The End of Nap Time – Not the Tragedy I Thought it Would Be!

I am a full time stay at home mom with a 9 month old girl, and a 3 year old boy.  My son was always an epic napper.  I was spoiled, and nap time was my favorite time of day – I could get things done around the house, and even have the chance to relax for a few minutes of my ‘work day.’  I was worried about juggling it all when my daughter was born, but I knew I would have my son’s nap time as the glue that would hold my day together.

When my son started to drop his nap time (first he would skip one day a week.. then it was three…) it really started to stress me out.  We would have fights about it every day.  I would give him toys I got at yard sales when he napped, and take toys or privileges away when he didn’t.  We were all pretty miserable!  I decided to bring up the topic at my son’s 3 year check up with his pediatrician.

During our discussion of Cameron’s sleep I mentioned that sometimes Cam wakes up with what I called ‘night terrors’ – he is sort of awake, but a bit delirious, and usually inconsolable and screaming.  The pediatrician asked me when Cam went to bed, to which I answered, on days he naps around 10pm, and on days he doesn’t around 7:30.  She noted that those 10 days must be “long days” – you got that right!  And then she made what was to me, an earth shattering suggestion: drop nap time.  She said that night terrors are often linked to over tired children, and with Cam going to bed so late, he wasn’t getting the solid chunk of night sleep he needed.  She said, still give him “rest time” (quiet time in his room for an hour or so) – if he falls asleep, fine, but take the pressure off and don’t stress over it.

Here’s how I made it happen – For Cameron, rest time is from 2 – 3:15.  2 is also when his sister goes down for his nap – so for my sanity I like to have them be in their rooms at the same time.  The reason I picked 3:15 as the end time is because it is very easy for Cameron to see on his clock – both hands point to the same spot.  We have a great clock from IKEA that is perfect for this.  Cameron’s door knob used to have a ’safety cover’ which we got from Amazon that keeps him from being able to let himself out – we don’t need this any more as he is with the program and knows that he has to stay in his room for the designated time period – but you might want to try something like that initially.  Finally, we have a video monitor in Cam’s room (honestly we bought it for Violet but we get a lot more use out of it with Cameron!)  I use it to make sure he isn’t getting into too much trouble up there.  It has a PA system so I can talk to him if I need to.

Cameron is allowed to play with toys (nothing electronic) and read books.  For now, the system is working great – Cam generally doesn’t give too much of a fight about staying up there the whole time.  In the evening, my husband has an alarm on his iPhone that signals that it’s time to get in the bath and then go to bed.  Cameron is usually quite happy to start his relaxing routine!  I think if you are getting to the point of stressing over and fighting with your child about nap time, it might be time to try switching to a ‘rest time’ or quiet time in the room.  It revolutionized the evening routine at my house and I couldn’t be happier!

How to Detect and Deal With an Ear Infection

Over the holiday break Violet came down with her first ear infection.  It’s been a long time since anyone in the family has had one of these (thankfully) and I had to rely on my seemingly ancient experience to figure out what was going on!  I remember with Cameron’s first ear infection I asked his pediatrician how I could tell (or at least get a good idea) that his cold had taken a turn for the worse and become an infection.  Below is her advice, along with a few new tidbits that I pick up from Violet’s pediatrician.

My poor sick baby snuggles up to dad.

A cold virus usually runs its course over 7-10 days.  Try to note when your little one gets ill (I happened to call Violet’s pediatrician when she first got ill so I could see in my phone history when I made the call).  If your child has been sick longer than that, and maybe even seemed to be getting better but then takes a turn for the worse, you might be looking at an ear infection.

If your child has a fever, and they have had that long lingering cold then it’s not looking so good!  I know with Cameron I was nervous about taking his temperature rectally… it just seemed like it would be uncomfortable for him.  But I’ve gotten over my squeamishness with Violet and honestly, it doesn’t seem to bother her at all.  This will give you the most accurate temperature reading.

At this point I’d call your pediatrician and tell them what signs you’ve seen – they will ask you about the fever, so be sure you get that reading!  It’s pretty likely they will have you come in for a sick visit.

Your little one might be in a lot of pain from the possible infection, and is certainly uncomfortable from the fever.  I tend to give my little ones Advil (ibuprofen) rather than Tylenol (acetaminophen) because it lasts longer (6-8 hours vs 4 hours).  This is especially key in the night because it will hopefully help everyone get more rest.

Feeling much better and eating again!

Violet had a pretty rough time with this infection – her fever was up to 104 for a few evenings.  It took about 4 days on the antibiotics to get her back to herself – eating, drinking, and smiling again.  There was a time that we had to force feed her pedialyte because she wasn’t having any wet diapers.  The pediatrician suggested buying pedialyte frozen pops (in the baby isle) and cutting them into small chunks so Violet could feed herself the pieces, or just try sucking on the pop.  This didn’t really work for her – but maybe it will for you.  In theory it would be a lot more pleasant than squirting pedialyte into her mouth every 10 minutes!

Finally she recovered – we’ve got 2 days left on her 10 day antibiotic course (always be sure to complete the antibiotic course even if your child seems all better) and then we will head back to the pediatrician for an all-clear on her ears.

If your little one comes down with an ear infection – just get them to the doctor quickly, and give them as much TLC as you can while they are recovering.  It seems like a long road, but they will get there!  Good luck!

It’s That Time of Year – Be on the Look Out for Roseola

Almost exactly two years ago, my older child Cameron came down with Roseola.  I’m not sure why, but this common illness which is caused by a virus usually appears in children age 6 months to 2 years in the spring and fall.  And given the number of google searches Mommy FTW is getting about roseola, I’d say there’s plenty of it going around!  So, I wanted to do a repost of some of the information I shared 2 years ago when Cameron got sick.

Roseola is sometimes called “baby measles” or the “sixth disease.” It is a form of herpes. Roseola is highly contagious, being spread through contact with saliva or being breathed on by another baby with roseola. If a child in your playgroup or in your little one’s daycare has roseola – you definitely want to be on the look out.  It usually starts with a sudden high fever with sometimes no other symptoms. During this phase of the illness just give your child ibuprofen to try and keep him comfortable. FYI – ibuprofen is a better choice than acetaminophen (tylenol) because it lasts longer, which means you have to administer it less often.  The fever will generally last about 3 days.  FYI – About 10 to 15 percent of children with roseola have a seizure. If this happens, your baby may become unconscious and jerk his arms, legs, or facial muscles for two or three minutes.

About a day after the fever subsides, you will see the telltale rash of roseola (see pictures below).  This might be the only clue that tells you what happened to your little one!  I didn’t figure out what was wrong with until I saw the rash and talked to some other moms in our playgroup.  The pieces of the puzzle came together and I knew what we were dealing with.   The rash isn’t itchy or uncomfortable, and contact with the rash itself doesn’t spread the illness. It’s usually seen on the trunk and neck, but it can extend to the arms, legs, and face. It lasts for about 24-48 hours.  Once you see the rash, the worst is over with.

There’s no specific treatment for roseola. Like most viral illnesses, roseola just needs to run its course. The most important thing you can do is make sure your baby rests and gets plenty of liquids.  Watch the fever and make sure it doesn’t get dangerously high, and be sure to let other moms or caregivers your child has contact with know so they can keep an eye on their little ones.

Here are some pictures of the rash Cameron had on his left and right legs. It looks a little scary but it didn’t last long!

Cameron's Right Leg - Roseola rash

Cameron's Right Leg - Roseola rash

Cameron's left leg - Roseola rash

Cameron's Left leg - Roseola rash

Ease Baby’s Heat Rash With a Soothing Bath

With these super hot summer days heat rash is common in little ones.  Cameron has had a few bouts of it, and I always use the same tried and true remedy that my pediatrician told me when he was just a little guy:  a bath with Corn Starch or Baking Soda. Of course, for good measure I usually add both Corn Starch and Baking Soda.  By the way, if you are not sure if your little one heat rash call your pediatrician! Fair warning, the google image search for baby heat rash is a little scary.

Here’s a picture of what Cameron’s rash looked like:

Cameron's rash

Cameron's rash

Baking Soda and Corn Starch Bath - all better!

Baking Soda and Corn Starch Bath - all better!

By the way, this bath remedy is also great when your little one has diaper rash too.

PUPPS After Delivery? Unfortunately, Yes. My Shot Gun Remedy Approach!

A few days after Violet was born I started feeling a little itchy, and saw some small red blotches appearing on my chest.  I didn’t think too much of it – figuring maybe she had clawed me a little while I was holding her and my skin was just a bit irritated.  I laid down for a nap.  When I woke up there was a rash covering my chest and my torso and it itched like CRAZY.  I started googling.

After searching for some time I came upon something called PUPPSPruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy.  The thing is, PUPPS usually happens during pregnancy, generally during first pregnancies, 70% of the time the mothers are carrying boys, and usually the mothers are carrying multiples.  As you know, none of these things applied to me.  But, the symptoms themselves and the pictures I was looking at seemed like an exact match.  I started looking for something, anything, to give me relief from the unbearable itching.

I was incredibly disheartened to read that there was no “cure” for PUPPS (they don’t even really know the cause) and that sometimes women find the itching so bad they have their doctors induce them because most of the time PUPPS goes away once your baby is born.  For me, this wasn’t even on the table.  I was frantic.

I sent my husband to Whole Foods to buy up any holistic remedy I found on the internet (which I will post about below).  I was all about the shotgun approach since I was so desperate.  While he was gone I called my OB to make an appointment, and spoke to my daughter’s pediatrician to make sure all the things I were about to try were ok for the baby.  I got my OB appointment for the next day (which seemed like an eternity away) and got the all clear from the pediatrician.  My husband came back and I began my home-remedy assault.  Here’s what I tried:

Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap – This stuff will make you smell a bit like you spent too much time next to the camp fire, but I didn’t care.  I took a warm shower with it and left the lather on me for a few minutes before rinsing it off. I did this a few times that day. This soap is written about all over the internet as a PUPPS helper.  It did seem to give me some relief from the itching.

Natures Gate Skin Therapy Colloidal Oatmeal Lotion – I put this on after each shower, and sometimes in between. This lotion is supposed to help with itching. I’m not sure how much it really did for me, but I didn’t care.

Dandelion root capsules – The bottle said take 3 pills, 3 times a day. Dandelion Root is said to help improve liver function. I figured it couldn’t hurt.  I can’t really say if this helped, but improved liver function sounds good!

Benadryl Itch Stopping Gel - the Nurse Practitioner I spoke to at my OB’s office recommended trying this since I wasn’t going to see my OB until the next day and get something stronger. We had some on hand for mosquito bites in the summer so I was all for it. It helped some to relieve the itching – for about 5 minutes.

Claritin – I think in the end this was my savior. Maybe 10 minutes after I took the first pill I started feeling better, and within an hour the itching was bearable again. I took a 24 hour pill, but within 12 hours the rash was back with a vengeance and I had to take another pill (this was at 4am). Be sure to NOT take Claritin D if you are nursing, the “D” kind will decrease your milk supply.

The next day I saw my OB and she gave me a topical steroid cream as well as a steroid pack.  She also told me to keep taking the Claritin, and try Benadryl at night.  She said that the two medicines work different ways so it was kind of like hitting the problem on two fronts.  Mercifully, within a few days the PUPPS rash seemed like it was all gone.

Besides the prescriptions, you can get all these remedies over the counter at a health foods store (or Whole Foods) and a drug store like CVS or Walgreens.  Be sure to check with your OB and your child’s pediatrician before trying any remedies to be sure they think they are safe for you and your baby.

So, if you have PUPPS, first I would like to say I am terribly sorry because I know how awful it is.  Second, I hope some of these remedies help you get at least a little relief.  And also, for the very very few of you out there who might get PUPPS after delivery I just wanted to let you know that yes, it can happen, even though it is rare.  My OB said she had only heard of it happening once before.  Either way, hang in there – and GOOD LUCK!

What’s Cameron Eating? – Yogurt Pretzels From Trader Joe’s!

I am always on the look out for new snack options for Cameron.  I know he likes pretzels, and at his 2 year check up his pediatrician mentioned I should try and get him to eat more yogurt.  I’m not sure if yogurt covered pretzels really count in that department, but when I saw them at Trader Joe’s I thought I’d pick some up and see if Cameron liked them.  Indeed – he did!

Ready for snacking!

Overall I think they are a pretty hearty snack for him, plus they transport well.  If you’d like more information on the nutrition aspects of Trader Joe’s Yogurt Pretzels, check out this link.  FYI, I know Whole Foods also has yogurt covered pretzels in the bulk isles – and I’m sure you can find them elsewhere as well.  Give them a try – your toddler might love snacking on them!

What’s Cameron Eating? GoGurt!

When I went to Cameron’s 2 year check up his pediatrician recommended that I try and get him to eat more Yogurt.  His mastery of the spoon is minimal, and he hasn’t really shown interest in regular yogurt for ages.  He does like yogurt smoothies, but I wanted to try something else.  After his shots at the pediatrician, they gave him an otter pop which totally gave me a brain storm – GoGurt!

Cameron really enjoys it, it makes  a great snack, and he can feed it to himself.  Sometimes I freeze it – this makes it a little less messy (and more portable!  Throw it in your bag and it will slowly thaw over a few hours).

Cameron gets more yogurt... on the go!

I was looking on the Yoplait site for info about GoGurt and it seems like they have a product out there called Simply GoGurt which has no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners.  Beileive me I’ll be checking for this option next time at the store!

What’s Cameron Eating? – Hamburger – and Lots of it!

For those moms out there that know me, you are probably aware that Cameron is a very picky eater.  This is perhaps my greatest frustration with him.  At his 18 month check up his Pediatrician did a blood test on him to check his iron levels.  They were fine, but she wanted to be sure I was getting him to eat some red meat to keep them in good standing.  Cameron has always been a turkey and chicken lover, but red meat is sometimes a challenge.  Aside from the Trader Joe’s mini meatballs I wrote about before, there wasn’t a whole lot of it going on – except when we went to 67 Burger, where he would scarf it down!

Cameron chows down on burger, pickles, and sweet potato fries. Also pictured - Camelbak sippy and Skip Hop Mate Plate

On one visit to 67 burger I took an extra take out box home with me.  The next night I cooked up a small hamburger and placed it in the box.  Cameron was intrigued and excited (67 Burger is by far his favorite place to eat, and he recognizes their carry out packaging.  Yes, I am slightly embarrassed to admit that). I opened up the box, and revealed the home cooked burger.  He gobbled it up!  Now Cameron eats burgers as part of his regular rotation – and since he isn’t skeptical of them any more, I don’t have to deliver them in 67 burger boxes.

So, if your little one needs a little more iron, consider making them some mini burger patties at home.  It’s a quick and easy dinner served with some baked sweet potato fries, usually in Cameron’s case, and some pickles.  And yes, I count both of those as vegetables.  Pickles are cucumbers, you know!  I’ll take my victories where I can get them!

Posted from New York, New York, United States.

What’s Cameron Drinking?! – Ronnybrook Drinkable Yogurt!

I recently posted about Cameron’s bout with pesky diarrhea.  Part of the solution was reducing his lactose intake, and another part was to get him eating some yogurt (the active cultures are good for the tummy).  Unfortunately, Cameron no longer likes to eat yogurt – but he does like to drink it!  I’ve been giving him Ronnybrook Drinkable Yogurt – his favorite flavor is strawberry.

Lots of flavors to choose from!

Ronnybrook drinkable yogurt is made with whole milk, fresh fruit, and 10 active cultures two of which are pro biotic.  There are 5 flavors -plain, Peach, Strawberry, Blackberry or Mango. You can find all the nutritional information for the Ronnybrook Drinkable Yogurt drinks on this page.

Locally, I’ve been able to find these yogurt drinks at the Fort Greene Farmer’s Market, Elly’s, Mr. Coco, and Fresh Garden.  You can also order it from Fresh Direct.

Posted from New York, New York, United States.

Pesky Diarreah, and the Lactaid Solution

Earlier this week I let you know that Mommy For the Win is a year old.  Over the next few weeks I’m going to highlight some posts from the past and hopefully add some new information as well.  This first post revisit is a perfect example!

Cameron has been suffering from diarrhea for a few weeks now – nothing else seemed wrong with him (aside from the diaper rash that was being caused by all the poops!)  I couldn’t figure out what to do, and it took a call to the pediatrician to remind me of some advice she had given me in the past, and a post I had written – Pesky Diarreah and the Soy Solution.

Then, and now, Cameron had become briefly lactose intolerant.  The first time this happened, Cameron was just about a year old.  I took him off of regular formula and moved him to Soy Formula for a few weeks – magically, the diarrhea was gone!  This time, the pediatrician recommended trying Soy Milk with Cameron instead of his usual Whole Milk.  Well, he didn’t like that so much – I couldn’t get him to drink a drop of it!  Thankfully I was able to find some Lactaid brand Whole Milk.  Lactaid is milk without Lactose…. perfect!

Lactaid Whole Milk - Easy on Cameron's Tummy

Wondering where you can pick up this life saving milk?  Check your local grocer in the dairy section.  Fort Greene and Clinton Hill Locals – I found mine at Fresh Garden on Fulton.  It’s also available at Fairway (for a dollar less!)  And, although Fresh Direct doesn’t carry it – Peapod does.  And, thanks to A Child Grows in Brooklyn, I just found out that Peapod is now delivering to several zip codes in Brooklyn – 11201    11205   11215   11217   and 11231.

So, if your little one just can’t seem to shake their loose poops, and nothing else seems wrong with them – consult your pediatrician, and think about limiting their lactose intake (although yogurt is ok) for a few weeks and see if that helps.  It might just be your savior.  I saw Cameron’s first “normal” poop today for the first time in a long time.  I’ve never been so happy to see a poo!

For more information about babies and lactose intolerance, check out my other post, Pesky Diarrhea and the Soy Solution.

Posted from New York, New York, United States.