Monday, October 3, 2011

Million Moms Challenge. I'm one in a million, are you?

Join the Million Moms CommunityIf you are a mom, a dad, a son, a daughter, a blog writer, a blog reader,... please join the Million Moms Challenge (MMC) to help change and save the life of mothers and children around the world. It is very simple to do it!

I have been blessed with a very healthy pregnancy and delivery surrounded by good doctors and proper care, but this is not the reality for many mothers in some parts of the world. Together we can change that by embracing the MMC campaign.

As it is stated on the MMC official website:
  • "Every 90 seconds, a woman dies during pregnancy or childbirth. Most of those deaths are in the developing world. 
  •  1 in 5 women in Africa loses a baby in her lifetime. In richer countries, that number is around 1 in 125. 
  • Almost 8 million children die each year before their 5th birthdays—that's almost 21,000 children each day—from largely preventable causes."

The MMC was announced on ABC News on September 16th and launched on Good Morning America on September 19th. Hundreds of supporters gathered in New York at the Times Square for that event.

The Million Moms Challenge is a campaign for hope and change, focusing on many important issues as to bring global awareness and support for healthy pregnancy and childbirth. There are more than a dozen partners working together on this challenge as ABC News, the UN Foundation, Baby Center, Johnson & Johnson, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Unicef,, Global Giving, BlogFrog, GAIN (Global Alliance for improved nutrition), Mothers to mothers, Care, Save the Children, The White Ribbon Alliance for safe motherhood, World Vision, AMFEF, and others.

You can take an action by:

    If you have a blog, you can also participate by:
    • Writing a post about the Million Moms Challenge and having it featured on the ABC News MMC official site.
    • Posting the Million Moms Challenge badge on your blog. You can find the code on the right sidebar within the MMC BlogFrog community.
    • Being a part of the MMC community  

      As their slogan says: "You don't need to be a mom to help a mom. You just need to be one in a million."

      Many celebrities have raised their hands in support of this challenge and so have I.

      Now it's your turn!

      Watch the ABC News Video:

      video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

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      Sunday, October 2, 2011

      Steve Jobs. 1955-2011

      Today I'm not writing about motherhood, but about the reason why it is possible to have a blog.

      The definition of Genius by Wikipedia is a description of Steve Jobs. "Genius is something or someone embodying exceptional intellectual ability, creativity, or originality, typically to a degree that is associated with the achievement of unprecedented insight."

      I still can't believe the news yesterday. Steve Jobs has died at 56 years old. We all knew this day was coming, but nobody was ready for it.

      I am here now, typing this post using a product created by him. My iPhone was created by him, I browse the internet at night in my bed using the iPad created by him, I listen to music on the iPod created by him and I found out about his death using a product created by him.

      I'm not alone! Even those who don't own an apple brand, use a product created by him. Apple sets the pace and the other companies just copy his creation.

      I have been introduced to Apple about 15 years ago by my husband, a huge apple's fan since the beginning of the company, and since then, I'm also a fan. I'm a fan of Steve Jobs' brand but most of all, I'm a fan of him!

      His geniality, creativity, enthusiasm and passion about his creations was contagious. It was impossible to watch one of his keynote's speech and don't have a smile on your face or not believe on every single word he was saying. He was BRILLIANT!

      On June 12, 2005, Steve Jobs gave an incredible commencement speech at Stanford University. If you haven't read it, you should.  I can help but get emotional!

      The full Steve Jobs' text commencement speech:

      "I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

      The first story is about connecting the dots.

      I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

      It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

      And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

      It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

      Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

      None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it's likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

      Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

      My second story is about love and loss.

      I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

      I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

      I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

      During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

      I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

      My third story is about death.

      When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

      Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

      About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

      I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

      This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope it's the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

      No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

      Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

      When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

      Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

      Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

      Thank you all very much."

      Watch the video:

      Steve Jobs, the world will miss you, I will miss you!

      Picture's source: Have you paid careful attention to the logo on this post? It is a tribute to Steve Jobs and it was done by a 19 years old design Jonathan Mak

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      Monday, September 26, 2011

      Whooping Cough Vaccine Effectiveness

      A new study shows that Whooping Cough (Pertussis) vaccine is still effective but not for as long as first thought.

      Dr. David Witt, the lead researcher and chief of infectious disease at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in San Rafael, California, said at the American Society for Microbiology Conference in Chicago on September, 19 2011 that even though the study still needs to be confirmed through more research, the results show that the vaccine loses its effectiveness after just 3 years. The result came as a surprise to all who believed that the vaccine was effective for 5 years. "I was disturbed to find maybe we had a little more confidence in the vaccine than it might deserve," said Dr. Witt.

      As for now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend 5 shots (2, 4, and 6 months of age, 15-18 months of age and 4-6 years of age) for infants/children and a booster vaccine for pre-teens/adolescent (11-12 years of age). If you notice, there is a gap of 5-8 years between the first 5 shots and the booster shot.

      When Dr. Witt started the study he was expecting that the outbreak would be common among unvaccinated population, but he was surprised to find that a group of fully vaccinated kids caught the disease at a high rate. "What we pretty quickly identify is that the bulk of the outbreak was in fully vaccinated children", he said.
      "Older kids and younger kids seemed to be pretty well protected but the age of eight to 12 was the vast bulk of the cases. And when we examined that, it was correlated to being more than three years from the last vaccine booster dose."

      The CDC states that last year, 27,550 cases of pertussis were reported in the U.S. (27 deaths - 25 of these deaths were in children younger than 1 year old). California had large number of pertussis cases last year, during which more than 9,100 people fell ill and 10 babies died. Middle and high school students who haven't gotten their booster shot, were not allowed by the school to return this fall.

      Whooping Cough is a highly contagious disease caused by Bordetella pertussis that can be fatal, specially in infants too young to be fully vaccinated.  The symptoms starts like the common cold, with runny nose or congestion, sneezing, and maybe mild cough or fever. But after 1–2 weeks, severe coughing can begin. It is characterized by a "whoop" sound when air is inhaled and vomiting after a coughing spell.

      The symptoms in infants are different. The cough can be minimal or not even there and they may have a pause in the breathing pattern (apnea).

      The CDC disagree with the results of this study. Heath officials are now debating about the need of giving the booster shot to children as young as 7 years old, but as for now, Federal officials says that is still too soon to make that a standard practice.

      If you have a 7-11 years old child, ask/talk to your doctor about a booster shot.

      Note: The CDC recommends that adults 65 years and older who have close contact with infants should get a Pertussis shot.

      Picture's source:

      ADDENDUM (09/26/2011 14:30 p.m.):

       The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published in the October issue of Pediatrics a revised policy about whooping cough vaccination.

      The AAP and the CDC are now recommending that ALL adults who have contact with a child to get vaccinated against whooping cough, considering that they are often transmitting the disease. The vaccine is called Tdap, a combination of three vaccines that protect against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.

      As stated by Dr. Peter Richel, chief of pediatrics at Northern Westchester Hospital, in  Mount Kisco, N.Y., "In addition to the above recommendations during childhood, Tdap should be received by adults…pregnant women and caretakers of infants and children,". "That means day care workers, teachers, and parents and grandparents of any age. If you have any questions, refer to your pediatrician, obstetrician or internist."

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      Wednesday, September 21, 2011

      Top 25 SoCal Mom Blogs!

      I'm thrilled to share with you that I was voted one of the Top 25 Southern California Mom Blogs by Circle of Moms last month and that I'm now featured on The RoundUp with all the other amazing 24 SoCal Mom Blogs.

      I would like to thank every single person who voted for me. Every single vote made a difference and as a result, I finished in the 9th place! THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

      Circle of Moms is a wonderful online community of over 6 million moms worldwide sharing experiences, tips and information about motherhood. As they state on their site: "Circle of Moms aims to help moms connect with each other to address the challenges and share the joys of motherhood together. The commitment to fostering an educational, supportive and secure environment has made Circle of Moms the largest and fastest-growing community of its kind."

      After voting was finished and the top 25 were selected, we were asked to name our 3 favorite posts at that time and to answer to 3 questions, as follow:

      Favorite Blog Posts

      1) What is The Best Part of Living in Southern California?

      The weather! Here in Los Angeles we have year-round bright blue skies with almost no rain. We feel privileged to live in a geographical location with some of the best weather conditions in the world. Temperatures are comfortable all year long (not too warm and not too cold), giving us the opportunity to enjoy a great number of outdoor activities.

      2) What is Your Favorite Local Kid-Friendly Activity?

      We like to take advantage of the weather doing outdoor activities. We love to go to local parks, to ride a bike, to go to the pool and beach, but without a doubt, our favorite is to go to amusement parks. Disneyland is on the top of our list but we also like to go to California Adventure and Knott's Berry Farm.

      3) What is The Biggest Challenge of Raising a Child in Your Area?

      The fast-paced life and the multicultural melting pot called Los Angeles. It seems to be a city that has in great part forgotten how to be kind to children. The image most of us have in our minds of a typical American neighborhood often depicted in movies seems to be disappearing, at least in our geographical area. The streets filled with trees and homes with white picket fences are giving in to multi-family condominiums, noisy streets where cars move too fast to be safe, and neighbors that no long care to get to know one another are among the biggest challenges we face. Cities are becoming “cold” and in great part indifferent to children. We wish we could go back to the neighborhoods of our childhood where neighbors knew each other, children were allowed to play outside and they played with each other in an environment that was safe.

      You can read the other 24 mom blogs' interview and favorite posts by visiting

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      Friday, September 16, 2011

      Breastfeeding Complications

      As I stated on previous posts, when I started breastfeeding I didn't have ANY knowledge about it and therefore, I made ALL the mistakes one could make. First and foremost, I didn't get any information, read any book nor attended to any class about breastfeeding (BIG mistake). I was breastfeeding infrequently and wearing an underwired bra, I wasn't changing my nursing pads as often as I should and I didn't know how to help my daughter to latch onto my breast properly. As a result, I had all the breastfeeding complications listed in the books!

      1) Sore and Cracked Nipples
          In the first few days and weeks of breastfeeding many women will have sore nipples. Even though sore nipple is normal and expected, cracked nipples is not. Just after giving birth, a mother starts to breastfeed very often, every 1.5-2 hours for about 10-15 min on each breast. With that frequency, it is normal to have sore nipples, specially if baby has very strong sucking reflex.

          Cracked nipples is caused by wrong breastfeeding position and/or poor latch onto the breast. It is important to have the baby facing the breast at its level and to proper latch on the areola, not on the nipple.

          I had them both. My nipples were VERY sore and cracked. I had to stop breastfeeding for about a 1.5 weeks to allow them to heal. Once I was ready to breastfeed again, I started taking classes to learn the proper latch technique and different feeding positions. It was wonderful to realize that I could do it without pain!

      2) Thrush or Candida
          Candida is a fungus that grows in warm, dark and moist environments. The nipples of a nursing mother and the baby's mouth provide just that. After feeding, some mothers don't wait for their nipples to air dry before putting their bra and nursing pad back on, increasing their chances of developing thrush.
          The most common symptoms are shooting pain during and/or after breastfeeding; very sore/burning nipples; white patch on the baby's tongue and/or on sides of the mouth; and recent antibiotic intake (mother and/or baby).

          Since it can me transmitted from mother to baby or vice-versa, it is important to have both treated at the same time to avoid recurrence. 

          I also had thrush! I remember having terrible shooting pain on my nipples even when I was not breastfeeding. It was a constant burning sensation that it wouldn't go away. That was the main reason why I had to stop breastfeeding for 1.5 weeks. The pain was unbearable!

          Luckily my daughter didn't get it, but she still had to be treated as well.

      3) Plugged Milk Ducts
          As the name already suggests, it is a blockage in the milk duct resulting in milk backing up behind it. The mother  notices a sore lump or wedge-shaped area of engorgement on the breast. 

          The best way to avoid it is to empty the breast from milk on each feeding and to breastfeed frequently. If the baby is satisfied, pump the rest of the milk and store it. An underwired bra on any kind of pressure on the breast can also cause a plugged milk duct.

          To unplug it, it's recommended to breastfeed very frequently massaging the area and to always start with the breast that has the blockage (as the baby has a stronger suck at the beginning of the feeding). It is also recommended to position the baby's chin pointing to the lump and to change baby's feeding position.

          I used to get plugged milk duct almost every other day and it would always be associated with a milk blister as described below.

      4) Milk Blister
          It is a painful white, clear or yellow dot on the nipple caused by a blocked nipple pore. The blockage can be caused by an obstruction within the milk duct (plugged milk duct) or by a grow of skin over the milk duct opening. The white dot is often a dry clump of hardened milk.

          I also had them both. As I mentioned, I was having it almost every other day. I would have a very sore lump on one side of my breast and a very tiny white spot on my nipple on that same side. Sometimes the white spot and the lump would go away when I would apply a hot wet compress on the nipple immediately before feeding. Other times I had to literally soak my breast in warm/hot water to try to open up the nipple pore to release the obstruction.

          When both methods wouldn't work, I would do something that I do not recommend anybody to do it at home (Kellymom's site recommend to ask a health care provider for help on doing that).  I would sterilize a needle by holding it in a match flame until red hot, wait to cool and start to gently lift the skin at the edge of the tiny white dot to release the clump of hardened milk. As soon as the clump was out, the milk would start spraying out of the nipple pore, the lump on my breast would instantly go down and an instant relieve was felt.

          After several weeks going through the same problems, I learned that I should stop wearing an underwire bra and that I should start taking some Lecithin. With the combination of both, I was able to stop with the recurrent episodes.

          Lecithin is a safe food additive recommended for recurrent plugged milk ducts and therefore, milk blisters. On Kellymom 's site they recommend "3600-4800 mg lecithin per day, or 1 capsule (1200 milligram) 3-4 times per day. After a week or two with no blockage, mom can reduce the dosage by one capsule. If there is no blockage within another 2 weeks she can reduce it again by one. Mom may need to continue taking 1-2 capsules per day if stopping the lecithin leads to additional plugged ducts."

        5) Mastitis
            Mastitis is an inflammation on the breast tissue that can be caused by plugged milk ducts or milk excess. It can become an infection when bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus - most common) from the skin enter the milk ducts through a crack in the nipple or through the opening to the milk ducts in the nipple.

           As described by Wikipedia Encyclopedia, "Mastitis typically develops when the milk is not properly removed from the breast. Milk stasis can lead to the milk ducts in the breasts becoming blocked, as the breast milk not being properly and regularly expressed. It has also been suggested that blocked milk ducts can occur as a result of pressure on the breast, such as tight-fitting clothing or an over-restrictive bra, although there is sparse evidence for this supposition . Mastitis may occur when the baby is not appropriately attached to the breast while feeding, when the baby has infrequent feeds or has problems suckling the milk out of the breast."

            The symptoms are intense pain on the breast,  fever over 101F, chills and/or flu like symptoms and systemic illness.

            If there is no infection, the treatment is similar as to plugged milk duct. Beside doing everything it's done when having plugged milk duct, it is recommended to rest, to alternate warm/cold compress on the breast to stimulate circulation and to take an analgesic for pain and fever.

            If it tuns into an infection, an antibiotic is prescribed.

            I also had mastitis. A VERY scary mastitis experience that I will write about it on my next post.

        Picture's source:

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        Friday, September 9, 2011

        ABCs of Me!


        Age 37

        Born in Brazil

        Chocolate. Impossible to eat just one piece!

        Daughter. Never thought I could love someone like I love her

        Essential Mama Baby. My Blog

        French Fries. Yummy!

        Gym. Unlike most people, I miss going there

        Husband. My other half

        IPhone. Once you have it, it is impossible to go through the day without it.

        Juice. Always better than soda

        Kindness. One of the best qualities in people

        Laughter. It makes life more fun

        Motherhood. The best experience of all
        Outdoors. We have great weather here in Los Angeles, perfect for outdoors activities

        Parents. The best in the world

        Quit. Never an option

        Rio de Janeiro. My hometown     
        Sleep. Never enough!

        Time. Never comes back.

        U2. My favorite band

        Virgo. My sign

        Words. Sooo powerful

        Xoxo. Love hugs and kisses

        Yes. Always better than No

        Zoom. Love close up pictures

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        Thursday, September 8, 2011

        Thankful Thursday

        I am thankful every day for having my daughter!
        Even though she is already 4 years old, I still like to hold her in my arms as she falls asleep at night. I like to stay close to her without saying anything, just feeling her breathing. That is our time, no noises, no lights, no distractions. Just the two of us.

        Every night before she fall asleep, she whispers to me: "Mom, this is the best part of the day!" And at that moment, every day, I am thankful!

        Happy Thankful Thursday!
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        Saturday, September 3, 2011

        Breastfeeding comes naturally, right?


        When I was pregnant, my husband and I visited a couple of hospitals around our area to decide in which one we would like our daughter to be born. At the end of the visit, the nurse recommended me some classes including some on breastfeeding. I remember telling myself "Why do I need breastfeeding classes if it is so natural? What do I have to learn? It's just having my baby on my breast!" (I thought)

        I had never been that wrong in my entire life! After having my daughter and experiencing a lot of breastfeeding difficulties, I realized that I should have taken those classes.

        In my case, breastfeeding didn't come naturally at all. It took me a long time to learn the proper latching technique. During that time, I had all the complications a breastfeeding mom can have. Sore nipples, yeast infection, plugged milk ducts, mastitis and breast biopsy!

        One week after delivering my daughter, my nipples were extremely sore, cracked and bleeding. Just the thought of breastfeeding would make me cry and curl my toes in pain. I was sure that something was wrong because I always heard that breastfeeding shouldn't hurt and I was in SO MUCH pain, it was unbearable!

        I started to get very frustrated and sad. I always wanted to breastfeed because I knew it was the most complete form of nutrition a baby could have, but I was getting to a point that I couldn't take it anymore. One night at feeding time I broke down, I just couldn't do it. My husband had to go out to buy formula at 12:00 a.m.!

        The first time I fed my daughter with formula, I felt as if I had fail. It was a terrible feeling.

        On the next morning, I went to a breastfeeding support class close to my house. The lactation consultant recommended me to schedule an appointment with my doctor because she was almost sure I had an yeast (candida or thrush) infection. Sure enough, that's what I had it!

        As described by Dr. Sears, "Candida (also called yeast, monilla or thrush) is a fungus that thrives in warm, dark, moist environments, such as the mucus membranes of the mouth and vagina, the diaper area, skin folds, bra pads, and on persistently wet nipples."

        The lactation consultant also recommended me to come back with my daughter to attend her breastfeeding class. I was in SO MUCH PAIN that I couldn't follow her recommendation. I decided to rent a pump and wait until my nipples were healed to breastfeed again and to return for the class. During that time I was only pumping and supplementing with formula. About 1 1/2 weeks later, I started to fell much better, the cracks on my nipples healed and I was able to start going to the class once a week. There I learned the proper latching technique and how to enjoy my breastfeeding sessions with my daughter. Was also there where I  learned the reason why I was having plugged milk ducts very often.

         Since I was feeding my daughter with formula/pumped breast milk for almost 2 weeks,  It took a while to go back to exclusive breastfeeding. As recommended by the lactation consultant, I started by replacing one formula feeding for breastfeeding every 3 days. I was able to slowly increase my milk supply at the same time my daughter was adjusting herself to the new routine.

        After going through all the difficulties I went through, I am PROUD to say that I didn't give up, I was able to overcome all the obstacles and exclusive breastfeed my daughter from 3 months old to 6 months old. Once she turned 6 months old, I started with solid food but continued breastfeeding her until she was 30 months old!!!

        It wasn't easy, but I am sure I made the right choice!

         "Pediatricians strive to keep your children healthy, and therefore recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months and continued breastfeeding for at least 1 year." says Lori B. Feldman-Winter, MD, renowned specialist in breastfeeding and Committee Member for the Academy of Pediatrics Section on Breastfeeding.

        Looking back now, I realize that if I had taken those breastfeeding classes recommended by the nurse at the hospital when I was still pregnant, I would've had a better initial breastfeeding experience. Now, I understand the importance of seeking help when you are a first time mom planning to breastfeed. After all, it doesn't come naturally to all mothers!

        Useful Link: Lactation Consultant on your area

        Picture's source:
        Image: koratmember / FreeDigitalPhotos.netStumble Upon Toolbar

        Monday, August 22, 2011

        Swimmer's ear

        Since summer is almost over, my daughter and I are trying to enjoy every second of it. If the weather is hot, we are at the pool!

        About 2 weeks ago on a Friday morning, my daughter started complaining about earache. I thought it was just some discomfort (from going very often to the pool) that it would go away by itself, but I was wrong. By late afternoon, I couldn't tuck her hair behind her right ear nor get close to it. She was having hard time chewing her food and opening her mouth. She couldn't rest her head on the pillow and it was hurting even when she was walking!

        Once again, being a first time mom, I didn't have too much experience about it. The only thing that I was certain, was that if she would keep feeling that way, I would have to take her to the ER. I really would like to know why kids always get sick on Friday nights when we can't take them to be examined by their pediatricians!

        I called one of my friends to talk about it and she recommended me a homeopathic eardrop (Similasan) and tablets (Earache tablets) that she had given to her son when he complained about earache. Since it didn't need a prescription and there is no side effects on homeopathic medicine, I bought it.

        The homeopathic pharmacist advised me that if the symptom wouldn't go away in 48 hours, that I should take her to the doctor. That gave me some time and spared us from going to the ER.

        I gave it to my daughter that night to see how she would respond to it. Amazingly, she didn't wake up during the night complaining about earache and by the next morning, she was feeling much better. She was still in pain, but nothing like the night before. By the end of the day, she would only talk about it if I would ask her how she was doing. At night, before tucking her into bed, I noticed that the redness on the back of her ear had gone away and that she was able now to touch her ear. Her condition was really improving!

        Before the 48 hours period, my daughter was PAIN FREE!!! She could rest her head on the pillow, touch her ears (and pull it) and tuck her hair behind her ear as if nothing had happened.

        I'm VERY thankful to my friend for introducing me to homeopathy. It is natural, fast and effective! Homeopathy is a type of alternative medicine developed by a German physician, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann which is based on 2 principals: "Law of Similars" and "Minimum Dose". The first and main principal is based on that any substance, which can produce symptoms in a healthy person, can cure similar symptoms in a person who is sick, and the second principal is based on extreme dilution of substances help remove the harmful effects of it while yet maintaining its beneficial effects.

        After searching about earache, I learned that earache can be caused by an external ear canal infection (Swimmer's Ear) or by a middle ear infection (Otitis Media). While the external infection is often associated with water in the ear canal that is not properly drained, the middle ear infection (the most common diagnosis in sick children in the U.S.) is associated to a sore throat, cold or other respiratory infection. I also learned that bottle-feeding while the child is lying down is a risk factor for developing otitis media (due to the position of the eustachian tube that leads into the middle ear). If bottle-feeding, always keep the child's head a little bit raised.

        A lot of swimming can wash away the wax protection of the ear canal and lead to wet conditions which favors bacterial growth leading to otitis externa (swimmer's ear).

        Swimmer's ear tips:

        • Keep your child's ear canal as dry as possible during healing process (avoid shampooing)
        • Avoid the swimming pool for the next week
        • Try to prevent future episodes by drying the ears with a towel and by placing drops in the ear after swimming
        • It is recommended to place 5 drops of white vinegar or rubbing alcohol or a mixture of 50% white vinegar / 50% rubbing alcohol into each ear to help evaporate the water out of the ear canal after swimming (if the child has history of swimmer's ear infection)
        If you still want to learn more about it, Dr. Sears' website has a great page about how to tell if the child has swimmer's ear or otitis media infection.

        Picture's source:
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        Friday, August 19, 2011

        My Second Versatile Blogger Award!

        Wow, I just can't believe it. I just won my second Versatile Blogger Award!

        About 2 weeks ago, Mitz wrote a comment on my "Postpartum Hair Loss" post letting me know that she had given me this Award. I couldn't believe it, since I had just gotten one about a month ago!

        I'm very honored and humbled about it. Thank you Mitz!

        If you haven't visit Crevice of a Crumpet (Mitz's blog), you should! Mitz is a bright 29 years old mom of 3 kids mastering her marriage, motherhood and a second master's degree! In her own words: "I am often asked how I manage to do everything. My blog is a chance for me to share a glimpse of what its like attempting to raise three socially productive and responsible children, while maintaining a career, my sanity and a sense of humor."

        The Rules after accepting the Versatile Blogger Award are:
        • Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post. (Checked)
        • Share 7 things about yourself (Checked - I have done it about a month ago)
        • Pass this award along to 15 recently discovered blogs. 

        Now, the 15 blogs that I have chosen to receive the Award (in alphabetic order):

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        Friday, August 5, 2011

        Postpartum Hair Loss.

        I don't remember having better hair than when I was pregnant. I had a full, luscious head of hair! But as we all know, nothing last forever.

        About 3 months after delivering my daughter, I started to notice some hair loss. I remember having a lot of hair on my hands just by running my fingers through it. There was hair on my clothes, on my pillows and on the carpet. It was scary! But nothing was scarier than getting handfuls of hair falling out when I was showering. I really thought I was going bald. Actually, I started noticing some small bald spots on my head! I was very self-conscious about it and I used to cry some days while showering ( after deliver I used to cry a lot about little things and this was not little).

        As a first time mom I had no idea that this was one of those temporary pregnancy side effects. Only after talking to other mothers through a web forum (ivillage) that I started to realize that I was not the only one experiencing hair loss.

        Later I came to understand that it was all related to the hormonal changes. During pregnancy, estrogen levels are high causing hair to remain in the growing phase which keeps it from falling out (that is the reason I had such a nice hair during pregnancy!). Some women may even grow hair in unexpected areas, such as chest, face and arms.

        After deliver or weaning from breastfeeding (while breastfeeding estrogen levels are high) there is a drop in the estrogen levels causing the hair to fall out and return to the normal cycle. The hair may fall out all at once (my case).

        As I mentioned before, this side effect is only temporary and hair loss returns to normal within six to twelve months.

        There is no medication that can prevent this hair loss, but here are some helpful tips:

        • Shampoo only when necessary and when you do it, use a thickening shampoo and conditioner.
        • Use a wide tooth comb and avoid combing wet hair
        • Avoid ponytails or any other style that pulls your hair
        • Avoid blow dryers and curling/flat irons

        Even though pregnancy side effects can be hard to go through, it is all worth it. At the end, everything goes back to normal and we have a beautiful baby to love!

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          Wednesday, July 27, 2011

          List your Mom Blog on Essential Mama Baby.

          I am now welcoming friends to list their mom blogs on my "List Your Mom Blog Here" page. Just add your link/button and start making new friends!

          I would love you to follow me on GFC and to grab my button as well!

          Instructions: Just below my banner you will see "List your mom blog here" next to "Home". Click there and add your link/button!Stumble Upon Toolbar

          Saturday, July 23, 2011

          A Very Special Post!

          I just received an Award!!!

          Couple of days ago when checking my twitter, I found out that MJ from A Girl Named Michael had given me an Award: "The Versatile Blogger Award".

          I'm very honored and thrilled about it. I started blogging about 2 months ago and I have already received an Award??? That is really amazing!

          MJ's blog is funny and irreverent. She always puts a smile on my face. You should check it out!

          The Rules after accepting the Versatile Blogger Award are:
          • Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post. 
          • Share 7 things about yourself 
          • Pass this award along to 15 recently discovered blogs. 

          7 things about myself:
          1. I have been married for 12 years to a wonderful husband. 
          2. I have a 4 years old daughter. She is my world! 
          3. I couldn't have asked for a better family. I have the most loving/supporting parents in the world and my sisters and my brother are truly my best friends! 
          4. I have a very eclectic music taste. My favorite recording groups are U2, Roxette and Black Eyed Peas. But I also like Andrea Bocelli, Pavarotti, Bruce Springsteen, Cold Play and Caetano Velloso (Brazilian singer/musician) 
          5. I play piano 
          6. My favorite color is red, but I also like black very much. 
          7. I am originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.                  
          I have found many great blogs to read and I have made several friends. It was very hard to pick only 15 blogs, but unfortunately, rules are rules!

          Now, the 15 blogs that I have chosen to receive the Award (in alphabetic order):

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          Saturday, July 16, 2011

          Cuddle or Cry it Out?

          It is very difficult for a mother to make a conscious decision about to cuddle or to let her baby cry it out (CIO) when she is sleep deprived.

          I had never thought about this issue before having my daughter nor anyone came to me to talk about it. The only thing that I remember was everyone telling me how wonderful it was to have a baby and how my life would be filled with joy from that moment on. The truth is that no one tells you about painful breastfeeding or sleep deprivation when you are pregnant. Not that I think we should discourage new mothers, but maybe we should let them know they will have lots of challenges ahead and for some of them they should be prepared before the time comes.

          I've read about babies sleeping through the night at 3 months old or sooner and I have friends with the same experience. That was not my case. My daughter used to take 30 minutes nap every 2 hours and wake up every 2 hours at night.  She kept waking up every 2 hours until she was 2 yeas old. I was REALLY exhausted!

          I remember talking to my daughter's pediatrician about it and she recommended the CIO method. Even though it didn't sound right to me, I was willing to try anything to have some sleep.

          The next night when she woke up, I started to implement the CIO technique. I tried for 10 min until I couldn't take it anymore. 10 min felt like 10 hours. When I finally picked her up, she was extremely upset like I had never seen her before and I felt like the worse mother ever. It took a very long time for her to calm down and fall asleep again. After that day, I promised myself that I would never do it again!

          I am not here to support one sleep training method over another nor to judge parents for having used the CIO method. I am just saying that it didn't work for us.

          One day when I was reading about this subject on a discussion forum, someone suggested the book: The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night. by Elizabeth Pantley. What a WONDERFUL book! I recommend it to every single mother and I consider it a MUST have. I wish I had read it when I was pregnant so I could start following her suggestion from the time my daughter was born. She advocates gentle techniques to avoid crying. She focus on understanding why baby is waking up and how to fix problems with routines and new associations.

          After following the steps in the book, my daughter started to sleep through the night! It was unbelievable! After a few nights she was already sleeping longer stretches and I was getting more sleep as well.  The best part is, this was accomplished without one single tear!

          "I've always thought that it would be wonderful to have a menu of ideas that a family could try until they hit upon a magic antidote to help their baby sleep all night. Elizabeth Pantley has created just such a menu in The No-Cry Sleep Solution. She has created a book that is clear, easy to read, and uncomplicated. The steps are set up so that even the most sleep-deprived can understand and apply the solutions. At long last, I've found a book that I can hand to weary parents with the confidence that they can learn to help their baby sleep through the night - without the baby crying it out"- William Sears, MD, Pediatrician and Author

          Before reading this book, I remember thinking that I only had two options. Either let her cry it out (which wasn't an option for me) or get used to the fact that I had to wake up very often and just feel miserable.

          This book made me realize that there is a third option, a gently way to teach my daughter how to sleep without crying. If I had read this book sooner I wouldn't have gone through all the sleep deprivation I went through. I HIGHLY recommend this book!

          Note: I haven't received any monetary compensation to write this post. It is my personal experience and opinion.

          Image source:  Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot

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          Saturday, July 9, 2011

          What is the best sunscreen?

          I love summertime! It is great to be outdoors enjoying beautiful days at the beach, pool and water parks. I feel a good mood in the air!

          Even though we should apply sunscreen on every day, it is especially important during summer.

          According to World Heath Organization (WHO) kids are at higher risk of suffering UV damage than adults, requiring special protection. They say that skin cancer risk significantly increase with a single sunburn in childhood, which could be prevented by adopting simple precautions.

          The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says that unprotected skin can be damaged by UV rays in as little as 15 minutes and the WHO says that tanned skin is damage skin. Any change in the color of your child's skin after time outside - whether sunburn or suntan - indicates damage from UV rays.

          For better protection, WHO and the CDC recommend to stay out of the sun between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. during summer, to cover up your child's skin with clothes and hats that protect against UV rays and to apply sunscreen generously 30 minutes before going outdoors on the parts of the body that remain exposed , like the face and hands. They also say that sunscreen should never be used to prolong the duration of sun exposure and that it is important to reapply it every 2 hours specially after your child swims or exercise ( and this apply to "water resistant" and "waterproof" as well).

          According to Patricia Treadwell, M.D., professor of pediatrics at Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis " The sun protection factor (SPF) should be at least 15, but you generally don't need to go higher than 30: Over than that and you're getting smaller and smaller amounts of added protection - which, in a chemical sunscreen means a higher dose of unwanted chemicals."

          Today there is a large variety of sunscreens on the pharmacy's shelves, but which one is the best?

          Consumer Reports Health identifies tree "CR Best Buys:"

          1 - Up & Up Sport SPF 30 (Target) - Spray

          2 - No-Ad with Aloe and Vitamin E SPF 45 - Lotion

          3 - Equate Baby SPF 50 - Lotion

          All three products provide "Excellent" protection against UVB (which causes sunburn) and "Very Good" protection against UVA (penetrates deeper than UVB causing tanning and aging of the skin).

          Good thing to know is that you don't have to pay to much to get a very good sunscreen. Some very expensive ones scored lower overall comparing to a less expensive.

          So, let's protect ourselves and enjoy the summer!

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          Saturday, July 2, 2011

          Restaurant high chairs dirtier than toilet seat!

          We all know that there are germs everywhere we go but how harmful are they and what should we do about it?

          The first thing to come to mind when thinking about germs, is public restrooms. Surprisingly, there are places more infected with harmful germs than public restrooms. According to Dr. Kelly Reynolds, an associate professor at the University of Arizona College of Public Health in Tucson, "Restrooms tend to get disinfected often". On the other hand, playgrounds, doctor's waiting rooms and restaurant high chairs are not disinfected as often as they should.

          Every time I take my daughter to the park I see at least 2 or 3 sick kids (coughing and/or runny nose) playing there and the kids are sharing toys and touching everything (all kids do) spreading their germs to others. Have you ever seen someone disinfecting the playground equipment? I haven't and according to Dr. Reynolds "Playground equipment almost never gets cleaned"
          Recommendation: Teach your child not to touch his mouth while at the park and always clean their hands with disinfectant wipes or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

          Doctor's waiting rooms are very often filled with sick kids and even tough it may look clean, it's not. The kids are always playing with the toys, touching the chairs, door knobs, books, magazines,.... and once again, spreading their germs. Most offices have their waiting rooms cleaned by the end of the day or in the morning before opening, but never during business hours. According to Charles Gerba, a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona, waiting rooms of pediatricians' offices are second only to restrooms regarding germs. "It makes sense when you think about why all the kids are there". "Pediatricians are not versed in public health and sanitation", he says.
          Recommendation: Bring your own toys and always disinfect your child's hand when you leave the office.

          According to the University of Arizona, when they swabbed high chairs they found bacteria counts much higher than those the average public toilet seat. "Coliform bacteria, which are usually associated with fecal matter, we found on over half the high chairs. And on about one in five of the high chairs we found Ecoli which definitely come from fecal material. And in about 10 percent of the high chairs we found MRSA." says Gerba. Most restaurants don't clean the high chairs and even the ones that do it, don't do it right. "We've found that the cloths that they wipe up in the restaurants-almost half of them contained Ecoli, believe it or not". He says, "You just think about a kid in a high chair, how many times he's putting his fingers to his nose, mouth or putting some object into his mouth. That's more than once a minute."
          Recommendation: Always disinfect the high chairs with disinfectant wipes and wipe your child's hand clean before and after the meal. You can also use a clean seat cover and wipe hands clean.

          Image source: Dream Design

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          Saturday, June 25, 2011

          Genetically modified cows produce "human" milk

          According to an article on "The Telegraph" scientists have introduced human genes to cows to produce milk with the same properties as human breast milk.

          The 300 dairy cows used on this research were able to produce milk containing human proteins found on breast milk called lysozyme and lactoferrin (part of the innate immune system which attacks and destroys bacteria).

          The scientists believe this milk could be an alternative to human breast milk and baby formula.

          Even though scientists insist that genetically modified foods are unlike to pose a threat to food safety, it is still not very well accepted from consumers and can only be sold in the UK and Europe if they pass extensive safety testing.

          Helen Wallace, director of biotechnology monitoring group GeneWatch UK, said: "There is a question about whether milk from these cows is going to be safe from humans and it is really hard to tell that unless you do large clinical trials like you would a drug, so there will be uncertainty about whether it could be harmful to some people."

          What do you think? Would you give this milk to your child if you couldn't breastfeed?

          Read the article:

          Picture's source:

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          Tuesday, May 31, 2011

          Potty Trained by 2 years old!

          All mothers know that potty training is not easy. My daughter became completely potty trained (day and night) by the age of 2. My case is not the average and many have to wait longer to see it happen. Once we started the process, it took my daughter and I approximately 4 months for her to reach her potty 'independence' and be completely diaper-free. It was a long and often times trying process. I had to be consistent and remind her every 30 min that she needed to go potty. One technique that worked for me and is advocated by many pediatricians is that of positive reinforcement. I always made a big deal whenever she used the potty. I gave her stickers, we sang funny songs and did the "potty dance"! "The most important way to keep a child interested in being diaper-free is to provide loads of encouragement and positive reinforcement for even small steps on the right direction", says Andrew Garner, M.D., Ph.D., FAAP, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health.

          Some kids get potty trained very fast and early and others may take a very long time. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, "most children start to show interest between the ages of 18 months and 24 months and some children are not ready until they are 2 1/2 years old". "As a general rule of thumb, children are developmentally ready to use the potty around the age of 3. However, remember that children develop at different rates and that not all children are ready at the age of 3." says Tanya Remer Altmann, M.D., FAAP, editor-in-chief of the book, The Wonder Years: Helping your Baby and Young Child Successfully Negotiate The Major Developmental Milestones.

          Before we started the process, I took my daughter with me to the store to buy a new potty and told her that it was a very special potty only used by big girls. She was very happy and proud of herself. She knew that she was going to use the potty and was no longer a baby.

          In addition to the new potty I also bought her "Elmo's Potty Time" DVD which WE absolutely love. It is very educational and encouraging with a lot of cute songs. It discusses diapers, training pants, kids underwear, having accidents (it is ok), wiping, flushing and washing up, all in a very gentle and fun way. It also mentions that it takes time and requires lots of practice. At the end, all characters and actors sing together a nice song that makes you sing along saying that everybody goes: mothers, fathers, grandparents, sisters, brothers, doctors, teachers,... and that they do it every day. Very, very cute. I recommend it!

          I believe that the key for a successful potty training process is to be consistent and patient and if you get frustrated (which is normal), try not to show it!

          Note: I haven't received any monetary compensation to write this post. It is my personal experience and opinion.

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          When should a mother avoid breastfeeding?

          "Health professionals agree that human milk provides the most complete form of nutrition for infants, including premature and sick newborns. However, there are rare exceptions when human milk is not recommended. Under certain circumstances, a physician will need to make a case-by-case assessment to determine whether a woman's environmental exposure or her own medical condition warrants her to interrupt or stop breastfeeding."

          Read More:

          Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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          Monday, May 30, 2011

          Breastfeeding and Vitamin D Supplementation

          "While breastfeeding is the recommended method of infant feeding and provides infants with necessary nutrients and immune factors, breast milk alone does not provide infants with an adequate intake of vitamin D. Most breastfed infants are able to synthesize additional vitamin D through routine sunlight exposure. However, published reports of cases of vitamin D deficiency rickets among breastfed infants in the Unitied States caused researchers to take another look at whether all breastfed infants were getting adequate vitamin D."

          Read More:

          Source: CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

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          Breastfeeding and Flu Season

          According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccines for both the seasonal flu and Influenza A (H1N1) are considered safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
          They also recommend breastfeeding as an important way to safeguard infant health during flu season.

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          Breastfeeding and plugged milk ducts

          It happened 4 years ago, but I still remember how painful it was to have plugged milk ducts. It happened to me frequently (sometimes as often as every other day) and I didn't know what caused it. In addition to the pain and discomfort, I also felt very frustrated thinking I should give up and just get used to it. As much as I looked for answers I didn't find one that satisfied me and offered a simple solution for the problem. Although many online forums and blogs offered suggestions on how to address the problem, all solutions I found were only temporary and the problem soon returned. After a long search for a solution I finally found a wonderful breastfeeding class at "Bright Beginnings and Beyond" in Redondo Beach, CA where I learned the proper 'latching' technique. From that point forward my daughter's breast feeding sessions became painless and only our most enjoyable and intimate moment (it was an amazing feeling!).

          One day in the beginning of one of the breastfeeding classes as I was getting ready to start, one of the consultants approached me and asked why I was wearing a underwired bra. At first I didn't understand her question. She then proceeded to explain that it is generally not recommended for a nursing mother to wear an underwired bra because they have a tendency to cause PLUGGED DUCTS!!!!! Who would have thought it? Definitely, not me .

          After that day, I never put them on again and never got a plugged duct again !

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          Educational Toy

          Which of your child's educational toys is the one that first comes to mind?

          The first one that comes to my mind is a very cute caterpillar that my daughter has had since she was 2 years old. It's from LeapFrog and named Alphabet Pal. It has 26 colorful legs, each one representing one letter of the alphabet and it has 4 different learning modes: letter, sound of the letters, colors and music. It is very educational and my daughter learned the sound of each letter on her own just playing with this toy.

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          About Essential Mama Baby

          It has been a while since I first thought about having a blog where I could write about being a mom for the very first time and to get feedback from other moms who where going through the same things I was going through.

          I want to share my thoughts and experiences from frustration to achievement, from sadness to happiness, from having a full time job to being a staying home mom, from breastfeeding to solid food, from very long nights without sleep to sleeping through the night, from diapers to potty training, from tummy time to walking/running, from babbling to talking,... I want to give suggestions and share great mommy/baby products that I absolutely love and that have worked for me.

          Most of all, I want to connect to other moms and to talk about the best experience of all: Motherhood.

          Essential Mama Baby is more than a name, is more than a blog, it is FROM ONE MOTHER TO ANOTHER!

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