Diaper Rash Basics

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There are a variety of issues and ailments that new parents may have heard of but may not understand very much about them. Regardless of how you approach the situation, all newborns are going to need some form of a diaper. As a result, diaper rash is a common issue that arises for many babies. Below you will find some general information on diaper rash and what you can do to help your child recover quickly.

What is Diaper Rash?

Diaper rash is a form of dermatitis (inflamed skin) that appears on the skin under a diaper. It is typically seen in children younger than two years of age with most experiencing the rash between nine and twelve months. This three-month window is typical because during this time, infants spend a lot of time sitting and the introduction of solids around this period causes changes in the pH of bowel movements. According to WebMD, the most common causes of diaper rash are friction, irritation, candidal infection, allergic reaction, and seborrhea.

How Do You Know When It Happens?

Identifying a diaper rash is usually pretty straightforward. The rash will be located on the skin under the diaper area and will look red and irritated. It may appear as a patchwork of bright red skin on your baby’s bottom or genital area. While it is entirely possible for dermatitis to form in the folds of baby’s skin, it is not a requirement for this particular type of rash to be present. Aside from the physical symptoms discussed above, you may also observe some mood or behavioral cues as well. Your baby may show signs of discomfort during diaper changes or cry when you wash or touch their diaper area.

How is it Treated?

Most of the time, diaper rash can be treated at home without any need for professional medical intervention. According to Mayo Clinic, the key is keeping the area dry and clean reduce the risk of further irritation. When cleaning your baby’s rash, avoid rough scrubbing and allow the skin to air dry rather than using a towel. If possible, leave your child’s diaper off for as long as you can to avoid worsening the rash. If the rash Is severe or unusual; gets worse despite home treatment; bleeds, itches or oozes; or is accompanied by a fever, seek professional medical assistance immediately.

Newborn Feeding Guidelines

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Feeding is a fundamental part of a newborn’s growth and development. Unfortunately, however, most parents leave the hospital with little to no information about feeding their baby. As a result, many parents are left to figure out what is appropriate regarding feeding their child. There are a variety of issues and complications that can be caused as a result of lacking knowledge about what is appropriate when it comes to feeding your child. Below you will find newborn feeding guidelines to help you get up to speed quickly.

Newborn Stomach Size

One of the largest misconceptions about newborn feeding deals with the size of their belly. Most parents don’t realize just how small their baby’s stomach is when they are born. On day one, their stomach is only the size of a cherry. By day three it has grown to the scale of a walnut, and by the end of the first week, it has grown to the size of an apricot. After a month of growth, your baby’s stomach is the size of an egg. As a result of this lack of knowledge, it can be difficult to determine the appropriate amount to feed your child.

How Much Should Your Baby Eat?

At the heart of newborn feeding, guidelines are the actual amount that your child should be consuming. The rule of thumb is that for a healthy baby who is gaining weight appropriately should eat 2.5 ounces for every pound they weigh during each 24-hour period. As an example, if a baby weighs 10 lbs, they should eat 25 ounces in a 24-hour period to maintain healthy weight gain. The biggest thing to remember is that if you have concerns about your baby’s food consumption, contact your pediatrician for guidance.

Overfeeding and Underfeeding

There are several ways to tell if your child is eating too much or not enough. If your newborn spits up a large volume of food after eating, it could mean the baby has been overfed. Additionally, signs of discomfort after feeding or abnormally rapid weight gain can also point to overeating. Conversely, if your child is not gaining weight appropriately or has few wet diapers during the day, it can be a sign that your newborn is not eating enough. It is critical that you keep in mind that these are newborn feeding guidelines and not hard and fast rules. Consult your pediatrician if you are unsure or have questions about feeding your baby.

Kangaroo Care for Newborns

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Bringing a new life into the world is exciting and developing a healthy parent/child relationship is a lifelong process. While some parents report having an instant feeling of closeness with their newborn, it is not automatic for everyone. So what can you do to foster a sense of intimacy with your child? Below you will find more information on kangaroo care and its benefits.

What is Kangaroo Care?

In its simplest form, kangaroo care is simple to close or intimate skin to skin contact with your newborn. Typically, your baby is in their diaper as you place them in direct contact with your skin. You may choose to use an old button down shirt that you can button up around your baby as they are positioned on you. It may also be advantageous to utilize a blanket as newborns can easily get cold.

Benefits to Your Baby

In part, kangaroo care has become popular because of the wide variety of advantages for a newborn. According to the Cleveland Clinic, some of the benefits include “stabilization of the baby’s heart rate, improved (more regular) breathing pattern, improved O2 stats, a gain in sleep time, more rapid weight gain, and decreased crying.” From this list alone, it’s easy to see how a newborn can benefit from a parent's touch.

Benefits for Mom

One of the best ways for a parent to bond with their baby is to do skin to skin snuggling as soon as they are able. The brain releases a hormone called oxytocin, or the love hormone when you do kangaroo care with your baby. As a breastfeeding mother, Kangaroo care can assist in establishing your milk supply early on along with the help of frequent and effect feedings. The Cleveland Clinic also found that it increased a parents confidence to care for their babies and that their babies are well cared for. This is a great bonding tool for all parents and even siblings if they are old enough or would like to do it with some help! Other ideas could include taking a bath with your newborn.

If you are interested in doing kangaroo care, your San Francisco Newborn Care Specialist or Doula would be happy to assist you in accomplishing skin to skin time with your newborn.

Using the E.A.S.Y Method

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Many new parents find that the scheduling demands of having a baby in the home are difficult to navigate. It is not uncommon for parents to struggle in keeping up with the routine responsibilities of life. Some even feel like they don’t measure up because of these difficulties. So how can you take control of your schedule and regain some normalcy to your life after your baby arrives? Below you can learn about the E.A.S.Y method and how it can help you regain control of your life with a newborn.

Eat

The first part of the E.A.S.Y method stands for eat. Newborns need to eat frequently and tend to feed at regular intervals, so it makes sense to start the process here. There’s nothing fancy here; it is just your baby eating. Make sure you are following appropriate feeding guidelines for your child’s age.

Activity

Once your child is done eating, the next step in the E.A.S.Y. method is to do some form of activity. With newborns, the prospect of doing an activity after eating might be challenging as it is quite common for babies at this stage to fall asleep immediately after a feeding. However, as they grow, it will be easier to incorporate activities. With all of that information in mind, it is an excellent idea to start with simple activities for newborns while keeping the duration short and working towards more complex activities as your child grows.

Sleep

Once your child has had a chance to enjoy some form of activity, they will be likely ready for some sleep which is the next part of the E.A.S.Y. method. The amount of time your baby will sleep will vary from child to child and could be 20 minutes or several hours. Sleep is when your child grows and develops the most, so this is a critical step in the method. Additionally, babies become exceptionally harder to put to sleep when they have been awake for too long so regular naps are crucial.

Your Time

The final part of the E.A.S.Y. method is for you and your partner to do whatever you need or want to do while your child is sleeping. It may be taking a nap to prepare for the night ahead, simple housekeeping, or a shower. Whatever you choose to do make sure you take some time for yourself as well.

Resources

http://noobmommy.com/easy-routine-from-baby-whisperer/

https://www.whattoexpect.com/blogs/momonpurposecrazybyaccident/newborn-baby-needs-the-easy-method

http://kellymom.com/parenting/reviews/review_babywhisperer/

Breastfeeding Let Down

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It is common for new mothers to have questions about breastfeeding and several of those questions center around the terminology. One term that is often unknown before pregnancy and birth is “let-down.” Below you will find information on breastfeeding let-down as well as how it works when pumping.

What is a Let Down?

In the simplest terms, a breastfeeding let-down is a release of milk from the breast tissue. The process begins when nerves in the breast are stimulated, typically through some form of sucking. This stimulation triggers the release of oxytocin which causes the muscles surrounding the milk-producing cells to contract. The result of these contractions is ejection of milk from the cells into the pathways that carry the milk to the nipple and eventually out of the body. There are other ways your breastfeeding let-down may be triggered that you should be aware of and can read about here. One of the better-known examples is the sound of a baby crying which has been known to create embarrassing situations in public.

How Do You Know When It Happens?

According to KellyMom, “most moms describe let-down as a tingly, pins-and-needles sensation in their chest, which can happen right after birth or even several weeks into breastfeeding. The tickly feeling is actually milk making its way through the ducts to your nipples.” You can tell a breastfeeding let-down when it’s happening because your baby will change their sucking pattern from short and choppy (think pacifier suck) to longer, rhythmic nursing once the let-down has begun. Additionally, your baby will start swallowing more frequently as they get more milk from you.

Pumping

Let-down also occurs during pumping sessions but in some cases may require some intervention to stimulate it. By far, one of the easiest ways to stimulate milk production is to relax. Using a little bit of breast massage or a warm compress on the breast to help the milk flow. You may also be able to think about your baby, look at pictures or videos to help you stimulate a let down. For more ideas on ways to encourage let-down while pumping, check out this article.

Infant Swim Classes

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Summer is now in full swing, and for many people, that means it is time to head to the local pool and lounge or swim. For parents of infants, taking their baby to the pool can be a concern as there are a variety of risks for them at the pool. Of those concerns, the biggest is often the danger of drowning which is of particular concern for families with pools at their home. Below you will find information on infant swim classes and how they can help to alleviate some these concerns.

What are Infant Swim Classes?

Infant swim classes are designed to help your child learn valuable water safety skills. Classes are typically designed for children six months and older. It is also required that your child can hold a sitting position and roll back to front as well as front to back. Most courses run five days a week for five to seven weeks. By frequently spending time in the pool and working on a specific curriculum, your child’s muscle memory will improve rapidly, and they have a higher success rate at learning the skills being taught.

What Will Your Child Learn?

While there are a variety of topics that may be covered in different infant swim classes, the central theme of these courses is on teaching your child to move in the water. For the youngest of students, these lessons will be focused on movements that can keep your child safe when in the water. One of the most valuable skills they will learn is the ability to turn from facedown to free floating on their back. A child with not only the capacity to float but also the instinct to turn onto their back is significantly less likely to drown should they find themselves in the water unsupervised. As your child gets older, the lessons will progress into teaching them to actually swim.

Where Can You Find More Information?

If you are interested in signing your baby up for infant swim classes, you can use the links below to find a class in your area.

https://www.infantswim.com/

https://blog.littlelane.com/baby-toddler-swim-class-sf/

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/top-lists/best-swim-classes-in-san-francisco/

http://www.bayareaparent.com/Article/Best-Swim-Lessons-in-the-Bay-Area/

DHA and ARA in Infant Formula

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One of the common concerns we hear from our clients concerns the ingredients that comprise various formula types. The ingredients we receive the most questions about are DHA and RHA that is often added to infant formula. Below we discuss DHA and RHA, their benefits and the controversy surrounding their use in infant formula.

What are DHA and ARA?

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA) are polyunsaturated fats that are naturally found in human breast milk. These fatty acids are responsible for assisting and enhancing several aspects of your body’s overall growth and development. It is also necessary to point out that DHA/ARA needs can be substantially different from infant to infant. Since DHA/ARA are not naturally occurring in infant formula, synthetic versions are known as docosahexaenoic acid-rich single cell oil (DHASCO) and arachidonic acid-rich single cell oil (ARASCO) are manufactured and added to the formula to serve the same function.

Benefits

There are some studies that have been performed to understand the role DHA and ARA in breast milk play in the growth and development of newborns, infants, and toddlers. These research studies have shown a variety of benefits including but not limited to brain development, neurological growth, and eye development. Therefore, having these compounds in you child’s diet is recommended and, as you can imagine, formula manufacturers have used these studies promote the benefits of using synthetic DHA and ARA to boost infant brain development.

Controversy

The biggest problem with the equating of DHA to DHASCO and ARA to ARASCO is that the two are not the same and there is little evidence to support the claims that DHA/ARA found in formula provides the same benefits as that found in breast milk. Additionally, the USDA found that the synthetic DHASCO and ARASCO should not be allowed in organic foods. Their reasoning is that the compounds are “extracted from fermented algae and fungus through a process that utilizes the known neurotoxic chemical, hexane.” It is also critical to note that human fatty acids and synthetic ones from plant sources have different structural configurations with the main difference being that human fatty acids can interact with each other in unique ways. The other main reason for the controversy is that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not require pre-market testing of infant formula. Instead, they accept the manufacturer’s statements of safety and effectiveness without any independent review.

Thirty-One Freezer Meals for New Moms

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Many new parents encounter a severe lack of motivation to do anything that tends to come along with having a newborn in your home. If you are lucky, you will have family and friends around to help you with the household duties or even meals. However, at some point, it is likely that the meals will stop coming. Fortunately, making a few freezer meals while you are still pregnant can be a lifesaver when that time comes. But how do you know what recipes will make good freezer meals? What ingredients can you use that will freeze well? Below you will find thirty-one freezer meals for new moms from a variety of cuisine types, so there is sure to be something for everyone. Additionally, you can utilize the ingredients lists to determine what foods and recipes are likely to freeze well.

  1. Ham & Cheese Potato Casserole
  2. Black Bean Turkey Enchiladas
  3. Hearty Beef and Cabbage Pockets
  4. All-American Meat Loaf
  5. Slow Cooker Pepper Steak
  6. Shrimp and Broccoli Brown Rice Paella
  7. Italian Chicken Roll-Ups
  8. Turkey Potpie
  9. Baked Chicken Chimichangas
  10. Baked Ham Sandwiches
  11. Zesty Hamburger Soup
  12. Busy Day Bacon Muffins
  13. Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Biscuits
  14. Homemade Buttermilk Pancakes
  15. Oven Baked Chicken Strips
  16. No Bake Homemade Chewy Granola Bars
  17. Chicken Taquitos with Cilantro & Pepperjack Cheese
  18. Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches
  19. Honey Lime Chicken
  20. Sweet & Sour Chicken
  21. Slow Cooker Roast Beef French Dip Sandwich
  22. Bacon Covered Kalua Pork
  23. Tex-Mex Meatballs in Red Chile Sauce
  24. Greek Baked Ziti
  25. Spiced Beef Kabobs with Herbed Cucumber and Tomato Salad
  26. Curried Chicken Chowder
  27. Twice Baked Potatoes
  28. Chicken and Brisket Brunswick Stew
  29. Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole
  30. “Big Easy” Gumbo Recipe
  31. King Ranch Chicken Mac & Cheese

Need help preparing meals for your family? Most Newborn Care Specialists are happy to help with light meal preparation for the household. Many of the recipes included above are simple enough to be considered for light meal preparation. Contact us today to learn more about what a Newborn Care Specialist can do for you and your family.

Newborn Sun Exposure - Health Risks and Tips

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There are dangers and benefits for babies who spend time in the sun. With the weather heating up during the day, it may be tempting to spend more of your time outdoors. Therefore, it is crucial that you have an understanding of risks and issues of newborn sun exposure. Read on to learn more about newborn sun exposure and some tips to help keep your baby safe.

Potential Risks

According to an article from NPR, newborn sun exposure is a serious concern because babies skin is especially susceptible to damage. The damage to baby's skin may be subtle at first, but the impact can last a lifetime. In fact, even one sunburn can significantly increase the risk of melanoma later in life. Additionally, the difficulty of managing a little one with a sunburn can be quite overwhelming for new parents. There is also the serious risk of heat stroke or even dehydration that could be dangerous for your infant.

Prevention of Issues

Armed with the knowledge of the potential issues that can arise from newborn sun exposure, it is necessary to take steps to prevent such dangerous situations. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, it is recommended to keep your baby completely out of the sun as much as possible before six months of age. If taking them into the sun is unavoidable, keep your child covered as much as possible with clothing that blocks as much UV as possible. One rule of thumb is to utilize clothing with a tight weave as it blocks more sunlight from reaching your baby’s skin. It is also a good idea to make sure family members and nannies are aware of the dangers and what precautions to take.

Practical Tips

Below you will find some everyday ideas to help with newborn skin exposure management:

  • Sun is strongest between 10 am and 4 pm so schedule your outdoor with your baby outside of those hours.
  • Check the UV Index on days when you will be outside with baby
  • Utilize shade whenever possible
  • Keep sunscreen in the diaper bag
  • Use an outdoor sun tent with built in UV protection for beach days
  • Don’t forget the hat and sunglasses

Returning to Work as a New Mom - Your Rights

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There are a large number of new moms that end up going back to work while they are still breastfeeding their baby. While needing to pump while at work is a well-known issue, what many don’t know is that they have rights when returning to work as a new mom. Read on to see some of the places you can go to learn more about your rights before returning to work as a new mom.

Company Policy

One of the first places to look for information on your rights when returning to work as a new mom is to talk to your Human Relations representative. Your company may have specific policies that provide you with flexible scheduling, work from home options, pumping breaks, or other benefits that you can’t take advantage of if you don’t know they exist. It is also a good idea to talk to your boss about any options you plan to use so that you can find solutions that work for both of you. Finally, you want to check your company’s policies against both state and federal laws to ensure there are no conflicts between the law and company policy.

State Law

In the State of California, it is illegal for employers to “discriminate against women for breastfeeding or breastfeeding-related medical conditions.” Additionally, “an employer must provide reasonable unpaid break time to a woman to express breast milk unless doing so would seriously disrupt the employer's business.” Finally, “the employer must make a reasonable effort to provide the mother with a private space close to her work area, other than a bathroom, to express breast milk.” Click here for a map of states that provide protections under their state laws to new moms returning to work.

Federal Law

According to Federal Law, when returning to work as a new mom, you are entitled to all of the same benefits of other employees regardless of how you may have been affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. According to the Department of Labor, “Effective 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act amended Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. § 207) ("FLSA") to require that employers provide a nursing mother reasonable break time to express breast milk for one year after the birth of her child.” Unfortunately, there is no requirement for the time to be compensated but check other state and local laws as additional protection may be afforded.

Issues and Ailments - Tongue Tie

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There are a wide variety of issues and ailments that can afflict newborns. While each provides unique challenges, issues that interfere with feeding are of particular concern because of the vital role nutrition plays in development. One common condition that can severely impact a baby’s ability to feed is a tongue tie, and you can learn more about them below.

What is a Tongue Tie?

The medical term for a tongue tie is ankyloglossia and is the result of the skin connecting the tongue to the floor of the mouth being too short. As a result, the tongue is anchored in the mouth and experiences reduced movement. Unfortunately, this condition is often missed in newborns and infants which can lead to problems breastfeeding as well as more severe issues as they grow older. If your baby has a tongue tie, please remember that there are currently no confirmed cause for this condition so there is no need to worry or wonder if there was something you could have done differently.

Associated Problems

For mothers with babies that have a tongue tie, breastfeeding can pose a significant challenge. Since the newborn’s tongue is anchored in the mouth, it is difficult for them to establish or maintain a proper latch. Additionally, according to Mayo Clinic, “Breast-feeding requires a baby to keep his or her tongue over the lower gum while sucking. If unable to move the tongue or keep it in the right position, the baby might chew instead of suck on the nipple. This can cause significant nipple pain and interfere with a child's ability to get breast milk.” In terms, of long-term effects, a child with a tongue tie may experience mild to severe speech issues, gap formation in teeth, and the inability to do certain oral activities such as play a woodwind instrument.

Corrective Treatment

Typically, a physical examination and diagnosis are required before anything can be done to correct the tongue tie. If the doctor deems it necessary or in the best interest of the child, they will typically recommend a frenotomy or frenuloplasty depending on the conditions surrounding the tongue tie. Both procedures involve removal of the excess tissue that is restricting the motion of the tongue.

For more information, check out this article on the UK’s National Health Service website.

Basics of Baby Led Weaning

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The transition to solid food is a significant milestone for infants and, at times, can be difficult for parents to manage. Many of us think of babies throwing tantrums while parents end up wearing their child’s dinner. Pre-purchasing purees can expose your child to artificial additives, chemicals, and even mold while making purees at home can be expensive as well as time-consuming with no guarantee your baby will even eat the food. So what is a parent to do? Keep reading to learn about baby led weaning as an approach to transitioning your infant to solid foods.

What is Baby Led Weaning?

Baby led weaning is a method of introducing solids to your child by allowing them to explore new foods at their own pace and based on their own interests. Practically speaking, your baby will eat with you at meal times and have what the rest of the family is eating which means no purees and no additional food preparation. Additionally, this baby led weaning has several benefits to your infant as well including teaching them to try new things, sensory development, and having a toddler who is a less picky eater.

Safety Guidelines

To protect your little one’s health during baby led weaning, some critical guidelines should be followed. Choking is an obvious concern for most parents, but in the overwhelming majority of cases, if your baby begins to gag on a piece of food, they will clear it on their own. However, on the off chance that your child should actually start to choke, it is an excellent idea to take an infant CPR course or refresher. Another tip is to make sure that the chunks of food you are providing your baby are larger than their fist to make it harder for them to gag or choke. It is also necessary to introduce only one new food at a time to help rule out or determine allergies.

Other Considerations

During your baby led weaning feeding sessions, it is imperative that you do not force your infant to eat anything on their plate and that you don’t take food away from them while they are eating it. The point here is to let them decide what they do and do not want to try as well as making up their mind about what they like or don’t like. Finally, the most important reminder is that “food before one is just for fun” because your child is receiving all the nutrition they need from breast milk or formula.