Posts Tagged 'newborn'

You’ll Never Be Prepared To Become A Parent

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No matter how “prepared” I thought I was to be a parent, I wasn’t. I became a mom at 35, so I watched friends and family have kids. Before my kids came into my life, I would say to myself, “When I’m a parent, I’m going to do [fill in the blank].”

Oh, honey. No, you’re not.

Being a parent is the single hardest thing I’ll do in my life. The fact that my kids are twins adds a whole new dimension. But there are a few things I wish I had known or thoroughly understood before holding my two little bundles of joy.

There will come a time when bodily fluids won’t gross you out. My little girl had reflux, so being covered in spit up regularly was par for the course. Remember that show, “You Can’t Do That on Television”? The one where everyone got slimed? Yeah, that was our house. Also, we have a boy. Catching pee so it didn’t hit the TV remote or the leather couch became the norm as well. Note: Spit up and pee aren’t even the grossest things that can happen in a day.

You will mourn your old life and that’s okay. It wasn’t easy for me to adjust to the life of a mom with twins. I thought I’d be able to do all the things I usually do, just with two babies in tow. That doesn’t work out at the beginning; or right now, actually. With feeding schedules and naps, the winter cold and sicknesses, my personal life changed drastically. But even though it’s not the same, it’s better now. It took me a while to get there, but here I am. Late, as moms of twins tend to be.

You do not know the meaning of the phrase, “sleep deprivation.” You don’t. Just accept that. At first my kids fed every two hours. They took 30 minutes to eat and 30 minutes to sit up and digest. An hour later we were back at it. We still get woken up at night, but nothing a re-tucking of the covers won’t fix. I am assured that one day, I will wake up AFTER the sun has risen. One day.

Hot food is a luxury. I think I’m just used to eating lukewarm or cold food now. By the time dinner is ready and you get everyone in their seats with bibs and cups, cut up their food, serve your own, get whatever they dropped on the floor, sit down and get back up to get something else, your food is cold. When you get the chance to eat hot food, take it.

You will be surprised that you are capable of feeling so intensely. It might not come right away, but soon enough, you’ll be so in love with your kids that you can’t imagine anything you wouldn’t do for them—including not flinching when someone hands you a half-chewed olive at the dinner table during your mother-in-law’s birthday party.

—Rebecca Calappi, Publications Coordinator at Beaumont Health System and adoptive parent of multiples

8 Things You Should Know About Colds, Flu and Antibiotics

antibiotics

Besides sharing recent holiday cheer, many shared viruses too. Knowing when antibiotics will help – and when they won’t – is key to preventing antibiotic resistance.

“We all need to remain smart about antibiotic use, and by ‘we,’ I mean doctors, nurses and patients,” says Christopher Carpenter, M.D., director of Beaumont’s Antimicrobial Stewardship Program. “We have a program that promotes appropriate antibiotic use in the hospital and with the help of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Michigan Antibiotic Resistance Reduction Coalition we are providing materials and education to encourage appropriate outpatient use in our Emergency Center and doctors’ offices.”

The CDC offers the following facts and tips:

  1. Colds, fl u and most sore throats and bronchitis are caused by viruses. Antibiotics do not help and may do more harm than good by increasing the risk of a resistant infection later.
  2. Antibiotic resistance – the development of “superbugs” that are resistant to available drugs – has been called one of the world’s most pressing public health problems.
  3. When antibiotics fail to work, the consequences are: longer-lasting illnesses; more doctor visits or extended hospital stays; and the need for more expensive and toxic medications. Some resistant infections can cause death.
  4. Children are of particular concern because they have the highest rates of antibiotic use. They also have the highest rate of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant “bugs.”
  5. Patients should not demand antibiotics when a health care provider has determined they are not needed.
  6. When an antibiotic is prescribed, take all of it, even if symptoms dis appear. If treatment stops too soon, some bacteria may survive and reinfect.
  7. The spread of viral infections like cold and fl u can be reduced through frequent handwashing and by avoiding close contact with others.
  8. Viral infections sometimes lead to bacterial infections. Keep your health care provider informed if your illness gets worse or lasts a long time.

8 Myths and Facts about Postpartum Depression

Myth #1: Postpartum depression is a normal part of motherhood. All new mothers experience exhaustion and mood swings.

Fact: It is important to be aware of the three types of mood changes associated with childbirth. While it is true that new mothers are likely to feel overwhelmed and sleep deprived in the early weeks after having a baby, this is most likely the Baby Blues which is experienced by 70-80% of women. The Baby Blues is not considered a disorder and generally does not require treatment. Symptoms such as tearfulness, mood swings, lack of concentration, mild anxiety and irritability, begin within the first week postpartum and can persist until baby is about 3 weeks old. This is caused by the major lifestyle change and changing hormone levels that are present during this time in a woman’s life.

We become concerned that a mother may be experiencing more than the Baby Blues, when symptoms are still present after that third to fourth week postpartum. Postpartum depression (PPD) is a serious, yet common medical condition (occurs in 10-20 percent or 1 in 7 new mothers) and can occur any time in a mother’s first postpartum year. Symptoms typically include uncontrollable crying, irritability, poor concentration, anxiety, hopelessness, feelings of failure, guilt, intrusive and disturbing thoughts, and appetite and sleep disturbances. PPD is very treatable. The sooner it is identified that a mother is not feeling like herself and she reaches out for help, the sooner she can start recovering and be able to enjoy her baby and motherhood.

A very small percentage of women experience a much more serious mood disorder called postpartum psychosis, which can cause women to hear, see, feel or smell things that are not there. Symptoms may also include paranoia, mania or catatonic states. This rare illness affects one in every thousand women, usually occurring within the first three weeks after birth. Postpartum psychosis is a serious emergency and requires immediate medical attention.

Myth #2: If a woman is able to take care of her baby, keep a tidy home, looks happy and appears as if she has it all together, she is not experiencing postpartum depression.

Fact: Women are very good at masking the signs and symptoms of PPD, some will go to great efforts to appear as if they are well, but on the inside they may be falling apart and dealing with much anxiety and worry. Shame, guilt or fear may cause women to hide their feelings and suffer in silence.

Myth #3: Pregnant women do not get depressed.

Fact: Studies have shown that rates of depression and anxiety actually increase during pregnancy. Many women who seek treatment for postpartum depression report that their symptoms actually began while they were pregnant.

Myth #4: Postpartum depression is only treated with medication.

Fact: While many women find that medication is very helpful, there are many options for treating PPD, including, individual therapy, support groups, exercise, biofeedback, acupuncture and herbal supplements. Most women are treated with a combination of these treatment options.

Myth #5: Women can’t be treated with antidepressants if they are breastfeeding.

Fact: There are medications that can be taken for depression that are safe for breastfeeding moms. Women should be sure talk with their physician about their options for treatment.

Myth #6: My life is great! PPD could never happen to me.

Fact: PPD does not discriminate. It can happen to those who have never experienced depression or anxiety in their lives. It does not discriminate against race, age, gender, class or income.

Myth #7: Only mothers experience postpartum depression.

Fact: Dads can also experience PPD. Studies have shown that 1 in 10 Dads will experience postpartum depression.

Myth #8: Sharing your personal experience with postpartum depression with pregnant women will only scare them and should be avoided.

Fact: When women have information and resources before symptoms occur, they are less likely to get to the point of a crisis. When a woman is able to hear about signs and symptoms of PPD while she is emotionally well, she will better be able to identify what she is experiencing should symptoms occur, and will be more likely to reach out for treatment and support. It is imperative that women share their stories to dispel these myths and the stigma that is unjustly attached to PPD and other types of mental illness.

Beaumont has many resources, including free support groups, to assist families who are experiencing postpartum depression or difficulty with their postpartum adjustment. You may also reach the Parenting Program staff Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 248-898-3230.

After-hours support from a Mother/Baby Care nurse is available at:

Royal Oak            248-898-6396

Troy                    248-964-3995

Grosse Pointe       313-473-1705

–Kelly C. Ryan, LMSW, Postpartum Adjustment Coordinator, Beaumont Parenting Program

Memorable Moments of 2013 From Beaumont Children’s Hospital

First lady of Michigan Sue Snyder at Beaumont Children's Hospital this past March

First lady of Michigan Sue Snyder at Beaumont Children’s Hospital this past March

One of the great things about health care is there is always the opportunity for growth — whether it be patient care, advances in research, in technology or more community support. Long one of the cornerstones of the science of medicine, Beaumont researchers are finding new and innovative ways to treat many conditions and illnesses. Here are some 2013 moments:

• Beaumont Children’s Hospital expanded its neuroscience services Jan. 7 with a Pediatric Epilepsy Clinic, offering treatment options and services for infants, children and teens with seizures and epilepsy.

• Beaumont Children’s Hospital opened a Sickle Cell Anemia Center offering comprehensive, specialized care for infants, children and adolescents with sickle cell anemia and sickle-thalassemia syndromes.

• In a study published in the April issue of the journal Resuscitation, Beaumont doctors found that cardiac arrests in K-12 schools are extremely rare, less than 0.2 percent, but out of 47 people who experienced cardiac arrest over a six-year period at K-12 schools, only 15 survived. Th e survival rate was three times greater, however, when bystanders used a device called an automated external defibrillator, or AED, that helps the heart restore a normal rhythm. Th e study “Cardiac Arrests in Schools: Assessing use of Automated External Defibrillators on School Campuses,” was led by principal investigator Robert Swor, D.O., Emergency Medicine physician at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, and a research team including Edward Walton, M.D., Beaumont’s director of pediatric emergency medicine.

• It’s called PAWS – the pediatric advance warning score. Caregivers throughout Beaumont began using PAWS at the beginning of May to help predict if a child’s health status is likely to decline. Th e system also gives guidance for providers to follow when scores reach a particular number.

• After a successful year-long pilot at Beaumont Hospital, Troy, the Parenting Program is offering first-time parents in-room car seat safety education at both the Troy and Royal Oak hospitals. “We have one certified car seat safety technician at each hospital,” says Deanna Robb, director, Parenting Program. “They are especially sensitive to the high anxiety of new parents. Before we had this program in place, we provided families with a list of community resources, including Safety City U.S.A., but now parents can get a little more immediate security knowing how to properly use and install their car seat.”

• First lady of Michigan Sue Snyder announced her support of programs launched by the Michigan Departments of Human Services and Community Health to combat the nearly 150 fully preventable accidental suffocation infant deaths annually due to unsafe sleep environments. The announcement was made at Beaumont Children’s Hospital March 25.

• Beaumont offered the community a flu hotline to call with questions.

• At the Radiothon for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a record-breaking $152,000 was raised for kids at Beaumont Children’s Hospital.

• Beaumont Health System announced a $5 million gift from Danialle and Peter Karmanos Jr. The gift will create the Karmanos Center for Natural Birth and the Danialle & Peter Karmanos Jr. Birth Center at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak.

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2014! Happy New Year!

The Importance of Holiday Traditions

photo (2)Holiday traditions can come in many forms and provide a reoccurring opportunity to make memories. Visiting Santa at the mall, going to the movies on Christmas Day, reading “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” on Christmas Eve, lighting the Hanukkah menorah; the list can go on and on.

In addition to making the holidays memorable and comfortable, they serve a higher purpose that contributes to our well-being.

Stability: Families are constantly changing. Different jobs, kids moving out, perhaps some occasional tension during get-togethers. Families count on traditions as unchanging constants despite an ever-changing environment.

Unity: Traditions provide an opportunity for everyone to feel connected. Th is is particularly important for children and any new family members celebrating their first holiday with you. Taking part in a long-standing tradition fosters the feeling of acceptance, which can’t be overlooked.

Identity: Every family does something different, but how you carry out your family tradition makes your group unique. Traditions become a part of who you are and how you celebrate.

Connections to the past: Traditions can serve as a bridge from the past to the present. They provide a forum to connect with those who have gone before you with that tradition.

What traditions are you instilling this year?

How To Select Age-Appropriate Toys To Foster Development

image credit: David Goehring

image credit: David Goehring

Providing an age appropriate toy is essential for gross and fine motor skills, sensory experiences and learning. For infants and toddlers, safety is a primary concern. For children who still mouth toys, make sure the object cannot fit inside a toilet paper roll. If it can, that means it can fit in their mouth.

When purchasing toys, know the purpose of the toy. Think about the following factors: does it have multiple functions, is it portable, does it encourage movement, does it promote thinking, does it provide a challenge and do you already have something similar.

Here are some age-appropriate toys to cultivate development.

0-3 months. Your baby is looking at contrasting colors and faces.

  • contrasting colored toys
  • mobiles
  • fabric books
  • colorful activity mats
  • light weight rattles
  • music toys
  • unbreakable mirrors

3-6 months. Your baby is getting stronger and needs encouragement to stay on his tummy so he can learn to roll and move or pivot. Lie on the floor next to your baby and enjoy some tummy time together.

  •  teething toys
  • 3 dimensional toys that can spin and be touched
  • toys that roll or encourage baby to move
  • toys that can be played with on the floor during tummy time such as activity play mats

6-9 months. At this age your baby is getting better at sitting, he can play with both hands and explore toys more. He is beginning to crawl on hands and knees. Toys that move away will encourage crawling and rolling. Peek-a-boo with your hands will have him belly laughing!

  • big soft blocks
  • balls
  • board books
  • more teethers
  • toys that require both hands
  • toys with different textures (crinckly, bumpy, soft, and cause and effect toys)

9-12 months. Your baby is now trying to stand to pull up on objects and cruise and walk. Encourage these activities by putting toys along a sofa. Push toys provide arm support and allow your baby to practice walking.

  • multi colored shape sorter
  • board books
  • play tables or cubes that can be played with on multiple sides in sitting
  • kneeling or standing positions
  • stable tables that baby can pull up on and move away from for standing and walking

1 and 2 year-olds. At this age your child can stand and is mobile. Toys that enhance coordination, thinking, balance, visual and fine motor skills are fun and often serve multiple purposes. Pudding can double as finger paint.

  • toys that challenge balance
  • slides
  • sit and spin
  • kid friendly musical instruments
  • stacking cups
  • balls that roll down shoots & slides
  • balls for kicking, throwing & rolling
  • ride on toys
  • large piece puzzles

3 and 4 year-olds. Your child is becoming more independent and can enjoy more challenges from thinking to balance skills to pretend play and fine motor skills. Your child can take turns at memory card games and board games. A container with rice or beans and guess the object by touching it, can be lots of fun. A game of I spy can pass the time while in the car or waiting in line.

  • arts and crafts
  • bubbles
  • tricycle
  • sit on hoppy ball
  • finger paints
  • activity or yoga cards
  • lacing cards
  • puzzles with more pieces (24-48)
  • dress up with zippers & big buttons
  • balance bike
  • bath foam
  • building blocks
  • books
  • big boxes are great for imaginative play

5  and 6 year-olds

  • fine motor activities
  • arts and crafts
  • play dough
  • clay
  • marbles on tracks
  • building with smaller blocks
  • puzzles with more pieces
  • A Jump rope, hula hoop, hop scotch, sidewalk chalk, balls for catching and kicking make for great outdoor fun.
  • Bicycle riding is also a great activity.

A toy should encourage thinking, playing, and moving. With proper toy selection kids will have fun and learn and grow.

–Amanda Froling, MPT and Carol Buell MPT 

Sources: AOTA How To Pick a Toy: Checklist for Toy Shopping, Tips for Living Life To Its Fullest (2011)
BabyCenter.com Age Appropriate Toys, Reviewed by Baby Center Medical Advisory board 2011

Traveling With Kids: It Can Be Done

travelingwithmulitples

The first time we took our twins on a trip, I was skeptical. I was skeptical the second, third and fourth times as well. Let’s face it: traveling with kids isn’t always fun, relaxing or a vacation for anyone.

I wish I had some sage advice and sure-fire ways to make things go seamlessly. If I did, I’d bottle it and sell it on the Home Shopping Network. But through trial and error, I’ve made a few discoveries that made life easier.

Our first trip with the kids was to Kalamazoo when they were six months old. They still weren’t sleeping through the night and my daughter’s reflux made it necessary to bring every bib and burp cloth we owned, in addition to a back-up outfit and a back-up for the back-up for the Mt. Vesuvius moments. We decided that leaving our house at bedtime and letting the kids fall asleep in the car was the way to go.

For the most part, it worked. When we got to the hotel, my husband unloaded the car as quietly as possible and went to set up the cribs in the room while I drove around in a circle with the kids. The idea was we’d just bring the kids in from the car and put them right to bed.

Nope.

Our daughter stayed awake well into the wee hours of the morning. She wasn’t crying or fussing. She was staring at me with a look on her face that said, “Well, now what?”

That trip was a learning experience for us. And since then, I like to think we’ve learned more each time we’ve gone somewhere. We haven’t ventured onto a plane yet, but we’ve taken several five-hour car rides (which seemed like nothing after I met the mom of 14-month-old twins who drove from Maryland to Mackinaw City by herself).

Here are a few things that helped me keep my sanity, er, I mean, my kids enjoy the trip more:

  1. Bring a white noise machine. Sometimes new places make new sounds. Having the same sounds they hear each night to fall asleep helps the transition. Bonus for you: It drowns out the noise of the drunken bridal party staying in the same hotel.
  2. Bring new toys. A few weeks before our trips, I pick up some new toys and books for the kids to play with in the car. I also hide some of their toys to give back to them on our trip so they’re like “new” again. Keep in mind safety, though. Don’t give your kid anything you don’t want flying around in the car if you get in an accident. Bonus for you: You might hear a different version of “Happy and You Know It” for two hours straight.
  3. Don’t pack diapers and formula. I only bring what I need to get me through the travel and the first day at our destination. If we’re visiting friends or family, I ask them to pick up some diapers/formula at their local store and I pay them when I get there. Or, do a little research before you go and find a Target, Meijer, Piggly Wiggly, near where you’re staying. Head there the first chance you get. Bonus for you: More room in the suitcase for your shoes!

What are some tricks of the trade you have for traveling with kids?

—Rebecca Calappi, Publications Coordinator at Beaumont Health System and adoptive parent of multiples


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