All posts by Kinedu

My baby has swallowed something, should I be concerned?

At this stage of your baby’s development, his mobility has increased immensely. He’s probably starting to crawl and wants to grab any object that is in sight. Babies want to explore and discover their world and they do it in the best way they know: taking objects to their mouth. They discover textures and shapes this way, not to mention taste! Knowing that babies are highly mobile, it is very important to child-proof your home and verify that there aren’t any harmful objects at your little one’s reach.

For babies, there is no object that is off limits. If they see an object that gets their attention and is within their reach, they will take it whether it is dangerous or not. At this age, they can’t discriminate between safe and dangerous objects. That’s why it is recommendable for parents to “walk in their babies shoes” by crawling around the house and identifying and removing any possible danger that might be in their reach.

Sometimes, despite our effort to eliminate dangerous objects, our babies cleverly find objects that we don’t see. The objects that our children find can be dangerous, like batteries, sharp objects or other objects small enough to be swallowed, but large enough to obstruct their breathing. When swallowed, some small objects like coins or small marbles, go directly to the stomach without causing much trouble. Larger objects can cause damage to the esophagus, stomach and intestines, or cause obstruction in breathing.

Is it stuck?

Swallowing small objects must be evacuated through feces regularly within 2 days, but it can take up to 4 to 5 days.

Watch out for these signs that the object could not go through:

• Chest or stomach pain

• Your baby can’t drink or eat

• Vomiting

• Fever

• Excess salivation

Contact emergency paramedics if your baby:

• Has trouble breathing or crying

• Has trouble swallowing

• Fainted

• Is drooling or salivating to much

• Is breathing loudly or making a whistling sound

Take your child to the doctor he has swallowed a dangerous object such as a battery, sharp item, or medication.

Your guide to choosing a pediatrician

If you have not yet chosen a pediatrician, here’s a list of the six most important things we consider you should take in account.

1. Ask for references from friends and family because they can give you their opinion and share personal experiences.

2. Compare between doctors who you might be interested in, having at least three options is an excellent idea.

3. Check their credentials.

4. Ask them for an interview and keep in mind to:

• Talk about a subject that is important to you, such as breastfeeding.

• Ask the questions that are most relevant to you.

• Check availability in his office.

• Observe his interaction with your child.

• Discuss the frequency of your appointments. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, pediatricians must check children at the first, second, fourth, sixth, ninth, and twelfth months of age. They also recommend that babies be checked at both 18 and 24 months of age and once a year after that.

• Ask if he works in a group or alone.

• Ask if he will be available if an emergency arises.

• Talk to him/her about how you can communicate outside the office; if he has an email address where you can write or separate phone to call.

5. Decide whether you and the pediatrician bonded after the first appointment. It’s crucial to feel secure and that you trust your pediatrician.

6. Location might also be a factor to consider. Check how far his office is from your residence.

Remember it’s important to choose a pediatrician that truly values your child’s health and development. This way you’ll feel secure knowing that your baby is in good hands.

Myths about vaccines and autism

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) encompass a wide range of symptoms, skills and levels of disability that an individual may have. This disability falls into the category of developmental disorders and it is caused by differences in brain functioning. This spectrum is characterized by a lack of communication and socialization skills, as well as repetitive and stereotyped behaviors. People who have it communicate, behave, and learn differently, developing from an early age.

The information that the media spreads about vaccines and autism causes a lot of fear and doubt among parents. We may hear many opinions, but the important thing is to know if they are backed by scientific evidence or not. Research has shown that vaccines and autism are not related. Within the last two decades, a wide range of studies in various countries found that vaccines are not associated with autism.

In 2013 the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention of Diseases) conducted a study in which they proved that vaccines don’t cause autism. Since 2003, the CDC has conducted many studies that reject the association between vaccines and autism. The medical journal Pediatrics has also conducted studies that didn’t find any link between the effects of vaccines and the risk of developing autism. Many more research has been conducted around the world and the evidence and the scientific community agree that vaccines don’t cause autism.

My baby has Jaundice, what should I do?

If you notice that your baby has a yellow appearance both in his skin and the whites of his eyes, it might be a sign of jaundice. Jaundice is a common condition in infants that occurs when there is too much bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is a yellow substance produced by the body to replace old red blood cells. The liver is responsible for processing and disposing bilirubin through feces. Now, since your baby’s liver is still developing, it can’t eliminate everything that it accumulates in the blood causing the yellow look. Jaundice may appear since the second or third day of life or after the first week. You will notice it first in your baby’s face and eventually the color will spread and appear in his legs.

Why does jaundice occur?

There are several reasons why this may occur. For example:

• High level of red blood cells.

• Lack of important proteins.

• The immaturity of the liver.

• The intestine reabsorbs bilirubin before it’s eliminated.

What are the types of jaundice?

• Physiological: The most common type. It appears between the second and fourth day of birth and it disappears when your baby is one to two weeks old.

• Premature: Usually occurs in premature babies due to the immaturity in their development. It must be treated soon to avoid complications.

• Associated with breastfeeding: It can occur when your baby is not getting enough milk.

• Associated with breast milk: It is rare but some babies develop jaundice due to substances found in breast milk. Usually, they get better after the third or twelfth week.

• Blood type incompatibility: It may occur when your baby has a different blood type than you. By having a different blood type, the mother’s body can create antibodies that destroy her baby’s red blood cells, creating an accumulation of bilirubin at birth.

If you notice that your baby’s skin is turning yellow, he has a high temperature, or that the jaundice he already had is spreading, contact your doctor to determine an accurate diagnosis and necessary treatment.

The great benefits of breast milk

Breast milk is a great gift of nature and a universal aspect of motherhood. Not only does it provide adequate and personalized nutrition for your little one, but it also helps to strengthen the emotional bonds between you and your baby; providing complete nutrition in every way.

The composition of breast milk is ideal for babies, since it reduces the risk of acquiring diseases and infections and contains all the nutrients that a baby’s brain requires to achieve its potential! By consuming your milk, the eyes, heart, intestines and virtually every other organ in your baby’s body receives the benefits to work at their best potential. That is not all, breast milk contains antibodies and prebiotics that help with a good digestion and protect against gastrointestinal diseases such as diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting. It also prevents ear infections, pneumonia, meningitis, the development of allergic reactions, obesity, type 1 and 2 diabetes, childhood leukemia, and more. That’s just wonderful! Breast milk also helps promote bonding, protects the body from disease and helps with physical development, as its consumption contributes to the appropriate growth of your baby’s jaw and facial muscles.

As a mom, you also get great benefits from breastfeeding. Postpartum recovery is faster, helping you lose the weight you gained during pregnancy and contributing to the quick return of the uterus to its normal size. Furthermore, your hormonal health improves, it lowers the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, and it prevents postpartum depression. It is highly convenient, as it is ready whenever you need to feed your baby and it’s always at the right temperature. Also, we can’t leave out that it is affordable, since there is no monetary cost and given its nature, its use is eco-friendly.

As we can see, breastfeeding is beneficial for both you and your baby, psychologically and physically! For this reason, the World Health Organizations recommends that our babies should consume breast milk exclusively during their first 6 months of life and then along with complementary foods at least until 24 months of age. Though every mother’s decision is personal and nobody has the right to put pressure on you to do something you don’t want to do, breastfeeding has so many benefits that it is definitely worth trying.

 

My diet while I am breastfeeding

During breastfeeding, it’s important to take care of our diet and eat a variety of nutritious foods. However, is following a special diet necessary?

According to nutrition experts, a perfect diet is not required. You just need to find a nutritional balance that helps you and your baby get the necessary nutrients. Likewise, don’t try a low-calorie diet; you will need lots of energy to produce milk. In fact, one of the benefits of breastfeeding is that it can help women lose the weight gained during pregnancy! Furthermore, following a good diet will help you produce more milk and feel good when nursing.

You are probably wondering if there are any food restrictions – and luckily, there are no forbidden foods! However, each baby is different and what affects your little one may not affect other babies. It is widely known that the foods that cause more discomfort are gas producers, such as broccoli, cabbage, lettuce and others, including food that affects the flavor of milk, like garlic, onions, and some spices. You don’t have to avoid the consumption of these foods, just pay attention to what you eat and if you notice a pattern of cramping, gas or some discomfort in your baby that doesn’t stop, consult your pediatrician. He will most likely recommend avoiding the consumption of certain foods to see if any changes occur. With this in mind, you will be able to verify your baby’s reactions when you eat specific foods.

You may also have heard that you cannot eat fish during lactation.  Do not worry about it. The benefits of fish consumption on health outweigh the risks. Just try not to eat fish on a daily basis. The only exception to take into account is fish rich in mercury such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish. If you consume them habitually, you should eliminate them from your diet during and even after breastfeeding. However, any other fish low on mercury can be included in your diet.

After nine months of not having consumed any alcohol, you probably want to know if you are allowed to drink while breastfeeding. The answer is yes! You can have a glass of wine, a beer or a drink without a problem, even up to two servings. However, it is better to wait some time before breastfeeding, in order to have your body free of alcohol. Generally, two hours is a convenient time for a serving to be cleared from your body, four hours in the case of two alcoholic beverages. After that, you are ready to breastfeed. Meanwhile, you can always use previously stored milk.

What about caffeine consumption? There is no problem at all! As long as you consume it in moderation, it’s fine. You can enjoy your daily coffee, tea or soft drink occasionally. Just as long as you limit your caffeine intake to no more than two or three servings, you and your baby will be fine!

Is extended breastfeeding for me?

Deciding when to stop breastfeeding is a highly personal issue. You and your child know the best time, nobody else does. Even though your baby is probably already an expert at eating solids and breast milk is not the primary source of nutrition, it continues to provide energy, vitamins, and antibodies that strengthen your child’s immune system. Furthermore, breastfeeding remains a great source of comfort and security. Despite the fact that children’s excessive dependence due to breastfeeding has been criticized, research has shown the opposite. You may continue breastfeeding to reassure your baby when sick, altered, after a fall or just because you want to keep doing so. The World Health Organization recommends continued breastfeeding along with complementary foods up to two years or beyond.

Dealing with criticism

People always seem to have an opinion about everything, breastfeeding during the first year, or even after 6 months is not an exception. Don’t let criticism affect you. Breastfeeding is a natural act full of tenderness and love! The best indicator to know that you are right is your own instinct, your partner’s support, but not the views of others. Likewise, if you feel that breastfeeding doesn’t affect your child’s social growth or interfere between you and your partner, just keep on breastfeeding.

Experts suggest that when your child begins to talk, you can create a secret word that only you and your baby know. In that way, when your child wants to be breastfed, your little one can say this word. You can also decide to only breastfeed at home, that way your child will know that when you are out he will drink milk out of his own bottle, and not from mom’s breast. Don’t forget to listen to instinct and think about what is best for you and your little one. It is a fact that you’ll have to hear some unsolicited advice or opinions from family or close friends. Listen to them and give your thanks for their concern. Use your sense of humor to lighten up the conversation, and remember that at the end of the day, you will decide what is best for your little one!

What to do when breast pain occurs?

Breastfeeding for the first time is something entirely new! It’s an experience that takes practice and requires technique, patience, and perseverance to be successful. Moreover, even though it is completely natural, that doesn’t mean it “comes naturally” for everyone – it requires learning for both you and your baby. It is so new and different that you may even experience some pain and strange feelings at first. Don’t worry, that’s completely normal. As time passes by, you’ll notice it’ll get easier. At first, when you start breastfeeding, you may feel cramps in your lower abdomen; that is mainly due to the contraction of the uterus as it gets back to its normal size. Now, despite being aware that breastfeeding may hurt, you shouldn’t feel any pain after 30 to 60 seconds as long as your baby suckles correctly. Should you keep feeling pain after a minute is over, stop breastfeeding for a moment and then change your baby’s position. Just remember to wait until he stops sucking before removing him from your breast. Don’t forget to gently run your fingers through his gums to get him to release your nipple. This way you can prevent hurt and sore nipples. When you change your baby’s position, make sure that your areola is completely in his mouth and he is not just grasping your nipple, because this may cause you a lot of pain.

Now, if you feel pain in your breast for any other reason aside your baby’s grasp, it can be due to the following causes:

• Mastitis: an infection that presents itself with flu symptoms, including fever and fatigue, as well as sporadic chills and inflammation, red swollen body parts, hot, hard or sensitive breast areas.

• Yeast infection: burning sensation or deep pain in the breasts or nipples that surge during or after lactation, and which doesn’t stop after changing your baby’s feeding position.

What can you do to prevent pain and infection?

• Try to rest. Being exhausted lowers your immune system and can make you more prone to infections.

• Avoid washing your nipples with soap. The body is self-lubricating and there is no need for soap, so just rinse them with water.

• After bathing, dry your breasts gently, patting instead of rubbing the towel on them.

• Let your breasts dry thoroughly after feeding.

• Don’t let your milk ducts get clogged. If you’re in pain, you can carefully remove some milk with your hand or by using a breast pump to remove the additional milk.

• Place cold towels or an ice pack on your breast to help reduce the swelling.

• Take a warm shower or put a warm towel over your chest before breastfeeding.

• Try different breastfeeding positions, that way you can stimulate the whole breast and find the most comfortable position for you.

What you do to ease the pain?

• Take a hot bath, use hot towels and massage the affected breast with a firm movement toward the nipple. This can be done while you apply heat or during feeding. After this, we recommend lactating.

• You can also apply a cold towel or ice pack on the affected breast to reduce the swelling.

• Finally, take ibuprofen to reduce inflammation and pain, be careful not to exceed the suggested dose. If the pain persists, contact your doctor.

What to do if breastfeeding is not for me?

Although the major medical associations recommend breastfeeding as the best choice of exclusive feeding for the first 6 months of life, this is not always the best option for all moms. In this case, there are commercial formulas that provide adequate nutrition for infants and can meet your requirements since they contain the following advantages:

• Comfort: The father and other relatives are able to help moms in sharing the responsibility of feeding the baby.

• Flexibility and convenience: Mom can have more freedom to go out and transfer the responsibility to another caregiver, allowing her to plan ahead and organize her time.

• Time: The formula digests slower than breast milk so you have more time between each feeding.

• No dietary restrictions: Mom doesn’t have to worry about the type of food she consumes.

Now, like breastfeeding, bottle-feeding involves several cons that must be kept in mind:

• Organization and preparation: It is important to have fresh formula available for use. If needed, you have to carry bottles and formula when the baby is out and about. Finally, if the milk is not at the right temperature for your baby, it has to be heated under warm water or be taken preheated.

• Cost: Generally, formulas are costly and have an impact on the family economy.

• It is not tailor-made for your baby; formula can’t change according to the needs of every baby as breast milk does. Furthermore, it doesn’t contain all the antibodies that breast milk provides.

Despite the pros and cons of using formula, the final decision is yours and you know what is best for you and your baby! Breast milk can provoke physical or emotional difficulties, so if you decide that formula is for you, great! Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about it. Furthermore, there are cases where it is not physically possible to breastfeed or your baby can’t digest breast milk.  This doesn’t mean that you can’t give your baby the same love, nutrition, or affection he deserves. With the use of formula, you will be able to create an affectionate bond with your baby and assure good nutrition. Just remember to talk to your doctor so that you find the type and brand that best meets the needs of your baby and family.

What will happen if I produce too much milk?

Some mothers are able to produce more milk than their children can tolerate or need. This is due to a strong flow of milk, which comes out quickly and with great force. This situation can be common during the first weeks of breastfeeding while your hormones are being regularized. However, some moms’ strong flow may extend beyond the first few weeks. This can be a bit irritating; however, the good news is that your body is producing a lot of food to be consumed by your little one. Now, if this happens, and you don’t see any improvement, it’s important to look for help to learn how to manage the output of milk and at the same time check your baby’s reaction to the intense milk flow.

How do I know if my milk flow is very strong?

Your baby will:

• Present nausea.

• Experience choking and coughing.

• Have colics.

• Move away from the chest.

• Press your nipple, trying to stop the milk flow, causing you pain.

• Cry or fuss during nursing time.

• Want to eat frequently.

• Present reflux.

• Have explosive and green feces.

In you:

• If your baby separates from your breast, milk will keep coming out quickly without control.

• Your breasts will be overfilled so you feel congestion all the time.

• Milk will come out without control when nursing.

• You will feel your chest milk ducts are obstructed.

What to do in order to contain the strong flow of milk?

• Before breastfeeding, extract some milk to reduce its output speed. Milk is extracted manually or with the help of a breast pump. Just try not to take out a great amount of milk so that further production is not stimulated.

• Milk is made up of two parts. The first part is dense in lactose; the remaining one contains a greater quantity of fat. Try to give your baby both parts because if he only drinks the first one, he may experience colic.

• Try not to extract milk between feedings, do it only if you feel discomfort. Just verify that you don’t have clogged milk ducts in order to prevent infections.

• Nurse from one single breast for a couple of feedings and then switch to the other. Don’t extract milk from the breast you are not using.

• Look for an alternate nursing position. Sit your baby facing you, lean back slightly and place his head somewhat high on your breast. Try different positions to stimulate the whole breast.

• Pause and burp your baby frequently.

Most likely, the over-production of milk will be managed as your baby grows. Also, your baby will learn to tolerate the flow of milk or get used to it. Now, if you notice that none of the above help, and you’ve given it some time, it is better to contact your specialist for evaluation. He or she will advise an appropriate treatment.