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Let's Talk Babies!

Baby Health

Once you have a baby poop becomes a fairly common topic of conversation between you and your spouse, you and your parent friends, you and your child’s pediatrician. We are always checking diapers, examining the contents, fretting about too much or not enough poop. Suddenly this topic that was rarely, if ever, discussed is now ever present.

One of the most common worries when it comes to your baby’s bowel movements, or in this case, lack there of, is constipation. Constipation is common in babies when solid foods are introduced. As their bodies adjust to digesting the new foods they can easily become backed up. Some babies require higher amounts of fiber in their diets to keep them regular and can’t handle low fiber foods such as bananas and potatoes. While others will be fine and go their whole babyhood without any constipation trouble.

When your baby is constipated it can be very worrisome for the parent. When a baby gets too constipated it can be uncomfortable, and even painful, as they try to move their bowels. Watching your little one strain and cry as they try to poop is definitely not fun. There are a few things you can do to help your little one get things moving along.

  • Sometimes giving your little one prunes or pears will help things along.
  • Prune juice and pear juice can also help.
  • Gently massaging your baby’s tummy, below the belly button, can help.
  • Exercise can stimulate the bowels. There are a couple of exercises that often help including moving their legs in a bicycle motion while they are lying on their back or holding them in a standing position and letting them bounce.
  • Applying some vasoline around their anus can be helpful as they try to pass harder stool.
  • Inserting a rectal thermometer for a minute if often helpful to get things moving.
  • If nothing seems to help you should call your child’s pediatrician as they may recommend using a suppository to help relieve your baby’s constipation.

Be sure to contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if your newborn is constipated or if constipation persists in your 6 month+ baby for more than 3 days.

If constipation is a persistent problem for your baby it will be important to ensure their diet is rich in fiber. Giving them a serving of prunes or pears everyday can help keep them regular. Offering a small amount of water in a sippy cup to a 6 month+ baby can be helpful as well, but be sure to consult your doctor first.

Once babies beginning moving around on their own constipation often becomes less of an issue as the exercise they get every day helps keep things moving. With little ones who aren’t yet mobile be sure to do daily exercises with them, like the bicycle legs and bouncing to help them stay regular.

I’ve been dealing with a lot of constipation issue with Anna. She has a very sensitive system and doesn’t tolerant low fiber foods at all. In fact, I even had to call the pediatrician today since she had gone 4 days without a bowel movement and was definitely suffering. Luckily I was able to help her pass some of the backed up stool and she is feeling quite a bit better. I guess we’ll have to continue skipping the bananas (too bad since she LOVES them) and stick with pears and prunes.

Constipation is no picnic, but luckily, in most cases, with a little help your baby will get things moving and be happy again before too long.

What tricks did you find worked for your little one when they were constipated? Were there any foods in particular that you had to avoid giving them? Any foods that always seemed to help keep them regular?

These days I spend a lot of time doing laundry, like seriously A LOT. Some days I’m doing at least a load every day, it is a bit ridiculous. Why, exactly, am I doing so much laundry, you ask? Well, you see, I’m the proud parent of a “Happy Spitter”. I know I’m so lucky, right ūüėČ

So, what is a “Happy Spitter”, or as our pediatrician likes to refer to it “The Laundry Maker”? A “happy spitter” is a baby who spits up frequently but is still eating well, gaining weight and otherwise happy. Basically, it is when spitting up isn’t necessarily the sign of a problem or causing the baby any distress, but is just more of a¬†nuisance. And, boy is it ever a nuisance!

Anna is a “happy spitter”. She has been spitting up on a regular basis, and by regular basis I mean almost every feeding, since she was born. We go through a lot of burp cloths, receiving blankets, and clothing (both hers and mine) every day. I have purchased an insane number of burp cloths (I have at least a dozen) and receiving blankets to help avoid having to do laundry every day. It has helped a bit, most of the time I only find myself needing to do baby laundry every other day. Kind of sad when you consider every other day laundry an improvement.

There isn’t anything I can do to stop this annoying habit of my wee one, it’s just something she does. It is probably caused by a combination of a few different things like my overactive letdown, her immature digestive system and the very rapid way in which she consumes her food. There isn’t really anything I can do to stop the constant vomiting. I burp her a lot, and keep her upright for a while after she eats, but really other than that I’m just kind of stuck with it until she out grows it.

Any other parents out there dealing with happy spitters? What tricks have you discovered? Have you found any ways to keep the spitting up to a minimum?

Now if you’ll excuse me I need to go fold another load of baby laundry.

The long standing warning from pediatricians and other health care professionals to avoid introducing nuts into your child’s diet until they are 3 years old has recently been changed. ¬†Studies have found that it could be that waiting to introduce nuts into your child’s diet may actually increase their chances of developing a nut allergy. ¬†Only about 1-2 percent of children are predisposed to nut allergies because of a family history. ¬†By introducing nuts earlier children without a predisposition may be much less likely to develop the an allergy.

Recently the AAP (Amercian Academy of Pediatrics) changed it’s long standing policy regarding nuts and is now recommending introducing nuts into a child’s diet as early as 6 months of age if the child has shown no signs of other food allergies and there is no family history of nut allergies. ¬†For many parents, especially those with older children who had to avoid nuts for so long it may be hard to accept the new recommendations. ¬†Nut allergies are scary to many parents and taking that first step and giving your child something that contains nuts for the first time is very nerve-wracking.

When introducing nuts parents should be sure to give their child a very small amount the first time and be careful to watch for signs of an allergic reaction. ¬†Common symptoms of an allergic reaction include: wheezing, stomachache, vomiting, diarrhea, hives and swelling. ¬†If you suspect an allergic reaction contact your child’s doctor and if the symptoms are severe seek medical treatment immediately.

Be sure to talk to your child’s pediatrician about these new recommendations and make sure you have all the facts and information before beginning to introduce nuts into your child’s diet.

Remember it is not safe for children until the age of 5 to have whole nuts.  Any nuts your child consumes before the age of 5 should be in spread form, or ground into other foods.

Cold and flu season is upon us.  No one likes being sick, and no parents likes to see their child suffer from an illness.  Though it is probably impossible to keep your child free and clear of all viruses, it is possible to help keep the cold and flu bugs away at least some of the time.  There are steps you can take, things you can do, things you can teach your child to do, that will help keep them healthy during this cold and flu season.

Viruses spread easily and quickly among children. Between the tendency for children to constantly put their hands in their mouth and a tendency to forget about the coughing and sneezing into your elbow rules it isn’t any wonder germs make their way around a group of children so easily. Kids share toys, food and inevitably germs. ¬†Here are a few things you can do to help your child avoid cold and flu bugs this season:

  • Talk to your child’s doctor about getting a flu vaccine this season. ¬†Flu vaccines are effective at preventing the spread of the flu.
  • Teach your child to wash their hands frequently. ¬†Clean hands are less likely to spread germs and contract germs.
  • Teach your child to sneeze or cough into the crease of their elbow to help avoid getting germs on their hands that they then spread to others. ¬†A child who is used to this rule will likely encourage their friends to do the same.
  • Encourage your child to keep his or her hands of their face, and especially out of their mouth.
  • Encourage your child to be active. ¬† A healthy, active child is far less likely to get sick.
  • Encourage good sleep habits. ¬†A well rested person is better able to fight and avoid cold and flu bugs.
  • Provide your child with a healthy diet. ¬†Encourage healthy meals and snacks.

The more active and well rested your child is the better chance they have of avoiding the cold and flu bugs that will inevitably go around their classroom this year. ¬†Teaching your child good habits for washing their hands and avoiding putting their hands on their face or mouth is a great way to further help your child avoid the bugs this season. If you have questions about the flu vaccine or steps you can take to help your child avoid the cold and flu this season talk to your child’s doctor.

Happy cold and flu season. Here’s hoping you and your family can avoid as many bugs as possible this winter.

My friend Heather over at The Spohrs Are Multiplying, wrote what was for me, a very thought provoking piece today. ¬†As you all know I am a big advocate of breastfeeding and I think every mom who can should give it a try. ¬†I write a lot about the benefits and the challenges. ¬†I’ve shared my own successful breastfeeding story. ¬†Breastfeeding is a big deal to me.

After reading Heather’s post and learning about her fear to admit that she had given up breastfeeding it made me question my advocacy a little bit. ¬†I still wholehearted believe that every mom, if she can, should try to breastfeed. ¬†Advocacy is important because it provides education, information and support. ¬†However, does advocacy make those who try but decide to give it up feel more guilty than they should?

I know breastfeeding isn’t for everyone. ¬†Sometimes the challenges of early breastfeeding are too much for some. ¬†Sometimes the baby just never figures out the latch and pumping and feeding just are practical. ¬†Sometimes, like in Heather’s situation, a mom has to give up breastfeeding so she can take care of herself and be the best mom to her baby. ¬†I don’t want my advocacy to make those women feel guilty. ¬†I don’t want them to be afraid to admit that they have chosen not to breastfeed. ¬†There is no shame or defeat in saying you gave breastfeeding your best shot and it just didn’t work out, no matter the reason.

My mom suffered, and still does suffer, guilt over not being able to breastfeed my youngest brother. He was born 8 weeks premature and at the time of his birth, 19 years ago, they didn’t have women pump and feed their premature babies in the NICU. ¬†Plus, due to major complications after my brother’s birth my mom was on some heavy duty meds. ¬†So, as my brother grew stronger and gained the weight necessary to come home, as my mom attempted to recover from a very difficult birth, her milk dried up. ¬†She had breastfed 4 previous children and not being able to breastfeed her baby made her feel incredible guilt. ¬† She still to this day wonders, worries and feels guilty about not breastfeeding him. ¬†She shouldn’t have to feel that guilt.

To all the moms out there who give breastfeeding a try and it just doesn’t work out. ¬†To all the moms out there who have to give up breastfeeding. ¬†To all the moms out there, like my own mom, who can’t breastfeed for some reason. ¬†There is no shame in formula feeding a baby. ¬†We are all good moms, breastfeeding moms and formula feeding moms.