Feeling frenzied all the time can take a toll on your fertility. Here’s how you can chillax and boost your odds of baby-making success.
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I guess it’s no small coincidence that I’ve chosen the day after our nation’s biggest food holiday to size up my post-baby body. And let me tell you: It’s not pretty.
The photo you see here is where I’m starting from. Five weeks ago, my belly was in the stratosphere. I wish I were brave enough to post a photo of what it looks like now. Because there really are no words.
But it may have even more benefits:
Proponents say that just five to 10 minutes of gentle touch daily can stimulate your baby’s digestion, boost immunity and prepare her for deeper, more restful sleep. Convinced? Here are some do’s and don’ts from Teresa Kirkpatrick-Ramsey, founder of Baby’s First Massage, a certification program in Dayton, Ohio
Prenatal diet Children of mothers who ate apples and fish during pregnancy were less likely to develop asthma and eczema, according to researchers in the Netherlands and Scotland. Low-mercury varieties of fish with the fewest chemicals include wild Pacific salmon and farm-raised trout, says Anatoly Belilovsky, M.D., a pediatrician specializing in asthma and allergies in Brooklyn, N.Y. There’s also a link between low vitamin D levels in mothers and childhood asthma.
Painful, cracked nipples are most often caused by an incorrect latch, Morton says. So when you breastfeed, make sure your baby is positioned properly: on her side, with your bellies touching. Also ensure that she takes your entire nipple and a good portion of the areola in her mouth. If adjusting your nursing style doesn’t help, consult a lactation expert ASAP; visit the International Lactation Consultant Association at ilca.org for a referral.
Because breast milk is somewhat lacking in vitamin D, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all breastfed babies be given a daily supplement of 400 IU to prevent rickets, a serious bone disease. If your baby is getting some formula—which is fortified with vitamin D—she’d have to drink 27 to 32 ounces a day to meet her daily requirement, so she may or may not need vitamin drops. Ask your pediatrician.
Frequent nursing is the best way to ease engorgement, which typically occurs 72 hours after giving birth and can last up to a week, or until your milk production system adjusts to the job at hand. Meantime, aim to breastfeed eight to 12 times a day, or about every two to three hours, for the first several weeks.
Many a mom has heard that beans, broccoli, chili peppers, garlic and onions should be avoided like the plague while breastfeeding. But if you devoured these foods during pregnancy, they probably won’t bother your baby now, says Ruth Lawrence, M.D., a professor of pediatrics at the University of Rochester School of Medicine in New York and chairwoman of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Section on Breastfeeding.
The oral version of this medicine, Accutane, passes into breast milk and should never be used by nursing moms. The cream versions are known as Retin-A or Renova; like virtually every other topical cream or lotion, their transfer into breast milk is zero, or nearly zero, so they can safely be used.
Parents tend to overtreat kids under 6 with anti-fever medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, giving too much too often and putting their children at risk for liver damage, according to a survey conducted at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
Probably not. It sounds like your baby has a cephalohematoma, a bruise between the skull bones and the overlying tissue. It’s usually caused by a hard delivery, or by a forceps or vacuum delivery, and should heal within a few weeks. As it does, the blood will calcify from the edges first, leading to a volcano-like bump with a soft center.
Ten years ago, Harvey Karp was a Los Angeles-area pediatrician known primarily for his gentle, child-centered approach to parenting. Now, thanks to the phenomenal success of Karp’s The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD and book, his name has entered the national lexicon. Though best known as the way to calm fussy babies, his techniques also play an important role in helping to prevent child abuse and postpartum depression (PPD). “Teach parents how to soothe their babies,” Karp says, “and you eliminate the No. 1 trigger for PPD and shaken baby syndrome: crying.”
Eyes: Some babies have a yellowish discharge or crusting in the eye or on the lid, which is usually caused by a blocked tear duct. This condition can last several months, but take heart—it’s probably more distressing to you than to your baby. Care tip: Wipe the eyes with a cotton ball moistened with warm water or breast milk.
Nose: Babies’ narrow nasal passages tend to fill with mucus. Care tip: Gently unclog nostrils with a nasal bulb syringe.
Some of the biggest thrills for parents come in their baby’s first year of life: the first smile, first “ba ba,” first steps. But after reading the baby books, most new parents know what should be happening when, and many are disappointed, or begin to worry, if their children seem to be behind the curve. Such anxiety generally is misplaced.