Demystifying Pediatrics

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30 thoughts on “Demystifying Pediatrics

  1. I had to laugh when I read the opening paragraph about the elephant in the piece about colic that was published in the Washington Post. Colic in the non-ruminant cellulose eating herbivores is a relatively common intestinal problem that can be fatal. The term colic is a catch-all term in these animals, too, however it is always in reference to a GI problem, e.g. impaction colic or gas colic (two of the most common colics) both of which can be fatal. I had to euthanize a 14 month old filly due to impaction colic some years ago. Upon necropsy she was found to have a beach ball sized mass of dry matter in her large intestine. This impaction would never have resolved without surgery ($8,000) and she probably would have had digestive issues for the rest of her life if she survived the surgery, which is doubtful since draft horses are poor surgical candidates. Anyway, just because we use the same word for animals doesn’t mean we are talking about the same problem associated with the term in people. I guess if we could sacrifice some human babies and do necropsies, we could learn more, but this would be inadvisable for a multitude of reasons.

    • I agree–the proposal to sacrifice infants for the sake of science would likely be met with at least mild resistance. Honestly, the concept of veterinary colic was foreign to me prior to this event, but it quickly became apparent as I read that we were talking about a different animal. Unfortunately, some of my explanation had to be cut for the sake of brevity for the WaPo article, and I fear that some of the intentional contrast (and subtle humor) was lost.


  2. would like your input on whether or not a Grandmother’s should speak up to the parents about her Grandson’s junk food diet and weight gain at his age of 10.If so,how would it best be said.Thank you…ps find your articles very helpful,wish I had this resource as a young Mom many years ago.

    • Claudia–thanks! I’m glad you’ve found my blog helpful. Bringing up awkward topics like that is never easy, but it is important. How you go about it would depend on your relationship with your son or daughter, I suppose. I guess from my perspective, I always try to focus on the positive aspects of promoting healthy eating and the associated benefits, and then work towards potential changes. (But then, people who come into my office are usually looking for my input in some form or another.)

      Unsolicited advice may or may not be welcomed, but it’s certainly worth a shot to bring it up and a loving and constructive way.


  3. Chad,
    You are a well educated talented writer with a lot of parental insight. Thank you for your candid approach to many pediatric issues. We have been sharing your articles on our Facebook page with much positive feedback. I actually print some of your topics for parents to pick up in the office.
    Your style covers tough topics by teaching parents something valuable with a smile.
    Your just getting started, Keep it up!

  4. Hi. I have a 17 year old that has always been an under achiever, mostly happy to stick around home and live a relaxed lifestyle. He has been a difficult kid to parent because is very stubborn. He hasn’t responded to the various incentives and consequences we have tried regarding school, homework and performance. He is now in the college application process and realizes his options are limited due to his grade point be 2.95. He is very upset and has, for the first time, shown an interest in what he can do to be a better student. He can still get his grade point up to a level that gets him into the school he wants by doing really well this semester. He has been absolutely unwilling to be evaluated and take study or test prep courses. But he is suddenly motivated and confided in me for the first time that he is so distracted he has a hard time getting through tests, can’t even read a few pages of a book without daydreaming and can do very little to stay on track with homework and note taking. I asked for help. I don’t know where to start to get him a quick evaluation and intervention plan. We can’t wait for months. We live in Cincinnati. Any suggestions? Thanks so much.

    • Maggie Sue–don’t have any contacts in that area, but there’s no shortage of good pediatric care. The second step should probably be talking to his pediatrician or family doctor about this issue and what steps you need to take for evaluation (or if he doesn’t have a regular doctor, finding one).

      The first step, he’s already done–recognizing that he has a problem and having the motivation to look for help. If his top choice of schools doesn’t work out, a year or two spent elsewhere demonstrating his true potential may change the minds of the admissions board. Best of luck to both of you–it’s never too late to turn things around.

  5. Hi Dr. Hayes,

    Great blog and wonderful resources to read. I would like your input on a my 14 month old’s problem with bowel movement discomfort. She never had a problem before until the exact day after I started her on cow’s milk. Immediately she began crying every time she went whether the stool was soft or hard. I took her to her pediatrician but she said it was normal because of diet change. She has continued with the same problem even though she has a healthy diet where she drinks lots of water and eats fibrous foods. Even when she has soft stools she still had signs of discomfort before she has a bowel movement. She did get an anal fissure but were prescribed a cream and those have healed. She still is uncomfortable and walks around crying until she goes. Once she goes she is fine. I was wondering if it might be better to remove the milk and try goats milk? I give her no more than 16 oz of milk a day. I’m concerned as this issue has gone on for 2 and half months. Thanks for your advice in advance.

  6. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog! I find it very informative, and interesting. I truly appreciate all you do. I was wondering your thoughts on homeschooling and proper “socialization” for children. I personally homeschool my 4 children, and many people have different views on homeschooling.

    • Hi, Abby–I’ll probably come back and address this more completely in the future, but I think that for many families, homeschooling is a great option. The education can be tailored to each child, the material can typically be covered much more efficiently (leaving time for learning from playing outside or other activities), and there are plenty of ways to allow children to interact with others outside of a typical school setting. My wife and I homeschooled our children for a couple years, and it worked well for us. I think that the co-ops or other homeschooling groups offer the same socialization benefits as schools, while allowing the parent to have much more control over the child’s education.

  7. I love your blog! Thank you for taking the time to write it. I truly appreciate learning about these things from a trusted source (not just wikipedia!) Do you have a blog entry on nutrition for children? Especially picky toddlers! My daughter is 3 1/2, very small for her age, (2-3 percentile) and doesn’t eat much. I always worry about her weight. What is the best way to get her to eat more? A friend of mine who is an adult nutritionist suggested protein powder, but said to check with her pediatrician first. I’m checking with him, but I’m curious what your opinion is on protein powder for little kids. Thank you!

  8. I’m a first-time grandma and stumbled across your post about infant acid reflux through a Google search. It was a refreshing change from most articles about acid reflux in infants and offered the perspective I needed on my little grandson’s seemingly-excessive spit-up. (I didn’t remember my infant twins making quite such a mess of their/my clothes every day but, like childbirth, I think we block out those unpleasant memories!) At 6 months, he is still spitting up…but he’s a delightfully happy little baby, growing and developing beautifully. I appreciate your tongue-in-cheek writing style as well as your perspective. Note to anyone reading my comment: You MUST read the article about language development under the “development” tab on this site.

  9. Chad — I’ve got a three month old daughter (first born) and have been googling the heck out of topics like teething and colic . . . came across your blog and after reading a few entries I was like, “Wow! I really like this doctor!” Then I realized we’re classmates! Congrats on your new career and thank you for such an awesome blog!

    -Cassidy (Rasmussen)
    PS Beat Army šŸ™

  10. Another pediatrician who feels like I do. One of my mentors used to tell his patients if your baby hasn’t burped in 5 minutes it’s because he/she is smart feeder who doesn’t swallow a whole lot of air or he/she has already done it; you have better things to do with your time, move on!

  11. Dear Dr Hayes,
    I want to thank you for your wonderful articles. I love how comprehensive and at the same time straight forward they are. I regularly check your website for new ones. I am a RN; so I also appreciate that they are based on the best evidence available. But I am also a new mom and many times I feel cornered by what science says and wanting my child not to suffer. I wanted to ask about your way of thinking about off label use of medicines for small children. Our pediatrician frequently prescribes something that is not approved for a young child- for example two days ago he prescribed decongestant Otrivin(xylomethazoline). And I was and am double minded; I was so bent at not giving it to my 15 month baby but after we stayed up for 6 hours at night I just wanted him to feel comfortable again. Could you talk about it – as a pediatrician and a parent? How you solve that dilemma? Thank you in advance. Narciza

  12. This email is in regards to an informational piece from 2015, Demystifying Pediatrics. Thank you for the information regarding oils. I love scenting up my home with different aromas. I’ve never been diagnosed with Asthma and have never had any allergic reactions to anything. But when I clean, something in the cleaners agitate my breathing and triggers horrendous heartburn. I’ve learned to control that by using less and diluted cleaners but lately I’ve started using the scented oil burners and my airways become so obstructed and the nasal area becomes so dried out! I realize I’m having some type of health hazard but for just anyone who’s not a doctor to spread the miraculous healing by use of scented oils, and for CHILDREN at that, is very disturbing! When i googled this subject, your blog was the only information given regarding the harmful consequences that can occur when using oils. Thank you so very much, I now know that its not just me overreacting! Perhaps I misunderstood but even if so, I got what I needed from your expertise; thank you. Great article!

  13. Hello! I am extremely terrified of the strep test so I decided to take matters to my own hands and do some none medical stuff. The pain goes away with some garlic but then comes back later. It’s been about 3 days, how much longer? Also every time I swallow it is pretty unpleasant not from pain but from stuff moving the uvula. What can I do without medical help?

    • Hey Dan–Can’t help you out a lot since I’m not your doctor, and I can’t examine you. My general advice is that if you’re sick enough to be asking for help online, you’re sick enough to visit your doctor.
      Whatever route you take, I hope you feel better soon.

  14. thank you for your post on being political. in our small community, we held a Bridges out of Poverty workshop and are now working on how to get those who typically don’t participate in decision making at the tables. We have seen change–the Getting Ahead program has helped. And politics do matter.

  15. I read your article on KevinMD. I am a 67 year old nurse who has seen poverty up close as a maternal health and public health nurse. I was lucky to have a great childhood, too. I am appalled by the lack of compassion by those that are much more fortunate than me. “Not enough money for children” when the tax cuts for one billionaire would change the lives of thousands of children is heart wrenching.
    I intend to work all next year to make sure these people are never in charge of our government again.