Ways to Keep Baby Bottles and Accessories Clean

I don’t know about you, but I’m a bit of a germaphobe. This was especially true when I had my babies, and when I needed to learn how to sanitize their bottles and binkies. So today, I’m sharing some tips straight from the CDC on ways to keep baby bottles and accessories clean. Let’s dig in…

In the Dishwasher

Check the packaging of your baby’s bottles and pacifiers to see if they are dishwasher safe. Most items tend to be dishwasher safe only on the top rack, so be aware of that when you’re loading the dishwasher. The CDC recommends that you take all of the components apart and rinse them before loading them into the dishwasher. When you load them into the dishwasher, place smaller items into a basket like this so they don’t end up at the bottom of the dishwasher. And run the dishwasher using hot water and a heated drying cycle. Wash your hands with soap and warm water before unloading the items. If they’re not completely dry, lay them on a clean, dry towel to air dry.

By Hand

If you’re washing baby bottles by hand, make sure you wash your hands well before beginning. Separate the bottle parts and rinse them individually under running water. Don’t set them down in the sink. Fill a clean container (that you’re using only to clean the bottle parts and accessories) with hot water and soap, and place items directly in the container. Scrub items using a clean brush (that is also only used to clean your baby accessories). Squeeze water through nipple holes to ensure that the holes get clean. Rinse again under running water, and allow parts to air-dry. Then clean the container and the brush by washing them by hand or putting them into the dishwasher.

When in Doubt, Sanitize

Sanitizing feeding items once a day can ensure that items stay super clean. (This is only necessary if you haven’t washed the items in a dishwasher with hot water and the heated dry setting.) Sanitize items after they’ve been washed by one of the above methods, and check with the item’s manufacturer about which of the following methods you should use to further sanitize your accessories:

1. Boil
Place items into a pot and cover with water, and bring water to a boil. Boil for five minutes and remove items with clean tongs.

2. Steam 
Place disassembled items in the microwave or a plug-in steam system (like this) and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for sanitizing, cooling and drying the items.

3. Bleach
Prepare a bleach solution of one teaspoon of unscented bleach per gallon or water in a clean wash basin. Submerge items completely, checking that the solution covers all parts and there are no air bubbles in the bottles or pacifiers. Squeeze solution through the nipple holes, and soak for at least two minutes. Remove with tongs or washed hands. Do not rinse the items; any remaining bleach will break down as it dries. Allow all items to dry completely before storing.

Store Safely

As mentioned above, let all of your bottle accessories, bottle brushes and washing containers air-dry completely before putting them away. With clean hands, put all components back together. Place all reassembled items in a protected, clean area like a closed kitchen cabinet used to store clean dishes or that has been specifically designated to hold all clean baby bottles and accessories.

 

 

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Dieting During Pregnancy: What You Need to Know

Today’s post is all about dieting during pregnancy, and whether or not it’s the best idea. All of the advice provided here is based on guidelines set by the American Pregnancy Association (APA).

As a general rule, dieting to lose weight during pregnancy is generally not healthy for the baby. This is because you can deprive yourself of vital nutrients like folic acid and iron. While modifying your diet can actually be a good thing, it’s important to ensure that you’re getting enough calories and nutrients to help your baby develop.

Here are a few guidelines to follow when considering modifying your diet during pregnancy:

1. Increase your caloric intake, but not by as much as you think.

Pregnancy is a great opportunity to calibrate your eating habits in a healthy way. While it is important to consume more calories than you would when not pregnant, it is recommended that you only increase your intake by 300 calories a day.

2. Cover all the food groups.

According to the APA, you should try to eat a variety of foods from the various food groups. Here are some general guidelines to consider:

  • Fruits and Vegetables – Aim for fruits high in vitamin C (like oranges, grapefruit and honeydew) and vegetables rich in folic acid (like broccoli and Brussels sprouts). Dark, leafy vegetables are always a great idea. Aim for 2-4 servings of fruit and four or more servings of vegetables daily.
  • Breads and Grains – Whole grains can provide important nutrients like iron, fiber and B vitamins. And enriched foods like cereal can also provide much-needed vitamins. Try to stray from processed foods, and aim for 6-11 servings (ounces) of breads/grains daily, depending on your dietary needs.
  • Protein – It’s recommended that you have at least three servings of protein daily. You can get this from various sources: lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, beans and quinoa.
  • Dairy – Calcium is one of the most important elements to a healthy pregnancy diet. If you do not consume enough calcium during pregnancy, your body will take what calcium it needs from your bones. There are various dairy products that are good sources of calcium, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt. However, if you are a vegetarian, vegan, or are lactose intolerant, you can also find calcium in green vegetables, beans and dried peas. Aim for four servings of dairy (or its equivalents) daily.
3. Ensure your vitamin intake is where it needs to be.

There are certain vitamins and nutrients that are integral to the development of your unborn child. Ensure you have a comprehensive prenatal vitamin and are getting the following vitamins/nutrients daily:

  • 70 mg of vitamin C
  • 0.4 mg of folic acid
  • 27 mg of protein
  • 1000 mg of calcium
  • 27 mg of iron

At the end of the day, it’s always a good idea to consult with your health care provider on what will work best for you throughout your pregnancy. But hopefully these tips are a good jumping off point to help you make informed decisions to help your baby and yourself be the healthiest you can be.

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How to Count Kicks

Counting kicks in the third trimester is a great, non-invasive way for you to bond with your baby, monitor their health, and get to know his or her personality before they’re even born! Non-profit organization Healthy Birth Day, Inc. created the Count the Kicks campaign nearly a decade ago after research showed that tracking baby movements can lead a mom to save her baby if she notices a change in movement and tells her provider when she notices a difference. The campaign saved three babies within ten weeks last year, all because moms were tracking movement and spoke up when they noticed a reduction in their babies’ movements.

Time to Start Counting!

Count the Kicks and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend you start counting at 28 weeks of pregnancy, or 26 weeks in a high-risk pregnancy. Here’s how you do it:

  • Download the FREE Count the Kicks app, available in iTunes and Google Play online stores.
  • Count the Kicks every day, preferably at the same time.
  • Pick your time based on when your baby is usually active.
  • Sit with your feet up or lie on your side. Count each of your baby’s movements as one kick and tap the foot on the app until you reach ten movements. After a few days, you will begin to see a pattern for your baby (how long it takes you to get to ten).
  • Most of the time it will take less than a half hour, but every baby is different.
  • Knowing what is a normal movement pattern for your baby is key. When “normal” changes, this could be a sign of potential problems and an indication to call your provider.

Innovative App

The free Count the Kicks app will help you record the amount of time it takes your baby to get 10 movements and will save your kick counting sessions. The Count the Kicks app is available in English and Spanish, counts for single babies and twins, sends a daily text or calendar reminder, and can be used in consultation with your doctor. You can also log your times into a manual Count the Kicks chart.

Baby Movement Myth

Baby movements do not slow down at the end of pregnancy. While babies may run out of room for somersaults, they still move all the way up to and even during labor. Your baby’s movement pattern (how long it takes your baby to get to 10 movements) should remain the same throughout your pregnancy.

Be Empowered to Count the Kicks

Since Count the Kicks launched in Iowa in 2008, the state’s stillbirth rate has decreased 26 percent while the rest of the country’s stillbirth rate has remained relatively stagnant. Join the powerful movement by downloading the free app during pregnancy and tell every pregnant mom you know about the importance of tracking fetal movement in the third trimester. You never know who you might save!

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Tips for Keeping your Baby Healthy and Safe in the Cold

If you’re due to give birth during the winter or will have a newborn or young baby during the winter, it’s important to be educated about the hazards of cold weather on your baby. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the physiology of babies and children leaves them unable to regulate their body temperatures as well as adults, and this can cause serious health problems if exposed to extreme temperatures.

Here are some common winter scenarios in which your baby may be faced with extreme cold, and how to remedy the situation.

In the Car

It may seem counterintuitive, but it’s important to remove any coats or snowsuits before putting baby in the car. The extra space created by the padding may compress in an accident, leaving enough space for baby to slip out. To keep baby warm in a cold car, be prepared with a blanket to use over the straps once baby is strapped in. Once the car heats up, you can easily pull it off.

Sleeping at Night

Despite the cold temperatures, it’s important that baby still sleeps alone in the crib, without any blankets, pillows, or other loose items. To combat the cold weather, dress baby in a warm sleeper such as a sleep sack. Remember, overheating is a risk factor for SIDS, so don’t overdo it with the layers.

Attending Outdoor Festivities

If your baby is still a newborn, it’s perfectly okay to skip the outdoor festivities when it’s too cold outside. Keeping your baby home and unexposed to cold temperatures or germs is never a bad choice. If the temperature isn’t below freezing or uncomfortable and baby is healthy, the rule of thumb for dressing is to put baby in one more layer than you would wear. Don’t forget warm socks, boots, mittens, and a hat! However, pay close attention to baby’s temperament and appearance. If you notice red cheeks, blue lips, a pale nose, or cold extremities, it’s probably time to head indoors. Similarly, if baby’s body seems hot and sweaty, they may be too hot and need a layer removed.

Avoiding Illness

Cold and flu germs abound in the winter, and because your baby’s immune system is still young and immature they are more susceptible to getting sick than you. The two best things you can do to reduce baby’s risk of getting sick, besides staying current with your vaccinations, are:

1) Wash your hands frequently and correctly, and

2) Avoid exposure

Keep baby away from infected people and crowds. When you go out, be sure to sanitize public surfaces you touch, and to wash your hands as soon as you come home. If you’re breastfeeding, continue to do so because as your body creates antibodies to defend against germs you come in contact with, it passes the antibodies to baby through the breastmilk, strengthening baby’s immune system.

Follow these tips to help keep your baby safe and healthy this cold winter season.

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