It takes a lot to keep kids kicking when it’s cold outside.
This time of year is tough on kids, parents, teachers, grandparents, doctors, everybody!
This is the time of year when little ones seem to have chronically runny noses, earaches, and lingering coughs. No matter what medicine the doctor prescribes, it seems there is always “something.”
Unfortunately, the “something” tends to go through the entire household not just once, but two or three times, right?
It may be a runny nose and stubborn postnasal drip that starts with “allergies” and just does not stop. Then there’s the sinus infection that turns into an earache.
Then along comes a “stomach bug” with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It usually is only a matter of hours before all of the sheets, pillowcases, towels, and washclothes all have to be washed, because they have had to be changed out so many times.
By the time the last one standing is struck down, the first one has begun to recover a bit…we hope!
By the time the entire family is eating normally again, someone has a headache, someone else has a backache from shoveling snow, and now there’s a sprained ankle from slipping and falling on the ice, right?
Does this sound familiar to you?
Do you wonder if there is anything you can do differently to try to keep your little ones well?
There may be.
It all starts with how healthy their nutrition was before they were even born.
The most important two years in the life of a child that will determine the child’s long-term health are the two years prior to birth. This is based on the life-style, habits, nutrition, and health of BOTH parents.
The next most important two years are the first two years of life after birth.
Wow! Who knew?
Let’s talk about why that is.
When a baby girl develops in the uterus and is born at full term, she already has all the eggs existing in her ovaries that she will ever have…which is a bit mind-boggling to me. That means that when my daughter was born, my nutrition during my pregnancy was already having an effect on the health of my grandchildren!!!
Amazing, isn’t it?
The health of the egg and the sperm at the time of conception is crucial to starting the baby out healthy. If there are things in the bloodstream of the father that could have a deleterious effect on the developing sperm, that effect may also have a bad outcome for baby…and men make sperm throughout life after puberty.
Anything the creates a hostile environment in the mother’s uterus or either parent’s bloodstream can also contribute to a less than stellar outcome.
Okay. That sounds impressive, but what are we really referring to?
The list is pretty long…and probably not all inclusive. Here goes:
- smoking cigarettes, cigars, “wacky tobacky”
- chewing tobacco
- medicines- both over-the-counter and prescription (Ever heard of the thalidomide babies?)
- drugs – recreational, street drugs, all/any of them
- caffeine (that includes all forms, not just coffee. i.e. chocolate, energy drinks, colas, most teas, etc.)
- artificial flavors
- artificial sweeteners
- food coloring
- elevated body temperature at the wrong time and/or for too long, i.e. hot tub or sauna use or fever
- viruses (Most kinds will cross the placental membrane. Some that cause the mother little or no symptoms can have very severe effects on the developing baby, i. e. cytomegalovirus, rubella, herpes.)
- vitamin deficiencies (Folic acid deficiency is widely recognized as the cause of spinal cord deformities.)
- lack of adequate nutrition has been found to cause profound developmental delays both physically and mentally. The studies on thees effects coming out of war-torn countries and concentration camps were overwhelmingly sad.
- water contaminants (including chlorine and fluoride – which are known poisons — as well as organic contaminants and other waste that seeps into the water supply)
- stress experienced by the expectant mother (good or bad stress)
- teratogenic substances that reach the mother’s bloodstream and cross the placental membrane (toxic fumes [gasoline, household cleaners, chlorine], products applied to the skin that are absorbed by the skin and into the blood [i.e. make up, face and body cream, deodorant, perfume/cologne, laundry products, etc.]
- emotions that the mother feels during pregnancy can also have either positive or negative effects on the developing baby, too.
It pretty much boils down to every thing in the lives of the parents prior to the birth of baby has the potential to effect the baby either positively or negatively!
With all that to consider, is there any way a parent can make up for all that may have not been perfect before birth — after the baby is born?
Good News! There are some things a parent can do to try to offset some of the negative influences that may have occurred prior to birth.
Excellent nutrition in the form of breastfeeding is an excellent choice for most babies and their parents. The nutrition found in mother’s milk generally is best suited to the nutritional needs of her newborn baby. For the first six months of life, baby will likely thrive on breastmilk alone…as long as the mother eats an excellent diet! There may still be a couple of nutrients that baby would benefit from obtaining through supplements, i.e. iron and vitamin D.
Once baby is old enough to begin eating food, food choices need to include a variety of vegetables introduced one at a time to make detecting any allergies or sensitivities easier. Next come fruits, then pureed meats, and finally fish. After the baby turns 12 months or later, some parents will introduce dairy products. However, the later the better for most dairy products. It may be better to use soy milk or other milk substitute if there is any hint of milk allergy in your child.
You may notice that I did not list any grains or desserts. I did that on purpose.
In most diets, there are way too many grain-based foods and most are extensively processed. Think of typical toddler snack foods. Crackers and cookies pop to the top of my list. How about yours? Is there any nutritional value to either crackers or cookies? Not much….mostly empty calories. Cheerios and other cereals that make for finger food as well as entertainment….the most redeeming thing about those are the sanity break it give the caregiver while fixing the real food to feed the little one, right?
What about rice cereal and oatmeal and cream of wheat? Highly processed…all three. There are better options.
When both parents work and baby is in daycare, how can we keep baby healthy? Baby has to eat what day care gives him, right?
That is usually the case.
So what’s a parent to do to try to keep baby healthy?
What about school age kids who come home sick with the latest virus going around that classroom? Is there any hope of stopping that?
The best a parent can do in either case is to keep the baby as healthy as possible by filling in the nutritional gaps with awesome quality nutritional supplements and boosting the immune system to help your little one fight off any stray virus that may try to move in and set up housekeeping.
Now, as a parent, you want your baby to have the best, right?
You don’t want to waste your hard-earned money on supplements that just pass through the gut without delivering the vitamins and minerals to the bloodstream where they can travel to the areas of the body that need them, do you?
Keep in mind that all vitamins are not created equal.
I very distinctly recall the day that I found this out.
I was sitting in my childbirth class and the instructor was talking about nutrition. She asked the mothers-to-be in the class to raise their hand if they were taking a prenatal vitamin recommended by their doctor/midwife. Every woman in the room raised her hand.
The instructor then asked, ” where do the raw materials for those vitamins come from?”
The room was silent until I finally ventured a guess, “from food?”
I almost dropped my jaw onto my rapidly expanding belly when I heard the following explanation.
Most commercial vitamins — the ones you would recognize the brand names of — the ones you see on television — are made from petroleum.
It goes something like this…when the barrels of crude oil are processed, the oil apparently separates into layers. The lightest layer floats to the top and is siphoned off to make gasoline for your car. There are couple of other layers siphoned off to make other petroleum products. Finally there is a thick, gooey tar-like substance in the bottom of the barrel called “coal tar”. It is from the coal tar the synthetic vitamins are manufactured.
“Even prenatal vitamins?” I asked incredulously.
Yes. even prenatals. On top of that, when I checked the ingredient list of my prenatals and really looked at them, I realized that the hot pink color on the outside was artificial color. Then it hit me! Hot pink does not occur much in nature.
That’s the night I flushed the rest of my prenatals down the toilet!
I knew my diet was not perfect, but at least I wasn’t putting artificial colors into my unborn baby!
It was then that I went looking for food supplements made from food.
Novel concept, I know!
Back then there was no internet. There was the library. And friends. And friends of friends.
After some digging, asking questions of friends, and debating the whole thing with my husband, we (actually he) discovered Shaklee vitamins. They were made from whole foods picked at the peak of ripeness. Then, using a room temperature process, the water and fiber was extracted. The remaining nutrients (vitamins and minerals and enzymes) were then formed into easy to swallow capsules for adults and chewables for children. They even had a liquid version for people who can’t/won’t swallow pills.
Thus, began my educational journey into the world of nutrition.
I will be sharing more about this journey in future webinars and blog posts.
I have prepared a special bonus for my readers, “10 Tips for Raising Active Healthy Kids”.