Tips for Traveling with Kids this Summer

 

Finding a balance between work and life is one thing. Throw school in there, sports team practice, a science fair project, a growth spurt that requires new shoes that are only available at the store across town, and you have a perfect recipe for physical and mental burnout. Burnout can leave you feeling exhausted, drained, or even physically ill. You can’t always eliminate the stress from a busy schedule or workday, but you can learn to manage it.

 

Start by asking yourself: What needs to be done? Look at your task list and separate what truly must be done from less critical tasks. Things like work tasks, school events and appointments are not negotiable, while others may be. Sort through your to-do list and eliminate low-priority tasks where you can.

 

Create a shared family calendar.Whether you like a paper calendar stuck to the fridge, or you’re a digital family, there are templates and tools for everyone. Get upcoming events listed in one place, so everyone knows where they are supposed to be.

 

Wherever you are, be there. “Be present” is a trendy phrase that we hear a lot these days. But, it’s hard not to look at the 5 notifications that just popped up on your phone. When possible, set your device aside and focus your attention on what is happening around you. Maybe it’s dedicated time to play with your child or have a conversation with your spouse or a good friend. Making a conscious effort to focus on one task or person at a time will help clear the clouds of stress.

 

Make time for your family. So many evenings are spent rushing to practices, classes or events, and dinners are consumed during the car ride. Try to find time each week to eat together as a family. Institute a family game night, a bike ride, or maybe a family meeting. Find ways that your family can be together enjoying each other without interruption or distraction (see point above). Ultimately those closest to you will be your front lines of support, so a weekly check-in will help catch when anyone is starting to succumb to stress.

 

Make time for yourself. The best way to work time for yourself into your schedule? Schedule it! Be creative (Paint! Garden! Journal!), eat a healthy diet avoiding sugar, caffeine, and carbs, have dinner with friends. Think about what truly brings joy into your life and make time for it.

 

Feel the burn! (Not the burnout). Exercise is one of the best ways to eliminate stress. That doesn’t mean you have to make it to a 5 AM barre class. A 10-minute walk can boost your mood and outlook for 2 hours! Find ways to work exercise into your daily routine, even if it means stretching on the sidelines at soccer practice.

 

Know when it’s time to ask for help. Burnout can happen at home or at work. Learn to recognize when stress is taking over, and you need help. Then ask for it. Burnout isn’t one size fits all. It can look and feel different for everyone. You may start to feel exhausted, moody or withdrawn. You may not remember what you had for lunch or where you are going when you leave the house. You may start to notice muscle pain from clenching or grinding your teeth.

 

If you are feeling the symptoms of burnout, seek support from those around you before you reach your breaking point. We’re here to help, too. Reach out to your primary care provider, they will help you extinguish burnout and feel like yourself again.

 

It's easy to schedule an appointment with your primary care provider – simply visit our online appointment tool, scroll to find your provider, and click to schedule an appointment at a time that works for you!

 

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Think Outside the (Lunch) Box!

 

Sometimes school lunches can get boring – both for parents to make and for kids to eat. It’s pretty easy to fall into a lunch rut when packing lunch is just one of many tasks to check-off every morning. As you get ready to kick-off another school year, we’ve got the recipe to keep boring lunches at bay.

Include a note.
Who doesn’t love a surprise? Wish your child good luck on a test, give them a pat on the back for a recent accomplishment, a note of encouragement or send a sweet message just because!
Use a fun lunch box.
If the lunch box features your child’s favorite character or color they will enjoy bringing it to the table each day. Individual plastic containers are fun to fill and are a great tool to teach portion control, and keep things separated - Bento Box containers are a great option.
Ditch the same old PB&J and try something new.
We’re not suggesting rolling sushi in the wee hours of the morning. Keep it simple. Here are some of our lunch-time favorites: •Hummus with pita bread and veggies for dipping •Turkey slices rolled around a red pepper strip and cheese stick •Whole grain mini bagel with cream cheese and sliced strawberries •Tuna (with the pop-off lid) with cucumber slices and whole grain crackers •Kebabs: o Meat (cooked) with cheese and veggies o Pieces of granola bar with fruit o Waffles and fried chicken o Grape tomatoes with mozzarella and basil leaves (don’t forget the balsamic vinegar drizzle!) •Whole grain cereal, yogurt and blueberries •A sliced hard-boiled egg, Canadian bacon and cheese on a whole grain English muffin •Leftovers from dinner or soup in a thermal container
Be cool.
Use a cold pack to keep food fresh and safe. They even come in fun colors!
Create a weekly meal plan.
Have your child help plan their lunches each week. The planning process will help understand healthy eating by including a variety of food groups as well as encourage your child to try new foods (fingers crossed!). Get your weekly school lunch planner template:

School Lunch Weekly Meal Planner

Print your own School Lunch Weekly Meal Planner

 

 

If you have any concerns around your child’s eating habits, connect with your pediatric provider. They’ll give you some food for thought.

 

It's easy to schedule an appointment with your pediatric provider – simply visit our online appointment tool, scroll to find your pediatric provider, and click to schedule an appointment at a time that works for your family!

 

Make An Appointment

 

Busting Myths: Breastfeeding as a working mom

 

You’ve heard about the benefits of breastfeeding your baby. You know breast milk is best for your baby (the antibodies!). But let’s face it, returning to work after weeks of cozy breastfeeding sessions creates a lot of anxiety and pressure (pun intended) for mom. There’s so much information out there online and from every woman you know that’s ever had a baby. We’re here to breakdown some of the most common concerns around retuning to work and continuing to provide breastmilk for your baby. Read on to learn how some common myths around breastfeeding while working are, well, busted.

 

Myth: Nursing less often will create more milk when I do nurse.

Actually, the more you nurse (or pump), the more milk you will produce. Your body is creating your milk supply based on demand. Feed your baby when they ask (in their own way), and your body will produce the milk they need. If you are returning to work, this will help in ensuring you are producing what your baby needs while pumping.

 

Myth: My baby won’t breastfeed once they get used to bottles.

You will always be your baby’s favorite way to get their milk. When your baby is with you, they will expect to be breastfeed. If your baby has a predictable feeding schedule, when you return to work ask your caregiver to hold-off on giving them a bottle close to your arrival, so you can breastfeed your baby when you return home. Also, be sure you drink plenty of fluids, avoiding caffeine and alcohol. Staying hydrated is important in general, but especially while breastfeeding.

 

Myth: I need a freezer full of milk to return to work.

Just when a new mom or dad feels like they are adjusting to life as parents, it’s typically time to return to work. For a mother who is breastfeeding, this transition can be especially difficult. A few weeks before your re-entry into the working world, start mixing some pumping and bottle feeding into your baby’s routine. This will help in two ways; your baby will get some practice with and be more willing to take a bottle and you will have some milk stored for backup. We recommend a minimum supply of two days’ worth of breastmilk for a smooth transition. As you pump at work, you will get into a rhythm of producing what your little one needs. You don’t need a freezer stocked full of milk in order to return to work.

Myth: I can’t breastfeed and pump at the same time.

 

There’s a balance between pumping and breastfeeding. Once you find it, your body will respond and produce the milk required. To start working pumping into your feeding schedule, pump between breastfeeding your baby. Pump about an hour AFTER you feed, and at least an hour BEFORE your baby’s next feeding. If you are returning to work, take note of when your baby typically eats, and pump based on that schedule. Continue to demand milk consistently and your body will get the signal to produce enough breast milk for your little one.

 

Myth: I will have to stop breastfeeding when I return to work.

Every mother has a legal right to take breaks from work to pump. That said, many women may still be anxious about taking this time. While you are pregnant and before you go on maternity leave, chat with your boss about a pumping schedule. That way, your boss will know what to expect upon your return and you will have some peace of mind knowing there is a plan in place to ensure you can continue to provide breast milk for your baby. Also, be sure to understand the accommodations available to you in the work place for pumping. Where is the room? Where will you store the milk you pump throughout the day? To get your questions answered, chat with a human resources rep or a colleague that recently transitioned from maternity leave and pumped at your office, to get your questions answered.

 

Myth: I won’t be successful at work if I have to stop and pump.

For a mother that wants to continue providing breast milk for her baby, taking the time to pump will create peace of mind, and allow you to be more focused when at your desk. You may even want to use the time you spend pumping to catch up on some emails, or read through an article or report that you can’t seem to work into your day while sitting at your desk. Some of your colleagues will understand when you excuse yourself a few times a day to pump, and others may not. The fact is, it’s your right to take time to pump during the work day, so try to focus on your baby and not the opinions of those around you. If you have concerns, talk to a manager or supervisor.

 

Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to take care of your baby, but it can be a struggle, too. If you are feeling stressed about producing milk for your baby, make an appointment to chat with a provider. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to breastfeeding, and they can provide the support you need as you work through challenges that come with being a new mom.

 

 

It's easy to schedule an appointment with your pediatric provider – simply visit our online appointment tool, scroll to find your provider, and click to schedule an appointment at a time that works for your family!

 

Make An Appointment

 

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