Week in Review…Parenting in the Loop

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

Please enjoy this beautiful time-lapse video!

Exclusive breast-feeding may just be too hard, study says:

Progesterone…questionsl and answers.

It was a great week here in Chicago with weather that was over the top….I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

“A Tree for Max”…by Jerry Halberstadt…a review

A Tree for Max by Jerry Halberstadt

I loved  “A Tree for Max”…it is delightful read for a child as well as an parent.

This is a book I will happily share with my 3 year old granddaughter throughout her childhood.

At first, I am sure she will enjoy a synopsis of this fable, while focusing on the beauty of the photography and the imaginary conversations occurring among the forest trees.

What a wonderful way to stimulate her sense of make-believe and awe!

As she gets older, I know she will appreciate the story of Max’a move from one home to another, as she  experiences along with Max the changes which take place when a child is transplanted.

A Tree for Max” is a book which continues to grow along with a child as he/she journeys through life and will bear fruit all along the way.

Disclosure: I personally know Jerry Halberstadt and was given a copy of “A Tree for Max“, my review was unsolicited and my opinions are as always my own.

Baby’s First Year …Feeding and Nutrition


Lately, I have been writing a fair amount about childhood and obesity.

This is a problem that begins early in a child’s life.

Back in the day, there was a saying,“a fat little baby was a healthy baby”. We know so much more today about weight and health to realize how far that statement is from the truth.

I am not suggesting monitoring a baby’s feedings and dietary habits as we would our own adult intake of fat and carbs. But regular visits to the pediatrician during the first year of a child’s life will help track his/her growth and development related to his/her nutritional intake .  Discussions about feeding schedules such as when and what solid foods to introduce  can help parents along the way so that formula or breast milk still remain the major source of nutrition during baby’s first year.

For the first 6 months breast milk or formula is normally the sole nutrition for your child and it remains the major source of nutrition for a child’s first year of life.
Clearly monitoring your child’s growth and development along with your pediatrician will determine whether your child is getting sufficient nutrition.

HealthyChildren.org – Feeding & Nutrition.

I came across an interesting study from the American Academy of Pediatrics of a group of infants and their transition to a variety of foods during their first year.

We found dramatic transitions in dietary consumption that occurred among infants during their first year. The transition from a diet of virtually nothing but breast milk, infant formula, or both to a varied diet of foods from all food groups began for most infants at ∼4 to 5 months of age and continued throughout their first 12 months. Infant cereal was usually the first food other than milk or formula given to infants and remained the most common supplementary food until infants were ∼8 months of age. Fruits and vegetables were introduced at a median age of 5 to 6 months, and meats were introduced at a median age of ∼8 months. By 1 year of age, more than half of the infants were consuming a diet that included not only cereals, fruits, vegetables, meats, and milk products but also foods high in sugar or fat but low in nutrient density.

In this study, we identified several infant feeding practices of concern, including substantial formula supplementation in the hospital, early introduction of solid foods, late introduction of meats, and feeding of high-fat/high-sugar foods to infants. Because of their frequent contact with infants and their parents, clinicians have a unique opportunity to advise new parents about recommended infant feeding practices. By being aware of these infant feeding recommendations and communicating them to parents, clinicians can help start children on the road to a healthy lifestyle.


Even though I was a Masters educated Maternal and Child nurse when I brought home my first daughter, I did not have a clue as to how to increase her formula beyond the first week of her life. Thankfully, Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami had given me a “mimeographed” booklet about feeding during the first year of a baby’s life. I kept that dogeared booklet very close at hand since I dared not rely on my own mother or extended family…at the time, they seemed as clueless as I was.

During a recent Google search I located an excellent resource for infant feeding from Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, Palo Alto, CA  “Feeding Guide of the First Year”. 

The guide divides the first year into two parts (4 to 8 months) and (9 to 12 months) and then subdivides these ages. It also provides a complete list of food items as well as measured amounts. Baby’s tiny stomach cannot hold that much solid food and breast milk or formula will still be his main source of nutrition.

  • breast milk or formula provides you baby all the nutrients that are needed to grow
  • your any is not physically developed enough to eat solid food from a spoon
  • starting your baby on solid food too early increases the chance that he/she may develop a good allergy
  • feeding your baby solid food too early may lead to overfeeding and being overweight.

The first year of life is a year of unbelievably rapid growth and development…a baby needs the proper nutrition to keep up with all the physical changes that are taking place.

More growth occurs during this period of life than any other time in your child’s life.

Amazing isn’t it?

Dads and Delivery…

Dads and Delivery…

When I read this dad’s post I felt kind of conflicted as to why he would not want to “cut the cord”. I thought it was because he was squeamish…but soon realized it had an all together different meaning to him after he watched his child being born.

What was your experience with your partner?

What do you think?

My second child, a daughter, was born two months ago. As my wife prepared to deliver the baby and the doctor readied the room, there was only one thing for me to do: remind everyone, once again, that I would not be cutting the umbilical cord.

via Dude Week: Why Should Dads Cut the Cord? | Raising Kvell.

Help To Find a Breastfeeding-Supportive Hospital

If you are planning on a hospital delivery and on breastfeeding there are questions you might want to ask when you tour the hospital. Supportive breastfeeding leads to successful breastfeeding.

Hospitals can vary very much in their support of the breastfeeding mother. The first few days of baby’s life is so important in the over all successful establishment of breastfeeding.

Arming yourself with good questions and getting the answers from the hospital staff will prepare you for what you will have to do to ensure a good feeding experience for you and your baby.

Some suggestions for a question list:

  • Ask your hospital if they are a  Baby Friendly hospital i.e.. do they follow Unicef guidelines when it comes to breastfeeding?
  • What kid of lactation support does the hospital offer?
  • Do they give the moms formula free diaper bags?
  • Do they initiate breastfeeding and skin to skin contact immediately after delivery?
  • What is the breast feeding policy in the NICU

viaTop 10 Questions to Help You Find a Breastfeeding-Supportive Hospital | Best for Babes.

In my opinion, parents-to-be can never have too much information prior to the birth of their child.

Knowing what questions to ask is part of getting the information that you need at this time of transition to parenthood.

Week in Review…Parenting In The Loop

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

via Would You Call My Child A Retard? – YouTube.

Daylight Savings and Your Child’s Sleep”

“Stop saying good job to your kids!”

Let me know what you think…

Have a great weekend and thanks for reading!

Snooki Is Pregnant

Snooki’s pregnancy has stirred up the news…she and her boyfriend are engaged and according to US Weekly she is 15 weeks into her pregnancy.

As one of the “stars” of Jersey Shore, viewers have seen her at her worst…but now she is pregnant. What will that mean to the girl known for partying and speaking her piece on television?

Hopefully, she will use this pregnancy to show her fans and viewers what a responsible woman’s choices are when it comes to drinking and eating during pregnancy. Apparently, she was drinking before she knew she was pregnant…that is common…as many women do not know they are pregnant and continue to party and drink. Continuing to drink after learning that you are pregnant is a problem  and can cause difficulties for early embryonic development and later fetal development.

Ideally, if you are planning or trying to get pregnant it would be wise to stop drinking…although some physicians do permit some alcohol during pregnancy the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists do not agree with this.

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy amounts to sharing your cocktail with your tiny, developing baby. The same level of alcohol you ingest is also ingested by your baby, says the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists ACOG.Why is alcohol consumption during pregnancy so bad for your baby? Mainly because alcohol consumption during pregnancy affects your babys cognitive and physical development. The highest risk from alcohol to your developing baby is during the earliest stages of pregnancy, when babys critical organs are forming and cells are dividing very rapidly. The more you drink during pregnancy, the greater health risks you and your baby are facing. Since there is no known safe level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, ACOG recommends eliminating all alcohol consumption during pregnancy to optimize your chances for a healthy baby.

via Alcohol and Pregnancy.

Having a baby is a huge responsibility and Snooki deserves a chance to enjoy her pregnancy and her baby. In general, we are very critical when some support is actually needed. Remember that Jersey Shore is a product of the media and lets hope she has a life outside of her “brand”.

Snooki Is Pregnant – Parenting.com.

Shame vs. Guilt in treating obesity…

More on childhood obesity and shaming….this morning I read a post by Jessica Gottlieb and although I agree with her premise  and a “little shame is good”, I was disturbed by the idea of using shame to change behavior.

As a social worker I know “shaming” in childhood can cause many serious problems later in childhood and in life. It is a complex emotion worth ‘unpacking’ as we say in the therapeutic setting.

Jessica said…It starts getting murky when we discuss shame and fat. Do I think that people should be shamed for being fat? As in telling them, “You should be ashamed of yourself.”? Of course not. Do I think that feeling ashamed of yourself is a natural consequence of being very fat? Yes, we all know that to be true. Recently there was an outcry about billboards in Georgia “fat shaming” kids. Anyone sensible can see that they weren’t bringing shame to children, they simply acknowledged the fact that children were feeling ashamed and that one of the many side effects of obesity is that your get ready for it self esteem takes a dive.

via Sometimes Parenting With a Little Shame is a Good Thing | Jessica Gottlieb A Los Angeles Mom.

Strong4Life began a childhood obesity campaign in Georgia earlier this year. Billboards of obese children were part of that campaign. This raised the ire of those who are opposed to “shaming” fat children which they said these billboards did. Strong4Life of course emphatically stated this was not the purpose of their billboard campaign.

This week, I am happy to report that the billboard campaign is taking a new direction and the billboards are being removed. I believe that the current rate of obesity and its longterm health effects on children is a tragedy. Almost anything that helps to educate and prevent this health epidemic should be done. I am not sure that the billboards were entirely shaming and that they gave license to bullying fat children…that is already being done without the billboards.

At the end of January 2012, Leah Segedie, a fitness blogger and founder of Mamavation, sounded the alarm about a childhood obesity campaign in Georgia that was shaming overweight kids. The Strong 4 Life campaign included a series of billboards, print ads, television ads, and social media featuring overweight children. The children talk about the negative social and health impacts of their size, including being excluded and made fun of by classmates.

via Georgias Fat Shaming Child Obesity Billboards Coming Down | Care2 Causes.

In some way “shaming” became the forefront of this Strong4Life  campaign which is not a bad thing since it seems there is some confusion between shaming and being embarrassed or experiencing guilt by one’s own behavior.

There are different forms of shame and in the extreme form shame can be very problematic. There really is no simplistic understanding of shame and what it does to a child who experiences to an extreme.

According to Alen J. Salerian, M.D., psychiatrist and medical director of the Washington, D.C., Psychiatric Center Outpatient Clinic, shame is a complex emotional response that all humans acquire during early development. “It’s a normal feeling about ourselves and our behavior,” he said, “not necessarily a symptom of an illness or pathology. In many situations, it’s abnormal if we don’t experience it.”Embarrassment and shyness, for example, are two forms of shame that seldom cause trouble — unless they’re extreme or long lasting. And humility, another of the forms shame can take, is generally considered socially desirable.But there’s mounting evidence that problems occur when shame or humiliation becomes an integral part of a person’s self-image or sense of self-worth. Over the past two decades, psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals have reported that abnormal styles of handling shame play an important role in social phobias, eating disorders, domestic violence, substance abuse, road rage, schoolyard and workplace rampages, sexual offenses and a host of other personal and social problems.

“Unlike guilt, which is the feeling of doing something wrong,” she said, “shame is the feeling of being something wrong. When a person experiences shame, they feel ‘there is something basically wrong with me.’”

Making a child feel that there is something inherently wrong with him/her for being fat is not a good thing but helping a child to understand that what he eats is important and there are healthy and unhealthy food choices is a good thing. A guilty feeling when eating large amounts of sugary foods can help a parent and a child.
By removing “shaming” from ways to deal with our children’s unwanted behavior is not disempowering us as parents…rather, it is empowering us if we remain open to learning other ways to deal with what we deem problematic behavior.

Many people are still convinced that smacking or shaming are the only antidotes for preventing antisocial behaviors in children. The suggestion of giving up shaming or smacking is misinterpreted by some as attempts to disempower parents; to turn them into guilt-laden, ineffectual and permissive wimps. Not so. The most effective and healthy boundaries can be set without resorting to violence or shaming. Being strong with children does not mean being harsh, or humiliating.There are alternatives to shaming that are healthier and more effective. Children who are shown consistent boundaries by parents who are able to express their feelings and needs in a trusting and respectful way, grow up with stronger self-worth and social awareness, free of the toxic effects of shame.

via “Good” Children – at What Price? The Secret Cost of Shame – The Natural Child Project.

“Shaming” which makes anyone feel a lack of self worth is not what I believe was the goal of the Strong4Life billboard campaign…it was an acknowledgment of how a fat child may feel embarrassed by his/her weight. He/she may have been shamed by bullies and even his /her parents. Bringing the ill effects of “shaming” into the conversation was plus in my opinion.

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Related Links:


Breastfeeding Is Health, Not Lifestyle Choice …

THURSDAY, March 1, 2012 MedPage Today — Every infant should begin life with six months of exclusive breastfeeding, followed by another six months or longer with other foods gradually added to the childs diet, according to an updated policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

These statistics are stunning…take a look at the link below:

via Breastfeeding Is Health, Not Lifestyle Choice – Pregnancy 101 – EverydayHealth.com.

1st Birthday…Social Event of the Year!

Baby’s First Birthday…

I have written about kids’ birthday parties in the past and really I am not a big fan of parties that are over the top…I’m sure some of you know what I mean.

First birthdays are different…they can set the stage for future parties…for me SIMPLE is the keyword.

This is the day your little one was born so also keep some time for your immediate family to celebrate too.

Party Tips:

  • Keep the party length manageable:  1 1/2  to 2 hours is a length that a one-year old can tolerate without interfering with a nap time.
  • Finger foods are wonderful…if it is around lunchtime pizza is always a go-to in our family. My personal thing is an early party with a breakfast theme. It has worked really well for us several times. Bagels, fruit…milk, juice, muffins. You can serve a cake for your little one at the end and have individually wrapped cupcakes for the guests to take home.
  • Themes are great…check out Pinterest.com for birthday theme ideas and www.amazingmoms.com is also a great website. Coordination of invitations and party paraphernalia is fun and easy with a theme…use your imagination or someone else’s if you are like me.

Have Fun…Enjoy the Celebration!