Charlotte Smarty Pants

Charlotte Smarty Pants – Daily Scoop for Savvy Charlotte Moms

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May 21, 2017

From the Smarty Health Corner and Levine Children’s Hospital: Rooming-In and Pediatric Hospitalists

CSP Team Note: We recently chatted with Dr. Melissa Schutt, a pediatric hospitalist at Levine Children’s Hospital, about the benefits of rooming-in and pediatric hospitalists. We appreciate her thoughtful answers and for taking care of our Charlotte babies!

What does rooming-in mean for the mother and baby?

The term “rooming-in” means that after delivery, the mother and baby share the same room until being discharged from the hospital. Unless there is a medical reason that requires separation, the baby and mother share the same room at all times.

The goal is for the mother and baby to establish a bond and to be viewed as a co-dependent unit that provides physical and emotional support to each other, leading to the best possible outcome. Rooming-in eliminates the artificial separation after birth and promotes early and unlimited access for both mom and baby.

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

What are the benefits for the mother?

The benefits of rooming-in for the mother are numerous. There are many studies that demonstrate a link between rooming-in and breastfeeding in particular. Mothers who have unlimited access to their newborns are better at recognizing infant feeding cues. They also report an improved breastfeeding experience and are more likely to exclusively breastfeed their babies for a longer period after discharge from the hospital. There are studies suggesting that women who can room-in with their infants also produce milk sooner and in greater quantities.

What are the benefits for the baby?

The newborn baby receives a lot of very important medical benefits from staying with his or her mother. Just after birth, babies who have unlimited skin to skin contact with mom have more stable body temperatures and blood sugars. They also have lower levels of stress hormones, and they breastfeed sooner and more easily. In fact, one of the “treatments” we give to newborns who are having difficulty transitioning after birth is putting them on their mother’s chest skin to skin. Read More →

May 13, 2017

Town Hall on Social Media Parenting Resources

Thank you to everyone who came to our first ever Town Hall on Social Media Parenting. It was a big success, and accomplished what we set out to do: get the conversation going. We plan to hold these types of events twice a year – once in the fall and once in the spring. Be on the lookout for our next Town Hall date. In the meantime, here are some resources we pulled from our education partners on social media and parenting. We will be adding to this list as more are published.

CSP Town Hall on Social Media

Charlotte Country Day School

6 Things to Think About Before You Turn Over a Smartphone to your Child

Social media platforms weren’t designed for children, and the skills required to fluently navigate these worlds are ones that most kids simply don’t possess: self-restraint, savviness about marketing techniques, sophisticated social skills, an understanding of audience, media literacy skills, and time management skills. Read More →

May 5, 2017

Fitness Friday: Flywheel Sports Teen Program

Flywheel Smarty Teens

As school spring sports are wrapping up and summer is just beginning, it’s the perfect time for your teens to try new workouts. Well Smarties, we have just the workout for your athletic teenagers – Flywheel and FlyBarre Charlotte!

Whether your teen is a competitive athlete or just looking for something to get him/her in shape, Flywheel has something for everyone. Flywheel is the perfect supplement for your teen’s sports workouts, for boys and girls alike. I mean if Cam, Greg & Luke can hang here in their off season (just spotted last week:-), then you know this is the best kick-booty workout in the QC!

Keeping your teens busy is important, it keeps them out of trouble. There is nothing better than an intense cycle class or even better, a double with cycle and barre, followed by a juice from Juice Bar next door on a Friday night (or Leroy Fox if they are really hungry)! Best part, they can invite all of their friends to join the competition.

My teen has been loving Fly for a few months now and she absolutely loves the high energy workouts, the overall vibe of the studio, the FlyGear (she wears Fly’s AHH-Mazing leggings out pretty much every Friday night!) and best of all, I love the teen discount rates. Here’s what they look like. Read More →

April 29, 2017

Smarty Mom: Shelley Miller

IMG_4219 (1)

By Smarty Guest Blogger Lisa Farley

Anyone who knows Shelley knows that she is passionate about health and fitness, quick with a smile, and an empathetic listener. My bet is that these traits stem from her early childhood experiences. Growing up in a very active family, she developed a lifelong love of competition and sport. Shelley is the oldest of four children, with a younger sister and two younger brothers, she is a natural care-taker. When she was a teenager her baby brother, Chris, was diagnosed with Leukemia when he was just five years old. Watching him fight a 3-year battle and survive, beating the odds at that time, set a foundation of compassion that is integral to who she is today and gives her a joyful perspective on life. I am blessed to have Shelley as a friend and am honored to introduce her to all you Smarty Moms.

Smarty Mom: Shelley Miller

Married to: Jason
Children: Lauren, Jordyn and Madison
Pets: Skeeter (dog) and Shadow (gerbil)
Hometown: Woodbridge, VA
Years in Charlotte: 20
Occupation: Stay-at-Home Mom / CPA / Volunteer
Alma Mater: Virginia Tech (Go Hokies!)
Favorite Charity: The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS)

Your younger brother had cancer as a child, what was that like for you:

Chris was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) when I was thirteen, so I was definitely aware. The medicines that he took made him really sick so it was a very scary time. I saw firsthand what he went through; many blood transfusions, bone marrow transplants, hospital stays and chemotherapy treatments. We were hopeful he would go into remission, but there were no guarantees. It was really hard when Chris lost his hair because people would often stare. Not that they meant to, it’s a natural reaction, but I just remember being very protective of him. I also remember times where he was sick and had to miss out on things. Once while we were on vacation in California, Chris got sick and my dad and my siblings and I and went off to explore while my mom had to stay back with Chris. That was tough. Shelley & Chris

When I look back now, I see that my parents did a lot to make sure that my other brother and my sister and I had as normal a childhood throughout those three years as possible. Now that I have children of my own, I realize just how strong they were. My mom spent a lot of time with Chris the hospital, and that was hard, but both my parents really just kept everything as even keel and as normal as possible for the rest of us.

Thankfully Chris did go into remission at age 8 and is now 36, cancer free, and living in Portland, OR, with his wife, Caitlin. Read More →

April 17, 2017

From the Smarty Health Corner and Signature Pediatrics: What’s the latest word on sleep?

By our Smarty friends at Signature Pediatrics

Did you know that driving a car when sleep deprived is as dangerous as drunk driving? The effect of being awake for 24 hours and then driving is equivalent to having a blood alcohol level of 0.10! That’s worse than drunk driving which has a cutoff of 0.08!Kid Sleeping

What has that got to do with kids? We all know how lousy it feels to be sleep deprived, but few of us realize how much our thinking and reaction time has suffered from sleep deprivation. Inadequate sleep really and truly has a detrimental effect on brain function. And as true as that is for adults, it has an even greater effect on the developing brains of children.

New guidelines for sleep in childhood have come out from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Age & Recommended Hours of Sleep per 24 Hours
4-12 months – 12-16 hours (including naps)
1-2 years – 11 – 14 hours (including naps)
3-5 years – 10-13 hours (including naps)
6-12 years – 9-12 hours
13-18 years – 8-10 hours

Regularly getting less than the recommended amount of sleep is linked to difficult childhood behaviors and certain pediatric medical problems. These include irritability, difficulty concentrating, obesity, headaches, high blood pressure and depression. In fact, the exact behaviors that can lead to a diagnosis of ADHD are identical to behaviors seen from inadequate sleep. Read More →

March 31, 2017

From the Smarty Health Corner and CEENTA: how to avoid allergens

By our Smarty friends at Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A.

Dealing with allergies can be a non-stop battle. The weather gets warmer earlier every year and spring allergies – pollens, primarily – start sooner. But some people have to deal with winter allergies, like dust and molds, too. Medicines can do a lot to reduce your symptoms, but did you know there are things you can do around your house to minimize your exposure to allergens? Here are five ways to help avoid allergens before they trigger sneezing and runny noses.WomanClosingWindowWeb

Keep your humidity levels reasonable: Mold grows in areas with a lot of moisture, and winters in the Charlotte area, like the winter we just had, can be wet. If you keep the humidity level of your home around 35-40 percent, you can minimize mold exposure.

Get rid of dust mites: A clean home can do wonders to reduce your exposure to dust allergens, which are common when your home is shut up during the winter. Therefore, you should wash your sheets in hot water once a week. You should also dust and vacuum regularly. While performing these chores, we recommend wearing a mask to help reduce symptoms.

Keep the windows shut: In the springtime you want to keep as much pollen out of your house as possible. Keeping your windows shut keeps pollen outside. Read More →

March 30, 2017

Join us for the first ever Town Hall on Social Media Parenting



Do you feel like keeping up with your kids’ social media is a full time job? You’re not alone. Parents today have it hard. We’re all playing catch up with the social media world and often feel overwhelmed by how to parent through it. We’re excited to host the first ever Town Hall on Social Media Parenting where parents and experts in our community can come together to discuss kids and social media.

Charlotte Smarty Pants is partnering with Providence Day School on April 30th at Providence Day School for this event. All parents from any school are welcome to join in on the conversation. Our goal is to bring knowledge, relief, and empowerment to navigate the iGeneration. And guest what? It’s FREE.

Our panel discussion will start with experts from schools from all over the city to speak on what’s really trending in our schools. Because let’s face it: what happens in my kid’s school affects what happens in yours thanks to social media. Our healthcare experts will address the affects social media has on our children’s health.

We’ll end the afternoon with a social Q&A with sweet treats provided by the delicious Sunflour Baking Company.

Event Details:
Sunday, April 30 from 2-4pm

Providence Day School
Dickson-Hemby Technology Center
5800 Sardis Road, Charlotte, NC 28270

Register here now. Spots are limited. Hope to see you there! Read More →

March 28, 2017

From the Smarty Health Corner and Levine Children’s Hospital: Tips on Overnight Summer Camp

CSP Team Note: We recently chatted with Paul Smolen, MD, FAAP, a pediatrician at Providence Pediatrics, part of Carolinas HealthCare System, about his tips for sending your child to overnight summer camp. A big thank you to him for his insight – there’s some GREAT advice here for parents with kids of all ages.

At what age should you consider sending your child to sleep away camp?

Like so many things in life, it depends. When your child confidently sleeps at other children’s homes, shows an interest in sleep away camp, successfully masters day camp, and is at an age where the benefits of a new camp experience outweigh some homesickness, it might be time to seriously consider sleep away camp. IMG_9007

What are the benefits to your child of attending summer sleep away camp?

I am a big advocate of camp, especially the sleep away variety. In my mind, the most important aspect of the experience is the water safety skills that most camps provide. In a camp setting, your child will have no choice but to improve their water safety skills. Additionally, a child has an opportunity to try crafting, archery, riflery, and other camping activities. Learning to meet and live with new people who may come from different backgrounds is also a plus. Finally, learning to take care of oneself and become a little more self-sufficient in a new environment also provides great value. Sleep away camp can be an important tool to build a child’s confidence and encourage their independence.

What are some things to consider when choosing your child’s sleep away camp?

I go with the three Rs: reputation, reviews and recommendations. When deciding on the best camp for their child, I think parents should also keep in mind specialty activities that a particular camp may provide, such as horseback riding or nature programs. Read More →

March 25, 2017

Smarty Mom: Emily Ratliff

Ratliff Front Porch Photo July 2016

When I first met Emily Ratliff, she looked familiar – we actually both commented on how familiar we looked to each other and laughed at the small-town-ness of our city. I’m sure somewhere along the line we’ve run into each other at the mall, a grocery store, a park, or at a stoplight (we Charlotte moms are never really strangers to each other, right? We rival Kevin Bacon and his six degrees any day of the week), but it wasn’t until a mutual friend and Kindermourn connected us that I had the honor to actually meet her.

Emily lost her precious daughter, Claire, to neuroblastoma when Claire was just over two years old. Since then, she and her husband, Kevin, have started an amazing organization called Claire’s Army. I’ll let Emily tell you a little more about what they’re doing and how you can get involved, but know this: Emily, her family, and Claire’s Army are one of the reasons Charlotte is the BEST city in all the land.

And, it’s women like Emily who make up the backbone of our awesome city – the backbone of us – and who we should be supporting unconditionally because she. is. us. Emily’s family could be ours. She’s the woman behind you in the checkout line, she’s the driver of the SUV beside you at the stoplight, she’s the mom schlepping her kids in and out of Target on a Tuesday morning. And, Claire could be any one of our kids.

Emily is familiar to me because’s she a Charlotte mom. But, here’s the thing: she’s a Charlotte mom doing extraordinary things – all in honor of her extraordinary Claire.

Read on to learn more about Emily, Claire, and Claire’s Army. I hope you feel moved to join in on the army. And, I hope it also moves you to join in on The 13th Annual Kindermourn Hope Floats Duck Race coming up Saturday, April 30 from 2 pm – 5 pm at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. If you haven’t been touched by Kindermourn yet, I guarantee you or someone you know has (remember that Charlotte small town thing?). Adopt a duck here or just come out and join in on the fun. It’s one of our favorite family events that benefits one of the best organizations in town.

Smarties, enjoy getting to know this week’s Smarty Mom, Emily Ratliff! And a HUGE thank you to Emily for sharing her sweet family with us.

IMG_5260Smarty Mom: Emily Ratliff

Married to: Kevin
Children: Claire (our angel in heaven who is now 7), Sydney (3) and Walker (8 months)
Hometown: Technically I was born in Minneapolis – but have lived here since I was 2
Years in Charlotte: I moved to Colorado after college, so technically, I’ve been back here for 14
Occupation: Executive Director of Claire’s Army
Alma Mater: UNC Chapel Hill Read More →

March 24, 2017

Fitness Friday: Check out Carolina Barre & Core for your teen!

Carolina Barre Core Ansley

Carolina Barre & Core is the perfect supplement for your teen’s sports workouts. Whether she plays soccer, lax, field hockey, cheer or anything in between – a barre workout will enhance her performance. Research has shown that core conditioning will make you a better athlete, no matter what your sport. And our friends at Carolina Barre & Core (CBC) have special teen pricing just for you!

My 10-grade daughter, Ansley, plays field hockey as her primary sport. This is her off season and since December, she has been working out at Carolina Barre & Core and she absolutely LOVES it! When she first started, it was kind of fun for me to watch her shake at the barre during every exercise – afterall, I’ve been a barre addict for years and I know all too well the pain of the shake and burn:-) But she is now a barre pro and stronger than ever. She now seeks out the shake so she can get the best workout every time.

Here’s what Ansley says about barre:

Barre is more than a strengthening class, it’s a total body workout for me. It targets your core, gluts and thighs. During class, when you feel the burn, you know you’re doing it right and making changes. I can see such a difference in all of my workouts now – I’m an all around better athlete because of barre!

Whether your teen is in the middle of a sport season or not, Carolina Barre & Core is a great workout program for her. They have classes every day after school at 4:30p, 5:45p and 7:00p, so there is something that fits her schedule. The instructors are amazing – Anz comes home all the time talking about how much she loves them! I also love the fact that we can do barre together – as mom and daughter and we both get an incredible workout. On the weekends, we love to do barre and head over to One Life Raw Juice Bar next door and do some quality mother/daughter bonding. It’s the BEST! The Plym gals HIGHLY recommend CBC!! Read More →

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