• Superfoods your kids can’t go without

    superfoods

     

    Growing kids need more than just any kind of food. By the time your baby is completely weaned off, his body requires twice the amount of nutrients or more than what he used to get from milk. That means getting the right food to provide him with optimum nutrition for healthy brain and body development.

    However, this may not necessarily be a walk in the park when you consider your child’s own taste. Kids one year old and above are especially picky because their taste buds are more discerning. Some foods, especially fruits and vegetables, are packed with essential nutrients but don’t sit well with your kids.

    Superfoods are really great because they’re rich in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber yet so affordable and easy to come by. Your kids would also love the taste ranging from sweet, tangy, creamy, succulent, and meaty. Here’s a shopping list with 5 of the most highly recommended superfoods your kids can’t go without:

     

     

    beef1. Beef.

    If you want a tasty way to provide your kids with B vitamins, minerals, and protein, give them a healthy serving of one of your beef recipes. Beef is a rich source of iron, zinc, niacin, and choline necessary for brain development. But what about cholesterol? Nope. That’s not gonna hurt your kid. They actually need it for growth. Make sure they’re well done but tender enough for their small tummies.

     
    egg2. Eggs.

    Giving your child enough protein is easier than you think. Eggs are known for their high protein content, plus choline for healthy brain function. It’s a healthy alternative to beef, or you can alternate between eggs and beef to avoid monotony. Your child may also like a particular style of cooking so stick to what he likes the most.

     

     
    berries3. Berries.

    Kids love sweets. So instead of candies, why not serve them with a load of berries. Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are bursting with vitamin C and anti-oxidants for healthy immune function, and dietary fiber to aid digestion. Mix them up with cereals and milk or add them to yogurt to give it a sweet, tangy taste.

     

     
    cheese4. Cheese.

    No other food can match this one for its calcium content. And guess what? Kids go crazy at it, so you won’t have any trouble serving a hearty, cheesy meal to your kid. Calcium helps prevent dental cavities in your child and helps promotes stronger bones. Another good thing with cheese is that you can incorporate it in some of your dishes or serve them with your snacks for your sandwiches and salads.

     
    yogurt5. Yogurt.

    Kids also love this stuff. Serve chilled yogurt becomes a healthy and yummy alternative to ice cream. Your kids can’t get enough with all the different flavors they could choose from. But if you can, get something that is all-natural with fresh fruits and berries as natural flavor enhancers. Like milk and cheese, it’s also good source of calcium plus zinc, vitamin B, and phosphorus. Some yogurt incorporates probiotics to aid proper digestion and to keep a healthy digestive tract for your child. You might want to try it as well.

     

     

  • Understanding Baby Schedule

    Coming up with a baby schedule is no easy task. Done right you could more or less find a definite pattern and be able to plan a workable schedule for your baby.

    Your baby’s changing needs and rapid development will have you on your toes most of the time. Just as fast as your baby grows, your baby’s sleeping, waking, and eating habits may also shift dozens of times. This can be somewhat frustrating, especially when they go through the so-called ‘sleep regression’ growing kids are known for.

    Dealing with this kind of situation requires a lot of heart, and the right understanding on what makes our babies tick. Let’s try to find out how most people are coming up with their baby schedule and what parents should expect along the way. In this blog we’ll be talking about clock-based baby schedule.

     

    mother with son

     

    Your baby’s sense of time is not yet fixed.

    As we grow older, our sense of time becomes hardwired into our brain. It’s called ‘circadian rhythm’. We instinctively know when it’s time for lights off or if we’re already burning daylight. During the first few weeks to around four months of your child, setting up baby a definite schedule is almost an impossibility. Time is virtually nonexistent.

    At this stage, your baby’s body is still in the process of ‘tuning in’ with world around him. The only ‘time’ for them at this moment is feeding time and diaper change or whenever they feel some discomfort.

     

    It’s different for everyone.

    You’ll be surprised to know that there’s no definite age (months) to start doing your clock-based baby schedule. Generally, it would be around four to five months for most babies. Others could take a year or more, particularly for those who have a hard time coping with sleep regression and staying back on track. To know if your baby is ready for clock-based schedule, read the following checklist:

     

    • Has your baby undergone sleep regression during his first four months?
    • Was he able to get back on track after going through it?
    • Can you estimate intervals between feeding time to be more or less two and a half hours during daytime?
    • Can your baby stay awake between naps for about two hours?

    If you answered ‘yes’ to all these questions, then most likely your baby is ready for clock-based schedule.

     

    Setting up a schedule for your baby

    So here’s the trick. During the initial stage, pay attention to his own sleeping, waking, and feeding habits. Try not to interfere. Don’t be too particular about setting the clock just yet. How long does it take for him to get a full tummy? How many hours before he wakes up for a refill? Take notes and come up with a draft based on your observations.

    More or less you’ll see a semblance of your baby’s sleep-wake-feed pattern. When you’re pretty sure he’s quite consistent about it, it’s time for you to step in. Your first baby schedule should look something like this:

     

    MORNING BABY’S ACTIVITIES

    7:00-7:30 Rise and shine baby! Time to get cleaned up.
    7:30-8:00 Feeding time
    8:00-9:00 Play time. Get those arms and legs moving.
    9:00-11:00 Time for baby to catch some z’s.
    11:00-11:15 Wake up baby. Let’s get your diaper changed.
    11:15-11:45 Feeding time

     

    AFTERNOON BABY’S ACTIVITIES

    11:45-1:00 Independent play
    1:00-3:00 It’s nap time.
    3:00-3:15 Wake up darling. (Check diaper)
    3:15-3:45 Feeding time
    3:45-5:00 Fun, fun, fun
    5:00-6:00 Short nap
    6:00-6:15 Baby wakes up on his own – the ‘witching hour’ (gets a little fussy)
    6:15-6:45 Time for a warm bath and massage

     

    EVENING BABY’S ACTIVITIES

    6:45-7:15 Feeding time
    7:15-7:30 Baby waits for mom.
    7:30-8:00 Bed time stories and lullabies. Sleep tight sweetie.

     

    You’ve probably noticed that there’s a two-hour interval between wake up hours and sleeping hours. This is typical in most babies four to five months old. You can try nudging the time backwards or forwards by an hour or so depending on what your own schedule would allow.

    Your baby will most likely respond well because his body learns to recognize this habit-forming routine. His biological clock can be ‘set’ during this stage, so to speak.

     

    Sleep regression: a fact of life

    Just when you have everything under control, suddenly your baby’s biological clock goes haywire. Your baby starts waking up during wee hours thinking it’s playtime daytime. You put him back to sleep only to find out he’s on all fours after an hour or so. It’s like the whole schedule you’ve just made for your baby has been turned upside down, where nighttime becomes daytime.

    This has been observed in most, if not all, babies, so if you’re baby’s one of them, don’t freak out. It’s just that his rapid growth and development tends to throw his biological clock off. That tells you your baby has grown a lot, and so you have to do some tweaking with the baby schedule to make it more appropriate for his age.

     

    You will notice that as he grows older, his wake up times during daytime tends to get a bit longer than his sleep time and that he sleeps uninterrupted during the night. That simply means his circadian rhythm is starting to kick and becoming more like grown-ups. Just bear with your child when you get through these episodes. In time, his biological clock will mature and you won’t have to go through them ever again.

    One more thing about sleep regression. Your baby will likely experience this every four months. By the time he gets 18 months old, teething sets off and sleep regression goes on for the worse. Just take heart and know that these are just but temporary. Learn more about circadian rhythms and how you can influence your baby’s biological clock. One example is to use dim lights during nighttime to prep your child that it’s about bedtime. Another is to tone done ambient noise and decrease the level of activity during the night.

     

    Conclusion

    Setting up a clock-based schedule for your baby is certainly achievable to some degree if you take the time to pay attention to your baby’s own rhythms. Timing is crucial so make sure you review the checklist first before starting out with any baby schedule to increase the likelihood of success.

     

  • Sleep Training: How to Cope with Sleepless Nights

    sleep-training

     

    It’s not uncommon for parents to experience sleepless nights whenever a new member of the family comes along. We’ve been through those tough times where we have to get up during wee hours and suffer sleep deprivation for months.

    The good news is you won’t have to go through it ever again. You can teach your child to sleep on his own without you having to lull him to sleep every single time. But here’s the caveat. Sleep training for your child requires a lot of determination, or ‘though love’, if you will. Some parents quit halfway because they couldn’t stand their baby crying it out.

    One more thing: it’s not recommended for young babies less than six months old, so you may still have to give up some sleep till your baby is old enough.

    Let’s go through these two sleep training methods and see which method would suit him best.

     

     

    Cry It Out

    baby cryingYou might have heard about ‘gradual extinction’ or Ferber method when you came across sleep training for children. It’s also known as ‘cry it out’ method. The name itself tells you that this is not a method for the faint at heart. ‘Cry it out’ works by letting the child cry to his sleep or figure out how he could sleep on his own.

    This caused a lot of concern for parents who thought this could lead to stress and behavioral problems in their child later in life.

     

    Research shows that this is not the case. Children who underwent this type of sleep training do not appear to have high stress levels as shown by the cortisol levels in their saliva. One advantage of this method is that it doesn’t take too long before the child learns to sleep unassisted. Once his sleeping habit is firmly established, you can kiss your sleepless nights goodbye.

     

    A milder version of ‘gradual extinction’ works well with most parents because kids learn to sleep it out in a more subtle way. Parents initially sleep with their baby after which they would leave the room and get back only when they wake up. As you build his trust, you can slowly increase the time between crying it out and going to their aid. In time, he will learn that he can sleep without your help and that you’re just around when he needs you.

     

     

     

    Faded Bedtime

    This sleep training technique is made specifically for children who don’t respond well with crying it out particularly those who tend to vomit or those who had unpleasant experiences being alone. However, this may take some time and a lot of patience compared to the gradual extinction. This method works by associating bedtime routines with his natural sleeping hours.

     

    baby

     

    It could take late at night or past midnight before your baby feels a little bit drowsy or just about to conk out. You can do some lullabies or gently caress your baby to sleep. After some time, his body becomes conditioned to feel drowsy whenever you have those soothing routines. Slowly move back his sleeping time until you get the desired sleeping time for your baby. It’s still as effective as graduated extinction but is a more lenient and ‘gentler’ alternative to crying it out.

     

  • Keeping a Baby-friendly Crib

    crib safety

    Cribs are made for safety reasons; it keeps your child from going elsewhere while you doing something else. But what if that same thing that protects your child becomes unsafe? Most problems with faulty designed baby cribs is that children can get trapped between gaps of badly fitted railings and mattresses or get caught in low-hanging danglers. Positioners and blankets may also increase the risk of suffocation especially if the child starts to walk on all fours.

     

    Product safety institutions that deal with child care devices and apparatus demands strict compliance to quality and safety standards from manufacturers. It’s one way of giving moms the assurance that they can rely on things they bought for their children, baby’s cribs in particular. There are some important points and potential hazards to keep in mind when choosing or structuring your baby’s crib.

     

    crib

     

    First of all, the design. Drop-side cribs are very popular because it makes it so easy to adjust the railings for your growing baby. But this feature could also pose a risk, especially if those parts come loose and your baby gets stuck between them. Due to the alarming number of infant deaths caused by malfunctioning side railings, some authorities have already banned the sale and manufacture of drop-side cribs in some countries.

     

    crib railIf you’re already using one, make sure your baby’s crib is still in good shape – and I mean really, really good shape. Test it several times for any signs of malfunction. If you can wiggle the side rails or it comes apart rather easily, you may choose to immobilize the rail completely or replace it altogether with a fixed-rail crib. The real danger with this crib design is when your mattress doesn’t fit tightly with the side railings and the baby slips between them.

     

    Another important safety precaution is to keep any object that could entangle or strangle your child. Danglers are perfectly okay if your baby is still on its back or tummy most of the time. However, when he starts crawling or holding the rails for support, you’ll just have to remove the dangler away. If you’re using a wired baby monitor to keep an eye on your child, maintain a safe distance of about three feet or more (depending on camera resolution) from the baby.

     

    Some objects in the crib that seem innocuous could actually hurt your baby. Stuff toys are really cute and lovely; we can’t afford not to give one to our baby who’s just as cute and adorable. But a plain, uncluttered crib is actually much safer for your baby. Same with pillows and positioners. Your baby is better off without them. Just make sure his mattress is neither too stiff or too fluffy to make sure he gets a good night sleep.

     

    What about blankets? In my opinion, sleepers or sleep sacks are much safer. If you do use blankets, position your baby in such a way that he can’t move any further down, like the foot of the crib, to prevent suffocation when he gets underneath. Baby swings and playards are also baby products that needs to be secure at all time. This guide explains everything you need to know about baby swings. http://babysleep.help/how-to-choose-the-best-baby-swing-the-ultimate-buying-guide/

     

    You can always do something to make your crib a safer place for your little one. As a mom, I always believe in safety no matter what the cost.

     

  • Food Allergies: Is there a way around it?

    food-allergies

    Food allergies are somewhat mysterious because anyone can have it for no apparent reason. The fact that allergens (substances that triggers an allergic reaction) can be different from one person to another makes them very unpredictable. But there are ways you can help your baby from developing food allergies based on research.

     

    One thing to keep in mind is that food allergy is not a disease. It’s just that your baby’s immune system mistakes something like food or food substance as pathogens causing unwanted allergic reactions like rashes, itching, or vomiting. What causes allergy to one baby may not necessarily cause allergy to another.

     

    The medical community is divided on what really causes food allergy in children. Some pediatricians would recommend avoiding food that are known to cause allergies in most children, especially during their early years. These include fish, seafood, eggs, and nuts. But later studies prove otherwise. It could in fact increase the risk of food allergies since your baby’s immune system had not been trained to deal with it at an early age.

     

    milk allergySo what’s the solution? First of all, don’t panic. Know that your baby’s immune system is doing exactly what it’s designed to do – keep unwanted visitors out. It is strongly recommended that you start introducing food aside from breast milk only during his four or six month onwards. Try different fruits and vegetables as well as meat and fish, but do it ever so slightly while your baby’s immune system slowly adapts.

     

    Watch out for signs like itching, rash, vomiting, difficulty breathing, or fever. Constipation, diarrhea, or flatulence are generally not regarded as allergic reactions. It’s just that your baby’s tummy cannot handle the food just yet.

     

    Another factor that seems to prevent food allergy in children is that mothers continue breastfeeding until the age of two. Mother’s milk contains antibodies that fight infection. It also enhances the immune system’s ability to recognize between the ‘good buys’ and the ‘bad guys’. By the time your baby weans, his body ‘knows’ that healthy food is no cause for harm.

     

    In some cases however, food allergies becomes inevitable because some allergies could run in families. In other words, if either or both parents have food allergies, there’s a chance that their baby might also develop one. When in doubt, you can talk to your pediatrician about it. Most likely they would advise you against these allergy-causing foods if you already have one.

     

    But for the most people who don’t have known food allergies, they have a better chance of preventing food allergies to be developed in their children. As a rule, always choose natural and refrain from using processed food as much as possible. Don’t stop breastfeeding even if your baby has already started taking food. Breast milk is nature’s way of ensuring your baby gets all the essential nutrients while protecting him from common diseases.

     

  • Never Run Out of Milk Ever Again

    breastfeeding mom

    Breastfeeding mom

     

    Have you had trouble breastfeeding lately? One of the most common problems of first time moms is giving enough milk to feed their precious little angel. And by that, I mean all-natural, honest-to-goodness breast milk.

     

    It’s somewhat frustrating at times, especially if you’re completely clueless on how you can add some extra ounce, or if there’s really anything you can do about it. Ninety percent of the time, the answer to that question is ‘yes’. Mother nature always has a way to make things work for you. That is, if you know how it’s done – naturally. So let’s get into it.

     

    Our bodies respond naturally after giving birth by producing copious amounts of milk in our breasts. It can get a little painful sometimes after being engorged with milk for quite some time. But if you’re one of those who think they need to have more, here’s what you can do about it.

     

     

    1. Teach your baby how to latch properly. Babies need to get it right the first time to get the all important ‘pre-milk’ colostrum available within the first week of giving birth. Proper latching makes feeding more efficient and ensures that most of the milk is emptied.

    Oftentimes we mistakenly think our breasts are drying up so quickly when in reality it’s the latching that needs to be fixed. Once you get it right, your baby can get more out of it and your breast responds by producing more milk to replace it.

     

    2. Be generous and lenient with the feeding time. The more often you breastfeed, the more efficient your body becomes with milk production. It’s just the way nature works. Do not restrict yourself on what time you should breastfeed your baby.

    Your baby knows better than any clock in the world when it comes to feeding time. For working moms who have to go to work every day, consider having a ‘nursing break’ where it’s just you and your baby the whole time. This would make it easier for you and your baby produce more milk, not to mention strengthen mother-child relationship.

     

    3. Do physical stimulation to ‘trick’ your breasts. Sometimes your baby’s suckling action is not yet strong enough to encourage milk production or the latching position is incorrect. In this case, you can use a little help from our good old breast pump.

    By simulating a breastfeeding session, your breasts experience a suckling sensation that stimulates milk production. As it gets more frequent, and more milk are extracted, your breasts will produce just the right amount for your baby regularly.

    galactagogues-foods

     

    4. Consume galactagogues as part of your diet. If haven’t heard already, galactagogues are food or food substances that are known to stimulate milk production. These include dark leafy vegetables (especially spinach and moringa), papaya fruit, ginger, garlic, chickpeas, and spices like turmeric, anise, and cumin seeds. Some mothers swear by it and with good reasons.

    Galactagogues are found to stimulate the brain to produce more prolactin, the pituitary hormone that activates and sustains lactation. You can search the Internet for more fruits, veggies, and herbs that are known for their galactagogue content.

     

    So there you have it. I hope you found this post useful and informative as well. Good luck and have a wonderful breastfeeding experience!

     

  • What Preggy Moms Should Know About Zika

    mosquito-zika-virus

    Mosquito Zika Virus

    Zika has been around for quite some time. As a matter of fact, it has already been discovered in 1947 in Uganda, East Africa, not from humans but from certain type of monkey. It only causes mild symptoms in humans like fever, rash, and red eyes and usually lasts for less than a week. In most cases, people don’t get sick at all. They won’t even know they had one.

     

    However, it was not until recently that Zika had become a worldwide scare because of what it could possibly do to the unborn child. Microcephaly is a condition in which the fetus’ head becomes abnormally small along with other serious birth defects. As of now, no hard evidence directly points to Zika as the major cause. But the high incidence of adults who exhibit the symptoms of the virus and the concurrent rise in children born with microcephaly is strong enough to suggest that Zika could be the culprit.

     

    So how do people get infected with the virus and how do we know if a person has it? Here are some important things every mom should know about the dreaded disease.

     

    1. It can be transmitted through mosquito bites. The same vector that carries the dengue virus (aedes aegypti) is the cause of Zika outbreak in many places around the world. The virus can be passed when a mosquito feeds from an infected host and goes on to feed from another host and so on.

     

    2. Only 1 out of 5 infected people show signs of the virus. Zika can be very deceptive. It can cleverly hide and evade detection while silently preying on its next victim. For people who does exhibit the symptoms it can look pretty much like any other disease – fever, rash, weakness, etc. – which goes away eventually.

     

    3. It can be passed on through unprotected sex. Tests reveal the presence of Zika virus in the semen of infected males. They also found out that it can actually survive longer in the semen than in the blood. In some high risk countries like those in Central America, women were discouraged from getting pregnant until they’re pretty sure their community is safe from the virus.

     

    4. It damages the central nervous system. Zika is a stuff of nightmares for pregnant moms because of its ability to damage an otherwise healthy human brain of an unborn baby. The symptoms are more pronounced if the mother gets it during the first trimester. But here’s where it get’s scarier. Recent cases of Zika in adults have shown that it can also have a damaging effect on the brain in persons with autoimmune disorders.

     

    5. It has no known cure or vaccine. As of date, no medication or vaccine can effectively fight against this dreaded disease. The best solution up until now is to eradicate its vector by depriving all means of reproduction and protecting oneself by wearing protective clothes and applying insect repellants.

     

    Hopefully we can come up with a drug or vaccine that would completely wipe out this malady from the face of the earth. But even in our simple way, we can help take away its foothold by maintaining a clean environment and stopping the spread of the disease right in its tracks.

     

  • 5 Helpful Tips to Beat the Summer Slide

    Kids Playing

    Kids Playing

    Have you heard about the phrase “summer slide”? It has to do with your children losing their gains they got from school after a long break. This phenomenon usually occurs when children engage in leisure activities over an extended period of time which does not make use of the things they have learned from school (‘use it or lose it’ principle).

     

    Their learnings could slowly fade from memory while spending a lot of their time on television, internet games or social media. By the time they get back to school for more advanced stuff, it’s like going back to square one. It’s always much easier to avoid summer slide than have your children recoup the things that they’ve lost. Here’s five tips that you can do to keep your child from sliding back.

     

    1. Set yourself as an example. Kids like imitating grown-ups. If they see you enjoying a book or solving some mind games, they’d most likely join you. They might even find it enjoyable as well, all the while learning some useful stuff and using the skills they’ve learned from school. Learning habits at this age are usually ‘caught’ than ‘taught.’

     

    2. Take control of the media. Responsible parents always check what their kids are viewing. Some parents would go as far as imposing parental controls for their cable subscription or internet service. TV networks and children’s website are getting better at creating programs and shows that teach young kids about science, history, and language enjoyably and fun so you don’t have to worry about them getting bored at home.

     

    3. Educational trips and camps. Summer is a great time for outdoor activities and bonding with the kids. It’s also a great opportunity for learning and revisiting some of the things they’ve learned from school. Some theme parks can be source of learning in geography, biodiversity, and history. Aquamarine parks, for example, is a great place for learning more about marine life and ecosystem while some tourist spots reinforces their learning about land forms and bodies of water.

     

    4. Enroll them in summer clinics. You’d usually find a lot of these during summer – art classes, training camps, swimming lessons, etc. There’s plenty to come by to fill up the learning hiatus. Choose the one that fits your child’s own inclinations and needs and make sure they’re fun so they’ll never have a dull moment.

     

    5. Get them to use what they’ve learned. Allow your children to do some tasks that require cognitive and psychomotor skills. Household chores like watering a certain number of potted plants in the morning or going to the grocery store with you to pay the cashier and count the change can help boost the child’s confidence and enhance his mathematical ability. It also makes learning a lot more relevant and useful, thus encouraging him to learn more when he gets back at school.