For the 6 Month Old

For the 6 Month Old

FOR THE 6 MONTH OLD

Wow!  6 months!  Don’t be alarmed if your baby is starting to wake up at night time again for feeds.  This means your baby is likely ready for solids and that milk is not sustaining them through the night anymore.  You know your baby is ready for solids when they start showing interest in food.  Sit them at the dinner table with you and see if they watch you eat, reach for your food or even scream at you to give them some of your food.  If you notice your baby is doing these things, then they are ready for solids.  It is safe to start solids as early as 4 months as long as your baby is showing interest in eating.  Most start with rice cereal because it is iron fortified, easy to digest and convenient, but you can start with anything.  You can pick any food and puree it (however, avoid honey because of the risk of poor pasteurization and botulism).  It is best to start with iron rich foods because if your baby is exclusively breastfed, their iron stores will be low as breastmilk does not have iron in it.  Start with solids at the dinner time meal so your baby has more food in their belly when they go to bed.  This will hopefully get them to sleep through the night again.

We used to recommend avoiding highly allergenic foods such as egg white, seafood and peanuts when introducing solids.  We no longer recommend this as it is likely that this avoidance may have actually promoted allergies to these products.  At this time, we recommend introducing any and all solids (except honey) to your baby.

There are no hard and fast rules regarding starting solids.  There are however, a few guidelines to follow.  Introduce a new food every 3-4 days.  This is done so that if your baby has an allergy to something, you will know exactly what it is.  If you start multiple foods on one day and your baby has a reaction, you will have to avoid all of those products until we figure out exactly what they are allergic to.  Give solids before you give your baby milk.  The reason for this is because you are  now starting the transitional process to having your child eat solids as their primary calories and only having milk as an add on.  You want your baby to eat as much solids as they want and then top them up with milk.  By the time your child is 1 year old, they should be eating 3 meals, 2 snacks and 2 cups of milk per day, like you or I.  They should be eating the same foods as you and you should not be making them any special foods by 1 year of age.

It is safe to start cow’s milk by 10 months of age.  If you want to go back to work early or wean off breastfeeding around this time, it is ok to transition to cow’s milk.  Formula is still safe and ok to use at this time as well, however if you want to save your money, homo milk will also do the trick.

If your baby can and will use a sippy cup, start it sooner than later.  Children often get attached to the bottle as opposed to the milk and you may run into difficulties in the future trying to wean them off of the bottle.  Switch them sooner to avoid a hard time for yourself in the future.

At this point, your 6 month old will likely be able to sit up independently.  They can roll over in both directions (front to back and back to front).  They are likely putting everything including their hands and feet in their mouth.  They are passing items between their hands.  They are drooling up a storm and may even have some teeth coming through.  You’ll see them always smiling, laughing and giggling during this milestone.  Enjoy the last few months of stationary baby before they become mobile!

**Disclaimer – Any information found in these blog posts is only for informational purposes and not intended to replace the diagnosis and care of a physician.  Should you have any specific concerns about your child, please consult with your family doctor or pediatrician.

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For the 4 Month Old

For the 4 Month Old

FOR THE 4 MONTH OLD

You’ve made it 4 months!  You are probably super comfortable with being a Mommy or Daddy by now.  This article will be a shorter one because not too much changes at this milestone.

Your baby is feeding every 3-4 hours and breastfeeding is probably taking about 10-15 minutes each time.  Your baby is likely sleeping longer stretches overnight or even through the night and you are finally getting some real sleep.

At this stage, more tummy time is better.  They should have good control of their neck and be able to push up with their arms from their tummy laying position.  In addition, your baby should be starting to show signs of rolling over.  To help them with this, you can put your baby on their belly and put toys all around them.  Babies will typically roll from front (tummy) to back first, which is why putting them on their tummy is suggested.  Don’t expect them to roll over back to front first, because that’s harder than rolling over front to back.

Placing toys away from them at arm’s length will help them reach for things and help with fine motor skill development.  In addition, you’ll probably notice your baby will start holding toys between their hands and start putting things in their mouth.  This is the time to be careful about what you place around them and make sure nothing can pose a choking or swallowing hazard.  General rule of thumb, if an item can fit through a toilet paper tube, it is too small and poses a choking risk.

Your baby should also become more interactive at this milestone.  They should be smiling, laughing, giggling, and looking to their parents.  They should be making lots of noises with “Ooo” and “Ahh” sounds and enjoying their interaction with you.  Enjoy this time with baby now, and stay tuned for my 6 month article next week when we deal with the idea of starting solid foods!

**Disclaimer – Any information found in these blog posts is only for informational purposes and not intended to replace the diagnosis and care of a physician.  Should you have any specific concerns about your child, please consult with your family doctor or pediatrician.

For the 2 Month Old

For the 2 Month Old

FOR THE 2 MONTH OLD

You’ve made it 2 months with your bundle of joy!  By now, you probably have a predictable schedule.  Things are seeming to get a bit easier and your baby is interacting with you a bit more, smiling and watching as you walk around the room.  At this point, you can breathe a sigh of relief.  Your baby should stay on a regular schedule of feeds every 2-4 hours throughout the day now.

Your baby is now safe to sleep longer stretches overnight, usually 4-5 hours.  But remember, they should still be sleeping in their crib without any padding, pillows or stuffed animals.  Be sure your baby is getting tummy time at least 3 times per day for 10 min each time.  This will promote neck strength and promote gross motor skills as well as help prevent flattening of the head.  Feel free to review my last two articles on Safe Sleep and Preventing a Flat Head for a quick refresher if needed.

In BC, 2 months is when baby gets their first set of vaccinations.  It is usually 3 shots in the thighs and 1 oral vaccine.  You can get these done at your local public health nurse’s station or your family doctor or pediatrician if they offer vaccines in their office.  Remember to keep track of your child’s vaccines.  It is ok to get the vaccines a week past the scheduled 2 month visit, however I would not suggest delaying the immunizations by much longer as it is easy to get behind on vaccinations, but troublesome to catch up.

Usually babies tolerate the 2 month vaccinations well.  They are often a bit fussy afterwards and may not feed as well as before and can even have a slight fever.  These symptoms usually only last 1-2 days.  You can give Tylenol prior to the vaccinations in anticipation of discomfort and fever or give it as needed based on how your baby behaves following.  Be sure to follow the Tylenol dosing on the bottle or ask your physician or pharmacist for appropriate dosing based on your baby’s weight.

**Disclaimer – Any information found in these blog posts is only for informational purposes and not intended to replace the diagnosis and care of a physician.  Should you have any specific concerns about your child, please consult with your family doctor or pediatrician.

 

 

Preventing a Flat Head

Preventing a Flat Head

PREVENTING A FLAT HEAD

Everybody wants their baby to have a beautiful round head.  A flat head is not only a problem in the future if your child decides to shave their head, but there can actually be other significant issues that may arise.  Imagine if you took a perfectly round ball of clay and drew a line down the middle separating it into two sides.  If you took a flat palm and squished down on the back of one side to mimic a flat side of the head, what happens to the front of that side?  The front naturally gets pushed forward and causes the ball of clay to become asymmetric.  Something similar can happen with the head of babies, potentially distorting the natural symmetry of the face permanently.  Here are a few tips to prevent flattening of your baby’s head in the first 4-5 months of life.

Firstly, tummy time while awake for 10 minutes three times per day.  This will promote neck strength and keep your baby off the back of their head.

Secondly, during the first 4-5 months of life, parents are recommended to have babies sleep on their backs.  Your baby will always look towards the more interesting side of the crib, usually towards the side where there’s more movement.  Always placing your baby with their head pointing in the same direction can cause regular nightly pressure on the same side of the head, leading to a flat spot.

So to help prevent this, alternate the position in which your baby’s head faces each night.  For example, place your baby with their head pointing to the left side of the crib on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Then on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, do the opposite and place your baby with their head pointing to the right side of the crib.  Sundays can be determined by a coin toss or a simple game of rock, paper, scissors between parents.  If you worry about forgetting which side your child was facing the night before, tape a sign to the crib with the following on it “<– M, W, F  //  T, Th, Sa –>, Sun (??)”.

Keep in mind, this prevention tip only works in the first 4-5 months.  This is because after this time, babies can start rolling over on their own and therefore will not necessarily stay in the same place you left them.

If you find your baby is always looking in one direction regardless of how they are held or placed in bed, then this is a warning sign that they may need to be seen by a health care professional for assessment of torticollis or twisted neck.

**Disclaimer – Any information found in these blog posts is only for informational purposes and not intended to replace the diagnosis and care of a physician.  Should you have any specific concerns about your child, please consult with your family doctor or pediatrician.