How to Relieve Infant Hiccups

When I got my first baby, staying close to him was all I wanted to do. I decided to quit my job and stay at our home at Cedar Rapid, Iowa. I had just been elected head of our town’s mothers club. Every member was excited about my new baby and always enjoyed his company during meetings. At two weeks old, I noticed that my son hiccupped quite often. I though it normal until the frequency went from once to thrice per day! “This can’t be normal.” I thought to myself. I sought my doctor’s help only for him to say that it was quite normal for newborn hiccups to occur.

I was asked to let them be and they would eventually go away. However, I couldn’t bear to see my baby go through frequent bouts of hiccups that usually left him crying endlessly. Desperate, I consulted my fellow mothers at the club. Some of the options provided were funny and outrageous. Take one mother who told me to hold my baby’s tongue!

Some of the options offered however seemed reasonable and applicable. I tried some of them out successfully. They included the following.

Regular feeding and in small portions

We usually know our little ones are hungry when they start crying. After this, we try to stuff their little bellies with breast milk. While this might look like a natural way of ensuring that our babies are satisfied, it can actually contribute to hiccups in two ways. First, when a baby cries, he is likely to inhale lots of air which ends up in his stomach.  Second, a baby’s stomach is close to the diaphragm. A full belly might irritate the diaphragm prompting hiccups. Regular feeding and in small portions reduces the possibility of hiccups occurring.

Burping

Although this might sound a bit outrageous, burping my baby between feeding intervals actually helped relieve his hiccups. I usually did this when changing breasts. To encourage my little one to burp, I usually held him up or at a slight angle. This way, any air trapped in his stomach rose through his esophagus in little burps.

A pacifier

I found out that my baby’s pacifier did more than just keep him calm and quiet. After placing the pacifier in his mouth, he tended to hiccup less. I think the reason for this is that he breathed naturally through his nose and not mouth.

Keeping upright after feeding

When breastfeeding, I usually placed my baby at a 45˚ position. This didn’t guarantee that air wouldn’t settle in his stomach. There were instances when he would start hiccupping if I placed him flat on the bed after feeding.  However, after placing him upright after feeding, the hiccups simply disappeared. Holding him upright after feeding for a couple of minutes – before he started dozing off gave me the joy of spending some quality time as well as allowed him to pass off gas naturally.

Keeping warm

I understand that sudden temperature changes can trigger hiccups. Cold prompts contractions of the diaphragm which results in hiccups. Keeping my little one wrapped up in a blanket helped in ensuring that he remained hiccup free.

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Why Do My Knees Hurt? Common Causes of Knee Pain

As a mother, we do everything that our family requires. Many times we do not take care of our own bodies. We need to focus more time on ourselves in order to care for our family. Here is something to think about after our last meeting.

Do you ever find yourself wondering, “Why do my knees hurt?” Knee pain is a common issue, especially among athletes and adult who regularly use (or abuse) the knee joint. The knee joint may not be particularly complex, but there are a lot of factors that could be responsible for knee pain. The following sections offer information about a few conditions that are characterized by knee pain. These conditions are divided into the two primary categories of knee pain: that which occurs on a regular or semi-regular basis and that which occurs infrequently.

Why Do My Knees Hurt on a Regular Basis?

For some individuals, knee pain is a symptom that occurs at somewhat regular intervals. Chronic pain in the knees can be attributed to trauma, such as a severe sports injury, a car accident, or a bad fall. Although many of the tissues that make up the knee are self-healing, there are some tissues that simply cannot be rebuilt by the body or the body is unable to efficiently repair the damaged tissues due to constant use of and strain on the joint. The conditions listed below are common culprits behind long-term or chronic knee pain.

Osteoarthritis

knee painOsteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is also the one most likely to develop in the knees. This particular type of arthritis is nicknamed “wear and tear arthritis” because it often develops as a result of repetitive strain or as an age-related condition caused by many years of joint usage. Consider the knee joint: this is the area where the femur (thigh bone) the tibia (shin bone) meet. These joints are constantly tasked with supporting the weight of the upper body as well as absorbing the impacts caused by walking, running, jumping, etc. Over time, the tissues of these joints will begin to wear down as a result of constant and, at time, hard use. Osteoarthritis is directly related to cartilage, a tough, rubber-like substance designed to cushion the movement of bones in a joint. Cartilage makes it possible for bones to glide across one another without actually making contact. As one ages the cartilage in the knee joints will eventually thin which could cause the bones to rub against one another during movement. This will cause inflammation to set in, which is characterized by swelling, redness, tenderness, and stiffness. The symptoms of arthritis can be managed but unfortunately there is no known cure for this condition.

Worn or Torn Cartilage

Torn and worn cartilage can also occur without the onset of arthritis. Torn cartilage is very often seen in athletes who do a lot of pivoting movements, such as basketball and football. A cartilage tear can develop as the result of overextending or twisting the joint. In the knee, this cartilage is called meniscal cartilage, and a tear to this tissue will likely result in pain, swelling, and “locking” during knee movement. Meniscal cartilage can also be worn due to repetitive strain injuries or age. Individuals who participate in hobbies or whose job requirements rely heavily on knee-bending and/or heavy lifting are at a greater risk of experiencing knee pain due to worn cartilage.

Why Do My Knees Hurt Sporadically?

Knee pain that does not occur regularly is most likely due to an injury or repetitive stress. Unlike arthritis and worn knee cartilage, random/sporadic pain of the knees occurs unexpectedly or seems to gradually become more prominent after an improperly treated injury. The following sections explain a few conditions that could be the cause of irregular knee pain.

Bursitis

The word bursitis is defined as inflammation of the bursa. The bursa is a sac-like tissue that can be found in several locations surrounding the knee. The sac contains fluid which acts as a lubricating cushion for the tendons, ligaments, and bones of this joint. Without the bursa, these tissues would rub against one another and the friction would result in pain and limited range of movement. When the bursa becomes inflamed it swells up, which is often evident from the outside of the knee which may also appear larger than usual. The skin surrounding the bursa may feel warmer than the rest of the body, which is caused by excess blood flow to the localized area. One will likely experience pain when the knee is moved or pressed upon. Bursitis of the knee can be caused by a blow to the knee, bacterial infection, or excessive pressure from frequently kneeling. Some may think about it as an unexplained bruising, but you should definitely look more into it.

ACL Tear

An ACL tear is a common injury in the sports world, but it can happen to absolutely anyone of any age. The ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, is a major ligament that connects the femur to the tibia. Without this ligament, there would be nothing to attach the thigh to the lower part of the leg. There are a number of ways that one may tear this ligament, such as a fall, a twist, landing heavily or stiff-legged, or even over-stretching the knee. Individuals who participate in soccer, skiing, basketball, football, martial arts, and gymnastics are especially susceptible to developing this kind of injury. Unfortunately, many individuals who do sustain an ACL tear experience long-term discomfort due to disruption during the healing process or complications resulting as a side-effect of an ACL injury.

When dealing with a knee injury, it is very important to follow the advice of a medical professional. It is not uncommon for an old knee injury to “act up” due to interrupted or delayed recovery. The knee is a vital joint and it must be allowed a full recovery including compression, stabilization, and rest. If you often find yourself asking, “Why do my knees hurt?”, then it might be time to speak to a doctor about any potential injuries or conditions that may be causing your pain.

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Steps to Finding the Perfect Dog for Your Family

Steps to Finding the Perfect Dog for Your Family

In the United States, there are an estimated 70 million dogs, which is only second to cats. Several crucial question arises when looking to add a dog to your current family. Personally, as a mom I love to have a furry little friend with me all the time.  My family and I recently followed the following steps when choosing the perfect dog for our family, and couldn’t be more ecstatic.

Step One: Consult with Your Family
Having a dog is a commitment; there’s just no way around it. The dog needs to be walked, cleaned up after, groomed, paid attention to, and fed. If not everyone on your family is onboard with the idea, for whatever reason, you should refrain from going straight to the pet store or adoption center and getting a dog.

Step Two: Pick an Energy Level
Do you want a dog that keeps running around, or a dog that will sleep most of the day? If you’re a runner or a very active person, a higher energy dog may be perfect for you. If you’re like one of my neighbor, and just enjoy sitting down with a nice book or taking short walks once a day, maybe a lower energy dog is for you.

Step Three: Pick Specific Qualities
When my family and I were choosing our perfect dog, size, hair length, and age were very important factors. A large dog and small dog both have different advantages and disadvantages. Hair length is another important factor, due to the fact that most dogs shed. Do you want to go out and buy an eight week old puppy or adopt an older adult dog from an adoption center? This is something that you have to decide with your family. Also, do you have other animals such as a cat or other dog? If so, you’re going to want a dog that will get along other animals.

Step Four: Choose a Breed
Choosing a breed will embody decisions your family made in steps two and three. There are hundreds of pure bred breeds to choose from, and even cross breeds such as a husky pomeranian mix. Each breed also has a standard of personality and abilities, such as sporting, working, or toy breeds. Be aware, that every individual dog may stray from their breed personality standards; that is perfectly normal.

Step Five: Start Going Out to See Dogs
My family chose to adopt a dog due to the overcrowding at animal shelters here in Iowa. That being said, many families opt to buy a dog from the pet store. When meeting dogs, make sure you’re whole family is there to socialize and interact with your potentially new family member. When you find the dog that you and your family members agree on, be sure to buy the necessities. A leash, collar, food and water bowls, and toys are all must haves.

Step Six: Enjoy Your Pet
Finally, bring your new family member home and show him or her an unconditional amount of love!

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The world of tattoos from a mother’s perspective

Being a stay at home mom for me was not an easy choice. I used to work two jobs before I got married and still worked till I had my first boy. However, after two more kids working was not an option for me especially since we moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It is a lovely town and I love spending time with my children but sometimes it got a little mundane and I felt the need to do something more with my life. That’s when I thought of joining the mother’s club in town and was delighted when they accepted me. After a few months as a member, I  was overjoyed when all the mother there chose to vote me as the head of the club. I have always enjoyed leading teams as part of my professional life and now being given this chance in my residential area was too good to be true.

The first challenge I faced as the head of the town’s mother club was when a tattoo parlor opened up in the area – needless to say there was a mixed reaction. The teenagers were excited and thrilled – their parents, on the other hand, were concerned. Most mothers were concerned about infectious diseases and did not want their kids to go there. As the head of the mothers’ club I was tasked with the responsibility to investigate about the tattoo parlor and find out everything I could. Never one to turn down a challenge, I geared up for this task and first did some research on the internet. I will admit that some of the things I found about tattoos were disturbing. However, I was able to find out that the most popular trends these days were side tattoos for girls and chest tattoos for men.

After getting myself acquainted with all the right terminology, I headed to the tattoo parlor to see what kind of an operation they were running. I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by a pleasant woman of not more than 35. She ushered me into the room where they had all the designs and patterns. Even as I entered, I saw Raymond from across the street who was browsing through designs for chest tattoos for men. He picked the one with a skull and fire and within minutes was ready to get inked – as they call getting a tattoo now. I sat there, looking at some designs – all the while observing the woman who was preparing to work on Raymond’s chest. The first positive sign was that she took out brand new needles and then swabbed his chest with alcohol. All the inks she used bore labels and I started chatting to her about the procedure, the risks and the problems involved.

Pretty soon she had me convinced that they were running a legit business and the work she was doing was incredible. I was looking at some designs for side tattoos for girls and one of those captured my attention. I was always known to be impulsive so I chose to get a tattoo myself. After all what better way to convince the club that I was on board with the parlor operating in the area. I have to say, the tattoo she created is a work of art. I managed to surprise everyone I know by getting a tattoo but one thing I learned from this is that if a tattoo parlor is operating in a proper manner with everything at a par with the highest standards, you don’t have to worry at all.

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