Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Wrap-up: Parenting and Pregnancy News

David and Victoria Beckham Attend Royal Wedding [CelebrityBabyScoop]

The Most Hated Baby Names in the U.S. [ClevelandLeader]

Folic Acid Follies [Slate]

January Jones Expecting First Child [People]

The 5 Best Bottles For Breastfed Babies [lilsugar]

Amy Poehler's Awesome Time 100 Acceptance Speech [Jezebel]

Pre-Labor Signs You Might Notice Late In Pregnancy [Babble]

Five-minute test could detect autism in babies at the age of one [Daily Mail]

'Pregnant in Heels' Star Introduces 'Miracle' Baby [Popeater]

Don't Feed Babies Fluoridated Water say NYS Health Officials [PRNewswire]

More Reasons to Eat Fresh Fish during Pregnancy

The consumption of fish during pregnancy has been hotly debated and deeply studied in the past decade. Although some fish contain high levels of mercury, the general consensus is that the benefits of eating fish far outweigh the dangers of the mercury. Canned tuna and fish with high levels of mercury like shark are still not recommended. However, new studies reveal that the omega 3 fatty acids derived from fish have a long list of benefits for developing babies and their mothers.

Obesity, preterm birth and postpartum depression may seem like unrelated issues. However, scientists have revealed that all of these issues could occur less often if pregnant women eat more fresh fish.

Increasingly, obesity is being linked to diet in the womb and this new study out of France is no exception. In a study of over 1,000 mothers and their children up to age three, researchers discovered that the children of mothers who ate the highest amounts of omega 3 rich foods were less likely to be obese.

Another study released this month provides evidence that a diet high in fish can lower the risk of preterm labor in women who are most likely to experience it.  A total of 852 women at a higher risk for preterm labor were studied. Women who reported eating the most fish (generally 2-3 times a week) were 40% more likely to go to full term. Despite the positive results, the researchers can’t say if fish was the reason for the decreases, whether it was a component in fish or if the women who ate more fish had something else in common.

In the beginning of April, researchers who sought to study the effects of omega 3 fatty acids on the brain of pregnant women found a lowered incidence of postpartum depression. Dr. Michelle Price Judge, who led the study, previously completed research that made a connection between DHA and baby brain growth (DHA is a type of an omega 3 fatty acid). In this recent study of 82 pregnant women, those who took a 200 mg DHA supplement five days a week, equivalent to ½ a piece of salmon, as opposed to a placebo pill were less likely to experience feelings like a loss of self and anxiety.

In addition to these recent discoveries, fish is also a significant source of B12, which could help reduce the risk of colic in newborns.

Despite the variety of positive effects from eating fish, it’s important to avoid canned tuna, which Consumer Reports discovered in 2010 contained unsafe levels of mercury. In addition, avoid fish like shark, swordfish, and tilefish which contain the highest levels of mercury. Following those precautions, enjoying fish two to three times a week is a great practice during pregnancy.

Have you been eating fish?

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Linked to Reduced Risk of Childhood Obesity, Recurrent Breast Cancer, Eye Disease and Stroke [PRNewswire]
Types of PUFAs in Pregnancy Linked to Risk of Obesity in Offspring at Age 3 [FatsofLife]
Fish-eaters show lower risk of preterm birth [World Bulletin]
Study: Omega-3 consumed during pregnancy curbs risk for postpartum depression symptoms [Eurekalert]
Consumer Reports Warns Pregnant Women Against Canned Tuna [Time]
Mercury in Fish: Cause for Concern? [PregnancyWeekly]
Vitamin B12 in the Womb Reduces Risk of Colic [PWBlog]

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rising Prices - Time for Cloth Diapers?

Parents who use Pampers and Huggies diapers are about to see a sharp price increase. Kimberley Clark Corporation has announced plans to hike their prices by 3-7% just as Proctor and Gamble announced a 7% price hike on its diapers and a 3% increase on wipes. For parents already feeling the squeeze from rising food and apparel prices, the news is not welcome. The companies say that the rising costs of materials are to blame, but are also aware that parents will spend more money for baby products. For parents who haven't started diapering yet, or are thinking of trying something new, cloth diapers could be a cheaper alternative.

The average child goes through 5000-8000 diaper changes before potty training, adding up to about $1500-$2000 in disposable diapers. When using cloth, you can manage to spend less than $500.

What you’ll need: (Newborns need 10-12 changes a day, toddlers 8-10)
  • 24-36 cloth diapers 
  • 4-6 diaper covers 
  • 12-24 doublers or liners (more if a heavy wetter) 
  • 1 diaper pail. The diaper pail is just a covered container, like a garbage can. 
  • 1 diaper pail liner (waterproof and odor-proof bag). 
  • 2-3 dozen cloth wipes. Wipes can be made from cheap washcloths or cut up pieces of fabric, just add warm water. 
  • 2-3 bags for traveling. These can be large zipper plastic bags. 
  • Flushable liners. 
  • If you forego the covers and just use pre-folds you will need 4-6 fasteners. 
  • Optional: 0-3 all-in-ones, 0-2 wool or fleece covers for nighttime, and a wool wash with lanolin.
There are a lot of choices to make when deciding to cloth diaper.

Diaper Type:
  • Prefold diapers are the classic cloth diaper and can double as burp cloths or as a clean surface to put the baby on. They are often called DSQ’s for “diaper service quality.” These no longer require pins, although you can still use pins or plastic fasteners but most will stay in place when you put the cover on. 
  • Contoured and fitted diapers don’t require folding they just fit right into the covers. Adjustable contoured diapers grow with the child. Fitted ones have elastic near the openings to reduce the chance of blowouts, but be sure to try these before committing to make sure they fit correctly. Fitted diapers come equipped with a velcro, snap or tie latch on them. 
  • All-in-one and pocket diapers are the closest to disposables. They have a waterproof cover over layers of absorbent material. A cotton prefold or insert of some type is put into the pocket between the layers and the inner layer keeps the baby dry. The all-in-ones are great if you are going out or leaving the baby with a sitter but they take longer to dry and are expensive, plus the fitting isn’t as versatile and they don’t last as long.
Diaper Covers: If you don’t get all-in-one or pocket diapers with waterproofing built in, you will need to choose diaper covers. They come in pull-ups, wrap-arounds or with side-snaps.
 
  • Pull-ups are great when transitioning to potty training although removal can be tricky when the child has really soiled themselves. Typically pull-ups are used with fitted diapers because prefolds won’t be held snugly and will require fasteners. 
  • Wrap-arounds need to fit snugly to avoid leaks so take measurements carefully. 
  • Side-snaps also need to be fitted well to avoid leaks; note that these are not as snug as wrap-arounds.
Did you know it’s illegal to put human feces in the garbage? Even poop from disposables is supposed to be dumped in the toilet.

If cloth diapering seems like too much time and energy, diaper services are handy and you don’t even have to flush the solids - just throw the dirty diapers in a bag and place outside your door where the diaper service will leave a package of fresh diapers. A service may seem expensive but some are still cheaper than buying disposables.

Do you intend to cloth diaper?

Whoa Baby, Prices Are Jumping for Diapers, Other Family Basics [Wall Street Journal]
Crazy For Cloth: The Benefits Of Cloth Diapers [Mothering]
Diaper Facts [Real Diaper Association]
Quick Start Cloth Diapering [Natural Birth and Babycare]
How to Cloth Diaper [WallyPop]

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Best of the Web: Parenting and Pregnancy News

Ian Ziering Welcomes Daughter Mia Loren [People]

One in FOUR children in the U.S. is raised by a single parent [Daily Mail]

Milwaukee Mom Gives Birth To 12 1/2 Pound Baby Boy [Babble]

How Twins Can Randomly Happen to You [BreezyMama]

Childbirth: More Labor Interventions, Same Outcomes [NYTimes]

Kevin James Welcomes a Baby Boy [People]

Pediatricians seek better regulation of toxins [USAToday]

Summa study shows more time helps prevent C-sections [WKYC]

World's most premature baby, born at 21 weeks, goes home [Daily Mail]

Toni Collette Is a Mom – Again! [People]

FDA Approves the First Vaccine to Prevent Meningococcal Disease [PRNewswire]

Teen Fakes Pregnancy For School Project [Jezebel]

Pesticides and Pregnancy Don't Mix

The news that pesticides are harmful to developing babies isn't exactly new, but many people believed that the dangerous ones had been taken off the market. According to some recent evidence, even the pesticides we're currently using are harmful during pregnancy.

Organophosphates were banned for residential use by the EPA in 2001, but they are still used to spray fruits and vegetables in traditional agriculture. Public parks and golf courses sometimes use them to fight pests such as mosquitos as well. The chemicals are easily absorbed by the skin, through the lungs and by eating them.

Three recent studies have found a connection between exposure to organophosphates in the womb and lowered cognitive ability among children. Researchers in New York and California completed three separate, long-term studies of pesticide exposure in pregnant women and all found effects in cognitive function among the children who were exposed. Lowered IQ, developing ADHD, and memory deficits were among the most notable cognitive effects. Children of mothers who were exposed to pesticides in typical ways, such as through eating fresh produce experienced a 1.4% dip in IQ and approximately 2.8% dip in working memory for every five picogram per gram increase of pesticides found in their cord blood.

Some children were more susceptible than others to the pesticides. Genes that slow the processing of the pesticides found in some of the mothers were a determining factor in how much their children would be affected by the exposure.

The study in California looked at farm workers, a group that experiences a much higher exposure to pesticides than the general public. The children of the women in this study with the most exposure to pesticides had IQ’s an average of seven points lower than the children with the least exposure. 

Medical professionals are largely concerned about the results of these studies and cite lead as the most recent toxin to have such a profound effect on developing children.

For women who want to avoid pesticides on their produce, buying organic is an effective way. Organic product has 90% less pesticides than conventionally grown crops. Since the chemicals leave the body within a few days, switching to organic product can effectively help remove most of the pesticides from your body. However, for those who cannot afford organic, washing produce can help. Pregnant women should not avoid fruits and vegetables if they can’t afford organic, they should simply scrub their produce well before eating. Certain fruits and vegetables contain more or less pesticides as well. See a full list here.

Do you eat organic produce?

Pesticide Exposure in Womb Linked to Lower IQ [WebMD]

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

30 Rock's Jane Krakowski Gives Birth

30 Rock star Jane Krakowski gave birth to her first child late last week. The funny actress, 42, and her fiancé Robert Godley named their newest family member Bennett Robert. Bennett weighed in at 7 lbs. 12 oz. in New York City. The brimming actress said of her baby boy:

"Bennett is an amazing, healthy sweet boy and we are both just crazy in love with him.”

Bennett will be joining other 30 Rock additions of 2011 - Elizabeth Banks welcomed her son Felix in March and Tina Fey is expecting in the summer.

Congratulations to the happy parents!

What do you think of the name Bennett?

Jane Krakowski Welcomes a Baby Boy [People]
Elizabeth Banks is a Mom! [The Scene]
Tina Fey is Expecting! [PWBlog]

Monday, April 25, 2011

Ethan Hawke is Expecting Fourth Child

Ethan Hawke, prolific actor and golden boy of 90's films Reality Bites and Dead Poets Society, is expecting his fourth child with wife Ryan. This will be the former nanny's second child. Ethan (40) has two children from his previous marriage to Uma Thurman, Maya (12) and Levon (9). Ryan and Ethan were married in June 2008 and welcomed their first daughter Clementine Jane a month later. Ethan has called fatherhood in the past: "the greatest pleasure in my life."

Congratulations to the happy couple!

Ethan Hawke to Have a Fourth Child [People]

Light Therapy Possible Safe Treatment for Prenatal Depression

A small study out of Switzerland may have discovered a safe alternative treatment for depression during pregnancy. Light therapy has been used by many depressed people, but its use has never been tested during pregnancy before. Hopefully, this gentle but effective treatment can be a safe alternative to medications, which are largely untested for their effects on fetal development.

Although the study included only 27 participants, 13 out of 16 participants who received light therapy had a 50 percent reduction in symptoms and 11 no longer felt depressed. The therapy was undergone for five weeks, where the pregnant women would receive an hour of bright fluorescent light every morning. They would also visit the research facility regularly so researchers could monitor their progress.

Researchers were very happy with the results, because light therapy produces no adverse effects. Women suffering from depression during pregnancy often feel that they need to avoid medication and just try to get through it and doctors are hesitant to prescribe antidepressants. The potential downside of light therapy is the initial expense of approximately $200, but it lasts for years, whereas, antidepressants cost about $20 a month. The other problem with light therapy is the time commitment – an hour a day can be hard to find for many pregnant women. Nevertheless, it appears as if this noninvasive treatment has great potential for women who experience depression during pregnancy.

Would you do light therapy?

Light therapy may help depression in pregnancy [Reuters]