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Archive for the ‘Women's Health’ Category

Decisions, decisions.  Should you throw out your old sippy cups and bottles or are they okay to keep using with your young ones? I love all the new sippy cups – the colors the fun Disney designed ones, etc.  There’s a much better selection than one year ago, that’s for sure! My question is, do we need to make the switch to BPA free? Should I toss all our old sippy cups and buy new, BPA free ones at our house? It definitely depends who you ask. The FDA said last Tuesday, July 17, 2012  that baby bottles and children’s drinking cups could no longer contain bisphenol A, or BPA, an estrogen-mimicking industrial chemical used in some plastic bottles and food packaging.

We’ve long been warned of the potential hazards of BPA, which has estrogen-mimicking properties, so much so that manufacturers voluntarily stopped using it. Manufacturers have already stopped using the chemical in baby bottles and sippy cups, and the F.D.A. said that its decision was a response to a request by the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry’s main trade association, that rules allowing BPA in those products be phased out, in part to boost consumer confidence.

BPA is often found in cans and plastics and other types of food packaging. BPA is also found in hundreds of other plastic items, ranging from water bottles to CDs to dental sealants. But the FDA has repeatedly stated that those findings cannot be applied to humans. The federal government is currently spending $30 million on its own studies assessing the chemical’s health effects on humans. SO, essentially the new prohibition does not apply more broadly to the use of BPA in other containers, said an F.D.A. spokesman, Steven Immergut. He said the decision did not amount to a reversal of the agency’s position on the chemical. The F.D.A. declared BPA safe in 2008, but began expressing concerns about possible health risks in 2010, and said there is “some concern” about the chemical’s impact on the brain and reproductive system of infants, babies and young children.

BPA has been used since the 1960s to make hard plastic bottles, cups for toddlers and the linings of food and beverage cans, including those that hold infant formula and soda. Until recently, it was used in baby bottles, but major manufacturers are now making bottles without it. Plastic items containing BPA are generally marked with a 7 on the bottom for recycling purposes.

Interestingly, the chemical can leach into food, and a study of over 2,000 people found that more than 90 percent of them had BPA in their urine. Traces have also been found in breast milk, the blood of pregnant women and umbilical cord blood. Some advocates also pointed out that the decision did not include BPA used in containers of baby formula.

Recent research has linked BPA to behavioral problems in human children. A study last October in Pediatrics found pregnant moms with the highest levels of in their urine were more likely to have daughters who were more aggressive, hyperactive, anxious or depressed. No behavioral effects tied to BPA exposure were seen in boys.

Though the plastics lobby clearly helped to ban BPA, understandably moms and other consumer groups who would not buy plastic products for their babies made life such hell for the plastic companies that the industry had to step in.

Have you gone BPA free and how? Are you using sippy cups or baby bottles that you’d recommend to other parents out there? I know many of you feel strongly about this – let us know your thoughts!

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Exercise is often the last thing on the minds of many new moms, especially when taking into account what to do with a little one while you workout. You may be surprised to learn that there are a wealth of exercises you can do with your baby!

Many women celebrating the early months of motherhood share the same complaints: fatigue, lack of energy, and an inability to “get going.” The irony is that daily exercise has been proven to help increase stamina and improve bodily functions.

Exercise has many benefits for new mothers that extend beyond physical fitness. Increased mental improvement and ability to cope with stress and anxiety as well as more energy are additional benefits of postpartum exercise. There are many exercise options that involve working out with your new addition.

Consider the following benefits of exercise for moms:

  • Healthier and stronger bones, muscles, and joints.
  • Reduction in body fat and controlled weight level.
  • Increased mental improvement, reducing occurrences for postpartum depression, anxieties, or stress.

Dance with your Baby
Literally. Wear your baby and dance yourself in shape.

Yoga
Yoga is a workout option that helps to increase range of motion, muscle tone and breathing. Babies often enjoy the up and down movements involved when changing positions in yoga.

Walking
Walking with baby in a stroller or in a carrier is an exercise that can be performed at your own pace. You are able to control the length and intensity of each walk, increasing each of these factors as you build endurance. There may also be some stroller walking groups in your area.

Postpartum DVDs
If you’re not yet ready to work that body in public, consider using a post partum exercise DVD.  If you are self-motivated and feel like you are more likely to get it done in the comfort of your own home.

Other workouts
Your baby can be incorporated in other, more typical forms of exercise as well. Airplane ride, crunches, baby leg lifts and flying baby all provide entertainment for your baby as well as exercise for you. Using your baby in these exercises also provides extra resistance, such as if you put your baby on your stomach or lap when doing crunches.

CHECK OUT OUR NEW LE TOP BABY FALL 2012 COLLECTIONS
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Le Top Baby “Toy Zoo” Collection Striped Footed Coverall

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Many little kids love pink, others do not. Some know what breast cancer really is and others may only think it is a ribbon to match their pretty shirt. Cancer may just be a word to your child. Your child may have only heard the word and seen the change in facial expressions when the word is mentioned. They now say about 1 in 8 women in America will be diagnosed with breast cancer

This post has been moved to our website. Please visit it at http://blog.letop-usa.com/?p=21737

 

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It is very common for mothers to be taking anti-depressant medication before, during or after a pregnancy. Women with depression who are pregnant or hoping to get pregnant may be alarmed at new research that points to a link between the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a type of antidepressant, and the occurrence of autism in unborn kids.

In the study, published in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry, researchers led by Lisa Croen of Kaiser Permanente Northern California reviewed the medical records of more than 1,600 children, 298 of whom had autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Essentially the study stated that children whose mothers take Zoloft, Prozac, Paxil, Celexa or similar antidepressants during pregnancy are twice as likely as other children to have a diagnosis of autism or a related disorder. This study is the first to examine the relationship between antidepressants and autism risk within children. But is this study too early to draw direct links? Or is it a step forward in understanding the links to autism and children?

The study, which was published Monday in the Archives of General Psychiatry, is a small initial investigation into what is likely to become a better-studied area of what causes children to develop the group of developmental and cognitive problems known as Autism Spectrum Disorder.

In my opinion, there are important limitations to the study, and the clinical implications are not entirely clear. In the general population, the researchers wrote, “the fraction of cases of ASD that may be attributed to use of antidepressants by the mother during pregnancy is less than 3 percent…and it is reasonable to conclude that prenatal SSRI exposure is very unlikely to be a  major risk factor for ASD.” However, while they urged caution in interpreting the results, they said they believe the results do suggest a modest link between SSRIs and autism.

“Poor maternal mental health during pregnancy is a major public health issue,” Tim Oberlander, M.D., a professor of developmental pediatrics at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, told CNN.com. “Nontreatment is not an option.  While some children might be at risk from an SSRI exposure–and we don’t know who, and how that works–there are many mothers and their children as well who will benefit.”

According to the Archives of General Psychiatry, classes of antidepressants, known as  selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may be especially risky early on in a pregnancy. Children who were exposed to the drugs during the first trimester were nearly four times as likely to develop an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared with unexposed children, according to the study.

Only 20 of the almost 300 children studied had been exposed to antidepressants in utero, so researchers urged further investigation and study.

Important Note: The study included fewer than 300 children with a diagnosed ASD and does not prove that taking SSRIs during pregnancy directly causes ASDs, which affect approximately 1 percent of children in the U.S. The findings will need to be confirmed in larger studies, and should not dissuade women from starting or continuing to take SSRIs, experts on prenatal drug exposure and mental health say.

I think that it is possible that a very intricate and well-designed study could reveal an even larger association between the use of antidepressants and ASD. Preliminary studies such as this recent one are very influential in research, because they open the door to new ideas and provide a stage for new studies that could provide much better solutions on this issue.

I question — where does this leave women who are pregnant and suffering from depression? I think that those women suffering should seek out help from their doctors and use their judgment in trying to balance the importance of treating depression, while understanding the possibility that using antidepressants could, in some cases, contribute to risk for ASD. All in all? The current research does not provide a definitive answer….but who knows in the future!

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We recently had a scare in my house. My daughter was screaming in pain for 15 minutes because her skin was hurting. It turned out to be some orange oil got onto some raw skin, but at the time we weren’t sure what it was because nothing was showing on her skin. She is just too young (4-years-old) to really be able to explain her pain and the problem. It was scary and we were lucky that once we washed it off and put hydrocortisone cream on her skin, the pain subsided fairly quickly. It made me think about my first aid supplies and what we had around the house that could be used for just these occasions.

Below is a list of good first-aid supplies to keep on hand and their uses.

  • Adhesive bandages/dressings: These allow you to cover wounds and protect them from infection or further damage. Besides it  always make your child feel better to have their favorite character to fix their booboo.
  • Gauze pads: Gauze pads absorb blood and pus from wounds. They also wick moisture away from wounded skin to prevent infection and damage to the skin surrounding the wound.
  • Antibiotic ointment: Ointments that contain antibiotic ingredients reduce the risk of infection by eliminating bacteria. They also form a protect cover over a wounded area.
  • Tweezers: Tweezers come in handy for removing dirt and debris from wounds. You can also use tweezers for first aid for tick bites and to get those pesky slivers out.
  • Scissors: To cut bandages.
  • Pain Relievers: Child’s acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin in your first aid kit in case of injuries that cause pain and inflammation.
  • Instruction Book: Include an instruction book that outlines first aid procedures for wounds, bites and stings, sprains, strains, sports injuries and burns.
  • Antiseptic Wipes: These pre-packaged wipes contain antiseptic substances that kill bacteria.
  • Cloth Tape: Cloth tape allows you to immobilize minor injuries or secure bandages in place.
  • Hydrocortisone Cream: This cream reduces irritation and itching for bites, stings and other skin irritations. My personal favorite and the one I use most often.
  • Thermometer: Keep a thermometer handy in case you need to check for a fever.

Here are some things you may have around the house that can be used for first aid:

Aloe for burns after it’s been under running cool (not cold) water for at least 10 minutes. The aloe vera plant can be used to soothe minor burns, scalds and sunburn. Split a leaf open and apply the gel to the affected area to cool, moisturize and promote healing.

Ginger is useful for nausea and to prevent travel sickness. Chew a piece of crystallized ginger or drink fresh infused ginger herbal tea. This can also be useful during pregnancy.

Use an infusion of chamomile flowers taken as herbal tea for nervous upsets, to reduce cramping, and help indigestion. It is also use in a bath to minimize the pain and swelling from a sunburn.

Use an infusion of peppermint leaves in an herbal tea for indigestion.

Frozen veggies can be used as an ice pack.

Baking soda is a safe and effective antacid to relieve heartburn, sour stomach, and/or acid indigestion. Refer to baking soda package for instructions.

Finely ground oatmeal in the bath is just the ticket for a sun burn. If you make it into a paste it can soothe a sun burn, mosquito bites, heat rash and poison ivy.

Witch hazel – A natural astringent which helps heal blisters, bug bites and bruises.

Here is a good phone number to keep on the refrigerator along with your child’s doctor and other emergency numbers:

Poison Control Center 1.800.222.1222
Call the 24-hour toll-free emergency hotline

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At 34 weeks, I am finally getting to the end of what has been, so far, a fantastic first pregnancy! It’s been a long, but easy road and I know the real “hard part” is coming up quickly. 

A very pregnant Kristin standing in front of our Le Top spring and fall 2011 collections

At my doctor’s suggestion, I signed my husband and me up for a four week long Childbirth Preparation class. With my first pregnancy comes a lot of apprehension about the whole birthing process. It doesn’t matter how many people I have talked to about this subject, I know that I can’t go into this based on other people’s experiences and advice alone. After all, I am one of those “prepared” people who has to know what is going on…or at least what is supposed to happen.

I walked in to our first class on Tuesday night, slightly dragging my husband along since he was somewhat reluctant to attend because he said we could learn everything on YouTube! Can you believe that!? Let’s just say that by the time our class was over, my husband had realized that YouTube, may not be the best teacher of childbirth. The benefits, even from the first class, have helped ease my mind a bit. Some of the key things I took away were:

  • Stages of labor – understanding what my body would be going through and the duration of each stage in the big picture.
  • Defining the terms I had heard so much about, and had not much of a clue as to what they actually meant. Things like “effacing” and “dilating”.
  • Pregnancy discomforts – we all share the most common ones (Yay! I am not the only one who has started snoring at night!)
  • Pain Management – how to relax

I am really looking forward to the upcoming classes, as I know that my anxiety about this part of the pregnancy should continue to decrease as my knowledge increases.

…Now where did I put that pint of ice cream?

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I recently read that women who are terrified of labor and its pains can conquer those fears using self-hypnosis to achieve maximum relations, comfort and above all, relief during child birth!

Super mum: Model Gisele claimed giving birth in her bathtub at home in Boston with no pain relief didn't hurt after having prepared with yoga and meditation.

There was a recent 18-month NHS trial study with over 800 “first-time” mommies who learned the technique of “hypnobirthing” which is being led by Professor Soo Downe, a specialist in midwifery at Central Lancashire University, at hospitals in Blackburn and Burnley. Women will be taught deep relaxation techniques which are said to induce an almost trance-like state, making women calmer and more able to block out pain. Hypnobirthing is based on the work of Dr Grantly Dick-Read, an English physician whose principles provided the foundations of the National Childbirth Trust (NCT).

What is “hypnobirthing”? I asked the same thing! It is a new method of natural childbirth that teaches women to use their ‘natural instincts’ to control pain and bring an easier birthing period. I am semi-unsold on this technique because it sounds to me like natural labor where you just try to convince yourself it doesn’t hurt as much! Ha!

The more I read I found that nearly 60% of women in labor are injected with epidurals into their spine or had administered shots of diamorphine or even  laughing gas to control contraction pains. Drugs can be very expensive and hazardous to your baby. What would you choose and would you try to learn this new “hypnobirthing” techqnue? It is believed that epidurals tend to increase the duration of childbirth, triggering the need for a woman to undergo a caesarean.

How is Hypnobirthing Effective?
According to experts, at the onset of contractions, fear kicks in as a reflex, causing the uterus to cramp, resulting in pain. If women could only relax, they would have less pain, more effective contractions and shorter labor. The hypnobirthing course which costs around £800 (over $1,200) on a one-to-one basis trains women to find complete relaxation using the power of the mind, but still be in control. Words such as ‘pain’ and ‘contraction’ which evoke fear are replicated with terms such as ‘pressure’ and ‘tightening’ in the training manuals.

According to the Daily Mail in the UK, ‘A lot of women afterwards say that “pain” is not the word to describe their sensations during labour, calling it “pressure” and “a force of nature”. And yes, there are women who do end up with a Caesarean, but they in turn say hypnobirthing techniques kept them calm throughout, making the experience positive and enjoyable.’

Overall, I guess this is about the “power of the mind” or perhaps it goes back to the age old saying of “Mind Over Matter.”

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