Raising Healthy Children: Tip # 5 Sleep

By Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani: Tip # 5 Sleep

Sleep

Poor sleep habits can also contribute to unnecessary stress in the household…

If a child does not wake up easily and with energy each morning, this could indicate they are not getting enough quality sleep. This in turn will affect their personality, their learning and their health in general.

Tired children cannot concentrate, learn tasks, or play sports well. And just like adults, typically tired children crave sugary foods that leave them prone to yeast imbalances.

The parents role

As parents, we often miss our child’s ‘tired cues’ and then we have great difficulty trying to put them to bed when their brain has moved back into fourth gear. If your child consistently wakes up tired or is slow in the morning, then try getting them to bed an hour earlier for a period of time and watch how this can transform grumpy or emotional behavior. Over the years I have learnt that a set routine for dinner and bedtime makes getting to sleep earlier easier, and life easier for everyone. This means aiming to feed children early—well before they are tired. Plan an ideal time for bed and give yourself plenty of time for baths and the reading of evening books, etc. Some nights you will be able to have luxurious, long baths and other nights you will need to be drill-sergeant.

It is a good idea to limit the number of late nights that children have in a week. With social, school and family activities, bedtimes can gradually become later and later for older children; however, sleep requirements remain just as vital for teenagers as when they are younger. It turns out that teenagers may actually need more sleep than in their
younger years.

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Raising Healthy Children: Tip # 4 Immune System

By Dr. Jennifer Barham-Floreani: Tip # 4: GET DIRTY – Benefits to the Immune System

Many of us have been led to believe that germs are the root of all evil. And that we should go to great lengths to avoid them…

Anti-bacteria hand creams, sprays, and wipes, fill our handbags and counters. Yet, compelling research tells us that we have gone too far. Some exposure to pets, dirt, and other children, for example, are vital for stimulating the immune system to work effectively. In experiments where we grow animals in completely sterile (germ-free) environments, their immune systems do not develop normally. In a conclusion, they develop severe immune diseases, including allergy and autoimmunity.

When our “microbiome” (our internal network of helpful and harmful bacteria) becomes imbalanced, our digestion, immune function, state of mind, and general health and wellbeing in time become compromised. Scientists now believe, an imbalanced microbiome to be one of the primary causes of several diseases and disorders. Such as:

  • Chronic infection
  • Inflammation
  • Autoimmunity
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Cancer
  • Neurological problems such as Alzheimer’s, autism, and schizophrenia.

The Canadian Medical Association Journal just a few months ago stated that “the disruption of the gut balance [is linked] to an increasing number of diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, allergies, and asthma.”

Studies now tell us that exposure to dirt and germs is incredibly essential. We need regular exposure to bacteria and viruses to strengthen our immune system. In our own homes, among our own families, we want to take the opportunity to build up our immune systems.

Here are a few quick tips:

  • Letting children crawl on the floor is fine, playing in the dirt is a good thing; we encourage having family pets and sharing a spoon with your sister is, again, fine.
  • Cleaning away visible dirt or grime on any surface — sinks, floors, or door handles with thorough washing and cleaning products that are free of harsh chemicals — is usually enough without constant sterilizing. And also using disinfectants such as bleach (which probably kills everything in the air around it, too!).
  • Washing our hands with simple soap dislodges and removes surface particles without stripping everything on the skin. Antibacterial soaps kill both good and bad bacteria. They also strip the skin of the environment it needs to sustain good bacteria.
  • Be less concerned about germs but instead focus more on considering how strong is your child’s digestive power and immune system.

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Low Back Pain and Pregnancy

Just when you think being pregnant is enough to deal with, nature has to throw in the curve-ball of a higher risk of low back pain. Not only that, but statistically, it’s said to start early on in pregnancy and increase over time. This can put a lot of stress not only on the mother, but everyone around her as well. So what causes it? How does it affect your baby’s development? And what can you do about it?

 

Cause

 

Low back pain on it’s own is a complicated condition. Muscles, ligaments, discs, and tendons are all potential culprits, but sometimes even your brain itself perceives dysfunctional patterns and sends pain signals as a response.

As the baby grows, the lower back will gradually start to increase its curve as the pelvis tilts. The shoulders move back to compensate for the shift in the centre of gravity. Finally, the head takes on a more forward position, a condition called Anterior Head Syndrome. All this happens as the body releases a special hormone to relax the ligaments in the pelvic area to allow for easier birth and movement of the structures as the uterus enlarges.

All of these shifts and changes increase stress and strain on the low back, so it’s no surprise that low back pain is expected during pregnancy.

 

Baby Development

 

The low back pain itself is not the concern when it comes to the baby’s development. However, it does throw a wrench in the works when you’re trying to maintain an optimal, healthy environment for your baby. It can make it hard to stay on track with movement and exercise, get high quality sleep, prepare healthy meals (to avoid eating out and consuming processed, innutritious food), and manage stress levels.

 

Solutions

 

  1. Walking: 30 minutes a day should do, just to get some motion in the pelvis and avoid uninterrupted sitting.
  2. Foam Rolling: working on the fascia and muscles will help your soft tissue adapt to all the structural changes that your body is going under.
  3. Strength Training: developing strength, especially within your core stabilizing muscles, can help immensely with low back pain and overall health.
  4. Structural Chiropractic: a structural chiropractor can act as valuable asset in the health care team of any pregnant woman. They can keep the body functioning optimally as well as address conditions such as Anterior Head Syndrome and low back pain. We usually find pregnant women to have the speediest recovery at our office.

If you’ve got a baby on the way, try these out and benefit from a better and more comfortable pregnancy. If you have any questions about pregnancy, low back pain or other health concerns, feel free to bring them up with your Structural Chiropractor.

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Tummy Time: Definition and Tips

What is tummy time and why is it important?

Tummy time is exactly what it sounds like, that is, any amount of time your baby spends in a prone (belly-down) position while awake and supervised.

Babies who don’t spend any time on their tummies can miss out on the important practice of lifting their heads against gravity and bearing weight with their arms—activities that strengthen the muscles of the neck, shoulders, arms, and belly. This physical development will eventually become crucial for babies to sit, roll, push up, and crawl.

Additionally, placing your baby on her belly for play will provide her with the opportunity to move from side-to-side, which can help with coordination, balance and postural control. As she gains these new motor skills and perspectives, she’ll become more confident and curious, which will encourage her to move and explore the world around her not to mention, prepare herself for crawling.

 

Tummy time!

 

How much tummy time is recommended?

Pediatricians recommend that parents or childcare providers start by placing alert infants to play on their tummies 2-3 times a day, for 3-5 minutes each time.

In early infancy, tummy time might only last a few minutes before your baby becomes sleepy or begins to fuss. Don’t force a fussy baby to endure time on their tummy. Instead, provide her with more frequent, shorter sessions on her tummy. If your baby becomes sleepy, always place her on her back to nap.

Increase the amount of time and the frequency of tummy time as your baby shows more interest in playing belly-down. By 3-4 months, try for around 20 minutes of tummy time a day. If your baby is content and alert, allow her to stay on her tummy as long as she likes, working up to 40-60 total daily minutes.

By the time your baby has the strength and coordination to roll over (at 4-6 months), she’ll be trying out tummy time all on her own.

 

What if my baby hates it?

Many babies are initially resistant to the new position and perspective of being belly-down on the floor. If your baby fusses when you start tummy time on the floor, try comforting her by returning to a position on your belly or lap, reminding him that he’s safe and secure on his tummy.

Remember, more than anything, babies crave emotional connection and interaction with their parents, so be sure to help your baby along during tummy time by getting down on her level and interacting with her in a loving, stimulating way.

Avoid putting babies on their tummies if they’ve just eaten or if they are gassy or irritable.The pressure on their belly will, understandably, be uncomfortable. This is especially true for babies who have colic or acid reflux. Be especially sensitive to their unique needs. Do tummy time just after your baby wakes from a nap or directly after a diaper change. You also want to avoid at the end of the day or during the witching hour time.

 

10 best tips for tummy time success

1. Start early

Newborns can seem so fragile in their early days that some first-time parents feel nervous to handle them too much? But you have the amazing opportunity to introduce your newborn to the wonders of her new life on land by giving them belly-to-belly tummy time with you in their first days of life.

2. Make tummy time a bonding time

Especially while your baby is having tummy time on your body, sing to her, talk to her, make eye contact and enjoy this special moment of growing and learning together. She’ll love smelling your skin and the warmth of your body on hers. When she moves to the floor for tummy time, go with her.

 

3. It’s for the whole family

Partners, dads, siblings, and grandparents can participate in the bonding, too by placing baby on their bodies or lying down on the floor while baby has tummy time there.

 

4. Get on her level

Babies will be more interested in floor time on their tummies if their loved-ones are nearby. Your baby will naturally look for your face and turn her head toward the sound of your voice, thus encouraging her to build strength.

 

5. Introduce texture

Textured mats, sheepskin rugs, or soft blankets will provide interesting tactile stimulation, something babies crave.

 

6. Stimulate your baby’s senses

In addition to stimulating her sense of touch, engage your baby with colorful mats and toys, as well as by singing and talking to her throughout play.

 

7. Take it slow

If your baby doesn’t like staying on her tummy for an extended time, give her very short experiences that introduce her to the activity. Build slowly from there.

 

8. Timing is everything

Remember that lying belly-down with a gassy or full tummy would be uncomfortable for anyone. And if your baby is already sleepy or fussy, it’s best to hold off on tummy time until she’s rested. Try it just after a nap or a diaper change, and avoid classically fussy times of day. (Looking at you, witching hour.)

 

9. Consider side-lying

An alternative to tummy time (if your baby doesn’t tolerate being on her stomach) is placing your baby on a blanket on her side. Support her back with a rolled towel and her head (if needed) with a folded washcloth. Allow her arms and legs to be in front of her, and play with her in this position. While side lying may not give the same kind of strength training as belly-down play, it allows for important position changes and supports development and motor skills in other ways.

 

10. Don’t stress it

You may be doing everything right, but your baby just doesn’t like being placed on her tummy. That’s okay, too. Babies who refuse tummy time still grow to sit up, crawl, and walk like their peers.

 

Looking for a Chiropractor in Auckland?

Contact Revolution Chiropractic – Leading  Sports Chiropractor Auckland

To Schedule your FREE CONSULTATION at Revolution Chiropractic E-mail or Call us on 09 418 3718.  

You can also book online here!

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