I once asked my favorite child psychologist, the great Dr. Fay Levinson, for her advice on this fairly common situation. “Top and tail,” she told me. In other words, keep it simple and keep it brief: Wash her bottom and hair and forget the rest. Also bathe her only when necessary.
First, let me say that all medications have the potential to cause allergic reactions, so you should think twice before reaching for any medicine bottle. If a child has a stubbed toe, it should be iced and elevated first; this may help avoid the need for painkillers. Likewise, teething pain can be treated with a frozen washcloth (to avoid damaging the gums, first rub the cloth well to remove rough edges; also consider putting a bit of breast milk on it to make it taste familiar), cold teething toys and lots of TLC.
Keeping your little one healthy at home is hard enough, so what about once you hit the road? “It’s not as tough as a lot of people fear,” says Laura Jana, M.D., an Omaha, Neb.-based pediatrician and author of Heading Home with Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality. Healthy babies as young as a few weeks should be fine, but keep these tips in mind for safe travel:
Fend off germs. Frequently wash everyone’s hands, especially after touching airplane armrests or trays. If your baby is due for immunizations, get them before you go.
Parents tend to overtreat kids under 6 with anti-fever medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, giving too much too often and putting their children at risk for liver damage, according to a survey conducted at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
No, I don’t. I think the best, most loving approach is to feed and cuddle a child whenever he wakes up and continue doing so for as long as it works for the family.
While the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that pediatricians screen for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) starting at 18 months of age, researchers have identified several potential signs in infants.
Almost nothing is quite as sweet as the scent of a freshly bathed baby. Yet, you may have heard that some ingredients in personal care products may be anything but sweet.
Because no pre-market government approval or testing is required of cosmetics (a broadly defined category including makeup, lotions, some soaps, shampoos and deodorants), virtually anything can be put into them.
And, since manufacturers are not required to disclose the individual contents of every ingredient on product labels, it can be difficult for consumers to make informed choices.
I’ll tell you what I tell my patients: There is no proof that vaccines cause autism. But there is some agreement that they may trigger autism and other problems in a small group of susceptible children. That’s why I prefer to customize a vaccination schedule for each child. This type of amended schedule is spelled out very well in 2008’s The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child, by Robert Sears, M.D., but it is still loudly criticized by the American Academy of Pediatrics and some other experts.
Also called “ankyloglossia,” tongue-tie occurs when the frenulum—the piece of tissue that connects the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth—is too short. The severity varies from slightly decreased mobility of the tongue to complete attachment of the tongue to the floor of the mouth; the latter can cause feeding problems for the baby and painful nipples for mom. A child with uncorrected severe tongue-tie may also experience speech problems later on. Luckily, most cases are minor and don’t require any treatment whatsoever.
Ten years ago, Harvey Karp was a Los Angeles-area pediatrician known primarily for his gentle, child-centered approach to parenting. Now, thanks to the phenomenal success of Karp’s The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD and book, his name has entered the national lexicon. Though best known as the way to calm fussy babies, his techniques also play an important role in helping to prevent child abuse and postpartum depression (PPD). “Teach parents how to soothe their babies,” Karp says, “and you eliminate the No. 1 trigger for PPD and shaken baby syndrome: crying.”
It's amazing. Leo is another being, yet he derives all his sustenance from me. We really are what I eat. The responsibility is staggering. Recently, I've been comparing notes with other breastfeeding moms—whose babies didn't have the sucking problem that Leo is still working against—and the worry and guilt seems pretty common. When you're holding a tiny new being who's screaming so hard his toes are clenched and his scalp is crimson, you tend to ask yourself what you did—or didn't do.
Some of the biggest thrills for parents come in their baby’s first year of life: the first smile, first “ba ba,” first steps. But after reading the baby books, most new parents know what should be happening when, and many are disappointed, or begin to worry, if their children seem to be behind the curve. Such anxiety generally is misplaced.
Locating a great pediatrician can take time and patience, so it’s a good idea to start while you are still pregnant. Considering that this potentially is the person who will guide your child’s care for the next 18 years, the effort is well worth it.