Medical Musings from Kids First Providers

StethoScoop: Medical Musings from Kids First Providers

Nutrition Basics

nutrition basics podcast

Registered Dietician Gia Diakakis from Feed to Succeed in Glenview, Ill. joins us for an informative discussion on pediatric nutrition basics  Gia answers our long burning questions about how we can set our kids up for success with a healthy diet that will last a lifetime! Spoiler alert: She recommends feeding your child the same foods that the rest of the family is eating!

Topics Include:

  • Children’s menu’s in restaurants, portion sizes, and expecting your child to eat the same types of foods that you as a parent would eat.
  • Gia recommends the entire family get involved and active in healthy eating regardless of their weight or size
  • Ways you SHOULDN’T talk to your child if they are overweight
  • Sports drinks
  • Chocolate milk as a sports drink
  • When to offer your child juice and how much
  • Smoothies, are they good or bad?
  • How to handle picky eating
  • How to be a good role model for your kids
  • School lunches
  • Balancing meals
  • Do kids still “outgrow” baby fat?

Check out our website for resources that will enhance your knowledge on pediatric diets and nutrition:

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Introducing Solid Foods to Infants

introducing solid foods

Experts recommend that infants start eating solid foods between ages 4-6 months of age, but where do we start?  This new journey in an infants life can be confusing for new parents, not to mention it may elicit fears of food based allergic reactions.  Karen and Jean talk about the AAP’s current recommendations on how to advance your infant diet’s from formula or breast milk to the addition of solid foods.  Join us for an interesting discussion about how to approach this milestone, learn when your baby is ready for solid foods, what food allergies may look like, and what ONE food all babies should avoid (hint: it’s honey!).  Check out our resources listed below for text-based information on solid food introduction!

Introducing solids to infants

Switching to solids

Social Media and Youth

social media and youth

Do you think your child may have a social media addiction?  Is social media use preventing your child from sleep or giving them poor self esteem?  Do you think your child may be bullied on social media? Special guest Dr. Nirmeen Rajani, a Clinical Psychologist from Primary Care Psychology Associates, reviews the effects of social media use on children and teens in a wonderful discussion called “Does My Child really have 500 Friends.”

She talks with NP’s Karen and Jean about the various social media platforms including Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, WhatsApp, and LinkedIn.  The positive and negative effects of social media use on youth are discussed. In Dr. Rajani’s podcast, we hear confessions from students about how social media makes them feel and how it affects their sleep and their behavior. Over use of social media can lead to addiction-type behaviors in which Dr. Rajani can successfully treat in the office.  Methods on how to speak to your child about healthy, safe, and appropriate use of social media are recommended.  Listen for methods of monitoring a child’s potential over use of social media and how to talk to your child about bullying online.

Concrete talking points for parents:

  • Hey, I’m curious about the new social media sites youth use now a days…
  • What do you like about (FB, Snapchat, YoBo…)
  • What have your interactions been like on (site)?
  • How did you feel when you saw the picture of your friend vacating in Paris and you had to be in summer school?
  • What kind of friendships do you hope for?
  • Are your social media interactions fulfilling? Do they make you feel any negative emotions?
  • Have you thought about your usage? Can we work together to make it more meaningful for you?
  • Have you ever felt pressured into doing or saying something on (site) that made you uncomfortable?
  • You know I would always protect you right?
  • Do you need to talk to someone about how you feel?


Carroll, J.A. & Kirkpatrick, R.L. (2011). Impact of social media on adolescent behavioral health. Oakland, CA: California Adolescent Health Collaborative.

Chau, C. (2010). You Tube as a participatory culture. Wiley Periodicals, Inc., 128, 65-74.

Clarke-Pearson, K., O’Keeffe, G., (2011). The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families. Retrieved from

Rosen, L.D., (2011). Social Networking’s Good and Bad Impacts onKids. Retrieved from

Meet Dr. Alex Taylor

Meet dr. alex

Dr. Alex Taylor and his wife recently moved to Evanston from Southern California, where Dr. Taylor completed his residency in pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County. He is originally from Hawaii, where he attended the University of Hawaii medical school.

Dr. Taylor decided to focus on pediatrics in medical school because he is passionate about helping healthy children become healthy adults. He likes that the focus in medicine in recent years has been more on preventative care, and in pediatrics, he says, “We do that more than in any other part of medicine.”

In medical school, Dr. Taylor worked in a clinic that provided services to children in a homeless shelter. There he saw more than ever how resilient children can be, continuing to play in any situation. After working with some of the same families over a few years, he says the most rewarding part of his job is to help get a chronic illness – like asthma or obesity – under control for a child. “I like to see children get to play a sport they always wanted to miss less school once a situation is under control,” he says.

Dr. Taylor says what he is most excited about at KFPP is the warm environment and the many programs our practice offers patients. “The providers are really focused on having what the patients need – such as the asthma care, psychologist and nutrition services all in house – in a way that is fairly unusual.”

When he is not busy working, Dr. Taylor enjoys baking and even making ice cream. He likes to bike and hopes to pick up some more hobbies now that he is no longer in residency!

While the Chicago winter will no doubt be a shock, we have no doubt that the warmth of the staff and families at Kid First will make Dr. Taylor feel right at home here.

Welcome Dr. Kirsten Hollett

Kirsten Hollet

Dr. Kirsten Hollett joins us after recently completing her residency at The University of Chicago Medicine’s Comer Children’s Hospital and graduating from Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Kirsten says becoming a pediatrician was her plan and passion since she was a child, and her pediatric rotation in medical school confirmed that for her. “I love the joy that kids have. Whether they are well or even if they’re sick, they are still so much fun.”

During her residency on the South Side, Kirsten especially appreciated partnering with families to help children stay well and grow up healthy. “I love seeing families grow up and have the continuity that comes with forming a relationship with them over the years.”

Kirsten saw a lot of parents with significant challenges that can be a result of poverty, but she says that seeing families overcome obstacles – and having a role in helping them thrive – is one of the most meaningful parts of pediatrics. Regardless of a family’s situation, Kirsten says the goal is always to “get kids on the best trajectory that we can and when they shift off their potential, that’s where we find an opportunity for change.”

Partnering with families is essential in pediatrics, says Kirsten, and having a one-year-old son of her own reinforced that belief. “I respect that parents know their kids best. They know all the nuances of their children, as well as what is realistic for their families.”

She says she likes to determine together with families what their strengths are, what their challenges might be and how she can step in to be a partner.

What attracted Kirsten to KFPP, she says, is our dedication the medical home. “KF tries to serve kids with a vast array of needs they may have. Having them plugged in with preventative care and acute care—and then having the psychology, asthma care, nutrition and travel clinics all there as well is really unique and impressive to me.”

Kirsten is particularly passionate about pediatric obesity and wellness. She helped design and launch a research study to interview children and teens about previous conversations they have had about weight with their doctor in order to improve those conversations and outcomes. She and her team asked questions about body language, do they prefer parents in the room or privacy, what language is helpful and more. The preliminary data indicates that children and teens respond best to a conversation that ensures they have autonomy and a say in what will work for them personally. “It’s my passion to take on this complex challenge that affects a lot of families.”

When she’s not busy working, Kirsten enjoys spending time with her son, running, and cooking with her husband.



Kids and Screen Time

kids and screen time

Pediatric Nurse Practitioners Karen Gentile and Jean Russo talk about how and when to introduce screen time to infants, toddlers and adolescents. This includes modalities such as Skype, FaceTime, iPads and tablets, TV, and cell phones. In this episode, we discuss the health risks and dangers of early or inappropriate screen time use.

Screen time information retrieved from and

Toddler Sleep Training

Toddler sleep training

Pediatric Nurse Practitioners Karen Gentile and Jean Russo talk about techniques that will help you successfully sleep train your toddler or older child including how to manage nap times, transitioning out of the crib and into a toddler bed, executing schedule changes, and how to handle the child who still won’t sleep.  Infant sleep training was previously discussed in Episode 3.

References for this podcast include Toddler 411 by Denise Fields and Ari Brown.

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Summer Safety Tips

Summer safety tips podcast

With summer in full swing, this week’s podcast is a great reminder of how to stay safe while enjoying summer fun. Learn how to keep your little one safe this summer with safety tips from our very own Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Jessica Fanucchi.  In this episode we talk about pool safety and drowning prevention as well as playground safety and considerations, insect repellent, lyme disease, and ATV/bike safety.

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Kids First Podcast 5: Breastfeeding Basics

Breastfeeding podcast

Dr. Mimi Boren, IBCLC, one of our pediatricians and lactation consultants discusses breastfeeding basics.  She reviews the health benefits of breastfeeding to both the baby and the Mom, including the emotional benefits and bonding experiences expected during the breastfeeding process. We learn about what to expect during the first few days of nursing and what our excellent team of lactation consultants at the Chicago Breastfeeding Center at Kids First Pediatric Partners can do to best support moms in their new role as nursing mothers!

Kids First Podcast 4: Traveling with Kids

Are you traveling out of the country soon? Guest Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Pat Lawrence discusses the Kids First Travel Health Clinic. On this episode, Pat discusses who should consider making an appointment at the travel clinic and how far in advance the consultation should be scheduled. Pat also reviews basic travel safety tips, routine vaccinations that are important for traveling with young children, obtaining any special travel vaccines for special destinations. Pat talks about travelers diarrhea and basic food and water precautions while visiting foreign countries. We review how to protect your family from Zika virus and Malaria by using insect repellent with DEET. An overview of Pat’s travel clinic can be found at:

Specific destination information can be found at:

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