It has been claimed that if 90% of American women breast fed their new babies for at least six months, that the lives of 900 babies would be saved every year. According to the research published in the Pediatrics journal, breastfeeding for these vital first six months could avoid health problems and actually save billions of dollars inmedical expenses.
The leading author of the paper, said the link has been "vastly under-estimated". When you add up the medical costs associated with the ten most frequent childhood ailments and the cost associated with treating them, plus the hours away from work that parents have to take in order to look after their sick child.
The composition of breast milk is very complex and ideally suited to the needs of new babies. It contains antibodies (that help fight infection), it affects insulin levels in the blood (which means babies are less likely to develop diabetes) and breastfed babies are less likely to develop obesity.
43% of American women breastfeed their babies to start with. 12% breast feed for as long as 6 months.
In Britain, the statistics are even less impressive. 76% of new mums breastfeed at the start and only 2% go up to six months. It seems that as soon as they encounter problems, they are advised to get a bottle and feed with a formula rather than getting the support and help required to overcome problems and continue feeding naturally.
In Austrailia about 18% of new mothers are still feeding at six months.
The World Health Organisation recommends that ALL babies are breastfed until six months.
Many mothers, especially young mothers feel uncomfortable feeding especially when out and about. But, it needn't be so. There are so many tops designed for "easy access" and a muslin thrown over a shoulder while feeding can give ample cover and thus protect the modesty of any mum. Once mums are confident at feeding, then doing it in public becomes second nature and should be encouraged!
Breastfeeding is also a wonderful way to bond with your child in a unique and special way. A few moments of calm, spent close to each other while having a lovely warm cuddle.
After all, breast feeding is the most natural and beautiful thing in the world for a new mum to do!
In the first few months following birth, your baby is experiencing the world through its senses, and it is those experiences that help form connections inside the brain and these connections that shape the individual mind of your baby. At birth, a baby is barely able to see but they have an acute sense of smell. At three days old they can recognise the smell of their mother's breast milk and the odour of their parents, yet they can still see only centimetres in front of them. They have an innate ability to recognise faces and are attracted to faces close by.
By three months their brains have developed considerably and they are able to control themselves better - they can choose where to look rather than being fixated on moving objects nearby. They might move their arms and legs seemingly randomly, but this is helping them to build up muscles, an essential component on the way to being able to roll, crawl and later walk. This movement allows them to interact with their physical surroundings and this intensifies the rate at which the brain develops as it is exposed to new experiences. Research shows that babies who are denied the opportunity to interact physically with their surroundings develop at a slower rate so it is particularly important to work with babies suffering physical or mental disability to ensure that they can develop as best they can.
Interacting with your baby is especially important even during these early months - try to spend time with your newborn baby stimulating them. Stimulate their vision by exposing them to high contrast patterns and making movement in front of them; stimulate their hearing by playing background sounds and music, and rattling toys in front of them. Stimulate their sense of feel by touching stroking them and letting them hold your fingers and baby toys.
It would be easy to ignore your newborn baby and leave them lying in another room for their first few months while you get on with the chores you have to do, but the more time you can spend with your baby, the more rewarding for both you and your little one!
Don't forget that here at ToucanLearn we have activities suitable from birth onwards. Our early activities are simple and aimed at helping to stimulate early development in your child. All our activities link into the Early Years Foundation Stage Areas of Learning and Development, so you can monitor that you are giving your baby a broad range of activities even at this early stage.
During their first years, the costs associated with having a new baby in the house are visible, but there are wider and longer term financial commitments that should be considered.
When babies are new, it seems they need lots of equipment and expensive stuff around the house. The cot, the car seat, the chair, clothes, nappies, shoes. Something you may get as gifts, other things you may have to save for. One building Society estimated that the average family spends £132 a week on children. Over an 18 year period, that is a staggering £123,500! It's practically a house!
One survey said that the value of a Mum was... wait for it... £32,800 a year! If only someone would pay that for our services!
But, there are ways of reducing the cost of a baby - it just takes a bit of planning and careful thinking.
If you're expecting your first baby, you probably don't know what to expect - here are some of the essentials that you'll need as soon as your baby is born!
Don't panic if you get home and suddenly realise that there's something you have forgotten to stock in advance. You'll probably be able to get hold of most essential equipment or clothes from your nearest supermarket, even if it means asking friends or family to run an errand for you!
Getting your baby used to water is very important - taking them for a swim as soon as you are able can make them more confident in the water, more relaxed and open to learning to swim a few years down the road. It's good exercise for Mums and a great reason to get out of the house when you have a new baby. However, beyond all these benefits (and certainly not belittling them) is the wonderful twenty minutes you can spend with your baby or toddler being really close, playing games and having fun!
Tips for having fun in the pool with a baby
When to get out
Dry your baby well and keep them warm after a swim. Enjoy the time together and be as close and as cuddly you can.
The number of babies being put to sleep on their backs - a sleep position considered the safest - has reached a plateau since 2001. The Back To Sleep campaign launched in 1994 encouraged parents to place babies to sleep on their backs - rather than lying on their front. It was discovered that this position resulted in less incidences of Infant Death Syndrome (commonly known as "cot death").
Cot Death is the sudden, unexpected death of a baby. Even after a post mortem, the death remains unexplained. It is referred to as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Do we know the causes? Not really. A single cause has not been named. There could be various, even numerous factors that lead to the death, occurring when the babies are most vulnerable.
Are all babies at risk? It seems so. There is no evidence it happens to a certain race, or culture, or type of person. It usually occurs when the baby is under 6 months and it can happen at any time - not just when the baby is in a cot.
Are baby boys or girls more prone? It seems boys are slightly more at risk, as are premature babies and those of a low birth weight.
How can we reduce the risk?
Flying with a baby offers a whole new experience for regular travellers, but it's perfectly possible to take your little ones on planes for holiday or for general travel. Airlines have many rules and regulations to enhance safety so it's important that you contact your airline before travelling to make sure that you are going to comply with their requirements. Rules between airlines differ, so if you've travelled before with a baby on a different airline, don't assume the same rules apply.
Some airlines have a minimum age before they will take babies, this could be anything up to a month. They also won't carry poorly children: if your baby has a hint of illness, take them to your doctor and seek professional medical advice. Babies will probably have to sit in an adult lap, but airlines can often only accommodate one such passenger in each row because of the additional safety equipment in the plane.
When booking, see if you can arrange a flight around a nap time; having your baby sleep through the flight could make the journey that much easier! Also, try to check in and reserve seats online in advance so that you can book good seats. You should be able to board the plane before other passengers which also helps. Many, but not all, airlines will take baby equipment at no extra charge - car seats, travel cots and strollers. Make sure you know the allowances before arriving at the airport.
Flying with a baby can be challenging, but it's quite possible, and it would be a shame not to go on holiday or visit relatives just because you're worried about the experience.
One of the daunting things of becoming a parent for the first time is that you have to choose a name for your new baby. You may or may not know whether you're going to have a boy or a girl, either way, it seems funny thinking of a name for a little baby that you've never met! Of course, the reality is that as soon as you have your baby and you start calling him or her by their name, their name just sticks and seems totally natural. Bear this in mind and it relieves the pressure of choosing the 'right' name! Very rarely can you look at a baby and think 'she's Daisy', or 'he's Jack'. You will start referring to your baby by whatever name you choose, and very soon, your baby will seem to fit the name perfectly and you will never even wonder whether you chose the 'right' name or not!
Your new baby has a series of reflexes that disappear within months of being born. The Moro reflex (or startle reflex) sees your baby startle, spread out his or her arms and then retract them, and may cause your baby to cry. It occurs when your baby is statled by a noise or believes that they are falling and is believed to be the only unlearned fear in a baby. The Plantar reflex occurs when you stroke the bottom of your babies foot - you will see the toes splay and curl inwards. Stroke the side of your babies back and you will observe the Galant reflex, and they should sway towards the side that you stroke. Babies also have a rooting reflex - stroke their cheeck and they will turn towards you looking for food. This is related to their sucking reflex which ensures that they suck on anything touching the root of their mouth. These last two reflexes assist breastfeeding. All of these reflexes are gone by 12 months, some last only the first few months. Test your baby for these reflexes - you won't cause any harm and it will help strengthen the bond with your newborn!
Babies are fascinated by people's face, in partcular they will stare at a face, focusing between the eyes and forehead. We don't really know why this is, but believe it or not, this is one of your babies' first milestones! You should notice them staring at people from just 2 - 4 weeks old. Cut a picture of a face out of a catalogue or magazine and place it in front of your baby but out of reach - it'll keep them happy for ages!
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Hi! I'm Tikal the Toucan, the mascot for ToucanLearn. Follow my blog to find out interesting things relating to babies, toddlers and preschool children!
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