Have you ever sucked on your baby's pacifier to clean it? Many parents have. Babies drop their binkies all the time and if you're in a hurry or just figure a little spit-cleaning won't hurt, you're more likely to stick it in your own mouth and give it a quick once over.
A new study out of Sweden says the spit-cleaning technique may actually help your infant avoid eczema and asthma.
It was surprising that the effect was so strong, says pediatric allergist Dr. Bill Hesselmar of Queen Silvia Children's Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden, lead author of the study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.
The study involved 136 infants who used a pacifier in their first 6 months. 65 of the infants had parents that reported sucking the pacifier to clean it. In those children, both eczema and asthma were strongly reduced when they were examined at 18 months of age. At 36 months of age, the protective effect remained for eczema but not for asthma.
Scientists didn't know why the sucking on the baby's pacifier acted as a protector or whether it was filtering out germs. The technique didn't have any impact on respiratory illness, meaning that the babies were not more likely to get a cold or the flu from their parents. Common sense would dictate that if you have a cold or the flu or any other contagious condition, then it's not a good idea to suck on your baby's binky. Otherwise, maybe it's not such a bad idea.
Why is sucking on your infant's pacifier possibly helpful in preventing asthma or eczema in your child? Scientists hypothesize that tiny organisms in the saliva of the parents may be why. Parent's saliva introduces gut micoflora that live in the digestive tract of the baby. We know that if infants have diverse microflora in the gut, then children will have less allergy and less eczema,says Hesselmar. When parents suck on the pacifier, they are transferring microflora to the child.
Just about all western babies wear diapers. I'm pretty sure we all know that, but what you may not know is that the bigger the diaper the more difficult it may be for baby to walk.
Scientists compared the gait of 60 babies who wore either a thin diaper, a thicker cloth diaper or no diaper at all. Half of the babies were 19 month-old more experienced walkers, and half were 13 month-old beginners.
When the 13 month-olds walked naked only 10 fell, but when they wore cloth diapers 21 fell. When the babies wore the thinner disposable diapers, 17 fell.
The more experienced walkers, the 19 month-olds, were able to maneuver better. Among the babies who went naked or wore the thinner disposable diapers only four fell. Once they switched to the fuller cloth diapers, 8 fell. Both of the age groups took wider and shorter steps when wearing diapers as opposed to walking naked.
The study cannot predict if wearing diapers has any long-term impact, but it does suggests that giving baby a break from diaper wearing might speed up walking development.
Of course, that leaves a rather big problem what to do about the mess that your baby makes when left to wander the house au naturel. By the way, fresh air on the hiney is also good to cut back on diaper rash, so if you're inclined to give it a try you might wait till after your baby has a bowel movement or has urinated and then let him or her walk a bit without a diaper.
I remember when my child was between one and two years old and learning to walk " it was an exercise in futility trying to keep clothes on her because she loved toddling around naked. She rarely had diaper rash and learned to walk pretty quickly. Of course, diapers are necessary and she wore her fair share, but when we had some time to relax and hang out together off the diapers came. While I kept a close eye on her in case an accident should occur (actually there were only a few), she smiled, giggled and toddled around butt-
A new study from Scotland suggests that the more you talk to and interact with your baby, the less likely it is that your child will develop ADHD later in life.
Researchers believe they have discovered a link between a lack of communication between a mother and her baby and a risk that the child will develop emotional problems and behavioral disorders as the child matures.
Scientists analyzed hundreds of videos of mothers interacting with their year-old babies. Study co-author Dr Clare Allely, a psychologist at Glasgow University's Institute Of Health And Wellbeing, said: "We used 180 videos for this study of mothers interacting with their 12-month-old infants " of which 120 were controls and 60 were of the children who were later diagnosed with disorders at seven years old."
They found that for every decrease of five vocalizations per minute by the mother the odds of the child developing ADHD by the age of seven increased by 44%. Vocalizations included everything from simple sounds to words.
Researchers said the findings did not mean that if you dont talk to your baby all the time that he or she will develop psychological and psychiatric problems. Instead they suggest that active parenting may offer a protective effect against these kinds of conditions.
Philip Wilson, study co-author and professor of primary care and rural health at the University of Aberdeen, said there are several theories on why the link may exist. "We have got the possibility that active parenting and active communication by the parents may have a protective effect against the development of problems with attention and conduct," he said.
"The other main hypothesis is to do with genetics. We know people who themselves have ADHD or conduct problems tend to be more under-active and communicate less later on in life. So the second possible explanation is that it may be the mothers themselves have ADHD and have become underactive and passed on the
So, I did a little research and found an article from the journal Science in 2003. A study from the University of CA at San Francisco (UCSF) actually looked at baby rats who listened to white noise for prolonged periods of time. The researchers found that the part of the auditory cortex (in rats) that is responsible for hearing, did not develop properly after listening to the white noise. Interestingly, when the white noise was taken away, the brain resumed normal development. Again, this study was in baby rats, and to my knowledge has not been duplicated. But, these baby rats were exposed to hours on end of "white noise which may not be the same thing as sleeping with a sound machine at night. We might need to be more concerned about background white noise. We do know that babies learn language by listening and absorbing human speech. They need to hear their parent's talking to them from the time they are born. They listen to not only their parent's speech, but also to siblings, grandparents etc. and from an early age respond to that language by making cooing sounds themselves, often imitating the sounds they have heard. They are also exposed to a great deal of white noise or background noise with the televisions being on, computers, telephones, vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers etc. going on all day. The white noise that may be reduced by turning off televisions, videos, computers etc and replacing that background noise with human speech through reading, singing and just talking to your baby and child could only be beneficial. One might surmise that white noise in the form of a sound machine at night would not affect a child's speech development, as this is not a time for language acquisition. Having a good bedtime routine, reading to your child before bed, or singing them a lullaby will encourage language development, and the sound machine may ensure a good night's sleep. Just turn it off in the morning! That's your daily dose for today.
Another study suggests higher levels of vitamin D during pregnancy may play an important role in a baby's future health. In the latest study, Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy has been linked to poorer mental and motor skills in babies.
Researchers in Spain measured the level of vitamin D in the blood of almost 2,000 women in their first or second trimester of pregnancy and evaluated the mental and motor abilities of their babies at about 14 months of age. The investigators found that children of vitamin D deficient mothers scored lower than those whose mothers had adequate levels of the vitamin.
"These differences in the mental and psychomotor development scores do not likely make any difference at the individual level, but might have an important impact at the population level," said study lead author Dr. Eva Morales, a medical epidemiologist in the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona.
One concern is that lower scores in motor and mental tests could lead to lower IQs.
Previous studies have linked a deficiency in vitamin D during pregnancy to babies born with a greater risk for developing language problems, higher body fat, bone weakness, lung infections and schizophrenia.
Vitamin D deficiency in moms-to-be has also been associated with a higher risk for developing preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is when a pregnant woman develops high blood pressure and protein in the urine after the 20th week of pregnancy. It is rarely fatal, but can lead to premature births.
How much vitamin D should a pregnant woman be getting? There's not a clear-cut answer.
The Institute of Medicine, an independent U.S. group that advises the public, recommends pregnant women get 600 international units (IU) a day of vitamin D and no more than 4,000 IU/day. However, the Endocrine Society says that 600 units does not prevent deficiency and that at least 1,500 to 2,000 units a day may be required.