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American Academy of Pediatrics

Bellyitch Rewind: Eric Benet’s Wife Manuela’s Tender Belly Dedication

Bellyitch Rewind

In a very brave and courageous promotion of breastfeeding, singer Eric Benet, shared a photo of his newborn daughter Lucia nursing on his wife Manuela Testolini via Instagram, a new innovative and popular iPhone app used for enhancing and sharing images with friends.

Lucia was born on December 21, 2012 E! News reports.

Ideally, people who see this image would be encouraged and understand how natural and beautiful the act of nourishing a child is. Sadly, breastfeeding isn’t always celebrated and appreciated, even though research says that breastfeeding is the best for newborns and babies.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 26% of babies are never breastfed. Breastfeeding is healthy and is used to transfer critical antibodies and immunity to babies. The benefits of breastfeeding are endless.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics research, human milk feeding decreases the incidence and/or severity of a wide range of infectious diseases including bacterial meningitis, bacteremia, diarrhea, respiratory tract infection, necrotizing enterocolitis,otitis media,urinary tract infection, and late-onset sepsis in preterm infants.

In addition, postneonatal infant mortality rates in the United States are reduced by 21% in breastfed infants and research indicates that breastfed babies

The CDC also reports that African Americans are less likely to breastfeed their children. The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies report that Blacks stop breastfeeding sooner than other races, setting up their children for higher incidences of illnesses and diseases that non-breastfed children succumb to at a higher rate than those who were nursed. The report links higher rates of infant mortality and low birth weight to lack of breastfeeding.

There is a taboo about it among the black community, perhaps, and those who nurse for too long are not encouraged and are sometimes egged on to stop breastfeeding after a few weeks or months. Shorter breastfeeding times are also linked to low income mothers who have to report to work earlier and have shorter maternity leave and/or work in settings where they do not have a private place to pump and store their milk for their babies.

Kim Durdin-James, national president of the African-American Breastfeeding Alliance (AABA), summed it up well in saying, “In the best of times, breastfeeding is the optimal feeding choice for young children because it provides babies with all vital nutrients for growth and development, but in times of disaster, breastfeeding can mean the difference between life and death.”

So Benet sharing this image may spark dialog and conversation about nursing. Unfortunately, some may see it as over-sharing and too private an image to be sharing with the world.

But if the purpose was to share with the world a piece of two of his most favorite girls (his mom and daughter India probably being other favorite females) doing a natural act that is his prerogative and he should be celebrated and applauded for doing so not discouraged and lambasted.

A few weeks before the birth, Benet tweeted this wonderful belly pic of Manuela:

It reads: Your heart beats because of our love Our love beats stronger because of you. Lovely!

6 Reasons Why You Should Take the TV Out of Your Child’s Room

These days, it seems like every kid has a television in his room.
There’s no doubt that the addition of a television to a child’s bedroom allows parents a bit more freedom in terms of their own TV watching habits, but there are more than a few drawbacks to allowing kids to have their own TV. Staying strong in the face of kids’ pleas and assertions that everyone else has a television isn’t always easy, but these are some of the reasons why you’ll want to give very real thought to staying strong.
  1. Adhering to American Academy of Pediatrics Guidelines The American Academy of Pediatrics posits that the average American child spends approximately seven hours out of each day being entertained by electronic media. They also draw a correlation between the excessive use of television, computers and video games and attention problems, academic struggles, obesity and eating disorders. The AAP recommends that parents limit the amount of screen time their kids get, and that kids “media diet” be carefully monitored. Putting a television in your child’s room allows him almost unfettered access, and can make it nearly impossible to monitor his watching habits properly.
  2. Helping Kids Maintain a Sleep Schedule Just as adults can become so absorbed in the plot of a television show that they stay up far later than they intended, children can too. A TV in your child’s room can very easily affect his sleeping habits, both through direct distraction from sleep and because the background noise of a television left on all night can disrupt sleep patterns. Unless the idea of an exhausted, cranky child appeals to you, you may not want to give in to begging for a personal television set.
  3. Providing a Distraction-Free Homework Zone For some kids, the slightest distraction can derail their efforts to complete homework assignments or study. Creating a distraction-free zone in your child’s room can keep him out of the high-traffic common areas of your home, but the television lurking in the corner can present just as much of a distraction risk. When there’s no television to resist, your child is facing one less potential distraction.
  4. Making Punishments Count If punishments or time-outs are part of your parenting style, you may very well find that banishment to a bedroom isn’t much of a deterrent for bad behavior when there’s a TV in the room. When your child is able to tune into whatever programming he wants, away from the need to compromise with a sibling or deal with the rest of the family, time-out or grounding to a bedroom becomes something more akin to a treat than a punishment.
  5. Increasing Your Ability to Filter Objectionable Content Making sure that your child isn’t exposed to explicit or violent content on television is difficult enough when the TV is in a common area. Filtering objectionable programming that he’s watching in his room is almost impossible. Even stations that normally cater to kids’ tastes and developmental levels throughout the day often switch to more mature programming for late-night audiences. A child that tunes into his favorite channel may not realize that a racy cartoon is for adults until he’s exposed to content far beyond his maturity level. When television time isn’t happening behind closed doors, you’re better able to keep an eye on the programming to which he is being exposed.
  6. To Monitor Television Habits It’s difficult to know just how much television your child is watching if he’s spending most of his time in his bedroom with ready access to a TV. Because it’s so important to monitor the amount of time your children spend in front of the television, you may want to consider the difficulties of doing so when he has his own TV.

This Survey Uncovered Why Parents Send Sick Kids to School


The poll’s national survey of 1,442 parents of kids ages 6 to 18 released Monday found that the top factors in a decision to keep a child home are concerns that the illness will get worse or spread to classmates at school, NPR‘s Katherine Hobson summarized.

Also, the study found that parents are more likely to keep a child home with diarrhea, vomiting or fever, but send a child to school with a cough or runny nose.

When deciding whether to send a child to school, 2 in 5 parents of high schoolers view missing tests or instruction as a very important consideration, researchers discovered.

Interestingly enough, missing work was a “very important” concern of just 11 percent of those surveyed.

The University of Michigan’s Child Health Evaluation and Research Center published the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

Parents of older kids were also more likely to worry than parents of younger children about students missing tests or class time when making the stay-home-or-go-to-school decision.

“A lot of this is a judgment call,” says  Gary Freed, a pediatrician and co-director of the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

The decision may not be up to the parent, but the policy of the school. Freed’s colleague at the University of Michigan, pediatrician and pediatric emergency medicine physician Andrew Hashikawa, studies child care exclusion policies and says they vary from center to center, county to county and state to state.

He has found, for example, that even in a state that endorses the American Academy of Pediatricsguidelines for child care illness exclusions, day care policies didn’t reflect those guidelines.

If a child vomits two or more times within 24 hours, they should be kept home; and also for a rash only if it is  accompanied by behavior change, fever or drainage. Short-lived fevers are not reasons to call a parent or the doctor either given how common all of these symptoms are among very small children. They are not necessarily cause for concern. For older kids, yes.

Get more of the study HERE!

New Sleep Recommendations for Kids are Out


Kids who don’t get enough sleep are at risk for a whole range of mental and physical woes, including some potentially serious health issues. New sleep guidelines for babies, school-age children and teens, released Monday, outline just how many hours of sleep kids need at every age in order to help them be at their best.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is lending its backing to the recommendations developed by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Here’s the lowdown on how much sleep kids need at different ages, according to a consensus group of 13 sleep medicine experts and researchers who developed the recommendations:

  • Infants 4 to 12 months – 12 to 16 hours of sleep every 24 hours (including naps).
  • Children 1 to 2 years – 11 to 14 hours of sleep every 24 hours (includingnaps).
  • Children 3 to 5 years – 10 to 13 hours of sleep every 24 hours (including naps).
  • Children 6 to 12 years – 9 to 12 hours of sleep every 24 hours.
  • Teens 13 to 18 years – 8 to 10 hours of sleep every 24 hours.

Recommendations for babies younger than 4 months aren’t included because there is such a wide range of what’s normal when it comes to sleep patterns in newborns, and there isn’t enough research to back up guidance in the youngest of infants.

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Essential Items Every New Mommy Should Put on Her Baby Shower Registry

Guest Post from Social Monsters

Close Up of our Hooded Towels

Walk into any baby store, and you might get overwhelmed at the plethora of items to choose from. As you browse for a stroller, car seat, high chair, bassinet, crib, dressing table and other baby accessories, you just may break into a sweat and leave — only to return later, once you have done a little research. And that’s a good idea. Read reviews, check recall lists and ask your friends and family for recommendations before you begin choosing items for your registry. Start your list off right with these four must-haves.

Swaddling Blankets

Swaddling your newborn not only makes her feel comfortable and cozy, it can reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Research has proven lower instances of SIDS when baby is swaddled and placed on her back. Swaddling helps control baby’s Moro reflex and helps reduce awakenings caused by the startle reflex. To learn more about safe sleep, visit SwaddleDesigns.com.

Creating a safe sleep environment for babies is essential when setting up your nursery. For the first three months, baby’s crib should be outfitted simply with a tight fitted crib sheet. No loose blankets, pillows, toys or stuffed animals should be in the crib or bassinet. A fitted sheet and a swaddled, back-sleeping baby are a recipe for safer and more restful sleep for everyone in the house. Be sure to get swaddles that are large enough and made from high quality fabric. SwaddleDesigns swaddles have handy swaddling instructions sewn right into the seam for easy reference.

A Bedside Bassinet

The AAP discourages infants from sleeping in the same bed as their parents, because the practice poses a higher risk for SIDS and increases the risk of suffocation. If you want your baby close, instead opt for an in-room, free-standing bedside bassinet that is close to your bed.

With exceptional ventilation and adjustable legs, the Arm’s Reach Concepts Clear-Vue Co-Sleeper tops the list of reviewed co-sleeper bassinets. The side of the sleeper folds down, giving mom easy access to baby at any hour of the night. Room-sleeping products are designed to be used from the first night home until about five months of age.

A High Chair with Longevity

When you have a baby, you’ll finally realize why other moms say, “They grow up so fast.” It’s important to get items that grow with your child. Keep your kid seated safely from six months to six years with an adjustable high chair.

Convertible high chairs adjust to your child’s growth, eliminating the need to purchase another chair or booster seat in the future. Be sure the chair you put on your registry has a safety harness, an easily removable tray, seat covers you can wipe clean, something that fits your dining space and one that complies with ASTM safety standards.

Parents.com suggests the modern, minimalist HiLo chair by AGE Designbecause it has handy pull-out side buttons allowing you to easily flip the high chair with a tray and straps to a flat chair that slides under the table so your growing little one can sit with the family at dinner.

Babyproofing Gear

Some of the most important shower gifts are the baby safety products that you’ll need to protect baby from your home. Register for items like baby gates, lower cabinet and drawer locks, safety locks, corner guards and edge bumpers for furniture with sharp edges like coffee tables and raised fireplaces.

You may put off baby proofing your home until baby gets to the point where she can move around on her own, but you’ll find that comes before you know it. It’s best to create a safe environment before she arrives.

Due to the large amount of preparation that having a baby entails, many new parents overlook some key items that should be added to the baby registry. Add these four baby shower must-haves to your registry list to be that much more prepared.

5 Things to Consider BEFORE buying a Car Seat

car seat

If you are expecting a baby and need to purchase a car seat or thinking of moving up to a version for a bigger baby as your child grows, you’ll find these five things NannyPro asked us to share with you helpful before you make that final purchase

1. Budget: Because car seats can range from well under a hundred dollars to several hundred, many people automatically assume more expensive must mean a better seat. But this is not actually true. One seat that is frequently recommended by Child Passenger Safety Technicians as easy to use and install runs right around $40. All seats must pass the same basic set of testing standards and ultimately the best seat is the one that is installed and used properly, so take an honest look at your budget and then find a seat within that budget that fits your child’s needs (see below) and your vehicle well, have a CPST teach you how to install it and always use it properly. Visit www.car-seat.org to find a CPST near you.

2.Age/Size of Child: Even the best car seat is useless if it is the wrong seat for the age and size of your child. Many seats are labeled in ways that are misleading to parents. For example, many booster seats say on the package 30lbs-100lbs. We all have seen one year olds who are pushing 30 lbs. That does not in any way mean that a one year old is ready for a booster seat—many children are not ready for boosters until age seven or eight because size alone is not the determining factor. So do some research and figure out what seat (infant, convertible, forward facing, harnessed booster or unharnessed booster) is best for your child based on both their age AND their size. As of 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children under age two stay in a weight appropriate rear-facing car seat or to the maximum weight and height limitations for their car seat for maximum safety and head/neck protection. For some children, this may mean rear-facing until age three or four. A good place to start is the NHTSA website. In addition, since many harnessed car seats (often called a harnessed booster) now offer weight limits up to 80-85 lbs, it is wise to consider extended harnessing for your child for ultimate protection. There is a reason that even race car drivers use this kind of harness—it helps keep the passenger in the safest position and protects them better. Don’t be in a rush to move “up” to the next style of seat. Each step “up” is actually a step “down” for safety.

3. Needs: What is the need of this seat? Do you need one that comes in and out easily (and therefore is super easy to install correctly) since your baby needs to be transported in other vehicles often because of who is the primary caregiver or because you travel a lot as a family? Or will this seat be installed and rarely ever moved? This can affect your decision making process as you review possible seats and is a major consideration for families that need to move seats because of particular needs. Whether it’s moved often or not, you still need to be able to install it correctly every time.

4. How long do you need this seat to last? For some families on a tight budget, the need for a seat to last as long as possible is a major consideration. These days, car seat manufacturers are starting to take this into consideration and a few are making seats designed to go from infancy all the way to the booster stage and have a 10 year expiration on them. Wait… expiration? Yes, car seats have expiration dates set by the manufacturer of the seat based on when it began to fail in testing, as seats are made primarily of plastic, which breaks down over time. It’s important to know those dates as you consider various seats for your needs. For other families, budget is not as much of a concern as convenience is, so they might not mind having an infant bucket seat with a base and then purchasing a new seat when baby outgrows the bucket. It matters more to them to have the ability to lift a bucket in and out of the vehicle with the baby still in it.

5. Will you actually use it properly? A seat, no matter the cost or reputation, if not used properly, is simply not a good seat for your needs. So make sure you select a seat that is easy for you to use properly from installation to daily use. If your seat is beautiful, but takes you 30 minutes to take in and out even though you need an easily moved seat, you are less likely to install it properly due to frustration with the process. Or if it is difficult to adjust when needed, the straps might be positioned improperly and not provide the protection that is needed. If you can, it is a great idea to go to a store that will actually let you try out the various seats in your car to ensure that that particular seat is easy for you to use with the vehicle you own. This ensures you are more likely to use it properly.

Good luck!


How to Co-Sleep with Your Baby without Bed Sharing


Followers of the “attachment parenting” philosophy aren’t the only proponents of co-sleeping; even studies published by the British Medical Journal, Military Medicine and Lancet have shown that there are marked benefits to co-sleeping with your infant. The “Sleeping Position, Orientation, and Proximity in Bedsharing Infants and Mothers” study published in 1996 indicated that infants sleeping near a parent boast regular heart rhythms, more stable temperatures, and fewer long pauses between breaths than infants who sleep alone. The “SIDS Global Task Force Child Care Study” published findings in 2001 that showed that deaths attributed to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome were at their lowest rates in countries where co-sleeping is a culturally-accepted, normal practice. However, there are a variety of situations that make sharing your bed with an infant infeasible or downright impossible for your family.

So, can you and your baby reap the benefits of co-sleeping without sharing an actual bed? In a word, yes.

How Can You Co-Sleep Without Bed-Sharing?

The practice of co-sleeping without sharing a bed has become much more common now that there are two commonly accepted terms. The first is co-sleeping, which means that parents and infants sleep in close proximity, but on a separate sleep space, in the same room. The second is bed-sharing, which refers to a sleeping arrangement in which parents and children share a sleep surface. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly discourages new parents from sharing a bed with their infant, but has encouraged a co-sleeping arrangement in which the baby does sleep in the parents’ bedroom, just in her own safe, separate space. Groups that promote breastfeeding, like La Leche League, suggest that co-sleeping leads to higher breastfeeding success rates than a separate room arrangement.

Co-Sleeper Products

There are entire lines of co-sleeping products that allow you to keep your baby on the same level as your mattress and within arm’s reach, but maintaining your own sleep surfaces. Researching various makes and models of co-sleepers can help you get a better idea of how well you feel each will suit the needs of your unique family. The Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper attaches to the parents’ bed, providing the benefits of co-sleeping without the risks of bed-sharing.

Portable Cribs

If you’re only planning to practice co-sleeping temporarily, a collapsible, portable crib might be the solution to your problems. Easy to assemble and lightweight, you can move the crib from one room to another as needed with relative ease. There are weight limits specific to each model, so you’ll want to be sure that your baby hasn’t’ outgrown his. Also, it’s important to be sure that each re-assembly is completed according to the manufacturer’s instruction and presents no pinching, choking or other hazards.

Bassinets and Cradles

While a cradle isn’t collapsible like a portable crib, it is lightweight and easy to move from one room to the next as the need arises. It’s not advised that children who are old enough to sit independently sleep in cradles or bassinets, but they can be ideal for parents of newborns who only plan to co-sleep through their child’s early infancy.

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7 ways to make sure your baby has a safe sleeping space

Babies spend the majority of their first months of life in their sleep space.  Considering that babies are typically sleeping while in their cribs or bassinets – and for the longest stretches of time it’s when mom and dad are also sleeping – it’s safe to say that the time that they do spend in their sleep space is largely unsupervised. For that reason alone, parents must take proactive steps to assure their baby’s safety while sleeping.

When creating your baby’s sleep space, keep these 7 tips in mind:

1.  Avoid bed-sharing. While there’s an upswing in the support of co-sleeping and bed sharing from many parents, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) still insists that room-sharing, rather than bed-sharing, is safest for babies. According to First Candle, bed-sharing increases a baby’s risk of death by 40 percent. Keeping your baby in a separate, but close, sleep space is the safest place for your baby to sleep. Placing a co-sleeper or bassinet beside your bed allows you to closely monitor your baby throughout the night.

2. Use a firm sleep surface. While it can be tempting to put a fussy baby in a car seat or bouncy seat to sleep, for regular, routine sleep the safest place for your baby is on a firm surface. Cribs, bassinets, and play yards certified by the Juvenile Product Manufacturer’s Association (JPMA) are held to safety standards above and beyond the standard requirements set forth by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Be sure that the mattress has a firm fit and that the sheet fits snugly on the mattress.

3. Put baby to sleep on his back. While your mother may argue that she put you to sleep on your stomach and you turned out fine, it is now known that putting a baby to sleep on his back is safest. Since the 1994 Back to Sleep campaign started, overall SIDS rates have dropped by more than 50 percent.

4. Keep loose items, including bumpers, out of the crib. While great grandma may be offended that you don’t tuck your baby into his crib with the blanket she lovingly knitted him, you’ll have to put hurt feelings aside for the sake of your baby’s safety. Loose bedding and soft items like stuffed toys and positioning wedges can pose a suffocation risk to your baby.  Instead of using a blanket, opt for a sleep sack, which will keep your baby safely covered while asleep.

5. Avoid overheating. While you may think that dressing your baby in layers and keeping the heat on year round will keep him warm, doing so can put him at risk for overheating. A baby’s room temperature should be about 68-70 degrees Fahrenheit, or comfortable to a lightly clothed adult. If your baby is sweating, feels damp or has heat rash, he’s too hot.

6. Position cribs away from windows. While your baby’s crib may look lovely centered under his bedroom window, putting it there can pose a safety risk. Having a baby within reach of window cord blinds, open windows, draperies, air conditioner cords and other window accessories puts your baby unnecessarily at risk for injury or death.

7. Communicate sleep safety. While your caregiver may already be well versed in sleep safety, communicating your requirements for a safe sleep space is essential to ensuring that you and your caregiver are on the same safety page.

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Don’t ever do these 5 things with your infant car seat

Infant car seats are safe ways to transport baby while in the car, however some parents get into the habit of using them for other purposes from our friends at NannyPro, here are five things you should NOT do with an infant car seat:

1. Using it as a routine sleep space. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises against using infant car seats for routine sleep. Due to their positioning, an infant’s airway can become narrowed in a car seat, which can result in breathing problems. This can result in death. If your baby falls asleep in his car seat, move him to a firm, flat service as soon as possible.

2. Putting it in a grocery shopping cart.  Shopping carts aren’t designed for infant car seats to be latched onto. In fact, babies can die when parents use their grocery shopping cart as an infant car seat holder. Even when a baby is properly buckled into his infant car seat, it can topple off and fall to the ground when the infant car seat is placed in or on top of the area of the shopping cart that’s designed for small children to sit in. This can result in the injury or death of the baby strapped inside.

3. Adding a Bundle Me to it. Lots of parents use a Bundle Me to keep their infants warm while traveling in their infant car seats, but doing so without modifying it is not safe. The Bundle Me, as designed, can interfere with the harness straps in the infant car seat, preventing the straps from properly tightening and fittingly snugly against the infant’s body. For proper protection, the straps must be fitted snugly against the child with no more than one finger fitting between the child’s body and the harness under the child’s collar bone. A Bundle-Me allows for much more than that.

4. Using it after it’s been in an accident. While the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission encourages parents to automatically replace car seats after moderate and severe crashes and says they don’t need to be routinely replaced after minor crashes, different car seat manufacturers have different guidelines. Be sure to check with your car seat manufacturer if your car seat has been in a crash to determine their recommendations and to err on the side of caution.

5. Using it after it’s expired. Most parents are unaware that car seats actually expire. Car seats are made out of plastic, which can become brittle and lose strength over time. According to the Car Seat Lady, car seats typically expire 6 years after their date of manufacture. Plus, new seats with new and better technology come out that can increase the safety of infant passengers, so using an expired seat makes no sense.

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Pediatricians: IUD now preferred teen birth control

The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended updates to what contraceptive methods are suggested to teens in an effort to prevent teen pregnancy.
According to the academy, “In 2011, 47 percent of high school students reported ever having sex, and 34 percent reported having had sex in the previous three months.” Data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention notes “a total of 305,388 babies were born to women aged 15–19 years” in 2012, which continues to trend lower when compared to figures as far back as 1991.
In the academy’s newly released technical report, the AAP has now added “long acting reversible contraceptive” to their list of suggested options for adolescents who opt not to remain abstinent from sexual activity while providing teens “appropriate screening and/or education about safe and effective contraceptive methods.”

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