Friday, October 07, 2011

Friday Wrap-up: Parenting and Pregnancy News

See Pregnant Beyonce Dance in Her New Video [YouTube]

BPA To Be Banned In Calif. Baby Bottles, Sippy Cups [NPR]

H&M Debuts Stylish Charity Collection for Kids [People]

'Fed Up with Lunch' exposes worst school meals [USAToday]

My Children Had Lead Poisoning [WebMD]

New Mom Milestones [FitPregnancy]

The 7 Best Birth Books [Babble]

Pregnancy-Approved Cookie Dough Recipe [Babble]

Nia Long Bares Her Bump On Cover Of Ebony [CelebrityBabyScoop]

How to Tell Your Infertile Friends that You're Pregnant [in these small moments]

Top 5 Reasons to Ditch your OB/GYN [Babble]

Babies Find Source of Milk through Smell

For first time moms who intend to breastfeed there are few things that are important to know: your supply might not show up right away, babies can only eat portions about the size of their fist and the baby's mouth needs to be fully covering the nipple to avoid painful infections. A new finding out of France might be added to the list: babies find the milk supply by sniffing out the hormones released around the nipples. Scientists believe that these hormones could prove to be helpful for babies who have trouble breastfeeding from the offset.

It should come as no surprise that there are tiny glands on the breast that release a scented fluid when they are filled with milk. In fact, previous studies have shown that babies prefer an uncleaned breast to a clean one and perhaps that's because babies are born knowing how to find the breast when they are hungry just by picking up the scent of the fluid. A recent study published in New Scientist's magazine found that women with more of these tiny glands called areolars had an easier time establishing a nursing habit with their newborn. 

The areolars are clearly visible little bumps that surround the nipple. The fluid they release was previously believed to help lubricate the nipple to prevent cracking and infections. First time mothers who took part in the study benefited the most if they had more areolar glands, possibly because the baby is more reliant on nature's clues when the mother is inexperienced. If scientists could learn how to collect or reproduce the chemicals responsible for the scent, they might be able to help babies transition from tube and bottle-feeding back to the breast, such as in the case of premature infants. 

Will this be your first time breastfeeding?

Hungry babies can smell mother's milk and are guided to food by their noses [DailyMail]

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Are Parents Cutting Back on Diapers?

You'd be hard-pressed to find a family that hasn't been affected by the recession these days. People are clamoring to cut their spending on everything from clothing to health insurance. However, retailers have noticed a disturbing trend in particular products that only parents buy. In recent months, sales of disposable diapers have dropped, while sales of diaper rash ointment have risen.

Retailers generally rely on parents to keep spending when other demographics stop, even in the worst financial climate. However, according to consumer research, sales of diapers have dipped by 1% in just a four week period. Diaper giants such as Huggies saw sales drop by 4% in the four week period ending Sept. 4 and Pampers and Luvs experienced a 2.5% drop. Meanwhile, sales of diaper rash ointment have risen by 8% over the past year. Pediatricians explain that fewer diaper changes inevitably leads to diaper rash and many medical professionals have reported a spike in the number of diaper rash cases brought into their offices.

There are a couple of reasons for the dipping diaper sales. Companies are pointing to a declining birth rate since 2007, a common reaction to economic stress by populations. Nevertheless, the cost of diapers for a child per year adds up to approximately $1500 and many families may be forced to choose food or rent over diapers. Companies note that the number of diapers sold per baby have declined, not just overall sales.

There are alternatives to spending more on disposable diapers, besides loading up on diaper rash ointment. Many families make the switch to reusable diapers because they are cheaper in the long run. Some parents are working to potty train their children earlier. Parents might also want to learn more about elimination communication. Diaper companies are working to provide spending incentives by adding extra diapers to a package and providing more coupons. Parents should be able to find widely-available discounts on their favorite diaper brand online, in local papers and in stores.

Are you buying fewer diapers or have you found another way to offset the cost? 

How Tough Are Times? Parents Cut Back Diapers [WSJ]

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Best of the Web: Parenting and Pregnancy News

Artist Patrick Stull Features Amazing Photography of Pregnancy [Babble]

Check out Samantha Bee's hilarious mom blog [Babble]

10 Tots With Above-Average Talent [lilsugar]

Breastfeeding Moms Face Discrimination in Certain Jobs [Babble]

Meet Tia Mowry's Son Cree Taylor! [People]

Doctors and Parents on Making Big Decisions [theAtlantic]

Kid's Room Contest: Vote for your favorite room [WashPo]

Toddler wins Gerber photo contest [News-Leader]

1st Baby Cafe opens, catering to breastfeeding mothers [The Monitor]

Autumn-inspired baby names [babyzone]

Henry Rollins Will Bless Your Unborn Child [mediabistro]

Healthy Diet Reduces Risk of Birth Defects

A new study reveals how important it is to consume a healthy diet before becoming pregnant. Researchers found that women who consumed a balanced, Mediterranean-style diet were less likely to give birth to babies with a number of birth defects. The study compared the diets of 3,824 mothers of children with birth defects with the diets of 6,807 mothers of children without them.

Birth defects covered in the study, such as neural-tube defects, only occur in less than 0.1% of all births, but their effects can be devastating. Fewer babies are born with neural-tube defects thanks to a government push to encourage women to take folic acid supplements. Folic acid is a necessary B vitamin in the formation of the spinal cord. However, after the results of this study, the researchers involved are speaking out about the importance of eating healthy foods and not just relying on supplements.

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and "good fats," such as Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, are the main components of a healthy, Mediterranean-style diet. Women who consumed such a diet before becoming pregnant lowered the risk of having a baby with cleft lip by one-third, cleft palate by one-quarter, and spina bifida by a fifth. Researchers compared women on a healthy diet to women who consumed a diet high in meat, fat and sugar. Dr. David R. Jacobs, a professor of public health at the University of Minnesota said of the results: "We have evolved to eat food. We have not evolved to eat supplements. If you would like to be healthy, the better way to do that is by getting what you need from food rather than isolated compounds."

What kinds of foods do you eat on a regular basis?

Healthy Diet Could Lower Risk of Birth Defects [HuffPo]

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Jenna Fischer Gave Birth to a Son

The Office's Jenna Fischer (37) and her husband Lee Kirk have welcomed a son. Weston Lee was born on September 24th. Fischer's rep. told People: "Mom and baby are doing great."

Weston is the first child for the couple. Life imitates art, as Pam on The Office is expecting a child as well. The couple were engaged in Europe in 2009 and married in July 2010.

Fischer announced her pregnancy in May. She shared details of her pregnancy to E! at the premiere of A Little Help:

"[The cravings] change. In the beginning, it was a lot of macaroni and cheese and Lucky Charms. Now it’s a lot of strawberries. I've been really lucky. I’ve had a really easy pregnancy. Before all the pregnant women at home get mad at me for saying that, I just want them to know that while I did not have morning sickness, I have plenty of cellulite, and it’s okay, I’ve been cursed in other ways."

Congratulations to the happy couple!

What do you think of the name Weston?

Jenna Fischer Welcomes a Son [People]
Jenna Fischer’s Pregnancy Will Play Out on The Office [People]

Monday, October 03, 2011

Pregnancy and The Recent Listeria Outbreaks

Two weeks ago, cantaloupes from Colorado were recalled for listeria contamination. This week, romaine lettuce from Oregon is carrying the dreaded bacteria. Most adults with functional immune systems will be able to fight off an infection from listeria, but people with compromised immune systems could die if infected. Pregnant women especially need to be wary of listeria and get treatment immediately if infected.

Listeria is different than other harmful bacteria because it can't be killed by storing food in the refrigerator and can proliferate on pre-cooked foods. It can quickly spread from a contaminated food to other areas, such as the kitchen counter. The bacteria is particularly insidious because it can incubate in an area for up to 70 days. Symptoms of infection include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, stiff neck, confusion and weakness.

The cantaloupes that are being recalled were shipped to several states from Jensen Farms. If you have any cantaloupes from Jensen Farms, experts advise throwing them away immediately and washing any surfaces or utensils the fruit came in contact with thoroughly. The chopped or shredded romaine lettuce that's being recalled is from Church Brothers, True Leaf Farms.

If you are pregnant and have come in contact with any listeria-contaminated food, see your doctor immediately for antibiotics.

Listeria [Food Safety]
See Recent Recalls [Food Safety]
The listeria outbreak: What pregnant women need to know [WashPo]
Listeria Found in Lettuce, Too [ABCNews]

Hospital C-Sections Implicated in Allergies

Researchers have found a link between birth by c-section in the hospital and the development of allergies and asthma. The findings produce a greater understanding of the increasing rates of allergies and asthma in the United States.

A study of approximately 2,700 babies found a connection between the place and method of birth and the possible development of allergies and asthma. The babies were studied until they reached seven years of age. The babies born by c-section were most likely to harbor the bacteria C. difficile, commonly found in hospitals. Babies born vaginally receive bacteria populations from the mother, but c-section babies handled by doctors and nurses after birth appeared to pick-up C. difficile from the medical professionals. 43% of the babies born by c-section harbored the hospital bacteria, compared to 27% of the babies born vaginally and 19% of the babies born at home. The babies who tested positive for C. difficile were twice as likely to develop asthma and more likely to have eczema or a food sensitivity.

The study further highlights the importance of gut bacteria in young children. It also contributes evidence to the hygiene hypothesis - that our increasing effective cleaning habits are causing the rise in immune disorders. The researchers emphasize that the findings should not convince parents to change their birthing choices and more research is needed.

Allergies linked to baby's birthplace, gut bugs [Reuters]

Do you have a child with asthma or allergies?