Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Wrap-up: Parenting and Pregnancy News

Baby Recoils Back in Terror as Mom Blows her Nose [Gawker]

Pregnant Women and the Risks of Radiation Exposure [Wall Street Journal]

10 Things Never to Say to a Woman Trying to Conceive [Momlogic]

Get the Maternity Look: Selma Blair [CelebrityBabyScoop]

Kelly Brook is Pregnant [CelebrityBabyScoop]

Miracle Tsunami Baby Found Amongst Wreckage [The Stir]

David Beckham ‘Amazed’ By Gender Scan Surprise [People]

Breastfeeding in Fine Art

Unlike pregnancy, breastfeeding has been regularly depicted in art throughout history. The act was the ultimate symbol of nurturing and continues to be widely regarded as one of the most beautiful interactions between human beings.
Even Picasso, known for his dalliances with many women, found beauty in the act of breastfeeding.  This one is called Maternity:

Cezanne, Picasso’s predecessor, depicted breastfeeding in a similar fashion with his piece Hortense Breastfeeding Paul

The ultimate painter of mothers, though, had to be Mary Cassatt, who actually had no children of her own. The first painting here is Young Mother Nursing her Child (1906). The second image, done in pastel, is called Maternit√©(1890) 
A remarkable painter from Italy, Guido Reni, painted Charity (1630). The image is derived from the book “Iconologia,” which described the personification of the word charity in this way:

Another artist, Jacques Blanchard, depicted Charity (1600s) as well:
The bulk of breastfeeding illustrations from centuries past depict Mary breastfeeding Jesus. Orazio Gentileschi, created an amazing image in this fashion of Mary, Joseph and Jesus called Rest on the Flight into Egypt (1628): 
Another great breastfeeding painting aptly titled: Origin of the Milky Way (1575), was painted by Jacopo Tinteretto. The scene is from Roman mythology; Hercules is put to the breast of sleeping Juno to drink the milk that will make him immortal. In the story, the milk spurts upwards to create the Milky Way and drops fall to the group, causing lilies to grow:

A more contemporary artist who created a beautiful image of breastfeeding is Alex Grey, known for his transparent human bodies that reveal their inner workings. This piece is called Nursing, and is painted with oils on linen:

Do you have any favorite works of art that depict breastfeeding?

Remember the Beauty of the Breast [baby gooroo]

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Breastfeeding during Pregnancy

First things first: yes, you can continue to breastfeed during pregnancy in most cases. However, if you are advised by your doctor to avoid sexual intercourse, or are at risk for preterm labor, then you might consider weaning.

The most important thing to pay attention to during this time is your diet. Eating a healthy diet will prevent draining your body’s stores of nutrients. You will want to stick to calorie recommendations – 500 extra calories while breastfeeding and an extra 350 in the second trimester (450 in the third). That’s all in addition to your normal calorie intake.

The most common fear of breastfeeding during pregnancy comes from the uterine contractions that occur while nursing. These contractions are harmless to your growing baby. Oxytocin, the hormone released while nursing and the cause of the contractions, is not released in a high enough concentration to open the cervix just from nursing. Comparable levels of the chemical are also released during sexual intercourse.  

The decision to breastfeed during pregnancy is a personal one and should be made with great consideration. In some cases, weaning a child will not be worth the stress while pregnant. Certain pregnancy symptoms may make the decision for you. The level of fatigue that some women experience might become a deciding factor, although lying down while nursing can help. Nausea and increased nipple sensitivity are also common deterrents for continuing to nurse. Breathing exercises or distraction are common methods of overcoming painful periods. Feelings of arousal from nipple stimulation during pregnancy are not uncommon and can drive many women to feel uncomfortable nursing, but there is nothing inherently wrong with these sensations.

The baby may decide to quit too. Sometimes milk supply drops during the fourth or fifth month of pregnancy and the composition and taste of the milk will change throughout your pregnancy. Your baby may just naturally decide to wean. However, once you give birth, your toddler may decide she wants to breastfeed again. Many women find that nursing in tandem fulfills both their children’s needs.

The choice to continue nursing is highly individualized – the right choice for you might not be the right one for someone else. Overall, the decision to breastfeed while pregnant is not a medical question, but a personal one.

Have you ever nursed while pregnant?

Breastfeeding during Pregnancy [La Leche League]
Nursing through Pregnancy [La Leche League]
I'm Pregnant and Still Nursing My Toddler--Must I Wean Now? [La Leche League]

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Best of the Web: Parenting and Pregnancy News

David and Victoria Beckham Expecting a Girl [People]

Dad Gives Piece of Himself to Save Son's Life [The Stir]

11 Movements That Calm a Crying Baby [Lil Sugar]

Bryan Adams is to become a father for the first time [Telegraph UK]

Josh and Anna Duggar Expecting a Boy This Summer [People]

Federal car seat tests fall behind [Washington Post]

10 Most Ridiculous Baby Products Ever [Babble]

Anemic Pregnancy Might Cause Asthma in Children [Justmeans]

Breastfeeding aids child brain development, study finds [Guardian]

'Pre-baby blues' due to lack of support from partner [EurekAlert!]

Women who reveal their pregnancy test results online [Slate]

Great Reasons to Meet up With Other Moms Postpartum

After giving birth, the joy a newborn brings is a blessing, but there are often by-products of becoming a new mother that can be hard to handle. For most moms, feeling blue in the first year of their baby's life is not uncommon and wishing you could go back to your pre-baby body isn't either. The two issues feed into each other too; feeling bad about your body is a quick ticket to feeling depressed. There are a multitude of products on the market to help new moms lose weight and raise their self-esteem, but the most effective way might not cost anything at all: joining a mommy group.

Meeting up with other moms to exercise has a lot of benefits. The commitment to meet with other people is enough to keep most people going back, even if they don’t feel like it. The interaction with other moms also has a positive mood-boosting effect.

Support groups are also a valuable way to cope with the wide range of emotions that new mothers encounter. The first couple years of a baby’s life can be isolating for parents, particularly mothers. Meeting with other moms offers adult interaction, tips and tricks for parenting and feelings of comradery. In fact, studies have shown that when women talk to each other anxiety is dispelled as oxytocin levels rise, producing a calming effect.

Finding a mommy group in your area is usually easy, but you can always start your own too. Circuit training, yoga and stroller jogging are all baby-friendly activities that moms can engage in if you want something fitness-focused. However, just getting together for coffee still provides benefits.

Be sure to allow yourself time to recover before jumping into a fitness group. Doctors typically recommend waiting six weeks after delivery to start exercising again, especially after a cesarean section.

Have you ever been part of a mommy group?

Moms motivate moms to get active and beat the postpartum blues []
Moms with postpartum depression find solace in local support group [Asbury Park Press]
UCLA Study On Friendship Among Women []
Getting Your Shape Back [BabyWeekly]

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Depressed Dads Spank Sooner

Postpartum depression in moms has been blamed for a number of harmful behaviors by mothers and as a result the condition warrants help as soon as possible. A study released this week reveals that fathers can experience postpartum depression as well, and those who suffer from it are more likely to spank their babies.

Seventeen-hundred fathers of 1-year-olds were enrolled for the study that was reported in April’s issue of Pediatrics, 7 percent were diagnosed with postpartum depression. The researchers concluded that the presence of PPD raised the likelihood of spanking four-fold and halved the likelihood that the fathers would read to their children. Forty-one percent of the depressed dads reported spanking their children. Researchers noted that 1-year-olds are unlikely to understand what a spanking is being given for and that spankings are more likely to cause injury at this stage of development.

The good news is that of the dads that experienced PPD, 77 percent reported talking to their doctor, meaning doctors can presumably catch it through screening.  Even when fathers did experience PPD, they continued to engage in activities such as singing songs with their babies.

Do you think the father in your family experienced Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum Depression Affects Dads Too [ABC News]

Monday, March 14, 2011

Amazon Mom to Save Money is often the easiest place for mothers to find deals. Without leaving home, you can usually find the best prices on everything from diapers to nursery furniture. In the last year or so, the website has provided even more incentive for mothers by introducing their Amazon Mom program. Once you provide your email address on the Amazon Mom page, you'll start receiving weekly emails of discounts on popular items among parents. Last week it was 15% off Seventh Generation products. Weeks prior there were discounts on diapers, toys and other useful products for parents. If you haven’t signed up yet, it’s at least worth checking out. The only commitment is your email address and most of the discounts will be happily received.

Learn more about the program here.

Have you taken advantage of Amazon Mom?  

750 Babies Given a Chance for New Treatments

The Newborn Possibilities Program collects and stores the cord blood of babies who are born at-risk for potential neurological damage or disability based upon predetermined criteria but whose families don't have the financial ability to bank the child's cord blood privately. The program was launched just last year by Cord Blood Registry, Tucson Medical Center, Watching Over Mothers & Babies Foundation and Save the Cord Foundation. Although it came from humble beginnings, the program has reached a first year goal of enrolling 750 newborns.

Babies enrolled in the program are contacted on a regular basis to monitor their development and be considered for inclusion in clinical studies. Already, 13 of the babies enrolled have shown some signs of developmental problems that might qualify them for treatment using their cord blood. Several FDA-regulated trials are currently underway at universities to treat conditions, such as traumatic brain injuries, cerebral palsy and Type 1 Diabetes, with umbilical cord blood stem cells.

To learn more about the Newborn Possibilities Program or to donate to the Newborn Possibilities Fund, which provides financial support to families enrolled in clinical trials, click here.

Is there any concern for your baby’s development based on test results during this pregnancy?

Newborn Possibilities Program Reaches Its First Goal! [The Stem Cell Source]