Your Baby

Transitioning From Breastfeeding to Bottle-feeding


There are as many reasons as there are mothers for deciding to transition from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding. It doesn’t matter what the reason may be, making the change is a difficult choice for some mothers.

“Every mother experiences mixed emotions about weaning and usually feels some sadness about bringing nursing to an end,” says Kathleen Huggins, RN, author of The Nursing Mother's Companion.

Huggins offers several tips for mothers who have made the choice to switch.

At around 6 months (some parents start even earlier), babies are beginning to eat solid foods. Since these foods are more filling, many babies may want less breast milk. If you’re considering switching to the bottle, this is a good time to introduce bottle-feeding - a little at a time.

“Most moms consider weaning when there are natural transitions,” says Natasha L. Burgert, MD. She's a pediatrician in Kansas City, MO. “As baby's diet is changing and his immune protection from vaccines increases, many moms decide to cut back on their nursing.”

An important tip is to make sure you are ready for the commitment it takes to change yours and your baby’s routine. There isn’t a “normal” time to stop nursing your baby. There is only an average time. Some mothers continue to breastfeed up to a year or longer – that’s their choice. Don’t allow others to pressure you. If you try to switch and something doesn't feel right, trust your instincts.

“In my experience, moms are typically not disappointed if they are truly ready,” Burgert says. “If moms are emotionally torn about weaning, maybe it's not time.”

Breastfeeding is often a close bonding time between mothers and their infants. It doesn’t have to stop because you are switching to a bottle. It can also allow dads to experience the unique bond of feeding time.

Just because you begin using a bottle, nothing has to change in how you hold your baby. You can still hold he or she close and have skin-to-skin contact.

“Babies want to be close to you, hear your voice, be warm and snug, and get their tummies full,” Burgert says. “Both bottle and breast can equally do those things.”

If your baby expects you close at mealtimes, don't hand her a bottle, even if she's old enough to hold it.

“I suggest that she be held for all of these feedings,” Huggins says. “In this way, the baby and mother can continue to experience the close, loving bond that comes with nursing.”

Of course breastfeeding isn’t the only time for close bonding. Moms can still snuggle, cuddle and kiss their babies. None of that goes away with the introduction of a baby bottle.

Take your time when introducing the bottle. Make is a gradual transition by dropping one session every few days. Begin with a daytime feeding.

“Babies are busy playing and interacting with their environment,” Burgert says.

“Once solid feeding is going well, roll right into a bottle in the morning, rather than a nursing session.”

Once you start making the switch, ask for help from your husband or partner or other family members.

“It's best if someone else offers the bottles, so the baby associates breastfeeding with the mother,” says Laurie Beck, RN, of the U.S. Lactation Consultant Association.

It's often hardest for babies to give up bedtime nursing.

“To be successful, the routine has to change,” Beck says. You can “offer a drink from a bottle or cup and then try walking around to put the baby to sleep. Or let someone else put the baby to sleep so that they do not associate going to sleep with breastfeeding.”

While baby is adjusting to a new routine, mom’s body is also going through quite a few changes.  When you cut back on breastfeeding, your full breasts can be painful. Even when you are slowly changing over, breasts can feel very uncomfortable.

To relieve the pain try these methods:

Chill your breasts. “Ice packs help to constrict and feel good if the breasts are warm to the touch,” Beck says. You can get the same relief by putting chilled cabbage leaves in your bra. (Really!)

Remove some milk. Use a breast pump to take off some pressure. Don't pump for too long or your body will think that it should maintain its milk supply. “There's a difference between pumping 15 to 20 minutes to fully empty the breasts and removing just enough milk to make yourself comfortable,” Beck says.

Leave your breasts alone. Once you stop nursing, keep breasts off-limits to help your milk supply stop. “Avoid any breast stimulation, including forward-facing showers and sexual foreplay,” Huggins says.

There’s nothing unusual about switching from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding, millions of women have made the same choice. They key is to be ready and to take your time.

Source: Lisa Fields, Roy Benaroch, MD,




Your Baby

Kid’s Exposure to Dogs May Help Prevent Asthma


It may sound like the opposite would be true, but a new study suggests that when children are exposed to dogs and other animals early on, they’re less likely to have asthma later in life.

Researchers looked at more than one million Swedish children. They found that those who grew up with dogs in the home were nearly 15 percent less likely to develop asthma than those not exposed to dogs.

This ties in with an earlier study that showed children who grow up on farms also have lower rates of asthma.

The study was led by author Tove Fall, assistant professor of epidemiology at Uppsala University in Sweden. In a university news release, she noted that "earlier studies have shown that growing up on a farm reduces a child's risk of asthma to about half. We wanted to see if this relationship also was true for children growing up with dogs in their homes."

Fall said, "Our results confirmed the farming effect and we also saw that children who grew up with dogs had about 15 percent less asthma than children without dogs. Because we had access to such a large and detailed data set, we could account for confounding factors such as asthma in parents, area of residence and socioeconomic status."

Study senior author Catarina Almqvist Malmros, a professor of clinical epidemiology at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, stressed that the finding is only relates to children who have not yet developed asthma or allergies.

"We know that children with established allergy to cats or dogs should avoid them," she said in the news release.

What about other pets, such as cats, birds or hamsters?  The jury is still out on that one.

"In this study, early exposure to dogs and farm animals reduced asthma risk, and this may or may not include other types of pets that children keep," said Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "The takeaway is that early exposure may reduce the incidence of a later pathological process," he said.

Experts have begin to warn parents that children raised in too sterile an environment are more prone to developing allergies and reactions to common bacteria and pet dander.  A little dirt and dander may be just what the doctor orders now to help prevent allergies and asthma later.

The findings were recently published online in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

Source: Robert Preidt,

Your Baby

Tips to Help Soothe Baby’s Eczema

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Wintertime is the worst time of the year for dry, itchy skin. The cold air outside and indoor heating suck all the moisture out of the air and out of your baby’s skin. Winter is when eczema tends to rear its ugly scales.

If your child is itching and scratching all the time and has patches of scaly skin then he or she may have eczema. All the scratching is truly heartbreaking when your little one can’t seem to stop even when it leads to bloody fingers and sores. Fortunately there are several eczema treatments that can offer relief for your baby.

A lot of people think that bathing a baby every day will actually cause the baby’s skin to be drier, but the opposite is true. Baths add moisture to dry skin and get rid of surface bacteria that can cause skin infections.

“It can be fun for baby, and it's good for bonding with the parents,” says Amy S. Paller, MD, professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. “It's a wonderful way to get hydration into the skin.”

The type of soap you use is important. Make sure that it is fragrance-free, mild or try a soap-less cleanser for sensitive skin. Bathe your baby for five to 10 minutes in tepid water, pat her dry to retain some moisture on her skin, then apply moisturizer.

Moisturize your baby’s skin as least twice a day.  Dry skin can make eczema worse and bring out more inflammation, says Lawrence F. Eichenfield, MD, professor of pediatrics and dermatology at the University of California, San Diego. Moisturizing often helps break what he calls “the itch-scratch cycle.”

Creams and ointments are thicker than lotions and work better on your baby’s skin. If your doctor has prescribed an anti-itch cream, apply it before the moisturizer.

Different seasons require different types of moisturizers as well. A lighter cream is best in the summer and petroleum based ointments work best in the winter. Use caution when considering “natural” or organic products. Many of these products contain oil extracts and fragrance of flowers that some babies may be sensitive to. Check with your doctor about well-proven products that have been tested for sensitivities.

One particular bath that may sound too harsh but is actually very effective in treating eczema is the diluted-bleach bath. Nanette Silverberg, MD, director of pediatric dermatology at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City, suggests diluted bleach baths for babies over 6 months who have moderate or severe eczema. They’re especially helpful if your baby has crusting on the skin. Bleach helps remove staph bacteria -- a known eczema trigger -- without resorting to antibiotics. Talk to your pediatrician before giving your baby a bleach bath.

Use 1 teaspoon of bleach per 1 gallon of water or ¼ cup per full bathtub.

Many parents whose children have eczema put anti-scratch mittens on them, They can be very helpful in keeping babies from scratching, but not so much so for older babies and toddlers who can take them off. To reduce irritation, keep your child’s fingernails cut short and filed with an emery board, so they’re not sharp. If you notice your child scratching more than usual, take her to the doctor, who can prescribe anti-itch medicine.

Dress your baby in layers of soft, loose-fitting, breathable cotton to keep her skin comfortable. At night, however, it may help to swaddle your infant in a cotton blanket. Swaddling helps many babies sleep better.

Avoiding eczema triggers is key to helping your baby stay comfortable.

  • Fragrances. Products with fragrance can cause reactions. Use unscented products whenever possible.
  • Detergents. Ask your pediatric dermatologist to recommend a gentle, fragrance-free laundry detergent.
  • Rough fabrics. Consider your wardrobe, too -- change out of a wool sweater before cuddling your baby.
  • Saliva. Babies who drool when eating or sleeping can get rashes on their faces, because saliva can irritate sensitive skin. Put Vaseline on her cheeks before mealtime or naptime to create a barrier between the saliva and her skin.

The good news is that many children will grow out of their eczema when they reach their teens. At this time, eczema isn’t curable, but it can be managed and your baby can be more comfortable.

Source: Lisa Fields,

Your Baby

Moms Getting Poor Advice on Baby’s Health Care


Moms are getting conflicting advice on infant and child care from family members, online searchers and even their family doctors a recent study found.

Oftentimes, that advice goes against the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations for topics such as breast-feeding, vaccines, pacifier use and infant-sleep, researchers say.

"In order for parents to make informed decisions about their baby's health and safety, it is important that they get information, and that the information is accurate," said the study's lead author, Dr. Staci Eisenberg, a pediatrician at Boston Medical Center.

"We know from prior studies that advice matters," Eisenberg said. Parents are more likely to follow the recommendations of medical professionals when they "receive appropriate advice from multiple sources, such as family and physicians," she added.

The researchers surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. mothers. Their children were between 2 months and 6 months old. Researchers asked the mothers what advice they had been given on a variety of topics, including vaccines, breastfeeding, pacifiers and infant sleep position and location.

Sources for information included medical professionals, family members, online searches and other media such as television shows. Mothers got the majority of their advice from doctors. However, some of that advice contradicted the recommendations from the AAP on these topics.

For example, as much as 15 percent of the advice mothers received from doctors on breast-feeding and on pacifiers didn't match recommendations. Similarly, 26 percent of advice about sleeping positions contradicted recommendations. And nearly 29 percent of mothers got misinformation on where babies should sleep, the study found.

"I don't think too many people will be shocked to learn that medical advice found online or on an episode of Dr. Oz might be very different from the recommendations of pediatric medical experts or even unsupported by legitimate evidence," said Dr. Clay Jones, a pediatrician specializing in newborn medicine at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Massachusetts. He said inaccurate advice from some family members might not be surprising, too.

Mothers got advice from family members between 30 percent and 60 percent of the time, depending on the topic. More than 20 percent of the advice about breast-feeding from family members didn't match AAP recommendations.

Similarly, family advice related to pacifiers, where babies sleep and babies' sleep position went against the AAP recommendations two-thirds of the time, the study found.

"Families give inconsistent advice largely because they are not trained medical professionals and are basing their recommendations on personal anecdotal experience," Jones said.

Less than half of the mothers said they used media sources for advice except when it came to breastfeeding. Seventy percent reported their main source of advice on breastfeeding came from media sources; many of these sources were not consistent with AAP recommendations.

In addition, more than a quarter of the mothers who got advice about vaccines from the media received information that was not consistent with AAP recommendations.

"Mothers get inconsistent advice from the media, especially the Internet, because it is the Wild West with no regulation on content at all," Jones said.

The possible consequences of bad advice depend on the topic and the advice, Jones said.

"Not vaccinating your child against potentially life-threatening diseases like measles is an obvious example," he said. "Others may result in less risk of severe illness or injury but may still result in increased stress and anxiety, such as inappropriately demonizing the use of pacifiers while breast-feeding."

Mothers who look for information online should stick to sources such as the AAP, the American Academy of Family Physicians or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Eisenberg suggested.

Even though some advice from doctors did not follow AAP recommendations entirely, Eisenberg and Jones agreed that doctors are the best source for mothers on the health and care of their children.

"While our findings suggest that there is room for improvement, we did find that health care providers were an important source of information, and the information was generally accurate," Eisenberg said. "But I would encourage parents to ask questions if they don't feel like their provider has been entirely clear, or if they have any questions about the recommendations."

The study was published in the July edition of the journal Pediatrics.

Source: Tara Haelle,


Your Baby

Obese During Pregnancy Linked to Obesity in Offspring


Not every time, but often, you’ll see obese couples and their kids are either obese or on the threshold of obesity. While adults have the power and the life experience to understand the health issues associated with obesity, their children – depending on their age- are reliant on on their parents making healthy choices for them.  

 Is generational obesity inherited or a case of families making poor choices where food and exercise are concerned – or both?

Researchers from the University of Colorado School of Medicine wondered if children born to obese moms might be predisposed to being obese due to their womb environment.

The team of scientists analyzed stem cells taken from the umbilical cords of babies born to normal weight and obese mothers. In the lab, they coaxed these stem cells to develop into muscle and fat. The resulting cells from obese mothers had 30% more fat than those from normal weight mothers, suggesting that these babies’ cells were more likely to accumulate fat.

No cause and effect was established, but the scientists noted that further research was needed. “The next step is to follow these offspring to see if there is a lasting change into adulthood,” says the lead presenter, Kristen Boyle, in a statement.

She and her colleagues are already studying the cells to see whether they use and store energy any differently from those obtained from normal-weight mothers, and whether those changes result in metabolic differences such as inflammation or insulin resistance, which can precede heart disease and diabetes.

Other studies have found a high correlation between parents’ Body Mass Index (BMI) numbers and their children ‘s BMI, particularly between mothers and their kids. Further, the BMI of grandmother’s and their grandchildren is also high.

What is a healthy weight gain for a pregnant woman? It depends on how much you weigh before getting pregnant.

The guidelines for pregnancy weight gain are issued by the Institute of Medicine (IOM); most recently in May 2009. Here are the most current recommendations:

•       If your pre-pregnancy weight was in the healthy range for your height (a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9), you should gain between 25 and 35 pounds, gaining 1 to 5 pounds in the first trimester and about 1 pound per week for the rest of your pregnancy for the optimal growth of your baby.

•       If you were underweight or your height at conception (a BMI below 18.5), you should gain 28 to 40 pounds.

•       If you were overweight for your height (a BMI of 25 to 29.9), you should gain 15 to 25 pounds. If you were obese (a BMI of 30 or higher), you should gain between 11 and 20 pounds.

•       If you're having twins, you should gain 37 to 54 pounds if you started at a healthy weight, 31 to 50 pounds if you were overweight, and 25 to 42 pounds if you were obese.

These recent findings point out again, how important it is for pregnant women to consider the possible long - term health affects on their unborn offspring when making decisions about their own health.

The report was presented in May to the American Diabetes Association.

Sources: Alice Park,


Your Baby

The Pros and Cons of Circumcision

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If you’re the parent of a newborn boy, you’ll most likely be asked whether or not you want to have your little one circumcised.  It’s a decision that parents have been making for a very long time.  Hieroglyphs from before 2300 BCE depicting circumcision show that the procedure was practiced in ancient Egypt before 2300 BCE.

Circumcision is a medical procedure where the foreskin of a male newborn’s penis is removed. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) currently takes a neutral position on the necessity of the procedure, but in 1999, they issued a landmark statement recommending against routine circumcision of boys. In 2011, the AAP soften that stance and advised parents to consult with their pediatrician and to consider their religious and cultural traditions when making a decision on the surgery.

So, you can see that even experts have gone back and forth over whether the surgery is actually medically necessary.

Discussing the AAP’s stand, Marjorie Milici, MD, a pediatrician at Baylor Pediatric Center in Dallas says  “They are now neutral on the issue. They swing the pendulum back and forth every few years.”

Dr. Milici also says she has seen a significant drop in routine circumcisions since she began practicing medicine 18 years ago. “When I first started practicing, almost everyone was getting it done,” she says. “Now it’s 50-50.”

What are the benefits of circumcision? Research has shown that there are health advantages. Boys with a circumcision penis are less likely to get urinary-tract infections and penile cancer, and they are also at decreased risk for acquiring the sexually transmitted diseases syphilis and HIV. Studies have suggested that these conditions may appear more frequently in uncircumcised men because of the additional effort that is required to keep the foreskin clean.

On the other hand, Milici says the risk of these diseases is very small in uncircumcised men who take good care of their foreskin so it should not be a major consideration when deciding whether to circumcise. “We’re reinforcing that to the bigger boys and parents bathing littler boys,” Milici says.

There are some risks associated with the surgery such as bleeding and infection. Pain is also a consideration. Local anesthetics are typically given to infants before the circumcision, but the days during the healing process can cause soreness.

Tradition can play an important role in choosing circumcision. People who practice Judaism choose circumcision for religious reasons. Still others want their sons to have the procedure so they can look like other men in their family. “It can be sort of a rite of passage,” Milici says.

Circumcision surgery on infants can ignite heated debates. People who oppose circumcision believe that the procedure is a mutilation of the body and offers no health benefits.  People who support the procedure believe it is safe and offers a number of health benefits and better hygiene.

Parents-to-be should decide whether they do or do not want their infant boy circumcised before the baby arrives. Consultations with a pediatrician are recommended well before the baby is born so that parents have plenty of time to do their own research and discover what decision is best for them and their child.

Source: Jennifer Acosta Scott,

Your Baby

Graco Stroller Recall

New information on Graco stroller recall.A leading baby gear manufacturer is recalling about 2 million strollers after receiving reports that four infants died in their strollers.

Graco is recalling several versions of the Graco Quattro Tour and MetroLite strollers and travel systems, all made before 2007 and distributed by Graco Children's Products Inc. of Atlanta. The Consumer Product Safety Commission  said the four infants became trapped inside the strollers and were strangled. The deaths occurred between 2003 and 2005. CPSC says if babies aren't strapped into the strollers properly, they can slide through the opening between the stroller tray and bottom of the seat where they can get stuck and be strangled. The commission also said it was aware of five reports of infants becoming trapped, resulting in cuts and bruises, and one report of an infant having difficulty breathing. The recalled strollers were made before the development in 2008 of a voluntary standard that requires a larger stroller opening between the stroller's tray and seat bottom in order to prevent entrapment and strangulation. The recalled strollers were sold at retailers nationwide between November 2000 and December 2007. More information on the model numbers involved in the recall can be found at the company's website, or by calling (877) 828-4046

Your Baby

Recall: DaVinci Baby Cribs


Bexco has expanded a recall of their baby cribs. Bexco recalled an additional 11,600 cribs in July 2015.

The firm has received five additional reports of the mattress support brackets breaking and detaching. No injuries have been reported.

A metal bracket that connects the mattress support to the crib can break, creating an uneven sleeping surface or a gap. If this occurs, a baby can become entrapped in the crib, fall or suffer lacerations from the broken metal bracket.

This recall includes DaVinci brand full-size cribs including the Reagan crib (model #M2801), the Emily crib, (model #M4791), the Jamie crib (model #M7301), and the Jenny Lind crib (model #M7391) manufactured from May 2012 through December 2012.

The model number, serial number and manufacture date are printed on a label affixed to the bottom right hand side panel of the crib. Cribs included in the recall have serial numbers that begin with “N00,” followed by one of the following numbers.  The previous recall included the same model numbers, but had different serial numbers.

The cribs were sold at Target and juvenile products stores nationwide and online at from May 2012 to December 2013 for between $150.00 and $250.00.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled cribs and contact Bexco for a free replacement mattress-support that includes replacement brackets.  In the meantime, parents are urged to find an alternate, safe sleeping environment for the child, such as a bassinet, play yard or toddler bed depending on the child’s age.

Consumers can contact DaVinci toll-free at 888-673-6652 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. PT Monday through Friday. Consumers can also visit or and click on “Safety Recall” for more information.


Your Baby

Preventing Baby’s Whooping Cough Before Pregnancy

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If you’re planning on adding another child to your family-or thinking about starting a family-you might want to consider getting the whooping cough vaccine before you get pregnant.

Why would you do that? According to a new study from Australia, babies who are born to women that are vaccinated with the whooping cough (also known as Pertussis) vaccine before they become pregnant have a 50% lower risk of developing the disease.

Whooping cough is an infection of the respiratory system. It mainly affects infants younger than 6 months old before they are immunized, and kids 11 to 18 years old whose immunity has started to decrease. Pertussis is characterized by severe coughing spells that may produce a whooping sound when the child breathes in.

It is highly contagious and before the Pertussis vaccine was available it killed 5,000 to 10,000 people in the U.S. each year. Now that there is a vaccine, the annual number of deaths is less than 30. But in recent years, the number of cases has started to rise. By 2004, the number of whooping cough cases spiked past 25,000, the highest level it's been since the 1950s.

The researchers looked at 217 babies ages 4 months and younger who had whooping cough. They compared them with 585 healthy infants born at the same time in the same area.

They discovered that a similar percentage of mothers - in both groups - received the whooping cough vaccine. However, 41 percent of the moms of healthy babies had been vaccinated at least four weeks before their infant became sick. However, of the mothers whose babies had whooping cough, only 27 percent of mothers had been vaccinated at least four weeks earlier.

Also in the healthy baby group, 26 percent of the mothers said they had been vaccinated before their baby was born, while only 14 percent of mothers whose babies had whooping cough said they had been vaccinated before delivery.

In this program, "there was no vaccination during pregnancy, so if a woman said they had it before birth, this meant before pregnancy," said Dr. Helen Quinn, a researcher at the National Centre for Immunisation Research & Surveillance of Vaccine Preventable Disease in Australia.

Quinn told that in the study, vaccination before pregnancy lowered a baby's risk of developing whooping cough by a whopping 52 percent.

Another study has shown that a woman’s body doesn’t typically start to produce the anti-bodies needed to fight whooping cough until about 2 weeks after she receives the vaccine.

Researchers noted in the new study that babies who were part of large families and those who were less well off were more likely to get whooping cough. They also pointed out that babies who were breastfed were less likely to get sick.

Quinn said the findings "suggests that vaccination as part of pre-pregnancy planning would have the greatest impact on whooping cough infection."

Last year, an advisory board for The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that women receive the whooping cough vaccination each time they become pregnant.

This study suggest that getting vaccinated before you become pregnant may actually offer your newborn an even better chance of being protected against whooping cough.

Sources: Karen Rowan,


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