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The long standing warning from pediatricians and other health care professionals to avoid introducing nuts into your child’s diet until they are 3 years old has recently been changed.  Studies have found that it could be that waiting to introduce nuts into your child’s diet may actually increase their chances of developing a nut allergy.  Only about 1-2 percent of children are predisposed to nut allergies because of a family history.  By introducing nuts earlier children without a predisposition may be much less likely to develop the an allergy.

Recently the AAP (Amercian Academy of Pediatrics) changed it’s long standing policy regarding nuts and is now recommending introducing nuts into a child’s diet as early as 6 months of age if the child has shown no signs of other food allergies and there is no family history of nut allergies.  For many parents, especially those with older children who had to avoid nuts for so long it may be hard to accept the new recommendations.  Nut allergies are scary to many parents and taking that first step and giving your child something that contains nuts for the first time is very nerve-wracking.

When introducing nuts parents should be sure to give their child a very small amount the first time and be careful to watch for signs of an allergic reaction.  Common symptoms of an allergic reaction include: wheezing, stomachache, vomiting, diarrhea, hives and swelling.  If you suspect an allergic reaction contact your child’s doctor and if the symptoms are severe seek medical treatment immediately.

Be sure to talk to your child’s pediatrician about these new recommendations and make sure you have all the facts and information before beginning to introduce nuts into your child’s diet.

Remember it is not safe for children until the age of 5 to have whole nuts.  Any nuts your child consumes before the age of 5 should be in spread form, or ground into other foods.

Last night, well actually in the wee hours of this morning if you want to get specific, I found myself curled up with Maya in her toddler bed.  I quickly discovered that although they may be perfectly comfortable if you are a mere 3 feet tall and weigh only 25lbs or so, for a 5’7″ 125lb adult they are definitely not comfortable, far from it in fact.

So, just how did I find myself in this most uncomfortable position at 2:30am this morning?  Well let me tell you…

Tuesday Maya started coming down with a bit of a cold.  She was getting sniffly and was a bit irritable.  Then yesterday she woke up with a raging fever, her body was definitely in full battle mode.  We spent the day quietly at home, resting.  It seemed to do the trick and by the time she got up from her nap her fever seemed to be gone and she was in a much better mood.  I thought we were out of the woods.  That was until the fever kicked back in just before bed.

When I put Maya to bed last night I knew there was a possibility that the night would be a rough one since she was going to sleep with a fever and really stuffy.  Sure enough at 2:00am I woke to the sounds of her crying.  I went to her room and she told me she had to pee.  As I reached down to help her out of bed I could feel the heat radiating from her.  I knew before I touched her that her fever had kicked into high gear.  When I touched her skin the heat was unbelievable.  I took her to the bathroom so she could pee and I could take her temperature.  I gasped when I saw the number flash up on the screen, 104.2, holy cow.  That is by far the highest fever she has ever had, EVER.  I was scared, and worried and just wanted to make her feel better.  After rubbing her down with a cool wet cloth and dosing her with Tylenol again we headed back to her bedroom.

I tucked her in, kissed her and started to leave the room when I heard a tiny little whisper “Mommy sleep with me little bit”.  It broke my heart and I couldn’t say no.  I mean who could resist such a request in the middle of the night, not to mention my fried nerves and worried heart needed the reassurance of laying there next to her.  So, I crawled into her bed, one leg still on the floor and rubbed her arm as she fell asleep.  I listened to her sniffle and whimper and just wished her temperature would go down and she could get some rest.  Slowly the sniffles turned into the soft rhythmic breathing of sleep.

I stayed with her for about half an hour, curled up in that way too small bed in the most uncomfortable position possible because I knew she needed me there, and because I needed to be there.  I needed to feel the temperature of her body begin to cool, I need to hear her soft breathing to reassure myself that everything was okay.

Toddler beds may not be comfortable but sometimes the comfort of our heart is more important than the comfort of our body.

Anytime your child or baby comes down with a fever, no matter how old they are, it is scary.  A common cold with no fever, allergies, even the flu bug (as long as it doesn’t come with a fever) are all easy to deal with.  Somehow, when you add a fever to the mix, no matter how experienced a parent you are it just makes your heart skip a beat, it makes you question your instincts.

In most cases a fever is nothing to worry about.  Children’s bodies fight infection differently than an adult’s body does.  Often times they will come down with a slight fever while fighting the common cold.  As long as the fever doesn’t get too high and is easily managed with over the counter fever reducers you likely don’t have anything to worry about.  However, you should keep an eye out for the following, as they are signs that it is time to call your doctor:

  • If your child is under the age of 3 months old and has a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher.
  • If your child is between the ages of 3 months and 6 months and has a temperature of 101 degrees or higher
  • If your child is over 6 months of age and is running a temperature of 103 degrees or higher.
  • You aren’t able to control or bring down your child’s temperature using over the counter fever reducers.
  • Your child has unusual symptoms along with a fever such as sleepiness, irritability, difficulty breathing, red or purple spots, or any other troubling symptoms.
  • Your child’s fever last more than a few days.
  • Anytime your child has a fever and you are unsure.

Our pediatrician’s office recommends calling whenever there is a fever involved as a nurse is always available to run through symptoms with us and give advice.  I love that about her.  Most pediatricians and family doctors will say the same thing.  When there is a fever involved it is always best to err on the side of caution and make the call.  Fevers, though often nothing, can be warning signs of something else going on, so if in doubt call the doctor.

If you are unsure of how to try your child’s fever talk to your child’s doctor for medication and dosage recommendations.

Allergy suffers are always the first to know when spring has arrived.  The itchy eyes, runny nose, coughing, all around crappy feeling of seasonal allergies is never fun.  But most especially not fun for babies and toddlers who suffer from dreaded seasonal allergies.  As parents we want to make our little ones feel better.  We want to do something to make the runny nose, itchy eyes and all around yucky feeling go away, but when you have a child that suffers from seasonal allergies that isn’t always easy to do.

For the most part seasonal allergies (hay fever) do not set in for kids until they are 3 years old or older, however, some toddlers and even some babies will begin exhibiting signs of suffering from seasonal allergies much earlier than that.  A lot of the time parents don’t know if their child has allergies or is just sick with the common cold since the symptoms are so similar.  There are a few ways to tell if the stuffy, runny nose your child seems to continuously have is caused from the pollen in the air or just a common cold bug.

It is likely allergies IF:

  • The mucus is thin and clear and doesn’t change to a thicker, more yellow colored mucus.
  • The stuffy, runny nose last more than a week or so.
  • There is no fever associated with the symptoms.
  • Your child has itchy, watery eyes.
  • The symptoms are worse in the early morning hours or after an extend stint of playing outside.
  • Your child has dark circles under their eyes even when fully rested.
  • Your child is wiping at his or her eyes and nose frequently.

If you suspect that your child may be suffering seasonal allergies you should make an appointment with their doctor to get them checked out, tested and on the path to relief.  The doctor will either do the allergy testing themselves or refer you to an allergist for full testing.  The testing will determine what allergens trigger your child’s symptoms and from there the doctor can recommend a course of action to give your child some relief.

Common treatment for seasonal allergies in children include:

  • Avoiding outside play during peak pollen time, the early morning hours of about 5am – 10am.
  • Washing your child’s clothes, blankets, etc frequently.
  • Keeping your home well dusted.
  • Using the air conditioner instead of opening windows whenever pollen counts are high.
  • Getting rid of any offending plants or trees from your own yard if possible.
  • Use of an antihistamine, either over the counter or prescription, as recommended by your child’s doctor.

If you have questions or concerns about your child’s symptoms be sure to contact your child’s doctor to discuss those concerns and determine if your child is indeed suffering from seasonal allergies.

Last year, in the midst of the sadness of Maddie Spohr’s passing something magical happened.  All over the country people asked what they could do to help.  What they could do to support the Spohrs and to support the families of other preemies and the joined March of Dimes walks in their local community to walk in the name of this little girl who had in some way touched their hearts.

I was one of those people.  Although I had already been planning on trying to walk last year before Maddie passed, I hadn’t really done much to figure out how I was going to go about doing so.  After learning of Maddie’s passing I knew without a doubt that I had to walk.  It was something I could do to show my support to Heather and Mike from here.  It was something I could do to honor Maddie.  So I joined the St. Louis March for Maddie team and walked along side other people who had been touched by Maddie and thousands of others who had in some way been touched prematurity.  The experience was very profound and I knew as I left the walk that day that I would be back every year, to walk for Maddie and to walk for all those people in my life who have been touched by prematurity.

Marching for Maddie

So, about a month ago I set up March for Maddie St. Louis.  I will be walking again this year in love and remembrance of the amazing Miss Maddie.  I will be walking in support of Heather and Mike Spohr.  I will be walking for all those in my life who have been touched by prematurity.  I will be walking in hopes that one day no one has to know the grief of losing a child because they were born to soon.  I will be walking to give every baby the fighting chance they deserve.

If you are in the St. Louis area and would like to join our team please go here and sign up, we would love to have as many people walking for Maddie as we can get.  We would also appreciate your support.  Please consider making a donation, all money raised goes to the March of Dimes and helps in their efforts on behalf of pregnant moms and babies everywhere.   To donate to our team please click on the banner above.