I didn’t know until recently that my daughters’ pediatrician, Dr. Julie Linderman, is also a blogger and an excellent one at that. Julie writes in-depth posts about issues moms really want to know about and, as a mother of three, she inserts a personal perspective that is both refreshing and relatable.
I recently asked Julie if she would do a little interview for my readers. Whether you have children or not, you will enjoy reading her recommendations!
You are a pediatrician, wife, mom, and blogger at Mommy M.D. What made you want to get into blogging?
I love to write! It seems to me that through writing we can explore ideas at greater depth, and encourage a reader to see the discussion through without raising questions or concerns until the very end. I think it’s a great way to encourage thought, both on behalf of the writer and the reader.
The funny thing is I don’t really care about writing general advice articles – it is much more fun to write about issues that evoke some degree of controversy – whether that be pacifier use in a newborn or “redshirting” before kindergarten. There are no easy answers to these questions -which is why the data is so fun to explore.
I really want parents to remember that all issues exist in multitudes of grey, and that extremes of opinion rarely work in reality. I want parents to feel supported in their quest to be “there” for their kids – my goal is to help parents feel good about the job they are doing.
What is the number one question you receive from Dallas moms during the summer time?
The most common summertime questions I get are “Can we travel with our newborn?” and “What’s your opinion on bugspray and sunscreen?” The first answer is: Yes, absolutely- but ideally wait until your newborn has received the 2 month vaccines. I recommend this for several reasons, primarily because once your infant has received their 2 month vaccines they are much less at risk of invasive pathogens that can cause debilitating disease such as streptococcal pneumonia/meningitis and pertussis (or whooping cough).
In addition, if your infant develops a fever in the first 2 months of life, standard of care dictates a full septic workup, which includes blood, urine and cerebrospinal fluid examination as well as empiric intravenous antibiotics until cultures prove negative after 48 hours. That means an inpatient hospital stay, antibiotic exposure and stress – all of which if one can avoid, they should.
On that note, how should we go about choosing sunscreens for our children and ourselves? Is there a big difference between the drug store and the higher end brands?
Good question! I’m not sure the difference is in the cost, but rather in the ingredient list. There are several issues with mainstream sunscreen the first of which is the use of nano particles, which can potentially penetrate infant skin. The second is the use of oxybenzone-containing sunscreens. which in little ones has the potential to disrupt baseline endocrine function. The jury is still out on both issues, but if not a necessary exposure then why expose at all?
My research indicates that the Badger line is a fantastic one for kids, Alba Botanicals, Thinkbaby and the BurnOut line are close seconds. Ideally, we all should avoid spray sunscreens because they pose a potential risk of inhalation and we should make sure our sunscreens block both UVA and UVB rays – which apparently Banana Boat does not.
What is your opinion on rash guards? Honestly, my children have never worn them and now I kind of feel bad about it!
Rash guards are fabulous, but I know lots of kids aren’t interested! The good news is they are becoming more fashionable! With little ones, it is always better to provide physical coverage via swim shirts, wide-brimmed sun hats, sunglasses, umbrellas etc than just sunscreen – the former is always more effective!
This may sound like a silly question, but should children wear sunscreen all day everyday in the summer time? For example, if you go to the pool at 4:30-5 and it’s not very bright out, do you still need to put sunscreen on them?
I don’t sunscreen my kids for casual outdoor exposure and the reason is that a little sun is good for you! Vitamin D is becoming a big issue — a significant portion of kids are deficient and this deficiency carries real risk. Vitamin D is critical for bone density and growth, but also is likely to play a fundamental role in both immune system function, cancer prevention and cardiovascular health.
What about bug spray? I feel like I’m spraying poison on my children sometimes but the all natural stuff doesn’t seem to work!
I agree the natural insect repellents are generally less effective — I really like the ingredient picaridin — the chemical in some of the Cutter and Off Family care sprays/wipes (as well as SkinSoSoft) – Picaridin is less toxic than DEET, but more effective than a herbal blocker.
Bite Blocker for infants is a good food-grade blocker/natural deterrent also. I think it’s important to remember that dark clothing and being outside at dusk with littles is something to avoid if possible!
One of the reasons I wanted to do this interview is that you gave me the genius idea of putting Kate Sommerville Eradikate on bad bug bites. Can you elaborate on that?
It’s funny that Kate Sommerville‘s anti-acne formulation Eradikate is helpful for bites, but it really is!! I stumbled upon it when my little ones were complaining of super itchy bites that topical Benadryl and Cortaid didn’t seem to do a thing for. Eradikate has a calamine base with a sulfur component which acts as an anti-itch and counter-irritant. It quells the itch better than most topicals – especially if applied quickly!
Any other great recommendations like this? Or products you love to use on your skin in the summer time?
My dermatologist, Krystal Polder, MD, has advised daily sunscreen use coupled with a topical facial antioxidant like CE Freulic by skinceuticals. She is ridiculously bright and has beautiful skin so whatever she recommends, I do!
I asked some friends for question ideas before this interview and one of the things that came up was that, despite our super healthy Dallas culture, our children are bombarded with junk all the time. How do you handle this in your family? I am all for sno cones and candy in moderation, but sometimes it just seems like too much!
It is too much. I have had days where I am convinced my youngest exists on simple sugars alone. I think it really helps to try and couple simple carbohydrate-rich snacks to a protein source. This approach creates a better sense of fullness, provides better depth of energy and discourages endless sugar snacking. Couple a piece of fruit to a Justin’s packet of almond butter, crackers to cheese, a bar to a frozen chobani yogurt tube.
I loved your snack ideas in your recent post about “Failure to Thrive.” Any other healthy snacks you like to offer your children in the summer?
In addition to the above, I love smoothies made with cashew or almond milk, fresh fruit and maybe a hidden bunch of spinach or kale! Freeze what’s left into pops!
I always bring a thermometer, Tylenol, and Motrin on vacation. Any other things we should pack? Parents seem to panic when their children get sick on vacation – do you have any tips on what to do if this happens?
SwimEar OTC drops used daily can help prevent painful swimmers ear on vacation!
I’d love to know what’s in your pool bag?!
My pool bag contains sunscreen, lip balm (Burts Bees or Fresh), sunglasses, kid swim goggles, a couple pool toys and a book or iPad. Boring but true!
Thank you so much to Dr. Julie Linderman for answering my questions and giving us such great summer tips! Please share this post on Facebook and check out her blog, Mommy M.D. for more in-depth information about issues moms what to know about.
More about Dr. Julie Linderman…
Dr. Julie Lindeman is a board certified pediatrician who attended the Colorado Health Science Center and completed her residency at UT Southwestern and Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. She practices at Inwood Village Pediatrics with four other doctors and is beloved by her patients and their parents. She is not currently accepting new patients, but her practice has recently welcomed a new doctor, Dr Grace Khouri, who Dr. Linderman says is fabulous!