How to Have a Safe Halloween With Food Allergies

How to Have a Safe Halloween With Food Allergies

If your kids have food allergies, you know what it takes to ensure they’re never accidentally exposed to unsafe foods. You have to plan meals, read labels and ask questions, especially when you go out to eat, attend a birthday party or go trick or treating on Halloween.

When my daughter was an infant, she was diagnosed with several food allergies. At that time, it was much easier to control what she ate because I cooked and packed all of her meals, whether she was at daycare or with me at a friend’s house. When she started school however, everything changed.

In preschool, she accidentally ingested a food she was allergic to while the class was working on a craft project. Then this year within a week of starting school, she once again had an accidental exposure in the cafeteria. I was grateful she was fine and only required Benadryl, but it’s stressful nonetheless.

At Halloween, there will be trick or treating, parties and events and plenty of candy and treats. With a bit of planning and some simple strategies, your kids can have a fun and safe Halloween despite their food allergies.

Do your homework

Your child’s teacher is probably already aware of his food allergies but other parents may not be. And if they have a party at school, there may be foods your kid is allergic too. If parents don’t have children with food allergies, they might avoid bringing an obvious allergenic food but they’re not likely to read labels. And besides, we shouldn’t expect them to.

When my daughter had a Halloween party in preschool, the teacher told all of the parents about the food allergies in the class. It was a good thing I was there because one of the snacks contained a food she was allergic to.

If you’re able to attend the party, it’s a good way to prevent an accidental exposure. If you can’t however, ask the teacher to give you a list of the snacks that were brought in or take photos of the ingredients label so you can check the snacks before the party. For homemade foods like cookies and cupcakes, it’s wise to have your kid avoid them altogether.

Divide and conquer

When your kid comes home from school or trick or treating, sort all of the candy to determine what’s safe and what’s not. You might think certain types of candy are OK because they were safe to eat in the past, but ingredients can differ between fun size and regular size, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

If a piece of candy doesn’t have the ingredients on the label, check the nutrition label on the brand’s website to make sure your kid doesn’t ingest something that will cause an allergic reaction.

Look for teal pumpkins

In 2014, the Teal Pumpkin Project® launched to keep kids with food allergies safe on Halloween. Homes that have a teal-colored pumpkin on the doorstep signal to kids that they’ll receive a fun, non-food treat. To find Teal Pumpkin Project homes in your area, check out their participation map.

Be prepared

If your kid is invited to a party, talk to the parents beforehand about the foods they plan to serve and if you’ll need to bring a safe replacement. If you won’t be attending, make sure the parents know what foods your kid is allergic to. Make sure they also have your phone number and his medications and know what to do if he accidently ingests something.

Empower your child

Whenever we go to a friend’s house, someone’s party or eat out at a restaurant, my daughter asks if the food she’s thinking about eating is something she’s allergic to. She’s still quite young but it’s a habit I instilled in her early on.

If you have young kids, consider having them wear a food allergy bracelet. Older kids can practice asking what’s in a food and saying “no thank you, I’m allergic.” Teaching them how to advocate for themselves now is important and something they’ll need to do throughout their lives.

Host your own party

If another mom usually throws a Halloween party, offer to have it at your house so you’ll have full control over the food and the treats.

Tell the neighbors

If you’re friendly with your neighbors, you can tell them before Halloween what your kids are allergic to and offer to provide them with safe candy they can hand out instead.

Don’t let them trick or treat alone

If your kids are old enough to trick or treat with friends, tag along anyway. Your kids might be tempted to eat a piece of candy along the route that could cause an allergic reaction and you don’t want to take that chance.

5 Worst Pieces of Picky Eating Advice Ever

5 Worst Pieces of Picky Eating Advice Ever

If your kids are picky eaters, you know how challenging it is to get them to eat their vegetables, try new foods or even sit down to eat a meal. Maybe you’ve read a book about picky eating or asked your kids’ pediatrician or a nutritionist for advice, which is always a good start.

Yet asking other moms who also have picky eaters isn’t always the best idea. Sure, many of them have tips and tricks for dealing with picky eating in the short term but a lot of their strategies either miss the mark or are downright bad.

Here are some of the most common pieces of advice I’ve heard other moms give that in my opinion are all wrong.

1. “Sneak vegetables.”

Pureeing vegetables and sneaking them into sauces, baked goods, and smoothies can definitely give your kids the nutrition they need and otherwise wouldn’t get or give them an extra boost of nutrition. Yet replacing all their vegetable servings as a sneaky puree is a big mistake.

Not only do kids miss out on the fiber vegetables provide, but if you want your kids to love them they need to have plenty of opportunities to smell, touch and taste various types. They need to grow into adults who love vegetables in their whole form.

Sure, they may not love everything you serve, but they must have plenty of chances to learn what they like and dislike. I don’t see anything wrong with green smoothies or adding a vegetable puree into a meal for extra nutrition, but the vegetables that make up a bulk of their diets should be whole.

2. “Make your own____”

Do a quick Google search and you’ll find so many ways to make homemade versions of shelf-stable snacks like fruit roll-ups, gummy fruit snacks and Swedish fish. I think it can be a fun treat for kids, but it’s not a good approach if you’re making these homemade versions because you want to make sure your kids eat fruit. You want to raise kids who know what strawberries look and taste like, not kids who will only eat fruit if it’s in the shape of a gummy bear.

3. “Be creative.”

There are so many food bloggers who have come up with ways to make food fun and “kid-friendly” by transforming fruits and vegetables into animals, funny faces and shapes.

I think it’s cute if you have the time of course and it might be a good way to get toddlers to try new foods. Yet making food into art shouldn’t be a long-term tactic because your kids may come to always expect it that way and may not eat fruits and vegetables any other way.

4. “Bribe them.”

When you’re frustrated with your picky eaters, you can beg, plead and negotiate, “please, can you just take a bite?!” Maybe you’ve bribed them with dessert, which I admit I’ve done, but it’s not a good idea.

For starters, if your kids are hungry, they’ll eat and no amount of negotiation will change that. And bribing them with dessert but only after they eat their vegetables teaches them that dessert is more desirable than vegetables. It’s also something they start to believe which is how many of us were raised and continue to believe today.

Rather than negotiation tactics, bribery or outright begging, give your kids plenty of healthy choices and let them pick what they want on their plates. The less pressure you put on them, the more they’ll feel empowered to choose.

5. “Put them in front of the TV.”

Turning on the TV and allowing your kids to sip a smoothie or snack on fruits and vegetables might get them to eat, but what you’re really doing is teaching your kids how to eat mindlessly.

If you want your kids to love what they’re eating and also grow up to have a healthy relationship with food, then model healthy eating at the table, together as a family. Show them how to eat slow, chew their food thoroughly and enjoy every last bite. Teach them that eating is nourishment but that mealtime is also something to be enjoyed together as a family.

8 Ways to Eat Healthy When Dad Doesn’t

8 Ways to Eat Healthy When Dad Doesn’t

You want your family to eat healthy so you’ve tried to add more vegetables to their meals, cut down on the processed, packaged snacks and cut back on sugar.

Trying to get your kids to eat healthy is challenging enough but when your spouse still brings junk food into the house, orders take-out when he’s on dinner duty and doesn’t serve your kids vegetables, it can make it that much harder.

It turns out this is a real problem for families in the U.S. A recent small study published in the journal Appetite shows families say dad’s eating habits were less healthy than mom’s.

So how can you make sure you and your kids eat healthy when your spouse doesn’t?

Here are some strategies to try.

1. Fight fair

When it comes to talking to your spouse about any type of conflict or difficult subject, you probably already know that using “I” statements instead of “you” statements is a good idea. Saying “I think” or “I feel” takes the blame off your partner so he doesn’t feel defensive.

When you broach the food conversation, instead of saying, “you always bring junk food into the house,” explain, “I really want our kids to eat healthy because insert your reasons. What can we do to make this happen?”

2. Lead by example

Do your best to make eating healthy a priority for yourself and your kids, whether dad is on board or not. Make a salad for lunch and share it with your kids, cook healthy meals and prepare healthy snacks, and find ways to lighten up your family’s favorite dishes.

3. Work together

Getting your kids excited about eating healthy will help them understand that’s what your family does, even if dad doesn’t. Depending on your kids’ ages, bring them grocery shopping and let them pick out a new fruit or vegetable to try, let them help you prepare and cook meals, or pick out new healthy recipes you can make together. The more they feel a part of the meal planning process, the more likely they’ll want to eat healthy.

4. Set boundaries

If your spouse buys cookies, chips, and other unhealthy snacks, store them in the pantry, maybe even in a small container, instead of on the kitchen counter. Of course your kids will know they’re there, but you want to encourage them to grab for a piece of fruit instead that’s in the front of the refrigerator.

5. Share meals together

You don’t have to eat dinner together every night but sharing meals together—whether it’s breakfast every morning or Sunday brunch—is one of the best ways to ensure your kids will always be healthy eaters.

In fact, according to a study out of the University of Illinois, children and teens who share 3 or more meals a week with their families eat healthier and are more likely to have a healthier weight than those who don’t.

6. Make small changes

If you make small, gradual changes each week rather than overhauling their entire diet, there’s a better chance of getting everyone in the family on board. Although they might not love swapping spiralized veggies for pasta, try upgrading sugary cereal for rolled oats with fresh fruit and nuts, or serving fish instead of meat, for example.

7. Compromise

If your spouse has been eating unhealthy for most of his life, it’s going to be difficult for him to make changes. If he understands why it’s so important however, he’ll be more willing to help although it might take a bit of negotiation. He still might order in pizza when you’re out, but maybe he’ll agree to eat those chips at work instead.

8. Be patient

You might not convert your spouse overnight, but if you stick with it, he may come around. If all you can do is eat healthy yourself and get your kids to eat healthy, it’s still a major win.

7 Breastfeeding Myths

7 Breastfeeding Myths

Breastfeeding is one of the most frequent talked about topics for new moms. Despite all of the information available, there are so many ideas breastfeeding moms think are true but are actually myths.

Let’s face it: when you become a new mom, you’re clueless.

When I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, I didn’t give much thought to what breastfeeding would be like. My perception of breastfeeding was that it was natural so how hard could it be?

Little did I know that although I didn’t have a lot of breastfeeding challenges, it still affected my body and my mind and it wasn’t as easy as it seemed.

Like many moms, I worried whether my milk supply was low, if my baby was getting enough and if that excruciating nipple pain was actually normal. As I continued to breastfeed, research and write about breastfeeding at Fox News, I was amazed by all of the ideas moms are told—and start to believe—about breastfeeding that simply aren’t true.

Here are 7 of the most common breastfeeding myths and the real truths.


Breastfeeding myth #1: Breastfeeding is easy.


Next to pregnancy and giving birth, breastfeeding is certainly the most amazing, natural thing your body can do but breastfeeding isn’t all butterflies and roses.

Like anything when you’re a mom (new or seasoned), there’s a learning curve. You can’t expect to put your baby to the breast and ba-boom!, everything is easygoing. You have to make sure your latch and position are correct, your baby is gulping, swallowing, feeding regularly and gaining weight.

If your nipples are inverted or your baby is tongue-tied, for example, breastfeeding can be challenging. And unlike bottle-feeding, your baby has to work harder to get the milk, you may find that you’re not breastfeeding according to a schedule and you might have to breastfeed more frequently.

The key to make breastfeeding easier is to get support—through La Leche League, a new mom’s group or from a friend who can help you out.


Breastfeeding myth #2: Low milk supply is common.

How many times has a mom told you she stopped breastfeeding because her milk supply was low and her baby was hungry all the time?

Low milk supply is actually one of the most common reasons moms through in towel early or supplement with formula. In fact, 49 percent of mothers said they stopped breastfeeding after two months because breast milk alone wasn’t enough to satisfy their babies.

Unfortunately, the data simply doesn’t add up, according to lactation consultant Rachel O’Brien. And sources I’ve interviewed have told me most women don’t have a low milk supply.

When you feed your baby a bottle, you know how much he ate but when you’re breastfeeding, it’s not so easy. Some of the ways to tell that your milk supply is just fine include your baby’s gaining weight, he has a certain amount of weight diapers a day and he’s hitting his developmental milestones.

If you’re uncertain, make an appointment with a lactation consultant who can weight your baby right after you feed him to make sure he’s getting enough breast milk.


Breastfeeding myth #3: Breastfeeding is painful.


You may have read horror stories of moms who say their nipples are cracked and bleeding and breastfeeding was painful.

Yet when your latch is correct, breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful. One reason it might be painful is tongue-tie, which from experience, is very painful.

If breastfeeding is painful for you and you’re uncertain why, talk to a lactation consultant.


Breastfeeding myth #4: Breastfed babies eat on a schedule.

During the first few months you might feel like you’re constantly breastfeeding and you’d be right.

When I had my second child, I saw a lactation consultant and told her the Babywise methodology, the eat, play, sleep schedule that had worked perfectly with my older daughter wasn’t working at all with my second. Instead, she wanted to eat all. the. time. and I was one tired mama.

Unlike formula-fed babies who eat on a schedule and can go longer between feedings, breast milk is digested quickly and the truth is newborns eat all the time.


Breastfeeding myth #5: The foods you eat can give your baby gas.


When my daughter was a newborn it seemed that she would often have gas, especially right before bedtime. I used to think maybe it was what I was eating, since I usually eat green leafy vegetables and beans but research doesn’t back it up. So go ahead and eat healthy—it’s good for your baby too.

There could however, be other reasons why your baby has gas that may or may not have to do with breastfeeding, according to KellyMom.com.


Breastfeeding myth #6: Breastfeeding will help you lose the baby weight.

The day I left the hospital with my first child, the neonatal nurse told me if I continued to breastfeed, “the weight would melt right off.” That was good news for a mama who had gained too much weight during pregnancy.

She was right. I exclusively breastfed, ate healthy and exercised regularly and I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight in just a few months.

Although breastfeeding can help you lose weight, how much you’ll lose and how fast depends on how long you exclusively breastfeed for, how much you gained during your pregnancy, as well as your diet and exercise habits after you give birth.


Breastfeeding myth #7: If you drink, you’ll have to pump and dum


If you want to have a drink when you’re breastfeeding, you may have heard that you have to “pump and dump” but that’s not true.

In fact, the same amount of alcohol that clears from your bloodstream is the same amount that leaves your breast milk so pumping your breast milk makes no difference at all. It takes about 2 hours to metabolize one serving of alcohol, like a 4-ounce glass of wine.

What you should know however, is that newborns will metabolize alcohol differently than older babies. You can use Milkscreen test strips, but they will only tell you if alcohol is in your breast milk, not how much.

Of course, drinking while breastfeeding is your own personal choice but if you do choose to, the safest way is to have only one drink and enjoy it right after you feed your baby.

5 Real Reasons Moms Stop Breastfeeding

5 Real Reasons Moms Stop Breastfeeding

When I was pregnant with my first child, I didn’t give much thought to whether I would breastfeed or not. Yet amidst all the parenting books and information I read when I was pregnant, I came across a fact sheet and learned about all the amazing benefits of breastfeeding. And right after I read it, I told my husband that I was committed to breastfeed. No. Matter. What.

I’m the type of person that follows through on a committment come hell or high water.

I’m grateful that breastfeeding was smooth sailing for me after I got some support from the lactation consultants at the hospital. My milk supply was more than adequate—I even had a freezer full of pumped milk—and my daughter even slept through the night by 3 months.

 

Yet I know not all moms are so lucky.

Moms know breastfeeding is one of the best things they can do for their baby’s health and their own. Like childbirth, it’s one of the most natural things a mother’s body is made for but it doesn’t always come naturally or easily. In fact, studies show only about 50 percent of moms are still breastfeeding at 6 months.

So why is that? Here are some of the reasons I think moms stop breastfeeding.

 

1. Breastfeeding is a part-time job

Don’t get me wrong, pulling out your breast and putting your baby next to you is much easier than having to get up in the middle night to prepare a bottle.

But breastfeeding takes more time and more patience than bottle feeding. When I was breastfeeding, I always felt like I was “on-call,” especially in the beginning when there are 8 to 12 feedings a day. In the first few months, my husband would wake up to feed our daughter a bottle of pumped milk but I often woke up too to pump so my milk supply wouldn’t dwindle.

If you’re away from your baby, you still have to pump. And some moms can’t go far because their babies won’t take a bottle.

2. Breastfeeding changes your breasts and your body


My breasts are so small I’m barely an A cup. But when I was breastfeeding, I couldn’t believe how large my breasts were—porn-star big.

Because I was producing a lot of milk, my breasts would leak when my baby cried, when another baby cried and when I even thought about my baby. My milk would let down and come out so fast my daughter would often let go of the latch to catch a breath.

Since breastfeeding also causes estrogen levels to be low, sex can be challenging, even painful. And when you do have sex and climax, you breasts can leak then too.

 

3. Moms have to return to work


I was lucky to be able to work from home when I had my kids and have a babysitter at my house. If you work from home, you’ll probably have more flexibility to feed your baby or pump. Although the Affordable Care Act allows women the time and space to pump at work, the rules vary by state and many loopholes exist.

 

And what about moms who have long commutes or don’t have a place to pump? Like one of my friends who used to work as a pharmaceutical representative. Since she didn’t have an office and was always on the road, she pumped in her car in New York City parking garages in between sales calls!

4. Feeling sexy goes out the door overnight

 

There are beautiful satin and lace nursing bras that make you feel sexy when you’re not nursing your baby, but let’s be honest: those soft cup nursing bras and disposable nursing pads are what most moms are sporting.

I wore a nursing bra 24/7 for a year (see #2).

5. Breastfeeding can make you sick


When I was breastfeeding, I had a bout of mastitis and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody. Not only did I have a large lump in my breast, but I felt like someone ran over me with a Mack truck.

I also battled a sneaky condition called D-MER and high levels of anxiety and nausea when my baby started solids and when she finally weaned for good.

These are just some of the reasons moms stop breastfeeding. Health, lifestyle, employment, access to healthcare and support networks are different for each woman.

Instead of shaming women for throwing in the towel early, we need to understand the reasons for doing so and give them the support they need regardless of their decisions.

Did you stop breastfeeding before a year? Why?

 

 

 

 

7 Superfoods For Breastfeeding Moms

7 Superfoods For Breastfeeding Moms

When I was breastfeeding my babies, I was constantly hungry because I was burning some major calories, much like I would after working out at the gym. In fact, experts say moms who are exclusively breastfeeding need between 300 and 500 extra calories a day.

When you have a new baby, having the time to eat a meal, much less take a shower, is near to impossible.

Yet it’s not only important to make sure you eat enough to keep up your milk supply, give you energy and help you shed the baby weight, but what you eat and the quality of your food are also important.

7 Superfoods for breastfeeding moms

 

1. Eggs

 

I eat eggs almost every morning because they’re packed with protein to keep me going all morning. Eggs also contain choline, lutein, vitamins B12 and D, riboflavin and folate.

Scramble up one egg and two egg whites for a healthy breakfast, make a healthy quiche or frittata for dinner or cook a bunch of hard-boiled eggs for grab and go snacks.

 

2. Almonds

 

When you’re busy with your baby or out and about, grabbing a handful of almonds is a healthy way to squelch hunger. Almonds, and other nuts and seeds are great sources of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and healthy fats.

 

3. Broccoli

 

Green leafy vegetables like broccoli at most meals is a great way for you to get the vitamins you need including A, C, E and K as well as calcium and lutein.

In fact, a recent study found that people who higher levels of lutein, found in green leafy vegetables like broccoli, kale and spinach as well as avocados and eggs, may ward off cognitive decline.

They’re also low in calories but filled with fiber to help you feel satiated. Eat them raw or cooked, they’re delicious in any dish.

 

4. Salmon

 

Fresh, frozen or canned, salmon is a healthy option for breastfeeding moms. Salmon is a great source of protein, vitamin B12 and D and omega-3 fatty acids.

 

5. Quinoa

 

Whole grains are an excellent source of B vitamins and minerals and fiber to fill you up. Quinoa is one of the best types of whole grains you can eat because it also has protein—one cup contains 8 grams! I also love quinoa because you can make it for any meal—including breakfast

 

6. Beef

 

When you’re breastfeeding, you have an increased need for zinc. Beef is not only rich in zinc but it’s a good source of iron and B vitamins to give you energy. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you can get zinc in other foods like pumpkin seeds and chickpeas.

 

7. Beans

 

Beans and legumes are excellent sources of minerals, phytochemicals, protein and fiber. I like to soak and cook beans but if you don’t have the time, canned is fine too. Beans are also versatile in any meal—fajitas, chili, as a snack or even with your morning eggs.

4 Ways Breastfeeding May Prevent Picky Eating

4 Ways Breastfeeding May Prevent Picky Eating

You already know the benefits of breastfeeding for both you and your baby, but in recent years, researchers have shed light on one more: babies who are breastfed by mothers who eat healthy foods are less likely to be picky eaters and may turn out to be adventurous foodies.

It makes sense. Not only do breastfed babies get all of their nutrients through their moms in those early months, they also get the subtle flavors of the foods they eat. So when it’s time to start solids, they may already have formed their own healthy food preferences.

1. A love of fruits and vegetables

Breastfeeding your baby may help him crave fruits and vegetables. Take a look at a 2007 study out of the Monell Chemical Senses Center, which included 45 babies between 4 and 8-months-old; 20 of whom were breastfed.

Both groups were fed green beans and peaches. The first time they were offered peaches, the breastfed babies ate more peaches and for a longer period of time than the formula-fed infants, which suggests they preferred peaches because their moms ate them.

What’s interesting, however, is that neither group of babies ate more green beans than the author perhaps because both sets of moms ate green beans infrequently, the authors explained.

The key therefore, is that if you’re breastfeeding and you want your kids to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, you also need to eat them.

2. A willingness to try new foods

The foods moms eat during pregnancy and while they’re breastfeeding affect the taste and nutrition of their breast milk, which in turn shapes their babies’ flavor and food preferences, a recent study out of Keen State College found.

“Studies show that toddlers, preschool, and school-aged children who were breastfed as infants are more likely to accept a wider variety of healthy foods and are more accepting of new foods and are less likely to be picky eaters,” Becky Dunn, the co-author of the study stated in this article.

3. Less mealtime battles

According to a 2012 study out of the University of Illinois, babies who were exclusively breasted for the first 6 months were 81 percent less likely to reject food when they became preschoolers, 78 percent less likely to develop a preference for how their food was prepared, and 75 percent less likely to fear trying new foods.

4. A smaller sweet tooth

Breastfeeding infants for longer periods of time is associated with a higher likelihood that kids will eat healthy, eat more fruits and vegetables, drink less sugar-sweetened drinks and more water at age 6 according to a 2014 report by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

So although your kid will probably love sweets, breastfeeding may be one way to keep those sugar cravings at bay.

What Is Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex (D-MER)?

What Is Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex (D-MER)?

*This post contains affiliate links.*

Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex (D-MER) is a real condition for some breastfeeding moms, and like postpartum depression they might be suffering in silence.

 

I breastfeed my daughters, each one for a little more than a year. Although I believe in the benefits of breastfeeding and I’m grateful that I was able to breastfeed for as long as I did, I’ll never pretend it was easy.

I got used to my leaky, engorged breasts, the unflattering nursing bras and breast pads, round the clock feedings and pumping.

Yet there was one thing about breastfeeding that I never quite understood or told another mom about: that moment of intense anxiety and feeling of doom right as my milk letdown. It lasted less than 30 seconds but it was alarming nonetheless.

Since I had dealt with anxiety and panic attacks in the past, I chalked it up to hormones but I always wondered: is this normal? Are other moms going through this too?

Over the years as I conducted interviews for the stories I wrote for Fox News, I’d ask lactation consultants about it but no one knew what I was talking about. I started to think maybe it was just me. Maybe my wacky hormones and biological disposition to anxiety ramped up during breastfeeding too.

A few years went by until I finally mentioned it to Diana West, IBCLC, director of media relations for La Leche League and she said there was actually a name for what I had experienced: Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex or D-MER.

What is Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex (D-MER)?

After talking to Diana and conducting some research, I wrote about D-MER for Fox News (you can read the entire story here). Here are the main points:

  • D-MER is a condition that causes breastfeeding moms to have brief episodes of anxiety, irritability, anger, sadness and even suicidal ideations at milk letdown.
  • D-MER is believed to happen because of a dysfunction of dopamine activity.
  • Since research is limited, it’s not clear how many moms actually experience D-MER but experts say it’s likely a small percentage.
  • The symptoms of D-MER usually subside after a few seconds or a few minutes.
  • D-MER is not a psychological problem or postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety.
  • Acute stress and caffeine might make symptoms of D-MER worse while some interventions like a chocolate ice cream binge (seriously!) may improve symptoms, according to a 2011 study in the International Breastfeeding Journal.
  • Although it can be challenging to deal with, most moms with D-MER say their condition subsides after 3 or 6 months.

Breastfeeding Moms With D-MER Need Support

Since many lactation consultants, doctors and clinicians don’t know about D-MER, it’s possible some moms are being told what they’re experiencing isn’t real or on the flip side, they’re being incorrectly diagnosed with postpartum depression or anxiety.

Much like the stigma associated with postpartum depression, it’s likely moms are apprehensive to talk about it because they fear they’ll be judged.

With more research, hopefully more doctors, lactation consultants and providers will become aware of D-MER, screen for it and assure moms that it’s completely normal.

Regardless of where you find yourself on the breastfeeding vs. formula-feeding debate, all moms need to give each other the freedom to talk about what they’re experiencing—without fear and without judgment because we’re all walking this journey of motherhood together.

For more information about D-MER, visit d-mer.org.

5 Ways To Make Ice Cream Healthy

5 Ways To Make Ice Cream Healthy

Ice cream is the quintessential summertime treat for kids and on a hot summer day, there’s nothing like it. Our family has a farm nearby that sells the most delicious ice cream I’ve ever had and we frequently go throughout the summer. We also have an ice cream shop that serves “freak shakes,” or enormous sundaes covered in candy, cookies and whipped cream. I’ve never tried them but it’s a favorite spot among the locals.

But with lots of calories, fat and plenty of sugar, ice cream isn’t healthy but there are things you can do to make it healthier for your kids.

1. Watch portion sizes

When ordering ice cream for your kid, pay attention to portion sizes. Whether your kid is 4 or 8-years-old, he shouldn’t have a large waffle cone with 2 or 3 large scoops of ice cream. Did you know a typical waffle cone with chocolate ice cream has nearly 600 calories! Instead, ask for a toddler cup, which is usually large enough for an adult, or one scoop which is enough to satisfy your kid’s sweet tooth.

2. Switch up your toppings

Instead of M&M’s or gummy worms, add fresh fruit as a topping or raw nuts. Avoid fruit that’s been soaking in syrup, however, because the sugar negates any of the health benefits.

3. Serve ice cream on the side

If you’re serving ice cream at home, make fruit the star of the show and add a scoop of ice cream on the side. Slice your kid’s favorite fresh fruit or grill slices of fruit for a delicious summer treat.

4. Make parfaits

Let your kids make their own parfaits with ice cream, fresh fruit—berries work well—and a low sugar granola or nuts. A parfait is a great way to control portions and add extra fiber and nutrition.

5. Make fake ice cream

When bananas start to get brown spots on them, cut them up and freeze them. Then place the frozen bananas in the food processor, blend them for a minute or so and you’ve got a delicious treat that tastes just like ice cream.

6 Tips To Help Moms Stop Emotional Eating

6 Tips To Help Moms Stop Emotional Eating

I eat healthy and exercise but I’ll admit it: I’m an emotional eater.

When my kids have a meltdown, ask “mommy…can I….fill in the blank?” for the hundredth time that day, or when I’m worried about something else in my life, my cortisol ramps up and I head into the kitchen and use food to cope with my feelings.

Eating makes me feel better, but of course it’s only temporary so I often get more food to get that “high.” It’s a dangerous downward spiral and when I’ve eaten too much, I gain weight and beat myself up.

You would think I would be able to cope with emotional eating. As a journalist, I’ve had access to some of the best experts in the field like Cleveland Clinic clinical psychologist Dr. Susan Albers author of “50 More Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food,” and I’ve written about emotional eating for Fox News.

I’ve tried to drink water, make a cup of soothing tea, or take deep breaths. In recent months, I’ve been able to take control of my bad habits but I’ve been an emotional eater my whole life so it’s still something I deal with.

Moms Eat To Cope With Stress

Being a mom is the hardest job you’ll ever have and our generation of moms has a lot on their plates.

Even if you don’t work full-time, 62 percent of you work for about 4 hours a day from home and contribute to the household income in some way, a survey by Redbook magazine found.

Add to that wiping tears and giving hugs, teaching life lessons, kindness, manners and responsibility, shuttling kids to after-school activities, cooking, cleaning and the long list of to-do’s you do on any given day and you’re stressed out. That stress can quickly take its toll on you and lead you right to the kitchen too.

In fact, 31 percent of women eat to manage stress, according to a survey by the American Psychological Association.

Stop Emotional Eating Today
Although you may not always be able to change your stress level right away, you can change how to cope with stress and choose to take eating as a coping mechanism off the table. Curbing emotional eating will help you lose weight, feel more in control of your feelings and show your kids how to cope with their emotions without food as well.

1. Follow your hunger cues
When you want to grab something to eat, first think about whether you’re actually hungry or not. If you’re not having hunger pains and your stomach isn’t growling, you’re not hungry. If you can’t decide, drink a large bottle of water since dehydration can often feel like hunger.

2. Get more sleep
If you’re up with your kids at night or your partner snores, it can be hard to get a good night’s rest. Without enough sleep however, ghrelin and leptin—two hormones that affect appetite—can become unbalanced and cause you to eat more. Sleep can be hard to come by, but do your best to turn in earlier or nap if you can.

3. Close the kitchen
I’m not suggesting you put a padlock on your refrigerator, but something that has worked for me is telling myself “the kitchen is now closed” or making a decision not to eat after a certain time. After dinner, I allow myself to return to set the coffee maker for the next day but I do my best not to eat anything else afterwards.

4. Distract yourself
To avoid stress eating, have a list of things you can do before your emotions feel overwhelming. Try going for a walk or to the gym, paint your nails, doodle in a notebook listen to music or have sex with your partner.

5. Identify your feelings
If you’re not hungry, but you want to eat, think about what you’re hungry for. If you’re lonely for example, invite your friends and their kids over for a play date or call a friend to chat. If you’re worried about something, quickly jot down your thoughts in a notebook.

6. Take a bite
When all else fails, instead of telling yourself you can’t eat, which will only make you want to, give yourself permission to take a bite. The key however, is to eat mindfully so you won’t overeat. Sit down at the table, use a plate, take small bites, eat slowly and savor each one. Chances are, a few bites will be all you’ll need to curb the craving.

How do you cope with emotional eating?

Should you ask your child’s pediatrician for nutritional advice?

Should you ask your child’s pediatrician for nutritional advice?

“Mommy, will I get a pretzel?,” my youngest child asked as we drove to the pediatrician’s office for her well visit.

Yep, that’s right. Pretzels. At the pediatrician’s office. Lots of sodium, no nutritional value whatsoever. And after a well visit from someone whose main goal is to keep my kids healthy.

I suppose I should be happy it’s not a lollipop.

The first time the pediatrician gave a pretzel to my older child at one of her well visits, I was surprised. It’s not the worst food a kid can eat but it’s definitely not the most nutritious.

Kids are already eating way too many processed, sodium-filled foods. In fact, a study in Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that almost 90 percent of children consume more than the upper level of sodium recommended for their age group.

Perhaps what’s even more strange is that the doctor handed her a pretzel after he charted her height and weight, her growth trends and body mass index (BMI), measured her blood pressure, asked about her diet and talked about making sure she was getting enough calcium, iron-rich foods and she avoided juice.

I also wondered why the doctor was giving my kid food in the first place? I doubt it’s for good behavior since so many kids scream bloody murder when they get their shots. To be fair, they also hand out stickers so I suppose they want the children to remember their experience as a positive one.

Don’t get me wrong. My kids eat pretzels but it’s usually at a party or as an occasional treat on the weekends. Packaged food doesn’t make its way into my home or my kids’ mouths very often.

I don’t believe in labeling foods “good” or “bad” for my kids, only healthy or unhealthy. I also don’t want to make any food off limits because this could create an unhealthy relationship with food as they get older. So they are allowed to get a pretzel at the doctor’s. But when it comes to their pediatrician, I take their advice with a grain of salt.

24 Hours Of Nutrition Education

When it comes to your children’s health, your pediatrician should always be your first source of information and advice. They know your children best and can help you find specialists and support from other providers should you need them.

Out of all the types of doctors, I think pediatricians are unique. Most choose the profession because they love kids and want them to have a healthy future. Unlike other types of doctors, they also work with the patient and the entire family to make sure children have the best start in life.

When my daughters were babies, we had one of the best pediatricians around. He would spend well over an hour at each visit to make sure we understood everything and that he addressed our concerns. I never felt rushed and I always thought that he gave me the information and empowered my husband and I to make the best choices for our children. I will forever be grateful to him for his support and care.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that pediatricians play a crucial role when it comes to preventing childhood obesity, and they should be a resource for the community and be a part of the solution, particularly because they typically follow children for years.

According to this report, they state, “Even when families have sufficient knowledge of healthy behaviors, they may need help from pediatricians to develop the motivation to change, to provide encouragement through setbacks, and to identify and support appropriate community resources that will help them successfully implement behavior changes.”

When it comes to nutrition, however, most pediatricians aren’t the best people to get information and advice from.

A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that physicians receive an average of 23.9 hours of nutrition instruction while in medical school. That’s not even a day devoted to learning about the one thing that can make or break your child’s health.

What’s more, 71 percent of medical schools in the U.S. don’t provide 25 hours of nutrition education—the minimum amount that’s recommended, a 2015 study published in the Journal of Biomedical Education, found.

Another study found that fourth year medical and osteopathic school graduates who were entering a pediatric residency program could correctly answer only 52 percent of the questions about nutrition.

Surprisingly, pediatric gastroenterology is the only pediatric subspecialty that requires nutrition to be part of its official curriculum and objective. Although most of these doctors say they have an average or above average knowledge of nutrition, 67 percent want to learn more about childhood obesity, a study in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition.

No Time For Nutrition


Your pediatrician will probably ask a few questions about your child’s diet but between the time it takes to chart his growth curves, ask all of the questions required for insurance, review all of the developmental screenings, and perform the physical exam, there’s not much time left to take a deep dive into what your children eat, how much and if they have healthy eating habits.

In fact, nearly 50 percent of parents say their pediatricians spend only between 11 and 20 minutes for well visits and approximately one-third say they spend less than 10 minutes, according to a study in the journal Pediatrics.

Although there are some doctors who have more time to spend with patients, or those who are more knowledgeable when it comes to nutrition, chances are, you’re better off finding a pediatric nutritionist to help you tackle things like picky eating, overeating, special diets and food allergies.

Have you received nutritional advice from your child’s pediatrician? Was it helpful or off base?

7 Superfoods For a Healthy Pregnancy

7 Superfoods For a Healthy Pregnancy

When I was 8 weeks pregnant with my first child, my husband and I took a short vacation with his family at the Jersey shore. Although I wasn’t having full-blown morning sickness yet, my stomach felt kind of off and I felt hungry at the same time. So right before we left, I picked up an eggplant parmesan hero and devoured all of it on the drive down.

Suffice to say, I didn’t eat healthy during my pregnancy. Although I ate plenty of fruits and vegetables, I gave myself permission to eat chips, a slice of cake or an extra portion, because heck—I’m pregnant, I reasoned. But that thinking was all wrong and as the number on the scale went up, people would ask me, “Are you sure you’re not carrying twins?”

Through my work as a health journalist, I learned that what you eat during pregnancy really does matter and the second time around, I made it a point to eat healthier.

Sure, pregnancy cravings and food aversions can get the best of you but experts say if you want to have a healthy pregnancy, you need to eat healthy. These 7 superfoods are a good first start.

1. Eggs
Scrambled or hard-boiled, eggs are one of the best foods you can eat during pregnancy. Not only are they an excellent source of protein (1 egg has 7 grams), they also have iron and choline which are important for brain development.

Choline is so important, in fact, that the American Medical Association recently recommended pregnant women get more of it in their prenatal vitamins.

2. Berries
This time of year, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are in-season so expect them to be more affordable and delicious than any other time of the year. Since they have vitamin C, beta carotene, potassium, folic acid and antioxidants which build your baby’s skin cells and immune system, they’re one of the healthiest fruits you can eat.

3. Green leafy vegetables
If morning sickness is in full force, you might not have an appetite for veggies but green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach and broccoli are excellent sources of vitamins A, C, K, iron, and B vitamins which are important for your baby’s brain development and nervous system.

Green leafy vegetables are also good sources of calcium which is important to help your baby develop strong teeth and bones. Two to three servings a day is ideal but if you can’t stomach them, try making a green smoothie or green juice.

4. Iron fortified cereal
Since your blood volume doubles during pregnancy, it’s important to get enough iron so you won’t become anemic. Of course meat is a great way to get iron, but if you’re a vegetarian, vegan or need another source, iron-fortified cereals that have an 80 to 90 percent daily value of iron are good choices.

5. Salmon
Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish like salmon are vital for your baby’s brain and eye development. Eating salmon during pregnancy may also reduce your child’s risk for asthma, a recent study found. Fresh, frozen or canned—salmon is an easy way to get protein in your diet.

6. Quinoa
You already know the importance of getting enough folic acid (the synthetic form of folate) during pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects like spina bifida and one way to get folate itself is by eating quinoa. Quinoa is also a great source of protein, fiber, vitamin B, E and antioxidants and it’s versatile: eat it as a side with dinner or in a fruit parfait for breakfast.

7. Lentils
Lentils contain folate, calcium, zinc and amino acids and are also an excellent source of protein and fiber which will satisfy your hunger and ward off constipation. Make a soup, vegetarian stew or throw some lentils in a salad.