Newborn Hygiene Care

AlzeinPeds hygiene

There is so much information out there about your newborn; sleeping, eating, bonding, peeing, pooping and much more.

What seems to be lacking, however, is information about what else is contained in your child’s diaper. Parents should be aware of several things about their newborn’s genitals, both boys and girls.

Circumcision Care

The decision to circumcise your newborn boy may be based in your religion or culture, societal norms or health concerns. The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees that there are health benefits to circumcision, but hesitates about recommending it as a routine, standard procedure.

Research suggests boys who are circumcised have a lower risk of urinary tract infections, penile cancer, and sexually transmitted diseases.

If you make the decision to have your son circumcised, it should be done as soon as possible. Some of the foreskin that covers the penis will be removed, exposing the glans and urethra opening. The procedure is very quick and a local anesthetic will be applied to minimize pain.

After the procedure, you may notice the penis is raw-looking or yellowish. At each diaper change, apply a liberal amount of petroleum jelly to the penis to prevent sticking to the diaper as it heals. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after each diaper change. Your son’s penis should heal quickly. If it has not healed within 10 days of the procedure, if you see any new bleeding or increased redness at any time, or if you still see a yellowish discharge after 7 days, call our offices.

Uncircumcised Care

Your son’s foreskin will eventually naturally retract from the tip of his penis, but there is no exact timetable for this. It could occur before your child turns two, or it might not happen until puberty. Do not force this retraction as it can cause tears in the foreskin, bleeding and severe pain.

As foreskin and penis separate, you may see white, pearly lumps under the foreskin. This is dead skin cells shedding and completely normal.

Until the foreskin retracts, keep the outside of the penis clean. As the foreskin retracts, it is important to clean under it regularly. Teach your son how to gently pull back the foreskin, wash the area underneath with mild soap and warm water, and then pull the foreskin back over the penis. This hygiene is especially important to perform daily – just like brushing his teeth – once he begins puberty and every day thereafter.

Your Daughter’s Care

Seeing blood in your newborn girl’s diaper can be upsetting, until you know that this discharge, along with any thick, milky substance is perfectly normal.

About 2 to 3 days after birth, a tiny menstrual period may appear, due to your daughter’s withdrawal from the hormones she was exposed to while in utero. Her labia major and clitoris (the areas outside of her vagina) may also be swollen and enlarged from the hormone exposure.

Avoid using soap, lotions, ointments or powders on your daughter’s genitals. Use warm water only and wipe any bowel movements away from her vagina. Gently wash the creases in her labia and understand that she has a natural cleaning system for the inside her vagina.

If the bleeding persists for more than a day or two, or if there is any foul odor from the discharge, call our office for an appointment.

When you have questions about your newborn’s health and wellness, we are here to help! Just call 708-424-7600 or visit and click “Make An Appointment.” 

Your child is 2-1/2! That’s a milestone!

Thoughtful Little Girl

While it might not be a birthday, 30 months old is HUGE for your child. So many important markers should now be met – or very close to it. Ensuring that your child is on track, or getting early intervention for things that are concerning, is an important part of your child’s 30-month well visit.

Your Alzein Pediatrics medical staff will exam your child’s physical health with a complete exam, listening to heart and lungs, examining ears, eyes and throat, bone, spine and posture development and alignment. We’ll check your child’s height and weight and also his BMI (body mass index), as obesity issues can start at this age. We’ll make sure immunizations are up-to-date.

We’ll check for developmental milestones and make recommendations if we see something that could be of concern. Things we’ll look for and ask about include:

  • jump in place
  • dress with some assistance
  • use “I”, “me” and “you” when speaking
  • match shapes and colors
  • throw a ball using an overhand motion
  • identify body parts
  • show an interest and beginning ability to play with other children

Your child should be showing an interest in potty training, such as sitting on a potty chair and watching parents or siblings use the toilet. Your child should have a dry diaper for hours at a time, be understanding the physical urge to “go” and telling you when his diaper is soiled and needs changing.

We’ll discuss sleeping habits. Toddlers need about 13 hours a day, and may still be taking an afternoon nap.

Diet and eating habits will be discussed, but we won’t be troubled if you relate that your child eats little to nothing on some days, or only eats yellow foods on other days. Your job as a parent is to provide healthy, nutritious meals and snacks throughout the day; your child’s job is to determine for himself how much he actually needs to fuel his body at that time.

While you’re here, we’ll encourage to ask us about any struggles or questions you may be having at this time of your child’s life, whether it’s about physical issues, behavioral issues or developmental milestones. We are always here to support you!

30 months – 2-1/2 years old – is a big deal! When your child is near or just past that age, make an appointment with Alzein Pediatric Associates by calling 708-424-7600 or visiting and clicking the yellow “Book an Appointment” button. 

Dr. Alzein Donates Skills to Children in Syrian Refugee Camps in Lebanon


Working with SAMS highlights human goodness for Dr. Hassan Alzein

– When confronted with poverty, violence and cruelty, Dr. Hassan Alzein looks in a different direction. He sees the kindness, compassion and selflessness of human nature amidst the tragedy.

Dr. Alzein, a pediatrician in Chicago’s southwest suburbs, is a founding member of SAMS, the Syrian American Medical Society. He recently completed a medical mission to Lebanon.

“One person can have such an impact. For instance, an oncology nurse from New York realized there is an urgent need for shoes in these refugee camps, so when she returned to the United States, she organized a project, collected thousands of shoes and sent them to Lebanon. What a difference she made,” says Dr. Alzein.

Dr. Alzein and SAMS have made quite a difference too. Founded in 1998, SAMS brings together thousands of healthcare professionals in the United States and around the globe, providing members with networking, educational, cultural, and professional services. While SAMS organizes and facilitates medical missions to provide healthcare to Syrians inside Syria as well as in refugee camps in Jordan, Turkey and Greece, Lebanon camps are a special case. “This area is extremely fragmented. Most of the region is controlled by militias, but it’s difficult to understand who controls what. There is a great deal of instability and that is very dangerous. Refugees in these camps are desperate,” says Alzein.

“It took me years to collect my courage to go to Lebanon. It was only after seeing my colleagues going and then returning safely that I thought it was okay to go myself. It’s an unusual place for medical missions to go,” says Dr. Alzein.

More than 11 million Syria citizens have been killed or become refugees since Syria’s civil war began, creating the worst humanitarian crisis of this generation. Nearly 5 million Syrians are currently refugees. Over 1 million of these refugees are registered in Lebanon; that population is nearly a quarter of the population of Lebanon itself. About half of the refugees are children.

After spending his first two missions in 2015 and 2016 in clinics, working with SAMS and NGOs (nongovernmental organizations), Dr. Alzein spent his time this year within the refugee camp itself. The camp designated a room for the physicians, surgeons and specialists to use as a clinic and the team started seeing patients.

In camp and in other locations, the team saw over 1,400 patients in just 5 days. Dr. Alzein himself examined and treated 229 children. They also participated in educational and social events to support the refugees.

“The health care facilities in Lebanon are not equipped to handle such a huge influx of people. The refugees are poor, so local doctors cannot devote too much time to helping them when they cannot pay. They have no transportation, so they cannot travel to clinics,” he said.

The children he sees have been acutely affected by their dire situation. “I’m speaking to a 4- or 5-year old and he is talking as if he is 12 or 13. There is a maturity there which is unhealthy. There are like little men instead of children. It’s not normal. These children have been robbed of their childhood.”

In fact, refugee children have been adversely affected by this crisis – tremendously. Despite the best efforts of adult refugees to set up schools and maintain educational standards, they have fallen years behind. They have suffered physical trauma and psychological trauma. They are typically malnourished and suffer from a larger incidence of illnesses than average. Children who have lost parents and guardians are at extreme risk of abuse and exploitation. Dr. Christine Latif of World Vision says, “The children of Syria have experienced more hardship, devastation and violence than anyone should have to in a thousand lifetimes.”

“In years past, I have seen children who are anxious and frightened in this living situation. Now, it is worse, because these children have become resigned to “this is my life”. We are past the acute phase and they are living with PTSD,” says Alzein.

Few children receive vaccinations, Dr. Alzein says, because vaccines require special handling and refrigeration in transport, impossible to achieve. He stresses that proper vaccination should be a priority and hopes the United Nations will address this situation soon.

“My job for these five days was to provide urgent care services – treat fevers, bacteria infections, dehydration. It is a challenge as proper medications and supplies are always an unknown factor. We are very limited in what we can bring into the camps,” he stated.

“We are scavengers,” Dr. Alzein says. “We survive on donations.” But instead of worrying about the lack of supplies, he is awed by the giving human spirit.

The best days, he says, are when the containers arrive. “People donate from all around the world. I was there last year when a container was opened and it was so wonderful. We were happy – unloading boxes and taking pictures.”

Any one of those containers might hold medications, medical hardware or medical equipment. SAMS techs dissemble, ship and then reassemble just about anything; dental chairs, x-ray and other diagnostic equipment, wheel chairs and more.

“When a physician’s office, clinic, surgical center or hospital is getting new equipment, we hope they consider donating to SAMS or any other NGO medical mission. Any equipment – no matter how small or large – is needed and will be gratefully accepted.”

Dr. Alzein and his practice, Alzein Pediatric Associates, have their own history of giving. Both Dr. Alzein and his wife, a registered pharmacist, volunteer on SAMS medical missions. Alzein Pediatric offices in both Oak Lawn and Evergreen Park are donation sites for SWADDLE, Southwest Area Diaper Depository for Little Ends. They are also registered Little Free Libraries, helping children become book owners and improving literacy rates.

It’s not just medical supplies that these displaced children and their families need. Those shoes, for instance, clothing, coats and blankets are all needed as well. Dr. Alzein says, “I’ve learned that when you ask, people really want to help. It’s what makes us human, what connects us around the world. When someone is in need, there is someone there to help.”

To learn more about medical missions or to donate, visit or call Dr. Alzein’s offices at 708-424-7600.

Help Your Child Make Friends With A Child With Autism


Making friends is one of our first joys in life, and we continue to feel that delight each time we add a new friend to our circle, no matter how old we get. For most children with autism, it’s extremely challenging to make a friend. Some parents of autistic children would say it’s nearly impossible.

April is National Autism Awareness Month, but we’ve decided to focus not on autism itself in this message but to helping your child extend that joy of friendship to a child with autism. In the process, your child will learn valuable lessons that will give them a lifetime of joy as well.

First, remember that children learn by example. Treat and discuss any differently-abled child or adult with compassion and kindness. Explain to your child that all kinds of brains work all kinds of ways – and none of those ways make a person less or “wrong”.

Tell your child to look for the strengths in a potential autistic friend. What makes that particular child unique? What kinds of things is he interested in? What kind of common ground do they share? What can they talk about together? What can your child learn from this potential friend? Encourage your child to be vocally open with admiration for the autistic child’s skills and interests.

Begin by inviting the potential friend to your home, for a one-to-one playdate. Beforehand, explain to your child that accommodations may have to be made for his new friend. Loud music may be aggravating. The new friend may want to only play one game the entire visit. The new friend may make statements that your child (and you) perceive as rude.

Your child should understand that autistic children may think very literally and have a difficult time understanding politeness to spare feelings, certain forms of humor including good-natured teasing, and figures of speech. Your child should speak literally, asking “How are you feeling today?” instead of “What’s up?” which may confuse his new friend.

If your budding buddies are of school age, mention this merging friendship to teachers, so they can help guide both children in the classroom setting when possible.

Urge your child to include her new friend in group activities. Your child’s friend may want to avoid, or become upset with, games that are loud and chaotic. Suggest to your child that she encourage quieter, structured games when including her friend in larger groups. Make it very clear that you expect your child to stand up for her friend if someone begins teasing or bullying.

Many people mistakenly believe that children on the autism spectrum “don’t have feelings.” The truth is autistic children do experience love, joy, anger and more, but they have difficulty expressing feelings verbally. Tell your child that when his autistic friend begins to “melt down” or exhibits other non-typical physical behaviors, it’s his way of communicating feelings and frustrations that can’t yet be put into words.

Use role-playing to help your child help his autistic friend through social feedback. If your child is troubled that his autistic friend is doing and saying inappropriate things, explain that telling the friend the right thing to do or say – in a kind and polite way – will actually help the friend learn necessary skills.

As much as an autistic child will benefit from this friendship – and his parents be forever grateful to you and your family – your child will gain compassion, learn to value all individuals, besides gaining a marvelous friend!

Want to learn more about autism? Call our office at 708-424-7600 or visit our Facebook page and join in the conversation all month! 

Enough Negative Mommy Blogs!

Mother And Son In Kitchen Looking At Laptop Together

At Alzein Pediatric Associates, we completely understand the need for support and friendship when you are a parent. Positive interaction with child caretakers of all sorts are important to getting through sleepless nights, toilet training, bullying, puberty and teen angst.

Yikes – that list scares us and that’s not even skimming the surface of parenting!

This need for sympathy and understanding has birthed a wide variety of “mommy blogs” and “daddy blogs.” Some of them are sweet and funny and can help a parent or caretaker get through difficult – sometimes painful – days and nights. But many of them seem to pit child against parent with sarcasm, spite and often downright cruelty. Reading those often can begin to slant your view on parenting.

We’d like to ask our parents to step back and interact positively, with affection and love, with understanding and sympathy not only for each other, but for their children.

See your kids as your family, not your enemy.

You had kids for a reason, so reflect on that reason every morning before you begin your day – and you’ll start off with a joyful attitude. Remember that when unpredictable things happen – spilled cereal, forgotten lunch, last minute need for a ride – they happen because your child makes mistakes, just like you do. Encourage your kids to make things right themselves, because you are a family team, not adversaries. Hand your child a cloth to wipe up the milk, explain that you’re sorry they’re hungry but getting to school is just impossible and help your child understand that requesting a ride at the last minute is disrespectful of your time. When you show your child that you expect them to problem-solve in a healthy manner, they will begin to do it more and more often.

It doesn’t always have to be peanut butter. 

Catering to exactly and only what your kids want will only make you resentful – and it won’t give them an opportunity to expand their viewpoints. When it seems like the only outing you ever have is to a jumpy playground, it’s time to include everyone’s needs. Involve your kids in your hobbies too – whether it’s biking, golfing, gardening or going to museums. By sharing your enthusiasm for a diverse variety of activities, your child will become enthusiastic too, and begin to understand and appreciate experiences that will carry her into adulthood. You’ll also find a bonus here. The more you include your child in your passions, the more you’ll have to talk about together as she grows.

You don’t have to be a “Mean Mom” to have good kids. 

Setting limits on your children is a very good thing. Kids of all ages need to understand the rules you put in place should be followed. But being a strict disciplinarian and declaring “Because I said so” doesn’t make kids toe the line. Explain to your kids – even the smallest toddlers – that your restrictions on their behavior are because you want to protect them – their physical health, their emotional well-being and their chances of success in life. Treat your kids as intelligent, feeling people, with goals, needs and ideas of their own. Listen with an open mind to what they are actually saying and thoughtfully consider their point of view. You may find that loosening or changing a rule is really in their best interests. And that doesn’t make you a “Cool Mom”, it makes you a great parent.

Avoid social media sites that make you cranky and unhappy about being a parent. Find parenting blogs that make you feel good about being a parent. Even better – start a parenting blog yourself! Send us the link, or post it on our Facebook page and we’ll be happy to share!

Feeling overwhelmed and crabby about parenting? Call Alzein Pediatric Associates at 708-424-7600 to discuss ways to cool down and appreciate your children!

Handling Separation Anxiety

Little boy in tears with his mother

Your infant was happy to be held by Grandma, loved being talked to by Uncle Fred and was all smiles when you left her at daycare. Suddenly, at about six months old, your child cries whenever you leave the room and clings to you when Grandma wants to play. What is happening?

Your baby has developed the sense of “object permanence”. Previously, when you were out of sight, your baby didn’t understand that you still exist, and she didn’t really think about you coming back as long as she was fed and diapered. Now, your baby knows that people and things out of her sight range do still exist and when you leave her sight, she is concerned that you may not come back. As she has no sense of time, it doesn’t matter if it’s for a minute or for hours – she’s going to cry until Mom or Dad – or both – is in her sight again.

Separation anxiety can develop anytime between 4 months and 2-1/2 years, and is sometimes triggered by life events, such as the arrival of a new sibling, family challenges or a new home.

Sometimes, dealing with separation anxiety is more difficult for parents than it is for the child! There are a few things you can do to to ease or avoid separation anxiety – both for your child and yourself.

Avoid starting new childcare or sitters between the ages of 4 months and one year, when your child first develops object permanence. If you cannot avoid a new care situation, visit together with the new caregiver several times before you leave him for any length of time. If possible, leave him for a just a short time before you leave him for a full day or longer period of time.

Consider your child’s mood when you must leave her. Make sure she has napped, is fed and is newly diapered before separating, so there is no physical discomfort to exacerbate her anxiety.

Tell her when you’ll be back, even when she’s just six months old. Use time frames that are easy to understand, such as “Daddy will pick you up after you play with Nana in the park” or “I’ll be here to get you after lunch.”

Goodbye rituals will help your child understand that you’re going to leave now and you’re going to come back. Create a phrase you say every time you leave, such as “Love you to the moon and back”. Pay full attention to your child when you use this phrase, give him a kiss and hug and then leave – no turning back.

Always follow through on pickup times. While we know life can get in the way of a flawless schedule, your child can’t understand why “traffic” is more important than he is. Make sure you give your child a larger window of time than you’ll actually need to return for him. Being surprised by Dad being early often is much better than the anxiety your child will feel if Dad is late once. If things go wildly awry, make sure you call your caregiver and have them explain that Dad is very sorry he’s going to be late, but he’ll be there by bath time.

Trust your instincts. If your child is not sleeping, not eating or is refusing a caregiver, it’s time to look carefully at what could be happening when you’re not there.

Most children will grow out of separation anxiety before they enter preschool. If your child’s anxiety continues, or if it seems extreme, resulting in panic attacks, nightmares or excessive worry, call Alzein Pediatric Associates at 708-424-7600 or click the yellow “Book an Appointment” button on the left. We’ll be happy to help your family.

My Baby Is Breaking Out!

Baby Acne


Your baby is born with skin that’s almost too soft and beautiful to be believed. You’ve probably spent the first few weeks just rubbing your finger along her arm or cheek, practically addicted to the smooth tenderness.

And then suddenly your two-week old infant looks like a orange! His cheeks, nose and forehead are bumpy and red, with tiny pimples. Is this an allergic reaction? Is it dangerous Should you call Alzein Pediatrics?

Probably not. This rash is most likely one of two very common skin eruptions; erythema toxicum, or E tox, or milia. These conditions appear within one to four weeks of birth. Despite the old wive’s tale that these are caused by Mother’s hormones leaving Baby’s body, there is no evidence to support this idea.

E tox, also called baby acne, usually appears within the first week or so after birth. It does look like acne, with yellowish-white bumps in the middle of red swellings. The irritation can appear on your baby’s face, torso, upper arms and thighs. About half of all babies will experience E tox.

Milia are also tiny white bumps, on cheeks, chin and across the nose. Milia are cysts that form because your baby’s oil glands are still developing. Skin does not slough off normally, and becomes trapped in a tiny pocket of skin. Milia that forms on the roof of your baby’s mouth are called Epstein Pearls. Milia is common and normal.

Getting rid of either E tox or milia is simple – do nothing! Either condition will disappear within a few weeks. Keep your baby’s face clean and dry, using tepid water and a soft cloth. Don’t use soap or other drying agents. Do not apply any over the counter medications, as ointments and creams meant for adult can harm your baby’s fragile skin.

If the rash lasts longer than a few weeks or if it seems to burn or itch, causing discomfort, call your Alzein Pediatrics medical professional at 708-424-7600 or click the yellow “Book An Appointment” button on the left. We will examine your baby’s skin condition and, if necessary, prescribe an age-appropriate medication.

Questions about your baby’s skin – or anything else? Alzein Pediatric Associates is always ready to provide full information and details about your child’s health and well-being!

Does my baby need a head-shaping helmet?

Cute newborn little boy sleeping in a white round crib

In 1990, about 5,280 infants died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). In 1994, the American Academy of Pediatrics rolled out the “Back to Sleep” campaign. This encouraged parents and caregivers to put babies to sleep on their backs on a firm mattress, without blankets, bumper pads or pillows, to allow unobstructed flow of oxygen to Baby’s nose and mouth. Since then, the rate of SIDS has continued to decline, with about 1,600 SIDS deaths in 2015.

With this joyous news comes a new challenge – Flat Head Syndrome (FHS) or Positional Plagiocephaly.

Your infant’s skull is very soft when she is born, allowing for easier passage through the birth canal and astonishing brain growth in the first year of her life. Because of this, her head is easily molded by her environment.

Laying on his back is not the only way your child may get a lasting flat spot, but it is the most common. Sometimes, FHS begins in the womb if a baby is wedged against mom’s pelvis, or if there are twins. Torticollis, tight neck muscles, can also contribute to or be caused by FHS.

Your Alzein Pediatric Associates medical professional will monitor any uneven shaping of your child’s head throughout the first year of regular well-baby visits. If you have any concerns, our staff will be sure to answer thoroughly. FHS does not stunt your child’s brain growth or cause brain damage or any developmental delays. 

Treatment begins with moderate intervention, such as

  • Changing the position of your baby’s head while she sleeps to move the flattened side of the head away from the sleeping surface.
  • Changing the position of your baby in the crib, placing her feet where her head normally rests, so she must turn her head the other way to see into the room.
  • Hold your baby as much as possible, to avoid contact with flat surfaces in car seats, bouncy seats, swings, strollers and play yards.
  • Tummy time is vital! Get in the habit early in your child’s life of putting him on his stomach while supervised. This helps strengthen neck muscles and the muscles needed for sitting up and eventually crawling while encouraging learning!

If your infant’s FHS is severe, possibly affecting the shape of her face, we may prescribe a custom-molded helmet or headband to reshape your child’s head. These devices work best between the ages of 4 months and a year, as your child’s bones are still soft and growing quickly.

Do not purchase a helmet or headband that has not been prescribed by a medical doctor! Very few babies will need a device to reshape FHS.

Once your child can sit up by himself, the flat spot will, over years, slowly improve. There may be some lasting unevenness, but thickening hair and a larger face as your child grows will make it barely noticeable.

If you have questions about preventing FHS, or are concerned your child may need intervention, please call our office at 708-424-7600 or visit and click “Book An Appointment”. We are here to listen and to help!

What that kid needs is a good….

3d imagen Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Do you catch other people – or yourself – saying that about your child? Perhaps it’s not “bad behavior”. Perhaps there is a real, scientifically proven, neurological reason for your child’s inability to control his impulses and pay attention. Perhaps it’s really ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Alzein Pediatric Associates knows that such a diagnosis can be difficult and understands the challenges such a diagnosis presents for your child socially and educationally. That’s why we’re here to help.

Behaviors that could be a red flag.
If your child doesn’t follow directions, can’t finish tasks and is easily distracted, it could be an indication of ADHD. Other ADHD behaviors include:
• can’t pay attention and forgets regular daily activities
• has organizational problems and loses things
• moves constantly as if “driven by a motor”
• interrupts and cannot wait for her turn

Only accept a diagnosis from a medical doctor.
Your mother, your child’s teacher or even a neighbor may want to diagnose your child, but only a medical doctor can make an accurate, science- and fact-based decision. Many intellectually gifted children may exhibit many of the same signs as ADHD, such as daydreaming, spontaneity, being highly energetic and talking non-stop.

Your Alzein Pediatrics professional will take your child through a process for diagnosis; there is no one single test or screening. Only when your child has been through all the steps will a diagnosis be made.

We don’t really know what causes ADHD.
Researchers believe there are many factors that could cause ADHD. Lead exposure will affect your child’s brain development. Smoking, drinking and drug use, along with poor nutrition and certain infections during pregnancy impact your child’s brain development. There may be genetic factors, or chemical factors within your child’s own physiology. A brain injury or disorder may also be a factor.

There is some evidence to indicate that excessive screen time can rewire your child’s brain and cause behavioral problems.

We do know that sugary foods do not cause ADHD (They do cause childhood obesity, but that’s a story for another day). It’s not caused by poor parenting, failing schools, gluten, dairy or other foods.

Not every child with ADHD needs medication, but if your child does, that’s okay.
There is no cure for ADHD, but there are a variety of ways to manage symptoms while helping your child maintain his creativity and enthusiasm.
request an Individual Education Plan for your child, establishing structure and routine
ask us about behavior modification therapy and social skills training
consider counseling to help your child and your family
ask us about proven, FDA-approved stimulant and non-stimulant medications

Just like with any physical illness, your child may be healthier and happier when given appropriate, well-chosen medications.

Undiagnosed, untreated adult ADHD can seriously impact lives.
Adults with ADHD experience anxiety, problems with getting and keeping a job, drug and alcohol abuse, relationship problems and more. Helping your child now can save him from a lifetime of misery.


Questions about ADHD and how you can help your child? Make an appointment by calling 708-424-7600 or clicking the yellow “Book An Appointment” button at left. 

To Binky or Not To Binky

A pacifier, soother, binky – whatever you might call it – sparks all kinds of opinions and judgements about your parenting methods. Grandma may tell you a pacifier makes your child “weak” or will give her a bad overbite. Auntie may say it’s a filthy habit.

However, your infant is comforted by the pacifier. It feels wrong to let him get more and more agitated when a pacifier would put him at ease. What should you do?

Alzein Pediatric Associates is here to help! With all due respect to Grandma and all those aunts, it’s time to debunk the binky myths.

Babies are born with a strong sucking reflex. Even in your womb, your child almost definitely sucked fingers, thumbs, even toes, and they continue to have a driving need to suck after they are born. An active sucking reflex is important because that’s how infants get nutrition, through breast milk or liquid formula. Sucking after adequate eating can also calm, soothe and help your baby feel more secure.

Breasts and binkies are different. If you are breast feeding, avoid giving your baby a pacifier for the first 3-4 weeks, to make sure your infant completely adapts to the breast and you both have settled into a productive nursing pattern.

Studies show that pacifiers reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), especially in the first six months. You can be comfortable offering your baby a pacifier at nap time and bedtime. If your child uses a pacifier and seems to be prone to ear infections, ask your Alzein medical professional about a possible connection.

Until the age of two, you do not have to be concerned about pacifier use causing dental issues. After age two, problems can start, with teeth beginning to tilt or slant. Pacifier use after age 4 is strongly discouraged as it will cause long-lasting and major damage to your child’s developing adult teeth.

Most infants will wean themselves from the pacifier, with no intervention from you, as they outgrow the need to suck. If your child is still engaging in a sucking habit when he turns two, it’s time to gently help him break the habit. This is where using a pacifier becomes a huge benefit; it’s easier to break a sucking habit if your child is using a pacifier instead of thumb-sucking. You can throw away a pacifier!

Select a pacifier brand that is BPA-free and fits your child’s mouth properly. Never secure a pacifier to your child with a cord or ribbon, as these are choking hazards. Wash your child’s pacifiers regularly in hot soapy water, or run them through your dishwasher. Do not let children share a pacifier. Check them regularly to ensure that the nipples are not broken, perforated or weak at the stems. A broken nipple can choke your child. Don’t dip the pacifier in sweeteners as sugars sitting in your child’s mouth will cause tooth decay.

Yes, Grandma, your infant may benefit from using a pacifier. A pacifier can soothe when she is fussy, can help through stressful situations like vaccines, and, if you are flying with your infant, a pacifier can help her ears “pop” through air pressure changes. With these few simple guidelines, a pacifier can be a parent’s best friend.

Need to help your preschooler kick the pacifier habit? Call our offices at 708-424-7600 and we’ll give you guidance on gently but firmly getting rid of that binky!