7 Weird Baby Things This Pediatrician Never Thought She’d Get Asked About So Often
By Diane Arnaout, M.D.
When I graduated from my pediatric residency 11 years ago, I knew there would be questions from parents daily about their child's growth, development, illness, behavior, etc.
"What’s this new movement?"
"Is this behavior normal?"
"What should I be doing about this rash?"
But there are seriously some things I get asked about that make me chuckle every day – not because they’re silly, as no question for your doctor is unimportant – but because I never knew I’d be answering them so often!
Here are seven of the most uncommon, common questions asked by parents:
- "Is this much earwax normal?” – The answer is probably yes. We make earwax daily, some of us more than others, and in all types of colors and textures. Earwax protects our ear canal and prevents infection.
- “Is my baby’s teeth grinding normal?” – Yes! When they get those fun new chompers, it’s really common for them to click and grind them as they explore that new feeling in their mouth. I remember it setting off my baby alarm sometimes at night because it was so loud…
- “Why does my baby have rosy cheeks?” – Sometimes babies get rosy cheeks. It’s often due to dry skin or cold weather. But sometimes, babies just have beautiful, well-circulated cheeks. And 99% of the time it bothers parents more than the baby.
- “What is this little bump at the bottom of my baby’s skull?” – Okay, I know this is oddly specific, but there are two little lima bean-shaped/sized lymph nodes on the back of the skull, top of the neck area. They are called occipital lymph nodes and nearly everyone feels them on their baby’s scalp at some point, especially after that first bath and shampoo. They’re normal and as long as they’re not growing or more are showing up, you’re okay to just observe them.
- “Every time I pick up my baby, her shoulder/hip/arm joints pop! Is this normal?” – Yes. Growing joints mean popping joints. As long as your baby isn’t crying in pain, totally fine.
- Toenails. Toenails. Toenails. Baby toenails are weird. Some have wings. Some are flat. Some are curved. I never knew I’d dedicate so much time to toenails in check-ups!
- And finally… “Is his penis color normal??” – Baby penises are different from adult penises, including the color. Some are blue. Some brown. Purple, pink, orange. As long as your baby does not appear in pain and that color hasn’t changed recently or suddenly… just go with it.
"I didn’t realize how important the job of the pediatrician was until I had kids of my own. My education, experience in medicine, and cocky attitude made me feel like I knew it all before my first one came around. He proceeded to make me very aware of how little I actually knew.
Thankfully he survived, as did the next one, and they’ve helped me to grow and to help YOU, the parent, in so many ways. Sure I’m here to make sure your kids are healthy and happy at all ages. But I’m also here to make sure you’re educated, to make sure your family is thriving, and to make you feel confident in caring for your kids. From diaper rashes to sleep problems to school difficulties - I’m here to help.
I write a lot about common problems and ailments online – you can find me busy on Facebook and Instagram, and I write articles for the Cook Children’s Checkup Newsroom blog. A lot of stuff you’ll hear me say in the office will be typed out on there, too. And we’re in a day and age where the internet helps make connections – you can connect with me on there, or e-mail me anytime.
It takes a village to raise a child – and I’m so grateful to be a part of yours. And as Master Yoda teaches us – “Always pass on what you have learned.” I fully plan to!"