Coughing children are a big problem. They can’t sleep. They keep their parents awake. They sound dreadful. They cough so hard they barf (ick).
Every parent, at some time, comes to me desperately seeking a cure for their child’s cough. The children are usually desperate too, though after his mom told me that he had coughed for a month, one patient of mine seemed quite gleeful, exclaiming “And I have snot rockets!”
What can a sleep-deprived parent do to help the hacking little one? Isn’t there a medicine to stop that cough?
The marketers of cough and cold medications would like you to think so. Take a tour of the cough and cold aisle in your local drugstore and you will see some very seductive terms: cough syrups are marketed as “mucolytics” (break down that disgusting thick sludge in your lungs!), “expectorants” (out, out, damn goo), and “suppressants” (STOP that painful, hacking cough.) True, “seductive” may be a strange descriptor when discussing snot, but these terms can be very tantalizing to a frantic parent whose kid is hacking up a lung.
A sure fire cough remedy, however, is not as easy to find as these product descriptions would suggest. Continue reading
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.
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
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
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
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.
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