Q: My son is in the first grade and his teacher complains that he is
not attentive during the day. How can I encourage him to pay attention? He loves school, so I don’t want to discourage him in any way, but I am feeling pressured by his teacher.
A: This is a great question, and fortunately, there are many things we can do to
continue to foster his love of school while also helping him pay attention. First, I recommend making sure he is getting enough sleep (6 and 7-year- olds need 9–12 hours of sleep at night) and eating a well-rounded breakfast. Next, I would ask your son if there’s anything that distracts him at school — perhaps he is near a window, or there’s a strange noise near his desk. Ask the teacher for specifics; is he distracted by the school pet or sitting by his best friend? Try to modify the environment by asking that he sit in the front of the class, away from windows and distractions. If the issue continues, talk to your pediatric provider. We may recommend a simple screening tool for ADHD. We can also provide a list of educational resources in the community that can help your son thrive in school.
My newborn is hardly eating. I have tried breastfeeding, but she is having trouble latching on and always drifts off to sleep. I don’t want to give her a bottle, but I’m scared she’s not getting enough nutrients. What should I do?
If you are worried that your newborn
isn’t eating enough, please make
an appointment with your pediatric
provider right away. We will check her
weight and length and help you make
an informed decision about the best
feeding plan for your newborn. We may
recommend lactation support or provide a
recipe for increased calories in expressed
breast milk. We are here to help you with
every step of newborn care.
Q: I’ve been hearing so much about
gluten and lactose intolerance.
My children seem healthy, but my
friend is appalled that we still eat bread
and drink milk. Am I jeopardizing my
A: The two most important things to
consider when thinking about your
child’s diet are how they are feeling,
and how they are growing. It sounds like
your child seems healthy, which is fantastic!
That means their body is able to digest
and absorb the food that you are providing.
If your child has chronic abdominal pain,
diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, bloating, or
growth failure, please talk to your pediatric
provider. Both celiac disease (or
and lactose intolerance are
uncommon, but we can help
diagnose, manage and treat
any food sensitivities or
Q: My daughter has always been a
picky eater. We have worked hard
to make sure she has healthy
foods in her diet. Now that she is older
and spending time outside our home,
she is insistent on eating sugary
snacks and fast food. What can we do
about this, if anything?
With older children, I strongly
recommend setting aside time to
discuss the issue and come up with
an agreement together. This applies to fast
food and sugary snacks, but also to screen
time and household chores. Parents, I
recommend you suggest an acceptable
amount of sugary food or fast food (perhaps
fast food once per week and sugary snacks
only if all healthy meals are eaten) and
explain your reasoning. Ask your child for
their goals as well. Come up with a solution
together, and check in periodically to make
sure everyone is sticking to the plan. Your
pediatric provider will also check body
measurements (height, weight,
index) and talk about healthy nutrition at
each Well Child Checkup.
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