Parenting Corner FAQs

Raising a child does not come with a manual, becoming a parent for the first time can be a roller coaster ride - so much to worry about: teething, walking, talking, eating - the list can go on and on.

The African proverb, 'it takes a village to raise a child' definitely applies to our Parenting Corner. It is a community of support, where users share their experiences in child rearing. Take a look at the questions most frequently asked and how other parents have dealt with and overcome them.

For expert advice visit the Paediatrician.

Q: When can I start giving my child 3 meals a day?

I started my LO (little one) on solids about two weeks ago. She still only eats in the mornings (2 teaspoons of rice cereal). When do I start giving her more and when do I start giving at night? I don't feed her myself in the mornings because she is at day-care. But the day "mommy" said that she loves it and eats everything up. Should I start a teaspoon more everyday and see if she eats it up? And when do you start giving food 3 times a day?

A: My LO started eating 3 meals per day when she was about 10 or 11 months old... I started solids when she was 5 months old. You can add more cereal or you can try something totally different (cerelac or maize) for another week or so. You can give the same amount for breakfast but then give another small amount of veg (maybe?) at night. The clinic always advised to try 1 type of food for a few days before trying or preparing mixes. If LO is allergic, it would be easier to tell what the allergen is!

Q: Help my son has started biting how can I get him to stop?

My son is 9 months old and has started biting, I've tried perhaps biting him back softly, but he only think it's funny and don't want to hurt him! Please could someone help me out or advise what they did?

A: Every child that I have known in my entire life starts biting the minute they realise the things in their mouth can get a reaction out of others. And they stop after a while, my boy is 13 months now with 8 teeth and he doesn't bite as often as he used to. He would now stick his finger in your mouth for you to bite. Your LO is only 9 months and is learning that he can use those teeth in his mouth to his advantage. I think we should let our kids grow up without disciplining them for every single thing they do, yes they do need discipline but surely there are things that all babies/kids go through.

Q: How long does it take to potty train?

My 2 year old recently started potty training about 2 months ago and she is doing well. She has a few accidents and I've been told to take her to the potty every 1/2 hours. But sometimes she's really not interest and only wants a nappy. How long does it take to potty train? Is there anything I can/should do?

A: I started my LO before she turned 2 and it didn't work even though she showed an interest. They started potty training at crèche and I thought she'd be off in no time. 3 months later and it actually got worse! I told the teacher to stop her training immediately as she's not really ready yet. (She wee'd and poohed in the potty but still wanted her nappy). I stopped for 7 months. We started again thereafter and within a week she was completely potty trained. I reckon if it hasn't happened in a week or two your child is not ready yet.

Q: My little boy has not started teething yet, are there any signs to look out for?

My LB (little boy) is 8 months old and has no teeth as yet. He has been drooling and biting on everything that he comes in contact with for the past 2 months now - I thought these were signs of teething. I know most babies start around 6-8 months, just waiting for them to appear. Do you think it will be much longer and what are the signs?

A: My daughter is 18 months old and only now is really starting to teeth. She only had 4 teeth till about 2 months ago now she has 8 in front and 2 bottom molars are cutting. They say the longer they take the better, stronger teeth in the long run cause less exposure to sugars etc.

Q: My little boy can only say words after me, when do children start speaking understandable sentences?

My LO is 23 months and he can say words after me. He calls me Mama, his father Tata, Nanny's name, cousin's name. He understands when you ask him to do something, but now I don't understand the baby language. He knows yes and no and some few worlds like take, move, and sleep. When do they speak full under stable sentences. He is not at crèche. I have enrolled him though.

A:  Most toddlers start stringing words together between2 and 3 yrs. At his age it's more important that he understands you and is able to communicate of his wants even it means pointing and using 1 word. Being at crèche won't fast track his language development. Lots of reading to him and pointing and naming everything do. Also, ask him questions and give him an opportunity to answer. You may also want to complete his action with proper sentences to help with sentence construction. E.g. If he points to the bottle say, botty. Don't just give him the bottle. Use words to phrase his request and answer accordingly, i.e. ask him " Would you like your bottle?" , wait a few seconds and if he doesn't' t say yes or no, then say , " Yes mommy, *baby' s name* wants his bottle."

Q: How do I get my daughter to sleep alone?

My daughter is 8 months old and is extremely attached to me. The only way I can get her to sleep is if I lay next to her on the bed. As soon as I try to move her from my bed, she wakes up and I have to start the whole process from scratch! For daytime naps I either do the same or she lies on my chest on the couch (which is difficult since I can't go anywhere while she's sleeping!) It's becoming a problem for me because this way, I hardly get to spend any time with my five year old son Let me just mention that, if anyone else puts her to sleep, she has no problem with being put down in her cot, and then falling asleep on her own I've tried controlled crying but after three weeks, she still didn't get that she needs to sleep without having me there! How can I get her to sleep in her own room?

A: I have a 2 year old and a 6 month old. We were very strict with my first child sleeping. Leaving her to cry for 5 min periods so that she could learn to self calm and fall asleep on her own. I have never looked back. Since 3 months of age she slept through the night. My next baby was a bit more difficult, but we are trying to do the same. At around 9 months they go through severe separation anxiety so this is probably what happening to your child. You probably needed to do the sleep training sooner. I would try and get someone else to put her down at night, and during the day, if you are alone at home, then I would give her 10 min of crying then go in and soothe her, give her a dummy and walk out and repeat. From experience it takes 3 days for her to learn this new way. It's going to be very tough but if you ever want things to change? Be strong!

Q: My little boy is not walking yet, should I be worried?

My 13 month old boy has never crawled and neither walks at his age. He can't even stand on his own. About 2 weeks ago he stated using his small chair to move around and also his bums. Has anyone of you had a similar experience? I went to his pead at 12 months and he told me that he doesn't see anything wrong with him and that he is a late starter. He referred me to a child physio in case he is still not walking in Feb 2010.

A: I was told not to worry till they reach 18 months. My LB was also a slow starter at walking; only walked at 17 months, although he crawled at 8 months. Your LO already shows he wants to move around, so give him some more time.

Q: My two year old has become very clingy, what could be the cause?

My LB 19 months is extremely attached to me and wants only me. He goes berserk if someone tries to take him from me and takes a while to warm up to even his dad. He wants to be in my arms all the time and will leave it only briefly to play as long as I do nothing else - then he wants me again. Till when does this last?

A: At around that age separation anxiety can become a factor for lo's again. The battle between being a baby and an independent toddler has begun. The phase generally doesn't last too long. My daughter was like that for about 2 or 3 weeks tops. If possible, just give lo the attention when he wants it and get him involved in your activity. My daughter was doing dishes with me, making food, fetching veg, etc. She is 21months now and is happy to be playing on her own, with the occasional check to just make sure I' m still around.

Q: How do you handle tantrums?

What do you do when your baby has a tantrum? My son is 8 months old now and his nanny told me that he had huge fits this past 2 days. The nanny says the smallest thing triggers it like when a toy falls out of his hand (which he can still reach himself) or if you want to swop the item he has with something safer. And don't give him his dummy because that makes it worse. The only way to calm him is to pick him up and then he immediately starts laughing and smiling as if nothing happened. Could it be something else bothering him? How do you handle it?

A: The reason they throw tantrums is because he starts to realise what he wants and he still can't tell you. So it is basically out of frustration that he throws the tantrum. I usually try to put into words what he want so that he knows that I understand what he wants. It doesn't always work, but sometimes it calms him. Then I will tell him why he can't have it. The best way is to distract them. Pull faces or show a different toy or do anything to take their minds of it. Rather hold him and tell him that you understand but this is why he can't have it. We don't realise how much they do understand at that age.

"Kids say the darndest things …. "

"Yesterday when we finished OT, my 6yr old said he needed to make a poo. So off we went to the bathroom at the hospital and he makes a poo. Then he pipes up mid know mom, I love the smell of my own poo."

"Yesterday I visited a friend with my 3yr old daughter. While chatting with my friend I complained about my sinuses and irritation. When we were leaving (in the car) my daughter says to me " your nose will get better ne Ma, but you must also stop eating germs." 

"My 2-year old loves vuvuzelas, but she has always just called it a ''zela''. Yesterday we heard a noise, and she wanted to know what was making the noise, and she got confused with the names and asked if it was a ''peepeezela''

(Health24, May 2010)

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