Nursing 101: Supporting Baby

Posted: 1598 days ago in Parenting Pregnancy

Sensory Processing Disorder

Posted: 1618 days ago in Parenting

spd

Oy Vey. Sensory processing disorders. Yet another thing to worry about in our kids, right?

But – knowledge is power! And understanding what our kids might be going through is half the battle.

I’ve seen parents being driven to drink because their kids:

  • Walk around naked.
  • Cry and run from loud noises like fireworks or even the clink of silverware
  • Always have food on their faces
  • Will only ever eat 2 or 3 foods
  • Don’t know their own strength and walk into walls a lot

These kids are exhibiting signs of a sensory processing disorder. What does that mean in English? It’s when any or all of our 5 senses – touch, smell, sight, sound and taste – are working overtime or not enough.

The slightest stimulus – like normal sounds, light or the tag in a shirt – can be amplified exponentially in these kids. They can also be under-sensitive to things like pain and pressure.

I like to call these ‘silent’ syndromes. There are no outward signs of this processing disorder other than the behaviors, so parents often think their kids are just being unreasonable. And for the record, most young kids ARE unreasonable by nature, so sensory issues can be that much more difficult to diagnose.

In addition to being difficult to live with, these issues can result in a child feeling foreign in their own bodies, which can then lead to issues with esteem, learning, and socialization. A slippery slope for sure.

The good news is there are conservative therapies and strategies that can really make a difference for these kids. Such as:

  • The Out of Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz is a terrific resource that helps address sensory processing disorders through simple and fun activities.
  • Occupational therapists commonly see and treat children and adults with this disorder with wonderful success.
  • Sometimes a come-to-Jesus meeting with the parents helps diffuse the tensions around dealing with this. I mean – does it really matter if your kid refuses to wear socks? Or if they wear earplugs to July 4th fireworks? Or if you have to do that spit-on-a-hanky thing to wipe the schmutz off of their faces umpteen times a day? So be it.

What you may find with sensory processing disorders is that ultimately they aren’t fixed, but they are managed. This may not seem like a lot, but it does diffuse the stress of dealing with it until the child overcomes the different challenges they face.

And they will overcome them.

Bedwetting

Posted: 1625 days ago in Health Parenting

bedwetting
The official term for bedwetting is nocturnal enuresis.  

Sounds like an exotic animal, doesn’t it? If only it were so.  

Approximately 15% of children over the age of 3, and 2% of teens still wet the bed. Can you imagine wanting to participate in sleepovers and camps but being fearful that you will wake up wet?

The parents of kids who are bedwetters would do just about anything to help them. Most doctors would have them just wait it out, but waiting can create social anxieties that may last a lifetime. I mean, how would your social life be affected if you couldn’t control your urge to pee?

In addition to waiting it out, most docs will offer a medication called Desmopressin that will likely stop the wetting for the night. Although this solution is in no way curative.

divider2Assuming your child’s doctor has ruled out any physical reason or emotional trauma that has caused the wetting, you may want to check out some of these resources that dig a little deeper:

  1. Dr. Jacob Sagie has developed Therapee, an online behavior modification system coupled with a unique urine sensor pad, which together have been incredibly successful in eliminating bedwetting.
  1. It’s No Accident, a book by Steve Hodges, MD explores chronic constipation as a cause of bedwetting.
  1. If the nerve supply to the bladder is compromised because of birth trauma, childhood falls or sports injuries, chiropractic adjustments can be very helpful in the management of bedwetting. Find a pediatric chiropractor at www.icpa4kids.org.

divider2It’s never easy to see your child suffer; hopefully one of these solutions can offer solace to someone you love.

Much luck, love, and support.

Does Your Baby Have Good Posture?

Posted: 1632 days ago in Parenting Pregnancy

baby-posture

Wait. What?

How does a baby have good posture? They barely sit or stand yet!

Well guess what – if your baby doesn’t start out with good posture from the get-go, he or she will surely NOT have good posture when it comes time to sit and stand! Here’s what I mean…

Does your baby’s head always end up in the same position while they sleep, even if you turn it a different way?

Does it flop or turn to one side?

Do they cry when you attempt to put them in a certain position, over and over?

Do they refuse to nurse on one side?

These are all signs that your baby may have structural misalignments, or what we call “poor posture” in adults.

How does that happen???

467588149Believe it or not, poor posture can start in-utero! If a baby is in a breech or transverse position, his or her head does not enjoy the “key-in-lock” relationship that happens when the head is vertex (head down). If baby is in a less than ideal position long enough, this can result in minor postural deviations at the least, and torticollis (‘wryneck’) if it’s really bad.

Even if baby is in a perfect position in-utero, the birth process can be incredibly traumatic for him or her, especially if interventions like Pitocin, epidural, vacuum extraction or C-sections are utilized. Their tiny joints and ligaments can be sprained and strained just like an adults can. Ultimately, if left uncorrected, this can often lead to postural changes, pain, and even health issues like ear infections and colic.

The ability to move freely is really important for development of normal spinal curves and muscle formation. “Tummy time” develops the very important “C” curves of the neck and back. However, spending too much time in an infant carrier can also force baby’s spine into unnatural positions, so you’ll want to watch for that.

Pediatric chiropractors do a great job of treating obvious spinal issues like head tilt and torticollis. More importantly, they can detect subtle shifts before they become even bigger problems. It’s a great idea to get your kids checked preventatively, much like you have a dentist check their teeth as soon as they get them.

After all, ‘An ounce of prevention…’ and all that.

“Pre-You, Post-Baby”

Posted: 1637 days ago in Parenting Pregnancy

preyoupostbaby

All women gain weight during pregnancy; it’s a fact of life.

Whether it’s 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, or 100 lbs heavier than before you were pregnant; now is the time for acceptance and understanding. You’ve just delivered a baby into this world!

If you’re lucky, you might lose all of that ‘extra stuff’ immediately, or as a cruel joke, you may leave the hospital weighing as much as you did when you came in.

This post is meant for those women who want to get back to their pre-baby body and I’m here to tell you… let your body be your guide and balance be your goal.

I always suggest that women attempt to go back to pre-baby weight, if it was healthy weight for you to begin with. I’m not talking about how much you weighed after starving yourself for your wedding. I’m saying, look back over the years when you weren’t fanatically dieting and/or gorging yourself; what did you look and feel like? The emphasis here is on finding your natural balance.

For those of you who look at my pictures, and go, “oh yeah, whatever,” I want you to know that I’ve been everything from a size 2 to a size 16 as an adult. I have lived all the issues that surround food, weight, and body image, and it has taken me 45 years to find my balance point. I hope you get the lesson sooner.


First of all, let’s talk about what “baby weight” actually consists of:

  • the baby – average of 7.5 lbs.
  • placenta – around 1.5 lbs.
  • amniotic fluid – around 2 lbs.
  • uterine enlargement – around 2 lbs.
  • increased breast tissue – around 2 lbs.
  • increased blood volume – around 4 lbs.
  • fluid retention – around 4 lbs.
(source: “What to Expect When You’re Expecting“)

Add all of that up and you’re looking at 20+ lbs. of “baby weight”, which means a lot of what you’re looking at isn’t even fat. So be kind to yourself.

My philosophy is nine months on, nine months off.

I don’t think there should be any significant attempts to truly lose weight until after the “4th trimester” (I know, I know. There are only three trimesters of pregnancy, but I like to count the 3-4 months after baby comes as the fourth). Without this buffer zone of continued self-care, mama’s well-being can fall by the wayside, with all attention focused on baby only. During those very early months, your body will naturally find it’s new balance point as you shed all the extra fluids your body has held onto. Not to mention, nursing will burn many of those additional pounds away as you settle into a new routine, feeding yourself and your baby.

After the 4th trimester, reassess.

If you’ve made reasonable choices regarding food during pregnancy and in the 4th trimester, you will likely find that you’re pretty close to where you started, pre-baby. At this point, I recommend stepping up your exercise, making more significantly wise food choices, and setting a goal for weight loss (or gain, for those lucky few of you who are too skinny to begin. I say “lucky” because I know it’s just as much of a problem for those of you who are too thin, but it’s just more socially acceptable to be thin).

Ultimately, the one-year mark is pivotal. If you don’t lose your extra baby weight by the first year, or before you get pregnant again, those extra lbs. tend to become permanent and/or extremely hard to lose.

Full Disclosure: Even if and when you get back to pre-baby weight, your body will likely be very different. I got back to my pre-baby size, but none of my pants fit! Your hips may be wider or narrower, your butt flatter or rounder. You get the point? Your body will be different. Your life will be different.

Embrace the change!

ADHD

Posted: 1659 days ago in Health Parenting

adhd

Ahhhh!!! That acronym!! 

So many kids are coming home from school with ‘that label’, aren’t they?

Recently, a concerned parent and Dr. Tania reader reached out when her son’s school said that they would be monitoring him for ADHD. She is petrified that they will suggest medicating her son, who she feels is just a normal adolescent boy, more interested in sports and girls than learning.

And truly, even the most calm and focused of us would get fidgety if made to sit still for hours and hours on end. Gone are the days of recess, hour-long lunch breaks and daily phys-ed classes. No wonder these poor kids can’t keep still.

Short of pulling a kid out of traditional school, what is a parent to do? Is the answer to medicate them into submission? I would like to think that for a majority of these kids, that it is not the answer.

Before you start shooting daggers at me, let me say that I have seen the transformation that takes place when a child with severe ADHD is medicated, and it’s pretty remarkable. That transformation, however, comes at a steep price in the form of side effects. So if there are other strategies that can help a child to cope without medication, aren’t they worth looking into?


For example, some holistic treatments for ADHD:adhd-meds

  • The elimination of certain food colorings and additives from the diet.   The Mayo clinic recommends avoiding foods with Sodium Benzoate, red dye #40, and yellow dyes #’s 5, 6 and 10. I have taught for years that you should not be eating anything with a color or number in the ingredient list!
  • The addition of Fish Oil and B Vitamins in the diet to stabilize the central nervous system while improving mood stability, mental focus, and brain function.
  • This from the University of Maryland Medical Center: diets restricting possible allergens like gluten, milk, eggs and chemical additives BHT/BHA may help improve behavior in some children with ADHD.
  • Chiropractic and craniosacral therapy can identify and minimize nervous system irritation that can lead to concentration and hyperactivity disorders.

These are just a few of the many approaches that have helped children (and adults!) to manage life with ADHD.

For more on the subject, I’d like to introduce you to Dr. Ned Hallowell, a Harvard-trained psychiatrist who specializes in ADHD. He has a wonderful way of explaining ADHD as an asset (not a disability), and teaches on how to manage the condition so that you can be, in his words, ‘fabulously successful’.

Best of luck to all you parents of shooting stars.

Keep Your Kids Safe … But Not Too Safe

Posted: 1695 days ago in Parenting

toosafe

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How many of you would bubble-wrap your kids if you could?

I wish you wouldn’t.

I’m not suggesting neglect. What I am suggesting is a common-sense approach to parenting.

The well-being of my kids has always been my first priority, but part of their well-being includes giving them tools to care for and protect themselves, isn’t that true?

There have been some amazing technological inroads that have improved overall safety for our children; car seats, bike helmets and swimming pool alarms are non-negotiable must-haves in our house. But is it necessary to pad every sharp corner in our house and joint on our bodies? I giggle when I see 3-year-olds with knee and elbow pads as they ride a tricycle. And I know you’ve been to someone’s home where there is foam on everything – coffee table corners, fireplace hearths and bathroom faucets.

Aren’t skinned knees a right of passage?

And a good bump on the head will teach a kid to watch where they’re walking, won’t it? Little kids need little boundaries, and bigger kids need broader boundaries. If we change the environment to protect the kids, how will our kids ever learn to protect themselves in the environment outside the cocoon that you have created? So yes, keep your kids safe, but also teach them how and trust that they will make the right decisions, too.

Just something to think about!

Thumb-Sucking, Nose-Hooking

Posted: 1702 days ago in Parenting Pregnancy

nose-hookingdivider2Isn’t this picture adorable?  

This little munchkin is sucking her thumb and hooking her nose; can you imagine why?

It’s because she’s trying to pull her nose out of her brain!

Yup, really.

The birth process can be tough for babies – and that’s if all goes well. And by well, I mean that mama goes into labor naturally and has a vaginal birth with no intervention. With each intervention (like Pitocin, an epidural, vacuum or forcep extraction), the stress on baby increases.

When a Mom has a precipitous delivery (labor lasting only 3 hours or less), or if Pitocin is used to induce labor, baby can come down the birth canal in a fast and furious way. Though it might sound lovely to have such a short labor, please trust me when I tell you that it is not. It results in much more stress for mom and baby alike.

One of the common presentations we see in babies that have endured a precipitous or induced labor is that the frontal (forehead) bone collapses onto the nasal (nose) bone during the birth process. These babies typically have a pronounced horizontal line at the bridge of the nose, and will often exhibit this thumb-sucking, nose-hooking behavior in an attempt to decompress the cranium.

In other words, they are attempting to pull their nose out of their head in the only way they can see how!

These babies are often fussy – can you blame them? – and exhibit insatiable sucking. Though all newborns like to nurse and suckle often, these babies typically won’t ever seem to get enough. Gentle craniosacral adjustments performed by a pediatric chiropractor can often resolve this very quickly and very gently.

I think thumb-sucking is really cute, too, but if your baby hooks his or her nose, or seems to suck insatiably, a chiropractic check-up is the order of the day!

Quench Your Summer Hair

Posted: 1707 days ago in Parenting

quenchdivider2I spend a lot of time at the beach in the summer, and my hair can easily suffer the consequences if I don’t watch out.

Chlorinated pool water, salty ocean waves, and the sun’s rays will suck the life right out of even the healthiest of hair. If you’ve colored, straightened or otherwise processed your hair, yours is even more vulnerable.

Thankfully, over the years I’ve picked up a few tricks that have saved my locks, and I thought I’d share them with you.

divider2So, here you go…36390

  1. I enjoy swimming laps all summer, but pool chemicals dry and discolor my hair. To pre-empt that, I wet and condition my hair before I put my swim cap on, and rinse immediately after. As an added bonus, the conditioner helps the cap to slide on easily so the dry rubber doesn’t pull on my sensitive scalp.
  2. The sun will fade your hair color faster than you can say “brassy highlights”. So, before I hit the beach I comb a rich, UV protecting conditioner in (like this one from Alterna) and slick it back into a bun or braid. Wearing a hat over your slicked-back concoction will also help, but I love how the sun’s heat really makes the conditioner soak in – so I go sans hat. After a day on the beach like this, my hair actually looks better than before!
  3. I appreciate how salt water can give hair its glorious beach waves but it can also make hair so brittle that it breaks off like a dry twig. Even the smallest amount of salt can wreak havoc. So, when you get out of the ocean, either stand under the shower or dump a water bottle over your head, and run some conditioner-laden hands through your hair to moisten it up. This will keep the waves from looking frizzy, and help to lock them in.

divider2The moral of my story?

To quench your summer hair, keep some conditioner, a wide-toothed comb and some ponytail holders in your swim and beach bags at all times. If you’re diligent about it, you might just find that your hair comes out the other end of summer looking even more shiny and lustrous than before.

XO!

Cultivating Boredom

Posted: 1709 days ago in Parenting

cultivating-bore

divider2Moooooom, I’m bored!  

How many times have you heard that (and/or said that!) in your lifetime??! A bunch, I’m sure, especially if you are of a certain age.

Sometime in the last few decades, though, we have made an art out of busy-ness. Kids start pre-school at 18 months, and soccer or dance at two. Two-years-old?!  

Once kindergarten hits, watch out! The time I had to enjoy after-school snacks and riding bikes with my friends when I was a kid is non-existent now. Today, we shuttle between activities, sometimes two or three per day, often including snacks and meals in the car, on-the-go.

What a shame.

I tried to buck the system with my own kids. They chose one or two activities per week, not per day. Problem was, there were no kids to play with at home! They had each other, sure, but there’s nothing like a neighborhood gang of friends to play hide-and-seek and hopscotch with, is there?

We found a balance of sorts, but along the way, I did my best to continue cultivating boredom.

487961141How did I do that? Well, I just let them be. No activities, no outings, no new toys, TV or electronics. And if they said they were bored, they had to clean the bathroom.

Sure enough, I’d peek out the window to find them engrossed in making fairy houses out of twigs, or playing house in the gazebo.

Now, flash-forward almost two decades, and I am watching my girls cultivating their own boredom. Tan and lean, they play backgammon on the porch, and make candles in old seashells. They read, and we have impromptu “book club” where we share our stories and trade books.

Maybe, just maybe, I did a few things right?

I won’t know for sure, though, until some day in the future, when my grandchildren-to-be whine, “I’m borrrrrrred”, and my girls get the look in their eyes that they got from me, right before they hand them a toilet bowl brush.