Do NOT offer juices to children!

Juice AKA Cavity-inducing sugary water

Juice AKA Cavity-inducing sugary water

Dear Dr. Mo: What’s the verdict on giving juices to kids? Should I offer them to my baby or should I just stick to water?

Dear reader: Your question targets a persistent dilemma parents have and we often discuss this topic with them as family physicians. If you want a short answer, that answer is: you should stick to water.

Having said that, let me break it down a bit further: Continue reading

Fever in children and what to do about it?

fever - friend or foe

fever – friend or foe

Dear Dr. Mo: I’m wondering if I should always aggressively try to bring fever down in my child? Isn’t fever sometimes good?

Dear reader: Fever in children can be a tricky thing and it’s one of those symptoms that scares parents the most – for a good reason as no parent wants to see their child sick. So what to do about it?

In the simplest of terms and most commonly – do nothing.

Now, this comes with a few strings attached, as usual, so let me clarify.. Continue reading

You think you are ready to have children? After taking this awesome test you MAY not be so sure anymore!

Dear readers, particularly potential and future parents: As you know, my blog is about healthy living practices and information that can improve and maintain your good health but this post may be somewhat different and no less important; although it could be argued that parenthood affects health in more ways than one – for example, you’ll never suffer from as many different varieties of colds combined with fatigue and lack of sleep as in the first few years of being a parent; in addition, the amount of stress and entropy progressively increase.

Photo credit: Mandatory.com

Photo credit: Mandatory.com

I’ve read this test for future parents just the other day (almost 4 years too late for me) and found it both very accurate and hilarious at the same time – it’s funny how true these things really are and how challenging day-to-day activities with kids can sometimes be – the test captures some of those challenges in a humorous and precise, realistic way.

“Test For Future Parents” is originally by author Colin Falconer and comprises 14 steps to follow and test your psychological stamina and resilience before you have children and was originally printed in his book ‘A beginners guide to fatherhood’ in 1992 before finding its was on to many parenting blogs, Facebook posts and other places.

I invite you to read it, laugh and then roll up your sleeves and try some of the things, for both good fun and a sneak preview into your future.

TEST 1: Preparation

Women: To prepare for pregnancy

1. Put on a dressing gown and stick a beanbag down the front.

2. Leave it there.

3. After 9 months remove 5% of the beans.

Men: To prepare for children

1. Go to a local chemist, tip the contents of your wallet onto the counter and tell the pharmacist to help himself

2. Go to the supermarket. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.

3. Go home. Pick up the newspaper and read it for the last time.

 TEST 2: Knowledge Continue reading

Tongue piercing – complications, safety and the right choice of appliance

Dear Dr. Mo: I’d need some guidance about tongue piercing because my daughter has been mentioning she’d like to do it and I’d like to talk to her about it. What are the possible complications – is it infection, injury? What to do?

Avoid steel appliances

Avoid steel appliances

Dear reader: I understand your concerns. Being a parent myself, although blissfully still some years away from these and similar conversations with my daughter, I can appreciate your approach – being open about and discuss it is the right way to go.

To answer your question, it may come as a surprise that the most common complication of tongue piercing is not an infection and it’s not injury, although both of these tend to happen sometimes and could be serious. So, what is it? Continue reading

Cesarean versus vaginal delivery – which to go for and why?

Dear Dr. Mo: I’m due soon and I’ve been considering to ask for a cesarean birth – what would you medically recommend a woman should go for, normal or cesarean?

No matter how you deliver, this is your future

No matter how you deliver, this is your future

Dear reader: What you are considering is what we term a Cesarean delivery (C-section) on maternal request, in which case you would undergo a planned C-section delivery before the natural onset of labor, without you or your baby really medically needing it and in such scenarios, I tend to advise against it.

But here’s the thing:

The reality is that there’s no good evidence to facilitate a textbook counselling in this case and most of the available data comparing the two delivery routes (planned C-section versus planned vaginal delivery or what you refer to as ‘normal’) is weak and ought to be interpreted cautiously.

Things to consider:

When you desire a cesarean delivery, your doctor should consider your specific (risk) factors, such as age, body mass index (i.e. if you’ve gained a lot of pregnancy weight, any surgery is more risky), accuracy of estimated gestational age (i.e. C-section on maternal request should not be performed before a gestational age of 39 weeks which is full term), reproductive plans for the future, personal values, and cultural context. I know that sometimes, some past experiences (e.g, violence, trauma, or poor obstetric outcomes) and anxiety about the whole birth process may be what’s prompting such requests and if any of these are what concerns you, bring it up with your doctor.

If your main worry is pain during delivery, then prenatal childbirth education, emotional support in labor (i.e. your partner or someone else close to you could attend), and anesthesia for childbirth (epidural) should be offered and could eliminate this issue entirely. Continue reading

Ear infections (Acute Ottitis Media) in babies – what is it and what to do?

Dear Dr. Mo: Following up on your post on parenting, I would like you to tell me more on ear infections in babies – how to recognize them and what could be

Ear infection = nightmare

Ear infection = nightmare

done to mitigate such a difficult state for both a baby and her parents? 

Dear reader: Ear infections are relatively common in babies and small children, especially in those who start their daycare early on (before the age of 3); these are a must-have experience of any parenting adventure.

They can have it several times a year, even up to 6, 7 and 8 etc. Although, if it’s that often, then we say these infections are recurring and a closer medical inspection and surveillance is needed with more aggressive therapy – sometimes even a small surgical intervention but more on this nuisance later. Continue reading

Parenting 101 – the basics of what happens to you

 

Zoe and the perpetual mess

Zoe and the perpetual mess

Dear readers: One doesn’t need to get too medical or too technical to know that parenting is one heck of a job. Well, curiously enough, before the thing hits you on the head, you don’t really appreciate the fact that having a child takes up most (if not all at times) of your resources and faculties – it occupies your time, it stands your sleeping habits on their head – you no longer sleep – you nap, it deprives you of the most of your (former) social life, it gives you that recognizable pale-looking face of exhaustion so you resemble more a hospital patient than a happy parent, you start hearing voices of babies even when there are none, etc. Continue reading