BabyMap Postings, Spring 2008

Codeine code red
If you take codeine for pain after birth, and you’re breastfeeding, keep a close eye on your baby. As many as one in 10 women have a certain gene mutation that could allow a dangerous dose of the drug to pass through breast milk. The FDA does not (NOT!) say you should stop breastfeeding if you need codeine; instead, watch your baby. If he starts to sleep more than usual, has trouble breathing or becomes limp, call your doctor immediately, or call 911.

Breast friends
Here’s some great news about breastfeeding: It’s on the rise. The Centers for Disease Control say that in 2004, nearly three-quarters of all U.S. moms began breastfeeding their newborns; 42 percent were still at it six months later; and a whopping 21 percent nursed their 1-year-olds. The downside? The CDC says most of those moms don’t breastfeed exclusively; only about 31 percent do so until their babies are 3 months old. That’s far below the government’s goal to have 60 percent of moms exclusively breastfeed for the first three months of life. The CDC says that although it’s not always possible for women to breastfeed, the goal is based on best possible practices for the health of babies.

Drop that doughnut!
If your best possible pregnancy dinner consists of eating a bag of Tings with your feet up, you’re normal! But you’re probably not making a great choice for your baby. Researchers in London have been experimenting on rats again — this time, feeding them junk food (doughnuts and potato chips) while pregnant. Turns out, those rats pass on their junk cravings — and a tendency to get really fat — to their little ratlets. This hasn’t been tested on humans yet, but scientists say it’s looking like another reason we shouldn’t gorge ourselves on junk food while pregnant. Sigh.

Ready, set … NO!

You’ve just had a baby, and it’s time to leave the hospital. But are you ready? A new study in Pediatrics finds that about one of every six new mothers is not — but they go home anyway. Researchers studied thousands of new moms, their pediatricians and obstetricians, and found that 17 percent of moms weren’t ready to leave the hospital when they did. About two-thirds of those said they really wanted to stay longer because of physical concerns (tired much?). A federal law passed in 1996 says moms are allowed a 48-hour stay for vaginal births, 96 hours for C-sections, but that doesn’t always happen. Moms: Speak up!

Mouse roars
Disney’s speaking up about a startling new report from the University of Washington. Scientists there have just released some pretty bad news about baby videos. They say watching videos like “Baby Einstein” (a Disney product) may actually hinder language development in infants between 8 and 16 months of age. The study, in the Journal of Pediatrics, found that for every hour infants spent watching baby DVDs, they understood six to eight fewer words than non-viewing infants. Disney says the UW’s press release misrepresents the data, and it wants the release retracted. The UW stands by its release.

Kitty-free cribs
The ASPCA, on the other hand, is changing its recommendations, thanks to BabyMap readers. In a recent BabyMap story (“Bringing baby home to the family pet,” Spring-Summer 2007), the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) recommended hanging mosquito netting over your baby’s crib to keep the cat out. That’s not safe for babies, who could become tangled in the net. The ASPCA now recommends using a crib tent that is designed for this purpose and fastens securely to the crib. Or just close the door on Fluffy.

They totally get it
Snaps to a Seattle moms’ group that’s raising the bar for all of us. Members of Meals for New Mount Baker Mommies deliver free home-made dinners to new parents in the neighborhood for one week. Why? Because “Being a mommy is hard work, and we all have to stick together,” says their Web site. If you don’t live in Mount Baker, no soup for you! But why not start up something in your own neighborhood?

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