June 8, 2009

Can Low-Dose Aspirin Prevent Miscarriages?

You must be wondering if aspirin prevents miscarriages, why do they tell you to never take aspirin when you’re pregnant?

The truth is, the jury is still out on whether taking low-dose aspirin might benefit women who have had recurrent miscarriages but do not have a diagnosed thrombophilia disorder. Some studies have examined this notion and found no benefit to taking low-dose aspirin, while other studies have found possible benefit, and still other studies are still ongoing. Some studies are also investigating whether baby aspirin might be beneficial for other pregnancy complications, like growth restriction of the baby or pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, but the verdicts are not yet in.

January 21, 2009

Is it selfish to have more kids?

I think the NPR programme hit a nerve, just look at the chatter it generated in the blogosphere. I don't know about the U.S. but, about the U.K. I can tell you this phenomenon is certainly not confined to the super-rich. A few middle-class, professional parents we know have, or are planning to have, 4 or more children. This includes owners of struggling start-ups and I.T. managers (i.e. Dads, the Moms are all SAHM) who can in no way afford a nanny, let alone paid-for childcare of any sort. 

But they may still be the victims of a social trend or a prevalent philosophy. Along with a hankering for going back-to-nature and an organic way of living. Home-baked bread, local farm produce, hand-made clothes and so on. What is this? Competitive Homemaking? Will I find myself with the unforeseen dilemma of being expected to have 4 kids? I started looking for answers, like any good little leftist film school graduate, in the socioeconomic factors first. Behind every wave of change in society lies an economic reality. Bryan Caplan writes:
Basic microeconomics recommends a simple strategy. Have the number of children that maximizes average utility over your whole lifespan. When you are 30, you might feel like two children is plenty. But once you are 60, you are more likely to prefer ten sons and daughters to keep you company and keep the grandkids coming.
So these super-families are just looking ahead to making their retirement cosily cared-for? In which case, some might agree with The Angry Dictator who writes:
I think there is a more obvious approach to the problem. Why not just have a market for children so parents can buy and sell them at various times to maximize utility at every given point?
Um, he's joking, you do get that, right? Here I was, thinking we had an overpopulation problem what with shrinking resources and such. But apparently:
...adding people produces more GDP too (i.e., you increase the numerator as well as the denominator), and the not-so-obvious fact that some types of products (e.g., cures for rare diseases, music only a smaller percentage of people like) are profitable only when there is a large enough total population that the small percentage of people who benefit large enough to make the product worthwhile.
:writes the Econ-blogger at Different River, quoting Julian Simon above.

Probably years from now, Economists will discover the connection between the hyper-fecundity of the early noughties and the current financial crisis. 
You heard it here first, folks.

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January 20, 2009

Is 4 the new 2?

On August 5, 2007, NPR's Weekend Edition on Sunday reported:
"The newest status symbol for the nation's most affluent families is fast becoming a big brood of kids. Historically, the country-club set has had the smallest number of kids. But in the past 10 years, the number of high-end earners who are having three or more kids has shot up nearly 30 percent. Some say the trend is driven by a generation of over-achieving career women who have quit work and transferred all of their competitive energy to baby making. They call it competitive birthing."
Listen to the original radio broadcast here.

That was in the U.S. in 2007, the trend is finally being noticed here in the UK (and about time too, say the rather more observant among us): 4 kids is the new bling for the sterling-rich. See my next post for more.

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January 19, 2009

Long-haul flights with Baby

Call/email your airline weeks ahead to find out their policies regarding buggies onboard.
Tell them at check-in that you want to hand the buggy in at the gate. 
At security they will definitely want to dismantle and scan the buggy so you'll have to take your baby out and carry him/her through the metal detector. 
Then strap baby in again for the long trek to the boarding gate. 
At the boarding gate try to find a helpful steward and ask him to put the buggy somewhere where they can retrieve it easily when you land so you get it at the gate. This, I believe, is only a problem on Qantas where the large number of Buggies onboard have recently meant a lot of Moms having to stow theirs with the luggage. Which means, not only will you walk miles to baggage reclaim but risk the buggy getting battered (hence no longer as safe as the manufacturer guaranteed)

Take bushbaby sling to carry baby in. 
This is a good idea if your baby is younger than 4 months and the added warmth and closeness might help him/her sleep calmly through.
Otherwise, remember this will limit how much cabin baggage etc you'll be able to carry.
In my experience, you won't need a baby carrier, if you manage to take your buggy onboard.

Generally most airlines are helpful. Tell them you are travelling on your own with a young baby and they will arrange assistance both ends. According to Mumsnet.com's forum users, the Best airline for travelling alone with Babies is Singapore Airlines and the Worst is Qantas (not my opinion, folks).

Make sure to feed baby during these to prevent inner ear pressure change pain. For babies older than 4 months, or when they're able to sit up on your lap and hold their head up, you could use the seatbelt extension. With baby lying sideways (facing you) on your lap you could feed her (under cover of a shawl or scarf) through the take-off and landing bits. Or you could bottle feed. A dummy/soother/pacifier doesn't have the same effect.

More Wall Art for the Nursery

Nursery After, originally uploaded by scheherezade.

Did this for the facing wall. See previous post.
As for the design, as someone pointed out, this is rather similar to one being sold by Blik.com (?) Its possible that in my obsessive research into wall stickers for the Nursery (before I decided to make them myself) I came across a similar Tree design. However, original or not, it really cheers the room up.
And trees are a popular theme for wall stickers in children's rooms. As this creative family proved:
Mural Day.

Wall art for the baby's room

Nursery After 2, originally uploaded by scheherezade.

Took photos of the empty walls (and stitchedthem together to create a seamless background in Photoshop).
Imported the photos into Adobe Illustrator.
Designed the little critters and the grass etc with the photo as background. Then resized the vector elements to be printed out and used as cutting templates.
Sticky-backed flock paper would do as well. You could also try patterned/printed fabric pieces with fabric glue or wallpaper paste.
You might need a coat of varnish to keep things pristine.

Make your Baby's room colourful

Nursery Before 2, originally uploaded by scheherezade.

After we cleared out the third bedroom that had been functioning as DH's office, cleaned the carpet and walls, we were left with a neat, empty but pretty dull room for our baby.
We could wallpaper it or paint it. But I had a better idea. I'd had my eye on the new wall stickers that have suddenly become all the rage. They're gorgeous, brilliant and incredibly expensive.
So we came up with our own solution. I fired up Adobe Illustrator and see what I came up with in the following posts...

How to make a smaller changing bag

By now, you'd have lugged that massive changing bag around till you're sick of it. Stuffed full of more things than you'd need (c'mon isn't that true, though?). When sometimes all you need is 1 or 2 nappies, nappy sacks, wipes, soothers and nappy rash cream. Most department stores have changing mats in their baby changing rooms, or if you're the paranoid type of Mom like me, you take a changing bag that folds into a changing mat. Like the Skip-Hop. OR better still you do some inspired bit of Ikea Hacking. Far cheaper and small enough to, maybe, fit in your handbag. Click through to see how a lycklig CD Case from Ikea was turned into a Diaper wallet.

January 16, 2009

Almost a year...

Wow! Almost a year later and DD has changed so much. Still a lil miss paleface just like her Daddy, dark blond hair like her Daddy but gorgeous lovely big smile and glowing skin like her Mommy (thank God for that!). And boyoboy have we learnt a lot - all of us little one included.

She's been on four long distance car journeys before she was 9 months. She's been on two longhaul flights! She's been toted around madmad Central London and the madmadmad Underground on weekends in a Baby Bjorn! And she's been an adorable sweetie about it all. Well, apart from the occasional screaming-blue-murder-tantrum where she thrashes about on the floor her pretty face squeezed into a howl...

Anyway, thousands of nappies later (gosh! was it just the other day I swore I'd never be able to change one), successfully breastfeeding, ongoing weaning and innumerable multi-handed ambidextrous multi-tasking days later, I am ready to share with you all that I've learnt (which you're welcome to correct, contradict and chastise me for).