Amy's Corner. our lactation consultant answers your questions about nursing.

10 Things to Know about Breast Cancer Awareness

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As most of us know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  Chances are, many of us have been touched in some way by breast cancer whether through a personal experience, family member, friend, co-worker or acquaintance.  Breast health is an important part of our lives as women.  Today we’re sharing 10 things to know about Breast Cancer Awareness so you can be knowledgeable for your own health and as an advocate for those around you.

  • Approximately 1 in 8 women born today will get breast cancer in their lifetime. Breast cancer and lung cancer are the most common forms of cancer in women in the US (besides skin cancer).
  • There are around 290,000 reported cases of breast cancer each year in the S. and about 40,000 people die of breast cancer yearly. The rate of breast cancer incidence began decreasing in 2000 and breast cancer death rates have been decreasing since 1989.  That is good progress, but still, too many lives are consumed by the disease.
  • Nearly 3 million breast cancer survivors live in the S. When detected early, surviving breast cancer is possible and likely.
  • The best path to surviving breast cancer is early detection through self breast BC early detectionexams, clinical exams and mammograms. In fact, when breast cancer is discovered early and is localized, the survival rate after treatment is 100%.
  • Breast cancer can go undetected for years. However, some symptoms include:  changes in the feel of breasts and nipples such as lumps, tenderness or enlarged pores; changes in the look of breasts and nipples such as enlargement, shrinkage, sudden disproportion, swelling, dimpling or redness; or a clear or blood discharge from the nipple.  Breast cancer can be a silent killer because some patients have no symptoms ever.  And these signs do not necessarily mean someone has cancer.
  • Self breast exams should be performed monthly. You can set a calendar reminder or use an app to remind you to do your exam.  Perform the exam while lying down, in the shower or in front of a mirror.  Know your breasts and contact a physician if anything looks or feels out of the ordinary.  It is estimated that 40% of early detection of breast cancer is through self exams.
  • Clinical exams should be done during your yearly checkup or whenever you notice an abnormality during a self breast exam. This is when a professional – usually your primary care physician or OBGYN – will evaluate your breasts.  They will touch your breasts to feel for lumps and look at your breasts for signs of breast cancer.  Should your physician find anything suspicious, he or she may recommend further diagnostics.
  • Mammograms are x-rays that can detect signs of breast cancer before any physical symptoms appear. Women 40 or older should get a mammogram every one to two years.  Younger women should consult their doctors about mammograms if their risk factors are high, such as having had cancer previously or having a family history of breast cancer.
  • Risk factors that may affect breast cancer include gender, age, race/ethnicity, genetics, family history, dense breast tissue, breast conditions, radiation exposure, menstrual periods, childbirth, breastfeeding, hormone therapy and birth control, among others.
  • Breast cancer may be unavoidable in some people, but healthy lifestyle habits can help reduce your risk. These include eating a well-balanced diet rich in antioxidants; exercising; no excessive drinking; no smoking;  and maintaining a healthy weight.

This October, know your breast cancer facts and be part of the Breast Cancer Awareness campaign.  A simple reminder or nudge from a friend may make the difference between early detection and a silent killer.

No Carve Pumpkin Ideas

Photo credit: dionhinchcliffe / Foter / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: dionhinchcliffe / Foter / CC BY-SA

Fall is here which means it’s time for Halloween decorations and pumpkin carving! If you’re in the mood for Fall but your child is too young to join in on the festivities, we have some great no carve pumpkin ideas for you! Plus, as a bonus, there is no messy cleanup of yucky pumpkin gunk! Let the pumpkin be the canvas and let your child’s imagination soar!Before you being it’s helpful to have your supplies ready. Here is a list of possible supplies you may want to have:

  1. Colored Markers
  2. Glitter
  3. Sequins
  4. Glue
  5. Puffy Paint
  6. Store-bought Cobwebs
  7. Candy of your choice (we suggest jelly beans)
  8. Colorful Fabric
  9. Cheap Sponges
  10. Newspaper
  11. Paint Brushes
  12. Old Clothing

Once you have your supplies you can get going! Take off your child’s nice clothing and put on something a little more casual that won’t be ruined if paint of glue happens to spill on it. Lay down your newspaper and place your pumpkin and supplies on top. Once your craft station is ready for a little mess you are ready to go! Here are some fun examples of ways you can decorate your pumpkin:

Photo credit: PricklyNettles / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: PricklyNettles / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: Suzie T / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: Suzie T / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: Travis Estell / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo credit: Travis Estell / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Stop Mom Judging!

Parenting is hard.  Every mom has had her moments of frustration where she’s reached her limit and was less than her ideal self.  Every mom has been there. So why are moms still judging one another when we can all relate?  It’s time to stop mom judging, and everyone – psychologists, media reporters, moms themselves – agree.

If you think about it, you have more in common with other moms than not.  That is to say, your ultimate goal is to raise your children in excellence.  No matter what individual choices you make, you’re coming from a place of love and trying to do what is best for your child in light of your entire family’s best interest.

2014-09-02-Untitled2-thumbAlso, we each have a unique set of circumstances that weigh on us at any given moment.  We never know what someone else’s situation is when we come across them.  They may be dealing with pressure at work, financial concerns, sick family members, feeling poorly themselves, being pulled in too many directions, a failing marriage, or perhaps their children have just pushed every button possible that day.  Haven’t we all worn at least one of these shoes?

Many psychologists cite that mom judging comes from an inner lack of confidence about oneself.  Moms feel the need to judge one another because they are lacking in some way or are not confident about their own decisions in raising their children.  If you find yourself mom judging, stop and think about your own struggles and whether what you are projecting on another mom (or even your kids) is really an internal conflict.  Many times, identifying your own feelings can help you get to the root of why you are mom judging.

As you struggle with making parenting decisions, remember that others are too.  Much of parenting is trial and error and what works for some, doesn’t work for others.  Giving solicited advice is one thing but passing judgment is something entirely different.  As humans, it’s hard to be objective, especially about something as personal as parenting.  But try not to see parenting as black and white, right and wrong.  There are so many spectrums on the parenting rainbow and all of them can be right.

Remember that mom judging is hurtful, a form of name calling really.  We teach our children not to call names and that different families make different choices.  This is a good lesson for moms as well.  For those who have been mom judged or shamed, you know how badly it feels and how much it makes you question your very existence as a mother.  Don’t make others feel that way too.  And, if you were the recipient of a harsh mom comment, try not to let it bother you too much.  Listen to your heart and know that you are doing the best you can for your family. No one else has the right to judge the way you love.

Sometimes moms are their own worst critics.  It’s true, we are often hardest on ourselves.  This is where you need to cut yourself some slack, have compassion for yourself and recognize that all moms struggle at some point.  It is normal, natural and part of the job.  Lean on friends or your partner when you self-judge.  Let them be your mirror and help you see yourself more accurately.  Especially as a new, first-time mom, often it takes an outsider to keep things in perspective.

Next time you see mothers out in public, talk to friends about what’s happening with their kids or examine your own parenting, try coming from a place of love, acceptance and objectivity.  It takes more effort to be negative and it’s certainly bad for your emotional balance and spirit as well.  Work towards judgment-free parenting and encourage your friends to do the same.  Mom judging spread because moms got other moms involved.  The opposite can be true too.  Commit to stop mom judging and it will spread like a wildfire.

The Dangers of Hair Tourniquet

Of all the strange things that can happen to our babies, it shouldn’t be a surprise a tiny piece of hair is one of them. Many of us don’t know our hair is actually very strong and has the flexibility to stretch when wet and tighten when it dries. You might notice when you shower or when you fold your laundry that your hair can get stuck in the drain or weave itself in your clothing. If you’ve had the pleasure of pulling hair out of your hairbrush, you know the strength our hair can have. Just a single strand can be such a danger to a baby. If hair wraps around a toe or a finger it can cuff off circulations, which can lead to serious outcomes. What’s scary about hair tourniquet is its ability to be so unseeing to our eyes, and many parents have no idea what could be wrong with their crying baby when they have tried everything to appease them.

This rare occasion is called hair tourniquet syndrome, a rare clinical event which can occur during all ages, but most often to infants. Since hair is most likely a thing to overlook, many parents find themselves distraught and confused when their baby is continually crying after they’ve tried many steps to soothe them not knowing they are screaming out of pain. This may go on for hours, and possibly days due to something as small as a strand of hair! When the matter is not taken care of right away your baby is at serious risk of poor circulation, infection, and maybe as serious as having the digit amputated. The areas hair has been documented to tangle are fingers, toes, wrists, penis, scrotum, tongue, vaginal labium, ear lobes, umbilicus, and nipples. All can be extremely painful and the hair must be removed as soon as possible!

 

If your child is showing signs, such as excessive crying, being in pain, or red and swollen digits make sure to check all areas hair can catch and call your doctor. Because hair is so fine and thin it can be hard to see, and should be only removed by a professional. To protect your baby from hair tourniquet syndrome check clothing and bath water for loose hairs and for more information talk to your pediatrician.

 

How Baby Traits Influence Personality

Leading Lady BreastfeedingWhen you have a baby, you have many hopes and dreams about the person she will become.  Most experts believe that your baby’s personality is a combination of nature and nurture – that is that some parts of her are hard-wired and others will evolve depending on how she’s cared for and her environment.  Some people believe that certain baby traits influence personality. We’re exploring a few of these considerations today:

Eye Color

Your baby’s eye color may change in the months after birth.  Many babies are born with blue eyes and they become their true color between six months and one year of age.  A person’s eye color is said to speak to the type of person they are. Here’s what the predictions say:

  • Brown:  As the most common eye color, those with brown eyes are loving, caring, warm, happy, confident and lovers of the earth.
  • Blue:  Prized beautiful blue eyes represent people who are powerful, kind, smart, direct, and energetic.
  • Green:  Green eyes exude passion, exuberance, intelligence, charm, mystique and radiance.
  • Hazel:  Those with this mixture of brown and green eyes are typically easy-going, fun-loving, curious, courageous and sensual.
  • Black:  Rare and mysterious, black eyes are very uncommon. They represent mystery, intuition, loyalty, hard work and practicality.

Handedness

Scientists are not positive how exactly handedness develops but they believe it is a combination of genetics and environment.  Left-handed people make up approximately 10% of society, but unfortunately often have a hard time with gadgets and settings that are designed for the general public, meaning most right-handed people.

While there are a range of personality traits that encompass right-handed people, there are some common similarities among lefties. Typically, lefties are better at art, problem-solving and creative thinking.  The public tends to trust left-handed people as many recent presidents – Obama, Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Ford – are all lefties.  Sports may appear to be difficult for lefties at first glance, but they may benefit in one-on-one facing sports such as golf, tennis, baseball and boxing.  This may be because left-handed people can have the advantage of the element of surprise. On the negative side, lefties have an elevated risk of mood disorders, have shorter tempers and are more likely to frighten easily.

Belly Button

All mammals that have a placenta have belly buttons because at one point we were all connected to our mothers via an umbilical cord.  Humans can either have an “innie,” which means your belly button caves inwards, or an “outie,” one that pops out.  Ninety percent of people have “innie” belly buttons.  But do belly buttons really say anything about what type of person your baby will become?  Not really!  Although some people use the same terms for introverts and extroverts, the directional pull of your baby’s adorable belly button doesn’t have the same weight on her personality.  If your baby is in the minority and has an “outie,” embrace the difference and never make her feel odd for this naturally occurring trait.

Whether you believe in these predictions or not, it’s fun to imagine how your baby’s traits may influence her personality.

Why Men with Babies are Sexier

father-baby-son-131107Let’s face it, we’ve probably all had a moment when we looked at our husband (or someone else’s) and admired the way they dote on their baby.  And in that moment, that man seems a lot more attractive than he may have otherwise.  The notion that men with babies are sexier is not just a sweet little feeling that women, especially moms, get.  There is actually evolutionary evidence and psychological truths behind the theory, and it often helps women make better choices about men.

Many studies have been done on why men with babies are sexier to women.  The results are unanimous that women do admire men who like babies (and dogs too), for several key reasons that are important to the evolutionary survival of the human species.  These reasons include acting as a provider, taking responsibility and being healthy, three essential qualities that most women find attractive for their mate.

For millions of years, women have been attracted to men who are good providers and can take responsibility for her and their family.  It’s an evolutionary trait that is now hard-wired in most women of child-bearing age.  When a man has the physical and mental capacity to provide for a child and take on familial responsibilities, a woman knows her children will be safe and protected under his care.  So the next time your sexy dad radar perks up when you watch your husband make googly eyes at your baby, you can remember that it’s your female instinct telling you that you picked a good guy.

Also, men with babies and dogs tend to be more physically and emotionally fit due to the demands of the job.  Babies require a lot of legwork, lifting and chasing around, especially as an infant grows into toddlerhood.  That’s a good extra workout for all parents.  Also, babies need lots of cuddles, love and affection, which has a positive effect on dads as well.  The act of hugging and being close to another person releases endorphins and other happiness hormones that increase joy and make a person feel good.  Additionally, physical and emotional health speak to a man’s good genes, qualities that are attractive to women as they consider a mate.

In fact, one study indicated that women can tell from simply looking at a man’s photograph whether he is good with babies.  Even when men were instructed to make neutral expressions, women more accurately identified men who like babies.  And, in most cultures, women also did not correlate a lack of masculinity with an affinity towards babies.  Research also affirms that a masculine appearance and demeanor, often determined by testosterone levels, is not related to a man’s love of children.

While women stare affectionately at men with babies, some moms find it a social impediment to their own hard efforts as a parent.  Dads providing the same care for their children as mothers are often regarded as “good dads” and seen as sexy, when moms are more often overlooked or criticized for their parenting.  This is probably because women are seen as people who should know how and want to take care of their children effectively, whereas it is extra special when a man can do the same.  As dads take on more child care responsibilities, many moms feel the public perception should change – that dads performing everyday parenting tasks should not be given any extra praise than a mom in the same position.

Regardless of whether it should happen or not, women do tend to find men with babies sexier.  Blame it on evolution, instinct or a woman’s intuition.  And with all good parenting from moms or dads, appreciate that a parent wants to spend quality time with his baby.  That’s what really matters.

Breakdown of “The Milky Way: Every Mother Has a Story”

The documentary “The Milky Way:  Every Mother Has a Story,” focuses on Jennifer Davidson, a lactation consultant, who is concerned about America’s lack of appreciation towards breastfeeding. Right from the beginning we see she has every right to be when we learn the disturbing fact that the U.S. has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world! In fact, only 15% of babies are exclusively breastfeed at the age of six months. While breastfeeding is disappearing, the formula companies are at an all-time high. With the media completely taking over and convincing women breastfeeding in public is wrong and formula is better than your own breast milk, women are subjugated to the point where they feel discouraged  when they begin having trouble breastfeeding and give up.

“We need to change,” says Jennifer Davidson.

As a country, we lack the proper knowledge of what breastfeeding is and what it can do for mothers and babies. Breastfeeding is a beautiful and natural act, unlike what we have been told in the media. It’s a precious moment only shared between mothers and their babies which creates a special and loving bond that carries into our children’s lives long into adulthood. As a natural instinct many women used to display as their motherly role, our society has abused its reputation into an intimate and even sexual act that should be kept private. Breasts have become an object of sex and we have forgotten its most important role: breastfeeding and feeding our babies. Breast milk is scientifically proven to be the best possible nutrient to give to our babies. A women’s breast milk is specially designed to give their unique baby what they need to grow up strong and healthy. When you breastfeed your baby’s saliva communicates with your breast milk letting your body know which antioxidants and nutrients your baby needs. If breast milk has so many advantages, and on top if all that it’s cost effective, than why is our country so demining towards something so natural? Throughout the film, Jennifer and her colleagues, clients, and other moms continue an encouraging and dear call in the hopes everyone watching will take something from the film:

Trust Yourself, Trust Your Body, and Trust Your Baby.

Continuing her argument, Davidson compares another aspect by discussing the way U.S. hospitals treat mothers after birth versus other hospitals around the world, primarily St. Joseph’s Hospital in Berlin, Germany. St. Joseph is the first baby friendly certified hospital in the world. 97% of their babies are breastfeed and mothers are expected and encouraged to stay with their babies immediately after delivery, even if they are premature or dying. As soon as they are birthed, babies are given to their mothers to begin the bond with skin on skin contact, learning how to breastfeeding, and co-sleeping. Creating a relationship between mother and child is the most important goal for St. Joseph. Moms are given the confidence and support they need to help them feel successful.

We must ask ourselves, “What can we do to change? How can we be more supportive to mothers and babies?” As a country we need to become more knowledgeable about the benefits breastfeeding has not only for our babies, but for our nation. Learning to better care for pregnant women in the hospital, making them feel confident as mothers, being patient and teaching them how to breastfeed, and supporting them when they want to give up is just a start to changing our views on breastfeeding. As a country, breastfeeding can help our obesity problem, our expenses, and our relationships with our children. We must trust ourselves, trust our bodies, and trust our babies.

 

Resources

The Milky Way: Every Mother Has a Story. Dir. Jon Fitzgerald. Perf. Jennifer Davidson and Chantal Molnar. Piece of My Heart Productions, 2014. Film. http://milkywayfoundation.org/

 

5 Creative Ways to Tell Kids “Mom is Pregnant”

Congratulations, you’re going to be a mom…again!  Each pregnancy is unique and having a second, third, fourth (dare we say more) child is different from your first in a very distinct way: you already have other children.  Sharing the news of your pregnancy is an exciting part of becoming a mom again.  But you may wonder what creative ways you can tell your kids that “mom is pregnant.”  Today we’re sharing some fun ideas that may work for your family.

babY CAKEBaby Party with a Reveal Cake:  Throw a family party and decorate with baby items.  Give each family member a bib as a napkin and a bottle of sippy cup for their drinks.  Serve baby food along with your regular dinner.  You can even hang a banner and put confetti on your table.  Wait to see if your kids say anything or guess why they are having a baby party.  At the end of the meal, bring out a cake that has a picture of a baby.  If you know the gender, you can have the inner icing color – blue or pink – indicate whether your kids will be getting a baby brother or baby sister.  If nothing else, they’ll be excited about the cake!

Scavenger Hunt:  Organize an age-appropriate scavenger hunt for your kids with various clues that incorporate the baby theme and lead them throughout your home and yard.  At the end of the scavenger hunt, have a grand prize that signifies the big news.  Your final prize can be anything that you think will have significance for your children – a baby doll, a baby blanket, balloons or a book about babies are some ideas.  This fun and interactive way to tell your kids mom is pregnant builds anticipation and offers a rewards at the end.

Ultrasound Visit:  If your children are old enough to understand it, bring them along to an ultrasound visit to meet their new sibling firsthand.  You can tell them that you need them to come with you to see the doctor, just like you go with them to their doctor’s appointments.  Then explain that the technician is going to show a picture of the inside of mommy’s tummy.  Before you know it, they’ll see their little baby brother or sister bobbing around your uterus and get to hear the heartbeat as well.  You can point out different parts of the baby’s body and watch the funny things he or she does in the womb.  This unique view can be very meaningful to children and help them better comprehend the process of a baby’s development over time.

My-Mom-Having-Baby-Kid-Month--Month-Guide-PregnancyBooks & T-shirts:  For a more subtle way to share the news, you and your partner can read books about becoming an older brother or older sister to your kids and then explain that they are going to be just like the characters in the books, an older sibling!  Reading about the process of pregnancy and welcoming a new baby into your home is an important step in acclimating your children to the idea of a new sibling, and books with relatable characters may make the concept easier to grasp.  Also, many older siblings find pride in becoming the big bro or sis and want to flaunt it on a t-shirt.

Balloon Box:  Kids love balloons so another easy way to reveal the news of your pregnancy or the gender of your baby is to fill a big box with helium balloons.  Let your kids tear into the box and SURPRISE!  Out pop a bunch of balloons in blue and pink, perhaps some with babies or storks, to share that a new baby is on the way.

However you decide to tell your kids, be ready for the unexpected.  Some kids, even those longing for a younger sibling, may be ambivalent to the news.  Others may be so overcome with emotion and confusion that they cry tears of joy or sadness.  Also, many children have a preference for a baby brother or baby sister and therefore may be disappointed if the gender of your new baby wasn’t their top choice.  Usually this dissatisfaction will go away over time and is replaced with joy and excitement.  Your children may have questions about how the baby was made so discuss a response with your partner before the big reveal.

Be sure to take lots of pictures and video of your baby announcement to your older kids.  One day, the baby will love to see how his or her siblings took the big news.

Navigating Sleep Transitions

Sleep!  It’s so important for your baby’s brain development, and also for your daily functionality.  After three to six months, most babies have figured out how to sleep for long stretches at night, what we call “sleeping through the night.”  It takes awhile for babies to adjust to the 24-hour cycle of a day, including discovering the appropriate time for long sleep is at night.  When it happens, parents are very relieved.  But sleep is constantly evolving for children and their patterns may get interrupted several more times throughout the course of early childhood.  Today our focus is navigating sleep transitions to help you get back your 8-hours of sweet dreams every night.

No matter how your baby learned to sleep through the night, whether by naturally self-soothing, the Ferber method, or crying it out, you were probably grateful that it happened.  And anything that interrupts that peaceful balance that you had when you returned to a full night of sleep may be seen as nothing short of disaster.  When your child is sick, you pull the plug on the pacifier or you travel, for example, sleep patterns may be interrupted and take some time to get back on track.  Usually within a week or two, you can all normalize and enjoy a quiet household at night.  But there are some bigger sleep transitions that may be more difficult to navigate.

Dropping Naps

Babies usually nap at least five times daily until around six months of age.  At that point they may begin to only need three naps a day, typically two in the morning and one in the afternoon.  As the naps begin to drop one-by-one, sleep transitions may pose a problem as your child’s body adjusts to a new schedule.  You may notice that your child can power through the time of the dropped nap, but can barely make it to the next nap or bedtime.  You may need to move an afternoon nap to an earlier time or even push up bedtime so your child gets an appropriate amount of sleep when he needs it.

The worse sleep transition caused by naps is usually when the last nap goes and your child is awake for 12+ hours a day.  This usually occurs between three and five, and it can be rough.  Many parents mourn the loss of this last nap because it offered a much needed break for them too.  If you feel your child is struggling during this transition, initiate “quiet time” or “rest time” when your little one spends time in his room doing something sedentary like reading a book or playing with a quiet toy.  Some kids simply like to lie in bed during this rest period.  It helps slow the body and rejuvenate to hopefully keep your child happy and even-tempered for the rest of the day.

Getting a “Big Kid” Bed

Cribs are fabulous for keeping your infant or toddler contained.  But many toddlers learn how to climb out of their cribs as early as 18-months.  This can be a major hazard and may mean your child is ready for a new bed.  The first thing to try is a sleep sack that might ktoddler-bedroom-sets-within-toddler-bedding-olive-kids-new-paisly-dreams-toddler-beddingeep your tot from being able to climb out.  If that doesn’t work, it’s time to shop for that “big kid” bed.  And then your child has the newfound ability to get out of bed whenever he wants, which can once again cause sleep transition issues.

Hopefully you can keep your toddler in his crib until at least 2½, when most kids have better self control about staying in their bed or at least their bedroom.  Experts agree that the best way to approach a new bed is by making a big deal about it and setting rules.  Explain that big kids get big kid beds because they are responsible enough to follow rules.  The biggest rule is that you sleep all night in your own bed.  When your child does come into your room, immediately take him back to his bed.  These boundaries often help children and parents navigate sleep transitions with a new bed.  It may take some time and your child may be more tired than usual from spending time playing around his room rather than sleeping, but you’ll eventually find the rhythm again.

Nightmares

Everyone dreams but babies lack the memory, imagination and fear for bad dreams.  When your child gets older, scary dreams may begin to keep him up at night and frighten him so much that he fears staying alone in his room.  Bad dreams tend to be about imaginary things with toddlers, but older kids sometimes dream about real fears such as a burglar, fire or other life-threatening situation.

Experts suggest talking through dreams can help your child overcome his fears.  Ask him about good and bad dreams and share your dreams as well.  Remind him that, although we may dream about people in our lives or realistic situations, dreams are not real and they go away.  Some parents make a worry jar for their kids so they can write down scary thoughts and feelings and lock them away.  Also, try to get your child to replace bad thoughts with something happier to help them work through waking from a bad dream all on their own.

Sleep transitions are hard on kids and parents but they are usually short lived.  Hang in there and this phase will pass too.

Never Buy These Used Baby Items or Accept Them as Hand-Me-Downs

As a thrifty parent, it may be your instinct to look for the best bargain on baby items.  Often gently used gear can be found at the best price, or better yet, a network of hand-me-down items is free.  But some items should not be bought used or accepted as hand-me-downs because you cannot be sure of the safety and integrity of the product.  Today we’re giving you a list of used baby items to avoid.

771f3_Baby_trend_flex-loc_car_seat Car Seats:  It’s easy enough to look up car seat standards to determine if one you see at a resale shop or have been offered by a friend is within current safety standards.  But what you can’t know is how the car seat has been treated.  If it has been dropped, twisted or damaged in any way, such as being in a car wreck, the car seat may not function properly and provide your child the safety you expect.  Don’t take that chance on a used car seat.

Some Strollers and High Chairs:  Strollers and high chairs go in the “maybe” category.  Make sure the models you are considering are within safety standards.  High chairs should have a barrier between your baby’s legs, a 5-point harness strap and locking wheels.  A stroller’s wheels should work impeccably forwards and backwards as you never know when you may be scurrying to get out of the way of danger, and should have secure seat belts and locking wheels.  Inspect these items carefully before buying used.

Cribs Made Before June 2011:  Federal regulations on crib standards changed at the end of June 2011 to prohibit the sale of drop-side cribs and increase scrutiny of slats, hardware and mattresses.  Cribs prior to this date may not meet the highest safety standards.

MadelaBreastPumpBreast Pumps and Accessories:  Most personal grade breast pumps are an open system, meaning milk may be exposed to every part of the inner tubing of the pump.  Used breast pumps may carry bacteria that can not only be introduced to a mother’s nipple, but also to a baby.  No matter how you clean it, breast pumps cannot be fully sanitized throughout.  Plus, depending on the frequency of your pumping, most personal grade breast pumps will only last through one baby’s use.

Pacifiers and Bottle Nipples:  Similar to a breast pump, pacifiers and bottle nipples can carry germs that transfer from one baby to another.  As a baby uses these items, tiny tears are created where bacteria and other microbes can make a home.  It’s actually a good idea to change these items often, even when used by just one baby.

Stained or Ugly Clothes:  Do yourself a favor, don’t accept hand-me-downs you don’t like.  Life with a baby can get cluttered enough without extra items you don’t need or want.  Baby stains are usually hard to remove – if they were going to come out, the original mommy probably would have already tried.

Bath Toys:  Where there is water, there is often mold.  Bath toys notoriously hold in moisture, allowing mold to build up.  These toys are relatively inexpensive to buy new anyways.

Dangerous Toys:  Toys with sharp edges, that are mangled or whose paint is chipping are not good ones to have around.  Your baby will want to explore every inch of his toys, especially with his mouth, so having toys with potentially harmful parts that could be swallowed may cause a major problem.  Avoid them altogether and stick with used toys that look pristine.

Being thrifty is a virtue, but be smart about where you try to save money.  Getting a good bargain should never be at the expense of your child’s safety.

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Are you Ready for a Second Child
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Best Teacher Gifts for the Holidays
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Caffeine
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Car Seats for Every Age
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Celebrate Mother's Day
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Celebrating New Years with Kids
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Christmas Eve
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Comfortable Bras
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Coping with Sleep Deprivation
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Creativity
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Dinovember
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Eating Fish During Pregnancy and While Breastfeeding
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Elie Saab
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Flying While Pregnant
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Fun family activities on Christmas Eve
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Fussy Baby
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Gender Prediction
Getting Pregnant
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Gift Ideas
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Halloween
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Healing Powers of Breast Milk
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Healthy Breakfasts
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Heart disease
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Hospital Bag Checklist
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How Baby Traits Influence Personality
how different animals breastfeed
how to avoid dry drowning
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How to Avoid Raising Entitled Children
how to avoid reflux
how to baby proof
how to be a good patient
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how to breastfeed
how to clean baby ears
how to clean up play room
how to clean your baby’s ears
how to discipline a baby
how to discipline a child
How to Donate Breast Milk
how to ease baby into swimming
how to engage your baby with toys
how to establish a bedtime routine
how to fall asleep
how to fall asleep fast
how to get help while breastfeeding
how to get kids to drink water
how to get kids to eat healthy
how to get rid of stretch marks
how to go to sleep
how to handle thumb sucking
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How to Keep Your Babysitter Happy
how to manage pain during labor
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how to prevent baby from getting sick
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How to Select a Pediatrician
how to sleep better
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how to stop breastfeeding
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how to support a friend with breast cancer
how to take great family pictures
how to tell if baby is overweight
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I am Totally Pregnant App
Illness
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In the Media
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juggling a newborn and a toddler
Just for Fun
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keep my car clean
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Kids New Year
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Latching On
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Losing Baby Weight
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Motivational Breastfeeding Thoughts
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National Breastfeeding Month
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Nesting
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New Year's superstitions
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Old Wives Tale Gender Prediction
Olivia Wilde
omega 3
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oral bacteria during pregnancy
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Organizations that Support Mothers
organizing car
origin of Valentine's Day
Oscar awards
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Outdoor safety
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overweight baby
Parental Guidance
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Paula Garces
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Plan Your Own Mother’s Day
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PMS
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polka dot maternity clothes
positive discipline
positive effect of smiling
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Postpartum Depression in Dads
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Pregnancy
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Pregnancy in the work place
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Pregnancy Stretch Marks
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Prenatal Dental Care
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preparing for a second baby
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Preparing to be a Stay at Home Mom
Preparing to Breastfeed
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Pumping
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raising children
Raising Confident Kids
Raising Happy Kids
reading and smart babies
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reasons to be thankful
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red carpet
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refresh your play room
reproductive health
Returning to Work
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Rh Factor and Pregnancy
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role of a doula
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Rules for Cleaning out Toys
Rules of Babysitters
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Selfie
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Sexy Nursing Bras
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Shakespeare
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sleep while your baby sleeps
sleeping
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smart babies
smile
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smoking during pregnancy
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sound machine
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speech therapy
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Spring Fashion
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stop mom judging
Storing Breaskmilk
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sucking your thumb
Sugar
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taking pictures of baby
talking to your baby
Tdap during pregnancy
Teach babies about heart health
teacher gifts
teaching children about giving back
teeth during pregnancy
thankfulness
Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Activities
Thanksgiving cooking with kids
Thanksgiving crafts
thanksgiving day parade
Thanksgiving dinner
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thanksgiving trivia
that 70s show
The Benefits of Music for Babies
The Benefits of Prenatal Yoga
The Cost of Breastfeeding
the dangers of hair tourniquet
The First Response Tracker
the golden rule
The History of Breastfeeding
the Milky Way documentary
the Milky Way movie
the Milky Way: every mother has a story
the positive effects of smiling at your baby
The Pregnancy Companion App
therapy in early childhood
Things to do on Christmas Eve
thrush
thrush in adults
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thumb suckers
thumb sucking
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tips for cleaning out toys
tips for sleep training
toddler
toddler and newborn
top things to do during pregnancy
toxins in cosmetics
toxins in makeup
toxins that are bad for babies
traits that influence personality
transitioning to solids
Traveling
treat your babysitter like family
trends in family size
trivia
turkey
Twins
twitter
type 1 diabetes
umbilical cord
umbilical cord care
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united states
update your play space
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Vacations
Vaccines
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Valentine's Day
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Valentine's Day while breastfeeding
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Valentino
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varicose veins treatment
visiting the doctor
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volunteering
Ways to Burn Calories with a Baby
ways to find other new moms
Ways to Get Kids to Drink Water
ways to praise your child
ways to relieve congestion in babies
ways to sweeten Valentine's Day
WBW2015
weaning
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weather
WebMD
what is colostrum
what is the umbilical cord
what is thrush
what medicines can I take while breastfeeding
what not to buy used
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what not to eat during pregnancy
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what to do before potty training
what to do on Christmas Eve
what to do on Mother's Day
what to do to relieve pain during labor
what to do with a toddler while breastfeeding a baby
What to do with kids on New Years
what to eat during pregnancy
what to get for Father's Day
what to look for in pediatrician
what type of car seat do I need
what your baby does in womb
where to donate breast milk
where to find a pediatrician
which foods to serve a baby
which vaccines are ok during pregnancy
white noise machine
why children need praise
why do moms judge each other
why kids suck thumbs
why men with babies are sexy
winter vacation activities
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women
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World Breastfeeding Week
yeast diaper rash
yoga with baby