PARENTING Advice from the Beach city

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Parenting no doubt is a tricky and testing phase of life. But it can be made easier if there is someone to address your dilemmas. Dr Ibrahim Yousuf, a Karachi-based pediatrician  will write on parenting issues every month exclusively for SNI readers. If you are facing problems with childcare send in your queries right away at: feedback@shifanews.com or post on our facebook page: www.facebook.com/shifa.news.mag


Allergic to roti
Dear Dr Ibrahim,
My daughter is five years old, she is weak and her height is short. She eats less and often complains of stomach pain. A pediatrician in Lahore recently diagnosed her with gluten allergy. I have become really worried. Does this problem go away with time? What foods should I give her then?
-Sana

Dear Sana,
Gluten allergy or intolerance is a genetic disease called celiac disease. Its symptoms become apparent when the baby is introduced to solid foods like wheat, rye, barley or bakery items. Abdominal bloating, pain and excessive gas are the initial signs. And as the problem progresses, the child may experience diarrhea and this causes mineral and vitamins deficiency especially of iron and vitamin D. These deficiencies can have a great impact on his growth. For example. short height and protein caloric malnutrition. Moreover, the baby may lack immunity to fight germs  (viral, bacterial and parasitic). The disease is diagnosed through a blood test known as the anti-tissue transglutaminase IgA. This test, however can show false results therefore cannot be completely relied on. The basic test for this genetic disease is a biopsy of jejunum (small intestine). There is no treatment for it except avoiding wheat, rye, barley and bakery items for life. Mothers need not worry much as quitting these foods would not mean their child’s health will have to be compromised.  They can still eat rice, meat, vegetables and fruits and dairy products.

Stool color means…
Dear Dr Ibrahim,
Does the color of stool in newborns mean something?  Whenever my baby passes green color stool, my mother-in-law says she has caught cold. How true is this?
-Fatima

Dear Fatima,
Whatever the color of stool, brown, yellow or green, it simply does not matter. Bowel movements come in many colors and none is healthier than the other. You should be concerned if the bowel movements turn black and tarry as it can be a sign of internal bleeding. However, iron supplements can also cause black stool. Moreover, red or chalk white stool can indicate a problem with the bile. Beetroot and some red juices however, can turn the stool red too.
Ghutthi or no ghutthi

Dear Dr Ibrahim,
I am eight months pregnant and I want to know why do doctors forbid people from giving ghutthi to a newborn? There is a debate everyday in our home where my mother-in-law says she will give ghutthi to the newborn no matter what, whereas my husband says there is no need of it. Please explain.
-Rubina
Dear Rubina,
Allopathic medicine does not allow any such thing because it does not have any proven research. We therefore do not recommend following ghutthi practice.


The writer is a pediatrician in Karachi and a freelance writer

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