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How to Wean the Pacifier- the easy way

Posted Posted by Jill Roberson, MD in Articles, Blog     Comments No comments

There are several ways parents can wean the pacifier:

  1. Cold Turkey 
  2. Trade for toys
  3. The “Pacifier Fairy” method

There are pros and cons with each method, but after years of  practice, I have found the pacifier fairy method to be the quickest and easiest way for parents to wean the pacifier.

I have recently written two books on the subject each available on  The first is the parents’ version outlining reasons to wean the pacifier and the various methods a parent can accomplish the goal of kicking the binky habit. The book is called, “Wean the Pacifier”, by jill Roberson MD. Purchase it here:

Then there is my favorite, a children’s book I recently published called, Little ChiChi Meets the Pacifier Fairy”.  Your toddler will love it and reading this story to your child will help with the weaning process. 

Purchase it here:

If you enjoy these books, be sure to take the time to write a review on Amazon!

Bottle Propping: Time Saver or Weapon?

Posted Posted by Jill Roberson, MD in Articles, Blog     Comments No comments

The title is a little harsh.  I will admit that.  The fact is that propping the bottle can have serious health implications for a baby or toddler.

Propping the bottle is the practice of placing a nipple in a baby’s mouth while the bottle is propped on a towel or blanket at an angle to let the baby nurse from the bottle without anyone having to hol the bottle.

There are a few problems with this practice.  One issue is feeding time is a time for bonding with the baby.  If the bottle is propped, not much bonding is going on. Propping the bottle increases the risk of middle ear infection.  Propping the bottle can be a choking hazard and it is very bad for developing teeth.

Save time with other things, but get out of the bottle propping habit

Treating Diaper Rash

Posted Posted by Jill Roberson, MD in Articles, Blog     Comments 2 comments

Diaper rash is a very common problem facing parents.  Treating diaper rash can be confusing if a parent is unsure of the cause of the rash.  Many parents worry the rash comes from improper care of the baby, but no matter how well a parent cares for an infant, diaper rash will present itself at some point in time.

Treating diaper rash is not difficult.  Some things a parent should not do to treat diaper rash is to use talcum powder.  This may cause respiratory issues and more skin irritation in the diaper area.  Do not use baby wipes to clean the area because it may sting  or burn. Do not use plastic pants over a clothe diaper because it causes the rash to get worse due to trapping of moisture.

Some helpful hints in treating diaper rash include the following.  Place about one quarter of a small box of baking soda in the bath water in order for the infant to soak in the mixture.  This not only soothes the skin but changes the pH of the skin to help deter diaper rash.  Keep the diaper open as much as possible, such as when the infant is asleep.  After bath or changing, it is beneficial to let the area dry out for a few minutes.  Apply creams made for a protective barrier such as a zinc oxide-based cream. or petroleum jelly.  If the rash does not resolve with these suggestions for treating diaper rash, consult your pediatrician.  The rash may be caused by a yeast infection and this requires prescription creams for adequate treatment.

Vaccinating Babies When They’re Sick

Posted Posted by Jill Roberson, MD in Articles, Blog     Comments No comments

Vaccinating babies is one of the most difficult task for parents.  Some parents ask if vaccinating babies when sick is appropriate.  A mild illness such as an upper respiratory infection, gastroenteritis or some other viral illness does not reduce any vaccine’s effectiveness.  As long as the infant has a temperature less than 100.5 F, the medical care provider will probably say that vaccinating babies is perfectly fine.   On the other hand, some vaccines have side effects such as fever and drowsiness which could make the infant feel worse after vaccination.  For this reason, some medical providers may opt to postpone vaccinating babies until the illness resolves.  There can also be some confusion as to whether the fever is from the vaccination or a worsening of the illness.

The health care provider will take into account which vaccinations she is giving.  The MMR, HiB and IPV do not usually cause much fever as a side effect.  The doctor may go ahead and vaccinate with these even if the baby has an illness. 

If you have concerns, speak with your pediatrician about vaccinating babies during an illness.

Best Toys for Toddlers

Posted Posted by Jill Roberson, MD in Articles, Blog     Comments No comments

The best toys for toddlers as the toddler starts to get more mobile are push toys.  Push toys help toddlers develop gross motor skills such as walking, running and climbing.  Balls of all shapes and sizes are excellent toys for enhancing gross motor skills as well.  With some toddlers who are reluctant to walk, holding on to a ball gives them confidence to move forward with walking.

For toys that help develop fine motor skills in toddlers, I recommend shape sorters and puzzles with knobs.  The peg bench with a toy hammer works well to help with hand-eye coordination in toddlers.

The best toys for toddlers for introduction of a security object are stuffed toys and dolls.  Toddlers like to carry, hold and hug on dolls and stuffed animals.  Parents can teach their toddlers empathy by talking about the toys’ feelings.

The best toys for toddlers are 0push toys, stuffed toys, balls, puzzles with knobs and shape sorters.  Don’t forget to put a side a few minutes a day to play with your toddler.  Remember, it does not have to be elaborate.

Infant Colic: Three Tips You May Not Know

Posted Posted by Jill Roberson, MD in Articles, Blog     Comments No comments

Infant colic is terribly frustrating for all those involved.  The infant with colic cries more than most babies.  Typically, the baby cries more just as the parnets get home from work.  The frustration stems from not knowing what is causing the crying and from being unable to soothe the colicky baby.

Here are a three tips you may not know to help the baby with colic.

1.  Recent studies show that giving the infant probiotics can help decrease the amount of crying in an infant with colic.  Take a trip to your local health food store or specialty pharmacy to find probiotics.  Also speak with your health care provider about probiotics for infants.

2.  If your baby is breast fed, decrease intake of dairy products, corn and cabbage.  But here is something you may not have heard about:  Increase your intake of garlic.  Studies show infants prefer breast milk from moms with higher garlic intake and it helps with colic.

3.  The secret baby hold.  See earlier posts on this blog.  There is a video demonstration.  It works very well.

The good news is that infant colic is self-limiting and lasts around six weeks.  A

Good Nutrition During Pregnancy Keeps Infants Healthy

Posted Posted by Jill Roberson, MD in Articles, Blog     Comments No comments

Exciting news from a recent study funded by the National Institute of Health and The March of Dimes reveals great news about good nutrition during pregnancy.

The study looked at the effects of DHA supplements on pregnant women and their infants.  DHA  is an abbreviation for docosahexaenoic acid.  This substance can be found in a good diet, but this research underscores the importance of taking a DHA supplement to insure adequate dosages during pregnancy.

The researchers found that one month old infants born to mothers who took 400mg of DHA had less problems with upper respiratory infections and a shorter duration of cold symptoms.  The protection continues up to six months of age.  The study revealed that three month old infants had less respiratory illneses and six month old infants did too.

This is great inspiration to pregnant women to take DHA supplements.  Just this small  action can keep th infant healthier during the first six months of in

Does My Baby Have Developmental Delay?

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A question which comes up frequently is “Does my baby have developmental delay?”.  As pediatricians, we monitor developmental progression very carefully.  There are several tools health care my use to help with this task.  Sometimes the parents can fill out a survey in the physician’s office and the physician can examine the baby to insure proper development. 

Babies reach developmental milestones at different rates.  This is a normal fact.  It can be cause for concern if  the neighbor’s baby is seemingly reaching milestones at a quicker pace.  If a parent has such concerns, it is advisable to talk to your pediatrician.  Most of the time, the difference can be explained, but be wary if the doctor says, “Let’s see if he’ll outgrow this.”

There are early intervention programs is nearly every community.  If the child is three or younger, she is eligible for evaluation.  If older than three years, the public school system is the resource for further evaluation.

Some babies develop at a slower pace in one area, only to excel in another.  This pattern is seen quite often, but if you are worried about your child’s development, talk with the pediatrician.  The doctor will do an examination of the baby and make recommendations or a referral for further evaluation.  An evaluation is never a mistake, even if it is a false alarm.

Umbilical Hernia: What to Do

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A common finding on the first or second physical exaination of the infant is the umbilical hernia.  You may have heard the old wives’ tale about the obstetrican causing the hernia because of the way the cord was cut at delivery.  There is no truth in that whatsoever.

The umbilical hernia develops from weakening of the muscles  that meet in the midline of the abdomen.  Typically there is a small hole in the muscles.  When the baby cries or strains, the pressure causes fluid from the abdominal cavity to squirt throgh the hole and stretch the skin.  The umbilical hernia usually is merely a cosmetic problem.  That means it just loks bad.  Very rarely, the bowel can fall through the hole in the muscle and get stuck.   This is a medical emergency and it is very obvious if this occurs.  The baby will be very sick, and have green or brown vomiting.

Umbilical hernias heal by the time the baby is walking, although a very small percentage may take a little longer.  Ninety nine percent of hernias heal by four years of age.

If you notice an

Newborn Umbilcal Cord Bleeding: What to Do

Posted Posted by Jill Roberson, MD in Articles, Blog     Comments No comments

In the first two weeks after birth, the infant’s umbilical cord stump will dry up and fall off.  Some doctors recommend cleaning the base of the cord with alcohol on a cotton swab two or three times per day.  Most recent studies reveal the cord will fall off in less time if it is simply kept dry.  For some infants, the stump will start to bleed or have a bad odor.  This may be a sign of infection and it is time to call the doctor.  Newborn umbilical cord bleeding may not always be indicative of an emergency.  Sometimes, the blood vessels in the cord may leak the old blood left over from when the cord was clamped.

do not pull the cord off.  Let the cord fall off on its own, even if  it is just hanging on.  The doctor may cauterize the stump with a chemical called silver nitrate in order to stop the bleeding and dry up the discharge.  If there is redness around the umbilicus, the doctor may prescribe an oral antibiotic.

The best thing to do about the umbilical cord is to make sure it is dry.  Try to prevent soiling of the area by keeping the diaper off of the cord.  This will prevent stool and urine from getting to the area.  If stool or urine gets on the cord, it is appropraite to wipe the base with a little alcohol on a cotton ball.  Such cleaning is not necessary unless the stump gets soiled.

A few drops of blood or discharge from the cord is normal.  If there is a  foul smell from the cord or a yellow or bloody discharge, call the physician for further advice.