Finding Your Stride As A First-Time Parent

Posted by Susan Brown on December 04, 2018 0 Comments

Finding Your Stride As A First-Time Parent

  As many as 2 in 5 new parents experience mental health issues. Like any major life transition, becoming a parent can wreak havoc on your confidence. Every day is a flood of new experiences with huge potential consequences and it’s easy to feel like you have no idea what you are doing. All new parents feel this way and in time you’ll find your stride. Until then, there are things you can do to smooth out the ride.

Practice self care to boost Self Esteem

Rooted in Buddhism, the notion that we must first take care of ourselves before we can take care of others is an idea that new parents would be wise to take to heart. Although taking time for yourself may seem like a ridiculous notion when you are taking care of a tiny human 24 hours a day, filling up your cup, even in the smallest ways, will have a big impact on how you feel and on your ability to persevere in the parenting game.

How will you find the time? Start with naps. While baby sleeps, get some rest, read a book, exercise, have an uninterrupted shower--whatever it is, do it for you and only you. Taking care of yourself not only leaves you more emotionally, physically, and mentally able to care for others, it increases your self-esteem. You become more sure of yourself as you encounter all those new parenting experiences.

Choosing carefully increases confidence

New parents are faced with innumerable choices. Each one, from what pediatrician will care for your baby to what bath products to use is an opportunity to grow your confidence as a parent. As you spend time carefully considering options you are adding to your parental knowledge base. Making selections based on your family’s needs and preferences is like laying another brick in a foundation of sound decisions. Each new choice makes the foundation, and your confidence, stronger.

Ask for advice but trust your gut

Without a doubt, there will be times when you seek the advice of others. Your tribe of fellow parents are a wealth of information and they may have some tricks or common experiences that can help. Knowing you aren’t the first to ever encounter a particular problem or question can be hugely comforting in itself. Just bear in mind that your child is unique and your parenting style is unique. What worked for them won’t necessarily work for you. If your gut tells you that something isn’t working, listen to it.

Experience is everything

A study of first time Danish mothers attempted to gauge confidence, mood, and stress at 2 months and 6 months postpartum. In every category, the new moms significantly improved at 6 months as compared to 2 months. Experience is everything. The first time you bathe your baby you will be nervous and unsure. By six months, you will be lathering and rinsing like a relaxed pro. Your confidence will increase with your experience.

Parenting is the most important job most of us ever do. We receive little training and the stakes are immeasurably high. With so much on the line, it’s no surprise that new parents often lack confidence. With lots of self-care, careful considerations, and time in the role, new parents will eventually find their stride.

 

 

 

 

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Caring for Your Child’s Multi-Ethnic Hair

Posted by Susan Brown on April 10, 2018 0 Comments

If your little toddler or child ever asks you why styling their curls is so much work, the answer should always be, “because multi-ethnic hair is beautiful!” Curls do take a little more work, but that bounce and volume is all worth it. The key to stylish locks for babies and children with curly hair is to keep it simple, use gentle products, embrace a chemical-free lifestyle, and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.

 Shampooing Less Frequently

Dryness is the main reason why curls might bunch up and tangle, and one reason it can exist is because of frequent washing. Some moms of multi-ethnic babes swear that shampooing once a week is more than enough, with conditioner or even spraying warm water onto hair being more than enough on other days.

 Not all babies, toddlers or little kids are alike; older children may really be into sport and may sweat considerably, thus necessitating a good shampoo more than once a week. If so, use gentle products such as Susan Brown’s Baby’s Foaming Shampoo & Wash, which is free of phthalates, sodium laurel sulfate, and  parabens, and is tear-free and ph-balanced. It is surprising to note that many commercial brands still contain harmful ingredients such as sulfates, which have been linked to everything from skin irritation to cancer.

 Adding Moisture to Your Routine

When bathing your child or helping them shower, apply shampoo or conditioner gently onto wet hair, massaging into the scalp and ever-so-gently tugging at knotted areas to smooth out. Always start at the end of the hair, working your way up slowly towards the scalp. Rub the hair gently between your thumb, pointer and middle finger, to loosen up any tangles you find. This process is vital because afterwards, it will be much easier to comb hair.

 Add a few drops of oil (argan, coconut or jojoba are deeply moisturizing) and massage on to your child’s locks as well. This will lend hair a beautiful shine and will lead to more defined curls.

 Combing Hair Out

An important strategy for styling multi-ethnic hair is to use as wide-toothed a comb as possible, to ensure less tangling; the comb cannot be too wide, however, since children tend to have less volume than adults.

You will find that with the added moisture, combing will be a breeze. You can add a touch of detangling spray if necessary, or a tiny bit more natural oil for extra shine.

In the summer, let hair air dry and in the winter, consider performing this routine at night, or gently dry with a hair diffuser, which distributes heat evenly through the head. When hair is almost dry, ask your child to bend forward. Move the diffuser in a down-to-up motion, to shape curls and add a bit of bounce.

Once you comb out your child’s hair, you can also skip the drying and ponytail hair back or style into a plait; styling when hair is wet is the easiest way to do so, since there will be zero tangles at this stage

Styling multi-ethnic hair is easy whenever moisture takes center stage. As your child grows up, feel free to experiment with multi-ethnicity brands that have a wealth of products aimed at particular types of hair (e.g. kinky hair will need more moisture, while wavy hair will benefit from curl defining products). With a little practice and plenty of variety in the styles you choose, your children will undoubtedly love their curls and the many styles they can sport.

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Can medications make you more sensitive to the sun?

Posted by Susan Brown on August 29, 2017 0 Comments

This summer's must-reads aren't romances or thrillers; they're the warning labels and package inserts for your drugs and supplements. As Consumer Reports on Health warned in a recent article, “[s]ome widely used medications can make you far more sensitive to summer’s sunlight and heat than you’d usually be.”

That sensitivity can mean anything from a reduced ability to sweat to an increase in the amount of fluid you lose through your urine. So it’s important to revisit whatever safety info you have, and to check in with your doctor, who can let you know about potential risks during the brightest, warmest time of year.

Here are some of the better-known substances that may allow summer's sun and heat to hit you harder:

Antibiotics

 

“Antibiotics can cause photosensitivity and phototoxic reactions, meaning that they’re going to worsen your sunburn,” Rech says. “The one that comes to mind right away is Bactrim, or sulfamethoxozole trimethoprim.” Bactrim is prescribed to treat everything from bronchitis to bladder infections. “That’s a big offender, and so are tetracyclines and fluoroqinolones.” That said, you should never, ever skip an antibiotic for the sake of sunbathing, warns Rech. Your doctor can help you juggle your plans and your meds. 

Allergy medications

 

Some users find that oral antihistamines like diphenydramine (found in products like Benadryl and Dramamine) reduce their ability to sweat. In extreme cases, as the Consumer Reports medical advisory board noted, the overheating that can result leads to cramps, exhaustion, and even heat stroke. If you find that your allergy meds make it difficult for you to cool down, plan outdoor activities for the morning and evening, and try to spend the hottest hours of the day indoors.

Antidepressants

 

Tricyclic antidepressants may cause problems in hot weather because they "prevent the area in your brain that regulates heat response from knowing you’re overheating,” Rech explains. “They can also decrease sweating, which leads to a decrease in heat loss.”

When you’re taking a drug that increases the likelihood of overheating, stay alert for warning signssuch as headaches, lightheadedness, nausea, and weakness. If you experience any of those symptoms, get out of the sun and reach for water or a sports drink with sodium (which will help your body retain fluid until balance is restored). In the event of a severe reaction such as confusion, fever, or fainting, contact your doctor or call 911.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

 

“The main non-steroidals that cause phototoxicity are probably not ones that we commonly use," Rech says. But still, caution should be used, especially if you're on other medications. "Any time you’re taking a non-steroidal and going out in the sun I would recommend barrier protection with sunscreen and avoidance if possible, because any of the non-steroidals can worsen [phototoxicity],” Rech explains.

Vitamins and herbs

 

“A lot of over-the-counter herbal medications [can have phototoxic effects]—for example, St. John’s Wort is a big inducer of photosensitivity, and that medication in particular has a number of drug interactions. Anyone [interested in taking it] should ask their doctor or pharmacist first,” says Rech. Another pill that might put you at risk: Niacin, a form of Vitamin B3 that’s used to treat high cholesterol. It can cause skin reactions, Rech says, "so it could potentially cause [sun sensitivity].”


Topical medications

 

Significant sun exposure can amplify the effect of transdermal patches (such as Fentanyl, a powerful pain reliever, or Clonidine, which lowers blood pressure) that deliver medication directly through the skin. When you get a sunburn, the blood vessels in the surface of your skin dilate, explains Rech, and that can lead to increased absorption of your meds. So if you’re wearing a patch, it's a good idea to consider long sleeves.

Source: http://www.health.com/family/heat-sun-sensitivity-medication

 

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Keeping Baby Toys Clean Without Chemicals

Posted by Susan Brown on June 01, 2017 0 Comments

So, you've made it through the newborn stage - congrats, now the fun can really begin!  Once your baby gets to three to four months old, they'll start to be able to interact more with you and the world around them, which is a great time to introduce some bright, colorful (and possibly noisy!) baby toys. 

When you first get them out of the box they're lovely and clean, but what happens when they've been dropped on the floor a few times? Or been licked by the dog?  Babies often explore new things by putting them in their mouths, so you definitely want to make sure that they are cleaned regularly. But by the same token you also don't want them trying to eat something that you've just covered in a chemical cleaner! Some of the ill effects of using modern cleaning products can be poisoning, allergies, eczema, eye damage and other health effects. 

 

This article gives some great tips on the best ways to keep baby toys clean and how regularly to do so. 

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