Healthy Development: Search Engine Parents Beware!
By: Holly Bishop
When your new baby is born one of the first things family and friends ask is, “How much did she weigh?” Healthy growth and development has such a wide range of what is acceptable it can sometimes be difficult to notice if there is a problem.
As a mom, I am guilty of “Googling” every little odd symptom my daughter has had since birth. I have probably visited more than 100 mommy blogs, health sites and pediatrician’s websites; I even looked for similar photos of rashes in hopes of diagnosing the problem. Something I have come to realize in my first 18 months of parenting is there really is no such thing as “average” or “normal.” Every child is different, thus, symptoms and growth chart levels will be different. The important thing to remember is to weed out the bad information and use your doctor and trust care provider as a resource, when you have concern
Be wary of opinion based information people put out there on blogs and forums or websites from organizations written by individuals that are not medically trained or certified. That’s a hard thing to stay away from, especially while you’re frantically searching for answers on the internet at 3 a.m. While the internet and search engines are a wonderful tool, they can be tricky with information.
While it is important to educate yourself as a parent on the general developmental milestones, health issues and common problems in young children, be picky with the websites you base your knowledge from and always go to legitimate physician based source first.
As always, no matter what any reliable website says, if you as a parent have a gut feeling that something is wrong, take your child to the pediatrician immediately. Most doctors would rather parents be proactive, than wait until things got worse.
A few great sites with quality information:
http://www.Kidshealth.org – Based from Nemours Children’s Clinic and most articles written are from Nemours physicians.
http://www.Healthychildren.org – Sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics
Surviving the TERRIBLE TWOS
The “Terrible Twos” have been my hardest challenge as a parent so far. Sleepless nights with a newborn seem like a cake walk compared to the strong willed and bossy little girl I have now. This is the stage where they no longer look or act like your sweet little baby. They turn into these tiny daredevil earthquakes that can destroy a house in less than five minutes. My daughter is not quite two but she is already in the stage many like to call the “terrible twos.” Her preschool teacher refers to her as the monkey because she climbs up any ledge, table, chair, door or wall she can find. Her favorite word is “no,” and she says it with gusto and a finger pointed directly at you.
A friend told me years ago, long before I even had thoughts of being a parent, the “terrible two’s” are only as terrible as you allow them to be. All too often parents allow their children to dictate their lives and their level of happiness or stress. I firmly believe children need reasonable boundaries to develop as well rounded children. Schedules and routines are my trick.
Since my daughter, Mckenli, was about three months old, my husband and I worked together to develop a schedule that helped her transition more easily throughout the day. And we still have the same schedule, with a few adjustments, for our now 18 month old. At bedtime she knows to get her blanket and teddy and go to her little bed. I have no doubt she is a happier child because of her reliable routine.
Part of a toddler’s healthy development is learning their own independence and exploring. Their little minds absorb so much in a single day; it can be overwhelming at times. This often leads to mini outbursts or defiance towards you as a parent or other authority figures. They are simply trying to test the limits and in a way, test how consistent you are with your rules.
So my advice as the parent of a toddler is first and most importantly to be patient. I know this is easier said than done, but toddlers still can’t fully express what they are feeling or what they are thinking. They get frustrated and angry. It’s much easier to be comforting and reassuring than react to the outbursts with discipline.
Also, give your toddler some slack on the “rope” every now and then. Keep a close watch, but let them explore a little more each time you are in a new situation. Constant boundaries, rules and saying “no” can lead to more frustration with an already impatient little one.
Finally, remember you are not perfect. You will make mistakes and there will be good days and bad days. But as you tuck your little ones into bed each night, remember they are looking at you for direction. Show them your love and willingness to learn and change with them as they grow.
Being a parent is the hardest job in the world. But even with a “terrible two-year-old” it is also the most rewarding.
Caption: My daughter Mckenli at 15 Months Old)
5 Tips for Picking a Pediatrician
By: Holly Bishop
For an expectant family, choosing a pediatrician can be an overwhelming task, especially for first time parents. When I learned I was going to be a mom, it was certainly the last thing on my to-do list. That was mostly because I didn’t know what I was looking for and there are so many pediatricians in our area. To me, a doctor was a doctor. As I asked my close friends and family and did a little research it became clear there are many different kinds of pediatricians out there. So, to help in that journey of selecting your child’s care provider, here are a few steps I took ¬when choosing the doctor for my daughter.
1) Make a list of the things you absolutely require in your pediatrician.
• 24/7 on call nurses/doctors?
• Do they offer delayed vaccinations if needed?
• Do they have lactation consultants or do they support breastfeeding moms?
• Insurance and Payment plans. Consider the financial aspect.
• Can they ensure you see the same doctor every time?
2) Research reviews from other families on the doctor and their facility. Once you narrow down the list of your local pediatricians start your homework. Ask current families their opinions as they walk out of the building or ask friends and family about the doctors they recommend or don’t recommend. Check online reviews on Google or Health Grades. Also, many facilities have a website with contact information and links for resources.
3) Research the background of the doctor. When you get your list down to just a few, do some homework on the qualifications of the doctor. What is their education history and professional background? How long have they been in practice?
4) Have a consultation and meet the staff. Most doctors willingly schedule consultation appointments even for expectant parents. These visits are free and can be quite helpful in your decision process. They may give you informational brochures or handouts about their procedures and office policies. This is the time to ask your questions and get a feel for the atmosphere of the facility. (Have a list ready before your appointment!)
5) Do you feel a connection to the doctor? During the consultation you will be able to decipher the personality of the doctor and if you feel comfortable. Listen to your gut and make sure the doctor speaks clearly about how they provide care. It’s important to feel at ease with your pediatrician and fully understand what they are doing when they treat your child.
(Caption: My daughter at 1 day old and her first pediatrician)