Mother and Baby

Wednesday Lunch Club Q+A With Paediatrician Dr Hesham Abdalla

Missed our Wednesday Lunch Club with Dr Hesham Abdalla? Don’t worry, you can read all of the advice he shared here

Every week at Mother&Baby we bring you the Wednesday Lunch Club – a chance to get brilliant advice for your fertility, pregnancy and parenting questions from a top expert. 

This week, Dr Hesham Abdalla was on board to answer your questions.

Dr Hesham is a paediatrician at George Eliot Hospital Nuneaton and is experienced in managing common infant health problems, including development and behavioural issues. A member of the Royal College of Child and Paediatric Health, he’s won a national award in improving patient experience so really does have all our best interests at heart.

If you missed the chat, here’s what happened…

What can you do for a baby who's snoring is worse than my 70-year-old grandad? Plus he sweats insane amounts every night even when snowing outside! Is it something to be worried about?

Dr Hesham: Although it doesn't sound dangerous, I would still have your baby assessed by a paediatrician. It sounds like there may be a partial obstruction to your baby’s upper airway and the sweating could be caused by the increased effort he’s having to put into breathing. From there you may be seen by an ENT specialist who may want to have a look inside your baby’s nose using a flexible camera.

I'm worried my nine month old may have a dairy allergy as she seems to have all of the 'common' symptoms that I’ve read about like bloating and reflux. Is the testing scary for her? How is it done?

Dr Hesham: There is no definitive test for cow’s milk protein allergy, I'm afraid. The only way to be sure is to stop all milk-containing products and substitute them with hypoallergenic milk. Then observe if the bloating and reflux improve.

The best way to do this is to ask for a referral to a paediatric dietician, who would help guide you through this process and supply the substitute milk, if that is what she also suspects. If the allergy is confirmed, then your child will most likely grow out of her allergy, but this may be speeded up through a graded introduction of cooked milk and again the dietician could help with that.

My four year old has been complaining of stomach pain and had diarrhoea in the last 24 hours. Is it time to go to the GP (hate wasting their time if it's nothing)? Could it be gastroenteritis?

Dr Hesham: It could be gastroenteritis – in which case most children recover completely with no need to see a health professional. If he’s becoming dehydrated (drinking less than half is usual amount, weeing a lot less and becoming lethargic), then you probably should see someone to have your child assessed. In the meantime, encourage him to drink plenty – diarolyte if they will take it, as it has the perfect combination of salts and sugars to keep them well whilst the body fights off the infection.

How soon should a baby start walking? My 18 month old will crawl but still doesn't show any sign of walking.

Dr Hesham: At 18 months it's probably a good time to talk to your doctor or health visitor about a referral to a community paediatrician to assess his development. Remember that motor development is real variable and if your baby started to move around by bottom shuffling before he learned crawl, then he may walk later.

My little boy is 15 month old and seems to be communicating less and less with us. I'm really worried about autism – could it be that?

Dr Hesham: Autism can present at your son's age so it is good to be alert to the signs and symptoms. Language regression can be one of those, so it would be sensible to keep a note of the words that he can say and keep a log of when he uses a new one.

I would suggest that you ask your GP for a referral to a speech and language therapist who would be able to help maximise your son's language and direct you to the other services he may need.

My daughter is three and has suddenly started getting scabby bits of skin on her scalp. She didn't really have cradle cap when she was younger but not sure if this what this is now. It appears right on the hairline above her forehead.

Dr Hesham: You're right that cradle cap doesn't appear at this age, but it could still be another form of eczema. It would be sensible to use a moisturising shampoo such as oilatum, to try to clear it as a starting point.

The good thing is that having chicken pox so young means the baby is less likely to scar

My six-month-old baby is recovering from chicken pox, but as her scabs are drying out I'm worried about them leaving scars. Is there anything I can use on her skin to minimise scaring?

Dr Hesham: There's not much you can do I'm afraid. The good thing is that her having chicken pox so young means she is less likely to scar. Generally the younger the better.

Good advice whenever you do have a child with chicken pox, to reduce scarring is to try to prevent them scratching the scabs, by using a moisturing cream (Calamine Aqueous is a good option) and a sleep-inducing anti-histamine at night such as Piriton.

Which topics would you like covered in our Wednesday Lunch Club? Let us know in the comments box below.


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