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

Baby’s first breaths and what you didn’t know about her first cries

Dear Dr. Mo: I’ve read your post on C-section and I wanted to know more about what you’ve said were risks for ‘increased respiratory problems of the newborn’ with C-section delivery. Also, why do babies always cry when they’re born?

Oxygen isn't just explosive - it burns

Oxygen isn’t just explosive – it burns

Dear reader: Your questions about newborn’s breathing at the instant of birth and crying are important and could prompt a very technical answer, which I will try to avoid here.

Let’s just imagine a baby floating in water for 9 months – this is the baby’s natural environment in the womb. The baby doesn’t breathe the way she will breathe after birth and so the water fills up her lungs. The natural act of birth is so important because the birth canal through which the baby is traveling pushes on the baby and squeezes out that fluid (almost all of it) from the lungs and compresses the lungs so much that at the instant both of baby’s shoulders are delivered, the lungs automatically and involuntarily inflate taking that first and only passive breath the baby will ever take. Every following breath, for the rest of her life will be active breathing effort.

So you see, if this natural pathway of delivery is circumvented via C-section, the baby’s lungs don’t have the assistance to expel the fluid out and the newborn may have some problems with breathing in the first few hours – this manifests itself as a very rapid breathing called tachipnea and it’s in most cases transient. Sometimes though, more serious breathing problems can occur and if this rapid breathing does not go away within 4 hours, we always have to rule out sepsis as the most dangerous complication.

Now about that crying, there’s a myth here to debunk: 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