Healthy Tips for Moms and Kids
A Little More Wisdom was created to offer the very best tips, parenting advice, and health and wellness information gathered from some of the very best experts working today. The hope is that the book will help new parents navigate some of the most common situations that they will face when caring for their baby – from crying to colds or tummy troubles to travel – and serve as a reminder that they are not alone. As a new mom hearing what this book had to offer and being among other new moms brought me great comfort!
The book helps to answer some of the most common questions new parents have, I know I had almost all of the questions below:
- How to calm and soothe your new baby
- Tips for traveling with your baby
- Advice on caring for your baby when he/she is not feeling well
- How to help your baby sleep through the night
NMFIT had the opportunity to interview Dr. Sue
NMFIT: What are few tips you can offer new moms when it comes to sleep training? How are these tips beneficial to both the parents and child?
Dr. Sue: It usually takes around four weeks before a newborn begins to be more alert during the day and begins sleeping longer stretches at night. Circadian rhythms have to develop in a new baby’s brain as the hormones that help regulate sleep cycles begin to mature. It’s important to try to keep your baby up for short stretches during the day and to keep shades open, keep the lights on, and don’t “turn down” normal household noise.
As night approaches, it’s time to turn off lights, quiet the house, and get ready to try and settle your baby for the night. After changing and feeding your baby, as well as some gentle rocking and swaying, try to lay your quieted baby down (always on her back) and see if she will self-soothe and fall asleep. If your baby cries, pick her up, re-quiet her, and put her back in her crib.
Try not to rock your baby to sleep. She needs to learn to self-soothe, which is an important step toward your baby sleeping for longer periods at night.
Resist the temptation to pick your baby up if she’s just making noises. Instead, wait and see if she cries, which means she needs you to help quiet and calm her again. It takes practice, practice, practice for your baby to put herself to sleep, but it will happen!
Remember, newborns learn to sleep just like a child learns to read or ride a bike. Some learn how to sleep more quickly than others. Don’t give up working on a routine. Eventually, you’ll see that your baby is sleeping for longer and longer periods at night.
NMFIT: When introducing solid foods what are your suggestions for keeping your child on the path to making smart and healthy food choices as they grow? Any tips for sneaking in less favorable foods like spinach?
Dr. Sue: When you begin introducing your baby to pureed foods (around 5 - 6 months) you need to remember that they have a “virginal palate”. Just because you may not like spinach or kiwi does not mean that your baby will have the same reaction. Your baby is just learning about textures and tastes and might make a face but they are not going to say NO to foods, yet. So, try everything and if he or she makes a face once, try that veggie or fruit again and again. Don’t limit your baby to the few foods that you prefer.
If you continue to offer your baby a wide variety of foods and model healthy eating habits you might be surprised at what a wide array of foods your child will eat. Many toddlers go through a “picky eating phase” but as the parent, you should keep putting out healthy meals and let them decide if they are going to eat them. They will not starve and their palate will continue to evolve.
It is also easy to sneak in some new foods. I like to make zucchini muffins and use applesauce rather than sugar, add carrots to spaghetti sauce or make pancakes with quinoa. There are all sorts of clever ways to make foods which contain an extra boost of vitamins and minerals.
NMFIT: What are 5 healthy foods every child should be eating by 1 years old?
Dr. Sue: There are so many nutritious foods that your child can eat in the first year of life - nut butters are an important example. So offer not only peanut butter, but try almond and cashew butter as well. The current studies support the earlier introduction of nut products (but never a whole nut due to choking hazards). It is also important to introduce color into your child’s diet, even from an early age, which includes bright green, orange, yellow and red vegetables. Don’t just stick to carrots and green beans: try eggplant, beets, and kale.
Another favorite is hummus which is easy to make and you can add additions like pesto and roasted peppers, all pureed, delicious and will provide new textures too. Protein is important and it seems many parents are hesitant to offer meats. Whether your baby has teeth or not, they can actually tolerate ground meats such as turkey, beef, pork) and flaky fish like salmon, halibut, tilapia. A child will develop a broad palate by offering a wide variety of foods.
NMFIT: Can you share 3 ways families can or should spend time together that will help enrich a child's brain development? Ex. Read a book nightly. Some of the most important things a family can do together to help brain development include:
Dr. Sue: Reading to your child - even from infancy. There is nothing a baby enjoys more than hearing their parent’s voice. Start reading aloud from day #1 and continue the ritual with bedtime books for many years. Studies show how important this is too early brain development. Before you know it your child will be reading to you!
Simulate your baby with toys such as rattles and blocks. The parent-child interaction while playing will help your baby’s brain development and you can watch his or her face light up when you are playing. Soon after that comes reciprocal play where the baby will hand a toy back and forth with you. It is extremely fun to watch them learn.
No screen time! A baby needs to be stimulated by the parent or caregiver rather than electronics. While it is tempting to start using the I-pad for entertainment, you should resist the urge. There is plenty of time for that down the road of parenting.
To download your free copy of Little Remedies click here!
Craving a smoothie? NMFIT has the solution! Check out my smoothie book by clicking here!