Browsing Tag

Child development

Family Nudity Is All About Comfort Level, NOT Sexuality

By February 15, 2016 1 Comment
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Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton caused an online uproar back in October after he posted a partially obstructed picture of himself in the shower with his 2 year old son on Instagram, which you can see to the right. Comments and concerns raised by this situation ranged from positive and supportive of bathing with own’s own small children to outraged and accusations of child abuse. So, what is the “right” answer?

When parents ask me how to address nudity, I usually ask them to reflect on their own levels of comfort with nudity. The general rule with respect to parents’ and children’s nudity is that everyone needs to be comfortable with how much is bared. In particular, it is very important that parents agree on how much nudity they are comfortable with showing in front of their children. If parents have very different views about their comfort levels, I advise families to err on the side of modesty. That way no one feels uncomfortable.

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Categories: Ages + Stages, Mental, Emotional, + Behavioral Health, School-Aged Children, Toddlers + Preschoolers, Tweens + Teens

What is Microcephaly + What’s the Link to Zika?

By February 1, 2016 1 Comment
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With the increasing news coverage of Zika and it’s reported link to the birth defect microcephaly we’ve received a number of reader questions about microcephaly and what it actually means for children born with the condition.  We reached out to infectious disease specialist, Dr. Judy Stone, to answer some of your questions.

What does microcephaly actually mean (Is the brain small, does it stop growing at a certain stage, is part of the brain missing)?
Microcephaly literally means an abnormally small head. Both the skull and brain are abnormally small with microcephaly, and X-ray studies often show abnormal calcified areas in the brain and lack of normal development.

Is Zika the only way a baby can be born with microcephaly or are there other risk factors?
Microcephaly has been associated with many infections as well as genetic abnormalities, malnutrition, or exposure to certain toxins. It already happens very rarely in the U.S. due to the level of nutrition and prenatal care most women receive (although even with good nutrition and proper prenatal care, microcephaly can still occur due to certain genetic factors or infections). Even in Brazil, the “epidemic” of this birth defect is thought to be <1%. Some researchers think that some of the sudden apparent increase reflects changes in reporting rather than new illnesses. It’s also important to know that the link right now is just correlated with Zika, there hasn’t yet been a cause and effect relationship proven, but it’s enough to raise alarm bells.

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Categories: Ages + Stages, Chronic Illnesses + Conditions, Disability + Disability Advocacy, Infectious Disease + Vaccines, Newborns + Infants

Vaginal Birth After Cesarean Section (VBAC) + Repeat C-Sections: Myths vs Reality, Part Three

By and January 28, 2016 No Comments
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Interview with Dr. Jean-Giles Tchabo

In my last two posts (which you can read here and here), I talked about my experience approaching the delivery of my second child, after having an emergency c-section for my first. My OB/Gyn, Dr. Jean-Giles Tchabo was someone I found who encouraged vaginal deliveries after cesarean sections (VBACs) as an option for women in my situation, so I interviewed him for answers to common questions about VBACs.

In the first post we dispelled some of the myths of VBACs, and in the second we delved deeper into the topic with a series of reader questions around policies, and health issues. In this post, we turn our focus to issues and science involved in e
mergency c-sections.

What is the difference in terms of procedure and experience between an emergency c-section and a repeat c-section?

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Categories: Pregnancy, Birth + Family Planning, Science 101 + Mythbusting

Vaginal Birth After Cesarean Section (VBAC) + Repeat C-Sections: Myths vs Reality, Part Two

By and January 27, 2016 1 Comment
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Interview with Dr. Jean-Gilles Tchabo 

In my last post (which you can read here), I talked
about my experience approaching the delivery of my second child, after having an emergency c-section for my first.

The OB/GYN I chose for my second pregnancy, Dr. Jean-Gilles Tchabo, encourages vaginal deliveries after cesarean sections (VBACs) as an option for women in my situation. In the last post we dispelled some of the myths about VBACs, and today, we delve deeper into the topic as I pose a couple of reader questions about VBACs and repeat c-sections to Dr. Tchabo.

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Categories: Pregnancy, Birth + Family Planning, Science 101 + Mythbusting

Trouble in the Water: The Poisonous Price of Fiscal Conservatism in Flint, Michigan

By January 25, 2016 2 Comments
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As a single parent to two teenage girls, I have spent the majority of my adult life trying to protect them from every conceivable injury, or hurt that I can. I never thought what I might have to protect them from was as essential for survival as water, and as ubiquitous as a municipal water supply. But that’s exactly what’s happening in Flint, Michigan, where I grew up and where I still have family.

The residents of Flint are currently involved in what can best described as a catastrophic failure of leadership, and at worst environmental racism. The residents of Flint, my hometown, have been drinking water contaminated with lead for nearly two years. This includes children and infants (through formula made with contaminated water or through high doses in contaminated breast milk.)

There is nothing worse than watching your child in pain, and knowing there is nothing you can do about it. That is exactly what the parents of Flint, Michigan are faced with every single day.

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Categories: Chronic Illnesses + Conditions, Policy, Politics, + Pop Health

“My Kids Aren’t Guinea Pigs,” Says Parent Affected By Porter Ranch Gas Leak

By January 4, 2016 4 Comments
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A brave parent stepped forward to talk to The Scientific Parent about the Porter Ranch gas leak, and asked that he remain anonymous, for fear of retaliation against his family. Here is his story.

I am part of one of the 3,000 families displaced by the Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) leak in Porter Ranch, but I consider my family lucky, because we’re finally safe. The latest reports say that an additional 3,000 more families are waiting to leave the area, and are still living in a zone that’s being called the biggest environmental disaster since the BP oil spill. Notice I say leave, not evacuate. I’ll get back to that.

On Oct 23, 2015, SoCalGas announced that their Aliso Canyon Storage Facility was leaking a combination of methane and mercaptan gases into my community, which is in Los Angeles, California. Methane is a natural gas. Mercaptan is the chemical the gas companies add to make it smell so people are warned when there’s a gas leak in their home.

At the time, they said the leak shouldn’t affect us, and at that point we didn’t know that symptoms of exposure to those gases are headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, and loss of coordination. If we had, we would have realized that my family had been experiencing these symptoms for some time.

For weeks, our 3-and-a-half-year-old son, was lethargic and didn’t have his usual energy to do things. What normal three year old isn’t constantly running around and into things? My wife was complaining about nausea, and that her breathing was short and challenging. I had headaches every day when I came home from work. We never thought any of those things were related.

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Categories: Accidents, Injuries, + Abuse, Policy, Politics, + Pop Health

The Best Science-Based Pregnancy + Parenting Books

By November 30, 2015 4 Comments
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I’m enjoying my first few weeks of maternity leave after the birth of my daughter, and I have to say, it’s been a different experience than the last time I was pregnant. Between being more aware and educated on what to do with a newborn, and the wonderful lack of colic this time around, I have actually had time to rest and reflect on things.

One of those things (and veteran parents know this) is that when you or the mother of your child becomes pregnant, one of the first things people will do – besides terrify you with horrifying birth stories – is recommend pregnancy and baby books for you to read.  When this happened to me, I started to read some of these books, but each one seemed to have a specific parenting angle they were working.  Not to mention that there were usually a plethora of products endorsed by the authors that were hawked for sale. It started to be a red flag to me if someone passed along a book and at the front or end were instructions to go to a website in order to buy products to use to carry out the advice in the book (slings, oils, creams, CDs, cosleepers, you name it!).

Midway through my first pregnancy I’d finally found a set of books that worked for me.  They were no-nonsense, based on science, and backed by recognized health and medical organizations.  So for you, dear readers, I’m passing along my recommendations for the best baby books that will give you the facts, only the facts, and won’t lead you down the rabbit hole to huckster products and new parent guilt:

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Categories: Pregnancy, Birth + Family Planning, Science 101 + Mythbusting

Helping Kids Welcome a New Baby

By October 20, 2015 No Comments
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Three of the people I love the most and am closest to are my brother and sisters. I’m always happy to see them and, like the best old friends, we can catch up with each other’s news in a moment. These relationships are not an accident, however. They are the result of our parents’ efforts over the course of all of our lives to remind us that these, our siblings, are people we can count on. This work starts the minute a child learns that they are about to become an older sister or brother.

For a child under the age of four, it is not always clear where the baby is coming from and so it does help to demonstrate that the baby grows inside their mother. Many parenting guides recommend having a child come to some prenatal visits and some obstetricians, family doctors, and midwives include a visit for the whole family as part of their standard prenatal care. In fact, it is no longer unusual for older siblings to be present for a birth, especially when a child is being born at home.

The most important thing a child needs to know when they are expecting a sibling is that they are going to continue to be an important part of the family and that no new baby will ever replace them. This is a good time to reinforce a child’s gifts and special qualities. It is also an important time to remind a child of their ongoing importance by sharing pictures and memories of them through all stages of their lives.

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Categories: Ages + Stages, Mental, Emotional, + Behavioral Health, Newborns + Infants, Pregnancy, Birth + Family Planning, School-Aged Children, Toddlers + Preschoolers, Tweens + Teens