Friday, December 23, 2011

Friday Wrap-up: Parenting and Pregnancy News

Cat soothing crying baby to sleep [YouTube]
Hilary Duff Paints Her Baby Bump for the Holidays [Celebuzz]

Actress Katie Finneran Is Pregnant [USWeekly]

Is 40 Weeks the Ideal Maternity Leave Length? [Slate]

Decode Your Baby's Body Language [Parenting]

Woman gives birth on roof of medical centre submerged by flood [DailyMail]

Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin Welcome Baby Boy [People]

Cutting Mercury, Protecting Children [HuffPo]

Holiday survival guide for divorced parents [CNN]

Donors can go to website to find needy families [USAToday]

Cry It Out: The Method That Kills Baby Brain Cells? [HuffPo]

Babies Developing a Taste for Salt

Sweet potatoes and bananas make great first foods for babies but processed foods such as crackers, cereal or bread might be setting up babies to develop unhealthy preferences. A new study found that babies who move onto these salty food items are developing an early taste for the seasoning that could last a lifetime.

Researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia monitored the eating habits of 61 infants and found that those who ate foods containing salt were more likely to develop a preference for it later on. The infants were tested at two months and six months of age. They were given three different bottles for two minutes each - one contained only water, another had a slightly salty solution (about the equivalent of commercial chicken noodle soup), and the third contained a 2% salty solution - salty even for adults. In general, the two-month-old babies were indifferent to the slightly salty solution and often rejected the 2% salty solution. However,  the same babies reacted differently when they were tested again at six months of age. When offered the differing solutions again, the babies who had been exposed to processed foods containing salt had developed a preference for the salty solutions.

The study reveals that an infant's diet can determine their preferences in the future and stresses the importance of feeding babies a balanced diet with few preservatives. The lead author of the study, Leslie J. Stein, said of the findings: "More and more evidence is showing us that the first months of life constitute a sensitive period for shaping flavor preferences."

Does your baby eat any foods with salt?

Babies may develop taste for salt via food [UPI]

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Top 10 Most Discussed PW Blog Posts of 2011

Every year there are certain topics that really get parents talking. 2011 was chock-full of parenting debates, disturbing study results and interesting findings. We love starting a good conversation among our diverse group of subscribers, which is why these subjects that got people talking were some of our favorites:

10. J&J Boycotted Over Carcinogens in Baby Bath Products - Late this year, the most ubiquitous baby bath products were found to contain chemicals that turned into formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. Johnson & Johnson already sells the same products formaldehyde-free in a handful of countries, a fact that prompted consumers in the US to boycott the products until the offending chemical is removed.

9. Babies Detect Sadness in Human Voices - A study of babies found that they are more in-tune with the emotions of adults than many would suspect. 

8. Financial Debate in Texas over NICU puts Early Birth in the Spotlight - A very sad debate in Texas spread across the web, causing many people to question what causes preterm birth and how it can be reduced.

7. Strange Political Debate over Breastfeeding - The First Lady's initiative to promote breastfeeding drew ire from political pundits such as Sarah Palin.

6. Solicitors in the Maternity Ward - Disney has found it's way into the maternity ward, angering some parents while other are happy to receive the free products.

5. 12 Baby Name Trends of 2012 - Many parents mused whether their child's name falls in line with the projected baby name trends of 2012.

4. Study Finds Changing Birth Rates on Halloween, Valentines - An interesting study found that women may be subconsciously giving birth on certain holidays and avoiding others. Many of our subscribers shared stories of Halloween babies they know. 

3.Are Parents Cutting Back on Diapers? - A very sad report emerged that showed the sales of diapers plummeting in accordance with rising sales of diaper rash ointment. Parents sounded off on what they sacrifice to save money and it wasn't diapers.

2. Duration of Breastfeeding Linked to Baby Brain Growth - More benefits of breastfeeding were discovered in 2011 and in response many new mothers shared their personal experiences with breastfeeding.

1. The Stigma of Single Mothers - A survey in 2011 found that single mothers are stigmatized regardless of how their children turn out. Parents talked about the incredible character of single moms and shared success stories of children raised by them. 

What parenting topic had you commenting the most this year?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Best of the Web: Parenting and Pregnancy News

The Modern Woman [YouTube]

Jeremy Sisto & Wife Expecting Baby No. 2 [CelebrityBabyScoop]

Singer Andrea Corr & Husband Are Expecting Baby No. 1 [CelebrityBabyScoop]

The 7 Controversies that Changed the Way We Raised Our Kids in 2011 [Parents]

How to Wear a Baby Sling as Shown by a Hot Dad [TheStir]

Quest for Perfection in Parenthood Leads to Stress [PsychCentral]

Best Maternity Jeans [MomFinds]

Top 10 parenting stories of 2011 [Today]

Why Being a Work-At-Home Mother Isn't Easy [Shine]

Top Ten Most Viewed PregnancyWeekly Blog Posts of 2011

Despite some of the scandals and terrible economic news that rocked the country over the course of 2011, the year was still filled with lots of good news for parents. We're always curious to see what blog posts really grabbed your attention and the consensus was clear: baby names, baby names, and more baby names. However, when you weren't reading our reports on baby naming trends, you were gathering tips on a variety of subjects. Here were the top ten most read posts of 2011:

10. Creative Ways to Document Your Pregnancy - The age of the internet has ensured that the best ideas are seen all over the world. Our many pregnant readers were happy to find creative ways to celebrate one of the most important times of their lives.

9. Babies Need More 'Tummy Time' - The Back to Sleep Campaign saved many babies from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome but it led to less babies spending time on their tummy, an important practice for developing muscles necessary for mobility and coordination.

8. Getting Pregnant after Giving Birth - There are many misconceptions about whether or not a woman can become pregnant directly after giving birth. A report released in 2011 provided important information about safe and effective contraception after giving birth.

7. Vitamin B12 in the Womb Reduces Risk of Colic - Anyone with a colicky child was excited to hear that there might be some simple way of reducing the risk during future pregnancies. Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient during pregnancy, but apparently has some added benefits.

6. Top Baby Names of 2011 - BabyCenter released an informal rank of the most popular baby names of the year.

5. Baby Names Differ by Region of US - An interesting study found baby name trends that changed depending on where people lived. Newer states saw more unique baby names, while the oldest states had the most babies with common names.

4. USDA Reveals New Food Plans for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women - In 2011, we said good bye to the food pyramid and hello to the food plate. The advice for pregnant and breastfeeding women didn't change very much, but there were a few differences to take note of.

3. 12 Baby Name Trends of 2012 - An interesting report was released at the end of 2011 that looked forward to baby name trends of the future. It should be interesting to see which ones prove to be true. Will we see more babies named after their parent's heroes? More names that start with the letter "M"?

2. 7 Ways for Stay-at-Home Parents to Make Money - One of the most common questions asked by readers is how to make money and still be able to stay at home with their kids. We did the research and detailed many real ways that parents can make some extra cash during nap time.

1. Top Baby Names of 2010 Released  - Not surprisingly, we were most fascinated to learn which baby names were the most popular when the Social Security Administration released their annual report at the beginning of this year. The Twilight books and movie series might have something to do with the top contenders on the list.

What parenting news was most memorable for you over the course of the year?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Charlie Day and Mary Elizabeth Ellis Welcome a Son

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia stars, Charlie Day (35) and Mary Elizabeth Ellis (32), welcomed their first child together at 7:59pm on  December 15th in Los Angeles. Russell Wallace Day weighed in at 7 lbs. 13 oz., measuring 21.5 inches long. Russell is an old Ellis family name and Wallace comes from a departed friend of Day's. The new parents released a statement to People: "We are overjoyed and overwhelmed at the amount of love that ushered our baby into the world."

 The couple were married in March 2006.

Congratulations to the happy couple!

Charlie Day, Mary Elizabeth Ellis Welcome Son Russell Wallace [People]

Monday, December 19, 2011

Alyson Hannigan is Pregnant!

How I Met Your Mother's Alyson Hannigan (37) is expecting her second child with husband Alexis Denisof (45)! The pregnancy was confirmed by the actress' rep. after pictures emerged of a very visible baby bump. The newest addition will join big sister Satyana (2).

Luckily, the writers of the hit TV show won't have to think of clever ways to hide Alyson's baby bump because her character on the show is pregnant too! Executive producer and co-creator of the show, Craig Thomas, said of the happy news: "Everyone at How I Met Your Mother is thrilled for Aly!  And we'd especially like to thank her for timing this perfectly to Lily's pregnancy on the show!  (Apologies to any HIMYM fans hoping to see another series of awkwardly-placed fruit baskets, bowling balls or purses the size of a small canoe)."

Congratulations to the happy couple!

Exclusive: PIC: Alyson Hannigan Is Pregnant -- See Her Bump! [USWeekly]
Alyson Hannigan Pregnant With Baby No. 2—Will How I Met Your Mother Be Impacted? [Eonline]

JuJu Band Winners and Travel Tips for the Holidays

A few weeks ago, we asked readers to send in their best travel tips for the holiday season for a chance to win a Juju Band Gift Set. We received a stockpile of wonderful tips and one tip that really stood out as the winner. Here are your holiday travel tips from mothers all over the world:
  • Bring a hat o keep sun off baby, or on cold days to keep his head warm.
  • Prepare a first-aid kit so you'll have the supplies you need for dealing with minor medical problems.
  • Get removable shade screens for the car's side windows, available at baby supply and discount stores, to shield your baby's eyes from the sun and keep him from getting too hot. Peel-and-stick shades are more secure, and therefore safer, than those that attach with suction cups.
  • Fill out an emergency sheet containing contact names and numbers and your child's health information, including the names of any medications he takes.
  • Parents should always have a portable DVD player that plays music as well as movies to keep the children busy!
  • When traveling by airplane be sure to have a pacifier or bottle ready for when the plane is taking off and landing. The sucking helps to pop the ears.
  • Travel at a time when baby is most likely to sleep.
  • If you breastfeed, make sure to pump enough to last the full travel time plus some. If you use formula, try to have a few bottles made and ready to pop out when needed.
  • Bring small colorful toys, and toys that make noise to help distract baby when awake.
  • Be prepared for the fact that you can never be prepared for everything! Take it all in stride and don't stress out! Stay calm and baby will feel your calm and follow it.
  • Put the baby jars inside of the outfits so they will not break in travel.
  • Attach the toys to the car seat, and hang the diaper bag with a cliffhanger clip.
  • For teething babies, pack an ice chest with frozen popsicles.
  • I have found that the best thing I could bring to almost guarantee a good flight is a full size pillow from home. With my niece we always used her pillow from home so it would smell familiar. Just lay the pillow across your lap for each flight. Plus, when they are awake, they have a comfortable seat rather than your bony lap. It’s also much more comfortable for the parent than having the child directly on your lap.
  • For an infant, I recommend taking a "travel bed", which is very small/light weight and packs up into a shoulder bag, no bigger than a regular size laptop bag. This is much easier than toting a large/heavy pack-n-play or portable crib. Also, if your baby can support his/her head, an umbrella stroller is great and you can take it right to the gate at the airport and the attendant will check it for you there. These items are much lighter than the traditional bed/stroller...will definitely save your back a lot of strain!
  • Have someone sit in the back with baby to read/play/sing. Also, have mellow, sing-along music.
  • Down South in Kerala (India), the normal drinking water served in roadside hotels is a boiled mild tea of Ajwain (caraway seeds). This is an excellent digestive and antiseptic spice. Keep stacked a cargo of about 3-4 litres of water boiled with this spice (to a milder extent) and mix it with the baby food. This is much better than giving unreliable “mineral” water that we get in all sorts of places! The water stays on for 3-4 days.
  • I find one of the things to make baby traveling easier is a portable baby wrap carrier. Baby stays more calm and quiet when mom is carrying them in one of these.
  • Ensure baby is well rested and fed
  • Have clean cloths and diapers close at hand, and a bag for soiled items!
  • Keep the the makings of a bottle (if you aren't breastfeeding) in a convenient spot, or some snacks and a sippy cup for older children.  
  • Comfort items are a MUST, paci's, lovey's, blanket etc.  
  • Be prepared for anything (over-pack) and try traveling while baby sleeps. If you have older children, make sure they are comfy and occupied as well. It's much easier focusing on a fussy or insecure baby if the other kiddos are occupied!
The winning tip is from Angela:
"I have made several trips with babies (I'm pregnant with our 4th child) and the best advice I could give to any parent is: don't expect to keep them quiet, just try to keep them happy. Parents who are focused on trying to keep their children quiet inevitably end up becoming agitated with the challenge and that stress passes on to the child, which gears up the parent, and a downward spiral ensues. Often, all that is needed to calm a cranky baby is a goofy face or a good toy and a parent who is more focused on "happy" than "quiet" is more likely to be relaxed enough to remember what makes their child laugh. Also, a parent focused on having fun with their child isn't trying to distract themself with reading or checking Facebook (or anything else we do to entertain ourselves) and has more energy to devote to keeping the little one happy.
The sound of a baby's laugh is infectious and anyone around you who might be 'disturbed' by your child's squeals and laughter will end up enjoying your child too."

Congratulations Angela and thank you all for your helpful tips!