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Articles 123

How to Swaddle a Baby
How to Change a Baby's Diaper
Rectal, Ear, Oral, and Axillary Temperature Comparison
What is normal body temperature? What is a fever?
Pregnancy - Morning Sickness


How to Swaddle a Baby

Swaddle a babySwaddling comforts a newborn in many ways. It helps calm a fussy baby and helps babies sleep well. Swaddling a baby is an effective means of comforting a baby because it makes the baby feel as if he or she is still in the womb. Here are a few tips to swaddle a baby.


Step1 Fold a baby blanket over in one corner about a quarter of the way so that you have a flat edge.
Step2 Lay the baby so that his shoulders are just below the flat edge and his head is above the edge.
Step3 Crease the blanket over the baby's feet up toward her stomach.
Step4 Tuck the baby's shoulder at the top before folding over the side of the blanket. Then fold the side of the blanket over the baby's abdomen. Tuck it in along the baby's side tightly.
Step5 Tuck the other shoulder in at the top. Fold the other side across the baby's stomach as well. Tuck the corner of the blanket under the baby tightly.

Tips & Warnings

1. Hold blanket in place with one hand as you tighten each fold as you go. The arms should be tight but the legs can have a little wiggle room.
2. Get a long enough blanket to tuck around the baby. Square blankets work the best.
3. Be careful not to overheat the baby with thick blankets.
4. Never cover a baby's head.
eHow Parenting Editor

How to Change a Baby's Diaper

Not much has really changed since the days of diaper pins - whether you choose to go the route of cloth or disposable diapers, you'll follow more or less the same procedure..


Step1 Lay a fresh diaper on a changing table, or on a towel or mat on the floor.
Step2 Place your baby, tummy side up, on top of the clean diaper.
Step3 Unfasten the diaper tabs on the soiled diaper.
Step4 Hold your baby's feet together and very gently lift them up, raising the baby's bottom. Use the clean part of the diaper to wipe away any excess stools, then fold over the soiled section of the diaper and set the old diaper aside.
Step5 Wipe your baby's buttocks and genitals gently from front to back with baby wipes. Don't forget the lower back and the skin folds of the thighs. (A baby girl might get stools around her labia and vagina, so clean that area gently with baby wipes.)
Step6 Lower your baby's bottom onto the clean diaper.
Step7 Pat the area dry with a towel; cornstarch powder is optional.
Step8 Apply diaper-rash cream to the area if necessary.
Step9 Make sure to pull up the back of the clean diaper high enough to prevent leaks. Position the front of the diaper just under the baby's abdomen.
Step10 Bring the tabs around from the back of the diaper and fasten them to the front.
Step11 Turn diapering into a game of peek-a-boo to distract your baby.

Tips & Warnings

1. Wash your hands before and after all diaper changes, and remember that frequent changes help prevent diaper rash.
2. Never leave your baby unattended on a changing table.
3. Talcum powder or baby powder that contains talc can cause upper respiratory problems in babies. Instead, use cornstarch powder, and apply it carefully to prevent inhalation.
eHow Parenting Editor

Rectal, Ear, Oral, and Axillary Temperature Comparison

To determine whether a fever is present, an accurate body temperature is needed. Medical research has not determined an exact correlation between oral, rectal, ear (tympanic), and armpit (axillary) temperature measurements. Generally, the correlation of temperature results are as follows:

● The average normal
Oral Temperature is 98.6 F. An oral temperature is 0.5°F (0.3°C) to 1°F (0.6°C) lower than a rectal or ear (tympanic) temperature.
● A
Rectal Temperature is 0.5°F (0.3°C) to 1°F (0.6°C) higher than an oral temperature.
● An
Ear (Tympanic) Temperature is 0.5°F (0.3°C) to 1°F (0.6°C) higher than an oral temperature.
● An
Armpit (Axillary) Temperature is usually 0.5°F (0.3°C) to 1°F (0.6°C) lower than an oral temperature.

Rectal temperature guidelines are used in Fever, Age 3 and Younger.
Oral temperature guidelines are used in Fever, Age 4 and Older.

To use the table:

● Find the method that you used to take a temperature.
● Find the correct temperature range.
● See the correlating rectal or oral temperature range to help you answer the Check Your Symptoms questions.
● For example, in Fever, Age 3 and Younger: If your 2-year-old child's oral temperature is 101 F, his or her rectal or ear temperature may be about 102 F. Remember, a child has a fever when his or her temperature is 100.4 F or higher, measured rectally.
● For example, in Fever, Age 4 and Older: If your axillary temperature is 100 F, your oral temperature is about 101 F.

Tips & Warnings

● Rectal temperatures are generally thought to be the most accurate for checking a young child's temperature.
● The manufacturer of the temperature device you use, such as a tympanic thermometer, provides information on how to use it. Be sure to read and follow the instructions to obtain an accurate temperature. The information may also include how the results of the device correlate with the results from other methods of taking a temperature.
● Plastic strip thermometers have some uses, but they are not recommended for general home use. Unlike oral, rectal, and ear thermometers, plastic strip thermometers measure skin temperature, not body temperature. Hold blanket in place with one hand as you tighten each fold as you go. The arms should be tight but the legs can have a little wiggle room.
● When you talk with your health professional about your temperature, be sure to say what method was used to take the temperature.
Jan Nissl, RN, BS (revolutionhealth.com)

What is normal body temperature? What is a fever?

What is normal body temperature?

Most people think of a "normal" body temperature as an oral temperature of 98.6 F. This is an average of normal body temperatures. Your temperature may actually be 1°F (0.6°C) or more above or below 98.6 F. Also, your normal body temperature changes by as much as 1°F (0.6°C) throughout the day, depending on how active you are and the time of day.

A rectal or ear (tympanic membrane) temperature reading is 0.5 to 1°F (0.3 to 0.6°C) higher than an oral temperature reading. A temperature taken in the armpit is 0.5 to 1°F (0.3 to 0.6°C) lower than an oral temperature reading.

What is a fever?

In most adults, an oral temperature above 100 F or a rectal or ear temperature above 101 F is considered a fever. A child has a fever when his or her rectal temperature is 100.4 F or higher.

Types of thermometers:

● Electronic thermometers are plastic and shaped like a pencil, with a display window at one end and the temperature probe at the other end. They work by measuring how well electricity travels through a wire. Electronic thermometers are used in the mouth, rectum, or armpit. They are easy to use, easy to read, and are accurate. If you buy an electronic thermometer, check the package for information about its accuracy. See a picture of an electronic thermometer.

● Ear thermometers are plastic and come in different shapes. They use infrared energy to measure body temperature. The small cone-shaped end of the thermometer is placed in the ear, and body temperature shown on a digital display. The results appear within seconds. Some models also show the corresponding oral and rectal readings. See a picture of an ear thermometer.

● Forehead thermometers use skin temperature to determine body temperature. Some have a soft disc that are pressed against the forehead and show the temperature on a digital display. Other types are thin pieces of plastic with numbers on them. You press the strip against a person’s forehead, and the temperature makes some numbers change colors or light up. These thermometers are not as accurate as electronic and ear thermometers.

● Disposable thermometers are thin flat pieces of plastic with colored dots and temperature markings on one end. The color of the dots shows the temperature. Disposable thermometers can be used in the mouth or rectum. A patch form can be used on a baby's skin to measure temperature continuously for 48 hours. These thermometers are safe and accurate within 0.2°F (0.1°C). They do not contain glass, latex, or mercury. You can reuse the thermometer during an illness and then throw it away.

● Pacifier thermometers are shaped like a baby’s pacifier but have a display that shows the temperature. You place the pacifier in your child’s mouth to measure temperature. These thermometers may take longer to get a reading and are not as accurate as other types.

Tips & Warnings

Glass thermometers containing mercury are no longer recommended. If you have a glass thermometer, contact your local health department for instructions on how to dispose of it safely. If you break a glass thermometer, call your local poison control center immediately.
Maria G. Essig, MS, ELS; Sydney Youngerman-Cole, RN, BSN, RNC (revolutionhealth.com)

Pregnancy - Morning Sickness

Morning sickness, also called nausea gravidarum, nausea, vomiting of pregnancy (emesis gravidarum or NVP), or pregnancy sickness is a condition that affects more than half of all pregnant women, as well as some women who use hormonal contraception or hormone replacement therapy. Usually, it is present in the early hours of the morning and reduces as the day progresses. The nausea can be mild or induce actual vomiting. In extreme cases, vomiting may be severe enough to cause dehydration, weight loss, alkalosis and hypokalemia. This extreme condition is known as hyperemesis gravidarum and occurs in about 1% of all pregnancies. Nausea and vomiting can be one of the first signs of pregnancy and usually begins around the 6th week of pregnancy (week 6 starting on the day the last period started). It can occur at any time of the day, and for most women it seems to stop around the 12th week of pregnancy.


Proximate causes of pregnancy sickness include:

● An increase in the circulating level of the hormone estrogen. Estrogen levels may increase by up to a hundredfold during pregnancy. However, there is no consistent evidence of differences in estrogen levels between women who experience sickness and those who don't.
● Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) due to the placenta draining energy from the mother, though studies have not confirmed this.
● An increase in progesterone relaxes the muscles in the uterus, which prevents early childbirth, but may also relax the stomach and intestines, leading to excess stomach acids and gastroesophageal reflux disease.
● An increase in human chorionic gonadotropin.
● An increase in sensitivity to odors, which overstimulates normal nausea triggers.

Morning sickness as a defense mechanism

Morning sickness is currently understood as an evolved trait that protects the fetus against toxins ingested by the mother. Many plants contain chemical toxins that serve as a deterrent to being eaten. Adult humans, like other animals, have defenses against plant toxins, including extensive arrays of detoxification enzymes manufactured by the liver and the surface tissues of various other organs. In the fetus, these defenses are not yet fully developed, and even small doses of plant toxins that have negligible effects on the adult can be harmful or lethal to the embryo. Pregnancy sickness causes women to experience nausea when exposed to the smell or taste of foods that are likely to contain toxins injurious to the fetus, even though they may be harmless to her.

There is considerable evidence in support of this theory, including:

● Morning sickness is very common among pregnant women, which argues in favor of it being a functional adaptation and against the idea that it is a pathology.
● Fetal vulnerability to toxins peaks at around 3 months, which is also the time of peak susceptibility to morning sickness.
● There is a good correlation between toxin concentrations in foods, and the tastes and odors that cause revulsion.
● Women who have no morning sickness are more likely to miscarry or to bear children with birth defects.

In addition to protecting the fetus, morning sickness may also protect the mother. Pregnant women's immune systems are suppressed during pregnancy, presumably to reduce the chances of rejecting tissues of their own offspring. Because of this, animal products containing parasites and harmful bacteria can be especially dangerous to pregnant women. There is evidence that morning sickness is often triggered by animal products including meat and fish.

If morning sickness is a defense mechanism against the ingestion of toxins, the prescribing of anti-nausea medication to pregnant women may have the undesired side effect of causing birth defects or miscarriages by encouraging harmful dietary choices. On the other hand, many domestic vegetables have been purposely bred to have lower levels of toxins than in the distant past, and so the level of threat to the embryo may not be as high as it was when the defense mechanism first evolved.


Teatments for morning sickness typically aim to lessen the symptoms of nausea, rather than attacking the root cause(s) of the nausea. Treatments include:

● Lemons, particularly the smelling of freshly cut lemons.
● Avoiding an empty stomach.
● Accommodating food cravings and aversions.
● Eating five or six small meals per day, rather than three large ones.
● Eating cabbage.
● Trying the BRAT diet: bananas, rice, applesauce, toast and tea.
● Ginger, in capsules, tea, ginger ale, or ginger snaps.
● Eating dry crackers in the morning.
● Drinking liquids 30 to 45 minutes after eating solid food.
● If liquids are vomited, sucking ice cubes made from water or fruit juice or trying lollipops.
● Vitamin B6 (either pyridoxine or pyridoxamine), often taken in combination with the antihistamine doxylamine (Diclectin).

A doctor may prescribe anti-nausea medications if the expectant mother suffers from dehydration or malnutrition as a result of her morning sickness, a condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum. In the US, Zofran (ondansetron) is the usual drug of choice, though the high cost is prohibitive for some women; in the UK, older drugs with which there is a greater experience of use in pregnancy are preferred, with first choice being promethazine otherwise as second choice metoclopramide, or prochlorperazine.

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