Babybitenet Review

On June 22, 2012, in Blog, Reviews, by Bellybuds

Original review found here:

Love these!

I’m pregnant with my second child, and I was a little concerned a few weeks back, because the baby was in the breech position, and nothing I seemed to do would turn her. I got myself a pair of belly buds, and wore them around the house for a couple days, playing her classical music and keeping the headphones low on my belly (hoping to lure her downwards.) Anyway, it worked! The next time I went to the doctor, she was in the “head-down” position, and has stayed there ever since.

I’ve continued using my belly buds, since I read that playing music is stimulating for the baby (and after nine months in there, she’s gotta be a little bored:). They’re lightweight, easy to use, and perhaps most importantly, they make me feel like I’m doing something nice for my baby, even as I’m just going about my day. I highly recommend this product to any expectant mother.

 

6 Tips to Boost Your Baby’s IQ in the Womb

On June 20, 2012, in Blog, by Bellybuds

 Original post found here.

There are many ways to help your baby get a good start in life. You can boost your baby’s IQ while he or she is still in the womb, by reducing stress and anxiety, eating healthily, and by stimulating your unborn child, which will help to create the connections in the brain that are the foundation of intelligence. Taking these actions will help your baby’s brain development, and therefore boost intelligence and concentration, which helps with learning.

What You Can DO:

Here are a few helpful tips that can help your baby’s brain development~

1. Get at least 400 micrograms of folic acid every day.

Women who take the recommended dose of folic acid starting at least a month before conception can reduce their baby’s risk of brain and spinal birth defects by 50 to 70 percent. Consuming enough folic acid is the first step you can take to assist your baby’s brain development. You can get your recommended 400 micrograms of folic acid each day from food and/or supplements.

2. Eat well to grow a healthy baby!

Consume 350 to 450 milligrams of DHA, a polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid. A 2003 study in “Pediatrics” found that children of women who took cod liver oil — a rich source of DHA — from 18 weeks of pregnancy through three months after giving birth scored significantly higher on an intelligence test at four years than a control group. Food sources of DHA include: liver, fish oil and fatty fish such as salmon. You can find omega-3 in oily fish, but there are concerns about mercury levels in some fish so it would be wise to take a vegetable-based omega-3 supplement. Omega-3 is an important part of intelligence in early life.

3. Reduce your stress level.

Prenatal stress may negatively effect your unborn baby’s emotional development, and have a negative effect on IQ. A 2008 study in the “Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychology” found that children born to women who experienced high levels of stress during a devastating ice storm in Quebec had diminished cognitive and language abilities at 5 1/2 years of age.

4. Touch your baby through your stomach.

This will stimulate your unborn baby and may help with brain development

5. Play music to your baby while in the womb.

Developing babies, from 23 weeks onwards, can hear sounds from outside the womb. Classical music seems to calm unborn babies, and these babies have been found to recognize the music later in life. This will help your baby’s concentration and propensity for learning.

6. Talk to and read aloud to your baby.

This will help your baby to understand the sounds of language even before he or she is born.

 

Music in the Womb — Bonding With Your Baby Before Birth

On June 12, 2012, in Blog, Research, by Bellybuds

Original article written by Jennifer Lacey

Your baby’s growth and development in the womb is a remarkable experience. At the beginning of your second month of pregnancy, your little one’s eyes, nose, and ears are clearly visible via ultrasound, and by the fifth month, your baby’s hearing has fully developed. His newfound ability to recognize you and other familiar voices in the environment around him is quickly established.

Benefits of Prenatal Stimulation

Prenatal stimulation through music heard regularly while in the womb might provide some babies with a sense of confidence and relaxation after they’re born. You and your baby also will quickly discover an excellent way to bond and share in the emotional and potential intellectual development benefits this method may bring.

The ABCs of Prenatal Music Stimulation

Prenatal stimulation is a method that uses stimuli such as sounds (mother’s voice and musical ones), movement, pressure, vibrations, and light to communicate with a developing baby prior to birth. While in the womb, Baby learns to recognize and respond to different stimuli, which leads to encouragement of physical, mental, and sensory development. Stimulation exercises will allow Baby to communicate with you and your spouse/partner through her movement in the womb, establish a relationship between specific stimuli (such as your voices) and, most importantly, help develop her memory.

The Right Music Choices for Baby

Does your baby move rhythmically with the strains of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, or do you find she kicks up a storm whenever a song by Madonna comes on the car radio? With the right mix of sounds and repetition, Baby may enjoy a mix variety of music.

Most pediatric specialists agree that almost any type of music is suitable for you and Baby to enjoy. “Diversity of different kinds of music are essential and can be useful for the baby’s future writing, reading, and language skills,” says Dr. Philip A. De Fina, chief neuropsychologist and director of neurotherapies at the NYU Brain Research Laboratories.

The Research

Recent scientific research into the effects of prenatal music stimulation varies greatly. Several early childhood researchers believe there is no direct concrete evidence that supports the theory that music stimulation prior to birth means a child has a higher intelligence in her future. Other specialists maintain just the opposite, arguing there are direct studies showing once they are born, babies have the innate ability to recognize their mother’s voices and may be further able to respond to familiar music their family played for them while they were nestled in the womb.

Accurate information has become available to researchers through the use of ultrasound, in utero monitors, and fiber optic television, which provide a fascinating look at life developing inside the womb. Studies by two of the leading early childhood researchers, Thomas R. Verny and Rene Van de Carr, have detailed that babies who have been stimulated while in the womb exhibit advanced visual, auditory, language, and motor development skills. Verny and Van de Carr maintain these babies sleep better, are more alert to their environment and surroundings, and are far more content than infants who did not receive any form of prenatal stimulation.

Too Much of a Good Thing?

Just like many things in life, Dr. De Fina believes prenatal music stimulation should be practiced in moderation. “A perfect time to stimulate your baby would be when you decide to take a nap or rest during the day,” she says. Although over-stimulation will not harm your baby physically, it can make Baby feel overwhelmed by the extra attention and she may stop responding to your efforts.

Listen to your moods—if you’re getting tired of hearing the same opera aria, chances are Baby is feeling the same. This should be a special time of enjoyment and bonding shared between you, your spouse/partner, and Baby. Remember, it is not about the amount of time, but the quality of the wonderful experience you are sharing together.

 

“Study: Voice of someone who loves you provides boost”

On June 11, 2012, in Blog, Research, by Bellybuds
Studies are now showing that hearing your mother’s voice is still extremely beneficial, even after you leave the womb.

Original post written by Carolyn Davis

 

Meredith Cruse had just finished practicing with her new softball team, and she didn’t want to stick around for the game. She walked over to the bleachers where her mother sat, looking for a way out, looking for solace.

“I didn’t want to play because I didn’t know anyone and I was sad,” recalls the 12-year-old from Burlington, Pa.

Her mother, Jody, encouraged her to give the team a try — and Meredith did. She ended up having a good time and kept playing. It was a moment of triumphant connection shared by daughter and mother, one that came through direct contact rather than on an electronic device.

Even in this era of computer chats and cellphone messages, hearing the voice of someone who loves you — moms especially — still carries a mighty biological boost at stressful times. A text just isn’t enough, say researchers, who have found that among the virtues of voice is the ability to comfort at tense times.

In a 2011 University of Wisconsin study, 68 girls, ages 7 to 12, were given a public-speaking assignment that resulted in high levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their bodies. One group of girls was allowed to see, touch and talk to their mothers. Another group communicated with them via instant messages on computers. A third talked to their mothers by phone only, and a fourth group had no contact at all.

When hormone production was measured again, the girls who had heard their mother’s voice produced more oxytocin, which is associated with positive feelings, and the amount of the stress hormone dropped.

LIKE TOUCH

“There is something about the power of the human voice that is a lot like touch or other kinds of physical contact in that it can release social hormones and decrease stress,” says the study’s lead author, Leslie J. Seltzer, a biological anthropologist. “Communication online, like instant messaging, doesn’t appear to have the same effect.”

That’s not surprising, since humans have had a million or so years to learn the intimacies of vocal communication, while written communication has been around a mere 5,000 or 6,000 years.

“There’s so much more information in the voice over and above the words being spoken,” says Rebecca Brand, an associate professor of psychology at Villanova University. “You have all of the sound information and the timing information and the word information. In text, the timing’s not clear, the emotions are not clear and the familiarity of whatever you respond to in the sounds is missing.”

That process of gaining familiarity — and comfort — with the sound of your mother’s voice begins in the womb. In one study, a tiny microphone was placed in a pregnant woman’s uterus, near the fetus’ head. Many noises were recorded, including biological sounds from the mother, such as digestion, and the fainter burble of voices. The mother’s voice is thought to be picked up best of all by the fetus, because it causes vibrations that the fetus feels.

“Even within the first day or two of life, (babies) show that they’ve already had enough experience with their own mother’s voice that they prefer it to other, similar voices,” Brand says.

PHYSICAL IMPACT

The power of voice continues through life, taking many forms, including music.

For Danielle Orlando, principal opera coach at the Curtis Institute of Music, listening to a voice is an intense, sensory experience.

“The sound of a voice forces one to use one’s senses, so it actually has a physical impact, whereas writing creates some distance because it’s visual,” she says.

Orlando spends a lot of time working with singers on nuance, inflection, tone and color of the voice. Operatic singers use all of those vocal qualities to evoke emotion in listeners.

Referring to the University of Wisconsin study, Orlando says that when girls turn to their mothers amid troubles, a verbal conversation allows room for one person to respond instantly or immediately clear up misinterpretations.

“But once you commit yourself to writing and texting, you can’t take it back,” she says.

Will electronic devices ever be able to mimic the nuanced, human empathy of an in-person encounter?

One project is trying to accomplish that by building an electronic tutor that can recognize and respond to the emotions of students taking a computer course.

Sidney D’Mello, an assistant professor of psychology and of computer science at the University of Notre Dame, says the tutor, which appears as an avatar whose computer-generated voice has been tweaked, can sense through facial expressions and body posture the trifecta of emotions that often bedevil students — boredom, frustration and confusion. Its responses are tailored to those triggers, making the inanimate machine seem emotionally responsive. Students who had some knowledge in the tutored topic didn’t benefit much from this emotional support, D’Mello says, but struggling students did.

Still, computers aren’t likely to replace the tender touch or loving voice of Mom, or Dad, anytime soon.

Softball player Meredith and her sister Melanie, 9, affectionately squeeze their mother’s arms as they say how much they like being able to talk with her face-to-face. They don’t think that will change — even when they finally are allowed to get cellphones.

 

Carolyn Davis is a member of The Inquirer’s Editorial Board and writes the “Without Borders” column. She has served as deputy editorial page editor and an editorial writer since coming to the newspaper in 2001. She also has been on the Editorial Boards of the Plain Dealer in Cleveland and the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch. Davis left journalism for several years to do humanitarian relief work in Cambodia, Rwanda and the Balkans, where she managed a refugee camp during the Kosovo crisis.

 

An Expectant Dad’s Guide To Pregnancy

On June 6, 2012, in Blog, by Bellybuds

With Father’s Day quickly approaching, we wanted to make sure that we acknowledge all of the great daddies out there, especially the new and “expectant” ones. Below is an article that can help navigate through the confusing world of pregnancy and help those proud papas figure out their place in the process.

Original Article written by Martin F. Downs

 
 
 
 
You got her pregnant, but are you ready for the nine month roller coaster? Consider this your expectant father’s survival guide. 

From now until you snip the cord, a lot may happen that no one will have prepared you for ahead of time. There’s no way to anticipate every possible scenario, but you need not be completely in the dark. It’s also good to have an idea of ways you can be helpful to the mom-to-be. 

The thing about men and pregnancy is that there’s only so much you can do –the expectant mother really does all the work. She also gets all the attention. We all know she deserves it — and then some — but it’s a common source of tension for couples during pregnancy, says Leonard Boulanger, a clinical social worker and fatherhood specialist for the Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice of Vermont and New Hampshire. “In the whole process, the father feels that he is being ignored,” Boulanger tells WebMD.
Getting involved early and “at every level,” Boulanger says, not only makes things easier for the mother, but it also keeps you from feeling left out.

Preparing the Nest

When people talk about the changes that happen in pregnancy, they tend to say a lot about changes in the mother’s body and her moods. Less tends to be said about changes in your home, which may interest you just as much as your pregnant partner’s swelling bosom.

Assuming that you have been living together for at least a little while, you’ve settled into a domestic routine. “Expect that things she used to do are no longer easy for her to do; and even if she’s willing, she won’t be able to do as much,” Paul Woods, MD, a family doctor (and father of four) in Hibbing, Minn., tells WebMD. “You’ll willingly need to step up to the plate and do more things around the house than ever before.”

Now that you’re soon to be a family, your home also will contain a lot more stuff. In come the crib, changing table, nursing rocker, bassinet, swing, stroller, and car seat, plus all the baby toys and gadgets that you never knew existed, but which you now must have. If you plan to set up a nursery, get ready to decorate. Crib sheets and bumper patterns will become important topics you must be prepared to discuss at great length. Pregnant women are cautioned to avoid paint fumes, so of course all the painting they want done falls to you.

You may not be able to match the mom-to-be’s level of enthusiasm, but your participation counts. “Just smile and repaint for the third time,” Woods advises.

Things will be different in the bedroom, too. The bed you share may seem less cozy as she becomes more uncomfortable and sleeps fitfully, making frequent trips to the bathroom in the night. You can help by accommodating her graciously — for example, by making room for her gigantic body pillow. You may even lose your bedmate for a while, because some pregnant women prefer to sleep in a reclining chair. Sex during pregnancy is a whole other matter on which plenty has been written.

Remember also that all smoking inside your home has to stop right away. Secondhand smoke is very bad for the baby.

Prenatal Visits and the Expectant Father

A generation or two ago, it was unusual for an expectant father to be present during labor, let alone hang out with his pregnant wife in the exam room when she saw her doctor. Now dads are encouraged to go to prenatal care appointments.

Assuming that all goes well, there will be about 15 routine prenatal visits scheduled with varying frequency: once a month until 28 weeks, three or four times up to week 36, and once a week for the last month.

If you can make time to join your partner at all or most appointments, she will likely appreciate it, and you’ll benefit from knowing what’s going on. Two visits in particular are especially worthwhile: the first appointment, and the prenatal ultrasound exam. “As a physician, I want the dad there for the first appointment to talk about what will happen, and to determine parents’ preferences,” Woods says.

During the exam, the doctor should give both of you some general advice on having a healthy pregnancy and address any specific medical issues. You can help by paying close attention and asking thoughtful questions. The exam typically involves simple things like collecting urine and blood samples from the mother, taking her blood pressure, measuring around her middle, and weighing her.

Afterward, don’t be surprised if she needs you to “spend half an hour drying tears over the weight gain and explaining that, ‘no, you don’t look like a cow,’” Woods says. Another thing that could catch you off guard is the internal pelvic exam, which may be done in front of you. It’s a standard obstetric procedure, but to the guy standing there while his wife has one — even a guy who happens to be a medical doctor — “no matter what, it just seems weird,” Woods says.

During the 20th week of pregnancy, an ultrasound exam is normally done. This is when many parents get a first glimpse of the baby and take home a sonogram snapshot for the baby’s album. Sometimes ultrasound is used earlier in pregnancy to screen for birth defects or if a doctor suspects a problem. Ultrasound at 20 weeks can also reveal the baby’s sex. You may choose to find out what it is or wait to be surprised.

The Grand Finale

At some point, the mom-to-be will draw up her birth plan. That’s a detailed description of how she wants to do labor and delivery — where to go, who’ll attend the delivery, how she intends to labor, whom she wants in the room, and what your role will be. Taking a birthing class together can help you figure out the best practical ways to support her throughout labor.

When the moment arrives, all might go according to the plan. Circumstances could also trash the plan utterly. Woods says that in his experience, having attended the birth of several hundred babies, it’s usually the latter.

Because there are so many different ways for labor and delivery to play out, it’s difficult to describe a typical experience for a father-to-be in much detail. Saying that any part of it will go one way or another involves a bunch of assumptions that may not be true for everyone.

Nevertheless, it’s fair to assume that you’ll deliver in a hospital, which is where 99% of all births in the United States occur. That means there will be doctors and nurses around, with medical support available as needed. If you plan on going to a certain hospital, you may benefit from visiting the maternity unit (what this is called differs from hospital to hospital) well in advance of the due date to get a real sense of what the place is like. Anticipate spending at least 48 hours there for the delivery.

There’s no way you can predict it, but on average, for a woman having her first baby, labor lasts 12-24 hours from her first contractions to delivery. Your partner may be in the early phase of labor for many hours before the hospital will admit her. If at all possible, spend this time together and help to keep her feeling at ease. When it’s time, proceed calmly to the hospital.

As labor progresses, it gets increasingly painful. Even with pain control measures, it hurts a lot. To you, it might seem like not much is happening as the hours pass. Stay focused on her. “Getting ice chips, cold cloths, foot rubs, back rubs — suck it up, guys, it’s only for a while,” Woods says. “She is experiencing pain like we can’t imagine.”

In the worst throes of labor, she might tell you to get the bleep out of there. “Don’t walk out,” says Boulanger. “Be there from beginning to end.”

The birth of your child is a big event that will change your life. But no matter how deeply you care, and regardless of how supportive you are, labor and delivery is not your show. Your name is in small type at the bottom of the show bill. Even mom is in a supporting role because, really, the baby is the star.

 

Martin Downs, MPH, has been writing for WebMD since 2002, and has reported on health and medicine for many other publications, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Consumer Reports. He writes a monthly sex and relationships advice column for Penthouse magazine. In addition to writing, he works in the public health field, directing community health programs and research for a nonprofit organization in rural New Hampshire. He has a Master of Public Health degree from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice (TDI).

 

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