Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Wrap-up: Parenting and Pregnancy News

Meet Denise Richards' Baby Girl Eloise Joni [USWeekly]

Mayim Bialik Discovers That Her Son is Color Blind [kveller]

Moms hoping to give birth to official SF Giants Championship Baby [sfexaminer]

Ex-Miss Universe Zuleyka Rivera and Mavericks JJ Barea Expecting [FoxNews]

Breastfeeding may prevent asthma [Eurekalert]

Baby beats odds to be born on same day as both parents [Daily Mail]

New Zealand bans families from calling their baby 'Lucifer' and 'Hitler' [Daily Mail]

Health at birth linked to teen academic performance [Reuters]

Study: Why Maternity Leave Is Important [Time]

Nurturme's Lightweight Baby Food [People]

Jewel Donates Nursing Bras [People]

Are kids safer with grandparents driving? [Reuters]

Negotiating Re-Entry from Maternity Leave

As you’re preparing to tell your boss about your pregnancy, you’re also probably brainstorming what to say about taking leave. You want to make sure you have enough time off to fully recover and establish a good relationship with your baby before coming back. You also want to make sure that you know what to expect when you get back. Employers know that it’s possible that a mother will go on maternity leave and decide not to come back at all, which is why it’s so important to relay your intentions ahead of time.

Evaluate work realities. Find out what is offered and think about how your role in the company will be filled in your absence. What is the minimum amount of time someone would need to work in order to fill your shoes? Will the company need to hire someone new or will someone in the company be able fill in for you temporarily? Would it be possible to telecommute or work part-time?

Evaluate personal realities. Sit down with your significant other and complete a future budget. Factor in the cost of childcare, regular pediatric visits and the cost of formula and breastfeeding supplies. Write down your imagined day-to-day schedule with a baby. Try to form a realistic picture in your mind of what your life will be like financially, physically and emotionally. There are only so many hours in a day and you need to include some downtime – be as realistic as possible.

Once you’ve painted a clear picture of what’s needed at work and at home, it’s time to make some hard decisions. If your job involves regular deadlines, consider taking less leave but negotiating to telecommute or work part-time in return. If your job requires a special skill set, consider training someone in the company to take care of the position in your absence, rather than relying on the employer to hire another person with your skillset. If you plan to take all of your allotted leave but are sure of your return, communicate that clearly to your employer. If the cost of childcare is where the majority of your pay will go, maybe staying home until that situation changes would make more sense. In other words, try to think out of the box for solutions that fit your life and your particular job.

Be prepared for unexpected issues. You don’t know whether you will have a colicky baby or if you will encounter any long term health problems after birth. If you do run into these kinds of issues, be open to changing your original plan. Go back and reevaluate what’s possible and what you need and communicate with your employer when any previous agreements have been met. While negotiating, you may feel stifled by policies that are in place or previous behavior of women taking leave. Know what your needs are, what your value is to the company and work from a place of confidence.

Have you negotiated your re-entry to the workplace yet?

Negotiating Your Re-Entry Is As Important As Your Exit for Maternity Leave [Forbes]

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Group Prenatal Care: A New Model for Doctor's Visits?

Many pregnant women find that talking to other pregnant women can help ease their worst fears and confirm that their experiences are normal. For women who can't afford proper prenatal care, the wisdom of other mothers is indispensable. A clinic in Washington D.C. has discovered a health care model that helps address the most common questions of expectant mothers, connects them to other mothers due around the same time and allows low-income mothers to receive the prenatal care they need.

Unity Health Care hosts collective prenatal care visits that are two hours long. Picture a room full of women all expecting around the same time, taking their own blood pressure and comparing symptoms with each other. A health professional checks each woman individually in a corner of the room as music plays. The women are learning how to take their own vitals, record them and know the healthy range. The women have spent a lot of time together and become more comfortable opening up about their personal experiences.They ask each other questions and the medical professional listens in as they tell each other the answers that she would normally need to provide repeatedly. She hears a woman talk about trying to quit smoking and can become aware of any domestic violence that might be going on, things she might not learn during a routine, one-on-one prenatal visit. During the rest of the appointment, the medical professional talks to the women about nutrition, breastfeeding, postpartum depression and other important topics.  

This groundbreaking healthcare model has a long list of advantages for the women, their families and the health professionals. The women are empowered to take control of their own health, which contributes to their ability to care for their own family. The medical professional spends less time with each patient. Peer pressure also plays a role, as the women help coach each other to quit smoking or to generally take better care of their bodies. Listening to the women talk, the health professional gets a better idea of what the women already know and what issues she should address. The 98 women who have taken part in this program over the last two years have experienced better birth outcomes overall.

The medical group hopes to continue the program and to extend it into pediatric visits in the future. The model could solve a plethora of problems, most importantly, lowering health care costs for women who need prenatal care the most but can’t afford it. Hopefully, other medical centers will catch on to this new model and push for it to be available across the country.

Would you partake in a group healthcare visit?  

Group Prenatal Care: Finding Strength In Numbers [NPR]

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Best of the Web: Parenting and Pregnancy News


Pregnant Jenna Fischer Addresses the Nation's Bathroom Users [NBC]

Harper Seven Beckham: The First Photos [People]

Maya Rudolph, Paul Thomas Anderson Welcome Son [People]

Stressful pregnancy 'programmes' babies to be anxious [The Telegraph]

Report Finds U.S. C-section Rate Continues Rise to Historic High [PRNewswire]

12 Adorable Videos Of Kids Swearing [BestWeekEver]

Kids Who Read to Dogs are Better Students [parentdish]

Are Boys Harder to Raise Than Girls? [breezymama]

Kate Hudson doesn't care that people are seeing her post-birth [Celebitchy]

20 Ways to Enjoy Your Pregnancy [Babble]

The 10 Most Iconographic Pregnancy Pictures [Babble]

Birth defects linked to coal smoke, pesticides [MSNBC]

Manual Milk Expression Could Lead to Higher Breastfeeding Rates

The first time a baby latches on and begins breastfeeding is paramount to the future of the breastfeeding relationship. However, many babies are unable to latch in the beginning due to a variety of possible factors, which can put a serious obstacle in the way of mothers who desire to breastfeed. In these cases, the mother is often encouraged to pump and then feed the baby through a syringe, cup or spoon. Using a breast pump seems like the most efficient way to express milk for the newborn, however, a new study suggests that expressing by hand could help ensure a longer breastfeeding relationship.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) compared methods of expressing milk among 68 mothers whose newborns were having trouble latching 12 to 36 hours after birth. The mothers were randomly assigned to either pump their breast milk by hand or use a pump. The volume of milk produced was the same in either group. Mothers who expressed milk by hand in the first few days had a 97 percent breastfeeding rate two months after birth, whereas the mothers who used a pump had a 72 percent rate. The reason behind the different rates is surprising. When the mothers were questioned about their experiences, researchers found that the mothers who expressed milk by hand were more comfortable breastfeeding and expressing milk in front of other people than those who used a pump.

The researchers believe that feeling uncomfortable nursing or expressing milk in front of others is a barrier that caused some women to quit breastfeeding earlier. They are urging healthcare providers to teach women how to express milk by hand early on to possibly boost breastfeeding rates.

Do you feel comfortable nursing in front of others? 

New Moms Who Express Milk by Hand Breastfeed Longer, UCSF Study Finds [UCSF]
Manual breast milk expression better than breast pump for poor feeders [Eurekalert]

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ivanka Trump Welcomes a Daughter

Ivanka Trump (29), daughter of business tycoon Donald Trump, has given birth to a baby girl. The Celebrity Apprentice judge and her husband Jared Kushner welcomed Arabella Rose to the world on Sunday in New York City. Ivanka took to Twitter to announce the news:

“This morning [Jared] and I welcomed a beautiful and healthy little baby girl into the world. We feel incredibly grateful and blessed. Thank you all for your support and well wishes!”

Later she tweeted:

“Jared and I are having so much fun playing with our daughter! Arabella Rose is beyond adorable. She's truly a blessing.”

The grandfather also took to Twitter on Sunday to share his joy:

“I just left the hospital and the baby is beautiful. [Ivanka's] doing great.”

Ivanka and Jared were married in October 2009. Arabella is the couple’s first child.

Congratulations to the happy couple!

What do you think of the name Arabella?

Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner Welcome Daughter [People]
Ivanka Trump Baby Name Revealed – by Donald [People]

Monday, July 18, 2011

Babies Assign Physical Properties to New Sounds

Once you're baby starts mimicking the sounds around her, there is no end to the strange echoes you'll hear come out of her mouth. These sounds are the building blocks of language for babies and your baby may be categorizing these sounds by size and shape long before she can even say "mama."

Researchers worked with 28 four-month-old babies from Spanish-speaking homes in an attempt to better understand language development. Previous research has found that adults reared in bi-lingual homes associate “I” and “E” sounds with small objects and “O” and “A” sounds with large objects, suggesting an abstract visual sense of each sound. The babies were shown large objects and small objects as they listened to the various vowel sounds.  They naturally looked at the large objects longer when listening to “O” and “A” and gazed longer at the small objects upon hearing “I” and “E.”

The study authors were trying to learn if people are born with this method of visualizing the physicality of a sound as a way to mentally categorize new sounds. However, as the study suggests, even babies are seeking these physical properties to sounds as a precursor to learning words.

Does your baby use different vowels depending on the size of the object they are playing with?

Even Before Language, Babies Learn the World through Sounds [HealthCanal]

New Reasons to Quit Smoking Now if You're Pregnant

If you're pregnant and a smoker, there is no end to the rude remarks and looks that you're likely to encounter. Despite the well-meant attempts by many people to educate you on the dangers of smoking while pregnant, you are probably well aware of the fact that smoking is not good for your developing baby. The habit is harder to quit than many other addictions simply because you reinforce it so many times a day. Nevertheless, new evidence might help motivate you to quit and researchers have discovered that even if you don't quit right away, your baby could still have about the same chance of being born at a healthy weight as babies whose mothers didn't smoke at all.

First, the bad news: researcher have reviewed over 50 years of research on the effects of smoking during pregnancy and found an increased risk of birth defects among babies of mothers who smoked. The review looked at nearly 12 million infants and found that babies of mothers who smoked had a 20-30 percent higher risk of limb malformations, cleft lips and palates, and abnormally shaped heads and faces. Researchers also found a 27 percent higher risk of babies developing gastrointestinal abnormalities and 50 percent higher odds of being born with intestines hanging out of their body. Doctors are unsure of the exact reason that smoking is so risky to a developing baby but generally attribute it to the constricted flow of oxygen to the baby from nicotine and carbon monoxide.  

The good news is that if you stop now, your baby is likely to come out just fine. Another prolific study of 50,000 pregnancies found that when women stop smoking once they realize they’ve become pregnant, they are more likely to birth a baby of normal weight. Quitting also cut the risk of preterm birth, which is often the cause of cleft lip and palate.

Currently, it’s estimated that 14% of pregnant women continue to smoke during their pregnancies in the United States, although the figure could be even higher. Previously, doctors believed that women needed to quit smoking well before becoming pregnant to avoid some of the serious risks attributed to smoking during pregnancy. Hopefully, this new information will encourage more women to quit, even if they were unable to prior to conception.

Have you been trying to quit smoking?

Smoking in Pregnancy Raises Birth Defect Risk [WebMD]