Thursday, September 30, 2010

Baby's First Two Days

Here are some fun facts you may not have known about you baby's first 48 hours of life (I was amazed by some of these!)

Babies loose a few ounces of weight after birth. They are born with extra fluid which they loose, usually in the first few days following birth; however, they regain this weight in the following weeks and usually reach or pass their original birth weight.

The first bowel movement baby has after birth is called meconium and it consists of cellular material and other substances from his digestive tract that he accumulated while in utero. He must pass this before normal digestion can begin.

Baby's senses were fine tuned before birth, and after birth they quickly develop.
  • Baby's taste is developed for the desire of sweet things (breast milk or formula.) Bitter, salty and sour tastes develop later.
  • Baby can hear low frequency sounds at birth best and this includes the human voice. The range that we as adults hear will come later as their hearing matures.
  • Vision is also not fully developed. Baby's brain is still developing so they do not see the world as adults do. Acuity continues to develop over the coming months.
  • Baby's sense of smell is well developed at birth. Research has found that a baby who is breastfeeding will be able to find its mother's nipple via sense of smell mere hours after birth.
  • Baby's sense of touch is well developed. 
On average, babies breathe 40 times per minute as opposed to adults who breathe 20 timer per minute.

Babies will exhibit reflexes, most of which they outgrow by 3-6 months of age:
  • Rooting reflex: opening of mouth accompanied by sucking motion
  • Sucking reflex: vigorous sucking when something is placed in the mouth
  • Moro reflex: the sudden extension and then retraction of limbs and extremities
  • Grasping reflex: open hand balls to fist when fingers or palm are touched
  • Startle reflex: elicited by loud noise, look of fright and/or flex of limbs
  • Tonic neck reflex: extension of arm and leg outward while lying on back when head is turned to one side (helps baby maneuver through birth canal)
  • Stepping reflex: placing one foot in front of the other when held upright
  • Crawling reflex: mimics the motions of crawling when placed on stomach
  • Swimming reflex: holds breath and moves as if swimming when placed underwater
  • Nasopalpebral reflex: closes eyes when bridge of nose is tapped
  • Parachute reflex: attempt to grasp overhead if they feel they are falling
  • Babinski reflex: big toe bends back toward top of foot and toes fan out when sole of foot is stroked
  • Galant reflex: trunk and hips move to one side or the other in concert with the the side of the spine that was touch while baby is suspended stomach with stomach facing down in one hand 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Farm Fresh Friday

Ryan and I have made the conscious effort to become more eco-friendly since Trayton was born and we have the space and capacity to do so on the farm. We should have started years ago, not truly realizing the benefits until we did more research! This year we planted a huge garden, 40' x 60', all organic and with the help of my parents, have been canning much of it for this winter. No artificial preservatives, additives etc.

I am about to try my hand at making baby food for Trayton, an adventure all in itself for me! I would like to start with a kit made by Fresh Baby, a company started by two sisters who believe in natural living and healthy eating. They created this starter kit to help parents easily make their own baby food. The So Easy Baby Food Kit contains a cookbook, two BPA-free freezer trays, an instructional dvd, and a card with nutritional tips! The great thing about this set is that it teaches parents how to prepare homemade baby food in only 30 minutes per week; a huge perk in today's busy world! You can purchase the kit online or until September 27th, 2010 enter Baby Dickey's Giveaways - Fresh Baby Starter Kit for a chance to win your own! Follow her giveaways for chances to score other awesome products through her Fall event!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thursday Tidbits

I thought I would share a few "tidbits" about development in babies/children that were shared by our professor in anatomy today. These were completely off the topic of discussion but caught my attention nonetheless!

We are born with all of the cartilage we will ever have in life. The cartilage found at the articulating surfaces on our bones will not regenerate, hence the need for replacements of knees, hip ball-socket joints, etc.

When growth plates in long bone harden late in puberty and early adulthood, they leave no remnants behind.

At birth, a baby's eyes are not fully developed; this fact many may have known. They do not see with the acuity that we as adults do, and their vision at birth is about 20/120! They develop acuity over time and by ages 4-6 they begin to see the world similar to adults.

During embryonic development (from conception up to and including week 8) the embryo develops its own vascular system and blood supply. Many misunderstand and believe that the mother's blood circulates through the amnion or placenta to the baby. The mother's blood brings nutrient to the placenta and these nutrients move across the placenta to the embryo/fetus but the mother's blood never comes in contact with the baby as it develops.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bebe Paluzza - Des Moines, Iowa

Des Moines mamas and mamas to be will not want to miss out on the opportunity to attend Bebe Paluzza this weekend!

Bebe Paluzza is one of the largest maternity, baby and toddler shows in the USA! They will be hosting an event in Des Moines this weekend September 18th and 19th and here are the details:

Event Location:
Iowa Events Center Hy-Vee Hall
(on the river between I-235 and Grand Ave.)

Dates and Times of the Event:
Saturday, September 18, 2010     10:00am - 5:00pm
Sunday, September 19, 2010       11:00am - 4:00pm

$4.00, children ages 5 and under are free

This will be my first attending a Bebe Paluzza event and I plan to take Trayton as well as my parents. The event looks to be packed both days with over 50 exhibitors, live entertainment, contests and some freebies! I am not receiving any compensation for this post but I am excited to pass along what I believe to be a great opportunity to attend an event like this since they are relatively new in Des Moines. I am also excited to check out the latest products for mom and baby and possibly snag one of the swag bags at the door!

For more information check out their website by clicking the post title ( ) or find them on Facebook!

Wordless Wednesday: Drink Up (w/B.M.)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bonding with Baby

One of the most amazing aspects of being a parent is bonding with your child. The relationship that is cultivated, takes root and grows between a parent and their baby is one that will continue to deepen and evolve over their lifetimes. It is an experience that may people look forward to sharing with their baby and I feel it is important for parents expecting their first child to be educated about bonding, especially new mothers. A common topic in the baby world is the bonding experience and I like many others feel there is a lot of pressure placed on new mothers to feel and instant, overwhelming attraction to their newborn. I spent the majority of my pregnancy researching all about my developing baby, pregnancy, breastfeeding and types of parenting but gave little thought to what happens in terms of developing a relationship with Trayton. It comes naturally right? It’s a given that I will fall head over heels in love with him all over again the instant I see him! In my case, that is exactly what happened. However, for some new mothers this is not the case and they need to know that it is perfectly okay.
Ed Christophersen, a pediatric psychologist in Kansas City, Missouri acknowledges the discussion today in regards to bonding and false expectations that result. He states that, “the overwhelming amount of importance placed on immediate feelings of attachment makes mothers who don’t experience this emotion, feel guilty.” Common ideas that, “if I don’t bond with my baby in the immediate minutes following birth, then it will never happen,” or “I am a bad parent for not feeling an attachment” are false and place unnecessary stress on new mothers, especially those who have to be separated from their newborn for medical reasons. According to an article on Baby Center, How Love Blossoms Between You and Your Child,, about 30% of mothers do not instantly fall in love with their baby, due to a complicated labor and delivery, exhaustion, disappointment, stress or any number of related reasons and fathers can experience these deterrents as well. However, there is encouragement; the majority of parents remedy their feelings of detachment toward their new baby within the first few months on their own, once the hoopla of stresses settle down, or by seeking medical help by talking to their child’s pediatrician, their midwife or family doctor.
Bonding is an intense attachment a parent forms with their child and yes, this includes fathers too! I liken it to a deep love and act of knowing you would instantly give your own life to protect this new, precious, little person. In all honesty, it’s indescribable until you have had the experience yourself and it is a deeply individual experience.  We tend to think that emotions play the key role in bonding, and while this is partially true, the fact cannot be ignored that biological factors play roles just as important.
The ability for mothers to bond with their baby is in our genetic code. We are programmed, so to speak, to want to be with our babies and likewise our babies are programmed to want to be with us. Oxytocin, the familiar hormone that progresses labor and aids in milk letdown, also play a role in our social behavior. Oxytocin is present in our system during labor and after delivery, helping to initiate the bonding with our new baby. It is very possible to drown out the warm-fuzzy effects of oxytocin because of medical complications, stress, exhaustion, etc. but this does not last forever. Oxytocin is persistent and once the events of birth settle down, the warm-fuzzy feeling ensues. Oxytocin does not affect mothers only; research supports fathers getting a rush of this hormone when they see their baby for the first time and is evidence for some of the unexpected emotions that take over in the delivery room.
The hormone dopamine also has positive effects on both mother and baby during early bonding experiences. Dopamine is responsible for the feeling of euphoria and thus positive experiences. When a mother spends time performing activities related to caring for and nurturing her baby, the dopamine level increases. Likewise, baby’s dopamine level increases when partaking in activities like being care for, cuddled etc.  The feelings associated with elevated levels of dopamine are essentially the same feelings cocaine and heroin users wish to achieve. Italian researchers performed an experiment in 2004 regarding the presence and absence of dopamine in mice, The mice that experienced surges of dopamine were more concerned about whether or not their mother was around, and those who were not exposed to dopamine could have cared less about their mother’s presence or absence.
Prolactin is another hormone related to bonding. The primary functions of prolactin are to aid in milk production, maintain the reproductive organs and immune system, but it also functions to promote and reinforce care giving behaviors in both mothers and fathers. Prolactin reduces testosterone levels in parents, thus reducing their libidos to orchestrate more energy and attention given to their baby. Why would this effect in fathers be beneficial to baby? Because it allows the infant to have not one, but two caretakers.
A fourth type of hormone involved in bonding, present in both parents and children are opioids. Opioids are considered a type of pleasure producing hormone and are stimulated by contact such as touch. In a situation such as a mother holding and rocking her baby, both the mother and baby are benefitting from this positive experience and release of opioids. Opioids help children associate positive contact with favorable experiences and are linked to elevated levels of prolactin and oxytocin in attached parents. Persistent elevated levels of prolactin stimulate the release of opioids, fueling the bonding experience. Oxytocin acts with opioids to prevent over stimulation and promote the positive rewards of bonding. Biological programming at its best!
The stress placed on the timing of bonding boggles my mind. It is not something that absolutely must happen immediately or you miss your chance forever, like some portray. Bonding develops over time, evolves over months and years, and is a deeply individual experience. Babies are said to form their strong emotional attachment to caregivers between 7-8 months of age according to Julia Braungart-Rieker, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame. Bonding with your baby may occur in the first few minutes after birth if the conditions are favorable to do so (and this is what many of us expect to happen), but if the conditions are not favorable, there are still many chances to come.   
Bonding results from the interaction between parent and child, or whoever assumes the role as a caregiver. The care exhibited by a person to the baby, whether from a parent or not, and meeting the baby’s basic needs, strengthens the bond between them. Carol Wilson, a psychologist in Lancaster, Pennsylvania supports Attachment Theory as part of an explanation as to why bonds are formed between babies and caregivers. Attachment Theory claims that, people of all ages become deeply connected with others who provide a sense of security and support and babies and older children have the capacity to recognize primary caregivers as good. Caregivers bond with babies by spending time with them, meeting basic needs, responding to them, holding them, talking to them, cuddling with them,  giving eye contact, skin contact, breastfeeding, bottle feeding, practicing baby massage and engaging the baby in daily activity. Bonding is not based on a one time shot. It is cultivated through many activities and over many years.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Finally, A Chance to Sit Down...

Just not for long; I'm headed to psych. class!

I want to extend a HUGE thank you to Lara at Designer Blogs for sprucing up around here for me! I hope my readers also enjoy the new look as it has been a long time coming. August turned out to be the busiest month yet this year for us. We had bridal showers and bachelorette parties for family, livestock shows at the Iowa State Fair, dilemmas with the dirt-work for our addition and ended the month with Ryan's brother's wedding and the start of school. Through it all, Trayton was a little trooper despite his changing schedule.

We are looking forward to returning to a normal schedule. I have been working on a few posts in my free time (which seems to be nearly nonexistent lately) and I'm excited to return to my blog while catching up on friends' I've missed.