Should We Give Moms a Day Off on Holidays?

Okay, I’m not actually talking about taking time off from being a mom. Quite the opposite actually.

UntitledLet me paint this picture for you – A working mom, named Gillian, requested to get off early on Halloween to spend Halloween with her 1 year old son, Ryan. It’s his first time celebrating Halloween. Her and her husband would love to take out their one and only son to go trick or treating on Halloween. Anyway, Gillian requested to get off work early to get home in time to feed Ryan and prepare to go out. There is one other mom Gillian works with who already requested the entire day off. The person who did the schedule did not schedule accordingly because the person who was supposed to come in early enough to cover Gillian was not scheduled to come in early. They were scheduled to come in after the time Gillian had requested to leave.

Readers: What are your thoughts on this?

meeting-1453895_960_720Should we allow moms to get off work early, if at all, to spend holidays with their families when it is still a business day?

I can honestly say I have been in this sort of a situation, as I’m sure a lot of you have as well. What do we do about it?

nurse-359323_960_720I was in a position at one point that I constantly had to cover a full time employee even though I was only the part-time employee. I wanted to spend more time with my daughter. I wanted to have that “mom” time with her. I constantly had to give up my plans because the full-time employee would go to the person who does the scheduling and ask for the time off. She never once asked me if I had plans already. Most of the time I had to cancel my afternoon plans. I understand we all have to fill in and help out each other when times call for it.

Is it fair though that we handcuff the working mom to her station without any regards to her family? Who do we set above her? Who do we set below her?

My Thoughts:

My thoughts are that working moms are the least appreciated in the business world. They get taken for granted at home, then come to work and get the same treatment. Should we allow them to take time off, or get off of work early, to go home and spend a holiday with their child? Absolutely. Most companies don’t even care when you say you have to go pick up your child from school because they’re vomiting. We get penalized for it! Unacceptable. We don’t get any more personal time off days or anything like that. I think we should. I think working moms are part of the backbone to this society. Not only are you helping to be a part of a company or business, you are raising human beings who will have to do the same thing one day. These children are our future. Do we want them to see how mom had to miss out on a super important holiday, recital, or field trip because work said “I’m sorry. Not a good enough reason.” No.

super momI think working moms are the most unappreciated type of employee today. I think they should be valued more.

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Don’t Touch My Child!

Photo Credit vegeta the saiyan, Reddit.com

Hi Medical Mama fans and followers. I want to talk about how easy it is to spread germs to a newborn/baby/young child. I think the number one thing I hear moms with new babies (not to be confused with first time moms) is that everyone seems to think it’s okay to touch a baby’s face, or put their fingers in the baby’s mouth. Gross!

Let’s Make a List:

Don’t touch a baby’s/child’s face.

Don’t touch a baby’s/child’s mouth.

Don’t put your hands or fingers near or in a baby’s/child’s mouth.

Don’t smoke around a baby/child.

Don’t cough or be around a baby/child if you’ve been under the weather at all.

It just amazes me how many people think it’s okay to do these things.

What Do Statistics Say?

I’m glad you asked. This is going to sound like beating a dead horse, but keep in mind you got vaccinated as a child. You are an adult, so your vaccinations have been completed. You are a fully functioning adult with semi good health. No history of diseases or viruses that could be prevented had you not been vaccinated because you were vaccinated completely as a baby (now give your mom a call and thank her). Babies (especially those before 1 year of age) are not able to fight off things that can be prevented from being vaccinated. They have not grown enough to have received all of their vaccinations or developed a fully functioning immune system yet. This is why it is so important that we 1) vaccinate our children, and 2) keep our hands/face/kisses/germs to ourselves.

Hand washing

hand washing
Photo Credit Gary Kibble, Perpetual Preparedness

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) hand washing can reduce the risk of respiratory infections by 16% (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013). That might not seem like a big number to you, but it is to me and anyone else who could potentially die from contracting a respiratory infection. I’ve seen what respiratory infections do to low immune system patients. Washing your hands can save a life.”Researchers in London estimate that if everyone routinely washed their hands, a million deaths a year could be prevented; More than 50% of healthy persons have Staphylococcus aureus living in or on their nasal passages, throat, hair, or skin; Trachoma, the leading cause of preventable blindness worldwide, is related to the lack of facial hygiene” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013).

We have had pediatric patients come in not being able to breathe and have to go to the hospital because of a respiratory infection. My daughter has asthma so badly enough that every time she gets sick any respiratory virus symptoms is exaggerated for her because of her asthma. I have had to take her in to the hospital in the middle of the night because she can’t inhale any air. She can only cough without taking a breath to keep air moving through her body.

baby intibated
Photo Credit Kristy Ramirez, Baby Gaga

If that were your child how would that make you feel if someone came up to your baby and stuck their hands in your child’s mouth? What if when your child got sick it was that bad every single time? You have nails and crevices in your hands and fingers. Think about all the bacteria being harbored there. The nails are the first place that get other people sick. They are hard to wash and keep clean. This is why nurses are required to keep their nails short. There isn’t as much space for the breeding ground of infections, viruses, bacteria, microbes, etc. Please think before you touch someone’s baby. Ask them. More than likely they will say “Yes.” They will not allow you to do things like touch their baby’s face or stick your fingers in the baby’s mouth.

Kissing the Baby

dont kiss the baby
Photo Credit Erin, Baby Memes

This is a huge one at the hospitals that families visiting immediately wants to do to your newborn baby. Don’t kiss the babies! Some huge issues with kissing babies include cold sores (Herpes Simplex Virus), RSV, food allergies, chemicals on clothes or body, Mono, stomach viruses, whooping cough, and hand foot mouth disease (Ramirez, K., Unknown). I highly encourage everyone to read this article. Let’s also not forget the flu and cold viruses you could be carrying on you (or in your finger nails that you you’ve been sticking in your mouth and touching your face with all day long). In case you were not already aware all of those things mentioned above does have the potential to kill a baby. Just because you don’t “feel sick,” or you don’t “look sick” doesn’t mean you aren’t carrying something. You could have the virus on you and it is not effecting you because you already have the antibodies to fight off this virus. A baby does not, by any means, have any way to fight off these viruses and infections. Their immune systems are not fully developed and functioning yet. They also are not big enough to get all their vaccinations at once.

Smoking Around a Baby

smoking around baby
Photo Credit Cardiff Student Media

I realize I am more than likely going to get some criticism from this, but let’s be real and talk about smoking. We don’t live in the era where we we’re not educated about smoking and it’s effects on ourselves and others. We live in 2018. We know what smoking does.

Let’s talk specifically about second-hand smoke. “Removing cigarette smoke from a home can reduce the risk of SIDS by up to 80%” (Vaping Daily, 2018). Are you willing to put a baby’s life at risk because you want to light up around baby?

second hand smoking
Photo Credit U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services

Not to mention all the harm it does to not only your lungs, but to baby’s lungs as well. Again, we know this. This has been researched and followed for decades. It’s not like this is a news flash. Please be considerate and put a baby first. Put their health first.

Being a Smoker and Holding a Baby

third hand smoking
Photo Credit newyou.com

This is considered third hand smoke. Just because you don’t smoke around a baby/child does not mean you are not hurting the baby/child. You have smoking residue on your clothes and on your breath. Did you know this will increase the risk of SIDS for that baby? It can be fatal. I am not saying you should change your lifestyle. I am saying though that the baby/child is not choosing to smoke. Change your clothes and take a shower. Wash your hands too. Make sure you scrub all the way down before touching/holding a baby. Don’t put your child in a smoker’s home where this could increase your baby’s risks. The smell also irritates the nasal passages. This makes breathing harder for baby. If the child has asthma that is an even bigger issue.

Please Stop and Think Before You Touch Someone’s Baby!

germs
Photo Credit Mayo Clinic Staff

If you are a family member, friend, distant relative, or you are a stranger who sees an adorable baby please stop and think before you just go touching someone’s child. Think about all the viruses, bacteria, microbes, GERMS you could be carrying on your body. Even if you wash your hands you still have some of those potentially harmful things on your skin. My advice to moms is just keep your baby at home as much as you can for a while. I understand that is not practical, but as a mom you have to do what you can still.

Good luck to all the moms with babies and who are having these issues with others touching their babies. It’s scary taking your baby in public. I understand. Hopefully sharing this article with others will help educate others on the potentially harmful things that people carry on them every day.

As always please share your story below in the comments section. This not only helps other moms, but it helps anyone who is thinking about children as well.

Resources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Hygiene Fast Facts. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/hygiene/fast_facts.html

Ramirez, Kristy. (Unknown). 13 Horrific Reasons Not to Let People Kiss the Baby. Retrieved from https://www.babygaga.com/13-horrific-reasons-not-to-let-people-kiss-the-baby/

Vaping Daily. (2018). The Dangers of Tobacco Use: Daycare Staff and SIDS risk. Retrieved from https://vapingdaily.com/support/newborns-toddlers-health/

Parenting 101: Spending Time With Your Child

I want to start this off with letting all the parents out there know YOU ARE doing a great job. Don’t get discouraged with anything you read. Don’t hesitate to get help when needed. You are fantastic and beautiful and doing great!

Spending Time With Your Child:

I think the one thing that is most important about parenting is spending time with your child(ren) whether you are an at home mom or a working mom.

I am an at home mom and for me our daughter has always came first before any job, any person, even my husband sometimes. I recommend being an at home parent for several reasons. You DO get to spend that one-on-one time with them. You DO get to not miss any big steps or anything adorable that comes out of the mouths of babes. We are religious, so this might be too personal, but there’s a lot to be said for the at home mom. You are raising another one of God’s people that can make a difference in the world.

I think a lot of people do not realize how important spending time with their children really is. I don’t think people realize that by spending time with your child you are encouraging high self-esteem. You can promote independence. You can also help mold your child in to a wonderful, caring human being. Let’s be honest, the world really needs more people like that in it right now. I also feel like being an at home mom for me personally has allowed me to build a better relationship with our daughter and be there for her when she really needs it. I can go to school functions. I can drive her back and forth to school. I can take her back and forth to her gymnastics or ballet classes. It’s amazing and I feel so blessed to be able to do that for her and for our family.

To Work or Not to Work?

However, if you are in a situation where you have to work that is okay too. There is no wrong answer when it comes to working and providing for your family. You should feel so proud that you are providing for your family and able to bring in that income to do so. You get to make a difference in the world outside of the home. I know tons of parents who work full time and are able to spend every moment off with their kids. Their kids do not suffer, and their kids do not go without. I only recommend for a situation like that is to make sure when you are off work please spend as much time as you can with them. Do not pawn them off on other people because you need “alone time.” I hear that phrase way too often. I heard it more working in preschool/daycare, naturally. It makes me upset for the children. It hurts the children. It may not seem like it, but working in pediatrics and having young kids and teens come in from depression or anxiety from things like that always breaks my heart. There was always a lot of teens and junior high school aged children that needed anti anxiety medications. They really needed their parents around, but where were the parents?

My mom does preschool/daycare to this day. It amazes me constantly how many parents take their kids to the daycare on their days off. Why on Earth would you not want to spend that extra time with your child? Why would you want to give the daycare provider the opportunity to bond with your child more than you? I think the nanny/daycare provider/baby sitter is a wonderful thing. How special that you trust someone to help raise your child. However, please please PLEASE spend time with your child on your time off. It is so critical. I cannot express how critical it truly is. I know this from experience.

Now let’s talk about actually being an at home mom. Being an at home mom is not for everyone. When I did it the first time with our first daughter I went through post-partum depression. It was terrible. I needed an outlet because I felt like I was stuck at home with the baby and could not escape my own mind. I remember my daughter crying from being colic and I could not help her. I cried and cried. I would just lay there in bed with her bassinet next to me and her crying, and I did not even have the will power to move to help her. I am not proud of that, but at that moment I knew I needed help. I then got a very part-time job working retail, so I could be flexible and still be able to spend time with our daughter. Please feel free to do the same and not feel like you are less of a person for not being able to do that. Some parents feel the need to work. That is perfectly fine. If you are fine working outside the home go for it. I commend parents like that as long as, again, they spend their time off with their child.

Is There Such a Thing as Spending Too Much Time Together?

Okay at this point I know what you’re thinking. “She’s a hover mom.” Or you’re thinking “She’s one of those religious nuts who homeschools.” I am the opposite of a hover mom and my child goes to public school. Trust me. I am a full believer of I told my child not to do something and they want to do it anyway. Well when they get hurt that’s how they learn. I think public school is important for the social aspect as well as the opportunities given.

Is there such a thing as spending too much time with your children? How do you separate the difference between the helicopter mom and the mom that has the right amount of balance? I’ll tell you. You don’t! One of my very best friends is a helicopter mom and she is a fantastic mom. There is no right or wrong answer about your style of parenting. According to Baltrotsky’s article in the Huffington Post there is a fine line between constantly needing to entertain your child and just including them in every day life. I think that is the line that parents sometimes have a hard time defining.

Get Them Involved.

Let’s talk about that line. I love when my 5 year old has days off. I feel so excited to get her and I out of the house to go do something fun. Make some memories. I love taking her to the museum, or the park, or another form of the museum. I do a lot of hands on things with her. You may be asking yourself “Well I have no idea what to do with my child because of their age.” You can do a lot of age appropriate things at home. Even just playing a game or playing with characters (Barbie, Ninja Turtles, dolls, etc) at home is something that makes a difference. Honestly, We do not go do something fun EVERY time she has a day off. If we spend the day at home I do find something fun, like an activity, to do at home together. On days where I really need to get house work done she is so eager to help mommy. You may be pleasantly surprised to find out that your little one feels the same way. They just want to feel included and involved. Positive praise and encouragement go a long way. When my daughter was a lot younger just her helping me made her feel like a big girl. I have her help me with age appropriate tasks. You can do the same. If you get on Pinterest there are a ton of ideas for age appropriate chores/tasks you and your little one can do.

Now, if you have a baby where they’re not even walking let’s talk about that. Babies need to feel included and involved with what you’re doing just as much as an older child. Spending tummy time with baby is so important not only for developmental reasons, but for bonding between mother and baby. I would strap my baby to my body with one of those baby carrier things and walk around the house and do chores. It kept her feeling like she was not just left in the other room by herself. That is another way you can easily spend time with baby and get done what you need to get done depending on the age of the child.

If you have any other great ideas for age appropriate activities to get your child involved please leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you about this topic.

T.V.?

I want to touch on television and putting your child in front of the t.v. without it being controversial. We are ALL guilty of this, myself included. Sometimes it is so much easier to just turn on the t.v. for every age group and have the t.v. “baby sit” your child. I am not saying don’t ever do this, but I am saying it should be limited and monitored. They say no more than 2 hours/day of electronics (t.v., tablet, cell phone games, etc.). Please be conscientious of this. We have our days where we are not great about this, but I do monitor it and make my daughter take breaks to go play in her toy room.

Working in daycare/preschool and in pediatrics I have seen the psychological damage of putting your child in front of the t.v. constantly does. I know this is going to sound cliche, but trust me when I say it does promote violence, and hinders growth and development. Regardless of whether or not your child plays “violent” games it does not stimulate the brain in a proper manner. Several clients from the preschool had children that spent a vass majority of time in front of the t.v. The child only focused on games they played with their video game console and pretend played video games when interacting with other children. It is always really sad. They always had a hard time making friends and keeping them. I could go on and on about this topic and things I saw and witnessed.

In pediatrics we would have children come in that it was the same situation. Then when we had the parents fill out a developmental questionnaire their child was always delayed for one reason: video games and spending too much time in front of the t.v. I just want to reiterate that I am not saying to never have your child watch t.v. or play video games. I love electronics. I love that you CAN use them for educational purposes. I am saying though it should be monitored and not be a daily activity your child engages in.

You Are Doing a Great Job!

I want to close this with reinforcing to everyone that whether you work or you are the at home parent make sure you spend an ample amount of time with your child(ren). They need you no matter what the age may be. They need the love and support of the people that love them the most in this world.

My 100th Article!

Getting Your Baby to Sleep: 5 Tips and Tricks

A while back my mother had posted this video on to my social media wall about how to get your baby to go to sleep easily. I kinda rolled my eyes and thought “Well this ought to be good”. It was this video explaining 5 easy steps on putting your baby to sleep.

This is all on the premise of imitating the womb for baby.

P.S. Make sure to check out the video below for more details.

Let’s jump right in!

1) Swaddling

swaddled baby

This means baby is wrapped tightly in a blanket. Please use a swaddler for safety. Your baby should be swaddled with their arms down to their sides. You can also swaddle them with their little hands by their face, but still tightly wrapped in the blanket. This provides comfort for them.

In the womb your baby is squished inside with their hands close to their body. They are also warmed by your body heat and snuggled inside of you. Comfy right?

Dr. Harvey Karp, Author of “Happiest Baby on the Block,” explains that some babies fight the swaddling, but it really is better for them to be swaddled while trying to fall asleep.

2) Side or Stomach Position

side laying baby

First, I want it to be known that side position and stomach position are only for getting baby to fall asleep. NOT for actual sleeping. Back is best for sleeping.

Dr. Karp also explains that side position is the best position for calming a crying baby.

3) Shushing or White Noise

gods work

Don’t forget that for nine months your baby has been inside your womb where there has been noise constantly. Babies don’t sleep well with no noise. Don’t worry, that’s new information for me too.

Do you sleep with the fan on? I love having that white noise in the background to help me fall asleep. Babies need that background noise because it is familiar to them.

Try using a white noise machine by their crib or bassinet.

4) Swinging

rocking baby

Again, in the womb there was constant movement. Did you work while pregnant? Did you walk? Exercise? This constant motion is familiar to them. Rocking them gently helps them feel “at home” in the womb again.

5) Sucking

baby with pacifier

Pull that binky out and give it to baby. Baby wants to suck on something. It’s soothing to them and something to calm them throughout the day.

For more tips and tricks be sure to watch the video below.

When Adopted Family is Split What Do We Do?

Hi Medical Mama fans and followers. Today we will be talking about families who are split. I don’t just mean families who have step children. I mean when a child is adopted, but the other siblings are not. I am talking about a more personal issue actually.

As probably NONE of you are aware my grandfather (on my mother’s side) was adopted. He had an older brother and a younger brother who shared the same mother and father. My grandmother died early and the father of the 3 boys eventually remarried. He married a woman who was NOT nice at all. They had more children together and the step-mother told her husband that he had to get rid of his 3 sons (one being my grandfather).

Fast-Forward….

hands-2847508_960_720My mother always tells me a story about how up until she was a teenager she had no cousins and no relationship with her uncles. One day one of my great-uncles showed up at her house looking for his brother and found him. All of a sudden she had more family and cousins to play with.

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I remember as a child, before my grandfather passed, our family gatherings at Thanksgiving and Christmas every year. My grandfather loved the holidays. He always invited over his family, his extended family, and close friends. Everyone was there. It was always packed and so much fun!

broken-1739128_960_720Long story short-my grandfather is deceased and my 2 great-uncles (his brothers) are still alive. One of my great-uncles has 3 daughters. All of which who have always treated us differently. They are never nice, and never invite us to family functions. Any time we HAVE been invited to a family function or family reunion we are always referred to as “Dave’s family” with a negative connotation in their voice. Everyone looks down on us for my grandfather being adopted and making a life for himself. He did great and was well off.

It’s hurtful. My sister and I have no idea what to do. These three women are older than us. They are mean. They call us names. They are very passive aggressive online. My sister and I have had to block them on all social media because of how mean they are. It’s disgusting.

Does anyone have any advice on how to handle this?

 

Getting Ready for the Holidays: Creative Christmas Traditions

I have been dying to write this article since last year! I love traditions. I especially love traditions for the holidays.

Letters to Santa

stock-photo-santa-claus-is-preparing-for-christmas-he-is-reading-children-s-letters-mail-of-santa-claus-530229625This year for Thanksgiving we did letters to Santa. This can be done in early December though. It’s so much fun! You can find more info on this here. We had everyone sit down together and the kids either colored Santa a picture, or wrote Santa a letter. I went to the Elf on the Shelf website and found coloring pages.

How it works: Your child writes or colors something for Santa. Then you put it in a bigger, manila envelope addressed to Santa. After your little ones go to bed you can write a letter back to your children and put both letters in a regular sized envelope with your address on it (don’t seal it). Make sure you put all of that in the bigger manila envelope and send it off to Santa. Don’t worry there’s instructions and tips if you click the link above.

The Christmas Tree

christmas-tree-1149619_960_720When I was a kid we would go watch our local Christmas parade to kick off the Christmas spirit. Then afterwards we would go to the Christmas tree farm and pick out a tree. I remember it was always an ordeal. We would come home afterwards and my dad had to fix the stump just so so. Then he was also the one always in charge of stringing the lights on the tree. After that we would all decorate the tree. We would stay up and have family time together.

The Elf on the Shelf

elf-on-shelf-2618512_960_720I realize there are a lot of parents who don’t understand the hype of The Elf on the Shelf. I can assure you it is worth it! Yes, y our child should be good all year round and not just for the holidays.

Anyway, back on subject-our elf, Snow Ma’am, comes to us on Black Friday. She has been known to show up for Thanksgiving sometimes though.

Our elf likes to do funny things. She doesn’t do the mischievous things. Your children’s faces will light up every time they wake up every morning and see their elf.

This is a great way to keep the Christmas spirit alive in your house daily. It is also a great reminder that Santa is always watching.

Christmas Cookies

christmas-cookies-553457_960_720Christmas cookies seem like the obvious choice to do during the holidays. Christmas cookies are a fun, easy thing that you can do together as a family. Kids LOVE decorating cookies.

Christmas Eve and Family

art-1898500_960_720Every Christmas eve we go to the Christmas eve service at church. Afterwards, we go to my parents house to have a huge Christmas celebration with family. My sister is there with her family. My nephew is there. My parents are there. My family is there too. It’s a big celebration with a “cozy” feel to it. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Special Christmas Breakfast

hot-chocolate-3011492_960_720In the morning we wake up and have a special Christmas inspired breakfast. I always make gingerbread shaped pancakes. We decorate them with fruit. We like Nutella on our pancakes (only allowed on Christmas).

To My Readers: How do you celebrate Christmas? What are your favorite Christmas traditions?