4 Hacks for New Parents to Ease Adjustment into Parenthood

As a new parent, you suddenly become bombarded with a plethora of baby products and (often unsolicited) advice. But as a first-timer, it can be hard to distinguish the must-haves from the gimmicks. Likewise, the tips and tricks that worked for others may not be conducive to you and your new bundle of joy. With that in mind, here are four hacks to make the transition to parenting a little easier to manage.

1. Get More Done with Babywearing

Your new bundle of joy no doubt craved being in the womb, but life doesn’t just stop after you’ve given birth. Of course, there’s still cleaning and cooking to do, other kids to look after, and often work to catch up on. You may get a break for the first few weeks, but soon enough you’ll need to figure out a rhythm to get it all done with a new baby on board.

If you need a little assistance carrying your newborn, an age-old practice could provide immense, mutually-desired enjoyment. In fact, embracing babywearing can help you get more done, while also meeting your baby’s needs. Furthermore, studies have shown that moms who practice babywearing for three hours a day see their infant cry 43 percent less than babies who didn’t receive the same — or any — amount of nurturing.

One of the most comfortable carriers for little ones is the Solly Baby Wrap, an ultra-thin stretchy wrap designed for use throughout your child’s first year. Tula also makes a variety of carriers to make babywearing comfortable and seamless. And, most carriers can even be used for discreet and convenient hands-free nursing, too.

2. Minimize Startle Reflex with Swaddle Suits

Sure, we all know swaddling babies is a great way to soothe and prevent them from startling themselves awake. However, because babies tend to wiggle out of this cozy wrapping, swaddling is a battle many babies end up winning. To decrease the chances of your baby popping free, keep them securely swaddled — and ultimately asleep longer — by using swaddle suits instead of traditional swaddle blankets.

Love to Dream makes one of the most popular options, the Swaddle Up, which features an ultra soft, stretchy material and a two-way zipper to make nighttime diaper changes a breeze. With this genius design, babies can keep their hands near their face for comfort. Plus, the Swaddle Up is light enough to be worn over the top of the baby’s sleepwear.

3. Make the Most of Your Smartphone

There’s an app for nearly everything these days — and there are certainly no shortage of options aimed at parents. To ease the stress of tracking all of your baby’s newfound habits, you can leverage this type of technology with an app like Total Baby. For example, you can use this app to easily keep track of feedings, soiled diapers, sleep times and baths. Meantime, because your child will start to grow up before you know it, use an app like FirstYear or Baby’s Firsts to record all of your baby’s precious milestones, from their first smile to their first steps.

You can also keep your baby soothed by loading your smartphone with gentle melodies to the tune of popular hits with the online program, Rockabye Baby. Likewise, if your baby needs some white noise to fall asleep or calm down, your best bet is to download an app that provides some ambient white noise. Ultimately, whatever works best for your little one, be sure you can download musical tracks for offline play to avoid exceeding your data limit on your smartphone plan.

4. Manage Messes with a Change of Clothes in the Diaper Bag

You know to never leave home without a change of clothes for your baby, but what about for yourself? After all, when you’re constantly holding, rocking or changing your little one, it’s only a matter of time before you get covered in spit up, urine or a blown out diaper. Your best bet? Stash a spare shirt for yourself in your diaper bag, so you can quickly change when your precious bundle of joy doles out a wardrobe malfunction.

A Pledge to Raise Awareness Against Thyroid Disorders

“Wag ka iinom ng malamig na tubig, magkakathyroid ka!”
“Iodized salt gamitin mo para hindi ka magka-thyroid.”
“May thyroid sya kaya may bukol sa leeg”
“Sige, kapag hindi mo tinigilan kakasigaw mo, magkaka-thyroid ka.”

 

Any of these lines sound familiar? They sound kind of funny but, unfortunately, these are very common misconceptions Filipinos have about thyroid.  It’s no wonder many have thyroid disorders but are not even aware of them.  This is why there is a great need to step up on the campaign to raise awareness about thyroid disorders. Before I tell you all about the campaign, here are a few quick facts about thyroid:

 

Quick Facts About Thyroid

  • We all have thyroid! “Thyroid” is not a disease; it is a gland.  It’s essential because it produces hormones that help keep the body use energy and stay warm, and that keep the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs in tip-top condition.
  • Common thyroid disorders include goiter, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, thyroid nodules, and cancer. They all have different symptoms AND they cannot be prevented just by using iodized food on all your food!
  • Most symptoms of thyroid disorders are mistaken for other diseases which makes diagnosis quite confusing even for doctors.  The easiest way to diagnosis thyroid disorders is through a blood test to check levels of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) in the blood.
  • You can do a self-assessment to check if you are at risk.  Just take this quick test to find out if you absolutely must see your doctor now.  You may also find the test at www.thyroid.ph.

It’s Not You, It’s Your Thyroid Quiz

How many of these facts did you actually know beforehand?  You’re in the minority if you’ve known most of them!

 

International Thyroid Awareness Week

For diseases that are so common, it’s bothering to know that not many people are aware of these diseases.  This is precisely why MERCK in partnership with the Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Thyroid Association (PTA), Philippine Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism (PSEDM), and the Iodine Global Network (IGN) holds the annual International Thyroid Awareness Week.  They have been holding series of activities every year to inform the public about the symptoms of thyroid disorders, to dispel myths about them, and to provide proper care and treatment to those who may be suffering from these diseases.

ITAW 2017 Culminating Program

This year, I was able to attend the culminating program held at the Trade Hall of Robinson’s Novaliches last May 26. Since thyroid disorders affect mostly women, the activities were targeted for women.  Participants not only received free doctor’s consultation but also had much needed pampering while learning more about thyroid disorders.

The event kicked off with some Zumba dancers showing off steps that we can easily do in our own homes. All participants were given a card which they could have stamped after each activity.  There were four activities that all attendees must complete – the Video Viewing, Thyroid Quiz, Doctor’s Consultation, and Photobooth.

First, the attendees were asked to watch a short video about thyroid and disorders associated with it. The video was presented in a way that everything could be easily understood by the ordinary Juan.

Watch the Video at Thyroid.ph

After this, a short quiz was given – no, not a quiz about the video! It was a self-assessment test to determine if one may be at risk of thyroid disorders.  Once the quiz was finished, participants showed the quiz results to the doctors.  The doctors then addressed their health concerns. Some were given requests for laboratory procedures and some were given prescriptions.

Those who have finished all the required activities got to have a refreshing cup of milk tea! Then off they went to the pampering booths for some me-time. 🙂 Of course, I didn’t pass up the chance to get my own me-time!

As the participants were dolled up, they were also given bits of trivia about thyroid disorders. While I was having my eyebrows threaded, I was told that thinning eyebrows is a symptom of hypothyroidism (mine are naturally thin though, so I’m glad I don’t have hypothyroidism. Otherwise I’d be sans brows!).  At the hair and makeup booth, I was told that a puffy face, dry skin, and hair loss are symptoms of thyroid disorders too. Those getting a manicure were informed that brittle nails may be a sign of hyperthyroidism and nails that grow too fast, of hypothyroidism.

There were also booths that even men and children could enjoy. The massage chair is always a welcome respite to a long day of mailing. The kinect is best done as a group. I have two left feet but I nevertheless enjoyed “dancing”. No child was whining of boredom because they had a great time meeting new friends and coloring pages at the Kids Art Corner.  The kids who had the best art work were also given prizes! Awesome!

While everyone enjoyed the activities, the most important part of the event was the forum.  Dr. Chrysanthus Herrera, Medical Science and Government Affairs Manager; Dr. Teofilo San Luis, National Coordinator of the Philippines, Iodine Global Network; and Dr. Wesley Llauderes, President of the Philippine Society of Nuclear Medicine gave interesting lectures and valuable health advice to all participants.

It’s Not You, It’s Your Thyroid

In his lecture on “The Thyroid Masquerade”, Dr. Teofilo San Luis explained how thyroid disorders can often be attributed to other diseases.  The thyroid affects almost all organs of the body so most sufferers of thyroid disorders consult different doctors.  For instance, patients who experience palpitations or hypertension first see a cardiologist.  When test results come out negative and the heart  seems healthy, it is the only time they consider other factors.  These symptoms may also be signs of thyroid disorders.  Other such common symptoms are anxiety, sleeplessness, diarrhea, constipation,  hair loss, cold hands, menstrual irregularities, tremors, and even forgetfulness – all can easily be attributed to other diseases or even to just daily stress. Despite the symptoms of thyroid dysfunction being so varied and sometimes misleading, the condition can easily be diagnosed by blood tests and a physical examination.

Aside from sharing symptoms with just about every other ailment, what makes it difficult to diagnose thyroid disorders are the myths surrounding it.  Dr. Wesley Llauderes  dispelled these myths and further explained how to prevent and to treat thyroid problems.  For one, iodine is indeed essential to our body but it will not heal your goiter. Also, although those with hypothyroidism may benefit from iodine-rich food, these same food must be taken in moderation by those with hyperthyroidism. Here are some more myths dispelled by Dr. Llauderes:

  • Cold drinks will not cause thyroid disorders. Neither does shouting (BUT…stress affects the thyroid gland too just as it affects our overall body health)
  • Iodine-rich food such as seafood is not always good.  Those with hypothyroidism need more iodine and may eat more seafood.  Those with hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, should avoid seafood and salty food.
  • There are certain food like cabbages and carrots that may cause goiter to enlarge but this can only happen if you eat them in excessive amounts everyday. So unless you eat cabbages all day, every day, every week, there’s nothing to worry about.
  • Not all goiter are cancerous. Not all thyroid nodules are cancerous.  Having said these, the doctor also stressed the importance of having a biopsy.  Don’t be afraid of it!

Whew!  There’s really so much more to know about thyroid and its disorders.  There’s also still a lot more people who do not know some of these basic facts.  I hope that after reading this rather lengthy blog post, we would all feel our obligation to raise awareness about thyroid.  Let’s all pledge to do this!

 

For more information about thyroid and the International Thyroid Awareness Week, please visit  www.thyroid.phwww.thyroidaware.com or follow “Unmasking Your Thyroid” on Facebook (www.facebook.com/thyroidph).

Noticing Mental Illness Signs

Feeling as though the world is crashing in around you is a sign that you are depressed or have other mental issues that need to be addressed. On the other hand, if you know someone who is withdrawn or has other symptoms that are sometimes easy to see that are associated with a mental illness, you need to seek help for them before it leads to a dark road. A Tallahassee behavioral health center is only one place where you can get help for yourself or someone you love. There are counselors available as well as doctors who can give medications to help with the illness that is present.

Image by David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The first thing that you have to recognize is that mental illness can lead to irregular behaviors for the person. It could be anything from a bipolar disorder to depression to dementia. Each illness has symptoms that you need to know about and recognize so that you can get help along with treatments that are a bit different for each person because what might work with one person might have the opposite impact for someone else. Some illnesses can be caused by stress while others are caused by other diseases, such as cancer.

Image by Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Try to notice if there are any significant changes that take place in a short period of time. Most of the time, a mental illness is presented with more than one symptom instead of just one or two things that take place. Confused thinking is one of the first signs that you’ll notice. It might be hard to remember things that were once easy to think about every day. Depression also goes along with mental illness as you think that no one wants to be around you or that there is nothing to live for any longer. If you notice any suicidal tendencies or thoughts with yourself or someone else, then you need to seek help immediately. Excessive fears are sometimes a sign of some type of mental illness. Not talking to people and withdrawing into your own little world can be an indication that something is wrong as well.

Buying for Baby’s First Year: Do’s and Don’ts for the First Year of Life

Having a baby can be nerve-wracking and overwhelming, especially for first-time parents. It’s estimated to take new mothers up to 4 whole months to get the hang of motherhood so, if you’re a first-time parent and are struggling to manage, it’s totally normal!

Mother Carrying Her Child Stock Image

Photo by Rattikankeawpun

In addition to love and care, babies also require a lot of material possessions too. With an average of $12,000 being spent during a baby’s first year of life, it’s essential you spend wisely and don’t waste your hard-earned money on pointless items. If you’re a new parent struggling to establish which purchases are necessary and which aren’t, here’s a few key tips to ensure you buy the most useful items for your baby.

 

Do’s

For first-time parents, having a baby is a completely new experience. It can be difficult to know exactly what you need and what you don’t, so here’s a few must-have items to make sure you have ready for when your little one arrives.

  • Diapers – A common essential, but many new parents underestimate the amount of diapers their baby will go through. It’s estimated a baby will go through 10-12 diapers a day during the first few weeks of life, so ensure you have enough stocked up.
  • Clothes – We all want our babies to look cute, but comfort is more important. Opt for comfortable, breathable fabrics and an array of different clothing sizes. Sizes will vary from brand to brand, so it’s a good idea to get a couple of different sizes to establish which fits best on your baby.
  • Car seat – An absolute essential as without one, you can’t safely drive your baby anywhere. Stay away from a second-hand seat and ensure to purchase the correct type for your baby’s age. Visit this site to discover a variety of spacious, family-friendly cars ideal for car seat fitting.

 

Don’ts

Whilst the baby market is saturated with new and upcoming products, not everything is wholly necessary or appropriate for a new-born baby. Here’s a few items you should avoid purchasing.

  • Blankets – A popular gift-choice, fluffy blankets can actually cause more harm than good. They put your baby at risk of overheating and can cause them to feel very claustrophobic. If you are going to get a blanket, opt for a thinner swaddling-type blanket instead.
  • Toys – Whilst a huge essential when your baby gets a little older, toys are often a waste of money for newborns. They’re far too young to properly engage with anything other than your voice and face, so save the toy buying until your baby is old enough to properly use them.
  • Shoes – If a baby can’t walk, why bother with shoes? A pair of cozy socks will be more than sufficient for a new-born.

Having a baby for the first time is a huge life milestone, and it’s important to spend wisely and be as prepared as possible. As long as you don’t waste your money on unnecessary items and only buy the vital essentials to begin with, you’re sure to have a happy baby as well as a happy bank balance!

Animals Toys Stock Photo

Becoming a Better Person with the Help of … The Internet?

The internet gets a bad reputation as a time suck and something that’s full of evil and corrupting influences. Whilst this is largely true, the internet is also a wonderful thing, full of knowledge and tales of hope. If you want to become a better person, then the internet is a good place to start your journey.

How do you class being a ‘better’ person? It’s open to interpretation and so for the purpose of this article I’m going to treat it in its broadest sense.

Exercise and Diet

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