Tuesday, October 28, 2014

5 Questions to Finding the Perfect Pediatrician

Searching for a pediatrician that you trust and feel comfortable with can be a daunting task.  To ask another person to join your team to care for your child is not a job many take lightly.  But there are excellent practitioners out there whose goal is to partner with you to ensure your child continues to grow and develop on track.  When you have a pediatrician who can play through an assessment, you know you have hit the jackpot!

After working in a children's hospital and then going through four pediatricians with my own child, I have learned so much about what not to allow in the exam room.  It is important to find a pediatrician that fits with your family and one that you trust to care for your child.  Moms and dads want to fix every problem, but the truth is that at some point you will need some help so finding a doctor you trust is essential in providing for your child.

1.  Does the pediatrician engage your child?
This should be obvious, but unfortunately it does not always happen.  The child is the patient and whether they are 12 months or 12 years, they should be the focus of the appointment.

2.  Do you feel comfortable answering questions honestly?
Regardless of whether or not your answer will be popular, you are the parent and you are the expert on what works and what doesn't work in your home.  The relationship between a pediatrician and parent/child should be a partnership of open, honest communication. If you are only answering based on what you think your doctor will want to hear, neither of you is fully benefitting from the relationship.

3.  Does the pediatrician make eye contact, actively listen to you and not jump to conclusions?
Again, this may sound obvious, but these are things that should be expected.  Just because a person has the letters M.D., D.O., P.A., N.P, or any other title does not mean that they are above showing common curtesy and respect.  An excellent pediatrician will be able to actively listen while completing the assessment even in a time crunch.

4.  Are the questions asked related to your concerns or only read off a list?
All practitioners have a number of questions they must ask in order to fully assess your child.  Often these questions are standardized and give a clear picture of the patient.  It is, however, important that the pediatrician is able to deviate from their mental check-list to address your concerns.  

5.  Do you feel known by your pediatrician or just like one of the masses even after years of visits?
In some practices, it can feel overwhelming to walk in and feel just like another number.  This does not have to be the case as some practitioners are better at personalizing the experience than others.

These things are important to me and I understand they may not be a make or break for others.  The most important thing is finding someone who will provide excellent care for your child.  Write down what areas are important to you and don't be afraid to keep searching until you find the best fit.

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Letter to Mommies Whose Babies are in Heaven

My dear mommy friend whose baby is waiting for you in Heaven,
You are on my heart this month and always.  I don't know what to say when I see you - not that there are any words - but I want you to know that your baby's life counted to me.  I am here to grieve with you, celebrate with you and just be with you if you'll let me.  I want you to know that I want to see pictures if you have them, hear your stories if you will share them and talk about how mommyhood has changed us {the good, the bad and the ugly}.  I know that regardless of whether or not you have babies here on earth to hold, there will always be part of your heart longing for the one(s) missing from your arms.  I may not understand that longing, but, if you'll let me, I will be with you through it.  Know that you are loved, your baby is remembered and your family is not forgotten. 

October is a month all about raising awareness.  Many know it is Breast Cancer awareness month, but did you know it is Pregnancy and Infant Loss awareness month as well?  This has been an area heavy on my heart as many of my family and friends have walked this dark path with little support or recognition of the loss they have experienced.  It is hard to find words to say when a parent loses a child, but that doesn't mean it should be ignored or that we shouldn't keep trying to love on these grieving parents {and siblings}.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Prayer of a Tired Mama

Dear Lord,
Thank you for this day and for helping us to make it through, I was so tired but you gave me the energy I needed.........{I wonder if she will sleep through the night, I really need to fall asleep fast}...Please be with this sweet baby.  Keep her healthy and help her to have peaceful sleep......{I wonder what I should do about nap time, surely she should be napping more than 30 minutes at a stretch but honestly if I look at one more sleep blog}.....please help me to know how to be a good parent to her....{Did I get the laundry out of the drier.  Shoot I think there is some in the washer AND the drier.  I should go get it....nah I will try again tomorrow}.....Thank you for my amazing husband who works so hard to provide for us.  Help him to get good sleep......{but if she wakes up it would be nice for him to wake up with me.  Why would he do that?  We both shouldn't be awake}. Please keep us all healthy........{if Ebola comes here we should move to the mountains, I should tell Jared that}.  And please help my mind to slow down enough to get some peaceful sleep.  Thank you for your love and provision.  Amen.

One of the best, most surprising miracles I have experienced since becoming a mom is God's grace. Even when my mind wanders and I feel completely empty, He gives me just enough to carry on.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

4 Months

You are getting so big and we are in awe of how you are growing and learning new things everyday.  You have recently discovered your toes taste good, sleep is for the birds and how to blow spit bubbles. We love your stories, your laughs and your morning stretches.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

This Beautiful Moment

I choose to treasure this day, this moment and this stage of life with my family because I will never get this time back.  Yes, it's hard and sure, some days I might wish away, but when so many people are telling me to hold tight to these moments, how can I do anything but trust their advice?  This is a lesson I don't want to learn for myself.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Must-haves from some of my favorite moms

I am not lying when I say that recommendations from other moms made a huge difference in my search for baby necessities.  I was constantly searching online and asking my friends and family for their advice to have a better guess as to what might be helpful as I prepare for baby.  So as a follow-up to my post yesterday, here are some must-haves from moms who have influenced my parenting journey.

1. Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump
2. Sakura Bloom Ring Sling
3. Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter
4. Organic Breast Pads
5. Co-sleeper Bassinet

1. Madela Electric Breast Pump
2. Fisher Price Swing
3. Aden & Anais Swaddle Blankets
4. Ergo Baby Carrier

1. Madela Elecrtic Breast Pump
2. A good camera for capturing all those wonderful moments
3. Skype to keep in touch with family and friends around the world
4. Fisher Price Swing

1. Aden and Anais Swaddle Blankets
2. Angelcare Monitor
3. Soothie Pacifier
4. Ergo Baby Carrier
5. 4moms Mamaroo

Monday, October 6, 2014

5 Things I Could Not Live Without As A New Mom

When I was pregnant, I was positive that I could survive without all the stuff that often comes with babies.  I wanted to adopt a minimalist approach to parenthood and attempt to have a happy, healthy baby without all the extras.  Now, after three months, I think I have achieved that goal {I do not assume this lifestyle will continue, but for now it's lovely}.  

There are, however, five things that I use every day and cannot imagine life without.  And since recommendations from other moms were so helpful to me, I wanted to share my own.  

1. Aden and Anais Swaddle Plus
I knew a few people who swore by these blankets, but I did not think they were a necessity mostly due to price.  I was, however, gifted two packs at my baby shower and I can honestly say they are worth every penny!  They were the perfect swaddle blanket and now we use them as security blankets, stroller covers, nursing covers, a clean place to lay out in public and so much more.  When we wear them out (because I know we will), I will definitely buy more.

2. Sakura Bloom Ring Sling
Again, I never would have guessed how this baby carrier would change my life.  I was gifted one by my sister and use it daily for walks, nap time and just to get things done around the house.  This magical carrier promises a good nap and, in the first two months, instantly calmed an otherwise fussy baby.  This particular brand of ring sling is rather expensive but I know there are other brands out there, I just don't know how they compare in price.

3. Bumbo Seat
Recently we are started to use this seat all day.  My little one loves to sit up and see everything so it is perfect since she doesn't have the best head control yet and cannot sit up by herself.  Even though we will only use it for a short period of time, I am so thankful we have it now as she builds up those muscles.

4. Play Mat
My girl would rather lay on her play mat then ever be held.  She would play all day if we let her so this mat has saved a lot of tears.  I have also found it is perfect for company because people can easily interact with her even though she doesn't love to be held.

5. Sound Machine
The sound machine has created a peaceful place for sleep.  We all sleep better and longer with background noise.  This particular sound machine came from Bed Bath and Beyond and has five different sounds.  We typically use the ocean because it's calming to me and the variation helps baby to sleep through other noise, but the other sounds include white noise, a thunder storm and a stream.  It does not have a heartbeat option as many sound machines do, which is the only thing I would change about it.

What items have you come to love as a parent?

*i was not compensated for this review in any way and all ideas are based on my own opinion and experience

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Headband Winners

With so many wonderful entries, it was impossible to choose just one.  So we decided to split the prize between two winners!  Congratulations to Jess W. And Danae S. who won two headbands each from Cunningham's Custom Creations!  They will be in the mail and we can't wait to see how they look!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Guest Post || International Babywearing Week

If you were to ask me what has been the biggest game changer in my journey through motherhood I would answer in a heartbeat without any hesitation: babywearing.  Actually it would probably be more like BABYWEARING! because I am so psyched about the ability to keep my little one close while still being able to get stuff done.
But I digress.
This post is dedicated to all of the reasons you should try babywearing and some safety tips for starting out.  This is neither a scholarly article nor a research paper so my sources are pretty broad and, if you are interested, you can email me for more information.  The majority of this evidence can be found on the Babywearing International website and I would encourage you to check it out if you have any questions or concerns that I don’t cover. Also I think it is important to point out that this is not a conclusive study on babywearing safety and you are responsible for the safety of your child as well as that of yourself.  It is very important to learn how to use the type of carrier that you choose properly and to always keep safety in mind.
Babywearing is, by definition, the practice of wearing your little one in a sling or carrier (thanks for that Wikipedia). In all truth, babywearing is about so much more than just putting your baby in a carrier. Babywearing is also about convenience, bonding, and improving the overall health and happiness of your child (and you too!).
Putting your little one in a baby carrier can be immensely freeing.  It gives you the opportunity to take care of older children, do chores, run errands, or a number of other tasks without lugging around a bulky car seat or taking frequent breaks to help a distraught baby. Baby carriers can go places that strollers can’t go and some of feelings of isolation and confinement can be overcome by simply taking a walk and meeting other parent friends.  Sometimes having the freedom to get out of the house without having to navigate a stroller through the aisles of store can make a new mom or dad feel like they can “do” this whole parenting thing.
Babywearing is a great way to bond with a new baby. By holding the baby close, dads, grandparents, and other adults in the baby’s life are able to form strong attachments. This bonding can be extremely useful for babies that are breastfed because it helps them to trust important people in their lives beside their mothers, giving mom a break from being the sole provider for a new baby. New moms can be incredibly overwhelmed with having another person literally attached to them at all hours and having another adult, such as the dad or a grandparent, hold the baby for a time can be extremely beneficial. But don’t be fooled, the benefits of babywearing are for all parents and babies, no matter what choices you make in your parenting journey!
For babies born early or those with special needs, babywearing can be beneficial health-wise. Research has shown that premature babies who are touched or held gain weight faster and are overall healthier than those babies who are not.  Babies who are held close and ideally skin-to-skin experience a regulation in breathing and heart rate as they sync up to the adult who is holding them. Just check out some of the great information from one of my favorite products for preemies, the NuRoo (http://nuroobaby.com/skin-to-skin/).
One of the most important topics to discuss surrounding babywearing is safety. It is easy to talk about all the benefits and really sell a parent on the idea but the safety behind babywearing is really the most important part of keeping your little one close.  It is important to point out that, just because a product is made and sold in baby stores, does not mean that it is safe to use. And, while babywearing is extremely convenient and comfortable, it should not keep you from frequently checking on your child. The following rules are taken right from the BWI chapter of Southeastern Pa website. (http://bwisepa.weebly.com/babywearing-safety.html)

A Few Absolute Rules:

1. Make sure your baby can breathe. Baby carriers allow parents to be hands-free to do other things … but you must always remain active in caring for your child. No baby carrier can ensure that your baby always has an open airway; that’s your job.
       a. Never allow a baby to be carried, held, or placed in such a way that his chin is curled against his chest. This rule applies to babies being held in arms, in baby carriers, in infant car seats, or in any other kind of seat or situation. This position can restrict the baby’s ability to breathe. Newborns lack the muscle control to open their airways. They need good back support in carriers so that they don’t slump into the chin-to-chest position.
        b. Never allow a baby’s head and face to be covered with fabric. Covering a baby’s head and face can cause her to “rebreathe” the same air, which is a dangerous situation. Also, covering her head and face keeps you from being able to check on her. Always make sure your baby has plenty of airflow. Check on her frequently.
2. Never jog, run, jump on a trampoline, or do any other activity that subjects your baby to similar shaking or bouncing motion. “This motion can do damage to the baby’s neck, spine and/or brain,” explains the American Chiropractic Association.

3. Never use a baby carrier when riding in a car. Soft baby carriers provide none of the protection that car seats provide.

4. Use only carriers that are appropriate for your baby’s age and weight. For example, frame backpacks can be useful for hiking with older babies and toddlers but aren’t appropriate for babies who can’t sit unassisted for extended periods. Front packs usually have a weight range of 8 to 20 pounds; smaller babies may slip out of the carrier, and larger babies will almost certainly cause back discomfort for the person using the carrier.
5. Choose carriers that mimic carrying in arms
 A carrier should never place your baby in a position that you wouldn't carry them naturally.  Babies would be carried in arms upright on the chest, upright on your hip, cradled while nursing, or even in a piggy back.  You would never carry your baby horizontally at your hips, or smushed under your breasts, therefore you should avoid any carrier which forces you to place your baby in this position.
(Text courtesy of Babywearing International)
Always Remember the T.I.C.K.S. Rule
-In View at all Times
-Close Enough to Kiss
-Keep Chin off the Chest
-Supported Back
Babywearing has literally changed my life. I don’t feel burdened by schedules because both of my babies have slept really well in the carriers and I have even been mastering the art of nursing in a ring sling (and lets be serious, that’s a real art). Having the ability to go places without planning around sleep and eating schedules has changed the way I parent and it has led me to a zen-like place of minimal stress parenting. Maybe that’s overdoing it a bit but in all honesty, I feel like I am a more “laid-back” parent as a result of the convenience of babywearing - I feel like I can do this whole parenting thing!
Now talk to me when I’m parenting these kiddos through the teenage years...
Emily is a SAHM of two who has utilized babywearing for over 3 years.  She has many different baby carriers and has learned the benefits and safety measures of babywearing through classes, workshops and groups available throughout the Philadelphia area.  Feel free to email her at emilyjalta@gmail.com