Posts Tagged "Parenting"


‘Incredibly concerning’: More U.S. teens are trying to lose weight – National

by BBG Hub

Despite growing awareness around body positivity, new research has found more American teenagers are dieting today than in the past — especially young women.

From 2013 to 2016, nearly 38 per cent of adolescents between the ages of 16 and 19 said they had tried to lose weight during the past year, according to new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics.

This number is up from previous years, as around 24 per cent of U.S. adolescents attempted to lose weight between 2009 and 2010.

The CDC found almost half of adolescent girls tried to lose weight compared to almost one-third of boys. For both boys and girls, a higher percentage of Hispanic teenagers tried to lose weight compared to other groups, the centre wrote.

READ MORE: Coping with ‘beach body’ season when you have an eating disorder

The data found that among those who tried to lose weight, the most common ways were through exercise (83.5 per cent), drinking a lot of water (52 per cent) and eating less (nearly 49 per cent). Over 82 per cent of teens said they tried to lose weight using two or more methods.

The recent U.S. data is not surprising to Amanda Raffoul, a PhD candidate in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo who researches disordered eating and dieting, largely in adolescents.

Raffoul says there’s reason to believe more Canadian teens are trying to lose weight, too. She says unlike the U.S., Canada does not have consistent weight-loss data for youth.

READ MORE: Men suffer from eating disorders, too — so why do we ignore them?

“A lot of us working in the area have assumed that rates of dieting have gone up, but without consistent data sources, we can’t necessarily track those changes over time as well,” she said. “Seeing results like this sort of confirms our beliefs [in Canada] — but it’s still incredibly concerning.”

Why more youth are trying to lose weight

Raffoul says teens and children are particularly vulnerable to weight-loss messaging in society. As children grow into adolescents, they internalize any pressures from family, friends and the media. This can lead to unhealthy weight-loss behaviours.

“Combine that with the fact that there’s a growing emphasis on health and wellness that proliferates across social media and popular messaging, and [youth] are constantly engaged,” Raffoul said.

WATCH: Eating more plant-based food

Things like weight-loss tea and waist trainers — products often endorsed by celebrities and influencers on Instagram — affect the adolescents that see them. Raffoul says products like these promise “easy and simple weight loss,” which is enticing to young adults.

“When you’re a teenager or child who’s under a lot of pressure to look a certain way and [see] something that’s a promised ‘easy solution,’ that makes you more inclined to want to engage in that,” she explained. “Even though we know that weight is incredibly complex and not something that simple.”

Dieting in youth can affect people into adulthood

As the CDC report found, Raffoul says young women are more likely to engage in weight-loss behaviour or dieting than young men.

A recent report that Raffoul co-authored found women and non-binary individuals had a higher risk of engaging in more weight‐loss behaviours, many of which were unhealthy or dangerous. (It’s important to note than men and adolescents are affected by eating disorders and dieting, too.)

READ MORE: Calorie-tracking apps can help with weight loss, but aren’t perfect, experts say

Developing unhealthy dieting behaviours as an adolescent puts people at a greater risk of having disordered eating habits as an adult, Raffoul says. This is particularly true for women.

“Eating disorders are obviously very complex and have a lot of factors that contribute to them,” Raffoul said. “But dieting at a young age is a pretty major risk factor.”

How to have healthy conversations around weight

To combat the risk of developing an eating disorder or disordered relationship with food, Raffoul says it’s important for youth to see messages that promote health — not weight loss.

Educating children and teens on the importance of regular exercise and a balanced diet is necessary, but the focus around these topics should never be on weight loss.

WATCH: Healthy Living Report — Disordered eating and weight loss

“If we continuously focus on needing to lose weight as an indicator of health, then people will do whatever they can, or feel like they need to do, to lose that weight without focusing on not only their physical health but also their mental health and social well-being,” she said.

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Your kid just caught you having sex — now what? – National

by BBG Hub

Having ‘the talk’ with your kids can be awkward for them, but having them walk in on you in the middle of sex can be, well, very uncomfortable.

“I think a lot depends on what exactly the child sees, along with their age,” said Sara Dimerman, a Toronto-based registered psychologist and parenting expert.

If a child is three or four years old and sees some movement under the covers, Dimerman says they may not realize their parents are being intimate. When it comes to an older child or teen, however, things can get tricky.

WATCH BELOW: Parenting with patience

“If the parents are fully exposed and their bodies are contorted in a way that is foreign for the child to see, and [he or] she is around the age of 11, then it may be upsetting, or even embarrassing,” Dimerman told Global News.

“Around the age of 16… [a child] might find it more ‘gross’ or disgusting because that’s not the image they want to have of their parents.”

If your kid likely knows what they saw, it’s important to talk to them.

How to talk to kids about seeing sex

Dimerman says parents should take cues from their child’s reaction, and respond accordingly.

READ MORE: Why some people have sex even when they aren’t in the mood

If a child is too young to realize what they just saw, or is seemingly unaware of the situation, a parent could “just respond to the child’s need without making a big deal of it,” Dimerman said. But if a kid freaked out or ran away after seeing their parents in the act, it’s important to talk to them quickly.

“A parent might say something like, ‘I know it surprised you to see us naked on the bed together and being intimate,’” Dimerman said.

“Then, validate [their] feelings with: ‘It’s always awkward and uncomfortable to walk in on parents having sex, and that’s why our door was shut; because sex is something private. But we want you to know that you didn’t do anything wrong, and to save you from feeling this way next time, how about knocking first?”

WATCH BELOW: Parenting tips

The important thing is to not pretend the incident didn’t happen. Ignoring sex can stigmatize the act and confuse children, said Sara Moore, an assistant professor of sociology at Salem State University who specializes in sexuality and family life.

“Ignoring it may give the child an impression that sex is something to hide or be ashamed of,” Moore told Global News. “While it may seem easy to ‘save face’ by pretending it didn’t happen, parents then have little influence on how their child interprets what they saw.”

Be honest and open about sex

Moore says children will be less affected if they walk in on their parents having sex if they actually understand what sex is. A lack of understanding can be upsetting for them.

READ MORE: Why most ‘dad shaming’ comes from mom

To help kids develop a healthy attitude towards intercourse, Moore says parents should talk to their kids about it at an early age. She says so many young people get misinformation from the media and pornography, which can harm perceptions of sex.

Planned Parenthood says that when adults talk to their kids about sex, it reduces the likelihood that they’ll engage in risky sexual behaviour. It also helps normalize sex, and create a healthy relationship with sexuality.

Moore says sex conversations should be age-appropriate. For a kid in elementary school, for example, teaching them proper names for body parts and topics of consent are important. Moore says when her daughter was five and started asking where babies came from, she and her husband had a conversation with her about reproduction.

WATCH BELOW: How to be a great role model to your kids

“Having those conversations early and consistently will help children better understand what consensual sex is, and why people have sex to begin with,” Moore said. “Nobody wants to see their parents having sex, but it’s likely much more ‘traumatic’ for children when their experience is filtered through half-formed or ill-informed ideas about what sex is.”

The other thing all parents should remember? Lock the door if you’re going to get intimate.

“We live in a culture that suggests kids should have full access to their parents 100 per cent of the time,” Moore said.

“This isn’t healthy for parents or their kids, and parents should let their kids know they sometimes need private, child-free time together.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Caring for the caregiver: Raising children with a disability or chronic disease – National

by BBG Hub

Amy Illingworth’s world was turned upside down when her two-year-old daughter, Victoria, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

“It felt like the ground had fallen out from under my feet,” she said.

But she wasn’t idle for long — within months she had quit her job, devoting all her time and energy to Victoria’s care.

READ MORE: Caregivers of loved ones with dementia experience distress, isolation, study says

“I entrenched myself in the care and diagnostics of Victoria… that was my focus,” Illingworth told Global News.

“I wasn’t really talking to my friends or former colleagues, I was avoiding social media, I shut down my LinkedIn account. I wasn’t doing the things I loved to do.”

It wasn’t until her husband said something that she realized her lack of self-care was harming both her and her child.

READ MORE: The CRA makes it so hard to get the disability tax credit, many don’t even try

“He said, ‘You want to care for Victoria in the best way that you can, [but] it’s important for you to be healthy, too,’” Illingworth said. “That felt like a luxury I didn’t have time for because of all the appointments.”

Since the diagnosis, Illingworth’s life had been consumed by brochures, research and meetings with specialists. She realized quickly that she knew nothing about how to care for someone with a physical disability.

“From an education standpoint, it’s very challenging. From an emotional standpoint, it’s very challenging,” she said.

WATCH BELOW: Children can have suicidal thoughts at very young age, psychologist says

More than eight million Canadians provide unpaid care to loved ones with health issues, saving the health-care system more than $26 billion per year. Unfortunately, since caregivers are preoccupied with someone else’s needs, it often comes at the cost of their own health.

A 2016 study by the Canadian Public Health Association found that caregivers reported being anxious or worried about their responsibilities, and had increased levels of stress, and depression as well as low levels of subjective well-being. Sixteen per cent of caregivers reported “very high” levels of stress.

Dr. Dorian Traube, an associate professor in the school of social work at the University of Southern California, believes those effects can get much worse when caring for your own child.

“There’s widely documented caregiver stress… but there’s an element of having an ill child that I think triggers something particularly acute,” she said. “You have an intrinsic devotion to your child.”

The burden of having a sick child

When a child becomes sick, the parent’s entire ecosystem is disrupted.

“You have to quit your job or you may lose your job… you may lose social relationships, because human relationships take effort and nurturing and you may not have the ability to focus on those,” Traube added.

READ MORE: ‘It breaks you’ — Teacher goes viral with post about why she quit her job 

For Payal K., the stress of her daughter’s illness was compounded by the shock and confusion of recently immigrating to Canada from India. (She has asked that her last name and her daughter’s diagnosis not be shared to protect their privacy.)

“As with any immigrant, [we had] the universal challenges of finding a job, settling, acclimatizing to the weather… then you add another layer of having a child who has these needs,” said Payal.

Suddenly, Payal was going through a massive life change without any family support or community connections. She also had to learn how to navigate a brand new healthcare system — one riddled with forms and procedures that can often be confusing for people who grew up here.

WATCH BELOW: Alberta boy requires germ-free environment because of rare disorder

“It was a very daunting task,” she said. “[My needs] had to take a backseat.”

According to Traube, even thinking about yourself when all these other people are relying on you can cause immense feelings of guilt.

“It becomes something that your entire brain capacity is taken up with… but humans need balance,” said Traube. “There’s not room for anything else, including self-care.”

READ MORE: ‘It has made me a better person’ — What it’s like to raise a child with autism

Without balance, there’s stress — and stress can wreak “all sorts of havoc” on your biological system.

It can cause “everything from weight gain to issues with blood pressure,” Traube explained. “There are even concerns about a linkage between acute stress and higher risk for autoimmune diseases.”

Despite all this, Illingworth believes most healthcare centres fail to prioritize parents of sick children.

“Some of the advertisements — when it’s like mothers bawling their eyes out in a shower and then they have to shake themselves off — that is accurate,” she said. “You are alone.”

A gap in the health-care system

Parenting expert Ann Douglas agrees with Illingworth. She has four kids, all of whom had a number of mental health and neurological challenges throughout childhood. She wrote about her experiences in her book Parenting Through the Storm

“There are all these different layers of worry,” she told Global News. “There’s exhaustion and worry… a lot of mental and emotional labour is involved in researching the systems and supports available… work-life balance issues… and the financial impact.”

The biggest thing a hospital can do, in Douglas’s view, is put together a peer support network for parents to get practical assistance from “other parents who have walked this walk.”

WATCH BELOW: Half of fathers admit to being criticized about parenting, poll says

Traube echos the need for “social support.”

“Making sure you have the ability to reach out… if it’s family, friends, your significant other,” she said. “You need to be able to talk about your feelings… you need to be able to ask somebody to bring you dinner.”

She also encourages parents to find “purpose in the process,” or a way to grow from their child’s illness.

READ MORE: Early onset dementia — How to care for your spouse and yourself

“For example, lots of parents who have children with cancer become heavily involved in the world of cancer fundraising,” said Traube. “It’s about deciding to have another interest that you can devote at least a small amount of time to… and having a place to go and things to do with your time.”

This offers parents a chance to regain control. Traube said this is critical for the well-being of both parent and child.

“There’s a reason why, when you’re on an airplane, they always say that if the airbags deploy, you should put yours on first and then your child’s.”

WATCH BELOW: Health-care professionals sound alarm after shutdown of Motherisk helpline

Illingworth and Payal both credit the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Centre in Toronto as being the first place they understood the need for self-care and peer support.

Now, they’re family leaders at the centre, working to support other families with similar stories.

The right way to support caregivers

Jean Hammond, family partnerships specialist at Holland Bloorview first discovered the centre when her daughter was a patient. She said there is a “spectrum of caregiver needs” among the parents she works with, and providing for those needs is one of their top priorities.

“What we’re hoping to create is a group of caregivers who feel supported, who have been given education, training and support in order to do their very important job,” she said. “Caregivers provide 80 per cent of the care, and that helps [doctors] provide the other 20 per cent.”

READ MORE: Why incorrect terms like ‘dry drowning’ can be confusing for parents

With that in mind, Holland Bloorview has a number of programs available to the parents of its patients.

The first is an informal peer support group, where some parents (called family leaders) are identified as having experience as a caregiver and they offer their knowledge to new parents.

“For a parent of a special needs child meeting another parent of a special needs child, there’s an automatic connection and a sense of ‘getting it,’” Hammond said.

WATCH BELOW: 9 habits for kids’ mental health and ways parents can help

Her team also organizes frequent coffee nights and potlucks, which offer parents of inpatient children a break within the hospital walls.

“We also have an online resource hub for caregivers, and we have education workshops for caregivers on topics such as self-care, resiliency, mindfulness and nutrition,” said Hammond.

Recently, parents at Holland Bloorview met for a “paperwork party,” where they were invited to bring forms and applications they found lengthy or confusing.

“Caregivers have to fill out a form for just about everything,” said Hammond. “Understandably, these get pushed to the bottom of the to-do list frequently.”

READ MORE: Post-partum euphoria is more than just feeling happy — experts say it can be a ‘lethal condition

Members of Hammond’s team and a social worker were present to offer support. They also taught parents new to the centre how to most effectively apply for funding.

Illingworth says nights like these have been “life-changing” for her family.

“I have a better understanding of how to raise this child, and not just take her to appointments. It’s about the bigger picture,” she said.

“I would love for other hospitals to see the benefit of the holistic, client-centred, team approach. I think it makes a huge difference in the psychology of the whole family.”

For families that may not have this sort of centre as an option, experts suggest looking for support groups in the community or online.

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Post-partum euphoria is more than just feeling happy — experts say it can be a ‘lethal condition’ – National

by BBG Hub

Having a baby can be overwhelming: not only do you suddenly have another human life to sustain, but your body also releases a flurry of hormones that can affect your mood.

For nearly a quarter of new moms, these hormonal shifts lead to post-partum depression — a debilitating anxiety disorder that can make women feel sad, worthless, hopeless, guilty or anxious.

However, some new moms have the exact opposite post-partum experience — they’re overjoyed, energized by only a few hours of sleep and extremely productive.

READ MORE: Nearly one-quarter of moms experience post-partum depression or anxiety — StatCan

This is known as post-partum euphoria — clinically referred to as a state of hypomania — and although it sounds like a positive side effect to giving birth, it’s actually very dangerous.

Few studies have been done on the phenomenon, but current research suggests that 10 to 20 per cent of women may have significant symptoms of hypomania within the first few days of delivery.

Although the condition may not seem dangerous initially, it can become riskier over time.

READ MORE: Skip the baby shower — Why some moms need post-partum parties after birth

“If a mother develops more severe symptoms of mania, she may begin to engage in risky behaviour, not appreciating the consequences of her actions, or believe that she has special powers or abilities,” Dr. Lori Wasserman, psychiatrist and lead of the Reproductive Life Stages Program at Women’s College Hospital, told Global News.

According to Wasserman, post-partum euphoria is especially menacing because it can present as a new mom who is simply coping well with her new stage of life.

WATCH: How hired post-partum help is becoming more commonplace for moms

“The mother may actually appear to be coping well with abundant energy,” she said. “However, if euphoria develops into irritability, the mother’s emotional availability and attunement to the baby could be compromised.”

Also concerning is the fact that a state of hypomania can be followed by a depressive episode.

“In fact, one study found that women who had an elevated mood in the first week following delivery had higher depression scores at eight weeks post-partum,” said Wasserman.

How it’s diagnosed

A lack of sleep, “feeling like you’re on Cloud 9” and near-dangerous levels of productivity can all indicate a state of hypomania.

The symptoms can worsen quickly so it’s important that any new mom who notices strange behaviour sees a doctor as soon as possible.

“I don’t want people to panic, but it’s a very lethal condition… the risk of suicide is very high,” said Dr. Christine Korol, a registered psychologist at the Vancouver Anxiety Centre.

“If you feel like you don’t need sleep, or you’re not sleeping for days or you’re starting to do some bizarre things, you want to go to a doctor right away.”

WATCH: 5 ways to help a friend with post-partum depression

After reporting your symptoms to your doctor, you will likely be sent to a psychologist or psychiatrist for a psychological evaluation.

“They’ll take [your] medical history as well as your family history,” said Korol. “They’ll also listen to family members if they’re able to come and give collateral information about your post-partum behaviour.”

READ MORE: ‘My whole life taken away’ — Ontario father questions why 24-year-old died post-childbirth

Moms who have a family history of bipolar or other mood disorders are more susceptible to developing post-partum euphoria after birth.

“It can bring about significant mood symptoms in those that have an underlying genetic vulnerability,” Wasserman said.

“Doctors look for the presence of… an elevated or euphoric mood, increased talkativeness, racing thoughts, grandiosity, decreased need for sleep, increased activity and distractibility.”

READ MORE: First post-partum depression drug for women approved in U.S.

If post-partum euphoria is diagnosed, medication to help with “mood stability and sleep” will likely be prescribed.

Korol says that for women who have an increased risk of developing post-partum euphoria, there’s even the option to begin preventive medication during pregnancy.

“If you’re showing signs while you’re pregnant… there are drugs you can take while you’re still pregnant [that are safe] for both you and the baby,” she said.

A call for increased awareness

As the medical community turns its attention to post-partum depression, post-partum euphoria is falling behind.

“It’s very under-diagnosed… clinicians don’t know as much as they should about it,” said Korol. “Although the prevalence is relatively lower, the consequences are pretty severe.”

She believes there should be regular screening for post-partum euphoria in the same way there is for post-partum depression.

READ MORE: Baby bumps aren’t the same size — here’s why

The latter is currently diagnosed using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), a survey that identifies symptoms of depression in new moms. There is no equivalent for post-partum euphoria.

Increased awareness will not only benefit doctors and the process of diagnosis but help families recognize the signs and symptoms faster, Korol added.

“We want families to understand what it is and to know that there’s treatment,” she said.

“You want it treated because the longer you leave it, the more damage that’s done to the brain.”

—With files from Arti Patel

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘Panda parenting’ is all about giving children more freedom — but does it work? – National

by BBG Hub

The concept of snowplow parenting may not be for everyone, but “panda parenting” is meant to be the alternative.

The term was first dubbed in April by author Esther Wojcicki in the Telegraph. As she described it, panda parenting gives children freedom to make decisions for themselves (within reason).

Recently speaking with the Daily Mail, Wojcicki said she allowed her daughters to walk to school alone or quit a musical instrument if they were no longer interested. Panda parents allow children to do things for themselves without parents getting in the way. But it doesn’t mean panda parents are lazy.

“Panda mums aren’t lazy. What they do is give children scaffolding to let them go free. Instead of always intervening, you only help when they need it,” she told the site.

READ MORE: ‘Snowplow parenting’ is preventing young adults from learning ‘basic life skills’

Parenting blogger Tom Briggs of East Sussex in the U.K. recently wrote about being a panda parent himself.

“I’ve only just realized that I’m a panda parent but consider myself one as what I’ve read about it tallies with my approach,” he told Global News. “Namely that I try to gently guide my children rather than do too much for them. Obviously, I’m there if they need help, but it’s important that kids are allowed to learn in their own terms within reason.”

Briggs argued it is harder for children to be children these days.

“Here in the U.K., primary school children as young as five are getting regular homework. They shouldn’t be under such stress at such a young age so, as much as possible, I try to let them do their own thing at home,” he continued.

READ MORE: Danielle Smith — Public shaming of children is sometimes justifiable

Although there is some concern that panda parents allow their children to get as much screen time as they want, Briggs said this isn’t true.

“We limit screen time… They’re encouraged to play with toys or in the garden much more and they’re happy with that.”

Pros and cons

Briggs said a pro of panda parenting is that it allows children to be more independent and pick up responsibilities at a younger age.

“It also enables them to learn from their mistakes in a way that other approaches don’t necessarily accommodate,” he added.

Parenting expert Maureen Dennis told Global News that allowing children to learn from their mistakes teaches them the importance of failing and moving on.

“[It] also teaches them how to ask for help when needed, not out of laziness or lack of knowledge but because they understand when to use the resources available to them,” she said.

“In my experience, kids who are given the chance to exceed their own expectations go on to set bigger goals for themselves and use their knowledge and resources even more effectively in the future.”

READ MORE: ‘They struggle to balance demands of life’ — Why some parents hate parenting

But some panda parents are judged for these methods, she said.

“You aren’t doing everything for your children; it may be perceived as ‘lazy parenting,’” she said.

“This can leave parents questioning their own values when others judge them. I tend to find parents of lots of kids naturally more easygoing as parents. Once you are officially outnumbered, you tend to expect more from your kids, and life becomes more of a team effort, which is not laziness — it’s delegation.”

Simple ways to add panda parenting to your routine

Dennis added that when parents are too involved (think snowplow parenting) it robs children of learning.

“Let’s take making lunches as an example. Every kid six years old and older is more than capable of putting food in a bag for themselves,” she said. “It’s the parents’ job to make sure there is food to make lunch and to give guidance on what makes up an acceptable lunch.”

She added that during this time of the year (when school wraps up), many parents post messages of relief to social media about not having to pack lunches for their children anymore.

“Which always has me baffled. First of all, kids can and should make their own lunches, and once it’s summer, don’t their kids still eat lunch? Who’s making these easy summer lunches?” she said.

READ MORE: UK mom receives backlash for giving daughters ‘time out’ on supermarket floor

Making your own lunch or packing a lunch bag is just one example of something that can turn into a routine, she said.

“I will admit [it] can be easier as a parent in the moment because it can be torture to wait for kids to do things themselves, but every time you let your child do something for themselves, you are giving them the gift of independence so I ask you, which is really the lazy parenting style?” Dennis said.

And Briggs pointed out that it’s OK for parents to change their parenting style over time.

“I’ve definitely evolved as a parent over the years. I was probably more of a helicopter or snowplow parent before, but things have changed a lot since I first became a dad. It has probably been influenced by a combination of experience plus the shifting dynamic of having three children,” he said.

“This method definitely works for me at the moment. I don’t know whether that will always remain the case, particularly once we hit the teenage years but, for now, it’s an approach that works because my children respond well to it.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Chrissy Teigen ‘mom-shamed’ for painting 3-year-old daughter’s nails – National

by BBG Hub

Chrissy Teigen is at the centre of a heated debate after posting a video of her three-year-old daughter, Luna, with freshly painted toenails.

“Doing her nails is my knitting. Kid toes kill me!” wrote the mom of two on Twitter.

Dozens of parents responded excitedly with similar photos of their children’s tiny, painted toes. However, a few critics expressed concern about putting nail polish on a young child.

READ MORE: Mom lets 2-year-old dye her hair for self-expression — but is this the best way?

In a now-deleted tweet, one user wrote: “Applying poisonous chemicals directly onto a child’s body cannot be good. Whatever poisons are in polish are absorbed through the nail and directly into their body.”

Teigen responded: “Well I actually had her drink it, so joke’s on you.”

Is it true that “poisons” in nail polish can be absorbed through the nail and into the body? Not quite, says Dr. Dina Kulik.

According to Kulik, founder and director of Kidcrew Pediatrics in Toronto, there are three toxic chemicals commonly used in traditional nail polish: toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate.

The amount of these chemicals that is absorbed through the nails is “very, very low,” she said.

READ MORE: ‘Snowplow parenting’ is preventing young adults from learning ‘basic life skills’

However, doctors don’t know the long-term impact of using these chemicals on the nails on a regular basis — and that risk extends to both children and adults.

“Many women do this [regularly] but does that potentially increase the risk of certain types of cancers, for example?” said Kulik.

“It’s hard to say… That’s a potential with a chemical [like] formaldehyde.”

WATCH: How parenting has changed in the past 50 years

Another risk of using nail polish around young children is the possibility that they ingest the chemicals, which can cause severe damage to the nervous system.

“Things like seizures, a decreased level of consciousness… headaches, vomiting as well as respiratory issues, like coughing or difficulty breathing,” said Kulik.

In this circumstance, Kulik says you should contact your province’s centre for poison control as soon as possible.

READ MORE: 7 popular — yet tricky — parenting questions answered

“It’s never safe to wait and just watch and see what happens,” she said. “A chemical can be poisonous without showing symptoms.”

Kulik recommends the same course of action if your child ingests any toxic chemical — not just nail polish.

This includes household items such as nail polish remover, cleaning products and pain medication like acetaminophen.

WATCH: YouTube star JoJo Siwa’s makeup collection pulled from Claire’s for asbestos

As an alternative, Kulik recommends chemical-free nail polish for both children and adults.

“There are many different products on the market that are free from the various chemicals that would pose concern,” she said.

“I don’t know what [Teigen] used on her child, but it’s quite likely that it was something that was free of these chemicals because there are so many brands available which are [chemical-free].”

READ MORE: How much time you spend on screens should be based on age, not minuted: CPS

As long as you’re using chemical-free nail polish, parenting expert Kathy Lynn would actually encourage painting your child’s nails — that is, if that’s what they want to do.

“It’s make-believe, it’s fun, it’s fantasy,” she told Global News. “It’s like sparkles on a shirt.”

If the child is having fun, Lynn says nail polish and other beauty products are a great means of self-expression.

WATCH: Do gel manicures cause cancer?

However, use of these products on a regular basis can become cause for concern if a child appears to be using them out of insecurity.

“If what you see is a little girl that has coloured nail polish on admiring [her fingers] one minute, and the next minute is digging those same hands into sand — boom, you’ve got yourself a kid,” she said.

Alternatively, if your child tries to start acting “older” or “more maturely,” you may need to have a discussion with your child about why they want to use those products.

READ MORE: Here’s how often you should really wash your hair, according to experts

For Lynn, it’s important to emphasize that you think your child is beautiful — with or without such items.

“It’s about saying: ‘Today, you’re trying makeup on, just like mom, but you know you’re really always a cool kid, right?’” said Lynn.

“I think the important thing is to allow our kids to be kids but also understanding that a little bit of coloured nail polish on their toes is not the end of the world.”

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi gets real about mastitis, a painful breast infection – National

by BBG Hub

Nicole Polizzi, also known as Snooki from the TV show Jersey Shore, isn’t afraid to get real about her adventures in motherhood.

Earlier this year, fans criticized the mom of three for allowing her older children, ages 4 and 6, to ride around Disney World in strollers. Polizzi shrugged off the comments, saying strollers save her “the stress of not losing [her] offspring.”

Now, the reality star is opening up about a painful side effect of breastfeeding: mastitis.

READ MORE: Mom’s raw photo shows the painful side of breastfeeding — ‘Why is this so hard?’ 

In an Instagram story on Thursday, Polizzi shared a picture with her head in her hands.

“Felt the onset of mastitis starting. Had the worst chills and fever the other night, and I’ve been pumping and feeding my boobs off all day. Jesus, take the wheel,” she wrote.

She and her husband Jionni LaValle welcomed their third child, Angelo James, at the end of May.

READ MORE: When should your child stop using a stroller?

According to the Canadian Breastfeeding Foundation (CBF), Polizzi’s symptoms sound similar to those of mastitis, which can also produce a painful lump in the breast and redness near the infected site.

“Mastitis is due to an infection (almost always due to bacteria rather than other types of germs) that usually occurs in breastfeeding mothers,” says the site.

Jandy Beresford, a board-certified lactation consultant based in Durham, Ont., says mastitis is most often caused by a blocked duct.

“It’s milk that has stayed in the breast too long… if that blockage isn’t cleared, it gets infected and then it can cause some serious symptoms for the mother and be very uncomfortable,” Beresford told Global News.

Signs and symptoms

In Beresford’s experience, mastitis makes you feel like you’ve been “hit by a truck.”

“It’s like getting the flu really badly and really quickly,” she said.

Sometimes, you can feel the bump of hardened milk, though not always. It depends on where the lump is in your breast.

“The telltale sign of mastitis is a fever because it’s an infection,” said Beresford.

Instagram / @snooki

According to Dr. Jack Newman, founder of the International Breastfeeding Centre, a blocked duct can occur when the mother has an abundant milk supply but the baby’s latch is not as good as it can be.

“This results in poor drainage of the breast while the baby is feeding,” he said.

Unfortunately, the presence of mastitis can make it even more difficult for the baby to feed.

“Often, the breast will not empty well because of the swelling,” said Newman.

WATCH: 50 litres of breast milk donated by Okanagan mothers to help babies in need

In his view, a mother with mastitis should continue to breastfeed with the affected breast as long as the pain isn’t too bad.

“For years, physicians had been telling mothers not to feed on the affected side, which makes no sense at all,” he said.

Maintaining a normal feeding schedule should allow the duct to clear on its own.

READ MORE: Breastfeeding mother claims she was asked to leave Montreal courtroom

If the pain is too severe, both Beresford and Newman recommend ibuprofen, which is anti-inflammatory and will ease the pain.

“If it’s not getting better in 24 hours, you want to get antibiotics,” said Beresford. “You don’t want to let it get worse.”

If left untreated, mastitis can lead to an abscess in the breast. Sometimes, surgery is necessary.

Can it affect the baby?

If you have mastitis, you don’t need to worry about your baby catching the infection because you’ve already shared all of your germs via breastfeeding.

However, if the pain isn’t too severe, you should continue to nurse because it’s the baby’s natural shield against illness.

“[The baby’s] best defence is breastfeeding,” Newman said.

WATCH: Alberta woman gives new meaning to term hockey mom

What you need to ensure is that your baby doesn’t get hungry, says Beresford.

“There’s a blockage… which may affect the flow of milk, and the baby may get frustrated,” she said. “Sometimes, the baby won’t be able to get enough.”

In this case, she would recommend consulting a lactation expert who can help you and your baby get back to a normal feeding pattern as soon as possible.


To avoid mastitis, it’s crucial that the baby achieves a good latch on the very first day of breastfeeding.

“Make sure the baby drinks well at the breast [and] get help early if these conditions are not met,” said Newman.

He added that it’s not normal for the mother to have sore nipples, although it is a common side effect of breastfeeding.

“If the mother has sore nipples, she should get good hands-on help early… [ideally] while still in hospital,” he added.

READ MORE: Breastfeeding for 6 months can cut women’s risk of diabetes, study says

Beresford emphasizes that everyone’s experience with breastfeeding will be slightly different. The important thing is that the baby is getting the nutrients he or she needs to grow.

“If your baby is latching on and drinking well, if they’re satisfied when they come off the breast… if they’re growing well, if they’re happy and content, if you can put them down, if it doesn’t hurt… things are going well,” she said.

“If any of those things aren’t happening, then see a breastfeeding specialist or a lactation consultant… so you can prevent potential issues.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘It shouldn’t have happened’: Baby allegedly strangled to death by teething necklace – National

by BBG Hub

Danielle Morin didn’t think twice about letting her 18-month-old son, Deacon, use the beaded teething necklace she was given as a gift.

She assumed that the accessory, meant to help alleviate her baby’s teething pain, was safe for babies. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.

In October 2016, Deacon was placed down for a nap at daycare when the necklace allegedly tightened around his neck and constricted his breathing.

The child was rushed to hospital but he didn’t survive.

READ MORE: Mom left devastated after toddler dies choking on bouncy ball

Now, Morin has filed a lawsuit against Etsy, the retail website which sold the teething necklace. She argues that Etsy is legally responsible for Deacon’s death.

“I want parents to know there is no more Toys R Us… people need to go online to buy products… and these products aren’t always safe,” Morin said in an interview with Yahoo.

“No parent should have to grieve a child. No parent should have to bury their child.”

In response, Etsy released a statement which said: “While we understand the desire to take action, Etsy is a platform and did not make or directly sell this item. We believe the allegations should be directed at the criminally-negligent daycare providers or, if appropriate, the seller of the necklace.”

Unfortunately, Deacon’s death was completely avoidable.

In the opinion of Dr. Dan Flanders, the founder of Kindercare Pediatrics, the baby shouldn’t have had the teething necklace in the first place.

“One completely preventable death is one too many. It shouldn’t have happened.”

In Flanders’ opinion, there are two ways teething necklaces could put babies in danger.

“One, it could cause strangulation,” he said. “The other is that… the necklace could break and then [the child] could put those little beads in their mouth — they could be a choking hazard.”

Dr. Catherine Cox, a resident in the Dalhousie University department of family medicine, agrees.

She recently conducted a case study on a baby who suffered from non-fatal infant strangulation caused by a teething necklace.

While no deaths caused by teething necklaces have been reported in Canada, there have been several cases of non-fatal strangulation. This can cause oxygen deprivation to a baby’s brain and result in serious health consequences.

Despite these risks, manufacturers continue to sell these products — and parents continue to buy them.

READ MORE: Parents, vaping near children is just as dangerous as smoking: study

“The distribution of these products that have warnings have actually increased in the past five years,” said Cox. “So people are using more of these products, despite the dangers.”

According to Cox, manufacturers will try to offset these worries by making erroneous claims about different safety features.

“A lot of manufacturers explicitly counter the intuitive risk of strangulation or aspiration by saying that there’s a knot between each bead that reduces the probability of [them] becoming loose,” she said.

They’ll also claim the necklace has “a clasp break that will break under tension… so the risk of strangulation is minimized, but there’s actually no validity to support that,” Cox said.

Health Canada has actually issued several warnings around these products in the past.”

WATCH BELOW: Keeping your kids safe in the car

The rise of teething necklace sales in Canada is especially concerning because babies may not even need teething aids at all.

According to Flanders, doctors can’t confirm if babies even feel pain during teething.

“For some babies, teeth come in and it’s as if nothing’s wrong — there’s no irritability, no nothing,” Flanders said.

“Then other baby’s teeth come in and they seem really irritable and upset, but we can never really attribute it to teething.”

Accessories like teething necklaces are supposed to help alleviate pain caused by new teeth penetrating a baby’s gums. The baby is meant to chew on the beads as a way to relieve pressure.

However, in terms of a cost-benefit analysis, Flanders sees very little benefit to this method.

“Putting these necklaces on babies is all risk and no benefit.”

“I don’t think teething necklaces do anything to help teething pains, which is the tragedy of this case,” said Flanders.

READ MORE: Are your baby’s ‘first finger foods’ safe? Some may be a choking hazard: study

If you believe your baby is struggling with teething pain, there are other options you should explore.

Flanders recommends doctor-approved teething rings or even the pads of a parent’s fingers.

“Sometimes, it’s better if they chew on a soft texture,” Flanders said. “Sometimes, chewing on cold objects can give them relief.”

For this, Flanders suggests placing a teething ring in the fridge — not the freezer.

WATCH BELOW: Alarms raised over Amazon smart speaker for kids over information reportedly not being deleted

“We advise against frozen things because those can cause low-temperature burns, like frostbite,” he said.

If your baby appears to be in prolonged discomfort, Flanders recommends a dose of Tylenol or Advil.

If that doesn’t work, you should consult your family doctor.

“If the baby is really irritable and upset and you can’t really seem to get it under control — and you know this is a new-ish behaviour (in other words, it hasn’t been going on for months and months) — then something is obviously wrong,” said Flanders.

“It’s always the right answer to seek help from a medical doctor.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘Little heroes’: Childhood cancer survivors reunite for powerful remission photo – National

by BBG Hub

Childhood cancer patients Rheann Franklin, Ainsley Peters and Rylie Hughey have known each other for five years — but when they first met, they weren’t sure they would even live for that long.

The sweet girls connected when Oklahoma photographer Lora Scantling put a call out for kids battling the deadly disease in 2014.

“These were the three that showed up,” Scantling told Global News.

The photographer wanted to highlight the girls’ battles, and the result was a powerful image that went viral on social media. Both Scantling and the girls’ parents were blown away by the response.

READ MORE: Told she had three months to live, she beat childhood cancer against all odds

“You don’t know what a true warrior looks like until you’ve met a little kid battling [disease] with a smile on their face,” Scantling said. “I love getting to meet these little heroes and capture their spirit and personalities.”

Scantling’s fans often reach out to her, asking for health updates on the little ones she’s photographed before. This prompted her to invite Franklin, Peters and Hughey back each year to capture their recovery process.

The latest photo is the fifth instalment.

“They are all old pros at this picture-taking business now!” Scantling said. “They know the pose, they know the order, they just know how to work the camera!”

Scantling says the annual “meet-up” reminds the young girls of what they’ve been through, while the photos serve as inspiration for other kids battling cancer.

The original viral photo, taken in 2014. From left to right: Rylie Hughey, Rheann Franklin, Ainsley Peters. (Courtesy: Lora Scantling)

Courtesy Lora Scantling

Five years later, Franklin, Peters and Hughey are all cancer-free, though Franklin is still dealing with residual health issues as a result of undergoing chemotherapy and radiation at such a young age.

She began growth-hormone treatment this year in an attempt to reverse the effects of treatment, which stunted her growth.

She’s in stage-2 kidney failure as a result of damage done by radiation to her organs, which also left her unable to grow hair. As well, her eyes will likely always droop due to damage from how the tumour sat on her brain stem.

Peters and Hughey are closely monitored by doctors, but their parents say they are living relatively normal lives.

In 2018, a four-year-old boy named Connor Lloyd joined the tradition. He’s currently undergoing treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

“Connor’s family has been coming to me for years… he’s the first client of mine who was a client before he was diagnosed,” Scantling said. “[Including him] was a way to show that even though the girls are still cancer-free, there are other kids are being diagnosed every day.”

Connor’s parents are honoured to take part, and they hope their son’s involvement will spread awareness about the insidious nature of childhood cancer.

“[Cancer] could happen to anyone at any time, unexpected. Two weeks before Connor’s diagnosis, he was given a clean bill of health at his standard three-year-old check-up,” said Connor’s parents in a statement to Scantling.

“We are fortunate that Connor has responded so well to treatment to date, but there is so much more that needs to be done with research and treatment of pediatric cancers.”

This year, the four kids honoured other Little Heroes who succumbed to their disease.

(Courtesy: Lora Scantling)

Scantling first started looking for cancer patients as a way to deal with her stepfather’s lung cancer diagnosis.

“I needed something that meant something for my own heart during such a rough time,” Scantling said. “I had a friend who had lost a little boy from cancer a few years earlier, and I did his portraits just before he passed away. That’s kind of how I decided I wanted to highlight childhood cancer.”

The popularity of the photo of Franklin, Peters and Hughey inspired Scantling to start the “Little Heroes” project, which aims to spread awareness about childhood cancer and other diseases.

“Since the first photo went viral, I’ve gone on to photograph many little fighters — not just cancer fighters, but other little ones in their own battles,” she said.

“I don’t think these girls will ever understand just how powerful a simple picture of the three of them hugging has been.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Monkey see, monkey do: Teaching your kid to love their body starts with you – National

by BBG Hub

One day in January 2017, mom-of-two Kirsten Bosly had an epiphany about her body.

She was on her way to the beach with her kids when she realized she wanted photos to remember the day.

The only problem was she hated pictures of herself.

READ MORE: Mom’s bikini selfie with daughter goes viral for all the right reasons

“I didn’t like my body and I was nervous of being judged or shamed about my size. I didn’t feel attractive — I just felt vulnerable and exposed,” Bosly told Global News.

But she took some photos with her children anyway and even shared her story to Facebook in the hopes it would help others set a good example for their kids.

“They’re like super sponges right now,” she said. “If they see a parent who is content in their own skin and confident in who they are, they’ll emulate that.”

READ MORE: Is your child struggling with weight, body image? Here’s how parents can help

The photo went viral, with hundreds of people sharing their gratitude in the comments.

“I think I have my new motto: yes, my body isn’t perfect, but it has blessed us with three kids here on this earth … This year, we are trying to go on a family trip in July. I am going to make a point to put my camera in the hands of my husband and use my tripod more!” wrote Facebook user Denise Wolfram Caspell.

Since then, Bosly has totally shifted the way she treats her own body, and she believes it’s had a lasting effect on the self-confidence of her children.

“On the whole, their body image is pretty healthy. If it gets challenged, then we talk about that openly together,” she said.

“I encourage the kids to reframe negative things they say about themselves into something less detrimental for their little brains. I try to teach them that if you say, ‘I’m stupid’ to yourself enough, you may end up believing it.”

Bosly believes that this combination of modelling body-positive behaviour and having open discussions about struggling with self-love has made her children more confident and proud of their bodies.

WATCH: Challenges of parenting highly sensitive kids

Dr. Alice Wiafe wholeheartedly endorses this approach.

She works as the director of Positive Kids, Canada’s first off-site facility dedicated to working with parents and school systems to offer a curriculum for teaching emotional intelligence.

“A lot of parents love to tell their children what to do … (but) we know that children are more impacted by what they see and their experiences with you and the behaviours that you model versus what you tell them,” she said.

For Wiafe, it doesn’t matter that you tell your child they’re beautiful if you follow it by squeezing your own stomach and talking about how much weight you’ve gained.

“It’s really hard to help them when we’re struggling ourselves,” said Wiafe. “It’s important to be honest and candid about that struggle.”

READ MORE: Instagram reveals it is testing ‘hiding likes’ — will that make us happier?

The message you want to send is that nobody is perfect, but the goal is to be the best you can be.

“The goal is balance … Where is the place where I feel good within myself?” Wiafe said. Showing your kids that you’re trying to find your balance will help them do the same.

In the social media age, children need a voice of reason on their side. Wiafe believes being that voice is the parent’s responsibility.

“It’s really important that the voice within the home is louder than any other voice kids are hearing on social media,” she said. “It’s so defining, it’s so loud … it’s a parent’s job to present a different truth.”

For a look at how today’s parents are teaching body positivity, Global News asked Canadian parents to share their approaches. Here’s what they said.

Your language matters

Sarah Nicole Landry, a mom of three from Guelph, can’t stress the importance of language enough. Her Instagram account about body positivity has more than 260,000 followers.

“Diet culture is everywhere, but home is a safe place,” Landry said.

“We don’t use scales or discuss calories or even speak to ourselves with words of unkindness. Kids learn from what they see so being an example to them is very important to me.”

Toronto dad Aron Harris echoes this sentiment. He says he was an “insecure, fat kid” growing up, which made him the subject of criticism and cruel jokes from his peers.

“I remember the very few, odd days in elementary school where I didn’t get called fat more than the ones I did,” Harris said.

His childhood was a tough lesson in body image, but he now realizes that his experiences make him a better parent to his two children.

“I relate my own feelings about experiences from when I was their age to show that I understand how they feel,” he said. “If you show your kids that, no matter what, you love and support them, they’ll be more open to discussion about body positivity.”

Ditch the numbers

For Dara Bergeron, feeling good about her body has a lot to do with letting go of the numbers on the scale.

She’s the co-creator of Belly Bootcamp, an exercise program focused on training during pregnancy and after birth.

After the birth of her third child, she realized she’d been expending “mountains of mental and physical energy” in an effort to conform to societal expectations. When she stopped, she was able to start caring for her body in a different way.

“I unfollowed social media accounts which featured ‘perfect’ bodies. I stopped subscribing to women’s magazines. I stopped looking in the mirror so much. I stopped trying to hide parts of my body. I stopped dieting,” she said.

“Interestingly, as I stopped dissecting myself, I also started seeing other bodies with more tolerance and love. And as I started filling my social media with more diverse bodies, I dissected myself less.”

READ MORE: Poor body image in teen girls leads to more alcohol consumption: study

Bosly preaches a similar technique.

“I don’t know if I’ve learned (body positivity) fully yet,” she said. “I still struggle with doubts about my mummy-tummy and my extra chins, but those feelings don’t take up nearly as much space as they used to.”

Bosly says she practices a lot of positive self-talk to get herself out of that negative headspace.

“There are always days when I need to remind myself of my ‘goodness’ (think monthly bloat), and even though it’s habitual to slip into ‘I hate myself’ mode, it’s just as easy to talk your way in the other direction. One that feels infinitely better, too!” she said.

Be proud of your own body

For dad David Lee, whose daughter and son are mixed race, it’s especially important that his children see how proud he is of his body.

“(When I was younger), I was teased quite a bit for being overweight … I was also teased for being a minority in a mostly white neighbourhood so I know what it feels like to be stigmatized for your physical appearance,” Lee said.

To combat this with his own kids, he and his partner aim to be positive role models.

“We try to mention eating well, exercising and taking care of yourself, but within the context of health and not physical appearance,” Lee said.

“I just try to teach them to be kind to others and I think the rest follows from that.”

Similarly, Bergeron takes deliberate action to model self-love for her kids each and every day.

“I walk around naked! I go from (the) shower to getting dressed naked. I let them in my room when I’m changing and I never reference my body, examine it or express any desire to change it. My body simply is,” she said.

WATCH: How to teach a sense of urgency in teens

“We discuss getting stronger, running faster, practicing the skills needed for our sports and activities, but we do not discuss calories, fatness, weight or size.”

Bergeron also tries to find media with diverse representation.

“I point out beauty in people whose bodies are different. I bring books home from the library that feature characters who look different from us,” she said. “I praise their strength and intelligence and kindness and humour — never their appearance.”

However, the mom of three stresses that your own self-love won’t come overnight — and that’s OK.

“Don’t be afraid to ‘fake it until you make it.’ You won’t stop feeling self-conscious just because you unfollowed a few social media accounts. It will take your brain months, or even years, to change its perspective,” Bergeron said.

“Every time you stop yourself from making a diet reference in front of your children, you put a drop in their bucket and in yours. Each time you take them for a walk and stop yourself from referencing calories or show them an incredible dancer whose body is larger or walk naked past them in the hallway in all your real-life glory, you open a world to them and yourself where it can be OK to just be who you are.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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