BEING a parent is an emotional rollercoaster – it’s exciting, inspiring, confusing and worrying all in one.

One of the things that many parents find tough is weaning – it is such a minefield with so much conflicting advice.

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From HRT concerns to personal grooming, Dr Zoe answers your health queriesCredit: Olivia West

That’s why I always point patients in the direction of Better Health Start For Life.

It’s an NHS campaign that shares reliable, evidence-based and data-driven tips.

If you’re struggling, check it out and send over any questions that you have and I will do my best to answer as many as possible.

One reader emailed in concerned about introducing nuts to their baby’s diet, and this is something that comes up a lot.

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So here’s my advice on how best to tackle this, and how to cope with some other common health worries from HRT concerns to personal grooming worries.

As ever, no health problem is too big or small, so get in touch, whatever is bothering you.

Q: HOW do you introduce nuts to a baby with eczema, if a parent has eczema, hay fever or asthma?

A: Weaning your baby can be the most exciting experience but also can provoke a lot of anxiety.

Most children will not have food allergies, but allergies are becoming more common.

Foods that are most likely to cause a reaction (allergens) include nuts, fish, egg and soya so these should be introduced carefully. Introduce one allergen at a time and initially in small quantities.

Wait at least three days before trying another one as it can take this long for some allergies to become apparent and it’s important to know which food caused the allergy.

They can be introduced from around six months, alongside other foods – there is no need to wait longer.

In fact, research shows that delaying the introduction of peanuts or eggs can actually increase the risk of allergy.

If your baby already has a diagnosed food allergy or eczema, or if you have a family history of food allergies, eczema, asthma or hay fever, you may need to be particularly careful when introducing foods, so it may be a good idea to talk to your GP or health visitor first and have

some antihistamine medication to hand.
There are some wonderful resources available on the weaning pages of the start4life website. See nhs.uk/start4life.

Q: I’M currently on HRT but feel really depressed. Do I need antidepressants or should I try a different form of HRT?

If taking HRT has not alleviated your depressive symptoms then do go back to your GP as there are a number of other options that could help you, including antidepressant medication, which can be prescribed in addition to HRT.

Other things that may also help include talking therapies, and lifestyle factors.

People often underestimate just how important lifestyle changes are when it comes to our mental health.

Evidence shows, for example, that regular group exercise can be as effective as either antidepressant medication or cognitive behavioral therapy when it comes to treating mild to moderate depression.

I always advise my patients to do their best to incorporate even small amounts of exercise into their routine, if they can, because alongside their other treatments it can make a big difference.

Q: I’M plagued by ingrown hairs, chafing and swelling on my bikini line, what can I do to ease it?

A: If shaving and waxing are proving very problematic then there are two alternative options that I would recommend.

Firstly, leaving your pubic hair alone completely would likely solve the problem, and there are no proven health benefits to removing pubic hair.

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However if this is not something you wish to do, for cosmetic purposes, then it may be worth considering laser treatment.

This is not available on the NHS. However, a course of laser treatment has the huge benefit in that it is a more permanent solution and therefore a good investment.

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