My 2-and-a-half-year-old picks at her food now, where she used to have a healthy appetite. She even shows little interest in treats. She hasn’t lost any weight yet. Is this normal or should I be concerned?

Toddlers are notoriously finicky eaters who seem to eat well at one meal and eat nothing at the next. A slower rate of growth combined with their emerging independence and their desire to establish autonomy can lead to battles at mealtimes. A child will eventually eat what their body requires. They may not eat balanced meals each time, instead eating just fruit at some meals, meat at others and carbs at others, but it will balance out.

The important thing is to continue to offer a variety of foods at mealtimes. Don’t prepare multiple items in an attempt of find something your daughter will eat. Limit milk to 16 ounces a day and juice to 6 ounces. Your daughter will eat when she is hungry.

As long as your daughter is maintaining her weight and is still active, there is nothing to worry about. However if you remain concerned, see her pediatrician to have her weight checked.

 

My 6-year-old son has red, dry, itchy patches on his skin. I’ve tried using gentle lotions, but nothing has changed. Could this be eczema, and how do we treat it?

If your son’s red dry patches occur predominantly in the creases of his arms or behind his knees and are itchy, he most likely does have eczema. Some children will also have cracking, redness and pain on the soles of their feet, which may look like athlete’s foot, but is instead a type of eczema. An inability to hold water in the top layer of the skin is what leads to the dryness, then peeling and itching in eczema.

Treatments involve infrequent baths, using mild unscented soaps like Dove or Cetaphil. Continued application of unscented moisturizers like Cetaphil, Eucerin, or Lubriderm will help with the dryness. Rough, red areas may need steroid ointments to decrease the inflammation, while oral anti-histamines may help with the itching, especially at night. Occasionally the skin may become infected so be sure to see your son’s pediatrician if he develops extreme pain, redness or pus over his eczematous areas.