Monthly Archives: July 2020

Tips and tricks for when your baby is teething

You don’t think much about your teeth unless there’s a problem. For babies who can’t communicate yet with words, teething can be a difficult time. Their gums become inflamed and tender as the teeth get closer to the surface and they take time to erupt or fully break through the gums.

Jade Elliott spoke with Pediatrician, Jenna Whitham, MD, Intermountain Healthcare, to discuss some tips for when your baby is teething.

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When will that first tooth appear?

Babies typically don’t have teeth when they’re born, but on average babies get their first tooth at about six months of age. Typically, they have a complete set of 20 “baby” teeth by 30 months of age. The lower central incisors usually come in first and the molars last.

Signs of teething

Teething is a process that all children experience. Prior to tooth eruption the gingiva or gums may appear blue-ish and swollen. The symptoms seen most consistently with children immediately prior to and right after a tooth erupts are: biting or putting their mouth on things, drooling, rubbing their gums and fussiness. Sometime children may show less interest in eating solid foods and have mild elevations in temperature.

But teething does not cause thick congestion, severe diarrhea, vomiting, cough, fevers or inability to drink liquids/take formula. If your child is having these types of symptoms, call your baby’s doctor to find out if you need to bring your baby in for a visit.

Four simple ways to manage teething pain

1. Teething toys may be used, but liquid filled teething rings should be chilled in the refrigerator, not the freezer). Be sure to sterilize in boiling water before use.

2. Teething biscuits, crackers or cold food items like frozen yogurt or fruit popsicles may be used for children older than nine months who are used to eating solid foods.

3. Tylenol (acetaminophen) and Advil or Motrin (ibuprofen) may be used for children over six months if needed, but you should verify correct dosage with your child’s doctor.

4. Distraction – play with your baby or take them outside or for a ride in the stroller

Whitham does not recommend using topical medications containing Benzocaine (Oragel) due to risk of overuse or ingestion.

Tips for breastfeeding once your baby has teeth

Most moms can keep breastfeeding without difficulty through tooth development. If baby bites, the feeding should be over immediately, baby will quickly learn that biting is not ok.

What foods are appropriate as teeth emerge

Babies as young as four months who have good head control can start pureed baby foods, and at six months we encourage parents to start solid food introduction. In fact, despite not having a full set of teeth, babies as young as nine months can “chew” solid foods by mashing bites with their jaw regardless of the number of teeth that have emerged.

When to start brushing baby’s teeth

I recommend parents start brushing baby’s teeth with a soft bristled brush when they notice the first tooth emerge. I recommend using a fluoride containing children’s toothpaste. Use a grain of rice sized amount or less depending on how many teeth are to be brushed. Make tooth brushing a twice daily habit.

For some ideas to make brushing teeth fun, click here.

Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

You can help prevent your baby from developing cavities or what is called Baby Bottle Tooth Decay or by beginning an oral hygiene routine within the first few days after birth. Start by cleaning your baby’s mouth by wiping the gums with a clean gauze pad. This helps remove plaque that can harm erupting teeth.

If you are bottle feeding, only give your baby a bottle with formula, breast milk or after one year of age, cow’s milk, and avoid giving them sugary beverages like juice or soda. Infants should finish their bedtime and naptime bottle before going to bed and not fall asleep with a bottle in their mouth.

Do babies need fluoride drops?

This depends on where you live. A good resource for this information is your county health department web site.

Intermountain Healthcare has pediatric dentists and adult dentists.

It’s important to establish care with a pediatric dentist by 18-24 month of age. Intermountain has pediatric dentists and family and special needs dentists. For more information about pediatric dentistry, click here.

For more information about family dentistry, click here.

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.

Keep kids safe from window falls

When the weather is pleasant outside, many people open their windows to let the breeze in. While the fresh air feels good, open windows can pose a danger to young children.

Jade Elliott spoke with Jessica Strong, Community Health Manager, Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital, to discuss window safety and how to protect your kids on this episode of the Baby Your Baby Podcast.

Download & Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Want to listen on another platform? Click here.

Each year in the United States, 15 to 20 children under the age of 11 die and nearly 15,000 are injured because of falls from windows, said Strong. Most of these injuries and deaths occur during spring and summer months, and most often when children are unsupervised.

To help protect children from accidental window falls, Strong offers the following tips:

• Don’t depend on window screens to protect a child from falling out of a window. Screens are designed to easily pop out in case of a fire or some other emergency when leaving through a window is necessary.

• Keep windows closed and locked.

• If you do open a window, make sure it is inaccessible to children.

• Keep furniture or anything children can climb on away from windows.

• Teach children only to open windows with permission and help from adults.

• Install locks, guards, and other safety equipment in your windows to make them safer and more difficult to open, or open wide, without an adult’s help.

• Set and enforce rules about keeping children’s play away from windows.

• Most window falls occur when children are left alone. There is no substitute for supervision.

For more information, please go to the Primary Children’s Hospital website at

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.

When Is Your Baby Ready for Solid Food?

Introducing your baby to solid foods is an exciting milestone for you and for baby. But when and how should you introduce table foods?

Jade Elliott sat down with Tyson Tidwell, a pediatrician with Intermountain Healthcare to talk about tips on how you can create healthy eating habits with your child’s first bites.

The best time to introduce solid foods is when baby is 4-6 months old.

Signs baby is ready for solid food:

  • Sitting up with limited support
  • Good head and neck control
  •  Interest in foods and others eating
  • Growing appetite
  • Able to keep food in the mouth and swallow it

If your child has developmental delays or special needs talk with your doctor about when to introduce solid foods.

What to feed baby

  • Softer textures are very important when first introducing foods. Infants usually start with pureed or mashed foods around six months.
  •  Consider protein sources such as pureed beans or meats or an iron-fortified cereal as first food. Pureed meats and poultry provide protein and valuable nutrition not found in cereal, vegetables and fruits.
  •  Offer pureed veggies and fruits at 6 months or later. Focus on veggies first so they’re more likely to like them. For other foods, follow baby package directions for age.
  • Keep breast-feeding or formula-feeding during this time. Breast milk or formula is still baby’s main source of nutrition and calories.
  • After introducing a new food, wait a few days or up to a week to see if there’s an allergic response before trying another type of food.
  • Do not add salt, sugar or honey to baby food to encourage eating.

How to feed baby

  • Start with small portion sizes of about 1-2 teaspoons, as most of the food will end up on the face, hand and bib. Gradually increase the amount of food over time.
  •  Have your baby sit up when eating. That could be on your lap or in a high chair.
  •  Allow infants to feed themselves – without a spoon – when they’re ready (6-8 months old). This helps with overall motor skill development.
  •  You can introduce a child-sized spoon and safe utensils as they get older.
  •  Sit and eat with your baby. They’ll want to copy what you do.
  • Never force-feed a baby. When they turn their head away or stick out their tongue, they’re probably telling you they’re done eating.

Should I make my own baby food or buy commercially prepared baby food?

That’s a matter of personal preference and convenience. If you make your own baby food, be sure to follow these safety guidelines.

  • Wash hands thoroughly.
  • Avoid cross contamination, especially when handling raw meats.
  • Cook meats to recommended temperature.
  • Rinse fruits and vegetables
  •  Don’t sweeten or add salt.
  • Use a hand grinder, electric grinder, blender, or food processor to puree
  • Can thin with breast milk or formula if needed

Is organic baby food better?

  • Organic costs more than conventional or homemade baby food.
  •  There is no evidence suggesting organic food is more nutritious than conventional.
  • Organic baby food may have a lower risk of pesticide contamination, but conventional baby food rarely exceeds pesticide limits set by the EPA. (2012 Stanford University Study, Crystal Smith Spangler, MD, Annals of Internal Medicine)

Pouches, plastic containers or jars

Pouches are convenient for just putting a small amount on the spoon, so usually there’s less waste. They are less likely to spill or break, but may cost more. Pouches don’t help your child develop as many motor skills as using a spoon, but are great for on the go.

Glass jars are economical, but can spill or break. Plastic is light weight and doesn’t break, but can’t always be resealed. It’s good to use jars or plastic containers at home when you can put food in a dish so your child can learn to use a spoon.

Once you’ve put a used spoon in the food, the saliva can contaminate the food, so throw away food that has saliva in it.

Increase the texture of foods as baby gets older

As infants develop chewing and motor skills, they are able to handle items like a Cheerio or a cracker or small pieces of soft fruit. As the child ages, a variety of healthful foods is encouraged. Don’t leave your baby unattended while they’re eating.

Foods to avoid

Don’t give honey or milk other than breastmilk or formula to babies under one year.

Help prevent your baby from choking

Your baby or toddler is still learning to chew. You don’t want your baby to choke. Cut solid food in very small pieces and keep an eye on your toddler especially if they’re eating firmer foods like hot dogs, grapes, raw vegetables or fruits. It’s a good idea for parents to know how to do the Heimlich maneuver or abdominal thrusts in case their child starts choking. There are different ways to perform the maneuver depending on if your baby is under one year old or over one year old.

Your baby will be able to eat most foods by the time they are one year old

It’s amazing, but after a few months of transition, as your baby becomes a toddler and gets more teeth, he or she will graduate to eating solid foods.

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.

Helping young patients cope with the COVID-19 pandemic through coloring

Being a child in a hospital can be scary – especially if you see people dressed in personal protective equipment worn for COVID-19 protection – the kind of equipment kids may see in a sci-fi movie.

Enter Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital child life specialists, an artistically-inclined nurse practitioner, and a splash of color – and it’s not so scary after all for young patients.

Jade Elliott talked with Davi Vitela, Child Life Specialist at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital, to discuss how coloring is helping their patients on this episode of the Baby Your Baby Podcast.

Primary Children’s child life specialists have created a new PPE coloring book to help kids better understand why some caregivers wear strange clothes and equipment, like gowns and face shields and hoses strapped to their backs, instead of the colorful scrubs that they would typically see outside of the coronavirus pandemic.

They want kids to know that underneath the shields are the same friendly faces of the nurses and doctors who help them, and who many patients have come to know and love.

“We’ve noticed any child who comes into the Emergency Department, or any kiddos getting tested, are seeing a lot of our caregivers wearing PPE. We know this can make the hospital even scarier because the PPE is unknown and it’s covering people’s faces,” said Antonia “Davi” Vitela, a certified child life specialist at Primary Children’s Hospital. “We wanted a positive resource that kids and parents can use together to familiarize themselves with PPE, understand why people wear it, and express any emotion they’re feeling about it.”

Child life specialists help children to understand the hospital setting and express emotions about being in the hospital, most often through play. Child life specialists frequently use medical play, or toys of objects found in the hospital.

Medical play dolls wear a hospital gown, and kids draw in their own faces or stitches, and use toys such as a specially designed play IV pole, CT scan, and an anesthesia mask.

The PPE coloring book was compiled using medical clip art and inspiration from child life specialists and artistic skills of a palliative care nurse. It is available to all patients in English and in Spanish when they arrive at Primary Children’s. Children in other Intermountain Healthcare hospitals throughout Utah also can receive a coloring book from their child life specialist or nurse.

The coloring book has pictures and explanations of equipment like a PAPR and other PPE, spaces for children to draw what they see around them. It discusses germs and viruses, the hospital and emotions, and asks kids to make a list of things that help them feel better, like listening to a favorite song, to give them coping mechanisms during their hospital stay.

“The pandemic has been hard on kids with the visitor restrictions and siblings being unable to visit them,” Vitela said. “Even though some of the restrictions are being lifted, it’s a difficult time. We’ll keep making the effort to make the hospital a welcoming place for kids and helping them feel more comfortable.”

Downloadable PDF of coloring book: English or Spanish.

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.

Reading with your baby

It’s never too early to start reading with your baby.  Reading with your baby has multiple benefits.

Jade Elliott sat down with Tyson Tidwell, a pediatrician with Intermountain Healthcare, to talk not only about why to read with your baby, but also tips for how and when to do it.

Why reading to your baby is so important

When parents talk, read, and sing with their babies, connections are formed in their young brains. These connections build language, literacy, and social and emotional skills at an important time in a baby’s development. These activities also strengthen the emotional bond between parent and child and helps your child reach social and developmental milestones.

Hold your child in your arms and read with emotion

Infants as young as a few days or weeks old can know and prefer their parents’ voices and faces. Although they may not understand words, they’ll respond to the emotion in your voice and the expression on your face. They love to look at pictures with bright colors and feel secure when they’re in your arms.

Choose colorful and sturdy books

As babies get older, they’ll reach out to hold a book and then put it into their mouths to explore it. Board books and books made of fabric or with thicker pages are more durable for very young children. You can borrow children’s books for free from your local library or purchase some of your own. Look for colorful illustrations or photos. Some books have things with texture that can be touched, which makes them even more interesting.

Ask your pediatrician about the Reach out and Read program which offers free books starting at your baby’s 6 month well visit. You can receive a free book at your child’s well check visits through age five, for a total of eight free books. For more information visit

Plan a special reading time

Active young children may lose interest in a book after only 1-2 minutes. Follow their lead, but keep reading, talking, and singing with your baby regularly and his interest and attention span will grow. Make this a special time. Give your baby your full attention. Turn off the TV and computers and put down your phone.

Read together every day

As babies grow into toddlers, reading aloud together can be a very helpful routine, especially when it’s part of your regular calming bedtime routine. Young children love having choices. Let them choose the book to read. Toddlers quickly develop favorites and may ask you to read the same story over and over, so offer choices you like too!

Talk about the book

Toddlers can point to pictures of objects (Show me the tree) and answer questions (Which one says moo?) As their language grows, they may be able to name the pictures you point to or finish the sentences in a book. Sometimes they even pretend to read the book themselves. As they get older they learn to point to letters in the alphabet or to count some of the pictures.

Make reading part of your routine

Building routines for meals, play, and sleep help children know what to expect and what is expected of them. Listen to our podcast on bedtime routines here.

Keep reading together

Even when your child can read by themselves, you can still read stories to them that are at a higher reading level than books they can read on their own. They will look forward to the next chapter and you will make lasting memories.

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.