When most of us were setting up baby’s nursery, there were certain things we knew to avoid: loose bedding, lots of toys in the crib, anything with sharp edges. But a new study has found one more potential no-no for baby’s room, at least during the first year of life: new carpet, rugs, or laminate.
Though not all flooring requires glue — area rugs are a classic example — researchers still warn parents to hold off on laying down the new stuff in the nursery. “Although the concentrations of these volatile chemicals are lower if no adhesive is used when installing the flooring, even then the concentrations are still high enough to significantly increase the risk of infants suffering from respiratory complaints in their first few months,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Ulrich Franck.
Pregnant women aren’t off the hook, either. UFZ researchers believe the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in new flooring and adhesives can affect developing babies in utero and even boost their chances of developing allergies, especially if you or your partner already suffer from conditions like hay fever or asthma.
One of the biggest takeaways from the study is to hold off on installing your new flooring until after baby’s first birthday. That’s because the study found that home improvements (and all the airborne chemicals associated with them) that occured after baby was born didn’t impact baby’s respiratory functions as much as ones that took place during pregnancy. “According to our results, exposure to these volatile chemical compounds seems to be more critical in pregnancy than in the first year of a child’s life,” says Dr. Irina Lehmann of he UFZ.
Tell us: How was your experience setting up baby’s nursery?
Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up.Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+
I’ve always envied how moms of bottle-fed babies know exactly how much milk their kiddo has ingested during a meal. As a breastfeeding mom, any guess I made was just that. And while this piece of information wasn’t so crucial once I had been nursing for a while, it was everything to me in the first days of my baby’s life. After all, a belly full of milk meant a certain number of dirty diapers and a steady, reassuring rise on the growth chart.
But as I found out the hard way, a breastfed newborn often loses weight in the beginning until milk production begins in earnest. Though some trimming down is to be expected, too much can lead to dehydration or hyperbilirubinemia, a type of jaundice. A normal range of how quickly and how long the weight loss lasts hasn’t been fully known — until now.
A team of researchers have developed the Newborn Weight Tool, or Newt, which compares a newborn’s weight in the first few days of life against those of other babies. The free tool relies on hourly birth weights from more than 100,000 breastfed newborns delivered at Northern California Kaiser Permanente hospitals (between 2009 and 2013) to make the comparison. A handy graph shows moms and pediatricians where the baby’s weight falls on the growth chart so they can figure out if it’s time to supplement with formula or continue nursing exclusively.
“For parents who are concerned about their newborn’s weight loss, they can be shown how their baby compares to the study sample, and whether they fall into a dangerous zone,” says Valerie Flaherman, M.D., lead author of the study and a pediatrician at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco. “It also provides a tool for pediatricians to determine which babies are at high risk, addressing a major clinical gap because there are no current criteria for newborn weight loss.”
Personally, I would have appreciated such a tool after my baby was born. I knew I wanted to breastfeed exclusively as long as I could, and I figured that when the time came, whatever colostrum I produced would be more than enough to sustain him until the milk came in. Yeah…not so much. When our kind pediatrician gently suggested after the first 24 hours of nursing that we supplement with a bottle — just for now — I felt like someone punched me in the gut. I don’t know if it was the freewheeling hormones, but I took the unexepcted news pretty hard. If I wasn’t second-guessing the quality of my colostrum, then I was trying to shake the feeling that I was already a failure as a mom. It didn’t help that my lactation consultant pooh-poohed the idea of supplementing and encouraged me to go rogue and refuse the formula. I ended up siding with my doctor, but I wish I had a graph or point of comparison to help me make a more informed decision.
Tell us: If you breastfed your newborn, did you end up having to supplement with formula?
Not sure how comfortable you’ll feel nursing? You can take our breastfeeding quiz to find out. Also, calculate your growing child’s height and weight on ourbaby growth chart.And don’t forget to like All About Babies on Facebook to keep up with the latest baby-related news.
Ever wonder what your baby did in the delivery room, aside from getting kissed, undergoing Apgar tests, and posing for selfies? The question intrigued a group of Swedish scientists enough that they turned it into a study. The researchers watched videos of 28 newborns to see how they instinctively behaved in their first 70 minutes of life. The results were published in January 2011 in Acta Paediatrica and recently reported on in Science News.
What they discovered was that a newborn’s early moments look an awful lot like how most of us spend Thanksgiving Day (but maybe with fewer tears). The general timeline looks something like this: Baby enters the world and lets out a big cry (Minute 0), relaxes for a minute on your chest (Minute 2) then wakes up and opens his eyes for the first time (Minute 2.5). When it’s time to look for food, he starts searching for your breasts. (Minute 8). Another rest (Minute 18). Revived, the hunt begins again, this time with baby actively scooching up toward you (Minute 36) until — tah dah! — he finds the nipple and starts nursing (Minute 62). Belly full, he takes another snooze (Minute 70).
Sound about par for the course, right? While there are no major surprises here, I’m grateful somebody took the time to document our kiddo’s earliest minutes of life. (Heaven knows my memories of that time are either incredibly vivid or hopelessly hazy.) If nothing else, seeing baby’s natural instincts at work drives home to me the importance of skin-to-skin contact and, of course, helping brand-new moms who want to give breastfeeding a shot.
Tell us: How much do you remember about the first hour after baby was born?
Can I make a confession? Every year on my son’s birthday, I try to steal a moment and give myself a little pat on the back. For the excruciating hours I labored in the delivery room. For all the soupy, smelly diapers I’ve changed. For the countless books and articles I’ve read so I could be a better parent. For the long nights spent rocking him back to sleep. As much as I love being a mom — and I very much do — it’s not the easiest gig out there, and I think there’s something to be said for acknowledging the hard work every now and then.
Pampers Japan is right there with me and devoted an entire commercial to us mothers (h/t Huffington Post). In the tearjerker of an ad, we see moms taking their babies for their first-year checkup. They talk frankly to the pediatrician about their child’s progress but also about their first year as a mom. “I was so unsure when she was first born,” one woman says. “I’d worry myself to tears almost every day.” Another wondered, “Am I doing this right?” (Sound familiar?)
But more interesting than that were the goings-on in the hall outside the doctor’s office. Dads were setting up a surprise party, but the guest of honor wasn’t their newly minted one-year-old. It was mom, who was also celebrating her first year as a parent. There was cake, yes, but also (and here’s where I start bawling) photos and signs celebrating them and their commitment to their families. “I almost cried when you first said ‘hello’ to our son,” one dad wrote on a sign. “Thank you for deciding to do this,” wrote another.
Grab the tissues and watch the full video below. (And be sure to turn on the video captions, unless you speak Japanese.)
Tell us: How has motherhood been for you so far? What has surprised you the most?
One of the most frightening moments of motherhood happened when my son was about 20 hours old.
A woman came into my hospital room to give him a bath. It was around midnight, which even in my bleary-eyed state struck me as an odd time to clean an infant. I remembered a nurse told me to always check the badges of people coming into my room — the implication being that even with a staffed-up security team, interlopers could sneak in the hospital. So I eyeballed the woman’s badge in my near-dark room and it looked official enough.
Until a few seconds later, when all of a sudden it didn’t. And she was already gone with my baby in hand. Even though the front desk assured me the woman was in fact a night nurse, I couldn’t sit still until he was back in my arms. It was one of the worst 20-minute waits of my life.
So when I read about a California woman who waltzed into a maternity ward wearing scrubs and carrying fake babies, my heart dropped into my stomach. As ABC News reports, Tonya Whitney said she brought the dolls — called “reborns” because they look an awful lot like a newborn — to Mercy Medical Center in Merced, Calif., in the hopes of selling them to administrators for training or therapeutic purposes. She entered through the ER and a nurse there told her to go straight up to the maternity ward.
Thankfully, a security guard stopped Whitney and her stash of faux babies from entering and took a picture of her. (It appeared on a flyer later posted around the hospital warning staffers about her.) Police were called, and Whitney was charged with trespassing, though she swears her intentions were good. “I, in no way, tried impersonating a nurse,” she told the ABC affiliate in Fresno, and attributed her very nurse-like attire to a recent weight gain. She also said, “I, in no way, ever thought or tried to steal a baby.”
Still, officials were understandably troubled. Turns out, she’s tried this before. ”We are concerned because she did show up at the ER and attempted to get into the maternity ward not once but twice so that concerns us; we’re afraid for the potentiality of abduction,” Merced Police Capt. Tom Trindad told KFSN-TV. And it doesn’t help Whitney’s case that she and her husband were fawning over the dolls as if they were real. “They hold them and hug them and change their diapers,” Mercy Medical Center hospital spokesman Robert McLaughlin told ABC News. “It’s very odd.”
I’m just relieved that security guards were on point that day and police are taking Whitney’s unauthorized visit seriously. After all, a new mom’s focus should be on bonding with baby and maybe even getting a little sleep before going home — not worrying about whether someone is trying to snatch their infant out from under them.
Tell us: If you delivered at a hospital, did you worry about security at all?