Online Shoppers Beware: Human Milk Purchased On Internet Can Be Contaminated

From the April 6, 2015 edition of the journal Pediatrics

In today’s digital world, shoppers can buy anything online, including human breast milk. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends against providing infants human milk from unscreened donors, some mothers unable to feed their child breastmilk are turning to the uncertainties of such donors. For the study, “Cow’s Milk Contamination of Human Milk Purchased via the Internet,” in the May 2015 Pediatrics (published online April 6), researchers tested 102 Internet samples of milk and found 11 percent were contaminated with store bought cow’s milk or milk-based formula powder. Of the positive samples, 10 were high enough to rule out incidental contamination. Cow’s milk can be problematic in infants with a milk allergy or intolerance. Because buyers have little way to test the milk they purchase online, parents should be aware the milk they are buying online might not be 100 percent human milk and use extreme caution.

Acing the ACT + Think Like a Baby

Elizabeth King, author of Acing the ACT.
An elite tutor’s guide to strategies and understanding that make a big difference.
Issues: The ACT is now more popular than the SAT; difference between the two tests; advantages of the ACT; the difference between a tricky question and a trick question; strategies to ensure that you get the best possible score.

Amber Ankowski and Andy Ankowski, co-authors of Think Like a Baby.
Learn to better understand your child’s developing mind.
Issues: Setting up simple research experiements to do with your baby; fun ways to get insight into what’s happening inside your child’s skull; the importance of talking to your baby; playing with reflexes; how music affects a child–before he or she is even born; many more experiments.

Making Spring Clean and Colorful

When Daylight Savings begins, you know that Spring can’t be far behind—and neither are Easter, Passover, and Spring cleaning. This week, we review some Easter bunnies, outdoor art adventures, and a decluttering marvel.

3d sidewalk chalk3D Sidewalk Chalk (Thames & Kosmos).
The folks at Thames & Kosmos can’t help themselves: they include a really fun, educational component in everything they make. Their new 3D Sidewalk Chalk is no exception.  The kit comes with plaster power, dye, mixing cups, molds, and 3D glasses. The fun starts by making your own chalk by mixing the plaster powder, dye, and water (not included). Then, pour the slurry into the molds. When it hardens, you’re ready to start creating art. Here’s where the science comes in: when you put on the 3D glasses, your drawings seem to jump off the sidewalk. The instruction manual explains how and why that happens and includes directions for making rainbow chalk, and more chalk science experiments. Ages 8 and up. About $15.

crayola sidewalk chalkSidewalk Chalk Mega Pack (Crayola)
Crayola’s sidewalk chalk doesn’t have much science behind it, which means it can focus on what Crayola does best: giving kids tools to make colorful art. The Mega Pack includes 12 large chalk pieces: 3 neon, 3 glitter, 3 tie dye, and 3 basic bold colors. No instructions required. The chalk itself is especially easy to clean up—just hose it off—a big plus if your neighbors are persnickety about their sidewalks. Unlike most other sidewalk chalks, these pieces aren’t cylindrical, which means they won’t go rolling down your driveway into the street—with your child running after it. Ages 6 and up.


alex washable bunnyColor & Cuddle Washable Bunny (Alex Toys)

How many times has your child “decorated” a favorite stuffed animal with a Sharpie? If that sounds familiar, you’ll love Alex Toys’ Color and Cuddle line. The idea is pretty simple: make a toy that’s snuggly, let kids draw on it, and allow them to change their mind whenever they want. And that’s exactly what happens: color, wash, repeat—as many times as you’d like. The only rule is that your young artist needs to use the included markers. The Washable Bunny is perfect for Easter. Other options include a bear, a doll, and a pony. Ages 3 and up. All are about $21.


funshine easter bearFunshine Easter Bear (JustPlay)
This 16-inch, soft, cuddly, plush gets your child’s best Care Bear ready for Easter too. Cleverly disguised as a bunny—complete with Easter Bunny ears—Funshine is a great addition to any Holiday basket. $24.95 at Amazon and elsewhere.





fujitsu ix500 scannerScanSnap iX500 Scanner (Fujitsu)
When we think of “spring cleaning” the images that come to mind usually have to do with sweeping and mopping and maybe reorganizing the garage. But what about all that stuff in your file cabinets? Worse yet, what about all the stuff—including those boxes of old photos—that should be in file cabinets but is sitting around in piles? The ScanSnap iX500 can help. It’s incredibly easy to install and even easier to operate. Drop in a stack of documents, press the button (there really is only one), and in seconds all that paper is transformed into pdfs or Jpegs. Then you can save it to your computer or upload directly to Dropbox and other cloud services. The ScanSnap handles everything you can throw at it, from business cards to long (up to 34 inches)  documents. Put it in crooked? No problem. ScanSnap straightens is out. Upside down? It’s rotated automatically. A great way to keep those important family documents and memories organized. $499.

Single-Parent Sex: Getting Caught with Your Pants Down. Literally.

Dear Mr. Dad: I’m a single dad and have been going out with a wonderful woman for quite a while. She sometimes spends the night, but last time, my 8-year-old daughter walked in on us while we were making love. I don’t think she was there very long, but she was crying and seemed frightened by the whole thing, and my girlfriend didn’t take it too well either. What should I do? Did I just scar my daughter for life?

A: Ah, yes, the joys of single-parent dating. Bedtime stories are done, the kids are asleep, you and your lover slowly make your way from your candle-lit dinner to the bedroom for a little adult time—clothing optional. Things are going marvelously, wonderfully, delightfully… Then, out the corner of your eye, you see a teddy bear in your doorway—and it’s attached to your child. What a way to ruin the mood.
Chances are you haven’t done any long-term damage to your daughter. But in situations like these, it’s important to respond right away—even if you’re convinced that she wasn’t watching for very long. Young kids can be confused by entangled, naked bodies and the accompanying sound effects, and may worry that mom or dad (or both) are fighting and are hurting each other. Here’s what you should do:

  • Stay calm. Yelling at a child to “get out of here!” could frighten her even more and convince her that you were doing something bad.
  • Don’t let her go away alone. If she runs away on her own, go after her. If not, take her by the hand and lead her back to her bed. Then, sit with her and reassure her that you weren’t being hurt or hurting anyone else. If you think she’s mature enough to understand, tell her that adults sometimes express their love for each other that way. But don’t be surprised if you get a sarcastic snort. Even very young children have seen a lot more than we had back in the day and they usually know a lot more about things than we give them credit for. If she asks for a more sophisticated explanation, give her one, complete with the proper names for the organs involved. But don’t go overboard.
  • No apologies (unless you screamed at your child). Your child may have gotten the message earlier than you would have liked, but she needs to know that sex is a normal thing that grown-ups sometimes do. If you act embarrassed or ashamed (and you very well may be), your child could end up with the idea that sex is, well, something to be embarrassed and ashamed of. If you want your child to have a health attitude about sex as she gets older, that’s exactly the wrong message.
  • Talk to the other adult involved. Making sure your child is okay comes first. Once that situation is resolved, you need to check in with your girlfriend. If she’s thrown her clothes on and is slipping out the back door, don’t let her go—you guys need to have a chat. Yes, getting caught in the act can be disconcerting, but it shouldn’t affect your relationship. Although it might make her think twice before agreeing to sleep over at your house ever again.
  • Use protection. No, not that kind. Your choice of birth control is your own business. The protection I’m talking about is called a lock: install one or make better use of the one you already have.

The Only Parenting Technique You’ll Ever Need

David Vienna, author of Calm the F*ck Down.
Could this be the only parenting technique you’ll ever need?
Issues: A variety of scenarious that make parents anxious–and down-to-earth reassurance and guidance on how to relax and enjoy the moment.