Hello! Welcome to the first chat in spring. It's so lovely outside. Thanks for joining us.
Trying to make lifestyle changes is hard enough, but it can feel near impossible when you don't have full support at home.
Love this question! This is such a common problem! Trying to eat well without the support of your co-parent is never easy.
Can you explain to children that your spouse has a "special diet" that is not for kids? If not, consider just being very honest with kids, for example, saying things like, "a little bit of junk food every once-in-a-while is okay, but if you eat that food every day you will be overweight." How old are your kids? Do they understand the concept of "sometimes food?"
Consider asking your spouse to have a "secret hiding place" for junk food, such as in a car, or high cabinet. Then only eat it when kids aren't watching.
Talk to your spouse about the long term consequences for your children if they regularly eat the junk food that is being brought into the house.
I think it's valuable to let children also feel invested and part of the effort. Let them pick some foods or meals they might like to try to make.
If you make the meals, you have more control over what the family eats. Maybe trade off certain chores in exchange for more meal prep. Or get the kids to help out one night a week.
If you eat out a lot, look in advance for healthier options before you go out.
The more you try to get the spouse on board, the more resistant he or she might become because it may feel like a judgement on their own lifestyle.
Focus on yourself and kids at first.
And try not to control or get resentful because that will never get a person to change behavior.
We plan meals as a family, sitting around the table and talking about what we would like to eat, including snacks and desserts. Then we go shopping as a family on two "teams," with my husband going to one store with half the kids and me at another store with the other team. It works out well, because we keep texting each other while shopping to get the best prices and make sure we don't forget things or buy two of the same item. The kids feel invested in the shopping and cooking and feel like they have a say in what we eat. They gain practical skills like meal planning, price comparison, efficient shopping, and cooking.
I have an article called "Food Fights" that I will post at the end of this chat. It is my story of trying to get my large family to eat well and eat together despite strong willed children with lots of food opinions and a busy extracurricular schedule.
Bring on the daffodils! It's time for spring allergies, and even though I can't make them go away, we are pretty good at making kids with seasonal allergies feel a lot better.
The first trick is persistence-- you have to keep trying different over-the-counter allergy medications until you find the one that works well for you or your child. Some people find Allegra makes them tired but Claritin doesn't; for other people it is exactly the opposite.
New this year is over-the-counter nasal steroid sprays, and the research evidence shows they are very effective for allergic rhinitis, or a runny nose due to allergies. They may be annoying for toddlers to use, but they are your best bet for allergy relief.
A word about Benadryl, also called diphenhydramine: Benadryl is a very effective antihistamine and a great allergy drug, except that it is sedating. I give Benadryl at night so that kids sleep well and without allergies, then give a non-sedating antihistamine such as Zyrtec, Claritin, or Allegra during the day.
Flonase was available at Costco in the three-pack!
Yes! Finally, you can get Flonase without a prescription!
Dr. B, do kids every outgrow seasonal allergies?
I have read that they do outgrow food allergies.
Yes, you can outgrow seasonal allergies, and you can also get seasonal allergies for the first time as an adult.
Can headaches be an allergy reaction too?
Allergies can definitely cause headaches, usually due to sinus congestion. Try some Flonase and/or an antihistamine. This will open up those swollen sinuses and drain the mucus, making that pressure headache go away.
Ibuprofen is also a very effective inflammatory and a good option for swollen, inflamed nasal passages and sinuses.
There is some evidence that there are mild side effects from long term use of inhaled steroids for asthma such as Flovent, or recurrent use of oral steroids. The primary side effect was a slight decrease in growth. But when the steroids were stopped these patients experienced catch-up growth and seemed to return to their natural height potential. Flonase is not the same as Flovent, but it has some similarities. I would not be surprised if regular use of Flonase over many years could have some of the same effects as regular use of Flovent, but I have never seen a study that shows this. I have never seen long term negative effects of regular antihistamine use.
I saw this warning about slowed growth on the back of the Flonase pack from Costco.
If you would like more information on long term side effects of antihistamines and nasal steroids, I would ask an academic allergist. We have a fabulous division of allergy and immunology at St. Louis Children's Hospital.
Is it safe to cut an adult dose Allerga in half to give to a child? The child version was more expensive.
The adult dose of Allegra is 60 mg twice daily, the dose for children ages 2-11 is 30 mg twice daily. So yes, you can cut an adult 60 mg tab in half, which makes two 30 mg tabs, and then give half to your child in the am and half in the pm. Another cost-saving measure is to give Benadryl at night, which is cheaper and Allegra in the am.
As a pediatrician and 38-year-old mother of 5, I'm not sure I'm over new parent freak-out mode!
This is such a common new-parent feeling. I was the same way re: freak outs. In fact, I took my newborn to the doctor's office between well checks just to weigh her on their official scale to make sure she was growing.
All parents feel some degree of freak-outness, especially with babies who can't communicate. (And maybe also with tweens and teens who won't communicate)
Everyone is different, but for me, I feel a lot better when I read and research the issues at hand. I am a data-oriented scientifically minded person, and so I read the medical literature, determine if there is a real problem or if I am just in freak-out mode, and then take my kids to their pediatrician, who is not me, when I need an objective opinion.
Try not to compare you child to other children. I see this in playgroups and daycare rooms-- one child is crawling, another is not, and so parents get upset. Remember that child development is all about ranges. There is a broad range of when children should learn to crawl, walk, or talk, and it's normal and expected for children to gain skills and grow at different rates.
Apparently Albert Einstein didn't talk until he was almost 5.
Also, let me point out that certain standards and benchmarks in the medical field are calibrated to certain segments of the population. For example, Asian babies are smaller than white babies, so they may appear 'smaller' on the typical growth charts, but they may also be perfectly normal and sized for their DNA.