Introduce the baby

How to ensure all members of the family accept the newcomer.

Doctor mother and baby 370 (photo credit: Courtesy Kaplan Medical Center)
Doctor mother and baby 370
(photo credit: Courtesy Kaplan Medical Center)
I have had a dog at home for nine years – seven years before I got married. I am now six-and-a-half months pregnant and worry that the dog might get jealous of the baby. Is there any way to prepare her for the “intruder” – as she will probably see the baby – who is coming into our lives?
R.J., Ramat Hasharon
Natan Perl, a veteran dog trainer who previously served in the IDF’s Oketz canine unit, replies: When a new baby joins the family, everything changes – for both the pet-owning parents and their dog, which is used to being the center of attention. Inevitably, this will no longer be the case. The dog may demand attention at any price, to reassess her place in the family hierarchy.
A number of things can be done before you give birth.
You must already teach her not to enter the room where the baby will be, and get her used to less attention from you. The dog should be trained not to jump on you and your husband or on guests in the house, and to forgo other habits that could be dangerous to the baby. She should become accustomed to the baby’s bed and carriage, and be taught not to get close to them.
Once you give birth, it’s best for your husband to take the dog for a walk at the same time the baby is brought home for the first time. Then, when the dog returns home, she should find the baby there. It’s advisable for the dog to be able to see the baby and smell him or her carefully and calmly, without feeling threatened – but this must be done only under your supervision. Never leave the baby and the dog together without you being there to supervise.
As time passes, the dog will learn her place and get used to observing the new rules. She will also probably regard the baby as a new friend who joined the family.
My nine-year-old daughter has had a canker sore in her mouth for over two years, right in the back corner between the lower gum and cheek. It annoys her and is very itchy, so she constantly puts her finger in her mouth.This just exacerbates the situation and doesn’t allow it to heal. The pediatrician sent us to a mouth and jaw expert, who referred us to the dentist. But no one has yet been able to alleviate her pain. We’ve been advised only to put canker sore gel on the spot that numbs the area – which she refuses to take because of the bitter taste. Is there any child-friendly way of eliminating or removing mouth sores? Also, is there a way to avoid getting mouth sores, or are some people more prone to getting them?
B.W., Modi’in
Dr. David Friedman, a veteran Jerusalem dermatologist and expert on laser treatment, comments: Recurrent aphthous stomatitis (canker sores) is a common problem among young people. It usually begins through the childhood and teenage years and lasts until the age of 20. Fortunately, most are afflicted with intermittent, self-limiting episodes (that heal by themselves), lasting between seven and 10 days. A minority of patients suffer from continuous or almost continuous oral ulcers, with new lesions developing as old lesions heal. Over 90 percent of recurrent canker sores disappear in five to 15 years, but 10% are stubborn and tend to persist.
The lesions of canker sores are not a disease in themselves but are manifestations of a variety of conditions, some of which are well-defined. These include inflammatory bowel disease, gluten-sensitive enteropathy, Behcet’s syndrome, estrogen-sensitive aphthosis and blood deficiencies. It is thus recommended that a careful history for the associated conditions be reviewed.
Blood tests should be carried out, including a complete blood count, serum B12, folate and ferritin. Associated conditions should be managed appropriately.
Local treatment benefits all patients. Careful oral hygiene, correction of dental defects and periodontal disease, avoidance of dental trauma, avoiding talking while chewing, and regular flossing and brushing are important baseline approaches.
Application of topical steroid gels to early oral lesions every hour or two while awake may prevent the development of more severe lesions. But once an ulcer develops, topical steroid gels should be discontinued and the ulcer bed should be kept clean with a mild antiseptic.
Local pain control prior to meals and bedtime may be effected with viscous lidocaine. For the most severe cases, oral medications such as colchicine or prednisone may be suggested by your doctor.
If your doctor cannot find an associated entity that might be the root of the canker sores, be assured that the condition will most likely go into remission.
Is it safe for pregnant women to fast on Yom Kippur? Does the stage of pregnancy make a difference? I am at 26 weeks in my pregnancy, and all has been progressing normally.
G.V., Modi’in Dr. Raphael Pollack, a veteran obstetrician and director of Shaare Zedek Medical Center’s Bikur Cholim Hospital branch, replies: Fasting by pregnant women is a tricky question, because each woman has specific risks associated with her medical history and the progress of her current pregnancy. In a women who has no problems at all and who can be trusted to break her fast if any untoward consequences of fasting occur, I do not believe there is a problem. But every woman who wants to fast should consult her doctor (and rabbi).
Rx for Readers welcomes queries from readers about medical problems. Experts will answer those we find most interesting. Write Rx for Readers, The Jerusalem Post, POB 81, Jerusalem 91000, fax Judy Siegel-Itzkovich at (02) 538-9527, or e-mail, giving your initials, age and place of residence.