Are baby pacifiers useful?

Do you remember that old picture with the baby you preoccupied with a dummy? In the past, most mothers resort to baby pacifiers in order to sooth the baby or just keep her busy.

However, with the developing of the so-called baby science, we find out that the traditional methods might not be safe for the development of the baby.

Such is the case with the baby pacifiers. Below, you can read the pros and cons of using a pacifier.

A pacifier satisfies the natural need of your baby to suck. Since the gums of your baby are aching, she feels the need to test the gum against some object so a pacifier can calm down the painful gums and reduce the baby’s frustration. However, the baby might be confused about the breastfeeding and lose interest in the breastfeeding since it requires more effort.

While your baby can fall asleep faster while using a pacifier, he can become dependent on the dummy. Therefore, if the dummy falls off his mouth during the night, he will make a terrible fuss until you will wake up and give him the dummy back… each and every time.

Sucking on the dummy helps your baby receive the right amount of oxygen and reduces the risk of SIDS. Nevertheless, if the baby becomes dependent on the pacifier, it might be difficult to correct the behaviour and the overuse of the pacifier can cause misaligned teeth.

Another problem is that the pacifier can become a magic tool that helps you to avoid the fuss and tantrum pulled by your baby. It is a problem because it reduces the interaction between you as a mother or parent and your baby. In case your baby has a real problem like dirty diaper, missing his mother or being hungry and you use the dummy, you will only worsen the problem.

If your baby accepts the pacifier, you can use it at times; just make sure not to let your baby become attached to it.

Winter is coming. Keep your baby warm

We have finally arrived at that time of year with bonny decorations, jolly songs and a cosy feeling. Even if it is a peaceful season, for you is the middle of chaos because you are worried about your newborn.

Here are some tips on how to keep your baby warm during winter:

Breathable fabric

Whether we talk about the bed covers or clothes, your baby can suffer from heat even during the cold season due to the temptation of folding her up in thick blankets. That is why you need to choose a soft blanket or a sack that can be zipped down.

If you choose to go outside, make sure a soft scarf protects your baby’s neck and mouth without suffocating her.

Easy to On/Off

Choose clothes like a snow suit since it is easy to take it off or put it on. Moreover, the slicker fabric protects the baby from humidity and frost.

Cover your baby’s hands with flexible mittens and put on warm socks and boots. Your baby needs to move even in cold weather, because movement decreases the chances of being cold.

Be careful not to overdress your baby because sweating in winter is as bad as being cold.

Hydrate

During winter, the body uses a lot of fuel, which can lead to dehydration. Make sure your baby drinks liquids such as water and milk.

Massage

A traditional way of enhancing the blood flow is massaging. Massage your baby’s legs and hands since extremities are exposed to cold quite often. This way your baby will have a better blood circulation and her body will be ready to fight against winter.

Friendly outdoor for your baby

The thought of taking your baby for a walk in the park or for a picnic can be quite terrifying and worrying. We help you overcome your fears and introduce you to a number of outdoor activities for your baby that will stimulate his development.

1. “Alice in Wonderland”

This is how your baby is going to feel on his first day outside. Make sure it is a sunny, warm day and take your baby for a stroll in the nearby park. Bring a blanket and sit down with your baby. You can place on the blanket smooth rocks, wood sticks or flowers so the baby can touch them. In a hot summer day, you can also help your baby step on the grass with his empty feet.

2. In the league

You can pretend to play games that involve a ball with your baby: football, volleyball or just… throwing the ball. Have patience though, babies lose their interest quite fast.

3. “Autumn in New York”

In case you do not have the luck of a sunny summer day and everything is just colourful foliage, you can take your baby for a leaf-collecting session. Help your baby gather beautifully shaped leaves and put them in an album.

4. “Around the bubble in 80 days”

This one is mostly for you because you will be the one that is going to move more. Take out a bubble blower and blow them in your baby’s proximity, encouraging him to catch the bubbles. It is a silly, but fun game.

5. “Home, sweet home”

Bring outside some of your baby’s toys and play together on the blanket, helping him discover the world around him with something familiar.

When you go out with your child make sure you talk to him about the things around you. Even though he cannot talk and seems to ignore you, explain to him sounds, objects, nature and so on. He will be very excited about these new things. Scientists claim that outdoor activities help the baby sleep better.

 

 

Fashion up your baby room

Once you introduced the baby to his new room, you have to make sure the room will be a safe and pleasant environment in which your child will grow up. We give you some tips on how to make the room safe, as well as ideas on how to decorate your baby’s room.

Temperature

The right temperature for a newborn room is between 16oC and 20oC. In warm, sunny days, close the curtains and open the window a bit. During hot weather, wipe your child gently with tepid water. Also, make sure the baby’s skin can breathe.

When it comes to cold weather, avoid electric blankets, radiators and heaters around your baby. Make sure he stays warm but without sweating during cold times. This way you avoid flu. It helps you keep the situation in control if you buy a room thermometer.

 Furniture

It is going to be rather difficult to buy the wardrobe to Narnia but you can still furnish your baby’s room in an efficient, fun way.

For babies of 3-4 months, you can buy Moses basket or a crib. They come in all forms and colours.

As your baby grows up you can buy a cot. That option is available from the beginnings as well, if you make sure the baby cannot roll out of it.

Fill the bed with safety mattresses or 100% cotton-sheets and blankets. Cotton keeps the baby dry and does not lead to overheating as quilts and coverlets. You can buy duvets for babies older than 12 months.

To be efficient in space and time, you can also buy a changing table that you can place in the bathroom or the baby’s room.

Storage is very important at this point. You will need many shelves to store the baby’s clothes, toys and feeding products so try space-saving furniture, usually made by Japanese producers.

Décor

While you improve your baby’s room, you can also have fun decorating it. The newest trend in terms of painting the interior walls is the so-called wall art.

With a simplified, nature drawing you can fill the wall of your baby room. Trees, quotes or cartoon characters can create a relaxing, fresh atmosphere in your baby room.

If wall art is too expensive or complicated, try one-colour paint but choose the nuances carefully. Some relaxing nuances are Stillwater 16-4610, Delicacy 11-2409, Sensible Hue SW6198, Aloof Gray SW6197, Shantung 11-2 or Chartreuse.

 

12th Week of Pregnancy

In this last week of your first trimester of pregnancy, your baby will start moving around more, flexing muscles and kicking. It’s now time to switch to comfy maternity wear and discuss with your midwife about changes for the next trimester.

Your baby’s development

Most babies are about the size of a kiwi by at week 12, and a bump may become visible by the end of the first trimester. Your baby’s legs and arms are fully formed, and reflexes have appeared. You might not feel these moves, but your baby will feel when you press your tummy. She can already move her fingers and wiggle her toes. If you’ll have an ultrasound this week, you’ll see that the face looks much more like a human face, with the eyes close together and the ears in the right position.

How your days are changing

You may experience dizziness or the feeling of fainting during the 12th week, especially when standing up briskly. This is caused by the rise of progesterone levels in your body. The role of progesterone is to increase the blood flow to the baby, which means that the blood flow in your body may slightly decrease. Don’t skip your meals and make sure that your sugar levels are sufficient.

As you enter the second trimester of pregnancy, you may notice that several symptoms have waned, such as frequent urination or having excess saliva. Certain smells may become easier to detect. If you’re having problems with strong smells that make you feel nauseous, keep a citrus scent at hand, maybe on your scarf. Your appetite should increase over the next weeks, and you will need plenty of Vitamin C, Zinc, Calcium, Beta-carotene and omega oils for a healthy development. Find out the basic nutritional needs for your second trimester and the recommended food sources.

Ultrasounds in week 12

The Nuchal Translucency scan is ideally carried during the 12th week. This is the first ultrasound to check the baby’s measurements and it also assesses the risk of Down syndrome. Many pregnant women have the first ultrasound during this week, to check how the development is going and to confirm the due date calculations.

Vitamin D and Pregnancy during Winter

Your Vitamin D levels during pregnancy are important for your baby’s health and help prevent certain diseases. Differences between babies born during summer and babies born after October are believed to be partly due to differences in sun exposure. Because the amount of sun exposure is higher during late spring, summer and beginning of autumn than the rest of the year, women who are pregnant in this period benefit from more Vitamin D intake on average.

Effects of Vitamin D intake during pregnancy

What does this mean? Your baby needs Vitamin D for growth, especially in the second half of pregnancy, when ossification processes and bone growth are developing. Babies born during the summer are more likely to have bigger bones than babies born during the winter season. On average, “summer babies” are 5 mm taller than “winter babies”. This difference is correlated with the difference of Vitamin D levels measured in the blood of the mothers while pregnant.

Vitamin D has many other benefits for maternal and fetal health. It has important effects for the immune system and it may play a role in preventing food allergies, asthma and preeclampsia. Try to spend as much time as possible in daylight, especially during the winter season, when days are shorter.

Food sources of Vitamin D and dietary supplements

Products fortified with Vitamin D are a good choice, since very few foods have sufficient Vitamin D. Cereal, milk and orange juice that are fortified with Vitamin D and Calcium are usually easy to find. Other foods rich in Vitamin D are: egg yolk, tuna, sardines and pink salmon. However, when you are pregnant, your body needs much more Vitamin D than any of these foods can supply. So if the rainy days keep you inside, vitamin supplements are a must. Always consult with your doctor beforehand.

Most pregnant women need to take dietary supplements that include Vitamin D, as intake from food is often not sufficient. The level of Vitamin D in your body can actually be measured if deficiency is suspected, so check with your doctor at the next appointment for advice on taking supplements. Talk to your midwife for nutrition and lifestyle advice that will help you increase your daily intake of Vitamin D. A tip: hold back on using sunscreen with SPF higher than 30, it reduces your Vitamin D intake.

Exercise Safely during Pregnancy

Workouts during pregnancy will keep you and your baby healthy, help you sleep better and prepare your body for labour. If you’re a beginner to exercising, start with 15 minutes workout sessions two or three times a week. Gradually increase the length and frequency of your sessions to 30 minutes sessions daily. You will feel healthier and more prepared for giving birth. To make sure that you exercise as safely as possible, consult the checklist below and follow our guidelines.

Safe pregnancy exercise checklist:

□  Always check with your doctor before beginning your exercise plan. Certain medical conditions rule out some types of physical activity.

□  If you used to work out intensely before pregnancy, train at equal or lower intensity while pregnant.

□  Tell your training instructor you’re pregnant, so that he can offer advice on which exercises are safe for you.

□  Keep a correct posture while you’re exercising, in order to protect your back.

□  Wear a supportive bra and comfortable clothes and appropiate footwear during your workout.

□  Make sure to drink at least 2 litres of water or fluids every day.

□  Choose exercises that are comfortable for you. If you don’t feel comfortable anymore during an exercise, you should stop.

□  Avoid exercising on your back during the 2nd and 3rd trimester.

□  Do not end jogging or aerobic exercises abruptly. If you have unusual symptoms and need to stop, try to walk around slowly for a couple of minutes.

□  Aim for workouts of moderate intensity. You should not feel exhausted or too tired at the end of a training session.

Stop exercising if you have unusual symptoms

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG) has provided a list of unusual symptoms that you should consider as warning signs when you exercise. If you have any of these symptoms while exercising, stop your workout immediately and call your doctor or midwife to consult you.

  • Shortness of breath
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Chest pains or palpitations
  • Backaches
  • Pain in your abdomen or pubic area
  • Pain in the pelvic girdle
  • Painful uterine contractions
  • Feeling fewer movement from the baby
  • Leakage of amniotic fluids
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Feeling of weakness in muscles
  • Pain in your legs or swelling of legs

For more information provided by the RCOG on suitable exercises for pregnant women and safety precautions for exercising during pregnancy, check out their guide on Recreational Exercise and Pregnancy.

 

The Anomaly Pregnancy Scan and the Most Common Abnormalities It Detects

The anomaly scan is a detailed ultrasound scan, used for determining physical abnormalities of the foetus early on. The best month for an anomaly scan starts with the 20th week of pregnancy. Most women take the scan between this time and the 24th week. What is the anomaly scan used for and why is it recommended to have it? Find out below.

What is the use of an anomaly scan?

With the help of the anomaly scan, the doctor can take a close look at your baby and your uterus to check that everything is developing normally. Usually a scan lasts around 30 minutes, during which major physical abnormalities are checked by looking at certain factors. Your doctor will look at the ultrasound from various areas and angles and assess your baby’s heartbeat, the position of the placenta and the amount of amniotic fluid around your baby. Measurements to check the baby’s growth and development will be carefully taken in detail, and the baby’s organs will be examined as detailed as the visibility on the scan allows.

Common abnormalities that are checked for during the anomaly scan

Your doctor will also look for signs of some particular disorders when looking at the anomaly scan. Some of these conditions are:

  • Heart conditions, for which your baby’s heart is examined during the scan
  • Spine abnormalities: the doctor will check if the spine and skull are developing normally
  • Certain genetic disorders
  • Chromosomal abnormalities: the doctor will check if the number of chromosomes is normal and for related conditions such as the Down syndrome.

Remember, it’s not always possible to check everything in full details, as there are a lot of factors that can impede having a clear view in certain areas. If, due to these factors, the doctor decides that measurements will not be accurate, either a new appointment will be scheduled or an internal transvaginal probe will be used.

Why is it recommended to have the anomaly scan?

Even though the scan is accurate on the measurements that can be taken, not all abnormalities can be identified during this scan. The scan does, however, greatly reduce the risk of having a miscarriage or severe birth defects due to lack of knowledge about certain abnormalities early on during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor and keep yourself informed about the uses and limitations of the anomaly scan to fully understand how you and your baby will benefit from this scan appointment.

The 8th Week of Pregnancy

The baby bump may not be showing by the 8th week of pregnancy in most cases, yet a lot of changes are already going on with your body. Your breasts are becoming more sensitive and tender and you’ll probably need to change your bra to a bigger size by now for proper support. This is caused by the changes in hormonal levels and prepares your body for lactation. In most cases cups will grow by 2 sizes, so it’s practical to buy maternity support bra with two sizes bigger than your current one. You will notice that in this period the areolas around your nipples will begin to darken, also due to the change in hormones.

If you haven’t already followed a nutritional plan, start now. You will need plenty of vitamins and minerals to give your baby all the nutrients needed for a healthy development. Talk to your doctor or a specialist in nutrition about a recommended plan and any supplements you might need. Plan a custom exercise program as well. You will need to strengthen your muscle tone for carrying the weight to come in the next seven months.

Your baby, now at about the size of a raspberry, is growing fast. Although you cannot feel it yet, your baby has already started to move and shift its position. All of the organs have started developing and functioning, and muscles and nerves continue to form. Believe it or not, your baby’s lips begin to take shape around the 8th week of pregnancy, and in most cases fingers and toes are starting to appear. Your baby’s gonads begin to take shape into either ovaries or testicles, although it’s often impossible to see this on the scan that early into pregnancy. You can follow the progress of your growing baby through ultrasound scans now. Many parents find this experience to be magical, as you can actually see the miracle of life unfolding over the course of a few months.

There are genetic screening tests and other tests you can already take during this week. Discuss your family medical history with your doctor to see what tests are needed in your case. Many conditions, such as RH disease, are treatable during pregnancy, so take precautions to reduce all risks and have a safe pregnancy and birth.

The 7th Week of Pregnancy

You’ve reached the halfway mark of your first trimester. Congrats! This is an important mark for most women, as it’s the first time when they can actually see their baby on a scan. It’s also an extremely busy week for your body. Your baby develops extremely fast at this time, with an astonishing rate of 100 brain cells per minute and the heart evolving into a complex organ with dedicated functions. Each baby develops differently, but usually around this week tooth buds and tongue begin to form and arm buds sprout, along with further development of ears, nostrils and eyes. Your baby’s blood type also develops around this time.

For most women, breasts grow at a peak rate and pregnancy aches become overwhelming during the 7th week of pregnancy. This can partly be caused by pregnancy hormones, but discomfort and loss of energy are also due to the fast paced developmental changes in your body. Your taste in food has probably changed. If you’ve already developed aversions towards certain foods, replace them with healthy alternatives to replenish the necessary vitamins and minerals. Due to hormones, urination is much more frequent in the 7th week. Despite that, you and you baby need more fluids intake than ever. Avoid caffeine, it’s associated with some pregnancy risks and it’s a diuretic, which means you’ll pee more. If you’re feeling tired, that’s normal, too. Your system is working swiftly on producing the placenta and developing your baby. Eat as many as 7 small meals a day and exercise lightly to keep your energy levels up.

The good news is that, starting with the 7th week, you’re becoming more aware of your baby and you can already see what’s going on in your tummy with an early pregnancy scan. Seeing their baby for the first time is a wonderful experience for both parents. Your sonographer can check if everything is developing as planned and even calculate your EED (estimated due date). It is usually also possible to detect twin pregnancy during the 7th week.

This is a time of awakening for many women, preparing them psychologically for the journey. Seeing your baby for the first time on the screen and feeling your body change drastically makes you feel closer to your baby and motivates you to eat healthier and get the proper care. You are now much, much closer to becoming a mom.