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My Breastfeeding Turning Point

June 15, 2017 by  
Filed under J.Reich

My mom with my son Tyler

My mom with my son Tyler

I recently came across a blog on the Honest Company’s site about  Honest Moments. That got me thinking: What are MY parenting honest moments? I can honestly say I have had lots of them! Here’s one of my favorites…

My mom had a theory. She and I were always very close. My mom and I were dear friends who had the tremendous fortune to be mother and daughter. My mom attributed this to the fact that she nursed me.

Because of this, I was determined to nurse my son. Little did I know how hard that resolve would be tested!

My son started to cry the moment he was born. He cried—screamed really—the entire time we were in the hospital. At times, I wondered if the nurses might come take him away! I tried so hard to nurse, but it was challenging and painful.

I was determined to nurse, so I kept trying. And he kept crying—most of his waking hours. Nursing soothed him a bit, as did walking around carrying him in my arms. So I did both, for hours on end.

That ironically made nursing even harder! My nipples got sore and cracked, and I developed mastitis. In desperation, when my son was around a week old, I called my sister, whose children were older than mine.

“Keep trying,” she advised. “I promise, if you stick with it, in a week or two, he will become so comfortable nursing he’ll be hanging off of you like a little monkey.”

I found that extremely hard to believe, but the image amused me at least. The promise of that gave me the strength to stick with it.

My greatest fear was that my son was crying because he was starving. He was nursing often, but was he actually getting any milk? Nursing wasn’t working well for us, and I was almost ready to quit.

The hospital had given me the name and phone number for a local lactation consultant. I called and set up an appointment for her to come to my house.

When the lactation consultant arrived the next day, it was like a breath of fresh air. She was warm, comforting, confident. She talked to me for a few minutes and asked me some questions.

And then she did something completely unexpected.  She weighed my son. Then she had me nurse him. And then she weighed him again! Voila! He weighed more! That was the proof I needed that nursing was working, he was getting milk. I knew that I could do this.

Shortly after that aha moment, nursing clicked for us. I felt so much better, and my baby stopped crying quite so much. I nursed him for over a year—until I got pregnant with his brother.

He took to nursing right away. I nursed him for almost two years. I have the wonderful memory that the last time I ever nursed a baby was on vacation at Walt Disney World. Knowing I’d have that treasured memory made it easier to wean my youngest for good.

About the author: Jennifer Bright Reich is cofounder of Momosa Publishing LLC, publisher of the Mommy MD Guides books, featuring tips that doctors who are also mothers use for their own families—and more. She lives with her two sons in Allentown, PA. (please link to www.mommymdguides.com)

Why are we painting our pumpkins teal?

October 17, 2016 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

By Mommy MD Guide Jeannette Gonzalez Simon, DO

teal-pumpkinHalloween is a great time of year.  Kids get so excited about dressing in their costumes, going to a Halloween party, marching in their school Halloween parade and eating Halloween candy.  But what about the kids who can’t eat Halloween candy.  What about them?  Many kids have to abstain from trick-or-treating because they cannot eat the candy safely.  It can be for a variety of reasons.  They may suffer from celiac disease, diabetes, a nut allergy, other food allergies and intolerances or they may need to follow a special diet. Why should these children not be able to enjoy the festivities?

For many years, some parents kept their children from this celebrating this tradition to protect them from a possible anaphylactic reaction or severe allergic reaction.  Then the campaign called #THETEALPUMPKINPROJECT started.

Last year, I saw a few Teal pumpkins painted in my neighborhood.  It piqued everyone’s curiosity. Many just thought “oh how pretty.”  But what is the purpose?  In 2014 the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE)  launched a national campaign called the Teal Pumpkin Project™.  The Teal Pumpkin Project raises awareness of food allergies and promotes inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season.  This nationwide movement offers an alternative for kids with food allergies, as well as other children for whom candy is not an option. It keeps Halloween a fun, positive experience for all!

It seems a daunting task at first.  Many say, “I don’t want to be the house not giving out candy or chocolate, the kids will hate us and egg our front door!”  In reality there are many really cool fun non-food items that you can hand out.  Kids would love to get glow sticks or glow bracelets.  They will undoubtedly put them on immediately and use them the rest of the night.  Bouncy balls, stickers, tattoos are all great options.  You can find a list of recommended non-gift treats here at FARE’s website.

To let the neighborhood now that you are participating in this event you can paint your pumpkin teal and also put up one of the FAREs downloadable signs on your window or front door. And YES, you can still give out candy if you choose too.

For a Successful School Year: Get Enough Fluids

September 21, 2016 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

by Mommy MD Guide Ayala Laufer-Cahana, MD

Is the water bottle your constant companion, or are you the type that trusts we can do just fine in between hydration opportunities? Does hydration status really matter all that much?

Clearly, dehydration is an unhealthy, dangerous state. Even mild dehydration – loss of just 2 percent of body weight in water – makes us less alert, affects our well-being, and of course makes us feel thirsty. But going without water for just a few hours hasn’t been studied much up until now.

4 HOURS WITHOUT WATER

A new study, led by David Benton, in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, recruited 101 undergraduate students, aged 18-30 years, and put them in a warm (86 °F, 30 °C) room for 4 hours, during which they performed cognitive tests.

Half the students got a 5oz drink of water 90 and 180 minutes into the experiment.

The students were not aware that what was tested was the effect of hydration on cognition – they were told that the experiment was about the effects of heat. The tests, which were repeated 3 times throughout the 4-hour study, included memory recall quizzes — in which the students were given lists of words, and asked to recall as many as they could remember immediately after, and then again 20 minutes later — attention tests and subjective mood scores.

Students that didn’t drink water forgot more words in both the immediate and delayed memory recall test, and had poorer attention scores. The students who got some water also reported less anxiety at the end of the test.

The 26 men and 24 women who had no water for 4 hours lost on average 0.72 percent body weight, but at 90 minutes into the experiment the participants lost just 0.22 percent body weight, which is very little. Nevertheless, memory was already affected.

IS YOUR KID DRINKING ENOUGH WATER AT SCHOOL?

This experiment suggests that even small changes in hydration can make a difference. Mood and alertness are the first to be affected when our body needs food and drink, and while mild changes in body fluids certainly don’t put us in danger of dropping blood pressure or shutting off our kidneys, proper hydration can help a student to perform at his best. Kids also lose a larger proportion of their water due to their smaller size and higher activity levels. The authors cite a few studies that prove that as a first-grader, a drink can help you think, and that 7-9 year olds that got an additional drinkperformed better on visual attention tasks.

As the school year starts, giving kids access to good drinking water, and reminding them to take that drink is a really simple way to make sure studying’s a little bit easier and happier. Hydration affects mood and if we can buy a little peace of mind with a glass of water lets do it.

By federal law, free drinking water has to be available to students during school meals. In between, kids should have access to plain water throughput the day, but policies change state-to-state and district-to-district.

Does your school have functioning water fountains? Unfortunately, due to old pipessome school fountains have been found to dispense water with unsafe lead levels.

So, as the school and academic year commence, encourage kids to pay attention to hydration, check that they have access to water that has been tested, and set an example by drinking enough yourself.

To a happy and healthy school year!

Dr. Ayala

Signs Your Child May Need “Sleep Training” {aka Parent Training}

August 14, 2016 by  
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by Mommy MD Guide Nilong Parikh Vyas, MD, MPH

Signs Your Child May Need Sleep Training: A Pediatrician’s Tale

Having a baby was one of the most wonderful, emotionally satisfying and beautiful things that has ever happened to me. After the initial exhilaration wore off and we finally got to take our bundle of joy home, it suddenly hit us: now what do we do? The reality was that – as amazing as it all was – I had no idea what to do. Combine that with the exhaustion from lack of sleep and, well, it was a bit overwhelming. Then came all the well intended advice from friends and family…

“You will be so exhausted but because you love your baby so much, you’ll somehow get through it.”

“You will want to hold that baby in your arms all day, everyday, and never put him down,”

“It’s the best thing that has ever happened to you so just deal with all the hard stuff!”

“You can sleep, shower and eat – when the baby sleeps.”

Granted, some of those things turned out to be true, but for me it was hard. Really, REALLY hard. I was not just physically exhausted but emotionally as well. I loved this baby; I really wanted this baby. I wanted to spend every waking moment with this baby, but wait … did I really? I was beyond tired, and it proved to be much more difficult than I expected. I thought that I was well-qualified for motherhood because I had loved (and was good at) all my baby-sitting jobs growing up. Moreover, I was a trained pediatrician. But I quickly realized that neither the universe nor pediatric residency prepared me for the hardest job of them all: motherhood.

My bundle of joy was 4 months old, super cranky and so was the rest of my family. He was cranky when I held him and even crankier when I put him down. He would fall asleep in my arms, but as soon as I would put him down, he would wake up, cry, and the process would start all over again. I would get him to sleep, walk out of the room, the floorboards would creak and he would be up again. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

I had to do something for the sake of my child and my own sanity…

The Solution: Sleep Training (aka Parent Training)

The one common thread through all the books I read on the topic of sleep was that I needed to follow my baby’s cues and let him guide me (instead of the other way around). I had to figure out what he was trying to tell me that I couldn’t hear, couldn’t judge or wasn’t listening to properly. As I watched him more closely, I noticed a pattern emerging. I monitored his sleep cues, as well as his hunger cues, trying my best not to confuse the two. I noticed that when I followed his sleepy cues, he would sleep. When I followed his hunger cues (and fed him only when I saw those), he ate better, which led him to sleep better, which led him to be happier. A less cranky baby led to a less cranky mommy. Common sense, right? But oh so hard to decipher when you’re in the thick of infant sleep deprivation, adjusting to motherhood and possibly returning to work on top of it all.

As I made this change, my son’s sleep cycles and feeding cycles became more predictable and so did my own life. Granted, I had many friends and family that told me they were “anti-schedule.” They said things like, “let the baby decide when he’s hungry and sleepy, and do not put him on a schedule. Let him sleep when he wants to and feed when he wants to.” Was putting him on a “schedule” going against nature and doing something wrong for my baby?

I soon realized that I was indeed following nature (my baby’s cues), and a schedule was emerging on its own, with only a minimal amount of input from me. This wasn’t MY schedule; it was my baby’s schedule. Then, I knew with confidence that I was doing the right thing. Not only did I notice a palpable increase in both mine and my baby’s overall happiness, I also noticed significant jumps in his development. I had the baby that everyone noted “you are so lucky to have such a sweet, happy and alert baby. He is so easy but wait until you have the next one!” Well, guess what? I did have that next one, and I put the same principles into play. And what do you know? I got really lucky. TWICE!!

Note to all: luck had nothing to do with it!

So What Is Involved With Sleep Training?

Many people think that sleep training is harmful to your child, that it involves leaving your child to cry for hours on end and that it’s akin to cruel and unusual punishment. What terrible parent would have a baby just to torment that child into fitting into their lifestyle and schedule? NO ONE!!

Sleep training is not the best term. It should more appropriately be called sleep adjustment, sleep tolerance, sleep associations, or my personal favorite: Parent Training. Just call it anything BUT sleep training. Parent training means that you are training yourself, as a parent, to learn what the baby is trying to tell you. In fact, you don’t have to do any of the hard work: just figure out your baby’s cues, and they will lead you. If you do that, the rest is easy and falls into place. It’s a matter of assessing his/her needs and putting in the necessary steps to fulfill those needs. In the process, he learns to soothe himself. You have to establish routine and consistency, and everyone can at least agree that a child needs that to grow and meet their milestones to reach their full potential.

If a child is not well-rested, it can lead to numerous problems throughout his lifetime. In the short term, sleep deprived children can be slow to meet developmental milestones. Of course kids will ultimately learn to walk, talk, read and write, but it’s more likely to happen readily and without much challenge if the child has had adequate sleep. A well-rested child is emotionally stable, more capable of dealing with the world around her and more willingly redirected. Lastly,a well-rested child yields a well-rested adult, which in turn allows you to be at your best when interacting with your child.

So how do you know if your family may benefit from parent training?

What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation?

  • Your child usually cries when you put them down to sleep
  • You have to lay with your baby for them to fall asleep
  • Your child falls asleep every time they are in the car
  • She is difficult to soothe and put to sleep
  • She is a perpetual ‘catnapper’
  • Multiple things have to be done to get her to sleep including continuous rocking, feeding, bouncing, walking, etc
  • Your child will fall asleep when you are holding her and wake moments after she is put down, even when you thought she was ‘fast asleep’
  • She cries even when you are rocking her
  • She takes longer and longer to fall asleep in your arms. This is mostly because children get distrustful when they fall asleep one place and wake up in another. Imagine if you fell asleep on the sofa and ended up in your bed – it would be very confusing for you! For the child, falling asleep in your arms then waking in their crib is more than a little disconcerting
  • If your child has been deemed ‘very active, hyper, can’t stop, always on the go, and doesn’t need much sleep’. Hint: ALL children need sleep and plenty of it

If you said yes to any of the above statements, it’s likely that your child suffers from sleep deprivation. It is one thing if you want to go to sleep with your child at 7:00 pm and want to lay with them in their bed, but if you are doing it because you have to – because it’s the only way they will get to sleep – then it’s a problem.

Every new parent wants to rock their child and have them fall asleep on their chest; that is the most precious feeling in the world. It is an entirely different story when that HAS to be the norm, rather than it being a special occasion. Everyone in the household needs good, quality sleep. Period. End of story. And it’s not great if it only happens occasionally; it NEEDS to happen Every.Single.Night!

If you rock or nurse your child to sleep and they stay asleep through the night, then there is no need to change a thing. If your child is happy, and you are happy, I’m happy. A lot of moms say “my baby only wakes up, feeds and goes right back to sleep, we don’t have any sleep problems at all.” That may be okay for you, and it seems to be okay for the baby. But while she is feeding, her brain is working, telling the organs to start working. The stomach is working, the gut is working … the pancreas, liver and kidneys, all working to process that meal she has in the middle of the night. That means her body is not resting, her organs are not regenerating and healing themselves as they are required to do during sleep. And even though mothers say they are sleeping through their infants nursing all night, there is a part of your brain that is awake throughout the process because you need to know at all times where you are in relation to your baby and where your baby is in relation to you. You are not going into a deep slumber as you should to regenerate yourself. But again, if you are happy and your baby is happy, I’m happy. I am mainly advising that if you wish for your child to sleep through the night and it’s developmentally safe and appropriate, it is indeed possible.

Preventing the Sleep Deprived Child

To prevent a sleep deprived child, parents and caregivers should follow these guidelines:

  • DO put your child to sleep following her natural sleep cues
  • DO put her to sleep drowsy but awake
  • DO maintain consistency and sense of routine as children thrive and depend on this
  • DO what feels right for you and your family and DO trust your gut
  • DO NOT let your baby fall asleep in one place and then move her somewhere else
  • DO NOT turn on TV or engage her at night if she wakes up
  • DO NOT think that this is just a phase and they will eventually become good sleepers. Remember, good sleepers as infants make good sleepers as adults
  • EVERY CHILD CAN AND SHOULD SLEEP WELL

The Ikea Effect of Cooking

August 6, 2016 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

by Mommy MD Guide Ayala Laufer-Cahana, MDIKEA

You’re never too young — or too old — to start cooking; Standing on a stool my kids barely reached the faucet when they started. Our first kitchen adventure involved making a good green salad, and included the basics of how to wash and dry lettuce, and the simple principles of mixing a good salad dressing. The second lesson’s product was a nice bowl of lightly salted edamame in their shell, which my kids still think of as “addictive food.”

We didn’t get into brownies and cupcakes until much later. I figured that creating a dish makes its creator treasure it, and why waste a lesson of love on brownies, which any kid’s bound to fancy anyway.

In his book The Upside of Irrationality Dan Ariely, professor of behavioral economics, devotes a chapter to the well know phenomenon of falling in love with the things we make, and the irrational value we attribute to the objects we had a more intimate relationship with. Ariely titles the chapter “the IKEA effect”— the Swedish maker’s assemble-it-yourself shelf Ariely labored over for hours somehow has a special place in his heart, and Ariely investigates why it’s so.

Through a series of experiments, involving the creation of origami animals, Lego patterns, and real-life examples of successful and unsuccessful businesses, Ariely comes to several conclusions regarding the evident connection between labor and love:

  • Putting effort into an object changes how we feel about it — we value the things we labor over• The harder we work on something, the more we love it
  • We’re so invested in the things we labored over, and value them so much, that we assume others share our (biased) overvaluation of our creation
  • Although working hard on a task makes us love it more, not completing the task is a deal breaker. We have no attachment to tasks we failed at or failed to complete.

Interestingly, Ariely also shows that both people and animals would rather earn their keep and work for their food. Even mice seem not to value free meals, at least not on a regular basis.

KIDS IN THE KITCHEN

The lessons above are valuable and applicable to many aspects of life: I think “the IKEA effect” chapter (the whole book in fact) has lessons for any employer or employee seeking greater work productivity and satisfaction, and for any parent contemplating showing photos of his kids to a stranger (no, he doesn’t think your kids are the cutest — he couldn’t care less).

But back to kids in the kitchen. Learning how to cook is a valuable life skill that will not only enable kids to eat healthier — no matter what you make at home it will usually be healthier than the bought version — but can also be a great tool in directing their preferences toward those foods you’d like them to eat more of, namely, fruits and veggies.

Ariely’s lesson also made me think of the importance of giving kids a task they can complete. Being responsible for just one small step in a complicated dish would result in much less creator’s pride than being able to claim the creation from start to finish as your work. So selecting recipes that are of just the right technical difficulty — challenging, but not too hard for a kid to complete — is the name of the game.

As time went by we moved to things like potato gnocchi from scratch. I wasn’t sure my kids would be able to create dumplings that hold up in the boiling water on their first try — I had many less than stellar attempts at this dish before I sort of mastered it — but beginners luck, or maybe I can take some credit as the instructor, theirs turned out incredible and light-as-a-clouds.

Ariely wrote nothing about clean-up — it doesn’t, unfortunately, reward one the way cooking and serving your handiwork does. For cleanup to be pleasurable the best tricks, I think, are joint effort and/or some good music.

I’d love to hear about your adventures in the kitchen —  as a kid or with them.

Dr. Ayala

“Learning how to cook is a valuable life skill that will enable kids to eat healthier”

The Downside of Gluten-freeing Your Kids

July 18, 2016 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

by Mommy MD Guide Ayala Laufer-Cahana, MD

Gluten FreeThe gluten-free food industry has seen tremendous growth, and while celiac disease – which requires lifelong complete avoidance of gluten – is also on the rise, consumers who do not have celiac or any other medical reason to avoid gluten are the main engine propelling the gluten-free boom.

Why do they do this, and is this a healthy trend?

Norelle Reilly, gastroenterologist and director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Medical Center, in a commentary in the Journal of Pediatrics, cites a 2015 survey of 1500 American adults. “No reason” is the most common reason for going gluten free – 35 percent of those surveyed explained their choice just so. 26 percent choose gluten-free food because they think it’s a healthier option, and 19 percent perceive it as better for digestive health.

If gluten-free foods are indeed a healthy trend, the fact that 20 percent of Americans are seeking them for no medical reason might be a good thing. If, on the other hand, gluten free carries risk, this fad might be an expensive gamble.

THE RISK OF GLUTEN FREE

For people who do not have celiac, wheat allergy, or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, there is no data to support the notion that gluten free is healthy, states Dr. Reilly. In fact, packaged gluten-free food often contains more sugar and fat, and has higher caloric density. Contrary to what people believe, going gluten free without medical supervision can lead to packing extra weight, to insulin resistance, and to vitamin deficiencies, since gluten-free foods are not fortified the way wheat is.

And then there’s arsenic. Gluten-free diets often rely heavily on rice, and rice quite often, contains arsenic, which comes from the soil. The amounts are small, and probably not a problem if one eats a varied diet, but on a gluten-free diet rice becomes the predominant grain, and that can be especially problematic for babies and pregnant women.

A gluten-free diet, just like many other exclusion diets, comes with a quality of life price tag. And these specialty foods often cost more and are sold at a premium.

And since in kids there are only two indications for excluding gluten from the diet: celiac disease and wheat allergy (non-celiac gluten sensitivity has not been described in kids), putting kids on this diet carries risk with no apparent benefits. There is no support to the misconception that gluten is toxic, and no evidence that gluten-free diets treat a myriad of afflictions such as autism, arthritis or obesity.

Dr. Reilly concludes:

“Patients self-prescribing a GFD (gluten-free diet) should be counseled as to the possible financial, social, and nutritional consequences of unnecessary implementation.”

The food industry uses the health halo of the gluten-free health claim to better sell. It’s really important to emphasize that just like one knows that foods that are peanut free are not generally healthier, gluten-free foods are not a panacea; avoiding gluten isn’t a recipe for health for those of us who don’t have a sensitivity or autoimmunity that involves gluten.

Dr. Ayala

“There is no support to the misconception that gluten is toxic, and no evidence that gluten-free diets treat a myriad of afflictions such as autism, arthritis or obesity.”

 

Back-to-School Transitions

August 18, 2014 by  
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by Mommy MD Guide Deborah Gilboa, MDBook Get the Behavior  You Want

“Back to School!” is everywhere right now! Like it or not (and I know a lot of parents are torn about this), we do have to start thinking about a new set of issues. Here are some tips to ease the shift. I’m going to tackle these by topic and age group, the same way I’ve laid out my new book, Get the Behavior You Want… Without Being the Parent You Hate!

Schedules

  • Toddlers and preschoolers: Kids this age rarely struggle to get up in the morning – usually it’s us parents who struggle! All little ones need is a reminder of the morning routine, so have a few practice runs, when you aren’t time-stressed, so your kiddo can be in the zone before the first real drop-off.
  • Elementary schoolers: Head back to school wakeup time and bedtime, and use that early(ish) morning time to do some things your child actually wants to do. This will make motivating them out of bed easier.
  • Middle schoolers: Push wake up time an hour earlier than it has been during the summer, then an hour earlier. Do this until you are at least in the neighborhood of school wake up time. Go back to eating breakfast!
  • High schoolers: Make a plan this year for wake-ups. You should not be the human alarm clock. Be clear with your child about what you are and are not willing to do to help them get up in the morning and what the consequences will be if they don’t get up. (Remember, you want them to make their morning college classes someday without your help.)

Social Life

All the fun and relaxation of summer can disappear when a child contemplates the first day of school. And even when our kids aren’t nervous, we often are! Talking and strategizing can help, as long as we don’t project our anxiety onto our kids.

  • Toddlers and preschoolers: Most little ones have faith in their ability to make new friends, but first day of school is always easier with some familiar faces. So get a list of kids your child will be with this year and plan a couple of playground meet ups. If you can meet at the school’s playground, it will be even better!
  • Elementary schoolers: Don’t leave it all to chance. Encourage your kids to be pro-active about this. Often kids have no control over who will be in class together, but they can hang out with some friends (new or old) in the couple of weeks leading up to school so that first day doesn’t feel so much like jumping in.
  • Middle schoolers: Role play, by talking through the most common rough spots – such as finding a seat in math or that first encounter by the lockers. Not every tween or teen will do this, but it can be amazingly helpful to “know your lines” when confronted by someone who makes you really nervous.
  • High schoolers: Join a team or group. A unity of purpose or interest can help make new relationships a lot faster than standing with a lunch tray looking for somewhere to sit.

Homework

Cue the heavy music. Here are a few things that might help.

  • Toddlers and preschoolers: Rejoice, they don’t have any! Of course, if they have older sibs, they may ask for homework, but that is their teachers’ problem!
  • Elementary schoolers: Create the space. Where is your child going to do this homework? Get that space ready with a cubby, desk, bulletin board, wall calendar, whatever makes sense to him.
  • Middle schoolers: Plan ahead. Often the curriculum is available online, so suggest to your child that she get a head start by getting books a little early and reading a little ahead. That will mean more hanging out and a slightly less shocking work load the first week or so of school.
  • High schoolers: Write a contract. If you have patterns you want to avoid this year about homework, be clear now. Decide what is up to your child (timing of work, space, music, etc) and what is nonnegotiable (completion, grades, etc). Link your requirements to privileges your child wants (cell phone, friend time, extracurricular, whatever fits your philosophy). Write it down!

MMDG Debi Gilboa 2About the author: Parenting expert, Deborah Gilboa, M.D. aka “Doctor G” is a family physician, mom of 4, international speaker, author and TV personality. She developed the “3 R’s of Parenting” to empower parents to raise respectful, responsible, and resilient kids.Her book, Get the Behavior You Want, Without Being the Parent You Hate will be released September 10, 2014 and is available on Amazon.com. 

 

Make Room for Dad

June 13, 2014 by  
Filed under Julie Davidson

by Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson

Do you ever feel like you need to be all things to everyone in your family? Even if it means doing something outside your comfort zone? Although I said yes to his request, I knew that playing football with my youngest son was a stretch. Literally. I’m pretty sure your arm shouldn’t feel like it’s out of the socket each time you release the ball.

Moms get a lot of credit. Maybe it’s the whole growing a baby inside our body thing. But it does seem a little lopsided in moms’ favor though. Think about it. We get the baby showers. The new wardrobe. And when the baby cries, mom is the preferred comforter.

Moms even dominate commercials. It seems like ads for Mother’s Day began at Easter. Have you even noticed any for Father’s Day yet? Exactly! And look at TV shows and movies. Moms are typically portrayed as in control and able to multi-task. Dads? Silly, too relaxed, and disorganized.

Undoubtedly, there are some aloof, rarely serious, not-so-organized dads out there. But don’t you think there are more than a few over the edge, oh my gosh you’ll shoot your eyes out with that BB gun, and make sure to wear a coat if the temperature drops below 60 degrees, and put on sunscreen every 10 minutes kind of moms as well? Touché.

It’s about trying to keep things balanced. So yeah—the one who leaves the lasagna-crusted casserole pan in the sink cannot get upset with the one who washes the dishes within 60 seconds after they’ve been used. Not that most men would sign up to have girl parts, (the tampon, PMS medicine, and 15-hour bra commercials kinda ruined it), but maybe things are tilted a little more in moms’ way when it comes to parental recognition. But men can’t bear children. Well, except for that guy on Oprah a few years ago who thoroughly confused my kids by actually having a baby. But all the other guys? They don’t get to do that.

But seriously, let dad shine. It’s not a competition, although I’ll be the first to admit, I wanted my son to think I was this amazing football-throwing mom. But just between us—my shoulder hasn’t been the same since.

Summer Safety Tips

June 2, 2014 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

SUmmer Safety Tipsby Mommy MD Guides blogger Shilpa Amin-Shah, MD

Family safety is a priority regardless of the season, but the summer gives us more reason to emphasize simple measures to keep out of harm’s way.

  • Pool Safety: Be sure to swim only where there are lifeguards or adult supervision. Always use life jackets during water activities and when near open bodies of water such as the oceans, rivers, and lakes. Never leave your children unattended around water. Maintain barriers such as fences and locks to keep children away from unattended pool areas.
  • Food Safety: Summertime is often associated with outdoor barbecues and picnics. Mayonnaise, milk, eggs, meat, poultry, and seafood should not be kept at room temperature for more than an hour or two (one hour max if it’s hotter than 90 degrees outside). Be sure to thoroughly wash all raw fruits and vegetables. If you are traveling with food, be sure to use plenty of ice packs and ice to keep food cool.
  • Bug Safety: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend an insect repellent that contains 10 to 30 percent DEET for children two months old or older. The DEET percentage represents how long it’s effective: Ten percent will provide protection up to two hours, while 30 percent will cover you up to five hours. Do not apply DEET to face or hands. DEET is effective in preventing insect-related diseases such as Lyme disease and West Nile Virus. For a greener approach to bug busting, organic mosquito repellents are available in most pharmacies.
  • Sun Safety: Make sure you apply sunscreen before leaving the house. The American Cancer Society recommends wearing SPF 15. Stay in the shade as much as possible during the sun’s peak hours between 10 am and 4 pm. Make sure to re-apply sunscreen every one to two hours when swimming or if you are excessively sweating. Wear protective clothing, a hat, and sunglasses.
  • Heat Safety: Limit time outdoors when the weather is extremely hot and humid. If you do not have air conditioning in your home, go to public places that do, such as shopping malls, libraries, and grocery stores. Avoid hot, enclosed places, such as cars. Wear light-colored and lightweight clothing, and drink plenty of water before and during your time outdoors. Heat stress in children and adults can lead to serious health issues very quickly. The very young and the very old are at most risk for heat exhaustion because of their inability to handle high temperatures. If you are taking the kids to the playground, check the temperature of the playground equipment because it can get very hot and could burn your child.

Eight Signs of Heat Overexposure

  1. Rapid heartbeat
  2. Headache
  3. Fatigue
  4. Nausea and vomiting
  5. Excessive sweating (However, if heat stroke sets in, the body can no longer compensate and may stop sweating.)
  6. Muscle cramps
  7. Dark-colored urine
  8. Fainting, confusion, dizziness, or disorientation

Six Tips for Overcoming Heat Stroke

  1. Move the person out of the sun and into a cool area. An air-conditioned area is ideal, but moving someone into the shade will also help.
  2. Remove any heavy or tight clothing.
  3. Give the person cool water to drink.
  4. Mist the skin to help keep him or her cool.
  5. Apply ice to his or her neck or armpits.
  6. Immerse the body in cool water, either at a swimming pool or in a bathtub.

If these measures do not cool the person off in 30 minutes, call 9-1-1 and go to your nearest emergency room.

Shilpa Amin-Shah, MD is a mom of two young children and a physician at eMedical Offices in Berkeley Heights and an attending emergency physician at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston. She received a bachelor’s degree from Rosemont College in Rosemont, Pa., and her medical degree from SUNY Downstate, Brooklyn, NY. She completed the Jacobi/Montefiore Emergency Medicine Residency Program at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and served as chief resident.

Eat Slowly to Eat Less (and 7 Tips on How To)

March 8, 2014 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

by Mommy MD Guide Ayala Laufer-Cahana, MD

When I eat out (which isn’t very often), an appetizer and a few bites into the entrée are enough to make me full, and I am not one of these people with small appetites. They say it takes 20 minutes for our brain to register satiety, and the customary interlude between courses in restaurants and dining in company slows me down, which does the trick for me.

Unfortunately, I manage to eat slowly only when I’m with others.

Is this just my subjective feeling, or is there solid evidence to back the common weight-control advice to take your time with your meal?

Longer meal, fewer calories

A study reported in the British Medical Journal showed that the odds of being overweight were three times greater for people who reported eating quickly and until full than for people who ate slowly and stopped eating before they felt stuffed. There are several other studies that gather self-reported eating rates, which can be unreliable.

A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that when volunteers took large bites, rather than smaller ones, they ate about 100 calories more of chocolate custard. This kind of interventional study actually puts people in a test-meal environment, and empirically tests the rate of eating and the quantities consumed. Studies such as this have shown mixed results.

A new study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics also took the experimental approach. The researchers recruited 35 normal weight and 35 overweight and obese volunteers and fed them two meals of what most of the participants thought was delicious pasta with vegetables (many participants asked for the recipe). One of the meals was eaten quickly, while during the other, people were asked to take small bites, chew thoroughly, and put the spoon down between bites, with the slow meal lasting about 13 minutes longer.

Slow eating affected normal-weight people more than it did overweight participants: The normal-weight slow eaters shaved an average 88 calories compared with their fast-paced meal. For overweight volunteers, the difference was smaller: just 58 calories, which was not statistically significant. Everyone drank more water with the slow meal (water was offered freely at all occasions). An interesting finding was that overweight and obese participants ate less in both the slow and the fast meals compared with the normal-weight participants. This is not the first study that observes that overweight people consume less than expected when eating with peers—they might be self-conscious when eating in public, and that might affect the results of such studies.

Both groups reported they were less hungry an hour after the slow meal compared with the fast one.

7 tips for slow(er) eating

Most of the evidence suggests that the rate at which we eat affects how much we eat. So here are seven tips to help you eat more slowly and mindfully:

1. Eat with company: This is important on so many levels. My daughter is a super-slow eater; I try to pace myself to her rhythm (but just can’t manage it).

2. Small courses: You don’t have to prepare several courses. You can serve yourself a small amount of the one course you prepared, take a short break, and then decide if you’re going for seconds.

3. Sit at a table: When you eat on the go, in front of the computer (my vice), or over the sink (my husband’s favorite spot), you can hardly take your time. Eating on your feet definitely doesn’t make it go to your hips or thighs, but overeating deposits fat everywhere.

4. Chew: I don’t suggest you count to the 32 suggested by The Great Masticator. That would interfere with tip #1, but keeping the food in your mouth a bit longer, and not swallowing it whole, is a good idea.

5. Put down your fork between bites: or your spoon, or your chopsticks, or even your pizza, sandwich, or apple.

6. Solids are better: Food that’s ready to swallow goes down way too fast. Avoid liquid calories, and foods that are so processed that neither your hands nor your mouth have any work to do. The more fiber in your food, the more chewing it requires.

7. Drink: Sipping water with your meal forces you to slow down, and at the same time, distends your stomach, sending satiety signals to your brain.

Oh, there’s also an app for slow eating, and even a fork that vibrates in your mouth if your bites are too frequent. These, too, interfere with tip #1, which at least for me, is the most important of all.

Dr. Ayala is a pediatrician, mother, artist, serious home cook, and founder of Herbal Water Inc., in Wynnewood, PA.

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