Infant | Fit Pregnancy


Hot Weather Advice


Breast milk is enough for babies even in the hottest weather, but if you're not convinced, monitor the color and quantity of your daughter's urine. It should be pale yellow or clear, and she should produce her normal amount. If it's dark or there's less than usual, she needs more fluids. (You, however, definitely need more, especially since you're breastfeeding.)

Parenting Styles


No, you're not. As pediatricians, it's our job to help you with everything from nutritional advice to safety guidelines to parenting options. It is also our job to watch for family stress and to help you as a couple and a family. No, we're not psychologists, but we often are the only doctors a family sees on a regular basis.

Ask your doctor if you can address these issues at your next well-child visit or if you should schedule a separate appointment to talk with him. And if your differences about parenting are causing marital problems, consider getting counseling.

Sun Exposure


Because calcium absorption depends on adequate amounts of vitamin D (which comes from the sun, among other sources), bone strength can be adversely affected by underexposure to the sun. Moderation works, though: 10 to 15 minutes of sun a few times each week (preferably when the suns rays are not at their strongest) probably creates enough vitamin D to head off problems. Avoid sunscreen and sun-protective clothing during sun time, as they can nearly eliminate vitamin D production; after a few minutes, apply sun protection with SPF 15 or higher.

Diagnosing ADD


Most 18- to 36-month-olds who act this way are simply showing their strong will and absence of reasoning. That said, children with attention-deficit issues often are tremendously active and aggressive. They also may have a strong aversion to being cuddled or read to; they may display delayed gross- or fine-motor skills (such as not crawling or having a good pincer grasp at about 9 to 10 months); and they may be clumsier and much more difficult to control than their peers.

Sleeping Through the Night


Many babies, especially newborns, sleep only a few hours at a stretch because they need to waken to be cuddled or fed. Some may start sleeping longer at 4 or 5 months; others may not until after the first year. To help fix this problem, many books tell you to let your baby cry it out beginning in his first few weeks. But by enforcing these sleep-changing programs, you encourage less contact with, and feeding by, your baby.

Traveling with an Infant


Include the following items in your travel kit and you'll be prepared for many minor wounds and mild ailments. A word of caution, however: All medicines have potential side effects, so call your pediatrician before using any of them. Also call your doc if your child's symptoms are worrisome in any way. Acetaminophen (Tylenol)This pain reliever soothes teething discomfort and reduces the fever that accompanies mild viral illnesses.

Swim Lessons


Many experts recommend swimming lessons only after the age of 4, but I disagree. While I certainly do believe that children can't possibly be water-safe until they're at least 4 years old--and actually well older than that, in my opinion--lessons at 12 months or even younger help children become comfortable in the water. When the time comes to really learn how to swim, they'll enjoy the process much more and be less fearful.

Tofu For Tots?


Tofu is safe for babies as young as 9 to 12 months old, provided it is part of a well-balanced diet. Critics of soy, a low-fat source of protein, overstate the potential drawbacks--severe allergies manifested in intestinal symptoms such as excess gas, bloating and diarrhea, and thyroid problems--and fail to note the benefits. The average American child's diet is too high in animal protein and saturated fat; eating tofu can help to change this. More study is needed before we can talk knowledgeably about any dangers.

Endless Colds


Viruses only seem to be passed back and forth from one child to the other. The reality is that they are getting different "bugs" each time. Every time a child gets a viral illness, the immune system makes antibodies to prevent its recurrence.

Deep Doo-doo


In a word: regression. When the new baby arrives, much of your focus will be on her diapers--specifically, the pee and poop in those diapers. It can be hard for a toddler to see so much attention being showered on one family member's elimination habits at the same time that he is supposed to be "growing up" and giving up his diapers.