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Child Sleep

How much should my child sleep?

Babies, children, and teens need significantly need more sleep than adults to support their rapid mental and physical development. Most parents know that growing kids need good sleep, but many don’t know just how many hours kids require, and what the impact can be of missing as little as 30 to 60 minutes of sleep time.

One of the reasons it’s so hard to know when our kids are getting insufficient sleep is that drowsy children don’t necessarily slow down the way we do—they wind up. In fact, sleepiness can look like symptoms of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Children often act as if they’re not tired, resisting bedtime and becoming hyper as the evening goes on. All this can happen because the child is overtired.

There are some underlying psychiatric conditions, such as attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), that can cause sleep loss in children. Researchers and clinicians are also finding that sleep apnea—which most people tend to think of as an adult sleep disorder—is relatively common in children as well. A person who has sleep apnea wakes up many times every hour, very briefly, as they struggle to breathe. Most people do not know they are experiencing these events unless they are told or have a test to confirm sleep apnea. Children who snore may be at risk for or currently suffering from sleep apnea, that’s why pediatrician in Muzaffarpur asks about and screen for this sleep disorder in children at routine well visits.

If you suspect your child isn’t sleeping enough, it’s important to talk to your child specialist in Muzaffarpur. If there is an underlying sleep disorder or another medical condition at play, your doctor may refer you to a sleep specialist to discuss various treatments options. In many cases, though, sleep deprivation in children can be helped with changes to the environment and habits surrounding bedtime. Research shows that an early bedtime (between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. works best for babies and kids through school age) and a consistent, soothing, wind-down routine with no screen time—such as TVs, tablets, and the like—will lead to better sleep.

While every child is slightly different in terms of how much sleep they need, most require the following to be fully rested:

Transition to solid foods

How to make the transition to solid foods

By the time your infant is 4 months old, you’ve probably got your breastfeeding or formula drill down to an art. But don’t get too comfortable — your child will soon be ready for “real” food, and you’ll have baby-food jars monopolizing the pantry, messy faces at every meal, and spoons that become airplanes and choo-choo trains. But there’s no reason to stress; with a little patience, you and your baby will quickly get the hang of feeding time.

Feeding your baby anything but breast milk or formula too soon can increase her risk of food allergies and obesity. So wait until she’s 4 to 6 months old before you introduce solids. At this age, her digestive system is probably ready to handle complex foods. Age isn’t the only thing to consider: Your baby needs to be able to hold her head up and sit with minimal support, and she should have lost her tongue-thrust reflex, which makes her push food out of her mouth to prevent choking. If she seems curious about the food you’re eating, reaches for your dinner, or stares you down as you spoon soup into your mouth, it’s a sign she’s ready to add new tastes and textures to her diet.

Start with Rice Cereal
Your baby’s first food should be rice cereal because it’s iron-fortified and easily digestible. (Besides, babies are rarely allergic to it.) Begin with one or two feedings a day, choosing times when your child isn’t tired or cranky and you’re relaxed too. Mix enough breast milk or formula with 1 to 2 teaspoons of cereal to create a semi-liquid, and feed him small amounts using a silicone-tipped spoon. Have a napkin handy because, at first, most of the meal will end up on his chin. But resist the temptation to give up and pour the diluted cereal into a bottle.

Don’t force your baby to continue eating if he shakes his head no, turns away, or refuses to open up after only one mouthful. And if he seems completely uninterested in trying cereal, just wait a week or so and try again.

As your child gets used to rice cereal, you can thicken it and give him larger servings. Still, don’t stop feeding him breast milk or formula — he needs at least 24 ounces, or about four to six feedings a day, in order to get all of his nutrients.

Keeping an Eye on Food Allergies
After a week of rice cereal, you can try to feed your baby other types of cereal like oat, barley, and wheat. (A recent Pediatrics study shows that introducing wheat before your baby is 6 months old may decrease her risk of developing a wheat allergy.) To make pinpointing allergies easier, give your child only one new food at a time and wait three or four days before trying another. Keep an eye out for signs of an allergic reaction or intolerance, like a rash, hives, wheezing, difficulty breathing, vomiting, excessive gas, diarrhea, or blood in her stools. Call your pediatrician in Muzaffarpur, if you notice any of these symptoms (they can take minutes or days to appear), and go to the ER if the reaction seems serious.

Once your baby’s eating a variety of cereals, you can move on to pureed fruits and vegetables. It doesn’t matter which you give her first, but try just one fruit or veggie at a time. If she spits out her pureed peas as if they’re poison, don’t lose hope. “She may purse her lips and shake her head, but it’s usually because its a new taste,” says Loraine Stern, MD, clinical professor of Pediatrics at University of California, Los Angeles. “If you offer it three or four times, she’ll probably take it.”

Finger Foods and More
Between 8 and 10 months, your baby can try soft and textured foods like yogurt, cottage cheese, mashed bananas, and mashed sweet potatoes. He can also use more iron, so try pureed meats like beef, chicken, and turkey. And at this point your baby should be ready to try to feed himself. So give him finger foods, such as tiny mozzarella cubes, pasta, wedges of ripe fruits, cooked veggies, and dry cereals (like Cheerios) that dissolve easily in his mouth. To prevent choking, be sure to cut everything up into cubes no longer than the tip of his pinkie.

Since kids develop taste preferences early on, now’s the time to offer a variety of foods at each meal to encourage your baby to appreciate lots of different flavors and (fingers crossed!) ward off a future picky eater. Don’t put salt or sugar in his food — it’s best if your baby learns to like it without the added seasonings.

By 12 months your child should be eating three meals and approximately three smaller snacks a day, including fruits and vegetables (1/2 cup each); hot or cold cereal (1/4 to 1/2 cup); rice, pasta, or bread (1/2 cup); and protein (4 to 6 tablespoons). Don’t stress too much over the exact amounts, though — your baby will let you know when he’s full.

Keep these precautions in mind when it’s baby’s mealtime.

  • Trash baby food that has been open for more than 48 hours, and never feed your infant directly from the jar.
  • Avoid homemade purees of carrots, beets, collard greens, turnips, or spinach because these veggies are high in nitrates. (Processed jarred versions, however, are safe.)
  • Be sure to stir any purees you’ve warmed up, and always check their temperature before serving.
  • Totally avoid these choking hazards during your baby’s first year: nuts, seeds, raisins, hard candy, grapes, hard raw vegetables, popcorn, peanut butter, and hot dogs.
  • Steer clear of honey — it can cause botulism in babies under 1 year.
  • Avoid foods that pose a high allergy risk such as cow’s milk, eggs, nuts, peanut butter (it’s also hard to swallow), fresh strawberries, fish, and other seafood.

protect Your Child in Flu Season

How to protect Your Child in Flu Season

Your baby will get a cold at some point. It’s inevitable. Babies’ immune systems are immature, which makes them more susceptible to the more than 200 different viruses that cause the common cold. Plus, your baby—like all babies—loves to touch everything as he explores the world. And pretty much everything he touches winds up in his mouth, which is the best place for icky germs to make their way into his body.

Don’t worry! You don’t have to give in and just wait for the inevitable to happen. There are steps you can take to help prevent the number of colds your baby will get. And, perhaps most important, there are steps you can take to ensure he never gets the flu.

Follow these six tips for a healthier cold and flu season.

Be on high alert for the first two months. Before your baby has had his first round of immunizations, it’s crucial to have every defense up. The number one thing you can do during this time is to keep the baby away from crowded places like shopping malls and grocery stores.

Keep your baby covered when in public places. 
If you’re past the two-month point and make a trip to the mall, keep your baby in the stroller with a thin blanket over the opening. Chances are your baby will be snoozing anyway (at least we hope so, for your sake!) and this will prevent strangers from being tempted to take a peek or—worse—a touch!

Always carry disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer. Germs can live up to five hours on things like shopping carts, so make it a habit to wipe things down. If you’re not able to wash your hands, a little hand sanitizer can go a long way.

Enforce a strict “no sick guests allowed” policy. If your mother-in-law is getting over bronchitis and proclaims she won’t touch the baby but just has to see him, stay strong. Sorry, MIL, you need to stay away until you no longer have symptoms. Don’t make exceptions for anyone. If someone has a fever, they need to be fever-free (without using a fever reducer) for at least 24 hours.

Breastfeed if possible. If you’re able to nurse your baby, great! Studies show that babies who are exclusively breastfed for six months are less likely than formula-fed babies to get colds and ear and throat infections. It’s pretty amazing, actually. The antibodies from your body are transported through your breast milk, which gives your little one an extra line of defense. If you are unable to breastfeed, don’t be hard on yourself. There are other things you can do on this list to protect your baby.

Get your shots. Babies can’t get the flu vaccine until they’re six months old, which is why moms and moms-to-be are urged to get vaccines for flu and pertussis (whooping cough). Getting the flu shot when you’re pregnant passes antibodies on to your baby that should last him for about six months. The flu can be deadly in newborns, making any side effects you may experience from the vaccination (low-grade fever, nausea) minor in comparison. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that expectant moms also get vaccinated against whooping cough between 27 and 36 weeks so they don’t pass the disease to their unvaccinated newborn. It’s also highly recommended that anyone who comes into regular contact with the baby receive these vaccines.