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Ask Emma!

Welcome to Ask Emma, where–every month–we will answer YOUR questions.

Once a month I will select three questions from the emails and social media messages I receive, and answer them via this blog. So please send in your questions, queries and concerns. Remember, if you are currently experiencing something with your little one that has raised issues, there is no doubt another mum or dad is also currently seeking solutions to that very same problem. My hope is that your comments will continue the conversation long after my blog has been posted.

So, with that said, and without any further ado… Let’s get to it!

Love, Emma xo

1) “My 2-year-old daughter gets so frustrated sometimes when I leave her room after putting her down for bedtime, or when throwing a tantrum, that she throws up. She cries and cries and cries until her little body can’t take it – and vomits. Is this normal? Do we need to see a doctor?”

The good news is toddler tantrums and vomiting are actually more common than you may think. Crying hysterically for a length of time and holding their breath can cause such a reaction. Yes, it is an extreme tantrum, but it isn’t at all unusual. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do. It can be incredibly frustrating but it’s important not to give your child a ‘reaction’, or lose your patience.

Keep in mind: Although giving them what they want may calm them down and stop them from vomiting, don’t give in! There’s typically two reasons behind their tantrum. 1) They are frustrated and 2) They aren’t getting their way. It’s important not to indulge her. Let her know you’re there to help, but only once she calms down and can speak to you.

If you feel your child is in danger from holding their breath, uncontrollably vomiting, etc. the best thing to do is hold them, talk to them in a calm voice and encourage them to breathe. Yes, breathe! Big deep breaths are not only a great distraction but they also help calm the body. Some would say it brings the body back into a cognitive state. One your child is calm and thinking more clearly, they’ll be a lot more reasonable.

Extreme tantrums are normal for toddlers and usually don’t last past age 2 or 3. If they do, check with your pediatrician because it could be something else going on.

2) “I have a 14 month old daughter and she has never liked the concept of eating. She’s seen different doctors and has improved a little. There’s not much information about kids who don’t eat; just on bad eating habits and obesity issues. How can I get her to eat her food, not just play with it?”

Firstly, don’t worry too much! This is a stage many kids do go through, the key is to keep trying! Many pediatricians say to introduce a food up to 10 times before writing it off.

Make sure she’s not having too much milk and therefore not hungry for solids. Your daughter should be having around 20 oz. of milk per day, the bulk of her calories should be from solids. Try giving her solids first and then milk, so she doesn’t fill up on milk.

Let her use her hands, not only is it great for developing fine motor skills but it’s fun! Utensils are also great and it’s good to start early. Be sure to cut food into easy, bite-size pieces.

The food should be tasty and appealing. Try different methods of cooking food (puree, roast, etc.). Use fun presentation: colorful bowls, using berries as eyes and mouths. I’m sure you can come up with plenty of ideas.

If you’re worried about her not getting enough calories, you can add eggs and hearty foods into various dishes. It’s a good idea to keep a log of what she does eat in the case you want to visit a nutritionist or your pediatrician.

Remember: Kids go through many phases. There will be times when you can’t give them enough food and times when they won’t eat anything!

3) “My daughter absolutely hates bath time! I have fun bath toys, different soaps she can pick from, and hooded animal towels. She cries nonstop everytime I get her head wet – water doesn’t even go in her eyes! What do I do?”

It sounds like you’ve tried making bath time really fun with toys and soaps, etc., now it’s just time to let her get on with it. The more of a fuss you make, the more fuss your daughter will make. Don’t make a big deal about it, reassure her that she’s okay. You can even make it a quick bath. But stay calm and don’t let her crying bother you.

At the end of the day, bathing is something we do and something everyone has to do. Obviously, make sure she’s as comfortable as possible; the water isn’t too deep; it’s not too hot or cold. Ask her is she wants a washcloth to wipe the water from her eyes or even stop the water from getting in her eyes.

Never skip a bath because she has a tantrum about bath time. Make it a part of her routine, and be consistent.

I’m not sure how old your daughter is, but for younger children you can start with a sponge bath and gradually move up, or get in the tub with them. Most children love it when mum or dad get in the bath. Family bath time = great fun!

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Speaking of Marriage

Winifred M. Reilly, M.A., MFT

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