6 Frequent Doubts in Pediatrics

We always have questions when it comes to the health of our children. Let's try to answer some of the most frequent doubts in pediatrics.
6 Frequent Doubts in Pediatrics

Last update: 14 October, 2021

No matter how much you’ve read or how much advice you’ve gotten from friends and family, the truth is that everything’s new when a baby comes home. Sometimes they won’t stop crying, they’re coughing, they seem hungry, you don’t know if their stools are normal, you see a spot on their skin, they have a fever, etc. The most frequent doubts in pediatrics are varied and, here, we’ll address some of them.

These doubts will be less as the baby grows and you get to know them better. Also, when you have more than one child and have the knowledge that experience gives, things get easier.

The most frequent doubts in pediatrics according to the age of the child

The reasons for going to the pediatrician’s office are practically endless. Although it’s true that, depending on the ages, different themes are usually grouped together.

If we had to summarize the most frequent doubts in pediatrics according to the age of the child, we could say that they’re the following:

  • From 0 to 6 months: Consultations are usually related to the child’s growth (height and weight), development, feeding, skin lesions, care of the diaper area, and vaccination. Digestive causes are also frequent, which can manifest themselves in the form of constipation, colic-type pain, and milk regurgitation.
  • From 6 to 12 months: During these months, respiratory symptoms take center stage, such as mucus, colds, cough and strange noises when breathing. Falls begin to occur with their first attempts to crawl and produce a lot of nervousness.
  • From 1 to 3 years: Many children in this age group start attending daycare. This causes colds, pharyngitis, tonsillitis, conjunctivitis, earaches, and diarrhea. There are also skin-related problems, such as head lice, chickenpox, or hand-foot-and-mouth disease. Falls at these ages increase.
  • From 3 years old onward: Schooling progresses, children interact with each other, and this makes respiratory infections a very frequent reason for consultation. Also gastroenteritis in the form of vomiting and diarrhea. Abdominal pain takes center stage, such as blows, wounds, and bruises.

The 6 most frequent doubts in pediatrics

As much as possible, avoid getting intoxicated with misinformation that can you can read on the internet. Consulting the most frequent doubts in pediatrics and receiving detailed information from a doctor is essential.

With this in mind, we’ve compiled questions that you may come to ask yourself as a father or as a mother. Remember that the final answer should come from a pediatrician, and what we detail here is only indicative.

So, let’s take a look at the 6 most frequent doubts in pediatrics.

1. How often should you breastfeed your baby?

There’s a term that has gained relevance in recent years and that you’ve surely heard already: On-demand. If there’s something that overwhelms all parents, it’s the issue of food. Until a few years ago, there was talk of feeding times. But nowadays, experts recommend feeding babies whenever they’re hungry.

Breastfeeding on demand is breastfeeding without schedules or a preset duration of feedings. When little ones are hungry, they usually cry. Many times, this is the signal that we wait for to start feeding them. Although we can also be attentive to other signs that may appear earlier, such as licking the lips, sticking out the tongue, or moving the jaw, mouth, or head in search of the nipple.

We have to eradicate the idea of schedules from our minds. Each baby will indicate how often they need feeding because each child is different and may require more or less frequency.

Also, the duration of each feeding won’t be the same for all babies. Newborns breastfeed more slowly; that’s why their feedings are usually long and mothers feel like they spend all day on this task.

A mother lying in bed breastfeeding her baby.

2. How often do you have to bathe a baby?

Regarding the hygiene of the little ones, the question arises of how often you should bathe them. Most families set a time every day that’s for the baby’s bath routine.

And although this routine can be beneficial in strengthening bonds, an excess of hygiene can be counterproductive and irritate the sensitive skin that little ones have. In fact, some of the typical dermatitides of these ages can be related to excessive hygiene.

Another detail that we shouldn’t overlook is that it’s important to avoid very high water temperatures and very long baths. Parents must take special care with babies with atopic dermatitis.

What, therefore, is the perfect bathing frequency? Well, this answer varies a bit depending on age. In principle, until they begin to crawl and interact more with the environment, bathing them 2 or 3 times a week may be enough.

Babies’ skin creates a little acidic protective layer of fat, sweat, and germs that’s helpful and serves an important purpose. This layer protects the skin against environmental agents or infectious pathogens. An excess in hygiene can cause this natural shield to be lost.

The frequency of bathing will increase until it is practically daily once the baby learns to crawl, as they’ll be in contact with the environment and get dirtier. Ideally, this increase in the number of weekly bathing days should take place gradually.

3. What diseases can I consult remotely with the pediatrician?

Telemedicine has been a reality for years and parents often wonder when virtual consultations are possible and when they’re not. Although we can’t ignore that the doctor-patient relationship is a human act, the truth is that remote consultations improve aspects such as immediacy or the exposure to infections in waiting rooms.

The options we currently have, such as sharing images in the form of photos or video, increase the resolution capacity of these types of queries. Telemedicine doesn’t replace traditional physical consultations, but rather complements them.

Among the benefits of this new form of care are the following:

  • The elimination of time that we invest in traveling to the medical center
  • Cost savings
  • Avoiding long waits in crowded rooms with other people or sick children
  • Access to a series of professionals or specialists with a physical agenda that’s almost always full

To answer the question, you can start with a remote consultation and, depending on the symptoms or suspected diagnosis, schedule a face-to-face consultation. Remember that telemedicine isn’t just a telephone consultation in passing; It goes much further. They can be very useful to find answers to concerns that parents have, minor symptoms, or doubts about eating.

4. Can the pediatrician prescribe a medication by video consultation?

The answer to this question is yes in several countries. A video consultation has the same validity as a traditional physical consultation according to the new laws of certain States, so the interview may end with the issuance of a prescription.

Parents can print these prescriptions or even download them in QR format and show them at the pharmacy using their cell phones. As they’re nominative and are coded by the professional, parents can use them without problems.

Many drugs that doctors prescribe for the first years of life are those that have a relieving effect. In any case, doctors shouldn’t issues prescriptions without confirmatory data. For more specific treatments, it’s best to go in for a physical consultation.

5. How often do you have to do take your child in for check-ups and what do doctors evaluate?

Each geographic site and each health department has a different routine for scheduling pediatric check-ups. However, there’s a good deal of consensus in this regard, as such consultations are key to monitoring growth and development.

In general terms, check-ups up to 18 months are carried out with intervals of once per month, although after 2 years of life, they’ll become annual or biannual.

The most important moments of pediatric check-ups are as follows, and parents are encouraged to attend. Besides these, there will be consultations having to do with pathological symptoms. But this precise calendar helps to certify that little ones are growing in a healthy way:

  • Newborn checkup: Happens between the fifth and tenth day of life. In this consultation, doctors pay special attention to the coloration of the skin due to possible neonatal jaundice. In some countries, the consultation includes a second heel test to rule out a number of metabolic diseases.
  • 2-month check-up: In this consultation, the pediatrician will evaluate the evolution of reflexes, the child’s height, and head circumference. In addition, it will be time for the administration of the first vaccines, according to the official calendar.
  • 4-month checkup: Doctors will explore the hips, genitalia, closure of fontanelles, and psychomotor development. They’ll also issue more vaccines.
  • 6-month check-up: Again, doctors will explore the genitalia, hips, fontanelles, and psychomotor development, but they’ll place a lot of emphasis on the topic of feeding, the prevention of cavities, and stimulation. It’s usually the time of transition between breastfeeding and the introduction of the first foods, so it’s time to address all the parents’ doubts about it.
  • 9-month check-up: The doctor will perform a physical examination again and promote the baby’s autonomy and self-esteem.
  • 12-month check-up: At this point, it’s time to do a vision and hearing check, as well as weigh and measure the little one. The administration of new vaccines will continue, complying with the official calendar.
  • 18 months check-up: Again, the doctor will measure and weigh the child to check what percentile the child is according to their age and sex. The consultation continues with the assessment of emotional development. Aspects such as diet or sleep problems are often discussed.
  • 24-month check-up: This will be the last review before the visit intervals increase over time. Once again, doctors will evaluate the physical and nutritional development, and discuss vaccinations and any concerns that the parents are having.
  • 4-year check-up: Again, doctors will check the status of the vaccination schedule. In addition, they’ll carry out a complete physical examination and calmly assess the acquisition and development of language. If necessary, they’ll refer the child to a speech therapist due to detected deficits.
A pediatrician examining a baby girl.

6. Why is it important to vaccinate children?

It may be contradictory at this time in history to have to clarify the benefit of vaccines, but it’s still one of the most frequent questions in pediatrics. Certain anti-vaccine movements are gaining momentum and spreading their ideas vigorously, so it’s always a good time to explain why immunizations are necessary and useful.

Vaccines prevent infectious diseases that previously caused death or irreversible harm to many infants, children, and adults. If we don’t vaccinate our children, they run the risk of becoming seriously ill and presenting complications, disability, and even death with diseases such as measles and whooping cough.

Getting vaccinated is an effective, safe, and simple way to help children and their families stay healthy. Immunity is acquired with vaccines; thanks to this, in the case of contracting the natural disease, we make sure that no type of severe complication occurs, as the immune system has created the necessary antibodies.

Another thing that we must make very clear is that all the vaccines that doctors offer are safe and effective. They’ve gone through a series of international controls to ensure that there’s no risk.

On occasion, there may be mild side effects that are usually local complaints and disappear after 24-48 hours. But this doesn’t mean that the vaccine’s no longer effective or that it becomes dangerous.

Vaccinating our children isn’t only a smart decision, but it’s also an act of solidarity and commitment to society. Vaccines not only protect the person who receives them, but also the people around them. If we decide not to vaccinate our children, we put their health and that of the other children who interact with our kids at risk.

When we achieve high vaccination coverage against a disease, there’s a significant decrease in the number of infected people. On the contrary, when vaccination coverage decreases, the number of susceptible people and cases increases.

Thanks to vaccinations, there are diseases that we can only find in history books. An example of this would be smallpox, which killed about 5 million people per year. In 1978, thanks to the vaccine, the disease was eradicated.

The most frequent doubts in pediatrics vary from one family to another

Each family has its most frequent questions about pediatrics. And it’s important to talk about them with professionals so as not to fall into false beliefs.

Technology has made telemedicine a reality. This saves us time and costs for those issues that can be resolved remotely.

All doubts are valid because they arise from parents’ desire for a better quality of life for their children. So, go ahead and ask.

We thank SAVIA for its collaboration in providing information for the realization of this article.

 



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