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Intuition—Priceless!

April 11, 2018 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

by Barbara Zehner

School kid playing with Tri Fidget Hand Spinner indoors. and making selfie with smartphone. summer trend of 2017. red hand spinner, fidgeting toy rotating on child’s hand

The old adage is true that a parent knows their child better than anyone else does.

As a first time mom, you get so much advice that you think you are ready for anything your newborn could possibly do. You have hopes and dreams that your child will become a loving, caring, and responsible member of society. You watch your baby develop and thrive, and despite the sleep deprivation and codependent relationship you build, nothing can break your spirit and enthusiasm for raising your child.

That is, until you get a gut feeling something is not quite normal. Having babysat for more than half a dozen kids in my teens, I had run across little tykes with all types of personalities and had adapted to each to meet their needs and keep harmony in the household while they were under my watch. My son was a happy baby but always seemed to want to be part of the action anytime of the day. Getting him to go to sleep at night was an arduous task, but once he was asleep, life was sane for a while. Naps occurred only when he was sick, yet his energy level was higher than that of most children in his age bracket. But I told myself this was normal and kept enjoying the love and chaos that come with having an active child.

Time flies before your eyes, and sooner than you can blink, your baby is up and walking and your environment is now his playground. His curious mind takes him everywhere, and you are doomed to hours of picking up after him or moving things out of his reach before he finds them. As a parent, this is the game you play as you realize how important it is to set boundaries. But you always know you will get a respite at the end of the day when your child runs out of energy and bedtime nears. Unless, of course, your child is like the Energizer Bunny and just keeps going and going and going.

You keep thinking all this boundless energy is normal and tuck away the nagging feeling it isn’t, despite other parents asking you how you manage life without naps and your family telling you that you are an angel for keeping up with your whirlwind child. But as time marches forward and your toddler continues to race through life at breakneck speed, those feelings begin to tell you there may be something more going on here. I asked my husband if he realized our child was “high octane,” but he reassured me he was just being a normal little boy and I was making a mountain out of a molehill.

The “terrible twos” become a memory, and you are now engaged in the life of a three-year-old who is getting bigger, stronger, and louder with each passing day. Sitting still to do a puzzle or listen to a story for more than a minute becomes impossible, and you wonder why other children in your child’s play group are happy to pay attention and engage in these activities while your child is off looking at another toy or trying to climb on the furniture. You begin to realize the only way your son is going to function in the world is if you find out why his energy tank never runs dry.

As I sat in the neurologist’s waiting room, I enjoyed watching my son play with new toys that captured his attention and gave me some time to breathe and prepare to discuss my concerns with the doctor. My son was taken in to see the doctor by himself, and I sat there wondering what was happening to him. I hoped and prayed he was being polite and not telling her the names and colors of all of the Matchbox cars he owned. Then it was my turn to see the doctor, and I hoped her years of experience and medical wisdom would finally reveal an answer.

The doctor took no time in telling me my son was borderline hyperactive (this was before ADHD was the acceptable acronym), and the sooner I came to terms with this, the better my family’s life would be. She flatly stated that I did nothing wrong to cause this condition and I shouldn’t feel guilty about my son’s excessive physical activity. She told me how bright my little boy was, but that I shouldn’t expect him to be a productive participant in our normal world. She outlined the need for me to put him on medication to sedate him, paint his bedroom a dark color, keep his blinds closed day and night, and accept that his existence needs to be dictated by a highly structured and austere environment that will not overstimulate him. She informed me that he would never be mainstreamed in a school setting and I should  prepare myself for a world with extra trials and tribulations at every turn. She politely smiled and showed me the door, and once again, I came face-to-face with my ball of energy running toward me as I emerged from this unforgettable experience.

I finally got an answer, which is what I was looking for, and I respected the doctor’s advice and guidance on my son’s condition. There was no denying that her diagnosis was accurate and was what I had suspected for a long time. But now it was my turn to deal with this realization. Within an hour I became brutally “honest” with myself and decided my family’s course of action in response to this diagnosis. My son was not going to live a medicated life to adapt to what it had in store for him, and he would learn how to live, grow, and persevere in our organized and disciplined world to his full potential.

The adage that a parent knows their child best proved to be correct. My son never dealt with the label society puts on people who are different, because he learned to function appropriately with his parents love’ and guidance and his psychologists’ wisdom. His determination, courage, and strength have guided him through life, and we encouraged him to walk through every door that opened for him. I am happy to say my child graduated summa cum laude from a prestigious college and has worked in nonprofit organizations to help make our world a better place for the past 20 years. He is a happy, high-functioning human being living life to the fullest, and we, his parents, couldn’t be prouder.

 

My Honest Pregnancy Moment: All-Day Sickness

April 10, 2018 by  
Filed under J.Reich

“Morning Sickness” affects many pregnant women in one way or another.

Like so many mothers-to-be, I found “morning sickness” to be poorly named. I felt sick most of my first trimester. I wasn’t throwing up, thankfully, but it was an unrelenting, just queasiness that was hard to push through.

In addition to the stomach-bug-like feeling, I also had a symptom I had never heard of—the feeling of too much spit in my mouth. It was very uncomfortable and distracting. I googled it and found it is a real thing, and even has a real name: Ptyalism. That makes sense, I remember thinking, an unpleasant name for an unpleasant feeling. I found the ptyalism to be more troublesome even than the nausea.

I had a thriving freelance editing business at the time, and like most expectant moms, no time to be sick. So I searched for relief from home remedies, not wanting to take medications.

Here are the ones that helped:

Preggie Pops: These sour fruit-flavored lollipops were a welcome comfort and helped to ease the nausea and spit. For times when I was in a meeting, I would suck on Preggie Pop Drops—same relief sans stick!

 

 

 

 

Sea-Bands:  I had worn these anti-nausea wrist bands on car trips and found them to help. It made sense to try them for morning sickness too, and they did seem to help.

 

 

 

 

Cola syrup: This old-fashioned nausea remedy did help sometimes, and having just a tiny sip seemed healthier to me than drinking a can of Coke!

I was fortunate that my morning sickness went away as suddenly as it came, around week 12. I remember waking up one day and just realizing I felt better!

 

 

About the author: Jennifer Bright Reich is a mom of two and cofounder and CEO of Momosa Publishing LLC, publisher of The Mommy MD Guide to Surviving Morning Sickness and more, in Allentown, PA.

 

 

So Maybe It’s Not Exactly How You Planned

January 28, 2018 by  
Filed under Julie Davidson

By Julie Davidson

When you’re expecting a baby, you have a million decisions to make. And you probably have a good idea of how you’re gonna raise your child. Ideas are good, but they may change.

Before we had our first child, my husband and I had some ideas on what we would do. We thought we’d like to try cloth diapers. But then I realized someone would have to wash all those diapers. There were services we could hire, but for some reason I decided that wouldn’t work either. I think it might have been recalling my mother freely admitting that she stuck us with pins when attempting to get those cloth diapers on. And I wasn’t sure we could replace the pins with duct tape. Honestly, I’m the world’s worst gift wrapper. I couldn’t help but think how the cloth diapers would look like a wad of material on the baby’s bottom. Just couldn’t do it.

My husband thought it would be a good idea to puree the food for the baby. I looked up the definition of puree online. Here’s what I found: “noun. a thick, moist, smooth-textured form of cooked vegetables, fruits, etc., usually made by pressing the pulp through a sieve or by whipping it in a blender.” That sounded like work. I mean for years I’ve seen these jars of baby food with a cute cheeky baby on the label. Just twist, turn, and serve.

One thing we did decide to do was breastfeed. Finally I could use the girls for what they were created for. I figured it would be simple. The baby would be hungry, and I would feed him from my milk stash. Two steps. Easy.

So add breastfeeding to the list of things that I thought I could easily handle. My son was latching on the wrong way. And latching hard. Within 30 minutes of my first attempt, I had a pain running down my neck from my ear to my collarbone. It wasn’t working, and I felt like a failure.

Relief came seven days after our son was born. My sister-in-law came to help. She’s an ob-gyn nurse practitioner. And a lactation consultant. Score!

When she got to the house, she didn’t even unpack her bags. She was on a mission, and within five minutes she had my son latching on one side. Five minutes later, he was on the other side. I was stunned. These were my boobs, but she was getting them to do their thing. Like clockwork. Every four to five hours, she had that kid nursing. Just like that. To this day I call her the “Nipple Whisperer.”

Stick to what you feel is best for your baby. Ask for help. Beg for help. Call your sister-in-law. If you don’t have one, borrow some one else’s.

Does Formula Affect Breast Milk Supply?

January 8, 2018 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

by Jennifer A. Gardner, MD

As a pediatrician, I’m frequently asked if formula affects breast milk supply. This is an important question, because nearly half of all mothers who plan to exclusively breast-feed end up supplementing with formula. Plus, a recent survey1 conducted by store brand formula found that three out of four moms use infant formula at some point during baby’s first year. Additionally, 17 percent of moms planned to wait until their baby was six months old to introduce infant-formula feeding; but only four percent made it that long.

So, does baby formula affect breast milk supply?

The answer, simply put, is yes and no.

The good news is that supplementing will not stop milk production, but it could decrease it. Fortunately, there are many approaches a family can take to minimize the risk of decreasing the mother’s breast milk supply.

First, whenever possible, introduce the bottle only after successful breastfeeding has been established. This avoids nipple confusion and helps ensure a healthy supply of breast milk. Since this strategy isn’t always possible, sometimes supplementing is considered earlier because of an inadequate milk supply.

In this case, supplement with formula only as needed. Your goal to maintain adequate milk supply is to empty the breast with each feed. This means breastfeeding as much as possible and pumping when you do bottle-feed. When you pump and add the breast milk to formula, your baby gets the volume and calories he needs, and you get the signal to keep producing milk!

A baby must work harder when breastfeeding versus bottle-feeding. You can use a special nipple that makes the baby work harder so she doesn’t associate bottle-feeding with easier feeding!

In the end, the decision to supplement or when to supplement is a very personal one. You must weigh the benefits of formula with the potential for decreased milk production. The survey also discovered that 35 percent of moms chose to feed their baby with infant formula so they could share the feeding responsibilities for baby with their spouse. While this decision may be difficult, there are no right or wrong decisions. What we know is that all babies do best when the mother is relaxed and confident with feedings. If supplementing with formula reduces your stress level, this may help with breast milk production.

Whether moms choose to breastfeed, formula-feed, or use some combination of both, parents should feel confident in their decision. In fact, did you know that all infant formulas sold in the United States must meet the same FDA standards and offer complete nutrition for baby? That means even cost-saving store brand formula is nutritionally comparable to nationally advertised brands.

And remember to give yourself credit. I tell my patients that any amount of breast milk is beneficial to your baby. There’s never room for guilt in the feeding relationship.

About the author: Jennifer A Gardner, MD, is a mom of a three-year-old son, a pediatrician, and the founder of an online child wellness and weight management company, HealthyKidsCompany.com, in Washington, DC.

My Feeding Prescription

January 5, 2018 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

by Jennifer A. Gardner, MD

One day, I entered an exam room to find a new mom quietly sobbing into a tissue as she held her newborn baby. I sat down next to the mom, and we began to talk about her difficulty breastfeeding. The new mom tearfully told me that latching on was a challenge, and her milk supply was suffering.

The mom had expected breast feeding to be natural and easy. But even after lactation consultants and multiple doctor visits, she felt frustrated, guilty, and pressured. She felt tons of pressure—from her family and even from her husband to make breastfeeding work and not to supplement.

As she cried, I knew that I was observing the culmination of so many tumultuous emotions and deeply entrenched expectations. Reality was not meeting expectations.

I offered the mom reassurance. I explained that we mothers are told that breast is best and natural. But it doesn’t always come easy!

After I could tell the mom felt a bit unconvinced, I moved on to finding a solution. I’ve learned in my practice that in cases like this, the best thing to do is what works.

I knew that if this mom needed to supplement with infant formula while we worked on increasing her supply then that’s what would be best for her and the baby.

I gently explained this to her. But still the mom was worried. She agreed that supplementing with infant formula was best for her baby—and for her. But she didn’t believe that her family would accept this advice.

So together, we hatched a plan. I wrote her a prescription to supplement with a bottle—filled with either breast milk or formula.

With relief, and a gentle smile, the mom agreed to give it a try. And out came my prescription pad!

I asked the mom to keep me posted on her progress. She told me that her milk supply steadily increased over the next few weeks. Plus, she said that she felt more confident and relaxed.

The new mom and I even laughed when I told her breast is best, but sometimes a bottle (breast milk or baby formula) can be a girl’s best friend!

Many new moms find breastfeeding to be a challenge. Store brand formula conducted Baby’s First Year[1] survey earlier this year and found more than half of moms experience issues when it comes to breastfeeding baby, with low breast milk supply being the top concern. The new trend of “fed is best” echoes that whether moms choose to breastfeed, formula-feed, or use some combination of both, parents should feel confident in their decision. In fact, did you know that all infant formulas sold in the United States must meet the same FDA standards and offer complete nutrition for baby? That means even cost-saving store brand formula is nutritionally comparable to nationally advertised brands.

The survey also found that sometimes the pressure for mom to breastfeed is too much. One out of three moms experienced situations where they felt the need to justify to others why they use infant formula to feed baby. Additionally, one out of 10 new moms lied about breastfeeding baby to avoid criticism from family and friends.

The fact is that nowadays three out of four moms use infant formula during their baby’s first year. And that is perfectly ok! Moms need to do what is right for their baby and for themselves.

About the author: Jennifer A Gardner, MD, is a mom of a three-year-old son, a pediatrician, and the founder of an online child wellness and weight management company, HealthyKidsCompany.com, in Washington, DC.

 

[1] Store brand formula Baby’s First Year survey was conducted between February 13-20, 2017, among 2,000 nationally representative Americans between the ages of 18 and 65 who currently have a child between the ages of one and three, using an email invitation and an online survey.  Margin of error is +/- 3 percent.

New Year Resolutions for People with Food and Latex Allergies

January 3, 2018 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

New Year Allergyby Sonal R. Patel, M.D., M.S.

For many, January is a time to review the past year and set goals for what to accomplish in the coming months. For families with life-threatening allergies, this review may also include strategies to better prepare for an anaphylactic emergency.

“After the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s important to circle back with family and review the year—celebrate what worked, and modify what didn’t,” says Tonya Winders, president and CEO of Allergy & Asthma Network, the leading patient education and advocacy organization for people with asthma and allergies. “Use this opportunity to recharge the family’s understanding about allergies and how best to manage them.”

The Network suggests the following New Year’s resolutions for managing life-threatening allergies:

Replace fear with facts. Schedule an appointment with your allergist to review your food or latex allergy diagnosis: Do you know exactly what you are allergic to? Is it time for new testing? What is working or not working in your prevention program? Make a list of questions in advance and be sure to include food-allergic children in the conversation. Help them understand how to prevent exposure and respond to symptoms.

Practice prevention and build confidence. Educate your kids by reading food labels with them, both at home and the grocery store. Focus on words related to their specific allergies. In addition, talk with them about situations they find difficult to handle, such as being offered snacks that may contain allergens at school or parties; role-play to help them build confidence. Always be prepared for accidental ingestions.

Organize medications. With life-threatening food, latex, or other allergies, it’s important to carry two epinephrine auto-injectors with you everywhere, every day. Learn when an epinephrine auto-injector may be indicated and how it can be properly used and stored. Devise convenient and creative ways to keep them close at hand. Check expiration dates on your devices and put renewal reminders on your calendar. Make sure school forms are completed.

Build a safety net of family and caregivers who understand. Allergy & Asthma Network offers free resources to share with family and friends. Visit AllergyAsthmaNetwork.org for a wide range of information. Download or call 800-878-4403 for Understanding Anaphylaxis, Living Confidently with Food Allergy, or Living with Latex Allergy, free guides to help you manage your condition.

Increase community awareness: Become an advocate. States and towns across the country are passing laws and implementing new strategies for food and latex allergy safety in schools, healthcare facilities, restaurants, and more.

With some creative thinking, patients and families with life-threatening food and latex allergies can be more aware and prepared in 2018.

Allergic to Christmas?

December 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

by Sonal R. Patel, M.D., M.S.

 

’Tis the season for Christmas trees, poinsettias, mistletoe, and scented candles. But if your nose looks like Rudolph’s, it’s a little hard to feel jolly. Although allergies typically peak in the spring and fall, the holidays may surprise sensitive sufferers with a gift of unexpected triggers. Here are some common holiday allergens/triggers, along with some advice to help you stay merry and healthy—rather than sneezing, coughing, and scratching—during the holiday season.

 

  1. Trigger: Christmas Trees

Mold is the biggest problem with live Christmas trees. Often, they are cut in advance and kept in humid environments, promoting mold spore growth. Within just two weeks of bringing a tree into your home, indoor mold counts can increase significantly, according to one study.

The sap contains terpene and other substances that can irritate skin and mucous membranes; plus, pollen stuck to the tree may be released inside and lead to reactions. Given this, you might think an artificial version is better, but they could harbor dust and mold from their time in storage, also triggering allergies.

Precautions: Slip on gloves and wear long sleeves when handling your fresh tree to avoid the sap coming into contact with your skin. Before schlepping your tree inside, give it a good shake (or a blast with a leaf blower) and spray it down with a garden hose (especially the trunk) to help remove some of the pollen and mold. Then sit the stump in a bucket of water and let the tree dry for a few days on a covered porch or in a garage. For an artificial tree, give it a good wipe-down before decorating with lights and ornaments. Follow the package directions carefully when spraying artificial snow or flocking. Inhaling these sprays can irritate your lungs and trigger asthma symptoms (in my opinion, it’s better to avoid these products altogether).

 

  1. Trigger: Foods

The most common food allergens are milk, eggs, soy, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, and wheat. Of those, peanuts and tree nuts will most often make it into holiday dishes without people knowing, and they have the potential to cause severe reactions.

Precautions: It’s a good idea to let your holiday host know about your food allergies; it’s important to ask about the ingredients in each dish; and it’s very nice to volunteer to bring something that’s safe for you and shareable with others. But what’s crucial is to be prepared with an epinephrine auto-injector (EpiPen), an emergency dose of antihistamine, and an inhaler if you have asthma. Learn which foods and recipes are unexpected sources of allergens at FoodAllergy.org and AAAAI.org.

 

  1. Trigger: Cocktails (Sulfites)

You raise a glass to your loved ones, your boss and colleagues, friends and neighbors, and even the strangers sitting next to you at a bar. There’s lots of celebrating at this time of year, but be mindful of what you’re using to toast. Some people may experience mild wheezing or other symptoms from the sulfites in wine, for example, and certain alcoholic beverages contain major food allergens.

Precautions: There aren’t good tests for sulfite sensitivity, but your reaction to dried fruit—high in this sulfur-based preservative—could be an indicator. Pay attention if you have asthma, as sulfites can trigger symptoms. Maraschino cherries contain small amounts of sulfites as well. Stick with organic wine for a sulfite-free sip. Other triggers to be aware of: Tree nuts may be found in specialty beers, particularly seasonal ales; milk is in Irish cream and white chocolate liqueurs; and egg whites may be used to add froth to specialty drinks.

 

  1. Trigger: Travel

Staying in a hotel for the holidays may be wonderful, but not if you have allergies. Pillows and bedding can harbor a lot of dust mites. You may have difficulties with some of the detergents they use as well. If you will be staying with family, their pets may trigger your symptoms.

Precautions: Consider bringing your own pillow, or at least a dust mite cover for the pillow you’ll be using. Also make sure you get a nonsmoking room. If you’re allergic to your family’s pet, take your medicines with you. If possible, avoid petting the animal, and wash your hands after direct contact.

 

Other Holiday Triggers

Stress: Be aware that stress can lead to asthma attacks. Chemicals released by the body during stressful times can cause the muscles around your airways to tighten, making it difficult to breathe.

  • Poinsettias: This festive plant is a member of the rubber tree family and contains compounds similar to those found in latex, so stay away if you have a latex allergy. Certain groups of people—such as healthcare workers and people with spina bifida who have had numerous surgeries—are more likely to be allergic to latex. One study showed that 40 percent of latex-allergic individuals were also allergic to poinsettias.

 

The key is to be prepared and plan ahead. Consult with your doctor in advance.

http://acaai.org/locate-an-allergist

Preserve Precious Breastmilk

December 4, 2017 by  
Filed under R.McAllister

by Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH

When my boys were babies, I was determined to breastfeed them. I knew that it would help boost their immunity and protect their teeth from cavities. To be honest, breastfeeding also saved me time and money.

I didn’t have lengthy maternity leaves, and when I went back to work, I wanted to continue to nurse my babies. This meant I had to pump and store my breastmilk.

Any woman who’s pumped will tell you, breastmilk is more precious than gold. It’s a time-consuming process. I was always careful to collect every single drop of that “liquid gold,” pour it into bags, and freeze it for safe keeping.

Then when I was ready to feed my babies, I warmed the breastmilk in bottles in a pan of water on the stove—the conventional method at the time. Little did I know I was overheating and damaging the milk.

Breastmilk is such a complex, amazing substance that it’s sometimes called “miracle milk.” It’s the perfect blend of proteins, essential fats, enzymes, and hormones. It offers nourishment, of course, and it also has antioxidant, antibacterial, prebiotic, probiotic, and immune-boosting properties.

When we feed our babies breast milk via the intended “delivery device”—Mom!—it’s perfectly fresh and at the ideal temperature. But like many other foods, breast milk isn’t shelf stable. If you let it sit out at room temperature, bacteria quickly multiply

Once breast milk is expressed, you should use it, refrigerate it, or freeze it within four hours. This slows the growth of bacteria, protecting and preserving the milk. It’s safe to store breastmilk in the fridge for a few days or in the back of a deep freezer for up to a year. Label each bag with the date so you know which one to use first.

Of course, now that you’ve refrigerated or frozen the milk, you need to warm it back up when you’re ready to feed it to your baby. Babies’ milk preferences are a lot like Goldilock’s choices: They don’t like it too cold or too hot. They like it just right: at body temperature, 98.6° degrees Fahrenheit. If the milk is too cold, it can disrupt your baby’s digestion and contribute to colic. If the milk is too hot, it can burn your baby’s mouth and degrade the nutrients in the milk.

When you warm breastmilk, it’s important to warm the milk evenly. A new breast milk bottle by nanobebe (link) has a concave shape bio-medically engineered to spread the milk into a thin layer, which warms at faster rates to protect nutrient damage while providing quick access to nutrition when baby is hungry.

Once the milk is warm, test the temperature by placing a few drops on the inside of your wrist. Then sit back, hold your baby in your arms, and enjoy one of the most beautiful, rewarding experiences that life has to offer—feeding your baby.

About the author: Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH, is a mom of three sons, a family physician, and coauthor of The Mommy MD Guide to Your Baby’s First Year, in Lexington, KY.

Unconfusing Nipple Confusion

December 4, 2017 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

by Michelle Davis-Dash, MD

Breastfeeding is not always beautiful, fun, and easy. To be honest, sometimes it can be downright ugly and hard. There’s one important thing to remember: You are not alone.

One of the frustrations that breastfeeding mothers encounter is method of feeding. In the beginning, there’s such a sense of accomplishment putting baby to breast and no longer feeling the pain and dread that was felt in the beginning. A new mom feels a sense of pride seeing her dear baby satiated by nursing at her breast and the sweet satisfied “milk coma” that comes after.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s breastfeeding report card (cdc.gov/brestfeedingreport), more than 80 percent of new moms try breastfeeding. Despite the many benefits of breastfeeding, most moms, for various professional and personal reasons, introduce a bottle at some point. Many babies resist this change. It’s a “no go.” The new moms panic, thinking, “My baby is going to starve. I’ll never be able to leave the house because I have to be here to feed my baby.”

Rest assured, there is hope. When a baby refuses to accept a bottle, it’s called “nipple confusion.” With some diligence, patience, time, and simple solutions, you can unconfuse your baby. Here are some ideas to try:

Before you try to give your baby a bottle, make sure she/he is hungry. Sometimes a baby wants to suckle for comfort, and that’s not the time to try to introduce the bottle. Instead, try switching to a bottle during a breastfeeding session. That way, if it doesn’t go well, you can put baby back on the breast and try switching to a bottle again later.

  • For infants from birth to two months old, a bottle may not be your best option to feed pumped breastmilk. Instead, you can use a plastic-tipped spoon, a medicine dropper, or a lipped cup.
  • A new breast milk bottle by nanobebe (link) is receiving some strong buzz (link to the bump article naming nanobebe the best bottle for breastfed babies). Unlike the uniform baby bottle shape, the nanobebe breastmilk bottle has a (breast like) ergonomic shape to which the baby is meant to instinctively connect. The concave shape was bio medically engineered to spreads the milk into a thin layer which warms at faster rates to protect nutrient damage while providing quick access to nutrition when baby is crying and hungry (a need fulfillment baby has grown accustomed to while breastfeeding).
  • Pump often. When you are first transitioning your baby to a bottle, you might have to do what is called “triple” feeding: a combination of nursing, bottle feeding, and pumping. You’ll have more than enough milk supply to experiment with different feeding techniques and know that you’re providing adequate nutrition.
  • If you’re concerned that your baby isn’t getting enough milk see your pediatrician immediately. Your baby’s doctor will monitor her developmental progress, tracking growth parameters and troubleshooting before things get serious, which, for an infant, can sometimes happen in a matter of hours to days. If your pediatrician is not well versed on breastfeeding, find one that is.
  • Last, but not least, relax. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Mothering is hard enough without piling more stress on yourself. You’re doing one of the most noble things imaginable—feeding your baby breast milk–and you are rocking it! Let yourself be proud of yourself!
About the author: Michelle Davis-Dash, MD is a mom of a son and a daughter, a board-certified pediatrician with more than 10 years of clinical experience, and a medical contributor to the Mommy MD Guides, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Building Resilience in the Face of Tragedy

October 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

by Monica Lee, MD

 

Being told by a neurologist that your son has Autism Spectrum Disorder is more than hard; it is absolutely devastating. Dreams of grandchildren and attending his class of 2034 graduation at my alma mater no longer seemed reachable. The diagnosis was made when he was 2 1/2 years old. At the time, we didn’t really know what it meant. I also didn’t have time to deal with my feelings then. As a doctor, I’m trained to just “deal with it” no matter how tough a situation gets. I also had other personal and professional issues taking up my mental bandwidth at the time. We ended up getting two more consults, one from a psychologist at the Regional Center and one from another neurologist.

 

I never dealt with the grief process, and as a result, I ended up in a therapist’s office three years later. I was told I have been persistently grieving and letting the diagnosis permeate other aspects of my life. It was decreasing my confidence in areas where I used to have the utmost confidence. Apparently, I held on to feelings of guilt and inferiority from having a son with autism and somehow felt apologetic for it all the time. It wasn’t until I started to feel more compassion toward myself and to divest myself of fault that I started to feel better.

 

Sheryl Sandberg’s book Option B has helped me understand this as she writes about grieving for her husband, who passed away unexpectedly in his midforties, leaving her with two young children. She talks about avoiding the 3 Ps of grief:

  1. Personalization: the belief that we are at fault
  2. Pervasiveness: the belief that an event will affect all areas of our life
  3. Permanence: the belief that the aftershocks of the event will last forever

We build resilience by avoiding the 3 Ps. She says, “Resilience comes from deep within us and from support outside us. It comes from gratitude for what’s good in our lives and from leaning into the suck.…We all live some form of Option B.” We have all been affected by some sort of loss or tragedy: cancer, job loss, divorce, the death of a loved one. The question is how we can make the best of it. The quote of hers that I found most profound and that I think of almost every day is: “Option A is not available, so let’s kick the shit out of Option B.”

 

And so we are persisting, getting our son the best ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy we can find and mainstreaming him in school with a one-on-one aide whom we fought hard for during the IEP. We have worked with the school system, advocates, ABA therapists, and speech therapists for the best possible situation to meet our son’s needs. I am dialing back on work to be more mentally and physically present for him. Most of all, I am starting to believe it is not my fault, it will not affect all areas of my life, and I will not be grieving forever. I have learned to be grateful for every milestone he makes, every smile and giggle, every kiss and hug. To quote Cheryl Strayed, “You don’t have a right to the cards you believe you should have been dealt. You have an obligation to play the hell out of the ones you’re holding.”

 

about the author: Monica Lee, MD, is a mom of one son and an ob-gyn in the LA metro area.

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