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Covering the Wiregrass as it grows!

Spring 2011

Breastfeeding 101 Potty Training Made Easy Taming Toddler Tantrums

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{ From the Editor... Spring is finally here and I absolutely love Spring! There are always so many wonderful events happening in the Wiregrass this time of year! Tri-State BBQ Fest, Babypalooza, Parade of Homes, and the Johnny Mack Brown Western Festival‌ just to CIERA NITKOWSKI name a few. You can always find a list of upcoming events at www.thewiregrass.com. I would like to express a huge thank you to Dr.Aimee Johnson-Wirt at Dothan Pediatric Clinic for working with us on this issue by compiling a great article for new and expectant moms on the importance of breastfeeding. Dothan Pediatric Clinic has been a great contributor to our publication, along with Jim Duhaime, the Director of the Counseling Ministry at Hillcrest Baptist Church. We appreciate their support along with all of our advertisers who make it possible to bring Wiregrass area parents this publication at no cost. We want to know what you want to read about so please send comments and suggestions to ciera@thewiregrass.com. I look forward to hearing from you!

Ciera Nitkowski

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WIREGRASS PARENTING

Contents

Baby & Kids

10 12 16 20 30 32 34

Benefits of a Babymoom Mommy Must-Haves A Baby Story: Madilynne Elizabeth Breastfeeding 101 Get the Picture! Potty Training Made Easy Taming Toddler Tantrums

Mom & Dad 18

When Baby Comes Home Better Martial Relationships

Family

28

The Family Bed - is it for you?

36

Easy Ways to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly

Community 6 8 14

Around the Wiregrass Featured Momtrepreneur Wiregrass Superstars


“Fix the Root Cause” Using Alternative Medicine and Neuro Feedback For

EDITOR Ciera Nitkowski ciera@wiregrassparentingmagazine.com EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Nick Nitkowski nick@wiregrassparentingmagazine.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR Felonice Margasak Felonice Designs, LLC

• • • • • • • • •

Anxiety Depression Insomnia and Weight Loss ( Stress and Craving Induced) Thyroid Ear Infections Headaches Autism ADHD

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PHOTOGRAPHY Studio Envogue

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CONTRIBUTORS Liz Worthey Jim Duhaime Cindi Kay McDaniel Aimee Johnson-Wirt, M.D

Published by Parenting Digest, LLC, P.O. Box 1474 West Palm Beach, Florida 33402; 561-594-2905. No part of this publication may be reproduced without expressed written consent of the publisher. www.wiregrassparentingmagazine.com.

ON THE COVER Fashion: Bibi & Mimi Photo: Studio EnVogue

Free Admission March 26: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. March 27: Noon - 4 p.m. Enterprise State Community College 334-406-ARTS (2787) www.CoffeeCountyArtsAlliance.com


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Babypalooza May 14th Dothan Civic Center 9am-3pm This event is focused on expectant mothers and hopeful parents. Blue Bell will be doing face painting and giving away ice cream samples. Arrive early because Chick-Fil-A will be giving away free breakfast biscuits to the first 50 through the door. There will be car seat installation instructions. The Dothan Fire Department will be on site with a Firetruck and SafeHouse. The Dothan Police Department will be providing child fingerprinting kits. Attendees will have an inside look at the maternity and pediatric services offered by Southeast Alabama Medical Center. There will be games, door prizes, giveaways and more! Be sure to stop by the Wiregrass Parenting booth and enter to win baby clothes, diapers, bottles, toys and more!


WIREGRASS Dothan, AL 334-702-2712

Tri-State BBQ Fest

• Convertible Furniture Showroom • Glider Rocker Gallery • Layaway • Baby Registry

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April 8th-9th Houston County Farm Center Dothan, Alabama

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ALL Don’t missHONORING out on this family event! Bring your children out for rides, games and inflatables! FIREFIGHTERS Many free activities and games will be provided W e want to recognize Free There Refreshments by thank the Alabama Guard. will and all theNational• men and women be free ice cream from Blue BellGifts Creameries •Free for the Kids in our and freecommunity arts and crafts! There willEngine also be Rides •Fire who bravely serve storytelling throughout the day on the main stage as firefighters. and pony rides! On Saturday there will be a carshow to benefit the Veterans Relief Fund. So Come to the fire stopstation by and at enjoy yummy BBQ and check out 410 Elm all of theStreet amazing vendors! this Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m.

{

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Keep up to date on what is happening in the Wiregrass at www.thewiregrass.com.

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{featured mom

Nominate a MOMtrepreneur at www. wiregrassparentingmagazine.com www.thewiregrass.com . .

TREPRENEUR

SHERRY CREWS

and her husband moved to Geneva, Alabama. Dwight set up practice in this small metropolis and his business prospered. Sherry writes about the experience of working to help grow her husband’s practice, “The practice continued to grow and we hired employees. We went to work together every day……came home together every night….A theme of too much togetherness started to develop….one of us had to go.” It was at this time that Sherry realized it was time for her to go home.

S

herry Crews, a Mary Kay Sales Director, exemplifies qualities of a hardworking MOMtrepreneur. Through her story, one can learn that with hard work and determination dreams can become reality, even if challenges arise along the way. Sherry was 18 years old when she was first introduced to Mary Kay. Little did she know the Mary Kay party she attended at this young age would be her outlet to success in the future. Sherry recalls the memory and says “That night I learned something that would stay with me forever. One, that if you have bleach blonde hair and your eyebrows are black, you need Jolene Crème Bleach. Two, the Mary Kay Marketing Plan.”

After being home for several months, Sherry realized that she had two choices before her. She could stay at home and remain bored or she could open her very own business. Weighing her options heavily, Sherry did what she knew she should have done several months before – pray. She states “Why is it that as Christians we always wait until we’ve totally exhausted all our own resources before we turn to God?” This very attitude has helped Sherry get where she is today. Praying urgently about her career and future, she received the answer to her prayer one early morning while getting the mail from the post office. Lying before her feet on the floor of the post office was a copy of “Successful Chiropractor” magazine. The front of the magazine boasted a picture of Mary Kay Ash with the words “Think Pink.” Suddenly, the Mary Kay party from years before came to her mind. Shortly after this, a Mary Kay Beauty Consultant was born.

With the memory of that night behind her, Sherry continued her life without even a thought of Mary Kay. After college, marriage and a divorce; Sherry decided to move back to her small hometown in South Alabama. It was in this town that Sherry met her new husband of twenty eight years, Dwight, a physician. With the addition of a new baby boy, Trae, and an attitude of closeness to family, Sherry

8

WIREGRASS PARENTING

With Mary Kay, I built my business around my family, not my family around my business.

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as well. Sherry says “Mary Kay has allowed me to raise my children and make a significant contribution to our family’s financial security”. “With Mary Kay, I built my business around my family, not my family around my business.” With those priorities, the business prospered. In less 18 months she was driving her first Mary Kay Career Car, the famous pink Cadillac. Beside a new Cadillac every other year; Mary Kay has also decorated her life with top director trips, her favorite being a trip to Vienna, Austria and lots of

diamonds. Not to mention cash bonuses and things for the family like home entertainment systems and furniture. However, Sherry says her favorite benefit of her in home career is “I have spent the last 22 years raising her family, making a six figure income and enjoying the freedom that comes with owning her own business.”

{

Find a list of home business opportunities at www.thewiregrass.com.


The Benefits of a Babymoon You will have heard of a honeymoon, but what about a babymoon? A honeymoon is understood to be a time of intimacy and closeness between a bride and groom, and a babymoon is also a time of intimacy and closeness. It's a time for a mother and baby to get to know each other. Breastfeeding, attachment, and many necessary things occur when a mother takes time out for a babymoon. The concept of a babymoon is not new, even if the term is. The term "babymoon" has been used to refer to close time between couples before the birth of their child, but generally speaking the term is reserved for those few weeks after birth. All over the world, various cultures recognize the weeks immediately following birth to be an almost sacred time of rest and solitude for mother and baby. In some parts of the world, new mothers are pampered - fed special foods, given massages, and otherwise treated with care during the postpartum period. There is a reason why this global tradition is being upheld - there are many benefits. Here are some. Healing Your body has undergone a tremendous series of events. Pregnancy and childbirth, depending on the circumstances and health of the mother, can be draining at best and traumatic at worst. Your body needs time to heal physically, especially in the case of perineal tearing or a Csection. It also needs time to heal emotionally,

10 WIREGRASS PARENTING

as your body undergoes enormous hormonal shifts after birth and you adjust to the new routine of baby care. Bonding Western cultures tend to discourage motherinfant bonding. Mothers talk about how little their child needs them and how well he or she goes with a caregiver. But the importance of close bonding should not be diminished. During the babymoon, mother and baby should have lots of skin-to-skin contact and interaction. The close bond that is formed will build a foundation of security that will last for the rest of the baby's life. Health An old midwife recommendation was for a new mother not to leave the house for six weeks. More and more we are discovering the wisdom of that caution. During the first six weeks of life, a baby's immune system is still developing. It's a germy world out there, and while exposure does help build immunity, the immune system must be ready before exposure can have any beneficial effect. Breastfeeding The health benefits of breastfeeding are too numerous to list here, but suffice to say that a babymoon encourages the breastfeeding relationship. Mother and baby have time to bond and learn the sometimes challenging art of breastfeeding without the rush of trying to get back to the old routine right away.


Must- Haves Hug & feel! Shake & chew! Connect Linko shapes together to create a chain of fun! Includes 4 textured teething rings, 4 hold-together rings, 3 plush characters, and 6 signature rings for easy attachment Order online at www.kushiesonline.com and enter the code wiregrassfamily2011 for 10% off your order!

This bag is useful long after your little one no longer needs diapers! Not only is it a perfect diaper bag but it can also be used for weekend travel, the gym or the beach! You will find a separate compartment at the bottom for extra storage. You can even have your bag personalized! www.bayabyabc.com

Baby Blooms from maddisinandmason.com are such a fabulous baby shower gift. Not only is the Baby Bloom gorgeous but it is practical! It is made using baby onesies! Maddisin and Mason has a great registry rewards program for expectant moms!

12 WIREGRASS PARENTING


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t .c a ar a zine e t at rs ga in pe ma m Su ng No ss enti a r gr pa ire ass

wiregrass

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ir .w w w w

WILLIAM

William Jordan is a 7 years old first grader at Rehobeth Elementary where he is a straight A student. He loves to read, playing video games and of course all sports. As a toddler he became enthrawled with athletics and participates in Upward basketball and plays football. His dad Devin started him in basketball and was his very first basketball coach. He is also a standout T-Ball player and is expected to be selected to the 7 & 8 year old league this year, his parents already have plans to place him in a travel league. William is an exemplary student, athlete and Wiregrass Superstar.

Nominate a Wiregrass Superstar at www.thewiregrass.com


SUPERSTARS Alexis

Alexis Harris, 12, of Dothan is a 6th grader at Carver Magnet School. She is the daughter of Kevin and April Harris. Alexis is full of energy and loves to make people laugh. She takes hip hop class once a week at Kelly School of Dance and loves her teacher Mr. Vince! She loves to help the community and is currently helping Wells Fargo collect canned food. She has also set up a Tips for Tiaras event to collect money to buy non perishable food items for a local food bank through the Miss Heart of America Pageant Program. Tips for Tiaras is an event where Miss Heart of America queens get together and bag groceries at local grocery stores. All of the tips earned from their volunteer efforts are then taken to purchase non perishable food items to be donated to a local food bank. She is currently Houston Countyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Junior Miss Heart of America, Junior Miss Wiregrass Noel and Junior Miss Heart of Alabama. Alexis dreams of attending the University of Alabama and hopes to one day be Miss America.

PHOTOS BY STUDIO ENVOGUE WIREGRASS PARENTING 15


a baby story...

Madilynne Elizabeth How did you find out you were pregnant? My husband and I had been trying for about 5 years to get pregnant. It was a long road to get to where we were when we found out we were having Maddy. I had had two surgeries, and countless procedures that culminated into 4 previous miscarriages. By the time we were taking the home pregnancy test, it became about counting days and the two week wait. At the end of my two week wait this time I was in Jackson, MS with our youth at youth camp. I had scheduled a blood test there in Jackson for later in the week, but I couldn’t wait that long! So my husband and I went to Wal-Mart and I bought several tests to take until my blood test. The first test I took was in the Wal-Mart bathroom! It was positive! We were guardedly elated. I think I took a test every day that week until my blood test! When the blood test came back positive I just knew that this baby was going to be the one God was giving me and my husband. How did you tell your husband? He was waiting outside for me to come out of the restroom. I had

16 WIREGRASS PARENTING

BY Liz Worthey

PHOTO BY STUDIO ENVOGUE wanted some special way to tell him, but when you are dealing with infertility it is hard to surprise anyone! I walked out and showed him the test and that it was positive. How did he react? He was excited, but also a little worried. We had been through this 4 times before and this time I had to start shots and countless medicines right away. He was very excited, but worried. What is the baby’s full name? How did you settle on the name?The name was the easy part! Madilynne was a girl name we had wanted for a long time. Elizabeth is her middle name and that was my husband’s doing! The spelling of Madilynne was the hard part! I wanted something different and my husband kept saying that the way I was spelling it was too long! But I kept saying that if I was carrying her I was getting to spell it the way I liked! He loves me so he gave in finally! Ha!


What did you do to prepare for the new baby? Everything any new expectant parent does - got the nursery ready and washed her clothes early and had baby showers and such! My husband read up on everything! He knew more than I did about what was about to happen! What was the worst part of being pregnant? There was no bad part of being pregnant for me. I had watched friends complain about certain parts of pregnancy and while my pregnancy was fairly uneventful, the unpleasant parts I loved just as much as the wonderful parts! God gave me the most wonderful pregnancy though. Not much morning sickness, no swollen ankles or anything. I enjoyed every single day that I got to carry Maddy. What was the best part? I think the best part was feeling her kick. Then the kicks turned into rolling when she got older and it was the most amazing feeling. Was childbirth what you thought it would be like? I ended up having to have a c-section, so in some ways it was what I figured, but in other ways it wasn’t what I expected at all. When you get pregnant you think about birth and pushing the baby out. I didn’t have that experience, but it was the best choice for Maddy and me for various reasons. What was your first thought when you saw the baby? Ha! I thought oh my goodness, that baby came out of ME? You know it going into a section that they numb you up and a few minutes later there is going to be a baby poking her head from over the blue sheet! But to see her, and to look at her even

now, I still think - I can’t believe she came from me! It’s amazing! How did Dad react? He was just as surprised and couldn’t believe she was so small! She was only 5lbs 2 oz when she was born! My husband had never ever held a newborn baby, so to see them put her in his arms for the first time was indescribable! What’s your favorite thing about having a new baby? Everything! You are told you are going to be sleep deprived, on her time table, and how your relationship with your husband is going to change. I can tell you that yes, she gets up several times a night to eat and we are definitely on her time table, but losing sleep is nothing compared to this life you are responsible for. Her time table is the best time table there is! Yes, I guess your relationship dynamic with your husband will change, but with us, it’s only made it better. Do you miss anything about life before the baby? Nope! Not at all! Do you plan to have another baby any time soon?I have always wanted a big family, and if God sees to give us more children, then yes I’m ready to do it all over again! What advice do you have for new moms? Whatever love you think you will have for him or her, multiply it by 1,000 or 10,000 or even 100,000. Love doesn’t even begin to cover the emotion you will have for your baby. Enjoy every second of your pregnancy; it’s your time with that child that you have to share with everyone else as soon as he or she is born.


When Baby Comes Home Better Marital Relationships

You know, when we get married we believe, in most cases, that we want a family. Many times we do not know how many children that will be, but we do know we want a family. We make plans for when we are going to be ready and use different birth control measures to ensure that when that first child comes we will be ready or at least as ready as we can possibly be. We have started our marriage off in the “in love” period in our lives. You know that one, where we are so “gaga” in love with each other that we can’t be without the other. Every experience seems new and fresh. Then, either by surprise or by plan, the first child comes and we find that life has changed much more than we ever expected. You, as the husband and father, are in awe of what just happened and you can’t thank your wife enough for bearing this child. You want to do everything you can for her and your chest expands inches over for others to see this precious gift you have been given. Your wife on the other hand, during labor, says, “This is it, this is the only child we are going to have,” but then, after the child is born, she, too, is so in awe that she sees only the beauty of God’s miracle creation. Then you take your child home and you find out that you have to take care of him or her.

by Jim Duhaime

Husbands, remember, biologically your wife carried this child for approximately nine months and physiologically she is more bonded to the child than you are. I am not taking anything away from you as you and she conceived this child together, but God made her to take care of the child physiologically. You, my friend, do have great responsibility in taking care of her so that your child will have the care he or she needs. This is a very emotional time for the mother and as she carried and birthed the child. It is important to remember that her chemical make-up has changed and is reestablishing. Many women go through post-partum depression and if the woman is very young she may deem herself and unfit mother. Your responsibility is to encourage her, build her up, assist her anyway you can to keep her knowing that you love her unconditionally. Dote over her, take her out to eat, buy her little gifts, spend lots of time with her, anything you can do to let her know that you believe that she is God’s very gift to you and that she is very important. Help her with the child in every way possible. Yes, guys, that means you will have to change “poopy” diapers. You may want to work on your gag reflex! Take the extra step to give her a break and volunteer; don’t wait to be asked. Many fathers have very WOW! “I didn’t know there was going to be so demanding jobs and need a break from the stress. much responsibility.” This is usually the response That is okay, but not at the expense of your wife of most new parents a few weeks after the precious and child. When you wife knows that she can trust little one makes his arrival. Neither of you are that you have her welfare at your best interest, then getting the physical needs met or the emotional she will allow you to pursue the golf game, fishing needs met like you were before, because you are trip, or hunting outing that you have planned. giving so much time and energy to this baby. The Allow her time to herself to get out, shop, go with baby cries a lot, sleeps little, is always hungry, a girlfriend to the coffee shop, gym, beauty parlor, dirties his diaper a lot, has crazy sleep patterns and or any other place she desires to go. A good rule oh yeah, you can’t do all those things you used to of thumb is to put her first in everything you do. Well, welcome to the process of parenthood. do. There is a tendency for a mother to take full This, my friend is why you need the guide book, responsibility for the child and to push the father God’s Holy Word. He will tell you how to raise to the side. Don’t let her do that. She doesn’t this child and at the same time how to maintain want to, but does so, often without thinking. your marriage relationship in the turmoil of She realizes that you have a lot of responsibility children. What I would like to do in this article is already and need your sleep. Understand her give you some suggestions to keep your marriage moods or at least try by being gentle and tender. strong in times likes these. Yes, you may have to suck up some abuse, but so

18 WIREGRASS PARENTING


does she. Know that she is a good willed lady. The best advice I could give you is how I stated it earlier. Give this to the Lord, study His Word and pray often with your wife. Pray with her every single day. Now, ladies, let me give you some suggestions. Do not exclude your husband from this child. Let him do the things he needs to do to allow him to feel that he is an important part of your child’s life. Granted, he did not go through the labor pain and birth, himself, but he went through this with you. Let him make suggestions and help with every part of this forthcoming birth to include setting up the nursery, planning for the day of possible delivery, future of this child, everything. Don’t exclude him from any detail. This includes the simple details such as what brand of diapers to use. Dad needs to be, throughout the child’s birth and raising, an integral part of this child’s development. Mother’s tend to exclude the dad for whatever reason and the out-come is that you both drift away from each other. The most dangerous times in a marriage is the first seven years because you are both learning about each other and about what marriage is. The empty nest after the children have grown up can be just as difficult. After the children are grown you look at each other and say, “What now?” “What are we going to do together now?” If you excluded your husband or he has excluded himself from raising his children it can have a devastating effect on the marriage and can be a time when you or your spouse wanders off for whatever reason. Include him in all that you do as much as you can and let him do those things that will help you such as bathing his children, changing diapers, putting to bed, getting up with them, studying with them, making their lunches, or whatever is needed. Know also that your husband is a good willed man and he is trying to understand when you are not having a good day. Yes, you both need to talk and express your emotions to each other gently and tenderly. It is important that both of you stay in tune with each other throughout the raising of your children. Trust me, I have two grown children, and you never quit being their mother and father. The greatest thing you can hear your children say to you and your wife is, “Dad, Mom, I want my marriage to be just like yours.” WOW! Need I say more.

“I can’t say enough great things about Dr. Carnes. My son Hudson was 8 months old when we first came to Dr. Carnes with ear infections and colds. He is now five and hasn’t been on any medications! It brings tears to my eyes, I am so grateful. It is all because Dr. Carnes taught us about nutrition.” ~Misty Caddell

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Breastfeeding 101 By: Aimee Johnson-Wirt, M.D

Once upon a time, feeding your newborn infant

was basically limited to breastfeeding. Because there were no commercial infant formulas, all mothers nursed their babies and there was no social discomfort or stigma to the practice. In cases where a mother for one reason or another was unable to breastfeed her child, the family would use the services of a wet-nurse to breastfeed the baby, otherwise it would not survive. This is still the case in much of the third-world today where breastfeeding is the only option to feed an infant safely. Over the last 150 years, as society began to change in the industrialized world, commercial formulas became more available as feeding options, although safety and nutrition for the infant were questionable. The 1940-s Baby Boom brought significant increase in the use of formulas. Some felt formulas were a better way to care for an infant, others believed formulas were better than breast milk. Because formula had to be bought as did the bottles and supplies, only those who could afford it bottle fed, which led methods of feeding an infant becoming a social status issue. In some areas, people considered breastfeeding

20 WIREGRASS PARENTING

an indication of lower social class. These social pressures profoundly decreased breastfeeding rates. Recently, breastfeeding has begun a slow return to popularity. Interestingly we now see more educated individuals who breastfeed their babies. Unfortunately, breastfeeding rates are still well below what pediatricians would like. Breast Milk Benefits for Baby Breastfeeding provides tremendous benefits for babies. What exactly is the difference? Well, generally breast milk is more easily digested by infants than is formula. Only in breast milk will you find a wide variety of enzymes, growth factors, beneficial hormones, antibodies, components and living cells that fight viruses, parasites, bacteria and allergies. These all work to keep baby healthy. Formula companies have spent many years trying to replicate breast milk and still havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t come close to providing the same benefits. Breast-fed babies have a lower risk of obesity, ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia, asthma, bacterial and viral infections. Breastfeeding may also decrease the risk of SIDS, diabetes and some forms of cancer. Not to mention the bonding experience created between the baby and nursing mother is exceptional.


DOTHAN PEDIATRIC CLINIC

Caring for Infants, Children and Adolescents Westgate Center

Dothan Pediatric Clinic

Eufaula Pediatric Clinic 323 East Barbour Street 126 Clinic Drive 540 Westgate Parkway Eufaula, Alabama 36027 Dothan, Alabama 36303 Dothan, Alabama 36303 (334) 619-0940 (334) 793-1881 (334) 699-3733 (334) 619-0945 (fax) (334) 712-1815 (fax) (334) 699-3734 (fax) www.eufaulapediatricclinic.com www.dothanpediatricclinic.com www.dothanpediatricclinic.com OFFICE HOURS OFFICE HOURS OFFICE HOURS Monday-Friday Monday-Friday (By Appointment Only) Monday-Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Weekend Hours (Walk-ins Only) Friday Saturday: 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 Noon Sunday: 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Behavioral and Counseling Services Center

William R. Barron, Jr., MD

Robert J. Benak, MD

Lee Scott, Jr., MD

Michael J. Ramsey, MD Michelle S. Freeman, MD Kenneth C. Brown, MD

Jeffrey M. Tamburin, MD Aimee Johnson-Wirt, MD Joanna A. McKinley, MD Mark F. Strassburg, MD

Greg Myers, MD

OUR MISSION To place our patients first as we advance our leadership position in pediatric healthcare, providing Child Health Care with compassion, excellence, and value to the communities we serve. Amy Marshall, CRNP

Karen WakeďŹ eld, CPNP

Trish Tyler, CRNP

Becky Clayton, LPC

Drew Hayes, MS, ALC*

Heather Stone, LCSW

Muhammad F. Salim, M.D. Brent T. Tucker, PhD

Diane Caldwell, LPC

Gina Adams, MS, ALC*

Reggie Brookins, LPC

WIREGRASS PARENTING 21

*Drew Hayes, MS, Associate Licensed Counselor under the supervision of Virginia Mayer, EdD, Supervising Counselor. Gina Adams, MS, Associate Licensed Counselor under the supervision of Rose Blakey Phillips, LPC, Supervising Counselor.


Benefits for Mom Breast feeding has many great benefits for Mom, too. 1. Every time a mother breastfeeds in the days after delivery, her uterus (womb) heals. Breastfeeding stimulates the uterus to contract down to its pre-pregnancy size faster and also decreases bleeding. 2. Breastfeeding uses a lot of calories. One of the reasons for weight gain during pregnancy is to store fuel for making breast milk after pregnancy. Breastfeeding helps mothers get down to their pre-pregnancy weight faster in combination with a healthy eating habits. 3. Breastfeeding temporarily decreases fertility. In the first months after delivery if a mother is solely breastfeeding her infant, her monthly menses often stops temporarily. This limits the chances becoming pregnant again while caring for a newborn. This was Mother Nature’s way of helping Moms space out pregnancies naturally. (Warning: Breastfeeding is not a form of birth control, and should not in any way be relied upon to prevent pregnancy. Always discuss your options with your Obstetrician.) 4. Mothers lose a lot of blood during delivery and are often anemic. Temporarily pausing the mothers menses allows her to recover and rebuild her blood levels. 5. Breastfeeding decreases your risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Pregnancy Changes In the early part of pregnancy, breast tissue begins gearing up for milk production. Breasts grow and are often tender. Toward the end of pregnancy the breasts start to produce colostrum which contains protein, antibodies and growth factors among other things that help protect the newborn. Colostrum is present right after birth for the first few days until mother’s milk comes in (usually 48 to 72 hours after delivery.) Many people think colostrum is a “super milk” that baby only gets before the milk comes in, but in fact colostrum is also a component of mature breast milk. Doing What Comes Naturally Just because breast feeding is “the natural thing to do” does not mean it comes naturally. Until the 1940’s breastfeeding was easier. Why? Because every new mother did it. Your mom, your aunt, your sisters, your grandmother, your friends – all of them had breastfed their babies and were a great source of teaching and support. They were available to help new moms work

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through some of the challenges encountered in learning to breastfeed. At this point in our culture, many mothers have no support system which is why wonderful lactation nurses (breastfeeding specialists) are available to help. Many hospitals offer the services of lactation nurses to help nursing mothers work through the rough patches. Once mother and baby go home, these nurses are still available to help. In fact, I often send mothers back to a lactation nurse for an outpatient appointment in the first few weeks after birth. Often a single visit can make all the difference in the world to success at breastfeeding. Not enough Milk? Many factors contribute to the common problem of mom not producing enough milk. First is just not feeding the baby often enough. In the first few days after birth newborns nurse very frequently. This helps to stimulate milk production. Without this stimulation the milk volume may not be adequate. Many mothers sabotage themselves by giving the baby formula in those early days and then are surprised when their milk supply is inadequate. I direct new breastfeeding mothers to use formula only if there is a medical reason to do so, and it is usually for a very brief time. At the same time, if you are concerned that baby is not getting enough to eat, trust your instincts and call your pediatrician. Your pediatrician can evaluate the baby, and discuss your options. Although I hope for all mothers to breastfeed, I also want babies to be healthy and mothers to be happy. Hydration – Inadequate hydration is a common cause for poor milk production. Milk is a liquid, so if mother is dehydrated she will not be able to make milk for her child. It is very important for nursing mothers to drink lots of water. It is best to keep a bottle of water with you at all times and every time you nurse finish the bottle and refill it. The easiest way for mothers to evaluate it is to look at their urine. Dark, yellow urine is a sure sign that your body needs more water. Crystal clear urine is a sign of being well-hydrated. As such, drink water until your urine is clear. This will help milk production, but is also very good for you as well. Rest – New parents are chronically tired, it’s just the nature of parenting a newborn. The best thing you can do is take every opportunity to rest. If baby is asleep, you should be, too. A two-hour nap can


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make the world of difference to a sleep-deprived parent. The more rest you get, and the less stressed you are, the easier it will be for your body to produce milk. Ask family and friends to help watch baby or other children so you can have a chance to nap. It really can change your whole outlook! Frequency – One of the fastest ways to drop your milk supply is to skip nursing sessions. Letting milk build up in your breasts sends a signal to your brain telling it to decrease the milk supply because you don’t need as much. In the first few weeks of breast feeding when you are building up a good milk supply this can be very detrimental. Lots of tired mothers are tempted to skip breastfeeding sessions and have someone else formula-feed the baby. BAD IDEA. Until your milk supply is well established skipping feeding causes your milk to dwindle away. It is a much better to nurse the baby and then get some sleep while someone else watches the baby for you. Mothers who breast feed “part time” generally are not successful because their milk supply gradually dries up. Pump Up the Volume By the same token, one of the fastest ways I have found for mothers to increase their milk supply is to nurse more often. Instead of nursing the baby for one long session, instead try two short nursing sessions. This is all about hormones. Chemicals in your brain that signal your milk to “let down” also play a role in stimulating you to make more milk. Each time you “let down” your milk, you are sending a signal between your brain and body to make more milk. Two short nursing sessions will produce at least 2 “let down” signals, while longer sessions may only have one, even if the total nursing time is the same. Short sessions also cause less wear and tear on your nipples. Using a breast pump to pump after nursing sessions is another way to increase milk supply, more on pumping later. Sore Nipples – Sore nipples are a common problem which can be caused by baby not latching on properly or just from wear and tear from early nursing. If handled correctly this problem can resolve quickly. The fact is, nipples are delicate and a new baby nursing every few hours in the first days after birth can take its toll. There are all sorts of advice mothers get from well-meaning friends and family about “toughening up their nipples” prior to delivery, in general this is not necessary.

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The best thing to minimize sore nipples is: 1. Make sure the baby is latching on properly when nursing. Hospital nurses can help you with this process. 2. Try using a variety of nursing positions to make sure the baby is not rubbing one spot raw. 3. Just because the baby prefers one side does not mean he gets the option to only nurse from one breast. He needs to learn to breastfeed from both sides. 4. Do not let the baby use your breast as a living pacifier as it can rub you raw. Sucking is a soothing thing for infants so sometimes it is not about hunger but rather comfort. A large portion of the milk in each breast will come out in the first 10 to 15 minutes. If the baby still seems hungry after that time, switch to the other breast. If you have nursed the baby on both sides and she still seems hungry, try burping her, changing her diaper or baby you know she is not hungry. A truly hungry baby will not settle for a finger. 5. Protect and repair. Use topical lanolin ointment/nipple cream to help protect your nipples and allow them to heal. It is much easier to prevent sore raw nipples than to heal them. Damage Done. Once the nipples are sore there are several things that can help. Lanolin ointment can be applied to the nipples after breastfeeding. Some products are safe to leave on when feeding. Follow the product directions. These help serve as a skin barrier and soften irritated skin to decrease the chance further injury. Nipple shields are a great option to stop the discomfort of baby rubbing raw nipples when he nurses. Nipple shields are thin, flexible plastic devices and are a little heavier weight than a freezer bag. They are shaped to go over your nipple and areola (dark part of your breast) and allow baby to nurse without rubbing the sore skin. Although pressure and suction are still present when the baby nurses, the tenderness is not felt. Milk is able to flow to baby through holes in the shield. Cool compresses help sore skin feel better. A cool washcloth can be good. Another option is a gel cold pack. Don’t have one? A great option is to take a newborn, disposable diaper and pour some cold water into the inside absorbent area. The gel in the middle layer of the diaper absorbs the water and expands to make a form fitting gel pack with a nice fabric covering. Put the diaper in the fridge and keep it cold. Pull it out and wrap it around the sore


area as needed. It’s not glamorous but it’s easy and all the supplies to make it are readily available. Engorgement – For some mothers when their milk comes in it can come in with a vengeance. At time, breasts make more milk than the little infant needs and can feel like they are about to explode! Engorged breasts increase in size and are firm and tender. The best way to resolve this problem is to get the milk out. Getting baby to nurse is a great option, but if the breasts are too engorged this can be too painful. A breast pump is a great option. It removes the milk and you can store it for later. Another great option is take a warm shower. In a warm shower it is often possible to get your milk to let down and drain off some of the excess causing you pain. To do this, simply massage your breast from your chest out to your nipple, generally when you are able to relax, the milk will start to leak out and you will feel better. To prevent further engorgement you can nurse or pump more frequently. If at any point your breast becomes warm or red you will need to be evaluated by your doctor for mastitis, an infection in the breast. The risk of mastitis increases if milk is left for too long in the breast. Although antibiotics are required to treat

mastitis, it is safe (and actually helps) to continue breastfeeding. Leaking – Leaking is a common issue, especially early on, and happens for a variety of reasons. 1. The opposite side leaks when you are nursing. This is the let down reflex. Your milk lets down on both sides, not just the one the baby is nursing on. Direct pressure on the leaking side for a few minutes can stop leaking. 2. Sometimes simply walking by a crying baby (even in the grocery store) can suddenly cause a nursing mother’s milk to “let down” to the point of soaking her blouse. This reaction is basically your brain saying “Oh, the baby is crying, it must be hungry. Here’s some milk, go feed her.” That part of your brain isn’t paying attention to the fact that it’s someone else’s baby who is crying! 3. Your breasts are way too full. If you do not empty your breasts eventually they will empty themselves. It will usually occur in the most inconvenient setting possible, and the amount of milk will often be impressive. Don’t let it happen to you. GO PUMP, or feed the baby. Plugging the Leak Direct pressure works well to stop leaking. Cross

WIREGRASS PARENTING 25


your arms firmly, or put direct pressure on your nipple for a few minutes until the leak stops. This is quick and easy short term fix. Breast pads. Handy little absorbent pads help control embarrassing moments by absorbing milk so you don’t soak your shirt. For some, breast pads can also provide enough pressure to suppress leakage from ever beginning. Disposable pads have a plastic backing that acts as a second layer of defense if you leak a lot, but some mothers find the plastic backing makes them hot. Washable pads are great because they are several layers of soft material and reusable – however once they are saturated, milk can leak through if you are not mindful to replace them as needed. Plastic nipple shells that put direct pressure on nipples to prevent leaking are an option that many of my patients prefer. Barriers to Breast Feeding In today’s culture, there are many reasons some mothers choose not to breastfeed. Mom Does All the Feeding An exhausted new mother can use previously stored, expressed milk (milk she has pumped from her breasts) to allow Dad to feed the baby at times. A fair trade, especially at night, is for Mom to nurse baby and, when she is done, Dad changes baby’s diaper and puts baby back to bed. With this plan, both parents participate in the nighttime feedings and both get a little more sleep. Breast-fed Babies Eat More Often Breast-fed babies tend to eat more often than formula-fed babies in the first weeks of life. This is often because breast milk is perfectly designed for the baby and as such is digested faster. Another reason for frequent feedings is to help stimulate increased milk production by Mom in the first few weeks. It’s important to help mother’s milk supply match the needs of baby as she grows. Often by a month of age, formula-fed and breast-fed babies are eating about the same number of times per day. I Don’t Feel Comfortable Nursing My Baby in Public As a pediatrician and a nursing mother, I understand this feeling and that’s okay. You have several options. You can find a quite place to nurse your child when needed and use a cover up to nurse so that you don’t feel exposed. As you become more confident nursing your baby you will find that it can be relatively easy to discretely

26 WIREGRASS PARENTING

nurse your child in public. If you still feel uncomfortable, you can also choose to pump some milk and take a bottle of breast milk with you in case the baby is hungry. I Have to Go Back to Work Working outside the home provides new challenges to breastfeeding. The solution is pumping. This means using a special device designed to remove breast milk from mothers’ breasts to store for baby to drink when she is away. This can often be done 2 to 3 times a day on a 15-minute break or during their lunch hour. (Some mothers pump just prior to going to work, at lunch, and on a break). To do this all you need is a breast pump, a private place to pump, an electrical outlet (although some pumps can use a battery pack) and a place to wash up everything when you are done. A refrigerator to store the milk is a nice to have available, but not always necessary. Cooler packs can be used for this purpose, and many breast pumps come with bottle storage case and specially designed cooler pack that can be used instead. If there is no lactation room (breastfeeding room) where you work ask your boss about your options. It may also be good to mention that breast-fed babies are sick less often from respiratory and digestive illness than are formula-fed babies which means that supporting your breastfeeding can mean fewer missed work days home caring for a sick baby. The Pump There are a wide variety of pumps available, and it is well worth the money to rent or buy a good one. A good pump fits your body well and efficiently drains the milk, and is relatively easy to use and clean. To pump at work usually requires obtaining an electric breast pump, preferably one that can do both breasts at the same time. Breast pumps are very efficient and usually require only 15-minutes per session. Rental pumps are a reasonable investment and are generally less than the cost of buying formula. However, you must purchase the parts that come in contact with milk (i.e., bottles, breast shield, connectors, tubing etc.) Some people are nervous at the idea of a rental pump with regards to being sterile. Not to worry, the actual pump portion of the mechanism that you rent does not come in contact with milk. As for manual pumps, these can come in handy for mothers who need to pump only on rare occasions or to help initially for mothers with flat nipples. In general,


for mothers who need to pump regularly these are of no use as they are slow and awkward to use. I Just Can’t Afford It I’ve had mothers tell me that they just can’t afford to breast feed. Breastfeeding is FREE! This is the primary reason you have breasts. This is their number one job! There is no required cost. Yes of course a good nursing bra is a good investment but it is not required. If you are a stay at home mother you already have everything you need. You don’t need bottles, bottle rings, bottle nipples, or bottle brushes etc. If you breastfeed you will always have food for the baby, any time he is hungry, at the perfect temperature and in the perfect delivery device. It’s amazing how a diaper bag is a whole lot lighter when it only contains diapers. Special Situations Premature Infant There is nothing better for a premature infant than breast milk. Breast milk made by mothers of premature infants is very special and is much higher in calories than term breast milk. It also contains more of the components that help the babies immature digestive tract mature. It also helps protect their immature respiratory and digestive tract from infection. Even if you have no interest in breastfeeding your baby when you go home from the Neonatal ICU please consider pumping breast milk for your child while she is there. It really can make an incredible difference in her long-term health When Not to Breast Feed There are certain specific diseases and medications that can be transmitted through breast milk and cause harm to your baby. It is crucial that you be honest with the doctor about your medical conditions and what medications you take. You and your doctor will determine if breast feeding creates a risk to your baby. Medications And Breast Feeding In general the rule is if it goes in your body your baby gets some through the milk. Although this is not true for all medications this is the safest way to approach taking any medication. There are many medications that are safe to take in moderation while breastfeeding, and others that are very dangerous. This is true for smoking, drinking and illegal drug use. It is also important to remember that just because a medication can be purchased

over-the-counter does not mean it is safe to use in pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Even chemicals like caffeine and “herbal supplements/ medications” can be harmful. Always ask your doctor. One of the most common medication problems I see is from allergy medications and from certain kinds of birth control medication. Both of these can causes the mother’s milk to dry up, and do so very quickly. In general the safest thing to do is talk to your physician, pharmacist or lactation specialist regarding these issues. Once again do not take medication without asking first. How Long Should I Breast Feed? This is always a tough question. The American Academy of Pediatrics would like to see all babies breastfed for at least one year. Me, too. However, I believe that any breastfeeding is better than no breastfeeding. So the right answer is however long is right for you, your baby and your family. My goal is to get every mother to at least give breastfeeding a shot. Weaning If you stop breastfeeding before a year of age, the baby will have to transition to formula. It is best to do this gradually to get baby familiar with the formula and to slowly decrease your milk supply so that you don’t become engorged and risk mastitis. If you wean at a year of age (or later) the child may be transitioned to whole cow milk. Conclusion For many mothers breastfeeding is a wonderful experience that allows you to build a strong bond with your child and nourish him in the process. The way you choose to feed your baby is completely up to you. Feeding your child is only one part of a great collection of building blocks used to build your child into a healthy individual. My hope is that understanding breast feeding will help you consider it as an option with your next child. If you have any further questions regarding breastfeeding please ask a lactation specialist or your pediatrician.

Chat with other nursing moms at www.thewiregrass.com WIREGRASS PARENTING 27


The Family Bed – Is It For You?

ou may have heard about “the family bed” lately. Just what is it? Basically, it is a term that refers to familial bed-sharing. Parents allow their children, including infants, to sleep in their bed with them. Is it something you think might work for your family? Or are you unsure about the whole idea? Here are some pros and cons of this type of sleeping arrangement. Pros • In the event of an emergency, you will know where your child or baby is. If an intruder breaks into your home, a fire breaks out, or there is another sort of emergency situation, your baby or child is right there with you. You can therefore watch out for them and get them to a safer location quickly.

Breastfeeding is made much easier in a family bed. The mother does not have to get up during the night or endure night-time crying from the baby.

Parents can get more rest without having to get up during the night to tend to their baby or child.

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Bonding time is important, and busy parents, who may not have time during the day to be physically close to their children, can find that bonding time at night.

Some couples have claimed that the family bed has encouraged them to be more creative with regard to love-making, thus adding spontaneity and interest to their love life.

This is a very intimate decision for you and your family. Do your research and try to block out reactionary voices. Research both sides as carefully and thoroughly as you can, and talk to families who practice the family bed and those who don’t.

Cons There is concern that the family bed is unsafe. Babies could roll into unsafe positions or be pushed or rolled on by a parent or older child in the bed. (Cribs, however, pose their own dangers as mass recalls over the years have shown.)

It may be uncomfortable to have others in bed with you, either psychologically or physically.

Older kids who confess to sleeping with their parents may experience teasing from peers.

Despite the creativity aspect, some couples fear or experience a loss of intimacy after implementing the family bed.

Some psychologists believe that bed-sharing invokes emotional problems in children, such as separation problems and co-dependent love relationships later in life.

Ultimately, you will make the right decision for your family. And you can also make adjustments. The family bed may not be right for you now, but may be in the future, or vice versa.

What do you think about the “Family Bed”? Share your thoughts at www.thewiregrass.com.


E H T GET !!! E R U T C I P

I

By Cindi Kay McDaniel, Cr. Photog., CPP

t’s your photographer’s job to capture really great images of your child. But, your assistance and playful interactions can mean the difference between a regularly dreaded task or a truly enchanting and, needless to say, memorable experience! First, let’s start off by breaking down some of the most important stages of baby photography from birth to two years. I hope these suggestions will help entice moms on their way to their favorite photographer’s studio! Newborn: Get those newbies into the studio fresh out of the oven, preferably within the first two weeks after delivery! You’ll want to put them into a relaxing milk coma by feeding them just before leaving for their very first photo session. Don’t forget to bring extra diapers, an extra blanket or two, and be prepared for another feeding just in case baby gets nervous and demands a comfort snack! 3 months: Baby should be ready for some super cute tummy poses at this stage, and if you bring

30 WIREGRASS PARENTING

baby in right after a good nap then you’re very likely to get some great smiles too! 6 months: Sometime between six and seven months, baby should be sitting up without assistance. Make sure baby is able to sit up without having to place his hands on the floor to help support himself before you bring him in for this session. You’ll get terrific smiles if baby is sitting up well and isn’t busy trying to hold himself up! 9 months: Baby is crawling for sure and what great shots you’ll get of baby scooting around and being playful at this age! This is a wonderful time for theme shots such as baby in a bathtub or bucket! 12 months: Baby’s first birthday portraits are simply the shots you’ve been waiting for! Don’t forget to bring a mini-birthday cake for this session. If baby is standing, make sure to have


your photographer get shots of him standing all by himself! 18 months: Take advantage of one of your photographer’s seasonal specials and use it as an excuse to get baby back into the studio! This session will be a great opportunity for you to maintain the comfortable bond baby has already begun developing with his photographer. This session will help avoid a fearful and sometimes tearful two year birthday session! Be prepared to get a real workout with this shoot as baby is sure to be running all around by this time. 2 years: Your child’s second birthday shoot will surely be a challenge. You are most likely in for another physical workout as your photographer will need you to be even more in control and interactive as possible with your child. My best suggestion is to think of your child’s two year session as a play date and not to stress about the little things! If your child senses you are stressed, then he will surely react negatively to both you and your photographer. PLAY with your child and you’ll get much better portraits. DON’T instruct your child to look in a certain direction, sit or stand in a certain way or anything else.

Coax him into standing or sitting with toys and personal interaction without using commands. You’ll also want to refrain from begging your child to cooperate. Don’t use phrases like “PLEASE” stand here and “DO” what the photographer tells you to do! Let’s just say that pleas such as these simply don’t work with the average two year old. WELCOME to the wonderful world of child photography! You’re in for a real treat! Not only can today’s photographers capture some truly amazing photographs, but they have more ways than ever before to help you show off your little one’s zeal for the camera. You’ll find everything from handbags that can be decorated with your little camera ham, to jewelry, canvas wraps and framed prints for your wall. Think outside of the box because there are no limits in how to show off your child’s portrait creations! Don’t forget to ask your photographer to post your favorite images on Facebook because most photographers love to use social networking sites to advertise their work! Your child’s first two years of professional photography will surely set the tone for many fantastic years in front of the camera, so have FUN with it and ENJOY the ride!

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Pre-register at www.hbce.org beginning April 1, 2011. VBS is open to all children ages 4, (which will enter Kindergarten during school year 2011-12) through all who have just completed sixth grade. Day Camps are open only to those who have completed 1st - 6th grade during school year 2010-11. Contact the church office for more information. Hillcrest Baptist Church, 500 Alberta Street, Enterprise, AL 36330 (334)-347-2615

WIREGRASS PARENTING 31


Strategies That Really Work!

P

otty training can be a process of trial and error. It can be both exciting and quite frustrating. Rest assured, eventually your child will be potty trained. There are very few teenagers running around in diapers!

whole diaper thing, rush potty training. Good intentions aside, if a child isn’t mentally and physically ready to learn how to use a toilet, the potty training process is going to take much longer and be frustrating for the both of you.

That being said, there are proven potty training strategies that have worked for parents over the years. Let’s take a look at a few of them to make the potty training process as easy and painless as possible.

Signs your child is ready to begin potty training include:

1. Wait until your child is ready for potty training before you begin. Many parents, undoubtedly excited to be done with the

32 WIREGRASS PARENTING

• • •

Frequent dry or clean diapers Curiosity about the toilet Communication regarding their potty habits – if a child tells you they just peed or they have to pee they’re ready for potty training.


2. Make sure you have the right gear. There are a lot of potty training aids available. From small portable potty chairs to floating targets you can place in the toilet to help your little boy aim and enjoy the training process. Getting the gear before you begin training will help you and your child create a structure and a routine around potty training. It also helps to have potty training friendly clothing. There’s nothing more frustrating than a child who tells you they have to go potty and then having them wet their pants because it took too long to get their clothing off. Slips on pants are the easiest and of course skirts and dresses make it easy for girls. 3. Have a positive Mindset. Mistakes will happen and children will make huge leaps forward only to then have really bad potty training days or weeks. Reward and celebrate successes and stay focused on having a positive attitude. Punishment and yelling only makes a child feel bad about themselves, it doesn’t further the potty training process. Know that it’s much easier for a child to be aware of their body during the daytime and nighttime accidents can happen well into elementary school. Be prepared. Protect your child’s pride and their belongings with a mattress pad, rules about drinking before bedtime and support and understanding.

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The potty training process can take a while and each child’s experiences are different. Be patient, be positive and be prepared!

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Taming Toddler Tantrums Y

oung parents get scared when they hear stories about the “terrible twos.” Take courage, though, you will survive the toddler stage. It’s not easy to understand why your toddler has a tantrum but at such a young age, a child is consumed with thoughts of themselves. Everything is about them and how they feel. Until they are taught how to share, every toy or piece of food they see automatically belongs to them. Toddler temper tantrums can have a variety of effects. Your first thought might be that everyone is focused on you and your screaming child, but getting embarrassed won’t diffuse the situation. Besides, as a parent, you have many more years of embarrassing situations to look forward to courtesy of your children. So worrying about what others think during this situation is simply going to stress you and make you feel worse.

public begins at home. Ignoring a toddler is not harsh. If your child is squirming on the floor screaming for a cookie, continue to talk to them as if you never noticed. Eventually, they will get the hint and stop screaming.

2.

Avoid instant gratification. In public, toddlers throw tantrums when they are denied something that they want. Some parents give in to keep their child quiet but a child learns quickly. Tantrums will continue if they know you will cave. Simply tell them “no” and keep moving.

3.

Don’t get angry. When you scream and they scream the situation is wildly out of control. You’ll end up crying and your toddler will still be screaming. In any situation, raised voices mean civilized conversation has ended in favor of basic primal instincts. Don’t revert back to the days of early man. Keep using the same calm voice you use when they are behaving to get your child to calm down as well.

4.

Praise your toddler when they behave well. Positive reinforcement is better than negative. In the absence of positive attention a child will behave badly just to get some attention at all. Acting out and throwing tantrums may be

Here are a few tips to help you cope during tantrums:

1.

Ignore the tantrum. This technique works best when at home. In public places, you don’t want to ever leave your child unattended as a form of punishment. Good behavior in

34 WIREGRASS PARENTING


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Easy Ways to Make your Home More Eco-Friendly W e all want to do our part to protect the environment, but without a large paycheck, that can be seem difficult, if not impossible. But doing your part doesn’t have to be hard. Small steps add up to a big difference, you just have to know which ones to take. Use less water. Saving water is all about small steps, here are a few that will help save big. - Shut off the water while you brush your teeth - Take showers that are a minute or two shorter - Only run full loads of laundry and dishes - Buy from sustainable producers. These are farmers, ranchers, and other producers that use techniques that pollute less and use less water. You can do some research online or ask at your local organic market to find these products. Use less energy. If you don’t have the money to buy a hybrid car or convert your house to solar power, you can make a big difference with small changes.

36 WIREGRASS PARENTING

- Buy energy efficient appliances. They may be more expensive, but make up for the increased cost in lower energy bills. - Unplug chargers when you’re not using them. Cell phone and other chargers use up powers even if there’s nothing attached to them. - Put devices with remotes, like T.V.s, VCRs, and stereos, on a power strip and turn it off when you’re not using them. These devices use a lot of power to run the remote receiver even when the device is off. - Walk or ride your bike for short trips. - Buy local products. It takes energy to transport food and other products across the country. Buying local not only supports your local economy, it helps them use less energy. When it comes to saving energy and water, it’s a great idea to get the kids involved. You can even make it a game. Have them track how much water and electricity everyone is using. You can compete to see who uses the least water. You


can often count on your kids to help keep you on track when given the task. Reuse. Most of us know the three R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle, but when we work on conserving, we often leave reuse out of the picture. While you can often find tips on how to reuse common products from other people, what you need most is creativity. With a little thought there are many items around your home that can be reused – toilet paper holders can be used to sow seeds for the vegetable patch. And old yogurt containers can be cut into strip to make plant labels. Old food jars can be refilled with homemade foods or can make great impromptu vases. Use environmentally friendly products. When you go to the grocery store, you probably see more and more “natural” or “eco friendly” products every time. There are generally two big problems with these products: 1. Just because they’re more natural than regular products, doesn’t mean they’re entirely natural. 2, They’re often expensive. If you want inexpensive, natural, safe products, why not just make them yourself. Vinegar is a great way to clean and disinfect glass and other surfaces. Need to remove stubborn stains? Just add some baking soda to your vinegar cleaner. Some quick searching online will lead you to hundreds of other natural safe home-made cleaning products. We all knowing that going green means better for the environment, but it’s also better for you. Conserving resources also helps save you money, which is something most of us are happy to live with.

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Wiregrass Parenting Magazine Spring 2011