Surviving the Holidays
A big, warm and fuzzy Seasons Greetings from all of us here at Tribeca Pediatrics to all of you and yours! No doubt you have many parties and celebrations to attend with your glorious offspring in the near future and, while there are many fun times to be had, these hustling, bustling days of celebration always come with that threat of derailing our so painstakingly cultivated routines. This month, we’d like to address some of the more common holiday concerns, and offer solutions to send you and yours off on a great start to the New Year.
Food Reactions and Picky Eaters
One of the best things about the Holidays is the abundance of delicious food. If you’re the parent of a young child, however, the smorgasbord of unfamiliar dishes can also present some challenges. If you don’t want to pack a full meal for your little one for every event, here are some tips:
Food allergies are significantly over-diagnosed. In our experience, the best way to know if your child is allergic to a particular food is to assume he isn’t and let him eat what he likes. If an allergy is present, even with a pronounced food allergy, severe reactions rarely occur upon first ingestion, but they’re still unpleasant enough for you to recognize them and take the warning. The first time around, the rash will subside rapidly, and the breathing should be only slightly impaired. In the rare event that the reaction appears very intense or if he is struggling to breathe, it is time to take him to the hospital. Conversely, if he eats some peanut butter and sails on through, there is a near-certain chance that he is not allergic to peanuts. But please be assured, again, that these types of allergies are very rare.
Having a toddler with a particularly picky palate can be stressful over the holidays, but try not to sweat it. Take them along to the party and offer them some of what everyone else is eating. There’s usually enough of a variety to find something they’ll like. If not, and they haven’t eaten by the time mealtime is over, remove the plate and go on to the next activity. The last thing you or your child wants is to have a force-feeding match in the middle of a holiday fiesta. And if they get hungry later on, chances are there will be some leftovers, and junior will be far less picky.
This is going to sound a bit crazy, but if your little one has a big, fat meltdown in the middle of the holiday festivities, just ignore it. Giving undeserved attention to an unwarranted outburst just encourages the bad behavior, both outside and at home. And take comfort. Though you might feel like the center of unwanted attention, you are not the first to be the parent of a screaming, fist-pounding little one, and you won’t be the last.