Posted in Write for me Wednesday

Write For Me Wednesday: Pool Safety Tips for Parents of Young Children

Today I have a super interesting and important post to share with you from Patricia Sarmiento who founded publichealthcorps.org.  Patricia is an avid swimmer and runner. She channels her love of fitness and wellness into blogging about health and health-related topics. She played sports in high school and college and continues to make living an active lifestyle a goal for her and her family. She lives with her husband, two children, and their shih tzu in Maryland.

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Via Flickr – by erkillian5

Pool Safety Tips for Parents of Young Children

Sometimes I feel like I grew up in the water. I started swimming at a very young age, and I wanted my children to love the water as much as I do. As a result, I introduced both my children to the pool when they were still babies. But that said, I was well aware of how dangerous the water can be for little ones.

Before I put my son in the pool for the first time, I wanted to be sure I was well-educated in water safety for babies and toddlers. If you’re the parent of a little one and you want to learn about about pool safety, try this all-inclusive guide to recreational swimming safety. Then, take a look at the tips below. These are a few of the essentials for not only keeping babies and toddlers safe around water but helping them develop confidence in the water.

Keep child within arm’s reach. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using “touch supervision” for children under the age of 5. If little ones are in or around the water, always be within arms reach.

Start lessons early. When I started my son in swim lessons as a toddler, some of my friends and family thought I was nuts. Even my mom told me she thought I was wasting my money. But I insisted and here’s why: As this Brain World article points out, a National Institute of Health study found that swim lessons for kids ages 1 – 4 can reduce their chances of drowning by as much as 88 percent. That was enough to convince me!

Avoid using floaties. My daughter didn’t take to the water as well as my son. She hated toddler swim lessons and after two classes we had to abandon them completely. She was just too miserable. I tell you this to let you know that I, too, am guilty of letting my children use flotation devices. The one way we could get my daughter to enjoy the water was to let her float in her PFD. That said, as Water Safety Magazine explains flotation devices, such as floaties, can lead to bad habits that may make learning to swim later on more difficult.

Learn CPR. A few summers ago all the parents on our street made a pact—we would all become CPR certified. A couple of houses on my street have pools and several of us have young children. We knew our kids would be swimming a lot, and we wanted the peace of mind of knowing CPR-certified adults would always be present. So, we worked together, babysitting for each other while we attended classes until we were all certified. To this day, we all regularly renew our certification. It is something that is relatively easy to do and it can make such a big difference. Check out PoolSafely.gov to learn more about how to find a class in your area.

With the right supervision and knowledge, children of any age can be safe around the water. Keep these tips in mind, slather the kids in sunscreen, and have a great summer!

Posted in Write for me Wednesday

Write For Me Wednesday – 4 Surprises from my Son’s Otherwise Standard Birth (Jocelyn’s guest post)

This week, I have another wonderful guest poster who agreed to share her birth story with all of you.  Jocelyn is the witty, talented and incredibly funny blogger behind The Home Tome.  She has guest posted for me before and I am so happy that she has accepted to do it again, this time helping me with my project of providing a multitude of different birth stories for expecting moms to read.

Enjoy your read!

4 Surprises from my Son’s Otherwise Standard Birth

Ian

My son (now 19 months) came into this world after a fairly standard vaginal birth in a hospital with an epidural. But there were a few surprises along the way…

1. Four days before I went into labor, my husband came down with a serious inner ear infection called labyrinthitis. This gave him a severe case of vertigo (i.e. he suddenly couldn’t stand up or go a few minutes without vomiting). I had to call an ambulance and we spent a scary night in the ER – we worried it was some kind of stroke or a brain tumor. Thankfully, it was neither of these. However, his dizziness and loss of balance would last for several weeks and even lingered to some degree for months – what a crazy way to become a new father. He was able to be by my side for the birth, albeit sitting in a chair. He was incredibly supportive and positive, despite the fact that his own world was rocking like a ship in a stormy sea.

2. My labor was 36 hours, from first contraction to birth. When I arrived at the hospital at 4 am, I had already been up all night and managed 12 hours of contractions – I assumed I was at least 4 or 5 cm dilated. Alas, I was only one centimeter. Because I hadn’t slept and wasn’t progressing too quickly, my OB ordered some morphine so I could get some rest. Already feeling guilty enough about wanting an epidural (hey, I was scared), I resisted this at first – I didn’t want this drug to cycle through my little guy even if it would supposedly be out of his system when he hit prime time. But I agreed and it was the right decision – I was able to relax a bit and I also experienced a hilarious and very specific physical sensation – my hands felt huge, like they were the size of bed pillows. Go figure. My husband and I laugh about my Big Hands to this day.

3. Because I was so nervous about the birth (even knowing that I’d get an epidural – hey like I said, I was truly terrified), we hired a doula from Northeast Doulas (http://www.northeastdoulas.com/) to help us through the process. This was especially fortuitous, considering my husband’s wobbly state. Lauren Porte Schwardsfeld was exactly as supportive as I was hoping. What I didn’t expect was how much she was able to decrease the intensity of contractions (pre-epidural) through massage. The way she put pressure on my lower back and hips during the rough parts was nothing short of miraculous. She. Is. An. Angel. She helped me manage the pain and the fear – this allowed the labor to progress naturally; without her, I suspect I would have gone the way of a C-section. If you think you might need a little extra support, I recommend a doula, whether you are aiming for a drug-free birth or not.

4. Unlike the movies, I didn’t embrace that “bonding” moment with my son the second after he arrived. Nope, I had just pushed for two hours – a physical exertion well beyond anything I’d done as a lifelong athlete. I was exhausted and disoriented. When they put him on my chest, I was like, “No, no, not ready.” Ha! The nurses must have had a good chuckle over that – after all, who is ready for this crazy adventure called parenting? No one. But when it’s time, it’s time: we snuggle that child, we coo, and – dizzy as we may be – we stumble into the wildest and most wonderful journey of all.

Thanks again Jocelyn for sharing your birth story with us!

Would anyone else like to share her birth story?

Posted in Blogging, Write for me Wednesday

Write For Me Wednesday – Tips To Throw A Kids Pool Party

This guest post comes at a great time for me.  We’re seeing more and more grass around here and today is an absolutely beautiful day.  It is written by Kaitlin Gardner who writes for AnApplePerDay.  She currently lives in Pennsylvania and is married to her best friend.  In her spare time, she loves to go hiking and enjoy nature.  She has just started her first book about living an eco-friendly, healthy, natural lifestyle.  If you haven’t had time to check out her blog yet, I strongly suggest you go take a look, it’s really great.

Tips To Throw A Kids Pool Party

Your children want to have a party for their friends at your family pool. You are thrilled to hear they want to take advantage of that wonderful entertainment resource right there in your back yard. So what do you need to throw a great party at the pool? Here are some tips and thoughts:

Guest list and invitations. This part is basically the same as hosting a party inside the house – you have to come up with a guest list, and send out invitations. But there is a difference – when you contact parents for addresses, discreetly confirm that their child can swim. Hopefully every child invited can swim, which will make things a lot easier. Then send out fun invitations – kids love to get a real invite in the mail. Invite the parents to stay as well. Be sure to specify date and time, so the parents can put it on their Google calendars.

What time? Do you want to have this party during the day, or evening? That will change your planning. If it’s spring and chilly in the evenings, day is better. If the party will be in the middle of the summer, consider an evening party to avoid the heat of the day. This factor will determine how you plan the party, so decide early.

Set up the pool area. If the party is during the day, you will want to have tables set up for parents to sit and watch their kids, preferably in the shade. Provide a table stocked with sunscreen, so the kids are well protected against the sun. If the party is in the evening, you’ll have to add some lighting around the pool area, and around the back yard as well. After the meal, you’ll want the kids to sit out for a while, and they can play in the back yard with a Frisbee, or a volleyball court if you have room. Here are some great sites with more information about planning for a pool party:

  1. With kids and a pool, burgers would be a great way to go. Dad can cook on the grill, and the kids will love it. Just make sure to cook plenty of food, because hungry kids will eat a lot. Add shrimp or chicken to the menu for the parents. Have chips and drinks available, and you’ve got a basic but solid menu that keeps planning simple for the hostess. Don’t forget the plates and forks.
  2. You might want to consider having some music in the background, but with the noise of a lot of kids in the pool, it might be too much. The beauty of a pool party is that the kids entertain themselves for the most part. When they gather at the community pool, they are very ingenious about creating their own fun. You can have some pool games in mind if they get stuck for something to do. But if they’re enjoying themselves – just let it happen.

Provide a safe environment. Think about what will be going on at the party. Mom will be playing hostess to the parents, Dad will be cooking on the grill. Are those great candidates to be in charge of watching the kids? With kids and water, safety is too imperative to be addressed in a haphazard way. Consider hiring a lifeguard from the community pool. The kids will likely know him, will mind him and pay attention.

Once you’ve got the party in motion, take a moment to just look around – the smiling, laughing kids in the pool will be all you need to see, and you’ll know you’re throwing a great pool party.

Thanks for this great post Kaitlin!  I know I’ll be able to refer to it in a couple of years when my little guy is a bit older.

Posted in Blogging, Write for me Wednesday

Write For Me Wednesday: Couple Time: Squeezing In Some Stolen Moments

Today, I’ve got another great post for all of you and it’s all thanks to Ghezzi.  Ghezzi is a contributor at Pregg.net.  She is a work at home mom doing freelance writing and graphic designing. She has a daughter who is 5 years old and doing pretty well in preschool. Her hobbies are arts and crafts, collecting scarfs and surfing Pinterest.

Couple Time: Squeezing In Some Stolen Moments

Taking care of the kids, going to the office, preparing meals, visiting the doctor, doing the laundry, are just few of the things that keep us busy. Where could we squeeze in some quality time with our partner? Well, here are some ideas to help you out:

  1. Drop the kids off to their grannies. At least once or twice a month bring your children to their grandparents so they can spend quality time too. I’m sure kids will enjoy staying there while you and your husband are out because most grannies are spoil-ers. If your parents are miles away and they get the chance to visit you or vice versa, then grab the opportunity.
  2. Make every time together a quality time. If your husband drives you to work, or when you watch TV at night after a long day, or when you go to the grocery store, you can turn those ordinary days to special moments with him. Add something that can make it extra ordinary like playing your favorite music while in the car, having coffee together before going to the grocery or serve a special wine while watching TV.
  3. Take a shower together. Should I elaborate more?
  4. Hold hands while walking. Sounds cheesy, huh.
  5. Work on a project together like remodeling your living room, or deciding where to go for the next family vacation.

These are just few things to help you get an extra special time with your partner despite the busy schedules. Having these “extra special” moments will not just make you have fun together as a couple but the main point here is to keep the fire burning in your relationship.

Do you have other ideas in mind you want to share?

 

Ghezzi

Momblogger@

http://www.pregg.net

 

Thank you so much Ghezzi for this wonderful post!  It’s so true, finding quality time with your partner once you have kids can seem daunting, but there are indeed some simple things you can do.

Posted in Write for me Wednesday

Write for me Wednesday: Babies’ Head Shape and Flat Head Syndrome (Sarah’s Guest Post)

I’m really happy to present yet another guest post.  This time, it is from Sarah from babyflathead.org.  Sarah is a 40-something mom to a 21 month old boy who had flat head syndrome.   She ended up using a helmet to treat his condition when it was continuing to worsen at 8 months, but her blog advocates trying natural methods such as repositioning and tummy time as a first option.  Unfortunately not all babies respond to repositioning.  She has a full time day job in technology marketing, and this blog is a side project and a real passion of hers since there isn’t enough good information available for parents about this problem.

Normal is a relative term. As our children grow, we notice every little detail about them, and marvel at the little person who came from our hearts and wombs into the world. Sometimes, the little differences we notice are medically important, however. One thing we may notice that distinguishes our child from other children is head shape. There are many ‘normal’ head shapes, but symmetry is a defining feature of them all.

How do you know if your baby’s head shape is normal?

A normal baby’s head shape can vary widely across a range of measurements. In fact, there are even special instruments that are designed to help a physician measure your little one’s head shape. They assess factors like the cranial vault symmetry and index. One of the most popular devices in use is a craniometer.

If your child’s pediatrician is concerned about your baby’s head shape, he or she will tell you. The standard head shape evaluation is a part of the 2 or 3 month well-baby visit for most infants. You may not even notice when your doctor conducts the exam, unless a variation from the range of normal head shapes is detected.

Normal head shape is generally symmetrical, although often not perfectly so. Premature infants are often closely monitored for altered head shape, but other babies are also at risk. Males, first borns, multiples (twins,triplets, etc), and babies with limited room to move around in the uterus are especially prone to abnormal head shape.

Why does head shape matter?

Many babies who are diagnosed with plagiocephaly or brachycpehaly – cranial deformities – are often also diagnosed with reflux or torticollis. A normal head shape indicates healthy growth of both the skull and brain. Deviation from normal head shape can signal the presence of other, more serious, problems – such as craniosynostosis.

Craniosynostosis occurs when the bones of the skull fuse before they are supposed to, resulting in a deformed head shape. Most cranial deformities are related to position, and occasionally to torticollis, however. These tend to resolve with treatment, and in mild cases may disappear on their own.

What is Flat Head Syndrome?

Some babies develop a flat spot on the rear or side of their skull, and are diagnosed with Flat Head Syndrome, which includes plagiocephaly, brachycephaly, and sometimes two other conditions – scaphocephaly and torticollis. If your child is diagnosed with this syndrome, you might not be sure where to turn. There are numerous resources available, however. Treatment can be fairly simple, and isn’t invasive. It is important, however. Without treatment, this condition may lead to developmental delays, scoliosis, and possibly even visual and auditory problems.

For more information on Flat Head Syndrome, as well as resources for parents, check out my website:http://www.babyflathead.org. The site includes product reviews, tips, stories from other families, and general information that can help you and your child cope with this syndrome.

Thank you Sarah for sharing this post with us!  I agree that there is very little information on the subject (no one not even doctors or nurses ever talked about it when I was pregnant or when I gave birth, I found out about this by accident by snooping around on the Web).

If anyone else would like to write a guest post for me, you can check out the original post here and shoot me an email through the contact me page.

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Posted in Write for me Wednesday

Write For Me Wednesday: Breast Pump, How Much do I Hate Thee? (Jocelyn’s Guest Post)

I am really pleased to share a guest post from another amazing blogger today.  The oh-so-hilarious Jocelyn from The Home Tome has decided to share a post about pumping.  I am sure it will strike a chord with anyone who has done a significant (oh, and let’s be honest, a not-so-significant) amount of pumping to feed their little bundle of joy.  I am confident that you will enjoy her post and I strongly recommend stopping by her blog to read some more of the awesomeness she produces.

Cheers!

You know what I should be doing right now? Pumping. Instead, I’m eating lunch, doing laundry, and typing a few words here with re-runs of “Sex in the City” playing in the background. Today is my day off from work. If my baby naps for a while, I’ve got even bigger “me” plans from here: I’m going to pay some bills, attempt some yoga and possibly make some pumpkin soup from a new recipe I spied online (thereby re-acquainting myself with the kitchen, and reminding myself and my husband that I can still nourish humans bigger than two feet tall). This is all to say that pumping is not making the list. Nope. The pump is sitting less than two feet from me on the table, right there, taunting me, but I am not going to hook it up. No way.

I have been breastfeeding now for 10-plus months and pumping for about the same amount of time. I’m proud of the fact that I have breast fed my child: especially at the beginning, it was the most difficult, tiring and painful thing I have EVER done. I am also proud that I have kept up the breastfeeding longer than my original goal of six months even despite going back to work (part time) at six weeks. My new goal is 12 months, and I can even see myself extending it a bit longer beyond that. BUT mark my words, the day my son turns one years old, I am going to stop pumping.

Pumping has become my black cloud, my albatross. Though I have a decent pump – it gets the job done and it’s hands free – it’s still a time consuming and tedious process. You have to untangle it, hook it up, make sure you have on the right bra and the right shirt (or no shirt)…Make sure you time it so that you didn’t just breastfeed the baby and you aren’t about to breastfeed him…Don’t forget to lock your doors, and cover your windows (lest someone see you in this highly unattractive, super-unsexy state, straight out of a sci-fi horror film)… Also, don’t take or make any phonecalls, because the bowm-bowm-bowm droning sound will distract both you and the person on the other end. Afterwards, you have to clean all the parts and pieces thoroughly so they’re dry and ready to go when you need to do it all again in a few hours.

Unless I’m missing something (I have the Medela Freestyle hands free pump), it seems to me that pumping technology is pretty antiquated and downright lame. With all of our advances in medicine, science, engineering, etc, how is it that this is still so awkward and clunky? My wish for future breastfeeding mothers is that pumps can be built discreetly into shirts and women can pump silently while conducting board meetings and building bridges.

But I digress – the main upshot is that I’ve been procrastinating big-time. Avoiding the contraption all together. And the result? My reserves in the freezer are dwindling (I have only three servings at present, at one point I had about 20). My physical supply is starting to dry up. Sure, I am somewhat stressed about this but not so much that I can muster any motivation. I have only about a month and a half left and I’m trying to figure out how to get through it. How can I get “pumped”? Pun intended.

I’m not usually a vindictive person, but the only solution I can think of is to plot my revenge. So I am making a list of what I’m going to do with the pump when I’m finished with it. (Mind you, this is an inanimate object and a really annoying one, so please don’t judge me.) I think I might…

Drop kick it to the moon?

Pack it inside 14 boxes and banish it to the darkest corner of our spider-filled basement?

Bury it in a hole out back?

Climb to the top of nearby Hook Mountain and chuck it into the Hudson River?

Run over it on the driveway? Repeatedly?

Fire?

Hammer?

Maybe I’ll just tie it up with a nice red bow and present it to my worst enemy…

Ahhh. I feel better already. In fact, maybe I’ll just hook it up…and see if I can squeeze out a few ounces for the babysitter to use tomorrow…So much for all those other projects I wanted to tackle…Sigh.

 

Pump

How about you? How do you/did you get through the pumping?

Thanks again Jocelyn for agreeing to write a guest post for me :D!

If anyone else is interested in writing for me, please check out this post for more details.