As a parent, it is your job to ensure the health and well-being of your children. Paying attention to their health needs before they are even born and being diligent as they mature will help your child grow to be a strong, healthy adult.
As the mother-to-be, it's your job to consult a physician as soon as you think you are pregnant, or as soon as you decide to become pregnant. Under a doctor's care, you will receive all of the prenatal vitamins needed to keep you strong and healthy during pregnancy and to ensure that your baby grows strong and healthy in your womb. During pregnancy, it's important to remain under a physician's care, to avoid medications that can be harmful to your unborn baby, to eat a balanced and nutritious diet and to avoid smoking, drinking alcohol or using recreational drugs.
Breastfeeding is purported to be the best method of feeding baby. If, for any reason, you are unable to breastfed your baby, your pediatrician will recommend the formula best suited to your baby's needs.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends car seats that offer the best protection for babies. From your baby's first ride home from the hospital until he is at least one year of age, he should be transported in a rear-facing car seat. After the age of one, or by the time your child weighs at least 20 pounds, he can be safely transported in a forward-facing cat seat. When your child moves up to the next level of car seat, it's best to buy him a new one as opposed to using someone else's old car seat, which might be outdated, recalled or not in correct working order.
If you plan to return to work, you'll want to hire a competent nanny or caregiver. It's important that all parents take the time to find and hire the right nanny for their child. A baby cam-right along with the crib and the playpen-is a necessary piece of equipment in any home where a baby will be left under the care of someone other than the parents. Knowing what's going on with your child when you are away can be extremely important to your child's health.
There are millions of germs in the human mouth. These germs form plaque and invade the enamel of our teeth, causing deterioration. Teach your child how important brushing his teeth is. In the first five or six years, it will be your job to make sure your child's teeth get brushed correctly. By the age of about seven, your child will begin to know the rights and wrongs of brushing. Early and continued dental visits are important to your child's oral health.
What your child eats or drinks is also a concern for parents. Children who overeat or who eat the wrong foods have a much higher chance of becoming obese, a condition that already affects about 9 million children in the United States. Children should consume a healthy diet consisting of fruits and vegetables as well as protein and fiber. Limit snacks and sweets and encourage kids to drink water or milk instead of soda.
Children need to play and to get adequate exercise. Limit time in front of the TV. Encourage your child to go outside and run around a bit. Remember, also, that though the sun is beneficial and necessary to your child's well-being, everyone should avoid being in the sun during the hottest hours of the day. While too much sun can be dangerous, a few minutes of sunlight on a daily basis can go a long way in keeping Vitamin D levels up in the human body. Consult your physician for information regarding the correct sunscreen to use on your children and for advice on how much sun is too much.
Start your baby off on the right foot with regular checkups that continue for the remainder of your child's life. When under a physician's care, simple as well as complex issues, such as developmental problems, vision care, obesity, allergies and more can be discovered early and corrected.
The best way to ensure your children remain healthy is to make sure that you put your child first in your life. Children cannot fend for themselves. They do not have the capacity to make the correct decisions when it comes to right or wrong. They are dependant on their parents for everything.
Children who are exposed to second-hand smoke tend to have more respiratory issues, such as asthma and allergies. Stop smoking long before your baby arrives. Don't allow people to smoke around your children and avoid any place where your children will be exposed to second-hand smoke. If you must smoke, take it outdoors, well away from children.
This list of tips for gifting kids with optimal health is a good reference point for parents to follow.
Many overwhelming, sometimes frightening changes take place in the weeks and months following a positive pregnancy test. Smells you once relished now make you nauseous. The body you have worked hard to keep trim and in shape is now morphing into a new person, seemingly beyond your control.
Children come home from daycare, school, and even extra-curricular activities with all sorts of bugs and viruses. Those germs can spread quickly to all members of the household. We can't keep our kids from being exposed to the germs, but we can educate our children on how to keep the germs from affecting them, and in turn, us.
Whether your family lives in a snowy clime all winter, or just takes the occasional ski vacation or visit to the mountains, take care to keep your kids properly bundled against the chill with cold weather safety.
Growing children need a varied and nutrient-dense diet. But their increased intake of fast foods and sodas, along with a lack of fruits, vegetables, dairy foods, whole grains, lean meats, and fish, means kids are eating excess fats and empty calories.
For ideas on preventing childhood obesity, we talked with Jan McBarron, MD, a board-certified physician specializing in bariatrics (or weight control) and preventive/nutritional medicine, about ways to support the health of our children.