Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Don't (Always) Trust Your Doctor

You know yourself and your baby better than anyone, and you may find that what you think is the right thing to do is not always what the doctor tells you to do.

If you live in a big city, you may have to wait 45 minutes to an hour (or longer) for a Well Baby Check-up. This happened to us in Atlanta and by the time the doctor saw us our baby, long overdue for a nap, had screamed herself hoarse. The doctor looked in her ears and said she had an ear infection, and prescribed antibiotics and "something for the pain."

She didn't have an ear infection. She didn't need anything for the pain. She was tired. She needed to not be at the doctor's!

We filled the prescription and hightailed back to the crib. And found Robert S. Mendolsohn's masterful, readable, smart book called How to Raise a Healthy Child ... in spite of your doctor.

Mendolsohn points out that babies are often misdiagnosed as having ear infections from crying.

He also says that in Europe ear infections aren't usually treated.

We disposed of the unnecessary antibiotics and pain meds and that was the last Well Baby Check-up we ever took our baby to.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

How Many Minutes Do You Spend With Your Baby?

Forget playing. Forget peek-a-boo. Just try to put in the time. (Kid on the back drooling while you do the dishes counts).

Monday, September 22, 2008

Dads on Facebook

Have you noticed that the women you see on Facebook who have kids post pictures with their children but the dads on Facebook post pictures of themselves sans children?


Co-author James di Properzio decided to buck the trend. In his Facebook picture he's featured with his daughter.

Co-author Jennifer Margulis decided to participate in the cliché. Her picture has all three children in it.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tainted Milk

It's been all over the news this week -- on the radio, in the newspapers, on TV -- that over six thousand children in China are sick from drinking tainted milk products. Here's a relatively in-depth story about it from the AP, posted on MSNBC (a news organization with a conservative, pro-business, pro-vaccine slant).

What's the moral of the story here? Don't feed your baby "products." Feed your baby food. We all know that human breast milk is best for babies. If your wife can't breast feed, you can still make your own substitute milk or use goat milk supplemented with other real whole food that babies can tolerate and digest.

But formula companies would have us think that they have the magic elixir and without it our babies won't grow up to be healthy. The opposite is actually true and China is a case in point. Don't be fooled by the formula companies and the billions they spend in advertising and brainwashing.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Older Dads = Higher Chance of Bipolar Disease

A Swedish study reported on in the Health section of the New York Times links the age of the father with the frequency of bipolar disease in offspring. The New York Times article is here. Some highlights:
Researchers examined health records of more than 7 million people, identified over 13,400 with bipolar disease (who they matched with 5 controls), and divided fathers into 5-year age categories starting at age 20.

After adjusting for other factors (like a history of mental illness), they found consistently increasing risk as the fathers aged.

Fathers aged 55 and older had the highest risk of having children with bipolar disease.

Advanced paternal age has also been linked to higher rates of autism and schizophrenia in adult children.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pregnant Mom Bloggers Wanted For Freelance Writing Gig

This was forwarded to us from Jamie Pearson, the Travel Savvy Mom of fame for hanging out her skivvies to dry. Underwear aside, it looks like a fun opportunity for a pregnant writer mama:
One of my clients (a biotech company located in Mountain View) is looking to hire a small group of women who are in their first trimester of pregnancy for a freelance (writing) project. Ideally, we are looking at freelance writers who also are bloggers (meaning, have their own, personal blogs that talk about parenting).

If you are pregnant, in your first trimester of pregnancy and have a personal blog... and take freelance work, please send me an email with your contact information and a link to your personal blog/sites.

We are also looking to hire women outside of Silicon Valley - so feel free to pass this along to anyone you know who fits this description.

This is going to be an incredibly cool freelance assignment (and yes, it pays!!!)..... so please let me know if you are interested in learning more.

Thanks so much!
Jill Asher

Jill Asher
Co-Founder, Silicon Valley Moms Group
e: jill.asher@gmail.com
Follow Me On Twitter! SVMOM

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Gee Your Baby Smells Terrific

When our son was not yet two, I took him on a work trip to Ohio. I was giving two presentations at a 3-day writing retreat with a group of other writer mamas who are all part of an on-line invitation only listserv. “Airplane, vroom, vroom,” Etani started saying a few weeks before we left.

We both bonded with my formerly cyberspace-only friends. Marjorie read him a book about a mouse who drives a truck over and over again, saying that she missed her little boy (whom she had been happy to leave at home) and Jody regaled him with a complicated story about a Funky Hippo who leaves his watering hole in search of disco dancing dudes. The elaborate plot—and their subsequent search for the Funky Hippo (“Do you think he’s by those bushes?” Jody would ask. “Yah!” Etani would shriek)—kept him from fussing during the 2-hour car ride back to the airport.

“I miss Etani,” Jody emailed the day after she returned to her two children, ages 7 and 11, in South Carolina. “I don’t know how I’m going to survive a whole year without seeing him.”

Being with a small child is tactile and immediate. There is something about having them close to you—their little hands holding yours, their little lips giving you kisses—that is so primal and immediate. I understood exactly what Jody meant. When I'm away, I miss my children in a visceral way.

One of the things that helps us bond to these small creatures who steal our hearts is their smell. When they are small, babies smell like baking bread and sweet milk. Their natural body odors and skin oils make you want to cuddle up to them. I have a picture of my husband opening his mouth to eat up my daughter (whose head was almost small enough to fit between his teeth) when she was three weeks old. Infants and babies naturally smell delicious.

Which is why it's a good idea not to become obsessive about washing your newborn or toddler.

How to clean a newborn:
1. Skip daily bathing: spot clean often but avoid giving them a bath a day as this dries out and irritates sensitive skin.
2. Don't use chemicals on your baby: A lot of what is put in baby products is actually toxic. Learn to read the labels and avoid products with ingredients you can't pronounce.
3. Only put on your baby's skin what you'd put in his mouth: A baby's skin absorbs the lotions and creams you use on it and takes it into the body. Use only products with ingredients so natural that they are okay for your baby's body to "eat." The best choice is organic olive oil or avocado oil for moisturizer and warm water for washing. Newborns don't need to be bathed with soap more than once every week or two.
4. Skip baby wipes: even the "natural" ones can cause diaper rash and irritation. Instead, use a clean wash cloth and warm water to clean up diaper mess.
A week after we came home a letter arrived in the mail from Etani. It was from the Funky Hippo. He found the disco dancing dudes. And left his conventional soap back at the old watering hole.