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“Home for the Holidays” May Look A Little Different This Year

January 7, 2021 by admin  
Filed under Uncategorized

By Mia Armstrong 

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” (cue the music!).  Or is it?

For many of us, 2020 has been one of the most challenging years of our lives, and as we quickly approach the holiday season, it leaves us wondering how we can safely spend time with our families during the Covid-19 pandemic. Well, if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s showed us that we need connections with others now, MORE THAN EVER!

Courtesy of Unsplash

Gather ‘round the table

The end of the year is often filled with joy and memories as families gather together to celebrate various holidays. While this year in particular is going to look a little different, we can still make this holiday season memorable, for good reasons! For many, the holidays are filled with delicious smells and tastes as we share a family meal. While we may be tempted to feed the little ones separately from the adults, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) encourages us to make the holiday dinner an event for the whole family. Even infants can experience the sights and smells of a delicious dinner with fun dinnerware items like these from Ashima. Pull up a high chair (like this one from Nomi) to include your baby while the family enjoys the meal.

Mealtime with Baby 101

If you are given any mealtime baby items or furniture as gifts this season, please make sure to review the manufacturer’s website to ensure the item hasn’t been recalled. The manufacturer’s instructions will also provide helpful tips for disinfecting items to keep things as clean as possible. It is important to make sure any infant seats are at eye-level to ensure the baby makes good eye contact with family members. However, the high chair should be positioned at a safe distance away from the table to prevent a curious baby from accidentally touching glassware, utensils, or hot foods. Another safety precaution is making sure that the high chair restraints are secure to prevent accidental falls. By following these recommendations, and making sure your child is supervised, your family can safely enjoy mealtime.

Speaking of food… 

Now is the time many people indulge in decadent holiday favorites, both savory and sweet! Whether you plan to loosen your dietary restrictions (and your belt!) or stick with your health plan, it’s important to consider age-appropriate foods for your young child. Be sure to have foods that your baby loves, but keep a watchful eye to prevent choking hazards. Several child-safe plates and utensils are available to help your child feed themselves and partake in the holiday meal.

What about safety during the pandemic?

Unfortunately, the end of the Covid-19 pandemic is not in sight, so we must be sure to follow the recommended safety precautions during our family gatherings.  It’s important to stay up-to-date on health advisories from the Centers for Disease Control as well as your local health authorities. Try to limit the number of dinner guests as much as possible, keeping in mind that our loved ones can still call in to share the meal virtually with the rest of the family.  Also, if there will be guests from outside your immediate family circle, try to plan seating to maintain an appropriate 6-foot social distance whenever possible.  Likewise, don’t forget that masks are still recommended for all family members two years old and older.  Having an area for handwashing, or bottles of hand sanitizer nearby, will help everyone have clean hands before enjoying the delicious holiday meal.  Depending on the weather, outdoor seating during the meal will help reduce the risk of infection.  A crisp, cool day is always refreshing! And, the family will be in the perfect position to begin the traditional after-dinner football game.

The season of gratitude 

During the meal, take time to share favorite memories from past holidays, as well as focus on gratitude for the love within your family. Though your child may be too young to speak complete sentences, caregivers can still encourage young ones to give thanks by babbling or speaking their own sweet gibberish. This simple activity will encourage language development for your child. There are some great non-tech gift ideas to help engage your children while encouraging learning and language development. Though our lives have been consumed by virtual meetings and classes, holiday meals should be a time to shut down the devices. In between bites of stuffing, create new traditions and memories by teaching kids gratitude.

The New Normal

Though the holidays may look a little different this year, we must strive to maintain a sense of normalcy for the kiddos, while navigating the change of the times. For many adults, as well as children, this time of year can be emotionally challenging, and the addition of a pandemic just compounds that. It’s important to calm little ones’ fears, manage stress, and keep the peace at home. With a little planning this holiday season, families can still celebrate the many reasons we have to be grateful.

References:

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/Pages/High-Chair-Safety-Tips.aspx

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/prenatal/decisions-to-make/Pages/Buying-Furniture-and-Baby-Equipment.aspx

https://www.naeyc.org/sites/default/files/globally-shared/downloads/PDFs/accreditation/early-learning/clean_table.pdf

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/nutrition/Pages/Self-Feeding.aspx

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/Pages/language-delay.aspx

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/Media/Pages/Non-Tech-Holiday-Gift-Ideas-to-Promote-Kids-Language-Learning.aspx

About the author: Mia Armstrong, MD is a Board-Certified Pediatrician and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. According to her mother, she dreamed of becoming a Pediatrician since the age of three years old! She accomplished her goal by receiving her Medical Degree from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, GA. She completed her Pediatrics training in Jackson, MS at the University of Mississippi. Dr. Armstrong loves caring for children and teaching families how to be healthy! Though she enjoys working with children of all ages, she has a special interest in teaching new parents to care for their newborns and offering breastfeeding support as a Certified Lactation Counselor. Her other medical interests include asthma education, routine well care, and immunizations. She also enjoys traveling and exploring new cuisines and adventures. Dr. Armstrong loves to talk, never meets a stranger, and is excited to share her insight with parents everywhere through her blogs!

Errin Weisman, DO

October 28, 2020 by admin  
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Errin Weisman, DO is a life coach, podcaster and fierce wellness advocate who helps inspire female physicians and working moms to do the work they love and absolutely love life. Her work in the world is to openly tell how she faced professional burnout early in her family medicine career so that no one feels alone, all know that change is possible because “if she can do it, so can I” and that you can have a joy-filled and sustainable career.

She lives and practices life coaching and medicine in rural Southwestern Indiana, loves her roles as farmer’s wife, athlete and mother of three. Besides being sassy, she enjoys getting mud on her shoes, teaching her children to catch tadpoles and reading a great fantasy novel.

You can find out more about Dr. Weisman on her podcast Doctor Me First, her new website Burntout to Badass or hang out on LinkedIn Errin Weisman DO.

Websites: doctormefirst.com and burntouttobadass.com

An Interview with Dr. Weisman

How do you get your family to eat well? Honestly, I can’t say that I ‘get’ my family to eat well. I offer choices and on the good days, they try something new and I call it a win. This persistent patience is starting to work (after 9 years) as I’ve started to see my youngest eat green peppers like apples and my oldest coming home from school telling me about the new foods he tried at lunch! #momwin

How do you get your family to exercise? I lead by example. As a past college athlete, I still love volleyball and other sports so I participate in local rec leagues. By demonstrating that I can do it, my children have been more apt to try new activities as well. Also living in rural Indiana, we spend much of our time in the woods or corn fields exploring or puddle jumping.

What do you do for yourself to stay well? Digital detox! Turning off the alerts on my phone, grabbing a great fantasy fiction novel or going for a hike in the woods are my go-tos. I’ve found less screentime absolutely improves my wellness.

 

To Trick-or-Treat or not Trick-or-Treat: That is the Question!

October 23, 2020 by admin  
Filed under Uncategorized

By Nina Washington, MD, MPH

Ahhh, the coronavirus pandemic. One virus single handedly changed everything about the way we live. Zoom weddings, quarantine birthday parties, and socially distanced picnics are just a few of the ways we have adapted to this new lifestyle.

Yet, time and the calendar wait for no man, woman, or mommy! Fall is now upon us, and, as the weather grows cooler, daylight hours shorten and the remaining days of 2020 become less and less, surely our next challenge in adapting to the pandemic is how we will shift our traditional fall holidays and celebrations. First up, Halloween!

To trick-or-treat or not trick-or-treat? In a pandemic? That is the question!

Halloween, or All Hallows’ Eve, celebrated in the United States annually on October 31st, is a favorite holiday of children and adults alike. Costumes and masks (coincidentally, not the ones we’ve now grown accustomed to wearing), haunted houses, carving Jack-o-lanterns, and oodles of candy are just a few of the many reasons this holiday is relished by many. However, that was before we were slapped in the face with the most ghoulish of ghouls – the coronavirus.

How is one to navigate this terrain? Should Halloween be cancelled? Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer. Every mom will have to consider the pros, cons, and level of comfort with participating in traditional Halloween activities, modifying this year’s festivities, or foregoing the celebration all together. More than anything, moms should be assured that there is no right or wrong solution. The only requirement is to be safe, be responsible, and do what is best for your family!1

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide specific guidelines and helpful tips to assist with this year’s celebration. According to the CDC, the first step in planning a holiday celebration is to assess the COVID-19 infection levels and risk for infection in your community.2 If either of these levels are elevated or worrisome, it is in the best interest of your family and community to postpone or cancel any in person celebrations. Alternatively, the celebration could be held among your primary family unit. In general, celebrations should aim to be small (i.e., avoid large gatherings), maintain social distancing of 6 feet, and wear masks. Events held outdoors are also preferred over those held indoors.2

If that initial assessment provides comfort in that your community has low levels of the virus, is actively practicing mask wearing, handwashing, and social distancing, then consider celebrating Halloween based on one of the following three tiers as described by the CDC.3

Low risk activities:

  • Hosting a virtual Halloween contest with family and friends.
  • Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household. This activity can also be done outside with friends while practicing social distancing.
  • Gather the members of your household and have a Halloween movie marathon. Make it extra exciting by dressing up as the characters from the movie! You can even invite friends to virtually share in the movie and costume experience.

Moderate risk activities:

  • One-way trick-or-treating. Place prepared goodie bags at the end of the driveway for trick-or-treaters to pick up at their leisure. Use duct tape to mark 6-foot distances so crowds do not form at your “treats table”.
  • Celebrate by visiting apple orchards or pumpkin patches where social distancing is easier to maintain. Be sure to wear your mask, wash your hands, and use hand sanitizer before and after picking apples and pumpkins.
  • Have an outdoor Halloween movie viewing party or an outdoor Halloween costume party. Members of the same household should stay together and maintain social distancing.

The CDC recommends AVOIDING these higher risk activities such as:

  • Traditional trick-or-treating that includes going from house to house and receiving candy.
  • Trunk-or-treats where multiple people gather to pass out candy from the back of their cars or trucks.
  • Attending crowded indoor Halloween costume parties or celebrations.
  • Visiting haunted houses where multiple people may all be in the same room and screaming occurs.

*Only a sampling of the activities provided from the CDC website were listed in this article. For the full list please see CDC reference below.

A special note about masks:

Those wearing costumes this Halloween should consider wearing a Halloween themed cloth mask instead of traditional Halloween masks. It is strongly recommended that children and adults NOT wear a traditional Halloween mask over a cloth mask. Wearing both masks may cause significant difficulty breathing.

Like much that has transpired since the pandemic was declared in March, Halloween gives us another opportunity to adjust and adapt. It is still very possible for mommies along with their little ghosts and goblins to have a fun and safe Halloween. Following these tips and suggestions will keep the coronavirus “monster” from spoiling your festivities.

References:

  • https://services.aap.org/en/news-room/news-releases/health–safety-tips/american-academy-of-pediatrics-offers-tips-for-a-safe-halloween-during-pandemic/
  • Newsweek. CDC Issues COVID-19 Halloween Guide. https://www.newsweek.com/cdc-issues-covid-19-halloween-guide-if-screaming-will-occur-greater-social-distancing-advised-1536488
  • Centers for Disease Control. Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): Holiday Celebrations.  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html

Kids on The Move: How to Pick the Safest Car Seats

September 18, 2020 by admin  
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By Mia Armstrong, MD

Parents everywhere are faced with the challenge of creating healthy and safe environments to help kids reach their fullest potential.  While maintaining a child’s general health and nutrition is essential, making sure kids are safe in the car is equally important. In recognition of Child Passenger Safety Week 2020 (September 20 – 26), JPMA is answering common questions about car safety seats, including both car seats and booster seats. As the voice of the industry on quality and safety for baby and children’s products, for more than 40 years, JPMA has helped parents feel confident in choosing safe products for their children.

Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

Does my child need a car safety seat?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death for children in the United States. Therefore, car safety seats are required in all states to provide adequate protection for young children. As children age, motor vehicle safety recommendations shift to the use of seat belts, which will be discussed later in our article.   Periodically, the car safety seat recommendations are updated to reflect current guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). It is important to remain up-to-date with all AAP safety recommendations, as well as state-specific transportation laws.

In 2018, the AAP updated their guidelines and recommended that car safety seats remain rear-facing for as long as possible, which is until the child reaches the weight OR height limitations for their specific seat. This information is found on the manufacturer’s website. This change was made in order to provide optimal protection for a child’s developing spine.  In the event of an accident, the spine is better protected when the seat is facing backwards. PLEASE NOTE: the prior recommendation for switching to forward-facing seats at age two years old has been removed.

When a child has reached the upper weight or height limit for a seat that is rear facing, along with any minimum age requirements prescribed by state law or manufacturer instructions, the next step is forward-facing with harnesses. One key call-out is that all current forward-facing seats have top tethers to provide better head protection and other crash protection benefits. The car seat instructions tell you how to attach and adjust it, while the vehicle owner’s manual provides information on the correct tether anchor and routing. It is best to continue using this type of seat as long as allowed by the car seat instructions.

Once a child outgrows the weight or height limits for the forward-facing car seat, it is safe to shift to using a booster seat. A booster seat is a supportive chair that lifts the child into the correct position to wear a seat belt. Boosters should be used until a child reaches a height of 4 feet 9 inches tall AND is between eight and twelve years old.

Should you purchase a used safety seat?

Raising kids can be EXPENSIVE, but investing in safety products to protect their lives is PRICELESS! While repurposing childhood items is helpful to limit expenses and reduce waste in our society, careful attention must be paid to reusing baby gear, including car safety seats. Check the manufacturer’s instructions or website for recommendations on how long to use a particular seat. Make sure that your chosen safety seat is without cracks and includes all parts/buckles. Also, confirm that the safety seat comes with the original label including the date of manufacture and model number. This information is necessary to research if the seat has been recalled. You can search the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website for all car safety seat recall data. Lastly, never use a safety seat that has been in a moderate or severe traffic accident, as its ability for protection decreases upon impact. The NHTSA website can offer more specific guidelines on pre-used safety seats and manufacturer instructions should always be followed.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have questions about your specific car safety seat, contact the manufacturer directly.

So many choices! How do I choose the correct car safety seat for my child? 

Thankfully, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) provides helpful tips for choosing a car safety seat. Your child’s Pediatrician or Family Physician is also a valuable resource. In addition, you can ask trusted family members, friends, or coworkers for their recommendations. Another good suggestion is checking manufacturer reviews. Choosing the best possible car safety seat depends on your child’s size/weight, your family’s personal needs, and your vehicle type. It is best to ensure your child’s car safety seat follows these recommendations as listed on the AAP website:

​​Types of Car Seats at a Glance​ 

​Age-group

​Type of Seat

​General Guidelines​ 

Infants and toddlers

​• Rear-facing-only

• Rear-facing-convertible

All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing seat until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat manufacturer. Most convertible seats have limits that will allow children to ride rear facing for 2 years or more. ​

​Toddlers and preschoolers

​• Forward-facing convertible

• Forward-facing with harness

​Children who have outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for their convertible seat should use a forward-facing seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat manufacturer. Many seats can accommodate children up to 65 pounds or more.

School-aged children

​• Booster

All children whose weight or height exceeds the forward-facing limit for their car safety seat should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly, typically when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches in height and are 8 to 12 years of age. All children younger than 13 years should ride in the back seat.

​Older children

​• Seat belts

When children are old enough and large enough for the vehicle seat belt to fit them correctly, they should always use lap and shoulder seat belts for the best protection. All children younger than 13 years should ride in the back seat.

Image Credit: The American Academy of Pediatrics https://www.healthychildren.org/

 

When does my child no longer need a car safety seat?

Once the adult seat belt fits correctly, which is around the time a child reaches a height of 4 feet 9 inches and is between eight to twelve years old, they can safely transition to the vehicle’s regular seat, but should remain in the backseat until at least the age of thirteen years old.  Also note, the lap and shoulder seat belts should be fitted properly for the child’s best protection. This includes specifically crossing the child’s chest (not the neck) and his or her hips/thighs (not the stomach).

Where can I find additional help?

As with any aspect of childhood wellness, it is important to consult your Pediatrician or Family Physician first. They are most familiar with your family’s history, as well as your child’s overall health and medical needs. However, it is reassuring that more support is available to help navigate this critical issue. The individual manufacturer websites, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and Safe Kids are all great resources to provide additional information. Likewise, JPMA is an excellent resource that lists specific product information.

As children grow and develop, their car safety needs change and it is necessary to remain aware of current recommendations. Also, please remember that children should never be left unattended in vehicles.  They are our most prized possessions and deserve safe journeys as they move throughout life.

Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

About the author: Mia Armstrong, MD is a Board-Certified Pediatrician and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.  According to her mother, she dreamed of becoming a Pediatrician since the age of three years old!  She accomplished her goal by receiving her Medical Degree from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, GA.  She completed her Pediatrics training in Jackson, MS at the University of Mississippi. Dr. Armstrong loves caring for children and teaching families how to be healthy! Though she enjoys working with children of all ages, she has a special interest in teaching new parents to care for their newborns and offering breastfeeding support as a Certified Lactation Counselor. Her other medical interests include asthma education, routine well care, and immunizations. She also enjoys traveling and exploring new cuisines and adventures. Dr. Armstrong loves to talk, never meets a stranger, and is excited to share her insight with parents everywhere through her blogs!

References:

  • https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/child_passenger_safety/cps-factsheet.html#:~:text=Motor%20vehicle%20injuries%20are%20a,116%2C000%20were%20injured%20in%202017.
  • https://www.safekids.org/state-law-tracker
  • https://www.healthychildren.org/English/tips-tools/ask-the-pediatrician/Pages/How-long-should-my-child-ride-rear-facing.aspx
  • https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/car-seats-and-booster-seats#inspection-inspection
  • https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/on-the-go/Pages/Car-Safety-Seats-Information-for-Families.aspx
  • https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/on-the-go/Pages/Seat-Belts-for-Older-Children-Adults.aspx

What to Tell Your Child When Their Superhero Dies

September 18, 2020 by admin  
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By Nina Washington, MD, MPH

On August 29, 2020, the world stood in shock upon learning of the death of celebrated and talented actor, Chadwick Boseman. Boseman, only 43 at the time of his death, succumbed after a 4-year battle with colon cancer – a battle he quietly fought while portraying iconic and historic figures on film. There is no doubt that his most iconic figure was The Black Panther, Marvel Comic Book’s only black superhero.

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

The news of Chadwick Boseman’s passing meant the King would now be laid to rest.

A few days after Boseman passed, a medical school friend of mine confided that she had not told her son of Boseman’s death. She also feared her son would learn of the Black Panther’s death from a friend or classmate. Without missing a beat, I responded, “That’s why YOU should tell him.”  In that moment, I realized Chadwick Boseman’s death may be many children’s first encounter with mortality.

So how do you tell your child their superhero died?

Be Honest

Children are so much smarter and resilient than what we give them credit for. They are skilled in picking up on context clues and body language. They are also great at eavesdropping and hear a lot of the “adult” conversations taking place around them. For these reasons, it is likely your child already has an inkling that something sad and tragic has occurred. This is your opportunity to tell them the truth. This is your opportunity to begin a discussion it takes many of us a lifetime to become comfortable with having. Talk about the beginning of life – that moment when we are born from the womb. Then gently, yet honestly, inform them that just as being born is natural, dying (or no longer living) is just as natural. This means that even though King T’Challa and the Black Panther’s body and mind are no longer with us, his movies, his spirit, and his memories always will be.

Don’t Refer to Death as Sleep

Many children know that sleep is followed by an awakening. They wake from sleep every morning. They wake from their afternoon nap. To refer to death as sleep implies that their superhero, their loved one, their friend, will soon awaken. Sadly, this is not the case and may lead to more confusion regarding death. Carefully inform your child that death is a permanent event. Depending on your family’s beliefs, this may also be a good time to begin the discussion of how death is understood and perceived by your faith or personal philosophy.

Answer Their Questions

If this is your child’s first experience with death, be prepared for a myriad of questions. Why did this happen? Will I die? Can I still watch *insert superhero’s* movies? Did he do something bad to cause him to die? These questions are reasonable and to be expected. Be honest with your child and answer each of their questions. Set aside a time when you are not rushed and there are no pressing or urgent tasks that require your attention. Be sure to consider your child’s age, maturity level, and temperament when answering their questions While the goal is to always be honest, the conversation should be tailored to their individual characteristics. This may necessitate multiple conversations. Using the Black Panther (i.e., Chadwick Boseman) as an example, this would be a wonderful opportunity to talk about illness – specifically, cancer.

Allow Them to Grieve

Children, like adults, will grieve differently. For some children grieving is wearing their superhero costume all day for the next week. For other children, grieving is watching the superhero’s movies on repeat. Grieving may also manifest as increased clinginess to parental units or family members. Even still, there may be bouts of crying, outbursts, or defiant behavior. Help your child process what they are feeling. Ask how they feel regarding the death of their superhero or loved one. What would make them feel better? Can any of their emotions be redirected? While grief is to be expected after death, there should be an understanding that healing must also occur. Help your child to grieve a little less with each passing day.

***

Conversations about death are never easy. However, we owe it to our children to have these difficult discussions. When doing so, being honest, answering questions, and allowing your child time to grieve will hopefully make this painful experience less so for you and your family.

Nina T. Washington, MD, MPH

September 9, 2020 by admin  
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Dr. Washington is a pediatric rheumatologist, writer, and world traveler.

How do you eat well?
I am a firm believer in the power of fruits and vegetables. I eat well by including fruits, vegetables, and lean protein in every meal. For me, fruit is nature’s candy. The sweetness from natural sugars helps keep blood glucose levels low and decreases cravings for artificial sugars. Vegetables are super filling and provide a wonderful source of vitamins and minerals. I particularly love that vegetables can be prepared in so many ways – roasted, grilled, and sautéed are just a few of the ways to enjoy these healthy eats. I also enjoy whole grains such as barley, oatmeal, and quinoa. While I am not a vegetarian or pescatarian, I attempt at least one meat-free meal a day and limit my intake of pork and red meat.

How do you find time to exercise?
My personal philosophy on exercise is that if you find an exercise you love, you’ll find time to do it! I am a long-time fan of Zumba and over the past 5 years, I’ve also enjoyed Pure Barre and Orange Theory Fitness workouts. If it’s a beautiful day outside and the weather is nice, nothing beats a brisk walk-run! Knowing I’ll be moving my body in ways that I enjoy is what helps me make time for exercise.

How do you make time for you?
I make time for myself by listening to my body and checking in with my emotions. I tend to be a person who burns the candle at both ends so when my body says, “Hey! I need a rest day!” I listen. Rest for me means sleeping in late, or sitting on the balcony enjoying my current read, or binging on Netflix. I also strongly believe that emotions, whether grief, depression, anxiety, or even extreme excitement, can affect our psyche and productivity. When I find myself overcome with emotion, I take a moment to acknowledge those feelings and why I’m feeling that way. Journaling helps me to channel my emotions and is one of the more healthy ways I make time for myself. Taking myself to dinner or brunch are two of my more indulgent ways to make time for myself. In fact, there are so many ways we can be good to ourselves!

Mia Armstrong, MD, FAAP

September 4, 2020 by admin  
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Dr. Armstrong is a Board-Certified Pediatrician and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

According to her mother, she dreamed of becoming a Pediatrician since the age of three years old!  She accomplished her goal by receiving her Medical Degree from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, GA.  She completed her Pediatrics training in Jackson, MS at the University of Mississippi. Dr. Armstrong loves caring for children and teaching families how to be healthy! Though she enjoys working with children of all ages, she has a special interest in teaching new parents to care for their newborns and offering breastfeeding support as a Certified Lactation Counselor. Her other medical interests include asthma education, routine well care, and immunizations. She also enjoys traveling and exploring new cuisines and adventures. Dr. Armstrong loves to talk, never meets a stranger, and is excited to share her insight with parents everywhere through her blogs!

Special Teams

Dr. Armstrong is interested in:

  • Tips from the Mommy MD Guides syndicated newspaper column contributor
  • Media interviews
  • Speaking engagements
  • SpokesDoctor opportunities
An Interview with Dr. Armstrong

How do you eat right and stay well? I enjoy cooking so I meal-prep in batches to create delicious, healthy meals and save time/money.

How do you make time to exercise? To make time for exercise, I strive for routine and wake up early to start the day with some sort of movement.

How do you take care of yourself? I truly believe self-care is not selfish, so I prioritize time during the week to do things I enjoy such as yoga, reading, getting massages, or listening to inspirational podcasts.

Mommy Supporters

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These mommy supporters are on our Mommy MD Guides team.

Relax? In a Pandemic? What’s a Mom to Do?

August 29, 2020 by admin  
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By Nina Washington, MD, MPH 

As much as we all would like it to go away, it seems the Coronavirus pandemic, at least for the foreseeable future, is here to stay. When the pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization in March 2020 and the world subsequently came to a screeching halt, it was hard to imagine that 5 months later, we’d still be living a life of social distancing, face-mask wearing and incessant hand washing and sanitizing.  Yet, here we are.

Now, with schools re-opening in some states and charged discussions over home schooling versus virtual programming versus returning to brick and mortar buildings in others, it’s very likely that moms across the country are more stressed and overwhelmed than ever.

With so many decisions to make and the health of her children and household on the line, how is a mom to relax in perhaps the greatest pandemic in history?

I’m glad you asked. Here are 3 not so obvious activities that are sure to give you a moment of respite and reprieve in a time where everything seems to be turned upside down. 

Fend for Yourself Night! 

“I LOVE being asked ‘What’s for dinner?’“ said no mom anywhere on earth! In fact, this was the question my own mother most loathed! For any adult, deciding what’s for dinner can often be a self-ruminating, mind numbing task. Now imagine being asked that question every night! It’s enough to make any mother a little overwhelmed; and let’s be honest, slightly annoyed.

Enter, “Fend for Yourself Night”! A night where children “fend” for themselves when it comes to the age-old question of “What’s for dinner?” Now of course this doesn’t mean caution is thrown to the wind and children are left “begging for their supper.” Instead, age-appropriate children begin the valuable life skill of learning their way around the kitchen. Grade school children? Easy! PBJ’s, fruit, and air-popped popcorn! Teenagers? Even better! Breakfast for dinner! Scramble an egg, make toast in the toaster, and turkey bacon on the side! Toddlers? Sorry, mom they’re not capable of fending yet! 

Podcast, podcast! Take me away!

Whether for entertainment, self-help, pop culture round ups, or (sigh) more news, there is a podcast to suit your fancy! Ranging from 25 – 60 minutes, a podcast is a great way to escape from a world where so much is transpiring. Many podcasts have seasons and accompanying episodes which will allow you to regularly treat yourself to an escape. There’s no greater feeling of listening to and completing a podcast while you’ve washed the dishes, folded a basket of laundry, or heck, simply sat on your couch or in your favorite chair absorbing every single minute. Podcasts are equally indulgent because they are often listened to with headphones. Since no one else knows what you’re listening to, there are no spoilers from those who’ve already listened, no questions from those who haven’t listened to the previous episodes or can’t keep up with the current one, and no groans when you decide to rewind and listen to that juicy tidbit one more time. The podcast is your secret entertainment and your 30 to 60-minute opportunity to unwind.

Nothing!

Nope. That’s not a typo. Every now and then the best way to relax is to do absolutely NOTHING! Leave the clothes in the basket, the floors can be mopped later in the week (or better yet, have someone else mop them), and life won’t end if the bed goes unmade.

With work weeks blending into weekends, kitchens becoming home offices, and everyday tasks like going to the grocery store resembling preparing for battle, doing nothing is a great way to reset. Take a day to play in the back yard, have a movie marathon with homemade popcorn, eat cold pizza for breakfast and (remember “fend for yourself” night?) breakfast for dinner.

The world will not end. The weight from your shoulders will be lifted and you’ll be prepared to start all over again tomorrow.

Let’s face it. Moms are the superheroes of the home – especially during this difficult time. Relax. Take a load off. You need it and you’ll be better for it.

About the Author

Nina T Washington, MD, MPH is a double board-certified pediatrician and pediatric rheumatologist. In June 2019, after practicing in her home state of Mississippi for 6 years, she decided to take a sabbatical and travel the world. She’s traveled to over 11 countries and currently resides in Split, Croatia.

Inessa Fishman, MD

August 27, 2020 by admin  
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Dr. Fishman is a fascial plastic surgeon in Atlanta, GA.

 

Special Teams

Dr. Fishman is interested in:

  • Mothering with the Mommy MD Guides syndicated newspaper column contributor
  • Media interviews
  • Speaking engagements
  • SpokesDoctor opportunities

 

Medical and Media Experience

 

An Interview with Dr. Fishman

What has surprised you most about parenting?  The amount of work—and stress and worry—involved in parenting has been most surprising to me.  I have also been very pleasantly surprised by the awesome amount of support in my real-life and online Mom circles, with both Doctor Moms and non-Doctor Moms!

How do you get your family to eat well?  I have found baby-led-weaning to be helpful in teaching my daughter to try a variety of foods.  I also like the idea of putting out several colorful vegetable options onto the table, in addition to our entrees, as an effective way to keep our diets healthy.

How do you get your family to exercise?  My daughter loves to stay active—with biking, running, and outdoor games—especially when my husband gets involved.  We’ve also recently started gymnastics lessons.

What do you do to take care of YOU?  I like regular pedicures and quiet time at night to recharge.

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The information on MommyMDGuides.com is not intended to replace the diagnosis, treatment, and services of a physician. Always consult your physician or child care expert if you have any questions concerning your family's health. For severe or life-threatening conditions, seek immediate medical attention.