Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday Wrap-up: Parenting and Pregnancy News

Alexander Tsiaras: Conception to birth -- visualized [YouTube]

10 Holiday Looks for Kids [People]

7 Kid-Friendly Recipes For Thanksgiving Leftovers [lilsugar]

Toy safety report finds some holiday dangers []

Parents: Your Words Matter [PsychologyToday]

Cord Blood A Good Option For Patients Without Bone Marrow Donor [MDSBeacon]

Parents' guide to holiday 2011 video games [CNET]

Child-Proof Your Holiday Season

The holidays are a special, magical time for young children, but it's important to be aware of the dangers that can lurk amongst all the decorations, presents, and festivities. Help keep this season magical for them with the following safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Toy Safety
  • Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills and interest level of the intended child. Toys too advanced may pose safety hazards for younger children.
  • Before buying a toy or allowing your child to play with a toy that he has received as a gift, read the instructions carefully.
  • To prevent both burns and electrical shocks, don't give young children (under age ten) a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Instead, buy toys that are battery-operated.
  • Children under age three can choke on small parts contained in toys or games. Government regulations specify that toys for children under age three cannot have parts less than 1-1/4 inches in diameter and 2 1/4 inches long.
  • Children under age 8 can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Remove strings and ribbons from toys before giving them to young children
  • vWatch for pull toys with strings that are more than 12 inches in length. They could be a strangulation hazard for babies.
  • Remember that the homes you visit may not be childproofed. Keep an eye out for danger spots.
  • Keep a laminated list with all of the important phone numbers you or a baby-sitter are likely to need in case of an emergency. Include the police and fire department, your pediatrician and the national Poison Help Line, 1-800-222-1222.
  • Traveling, visiting family members, getting presents, shopping, etc., can all increase your child's stress levels. Trying to stick to your child's usual routines, including sleep schedules and timing of naps, can help you and your child enjoy the holidays and reduce stress.
  • Use care with "fire salts," which produce colored flames when thrown on wood fires. They contain heavy metals that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting if eaten. Keep them away from children.

    Read more on BabyWeekly.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Top 10 Tips for Family Holiday Pictures

  1. Get the kids to really smile. Instead of making them say "cheese," try to get a genuine smile by saying a funny word or doing something goofy.
  2. Get on the level. If the little one is only 3 feet off the floor, move the shot down so that you are at her level.
  3. Fill the frame with the family. Try to get rid of all the empty space around the family.
  4. Take notice of what’s in the frame. Dirty dishes, cardboard boxes and other unsightly objects need to be out of the shot. Include Christmas lights, snow coming down in the window and evergreen accents.
  5. Accept human imperfections. Band-Aids, bruises and other flaws will make the photo memorable and real.
  6. Choose comfortable clothes. Dress clothes can look special but if the kids are scowling in their itchy wool sweaters, consider alternatives. The matching pajama shot is a comfortable and adorable look for the entire family.
  7. Take a lot of pictures! Take as many photos as you can to increase your chances of getting a shot with everyone looking good. 
  8. Find the right lighting. Typically, natural light is the best indoors. If you are trying to catch snowflakes falling, use the flash. Experiment with candlelight and Christmas lights beforehand. 400 speed film is better for low-light situations when you are trying to get Christmas lights or candles in the shot.
  9. Be prepared. Charge the batteries, bring your charger and make sure there is plenty of room on the memory card (or carry an extra roll of film). Bring the tripod if available.
  10. Get the pets in the shot. The furry friends will make the kids feel more at ease and make the picture livelier.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Best of the Web: Parenting and Pregnancy News

Beyonce discusses pregnancy, new concert DVD [WashPo]

Red-eye flight with toddler...and the chairman of the Federal Reserve [Today]

Less wheezing linked to babies eating fish [UPI]

More adoptive moms learn to breast-feed their babies [Today]

Teaching Gratitude, Bringing Happiness, to Children [HuffPo]

Smoking during pregnancy significantly affects DNA of baby[BCM]

Infidelity While Pregnant [FitPregnancy]

10 Ways to Cheer Someone Up on Bed Rest [lilsugar]

Winter/Autumn Recipes for Pregnancy [FitPregnancy]

New FDA-approved medical trial gives hope to children with cerebral palsy [WRDW]

Can Parents Be Convinced To Want Baby Girls? [Jezebel]

Juju Band Gift Set Giveaway!

Juju Bands protect your child's healing umbilical cord and can help calm the most finicky babies. By protecting the belly button as it heals, you can prevent irritation and reduce the likelihood of infection. The cute belly bindings can be worn up until the age of three months, allowing your child to feel secure even when they're not being held.

The maker of Juju Bands also sells adorable, inexpensive blankets, bibs, and gift sets. ParentWeekly is giving away a Juju Band Gift Set to a lucky winner. Gift Set B contains a blanket, comforter, bib, and baby band. It has a retail value of $53. Here’s what you need to do to win:

In honor of the holiday season, we want to hear your best tips for traveling with a baby. Send your tips to The person who sends us the most helpful tip will receive the gift set. All the best responses will be published in a future blog post to help other parents of babies have good travel experiences this holiday season. All submissions must be sent before December 14th, 2011. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What Not to Eat During Pregnancy - A Simple Guide

Meals and snacks during pregnancy can seem complicated because there are so many things that you should avoid consuming for the health of your baby. In general, any type of food or drink that can harbor illness-inducing bacteria should be avoided. However, substances that can cause contractions and some items that seem safe can cause adverse reactions in your developing baby. Here is your quick guide of what not to consume during pregnancy:

  • Soft cheeses - Brie, goat cheese, Camembert, feta, blue, Roquefort, Gorgonzola, queso blanco, queso fresco and other Mexican-style cheeses. If non-imported cheese is pasteurized it is safe to eat. Cream cheese and cottage cheese are okay.
  • Deli meats. Cold cuts, sausages and hot dogs should be cooked until steaming.
  • Raw meats (Cook meats medium-medium well). The juice from the meats should run clear. Use a meat thermometer to make sure they are cooked to the correct temperature. Avoid raw poultry that has been stuffed, unless you buy it frozen and cook from its frozen state.
  • Raw eggs (including runny eggs). Raw eggs can show up in Caesar salad dressing, cookie dough, cake batter, un-pasteurized eggnog, homemade ice cream, mayonnaise, custards, and Hollandaise sauces. Restaurants are supposed to use pasteurized eggs for sauces, dressings and desserts but you might want to ask before ordering.
  • Raw sprouts like alfalfa, radish, clover and mung bean.
  • Un-pasteurized milk or juice.
  • Smoked seafood like lox, nova style, kippered or jerky. Canned or jarred smoked seafood that is shelf-safe is usually safe right out of the container. If smoked seafood is a cooked ingredient it is safe for consumption.
  • Raw shellfish like oysters, clams, or mussels. Cook shellfish until their shells open.
  • Raw fish. Fish should be cooked until it is flaky and opaque throughout. Shrimp, lobster and scallops should be cooked until they are solid white.
  • Pate or meat spreads that are refrigerated. Shelf-safe meat spreads or pates that are from a can or jar are okay to eat.
  • Unwashed vegetables.  
  • Sage, parsley and parsley seeds. These are all safe in normal culinary use but large doses (e.g. supplements) can cause contractions.
  • Unripe papaya.
  • Herbal teas. A good rule of thumb to follow with herbal teas is to only drink what you can safely eat during pregnancy. Fruit-based and spice teas are generally safe. However, large amounts of red raspberry leaf tea can cause contractions. Many of the ingredients in teas, even those marketed to pregnant women, have not been studied for their safety during pregnancy. Consult your doctor if you are unsure about any teas that you wish to drink. 
  • Large fish like shark, tilefish, king mackerel, swordfish, albacore tuna (canned tuna is okay but still should only be eaten in moderation). Only eat fish 2-3 times a week. For more on which fish have high levels see Mercury in Fish.
  • Fish caught locally from polluted or contaminated ponds. Some fish that are particularly susceptible are bluefish, stripped bass, salmon, pike, trout and walleye. This does not include the fish you buy in the grocery store.
  • Large amounts of vitamin A can cause birth defects. Avoid consuming large amounts of liver or taking vitamin A supplements.
  • Avoid alcohol, it crosses the placenta immediately and can lead to behavioral problems, disorders of the nervous system and physical abnormalities.
  • Limit caffeine to 300 milligrams or less a day. 500 milligrams or more is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage and even less than that has been associated with slower growth rates in fetuses. Remember that caffeine is found in coffee, caffeinated teas (like black, green, English and Irish teas), sodas and chocolate.  
What item has been the hardest for you to give up during pregnancy?

Caffeine [PregnancyWeekly]
Safe Cheeses During Pregnancy [PregnancyWeekly]
Vitamin A and Birth Defects [PregnancyWeekly]
Pregnancy nutrition: Foods to avoid during pregnancy [MayoClinic] 
What Not to Eat When You're Pregnant [Parents]
Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy [AmericanPregnancy]
What Not to Eat or Drink While Pregnant [becomegorgeous]
Parsley And Other Herbal Dangers []
Sage Herb [holistic-herbalist]

Monday, November 21, 2011

12 Baby Name Trends of 2012

The trends for next year's round of baby names are already appearing. Heroes, made-up concoctions, and certain letters are leading the way for baby names in 2012. Here's the latest:

Heroes - People are naming their children after their personal heroes. Monroe, Gatsby, Landry and Palin are just some of the names you'll see babies taking on next year.

Concoctions - People who hate to go along with trends are finding ways to combine their favorite names to create something unique. The Twilight frenzy sent everyone to naming their baby girls Bella. In response, those who want something different but like the sound of Bella are choosing names like Arabella, Isabella and Anabelle. Emily and Olivia are other popular names being tweaked to avoid being trendy, with variations such as Alivia and Emma.

Show Your Strength - Names that sound tough are coming up the ranks. Hunter, Ranger and Breaker are just a few examples. Fierce predators are also being used for baby names, examples include Lionel, Leo, Bear, Lynx and Wolf.

Find Direction - Directional baby names are all the rage right now. Easton, Wesley, Weston, North, East, and West are a few of the most commonly used navigational names.

Wild West - People are honoring the wild west when naming children in 2012. Names such as Wiley, Colt, Boone, Bo, Cole, Zane, Shane and Maverick are making their way up the list.

Straight A's - The love affair with names that begin with the letter "A" continues. Aiden, Acacia, Ada, Annelise, Anouk, Aria, Aurelia, Azalea, Alistair, Aragon, Arthur, Augustus, Athena, Ambrose, Axel, Archer.. you get the idea.

Give me an "M" - The newest letter to hit the baby naming scene is the letter "M." Millie, Magdalena, Milo, Micah, Mauve, Maisie, Marguerite, Marlo/Marlow, May, Mila, Minnie, Magnus, Miller, Montgomery and Moses are some of the fresh faces of 2012.

Descriptive Words - Yep, adjectives are now common names for children. Brave, True, Noble, Strong, Loyal, Loving, Sunny, Golden, Happy and Royal are just a few of the descriptive words used to name babies.

New One-Syllable Middles - Move over Lynn, Lee and Ann, the new one-syllable middle names are taking over. Hello May, Wren and Bee.

TV Inspiration - Names like Betty from Mad Men and Arlo from Justified are rising in the ranks.

Overley - Adding "ley" to the ends of names has seen it's leyday and now it's time to put it to rest. This popular naming trick is coming to a close.

Sweet Endings - An old naming trend is making a comeback. Cute nicknames such as Lottie, Hattie and Nellie were all the rage in the 20th century.

Are you naming your baby something within these trends? 

Baby Names 2012: 12 Hottest Trends [HuffPo]

Everything you Need to Know About Cord Blood Banking

When it comes to banking your child's cord blood, there are a number of questions that immediately come to mind. Why does my doctor recommend banking? What diseases are currently treated with stem cells derived from cord blood? Should I donate to a public bank or pay to bank privately? A new resource is available to answer all of your questions within a matter of minutes. is a simple, comprehensive website that takes each visitor through a customized tour of information about cord blood. It’s easy to use and your doctor will be happy to know that you are informed on the topic after taking the tour. Cord Banking Basics makes learning about cord blood a visual experience, complete with interviews of doctors and parents who’ve chosen to bank or had to use their child’s cord blood. Click to learn more on

Do you feel well-informed about cord blood banking?