Your Little Sprout’s K-9 (or feline) Defense Against Illness


“Get off that! That’s the baby’s!” Have you ever found yourself saying this to your pet?

My friend Staci asked me a month or so ago to write a post about household pets and their relationships with babies. Jia’s godmother Megan also commented on how good it was to have Jia exposed to our two pugs, Mei Mei and Kona, for enhancing her immune system and resistance to allergens.

Since many of my friends have fur children, I decided to write a post about it: how to prepare your fur children for their fur-less sibling’s invasion in their home, how it affects baby’s development, etc.

Back when I was pregnant, Jeff and I tried to think of ways that would improve the chances of acceptance of the baby to our doggies. This was even more of a concern since I knew Kona was given to the pug rescue in San Diego because he wreaked havoc once a new baby arrived when he was little. We really couldn’t think of many approaches except talk to them and tell them their baby sister was coming, having them sniff baby gear, playing YouTube videos of crying babies (this elicited a lot of adorable pug head tilts. We also put the pugs in Jia’s crib and baby carrier but that was purely for our entertainment!). My friend Mary and her husband had a smart idea and walked their dog Jet alongside their empty stroller before little Liam arrived, to get him used to it.  And, after Jia arrived, we had our family visitors bring the doggies Jia’s receiving blankets with her scent, where they were placed in their doggie beds. From what we were told, they both avoided the blankets. “Uh oh,” we thought…

Continue reading

Sprouting a Tooth?


Three months ago, when Jia was only about 4.5 months old, I was convinced she was teething. I couldn’t see any teeth yet, but noticed some hints of white beneath the gum and she was waking in the middle of the night (something I thought we were done with). She was letting out a high-pitched unfamiliar cry, was temporarily quieted with frozen teething rings, but still wouldn’t sleep. The only thing that would lull her back to sleep was nursing (I’d already weaned her from night feedings). Her pediatrician confirmed she was teething (Jia had a low grade temp, consistent with that of teething), but part of me suspected he only told me this to alleviate my anxiety about why she was all of a sudden not sleeping through the night.

Fast forward 2.5 months later, right before Jia’s 7 month birthday we finally saw two teeth sprout up from her bottom gums. OK, to tell you the truth, I was nursing her and felt her chomp down *OUCH* Only 2-3 weeks later, three more teeth on her upper gums started peeking through. My little Ji-A-Lantern was growing up and now I am faced with questions re: first dental appointment. Continue reading

Does Vitamin D3 do a Sprout Good?

Vitamin D MooI had all intentions on posting about Sleep Training this week. But, as I was feeding Jia her pumpkin puree and held her vitamin D dropper over her spoon to deliver her daily dose of D3 (400 International Units), I remembered a few months ago when one of my friends Natasha asked Facebook for opinions on Vitamin D supplementation for an exclusively breastfed baby. Her holdup was that her first child (non-supplemented) is perfectly healthy and that her breastmilk should be nutritionally complete. I commented back, citing the AAP (here and here) and CDC‘s recommendations supporting vitamin D supplementation. On the other hand, one of my old coworkers Katie made a very good point: her breastmilk should be complete in providing all the vitamins and minerals baby needs, without supplementation.

I continued to give Jia her daily drop of Carlson’s Baby D 400 IU of Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) plainly because it’s what our pediatrician instructed us to do, and if the CDC and AAP recommended it, that’s what I would continue to do. I guess you could say I was being a lazy nurse-mom and didn’t do my own thorough research to hear the arguments on both sides. 

However, yesterday (pumpkin day) a different feeling overcame me. As we are in the start of flu season (September through March), I started to consider the following: treating a sick baby really only consists of humidified air, fluids, rest, and sometimes Tylenol or Motrin (if baby’s fever is significant enough). Excess medications can unnecessarily do more harm than good on an underdeveloped baby’s system, causing more problems than there were to begin with.   Continue reading

My Little Non-Soy Non-Dairy Sprout


September 11, 2014 marked the day I was able to finally eat and drink dairy products again. It felt like a long time coming and I was craving a multitude of dairy-filled treats, from cheesecake, lobster rolls, Popeye’s, to Thai Tea.

Whoa, Whoa – Back up! Why Dairy?

Jia, like many infants, was unable to tolerate the dairy and soy that I ingested, that passed to her through breastmilk. In reality my non-soy and non-dairy diet hasn’t been ALL THAT long, but for the past 4 months, I had to restrict my diet of anything containing soy or milk ingredients. For Jia, her intolerance manifested in blood-streaked diapers resulting from the inflammation in her gut when I ate these foods. For other babies, it can mean a lot of spitting up, gut pain and discomfort, wretching/vomiting, and even baby developing a fear of breastfeeding. 

When she was about 1 month old (in March), Jia was a heavy spitter and even threw up (think: projectile) a couple days in a row either in the day time or even at that 3 AM feeding. I decided on my own to start cutting out dairy, advice that I found through a quick google search on reflux in new babies, and at the advice of one of my close friends Berry (who is a NICU nurse). Her baby was so scared to nurse because it was causing her so much belly pain, and poor Berry even had to cut out gluten, tree nuts, eggs, shellfish, fish, corn, and other nuts. (MAD props to Berry for going that distance for her adorable little baby!!!). She said that a (+) hemoccult (lab test) was confirmation for her baby, who didn’t have any visible blood in her stools, and that testing this sooner rather than later was beneficial to baby – they hadn’t realized Maddie’s allergy until she was 3 months old.  Continue reading

For Crying Out Loud…!

Blog Post Crying Out Loud

Crying. Screaming. Tears. Red-faced. Sweaty. It can drive a newor even an experienced parent crazy,  left feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, confused, and fed up.

We have been really lucky – Jia really was never much of a crier. The only time we really experienced much crying with her was in the early days when she was trying to teach us what she needed – to be fed. After that, around 3 months old (like the photo above), she only cried when she was in an unfamiliar place and someone else wanted to try holding her, or if we were in the car. Yep, the “drive the baby around the block to stop their crying” didn’t work for us at all. She’d be a happy smiley baby and the second you got in the car, you better hope you didn’t hit the red light on your 1/2 mile drive to Target.

Anyway, we attribute our happy hardly-crying baby to white noise and swaddling, which we started literally from the day she was born. Jia was swaddled basically the whole time we were in the hospital and when she cried, Jeff immediately placed her on her side and shushed then jiggled her and she became serene. Immediately. I wanted to share with you what tips for white noise and swaddling we swear by. Continue reading

A Parent’s Guide to Respiratory Virus EV-D68


Lately, there has been a lot of media coverage about a respiratory virus outbreak that has now spread to 22 states: EV-D68. On Twitter, I’ve been seeing a lot of extreme comments to CNN Breaking News‘ post about the virus, such as “the world is coming to an end,” “zombie apocalypse,” and a lot of unnecessary blaming of President Obama. Despite stirring up a lot of panic, according to the CDC the respiratory virus is actually “not commonly severe.” 

As a parent and nurse, I figured I should post an entry about the virus, how it affects your family, and what you can expect if you find that your child(ren) come down with symptoms that may alert you to this infection. So here’s the scoop:

What is EV-D68?

EV-D68 is a non-polio enterovirus, which is a very common class of virus that causes dozens of other illnesses, which generally are not severe. D68 is a virus that mostly affects infants, children, and teens, due to a more vulnerable immune system.  It usually manifests as a mild infection, like the common cold. However, the more severe cases of EV-D68 infections are in infants, children, teens, and immune compromised people who have a history of asthma or wheezing. Continue reading

Infant CPR & Choking

Cover Photo

I figured after a few weeks of fun posts like diaper bags and baby goodies, I would publish one on a more serious note.

Recently, one of my friends from nursing school posted on Facebook about how she just performed the Heimlich maneuver on her choking toddler, who accidentally swallowed a screw. Now, Heather is a really attentive and caring mom (who is also an ICU nurse) so I figured well if this can happen to her, it can happen to anyone!

I myself am not sure I would be able to witness my baby choking or cardiac arrest without completely losing it, so I figured I would brush up on my infant CPR and guidelines in response to choking and share them on Little Sproutings. After all, my Basic Life Support (BLS) certification online training has expired, so I need to review it for work anyway. Plus, if anything, readers can familiarize themselves with an overview so they can try on their own if they are ever put in this scary position, instead of freak out and call 911, resulting in delayed treatment. 

So here goes… (the below information is what I have learned from through my own BLS certification) Continue reading

A Sprout By Any Other Name…


Recently, as our little family has been out in public, I’ve received many compliments and questions from moms about my iPhone case. It’s covered from edge to edge with Jia pictures from her first month and I love it!

Personalization is so fun and makes a gift or trinket special. Before I had Jia, I liked things that were monogramed, though I never had anything of my own personalized except my push present purse that Jeff bought for me. But, after Jia’s arrival, I have a better appreciation for personalized keepsakes. So many of my friends’ babies were born with such neat names, they may need a little personalization, too! (this is for you, Kannon, Madison, Kipton, Gage, Colbie, Tiana, Hayden, Lorelei, Liam, Liana, Lena, Kadence, Caden, and so many more cuties!)

We put a lot of thought into naming Jia, and with so many adorable pictures we’ve taken of her, we are so happy to have things with her name (and face) on them.

Here are a few personalized items that Jia has, that I adore:  Continue reading

The Diaper Bag: Your Season’s Fashion Must

Blog Diaper Bag Photo 3

A parent’s diaper bag is a vital accessory once baby arrives. When Jia was pretty new to us, I would get a little bit anxious leaving the house because I really didn’t know what I needed to stuff inside of it and if there was enough of it all. Sometimes I’d go out and realize I left my nursing cover at home, or I would have an abundance of burp cloths but forgot to replenish the stock of bibs in the diaper bag. While preparing to leave the house by changing a diaper, feeding, or getting Jia strapped into her carseat, I needed my husband to make sure the diaper bag was ready.

We cloth diaper at home with Cloth-eez pre fold diapers with Thirsties Duo Wraps (with snaps) or Bummis Simply Lite diaper covers, and use The Honest Company‘s eco-friendly/baby-friendly disposables when we’re “on-the-go” for an extended period of time or for overnight. But, if we are going on a short afternoon trip, we tend to keep Jia in cloth. That being said, our diaper bag is usually pretty stuffed to the brim.

Here’s what we always have in our bag:  Continue reading

Boobie-nomics: Nature’s Supply & Demand


I was just recently asked to write a post about building a milk supply, not because of difficulties in latch or getting the milk let-down going, but how to amplify a breastmilk stockpile and what to do to make sure your supply is maintained. So here goes:

So my passion for breastfeeding first started back in my days spent as a summer intern at The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, & Children (WIC) in Lafayette, Indiana. In the weeks leading up to our World Breastfeeding Week Celebrations August 1-7 (World Breastfeeding Week), the other interns and I worked tirelessly to artfully craft displays, flyers, educational games for kids to learn about breastfeeding, and other materials to promote breastfeeding. During the celebrations, we  sat in breastfeeding workshops to help mothers learn about baby latching and baby holding techniques, helped educate WIC clients, and played games to create a positive atmosphere surrounding “Breast is Best.” I remember that even at the young age of 20 I was really looking forward to breastfeeding my future baby.  My most impassioned presentations in my undergraduate studies, particularly in my Nutrition Communications class (F&N 424 taught by Barbara Mayfield), surrounded the physiological/immunological benefits of breastmilk to the infant. I even flirted with the possibility of becoming IBCLC Certified to be a Lactation Consultant (I decided not to because it would be way too expensive and take way too long to complete while working full time as an ICU nurse).  Continue reading

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