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When should chicken pox vaccine and semi solid food be given to the child?

Q: My daughter is 13 months old. So far we have given her all the vaccinations as per the doctor's prescription, except chicken pox which was due at 12 months. Now she is due for the MMR at 15 months, then booster dose for DPT at 15 to 18 months. Some of my friends have given chicken pox vaccine to their children when they started going to school. We haven't decided what to do with our daughter. Can we postpone the chicken pox vaccine till the third or fourth year or is it necessary to give it now? My daughter is highly reluctant to take feeds. She doesn't take any solid food even after 13 months. If we try to give solid food, she vomits it immediately. She is only taking lactogen and growing up on milk or ceralac. What should we do so that she shifts to solid food?

A:Chicken pox vaccine can be given any time after one year of age. It is not effective before that time. A child does not have any in-built protection against chickenpox. Therefore, she remains susceptible to it till she gets a natural infection, or gets a vaccination. It is, therefore, desirable to vaccinate at the earliest opportunity to achieve protection. A child should ideally be started on semi-solid food after 6 month of age. The attempt should be to introduce home based foods since beginning so that child gets used to it. The later we attempt this, more difficult it becomes. You require a lot of patience to teach your child to consume home cooked food. Begin by giving mashed things, then go on to coarsely pounded/chopped things. Introduce one at a time, offer at a time when child is reasonably hungry, but not voraciously so, when she would have no patience to try anything new. Offer her milk less frequently and it is not required more than 3 times a day. If a particular food is persistently refused, offer something else. Most important, let her eat with the family, sitting on the table, from her own plate. Avoid use of TV as a distraction while feeding! She must learn to enjoy her meal. Meal times should be relaxed and pleasant rather than a time of tension for parents & child. During trying times, remember, no child continues on milk forever. They all learn sooner or later!

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