Archive | Pregnancy and Newborns

Baby Has a Secret: Medical Conditions that Your Infant Can’t Tell You About

Babies are a melting pot of all things cute and cuddly, that is, until they get sick. Then you never know what to do with them. When your precious little one becomes ill, she can’t tell you what hurts, where and how it started. She won’t be able to say what could make it all better, so you’re pretty much left to try and err. Even doctors have several diagnoses, especially when the only symptom is incessant crying.

If you have a child who is under two years old, you may need to play detective to know what’s wrong with him or her. Here are the most commonly missed ailments in babies and toddlers, and how to make sure you are getting your little one treated for the right condition:

Strep Throat

If a five – year old had a fever and said his throat hurt, his pediatrician would most likely test him for strep, but if a baby had a fever and a red throat, it would probably be another case. Strep throat is not very common among babies and toddlers, but if someone in the house has them, they can catch it. A reddish throat and a fever can be symptoms of other conditions, but it’s worth asking your pediatrician to do a strep test or a throat swab, just to rule out strep throat. This condition may seem like a common childhood infection, but when it is not managed well with antibiotics, it could descend down and cause joint pain and even heart damage.

Head Injury

They say babies are created with the capacity to survive minor falls, bumps, slips and little accidents. But then again, trauma to the head is an entirely different story. Parents should know where to draw the line between an innocent, harmless fall, and one that could cause head trauma.

Here’s the deal: If your little one falls and bumps his head, and you think rushing him to the doctor is impulsive, you will need to observe him closely for little symptoms of injury to the head. The most common sign is projectile vomiting. It’s not a spit up, but vomit that’s almost horizontal from his mouth to your shirt. This is actually caused by the sudden rise of pressure in your baby’s head. This sign alone is enough reason to bring him to the hospital.

You will be given instructions to wake your baby every couple hours. Dropping consciousness, difficulty rousing, or lethargy are also signs of head injury. If you notice these, you should definitely be on your way to the hospital. The worse sign is a seizure, which you may not be prepared for at home.

At the ER, your baby will be assessed by taking your baby’s health history, particularly the fall, palpating his skull, and shining a penlight into his eyes. If these are questionable, a CAT scan may be ordered. In fact, if your baby had already showed any of the symptoms above, a CAT scan would be the best way to go.

GERD

Spitting up is a normal event, especially during your baby’s first few months. Her digestive system is just starting to learn how to hold all that milk in. Sometimes, spitting up combined with non-stop screaming and body curling (a sign she has stomach pain) can be dismissed by the pediatrician as a harmless colic, a condition when baby swallows in too much air.

However, it may actually be a case of gastroesophaseal reflux disease, a condition wherein the sphincter that keeps the stomach tightly sealed after food has entered it does not work, so the food that’s mixed with digestive acids regurgitate back and upwards, causing intense pain and of course, spitting up. It may not seem like a big problem, however, babies who have GERD sooner or later manifest signs of poor growth and development. That is because majority of what they consume gets spitted up and is not absorbed for nutrients. If ignored, the constant rising of acids back to the esophagus can cause erosion, which means more pain and discomfort for your baby. Mild cases of GERD can usually be managed by thickening the baby’s milk with powdered rice, or by keeping his head elevated when he sleeps. Non-acidic foods and small frequent feedings also help.

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Baby Needs a Break: How to Deal with Infant Stress

Babies are often misunderstood – besides their lack of oral language skills, their facial expressions can be hard to read, and you never know what they’re thinking when they’re cooing to themselves or staring at the ceiling. A common misconception about babies is that they have no emotional life, that they are purely driven by instincts: they cry when they’re wet or hungry, and smile when they see their mommy walk in the room. In short, they are impervious to feelings like anger, frustration, disappointment and anxiety. Or are they?

A small infant experiences something entirely new every day. What seems like a routine for an adult may seem like a world of wonder to a baby as he or she explores all the new details. Brightly colored walls, striking lights, unfamiliar scents, strange sounds, funny-looking people, all that playful tugging and pinching at her pudgy little body – all these can over-stimulate a young child, just like a major financial crisis can turn an adult’s world over.

According to Carrie Contey, coauthor of the book Calms: A Guide to Soothing Your Baby, different sights, sounds, smells, and textures everyday can over-stimulate a baby, making him or her feel threatened and lost. When this happens, he or she can either become withdrawn and apathetic, or, he or she can make everyone’s lives miserable with incessant screaming and crying.

A little one’s body has yet to learn to adjust and manage these details more quickly, but until then, he or she should be able to take a break when needed so he or she can go back to feeling safe, protected and loved. Here is how you can help:    

Read the cues.

Even as your baby is unable to verbalize his or her feelings, you would be able to notice little actions that tell you that he or she is close to getting stressed. Here’s an example: if your infant gets into a lively game of peek-a-boo with you, and then eventually doesn’t smile anymore and looks away often, it’s time to back off and give her space. When an infant turns away, it means he or she is getting too much stimulation that is stressing him or her out. Don’t keep trying to start the game when the baby isn’t interested. If he or she wants to start playing again, you will know when he or she makes more eye contact, smiles or coos, signaling a playful mood.

  Take the stressor away, or take her away from it.  

It may take some time to read that stresses your infant out, but usually, it’s anything that can be too loud, too bright or too rough for him or her. For example, you’re having a party and there are just too many people in the room. The chatty noise is all commotion to your little one, and he or she may start to cry and get fussy. Before your baby becomes unmanageable, take her away from it all – bring her upstairs where no one is, and dim the lights. Change her into her favorite clothes, and hold her close to you until she is soothed and relaxed.

 Take a break.

When you are stressed, it clearly shows in your mood and disposition, no matter how happy-faced you try to be when with your baby. Infants can feel when something is not right, and they can become overwhelmed with their parent’s stress. Sit down and relax. Hold your baby in your arms and gently talk to her so she knows you’re calm.

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Baby’s Bottom Line: All about Diaper Rash

There are a lot of things to love about your baby, but one of the most comforting features a baby has is his or her skin. Nothing can compare to the softness of a baby’s skin – it is ultra-smooth and supple. However, it’s also one of the most sensitive parts of your baby’s body. Imagine how your baby has been protected and nourished in your womb for nine months. During infancy, his or her thin and delicate skin is suddenly exposed to all types of irritants and has to learn to adjust.  This article is about one of the most common skin problems babies have – diaper rashes.  While fairly common, diaper rashes are 100% avoidable and can be easily relieved.

What is a diaper rash?

Your baby’s skin is so delicate that any moisture left on the skin for too long can become an irritant. A diaper rash occurs when a soiled diaper has been left enough to cause an inflammation in baby’s skin, and this can occur is as little as thirty minutes. A diaper rash develops because the moisture from the soiled diaper makes a good breeding ground for microorganisms, and the fabric of the wet diaper causes friction against baby’s sensitive skin.

How do I know it’s a diaper rash?

Your first clue that a diaper rash has developed is when the skin irritation occurs around baby’s bottom area.  It may initially appear like tiny red dots. The skin may appear irritated and reddish, and it is typically warm to the touch. If the diaper is left longer, the rash may spread on to the inguinal area (in between his or her legs), on the vulva (for females) or on the scrotum (for males). This can cause immense pain to baby and can be enough reason to cry relentlessly.

 When are diaper rashes most likely to occur?

A diaper rash can occur at anytime a soiled diaper is left on touching the baby’s skin. However, rashes may become more frequent when there are dietary changes made. For example, the bacteria in baby’s poop when she is breastfed are different from when she is fed formula, so her skin may react more sensitively to altered waste. This can also happen when baby makes her transition from milk to semi-solid and solid foods. Sometimes, it can also be caused by a change in a breastfeeding mom’s diet. Diaper rashes are more common with babies who have loose watery stools or diarrhea.

If a diaper rash happens, what can I do?

The first thing that baby needs is thorough but gentle cleaning. Wash baby with warm water, or wipe the area very gently with a baby wipes or a soft washcloth. After the area has been cleaned dry by patting baby’s bottom with a towel. Never rub the inflamed skin. Let the bottom air-dry, and don’t put on a diaper just yet.

Ask your pediatrician about a zinc oxide medicated treatment that is gentle enough to treat diaper rash effectively and soothe the area quickly. It is necessary to use medication with this component because it forms a thin, protective layer that serves as a barrier between the skin and diaper.

When putting on a new diaper, remember to keep it loose so that air can circulate in the area, and there won’t be as much friction. To prevent future instances of diaper rashes, make sure you check frequently and change the diaper as soon as it is soiled.

 

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Caring For Your Baby’s Umbilical Cord

When the baby is still inside the womb of the mother, the umbilical cord is the one responsible for making sure that all the nutrients and oxygen needed by the baby are delivered to him. After the delivery of the baby, the umbilical cord which connects the mother and the child will be cut and this portion will form a stump which is in need of care for one to two weeks until the time it separates from the baby’s belly button.

Caring for the baby’s umbilical cord is essential in order to ensure that no bacteria could get inside it which might cause infection, especially if it is still on the process of healing.

 How to Take Care of the Baby’s Stump

After cutting the umbilical cord, the stump, which represents the remainder of the umbilical cord will eventually dry up, and fall off from the baby’s belly button. For the meantime that the stump has not yet dried, it is important for the mother to take good care of it. Below are some of the suggestions on how to take care of a baby’s umbilical cord:

 The Stump Should Always be Clean

In the past, parents take care of the umbilical cord by cleaning it with alcohol on a piece of cotton. This is done after every change in diaper because it is said to prevent germs and harmful bacteria to infect the baby. But according to a recent study, experts now claim that in order for the stump to heal faster, it should be left alone. They also recommended that the stump should only be cleaned once it becomes really dirty. And instead of alcohol, they recommend using warm water and soap to clean the area. After cleaning the stump, it should be dried with an absorbent cloth. It can also be blow dried using paper.

 The Stump Should Always be Dry

Proper circulation of air is the key in making the stump dry all the time. Keeping the stump dry will promote faster healing and falling off from the baby’s skin. When your baby wets his diapers, you should change him quickly so as not to induce infection or irritation.

Bathing the Baby with Stump

Experts recommend giving the baby with stump a sponge bath until the stump is separated from him. This will also promote faster healing and detachment of the stump from the baby’s body.

 Let It Be

Leave the stump alone and let it detach itself from the child’s body on its own. Even if you are dying to pull it off because it looks awkward hanging only by a thread, you should control yourself to not do it. By pulling it off, you might injure the belly button of the baby which could lead to infection.

 Infections

Infections on the stump can be caused by poor caring and cleaning techniques. Once you smell a foul odor from the discharge, there is yellow pus oozing out of the stump, or if it does not stop bleeding, or there is a red swelling around the umbilical cord, you should immediately call the doctor and seek help.

  

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What Your Baby’s Diaper Can Mean Health-Wise

Like most parents, you probably don’t spend seconds looking at your baby’s doo-doo. Oh, just the stench is enough to make you run and hide. The diaper comes off, gets rolled, and thrown away faster than you can say ‘poo’.  After all, it’s just waste – it isn’t important. Or isn’t it?

The truth is, if you want to learn more about your baby’s general health, particularly his or her digestive processes, you will want to take a peek at a soiled diaper before rolling it up for disposal. Here are some common stool characteristics, and what they mean:

Tar-like, sludgy dark green: Expect this stool 24 hours after a baby is born. This is what’s known as meconium, a newborn’s first stool. It is usually very thick and sludge-like but does not have any odor at all. This stool comes out even before the newborn has fed. Its green tint is brought about by the bile from the liver. If a baby’s poo is still dark green and sludgy after a week, get him or her checked.

Mushy, mustard-yellow:  If a baby is exclusively breast-fed, his or her stools would transition from green (meconium) to a light yellow, similar to the color of creamed corn. The consistency is mushy, not exactly watery, but never too thick. The smell of a breast-fed baby’s poop isn’t foul – it is slightly sour-smelling, but not putrid. These characteristics mean that the baby is healthy.

Tan and soft: These are the characteristics of a healthy baby’s poop if he or she is formula-fed. The poop is slightly more solid than that of a breastfed-baby’s, and it doesn’t smell as nice. The worry many parents have with formula-fed babies is that they become constipated. You will also be able to notice signs of constipation – the baby making extra effort to poop, and harder stools come out.  

 

Green and watery or mucus-filled: If your baby’s stools are of this nature, then he or she may have a stomach infection such as amoebiasis. The stools will have a very fishy odor, and it’s most likely that your baby will be feverish and fussy.

Red and loose: If your baby’s poo is red, don’t panic right away. Do a little backtrack and see what he or she had last. Sometimes, juices, jellies and other red-colored food can make baby poop red. Reddish poop with mucus strings may signal your baby’s reaction to something he or she ate. It may also be indicative of an infection or an intestinal bleeding. This must be seen by a doctor right away.

Black: Again, some foods can turn poop into a particular color. Oreos, licorice, blueberries and the like can all alter the normal poop color into black, but if this isn’t a possibility, it may signal a gastrointestinal condition which needs to be determined by the doctor.

White: White stools are a medical emergency. Poop is generally yellow because of the flow of bile from the liver to the intestines. If your baby’s stools are white, it would mean that the liver is sick, or there’s a blockage that prevents bile from reaching the intestines.

 

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Health Benefits of Yoga in Children

Exercise is very much important in a person’s life no matter how old he may be. That is why even as a child, practicing an exercise routine is encouraged for the health benefits it gives. Starting healthy habits early on in life helps prevent diseases from hitting the body. And engaging your child to exercise will serve as one of the greatest teachings you have imparted as a parent.

One of the best forms of exercise that a lot of people have been engaged to is yoga. Yoga is a form of both physical and mental exercise that originally came from India. Because of the undeniable benefits it gives the body, yoga has been practiced to most countries in the world including the West.

Recognizing the advantages that yoga gives the health, many parents want their children to be practicing that form of exercise too. Just like adults, children get a lot of gains from doing yoga. Here are some of the health benefits of yoga in children:

  • Children practicing yoga helps children maintain a healthy weight. Now a day’s childhood obesity is very rampant and it makes children at risk to develop diseases early on. Diseases like diabetes mellitus that normally affects adults are now affecting children because of obesity. Exercising like yoga will help prevent your child from being obese and acquiring those diseases during their childhood.
  • Yoga teaches children the value of balance. It helps child decipher when he is already full so it helps promote healthier eating habits.
  • Yoga is good for children who are suffering from asthma because it helps strengthen the entire body including the lungs.
  • Yoga can be a great outlet for children to be relieved from the different stresses that they are in. School can be very tiring for children especially when there are so many pressures that get on the way. Practicing yoga will help your child handle these stresses well so that he can have a more relaxed state of mind needed for him to function well in school and his other social activities.
  • Because of the value of balance that it teaches. Yoga is very good in helping children to battle from depression. Many children are depressed at an early age because of parents failed marriage and peer pressure that is very common in school. Yoga will teach your child to become well rounded individuals as his mental health is developed.
  • Children who are diagnosed to have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are encouraged to do yoga because the inner balance that it teaches help the child to become behaved, concentrate on activities, and have improved physical health.
  • Yoga will help the child be healthy as it promotes proper blood circulation to all parts of the body.

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Conjoined Twins

Every mother dreams of having a healthy and normal pregnancy. With this, they also expect to have a baby that is both healthy and normal as well. In preparation for the coming of a new baby in their world, a mother does everything she needs to do in order to give her baby all the best until the time of her delivery. But there are some complications during pregnancy that cannot be determined and is out of the mother’s hands, and one of them is giving birth to multiple babies. When it comes to multiple pregnancies, there is one type which is a phenomenon which happens with 1 in 100,000 births, and this is delivering conjoined twins.

What do Conjoined Twins Mean?

Conjoined twins, more popularly known as Siamese twins are identified as identical twins wherein the bodies of the two babies are joined even before they are born. Statistics reveal that this occurrence is very rare, happening once in 100,000 deliveries. Based on studies, the incidence of conjoined twins is higher in African and Southwest Asian countries. Approximately 50% of conjoined twins are stillborn, while a small percentage of the babies born with the condition are diagnosed with abnormalities which are fatal. In total, the mortality ration of conjoined twins is estimated to be at 1:4.  

Origin of Conjoined Twins

Since the first incidence of delivering conjoined twins, medical experts have been trying to figure out the reason for having conjoined twins. At present, there have been two theories for this phenomenon, but these two contradict each other. The first theory of conjoined twins which is also considered the most acceptable one is the theory of fission. This theory simply explains that conjoined twins happen when the fertilized egg partially splits.

The next theory in conjoined twins is the theory of fusion. This theory claims that there is complete separation of the fertilized eggs. However, stem cells which are in constant search for like cells locate similar cells and fuse both babies.

Characteristics of Conjoined Twins

When inside the mother, these conjoined twins have characteristics which can be a basis for diagnosis of experts. Conjoined twins are diagnosed to be sharing only one amniotic sac, placenta and chorion. However, it has to be noted that these symptoms or characteristics can also be diagnosed with other pregnancy complications such as monozygotic twins.  Conjoined twins have many types, and these depend on which particular part of the body is attached to the other baby. These conjoined twins can be attached from their face all the way to their feet.

Surgery for Conjoined Twins

One of the most common treatments for conjoined twins would be surgery. This means that the babies will undergo separation, and this operation could be fatal for one or both babies. The complexity of every surgery, as well as its risks for one or both babies depends as to which part of the bodies are attached to each other. In most cases, the most dangerous operations are those who have conjoined heads. Mostly, there is court intervention with every surgery for conjoined twins. Also, medical experts state that the twins have a higher chance of survival when left at their current state.

 

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Massage Therapy Benefits Infants and Children

For adults these days, one way of indulging the sense is to ask someone for a massage. A massage, most of the time, will need a great amount of time from 45 to 90 minutes as well as money. However, if massage therapy is employed in our children and babies, it does not need to be costly or time-consuming. Thankfully, parents as well as caregivers can easily train themselves in massaging even the most fragile parts of a baby. The benefits reaped are really amazing; thus, even doctors and nurses are recommending the procedure.

Foremost, massage exemplifies the use of the sense of touch; the reason why it is also dubbed as touch therapy. As recognized by many, touch conveys one’s love and affection. It also communicates warmth; therefore, apart from foods and sleep, massage brings about an assurance, a sense of safety and security. The therapy may also serve as a bonding moment between the child and the parents and since it is scientifically proven, parents do not have to worry about any untoward incidents associated with the massage. Over time, the bond will certainly become stronger.

One of the prime advantages of massage suggests that premature babies and those that are exposed to cocaine gain a relative amount of weight. Additionally these babies also benefit from an enhanced motor and sensory development. Less anxiety is displayed and interestingly, Cortisol, a stress more hormone is significantly lower. In turn, the decreased levels of Cortisol results in fewer outbursts and fidgeting. Sleeplessness is therefore, less of a problem.

Through the use of stroking and kneading in specific areas of the body like the face and upper trunk, the extremities and the lower trunk; experts agree that the breathing of babies and children are also improved. This particularly applies to those suffering from asthma. Through the studies, experts as recognized by the American Academy of Pediatrics are convinced that children who are massaged are able to have better facilitated breathing as compared to those who were not massaged.

Touch therapy is also an enjoyable activity where the baby or the child can be very receptive of the carer’s touch. It is said that even the immune system, as this part is still immature amongst children and babies, is also functioning better for those who experience massaging. During the course of the therapy, blood sugar and insulin levels are also greatly controlled. Accordingly, food compliance and regulation is more effective.

Another striking effect derived from massage is that it also drives away skin disorders specifically eczema. Bear in mind that the skin of our precious children are more sensitive so any non-invasive and simple procedure will surely be worth the try.

Ultimately, with massage therapy, the child-parent interaction is greatly enhanced. The carer becomes more sensible to the feelings of the child. This will prove to be a long term benefit because as the child grows and when he is ready to explore his own world, the caring touch given to him will surely be reflected in the caring ways he will share to the rest of the world.

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