nasal aspirator for baby

Summary:

When your baby is first born, it depends upon you for everything in life including the ability to clear its nasal passages. Not only are newborn babies more likely to get sick or have serious congestion of the nose, they also lack the ability to get rid of that congestion themselves. That’s why a nasal […]


When your baby is first born, it depends upon you for everything in life including the ability to clear its nasal passages. Not only are newborn babies more likely to get sick or have serious congestion of the nose, they also lack the ability to get rid of that congestion themselves. That’s why a nasal aspirator for your baby is so important. A nasal aspirator removes congestion by drawing fluids out through the baby’s nostrils. It immediately makes it easier for the baby to breathe. There are many different brands, some of which are appropriate for different ages. If you are looking for a nasal aspirator for baby, read on!

How to Use a Nasal Aspirator

Learning how to use a nasal aspirator is the first step in making your child feel much better. No matter what type of nasal aspirator you choose, the basics of use are the same. Here’s how to use a nasal aspirator for baby.

  • Start by laying the infant down on its back. You might want to break up the secretions with a saline solution–this is especially helpful if the child is very congested with thick mucus that must be removed. To use the saline solution, follow the instructions on the package.
  • Squeeze the bulb of the aspirator, then press it gently into the child’s nostril. Slowly release the pressure on the bulb. You should see the secretions being sucked up into the nasal aspirator.
  • When the pressure has been released completely from the bulb, remove it from your child’s nostril and clean it by squeezing the mucus out over a tissue.
  • Repeat the above steps until your baby’s nostrils are clean and he or she can breathe normally through them again. When you are done, squeeze the bulb in a sink of warm water, pulling water into it and squeezing it out again to drain it well. Lay the aspirator on a towel or tissue and let it dry thoroughly.

What Types of Nasal Aspirator Can I Use for My Baby?

There are numerous types of nasal aspirators that will work just fine for your baby. Some of these might be more comfortable to use than others, and might be easier to clean. Here is a list of the top nasal aspirators that parents use for their infants.


Types

Descriptions

BabyVac Nasal Aspirator

This is a very unusual aspirator that works when hooked up to a vacuum cleaner. A filtering device regulates the suction so that the aspirator never pulls more than it should do. Some parents find this a great deal, but others are a little worried about using a vacuum cleaner in this way.

NoseFrida the Snotsucker Nasal Aspirator

The name says it all: This aspirator gets the nose clean. In this aspirator, a tube goes into the baby’s nose, and the suction is created by the parent sucking on the other end of the tube. The mucus goes into a filter that prevents the parent from sucking it too far.

Graco BebeSounds NasalClear Nasal Aspirator

This is a battery-operated suction device that offers continuous suction of the baby’s nose, but some parents say it isn’t strong enough to be truly effective. It works best for thin mucus. It can be put into the dishwasher for disinfecting.

BabyComfyNose Nasal Aspirator

This nasal aspirator also uses parental suction to work, but instead of having a filter that must be discarded and replaced, it allows parents to use simple household tissue to catch the mucus. This means that it can save money. It is dishwasher safe.

Hospital’s Choice Nasal Aspirator

This is the most common nasal aspirator, and one that has been on the market for many decades under various names. It works by simply squeezing the bulb of the aspirator, as described in the directions above. It also happens to be the least expensive option. However, this one can also be pressed too deeply into the baby’s nose if you aren’t careful, so be aware of the depth when you use it.

What Else Can I Do to Clear My Baby’s Nose?

Sometimes using a nasal aspirator just isn’t enough. This is especially true when your baby is truly sick with a cold and congestion, and needs something more than a little suction to clear out the airways.

1. A Saline Nose Spray

Using a saline nose spray can help clear up the mucus and make suctioning easier. Most saline sprays or drops can be purchased over the counter and are very easy to use. One to two drops are usually plenty. The baby is likely to sneeze when you use the saline, and that’s good–it helps to loosen up the mucus so that you can clear it out easier.

2. Steaming up the Room

Steaming up the room can also help. Turn the shower on with very hot water and close the door. When the room is filled with steam, go into it and sit down with your baby. As they breathe in the humid air, the mucus will likely break up a bit. Just be sure not to get your baby in contact with the hot water!

3. A Cool Air Humidifier

A cool air humidifier kept in the baby’s room is also a great way to avoid problems with congestion during the winter months. When the air gets too dry, the baby’s nasal passages can get clogged with icky stuff. The cool air humidifier keeps the baby’s room at a good humidity to prevent this problem.

4. Lift Your Baby’s Head a Bit

Finally, remember that if the baby’s head is lifted just a bit during sleep, it can mean the difference between a stuffy nose and a peaceful rest. To make this happen, put something firm underneath the head of the baby’s mattress. Never use a pillow or rolled blanket directly under the baby’s head, as this can lead to an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. When the baby’s head is elevated, he or she is much less likely to deal with the awful feeling of waking up stuffed with all that mucus.

how to administer nasal spray

Summary:

Nasal congestion can be a symptom of the common cold, allergies, or weather changes when warm, moist summer air is replaced by cool, dry fall air. A basic saline nasal spray is highly effective in treating stuffy noses. Over-the-counter nasal sprays are composed of a basic saltwater solution designed to moisturize dry nasal passages and […]


Nasal congestion can be a symptom of the common cold, allergies, or weather changes when warm, moist summer air is replaced by cool, dry fall air. A basic saline nasal spray is highly effective in treating stuffy noses. Over-the-counter nasal sprays are composed of a basic saltwater solution designed to moisturize dry nasal passages and loosen excess mucus blocking the nasal passage, which makes breathing through the nose difficult. Most saline nasal sprays can be given every four to six hours as needed. Always consult with the pediatrician before administering medication of any kind.

How to Administer Nasal Spray to Infants

Because an infant is unable to blow her nose, parents have to remove the excess mucus with the careful use of a nasal aspirator or suction bulb. Nasal Aspirators are available at pharmacies, drugstores, or supermarkets. Follow these steps for spraying nasal spray in infants:

  1. Make sure to have a nasal spray, aspirator (suction bulb), small towel, and tissues on hand.
  2. Administering the spray and suctioning out excess mucus will be easier if you have two free hands. Lay the baby in your lap, with her head resting gently on your knees and her feet pointed toward your waist.
  3. Gently spray one or two nasal drops in one nostril and allow a few seconds for the solution to moisturize the nasal passage and loosen the excess mucus.
  4. With one finger, gently close off the opposite nasal passage while suctioning the drops and mucus out of the other nostril with a fully compressed suction bulb.
  5. Squirt the contents of the aspirator into the towel. Use a tissue to wipe any drainage from the nose or face.
  6. Repeat steps 3 to 5 on the opposite nostril.
  7. Avoid touching the nasal spray applicator to your baby’s nose to prevent the spread of germs.

How to Administer Nasal Spray to Older Children

Some children might not like having liquid squirted into the nose. Because the nasal passage connects to the throat, there is a tendency for the saline solution to drip down the back of the throat. Follow these guidelines for spraying nasal spray in older children:

  1. Hold your sitting child and support him with one arm. Use the other arm to squirt the nasal drops.
  2. Have your child tilt his head back slightly.
  3. As your child is taking in a breath, administer one saline nasal dose to each nostril.
  4. When you administer the nasal spray, avoid touching the dropper to the nose to avoid the risk of spreading infection.
  5. After the spray has had time to moisten the nasal passage and loosen excess mucus, help your child gently blow his nose to remove mucus.

AAP Limits RSV Prevention Medication

Summary:

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released new guidelines that could affect the way severe lower respiratory tract disease from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is prevented. RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children younger than 1 year of age in the United States. Palivizumab prophylaxis, commonly known as Synagis, […]


The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released new guidelines that could affect the way severe lower respiratory tract disease from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is prevented. RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children younger than 1 year of age in the United States.

Palivizumab prophylaxis, commonly known as Synagis, is a monoclonal antibody that has been shown to effectively prevent RSV. The AAP is now recommending that Synagis be administered only to infants born prematurely at 29 weeks’ gestation or less and to babies considered “high risk.” However, some doctors worry that the new guidance is putting infants at risk for unnecessary illness and hospitalization due to RSV.

“The recent recommendation to limit the use of Synagis to 29-week preemies and high-risk infants means 75 percent of babies who would have been eligible for the life-saving medication are no longer eligible. This means every year, over 140,000 babies will be affected by this change,” says Mitchell Goldstein, a neonatologist in West Covina, California.

Since Synagis was approved in 1998, the AAP has revised its recommendations for its use five times. Each update has narrowed the group recommended to receive the series of monthly preventative shots. During the recent review, the AAP’s Committee on Infectious Diseases and Bronchiolitis Guideline Committee judged the quality of the available data, as well as the impact of Synagis, and reached a unanimous consensus. The infectious diseases panel said that cost was considered during deliberations, but that the final guidance was driven by the limited clinical benefit Synagis provides.

The new guidance by the American Academy of Pediatrics on Synagis says:

During the first year of life

Palivizumab prophylaxis is recommended during RSV season for the following infants:

  • Preterm infants born at or before 29 weeks’ gestation
  • Preterm infants with chronic lung disease (CLD) born at 32 weeks’ gestation who required 21 percent oxygen therapy during the first 28 days of life
  • Infants with hemodynamically significant congenital heart disease
  • Children with anatomic abnormalities or neuromuscular disorders

During the second year of life

Palivizumab prophylaxis is recommended only for preterm infants with CLD who require continued medical support in the second year of life. Doctors should:

  • Administer a maximum of five monthly doses.
  • Discontinue monthly prophylaxis if a breakthrough RSV infection occurs during prophylaxis.

Also, prophylaxis is not indicated for children with Down syndrome or for immunocompromised children. And the AAP says children with cystic fibrosis should not routinely receive prophylaxis; palivizumab may be indicated based on the degree of lung disease in the first two years of life.

“The new guidance on Synagis is an effective measure since there is just not enough medical data over the past 15 years to show the drug’s effectiveness for infants outside of the high-risk category,” says Ian Holzman, chief of newborn medicine at the Kravis Children’s Hospital at Mount Sinai in New York City.

Holzman stresses that by no means will the recent change in the guidelines cause unnecessary illness to infants outside high-risk categories. It’s also important to note that these AAP guidelines are just that—guidelines—and not written law. Synagis is still readily available for doctors to administer to any child who will medically benefit from it. It’s up to the parents to discuss coverage with their insurance company.

Vanessa Moore, a mother of three, learned firsthand how AAP guidelines on Synagis can affect an infant’s care when her third child, born at 34 weeks, was hospitalized repeatedly for RSV. After her daughter’s second hospitalization in the NICU, the pediatrician recommended Synagis as a preventive measure. But because of the guidelines in effect at the time, Vanessa was told by her insurance company that she would have to pay the full cost for the expensive series of shots. Her family could not afford the shots, and her daughter was hospitalized two more times with complications from RSV. Today, at 6 years old, her daughter suffers from asthma, which may have been caused by the repeated bouts with RSV.

If you’re unsure whether your baby has RSV, check out “Treating RSV, Croup and Other Winter Bugs in Infants.”

Some Teething Remedies Can Make Babies Sick

Summary:

When the tears flow and wailing begins, a mother will do just about anything to make her baby’s teething pain go away. But according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, she shouldn’t head to the drugstore. The FDA warned parents in a recent Consumer Update that mouth-numbing gels and liquids don’t belong on babies’ […]


When the tears flow and wailing begins, a mother will do just about anything to make her baby’s teething pain go away. But according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, she shouldn’t head to the drugstore. The FDA warned parents in a recent Consumer Update that mouth-numbing gels and liquids don’t belong on babies’ gums.

FDA warning

The FDA has previously warned parents not to use over-the-counter mouth-numbing benzocaine products, but the new warning adds prescription drugs, such as lidocaine viscous, to the list of medications that should not be used on children younger than 2, unless directed by a medical professional. Babies who are given too much lidocaine viscous may suffer the following overdose symptoms, according to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices:

  • jitters
  • confusion
  • falling asleep too easily
  • vision problems
  • shaking
  • vomiting
  • seizures
  • heart problems
  • severe brain injury

Although mouth-numbing products may provide relief from teething, using them puts a baby at risk for methemoglobinemia, a disorder which limits the amount of oxygen in the child’s bloodstream. Babies suffering from this condition will exhibit blue-tinted skin, shortness of breath and lack of energy.

Safe teething remedies

Keep your baby safe by opting for a more natural approach to soothing sore gums. Teeth buds begin to emerge around 6 months of age and continue until approximately age 3, when the child’s mouth is filled with temporary baby teeth.

To ease oral pain during this time, try:

  • Offering the baby a frozen teething ring to cool and numb sore gums.
  • Rubbing the baby’s gums with a finger or a cold, damp wash cloth to reduce swelling.
  • Giving the baby a chilled pacifier fresh from the freezer.
  • Holding a cold carrot for the baby to gnaw on to apply soothing pressure to the gums.

Have you found a natural way to ease your baby’s teething pain? Please share your ideas and tips with other parents in the comments section below.

‘Being Too Clean May Not Be Good’ for Baby

Summary:

For years I’ve been committed to (some would say obsessed with) the idea that the cleaner I keep my home, the healthier my kids will be. Many of us parents have spent hours scrubbing floors, sanitizing toys and wiping down countertops. We’ve shielded our newborn babies from pets and strangers and insisted our kids wash […]


For years I’ve been committed to (some would say obsessed with) the idea that the cleaner I keep my home, the healthier my kids will be. Many of us parents have spent hours scrubbing floors, sanitizing toys and wiping down countertops. We’ve shielded our newborn babies from pets and strangers and insisted our kids wash their hands a dozen times per day.

Now a new study suggests that moms like me have been doing it wrong. In fact, early exposure to allergens and bacteria may be linked to lower incidences of allergies and asthma later in life.

The study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, looked at 467 children from birth through 3 years old. Participants were screened for allergies every year, and their homes were tested for allergens and bacteria.

Researchers were surprised by the results. Children exposed to mouse and cat dander, as well as cockroach droppings, before they turned 1 year old actually experienced lower rates of allergies and wheezing by age 3 than kids who were not exposed. In fact, kids who were not exposed were three times more likely to have allergies and experience wheezing. Exposure to bacteria was also linked to lower rates of allergies. However, exposure after the first birthday did not have the same result.

“We’re not promoting bringing rodents and cockroaches into the home, but this data does suggest that being too clean may not be good,” study co-author Robert Wood, chief of the division of allergy and immunology at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, told NBC News.

The study has some very interesting implications for how we think about our families’ environments, especially since, as Wood notes, “a lot of immune system development that may lead someone down the path to allergies and asthma may be set down early in life.”

“This study confirms what a lot of us believe, which is that one of the reasons asthma, allergies and food allergies are on the rise is because of our sterile environment,” says Amy Shah, who specializes in asthma, allergies and immunology at Valley E.N.T. in Arizona.

“The ‘hygiene hypothesis’ basically says that too-clean environments promote allergies, including food allergies and asthma, because there is not enough exposure to various bacteria and allergens in early life,” Shah says. “Westernized countries have double the risk of asthma, allergies and eczema. Asthma affects as much as 40 percent of the population in regions of New Zealand, Australia and the United States. By contrast, most third world countries continue to have much lower rates of all allergic diseases.”

Shah notes that a previous study found that kids who grow up on farms also have a lower risk of allergies and asthma.

Although researchers are still working to translate their findings into practical tips for parents, Shah offers these suggestions, which challenge traditional thinking in terms of raising kids.

  • Let your kids get dirty!
  • Don’t over-sanitize children’s hands.
  • Avoid antimicrobial soaps and sprays. Most cuts and scrapes can be cleaned with an alcohol wipe, and kids’ bodies need just plain soap and water.
  • Be very judicious with the use of antibiotics. Most ear infections, sore throats and colds don’t require antibiotics, so work with your pediatrician to wait it out at least 7-10 days.
  • Don’t be afraid to share food and water with your child. In fact, for babies, parents’ saliva is actually beneficial.

Perhaps this study will lessen many parents’ fears about their kids getting dirty or being exposed to bacteria. At the very least, it may mean less guilt if you don’t have time to clean the bathroom right away!

Organizations Strive for HIV-Free Generation

Summary:

Every 90 seconds, a baby is born with HIV in the world. Without treatment, UNICEF estimates, one-third of those infants will die before their first birthday and half before their second. The U.N. agency has made it a mission to achieve a generation free of HIV and AIDS. It says the key to eliminating HIV […]


Every 90 seconds, a baby is born with HIV in the world. Without treatment, UNICEF estimates, one-third of those infants will die before their first birthday and half before their second. The U.N. agency has made it a mission to achieve a generation free of HIV and AIDS. It says the key to eliminating HIV in infants lies in preventing transmission of the virus from mother to child in the womb. When a mother has access to antiretroviral therapy, the likelihood of HIV transmission is virtually zero.

But most people in the world who are living with HIV or who are at risk of contracting it do not have access to any methods of prevention, care or treatment. Fifteen percent of mothers are not able to afford delivery in a hospital or other facility, and 95 percent of HIV-positive mothers must travel more than 6 miles for any type of maternity care. Ninety-seven percent of all people living with the virus reside in low- and middle-income countries.

One of these locations is in India’s Dindigul district, where mothers receive little support for medical care; every year, about 120 of these women are identified as HIV-positive. The MEERA Foundation, a women’s health and welfare organizations, has built strong partnerships with health centers in the district to ensure care, and it aims to support expecting mothers by providing transportation, covering medical expenses and buying food for them and their families.

If you’d like to help, you can read more about the MEERA Foundation’s project at its Chime for Change website or donate to UNICEF’s Global Fight Against AIDS on its website. For more information about how you can prevent HIV and AIDS, visit aids.gov.

The Down Syndrome Diagnosis: What to Expect after Delivery

Summary:

Receiving a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis can feel overwhelming. While most expectant parents worry about which breast pump to use and which diapers to buy, you will concentrate on what to expect when caring for a baby with Down syndrome. First, repeat the Boy Scout motto,”Be Prepared,” to yourself about 10 to 20 times. This […]


Receiving a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis can feel overwhelming. While most expectant parents worry about which breast pump to use and which diapers to buy, you will concentrate on what to expect when caring for a baby with Down syndrome.

First, repeat the Boy Scout motto,”Be Prepared,” to yourself about 10 to 20 times. This should become your family’s go-to saying and your key to gliding through the early months. Being prepared and knowing what to expect will give you the confidence you’ll need to parent a child with Down syndrome more easily.

First Appearances

Have you ever held a baby with Down syndrome before? If not, you have a lot to look forward to! Spending time with one of these little cherubs is such a special experience. According to the National Down Syndrome Society, babies with Down syndrome often share a specific and differentiated set of physical characteristics, which include:

  • Almond-shaped eyes
  • Small noses
  • A round face with a slightly flat profile
  • Hyperextending joints
  • Muscle tone deficiency
  • Larger gap in between the big toe and second toe
  • A deep line down the center of the palm

Breast is best!

You may already know that breastfeeding can naturally improve your baby’s immune system, but it is especially important to infants with Down syndrome, who have higher rates of infections and respiratory disorders, such as asthma. According to the National Down Syndrome Society, breastfeeding can also help a baby with Downs by:

  • Increasing muscle tone in the mouth and jaw that can later improve speech
  • Increasing the development of neural connections in the brain by exposing the baby to skin-to-skin contact
  • Improving digestion to help your baby’s body absorb more nutrients; Down syndrome babies generally experience bowel problems

Keep in mind, because babies with Down syndrome have low muscle tone, they may have extra difficulty latching on to the breast. They are also known to be sleepier than other babies, so you will need to work harder to keep your baby awake through an entire feeding.

Your Baby’s Health

The National Down Syndrome Society says babies with Down syndrome have an increased risk for having certain health conditions, so the sooner you can locate the right doctors and therapists, the better it will be for your child’s well-being. Health issues commonly associated with Down syndrome include respiratory difficulties, heart defects, digestive issues, hearing loss and vision problems. Not every child born with Down syndrome with have these health concerns, but if your baby does, seek out pediatric specialists who primarily work with children who have Down syndrome because they truly understand the condition. For example, pediatric physical therapists or sensory integration specialists can work with your child from the earliest months to help improve muscle tone, increase flexibility and decrease overstimulation that can often agitate children with sensory issues.

But what about the future?

People with Down syndrome have a greater quality of life and a longer life expectancy now, more than ever before in history. They can live fulfilled lives rich in social experiences, successful careers and even marriages. You will find, as most parents do, that your child will fill your life with compassion, patience, humor and more joy than you could ever imagine.

Some of my most special memories as a child were spending time with my Aunt Gina. Gina has Down syndrome, and although she’s about 20 years older than I am, we had quite a lot in common when I was a little girl. We both loved Barbie dolls and dressing up like princesses, which we would do for hours every time my family got together. As I got older, I eventually grew out of playing with Barbies and dressing up, but at more than 50 years of age, my Aunt Gina still loves to throw on her feather boa, toss on her bejeweled tiara and grace everyone in the room with her royal presence.

Growing up with Aunt Gina in my life was nothing short of a blessing. Sure, there were times when she would become frustrated or upset. But when I was a child, I had the rare and precious opportunity to watch everyone around me demonstrate a type of tenderness and patience with Gina that really showcased the beauty of the human spirit. Aunt Gina taught everyone in our family the meaning of compassion, self-sacrifice, loyalty and joy. So, if you’ve just found out that your baby will have Down syndrome, know that you and your family have been given a beautiful gift. Although you might have a different path than most parents, you will find that your journey will expand your heart in ways that you never imagined, and it will fill your life with immeasurable love and countless cherished memories.

To help you find your path, visit The National Down Syndrome Society’s website to find support or read advice from Dr. Sears about his personal experience raising a child with Down syndrome.

Scientists May Have Cured Second U.S. Baby with HIV

Summary:

Babies born with HIV now have hope because scientists may have found a way to eliminate the virus from their bodies. A second U.S. baby and five more in Canada have possibly been cured of the virus that leads to AIDS. No traces of the virus have been found in the children’s systems after receiving […]


Babies born with HIV now have hope because scientists may have found a way to eliminate the virus from their bodies.

A second U.S. baby and five more in Canada have possibly been cured of the virus that leads to AIDS. No traces of the virus have been found in the children’s systems after receiving treatment.

“This could lead to major changes for two reasons,” says Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, executive director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “Both for the welfare of the child and because it is a huge proof of concept that you can cure someone if you can treat them early enough.”

The first instance of a cure was found two years ago when a Mississippi baby was diagnosed with the virus. Just 30 hours after birth, the infant was transported to the University of Mississippi Medical Center and was started on antiretroviral treatment. Doctors prescribed three aggressive drugs immediately after birth, which proved to make the difference.

Initial levels of the virus were high, and they decreased in the first month. After the initial testing, the virus was detected three times, but it became undetectable by one month of age. The child and mother were unreachable for more testing for one year, and during that time the child did not receive treatment. The child returned for testing at 23 months old, and viral loads were miraculously still undetectable. Today, at 3 years old, the child is still HIV free.

“This could prevent a lifetime of treatment,” says Dr. Rowena Johnston, director of The Foundation for AIDS Research. “We want people to understand just how game changing this may be.”

In the most recent case, a baby girl born in California was treated immediately after birth, just like the first baby in Mississippi. And also like the Mississippi case, the California baby’s mother did not take her HIV medicine to protect her newborn from the disease, prompting doctors to take immediate action. Nine months later, the California baby is still on three medications, but remains HIV free.

Virologist Dr. Deborah Persaud, who has run ultrasensitive tests on both U.S. children in her lab at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore, believes that it is incorrect to label the baby as “cured” or “in remission” since she is still on the drugs for treatment. But, because the most sensitive blood tests can find no virus capable of replicating, she describes the baby as “having sero-reverted to HIV negative.”

“We don’t know if the baby is in remission, but it looks like that,” says Dr. Yvonne Bryson, Mattell Children’s Hospital UCLA specialist who is working with the California infant.

Canadian doctors are now working with similar treatments and at least five more babies are in the same position as the California and Mississippi babies, showing no signs of any infection.

“Some of the early treated children exhibited sustained virologic suppression, meaning that their HIV viral load continues to be undetectable,” says Hugo Soudeyns, microbiologist from Ste-Justine Hospital in Montreal.

Preliminary data for the Canadian babies will be presented at a scientific conference in May.

According to UNAIDS, more than 260,000 children were infected globally with HIV either at birth or through breastfeeding in 2012.

“Really, the only way we can prove that we have accomplished remission in these kids is by taking them off treatment and that’s not without risk,” Persaud says. “This is a call to action for us to mobilize and be able to learn from these cases.”

How I Handled the News: ‘Your Baby Needs a Helmet’

Summary:

“It’s not your fault.” I wanted to believe him. Considering he was a doctor who specialized in cranial therapy and development, I should have believed him. But I didn’t. I looked down at the beautiful head of my 6-month-old baby sitting in my lap and felt a rush of guilt spill over me. I saw […]


“It’s not your fault.”

I wanted to believe him. Considering he was a doctor who specialized in cranial therapy and development, I should have believed him. But I didn’t.

I looked down at the beautiful head of my 6-month-old baby sitting in my lap and felt a rush of guilt spill over me.

I saw the flat spot. I had seen it since he was born. My husband and I tried to adjust the car seat; to use a baby positioner; to try to turn his head more one way rather than the other. But none of it had worked. After six months of trying, now we were here in a specialist’s office being told our baby needed a helmet.

According to a study in the journal “Pediatrics,” 47 percent of infants have flat spots on their heads. And although many of them don’t require helmet therapy, the practice is becoming more common.

But it didn’t matter that the doctor said it wasn’t our fault and it was caused by how he had been positioned for months in the birth canal. It didn’t matter that he said many parents have had to helmet their children. What mattered is that I felt like I couldn’t help my child—that I couldn’t fix him.

I couldn’t sleep the entire week we waited for his helmet to be made. I worried about whether I’d be able to hug him. I feared he would be uncomfortable or not able to move easily. And I worried what people would think. Would they think something was wrong with him mentally? Would he get stared at? Or worse, mocked?

I had never met anyone whose child wore a helmet before. I had no reference to call or shoulder to cry on that could relate. It was a scary, unchartered territory for me and my husband.

When the specialist slipped on my son’s helmet for the first time, the tears instantly spilled from my face. He didn’t look like my son. He didn’t look like the little baby with the soft head I nestled against late at night. He looked…different.

We made the helmet look like a baseball player’s batting helmet by covering it in vinyl stickers from a website the specialist told us about. I spent over an hour positioning each and every sticker just right.

As I braced myself for what that first day would be like for my son, I was surprised by the reality. He didn’t even notice his helmet. He didn’t cry; he didn’t fuss. He didn’t seem to care that his head was now covered 18 hours of the day. His smile still glowed, and his personality still shined. He ate and slept normally and was the same baby as before.

The truth is, people did stare, and they did think something was wrong with him mentally. But it was okay. I took it as an amazing opportunity to educate them on what it really meant to wear a helmet. I told them he had a condition called Plagiocephaly, and it was a physical, not mental issue.

That’s not to say people didn’t do a double-take when they saw our son. And yes, we did hear ignorant comments from time to time. But what we mostly heard were things like “he’s so cute” or “I love what you did to that helmet.”

Very quickly, I took pride in our little guy and his uniqueness. And three months later, when his helmet came off and his head was perfectly shaped, I felt happy that we went through that experience.

I soon became a resource to other people who found themselves in the same situation with their children. I could finally be the one who tells them that it really isn’t their fault. And maybe they’ll believe it, like I had so desperately tried to do when it was happening to me.

But I think the greatest thing I realized in all of this was the person who really changed for the better from having the helmet wasn’t my son, but rather me. All my fears and anxieties took me to a place of new understanding.

Immunization Schedule Update: Top 5 Things You Need to Know

Summary:

Given the current measles outbreak, vaccines are in the news a lot right now. And there’s plenty of debate over getting vaccinated; who needs to, when, and why? We want to help you make the best decisions for your family. So with the help of Rebecca Madan, M.D., a Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist at The […]

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Given the current measles outbreak, vaccines are in the news a lot right now. And there’s plenty of debate over getting vaccinated; who needs to, when, and why?

We want to help you make the best decisions for your family. So with the help of Rebecca Madan, M.D., a Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in the Bronx, N.Y., we’ve put together a vaccine cheat sheet of sorts. Here are the top 5 things you need to know about your child’s immunization schedule:

1. The schedule is updated.

Each year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in cooperation with the American Academy of Pediatrics, updates their schedule of recommended vaccinations, both for children birth through 6 years of age and for kids ages 7-18 years old. The 2015 versions are more user friendly than ever for parents and spell out which infections are covered by which vaccine. It’s a great resource if you have questions.

2. There’s no reason to delay injections.

It’s common for parents to put off certain vaccinations for fear of overwhelming a young child’s body. But Dr. Madan says there are several detriments to doing this. “You are not making the vaccine more safe by waiting,” she explains. “In fact, you are extending the amount of time your child is susceptible to various illnesses.” And spreading out vaccines means more doctor’s visits and possibly more trauma for kids.

3. Every member of the family should get vaccinated.

An immunization schedule is not just for babies. Although it’s very important to follow the recommended guidelines for infants, vaccinating all family members, especially if you plan to travel internationally, is equally vital. Dr. Madan urges parents to think about how vaccines protect vulnerable individuals, such as babies who can’t receive certain vaccines right away (like measles), family members with chronic health issues who can’t get vaccinated, grandparents and pregnant women.

4. Vaccines offer unparalleled protection.

One dose of the measles vaccine provides up to 95 percent protection against a highly contagious virus. Without the immunization, it’s very likely an exposure will result in getting sick—very sick. One to three out of every 1,000 people who get measles will die. It’s an illness that presents with a fever and rash, and it can result in pneumonia, brain swelling, long term neurologic impairment or death. Similarly, whooping cough, which puts two-thirds of babies who contract it in the hospital, can be avoided by a simple injection.

5. The risks of not getting vaccinated outweigh any risk from the vaccine.

Dr. Madan wants parents to know that what is in an immunization is a drop in the bucket compared to all the bacteria every child is exposed to on a daily basis. Furthermore, vaccines are extensively studied, and it’s well known that the risk of getting one is minuscule compared to the risk of exposure to a potentially deadly illness.

Talk to your doctor about specific recommendations from local departments of health as they relate to measles outbreaks in your area. And call your doctor immediately if you suspect any member of your family has been exposed to measles or might be getting sick.

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