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...
Arsenic in your pantry?

Arsenic in your pantry?

When you hear the word “arsenic,” your mind probably thinks about secret poisonings and the stuff that a good plot line of a murder mystery saga would be made of.  However, in the past few weeks, “arsenic” and “infant baby cereals” have been in the same breath in news headlines.  How is it possible that these two things could even be related, and do you need to throw your infant rice cereal into a hazmat bag? Read on to find out. Arsenic is naturally occurring in the Earth’s crust and can be found in water, soil and air.  It is also, surprisingly to some, found in our food and water supply.  Arsenic can be found in two forms- organic and inorganic- and it is the inorganic form that is more worrisome as it has been linked with various cancers and decreased performance on developmental tests.  You may be wondering how a harmful substance such as arsenic could make it into our food supply, but the answer is quite simple…irrigation and rain! Drinking water is considered safe as long as the arsenic level is less than 10 parts per billion. Rain water run off and even water through irrigation systems can lead to arsenic getting into our crops.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been monitoring the level of arsenic in our water and food supply for decades, and with recent technology that can differentiate the types of arsenic in foods (i.e the testing can pick out the inorganic form), there has been some concerned raised about the level of arsenic in several common staple foods, most importantly, rice....