Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Wrap-up: Parenting and Pregnancy News

Marla Sokoloff Welcomes First Child: Elliotte Anne [CelebrityBabyScoop]

10 states freed from some 'No Child Left Behind' requirements [CNN]

C-Sections Not Always Best for Small Babies [WebMD]

Two sisters step in as surrogates - and both get pregnant [DailyMail]

Chemo possible for pregnant women with cancer [9wsyr]

Breastfed babies less likely to grow up angry and irritable [DailyMail]

8 Myths About Postpartum Depression [Atlanta Birth Center]

What to do when your 5-year-old announces he's in love [Today]

The Kids Are More Than All Right [NYTimes]

Researchers Rank Top 5 Postpartum Depression Advice Websites [EMaxHealth]

Facebook's Conflict With Nursing Mothers Escalates

Facebook is still receiving ire from breastfeeding mothers for taking their pictures down. A group of mothers and their babies staged a nurse-in outside Facebook's Menlo Park headquarters earlier this week, demanding the company train their employees to better identify appropriate photos and to provide an easier way to contact the company in response to locked accounts. Similar protests were staged outside Facebook headquarters around the world.

Emma Kwasnica, a breastfeeding advocate whose account has been shutdown on multiple occasions says: "This is discrimination, There's no other way to look at it. We're being treated as pornographers. Breastfeeding moms, especially ones with infants, spend hours a day with their children at their breast. They're not trying to be sexually explicit. This is just part of their everyday lives...People ask, 'Why do you share it on Facebook?' People share their whole days on Facebook, when they're eating, where they're eating, pictures of them feeding their kids spaghetti. We just see this as feeding our children."

Facebook released this statement in response:

"...When it comes to uploaded photos on Facebook, the vast majority of breastfeeding photos comply with our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, which closely mirrors the policy that governs broadcast television, and which places limitations on nudity due to the presence of minors on our site. On some occasions, breastfeeding photos contain nudity – for example an exposed breast that is not being used for feeding – and therefore violate our terms. When such photos are reported to us and are found to violate our policies, the person who posted the photo is contacted, and the photos are removed...It is important to note that any breastfeeding photos that are removed – whether inappropriately or in accordance with our policies – are only done so after being brought to our attention by other Facebook users who report them as violations and subsequently reviewed by Facebook.

Facebook receives hundreds of thousands of reports every week, and as you might expect, occasionally we make a mistake and remove a piece of content we shouldn’t. When this happens, we work quickly to address it by apologizing to the people affected and making any necessary changes to our processes to ensure the same type of mistakes do not continue to be made. We encourage people to re-upload the photos they believe were removed in error."

Despite the statement, it seems that Facebook's actions moving forward will determine whether this issue will come to rest or not. For mothers who lose access to their accounts for posting pictures of themselves breastfeeding, it sends a sharp message to be very careful what they are uploading if they want to remain on the site. It's pretty easy to differentiate a nursing picture from one that's exposing breasts in a sexual manner, which is why the actions of Facebook employees reflects discriminatory attitudes towards breastfeeding mothers. With such a giant staff of people moderating photos, there is simply no way they're going to be able to stop some moderators from deleting appropriate nursing photos. However, the fact that so many people are reporting them as abuse points to the way our society continually views breasts as something sexual, rather than as providing food for babies. It's easy to "unsubscribe" from a person's posts on Facebook if you dislike the content, but it's very difficult for someone to get back into their account once it's been shutdown for "innappropriate" content.

What are your thoughts on the conflict between Facebook and breastfeeding women?

Breastfeeding moms hold Facebook nurse-in protest [SFGate]
Facebook clarifies breastfeeding photo policy [ZDNet]
Photo Credit: Anton Nossik

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Baby-Led Weaning Leads to Healthier Weight

The conventional wisdom of starting babies on purees once they reach six months of age is being turned on it's head. New research has discovered that when babies engage in baby-led weaning (BLW), they develop a preference for healthier foods and are less likely to become overweight.

Researchers at the University of Nottingham, England recruited the parents of 155 children, 92 of which underwent baby-led weaning, to discover that the BLW babies were less likely to become overweight. The children started on pureed foods were more likely to have higher BMI's down the road and generally had developed a strong taste for sweets. The researchers remarked that the BLW babies had developed a significant preference for carbohydrates - the basis of a healthy diet. Interestingly, the BLW babies were not found to have been exposed to carbohydrates any more than other foods, which "suggests that for carbohydrates, the only food category with significant group differences, weaning style was more influential than exposure on preference ratings," according to researchers. They believe that the babies preferred carbohydrates due to the texture, ease of chewing, and the pleasing presentation.

Baby-led weaning is a practice that encourages babies to learn to feed themselves gradually. They are offered breast milk or formula before a meal and then provided with an array of finger foods to choose from during meal times. In the beginning, not much gets eaten but in time the babies teach themselves how to eat solid foods and begin to prefer them over milk. This study was one of the few to look at the effects of such a feeding method.

Have you ever tried baby-led weaning?

Baby's First Foods Should Be Finger Foods [MedPageToday]
Baby-led weaning [babycenter]
Introducing Solid Food [BabyWeekly]
Photo Credit: Wen-Yan King

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Best of the Web: Parenting and Pregnancy News

Beyonce showcases her curvy post-baby body [DailyMail]

For How Many Seconds, Exactly, Can You Leave Your Baby Alone? [Jezebel]

Chun Chun, China's Heaviest Baby Tips The Scales At 15.5lbs [Aol]

What New Mothers Need to Know About Motherhood [HuffPo]

What Our Post-baby Bellies Really Look Like [Babble]

Who really benefits from putting high-tech gadgets in classrooms? [LATimes]

Jackson Rathbone & Girlfriend Set to Become First-Time Parents! [Celebrity-Gossip]

Robert Downey Jr. and Wife Welcome a Boy!

Actor Robert Downey Jr. (46) and his wife Susan (38) welcomed their first child on February 7th! Exton Elias arrived at 7:24AM, weighing 7lbs., 5 oz. and measuring 20 inches long. A friend told People magazine: "Everyone is healthy and they couldn’t be happier."

Exton is the first child for the couple, who've been married for six years after meeting on the set of Gothika. Robert has an 18-year-old son from a previous marriage named Indio.

Robert accidently revealed the sex of the child on Leno in early December. Susan said of the slip: "I could never really stay mad at him, but I can tell you it genuinely wasn’t something we planned to reveal." Nevertheless, he was able to keep the name of the baby secret, saying to reporters: "If I told you the name, then she would lop off my head with a machete."

Congratulations to the happy couple!

What do you think of the name Exton?

Robert Downey Jr. Welcomes Son Exton Elias [People]
Photo Credit: Edgar Meritano

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

New Analysis of Spanking Reveals Harm

The spanking debate is once again making headlines due to a recent analysis of previous studies on the commonly used disciplinary measure. The combined information draws a compelling picture of a child's long-term reactions to physical discipline and discourages the practice completely.

The recent analysis reiterates much of what we have already heard about spanking - it works in the short-term to correct behavior but can lead to increased aggression and long-term behavior problems down the road. Two decades of research went under review in order for researchers to see the same patterns arise. Joan Durrant, lead author of the analysis, child psychologist and professor at the University of Manitoba says: "We find children who are physically punished get more aggressive over time and those who are not physically punished get less aggressive over time." In fact, an overwhelming majority of the studies found no positive result from spanking. Durrant explains the psychology possibly at play: "If someone were to hit us to change our behavior, it might harm our relationship with that person. We might feel resentful. It’s no different for children.” Spanking has been linked to mental health problems later in life, such as depression and anxiety. The practice has been shown to cause physical changes in the brain and increases the likelihood of drug and alcohol abuse.

Interestingly, the United States is somewhat unique in the number of parents that use corporal punishment. Countries such as Sweden, Israel, Kenya and many others around the globe have outlawed the practice among parents. Many experts believe that parents spank because it's what they know and what they were raised with. It becomes a tool they find easy to use to solve problems, even though there are many other options that they may not be aware of. In Sweden, parents are provided with information about the developmental stages of children, enabling them to better understand their children and how best to communicate with them. Durrant points out, "Two-year-olds are the most aggressive people in the world. They don’t understand the impact of their behavior and they can’t inhibit themselves. So the more a child sees someone resolving conflict with aggression, the more aggressive they become." She uses her son as an example for how to calmly correct behavior - he dropped his father's toothbrush in the toilet and she notes that he was experimenting with how things fall in the water. Once she explained to him what the toilet is used for and asked whether daddy would want to put a toothbrush in his mouth that had been in there, her son never did it again.

The analysis raises many familiar questions in the spanking debate. Undoubtedly, there are many parents that feel that physical punishment is an important part of raising a child, despite any evidence insinuating that it could be detrimental. Many parents will find it to be a knee-jerk reaction when they are angry at the child's actions - a practice that is not only harmful in the long-term but can quickly devolve into child abuse. Some statistics cite the number of parents who spank their children at 90% in the United States - a startling figure in light of all the evidence that shows it to be a harmful practice and largely without benefit.

Do you spank your child?

Why Spanking Doesn’t Work [Time]

Photo Credit: D. Sharon Pruitt

Monday, February 06, 2012

Epidural-Related Fevers are Possible Problem for Newborns

Although epidurals are one of the safest pain-relief options available during childbirth, they are not without risks. More than 60 percent of laboring women use an epidural and among them a small percentage develop a fever that could be related to it's use. Previous research has made the correlation between epidurals and fevers in some laboring women, but a new study may confirm the connection and brings to light the problems that babies experience in such circumstances.

Babies of women who develop fevers after an epidural are more likely to receive low apgar scores, and exhibit problems such as poor muscle tone, breathing difficulties, and seizures. Researchers collected information on over 3,000 women delivering full-term babies in Boston, of which nearly 20% experienced a fever of 100.4 degrees F or higher after receiving an epidural. Babies of women with the highest fevers exhibited the most problems. 

Researchers aren't clear on what causes the fevers in mothers who use the epidural but they believe that inflammation is at play. Fevers are more likely to emerge after approximately six hours or more of numbness. Delaying the epidural could be a way of preventing fevers, according to researchers. Critics of the study point out that women were not tested for vaginal infections, which could be the root of the fevers, rather than epidurals.

Did you or someone you know develop a fever after an epidural?

Epidural Plus Fever in Mom May Raise Risks for Baby [USNews]
Photo Credit: Ernest F

Fetal Development - Week 7 (Video)

Your baby is tiny but growing fast! He or she is the size of a small bean - about half an inch long - this week and has an oversized head in proportion to its body. His or her facial features are still forming, its eyes are just black spots, there are little openings where the nostrils will be, and pits to mark the ears. Protruding buds that will become arms and legs are more noticeable now, and the hands and feet look like tiny paddles. You can't hear it yet, but its little heart is beating about 150 beats per minute (roughly twice the rate of yours.)