Spoon-Fed to Self-Serve: When to Transition Your Baby

Thursday, May 17, 2012 8:07 AM comments (0)

baby foodThe first year of your baby’s life will involve various dietary changes. For the first three to four months, your infant will only need breast milk or formula.

As your baby begins to hold his head up, is teething and shows interest in food (at around four to six months), you can start to introduce pureed foods and cereals (iron-fortified) into his diet.

This transition may be messy at first. Over time your baby will become more independent (and interested!) in feeding himself. When do you know it is a good time to hand the spoon over?
Sharon Robinson, MD, Pediatrician, at NorthShore provides some tips on how you can transition your child from being spoon-fed to beginning to eat on his own:

  • Encourage your baby to hold, touch and sample food on his own.
  • Let your baby help you put the spoon into his mouth during feedings. Once he is comfortable on his own, let him do it by himself.
  • Offer your baby finger foods. You can then gradually transition to a spoon.
  • Plan to eat your meal at the same time as your baby. This will reinforce correct behaviors and encourage independence.
  • Be patient and don’t rush your baby. At first more food may end up on the ground than in your baby’s mouth. Over time your baby will learn how to eat properly with making such a mess.

When did your kids start eating solid foods? How old were they when they began feeding themselves? What were some of their favorite foods?


Pelvic Health Conditions: Pelvic Organ Prolapse – Multiple Solutions

Monday, May 14, 2012 10:37 AM comments (0)

Pelvic ProlapseA common condition amongst both young and old women is pelvic organ prolapse. This condition happens when the uterus or vagina gets displaced and drops down.

While many women tend to ignore or live with this often disfiguring and uncomfortable condition, it can also lead to other problems including recurring bladder infections, difficulty emptying bowels and have a negative effect on sexual activity.

Dr. Tomezsko explains the various lines of treatments for prolapse:

  • Pelvic floor muscle rehab
  • Non-surgical procedure—done during an office visit—involving the vaginal placement of a supportive device.
  • Other minimally invasive vaginal or scarless procedures

According to Dr. Tomezsko, the majority of women can have great improvement with the rehab and non-surgical options.


With all of the pelvic health conditions we have discussed this week, it is important for women to know that many conservative, non-invasive treatment plans exist for these common and chronic conditions.

Did you find the pelvic health information posted this week to be helpful? What other related topics might you be interested in learning more about?


Pelvic Health Conditions: Overactive Bladder – Common Problem, Easy to Manage

Friday, May 11, 2012 1:55 PM comments (0)

Overactive BladderWhat is an overactive bladder? This condition - more common in older women - is characterized by an urgent and frequent need to urinate and sometimes results in some leakage of urine before reaching a bathroom. This condition is often successfully treated with behavior modifications and bladder retraining, but can sometimes require additional treatments.

Dr. Tomezsko walks us through the common techniques for treating an overactive bladder:

  • Learn regulate your fluid intake. Think about what and when you drink and train the bladder accordingly.
  • Talk with your physician about what types of medications can help with the management of this condition.
  • Consider a minimally invasive procedure if problems continue after trying more conservative methods. This procedure involves using Botox injections in the bladder to decrease the muscles of the bladder’s ability to contract, which then eliminates the sense of urgency to urinate.

How much liquid do you drink on a daily basis? Do you find that you have to go to the bathroom more frequently when you don’t regulate your intake?


Pelvic Health Conditions: Urinary Leakage – Easy to Treat

Wednesday, May 09, 2012 8:51 AM comments (0)

We’ll be featuring a series of posts over the next week about the symptoms and treatment options for various common chronic pelvic health conditions in women.

Urinaryt LeakageChronic pelvic health conditions in women—including urinary leakage, overactive bladder and pelvic organ prolapse—are common and affect 20-40 percent of the adult female population. The good news is that they are generally very treatable with conservative, non-surgical methods, or minimally invasive surgical methods.

Urinary leakage caused by a cough, sneeze or doing exercise (otherwise known as stress incontinence) is quite common in younger women. It can affect a woman’s daily life—limiting an active lifestyle, playing with kids, etc.

Janet Tomezsko, MD a urogynecologist at NorthShore’s Center for Pelvic Health gives her advice about common urinary leakage treatments:

  • Prescribed physical therapy program to strengthen or rehabbing the pelvic floor muscles.
  • A minimally invasive, outpatient surgical procedure where a small sling is inserted in the vagina to support the urethra allowing it to close more fully. This procedure is for women who are done having children.

Does it surprise you to know that 20-40% of women at one point in their lives will have a pelvic health condition? What education and resources would be most helpful to you for learning more?


Sun Safety – Limit Your Risks of Developing Skin Cancer

Monday, May 07, 2012 8:42 AM comments (0)

Sun Safety

As the summer approaches, many of us will spend more time outdoors enjoying the weather and the sunshine. While the sunshine can be good for you by improving your mood and giving you a boost in Vitamin D, without the proper protection it can also be harmful to your skin and body.

Aaron Dworin, MD, Dermatologist at NorthShore, offers his advice on how to protect your skin and limit your risk of developing skin cancer, including melanoma:

  • Limit your exposure to the sun. Spend more time in the shade, especially during peak hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
  • Generously apply sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher with both UVA and UVB protection) when you know you’ll be out in the sun. Sunscreen should be used any time you know you’ll be outdoors for an extended period of time, even if it’s cloudy outside. Be sure to frequently reapply sunscreen as needed. Fears of not getting enough Vitamin D when using sunscreen are unproven and often overblown.
  • Avoid going to the tanning bed. Despite claims that tanning beds are safe, both UVA and UVB rays can damage your skin.
  • Dress appropriately for the sun. Wear a hat to shield your face, head and ears; wear sunglasses to protect your eyes (100% UVA & UBA protection is best); and wear clothing that limits your skin’s exposure to the sun.
  • Avoid trying to get a tan by sunbathing or applying tanning oils.

How often are you outside in the warmer months? What do you do to protect yourself from the sun?


Dairy – More Than Just a Glass of Milk

Thursday, May 03, 2012 8:29 AM comments (0)

Dairy BenefitsDairy in your diet can make a real difference. Not only may consuming dairy products reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, but it may also help reduce your risk of osteoporosis and hypertension, help you maintain a healthy body weight and play a beneficial role in cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome.

With all of these potential health benefits it’s recommended to have 3-4 servings of dairy each day.

Melissa Joy Dobbins, registered dietitian at NorthShore, shares ways she serves up dairy with her family to ensure everyone gets the recommended 3-4 daily servings.


  •          Choose milk as your mealtime beverage.
  • Low-fat chocolate milk is another good option to help mix it up.
  • Use a milk frother to make your own fat-free lattes at home.

Reduced Fat Cheese

  • Don’t feel like meat? Eat cheese, you’ll get your protein plus calcium.   
  • Shredded cheese is a great addition to salads, soups and casseroles.
  • Cheese and whole grain crackers are a convenient and nutrient-rich snack.   


  • Make your own “frozen yogurt.” Place the cup or tube in the freezer and enjoy.
  • You can make chocolate yogurt by mixing 1-2 packets of hot chocolate mix with a quart of plain fat-free yogurt.


  •  Make a whey protein smoothie after your workout.  Simply add a scoop of whey protein powder to your favorite smoothie recipe.

Are you getting the daily dairy you should? What tips do you have to reach the recommended servings?


Important Seizure Tips: Helping Out and Staying Safe

Tuesday, May 01, 2012 12:13 PM comments (1)

SeizuresWhat do you do if you are around someone having a seizure? If you’ve had a seizure, what lifestyle changes do you need to make to reduce your risk of further injury? These are important questions to consider when dealing with epilepsy.

Jaishree Narayanan, MD, Neurologist at NorthShore, provides her insight on ways to assist someone having a seizure and what you should do after suffering from a seizure:

Seizure Assistance
Aside from never putting anything into a person’s mouth suffering from a seizure or forcibly holding them down, the following guidelines (TRUST) should be followed:   

  • Turn the person onto his or her side (the left side is best).
  • Remove all harmful objects from the episode area.
  • Use something soft (such as a pillow, blanket or sweatshirt) under the person’s head.
  • Stay calm.
  • Time the seizure. If the seizure lasts more than five minutes or multiple seizures are observed, call 911 immediately.

After a Seizure: Precautions to Consider
After suffering from a seizure it is important to limit your risk for injury if another episode should occur. This can be done by following the precautions below:

  • Do not drive for a period of 3-6 months after a seizure.
  • Do not take unsupervised baths.
  • Do not go swimming without someone by your side with close supervision. 
  • Do not climb up roof tops, ladders or onto other elevated areas.
  • Do not work with live electrical wires or operate machinery. 
  • Do not engage in any activities that would put you or people around you in danger due to your seizures.

Were the above tips helpful? Would you feel comfortable knowing what to do now if someone around you was suffering from a seizure?

Have questions about seizures and epilepsy? Join Sofia Dobrin, MD for an online chat on Thursday, May 3 from 12-1p.m. Submit your early questions.


Recognizing and Reacting to Concussion

Thursday, April 26, 2012 11:24 AM comments (0)

Concussion-SymptomsYour son knocks helmets with a teammate on the ice. Your daughter heads the ball during a soccer match. Your linebacker goes down after a rough tackle. By nature of the game, participating in sports puts your children at greater risk of concussion and head injury.

Proper prevention and education can help keep your family safe. Julian Bailes, MD, Former NFL and NCAA Team Physician, Current Medical Director for Pop Warner Football and Co-Director of the NorthShore Neurological Institute says it’s important for parents to know the symptoms of concussion to watch for, which include:

  • Headache
  • Memory disturbance
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty with balance
  • Visual problems
  • Trouble concentrating on school work
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Sleep problems

It is important to recognize that symptoms of a concussion may not be immediate. For this reason it is very important that parents, coaches, trainers and teammates are mindful of injuries and pull athletes from a game anytime injury is suspected. Any signs or symptoms of concussion should be taken seriously and should be evaluated by a healthcare professional.

Get immediate treatment and be smart about when you send your athlete back in the game after they heal.

What safety measures to you put in place to reduce injury? What other questions do you have about concussions and other sports injuries?


Safety First – Infant Car Seat Safety

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 9:18 AM comments (0)

Car Seat Safety

From the moment you take your newborn home from the hospital to every time you get in the car to run errands, it is essential to make sure that your infant is safe, well supported and secure in his car seat. Proper seating can help greatly reduce your child’s risk for permanent injury if you were to get into an accident.

However, just because you have proper seating for your infant, doesn’t ensure that it is being properly used or was installed correctly. It is important to practice installing your new car seat and/or seek professional assistance before your infant rides in the car for the first time.

Anne Middaugh, RN, MSN, CPS Technician, Community Health Specialist at NorthShore offers her insight on proper child safety seat installation:

  • Read both the instructions that come with the child restraint and the owner’s manual of your vehicle. The owner’s manual can be very informative as to the best place to use the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system. For example, usually the best place for an infant seat is in the center of the back seat. Many vehicle manufacturers do not put LATCH points in the center seat because it is narrower than the side seats. The owner’s manual will tell parents whether they may use the side LATCH points or if they have to use the vehicle seat belt for the center position.
  • Do not use both the LATCH and seat belts for securing the car seat. Believe it or not, it is more dangerous to use both than only one. Whenever we stop fast in our vehicles, there are three stops the body goes through:
  1. The car stops.
  2. Objects inside the car keep moving until something stops them. This would be a seat belt for adults, children in belt-positioning booster seats, and the child restraint itself. If LATCH is used, then it is the restraint harness holding the child in the seat.
  3. For infants and children, if you were to use both the seat belt and the LATCH, an additional stop is added to the series. Instead of allowing for the seat belt or LATCH to “stretch” to lessen the shock of a rapid stop, the seat belt stops the child seat, the LATCH stops the seat again and the harness stops the child. It is safer to allow the LATCH or the vehicle’s seat belt to do the job alone.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommend that all children be rear-facing until they are two years old or until they reach the highest weight/height allowed by the car safety seat manufacturer. At the very least, children should remain rear-facing until they are at least one year old and 20 pounds. This means that once your infant outgrows the car seat carrier, the next seat should be a convertible seat that is placed rear-facing. The child should continue to ride rear-facing until he or she is at least two years old or reaches the height/weight limits imposed by the child car seat manufacturer for rear-facing passengers.

Where did you install your child’s car seat? What resources helped you determine the best place to put it?


Earth Day – Live Well, Eat Well

Thursday, April 19, 2012 12:14 PM comments (0)

Earth DayThis Sunday is Earth Day! It is a great day to celebrate the earth and your health.

Geeta Maker-Clark, MD, integrative family physician at NorthShore, provides some tips on how you can stay healthy while being mindful of the environment:

  • Drink plenty of water a day, to your thirst, and up to 8 glasses. Among its many benefits, drinking sufficient water each day will keep your body hydrated and can regulate your weight by decreasing the amount that you eat. To help reduce waste, drink tap water or filtered water instead of bottled water. If you do drink bottled water, be sure to recycle.
  • Exercise for at least 150 minutes every week. This should combine moderate aerobic exercise (such as walking or jogging) and muscle-strengthening exercises. If you can, get outside for some fresh air and exercise. If you can walk or ride your bike to work you’ll help reduce greenhouse gases produced by cars.
  • Make half of your plate at every meal vegetables and fruits of different colors. Eat 2 ½ -3 cups of vegetables and 1½ -2 cups of fruit a day. Try to buy more local, seasonal and organic foods.
  • Compost. Not only does composting reduce the amount of garbage thrown out over the course of year, but it also makes a great fertilizer for your garden.
  • Grow a garden. If it isn’t warm enough to start seedlings outside, begin preparing your garden indoors. Once it is nice enough outside, transfer your planters and pots. The satisfaction that comes from eating what you grow yourself is priceless!

What tips do you have for Earth Day? What do you do to help protect our planet?

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