Thursday, July 29, 2010

Are Mother’s of Multiples More at Risk for Postpartum Depression?

Below is a very interesting and informative look at postpartum depression and mothers of multiples. It is definately worth reading.

This was found on the Multiples and More blog.


Are Mother’s of Multiples More at Risk for Postpartum Depression?

Julie Gillespie
Author: Magical Multiple Moments

Is it more common for moms of multiples to have postpartum depression (PPD) than moms of singletons? It seems like a facetious question. Well, is it more common for someone with more than one car to have more engine failures? PPD is clinically defined as a “major depressive episode that occurs in the first four weeks after delivery” (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV or DSM-IV). Although the DSM says patients are most susceptible in the first month, clinically, the experts say it can happen any time in the first year. Mothers of multiples have the potential for all of the same psychological stresses that mothers of singletons have such as feelings of guilt; social isolation; marital difficulties; and domestic overload; as well as concerns about having inadequate time for two or more children all at the same time.

Looking through all the literature the answer to the question is most likely, yes, if you have more than one child the potential to have postpartum depression (PPD) is greater. But, the percentage increase is not as exponential as it sometimes feels being a mother of multiples myself. Clearly, knowing the warning signs is the first step in battling the disease. We can try to make our mental health as fit as possible. Join a multiples group, get away for awhile or enlist some help (family or friends will do, it doesn’t have to be paid help). It’s hard to admit we need help once and awhile, but if taking a night out with the girls once a week makes me feel better than I’m a better parent in the long run. It’s just like they say on the airlines, “You have to put your oxygen mask on first, then you can help your kids.”

A recent study in Pediatrics this April sheds some fresh light on this topic. The study measured depressive symptoms of 8069 mothers 9 months after giving birth to a live child or children in 2001. The study showed that 19% of mothers of multiple infants had moderate/severe depressive symptoms, compared with 16% of mothers of singletons. The percentage with only “depressive symptoms” as opposed to moderate/severe depression was forty percent higher in mothers of multiples versus mothers of singletons. Within six months after delivery their statistics reported that maternal depression of mothers of multiples was 10%, which is equal to that in the general population. The difference was that the prevalence in the first 5 weeks after birth of the mothers of multiples was 3 times higher than in the general population (1).

One would expect that if having one baby has a sixteen percent likeliness of having moderate/severe postpartum depression, than, having two or more babies must mean double or triple the amount or a twenty-six to forty-two percent increase. Apparently it is not a simple case of mathematical addition. Only a three percent increase was shown for moms having more than one baby.

Prior to this study, in 2003, a study of 587 Mothers of Supertwins (MOST) showed 29 percent have depression after the birth of their multiples (4). According to another study of 758 mothers of twins and higher-order multiples in 2005, by the National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs Inc. (NOMOTC), mothers of multiple birth children are more at risk for this illness because of the already tremendous physical, financial, and psychological stressors they face (2). In the NOMOTC study, the rate of Postpartum Depression was found to be 37 percent. Singleton studies on Postpartum Depression (PPD) have generally shown the prevalence to be between ten and twenty-five percent in the first postpartum year, depending on the risk factors (2).

In my book Magical Multiple Moments I interviewed Dr. Rita Suri, an associate professor at the UCLA Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Human behavior whose research interests focus on mood disorders during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Dr. Suri has just completed a five year NIH study grant from three clinical sites on the risk factors of post partum depression. Here is an excerpt from that interview: Dr. Suri said “The most vulnerable period is between three weeks and six months after delivery.” The three categories of Postpartum Depression Disorders are postpartum “blues”, postpartum major depression, and postpartum psychosis. The most common syndrome is “baby blues”, with 50-85% prevalence. Symptoms include fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, mood swings, and fluctuations in appetite.

In the NOMOTC survey almost half of the moms (47%) confirmed experiencing “baby blues.” It usually lasts less than two weeks. However, if a mother experiences the “blues” for longer, she may need further evaluation and medication to help her through the depression. Postpartum Psychosis, thankfully, only occurs in 0.1 percent of all postpartum women, and is thought to be a variant of bipolar disorder. Patients with this diagnosis need aggressive, in-patient treatment because of the risk of suicide and/or infanticide.

For patients whose problem progresses from the “baby blues” phase into major depression, a psychiatrist will often recommend an anti-depressant medication (most typically an SSRI or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) or psychotherapy, or a combination of both. The SSRI drugs are safe for women who are nursing babies of any age. Dr. Suri has seen these drugs used even in the NICU on mothers with premature babies. Dr. Suri continues: “The peri-natalogists and I agree that treatment won’t stop just because a mother is nursing. We will monitor the babies and look for changes in sleep patterns, colic, or growth issues. But developing babies are always changing, having growth spurts that upset sleeping patterns or eating issues that interfere with growth, so you can’t blame it on the medication.” For most people this type of medication is very helpful and has minimal side effects.

Signs and Symptoms of Post Partum Depression:
  • Changes in appetite and sleep patterns (up or down)

  • Lack of interest in all activities

  • Fatigue

  • Feelings of anger, worthlessness, hopelessness

  • Forgetfulness

  • Poor personal hygiene

  • Excessive anxiety

  • Isolating behaviors

  • Fear of being alone with or harming the babies or oneself

  • Ruminations of persistent negative thoughts, i.e.“Will the baby stop breathing at night” (3)

Mothers who are at high risk for PPD include those with poor social support, those caring for multiple other small children in the house (prior to the birth of the new baby), a history of previous depression or family history of depression or if the mother has a history of post partum depression, with previous pregnancies.

In popular culture, moms relate to Charlotte (played by Kristin Davis), the mom on the new movie “Sex in the City 2.” She admits after a coxing from her gal pal Miranda (played by Cynthia Nixon) and a few more sips of wine, that raising two children is not what she expected. She admits her two daughters are beautiful and everything she ever wanted, but explains that the day in and day out job of being a mom is ever-tiring, and not very gratifying.

One of the funniest lines in the whole movie comes next when Charlotte confesses that even though her hot-nanny “Erin go bra-less” may be a potential threat to her marriage her greatest concern is losing her, not her husband to an affair. “I hate to say it, but when Samantha was teasing me about this girl having an affair with my husband I wasn’t worried so much about what was going to happen to my marriage, I was trying to figure out how I was going to live without my nanny!” In the end, she realizes that a little time away makes her feel like herself again. She takes Carrie Bradshaw’s (played by Sarah Jessica Parker) offer to stay at her vacant apartment as a “get away” in order to make her feel a little more relaxed about parenting.

More important than focusing on the incidence and likeliness of depression, it might help to focus on what can be done about it.

Of those respondents in the NOMOTC study experiencing depression postpartum, a large majority of mothers (70%) reported that joining a multiples club/support group was instrumental in helping maintain good mental health. It is true that there is safety in numbers. So, if you know a mother of multiples or are a mother of multiples I suggest getting involved in any of the online support groups provided by mom blog sites or magazines for mothers of multiples. It’s like the old African riddle which asks “Which is stronger one big stick or a bunch of little ones?” The answer naturally, is “A bunch of small sticks are stronger because they can be tied together. When the sticks are banded together they can not be broken.” If we stick together we can’t be broken!

1. Y Choi Dr. PH, D Bishai MD, MPH, PhD, C Minkovitz MD, MPP. Multiple Births Are a Risk Factor for Postpartum Maternal Depressive Symptoms. Pediatrics, 20101. Vol 123: No 4, pp. 1147-1154.

2. Gale and Harlow. Literature Review. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2003 (a review of clinical and epidemiologic factors affecting postpartum mood disorders).

3. J Gillespie. Magical Multiple Moments. Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing, 2010. pp. 152-7.

4. S Griffith. Postpartum Depression in Mothers of Multiples COMBO Editor, National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs, Inc. Web publication ’07. Abstracts for the ISTS Mid-Congress Conference Los Angeles, June 29, 2005.


*Julie Gillespie, mother of five, author, physical therapist, and blogger is a graduate of Mt. St. Mary’s College and the University of Southern California. She is widely recognized as an authority in the field of women's health physical therapy. Most recently she's published "Magical Multiple Moments" a book about raising multiples in the first five years. You can find her at:,,, or on facebook.


CMOTC moms: remember we have PPD support moms within our club if you need/want to speak to another multiple mom who has also experienced PPD. You can find their names and contact information in the resource library on the website.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Terra's Living Seasonally - Sweet Corn Fritters

It’s sweet corn season and in our house, we can’t get enough! Besides the obvious roasted corn on the cob, we like to use corn in cool salads, risotto, soups and stews, and even on pizza (try bacon, onion and corn together on a white pizza, it’s delicious, I'll post the recipe later this week). Here is a recipe that uses fresh corn that we started making last summer when the girls were just 12 months. Back then, everything they ate had to be a finger food, so the fact that these are bound with a little egg and flour works really well. They continue to be a favorite in our household because they’re easy, work as a side dish for mom and dad and a main dish for picky toddlers.

The recipe comes from Great Food Fast, a great cookbook from the Martha Stewart Empire. You can also find this recipe, along with a lot of other quick, easy and nutritious family friendly recipes, on Martha Stewart Food.

Sweet Corn Fritters (Serves 4 )

  • 3 ears corn, husks and silk removed
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Sour cream (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Remove kernels: Cut off tip of each cob; stand in a wide shallow bowl. With a sharp knife, slice downward to remove kernels. To bowl, add milk, egg, sugar, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; mix. Fold in cornmeal and flour.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium. Working in two batches, drop batter into pan by heaping tablespoons. Fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt; place in oven. Repeat. Keep warm in oven up to 30 minutes. Serve with sour cream, if desired.

You might want to throw together a dipping sauce to go with them. Of course my kids love a combo of mayo, ketchup and season salt but I don’t think it’s the ideal flavor combo for the corn. My recommendation is a bunch of freshly chopped herbs (dill and parsley are perfect), garlic and salt stirred into mayo or sour cream.

Next up, homemade bacon, onion and corn white pizza! The girls love this as well! I'll post the recipe later this week.

If you have questions, requests or suggestions for my column, please let me know. I would love to hear from you! Either comment below or email me at


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Young's Jersey Dairy - a fun day trip for everyone!

Terra G., a CMOTC mom, is sharing with us one of her family’s favorite little getaway from Columbus places – Young's Jersey Dairy in Yellow Springs Ohio.


One of our favorite little getaways from Columbus is Young’s Jersey Dairy in Yellow Springs. Just under an hour away, the Dairy features two restaurants, mini-golf, batting cages, a petting zoo, a little kids’ play area and a 30-foot slide for the bigger kids. Year-round the Dairy is known for its fabulously creamy ice cream, offered in a huge number of flavors. You could spend an hour visiting the animals and playing outside, followed up with lunch at the snack bar or adjoining Golden Jersey Inn restaurant, or a scoop or cone of their homemade ice cream. There are a lot of events year round, including a pumpkin patch in the fall.

The ice cream shop - which has a ton of fantastic flavors, along with Gelato and Sorbetto.

The petting barn is free and features cows and goats to pet and feed, many of which had little babies when we were visiting. Outside there are some tractors to climb on, and for a small fee, little kids can play in the Kiddie Korral. Featuring a huge sandbox filled with corn, little trykes, hay bales and slides and a bouncy house, this area is completely covered from the weather and offers a perfect diversion for the little ones. There is a modest entry fee, which includes a free ride on the Moovers and Shakers train – 10 cars made out of barrels pulled by a tractor around the farm and through the corn fields.

Charlotte at the petting barn.

Moovers and Shakers train.

Charlotte riding a tryke.

Charlotte and Veronica in the huge sandbox filled with corn.

This is a great little getaway when you want to get the kids out of town and do something different. You could make a day of it by following your visit to the Dairy with lunch at the adjacent Golden Jersey Inn, a cute little family friendly country-style restaurant at the other end of the complex. Or, plan your trip via I-71 and visit the outlets at Jeffersonville on your way back. Just south of the dairy is the town of Yellow Springs, which is a cute little college town with a couple of nice restaurants (try the Winds Café), coffee shops and health food stores. Just outside of town is a state park and nature preserve, and the entire length of US-68 between Xenia and Springfield features a really nice bike trail.

Young’s Jersey Dairy
6880 Springfield Xenia Road
Yellow Springs, OH

Have fun!


Do you have any family favorite day trips (or local)? Please consider writing something up to share with all of us! Contact us at Or comment below with with the name and details of your family fun spot!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Katie's Nutrition Nook - Healthy kid (and mom) snacks on the go

It’s summer and we’re all on the go. Wait, who am I kidding? With kids, we’re always on the go. But right now, you’re probably jolting between swim practice and tee ball games to play dates and who knows what else …

Life on the run doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice good nutrition. Both you and your kids can still eat healthy with just a little planning. Planning? Who has time for planning, you say? Just a few minutes out of your night tonight will save you time and energy dealing with hungry, grumpy kids tomorrow. Keeping them (and you) fueled between stops is key to staying sane during this crazy time.

Below is a list of healthy snack ideas followed by suggestions of those to limit. It’s best to take along a small cooler to keep foods fresh and free of harmful bacteria. Remember that moderation is key and that children will often eat healthy if parents offer them the healthier foods and model good eating behavior.
  • Raw veggies and low-fat ranch dip or hummus
  • String cheese

  • Cheese cubes (remember with cheese to choose 2% or light cheeses-cheese can be high in saturated fat-the bad kind that clogs your arteries-so make sure to limit the amount) and whole grain crackers

  • 100% Fruit Juice boxes (i.e. Juicy Juice)

  • Apple or Banana with Peanut Butter

  • Dried Fruit or Fresh fruit

  • Trail Mix-whole grain cereal, dried fruit, nuts

  • Low-fat popcorn

  • Yogurt (try to avoid the ones with all the added sugar)

  • Turkey rolled up in a whole wheat tortilla

  • Peanut butter and jelly on whole grain bread


  • Fruit juices, cocktails or other drinks with added sugar (Hi-C, Gatorade, Capri-suns)

  • Fruit gushers or other gummy sugary foods

  • Chips, cookies and other processed foods

What healthy snacks do you and your children enjoy when on the go? Please share!

Feel free to comment below or contact me at with any questions you might have. Whether the questions are about weight loss, specific plans for you, general nutrition needs for you and/or your children, or whatever, I am here to help you!

As well, if you have suggestions for topics you would like me to discuss in Katie's Nutrition Nook, please let me know.

- Katie

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Water safety

With summer in full swing, I am sure everyone spends a fair amount of time in one pool or another and possibly also a lake or ocean. Along with all the fun swimming and playing in the water brings, as a parent there is also always the thought of danger in the back of our minds. Below is a blog post on the signs of drowning and the Instinctive Drowning Response. Much of what I read below, I didn't know. It's a serious post, naturally, but I felt it was worth sharing with all of you in case there were things you didn't know as well.


This post can be found on Mario Vittone's blog about maritime and water safety.

Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning

The new captain jumped from the cockpit, fully dressed, and sprinted through the water. A former lifeguard, he kept his eyes on his victim as he headed straight for the owners who were swimming between their anchored sportfisher and the beach. “I think he thinks you’re drowning,” the husband said to his wife. They had been splashing each other and she had screamed but now they were just standing, neck-deep on the sand bar. “We’re fine, what is he doing?” she asked, a little annoyed. “We’re fine!” the husband yelled, waving him off, but his captain kept swimming hard. "Move!” he barked as he sprinted between the stunned owners. Directly behind them, not ten feet away, their nine-year-old daughter was drowning. Safely above the surface in the arms of the captain, she burst into tears, “Daddy!”

How did this captain know – from fifty feet away – what the father couldn’t recognize from just ten? Drowning is not the violent, splashing, call for help that most people expect. The captain was trained to recognize drowning by experts and years of experience. The father, on the other hand, had learned what drowning looks like by watching television. If you spend time on or near the water (hint: that’s all of us) then you should make sure that you and your crew knows what to look for whenever people enter the water. Until she cried a tearful, “Daddy,” she hadn’t made a sound. As a former Coast Guard rescue swimmer, I wasn’t surprised at all by this story. Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing, and yelling that dramatic conditioning (television) prepares us to look for, is rarely seen in real life. The

Instinctive Drowning Response – so named by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D., is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water. And it does not look like most people expect. There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind. To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this: It is the number two cause of accidental death in children, age 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents) – of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. In ten percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening (source: CDC). Drowning does not look like drowning – Dr. Pia, in an article in the Coast Guard’s On Scene Magazine, described the instinctive drowning response like this:
  1. Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled, before speech occurs.
  2. Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
  3. Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water, permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
  4. Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
  5. From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.

(Source: On Scene Magazine: Fall 2006 (page 14))

This doesn’t mean that a person that is yelling for help and thrashing isn’t in real trouble – they are experiencing aquatic distress. Not always present before the instinctive drowning response, aquatic distress doesn’t last long – but unlike true drowning, these victims can still assist in their own rescue. They can grab lifelines, throw rings, etc.

Look for these other signs of drowning when persons are in the water:

  • Head low in the water, mouth at water level
  • Head tilted back with mouth open
  • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
  • Eyes closed
  • Hair over forehead or eyes
  • Not using legs – Vertical
  • Hyperventilating or gasping
  • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
  • Trying to roll over on the back
  • Ladder climb, rarely out of the water.

So if a crew member falls overboard and everything looks OK – don’t be too sure. Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don’t look like they’re drowning. They may just look like they are treading water and looking up at the deck. One way to be sure? Ask them, “Are you alright?” If they can answer at all – they probably are. If they return a blank stare, you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them.

And parents – children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Karyn’s Photography Tips

We are excited to post the first Karyn’s Photography Tips column!

Karyn is a fellow mom of twin five year olds, an eight year old and a Weimaraner puppy/studio dog (named Nikon) – all boys! Her love of photography started at a young age and carries through today, as she says “I am passionate about people and preserving memorable moments.” She has been professionally photographing maternity, infants, children, seniors, families, sports, weddings… you name it… for almost eight years. She loves every moment of it.


Naturally, your children are the most beautiful beings you have ever seen and you want to share their beauty with everyone you come in contact. Sometimes, though, when you see the photos that you took, you feel that you missed the true essence of them. The moment you captured on film was not exactly the one you saw in person. So, how do you go about capturing the true innocence and sweetness (or even the absolute orneriness) of your children? Here are some simple tips:


First, you must always know what you want the subject of your picture to be before you snap the photo. Focus on the subject, so your brain-eye coordination can quickly process where it is suppose to be looking. Modern digital cameras have a number of focus points that helps the autofocus lock onto the subject. For portrait photography, having a large number of points can be more a hindrance than a help. When using all the points, the camera will make a guesstimate based on the average of all the points. Sometimes this will work well, sometimes it won't and you'll be left with your subject out of focus and something in the background/foreground in focus. Not what you want. Instead, select one focus point only; usually done with a dial on the camera, check your manual for how to set it. The center point is the strongest, so use that one to lock your focus on what you want, not what the camera thinks you want.

Photos are much more eye-catching when you are not distracted by various subjects in the background. You may need to stand on a chair or get down on your belly. Aim to achieve simple backgrounds whenever possible such as a blanket or comforter, solid couch or chair or against a solid wall, without the distractions of furniture legs, toys or other items lying around the room or on tables.

Zoom in and focus on the eyes. The eyes are the most important part of a portrait because your eye is drawn directly to the subject. By zooming in on the subject, you certainly capture the pure essence of innocence or childhood. If they are sharp and in focus, the rest of the picture can be out of focus and still look good.

Fill the room with light. Open blinds, drapes, and curtains. If you use a flash, step back and zoom in before taking the shot.

One of the hardest things to master, especially with newborns and toddlers, is the patience to take the photo when they are ready, not when you have the time to take it. I always recommend keeping the camera as a fixture on the counter, battery always charged, memory card cleared. The worst situation is you go to snap the shot, and your batteries are dead or the card is full. How do you decide which photo to zap, forever lost, in order to get the “perfect” shot? By then, the shot is gone, your children have changed their expression or position, and you’re left frustrated because you missed what was potentially going to be the best image to share with family and friends.

Try different camera angles, take portrait and landscape off-center, tilt the camera, or crop to different dimensions in your digital software. Try to keep the arms close to the body and hands near the face if possible with infants; not so much with older children. Use mom or dad’s hand under a blanket to hold him up from the back. Get down on the floor and shoot your children/pet's photo at eye level.

Photographing twins or triplets babies? The closer together the babies are the better. Avoid spaces between the them. Nestle them with their heads touching. For triplets, consider placing the babies head to head with their bodies extending out from the center like spokes of a wheel. Same thing goes for older children.

If you want to photograph an older sibling(s) with your baby(s), avoid the “big sister holding baby brother” shot. The older child dominates the photo and steals attention away from the newborn. Instead, place the child and baby’s heads close together to create a balanced focus. Take a few photos with the sibling(s) looking at the baby(s) instead of the camera.

The focus of the photo should be your baby, not the clothes. Dress your baby in simple clothing and then let his face and expression be the focal points. Avoid swaddling the baby so that all you see is his head. Bare feet and toes are adorable.

You can always capture him in his “birthday suit.” Avoid car seats, straps, brightly patterned materials, toys, and pacifiers.

More to come... telling a story with just one photo; understanding aperture and shutter, indoor vs. outdoor, shooting sports in the gym, making sense of white balance.

If you have any questions regarding photo tips or have topics you would like me to write about, please feel free to email me.

Karyn is the owner of Karyn Hanley Photography. She offers a 20% discount for twins. Check out her website at and become a friend on Facebook to stay in touch with her portrait specials. COMING SOON – Children’s Portrait Parties. To inquire about becoming a host/hostess, call Karyn today at 614-288-0947.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Macaroni Kid: a great resource for local activities

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered a great resource called Macaroni Kid. My neighbor actually tipped me off to this resource by forwarding the weekly email she got when she signed up to get their newsletter, which was packed full of fun things to do in our area.

From their website, they describe the site as "Macaroni Kid and its family of Publisher Moms are dedicated to delivering the scoop on all the family-friendly events and activities happening in their communities each week."

For our area, it appears they have NE Columbus (which includes the NE section of the city from Polaris/Sunbury all the way over to Reynoldsburg/Pataskala), North West Columbus (Worthington all the way over to Hilliard) and South Columbus covered. I have received two of these newsletter emails so far and love them. You will find everything from fun and free library and metro park programs, to kids eat free nights at local restaurants or free movie days at local theaters, to local festivals, to new exhibits at local attractions (like Franklin Conservatory, COSI, etc), to local festivities, and much, much more. It includes things for all ages from small children to teens, as well as child based to family fun activities/events/programs. All gathered and emailed right to you (if you subscribe to the email), how convenient and easy is that?! Or you can opt to check the website every week, rather than get the email if you prefer.

The other great feature is "My Macaroni." As you see events/activities that you like in the list, you can add them to "My Macaroni." Once you are done picking the things you want to do that week, you can click on "My Macaroni" throughout the week as needed for planning. Or you can create a pdf of that list and print it for your reference. It's great!

You can view your local events and activities on their website (what you see there is essentially what you will get every week in the newsletter as well). Here are the local Macaroni Kid sites:

There are also many other locations in Ohio that are covered, as well as most other states. Use the main website to find areas other than what I listed above. This would be great for finding fun kid activities where your planning to vacation too!

If you haven't yet checked this site out, you should. It is a great resource!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

More tips on traveling long distances from a CMOTC mom

CMOTC mom, Stephanie D., shares with us some tips she learned to surviving long car trips with three young children, while on her recent vacation trip to the Outer Banks.


We survived our 1st family vacation/road trip with minimal battle wounds. My husband and I are still speaking to each other and still married. ;0) The twins turned two and we celebrated Luau style. Though it was a very long drive, we had such a great time, so I wanted to share with you how we handled it. Included below are both tips from what we learned on our trip, as well as the wonderful ideas/suggestions I received from all of you road warriors.

The trip to The Outerbanks, which usually took ~12 hours without kids, took 15 down and 16 back, so basically expect delays. We left at 1:30 AM and all three kids didn't fall back to sleep until about 3 AM, then awakened at 5:50 with the sun. My husband did crank out some good driving time at night. Had we been able to "check in" to our house earlier than 4 PM we would have considered leaving ~8PM after dinner and before their bedtime but who knows how we as parents would have survived without sleep. On the way back we stopped over night to break up the trip. Either way you do it, it's still exhausting!

My 5 1/2 year old did AWESOME! She chilled out in the way back and watched movie after movie with her portable DVD player and head set. We tossed her snacks that she usually could open herself and had her drink next to her in the cup holder. She completely loved her pillow pet and made every penny spent on it worth it! Basically for kids around this age or older, they do well with DVD's, DS/Leapster games, Tag readers, Crayola coloring books or sticker books. Have ALL of those supplies in an organizer (shoe box, tub, backpack).

Miscellaneous tips & for the younger children:

  • Bring plenty of snacks in individual snack bags/containers (fruit chewies, pretzels, raisins, gold fish or maybe something new they've never had before), but don't get too much junk or they'll get sick!
  • Bring favorite blankie/binkie or stuffed animal & tie it to the car seat if possible to avoid climbing all over the place (ie: shoestring).
  • Have back up clothes in the diaper bag within reach for the unexpected diaper leaks (had 3), car sickness/vomiting (had 2) & spills.
  • Do expect at least one child to be car sick and if you're lucky you won't have any. Keep the A/C flowing (not sure the age for Dramamine).
  • Have spare blanket for above accidents.
  • Bring child's pillow if they can't adjust to others.
  • Use or borrow portable DVD player for other kids/twins which sits on the back of the front passengers head rests where 1 parent operates (very helpful if you have a remote to operate).
  • Use DVD/CD organizer that attaches to the front visor for easy access.
  • Have sing along CD's or just sing out loud~interactive ones like Wheels on the bus, Hokie Pokie (improvise), Head Shoulders, Old McDonald...
  • Expect breaks every 3-4 hours and plan ahead to visit national parks, welcome centers, McD's play places, children's museum's... (one in Charleston West VA is free to COSI members).
  • Try to plan potty breaks before nap time otherwise you'll have to stop when they're asleep with the likelihood they will awake.
  • Use old diaper boxes for storage.
  • Make a craft project (ie: shoe box/memory box).
  • Keep Wet Ones/wipes close by & stocked .
  • Hand sanitizer kept in car door.
  • Paper towels for unexpected accidents.
  • Pack a cooler w/at least one "healthy" lunch & enjoy a long break w/play time.
  • Get toys that can attach to the seat belt.
  • Expect your kids to have PTSD when they get back into their car seats for minor excursions as they think they're being harnessed in again for the long haul.

In addition, we used the magna doodle for drawing pictures and would have each child call out an object/name then Mom or Dad would draw it. Surprisingly entertaining for maybe 30 minutes.

We also played "beach party" before our trip to get the kids adjusted to their life jackets. We also got the twins acclimated to their Pack N Plays during nap time the week before the trip.

Happy traveling!


How about you? Do you have some great advice for traveling long distances with children of any age? Please share!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sleeping advice: one twin is sleeping through, but the other is not...

Question from a CMOTC mom:

My twins are 4 1/2 mos now and one twin has been sleeping through the night since we decided to start letting her (instead of waking her when her twin woke up) about 4 wks ago. The other twin, however, is not even close. We went says he is now capable and that it was just a habit for him, and that we needed to start working on breaking him of it. So we started however, though he has proved he can make it through without a bottle, it is harder to get him to BACK to sleep without the bottle. At least then I was up no more than 30 minutes and then he would go back to sleep for 3 hrs. Last night, he went down at 8 pm and was up pretty much off and on all night from 10:30 pm -4:30 am.

We are still swaddling him, so I would re-swaddle and rock him and then lay him back down. He would sleep for a little bit and then wake up crying again. Any tips on how to break this? We haven't attempted just letting him cry it out because he's in the same room with the other twin who has been sleeping through the night and I don't want him to wake her. Advice??

Advice/experience from CMOTC moms:

I was worried about CIO b/c the boys were both in the same room, but they just get used to the other one crying. I think I just was too tired to go in there anymore. One was sleeping through the night about a month or so before the other. There were nights when one would be screaming enough to wake my husband and I up and the other would be sound asleep two feet away. I was amazed. It may take a few rough nights and they probably will wake each other up, but they should eventually get used to each other.


He may be ready to not be swaddled -- give it a try. He may get uncomfortable after a bit. We stopped swaddling at 2.5 months and switched to the sleep sacks, which if you need any, we have 4 of the small ones you can have. They are the summer weight and in cream.


It may be that he needs to learn to get himself back to sleep without your help, which usually means "crying it out." I had, and still have, a hard time letting them cry, but I learned to tell the difference between the "I'm hungry," "Something's wrong," and "I want someone with me" cry, although its not full-proof and it can change. My girl twin was the one for me that would have a hard time going to sleep at night and then occasionally waking up in the middle of the night. And that child has a voice on her! I was worried it would wake her brother, but he just slept through it all. When she did awake with the "I want someone with me cry", I would give her 10 minutes to settle down again, and 99% of the time she did. It is very hard to do, but if you don't, you will have a difficult time of it as your son gets older and won't settle down until you respond.

If I thought it was a more urgent sounding cry, i.e., "I'm hungry" or "Something's wrong", I always responded right away.

The only other thing I can think of that helped my two was to play a CD of lullabies when they went to bed (we still do that) or when they woke up. We also had a "Glow Worm" plush toy that when pressed played soft, music-only lullabies for 5 minutes that we placed near the crib.


I would say at 4.5 months, he is capable. But that does not necessarily mean he is willing!! Some babies take a lot longer to sleep though the night. Maybe try weaning him slowly. Like 2 bottles a night for awhile then down to one. Instead of none at all!! :)


Twins will often become accustomed to the others' crying & can often sleep right through it. I was doubtful of this, but my girls were co-bedded and there were many times when one would be screaming while the other would be sleeping peacefully right beside her. Very few times did the one wake the other.


Letting them "cry it out" always bothered me but when you are sleep deprived you become willing to try anything. I now believe it is in the babies' best interest to let them cry a little and learn how to self soothe and fall asleep. I know of people with young children who never learned this and believe me, they pay a high price!

Here's what we did:

When a baby woke: Offer paci, if that didn't do it, check comfort (too hot cold etc), check diaper, reswaddle, sing lullaby and rub belly (clockwise). We checked things in progression from least disturbing so we would not wake the baby up more if all she needed was a little soothing. Most times we wouldn't say anything except a quiet "shhh" then maybe a reassuring "mommy/ daddy is here" "you're OK". After each soothing attempt we left the room for a few minutes even if they were crying. Sometimes we saved the diaper for very last.

A few more things: We never turned the light on or played/cooed (kind of difficult when they give you those sweet smiles, but well worth it) with the girls. I tried to act as sleepy as I felt and would sometimes barely open my eyes. It was night-night time and we wanted them to know it! We also would not pick them up unless necessary for a diaper change.


Your little guy may be about to outgrow the swaddle. We had one baby who never liked the swaddle very much. We eventually swaddled her with her arms out and she liked that.

We used a blankie once the girls were big enough to roll over (check w/ your doc to make sure). People were always amazed that our girls would go to sleep just about anywhere with just a paci and blankie.


Just quick note back... I just let mine cry it out. Seems a little early for them to sleep through, I think at that age they could go 11:00 pm-5 or 6 am. Mine didn't wake each other. If you still fear this, as I sometimes did, I also had a pack-n-play set up in a large walk-in closet that I would often take one twin in to let him cry it out. He would go back to sleep. I put the sound machine (ocean waves in there). It was heart-breaking to allow them to cry, but they need to learn how to sleep and put themselves back to sleep.

They are now both great sleepers, and I personally think is is because I did not hold them in the night every time they cried.


First, do you have Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child? I loved that book. I actually had a friend give me the cliff notes when I had my oldest because he had colic and I was exhausted (since then I have read chapters that have pertained to what I needed). It worked well. For the twins,I felt it was more complicated. Same reason as you. One of the boys slept through the night before the other. You have to do what you feel is best. For example, the twin that wasn't sleeping through the night had feeding issues for 4.5 months until we figured it out. He was smaller too, so honestly, I cut him a break and just got up with him. He would, just like yours, go back to sleep right afterwards. But, I just wanted to do that for many reasons.

However, I did get to the point where I became a crutch to his sleeping. He didn't need food and neither one of us needed to get up. You have to be mentally ready to help him sleep. If you are, then you need to stop swaddling him and rocking him in the middle of the night. That is so comforting to them, he wants it. Who wouldn't? I love doing it for them myself. However, now he is at the point (if he doesn't need to eat), that he is waking up and can't get himself back to sleep so he wants you. Or he just wants you for comfort, swaddling or rocking. What's better than mom (or dad) holding you close? He needs to be able to self sooth, and since he can't swaddle himself (or any of the other things you do), you need to wean the swaddle and the other stuff.

So, this is where the mentally ready part comes in, you will need to start some sleep training. There are different methods. I did the intervals with my oldest and the twin that wasn't sleeping (the other twin just did it on his own). I let them cry for a few minutes, went in and comforted by standing at the side of the crib and rubbing his back, but never picked him up. Never spoke to him. YES, very, very hard. Then left. Waited five minutes, went in same thing. Waited 10 minutes, went in same thing. So on. I have to admit, especially with my first (because he was my first), I would roll up in the fetal position and stare at the clock and think that five minutes (or whatever interval we were up to) was hours and not minutes. I didn't love it. But after a week for him and just about two weeks for the twin (I think he took longer because he was a lot older than he should have been when I finally decided to do it), they were sleeping through the night.

Remember, he will be so much more happy once he is sleeping through the night. It's so painful (for me it was at least), to do it, but it's better for everyone.

Second, I was worried about the same thing - waking the other twin - I was really stressed about this. One of the many reasons I didn't force the other twin to sleep through for far too long. But, you just have to bite the bullet. She may wake up, she may not. Since they are used to each other, they get used to the sounds... even crying. Twins are amazing really. There were times when the one woke the other, but not always. You might be surprised. It is harder for twins, for sure. But doable. You have to be ready for a painful week or two, then it will be done and they'll both will sleep better.

Third, as the training goes on, you will notice that he will start to fall asleep quicker. Like, the first night is the worst. I think both mine that I trained cried for an hour and a half (and yes, I so cheated on my intervals and didn't space them out as much as some recommend... I am weak.... but it was what was right for me). The next day though, it was under an hour, then the next it was maybe 1/2 hour, and so on. It just dwindled down to where they cried for shorter periods of time before falling asleep. Then there was no crying. My twin (Oliver) took longer to dwindle down, but again, he was closer to nine months old (I know! I told you... that was crazy!). But he did it and though it took two weeks instead of one, it worked basically the same way.

Now, if you go a few days and he is crying the same amount of time or longer, then you need to stop. Maybe he isn't quite ready. I would still pick him up less though (if at all), just to get him used to no swaddling, not holding and no rocking which is what he desires to get himself back to sleep.

Fourth, we are all bonded very closely. There is no abandonment issues whatsoever. I hate it when people talk like that about this method. That said, you have to do what feels right to you. Again, I modified the method for me and went in more frequent intervals than what they said. Though, everything is adaptable to you and your children - adapt it to what works for all of you. Nothing should be so strict that you have to follow it to the tee. Well, unless what you are doing is negating it.


My experience was that the first few nights of "crying it out" they do wake each other, and then they learn to ignore it. It amazes me what my son can sleep through (my daughter is our tougher sleeper). One book that I found super helpful is called Sleeping Through the Night by Jodi Mindell, she is a nationally known sleep expert (and a really nice person, I knew her when I was in college.) She advocates a variation on cry it out that is super helpful, and also addresses sleep issues at all ages, so the book is useful until your kids are school age.


Were your twins similar - one slept through the night on their own, while the other still wakes up frequently? How did you handle it? Do you have advice/experience to add? Please share!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Teething: advice on getting through the nighttime pain

Question from a CMOTC mom:

My 7 month old twin boys started teething over the weekend. They are coping well during the day but not at night. I have tried using Orajel along with Gentle Naturals homeopathic teething drops. It seems to help but they need the drops every 2 hours and per the directions I cannot give them more at a time or more frequently. They literally wake up every 2 hours if not more all night long. They are worn out and need some sleep. Does anyone have any ideas or know of any other products that work well? Can anyone tell me how long this lasts? Thanks in advance for any ideas or help!

Advice/experience from CMOTC moms:

I remember never knowing if it was teething or another ear infection in our household. I usually used Motrin before bed at night to get us through the rough spots. I felt like we did this a lot along w/Orajel but some nights it seemed to be the only way to survive.


We used Hyland's teething tablets. If my memory serves me, we would give them 2 tablets and that would suffice for the night.


Hylands Teething Tablets worked really well with my older children. You can get them at health food stores, and also I know Kroger carries them.


My 8 month old is teething too, and this wknd was miserable. We consistently gave her infants ibuprofen every six hours, and it seemed to help. I don't like to give meds to my kids, but I saw it was taking the edge off for her.


I am not a huge fan of medicating, but when it comes to severe pain that interrupts their sleep and therefore their general> demeanor, I do it. Really, they need their sleep (to feel good, fight illnesses and so on) and so do you! When we went through the bad teething times, (not all teething times are bad, so don't worry) I used orajel as the immediate fix (lasts about 30 minutes, about the time it takes for the other meds to kick in) and then gave them motrin, which lasts six hours. If it was really bad for them, we would do that, but also rotate with tylenol. Basically it was orajel at bedtime, along with motrin dose. Then in three hours, tylenol. Then three hours later motrin. Etc. They are different types of medicine and this was recommended to my by the doctor to keep them out of pain and comfortable. Now, if they weren't getting up, I didn't wake them. Typically they would start fussing about that three hour mark, so I was able to get whatever was next in them before the pain got too bad. If they don't do that but wake up in pain and screaming, I would do the orajel along with whatever medicine dose they were due. Typically they didn't wake up in pain before three hours were up. It only lasted a few days usually.


Do you have more advice/experience that worked for your children? Please share!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Reusable swim diapers

I don't know if your kids are like mine, but they want to have some form of water day everyday! One of the drawbacks to water day though, at least to me, are the disposable swim diapers - among other things, they are so expensive. With our twins, we go through one pack of these every week and a half to two weeks. Considering our water days start in May and end in September sometime... well... you can do the math!

So, imagine how excited I was to read about reusable swim diapers on one of the blogs I follow. Now, I swear I don't live under a rock, but I honestly didn't know these were out there! They are available on-line on many sites (even Amazon, some with free shipping). The i Play brand is also available locally at Buy, Buy Baby at Easton. Given the math I laid out above, even though June was almost over and thus two months of water days, I decided to buy the twins a couple of the brief/underwear style to go under their suits because we would still save a ton (both money and waste). I like them a lot and the twins think they are cool because they look like underwear (they like underwear, they do not however want to use the potty... but that's another blog post altogether). I wish I would have known about these years ago when my first child was born!

Just in case I am not alone in not knowing about these, I thought I would share this great option for swim diapers/suits with everyone!

Sale Tip: Right now all Buy, Buy Baby swimwear is 30% off, which includes the i Play swim diapers they carry. That makes the i Play reusable swim diapers (brief/underwear style) only $6.99 each! They also take Bed, Bath and Beyond coupons, as well as their own (so $5.59 each if you have a 20% off coupon - you can use one coupon per each diaper/suit). I didn't think you could use them on clearance items, but apparently you can! I believe the clearance just started so they still have a ton of sizes of the underwear type swim diapers for boys and girls, from infant to 3T for sure (they might have 4T as well, I just wasn't looking for those). The i Play brand also makes swim suits and swim trunks, as well as swimsuit/rash guard sets for boys and girls - all containing a built-in swim diaper. Bargain! They also had a ton of these still in stock. If you are interested, but are set for this year, think about next year! Check out the styles on the Buy, Buy Baby website, then call to find out if they have the size and style you want in the store.

Below is information on the different types of swim diapers available.

This was written by Tiffany at Nature Mom's Blog, and can also be seen there:

In the summer time many moms might reach for those nifty disposable Swim Diapers so that our little ones can enjoy public pools, waterparks, and waterplay without worrying about accidents. Most public pools even require that kids who are not potty trained wear swim diapers. But did you know that you do not have to go the disposable route? There are many swim diapers on the market that can be bought for about the same price or even less than a package of disposable swim diapers. Cloth swim diapers can be reused over and over again and even last for one or more subsequent years or be used for your other kids. They are a prime example of a product that allows us to avoid the wasteful and silly purchase of a product we will use for a few hours and then throw away. Swim diapers are snug and they hold in solid waste effectively. They only difference between the two is comfort… since cloth swim diapers won’t sag or get waterlogged, AND they can be kept and reused. Both are big benefits in my estimation. Oh and they are waaaaaay more adorable than paper disposable swim diapers! Just look at my cutie above in his pink swim diaper.

Here are some cute swim diapers you may like:

The Swimmi! – I have used Bummis (diaper covers) and Swimmis for 5 years. They are a tried and true brand and they have several colors and styles.
Imse Vimse Swim Diapers – Another brand I have used and loved for years.
i Play Ultimate Swim Diaper – These below are board shorts but they also have the briefs for girls or boys. I like the the fact that these look like a regular swim suit though! They also have a complete suit for girls and rash guard sets for boys and girls.

Sun Smarties Adjustable Reusable Swim Diaper – So cute!!! I love the tie!
For pool days I have the found the best bags to carry wet suits, swim diapers, sandy flip flops, and pool toys are the Envirosax bags… so cute, the moisture doesn’t leak through and they are so easy to wash. You can get them at

How about you? Do you use reusable swim diapers? If so, what brand do you like best and why? Any tips? Or additional brands not listed? Please share!

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