Fluoride in Baby Formula Can Harm Developing Teeth

Posted on Apr 18, 2014 by No Comments

I’m reading a book called, Kiss Your Dentist Good-bye, in an effort to improve my oral health and came across information on fluoride in baby formula. I admit, I never thought about this. The dentist who wrote this book, Dr. Ellie Phillips, talks about how fluoride is harmful to developing teeth. This was a lesson she learned the hard way.

In her book, she uses her own children as an example. Her 5 kids were born from the late 70s to 1990 and the first actually was religiously given fluoride drops. By the time her second child was born, the dosage had been reduced so the second child received less.

To make a long story short, when her oldest cut her adult teeth they had brown spots on them. When the second child cut adult teeth, they also had spots but not as severe. This condition is known as fluorosis. The younger children who didn’t receive the fluoride had no signs of this condition.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says “the proper amount of fluoride from infancy through old age helps prevent and control tooth decay. Community water fluoridation is a widely accepted practice for preventing and controlling tooth decay by adjusting the concentration of fluoride in the public water supply.” The question is what is the “proper” amount?

In her book, Dr. Ellie says, “If babies consume a fraction too much fluoride before the age of three, it may poison the cells that form healthy tooth enamel.” She goes on to say that formula manufacturers have been told to reduce the amount of fluoride in their products because of a study that showed fluoride in baby formula had been shown to result in fluorosis in varying degrees.

Another thing to consider is the amount of fluoride in your tap water, if you use it to make your baby’s formula. This can raise the amount of fluoride to an unhealthy level.

Photo credits: nerissa’s ring

No Sugar Family Challenge

Posted on Apr 17, 2014 by 1 Comment

In my quest to eat healthy, I’ve covered a lot of ground. I grew up in the Midwest in a family who thought every meal included meat, a starch and a vegetable. When I got married I ventured into cooking ethnic foods, and expanded my palate. Then I lived as a vegetarian for about a decade and learned a whole new way of cooking.

During that time, I cut out most refined foods and learned how to eat desserts created using natural sweeteners. I even followed a mostly raw diet for a good amount of time. The thing is that during my time as a vegetarian, I reached my highest all-time weight. In fact, I surpassed my full-term pregnancy weight by 30 pounds.

I returned to eating meat, about seven years ago, when I had someone offer me their extra venison. Since then I’ve gradually added meat back into my diet. Last year my diet turned low carb, and I’ve reached a “normal” weight, but I’ve gradually let the sugar back in and I can see if I’m not careful, I’ll end up with an unhealthy BMI, again.

Finding Motivation

I don’t know about you, but I need a certain amount of motivation to say no to cookies…or ice cream. I recently read a story about a family of four who all agreed to give up all forms of sugar for a year. I mean ALL kinds of sugar including things like agave and honey. The mom wanted to see how hard it would be to cut anything with added sweetener (even artificial sweeteners) from their diet for a year!

In my diet experience, I’ve made it for six months with no sugar when I followed the Prism Diet and I lost all my extra weight. For that diet, I didn’t eat anything that had sugar within the first four ingredients. As soon as I turned back to foods with added sugar, the pounds gradually snuck up on me again.

Why oh why do I go back to eating the stuff that pushes my BMI into the unhealthy range!

The mom who gave up all sugar for a year was surprised at how much better she felt and the renewed energy she experienced. I had felt the same way! Her kids’ school absences dropped from 15 days a year to two. And now that the year is up, they continue to eat little sugar with dessert saved for special occasions.

Her story has me toying with the idea of cutting out sugar…again. And this time, I’d love the whole family to join me. The thing is, my goal is to find balance. I don’t really want to cut any one food group out totally, but is sugar really a food?

Photo credits: wikimedia

Latch Board Offers a Quiet Learning Toddler Toy

Posted on Apr 16, 2014 by No Comments

It’s been awhile since my kids were toddlers, so when shopping for a birthday gift for my girlfriend’s little guy last week I found several new products. He is a curious one year old who loves to open every cabinet, drawer, and investigates anything that has moving parts. I found the perfect learning toddler toys for him in a latch board.

If you haven’t heard of a latch board, it is a board with plenty for busy little hands and inquisitive minds. It has lock and latches, numbered doors that swing open, and when they are opened toddlers find a picture. This wooden board is an educational toy that builds fine motor skills and can be used to learn about colors, numbers, animals and more. Plus, it doesn’t require batteries and yet offers hours of quiet play!

I mention quiet, because I have a toy I bought for him that I keep with toys at my house for when he is here, and it also teaches colors but I am very tired of hearing the phrase “yellow circle” over and over. I’m thinking maybe his favorite color is going to be yellow.

The Melissa and Doug Deluxe Latches Board is beautifully crafted with polished metal locks, latches and clasps. It’s quality all the way with smooth sanded pieces. The toddler in my life loves it, and it’s light enough that he is able to pick it up and carry it.

I’m thinking perhaps I should buy another to have here at my house. Then maybe he won’t notice if the “yellow circle” toy disappears. It’s one of those learning toddler toys that can grow with the child whether they are learning fine motor skills, colors, numbers, or more…quietly.

Photo credits: Amazon

Prince George Visits New Zealand with Mum and Dad

Posted on Apr 15, 2014 by No Comments

Traveling with a baby can have its challenges, and I have to wonder about the big picture for Kate Middleton and Prince William as they made a trek to New Zealand.

First off, they didn’t have the freedom to just make a trip together with their son because typically two heirs to the throne are not allowed to fly together. But the Queen gave special permission, so they could check that off their list and fly as a family.

They traveled together from London to New Zealand – a 25 hour trip to Sydney where they transferred to a New Zealand Air Force jet for the last leg of the journey. That’s a long-haul even without an 8 month old. The flight’s arrival had been delayed because of stormy weather. Yet, when they arrived, Kate stepped off the plane looking as fresh as ever.

Kate's Legs
The Duchess of Cambridge disembarked wearing a double-breasted Catherine Walker scarlet dress and coat ensemble with a matching pillbox hat. She accessorized with a necklace and the Queen’s diamond and platinum silver fern brooch which is an emblem gift from New Zealand. It offered the perfect fashion complement, and when a blustery gust of wind blew Kate’s hemline, it offered a glimpse of her perfectly slender legs.

Not only did she look great, but Prince George cooperated with the cameras as they disembarked. Later, when he joined other young children for a “crawl-about”, it made for a perfect photo op, too.

No one yanked a toy away from anyone else or pulled anyone’s hair. It all went smoothly as he crawled around like a royal in his navy-blue shorts and white shirt. Makes one wonder if the children were screened ahead to be sure they were all mild-mannered tots.

Life “appears” to go so smoothly for them! Kate’s figure is back to perfect, her baby plays well with others, everyone is healthy, she and her husband seem to get along…no I’m not jealous. My kids are all grown.

I’m just saying, it would be fun to see behind the scenes wouldn’t it? Because there’s one thing we all know. Stuff happens and no one’s life is perfect. However, I have to say, Kate has stepped into royal shoes and portrays the royal image thing flawlessly. I applaud her. It can’t be easy.

Photo credits: The Royal Family ChannelANIMAX2013

Introducing Finger Foods to Your Baby

Posted on Apr 14, 2014 by No Comments

Pediatricians recommend introducing solid foods to our babies somewhere around age 6 months. Of course, the term “solid” is relative at that point. I started my kids with baby cereal, which compared to breast milk or formula is a solid.

With today’s heavy-duty blenders, it’s easy to make up your own special treats. Instead of just plain cereal, mix mild fruits and even vegetables to make cereal more interesting.

By 8 or 9 months, kids are usually ready for finger foods for self feeding, even if they don’t have teeth. Finger foods are little treats that can be scattered on the tray of the highchair for self feeding. They can be eaten at meal times or can be carried in your purse or diaper bag when on the go.

Today there are many finger food options that are safe and easy to digest. My girlfriend’s little 12-month-old loves Gerber Graduates Puffs. To him they are “cookies.” He likes the mild cheddar Lil’ Crunchies, too, but those she has to hand to him one at a time or he tends to want to stuff his mouth. The standby most parents turn to, though, are Cheerios.

Here are some other convenient finger foods to add to your pantry shelves:

  • Gerber Graduates Banana Cookies
  • Happy Baby Organic Puffs
  • Happy Yogis Organic Yogurt Snacks for Babies and Toddlers
  • Gerber Graduates Finger Foods Harvest Apple Wagon Wheels

At meal times, regular table foods can be introduced as finger foods. Here are some ideas to try:

  • Small chunks of ripe banana – this is also a good food to help teach toddlers to use a fork, too
  • Other ripe fruit cut into small pieces* including peaches, pears, melons
  • Soft cubes of tofu
  • Small pieces* of bread
  • Small pieces* of cheese
  • Well-cooked pasta cut into small pieces*
  • Well-cooked vegetables like potato, squash, carrots cut into small pieces*
  • Small pieces* of cooked chicken, ground turkey or beef
  • Small pieces of hard-cooked egg (experts used to think giving young children eggs might lead to a food allergy, but research presented by the American Academy of Pediatrics has found no evidence to support this.)

*Small pieces equal the size of a pea

Avoid giving your baby sweets or high-fat snacks. Stick to nutritious options. Peanut butter is not recommended either because it is too sticky for young children to swallow safely.

Photo credits: LizMarie_AK

What’s All the Fuss About Daniel Murphy’s 3 Day Paternity Leave?

Posted on Apr 10, 2014 by No Comments

New York Mets’ second baseman, Daniel Murphy, missed opening day by choice. In fact he missed the second game, too, as he took three days off to be with his wife during the birth of their first child.

He made the decision after getting the news that his wife’s water broke late Sunday. He traveled from New York to Florida to be at her side and arrived in time to welcome his 8-pound, 2-ounce son, Noah, into the world at 12:02 p.m. on Monday.

Noah’s arrival was about an hour before the first pitch was thrown in the Mets’ opener against the Washington Nationals. The team had Tuesday off, and then resumed the series on Wednesday. Murphy took paternity leave and rejoined the team for the Thursday afternoon game.

The fact that Murphy chose to be by his wife’s side for the birth raised both praise and criticism. In fact, several high-profile sports radio announcers were quite vocal. Boomer Esiason suggested Murphy’s wife should have “had a C-section before the season starts.” He also said that a player should get back to his team and play ball, assuming the mother and child are fine.

Mike Rancesa of WFAN Sports Radio expressed similar opinions on his Tuesday morning show. “I don’t know why you need three days off, I’m going to be honest. You see the birth and you get back . . . .Your wife doesn’t need your help the first couple days, you know that.” He went on to say that, “In the old days, guys weren’t present. They were in the waiting room when they gave birth. Then they went to this natural child birth stuff, and the guy was part of it.”

Esiason did issue lengthy apology first thing on his radio show. “I just want to say again on this radio show that in no way, shape or form was I advocating anything for anybody to do. I was not telling women what to do with their bodies. […] And the other thing, too, that I really felt bad about is that Daniel Murphy and Tori Murphy were dragged into a conversation, and their whole life was exposed. And it shouldn’t have been.”

I was glad to see Esiason apologized. First of all, Murphy’s contract allows for paternity leave. Players are permitted to miss three games. He only missed two. The problem is that people want to impose their expectations on others. It’s happening more and more in society.

It wasn’t a clear cut right or wrong for Murphy to be with his wife. It was his personal choice for his personal life. It has to do with his relationship with his wife, and the decision was within the parameters allowed by his contract. All the fuss feels much like bullying as others try to put on the pressure to make things go the way they think they should.

Photo credits: Keith Allison

Terminally Ill Dad Walk His 11-Year Old Daughter Down the Aisle

Posted on Apr 9, 2014 by 1 Comment

Like many parents, Jim Metz wanted to do something special for his daughter’s 11th birthday. Jim is 62 and has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. For this, birthday he wanted to do something memorable for her daughter, Josie, because it is probably his last. He wanted it to be something that would be meaningful in the years to come when he is no longer here.

He solicited his wife, Grace, for input, and together they settled on a wedding theme for their daughter’s birthday. Why? So Josie’s dad could walk her down the aisle.

Having your dad walk you down the aisle is a once-in-a-lifetime event. Before my husband walked our daughter down the aisle, he pulled a picture of her from his pocket. At 18-months-old she had short little pigtails and a winning smile. He said, “I still remember you like this.”

The statement melted her grown-up veneer and for a moment she was that little girl. She fought back tears threatening to ruin her makeup. Together, they walked down the aisle and made a memory.

Jim wanted to give his daughter her own special memory. They talked with a photographer by the name of Lindsey Villatoro, who provides photo sessions to terminally ill clients. They got flowers, a ring, a dress, and arranged desserts. With everything in place, it was time to tell Josie.

Her mom broke the big news when she went to pick her up at school. At first she was a little overwhelmed, but later she admitted it was the best day of her life.

And while this story is bitter sweet, it is also unselfish. It’s a parent’s way of thinking of their child, not just today but in the future. It’s what parents do and Josie will have a video to remind her of it for the rest of her life.

Photo credits: Davide Lorenzo

Add Onsie Decorating Station to Baby Shower Activities

Posted on Apr 7, 2014 by 2 Comments

When my girlfriend was expecting her son, I had nothing to do with planning her baby shower other than attending it. I had only known her a few months, and at 43 she was the mother of 3 teenage girls and an 11-year-old daughter…and expecting in a couple of months.

No he wasn’t planned, and at the time she didn’t know she was having a son, so the baby shower theme was gender neutral.

The diaper cake was awesome, and the food in general was so creative, but the women putting on the shower included a onsie decorating station with a whole slew of onsies, fabric paints, markers, and stamps. People sat around the table creating individual works of art the baby could wear.

Some of them turned out very cute and I’d say some will actually be treasured as keepsakes.


Items Needed for a Onsie Decorating Station 

  • Onsies (various sizes so they aren’t all outgrown at the same time)
  • Cardboard cut into rectangles that fit inside the onsie
  • Fabric markers (and/or fabric paint)
  • Rubber stamps
  • Versacraft inkpads

For the kids, fabric markers keep the craft simple as they create artwork of their choice. Adults can use fabric markers to write a simple message like Daddy’s Little Darling, Brand New Miracle, or Goodbye Tummy. Hello Mommy! Medium-level crafters will enjoy using stamps to create a unique pattern, and those with patience and artistic talent can create a masterpiece using fabric paints.

The one mistake the hosts of the shower I attended made was that they bought all the same size onesies, so at a year old, the baby has outgrown all of them. I recommend a variety of sizes.

This activity is ideal for children and adults. Even some of the husbands sat down to create a unique onsie. Some were funny, others cute, and some were downright inspirational, but they were all special.

Photo credits: squant, lostintheredwoods

School Employee with Toy Gun Part of Citizenship Lesson

Posted on Apr 4, 2014 by No Comments

I remember sitting at a conference years ago when a man in a plaid shirt rushed onto the stage and stole a purse from one of the women seated on the panel. The action cause a stir in the crowd like a disrupted ant hill. Then we learned it was staged and the audience was asked to give details about what we saw.

It made me realize how little I really paid attention to details and since that day, when something unexpected happens I try to notice the details that might matter.

Parents of students at Eastern Wayne Middle School in North Carolina were upset when a school employee entered the school wearing a ski mask and holding a toy gun as part of a lesson. It was a citizenship “enrichment lesson” for the sixth grade class.

The plan was for the masked man to walk into six classrooms, grab something off of a desk in each and leave. Then the students would discuss what they saw and how they should respond in the future.

Some of the kids were crying while others recognized who was wearing the mask and laughed about it. Needless to say, the whole incident created an uproar. Some think it was a good lesson and others think it could be psychologically damaging.

I get the point of what they are trying to teach the kids, but this is one of those situations where I can see both sides of the issue. I also think back to the demonstration in my own life and how that has changed the way I react when the unexpected happens and the importance of paying attention to details. Perhaps the ski-mask would have been enough to get the point across.

What would you think if the school your kids attend tried one of these enrichment lessons?

Photo credits: stevendepolo

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