Archive for the ‘ New Research ’ Category

Do You Know How to Boost Your Baby’s Motor Skills?

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

When you go to the store and pick out a new toy for your baby, do you consider how it will benefit her development? And have you ever considered how items that are already in your home, like your coffee table or couch, can help improve your infant’s motor skills?

According to new research, many parents don’t know just how much toys and household items aid in the development of their baby’s motor skills. But a simple questionnaire could help change that.

In order to encourage parents to look at toys and everyday objects differently, researchers at the University of Texas Arlington developed the Affordances in the Home Environment for Motor Development-Infant Scale (AHEMD-IS) to help caregivers analyze the items children are exposed to. The AHEMD-IS questionnaire focuses specifically on infants between the ages of 3 and 18 months, and its questions evaluate physical space in the home, variety of stimulation, and the presence of both gross- and fine-motor toys.

“When parents buy toys, they’re rarely thinking ‘I wonder if this is going to be great for my child’s fine or gross motor skills,’ but if they look at each AHEMD-IS question and each separation of the question, they can choose to buy toys that are different or that offer different opportunities for their infants,” researcher Priscila Caçola, an assistant professor of kinesiology in the UT Arlington College of Nursing and Health Innovation, said in a press release.

Recently, experts examined questionnaire responses from the parents of more than 400 infants over the course of five years, and found that AHEMD-IS is, in fact, a reliable tool for both parents and professionals to use in order to promote motor skill development. So take a look—and see if it spurs any new ideas for you and your baby!

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Playing With Baby: Baby Toys
Playing With Baby: Baby Toys
Playing With Baby: Baby Toys

Image: Shutterstock.com

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Breastfeeding May Lower Your Child’s Risk of Cancer

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

Breastfeeding babyWe’ve all heard of breastfeeding’s benefits. Numerous studies over the years have credited breastmilk with everything from improving baby’s immune system to increasing her brain development.

Now, researchers have found another important benefit: Breastfeeding may decrease a child’s risk for leukemia. Leukemia is the most common form of childhood cancer, and accounts for 30 percent of the 175,000 cases of childhood cancer worldwide annually.

The research, published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics, reviewed 18 previous studies that had focused on leukemia and infants who were breastfed. Collectively, the data came from more than 10,000 children diagnosed with leukemia as well as 17,500 children with no health issues.

It was found that babies who were breastfed for at least six months had a 19 percent lower risk for leukemia than babies who had been breastfed for less than six months, or not at all. The authors of the study equate the lower risk to the antibodies within a woman’s breast milk that boost infants’ immune systems.

These findings suggest that between 14 and 19 percent of childhood leukemia cases could potentially be prevented by a mother breastfeeding her baby for at least six months after birth.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

One Family's Experience with Childhood Cancer
One Family's Experience with Childhood Cancer
One Family's Experience with Childhood Cancer

Image: Breastfeeding baby via Shutterstock

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Fewer Moms Are Getting Formula When They Leave the Hospital

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

Since the late 1950s, hospitals have been sending new mothers home with more than just their adorable newborn. In many hospitals across the country, new moms are gifted with free formula “packs” that include samples, coupons, promotional materials, and other goodies.

A new study by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention found that the number of hospitals providing moms with formula as they leave has fallen, although one-third of hospitals in the United States still do so.

The new research, which was published in Pediatrics, found that fewer than 25 percent of hospitals in 24 states distributed formula packs in 2013, compared to just one—Rhode Island—in 2007. Conversely, in just two states—Iowa and South Dakota—did more than 75 percent of hospitals hand-out formula in 2013, compared to 30 in 2007.

Previous studies have found that mothers who received free formula from hospitals had lower rates of exclusive breastfeeding. (The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants be exclusively breastfed for their first six months of life.)

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

How to Hold Baby While Breastfeeding
How to Hold Baby While Breastfeeding
How to Hold Baby While Breastfeeding

Image: Newborn with formula via Shutterstock

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Regional Anesthesia Is Best for Infants, Study Says

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

Anesthesia ToolsThe best type of anesthesia for infants has been disputed in the past, with some experts believing that general anesthesia, if given to a baby during the first year of life, could increase the risk for development and learning issues. One study even linked general anesthesia in infancy to the development of ADHD.

But recently published findings concluded that regional anesthesia, an injection that blocks pain from a large area of the body while leaving the patient conscious, yields better outcomes for infants recovering from certain types of surgery.

Research from two separate studies, released by the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), examined the effects of general and regional anesthesia by measuring the extent to which apnea (a temporary cessation of breathing) occurred after the most common procedure infants undergo—hernia repair surgery. Researchers from the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) in Australia compared rates of apnea of 722 infants, and found that regional anesthesia decreased the chance of apnea in the first half hour following surgery.

“Our research provides the strongest evidence to date on how babies should have anesthesia for hernia repair—the most common procedure among infants,” said Andrew Davidson, M.D., study author and associate professor, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia. “We found that spinal anesthesia is safer than general anesthesia.”

This research is also a part of an ongoing study focused on the long-term effects of anesthesia on neurodevelopment outcomes.

Related: Brain Scans Reveal Babies Feel Pain the Same Way Adults Do

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

When to Worry: Hernia
When to Worry: Hernia
When to Worry: Hernia

Image: Anesthesia via Shutterstock

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Omega-3 May Lead to Improved Behavior in Children: Study

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

Omega3 FoodsYou probably already know that omega-3 fatty acid is one type of fat you don’t want to cut back on, thanks to its multiple health benefits. And now there’s another reason to add them to your family’s diet: New research, which was published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, has found that consuming an adequate amount of omega-3 fatty acid may also lead to fewer behavioral problems in children.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania followed 200 children (aged 8-16) to determine the effects of omega-3 supplements. The children were divided into two groups: one group received regular supplements of omega-3 via a juice drink for six months, while the other group received the same drink with no added supplement. After six months, a blood test was administered to see how the two groups’ omega-3 levels compared—and six months following that the study was repeated for another six months.

The parents and children were asked to complete a series of personality questionnaires and assessments. Researchers found that parents of children consuming the supplemented drink reported a decrease in their child’s antisocial and aggressive behavior after the one year mark.

“The control group returned to the baseline while the omega-3 group continued to go down. In the end, we saw a 42 percent reduction in scores on externalizing behavior and 62 percent reduction in internalizing behavior,” explained the study’s author Adrian Raine.

Further research is needed to determine whether the positive changes shown in the study will last over time.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Best Super Foods for Your  Baby
Best Super Foods for Your  Baby
Best Super Foods for Your Baby

Image: Foods high in omega-3 via Shutterstock

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