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My son's response was 'scared' every time we mentioned or gave him milk. What is your advice?


This is a collection of common questions raised by parents about their children during interactive sessions and even through email. Some of them are unique while others are fairly frequently raised. The information provided are for general consideration and are to be taken in their respective context.

My 19 months old son vomited twice and diarrhoea a few times within 6 hours. He was diagnosed with virus gastric flu. We were advised to switch to soy milk or dilute his current formula. However, immediately after seeing the pediatrician my son refused to take any milk and cereal. His response was "scared" every time we mentioned or gave him milk. 

It has been 3 weeks and he still refuse to take his milk even we tried soya bean milk and chocolate milk. He used to take 4 to 5 feeds plus 2 solids. He is loosing weight and we could see his progress slow down. He used to be hyperactive and learn new things very fast. But our main concern is his immune system and health. His weight was 12.5kg before the vomiting episode and now is only 10.8kg (Height 83cm).

Please advise us how we can encourage him to have his formula which he always enjoy more than any other food for we understand the importance of milk and do not want him to stop at this tender age.

Your son’s episode of vomiting and diarrhea appeared to be significant as his weight has fallen from about 12.5 kg (90th percentile) to 10.8 kg (25-50th percentile).  Some children develop lactose intolerance after a severe bout of diarrhea.  Drinking milk makes them colicky, bloated and pass loose stools.  It is then understandable that they do not want to drink milk.   Unfortunately, at this period of time, your son has a good memory (ie he remembered the unpleasant experience) but does not understand reasons well (that he is now well and able to drink milk again).  Ask him to express his emotion and explain why he was ‘scared’.  I suggest not to hurry him on the issue.  If there is a family history of lactose intolerance, this period may last even longer as he may have genuine lactose intolerance.  Rather, encourage him to eat a balance diet of egg, meat, fish and various vegetables.  If necessary, supplement him with multi-vitamin.  You should aim to help him to gain weight as a first priority.  Later on, you can try cheese and yoghurt.  Gradually introduced soy based formula for a month before trying cow milk formula again.  Parents may have to drink the same formula for a while to entice him to give it a try.  Bring him to see his doctor if he is unable to gain weight despite a balanced diet for a month.    

N.B. The information provided does not constitute formal medical advice. You are advised not to substitute the information provided for professional medical care & consultation.

Past Questions & Answers

When can we start adding seasoning to baby's food? My boy is now just 12 month old, and I was thinking if he could start tasting our food.  What about cod liver oil? Could I start him on that now?

It is generally not recommended to add additional seasoning such as salt and sugar to baby's food.  There is sufficient natural flavouring, sodium, sugars in fresh foods.  The longer you can avoid adding artificial seasoning the better.  On the other hand, toddler more than a year old may wish to try adult food on the dinner table.  It is alright to choose those with the least seasoning for him to try first.  If he enjoys eating with you on the table, then you could consider reducing the artificial seasoning for the dishes for the adults.  After all, many health foods today highlight the lack of artificial seasoning in their core ingredients.

You can start your 1 year old toddler on cod liver oil now.  Follow the dosing instruction on the bottle.

Is heat rash considered a form of eczema?

Heat rash is generally not eczema ie any child can have a heat rash.  However, children with atopy or eczema have a higher tendency of developing rash with changes in temperature ie they can develop heat rash more easily.  You need to use soap free bath and moisturising lotion for a child with sensitive skin.

My child is 2 months old.  I am planning to continue breastfeeding even after my maternity leave.  What preparation should I make?

If you are direct breastfeeding now, you should express your milk and feed your baby one to two bottles of expressed milk daily so that she will be used to the bottle.  Another care-giver can start feeding the baby as well.  You should also prepare a bag to bring the breast pump and sterilized bottles / milk bags to the office and enquire about the facility (refrigerator) to store the expressed breast milk.  You should also buy a cool box / bag to transport the milk home after work.  

My child is 4 months old.  He likes to suck his thumb before he sleeps.  Is there any concerns?

Some young children like to suck their thumb before they sleep  or when they are hungry.  This is normal behavior and of no concerns.  Some parents prefer to replace the thumb with a pacifier or a teether as they believe that it will be easier to wean them off later.  It is appropriate if your child accepts it.  They usually grow out of it by 9 -12 months.  

Can my one month old baby drink water?

It is not necessary to feed young babies water in the first few months of life as they are on breast milk or formula feeds only.  There is adequate water in their feeds already.  However, it is harmless if baby wish to have sips of water, especially in our hot climate.  It may even be beneficial for her to get used to drinking plain water so that she will not reject it when she is on weaning diet later on.  Take care not to feed baby with excessive water so that it will not interfere with nursing.



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