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News from Baby Medical Q&A, Issue #011 --Aug 2007
August 01, 2007

This issue has a Baby Theme

New Questions and Answers

Question: My child has just started teeting at nearly 5 months. He is refusing to take the breast and is not feeding as well as before. His 2 bottom teeth has just come through and I am wondering if his gums are in pain and this has affected his feeding. He is also biting my nipple and I am afraid to keep feeding him - any suggestions on how to stop the biting?

Answer: Don't be afraid to breastfeed as this is a common problem but one that can be easily remedied. Babies will respond to negative reinforcement so when your baby bites, remove him immediately from the breast and tell him "Don't bite". Keep him off the breast for a few minutes and then try again. Every time he bites, take him immediately from the breast and he will learn that biting means no milk. Don't frighten him by screaming out or pulling him from the breast too quickly, just be calm and firm.

Your baby may have tender gums and giving him something to bite on (not at feeding time) like a teething ring or frozen flannel is a good idea.

Hopefully his feeding will improve and you and he will develop an understanding about biting. Good luck

Question: I have a baby boy that is 11 days old and his belly button scab fell off about 3 days ago. It doesn't seem to be healed all the way. It still bleeds and has a small opening. Is this something we can just bandage up and keep an eye on or should we see the doctor?

Answer: This sounds like an umbilical granuloma. I would apply an alcohol swab - just wipe over the umbilical stump at each nappy (diaper) change. The alcohol swabs I usually use are called Sterettes and are about 2.5 cm by 2.5 cm and come in individual packs. You can get them from a pharmacy.

I would use the alcohol swabs for at least 2 weeks. If there is no improvement then, see your doctor.

Question: I have food allergies (raw apple, plums, almonds) and mild asthma (exercise induced). My daughter is almost 10 months old; at what age can she be tested for allergies? Thanks!

Answer: Children can be tested at any age. I would advise testing before you introduce the food in question. The best test is actually what happens when you eat something but both skin prick tests and blood tests can give an indication of what might cause a reaction (particularly if there is a very strong positive result).

Question: My newborn grandaughter (11 days) has a "hole" in one of her ears. Her pediatrician told the parents that once it was considered to be a sign of kidney trouble.

Answer: It sounds as if your granddaughter has an ear pit - these are sometimes associated with structural kidney abnormalities so that is why a kidney ultrasound is normally performed. In lots of cases the kidneys are completely normal, however.

News and Updates

I am in the process of writing a book on everything a new mother needs to know in the first 2 weeks - there's so much information available to mothers, I thought it would be good to put all the info you need initially in one volume.

I would be happy for any suggestions about content - what did you really want to know in those first days after taking your new baby home?

Reply to this mail and put Book Suggestion in the subject line.

Thanks for you help.

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