A Storm Without a Name

A Storm Without a Name

Devastation. It is all around us. “You can expect rain for the next week or so.”  That was the forecast from last week for here in Southern Louisiana…Baton Rouge to be exact.  It started on Thursday with our “typical” summer afternoon shower, but then things began to change as the rain didn’t stop.  Over the next 48 hours, we saw an estimated 4 trillion gallons of rainfall!  The rivers began to swell and when all was said and done, every major river in and around Baton Rouge had broken prior records with some of these rivers reaching almost 18 feet ABOVE flood stage.  The National Weather Service has called it a “1,000 year rain” meaning there was a 0.1 percent chance of that much rain in a given time period over a year.  By the end of it all, the statistics are absolutely unfathomable: Over 30,000 people rescued as flood water rapidly rose 2 major highways closed as flood waters reached 4 feet on the roadways stranding thousands Over 10,000 people displaced to area shelters Between 75-90% of homes in hardest hit communities that have been flooded A death toll currently at 13 and will likely continue to rise as waters recede I had the opportunity to sit down with Sylvia Weatherspoon and Michael Shingleton on WBRZ News a few days ago to discuss important ways to help our children deal with this tragedy.  You can check that video out below: Now, a few points I want to make about health issues and concerns for those that have waded in flood waters and experienced this tragedy first hand. If...
An Image of Heartbreak

An Image of Heartbreak

This image. Of all of the images I have seen so far today, this is the one that leaves me absolutely heartbroken and sobbing.  Look at that precious little girl in a beautiful dress with a delicate string of pearls and an expression that is wrought with unimaginable pain and anguish that no innocent child should ever have to experience.  You see, her daddy, Matthew Gerald, was one of the brave Baton Rouge Police Officers who was murdered on July 17 by a hateful and purely evil coward.  No child, spouse, mother, father, or loved one should know such pain.  But yet, this same scene will play out two more times in the course of the next 48 hours here in Baton Rouge, just as it has played out 5 times in the past 2 weeks in Texas for those fallen police officers in Dallas. I have posted several times before about talking to your children about tragedy (you can click here to see my last post).  This discussion never gets easier, and when the tragedy is in your backyard, it becomes even more difficult.  But with the events that have transpired in this great nation in that past several weeks, there is another almost more important lesson we must make sure we are teaching our children on a daily basis - love. Children are not born with hate.  They have a purity and an innocence about them that does not pick who they are going to play with based on if their skin is black or white, if they have curly hair or straight hair, or really any...
Look for the helpers

Look for the helpers

Mister Rogers was a wise man.  Not only did I grow up wanting to be his neighbor and travel by trolley to the Neighborhood of Make Believe, but now as an adult and a parent of 3 small children, I find that many of his quotes in regards to children hold such unmistakable truths.  And in times like these, his famous quote above really resonates with me not only as a mother, but also as a pediatrician. The horrific hate crime that unfolded in Orlando in the early morning hours yesterday has every American grieving for the senseless loss of life.  As parents, we are once again left to struggle with our emotions of not only how to deal with the tragedy for ourselves, but also how to explain the unexplainable to our children.  Unfortunately, this is not the first time in recent months, and perhaps even more regrettably that it will not likely be the last, that parents will be faced with the difficult task of discussing shocking and deadly events with our children.  Below you will find my interview from November 2015 after the terrorist attacks in Paris where Brittany Weiss of WBRZ news and I discuss age appropriate ways to broach these difficult topics that no parent ever wants to have to bring up with their children. For additional tips and information about ways to talk to your children about tragedy, click here....
The Unintentional Deadly Oven

The Unintentional Deadly Oven

It is a heartbreaking headline that we see each and every summer…”Infant dies after being left in car.”  It happened just this week here in Baton Rouge when an 8 month old died after being left in a car for over 2 hours.  On average 37 children die each year in the US as a result of being left in a hot vehicle.  Already this year, there have been 11 children to die in hot cars which is a 275% increase compared to this time last year.  As a parent, it is gut-wrenching and nauseating to even consider that such a tragedy could ever happen to you, but in the vast majority of these cases, these tragedies strike in very loving, caring and “typical” families.  Some may say “I could never forget my child, that just wouldn’t happen,” but can you guarantee that? How many mornings do you leave your house and in a forgetful moment, think “Did I close the garage/turn off the coffee pot/lock the door?”  How many times have you been preoccupied with thinking about a major presentation on the way to work?  Have you gotten on your phone on your drive into work and become consumed with your conversation?  And how many times has your usual morning routine been rerouted for one of a hundred different reasons?  It is typically a change in usual routine or a distraction that can be the culprit of forgetting about precious cargo.  Perhaps Daddy is in charge of morning drop off when he usually just heads into work, or maybe you have a sick little one who is staying...

Swaddling 101

Achieving the perfect swaddle, or baby burrito as I often call it, can certainly take some practice!  It is amazing how wiggly 8 pounds of baby can be!  Check out the video above for quick demonstration of how to swaddle your baby in both swaddle blankets as well as swaddle “pods” with velcro. If you missed my last post regarding the recent study about swaddling and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), you can check it out...
To Swaddle or Not to Swaddle…That is the Question

To Swaddle or Not to Swaddle…That is the Question

I don’t know if I would have made it out of the newborn period with any of my three children without swaddling.  It was like magic for my kiddos…as soon as the last piece of velcro was fastened and they were picked up for a gentle swinging and shushing session, they were asleep.  Swaddling is something that I often discuss at newborn visits as a great way to calm down a fussy baby, so you can imagine my surprise to see the headlines this week stating “Swaddling may increase the risks of SIDS.”  Should parents run to immediately get rid of those swaddle blankets? Not so fast. The greatest increase SIDS risk was in those infants who were swaddled and placed to sleep on their side or stomach or in older swaddled infants. The headline came after a study which will be published in the June edition of Pediatrics looked into the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and swaddling (click here to see the full article).  This present study evaluated data from 4 previous studies that were conducted between 1998-2006 in 3 areas of the world: England in the UK, Tasmania in Australia, and Chicago, Illinois here in the US.  The outcome of this analysis showed that the risk of SIDS was much higher in infants who were swaddled and placed on their side or on their stomach to sleep, and the risk of SIDS in swaddled infants increased with the age of the infant.  Swaddling, while not clearly defined in this article, generally means wrapping of a baby from the shoulders down with a blanket of...