We Asked, They Answered: Tips to Combat Cold & Flu Season from Our Babies in Bloom Affiliated Experts

Is it just us or does this year’s cold and flu season feel especially long? So long, in fact, that it’s carried into the new year! To make matters worse, new parents will soon learn how hard it is to keep the whole family healthy when a dreaded flu bug bites one of you. And let’s not even talk about those of us who are dealing with their second or third round of sick kids in as many months! 

Help is on the way! To anyone out there battling sniffles, puke, coughs, snot, fevers and more, we decided to reach out to some trusted Babies in Bloom affiliated experts and asked them: What advice or recommendations can you offer new parents and parents of young children to help them get through cold and flu season?

Here is what they said:

Registered Dietician specializing in Pediatric Nutrition, Rachel Rothman of Nutrition in Bloom

No magic food or supplement will keep away germs and illness.  Continue to offer your children nourishing foods throughout the day.  Drink fluids.  Wash hands.  Take care of yourself, as a sick parent is never any fun.  Eat whole foods like fruits, vegetables, proteins and whole grains.  And if illness does strike, remember to rest, stay hydrated and enjoy some of your favorite comfort foods. Soup is one of our favorite staples during the winter time, as it can warm our bodies, provide nutrition and keep us hydrated.  I recently made a hearty tomato soup with celery, carrot, and onion, which was a hit with the whole family!  Check out some of my favorite recipes on my blog www.nutritioninbloom.com/blog.

Follow Nutrition in Bloom on Instagramand Facebookfor more help on nutrition from introducing solids to eating through adolescence. 

Certified Gentle Sleep Coach, Jen Varela of Sugar Night Night

When your little one is not feeling well it creates a dilemma for parents on what to do with sleep expectations and sleep training. Here are my top tips to put your mind at ease.

  1. If your little one has a fever and you are in the middle of sleep training, it is OK to pause your sleep training efforts.  Once they are feeling better then jump right back in, don’t delay and you will be amazed how quickly they will get back to where you left off.

  2. If your little one at bedtime is able to put themselves to sleep without your assistance and due to a cold, they are waking at night, it is OK to help them back to sleep.  Getting them back to sleep as soon as possible with comforting (holding, rocking, patting, shushing), you are protecting the amount of sleep they are getting which will help them get the rest they need.  The key is to keep the skills at bedtime in place, once your little one is feeling better because they are not sleep deprived due to your assistance, they will start sleeping through the night again.

  3. When your baby is sick, you know they need more rest but you might be wondering if too much day sleep will affect their night sleep.  Typically for babies 6-months or older, you don’t want their morning nap to be longer than 1 ½ – hours.  However, one or two days allowing their morning nap to be 2-hours long when they are not well can help them get the extra rest they need to get well.  

Eager to learn more sleep advice for your little one? Visit Sugar Night Night’s websiteor follow  via FacebookandInstagram.

Licensed Midwives, Paula Tipton-Healy and Haley Perkins Kaijala of Paula’s Midwifery

To help prevent illness, keep your hands clean as often as possible, eat a well-balanced, healthy diet, and boost your immune system during peak sick times with elderberry, Zicam and Vitamin C.

When you are experiencing cold and flu like symptoms, here are a few things you can do:

  • Use Homeopathic Flu Nosode (liquid drops), and Oscillococcinum (pellets)
  • Drink warm water with apple cider vinegar, fresh lemon juice and honey
  • Continue breastfeeding even when sick
  • Wear baby when out and about for comfort when they are sick and to help keep away from germ exposure.

Learn more about Paula’s Midwifery by visiting their website, and following them on Facebookand Instagram.

Certified Babywearing Educator and CPST , Katie Prochaska

Babywearing can be a great way to help baby avoid extra germs during cold and flu season. When baby is snug and secure right on mom or dad’s chest people are just more likely to keep their distance from baby because they don’t want to get too far into your personal space. The added benefit is that the carrier can actually act as a bit of a physical barrier. Not only is it going to keep baby warmer by adding more layers, it’s also going to be what people are more likely to touch, keeping potentially germ-y hands off of baby’s clothes and body. Another perk to babywearing during cold and flu season is that if people do ask to hold your baby and you are worried about germs (or you just aren’t comfortable with it-you’re the parent here), you have a built in excuse to say, “not right now, s/he’s pretty comfy in there…” If all else fails, you may still have to ask people to keep their distance from baby, or to wash their hands; but having baby in a carrier can definitely be a great way to cut out germs during the sickness prone time of year.  

Learn more about Babywearing classes or schedule a consultation at Babies in Bloom by calling 760-940-2229.

Certified Childbirth Educator and Lactation Consultant (and Babies in Bloom owner), Rochelle McLean

The most important thing a breastfeeding mom can do during cold and flu season is to continue to breastfeed. If baby is in daycare, I encourage moms to send a blanket with baby to daycare, and then the next day, wrap the blanket like a scarf around their neck during pumping. It helps to expose mom to the organisms baby is exposed to at daycare so that she can help to make protective antibodies.

If mom gets sick, your body is making antibodies to the things you are exposed to and will pass those antibodies along to baby, without passing along the illness. Utilize the same techniques to help control the spread of germs such as frequent hand washing, covering when you cough or sneeze. Breastfed babies can often escape illness in the house. 

There is a ton of misinformation out there about medications available for breastfeeding moms to use when they are sick. Oftentimes doctors and pharmacists will say a medication is not safe for use during breastfeeding when it is. LactMed is a great resource to read more information about medications and their use while breastfeeding. The KellyMom website is another helpful resource for natural methods to treat a cold or the flu that are compatible with breastfeeding. 

Time Will Make Us Better Parents. It’s That Hard and That Easy.

As I write this, I have my laptop propped on the kitchen island while cooking breakfast. This is how inspiration hits me: my husband is roaming around the house upstairs and down holding our five-month-old baby while he cries and fights sleep. It’s taking everything I have in me not to intervene, to breastfeed him to sleep with no tears and less struggle.

But I’m holding back, at least for a few extra minutes, to give my husband the opportunity to do this on his own, in his own way.

A lot of the early parenting articles I come across display headlines like “What They Didn’t Tell Me About Becoming a Parent” or “10 Things I Didn’t Know Until I Had Kids of My Own.” The assumption sometimes in these headlines is that:

  1. Information is being withheld from us, as if us new parents must be initiated in the same way those before us were, and
  2. This information is somehow transformative. That, once we have it, we have access to a special code that will solve all our problems.

I’ll admit I went into my pregnancy with the idea that the more information I had the better. Knowledge is power, right? The more I knew, the less afraid I was about what I might experience. I told myself that I didn’t necessarily need to USE all the suggestions myself, but having it in my toolbox would prove helpful at some point.

Five months into this parenting thing, however, and I am nowhere near as confident or wise as I expected to be. I haven’t found an article that solved all my problems or even the problem at hand, and I am finding that having all the information in the world isn’t necessarily helpful. It’s a pretty defeating realization, accepting that sometimes there is no solution. Sometimes, there are many different possible solutions. On my bad days, this makes me feel pretty bitter.

On my level headed days, like today, I understand that harboring resentment because NO ONE TOLD ME so many things is the wrong way of looking at it. NO ONE TOLD ME because NO ONE has MY child. It feels silly saying out loud, but how many times have I needed to remind myself that my child is an individual? Not only is he an individual, but he also has moods and feelings and circumstances that affect him each day, each moment, ESPECIALLY now, when he is growing and changing SO rapidly.

I have had to remind myself many many times on a daily basis of this fact and this fact alone because, while the articles offer solace, comfort and provide nifty tips sometimes, they do not solve my problems. They shouldn’t.

Parenting is hard but it’s supposed to be challenging. We as parents need to be initiated. If we are somehow offered a fast lane to this whole experience, we are potentially less equip for more difficult times ahead like when our child splits his chin in the swimming pool or has a severe allergic reaction and needs to go to the hospital. Our ability to act in the moment, to make the call to get help or solve the problem on our own depends on what we know about our child and our awareness of our place in his life as his parents. No “10 Things to Do When…” will help us in these moments.

The best and the hardest thing to accept about as parents is that all the information we need is gained in the time we spend them. The more we observe and get to know them, the more we can gauge what works and what does not.

We have ideas and instincts that I think sometimes living in the information age obscures.  In my moments of exasperation, I keep asking how parents of yesteryear figured things out, before all these websites and classes and coaches were available?

The answer is simple: people were able to still parent successfully without all that, our parents did, our friends did, and we can too. That isn’t to say the additional resources aren’t helpful, just that you shouldn’t deny the power of your own instincts. We just need patience, and patience is something that feels like a curse when we are so accustomed to instant gratification.  

Surprise surprise, this essay is not here to solve problems for you. Maybe in not trying to, it will serve as a gentle reminder that no one has the solution, but you.

And how is my baby doing now? He’s peacefully napping in his nursery. It took my husband three attempts to put him down without crying, but without my intervention, he still succeeded.

And what are we doing now? We are sipping coffee and enjoying a home-made breakfast before 10:30 a.m. for the first time in a long time together, alone. Here’s to celebrating the little victories.

Stroll into Halloween: A Family Friendly Guide of Local October Events

If the Autumnal Equinox had you like…

…then you’ve already decked out your house in fall and Halloween decor, bought pumpkin flavored everything, and have your turtlenecks, booties and scarfs queued up for the slightest sign of wind chill.

The cooler temps and shorter days don’t mean that you and your young family need to be cooped up to enjoy this special time of year. Quite the opposite. In fact, throughout the month of October, there are tons of activities in celebration of pumpkins, candy, and things that go bump in the night. Read on to find out about some of the local family and stroller friendly events in the month of October.   

Bates Nut Farm Pumpkin Patch (Valley Center, CA)  

15954 Woods Valley Rd, Valley Center, CA 92082

All Month Long

It wouldn’t be fall without a good ol’ fashioned pumpkin patch outing. There are many to choose from but Bates Nut Farm’s truly has it all: hayrides, a straw maze, petting zoo and pony rides, food trucks, live music, and of course, pumpkins of all sizes! Spend a day with the whole family basking in some of these seasonal traditions at a venue that’s been doing this for over fifty years!

Kids Free October Safari Park (Escondido, CA)

15500 San Pasqual Valley Rd, Escondido, CA 92027

All Month Long

Throughout the month of October, kids ages 11 and younger get free admission (with an adult) at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. It’s not the only place where kids get in free during the month of October in San Diego. The San Diego Zoo, Legoland, Birch Aquarium, and museums across the county are dropping kids’ fees for a whole month. The Safari Park is promising lots of special activities during the weekends, and the free admission includes its Africa Tram! While this isn’t a Halloween-themed offer, you have to admit, it is quite a treat!

Legoland’s Brick-or-Treat (Carlsbad, CA)

1 Legoland Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008

10/6/18 – 10/31/18

Not only is Legoland taking part in the Kids Free October offer, but the theme park is also celebrating Halloween season with the return of its annual Brick or Treat event. This year, the event is taking place even more days (9 days to be exact) beginning October 6. What is Brick or Treat exactly? It’s a time when the Lego-themed park transforms for Halloween with a trick-or-treating trail and scavenger hunt, kid-friendly spooky entertainment, music and fireworks, and more surprises.

Breakfast with the Littlest Pumpkin (San Marcos, CA)

3 Civic Center Drive, San Marcos, California 92069

10/13/2018, 7:30 AM – 11 AM

Enjoy a pancake breakfast at the San Marcos Community Center and play fun carnival games. Halloween costumes are encouraged so it’s the perfect opportunity to get more photo opps with your cutie pie in their costume! One night isn’t enough.

Pumpkin Plunge (Carlsbad, CA)

6565 Alicante Road Carlsbad, CA  92009

10/20/18, 5 PM – 9 PM

Who said the end of summer means our swimsuits have to go in storage for a whole year? One perk of San Diego living? Halloween events can take place in community pools! The Alga Norte Aquatic Center in Carlsbad is hosting its annual Pumpkin Plunge! For one day, the aquatic center transforms for some Halloween fun with pool activities and games with prizes, floating obstacles, and Key Logs. Not interested in getting wet and wild? Dry activities include a pumpkin themed bounce house, Floating Pumpkin Patch where every child will get to lasso and keep a pumpkin, ring toss, and a photo op. To top it off, the evening ends with a movie showing (Boxtrolls, rated PG) on a giant outdoor movie screen. Dinner and snacks available at the event!

Not So Scary Estuary (Solana Beach, CA)

2710 Manchester Avenue, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA 92007

10/28/18, 10 AM – 3 PM

Looking to get in touch with nature and have an educational experience in costume? Have a howling good time this Halloween season at the 7th Annual Not-So-Scary Estuary Family Discovery Day at the San Elijo Nature Center. This year’s theme is Changing Climate and will include performances about sea level rise, a zero-waste activity and animal meet and greets. Kids who come in costume will be invited to join the parade with prizes awarded. With all that and more inside the Nature Center and outside along the loop trail, this is sure to be a fun-filled day of memories for you and your family.

Dia de los Muertos (Oceanside, CA)

4050 Mission Avenue, Oceanside, CA 92057

10/28/18, 10 AM – 4 PM

The San Luis Rey Mission comes alive to celebrate Dia de los Muertos at a free family-friendly event that includes live entertainment, carnival rides, alter displays and a classic car show. The event includes tons of craft activities and carnival rides for your kids. And you definitely won’t want to miss out on the over 90 vendors and amazing traditional food available at this community event.

 

Stroll Into Springtime (Part 2)

Your North County Guide to Stroller-Friendly Ways to Enjoy Spring, continued

Spring is here and here comes the sun! Along with that opens a seemingly endless amount of opportunities to go outdoors and enjoy our San Diego landscape. Never fear, us at Babies in Bloom have weeded through the trailheads and walking paths throughout North County and come up with a tailored list of our favorite places to soak up some Vitamin D with your little ones.

For the second part of our series, our theme is “Choose Your Own Adventure.” Our featured location features multiple trails to choose from depending on your time constraints, physical aptitude, and baby portability.

San Elijo Lagoon (Solana Beach/Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA) –  Seven Open Trails, Seven Total Miles!

Check out each individual trail for directions and address.

The San Elijo Lagoon is one of the most diverse coastal wetlands in San Diego County. Its biodiversity offers a little bit of something for everyone, from trail enthusiasts to families with small children, photographers to bird watchers. The reserve spans nearly 1,000 acres and houses seven trails to choose from (and that only includes the ones that are currently open).

Nature Center Loop – EASY: One Mile Double Loop

2710 Manchester Avenue, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA 92007
Free & Stroller & Baby Carrier-Friendly, Dog-Friendly

Looking for an easy trail to walk with a stroller or a wobbly toddler? Look no further than the Nature Center Loop. This mile-long double loop of smooth trail features up close and personal views of the San Elijo Lagoon, where you will likely see many various bird species and maybe even fish splashing in the water.

This time of year, all the native San Diego plants are in bloom and thriving, making the views while you stroll all the more captivating. Scattered along the trail are benches that you can use to rest, breastfeed, have a little snack, or just take a few deep much-needed mom breaths before you continue.

An added bonus to the Nature Center Loop is that it begins and ends with…you may have guessed, a nature center! Think of this nature center as a mini museum that is free to the public and kid-friendly. In fact, it’s exhibits are made with kids in mind. Open daily from 9 am to 5 pm, this center features some living animals, displays that detail the history of the reserve lands, educational tips for conservation, and more. This is a place that your children can enjoy and learn from as they continue to grow. If that’s not enough of a hard sell, the Nature Center also includes outside picnic-style tables that you can have lunch on, restrooms, and with its two levels, offer expansive ocean and coastal views.

Fun fact: the Nature Center platinum certified by LEED (U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), which means that the entire two-story building is made from recycled materials and relies on solar energy, natural light and ventilation! On top of all that, the water used to irrigate the landscape is recycled!

Rios Avenue Trail – EASY: Multiple One-Way Trails (Rios to I-5: 1.16 miles, Rios to El Camino Real: 2.86 miles, Rios to Pole Road: .96 mile; Gemma Parks Trail: 1.0 loop)

Directions: I-5 to Lomas Santa Fe exit, West on Lomas Santa Fe, Right on Rios Avenue, Drive to end of Rios Avenue, with street parking available

Free & Baby-Carrier Friendly (Stroller not recommended), Dog-Friendly

The Rios Avenue Trail actually features multiple trails depending on which direction and distance you are willing to go. If you’re looking for an easy one-mile loop, just east of the beginning of the Rio trailhead is the Gemma Parks Trail. Once you finish the loop, you can choose to continue further to explore the rest of the trails, just know that you’ll have to turn around to get back to where you started versus a simple loop.

The Rios Avenue Trails to include Gemma Parks Trail is also a relatively smooth walking trail. Since there is a little bit of a bumpy slope at the start of Rios Trail as it starts at the end of a residential street, this might be a good trail to wear your little one. If you want to make it work with a stroller, you can carry your baby down to the start of the trail and have someone else carry the stroller down separately. Not recommended if you are going it alone with a small child unless you wear them (or they can walk relatively independently).  

The views and landscape of the Rios Avenue Trail will be very similar to the Nature Center Loop, but you will get more of the lagoon, and are able to enjoy the coastal lands from a different perspective. Like the Nature Center Loop, you will also find benches and shaded areas where you can stop for a bit, but no picnic tables or facilities, so plan accordingly!

Another feature of the Rios Avenue Trail, you can catch a peak of the Annie’s Canyon Trail, the most strenuous of trails San Elijo Lagoon has to offer.

Annie’s Canyon Trail – MODERATE TO STRENUOUS: One Way, From N. Rios Ave. (0.6 miles), Annie’s Canyon (0.25 miles)

Directions: I-5 to Lomas Santa Fe exit, West on Lomas Santa Fe, Right on Rios Avenue, Drive to end of Rios Avenue, with street parking available

Free & Baby-Carrier Friendly *WITH A BUDDY* (Stroller not recommended)

If you’re looking for a walk that is a little bit strenuous, a lotta bit unique, and a tad adventurous, Annie’s Canyon Trail is a must on your Wish List. It’s such a short length that you don’t need to set aside your whole day to explore, but is such a wild experience, you will feel like you are no longer in San Diego County. Take our words for it, this is a place you have to see to believe.

The location is believed to have been a spiritual place for the Kumeyaay, the original native inhabitants of San Diego County. This fact only helps add to the sense of wonder of this space. During one part of the switchbacks, you’ll get to go into a hollowed out cave that was believed to be a shelter for the Kumeyaay!

There are two ways to experience Annie’s Canyon: (1) the moderate way takes you up to a beautiful overlook and you can do it while wearing a baby easily (2) the strenuous way with narrow switchbacks. If you are claustrophobic, proceed with caution!  

We have to admit, we haven’t experimented scaling the strenuous path, with its steep and narrow incline in the canyon, with a baby carrier. If you are interested in trying this out with babes in tow, maybe bring a buddy or make it a family affair. That way, if it’s too tough, or you’re not comfortable going up with the baby, you can take turns. Just proceed slowly and cautiously. Again, since it’s such a short trailhead, you have that luxury as long as you have a couple adults on hand. We don’t want to ruin the surprise of the experience, but the sandstone walls of the canyon eventually leads up to some steep and narrow switchbacks that can be tricky to maneuver. We’ve spotted young children scaling this with glee as well as senior citizens, so do not be intimidated!

Once you reach the top of the trail, enjoy the overlook for a few minutes and get an expansive view of the lagoon and Pacific Ocean from 200-feet above sea level!  

Insider Tips:

  • Dogs are allowed on all trails except Annie’s Canyon so plan accordingly.
  • Parking at the Nature Center is limited so we recommend visiting this trail on a weekday.
  • The First Sunday of each month is Family Fun Day at the Nature Center from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm.
  • Remember, this is a nature reserve which means that the land is protected! Resist the temptation to walk off trail and be sure to not disturb the plants or wildlife you may see.
  • If you have allergies, consider taking any remedies or medication beforehand to help ward off the sniffles and itchy eyes!
  • Bring plenty of water! It gets hot, ya’ll. Also be sure to wear hats, sunscreen, and anything else to protect from the sun. There are some shaded areas, but most of the trails have good stretches of direct sunlight.
  • Check out these pamphlets for information about the plants and animals that live on the reserve. Great learning resources for parents and children alike! Rios Trailhead & San Elijo Brochure
  • Notice a lot of construction around the lagoon? The San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy is in the middle of a multi-phase Restoration Project, which explains the construction and closed trails. Interested in learning more? Check out this page.