It’s cold and flu season. There’s no way around it. If it hasn’t happened already, it won’t be long before the common cold and the flu start making the rounds at your child’s school. And kids in school are particularly susceptible because regular hand-washing
probably isn’t at the top of their to-do lists.
Parents, it’s the perfect time to prepare for the sick days ahead. Susan Roth, MD, Pediatrician at NorthShore, shares some effective home
remedies for parents with little ones stuck at home with a bad cold.
What home remedies have worked for you?
Are your kids getting the sleep they need each night? Is your picky eater turning down fruits and vegetables
at every meal? Are bedtimes and mealtimes a daily struggle in your home? This is the “tough stuff.”
Lindsay Uzunlar, MD, Pediatrician at NorthShore, answers these tough questions, sharing bedtime and mealtime solutions and tips
to ensure every member of the family—large and small—is getting the sleep and nutrition they need to thrive.
When should your child start to regularly sleep through the night? When should you be worried that they aren’t sleeping through the night or are waking up too frequently?
Your child is biologically able to sleep through the night around 3-4 months, so with your help they should be able to sleep through the night by six months—meaning sleeping between 6-7 hours without waking up. If your baby is still waking up frequently
at nine months, talk with your pediatrician about some possible sleep-training strategies. Consider talking to your pediatrician about sleep-training techniques earlier than six months, or even during pregnancy.
How do you set bedtimes? How much sleep do children need?
A lot of babies need help learning when and how to sleep so this is where you can make a big difference. Observe when your child seems become naturally sleepy or when he starts to be fussier. When that time comes, put him to bed drowsy but not sleeping.
The key to remember is that you are in charge of bedtime, from infancy until they leave your house. Setting bedtimes is really important and can vary depending on age. Children will naturally start to go to bed later as they need less sleep. A newborn needs
up to 15-17 hours of sleep; a six-month-old needs 13-14 hours; 9-24 months need about 12 hours; school age between 9-10 hours and adolescents 8-9 hours.
How long is it normal for a child to wet the bed? Is a family history of bedwetting a contributing factor? What can you do to stop it?
It is still normal to have nighttime wetting up to the age of six, especially if there is a family history. There are different techniques that you can try. The simplest is just having scheduled wake-up times. With this technique, you set your own
alarm and wake him up to take him to the bathroom. In a perfect world, you could wake him up before you go to bed (assuming you go to bed later than him) and then not worry about it for the rest of the night.
How do you wean an infant of needing a pacifier to remain asleep at night?
As you may have realized, children use pacifiers as a self-soothing object. So the key to helping them transition to good sleeping without is to replace the pacifier with something else. For instance, this is a great time for a teddy bear or blanket. Put them
to sleep with both the pacifier and the new object so that they can learn to associate both with self-soothing. Then you can take away the pacifier and ideally he or she won't notice its absence too much. You can work on having the pacifier gone over the next
2-3 months. I would recommend that you take all pacifiers away at once, that way when he wants it, you can 100% truthfully say that they are "all gone."
What do you do if your child refuses meat? How do you ensure he or she gets enough protein?
Vegetarianism is fine for kids but it is understandable to worry about protein intake. There are other sources of protein besides peanut butter and meat. Some other good sources are: eggs, milk, soy products and whole grain cereals. Try to make sure
your child gets a combination of these at each meal.
How do you handle a picky eater who won’t eat anything other than his or her favorite and probably unhealthy foods?
It takes kids about 10-15 tries of a food before they will like it. So making sure that they take a “no thank you” bite will help give them exposure to the new foods. You can also try introducing new tastes of food mixed with their favorites such as
peas with macaroni and cheese. Your child should be eating the same dinner that everyone else is eating. If they don’t want it, then accept their opinion and let them know that this is the only thing that will be prepared tonight. He or she will be more likely
to eat what has been prepared if they know that they don’t have other options. The key to helping instill change is consistency. So it is important that anyone who consistently cares for your child be on the same page about introducing new foods.
What are some strategies to help children learn to explore more food types if they have texture sensitivities?
For texture sensitivities, it’s a good idea to attempt “try and try again." It can take kids awhile to get used to new things, tastes and textures, so just encourage a single bite each meal and if he or she takes it, consider that a success! If you
find that this is taking longer than you think it should, speak with your pediatrician.
Are dairy and gluten considered safe for children? Are they a necessary part of a child’s diet?
Dairy-free and gluten-free diets are very popular right now; however, they are only necessary for a select number of people and otherwise are part of a healthy diet. Children who experience gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea, stomach cramping,
vomiting or bloating after eating one or both of these may have a sensitivity. In that case, it is a good idea to see your pediatrician about safely removing these from the diet. If they don't experience these symptoms, they are fine and your children can
continue eating food with dairy and gluten without issue.
When should babies start drinking animal milk? Do you have recommendations on cow vs. goat?
To help with brain growth, babies should remain on breast milk or formula until 12 months old. After that, trying cow's milk is best as it has a more complete set of nutrients. Goat's milk is an option if you feel your child may not be tolerating the
cow's milk,but in that case, he should be taking a multivitamin with it.
Summer vacation is coming to a close, which means it’s time to start thinking about the approaching school year, especially if your
little one is about to embark on preschool. The transition from home life to a classroom environment is an exciting time but it requires preparation for you and your child to be physically and emotionally ready.
Sharon Robinson, MD, Pediatrician at NorthShore, provides her recommendations and tips on how to ensure that your child will be ready
for this brand new adventure:
What steps have you taken to prepare your child for preschool?
Does it seem like you make a lot of trips to see your pediatrician? Regardless of the reason—the sniffles,
a high fever, an infection or something else—it is a good idea to make regular visits to the doctor. These appointments, along with any “back-to-school” check-ups, are not only important to your child’s well being, but also can help physicians identify health
risks and preventive measures.
Alison Galanopoulos, MD, NorthShore-affiliated Pediatrician, identifies some of the common health concerns that a pediatrician can often identify during regular visits:
How frequently do you take your child/children to the pediatrician?
Now is the time when our shopping lists for holiday giving may include items for children of varying ages. While walking through the aisles, you’ll see plenty of new toys along with many of the tried-and-true classics (like building blocks and dolls). With
all the options out there, how do you know which toys are best suited for what ages?
The most colorful or cute toy on the shelf doesn’t always make it the best choice. It’s worthwhile to recognize that children of varying ages have achieved different development milestones. Just as you wouldn’t give an infant a LEGO® set, you also wouldn’t
buy a four year old a teething rattle.
Kenneth Fox, MD, a pediatrician at NorthShore, gives the following recommendations when shopping for age-appropriate toys:
Play is essential to a child’s physical, cognitive, social and moral development. Toys, books and experiences that enrich creative play make wonderful gifts for the season and support healthy child development all year long.
Can you remember a time when one of your children received a toy not well suited for his or her age? What did you do?
Many juices are advertised as being nutritious, and kids love juice, so parents happily provide it, believing it is a healthy choice. However, juice does not provide the same nutrition as a piece of whole fruit, and has been linked to obesity and tooth decay.
Juice should be given in moderation and should not be thought of as a substitute for healthier choices like whole fruit, milk or water.
If you choose to give your child juice, Sara Wiemer, MD, Pediatrician at NorthShore, offers the following suggestions for maximizing its nutritional value:
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following servings of juice:
Summer vacation is here! While it may seem early, it’s often best to get your child’s required physical and immunizations
scheduled and completed before it gets too close to class being back in session. This way your kids can have all appropriate screening and their vaccines updated so they are kept safe from illness and don’t infect others.
Kenneth Fox, MD, Pediatrician at NorthShore, gives parents some tips on preparing for back-to-school shots: (Please note this is just a sample list of vaccines needed. Please
refer to your office guidelines for shots).
Booster doses of several of these occur between 12 and 18 months and then again between ages 4 -6 years. Influenza vaccines are yearly beginning at 6 months of age.
Most kids don’t like being pricked by needles or look forward to getting shots. Dr. Fox gives some advice on how to ease the pain of getting shots:
When do you usually schedule your child’s back-to-school appointments? Do you have any tips to help with shots?
For more information, visit the
Illinois Department of Public Health, Immunization Program website.
Summer is a great time to be outdoors and to take advantage of the weather. With the temperature changes and increased sunshine,
come some summer safety concerns.
Julie Holland, MD, a pediatrician at NorthShore, shares a few quick tips on how you can ensure your family stays safe this summer:
What do you do to keep your family safe and healthy during the summer? What are some of your favorite family activities?
More and more children are being diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorders —a range of neurobiological disorders that are best managed
when they are diagnosed early. It is estimated that one in 110 children is affected by autism and that boys are four times more likely than girls to have the condition.
Some signs of autism can be detected in very early childhood. It is important for parents and other caretakers to be aware of concerning signs and behavioral patterns so that children can be evaluated as soon as possible.
Sara Wiemer, MD, Pediatrician at NorthShore, identifies some of the signs of autistic spectrum disorders in children:
Have you noticed any of these signs of autism in your child? Don’t hesitate to bring your concerns to your child’s pediatrician.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus simply spread by skin-to-skin contact. There are many different types of HPV (nearly 200). However, 40 of these types can infect the genital areas, mouth or throat of men and women during sexual contact.
Over 80% of sexually active women and more than 50% of sexually active men will have acquired genital HPV infection at some point during their life. This makes genital HPV the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). However, most people who become
infected remain unaware of it and infect their partners before they clear it on their own.
Some HPV types result in genital warts; other types are associated with cervical, vaginal, oral, anal and penile cancers. Fortunately, parents and patients can take important steps to help reduce HPV infection risks.
Kenneth Fox, MD, Pediatrician at NorthShore, offers tips on reducing HPV infection risks:
Have you spoken with your child or his/her primary care physician about this vaccine?