Merry Mother Logo

May 2008
Issue # 007

Mother's Day is wonderful and all...but what about Mother's Month?! Yes, every year I proclaim the "Mommy's Month of May". (Of course, June is "Daddy's Month of June", but it doesn't quite have the same ring to it.)

I spend the month stealing extra kisses from my husband and extra time outside with the kids. "Mommy's Month of May" is part of my winter-recovery program.

We go on more walks and picnics...I throw open all the windows and let the breeze clean out all the crannies.

It is a month of refreshing my soul and reenergizing my spirit.

And of course, there's that present on Mother's Day. It may be a family meal at Chipotle...a precious framed photo...a Starbucks giftcard...

If you haven't already begun to tease your husband with hints, hop to it! There are only a few days to go!

In case you haven't thought yet about what you want for your special day, I've got some hot suggestions:

I hope that whether this is your first or your fifth Mother's Day, it's filled with joy and happiness.

Treasures in This Issue:

In Case You Missed It...

Here are some of the new articles published recently at The Essential Infant Resource for Moms that you may have missed. As always, sign up for the Infant Blog and be notified instantly of all new or altered pages!

Announcing...a Member's Only Page (with Gifts!)

I've finally finished a member's only page full of goodies for you. What kind of goodies?

How about...

  • Specials and coupons to fantastic baby boutiques (The Land of Nod is offering a great deal on a cute armchair for your soon-to-be toddler).
  • Free ebooks like The Milestone Marker, Safest Home on the Block, or The Work At Home Mom's Master Course.
  • Access to member's only site pages (like archives and recalls).
  • And more....

Your Opinion is Needed!

We've passed the 6-month birthday for The Merry Mother, and I'm looking for your thoughts on how I'm doing. Are there things you wish were here and aren't? Are their sections you don't enjoy and should be removed?

Please...I beg you...spend 5 minutes to share your thoughts about The Merry Mother. Not only will it serve you better, but it will bless subscribers to come.


musing definition
As more and more of my friend's babies are given a diagnosis of Infant Reflux Disease, I thought it would be prudent to look deeper into this important topic.

If your infant always seems to be crying, spitting or throwing up colic may not be the cause. There have been a growing number of babies being diagnosised with acid reflux.

The constant crying and fussing can quickly wear away the excitement of a new baby. Contributor (and infant reflux expert) Roni MacLean has contributed this article to help. She is the founder of

14 Steps to Reducing Your Infant's Reflux

by Roni MacLean of

It's important to realize that not all babies with reflux will require medication or have difficulties with their reflux. Many infants, usually called happy spitters, will benefit greatly from some simple steps that you can start trying right now. Many of the things listed below will help with your baby's discomfort and spitting up, eliminating the need for medication.

If, after trying all the below listed tips, your baby is still spitting up, or having difficulties with their reflux, read about whether or not medication may be needed and what medications will likely be used.

Positioning Steps for Reducing Infant Reflux

Positioning During and After Feeds

Keeping the child upright during and for at least thirty minutes after feeds can help to reduce reflux by allowing gravity to work at holding the food in their tummies. As well, after feeding, try to keep them as motionless as possible for at least thirty minutes after feeding. Formula fed babies may require longer periods since formula is digested slower than breastmilk.

A Word About Car Seats

Some car seats position baby in such a way that they hunched and slouched over, putting added pressure on their tummies which can increase reflux episodes. Look for a car seat that allows baby to be reclined enough that they aren't slouched yet, inclined enough that they are fairly upright.

Sleeping Position

As with positioning after feeding, keeping baby propped during sleep is essential when they have reflux. It can help reduce painful reflux episodes and reduce the risk of aspiration. For more info on propping baby, see the article on propping.

Prone vs. Supine (Front vs Back)

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all babies sleep in the supine position (on their backs) because it has been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS. This is fine for babies with reflux as long as the baby is safely propped up to at least 30%, we found the higher baby is propped the better. Having said that, many babies with reflux prefer sleeping in the prone position (stomach), also elevated of course, and may have less reflux episodes in this position. Discuss this with your doctor and he can help decide if it's okay, and how to safely manage allowing baby to sleep in the prone position. It's very important to discuss this with the doctor before trying it as babies with reflux are already at an increased risk of SIDS.


Try carrying baby around as much as possible in a baby carrier through out the day. Carried babies tend to cry less and crying will make reflux worse, plus, it keeps baby upright.

Clothing and Reflux

Avoid Tight Clothing

Tight clothing, particularly clothing that's tight around baby's tummy, can make reflux worse by increasing pressure on the LES (lower esophageal sphincter). Make sure baby stays in loose fitting, elastic waists whenever possible.

Food/Feeding Tips and Suggestions


Breastfeeding is definitely best for a baby with reflux because it is more hypoallergenic than formula and is digested twice as fast as formula. If breastfeeding is not chosen or not possible by the mother, formula changes can help some babies. If the baby has a milk or lactose allergy or intolerance giving the baby formula that is milk based can make reflux worse. Read about the different types of formula available and discuss this possibility with your pediatrician.


Some babies with reflux will respond well to thickening their feeds with cereal. Thickening formula can help for a few reasons.

The added weight of the cereal in the food helps to keep the food from splashing around in the baby's belly and can help keep it down.

Babies who are having difficulty gaining weight may also benefit from the added calories. Generally, it's recommended that about one tablespoon of cereal should be added for every ounce of formula. If the formula isn't thick enough, it won't work.

Also, some babies may react poorly to rice cereal which is generally the first tried, so adding oatmeal instead may work better for some babies. As always discuss this with your pediatrician before trying it.

Feeding Time

When and how much a baby is fed can also have an impact on their reflux. Smaller more frequent meals through out the day work much better than larger, less frequent meals. Also, avoid feeding baby right before bedtime, particularly if the baby is already a poor sleeper.


If you are breastfeeding, try eliminating the foods that can make reflux worse. Dairy products are a big offender, as is caffeine, fatty foods, spicy foods, citrus fruits. If eliminating these things seems to help, you can slowly (about one thing a week) start to introduce one thing at a time back into your diet and watch baby's reactions. This will help give you an idea of exactly what was making the reflux worse, so that you (hopefully) don't need to give up everything you love, just one or two things.

This Month's Quote:

Of all the joys that lighten suffering earth, what joy is welcomed
like a newborn child?

~ Dorothy Nolte

Click here for more.


Stopping to burp baby frequently (at least after every ounce) during feedings can help.

Provide a Pacifier

Sucking on a pacifier or dummy, can increase saliva production. Saliva is alkaline which can help neutralize some of the acid that may come up.

Infant Massage

Try infant massage, it's been shown to improve digestion and will help relax baby.

Avoid Certain Foods and Liquids

More so for older children and babies, there are certain foods that are known to make reflux worse ((eg. whole milk, chocolate milk, fried or creamy style vegetables, tomatoes, citrus: such as oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, anything prepared with whole milk or high-fat, cold cuts, sausage, bacon, fatty meat, chicken fat/skin, all animal or vegetable oils, chocolate, carbonated beverages, chicken, beef, milk, or cream-based soups). If you are breastfeeding, as mentioned above avoid these foods in your own diet, particularly milk products.

Article Source:

Roni MacLean, founder of, started researching reflux and GERD shortly after her daughter was born with GERD in May of 2000. She has spent the years following her daughter's birth learning everything she could. MacLean felt the need to reach out and help others going through what they had been through by sharing all that she had learned. Early in 2001 she launched as an informational website to help guide other parents. MacLean's dedication to the GERD community continues to this day. She has written the highly acclaimed, Life on the Reflux Roller Coaster, published in 2004, which was the first book ever published entirely on this subject. She dedicates all her spare time to the website that started it all,, which has since grown into one of the best sources of information online.

June 3rd's Feature Article Will Be:

Educational Baby Games and Toys:
Choose the Games That Make a Difference

baby food recipes

Rather than offering two recipes for you (one for family, one for baby) I've decided to combine them into one.

This way you are cooking one meal that everyone can eat. (Even baby!)

Despite how much table food your baby shares with you, always offer pureed baby food (homemade or storebought) before cleaning him up.

{Lauren and Elena share a family meal.}
As always, make sure you make the food as choke-proof as possible. Look over those guidelines in the "Including Your Baby in Family Meals" article.

The Family Meal for May:

  • Soba Noodles with Broccoli and Chicken
  • Vanilla Yogurt and Peaches

Soba Noodles with Broccoli and Chicken

Soba Noodles are made of buckwheat and can be found in the Asian section of your local grocery store. You can substitute them with whole wheat spaghetti if you need to. The honey will be stir-fried on the stovetop, making it safe for babies under 12 months to consume as part of the glaze on the veggies and chicken.

  • 6 oz. Soba noodles… cooked
  • 1/4 C. chicken broth…
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil… divided
  • 3/4 lb. chicken breast tenders… cut into small bite-sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 3 C. mushrooms… quartered
  • 2 C. broccoli
  • 1 C. red bell peppers… cut into 1-inch strips
  • 1 Tbsp. bottled ground ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic… minced
  • seasme seeds… toasted

Preparation Instructions

Combine chicken broth through crushed red pepper in a small bowl; set aside. Heat 2 tsp of vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, stir-fry 4 minutes or until done. Remove from pan and keep warm.

Heat 1 tsp vegetable oil and seasme oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and remaining ingredients, stir-fry 4 minutes or utnil broccoli is crisp-tender. Return chicken to pan; stir in chicken broth mixture. Cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Serve over noodles.

Preparation Instructions for Infants

If your infant is older than 8 months, he will enjoy picking up small pieces of plain soba noodles and attempting to get them into his mouth. Only put a little on his plate at a time to prevent over-stuffing. The noodles should be cut up into small pieces.

Place several pieces of broccoli, red bell pepper, and mushrooms in a microwave safe bowl. Add 1 Tbs of water and cook for 1-2 minutes until the vegetables are well-done and mushy. Place in the freezer to cool down quickly. After cooling, dice them up. Babies older than 8 months can enjoy the broccoli; 9 months for mushrooms, and 10 months for the red bell peppers.

I do not recommend sharing well-diced pieces of chicken with your baby unless he is older than 1 year and is chewing food well.

Vanilla Yogurt and Peaches

There's nothing like a little parfait of yogurt and fresh peaches to get you excited about the summer. Yogurt is a great source of calcium, protein, phosphorus, poatassium, riboflavin, and B12.

Purchase the whole-milk vanilla yogurt with active cultures. It will help your baby's digestion and help prevent diaper rashes caused by candida. Yogurt can be given to babies as young as 6 months. In fact, I often would mix it in with peas or other veggies to help coax Elena to eat them (but that's for another edition!)

For babies older than 9 months, dice up some fresh or bottled peaches and mix them into the yogurt. If your baby is 7-9 months old, puree the peaches before adding them to the yogurt.

  • Angela Kinsey (The Office), a daughter, Isabel, on May 3rd.
  • Terry J. Vaughns (All of Us), a son, Kal'El, on April 21st.
  • Alex Rodriguez, or A-Rod, (NY Yankees), a daughter, on April 21st.
  • Joshua Morrow (The Young and the Restless), a son, Cash, on April 21st.
  • Cate Blanchett (Lord of the Rings), a son, Ignatius, on April 13th.
  • Jodie Sweetin (Stephanie from Full House), a daughter, Zoie, on April 12th.
  • Finola Hughes (How Do I Look?), an adopted daughter, Sadie, on April 11th.
  • Elizabeth Rohm (Law & Order), a daughter, Easton, on April 10th.
  • Thea Andrews (Entertainment Tonight), a son, Jack, on April 5th.
  • Paul Pierce (Boston Celtics), a daughter, Prianna, on April 4th.
  • Tracey Gold (Growing Pains), a son, Dylan on April 1st.
  • Brendan Fehr (CSI: Miami, Roswell), ~ a son, James, on March 26th.
infant activities

0-3 Months:
Tootsie Roll

Place a soft blanket or towel on the floor, setting your baby on her tummy on the top. Pick up on side of the blanket and slowly raise it, cuasing your baby to tilt to one side.

Continue to roll your baby over, talking and using hand to guide her if she turns. Praise her if she rolls over.

This activity encourages locomotion, directionality, and motor control.

3-6 Months:
Rain, Rain

May 6
{by Majorvols}
Poke several holes into the bottom of a plastic liquid dishwasher or ketchup bottle. Prepare your baby for a bath, placing him in his regular bathtub. Fill the bottle with warm liquid and hold the bottle where he can see it.

Let the gently sprinkling water tickle his tummy and let him try to grab the water. If your baby seems to be enjoying it, let a few drops fall on his head. (Try not to get water in his eyes.)

This activity introduces him to new properties of water, builds on his sensory-motor development skills, and encourages social interaction.

6-9 Months: Ice Bergs Ahead!

may 5
{Photo by Cliff Johnson}
Fill an ice tray or mold with water tinted with food colors. Let them freeze overnight.

Fill up a bathtub with warm water and prepare baby for a bath. Throw in the ice cubes, showing him how to push them underwater or try to pick them up. Point out how the cubes begin to melt.

This activity teaches cause and effect, fine motor skills, and scientific properties.

12-18 Months:
Tube Talk

Decorate two paper towel or toliet paper tubs with colors from non-toxic pens and other materials. Holding the tube to your mouth, begin to talk to your baby.

Give your baby the other tube and encourage her to imitate you. Make a variety of noises and sounds, letting her "startle" you, giving enthusastic praise for following your directions.

This activity builds up her language and listening skills.

9-12 Months:
Stuffed Shirt

Tie several scarves or neckties together and hide them under your shirt, letting a tantalizing tip hang out of your collar.

Show your baby the tip, giving it a little tug. Lean over and encourage him to pull on the scarf. As he pulls, make funny noises and sounds to encourage him to keep pulling. Repeat as often as the laughs last!

This activity teaches cause and effect, object permanence, and encourages social interaction.

Eventually, he may begin to lose interest in playing these games. Don't force anything. If that seems to be the case, simply try out some of the infant activities in previous newsletters.

Most of these activities were adapted from Baby Play and Learn. This book is available for purchase at the Essential Book Emporium.

heather's hints

A Distraction in the Kitchen

Does your baby seem to disintegrate around 4:30pm - right when you are trying to make dinner? If your baby is too rambunctious or inquisitive to be happy playing in an exersaucer or high chair, there's still hope.

Here are some tried and true ways to keep your baby happily distracted on the kitchen floor while you're making dinner.

may 7
{Elena explores the Kitchen
Basket in the nude.}

The Kitchen Basket

I keep a basket of interesting kitchen tools in a basket for just these occasions. The basket has old measuring cups and spoons that make perfect drums, or other kitchen odds and ends that are safe to explore (like a turkey baster).

Bucket Surprise

Fill an empty tupperware container with interesting objects that will rattle around. Leave the lid off and let him practice filling and emptying the bucket again. (Only choose large, non-choke-hazard items of course!)


Give your baby a few old shopping catalogs or magazines to tear into. She'll enjoy the bright colors, and it will be good practice to turn (and rip) the pages.


There have been 10 recalls since the last Merry Mother was published in April.

Carrier Recalled

The Beco Baby Carrier was recalled last month. Get the details on this report.

Baby Furniture Recalled

Children's Storage Bins sold at Lowe's were recalled in April. You can get the complete details here.

Toy Recalls in April

  • "Hip Charm" Key Chains from Wal-Mart
  • Western Rider Push Toys
  • Interchange Robot Toys
  • Magnetic Dart Boards by Henry Gordy Int'l
  • Little Builder Children's Board Book Sets with Toys
  • Cuddly Cousins Plush Insect Toys
  • "Main Street Drag" Sunglasses
  • Imaginarium Activity Centers from Toys R Us

View the Toy Recall Report for pictures and details.


I hope you've enjoyed reading May's issue of The Merry Mother.

The next issue will be published on June 3rd. So watch your Inbox! smiley

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P.S. Be sure to check back at The Essential Infant Resource for Moms, your friend-next-door for questions-answered, stories-told, and laughs-had.

Newsletter Archives

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