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.
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?
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?
My great uncle was an OBGYN and he always said that the homogenization of milk was one of the worst “advances” in science. He said the body was meant to process the small and large milk particles at different rates, and that homogenized milk had particles all the same size which meant the digestive system had to process them all at the same time. Or so it was explained to me.
Keep in mind that homogenization (making all the milk particles the same size so there is no separation) is not the same as pasteurization (heating milk in order to kill bacteria). Raw milk is non-homogenized and unpasteurized, where as non-homogenized milk has been pasteurized.
When I noticed they sell non-homogenized “Cream on Top” milk at our Trader Joe’s, I decided to give it a try on Franci in place of the more expensive Goat Milk. As Frances got a little older, I gave her homogenized milk and didn’t notice any difference in her digestion. What I did notice was a big difference in taste. I don’t drink a ton of milk myself, but I do put it in my coffee and on cereal. It could just be the fact that the non-homogenized milk is small batch and organic, but it is delicious!
It is also more expensive than homogenized organic milk. I decided it was time to do a little research and find out if I’m just paying for the delicious taste, or if it really is easier to digest.
During one double-blind test, there was no difference between symptoms when the testers drank homogenized versus non-homogenized milk. Of course, there were only 44 people in the study. I couldn’t find any better tests to report.
The homogenization process breaks the protective membrane made of proteins and other immune factors around the milk particles. Some studies suggest that this membrane has it’s own health benefits.
Other studies prove that homogenized milk is easier to digest. As much as I searched, I wasn’t able to track down these studies, despite them being referenced from time to time. There is a pretty good debate presented at ProCon.org for further reading
Since research suggests that the digestive properties of both milks are equivalent, are there reasons to choosing non-homogenized? If you are trying to eat “closer to nature”, yes. If you are not willing to risk raw (unpasteurized) milk but want milk that has gone through less processing, yes. If you are lactose intolerant or have a milk allergy, stay away from both! If you’re like me, and prefer the taste, yes. Otherwise save yourself the extra dollar (or trip to the speciality market) and stick with organic milk.
Do you splurge on non-homogenized milk?
Parenting books are another source of advice, and you can find one that suits all parenting styles. Sometimes they really speak to you, and sometimes not. I got a kick out of reading sleep books from both ends of the spectrum before Franci was born, since the advice from one completely contradicted advice from the other.
Whether or not I decide to follow the advice, I really don’t get sick of hearing it all. Knowledge is power, after all. And just because I disagree completely, doesn’t mean I didn’t learn anything!
One piece of advice I find myself coming back to over and over is, “Begin as you mean to go.” It means that it’s easier to take a stance now, instead of having to change it down the road. It may take a lot of energy up front that you don’t really have, but you’ll see the pay-off eventually. It goes hand in hand with, “Choose your battles.” Decide what the rules are the moment it becomes an issue, and stick to it. And if you don’t see yourself fighting that war down the road, for whatever reason, don’t half-ass it up front just to give up after a weak show.
What is the best piece of parenting advice you ever received? How about the worst?
The end is near! Of Pregnancy, I mean. The birthing bed is made up and ready for laboring, the water heater is turned up and ready to fill the birthing tub, and the fridge is filled with coconut water. Bring it on!
I’ve been talking to Franci about her little sister for months, but lately I’ve changed the conversation. It’s not so much about, “there’s a baby in my belly” but how she’ll be helping care for the baby: reading her books, being gentle, doing laundry (her favorite chore).
Since we’re having another girl, there wasn’t really anything to buy. We picked up a case of diapers, but she’ll be in cloth (and infant potty training) as soon as the meconium is passed.
Despite the preparations, it’s hard to feel “prepared”. What are we missing?
Did you do anything else to prepare for a second child, or is there anything you wish you had done?
Frances’ “bad behavior” started off with hair pulling and nipple biting. A stern “NO” and forcing her to release the hair (or nipple) results in a giggle and a big smile. She has since grown out of these – through no help from me, I suspect – and has moved on to hitting. It’s not often, but when she does hit I grab the offending arm firmly, look her right in the eye, and give her a stern “NO”.
Like all babies and toddlers, she loves computers. If she’s sitting on my lap while I type, she struggles in my arms to reach for the keyboard. Moving her farther away, or removing the keyboard from her path, results in a meltdown. I calmly explain that my computer isn’t a toy, and she can’t sit on my lap if she won’t follow directions and not touch my computer. This doesn’t really work.
Once Franci started crawling, she started getting herself into a lot more trouble. It has only increased as she started to walk. We put most dangerous items out of reach, and baby proofed the bathroom cabinets. I also try to stop her from opening any drawers I don’t want emptied out. I’m hoping she breaks the habit, but sometimes (like when I’m cooking) I don’t have time to correct her over and over. As a temporary deterrent, I put a chair in front of the tempting drawer.
We’re more into “house-proofing” the baby than “baby-proofing” the house, but parenting books don’t seem to get into the “how-tos” of accomplishing that. Since she loves music, and can’t resist a remote or computer, if she touches either without permission, the music gets turned off until she finds something else to play with. It is not working.
I’ve read different ideas on correcting “wrong” behavior, and I’m curious to hear what our readers have found to be successful. Getting mad or yelling certainly isn’t the answer, and it’s impossible to make a child listen if they don’t want to.
How do you discipline your child? Have you tried methods that don’t work (but you thought might)? What worked for you?