Archive for the ‘Oh, Baby!’ Category

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.

What’s the Rush?

Monday, January 11th, 2010

As the mom of a 14 year old, there’s always pressure to enroll my kid in the latest “enrichment” activity… Summer reading, music lessons, sports lessons… Fortunately, after a few years, you realize there are only so many hours in a day — and so many dollars in a budget — and you find a happy balance.

But woe to the soon-to-be new parents out there, who are now being told they need to enrich their child before he even has a chance to take his first breath. Take the BabyPlus Prenatal Education System, a product that straps onto Mom’s bulging belly, emitting 16 varied sounds that resemble a mother’s heartbeat.

For $149, your unborn baby has class twice a day for an hour, and the sonic pattern introduces her to a sequential learning process, based on the natural rhythms of the womb. (So the natural rhythms of the womb aren’t enough?) The rhythms of the sounds increase incrementally as the pregnancy progresses. Until what? The baby pops out snapping his fingers, doing calculus and demanding an iPod?


Indoor Playgrounds: 6 Things Parents Should Know

Saturday, November 14th, 2009
A toddler in a ball pit

Is it getting cold where you live? If so, the kids are probably starting to climb the walls — and you’re probably ready to climb a few yourself. (Don’t worry. We’ve all been there.)

Indoor playgrounds are a great place to let kids burn off steam. Just watch for these common health-and-safety hazards, suggests the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) — and this mom who’s done her time in the ball pits:

1.    Big kid-little kid collisions. Don’t place your toddler in the rowdy big-kid section. (I once had to yank my then-preschooler out of the way as a big kid came careening down a slide into the ball pit.) Older kids love to hurl the balls at each other. Kids bury themselves in balls and can be hurt when another child leaps into the pit. Happily, most play centers have separate toddler/preschooler sections designed just for the younger set. Bringing younger children in the morning, before the rough-and-tumble crowd gets out of school, is helpful, too.

2.    Icky ball pits. Just say no. They’re dangerous — and often just plain nasty. I’ve seen toddlers wading through ball pits with their diapers falling off. And the balls and pits often aren’t cleaned regularly. (The CPSC recommends a weekly cleaning of each ball — by hand — and a thorough sanitizing of the pit itself. But how often does that actually happen?) If the ball pit is located at a fast-food restaurant, take a good look at the restaurant itself. Does it seem to be clean and well-managed? If the restaurant floor is rarely mopped and old mustard spills are dried on the condiment bar, you can probably imagine how often the ball pit is cleaned and inspected.

3.    Lack of supervision. Forget bringing a book and relaxing with a latte from the snack bar. (Sorry!) Indoor playgrounds require big-time vigilance. Is your child strong enough to pull himself up the rope ladder? Does he freak out inside the crawl tubes? Is he climbing up slide exits, sitting at the bottom of a slide or throwing (or licking!) ball-pit balls? It’s exhausting, but it’s a good idea to follow your child around.

4.    Unsafe equipment. Check for damaged floor mats and frayed climbing ropes and netting. Make sure crawl tubes have windows or cutouts so you can see inside. And check to be sure tube slides are large enough so that kids can sit to slide down and don’t have to lie down head-first. If a narrow crawl tube empties into a narrow tube slide, your child can only go down head first, as there’s no room to sit up or turn around.

5.    Strangulation hazards. Leave necklaces and other jewelry at home and avoid clothing with loose strings that can catch on equipment.

6.    Getting lost in the crowd. Now’s the time to let your child wear her favorite hot-orange Sponge Bob t-shirt to make it easier to spot her. Avoiding peak weekend (i.e., birthday party) times makes it easier to keep track of your child, too. Many play centers have added side-door alarms, matching child-adult wristbands and other security measures to keep kids from wandering off — or even being abducted. But no snazzy security system beats staying on your feet and keeping your eyeballs peeled. (Just don’t forget to pick up that latte on the way home — you’re earned it!)

What Baby Items Do You Really Need?

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

It's time for another Parent Talk Today "Unnecessary-Baby-Item Alert."

What baby items do you really need? A crib, car seat, clothes, diapers… The basics, alone, add up quickly. And with the economy still in the dumper and many of us making well-considered choices about how we're spending our family's dollars, it makes sense to choose baby items carefully.

Here's one you can skip. (Just drop the $$ you'll save into you 529 plan. You'll need that money sooner than you think…)

Baby Walton sells the Infant Hair Protector for $24.99 plus shipping and handling. This satin headrest is used in cribs, car seats, strollers, etc. to help prevent infant balding. The satin minimizes breakage and shedding of an infant's hair, allowing the hair to re-grow while preventing further balding.

Let's get real here. Babies often get a temporary "bald spot" on the back of their heads. It doesn't last. My son had one for a few months. My adorable 3-month-old niece has one. What's the big deal? It goes away. Simple as that. To worry about it and try to solve it seems a bit over the top to me.

Save your money. This one doesn't make the cut.

Cool Baby Stuff — And a Great Cause, Too

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

If you're looking for adorably cozy onesies, toddler tees, burp cloths, nursing covers and much more, head over to I love the look of the website, and the fun things they sell are even better.

They really care about moms and kids, too. Baby U R Precious is
partnering with Casa Teresa in Orange, California. 10 percent of your purchase
will go to Casa Teresa. This wonderful organization takes in homeless
pregnant women who have nowhere to go. They 
offer support and
encouragement as the women get back on their feet and prepare to be on their own. Visit their website for more information.

Check Out My New Health Column, “Boo-Boos, Germs & Pap Smears” on

Monday, May 19th, 2008

I excited to share the news that I’m the new family health columnist over at one of my favorite sites, Visit "Boo-Boos, Germs & Pap Smears" on the home page under "What’s New in Linger."

You’ll also find columnist Mary Collette Rogers writing about everyday good eating; you’ll enjoy words of wisdom from Karen Bannan, the "Natural-as-Possible" mom; you’ll fall off your noodle for Judy Gruen’s "Off My Noodle: Carb-Free Humor for the Mom on the Go;" and you’ll find parent-friendly movie reviews by Jane Louise Boursaw in "Reel Life With Jane."

Mia Geiger writes the "Read ‘Em & Reap" column, focusing on children’s books related to mothering. Brette Sember, who writes the "Parenting Together Apart" column, discusses everything you need to know for parenting after separation and divorce. And Apryl Chapman Thomas shares terrific traveling-with-kids tips in "Have Children, Will Travel."

But wait, there’s more! "Make Payable to Mom" by Gwen Moran; "Lean Green Family" by Leah Ingram; "Bringing Up Geeks" by Marybeth Hicks; "Pulse on Parenting" by Lynne Ticknor; "Buzz on the Birds & Bees" by Melanie Davis" and "Teen Wise" by Pamela Oldham. There’s something here for every parent, no matter how old your kids are. (Well, OK, I don’t see a "Geezer Parenting" column — yet!)

I’m so happy to be in the company of these terrific columnists, and I hope you’ll stop by to see what’s new!

Blog Tour Stop: The Baby Bonding Book for Dads

Monday, May 12th, 2008

When I first picked up a copy of The Baby Bonding Book for Dads, by James di Properzio and Jennifer Margulis, I have to admit that I expected it to be one of those Hallmark Father’s Day gift books filled with gorgeous photos and not much substance.

Happily, I was wrong. And that makes me especially happy to be hosting a stop on di Properzio and Margulis’ blog tour today.

You have to love a book for new dads that tell it like it is: "Unless your wife had a C-section, your new baby probably looks weird. He may be all scrunched up with a cone head like Bart Simpson, odd-looking skin that’s been out of the sun and in amniotic fluid for nine months, and eyes that cross or look unfocused…" Hey, so much for the Hallmark-card text, huh?

And I love the diaper-changing advice: "It’s a good idea to talk to the baby and distract her so she doesn’t fuss," the authors advise. "Talk about your day, the Red Sox, or tell her how much better she’ll feel once she’s clean. Or, if things get particularly funky, sing ‘She’s a very stinky girl,’ to the tune of ‘She’s a very kinky girl."

You have to love a baby book for dads that quotes a Rick James song. And check out these amazing photos…

Knock Yourself Up (No Man? No Problem!)

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

As a book reviewer, I’ve had fun carrying this hot (shocking pink!) little number around town with me this week, reading a few pages during my son’s piano lesson, taking it along for a solo lunch at a favorite little Mexican restaurant — and never knowing who might see the cover and wonder…

Of course, like the just-too-funny promos for the new movie "Baby Mama" (about a woman who enlists the help of a surrogate), which opens today, the title Knock Yourself Up (Avery), by Louise Sloan, is meant to be an attention grabber.

But once I cracked the cover, I found solid information and lots of real stories about single women over 30 who are trying to make the right decision on this life-altering issue by doing a lot of research, doing a lot of soul searching and enlisting the support of family and friends. Sloan shares her (touching and often really funny) experiences and those of many others who’ve decided not to let being single stand in the way of becoming a mom. 

Got questions? The book answers these and a lot more: When do I decide it’s time to go it alone? How do I choose the right sperm? Is this fair to the kid? Can I afford to do it? How do I tell my parents? How do I tell my dates? Have I gone totally crazy? Will I ever have sex — or a life — again?

For those who want to discuss these juicy questions with their book club, there’s a guide with discussion questions. For even more info, stop by

While I had a man involved when I got pregnant, I can’t say Randy and I exactly did it the old-fashioned way. Having gone through in vitro fertilization, I could relate quite a bit to the tales of hormone injections, blood tests and waaay too many doctor appointments involving transvaginal ultrasound and stirrups. Trust me, nobody goes through all this stuff on a lark.

As "Baby Mama," Knock Yourself Up and my own IFV experience will attest, there are lots of ways to bring a baby into the world these days. But one thing remains, and you can surely can see it in this melt-your-heart picture of Sloan and her son, Scott: Women are making these decisions based primarily on something that mothers have had in common through the ages: love.

Laugh it Up at

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

Hey mom! Need a break? Grab that non-fat latte and head over to, the creation of Jen Singer, a terrific mom, a very funny writer and a chick with fab hair. was created in 2003 as a virtual community for full- and part-time
stay-at-home mothers around the world, says Singer. One of my favorite spots on the site is the Back Fence, where moms share stories like this one, which Singer has generously allowed me to re-print here:

Pretty as a Picture

Thanks to Rebecca Norton of Norfolk, Massachusetts, for this story:

"I was on my way out the door to my cousin’s
bridal shower. I really don’t like bridal showers, but I found great joy in putting on some ‘real clothes’ with no stains
and ‘real shoes’ that were not good for chasing children.

"When my four-year-old daughter saw me, she said, ‘Mommy, can I take your picture? Because we don’t get
to see you pretty!’"


Infant-Hearing Screening Recommended by 1 Month

Friday, February 1st, 2008

Is there a new addition to your family? If so, you’ll want to hear this.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) now recommends that all
infants be screened for hearing loss by 1 month of age, diagnosed with
hearing loss by 3 months and engaged in full intervention services by 6

Since 2000, when the AAP’s Joint Committee on Infant Hearing first
recommended that all infants be screened for hearing loss, the number
of screened newborns increased from 38 to 95 percent. However, almost
half of the children who failed hearing-screening tests did not receive
appropriate, timely follow-up care. Intervention during the first year
of life is needed to enhance the speech and language development of
infants with hearing loss, says the AAP.

The new guidelines recommend that pediatric offices, typically a
child’s first medical home, ensure timely screening, diagnosis and
coordinated medical and educational care for infants with hearing loss,
preferably beginning at a newborn’s first office visit. Ongoing
checking for developmental milestones is suggested for each visit, and
an objective, standardized screening is recommended at ages 9 months,
18 months and between 24 and 30 months or anytime a doctor or parent is
concerned about possible hearing loss.