Wonderful World of Babies

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You'll love these apps for new parents, plus give your baby the gift of gab and be savvy about meds in pregnancy.

Baby Bits is all about parenting with an infant already here or an infant on the way … because there are lots of bits and pieces to it.

‘Appy Parenting to you!

Whether there’s a babe on the way or a babe in your arms, technology’s paving the way for new moms and dads. Here are some great apps for new parents:

  • Total Baby
    By Andesigned, this is the number one baby tracking device on iTunes with 14 different tracking, timing and logging functions. $4.99.
  • My Voice Baby Lullaby
    Record your voice singing lullabyes for your sweetie with this app from Gramercy Consultants. $0.99.
  • White Noise AmbiencE LITE
    By Logicworks, otherwise coined, “The Nap App,” choose from 18 sleep environment sounds in a library and more. FREE.
  • Cards app
    Apple makes it so easy to send a thank you! Snap a photo with your iPhone, write a note and address and Apple sends a real card, complete with a cursive address. FREE.
  • Walgreens app
    Download the app then upload photos from your phone and pick up prints an hour later. FREE.
  • Baby Timer APP
    Early bird software has a lot of apps all related to babies. This one lets you track poops, feedings and more to your heart’s delight. $4.99.
  • Milk Maid
    Breastfeeding gets scientific with this app from Earlybird — whether you feed on schedule (or want to) or just want to keep track of pumping, storing and more. $2.99.
  • Nike Training iPad app
    Exercise at home while Baby naps or entertain him with your athleticism. This app makes it easy to get a workout in without the hassle of going to the gym. FREE.

Meds While Pregnant: Easy Does It

About 90 percent of pregnant women take at least one medication, and 70 percent take at least one prescription drug, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Use of prescription drugs in pregnancy (specifically the first trimester when fetal organs are forming) has grown by more than 60 percent during the past 30 years.

A growing number of pregnant women self-medicate with over-the-counter drugs that were once sold only by prescription, and while many commonly taken medications are considered safe for unborn babies, the Food and Drug Administration estimates that 10 percent or more of birth defects result from medications taken during pregnancy. So what’s OK to take? Don’t rely on the Internet alone to find out.

Siobhan M. Dolan, M.D., co-author of Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby (HarperOne; 2013) from the March of Dimes says the following medications should be avoided during pregnancy:

Medications To Avoid in Pregnancy

  • Isotretinoin (Accutane and others for acne)
  • Valproic acid (for seizure disorders)
  • Lithium (for bipolar disorder)
  • Tetracycline (for infections)
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor antagonists (for hypertension)

Dolan says many medications that are not recommended during pregnancy can be replaced with low-risk alternatives.

If you have any doubt about what you’re taking while pregnant, discuss it with your doctor.

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Gift of  Gab

Chatty parents raise brainy kids, studies show, so take full advantage of your baby days by filling your child in on every little thing. Talking and reading to your baby right from birth will help her to grow vocabulary and speech earlier says research by Betty Hart, Ph.D., and Todd Risley, Ph.D., in the book Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experiences of Young American Children (Paul H. Brookes; 1995). The greater number of words children hear from parents and caregivers before age 3, the higher their IQ and the better they will do in school. So, start talking! And keep talking.Up to 3 months: According to a study published in Pediatrics, the more words preterm babies heard in the neonatal intensive care unit, the more they responded with sounds of their own. Talk and read to your newborn often!

  • By 3 months: When Baby babbles, babble back. He will begins to imitate some of your sounds and turn his head toward the direction of your voice.
  • By 7 months: Baby starts to distinguish emotions by the tone of your voice. She’ll respond to sound by making sounds and will use her voice to express happiness and displeasure.
  • By 1 year: Baby pays increasing attention to speech and responds to simple verbal requests and to “No.” Baby babbles with inflection and says, “Dada” and “Mama.” Uses exclamations such as “Oh-oh!” and tries to imitate words.

Talk Tips

  • Talk often to your infant and even tell her what to say, for instance, if Baby’s hungry, tell her, “Say, I’m hungry!”
  • Read stories and rhymes with strong rhythms.
  • Play fun games, asking, “Where’s your nose? … There’s your nose!”
  • Name objects as you go through moments with Baby.

Susan Swindell Day is the editor in chief of Nashville Parent and the mom of four amazing kids.

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