Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Wrap-up: Parenting and Pregnancy News

<a href='' target='_new' title='Baby Messes With Telemarketer' >Video: Baby Messes With Telemarketer</a>
Baby Messes With Telemarketer [Bing]

In Sweden, a generation of kids who've never been spanked [CNN]

Penn State Scandal: Can We Trust Coaches with Our Kids? [Time]

The music of motherhood [SMH]

Should Babies Co-Sleep With Their Parents? [NPR]

Actress Nia Long gives birth to Kez Sunday Udoka [WashPo]

7 Things to Evict from Your Baby's Diaper Bag [Rodale]

Dylan Walsh Welcomes A Daughter: Amelie Belle [CelebrityBabyScoop]

Pregnant Sex Was The Best Sex I Ever Had [Jezebel]

Your Fat Baby Is Probably Fine [Slate]

Research: Massage Benefits Postpartum Women [MassageMag]

Iron-Fortified Formula Linked to Developmental Delays in High Iron Babies

Infant formulas come in many different forms: there are soy-based and hypoallergenic formulas for babies with allergies, powders, concentrates and ready-to-use formulas, and they can come fortified with DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), ARA (arachidonic acid) or sometimes iron to help boost their nutritional properties. Iron-fortified formula has been in use since 1969 in an effort to prevent anemia in babies. However, new research has found that babies who have healthy levels of iron in their blood could experience developmental delays if provided with an excess of the dietary mineral.

A group of scientists led by Betsy Lozoff of The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor discovered that infants who already possessed high levels of iron and were given iron-fortified formula had delays in spatial memory and hand-eye coordination. The study evaluated 473 Chilean children as infants and then ten years after they were given the formula. The children with the highest levels of iron also scored slightly lower on IQ tests and in arithmetic achievement. 

Currently, there are no contraindications to using iron-fortified formula except in the case of constipated infants (too much iron can cause constipation). The group of scientists is calling for a re-evaluation of the universal recommendation for iron-fortified formulas. It's not known what the optimum amount of iron is for infants and more research is needed. However, for babies with low levels of iron or at risk of developing anemia, iron-fortified formulas are beneficial. 

Is your baby's formula iron-fortified?

Iron Fortification of Infant Formulas [AAP]
Iron in Formula No Help for Babies With High Hbg [medpageToday]
Iron Boost in Infant Formula May Delay Development, Study Finds [Bloomberg]

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Children Absorb More Radiation from Cellphones Than Adults

It seems like common sense - that a developing child would be more vulnerable to radiation than a full grown adult and yet, an environmental group is calling the federal regulations on cellphone radiation flawed because it fails to take children into account. The Environmental Health Trust, an organization composed of doctors and researchers, is concerned about an increased risk of disease in children due to radiation from cellphones.

The group argues that the Federal Communications Commission's tests of cellphone radiation were only done on an adult male model who is approximately 6ft. 2in. and weighs 220 lbs. - a far cry from studying the possible effects on children and pregnant women. The Environmental Health Trust is pushing for a more accurate representation of data for the rest of the population, since only 3% fit the profile currently being used. The group asks the FCC to consider using real humans to collect their data.

The report recently released also underscores the possible dangers of cellphone radiation on children. They cite one study which found children's bone marrow absorbed ten times the radiation that an adult's. However, the studies that have attempted to find a link to cancer have been marginal at best, yet the World Health Organization still places cellphones in the same category as lead and engine exhaust in regards to causing long-term health problems.

The Environmental Health Trust makes an important point and some of the members have a great knowledge on the subject, including the director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and Om Ghandi, the former Motorola scientist who helped establish the current acceptable radiation risks. The FCC has yet to respond to the report, but Dr. Devra Davis, a former senior adviser in the Department of Health and Human Services under the Clinton Administration said: "The standard for cellphones has been developed based on old science and old models and old assumptions about how we use cellphones, and that's why they need to change."

Does your child use a cellphone on a regular basis?

FCC Test to Measure Cellphone Radiation Flawed, Group Says [ABCNews]

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Best of the Web: Parenting and Pregnancy News

I Told My Kids I Ate All Their Halloween Candy [YouTube]

Alanis Morissette: I Was Unprepared for Motherhood [iVillage]

My Parents Were Home-Schooling Anarchists [NYTimes]

Extra brain cells may be key to autism: study [reuters]

Jessica Simpson dishes on due date, cravings... [Celebitchy]

10 Alternatives to Baby Diapers in a Pinch [NannyPro]

False-Positive Pregnancy Test: What and Why [AmericanPregnancy]

Parents Warned About Mail Order Chicken Pox Lollipops [ABCNews]

Cord Blood: Understanding The Benefits [CBS]

What Steve Jobs can teach us about parenting [WashPo]

The Duggars are Expecting Their 20th Child

Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar, of the reality show 19 Kids and Counting, are expecting their 20th child. The couple announced the pregnancy on TODAY. Michelle is three and a half months along at 45-years of age.

"We are so excited...I was not thinking that God would give us another one, and we are just so grateful," Michelle said before the show.

Michelle's last pregnancy was fraught with problems such as preeclampsia and baby Josie was born prematurely. Her current pregnancy has been without issue so far and she cites being in great shape due to working out five or six days a week on her new elliptical. "I'm really in better shape than I've been in 20 years," she shared.

The couple revealed their news to their other 19 children in a comical way. They lined then up for a family photo and Jim Bob said: "Smile -- Mom's going to have another baby!" Michelle recalls: "Their mouths dropped. They all looked at me to see if he was joking." The Duggar children range in age from 23 months to 23 years and all their names begin with the letter "j". There is Joshua, Jana, John-David, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy-Anna, Jedidiah, Jeremiah, Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johannah, Jennifer, Jordyn-Grace, and Josie.

See the video of their announcement above - it's incredible to see so many well-behaved children in one room!

20 kids and counting! Michelle Duggar announces she's pregnant again [Today]

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Four Legal Issues to Consider during Pregnancy

Although the majority of the issues you will handle during your pregnancy will fill your heart with joyful anticipation, there are other types of issues that are worth considering no matter how much they bring you down to think about. There are a few legal topics that should be addressed while you are pregnant to avoid stickier problems down the road.

Maternity/Paternity Leave - Under the Family Medical Leave Act, you are entitled to 12 weeks of maternity or paternity leave if you have worked for your employer for more than 12 months over the course of your life, worked at least 1250 hours, and work at a location with at least 50 employees within 75 miles. The leave may or may not be paid and some employers will take it out of your sick or vacation time. The law prohibits any interference with your taking advantage of your rights. The law also protects you from any negative reactions to your use of the leave time in regards to promotions, hiring, disciplinary actions and bonus assignments based on your position.

In addition, states often have other protections for new parents in place. California, for example, will allow up to seven months of protected leave in certain situations. It's important to research your states individual laws on the matter.

Employers also implement different policies for parents. Talk to human resources to find out what your company offers. Companies highly-rated by family advocate organizations offer paid leave.

Employing Help - If you have any kind of regular babysitter or nanny employed in your household, then you will need to indicate that on your taxes. If you pay them $1700 or more a year, then you must pay the nanny tax to the IRS. You'll want to act as an employer by with-holding taxes, paying overtime, and carrying workers compensation insurance - just a few things to consider before hiring someone.

Create a Will - It might seem like you are too young to start a will, but there is no better time than when your child is on the way. Read more about creating a will here.

Paternity - If the situation is less than clear, establishing paternity is very important for the future of your child, not just for the financial support but because the child deserves to know. Medical history and benefits provided to children in the case of death are two more good reasons to take the time to establish paternity. If the father does not voluntarily acknowledge paternity through an official document stating paternity or by adding his name to the birth certificate, then you will need to contact your local Child Support agency.

Have you run into any legal issues during your pregnancy?  

Maternity Leave [PregnancyWeekly]
5 Legal Issues to Consider When You Get Pregnant [People]
Why and How to Establish Paternity [About]

Monday, November 07, 2011

More Mothers Missing Sleep

There's an interesting article that ran in the New York Times last week about the increasing number of mothers using sleep aids. If you have a newborn, that might sound absurd at a time when you find yourself falling asleep at every turn. Brace yourself, because these tired days into sleepness nights don't necessarily end when the baby can sleep through the night.

The Sleep Foundation has released some startling statistics concerning women and sleep. The average woman aged 30-60 only gets approximately 6 hours and 41 minutes of sleep on week nights. They are more likely than men to encounter sleep difficulties. Nearly three in ten women use some type of sleep aid at least a few nights a week. There are many possible reasons for them but sleepless nights are an increasingly common phenomenon, particularly among mothers.

"Did I send that e-mail to my client? Is the permission slip for pictures due today? Do Carrie’s dance shoes still fit? Is Girl Scouts on this week?" These are the kinds of thoughts that Susan Stoga runs through when she should be sleeping.

Dr. Katherine M. Sharkey, a sleep medicine expert provides an accurate assessment of what's going on: "There’s no release valve to let things fall by the wayside during the day, and that’s creeping into women’s night. So they’re waking up in the middle of the night with a million things running through their heads: things that may not be earth shattering, but it’s real stuff and it causes serious sleep deprivation."

Dr. Meir Kryger, director of sleep medicine at Gaylord Hospital in Connecticut, says that women, "are really paying the price in sleep for their current role in society." She's talking about the way women today often have to juggle motherhood, work full-time, and then are expected to clean the house, cook all the meals and the list can go on to include many other roles.

"I think so much of what drives it is our need for control," says Ana Marie Alessi, a single mother from New Jersey. "We feel like it’s our job to anticipate any variant on The Day, much less The Life — If it rains will I need to change my schedule so I can drop off my kid and he doesn’t need to ride his bike in a downpour? We try to ward off anything that can interfere with the Good Day."

When sleep's elusive, there are many ways to help alleviate the never-ending thoughts. Daily exercise, a diet that includes carbohydrates in the evenings, and meditation or breathing exercises are just a few examples. There is no one-solution-fits-all, however, so it's important to find which methods work for you.

Do your thoughts keep you up at night? What kind of things do you do to get back to sleep?

Sleep Medication: Mother’s New Little Helper [NYTimes]
Women and Sleep [NSF]

Enter to Win a Year of Fresh Produce from Baby Brezza!

Baby Brezza, a top-rated baby food appliance producer, is hosting a fantastic giveaway until the end of November. Winners will receive one year's worth of fresh fruits and vegetables for their family for an entire year!

In order to enter, simply add The Baby Brezza One Step Baby Food Maker to your gift registry. Once it's been added, send a link to your registry to, with your full name, address, preferred email address and phone number. The winner will be announced by December 16th, 2011. The winner will receive grocery gift cards totaling $2,500. Only one entry per person is permitted and contestants must keep an active registry with the item on it until the end of November.

You can read our recent review of The Baby Brezza One Step Baby Food Maker here.