How Long to Breastfeed?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months of age at least, but many parents still want to know how long to breastfeed. Many parents will choose to continue breastfeeding beyond 6 months. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding until two years or even beyond. There is no evidence to support that weaning a child after one year is more difficult, but there is some evidence to support that breastfeeding for as long as possible may have benefits for the child and for the mother.One thing to note is that daycares and preschools in some states discourage the use of breast milk after one year. This may impact a breastfeeding schedule or weaning process. Be sure to have a plan in place on how to handle this especially if you want to continue giving your child breast milk.It is also important to be very clear with your child’s caretaker as to what you want done with breast milk, and carefully go over how to store it and save portions that are safe to use. Feeding the baby breast milk in smaller bottles when you are not home will allow for complete usage of the breast milk and avoid wasting it. Ultimately, the decision should be made based on what is best for the baby and for mom, and rest assured there is no cut-off point for breastfeeding. For some parents this may be 6 months, for others it may be 2 years, and for some it may be beyond that. There are a few situations where mothers may need to stop breastfeeding, like the use of certain medications or if you’ve been diagnosed with HIV, common illnesses like the cold and flu are not transmitted through breast milk.If you just have the common cold or a mild illness, there may be some protective benefit for the child. When someone is ill, their body produces antibodies to protect them against reinfection. These antibodies pass through breast milk, meaning that a baby may get protective benefits from their mother when nursing. Nursing through illness may give your child powerful antibodies to the sickness you’re experiencing.You can continue to breastfeed your baby well into their toddler years if you would like to. Remember that the addition of foods should begin around 6 months and this is something that should be discussed with your doctor. Be sure to also discuss Vitamin D supplementation (400 International Units) with your baby’s doctor as most breastfed children will require this. While getting pregnant in the early days of breastfeeding is unlikely, this becomes more common the older the baby gets. Remember that breastfeeding does not protect against pregnancy. Discussing a birth control method that is appropriate for you and that will not affect breastfeeding is important. Options include, but are not limited to, barrier contraception such as condoms, as well as a progestin only pill, often called “the mini pill.”. It is important to note that the progestin only pill has a higher failure rate over the combined estrogen and progestin oral birth control pill. Once you stop breastfeeding, it is important to choose an appropriate birth control method. (Cleveland Clinic)Breastfeeding may reduce chances of pregnancy - but there is no guarantee and any contraceptive abilities of breastfeeding are temporary. Remember that you will ovulate before your first period comes back. If you happen to have sex during this time, it is possible you could become pregnant without realizing. If you are certain you do not want more children for the next year or more, talk to your doctor about what options are available to you.
4 min read
How Long Should Babies Sleep?
Sleep is a critical element in overall physical health. During sleep, the heart and blood vessels make any necessary repairs. It allows for better concentration and productivity as well as more energy for physical activities including exercise. So, how long should babies sleep? Especially for children, sleep is important for good brain function, emotional development and behavior factors. Parents often wonder if the infant, child, or adolescent is really getting enough satisfactory rest to perform well during the day. Until they are about 3 months old, infants should be sleeping 14 to 17 hours during a 24 hour day. A good routine would be two or three naps during the day and a longer stretch at night after a feeding. From age 4 months until they are almost a year, babies should get between 12 and 15 hours of sleep, with 3 or 4 of that coming during the day. Beyond that a toddler of 1 or 2 years old should be sleeping 11 to 14 hours; preschoolers about 10 to 13 hours and elementary school age at least 9 to 11 hours at night. There are a number of factors that affect the proper amount of sleep. If you have concerns, check with your paediatrician. A key factor is establishing and maintaining a bedtime routine. Bathing, singing, and reading to infants and children are all good signals that it is the end of the day and time for rest. Keeping a consistent pattern will help your child adapt to the routine. One way to do this, depending on your parenting style, is to put the baby in a crib while still awake but drowsy. This helps the child learn to fall asleep on their own without rocking. Some movement and even a bit of crying are normal. If your baby is not hungry, ill or need a diaper change, leave him or her alone for a few minutes to see if he or she settles down and falls asleep on their own. When the baby wakes during a time when you want it to sleep, keep the lights low and don’t play. Speak in a low voice but don’t talk for long periods of time. In other words, try to avoid activities that will stimulate the baby and keep him or her alert. It may take a bit of time to establish the routine, but when successful, you will be glad. At around 6 months, a baby should have an extended night time sleep regimen. If not, don’t worry. Children develop at their own rate. Naps are very common and most children nap until they are 3 to 6 years old. Newborns and infants will sleep during the day for three or four hours. As the child ages, the nap time will decrease. Research has discovered that frequent napping helps children consolidate memories and that these memories are important for learning and brain development. Even if you think your baby is getting enough sleep, be sure to add it as a discussion item with your pediatrician. Your understanding of what is normal for your child is important and can help you gauge when he or she is not feeling well.
3 min read
5 Signs of Postpartum Depression to Watch Out For
About 10% of moms who have just given birth experience postpartum depression. Unfortunately, not many moms even know they are depressed, thinking that this is the way all new moms feel. But while being tired with a newborn is normal, feeling sad and hopeless all the time isn’t. That’s why it’s important to learn about postpartum depressions and to watch out for the signs. This will allow you to intervene and have you feel like yourself, enjoying your time with your new family. 1. The Baby Blues Don’t Go AwayIt’s typical to experience low moods during the first two weeks after giving birth. Afterward, you should slowly be feeling better and begin focusing on the next stage of your life. However, if you still feel sad, or even hopeless, after a few weeks, and these feelings are getting intense, then it may be more than just the typical blues. 2. You Start to Lose Interest In ThingsAre you beginning to lose interest in the things you used to love doing? Do you still feel affectionate with your partner or enjoy your favorite foods? Or are you feeling down and just want to stay in bed because nothing seems to cheer you up? Another sign is if you start to lose care and have trouble making any decision, no matter how simple it is. If you aren't able to decide to get out of bed and shower or not or to even change your little one's diaper and spend time with them, this may be an early sign of postpartum depression. If ever you don’t find anything exciting or interesting anymore, especially when it comes to caring for your baby, then it’s time to talk with your doctor about these mood changes and new habits. 3. Continuous Sadness and Guilt FeelingsFeeling sad or upset once in a while is typical, especially as you adjust to the new changes and care for your little one. But if you’ve been experiencing a lot of random crying spells or even feel unhappy about being a mom, this is something more. Furthermore, if you feel guilty and talk yourself down as a mom, then this is one of the first signs or symptoms of postpartum depression. Another thing to note about is your feelings towards being a mom. Sure, all moms worry about not being a good mom, but if you have constant doubts as a mother despite doing well, it could mean something else. 4. Sleep Patterns Changed… WeirdlyOf course, your sleeping patterns have changed with a baby crying every few hours for feeding! This is normal. But once you aren’t able to even take a nap or feel rested while your baby is napping or sleeping, or if you’re sleeping all the time, then this might be something other than adjusting to a new sleep pattern. This is because changes in mood, appetite, and even sleep are one of the early signs of depression. 5. You Have Thoughts About Harming YourselfDo you have thoughts about hurting yourself or the baby? Or even suicide? This is an advanced sign of postpartum depression that must be addressed immediately. If ever you do feel like harming yourself or anyone around you, do reach out for help and call your doctor right away to get the treatment you need. For new mothers who have experienced one or more of these signs, do reach out to your partner and loved ones, as well as a medical professional. You are not alone and can get through postpartum depression!
3 min read
What Are The Benefits Of Infant Massage?
Infant massage is a process of gently rubbing the muscles of infants or babies in a manner designed specifically for them. Baby massage can be performed by a certified and professionally trained infant massage therapist or the parents, grandparents, or guardian of the baby who have been taught to properly to do it. Infant massage can provide several health benefits. Let us have a look at how massaging your baby can help your bundle of joy in several ways. Massaging, when done properly, may help to support the proper growth and development of your baby. Research studies have shown that infant massage is beneficial even for preterm infants including those admitted in the NICU. It can, in some cases, shorten their length of stay in the NICU, improve weight gain, and support the feeding tolerance of the babies. These studies have also shown that infant massage may promote neurodevelopment thereby improving the functions of the brain and nervous system. Infant massage is commonly linked to improved muscle tone. The gentle massaging action would increase the circulation of blood through the muscles, ligaments, and tendons thereby strengthening and nourishing these tissues. It would promote healthy muscle growth and improve muscle tone. This may help your baby learn to walk or perform other physical activities with better ease and efficiency. Massaging your baby may help to improve bone density and make their bones stronger. This benefit is also observed in preterm babies. Regular massage of preterm babies would support the development of the bones and improve bone strength. This is one of the reasons why infant massage is highly recommended. Baby massage may help to provide relief from respiratory disorders such as asthma in infants and newborn babies. It is believed that infant massage can promote the elimination of mucus from the throat and lungs and allow smooth flow of air through the respiratory passages thereby providing relief from breathing difficulties. Infant massage is beneficial not just for the baby but even for parents. Research studies have shown that massaging your baby would improve your attitude toward childbearing and enhance maternal or paternal satisfaction considerably. It can also improve the bond between you and your baby and fill the moments with smiles and laughter. This would ease stress and anxiety in first-time moms and dads and increase their confidence about being able to take good care of their baby. ConclusionA gentle and caring touch is good for all. However, for infants, it holds more importance as they are new to the world and need assurance of having someone special caring for them. Other than this, massaging your baby can also help him or her in several other ways by improving blood circulation and relieving muscle stiffness. If you are due for delivery or have already welcomed your baby into the world, make sure you gift the goodness of massage to your bundle of joy. The caring touch will make your baby happy and his smile will bring more joy to the experience of parenthood. Just be sure to learn how to do it properly. References:1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31059673/2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6617372/3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2844909/4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5457772/5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28866286/6. http://www.healthofchildren.com/I-K/Infant-Massage.html#ixzz6aM4JrAnr
3 min read
How to Treat Teething Pain in Babies
Teething is probably one of the most dreaded times for parents as their little ones head on to their toddler years, as this is a very uncomfortable time for them. While toothless smiles are adorable, this won’t last long, as babies will start growing their baby teeth, which may have you staying up at night from their pain! It's painful watching them cry from the discomfort but don't worry, there are safe and effective ways to treat teething pain in babies. Read on to find out! About TeethingMost babies begin teething when they reach between four to seven months old, though some begin later. Each baby has his own timetable, so don't worry if it doesn't seem like he's growing his first set of pearly whites just yet. Even if teeth aren’t popping up yet, you’ll know when your little one begins teething based on these symptoms: · They feel more fussy or irritable, crying even more· Have swollen and tender gums· Have a slightly raised temperature around 101 degrees F or less· Lots of drooling· Gnawing, chewing, or even biting· Coughing· Pulling their eats· Rubbing their cheeks· They bring their hands to the mouth· They have a change in eating and/or sleeping patterns If your little one starts to feel more pain to the point they have rashes, pus, or blood in the gums, high fever, diarrhea, or vomiting, do send them to the doctor immediately, as these are not typical signs of teething and you need to take them to their doctor right away. How to Treat Teething Pain in BabiesTry out these helpful tips to see what works best for you: · Freeze a clean and wet cloth or rag. Once frozen, give it to your little one for them to chew on. You may even massage your baby’s gums using the rag. This can decrease inflammation around the gums.· Feed them cold soft foods like yogurt, applesauce, or frozen fruit, if they eat those solids.· Teething biscuits ca be used for those who are 8-12 months old, though be wary of their gum hygiene, wiping the gum area with a clean cloth after feeding them the biscuits.· Teething rings and toys may be great to give pressure required for soothing sore gums, though make sure you choose ones made of safe material. You can refrigerate these toys and give them to your little one for the cold to soothe their gums.· Rub their gums gently with your clean fingers or wet gauze, with the pressure easing their discomfort. What NOT to DoBesides the treatments I mentioned above, make sure that you avoid the following “tips”: · Do NOT put anything in your little one's mouth that has no scientific proof that it helps soothe teething. There are even a few teethers or teething aids that aren't safe, especially ones that have liquid inside, are made with breakable materials or are frozen solid. This is dangerous for your toddler to bite into and can hurt them· Avoid using materials with harmful substances or choking hazards. If you do choose a teether, get one made of rubber.· Avoid using teething necklaces such as the amber ones, as this can strangle your baby. It may also break, and your little one can choke on the beads.· Don’t use over-the-counter teething gels or liquids with benzocaine, which has rare but serious side effects. Always consult your pediatrician before giving any pain relievers or medications to your baby. Wrapping It UpTeething is an uncomfortable time for your baby, but it doesn’t mean there are no remedies to help relieve them a bit! Make sure to use any recommended remedy by your doctor and to avoid dangerous or unproven methods.
4 min read
When to Start Sippy Cup: The Best Time for Your Baby
Are you unsure about when you should introduce the sippy cup to your baby? In short, it depends, but there are signs to be aware of to see if your child is ready to make the move. What is a Sippy Cup?Sippy cups are training cups usually made of plastic, having a screw or snap-on lid and spout so your little one can drink without spilling the liquids. Some models come with and without handles, along with sippy cups with different kinds of spouts.These cups are a good way for your little one to transition from bottle-feeding or nursing to drinking from regular cups. It also improves hand-to-mouth coordination and motor skills, so they have independence without making a huge mess.When to Start Sippy CupThere isn’t an exact time to introduce the sippy cup to all babies, as it depends on their preference and if you feel like they are ready. The typical time to introduce the sippy cup is between 6-12 months, many recommending starting the sippy cup when your baby reaches 9 months old. In fact, a recent Pediatrics study found out that 9 months is the “ideal” age when transitioning little ones from the bottle, and that they should begin drinking exclusively from a sippy cup when they reach 12 months old.Besides that, other signs that your baby might be ready include: Prolonged bottle use may lead to cavities and/or iron-deficiency anemia, and it may encourage them to drink even more milk than needed. So it is recommended to work to have your baby transition to a sippy cup sooner rather than later. This may increase the risk of obesity, tooth decay, and even affect the development and positioning of adult teeth later on in life.How to Introduce Your Little One to the Sippy CupNow that you know when to introduce your little one to the sippy cup, how can you do so gradually? Here are quick tips to follow:Talk to your pediatrician if you have more lingering questions regarding the sippy cup transition. Don't stress! You will make the right decision when makes the most sense for your family.
3 min read
What Are Baby Sleep Regressions? What to Know and How to Handle Them
Is your little one waking up every 20 minutes and keeping you from having a good night’s sleep? He may be going through baby sleep regressions!After becoming a parent, you’ve probably heard about these sleep regressions without really knowing what to expect. To learn more about what they are and how to move past them, read on! Sleep regression is the time when your little one’s sleep patterns start to shift. They will wake up more throughout the night, having a difficult time sleeping again. Unfortunately, once they awake, so will you. It’s frustrating, but manageable, especially when you know how to handle it well and know why it happens. Baby sleep regressions are totally normal and fortunately, a temporary period. But why does it happen? Sleep regressions may mean that your little one is going through a growth spurt, and/or that his brain is going through some development. Since the brain is developing, your baby is starting to learn new skills and master existing skills, such as rolling over or sitting up. With every major milestone or development, a sleep regression usually is there to accompany it. During this time of growth, development and learning, it might be tiring, stressful and frustrating for your little one. As a result, it impacts their sleep patterns. That is what is called a sleep regression. It’s not truly a regression in that is just means there is less regular sleep or a change in sleep to a pattern you may have seen more when they were infants. Baby sleep regressions usually begin when your little one turns four months old. Note that there may be more regressions occurring in the future, usually every two to three months until they reach the toddler stage. Usually, the first sleep regression at four months old is the hardest for parents, as it’s the first they’ll experience and they may have had better quality of sleep for a period before it. This period can last between three to six weeks or longer, and it can catch you off guard! Your baby may have been sleeping well, only to begin waking up more at night, taking shorter naps, or even skipping them without an obvious reason. You will know when your baby is going through a sleep regression when you notice a sudden worsening of their sleep patterns. • Waking up multiple times at night • Less napping • More fussiness • Appetite changes When it does happen, don’t worry! This usually doesn’t mean something is wrong. Reassure yourself that this is temporary and it means your little one is growing and learning new things as regressions occur, as they are engaging with their environment even more. But if your little one experiences other symptoms such as fever or other signs of illnesses, do consult their doctor. While baby sleep regressions are a technically sign of a good thing (development), I can’t deny that it’s frustrating for parents as well. • Give your little one time to practice throughout the day. He is working very hard mastering their new skills, and they may feel so eager to learn to the point they practice all night, which keeps them up! You can lessen the time he spends practicing at night by giving him uninterrupted time to practice various skills. • Feed your little one fully during the day and before bedtime to prevent them from getting hungry. This lessens any hunger cries and whines in the middle of the night. While you feed them, eliminate any distractions and feed in environments less likely to stimulate curiosity to ensure they are fed well. • Establish a healthy bedtime routine and create the optimum sleeping environment for your baby. Keep their room dark during nap times and let natural sunlight in when they are awake. Also, stick to a bedtime routine before it’s time to sleep, which can help them become drowsy and ready for bed. Baby sleep regressions don’t last forever. With the right knowledge, coping strategies, and tips, you can help them learn new skills as the entire family sleeps healthier. Good luck!
4 min read
When Do Babies Start Laughing? The Developmental Stages to Know
As your little one begins to grow and achieve milestones, you’re excited to have them hit certain ones, especially when they begin laughing! After all, what parent doesn’t want to see their little one smile and laugh? Seeing your little one laugh is one of the best parenting moments new moms and dads wait for, and once they start, you won’t get enough! However, their laughter won’t happen the moment they’re born. You’ll need to be patient and wait until that time comes. When do babies start laughing anyway? Read on to find out! When Do Babies Start Laughing? Most babies will first laugh out loud when they hit 3-4 months old. However, the first laugh might come at later months for other babies. Just like any other milestone, the timeline varies from baby to baby, so be patient and let it come on their own time. You can even help your little one discover their first laugh, with many ways to have them feel delighted enough to chuckle. Their first laughs would usually be inspired by anything that makes them happy, from simple things like their favorite toys, or even seeing you laugh, too! Another interesting motivator for their laughs is their curiosity- They want to hear their own voice and see the positive reactions of others around them! Once your little begins to laugh, he’ll start to laugh even more, as it feels great, it’s a cute sound, and he’ll love seeing you do the same. If it takes a bit longer than 4 months and they haven’t laughed yet, there’s nothing to worry about. Some babies are naturally serious, not laughing as much compared to others. This is okay, as long as they are meeting all of the other developmental milestones. Focus on all the age-appropriate milestones (like smiling, recognizing people, and making other sounds), not just this one! If you’re worried about your child not laughing or meeting the other developmental milestones, then it’s best to bring it up with your baby’s doctor during his next check-up. His doctor will ask about different milestones met, so take note of these for a complete ‘report’. He will give you professional advice based on his evaluations, recommending therapy or other exercises as needed. There are also other ways you can encourage your baby to have their first laugh, such as: · Make funny noises like kissing or popping sounds, talk in squeaky voices, or blow your lips together. These are more interesting noises than your normal voice, which can have your baby laugh. You can also give them noisemakers, provided that these are safe toys to play with· Tickle or blow on your baby’s skin gently, or kissing their hands and feet· Play fun games like peek-a-boo, which is a great way to have babies begin laughing Among the many memorable events you can’t wait to experience with your little one, laughing must be one of the top of your list! This wonderful milestone will be reached eventually, only taking a few months. If not, this is totally OK, your little one will learn to laugh eventually, and your home will be filled with that adorable giggle. Hopefully, we answered your question, ‘when do babies start laughing?’ Wait patiently and allow your little one to take time until they learn different actions, they’ll be giggling in no time!
3 min read
5 Sleep-Training Methods For Babies You Can Follow
As new parents, it may be difficult adjusting to your baby's sleeping habits, especially when they wake up crying in the middle of the night! Once they reach a few months old, it's time to begin training them to sleep peacefully on their own, and at the right time. How can you do it?Here are the 5 different sleep-training methods for babies you can consider trying: Also known as the Check-and-Console Method, there are different variations but a similar principle: Continue checking on your little one at preset intervals but you don't feet or lull them to sleep, as this would mean they won't sleep on their own. Once you go through the typical bedtime routine, put your little one in the crib and leave the room, waiting for a specific amount of time (a minute or two). Then go in and reassure your little one with a few words or a simple pat or rub. Do NOT pick the baby up and leave the room again, continuing to leave and check on them until they fall asleep. While effective, some parents report that going into their room would aggravate their baby more. With that said, consider the next option, CIO. You do not respond to any crying as your baby tries to sleep. Go through the bedtime routine and put them in their crib and walk out. This is a controversial sleep-training method that's still up for debate. What you do next is what works for you and your little one. Expect a lot of crying, though it's short-term and as long as you know they are safe (check through a baby monitor and camera), then it's worth a try. This is a gradual sleep-training method that needs a lot of patience and discipline. Prep your little one for bed but instead of walking out, stay near the crib and sit down. Once they fall asleep, leave the room but once they wake up, sit back in the chair until they are asleep again. You should console them from your chair, if possible, and not closer. Every few nights, move your chair further away until you are outside the room. If your baby is younger than seven months, then this is a suitable method where you’re staying in the room without having to provide too much help for your baby to fall asleep. Simply stand over your baby’s crib and start shushing him by patting his tummy for reassurance. You can also let your baby fuss over for a short while and pick him up, then put him in his crib before he falls asleep. These methods work well for younger babies but it may make some babies more upset because of overstimulation. With the Bedtime-Routine Fading technique, simply continue whichever sleep-training method works for you. But every few days, decrease the amount of time spent doing it until you won't have to do it anymore. As for the Bedtime-Hour Fading, you place your baby in the crib at the typical time they start dozing off, then make that their bedtime for a few nights. Then start to slowly move the bedtime at an earlier time, such as 20 minutes earlier until your little one nods off at the desired bedtime. Beyond these sleep-training methods for your baby, make sure that you do much more research and talk to your doctor for more advice. What can work for others may not work for you and your baby, so trial-and-error is needed here, as well as a lot of patience. The good news is that for most babies, sleep continues to improve over time regardless of which sleep training methods you use. Good luck!
4 min read
When to Start Cow’s Milk for Baby: Making the Switch
If you are considering making the switch to cow's milk for your baby, there are a few things to consider, including when to start cow's milk. It varies slightly, but a consensus is, around a year.When to Start Cow’s Milk for BabyBased on the advice of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, it’s best to wait until your baby turns a year old or over that. Once they hit the 1-year milestone, you can begin switching out breastmilk and/or formula with cow’s milk. As you introduce cow's milk, make sure you start with whole milk, not skim or non-fat. The fat in whole milk is beneficial for the brain, which is crucial for better development during their first 2 years. But if you have a family history or are at risk of heart diseases or obesity, then it’s best to speak with a pediatrician regarding the best choices of milk for your little one.Why Wait to Start on Cow's Milk?You’re probably wondering- Why wait for a year rather than start weaning off breastmilk or formula? Sure, it’s tempting to begin introducing your little one to cow’s milk sooner than a year old, but you shouldn’t rush it.Breastmilk and formula contain iron, vitamin C, among other important nutrients that you don’t find in cow’s milk, or at least not in adequate quantities for your little one to develop well. But when your baby reaches a year old, they can compensate for lost nutrients once they begin eating solids, having a diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and dairy. To add to this, here are reasons why you shouldn’t replace breastmilk or formula with cow’s milk too soon:The Benefits of Cow’s MilkMilk is a great source of calcium and vitamin D, which is good for bone development and to protect your body from various conditions, like diabetes and cancer. Just make sure that you feed cow's milk in appropriate amounts, 2-3 servings a day. Wrapping It UpIt’s important to learn when to feed your little one the appropriate and nutritious foods. With cow’s milk, you’ll need to wait for at least a year, and once you do, they can enjoy the health benefits this yummy drink has to offer.
3 min read