Previous Questions & Answers

My 1 year old son has started to pinch me. I don't think he knows that he is hurting me, and I am not sure the best way to get him to stop.
Dr. Steve ScofieldMay 21st, 1999
A 1 year old's mission in life is exploration and many of the behaviors that later become troublesome often start as simple exploration and learning. In general ignoring is the single best way to deal with most negative behaviors including hitting, tantrums, and this one! Negative behaviors that persist or seem more dangerous however often need a more proactive approach like a short "time out" which involves removing the child from the situation or removing yourself briefly. It's generally felt that hitting (or pinching) back is not effective for many behaviors that could be ignored or decreased using time out.

My husband and I are planning a car trip to Michigan this summer. Are there some educational activities that we can do with our son in the car?
Judy MottMay 8th, 1999
Traveling for a long period with a child can be a challenge. Changing activities often does help. Also stopping and getting him out of his car seat every couple of hours to move about would be beneficial. Use tapes. If your child is at all interested in Sesame Street,Barney etc ( just the music), then he will usually respond positively to hearing them on a tape in the car. Clapping along, singing and making other repetitive motions with the music will make it even more enjoyable. There are many, many tapes available. Simple childhood language games are another idea. These are good anytime. The ones with simple gestures seem to delight babies."This Little Piggy,"Pat A Cake,"Peek A Boo, "etc. Nursery rhymes also fall into this catagory. Again the ones in which gestures are used "Humpty Dumpty", "Twinkle Twinkle", Three Little Kittens," "Eensey Weensey Spider," etc.are the best. I Have found that very simple nursery rhyme books tend to keep a child's interest especially once he's familiar with the rhyme. Have many of his favorite books to look at in the car. Use a hand mirror to entertain. Have your child touch parts of his face either on is own or copying you. Make silly faces etc. Provide a couple of new toys that he could explore. The older babies seem to enjoy pushing buttons and watching something happen. (music, sounds, pop ups). All of these above activities can be done anywhere. Hopefully they will be of help to you on your trip.

My wife and I just had a baby. Is there a certain amount of time we need to wait before we can conceive again?
Dr. Victor PoleshuckApril 25th, 1999
There are no hard and fast rules. In general, healthy women can safely carry pregnancies close to one another--it happens accidentally all the time, and no data exist to show that a pregnancy timed close to another has any less favorable outcome than those timed further apart in healthy well-nourished women. Whether a woman should continue to breast feed her baby while starting another pregnancy is much more debatable. Although some of the more strongly pro breastfeeding organizations believe it is safe, most authorities would recommend weaning during a subsequent pregnancy.

I have heard that chocolate has a lot of caffeine. Does this mean that I need to give it up during pregnancy?
Dr. Victor PoleshuckApril 25th, 1999
The data on the use of caffeine in pregnancy suggest that heavy caffeine intake may have an adverse effect on placental blood flow. Thus women are encouraged to limit caffeine intake during pregnancy. The quantity of caffeine in chocolate, however, is miniscule, and should not be a problem unless one is a true chocaholic of heroic proportions (and then the calories would probably be a bigger problem).

My husband and I just found out that we are going to have a baby at the end of December. We are planning a trip to Florida at the end of June. Is it safe for me to sunbathe at the beach? Also, what are travel restrictions and, will going through the metal detector at the airport hurt our baby?
Dr. Victor PoleshuckApril 25th, 1999
The metal detector is no problem at all. While traveling it is important to keep the blood moving in the legs to avoid the possibility of blood clots forming, the risk of which is increased in pregnancy. If in a car for a long time, try to let someone else do most of the driving and move your legs into different positions frequently. Get out of the car for a brief walk every hour or so, even if your bladder doesn't demand it. If flying, take an aisle seat and get up and walk the length of the airplane every 45 to 60 minutes for the same reason. Asking an obstetrician about sunbathing gets you a dermatologist's answer: although there is no risk to your baby, there is lots of risk to your skin. Unless you don't mind increasing your risk for skin cancer and major wrinkling as you age, stay out of the sun or use SPF 30 sunblock.
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