Child Chal­lenges

Woman's Era - - Short Story - – Dr Am­rinder Ba­jaj, MD.

IHAVE AN EIGHT MONTH OLD SON AND AS YET HE HAS NOT

de­vel­oped sleep pat­tern. This is mak­ing all of us ir­ri­ta­ble. Please tell me how to make him sleep prop­erly or is it too early to start do­ing the same. This is the right time to develop a proper sleep pat­tern. To help him do so you could set a rou­tine for ev­ery night and ad­here to it. Put the baby to sleep at the same place so that he as­so­ci­ates the place with sleep. Keep the area dimly lit and quiet so that he un­der­stands the dif­fer­ence be­tween night and day. Do not switch on the lights even while feed­ing. Quickly burp and change his nappy with­out talk or play. You could put him to sleep by pat­ting, singing to him, rock­ing or walk­ing him around in your arms or in the pram. If he wakes up af­ter he has set­tled down, gen­tly soothe him back to sleep. Do not take him to the hus­tle bus­tle area of the house that will pro­voke him to wake up. Such ri­tu­als may take up to an hour ini­tially but af­ter a month or so your baby will get the ‘ it’s time to sleep’ mes­sage and will mirac­u­lously fall asleep within min­utes.

PLEASE TELL ME WHAT SORT OF NAP­PIES SHOULD I USE FOR MY child? The dis­pos­able ones are too ex­pen­sive and I do not know if cloth ones are good. Also please tell me how of­ten should I change the di­a­per and what is the right way of do­ing it?

You could use cloth nap­pies, dis­pos­able ones or a ju­di­cious mix­ture of both - the lat­ter while go­ing out and cloth ones at home. You would prob­a­bly need 10 di­a­pers a day. Be­fore chang­ing the di­a­pers make sure that ev­ery­thing you need is at hand so that you do not leave the baby unat­tended. Af­ter each bowel move­ment or if the di­a­per is wet, lay your baby on his back and re­move the dirty di­a­per. Use the wa­ter and cot­ton balls, washed cloth or wipes to gen­tly wipe your baby's bot­tom and gen­i­tal area. When re­mov­ing a boy's di­a­per, do so care­fully be­cause ex­po­sure to the air may make him uri­nate. When clean­ing a girl child, wipe her from front to back to avoid in­fec­tion. Do not pow­der the lo­cal area. Wash your hands thor­oughly af­ter chang­ing a di­a­per.

IHAVE A SIX YEARS OLD SON WHO IS VERY FOND OF SWEETS. Re­cently I read in the news­pa­per that the ar­ti­fi­cial colour­ing in sweets can be harm­ful. Is this true? If so what harm do they cause?

Most colours are tested for safety be­fore be­ing used. How­ever, re­cent stud­ies have in­di­cated that they can cause side ef­fects sim­i­lar to lead poi­son­ing. Be­sides caus­ing be­havioural prob­lems they can lead to low IQ. Till fur­ther stud­ies con­firm or rule out this ob­ser­va­tion, it will be bet­ter if you cut down his in­take of sweets.

IHAVE TWO TEENAGE CHIL­DREN WHO WILL BE SIT­TING for the tenth and twelfth board ex­ams in due course. Please tell me how to re­duce their stress and in­crease their re­ten­tive pow­ers.

First and fore­most do not pres­surise them to per­form be­yond their ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Af­ter all, ev­ery child can­not come first in class. Do not com­pare them with oth­ers as this will gen­er­ate an in­fe­ri­or­ity com­plex which will make mat­ters worse.

Set a time ta­ble with ad­e­quate breaks and see that they ad­here to it. Cer­tain foods help in­di­vid­u­als to use their brains bet­ter. An­tiox­i­dants like vi­ta­min A, B, E, C, beta carotene and folic acid re­duce cell dam­age and help brain func­tion­ing. It is best to ob­tain these from nat­u­ral sources than from vi­ta­min pills.

They are present in car­rots, nuts, green leafy veg­eta­bles and cit­rus fruits. Cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem stim­u­lants like tea and cof­fee are not good be­yond a cer­tain limit. Drugs are a def­i­nite no.

Ad­e­quate sleep is es­sen­tial to al­low the brain to func­tion ef­fi­ciently. Sim­i­larly a thirty min­utes walk or any other form of mild ex­er­cise will suf­fuse the brain with oxy­gen be­sides re­duc­ing stress. Stress can also be re­duced by re­lax­ation tech­niques like deep breath­ing or lis­ten­ing to mu­sic.

HOW WILL I KNOW THAT MY CHILD HAS CHICKEN POX?

Chick­en­pox causes a rash of red, itchy spots that turn into fluid-filled blis­ters. Later they crust over to form scabs, which even­tu­ally drop off. Some chil­dren have only a few spots, but in oth­ers they can cover the en­tire body. The spots are most likely to ap­pear on the face, ears and scalp, un­der the arms, on the chest and belly and on the arms and legs.

Your child is likely to have fever at least for the a few days be­fore the ap­pear­ance of spots. The spots are very itchy mak­ing the child ir­ri­ta­ble dur­ing the course of the dis­ease.

FOR HOW LONG IS CHILD WITH CHICKEN POX INFECTIVE?

A child with chicken pox can in­fect oth­ers from up to 2 days when the child has fever, be­fore the red spots ap­pear and un­til around 5 days af­ter all scabs or crusts are dry. In most chil­dren, the blis­ters crust up and fall off nat­u­rally within one to two weeks. The in­cu­ba­tion pe­riod for chick­en­pox is be­tween 10 and 21 days.

There are a lot of myths and taboos, dos and don’ts as­so­ci­ated with chicken pox or the ‘visi­ta­tion of the Mata’ in our cul­ture.

Read­ers are in­vited to send their prob­lems of child care and child rear­ing. WOMAN’S ERA will pro­vide the an­swers, so­lu­tions to prob­lems usu­ally en­coun­tered by mothers, young and old. Ad­dress your let­ters (neatly writ­ten on white pa­per) to:

WOMAN’S ERA E-3, Jhan­de­wala Es­tate, New Delhi-110 055.

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