Ask The Expert – Dr. Rajiv Chhabra, Paediatrician | MamyPoko India Blog

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Ask The Expert – Dr. Rajiv Chhabra, Paediatrician

Alternative Text By: MamyPoko | August 24, 2018

In this video blog, we have with us Dr. Rajiv Chhabra who is Paediatric & Neonatal Intensivist Head of Department at Paediatrics Artemis Hospitals. He has over 20 years of experience and believes in caring for babies and families and not just treating them. He uses a 360-degree approach that extends beyond medical treatment, aiming to improve diet and nutrition and reduce the psychological, social, and spiritual burden of illness. He specializes in paediatric critical care because it allows him to make an immediate difference in the lives of the children he cares for. We are privileged to have him on board and he took the questions asked by our users and answered them in our 10th anniversary celebratory Live video series for Facebook. Take a look!

My baby is 11 months old. He weighs 8kgs. Is it normal? Any tips on weight gain?

At 11 months, it should be a bit more but 8 kgs is not bad. In terms of diet, the child should be having everything that the parents can have. Except cow’s milk which I recommend at 15 months, everything else is okay for baby. They can have all meals like us and even snacks like fruits etc. Diet should also include 3 portions of milk. If nutrients are received adequately and all other milestones are achieved, weight shouldn’t be a cause of worry. Focus should be on overall health and development and not weight. Weight is just one part of the health. As long as the child is not getting repeated infection, it should be okay.

Till how long should I give milk to my baby? Is there any specific number of months I should give milk to my baby?

Breastfeeding is ideal and we h4ly recommend give breast milk for maximum up to the age of 2 years. In books they say you can start cow’s milk at 1 or 2 years of age. If you can carry on giving breast milk for 2 years without any harm, it should be ok. 2 years is the maximum age till which you should be giving breast milk to baby.

How active should my baby be at 2 years of age? She is a bit lazy as compare to other babies

First of all, never compare your baby to others. Laziness could be just one component which is being assessed by you. As long as she is achieving other milestones which are relevant for 2 years of age, it is okay. If the child is scribbling well, walking alright, having a vocabulary of 25-30 words and making 2-3 word sentences you do not need to be worried. Just encourage the child to work a bit harder.

My baby doesn’t eat fruits. Will that affect his growth? How can I introduce fruit to my baby so that the growth can’t be hampered?

A balanced diet isn’t complete without fruits. The basic idea of encouraging a child to eat healthy meal is not to force the child to eat as it does not lead to good habits getting developed.

My recommendation is offering a fruit as the only option for meal and saying that they can have it if they want or they can keep on playing. Let them be hungry enough to ask for food and then offer fruits as the only option.

When should I expect my baby to start talking? What is the age when a baby can start talking?

Speaking is one of the longest milestones. Babies start babbling at 6 months of age and first words like Mama or Dada usually come in by 1 year of age. As long as they are able to communicate, it’s fine. Speaking is only one way of communication. If child follows instruction etc. it is fine. Encourage them to speak by talking to them frequently. If the child gestures towards something indicating that they want it, then don’t just give it away but say that it is a bottle (etc.) and repeat it 2-3 times. Keep singing rhymes, ABCD (alphabets), 123 (numbers). As long as the child’s overall development is on track and is communicating well, do not worry. Speaking is just one part of the communication.

What are some good breakfast options for my baby? Please share some good breakfast option we can cook.

Don’t get dictated by kid’s choices or whims and fancies. Whatever you’re preparing for yourself, should be offered to baby as well so that the kid becomes part of the family. You should not be preparing anything different for the kid. Whatever you are preparing for yourself is a part of the balanced diet and you should be offering the same. Keep varied options for 7 days and have fixed menu such as sandwiches, muesli, idli, omelette etc.

Any tips on smooth potty training? How can we train baby & from when should we start it?

Ideally, what our books say is that potty training should be started at 2.5 years of age. But in my personal experience, if child isn’t crying or revolting, then you can start at 1.5 years of age. Make a ritual out of it and make them sit for 15-20 minutes every day at a particular time. Give them something to read etc., so that they don’t cry there, to keep them occupied. As long as baby is not resisting or crying, you can start trying. So simply start encouraging from 1.5 years onwards. If child is crying or rebellious, postpone by a month and then try.

Any tips on making my older kid bond with my new born? How can I teach my older kid to make a bond with my newborn?

Bonding starts during pregnancy. Elder sibling should be informed about pregnancy and should be asked to expect a sibling. Once child is born, it will be slightly more difficult for you to engage with older child. There might be a bit of jealousy in older siblings due to this. If you are at times giving more attention to the younger sibling, then ask the father to give attention to the older sibling. You need to give equal attention and partners should share responsibilities for both kids so there is no room for envy. Ask older ones to care for the younger one, provide help while taking care of the baby so that the child is happy.

My baby hasn’t put on much weight at 1.5 years. Is it normal? Can you please share approximate weight of a baby at 1.5 years and how can I make my baby gain weight?

You need to remember that all kids are different. Weight and height are primarily dictated by genes and secondary influence are other environmental factors such as healthy nutritious diet, etc. At 1.5 years, I expect the weight to be 11 kgs, but as mentioned earlier all kids are different. Don’t take 11 kg as the target given to you. As long as the child is eating alright and eating everything that is a part of balanced diet, not having frequent episodes of infection, don’t get stuck with the weight. You can try milk supplements for weight gain. Just make sure that child is getting all nutrients in the form of normal diet.

How to increase fluid intake in babies? My baby doesn’t drink much water.

Just keep trying. There is no fixed amount for consumption of liquids. This becomes relevant when the child is suffering from loose motions, gastroenteritis, or vomiting where you definitely need to give a fixed amount of fluids. For a healthy child there aren’t any specific recommendations, my recommendation is keep trying, even if child takes few sips, keep trying. Thirst is a god given reflex, if the child is thirsty he/she will definitely consume fluids. Rest keep trying.

How to make my 1 year old more physically active? Is there any action we as a parent should take?

Don’t compare to other kids. Involve yourself more with the child, taking them to park, be with the child, playing with them etc. can help. Give a good company, even in form of yourself or with the help of other kids. As long as the child is in good company, he/she will enjoy.

How do I make my baby sleep on time? My baby doesn’t have any perfect sleep time

Sleeping for 8 good hours is essential for proper emotional, mental and physical development. You need to prepare yourself and the family for a proper sleep time in order to ensure baby inculcates the same. You need to create an environment that is conducive to sleeping like dimming the lights, not having loud music, keeping TV and other screens off an hour before bedtime etc. Remove any other electronic gadgets that are next to the bed. In a few days, you will notice the difference.

Any pre bedtime activities that can tire baby for deeper sleep?

For a good sleep time, you can recite a few mantras, or read rhymes or the alphabets or numbers. It should be family bonding time as well and that will result in better dreams and sound sleep. Initiation of a good sleep time is essential for having a productive sleep.

My 2 year old wakes up multiple times in the middle of the night. How can I change it? Please guide us how we can stop this habit of my baby.

Kids of usually this age wake up multiple times due to nightmares or night terrors. So the child is actually dreaming and not crying for a particular reason. You can also notice that at that particular time the eyes are closed but the baby is crying. Soothe child, feed some water and let them drift back to sleep. This happens when the child is in deep sleep. So don’t make the child over tire during the day time. Give the child a little bit of siesta or snooze during the afternoon time so that the child is re-energised or rejuvenated. Also, it’s a passing phase and gets better with time.

My toddler will start play school soon. Any tips on bonding so that my baby can easily makes friends?

All kids are different. These days playschools are so comfy and cozy that kids naturally enjoy themselves. They are not enforcing upon anything but is like an extended family time that the kid is enjoying.

My baby sucks her thumb while sleeping. How do I change it? Please guide us to stop this habit.

It’s a little tricky and really depends on the age. If it sets in at around 6 months of age, you can ignore it as it won’t be habit forming. If it comes in at around 18 months, it can become a habit. So discourage it and if it doesn’t change, you can consult a doctor for tablets that can be powdered and applied on thumb. This is bitter and discourages the child.

My toddler falls asleep in class even though she sleeps well at night. How do I change it?

You need to get your child assessed by a paediatrician, if everything is okay with your baby’s health. Sometimes inadequate oxygen supply to the child’s brain can lead to drowsiness and oversleeping. So getting a check-up done by paediatrician is important.

How can I tell if my toddler needs glasses? What can I do to find it?

Current recommendation is child has to be examined by an ophthalmologist between the age of 3 and 4 years. Preschool examination is the process that includes these essentials and detecting these early can help prevent lazy eye in children.

How do I make my baby chew food properly instead of swallowing? My baby swallows food instead of chewing.

It doesn’t matter. As long as child is eating, it’s okay. It’s just a habit and will develop soon. Don’t worry about that.

How do I improve my baby’s immunity?

There are few basic principles of hygiene that need to be taken care of like hand washing, bathing etc. and the most important thing being nutrition or a balanced diet. I personally recommend a teaspoon of honey every day as it is beneficial in preventing respiratory infections. You can add vitamins in form of oranges, amla, nimbu paani etc. Adequate exposure to sunlight is also necessary and if that is not possible, add Vitamin D supplements, which can be advised by your paediatrician.

My baby is 1.5 years old and drools a lot. Is it normal? Please help me to overcome this.

Excessive drooling or salivation happens due to teething process and it is an on-going process. The child may continue to drool or wet the clothes, that’s a normal part of development. So you need to keep changing the clothes.

My toddler eats chalk when unsupervised. How do I stop it? I even saw many of my friends’ babies eat chalks but how can I stop my child from doing this?

Eating chalk or limestone etc. is a sign of iron deficiency. The first step is to de-worm the child, every 6 months. Supplement the child’s diet with iron rich foods like apple, papaya, green veggies, dates and jaggery. You can also give iron syrup on the recommendation of your child’s doctor.

How do I wean off baby?

You just need to call the shots. You have to be strict and you have to learn to say no to the child. You can also try medication (upon doctor’s recommendation) that can be applied to nipples to make them taste bitter, thus discouraging the child.

How do I make my toddler sleep in her own bed? She is 2 years old. How can I make this a habit to sleep on her bed?

At some stage, you have to take the call to ask the child to sleep on his/her own bed. 2 years is a good age to inculcate the habit. You can use small rewards to encourage the habit. But don’t spoil the child.

Can we give water to 5 month old baby?

No. Water is recommended after babies are 6 months old. Breast milk contains 97% water and is sufficient for baby’s needs till 6 months.

I have twins. One is taking my feed and other is not. They have completed 3 months. How will it affect the immunity?

Don’t get pressurized the fact that if the child is not taking breast milk then they will have less immunity. Offer the next best option to your baby and nothing will happen to the baby.

How can I teach self-soothing to my baby?

We encourage kangaroo care. You need to keep the child on mom’s or dad’s chest. It has shown to be immensely helpful for moral and mental development of the child. Kangaroo care is ideal and should help soothe baby.

My daughter is 1.7 year old. She doesn’t eat properly. Is mom’s milk enough?

No. Mother’s milk plays a small role at this age. If needed but don’t offer milk more than twice as it does not provide enough amount of calories and proteins for a child of this age group. As mentioned, keep the child starving and just offer your food when he/she is hungry and don’t force it.

We hope you found this video useful. Watch this space for our next video, which will feature our nutritionist on board. Stay tuned to get the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

The information shared in the article is indicative in nature. You should consult your medical practitioner before following the suggestions in this article. Each Individual is different & may react differently to the suggested measures.The author, publisher, company & its officials disclaim any liability in connection with the use of this information.

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