Thursday, October 31, 2013

Zombie toddler

My almost-two-year-old Jake is a frequent victim of toddler bites at day care.

Through Mom friends and co-workers, I’d learned early on that biting is common among little ones. It’s how some of them vent the frustration that comes with not being able to say what you need to say. So I didn’t let it alarm me too much.

But week after week, I found myself signing incident reports when a fresh set of red bite marks would appear -- sometimes accompanied by bruising or broken skin -- on his chubby little arm. It just broke my heart to see it. Today he is sporting very distinct red teeth marks on each arm, and I half considered dressing him as a toddler zombie instead of a dinosaur for trick-or-treating. (I’ve been watching too much of The Walking Dead, I think.)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tips for a Safe & Healthy Halloween

Keep your family safe and healthy this Halloween with the following tips:

Stay Safe
  • Get kids to walk on the sidewalk, not in the street, while trick-or-treating.
  • Carry a flashlight with you. Have the kids wear light-up necklaces so they’re more visible to vehicles in the dark.
  • Make sure costumes fit well and are short enough to prevent tripping or entanglement. Twisted ankles are another common injury seen on Halloween.
  • Be cautious about what you consume. If treats look suspicious, just throw them out.
  • Individually wrapped candy is best. Flu season has just begun, and germ-carrying hands digging in bowls of unwrapped candies can spread sickness.
--Dr. Blaine Bachim, emergency room physician at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth

Stay Healthy
  • Set up a trading station with some of your kids' favorite healthy treats, like dried fruit, packaged fruit bowls, or good-quality dark chocolate squares.  Encourage them to trade in their least favorite candies for healthy treats they know they love.
  • Teach your kids how to make good things last by splitting their haul into several smaller portions stored in plastic bags. Each week, they'll have a whole new supply of candy to enjoy, all while maintaining calorie and sugar control.
  • Cut your child's candy consumption by encouraging them to donate a portion of their candy to the food bank, or share with family members. They can feel like they're taking positive action, rather than being deprived.
  • Don’t hand out your favorite candy. Set yourself up for success by choosing something less tempting, and you’re less likely to nosh on the stash.
  • Don’t skip dinner. Candy-craving plus hunger pangs = key ingredients for over-indulgence.  Eating a balanced and healthy dinner will satisfy your belly and take the edge off your candy craving.  Focus on a meal rich with fiber and lean protein -- think chicken breast with fresh vegetables.
  • The worst thing you can do on Halloween, after most of the trick-or-treaters have cleared off the street, is set your candy bowl by the door or on the counter where you can grab a handful (or two) every day. Consuming just 300 extra candy calories a day will add a pound of to your frame in less than two weeks. Instead, set the bowl on the porch before you go to bed. The leftover candy will be gone by morning, guaranteed.
--Amber Massey, RD, LD, registered dietitian

Here's wishing you and your family a Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Healthy Bites: Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie

Looking for a new protein shake recipe? Spice it up this fall with a pumpkin pie protein smoothie!

Pumpkin is very popular this time of year from pumpkin spice lattes to pumpkin muffins with cream cheese to pumpkin pie. However, many of these yummy treats are packed with calories and fat. This pumpkin pie protein smoothie is a great post workout recovery drink. It is light, refreshing, and has fewer calories than some of our other favorite fall treats.

Not only is pumpkin a low fat food, it is a rich source of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Fiber plays many roles in the body including: maintains blood sugar levels, lowers bad cholesterol, aids in healthy digestion, keeps you feeling fuller longer. Only a ½ cup of pumpkin has 5 grams of fiber!

Monday, October 28, 2013

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year…Gift Idea

It’s that time of the year again and Christmas is just around the corner. Finding the perfect gift for that special little one is definitely on my mind. Shaye and Gracey received a gift last year that they both enjoy and will for years to come.

This book is so much fun! The girls and I (Shaye 7 years and Gracey 7 months) sat together and had so much fun with this kit. I put on the gloves and the beginning of the book explains where the gloves come into action. The story then says where the tickle monster went, like your knees, etc. At that point you tickle them in the knees with your gloves on. It was so much fun to see both girls laughing and having fun before bed time.

This will be one of those books that we keep forever and will always be so fun to read and play with. I highly recommend for any child in your life, no matter the age or gender.

Stephanie Abernathy is a Mom of two in the Dallas/Fort Worth area who works at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Hurst-Euless-Bedford.
Stephanie Abernathy is a Mom of two in the Dallas/Fort Worth area who works at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Hurst-Euless-Bedford - See more at:

Friday, October 25, 2013

Best baby item not found on any registry

When preparing for our daughter's arrival I asked lots of people what items we absolutely needed at first. The answers varied. But in reality I found the most helpful item was not one that came from the baby aisles.

It instead came from the dollar bin in a moment of weakness that it was cute, could help me get organized and was only $1. I picked it up months before her arrival with no specific use in mind.

As the clock ticked down on my pregnancy I decided to print some documents to carry with me just in case, mainly maternity leave related items, so I pulled out my dollar bin find thinking aha now I have a purpose for this folder. When we went to the hospital the folder went with me.

It has since become the most helpful tool I have. At the hospital any paperwork was slipped into the folder. It's bright color made it easy to ask family to put papers in it. When we came home everything was in one place. When we had her first pediatrician appointment I grabbed the folder and had all I needed and more. I've continued to take it to every appointment and it is now chock full of data on our daughter. In the days when we were wandering in a sleep deprived haze it saved our sanity and countless hours searching for that important paper we had just seen.

While friends and family may think it odd, a similar folder will now be included in any baby gift I give. What was your most helpful item after having a baby?

Jennifer Erickson is a Sr. Communications Specialist with Texas Health Resources and New Mom to a baby girl.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

What is a ‘full-term’ pregnancy?

New definitions have been released on what it means to carry a baby full-term.

Until now, a "term" baby was defined as one born anytime from 37 weeks to 42 weeks, a few weeks before or after the calculated due date. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has refined that time frame to between 39 weeks and 40 weeks, 6 days.

“Things used to be very different many years ago. Moms could be induced in the 38th week if they were dilated or feeling miserable,” said Dr. Darren Tate, OB/GYN on the medical staff at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth. “Now it’s not permitted unless there is a medical indication. A lot of the studies recently have shown higher NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) admissions and worse outcomes for babies electively induced before 39 weeks.”

The new definitions, released Tuesday in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology:

•    Early Term, between 37 weeks and 38 weeks 6 days.
•    Full Term, between 39 weeks and 40 weeks 6 days.
•    Late Term, the 41st week.
•    Post Term, after 42 weeks.

“Every week matters,” Dr. Tate said. “Every single week is important for babies. There’s no better incubator in town than Mom’s uterus.”

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Girls and their Baby Dolls

What is it about girls and their baby dolls?  Emory, age three, has loved baby dolls since she was old enough to hold one.  She had a favorite doll that she used to take to the sitter as a baby.  When she got a little older, her MaMaw and PaPaw gave her a huge baby doll that was bigger than she was, and she immediately fell in love with her. Once Emory started talking, she named her Allie. 

Emory hasn’t reached the stage where she wants to change Allie’s clothes.  On the contrary, that poor baby doll stays stripped down with no clothes all the time.  However, Emory does love to change her diaper.  She even found diaper rash medicine that I’ve caught her using on Allie. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pumpkin Patch Photo Fail

This weekend we braved the overcrowded pumpkin patch for some good 'ole fall family fun and to take some sweet, memorable family photos.

Monday, October 21, 2013

A simple step, a big result

One of the many things I am envious of in my 2 ½-year-old son is his amazing energy. He spends the whole day running around at full speed and then will do anything to avoid going to bed at night. I compare that to myself, and I get winded just walking up our stairs. By 9:30 PM I am ready to turn out the lights and go to sleep.

My day job is to communicate all of the amazing things Texas Health Resources is doing to the people in our community. Over the past year much of my time has been spent working on the massive “well-being” initiative, which outlines Texas Health Resources’ commitment to keeping our community healthy throughout everyday life, not just when they are in the hospital. We have launched a host of tools to help with this, including a daily email “challenge” to complete to help improve people’s overall well-being. One of the tag lines we have used for this campaign is “Simple Steps. Big Results.”

Friday, October 18, 2013

Five Steps for Sounder Sleep

There's a scientific reason you may feel foggy after a bad night’s sleep: a new study shows sleep scrubs the brain clean, clearing away toxic byproducts that build up when you’re awake. As if you needed another reason to want quality shut-eye every night!

Sleep is so important for many reasons, and unfortunately “sleep debt” and clinical sleep disorders are often unrecognized, untreated, and misdiagnosed in many people. Sleep can be hard to come by when you’re a Mom juggling a long to-do list and worrying for the whole family – an alarming 50% of all sleep disturbances are due to stress. Not to mention hormones during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause can alter sleep.

Sleep requirements are different for everyone, but in general adults need seven to nine hours per night. There are steps you can take to help improve your sleep hygiene and get a better night’s rest:

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cell phone safety: tips for parents

Does it seem like your teenager is glued to his or her cell phone?

Just as you'd support your teen's extracurricular activities, you should actively engage in his or her media use, said Dr. Rebecca Butler, pediatrician on the medical staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton.

"Teens and tweens have a limited capacity for self-regulation, so they can often fall into cyber bullying, over-reliance on the Internet for information and even sexually explicit texting," Dr. Butler said. "Families need to discuss a technology plan that includes meetings about common online topics, privacy controls and regular parental phone checks."

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Health Benefits of Pumpkin

Pumpkin Pie in a Glass
More than just a decorative Halloween candle-holder or a pie filling to be eaten only once a year, pumpkin is one of the most nutritional foods available year round. Rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and low in fat, both the flesh and seeds of the pumpkin provide many health-boosting nutrients.  Check out some of the nutrients in pumpkin:

•    Alpha-carotene
•    Beta-carotene
•    Fiber
•    Vitamins C and E
•    Potassium
•    Magnesium
•    Pantothenic acid

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Tree at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth in which families can hang tokens of remembrance for pregnancy and infant loss.
Robyn Bear started the campaign to make Oct. 15th a national day of remembrance after having six first trimester miscarriages. She envisioned a day that people would recognize their losses, get support and unite around the world by lighting candles.

In 2006, Congress supported her proposal to create that day of remembrance because, as stated in their resolution, “each year, approximately one million pregnancies in the United States end in miscarriage, stillbirth, or the death of a newborn baby.” 

Every October 15 since 2010 I’ve lit a candle for someone I’ll never know.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Ready for parenthood?

When I was pregnant and in my third trimester I was always at a loss when people asked if we were ready for parenthood. What exactly does one do to truly be ready for parenthood? Is that even possible?

I know some pretty amazing parents and many of them had shared insights into how overwhelming and truly life changing the transition is. So when faced with that question I defaulted to the current state of readiness of the nursery, the two classes we took to "prepare" and laughed off the broader implications.

When my water broke at 12:23 a.m. at just barely 36 weeks and two days my brain instantly shifted to the reasons she couldn't be coming yet. After all, I hadn't done the load of laundry with the last "essentials" for my hospital bag - which for the record I only used one of those essentials at the hospital. I still had four weeks of work left including a major event to pull off in four days. It couldn't possibly be time.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The ACA and breast pumps

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has struck an interest for breastfeeding mothers. The ACA states comprehensive lactation support and counseling and breast pumps are covered by many private insurance providers for the breastfeeding mother.

This will hopefully help remove some of the barriers to breastfeeding that some women face. It’s a huge step in recognizing the importance of breastfeeding in the health care continuum for both mom and baby.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Over the river and through the woods – traveling with children

For some, road trips offer opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors – even stopping to see historical landmarks along the way. But for me and my husband, our recent trip to Colorado proved to be memorable and exhausting, especially with two active girls under the age of three in tow.

Talking to our elders, they all advised us to travel early in the morning, or late at night. That way, the girls would remain asleep for several hours instead of wide awake for the entire trip. We decided to head out before 5 a.m.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Taking Special Care of Daphne

When Daphne Miller was born on April 15 she could fit in the palm of her parents’ hands.

But over just a few months, she grew to 5 pounds and her parents couldn’t have been happier to have her home with the family in Plano.

“She’s showing off her personality more and more,” said Daphne’s mom, Misty, 30. “She’s always had a big personality. The nurses used to call her a little spitfire.”

Daphne was born at 29 weeks, weighing only 2 pounds and 4 ounces. Daphne suffered from low birth weight caused by intrauterine growth restriction, a condition that prevents normal infant growth during pregnancy. Unlike full-term babies born between 37 and 42 weeks, babies like Daphne often have underdeveloped muscles needed for swallowing, sucking and breathing — making the feeding process one of the biggest challenges.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Six Tips for Breastfeeding

When it comes to breastfeeding, every mother and child are different, said Becky Law, manager of lactation services at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth.

"In the past 25 years, I have helped mothers that have just given birth latch their babies for the first time to mothers that are weaning their older children and every problem in between," Becky said. "The common theme is that they all love their babies and want what is best for them."

Becky and Julie Smith, perinatal educator at
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Hurst-Euless-Bedford, contributed to the list below of six helpful tips for breastfeeding mothers:

Monday, October 7, 2013

Booty Scooting

Our daughter just turned 11 months old this month and can get around pretty quickly.

No, she isn’t crawling.  And no, she isn’t walking just yet.  She is scooting.  She scoots around on her booty like a crab.  And she can get around just as fast as a crawler when she wants to.  She just has to find the right motivation.

We have tried everything to get her to crawl.  Tummy time, soft foam rolls, Elmo videos on an iPad, you name it!  Our little genius has figured out anything she can think of to get out of being on her stomach.  She figured out early on how to roll, and she has now figured out how to get to the sitting position pretty quickly.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Why have kids?

Recently I was laughing with a friend of mine who is not a mom about a common tendency among parents: using the “but having kids is so worth it” phrase when talking to child-free folks. Let me explain:

This is an age of motherhood which, mercifully, we aren’t all pretending to be perfect parents. We openly (over)share our struggles, we commiserate, we empathize, we post Instagram photos of our #mommyfails and laugh about them together. We seek out advice from one another and don’t pretend to have it all figured out. We openly acknowledge that this parenting thing is taxing, frustrating, life-changing and full of sacrifice.

We tell these war stories to our child-free friends. And then we see the reaction on their faces, we know we’ve said too much, and we tack on that cliché disclaimer “but having kids is so worth it” as if that explains it all in a nutshell.  As a parent, you know all of the wonderfulness that is packed into that phrase – but if you don’t have kids, you’re kind of left scratching your head.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Making Brown

Before I had kids I would have never imagined the immense joy I’d feel about…poop. Yes, you read correctly, poop. My older son, MDK, was born with imperforate anus that was discovered at birth and had to undergo surgery at day three of life to create one. Although it is not a life-threatening condition, it has dramatically altered our way of life in more ways than we ever expected.  I never appreciated that body part as much as I do now.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

'This simple procedure was a huge blessing'

Hearing the cries of her newborn daughter was music to Jennifer Jones’ ears. Not only had the delivery gone well, but she had carried baby Abigail to full term.

That’s something the 34-year-old mom never thought could be possible after her first pregnancy two years ago.

 “There were just so many complications with my twin boys,” she said. “I was on bed rest for weeks on end, and we were still worried I might lose them.”

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Helping an anti-change child deal with the moving blues

Last month, my husband and I sold our house and moved. We’ve certainly done that before, but moving with children is just a whole other animal – especially when one of them doesn’t like change.

My 5-year-old son Max isn’t a big fan of ‘different’ things. We have learned through the years that if you’re going to spring a big change on him, to do it systematically. Below are a few things we did to help ease the pain of the move for Max and for our 21-month-old, Jack. If you’re planning a move anytime soon, I hope it helps!