Category Archives: Newborns and Infants

Keeping Kids Safe: Common (and Not So Common) Choking Hazards

Keeping kids safe is top on the minds of most parents, but sometimes hazards are just not that obvious.  Introducing foods to infants and toddlers can be great fun, but it also brings opportunities for danger.  A little knowledge about how to avoid choking can go a long way in avoiding serious emergencies.

I wrote in a previous post about using pixie stix to get kids to take their medicine.  I am going to co-opt this old favorite treat for our lesson about choking hazards.  What does a powdered candy have to do with choking hazards, you might ask?

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Filed under Newborns and Infants, Safety, Toddlers

Ear Hygiene 101: Cleaning Your Kids Ears–Are Q-Tips Safe?

A friend once told me with great disdain, while watching me wiggle a cotton swab deep in my ear canal with great satisfaction, “I never use Q-tips to clean out my ears.” Apparently a doctor once told him never to put anything smaller than his elbow into his ear, and he took these words as gospel. 

Do you ever have the feeling when someone tells you some great truth, a law of the universe that you’ve been breaking for years in ignorance, that it’s remarkable that you have survived this long, having missed out on some basic manual on life along the way? I often wonder if the parents in my practice feel this way as I spout my wisdom on general health issues, and they look chagrined at having broken the rules with their child. The good news is, it’s hard to break your child. Especially with things like the management of ear wax.

So what are the rules of proper ear hygiene? Though I think that my friend’s doctor was a bit dramatic, I do agree that for the most part, cotton swabs do more harm than good for children’s ears. Continue reading

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Filed under Common Illnesses, Newborns and Infants, Toddlers

Is Milk Harmful During an Illness?

As the ad jingle goes, milk it does a body good.  But many parents ask me if they should stop giving their sick child cow’s milk.  Myth or truism?  Here’s the lowdown.

Snotfest:  
It is true that milk may increase the thickness of mucous during a cold or other respiratory infection.  It will not, however, worsen or prolong the illness itself.  Avoiding dairy products during a respiratory illness may make your icky-feeling kid feel slightly less icky.  But during any illness it is crucial that children drink plenty of fluids to stay well hydrated.  If milk is the only thing your little one will drink during an illness, then give him milk! Continue reading

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Filed under Common Illnesses, Newborns and Infants, Toddlers

When Will My Child Walk? Tips on Childhood Motor Development

Rolling over, sitting, and walking are all important motor milestones in the life of an infant. And the exact timing of reaching these milestones vitally important… to the psyche of parents.

The mother of my four-month-old patient was ecstatic when she rolled over (all by herself!), and then devastated when she seemed uninterested in trying this new found skill again for nearly two months. She would sit by the crib pleading with her daughter: Roll over, honey, you can do it.

Every day in my pediatric practice I hear from parents who are worried about the rate that their child is developing motor skills. Parental worries come from watching friends’ children who are developing at different rates, or are triggered during a review of the prior generation’s baby books that detail how precocious other family members were. Continue reading

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Filed under Growth and Development, Newborns and Infants, Toddlers

Keeping Fit as Parents: When Can You Use a Jogging Stroller

Many of the active parents in my practice, eager to stay fit in this new phase of their lives, want to know when they can go jogging with their new baby. 

A pediatrician friend of mine recently asked my opinion on the subject.
He also forwarded me an email he got from their pediatrician. Continue reading

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Filed under Newborns and Infants, Safety

A Spoonful of My Own Medicine

The first time I meet the parents of a newborn, I always give them a little lecture.

In order to be a good parent, I say, you have to take care of yourself first.  You cannot be a good parent (or a good partner, or good at your job) unless you are well rested and practicing excellent self care.

A well rested parent, you ask?  Yeah, right.  But the point remains.

Well, I’m going to take a spoonful of my own medicine and will be on holiday for a month, unplugged.  I will return at the end of June, with renewed vim and vigor.

What is that old saying?  Doctor, heal thyself. 

And so I will.

 

 

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Filed under General Commentary, Newborns and Infants

Drool Factory: Is My Baby Teething?

When is my baby going to teeth?

Nearly every parent begins to wonder if their four month old child is going to get a tooth *any minute* now.  

Well, don’t hold your breath! Continue reading

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Filed under Common Illnesses, Newborns and Infants