Tips on Teething for Toddlers and Babies

I love giving live seminars with mom and baby together as it's so helpful and satisfying when moms can get the information they need and ask their specific questions.  I was also introduced to an amazing new teether by that's great for small hands to play with and chew on, made of high grade silicone, dishwasher safe, and no place for germs to hide. Here's a few take aways from my talk and enjoy the live video as well below

Teething 101 Tips and Myths

Developmental age 3-4 month babies drool alot and learn to put hands together this is normal development and not necessarily at all teething

Hereditary -    most babies start to have teeth erupt around 6 months of age (yes it can be sooner) or  even not until after age 1

Helpful Hint-   massage gum with clean finger

                        use high quality teethers to gnaw on for comfort

                         try  a cold wet wash cloth to suck on 

                        if severe use a pain reliever only as needed


                      Use alcohol to rub on gums for pain- it can get absorbed and potential                                       intoxication

                     avoid gels with numbing properties (benzocaine) potential serious side effects   and can numb back of throat  difficulty swallowing

                    avoid homeopathic teething tablets (unregulated and may contain                                                   belladonna)  thats's a  hallucinogen

                    No to Amber teething necklaces- no evidence to support decreases pain of                                   teething  and is a choking and  strangulation risk

Myth- teething causes fever

                     Fever is not a symptom of teething-, nor is severe diarrhea , vomiting and if not drinking:or extremely irritable- if concerned see your pediatrician-

Truth           Teething is a diagnosis of exclusion- toddlers get sick often with colds, fevers stomach bugs, ear infection  and more, so don't blame teething until other causes are ruled out. We don't want baby to suffer if he has something else that needs treatment.





Self Care To Do List- Healthy Habits for New Moms

 This seemed like a great topic post Mother's Day. As a pediatrician and mom of three, I wish I could go back in time and give myself the gift of this blog post. The stress and mommy guilt is real, but I am telling you it doesn’t have to be that way. Self-care is a necessity for your own health, and for your baby too. Just as I preach healthy habits in kids, we as moms need to continuously support our own healthy habits to be positive role models, and to feel good ourselves! You, my friend, are worth it. Read on for my tips that are a necessity to staying sane , especially in the baby period.


Introducing Solids to Baby- When to Start and What Foods to Give Baby

This is one of the most fun and exciting milestones in the first year of life, when you start to feed solids to your baby. Its gonna be messy so be prepared , relax and have fun with it. Don't get too crazed right away about how much baby eats ( most will end up on face, bib and floor) Just as a guide, baby need only a few tablespoons to start out as a meal. Most nutrients are  still supported by either breast milk or formula.

When to start?  Baby is often ready between 4-6 months. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends if exclusively breastfeeding can wait until 6 months then add in supplemental food.  Also baby needs to be able to sit with little support, keep head up, look interested in food, reaching out, and ability to swallow purees without tongue thrust reflex- spitting it all out. 

Rice Cereal- The biggest Dr. Jen  NO- NO  Avoid putting rice cereal in bottle!  It's unnecessary sugars, often adds on too much baby weight/ calories than necessary, interferes with long term health and no evidence it promotes sleep. Please wait to feed baby purees with a spoon unless your pediatrician tells you otherwise. And another word about that rice cereal. - I tend to tell parents to avoid it, as again its just starch/ sugar and has unfortunately a lot of Arsenic in it even if you buy organic or brown whole grain rice. If you give cereal try barley, or oatmeal . But remember cereal does not need to be your baby's first food. Read on....

What foods to offer at the start ? I recommend giving purees before going to finger foods.  Introduce fruits, veggie, as well as beans, meats and grains. In addition (unless your pediatrician says otherwise, or your baby has very bad eczema or food allergies) you then want to add in the most highly allergic foods around 6 months  (peanuts. tree nuts, fish, seafood ,eggs, wheat, soy ,milk) in small amounts  but frequently throughout a week. We now have research to back up early introduction of these foods can help reduce the risk of a food allergy in your baby. So don't be scared to start these foods- if you have more questions please speak with your baby's doctor. And remember to avoid any foods that can be choking hazards , so when moving on from purees makes very small soft pieces of  foods and avoid honey until age 1 due to risk of botulism.

The whole idea of food introduction is to give a wide array to your baby to get them used to different flavors and then soon textures as well. The bland days are gone for baby. You can add spices and seasonings just avoid adding excess salt and sugar..It's especially important to have baby start taking foods high in iron like the fortified cereals but also meats, beans, eggs, dark green veggies too. Watch my video to hear what I have to say about the best order to give new foods to baby .I think you may be surprised by my answers!! - Dr. Jen




Potty Training -Helpful Tips for a More Positive Experience

Potty training is an important milestone to many parents. It often signifies a huge leap of independence when a toddler knows when and how to use the toilet by themselves.  It's also a big relief not to have to buy diapers anymore!. But as a pediatrician in practice for so many years there is no "right " age for this toilet training to happen. I would say on average here in the US its most often between 2-3 yrs of age. But each child is unique and even if physically able to undress and go sit on the potty or hold in their urine for a few hours they may not be emotionally ready or even just too busy playing to make running to the toilet a priority. Parents please don't stress, potty training is not a contest. I promise eventually it will happen. When you feel you and your child are ready for the process my best advice is to be persistent , consistent and positive.  Read on in this article where I share some more potty training advice : http://www.rashtiandrashti. com/parentscorner.asp?id=96


Tips on Building Baby's Immunity in the First Year of Life.

Last night was a great evening at the Big City Mom's Biggest Baby Shower NYC. There were so many amazing experts and products for expectant parents to see and learn about. I was on a great panel to help inform new moms and dads to be, about infant nutrition, health, boosting immunity and even info on importance of financial savings for baby too. I am passionate as a pediatrician to help take the anxiety and many of the fears out of parenting especially that first year of life. Watch the short video clip to find out about some of my important tips to build immunity for your baby from birth through age 1. 






Who's Job Is it Anyway? - Caring for New Moms Physically and Emotionally

Having a new baby is a joyful time or that’s what everyone tells you it should be,right?  However according to the CDC 1 in 9 women have reported postpartum depression and even more have some lesser degree of anxiety or depression. This can be debilitating to new moms but also have a negative impact on newborns such as failure to thrive, breastfeeding issues, cognitive and developmental concerns, sleeping problems to name just a few. Pediatricians are now asked to do formal screenings at the well baby visits to see how mom is adjusting to motherhood.  I think it’s an important aspect of care for both baby and mom. I have always considered my patient relationships to be a triad between all three  (baby/ mom/ physician) But when concerns regarding mom’s health are uncovered who takes over from that point? , We need to find easy access and availability of trained therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists who are experts in dealing with pre/ postnatal issues to help moms get back on track and for the health of the baby too.

Cord Blood-To Save or Not to Save-That is a Commonly Asked Question

As a pediatrician I am often asked by soon to be parents about cord blood banks and whether they should save their newborn’s cord blood.  It’s an important question with a complex answer and so I want to offer up some information and clarification as there are many misbeliefs about storing and using cord blood to save your child’s life.

Soon after birth, blood from baby’s umbilical cord can be collected.  The umbilical stem cells have become therapy and treatment for many conditions like blood disorders, severe immune deficiencies and metabolic abnormalities. They can also be used to treat side effects from radiation and chemotherapy, which kill not just cancerous cells but also the good stem cells found in the bone marrow. These new normal donor stem cells can be given to replace the defective cells and produce healthy new blood cells that boost immunity, and can rid a child of a life threatening disease. It’s pretty amazing!

However what parents need to know is that right now cord blood is not a cure for all diseases, especially not leukemia.  There’s definitely a mistaken belief by many that if one stores an infant’s stem cells that they can be used later if that same child develops leukemia.  Unfortunately, the initial cord blood stem cells are already “infected” and treatment of that same child have resulted in reappearance of the leukemia. Stored cord blood can often be used to help certain diseases in a sibling but not the initial donor. In addition, because of the small amount of stem cells harvested from cord blood its use is limited, there’s usually only enough for treatment to use on a child and not a full size adult. 

Storing cord blood in a private cord blood bank is very expensive- with a yearly maintenance fee to store the blood and so it’s important to weigh the risks of the expense vs the true probability or likelihood that a family member will benefit from the cord blood. (for example, if there is a known disorder that a family member has that can be treated with cord blood cells) Most parents get their information from private cord banks which often pray on parents fears in order to get them to use their private banking services. In addition, private cord blanks are all very different in terms of quality as they are not subject to strict quality control and oversight which plays a factor when and if the stem cells are ever needed.

So, what do I suggest? I agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics. Get the facts, speak with your pediatrician as well as your obstetrician to see if private banking makes sense for your family. However, I advocate for public cord banking which is free and the chances that an infant’s cord blood cells would be used for transplant is a whopping 30 times greater in a public cord blood bank vs a private cord blood bank. It’s also important to know public cord banks are very strictly and highly regulated. If we all banked our newborns blood publicly it would dramatically increase the odds of other potential candidates in finding a match. Check out the National Marrow Donor Program for information on public cord blood donating.


Pediatrics, November 2017, Volume 140/Issue 5 From the American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement Cord Blood Banking for Potential Future Transplantation

The Smart Parents Guide to Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses and Accidents


Dr. Jen's 5 Expert Tips for Caring for Your Newborn

Bringing a newborn home is one of the most exciting yet often terrifying milestones for new parents. You are now responsible 24/7 for this bundle of joy- they depend on you for survival, nurturing and growth. You can do this, I'm sure, but having some insider information to help reassure you is such a big help and confidence booster. Here are 5 of my essential tips for caring for your baby.