’s eyes can do so by simply wetting a soft cotton ball and gently scrubbing the gunk away.

  7. Use steam to unblock nasal passages.

    While professional medical care may be needed in instances of severe illness, parents can alleviate some cold symptoms at home. Congestion, for example, can be cleared up using the steam from a hot shower.

  8. Make newborns sleep on their backs.

    One preventative measure against sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) involves having newborns sleep on their backs rather than their stomachs. They may feel less comfortable, but it helps bolster their chances of surviving the night.

  9. Wash clothes thoroughly.

    Another WebMD tip, this time touting the importance of washing baby clothes in dye- and fragrance-free detergent before dressing infants.

  10. Protect nipples with milk or lanolin.

    To prevent painful cracking, Medline Plus recommends leaving a little bit of milk on the nipple after feeding to keep the area moist. Alternately, cracking can also be avoided by applying 100% lanolin to the nipple. Never use any artificial chemicals near the area where an infant feeds.

  11. Use natural cleaning products around the home.

    For added protection against contact with harsh chemicals that can make a newborn ill, take advantage of the disinfectant properties of natural substances such as vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda.

  12. Clean the umbilical cord with water and a Q-Tip.

    Be sure to use a Q-Tip wetted with clean - even sterile - water to keep the umbilical cord free of bacteria. Alcohol, honey, and goldenseal powder work as well.

  13. Make homemade nasal drops.

    Combine saline and water together for nose drops suitable for safe cleaning of a newborn’s clogged nasal passages.

  14. Extra water works as a laxative.

    As an alternative to glycerin laxatives, consider feeding a newborn a little extra water to unbind the constipation.

  15. Bathe conservatively.

    WebMD recommends that newborns receive a gentle sponge bath 2 to 3 times a week, as washing them too much compromises the health of their skin. Use either no soap or extremely mild, natural soap to prevent any dermal irritations.

  16. Avoid “baby bottle tooth decay.”

    Breast milk makes for one of the healthiest, most natural ways to keep a newborn healthy and strong, but blending it with foods and drinks pumped full of refined sugar actually expatiates the process of tooth decay.

  17. Know how to properly store soiled cloth diapers.

    Become familiar with the wet pail and dry pail methods of containing the odor and bacteria associated with cloth diapers. Wet pails must be contentiously kept covered in order to prevent drowning.

  18. Keep the crib nearby - even at night.

    The American SIDS Institute recommends parents allow their newborn’s crib to remain in their room for the first 6 months of life, as dong so greatly reduces the risk of suffering the condition.

  19. A little sunlight can clear up jaundice.

    A little extra bilirubin is normal in newborn infants, and a bit of time in the sunlight - no more than 10 minutes, with 5 minutes each in the front and the back - can clear up any jaundice that may crop up. Of course, a physician should be consulted if it doesn’t clear.

  20. Use warm compresses on ingrown nails.

    While ingrown nails may grow severe enough to warrant medical attention, mild cases may be relieved using very warm compresses that alleviate a newborn’s pain.

  21. Stick with soft clothing.

    According to WebMD, dressing children in clothes cut from coarser materials heightens the risk of eczema, rashes, and other uncomfortable skin conditions. Organic cotton, bamboo, ore hemp are all extremely appropriate choices.

  22. Formula feeding tricks the body.

    Medline Plus recommends that women whose breast milk supplies start to run low fight the temptation to supplement a baby’s diet with formula. Doing so, especially when the newborn begins to experience a growth spurt, only forces the body to think that it is producing enough milk and will cease to bolster the supply.

  23. Make homemade cloth wipes.

    Making gentle wipes at home with a combination of water, tea tree oil, and Dr. Bronner’s organic, natural soap (or similar substitutesaves money and leaves baby’s skin feeling smooth and clean. However, avoid using oils and soaps on especially sensitive, acne-prone newborns.

  24. Moisturize, if needed.

    Should a newborn’s skin begin to dry out and crack, parents may want to moisturize the irritated areas with olive or almond oil applied very gently using a cotton ball.

  25. Know when to trim nails.

    In order to prevent a newborn from scratching and potentially causing self-injury, clip his or her fingernails once a week and toenails once a month. Try doing so after a bath when the keratin is more malleable, though some opt for when the infant naps to prevent fussiness and fidgeting.

  26. Know how to trim nails.

    When clipping a newborn’s nails, be sure to use special trimmers or scissors to prevent any unfortunate injuries. Cut along the natural lines when it comes to fingernails, but go straight across when doing the toes. On both, make a contentious effort to push down the pads of skin away from the nail to further reduce the risk of an accidental cutting.

  27. Never clean the inside of a newborn’s ear canal.

    Parents may clear wax away on the outside of a newborn’s ear using extremely gentle swabs with a Q-Tip. Sticking it inside the baby’s ear canal, however, runs the risk of causing permanent hearing loss. Pediatricians will be able to give more information on removing internal excess wax without exacting any damages.

  28. Make homemade baby shampoo.

    For instances when water may just not be enough, parents may want to whip up a batch of this all-natural baby shampoo to scrub out the germs without causing skin issues.

  29. Use natural insect repellent.

    Many companies sell products that repel mosquitoes and other pests without the use of harsh chemical blends that will irritate a newborn’s skin. Seek these out - they usually contain eucalyptus and lemon and often come formulated especially for people under 12 months.

  30. Pat dry - don’t rub.

    When changing diapers, WebMD thinks that parents need to spritz their newborns with clean water and pat dry rather than rub to keep skin from becoming too irritated.

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