it’s easy to get caught up in all the superficial parts of parenting, isn’t it? people fight about feeding and sleeping and carrying and babysitting and all sorts of other made up issues (mommy wars, you can take all the seats). it can be exhausting, especially when all you want is a little friendly advice, emphasis on the friendly, but you’re getting a side of judgement with everything.
i don’t have all the answers, but i know if there is one thing that all parents can agree on in this world where there is so much to disagree on, it has to be that we all want our babies to be as healthy as possible. find me a parent who says otherwise, and i’ll show you a liar. we might all get there differently, but the goal is the same. so today i thought i’d share my top five tips for healthy babies that have been wonderful for us with both kids.
1. regular well-baby visits. this should be a no-brainer, but i’ll say it anyway. take your kids to the doctor regularly. it’s so much easier to stay on schedule than it is to catch up, and sometimes all it takes to make yourself feel better is asking the doctor about that nagging thing you aren’t sure about (is it normal for my kid to not sleep EVER? answer: yes). plus, the better your relationship is with your child’s health care provider, the better you can work together to make sure your child’s health is the best it can be. my kids love their doctor, and because we see her on time and exactly when we should, i know that she is as up to date on my kids health as she can be, and can help me make sure they are where they need to be for all facets of their health.
2. infant probiotics. one thing that many of you may not know is that my daughter has fairly severe eczema. after lots of reading and research and trial and error, and way too many tears (hers and mine), we are pretty sure that the cause of hers was a gut microbiome imbalance. it came on later than most baby eczema does, and was closely related to her starting eat more food. we have tried many different treatments for her, and i’m happy to report that it’s mostly under control, but during this process, we found that some things had more of an impact than others. one of the simplest, yet most impactful treatment was giving her a daily probiotic.
i wish that we had known about this when she was an infant. because it turns out, babies are born with a sterile gut and depend on their moms to pass on b. infantis, a beneficial bacteria, during the birthing process. it’s this initial setup of good gut bacteria that helps fight off potentially bad bacteria as they grow – and this bad bacteria is linked to eczema, allergies, asthma, diabetes and obesity (go figure). the last 100 years have seen a dramatic change in the baby’s gut microbiome and today, 97% of babies no longer receive b. infantis at birth. an it’s not the moms fault, it’s a generational issue that’s attributed to the unintentional consequences of antibiotic use, C-section deliveries and less breastfeeding during the first six months of life. in a survey of moms done by evivo probiotics, they found that while most moms know there’s a connection between breast milk and their baby’s gut, 96% don’t know that 15% of breast milk nutrients are wasted if b. infantis isn’t present (and most likely its not).
ever since our struggles with amelia’s immune system, i’ve been determined to be more thoughtful about gut health. amelia has been taking a daily probiotic for a while now, and it has helped immensely with her eczema. with william, we’re using evivo probiotics, a probiotic naturally intended for the infant gut, and formulated to work with breast milk to promote development of healthy bacteria. evivo is the only probiotic that is clinically proven to restore a baby’s gut microbiome to its original, natural state, transform special carbohydrates found in breast milk to promote the growth of b. infantis, and defend from bad bacteria linked to eczema, allergies, diabetes and obesity. if you’re wondering at all how probiotics can help with infant gut health, visit the evivo site here, and i’m more than happy to share more details about our decision to use probiotics for our babies!
3. lots of cuddles. i mean, twist my arm why don’t you? i’m sure you have seen all the articles out about a study that was recently done that says that holding your baby is actual vital for their health and development. skin to skin contact and frequent holding of babies helps them eat better, decreases their crying, and helps them deal with pain better. it even carries over as they grow up, with the effects of holding babies often showing up in iq levels and social skills 20 years later. so, like you needed an excuse to cuddle that sweet babe even more, but there you go. don’t worry about spoiling them, you’re doing them tons of good!
4. healthy cleaning products. you guys know how i feel about cleaning products. we’re never going to be perfect, but i think we can agree that the more chemicals we can keep out of our kids bodies, the better. like, i’m never going to be able to get Mister Man to give up his scrubbing bubbles (although he did just clean his bathroom using only vinegar and water and essential oil, because he grudgingly said, “i guess we’re doing the natural thing now…”), but i can do my best to decrease the chemicals in my home.
chemicals can mess with your hormones, and your cells, and your immune system, even as adults, so imagine the effect they can have on a child! our parents and grandparents didn’t have nearly as many chemicals around and available to them when they were growing up and raising kids, so it’s something that unfortunately we have to be a lot more thoughtful about.
in case you have no idea where to start, i will be sharing my recipes for natural cleaning supples as i get to them, so here is one for homemade glass cleaner if you missed it. i also share recipes on my natural home instagram page, so give that a look if you’re interested!
5. taking care of yourself. yes. this is SO important. if you can’t take care of yourself and keep yourself healthy, then it’s going to be a heck of a lot harder to keep your little one healthy. as they say on the pre-flight video, put on your own oxygen tank before assisting others. the same concept applies to parenting healthy children. make your health a priority so that you can make your child’s health a priority.
i have talked about self-care for new moms on here before, so go ahead and take a look at that post for some ideas. some quick ideas are: taking a bath or a long shower, lighting a favorite candle or diffusing your favorite scent in the evening, watching a dumb show to give your brain a rest, reading a book if you need some mental stimulation, sitting down to drink a cup of coffee while the tv watches your kids for a half hour. whatever it is that brings you rest and rejuvenation, make time for it. you and your kids will be healthier for it.
what are some ways you keep yourself and/or your family healthy (kids or no kids!)?