Pearls of Wisdom: Your Baby and Ear Infections

At some point or another, most babies and children will suffer through the pain and discomfort of an ear infection. The telltale signs may be all you need to know what’s happening… crying, tugging at her ear(s), and temperature are all indicators. In children that have learned to talk, you may hear complaints of throbbing pain or that your child is having trouble hearing. You’ll need to get baby to the pediatrician for treatment and relief of an ear infection.

Middle ear infections, or “otitis media,” is the most prevalent disease of childhood, second only to respiratory infections. There are an estimated 25 million yearly visits to the pediatrician resulting from ear infections.  Accurate diagnosis and treatment of otitis media are important not only because it affects a lot of our children but also because left untreated, it can lead to serious complications like meningitis or brain abscess. Middle ear infections that lead to fluid in the middle ear, known as effusions, could also affect a child’s hearing and subsequently, his speech and language development.

Nearly 86% of children have at least one episode of otitis media by 3 years of age, with peaks occurring from 6-36 months and 4-6 years of age. Available medical data shows that the occurrence of ear infections tends to decrease with age but is higher in the following groups: male children; kids belonging to lower socioeconomic groups; black children, and among those with craniofacial anomalies. Incidence is also higher during winter months and early spring.

Ear InfectionWhen an ear is infected, the “eustachian tube” or the canal connecting the middle ear and the back of the throat gets clogged. During healthy periods, this canal is filled with air; however, during cold weather, when other respiratory infections are present, or when a child also has allergies, this tube can get blocked. When the eustachian tube is blocked, fluid accumulates in the middle ear and attracts bacteria that thrives. As this condition progresses, pressure increases on the eardrum, impeding its ability to vibrate properly. This can affect hearing and cause a great deal of pain.

It is wise to see your pediatrician so he can examine your child’s ear with an instrument called and “otoscope.” After diagnosing him with an ear infection, he may prescribe an antibiotic such as amoxicillin to kill the bacteria and prevent more fluid accumulation. Many times, an antibiotic is not necessary and relief can be attained just by giving acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Antihistamines and decongestants may also be prescribed depending on your child’s symptoms and a physical exam. However, in instances where fever persists and pain worsens despite these medications, he should be re-examined to rule out any other serious concurrent infections. Occasionally, if a child has recurrent ear infections, your doctor may suggest insertion of ear tubes to aid in draining trapped fluid from the middle ear.

It’s important to note that ear infections are not contagious and oftentimes, a child may return to school or daycare after the symptoms abate; however, it is always important to finish the course of antibiotics prescribed. All patients should be re-evaluated 2 weeks after the start of treatment to ensure that inflammation has resolved and the mobility of the tympanic membrane is back to normal.

Periodic follow up is highly recommended for patients with recurrent ear infections. Your pediatrician will also perform a hearing test on your child to ensure that there are no residual effects on his hearing after the infection.

Recurring medical conditions can be very trying for both children and parents. Trust me, I know it sometimes seems as though you see your pediatrician more than you see your best friend! But hang in there… some of my best friends today are parents that were in my office with their kids once a month of more ;)    Silver linings, friends. Silver linings!

I hope you are all having a wonderful, safe, and happy summer!

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All information contained in this blog and on our web site(s) should be independently verified by you by a medical professional of your own choosing and you should always conduct your own research and due diligence before making any decision related to the subject matter of this blog or our web site. 

Dr. Pearl CenonDr. Pearl

A pediatrician in private practice in New Jersey for over 15 years, Dr. Cenon (we like to call her Dr. Pearl) also has two children of her own. Dr. Pearl’s husband, Kevin McDonough is also a pediatrician and they work together. She writes basic posts about topics that interest many parents, from skin care and nutrition to seasonal issues, such as allergies and colds. Her kind, approachable tone in each blog post will have you looking forward to the next one.

Fashion Friday: A New Era of Wardrobe Staples

 

Spring-cleaning is in full bloom. Now is a perfect time to rid your kid’s closet of too small, worn out, chocolate milk-stained clothes—except for those sentimental pieces, of course—and replenish with new colors, the latest silhouettes and trendy accoutrements. Just like your own closet, quality basics are needed to create the foundation for children’s impeccably cute wardrobe, but contrary to what you may believe about investment pieces, it is easy to restock and refresh on the cheap. Savvy moms will enjoy the newest pack of versatile wardrobe builders that will outlast the season and the life expectancy of most trends. Remember these simple rules on your next spring shopping spree.

 

 

 

Windbreakers are to kids as trench coats are to moms.

The name might conjure up horrible Eighties fashion, but light weight packable windbreakers are a go-to item for chilly mornings at the school bus stop and rainy day trips to the movies. An old-school elbow patch helps to tailor the athletic style and smarten up the look in the style of the trench, while the tech-y fabric excels at soaking up hot hues.

Hooded Jacket by OshKosh B'Gosh

Hooded Jacket by OshKosh B’Gosh

 

Layered Skirt by Mim-pi

Layered Skirt by Mim-pi

Tutus are to kids as little black dresses are to moms.

Moms know how the LBD takes the guesswork out of dressing up for a special occasion, and tutu skirts for girls does the same—plus add fairy-like fantasies to a gal’s day. From birthday parties and communions to kindergarten graduation ceremonies and weddings, tulle skirts pack a fancy punch for a myriad of events and even looks cute with a casual tee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twofers are to kids as twin sets are to moms. 

The look might be less prep school chic and more skater boy, but twofers serve the same purpose as their more genial counterpart: options! The layered style is a mainstay in kids’ fashion. However, on extra warm day a wiser option is to fake the look by pairing arm warmers with a cotton tee. By midday, toss the warmers in the diaper bag.

T-shirt by Zutano. BabyLegs Jolly Jack

T-shirt by Zutano. BabyLegs Jolly Jack

 

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About the Author:

Angela Velasquez

With 4 years of experience as a children’s stylist and magazine editor, Angela brings you an insider’s perspective on trends and seasonal looks that will make babies and toddlers shine in their holiday photos and at birthday parties!  Angela also has a way of making everyday clothes and accessories look special — she’ll show you how.

The Differences Between Raising First and Second Children

I had always heard that parenting strategies differed between your first child and any subsequent children, but I never knew how true it was until our second came along! Our first child is now 8 and my parenting strategy with him can be summed up neatly into one word: overprotective. I washed his bottles/sippy cups separately from other dishes in the dishwasher and his clothing separately in the washing machine until he was well over a year old - with my daughter I only did that for the first few months. Whereas he wasn’t allowed to climb on to the sofa by himself or go anywhere near the stairs, my daughter is a little monkey who will climb anything and everything and loves spending hours at a time climbing up the stairs and sliding down on her bottom (with either Daddy or me right behind her of course, just in case!)

I think several factors contribute to these vast differences in the way we parent her compared to the way we parented him. The main one being the differences in their personalities. Our son was a shy, quiet child and was more interested in playing with shape sorters and puzzles than tumbling and climbing. He loved to sit and read books or just cuddle. Our daughter on the other hand is more rough-and-tumble and prefers a more hands-on approach to her exploration of the world around her.

Another factor that helps to explain the change between our parenting styles 8 years ago and now is our age. My husband and I were 19 and 20 when our son was born. At that young age, we were nervous and unprepared and therefore highly overprotective with him. Now that we’re older (and wiser), we are comfortable with giving our daughter a little more “breathing room” to grow and explore, while still keeping a watchful eye and arms ready to rescue her when she gets a little too adventurous!

Keep Calm and Parent On

Also, from our own experience and talking with friends who also have more than one child, the common theme seems to be that second children are more energetic and adventurous because they have an older sibling to try to keep up with. That definitely holds true in our house! So for those of you expecting or contemplating adding a second child (or more) to your family, my advice is to remember that you will more than likely have to change up your parenting style a bit and remain flexible, and not to worry if you find yourself doing things completely differently than with your first. It’s definitely an adjustment, but so worth it – change can be a great thing!

About the Blogger:

Hi! I’m Beth Ann and I live in Central PA. My husband and I have been together for 10 years and have an 8 year old son and an 18 month old daughter who both love BabyLegs. I’m a stay-at-home mom and also do part-time work from home as a legal transcriptionist. I enjoy working on my photography hobby, remodeling our house, going to sporting events, pretty much anything that involves spending time with my family!

*Image from Living Mi Vida Loca

 

Living On Limited Income

My family of four has been living with a limited income for over three years (ever since I had kids) and I would like to think I’ve become a bit of a pro at it. On our single income we have managed to pay off all my medical bill debt, buy a new house, a new car, and take the family on a nice vacation each year. It was hard work, but these days it seems so simple. Prior to becoming a one income family my boyfriend and I were both working full time and had no debt whatsoever.  Daytrips to Seattle and Portland were normal, and buying new clothes for myself with each paycheck was a must.

The hardest thing for us was building a savings account for emergencies.  We are still adding to that fund, but we have a full mortgage payment, and car payment saved up. Most importantly we need some extra money for medical bills. We are not married, so I am not covered on his insurance. Thankfully I’ve only had to go to the doctor once, but for strep throat it was $120, plus another $40 for the prescription!

 I started out couponing when my son was first born. I was completely overwhelmed with all the coupons, and had no clue what I was doing. It took me a year before I mastered it. I’m no “extreme” couponer, but most things I buy are on coupons. I found it easiest to find a few blogs that follow coupon deals and every few days check in on them to see if there are new deals posted. I’ve managed to cut our grocery bill in half this way. We started shopping at the bread outlets, and buy a few loaves at a time and stick them in the freezer. I buy meat when it’s reduced for quick sale and package it up for the freezer when we get home.

One thing that took me a long time to understand was just because it’s a really good deal, doesn’t mean you should buy it. Do my kids need every single little people play set just because I can get them for $5 at a consignment store? No.  I am just now getting rid of all the unnecessary toys in my house. It’s hard! I have made lists of what the kids will need, and how many presents they will get for Christmas, and I stick to it. I shop the Target toy clearance, usually in August, and in late January/early Feb.  I buy clothes a season ahead of time when stores are starting to clear out merchandise for the next season.

Since we have become a one income family my priorities have really changed a lot. No more fancy coffees for me.  If I don’t need new clothes I don’t buy them.  We cut down our cable bill by getting rid of the extra add on package we don’t need.  We switched to a pay as you go cell phone, since we don’t really use it on a regular basis. This has allowed me to use the extra cash on more important things such as: Preschool for my son, Tee Ball, and our family vacations.

Living on a limited income has been a challenge, but I’ve managed to control my spending, and budget the important things in with a little work.  Anyone can do it, it’s hard to get started but I think it’s important.
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About the Blogger:

I’m Renea P. I’m a stay at home mommy to a one year old girl and three year old boy. I love spending time with my family, couponing, crafting, and doing fun activities with my kids.

Breastfeeding — How hard can it be?

That is what I thought after an expectant friend said she was worried about breastfeeding. “It’s how we were designed, what’s to worry about,” I thought. With that (vastly incorrect) outlook, I entered motherhood without considering breastfeeding except that it was “best,” “natural,” and I would do it. Oh, what I have learned!

  • Babies do not always “latch on” and eat – in fact, some, like my son, refuse to latch on but instead scream or, when they finally do latch on, fall asleep.
  • Babies don’t always wake to eat. After my son did not wake to eat his first night at home and into the morning, I called the nurse, who advised bringing him in. Not only had he developed jaundice in the 17 hours since we left the hospital, he had not eaten. Thus, based on the advice of the lactation consultant, I pumped milk, supplemented with formula, and worked on nursing will also finger-feeding him (use a thin tube attached to a feeding syringe filled with formula or breast milk and tape that tube to the finger, which the baby then sucks on to remove milk from the syringe).
  • Finger-feeding to avoid nipple confusion is not a guaranteed success. For the first few weeks, we woke our son every two hours to eat, requiring that we finger-feed him because he would not nurse or wake to eat and we were told giving him a bottle would cause nipple confusion. We now joke that instead of nipple confusion, he got “finger confusion.” For the first couple months, he wanted to suck on someone’s finger instead of a pacifier or bottle – fingers were more comforting/familiar to him.
  • Pumping milk for a baby who won’t nurse is not always possible because the pump does not always stimulate enough milk production.
  • Working with a lactation consultant is helpful and can work, but doesn’t always. The lactation consult gave us great advice, but it just did not work for our son.
  • Sometimes breastfeeding does not work, not for lack of trying or desire – some babies just will not breastfeed and some moms are just unable to do so and that is OKAY.
  • Not nursing when you so badly want to is a tough decision and can cause guilt. I was disappointed, felt guilty for giving up and being unprepared, and often wished I had tried longer. But, after a few weeks of waking my son every two hours, spending twenty minutes unsuccessfully trying to get him to nurse, then finger feeding him, then pumping what (very little) milk I could get so that I could feed him that, with formula, at the next feeding, then starting all over again thirty-forty minutes later plus fitting in trips to the lactation consultant and doctor, I reached my breaking point and, sobbingly, told my husband I could not do this anymore and wanted to just formula feed. He was supportive and we still had to wake our son regularly to eat for a short time, but he had a bottle and life was easier for all of us.
  • Just because one baby won’t nurse, does not mean others won’t. I talked to other moms who had a child who would not nurse and then had other children who nursed just fine. So, when I was pregnant with Baby #2, I decided I wanted to try nursing again after. I prepared myself better this time, but didn’t need to – she latched on twenty minutes after birth, nursed great, and is still nursing twice a day at twenty months. I was also able to return to work and pump three times a day while away from her until she was one, providing her with plenty of milk despite having been unable to pump more than a ½ ounce at a time with my son. Friends, colleagues and even family eye me suspiciously when I say she is still nursing or ask, “When are you going to wean her?” But, I am in no hurry to wean her yet. She seems to nurse less and less each day though and will, I think, wean herself before long.
  • Overall, breastfeeding is a wonderful experience and I would encourage anyone who wants to do so and can to breastfeed – but, it is not always easy and it does not always work and that is okay.

On a side note: our son, who would not wake to eat and when awake, often refused to eat, is now five and still does not like to eat – never has. Meals are always a battle and he would choose to go all day without eating if we let him. He is healthy and in the 75th percentile on the charts, he just does not like food (except fruit snacks and suckers). I maintain that this was the problem from day one – it wasn’t that he couldn’t nurse – he just didn’t like to eat.

 

Shawna’s beautiful daughter and son!

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About the Blogger:

Hi! I’m Shawna. I am a married, working mom of two — one boy, one girl, who I love more than I could have every imagined. Parenting has not always been easy for me and my children throw plenty of unexpected surprises, but I wouldn’t trade that for anything.