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   Archive for the ‘Pregnancy’ Category
Preparing Your Cat for Baby’s Arrival

Anyone who has ever had a cat knows that those lovable little balls of fur come equipped with a mind of their own. Unlike dogs, cats have a tendency to do things in their own good time, and they are often more resistant to change. And let’s face it, there are few changes more monumental than bringing a new baby into the picture.

Fortunately, cats are fairly adaptable. While they may not like changes, they are generally able to make the transition smoothly as long as they still feel secure, safe, and attended to.

One of the first things you should do several months before the baby comes home is set up as much of the baby furniture as you can. That way, you can begin to establish which areas are off limits to the cat long before the baby arrives. Otherwise, the changing table, crib and bassinette are going to look like a great new place for Fluffy to catch a catnap.

There are several ways to train cats to stay out of certain areas. If you don’t want to use the old fashioned spray bottle, you can place several strips of Scotch tape, sticky side up, in the crib, bassinette, and other “baby areas” where you don’t want the cat to be. It only takes a few times for the cat to figure out that he isn’t welcome in those places.

Another thing you need to do for your cat before baby comes home is to establish a safe place for him to eat and sleep. This should preferably be high enough off the ground that your little one won’t be able to reach it when she starts crawling and walking. Admittedly, this won’t happen until several months after baby is born, but you want the cat’s “secure place” to be established long before baby becomes mobile-preferably before you even bring baby home. Start putting your cat’s food, water, and toys someplace the baby won’t be able to reach.

Of course, it’s better if you have someone else change the cat’s litter while you are pregnant. And you’ll want to make sure the litter box is placed somewhere that the baby won’t be able to reach. It’s also recommended that you take your cat to the vet and make sure his vaccinations are up to date. This is also a good time to consider declawing your cat if you haven’t done so already.

When you bring the baby home, let the cat introduce itself. Sit somewhere comfortable with the baby and call the cat to you. If the cat is hesitant, don’t force the issue. It may take several hours, or even days before your cat warms up to the idea of a new baby, but given time, your cat will come over and examine the new arrival. When he does, reward good behavior with a treat. Even if the cat doesn’t warm up to baby right away, make sure you give him some attention, too.

Posted in Pregnancy |
Breast Milk and the Working Mom

For better or worse, working mothers are a fact of life in today’s world. Most families struggle to get by on two incomes, and the thought of losing an income for four to five years until children are school aged is simply out of the question. Other mothers are raising their babies without the help and support of a partner, and need to work in order to support themselves and their babies. Still other women have careers which they don’t want to give up. None of these things makes a working mother any better or worse than a stay at home mother. Healthy, happy children have been raised and will continue to be raised by both.

One of the areas that often presents a significant challenge to working mothers is breast feeding. While no one these days would suggest that bottle feeding is better for mothers or babies than breast feeding, there is an argument to be made that it is more convenient, especially for working mothers. However, if you are a working mom who wants to breast feed your baby, there are several things you can do:

  • First, take as much time off after having your baby as your economic situation will allow. These first few weeks with your baby are precious times, and you won’t get a second opportunity to enjoy them. During this time, of course, you should breast feed your baby exclusively. The longer you can do this, the better, as it will accustom baby to feeding this way.
  • Discuss breast feeding and your needs with your employer. If your employer offers child care on site, this may not pose much of a problem. Many employers today are willing to work around your needs. Depending on the facilities your employer has, you may need to be creative about when and where to breast feed. IF there is no place to breast feed privately, consider talking with your employer about providing such a place.
  • If you do not have day care on site, try to choose a place near your work place, so you can use lunch and other breaks to feed baby.
  • Of course, in most cases, you will not be able to exclusively breast feed your baby while you are working. Start pumping breast milk at least a week before you return to work. This is a perfect time to let dad do some of the feeding, and to help baby become accustomed to the bottle.
  • Try to arrange breast feeding times so that baby feeds shortly before you leave for work and/or shortly after you return from work. This is not only good for baby, but is emotionally good for you as well, helping you to feel bonded and connected with your baby while you have to be away.
Posted in Pregnancy |
Innocenti Declaration

Twenty years ago, health care leaders and breastfeeding proponents in the World Health Organization and UNICEF held a conference in Florence, Italy regarding the promotion of breastfeeding in all nations. The result of that conference was the Innocenti Declaration. As appropriate today as ever, here are some of the major findings of the conference:

  • Human Breast milk is the most natural and healthy substance for infants to feed upon. It naturally contains the vitamins, minerals, and other essentials babies need.
  • Breast milk helps reduce instances of certain infectious diseases in babies.
  • Breast feeding has numerous health benefits for the mother as well as the child. These include reduced instances of post partum depression and breast cancer.
  • Breast feeding has emotional benefits for both mother and child, particularly as it relates to bonding.
  • Breast feeding has economic benefits for families, eliminating the need for infant formula and numerous associated items (i.e., bottles, nipples, etc. ).

Because of these obvious benefits of breast feeding, here are the main tenets of the Innocenti Declaration:

  • All infants should be breastfed exclusively for the first four to six months.
  • Babies should continue to breastfeed, supplemented with other appropriate foods until at least their second birthday.
  • An environment of awareness must be fostered, making it more comfortable for women to breast feed their babies.
  • Obstacles to breast feeding in the work place, health system, and community must be eliminated.
  • A “Culture of breast feeding” must be re introduced into developed nation where a “bottle feeding culture” has become ingrained. Further, this must be defended against anyone who would oppose it.
  • Breast feeding policies should be set at a national, governmental level. National governments should use what influence they have to encourage breast feeding.
  • Breast feeding should be promoted on a national and international level, with constant monitoring and evaluation an integral part of supporting breast feeding to all socio economic levels of society.

Today, a mere twenty years since the Declaration, which was co sponsored by the United States, very few would argue that the healthiest way to feed a baby is breastfeeding. Of course, there are still many who choose, for one reason or another, not to do so, but as a whole, the international community is making a significant shift back towards breast feeding.

Posted in Pregnancy |
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