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Posts Tagged ‘Health’

In our home, once upon a bedtime used to mean a simple, pleasant and relatively easy routine  until “bad dreams” became one our little one’s nighttime fears.

Fortunately, the ‘bad dreams’ have all but disappeared with the help of a magic wand and consistent reassurance whenever our toddler is awakened crying and frightened.

Now bedtime has become its own nightmare…procrastination has taken over our once relaxing routine. Our little granddaughter is a master at asking for sips of water, multiple stories, hugs and kisses to name only a few of her requests when the word ‘bedtime’ is spoken.

Before we get totally weary, we have decided to deal with this issue now and without delay.

We are about to pursue some tips from the Sleep Lady. Even though, I also work in the field of child sleep teaching, I admit that I must remain open to suggestions when dealing with issues within my own family.

First off, we will all sit down with our granddaughter to discuss the “new” routine making sure that she knows we will always be nearby….(which is actually a return to our pre-nightmare routine)…however, we will not be rocking her to sleep or reading numerous books…there will be one sip of water…good night hugs, kisses and  tuck in.

These days, naps after morning pre-school are inconsistent, so 8-8:30 pm seems to be an appropriate bedtime  in order to get the recommended ten to eleven hours of sleep for a 3  1/2 year old. She also has  one hour quiet time every afternoon.

Goal: in bed, asleep between 8-8:30 pm.

The Bedtime Routine:

  • go to the toilet
  • bath
  • brush teeth
  • read a story
  • rock for two minutes
  • get into bed
  • sip of water
  • hugs, kisses and tuck in
  • leave the room
  • gate up/door open
  • How does bedtime work for your preschooler?
  • Are you consistent with your child’s bedtime routine?

OR

  • Does a grandparent or other caregiver not follow the routine… are they more easily diverted by your child’s prize winning procrastination abilities?

I have to say that I am the grandparent who, at times  gives in, and Papa can be sometimes equally as bad as I am.

At this time, we are committed to a firmer routine so that all of us can sleep better.

It is the least we can do…

Sleep is just too important.

Related Reading:

Helping Your Toddler Go to Sleep and Stay in Bed | SleepLady.

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NOTEWORTHY WEDNESDAY!

Every now and then I write about SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

It is frightening for parents to even think about this happening but there are American Academy of Pediatrics‘ recommendations to follow to lessen the risk of SIDS .

SIDS is considered by some professionals to be a disease. Here is what  Norman Lewak, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at UCSF …  had to say:

SIDS is a real disease. The “Triple Risk Model for SIDS is described in the Technical Report that accompanies the Policy Statement on-line edition only. Thanks to the work of Hannah Kinney of Boston Childrens, we know that SIDS infants have lesions in the respiratory center of the brainstem. This is the first risk pre-exiting respiratory center lesion. The second risk is the vulnerable developmental age, peaking at 2-4 months, in which CNS respiratory control changes. The third risk is an “environmental trigger“–an environmental event that blocks continued respiratory activity.This trigger appears to many of us to be deep sleep brought on by increased comfort from increased warmth. Prone sleep has been proven to increase warmth. The pacifier effect is most likely caused by an increase in activity, thus a lighter sleep.http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2011/10/12/peds.2011-2284/reply#content-block

Some AAP recommendations to prevent SIDS are:

  • supine sleeping position
  • a firm sleep surface
  • breastfeeding
  • room sharing without bed sharing
  • consider using a pacifier which leads to a lighter sleep
  • avoid soft bedding
  • avoid overheating of the room where baby sleeps
  • avoid exposure tobacco smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs

According to recent information, SIDS  a disease which can be triggered by other environmental factors such as sleeping on soft surfaces, or stomach sleeping. These situations can set off a reaction whereby an infant ceases breathing due to an abnormal increase in his/her CO2 level. SIDS is not “suffocation”.

Every parent-to-be should be given information about SIDS prior to delivery and any questions should be answered by nurses or pediatricians early in the newborn period.

It is easier to follow sleeping guidelines when they are explained and make sense as to why they are important and how they can make a difference in the prevention of SIDS. Of course unfortunately, there are never any guarantees but parents can do their best with the knowledge that they have to prevent a tragedy.

There is so much to being a parent … children are precious… we are their protectors…just as we use car seats to protect them in the car we should protect them when we put them to sleep.

SIDS is down, but back-sleeping is just part of the message – USATODAY.com.

Replies to SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Expansion of Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment.

SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Expansion of Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment.

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/128/5/e1341.full

Related posts:

Safe Sleep for Your Baby

SIDS…Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Sudden Infant Death…Most Common on New Year’s 

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Interesting interview about sleep, parenting and children.

Dr. Lieber shares some key information about babies and sleep. He mentions one of my favorite books on sleep…“Healthy Sleep Habits…Happy Child by Dr. Mark Weisbluth.

I hear more discussions among young moms about how good or how poorly their babies and they are not sleeping.

I love the area of babies and sleep …maybe because as babies, my own children were good sleepers. At the time, I did not know too much  about what makes for a good sleeper…but I was a mom with a routine and I recognized my baby’s sleep cues. Luck was big part!

Since then, I have made good sleep habits and sleep help one of my interests in the care and treatment of babies and children.

Please enjoy this interview from Mamapedia with Dr. Andrew Lieber, M.D.

 My favorite excerpt from the interview:

Dr. Lieber:  “parenting children involves long days but short years” 

via Expert Advice on Babies and Sleep – Mamapedia™ Voices.

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Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle-cell is an inherited disease. It is a blood disease caused by inheriting the gene from both your mother and father. A person is thus born with Sickle-cell disease.

You can be a carrier of the gene and not have the disease. If only one parent has the gene they can pass the gene on to their children. A child who inherits only one gene for Sickle-cell becomes a carrier of the disease but does not have the actual disease.

Sickle-cell is when the red blood cells are misshapen. Rather than round concave, convex smooth shape the red blood cells are in the shape of a sickle or half-moon.

This abnormal cell shape impairs the blood cells’ ability to carry oxygen throughout the body. The abnormally shaped cells can get stuck inside the blood vessels and cause intense pain throughout the body. When our organs such heart, liver, kidneys and our tissue in general does not get adequate oxygen it leads to very intense pain.

Sadly, there is no cure for Sickle-cell disease.

Some of the ways of managing sickle-cell disease:

  • high fluid intake
  • heathly diet
  • folic acid supplements
  • pain medication
  • vaccination and antibiotics for the prevention and treatment of infections
  • Blood transfusions when anemia is severe and life threatening

via WHO | Sickle-cell disease and other haemoglobin disorders.

Here are some things that you also might want to know about Sickle-cell disease:

1. Sickle cell disease is the most common genetic disorder in the United States.  World wide it affects  about 500,00 babies a year, about 100,0oo Americans have sickle cell disease. In the US as many as 2 million people carry the sickle cell gene.

2. Sickle cell disease is chronic but treatable and is not a death sentence. Sickle cell disease is a chronic illness and can be debilitating but with treatment people are living longer into their 40’s and 50’s. Twenty years ago, in many cases children did not live to be adults.

3. Sickle cell disease affects people of many different races.  This is not an African-American disease…it affects other races as well, including Mediterranean, Indian, and Middle Eastern heritage.

4. Patients with sickle cell disease require comprehensive care.   “A lot of day-to-day care can be done by a generalist,” says Dr. George Buchanan, professor of pediatrics at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. “But it is important to have a team of experts who work together and are in ongoing consultation with a large institution or center that specializes in sickle cell disease.”

via Sickle Cell Disease – 5 Things to Know – NYTimes.com.

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NOTEWORTHY WEDNESDAY!

Lately, I have been writing a fair amount about childhood and obesity.

This is a problem that begins early in a child’s life.

Back in the day, there was a saying,“a fat little baby was a healthy baby”. We know so much more today about weight and health to realize how far that statement is from the truth.

I am not suggesting monitoring a baby’s feedings and dietary habits as we would our own adult intake of fat and carbs. But regular visits to the pediatrician during the first year of a child’s life will help track his/her growth and development related to his/her nutritional intake .  Discussions about feeding schedules such as when and what solid foods to introduce  can help parents along the way so that formula or breast milk still remain the major source of nutrition during baby’s first year.

For the first 6 months breast milk or formula is normally the sole nutrition for your child and it remains the major source of nutrition for a child’s first year of life.
Clearly monitoring your child’s growth and development along with your pediatrician will determine whether your child is getting sufficient nutrition.

HealthyChildren.org – Feeding & Nutrition.

I came across an interesting study from the American Academy of Pediatrics of a group of infants and their transition to a variety of foods during their first year.

We found dramatic transitions in dietary consumption that occurred among infants during their first year. The transition from a diet of virtually nothing but breast milk, infant formula, or both to a varied diet of foods from all food groups began for most infants at ∼4 to 5 months of age and continued throughout their first 12 months. Infant cereal was usually the first food other than milk or formula given to infants and remained the most common supplementary food until infants were ∼8 months of age. Fruits and vegetables were introduced at a median age of 5 to 6 months, and meats were introduced at a median age of ∼8 months. By 1 year of age, more than half of the infants were consuming a diet that included not only cereals, fruits, vegetables, meats, and milk products but also foods high in sugar or fat but low in nutrient density.

In this study, we identified several infant feeding practices of concern, including substantial formula supplementation in the hospital, early introduction of solid foods, late introduction of meats, and feeding of high-fat/high-sugar foods to infants. Because of their frequent contact with infants and their parents, clinicians have a unique opportunity to advise new parents about recommended infant feeding practices. By being aware of these infant feeding recommendations and communicating them to parents, clinicians can help start children on the road to a healthy lifestyle.

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/122/Supplement_2/S36.full

Even though I was a Masters educated Maternal and Child nurse when I brought home my first daughter, I did not have a clue as to how to increase her formula beyond the first week of her life. Thankfully, Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami had given me a “mimeographed” booklet about feeding during the first year of a baby’s life. I kept that dogeared booklet very close at hand since I dared not rely on my own mother or extended family…at the time, they seemed as clueless as I was.

During a recent Google search I located an excellent resource for infant feeding from Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, Palo Alto, CA  “Feeding Guide of the First Year”. 

The guide divides the first year into two parts (4 to 8 months) and (9 to 12 months) and then subdivides these ages. It also provides a complete list of food items as well as measured amounts. Baby’s tiny stomach cannot hold that much solid food and breast milk or formula will still be his main source of nutrition.

  • breast milk or formula provides you baby all the nutrients that are needed to grow
  • your any is not physically developed enough to eat solid food from a spoon
  • starting your baby on solid food too early increases the chance that he/she may develop a good allergy
  • feeding your baby solid food too early may lead to overfeeding and being overweight.

The first year of life is a year of unbelievably rapid growth and development…a baby needs the proper nutrition to keep up with all the physical changes that are taking place.

More growth occurs during this period of life than any other time in your child’s life.

Amazing isn’t it?

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THURSDAY, March 1, 2012 MedPage Today — Every infant should begin life with six months of exclusive breastfeeding, followed by another six months or longer with other foods gradually added to the childs diet, according to an updated policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

These statistics are stunning…take a look at the link below:

via Breastfeeding Is Health, Not Lifestyle Choice – Pregnancy 101 – EverydayHealth.com.

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stress busting

Parents and stress…oh my this is such a topic.

Long hours…little recognition for all that parenting entails

No one can really tell you what it will be like…being responsible for a child

And when some one does try…their words may fall on our deaf ears

What it will be like if you decide to have more than one

I always say in my experience when it comes to children 2 was more than double 1

It is an exponential experience

Simply, stress is part of life and parenting

As parents, trying to manage stress is up to us

It is when we manage our stress that we teach our children how to manage theirs

So here are some of my personal suggestions.

  • Breathe…try to concentrate on breathing when things are particularly stressful at a given moment. This practice always helps me gain some composure and control.
  • Sleep…get enough of it…replenish yourself regularly…most of us do not allow ourselves to sleep enough…we consider it a luxury when it is a necessity…come on… we all know this…don’t we?
  • Exercisewalk…park your car farther away from the store…run when you could walk…I’m always surprised at the opportunities I miss to exercise even a little during each day.
  • Eat…when I watch what I eat I feel better…treat yourself once a day to something special…a piece of chocolate or a cup of tea. Take the time to savor whatever it is…eat it mindfully and really enjoy that moment.

Stress will follow us around unless we do battle with it.

I do battle with it every day.

It never gives up and I try not to either.

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NOTEWORTHY WEDNESDAY!

 Children, Obesity, Epidemic

Sadly, these words can all be used together to describe the plight of many youngsters today. Nearly every week there is something significant written about the obesity epidemic. It has even been related to child neglect and abuse with some states wondering if morbidly obese children should be put into foster care.

The goal is primary prevention ….prevention that starts with education of parents and preventing children from becoming overweight as infants and continuing to be overweight in childhood on into adulthood.

It has been found in some studies that a high percentage of parents do not realize that overweight children face the same health risks as overweight adults…high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. All of these medical problems have the potential of shortening a person’s life. For some reason the message and myth that a fat baby is a healthy one is still prominent in the minds of many parents and grandparents. Back in the day this was thought to be a truth that was widely accepted. For many years, it has been scientifically known that this is a false belief.

“Obesity is likely going to limit a person’s life expectancy and increase their future health care costs,” she said. “So for us, it was a realization that we need to help parents better understand that childhood obesity does track into adulthood.”

Both parents and nonparents cited parents as the group with the greatest role in preventing childhood obesity. But parents were more likely than nonparents to endorse an “it takes a village” approach to limiting childhood weight gain. About 81 percent of parents supported requiring healthy food choices in areas with vending machines, compared with 77 percent of nonparents. Likewise, 77 percent of parents supported insurance coverage of obesity treatment, compared with 69 percent of non parents. http://www.livescience.com/15847-parents-childhood-obesity.html

It is my belief that education beginning in the pre-natal period is where prevention has to begin. A healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby is first…then ongoing education and well baby care is the next step.

 http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/la-heb-childhood-obesity-ads-20120103,0,4311598.story

Here’s what the experts found, with recommendations about exercise for children under the age of five:

— Babies and toddlers spend too much time strapped in car seats and buggies. That should be reduced. Get them out more, and make them walk if they are able and move actively.

— Toddlers should be physically active and allowed to move around freely for at least three hours per day.

— Babies should be active from birth, using activity mats, swimming or through active engagement with another personhttp://www.ibtimes.com/articles/178830/20110712/childhood-obesity-tips-exercise-activity-children-under-five-5.html

 We are currently seeing some efforts to educate parents…there is a current controversial Strong4Life campaign in Georgia to combat childhood obesity. Parent advocates are critical of the billboard and statements of obese children saying that this is a campaign based on shaming overweight children and adolescents. It is also blaming parents for not monitoring what their children eat.

Public Service Announcement on Obesity in Kids

The Strong4Life site offers “Learn,” “Ask” and “Get Started” pages for families, featuring information, resources and tips on exercise, nutrition and losing weight.

My feeling is DO “whatever it takes” to prevent the children of today from having a shorter life expectancy than their  parents.

Bring on the billboards…bring on the controversy…and the arguments…tax sugar loaded products…hold fast food companies accountable for providing healthy choices… go ahead and criticize parents for their own eating habits and the way they feed their kids…if  that’s what it will take to prevent this epidemic from spreading to the next generation…just do it.

Concurrently…develop programs to educate parents and kids to make better food choices from the get go …and if a child is in danger of death from obesity complications then unfortunately Family Services will have intervene to supervise the child’s health care. I am not in favor of taking a child from a family unless it is truly a case of child abuse and neglect with determining factors. But uncontrolled obesity in a child may soon be considered abusive and neglectful.

Nelson TF, Stovitz SD, Thomas M, LaVoi NM, Bauer KW, & Neumark-Sztainer D 2011. Do youth sports prevent pediatric obesity? A systematic review and commentary. Current sports medicine reports, 10 6, 360-70 PMID: 2207139710Share2inShare

via Weighty Matters: After School Sports Increase Junk Food and Total Calorie Consumption.

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Child vaccinations

Vaccinations…a dilemma for some parents. Get some more answers from a doctor and a parent in the link below.

via Answers to common vaccine questions.

Here are some of the most common questions I encounter regarding vaccines and my answers.  I’m writing this post, from a parent to a parent, because I want to equip you with accurate information to protect your children.

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NOTEWORTHY WEDNESDAY!

Midwife or Doctor?

Many pregnant women ask this question and the answer is not an easy one.

Let’s face it, we have all heard the ‘horror story’ labor and delivery tales. They are very frightening to the first time mom-to-be. It is a wonder any woman who has heard one of these stories chooses to get pregnant.

As a former labor and delivery nurse I surely have played a role in someone’s birth story…I hope it was one of the nice ones.

If you are planning to have a baby or are currently pregnant you may be considering going to a midwife for your prenatal care. There are a few things you need to consider;

  • Medical health: how is your general medical health and would you be considered high-risk due some underlying medical condition?
  • Approach: what type of approach do you prefer…are you looking for a practitioner that is more holistic in his/her approach?
  • Personal needs:you will need to know your own individual needs and find a practitioner who is respectful of them.
  • Setting:what kind of setting are you hoping for your labor and delivery…would you consider a birthing center or are you more inclined to want a natural delivery with options, such as epidural anesthesia, that are only available in a hospital?
  • Cost factor: what does your insurance cover … does it cover a birthing center delivery with a nurse mid-wife or a trained mid-wife home delivery.

Practitioner qualifications are sometimes confusing as well:

Obstetricians are generally board certified in obstetrics and gynecology…they are trained to deal with pregnancy, labor and delivery and any complications and emergencies that might occur. Physicians are many times waiting for a disaster to occur which is why they are quick to intervene in many cases. It is simply their focus as physicians and surgeons.

CNMs, (Certified Nurse Midwives) many times work alongside physicians…they tend to take more time with their patients; they are more apt to try measures in labor that will help to avoid use of pain medications and other interventions unless absolutely necessary. That is not to say you cannot find a physician that will do these things also.

Direct-entry midwives..they are not nurses but they are licensed and trained to deliver babies. They do home deliveries as do some CNMs.

Life is full of choices. When you are pregnant choosing the right person to take care of you during your pregnancy is extremely important…you need to feel comfortable, confident and secure in their approach and their qualifications to assist you through a healthy pregnancy and a safe delivery.

 How to find a midwife

  • American College of Nurse-Midwives operates a toll-free hotline (888/MIDWIFE) that lists CNMs in your area. For general information, call 202/728-9860; write to 818 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20006; or check out the group’s website at www.midwife.org.
  • Maternity Center Association publishes a booklet, Journey to Parenthood($6), with information on choosing a maternity-care provider. Call 212/777-5000 or Write to 281 Park Ave. South, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10010. Visit the MCA website at www.maternity.org.
  • Midwives Alliance of North America can refer you to direct-entry midwives and CNMs in your area. Call 888/923-6262 or Visit their website atwww.mana.org.
  • National Association of Childbearing Centers can provide a list of birth centers in your area, as well as information on how to select a birth center. Send a $1 donation to 3123 Gottschall Rd., Perkiomenville, PA 18074.

Should You Use a Midwife? – Parenting.com.

Doctor or midwife: Which is right for you? | BabyCenter.

http://www.acog.org/About_ACOG/News_Room/News_Releases/2011/The_American_College_of_Obstetricians_and_Gynecologists_Issues_Opinion_on_Planned_Home_Births

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