Real Life Solutions with Dr. Linda Mintle

Q: My husband is very anxious about the birth of our second child. He is feeling the economic pressure of our expanding family and worries about everything. He is making me anxious because of his state of distress. What can I tell him to calm him down? I know God will provide if we are faithful.

A: You are so right. God is faithful and promises to provide for our needs. Maybe this study published in Pediatrics will help him realize he needs to trust and let go of worry. The study included 32,000 children and found that the psychological distress of Dad during pregnancy did impact child development. Specifically, fathers were given a screening questionnaire regarding their mental health status during their partner’s pregnancy. Later, mothers were asked to also fill out questionnaires regarding their child’s development. Controlling for a number of variables, a link was found between the fathers’ mental health and their children’s later developmental problems. Dads who scored high on anxiety and distress when the mom was 17 to 18 weeks pregnant had children who were more disruptive and anxious at age 3! We don’t know exactly why this is, but maybe the mental health of the father later impacts his parenting, or maybe his mental health impacts the mother’s mental health, or maybe there is a genetic link. The point here is that the mental health of the dad, not just the mother, impacts the developing child. So let your husband know that his anxiety and distress could be affecting your child. It is time to trust God to meet your needs and let go of worry. Your new baby is too important and you want to give him or her the best start possible.

Dr. Linda Mintle is a licensed therapist and an Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics. She is a national speaker and bestselling author with 18 book titles currently published. Visit her website at drlindahelps.com.

Real Life Solutions With Dr. Linda Mintle

Q: My sister tells me I am too uptight about getting my toddler to sleep every night. She allows her three-year-old to stay up late, sleep in the next day and take naps if he is tired. She does not have him on any sleep routine. What do you think of this?

A: When you talk to sleep experts, they will tell you that a consistent sleep routine is important for a toddler. Sleep actually helps a baby’s brain grow! A study in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine found that inconsistent sleep may contribute to obesity later in life. The study also noted that napping does not replace the benefits of nighttime sleep. According to the CDC, three to five-year-olds need 11-13 hours of nighttime sleep. So, yes, a toddler needs a regular bedtime. Since a lack of sleep can create problems opt for the regular bedtime routine and be patience. A toddler may need help to wind down by reading a book, taking a warm bath or doing something quiet before bedtime. Of course, parents need to avoid chocolate, sodas and even juices before bedtime. A warm cup of milk is calming. Then, make sure there is a consistent wake up time as well, as oversleeping and prolonged napping can create sleep problems. The atmosphere should be quiet and peaceful. Some toddlers like a little music to relax them as well. Even small things like keeping the room temperature comfortable and the house quiet can aid a good night’s sleep. And you are setting habits for the future. Most of us do best with a regular sleep routine as well.

Resource: Take Charge of Your Child’s Sleep: The All-in-One Resource for Solving Sleep Problems in Kids and Teens by Owens and Midell (Marlowe & Company, 2005.

Christian Birth and Adoption Announcements

announcement

Having a baby or bringing a child home soon and want to share the news with the world? I love birth announcements – tiny pictures, sweet cheeks, happy news. If you’re looking for one that share Scripture or scriptural truth as well, we’ve got some choices for you!

 

announc1

This beautiful one-photo design has Psalm 139:14 – “I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made …” You can find it at Photo Card Cafe, and there’s also a blue version.

 

announc2

Another favorite verse for parents of newborns is “For this child I prayed” (1 Sam. 1:27). Here’s a lovely black-and-white card with hints of blue or pink.

announc3

I wish I had seen this design for one of my babies! This one shares, “The Lord has done great things for us!” (Ps. 126:3). You can customize it to be in any font and color you choose. What Joy indeed! (And how perfect for an adoption as well?)

announc4

I love that the Scripture on this one is a little different from what you normally see. It says, “With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations” (Ps. 89:1). And isn’t announcing the birth of a child or an addition to your family just that? The Blessed Family birth announcement comes to you via a digital file, so you can have it printed wherever you want. There is a choice of pink, lavender, green, and blue backgrounds.

Christian birth annoucement

This announcement has a poem, with the words to the poem in one color and font and the announcement information in another color and font. A little more formal. This one is also a digital file purchase.

{We were not asked to blog about any of these companies or compensated in any way. We simply hope this is helpful for you!}

Real Life Solutions With Dr. Linda Mintle

Q. I am a new mom and love to be out in the sun during this time of year. A friend of mine told me to be more careful and cover up my baby from the sun. Is this really a big deal?

A. Absolutely. Most sun damage occurs in childhood. Sun exposure builds over the years and can create problems later in life. Babies can get sunburned and their tender skin can’t handle the harmful UV rays emitted by the sun. A baby under the age of six months should not be exposed to direct sunlight. And even though it is hot, cover your baby with light cotton clothing to protect her skin. Limit her exposure to the sun during the peak hours of ultraviolet rays—10:00a.m to 4:00p.m. Shade her whenever possible. Most baby carriers have sunshades built in, car shades can be use when she is in her car seat and umbrellas, baby tents and other shading devices can be used as added protection. Use sunscreen designed for infants with at least an SPF of 15, even on hazy days. Apply the sunscreen at least an hour before going out and reapply it often. Hats are also a good way to protect the face and they look really cute! Keep in mind that if you live in a high altitude, sun exposure is greater. If your baby gets sunburned and is showing blisters, fever, chills headache or appears ill, contact your pediatrician immediately. Sunburn can lead to dehydration and is treated like a serious burn. So yes, your friend was right. It is a big deal!

Resource: Baby 411: Clear Answers & Smart Advice For Your Baby’s First Year by Denise Fields & Ari Brown M.D. Windsor Peak Press; Fifth Edition, Revised, 5th ed. edition (September 1, 2011)

Back to School: Homemade Lunchbox Fare

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For the first time, I am going to have to pack a lunch for my daughter this year where the teachers won’t heat up food for her. (I know, I’ve been spoiled.) So I’m soliciting advice: what are the best thermos-type containers for lunchboxes? She’s just a preschooler, so she doesn’t have a huge appetite. I’m supposed to try to send milk, too! Help!

Meanwhile, here are some great lunchbox ideas in addition to the prepackaged goodies we shared last week.

Homemade Spaghetti-Os with Sliced Franks are a great, homemade alternative to the canned version. This recipe freezes easily, so make a big batch and freeze in small portions. Then heat one portion the morning you’re packing the lunchbox and put in a thermos container to keep warm until lunchtime.

 

Likewise, these Toddler Thai Noodles, with kid-friendly peanut-butter sauce, freeze well. This is an excellent meal for kids with dairy intolerance or allergies. And to make it gluten-free, simply use rice or a gluten-free pasta.

 

If you don’t want to send a hot meal, these Ham and Cheese Muffins might fit the bill! They have protein and dairy all wrapped up in a whole wheat muffin for small hands. I’ve even added a little pureed corn for a vegetable component. My kids won’t eat corn kernels … but I don’t mind hiding a little nutrition now and then.

 

 

Homemade granola bars are a good way to think outside the sandwich box for lunchtime. Some of our favorites are these Crunchy Granola Bars, Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chips bars, and Chocolate Coconut Oat Bars.

 

What do you like to pack in your kids’ lunches?

 

Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten

Can we have a show of hands for those with children starting kindergarten this year?

Ah yes, there you are, the mom or dad with the shaking hands and nervous twitch. I will be right next to you next year, clinging to my oldest baby and wailing – as she skips away from my happily, probably.

Whether you have just a few weeks or a few years left to prepare, there are ways to help your child (and yourself!) be ready for that first day of the Big K.

  • Read, read, read! Reading to your child is one of the best ways to prepare for school according to kindergarten teachers (source). As you get closer to actually starting school, books dealing with the topic of school might he helpful. Some your child might enjoy: Peppa Pig and the Busy Day at School, I Am Too Absolutely Small for School, Kindergarten Here I Come!, and Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten
  • Don’t Ignore It. Talk about going to school, what the schedule will be like, tour the school, go to orientations. Ignoring the fact that your child is getting older won’t make it go away!
  • Consider Delay. If your child’s birthday is close to the cut-off, consider waiting a year. Teachers say that parents may regret sending a child who isn’t ready to school.
  • Communicate. Talk to other parents, teachers, administration. Familiarize yourself with the kindergarten process if it’s your first year as an elementary-school parent. Calming your own nerves will make it easier for your child.

Any tips from parents more experienced than I?

Scripture Chair

Surround your child with God’s Word in a unique way. Have her help you paint an old wooden chair with several colors of paint. Use a paint pen to write favorite verses on the chair. Offer a reward if your child memorizes all the verses on the chair.

scripturechair6_13

Kristen White loves playing and praying with her husband and four kids in Shelbyville, Ky., where they attend First Baptist Church. Catch some encouragement on her blog at www.womenwithroots.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Teaching Your Kids about Child Sponsorship

 

My husband and I have sponsored a child through Compassion since our own first child was a baby. His name is Jerome; he lives in the Philippines; he will be 8 in August. We liked his Mickey Mouse shirt in his picture and that his birthday was close to our wedding anniversary. I try to write to him at least once every two or three months. At first, we got letters from his mother, which wasn’t quite as much fun. Now, we get letters hand-written by Jerome – and illustrated, too!

But in all this time, Libbie (4 1/2) hasn’t really shown any interest in the picture of the boy hanging on our fridge. I’ve never involved her in letter-writing. My husband and I have made the decisions about when to send extra monetary gifts for his birthday and Christmas.

Libbie’s to a point, now, where she’s beginning to grasp more concepts. She’s always been aware of our efforts toward Operation Christmas Child’s shoebox-packing program. She knows that I collect toys throughout the year that are not for her – they are for kids who don’t HAVE toys and need hygiene items. In lieu of a third birthday party, we even had an OCC Shoebox-Packing Party.

So really, it’s high time we exposed her to child sponsorship. It’s a big concept, though! How do we do it?

The other day I sat down with her and asked her if she would draw a picture for Jerome. I showed her his picture, told her he lived VERY far away, and that we send money to help him get school supplies and clothes and other things he needs. She seemed very interested and asked about visiting him one day. But then she flat-out refused to draw a picture. We’ll have to try that one again.

Worried about messing this up, I asked my friend OhAmanda – the wisest and most godly mom of young kids I know! – how she goes about this with her own kids. Her advice was to just make it natural. She keeps pictures of her sponsored children up. She prays with her kids for these children. Her own kids are involved in making “flat crafts” to send with letters to their sponsored children.

{Kristen from We Are THAT Family describes pretty much the same routines with her children. Plus, well, they go to Africa.}

So there are my first baby steps. Involving Libbie and David in praying, writing, crafting. Seeing. Understanding will come in time.

Compassion also has an online game called Quest for Compassion that I think we’ll have to try out!

Do you sponsor a child? How do you involve your kids in it?

 

Real Life Solutions: Pacifier Use

We are proud to have Dr. Linda Mintle in ParentLife each month answering questions submitted from readers. To submit a question for Dr. Mintle, e-mail it to parentlife@lifeway.com and include “? for Dr. Mintle” on the subject line. This month we have an extra Q&A from Dr. Mintle we wanted to share.

Pacifiers in the tree
source: Dilona

Q: I have been trying very hard not to have my baby use a pacifier. I’m the only one of my friends who seems to be overly concerned about this. My mother-in-law is telling me to lighten up. I’ve read that pacifiers can affect a baby’s speech. Am I overreacting?

A: This is a generational question that parents must consider. Pacifiers are typically used to soothe and distract a baby.

Here is what we know. One positive finding about pacifier use is that it has been linked to reduced risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in sleeping babies. On the negative side, thumb sucking, pacifier use, and even bottle use have been associated with an increase in the risk of speech disorders when the sucking is long-term.

Breastfeeding did not have this effect on children and in fact, promotes positive oral development. And pacifier use can interfere with breastfeeding.

In terms of pacifier use, the results from a 2009 study published in BMC Pediatrics were based on children who used pacifiers for more than three years. These kids were three times more likely to develop speech impediments. Now, the authors of this study also said that pacifier use and thumb-sucking for less than three years increased risk. The reason has to do with how the sucking motion changes the normal shape of the dental arch and bite.

We also know that pacifier use can be associated with middle ear infections. However, the Mayo Clinic tells us that when the risk of SIDS is the highest (birth to six months), rates of middle ear infections are also low.  The recommendation to reduce SIDS is to offer a pacifier at bed or naptime until the age of one.

So the information is a bit confusing. I don’t believe you are overreacting. The concern about pacifier use grows as your baby grows. You can choose other ways to soothe your baby. I’m a big believer in nursing because there are so many benefits to the baby and you. If you are breastfeeding, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you wait until four to six weeks after birth to introduce a pacifier. Certainly, don’t give a baby a pacifier all day, choose a silicone one-piece to avoid breaking (a choking hazard), and don’t force the use.

Resource: Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5

Herbs and Breastfeeding

Sage
source: sporkist

Breastfeeding? Use caution with herbal supplements. Some herbs may lead to side effects in nursing babies. If you are breastfeeding, check with your pediatrician before using herbal supplements or teas.

While there is not much studied information on herbs and breastfeeding, here are some herbs that are known to lower milk supply in breastfeeding mothers:

  • Black Walnut
  • Chickweed
  • Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum)
  • Lemon Balm
  • Oregano
  • Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
  • Peppermint (Mentha piperita)/Menthol
  • Periwinkle Herb (Vinca minor)
  • Sage (Salvia officinalis)
  • Sorrel (Rumex acetosa)
  • Spearmint
  • Thyme
  • Yarrow

Normal amounts of herbs used in cooking will probably not affect your milk supply or baby; this list refers to herbs taken medicinally. As always, though, do check with your pediatrician for the most current information.

Source: KellyMom.com