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Owlet Announces Connected Care Platform For Early Infant Illness Detection

If you have been on the fence as to whether or not to invest in the Owlet baby monitoring system, let me help you make up your mind: buy it.

Now is the perfect time to do so because the company just launched the Owlet Smart Sock 2, the second generation of its popular baby monitor system.

And while parents will be pleased with the improvements made this time around, they will also be able to further track and analyze data on their little ones.

Owlet announced on Wednesday the upcoming launch of its new health platform that tracks even more health data associated with their baby profile.

Called the Owlet Connected Care platform, parents will be able to view health trends based on their baby’s biometric information that includes heart rate, oxygen levels, sleep and history of red notifications, with the goal to be able to identify underlying health issues and detect illness early on like RSV, pneumonia, chronic lung disorders and congenital heart defects.

The platform will include: intensive data tracking history, with 21-hour, one week and one month views of the heart rate and oxygen levels gathered with each sleep; more details about the red notifications that are triggers when levels are outside the target zone; insight to sleep trends to help parents establish routines; and an overall trend analysis that looks at the average levels.

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As a result, parents will have all their baby’s health information right at their fingertips to take a proactive role in their health and sleep safety.

“By making this information accessible to parents, we are striving to improve infant health and to help chart a course for proper development,”Dr. Ken Ward, Owlet’s medical director said in a press release. “To accomplish this, we are creating the largest set of infant pulse and oxygen data to ever exist with the Owlet Smart Sock and further validating it through clinical studies.”

Since Owlet has plans to partner with other infant health companies, the Connected Care platform will serve as the hub for the connected nursery. The company has plans to be able to do things like thermal tracking in real-time with the Smart Sock to tell parents when they baby is too cold or hot.

This announcement follows with the release of the newly designed Owlet Smart Sock 2 that features a better fit with more accurate tracking, which was previously made available to consumers with the first generation system for free as long as they paid for shipping.

Today the Owlet Smart Sock 2 makes its retail store debut, available at buybuy Baby in the U.S. and Canada. As always, the system can be purchased at OwletCare.com.

Owlet’s Connected Care is included with every new Owlet Smart Sock 2 purchased through June. It will become accessible for parents in “late spring.”

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The Trick That Helped My Baby Sleep In The Crib At Night

As parents, it’s at times crucial to have a few tricks up our sleeves. And especially when it comes to getting our little ones to sleep.

For those like me who have been struggling to get their babies to go to bed in their crib, there is one specific crib adjustment that seemed to do the trick for me: using a pillow.

You probably are thinking how unsafe it is for loose blankets, pillows or stuffed animals to be in the crib with the baby—and it is. Just hear me out.

As a preface to this trick, this has been my current situation:

My little guy hates sleeping in his crib. He had no problems sleeping in the bassinet next to my bed, but as now outgrown it. He can sleep just about anywhere, in his swing, in the carseat, stroller, my Boppy pillow while on my bed, and his favorite on me.

Now I know it is the worst thing in the world to sleep with your baby, which is why I have been determined to get him into his crib. But the second I put him down, even when he is in the deepest slumber, he immediately starts screaming. If I pick him up and put him back on my chest, he instantly knocks out.

This means lots of sleepless nights, half-sleeping nights, and times when I fall asleep myself with him on me in between breastfeeding sessions in the middle of the night (please don’t judge me, I am trying my best to not let this happen, but it’s easier said than done.)

At first I thought it was a “he needs Mommy” kind of thing where I spoiled him to the point that he can only sleep on me, with me after all the cuddling we have done up until now. But he and does sleep elsewhere so that can’t be it.

Then I noticed that everywhere he sleeps is on some kind of incline so that he isn’t sleeping flat.

It’s important to note that my son has always been gassy, and there have been times when he cries in the middle of the night and as soon as I pick him up he burps, even after burping before being put down. My logic believes that it’s just more comfortable for him to be on an incline if he has some kind of acid reflux, plus it’s the way he has grown accustomed to sleeping (his bassinet was at an incline).

The Trick To End All Night Terrors

Determined to get this kid to sleep in his own bed, I did some research and found something that has so far, worked pretty well.

The trick is to lift the mattress so that the baby’s head is elevated. This is perfect for when baby is sick and the pediatrician recommends to do so to reveal asthma or congestion symptoms.

There are crib wedges made specifically for this reason such as the Dex Baby Safe Lift Universal Crib Wedge Cushion, which is sold at Babes R Us and is doctor approved. This wedge goes underneath the fitted sheet so there is not risk of suffocation.

However, with this option sold out, parents might have to improvise.

Place a pillow UNDERNEATH the mattress on the side where the baby’s head lies. Never put the pillow directly in the crib, on top of the mattress and under the baby’s head because this is a huge suffocation risk. However, this will do the trick and elevate the

There are countless other crib wedges sold online, but just make sure you put these underneath the mattress as well.

There are even products to lift the crib legs off the floor, which are another alternative option.

The Results

Since propping his head up, my little guy actually lets us put him in the crib. We are even taking day time naps in the crib, and spending a few minutes just hanging out with me sitting beside him so he can get comfortable and not feel like his bed is a punishment.

He still wakes up 2-3 times throughout the night to eat (he is now 4 months old, still breastfeeding), but at least now the time it takes me to get him to even lay down on his own as been reduced greatly.

Have you tried this crib trick, and did it help your baby sleep at night? Tell me about it in the comments.

Photo: Valentina Powers | Flickr

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5 Things No One Tells You About Being A Mom

Before our little ones are even born, we are already their moms and start getting comfortable in that role. That means reading all the books and articles, eating healthy, and maybe even asking our own mothers or women we know for their advice.

People will tell you how amazing being a mother is. They will tell you how in love you will be when you look into that baby’s eyes for the first time, and the amount of love you will feel each love. Being a mom is pretty much the best thing that ever happens to you—and they are right.

What they don’t tell you is the more harsh reality of what this role sometimes entails. Yes, you may expect lack of sleep, being a human milk farm, and spending days doing nothing but cleaning poop. But there is a whole lot more that comes with the territory.

Going through it myself, I feel like it is my duty to let you ladies know exactly what you can expect. Go ahead and thank me later. Here are the 5 things no one tells you about being a mom.

1. You Will Milk Yourself

You might expect to have leaking breasts when breastfeeding, but no one really warns you about how uncomfortable this really is—and of course when it will happen.

My leaky book syndrome happens when I miss a feeding (gave him a bottle instead). After become painfully engorged, my breasts have leaked everywhere from in the shower to right through my clothes while sleeping at night.

Make sure to always have breasts pads with you at ALL times when out. And you might just have to relieve those puppies when out with friends—even it is means going in to the bathroom stall and self expressing.

2. You Will Never Want To Leave

You have probably heard that things like “every mom needs a break,” “go out and pamper yourself,” blah, blah, blah. Sure this is true, but it’s easier said then done.

Even with a few month old baby (forget about leaving a newborn), walking out that door will tear your heart into shreds. You might think you want some alone time to relax, but once you are sitting in the beauty salon chair or getting that pedicure, you will start to feel that ping of anxiety and can’t wait to rush home to kiss that baby down to his or her own tootsies.

Granted, over time to gets easier, and you WILL enjoy a few moments of solace out in the real world. But then you will send a text asking how the baby is and fake promise yourself you will never leave again. (Trust me, getting away is healthy and you should try to do it!)

3. You Will Experience “Ghost” Crying
Of course you will go running to your baby when they cry—and even when they aren’t making a peep just to make sure everything is okay. But that sound of your crying baby will follow you.

I call it “ghost crying,” the phenomenon when you are completely convinced the baby is crying and when you go to them they are fast asleep. This will happen when you are mid-shampoo in the shower, or off in the kitchen finally cooking a meal.

Word of advice is have your significant other keep an eye out when you are in the shower and enjoy it.

4. You Will Still Experience Pregnancy Brain

Pregnancy brain is still alive and well way after you deliver. I am convinced my memory will never return as sharp as it once was. This is probably due to lack of sleep, but you will pretty much forget what day it is, what you had for breakfast, let alone that important thing or task you have to do.

Write EVERYTHING important down. Because you will forget.

5. You Will Live In Baby Land

You already know you will be obsessed with your baby, but no one can prepare you for the lasting state of living in baby land.

But you will have it no other way.

This means developing that soothing “baby voice” you speak sometimes, to hearing the nursery rhymes in your head 24/7, and just wait until they are old enough to watch baby cartoons.

Although you may feel like you haven’t had real adult interactions in forever, this is time you can never get back. So enjoy every moment and every milestone. Just don’t forget that it’s okay to pop open a bottle of wine every once in a while and Facetime with your bestie when baby goes to bed to talk about something other than the ABC’s!

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When Should I Start Putting Baby In Crib?

It may seem like a small thing, but getting your baby sleeping in their crib is a huge deal. And I’m talking not only as a milestone, but also for their health.

Once you have a newborn, there is probably countless times you rush over in a panic to make sure your baby is still breathing while asleep. This might mean placing a hand over their tummy’s to feel each breath because watching their chest go up and down just isn’t enough proof. Maybe you place a mirror in front of their mouth, or use an oxygen monitor like Owlet.

We all know that sleeping with you baby in your bed is the biggest mistake you could make. So you probably are using a bassinet placed next to your bed or a co-sleeper once your newborn comes home from the hospital.

And while you baby’s room has been finished for months, you probably haven’t used their crib for the time being.

But as your baby grows, you may start to wonder when it is the right time to get them in their crib. You do not want to the mommy or daddy who gets your baby in the habit of falling asleep with you and screams their lungs off when they are a few months old to sleep in their crib.

So when exactly should you start putting you baby in the crib?

Baby’s Weight

The first thing you need to know is how much weight your bassinet can hold. This may only be 15 pounds, which means it’s time to move them once they are too heavy for their current sleeping situation. Check your bassinet’s manual or Google the model to get this information. Most bassinets hold up to 10 to 20 pounds.

Baby’s Height

Similarly, you baby might be getting too tall for their bassinet. While it is the most convenient place for your little one to sleep in, being close to your bed for mid-night feedings, if they start to look too cramped it’s time to give him or her more space.

Rolling Over

The biggest sign that it’s time to move to their crib is when your baby starts to roll over. Babies typically reach this milestone around 4-6 months, although this could happen earlier.

If you baby rolls over, it’s absolutely time to put them in their crib. You don’t want them to not have the room to roll back over.

Do NOT swaddle them anymore at this point. You want them to have their hands free to be able to move around if they do get on their bellies.

Keep in mind that the American Academy of Pediatrics just updated its policy on preventing SIDS. The AAP recommends that babies should sleep in the same room as their parents until they are 1-years-old, but at least up until they are 6 months.

Once you do make the transition to the crib, avoid leaving loose blankets, pillows or stuffed animals in there with your baby.

Some parents decide to put their babies into a crib right away. While this choice is up to each parent, at least they have one less thing to worry about know.

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Should I Give My Newborn A Pacifier? Mom Guilt And Reasons Why No Harm Will Be Done

Update October 2019: As a first-time mom, the world of parenting is a foreign one. But we all learn quickly. By the second baby, we feel like pros. This means a lot of the anxieties aren’t present. We learned from experience and have a clearer picture of how things will go.

One of the baby items I made sure to include on my registry this time around were pacifiers—and without any mom guilt.

When I was pregnant with my son I went to childbirth classes at the hospital I delivered at that had a zero pacifier policy. They firmly believed that newborns get confused with using one and instead need to get used to breastfeeding and feed on demand.

I agree with this 100 percent, but I also now see no harm in giving a baby a pacifier once that feeding pattern is developed and working. It is a great way to teach babies to self-sooth which can lead to more sleep for mama.

And I feel like today there are many more options like the doodle & co pop pacifier and Ryan & Rose Cutie PAT that I wasn’t aware of three years ago.

There are few concerns regarding whether or not to use a pacifier. This includes dental health, nipple confusion, when to start and stop using, and choking hazards. These concerns are all highlighted in-depth on Mom Loves Best.

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The short answer is yes, pacifiers can impact the baby’s teeth to have an overbite. But this isn’t an issue if teething hasn’t started yet.

Pacifiers should have air vents so that the baby can breathe the sucking.

 And yes, when used early it can cause nipple confusion and cause breastfeeding rejection. So start breast or bottle feeding down first before introducing the pacifier. 

Wait until the baby is about one-month-old to start introducing the pacifier.

The following is my original post detailing my mom guilt and getting over it as a first-time mom. I will say that my son didn’t use the pacifier often. I am actually surprised when I see photos of him with one. 

It wasn’t used all the time or to become a serious habit or attachment. But mild use did seem to work for us.  

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Like a Gremlin my newborn turns into a monster in the latter part of the evening and cluster feeds some nights. It seems like nothing will satisfy his need to keep on sucking.

Last night we were going on hour three when my boobs felt depleted and saying I was sore is an understatement. Welcome to the cluster feeding stage.

It was after this long breastfeeding session when he wanted more and gulped down a 4 oz bottle of formula. But even after all that food, he was opening his mouth and fusing as a cue that he wanted more.

Let me make it clear that I have or am in no shape or form denying or depriving my child of nutrients. He has regular diapers and was gaining weight consistently. I also both breast and bottle-feed him and on-demand. If he wants to eat, he eats.

But he was chowing down so much that I knew we both (my son gets the bad case of hiccups) needed a small break to digest and relax, if even just for 15 minutes.

I also don’t want my baby screaming on the top of this lungs for 15 minutes.

So breaking down, I decided to give him a pacifier. Ugh, the mom guilt.

And the clouds opened up, the light was shining down on me and all was peaceful in the world—for about 5 minutes.

He adorably sucked, just enough time to get him a fresh onesie for bed, set up more bottles for when my husband takes over and go to the bathroom.

Looking at him in his bassinet, sucking away on a pacifier that was almost the size of his whole face, he looked like a little angel. Of course, this didn’t last long. By the time his mobile stop spinning and the music stopped, this kid spits the sucker out of his mouth, but he laid there content for a few more minutes like the good boy he is.

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But as I put my head on the pillow, I couldn’t help to feel a ping of guilt over even having to give him the pacifier. As if I did something wrong, when my husband first came into the room I blurted it out that I had used one as if it were a dirty secret and I just needed to confess it.

See, there are two types of parents out there: those who give their baby a pacifier and those who don’t. And it seems (at least within my inner circle) like those who do are judged for doing so.

But why should we feel guilty for giving our babies a binky? (This is what my family calls a pacifier.)

Despite the fact that I was giving a life supply of pacifiers at my baby shower, I have been hesitant to use them. For one, I gave birth at a “baby-friendly” hospital that teaches that pacifiers should not be given to a newborn for the first month. This is because breastfeeding mothers should feed on demand and giving them a pacifier could interfere with their intake of food. The theory is that giving them a binky means they will have missed out on getting the nutrients if you just gave them your breast.

The second main reason why I have been anti-pacifier is that my baby, for the most part, is a good baby in the sense that he doesn’t cry a lot. There simply just isn’t a reason to give one to him. As my family keeps reminding me, it’s one bad habit you won’t have to break later on while advising me not to give one to him.

However, the more I think about it, it isn’t the end of the world if he sucks on the damn thing.

Okay, so the “bad habit” logic aside, many babies including myself are (were) thumb suckers. So what really is the difference between the two?

The second argument against them says that there are bad for the baby’s teeth and will make them grow improperly. But the pacifiers I have clearly state that they are orthodontic pacifiers, which are designed to contour into the baby’s mouth to prevent the misalignment of teeth.

However, once teeth do some in, even these can impact tooth placement.

There are also other benefits of using a binky. In my research on newborn hiccups, I found that sucking on a pacifier can actually help reduce the case of hiccups. This is because the sucking will help them relax their diaphragm to have the hiccups subside.

Studies have found that pacifier use actually prevents SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), the leading cause of death in babies and real fear for parents.

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Not only does it slightly help reduce SIDS, but one study published in the British Medical Journal in 2005, researchers found that it did so by 90 percent. While this reasoning behind this isn’t quite clear, it could do to the fact that the constant sucking means the baby doesn’t fall into a deep enough sleep, and also can’t bury their hands in blankets since the pacifier is in the way.

Pacifiers are often the only thing that can soothe a colicky baby or a teething baby who is looking for relief. So why are we made to feel guilty about using them?

Then again maybe it’s just me.

All parents out there should not feel guilty about the decisions they make that they feel are best for their child. Every child and their needs are different, and so are parents and parenting styles.

For me, I decided that there is nothing wrong with giving my son a pacifier if it’s the only thing that will soothe him for a few minutes. I just won’t be reaching for it all the time.

But when I do, I will now do so guilt-free.

Here are the benefits of using a pacifier:

  • Reduced risk of SIDs during naps and at night
  • Self-soothing teach technique 
  • Helps establish sucking reflex 
  • Might relieve colic 
  • Great distraction when the baby is fussy 

Things To Know About Pacifier Use:

  • Don’t use in the first month to encourage healthy feeding habits
  • Best used in babies younger than 6-month-old
  • Buy once piece pacifiers to prevent choking risk
  • Do no leave string on a pacifier at bedtime to prevent choking

Read all about Pacifier Pros, Cons & Safety Considerations from Mom Loves Best.

 

 

Photo: Maria Eklind | Flickr

 

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Babies Who Get Dirty Are Healthy

Babies crawling to chase after bugs or the family pet are off to a healthy start. According to a new study, babies who are exposed to household dirt, pollen, and pet dander have a lower risk of developing asthma or allergies.

The study published June 6 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that before their first birthday, babies who are exposed to allergens have a lower risk of developing both allergies or breathing problems, such as wheezing or asthma. Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center found that bacteria and allergens have a protective effect on young children’s immune systems, that ward of these illnesses in the future. However, those young ones who were exposed to these allergens past their first birthday did not get the same healthy effects.

“Our study shows that the timing of initial exposure may be critical,” said study author and chief of the Division of Allergy and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, Robert Wood, M.D. stated in a news release. “What this tells us is that not only are many of our immune responses shaped in the first year of life, but also that certain bacteria and allergens play an important role in stimulating and training the immune system to behave a certain way.”

The researchers tracked the health 467 newborns from Baltimore, Boston, New York, and St. Louis over the course of three years. They tested what allergens where in their homes and surroundings, as well as taking blood and skin tests, physical exams, and parental surveys to test for allergies and wheezing.

Although this might make a New York parent happy to see a roach in their apartment, the study found that babies living in homes with mouse and cat dander, and cockroach droppings had a lower rate of wheezing by age three, compared to those children not exposed. Furthermore, those babies exposed to all three allergens had a lower risk than those exposed to just one.

41% of children who were allergy and wheeze-free had grown up in homes with allergens and bacteria. Only 8% who suffered from both had been exposed during their first year.

Previous research has found that children who live on farms have lower allergy and asthma rates compared to their city-dwelling counterparts. This is because they are regularly exposed to microorganisms in the farm soil.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7 million American children suffer form asthma.

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Babies Born Holding Hands

Twin sisters were born already best friends in Ohio on Friday, as they were delivered holding hands. The twins, named Jillian and Jenna Thistlethwaite, had a rare monoamniotic birth, where the babies shared an amniotic sac and placenta.

Also called “mono mono” identical twins, the girls were in constant contact during the entire gestation period—plenty of time to develop sisterly love as they themselves developed.

Monoamniotic births occur in one in 10,00 pregnancies. Because the umbilical cords place can become entangled around the babies, mother Sarah Thistlethwaite was under doctor’s watchful eyes at Akron General Medical Center in Akron for weeks prior to the birth.

“I can’t believe they were holding hands,” she told the Akron Beacon Journal newspaper. “They’re already best friends,” the 32-year-old mom also said.

After a planned Caesarian section to reduce risk of entanglement, the twins were born healthy at 33 weeks, but were moved to the neonatal unit because of slight breathing problems.

Thistlethwaite was able to celebrate Mother’s Day yesterday (along with her husband Bill) by introducing the new additions to 15-month-old son. These twins show that no bond is stronger than family.