Sunday, September 17, 2017

My Experience with Moms in Drug Treatment

For the last three years, I have been involved in working with a drug treatment center. This particular program is geared towards women who are mothers, and includes a children’s therapeutic program. In 2014, I started working on the children’s team for this nonprofit organization. I no longer work there, but I volunteer regularly. During my experience at this treatment center, I have gained a deep respect for mothers in drug treatment. I’d like to share some of my experiences about these moms. 

Moms in drug treatment are amazing. All have been through difficult life circumstances. Many have gone through things I can barely imagine. Trauma, abuse, depression and other mental illness, homelessness, and family history of drug abuse are among what these women have experienced. And yet, they are in drug treatment trying to get their lives back. These moms are trying to recover from their addiction. All while taking care of their children. 

I can barely handle what’s on my own plate as a mom. The mothers I see in drug treatment are balancing all the normal mom duties, along with hours of therapy, parent education, jobs, and detoxing from their DOC (drug of choice). I truly admire these women. The strength it takes to come from such a dark place and rise above it is a great thing to see.

Now, not all these moms get through drug treatment successfully. I personally witnessed some very sad circumestances. Many of the moms have to go through drug treatment several times before they can beat their addiction. But I find it so empowering the moms that continue to persevere until they are clean. 

Being on the children’s team, I’ve seen a lot of beautiful moments between moms and their children. Many of the moms were reunited with their kids during the treatment program, and had to regain a bond with their children. I loved watching the journey of moms and their children learn to trust one another and form a deeper mother/child love. Many of these moms are wonderful with their children. Each mom comes in with her own capabilities and usually grows into an even better mother. 

If you are a mother in drug treatment, or have been in the past, know that you are not alone. Many moms have gone through this. And know that I think you are strong, beautiful, and a great mom. You are a good mom because you are fighting to gain control over your life. You are doing your best to take care of your children. 

Mom in drug treatment…please keep fighting. You are worth it.

If you have any thoughts you'd like to add to this discussion, please let me know in the comments.

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Ultimate List for Treating Diaper Rash

Baby diaper rash. Ouch. Your baby is in pain and you might feel like you can’t do much, except wait for the sores to heal. The truth is, you have several options in helping your baby’s poor bum feel better.

Clean, dry bum
While working with babies in the past, I have found one of the most basic ways to heal diaper rash is with a clean, dry bum. I have worked with parents and found many didn’t realize this. I didn’t think about it myself until a fellow childcare provider pointed it out to me. We often quickly change diapers without “airing out” the diaper area. When a baby is changed without making sure their bum is dry before putting on a new diaper, the skin can be irritated and create or agitate a diaper rash. Obviously, you don’t want to wait too long in between diaper changes or the child could pee everywhere. But how do you make sure the baby is dry before putting on a new diaper? My best suggestion would be to use the new diaper to fan the child’s bum. Also, be sure to change the baby’s diaper quickly after they have pooped and watch pee diapers closely. Little babies and young ones who already have diaper rash should be changed out of pee diapers more frequently. 

Desitin is one of my favorite and most affordable diaper rash ointments. It is more of a cream and is easy to apply. Desitin is great for most kids. It works well for everyday use. I like putting it on little ones, including my own daughter, Nini, when the bum is just a little red. It usually seems to do the trick to clear up irritation pretty quickly. 

Corn starch
If you’re looking for more of a home remedy, corn starch can be an option. Some people swear by it; others adamantly oppose it. Personally, I have used corn starch on children based on parental request. I am not opposed to it, but I wouldn’t necessarily use it for my own kid. If you do use corn starch, it’s especially important to make sure the diapering area is clean and dry first. Also, use it sparingly so the powder doesn’t go into the baby’s lungs. Do your own research and decide if corn starch is a good choice for you and your baby. 

A+D is also a good diaper rash ointment. It’s more of a jelly and seems to be a little stronger than Desitin. It works great for more serious diaper rashes. 

Petroleum jelly
Petroleum jelly is versatile, including use as a diaper rash ointment. It’s a good affordable option for bad diaper rashes. I wouldn’t recommend using petroleum jelly on babies under six months since they have such sensitive skin. For older babies and toddlers, petroleum jelly can be really effective in healing a diaper rash.  

Sensitive wet wipes
Using sensitive wet wipes is also a good idea for preventing and treating diaper rash. They’re especially helpful if you’re little one has sensitive skin. I like using Pampers Baby Wipes Sensitive. Remember when using wet wipes on a diaper rash, to wipe very softly. If the rash is really bad and possibly bleeding, use wipes sparingly and lightly dab the area only.

What should you do for a really sore diaper rash?
While all of these products and ideas are helpful, sometimes a diaper rash is still bad. The bum and diaper area may be very red, bumpy, and even bleed in spots. When this happens, there are a couple of tricks I've used.

My 3 step ointment process
When Nini’s diaper rash is really bad, I use a three step ointment process. First, I put Neosporin on the surrounding red area of the diaper rash. Next, I apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly over the Neosporin. Last, I add a small amount of Desitin over the whole affected area. When I do this, the rash usually clears up in a few days.

Please remember, Neosporin is for external use only. Do not use it on the genitalia, only the surrounding red area. 

Go diaperless
Another great way to clear up diaper rash is let baby go diaperless for a while. Many parents don’t seem to think of this, but one of the best things for a sore bum is fresh air. Find a place in your home where you’re okay with cleaning up an accident the child may have, and let them roam free without a diaper. I would say, try to go without a diaper between 30 minutes and 2 hours. A child’s diaper rash usually starts to look better after some time diaperless.

If all else fails, talk to your child’s pediatrician. The doctor may have some ideas or medicine for the rash. Plus, not all diaper rashes are the normal kind that can be treated from home. Some rashes are caused by bacterial or viral infections and need antibiotics or special prescription creams. So, if you are concerned about the diaper rash, go see a doctor. 

Well I hope this list gives you some good ideas about how to treat diaper rash. So what techniques or products have you used to treat your baby’s diaper rash? Let me know in the comments!

I am not a medical expert. Be sure to seek advice from a medical professional if you have questions or concerns about diaper rash.

This post contains affiliate links. 

Monday, September 4, 2017

6 Essential Tips to Calm a Child from Sensory Overload

Have you ever experienced a moment where your child seems to emotionally explode? I’m talking about a sudden burst of anger, sadness, tantrums, panic, or something similar. It’s possible your child’s strong reactions were caused by sensory overload. Sensory overload is when a child is overwhelmed by sensory input. This can happen for a lot of different reasons. Maybe they are tired from a long day at the park, a loud noise, a strong emotion they have been feeling for a while, or something entirely different. Experiencing sensory overload does not always mean a child has sensory issues; my guess is most kids go through it sometime. Knowing how to help your child calm down from sensory overload can be challenging. To help you, I’ve made a list of essential tips to calm a child down from sensory overload. 

1. A dark, quiet room
If a child is upset and overwhelmed by their environment, going into a dark, quiet room may be good for them. Being in a dark, quiet room can help drown out the sensory overload and bring the child a sense of peace. If you are at home, the child’s own bedroom is a great place for this. Depending on the child, they may either want you to stay with them or be alone. Watch and listen to their cues to know what’s best.

2. Hold the child close and tightly
Holding a child close and tightly can be a great way to calm them down from sensory overload. At times, it may even be necessary to hold a child dealing with sensory overload, if they are a danger to themselves or others. Holding a child close can make them feel secure. However, be cautious with this technique and use good judgement. A child may not like being held. Holding them could even make the situation worse. You know your child best and if this technique would help them. Also, make sure you don’t hold the child so tight that it cuts off breathing or hurts them. 

3. Weighted blanket
A weighted blanket is similar to holding a child close. The idea is the weight of the blanket helps a child feel less panicky, as if they are being held. Weighted blankets are probably best for older kids. They are a good alternative to holding children tightly and can work well to drown out sensory overload.

4. “Explosion room”
The idea of an “explosion room” is for kids who need to actively move or let out their anger to calm down from sensory overload. It’s an area where a child can tear up or destroy things like paper or cardboard. To make an “explosion room,” you can use cardboard boxes or blankets to make a fort. Then add things for a child to destroy like magazines or scrap paper. An “explosion room” can be a healthy outlet to release anger or frustration, while teaching a child how to safely vent feelings. 

5. Sensory tubes
Sensory tubes are popular these days. They are tubes with liquid or small objects inside. The child can hold the tube and stare at the contents inside while they calm down. Concentrating on the tube pulls a child’s focus to something other than their sensory overload, giving them a chance to calm down. You can find plenty of DIY sensory tube ideas on Google and Pinterest. For younger kids, I really like Lakeshore Play & Learn Sensory Tubes.

6. Listen
The most important thing you can do when your child is dealing with sensory overload is to listen to them. Your child may be able to communicate their needs to you if you get on their level and pay attention. If your child is not able to express their needs, try some of the tips on this list. See what works for your child. When your child has calmed down from their sensory overload, talk to them about their experience, based on their age and ability to understand. You will likely both learn something.

That wraps up my list of essential tips for calming a child down from sensory overload. These techniques probably work best for kids between the ages of two and seven, but can be adapted to suit a child of a different age. 

So what techniques have you used to calm your child down from sensory overload? Let me know in the comments! 

This post contains an affiliate link.