Posts for category: Child Health
By Desert Sun Pediatrics
September 23, 2021
The day your child is born is one of the most exciting moments in a parent’s life. Of course, finding out your precious newborn has a cleft lip or palate can make things a little more complicated. Luckily, a pediatrician can help you determine the best way to treat your child’s cleft lip or cleft palate to put your mind at ease.
Why should a cleft lip or cleft palate be treated?
A cleft lip and palate can present many challenges if left untreated including serious hearing, speech, and swallowing problems. As you can imagine, a cleft lip or palate can affect a child’s speech. Children born with these birth defects are also more likely to deal with recurring ear infections and even hearing loss. By repairing this birth defect as soon as possible we can minimize these issues.
Most children will undergo a cleft lip repair between 3-6 months old, while children will often get a cleft palate repair within the first 12 months. Consequent surgeries may be required later on depending on a variety of factors, including the severity of the defect.
How is a cleft lip and palate treated?
Surgery is the only way to correct a cleft lip or palate. The goal of this surgery is to not only improve your child’s appearance but also make it easier for them to speak, chew, or hear. This surgery is performed under general anesthesia, so your child will be asleep throughout the procedure.
To repair a cleft lip, a surgeon will make incisions on both sides of the defect and then stitch the two pieces of tissue together to close the gap, which will greatly improve the shape and appearance of your child’s lip. A cleft palate repair is also performed under general anesthesia and involves making incisions on both sides of the palate to restructure and rebuild the roof of the mouth.
If your child is born with a cleft lip or cleft palate and you want to talk to us about their treatment options, then turn to your pediatrician to learn more. Your pediatrician is always here to provide you and your little one with the best care possible.
By Desert Sun Pediatrics
June 23, 2021
While children under 3 years old will not have control over their bladders, older kids that still have issues with bladder control may have something known as urinary incontinence or enuresis. As a pediatrician, we understand that this issue can be distressing for kids and their parents. Here’s what you should know if your child is dealing with daytime or bedtime enuresis.
When to See a Pediatrician
Accidents happen, but if bedwetting or daytime enuresis is becoming quite frequent in older children then it’s worth seeing your pediatrician for a closer evaluation. Girls happen to gain bladder control a little faster than boys. Girls are often diagnosed with enuresis if they continue to have bladder control issues past the age of 5, while it’s often diagnosed in boys after age 6.
The Causes of Enuresis
There are many reasons why your child might be dealing with enuresis, which is another reason to see a pediatrician for answers. Whether your child is dealing with nighttime or daytime enuresis, or both, gives us some idea of what the cause might be. Common causes of nighttime or daytime enuresis include:
- Overactive bladder
- Small bladder
- Intense deep sleep
- Urinary tract infection
- Sleep disorders (often obstructive sleep apnea)
- Structural issues within the urinary tract
Sometimes enuresis goes away on its own without treatment, while other causes may require treatment. For example, a urinary tract infection will require medication to treat the infection and alleviate the enuresis. Underlying health problems such as diabetes will also require proper treatment and long-term maintenance and care.
We will evaluate your child and ask a series of questions about their symptoms, including their fluid intake, whether they drink caffeine, issues with constipation, trouble or pain with urination, and stress levels. This is will give us clues as to what might be causing your child’s symptoms. From there, we can recommend the best course of action.
If you have any concerns about your child’s health, whether it’s bedwetting or immunizations, your pediatrician is the first person to turn to. If your child is wetting the bed or having issues with bladder control, don’t hesitate to talk with your child’s doctor to determine the cause.
By Desert Sun Pediatrics
May 19, 2021
When you turn to your pediatrician for nutritional advice or help, they will always take a personalized approach to help your child meet their nutritional goals, whether that’s losing weight, getting more regular activity, or eating a healthier diet. You may have questions about your child’s nutritional needs, particularly as they grow. We’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions regarding childhood nutrition.
Is fruit juice healthy?
Many people seem to think that juice is healthy, and while it does contain vitamin C, there are certainly better sources for ensuring your child gets enough of this important nutrient. Today, most fruit juices found at the grocery store are chock full of sugar and can contribute to weight gain and increase the risk for cavities. A better alternative is whole fruits since they provide more nutritional value than juice will.
How many calories should my child consume a day?
How many calories your child consumes will depend on their gender, age, and activity level. A recommended calorie range for kids between 6-12 years old is between 1600-2200 per day. Verywell Family provides a more detailed breakdown by age and gender.
I’m worried that might child might not be getting the nutrients they need. What should I do?
First, it’s important to keep in mind that kids don’t need to eat as much as we do, so their portions will be considerably smaller than ours. If your child is growing then chances are good that they are getting the nutrients they need; however, if you find that your child is refusing meals or isn’t eating it’s important to bring this up with your pediatrician as soon as possible.
How can I prevent my child from becoming overweight or obese?
To help your child maintain a healthy weight they must be eating a healthy, balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean sources of protein. Make sure that they are also getting at least one hour of physical activity every day. Limit sugar and processed foods.
Is snacking okay for my child?
Young children may seem voraciously hungry and may beg for snacks. How many are actually okay? It’s normal for little ones to want food every 3-4 hours. While snacking can be a great way to prevent kids from overeating during mealtimes you don’t want to ply them with treats (and you want to be sure you’re providing them with nutrient-rich snacks rather than sugary ones).
A snack mid-day between lunch and dinner is typically the best time. If it’s only going to be a couple of hours before a meal, then something small like a piece of fruit or a slice of cheese with crackers is good. If your child isn’t going to eat for more than four hours then you’ll want a snack that incorporates protein, fat, and carbs to satiate their appetite.
If you are concerned about your child’s health because they are “picky eaters” or are struggling with their weight, you must speak with their pediatrician to find out options that can help them lead a healthier lifestyle.
By Desert Sun Pediatrics
March 18, 2021
Reflexively, your baby is born with the ability to suck. It makes sense. After all, your little one must be able to suck to get nutrients, whether breastfeeding or bottle-feeding. Thumb sucking also has the ability to soothe and calm your little one. However, there are moments as your child gets older where thumb-sucking may become a problem. Your pediatrician can provide you with the tips and tricks to help your little one grow out of this habit.
This is a normal habit in newborns that typically goes away around 6-7 months; however, this seemingly innocuous habit may actually be a cause for concern if thumb sucking continues beyond 2-4 years, where it can alter the shape of the face or cause teeth to stick out.
When to Consider a Pacifier
Many children desire a pacifier between feedings, but this should not be a replacement for feedings. It’s important to recognize when your child is sucking because they are hungry and whether they merely want to self-soothe. If your child still has an urge to suck and they don’t need to nurse, then a pacifier is a safe way to soothe and ease your child’s needs (if they want it).
It is safe for children to use a pacifier while sleeping, whether at bedtime or when they go down for their naps. Just prepare for babies to wake up fussy in the middle of the night when the pacifier falls out of their mouths, as they aren’t able to place the pacifier back in their mouths themselves. Make sure that you do not try to place the pacifier on a string around your baby’s neck or tie it to the crib, as this can lead to a serious and potentially deadly injury.
How to Phase Out the Pacifier
There will come a point when your child will need to give up their pacifier. While the medical community has different age ranges, The American Dental Association recommends that children stop using a pacifier by age 2, as going beyond two years old could alter the alignment of your child’s teeth or impact the shape of their face.
Here are some tips to phase out the pacifier,
- Do not tease or punish your child for using a pacifier, but instead praise them when they do not use it. Provide them with rewards when they go without it.
- Some children use pacifiers out of boredom, so give your child something to do to distract them such as playing with a game or toy (to keep their hands busy).
- If incentives and rewards aren’t enough and your child is still using a pacifier, your pediatrician may recommend a “thumb guard” that can prevent your child from sucking their thumb. While you may feel in a rush to get rid of your child’s pacifier, it’s important to be patient. All children eventually stop this habit.
Even if you are concerned about your child’s thumb-sucking, it’s important to know that most children do grow out of it not long after starting school. While you can provide them with helpful ways to ditch the habit it’s important not to put pressure on them. With the help of your pediatrician, your child can and will outgrow this habit.
By Desert Sun Pediatrics
February 26, 2021
Tags: Head Lice
You’ve just received a call from the school: someone in your child’s class has head lice. We know that hearing that your child has or might have head lice can be stressful, but don’t worry. Your pediatrician can help guide you through the best methods for getting rid of pesky head lice once and for all.
If you notice head lice in your child there’s no way around it: you have to treat the lice. They will not go away on their own. It might give you the heebie-jeebies but it’s important to find a treatment that will get rid of these little critters quickly. You should also check all members of your family to make sure they don’t have lice too, as this problem can spread quickly.
The good news is that you can often treat lice from the comfort of your own home. While there are certain hair salons that may cater to the treatment of lice, it’s worth it to try and treat the problem yourself. There are a variety of over-the-counter shampoos and rinses that can kill lice and their eggs (also known as nits). You may want to talk with your pediatric doctor about the treatment process, which products to use and whether or not you should reapply the shampoo or rinse days after the first application.
Still seeing lice? This is a literal head scratcher for some parents, but don’t worry. This is when a pediatrician can prescribe a much stronger treatment option such as shampoos containing benzyl alcohol, or lotions containing either ivermectin or malathion (both pesticides), or spinosad (an insecticide).
Since some of these products work differently from others, it is important that you read and follow all instructions. Some products will require more than one application while others will only require one. Again, if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s lice treatment don’t hesitate to talk to your pediatrician.
Treating Your Home After Lice
The good news is that lice need blood in order to survive so they won’t live very long if they don’t have a human host. However, you will want to wash all bedding, towels and clothes that may have lice or nits on them. Make sure to wash them thoroughly in hot water that is higher than 130 degrees F. If you can’t wash these items immediately, promptly bag them until you can clean them properly.
Head lice can be annoying, but turning to a qualified pediatric doctor can help you get the answers you need to tackle this hairy little problem. Call your pediatrician to learn more.