What Baby’s Playing With That Isn’t Safe

Posted April 25th, 2012 in Babies, Birth Doula in Fresno, Fresno birth, Fresno Birth Doula by Kathryn DiPalma

The Bump has good articles and information that every parents should read.  This is simple information and makes sense. Here are 7 everyday items that we have in our homes that we commonly see baby playing with. Please read and reconsider changing these habits.

You know the drill: When you’re out running errands with baby, you give him your keys or your cell phone to keep him from going nuts in the grocery store (we’ve all done it!). But is it really safe to give baby certain everyday objects? We had experts give us the inside scoop.

Keys

Babies love the shininess and sounds of keys — and the real deal are way more fun than those plastic keys — but are they really okay? Jeffrey Berkowitz, MD, a pediatrician at Pediatric Specialists of Plano in Texas, says nope. “Keys are made of brass, which may contain small amounts of lead,” says Berkowitz. “Additionally, keys can cause injury to the mouth if the child falls while he’s sucking on them.” Instead, stick to the plastic ones. They might not be as shiny, but at least he can put them in his mouth without harming himself. Or if baby likes the cold feel of the metal in his mouth, we love the teething jewelry from Momma’s Jewels. Baby grabs at your necklace when you’re holding him anyway, so why not splurge for a sterling-silver one that’s specifically designed so baby can chomp away safely?

TV Remote

Baby might be intrigued by the remote, especially because he sees how much the grown-ups grab for it. But you’ll want to keep it away from him. “Remotes aren’t safe to play with,” says Berkowitz. “Remote controls contain batteries, which can be dangerous if ingested. Also, remote controls may have other small parts, which could break off and become a choking hazard.” When baby’s over 18 months, it’s okay for him to play with a remote-control toy, like the Fisher-Price Sesame Street Silly Sounds Remote ($35, Amazon.com).

iPad or other Tablets

It’s pretty common to let babies play with iPads, especially since now there are plenty of kid-friendly apps. But the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under two years old shouldn’t be exposed to screens, like the ones on tablets, smartphones and televisions. That’s because research has found that kids under two aren’t able to understand the educational content, and they learn best from unstructured, unplugged playtime and learn more from live presentations than from video. Monica Vila, founder of TheOnlineMom.com, a website that helps parents protect their kids when it comes to exposing them to technology, says, “Even though manufacturers come out with great, colorful apps for kids, they’re not designed for a baby or a small child to play with on his own; they’re designed for parents and babies to play with together.” Plus, electronic tablets have glass screens and batteries with electrical charges. “It won’t take a lot for a baby to bite it or drop it, and batteries or liquids inside of the tablet can come out,” says Vila. “Those aren’t safe for eating.”

Cell Phones

Have you seen those 10 o’clock news reports that say cell phones have traces of poop on them? Gross! Knowing that cell phones are riddled with germs is probably enough reason not to let baby touch yours or put it in his mouth. “These phones that might be covered with germs could cause serious illness,” says Berkowitz. Also, like remotes and iPads, cell phones have small pieces and batteries, which won’t be safe for baby if he puts them in his mouth. Instead, get baby a toy cell phone — there are plenty that are much more kid-friendly and a lot more fun than a grown-up phone. Try the Sesame Street Elmo Cell Phone ($12, Amazon.com).

Coins

Your baby might come across your coin purse or jar and want to rattle it or play with the shiny things inside, but don’t let him. “Coins are a choking hazard and can cause tracheal, esophageal or intestinal obstruction,” says Berkowitz. So not worth the risk.

Pens, Markers and Crayons

Maybe you and baby are doing a crafts project or you’re showing baby how to draw. “Most markers and pens are nontoxic but can cause injury if the child pokes themselves with it,” says Berkowitz. If baby puts the pen cap or crayon in his mouth, he could choke. Also, for the sake of your home decor, keep baby away from them. Marker, crayon and pen marks all over your walls and floor won’t be a pretty sight. You should hold off on letting baby use crayons and markers until he’s a toddler, and you should supervise him even then. When it’s time for your tot to use markers and crayons, look for nontoxic and washable ones.

Baby Wipes

While baby’s on the changing table, maybe he grabs at the wipes and even stuffs them in his mouth (sound familiar?). While it’s tempting to just let him — especially if that’s the only way he’ll quit wiggling — don’t. Most baby wipes are nontoxic, but Berkowitz says, “It’s not wise to allow baby to suck on wipes, because he could ingest the chemicals in them. Also, if baby chews or tears pieces of the wipes off, it could result in a choking hazard.” To distract baby while he’s getting his diaper changed, keep a teething ring or other age-appropriate toys nearby.

Laundry Basket

Baby might love climbing in and out of the laundry basket, but is it a safe toy? “It’s not unsafe, but parental supervision is needed to prevent baby from falling or chewing on the plastic,” says Berkowitz. So feel free to let baby make a fort with the baskets, but make sure you’re keeping a close watch the whole time he’s doing it.

Baby Wearing

Posted April 21st, 2012 in After Pregnancy, Babies, Birth Doula in Fresno, Fresno birth, Fresno Birth Doula, Newborns by Kathryn DiPalma

Please share this with others.  I a lot of crotch danglers and it makes me crazy.  Think of how these little ones feel when they are being carried wrong.

Sleep….something we all need!

Posted April 14th, 2012 in Babies, Children, Fresno birth, Fresno Birth Doula, Motherhood, parenting by Kathryn DiPalma

Sleep is becoming a hot topic!  There are many books written about the subject, and so many seem to have all the answers.  When our children were babies and toddlers, it broke my heart to ever hear them cry.  Especially when it was a situation when they simply needed ME or my husband.  When it came time for bedtime, we established a family routine that worked for us.   While there were times that it was a challenge, I knew that someday they would be able to sleep through the night without ‘needing me’.  Today I received this tip from Rebecca Thompson with The Consciously Parenting Project and wanted to pass it on to you.

Sleep is precious, yet overrated.  Meeting your child’s nighttime needs is very important.  Children should never be left to cry alone.  Children cannot soothe their own stress and need a responsive caregiver to help them learn to calm themselves down, especially at night.  This investment results in positive associations with sleep and helps create calmer children during the day.  Think of it as an investment rather than a sacrifice!

©Rebecca Thompson, 2008
The Consciously Parenting Project
http://www.consciouslyparenting.com

 

Diaper Rashes….

Posted April 5th, 2012 in Babies, Birth Doula in Fresno, Fresno birth, Fresno Birth Doula, Motherhood, Newborns by Kathryn DiPalma

Another common concern that parents face is how to handle a diaper rash.  Nothing can be worse than seeing your precious little one with a red, burning bottom and not knowing what to do to help.  This article comes from the Pregnancy and Newborn Magazine.  I love Dr. Sears and follow his advice when I have a question .  Go here to read more.

When you’re new to the baby-raising game, every bump or discoloration can seem to be cause for alarm, but there’s no need to panic just yet. William Sears, MD, pediatrician for more than 30 years and renowned author of more than 40 books on child care, offers the following tips on calmly caring for your babe’s bottom.

All babies have diaper rash. It’s a misconception that a baby’s skin will always be as soft and smooth as the day he is born. In fact, diaper rash is a common and normal occurrence in babies’ lives. Whether newborns or curious crawlers, babies rub around in their diapers, causing friction. When that friction is combined with moisture, bacteria and yeast from their urine and stools, diaper rash is bound to happen.

Diligence is key.
For newborns who regularly suffer from diaper rash, you should change soiled diapers or air out the unsoiled ones at least every two hours. Poopy diapers should be changed immediately. This routine may be difficult at first, but the frequency of stool movements will diminish as your baby grows. Parents with little ones who experience less
diaper rash can then become more lax in changing regularly.

Change it up.
If your newborn is suffering from diaper rash, try varying your diapering routine. This means using another brand of disposable diapers and/or switching to unscented wipes or plain water for cleaning. If you use cloth diapers, try adding a half-cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle to help remove alkaline irritants.

Treat bottoms with all natural creams.
To avoid diaper rash, use a daily preventative cream after each change to moisturize and protect baby’s delicate skin. Be sure to cleanse and thoroughly dry the area before application. For those with a severe diaper rash, try a thicker treatment cream with the skin protectant zinc oxide, to alleviate pain and offer immediate, refreshing relief. Due to babies’ sensitive skin, creams should always be all natural and free of harmful chemicals. Be vigilant about carefully reading the labels on any products you use on your baby’s skin.

For more diaper rash and baby care tips—and for information on Dr. Sears’ all natural baby care line (including diaper rash prevention and treatment creams)—visit askdrsears.com.

Easter Egg Painting

Posted March 31st, 2012 in After Pregnancy, Babies, Children, Fresno birth, Fresno Birth Doula, Uncategorized by Kathryn DiPalma

Recently a friend of mine, shared the idea of having your child paint a wooden Easter egg every year.  I thought it would be great fun to try it with my grandson, Lincoln. First, I painted the wooden eggs with a yellow base coat. Then we stripped him down to just a diaper, and put 3 colors of acrylic paint in a pan.  Then we painted his hands and let him play with the eggs. When he was done (or rather we were done), we quickly got him straight into the bathtub.  After the paint dried, I put his name on the bottom of the eggs and put a clear coat of sealer on them. I plan to do this every year with him!

Ethan’s Birth Story by Rebecca Kearns

Posted February 21st, 2012 in Babies, Fresno birth, Fresno Birth Doula, Newborns by Kathryn DiPalma

Ethan’s Birth Story

by Rebecca Kearns on Monday, February 20, 2012 at 12:06pm ·

Before I start this I just want to say how incredibly grateful I am for EVERYTHING that my friends and family have done throughout the last few months to support us, keep us sane, and the incredible amount of prayers and love that has been sent to our little Ethan. There will never be enough words to say thank you or to express my gratitude to all of you. Ethan is here and healthy because of the amount of love, well wishes, positive thinking and prayers that he recieved and I will be eternally grateful to all of you for your support.

SO… as most of you I had been having complications for quite a while and unless you were “in the circle” I realize I was kinda vague about what was going on, Our “birth story” actually began about 10 weeks ago. I woke up one morning in late November ( I was about 24.5 weeks) and was having some pretty severe cramping, I immediately went to Labor and Delivery to get checked out, I was under the assumption it was just really strong Braxton Hicks contractions because I had been having them off and on since about 17 weeks. When I arrived I was placed on a monitor and lo and behold these were NOT “fake” contractions, these were the real deal. They were rhythmic, time-able and coming about every 2-3 mins. I was in Visalia with my mom so I had gone to Kaweah Delta, they immediately transferred me to Community Regional where my perinatologist was, the OB on call at Kaweah Delta had never delivered a 24 week old baby and the NICU was not prepared for a baby that small should he have arrived that early. When I arrived at Labor and Delivery at Community my contractions were literally right on top of each other, I was immediately given fluids, medication to stop the contractions (which it didnt stop them but did slow them down) I was also “examined” (that is as graphic as I will get with this) and it was discovered that I was 1cm dilated and starting to efface, After mulitple exams, two 4D ultrasounds it was discovered that I had what is known as “incompetent cervix” This is where your cervix begins to shorten, funnel, beak or dilate prematurely (usually this doesnt take place until after 37 weeks when your body is preparing for labor. My body however decided to do this 13 weeks early and instead of having just ONE of the issues I was having all of them…. that was what landed me my FIRST of FOUR admissions to the high risk antepartum unit and two months of back and forth until little Ethan arrived….most of you know what happened after that, I bounced back and forth from hospital bedrest to strict at home bedrest. Every week I had a doctor appt with an ultrasound for baby and a special type of ultrasound where they can measure the length of the cervix and monitor it for additional shortening. By the time I was admitted this last time (the second week of January) my cervix had completely shortened and there was no cervical length, I was funneled entirely to the external os and I was 4cm and 90% effaced which literally meant that Ethan could be born ANYTIME and VERY quickly.

Obivously you all know I spent the last month on bedrest so I won’t go into all the details of that but basically I did nothing but lay flat in bed, I was only allowed to get out of bed to walk to the restroom. This was the only way the doctors could keep Ethan “inside” for as long as possible to give him the best chance at survival and decreased health issues once delivered. Throughout the month I continued to contract every 3-5 mins even though I was being given medication that usually stops preterm labor, I had become so accustomed to these frequent and VERY painful (I couldnt have pain meds because any pain meds could actually speed labor along) contractions that the day before I delivered Ethan I didn’t even realize anything had “changed”

So fast forward to Monday Feb 6th, I had a wonderful nurse on Antepartum who had been watching my monitor strip all day and at some point in the afternoon she noticed a distinct change in the contraction pattern. She came in and asked me how I was feeling, I told her I felt the same as earlier. Thankfully she made the decision to call the High Risk OB and have her come and assess me, when the doctor came in and examined what a surprise when I found out I had made additional cervical change. They decided that for “safety sake” they were going to transfer me downstairs to Labor and Delivery and give me the last round of steroids (for baby’s lungs) and monitor me. At this point I still wasnt too concerned because the change was very minimal and I didn’t “feel” any different. Little did I know that less than 24 hours I would be giving birth to Ethan. After arriving on L&D around 5pm I was given the first injection of steroids (it is a two part series given 24 hrs apart) and placed on the monitor. Mike and Sophie came to visit me, we had dinner and then they went home for the night….around 530 am the next morning I awoke to the most painful contractions and I just felt AWFUL…I called for the nurse and she came in to examine me…yeah, turns out I was 8cm dilated and 100% effaced, she immediately called my OB for instruction on what to do, the OB told her to go ahead and let me labor out because at this point there was no way of stopping it or slowing it down. From this moment on everything went SO fast and was kind of a blur until now. The RN asked if I wanted an epidural (UH YES PLEASE) I had Brayden naturally and although it was a good experience it was NOT something I wanted to repeat :) I was just hoping and praying the CRNA would get there in time to place an epidural! I immediately called Mike and I think I just said “Get to the hospital NOW!!” then I called my WONDERFUL doula Kathryn and pretty much told her the same thing. About 10 mins later the CRNA arrived to do my epidural and while he was placing it Mike arrived and then about 5 minutes later Kathryn arrived. Both Mike and Kathryn were amazing during the rest of the process. Mike was so calm and focused and just without a doubt my rock the entire time (not that he hadn’t been that for the past 10 weeks but this was a different feeling, he was defintely in the “daddy” zone) and Kathryn…OH goodness she was my fairy godmother, helping to breathe and focus during the contractions, doing everything she could to make me comfortable, taking pictures and keeping a timeline for me so I would have a physical record of how everything took place. She prayed with us and was a huge emotional and mental support for BOTH Mike and I. Around 1:15pm I told the RN I was feeling ALOT of “pressure”, It was very painful and breaking through the epidural, she examined me and she examined me…she then said I was complete BUT my water hadn’t broken so we were basically just hanging out waiting for that to happen, about 30 mins later at around 1:47pm my water broke and then things REALLY picked up…the NICU team arrived, the standby OR team (just in case I needed an emergency c-section) arrived, and my OB. Around 2pm I started pushing and 4 minutes and THREE pushes later Ethan arrived in this world, screaming mad and fighting which completely took my breath away and made me realize just what a little fighter this miracle was. Mike got to cut his cord which I am so happy for and then the NICU team whisked him away to the stablization room and Mike went with him. About an half and hour later they brought him back in to see me on his way up to the NICU, even though he was SO tiny and had tubes everywhere I could tell that he was STRONG and was going to show us all that he was going to be ok.

And that’s pretty much it….The last 12 days have been a roller-coaster ride, 12 hour days in the NICU with Ethan, the ups and downs, the lack of sleep and exhaustion BUT every single moment is SO worth it and I am so thankful for Ethan’s health and that he has done so well.

Lastly I just want to mention a few people who REALLY made ALL of this chaos a little bit easier….One of my best friends, Cynthia; thank you for being there for me every single moment and listening to me when I was scared. Kelly, the ONLY roommate I ever had who made me actually miss having a roommate when I got moved to a private room and my new friend. I am so grateful I got to meet you and your amazing little Oliver, I look forward to many playdates and mommy dates with you. Lauren, Lindsey and Jenyfer…thank you for the BEAUTIFUL surprise baby shower that was SO wonderful and uplifting…what great “aunties” Ethan has. Kathryn; thank you for EVERYTHING you did, you are truly amazing and you will always have a special place in our hearts. And Lastly BUT defintely not least. My incredible family who has stepped up in SO many ways and supported us throughout this ordeal.

Happy Birthday Lincoln!!

Posted February 21st, 2012 in Babies, birth, Birth Doula in Fresno, Children, Fresno birth, Fresno Birth Doula, Fresno Birthdays by Kathryn DiPalma

Happy Birthday Lincoln!!! You are the sweetest puppy that I know!

 

Happy Birthday Scarlette!!

Posted February 12th, 2012 in Babies, Birth Doula in Fresno, Fresno birth, Fresno Birth Doula, Fresno Birthdays by Kathryn DiPalma

Happy Birthday Scarlette!

What a sweetheart you are!!

Feb. 12, 2012

Hip Dysplasia Update

Hip Dysplasia can be avoided by properly positioning  your baby. Please read this important information.

IHDI Educational Statement

Hip Health in baby carriers, car seats, swings, walkers, and other equipment

Summary Statement: The Medical Advisory Board of the IHDI does not endorse nor advise against any particular baby carrier or other equipment. The purpose of this educational statement is to provide information about healthy hip development to guide manufacturers in the development of safe designs of infant equipment, and to help parents make informed choices about the devices they use for their babies. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to choose a baby carrier that allows healthy hip positioning, in addition to other safety considerations. When babies are carried, the hips should be allowed to spread apart with the thighs supported and the hips bent.

Please read the entire article at:

http://www.hipdysplasia.org/Developmental-Dysplasia-Of-The-Hip/Prevention/Baby-Carriers-Seats-and-Other-Equipment/Default.aspx

Car Seat Positioning

Not Recommended:

Tight car seats prevent legs from spreading apart.
Better:
Wider car seats provide room for legs to be apart, putting the hips in a better position.

Baby Harnesses

Not Recommended:

Thigh NOT supported to the knee joint. The resulting forces on the hip joint may contribute to hip dysplasia.
Thigh is supported to the knee joint. The forces on the hip joint are minimal because the legs are spread, supported, and the hip is in a more stable position

Baby Slings

Not Recommended:

Baby carriers that force the baby’s legs to stay together may contribute to hip dysplasia.
Better:

Baby carriers should support the thigh and allow the legs to spread to keep the hip in a stable position.