Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween Treats for Kids with Braces and Sealants

My two oldest sons had sealants placed on their back teeth when they were young, and wore braces when they got older, so they’ve always stayed away from gum and sticky candy, like taffy. This usually meant that they had to throw out or give away half of their Halloween candy collection! (Not a bad thing for their nutrition and weight, though.) More than 4 million children and 1 million adults in the United States and Canada receive orthodontic treatment. This time of year is often the busiest for orthodontists, perhaps because kids have damaged their braces from eating chewy, hard or crunchy candy. If you’re passing out candy this year, you might want to consider purchasing treats that are “braces-friendly.” And if you’re the parent of a child with braces or sealants, be sure to weed out those treats that might damage their dental appliances. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) advises kids to stay away from:

hard candies
chewy candies
jelly beans
hard pretzels
bubble gum
taco chips

And they also remind families to brush and floss after eating any kind of sweets.

So what kind of Halloween treats can you make for your kids that won’t hurt their braces or sealants? The AAO website has some great Braces-Friendly Halloween Recipes at http://braces.org/nohm-mom/mom_braces.htm. They include fun items such as Green Goo Slimedoo, Spider Bites, Spooktacular Pumpkin Cake, and Frightfully Fabulous Cupcake Sandwiches!

It can be difficult for kids to resist certain treats, but remind them that damaged braces can potentially prolong their treatment. Show them that there are plenty of alternatives that are delicious and braces-friendly, too. Have a happy, safe and tooth-healthy Halloween!

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Giveaway: Silikids Products for Babies

In my upcoming book, Boosting Your Baby’s Brain Power, I discuss studies showing a possible link between bisphenol-a (BPA), a chemical that is commonly used in plastic baby bottles, and cancers and reproductive problems later in life. A report issued by the U.S. National Toxicology Program said there was “some concern for neural and behavioral effects in fetuses, infants and children at current human exposures.” And Health Canada has said that BPA is particularly harmful to infants. We don’t have conclusive evidence that BPA is harmful -- and industry insiders insist that it is safe -- but if there are alternatives available, why not do your own research and consider them?

Giuliana Schwab and Stacey Feeley are two moms who turned their concerns about BPA in baby products into action. They founded a company called Silikids, which produces a unique line of products that are germ-, mold- and toxin-free, hypoallergenic and made entirely of silicone! A non-porous material made from sand, silicone is an ideal solution for addressing parents’ concerns about BPA in their children’s products. So far, the Silikids collection includes:

Siliskins: silicone sleeves for 4- and 8-ounce bottles (glass bottles included)
Silibibs: soft and easy-to-clean bibs made entirely of silicone
Silipads: stylish silicone kneepads for crawlers and toddlers

I was able to obtain a sample of all of these products, and I fell in love with them! All the products are available in four great colors. The bibs are super-soft, flexible and easy to clean. The bottle sleeves have little bumps that make them easy to hold so they won’t slip out of your hands, and holes on the side so you can see how much liquid is left in the bottle. And the silipads…you have got to see these adorable little knee pads!

How do you get your own Silikids products? Just order online at http://www.silikids.com! Even if you’re done having babies, these products make fabulous gifts for new eco-conscious moms who are concerned about their babies’ exposure to plastic products.

You can also win a free set of Silikids products! This set includes: 1 silibib (green), 1 siliskin (green) with accompanying 8-ounce glass bottle and silicone nipple, 1 siliskin (green) for a 4-ounce bottle (bottle not included), and two silipads in orange. To enter the drawing, visit http://www.silikids.com to see the products and leave a comment here indicating which product and color is your favorite. One entry per person please. One winner will get the set I described above. Deadline: Sunday, November 16, 2008 at Midnight EST.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Book Review: Your Pregnancy Week by Week

Whenever I was pregnant (three times with four children), I read everything I could put my hands on about being pregnant. I wanted to know how the baby was developing, what new pregnancy symptoms I could expect, whether things in my environment could hurt my baby, and so much more. I would read and re-read my books, making sure that I didn’t miss a thing. Every book was a little bit different and presented new information.

I recently stumbled across a pregnancy book that I really wish I’d had during my pregnancies. With my hunger for information, its week-by-week format would have been a real plus for me! Your Pregnancy Week by Week, by Glade B. Curtis, M.D., M.P.H. and Judith Schuler, M.S., contains all the latest information about fetal growth, diet and exercise, prenatal screening, labor, delivery, and so much more. The authors have recently released the 6th Edition, so it is extremely current and comprehensive. It even tells you how to prepare yourself before you get pregnant and what to expect with your body after your pregnancy. I could fill pages with the topics that are covered in this book, so let’s just say that I couldn’t think of a topic that wasn’t included! And lest you fathers feel left out, it even has “Dad Tips” sprinkled throughout the book.

Your Pregnancy Week by Week is part of a whole series of books by Curtis and Schuler. Others include: Your Pregnancy for the Father-to-Be, Your Pregnancy Journal Week by Week, and several Quick Guides on nutrition and weight management, fitness and exercise, tests and procedures, women of color, and multiples. (I could have used that last one with my last pregnancy when I was carrying twins!) And after your baby is born, you’ll want to pick up a copy of Your Baby’s First Year Week by Week.

You can learn more about the authors and their books at www.yourpregnancybook.com. You’ll also find an ovulation predictor and a due date calculator, as well as pregnancy information, on the site. And then pick up a copy of Your Pregnancy Week by Week!

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Window Cords Can Be Deadly to Children

Everyone knows that baby-proofing the house means covering the electrical outlets, padding sharp furniture corners and putting up a pool fence, but something that’s often overlooked is the danger of window cords. I was shocked to learn that, since 1990, more than 200 infants and young children have died from accidentally strangling in window cords (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission). Many adults are unaware of this potential strangulation hazard.

In response to this tragedy, the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) has created SuperBaby -- a brand-new online video series about a superhero who fights to help keep infants and young children safe from the potential hazards that window cords can pose. The WCSC is a non-profit organization and a coalition of major U.S. manufacturers, importers and retailers of window coverings. The organization urges parents and caregivers to only use cordless window products in rooms where young children sleep and play.

SuperBaby is part of the Window Covering Safety Council’s ongoing effort to inform parents and caregivers about the potential hazards of window coverings. For the next several weeks, SuperBaby will appear in new episodes on several popular video channels such as YouTube and Yahoo, as well as the WCSC’s Web site. The videos were filmed in the New York metropolitan area and the animated SuperBaby flies around to new parents’ homes to help keep their children safe. (You can view one of the videos below.)

And while you’re in the process of making the windows in your baby’s room safe, be sure to give this important information to grandparents, daycare providers, and anyone else who watches your child. If you’d like more information about keeping your children safe from window cords, visit www.windowcoverings.org or call the WCSC toll-free phone line at 1-800-506-4636. They also provide free cord-retrofit kits so you can make your current blinds safer, as well as free safety brochures and posters that you can use to educate caregivers and other parents.

SuperBaby #2

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Win a Fabulous Baby Dipper Bowl!

You know a product is going to be great when it’s designed by a mom. I recently confirmed this when I discovered the Baby Dipper bowl, which is a perfect example of Mom Ingenuity in action. Invented by a mother of two sets of young twins, it was her solution to the problem of trying to feed her big family -- while keeping one hand free and her floors clean!

Barbara Schantz, inventor of the Baby Dipper bowl, describes how she came up with her fabulous idea: “I was thinking that to accomplish one-handed feeding, the bowl should not slide around on the table, and it should aid in the collection of the baby food. A non-slip bottom surface would keep it from sliding. A sloped interior surface and a spoon-shaped collection point would help gather the food down to the last bite. Also, adding to those features, vertical sides would help push food onto the spoon and transparent sides would allow the food to be seen easily by both the parent and the child. The bowl I designed has proven to make feeding much easier for parents and even for toddlers trying to spoon-feed themselves. The Baby Dipper bowl is truly unique in the marketplace and hopefully will help parents everywhere.”

Barbara was kind enough to send me one of her bowls, and my boys thought it was so cool! It’s truly space-age looking, with its triangular design, nonstick base, sloping bottom, and curved spoon. I remember how many times our bowls ended up on the floor when my twins were small. This product would have been a real mess-saver for us! If you’re looking for a really unique and useful gift for someone who’s pregnant or has a baby, this fits the bill perfectly!

Barbara is generously allowing me to give a Baby Dipper bowl to four randomly picked readers of this blog! To enter the giveaway, just visit http://www.babydipper.com, and then leave a comment on this posting to tell me something you found interesting on the site. (You can also purchase more bowls there, too!) Last day of the contest: November 15, 2008.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

A Great Offer if You Aspire to Be a Successful Work-at-Home Mom!

I’ve written before about how much I love being able to work at home in a career that I love (writing). I can’t imagine ever going back to a structured office! I get to set my own hours, plan my daily schedule, spend more time with my kids, make my own decisions, and so much more.

Debbie LaChusa is a work-at-home mom who has really inspired me over the years to reach for my dreams. She is now making SIX FIGURES through her various home-based businesses, and yet she works fewer hours than she ever did working in the corporate world. As Debbie has shared with me, “One of the wonderful benefits of owning your own business is that your future is in YOUR hands and not resting at the mercy of a large corporation or the stock market.” That’s great advice especially during these difficult economic times. Personally, I’d rather be in control of my own financial destiny rather than worrying that I was going to get downsized from a regular job.

The great news is that Debbie has just released a new book that will tell you how she’s managed to achieve her success. The book is called The Career-at-Home Mom, and if you order it by Friday, October 24, 2008, for just $19.95, you will receive more than $1,900 worth of bonuses to help you build your business and be more successful! I just checked out everything Debbie is offering, and it is really unbelievable. These bonuses all support Debbie’s overall mission to help women (and some men, too!) build a successful business that enables them to make a great living doing what they love while being able to be home with their family and have time to enjoy life.

Plus, of course, you get Debbie’s great book, The Career-at-Home Mom, which is a virtual “roadmap” for anyone wanting to create their own successful business. In the book, Debbie openly shares the struggles, challenges, successes and lessons she has learned along her 19-year journey as a career-at-home mom, so you can learn from her experiences and shorten your own path to success. Debbie also interviewed 23 other successful career-at-home moms and includes their stories, tips and advice in the book. Because they all run different types of businesses, this really adds to the depth and value of the book.

Whether you’re a mom wanting to start a business so you can stay home with your kids, a mom wishing to take your current business to the next level, or a woman or man who’d love to learn the secrets to creating a lifestyle-driven, 6-figure business, I highly encourage you to check out this book and all the extra goodies you get when you purchase it by October 24th for just $19.95. Click here to order and check out the bonuses!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Explaining the Death of a Pet to Children

Our family had a close call this week when we thought one of our cats might die. Alley is nineteen years old and suddenly stopped eating. After running several tests, the veterinarian thought she might have an infection and prescribed antibiotics. When she still failed to eat (and dropped down to 7 pounds after being twice that weight a year ago), we had to consider our options. Do we continue with more aggressive treatment, knowing that she’s lived a long life already? Would she be strong enough to endure more tests and procedures? Fortunately, before we got to that point, the vet suggested one more medication for a possible condition similar to irritable bowel syndrome. It worked! The next day, Alley was starting to eat again and has been improving each day. But even though she recovered this time, I realize that, considering her advanced age, her death is most likely in the near future. And it made me realize that I had to come up with a strategy for talking to my four-year-old twins about her death when it occurred. Here are some tips that I found in my research:

Be honest. Don’t tell your children their pet was “put to sleep” because they may get false hopes that it will wake up again! Or it may scare them into thinking they’ll die in their sleep, too. The same goes for telling them that Fluffy ran away or went to live with someone else. Gently tell them that your pet died.

Read children’s books that talk about the death of a pet with your children. They will contain simple, easy-to-understand language that will help them understand what happened. They’ll also realize that others go through this experience.

Let your children know that it’s okay to cry and be upset. Tell them that you are sad about your pet’s death, too. Encourage them to talk about their pet and share memories when they’re ready. Don’t act as if the animal never existed or sweep its death under the rug.

Let your children help you think of a way to memorialize your pet. Plant a tree in the pet’s honor. Make a homemade gravestone. Put together a photo collage for their room.

If you’re religious, talk about your faith and beliefs about death. Do you think that Rover is in heaven? Let the children know that he is no longer ill or in pain. Help them to imagine how happy their dog is now. However, do not tell them that God “took” their pet to heaven as they may fear that God will take them away from you, too!

If you’re reading this before your animal has passed away, it’s a good idea to bring up the possibility of your pet’s future death with your child. Explain that animals don’t live as long as we do. This will help them not to be so shocked when their pet actually dies.

If possible, pick your time wisely to tell your children that Princess has died. You don’t want to tell your child that her cat died right before she’s ready to get on the school bus. Select a time when you’ll be able to answer questions and allow your child to grieve privately.

Expect your children to react differently. One child may cry, while the other may seem indifferent and hold his feelings inside. You may need to talk with each child individually about how he or she is processing the pain.

Don’t be in a big rush to replace the pet. Sometimes, children get the mistaken idea that people are replaceable, too! Give them time to grieve the lost pet before talking about a new one.

The death of a pet is part of the human experience. Although you can never make this a pain-free event for your children, you can do a lot to help them process their pet’s death and express their feelings.

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Breastfeeding Secrets Revealed!

After giving birth to four babies, I thought I knew everything there was to know about breastfeeding. Boy, was I wrong! After watching the Simply Breastfeeding DVDs, published by MyBabyExperts.com, I now wish I could have a “do-over” when it comes to breastfeeding my boys. Although I had few problems with my first two boys, I had a difficult time with my last two, who were twins. It seemed like I didn’t have enough milk, which I attributed at the time to my “advanced maternal age” (39). And, unfortunately, my doctor didn’t have a clue about how to help me. I ended up breastfeeding for a much shorter time than I wanted and supplementing with formula. Now that I’ve seen the Simply Breastfeeding DVDs, I know there were a lot of things I could have tried before giving up.

These DVDs should be required viewing for every expectant couple. (And, yes, fathers-to-be are also encouraged to watch because there are many ways in which they can help their wives achieve breastfeeding success.) The first DVD covers the benefits of breastfeeding, both for the baby (better immunity, higher IQ, bonding, etc.) and for the mother (weight control, less expensive, lower cancer risk, etc.). Although you may think you’re already sold on the idea of breastfeeding, these benefits are important to know because, when you encounter breastfeeding problems down the road, they will inspire you to be persistent and keep trying. Part I also covers topics such as how much milk your baby really needs (I was amazed at the small size of a newborn’s stomach) and how your milk comes in.

The second DVD gets into the “how” of breastfeeding: how to position your baby, how to get a good latch, how to prevent nipple soreness, and more. It made me realize why the “football hold” that I used with my twins may not have been the most ideal position for them. And I never thought about how important it is to make sure the baby’s head is pointing up so he can breathe and swallow properly!

Simply Breastfeeding’s instructor, Shari Criso, MSN, CNM, IBCLC, a certified nurse midwife and board certified lactation consultant, points out that almost all women can achieve breastfeeding success by using this method. It’s unfortunate that too many women become frustrated and give up on breastfeeding too early because they don’t have the information that’s contained in these DVDs.

I won’t be having any more babies, so you now have the opportunity to win this wonderful DVD set. If you’re an expectant or new mother, or want a terrific gift for someone else, you’ll definitely want Simply Breastfeeding. To win, just log on to www.MyBabyExperts.com and come back here by October 15, 2008, to comment on something you learned while on the site. A winner will be randomly selected from among the comments posted (one entry per person, please).

CONTEST CLOSED. Congratulations to Erica G., who won these wonderful DVDs. Please visit MyBabyExperts to order!

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