The New Basics: A-to-Z Baby & Child Care for the Modern Parent

The New Basics: A-to-Z Baby & Child Care for the Modern Parent

by Michel Cohen


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The New Basics: A-to-Z Baby & Child Care for the Modern Parent by Michel Cohen

Dr. Michel Cohen, named by the New York Post as the hip, "must-have" pediatrician, has an important message for parents: Don't worry so much. In an easy-reference alphabetical format, The New Basics clearly lays out the concerns you may face as aparent and explains how to solve them -- without fuss, without stress, and without harming your child by using unnecessary medicines or interventions.

With sensitivity and love, Dr. Michel describes proven techniques for keeping your children healthy and happy without driving yourself crazy. He will show you how to set positive habits for sleeping and eating and how to treat ailments early and effectively. You'll learn when antibiotics are helpful and when they can be harmful. If you're having trouble breast feeding, pumping, or bottle weaning, Dr. Michel has the advice to set you back on track. If after several months your baby is still not sleeping through the night, The New Basics will provide you with tried-and-true methods to help ease this difficult transition for babies and parents.

Dr. Michel recognizes that you're probably asking the same questions his own patients' parents frequently ask, so he includes a section called "Real Questions from Real Parents" throughout the book. You'll find important answers about treating asthma, head injuries, fevers, stomach bugs, colic, earaches, and other ailments. More than just a book on how to care for your child's physical well-being, The New Basics also covers such parenting challenges as biting, hitting, ADD, separation anxiety, how to prevent the terrible twos (and threes and fours ...), and preparing your child for a new sibling.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060535483
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 12/28/2004
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 410,470
Product dimensions: 7.37(w) x 9.12(h) x 0.92(d)

About the Author

Michel Cohen, M.D., is the founder of Tribeca Pediatrics. He has been featured in the New York Observer, GQ, Daily Telegraph, New York Post, and other publications. Originally from Nice, France, he now lives in New York with his wife and three daughters.

Read an Excerpt

The New Basics
A-to-Z Baby & Child Care for the Modern Parent



Adenoids are glands located behind the nose. (Don't bother looking; you can't see them without fancy equipment.) Along with the tonsils (which you can see in the back of the throat), the adenoids trap the germs we inhale. Occasionally, these glands cause more harm than good. They become enlarged, obstruct the airway, and provide a playground for viruses and bacteria.

Enlarged adenoids primarily affect young children, with the following possible consequences:

  • Difficulty breathing through the nose, a nasal voice, or snoring, none of which is a major problem.

  • Persistent colds: Some kids always seem to have a runny nose.

  • Repetitive ear infections, because germs ascend from the adenoids up through the eustachian tubes to infect the middle ear [See: Ear Infections].

  • Repetitive ear infections, which can in turn lead to a fluid buildup in the middle ear and cause temporary hearing loss.

  • Sleep apnea, a condition in which a child stops breathing for more than five seconds (an eternity for the parent) several times during the night. These pauses may strain the heart by making it pump harder to meet the body's oxygen demand (See: Snoring and Sleep Apnea].

Years ago, almost all kids had their adenoids removed at the first little sneeze. These days, the thinking is more conservative. Since enlarged adenoids will most likely shrink with age, repetitive colds and snoring alone do not warrant removal. On the other hand, if your kid develops significant sleep apnea or a substantial hearing loss fromfrequent ear infections, surgery is probably indicated, but rarely before four years of age.

Removal of the adenoids is a simple outpatient procedure with swift recovery and extremely infrequent complications. When the tonsils are also removed, kids suffer slightly more postoperative risk and discomfort [See:Tonsils].

Adenoid removal is spectacularly successful in reducing sleep apnea. Recurrence of ear infections also decreases drastically after surgery, especially when ear tubes are indicated and inserted concomitantly. However, recurrent ear infections may not fully disappear.

Real Questions From Real Parents

Is there any alternative to surgery?
Some doctors prescribe antibiotics in an attempt to avoid surgery. This is a noble idea in theory, but it achieves very little. Nasal steriod sprays are another favorite treatment. Both of these approaches can buy you a little time, but they won't eliminate the need for the operation.

Can adenoids regrow?
Once removed, adenoids can regrow in a matter of months or years after the operation. By the time they do, however, the child is larger, with larger nasal passages and greater resistance to infection.


Every pediatric practice cares for a large number of adopted kids from different countries. I love to see families bring home children from remote parts of the world, because not only does each adoption represent incredible opportunities for parent and child alike, but it's also fascinating to watch these kids adapt to their new lives. Here is what you can anticipate in terms of caring for your adopted child before, during, and after adoption.


Care starts before the kid is actually in the family. Prospective parents bring me photos, medical records, and even videos of their future children. Some ask my advice concerning the health assessments they've received from adoption intermediaries. I advise them not to rely on these, because they are often inaccurate or deceptive. These kids can present a wide and sometimes undocumented variety of health concerns or diagnoses that are erroneous. However, kids adopted in the United States generally have complete health records, since they're usually adopted at birth from American hospitals.

For most parents, physical ailments would rarely deter them from adoption once they've been paired up with a child; they're ready to deal with these issues at home, no matter what. One exception of course is HIV status, because of the poor prognosis for afflicted children. In most countries, reliable HIV testing is performed at birth and made available to prospective parents. Other potential illnesses in developed countries, especially among older children, include rickets, vitamin deficiency, tuberculosis, and malnutrition. Effects of alcohol and drug use during pregnancy are less common in foreign-born children than in American kids. Family history is usually unavailable or unreliable for kids from overseas and to a lesser degree for United States kids. As with biological children, we deal with issues as they arise, no matter what family history comes into play.


In terms of medication or nutrition, there's not much you should bring with you to the happy occasion of meeting your child. No matter where in the world the adoption process takes you, while you're there you should feed her the same formula that she's used to [See: Formula]. If she's older, join her in eating the local food she knows until you come home, and then feed her whatever is appropriate at her age [See: Feeding].

In crowded orphanages or foster homes, kids are exposed to more than their share of colds, flus, and stomach bugs. Let the local doctor treat these conditions; even if the care is not optimal, it's your only option. I usually advise parents to call or e-mail me upon first contact with the child, and I'm sure your doctor will do the same. In a short conversation, I can get a fair idea of the child's health status and make any special recommendations if needed.

With older kids, especially, don't worry about bonding problems during the transfer of bonding from the foster home to yours. That little creature will feel your loving devotion and hang on to you right away. Within a day or so this perfect stranger will become your perfect child.

There is nothing in particular you should do on the way home; the air trip may not be easy, especially with an infant, but avoid sedative medication on the flight [See: Air Travel].

The New Basics
A-to-Z Baby & Child Care for the Modern Parent
. Copyright © by Michel Cohen. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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The New Basics: A-to-Z Baby & Child Care for the Modern Parent 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
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GinaJahn More than 1 year ago
You will use this as a reference for when things happen. I thought i could read it now before the baby came - but it is more like a dictionary for all things baby. I am sure it will be very useful once my baby arrives.
minneapolis More than 1 year ago
As a pediatrician and mom of two, I can highly recommend this book. In fact, I wish Dr. Cohen were OUR pediatrician, but we live in different cities. He is so common sensical and practical. I especially like to refer people to the sleep and food sections. I do wish some sections were longer or more detailed or that he would write a second one with new entries. I refer to this book often. You'll love it.
MorganCadenMommy More than 1 year ago
I give this book to all new parents as a gift - common-sense, no-fuss advice delivered in a fun-to-read format - I refer to this book at least once a week.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dani_NY More than 1 year ago
As a first time dad this book is very re-assuring, you hear a lot of contradictions and urban legends. For a change its nice to hear that its not always that complicated and most of parenting is common sense. Admittely, Dr. Cohen is our peditrician but I can tell you he practice what he preaches. A recommended read for all.....
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am expecting my second baby in December.At times I loved the tone of this book- witty, re-assuring- and at other times, I hated the tone- the author seemed to think that all problems with babies are a by-product of nervous or hovering mommies. Also, some topics were not covered quite as thoroughly as I would like. I wouldn't recommend this for a first time mom. If your child is absolutely average in every way and your children don't have any issues or special needs, or if you are having your third baby, you will appreciate this book a lot.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book has been the most helpful book I've ever read on parenting. As a first time mom, I literally read dozens of books on the subject and was left feeling confused and nervous because of all of the contradictory information I read. Then I found this book and It has given me peace of mind, confidence in parenting and a ton of great advice to refer back to when needed (usually daily for me).
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book kept me sane in the first few weeks of my daughter's life. It's full of calm and easy to digest advice about all of the things that I was so unsure about. Everything from brastfeeding advice to the proper color of poop is easy to access and even easier to understand.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book had terrible advice on breastfeeding. Stick with a book from Dr. Sears, Dr. Jay Gordon or Dr. Jack Newman
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm a three-time dad, and I didn't think I'd learn much in another book about baby care, but that Dr. Cohen surprised me. Sure, we already know a lot of this stuff, but I could have used this book when we had our oldest, Jason. It's so clear and concise. Definitely written by a man -- it wastes no time getting to the facts. Is that sexist? Too bad! The New Basics is to the point and on target. This works, this doesn't, here's why, now do it. And don't freak out. My kind of book. Can we have a guide to office politics next? What about care and feeding of wives? Jason's almost 11. What about teenagers? How about it, Doc?
Guest More than 1 year ago
There are lots of unusual opinions in this book. Here¿s a good example: Page 315 says ¿No matter what you may have heard or read, toilet training is unnecessary.¿ He says it¿s a normal part of development and ¿does not require training.¿ Huh? My toddler¿s going to do it all on his own??? He says to let him run around naked at 18 months, buy a potty chair, and when he has to go he¿ll ¿remember this new piece of furniture¿. (Oh, so that¿s where the book cover idea came from.) He thinks dentists and dental care are unnecessary for a baby, advising on p. 320 ¿don¿t bother with toothbrushing until 12 to 18 months¿ while the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises parents to brush at the first sign of a tooth - mine get teeth at 4-5 months old. Under sleep he answers the question ¿When is my baby going to sleep through the night?¿ with ¿Never.¿ That¿s reassuring. Colic ¿ Page 73: ¿As far as I¿m concerned, colic does not really exist.¿ (One of mine had colic, and yes, it does exist!) He says they cry because they ¿never get the opportunity to cry¿ so they ¿cry all the time.¿ I¿m confused... And how to deal with excessive crying? Let her cry herself to sleep. Gas doesn¿t exist either, according to the author ¿Gas is not a sign of discomfort¿ ¿do not give in to the temptation to help Lucy get rid of gas my massaging her belly or pumping her legs or burping her.¿ As a woman who has breastfed my children, and overcome many obstacles I cannot believe the erroneous information this author writes on the topic. He makes plenty of assumptions based on ignorance. He refers to breastfeeding as ¿popular¿ and says that the ideal breastfeeding consultant is ¿your mother or an older sister¿ and says of lactation consultants ¿beyond the expert hand-holding, however, I take a dim view of their professional equipment and theories.¿ (p.48) and the first choice for help is a female family member, but if you don¿t have one ¿hire a lactation specialist to come help out at your house, as long as she leaves her equipment at hers.¿ (Whatever that means, my LCs never had any strange equipment!) He goes on to say that breastfeeding is easy and gives odd advice, for example, if your baby has difficult latching on ¿let her work harder for her meal.¿ (Oh that oughta work!) Under the family bed he says that ¿it¿s a challenge to create a larger family when your family is in your bed.¿ Lots of co-sleeping families have more than one child! William Sears, the most vocal proponent of the family bed has eight children. There¿s an odd disrespectful tone throughout, such as when talking about crooked teeth ¿If Lucy¿s fangs initially erupt crookedly don¿t be concerned.¿ I¿m afraid to read any further. Definitely look for an alternative to this questionable book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While this book covers lots of topics many are simple definitions. Under Flu you'll read about what it is but not what to do if your baby has the flu. The milestone sections are very skimpy and cover information in 3 month age spreads, so there's not a lot of detail. Also, the cover is very strange and got my older boys going with potty jokes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dr. Cohen is THE pediatrician of choice in Manhattan. And wow, I wish I had this book when I was expecting! Of course, he is now my baby's doctor. It is so simple to read, without insane medical jargon and,aesthetically, a joy to behold. In simple A-Z format, Dr. Michel guides you through with a relaxing and humorous tone. 'Don't worry so much!', he exorts. And this is precisely what a new parent needs. He supercedes all of the other books out there, many of which are so very alarmist and preachy. It's the only book any parent of a baby or toddler needs. Bravo, Dr. Michel! You help keep my family calm and my baby well.