Week in Review….Parenting In The Loop

  • Highlights of the week…sharing some of the reads of the last few days.

The practice, known as placentophagy, is far from widespread and is received with great skepticism by more traditional medical experts.

It’s not as gross as it sounds, but then, it couldn’t possibly be, right? As a first-time pregnant lady living in crunchy Santa Monica, Calif., next to a raw food restaurant and a seemingly oxymoronic homeopathic pharmacy, hiring a so-called celebrity placenta processor seemed to make sense. Even the hospital birth class had suggested the practice of eating one’s own placenta as a natural way to ward off postpartum depression.

Are you a newly pregnant mom? Or are you looking to buy a gift for a pregnant mom? Check out this crowd-sourced list of essential pregnancy products for ideas on what to buy.

Thanks for reading this week and have a nice weekend from Parenting in the Loop.     🙂

Attention…Volleyball Moms and other Moms!

I just read this and cannot wait until tomorrow to include this post in my “Week in Review” from ParentingitheLoop. Jessica has made a very worthwhile observation concerning the uniforms in Girl’s Volleyball . I am not a prude but when I looked at pictures of “Boy’s Volleyball” and the shorts that they wear it is clear that we have sexualized our girls.

What do you think?

Please check out Jessica’s Blog

What Every Volleyball Mom Should Know03.28.12Jane is playing volleyball these days and it’s just terrific. It’s a sport that kids come to a little later so there’s less parental involvement on the court than there is with other sports. I may have just lucked out with Jane’s particular group but the volleyball parents are absolutely wonderful. The coaches are also amazing.As amazing as volleyball is I need every parent to know why there should be no cameras at your daughter’s volleyball matches.

via What Every Volleyball Mom Should Know | Jessica Gottlieb A Los Angeles Mom.

SIDS… Sudden Infant Death Syndrome


Every now and then I write about SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

It is frightening for parents to even think about this happening but there are American Academy of Pediatrics‘ recommendations to follow to lessen the risk of SIDS .

SIDS is considered by some professionals to be a disease. Here is what  Norman Lewak, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at UCSF …  had to say:

SIDS is a real disease. The “Triple Risk Model for SIDS is described in the Technical Report that accompanies the Policy Statement on-line edition only. Thanks to the work of Hannah Kinney of Boston Childrens, we know that SIDS infants have lesions in the respiratory center of the brainstem. This is the first risk pre-exiting respiratory center lesion. The second risk is the vulnerable developmental age, peaking at 2-4 months, in which CNS respiratory control changes. The third risk is an “environmental trigger“–an environmental event that blocks continued respiratory activity.This trigger appears to many of us to be deep sleep brought on by increased comfort from increased warmth. Prone sleep has been proven to increase warmth. The pacifier effect is most likely caused by an increase in activity, thus a lighter sleep.http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2011/10/12/peds.2011-2284/reply#content-block

Some AAP recommendations to prevent SIDS are:

  • supine sleeping position
  • a firm sleep surface
  • breastfeeding
  • room sharing without bed sharing
  • consider using a pacifier which leads to a lighter sleep
  • avoid soft bedding
  • avoid overheating of the room where baby sleeps
  • avoid exposure tobacco smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs

According to recent information, SIDS  a disease which can be triggered by other environmental factors such as sleeping on soft surfaces, or stomach sleeping. These situations can set off a reaction whereby an infant ceases breathing due to an abnormal increase in his/her CO2 level. SIDS is not “suffocation”.

Every parent-to-be should be given information about SIDS prior to delivery and any questions should be answered by nurses or pediatricians early in the newborn period.

It is easier to follow sleeping guidelines when they are explained and make sense as to why they are important and how they can make a difference in the prevention of SIDS. Of course unfortunately, there are never any guarantees but parents can do their best with the knowledge that they have to prevent a tragedy.

There is so much to being a parent … children are precious… we are their protectors…just as we use car seats to protect them in the car we should protect them when we put them to sleep.

SIDS is down, but back-sleeping is just part of the message – USATODAY.com.

Replies to SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Expansion of Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment.

SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Expansion of Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment.


Related posts:

Safe Sleep for Your Baby

SIDS…Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Sudden Infant Death…Most Common on New Year’s 

Babies and Sleep…

Interesting interview about sleep, parenting and children.

Dr. Lieber shares some key information about babies and sleep. He mentions one of my favorite books on sleep…“Healthy Sleep Habits…Happy Child by Dr. Mark Weisbluth.

I hear more discussions among young moms about how good or how poorly their babies and they are not sleeping.

I love the area of babies and sleep …maybe because as babies, my own children were good sleepers. At the time, I did not know too much  about what makes for a good sleeper…but I was a mom with a routine and I recognized my baby’s sleep cues. Luck was big part!

Since then, I have made good sleep habits and sleep help one of my interests in the care and treatment of babies and children.

Please enjoy this interview from Mamapedia with Dr. Andrew Lieber, M.D.

 My favorite excerpt from the interview:

Dr. Lieber:  “parenting children involves long days but short years” 

via Expert Advice on Babies and Sleep – Mamapedia™ Voices.

Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle-cell is an inherited disease. It is a blood disease caused by inheriting the gene from both your mother and father. A person is thus born with Sickle-cell disease.

You can be a carrier of the gene and not have the disease. If only one parent has the gene they can pass the gene on to their children. A child who inherits only one gene for Sickle-cell becomes a carrier of the disease but does not have the actual disease.

Sickle-cell is when the red blood cells are misshapen. Rather than round concave, convex smooth shape the red blood cells are in the shape of a sickle or half-moon.

This abnormal cell shape impairs the blood cells’ ability to carry oxygen throughout the body. The abnormally shaped cells can get stuck inside the blood vessels and cause intense pain throughout the body. When our organs such heart, liver, kidneys and our tissue in general does not get adequate oxygen it leads to very intense pain.

Sadly, there is no cure for Sickle-cell disease.

Some of the ways of managing sickle-cell disease:

  • high fluid intake
  • heathly diet
  • folic acid supplements
  • pain medication
  • vaccination and antibiotics for the prevention and treatment of infections
  • Blood transfusions when anemia is severe and life threatening

via WHO | Sickle-cell disease and other haemoglobin disorders.

Here are some things that you also might want to know about Sickle-cell disease:

1. Sickle cell disease is the most common genetic disorder in the United States.  World wide it affects  about 500,00 babies a year, about 100,0oo Americans have sickle cell disease. In the US as many as 2 million people carry the sickle cell gene.

2. Sickle cell disease is chronic but treatable and is not a death sentence. Sickle cell disease is a chronic illness and can be debilitating but with treatment people are living longer into their 40’s and 50’s. Twenty years ago, in many cases children did not live to be adults.

3. Sickle cell disease affects people of many different races.  This is not an African-American disease…it affects other races as well, including Mediterranean, Indian, and Middle Eastern heritage.

4. Patients with sickle cell disease require comprehensive care.   “A lot of day-to-day care can be done by a generalist,” says Dr. George Buchanan, professor of pediatrics at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. “But it is important to have a team of experts who work together and are in ongoing consultation with a large institution or center that specializes in sickle cell disease.”

via Sickle Cell Disease – 5 Things to Know – NYTimes.com.

Week in Review….Parenting in the Loop

  • Highlights of the week…sharing some of the reads of the last few days.

Kendal, an engaging girl who looks about 11 years old, is wearing a koala bear hat in the video she uploaded to YouTube. In it, she looks straight at the camera, explaining that “I just wanted to make a random video seeing if I was, like, ugly or not, because a lot of people call me ugly and I think I am ugly.”

If you have spent any time with young children, you will be likely be completely familiar with the way that they can stay in the moment, focusing solely on whatever has caught their attention with all of their being.

BRAIN. This simple, easy-to-remember tool will help you make solid, informed decisions about your options even in the most complicated situations!

Have a wonderful weekend from Parenting in the Loop.

How toxic is your life???

Mom as EPA in her home…toxins and kids…what do you do to protect your family from toxins in the home?

Are you obsessed over having a green environment in your home?

Or do you have a more moderate approach to your household environment?

Or are you laissez-faire about the stuff that comes and goes in your home?

It is hard to be oblivious to the efforts of many folks who are trying to stay local and buy local, and who are concerned about toxins in their food and in their homes. But is it healthy to obsess over being “organic”, “green” and “sustainable” while trying to work, raise kids and take care of yourself?

For me…I fall somewhere between a moderate and a laissez-faire depending upon, what day it is, what I have recently read about our polluted environment, and how much energy I have to devote to any one cause.

I admit, I do buy organic (not everything) and I make an effort to avoid the “dirty dozen” foods. To do this, I either avoid those produce items or I purchase the organic ones.

We know certain chemicals are surely hazardous to our well being and many of us trust the EPA here in the United States to protect us from unnecessary exposure to carcinogens etc. But is this enough?

Most certainly not but how much time are you willing to devote to wearing the EPA hat in your house?

If you don’t like your odds of cleaning up Washington, start at home. The best primer may be “Raising Healthy Children in a Toxic World” by Dr. Philip J. Landrigan, director of the Children’s Environmental Health Center at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, and two other authors. It’s a decade old now, and plenty of chemical scares have come and gone. Still, the book offers comprehensive checklists: for the nursery, the bathroom, the neighborhood and the day care center. How can you keep lead out of your child’s sandbox? What nastiness lingers inside a toddler’s art box? What do you know about your drinking water?

via Going to Extreme Lengths to Purge Household Toxins – NYTimes.com.

Work-Life Integration or Balance?


I recently read an article about work-life integration…which is different from work-life balance.

Simply put, I found the discussion, integration of work-life, fascinating especially, the writer’s narrative of his conversation with an airport parking lot toll booth worker.

Every day when my children were small I felt the stress of trying to balance being a mother, wife, nurse and daughter.

There was a calendar stuck on my kitchen wall which said it all…appointments, school work, after school activities, dinners, business meetings, a true yearly diary tracking my daily doings.

Even when things were going smoothly…like no one was sick…or traveling it seemed overwhelming. But if anything was the least bit out of whack then my balancing act was way off. It was a true life tight-rope walk.

Twenty years later …things have changed…NOT really!

I am now a grandmother…

and am actively engaged in helping my daughter with her daughter.

In addition, I write…

I try to run a somewhat smooth household,

I try to take care of my aging self…

and I keep the same wall calendar

as when I was juggling a different three generational family constellation.

How do I view myself these days?

I would have to say, for the major part of my day…I am family focused …

my work as a social worker/nurse/writer fills in the down time that I make for myself which is either early in the morning, or at night.

My description of me???

“Juggler”…of work and life…

That is…somewhere between balanced and integrated.

Most days, I kind of like being a juggler.

With the wisdom that comes with age it is simply easier to prioritize…

I look at life holistically …

“juggling” my own needs, the needs of my family and the extraneous things as best I can.

What is your idea of work-life balance?

How we view ourselves plays a critical part in integrating work/life roles. Do you mostly identify yourself as work-focused, family-focused, some combination of those two–or something else altogether? Hint: don’t answer this one the way you think you should answer it; be honest with yourself..

So here are a few key takeaways. First, do not try to balance anything. Second, try to integrate instead, which requires some real awareness of your preferred behaviors, self-identity, and sense of control. You need to dedicate some time to figuring out those preferences. Finally, there’s no “right” way to create an integrated life. The possibilities of what success looks like are as endless as the potential plot lines in a parking lot booth operator’s novel.

via Strive For Work-Life Integration, Not Balance | Fast Company.


Related articles:


Intersection of social media and journalism

As a social worker and maternal child nurse my work efforts have always advocated for the well-being of mother and child.

I am frequently drawn to humanitarian causes that focus on the mother child dyad. I read so much on social media sites and in newspapers that sometimes the “bad” news often becomes overwhelming and triggers an episode of compassion fatigue.

Personally, I have to pick my causes carefully. I rely on journalistic sources to fill in some of the gaps in my knowledge of what is going on world-wide in the lives of women/mothers and children.

The recent controversial Kony 2012 video overlaps social media and journalism in the reporting of the horrific conditions that are inflicted on young children and their parents. I found myself confused with all the comments on social media sites…but Jessica Gottlieb‘s post has helped shed light on why I am feeling this way.

My critical thinking was being overwhelmed by my compassionate, empathic spirit…this was not a good thing for someone like myself who works in the service of others. I found some balance after reading Jessica’s post which is linked below.

If you are not familiar with Invisible Children and the Kony 2012, viral video you should read Jessica Gottlieb‘s post on this type of journalism and draw your own conclusions about the intersection of credible journalism and social media.

In this era of intense social media exposure the need to be critical readers/listeners/viewers is mandatory lest we believe everything we read, view or listen to or lest we throw away a good message because of the messenger.

There are many good journalists in America. There are talented documentarians too. Great journalists and biographers aren’t typically found in social media. Sure there are some, but not the majority.


Toddlers and the “No” Word!

I recently read a blog post by Lisa Sunbury  about how often we use the word , “No” when dealing with our own children.

It amazed me,  especially as I began to listen to parents while I was out shopping and running errands …but more importantly I began listening to myself as I spoke to my own granddaughter during any given day.

I say the “no” word more than I would like to admit.

The word “no” should have real meaning when you say it especially to a child. If you repeat the word “no” over and over it really loses its effectiveness when you really need a child to listen.

Here are some of my tips to fight over use of, “No” with toddlers.

  • Try to recognize what the child is doing and call attention to it. For example…”You are walking on the sofa”.
  •  Next explain that sofas are for sitting or laying down…”we walk on the floor and we sit on chairs and sofas”.
  • Ask for his cooperation and help with keeping the sofa clean by not walking on it.

One of the hardest times of the day with a toddler is just around dinner time…it is no different in our house. Usually there are several requests for cookies or something that will spoil her dinner. Instead of a curt “No..no crackers right now” which then turns into a whining match, this is my new response,

“I know you want some cookies but we are going to have dinner in just a little bit…can you help me get it ready? You can have some cookies after dinner”.

Sometimes this strategy buys a little time but it definitely takes the word “No” out of the conversation.

Lisa Sunbury has some 6 Tips to avoid the word “No”.

  • Rephrase your request in a positive way: Instead of  saying, “No, don’t run,”  try, “Please walk inside.”
  • Let your child know what he may do instead of  telling him what he can’t do:
  • Ask for your child’s help and thank him when he gets it right:  Instead of,  ”I said no yelling!” try lowering your own voice and saying, “Thank you for remembering to speak softly while your baby sister is sleeping.”
  • Explain the reason for your request, and  state what behavior you want to see instead: Instead of  saying, “No, don’t________ ,” try stating,  ”I want you to_____________ because__________. “No, don’t bang on the table,” becomes, “I want you to stop banging on the table because the sound it makes is loud, and it’s hurting my ears.”
  •  Use “sportscasting”  to say what you see: Instead of saying, “No throwing food!” try saying, “You’re throwing your food. That tells me you’re done eating, so I am going to put the food away now.”
  • If your child is hitting, kicking, or biting: Instead of saying, “No hitting/kicking/biting!” try saying, “Hitting/kicking/biting hurts! I won’t let you hit/kick/bite me. If you want to hit/kick/bite, you may hit the floor (or these pillows)/kick this ball/bite this teething ring.”

Recently we have been watching the Disney movie, “Enchanted“. There is a short scene where, Giselle is complaining to Robert that he is always saying …”No”.

It takes on more meaning for me when I read this on Google and after reading Lisa’s post.

A UCLA survey from a few years ago reported that the average one year old child hears the word, No!, more than 400 times a day! You may, at first, think this must be an exaggeration but consider this…when we tell a toddler No! we usually say, No, no, no!.

via Google Answers: Hearing the word “No” as a child.

Lisa Sunbury’s blog is a remarkable resource for parents and their children. It is my hope this post which includes only a snippet of her work with kids and parents inspires you to connect with her work.