Category: PDX Mom Articles

What to know if you have/need child care in Portland during coronavirus

What to know if you have/need child care in Portland during coronavirus

UPDATED 3/22: If you’re like me, ever since you heard that Governor Brown cancelled K-12 schools til April 28th, you’ve been in a bit of panic trying to figure out what that means for your kid. Here is everything I’ve been able to figure out so far, including links below to folks who are and I will updating this post as I know more!

Is my child care closing?

While schools are closed, the state is not requiring child cares to close at this time, because their position is if families are working, children need a safe place to go. Stay tuned because this could certainly change for the rest of us, though not for emergency personnel.

It is up to the provider if they will be closing or not. Many providers and teachers I have talked to have significant concerns about remaining open and have been calling on the Governor to close the existing child care systems and allow current providers to apply to be emergency child care sites that only serve critical infrastructure families. If you agree with them (as I do) you can click here to sign this petition in support.

For its part, the Early Learning Division is doing everything it can to keep providers open. They are currently making exceptions to state required ratios and capacity limits on a case-by-case basis although most providers I’ve talked to think ratios need to be lower, not higher, so I’m not clear how much this provision is actually being used. The Early Learning Division says they are maintaining child care in consultation with the Oregon Health Authority. You can also check here for their FAQ on COVID-19 measures.

If my child care is open, should I send my kids?

The official guidance from the state is this:

Families for whom child care is not absolutely necessary should keep their children at home to ensure caregivers who remain open can serve those most in need, such as health care workers and other first responders.

Oregon Early Learning Division FAQ for Families

At this point in the pandemic, where we’re talking about staying home to save lives, if you are not in critical infrastructure or in a vulnerable community where not showing up for works means you are unable to feed your family, please keep your family home with you. Child care workers (and many nannies I’ve talked to) are terrified of being exposed as we already had a report this weekend of the first daycare worker being infected in Hillsboro. Social distancing is just really hard to do with people who slobber all over toys and each other…so if you don’t have to leave the house for your job right now, don’t send your kid into care.

If I am in a critical infrastructure role, where can I find care?

So on 3/18 the state emailed all licensed providers and asked them to complete a survey sharing any openings they have. That information is being funneled to 211, and you can call their operators to get the details. Here are some additional options:

If my child care closes, will I get a refund?

The Early Learning Division has taken no position on this and told people to check the contract. Most folks I have talked to don’t want staff to go without their paycheck and they definitely don’t want to lay folks off as good people are very, very hard to come by in this business, so for the month of March largely didn’t do refunds. These are for the most part small businesses with very thin margins so they can either pay teachers or refund tuition, but not both.

The big question now is what’s going to happen with April (and perhaps May) tuition. Here’s the issue – even if providers layoff teachers (which many are planning to do in April) and don’t take in tuition, they do’nt have enough reserves on hand to cover rent, utilities, etc and I’m hearing from lots of people they believe they will have to go out of business by May/early June. Needless to say, that’s a pretty dire situation for those of us who want child care to come back to on the other side. At this point, I’d recommend having a conversation with your provider about what is doable for you and for them in terms of keeping the business going if you like the care you’re getting. Behind the scenes, scores of providers have been lobbying elected officials at every level. Here’s another opportunity to sign that petition that advocates for a number of funding measures to keep this industry afloat.

Anything else?

If you have a nanny, I think it’s probably time to think really hard about whether or not it makes sense to have this person to continue to come to your home to provide care given the risk of exposure to them and the community if we continue to have people traveling back and forth. You will need to think seriously about whether or not your are paying them during this time or not. I know that’s a tall order and also if you are the only family working with this person, they are your employee and dependent on you. If you decide not to continue paying them I would definitely formally lay them off so that they can collect unemployment. If you have been paying them under the table (which is not legal), that will be impossible to do.

If you are searching for care, I would say hold on for a few weeks. Right now providers are trying to figure out what they’re doing for April and whether or not they’ll be able to stay in business on the other side. I would give it a few weeks until we get clarity on whether or not there will be a relief package to support child cares, and then start checking back in again. And definitely look me up on the other side because if you thought care was hard to come by before, even if we do get a relief package I think odds are very good that it will be even more difficult to find.

Need to get in touch with me? You can find me at renjohns.com, on Facebook, on Instagram, or email ren at pdxwaitlist.com

5 Thing to Look for When Touring Portland Child Cares

5 Thing to Look for When Touring Portland Child Cares

You did it! You found a child care that might have a spot for your kid! Now…how do you figure out if this is a place you actually want to send your kid?

I have visited over 50 child cares in the Portland Metro area of all types. Here’s what I’m looking for to decide if it’s a place I want to pass on to my clients.

Safety

You’re going to have a gut sense of this as soon you walk in the door. Does the environment look clean and well-maintained? Are there safety features – light socket covers, gates at stairways- in places they need to be? Is there a defined space for diaper changes and a sanitizing protocol? If your spidey-senses are saying, “I don’t know about this place” right off the bat, probably time to move on.

The tour is also an excellent time to ask follow-up questions about anything you were unsure about or that concerned you when doing a license check. If you didn’t get to see that blog post, look here for this MUST-DO safety step.

Interaction

Here’s what the research says makes the biggest difference in early learning: adult-child interaction. Whatever the age of your child, you are looking for a place where adults are talking with children all day long.

In the baby room, that’s going to sound more like narrating the day (“I’m changing your diaper. Oh look, you’re raising your foot. Here’s a little piggy…”) or babbling back and forth (“Ah-boo to you too!”), and of course singing songs and reading books. As children get older, I’m hoping for a program that engages children in really thinking about the world around them, asking lots of “how” and “why” questions!

Environment

You want your child to be in a space that is designed for kiddos their age. Toys/books/games should be nicely displayed and easily accessible by children. Ideally there should be a curated set of material that is rotated regularly; having a toy free -for-all can be overwhelming. This space might be light-filled and full of Scandinavian birch design, or a basement that has been carefully and thoughtfully appointed with classic toys that every child loves. If a place is a little worn around the edges I’m fine with that as long as it is safe overall and the materials are clean, unbroken, and well cared for.

Routine

Whether your child is 4 months or 4 years old, there needs to be an intentional plan for their day that takes into account what is developmentally appropriate for that age group.

Little babies should be allowed to follow their own rhythms for eating and sleeping, but there should still be time within the day for them to go outside on a walk with their teachers to get fresh air and to listen to stories, particularly once they pass the 6 months mark and are awake for longer stretches.

For children ages 3+, I want to see a routine that involves a circle time or other whole group activity so they build their stamina for this in kindergarten. I also want to see that they have the opportunity to explore the different “disciplines” – math, science, literacy, art- every day.

Philosophy

I’m actually curriculum agnostic – you can have a great Montessori or Waldorf or Reggio program or a rich stew of various programs. I just want the provider to have a plan for the day and to have a rationale behind why they chose that plan.

When I’m on a tour, I’m actually more interested in how their philosophy of raising children matches my family values. Are we on the same page around how to handle challenging behaviors like biting or hitting? How would they handle it if my child refused to take the bottle, and do I feel good about their response? Way better to ask now and find out there’s not a match than to discover that 3 months in.

You are your child’s first teacher. You know them best and your instincts about what will work for your family will lead you in the right direction!

If you get stuck, I’ve got tons of resources in my free Facebook Group on finding care!

Also, check out these other great tips on the blog: Understanding Your Child’s Circadian Rhythms & 4 Realistic Timelines for Postpartum Healing.

Understanding Your Child’s Circadian Rhythm: Your Ally for Better Sleep!

Understanding Your Child’s Circadian Rhythm: Your Ally for Better Sleep!

The circadian rhythm is our internal body clock.  One of its role is to make us feel awake at certain times of the day and sleepy at other times.  This means that we have windows of wakefulness throughout the day.  

Newborns have very short windows: they are awake for 45-90 min and need to sleep again.  So that means that after eating, they may only have a few min before they get tired again!  Over time, their windows get longer.  By 4 mo, they usually can be up for 1.5-2 hours and by 6 mo, 2-3 hours.

When babies get to the end of their window and are naturally sleepy from a dip in their circadian rhythm, it’s easier for them to go to sleep.  If we miss that window and they stay awake too long, then their body produces more cortisol, which is a hormone that is a mild form of adrenaline, which will keep them awake and going.  That surge in cortisol is like having an espresso shot – it wakes up and keeps you going!!  You know that “second wind” we refer to?  Having that second wind usually means they are overtired.

When kiddos are overtired, it’s often harder for them to go to sleep (as you know, it’s hard to go to sleep after having an espresso!).  Being overtired can also cause shorter naps, more frequent night wakings and earlier morning wake ups. So we really want to avoid overtiredness!

How do we do that?

Some babies give us signs that they are getting toward the end of their “window” and will need to go to sleep soon.  We call those sleepy cues, and they will evolve as your child gets older Here are some common sleepy signs.

Here are some common sleep signs:

  • Yawning
  • Rubbing eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Slowing down
  • Looking away, lack of interest
  • Mild fussiness
  • Zoning out
  • Being clumsy
  • Not listening as well
  • Being cranky
  • Asking for milk, lovey, pacifier, etc.

When your baby starts to show their sleepy signs, it’s time to get ready for sleep.  We want to catch them before they have a meltdown because they are so tired!

However, some babies do not give us any warning. If your baby is very alert, active and has FOMO (fear of missing out), there’s a good chance that they don’t show any signs of being tired until they are OVERTIRED!  For those babies, we need to initiate sleep. Here’s how:

  • Instead of relying on his sleep signs, use the “clock”. 
  • When she wakes up, set a timer for X min (see average wakeful windows below). This will remind you that it’s time for your baby to sleep again.
  • Even if baby does not look tired, go to a dark room, turn on the white noise and try to help them fall asleep.
  • Keep a sleep log for a few days to see the patterns.  Adjust the timer based on that.

Getting to know your kiddo’s natural rhythm and to help them sleep before they get overtired is a gentle and effective way to encourage sleep, and it works at all ages!  

If you have any questions about your child’s sleep and would like more support, head over HERE to learn more about how we can work together. You can also join my free private Facebook group for sleep support.

4 Realistic Timelines for Postpartum Recovery

4 Realistic Timelines for Postpartum Recovery

You’ve recently given birth and you are thinking about your own postpartum recovery. Your body is feeling a little bit better, but you’re still sore and not feeling quite like yourself. How long is it going to take to fully heal after giving birth?

The #1 thing to consider is that it could (and will most likely) take longer than you thought to heal physically and mentally after birth. If you heal quickly, yay! That’s wonderful. But I am here to give realistic expectations for postpartum recovery to mamas. Most often, women make an appointment with me because their postpartum recovery is taking a lot longer than they thought and they need additional support.

Postpartum Recovery

Here are four realistic timelines to think about during your postpartum recovery.

  1. Immediate postpartum

    Consider this the first few days after giving birth. These first few days you will want to be resting a lot. Your body will be sore and you may feel lethargic and weak since you lost a lot of fluids during birth. It’s best to stay in bed, or at least off your feet, as much as you can while you regain strength.

  2. The first 40 days after giving birth

    In cultures around the world that have postpartum healing traditions, the first 40 days are viewed as a sacred time for mom and baby. It’s the most important time for supporting the mom in her own postpartum recovery.

    It’s during this time that your body is going through the most significant healing process and you need the most support. Unfortunately in our culture, most women aren’t getting support from their healthcare team until their 6 week check-up. That’s why I work with women to set up postpartum healing plans while they are pregnant to give them a holistic plan for this early postpartum recovery.

    During this first month, you want to focus on lots of down-time, nourishing food and rebuilding your reserves. Even if you are feeling like you have a lot of energy, it’s still important to have a slow lifestyle because you don’t want to burn out later, particularly if you have to go back to work a few months after giving birth.

    You may have older kids you need to take care of or you may need to go back to work earlier than expected. If this is the case, seek ways to get support that allow you to have a break from daily errands. Consider getting groceries delivered, set up playdates for older children or hire some help for this short amount of time. Yes, I know it can be more expensive, but your health and well-being are worth it!

  3. The first three months after giving birth

    This is known as the fourth trimester. And for good reason! During these months your body is continuing to shift and recover in many ways and you and your baby are doing a lot of bonding. Your energy and lifestyle may be increasing but it should still be slow. Again, my goal is to help you avoid burnout and overwhelm so even if you have a lot of energy, continue to keep your lifestyle slow so that your body can continue to recover sufficiently.

  4. The first full year after giving birth

    Within this time, you may feel like your body has healed well, or it still needs a lot of support. It’s important to listen to what your body is telling you during this year. Do you need more support for your mental health? Does your pelvic floor need support to get rid of incontinence? Do your hormones need support so you aren’t as irritable throughout the month?

I will share a secret with you as well. For a lot of women, they find themselves struggling with their health even after the first year. If that is you, I want you to know that there is support and it is a possibility for you to heal and feel like yourself again.


Hi, I’m Dr. Potter and I help women feel vibrant and healthy during their motherhood journey.

It was after the birth of my first baby when I became passionate about helping other moms. I was blown away by how hard it was to heal after that birth.

Now it’s my passion to help you heal optimally after birth. Head over HERE to learn more about working together.

Join my private and free community for pregnant and new moms HERE.

Postpartum Recovery

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Is My Child Safe? How To Check Daycare/Preschool Licenses in Portland, Oregon

3 Steps to a Short and Sweet Bedtime Routine

Is my kid safe? How to check daycare/preschool licenses in Portland, OR

Is my kid safe? How to check daycare/preschool licenses in Portland, OR

Every parent has their own personal wish list when it comes to looking for child care, but to a person, the number one thing on the minds of every parent I’ve ever worked with is “Will my baby be safe?”

Fortunately, the terrible outcomes that happen in the news are fleetingly rare considering that tens of thousands of children are in care in the state each year, but obviously every parent wants to be sure that their provider isn’t one of those rare cases. That’s why checking the provider’s license is a must-do safety step. Let me tell you how to do it, what you may see, and what the story is about unsubstantiated complaints.

How to check a license

As part of your search process, every parent should check out the Oregon Early Learning Division’s Child Care Safety Portal. You can input the name of the provider and then review a record of all licensing visits conducted over the the duration of the license as well as any visits related to complaints. State licensors drop by every provider- regardless of type – for at least one unannounced visit each year, and centers/certified providers receive at least one additional visit per year.

The first critical step is finding the right record. The Safety Portal is an exact match search, which means you need to type in the name exactly as listed by the provider on their licensing documents in order to find it in the Portal. For that reason, I recommend searching by address and trying a few variations (Northeast or NE) if you get a “No Results” response.

When to worry

Once you find the record, you need to make sense of it. If all you see listed is a series of dates and the type of visit (typically called a “Monitoring Visit”), that means the provider has no issues on their license, which is fantastic and also somewhat rare. It is fairly common for providers to have “administrative” issues – expired food handlers cards or other missing paperwork, and while that isn’t ideal, I tend not to worry too much about that.

What does concern me are patterns, e.g. every visit the background checks are always expired, as well as more serious issues regarding supervision and safety, such as documented abuse or consistently being out of the state mandated adult/child ratio. The Portal has recently been updated so that as of 1/2020 pdfs of the actual reports from their visits are posted online so you can dig into the details yourself. You can also always call the state licensing office with questions about how to interpret something and even speak directly with the licensor, but I find most of the time your gut is going to lead you in the right direction. If something feels scary or concerning, don’t ignore that feeling.

Unsubstantiated complaints

The grey area in this process is what’s called an unsubstantiated complaint. That’s a complaint that was called in by someone and when the licensor investigated it, they couldn’t determine if it actually happened or not. It is not uncommon in the business for disgruntled employees to call in complaints on their bosses. It also certainly the case that sometimes things happen but there are simply no other witnesses present.

When I see unsubstantiated complaints that concern me, I always start by asking the provider directly about it. This doesn’t have to be done in a rude or combative way. I simply say, “I was looking at your license on the safety portal and I saw XYZ, which concerned me. I know there’s often more to the story – can you share with me your perspective on what’s happened and what, if anything, has changed since?” Based on their answer you can decide whether or not this is a provider you’re actually willing to consider. If I see patterns of multiple unsubstantiated complaints over time, I consider that a red flag.

Keep it up

Checking licenses, touring any providers you are considering, and asking to speak with current families enrolled there will give you peace of mind that you’re making the right choice. Once you get in, I recommend that you do a quick scan of the license once a year just to make sure that nothing has come up as teachers change, directors move on, etc.

In the meantime, if you’re stuck finding those places with openings to begin with or you want to hear what the word on the street is about a certain provider, get in touch. Having visited over 70 providers in Portland, I have a pretty good handle on what’s normal and what’s not and I’m happy to help you think it through!

Read more great articles on raising your little ones! Check out these recent posts:

Growing Toddlers With Strong Bones, Is Milk the Only Answer?

Growing Toddlers With Strong Bones, Is Milk the Only Answer?

When your baby turns 1 year of age, the American Academy of Pediatrics, (AAP), recommends starting whole milk by cup. Milk is an excellent source of calcium, which is needed for bone formation, muscle development, and nerve functioning. Milk also supplies Vitamin D and Phosphorus, both are essential factors in bone formation. 

Additionally, Vitamin D is required for calcium absorption. Vitamin A, protein and essential fats that toddlers need for development are also supplied in milk. When a child turns 1 year, their calcium requirements go from 260 mg/day to 700mg/day, so drinking 16oz of milk or milk alternative will provide close to what your toddler needs in calcium.  Ironically, babies at this age are often weaning from breastfeeding or bottles as they continue to increase their intake of real food. I often see babies drinking more milk at this age than they need, which displaces the nutrients they need from other foods.

What if your toddler refuses to drink milk?  I’ve had one such toddler who refused to drink milk.  She weaned herself from breastfeeding at 14 months and only wanted her “wa wa” (water) in the cup.   We did try many different cups and offered many different times but most often it just got handed back to us or tossed on the floor.  I’m grateful she is a big fan of yogurt, cheese, and almond butter and luckily she eats an occasional piece of broccoli.   I do occasionally give her chocolate milk and hot chocolate, which she is delighted to drink.  Her older sister drinks milk every meal and I had hoped her influence would eventually rub off, but it hasn’t yet at 3 ½.

I work with a lot of families managing  a milk intolerance or milk allergy.  For those children finding a milk alternative is important.  I’m not a fan of most alternative milks as they are so low in protein and fat, but when it comes to calcium, they are highly fortified and a good way to meet calcium goals.   My new favorite that has changed my opinion on milk alternative is Ripple, pea protein milk which is high in protein (8g) and fat (4.5g).   When looking for a milk alternative,  it’s important to compare brands and make sure they are enriched with calcium and vitamin D and without added sugar.  There are plenty of other foods rich in calcium that are important to include so toddlers are getting what they need.  Here is a list of high calcium foods for toddlers.

Age of childRecommended Dietary allowances mg/day
Infants 7-12 months260mg
Children 1-3 years700mg
Children 4-8 years1000mg

High Calcium foods for toddlers:  

8 oz milk                                             300mg

Siggi yogurt (5.3 oz)                         150 mg

Dannon plain yogurt (5.3 oz)         250mg

Danimals Smoothie, 3 oz                100mg

Chobani 3 oz plain yogurt               85 mg

Yo Baby yogurt (4oz)                       250mg

String cheese                                    150mg

Cheddar cheese 1 oz                        200 mg

Parmesan cheese ¼ cup               250 mg

Milk Alternatives, 8oz

Soy milk, Silk                                    450mg

Soy Dream                                        300mg

Almond milk, Silk                            450mg

Almond Breeze                                450mg

Coconut Milk, Simple Truth          450mg

Rice Dream, Enriched                     300mg

Ripple pea protein                             450mg

Non-dairy Calcium-rich foods for toddlers:

Calcium Fortified OJ, 4oz                   175 mg

Canned salmon ½ can                        230mg

White beans ½ cup                              80mg

Tofu extra firm 3 oz                             150 mg

Almond butter 1 TB                             40mg

Chia seeds 1 TB                                     75 mg

Sesame seeds 1 TB                               60 mg

Plum Organic snack bars                    100mg

Z bars, Cliff Kid                                     200mg

Gerber cereal bars                               100mg

1 cup cheerios                                       100 mg

Broccoli, 1 cup                                       75mg

Edamame 1 cup                                    95 mg

Kale, 1 cup                                             140mg

Orange                                                    75 mg

For more information on alternative non-dairy yogurt options, check out my blog post; 3 Best Non-Dairy Yogurt Options.

For More support feeding your child, join my private facebook group: Raising Confident Eaters.

3 Steps to a Short and Sweet Bedtime Routine

3 Steps to a Short and Sweet Bedtime Routine

Research shows that having a consistent bedtime routine helps with falling asleep faster, less night wakings and more sleep overall..  Don’t we all want that?

A bedtime routine is a sequence of activities that we do every night before bedtime.  Pick a few relaxing steps you are willing to do every night, and do these steps in the same order every night, in the room where your kiddo sleep.   

I encourage families to start a bedtime routine when baby is 6- 8 weeks old.  Your baby will learn to recognize this “sequence”, know that sleep comes at the end and it will become an important cue to help them be more ready for sleep.

Over the months and the years, your child’s bedtime routine will evolve and change, but you will want to continue to have this predictable time before bed.  Even adults have bedtime routines – think about what you do before you go to sleep – I bet you have your own rituals!

The bedtime routine is a time to relax, connect and wind down.  There are 3 components to a successful bedtime routine:

First: Prep

Prep first: Do the things you need to get done -diaper change, lotion, brush teeth, potty, pajamas.  If there’s something your kiddo dislikes, try to do it first so it’s out of the way and we can enjoy the rest of the routine. (we don’t want to get all snuggly and then have to stop to do something they dislike!).

Second: Connect and relax

Start to wind down.  Bedtime routine is NOT the time to tickle or have a pillow fight! We want to do relaxing things that your kiddo enjoys.  Here are some ideas: massage, lotion, snuggle, books, songs, quiet play, talk about your day, tell stories, yoga, say good night to objects, etc.  Pick things that your kiddo enjoys.   That means that if your child really is not into books right now, don’t do a book at bedtime. Try books at different times of the day, and pick something else for now at bedtime.

Third: Stay consistent

When the bedtime routine is over, it’s over!  Do not let your kiddo convince you to do 1 more song, story

Some additional tips:

When you first introduce the routine, read the same book every night (or sing the same song). Once the routine is established, you can start to rotate books/songs.  Another way to do it is to finish with the same song/book. For example, let’s say you read 3 short books at bedtime. You can change the first 2 and always read the same third/last book.

Be in the moment during the routine.  If you are stressing about all that you have to do After your child goes to bed, they will pick up on that and it will make it harder for them to relax and be ready to go to sleep.

Parents can have slightly different routine, and baby can adjust.  For example, one parent may sing a song, but the other can’t! J   What’s important is that each parent do their own routine the same way every time.  Over time, the bedtime routine will evolve, but you will continue to help your child wind down at bedtime for years to come!

Do the routine in the room where the child sleeps.

You don’t have to have a bath as part of your routine.

So there it is. When bedtime is coming, dim the light, slow down and enjoy!  And when it’s time to sleep, stay strong!

If you have any questions about your child’s sleep and would like more support, head over HERE to learn more about how we can work together. You can also join my free private Facebook group for sleep support.


3 Natural Ways to Boost Immunity While Breastfeeding

3 Natural Ways to Boost Immunity While Breastfeeding

It’s an important time of year to talk about natural ways to boost immunity while breastfeeding. It’s cold and flu season! You know that your baby will get a lot of immune-boosting benefits from the breastmilk, but you want to know how to keep healthy and cold-free yourself!

You’re apprehensive (for good reason!) about using a lot of added supplements to boost your immunity while breastfeeding because you are unsure of what is safe to use. Here are three very simple ways to boost immunity while breastfeeding that are safe for babies as well.

1. Garlic

Garlic is an immune-boosting powerhouse! The beauty of garlic is that it’s just a food. You can eat it in small amounts regularly, or when you feel a cold coming on, you can eat a whole garlic clove by itself. Mix it with some honey or yogurt to make it palatable! It works wonders.

Natural immunity and breastfeeding

2. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important to help boost immunity and particularly while you are breastfeeding. It’s helpful for both mom and baby. The research has found that when a mother takes at least 4,000 IU’s of vitamin D herself, that will pass through breastmilk to baby*. When you feel a cold coming on, you can take a bit more than your usual dose to help fight that cold. It is important to get vitamin D tested, if you need someone to order the test, I am happy to help!

3. Red raspberry tea

Ahh, one of my favorite herbs for moms. How does it help with immune function? It’s high in vitamin C! Not only will it help with boosting immunity, but it will also help with hormone balance, replenish minerals and improve energy. That’s a win-win in my book!


Hi, I’m Dr. Potter and I help women feel vibrant and healthy during their motherhood journey.

It was after the birth of my first baby when I became passionate about helping other moms. I was blown away by how hard it was to heal after that birth.

Now it’s my passion to help you heal optimally after birth. Head over HERE to learn more about working together.

Join my private and free community for pregnant and new moms HERE.

Immunity and breastfeeding

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PDX Snow Day Back-Up Care: 3 Things to Do BEFORE the Snowflakes Fall

PDX Snow Day Back-Up Care: 3 Things to Do BEFORE the Snowflakes Fall

Snow days are a wintery dream for little ones and a huge headache for working parents. Many day cares and preschools take their cue from the local school district, meaning that you may just have an hour or two’s notice that school is delayed or cancelled all together. The secret to making this work is doing the legwork in advance to figure out your options so you’re not scrambling day-of.

1.) Decide as a family who’s on first.

Who’s going to take a day (or morning) off from work or be in charge of reaching out to the back-up options you’ve lined up? If you’re co-parenting or have a partner, it’s worth discussing this in advance when no one is stressed about the big deadline looming or the essential meeting that they’re going to have to miss. This could also mean having a conversation with Grandpa or Aunt Matilda or your best friend Derek about when/if they could pinch hit for you and if there are any days/times that won’t work. As snow looms in the forecast you can then confirm their availability so you’re not having to call around to see who’s up and taking your call at 5:45 am.

2.) Check out places in your area that do drop-in care in advance.

There are several child care providers that specialize in day-of, drop-in care. I’ve listed a few below for reference with the caveat that you need to do your own research (see below!) to make sure these would be safe choices for your kids.

WeVillage runs to centers that offer drop-in care for infants – elementary school, and has sites in both NE and NW Portland.

Kids Klubhouse in SW Portland can take kids 2.5 – 12 years old.

Vida Coworking in NE has drop-in child care for up to 4 hours on site at their gorgeous coworking space.

There are also smaller in-home providers who specialize in drop-in care for their neighborhood, such as PDX Kids Dropoff Day Care in Sellwood. And some providers, particularly smaller in-home sites, will offer drop-in care when they aren’t full. You can use this website to find the in-home providers in your area and call around to see which of them are open to taking drop-ins during bad weather.

While these services are great, it goes without saying that you need to check them out in advance to make sure you will feel comfortable leaving your child with them. At a minimum, you need to check their license on the state child care safety portal to make sure you feel comfortable with their record and you should tour/visit in advance.

3.) Build out your bench of sitters

When all else fails, it helps to have a solid list of names that you’ve already interviewed and reference checked. Care.com is the old standby, but there are also a number of nanny agencies that can source temporary or “in-a-pinch” caregivers – Portland Nanny, Spilt Milk, Northwest Nannies, and Caregivers Placement Agency all do temporary placements, often for as little as a few hours, but many require you to sign up in advance.

With a little bit of elbow grease now, you can save your self a ton of stress. If you’ve got questions about back-up care or just need to find child care in the first place, get in touch with me here or join my free Facebook group where I share tips on how to search for care and what to know once you’ve got it!

5 Causes Your Child Maybe a Picky Eater

5 Causes Your Child Maybe a Picky Eater

There are many causes of picky eating and understanding how your child got to be such a picky eater can often help solve issues getting them to accept new foods.  Below are the 5 most common reasons behind picky eating I see in my clients.  You may be able to identify one of these factors in your child and this may help you guide them towards the acceptance of new foods. 

1.    A medical reason –  Common medical reasons that can affect a child’s desire to eat include food allergy, EoE, (Eosinophilic Esophagitis, inflammation of the esophagus, caused by an allergic reaction), constipation,  reflux, GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) and celiac. In all of these situations, food makes them feel bad and they’ll have little desire to eat.  Once the medical issue is addressed, these kids typical improve their food intake.  Speak with your child’s doctor about your concerns and make sure none of these issues could be the cause. 

2   Oral delay or tongue tie–  Oral skills issues and lack of ability to move the food in the mouth could result in your child not advancing with textures and avoiding certain types of food.   If food is falling out of your child’s mouth when they eat or you notice they are primarily biting and chewing in the front of the mouth, this could be the cause of their limited diet.  Another red flag is children who never put anything in their mouth as a baby, never mouthed chew toys or had a chance to push back their gag reflex.  They likely are adapting their diet to easy to chew foods because eating is exhausting, resulting in hunger cues that can be turned off due to lack of oral skills.  If you suspect an oral delay, its best to have them evaluated by an OT or SLP who specializes in feeding.  

3.   A negative past experience –   A bad illness, vomiting or choking episode can result in an oral aversion. The trauma and fear of that experience can be imprinted in kids brains, even if can’t consciously recall it.  For some children with strong sensory aversions, the meal experience itself can provide negative reinforcements to want to eat, such as wiping the face during the meal and getting their hands messy.  

4.  Sensory overload – If your child is a Sensory over responder, eating can be overwhelming and extra challenging.   Eating is the biggest sensory overload experience a child will have and if they struggle in this area with smells, touch, sight, and taste of new foods, this can overwhelm them, (this also ties in with #3 above, a negative experience). A sensory under responder can have challenges as well.  If you suspect a struggle in this area, it would be ideal to have them evaluated by an OT for sensory processing disorder.

5.  Behavioral – For some children, their picky eating is a learned behavior. They may have learned from a young age they can get what they want if they wait it out or have a tantrum.  This can be common in a child with a strong personality who isn’t making it easy on you.  Perhaps they have turned you into a short-order cook and haven’t branched out from a handful of their favorites and haven’t been exposed to new options? Children with this problem will require the most consistency being firm with the “how” of feeding.

Sometimes picky eating is a combination of a few of these factors or holds a strong genetic link.  Regardless of the reason why your child is a picky eater, helping them accept new foods begins with the “how” of feeding; consistency at mealtime and multiple exposure opportunities to new foods. If you’re unsure of the best way to feed your child, please reach out to us at Portland Pediatric & Family Nutrition.

Welcome to Portland Mom Hub!

Parenting is intense: it’s as challenging as it is rewarding, and it can feel very isolating although you just grew your family!

We want to support you on your parenting journey and share everything that we wish we had known when we were starting out!

Dr. Angela Potter

Supporting mothers from fertility through postpartum.  Visit me at DrAngelaPotter.com

Ren Johns

Looking for quality day cares and preschools in Portland, Oregon?   Visit my site at RenJohns.com

Marie-Eve Gagnon

If your family is experiencing sleep struggles, I can help!  Visit my site SlumberTimeSolutions.com

Katharine Burton Jeffcoat

Feeding a family and children can be challenging!  I can help.  Visit my site at PortlandPediatricNutrition.com