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."

Stumble Upon Toolbar

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

Stumble Upon Toolbar

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:

        Stumble Upon Toolbar

    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

    Stumble Upon Toolbar

    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!
    Stumble Upon Toolbar

    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
    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...