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Understanding your baby's problems
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March 16, 2007

Part I: Is your child prone to colds?

Making babies eat is tough. Some are so used to milk that making them try something else can be a frustrating experience for mothers.


Paediatrician Dr Prakash Vaidya says this is normal behaviour. "Refusal for the first few times should not discourage you from feeding your baby," he says.


He also advises against force feeding your child. "The essential thing is to maintain a growth chart. If your baby is growing well, then you can be reassured about his diet," he says.


Dr Vaidya answered these and other parenting queries in a chat with Get Ahead readers on March 7.

For those who missed the chat, here's the transcript.



Soumitri123 asked, my son is now 22 months old. He still takes milk in a bottle. When and how do I start weaning him off the bottle and start with the cup?


Dr Prakash Vaidya answers, Bottle-feeding must be stopped by 15 to 18 months. Twenty two months means you should stop immediately. The child is unlikely to tell you one fine morning that 'I don't want the bottle any longer', so it is upto you to be proactive. Please stop offering him the bottle, and use the sipper or cup instead. Some children are very obstinate and will not accept the sipper. Once your son realises that the bottle is no longer available, he will switch to the sipper. This is a behaviour issue and will be solved only if you remain firm. Prolonged bottle-feeding could lead to tooth decay too.



Vicky asked, Hello doctor, My seven month old daughter is diagnosed with a very small PDA in heart and is advised for surgery when she gets one yr old. Please tell me what are the procedures for surgery, whether this can be avoided? And what best options do we have for this kind of surgery in India?


Dr Prakash Vaidya answers, A PDA or patent ductus arteriosus does require intervention. The appropriate age is decided by the paediatric cardiologist, depending on the symptoms and the test results. There are two ways of tackling a PDA a) open closure, where you enter through the chest wall and 'tie off' the PDA b) device closure, where a device is inserted through the femoral vessels, and reaches the PDA, without opening the chest wall There are many centres in India where such procedures can be done.



Naveen asked, I have a 10 month old baby boy. His diet is very less, he takes very less milk at one go and don't like to take other food like daal, daliya, cerelac etc.


Dr Prakash Vaidya answers, Please see my answer to this question previously. The essential thing is to maintain a growth chart. If your baby is growing well, then you can be reassured about his diet. Please do not force milk, but try all kinds of variety in diet. We in India have a vast variety of food to choose from. You can try all kinds of foods, mash them in a mixer to make a smooth puree and then offer it to your baby. Refusal for the first few times should not discourage you from feeding the baby.



Rumana asked, Hello, my son is 2.5 years old. He is normally healthy, No problem. But for the past month he refuses to sleep before 11:30 and then too does not sleep thru out the night. He goes to school full day care, and is back by 5:30. Sleeps for 1.5 hour during the day. I don't give him any vitamins. Can you please suggest a reason for his sleeping so late, And also should I start with some vitamins. PS: he gets up at 7:30.


Dr Prakash Vaidya answers, Your son seems to sleep at from 11.30 pm to 7.30 am -- that is eight hours plus 1.5 hours during the day, which totals to 9.5 hours of adequate sleep. If he sleeps fitfully and is restless at night, he needs to be examined for nasal obstruction, commonly caused by large adenoids. A paediatrician's opinion and a neck X-ray may be needed. Please give him deworming medicines as well. Also, check the ambience in your house. Does everybody sleep late, and watches TV, movies, etc? If everyone is up then it would be unrealistic to expect the child to sleep at a given time.



Rani1 asked, Hi doctor, my 10 months old son have one undescended testicle. Please suggest what to do?


Dr Prakash Vaidya answers, Undescended testis requires an operation to bring it down, else the function of the testis is reduced. Nowadays the policy is to operate on these patients before their first birthday, so please consult a paediatric surgeon without delay.



Anirudha asked, my daughter is 4 years she don't take the food in the morning time after 12 O'clock only she takes the lunch, morning she takes only milk and 2 biscuits, she is thin but so active.


Dr Prakash Vaidya answers, Again I wish to emphasise the importance of a growth chart. If your daughter is active and growing well, you need not worry about her diet. Biscuits are not great nutritional items. Please try to offer healthier food like fruits, chana, groundnuts, wheat products like upma, sheera, etc and fermented stuff like idlis and dhoklas.



RKUMAR asked, My son is 5 years and 7 months old. Frequently he having problem in his throat. On consulting Pead, he was diagnosed with tonsils and told that my son should be in medication continuously and no need for operation now. What is the way out for permanent cure?


Dr Prakash Vaidya answers, Quite rightly your paediatrician has advised against surgery at this age. In fact surgery, when it is done, is mainly for adenoid removal (not tonsillar removal). Conservative treatment for a few months is often enough.



Jaideep asked, hello doc, my child is 10 yrs old and is 130 cm in height. He is one of the shortest in his class and this has been troubling him a lot. He is excellent in studies and also a sportsman. He is active and perfectly normal otherwise. Got his thyroid checked, its normal. Got his bone age done, its 10yrs. what do u suggest now?


Dr Prakash Vaidya answers, It looks like you are monitoring the growth of your child regularly. Your son seems normal. Please realise that there are two issues here: one is that the final height of your child will be + or - 7 cm from the mid parental height. That means he will finally achieve an adult height that is close to the average of both your heights. Another issue is that many children have a growth spurt later on after the onset of puberty, so your son's height may increase over the next two to five years.  



Part I: Is your child prone to colds?


An MD (Ped) and DCH, Dr Vaidya is has been practising medicine for 20 years, and is a consulting paediatrician at Wockhardt Hospital, Mulund. His special interests include paediatric pulmonology (breathing and lung diseases like chronic cough, difficulty in breathing, recurring pneumonia and noisy breathing) paediatric rheumatology (diseases that cause pain, stiffness and swelling in joints as well as in muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and skin).

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