Sunday, December 9, 2012

Crotch Danglers read right.  I said Crotch Danglers.  A term I never in my life thought I'd be uttering much less researching and worrying about but alas I am now well educated about the perils of overuse of crotch danglers with babies.

"What is a crotch dangler?" you might ask...well it's one of the millions of baby carriers, car seats, exersaucers, jumpers, walkers, etc that we modern day moms trust our children for hours on end every day.  Did you know that there is an International Hip Dysplasia Institute?  Me neither...but now we both know.  Here is what they have to say about proper hip positioning for babies...

Education Statement:
 The IHDI recommends healthy hip positioning for all babies to encourage normal hip development. Within the womb, a baby spends a long time tucked in the fetal position, in which both hips and knees are bent or flexed.
Baby in a normal womb position.
Baby in normal (fetal) womb position.
After birth, it takes several months for the joints to stretch out naturally. Babies that have been in the breech (bottom first) position may need even more time to stretch out naturally. The hip joint is a ball and socket joint. During the first few months of life the ball is more likely to be loose within the socket because babies are naturally flexible and because the edges of the socket are made of soft cartilage like the cartilage in the ear. If the hips are forced into a stretched-out position too early, the ball is at risk of permanently deforming the edges of the cup shaped socket (hip dysplasia) or gradually slipping out of the socket altogether (hip dislocation). Hip dysplasia or dislocation in babies is not painful so this may go undetected until walking age and may also result in painful arthritis during adulthood. The risk of hip dysplasia or dislocation is greatest in the first few months of life. By six months of age, most babies have nearly doubled in size, the hips are more developed and the ligaments are stronger, so are less susceptible to developing hip dysplasia.
The most unhealthy position for the hips during infancy is when the legs are held in extension with the hips and knees straight and the legs brought together, which is the opposite of the fetal position. The risk to the hips is greater when this unhealthy position is maintained for a long time. Healthy hip positioning avoids positions that may cause or contribute to development of hip dysplasia or dislocation. The healthiest position for the hips is for the hips to fall or spread (naturally) apart to the side, with the thighs supported and the hips and knees bent. This position has been called the jockey position, straddle position, frog position, spread-squat position or human position. Free movement of the hips without forcing them together promotes natural hip development.
Some types of baby carriers and other equipment may interfere with healthy hip positioning. Such devices include but are not limited to baby carriers, slings, wraps, pouches, car seats, exercisers, rockers, jumpers, swings, bouncers and walkers, and molded seating items. These devices could inadvertently place hips in an unhealthy position, especially when used for extended periods of time. Any device that restrains a baby’s legs in an unhealthy position should be considered a potential risk for abnormal hip development. It is also important to assess the size of the baby and match the device and carrier to the size of the child so that the hips can be in a healthy position during transport. Parents are advised to research the general safety and risks of any device they wish to use. When in doubt, we recommend involving your primary health-care provider in any further decision-making that may be medically relevant.
These series of drawings demonstrate typical devices that allow healthier hip positioning in comparison to those which do not.

Car Seat Positioning

Not Recommended:
Tight car seats may contribute to causing hip dysplasia.
Tight car seats prevent legs from spreading apart.
Better:Car seats with leg room to help prevent hip dysplasia.
Wider car seats provide room for legs to be apart, putting the hips in a better position.

Baby Harnesses

Not Recommended:
Dangling legs in baby carriers may contribute to hip dysplasia.
Hip joint forces promote hip dysplasia in dangling leg style baby carriers.Thigh NOT supported to the knee joint. The resulting forces on the hip joint may contribute to hip dysplasia.
Baby carrier should support the entire thigh to the knee joint.
Forces on the hip joint with thigh-supporting baby harness.
Thigh is supported to the knee joint. The forces on the hip joint are minimal because the legs are spread, supported, and the hip is in a more stable position.

Baby Slings

Not Recommended:
Tightly wrapped baby carriers may contribute to hip dysplasia.

Baby carriers that force the baby’s legs to stay together may contribute to hip dysplasia.
Baby carriers should support the thigh and allow the legs to spread to prevent hip dysplasia.
Baby carriers should support the thigh and allow the legs to spread to keep the hip in a stable position

Regarding Baby Carriers: When I was registering for baby gifts I am embarrassed to admit that I had NO clue that there were any options for baby carriers other than the Baby Bjorn.  They had a trusted name and all sorts of medical testaments on their website so I thought I was good to go.   I never realized how often I would like using the carrier so didn't put as much thought into it as other items on our registry.  Hindsight as they say is 20/20.  I love to put N in the carrier and beebop in the kitchen, do some light cleaning, go for walks, etc, etc, etc.  And she LOVES it!  She's my little monkey, always hanging on me in some form or fashion.  Now that I've done more research I've swapped out my Bjorn for a more ergonomically friendly Boba 3g (yes, they give these things names like cars...totally bizarre - our stroller is the BOB Revolution SE, that's sports edition :) ).  I digress...There are 2 main differences between the Boba and the Bjorn...

  1. The Boba has support at the waist, the Bjorn puts all of the support on your upper back so it does hurt your back after a while or as your baby gets heavier.  
  2. The Boba supports the babies thighs all the way to the knee keeping her hips stable.  The Bjorn does not so you'll notice that your baby's legs will dangle pretty much straight down (hence the term "crotch dangler").   

Before having Nicolette I would have had no idea where to begin as far as researching baby carriers.  Luckily I'm blessed to be a part of an amazing support group of July Mommies on Facebook and someone in the group introduced me to a website to help compare many of the baby carriers.  I HIGHLY recommend that anyone with a little one (or expecting a little one soon) to check out this website HERE to help pick out your baby carrier. (I also highly recommend that any mommy-to-bes hook up with a similar online support group with tons of Baby Mamas during your baby's expected birth month...I've had many a question at 2am and was able to easily send it out into cyberspace to my 250+member mommy group and know that at least 1 person (and usually 50 or more mommies) was also awake and had faced the same situation at some other point in time and was ready and willing to offer advice, support and encouragement.)

Sadly, the exersaucers (and jumparoos for those who have them) are also considered "crotch danglers").  This is sad because Nicolette LOVES and I mean LOVES her exersaucer!!!!  I'm not going to take this joy away from her, but I'm also not going to use it as a babysitter.  I keep an eye on her and if she starts to get lazy or tired and start sitting in it rather than standing I take her out and we move on to something else.  This little girl LOVES to stand and has had legs strong enough to push to a standing position ever since she was a wee six weeks old.  So the crotch dangling exersaucer will remain :)

I hope someone finds this information helpful.  I know I would have appreciated knowing all this stuff before our little bambino arrived.  

Thursday, December 6, 2012

4 Month Recap

Month 4 was a total many changes and I think the beginning of teething (ick).  A necessary evil I guess.    

We made our first visit to meet the Randazzo Family in Connecticut for Thanksgiving.  We stayed with Gram and Papa and Nicolette was such a good girl!!  Gram & Papa couldn't believe that she didn't cry or fuss one time for the first 3 days that we were there...then the teething pain started and we had little fussies for a couple of days...nothing too traumatic but Nicolette has never been a fussy baby so it was an adjustment for us and I just felt awful for her.  She'd wince and scrunch her little face up and grab the back of her head or her ears and then crunch her little body up.  It's pitiful.  At first I was worried that she had an ear infection but after reviewing ear infection symptoms and noting that she has not had a cold or anything leading up to this behavior I feel sure that she doesn't .  The ear grabbing is VERY intermittent.  We'll go days without it and the doc said that if it were an ear infection it would be consistent and persistent.  

with Gram & Papa Randazzo
3 Generations - Dave, Nick (Papa) & Nicolette
with Papa Randazzo
with Cousin Kyra - she LOOOOVES Nicolette
Some of the cousins
with Uncle Nick
Playing with Daddy at Gram & Papa's
Entertaining all of my relatives is exhausting work
There aren't many baby pictures of the Italian (we have NONE at our house) but I was able to take a pic of his 1 year picture that is still hanging on the wall in his parent's home.  I think I see a lot of similarities between daddy and Nicolette...  
The Italian - 1 year old
Nicolette found her feet right at 4 months and her toes found her mouth (and nose) at 4 1/2 months!

Nicolette started sitting unassisted for minutes at a time on December 2nd.   Sunday morning I would set her up to see if she could balance and she would immediately topple over.  Then that same afternoon I sat her up just to see if she could balance for a couple of seconds and she sat for about 3 minutes just playing with her toy as if she'd been doing this all along!!!!  I was shouting frantically for the Italian to come in and watch her and N managed to keep her balance through all of that excitement.

She started reaching out both arms to mommy to pick her up and hold her on December 3rd.  She was sitting in her little Boppy on the floor and I walked over to her and put my arms out and said, "Can Mommy pick you up" and out came her sweet little arms and she looked up at me to pick her up.  (sigh) This was my favorite milestone...such a sweet girl.

Another great milestone that we reached is taking naps somewhere besides ON MOMMY!  I still hold her and cuddle for some naps cause I love it, but it is nice to know that she can sleep elsewhere.  I've been careful not to worry about creating a perfectly quiet environment for her to sleep in because I still want her to be able to konk out and crash if we're out and about.  She takes about 3 naps per day now at least 2 1 hour+ naps and then 1 (sometimes 2) 20-30 minute cat naps).    

So that sums up month 4...looking forward to seeing what month 5 brings!!! 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Happy 5 Month Birthversary!

That's right - little Nicolette is 5 months old today!!!!  Stupid laptop keeps freezing up on me so pictures are all you get!  Happy birthversary baby!!!!

Getting so big!
(And happy about it!)
Cheezin' for the camera
Nicolette's serious pose
End of Photoshoot...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music

Oh how I love bedtime with little Nicolette.  She's gotten to the point where she actually recognizes and seems to enjoy having me sing to her.  As soon as I start to sing she stops and immediately turns her face to mine.  Melts my heart.  

I sing to her every night while we're in bed getting ready to go to sleep.  We'll lay together nose to nose and I'll go through a whole laundry list of songs and she'll just stare at me and sometimes reach her tiny hand up to my cheek.  Sigh...I hope I never forget moments like this.

My nighttime view
Singing also comes in handy any time the princess starts to get fussy...this evening during dinner she started to whine a little bit so the Italian and I both burst into "You Are My Sunshine" and she totally stopped and started smiling and giggling.  So if you see (or hear me) walking around Target or the Mall singing "This Little Light of Mine" just know that there's a reason and I haven't totally lost my mind.  

Here's our current repertoire...if you have suggestions for other sweet songs we can sing together please share!  I'm still not totally "with it" on kids songs.  Disney Radio and Toddler Radio on Pandora are helping (and I have to admit that I LOVE listening to Disney Radio...even if N is napping in the other room :) 

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
Jesus Loves Me
Go to Sleepy Little Baby
Edelweiss (Sound of Music)
You Are My Sunshine
This Little Light of Mine
Sleep Little Child
Come Just as You Are
Amazing Grace
Jesus Loves the Little Children
Part of Your World (The Little Mermaid - one of my FAVORITE movies)
Do-Re-Mi (Sound of Music)
If You're Happy and You Know It
Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Wizard of Oz)

And special additions for the holidays include: 
Silent Night
Oh Holy Night 
Away in a Manger
Joy to the World

Speaking of the Sound of Music...I was stoked to hear that NBC will be broadcasting a LIVE production of the Sound of Music in 2013 starring Carrie Underwood as Maria VonTrapp.  I love me some Carrie Underwood, but NO ONE will ever compare to Julie Andrews.