Lucy's feeding time
For a 18-month-old girl, Lucy Schurman has very grownup tastes. It’s a cold, blustery December evening in Brookline, Mass., and the precocious toddler sits in a bright yellow child seat in a spacious, warmly lit kitchen, eating chunks of avocado.
“Chili is her favorite food,” her mother Jeana comments to Pam Lodish, who is tending to food on the stove. “But she’ll eat almost anything, kalamata olives or grapefruit. She even loves curry and handles spicier stuff better than her dad.”
As Lucy eats, a playful Bernese mountain dog saddles up beside her and the two enter a heated staring match, only broken up by Lucy’s dad, Mark, who leans in to feed her another piece of avocado.
The entire scene is enough to inspire a “home is where the heart is” greeting card, except the Schurmans’s house is 1,000 miles away. Though you’d never guess it from watching them interact, the Schurman and Lodish families have only know each other for a single year—one of the hardest years Jeana and Mark could ever imagine. Full story »
By Susan Laster, MD, a primary care physician with the Pediatric Physicians’ Organization at Boston Children’s who practices in Brookline, Mass.
hen your baby is born, one of the first responsibilities you’re faced with as a new parent is feeding her. But feeding decisions can cause anxiety for new mothers and fathers who are unsure about what the healthiest options are for their newborn.
“Should we breast feed or bottle feed?
Can I pump my breast milk?
Is it OK to offer breast milk in a bottle?
Is it the right time for her to eat this?”
Unfortunately, like most child-rearing, there is no such thing as a universal, one-size-fits-all answer to many of these questions. But, with some guidance and a little homework, you can make confident, informed feeding decisions that work best for your family.
One way to look at feeding is to view it as the first stage of your child’s lifelong relationship with food. And as a parent, it’s your introduction into meal planning, which will become something you’ll think about throughout her entire childhood. If our ultimate feeding goal is to raise kids who become adults who enjoy eating and can prepare tasty, healthy meals, then the foundation of that relationship starts in infancy. Full story »
Kate Gray is the mother of William, an active toddler whose serious fall almost ended in tragedy.
I call William my spirited child. Like many 3 year-olds, he loves to run and jump, and does it without the slightest sense of fear. His boundless energy has always been one of his most endearing features, but in a split second, it also almost took him from us forever.
Up, up and away! Like many toddlers, William is a ball of energy
A few days before Christmas, my husband Mark and I had some last minute holiday chores to do so we decided to beat the rush by heading out early in the morning. As we walked out the front door William and I were standing side by side, just inches from each other. Suddenly, he turned to go back towards the door and somehow lost his footing. He fell backwards off the steps and hit the back of his head on the brick walkway as he landed. As I scooped him up to quiet his crying, I didn’t see any sign of injury. No goose egg or bump, not even a scratch. In less than five minutes he had stopped crying and we had begun our busy day. Full story »
American children are more stressed out than their parents, according to a recently released survey by the American Psychological Association. But when it comes to helping kids overcome all that stress, can the sound of a mother’s voice be just what the doctor ordered?
In some cases, yes, according to a study that looked at how varying types of mother/daughter interactions affected stress levels in a small group of preteen girls. The girls were asked to solve very difficult math problems in front of an audience of intently watching adults. When they finished, each girl spoke with her mother: either face-to-face, over the phone or via text or instant messenger. During these interactions, researchers studied the hormonal balance of each child, noting instances where hormones linked to strong emotions were produced.
When compared with the group that only had digital interactions, girls who saw their mothers, or at least heard her voice over the phone, had lower levels of cortisol—the “stress” hormone—and higher levels of oxytocin—affectionately called the “love hormone.” (When we hug or kiss someone, our oxytocin level spikes. It also acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain, playing a large role in how our brain processes our bonding relationships.) Full story »
Michael Rich, MD, MPH
Michael Rich, MD, MPH, is Boston Children’s Hospital’s media expert and director of Boston Children’s Center on Media and Child Health. Send him a media-related parenting question via firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @CMCH_Boston.
Q: We like to stream music from Pandora for my kids, who are in first and second grade. Pop dance music is fun and upbeat, and my children love it. But there is a big jump in maturity from Laurie Berkner and Kids Bop to Today’s Top Hits. And though there are lots of controls to set for Internet, TV, and movies, I can’t really find any for music. What are my monitoring options for streaming music?
-Mystified by Music
A: Dear Mystified,
Music is wonderful for kids! Whether they sing along or dance to the rhythm, music can engage them in melodies, develop language skills, and encourage them to move with imagination. You can share with them the music you love, and there is excellent music created especially for kids of different ages in terms of message, rhythm, and sing-along-ability. Full story »
Dennis Rosen, MD is the associate medical director of The Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Boston Children’s Hospital and author of Successful Sleep Strategies for Kids.
Dennis Rosen, MD
We all dream during sleep, some more vividly than others. While we may not always pay attention to what happens in some of our dreams, they can be extremely vivid, and associated with a wide range of emotions (sadness, fear, joy) that carries over into wakefulness. This is as true for adults as it is for children: in fact, many adults can recall in great detail dreams that they had decades earlier as children.
Throughout history, humans have viewed dreams and their content as significant, often making important decisions based upon them. Interestingly, though, the tendency of many in our modern society is to ignore them. Indeed, many parents dismiss their children’s dreams, particularly those that are disturbing, as being “only” dreams, instead of cause for reflection.
Kelly Bulkeley, former president of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, and his mother Patricia Bulkley, whose doctoral dissertation was about the dreams of the dying, are the authors of the book Children’s Dreams: Understanding the Most Memorable Dreams and Nightmares of Childhood. This book is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in dreams, why they emerge, and how to try and make sense of their content.
Full story »
Dr. Claire McCarthy is a primary care physician and the Medical Communications Editor at Boston Children’s Hospital. Along with her blogs here on Thriving, you can find her at the Huffington Post and Boston.com. Follow her on Twitter @drClaire.
Adults are the ones who are supposed to be stressed, not kids. Childhood is supposed to be the stress-free part of life, right?
Well, maybe not. At least not for teens.
According to a recently released survey from the American Psychological Association, teens are actually more stressed than their parents.
Full story »
The quality of life for most adults after undergoing three surgeries in less than three years is greatly impacted. However, a nearly 3-year-old boy from Providence, R.I., is thriving in spite of receiving three very complex heart surgeries to correct for his hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS).
“Daniel has fared incredibly well throughout his multiple procedures—better than most undergoing such complex operations—which shows his strength and tenacity,” says Christopher Baird, MD, director of the Congenital Heart Valve Program at Boston Children’s Hospital.
This is truly impressive because he has been struggling with a heart defect since birth. In fact, he was diagnosed with HLHS at 36 hours of life in a newborn nursery in Providence. Baird performed Daniel’s first open heart surgery at Boston Children’s when he was 4 days old. This procedure, the Sano modification of the Norwood procedure, involves the placement of a conduit between the pulmonary artery and the right ventricle, which serves to make the right ventricle the main pumping chamber for blood flow to the body.
As an energetic, talkative toddler, Daniel Lareau is already mastering the skills of multitasking:
Full story »