Practical Moms Feature: Moore From Katie

 

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It’s time to introduce you to another Practical Mom.  Meet Katie Moore:  Katie blogs about motherhood, children, fitness, health and all other things Mommy. She enjoys writing, blogging, and meeting new people! Passionate about healthy living, Katie asked if she could stop by today to share some of her tips for finding your shape post-baby.  Who doesn’t want a few healthy living tips?  And now to eat some snap peas while I run on my elliptical.  Leave her some love here, but then stop by and visit her at her place. Connect with Katie at Moore From Katie or on Twitter.

 

How to Get Back Into Shape After Giving Birth 

 

After giving birth, women sometimes wonder how they will get back into shape. During pregnancy, experts recommend pregnant women gain 25 to 35 pounds. Some women may start out overweight or gain more than the recommended amount, and birth, they have a little one who needs constant care. How will they find the time and energy to exercise? Fortunately, there are ways to help a mother regain her fitness.

 

Consult With a Doctor

 

Before starting any postnatal fitness and/or nutritional plan, it’s wise to talk to a doctor. This is especially true for women who are breastfeeding. Just as women consult with their doctors during pregnancy, new moms should continue to consult with their doctors during the recovery process.

 

Natural Process

 

Women typically lose about 10 pounds as soon as they give birth. Then, over the next several months, more weight usually comes off just in the course of day-to-day tasks.  New moms who breastfeed often notice weight loss just from feeding the baby.

 

Healthy Eating

 

Moms need to eat a balanced diet comprised of plenty of protein and fruits and vegetables. Whether or not you are nursing your new baby, you need sufficient energy to make up for the sleep deprivation as you adjust to life with a newborn.

 

General Exercise Tips

 

Women in good overall health with uncomplicated vaginal births can often resume mild activity a week or so later. After six weeks, many can return to a more vigorous routine if their doctor approves.

 

• Ease into it. Start with something light, not an intense cardio routine. Walking is one of the best choices.

 

• Schedule it around baby’s feeding schedule. Breastfeeding mothers should nurse their babies just before exercising so their breasts are more comfortable. They should also wear a supportive bra with nursing pads.

 

• Make it a mommy-baby time. Women who don’t have someone who can regularly watch baby don’t have to give up on exercising. For example, baby can rest next to his mother while she does floor exercises. And when the weather is fair, women can put baby in a carrier or stroller and go out for a brisk walk.

 

• Adjust the routine as needed. If a woman feels pain, gets dizzy or suddenly experiences more vaginal bleeding, she should stop.

 

• Increase intensity after a few weeks. After being cleared by her doctor, a woman can add abdominal exercises to tone those muscles or take baby out for a job with a jogging stroller.

 

With these tips, a new mother will not only be overjoyed with her newborn, but will also be so happy when her body easily returns to it’s pre-pregnancy weight.

 

Katie has officially inspired me to get back to my healthy living plan…how about you?

Practical Moms Feature: These Little Waves

Today, I get to share a friend with you.  She’s brilliant, talented, supportive, and kind.  She is there when you need her, and even when you think you don’t.  Her words will draw you in and make you feel at home.  Truly, she needs no introduction.  Please…enjoy her words here, but then visit her there…because Galit Breen is someone you need to get to know.

***

I make my way downstairs, by feel, and by dark.

Each first breath and morning stretch and slipper step is much too loud for this early quiet.

Above, I hear Jason get ready for his own day. His suit and tie a sharp line to the fuzziness that I now know best.

Outside, dark is just giving in to light. The sky’s smoky blues and shocking reds peek through blackened trees.

A neighbor brightens a single light. It shines alone, and seeps into my kitchen.

For a moment, I pause, splay my fingers onto the counter, and wonder why she’s up so early.

My Mind Pencil starts weaving her details quickly, filling in -sketching, even- what I don’t know.

I force myself to look away, busy my hands in my own kitchen, focus on my own story.

Jason’s steps gentle toward me, he is as careful as I am. It’s my birthday, and we want to start the day just the two of us.

And we do.

We sit knee to knee, share coffee steam and croissant sweetness, our elbows grazing, our voices murmuring.

On this day of new and fresh and begin, we’re focusing within.

And while the rest of my day will be loud and messy and more about my children than me, this is the perfect start.

***

Some gems are bold, bright, easily grasped.

The sweetest of belly laughs, the warmest of laced fingers, the strongest of wrapped arms.

And when we slow down and bite back “Be carefuls” and “Not nows,” they’re there.

But others, need to be carved out.

And that’s exactly what this moment was.

A chance to connect and charge, better at each of our days for having started it enveloped within a single light, alone in the dark.

When Jason and I got married, a friend gave us a card that read, “The best thing a  father can do for his children, is love their mother.”

We used to feel and do and be this so easily.

But a decade and three children and several careers and a house and chores and so very many responsibilities later, these gifts are more often planned, than not.

(They mean just as much this way.)

***

Kayli and Chloe and Brody make their way downstairs as Jason slips out the door; our days officially Different for the next twelve hours.

They’re sleepy eyed and pink cheeked and an absolute blend of the two of us.

I clear Jason’s and my dishes away, swap them for the kids’ Birthday Breakfast.

“Did you already eat?” Kayli asks. Lips pursed, fingers splayed onto the counter, just as mine were moments before.
“I did,” I answer, sliding breakfast her way, matching her stance. “With Daddy.”
I tell them because I want them to know about our focus within, the value of quiet, and that the reason that I’m fully present with them now, is because of the gift of our start.

To Treat or Not to Treat: Medical Help from Dr. Mom

It’s time for another Practical Moms Feature!

Melissa, or Dr. Mom as she’s also known, has been one of my favorite mom bloggers for quite some time now.  She is a pediatrician and mom of two, and her stories and advice always seem to be just what I need to read on any given day.  We seek each other’s counsel fairly regularly these days, and I enjoy her friendship as much as her expertise.  So please head on over to visit Dr. Mom after you soak up this very useful information on when to medicate and when to step back.  Leave her some love here, but then please go visit her over there…

To Treat or Not to Treat: Navigating the Use of Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen in Your Child

With all the news recently on when and when not to give pain and fever reducers, it’s completely understandable why parents may end up confused.

Should I treat my child’s fever? If so, do I use acetaminophen or ibuprofen?

How much should I give and how often?

Should I give my child a pain reliever before his vaccinations?

Is there any harm in giving my baby some Tylenol for her teething pain?

These are all common questions posed by parents, so I’m here today (thanks to the lovely Katie) to give you the lowdown on fever reducers and pain relievers when it comes to making your child feel better.

In general, I recommend the prudent use of any and all medications in children. This includes antibiotics, acetaminophen (Tylenol), and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). The reason is that for most minor viral illnesses such as colds and fevers associated with them, your child’s body is pretty darn good at fighting off that infection without us interfering so much.

And, with recent studies indicating a potential link between acetaminophen use and increased asthma symptoms, there’s even more reason to be as prudent as possible.

We also know that fever does a body good. So, while you may not like seeing that thermometer read 101.2 F, taking a hands off the medicine approach will actually aid in your child recovering more quickly.

With this in mind, I’ve created a DO and DON’T list for when to reach inside your medicine cabinet, and when to sit back, offer up plenty of liquids, TLC…and wait (the hardest part, I know!)

DON’T reach for acetaminophen and/or ibuprofen for:

  • Vaccination pre-treatment. Studies have shown that the use of acetaminophen can actually decrease the immune response to a vaccine. If your child has prolonged pain or high fever following her vaccinations, contact her doctor.
  • An infant less than 4 months old. If your baby has a fever (100.4 or higher), you should contact his pediatrician immediately and do not give him any medicine. Fevers in babies can signify potentially serious infections and should always be evaluated by a healthcare provider.
  • No ibuprofen for babies less than 6 months old.
  • Fever. As I said, fever really does a body good. It activates your child’s immune system and aids in recovery. However, if your child’s fever is climbing rapidly and is reaching 103 F or higher, then by all means, give her some acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Also be sure to keep her hydrated, and contact her pediatrician if the fever continues beyond 3 days.
  • Teething. Acetaminophen and/or ibuprofen should not be your first line of defense when it comes to teething. Offer other comfort measures like a cold washcloth and cold teething rings. If your child is having trouble sleeping at night and you think it’s from teething, some children will benefit from a pain reliever. Just be sure to check with your child’s doctor that nothing else is going on with your child.

DO treat for:

  • Pain. Whether it’s a headache, a raging ear infection, or a sprained ankle…pain relievers work. No need to be afraid to tackle the pain with either acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • High fever. As I mentioned above, a high fever that’s making your child miserable certainly warrants some fever control.

So, as you can see, there are plenty of reasons to resist the urge to treat minor fevers and/or minor pain. When you do reach into the medicine cabinet, keep in mind that acetaminophen recently underwent new formulation changes. The infant drops (80mg/0.8ml) are being phased out and will now be sold as a standard formulation of 160mg/5ml. This phase out is not complete and both can still be found in some stores. So be careful. Double check which concentration you have and always base your child’s dose on her weight. If ever in doubt, contact her doctor.

I like this chart for acetaminophen dosing, and this chart for ibuprofen dosing.

Another last word of caution, aspirin should never be used in children due to the risk of Reye Syndrome. I know it’s not marketed toward children, but it’s worth mentioning. Also, if you have a strong family history of asthma, or your child has asthma, it’s a good idea to avoid acetaminophen if you can until further studies elucidate this link between its use and increased asthma symptoms.

Does this help you navigate through the use of acetaminophen and ibuprofen? What questions do you have for me?

 

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Practical Moms Feature: The Literal Mom

I’m very excited to have my friend Missy, The Literal Mom, here today for my Practical Moms Feature.  Missy and I were introduced through everyone’s favorite cupid in the blogosphere, Theta Mom.  Missy and I have similar parenting styles and we both love to share parenting strategies (whatever makes your day easier, right?).  Please leave her some support here, but then visit her at her place.  She’s a great mom to have in your corner!

Holiday Vacations: Tips for Handling the Transitions

I’m thrilled to be invited to Practical Parenting today.  Not only is it one of my favorite parenting advice blogs, but Katie is clearly a Literal Mom, so we are kindred spirits.

Today I’m talking about transitioning children into and out of holiday breaks.  Those breaks are coming, whether you ‘re ready or not, in just a couple of short weeks.   And I’m happy to talk about it, because transitions for children can be a little, ahem, difficult at times.

Here are some tips and tricks (yes, tricks!) I’ve learned over the years to help smooth the transition process into and out of a long school break.

  1. Prepare, prepare, prepare.  No matter the age, you can talk to your child about what kinds of activities you will be engaging in over break and what kinds of expectations you have for them over break.  You respect them by sharing the plans with them and they will respect you more when you’ve shared.
  2. Avoid “Errand Burnout. “  I know this is hard, but as much as is possible, get your boring errands done before the kids get out of school.  Nobody wants to go to the post office to mail Aunt Jane’s presents, the bank, the drycleaners to pick up Mommy’s party outfit, the grocery store (every day).  You will be less stressed if you can do it without them.  They will be less bored and less likely to act out from boredom.
  3. Think about signing them up for a Mom’s Day Out.  If you have one in your area, that is.  There is a gymnastics place here in our town, where for a low fee and discounts for siblings, they take your children for a few hours one afternoon, entertain them with large motor activities (read: wear them out) and generally show them an all around good time while the Moms can finish up last minute shopping.
  4. Limit the partying.  I know, I know!  Sometimes it feels impossible to do this.  But over the years, we’ve really begun to pick and choose only our favorite activities to do.  Trying to do every activity that comes along just begs the children to get overtired and to not be ready for that all-important transition back to school after the new year.
  5. Keep the bedtime routine consistent.  As much as you can, don’t keep them up too late.  You will all suffer and the transition back to school will be harder.  Unless they’re teenagers, then you won’t be able to wake them up no matter what you do!
  6. Allow for tears.  The holiday season, for all of its joy, can be a time of real stress.  And I’m not just talking about the adults!  Kids, when their routine is changed considerably, when lots and lots and lots of sensory overload occurs, and when they’re not sleeping enough, can have meltdowns.  It’s not the end of the world.  It’s actually a good sign for you that maybe it’s time to slow it down for a bit.
  7. Love them.  Appreciate them.  Telling them how much you value them, even in times of stress, will help their transitions stay smoother.  They will feel safe and in feeling safe, the transition won’t be as stressful or scary to them.
  8. Prepare.  Prepare.  Prepare.  When it comes time for back to school, start preparing them a few days early.  Remind them of the routine, your expectations, how the first day back to school will look.  You may not totally eliminate all of the “first day back” stress, but you will reduce it.

Katie – thank you so much!  I appreciate the opportunity to share how I’ve learned to guide my kids through the transitions of the holidays over the years.

Isn’t Missy great?  Now head on over there and introduce yourself!

Practical Moms Feature: Four Plus an Angel

 

 

 

This week’s Practical Moms Feature is one of my favorites.  She describes herself as a 30-something mom to five, four in her arms and one in her heart.  She began her parenting career as a teen parent, raising a daughter with Autism.  She later fought through infertility and got pregnant with triplets, only to lose one of her triplets in the NICU.  A little over a year after her surviving triplets came home, she had one more baby.  She has been through it all, and yet she remains positive, grounded, and a great support to other moms.  She supported me daily through my latest pregnancy loss, and still checks in with me several times a week.  Together we invented what we refer to as “DM Therapy”, which isn’t a real thing but should be (I can say that because I’m a therapist), where we have quick DM chats to help each other through the hard moments.  Sometimes you don’t need (or have time for…or children who will wait patiently through) the whole hour on the couch, after all…

Please welcome Jessica of Four Plus an Angel.  Today Jessica is sharing tips on how to help your children understand and interact with children with Autism.

Tips for Teaching Children About Autism

Autism occurs in 1 out of every 110 children and 1 in 70 boys. With many schools moving towards inclusion of students with special needs, your son or daughter may have one or more classmates with autism or you may be related to someone with the disorder. Sometimes it is hard to know what to say or do around a person with autism and how to explain the disorder in simple terms a child can understand.

Here are a few tips:

1.  Explain to your child that autism is a disorder that makes it hard for a person to deal with the world around them. A sound, like the school bell ringing, that may not bother most kids, may sound like nails on a chalkboard to a child with autism. A tag in a t-shirt or someone touching them unexpectedly might feel like an itchy sweater. The sunlight outside might feel like a flashlight has been just shined into their eyes. Autism is like walking around with your nails cut too short and your shoes on the wrong feet. Every. Single. Day.

2.  Assist your child in interacting. Many children with autism have a favorite “thing.”  Encouraging your child to find out what that interest may be is a great way to help them connect. At the same time, it is important that your child knows not to take things from a person with autism. Often they are carrying their favorite thing because it makes them feel secure. When it comes to playing with friends with autism, leave their toys alone unless they offer them to and then give them back when they ask.

3.  Help your child understand behaviors they may see. Individuals with autism not only have difficulties coping with the world around them but they also have a hard time communicating their feelings. When they are upset or overwhelmed they may make loud noises, spin, run, jump or demonstrate other repetitive behaviors. This is the only way they are able to communicate at that moment and the best thing your child can do is give their friend space. I have seen many occasions where kids who have a friend with autism are able to discover the cause of a meltdown before an adult can. It is great to see sensitivity and awareness develop in young children.

4.  Find ways to ensure your child sees the person and not the disability. This is true for all types of special needs, not just autism. Sometimes our children may be curious about behaviors they see or by students who look different for one reason or another. We have all had that moment where our child stares for a little too long and we are hurriedly trying to distract them. One thing you may try is to find something about that person that your child can relate too. We often see a little girl in a wheelchair with a sparkly backpack on the back. I once pointed out her backpack to my young daughter and she forgot about the wheelchair and talked to her about Hello Kitty instead. This technique helps initiate interaction and helps your child get over their fear of the unknown.

Our children are growing up in a world much more diverse than we did. If we model acceptance and understanding, not only will we raise kind, supportive individuals but they will be better prepared for their future in a world of uniquely able people.

Isn’t she amazing?  Leave her some positive energy here, and then please head over to her place and enjoy her beautiful writing.

 

 

 

Practical Moms Feature: Creating Balance

 

Today is the first day of a new feature here at Practical Parenting.  I’ve had the great pleasure of guest posting for a number of other bloggers along my journey, and now it’s time to give back.  There are many great writers out there with different areas of focus and interesting information to share.  Today I will start sharing some of these wonderful bloggers with you.

Meet Jessica.

Jessica is a very busy mommy of two.  When she’s not  getting her kids off to school, or to bed, or to a play date, she’s blogging over at her site.  When she’s not blogging at her site, she’s writing for Eli Rose Social Media…which is quickly becoming the go-to source for all things technical in blog world.  When she’s not doing that, she’s tending to her amazing garden…I’m serious friends, this woman does it all.  I recently asked Jessica to share a few tips on how she balances family and blogging.  Here’s what she had to say:

Creating Balance

I’ve been blogging for about 9 months now and I can honestly say that balance between being a blogger and being a mom is extremely difficult. Both can be more than full time jobs.
I still have not found the perfect balance between the two but I have learned some tips that can help.
1) Schedule your time. Use a posting schedule for your blog so you always know what days you will post on, scheduled time to write posts, and schedule time dedicated to all the other aspects of blogging (Twitter, commenting, etc). I generally do most of my blogging after my kids have gone to bed at night.
2) Unplug occasionally. Social media can take up a lot of time if you let it. Allow yourself to unplug without regret. I usually do this on the weekends and when I return to the computer on Monday morning I feel refreshed.
3) Don’t spread yourself too thin. It’s impossible to be on top of all the social media outlets and be a parent. Instead focus on a few social media sites that you get the best return from and spend the rest of your time with your family. For me, I focus most of my online time reading blogs and tweeting. I spend a little time with Facebook and StumbleUpon but the rest of my time I spend with my family.
4) Get a smartphone. I have no idea how anyone can keep up with emails, Twitter, and blogging without one. A smartphone will allow you to stay updated online without always having to be tied to the computer. Having email and Twitter on my phone has allowed me a lot of freedom while still keeping up with the online world.
5) Remember what’s important. At the end of the day your family is the most important thing, not the stats you have on your blog or your Klout score. Don’t forget that.
What tips have you learned that help you balance being a parent and a blogger?

Please stop by and visit Jessica after leaving her a comment here…

Have some practical tips of your own to share?  Send me an email!