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Pediatricians: Know It All or Know-It-Alls?

Pediatricians: Know It All or Know-It-Alls?

Personally, I hate taking O to her well check visits at her pediatricians’. While I love her doctor, she’s never rushed, always listens, I can’t get over the fact that she’s a doctor and I’m increasingly convinced they are put on this Earth to scare the crap out of us. For those of you who have yet to experience a child’s well check visit, let me fill you in: Step one: a nurse comes and strips your baby down to her diaper and measures her head circumference, her height and then takes her diaper off to put her on the scale. Step two: the same nurse asks a bunch of “yes” or “no” questions such as, “Is she grabbing for things?” To which I never respond with “yes” or “no” but rather something like, “um, yeah, sometimes. I can tell she wants to, she just may not be getting it yet, blah blah blah.” Which I’m sure the nurse just loves. Step three: diaper’s back on. O’s doctor comes in and asks if we have any questions or concerns to which we usually take a few minutes to talk about her spitting up (“totally normal”). Step four: Doctor pokes and prods the baby. She listens to her heart, looks in her eyes and ears, messes with her hips and flips her on her belly. Step five: Remember those measurements the nurse took back in step one? Well, now the doc puts these numbers on a chart that compares them with 99 other babies born on her birthday. I know, she can’t even talk yet and she’s already being compared to her peers. On O’s four-month well check, the doctor told us that her head circumference was in the 100th percentile. Not only were 99 other babies born on the same day equipped with smaller heads, but the baby that fell at 99 didn’t even hold a candle to my child. I reacted to this news as I imagine I would for her first A+. Essentially, she was the valedictorian of big-headed babies. However, before I had time to order her plaque, my doctor opened her mouth to say, “I’m not concerned, yet.” Excuse me? Yet? Can you give me a timeline of when you might start to worry? According to her, a big head could mean a number of things: all of which Google confirmed in one of the...

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Kicking The Pacifier Habit

Kicking The Pacifier Habit

Sometimes the pacifier habit will phase out on its own. But sometimes your kid is entering Kindergarten and people are giving you looks (no judgments here). It’s time to bring in the big guns. Getting your child to give up the pacifier without major drama can be quite a challenge. Here are ten tips, which might make it easier. NO REPLACEMENTS Throw out the old pacifiers as they wear out and though you may be tempted…do not buy new ones. Try to keep your child updated on how many remain. (Only four pacifiers left!) This will help set the stage for the eventual retirement of the entire pacifier collection. (Oh well…none left.) LIMIT AVAILABILITY As you head towards the final few weeks of the pacifier, begin to gradually discourage your child’s use by making it less accessible. Leave it at home during a short trip to the store (oops!) or only have one available when you go to the park, which gets put away once it is dropped. Think of it as weaning. No one likes going cold turkey. POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT Encourage your child with positive comments when they are able to go without the pacifier for a certain amount of time. (Wow, you haven’t used your pacifier for an hour!) You can also offer a reward when they successfully give it up. Never underestimate the power of bribery. NEGATIVE REINFORCEMENT Consider making the pacifier less appealing by cutting the tip off and flavoring it with an unpleasant taste. After a few experiences with these pacifiers, your child may not even bother asking for them again. This may not go over well with some children and is reminiscent of that awful “stop nail biting liquid” but hey, if it works… TRANSITIONAL SUBSTITUTE A cuddly doll or blanket can serve as a temporary substitute to distract your child from the missing pacifier. Whether it’s in the stroller or at bedtime, find a replacement object to grab their attention when they would normally turn to the pacifier. Use sparingly or in a few months you’ll be looking for “Helping Your Child Kick the Blankie habit.” CUT OUT CUTESY NAMES Once the pacifier is on its way out, drop the cute nickname — binky, paci, dum-dum, whatever your child calls it and only refer to it as the pacifier. Turn it back into the object it is, as opposed to the friendly...

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Top 10 Things I Learned About Baby/Toddler Sleep Training

Top 10 Things I Learned About Baby/Toddler Sleep Training

This was inspired by seeing the light (3 nights of sleeping straight through) and then having that light cruelly taken away from us (last 3 nights awake 2-3 times per night). I apologize if I sound a little hopeless, angry and sad but after 13 months, reading every book on the market, having an amazing routine and trying everything in a New York apartment the size of a shoe box…my husband and I thought things would be a little different. My thoughts on toddler sleep training: 1. It’s an oxymoron. 2. Every sleep method I read has a small line of print: “This might not work if your child is teething, going through a milestone or any additional change.” You mean like every day until he is 18? 2 1/2. “If your child vomits from crying too hard, calmly clean up the throw up and leave the room.” What?!? 3. Every book I read has “No Cry” or “Easy” in their title, but by chapter three I always realize this it is not the case. FYI: Some of us work so no, I cannot chart every time my daughter rubs her eyes. 4. Only sleep training can make two college educated, smart, patient parents feel like complete powerless idiots. 5. It’s mind boggling to me how can anyone wake up at 5am, never stop moving and still have problems falling asleep at 9pm. 6. I would agree to gain a 100 pounds if I could get eight hours of continuous sleep every night with my husband in our bed alone. Too bad I would no longer fit in that bed… 7. I was scared out of my mind when I read on internet that some kids still wake up 2-3 times per night at 3, 5, and 7 years-old. Should have adopted a 16 year old — I heard they sleep till 2pm. 8. I want my money back for every soother, night-time CD and comfort blanket I bought in the last year. I fell for all of you. 9. When I daydream at work, it’s always the same: a nursery on the third floor of my modest mansion and Tori and Dean’s nanny carrying our girl away for the night as I open a nice bottle of red. 10. Maybe sleep problems are the way to keep this world from being overpopulated, because otherwise people would have 10-15...

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Top 10 Things Never To Say To A New Mom

Top 10 Things Never To Say To A New Mom

1.   “When are you due?”  2.   “My baby was sleeping all night every night from birth.”  3.   “She needs a hat.”  4.   “Who is the father?”  5.   “I lost all my pregnancy weight 2 hours after delivery and my boobs… …well, they stayed huge. So weird…”  6.   “Make sure that you get some rest.”  7.   “You should be breastfeeding.”  8.   “You will never sleep again.”  9.   “It will only get more difficult.”  10.  “You used to be so much fun!” Author: Ilona...

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Top 10 Differences A Year Makes

A year ago my daughter was two-months-old. She was never a tender, cooing baby and I was never a picture perfect doting mother. We were both exhausted, foreign to each other and wondering when will this babyhood insanity will stop for both of us. Around that time I saw a dad on a street who had 14-month-old twins. We talked briefly and I remember asking him “When will I feel better, I mean… much better?” He answered, “After about a year.” In horror, his words lingered in my mind. At that point my life was on an hour-by-hour basis. I simply couldn’t imagine even making it through a year, forget about enjoying anything after that. Well, here I am. I survived to write about it. So, for all the mothers who are crying in the shower, exhausted, sore and sleep-deprived I present…the top 10 differences a year make. 1. Babies sleep. Forget the five-hour definition of “sleeping through the night” obviously created by a non-parent. The majority now sleep 11-12 hours straight. 2. After a year you will “know” your kid, following her signs like a well-studied map. No longer will you need to watch Oprah to identify your baby’s cry. The kids will show you what hurts and what they want. 3. They eat like humans and I strongly believe that if you don’t give them more than two choices at one meal (if that), they will learn to eat anything you give them. If the sweetest thing they ever have is an apple, an apple will become a treat to them. 4. They walk. I heard people tell me “Enjoy this stage, because once they walk…” Are you kidding me? I love this “walking thing.” No longer do I have to bend over like a human pretzel while holding both of her hands… or watch her get sad following running kids on the playground with her eyes, instead of playing with them… or panic about what to do with her, when I am struggling to open my apartment door. 5. They have enough attention span to watch a cartoon or read a book or simply entertain themselves for an hour. And just you wait until the day that she will bring you a book and then climb into your lap. Your heart will simply melt. 6. They follow simple directions. Only a few more months until “Go...

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Newborn Blues

Newborn Blues

Being with a newborn can be a really lonely experience. It can feel like life is passing you by, as you stay inside to care for your little one. There are the hours of nursing (I do mean HOURS), the short minutes spent trying to catch some zzz’s, and then the guilt about the deteriorating state of the house, the laundry, the dishes, the mess, the unmade beds and, well, the feeling of being “trapped” that can arise. Add hormones to the mix, and it can make for a really difficult time in our lives. I remember one specific weeknight when my first-born was about three-weeks-old. I had been home alone with him all day, and while I loved it — the smell of his skin, his sweet little bleats (not cries, but bleats) and being able to spend so much time with him — I was lonely! My husband was due home at 5:00, and by 6:15, I had blown my top. Where was he? Where could he be? Why hadn’t he called? Hormone induced tears streamed down my face and splattered my little boys swaddling blanket. “What is wrong with your father?” I asked the little being — who, by the way, provided no response. “How can he not be home? Doesn’t he know how long today was for me? How could he not run home to be with us?” By the time my lovely husband walked through the door, I was a mess. I held it in, wanting him to sit down and have a break before I lit into him. And I was glad I did, because I noticed he was carrying several shopping bags. He had gone shopping for me at one of my favorite bath shops. I had massage oil, and bath salts, and great smelling lotion and a gift certificate for a massage. I was grateful, and then I lit into him anyway. “I need you to come home after work, I miss you, and I’m lonely.” He looked at me like I had two heads. I guess we can file this under the “husbands/partners don’t get how hard it is to be home with the kids,” but I think this is really specific to the newborn phase and the incredible demand it places on us moms. There are the feedings every three hours. And it’s not like you feed that baby...

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