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Baby Q&As

  1. Expert: Susan Georgoussis
    August 25th, 2011
    Is it easier to breastfeed your second or third baby?

    Women who had a hard time breastfeeding their first babies are often hesitant to try again, but it’s important to know that breastfeeding is often easier the second time around. 

    For one thing, your breasts tend to produce milk a little earlier and your milk may also be more abundant than it was with your first baby. You also know so much more the second time, even when it comes to something as simple as how to hold your baby. 

    And because you’ve tried breastfeeding before, you have a foundation of knowledge and experience that you can build on. You’re probably also more confident than you were with your first baby–just knowing that babies are sturdier than they look and that they will thrive can make a big difference. 

    Most of all, you know how important it is to get help right away if you have sore nipples or have trouble getting a good latch. If you do decide to give breastfeeding a try with your second baby, know that you’re not locked into anything. Ask yourself, “Can I give this baby a few days, or maybe a week or two, to figure this out?”

    Sometimes women who found breastfeeding was a breeze the first time are dismayed to discover that they actually have a harder time with their second. The key is to get help right away and to take comfort in the fact that you know it can work because you were successful before.

    Susan Georgoussis is the Co-founder of Becoming Maternity and Parenting Centres and a mother of four. She is a certified perinatal nurse specialist (PNC), lactation consultant (IBCLC) and Lamaze childbirth educator (LCCE). For more than 25 years, Susan has focused her career on women’s health issues related to birth and parenting. She has been actively involved in the development and facilitation of various programs related to healthy pregnancies, labour & delivery, anesthesia education, parenting with multiples, postpartum adjustment and breastfeeding.becomingmaternity.com

  2. Expert: Elizabeth Pantley
    April 25th, 2011
    Is my toddler ready for toilet training?

    Potty training can seem stressful at first, but I have good news: As a parent educator and four-time veteran of the toilet training process, I know that potty training can be simple and, yes, even fun. The first step is to know the facts:

    • Most children become physically capable of independent toileting between ages two-and-a-half and four.
    • It takes three to 12 months from the start of training to daytime toilet independence.
    • Nighttime dryness is achieved only when a child's physiology supports this–you can't rush it.
    • The age your child masters toileting has absolutely no correlation to future abilities or intelligence.
    • There isn't one right way to potty train–any approach you use can work if you are pleasant, positive and patient.
    • A parent's readiness to train is just as important as a child's readiness to learn.

     
    Here are a few tips to help make the process work for you:
     

    1. Create a potty routine–have your child sit on the potty when he first wakes up, after meals, before getting in the car and before bed.
    2. If your child looks like he needs to go–tell, don't ask! Say, "Let's go to the potty."
    3. Your child must be relaxed to go: try reading a book, telling a story, singing, or talking about the day.
    4. Make hand washing a fun part of their routine. Keep a step stool by the sink and have colorful, child-friendly soap available.
    5. Expect accidents and clean them up calmly.
    6. Matter-of-factly use diapers or pull-ups for naps and bedtime.
    7. Either cover the car seat or use pull-ups or diapers for car trips.
    8. Visit new bathrooms frequently when away from home.
    9. Praise him when he goes!


    Elizabeth Pantley
    Elizabeth Pantley a mother of four and the best-selling author of eight parenting books, including: The No-Cry Sleep Solution and The No-Cry Discipline Solution. She is also a contributing author to The Successful Child with Dr. William Sears. Based in Washington, Pantley is the president of Better Beginnings Inc. (a family resource and education company) and a parenting expert for a variety of publications including: Parents, Parenting and Redbook. (www.pantley.com) www.pantley.com/elizabeth


  3. Expert: Alan Greene, M.D.
    February 10th, 2011
    Which diapers are the most eco-friendly?

    Any parent who has tossed a diaper in the trash knows overloading landfills are an ecological issue. But what about the energy, water and chlorine involved in laundering cloth diapers? The truth is, both cloth and disposable diapers have a negative effect on our planet.

    Studies show disposable diapers, home-laundered cloth diapers and commercially laundered cotton diapers have a similar overall environmental impact - but there are things you can do to reduce it.

    For disposable diapers, the most significant impact occurs during manufacturing, so choose brands that focus on green manufacturing methods. And almost all diapers are recyclable, so use the green bin instead of the trash.

    For home-laundered cloth diapers, the primary impact comes from the electricity used in washing and drying, so make sure your machine is marked "Energy Saver" and avoid peak wash times such as 5 to 7 p.m.

    For commercially laundered diapers, the biggest impact comes from use of fuels and electricity. Choose a company that is close by to reduce fuels and emissions during transportation.

    For green-savvy parents, the best choice is hybrid diapers with a washable outer pant and flushable refill. Brands such as gDiapers (gDiapers.com) are a good option (Julia Roberts even uses them) and come in fun colors, such as goodwill green and global blue.

     

    Dr. Alan Greene is a pediatrician at Stanford University's Packard Children's Hospital, author of Raising Baby Green and Chair Elect of The Organic Center. www.DrGreene.com

  4. Expert: Dr. Jennifer Shu
    November 1st, 2010
    What should I do if my baby eats very little at each feeding?

    Newborns typically feed around eight to 12 times per day and will be able to go longer in between meals as they grow. By 10 weeks, most babies will take four to six ounces of breast milk or formula at a time–sometimes even more.

    Remember, however, that a baby's stomach is about the size of her fist, so she shouldn't be expected to eat too much at each feeding. By about four months, many babies do the majority of their feeding in the day and the bulk of their sleeping at night, so short daytime naps are not unusual. 

    For infants who seem to eat small amounts very frequently through the day, here are some things to consider:

    1. Could there be a problem with the baby's digestive tract? Talk to your pediatrician and make sure your baby is growing normally. Let your doctor know if your baby vomits or has problems with urinating or bowel movements.

    2. Are you feeding the baby at times when she's not truly hungry? A fussy baby who wants to sleep more may still take a bottle if offered. This could interrupt longer naps and might make her less hungry when it's time for a real feeding. Avoid the temptation to feed your baby just because she is crying. A pacifier or clean finger (yours or the baby's) might do the trick.

    3. Some babies (usually newborns) fall asleep easily at the breast or bottle and need a little encouragement to continue. Techniques to keep baby awake include gently stroking her feet, changing her clothes or diaper, and (if drastic measures are needed) giving her a bath before finishing off the meal.

    4. Patterns of short feeds and naps can be normal in many babies who are transitioning from the newborn period to a more "grown-up" routine. Keep following your baby's cues: feed her when she's hungry and allow her to sleep when she's not and eventually she will settle into a better pattern.


    Jennifer Shu, M.D., F.A.A.P. is a board-certified pediatrician in Atlanta. Her passion is educating parents on all topics relating to children. Dr. Shu is editor-in-chief of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Baby & Child Health: The Essential Guide from Birth to 11 Years and co-author of the award-winning book Heading Home with Your Newborn and Food Fights, both published by the AAP. www.jennifershu.com

  5. Expert: Joanne Saab, RD
    September 27th, 2010
    Is it ok if my three-year-old is still eating baby food?

    The short answer is “no” because by about 18 months, children should be eating table foods with a variety of different textures, such as cut up pieces of meat, cheese, vegetables and fruit, as well as an assortment of whole grain breads and cereals. 

    While you may be able to meet your child's nutrient needs with a pureed diet, it would be very difficult to meet her energy needs with pureed baby foods alone. 

    The problem is that if textures aren’t introduced before the age of 12 months or so, children can develop a texture aversion, which is basically an inability to handle textures beyond a smooth puree. To fix the problem, it may take many months, or longer, of working with an occupational therapist, who has experience helping children with texture issues learn to chew different foods. 

    If this sounds like something your child is experiencing, talk to your family doctor or pediatrician for a referral to an occupational therapist in your area.

    Joanne Saab is a registered dietitian who practices in pediatrics at McMaster Children's Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario. She is co-author of three books in conjunction with Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children entitled Better Food for Kids, Better Food for Pregnancy and the best-selling Better Baby Food. Joanne is also the mother of twin daughters.

  6. Expert: Steve and Andrew Hammond
    June 22nd, 2010
    What should I do if my infant chokes?

    Regardless of age, you should first assess the situation. If your child is coughing or gagging, his airway is only partially blocked and you should encourage him to cough. If your child is unable to cry, cough or speak something is likely blocking his airway and he needs help getting it out. For a child less than 12 months old, position him facedown on your forearm, supporting his head and neck with your hand. Your baby’s head should be lower than the rest of his body. Using the heel of your hand, give your child five firm blows between his shoulder blades. Then, carefully turn his head (still keeping his head lower than rest of body) and use your fingers to scoop the baby’s mouth to see if the item has become dislodged. If your baby becomes unconscious at any time call 911.

    This is an abbreviated version of what to do in an infant choking emergency. To be truly prepared, you should take a children’s first aid course

  7. Expert: Dr. Jennifer Shu
    April 12th, 2010
    Could my baby be constipated?

    Constipation is defined as a decrease in the frequency of stools, or having pain with bowel movements. It may occur when there is a change in the diet, such as when babies transition from breast milk to formula or cow's milk, or when they first begin solid foods.

    Children under one year typically have one to four bowel movements per day, although if a child usually goes a few days between normal bowel movements, it is not considered constipation unless there is a change in the pattern.

    There are many signs that an infant may be constipated, including: 

    • She often skips days in between bowel movements.
    • Her poops are hard and small and difficult to pass, or may be large and painful.
    • She may have more fussiness than usual, stomach pains, a poor appetite, or small amounts of bleeding from the anus.

    Constipation may be treated by increasing fluids (such as water or 100 percent fruit juice) and fiber (from fruit, bran and other foods) in the diet. Talk to your baby's doctor about the best ways to change her diet.

    If changing her diet does not treat the condition, your pediatrician may recommend a suppository, stool softener, or laxative until the constipation improves. Babies with severe constipation may need to see a pediatric gastroenterologist, who specializes in intestinal problems in children.

    Dr. Jennifer Shu is a board-certified pediatrician in Atlanta. Her passion is educating parents on all topics relating to children. Dr. Shu is editor-in-chief of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Baby & Child Health: The Essential Guide from Birth to 11 Years and co-author of the award-winning book Heading Home with Your Newborn and Food Fights.
    web site: www.jennifershu.com
    blog: www.parentingsense.com

  8. Expert: Dr. JJ Levenstein
    March 15th, 2010
    My baby seems hungry all the time, what should I do?

    Remember that your baby’s rapidly growing brain is likely driving her appetite. It’s normal to expect that she would be hungry a lot of the time, especially if she is catching up from an initial period of slow weight gain.

    A breastfed newborn usually eats seven to 12 times every 24 hours. Eventually, feedings will drop to six to 10 times. During growth spurts (around three, six and nine weeks), her appetite may increase again.

    If you’re formula feeding, a good rule of thumb is that a baby will drink (in ounces) twice her age in months. For example, a two-month-old typically drinks four ounces during a feed, while a three-month-old drinks six ounces.

    If your baby fusses after a feeding and still seems hungry, or is hungry soon after being fed, just adjusting the amount she gets at each feed should allow her to achieve satiety and increase the time between feeds.

    Dr. JJ Levenstein is a board-certified pediatrician and fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics with a thriving private pediatric practice in Encino, Calif. Drawing from her experience as a pediatrician and mom, Dr. Levenstein serves as president and co-founder of MD Moms makers of Baby Silk, the first personal care line for babies developed by pediatrician moms. www.mdmoms.com/

     

     

     

     

  9. Expert: Sara Bingham
    March 1st, 2010
    When can I start signing with my baby?

    Because babies gesture before they can talk, they can learn to sign before they can speak verbally. You can start signing to your baby from day one, although it’s also never too late to start. Most babies are able to sign back by the time they are eight to 12 months old.

    Babies exposed to sign language can sign five to six months before they can speak words (the motor skills babies need for signing develop between six and 12 months, while the motor skills needed for speech don’t develop until around 12 to 18 months)

    You can start by incorporating signs into your daily routine while playing, singing and reading. Start slowly with basic signs (such as “eat” and “more”), make it fun and add to your repertoire as your child’s interests grow and develop.

    Click here for more information on how to communicate with your baby, and to find out how her speech develops from month to month.

    Sara Bingham is the founder of WeeHands and the author of The Baby Signing Book. She has been studying American Sign Language (ASL) since 1991 with the Canadian Hearing Society, the Bob Rumball Centre for the Deaf in Toronto and at Durham College in Oshawa, Ontario. Sara has worked with the Toronto Preschool Speech and Language Services and is an instructor within Durham College's Communicative Disorders Assistant program. Weehands.com

     

     

  10. Expert: Dr. JJ Levenstein
    January 18th, 2010
    My baby isn't gaining weight and never seems hungry. Should I be worried?

    First, check with your doctor to find out if your child has a medical problem that interferes with comfort during eating (for example gastroesophageal reflux can lead to heartburn or a fear of food), or any other medical condition that interferes with hunger or weight gain.

    If nothing is medically wrong, the next question is whether you’re giving calories that don’t promote weight gain or that decrease baby’s appetite–the worst culprit being juice.  It’s filling, not necessarily caloric, and can stall a baby’s progress with weight gain and appetite.

    If you’re breastfeeding, talk to a lactation consultant about ways to increase your milk supply, such as drinking more water, trying fenugreek tea, or using a breast pump to stimulate more milk. If you’re formula feeding, make sure you mix your formula correctly (typically one scoop powder added to two ounces water) so that baby receives 20 cal/ounce of formula given. Don’t dilute formula with more water to stretch your dollar, as that can become dangerous for baby and lead to nutritional deficiencies.

    And if your baby is eating solid foods, sometimes you just need to experiment. When I run into situations where babies turn down jarred food, I encourage parents to offer pureed table food, which often has more flavor.  You can also try increasing the fat content/caloric content in your baby’s diet with the addition of olive oil, other healthy oils, avocado, and other caloric foods – just make sure you do it with the guidance of your pediatrician. 

    In addition, remember to feed your baby like you feed yourself.  Babies will eat better when they have adequate practice, so three meals per day are fine.

    Dr. JJ Levenstein is a board-certified pediatrician and fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics with a thriving private pediatric practice in Encino, Calif. She serves on the clinical staff of two hospitals and has been consistently voted one of the Best Doctors in America® from 2003 through 2010. Drawing from her experience as a pediatrician and mom, Dr. Levenstein serves as president and co-founder of MD Moms, makers of Baby Silk, the first personal care line for babies developed by pediatrician moms.