Surviving Cold & Flu Season with Toddlers

This post was sponsored by Vicks VapoRub as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.

 

Bryn is the unofficial queen of snot this cold and flu season.  Like for reals.  We have been battling colds on and off for months now with brief interludes between episodes.  While she is happy as punch most of the time we have had a few days here and there where she downright doesn’t feel good.  The problem is is that at two years old there isn’t a whole heck of a lot you can do to make them feel better.

sick bryn

 

I am currently on my 4th week of pediatrics and I have been inundated with parents in the clinic dealing with the exact same problem we are having.  Their sweet toddlers are sick and they are not sure what to do to manage their symptoms.  Since this is a battle we have been fighting in my own house for so long I figured it was time to share my favorite tried-and-true tricks for helping toddlers survive cold and flu season.  In fact, most of these tips come from growing up and ways my own mom helped me to get through  tough cold.

cold and flu season

 

Hydrate

Water Bottles

 

I have been making sure that Bryn-Bryn is drinking lots and lots of water.  This not only helps to loosen up her mucus but helps to prevent dehydration.  Warm water with lemon in it is a great way to dissolve the mucus in her throat even faster.

 

Add Some Honey

honey

 

Honey works wonders on a sore throat and also is great at easing a cough.  If your kiddo is able to eat it straight from the spoon that’s great!  Or you can dissolve it in some water water and tackle tip 1 at the same time.  Do not give honey to children less than 1 though!

 

Suck the Snot

Let’s face it … I haven’t met a 2 year old yet who can adequately blow their nose.  Using a saline spray to loosen up the mucus and then breaking out the bulb syringe is a great way to get the snot out of their nose even as a toddler.  Word to the wise – it’s likely a good idea to buy a new bulb syringe for this if you haven’t been good about cleaning yours out between uses.

 

Add Some Moisture

Most of the country is pretty cold right now which takes a lot of moisture out of the air.  Add in central heating and you can rest assured that any moisture that was left is now gone.  Adding a cold mist humidifier to your toddler’s room is a great way to add some of that moisture back and soothe their airways.  This also helps if your kiddo has super dry skin!

 

Break Out the Vick’s

Vick's VapoRub

 

While oral cough medications haven’t been proven effective in young patients and are not recommended, Vick’s VapoRub is a great topical cough suppressant that works wonders!  VapoRub contains camphor, eucalyptus oil and menthol to relieve cough and the discomfort of minor aches and pains that are common with a cold.  You can apply it to your toddler’s chest for maximum effect and it should start helping provide relief instantly.  It’s intended for children over the age of 2 and is good for kids and adults alike!  No wonder it’s the #1 pediatrician recommended rub for stubborn coughs.  I remember my own mom and dad using Vick’s on me as a child and I am happy to be continuing the tradition in my own kiddos.

 

 

These are some great ways to help combat your child’s cold symptoms and hopefully provides some comfort to them.  Always make sure to check with your child’s pediatrician for their recommendations and make sure to have your child seen for any concerning symptoms!

 

What are your best tips for surviving cold and flu season?

 

This post is my own opinion and should not be considered medical advice.  Always seek your own provider’s medical opinion when dealing with illness.

Tips for Holiday Entertaining

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds.

Happy Monday!  I hope your Christmas was extra Merry and full of all the people that make your heart the happiest.  Ours was pretty low-key which was pure perfection amidst the everyday chaos of our lives.  If you’re like me you are probably having a hard time realizing that 2016 is upon us but that means so is New Year’s Eve.  EEK.  If you have some holiday entertaining today but got behind on the planning I have some quick-tips to make your NYE a success!

tips for holiday entertaining
 

1.  Light a Festive Candle

Holiday Smell
 

My friend Julie is a military spouse and entrepreneur who makes the most amazing candles.  She gifted me with the Holiday Crush candle at a holiday party and it has been a staple in our house since.  Some of my other favorites are berry sangria, love notes, and hydrangea morning.  There’s nothing like a welcoming scent to bring the festivities to you!  You can find Julie’s candles HERE.

 

2.  Have a great appetizer

I am a huge fan of delicious appetizers to enjoy while conversing with my guests.  I love a good vegetable tray, dip, or classic cheese and crackers.  If you’re really in a pinch you can simply put some Blue Diamond almonds in a beautiful bowl and you’ll be good to go!  The honey roasted almonds are a particular favorite of mine.

Blue Diamond Almonds
 

 

3.  Invite Good Guests

At the end of the day, if you invite the right people any party will be great!  I love nothing more than to be surrounded by our closest friends and family because I know regardless of how much or little time I have to prepare the outcome is going to be great because after all it’s the PEOPLE who make the party.

 

I am off to keep tackling my “to do” list.  I have one more week off of rotations before I go back to work and don’t come up to breathe again until after my boards in April.  Yikes!  I hope your coffee is strong and your day is happy to start your week off right!

 

What’s your #1 tip for holiday entertaining?

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Tips for Managing Eczema

I participated as an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Weleda.  I received product samples to review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.  All opinions and reviews are my own.

 

This afternoon we are talking about atopic dermatitis, or in normal terms, eczema.  What is eczema?  Eczema is a pruritic (itchy) disease that often begins in childhood.  The exact mechanism for it is poorly understood and there are a number of theories behind the pathogenesis of the disease.

 

Some common signs/symptoms of eczema are:

  • Dry, sensitive skin
  • Intense itching
  • Red rash
  • And others

 

I have been dealing with eczema for as long as I can remember.  I have periods where my symptoms come and go and when they are present I find myself scratching myself raw in places.  Unfortunately it appears as if both my daughters have inherited this from me.  Emmalyne’s breakouts are far more intense than Bryn’s and the poor thing just itches like crazy!  It’s also important to note that as many as 80% of children with eczema will also have the atopic triad – eczema, hay fever (allergic rhinitis), , an asthma.  However, with a little education and planning eczema can often be well managed.  Here are some of my tips for managing eczema.

 

tips for managing eczema

 

**Remember, these are just some things I have learned about.  While they may work for my family, you know what’s best for yours.  Always check with your own healthcare provider if you have concern about your symptoms and treatment options!

 

Take lukewarm baths or showers.

This one is really hard for me because I love really hot showers.  However, hot water can strip your skin of natural oils which can in turn make it drier.  This can lead to more irritation and itching.  Also try to limit your showers to less than 10 minutes.  Something my doctor dad taught me that works really well for me and the girls is to gently exfoliate with a washcloth in the shower/bath to get rid of dead skin cells.  This has worked SO well for us!  When I get the girls out of the bath I pat them dry and make sure to lotion them up within a few minutes to look in the moisture.

 

Know their triggers and avoid them.

There are many known triggers of eczema and they can often fall into some main categories: irritants, allergens, microbes, environmental changes, foods, and stress.  The girls are definitely prone to irritants like soaps and laundry detergents.  For me, stress is the #1 reason I have flares.  Without question I get one every time finals come around.  Other common triggers are pet dander, mold, pollen, sweating, changes in humidity, and various foods.  Pinpointing what triggers your little ones to breakout can help you avoid those triggers and get ahead of a flare up.

 

Avoid itchy fabrics

Avoiding anything that can further irritate skin is really important.  When I am buying clothing for the girls I feel along the inside of clothes to make sure there isn’t appliqué or stitching that may bother them.  I personally avoid wool clothing as much as possible and stick with 100% cotton for the most part.

 

Moisturize often and with quality products.

I had the chance to try out the Baby Derma White Mallow Collection from Weleda over the last month and I am smitten.  These products are dermatologically tested and are fragrance free.  NO fragrance is super important for us because even a little bit can further irritation.  It does have a light and fresh scent but that comes from the natural ingredients and not an additive.

 

Weleda

 

The ingredients include organic white mallow extract, pansy extract, coconut oil, garage seed oil, and sweet almond oil.  These work together to calm and soothe irritated skin and to increase its natural protective barrier.  The Baby Derma White Mallow collection is 100% certified natural by the European association NaTrue and has the Seal of Acceptance from the National Eczema Association.

 

So what do we think?  I love them.  I have really come to believe in these products and both of my girls have benefited from trying them out.  Emmie’s breakouts have been less frequent and less severe.  Overall I feel like her skin is better hydrated and protected against flare-ups.  Poor Bryn gets crazy bad diaper dermatitis and the White Mallow Diaper Rash Cream has been fantastic.  It soothes her right away and calms down the irritation.  While I received the first set of these products in order to review them I can tell you with 100% certainty as a mom who has watched her kiddos suffer than I am going to continue to buy them in the future.

 

You can find the Weleda White Mallow collection at Whole Foods Market, select natural health stores, buybuyBaby, and at www.us.weleda.com.  If you use the promo code WELEDABABY  you can get 20% off your next purchase on www.usa.weleda.com!  You can also check them out on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!

 

Do you know someone who suffers from eczema?  How do they manage it?

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Potty Training a Spirited Child

Here we are.  Discussing a topic I never thought would grace the presence of my blog … potty training.  I debated for awhile whether or not to post on this and ended up deciding that there were probably other moms sitting in my shoes that may need to hear what I have to say.

 

Last summer when Emmie was 2.5 I felt this incredible need to try and start potty training her.  It seemed like all of my friends had trained their toddlers already and I was falling behind the curve.  But the thing is, those kids are my kid.  You see, Emmalyne is spirited.  She likes to do things a certain way and pulls back when you try to change her.  She feels her feelings passionately.  She is a complete joy and there is not a single thing about her spirited personality I would change.  However, that spirit made for a difficult potty training experience.  So here I am sharing what I have learned about potty training a spirited child.

potty training a spirited child

 

Are you ready for my crazy words of wisdom?  Forget everything you have read about potty training and just go with your gut.  Remember how much we loved baby led weaning in our family?  Well that carried over into toddler led potty training.  We tried everything before just letting go – the three days method, bare bottomed … you name it, we tried it.  Nothing worked and led to tears (both hers and ours) and extreme anxiety about the potty.

 

So we baked off.  We let Emmie take the lead.  We would ask her if she had to go and if she said no, then that was that.  No more timers, no more potty breaks, nada.  And you know what?  It worked.  Once she felt like she was in control of the situation she decided she was ready.  And while there have been some accidents since, our lives are that much better.

 

Another fun thing that may have helped?  My mom got her a “potty baby” … basically a doll with her own talking potty.  Em became obsessed with it and the day she got it was the day something changed in her.

 

potty baby

 

So my final advice is this … if you’re facing an uphill battle with your toddler about potty training maybe it’s time to back off.  It doesn’t matter if everyone else’s toddler is using the potty.  All that matters is what is working for yours. And you both are doing awesome.

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I would be remiss not to say that there is a certain point where not using the potty may be a medical problem so always talk about your concerns with your healthcare provider!

Flying with Two Kids

When I first realized we would be traveling for the first time with two kids I was excited!  I mean, I had traveled a TON with Emmalyne (40+ flights) so how much harder it could be?  I was expecting to be able to share with you some awesome tips about how to fly with two kids.  My only tip?  Don’t do it.  I kid …. kind of.

 

My mom-ego was devastated this weekend as we traveled the short distance from Savannah to Nashville.  So much so that I break out in a cold sweat thinking about our cross-country trip for Christmas.  It was so bad I wanted to curl up in the fetal position at the airport in Atlanta.  So instead, here are some things to avoid while flying with two kids.  Lessons learned my friends.  Lessons learned.

 

1.  Know you are going to have way too much stuff.

You would think we could “pack light” since we were only gone for a weekend right?  Well traveling with kids means that packing light no longer exists.  Since we were going to a wedding we needed a hanging suitcase for my dresses, Chris’ suit, and the girl’s clothes.  We also packed a large bag for me and the girls and a carry-on for Chris.  Not TOO bad until you add in two car seats.  Needless to say it was a mess.

 

Too Many Bags

 

 

2.  Tantrums happen.

I had to chase Emmalyne while wearing Bryn too many times to count while Chris checked our luggage.  Then I was THAT mom whose kid was on the ground screaming because I wouldn’t let her run away.  Fun times I tell you.  Just know that there is a good chance that a toddler will be a toddler in the airport and tantrums are going to happen.  Know how you want to handle them so when you’re faced with the inevitable you’ll be ready.

 

3.  Avoid sugar.

Everyone says to bribe your kids with suckers or candy.  While one is fine a ton are not.  The sugar high is real guys.  Em was out of control on the way back after getting too many sweets from grandma.

 

4.  When in doubt, size up on your rental car.

Chris booked us a rental car with Hertz that was supposed to fit 4 suitcases.  So when our 3 wouldn’t fit we were in trouble.  Hertz pretty much forced us to upgrade our car to a larger one even though there were other mid-sized SUVs that would have fit our stuff and in the same category we rented.  Instead our rental car cost pretty much doubled.  Side note: even if you just drive a little bit fill up your gas tank.  They charged us $45 for ~2 gallons of gas.  Major OOPS on our part.

 

5.  Just keep smiling.

At some point you’re going to get to your destination and be able to collapse.  Keep your eyes on the prize.  If all of you get there alive and somewhat sane you had a successful trip.

 

Needless to say our traveling did not go “as planned” and it was incredibly stressful.  If we could drive from GA to AZ/NV for Christmas I think we would so we didn’t have to repeat this again.  Just further proof that even if we feel like we have this “mom thing” down, our kids take the opportunity to show you how much you still have to learn.  :)

 

What is your biggest travel tip?  Moms of more than two – how do you do it?!

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