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PAMF Health Blog

Be Well, Be Well Informed

Kids and Pets: A Pediatrician’s Tips

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Kids and pets – this pair seems like a natural fit. Pets for children can bring many health benefits, and they make loving companions. They also provide an excellent opportunity for your child to learn responsibility and commitment, says Cara Barone, M.D., a pediatrician at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. But before Fido or Fluffy joins the family, there are a few things to consider. Here, Dr. Barone answers common questions about children and pets.

Is it true that pets can improve children’s health? Read More

Breastfeeding and Diet

Mom holding baby

You’ve been careful about what you eat and drink during your pregnancy to do what’s best for your baby. Now that you’re breastfeeding your precious little one, can you resume enjoying a glass of wine or your favorite soft cheese or sushi?

“Yes,” says Joanna Koch, a lactation consultant at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. “It’s time to return to and enjoy your normal diet.” Here are her answers to new moms’ common questions about what you can and can’t eat during breastfeeding.  Read More

Healthy School Lunches

 

BLOGschoollunchFor many parents, packing their children’s lunches and snacks can feel like guesswork. Will they eat it, or not? Packing sugary, unhealthy items may often seem like the only way to make sure they eat something during the school day.

However, don’t give up on healthy foods, even if your children don’t always return from school with an empty lunch box. The preschool and elementary school years are a critical time to help children learn healthy eating habits for life.

Manisha Panchal, M.D., a pediatrician at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, offers these simple guidelines to help you create healthy school lunches. Read More

When Depression Prompts Thoughts of Suicide

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The recent death of actor Robin Williams is prompting many people to take a hard look at depression and suicide. Suicide rates among middle-age Americans – once the least likely age group to commit suicide – is rising sharply. In fact, the rate of suicide among people age 35-64 rose 28 percent between 1999 and 2010.

There are many theories: Baby Boomers facing retirement may be under financial stress. People may struggle to care for both aging parents and their children. Or they may be affected by the growing use of strong pain medicine for age-related conditions such as arthritis.

Meg Durbin, M.D., an Internal Medicine doctor and pediatrician at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, offers these insights into depression, and tips on how to help someone at risk for suicide.

What puts someone at risk for suicide?
People who have a diagnosed mental disorder such as depression or bipolar disease are at higher risk of suicide. Substance abuse is also closely tied to suicidal thoughts, as is a family history of attempted or completed suicide. Suicide risk is also higher when someone has a serious medical history, prolonged pain and major life losses. The risk of suicide also increases in people who have a close association with another person’s suicide, and have access to the tools required to take their lives in a moment of despair. Read More

Breastfeeding Challenges – and Support

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All major medical organizations, including the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), agree that breastfeeding is the preferred way to feed newborns. Breastfeeding also protects against respiratory illnesses, ear infections, gastrointestinal diseases and allergies. The AAP recommends mothers breastfeed babies exclusively for about the first six months of life.

But breastfeeding is not without challenges. It can take a few days for a new mom and baby to adjust to breastfeeding, which can be stressful for everyone involved.

Read More

A New Look at Circumcision

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Are you expecting a baby boy? If yes, the topic of circumcision is sure to come up. Before you know it, you’ll be immersed in a lively discussion about whether it’s best for baby to be circumcised or not. Some parents choose to have their son circumcised for religious or cultural reasons. Others want their little boy to “‘look like dad or the other men in the family.”

Although recent scientific studies show some important health benefits of circumcision, it is not essential to your child’s good health, says Paul Protter, M.D., a pediatrician with the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. “Ultimately, it’s up to the parents to decide what’s best for their child,” he says. Here are his answers to expecting parents’ most common questions about circumcision.

What is circumcision and what should I expect for my baby boy after circumcision? Read More

Vaccinations: Why Children Need Them

Young girl getting vaccinated

With so much media attention on vaccinations, parents often wonder if they should have their children vaccinated.

“Although this may seem a personal choice, it’s important to know that vaccinations offer two critical benefits,” says Kathrin R. Sidell, M.D., Ph.D., a pediatrician at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. “Not only do they protect your own child against dangerous diseases, they also ensure other children don’t get them either.”

Parents often have concerns about vaccinations. Here Dr. Sidell provides answers to some of the most common questions. Read More