parenting after divorceThe American Psychology Association estimates between 40 and 50 percent of marriages in the United States end in divorce, the majority of which occur in families with children under the age of 18. Although everyone reacts to divorce differently, and parenting after divorce can be difficult, statistics show children of divorced parents are 15 percent more likely to experience prolonged emotional and behavioral issues than children of non-divorced parents. To minimize the trauma for their children, divorced parents must take purposeful steps to create a safe and nurturing environment for co-parenting after the split.

Right after the split, divorced parents must attempt to resolve their lingering problems and create a feeling of respect. Although you are no longer in a marriage together, you are still parents together. You will still have to make many important joint decisions about your children and how to raise them, which requires the ability to listen and compromise.

Depending on the circumstances of the divorce, mutual respect between you and your ex-partner may be easier said than done. Parents who want to co-parent eventually but have a complicated relationship with their ex-spouse often start out by “parallel parenting.” In this arrangement, both parents assume total responsibility for the children when the kids are with them, making all executive decisions. There are few expectations of joint decisions or contact with the other parent. As time goes on and hard feelings fade, parents may move toward a style of “cooperative parenting” in which parents communicate in a business-like manner regarding the children and coordinate co-parenting schedules. Each parent listens to and considers the other parent’s opinions when making any decisions regarding the children. Cooperative parenting is ideal to establish consistency for the children.

Parents must foster a routine that is stable and consistent for their children. Create a schedule that includes both parents’ respective times with the kids and stick to it. Make sure each party is on time for pick ups and drop offs and keep the same meeting place each day. This allows the kids to get into a routine and create a “new normal.”

Now that you are spending as little as half of the time you used to spend with them, it is important to give them your full attention when you are with them. Children undergoing a divorce often feel they are to blame or that their parents no longer care about them in the way they used to, so it is important to dispel these feelings and make them feel just as loved as they were before. Continue to do the things you used to do with your children and start new traditions together. In turn, it is imperative to also let your children have special moments and routines with their other parent as well. Try to not get jealous when your child talks about spending time with your ex-partner. Instead, rejoice in the fact that your children are still loved unconditionally by both parents.

Regardless, none of the above will last without honest and open communication between both parents and children. Parents must move beyond petty disputes to make decisions about what is best for their child. As time passes and parents meet new love interests and possibly remarry, it is imperative to have honest conversations about how stepparents will fit into the parenting picture. What role will they play in the children’s lives? Will they have a say in parenting decisions regarding the children? These questions should be addressed early to avoid confusion and hurt feelings later.

Every relationship is different, and so is every divorce. What works for one divorced couple may not work for another couple, and vice versa. Above all, it is important to find what works for you and your ex-spouse and continue doing it. If you are having issues determining a new balance after your divorce, reach out to a family or divorce counselor. No matter what relationship issues or ugly history you have with your ex-spouse, focus on your common goal of creating a loving environment for your children that includes both parents.

Have more questions about how to help your child through your divorce? The Association of Childcare Physicians can help.

If you have questions about children in divorce, or any other overall wellness concerns, please give Dr. Shaw or Dr. Kellow a call at 618-235-2311. If you believe your child is struggling emotionally with the divorce, visit our website to set up an appointment today.

sun safetyAfter an unpredictable winter that far outstayed its welcome, it is finally sweet summertime. While this change in season brings a great deal of joy, adventure and excitement, it also brings a number of dangers especially centered around the harmful UV rays from the sun. These dangers are no reason to miss out on summer fun; however, they are important sun safety factors that parents and babysitters should be well aware of. Stay safe this summer with these simple tips before you head out in the sun.

Shield the Sun!

Don’t let fun in the sun cause excruciating pain or permanent damage to your children’s skin. The easiest way to do this while still enjoying the summer is with sunscreen. When selecting a sunscreen to slather on your kids, be sure to use an option with at least 30 SPF. Further, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects from both harmful UVA and UVB rays. If your baby is 6 months old or younger, do not use sunscreen and simply keep your child out of the sun’s harmful rays as much as possible.

The key to applying sunscreen is doing it evenly and often. These are two of the biggest mistakes that plague parents everywhere. Even application is key! With growing popularity of spray-on sunscreens, it is important to remember that simply spraying is not enough. Many experts believe the lotions offer better coverage because it’s easier to see where it’s being applied to the skin. In order to get the best coverage and protection, it is important to rub both spray on sunscreen and lotions into the skin. Following the first application, sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours. This is one of the most common mistakes when it comes to sun protection. Parents and kids get caught up in the fun of the day, forget to reapply then are in for a not-so-fun surprise a few hours later. Always remember to apply evenly and often.

Sunscreen is not the only form of protection against the sun. Clothing is another wonderful option to protect loved ones from overexposure to the sun. This is the best option for infants because of their continually developing skin that is more susceptible to sunburns. Clothing is thick enough to protect from the sun as long as you cannot see through it. Hats are another fantastic way of protecting faces from the sun. Today, many clothing manufacturers also make clothes that are UPF rated and offer wonderful sun protection.

Skin is not the only part of our bodies that can be severely damaged by the sun. Eyes are just as susceptible to sun damage as skin, but the affects cannot be seen immediately like a sunburn. Make sure the kids are sporting sunglasses as they have fun in the sun. A fun bonus is that they will want to wear their sunglasses if they get to pick out their favorite pair at the store. Kid’s sunglasses are affordable and come in countless colors and styles. If the little ones lose their sunglasses, they’ll be cheap and easy to replace. Add a hat to their outfit when playing outside and it enhances their protection!

Timing also plays a role in preventing sun damage. When planning a day of fun in the sun, the American Skin Association states to try and avoid the window between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. This is the time when the sun’s rays are the strongest. We understand that is a large chunk of the day and recommend planning to overlap at the beginning or end of that window. Ideally, plan to avoid being outdoors for the full six-hour window in full sun. This is an added bonus because 10am-4pm is typically the hottest time of day. Look at this period as a time to cool off and relax indoors and possibly put the toddlers down for a nap.

It’s inevitable that sunburns will happen, but what is the best way to treat them? Unfortunately, there is no cure to the pain. Cool baths, aloe vera gel, ibuprofen, and moisturizing cream can all lessen the pain and aid in the healing process. Please give us a call if you have a concern about your child’s recent over-exposure to the sun and we can help with a treatment plan to make the healing process go smoothly.

Refer to these helpful tips and have a wonderful, safe summer in the sun! If you have further questions about summertime and sun safety, please give Dr. Shaw or Dr. Kellow a call at 618-235-2311. Association of Childcare Physicians also offers online appointment scheduling for your convenience.


Anxiety in Your Tween or TeenIt’s likely that someone you know has suffered from anxiety or depression. Often, it’s difficult to spot a person with anxiety because they may just seem shy, introverted or simply quieter than others. Anxiety in your tween or teen is one of the most common emotional problems that can cause crippling behavior, sometimes demonstrated by withdrawing from others but also by tantrums, meltdowns, and compulsive actions.

Are you noticing your teen or tween worrying more than ever before? Is it social anxiety, an anxiety that causes your child to miss out on birthday parties and school dances? Or, do they have illness anxiety, worried that they will become sick and thinking that every cough and sneeze will turn into the flu? Anxiety may be fueled by different triggers in each child. Here is a basic explanation of anxiety and treatments to help your child relate, and live, with this condition.

Because the origin of a child’s anxiety can vary greatly, a common term called GAD, or Generalized Anxiety Disorder, will be highlighted in this article. This condition is characterized by persistent and often unwarranted worry about day-to-day things. The worry can start at breakfast time because the bowl of cereal wasn’t healthy enough, or it can be focused on the classroom assignments at school that day. Whether it’s performance-related worry or fitting in socially, it’s a constant anxiety that things will go wrong. Because children that have anxiety often focus on “perfectionism”, the anxiety can cause extreme studying and/or practicing. The anxiety puts a lotof pressure on your tween or teen, and you’ll probably hear yourself saying to them often, “don’t be so hard on yourself.”

Children with anxiety will also often need reassurance from you about what’s causing the anxiety. Does your child incessantly ask you questions about “whether or not” something will happen? For example, if your child doesn’t like presenting in class, does he/she often go over the assignment repeatedly and then worry that it’s not good enough? And even though the teacher indicated that the material would not be presented out loud in class, is your child certain that it’s going to happen anyway? This constant reassurance is needed to help ease the fear and the worry that’s bubbling within them.

Often, if a child has GAD they will also be a bit more rigid and irritable when confronted with a fear. Emotionally, anxiety can be exhausting to the child, often causing physical symptoms as well to include restless behavior, fatigue, upset stomachs and headaches. If you notice that your child is losing weight, lacking sleep and complaining about headaches or stomachaches due to anxiety, it’s time to schedule an appointment with us to discuss options. Unlike adults with anxiety, children don’t usually recognize or understand that it’s their fears causing them such physical stress.

The fears children with anxiety feel are typically based on tangible, real life issues. Maybe your child had the stomach flu when younger and now even the thought of throwing up is too much to bear. So, your child has adopted a behavior that includes washing her hands repeatedly, excessively, until they begin to bleed. This compulsive behavior of washing hands frequently stems from her anxiety.

There are treatments to consider once your child has been diagnosed with a particular anxiety or general anxiety disorder. GAD is often treated with behavioral therapy by a therapist or counselor. The therapist may provoke anxieties and then teach her ways to manage the worry. Another option, cognitive behavioral therapy, teaches the child to recognize how her thinking may be contributing to her anxiety, helping her comprehend that the anxiety response is out of proportion to what’s triggering it. In some cases, serotonin reuptake inhibitors are recommended or anti-anxiety drugs are prescribed in addition to therapy sessions.

When anxiety becomes so profound that it’s interfering with the child’s life, their overall wellness, and affecting the entire family unit, it’s important to seek help. Untreated anxiety tends to worsen over time and can also lead to depression in older children and adults, ultimately causing more issues. If you have more questions about anxiety symptoms and treatments for your child, please give Dr. Shaw or Dr. Kellow a call at 618-235-2311 or visit to set up an appointment today.

car seat safetyBringing home a new baby is one of the most exciting (and scary!) times in a parent’s life. We want everything to be just perfect for our new bundle of joy, and safety is usually at the forefront of our minds when thinking about our new baby. Even though the baby won’t be moving around for months, we often have already baby-proofed every inch of the house from outlets to cabinets, and friends at the baby shower spoiled us with the latest monitors and crib toys. One of the very first shower gifts we use is the car seat to bring our sweet baby home!

The United States Department of Transportation has a division called the NHTSA – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This department offers handy information for parents and caregivers alike, answering questions about car seat safety, school bus safety, teen driving and more. You can find them online at Fortunately, car seats and boosters offer protection for our babies and toddlers each and every time they take a ride in the car.

The NHTSA has links to car seat types, offering parents information on the four main types: rear-facing, forward-facing, booster seat, and the standard seat belt for older children and adults. All car seats have a variety of seat backs and harness options. Keep in mind that not all car seats fit in all vehicles, so it’s important to do your research when selecting the best car seat for your specific needs.

Rear-facing car seat.

This type of car seat is best for the youngest of children, and also ideal when bringing your baby home from the hospital. It offers a safety harness which helps in the event of a crash because it cradles and moves with your baby to reduce physical stress. Babies usually outgrow a standard, rear-facing car seat by 9 months. Since it’s recommended that your baby be in a rear-facing car seat until the age of two, there are other options available when choosing a car seat for your family.

Many manufacturers offer convertible rear-facing seats to accommodate your child as he/she grows. The convertible seat can eventually be changed to forward-facing with a safety harness and tether. The benefit? It can be used with children of various sizes to ideally keep your child in the rear-facing mode longer, which is the safest position for your child. When you are ready to switch to forward-facing, you can use the same car seat, thus making the convertible seat so desirable. All-in-one car seats even offer the booster seat option to use later.

Forward-facing car seat. This particular car seat offers a harness and tether that reduces your child’s movement if a car crash happens. The forward-facing car seats also offer convertible seat options that switch to a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat, a combination seat that switches for forward-facing, and an all-in-one option for a booster seat.

Booster seats.

In the blink of an eye, your newborn will appear in your rear-view mirror as a bustling toddler and they will need to be secured in a booster seat. Booster seats work well because they position the seat belt properly on a smaller child’s frame. Some booster seats come with a high back that is designed to boost the child’s height and provide neck and head support. The backless booster seats are designed to boost the child’s height so the seat belt works properly. Backless booster seats do not provide head and neck support, though. As stated earlier, many booster seats come as an option in the all-in-one seat systems.

Car seat belt.

For older children, when securing a seat belt, it should lie across the upper thighs and be snug when crossing the shoulder and the chest. This restrains your child properly when involved in a car crash. A seat belt should not cross the stomach area or go across the neck or face of your child.

As children grow, your car seat needs for them will change. Make sure your car seat fits your child’s size, weight and age. When purchasing a car seat, make sure it’s one you can easily install correctly and transfer when using multiple vehicles. On the NHTSA website, you can find and compare seats, research installation help, and look for inspection information. Many public service offices, like fire stations and police stations, offer free clinics to help either install your car seat or check that it’s installed properly.

If you have additional questions about car seat options and resources for your child, The Association of Childcare Physicians can offer suggestions to put you at ease. There are many makes and models of car seats available, offering the safety you require. If you have questions about car seats or any other overall wellness concerns, please give Dr. Shaw or Dr. Kellow a call at 618-235-2311. If it’s time for a check-up, visit our website to set up an appointment today!

sleep training your newbornIn the early weeks of a newborn’s life, a parent’s number one priority is caring for the new baby’s every need, with frequent feedings, diaper changes, and snuggles. Usually around the third or fourth month of a child’s life, a sleep pattern starts to emerge. But, what if it doesn’t? What if those months of sleepless nights start to catch up to you, and your baby hasn’t figured out how to sleep soundly either? It’s time to start looking at techniques for sleep training your newborn before they become a toddler.

Believe it or not, many new parents unwittingly have set bad sleep habits for their newborn. An article in Parents Magazine states that if your 6-month old is still actively waking in the night, it’s definitely time to initiate a more rigid sleep program. It will benefit everyone in your household, including your new baby that needs sleep to achieve optimum health. Following is a 7-day plan that can be helpful for your newborn (or even older child) when trying to achieve a better sleep routine.

Day 1: Set up a Routine

It’s easy to understand why most babies get their nights and days mixed up. In the early days of their life, they are mainly eating, sleeping, and soiling their diapers! Taking long naps during the days will only encourage more restless nights. Research today concludes that even early on, babies can be taught the difference between day and night, but it’s our job as parents to set the schedule.

To begin, wake up your baby early tomorrow and get in the routine of waking up at the same time each day. It also helps to position their crib or bed near a window, with the blinds up. By taking advantage of natural light, if they do wake up at night and see it’s dark out, they will begin to understand it’s time to go back to sleep.

When it’s almost time for bed, begin the same rituals. Quiet time, pajamas, reading…this will also help your baby transition into a nighttime of restful slumber.

Day 2: Keep practicing

Routines don’t happen over-night. You may need to slowly introduce feedings at certain times and a sleep/wake schedule. Does a nighttime bath soothe your baby? Maybe introduce this as a routine event. It’s important to take cues from the baby to see what they like and dislike. What’s important is to keep the nighttime events relaxed, while any daytime feedings and experiences are more lively and playful. This will help your child begin to see the difference between the two timeframes.

Day 3: Pushback begins

After months of restless nights, expect an unfavorable response during sleep training in the beginning. Crying will happen. As parents, it’s treacherous to hear them cry. Experts want to also reassure parents that psychological harm is NOT happening when all other needs are being met for the child during this time. The younger the infant, the easier this entire process will be. Children 6 months and older tend to cry it out more because they’ve been accustomed to the old routine. If the crying is too much to take, go in the room periodically for reassurance but limit the visit to 5 minutes each time that first night. It’s also important to keep him in his crib, keep the light off, etc.

Day 4: Hang tough

The longer it takes to fully implement the new sleep routine, ultimately the harder it will be on all of you. If that first night was an epic fail and you just couldn’t let your little one cry it out, picking him up and a rocking him until he fell asleep in your arms, try, try again. If you are inconsistent with the program and eventually give in each time, your baby will realize this and cry even longer, expecting you to appear in the bedroom like you’ve done every night before.

Day 5: Is it working?

Typically, it takes 3-5 days for babies and toddlers to adjust to this new routine. If there is still crying or restlessness, lengthen the response time. The Parents Magazine article states that checking on the baby is really for the parents’ benefit. If you notice you are fueling your child’s reaction each time you go in, peek in through the door instead but do nothing else.

Also, at about 12 pounds or 3-4 months, most infants are ready to give up night feedings. If night feedings are still happening, keep them quiet, quick, and comforting. Don’t sing to them and turn on the lights so that they can soon fall back to sleep after the feeding.

Day 6: It’s working!

Your sleep routine has been irregular for quite some time, so those first few nights of your baby sleeping blissfully (or waking up but able to fall back to sleep on her own) will seem surreal at first. On Day 6, it’s time to relax. Dress him in warm pajamas so you don’t have to worry about kicking off covers, turn the monitor down some so you only hear it if there’s really distress in the crying. If you DO hear crying, don’t rush in. At this point your child should be able to calm himself.

Day 7: Now it’s your turn

You have your sleep back, and have given your child the important gift of sleep. There will be setbacks, even for children who are typically good sleepers. You can always fall back on this program that worked when your child was young, expecting an easier transition the second (or even fifth!) time around.

Have more questions about your child’s sleep pattern? The Association of Childcare Physicians can help.

If you have questions about ways to help your child have a restful night’s sleep, or any other overall wellness concerns, please give Dr. Shaw or Dr. Kellow a call at 618-235-2311. If it’s time for a check-up, visit to set up an appointment today.


winter safety tips for kidsWinter is a magical time of year: snowflakes, hot cocoa, warm mittens, sledding, skiing and more. What isn’t so magical is getting hurt from being out in the cold for too long. Keep your child safe this winter season with these winter safety tips for kids from the Association of Childcare Physicians:

  • How to Dress

When spending time outdoors, remember to dress your child warmly. Dress them in several thin layers to stay snug, dry, and warm. Don’t forget to cover extremities with hats, gloves, and boots, as they are more likely to get frostbitten. For long car rides, dress babies and children in snug, thin layers rather than bulky coats.

  • Avoiding Hypothermia

Hypothermia is defined as “having an abnormally low body temperature, typically one that is dangerously low.” This occurs when a child is exposed to cold weather without proper winter clothing. The risk for hypothermia greatly increases when clothes get wet. Warning signs for hypothermia include shivering, clumsiness, lethargy, slurred speech, and declined body temperature. If you suspect hypothermia in your child, call 911 right away. While waiting for help, seek shelter indoors, remove any wet clothing, and wrap the child in warm layers.

  • Preventing Frostbite

Frostbite tends to affect extremities like the toes, fingers, nose, and ears when the skin and outer tissues become frozen. Warning signs include red and tingly skin, which may become gray and painful, and ultimately white, cold and hard with no pain. To prevent frostbite, avoid going outside when the temperature or wind chill is below -15 degrees Fahrenheit. When your child does go out to play, dress them in warm layers. If their clothes get wet at any time, bring your youngster inside to change. If frostbite does occur, bring the child indoors and place the frostbitten area in warm (not hot) water. You may want to administer acetaminophen or ibuprofen during this process, as thawing the skin is painful. If blistering occurs, seek medical attention immediately.

  • Winter Health

Cold air and winter winds are typical causes for nosebleeds. To soothe dry and irritated nasal tissue, try using a humidifier in your child’s room at night. Saline nose drops and petroleum jelly can help prevent nosebleeds by keeping nasal tissues moist. Viruses also tend to be more common during the winter, so it is important to stay on top of your child’s health by encouraging frequent hand washing and proper sneezing/coughing techniques.

  • Sun Protection

Many people associate sunscreen with summer time, but applying sun block is just as important during the winter. In fact, it might be more important to be diligent about protecting your skin during the winter, as the sun’s rays can reflect off snow and cause sunburns. Extra moisturizers are also important, because skin can become dry and cracked over the cold, blistery winter months.

  • Winter Sports Safety

While playing outside in the snow seems like infinite fun to children, it’s best to set limits on outdoor play to prevent hypothermia and frostbite. Supervise young children when they are using winter equipment such as sleds, skis, and snowboards. Hills and slopes should be clear of debris and obstructions. Your child should always wear appropriate safety equipment when playing outside, and supervision is especially important when playing on fast moving sleds and snowboards. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye!

The Association of Childcare Physicians hopes you have a happy, healthy (and warm) winter this year. If you have questions about keeping your child safe in the cold weather, please give Dr. Shaw or Dr. Kellow a call at 618-235-2311. If it’s time for a check-up, visit to set up an appointment today.

Food Allergies During the HolidaysHolidays are a time for fun, cheer, and delicious food! However, for some families, food allergies make holidays less than “holly-jolly”. Food allergies can range from mild to severe, but all reactions are equally scary. Mild reactions may involve stomach cramps, hives, or an itchy throat. More severe allergies include anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal if not treated immediately. With such dramatic symptoms, it’s no wonder holiday dinners are a source of anxiety for those living with food allergies, especially if those individuals are children who don’t fully understand their condition. If you or a loved one has a child with food allergies, consider these tips when approaching the holiday season:

  1. Educate

Ignorance is the greatest threat to a child with food allergies. Well-intentioned family members, teachers, and friends would never knowingly put a child at risk, but may unwittingly expose the child to an allergen. That is why it is so important to stress the severity of the food allergy and explain what it means. For example, if a child is allergic to tree nuts, explain which nuts are considered “tree nuts” (pecans, almonds, walnuts, etc.). It also helps to go into detail about how severe the allergy is. Some allergies are less severe than others, but anaphylactic allergies can be life-threatening. Explain that cross-contamination could be a danger, and that all ingredient lists should be thoroughly examined.

  1. Take Precautions

Even after explaining an allergy, it is always better to be safe than sorry. When attending holiday dinner functions, bring along a few dishes you know are safe for your child with food allergies. If your child’s classroom is having a holiday party, send along a special treat that your little one can enjoy instead. That way, they don’t feel left out, but are safe from allergens and cross-contamination. Always keep your child’s allergy medicine and/or epinephrine injector available, in case of emergencies, and be aware of hospitals that are nearby. It may be beneficial to teach family members and friends what to do in case of an emergency, for future reference.

  1. Supervise

Depending on the age of your child, they may or may not recognize the severity of their own allergy. Older children may be able to steer clear of unsafe foods, but younger children may not understand their food allergy. Children are tricky; they may seem perfectly safe sitting in the front room playing with other children, but all it takes is a few seconds and a bowl of mixed nuts on the coffee table for an emergency to occur. Because of this, it is important to keep an eye on your child. Plan with your partner, or another adult, to take turns supervising the child. You don’t have to hover, but keep a watchful eye on their activities. That way, you still get time to socialize, while still making sure your child is safe.

  1. Keep Calm

Even though the holidays can be stressful for parents with allergy-prone children, it is important to stay calm, cool, and collected. If you are anxious and worried about your child’s food allergies, it will rub off on them. It is vital that your child not fear their allergies, but rather be knowledgeable and confident about them. Talk with your child ahead of time about what to expect. Walk them through what they can and can’t eat. Always have an action plan prepared. Try not to scare the child, but rather prepare them so they can enjoy the holidays and stay safe at the same time.

The Association of Childcare Physicians understands you may have concerns about your child’s allergies and we are happy to answer any questions you may have about their health. It is our goal to keep your child happy and healthy! To schedule an appointment or physical, please call Dr. Shaw or Dr. Kellow at 618-235-2311 or visit

Stay Well When Your Kids Get SickDuring cold and flu season, it’s pretty much inevitable that someone you know either at work, school, or in your household will get sick. Especially in the close quarters of your home, having a child battling a cold or flu virus means it’s important to be diligent about staying healthy. As their caregiver, staying well means taking care of their needs as they arise and doing everything possible to stop those nasty germs in their tracks so no one else gets sick.

In the well-insulated rooms of your home, germs can spread easily in tight spaces, which can cause colds and flu to hang around the home longer. Follow these tips to help stay well when your kids get sick and keep everyone happy and healthy.

Child sick? Wash your hands often. It’s also a good idea to have your son or daughter wash their hands if they are moving around beyond the comforts of the couch. A thorough washing of the hands includes soap and water for at least 20 seconds, in between fingers and under fingernails. Additionally, it’s never a good idea to touch your hands to your face, especially if a loved one is under the weather.

Clean the surfaces in the home. If your child has been snuggling on the sofa all day long with a bad cold, take extra steps to limit the spread of germs: make sure the remote has been cleaned prior to using it, pillowcases and blankets are washed, and other surfaces are disinfected. Hard surfaces like countertops, handles, doorknobs, and tables can all aid in the spread of germs if they aren’t cleaned properly. Some germs can live for up to 24 hours! Clean with a disinfectant of your choice or use ¼ cup of bleach mixed with 1 gallon of water for a DIY formula.

As a caregiver, take it easy. We tend to worry when our little ones are sick. Let’s face it: it’s often hard to sleep at night when our child has a cold and is coughing at night, disturbing their sleep and a peaceful house. Generally, our immune system protects us from illness, but it can be challenged when we undergo stress, our sleep is affected or our healthy-eating regimen is comprised. To keep your immune system intact, eat right, drink lots of fluids, and get plenty of rest. Include a regular exercise routine for the best results and to stay healthy. It’s also a good idea to limit the stress in your life, not just when illness hits but as a general practice. Some experts believe in the power of Vitamin C, however; there’s no real proof it does anything other than possibly shorten an illness if you do become sick.

Limit contact as much as possible. Limiting contact with a sick child or loved one may sound like an impossible task, but certain things can be done to help keep you, the caregiver, well. If possible, let the child with an illness stay in their own room to sleep and relax. Offer them all the amenities needed like snacks, plenty of water, a trash can and reading material. Keep guests at a minimum, such as grandparents and friends, so the germs are contained as much as possible. Even if your child feels better snuggling with you at night, it’s in everyone’s best interest to limit those snuggles (at least to the primary caregiver).

Flu shots do make a difference. Want to know one of the best ways to keep germs from traveling around the home? Get a flu shot. It’s one of the best ways to stay well. The vaccine is different every year, so schedule a flu shot with our office if you haven’t already done so. Please give our office a call if you have questions about this year’s flu shot.

If you’re already feeling under the weather, remember the following:

    • Cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow
    • Wash your hands after you blow your nose
    • Steer clear of healthy people in your home until you’re feeling better
    • Remember to not share glasses or utensils if you start to feel under the weather

Cold and flu symptoms can take up to 10 days before diminishing. If you have questions about your child’s symptoms, notice anything unusual about their virus, or if he/she refuses to eat and drink for more than just a couple hours, please give us a call. If it’s time for a visit or check-up, contact Dr. Shaw or Dr. Kellow at 618-235-2311 or visit to schedule an appointment. We look forward to seeing you and hope you have a healthy fall and winter season.

teething childToothache pain can make you miserable, and there’s nothing worse than seeing your little one suffer because of teething. Pointy, sharp teeth poking through gums of your child is certainly going to cause discomfort! Luckily there are various things you can do to ease the suffering, helping your child during this time. Some remedies, like putting a child’s feeding spoon in the refrigerator to chill it off prior to feeding time, will make teething a better experience for your baby and your entire family.

Teething rings. Many babies love using teething rings, and parents sometimes need to figure out which ones seem to work the best depending on their baby’s preference. Teething rings can be chilled in the refrigerator and placed on the gums to help ease the pain. Most babies like to “chew” on the teething ring, alleviating pain on the surface of their gums. Some teething rings are textured and some or not, while some babies prefer the feel of a cold washcloth on their gums instead. You’ll just have to see which method is best for your little one.

There are even newer, creative solutions for moms of teething babes! Specially designed teething jewelry like Teething Bling from Smart Mom Jewelry is made to be gummed by little ones. Made from FDA-approved silicone that is free of phthalates, BPA, PVC, latex and lead. Learn more at

Gum massage. Parents, your clean finger, love and patience can also help ease your child’s pain! Gentle counter pressure from a parent or caregiver’s cleanly washed finger being applied to a baby’s sore gums can ease the pain of teething. This method works in a pinch if you’ve left the teething rings at home and find yourself out and about with an upset teething baby.

Breastfeeding. There are many benefits to breastfeeding, and teething pain relief is yet one more! You may find your baby is wanting to nurse more often now that he/she is teething because it gives them comfort. However, it’s important to note that every baby teethes in a way that is unique, and in some cases breastfeeding may cause irritation. If you find that during teething your baby is on a “nursing strike”, talk to one of us at Association of Childcare Physicians for assistance. One recommended tip is to use the massaging gum technique as stated above prior to feeding. This simple trick can help your child to continue on a healthy, breastfeeding path.

Over the Counter (OTC) Pain Relief. It’s important to talk to your pediatrician prior to using any pain relief medication, but it may be a viable option. If your child is an early teether, a doctor approval should be given for acetaminophen in babies less than 3 months of age and ibuprofen in babies less than 6 months of age. Some patients find that a dose of infant pain medication, especially in the middle of yet another sleepless night, is very beneficial. Make sure you read all labeling carefully. Another benefit of using a pain reliever is that it also helps to reduce any fever that may accompany teething. It can help make your child more comfortable and definitely less irritable.

Other natural solutions, including teething gels. Baby Orajel Naturals, for example, is free of benzocaine, alcohol and dyes and is a natural alternative to OTC meds. The active ingredient in Baby Orajel Naturals is eugenol, which is derived from the oil of the clove plant and is known for its antiseptic and local anesthetic properties. Ask a member of the Association of Childcare Physician’s team if you need more remedies or have a question about a solution for your baby’s teething needs. Sometimes simply a change of scenery for your baby – a distraction like singing, playing or a warm bath – can help ease the pain while building fond memories, too.

Luckily, teething pain isn’t constant in babies and there are many options to help ease their discomfort when it happens. If you notice more pain than usual, or if he/she refuses to eat and drink more than just a couple of hours, don’t hesitate to give us a call. If it’s time for a visit or check-up, contact Dr. Shaw or Dr. Kellow at 618-235-2311 or visit to schedule an appointment. We look forward to seeing you!

Homemade Baby FoodAs new parents, we want to do what’s best for our baby. Creating a healthy, safe haven for our newborn takes precedence over all else, and once baby is old enough to have solid foods (around 4-6 months), parents begin to discuss if the store bought option or homemade baby food is best for their child. The good news is there are many healthy choices available today, including organic options at the grocery store and recipes available online for making your own baby food. Here’s an overview of some reasons why parents may prefer one baby food option over the other.

When to start solid foods

If your baby is around the age of 4 months, can sit up well with support, and shows interest in the foods he sees the family eating, it’s probably a good time to introduce solid food. Another indicator is your baby should be able to move food to the back of his mouth and swallow it, instead of using the tongue to push food out of the mouth. If your baby is exclusively breastfed, it is recommended that you wait until he is 6 months to start solids. As always, please ask any of the medical professionals at our office if you have questions or concerns about the proper time to introduce solid foods.


The benefits of homemade baby food are many. As parents, we want to know what’s in the food we are feeding our little ones. When you make your own baby food, you know exactly what’s in it! Also, many of the pre-packaged baby foods come in only 1-2 variations. When you make your own food, you can get creative with the food that you choose to puree and blend together. This gives your child more variations, hopefully creating a more adventurous eater as they age. One of the main reasons parents like to make their own baby food? From the start, your baby can begin eating the same food as the rest of the family but just in a mashed form.

Advocates of homemade baby food also believe that it’s more cost-effective, although parents with busy schedules may believe the opposite is true. Homemade baby food doesn’t have as long of a shelf life, so it’s important that parents refrigerate or freeze the baby food to make it last longer. Store bought baby food doesn’t require refrigeration until after it’s opened. Jarred baby food is cooked at higher temperatures to kill any bacteria for that longer storage time, but advocates of homemade food don’t like the idea that the high temps also remove some of those healthy vitamins and nutrients.

There are numerous online resources for baby food recipes and many require a simple food processor. Moms and dads alike can make various batches at a time using different fruits and veggies, making a month worth of food in advance and then storing it properly. Online websites like Cooking Light, Parents, and Parenting all offer baby food recipes for parents wanting to try the homemade baby food route. When making homemade baby food for your little one, it starts them on the path of enjoying healthy meals as he or she grows.


Although it’ll be hard to find parents completely against the idea and benefits involved in baby food that’s homemade, some parents simply do not have the time it takes to make and prepare a lot of smaller servings for their baby. If there’s not enough time in the day, it may not make sense to make baby food in the little “free time” you have. For example, if you are working full time and only get a chance to spend quality time with your baby on weekends and in the evenings, do you really want to be in the kitchen making baby food for hours instead of playing and snuggling as a family?

Pre-packaged baby foods are available in measured amounts and ready to serve portions, making store bought a more convenient option. As mentioned previously, homemade baby food can spoil more quickly and requires proper storage. Experts say that today’s baby food is very pure to begin with, and if making your own food seems too daunting, focus more on healthy table food later and as they grow. Overall, it’s really a short period of time your child will be on pureed food anyway. Depending on your family and your lifestyle, store bought baby food may be the best option, offering more family time and less stress.

Association of Childcare Physicians welcomes any questions that you may have regarding your baby, including nutritional recommendations. We can help navigate you during this very new and exciting time in your baby’s life! Please contact Dr. Shaw or Dr. Kellow at 618-235-2311 or visit our website to schedule an appointment.

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