Trying to get pregnant? Make sure you know the bottom line on baby-making—what you don't understand can affect your bub-to-be's health.
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Any day now you’ll be reaching for summer’s first tube of sunscreen. You’re not alone if you’re wondering just what’s in it and, most importantly, if it’s safe for you and your kids to spend the season slathering it all over.
Pregnancy, especially your ﬁrst, upends your life in unexpected ways. Motherhood looms and you’re madly trying to ﬁgure out how to give your baby the healthiest start. So it’s no surprise when you also ﬁnd yourself evaluating the health of the world your infant is about to enter.
It’s called the “nesting instinct”—that sudden urge to tidy, purge, organize and decorate. But getting your home ready for your newborn isn’t just about putting together the crib and washing all those teeny tiny clothes. It also means hunting down the hidden hazardous chemicals that have been shown to affect your baby’s growth and development. Think of it as environmental babyproofing.
There is a battle brewing about a staple in parents' baby-care arsenals: swaddling.
If getting your baby to sleep is a singing, rocking and jiggling process that’s exhausting the whole family, you may want to consider sleep training. “The process involves teaching your baby a new way of going to sleep, usually from being rocked or fed to sleep to falling asleep in her crib,” says Jodi Mindell, Ph.D., author of Sleep Deprived No More (Da Capo Press).
Measles, pertussis (whooping cough) and Hib meningitis—all vaccine-preventable diseases—are making a comeback in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At the time of writing, 2011 was on track to be another record year for measles, a potentially deadly illness; 10 infants died in California in 2010 from pertussis; and five Minnesota children contracted Hib meningitis in 2008, resulting in one death.
Every now and then we hear a news story about a baby that’s kidnapped from a maternity ward. It’s rare, it’s terrifying and it freaks parents and hospital staff out. What happens more frequently is when non-custodial parents or parents who aren’t allowed to take their baby home from the hospital (because of criminal activities or because they’ve lost parenting rights) try to sneak their baby out of the hospital. It’s because of these rare events that hospitals have tight newborn security policies.
The hair salon
When choosing an alternative therapy for your baby, it’s essential to know what really works and is safe for the younger set. “There’s so little scientific evidence for safety or efficacy when it comes to the use of natural therapies for babies,” says New York City pediatrician Stuart Ditchek, M.D., author of Healthy Child, Whole Child (HarperCollins).