Posted by: Lisa | August 11, 2011

1st Amendment or Child Abuse?

Thoughts?  Is this father legally allowed to write anything he chooses on his personal blog, or should he be prohibited to do so in the name of child protection?

Posted by: Lisa | August 10, 2011

New Tylenol Dosages

You might want to closely check any bottles of acetaminophen (Tylenol) you have in the medicine cabinet.  It turns out that they used to offer seven different concentrations of children’s acetaminophen, particularly in liquid form, so you could have everything from a regular strength to concentrated drops.  But once most parents learned their child needed 1 mL, for example, they’d give 1 mL of any of the liquids, which could end up ranging from 160 mg to 500 mg of the drug.  They’ve now done away with the various concentrations of the liquid form, so any bottles you buy now will be 160 mg/ 1 mL.

Bottom line – just be careful when dispensing medicine for your baby or young child.

Posted by: Lisa | August 4, 2011

We Can’t Win

I’ve decided that if we avoided eating all food from BPA-lined cans or plastic containers, processed foods, fake sugar, soda, meat & eggs from factory farms, produce from pesticide-using farms, etc., we’d all starve to death.  It seems that every time I find something that seems healthy, it’s deemed unsafe.  If something is economical, it’s bad for the environment.  If something is environmentally friendly & safe, it ends up recalled for salmonella.

A great deal of foods we eat are imported from China, including the always popular apple juice for kids.  I know juice isn’t the healthiest drink & Jacob gets very limited quantities, but it’s still healthier than soda & many parents believe it’s a good source of fruit.  Two-thirds of the apple juice & 75% of the Tilapia in our country is a Chinese import.  Recent tests have found that most apple juice on the market has arsenic levels 5 times higher than what the EPA allows in drinking water.

Um, EW!!!  So add one more thing to the list of forbidden foods.  There aren’t many foods left.  Ugh.  It’s hard to keep it all straight, no?


Posted by: Lisa | August 3, 2011

Free Online Stories

Thanks to Frugal Coupon Living for this info.  “The Kissing Hand” (one of my absolute favorites from my classroom teaching days!) is read aloud by its author, Audrey Penn.  At the bottom of the page are icons for many other popular children’s stories, including Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” and one that’s sure to be a hit in our house – “Smash! Crash!”  Jacob is fascinated by watching/listening to stories like this, so I thought perhaps yours might be, too.

Posted by: Lisa | July 29, 2011

Karousel Kids – Teacher Appreciation Month

August is Teacher Appreciation Month at Karousel Kids consignment store in downtown Matthews, NC.  That means that all teachers, bus drivers, and other school employees will receive 20% off all consigned clothing and shoe purchases.

Also, next weekend (August 5th-7th) is NC Tax-free weekend, so it’s a good time to stock up on back-to-school clothes!


Posted by: Lisa | July 25, 2011

Baby/Child Product Recalls

The children’s cough/cold medicine and drop-side crib recalls have probably been the most publicized kid-related recalls in the past year or so, but there have been many others of which most parents are unaware.  Thanks to Parenting magazine online for keeping an updated list that parents can regularly monitor.  I personally think some products aren’t major safety issues, but others can be very dangerous!  Better safe than sorry!

Posted by: Lisa | July 15, 2011

Blog, meet Blog

Many of you have heard me talk about my love for the hourly, drop-in childcare facility near my house. So I was thrilled when the owners of that business asked me to begin writing for their blog twice a month.

And since I’m certain many of you lose countless nights of sleep anxiously awaiting the next great post from The Tot Talks, hopefully checking out the StayNPlay blog will help satisfy your craving for random Jacob stories or information about child-related topics in the meantime.  To start you off, see my article about drop-in childcare & StayNPlay in particular.  And if you’re intrigued, definitely go “like” Stay-N-Play on Facebook.

Only the most recent post on this blog was written by me, but look for more in the near future!


Posted by: Lisa | June 20, 2011

Breastfeeding: A Reflection on the Past 25 Months

It’s official. The breastfeeding relationship Jacob & I had is now over.

Am I sad? Absolutely. Do I have any regrets? Not a one.

When I was pregnant I heard all the well-known facts about how breast is best and blah, blah, blah. I knew it was cheaper. I knew it was healthier for Jacob. I knew it could help me lose weight & decrease my chances of breast cancer.

I also knew it would be more complicated than formula-feeding, thanks to the fact that only I could produce the milk. And it’s generally considered a little less appropriate to nurse a baby, say, in church or in a restaurant, than it is to whip out a bottle. (I am NOT saying I agree with that – just that it’s a fact society views boobs with a bit more scrutiny than they do plastic cups with rubber tops on them).

So my goal was to nurse for 3 months. I knew that would be better than nothing and it seemed like a reasonable goal. It wasn’t the easiest thing. I was sore. It hurt to sleep on my stomach & I leaked. It was sometimes inconvenient or awkward. I was surrounded by some wonderfully supportive & special girlfriends in a coffee shop the first time I ever breastfed in public. They cheered me on & after that hurdle it got yet a little more doable. But by the time the 3-month mark approached, I realized it had gotten a lot easier and the sessions were shorter & less frequent, so I told myself I’d push ahead until Jacob was 6 months old, since that was halfway to the recommended time set by the American Academy of Pediatrics. So I kept going.

Six months came and went. Jacob was nursing much less often now, making it more convenient for me. I was actually really kind of enjoying our moments together.  It was fun knowing that I was the only person on Earth who could share that experience with him!  He easily went between nursing and drinking bottles of pumped breastmilk, so that helped me be able to enjoy some child-free time. I participated in church activities & occasionally even had some quality date time with my husband! Jacob still nursed during the night at least once every night & I got to hear well-meaning parents & non-parents alike tell me that he would sleep through the night if only I’d give him formula or rice cereal in a bottle at bedtime. I politely declined & kept chugging away as I was. Over the course of the next few months, I began pumping and storing milk that I intended to donate to a milk bank. It seemed like a great cause since I’d been blessed with the ability to breastfeed my baby & was passionate about it. The piles of milk bags in our deep freezer continued to grow, just as Jacob’s round little belly did! I kept going.

I began having some painful problems. I’ll spare you the details, but at one point my mom even suggested that it might be time to switch to formula & that I could rest easy knowing I’d done my best & could be a good mom in other ways than just breastfeeding. I knew, however, that I wouldn’t believe I’d done my best if I gave up. Jon stood by my side & said he’d support me with whatever decision I made. He knew how important this had become to me but assured me I was a wonderful mom no matter what happened. I went to a La Leche League meeting, met with lactation specialists & doctors, & began taking a natural supplement that was supposed to help with my issue. It helped a little, but the problem was still there. Even still, I kept going.

I started giving myself really small goals. Through the pain, I told myself I would just get through the week (I’m anal retentive & felt the need to end on an even day or something). When I reached my goal, I figured I might as well finish off the month. You know, so I could tell myself I went x-number of months.  My little goals piled up & I made it to Jacob’s 1st birthday. I gave away all the samples of formula we’d received – Jacob never had a drop of it! I was SO proud of us but also simultaneously crushed to learn that the milk bank wouldn’t accept my milk because I’d been taking Zyrtec for my allergies.  The lactation specialist had said it was fine, so I thought I was clear, but apparently milk banks have to be much more careful than the mother of a full-term, healthy baby needs to be). I immediately & happily tossed my breast pump in the attic…and the problems I’d had went away just as quickly. Hmmm…coincidence? Then at 13 months Jacob suddenly began sleeping through the night – all on his own, when he was ready, just like that…and not because I gave him formula! Now I easily kept going!

Nursing was now a piece of cake. I very slowly & gently weaned Jacob down to just four sessions a day – morning, night, and before each nap. I had lots of milk stored in the freezer, so he gained all the benefits of that through sippy cups during the day. As Jacob dropped his morning nap, our nursing sessions dropped to three. By now I was so thrilled we’d made it the full year & it was easier than ever. I was in no pain, all of our sessions were done at home, and the 45-minute feedings of newborn days were gladly replaced by 5-10 minute long feedings. People kept asking me if that baby was still hooked on my boob.  I was even told he was too big to still be nursing.  I ignored those people.  I told myself we’d go until 15 months. Then 18 months. Aw, heck, we made it that far. Might as well keep going.  I figured, why not just go the full two years like the World Health Organization recommends?

I cut out the naptime nursing session so we were only doing it twice a day. Then it got to the point where Jacob just nursed once a day, either morning or night, depending on our schedule. If we were rushing out the door in the morning I didn’t bother & Jacob was fine with it. If I had plans to be gone in the evening I just nursed in the morning instead. I quit offering Jacob the breast & only nursed at his request. (Ironically, I once said I’d never breastfeed after my child was old enough to ask for it, and I ended up just beaming when my child asked so sweetly for “mama nuk!”) Eventually I realized our breastfeeding routine wasn’t really a routine anymore. It was sporadic, but still a special & important part of our lives.

As 24 months loomed ahead, I started having mixed feelings about it all. Having another baby wasn’t a very strong possibility for the near future anymore, so I was terrified I’d never have this experience again. I didn’t want to let it go…but I didn’t want to be the mom in “The Hangover” who still had a 4-year-old attached to her chest either! I felt incredibly thankful for my body’s ability to do something so incredibly amazing & proud that I had stuck with it for so long & that I’d done something so beneficial for my son. My pediatrician made me feel good when he told me breastfeeding had most likely contributed to Jacob’s very few illnesses during his first two years. A couple times I balked & asked Jacob if he wanted to nurse – and felt a twinge of sadness when he’d think about it & then say, “no,” and keep playing instead. I knew our time was coming to an end. I quit scrolling through my iPhone while nursing as I’d often done during the past two years & instead stared into my son’s eyes, stroked his hair, rocked him in the chair, & tried to soak up the limited number of moments I had left of that special act. I wanted to etch that feeling into my memory forever.

A few days ago I realized Jacob hadn’t nursed in over a week. Although I still have a very tiny bit of milk left, I’ve accepted the fact that it’s time to close this chapter in the book of Jacob’s & my lives. We made it for 25 incredible months. No one can ever erase that. I am THRILLED that I have had this experience. I am thrilled that I surpassed the goals of not just the American Academy of Pediatrics & the World Health Organization, but even breastfed 8 times longer than my own original goal. I am thrilled that Jacob is a wonderful eater – willing to try many new, varied, healthy foods. I am thrilled that I stuck with breastfeeding even when it was tough, because it certainly got easier & more rewarding with each passing month. I’m thrilled so much that now I sometimes ponder becoming a lactation specialist or working for La Leche League or something so I can share my experiences & knowledge with other moms. I’m a huge breastfeeding advocate now, if anyone is still wondering that about me!  🙂  I hope & pray that someday God will bless me again with another child & that I’ll be able enjoy this journey again. But for now, I simply get down on my knees and praise Him for every single day I have with my absolutely beautiful, healthy, precious child.

And now, on to the next chapter in this book called Motherhood!

international breastfeeding symbol

Posted by: Lisa | June 12, 2011

Updated Sunscreen List (2011)

I live in the southeast.  Spring ended here over a month ago and we’ll now have bright sunshine & 90+ degree temps pretty much daily until after Labor Day.  That means beach trips, pool time, & many hours spent outdoors.

That also means you & your children need to be wearing hats, sunglasses, & sunscreen more than ever.

Last summer I posted a link to a website that rates hundreds of various sunscreens on the market regarding their safety.  The Environmental Working Group specifically looks at the broad-spectrum protection (UVA and UVB) as well as the products’ ingredients, many of which have been found to cause cancer, birth defects, growths, or reproductive problems in lab animals.  I don’t know about you, but those aren’t necessarily things I want my child to have.

A rating of 0-2 is considered low hazard, a rating of 3-6 is medium hazard, & if you’re slathering anything with a 7-10 rating, well – I hope you’ll just toss the bottle in the trash can & invest in something deemed a bit safer for your body!

Many of the sunscreens commonly found in drugstores, such as Coppertone and Bull Frog, get very poor scores.  Yes, I know some of the best sunscreens are a bit more expensive or harder to find, but many can be acquired relatively easily.  Like everything in life, this is a choice you have to make.  Is your family’s health worth a little extra money?  I personally chose Blue Lizard Sensitive because it seemed like a good compromise – a score of 2, fairly inexpensive, and found on both and

Check here to see the EWG’s list of 134 best sunscreens or do a search for your own sunscreen and see how it weighs in:

Now, slap on at least a shot glass full of sunscreen before heading out in the sun & have a great summer!

Posted by: Lisa | June 2, 2011

Sensory Friendly Film

For those who have children wanting to see “Kung Fu Panda 2,” the AMC Theater at Concord Mills in Concord, NC, will showing it at 10:00 a.m. this Saturday, June 4th.  The lights will be turned up a bit brighter & the noise level turned down so it’s better suited for the littlest viewers.  Tickets are $5.

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