What's a little personal space between sisters

What’s a little personal space between sisters?

We had RSV work its way through our ranks this month, and I admit that I did nothing to stop it. When Franci fell ill, I briefly considered keeping her away from Allison only to immediately abandon the idea. I mean, how would that even work? Would I wear a smock when caring for Frances and whip it off when I ran to comfort Allison? No doubt we had all already been exposed before Franci showed any symptoms.

Sure, we make Franci wash her hands regularly and she remembers to cough into the crook of her arm half the time. She is relatively good at blowing her nose and knows where her “hankies” are and asks for a tissue when ever her nose starts to run. She also sneaks a suck on Alli’s pacifier when I’m not looking, shares bowls of granola with her dad and regularly coughs in my face. If RSV is as contagious as they say, any effort I could have made to sanitize my hands and everything around us would have been cancelled out by one well-aimed sneeze (and there were several).

At least I’m able to find comfort in the fact that Allison is piggybacking my immunity through all the breast milk she guzzles down. It might not save her from a serious case of RSV, but maybe it will save her from the various other childhood illnesses Franci brings home from daycare. And when Alli starts attending herself, in another year and a half, maybe she won’t spend the first six months with a perpetual cold.

How do you prevent colds from infecting your whole family? I would love to hear some tips to try out next time, because I don’t even know where to start!



Fun With Dating

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Newborn Fever

Get Well Soon!

Get Well Soon!

When I say “Newborn Fever”, I’m not talking about nervous excitement about having a baby, I mean an elevated temperature in a baby that is less than three months old. Is there anything more nerve racking?

In our household, we try and let a fever take its course. It’s doing something important, after all: helping the body fight off infection. Sometimes we can’t help but give into “feverphobia”, and bring it down with acetaminophen or ibuprofen, but only if the child is uncomfortable. As long as she is eating, drinking, peeing and not acting lethargic, we let the illness run its course.

The course of action is not the same for a baby under three months old. It’s hard to find a source on the internet that doesn’t insist you take her to the ER the minute her temperature goes above 100.4F. It turns out that if the fever is caused by a bacteria, it’s very dangerous. The only way to really be sure that it isn’t caused by a viral infection instead is through tests.

We never bothered to buy a rectal thermometer because Franci never got sick. We’ve liked our ear thermometer and use it on the whole family. Although they are not very accurate for infants, I didn’t worry about it too much. It gave us a ballpark range that seemed good enough. I wish I had known just how inaccurate it is!

After being intimidated by all the information online about fevers in infants, we made a late-night trip to the store for a multi-use digital thermometer. I had no idea we were looking at a full two degrees of difference between the ear and the rectal temperature! I wish I hadn’t been so quick to avoid taking a baby’s temperature rectally. When it came down to it, she sure didn’t seem to mind and I wasn’t as clumsy as I thought I’d be.

Although her temperature was above the dreaded 100.4F cutoff, we were confident that Allison’s fever wasn’t bacterial (Franci and I had the same fever), and our pediatrician supported our decision to wait until morning instead of rushing to the ER. If she had stopped nursing, peeing or began acting lethargic, we would have gone instantly. Since she was behaving so normally I wouldn’t have known anything was wrong had we not decided to take her temperature the right way.

What I learned was that just because I would balk at having my own temperature taken rectally doesn’t mean a newborn cares. And even if they do, knowing that the reading is accurate in your newborn is worth it.

Best Diaper Cream

Best Diaper Cream

We’ve reviewed and recommended a lot of different diaper creams over the years: Burt’s Bees, Angle Baby Bottom Balm, Weleda Calendula Diaper Care, and more.

While I previously had a strong preference for Weleda, I was randomly turned on to a kind I never previously considered: Calazime Skin Protectant Paste. It’s not generally advertised under baby care, so it was not previously on my radar.

The first thing I noticed was how thick it is. It spreads easily and leaves a thick layer on the skin. Even after a full night of sleep, when most other creams have dissolved into oblivion, the Calazime is still there.

The first ingredient is Aloe, which I like, and has menthol to soothe any irritation along with zinc to protect the skin from moisture. The best part is that Allison’s rash is nearly gone after one application.

Have you tried Calazime? What diaper cream is on your changing table right now?

Cooking With Kids

Cooking!

Cooking!

Franci got a super cute apron for Christmas, but she hasn’t had a chance to use it. I have yet to include her in any of my cooking or baking until now, because she’s not even two yet. After seeing a few holiday pictures of other toddlers helping their moms cook, I began to wonder what I was waiting for. She knows how to follow directions and loves to help with other house work. I’m sure she will be able to help pour ingredients into a bowl, even if she can’t yet stir them in.

One reason I want to start including Frances in the kitchen is because she has been very particular about food lately. We’ve been so busy with the new baby that I have let her eat way too much peanut butter and jelly and not enough vegetables. I’m hoping to reverse that trend soon.

I’m not sure where to begin, however, so I’m hoping our readers have some good ideas. How do your kids help in the kitchen? What tasks do they contribute to? What sort of things do you cook/bake? If you have any good recipes, please share!

Fun With New Years

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Milk Debate: Best Non-Diary Alternative

Straight from the Source

Straight from the Source

If you’re allergic to milk, or prefer to limit your dairy intake, it doesn’t really matter if the milk is non-homogonized or raw. How do the non-dairy alternative out there stand up?

I suppose it all depends on your definition of “best”. Are you looking for the best flavor? Best value? Best nutritional content? Best homemade milk?

It seems like every year there is a new “milk” out there (hello, hemp milk), but let’s stick to the four most available options: rice, soy, almond and coconut.

Here’s what I discovered, with a little research:

Rice Milk: most allergy friendly milk, but high in carbs, sugar, calories, and low in protein (this makes me want to try making a brown rice version at home!).

Soy Milk: high in protein and calcium, low in sugar, but beware the non-organic GMO varieties.

Almond Milk: low in protein and sugar, good source of vitamins like magnesium and vitamin E and D. Try making it at home if you don’t want it fortified with calcium etc.

Coconut Milk: low protein, low calcium, low calorie, nut-free (it’s actually a fruit), high in lauric acid, a heart-healthy saturated fat.

For more detail and recipes on how to make all these at home, check out eat life whole. For details on 10 alternatives to cow’s milk, go over to The Ecologist.

Do you drink non-dairy milk? What is your favorite kind?

DIY: LED Button Box

Enjoying the LED Button Box

I’m not the only member of our household that enjoys DIY projects, althought I tend to stick to the fabric-and-yarn varieties.

While most of us lounged around on Thanksgiving while the turkey cooked, Franci’s dad was busy making her an LED Button Box. All it took was an interest in electronics, a few basic components and very basic soldering skills.

With the press of a colored button, the corresponding LED lights up and you can press more than one at a time. Not only can your toddler work on identifying colors, you can practice numbers with it as well (“press two buttons”). When she is a little older, we’ll try out sequences and see if she can repeat them.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the button box, besides how much she loves to show it to everyone, is watching her discover new ways to use it. The other day I saw her flip it over and press the back into the carpet so that all the buttons were pressed at the same time.

If you are interested in making your own button box, check out the blog post for instructions!

As fresh as it gets!

As fresh as it gets!

Last week I posted about non-homogenized milk, and it got me thinking about the raw milk movement. Advocates claim it is a sort of magical elixir that can cure aliments like allergies and asthma. It contains proteins and compounds that stop the immune system from reacting to allergens and is full of enzymes and beneficial bacteria.

There are no studies that support these claims, but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence. Some say “no one is allergic to raw milk” because of its live enzymes.  The lactase digests the lactose and the protease helps the protein and lipase digest the fat.

The CDC, on the other hand, warns against harmful bacteria, such as E. Coli and listeria, that might contaminate raw milk from the same source you’ve been using for years. They suggest that if what you are after is “good” bacteria, you could get if from fermented foods or yogurt instead.

Is raw milk truly dangerous? Well, the CDC claims that there were 2 deaths resulting from raw milk products (like milk and cheese) between 1998 and 2011. Since it is being used to “treat” sicknesses, it is possible that the two victims already had compromised immune systems. There were 2,384 illnesses and 284 hospitalizations in the same 13 year span. As risks go, I consider that to be pretty minimal. Of course, raw milk comes from farms full of animals and manure, so even the cleanliest dairies aren’t completely sanitary.

Should you drink raw milk? Perhaps if you prefer the taste and get it from a dairy that regularly tests its supply or if you truly believe it is benefiting your allergies. If you would feel devastated if your child were paralysed from raw milk tainted with campylobacter or needed a new kidney from a bad case of E. Coli, perhaps it is not worth the risk.

Where do you stand on the raw milk debate?

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The Eco-nomical Baby Guide
Eco-nomical Baby Guide
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