RAISING HEALTHY BABIES
CAN'T START TOO EARLY
Written by: Barbara Hodal
Wanting to raise a healthy baby is a primary desire for parents. An expectant mother will get her check ups, follow the advise of her doctor or mid wife in the myriad of things she can do to contribute to the health of her unborn child.
The usual list of things to do and not to do can include, but certainly not limited to, are eating habits, exercise, rest and stress release while avoiding smoking, alcohol and drugs.
Every person is different, without getting into "lists" of what vitamins and minerals to take or the amounts, we will just touch on some of the basics. Sensible eating and lifestyle habits are at the forefront.
Starting with healthy eating, look to a well-balanced, nutritious diet of lots of fresh greens, fruits and whole grains, organic if possible, to avoid consumption of pesticides and herbicides. These chemicals are detrimental to you and your baby. At the very least, if organic is not an option, avoid foods that contain additives and artificial ingredients.
It has been estimated that Americans consume about 5 lbs of additives/year. If you include sugar, the most used additive, the number jumps to an astounding 135 lbs /year. To learn more about the staggering number of food additives now being used, you can consult Michael Jacobson's Safe Food: Eating Wisely in a Risky World (Living Planet Press, 1991) or Unsafe at Any Meal: How to Avoid Hidden Toxins in Your Food by Earl Mindell (Mc Graw-Hill, 2002)
Additionally, avoiding junk foods, highly seasoned or fried foods will help with energy levels as well as keeping low the intake of liver clogging hydrogenated fats. When choosing healthy proteins, cooking practices should be considered to be very important. Steer clear of undercooked or rare meats, poultry and fish which can cause food poisoning.
Considering we are approximately 70-75% water, being well hydrated, especially during pregnancy is imperative. The body's water supply is involved in and responsible for nearly every bodily process, including digestion, absorption, circulation, excretion and the transport of nutrients. It is essential to drink about half your body weight in ounces/day (eg. 130 lbs = 65 oz)
Consuming a high quality water is of the utmost importance, investing in a reputable water purifier or purchasing purified or spring water is the way to go. Distilled water is fine in moderation, too much or drinking solely distilled actually robs your body of vital minerals.
Avoiding high sugar or chemically laden drinks, such as sodas, soft drinks, fruity drinks, etc will keep the additives down as well as the empty calories. (If you drink 100% juices, diluting with pure water will make it easier on the system to handle and keep your insulin from spiking) Other than the obvious reasons to pass on alcohol, it is a depressant, dehydrates and robs you of vital nutrients, including Vitamin C.
After touching on food and water, smoking not only affects the lungs, hence oxygenation of every single cell, but smoking causes serious depletion of vitamin C which is an antioxidant required for collagen formation, tissue growth and repair, adrenal gland function, immune function, healthy gums and an endless list of additional tissues and functions requiring this vitamin.
Moderate exercise (always check with your doctor or midwife) can not be over emphasized, it helps to alleviate many of the common problems of pregnancy. Improving circulation, helping to prevent hemorrhoids, constipation and varicose veins, to name a few, can be reason enough for many women to hit the walking path.
Strengthening the circulatory system gives more endurance, improves your physical condition and some studies suggest it can actually result in shorter labor and help the mother to bounce back quicker.
The previous items are some very basic considerations in your child's health before it arrives. OK, the sweet little bundle has arrived, now the parents will do what they can in feeding and caring for the new addition. From the right crib to covering edges, outlet guards, breast feeding or formula, bathing, there is an endless list of things to consider....... the point is of the long list of things to get or have or change or do for the health of your baby, some very important considerations may be overlooked if the parents aren't aware.
At the top of list is the bedding and clothing that babies live in. Racking up almost 60% of their time in bed, the sheets your baby is in are just as important as the construction of that oh so fabulous crib. Have you thought of organic? Did you know they produced organic bedding and clothing? Were you aware they manufactured baby organic bedding and clothing? Most people really have no idea, it is just something they hadn't thought of as well as the fact it is not quite yet the main stream.
Organic means growing fibers "naturally" in fields without synthetic chemicals, for at least three years. Third-party certification organizations verify that organic producers use only methods and materials allowed in organic production. Pure, natural, chemical free.
Conventional clothing and bedding embedded with chemical toxins from growing to processing to finishing are now unacceptable to many. In the child and baby arena, it is getting even more so. As concerned parents start to research or happen by an article with vital information on poison exposure, they are finding that children and infants are uniquely at risk from pesticides because of physiological susceptibility and greater relative exposure. Three major factors are particularly important:
* Chewing on clothing, crawling outside or on floors, make children more exposed to chemical toxins.
* Children's bodies and brains are still developing and maturing.
* Per unit of body weight , children consume more food and fluids than adults, which may contribute to increased toxic exposure.
Thus environmental poisons can have more serious effects on children.
According to Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA), conventionally grown cotton uses more insecticides than any other single crop and epitomizes the worst effects of chemically dependent agriculture. Each year cotton producers around the world use nearly $2.6 billion worth of pesticides -- more than 10% of the world's pesticides and nearly 25% of the world's insecticides.
Just a little food for thought as new parents investigate all the avenues that contribute to the health of their children. The bottom line is less chemicals, healthier baby, period.
Considering the susceptibility of our babies, is it any wonder that organic cotton would be a health saving choice? Of that 60 percent of the time babies are in bed, imagine the amount of poisons breathed in, absorbed or ingested just from crib sheets. Examine also the clothing they wear, now we are talking over 95 percent of the day. Ever see how enamored they can be with a sleeve, chewing away..
As consumers we need to be aware of what is out there, embedded in every fiber of our clothing, sheets or home furnishings. Organic products, including baby organic, are becoming more easily available and affordable.
Don't you and your children deserve the health benefits of pure organic cotton? Just another easy way to positively affect the health of your precious ones.
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