Surprising Baby Myths

laughing baby boy(BlackDoctor.org) — There’s a commonly shared wish among nearly all new parents: that their little joy bundles came with an instruction manual, telling them exactly what to do and exactly what to avoid. From feeding to bathing, playing to dressing, every parent wants to give their babies the very best care they can. But, that natural love and devotion has lead to some misconceptions about the best ways to nurture little angels.

Below are four common parenting beliefs that aren’t entirely true:

Myth 1: Touching Your Baby’s Soft Spot Will Injure Their Brain

The fontanel, or soft spot, at the front of your baby’s head is a skin-covered opening in the skull that pulsates. Understandably, accidently harming this area frightens many parents. “There’s a presumption of vulnerability, but the brain is actually quite well protected,” says Andrew Adelman, M.D., chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Schneider Children’s Hospital in New York and author of 2009’s Baby Facts. The front fontanel typically closes at about 1 year of age, while the smaller soft spot in the back of the head usually closes at 2 months to 3 months. Obviously, take care to avoid accidental falls and bumps, but simple, gentle touching shouldn’t hurt them.

Myth 2: Babies Need Daily Baths

The truth is, constant bathing removes moisture from your baby’s delicate skin, which can make it dry and irritated. Plus, sitting in soapy bathwater can irritate a baby girl’s urethra and potentially lead to urinary tract infections. As long as you keep your baby’s diaper area, neck and other skin creases debris-free, you can give them full baths just three times a week, Adesman says. If your baby enjoys nightly tub time, splash away – just skip the soap!

Myth 3: Early Milestones Equal a Gifted Baby

Exactly when a child first learns to walk or talk has little or no bearing on their later life successes, research shows. “Many parents support the idea of giftedness at birth, but this is not supported by the evidence,” says Adesman. In fact, in some cases, early achievements may indicate a potential problem. For example, children should use both hands equally until 18 months of age – showing an inclination to be either left-or right-handed before that time can point to certain developmental concerns.

Myth 4:  Babies Need To Poop At Least Once A Day

Parents often think a baby is constipated when they’re not. Newborns often have several bowel movements a day, but by about 2 or 3 months, things may slow up a little, and they may poop every three to four days, according to Adesman. If bowel movements are very hard and infrequent, or you see blood in the diaper, then, of course, call your pediatrician immediately.

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Preventing Mother To Child HIV Transmission

pregnant black woman(BlackDoctor.org) — In a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), of children under 13 living with AIDS who were infected by their mothers, 66% were African Americans. This sobering 2005 statistic illustrates a huge problem in the African American community with regard to pregnant HIV-positive women accessing drugs.

In the United States, the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV is less than 2% with proper antiretroviral treatment and care. Nevertheless, the lack of access to medical services for an HIV-positive woman during pregnancy or labor can greatly increase the risk of infecting her child. Here’s what you need to know in preventing mother-to-child transmission:

• Mother-to-child transmission is the most common way children become infected with HIV.
• A woman can pass HIV to her baby while pregnant, during labor or through breastfeeding.
• Today, most pregnant women get an HIV test as part of their prenatal care.
• Antiretroviral drugs are now available to help prevent a baby from contracting HIV.
• When women do not get treatment, 13 babies out of 50 are at risk of contracting HIV.
• Only 1 baby out of 50 is at risk of being infected with HIV, when women begin treatment during pregnancy.
• A pregnant woman with HIV can opt to deliver her baby via cesarean section to help protect her baby from becoming infected with HIV.
• Breastfeeding should be avoided for mothers with HIV.
• Five babies out of 50 are at risk of getting HIV when women begin treatment during labor, or their babies get treatment soon after birth, or they both get treatment at these times.

In addition, there are two different testing approaches available: Opt-in (pre-HIV test counseling and an agreement to an HIV test) and Opt-out (HIV test included in standard prenatal tests and an agreement not to be tested). Check your state’s HIV testing laws for approaches in your area.

For information about reducing HIV transmission from mother to child, please visit: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/perinatal/1test2lives/materials.htm, http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/perinatal/index.htm

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