All posts by Baby Knowledge

Disposable or Reuseable – The Big Nappy Debate

Disposable or reusable? The choice is entirely yours. Your decision will most likely be based on cost, convenience, babies health and hygiene and environmental concerns (not in any particular order). You may want to figure out what your priority is before you decide and make a decision from there. This post will help you with that decision!

Cost

Despite the initial outlay costing more, reusable nappies work out much cheaper to use than disposables. If cost is a big factor in your decision then consider the fact that newborns need changing approximately 12 times a day. Depending on the brand of disposable nappies used to compare, it is estimated you could save anything between £150-£1000 per year. Most reusable nappies are able to be used again for 2nd children so if you plan on expanding your family in the future, the savings double!

Convenience

Without a shadow of doubt, disposable nappies are more convenient than reusable. They are available in pretty much every shop (be it a big supermarket chain or a local grocery store), they are more absorbent and once they are dirtied you simply throw them away. If all you had to consider was convenience then you would most likely choose disposable. With that said, there is no reason why you can’t use a combination of both (such as disposables at bed time and when out of the house for long periods and reusables for any other time).

Babies health and hygiene

There have been concerns that disposable nappies have harmful chemicals and reusable cloth nappies cause nappy rash. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest reusable nappies produce nappy rash. Nappy rash is caused by a number of factors such as friction, moisture, urine and faeces. Sometimes, the culprit is infection from yeast, such as candida albicans. Disposable nappies are generally more absorbent than reusable ones which may reduce moisture but the key to avoiding Nappy rash will always be to use a good protective cream and to change your baby regularly. The concerns regarding harmful chemicals dates back to a case over thirty years ago involving tampons. The same super absorbent ingredients are used in nappies (Sodium polyacrylate crystals) and there were fears these caused or were linked to toxic shock cases. It was later discovered it was misuse of the tampons that caused this. You should also remember that nappies don’t enter the human body so any risks are likely to be perceived rather than factual. Another unproven concern regarding disposable nappies is that they cause the temperature of the scrotum to be higher than the boys who wear reusable cotton nappies. A study in Germany in 2002 found this information to be incorrect and concluded the temperature was the same in boys who wear either disposable or reusable.

The Environment

Surprisingly enough, the environment agency found little difference when comparing disposable or reusable nappies in terms of environmental impact. The fact is they both affect the environment negatively, just in different ways. Disposable nappies take over 100 years to degrade and make up 4% of our total landfill waste (which is huge)! Reusable nappies need to be washed regularly meaning they use water and electricity. Not to mention the delivery service some companies offer which of course consume fuel and pollute the air. If you do decide on reusable nappies, washing them on a full load at a lowered temperature (perhaps 60 degrees instead of 90) and not using a tumble dryer will help to lower the impact they have on the environment.

I hope this has helped you reach an informed decision. Please let us know what you decide on and why?

Which bath seat and when?

Bathing your baby is easy if you know how. Particularly if you are using the correct equipment to assist you. Here is a quick guide on which bath/bath seat to use and when:

It is likely you are going to need 2-3 bath seats (depending on your preference) as your baby grows. The first being for newborns, the 2nd for little babies who can’t yet sit and the third for those who can sit but still need a little support. No baby bath is designed for a child to be left alone, you must supervise your child at all times.

Newborn – Baby bath tub

The baby bath tub allows you to bathe your baby in the room of your choice, preferable one that is warm and with no draughts. It can be a little difficult to fill up and empty if you are on your own and can be a drowning hazard if you have other children in the house so ensure your routine doesn’t involve leaving a tub full of water unsupervised. It can be awkward holding your baby and washing him at the same time, particularly if you also need to lean over the sides if a bath, the baby bath tub allows you to place the bath on a raised surface for easier access. You must obviously check the surface is stable, not near anything electrical and the tub/baby is not at risk of falling. The baby bath tub will last for the first month or so. If you would prefer to bathe your little one in the bath, there are a number of products suitable for newborns, most notably the angelcare soft touch baby support.

1-4 months (or until sitting) – Soft mesh bather

There are a number of different mesh bathers, they attach to the base of your bath using suction cups and allow your child to lye at a comfortable angle with a good view of you and the bath water. Some come with raised sides and adjustable incline whilst some are simple and simply offer a comfortable place for baby to lye. Once your little one is able to roll over, you will have to be in your guard to make sure she doesn’t roll off, those with sides don’t offer that much protection against children who can roll so be sure to keep a hand on or near your baby at all times.

Once baby can sit up – A bath seat!

once your child is able to sit, he will be able to experience bath time from a whole new perspective, initially you may want to use a seat that surrounds your child to protect against falling. They are also secured to the base of your bath using suction cups and will have a recommended water level indicator. You can pick one up for around £20(ish) and it will last you longer than the two previously mentioned items. Some come with side support and a recline option if you have a particularly fussy prince or princess.

Personally I went for all 3 of the above, I chose the baby bath tub because it allowed me to bathe my newborn in our much warmer living room and include my older daughter in her little sisters bath time. Once my little one was old enough they shared a big bath together, firstly with the mesh bather, then the bath seat and then once she was sitting confidently and never tipping forwards or backwards, with nothing. Bath time is just as enjoyable now as it ever has been. Except for the washing hair bit.

Baby Hair Loss – What, When and Why?

It is completely Normal for babies under 6 months to lose their hair. If your child is over 2 years of age and is experiencing hair loss, this could be due to a medical reason, a life event or even tying hair bands too tightly. This post explains the reasons, timescales and if necessary the treatment in more detail.

Hair loss in the first 6 months

It is completely normal for healthy newborns to lose baby hair in the first 6 months of life. The baby hair falls out before the mature hair grows. There is absolutely nothing to worry about. You will probably notice that this hair loss occurs at the back of your child’s head where he is in contact with the mattress when sleeping, if your child has developed a habit of banging or rubbing his head on furniture, hair loss may also be more prominent in those areas. This still is completely normal and nothing to worry about. Hair grows at varying rates so don’t be worried or surprised if you little one has some bald patches. In some very rare cases, babies are born with alopecia, this can be a medical condition on its own or as part of a medical condition also affecting teeth and nails. If you are concerned about your child’s hair loss, speak to a medical professional.

Hair loss after 24 months

If you notice your child losing hair after around 24-26 months, it is likely to be due to one of the following reasons/conditions:

  • Tinea capitis – This is often explained to parents as being ring worm on the scalp. It is a fungal infection and often results in round or oval scaly patches of hair loss. If you suspect your child has tinea capitis, you should contact your GP who will arrange for further testing, this usually involves a microscopic examination. It is treated with an anti fungal medication, you may also be advised to use an anti fungal shampoo. Ringworm is infectious so you need to be sure your child doesn’t share any objects/items that are in contact with her head such as pillows and hats etc.
  • Alopecia areata – This is a non-contagious condition and is caused by the body’s immune system attacking the hair follicles. It often results in round or oval shaped hair loss but unlike tinea capitis, it is smooth rather than scaly. There is currently no known cure for this but treatment can result in hair growth after around 12 months. Unfortunately, this means it is also likely to return at a later date.
  • Trichotillomania – This is usually caused by stressful life events such as a bereavement, divorce, moving home or even birth of a sibling. Your child may be pulling his/her own hair as a result if this stress. Counselling and therapy are recommended for this.
  • Traction alopecia – This is caused by wearing hair bands or ribbons too tightly. Hair will grow again once you stop doing this.
  • Telogen effluvium – This is where the hair follicles stop growing prematurely due to a stressful event or medication/surgery. It takes approximately 26 weeks for this to become visible through hair loss and around 12 months to grow back once the stressful event is over.
  • Nutritional deficiency – this is very uncommon but hairless can be due to a deficiency in essential vitamins/nutrients such as vitamin H or Zinc. If you suspect fair loss due to nutritional deficiency, speak to your GP first before deciding whether to give any supplements.
  • Hypothyroidism – An under active thyroid can result in hair loss. This is due to the thyroid not regulating a sufficient amount of metabolism. Diagnosis is made through blood tests and possibly a scan a medication options discussed which will vary from child to child depending on age, general health, extent of the disease and other factors.
  • Resources: AAP http://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/skin/Pages/Hair-Loss-Alopecia.aspx

    Webmd http://www.m.webmd.com/children/guide/hair-loss-in-children

    Newborn hearing screening

    The newborn hearing screening will be done within the first few days of birth. It has been available to all babies since 2006 and over 6 million babies have been screened since then. It was the National deaf childrens society that pushed for the tests on all children, here is what is involved:

    What is involved?

    There are two simple and basic tests that can quickly highlight if there is any need for any further investigation, these are usually done on the maternity ward by trained hearing screeners but, on some occasions may be offered at home or at a clinic. The two tests are called the Otoacoustic Emissions test (OAE) and the Automated Auditory Brainstem Response test (AABR). These are both painless for baby.

    What is the Otoacoustic Emissions test (OAE) and how does it work?

    The OAE test is the first hearing screening your newborn will be subject to. A small ear piece consisting of a microphone and speaker are placed in baby’s ear and a clicking sound played. If the ear is functioning properly the microphone will pick up the faint echo produced by the cochlea (inner ear). The results are immediate and recorded on a computer for the screener to analyse. On some occasions it is necessary to refer for a second test, this doesn’t necessarily mean your child has a hearing problem, it may have been inconclusive or the test failed for a number of different reasons such as a noisy room or fluid in the ear. If the results of this test are fine there will be no need for further investigation. The second test is the Automated Auditory Brainstem Response test (AABR). approximately 15% of babies are referred for this test.

    What is the Automated Auditory Brainstem Response test (AABR)?

    The AABR test records your baby’s brain activity in response to sounds. This is done by attaching 3 sensors on to your child’s head and playing clicking sounds through headphones. The sensors record if there is a strong response in brain activity as would be expected. The reason a strong response of brain activity is expected is because of the way ears work; sounds travel as vibrations through the outer ear to the cochlea where they are then converted in to an electrical signal. The electrical signal is sent to the brain via the hearing nerve, thus producing an increase in brain activity in response to sounds. If no activity is detected, your baby will be referred for a full diagnostic of hearing. Around 3 out of every 100 children are referred for this.

    A full diagnostic

    if your child hasn’t shown strong responses to the two tests as detailed above, she will be referred for a full diagnostic assessment of her hearing. This will usually take place at your local audiology department.
    The diagnostic assessment will include tympanomenty and Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) testing. Tympanometry tests how the eardrum and middle ear are working. This test is important because fluid or other problems in the middle ear can affect hearing. During a tympanogram test, a small earphone is placed in the ear canal and air pressure is gently changed. This test is helpful in showing if there is an ear infection or fluid in the ear.

    If at any point you become concerned about your child’s hearing, you should contact your GP immediately. If your child is bring investigated, be sure to attend the appointments, the quicker a diagnosis is made, the quicker remedial actions can be put in place. It your child has hearing problems, it is unlikely you can change that, however, through quick diagnosis you will be able to support your child to live with the hearing loss (however severe) and ensure the impact of this is as minimal as possible (such as speech and language delays).

    The Worst Advice We’ve Ever Heard About Parenting

    As soon as you become pregnant you will be inundated with parenting advice, be it old wives tales, straight from the text book quotations or “What I did was…” remarks, as a new parent you will need and welcome plenty of good advice and support. Not the sort of advice you will find in this post though (the rest of the web site is perfectly fine – we promise). Here is the worst parenting advice we have ever heard.

    Cut a hole in the dummy – What a great idea to stop your child from sucking the dummy – by creating a choke hazard and endangering his life. Thanks but no thanks.

    Let your baby cry it out – Because she will obviously turn into a very spoilt child if she learns her parents are there for her when she needs her. We don’t want her thinking that now do we.

    Wrap her up tight, she’ll sleep for longer – This may help your child sleep for longer if you wrap him so tight he is much warmer than is safe – you are also preventing the natural Moro (startle) reflex babies have up to 6 months old.

    As long as the program is educational, watching television is fine. – Really? Is watching tv really the kind of interaction your newborn needs? Of all the wonderful things in the world your little one can experience and see for the first time you are going to sit him in front of a 40″ widescreen hd television are you? That sounds great. Just great. Well done you.

    Don’t even consider co-sleeping – SIDS is awful. It is scary. It is a constant worry. We do not need ill informed people telling us what we can and can’t do thank you very much. You should always be aware of the risks of co-sleeping and do all you can to minimise these by creating a safe sleeping environment and following official advice.

    Wait until your baby is 6 months old before you give her solid foods. – Pardon? You want me to ignore all of the cues my baby is giving me that she is ready to try some real food and instead wait until she is 6 months? 6 months may be when most children are ready but that doesn’t mean IsI have to wait if I Know my child is ready!

    It didn’t do you any harm – I love this one. It didn’t do me any harm that I touched the radiator and got burnt, ate too much junk food, had whiskey rubbed on my gums, was given antihistamine to get me to sleep through and slept on a pillow from birth (those things didn’t really happen to me – well, not all of them). My point is, yes, we can survive bad things happening to us but that doesn’t make it ok to do it to someone else if you know it is wrong. We will give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they didn’t know it was bad to do these things to children.

    If your child pinches or bites someone, do it back to them. – And so the circle begins. Isn’t that how wars start? Deliberately hurting your child is not going to teach her anything. In fact, you are demonstrating it is ok to do this if you are upset or angry. It isn’t rocket scuence, you are your child’s first role model. Act like one.

    Quite often, people are capable of offering both good and bad advice, don’t rubbish every word that comes out of someone’s mouth just because their advice on baby’s sleeping habits are a little dated. The trick to being a good parent is to filter out the rubbish, remember the good, piece it together with other bits of good advice and make your own mind up. If the advice is around your baby’s health or safety, professional advice is always recommended, although I’m sure your best friends sister has a better way of doing things!……

    If you have any other ‘bad advice’ you would like to share then please leave a comment. We would to hear it (it’s always good for a laugh).