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5 Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

We’ve all been there. Either as a pregnant person placed in an awkward situation by some thoughtless words spoken, or as the instigator putting our foot in our mouths. Whether it’s your best friend, sister, wife or an acquaintance who is expecting a baby, please follow these guidelines of what not to say to her.

Things to Not Say to a Pregnant Woman

  1. You’re as big as a house! Even if she is as big as said house, please don’t tell her that! Being told you’re larger than life is something few people will find complimentary. If you must focus on her appearance, tell a pregnant woman that she has that pregnancy glow, or that her hair looks extra full, or that her purse is pretty.

  2. Have you chosen a name? My husband and I heard that question over and over again and, since we hadn’t decided on a name yet, we’d give an honest “no” answer – which was almost always followed by some well-meaning (but unwelcome) suggestions. However, even though we were down to two possible choices, we still weren’t sharing the names because, frankly, we didn’t want anyone’s opinion on them. Naming a baby can be a very personal decision and sometimes it’s best not to ask.

  3. How long were you trying? There’s no good answer to this one: the asker may end up either surprised at how little or how long it took to get pregnant; either way, it’s no one’s business.

  4. Did you use fertility drugs/a fertility clinic? Don’t assume that multiples or even a single pregnancy is due to fertility methods. Even if she did, she might not want to talk about it. Infertility and trouble getting pregnant are very tough situations, and if the pregnant woman wants to discuss it, she will bring it up.

  5. You must be so excited/thrilled/happy/etc. It’s easy to assume that anyone who is pregnant is thrilled to be in that state. However, pregnancy can bring a multitude of emotions – which are not always positive ones. In addition, morning sickness, issues with parents, health concerns and more can all cause feelings of worry during pregnancy – turning a simple statement into an inconsiderate blow to her emotional state. Instead of assuming she is feeling great and making her have to agree with you, simply ask, “How are you feeling?” and then listen to the answer.

What inappropriate or inconsiderate things have you heard from others when you were pregnant?

The Dreaded Growth Charts. Is Your “Underweight” Baby Actually Normal?

thegrowthnormal.jpg My friend recently delivered a gorgeous, healthy 6lb baby girl. Her weight was below average but certainly healthy. Her daughter gained weight at every checkup, but remained in the 10th percentile, some way below the average line. She exclusively breastfed, and her doctor told her, fairly brusquely, that her baby was not getting enough to eat, and she should supplement with formula. She left the appointment in tears.

After a conference with mom’s friends, she sought out another pediatrician for a second opinion. Doctor #2 examined her baby, and asked some questions. “How often does she nurse?” Every two hours. “Is she peeing, and pooping?” Plenty. “Does she seem happy most of the time?” Yes. “Your baby is perfectly healthy. You are doing a great job. Go home and carry on breastfeeding. She doesn’t need any formula.”

Telling a mom that her baby is underweight is one of the worst things a doctor can say, implying baby is underfed, starving and neglected, and to breastfeeding moms, that your body is not working properly. Many moms across the country hear it every day from a doctor pointing at a growth chart and feel that same awful feeling my friend did. Many moms quit or reduce breastfeeding to supplement with formula, or start encouraging baby to feed or nurse more and more to attain that perfect weight.

But hold on. Did you know that the modern growth charts are based on data gathered in the 1970’s about a small group of wealthy, white, high-protein formula fed babies in middle America? Hardly representative of the general population.

Breastfed babies are well known to naturally grow more slowly than formula fed babies, and high-protein formula fed babies grow fastest of all. The charts used by your pediatrician today are from heavier-than-average babies. Growth charts were reformulated in 2000 to include more breastfed babies, but more recent studies encompassing a wide variety of social and ethnic groups, breastfed and formula fed babies, still show that the “real” average baby is still somewhat lighter than the charts would have you believe.

The result is that doctors are telling many moms to feed normal weight babies more food.

Obviously there’s a lot of self-protection from doctors here. Most doctors would err on the side of caution and tell a mom to feed baby more, rather than risk a future lawsuit over a malnourished baby.

Well, the doctors have covered themselves, but what about mom and baby? Aside from making new mothers feel bad, overfeeding a perfectly healthy, normal weight baby leads to health problems in later life. Encouraging a full baby to eat more interferes with the natural feedback that stops overeating, and may lead to obesity later in life.

The World Heath Organization is reviewing data from the recent studies, and is considering bringing in new, more relevant charts. Hopefully more healthy babies will be left to decide how much they want to eat, and it will be easier for doctors to identify babies who really are underfed, or have a medical problem preventing them eating or digesting their food.

Have you been at the receiving end of a doctor unjustly telling you that your baby is underfed? How did you deal with it?

Source -Babies Overfed To Meet Flawed Ideal, New Scientist

On TV and Children

I had lunch with a group of ladies the other day. We were a multicultural bunch, coming from different countries and cultures from the US, UK, Canada, Germany, and Asia. We had several things in common though we all spoke English, we were all expats in Switzerland, and we were all moms of kids ranging in age one-and-half and five years old.

Somehow the discussion turned towards TV and I was surprised to hear how diverse our opinions and practices are in terms of TV times. To make a long story short, some moms think 1 to 2 hours of TV time per day for preschoolers are OK while 1 mom advocates total abstinence. I am sort of in the middle of the road, my 5-year old twins spend on the average, 20 minutes a day in front of the TV.

We all have our reasons to justify our TV policies at home. Mine is pure and simple: I’d rather that my kids move than sit quietly the whole day.

A review in the New York Times cited several studies showing the not-so-beneficial effect of the presence of TV in the bedroom of children of all ages, as follows:

  • Kids with TVs in their own bedrooms have an average viewing time of 21 to 30 hours a week.
  • Kids who have TVs in their bedrooms normally have lower scores on school tests and are more likely to have sleeping problems.
  • 70 % of the children with bedroom TV consistently performed poorly in maths, reading and language-arts tests.
  • Preschoolers with bedroom TVs are more likely to be overweight, most especially the boys.
  • Kindergarten kids with bedroom TVs tend to have more sleep problems and less “emotionally reactive”.
  • Middle-school students (12 to 14 years old) with bedroom TVs are twice as likely to start smoking.

The mechanisms behind the impact of TV on children’s health and school performance are not well-understood. However, distraction during homework time and disturbed sleep are direct effects of TV that result in poorer performance at school. More disturbing, however, is the fact that the presence of a TV in a child’s bedroom can suggest less than optimal parental involvement with the child. The NYT article estimates that half of the children in the US have their own TV sets in their bedrooms.

One of the ladies in our luncheon group declared she deserves some rest, even if only for an hour, and TV at the midday in the kid’s room gives her a well-needed break from her toddler and preschooler. I can see her point. Indeed, motherhood can be pretty challenging and we moms need a break to recharge. But this does not justify using the TV as a babysitter. It will tend to become habit-forming for mom as well as for the kids.

So how do I keep my kids busy with resorting to TV? They draw, they read, they play, they cut pieces of paper and literally turn the house upside down. And when do I get my break? I don’t. I simply put them to bed early, clean up, and have my well-deserved rest at night.

How about you? What are your house rules regarding TV?

Related posts:

Kill your TV?.maybe

TV is the Enemy

“Accidental” Attachment Parenting

Accidental Attachment ParentingBefore I had my daughter, I never imagined I’d allow her to nurse as much as she wanted—sometimes using me as a pacifier. I was staunchly against co-sleeping, and couldn’t imagine holding her nearly every waking hour.

I’ll be honest; my perception of “attachment parenting” was that it’s a new age-y concept designed for SAHMs who would raise clingy, co-dependent children. I couldn’t have been more wrong on every level.

As I read more about attachment parenting, I learned that attachment parenting actually helps to raise more trusting, confident children who are secure in the fact that their needs will be met.

I also realized that attachment parenting is not as challenging as it may sound. After all, who wouldn’t want to keep this bundle of joy as close as possible?

I like Dr. Sears’ views on the matter. On his Web site, he states: “[AP is] actually the style that many parents use instinctively.” That is exactly what I discovered in the first few weeks of motherhood, too.

My daughter isn’t comfortable in a carrier, probably because I don’t feel secure holding her in it, so we’re not completely “attached.” But I often work with her sitting on my lap, carry her around during chores, and do anything requiring two hands while she naps. Even when she’s not in my arms, if she’s awake, I’m doing something with her: Reading, playing, or feeding her. As she grows I’m sure we’ll transition away from this arrangement or become comfortable with the carrier… obviously, I can’t carry her in my arms forever. But I’m fortunate to be able to schedule my day to spend as much time with her as possible.

And co-sleeping? After taking all the necessary safety precautions, it turns out co-sleeping in the early hours of the morning when the baby wakes up and needs to eat, is just easier. She starts the night in her bassinet, but joins us after her four o’clock feeding, when we both fall asleep. Another confession? I rather like having her cuddled up next to me.

Feeding on cue became easy once I learned her hunger signals, and it just so happens she still has a hearty appetite that needs food about every hour-and-a-half. This can be harrowing, but I get through it by reminding myself that she won’t be nursing forever, and when I start her on cereal in a short six weeks, her belly will stay full longer.

I’ve also discovered that feeding her while I eat (especially in restaurants) is a great way to keep her quiet and happy through mealtimes. It’s even kept us from having to leave restaurants mid-meal, as I will never (I don’t believe in absolutes, but there’s no room for compromise with this one) be an inconvenience to other customers by permitting a crying baby to disrupt the entire room.

I’ve often laughed that our approach to parenting would upset the “diehard” AP practitioners as well as those who believe in strict scheduling. When I’ve mentioned my refusal to let the baby “cry it out,” I’ve heard comments like, “Oh, you’re not one of those ‘attachment parent types’ are you?” And AP practitioners probably feel I’m not close enough because I sometimes supplement with formula and don’t use a sling-style carrier or keep the baby with me during her daytime naps.

But I try to avoid extremes and excesses in every area of my life… why should parenting be any different? Maybe I’ll write a book and start my own parenting philosophy. I’ll call it “Do what works for you and your baby.”

Moms Talk: How To Get Baby to Sleep Through the Night

On MonGetting Baby to Sleep Through the Nightday, we posed a question to the Babies Online Community:

“How do you get baby to sleep through the night?”

Many of the perceived “problems” with infants who don’t sleep through the night are not actually problems, but misconceptions about a newborn’s sleep patterns. As Facebook Fan Kimberly Columbo Mitchell astutely points out, “Babies are not supposed to sleep through the night.”

How long should your baby sleep?

The clinical definition of “sleeping through the night” for an infant isn’t exactly what most parents would consider a full night’s sleep. If a baby sleeps five hours straight without waking for a snack or cuddle, doctors consider that “sleeping through the night.”

Even so, it’s perfectly natural for parents to want their babies to sleep well. Babies do most of their growing while they sleep, and important brain connections form based on what your baby has learned and absorbed during waking hours.

The Babies Online community sounds off on How To Get Baby to Sleep Through the Night:

Swears by Swaddling for Sleep

Kristina TerMolen (Facebook)I think swaddling is the key. I swaddled my daughter for the first 3 months and she slept really well. Even when she came home from the hospital she would only have to eat once during the night. I didn’t swaddle my first daughter and she kept me up at all hours of the night!

Alicia Bouma (Facebook) – I didn’t have a clue with my first son. So with my second son I did research for best ways to get him to sleep. I swaddle my second son, take 10-20 minutes in his room around 6:30 pm, where it’s quiet and dark. I massage him gently with long strokes, breastfeeding him some, and also play waterfall white noise. Works great. He usually sleeps from 7 or 7:30 to about 4 AM. Once in a while he wakes up for a quick feed in the middle of the night, but goes right back to sleep.

It’s All About The Bedtime Routine

Jade Bailey-Pagett (Facebook) – I get my Ella to sleep at night by bathing her, playing with her so it wears her out, then she has her last bottle at 10. I put her in her Moses basket with her snuggles and she goes straight to sleep… Ella’s 3 months old and only started sleeping through about 2 weeks ago till 7, but still wakes up about 4 some nights.

Mari Opperman-Benade (Facebook) – My daughter, 3 months, sleeps through the night, after eating Purity Rice Cereal at 7:00 at night. Then we bath her at 7:30 and at 8:00 I breastfeed her. She sleeps then until 6/7 the following morning.

Erin Marie Mazzarella (Facebook) – Okay, maybe my way is a bit unconventional. Around 7:30 PM I give them a bottle thick with rice after a Lavendar / Chamomile bath with a lavender lotion massage. Also the Little Noses chest rub with eucalyptus, lavender and chamomile on their chest and back. My little ones sleep till 8 or 9am.

More Thoughts on Sleep

Bonnie Roberts (Facebook) – I think it depends on the child. My oldest slept through the night by 3 months. My youngest, 13 months old, started to sleep through the night around 10 months. He was taken off the bottle around that time also so I think he was just waking up for the bottle.

@ForTheBabes (Twitter) I use the Babywise method. It really works! I swear by it & never have nap/bedtime problems! #BestTip

@sybir (Twitter) Great post on getting the little ones to sleep naturally! #BestTip

@bluedogzdesign (Twitter) We don’t have a nursery, as we live in a loft (whole other set of challenges) but we use a noisy fan that actually does help.

Cindy Franciosa (Facebook) I gave up… my 13-month-old sleeps peacefully right next to me in bed.

Do you have any tips that you’d like to share?  Post them in the comments below!

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