Archive for the ‘From Breastfeeding to Boo-Boos’ Category

Is Your Kid Smoking?

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Every time I drive by a group of high school kids and see one of them smoking, it breaks my heart. My mother-in-law, Pat, died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) a few years ago after smoking her entire adult life. She started smoking in college because she thought it was cool, and back then, no one knew of the dangers.

One of the many gifts she gave to her grandson (my son), Matthew, was to talk with him about the dangers of smoking, how addictive it is and how important it is to never start. Coming from his grandmother, those words made a big impression on Matt.

We really do have an impact on our kids when we talk with them from the heart. Are you concerned that your child (or grandchild) may be starting to smoke? Talk with her. Tell her about the dangers. Talk about peer pressure.

I still have vivid memories of high school and I remember the feeling of wanting to fit it. I’m betting you do, too. Let your child know that you understand those feelings but that it’s more important to be her own person and to do what’s right for her — regardless of what others do.

Parenting Multiples Just Got Easier

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

I’m so jazzed to share with you the new book Magical Multiple Moments (Parents of Multiples Share Stories and Advice on Raising Happy, Healthy Twins, Triplets, Quads and More!) by Julie Gillespie. Julie’s website,, was the inspiration for the book.

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to have triplets, or wondered how parents of multiples manage their lives, this is a great resource. Gillespie answers every question you could think of, from “How big should I expect a belly for three to get?” to “How much help will I need to keep everything together?”

After interviewing more than 250 parents of multiples, and becoming a parent of multiples herself, she knows the ropes. She also shares expert advice from psychologists, sleep specialists and more.

Want to see those three adorable babies as they are now? Visit They’re just as adorable, but now they have homework!

Hey, Doc — Can You Talk With My Kid About Sex?

Monday, October 18th, 2010

When we bring our wanna-be-teen and teenage kids to the doctor for routine check-ups, many of us are hoping our kid’s doctor or nurse practitioner will do more than just check blood pressure, listen to our child’s heart and keep the vaccination record up to date.

We also want the doctor to talk with our kids about sex, diet, drug abuse and smoking, says a report from the University of Michigan.

The poll — which asked parents of 11- to 17-year-old kids to rate 18 health-related topics for healthcare providers to address during an adolescent’s routine check-up — found that diet/nutrition, exercise/sports and the physical changes of puberty were the overall top three issues parents want discussed, followed by drugs, tobacco, sexually transmitted diseases and depression/suicide.

Doctors have heard it all, and they know how to talk with teens and pre-teens about these potentially touchy topics. So if there’s something on your mind that you’d like your child’s doctor to discuss during an upcoming office visit, call her in advance and let her know.

Have you had any situations where your pediatrician talked with your child about these subjects? Do you wish your pediatrician would bring up these things during a visit?

Letting My Son Grow Up

Friday, July 16th, 2010

I’m doing something today that I have never done before: Letting Matt, age 14, go to the doctor by himself. Without his mommy by his side.

No, he’s not sick. If he was, I’d be right there, dropping everything and taking him to the doc.

But it’s a beautiful day, the office is about a mile away, and he can ride his bike. He just needs to get blood work done for a routine physical for high school sports. (Gulp — He’ll be a freshman in September.)

I’m on a work deadline today and I have painters here doing some work. Not a good time to leave. So I called the doc’s office and they said I could send a note and Matt could come by himself.

Would you do this? Am I a bad mom? Or is this the right amount of freedom to let an incoming high school freshman have? Matt’s a responsible kid, for 14. But still… He’s 14.

What do you think?

Pregnant? Frequent Heartburn? It Might be GERD

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

For women, the first experience with heartburn is often during pregnancy.

In fact, studies suggest that more than 50 percent of pregnant women will experience gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms during pregnancy. This is due to pregnancy-related hormones and pressure from the growing fetus. Symptoms of heartburn resolve in most of these women after delivery of the baby.

Think you might be one of the 60 million Americans with GERD? Check out my article in this month’s MetroKids magazine.

Going Down a Slide With Your Child? Not So Fast

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

I’ve done it.

Most of us have done it, I’m betting: Gone down a playground slide with our child on our lap. What’s the harm, right?

But according to a new study published in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics, 13.8 percent of tibia (shin) fractures in U.S. kids were the result of the child going down a slide on an adult’s lap.

The injury occurs when the child’s leg gets stuck in one place while the adult and child continue to move down the slide.


Hot, Locked Cars Are No Place for Kids

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

I’m guessing every one of these parents thought it would never happen to his or her family.

But 18 kids have died in hot cars in this country since the beginning of 2010, eight of them in just the past 12 days. That’s the most deaths for the first six months of the year since such data began being collected in 1998.

Since that year, 463 children have died of overheating (called hyperthermia) in cars in the U.S., the majority of whom were accidentally left behind by parents or caregivers.

Kids also can become trapped in a car and overwhelmed by the heat while playing in  the car. To prevent this, parents should keep the car locked and keep keys and key fobs out of the reach of children.

To help remind yourself that your baby is in the back seat (when driving to day care before heading to work, for example), leave your cell phone, employee ID, purse, or another item you’ll need, on the floor of the back seat, in front of the baby’s seat. That will help you stay in the habit of checking the back seat.

Early — Or Late — Puberty May Ramp Up Aggression in Boys

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Editor’s note:‘s Melanie Davis, of the “Buzz on the Birds and the Bees,” and I (I write the “Boo-Boos, Germs & Pap Smears” column) are teaming up to tackle the news about this study on how earlier or later puberty can trigger aggression in boys.

Is your son way ahead of his friends when it comes to his voice getting deeper, his pants getting shorter and his face showing a bit of stubble?

Or is he at the other end of the spectrum — feeling left behind and wondering when he’ll hit puberty like many of his friends already have?

Puberty that arrives earlier or later in boys, compared with their buddies, can trigger chemicals related to antisocial behavior, say Penn State researchers. They add that their findings have important implications for parents with aggressive boys.

“Aggressive behavior can begin very early, even in pre-school, and might be related to poor impulse control, difficulties in the family or just overall general problem behavior,” says Elizabeth J. Susman, a professor of biobehavioral health at Penn State. “We wanted to find out if earlier or later timing of puberty in adolescents has any biological factors related to it.”

She and her colleagues looked at how the timing of puberty affects cortisol (a stress hormone) and salivary alpha amylase (an enzyme in saliva used as an indicator of stress). Their findings appear in the May issue of the medical journal Psychoneuroendocrinology. (OK, that’s a mouthful.)


How Much Does the Tooth Fairy Pay These Days?

Friday, March 19th, 2010

The Tooth Fairy might need to get a day job to pay for all those teeth, because payouts for baby teeth are on the rise, according to a new report by Desiree Ferenczi  of Consumer Reports. (Full disclosure: I work part-time as the social-media reporter for Consumer Reports. You can find me on Twitter as @CReporter.)

The  Tooth Fairy is dropping an average of $2.13 per tooth this year, up 13 percent from last year, says a national poll sponsored by (I’m shocked!) Delta Dental of Minnesota.

And it’s quite a range: anywhere from 5 cents to $50 for recently-lost baby teeth, Ferenczi reports.

Are you kidding me? Who gives their kid 50 bucks for a lost tooth?

Drew Brees: Setting a Good Example for Parents

Monday, February 8th, 2010

What a sweet picture: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees lifting his one-year-old son, Baylen, in the air following the Saints’ win in the Super Bowl yesterday.

And it warmed my heart even more to see that Mom and Dad had decided Baylen would be wearing noise-reducing headphones for the occasion.

Consumer Reports’ Tobie Stanger has a great post about this, with lots of links to info on how to protect your hearing and your kids’ hearing.  (Full disclosure: I’m the social-media reporter for Consumer Reports.)

Check out the post, then talk with your own kids about the importance of protecting their hearing. And be sure to tell them that Drew Brees is one cool dad.