Friday, March 09, 2012

Friday Wrap-up: Parenting and Pregnancy News

23-Month-Old Drummer [YouTube]

Nick and Vanessa Lachey Expecting a Baby [People]

Alexis Stewart Welcomes Son Truman [People]

Couple sues health center for "wrongful birth" of daughter [DailyMail]

Making Babies the Gay Way [HuffPo]

Excerpt: 'Madden' as parenting guide [ESPN]

Smoking ban linked to drop in preterm births, small babies [Fox]

Linda Cardellini Welcomes Daughter Lilah-Rose [People]

Standards for many baby products not required [USAToday]

We Got Played: Why Co-Parenting Sucks [HuffPo]

TSA Forces Woman to Use Her Breast Pump [Jezebel]

What Kind of Sugar is in Your Baby's Formula?

Many doctors ask parents to supplement with formula when their baby isn't gaining weight at an expected pace.  Formula is high in calories and also high in sugars, such as lactose. However, some studies have found that formula-fed children are more likely to become obese. One grandmother decided to find out what was causing her granddaughter to gain weight so quickly when drinking formula. What she discovered was that formulas have different types of sugars, some better than others, yet formula is not labeled with it's sugar content. 

Nancy Brecj searched the grocery stores to see if she could find a formula with the sugar content on the label. "We looked at all the formulas in the grocery store, even the store brand ones, and none of them listed the sugar grams per serving. None of them." Her granddaughter had gained four pounds in one month since switching from breastmilk to formula. She tried calling the formula company and they claimed they did not add sugar to the product. 

Deibel Laboratories, an independent lab, had a very different answer to Brecj's question. They tested seven different formulas for their sugar content. The results reveal different kinds of sugars for each brand. Enfamil Premium and Parent's Choice Premium had the highest sugar contents, with 13.5 and 12.4 grams per serving. However, the type of sugar was the kind that's also found in breastmilk: lactose. Gerber Good Start, Similac Advance Complete, and Enfamil Pro-Sobee had the lowest sugar levels of the formulas profiled. Similac Advance Organic Complete Nutrition contained added sucrose - it provided 3.5 grams of sugar per serving. Similac Soy Infant Formula with Iron contained four different types of sugar, one of which was sucrose, adding up to 3.8 grams per serving. 

To put the results into perspective, Europe has already banned the addition of sucrose to formula over concern for childhood obesity, along with dozens of other countries. Kevin Boyd, a pediatric dentist with a masters in nutrition and dietetics is also concerned: "We're conditioning them to crave sweetness. I would say any formula that has sucrose, it's super sweet, it makes the kid crave sugar. It triggers the release of dopamine in the brain, and it's a comfort-level thing. It makes the kid want to eat more, so they become hypersensitive to sweetness." 

The Food and Drug Administration currently does not require formula companies to disclose sugar contents and places no restrictions on how much sugar can be added. Enfamil and Parent's Choice reportedly do not include any added sugars in their formulas. Despite the findings, the International Formula Council points out that in clinical trials and through years of consumer use sucrose has been considered a safe additive.

What kind of formula do you use? 

Sugar in baby formula may lead to more than baby fat [Walb]

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Playing With Toddlers Leads to Academic Success

Time for individual play is important for a toddler's sense of independence, but they get infinitely more benefit from playing with people who are older than them (parents, namely). A 15-year study recently revealed that parents who play with their toddlers frequently might even be putting them on the fast track to academic success.

This 15-year study out of Utah State University followed over 200 children from low-income families and discovered that when toddlers had parents who engaged in play with them regularly, they were more likely to do well in school later on. There were specific ways of interacting with toddlers that the researchers noticed the benefit from: 
  • Engaging in and encouraging pretend play 
  • Presenting activities in a sequence of steps
  • Elaborating on pictures, words or unique elements of an object or book
  • Relating stories from a book or play activity to a child's own experiences 

Gina Cook, a professor involved in the study says: "There has been extensive research done on the importance of early parent-child interactions on future educational experiences, but most have focused on the relationship with the mother. Our study looked at the combined long-term impacts of both maternal and paternal interactions in those critical stages of early development, and discovered that children not only benefit from the interactions they have with their mothers, but also their fathers."

Researchers followed up with the children in the study when they were three years old and then again when they were in fifth grade to determine how parental interaction at the age of two would be reflected later. They found that in a variety of familial situations, such as where the biological father is not present, parental interaction made a significant difference in their academic success. In addition, they discovered that a biological father's interactions could contribute to higher math and reading performance when those interactions were in addition to the mother's. 

The comprehensive study underlines the importance of both parent's interactions. It's also helpful for parents who may not know how to engage in play to follow the simple types of interactions that the researchers highlight. Pretend play, reading, talking about surroundings and relating experiences that the child has to others seems to provide a child with a strong starting point for learning about the world. 

Do you and the child's other parent engage in these types of interactions?

15-Year Study Shows Positive Connection Between How Parents Play with Toddlers and Their Children's Academic Success [MarketWatch]

Photo Credit: David R. Tribble

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Best of the Web: Parenting and Pregnancy News

Jessica Simpson Bares Her Bump, Confirms It's A Girl [Elle]

Snooki Confirms: Yes I'm Pregnant! [CelebrityBabyScoop]

French report: Ban child beauty pageants, padded bras for little girls [MSN]

7 ways I'm Combating Postpartum Depression [babble]

50 Fantastic Spring Inspired Baby Names [theStir]

Premature baby? 6 tips for parents on how to deal [boston]

Gaiam Launches Mama & Baby Yoga DVD [PRNewswire]

Symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis? Seek Immediate Treatment [MarketWatch]

Responding to Consumer Concern, Campbell's Goes BPA-Free [forbes]

Toddler survives after swallowing 37 magnets [USAToday]

What we gained through infertility [Salon]

Elizabeth Berkley is Expecting

Former star of Saved by the Bell, Elizabeth Berkley (39), is expecting her first child with husband Greg Lauren (42). The actress released a statement to People: "In life there are moments you cherish forever and this is one of them. Greg and I are so excited to be expecting our first child this summer. We couldn’t be more grateful and overjoyed."

The couple were married in Mexico in 2003. The nephew of Ralph Lauren, Greg is a well-known artist, fashion designer and occasional actor. Berkley is best known for her roles as Jessie in Saved by the Bell and as Nomi in the movie Showgirls. She more recently appeared in episodes of CSI: Miami and The L Word.

Congratulations to the happy couple!

Photo Credit: vwilsonroberts

Elizabeth Berkley Expecting First Child [People]

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Exposure to Smoke in Third Trimester Could Lead to Eczema

It's well-known that smoking during pregnancy can be detrimental to a developing baby, but more is being discovered everyday about the effects from exposure to second-hand smoke, which can be just as dangerous. A new study has correlated an increased risk of eczema, an immune-disorder of the skin, with exposure by an expectant mother to cigarette smoke during the third trimester.

A team of researchers studied 1,400 babies between 2-18 months of age to look for the effects of exposure to cigarette smoke. They were surprised to find an increased incidence of eczema in babies of mothers exposed to smoke during the third trimester only. The correlation could not be made in babies of mothers exposed to smoke during the first and second trimesters, nor for the babies exposed in the first six months of life. Dr. Kenji Matsumoto, senior author of the study, notes: 
"Tobacco smoke exposure during the third trimester seems to affect the development of the immune system in the offspring, which in turn facilitates development of eczema after birth. This also raises questions of whether or not tobacco smoke exposure may affect the innate immune responses of the skin."
The preliminary findings suggest some astonishing concepts - the third trimester could be the point at which the immune system of the skin is determined and that chemicals found in second-hand smoke could directly affect the development of the skin. Pregnant women should generally avoid cigarette smoke, but avoiding second hand smoke in the third trimester might be easier to manage for women who live with heavy smokers.

Do you live with any smokers?

Smoke Exposure Late in Pregnancy Might Boost Baby's Eczema Risk [HealthDay]

Monday, March 05, 2012

Featured Babies of the Week

Every week we feature the best baby photos sent to us through our Babies of the Week contest. We receive photos from parents from all over the world. Here are a few of our favorites:

Olivia Renee is five weeks old in this picture, she was born in November 2011. Mom says of her sweet little piggy: "She lets us know right away if things aren't just as they should be, and has the most expressive face I've ever seen on a small human. Most of the time she looks at us with a 'what are you doing?' kind of face, complete with furrowed eyebrows and everything....very funny!"

Cameron Grace was born on December 26th, 2010, weighing eight pounds and measuring 21 inches long. Mom says: "She is so sweet and loves to laugh all the time. She is special in so many ways that I can’t describe it in one sentence. She is such a joy to be around."

Mary-Ann was born in March of last year. Mom says of her little angel: "She likes to laugh and is so funny, a little bundle of joy. Most of all, she adores her older brother, Pierre-Royce."

Karley and Kaia are twins! Mom sent us a few pictures, but this one really made us smile. 

Thanks to all the parents who sent us their pictures. You can see the rest of the featured photos on the front page of BabyWeekly. To enter your baby picture for the Baby of the Week contest, please click here. Due to the high volume of submissions we receive, it may take many months before your baby's photo is featured. 

Fetal Development - Week 11 (Video)

Your baby weighs about 7 grams, is just under 2 inches long, and in an ultrasound will look a bit out of proportion. He or she has toes, eyes, ears, fingernails and lips, but the head is still about one-half the total size of its body. Don't worry; this will change as your baby grows.

You've reached a point in your pregnancy when you can choose to have screening tests done to determine the likelihood that your baby has a genetic disorder. The nuchal translucency screening test is generally offered first as the results of this test can help you decide if you want to do more invasive, riskier testing such as chorionic villus sampling or amniocentesis.