Thursday, March 15, 2012

Baby and Permanent Teeth Eruption Charts

 Have you ever asked yourself one of these questions?
  • When do baby teeth come in? 
  • Which tooth comes in first?
  • How is the baby teething schedule? 
  • How many teeth do babies have?
If you are a first mom, you probably have.

Even though baby teeth (primary dentition) eruption may vary from child to child, most children will have their lower central incisors (see chart below) breaking through their gum at 6 months of age followed by the upper incisors. Don't be alarmed if your baby's teeth start to come in at 4 months of age or if it doesn't start until your baby is 9 months old. As I mention before, the variation is normal.

The most common order of baby teeth eruption is:
  1. Lower central incisors
  2. Upper central and lateral incisors
  3. Lower lateral incisors
  4. First Molars
  5. Canines
  6. Second Molars
  • They come in pairs 
  • Lower teeth erupt first
  • Girls' schedule is ahead of boys
  • Baby teeth are whiter than permanent teeth

It is also normal to have gap between the teeth in the primary dentition.

Primary Teeth Eruption Chart

IMAGE: Primary Teeth Eruption Chart
 Chart from the American Dental Association (ADA)

As you see on the chart, the primary dentition consists of 20 teeth: 8 incisors, 4 canines and 8 molars. Most children will have all 20 baby teeth by the time they are 3 years old. At around 6 years of age, the baby teeth start to shed as the permanent teeth start to erupt.

Although baby teeth are temporary, it is very important to take good care of them. They serve as a guide for the eruption of the permanent teeth; maintain the proper space for the permanent teeth; help the development of a good speech and are very important for proper nutrition.

In fact, oral care is important even before the first tooth comes in. Parents should clean the baby's gum with a soft damp cloth twice a day (mornings and before bedtime). Once the first tooth comes in, it should be brushed with a soft age appropriate sized tooth brush and water (fluoride toothpaste is not recommended for children under 2 years old) at least twice a day . Children older than 6 months may need fluoride supplement to reduce the risk of tooth decay if the local drinking water doesn't contain enough fluoride (ask your dentist).

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends parents to take their children for a first dental visit no later than the child's first birthday. Prevention is the key!

It is important to mention that the first permanent teeth to erupt are the first molars (together with the lower incisors) and they come in behind the last baby teeth (baby second molars). This is important because since there is no shed, most parents tend to think they are baby teeth.

Permanent Teeth Eruption Chart

IMAGE: Permanent Teeth Eruption Chart
Chart from the American Dental Association (ADA)

There are 32 teeth in the permanent dentition: 8 incisors, 4 canines, 8 pre-molars and 12 molars. The permanent teeth eruption starts at age of 6-7 (permanent lower central incisors) and finishes at age of 17-21 (third molars).

Image Source: Photostock

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Guest Post: Infertility Issues and a Miracle Baby

I'm happy to introduce you Tammy Hemmerling, the author of Lucky Emeralds Reviews blog.
In this post, Tammy shares with us her struggles with infertility, several fertilization attempts, depression, marital problems and a miracle baby. I'm sure you will love to read it as much as I did!

Thank you Tammy for sharing your beautiful story and giving hope to mothers facing infertility!

 When I was 16 years old, just a sophomore in high school, I had a terrible time with cysts on my ovaries. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome was what my doctor told me. He also told me I would never have children. Now, that's a tough thing to hear when you're only 16 years old! By then I had already envisioned my life. I would go to college and get a degree in Early Childhood Education. While I was in college, I would meet my future husband. After college, we would get married and I would be working as a 1st or 2nd grade teacher. We would start our family right away, I was planning on 2 or 3 children at the time. But the doctor was telling me that my dream wasn't meant to be.

I went on with my life, going to college and meeting the husband. I decided to drop out of college to get married when I was 22 years old. At that point my new husband and I had talked about children and the problems that I had keeping me from having them and decided together that we would see every fertility specialist we could find until we had a child! We were very determined to have children together!

We gave it a year to try on our own, and when nothing happened, we made our first appointment with a fertility specialist that was recommended by our family doctor. When we went to that appointment, my husband and I were both tested to see who was fertile and who wasn't. I was also put through several very invasive tests to see where my problem was located. The doctor suggested we try Intrauterine Fertilization where they would take my husband's sperm and fertilize my egg inside my uterus. We tried that way 4 times over the course of 5 years. It was rather expensive for each fertilization so we were only doing one once we had saved up the money. Our only other option was In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) where the doctor took my egg and my husband's sperm and tried to join them in a petri dish to create and embryo and then implant it back into my uterus with the hope that it would stick and grow into a viable pregnancy. We tried it once and once again, it didn't work.

At that point, I gave up. I went into a deep depression and my marriage started to suffer. Eventually, after 9 years of marriage, we divorced. I went into therapy and started taking antidepressants and started to feel better. I had blamed myself for not being able to do something that women were supposed to do! Something women had been doing for hundreds of years, most of them with no problems at all! I had also unfairly blamed my now ex-husband. It was a big mistake.

Not long after my divorce, I met another man, fell in love, and married again! He knew from the start all the problems I had gone through having children and was very supportive. I had given up any hope that it would happen anyway. 3 months after we got married, I started feeling HORRIBLE! I felt like I had the stomach flu and was vomiting day and night! After a few days of feeling badly, my husband said, "What if you're pregnant?" I laughed it off and called my doctor for an appointment. At my appointment, the doctor checked me over and asked me all the routine questions, one of them being "When was your last period?" My periods have always been irregular due to the cysts so I just told her it had been a couple of months ago maybe. She decided to draw blood to test my blood count and do some other tests and sent me home with some nausea medicine.

2 days later, my doctor called me, which I thought was strange since normally her nurse would call and give me test results, not her personally! She said, "Tammy, I have your test results and I happy to tell you that you are pregnant!" I was stunned! I just stood there silent with my mouth wide open! I had to have looked like an idiot because my husband came over to me looking concerned. I thanked the doctor and hung up. Then I looked at my husband and tried to talk but nothing would come out! He started freaking out a little and made me sit down. After a few minutes, I started to cry which freaked him out even more! I looked up and choked out "I'm pregnant."  He let out a big yell and started jumping around like a madman grinning from ear to ear! All I could do was sit there and cry! My dreams had finally come true, but I wasn't out of the woods just yet. I still had to carry this baby to term! The thought of a miscarriage crossed my mind and weighed heavily from day one.

As days passed, then weeks, then months, I started to feel a little better and not be so worried that I would lose the baby. I started to enjoy being pregnant! I ate anything I craved without worrying about calories! I enjoyed when my husband would rub my belly and try to talk to the baby through my belly button. As my belly grew, and I felt those little flutters and then big kicks, I was so happy and started buying unisex clothes and blankets. I had my first ultrasound at 20 weeks because they considered this a high-risk pregnancy due to my history of infertility and also my age. I was 33 years old at this point. That was when we heard our baby's heartbeat for the first time. We were ecstatic when we heard it and we left the office crying tears of happiness! I was doing great and the baby too! At 26 weeks, we had another ultrasound and found out we were definitely having a boy! He wasn't shy at all and gladly showed us what he was! LOL Life was great!

A week later, my husband was at work and I was at home resting and watching some TV when I started feeling pains in my back and left side. It was like a cramping pain and over the course of a few hours, the pains got unbearable! It would come and go every few minutes and with me being a first time mom, I had no clue what it could be! I called my doctor and she told me to go to the emergency room at our local hospital and she would meet me there. I had a friend come pick me up and headed to the hospital. After I was examined, the doctor said she was pretty sure I was in pre-term labor and we needed to get it stopped with some medicine. I was admitted and had an IV started. They started giving me a medicine called Terbutaline. It's supposed to stop pre-term labor. By this time, my husband and mom had gotten to the hospital. I was almost inconsolable. This was what I had worried about for so long! It was happening! What if they couldn't stop my labor and my son would have to be born at 27 weeks??? I just couldn't fathom the thought at that point! I knew it wouldn't be good for him to be born that early! I ended up having to stay in the hospital for 5 days on the medicine. It wasn't pleasant at all. Terbutaline has strange side effects. It made me very jittery. I trembled all over and had hot flashes all the time. It made it almost impossible to sleep so by the time I was able to go home, I was exhausted! Once I went home, I was taken off the medicine and everything was fine! For about 2 weeks that is. I went into pre-term labor AGAIN! This time I was in the hospital for almost 2 weeks! I was 30 weeks along at that point.

Over the next 5 weeks I was in and out of the hospital 4 more times. It seemed that I lived there almost! I took the Lamaze classes offered at our hospital while I was in the hospital! At 35 weeks, I was home again when the labor pains started yet again! I was so tired of doing this all the time! I sent me husband off to work and made my way to the hospital yet again. My doctor arrived and it all seemed like deja vu. They did an ultrasound and realized that my son's heart rate was lower than it had been. My blood pressure was higher than it should have been. A lot higher. My doctor was concerned about pre-eclampsia. She came in and said, "Tammy, I really want to get this baby delivered today." It scared me to death because he would still be 5 weeks early, and I didn't have anyone at the hospital with me! My doctor said she wanted to do a C-section since my son's heart rate was going lower and lower. So I got on the phone and called my husband and my mom and told them to get their butts to the hospital like
NOW! I was having the baby in the next hour! You can imagine their surprise!  It was craziness in my room for the next hour! The anaesthesiologist had to do my epidural and the nurses came in and out doing their thing. My husband showed up first looking like someone had punched him in the stomach several times! My mom showed up soon after and ended up being of great comfort to me since she had 2 C-sections herself so she was very reassuring. Once I was wheeled into the operating room, things seemed to go very quickly! It was only a matter of about 10 minutes when I heard my son cry for the first time. My husband and I looked at each other when we heard it and immediately started crying. The doctor pulled the curtain down a little and showed us our son for the first time! That is a moment I will never forget. He was beautiful! The doctor handed him off to a nurse and they cleaned him up and surprisingly he was breathing very well on his own! Once they cleaned him up and swaddled him up, they brought him to me. I was still laying on the table, but the nurse placed my son right up to my cheek. I kissed and kissed him over and over and told him in a whisper, "I've waited a long time for you, and I love you to the moon and back." They let my husband hold him and it was such a beautiful sight to see my husband holding his son. All he could do was stare at his son and cry! They took our son from the room and my husband went with them. I had to stay in the operating room because the doctor found a hernia while he was delivering the baby and he wanted to go ahead and fix it. So it was almost and hour before they got me back up to my room and my husband was able to hand my baby to me to hold for the first time. At that moment I knew that everything I had gone through had been worth it. My husband and I had discussed names on and off throughout the pregnancy and when I was sitting there holding my baby, I knew what I wanted his name to be. I looked at my husband and said, "His name is Jaden Riley." We had both liked that name so he didn't argue.

All the years I had waited for this baby and all the problems and bad feelings just melted away in that hospital room with my Jaden in my arms. I was finally at peace and I have thanked God every day for this little miracle. Jaden is 4 years old now and the light of my life! I haven't even had the urge to try for another baby. At my current age of 38 I'm afraid I would be asking too much from my body. Every day since Jaden's birth and every day for the rest of my life I will tell him the same thing I told him the day he was born. "I waited a long time for you, and I love you to the moon and back."

Tammy Hemmerling
author of Lucky Emeralds Reviews

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Monday, March 5, 2012

Baby Acne

Have you ever heard someone saying "this is soft as a baby skin"? I'm sure you did.

It is true that babies have soft skin but it is also true and very common for babies to have acne after 3 to 4 weeks after they are born.

This may cause some concern for new parents. They may start to wonder if their babies are already showing some type of a skin condition. At least, this was what came to my mind when my daughter started to show some red bumps on her cheeks and forehead after a couple of weeks being home from the hospital.

Even though scientists haven't yet found the cause, they believe that there is a link between baby acne and mother's hormone. During pregnancy, babies are exposed to all of their mother's hormone that travel through the placenta. Just after birth, most babies (boys and girls) have swollen nipples and some baby girls may present swollen genitalia and a false menstruation (pink or blood-tinged discharge). After a couple of weeks later they may have acne.  These signs show that the mother's hormone are still circulating in the baby's body.

In baby acne, the mother's hormone stimulate excessive oil production, causing the clog of the immature baby's sweat glands. The symptoms are red bumps/pimples on the cheeks, forehead and chin. Sometimes whiteheads is also present.

The good news is that it is NORMAL, and it clears up by itself within a few months without any treatment.

During this time, is important to be patient and to treat the baby's face with care, washing it with a mild soap/water once daily and to not scrub it.

Tip: Some of my friends have told me that they had great results by gently applying breast milk to their babies skin.
This is not a medical recommendation, always discuss with your baby's doctor what is the best treatment!

Image Source: David Castillo Dominici

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    Sunday, February 26, 2012

    Supplementing to Exclusive Breastfeeding

     After approximately 2 weeks after delivering my daughter I started having breastfeeding complications. I was in so much pain that I just couldn't have her on my breasts, I had to start giving her the bottle. Following the recommendation I received from a lactation consultant, I rented a hospital grade breast pump to keep my supply until I was ready to breastfeed again.

    It is important to mention that not even the best breast pump stimulates the production of breast milk as a baby sucking on the breast.

    Our body is a perfect machine. The production of breast milk is proportional to demand. Every time we skip one breastfeeding or pumping session and supplement with formula, we are "telling" our body that the baby doesn't need breast milk at that time. This decreases the breast milk production.

    Even though the lactation consultant advised me to pump at every feeding session, I have to be honest and admit that I didn't do it every time. During that period when I was only giving my daughter the bottle, the amount of breast milk that I was pumping wasn't enough to satisfy her and therefore, I had to supplement with formula.

    Once I recovered from the breastfeeding complications, I wanted to go back to exclusive breastfeeding. I knew that it wouldn't be an easy process, but I was very determined to do everything I could to stop supplementing.

    One day when I was doing some research on the internet about this subject, I was lucky to come across to a VERY helpful breastfeeding internet forum (ivillage), where I could post questions/concerns and have them answered by an experienced lactation consultant.

    After some posts exchange, I learned what I had to do to wean from formula. The lactation consultant advised me to monitor my daughter's weight every week throughout the process to be sure she was getting enough milk.

    The process would have to be slow to give time to my body and my daughter to adjust to the new routine. As I mention before, the production of breast milk is proportional to demand. I had to slowly increase the demand to increase the breast milk production.

    I observed my daughter's feeding schedule and wet/dirty diaper count for a couple of days. It was important to know exactly how much formula (oz) I was giving her and how many wet/dirty diaper she had per day before starting the weaning process. I also had her weight checked. After I had all the information written down, I started by reducing 1 oz of formula per day (not per feeding) every 3 days.

    According to my notes, I was giving her approximately 24 oz of formula per day (4 oz per feeding, 6 formula feeding sessions) and having 4 - 5 breastfeeding sessions. I was also pumping just after the formula feeding sessions (as often as I could) to help increase breast milk production.

    These were the steps I followed to wean from formula feeding:
    • Step 1 (days 01 - 03): Reduction of 1 ounce of formula from one (1) feeding session and then breastfeed. All the other feeding sessions were kept the same as they used to be. I checked the number of wet diapers per day and they were the same or more than used to be, so I went ahead to step 2. Otherwise, I would have stayed couple more days on step 1.
    • Step 2 (days 04 - 06): Reduction of 1 more ounce of formula from the same feeding session and then breastfed. All the other feeding sessions were kept the same as they used to be. I checked the number of wet diapers per day and they were the same or more than used to be, so I went ahead to step 4. Otherwise, I would have stayed couple more days on step 2.
    • Step 3: After 1 week, I took her to a local breastfeeding class and had her weight checked to make sure she was getting enough milk and gaining weight. Everything was fine, so I went ahead to step 4.
    • Step 4 (days 07 - 09): I reduced 1 more ounce of formula from the same feeding session and then breastfed. All the other feeding sessions were kept the same as they used to be. I checked the number of wet diapers per day and they were the same or more than used to be, so I went ahead to step 5. Otherwise, I would have stayed couple more days on step 4.
    • Step 5 (days 10 - 12): I reduced 1 more ounce of formula from the same feeding session and then breastfed. All the other feeding sessions were kept the same as they used to be. I checked the number of wet diapers per day and they were the same or more than used to be, so I went ahead to step 6. Otherwise, I would have stayed couple more days on step 5.
    • Step 6 (days 13 - 15): I reduced 1 ounce of formula from another formula feeding session and then breastfed. All the other feeding sessions were kept the same as they used to be. I checked the number of wet diapers per day and they were the same or more than used to be, so I went ahead to step 8. Otherwise, I would have stayed couple more days on step 6. 
    • Step 7: Weight check at breastfeeding class.
    • Step 8, 9, 10, ... : Same as step 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

      On the 12th day I had completely reduced 4 oz of formula (1 formula feeding) and substituted by a breastfeeding session. I kept reducing 1 oz of formula every 3 day until my daughter was completely weaned from formula.

      As I mentioned above, every week I would go to a breastfeeding class to check my daughter's progress (weight and growth). During the classes, the lactation consultant would check my daughter's weight (using a very sensitive scale) before and after the breastfeeding session to check the breast milk intake. It was important to know if my breast milk production was increasing and my daughter was getting enough. Every week she would write the results down and compare them to the previous week to make sure we were doing well.

      According to Kellymom's website, the average weight gain for a breastfeeding baby should be:
      • 0 - 4 months old baby should gain 5 - 7 ounces per week 
      • 4 - 6 months old baby should gain 4 - 5 ounces per week
      • 6 - 12 months old baby should gain 2 - 4 ounces per week

        The whole process took more than 2 months. It wasn't easy, I really had to be persistent and determined, but at the end I was thrilled. I just couldn't believe my accomplishment. My daughter was healthy and growing thanks exclusively to my breast milk!

        I exclusively breastfed my daughter until she was 6 months old, as it is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the World Health Organization (WHO), when I then started to introduce solid foods.

        I continued breastfeeding until she was 30 months old. The AAP recommends breastfeeding for at least 12 months, and thereafter for as long as mother and baby desire and the WHO recommends continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.

        Image source: Duron123

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        Thursday, February 16, 2012

        Breastfeeding Statistics

        About a month ago while talking to one of my friends who is a new mom and lives in Brazil, she asked me about the breastfeeding statistics here in the U.S. and how acceptable was to supplement breastfed babies with formula.

        Even though I breastfed my daughter for the first 6 months almost exclusively (I only supplemented with formula for a couple of weeks when I was having breastfeeding complications) and continued breastfeeding until she was 30 months old, I know that it is not a common thing to do. Some of my friends only breastfed for the first 3 months (supplementing with formula) and others went straight to formula without even trying to breastfeed.

        Based on my circle of friends, the large majority only breastfed for the first 3 months and they didn't feel any pressure to do it longer nor saw any problem in supplementing with formula when necessary.

        To give my Brazilian friend a correct answer based on facts and not only on my experience, I researched these topics and found this statistics:

        The Centers of Diseases Control and Prevention's 2011 breastfeeding report card (CDC), shows that in the U.S. National:
        • 74.6% were ever breastfed 
        • 44.3% were still breastfeeding at 6 months
        • 23.8% were still breastfeeding at 12 months
        • 35.0% were exclusive breastfeeding at 3 months
        • 14.8% were exclusive breastfeeding at 6 months

        They also show on their CDC National Immunization Survey (Breastfeeding Among U.S. Children Born 2000—2008), that:
          • approximately 25% of the breastfed children were supplemented with infant formula before they were 2 days old
          • approximately 38% of the breastfed children were supplemented with infant formula before they were 3 months old
          • approximately 45% of the breastfed children were supplemented with infant formula before they were 6 months old

          On the World Health Organization (WHO) Infant and Young Child Feeding Data by Country chart, you can see the difference between the breastfeeding statistics between Countries. For example, in Brazil (2006-07):
          • 96.4% were ever breastfed
          • 49.0% were exclusive breastfeeding at 4 months
          • 39.8% were exclusive breastfeeding at 6 months

            In Brazil they have a large breastfeeding campaign. They have prime time commercials showing famous actresses breastfeeding their babies and talking about the benefits of it. To help promote breastfeeding they have recently extended the maternity leave from 120 days to 180 days (On the United Nation Statistics Division website you can find a table with a list of all countries showing the length of the maternity leave and the percentage of wage paid in the covered period. The maternity leave varies from 7 weeks in Lebanon to 480 days in Sweden).

            There is no question that exclusive breastfeeding is the most complete and healthy form of nutrition a baby can have it, but it is CERTAINLY not easy to do it.

            Picture source: Daquella Maneira

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            Friday, February 10, 2012

            Vaccine debate and the 2012 Immunization Schedule

             The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the American Academy of Family Physicians have approved the 2012 vaccine schedule.

             Vaccination can be a debatable topic. Some parents prefer to not vaccinate their children believing that it could cause more harm than good. In fact, a study published in the journal of Pediatrics in March 2010 showed that one in four parents was concerned that vaccines could cause autism. “I don’t think we should expect that the science is going to completely counter what is a largely emotional response,” said Dr. Margaret C. Fisher, ex-medical director of the Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, N.J. in 2010. “We are at a time in this country where there is a general distrust of science. I don’t think people distrust their individual doctors, but there is distrust of the medical establishment.”

            In 1998,  Dr. Andrew Wakefield, M.D. published an article in the British medical journal (The Lancet) suggesting that the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine could cause symptoms associated with autism.

            After that article, parents started to question if vaccination was really necessary and some of them preferred not to vaccinate their children.

            Cases as of the actress Jenny McCarthy, who has a son with autism and believes it may have been caused by vaccines, also help lend credibility to the idea that autism could be caused by vaccination.

            Some parents who are against vaccination say that some of ingredients in various vaccines are formaldehyde, aluminum, lead, sulfates, egg proteins and mercury among others. They believe that these ingredients can't be good for a child. The CDC Ingredients of Vaccines - Fact Sheet says that minute amounts of chemical additives is necessary to ensure that vaccines are potent, sterile and safe. They also say that vaccines manufactured for the U.S. market contain no thimerosal (mercury containing preservative) or only trace amounts.

            Since 1998, many studies have been published from different researchers showing no relationship between autism and vaccines. According with Alison Tepper Singer, founder and president of the Autism Science Foundation, who has a daughter and an older brother with autism, "There is no link between vaccines and autism."

            In 2009, The Lancet retracted Dr. Wakefield's study and in 2010, Dr. Wakefield had his medical license revoked in his native UK.

            On the Autism Science Foundation, National Autism Association and Autism Society websites you can find articles about the debate:

            What Causes Autism
            May 2003  - Mercury in Medicine - Taking Unnecessary Risks
            2004           - An investigation of the Association between MMR Vaccination and Autism in Denmark
            06/11/2007 -
            05/19/2008 - National Autism Association Press Release 
            05/22/2008 -
            09/04/2008 - Lack of Association between Measles Virus Vaccine and Autism with Enteropathy: A Case-Control Study
            09/13/2010 - CDC Study Shows No Vaccine, Autism Link
            01/05/2011 - Study Linking Autism, Vaccines Deemed an "Elaborate Fraud"
            09/19/2011 - Behind the Vaccine Science: An Interview with Dr. Paul Offit, Author of Deadly Choices, How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All

            I am not here to support nor to judge parents. The more questions we ask, the more studies are published on both sides and more information we have to make a conscious decision.

            The AAP and the CDC still recommend vaccination as the best way to prevent diseases and the current immunization schedule is as follow:

            1 - Children 0 - 6 years old:

            FIGURE 1 
            You can click on it to see it larger.

            2 - Children and Adolescents 7 - 18 years old:

            FIGURE 2
            You can click on it to see it larger.

            3 - Adults:

            The figure shows the recommended adult immunization schedule, by vaccine and age group in the United States for 2012. For Figure 1, the bar for Tdap/Td for persons 65 years and older has been changed to a yellow and purple hashed bar to indicate that persons in this age group should receive 1 dose of Tdap if they are a close contact of an infant younger than 12 months of age. However, other persons 65 and older who are not close contacts of infants may receive either Tdap or Td.
 The 19-26 years age group was divided into 19-21 years and 22-26 years age groups. The HPV vaccine bar was split into separate bars for females and males. The recommendation for all males 19-21 years to receive HPV is indicated with a yellow bar, and a purple bar is used for 22-26 year old males to indicate that the vaccine is only for certain high-risk groups.

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            Sunday, February 5, 2012

            A Belated Thank You!

            After 4 months being away from writing on my blog, I'm coming back thanking Amber from Jade Louise Design. In October, she awarded me with the Versatile Blogger Award! It is my third Versatile Blogger Award!!!

            Amber has a great blog where you can find a little bit of everything. From recipes, reviews and giveaways to beautiful hand craft design for babies and girls . As in her own words: "My name is Amber; and I am the writer/creator of JadeLouise Designs; a PR and Family Friendly Hodge Podge blog that shares everything about living in healthy and happy homes." 

            I'm as happy and honored as I was when I received my first one. Thank you, Amber!

            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. (I have already done it when I received my first Award)
            • Pass this award along to 15 recently discovered blogs. 

            There are many GREAT blogs that deserve to receive this Award, but at this time, I want to make it special and for that, I am breaking the rules by awarding only one (1) website instead. I want to Award a great site and a parenthood community that has helped me and thought me tremendously. If you are a parent, you should check it out!

            1 - The VoiceBoks - the voice of parenthood


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            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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