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Sweet Pea Births

Chandler, Arizona

Sweet Pea Births

...celebrating every swee​t pea their birth

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Keeping Sweet Pea and Mama Healthy

Posted on December 30, 2014 at 12:06 PM Comments comments (0)

Since we are in the middle of cold and flu season, it is time for my yearly PSA about the RSV.  This illness loves the cold, dry season, and it thrives during winter months.

  • RSV or respiratory syncytial [sin-sish-uhl] virus is a contagious viral disease that may infect a person's lungs and breathing passages
  • Most people recover from the disease in a week or two, but in premature infants or those with lung or heart problems, severe RSV disease can lead to serious lung infection and hospitalization
 
If you have a newborn, still building his or her immune system, please know that IT IS OKAY for you to say no to someone who is not well, and who still asks to hold your baby.  You can look for traditional signs like a cough, runny nose, or a fever.  You can also observe – itchy or runny eyes, sniffling – it’s all suspect.  Even if someone insists that their symptoms are “only allergies”, any cough has a lot of force behind it, and who knows what else they might be aiming towards your Sweet Pea!!
 
If you are pregnant through these months, we know that your body in pregnancy is already operating with lowered immunities.  You are using energy and “operating system” towards building your baby and maintaining your pregnancy, so your immune system is not top priority.  Take extra care to eat well, sleep as much as you can between getting up to use the restroom (maybe even add in a nap time during the day!), and unload some of the stressors in your life by delaying, delegating or dropping them for now.
 
It is very important for you to realize that there are things you can do for illness prevention any time of year.  You can tackle these as new habits one at a time, or you can make a conscious effort to treat your body with respect and take on the whole list at once if there are not already your habits.
  1. Wash your hands well.  Hand washing is the best preventative for disease if you are at a healthy baseline.  Anytime you are in public, in a crowd, or go to where people congregate, take a minute to wash your hands with warm, soapy water before you move on to the next thing on your list.  Don’t give the germs any chance to find a way in!
  2. Eat well. A healthy whole food diet allows your body the maximum nutrition to give your immune system the tools it needs to fight disease.
  3. Sleep well.  The body does most of it’s repair work when all other systems are operating on lower gear.  Give it the maximum opportunity be getting good rest.  Six hours is okay; ideally you are getting eight hours of sleep.
  4. Exercise.  Your body needs a little activity to get your circulation going every day.  Get those good endorphins and the immunities your body is making into action from the top of your head to the tips of your toes.
  5. Relax.  Take time every day to slow down.  The “bad guys” do not like oxygen, so kick them out with deliberate attention to your breath. Even five deep belly breaths are enough to make a difference in your overall health if you do them every day.
 
For more reading, you can check out THIS link for our experience with RSV (it will motivate you to keep your baby well and say no to sickies!), and you can read HERE to see what Dr. Sears had to say about taking the flu shot in pregnancy or as a new mother when we saw him at MommyCon LA.
 
Do you have any healthy winter tips to share?
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 
 
Disclaimer:
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.
Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this
blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

 
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson

Keeping Sweet Pea Healthy 2012

Posted on December 11, 2012 at 3:30 AM Comments comments (0)
December is here and it’s time for my yearly PSA on protecting your baby from respiratory viruses.  When there is a newborn in the house, everyone wants to come over to meet the baby!!  They are pretty hard to resist.

Bruss and I are big advocates for our children, especially the youngest members of our family, during cold and flu season.  Our Night Owl had a life-threatening experience with RSV when he was three months old, and that has made us painfully aware just how fragile our sweet peas can be. 

We have three sweet peas from our Fall 2012 class that we have not met yet because we have been passing around a cold for the last month at the Bowman House.  Otter finally succumbed yesterday, and in her, this cold manifested as croup.  A sobering reminder that an infant’s health is so much more important than our selfish desire to see the babies – I shudder to think what would have happened if we had seen those babies over the past weekend when the virus was active with no symptoms yet.

You can click HERE to read last year’s PSA with a list of precautions you can take to minimize your sweet pea’s exposure to germs.  I list 5 concrete steps to Keep Sweet Pea Healthy in that post.  In a nutshell, limit exposure and practice good hand washing.

This year, I want to take some time this year to share polite ways to insist that people who are not healthy keep their germs to themselves and away from your children.  It is unfortunate that people really do not understand how devastating their “little cold”, sniffle or runny nose can be to a child with small airways and an evolving immune system.

THE Announcement
Here is wording you can work into the text of an announcement via email or social media:
We respectfully request that you keep our child’s health in mind when planning your visit with us. As much as we are excited to introduce [Sweet Pea] to our closest friends and family, we also need your help in keeping him/her healthy.  If you are feeling unwell, or have been exposed to a fever within the last 24 hours, we ask that you reschedule your visit.  We will understand if you choose not to come due to illness and will look forward to seeing you when you are in full health.

People Want to Meet Sweet Pea
Here is a polite way to screen people when you talk to them on the phone and they want to come for a visit.  The reason I suggest asking people to wait a couple of days from the call is because a person can be contagious before the symptoms of infection are obvious.
Q: When can we come see you?
A:  We are resting and recovering right now.  As long as you are in full health, we would be happy to see you in a couple of days.  We completely understand if that day arrives and you need to reschedule if you are not feeling well.  As much as we want you to meet [Sweet Pea], keeping him/her healthy is our first priority.

How about if you are planning a gathering with a mixed bag of guests and an infant is going to be in attendance?
You can either mention your position on attending in full health when people RSVP, or you can send out an email a few days before the event to the guests that combines the ideas listed above:
We are so excited to celebrate with you on [date, time].  Since we have infants in attendance, their health is our priority.  If you are feeling unwell, or have been exposed to a fever within the last 24 hours, we ask that you refrain from attending.  We will understand if you choose not to come due to illness and will look forward to celebrating [occasion] with you when you are in full health.

I hope that these sample phrases give you some ideas to tactfully ask your family and friends to put your child’s health needs first.  As for my favorite public request, this is still my favorite for the times when you need and/or want to get out of the house:

Sign for Car Seat or Carrier
Sign for Car Seat or Carrier
www.healthylittleones.com
 You can purchase your own boy or girl themed card HERE http://www.healthylittleones.com/OnTheGo.html

The unfortunate reality is that someone may take offense – and that is too bad for them if they put their needs ahead of your child’s needs.  Health is something we all take for granted until we are faced with the harsh reality of how fragile life really is.  Your baby is counting on you to be their voice until they find theirs.  It is hard to regret putting their needs first when you consider the alternative.


RSV
RSV
Day 4: By this time, some of Night Owl's tubes had already been taken out.
RSV
RSV
Nurses working to straighten the remaining lines
RSV
RSV
Unhooked and still sedated

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson



















So speak up and advocate for your children.  We wish you the best and a healthy season this year!




Disclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

Nursing Under Special Circumstances

Posted on July 29, 2012 at 9:52 PM Comments comments (1)
"This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Blog Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Timbra Wiist landslidephotography {at} hotmail {dot} com. Today's post is about nursing in special circumstances. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed in the comments section at www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com The Carnival runs July 16th through the 31st!" 

Today’s Prompt: Have you nursed in special circumstances? Did you feel supported or like you were paving your own path? If your circumstance included a lot of medical procedures and staff, did you get interesting, strange or just BAD advice from medical staff? Family members? Or did you have support? Where would you encourage moms to go if they were in a similar situation?   

Day 4
Day 4
Half the tubes have already been taken out. I could not bring myself to take a picture when he was attached to all the machines and IV's.
Day 5
Day 5
Nurses are checking out his meds and lines at shift change.
Day 5
Day 5
Giving baby Bruss a little massage to let him know I was there.
The special circumstances we faced only lasted a few days:   
Our son Bruss contracted RSV when he was three months old.  We got a helicopter ride from Payson Regional Medical Center down to Phoenix Children’s Hospital.  His right lung had collapsed, he was intubated and he had two chest tubes poking into his right side to release the pressure in his chest cavity from the oxygen he was receiving.    

By the time we landed in Phoenix, his oxygen level had dropped to 20%.  I was a bystander as the pediatric EMT’s and the pilot evaluated taking extreme measures right there in the elevator, or making a run for the emergency room.  They decided to make the run for the emergency room.  The three of them moved a lot faster together than I could on my own.  I will never forget that sinking feeling as they ran away from me, wondering if our child would be dead or alive the next time I saw him.  Nightmare.  Still makes me tear up as I write those words.   

Happy ending – between the amazing care we received from doctors and ER staff in Payson, and the staff in the ER at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, they saved his life.  Once he was stabilized in the ER at the children's hospital, we were moved to a room in their Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).  Our son needed to be fed through a feeding tube since he was completely sedated, and at the time, the go-to hospital solution was formula.  I was utterly opposed to the idea – not my exclusively breastfed child!  I wanted to do breastmilk only – we compromised by using my breastmilk as the major component, and they added some formula to each feeding “for calories”.   

We requested and got a hospital grade pump for our room.  I pumped dutifully every three to four hours to mimic our feeding pattern.  I would say the staff was beyond supportive.  They brought me the supplies we needed.  They helped keep the pumping area and supplies sterile.  They even went out of their way to encourage me and praise me for making the effort to feed our son breastmilk.  It surprised me to hear that very few mothers went this route – most of the babies in the PICU were formula fed without question.   

The staff started to notice  and comment on the difference.  Bruss gained weight while he was there.  He made incredible progress – many of them commented how quickly he was recovering in relation to the severity of what he had to overcome.  We were also told he was making more rapid improvement than RSV babies usually made.  Several of the nurses wondered if the breast milk was making the difference.   

My husband supported the choice to use breastmilk because he believes in the benefits of breastfeeding for Mom and Baby.  He thought it was great that we were able to do it in the hospital.  He whole-heartedly believed that his recovery was a result of our choice to give him breastmilk in the feeding tube.  He even remembers that Bruss gained weight when we there!   

I know that the breastmilk made the difference.  By the fourth day in the hospital, the lack of sleep and the stress were starting to get to me.  My production started to tank.  Luckily, we had a stash of frozen milk at home that my husband brought to the hospital.  He encouraged me to take a break from the pump and use our frozen milk instead of fretting over my milk supply.   

Once again, the hospital nurses were encouraging.  One of them was also a lactation consultant when she wasn’t wearing her PICU nurse hat.  She took the time to explain that given the lack of sleep and the stress of our son’s illness, it was not uncommon for milk supply to wane.  She assured me that once we got home and started nursing again, my supply would be very likely to increase again to meet his needs.   

Thankfully, on Day 5 they removed the last of the tubes and he was able to nurse.  I was scared to nurse him in case he rejected me.  I talked one of the nurses into bottle-feeding him to see if he still knew how to suck.  He did!  He devoured that bottle!   

The next time he was hungry, I took a deep breath and put him to the breast.  I cried with joy as my son and I found each other again.  Mama joyfully feeding her baby.  Baby nursing as if he hadn’t been in a crib attached to tubes for the last five days.   

What I have learned since then: you can say no to anything in the hospital.  It is your body and/or your baby and it is up to you to decide what care providers can and cannot do, no matter how the staff words their wishes for your care.  If I had to do it again, I would ask them to allow him to be exclusively breastfed until he showed signs that he was no longer thriving.  If he started losing weight by being exclusively breastfed, then I would consent to adding formula to his feeding tube.  If he maintained the same weight or gained weight, he could show it was okay to stay formula free.   

If another mom finds herself in a similar situation, with her child being in an intensive care setting, I would suggest that she surround herself with support.  Spouse, partner, care team, prayer.  If someone is not on board with her choice to breastfeed in spite of the circumstances, I would ask her if she was comfortable asking for a new care team.   

I would also encourage them to get lots of rest, meditate on the food they were making for the baby when they were pumping (talking to myself did help), covering the tubes and collection bottles with a blanket to take the focus off the ounces and just let the body work (a new tidbit I learned recently), and to research different galactagogues and consider giving them a try in order to keep supply up in the face of sleep deprivation and stress.   

We are blessed that our special circumstance had a happy ending.  One more anecdote that testifies to the wonderful healing power of the unique food we make for our unique species. 

Disclaimer:  
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson  The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  
This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®. 

Keeping Sweet Pea Healthy

Posted on November 11, 2011 at 4:57 AM Comments comments (0)
RSV experience
RSV experience
This is on day four of hospitalization - many of the tubes had already come out.
RSV experience
RSV experience
This is on day four of hospitalization - many of the tubes had already come out.
RSV experience
RSV experience
Checking out all the meds and straightening out the lines.
RSV experience
RSV experience
Day 5 - Breathing is stabilized and now we just need oxygen to keep the levels up in his body.
As we enter cold and flu season, I am compelled to write about RSV and some protective measures you can take to protect infants from this vicious virus.  Bruss and I are big advocates for our children, especially the youngest members of our family, during cold and flu season.  Our Night Owl had a life-threatening experience with RSV when he was three months old, and that has made us painfully aware just how fragile our sweet peas can be. 

(Picture notes: Night Owl made a more rapid recovery than most children - he was only intubated four days.   We credit that to the fact he was covered in prayer across the country, and he got breast milk in his feeding tube!)
 
When someone with a cold coughs or sneezes, they spread droplets of cold germs on nearby surfaces.  Those germs can live for hours.  If they are near us, the germs can fall on our skin or clothing.  If they were in a space before us, we unknowingly touch the infected surfaces and then infect ourselves with the same cold virus.  While these viruses are around throughout the year, they thrive in the chilly, dry air of winter.  The critical mass makes the amount of people showing symptoms of a cold or a flu infection more noticeable during the winter months.
 
“RSV” stands for respiratory syncytial virus, a common, easily spread virus.  It causes excessive fluid build up in the lungs.  It is not devastating to an older child or an adult because they have the capacity for a strong sneeze, and the ability to blow their nose to clear the congestion. 
 
An infant lacks both of these mechanisms to clear the fluid from their lungs.  Therefore, the fluid builds up and the breathing gets more and more labored.  As we found out, higher altitudes add additional stress to the lungs and cause them to fail faster.  What we believed to be a simple cold turned out to be RSV.  Our son’s right lung collapsed and he spent four days at Phoenix Children’s Hospital fighting for his life.
 
If you have had a baby within the last year, please take this information to heart.  Do not be afraid to tell people they cannot touch or hold your baby if you haven’t seen them wash their hands before asking or reaching for your child.  Be courageous for your child – you are the only one who can speak for them when they do not have words to protect themselves.  You can help them get through this season in good health with some simple precautions. For some communication ideas to use with family or friends, READ THIS.
 
RSV Disease Symptoms to watch for:
     -    Coughing or wheezing that does not stop
     -    Fast breathing or gasping for breath
     -    Spread-out nostrils and/or caved-in chest when trying to breathe
     -    A bluish color around the mouth or fingernails
     -    A fever: in infants under 3 months of age, a fever greater than
          100.4 deg F rectal is cause for concern
 
If you see your baby exhibiting any of these symptoms, get them to the pediatrician's office or to a care facility right away.  A swab test can be done to determine whether your baby has been infected with RSV.  Early treatment can head off the worst effects of this disease and shorten your hospital stay, if not avoid it altogether.
 
Precautions we learned the hard way:
Wash your hands thoroughly before touching your baby and ask others to do the same.  This is especially important if you have been out in public touching shopping carts or other high-touch surfaces (handrails, ATM's, refrigerator handles, doorknobs, computer keyboards, telephone handsets).  I included some tips for hand washing from WebMD at the end of this post.  Don’t have access to a sink before unloading your groceries or after handling cash?  Have hand sanitizer readily available – attach a bottle to your diaper bag or keep some sanitizing wipes in your car that you can use before touching your baby.
 
Do not let anyone smoke in your home, or near your baby.  Second-hand smoke irritates the lining of the lungs; specifically, it has been found to damage the surfactant that makes breathing possible. (See Link 2)  Damaging that lining on top of dangerous germs makes for a sick baby who can’t breathe well.
 
Wash your baby’s toys, clothes an bedding often.  In order to effectively kill germs, the water temperature needs to be between 140 – 150 degrees F.  Most people don’t turn their water heaters up that high, and even if they do, that water temperature is hard on fabrics.  If you can, use bleach with your detergent when you wash clothing and bedding.  If you prefer not to use bleach on fabrics, you can run a cycle with hot water and bleach to clean your washing machine after washing 3-5 loads of laundry.  This will kill the germs in the machine and theoretically you have cleaner clothes since you aren’t washing germy items in a germy machine.
 
Keep your baby away from people with colds, crowds and young children.  Keeping away from a person with a cold seems pretty obvious.  However, when that person with a cold is the loving relative who came all the way to see the baby, it is harder to say no.  Head off the uncomfortable situation by making it very clear that people need to be healthy when they come visit your baby.  We let people know that if they have been exposed to a person with a fever or have had a fever themselves in the 24 hours before coming to visit, we would appreciate seeing them another time. 
 
Crowds and young children follow from that idea.  It is impossible to know who has been exposed to what and when that exposure happened in both situations, so the best choice is to avoid them altogether.  As the respiratory therapist at Phoenix Children’s told us, “Don’t go to church or [insert big box store name here] during flu season” since people will go to both places whether they are sick or healthy, and both places are frequented by young children. Between poor hygiene habits and exposure to germs through toy and space sharing with other children, these kiddos are walking germ factories during cold and flu season.
 
My favorite way to kindly ask people to keep their hands off comes in the form of a sign from Healthy Little Ones.  Click here to see what this mom-preneur has to offer.
 
Change your clothes and wash your hands when real life interferes.  You will have to venture out to the grocery store at some point this season, and some of us still do our holiday shopping in high-traffic areas.  When you do have to go out, take precautions when you come home.  If possible, arrange for another parent or caregiver to stay with your baby when you need to go out.  Anybody who goes out should change all their clothes when they come back from shopping.  Here is the way it goes down at our house: once we get home, we strip in the laundry room and get the clothes into the washer.  Then we wash our hands and put on clean clothes.  It makes for extra laundry; however, we have been fairly fortunate in avoiding nasty colds the last couple of years.
 
I hope these ideas help you avoid any emergency room visits and/or hospital stays.  We wish you and your sweet pea good health this season.
 
Do you have any cold-prevention tips to share with us? Please help us add to our list by leaving a comment below.
 
 
From WebMD:
Washing your hands for cold prevention
  1. Wet your hands with water, then apply soap. CDC guidelines advise using a plain,
    non-antimicrobial soap (no antiseptic ingredients).
  2. Rub your hands together vigorously for 15-30 seconds. Wash the wrists, between the fingers, and under the fingernails. When you have time, use a nailbrush, as bacteria often hide under the nails.
  3. Rinse your hands thoroughly and dry with a clean towel in a public restroom, shut the faucet off with a paper towel.
  4. Try to push the door open with your shoulder, or use another paper towel to turn the knob.
 
What if you are not near a sink?
Keep an alcohol-based sanitizer for hands if a sink is unavailable. Rub your hands until they are dry.  The alcohol in the gel kills the germs on your hands.
 
Reference and Related Links:
(1) RSV Information
 
(2) Second hand smoke research
 
(3) Tips on washing your clothes and cleaning your washing machine
 
(4) WebMD on Handwashing
 
Disclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.
 


 

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