It may be cold and dreary outside now, but springy Mother’s Day is right around the corner. Since it’s never too soon to start making your wish-list (and dropping hints), we want to know what really makes the day special for you.
Moms, this is your chance to weigh-in (Dads, take note)! Vote in our poll below, and check out the final results in our May issue.
Yesterday we brought you flu advice for kids, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Today, we’re focusing on what pregnant women need to know, thanks to the March of Dimes. This post was written by Siobhan Dolan, M.D., M.P.H. Dr. Dolan is the author of the upcomingHealthy Mom, Healthy Baby: The Ultimate Pregnancy Guide, to be published on January 29 by HarperOne.
Flu is back in the headlines again. Epidemics, Emergencies, Shortages ……… the publicity can scare folks, especially pregnant women. Flu is taking its toll in 2013 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting widespread illness reported in 47 states and 20 pediatric deaths.
The concerns for pregnant women are real: Flu increases their risk for respiratory complications, preterm labor and delivery, and ICU admission. Newborns are also at an increased risk of severe illness and even death from the flu.
But the message for pregnant women is really clear: Prevention with a flu shot and early treatment of women with influenza-like illness is the best course of action. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), March of Dimes, and CDC all endorse this message, so women should not feel uncertain.
The March of Dimes web site has practical information for women here.
The Immunization for Women website from ACOG reinforces the message:
“All women who will be pregnant during influenza (flu) season (October through May) should receive the inactivated influenza vaccine. The live attenuated influenza vaccine is contraindicated for pregnant women. The influenza vaccine is safe for pregnant women and their unborn children as well as postpartum and breast feeding women and can be given during any trimester. Immunizing pregnant and postpartum women against seasonal influenza can protect the mother and may help her baby by preventing the spread of the flu from mother to child following delivery. The seasonal flu vaccine has been given safely to millions of pregnant women over the past 45 years.”
Women are listening, with 47 percent of pregnant women surveyed by CDC in early 2012 reporting getting their flu shot, up from less than 30 percent four years ago.
So go get your flu shot. And tell your pregnant sister-in-law or co-worker to get hers, too. Let’s help keep pregnant women and newborns out of the headlines by spreading the word.
Last week’s tragedy left so many of us drowning in sorrow and feeling helpless to do much about it. What on earth could we do to make things better, when confronted with such an overwhelmingly sad event? It’s not like Hurricane Sandy, when you could pitch in to help a neighbor clean out their home, or donate toward helping those who lost so much rebuild. There’s nothing we can do to help the families affected in Sandy Hook get back what was lost.
And that’s when I read about Ann Curry’s brilliant plan—to accomplish acts of kindness in honor of those who died. Many people are doing 26 kindnesses, for the children and teachers who died at the school. Others are including Nancy Lanza, the mother of the shooter who also lost her life. I’m choosing 28, in part because there can’t be enough kindness in the world, and in part because I believe strongly that Adam was a victim of his own, untreated mental illness.
I’m hoping to accomplish all of my 28 in the next week, before the new year…and I’m drawing inspiration from the Twitter feed #26ActsofKindness. So far, I’ve managed four:
1. Sent an extra gift and a heartfelt note to my daughters’ teachers (we already went in on group gifts for them with the rest of the class).
2. Donated to Toys for Tots in honor of the students of Sandy Hook.
3. Hosting a friend’s daughters over for the afternoon, after her regular babysitter fell through.
4. Left a Starbucks gift card and a note on a random car in our school’s teacher parking lot.
(Actually, I could kind of count #5, which was—against my better judgement—caving and getting an Elf on the Shelf for my daughters, who have been begging for one all week. Because basically, this week, I’d probably get them a pony if they asked.)
Imagine if we all committed to doing just a few acts of kindness this week…maybe it would become a habit. Let me know if you’re on board—and share your ideas for sharing the love.
To celebrate the release of children’s folk singer Elizabeth Mitchell’s new album, Blue Clouds, we have an exclusive look at the record’s first single, ”Froggy Went a Courtin.’ ”
The music on Blue Cloudsis a mix of original compositions as well as covers of everything from traditional folk music to David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix. All performances are by Mitchell and You Are My Flower, her extended family band that includes her husband, Daniel Littleton, and their 11-year-old daughter, Storey. Featuring artwork by award-winning illustrator Remy Charlip’s book, “Arm in Arm,” this recordis just as beautiful to the eyes as it is to the ears.
Listen to ”Froggy Went a Courtin’ ” below, and make sure to check out Blue Clouds, just released by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.
One in two children will need food assistance in his lifetime.
That’s what Bill Shore, founder of Share Our Strength, says in the upcoming documentary “A Place At The Table,” which I was fortunate to see at a screening last night. Directed by Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush, the film will come out in March, and you’ll hear lots more about it then, from us and many others. It depicts the stark and heartwrenching realities of the hunger epidemic affecting nearly 50 million people in the United States. Of that number, 17 million are children, an issue we explored in depth last year, both in an article and in a mini-documentary featuring a young mom in Philadelphia who, despite all of her hard work, can’t always adequately feed her small children.
As “A Place at the Table” deftly shows, we can solve the hunger crisis—but it’s not simply by donating to food pantries or working in soup kitchens. Charity is vital, of course, but it can’t be the answer, argue those who know this subject best. We have enough money in our country to fix this problem, so we have to change our laws to ensure that proper funding goes to the most productive nutrition and assistance programs. And this is where we can all make a significant impact.
A very encouraging program called Food Policy Action just launched, and it provides a scorecard for politicians based on how they vote on food and nutrition legislation. Sign up for notifications here so you can find out when your own representative is about to vote on an issue—and then call that rep and tell him or her that you’re watching how he/she votes, and keeping it in mind when it’s time for re-election. Lori Silverbush said that lawmakers have confessed to changing their vote on a particular issue after as few as six calls from constituents, which is proof that your voice matters. Please use it—it’s never been made easier to stay informed and create change.
Of course, if you want to go the charitable route, there are many great ways to do it. One is to support this year’s Hungerthon. Created by WhyHunger, which sponsors innovative community-based hunger organizations nationwide, Hungerthon is a month-long radio event that raises awareness and funding to help end hunger. A portion of this is through a charity auction. Some of the coolest items you can bid on include a signed guitar from Taylor Swift and another from Carrie Underwood. Admittedly these are pricey items, so you might consider donating $50 and getting an awesome and exclusive Bruce Springsteen t-shirt featuring an outtake from the “Born To Run” photo shoot.
If your family is affected by hunger, please check out our list of resources that can help.
Today is World Diabetes Day, which aims to spread the word about diabetes advocacy and awareness. This is also part of the mission of the staff of Diabetic Living, one of our sister publications. If you or anyone in your family is affected by diabetes, particularly (but not exclusively) type 2, diabeticlivingonline.com is an amazing resource, with advice on how to control blood sugar levels, use the sometimes-confusing equipment, and manage your diet. (It has endless delicious recipes, all taste-approved by the Better Homes & Gardens Test Kitchen.)
Earlier in the year we ran an article called “Could Your Child Have Diabetes?” The answer isn’t as straightforward as you may think. In fact, our piece featured the story of a 7-year-old girl whose father is a family physician and even he missed the signs of type 1 diabetes, which included unquenchable thirst and increased urination. It’s definitely worth a read for every parent.
For anyone living with diabetes, it’s very helpful to work with a diabetes educator, who focuses on helping people better understand the condition and learn how to adjust their lifestyle and behavior so that they can successfully manage their diabetes. Diabetes educators typically work in hospitals, doctor’s offices, pharmacies, or home health care agencies; find ones nearest you at diabeteseducator.org. This is what Teresa Pearson, R.N., a diabetes educator in Minnesota, wants parents to know to make insulin injections less scary:
When your child has diabetes it can be challenging and even frightening, especially if your child needs insulin. It’s really common for kids to be afraid of needles; many of the children that I have spoken with about diabetes become anxious when they see a needle. In addition to keeping your child calm before an injection, it is important to also remember to change injection sites on the body. Repeatedly using the same spot can cause a condition called lipohypertrophy, which is a lump that forms under the skin. This can affect the body’s ability to absorb insulin and can take several months to disappear, depending on how large the lump is. One study from El-Chatby University Children’s Hospital in Egypt, which studied kids living with diabetes aged 2 months to 21 years, found that more than half had lipohypertrophy. When the insulin is not absorbed consistently, you may notice that blood glucose values are higher than you would expect and your child may need more insulin just to compensate for the effects of lipohypertrophy. The best way to avoid this is by keeping injection sites two inches apart from one another.
Here are a few tips to consider from the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) to help better manage your child’s diabetes:
• Insulin needles range in length from 4mm to 12.7mm. Children should use the shorter 4 mm needles, with a narrow gauge (32G), because these have been shown to reduce pain. You can put pressure on the injection site for 5-8 seconds after the injection if your child continues to experience pain.
• For younger children, try making injections less scary by helping your child first inject saline into a stuffed animal, a diaper or even you! If your child is particularly anxious, ask your doctor about using a covered safety needle to conceal the needle.
• Children tend to feel most comfortable injecting in the same part of the body, but because of the risks of lipohypertrophy I explain above, help your child get used to injecting in different places.
• It’s important to involve caregivers and school personnel in your child’s diabetes care by teaching them about insulin administration, the importance of blood glucose monitoring, and what to do about hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
That last tip can be the most difficult one. Parents have told me that school personnel can be uncomfortable around needles and are unsure how to support their child’s condition. So find a diabetes educator near you who can help you lead school-based discussions with principals, teachers, and school staff about insulin therapy and your child. This person can talk about the symptoms of low and high blood glucose and what to do in an emergency.
We know that when moms invest in beauty products, you’re expecting them to work a little bit of magic. New lines from EOS, Sephora, and Basq are promising to do just that, all with a touch of whimsy thanks to their Disney-inspired packaging.
Using Alice in Wonderland as its muse, skin care company EOS just launched a new line of lip balms in Blueberry Potion, Sweet Vanilla Nonsense, and Watermelon Wonderland flavors. As if that’s not fun enough, the egg-shaped applicator features Mickey Mouse shaped grooves.
For a bit more of the “royal” treatment, head on over to Sephora, which is unveiling individual cosmetic lines for every Disney Princess. The three piece Cinderella collection is available now. The stunning packaging references different scenes in the film, and each shade name is based on objects or characters in the film.
Last but not least, The Disney Store recently teamed up with maternity skin care company Basq to create a line for expecting moms. Our favorite product is Pure Bliss, a lotion that chills your skin to provide relief from daily aches and pains. Now if that’s not magic I’m not sure what is!
In case you didn’t already know, October is National Bullying Awareness month – a time dedicated to increasing bullying prevention and decreasing the amount of bullying-related suicides. In support of the cause, beauty company Soap & Glory has teamed up with Stomp Out Bullying (the leading anti-bullying program in the U.S.) to create the Proud Mouth Campaign. The new campaign encourages everyone to not only respect, but also celebrate others’ similarities and differences by being cautious of their words and actions.
Over the next year, Soap & Glory will donate $1 from every sale of Baby Doll Sexy Mother Pucker plumping gloss ($15; sephora.com) to help fund the Stomp Out Bullying Helpchat, a live and confidential chat line available for 13 to 24-year-olds facing bullying issues. Every purchase gets this team closer to reaching its $25,000 goal—and making kids feel a whole lot safer.