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Parentelligence Blog

'babies' Parentelligence posts

Preventing Pertussis

We currently have a pertussis (whooping cough) epidemic occurring in Washington State. Infants under 6 months of age are particularly vulnerable but anyone, even if you are fully vaccinated, could potentially contract the disease and spread it.

(Is it really an epidemic? Yes: an epidemic (of a disease) affects many persons at the same time, and spreading from person to person in a locality where the disease is not permanently prevalent.)

Pertussis (whooping cough) is a very contagious disease caused by a type of bacteria called Bordetella pertussis. Among vaccine-preventable diseases, pertussis is one of the most commonly occurring ones in the United States (CDC).

What are the symptoms of whooping cough?

The early signs for pertussis are ...

Are You Ready?

When we imagine having children, we have these images of ‘having a baby’. The sweet bundle all swaddled, snuggling, and sleeping peacefully in their crib whilst we gaze lovingly, and then we quietly tip-toe out of the nursery and off to our own bed.

Then reality hits. Babies cry. Diapers explode. Breasts leak. Exhaustion hits. And just when we think we’re getting the hang of it, they grow. Their abilities change. Their needs change. Their brains develop. That sweet baby turns into a defiant toddler, that turns into a messy child, who then turns into a smelly teenager (it’s just the hormones, it’ll pass).

We give our lives over to our children. Every thing we do, every decision we make, we take them into account. There is a fantastic quote by Sophia Loren, “When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. You are connected to your child and to all those who touch your lives. A mother always has to think twice: once of herself and once for her child.”

Now, we could debate parenting styles but the more important point is how do you know if you’re ready to potentially live your life for that little baby? How do you know, before you have a baby?

How important is 'tying one on'?

New Year’s Day is a day of celebration. A day for starting anew. We create resolutions to become help us be steadfast in reaching personal goals whether that’s to lose weight or stop smoking, or just be on time to work. We have a happy, fresh outlook on a new year.

But, there is a lurking danger following all those midnight celebrations. There is an increase in infant deaths on New Year’s Day. A 33% increase in infant deaths, in fact.

There is not a clear reason for these deaths. They are probably not all SIDS deaths since SIDS is a diagnosis of exclusion

The bottom line is parents of infants must make good decisions and safe arrangements for their infant before they decide to celebrate the new year....

Grand-Parentelligence

Every family is unique, but those families who have grandparents who live nearby or are involved in their children’s lives are lucky. It somehow seems just a bit brighter for kids who get to be regaled in stories of long ago, those stories about when mom or dad was a child.

However, some of you with grandparents nearby might wish there was a bit more distance between your house and theirs.

When a baby is born, we have a new baby, new parents, and new grandparents. Our roles have all instantly changed. The new grandparents can be a wealth of information. They have amassed 20, 30, or 40 years of parenting experience. Everything from infants to teens to parenting adults. It’s only natural that they now want to share with you everything that they’ve learned. (They also might want to try to correct what they believe are mistakes that they made as parents.)

The most important thing that new parents need is:

Sleep, Baby, Sleep

It’s a well known fact that when you bring a baby home, sleep becomes an issue of most importance. Most of us start making decisions about where baby will sleep once we find out we’re pregnant. We start looking at cribs and bassinets, and it can be overwhelming to make a decision, but we finally do, and then we wait. When baby finally shows up, however, those ideas don’t always go the way we had planned. Where baby sleeps is a personal choice but there are straightforward guidelines as to what the baby’s sleep environment should look like.

It is recommended to have baby sleep in the same room as you for the first 3 to 6 months. This is a SIDS risk reduction measure. By having the baby sleep in the same room as the parents, their risk for SIDS can be cut in half.

If the baby will sleep in a crib, bassinet, portable play yard, mini-crib, cradle, or co-sleeper, please make sure they are current in their safety design. If you’re planning on using a pre-owned infant sleep contraption (ISC), please check for recalls.

Regardless of which ISC you use, follow these guidelines...

Baby Physics

As parents, we want to do everything we can to help our children be happy, healthy, smart, and successful to give them the best chance at being happy, healthy, smart, successful adults. Especially with a first baby, we tend to listen to all sorts of sources, family, friends, and even marketing to find out what we should do and buy.

Retail stores will try to sell you tons of stuff and we often times will buy it because we don’t want to look like we don’t know what we’re doing. So, we buy the toys that have flashing lights with buttons that play Mozart, and the ones that teach infants higher math because we think we should. After you spend all the money and get the present back home, all your child wants to do is play with the box. How frustrating is that? The parents end up spending more time with the toy trying to entice the child to come play. Why do babies love playing in boxes?

This is what I call Baby Physics. They’re ‘real world’ items. They can crawl in and out. Toys can disappear only to reappear again. The sides and corners are planes and angles. Just like playing with ...

Baby blues or something else?

Most women start planning for their baby’s arrival as soon as they get pregnant, and even sometimes before they’re pregnant. There are clothes to buy, toys to pick out, car seat to decipher. We start sorting out a birth plan. We often hear about how the first few weeks can be difficult, but we don’t realize the truth until we live it.

The changes our bodies go through during the pregnancy is incredible, but what happens afterwards is astounding. There are physical changes (lochia, involution, hemmorhoids, etc.). There are hormonal changes (drop in estrogen & progesterone, increase in prolactin). Psychological changes such as, “I’m a mom” and “That’s my baby”. (There can also be the overwhelming feeling of love towards the baby or sometimes it can take women several days to feel like the baby is really theirs. Both are completely normal and both can be shocking.)

Now let’s add on sleep deprivation.

In our culture, within a few days of childbirth, we are back home with the baby, maybe partner is there, maybe they had to go back to work quickly, but we’re alone or with one support person and trying to take care of a newborn while experiencing all these changes at once.

It’s no wonder we get the blues.

“Baby Blues” are normal. Approximately 85% of new moms get the blues and dads and adoptive parents can get them, too. The blues usually goes away or starts to get better by 3 weeks or so. As we pass the blues, we start to feel better and are beginning to adjust to the ‘new normal’.

There are things we can do to lessen the risks of more serious postpartum mood disorders:

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