All moms wish that their babies were idyllic creatures that latched on immediately, slept for more than three hours at a time, and were comfortable enough to not scream for no reason. Unfortunately, back here in reality, each baby is very different, communicates in their own way, and will display their personality traits from the time that they are just a few days old. However, there is a special kind of baby that really does stand out from the rest, and is known as a high-maintenance baby.

These are the traits to look out for with a high-maintenance infant:

They display intensity

High maintenance babies may behave (especially cry) with an intensity that make even the most confident moms worry. Their methods of communication are intense and demanding – they need immediate attention and command it because they know they’ll get it. All of their activities – from crying to laughing, to feeding, and even the way they clench their little fists all have an urgency to them that shows this inherent intensity.

Very happy baby

 They may appear hyperactive

Hyperactivity is very often a subjective matter, so we’ll clarify by saying that a high maintenance baby will not only express himself in a hyperactive manner, but will leave moms feeling drained – as though he has sapped every last ounce of energy from you with his hyperactive behaviour.

They may feed very often

High-maintenance babies need to keep their energy up to expend it on their intense, often anxious, behaviour, which is why they will want to feed often. Feeding may also be a form of comfort for them, which may also explain their huge appetite. In spite of how frequently they feed, they may also display behaviour indicative of insatiability – with everything.

They may display unpredictable behaviour

Hyperactive and hyper-sensitive (emotionally and otherwise), high maintenance babies are controlled by their need for constant attention, which may also make them unpredictable. These children will keep their moms on their toes.


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We often associate skin conditions with teenagers, especially when their hormones are awry, but eczema is a skin conditions found in babies, teenagers, adults, and even in mature adults. Eczema manifests as patches of skin that are red, dry, and itchy, and can be caused by a number of factors like irritants, dust mites, and allergens to certain foods.


Treating eczema is easier in adults than it is in babies because of how sensitive babies’ skin is. Adults may be able to apply topical creams and cortisone, to take antibiotics for their condition, and try various medicines. Babies, on the other hand, need a variety of less invasive treatment options. Medical aids in South Africa will be able to cover pediatric appointments to properly diagnose your baby’s eczema, but it’s important to try a range of treatment options to see which works the best for your baby.


1. Avoid the obvious skin irritants

There are many skin irritants that could be causing your baby’s eczema – from fabric softener to soaps, bubble bath, lotions, and detergents. Try out hypoallergenic products to see if this has any effect on reducing your baby’s eczema.


2. Try different diet combinations

Eczema may also have a dietary origin. It may take a long process of elimination, but give your child different foods to see whether there’s any correlation with their eczema flare-ups. The foods that may be causing the eczema should subsequently be avoided.


3. Use a good eczema cream

Skin affected by eczema needs to be moisturised and soothed with a topical cream, but make sure that these lotions are fragrance-free, and also free of other irritants.


4. Don’t let your baby get too warm

Sometimes skin that is too hot can break out in eczema, so it’s important to keep your baby cool by dressing him with light, breathable fabrics. Avoid heavy fabrics that may also be scratchy, as this can only exacerbate the irritated skin.

 Speak to your pediatrician about prescribing a baby-friendly medication if your little one is really struggling with this skin condition.

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If you’re pregnant, the one guaranteed change you’ll have to deal with is how your body adapts to the growing baby inside. Different women’s bodies will morph in different ways, but there are four overall pregnant body types. Here are the best ways to dress them; and if you have an affordable medical aid, there’ll be more money available to spend on updating your wardrobe to elegantly show off your baby bump.

1. Big mamma

Even petite women can gain weight all over when they become pregnant. The trick is to lengthen your look with light, flowing fabrics – think chiffon sleeves with an eye-catching neckpiece to draw attention towards a specific point. Dark fabrics will create the slimming effect, as will dark, plain slacks or trousers. De-emphasise any roundness with a long, draping jacket or jersey.

Stylish pregnant women

2. A low package

If your baby is positioned lower on your frame, you may constantly look like you’re about to pop. You can change the illusion of your proportions by wearing a knee-length skirt and extending your legs. A V-neck top will also draw the eye upwards, away from your laid-back passenger. Wear tops that adequately cover your torso and spectacular bump. Long, dark pants will also have the same leg-lengthening effects.

3. A bump to rest your chin on

Some moms carry their precious cargo so high that they may look like an “apple on a stick”. The goal with this wardrobe is to create the illusion of a pinched waist and wider hips to create a curvy effect. Colour blocks in a dress – especially a wrap dress that can be used to create shape – work well to draw the eye to all the right places. Flared pants will also give a more feminine shape to the high carrying mom.

4. Petite and pregnant

The small mom with a baby bump will need to girl-up her boyish figure. This can be achieved with diagonal stripes in a top that’s pinched at the waist. Embellish your look with ruffles, bows, and other tricks up (and on) your sleeves.

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To say that babies require your 100% attention is an understatement. As all moms know, parenting newborns and infants is a full-time job, which is why technology may come in handy when you just need some time to take a nap, have a shower, and regroup so that you can continue to be on-hand for your little one.

baby monitor

 Baby monitors come in a range of shapes and sizes – most of which are two-way radios that provide you with an ear in the nursery in case your child needs your attention. The rise in popularity of smartphones, however, has increased the level of technology available to parents. Nowadays, baby monitors include night-vision cameras that feed directly to your smartphone so that you have both eyes and ears in your baby’s room.


One such baby monitor is the Withings Smart Baby Monitor, which not only offers audio and video tracking of your baby’s activities, but it also monitors the room temperature and humidity and allows two-way communication. The night vision gives you a high-contrast view of your child, no matter how dark the room, and you can link the baby monitor feed to your smartphone and keep an eye on your little one, no matter where you are in the house.

Baby girl with monitor

 Having a baby monitor of this level of technology in the room is no substitute, however, for your presence in the house. At no time should you leave your child unattended, thinking that you’ll have a constant view of her while you “quickly” dash out to the shops. A baby monitor is not a babysitter, but simply a means of letting you see how she’s doing without disturbing her. If you decide to use a high-tech baby monitor, research each product thoroughly before installation to ensure you are getting the right monitor for your needs.

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It’s fairly common for women in their third trimester of pregnancy to experience insomnia, thanks to a whole range of hormone fluctuations as well as body discomfort in the last few weeks before birth. The need to constantly get up to empty your bladder, or the persistent irritation from heartburn, as well as anxiety and leg cramps do little to allow you to sleep peacefully during this late stage.

Is insomnia harmful to you and your baby?

Unless you are chronically tired and still unable to sleep, you’re probably getting enough rest, and this inability to sleep could also just be your body’s way of preparing you for a gruelling post-natal routine. While some people thrive on eight hours or more of sleep, others can do with less. If you’re worried about not getting enough sleep or are feeling particularly fatigued, speak to your doctor and get to the root of the problem.

Pregnant women with insomnia Ways to conquer insomnia

The worst possible approach to not getting enough sleep is to worry about it, which will just keep you awake for longer. If you let go of the anxiety, it will increase your chances of getting some sleep. You can do this by quietly meditating, listening to soothing music, or relaxing in a long, warm bath before getting into bed. Try to keep as much of a persistent sleep routine as possible so that your body can get used to sleeping at a specific time at night and waking at the same time each morning.

self-help for insomnia

Languish over your dinner to reduce the effects of heartburn, and don’t drink tea or coffee for at least a few hours before bedtime. If you have trouble sleeping, rather opt for a warm glass of milk than juices or other sugar-drenched stimulants, and try to take in your last fluids early in the evening to avoid having to get up to go to the bathroom at all hours. Make sure that your bedroom temperature is comfortable and sleep with a pregnancy body pillow to ensure that your body is properly supported for a good night’s rest.

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In spite of all the child-targeted marketing, there are quite a number of foods that are not good for kids at all! We list some of them here, and recommend some healthy alternatives.

 Breakfast cereals

Many cereals aimed at kids are essentially sugar-bombs that your children get excited about eating in the mornings (especially if they can find a toy inside the box). Check the nutritional table on the box – if the word “sugar” appears close to the top of the ingredients list, you may as well be feeding your child a chocolate bar before school. Cereals should contain more than 3 grams of protein per serving and be high in fibre. A healthy alternative would be a warm bowl of oats, or fruit and nuts with low-fat yoghurt.

 Polony, hot dog meats, and chicken nuggets

Processed meats contain low quality animal products that have been cleaned at high heat and have had loads of sodium, preservatives, and colourants added to them. These processed meats contain nitrites and saturated fats which are incredibly bad for you – why would you feed them to your kids? Chicken nuggets are another culprit (for the same reasons) and because they’re deep fried in unhealthy oils. A healthy alternative would be to season and grill some chicken breasts and make your own chicken strips, serving them up with guacamole, chilli sauce, or chutney.

Hot dog

 Sweets and pastries

While kids love colourful lollipops and gummy sweets, as well as the decadence of jam-filled pastries, these treats will encourage your children’s bodies to constantly crave sugar (which will lead to bad habits later in life) and can cause unnecessary visits to the dentist. Frozen yoghurt ice cubes (made from low-fat yoghurt), fruit pops (with no extra sugar), or even delicious fresh fruit should be offered as alternatives. The natural fruit sugars will satisfy kids’ desires for something sweet, without the harmful side effects (including weight gain) from refined, processed sugars.


Kids usually learn by example, so ensure that your own lifestyle reflects the kind of healthy eating and healthy living you want for your children.

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Spina bifida is quite a serious neural tube defect, which can be first detected in unborn babies through a series of blood tests, ultrasound, and amniocentesis. This birth defect is characterised by a lack of development in the neural tube (the embryonic structure that eventually becomes the brain, spinal cord, and enclosing tissues), which can result in three levels of severity: spina bifida occulta (mild, with no serious symptoms), meningocele (nerves remain covered, but the membranes around them appear on the outside of the skin; can be corrected with surgery after birth), and myelomeningocele (the spinal canal remains open and uncovered with some of the spinal cord and nerves protruding at birth).

How is spina bifida treated?

Depending on how severe the spina bifida is, there are various treatment options available – from drug prescriptions, to surgery (either when the baby is still in utero, or very shortly after birth), caesarean birth, as well as ongoing care – sometimes lifelong. Each case of spina bifida will be diagnosed based on individual factors, which will also determine the treatment plan, based on the specific causes.


Causes of spina bifida

It’s unclear what exactly causes spina bifida, but doctors have determined both genetic and environmental causes. The risk factors for this birth defect include race (white and Hispanic babies are more prone to developing spina bifida); a family history of neural tube defects; some anti-seizure medications, which have the ability to limit folic acid absorption by the foetus; as well as folic acid (vitamin B9) deficiency, especially before and in the first month of pregnancy. Women with diabetes who are also overweight increase the risks of spina bifida in their babies, as well as women with high body temperature.

Since it’s sometimes impossible to tell whether a woman will deliver a perfectly healthy baby or a child with any number of birth defects, it helps to be covered by an affordable medical aid long before you even think of starting a family.

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Women need to take extra special care of themselves, especially when they’re pregnant. Medical aids in South Africa do provide pediatric cover, but it’s moms’ responsibility first to ensure that they do as much as possible to have healthy pregnancies and deliver healthy babies. One common health disturbance that can have devastating effects babies is sleep apnoea, especially in obese women.

What is sleep apnoea?
Imagine being fast asleep and you suddenly stop breathing – that’s sleep apnoea. The cessation can be caused by airways that are blocked, especially when body weight bears down on those airways. Sleep apnoea is very common in obese patients. It can cause oxygen deprivation to the blood and brain, which is not only dangerous for pregnant moms, but also for unborn babies who rely on their mothers for nutrients and oxygen.

Sleep Apnoea

Sleep apnoea, obesity, and pregnancy
Not only does obesity cause a whole range of health problems (especially for pregnant women), but the sleep apnoea correlates with many other complications such as hypertension, diabetes, and circulation issues. In a study performed on 175 obese pregnant women, 42% of the women who experienced sleep apnoea and other sleep disturbances also developed pre-eclampsia; with 65% of the obese moms needing to deliver via C-section. These numbers were more than 50% higher than the mothers who didn’t suffer from sleep apnoea.

With such a close correlation, it’s important that obese mothers-to-be receive the right screenings for pregnancy complications so that the appropriate treatment can be administered early. It’s also important that doctors work together with their obese patients to tackle their obesity, which will lower their risk of other complications and ensure a much healthier pregnancy for both them and their babies.

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Babies reach their developmental milestones at different times. One of the more constant milestones is when your baby should start eating solid foods. The World Health Organisation recommends that six months of age is the average earliest time at which to start on the solids. Why is that so?

 baby eating solids

By the age of six months, your baby’s digestive system would have had time to adjust to doing its job, as would her immune system. Waiting until six months before you start her on solids is a much safer option than feeding her solids before six months, and her digestive system will be more mature and able to handle the density of the food. Also, when her immune system has built up some strength and is more able to fight off infections, your baby is less likely to have an adverse reaction to foods, especially foods like dairy, wheat, citrus, eggs, and fish.


If you and your baby are on an affordable medical aid, it would be worthwhile to take her to a paediatrician – one that specialises in infant nutrition – especially if she’s already starting to show that she’s ready for solids. She may be displaying signs like still being hungry right after feeding, or perhaps her weight gain has begun to slow down, or she’s putting toys and other objects in her mouth.


If your baby was born prematurely or is reaching her other milestones at times that don’t seem in line with your expectations, she may also wean off breast-milk earlier than the six-month mark. If you are unsure of what to do, don’t hesitate to get in contact with your GP or your child’s doctor for the best advice.

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There are a few great medical aids in South Africa that encourage their members to maintain a healthy, fit lifestyle in order to live better lives and also reap the benefits from their medical aids. For many people, it’s easy to decide on a fitness plan and start working on their physical health straight away, but if you’re pregnant, you need to pay careful attention to these dos and don’ts when considering exercising during your pregnancy:

 exercising moms to be

If you maintained a relatively good level of physical fitness before your pregnancy, you can expect to continue exercising while pregnant, although it’s advisable to bring the level of strenuous exercises down a few notches. However, it’s IMPERATIVE that you see your doctor or gynaecologist and get the A-okay from them before you start or continue with any exercise programmes. This is the ONLY “do” for exercising while pregnant: DO consult your doctor first!

 pregnant women workout

DON’T exercise while pregnant if:

  • you have an existing heart condition or a risk for pulmonary hypertension and other circulation issues
  • you are prone to suffer from lung problems associated with asthma or bronchitis
  • you are at risk for cervical cerclage (an incompetent cervix)
  • you are expecting twins or triplets, or have another risk for premature labour
  • you are experiencing bleeding in the second and third trimesters
  • you’ve had premature labour
  • you have pregnancy-induced high blood pressure
  • you have very low iron levels
  • you have Type 1 diabetes
  • you are morbidly obese or extremely underweight
  • your usual lifestyle has been very sedentary


There are a range of other conditions that will limit you to not exercising during your pregnancy, so we cannot emphasise it enough: check with your doctor and get the all-clear before you do any exercise. In the meantime, eat healthily and keep yourself well hydrated!


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