Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Wrap-up: Parenting and Pregnancy News

Military Dad Surprises Daughter at School [MSN]

Children exposed to violence and abuse age physically [DailyMail]

Friends for Life? Wait Till Kids Enter the Picture [NYTimes]

Tamera Mowry Expecting First Child [CelebrityBabyScoop]

Bo Bice Welcomes Daughter Merrin Elizabeth Joy [People]

Katherine Heigl and Josh Kelley Welcome Second Daughter [People]

Holy Crap, a Childhood Is Made Up of Only 940 Saturdays? [Jezebel]

Doc solves mystery of Frida Kahlo's infertility [MSNBC]

Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr. are Expecting!

Sarah Michelle Gellar (35) and Freddie Prinze Jr. (36) are expecting their second child together! The newest addition will join 2-year-old Charlotte Grace.

Gellar has said of motherhood: "You need to be at a point in your life where you can give up anything and everything for a child...Every day I look at her and I am in awe.” Gellar just wrapped up the first season of the TV drama The Ringer.

The couple were married in 2002 and welcomed Charlotte in 2009.

Congratulations to the happy couple!

Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze, Jr. Expecting Second Child [People]

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Aromatherapy for Pregnant Women

Common remedies for headache, nausea, depression and stress can suddenly become off-limits when you're pregnant. Aromatherapy is a gentle way to relieve common aches and pains experienced during pregnancy. The intense sense of smell that accompanies pregnancy makes aromatherapy a particularly effective remedy for many common complaints.

Nevertheless, even something as benign-seeming as aromatherapy requires safety considerations. Anything you put on the skin is absorbed into the blood and certain smells can trigger reactions in the body. Even though aromatherapy has been used by pregnant women without incident by many practitioners and midwives, there is no scientific evidence of the the practice's safety. Therefore, it’s best not to use essential oils directly on the skin while pregnant and to always use them with care. 

Those who have high blood pressure, including preeclampsia, should limit exposure to stimulating oils such as the essential oil of grapefruit. Inhale oils from a small surface like the cap - not from the bottle. Only use medical grade oils and consult a medical professional before using. Avoid lavender during the first trimester, or if you have a history of recurrent miscarriage. Beyond those safety considerations, all of the oils listed here are advocated as safe during pregnancy by practitioners. However, if any of the oils bother or irritate you, stop using them right away.  

There are many ways to use essential oils - you can gently inhale the scent mixed with a boiling pot of water, place a small amount in a cap, place a drop in a bowl of water nearby or you can try using a diffuser. You can make a cool or warm compress with the oil as well. Put a couple drops at the end of the bathtub, furthest from the drain, to liven up your shower.

For stress and anxiety try sandalwood, ginger, vetiver, lavender, chamomile (do not use Roman chamomile), or neroli oil.

For depression or fatigue try grapefruit, lemon, neroli, orange, or lavender oil.

For pain relief try lemon or lavender oils.

For nausea try ginger, lavender, or lemon oil.

For indigestion and acid reflux try lemon or lavender oil. 

Have you ever tried aromatherapy?

Fragrant Pregnancy [Mothering]
Labor Oils [Mothering]
Heavenly Scents [Mothering]
Aromatherapy: Pregnancy & Birth [About]
Aromatherapy for Pregnancy and Labor [Midwifery Today]
Aromatherapy and Pregnancy [best home remedies]
Aromatherapy & Pregnancy - What to Avoid [minti]
Aromatherapy & Pregnancy [NAHA]

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Best of the Web: Parenting and Pregnancy News

Birth to 12 years in 2 min [Vimeo]

Jack Osbourne Welcomes Daughter Pearl [People]

Giuliana Rancic Is Expecting a Baby [People]

Why do little kids care so much about favorite colors? [Slate]

Women with heart disease more likely to give birth to girls [DailyMail]

7 Medications You Shouldn't Take While Pregnant [HealthInsuranceQuotes]

Did Carmageddon cause a baby boom in LA? [DailyMail]

12 Adorable Babies Caught Sleeping in Crazy Positions [theStir]

A single close friendship can ease a boy's passage through middle school [Slate]

What NOT to Say to a Friend Who's Struggling with Infertility [MSN]

Body Suit Monitors Baby, Predicts Behavior and Moods

Parents tend to develop mental checklists of things to do when their baby cries. They check to see if the baby is hungry, needs a diaper change, or is in physical pain. Sometimes, it can take a long time to figure out that it was simply an itchy tag rubbing against the child's bottom. New parents often wish there was some way their child could communicate to them and one company is attempting to facilitate that.

The Exmobaby body suit is equipped with sensors that measure your baby's movements, skin temperature, moisture content, and vitals but you would never know that by looking at it. The body suit looks like a normal onesie, it's available in pink and blue and can be thrown in the wash just like any other garment. Once the body suit takes the child's readings, it sends them off to a computer located within 100 ft, where the installed software provides a summary of the baby's physical state. Parents and caregivers can record specific body state profiles and label them to help predict future episodes of hunger, sleepiness, anger, joy, etc. The body suit can even send a text message when the child exhibits movement or experiences changes in their bodily state.

The product is geared towards health professionals and parents, but with a hefty price tag over $1000, it is not for everyone. The suit can be worn up to 12 months of age. Some parents with special needs children could find this extremely useful, especially when leaving him or her with another caregiver. 

Would you be interested in knowing your baby's physical state all the time?

Exmobaby sensor suit monitors your baby, predicts behavior and emotions [geek]
exmobaby [exmovere]

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Installing Car Seats for Toddlers

If you have experience with an infant car seat, you'll find transitioning to a toddler seat to be fairly simple. Nevertheless, reports show that 80% of children aren't properly secured in the car. Make sure you install your child's car seat with care and always have it checked at a Car Safety Seat Inspection Station.

Once babies are at least one year old and 20 pounds or over, you have the option to move them into a forward-facing seat but experts recommend keeping them in a rear-facing seat as long as possible. Rear-facing seats keep children safer in the case of a crash. Check the height and weight limits that the manufacturer has set for your particular car seat to find out when it needs to be replaced. There are five different types of forward-facing seats: convertible seats, forward-facing toddler seats, combination forward-facing/booster seats, built-in seats, and travel vests. Convertible seats can be used rear-facing and forward-facing. They come with two types of harnesses: 5-point harness and overhead shield. The five-point harnesses are preferred by safety experts. Forward-facing toddler seats can be used up to about 40 pounds, depending on the manufacturer. Once the child reaches 40 pounds they need to be put into a combination seat or a booster seat. Combination forward-facing/booster seats can be used with a harness up to 65 pounds usually, and then without the harness as a booster up to 120 pounds. Built-in’s come with the car and you will need to consult your driver’s manual or the manufacturer for instructions on how to use it. Travel vests can be used between 20 and 168 pounds and are ideal for cars that have lap-only seat belts in the back.

When buying a car seat, you’ll want one to fit your individual needs. You’ll want one that is easy to use, fits your child and fits your car. Check the buckle release and snap in the store, try changing the straps, and try it in your car. Make sure seats with a tray shield will work if you have a low ceiling in the car. Those with a tray shield can end up being too small to bring down over the child’s head - this does not mean that the child has outgrown the seat, just that you’ll need to adjust the straps every time. Used car seats are fine as long as they are not cracked, older than 6 years old, missing a label with the model and manufacturer, have no instructions, are missing parts, were recalled or were involved in a moderate to severe crash. If the seat was involved in a crash where the car could drive away after, the passengers were not injured, or the air bags did not go off, then it’s able to be used. Make sure you send in the registration card that you receive with a new car seat, this allows manufacturers to contact you if there is a recall.

Something else you might consider when purchasing a car seat - children under 4 years old are required to be safely secured in an infant restraining device when on a plane. Booster seats and travel seats are not adequate for flying, but convertible and forward-facing seats are.

When you install a car seat or booster seat read the instructions that come with the seat as well as your car’s manual. The safest place to put the car seat is in the center of the back seat (if possible) because it has the least chance of impact. A car seat should not be placed in the path of an airbag. Car seats or high-back boosters usually have harness slots at or above the child’s shoulders that should be used when being put in a forward-facing position (make sure the belts go through the forward position slots). Convertible seats will need the angle adjusted from a reclined position to an upright position if you are facing it forward before installing it. Pull the seat belt all the way out before inserting it into the slots. Make sure the seat is flush against the seat by using your body weight to push it down as you run the belt through the slots and make sure the seat belt locks. 

Newer cars need few add-ons for safe car seat installation. Cars made after 1996 are all required to have seat belts that tighten around safety seats. Older cars may require locking clips, which often come with the car seat. They are 3 inches long, larger than a regular clip and should be threaded through the belt near the latch plate. Cars with seat belts attached to the doors will need “attaching belts” installed by the car’s manufacturer to work with a car seat. The only safe way to shorten a belt is to use a car manufacturer’s heavy duty locking clip. If you have a pick-up truck, the car seat must be in the back and the back of the car seat must be 80% on the back of the seat. Side-facing seats are not acceptable. If you have side-airbags, read your car’s manual about safely installing a car seat.

Cars made after 2003 have a LATCH (lower anchors and tethers for children) system which helps to make installation easier. The LATCH system removes the need to use seatbelts and provides hooks instead with a forward and rear facing path. If you use the LATCH system, do not use the seatbelt. Lower LATCH anchors might have weight limits (usually 40 or 48 pounds), consult the car’s manual. Unless the car’s manual specifically states that the LATCH system should be used in the center of the backseat, it should not be used in the center. Most car seats come with a tether strap, which is used to anchor a forward-facing seat to the car and keep the child’s head from being forced forward in the event of a crash. There are kits available if you have an older car or used car seat without a tether anchor and some car manufacturers will install one for free. The car seat is still safe without the LATCH system or the tether strap and just using a seat belt. 

There are a variety of ways that a seat belt can lock; either using the seatbelt retractor or the latch plate. Seat belt retractors can lock when you come to a sudden stop, be locked all the time when pulled out (some can do both) and some lock if the belt is at the correct angle against the car seat. Lightweight latchplates lock when they are flat against the seat belt but will move when they are at a 90 degree angle, locking latch plates are usually on lap-only belts and are always locked, switchable latchplates have a switch that must be flipped to ensure that it is locked (common in Volvo’s), a sewn on latch plate has the lap belt and the shoulder belt sewn on separately to the latch plate. When dealing with a sewn-on latchplate, check the lap belt, if it does not lock you will need a heavy-duty locking clip from the car manufacturer. To make sure your seat belt locks, pull the shoulder strap all the way out and then slowly let it click back about 12 inches, then pull on it. If you’re seat belt does not lock, you will need a heavy duty locking clip from the car’s manufacturer. Check how tightly a car seat is installed by trying to move it side to side and forward, if the belts loosen more than an inch, than the child is not safe and you should try another position in the car.

When you are ready to put the child in the car seat or high back booster, make sure the harness clip is at the child’s mid-chest or armpit area. The forward-facing combination seats should have the harness straps positioned at or slightly above the child’s shoulders. If the harness straps are below the shoulders, then it’s time to remove the harness straps and use the shoulder/lap belt. The straps should go around the strong parts of the body; namely the shoulders and hips. Once the child is in the seat, use one finger (index for women, pinky for men) to measure how tight any harness straps are around the shoulder. If you want to cover the child with a blanket, do so after securing her in a car seat. Bulky clothing can cause a harness to be too loose. If the child slumps, place a rolled up diaper or cloth between the legs, behind the crotch strap. Oftentimes the instructions for a carseat are difficult to understand. If this is the case, contact a local car seat technician or the manufacturer.

To find a car seat technician near you:
866/SEATCHECK (866/732-8243)

For car seat ratings, to locate a fitting station or find up to date information on car seats:

Have you transitioned to a new type of car seat for your toddler?

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [Website]
Car Seat Mistakes [keepkidshealthy]
Car Seat Site [Website]
How to Install a Toddler Car Seat [eHow]
Installing a car seat [babycenter]

Monday, April 23, 2012

Reducing the Risk of SIDS - 5 Safe Sleep Tips

Although the number of babies who die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) has dropped in recent years, a couple thousand annual deaths are still attributed to SIDS and researchers say that most incidences could've been avoided. Safe sleep guidelines for babies can be confusing for any new parent, especially when manufacturers keep peddling dangerous items such as crib bumpers. Here are the most basic rules to remember to reduce the risk of SIDS:

1. Keep the crib clear. There should be nothing in your baby's crib. No pillows, no stuffed animals, no blankets. Put your baby in a warm pair of pajamas and make sure the thermostat is set to a comfortable temperature. 

2. Only use a firm mattress. The mattress that your baby sleeps on should be firm as can be, so that even if your child rolls over and ends up face down, she will still be able to breathe. 

3. BACK to sleep. Your baby should sleep on her back at all times. 

4. No bed sharing - Co-sleeping has it's benefits, but sharing a bed raises the risk of SIDS. If you feel inclined to keep your baby next to you while you sleep, put her in a safe bassinet or crib next to the bed, not on it. 

5. No smoking. Babies should never be exposed to cigarette smoke. 

It's important to remember that even though SIDS isn't dominating the news the way it once did, thousands of babies still die from it each year. Keep your baby safe by following these simple guidelines at all times and remember to educate any caregivers on safe sleep as well. 

Do you follow the safe sleep guidelines?

Babies still put at risk for sudden death: study [reuters]
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) [BabyWeekly]
Photo Credit: Paul Goyette

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:

Ava Grace was born in September. 

RJ just turned one-year-old in this picture. He was born in August. Mom says he, "Truly is Mr. Wonderful!!"

Amariah Danielle is five-months-old here. She was born in June, 2011. Moms says she's a little princess and adds, "she has 4 older brothers, so I'm ecstatic about her! What makes Amariah special is her sweet smiles, infectious laugh, and overall happy personality - she's such a joy..."

Brookelynn Faith was born in February, 2011. She is named after the city. Mom says, "She is the funniest baby ever. She will make anyone laugh."

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.