About Dr. JJ Levenstein

Dr. JJ Levenstein is a board-certified pediatrician and fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and in 2012 retired from her thriving private pediatric practice in Encino, California. She served on the staff of CHLA and Encino Tarzana Hospitals for 20 years and was consistently voted one of the Best Doctors in America® from 2003 through 2012. Drawing from her experience as a pediatrician and mom, Dr. Levenstein serves as president and co-founder of MD Moms, makers of Baby Silk, the first personal care line for babies developed by pediatrician moms. She serves on the board of United Cerebral Palsy LA, is an active writer and sits on the advisory boards of several child-centered websites. She is an accomplished chef and completed culinary school in 2013! She has had a lifelong interest in child nutrition and all things related to preventive health.

Potty Training: 101


Don’t we all love it when our little ones make that leap from diapers to underwear? And yet, like breast feeding, potty training may not come so naturally to some kids. Potty training involves a period of observation and action, followed by a plan to be successful. When is it most successful? Most girls will [...]

Does My Kid Need Vitamins?


This is certainly a question that was asked very frequently of me when I was in practice. Given that the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t have a firm stance on the answer, of course, can also confuse parents. So here’s the lowdown about vitamins for children, broken down by age. Infancy (0-12 months) – Vitamin [...]

Jack Frost is Not Our Friend!


With temperatures plummeting to the depths in various parts of the country, the stress of cold weather, blizzards and subzero temperatures takes its toll. Airports are paralyzed, schools and workplaces shut down and, yet, life must go on. That means we still have to buy food, trudge outside to empty the trash, shovel snow, and, [...]

Ask Dr. JJ: My Baby Won’t Eat Solids!

dr. jj copy

Andy: My baby is 6 months old and because of allergies we are just starting with solids. He started the first day eating them so well, but then that night he threw everything up. Now, he doesn’t even want to taste them, no matter what’s on the spoon, fruit or vegetable. What can I do? [...]

Ask Dr. JJ: Bedtime Feeding

dr. jj copy

Nadia: My 16-month-old is waking up every night after midnight and she will not fall asleep until I feed her. This impromptu schedule is affecting my beauty sleep pattern. I need an after-dinner or before-bed snack that is healthy and will fill her up until morning. Maybe milk with fruits as a shake or something like that? [...]

Ask Dr. JJ: Pureeing Berry Seeds

dr. jj copy

Jessica: Hello! I absolutely love making foods for my little girl. She has just started eating pureed foods at 5 months old and she loves everything (except avocados) that she has tried so far. I am curious, though, how to go about pureeing things like strawberries and kiwis. I’m not sure her little insides are [...]

Ask Dr. JJ: Nitrates in Homemade Baby Food?

dr. jj

Dr. JJ recently received two similar questions about homemade carrot purees and their levels of nitrates.  Patti Reid: I am making all of my grandson’s baby food using the Baby Bullet to help my daughter out. His pediatrician has cautioned us about making homemade pureed carrots due to the nitrates. He is now a little [...]

Ask Dr. JJ: Should I Introduce Solid Food?

dr. jj copy

Ashley: Hello, My little guy is going on 15 weeks old. He is purely breastfed. He was 8.4 pounds at birth and 20.5 inches long. He currently sleeps 9-9.5 hours at night and usually takes 1-2 one-hour naps (2 hours total) during the day. My concern is that he has been gaining weight VERY slowly. [...]

That Sounds Fishy…


One of the most common questions I would get in counseling parents about nutrition was about the safety of fish, especially since we live in a sushi-loving universe here in California. I wanted to offer some information and perspective so that fish can remain an integral part of our diets, with safety in mind. For [...]

Ask Dr. JJ: Helping Get My Baby Chewing

dr. jj

Melissa: I have a 13-month-old who still gags on food! I always cut things really small and sometimes he does fine and sometimes, not so much. He hates the 3rd stage foods because of the lumps. Is there something I can do to try to and help him get chewing down better? Or will he [...]