Ask #SkinishMom – How to Distract my Kid from Scratching Eczema?

Have a skin, eczema or parenting question? Ask #SkinishMom

Have a skin question? Want to vent on raising an eczema child? Or simply chat with a mom who doesn’t judge? Write in via comments and your question will get a reply (on or off the column). Or #SkinishMom on twitter!

To the #SkinishMom:

Help! My kid won’t stop scratching and it’s getting impossible to keep him from it. Any ideas?

One tired mom

I know! It does get impossible sometimes to stop scratching, many times I feel like I’ve run out of eyes to watch out for it, ears to listen for it and saliva to remind not to scratch. Here are the ‘crazy’, desperate distraction tips that I’ve come out with over the 5 years. Of course, the eczema ought to be controlled too, otherwise it’s kinda unfair to expect the kid not to scratch. So here goes my quirky anti-scratching tips!

49 eczema cartoon

Art – You can’t paint and scratch at the same time, that’s why my bag always has an activity book and my home is stock full of them.

Burst bubble – If you’re wary of the bubble (soap) on your kid, use a long straw to burst the bubble instead.

The things that can be irritant! Eczema child and contact dermatitis

Cloud imagination – this works if you’re out in the park and your kid starts scratching, start spying shapes in the cloud.

Dance – It’s quite difficult to dance and scratch at the same time!

Eat – this is one fav technique of grandparents, not very ideal but to them, it’s better than scratching. I would choose physical activities to burn off the extra calories after.

Force it – If your child is still a baby, you may have to hold her hands whenever you’re able to limit the scratching. There are very few distraction techniques for baby since they can’t engage in as many activities (except scratching).

89 eczema cartoon

Go get it – Sometimes I get my kid to get something which works to stop the scratching for a while.

Hold on to it – Same thing – can’t scratch if you’re holding onto something.

Ice – Anything cold – ice cube (works to distract in a restaurant waiting for food) or ice pad work.

Ice can really entertain Marcie, especially when I run out of coloring paper at restaurant!

Ice can really entertain Marcie, especially when I run out of coloring paper at restaurant!

Jello – Making jello takes up time, likewise pizza. I like jello though – eating a chilled one distracts scratching too.

Kiss – Kissing is distracting too! Be careful of your saliva irritating her skin though.

Lie – this one is tricky! But sometimes I tell my kid to look at this or that when there’s nothing special, then think of something special about it.

Monopoly – A board game that requires to keep moving the token, getting title deeds, counting fake money and engages the brain.

Noodles with chopsticks – This one is challenging and maybe the fingers get too tired to scratch after!

On the light, Off the light – Worked for me for a while when my kid was a toddler and amused with the car light.31 eczema cartoon

Play dough – This is fabulous, not too dirty but be sure the child understands not to eat it.

Quit saying stop scratching – At different age, you may want to actually stop saying that and watch if your kid still scratches when you’re not paying attention to it. Read about reinforcing positives, instead of focusing on what not to do here.

RelaxStress can be ‘caught’ by your kid, so relax and see if it helps.

Sing – Sing a funny noise, skin-related or not. Make up songs of My Little Pony, Frozen or about anything!

Tickle – this one always works!

Unite – whatever distraction tips (somewhat equal parenting style cos there’s so much time devoted to distracting an eczema kid), you and your spouse must be united and agree.

Vacation – many people have improved skin during vacation, we don’t really know why. But hey, with more new things to do, a vacay may just work to snap out of the routine scratching.

67 eczema cartoon

Waste some toilet paper – Maybe get lower quality ones for tearing! (Potty training an eczema kid is a whole different ball game.)

80 eczema cartoon

Xtreme measures – my own extreme is having to secure, swaddle, tie (is there a more politically correct word?) my baby’s hands for a minute, while I make her milk. It was a very difficult period of time.

You – don’t forget TLC for yourself.

Days when the AIR seems to have gone out of ME - Mom Says Eczema Cartoon

Deflated

Zzz – Only if prescribed by doctor, you can try antihistamines to help your kid sleep better (not knock him out!).

Feeding Kids Healthy series – Eating a Balanced Diet

Traditionally, parents worry about whether children are eating enough but based on the rise in childhood obesity (currently about 11% in Singapore), parents also have to be mindful of overeating AND eating the wrong types of foods.

Anna Jacob Abbott Interview with EczemaBluesFor this 2-part series focused on feeding kids healthy, Abbott facilitated the interviews with nutrition experts. Last week, we covered what and how much a child should eat. This week, we will focus on how we can get the child to eat a healthy and balanced diet. We have Anna Jacob, Director of Nutrition from Abbott. More on Ms Anna here.

MarcieMom: Thank you Anna for helping us figure out how we can actually get our kids to eat the healthy meal we’ve prepared. We assume that parents have the knowledge to serve a healthy meal of half plate fruits and vegetables (the more colour, the better), a quarter of protein and a quarter of whole grains. Let’s overcome the potential obstacles in each food group!

For fruits, the common ones in Singapore are apples, oranges, pears, grapes, strawberries and mangoes. Within these fruits, we have red, orange, green, purple and yellow! Would you reckon it is more attractive to kids to be served a variety of colours within a meal or rotating each fruit? What is the serving size in each case? Must they be organic?

Anna Jacob: Fruits are rich in many vitamins, some minerals and dietary fibre. Brightly colored fruits also have many natural plant compounds that are now known to be beneficial to health. For example, beta-carotene in yellow-orange fruits supports healthy skin and anthocyanins in red fruit may benefit heart health.

There are basically five colored types of fruit:

  • Green:  Green apples, pears, kiwi, honeydew
  • White: Bananas, lychees, longans, mangosteens
  • Yellow and Orange: Oranges, papaya, cantaloupe, mango
  • Red: Cherries, watermelon, red apples
  • Blue and Purple: Blueberries, purple grapes

Parents can add color to their children’s meals with a variety of fruits, making recipes more attractive and nutritious.  However, we do not have to serve up all the colored fruits on one plate all the time. Incorporating them through different meals and snacks will help your child appreciate and eat them too.

Dietary guidelines from around the world recommend that fruit should be part of a child’s diet – starting with just half a serving after 6 months and progressing to 2 servings by 7 years.  Examples of a serving of fruit, as defined by Singapore’s Health Promotion Board, is 1 medium banana, 1 medium apple, pear or orange, 1 wedge of watermelon, papaya or melon or 10 grapes or longans.

Fruits in Singapore are safe and rinsing the fruit in clean running water before cutting and eating it is sufficient. Therefore, it is not necessary for parents to buy only organic fruit for their children. But for those who want it and can afford it, organic fruit – free of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides – may provide peace of mind.

MarcieMom: For vegetables, the leafy green ones, cruciferous (broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts) are packed with nutrients. What is the best method of preparation that retains the nutrients yet appealing to kids? Do you recommend hiding vegetables?

Anna Jacob: Indeed, green leafy vegetables are rich in many nutrients including iron, vitamin C, folate, calcium and fibre.  However, many vitamins are sensitive to light and exposure to air. In addition, the water soluble vitamins and many minerals are soluble in water.

Vegetables retain their nutrients best when they are eaten fresh and not processed. To preserve the nutrients in fresh vegetables, prepare them just before eating; do not soak or cook them in water for too long, prepare just before eating, cut into larger pieces and do not overcook vegetables.

Cooking destroys some nutrients, especially the fragile, water soluble ones.  However, many children eat more vegetables when they are served up cooked. Of the many cooking methods commonly used to prepare vegetables, microwaving and steaming conserve nutrients best.  On the other hand, some nutrients in vegetables are better absorbed when prepared with some fat.  For example, tomatoes cooked in oil make lycopene (the natural red pigment) more available to the body. Cooking also makes many otherwise inedible vegetables suitable for a child’s diet – think potatoes, yam, beets and more.

So, use several cooking methods to prepare vegetables to increase your child’s exposure to a variety.  Aim to provide ½ serving of vegetables a day to a child over 6 months and, gradually progress this to 2 servings by the time he / she enters school.  A serving is defined as ¾ of a 250-ml mug of cooked or non-leafy vegetable, 150 g of raw leafy vegetables and 100 g of non-leafy vegetable.

Ideally, children should accept all food including vegetables. However, some reject vegetables due to color, taste, texture. Some scientists also suggest that a few kids are ‘super-tasters’ and may be more sensitive to the bitter notes of leafy green and cruciferous (broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts) vegetables – causing rejection of these nutrient-dense foods.

Patience is the key when you want to inculcate healthy habits – offer the same vegetable over and over again, without forcing, so that the vegetable becomes familiar. Model eating the same food item at family meal times and, vary the presentation, cooking method and flavoring.  If and when all these suggestions for introducing vegetable fail or take time to achieve, parents may have to be creative and incorporate vegetables in foods. So, ‘hiding’ vegetables is a last resort and not the best option.  But, it is still a valid option and, so, do not feel guilty if you are doing it. Just keep working on all the suggestions listed above, and, soon over time, you will succeed – at least to some degree.

MarcieMom: For grains, whole grains like whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa are better than white rice. As there is less natural sugar in these than white rice, how should they be prepared to be appealing?

Anna Jacob: Natural grain foods – whole grain and polished – do not contain natural or added sugars. All carbohydrates in grain foods, after digestion are absorbed into the blood stream as simple sugars. This is unavoidable as it is the way the body handles carbohydrates. Sugars and starches are not all bad – they do help provide energy to keep children active. In the right proportion, they ensure that children get the energy they need to grow and be active. One advantage of whole grains is that it has more fibre, vitamins, minerals and natural plant components than refined grains. So, definitely, whole grains are more nutritious and therefore, the healthier choice. Here are some tips on how to cook them:

  • Brown rice can be steamed or boiled. However, you need to adjust cooking time and added water volume to achieve a soft and edible grain suitable for your child’s eating ability.
  • Whole wheat grains can be boiled to prepare porridge or milled to make whole meal flour. The flour is versatile and you can make a variety of breads and biscuits with it.
  • Quinoa, usually prepared by the absorption method, requires two-times the volume of water as quinoa and cooks in 10 – 15 minutes.

As these are staple foods and, we eat a good portion of them at each meal, so, it is best to prepare them simply with less fat, salt or sugar. They can be eaten with vegetables and lean proteins as side dishes.  In addition, for variety, you can toss whole grains with fresh or cooked vegetables, nuts, lean meat and some natural seasonings to prepare delicious one-dish meals or snacks.

MarcieMom: Apart from the food preparation, can you share your top 5 tips for getting children to experiment different foods and eat the foods served to them? What are the top 3 pitfalls to avoid when getting a child to eat his/her meal?

Anna Jacob: 5 tips to get children to experiment eating different foods 

5 Tips to Get your kid to experiment

  1. Involve your child in food preparation. From gardening to shopping and cooking, involving your child will help him/her learn about food, become familiar with it and, even develop a sense of pride and ownership. Time spent together over these activities will offer you many opportunities to teach your child about the nutrient-goodness of food as well.
  2. Eat with your child. Children learn about nutrition best by modeling healthy eating behaviors. As you eat a wide variety of food, your child will learn to do so too. You can use these special moments to teach table manners and to bond.
  3. Offer healthy foods. As a parent, you need to ensure age-appropriate and healthy foods are available at regular meal and snack times. However, you need to allow your child to select the portion he wants to eat. Encourage independent eating too. Over time, your child will develop a healthy attitude towards food and eating.
  4. Be creative but do not become a short-order cook. Offer your child a variety of food items, cooked in various styles. You can do this by becoming a creative cook or introducing your child to various food choices out of home. But, once the menu is set, and the food is on the table, do not entertain preparation of special dishes for your child.
  5. Allow your child to occasionally eat with peers. Kids also learn fast by watching their friends. Eating a meal or two with peers helps your child pick up skills he never had.

3 pitfalls to avoid when getting a child to eat his/her meal

  1. Do not abdicate responsibility for your child’s nutrition. Many working parents do not have the luxury to be at home with their child at every meal time. But, set the menu. Know what is served and what is eaten. Talk to your child’s caregivers and, tell them what you would like your child to eat so that they can work with you to ensure good nutrition.
  2. Do not force feed. While you decide when, where and what your child eats, please give your little one the right to select how much he wants to eat. Force feeding is counterproductive as it stresses the caregiver and, scares the child or causes defiance.
  3. Do not distract your child while eating. It is another common practice to let children watch television or play computer games during meals while the caregiver feeds the child. This feeding style does not develop a child’s self-feeding ability – to know and appreciate what is served and learn to be conscious of how much he is eating.

While you should encourage healthy and appropriate eating, this takes time and much effort, you should track growth with your child’s physician at regular visits; and, in the interim you may provide a complete and balanced supplement to fill nutrient gaps, if any – to achieve optimal growth during the critical periods of life.

Thank you so much to Anna Jacob for sharing these tips. Even for families who are already eating healthy, it is a good reminder to keep up the effort, try new foods and enjoy a healthy life!

Pediasure Giveaway

There is also a giveaway sponsored by Abbott and do visit their free Pediasure-Nutritrac tool.

PediaSure goodie bag

The goodie bag contains:

  • 1 x PediaSure purple tote bag
  • 1 x Food cutter set
  • 1 x Lunch box
  • 1 x PediaSure RTD Chocolate flavor
  • 1 x PediaSure RTD Vanilla flavor
  • 1 x $3 PediaSure voucher
  • 1 x $5 PediaSure voucher

Giveaway rules:

Comment in this post or email [email protected] your reply to “How do you get your child to eat more vegetables?” by 27 February 2015

3 winners will be selected, with each receiving the goodie bag above.

If you’re selected as a winner, you have to provide your Singapore address for the goodie bag to be sent to you.

Have fun with the giveaway! You can include pictures of a healthy meal with veges too!

#SkinishMom Investigates Coffee for Beauty Skin

Coffee. I have a love and fear relationship to it. 

Not love and hate. It’s impossible to hate coffee. I would sign off with ‘Chill with (Ice) Latte’, ‘Toast to Latte’ instead of XOXO. I’d rather sit in silence with my coffee than talk to my husband, so it’s totally untrue that women need to speak 20,000 words, maybe if they don’t have coffee to sip.

So on Jan 20, there’s a study published in JNCI (Journal of the National Cancer Institute) that if you drink 4 or more cups of coffee a day, you’re 20% less likely to get malignant melanoma (skin cancer). So does this conclude coffee is good for skin? Not so fast my fellow coffee drinkers, #SkinishMom knows coffee is diuretic and starts fearing when even a well-known doc said she’s cutting coffee. So, #SkinishMom is here to investigate coffee and SKIN.

Skinish Mom Coffee Skin Health

Top Question – Is Coffee Good for Skin?

No. It’s diuretic, meaning it makes you pee more and takes water from your body, including your skin.

No. It inhibit nutrient absorption, including magnesium, calcium, vitamin B & D, folate,  and iron.

No, its effect on cellulite is temporary. If you’ve read about caffeine products making puffy eyes or cellulite go away, it’s mostly due to temporary constriction of fat cells. Nothing has really changed. (this is from Dr Jessica Krant’s interview and read here for her interview with MarcieMom on face washing).

Yes. It is rich in antioxidants, that fight inflammation and free radicals. (read more from Dr David Katz’ reply on Oprah)

We also want to know – Is Coffee Good for Health?

There’s no point in taking something good for one part of you but kills the others. Remind me of loving the wrong man, but that’s much worse.

More reasons to Love Coffee

Lowers risk of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, depression, non-alcohol related liver disease. Improves fitness endurance, hair growth and memory.

More Fear Coffee factors

Increased risk of high blood pressure (cafestol in coffee beans possiblyraise LDL cholesterol), miscarriage, osteoporosis, anxiety, insomnia and many more from Dr Mercola.

But what’s in Coffee?

Coffee beans apparently is like one complicated super woman. As Mark Hyman, MD said

.. coffee has far reaching effects on the body and needs to be respected as a potent drug.

Coffee has so many biologically active compounds, it’s a lot more than just caffeine. There’s polyphenols, antioxidants, chlorogenic acids, caffeol, phytoestrogens and diterpenes. No one yet know how each affects our body.

This brings me to the next question – what Type of Coffee are we talking?

There’s a HUGE difference between espresso coffee and instant 3-in-1 coffee. The latter is likely mostly unknown chemicals with sugar and trans fat (partially hydrogenated oil) topping the ingredient list, promoting inflammation. And given that per cup, instant premix has less coffee than brewed coffee, whatever anti-inflammatory benefits you think you drink from the antioxidants likely get wiped out by the inflammatory sugar, glucose syrup, frutose syrup and trans fat.

Lastly, this one is no-brainer. Just because something may have protective effect doesn’t mean you go out of your way to do something to test its level of ‘protection’. If an insurance agent tells you you’re covered for critical illness, you don’t go out of your way to eat junk food (or do you?). Here’s the sun protection you should take.

Finally, remember. This study is not a clinical trial, meaning not cause and effect. It’s association. Lots of things are associated with other things.

Signing off with latte,

#SkinishMom

Feeding Kids Healthy series – What and How Much is Right?

Traditionally, parents worry about whether children are eating enough but based on the rise in childhood obesity (currently about 11% in Singapore), parents also have to be mindful of overeating AND eating the wrong types of foods.

Dr Chu pediatrician Singapore Interview on EczemaBluesFor this 2-part series focused on feeding kids healthy, Abbott facilitated the interviews with nutrition experts. Today, we have Dr Chu Hui Ping, Paediatrician from Raffles Children’s Centre with a clinical interest in pediatric gastroenterology. More on her profile here.

So let’s start with understanding how much a child should eat!

MarcieMom: Thank you Dr Chu for helping us in this series to clarify for parents how to feed our children. Firstly, in Singapore, we are familiar with the growth charts included in our child’s health booklet. Parents can work out the weight and height percentile of their child against the right chart for their age and gender.

Should growth charts be used as a gauge of how much to feed a child? For instance, being above 95% percentile for weight means that the child should cut back and below 5% means parents should feed more?

Dr Chu: It’s probably not that simple and straight-forward just to use the growth percentile to decide on how much the child should be eating. Generally we don’t only look at the percentile for weight; we also consider the height percentile, i.e. whether the child is proportionate for weight and height, as well as the growth of the child over the last few months or a year.

Some children are genetically bigger in size, for instance they are already born bigger and have always been growing along the 95th percentile for their weight and height. So it will not be appropriate to put these kids on a diet. It is more important to ensure that children who are at above 95th percentile and who are at less than 5th percentile for weight are being assessed by their doctors or paediatricians to exclude any medical conditions which make them gain or lose weight respectively. Even if there aren’t any underlying medical conditions, it is also essential to review the various components of their diets and ensure that the diet is well-balanced and consists of the essential nutrients rather than just cutting down or feeding more.

MarcieMom: Growth charts don’t take into account the fats a child has (since obesity is defined as excess fats) nor do growth charts take into account physical activity levels. How should parent figure out if their child should be eating more or less based on the amount of exercise they have?

Dr Chu: The child should be able to regulate his intake of food depending on the amount of exercise he has. Generally if the child is active, i.e. participates in active play or exercise for 60 minutes in a day, he will feel hungry and ask for food if his current diet is insufficient to meet his activity level. It is more common for parents to give too much food in proportion to the amount of exercise that the child has, resulting in the child being overweight due to the excess unutilized calories. If the parent feels that the child is not eating sufficient for the amount of physical activity he has, he can increase the proportion of complex carbohydrates or whole grains which can help to release energy in a slow manner, as well as proteins in the form of lean meat for muscle growth.

MarcieMom: How much to eat is only one part of the equation. What about the type of foods? While we know that excess sugar, trans-fat and processed foods are bad for health, what can parents do to ensure that their child have an optimal diet? Do share your top 5 tips on eating healthy for the child (and family)!

Dr Chu: My 5 tips for healthy eating for anyone, child or adult, are as follows:

Kids Healthy Diet

  1. Eat fresh –try to avoid processed foods and to prepare your meals using fresh ingredients.
  2. Ensure that half of your meal should be consisting of vegetables and fruits.
  3. Choose wholesome foods such as brown rice and wholemeal bread.
  4. Reduce unhealthy fats/oils by cooking in a more healthy manner – steaming, boiling, stewing etc.
  5. Drink water for hydration instead of sweetened juices and soft drinks.

MarcieMom: In Singapore, there are many food courts and coffee shops but these usually don’t meet the healthy plate guideline of half a plate of fruits and vegetables. Which 5 common dishes found in coffee shops would you recommend and which 5 dishes would you discourage for children?

Dr Chu: Choosing health food options in food courts and coffee shops may be tough but not impossible. I would recommend these food choices:

  1. Rice with mixed dishes (choosing at least 1 vegetable and 1 lean meat)
  2. Fish soup with additional vegetables, soup noodles with additional vegetables
  3. Grilled fish or chicken with salad and mashed potato (instead of French fries)
  4. Freshly cut fruit platter

I would discourage these food options for children:

  1. Chicken rice (because too oily and little vegetables)
  2. Char kway teow (because too oily and too much salt)
  3. Fried economic beehoon with luncheon meat (because too oily and lots of MSG in the processed meat)
  4. Laksa (because high saturated fats from the coconut milk)
  5. Black fried carrot cake (because too much salt and sugar from the black sauce used)

Thank you Dr Chu for enlightening us on the types of foods beneficial for our child’s growth. Next week, we will check back on how to actually get our child to eat them!

Pediasure Giveaway

There is also a giveaway sponsored by Abbott and do visit their free Pediasure-Nutritrac tool.

PediaSure goodie bag

The goodie bag contains:

  • 1 x PediaSure purple tote bag
  • 1 x Food cutter set
  • 1 x Lunch box
  • 1 x PediaSure RTD Chocolate flavor
  • 1 x PediaSure RTD Vanilla flavor
  • 1 x $3 PediaSure voucher
  • 1 x $5 PediaSure voucher

Giveaway rules:

Comment in this post or email [email protected] your reply to “How do you get your child to eat more vegetables?” by 27 February 2015

3 winners will be selected, with each receiving the goodie bag above.

If you’re selected as a winner, you have to provide your Singapore address for the goodie bag to be sent to you.

Have fun with the giveaway! You can include pictures of a healthy meal with veges too!

Mom NeedyZz Cartoon – Which One is Your Baby?

Eczema Babies don't Sleep Well

Want to know from Baby Kayla’s perspective?

Do a Swaddled Eczema Baby feel HOT?

Does a Swaddled Eczema Baby feel HOT?

And here’s what the whole nursery of babies are talking!

Newborn Eczema Babies room - Inspired by New Yorker Cartoonist Liza Donnelly, from her book 'When do they Serve the Wine?'

Newborn Eczema Babies room – Inspired by New Yorker Cartoonist Liza Donnelly, from her book ‘When do they Serve the Wine?’

Above 2 cartoons are from Life of Eczema Girl cartoon series, here and here.

Ask #SkinishMom – How to Date without Babysitter for Eczema Kid?

Have a skin, eczema or parenting question? Ask #SkinishMom

Have a skin question? Want to vent on raising an eczema child? Or simply chat with a mom who doesn’t judge? Write in via comments and your question will get a reply (on or off the column). Or #SkinishMom on twitter!

To #SkinishMom:

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow!! My husband and I have not had a date night for 4 years (and counting!!). We don’t have a babysitter because it’s too difficult to brief someone (and trust that someone) when my son has eczema and allergies. But I REALLY NEED TO DATE this V-Day! I’m feeling more and more like a mom (and maid) and less and less like a wife! How can I have a date with my husband this V day?

Anna

Whoa! If I live near you, I would help you babysit. Come to think of it, moms of eczema kids should seek out each other and form a play date. After all, we are the only ones who know how to take care of our eczema babies.

Back to solving your date issue, you can still have a date even if you can’t find a babysitter. To me, I think bottom-line I want to feel loved by my spouse and that feeling can come in more ways than being out at a restaurant that’s charging exorbitant price for special valentine’s day menu.

To feel loved, first you have to let go of negative feelings. Calm yourself. Don’t be fixated that you have to date on Feb 14th. You can have a wonderful date any day. If you’re anxious over Feb 14th, your husband can be showering you with TLC that you don’t even notice.

Make your man feel special and let him know you like to have a date. This is the part we sometimes skip to our detriment. It’s impossible to have a nice date if things are forced. (Same for sex.) Just because having a date is a must and number 1 on your wish list doesn’t mean your spouse thinks the same way. How would he know? Especially if everything is like everyday and the past years where you just do your work, your housework, your skincare-for-child work. TALK to your husband, let him know you find him very good, supportive, strong for the family despite the eczema, the career workload and say, ‘I think it’s a good idea to have a date.’ 

91 eczema cartoon

With both husband and wife ‘conspiring’ for a date, it’s almost like the date has already started! So here are 8 ideas of dates without finding a babysitter.

1. Choose Friday night, both of you wake up after your child goes to bed and watch a movie at your laptop and get cosy.

2. Order food from your favorite restaurant and serve it like in a restaurant. Get new sets of coloring pencils and toys for your son to play on his own.

3. Choose your child’s nap time to connect with each other. And do so over wine, chips or ice-cream.

4. TV/iPad is a necessary evil (babysitter). An hour of screen time can be just the time you need to date your spouse.

5. Making dates during office lunch hours, when your child is in school.

6. Pay for your child to be in a safe, fun-filled indoor playground while you shop with your husband or sit down for coffee after family meal. Indoor playgrounds can be quite expensive – 20 bucks per hour, cut back on cake and safe 10 bucks already!

7. Make breakfast dates before your son wakes up. It’s a good start to a day to be with your loved one.

8. Ask your parents or nieces/nephews to help out for an hour. It can be an extended family outing but the two of you go off for a coffee while your son is playing with the rest.

Media, restaurants, movies, everything is putting too much focus on making that valentine day special. The more pressure you put on it, the less likely you’ll feel that it’s special. The best dates are the ones that are relaxed, without feeling reaped off and lighting up that love you have for each other. It all starts with the heart. 

Eczema News – Testing Water Evaporation from Skin for Babies

I shared in this post (and the comments) that moisturizing has been studied to have a protective effect over eczema. Similarly, Dr Cheryl Lee MD shared in the Skin pH interview series that moisturizing from 3 weeks of age has been shown by Simpson et. al., to be a safe and effective time to start moisturizing the skin of a newborn who is at high risk of developing atopic dermatitis. 

The question is it is not always clear whether the baby has high eczema risk. If a baby can get a non-invasive test and parents are then alerted to moisturize their baby early, many babies can have a chance of not suffering from eczema. More about this test:

EST SKIN prevent eczemaTitle of study: Skin barrier dysfunction measured by transepidermal water loss (TEWL) at 2 days and 2 months predates and predicts atopic dermatitis at 1 year.

Method: Measure water evaporation in the skin of 1,903 newborn babies in Cork University Hospital, and followed them up until 12 months of age.

How: Small probe placed on the child’s arm to measure the level of water evaporation at day 2 and 2-month & 6-month old.

Results: A higher water loss at 2-day and 2 month strongly predict eczema at 12 months.

There are also other risk factors, such as family history and whether there is a low level of the filaggrin gene. Similarly to what I have posted before on the outside-in hypothesis, Prof Hourihane said that prevention of eczema may also prevent the development of asthma and food allergy, which are strongly associated with eczema, because the allergens get through the broken skin and cause the development of allergies. This view is also shared in Dr Cheryl Lee’s interview here.

This study is only published in 22 Jan 2015, I’m interested to see if this test will be adopted by pediatricians. Maybe you can bring this up to your doctor to see if such a test can be arranged for your newborn! If you did talk to your doctor, let me know the response so that other parents can benefit from it.

Mom NeedyZz Cartoon – Noon Babies

Mom Needy Zz Cartoon Noon Babies

It’s so non-magical to realize that your baby’s time of birth is all dependent on your gynecologist’s lunch break. For more cartoons on Kate and Mark, see here.

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