Search Results for "new baby and stress"

New Baby Brings Joy + Stress (Pedcast)

Topic Introduction

We have all heard of postpartum depression- that severe baby blues that some women experience after the birth of a their children. Most of us have heard about the famous actress Brooke Shield’s battle with severe postpartum depression after the birth of her first child. Fortunately, serious depression like Brooke Shields experienced is not all that common but less severe mood difficulties are.  That is what we are going to talk about today. Specifically, the  mood and relationship changes that new parents experience after a previously childless couple brings new child home. Continue reading

Going Public with Your Newborn, How and When! (Pedcast)

Doc Smo here. Thanks for joining me today. One of the most frequently asked questions that I get in the newborn nursery is, “When can I take my newborn to church, when can I take my baby to the mall, and when can I have my friends over?” Well you will find varying opinions on this subject and the truth is that there is no science behind any of this. I don’t believe that there is a right answer to this question. Different cultures have developed different norms. For instance in traditional Greek society, I am told that babies are isolated from public exposure for the first 60 days of life and in traditional Japanese culture, the isolation period is one year. To my knowledge, the Academy of Pediatrics does not have policy regarding this subject so I thought we would take a little time to explore the subject of when should newborns venture into public places. Continue reading

6 Reasons Babies Benefit Living w/ Pets (Pedcast)

Topic Introduction


Recently my son called me to ask me if I recommended that children grow up and live with pets, specifically dogs? Interesting question Benjamin. Actually, there is a lot of new interest from by both psychologists and immunologist around this question. Since I’m always looking for subjects that parents will find both practical and informative I thought this would be a good topic for a post.   So today, we are going to take on the following questions; are there emotional benefits from children growing up around dogs and does the presence of a dog in the home improve the health of babies and children?  Stay tuned for this thought provoking and informative pedcast I have called, 6 Reasons Babies Benefit Living w/ Pets. Continue reading

Essential Info about your Baby’s Head Shape (Pedcast)

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Transcript: Essential Info about your Baby’s Head Shape (Pedcast)

-Welcome to another edition of, your reliable source of information for parents about a wide range of pediatric parenting and health topics ranging from the bassinet to the boardroom.

-Thank you for joining me today.

– I am your host and the founder of…Dr Paul Smolen, a board certified pediatrician with 30 years of private practice under my belt.

-These “pedcasts” are intended to bring parents useful practical information about important pediatric topics.  A supplement to your child’s regular office  visits with their health-care provider.

-This is the kind of discussion your pediatrician would like to have with you if they had unlimited time during your child’s health supervision visits.

-I want to stress that by making this podcast, I am not intending to give specific medical advice for your child, rather general information on the topic of the day which today is “What parents need to know about head shape in babies.”


-Parents often worry about their baby’s head shape…especially in the first year of life.

-First, we have all the consequence of the birth process… and what a process it is.

-Babies usually come head first into the birth canal, first hitting the hard bones of Mom’s pelvis, then squeezing through Mom’s cervix and vagina.

-Bruising and molding of the skull bones are almost inevitable as a consequence of these processes.

-Many parents are startled and frightened by the molding and bruising their infant is born with but rarely are these a serious concern.

-With the rapid brain and skull growth that occur in the first few months of life, the distorted shape of a newborn’s skull rapidly disappears…unless they spend so much time on their backs in monotonous positions that flattening starts to occur in the back of their little heads.


– The medical term for this one sided flattening is plagiocephaly and pediatricians definitely started seeing more of this deformity after the back to sleep campaign started in the US…that’s the recommendation to always have babies sleep on their backs on a safe surface whenever they are unattended.

-Not only can plagiocephaly be a cosmetic problem, but some feel that with enough asymmetry of the skull can come along vision problems since, with enough forward shift one side of the face,  one eye may be in a different plane than the other.  A similar process is thought to possibly cause jaw problems since the mandible may not fit properly on the skull if the upper face is not symmetric.


-Everyone agrees that flattening of one side of the skull is something that we want to avoid.

-It can persist into adult life if it is severe.

-Here is what you can do to avoid problems with your baby’s head

         -Start doing tummy time, as soon as your little bundle of joy comes home from the hospital.

         -Try and turn your infant’s head to alternating sides when you lay them down for sleep as soon as you get home from the hospital.

         -Try to get Tummy time, supervised of course, for 30-60 minutes a day on a firm, safe sleep surface…for more on that, I remind you to check out my pod cast on “Safe sleep”

         -If your child always wants to lay on the same side of their head, they probably are doing so because of a cramped womb position.  Have your pediatrician check their neck for tightening or stiffness.  Should this be present, have them show you some exercises to help alleviate this tightening or have them send you to a physical therapist for this purpose.


-Here are some things you should not do in an attempt to help your infant’s head shape are:

         – Let your infant sit in a car seat or any seat for that matter  for long periods of time in the same position.

         -You should not buy devices to hold your baby in a certain position to lower pressure on his or her head.  These devices are well intentioned and may work, but their safety is always a concern.  Experts recommend that they not be used.

         -When using tummy time, never leave your child unattended even for a second.


-It has been my experience that the flattening can be avoided if parents are proactive with Tummy time and be careful not to miss neck stiffness.

-Should the flattening occur despite your efforts, referral to an specialist in head orthotics should be made by 6 months of age.  They will help you decide if your infant needs a skull-molding helmet to reshape their head.

-These helmets are expensive and don’t always work especially if not put on by 6 months so remember the DocSmo pearl…. Prevention trumps treatment almost every time.



– I hope the new parents in my audience today found this pedcast useful.

– The head shaping helmets I referenced in the pedcast cost between $1500-$4000 in my community and are not always covered by insurance so by listening to DocSmo today, potentially I may have saved your family a significant chunk of change… all in a days work.

-If you found this and other pedcasts useful, go ahead and take the plunge.  Subscribe on itunes, like DocSmo on face book or follow us on twitter.

-Currently, all of my content is available for free at my website,

-And don’t forget to check out my Smo Notes posted at my website where you can find reliable reference material with a simple click of the mouse.

-As always, this is your host, Dr Paul Smolen, broadcasting from studio 1E, that’s the first child’s bedroom on the east side of the house, protecting you from the dread of having a child with a misshapen head.


Until next time.

Smo Notes:

Clinical Report: Prevention and Management of Positional Skull Deformities in infants, Pediatrics Volume 128, Number 6, December 2011


*By listening to this pedcast, you are agreeing to Doc Smo’s terms and conditions.


All Rights Reserved.

New Rx for Preemies, “Music and Song” (Article)

We all learned that music is “good for the soul”  and now there is evidence the same is true for premature babies. There is now scientific evidence that music, specifically music performed live for tiny premature infants, reduces their stress, improves their sleep, and boosts their ability to feed. Music literally shapes and trains their developing infant brains in a positive way. Familiar voices, rhythms, and sounds have positive effects on premature infants.

Data collected from Neonatal Intensive Care Units and published in the journal Pediatrics, shows that premature babies have a variety of positive physical responses to music. When the preemies in the study listened to live music such as lullabies sung by their parents, their breathing and heart rates showed improvement, their sleep quality was enhanced, their sucking behavior increased, and their caloric intake was boosted.

Neonatal intensive care units are noisy, chaotic places by their very nature and I am sure are very scary places for these little patients. I am really not surprised that a parent singing or rhythmic music being produced calms a sick preemie. Music and singing from familiar voices must provide a needed break from the noisy monitors, bright lights, and painful procedures they regularly endure.

Music and singing can truly improve the lives of premature babies. I am sure the same is true for all infants and children. Remember the wisdom in that old saying, “singing is good for the soul”. Sing a lullaby to your baby every night if you can; not only may it increase his or her health, but it will provide you with a bonding experience neither of you will ever forget. Don’t miss out on this chance to make powerful memories for you and your baby.
Your comments are welcome at my blog, Tell others about your musical experiences with your little ones. Until next time.

Smo Notes:

Written by Keri Register and Paul Smolen M.D.

Startling Health News About Babies and Preschoolers Every Parent Needs to Know (Pedcast)



Long time listeners know that I think good sleep and nutrition are incredibly important issues for a child’s well being. In today’s pedcast, I am going to bring you some really exciting new research that I think you must factor into your parenting if you are going to get these issues right with your little ones. Don’t you dare stop listening because I am about to continue making you one of the best-informed parent in the room. Continue reading


Doc Smo’s 2018 Holiday Message (Pedcast)

“There are no do-overs when it comes to childhood; this is the only childhood your children that will ever have. Make the most of it!”

Got a Clue What Makes Your Sick Child Get a Fever? (Updated Pedcast)

“Your child’s body knows that fever, is usually a shortcut to wellness.”

6 Things Kids Can Do To Avoid Sports Injuries (Updated Pedcast)

Like all machines, your child’s body has limits and is prone to periodic mechanical failures. All machines do this even our own bodies, particularly little bodies that are not fully grown and here’s another DocSmo pearl: Pain in muscles and joints is your child’s body telling you, the parents, that they need repair time.

The Rhythm of Your Child’s Cough (Pedcast)

“For most children, a tincture of time takes care of even the meanest virus, because your child’s immune system is a germ-killing machine, tuned and sharpened by lots of practice.”

10 Things Parents Can Do to Prevent Allergies in Their Children ? (Pedcast)

“Yes, it is true, that not all germs are our friends but it is equally true that not all are our enemies.”

Can Pesticides Harm Your Kids? (Pedcast)

“Like with many parenting decisions, less can be more.” 

Your Children Spending Enough Time Outdoors? (Pedcast)

“Parents create the reality that their children experience.”

Need High Chair for Your Little Ones? (Pedcast)

Many childhood accidents aren’t accidents at all, but rather predictable outcomes from lack of supervision or improper use of equipment.”  

Distraction Free Thinking Vital for Kids (Pedcast)

“You are the parent and they are the child.”

“If you treat your children like adults, they may surprise you and act like an one”

Doc Smo’s Holiday Message 2017 (Pedcast)

“It’s hard to be fearful of people that you know.”

6 Reasons Your Children Need Breakfast (Pedcast)

“Grandma’s common sense and strong desire to see her children succeed is the source of her amazing wisdom.” 

Best Docs Listen, Observe, and Test (Pedcast)

“Anything that gets in the way of your pediatrician’s careful history taking process weakens your child’s visit.” 

Help For Anxious Kids (Pedcast)

Anxiety that doesn’t lead to an action and ultimate resolution is destructive.

Cough-Your Child’s Friend or Foe? (Pedcast)

“Your child’s cough is the only thing standing between them and pneumonia.” 

“Healthy lungs are healthy for a reason.” 

Motors and Kids-A Bad Mix

“A toy that can kill or cause lifelong injury, simply isn’t a toy at all!

Are Your Kids Fit for Life?

“It’s a terrible mistake for parents to underestimate their influence on their kids or it’s corollary, Wisdom kept to oneself is wisdom wasted.”

2015 Lessons Learned about Measles

We don’t have to touch the hot stove, to find out that it still hurts” 

Every Child Can Be a Powerball Winner

“The most successful way to improve the reading achievement of low-income children is to increase their access to print.”

“Every child can be a powerball lottery winner by being read to frequently.”

New Baby Brings Joy and Stress

“There is no quicker way to find  the cracks in a parent’s personality than to apply stress and stand back and watch.” 

Why is Johnny Biting?

“Adults are just oversized children with a few more social graces and a lot more responsibility.”

More of Grandma’s Wisdom

“When it comes to bronchial irritants, sometimes 1+1=3.”

Motors and Kids, a Bad Mix

“A toy that can kill or cause lifelong injury, simply isn’t a toy at all!”

Electronic Anesthesia

“Nothing changes behavior like consequences” or it’s corollary, “The school of natural consequences teaches AP life.” 

Kids, Holidays, and Sugar

“Don’t  allow your children’s nutritional wants to overtake their nutritional needs.”

How Long is Too Long for a Cold?

“Trust your childs body; it has been practicing medicine longer than any doctor alive.”

Annual Holiday Message 2014 (Pedcast)

“Children are little machines of the vacuum and copy variety. And it’s corollary… *It’s not an accident that interesting parents have interesting children.”

Home Births (Pedcast)

“A crisis for which you are  prepared, is often not a crisis at all.” 

Testimonial to Probiotics (Pedcast)

“Prevention beats treatment, every time.” 

The Rhythm of the Cough (Pedcast)

“For most children, a tincture of time takes care of even the meanest virus, because your child’s immune system is a germ-killing machine, tuned and sharpened by lots of practice.”

Children; Eating Themselves Sick? (Pedcast)

Grandma didn’t waste her time telling us things that weren’t important… eat your spinach!

Does Cold Air Make Your Child Sick? (Pedcast)

**“Grandma didn’t waste her time recommending things that weren’t important… listen!”

Fever; Friend or Foe? (Pedcast)

“A fever is not an illness, usually just a shortcut to wellness.” 

Holiday Message 2013 (Pedcast)

“Making the babies was the easy part of parenting!” 

DocSmo’s Picky Eater Turnaround (Pedcast)

1. “Your child’s choices in food should be between good food and good food… no junk served in this kitchen!”

2. “Children will do what is in their own best interest… almost every time.”

Trampoline Truths (Pedcast)

1. “There is no toy that is so much fun that it is worth the risk of your child sustaining a lifelong injury… none”

2. “Adult Supervision” requires that adults actually supervise!!!!

America “super sized” (Pedcast)
1. “Let’s start paying more attention to what children need rather than what they want. Only then will we get it right.”
2. “It would really dandy if our children got less candy.”

A doctor’s advice: harsh or life changing?

Direct communication is the most effective way to connect with young people. My rule is, listen first, then speak.

Smoking Update
“As far as tobacco is concerned, in today’s world we are witnessing cigarette marketing in reverse!”

Getting the Dose Right!
“Janie’s dose of medicine shouldn’t depend on your silverware pattern, should it?”

When Snoring is a Problem for Children
“Surgeons curing behavior problems and improving school performance… what will they figure out next?”

Eczema: A Parent’s Guide
“Modern children’s skin needs less exposure to modern life.”

HPV Vaccines: “Prevention Trumps Treatment”
“Prevention trumps treatment every time.”

Baby Walkers…beware!
“When the child gets a bad injury, both the child and the parent receive matching scars.”

Ear Wax to the Max, “oh my”
“My kind of therapy is both cheap and effective.”

The Success of Rotavirus Vaccine
“If a therapy has rewards that are very high and risks that are very low: that’s a winner for me.”

“Sit Down and Listen”: ADD News 2011
“Grandma was so smart that if she had been a stock trader, she would have been the Warren Buffet of her time.”

Helping Single Parent Families
1. “Children have a lot of work to do growing up. Having a lot of emotional baggage from their parents generally slow or interfere with that process.”
2. *”Families are likes Slinkies: stress any part and the whole family starts shaking.”
3. “I think having one healthy, resilient, engaged single parent is much better for children than having two angry bickering depressed ones, any day.”

Attitude lessons learned from my Dad
“Work with purpose is always better than just work.”

The Rhythm of Pediatrics
“Germs can run jog or walk they need to be dragged from nose to nose and the dragging happens on your child’s hands.”
“Germs love get-togethers so they can “get it together.”

Tincture of Time
“Trust your child’s body; it has been practicing medicine longer than any doctor alive.”

For the Mamas and the Papas
“The benefits of taking care of yourself are like money in the bank drawing compound interest.”

Grandma, Cod Liver Oil, and the 2011 News Regarding Vitamin D
“Grandma didn’t waste her time recommending things that weren’t important.”

Can Children be Spoiled?
“It’s my opinion that a child is spoiled if they’re allowed to become overly dependent on their parents, or if they’re allowed to have excessive needs and/or wants.”

Getting a Grippe on the ‘Moving Target’ We Call Influenza
“Deeply invading germs are reason for deep concern.”

Pedcasts from 2010:

Understanding Your Child’s Ear Infections Step by Step

“Rivers that don’t flow become nasty!”

Swimming, A Basic Life Skill All Children Need to Know
“Remember, you’re the parent and they’re the child! You have perspective on life that they don’t have. Don’t be afraid to use your perspective and persist to make sure that swim lessons happen for your children.”

Shaping Your Child’s Character, Leading by Example
1. “Little eyes and little ears are watching and listening.”
2. “Children are like mirrors, they reflect what they see. Make sure what they see in you is mostly goodness.”

Starting Young Children towards a Life of Literacy
1. “Kids won’t do what they don’t enjoy, so you have to create an environment where reading is fun.”

2. “Parents create their child’s reality.  If your child’s reality is visits to fast food restaurants, video games, and soda, parents created that reality. But if their reality is visits to the museum, reading daily, and nutritious meals, parents create that too.”

Making Sense of Your Child’s Next Virus
1.  The deeper in your child’s body a germ travels, the more intense his/her bodily reaction is going to be, especially fever.

2. So, if your child has an upper respiratory illness that’s pretty surface, almost on the outside of the body, you’re child’s not going to feel very sick.

3. Whereas, if they get a middle respiratory virus, they’re probably going to feel sicker, probably going to have a fever at some point, and that’s a clue that it’s a little deeper in.

4. And finally, the deepest in terms of the respiratory tract are lung infections. Those are the ones that give kids really high fevers, 105 and greater, and really knock them down hard. That’s a clue that they have a deep body infection.”

Little Teeth, Handle with Care
“Parenting short cuts, taking the path of least resistance, has a way of coming back and biting you later. When you know you’re right about a parenting topic, be more stubborn than your child–deal with it earlier rather than later!”

Sleepless Nights…Beyond the Crib
“It’s always good when your child can learn to do something independently.”

Why Your Child Should Avoid Sugary Drinks!
“People believe what they want to believe, especially children.”

How to Discipline Your Child…with Respect!
“If you don’t treat your child with respect when they’re young, they won’t treat you with respect when they grown.”

Straight Talk about Sleep in Infancy
“The ultimate goal of childhood is to create a happy, self sufficient adult.”

Essential Knowledge for Parents about Hepatitis B
“Vaccines are like insurance, you can’t buy it after the house has burned down. Prevention is the only game in town.”

Patty versus Mozart, Curious?
1.”Send a constant message that school is important and that failure is not an option.”

2. “If you repeat something enough to your children, it will eventually become true.”

Screen Time, How Much is Too Much?
1. “Kids will eventually respect parents who are honest, committed to their wellbeing, and who set reasonable limits for them.”

2. “Don’t let the Mario Brothers have more influence on your kids than you do!”