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Health & Safety ’ Category
Tuesday, March 18th, 2014
Each month in Parents, we print the 27 funniest, truest words about parenting from our favorite bloggers. Our March issue features a quote from mom-of-two Julie Brasington at Happy Home Fairy. Read her full blog post below.
It seems that I have children who are sick 96% of the time.
Am I not cleaning my house enough? Is it because it’s the Happy Baby’s first year in Day Care? Should I be washing their hands more? Is it because I don’t give them tablespoons of honey and fresh squeezed orange juice every morning?
Or maybe they’re just kids.
But let me tell you. Each time one of my kids get sick, I come at it with clenched teeth and (not going to lie) feeling a little bit ticked off.
I mean, I knew that being a mom was no easy gig, but I sincerely never thought that the Nose Frida was going to end up being “the greatest” gift I ever received from our baby registry.
These days I find myself wanting to tell all the starry-eyed moms-to-be to take a good long look at their piles of super cute new baby outfits and adorable matchy matchy crib linens and just imagine everything covered in diarrhea.
BAM. Expectations adjusted.
But whenever I finally realize the negative behaviors in myself that need to be pruned out (ie. getting ticked off and sulky with God when the stomach bug moves in for 2 long, messy weeks), I take some time to ask the Lord for His opinion on the matter.
Check this out …
“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own,’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life — the life God is sending one day by day.” – C.S. Lewis (quote found in this encouraging post)
Do I believe that God authors every aspect of my life?
Then instead of constantly fighting God on the unpleasant aspects of mothering (say, fevers and barfs), I would like to learn to quietly accept them, trusting that He knows what He is doing. He is sending them and bringing them for my good.
For my sanctification, even.
So, as we enter flu season, here are some of the “good” things (and a few hopefully helpful tips) He is showing me in between the interruptions Kleenex boxes.
Just after Valentine’s Day this year, the Happy Buddy got strep throat. I needed to get some medicine for him, so I ran to the drugstore. I happened to hit their after-holiday sale just right and found a huge stuffed bear for only a couple of bucks. I knew that having to give the Happy Buddy 10 days of meds was going to be A-W-F-U-L so I thought bringing him a little comfort might help. I snatched the bear up and on the way home decided to name him Sick Bear. He loved it so much that now, whenever anyone gets sick, he comes out of his home in the closet for snuggles and intense strangling while medication is being administered hugs until they get better. Then Sick Bear gets a superior deep cleaning and goes back in the closet (I think the longest Sick Bear has ever stayed in his closet has been about 12 days).
Make a Couch Bed
When I was a little girl and got sick, my mom would transform the couch into a bed. She’d take fresh, crisp sheets and tuck them in nice and tight. We’d bring down my bed pillows and stuffed animals and I’d curl up on the couch to watch as much Saved By the Bell, Full House, and Mickey Mouse Club TV as I could possibly handle. She’d make me toast cut in triangles and serve it to me on a TV tray. I felt like a queen! I now do this for the Happy Buddy and he is more than thrilled at the chance to take up residence in front of the tube. Who knew that endless episodes of Pocoyo could be so therapeutic?
The Magic of the Cool Washcloth
Best thing ever when I was younger and had fevers. I still remember the smell of the clean wash towel and the feel of it on my head when my mom would rest it there. I loved flipping it over in 5 minute intervals to feel the coolness of the new side. My boys love it, too.
I wish I was that person that brewed homemade herbal teas to bring down fevers and strained garlic or whatever to heal ear infections. But I am just not there yet – although I am open to learning. I definitely don’t want to be unwisely pumping meds into my kid every time they get a runny nose, but sometimes medicine is the answer. You have to do antibiotics? No sweat. Pick up a probiotic along with it and call it a day (or 10 days). Plus, I think that giving our kids medicine can be a great way for us to learn more about God. I don’t know about you, but my highly sensory child is incredibly disgusted by the taste of most medicines. If we can’t find it in a bland form or mix it with something he does like, then often we must do whatever means we can think of to get him what his body needs. Even if that means we have to gently pin his poor, sweet arms down and shoot it in with a syringe. Sometimes we don’t like the taste of something God has brought our way, but He, as a loving Father, gives it because He knows it will bring about our ultimate healing …
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison…” 2 Corinthians 4:17
Bring Comfort to Another
Because we do sick so much over here, I have grown quite attentive to the needs of my friends when their children are sick. I once brought a simple meal to one of my BFFs who had 2 sick babies AND she, herself, was sick. We’re talking rotisserie chicken, frozen sweet potato fries and a bag of organic microwaveable broccoli kind of meal. It wasn’t much, but she had been so busy wiping noses that she had not made it to the store for food in days, so to her, it was practically manna from heaven. You could also Ding-Dong-Ditch a basket containing a new DVD, some popsicles, hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, tissues, etc. to bring a much-needed spot of hope to a friend with sick kids.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
We know the Happy Buddy is getting sick when his normally strong-willed, busy self becomes a little sweeter, a bit less active, and a lot more attached. I get the chance to actually hold my “baby” for longer than a millisecond and bring him the kind of comfort only I, as his mama, can bring. Isn’t it funny how, for many of us, we want our mommies when we get sick? Even though I know the Happy Hubby loves me so much and would do almost anything for me, he will not stand at the toilet holding my hair back and stroking my head gently while I puke like my mom used to do. Instead, if he hears me hurling, he will toss a hair tie into the bathroom before fleeing the scene like an escaped prisoner! So, cherish those extra sick hugs, sweet mommies. Try not to rush off too quickly to get back to Clorox-ing absolutely everything in the house because when he’s away at college and catches the flu, you’re going to be the one he speed dials at 2 am simply because he wants to hear your voice.
“The person who rests in the shadow of the Most High God will be kept safe by the Mighty One, I will say about the Lord, “He is my place of safety… I trust in Him…” Psalm 91:1-2
Share Jesus with the Doctor’s Office
The Happy Baby had the stomach flu last month and it got really bad on a Saturday (of course). Fortunately our doctor’s office is open on the weekend, but unfortunately everyone else in the county had also come down with the stomach flu. We ended up having to wait for almost 2 hours! The people around us were cranky and complaining and putting pressure on the nurses to speed things up. These are perfect opportunities to be the LIGHT in the room, my friends. Extend grace and kindness and patience to the hard working men and women behind the counter. If you can, think in advance and bring them a little treat. We once brought Hershey’s Kisses to all the nurses (wrapped in 3 germ-free layers of plastic wrap and Ziploc bag). It got our minds off our physical problems and gave us a chance to have a little fun and also be a blessing.
“A joyful heart is good medicine …” Proverbs 17:22
Step Up the Prayers
When things are easy, we can easily fall into the trap of not recognizing our need for God and therefore not spend as much time in His presence. When my kids are sick, though, I find myself pressing in deeper, memorizing Scripture verses, reading the Word, and praying A LOT. I’ll hold my babies and whisper words of comfort in their ears. Prayers for healing. Prayers that speak of the unchanging attributes of our Lord. Prayers offering the hope of a place where we will be one day that does not have the Chicken Pox or Rotavirus. And as I practice this, I realize that it ends up being more for me than for my children because I am drawn closer to my Savior. I am reminded of His goodness, the greater purpose, the taste of His strength (as opposed to my own), and His presence in the midst of darkness.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4
Another Opportunity to Surrender
Does anyone else struggle to remember on a daily basis that our kids are not our own? They belong to God. Period. So when they get sick we cannot react by tightening our grip and stressing out. Sickness is beyond our control. Instead, it is a chance to hold our babies out before the Lord – like Abraham did with Isaac, like Moses’ mom did before she put him in the basket, like Hannah did when she brought freshly weaned Samuel to the temple, like Mary did with Jesus – and receive His peace for their future and for ours.
“And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39
Your Child Gets to See What a Servant Looks Like
Mommies, our homes are places where our children get to experience Jesus, firsthand. There is no better time to share the tender and unfailing and perfect example of Christ then when you have a little one in need. I used to walk around all tangled up in a ball of anxiety and frustration when my kids got sick. I was tense and fearful and in a hurry to see them get better. I’d grumble and complain about everything that got barf or poo on it and I’d fuss about having to miss church or work or the ruining of a “fun” family vacation. And God forbid one child get the other child sick too!
After the 157th illness, however, I feel like I am finally learning to let go. I am finally learning what it means to truly serve – as Jesus did. Instead of staring at them with a giant burden in my spirit, I am starting to joyfully ask my sick babies, “What can I do for you?” and “Is there anything you need, my darling?” because I believe this is what our Savior humbly modeled for us. He knelt on hands and knees to wash the dirty, nasty feet of his beloved friends. He laid gentle hands on ill children. He had compassion on the great crowds and healed their sick.
But more important, He died on the cross to cure the most awful, wide-spread, debilitating sickness of all …
So, the next time you hear that first sniffle or get the middle of the night vomit-covered-bedroom call, we, as moms, can find purpose, joy, and strength in our hands and knees scrubbing of snot and yak, knowing that, in a way, He did it too.
“But He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed…” Isaiah 53:5
Find the right pediatrician for your little one or shop cool baby gear.
Image courtesy of Julie Brasington.
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Friday, March 14th, 2014
Finding time to work out can be tough for any mom, even supermodel Miranda Kerr, mom to 3-year-old Flynn. Just recently, the Australian beauty teamed up with brands like H&M and Wonderbra and squeezed in time to make this steamy commercial for Reebok’s new Skyscape collection, a line of sneakers inspired by (get this!) the same molded foam you find in bras. Parents caught up with the self-proclaimed yogi at the shoes’ launch party this week in New York City, and she had a lot to say on staying fit while raising a strapping toddler.
P: From a mom’s perspective, what appeals to you most about Reebok’s Skyscape shoes?
M: What I like is that they are just so lightweight, which makes them great to walk around the city and take my son to the park. Because I have to be in high heels a lot, it’s great for me to have a shoe that I feel really comfortable in and can also wear with jeans. They are really fashionable at the same time; I love all the colors, especially the pink! And the 3D foam technology makes them so cozy.
P: Being that you’re so into fitness, how does that influence the kinds of activities you do with Flynn?
M: Ever since he was a baby, he’s been there when I do Yoga and Pilates at home. Now he jumps on me when I’m trying to do Yoga and Pilates–that makes it more intense! And I do squats and lunges with him, especially when he was even younger. I’m always like, “Come on Flynn, do it!” I try to find fun ways to encourage him to be active. We go to the park together and run around, but then at home we turn the music on and we jump on the trampoline together. He loves it, and it’s very healthy for him. He also helps me make my smoothies. Just the other day he said, “Mommy, they’re full of antioxidants.” He’s like a little sponge soaking up everything I say!
P: What else do you do together?
M: I love reading stories to him. He still likes Goodnight Moon and The Jungle Book. When he was really little he used to love Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? I actually took him to the opera at Lincoln Center, and we got a couple of books there we’ve been reading as well. And I let him draw in the books, so it’s more fun. It’s a really good way for him to express his creativity. I like it when he draws in a book because it’s like a good little memory as well for me when he grows up.
P: For busy moms, what advice do you have for fitting exercise more into their routine?
M: Do things that make it fun and be as active as you can be. Take just 15 to 20 minutes to turn the music on and dance around with your child or go chase him around in the park. Give yourself that time and don’t feel like it’s not enough. Every little bit helps. Even little exercises if you’re in the car on your way to work or traveling on a train or airplane, you can flex and tone different parts of your muscles, like your legs and calves, just by clenching them. I feel like when you’re a parent you’re multitasking a lot, so this is a good way to work out your body in between.
For all you brand-new moms out there, here are some tips for post-pregnancy exercise!
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celebrities, GoodyBlog, Health & Safety
Thursday, March 13th, 2014
Cold and flu season is almost behind us. Though your days of runny noses and coughs may soon be over, another illness is proving to be a more serious hazard for young ones. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns America is experiencing one of the largest outbreaks of reported pertussis cases in 50 years. That’s an even bigger deal for infants who are much more susceptible to the disease; they can’t get vaccinated until 2 months of age.
As mom to 4-year-old Charlotte and 17-month old Rocky, actress Sarah Michelle Gellar, 36, was blown away when she learned how easily the disease can spread. Because newborns can’t get vaccinated right away, it’s still a must for adults who plan to be around an infant; the vaccine you got as a child has likely worn off. Parents caught up with the Sounds of Pertussis campaign ambassador to get her take on the disease as well as her tips for raising a healthy and active family.
P: What makes you so passionate about this health issue?
S: Once you become a parent, your main job is to protect your children in any way possible. When I first had Charlotte, whooping cough was something most of my friends thought had been eradicated. People aren’t aware that 80 percent of the time when you link back to how an infant gets the disease, it comes from a family member or direct caregiver. That’s the scariest thought. Our job is to protect them, and if it’s something as simple as getting a vaccination, that’s something everyone needs to know.
P: What can moms say to convince family and friends to get vaccinated?
S: It’s about making the information understandable. The way I liken it is if someone has a cold usually they will try to stay away from your baby so he doesn’t get sick. So why would you potentially expose a child to something that’s even more fatal, like pertussis? When you put it in those simple terms, how can anyone who loves a child say no? When the information is coming from someone you trust, it’s a very easy decision.
P: It can be stressful when your kids don’t feel well. How do you handle Charlotte or Rocky getting sick?
S: There’s no question that the very first time your child gets that stuffy nose and cold, it completely freaks you out. You have so much guilt because you can’t explain it to them. I think sometimes first-time parents have this thing of, “I don’t want to bother the doctor and be that annoying parent.” But if you have a question, you need to ask it. As you have more children and become an experienced parent, you sort of get to the point with the colds where you’re like, “If it’s not severe, you’re going to school.”
P: You’re a very active person. How do you encourage your kids to keep fit as well?
S: The beauty of children is that everything is interesting to them. The more you involve them in whatever activity it is you’re doing, they just love to be part of your life. I let my daughter go walking with me and our dog Bella outside. And there’s still so many fun activities you can do for children exercise-wise in inclement weather. My daughter practices Yoga and Jiu-Jitsu. It’s about taking the time to listen to your child and find what interests her. Whatever those things are that appeal to children and get their minds flowing, that can help keep them healthy and active.
P: How do you motivate Charlotte and Rocky to eat healthy?
S: Including children in the actual preparation of food is a big thing. We started Charlotte in cooking classes at about 3, and seeing what goes into it gave her a new appreciation for vegetables. Whether you’re growing produce in your backyard or taking a trip to your local farmer’s market, seeing those different aspects can get children excited to eat better. And anything you can do to give a young child ownership and help him feel independent, that’s what you ultimately want. Even if it’s as simple as letting Rocky sprinkle cheese on eggs or a pizza. You just see his face light up.
P: What else can moms do to teach their children the importance of good health?
S: It ultimately comes down to explaining at a young age what healthy living means, teaching a child what germs are and how easily they are transmitted or how to wash his hands correctly. Those very simple things can really stop the spread, not just for your own family but for your friends and everyone else your child comes into contact with.
Whether you’ve had the vaccine or not, visit the campaign’s Breathing Room Facebook app to help spread the word about pertussis. There, you can create a virtual room for your Baby and invite family and friends to join you in the fight for protection. Every little step counts!
In the meantime, watch this short video to learn what whooping cough sounds like.
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Monday, March 10th, 2014
Watch this quick video tutorial called “How Safe is Your Sleeping Baby” by Mindy Walker, Executive Editor of American Baby magazine. It aired on Fox & Friends this weekend.
In case you missed it, American Baby did a poll with Safe Kids Worldwide and discovered that an astounding 73 percent of parents put something in the crib with their baby, often a potential suffocation hazard. A blanket was most common (59 percent), followed by bumpers (35 percent), stuffed animals (23 percent), and pillows (8 percent). Our message: Keep the crib bare! A crib mattress with a fitted sheet is all a baby under 1 needs.
If you want to buy a bedding set that gives your nursery a theme, we like Skip-Hop’s Complete Sheet Set, which for $99 gives you a sheet, crib skirt, wall decals, and a blanket to use for tummy-time. (We know it’s tempting to put that blanket in the crib, but please keep it out!) Instead of a blanket, try a SleepSack like the one from Halo we featured on the segment.
Another sticky issue is cosleeping. Bedsharing is common; a full 65 percent of parents in our poll said they do it and 38 percent said they share the bed with baby regularly. But as Walker points out, just as we’ve gotten used to keeping our infants in a rear-facing car seat for their own safety, so must we get used to having them in their own safe sleep spot. Did you know that in 2010 (the lastest statistics available), 59 children younger than 1 died in a car crash but 3,610 children under age 1 died of sudden unexpected infant death? In about half of those SUID cases, the baby was in an adult bed.
We applaud Delta Children for helping educate consumers about safe sleep and for manufacturing safe, affordable cribs; the one in our segment, above, is Delta’s Waves 3-in-1 Crib and only $129.
We’re also on a crusade to stop the mixed messages that new parents get when they see, for instance, a crib filled with a bumper and stuffed animals but then are told to keep those very things out of the crib. Enough with that! We are working to populate Parents.com with only pictures of safe sleep environments. (At least in our editorial…the ads are harder to control!) Is your baby in one? If so, email a pic to email@example.com and we’ll consider it for our site. You can also tag us on Instagram @americanbabymagazine using #mysafecrib and we’ll take a look. We’re all in this together; let’s work to get all babies through the night safe and sound.
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Friday, February 14th, 2014
Does your child wet the bed? If so, she’s not alone: Bedwetting happens to as many as one in every six kids from age four through twelve. So you’re not the only parent dealing with middle-of-the-night cleanup of sheets, jammies, and child, or with comforting a distressed and embarrassed little one. Get all the facts on bedwetting, and easy solutions to the problem, in this handy infographic sponsored by Goodnites.
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Tuesday, January 14th, 2014
It’s scary to think of all the harsh chemicals we ingest daily during harmless activities. Until recently, I didn’t even know that the shampoos, soaps, and cosmetics I was using contained ingredients that were actually dangerous for my health. Many moms are deciding not to take their chances and are instead switching to products made with natural, organic, and easy-to-pronounce ingredients for themselves and their little ones.
Gregg Renfrew, founder of Beautycounter, is one of these moms. After noticing a lack of safe yet stylish products on the market, Renfrew created the body and skin care line, which launched last spring. Renfrew’s Beautycounter products, such as the Everyday Shampoo and Conditioner, are vegan, gluten-free, and made without harmful petrochemicals. Bonus: they come in sleek, sophisticated packaging so you can feel good about replacing some of your old favorites on your vanity.
Of course, parents and their children appreciate different styles and tastes, so with that in mind, Renfrew has decided to extend Beautycounter to create Kidscounter. The line, which launched with its Bath Collection in November, is made with the same healthy goal in mind but with a kid-friendlier approach. The first three products of the kids’ line are the colorful and fruit-scented Nice Do Shampoo, Not a Knot Conditioner, and Squeaky Clean Body Wash, retailing for $16 each.
All of the Beautycounter and Kidscounter products are available for purchase at beautycounter.com or through a local Beautycounter consultant.
Image courtesy of Beautycounter
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Wednesday, January 8th, 2014
The interwebs are abuzz with the Mimo, a baby bodysuit with a sensor attached that allows parents to track their child’s temperature, breathing, position, and so on from their smartphone. I saw it at a trade show last September and dismissed it, because 1) it’s creepy to have a sensor attached to your baby outside of an obvious medical situation 2) it’s $200! for the starter kit and 3) new parents need to sleep when their baby sleeps, not track each breath on their smart phone.
But the Consumer Electronics Show and one Today Show segment later, everyone is excited about how this will change the baby-monitoring world, and maybe it will. After all, a good video baby monitor costs about $200 (or more). And traditional baby monitors often have cords, which are a safety hazard, so maybe having the sensor stuck right on the baby’s outfit is best. The bodysuit is machine-washable, Mimo promises, and presumably can take the spit up/vomit/explosive diaper happenings that come with a baby.
On the flip side, my brother and his wife are using a nap app, Sprout’s Baby Sleep Tracker, with my niece right now, and I am unsure if it is making them more relaxed parents or making them feel like scientists studying data. Presuming you put your baby in a safe sleep environment, does it matter to have a graph showing whether the last nap was 20 minutes or 40? I look at the bar graphs that the Mimo produces and I start to get agitated. A friend with a newborn posted to Facebook, in regards to Mimo, “Oh yeah. This won’t give me a nervous breakdown.”
Like most things in the baby world, whether or not you “need” something like the Mimo will come down to your personality and lifestyle. Does a flood of information calm you down, or key you up? Do you love tech, and consider yourself an early adopter? Or are you happier doing things the low-tech way? There is no right or wrong answer. Different strokes for different folks.
We are huge safe-sleep proponents here and do like that the Mimo promotes back sleep and teaches parents to watch things such as temperature (overbundling your baby, daytime or nighttime, polar-vortex or no, is a SIDS risk). Here’s a video with some more safe-sleep reminders. And what do you think, would you buy the Mimo?
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Monday, December 23rd, 2013
** Guest-edited by Kristen Kemp, yoga instructor
My last baby popped out 6 years ago, but I vividly remember the feeling that everything—my strength, energy, muscle tone and stamina—had been completely zapped. Where I was once able to run two miles up and down steep hills for exercise, all of a sudden, walking up and down the stairs to the laundry room was as strenuous as running a marathon. I reassured my latest yoga student—her adorable baby is 6 weeks old—to start slowly and steadily. All of our muscles remember what they used to do and luckily, our minds are even stronger than our bodies. We can think ourselves back into fitness.
I learned all of this at the amazing Yoga Journal Conference I attended in November. For yoga geeks, it was a dream come true. I spent two days in an intensive anatomy workshop with the brilliant celebrity teacher Jason Crandell. He taught me about muscles and bones—and how to make them strong. Another famous yogi, Kathryn Budig, taught arm balances (these are post-post natal moves you’ll love working up to). I did some crazy 8-point pose (see photo) where my arms were bent and my legs were parallel in the air about a foot off the ground. I thought, ‘I’ve come a long, long way since my kids were born.” I was so proud of myself. As Kathryn had said earlier, “getting stronger is amazing and empowering.”
For the holidays and New Year, I, of course, recommend yoga. In the wise words of the great teacher and sage Cyndi Lee, sometimes you have to put you first. “Take care of yourself so you can be a better mom, business partner, whatever. You can take better care of other people when you take care of yourself first. Only then will you have a little extra to give.”
If you’re interested, the next Yoga Journal Live conference is in San Fran on January 16 through 20. I’ll be at the YJ Live in New York City in April. Message me if you’ll be there, and we can meet up. I’ll definitely post new-mom moves I get from there, so stay tuned.
So go ahead and get started now. I’ve posted one of my favorite beginner videos by Jason. He’s a super-safe and inspiring teacher who offers this cool and relaxing 15-minute beginner yoga sequence. I’m taking this to my postnatal client on Friday.
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