Infant | Fit Pregnancy


Treating Chickenpox


Keep your baby's fingernails short to prevent scratches; give him frequent, warm oatmeal baths; and dress him in loose clothing. After his bout is over (in about 10 days), apply sunscreen whenever you take him outside, as "new" skin burns more easily. As the lesions heal, watch for tenacious scabs, which can cause residual pockmarks; use a warm, wet compress to help coax them off. Also ask your doctor about prescribing acyclovir to relieve symptoms.

Lazy Eye


Relatives looking at baby pictures often make this diagnosis before doctors do, so alert your pediatrician and ask for a referral to a pediatric ophthalmologist right away. If your child does indeed have a "wandering" eye, treatment options may include patching, glasses or surgery so the brain does not "shut off" the messages it is receiving from the crossed eye. The sooner you do this, the better.

Flat Head


The most common cause of this flattening is positional, so it's a good idea to change the position of your baby's head while she sleeps. Having her sleep with you in a safe family-bed environment (no fluffy comforters or pillows, and no gaps between the bed and the wall) makes it easy to change her head position from time to time. If your baby sleeps in a crib, place her head at opposite ends of the crib on alternating nights to position her head differently.

Breastfeeding and Cavities


No, and what a shame that your dentist has taken a tough situation and made it worse by blaming you. Medical research on this topic is clear and solid: Breast milk does not cause cavities. Most experts agree that "luck of the draw" in the strength and integrity of tooth enamel determines who gets cavities. However, adding sugary foods and lots of juice to children's diets are also contributing factors and should be avoided.

Work to Home Transition


As difficult as it may be at times, you must learn to switch roles at the end of the day. Women who stay in work mode at home are doomed to frustration. The following tips can help make that shift back to your mommy role as smooth as possible:

Take time to rejuvenate. Putting some space between work and home, even if only for 10 minutes or so, often helps bridge the transition, says Debra Waterhouse, M.P.H., R.D., author of Outsmarting Female Fatigue (Hyperion, 2001). Some ideas: Write in a journal or buy yourself some flowers.

Commando Crawler


I have seen this type of crawl dozens of times--and many other "stylish" versions as well. And you know what? All the babies who scooted along this way ended up growing into perfectly conventional walkers. In fact, many of them were so good at it (and so fast!) that they never crawled any other way.

Coping With A Time Change


Not too easily, unfortunately. You need to allow a week--a difficult week--for your daughter to adjust to the time change. About seven days before your trip, begin putting her to bed a half-hour earlier each night and also getting her up a half-hour earlier. If she has a hard time going to sleep or getting up at these times, spend 30 minutes or so rubbing and patting her back, talking quietly to her but not picking her up. It might make her unhappy for a while, but with patience and time, it should work.

Chiming in on time-outs


I think she's not too young for time-outs. I don't advocate long, punitive stays alone in a bedroom, but short periods--one minute per year of age is a good guideline--in a designated spot, such as a nearby chair, are perfectly acceptable. (If a time-out is too long, the child will pass the point of feeling contrite and begin asking herself, How can I get even with these people?) Another option, depending on the setting and as long as you know she's safe, is to just walk away.

Rash relief


Eczema is an allergic skin rash often triggered by substances in the baby's diet. Before you resort to using cortisone cream, try dietary changes: If your baby drinks formula, talk to your doctor about trying a soy or hypoallergenic brand. If you're breastfeeding, consider eliminating potential allergens from your diet--the most problematic are dairy, eggs, peanuts, wheat and citrus. In the meantime, fewer and shorter baths in lukewarm water can bring relief, as can using a "baby-friendly" laundry soap such as Dreft or Method and avoiding scented lotions and creams.

Big baby = chubby child?


I'd say no. I've seen thousands of babies in my practice, including many who outweighed your daughter by 5 or 6 pounds. They looked pretty fat, actually, but all of them grew into normal-sized children. Well, there may have been a few exceptions in the families who believed potato chips and ice cream were suitable daily snacks, but that's another story.