Few Home Hacks That Can Help You Monitor Your Child’s Health Like a Hawk

child reading_maya clinic

As a parent, one of your topmost concerns is that your child’s physical as well as mental health is in the right direction. Your child’s health and development needs to be monitored and reassessed regularly. Development is a continuous process, but changes from time to time depending on new demands.

Learning skills in a child need to be evaluated periodically especially because they are seen only when the child is asked to perform a certain function. Generally, health clinics and schools keep a check on children’s growth, but it is crucial that you too monitor your child’s health regularly.

1. Physical health

  • Height and weight – Measure your child’s height and weight at home each month and note it in a logbook. Take this logbook along with you during your child’s health visit at the doctor’s office. Each child is different in a way that while some kids grow fast, others do not grow tall or gain weight as they should. If your child is not growing as fast as his/her peers, do not panic. Some children have a late growth spurt, but make sure that your pediatrician is aware of it during the health visits. If it’s a drastically off the normal limits, early interventions could be put in place.
  • Skin changes – Look for any changes in your child’s skin from time to time including changes in the thickness, acne or rashes, pigmentation. Medical conditions are often presented as changes in the skin to begin with.
  • Sleep cycle – Children generally need approximately 10 to 11 hours of sleep per night. Any changes in sleep patterns, such as too much or too little sleep, should be noted and reported to the pediatrician. In addition, a lack of sleep will make it difficult for your child to function well throughout the day, especially in school. Try to set a bedtime for your child to ensure adequate amount of sleep.

2. Mental health

Parents are recommended to get their child evaluated at 9 months, 18 months and then every 24 months thereafter. Evaluate for any learning or memory disabilities. Pediatricians may also examine them at health visits by asking them a series of questions and seeing how they respond to them.

  • Diet: Fresh fruit and vegetables contain essential vitamins and nutrients for growth that our body cannot produce. Although, many kids are picky eaters, keep a track of any major changes in their eating pattern. Too much or too less food, both, can be unsafe and must be corrected. Importantly, iron, calcium and vitamins A, B, C, D and E are essential for your child’s optimal growth. Offer your child at least three cups of milk and four to five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. On precautionary side, limit food that is high in added sugar.
  • Exercise: Physical activity is extremely important for your child’s growth. Usually, a child requires at least an hour of exercise or any physical activity daily. However, keep your child away from too much sun. Furthermore, limit television, video games, smartphones, tablets or computers to no more than 2 hours a day. Make a note, if your child wants to be sedentary all day, this could be a sign of a problem or lead to obesity in the long run.

In conclusion, your participation in your child’s development and growth plays a crucial role and sends a strong message that you will stand next to them for support. Taking your child to a pediatrician for routine health check-ups, getting them immunized and looking out for any changes in habits, such as delayed speech, throwing tantrums at bedtime, crippling shyness with friends and family, difficulty in toilet training and finicky eating habits, will help you recognize and seek early inventions to keep their development in check.

Teen Talk: Do ‘The Talk’ Without Being Embarrassed

Teen Talk-mayaclinic

In this age of the Internet and information at our fingertips, most parents find it easy to shrug off or completely avoid responsibility of talking about physical intimacy (read: sex) with their children, thinking that the teenager probably knows more about it than they do.

This train of thought is completely incorrect. It is your responsibility as a parent to talk to your kid and make them understand that any visually graphic content that they may or may not be exposed to is not the complete truth.

Talk about the monthly cycle

The first and foremost rule is to have ‘the talk’ early. There is nothing wrong in letting your child know the reason why you do not enter a temple on certain days etc. You may explain that a mother’s body prepares itself to have a baby every month by producing an egg. When mother does not have a baby, the egg falls off from the area where we pass urine. This process takes a couple of days and we do not enter holy places during those days.

Always be open to questions and truthful. This will ensure that your children will trust you and listen to you when they are older.

Skip the sermon

Never give a sermon or lecture to your children or they will tune out before you blink. Try to start a conversation by asking neutral open-ended questions such as whether they discuss about sex with their friends or they have friends who talk about sex. Understand that their curiosity is natural and do not make them feel embarrassed about it. Most importantly, listen to them and let them know that you are always available for them. A conversation is a two-way process.

Prepare in advance

The worst thing that can hamper an open and friendly dialogue about sex is not being prepared when, and if, your teen approaches you about it. Prepare yourself in advance about how to approach the conversation and answer possible upcoming questions. Do not show embarrassment even if you feel embarrassed. Be composed and calm at all times.

Do not judge

While having a conversation, simply keep in mind that your teen is much more exposed and aware and has more knowledge about sex than you had at their age. Therefore, arm them with adequate information about the pitfalls of pre-marital sex, and the dangers of an unexpected or early pregnancy. If you are the parent of a boy, your responsibility doubles itself. The last thing you would want for your young ‘innocent’ boy is to be responsible for emotional trauma and pain for someone he might care a lot about.

Tell them that sex is a natural act of expression of love and respect and not a tool for displaying ‘cool attitude’.

Tips to Win the Bedtime Battle With Your Kids

Welcome to the world of parenthood where bedtime becomes a power struggle between the child and the parent. What’s a sleep-deprived parent to do? Fret not. We’ve got some really simple and effective tips for getting your kid into bed on time, every time.

(For issues related to bed-wetting click here)

Bed is only for sleeping

Do not use bed for all the activities like playing, eating etc. It should be strictly used for sleeping

Avoid products with caffeine before sleep

Do not put hungry child to bed

No TV/Laptop/I pad in bedroom

These electronic gadgets distracts children a lot. It makes sleeping more difficult

Casting the monsters away

Switch on a dim night light to ward off those lurking shadows that fuel scary dreams. A stuffed toy will give a sense of security and a goodnight cuddle just might do the trick. It works all the time.

Ambient temperature

Wrestling with the blanket can make even that thin trace of sleep, vanish. Make sure you have the AC or the fan on at just the right temperature – not too cold nor too hot.

Make up a story

Give your children the solace they need by singing a lullaby or reading out a favorite story. Add a fun twist with a made-up fairy tale where your child is the prince/princess. Stories are a super way to doze into dreams high on imagination.

Exhaust the energy

Keep your kids on their toes by letting them dance to some fun music during the day. Playing a vigorous game or learning karate will tire them out and get them to sleep as soon as their head touches the pillow.

Ditch the sugar

Sugary treats too close to bedtime are a strict no-no. A sugar high will put your child into hyperactive mode. Curb those cravings by allowing them to munch on candy only during the day.

Seal the deal

Some smart kids need a deal to be struck before you can get them into their beds. Offer to buy something off their wishlist, or make a promise to take them out the very next day. Looking forward to something puts their mind at ease and seals the deal.

Always stay one step ahead with these tips to get them into bed. Remember to establish firm boundaries to discipline them into their own bedtime routine. So what are you waiting for? Set the ball rolling and be on the winning side of the bedtime battle!

15 Things which you should not say to “Stay at HOME MOMS”

1

Moms who decide to stay at home are in no way inferior to moms who work. If they are staying at home, it does not mean that they are not smart enough to work outside. It’s a Choice which they have made voluntarily, so that they can spend quality time with their kids and family. (15 things you should never say to “working moms”) 

Parenting is a full time job. And many mothers opt to stay at home to take good care of their baby. Many a times thoughtless words from observers can hurt feelings of “stay at home moms”. Honestly speaking both set of moms face challenges and no one has an easy life. In this blog will focus on Home moms and next blog will focus on challenges faced by working mothers.

 e7f03a5474dc3d2aee86f9b40b7f8908

Here I am listing few statements which are commonly made by friends and relative which should best be avoided when talking to Home moms.

  1. So you are just a MOM: Any person making such foolish statement must never have raised a baby. We all know it is a full time job (24X7X365 days).

 feminist-stay-at-home-moms

  1. Why did you wasted money on studies and got a degree if you were planning to sit at home: Purpose of getting a degree is not only to earn good money rather it is to become a good human being who can inculcate good habits in next generation. And any day if need arise, they can get back to work.
  2. You husband must be earning a lot, so that you can relax at home: Any family where mom decides to stay at home make a lot of sacrifices in order to spend quality time with kids. It does not mean they earn a lot, it means they spend wisely. And besides mom is working full time at home, not relaxing.

 hm

  1. You are lucky you do not have to work: No mom who decides to stay at home is sitting idle. They are on their toes all the time. They are working constantly. They have to look after meals for baby, do laundry, arrange stuff, do grocery, fix appointment with doctor and the list is endless.
  1. I can never stay at home, I need a life: All the ladies need life. Everyone loves to spend time with people, look for intellectual discussion, adult talk. That is why their sacrifice is more evident; isn’t it.

  mom 

  1. Your home should be spotless if spend whole day at home. Home mothers have whole lot of things to do. Priority is always kids, their health and their intellectual development, sensory as well as motor development. Kids will always be making a mess of home. Drawing on wall, cloths here and there, sussu & potty, spitting out meals, laundry etc.
  1. As you are home mom and you have lot of time, could you help me with…..? Friendly neighbors might always be looking to take advantage of you in order to get their stuff done.
  1. You must be enjoying and spending lot of time with friends and on social networking. Those who think, staying at home means plenty of time for themselves are mistaken big time. Reality is that many a time it gets worse, as moms too need a break.

stay-at-home-mom-rocks

  1. If you are tired, why do you not sleep when your baby takes a nap. When baby sleep, moms usually have a long list of “to do things”. Prepare a meal, do the laundry, fold the cloth, look after mother in law and other elders at home and the list is endless.
  1. What do you do with all the free time you have; I will get bored staying at home. Believe me, you won’t know where time flies. If you are really looking after your babies 24 hours a day will be less.
  1. My husband is not that rich, I cannot afford to stay at home. Nobody minds extra money to spend and it’s never enough. Moms who decide to stay at home plans to spend wisely and are willing to make sacrifices in life.
  1. So this is the reason your baby is so clingy and cannot live without you. Babies always like to stay with person whom so ever spends the most quality time with them. It could be caregiver in case of working moms (eg grandmother, or even maid).

 frabz-Stay-At-Home-Mom-What-my-friends-think-I-do-What-my-Husband-thin-8a32bc

  1. When are planning to get real job in life. Home moms will always tell you that “This is the real life”. Turning a little kid into a grown up responsible and sensible adult is the real job (or toughest job). Inculcating good habits in kids, encouraging your child to do good for humanity and good for society is tough in present circumstances.
  1. Had I been home, my house would be neat and clean. Then why do you try it. It’s all about priority. Babies will write all over the wall, spill milk, do hell lot of stuff to turn house upside down.
  1. That explains why you look so mumsy? Home moms never groom up properly. It does not mean they cannot or they do not want to. It’s just they want to dress the way it is most comfortable for them and their babies. So that they can feed them properly, do household stuff.

 StayatHomeMoms

It’s a big sacrifice a mother is making for her kids and family. We should always RESPECT “Home moms” and appreciate them rather than criticizing or making sarcastic remarks.

Working 24X 7 X 365 days a year without any financial gain is a big task; not many have the capability or patience to do that.

I ask many moms than what is the reward for which you work? What is the driving force which keeps you going?

Answer is simple, loud and clear. “Smile of my little angels face” which makes them forgets everything and wipes away all the tears and gives them energy to go on and on”

 

 

Regards

Dr Rahul Varma

“Healthy moms, Healthy Kids”

 

 

Picking the Perfect Nanny for Your Child

nanny-for-kids-maya-clinic

Finding a good nanny is very hard in real life, here are some key points that you should keep in mind when getting started with your nanny search.

Make a list

Start off by putting together a list of the qualities that are important to you. For example, do you want your nanny to be well versed in your mother tongue, full time/part time or a good cook? This will help you weed out the not-so-suitable from the suitable candidates.

Do your research

Spread the word among your friends and family that you are looking for a nanny. Hiring a candidate who is referred through a known source is always better. Contact nanny agencies only after thoroughly checking up on them and asking for references on social media sites.

Interview

Make a list of all the questions you want to ask your nanny. For instance, what would you do if my child is unable to sleep? or what would you do if my child refuses to eat his lunch? This person is going to be spending a lot of time with your child, so if you’re unhappy with their appearance, mannerisms or anything else, move on.

Observe

Allow the nanny to interact with your child. Observe without interfering, so that you can assess whether the nanny and the child are able to bond and whether the nanny’s skills are up to the mark. Remember, your nanny will be responsible for playing a big role in shaping your child’s behavior, education, and cultural development.

Do not compromise, but rather, take your time looking for the right person. Be patient, that one perfect nanny is definitely out there!

6 Kid-Friendly Snacks for Fuss-Free Travel

mayaclinic_holiday food

You’re all set to go on a fabulous road trip, but then there’s that one question — ‘What to give the kids if they get hungry while travelling?’. Believe it or not, we’ve got some quick, nutrient-packed snacks that can come to the rescue (These are way better than store bought chips )!

  • Fruits
  • Roasted Makhane
  • Banana chips
  • Dry Fruits (Avoid in very small babies)
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds/Sunflower seeds
  • Khakra
  • Biscuits
  • Pop Corn
  • Granola bars

It’s an all-time favorite with kids in western countries. Low on sugar and high in fiber, they’re a great way to enhance nutrient uptake while on the move. Team them up with mini yogurt cups for an added calcium boost.

Kiddy cereal (Honey loops/chocos /oat-bites)

Breakfast need not be an ordeal. Think outside the box by carrying with you store brought kiddie cereal. Make a nifty necklace out of ring cereal and have your kids wear it while travelling. They will have a blast snacking on these neck munchies.

Celery sticks with peanut butter

Stuff a half-filled jar of peanut butter with celery sticks and carry it with you while on the move. When hungry, pull out a stick and let them munch away. Full of protein, vitamins, and energy, this yummy snack will ensure a fuss-free travelling experience.

Baby carrots with sour cream

Cut and peel a few baby carrots and store them in an airtight container along with a small cup of sour cream. Yummy ‘and’ healthy! What more could you ask for?

Spinach and cheese wraps

Cook some chopped spinach with cheese and spread it out onto whole wheat pita bread. Cut them into mini rolls and store them in an air-tight container along with napkins. Remember to pull this one out first as they don’t store too well.

Banana bon-bons

Slice up some bananas, dip them in the kids’ favorite yoghurt and roll them up in crushed crackers. Freeze them overnight in an airtight container and carry along. They are great for road trips as they defrost slowly.

So for your next grand adventure or holiday, try these simple recipes to appease the kiddie hunger pangs.

Bon voyage!

Tips to Prevent Motion Sickness

Motion sickness as we all know happens while traveling. It is more common in young children. Simple definition is nausea and fatigue which is caused by motion of head. It is associated with disorientation as well.

Motion sickness is very common while traveling especially to hilly areas. It can happen in any mode of transportation.

Symptoms can start suddenly or gradually. Most common symptoms are nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sweating etc. It usually stops as soon as we journey is completed. More frequent travellers have less of these symptoms.

How to prevent it

  • Try to occupy the seat where minimum motion will be felt. Seating arrangement should be such that you are as close to front as possible, so that you can see through the front of car and focus on the road and destination.
  • Stay clear of sick people; it may sound mean but if you have other people vomiting around you, there is high chances you will yourself end vomiting.
  • Do not eat heavy, oily meals just before the journey.
  • Road Trip: better to sit in front seat or drive yourself
  • Train travel: Window seat and face forward
  • Plane travel: Seat over front edge of wing is better. Direct the air vent flow towards your face
  • By water (Ship): Try to get front or middle cabin which is near the water level.

Treatment options:

  • Focus on distant stationary object. Do not stress yourself and avoid reading.
  • Try to keep your head still
  • Avoid smoking
  • Avoid spicy food or heavy meals
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Drink carbonated beverage to help settle stomach or Eat dry crackers

Drugs:

  • Antihistaminics: 30 to 60 minutes prior to journey
  • Transdermal Patch
  • Hyosine (Buscopan)
  • Phenergan (Promthazine)

These drugs should be given only under medical supervision after advice from your doctor.

 

regards

Dr Rahul Varma

Making the Holidays and Vacation Time Safe for Kids

Child's drawing happy family on the holiday car trip

With winter vacation round the corner, this is the time where most of the families plan a holiday with family and friends. It could be your favorite tourist destination or home town visit to grandparents. Lot of travelling, odd time sleep, special traditions and awesome food and hectic schedule; it all can take a toll on the health of your little ones.

Here are few tips which might come handy in making holidays memorable and preventing emergency visits to hospital.

  • Choking and swallowing: avoid keeping foods which can cause choking near young kids. In less than 3-4 years old kids, peanuts, ground nuts, any small round items like tree decoration, small toys can be very dangerous, if accidentally swallowed. Danger of these items going into lungs and causing breathing difficulty. We get lots of Emergency room visits for the same, it might even need bronchscopy to remove these items.
  • Poisoning: Lots of accidental ingestion of poisonous decorative items, which might look very attractive to small babies (eg Christmas decorative items, toilet cleaner, floor cleaner). Sometime kids might accidentally drink alcohol based drinks (left over of party), dispose of all those stuff safely, before going to sleep.
  • Fire: Accident burn injuries are common near bonfire. Whenever partying make sure kids are under constant supervision.
  • Road safety tips to avoid accidents: Use Car seats for small kids and proper size seat belts for older kids (it can be life saving in case of accidents on long road trips).
  • Accidents: Keep fancy decoration items which are easily breakable out of reach of children. Keep children under constant supervisions. Outdoor activities of kids need to be monitored too.
  • Kit of emergency drugs to be kept safely with you before travelling. Common medicines for vomiting, gas , fever can be kept to be used in case of emergency before you are able to consult any doctor.
  • Maintain general Hygiene measures at all time and follow universal precautions. It is always advisable to have a general check up done with your doctor before you head for long holidays.

Happy Holidaying

Common Feeding Problems

Feeding problems occur for a number of reasons, many of which vary according to age. Most of these challenges can be met through proper breastfeeding instruction from your doctor. It may come as a surprise, then, if your baby develops a resistance to feeding weeks or even months after you thought this was no longer a problem.

Tastes Change

One thing to consider when this happens is whether the taste of your breast milk has changed. Breast milk taste can change for a number of reasons, including the following:

  • New or different food in your diet
  • Medication you are taking
  • Pregnancy in the mother, which sometimes causes nursing babies to wean themselves a few weeks or months after the mother conceives
  • Strenuous exercise, which can lead to a temporary buildup of lactic acid
  • Breast infection, such as mastitis
  • Change in the taste of your skin caused by using lotion, cream, or oil on your breasts

Avoiding the new food, changing or stopping your medication if possible, exercising less strenuously, or refraining from applying oil or lotion to your breasts may be all that is necessary to encourage your baby to breastfeed at his normal rate again. If you have mastitis, seek treatment from your doctor right away and encourage your baby to breastfeed in order to drain your breasts. Once the infection has been treated and has passed, the taste of your breast milk will return to normal. You may be able to help your baby adjust to the new taste of your breast milk during pregnancy if you are persistent and patient and hold off on offering formula as an alternative.

If your baby starts to engage in frenzied short feedings that seem to signal frantic hunger, it may simply mean that your let-down reflex is occurring more slowly than she would like. If this is the case, try massaging your breast and expressing a little milk before you begin a feeding. This way, your milk will flow faster from the very beginning of the feeding and your baby will feel more satisfied.

Stress

If you do not believe that the taste of your breast milk has been altered or that your let-down reflex is causing the problem, consider whether you are experiencing a high level of tension or stress. Such emotional discomfort can be communicated to your baby, preventing her from settling down to feed well. Of course, we cannot always eradicate stress from our lives, but for the moments preceding breastfeeding, do your best to put upsetting thoughts out of your mind. Relaxed sessions not only will help your baby get more milk but may decrease your own stress level. Breastfeeding your baby and holding her skin to skin often promote a sense of well-being. Meanwhile, consider ways in which you might improve the general tenor of your day-to-day life.

Illness

It is also possible that your baby’s own condition may be making it harder for her to breastfeed. Decreased interest in feeding—possibly accompanied by lethargy, fever, vomiting or diarrhea, cough, or difficulty breathing—may indicate an illness. Consult your pediatrician or family physician if your baby resists feeding or you have any concerns that your infant may be sick.

Illness in your infant may affect your baby’s feeding pattern and desire to nurse, thus decreasing the amount of breast milk she receives. If she has a cold, clogged nostrils may make it difficult for her to breathe while feeding, or an ear infection may make nursing painful. Clearing the infant’s nasal passages with a bulb syringe prior to feeding may help with temporary nasal congestion. Teething can cause gum pain when nursing. Thrush can make nursing painful and requires a pediatrician’s attention.

Spitting Up

Some babies take in a great deal of milk but then spit up what appears to be a large part of it after each feeding. Spitting up is common during or after feeding, and some babies spit up more easily than others. There is generally no need to be concerned, however, that your baby’s spitting up is preventing her from getting enough milk.

Spitting up (as well as hiccups) can be minimized by keeping your breastfeeding sessions as calm, quiet, and leisurely as possible. Avoid interruptions, sudden noises, bright lights, and other distractions. Try to hold your baby more upright during and right after feedings, and attempt to burp her after she finishes each breast. Don’t jostle or play vigorously with her immediately after she has breastfed.

If she vomits forcefully a number of times or if you notice blood or a dark green color when she vomits, call your pediatrician right away.

Occasional small spit-ups or wet burps are generally more a laundry problem than a medical one. Fortunately, spit-up breast milk is less likely to smell sour or cause clothing to stain than infant formula. If you are worried that she is spitting up too much, consult your pediatrician, who will monitor her weight and check for any signs of more serious illness.

Dehydration

As always, the best way to be sure your baby is getting enough milk is to monitor her physical condition, her weight gain, and the content of her diapers. It is very important to call your pediatrician if you notice that your child is not showing usual interest in feeding, she has a dry mouth or eyes, or she is producing fewer wet diapers than usual. These may be signs of dehydration. Severe dehydration, while uncommon in adequately breastfed infants, can be extremely dangerous or even life-threatening and is most likely to occur when a young baby refuses to feed or is experiencing frequent vomiting or diarrhea.

 

regards

Dr Rahul

stay healthy

constipation in children

Constipation is an extremely common childhood condition. One I deal with almost on a daily
basis in clinic and one that can be surprisingly hard to get control of..

Parents are often at a loss on what to do about something that is causing their child significant
discomfort, but also something they feel should be relatively easy to treat.

The trick is to always be one step ahead of constipation when it comes to your child.

Here are some surprising truths about constipation:

  • It can really hurt and be a source of significant, recurrent abdominal pain. After a
    thorough history and physcial exam (sometimes even an x-ray, depending on the
    situation), parents are shocked to find out, that, yes excess and blocked stool is the culprit
    for the tears and complaints of pain.
  • A child can be constipated in spite of reported daily bowel movements. Often, parents
    will discount constipation as a cause of their child’s stomach pains because the child will
    report having a somewhat “normal” bowel movement. However, if the stools are small,
    hard, and difficult to pass; this could be a sign that your child is not completely emptying
    his bowels. Having abnormally large and infrequent stools is another sign of constipation.
    In both instances, stools are typically hard to pass and the child may start withholding
    which will only worsen the condition.
  • On the flipside, your child may only have bowel movements every 2-3 days and not be
    constipated. The defining features are not necessarily based on frequency but more on
    symptoms such as abdominal pain, hard and difficult to pass stools, blood streaked stools,
    or a fear of going to the bathroom due to the anticipated pain.

When children are most prone to it:

  • Transitioning to solid foods and whole milk.
  • Potty training
  • School entry

Stay one step ahead with these tips:

  • Make your child’s daily meals full of fiber rich foods. Think whole fruits, whole grains,
    fiber cereals, and green/leafy vegetables.
  • Water, water, and more water. Keep a refillable water bottle on hand and encourage your
    child to drink frequently.
  • Moderate milk intake. Too much of a good thing can be bad for your child’s digestion.
    Instead of filling up on fiber rich foods, she is filling up on this. After the age of 1 year, 500 ml per day is more than enough.
  • Make a smoothie: if you have a picky eater…have her drink her fiber. Add whole fruits,
    some skim milk, yogurt, and a splash of juice.
  • Try a daily “P” juice (prune or pear) for breakfast to get things back on track.
  • A daily fiber supplement can help fill in the fiber gap.
  • Exercise. Get your kids outside (or inside) and moving for a good hour per day.

Laxatives

Sometimes, your child just needs a laxative to get back on track. Discuss this possibility with
your child’s pediatrician. Once the cycle of constipation has set in, dietary changes alone may
not turn it around. Be sure to adhere to the plan outlined with your pediatrician and continue with
the constipation fighting foods above.

Discuss with your doctor and follow instruction carefully.. Incomplete treatment can lead to poor growth.

Regards

Dr Rahul Varma