Author Archive

Losing the umbilcal cord stump

I was changing the diaper on my second child was about 2 weeks old, when I noticed his umbilical cord stump was not there anymore! I thought as a jaded pediatrician that wouldn’t be a big deal, and it was my second child. But now I know, that’s a pretty monumental exciting rite of passage for the little one. And it makes the diaper change easier. But why didn’t my wife share the great news with me?
“Honey, his umbilical cord is gone! When did it fall off?” I said (meaning why didn’t you tell me?) She said innocently, “I don’t know, it was there when I changed him last”.
Where did it go? We both looked at each other. And then around the changing table…on the floor…Then at the same time we looked at our almost 2 year toddling across the floor just in time to watch him spit out his brother’s umbilical stump!
Yes we were as grossed out, and amused as you probably are now.

What’s the grossest or most horrific thing you ever caught your child with in their mouth?

How to Clean Out Your Baby’s Nose Effectively

‘Tis the season for the sneezin’! With two little ones in the house now, and winter coming on, there is lots of snot mixing in with the drool and stool I’d gotten used to. A little cold can mean a fussy baby, just from the misery of having a stuffy nose, and from not being able to nurse or drink well.
Babies are obligate nose breathers, so luckily they choose to breathe rather than eat when they are really stuffy.

Unfortunately, the side effects from cold medicines, are worse for your baby than the cold!  They usually just dry up any water from the mucus, making your baby even more congested.

So how do you get rid of the snot?

An old school pediatrician once showed me the most effective, safest, and easiest way to clean out a baby’s nose using a suction bulb, and saline.  Sure you’ve tried it before, but not this way.  Since then I’ve shown hundreds of worried mothers how clean out their baby’s noses, and keep them out of the E.R.  Even old experienced pediatric nurses (with their own children and grandchildren) have been impressed at how well it actually works.

First you have to use the saline (0.65% Sodium Chloride or salt water).  Remember how your nose leaked after the last time you went swimming in the ocean?  The salt water dissolves the mucus.

Then I showed my wife, and apparently, it’s not as easy as I thought.   It was a bit tougher emotionally putting my own child through it, then demonstrating on someone else’s child, for their own good.  You may not get it right the first time, but it works.  And, it doesn’t take any force.  Though your baby will be annoyed having salt water and a plastic thing shoved in its nose, even if, it does help him breathe.

Here’s how to do it.  You’ll need:

  • A suction bulb (yes the one they gave you in the hospital, it’s probably with the diaper bag they gave you somewhere in the back of the baby’s closet).
  • Nasal Saline drops (Little Noses, Ayr, Ocean)
  • A paper towel (to put the snot on, eeewwwww!)
  • Tissue paper (to wipe any trailing snot off your baby’s face, double eeewwww!)
  • A large blanket or towel to swaddle your baby (I didn’t say s/he was going to enjoy it).

Basically, the key is tilting your baby’s head back down between your knees.  This way you are looking straight down the nostrils, and bracing his or her face to cut down on the wiggle factor.  Swaddling keeps them from pushing you out of the way.  It’s amazing how even the smallest baby can already protect themselves in some ways.  (Smaller babies will need their heads supported a bit, you can also cross your shins to support the head).

  1. Swaddle the baby.
  2. Tilt head back between your legs with their legs off to the side of you (so they can kick all they want).  This even works with bigger toddlers.  They are tougher, but by the time they get this big, hopefully you’re both used to it.
  3. Drop 2-3 drops in each nostril. (Don’t worry if you put in more, it wont hurt the baby any more than swimming in the ocean hurts us).
  4. Squeeze the bulb, then place it down in a nostril.  It will stop when a seal is created because the tip is tapered.  Let go and it should suck out all kinds of mucus.  If it doesn’t, try more drops.   (Because you will have a good seal, you don’t need to struggle with closing the other nostril as I’ve heard others suggest).
  5. Squeeze out the mucus onto the paper towel.  Wipe any trailers off your baby’s face with a kleenex…ahhh, parenthood.

    Baby Mucus

    Mucus effectively removed from baby's nose with just 2 drops saline and bulb.

 

Congratulations.  You no longer suck at sucking.

Yes, your baby will cry.  Sure, I’ve had them smiling and laughing as I swaddled them and played upside-down baby and tilted them in my lap.  That changes when you first drip some saline into their nose.  “What are you doing Dad?! I’ve already got stuff in my nose I don’t want”  their glares and screams tell me.   Of course, it’s all worth it, when you hear the difference in their breathing.

I should also mention, you may also feel bad if you see blood in the mucus.  The nose shouldn’t have blood flowing, but it’s normal for their to be a pink tinge in some of the mucus, like when you have some blood in your nose after blowing it.  Also, don’t expect them to be totally clear after doing this, anymore than you’d expect your own nose to be totally clear after blowing it.

The salt water will have loosened the mucus, you’ll be able to hear the difference.  They can breathe past the looser mucus easier or swallow it.  Remember, they can’t blow their nose or “hock a loogie“.

You’ll breathe easier knowing your baby is breathing easier.  And you may get more sleep!

Worst foods for Pesticides, and the Safest:The Dirty Dozen

Is organic food really necessary for your kids?  What about when you’re pregnant?

Check out the Dirty Dozen list to see the worst foods for pesticide contents.

EWG’s 2012 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™.

You can also find the Clean 15 list, to see those foods which are generally safe.

As you might imagine, thin skinned foods like apples, celery, and leafy foods tend to have higher contents, and more types of pesticides found in them.  It’s scary when you think, there’s lots of baby food made from these foods.

Can’t afford Organic, or don’t want to waste your money on foods that usually don’t have pesticides anyway?  The safer foods are those you peel first, and are found on the Clean 15 list on the same web page.

There is a free app you can download for your smartphone, and you can get free updates if you give them your email address.

Ultimately, giving your kids fruits and vegetables in their diet,  even with trace pesticides is better than a diet of fried foods, foods with high fructose corn syrup, and other delicious but not so healthy things found in modern diets.

Do the pesticides actually hurt our kids?  “They” say they are safe, but we keep finding out more about things we thought wer safe.  So if you can avoid them, do.

And if you really want to have a little giggle, do like I do.  When the cashier at your local health food store asks “did you find everything ok?”, ask them if they have any Organic High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Free Amazon Prime Membership for 3 months with “Amazon Mom”

15 years ago, I’m sure no mother would want to be called an “Amazon Mom”. Now the world’s largest online retailer makes me want to be an Amazon Mom.  Amazon.com is promoting their Amazon Mom program with a Free 3 Month Trial.

 

Why be an Amazon Mom even if you’re not a mom, or an Amazon?

  • Free Amazon Prime Membership (if you already have an Amazon Prime membership, get a 3 month refund!)
  • 20% off diapers and wipes subscriptions
    • Includes a 5% Subscribe & Save discount plus an additional 15% discount exclusively for Amazon Mom members
  • FREE Two-Day Shipping on millions of items with Amazon Prime
  • Exclusive deals and discounts
    (Amazon Mom e-mails, with exclusive deals and discounts on items for your whole family)

If you shop online, then you’ve shopped Amazon.  They have an incredible return policy for baby and kids stuff (90 days).  They always have great (often the best) prices.  I once bought a digital camera, and had it shipped to my hotel in Alaska.  It turns out, I messed up on the address of the hotel.  Amazon went ahead and sent me another new camera anyway.

So what happens when the Free Trial ends?  Amazon explains:

Once your free shipping benefits end, you may continue receiving Amazon Mom benefits and more by joining Amazon Prime. As a paid member of Amazon Prime, you’ll receive:

  • You continue to get 20% off diapers and wipes subscriptions with Amazon Mom and Subscribe & Save
  • FREE Two-Day Shipping on millions of items (not available on Subscribe & Save orders, on used books, or on Amazon Marketplace orders)
  • FREE Unlimited instant streaming of thousands of videos (This is like Free NetFlix!)
  • A Kindle book to borrow for free each month from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (Your iPhone, Android Phone, Desktop computer, or iPad can all be used as a Kindle Reader for free.  You don’t have to have a Kindle, though you can get a Kindle as Cheap as $69 now.)
  • Prime membership sharing benefits: Invite up to four household members to share your Prime shipping benefits for free

If you choose not to join Amazon Prime, you’ll still receive Amazon Mom e-mails offering exclusive deals and discounts.  You can always opt out, or unsubscribe from the emails. If you ever want to cancel, it’s easy. I believe they will even pro-rate it. I had an Amazon Prime membership in the past, but stopped using it when I lived abroad for awhile. To cancel, I contacted Amazon, and got a quick full refund.

So how much is Amazon Prime? It is $79/year. If you shop online a lot, you’ll save the money in shipping. It’s still cheaper than NetFlix if you use the Movie feature.

Of course, you don’t have to be a Mom to enjoy the benefits of cheap prices, free 2 day shipping, even free movies and e-books.

Check it out,
Amazon DaddyDr.

Amazon Mom Free 3 Month Trial

 

 

Guilty Parent

Now I have a better taste of what it’s like for parents who bring there child into the Emergency Room. I recognize in certain situations that they may have some guilt that they caused their child’s problem, or that they didn’t respond or recognize it soon enough. Now, I have my own stories, and really feel for those parents.

A few weeks ago, my own son dislocated his elbow.  I do a lot to reassure parents that this happens all the time.  I tell them how to avoid it, and not to feel too guilty.  Telling the last couple of families I saw in the Urgent Care with the same injury that it happened to my son last week seemed to make them feel better.  Hopefully, they got the “it can happen to anyone” feeling and not “it’s ok, the pediatrician is just as bad of a parent as I am” feeling!

The other day, I had a mishap which gave me the Guilty Parent feeling.  It was worse than the, “I can’t believe I banged the babies head into the door way” kind of feeling that passes when you realize the baby is ok, because it didn’t pass.  (I’m not necessarily admitting to any glancing blows to my babies).

I felt so bad, I couldn’t get it out of my head (even though it really wasn’t a big deal).  I can only imagine what it’s like for a parent with a child who has a serious injury that could have been prevented.  I have seen parents feel bad for injuries that really were just bad luck and couldn’t reasonably have been avoided (at least that’s what I tell myself when my toddler gets his weekly head injury).  No, this was a nausea inducing, talking to myself, feeling horrible kind of feeling for just a little thing.

So what happened?

We were in the grocery store and my nearly 2 year old said “stuck”.

“Yes you’re stuck, that’s what the little seatbelt is for.”

He kept saying “stuck”.

“Sorry Buddy, you need to have the seatbelt on.  You need to stay in the cart”.

“Yes, you’re supposed to be stuck” I kept repeating every time he whined.

He got whinier and whinier.  Mom broke down and gave him her cell phone with the toddler distracting app on it. Even that didn’t stop the whining.   He was holding it at a kind of a funny angle though. Mom finally notice his little wrist was stuck between the bars of the shopping cart!

Of course I don’t feel guilty that he got stuck.  I feel guilty that I told my little guy, who is still practically an infant, “too bad you’re stuck!” and basically told him his feelings don’t count.

I’ve seen it before in the Urgent Care.  I’ve seen parents feeling horrible that they ignored their kids who told them something was really wrong.  (I also see the parents who say to their kids “See, I told you it wasn’t broken!” but that’s another problem).  Now, I’ve lived it.

So parents, I don’t have to tell you.  Injuries, illnesses, bad stuff will happen.  Learn from it, like any mistake, to help prevent future mistakes in your kids or others.  Share your experiences, so others can learn from them too, like I have.   And be kind to those who parents who do mess up, because to some degree it could happen to you.

 

 

 

 

He’s not moving his arm!

I got another taste of how hard it is to see your child suffer.

My wife brought my son in and said he wasn’t moving his arm. His cousin had pulled him up by the arm onto the couch where they were playing.

I knew immediately what had happened.

He had dislocated his elbow.

Luckily, I can fix that. Immediately.
I told my wife to sit on a chair with him in her lap. She said “I’m gonna throw up!”

Now, my wife, is not a drama queen. She is a calm leader in stressful situations with sailors and scientists, a potent combination of personalities. She doesn’t panic. She’s also a sailor and a pilot (yes, I have a cool wife) so she doesn’t get nauseous easily.

Here I was thinking “Oh, he dislocated his elbow, let me fix it” like a snap on piece had just come off of one of his toys. At work, I’m sensitive to the fact that parents may be freaking. I didn’t even consider that in my house from Captain Mom.

Note to self: Hand holding for the parents may be even more important than fixing the problem at hand (pun intended).

Medical tip: Toddler aged children have more cartilage than bone around the elbow joint. Pulling on a hand can easily pull the elbow out of socket. It happens in some kids more easily than others. Sometimes, even falling with their arm straight out, can cause it. Sometimes it goes away on it’s own. It can happen again right after being fixed though.

We call it a Nursemaid’s Elbow because nursemaids would grab little knight’s arms, and cause the injury. Medically, it’s called a Subluxation of the Radial Head.

Classically, the child will walk around with their arm held at their side. Parents sometimes think the shoulder or wrist has been injured.

There shouldn’t be any noticeable swelling (though the shape of their little elbows might look swollen until you compare it to the other one).

If there is no swelling, if there was not a fall involved or if you don’t know if the arm was pulled, it usually doesn’t need xrays. As mentioned above, it can be fixed by an easy manuever by an experienced provider where the arm is flexed and rotated to get it back into position, usually with a little pop.

I’ve learned to warn parents about the pop.

More verbal kids (a few 3 year olds) who have had it happen tell me it can still be a little sore after it’s fixed for a few minutes. It usually doesn’t even need any pain meds. The kids start playing in a few minutes when they realize if they move their elbow it wont hurt now.

That few minutes after it’s been fixed, when I’ve just made the child cry to fix it, must be agonizing for a parent waiting to see if it will really be better. Then there’s the parental guilt over having possibly caused the pain or waiting to long to get it treated.

My son yelped when I fixed him (but my wife didn’t). Both he and my wife were back to playing and were all better a minute later.

Children’s Toe Walking Not a Sign of Bigger Problems

A new study, in the journal Pediatrics proved what I’ve advised parents instinctively all along.  Just because a child walks on their toes, does not mean they will have a neurological problem.

I tell parents, just because you hear ticking, doesn’t mean it’s a bomb.

“For parents, it is important to understand that toe walking does not indicate an underlying problem for most children, says Jonathan Strober, MD, a pediatric neurologist at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco. He was not involved in the research.

Nevertheless, he says, many parents become understandably alarmed when their child starts to toe walk. He was no exception. His 3-year-old daughter is a toe walker.”I freaked out,” he says. “As a neurologist, the worst possibilities went through my head.”

Fortunately, Strober’s daughter is just fine. And what he likes most about this study is that it offers reassuring evidence that the same can be said for most toe walkers.”

via Children’s Toe Walking Not a Sign of Bigger Problems.

I feel for you Dr. Strober, the first time my baby didn’t make eye contact (what baby makes eye contact at 1 hr old?) I worried he might have autism.  Of course, that’s after freaking out about every little pain or moan that came out of my wife for 9 months. 

It reminds me of something one of my friends said about another friend at the birth of his child. The new father had said he was worried, and our friend said “He’ll be worrying the rest of the child’s life.”

Touch A Truck Cool Event for Kids

Touch A Truck - Max’s Ring of Fire | Neuroblastoma & Childhood Cancer Foundation.

This is a great fundraiser in the San Diego area where kids can climb on, touch, honk and explore military vehicles, construction vehicles, emergency vehicles etc.  I know where we’ll be September 29th, 2012.  Thank you lady in the park for bringing this to my attention.

Baby Eye Color Before and After Pictures

Do you want to send DaddyDr a photo?  Why not post it on our Facebook page?
I want to do a post on baby eye color and I’m looking to collect newborn or infant pics that show baby eye color clearly, and then later pictures that show how their eyes came out. Thanks!  www.facebook.com/DaddyDr

Kids say the darnedest things:Why do we have Belly Buttons?

I have been asking talkative 3 year olds why they think we have belly buttons for a long time. Like I’ve said in other posts, I love the creative thing that come out of their little imaginations.
This week, I had two of the best responses ever:
One devout young man told me it’s because you have Jesus in your heart. Apparently, he went on to explain, Jesus gets there through your navel.
Hmmm, maybe that’s where the word “holy” is derived from?
Just when I thought that couldn’t be topped, another young man explained “you push the belly button to turn me off so I go to sleep!”. Ok parents raise your hands if you want to install that feature on your child!