• Does my baby needs a daily vitamin?

    Shelby wanted to know, "Is a daily vitamin necessary for young children?"

    Dr. Sue writes:

    Actually, the answer is, "No, it is not." Unless you are nursing, where we do recommend supplemental vitamin D, it is not necessary to give your child a vitamin, unless your doctor recommends this. Sometimes as a parent, you feel good if you give them a vitamin because they aren't good eaters, which is fine.  Remember, if your doctor has recommended your child take a vitamin because they are anemic or breast feeding babies who need extra Vitamin D, make sure you get the product that they recommend.

  • When is it ok for kids to play with tablets?

    Jennifer C. - Hi Dr. Sue. Tablets and smart phones are laying all over our house. They have peaked my 2 years old’s interest but I am hesitant to let her play with them. What age do you recommend children be allowed to pay with tablets and smart phones and how much screen time should we allow?
     
    Dr. Sue writes:
     
    "I don't think you should let your child play with a tablet or a SmartPhone at all as long as you can go. Certainly under the age of two the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that children don't use media. As your child gets older it's everywhere and I think it's difficult to keep them away but you need to remember to limit it. It should not be something done every day and I really admire my patients who don't have any media during the week with their children who are in pre-school or school and save it for the weekend.
  • When will my baby start sleeping?

    Laurie W. - Hi Dr. Sue, My 1 month old is not sleeping through the night ever since we brought her home from the hospital. I know it’s common for babies to wake during the night but when should I start being concerned?
     
    Dr. Sue writes:
     
    "Laurie, not yet. Your baby's still little, and remember: Your baby just got here, and probably hardly realizes she's on earth yet, so she doesn't have circadian rhythm. In fact, circadian rhythm is learned from daylight and nighttime as well as your brain maturing and the hormones in the brain, which are called melatonin and cortisol that give us that day and night awakening.
     
    You get this to happen one, by age, so your baby does this on her own as she matures, but two, by patterning. So during the day, I'm awakening her every two to three hours, even when you're tempted not to. And at night I'm turning down the lights low, I'm being quieter, and I'm trying to spend some time singing to her, calming her and then laying her down to bed awake.
     
    I know people think that's crazy, but that's how you start teaching your baby to fall asleep on their own. It's gonna take you a good nother four to six, eight weeks before your baby's sleeping what we would call ""through the night"", which is about six to eight hours - not 12 hours yet.
     
    But you should not be concerned. If any of your friends are telling you the baby slept at four weeks, I think they've forgotten."
  • When should I start introducing cereal, and what kind should i use?

    Destiny - My sons doctor said I can start adding baby cereal into my son's diet at 4 months. Which is the best kind to start with and how should I begin?
     
    Dr. Sue writes:
     
    "Destiny, personally, as a pediatrician, I don't like to put cereal into formula. I like to teach the baby how to eat from a spoon and I think it's a really important mile stone.
     
    The recommendation is to start at about six months. You can start a little earlier, but it's best to start when the child is a little older because they have more head control and can sit up in a high chair and also, if you've noticed your baby at four months is really still has that tongue thrust, where they mm, mm all the time, and the moms want to know why they're sticking out their tongues. As they mature, you lose that tongue thrust.
     
  • What's the most frequent parenting question you get?

    Valerie J. - What is the most frequent question you get from new parents and could you share the answer?
     
    Dr. Sue writes:
     
    The most frequent question I get is, how do I raise a healthy child, and how do I get my child to behave? And you know what? It's really about us. We are modeling the behavior that we expect from our children. And it's a hard job that you have to do every single day, but I promise you, if you feed your child, have a good routine at home, set up limits and boundaries, and love your child unconditionally, they will turn out really well. But it's a journey. It's not a sprint."
  • How do I get my toddler to eat their meals?

    Alicia B. - How do I get my 19 month old son to eat more, he refuses most of the time. There's lots of unhealthy habits he has, while it prevents him from getting good nutrition and practicing developmental qualities, associated with cup drinking/feeding himself? Our pediatrician said, too much of anything is not good. My son only eats a very limited variety of certain foods, and I have to blend food and spoon-feed him to ensure he's getting enough food to sustain.
     
    Dr. Sue writes:
     
    "So Alicia, this gets back to that same thing. You are providing nutrition for your children. They have to choose whether or not they're going to eat it. Children are really smart. They don't starve themselves. Most toddlers only eat one good meal a day and they throw away two, so if you don't have a dog, you're picking a lot of stuff off the floor. If you make chicken, green beans, and carrots for dinner, that's dinner. They choose to eat it, or they don't.
     
    It's really, really hard to do that, though, and don't get emotional about their eating. Be matter of fact and just say, "It's fine. We'll have another meal tomorrow morning." I promise you he won't starve, and you're setting him up for lifelong good eating habits. So it's so important to begin this at a young age."
  • Is my little one overweight?

    Jodie S. - My son is 3. He's very big for his age. He weighs 50+ lbs., he's about 39 inches tall, he's healthy, but I worry about him being so big. He's chunky but not really fat. He is very active, and he is in the 99% of all his age. Is he just gonna be a big kid, or am I gonna have to put him on some kind of diet?
     
    Dr. Sue writes:
     
    "You know, Jodi, it sounds like he's just a big kid. He's very tall, but he's also in the upper percentiles for weight. This is the age when a toddler should be really active and so they're not gaining weight as rapidly as when they were newborns and young babies. Make sure he's not getting any more than three to seven pounds a year. They do seem to grow on air.
     
    Also make sure you're offering him really healthy foods. Toddlers are notoriously picky. Sometimes you find yourself as a parent falling into feeding them the same foods repetitively. I like to call it my dinner party. I fix a dinner and the children decide whether they're going to eat it or not. You don't have to be upset about it, you just don't let him have replacements.
     
    He should be growing about two inches a year, so by the time he's four, he's going to be about 41 inches tall. We don't talk about putting children on diets. We talk about changing eating habits and doing lots more exercise. Remember, model that exercise and play with him."
  • How do I transition from nursing to bottles?

    Another mother writes “How do I transition from nursing?” 

    Dr Sue writes:

    It depends what your goal is with nursing. If you're going back to work, some people can pump where it's easy to get up from their job and go to a nursing room, and other times it's not as easy. 

    Your breasts are smart, they will actually do what you want them to do. By that I mean if you want to stop nursing during the day because you have a job, like I did (I could not pump while I was seeing patients), then your breast can learn to do morning and night time feedings. 

    What you need to do is make sure whatever you're going to want to do that you do it before you go back to work. So you don't want to do it the day before you leave. You need to plan ahead. If you need to drop a feeding, you drop a feeding, you wait two to three days till you feel more comfortable through that feeding and then you drop another feeding. 

    For me, personally, the last feedings I drop are the morning and night time, but that's up to everyone and it depends on their schedule. Just remember you cannot stop breastfeeding cold turkey or you'll be terribly uncomfortable. 

    Most babies will also take a bottle fairly readily from a nursing mother. But if you plan on nursing for the first year of life exclusively, I think it's important to start an occasional bottle within four to six weeks after the baby has been nursing well. 

    Not every feeding, not at the same time every day, but just to make sure that your baby will take a bottle. The hardest thing for a new mom is to have a baby who refuses a bottle because we haven't tried one for the first four months and now she's going to back to work.

  • When can my baby start eating pureed foods?

    Nancy G. - When can my baby start eating foods like puree?
     
    Dr. Sue writes:
     
    "The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends starting pureed foods around six months. So your baby is showing some interest, I would put them in the high chair if they can sit up now, and you start playing a little game which I called the yum-yum game. This is really not about calories and I promise you it doesn't make your child sleep through the night. It's about learning to put textures into your baby's mouth.
     
    So I start with cereal or a vegetable, or many of my patients like to start with avocado, and you put the baby in the high chair during the happy time of the day and you try to spoon feed them. Again, go by your baby's cues. Some babies think it's fabulous in the beginning and eat tablespoonfuls, and others push that spoon away and you try again tomorrow.
     
    It's a learning process so don't get frustrated. Once you've been starting foods, you can start a new food every several days."
  • Is my baby having nightmares?

    Kassidi H. - I want to know if babies as early as 4 months, shes 7 months now, can have nightmares? My baby has woken up in the middle of the night at least 4 times in the past couple of months crying like she is scared to death. I don't know what to do about it.
     
    Dr. Sue writes:
     
    "You know, we do think that babies probably dream, but this is also a time in your babies life that they are having more mature sleep patterns and they have arousal. When we talk about a baby sleeping through the night, we don't sleep through the night, right? We all roll over, punch our pillow, look at the digital clock.
     
    Your baby has to learn the same thing. When she awakens, she cries for you because she's been taught to do that. As an infant, we go to them. Now is the time to walk into your babies room, make sure she's okay, reassure her with voice only, you don't pick her up, which I know is so hard, and leave the room. She needs to learn how to self-soothe. It's like riding a bike. Some babies learn on the first day and other babies take two to three weeks and sometimes months, but be assured that she is not, as you said, "scared to death". This too shall pass."
  • Is my baby teething?

    Taylor asks me, "Can babies start teething at three months?" 

    Dr Sue writes:

    At about three months of age, you start to notice that your baby is drooling, and they're also putting their hands in their mouths. I'm not sure that's always related to teething as much as child development. Somewhere between four months and twelve months is the most common age to cut your first tooth. And some parents can tell that their baby seems to be fussy a day or two before the tooth arrives. During this time it may be appropriate to use a pain reliever, like acetaminophen. But you don't want to get in the habit of giving it every time your baby is fussy. You may actually find out that over time you don't even realize when that next tooth comes in.

  • How do I treat baby acne?

    Julie - My baby is 5 weeks old and has baby acne all over here face. What do I treat it with, and how long will it take to get better?
     
    Dr. Sue writes:
     
    Julie, this is not a good time to take pictures of your baby's face. This is a common time for them to have an acne breakout, which is really from your hormones. The baby's most like an adolescent. That baby acne will go away by itself. Wash her face with soap and water. You don't need to use any over-the-counter acne products, which some of my patients have wanted to use, and no picking. Usually that baby acne is gone by three weeks and you can start taking those cute pictures all over again. Plus you all have Photoshop, so they don't have baby acne anymore.
  • Is my baby spitting up too much?

    Jennifer M. - I have a 2 month old little boy. He has had issues with reflux and spitting since he was born. The spit up has turned into throwing up a lot after every feeding. How do you know if they need to switch formula or have an intolerance to something in this one. He's so squirmy and unsettled after he eats.
     
    Dr. Sue writes:
     
    Some babies do seem to have an intolerance to lactose in the formula or in breast milk. Everyone can tolerate a little bit different amounts. First I would try if you're a breast feeding mom taking the dairy out of your diet and see if that makes any difference. Secondly, if you're bottle feeding, there are low lactose formulas that you could try.
     
    If you continue to have problems or your baby seems to be getting worse instead of better and it's everyday, it's very important when we're talking about these symptoms that it's every single day and not randomly. I'd give my pediatrician a call and go in and talk to them about that. Again, the most important thing about a baby is that they're growing well and gaining weight.
  • My baby is spitting up all the time - what can I do?

    Another question comes from Courtney, who wants to know what's best for babies that spit up constantly. 

    Dr. Sue writes:

    There are some babies called happy spitters. They spit up all the time. They're always dripping on their mom and dad, and they're quite content spitting up. In fact, I had a grandchild like that. I don't think I've ever seen so much spit up in my life, but she outgrew it. Most children grow out of spitting up between the ages of six and 12 months. 

    If your child is irritable when they are spitting up, then you might try things like sitting them upright during a feeding or even giving them breast milk that has been thickened if you need to do that. That's a conversation you should have with your pediatrician. The main thing in a baby that spits up is that they are gaining weight and thriving. If they're spitting up excessively, they won't gain weight. If you go in to your pediatrician for their checkup and see your baby has gained two pounds over two months, because we like to see an infant gain at least a pound a month , then you can feel reassured that the spitting up is not causing any problems.

  • Is my baby not getting enough to eat?

    Brittany M. - My daughter is almost 5 months old and for the past month or so she's really been giving us trouble feeding. She suddenly won't eat more than a few ounces at a time so I wind up feeding her almost the entire day long unless she's napping cause she wants to eat in such short spurts. What gives?
     
    Dr. Sue writes:
     
    "This could be something called gastroesophageal reflux that we see in this age child. So if your baby seems to be suddenly not wanting her feedings, arching her back when she feeds, eating voraciously for the first couple ounces and then pushes it away.
     
    I'd call your pediatrician and maybe go in and have a visit. Make sure that the baby is gaining weight well, but also talk about GE reflux. This is a common problem and not all babies are bothered by it. We have babies that are much more bothered when they reflux than others and we have babies who spit all the time, which are called happy spitters."

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