A free, monthly newsletter with a roundup of the best the internet has to offer about mom-to-be and baby.

Issue #35

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Spina bifida: Keyhole surgery repairs baby spine in womb


In a UK first, doctors have used keyhole surgery to successfully repair the spine of a baby with spina bifida while it was still inside the womb. Surgeons at King's College Hospital say the procedure is not a cure, but could be the difference between some children learning to walk or not.

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Birth stories – celebrating birth!


A birth story is about the day your life changed forever – the day you became a mother, your partner became a father, your parents became grandparents, your siblings became aunts and uncles. A day you will never forget – it will be forever etched in your memory! A birth story is a story that a mother tells about the events of her child’s birth. Every time a baby is born, a mother has a story to tell – a unique, individual story – some funny, some poignant, some scary, some sad, some uplifting. A birth story is a way of capturing and treasuring those precious moments.

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Skin to skin

New Study: The More you Hug your Kids, the More Their Brains Develop


To borrow a phrase: love works in mysterious ways. We are born to love and, as it turns out, love and affection are necessary for both optimal positive emotional and physical development. And to be honest, nothing feels better than giving your loved one a warm embrace –or being on the receiving end.

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New study proves you really can't hold your baby too much


Science has spoken, save this info to give to great Aunt Mildred next time she hands out unsolicited advice. Most new mums have had someone in their life (let's face it, it's usually an older someone) who has told them that picking up their baby and holding it too much will 'spoil' it. A new study published in Current Biology  says holding and stroking babies relieve stress in babies and can actually have an analgesic effect on babies during otherwise painful medical experiences such as blood tests and vaccination.

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Brought to you by the SACLC

Breastfeeding moms’ milk can transfer life-long protection against infection to their babies


Maternal exposure to infection prior to pregnancy can transfer into life long cellular immunity in infants who are breastfed. Previously, it was generally thought that immunity against illness is passed from mum to baby for only the period they are breastfed and this protection ends when breastfeeding stops. It was also thought that this immunity was transferred by a mother’s proteins such as antibodies that are used by the immune system to neutralize bacteria and viruses.

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Even to the Brain: Yes, Breastmilk Stem Cells Do Transfer to Organs of Offspring


  • Mother’s milk contains stem cells, which are able to cross the gut and migrate into the blood of the nursed offspring.
  • From the blood, they travel to various organs including the brain, where they turn into functioning cells.
  • This breastmilk stem cell transfer from mother to offspring appears to be more than just a random event, potentially contributing important developmental attributes.
  • Future research must concentrate on how this phenomenon can be salvaged medically, for example to help preterm infants survive and develop optimally.

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Is newborn smiling really just a reflex? Research is challenging the textbooks


Very few people can resist smiling at a newborn baby – signalling positive emotions, such as joy and interest. Of course, this is especially true for new parents. One study found that new mothers looked at their 16-hour-old babies 80% of the time and smiled at them 34% of the time. Sometimes newborn babies even smile back, creating a magical moment for the parents that is often ruined by someone pointing out that the smile can’t be real. Even textbooks tend to regard neonatal smiling as a reflex rather than an actual expression of joy and happiness. But is this really the case?

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Where does Dad fit into the picture


Mom is a baby’s anchor – a place of safety. Mom soothes. Dad is different – he smells different, his body feels different and his voice sounds different. To a new-born baby dad represents the whole world. Because novelty is stimulating a dad is responsible for the development of new wiring in baby’s brain. An involved dad is said to increase a child’s IQ and sense of humour, attention span, attitude to learning, while a mom’s love is expected, a child often feels he has to earn his dad’s love.

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Don’t say something you regret out of anger


There once was a little boy who had a very bad temper. His father decided to hand him a bag of nails and said that every time the boy lost his temper, he had to hammer a nail into the fence.

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Five-month-old babies know what’s funny


Before they speak or crawl or walk or achieve many of the other amazing developmental milestones in the first year of life, babies laugh. This simple act makes its debut around the fourth month of life, ushering in a host of social and cognitive opportunities for the infant. Yet despite the universality of this humble response and its remarkable early appearance, infant laughter has not been taken seriously. At least, not until recently. In the past decade, researchers have started to examine what infant laughter can reveal about the youngest minds, whether infants truly understand funniness, and if so, how.

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