Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Trends, Good for Fashion but Bad for Birth

The title says “bad for birth” but trendy health advice or practices are bad for healthcare overall. Everywhere we look there is some new detox, cleanse, essential oil therapy, immune booster and on and on and on. Celebrities of all types endorse these random products, ideas or methods. The Dr. Oz Effect is now recognized as a real disorder. Pure nonsense!

There is so much that irritates me about these charlatans promoting medical woo; but my focus in this blog entry will be on birth and birth related trends.

In 2008 a propaganda filled documentary by a washed up trash TV talk show host was released, which lit a fire in American women to question their obstetric care.  This horrid fire promoted that everything mainstream medicine is bad and scary and that care from often unqualified midwives was much better. The zealotry of the NCB (natural childbirth) movement has become a predominate trend thanks to the little gem of a documentary. A trend that has fueled the pockets of outright unqualified and some barely qualified lay midwives and Certified Professional Midwives (CPM),as well as just as many unqualified and overzealous doulas.

The women who at least stick with real medical care “just in case” of the worst case scenario and choose to hire a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) or OBGYN and birth in a hospital can sometimes demand unreasonable requests from their providers. Erroneous advice given out by the NCB (natural childbirth) community telling women to refuse IV’s, fetal monitoring, and other basic standards of care for the sake of a “beautiful experience”. Labor is…well its labor. While the end result is a beautiful new life and experience; the concept of labor itself being beautiful just flies right over my head!

There are reasons why certain procedures are standard and it is not to ruin anyone’s birth experience. While some procedures may be skipped for some patients, they are essential for others. This is where an open dialog with your care provider is instrumental, but writing a ten page birth plan is setting the stakes a tad too high. By all means, you should feel like you can ask your provider anything without feeling put down or made to feel dumb. Sure, there are bad apples out there in the mix as in any profession, but there is not some massive medical conspiracy out to get the public. That is a fear the NCB community feeds off of.

Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway, an OBGYN of more than twenty years and author of The Smart Mother’s Guide to a Better Pregnancy had this to say when asked about trendy birth plans; “I.V. access is necessary in the event of an emergency. You certainly don’t want to struggle to get I.V. access if a patient is hemorrhaging or dealing with an acute condition…consent to at least a Heplock would be needed. If a patient insisted on eating her placenta, I’d make her sign a waiver of liability.”  However there is one trend that has gone legit since it starting making the internet rounds several years ago. That is delayed cord clamping, there is enough evidenced based research out there to support this practice according to Dr. Burke-Galloway. So if this is something you are interested in for your delivery, talk to your provider at your next appointment about delayed cord clamping.

So many things get their start via internet circulation and social media sharing, but just because something is on the interwebz does not make it true. About a month ago I started seeing articles about this new thing called “seeding” in my newsfeeds. Seeding is the act of placing gauze in a mother’s vagina several hours prior to a C-section, removing, sealing in a bag, then opening it after the baby is born and wiping the baby down in the gauze as to simulate vaginal birth. I personally did not find enough research done about seeding to call it a “new thing”, and found it appalling that even semi large media outlets would put this out there as the latest and greatest thing. It must have been a slow news day.  To eliminate any doubt I asked Dr. Burke-Galloway about seeding, and my suspicion was confirmed this is not evidence based medicine as of yet stating “…there are no studies involving at least 1,200 babies that could substantiate any significant benefit.”

Please understand the women who fall into this category are not out to be difficult divas. They have fallen prey to the natural childbirth zealots who tell expecting women, who are only looking for the best for their babies, to trust nothing their “med-wife” or doctor says and only they (the zealots) have the good glitter sprinkled outcomes. Some women do have glitter sprinkled birth experiences that result in healthy babies. While there have been many other women who have walked away from home birth or crunchy birth centers with unqualified midwives with empty arms because their baby died because of their negligence. Dr. Amy Tuteur of The Skeptical OB has come to be a watch dog of NCB zealots over the years. Every tragic preventable death she unearths on the internet is just a sad as the last one, and the one before that. It never gets easy to hear and read about.

One of the cases Dr. Tuteur came across in 2014 was that of a woman I will refer to as D, who hired and trusted a Las Vegas based midwife named Christy Collins. She looked legit from all outward appearances, but when D had zero amniotic fluid left at the end of her pregnancy, Ms. Collins had no idea what to do and her lack of knowledge and bad advice resulted in the death of D’s baby boy. Ms. Collins and the rest of the NCB community tried to sweep the death under the rug to avoid any responsibility, which is common in that community when a death happens. There is no accountability in that world. You can read detailed accounts from D herself on her Facebook page In Light ofGavin Michael. Also, you can read about other tragedies HERE and HERE.

I am going to conclude this blog entry by saying…begging..please do not accept medical advice from internet strangers over real life care providers and beware of homeopath hype. The pharmaceutical industry catches a lot of heat over the profits they bring in, but the entities and public figures who push herbs, oils and other magical supplements are not giving them away for free. Homeopath rakes in considerable amounts of profits as well, please for your sake don’t overlook that fact. Speaking of care providers, make sure they are a capable provider. Know what your state’s requirements for handing out licenses and verify your provider’s background and credentials.


I don't know  the author to give credit, but who ever they are they are brilliant!

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Sea of Formula

My last entry on formula was about the three forms of formula, now I will go into the various types of formula. Walking into the formula isle and staring at all the different color coordinated labels and purposes can be daunting! Hopefully this list will help you be prepared before you take the trip down that isle.

Standard: This is the basic of the basic formulas that most babies will be just fine with. It is cow milk based and loaded with essentialnutrients like DHA and vitamins for first year growth. This would be Similac Advance, Enfamil Newborn and Premium, Gerber Good Start. There have been a few additional choices added to the market over the last few years. Such as organicformulas and just this year Similac introduced Advanced Non-GMO.

Gentle or Sensitive: These names are interchangeable and mean the same thing. Formula that has reduced lactose for babies who do not tolerate standard formula. They may have symptoms such as fussiness, gas with hard or distended belly, constipation or diarrhea. Frequent projectile spit up may also be a sign. These are Similac Sensitive, Enfamil Gentlease, Gerber Good Start Gentle or Gerber Soothe.

Acid Reflux: All babies spit up to some degree, although some do have actual acid reflux and have a hard time holding down their milk. Acid reflux or spit up formula has very small rice cereal particles added to it to make it a tad bit thicker than the standard consistency. Back in the old days parents were advised to add cereal to bottles for this reason or just to make it thicker to fill a baby up so they slept longer. If they are refluxing, this can be a choking hazard. Some old pediatricians out there will still recommend it but there are better options on there in our present day. Doing anything to “make a baby sleep” is not advised…AT ALL! Back to the formula….Similac Spit Up, Similac Spit Up Sensitive, and Enfamil AR.

Soy: It’s soy, fairly self-explanatory. Babies who do not tolerate lactose at all, not even the sensitive variety may be a fit with soy formula. Soy is not a choice for everyone as there are concerns about soy messing with hormones and those who have a history of breast cancer (or the breast cancer gene BRC1) in their family should not consume soy at all. Just is just food for thought, I cannot provide medical advice or tell you what is best for your baby. Please consult your pediatrician with any health concerns about soy. Soy formulas are pretty obvious; Similac Soy Isomil, Enfamil ProSobee, and Gerber Good Start Soy.

Hypoallergenic: this type of formula is for babies with a milk protein allergy. It is one of the more expensive formulas so it’s not one you would probably want to buy willy nilly. I totally understand trying to find the right formula for your baby who may have been having tummy or other troubles. I’ve been there done that, I really do understand! However if feeding troubles have become that bad for your baby it’s time to make an appointment with your pediatrician. Request a sick visit so you can been seen in the next few days or even the same day. Hypoallergenic is generally the next step if sensitive or soy formula is not being tolerated. Hypoallergenic are Similac Alimentum, Enfamil Nutramigen, and Gerber Extensive HA.

Amino Acid base: an amino acid based formula is for babies and even toddler and older kids who have severe milk protein allergies or GI issues. To my knowledge it cannot be bought in retail stores as I have never seen it on the shelf at the big box retailers. When turning to this type of formula it is done so under the direction and supervision of a doctor. I will link to where they can be bought online, however the physician referring you to this type of formula may know of a local medical supply company. Also, your insurance provider may provide some coverage to alleviate some of the cost. The brands that provide amino acid formula are Neocate, Elecare and PureAmino by Enfamil.

WHEW!! It can be hard, I know! Calvin was a reflux baby and still has trouble with reflux time to time as a toddler. The AR’s back then weren’t sensitive or lactose free and the Similac Spit Up Sensitive was brand new and not always readily available. I did buy it when I could get my hands on it, but we ended up using Similac Sensitive and Calvin took Zantac twice daily. He was switched to Prilosec as a toddler. Calvin was five months pushing six before we really found the magic combo. I have so much sympathy for parents of babies with formula trouble.

Its Monday….get your milk on!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Selling formula samples Don't be this loser

Last Wednesday I wrote….errrrr…vented about frustrating garage sale group postings. Sometimes when they get constant it does get annoying, but mostly it was meant to be comedic. Last night while scrolling through my local yard sale groups looking for junk I probably don’t need, I came across a type of post that I had forgotten all about during my rant last week. There is no comedy when it comes to this topic as it absolutely burns the piss out of me! Pardon my French, I keep my blog entries clean and professional but not this time.

Selling infant formula samples and coupons.


These are FREE samples and coupons (sometimes company checks) that the formula companies send out to families for FREE. Sometimes the companies’ mail out to households using a different brand, or perhaps breastfeeding worked out perfectly for the family and there is just no need for them. Regardless of the reason for receiving these FREE items, if you do not need them donate them to a food pantry or just list them as free. All yard sale postings are first come, first dibs and first pickup. No excuse or explanation is good enough for trying to make a buck off of struggling parents. Not everyone qualifies for WIC and formula can add up fast, especially if your baby needs a specialty formula.

Don’t be a greedy pathetic low life. Find some junk in your closet to sell if you really need to generate some cash. The cans even state “SAMPLE Not to be sold” on them. I’m sure they mean for them not to be sold. If there are a lot of people getting in the virtual line that means that there is a lot of people in need. Don’t whine about a high demand item being time consuming. Why list it then? Anything posted is first come first serve and pickup.

Do you even know how to yard sale bro?

Oh, I know why. So you could exploit parents in need so you could get a buck. DONATE it and there will be no hassle. Wow, that was easy wasn’t it!

Whew! <sigh> Just don’t do this. There are people out there watching.

God Bless….it’s hump day!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Baby Oral Medicines

Has your baby started teething yet? Scared of the discomfort teething might cause your baby? 

You are not alone, no one wants to see their baby in pain. It’s tough to console them as they don’t understand what happening to them nor can they comprehend you telling them. They just know they hurt! For several decades parents have been turning to teething medicines such as Anbesol or Orajel that numb the gums to minimize pain. The numbing agent in these medicines are typically benzocaine and there have been recent advisories for them.

The FDA and the AAP have both made stances against the use of any brand of topical teething medicine. I am by no means picking on Anbesol and Orajel, any brand containing benzocaine is not recommended for children under two. Benzocaine can cause a condition called methemoglobinemia which effects the amount of oxygen that is carried to the blood stream. It’s not common but when it does happen it is a very serious condition that can even cause death.

I frequently used Baby Orajel with Calvin as my mother did with me, and I was shocked to read about this! I had heard in 2013 when Calvin did most of his teething that the use of benzocaine should be minimal as possible from his pediatrician. Fast forward to 2014 and now the shared stance is none at all for kids under two years.

Offer a variety of chew friendly toys so your little one can find a texture they prefer for soothing gums. The good old cold rag can be tried or a frozen fruit or vegetable. Such as a carrot stick or banana can be gripped by an infant.

Hang in there parents!  

Milk Monday - The Three Forms of Formula

This week I will discuss the three forms of formula, there are many types of formula but three forms. I will go into the types in a different blog entry. The three types are powder, concentrate and ready to feed.

Powder is, well its powder. Generally speaking, it is mixed with two ounces of water per heaping scoop. Please always read the feeding instructions on the particular formula you are using, but that is general use. Powder is considered to be the least expensive form and is what is distributed by the federal program WIC. However, there may be situations where it is not. Calvin was a reflux baby and even still has trouble with it as a toddler. To help him hold his milk down we added an extra scoop of formula to thicken it. Adding the extra scoop, sometimes scoop and half did not make it the cheapest option. Powdered formula is also not sterilize and there is a small risk a bacteria named Cronobacter can grow in powder products. It is a very small risk but not impossible. You can read more about Cronobacter from the CDC HERE.

Concentrate formula is much like condensed milk as far as mixing goes or frozen concentrate juices. You make X size of bottle and add X amount of water to it and stir, generally two ounces of water per concentrate. If you have a baby like ours who either likes or needs their milk to be thicker this may be the cheapest option. I say maybe since the availability of concentrate formula seems to be hit or miss in different areas and in stores. Not only is concentrate itself spotty in availability but the brands and variety of types available as well. Calvin did tolerate the concentrate very well and because it tends to have less bubbles that creates gas since there is not shaking of powder. It does need to be mixed but it’s stirred rather than shaken.

Lastly, there is Ready to Use formula which is open the container and pour into bottle (heat if baby likes) and that’s it. This is considered to be the most expensive but most convenient. Going back to the topic of reflux, ready to use is what we ended up sticking with as it was just the right weight for Calvin and readily available anywhere that sold formula. We didn't buy ready to use because we were too lazy to measure water. It was necessary for Calvin's health and comfort, who wants to puke their food up all the time?  I also found it for sale in bulk boxes at Babies R Us which saved us money over buying individual jugs. Liquid formula is also sterile, which eliminates the risk of Cronobacter. Read more about Cronobacter here from the CDC.

No matter what form of formula you decided is best for your baby and your wallet keep in mind that infant formula is very regulated by the FDA. All forms have safety standards, although the CDC does recommend liquid over powder, many many babies consume powder formula without incident. If you are currently struggling to find the right formula or if formula is in your future please discuss any concerns you may have with your pediatrician. Pediatricians are well informed on formula as well as may have samples of the different forms and types to see what may be best for your baby without spending money on each one.

Have a terrific week! 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Seasonal Saturday - Tyler State Park & Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Summer time oh summer time, the season for sun, fun and family vacation. Keeping the kids busy can get expensive between camps and family vacations where everyone will be entertained and enjoy it. Often times there are local outings or events that cost very little or free, such as city parks and splash pads.

Today I am featuring two destinations that are right here in Texas, one local in East Texas and a big name theme park a little farther down south.

Right here in the Tyler area we have Tyler State Park, you can tent camp or rent a cabin if you prefer shelter like me. There is of course the lake with designated swimming and fishing areas. They have a variety of boat rentals (look for Tyler at the very bottom). My family use to go every summer when I was young and rent a cabin, we cooked out every day because that is all that is all the cabin offers, that is unless you leave the park and go into town to a restaurant. These cabins are a traditional cabins, they are shelters with mesquite netting and concrete floor. Be prepared with padding, sleeping back is not enough.  So many memories! Check out the web site forfull details and pictures of the amenities.

Now, a little more down south in San Antonio there is SixFlags Fiesta Texas. I’ve never been there, therefore I don’t have a personal account but it is a part of the Six Flags family so you will see the Warner Bros. characters as well as Warner Bros. themed rides. According to their web site they feature a FREE water park that is attached to the main park. A little different than other Six Flags parks where their water parks are separate parks with separate admissions and passes. What a big help to a parents wallet! You need some water fun in the hot Texas sun.


Their web site boasts that they are the most handicap accessible theme park in the nation. Fiesta Texas rents wheelchairs and scooters and accommodates hearing impaired guests. You can check out their statement HERE.

Happy Saturday and vacation!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Fashion Friday - Dress Barn and

Hope everyone had or still having a wonderful Friday! Who’s seeing the Minions movie on opening night? Calvin loves loves loves Minions and we will go next weekend when hopefully it won’t be so crowded.

Fashion Friday deals! Summer is in full swing and what are some things that come with summer?  Dresses, shorts, and tans!

Dress Barn has several sales that are currently in progress for dresses and shorts. FYI, they carry plus sizes too! Little Black Dresses for the summer parties starting at $40 or $50 for plus sizes.

Shorts and Capri’s starting at $32.50! Don’t forget a top to match, BOGO 50% on tops.

No matter category you make selections from, take $10 off orders of $50 or more OR take $50 off orders of $200 or more! The coupon codes are kinda funky, but hey whatever, thanks Dress Barn!

Code for $10: AFFN3JN10 
Code for $50: AFFN3JN50

It has long been established that too much sun can be harmful. Sunless self-tanners are a great option and has a variety to choose from. Free shipping on orders of $75 or more! No coupon code needed.

Have a great weekend ya’ll!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Take Time Out for Yourself Thursday - Drop-in Daycare

It’s Thursday and time to take a parent time out.

As a stay at home parent I know how exhausting it can be to have a toddler glued to my hip 24/7. Albeit rewarding beyond materialistic measure and I wouldn’t trade Calvin for anything, parents still need a little break sometimes too.

Not everyone has family nearby, or if they do the family members might have full schedules and may not be able to babysit so a parent can break away for some along time.  I’m in the second category and I discovered drop-in care with the local daycare. Drop-in care is cool and convenient as you pay a fee for the day which typically will cover food. All is needed is diapers, wipes a backup outfit and any other age appropriate supplies. For my two year old it is pull-ups, wipes and a backup outfit, oh and a spill proof cup. The daycare provides all food and drinks.  

If drop in care is affordable in your area, seriously utilize it! Even if once only once or twice month. In our little town the local daycare is $30 a day, at a North Dallas daycare close to where we use to live was $50 a day. Drop in care obviously will have a wide range of cost from region to region.

The first daycare Calvin was in as an infant was a horrible experience and I completely understan d being leery of strangers, but there are plenty of great care givers out there. Listen to your kids cues, their attitudes about going to the daycare. Are they happy and excited or do they totally melt down at the mention of daycare.  I recommend dropping in at a different time other than when they are expecting you just to see what’s going on when they aren’t expecting a look over.

Go get a manicure, meet a friend for lunch, grocery shop in peace. Everyone needs some along time or me time as some call. Me time can be whatever you want it to be. Say NO to guilt!

Give yourselves some time too moms and dads!  

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wild Card Wednesday - Garage Sale Groups

We all know about them and probably members of at least one on Facebook. Garage sale groups, where we put our too small clothes, outdated curtains and toys the kids no longer play with but also scope out deals for ourselves. It’s the modern day version of putting our crap on the lawn or going to other’s yards and sifting through their crap. The concept is simple but even drama can arise from a virtual lawn of stuff.

The guilt trip post: “I need to sell these items to pay my light bill”. Hey, I’ve been there, more than once actually; but adding a sad story to the description won’t make anyone buy your stuff if they don’t want or need it.

Outright asking for money: “My kids have no food and I have no money. Does anyone have a few dollars they can spare or food they don’t want?” Some variations of them include the person offering to clean donator’s houses or promising to pay it forwards or something but just no! No, no, no!! This is nothing more than panhandling on a street corner. If there are truly kids who have no food there are multiple resources out there for families.

ISO (fill in the blank) for real cheap: “ISO of a dresser and it has to be cheap”. So this is not drama but I just find these posts so funny.  Seriously, I thought we were all in a garage sale group looking for expensive stuff to buy. Granted there are those few people out there who do put a high value on their stuff but for the most part, most stuff is reasonable resale price in my own experience. I understand you may be able to afford a certain range but instead of saying “cheap” or “really really cheap”, just say “around $40”. That would better match potential sellers to what you define as cheap.

Happy crap…I mean treasure hunting!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Teething Tuesday - AppeTEETHERS

Back in our grandma’s day all they knew about teething was to give the baby a cold or frozen cloths to get through the teething blues.  In present day there are endless options down the baby toy aisle for teething discomfort. Toys that your freeze that can be purchased in all sorts of silly shapes and characters, silicone toys and plastic textured toys.

I came across a teething toy made by Little Toader's that I found absolutely hilarious! They are called AppeTeethers. Teething toys in the shapes of food, they have a variety from broccoli to bacon and candy. They are the silicone with textures variety of soother.  I found them listed on 
Buy Buy for around $10. Pricey teether but great for a laugh!

Which one would be your teething tike's favorite?

Monday, July 6, 2015

Milk Monday - Quick Breast Pump Guide

Milky Monday 7/6/15

Breast pumps. If you plan to breastfeed and return to work after your baby is born you will need one. The current selection of pumps on the market is rather broad and vast compared to what our mothers had to pick from. There are still manual pumps out there, pumps with matching bottle systems and even hands free pumping! I’m very excited to hear and be able towrite that insurance coverage on pumps is in full swing!

There are other reasons it doesn’t hurt to own a pump, like when you are ready and comfortable to start date night again.  You can pump milk to leave with the sitter without having to hurry your date for the next feeding.  In case of an emergency where you will have to be separated from your baby it’s handy to have at least a little bit of stash in the freezer. Over time I’ve heard an array of things happen to new moms where. they suddenly had to be separated, such as, emergency surgeries, urgent dental extractions, needing to start a medication that is not breastfeeding compatible (which can go along with emergency surgery).

Life happens and it just doesn’t hurt to have a little put aside in the freezer.

For the occasional date night and purposes of building your milk stash you will likely be ok with a single manual pump. Even a Medela, one of the best brands out there, cost around $50 for a single manual. Even a single electric can range from $50 - $80 depending on brand. Pumping during an eight hour work day will usually require a bit more efficient pump, what you will need out of a pump will depend on the factors of your work place. Do you have a thirty minute or hour lunch? Do you have your own office you can lock or will you need to borrow someone’s office which will put you on a time crunch? Like many products out there, there are the cheap options, better options and best options. Find out from your manager what pumping in the work place will look like before you make your pump selection.  

You have the right to express breast milk in the workplace! Employers cannot refuse you and they must provide a place to pump other than a bathroom. Anything outside of that will depend on your states individual laws. Take time to Google the laws in your state.

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, there are new healthcare mandates that now cover breastfeeding support and pumps! This was not in effect yet when Calvin was born in 2012 so this is new and exciting territory for me!  I have a friend who recently had a sweet little boy and tells me that she didn’t even have to lift a finger to get her pump! She received a very sweet Medela too that was covered at 100%.  The amount of help with filing an insurance claim for a pump seems to be endless. Hospital Lactation Consultants are handing claims, Retailers like Babies R Us are handling claims and even on the Medela web site there is a web tool that matches you with your insurancecarrier to authorized Medela dealers nearest to your zip code. I cannot stress enough how valuable having coverage for breastfeeding support would have been. It was something I desperately needed and sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the hospital to meet with an LC more than once.

Happy milkies!