What I learned about motherhood after I brought my newborn to the ER

In between panic and tears, somewhere inside of me, the mom in me appeared.

What I learned about motherhood after I brought my newborn to the ER

When I think back to the moments this year that have defined me as a Mom and my husband as a Dad, I immediately think of the moment where our Mama and Papa Bear instincts perked up and reared their heads for the first real time.

The belly button incident.

Our son was 8 days old and since leaving the hospital on day three, his belly button looked... well, totally gross. Looking back on it, it was probably fine, but to first-time parents it looked gnarly. I asked our pediatrician at his first visit if it looked normal and he assured me that it did and to leave it alone. He promised me it would heal.


A few days later my husband and I took him out for a walk to the farmer's market in town and when we got home, I fed and changed him and then majorly freaked out. His belly button was red and gooey and swollen about an inch out from his tummy. It looked very bad.

We live five minutes from a hospital, so thinking that it was bad enough to go to the ER since it was Saturday and our pediatrician wasn't available, we got him into his car seat and headed over.

(I'm going to pause here and remind you I was eight days postpartum at this point. A fragile, weeping, still healing from childbirth mess.)

When we got to the hospital there was some hustle and bustle, which I guess occurs when you bring a newborn to the ER. The doctor took one look at his belly button and told us he had Omphalitis.

Omphalitis is an infection that typically presents as a superficial cellulitis that can spread to involve the entire abdominal wall and may process to necrotizing fasciitis, myonecrosis, or systemic disease. It is scary and life-threatening and mainly found in babies who live in developing nations with poor sanitation and no reliable access to healthcare.

This doctor told me we needed to start him on strong IV antibiotic drugs ASAP and that he would need to stay in the NICU for 5-7 days and that I wouldn't be able to stay with him because the hospital didn't have beds for parents ... but not to worry because I could totally visit.

I was inconsolable. My husband stepped up in a way that defined him as a Dad, he was calm and firm and told me that I had to pull myself together because this was about our baby, not me. I had to advocate for my son and needed to be clear and rational.

Immediately, I knew that it was wrong to start him on IV drugs without doing anything more than glance at his belly button...which now that I was looking at it didn't actually look as bad as it did when we arrived. The doctor suggested we start the drugs ASAP while they waited for blood work to even be taken. He said the situation was that dire and the infection would spread quickly.

I spoke up and demanded that we be transferred to a different hospital, I suggested the one where he was born and where his pediatrician had privileges. The doctor agreed, mentioning that they weren't really equipped to deal with such an emergency in a newborn and after what felt like hours, an ambulance arrived to take us. The ambulance ride was surreal and horrifying, as the EMTs strapped my tiny newborns' car seat onto a stretcher as he screamed and screamed.

I felt that this was all my fault. How could I let my baby's belly button get infected?

When we arrived at the second hospital we were rushed into the pediatric ICU and were given a room where I could stay with our son for as long as we needed to be there. Minutes after we arrived, the attending pediatrician came rushing in with a herd of medical students.

She took one look at him and said, "I am so sorry for all of your stress and heartache today...There is absolutely nothing wrong with your son's belly button."

He had an umbilical hernia, which is extremely common in boys and goes away as quickly as it appears. His belly button was "gooey" because it was still healing. They admitted us for the night as they were required to monitor him since he was transferred from another hospital, but they checked us out promptly the next morning.

After a check-in with his pediatrician the next day, his belly button was looking completely normal. No IV drugs, no week-long stay, no separation between me and my baby.

In between panic and tears, somewhere inside of me, the Mom in me appeared. A different mom than had been there before, a more intuitive mom, one who knew. I was so happy to meet her. To be her.

This article was originally published on The Ugly Cry.

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These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.

Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin

Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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International Network for Aid, Relief and Assistance (INARA)

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