Pediatrician - New Port Richey
2044 Trinity Oaks Boulevard Suite 235
New Port Richey, FL 34655
(727) 375-5437

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Posts for category: infants

By Thuy Pham, MD IBCLC
June 29, 2017
Category: infants
Tags: Starting Solids  

Thinking of starting your baby on solids? Try Baby Led Weaning.


Baby led weaning is a method of introducing baby food which relies of your baby’s natural cues and interests. It simply means bypassing pureed foods and letting your baby feed himself real food from the start. Instead of spoon feeding commercially prepared processed rice cereal or jar foods you can let your baby finger feed herself soft pieces of cooked vegetables or fruits. Your baby learns to chew first with his gums, then swallow.


This sensical approach  is a natural transition from breastfeeding on demand to introducing solid foods. Bottle-fed babies also adapt well to this method of feeding. Many eager parents tend to start solids too early. Instead you should wait for your infant to show for signs of readiness, such as interest in family meal time,  ability to sit without support, to pick up toys with fingers, loss of tongue thrust reflex(pushing solids out of the mouth with tongue). There is no need to ponder about which jar foods to buy, simply give your baby soft cooked wholesome vegetables that you prepare for your family at meal times, put it on his high chair tray and let him enjoy! Get your camera and be prepared to capture the moment when he explores, picks up, mashes and tastes his first foods.


Some examples of easy, wholesome BLW first finger foods are:

. banana chunks

. soft steamed carrot sticks

. slices of ripe avocados

. peeled slices of cucumbers (great for teething babies)

. boiled egg yolks

. peeled slices of peaches



It is best to wait until your child is at least 6 months old and exhibits signs of readiness as stated above. Avoid foods that are choking hazards, such as whole grapes, apples with skin attached, nuts. In the first few weeks of BLW, you may see your baby gag. Remember gagging is a protective reflex to prevent foods from traveling too far to the back of the mouth where it can obstruct the airway.. Your child may have a mild cough and makes little noises. It is different than choking, when your child looks terrified, appears unable to breathe and makes no noise.


If you are wondering whether BLW is right for you, check with your paediatrician to that your child is developmentally ready to proceed.



Baby Led Weaning by Gill Rapley


Thuy Pham, MD, IBCLC



By Sheridan Hernandez MD
October 27, 2016
Category: infants
Tags: babies   SIDS  

New AAP SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) prevention guidelines.                                  


The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recently released a report indicating that studies have shown, that sleeping in the same room as your infant for up to 1 year can significantly reduce the risk of SIDS.


Currently, according to the CDC, about 3500 infant deaths a year are attributed to SIDS and other sleep related disorders. Babies are at greatest risk for SIDS from birth to 4 months of age, but are still considered at some risk for the first year of life. Recent research has shown that sleeping in the same room as your infant for at least the first 6 months of life, and ideally the first year of life, can decrease the risk of SIDS by 50%. However, this does not mean having the baby co sleep with parents in their bed. Adult mattresses tend to be too soft, there is too much loose sheeting and blankets that can cause strangulation, and baby can over heat, all of which can increase the risk of SIDS. Your infant should be in a crib or bassinet with a firm mattress, without bumpers, stuffed animals and a lot of loose blankets. Baby should also, always be placed on his or her back.


Other things that a parent can do to prevent SIDS is keeping the room temperature between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit, and running a ceiling fan that keeps air flowing. Also, according to the AAP report, breastfeeding significantly reduces risk of SIDS, as does keeping a tobacco smoke free environment. The report also found that pacifier use reduces the SIDS risk and is now recommended for sleep and nap times. Babies should not be left to sleep for long periods in car seats, strollers and swings.


Finally, the AAP reports that, so called safety items that are offered and sold to parents, have not been proven to reduce the incidence of SIDS. These include anti SIDS mattresses and home cardiopulmonary monitors. Parents likely should not waste their money on these items. The AAP reports they are unable to offer a recommendation at this time, on bedside sleepers that attach to parents' beds, as there is insufficient research.


Fortunately SIDS is relatively rare but it is always tragic when it does occur. Following the AAP guidelines should help parents to feel less anxious, and in spite of having a newborn, may actually help parents to sleep a little better.




Dr. Hernandez



By Sheridan Hernandez MD
May 25, 2016
Category: infants
Tags: Untagged
In March of 2014 there was an outbreak of type B meningitis at Princeton University. Seven students were infected. One student, unaware of having being colonized by the deadly bacteria, visited a friend at Drexel University. Her name was Stephanie Ross and she was a sophomore. Shortly after the visit with her friend, Stephanie was found unresponsive by her sorority sisters. She later died as a result of type B meningitis.

In 2015 there was an outbreak of type B meningitis at the University of Oregon. This outbreak resulted in the death of an 18 year old girl by the name of Lauren Jones.

There were, in fact, outbreaks of type B meningitis at 5 colleges from March 2013 to February 2016. One infected student had to have both feet amputated, others had permanent neurological deficits that resulted from the infection.

There are five major serogroups of meningococcal disease: A C W Y and B. Type B accounts for one third of the infections in the US, but is now the leading cause of the disease in adolescents. The symptoms of Type B meningitis are the same as the other types, starting with fever,  flu like symptoms and quickly progressing to signs of serious illness such as lethargy, severe headache, stiff neck and sometimes a strange rash that looks like little blood clots in the skin.

At the time of these outbreaks of type B meningitis, we already standardly vaccinated children before college against types types A C W and Y, but there was not a US approved vaccine for type B.

Fortunately, in response to these college outbreaks, there are now two vaccines available to protect our children from this sometimes deadly and always terrifying illness. At our office we use a vaccine called Trumenba. It is recommended to be given to young people between the ages of 16 and 23, although it is approved for children from 10 to 25 years of age.

Initially, it was felt necessary to give 3 injections to acquire immunity. We now know that 2 vaccines, 6 months apart, is sufficient.

This is a life saving vaccine and is covered on all insurances. Both of my college aged children have been vaccinated and I am so grateful that they are protected against this disease. 

When your adolescent kids come for a visit, please ask us about the type B meningitis vaccine. It could save your precious child's life.

All the best to all our wonderful patients out there. Stay well and stay safe!

Dr. Sheridan Hernandez



As many of you already know I became a grandpa last month!  So far it has been an amazing experience. It’s so exciting watching this new life grow and develop as well as watching my son grow as a caring, nurturing father.  It’s been a blessing to have my son, his wife and my grandson share our home.  Obviously things aren’t always perfect…especially when it’s time for bed.  My almost-perfect little grandson has decided that 10 PM – 1 AM is a great time to be awake.  Not just awake but crabby and awake.  He has a mild case of colic.

So what is colic?  Basically a baby with colic is a perfectly healthy child who is almost inconsolable for several hours per day.  Some infants are colicky all of the time, but the vast majority have a 3-4 hour time period, usually in the evening, of inconsolable crying.  The classic hours of colic are 6 PM – 12 AM.  No one really knows what causes colic.  The prevailing thought is that it is a symptom of an immature nervous system.  The symptoms of colic usually start between two and four weeks of age. Thankfully infants outgrow colic around three months of age, although some will continue through six months.

What should you do if you suspect your child has colic?  It’s not a bad idea to make an appointment with your pediatrician to rule out other reasons for the irritability such as milk protein intolerance, illness, reflux, hernia or something else.  If other causes are ruled out it’s time to figure out how to deal your baby’s irritability.  Some tips that can sometimes help comfort a colicky baby include:

  • Swaddling:  Many infants feel more secure and comforted when swaddled tightly in a thin blank.

  • Pacifier: Many infants respond well to sucking on a pacifier.  It can be a great option to overfeeding colicky babies who have a strong need to suck.  My son likes to call it the “mute button”.

  • Rhythmic movement:  Many infants find comfort in rhythmic movements such as being rocked, being in a baby swing, gentle bouncing motions, being held and walked or rhythmic patting on the bottom.  A good butt pat was a life-saver during my time working as an RN in children’s hospitals caring for infants whose parents couldn’t stay with them.

  • White noise:  Some infants find peace in the sound of running water, vacuum cleaner, clothes dryer, etc.  There are also many sound machines designed for infants with the sound of waves, nature, the sound of being in a womb, etc that can be helpful.

  • Give them to grandpa: Well at least that’s what my son does sometimes!  I love that one-on-one time even if it does cut into my sleep time.

One of the more frustrating characteristics of colic is that soothing techniques often give you only a few minutes of relief at a time until the colicky episode passes.  It can become quite difficult for parents to cope with a colicky infant after a long day and weeks or months of not sleeping well due to the responsibilities of parenting an irritable young infant.  Some parents find themselves getting tense, anxious or even angry when their child will not stop crying.  If you find your frustration rising it’s time to take a break.  It is OK to lay your crying baby in their crib for a while, shut the door and give yourself a few minutes of cool-down time.  If you have someone else to share the responsibility take turns comforting your infant.  Most importantly, never let your aggravation lead to shaking your child.  Shaking an infant can lead to brain damage, blindness and even death.

Parenting an infant with colic can be trying so don’t forget to take care of yourself in addition to caring for your infant.  Parents who have someone they trust to watch their infant can schedule date nights to get away for an hour or two, regain some sanity and hopefully nurture their relationship with each other. If you don’t have a significant other just schedule some fun time for yourself, even if it’s just sitting in a nearby park or beach for a short time. It may not feel right at first to leave your infant at such a young age but it can be a great tool to help you cope. 

I remember feeling like the colic would never end when my oldest was an infant, but lo and behold he turned into one of the most easy going toddlers and preschoolers you have ever met. If you’re dealing with a colicky infant don’t give up hope!  It will pass!     

Christopher Pope, ARNP











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2044 Trinity Oaks Boulevard, Suite 235
New Port Richey, FL 34655