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Expert Insights

Five most asked IG questions for pediatrician and author— Dr Dina DiMaggio

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Meet our board certified pediatrician: Dr Dina DiMaggio

I am a board certified pediatrician and practice general pediatrics at Pediatric Associates of NYC and NYU Langone Health.  I live in NYC with my husband, two daughters, and our little Morkie, Brownie.

I knew I wanted to be a pediatrician since I was 5 years old— I always loved helping others! As a pediatrician I get to see babies from the minute they are born and watch them grow until they are off to college. I love that I have some patients that I took care of as children who now bring their children to see me— I am a grand-pediatrician! 

Personal notes:

As a mom, I found myself wanting to provide nutritious meals for my family while feeling disheartened at the misinformation found on the Internet. I co-authored a book, The Pediatrician’s Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers, to provide a trusted source for parents looking for feeding advice.

I like being a part of the Bobbie team since I wanted to give patients the choice of choosing a safe alternative to European formulas. 

Dr DiMaggio

We polled our IG audience, and these are the five most asked questions for our pediatrician, Dr Dina:

1- When is the best time to get the flu shot?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children should get the flu shot as soon as possible when it becomes available in September or October. We are already seeing children getting the flu in NYC (in September) and it typically peaks in February, so we want kids to be protected before flu season is in full swing. Children 6 months to 8 years of age should receive two doses of the vaccine separated by a month if it is the first time getting the vaccine or if they only received one dose of the vaccine before July 1st, 2021. You can get the flu vaccine with other shots and for those that are eligible, you can get the flu shot and COVID vaccine at the same time.

2- If my 4 month old is rolling over, can they sleep on their stomachs? What are the ABC’s of Sleep?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the ABC’s of sleep:

A-that baby is placed alone

B- that baby is on their back

C- that baby is sleeping in a crib to help prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

There should not be anything else in the crib with a baby, such as bumpers or blankets. Once a baby can roll over fully from their back to their stomach and stomach to their back, which usually happens between 4-6 months, you should still try to put him/her on their back to sleep, but if he/she has good head control, can lift up on their elbows, and rolls over in the middle of the night to his/her tummy, it is OK to leave a baby on their belly to sleep. Your baby should also not be in a swaddle now, but a sleep sack to keep him/her warm and not allow their legs to bump against the crib.

3- When can I start my baby on solid foods? How do I know if baby is ready for solids?

The AAP (their section on breastfeeding) and the World Health Organization (WHO) both recommend exclusive breastfeeding for six months, after which complementary foods are started, along with continued breastfeeding, for as long as mom and baby desire. I, along with many other pediatricians, generally recommend to go by your baby’s cues and developmental readiness to start solids, which is often between 4 to 6 months.

Signs that baby is ready for solids include:

Good head control

Ability to sit with support

Becoming unsatisfied after a formula or breast milk feeding

Shortened intervals between feedings

Diminished extrusion reflex (the tongue raises and pushes against any object that is placed between the lips, resulting in food being pushed out)

Cues that they are finished feeding, such as turning the head away from the breast or bottle when they are done

When your baby is staring at you while you are eating and trying to grab food out of your hands, it’s a good sign it is time to start solids!  

4- What solid foods should you introduce first to baby?

There is not a lot of evidence to support any specific order of solid food introduction for baby and there is no one “it” food to start off with first. It is more important to first offer a variety of single ingredient fruits, vegetables, grains and meats, in any order, to allow for a baby to become used to many different flavors and develop a full range of healthy foods to eat.

Good foods to start baby on include:

Avocado

Bananas

Prunes (if a baby becomes constipated prunes will help them have a bowel movement)

Iron fortified baby oatmeal. 

Some introductory baby foods have a tendency to constipate babies (examples include bananas and rice cereal) while others may help a baby have bowel movements (“p” foods such as prunes, pears, peaches, and aPricots), so I like to tell parents to feed a balance of these foods and adjust them to how a baby is responding. 

5- What does baby poop look like?

Normal newborn stool changes color from black meconium, during the first few days, to green, yellow and brown colors. Meconium is often tar like and should be passed within the first few days of life. Typically, infant stool is described as seedy and is a yellow mustard color in appearance. We can often also see brown and green stools. Colors of concern, however, is if your baby’s poop look red, commonly from an anal fissure or from a cow’s milk protein allergy. Grey/white stools may indicate an underlying problem such as liver disease.

Dina DiMaggio, MD, FAAP, is a Board Certified Pediatrician, AAP Spokesperson, co-author of The Pediatricians Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers and Bobbie Medical Advisor.

The content on this site is for informational purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Discuss any health or feeding concerns with your infant's pediatrician. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay it based on the content on this page.
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The content on this site is for informational purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Discuss any health or feeding concerns with your infant’s pediatrician. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay it based on the content on this page.

Meet the Author

Jenny Altman

Jenny is the head of content at Milk Drunk and a writer for all of her favorite wellness and mom sites including Well+Good, Peanut, Motherly and Scary Mommy. Mom to Luisa, she can be found talking bras and beauty with the moms at school and @IAmJennyAltman

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