Infant Sleep: Forming Healthy Habits for Babies and Parents

By Katherine Edwards, MD, Annapolis Pediatrics

A year in the life of a pediatrician can become predictable – the sports physicals are predominant in the summer and respiratory illnesses peak in the winter. The constant throughout the year, however, is the birth, growth and development of infants. It is this constant that makes my job ever more gratifying. I like to hope that some of my words over the years have been comforting or helpful, especially to new parents.
Sleep is essential to the health of both babies and new parents. Unfortunately medical science still knows very little about the chemistry and mechanics of sleep, so we are left with trying to impart habits and patterns to help the parents of seemingly sleepless infants.

Here are a few words of advice:


Sleep is a HABIT
We spend the first few weeks, and sometimes months of an infant’s life very focused on feeding and weight, which means we tend to respond to every cry with feeding. However, an infant’s only outlet to get attention can be crying, so they may cry when they are hungry or full, sleepy or wakeful. Try to be logical and figure out which cry is for which. If your baby just ate an hour ago, then maybe crying now means “please put me in my bed to sleep!”


Let your infant put him/herself to sleep
You can never MAKE someone sleep! Your baby needs to put him/herself to sleep; your job as a parent or caregiver is to provide a safe space to do that. Lay the baby down drowsy but awake. I know it is hard, however try to resist always having to hold the baby until he/she falls asleep. The last thing the baby sees before falling asleep should be his/her bed, not your face. When the infant gets to a lighter stage of sleep in the middle of the night (as we all do!), the infant will feel safe in their environment and go back to sleep where they are.


“Sleep/feed” NOT “feed to sleep”
You want the baby to associate sleep with his/her bed, and feeding with hunger. Try this basic frame shift as early as you can, and have feeding be a separate thing for when the baby wakes up hungry. After that, developmentally, a newborn really can only be wakeful for 1-2 hours. If your baby shows signs of crankiness, put them in their bed at that point.


“Crying it out”
If you baby is sleepy, and is put in bed, the likelihood that the baby will fall asleep quickly, even if crying, is very high. There are countless books and guidelines directing parents about sleep schedules and times of crying. This goes to show that there is no “one answer” about how long to let a baby cry. Crying in infancy should not be thought of as sadness. Sadness is almost too complex of an emotion for a baby. Sometimes changing your mindset as a parent can be of the most help.


Everyone sleeps better in their own space
You will be a better parent if YOU get sleep, and your baby may be better rested in his/her own bed. It continues to be an area of controversy, even among pediatricians, about exactly where a baby should sleep (parents room or not). There is agreement however that co-sleeping is not recommended for infant or parent.


Sleep is a controversial subject, and experts and lay people have strong opinions on all of the topics that I have mentioned above. My job as a pediatrician is to give parents information and empower them to make their own decisions about what can work for their own family and lifestyle. There is no “one right way” to get your child to sleep. And remember, the more sleep YOU are getting, the more effective a parent you will be able to be moving forward, and the more you will actually enjoy the process.

What’s Best for Boys: Building learning experiences that build confidence and character

By Christopher Post

 

 

Extensive research shows that boys learn best through hands-on experiential learning that appeals to different senses, involves action and movement and produces tangible outcomes. So, how can teachers and parents better engage and empower boys both inside and outside of the classroom?

As headmaster of one of our nation’s oldest all-boys schools, I’ve seen firsthand how embracing boys and their unique strengths can promote better academic performance while supporting their whole growth as persons. At schools like mine, we position boys for success in myriad ways. Every day, our faculty works to:

• Show practical applications. Boys appreciate seeing application of information to their lives. Boys want to know the “whys” behind lessons, not just the “hows.”

• Embrace competition as a learning tool. Boys are innately competitive, and there’s no better way to teach about the values of humility, respect and teamwork. Teaching these valuable life lessons, we can ensure that our boys are ready for the collaboration and connectedness of the 21st century.

• Connect action to empathy. By helping boys adopt a broader view of manhood, expanding the definition of masculinity to one that prioritizes duty and service to others, we can help boys to lead more fulfilling personal and professional lives.

• Create a sense of agency in boys’ lives. Boys must come to see learning and the acquisition of knowledge as the ultimate path to personal empowerment and the best way to ensure they can control and shape their futures.

Honoring how boys think and learn begins with building a community and atmosphere where they can thrive. On Sunday, October 22, the Boys’ Latin community will welcome prospective families to our campus to discover how our lower, middle and upper school teachers partner with parents to raise high-performing, emotionally-engaged young men that are prepared to succeed in a fast-paced, 21st century world. To learn more, visit www.boyslatinmd.com/openhouse.

Christopher Post is Headmaster at The Boys’ Latin School of Maryland.

School is Back in Session!

School is back in session! Here are some suggestions from your pediatrician at Annapolis Pediatrics to help you and your children get back on track and plan for success this fall!

Sleep is so important –

Children need a full night of sleep (10-12 hours for younger children and 9-10 hours for older kids). Start adjusting your bed time routine to accommodate for enough sleep. If bedtime was later during the summer, start pushing it closer to the normal bedtime. Start by turning off electronics one to two hours before bedtime. We recommend charging cell phones and devices out of the student’s bedroom overnight. Use traditional alarm clocks for older students instead of cell phones. Have older children pick out what to wear the night before to ease the morning rush.

Plan meals ahead –

Think about quick and nutritious meals for breakfast. Hardboiled eggs and fruit are easy to prepare ahead of time, as is peanut butter or almond butter toast. Instant oatmeal is not a bad choice however if you have a few minutes, an egg burrito is a fun and delicious option that you can add different ingredients based on preference (ie: avocado, shredded cheese, tomato, onion, peppers, etc). Avoid sugary cereals; they do not provide the protein needed to fuel kids through the morning. Plan ahead for lunch whether your children will be eating school meals or bringing their own bagged lunch. Look at the school meal schedule and talk with your child about healthy options and combinations. Making bagged lunches the night before is a huge timesaver in the morning, allowing more time to enjoy breakfast.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate –

Have a fun water bottle for your student to carry to refill if needed so that they stay hydrated throughout the day. Proper hydration can prevent fatigue and headaches later in the day. It is also important to stay hydrated while playing fall sports. Children and pre-teens have special fluid needs compared to adults, or even teenagers. In order to stay properly hydrated, your child must drinks fluids before, during and after exercise.

Provide the proper forms for medications –

If your child needs to receive medications during the day while they are in school, medication forms are required to be completed and given to the school nurse. Kindergarteners and 7th Graders need to provide proof of immunizations. You can request copies of your child’s immunization records directly from your pediatrician’s office.

Designate a homework space –

Plan and designate an area for your student to do their homework after school. Find a place where they can concentrate and not get too many distractions. For younger children, chose a space where you can be nearby to help if they need assistance. For middle or high school students, involve them in the decision of where they feel they will do their best work.

Communication is key –

Ask your children about their day. Communicate any upcoming events, practices/games, special preparation needed, etc. If your children are younger, check their backpacks for school provided papers with information. If they are older, ask them to write notes and dates on the family calendar.

Combat the Flu –

Plan to come in for the flu shot during one of our Flu Clinics, starting in September. Flu Clinic appointments are available only to Annapolis Pediatrics patients and must be pre-scheduled prior to the date of the clinic. The Flumist will not be available again this year. Call 410.263.6363 to make your flu clinic appointment.

Sefanit Fassil, MD, Annapolis Pediatrics

 

Tips to Survive the Summer Heat

Piyumi Fonseka, MDSponsored content provided by Piyumi Fonseka, MD from Annapolis Pediatrics

It’s the hottest time of year and also time for end-of-summer vacations and sports practices to start.  We all want to get outside and enjoy the longer days but the humidity and heat often put a damper on our plans.  Here are some tips to keep your family safe in the hot summer heat.

When planning family outings in the summer, try to look ahead and find out what the heat index (a measure of how hot it will actually feel when you factor in humidity) will be. Children are at greater risk for complications of heat stress than adults are since they aren’t able to regulate their body temperatures as well as we can. Once it is over 90 degrees, you will want to exercise extreme caution to avoid heat stress.  On days like this, it is best to try to find activities that are in air-conditioned spaces such as indoor play gyms, the aquarium, museums, etc. 

If you must be outside, try to take breaks in shaded areas as frequently as you can. Activities involving water are great ways to cool off, whether it’s a dip in the pool or running through a sprinkler. Looking ahead and planning your day based on the temperature outside can help you decide on your activity as well as your clothing.  It is best to try to stick to lighter weight and lighter colored clothing for the family. Also, don’t forget the sunscreen!

One of the most important things to keep in mind, especially on very hot days, is hydration.  Encourage your children to drink water throughout the day to prevent feeling thirsty and getting dehydrated. For infants less than six months old, offer extra breastmilk or formula. When your kids are outside and active, remind them to take water breaks every 20-30 minutes.

There are also some important reminders while traveling by car with your children. Unfortunately, we have all heard more and more reports of ‘hot car deaths’ in children and infants. Trying to keep your personal items such as your cell phone or purse in the back seat can serve as a reminder to check the back before you leave your car, especially if you have had a change in routine in which you would normally not have your child with you. Leaving your child in the car to run an errand or make a quick stop is NEVER safe given the fact that cars can reach dangerously high temperatures very quickly. Phone apps, such as Waze, have recently been developed to be able to remind you to check if your child is still in the car.

Towards the end of summer break, schools often start sports practices. This is often when the heat index is still fairly high. There are several precautions that children and coaches can take to avoid becoming ill from the excessive heat. We have touched on a few of these already such as light clothing, hydration and rest.

It is helpful to try to schedule activities and practices during the early morning or later afternoon/evening and have cold water available at all times so athletes can take water and rest breaks about every 15-20 minutes. Exercising on a high heat index day can lead to exercise related heat illness or injury if the proper precautions are not taken. Heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are types of illnesses that can occur. If a child or athlete feels dizzy, lightheaded or nauseated, they should immediately stop exercising, be moved to a cooler location and given a lot of cool fluids. Those athletes that develop a very high body temperature (>104 degrees) and confusion should be evaluated for heat stroke. A coach or parent should call 911 to get them checked out immediately.

Heat related illnesses are common but very preventable. Taking time to look ahead and plan your day based on the heat can be helpful, as well as taking precautions while you are out, such as picking proper clothing, staying hydrated and finding a cool or shaded area to rest.  With a few careful precautions, you can ensure your summer break is safe and enjoyable for the entire family.

Top 5 Reasons to Choose Your Pediatric Provider Over Urgent Care

Sponsored content provided by Dr. Margaret Turner from Annapolis Pediatrics Provider Turner 2016 tall 1

1. Urgent care centers or convenient-care clinics (like those located inside retail stores or pharmacy chains) are staffed with providers who generally treat adults not children.

  • Urgent cares, especially retail based clinics or national chains, tend to be staffed by family nurse practitioners, who generally have clinical skills for treating adults. Your pediatric providers are staffed by practitioners who specialize in the care of children.

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Tue Oct 24, 2017 @12:00AM
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Wed Oct 25, 2017 @12:00AM
Free Fall, Baltimore
Wed Oct 25, 2017 @12:00AM
Lighthouse Shelter Pumpkin Patch, Annapolis
Wed Oct 25, 2017 @12:00AM
Nickelodeon’s Dora and Diego—Let’s Explore, Baltimore
Wed Oct 25, 2017 @10:00AM - 06:00PM
Fall Fun Festival, Mount Airy
Wed Oct 25, 2017 @12:00PM - 12:00AM
Annual Free Fall, Baltimore
Wed Oct 25, 2017 @ 3:30PM - 05:00PM
Gymb-O-Ween Costume Party, Gambrills
Wed Oct 25, 2017 @ 6:30PM - 07:15PM
Halloween Evening Storytime, Prince Frederick

Upcoming Events Inside Pages

Tue Oct 24, 2017 @12:00AM
Free Fall, Baltimore
Tue Oct 24, 2017 @12:00AM
Lighthouse Shelter Pumpkin Patch, Annapolis
Tue Oct 24, 2017 @12:00AM
Nickelodeon’s Dora and Diego—Let’s Explore, Baltimore
Tue Oct 24, 2017 @10:00AM
Fall Fun Festival, Mount Airy
Tue Oct 24, 2017 @11:00AM
Kids Club: Scare Crows, Annapolis
Tue Oct 24, 2017 @12:00PM
Annual Free Fall, Baltimore
Tue Oct 24, 2017 @ 5:00PM
Oyster Games, Severna Park
Wed Oct 25, 2017 @12:00AM
Free Fall, Baltimore
Wed Oct 25, 2017 @12:00AM
Nickelodeon’s Dora and Diego—Let’s Explore, Baltimore
Wed Oct 25, 2017 @10:00AM
Fall Fun Festival, Mount Airy