Carrie Brown, MD, FAAP
Dr. Brown is a mom of two and a general pediatrician who treats medically complex children and specializes in palliative care at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock.
How many children do you have? I have two sons. Carter is 8, and Conner is 6.
What’s your specialty? I’m a general pediatrician, and I treat medically complex children and specialize in palliative care.
What’s the best parenting advice you’ve ever received? Breastfeeding is hard. You hear all about how beneficial and wonderful it is, but no one tells you how hard it is to get going. It takes a few weeks of hard work on the part of a mother who’s exhausted already before you feel really good at it.
What’s your own favorite parenting tip? If you have a colicky baby, wear ear plugs. Also, it really is okay once you’ve determined that there is nothing wrong with your baby, to put him in a safe place, such as his crib, shut the door, go into the bathroom, and take a shower until the hot water runs out. It won’t hurt your baby to cry for 20 minutes while you take a much-needed break.
How do you get your kids to eat healthy food? We offer our kids a wide variety of things. If they see something new they’d like to try, we’ll try it.
We’ve found that by offering plenty of choices, our children are just as likely to ask for nutritious foods like celery as they are delicious foods like a popsicle. In their minds, there’s no advantage to one over the other. Both are available, and to them, both are a treat. I believe this teaches them how to make healthy choices on their own.
Also, at dinner, we serve our kids vegetables in measuring cups. Five-year-old Carter gets ½ cup, and three-year-old Conner gets 1/3 cup. It’s their choice whether or not they eat the vegetables, but if they don’t, they won’t get anything else to eat after supper. So they usually eat it.
How do you work exercise into your family’s life? Each of my sons has an activity that they do outside of the house. Conner takes gymnastics at the Little Gym. And Carter takes ice skating lessons. I do that with him because I figure if I’m going to be there freezing, I might as well get to skate, too. We also walk around our neighborhood as a family.
How do you recharge your batteries? I enjoy ice skating. I also don’t feel badly about leaving my sons with a babysitter once a week while I’m not at work so I can read a book or do something for myself.