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Last spring, my four-year-old began to complain that his ear was hurting. This alone didn’t raise any red flags for us since between two kids, someone is basically always complaining about something, be it ears, knees, itches, or bumps. He wasn’t feverish and when I tugged on his earlobe it didn’t hurt, so I more or less chalked it up to a little lingering swimmer’s ear or maybe a touch of attention-seeking as he’s prone to do from time to time. He didn’t seem too bothered either and didn’t mention it again for the rest of the week.


The next week, though, on a few separate occasions, he mentioned that his ear, once again, was hurting. This time, he added,  it hurt “on the outside.” I took a look and couldn’t see anything, and again he wasn’t running a fever or sick in any other way, so we just went about our business as usual.

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Finally though, while rinsing his hair in the tub one night, I brushed the top edge of his ear with my hand and he winced. Curious, I folded the top of his ear back and tried to peer into the tiny crease. Sure enough, a purple lump was buried deep, deep inside, with two hair-thin legs sticking out of it.

It took both of us to hold him still while my husband removed the tick with tweezers. We are New Englanders, and this isn’t our first tick, so we knew the drill. We cleaned the area and applied antibiotic ointment throughout the week that followed. I monitored it for signs of infection or the telltale red ring that forms around Lyme-infected tick bites. We’d been through this before; I told myself we didn’t need to worry.

But a week later, he got sick. He spiked a fever to 104 with no other visible symptoms. He complained his knees hurt. He was miserable, and I felt horrible. Had I missed it? Did he have Lyme disease? What now?

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection primarily transmitted by Ixodes ticks, also known as deer or black-legged ticks. While many people believe that Lyme disease is only found on the east coast of the U.S., it is actually found throughout many other areas of the United States, as well as in more than sixty other countries. The CDC estimates that approximately 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease in the U.S. each year, but because the diagnosis is so difficult, some experts believe that the actual number of people afflicted may be much higher.  

I hurried my son off to the doctor. Too young for the conventional Lyme treatment, he took a three-week course of amoxicillin and was as good as new. But as we talked with friends and family, we realized that the questions we’d had were common among almost all of the caregivers we knew. How do you prevent ticks? What do you do when you find one? When should you call the doctor or treat for Lyme?

Luckily, I knew just who to ask.

Dr. Elizabeth McKeen is an Instructor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and is a practicing pediatrician at Pediatric Health Care Associates in Peabody, Massachusetts. She sat down to answer all the questions I had about treating and preventing Lyme Disease in children. Here is what she had to say:

What should a parent do when they find a tick on their child?

First things first: do not try to burn or freeze the tick off. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends first trying the soapy cotton ball technique. Soak a cotton ball in liquid soap and then apply this to the tick. Hold for 30 seconds and then remove. Often the tick will adhere to the cotton ball and will come off.

If this doesn’t work, use tweezers to gently grab the tick and pull straight upwards. Try to avoid twisting or crushing the tick. If the tick is truly a tiny deer tick (Ixodes scapulars), sometimes you will need to actually just scrape the tick off with the edge of the tweezers.

When done, apply a small amount of antibiotic 2-3 times per day until the area is healed.

When should I call the doctor about a tick?

Call your doctor anytime you are worried or have questions – especially since when it comes to tick-borne illnesses, googling can be misleading.

You should definitely call if your child has expanding redness around the area of the bite, or if your child develops a fever.

We see children in the office any time a caregiver is worried about the appearance of the area of the bite, if the family needs assistance removing the tick, or if the child has a fever or other systemic symptoms. If you feel uncomfortable removing the tick or if you’re afraid that part of the tick has been left behind, most physicians will remove it in the office for you.

What symptoms should I watch for after a tick bite?

Most tick bites are harmless. It is important to know that even if the tick is of the Ixodes scapularis species and you live in an area where Lyme is prevalent if you remove the tick within 24 hours, the chance of transmission of Lyme disease is essentially zero. (Note that other possible diseases may be transmitted more quickly.)

That said, here is the KEY point to be aware of: the rash that is the first presenting sign of early Lyme disease does not occur right after the tick bite. It tends to present one to three weeks after the tick bite occurs.

Thus, I recommend that families monitor the site of the tick bite for 30 days, and call their physician if they see a round or oval red rash expanding from the center of the tick bite.

Should I save the tick?

You can certainly save the tick and bring it to your doctor for help with identification by visualization. In years past, some labs would accept ticks for identification, but fewer and fewer are doing this, so your doctor may not send the tick out.

When should a child be treated prophylactically for Lyme?

In adults, and children over 8 years old, the Infectious Diseases Society of America recommends prophylaxis with a single dose of doxycycline if ALL of the following circumstances are met:

  1. if the tick was certainly an Ixodes Scapularis
  2. if the tick was likely in place for more than 36 hours
  3. if prophylaxis can be taken within 72 hours of the tick bite
  4. if the patient lives in an area where the rate of infection of I. Scapularis ticks with B. Burgdorferi is >20% (which it is in most of New England)
  5. if no contraindication to doxycycline exists.

For children under eight, prophylaxis is not recommended. This for two reasons.

First, Doxycycline is not safe to give to children under 8 because of permanent tooth dysplasia and discoloration that can occur.

Next, with amoxicillin (the only conceivable substitute for doxycycline in treating Lyme) there is no good data to guide an effective short term course. Thus, children would likely need to embark on a 3-week course of amoxicillin, which is equivalent to treating full-scale Lyme. The risks of this are thought to outweigh the benefits. As such, we rely on the well-proven excellent efficacy of antibiotic treatment of Lyme Disease if infection were to develop.

Are there ever scenarios in which I should worry about Lyme even if I have not found a tick on my child?

Yes, absolutely. In a small number of cases of Lyme disease, there is no history of tick bite. Thus, even if you did not see a tick on your child if he or she develops an expanding, red, round or oval rash, and you live in a Lyme endemic area, contact your child’s doctor for an evaluation.

Luckily, not long after my son began his 3-week course of amoxicillin, he began to feel better and his fever resolved. We finished the course of the medication, but we will never know for certain whether his fever was caused by Lyme disease.

One thing is certain, though. This spring, as the temperatures warm, we’ll be taking more care than usual to prevent tick bites. According to the CDC, ticks are most active from April to September, so tick season is just around the corner and this year is predicted to be a bad one, at least in New England.

Here are some ways to look after yourself and your little ones by practicing these keys to tick bite prevention:

  • Avoid direct contact with ticks. Try to avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grasses and leaf litter. When in areas such as these, try to keep to the center of the trail.
  • Repel ticks with DEET or permethrin. While parents may worry about applying DEET to their children, the FDA has deemed DEET in concentrations less than 30% safe for children over 2 months of age. When applying insect repellents to children, avoid their hands, around the eyes, and cut or irritated skin. If you would rather not use DEET, consider wearing clothing that has been treated with permethrin. You may purchase pretreated clothing or treat your own clothes at home.
  • Find and remove ticks from your body. Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within 2 hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you. Inspect your body for ticks, using a mirror if necessary. Areas where ticks are commonly found include: under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in the hair. Finally, tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors.
  • Do nightly tick checks on your child. If you live in an area where Lyme disease is a known risk, check your child for ticks nightly, even on days when you don’t believe he or she could have been exposed to them. Look in and around the folds of the ears, on the scalp/hair, and in the underwear area in particular. This will hopefully reveal any attached ticks in a timely manner and will reduce the risk of Lyme transmission significantly.

 

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Pop quiz, mama! How many different types of car seats are there? If you guessed three, you're partially correct. The three main types are rear-facing car seats, forward-facing car seats, and booster seats. But then there are a variety of styles as well: infant car seats, convertible seats, all-in-one seats, high-back booster seats, and backless boosters. If you're not totally overwhelmed yet, keep reading, we promise there's good stuff ahead.

There's no arguing that, in the scheme of your baby and child gear buying lifetime, purchasing a car seat is a big deal! Luckily, Walmart.com has everything you need to travel safely with your most precious cargo in the backseat. And right now, you can save big on top-rated car seats and boosters during Best of Baby Month, happening now through September 30 at Walmart.com.

As if that wasn't enough, Walmart will even take the carseat your kiddos have outgrown off your hands for you (and hook you up with a sweet perk, too). Between September 16 and 21, Walmart is partnering with TerraCycle to recycle used car seats. When you bring in an expired car seat or one your child no longer fits into to a participating Walmart store during the trade-in event, you'll receive a $30 gift card to spend on your little one in person or online. Put the money towards a brand new car seat or booster or other baby essentials on your list. To find a participating store check here: www.walmart.com/aboutbestofbabymonth

Ready to shop, mama? Here are the 9 best car seat deals happening this month.


Safety 1st Grow and Go Spring 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

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From rear-facing car seat to belt-positioning booster, Grow and Go Sprint's got you covered through childhood. Whether you choose the grey Silver Lake, Seafarer or pink Camelia color palette, you'll love how this model grows with your little one — not to mention how easy it is to clean. The machine-washable seat pad can be removed without fussing with the harness, and the dual cup holders for snacks and drinks can go straight into the dishwasher.

Price: $134 (regularly $149)

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Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Bermuda

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When your toddler is ready to face forward, this versatile car seat can be used as a five-point harness booster, a high-back booster, and a backless booster. Padded armrests, harness straps, and seat cushions provide a comfy ride, and the neutral gray seat pads reverse to turquoise for a stylish new look.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)

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Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Olivia

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Looking for something snazzy, mama? This black and hot pink car seat features a playful heart print on its reversible seat pad and soft harness straps. Best of all, with its 100-pound weight limit and three booster configurations, your big kid will get years of use out of this fashionable design.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)

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Evenflo Triumph LX Convertible Car Seat

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This rear- and forward-facing car seat keeps kids safer, longer with an adjustable five-point harness that can accommodate children up to 65 lbs. To tighten the harness, simply twist the conveniently placed side knobs; the Infinite Slide Harness ensures an accurate fit every time. As for style, we're big fans of the cozy quilted design, which comes in two colorways: grey and magenta or grey and turquoise.

Price: $116 (regularly $149.99)

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Disney Baby Light 'n Comfy 22 Luxe Infant Car Seat

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Outfitted with an adorable pink-and-white polka dot Minnie Mouse infant insert, even the tiniest of travelers — as small as four pounds! — can journey comfortably and safely. This rear-facing design is lightweight, too; weighing less than 15 lbs, you can easily carry it in the crook of your arm when your hands are full (because chances are they will be).

Price: $67.49 (regularly $89.99)

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Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

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We know it's hard to imagine your tiny newborn will ever hit 100 lbs, but one day it'll happen. And when it does, you'll appreciate not having to buy a new car seat if you start with this 4-in-1 design! Designed to fit kids up to 120 lbs, it transforms four ways, from a rear-facing car seat to a backless belt-positioning booster. With a 6-position recline and a one-hand adjust system for the harness and headrest, you can easily find the perfect fit for your growing child.

Price: $199.99 (regularly $269.99)

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Graco SlimFit All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

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With its unique space-saving design, this 3-in-1 car seat provides 10% more back seat space simply by rotating the dual cup holders. The InRight LATCH system makes installation quick and easy, and whether you're using it as a rear-facing car seat, a forward-facing car seat, or a belt-positioning booster, you can feel confident that your child's safe and comfortable thanks to Graco's Simply Safe Adjust Harness System.

Price: $149.99 (regularly $229.99)

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Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Platinum XT Infant Car Seat

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Making sure your infant car seat is secure can be tricky, but Graco makes it easy with its one-second LATCH attachment and hassle-free three-step installation using SnugLock technology. In addition to its safety features, what we really love about this rear-facing seat are all of the conveniences, including the ability to create a complete travel system with Click Connect Strollers and a Silent Shade Canopy that expands without waking up your sleeping passenger.

Price: $169.99 (regularly $249.99)

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Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat

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With just one click, you can know whether this rear-facing car seat has been installed properly. Then adjust the base four different ways and use the bubble level indicator to find the proper position. When you're out and about, the rotating canopy with window panel will keep baby protected from the sun while allowing you to keep your eye on him.

Price: $129.99 (regularly $219.99)

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

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If I ever want to look alive before dropping my son off to school, there are two things I must put on before leaving the house: eyeliner and mascara. When using eyeliner, I typically use black liner on my top lid, a slightly lighter brown for my bottom lid, and then a nude liner for my water line. It works every time.

My mascara routine is a bit different. Because my natural lashes are thin and not the longest, I always opt for the darkest black I can find, and one that's lengthening and volumizing. For this reason, I was immediately drawn to It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara. The new mascara is developed in partnership with Drybar (the blow dry bar that specializes in just blowouts) and promises to deliver bold and voluminous lashes all day long. I was sold.

Could this really be the blowout my lashes have been waiting for? It turns out, it was much better than most volumizing formulas I've tried.

For starters, the wand is a great size—it's not too big or small, and it's easy to grip—just like my favorite Drybar round brush. As for the formula, it's super light and infused with biotin which helps lashes look stronger and healthier. I also love that it's buildable, and I didn't notice any clumps or flakes between coats.

The real test is that my lashes still looked great at dinnertime. I didn't have smudges or the dreaded raccoon eyes I always get after a long day at work. Surprisingly, the mascara actually stayed in place. To be fair, I haven't compared them with lash-extensions (which are my new go-to since having baby number two), but I'm sure it will hold up nicely.

Overall, I was very impressed with the level of length and fullness this mascara delivered. Indeed, this is the eyelash blowout my lashes have been waiting for. While it won't give you a few extra hours in bed, you'll at least look a little more awake, mama.

It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara

It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara
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Here's how I apply IT Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara:

  1. Starting as close to lash line as possible (and looking down), align the brush against your top lashes. Gradually turn upwards, then wiggle the wand back and forth up and down your eyelashes.
  2. Repeat, if needed. Tip: Be sure to allow the mascara to dry between each coat.
  3. Using the same technique, apply mascara to your bottom lashes, brushing the wand down your eyelashes.
Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Having children isn't always as easy as it looks on Instagram. There's so much more to motherhood than serene baby snuggles and matching outfits. But there's a reason we've fallen so deeply in love with motherhood: It's the most beautiful, chaotic ride.

Every single day, we sit back and wonder how something so hard can feel so rewarding. And Eva Mendes just managed to nail the reality of that with one quote.

Eva, who is a mama to daughters Esmerelda and Amada with Ryan Gosling, got real about the messy magic of motherhood in a recent interview.

"It's so fun and beautiful and maddening," the actress tells Access Daily. "It's so hard, of course. But it's like that feeling of…you end your day, you put them to bed and Ryan and I kind of look at each other like, 'We did it, we did it. We came out relatively unscathed.'"

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And just like that, moms all over the world feel seen. We've all been there: Struggling to get through the day (which, for the record is often every bit as fun as it is challenging), only to put those babies to sleep and collapse on the couch in sheer exhaustion. But, after you've caught your breath, you realize just how strong and capable you really are.

One thing Eva learned the hard way? That sleep regressions are very, very real...and they don't just come to an end after your baby's first few months. "I guess they go through a sleep regression, which nobody told me about until I looked it up," she says "I was like, 'Why isn't my 3-year-old sleeping?'"

But, at the end of the day, Eva loves her life as a mom—and the fact that she took a break from her Hollywood career to devote her days to raising her girls. "I'm so thankful I have the opportunity to be home with them," she says.

Thank you for keeping it real, Eva! Momming isn't easy, but it sure is worth it.

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My labor and delivery was short and sweet. I started feeling contractions on Monday morning and by Tuesday night at 8:56 pm my handsome baby boy was born. Only 30 minutes of pushing. Afterward, I was still out of it, to be honest. I held him and did some skin to skin and handed him off to my husband, my mother held him next.

When he was in my mother's arms, I knew he was safe. I started to drift off, the epidural had me feeling drowsy and I had used up all my strength to push this 7 lb baby out. My son's eyes were open and then I guess he went to sleep too. My mother swayed him back and forth. The nurses were in and out, cleaning me up and checking in on us.

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When yet another nurse came in, my mom said to her, "He wasn't latching because he wanted to sleep."

The nurse yelled, "He's not sleeping!"

The next 25 minutes happened in slow motion for me.

After the nurse said these words, she flung my son onto the little baby bed. I looked over and he looked a little blue. Then I heard the loud words of CODE PINK. In matters of seconds about 30 nursing staff descended into my room and crowded around my baby.

I couldn't even see what was happening. I tried to get out the bed but they wouldn't let me and after a couple of failed attempts one of the nurses look at me and said, "He's fine, he's breathing now."

Breathing now? He wasn't breathing before? Again, I tried to push my way to my baby, but once again I was told to not move. They had just performed CPR on my 30-minute old newborn and I couldn't understand what was happening even after a pediatrician tried to explain it to me.

I just started crying. He was fine in my stomach for 39 weeks and 6 days and now I bring him into this world and his heart nearly stops?

I was told he needed to go to the neonatal intensive care unit. I was confused, as I thought the NICU was only for preemies and my son was full term.

After what felt like an eternity we were finally allowed to see our son. My husband wheeled me there and we saw him in the corner alone. I saw the incubator and the wires, he's all bundled up.

The nurse explained all the beeping and showed me the heart rate monitor. He's doing fine. We go over the feeding schedule. I'm exhausted still. I stay with him until about 1 or 2 am. They all suggest I get some sleep. There's no bed in the NICU, so I head back to my room.

The next day was better, he doesn't have to be in the incubator anymore, but the wires remain. By that night or early the next morning, the wires in his nose come out and I try feeding him. I try pumping. It was painful.

He gets his first bath and he loves it. The nurse shampoos his hair (he had a lot!) and he seems so soothed. The nurse explains that because he's full term he doesn't need the same type of support in the NICU. She tells me my baby's strong and he'll be fine.

I look around. I see the other babies, the other moms. They could be there for weeks. And unlike me, the moms have to go home—without their baby.

Friday comes and by now he's done all his tests, blood work came back normal, all tubes have been removed and I get it. I get my going-home package. Finally. I get my instructions on doctor follow-ups and we finally get to go home.

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There have been a lot of iconic entertainment magazine covers featuring pregnant women over the years. Who can forget Demi Moore's bare baby bump on Vanity Fair or Britney Spears' similar nude pose on Harper's Bazaar?

Pregnant women on a magazine covers is nothing new, but a visibly pregnant CEO on the cover of a business magazine, that's a first and it happened this week.

Inc. just put The Wing's CEO Audrey Gelman on the cover and this is a historic moment in publishing and business.

As Gelman told Today this week, "You can't be what you can't see, so I think it's so important for women to see that it's possible to run a fast-growing business and also to start a family."

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She continued: "It's so important to sort of burst that bubble and to have new images of women who are thriving and working professionally while balancing motherhood … My hope is that women see this and again feel the confidence to take greater professional risks while also not shelving their dreams of becoming a mother and starting a family."

The Wing started in 2016 as a co-working space for women and has grown rapidly. As Inc. reports, The Wing has eight locations in the U.S. with plans for more American and international locations by 2020.

Putting Gelman on the cover was an important move by Inc. and Gelman's honesty about her early pregnancy panic ("I can't be pregnant. I have so much to do." she recalls thinking after her pregnancy test) should be applauded.

Gelman says pregnancy made her slow down physically, and that it was actually good for her company: "I had this realization: The way to make my team and my employees feel proud to work for me and for the company was actually not to pretend to be superhuman or totally unaffected by pregnancy."

We need this. We need CEOs to admit that they are human so that corporate leadership can see employees as humans, too. Humans need things like family leave and flexibility, especially when they start raising little humans.

There are a lot of iconic covers featuring pregnant women, but this one is different. She's wearing clothes and she's changing work culture.

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