Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The First 1000 Days of Health

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The First 1000 Days of Health
It has been proven time and again (with scientific evidence too!) that the first 1000 days of a baby’s life lays the foundation to a lifetime of good health. And the first 1000 days does not start after your little one is born – it starts right from the moment that you conceive. So what you and your baby eats during the 270 days of pregnancy along with the 365 days of the first and second year holds the key to your child’s health journey in this world.
WHO, UNICEF and other health organizations across the globe have taken up the initiative to educate mothers about the importance of right nutrition during this time as it has a huge impact on a child in terms of:
  • Brain and cognitive development
  • Physical development
  • Immunity and resistance to diseases
  • Psychological development
Image result for The First 1000 Days of HealthBreastfeeding – Exclusive breast feeding is compulsory for your baby during the first six months. If you cannot breastfeed for any specific reason, make sure that you discuss this at length and in great detail with a pediatrician or neonatologist. But remember, breastfeeding has a lot of advantages for the growth and development of your baby which no other food can provide.
After six months, gradually but definitely introduce your baby to semi-solids along with breastfeeding. There could be a slight reluctance in many children to switch to formula food or other semi-solids but be patient and continue giving in small amounts. Your baby will get used to the new taste.
Breastfeeding can be continued up to the age of two which completes the 1000 day mark.
Your Baby’s Diet:
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    At the end of six months, introduce semi-solid foods to your little one in the form of mashed rice, vegetables, fruits and grains. It is best to refrain from meat, fish and poultry products till one year to prevent the onset of food allergies.
  • As your baby begins teething, introduce solid and coarse foods which will help the baby to develop the habit of chewing.
  • Avoid the use of excess sugar or salt in your baby’s food as this can lead to strong food preferences later on in life.
  • Do not try to feed your infant three or four large meals. Children can eat and digest only small quantities at a time so feed smaller quantities at frequent intervals.
  • Never force feed your baby. Instead be patient and take time to feed your little one.
  • Avoid distractions while feeding like watching television. Instead place your child near the dining table either on your lap or in the high chair.
  • A gap of three to four hours is recommended between each meal. But children who are breastfeed may take more feeds as less quantity of milk is taken at a single time when compared to formula fed children.
  • Avoid feeding nuts or any foods which carry the danger of choking over till the baby has grown up enough to chew these.
  • You will notice that your toddler gains less weight during his second year when compared to the first. This is perfectly normal as long as he is in the normal weight range recommended by pediatricians.

Bedtime Routine for babies

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Bedtime Routine – Is this Necessary for your Baby?
Are you a parent who finds it difficult to get your little one to fall asleep at night? Now, this may be due to several different factors but most often, it is simply because your baby is either too excited or lack a disciplined bedtime routine.
Benefits of a bedtime routine:
Your baby will tend to be more relaxed if she knows or understands what’s going to come next. And when your baby is relaxed, she will find it much easier to settle down and fall asleep in no time at all. Make sure that you follow the same routine every day and stick to it as much as possible even when you are away from home. This will help your baby to adjust and sleep well even when she is in unfamiliar surroundings.
There is no specific age as to when you can start following a bedtime routine – the sooner the better. Even when your baby is just 6 to 8 weeks old, you can try and start following a pattern every day. This may be easier said than done but the key is to stick to the routine even though there may be lapses on many days. As the baby grows, she will come to understand and appreciate the predictability and routine, settling into bed much faster.
A bedtime ritual is not just beneficial for the baby but for the parents too. You can turn it into a special time of bonding with your child in an otherwise busy and stressful day.
How to establish a proper bedtime routine?
A good bedtime routine does not have to last for hours. This becomes tiring for both the parent as well as the baby. Instead keeping it short and simple makes it enjoyable for the child and not a mundane and boring ritual. When your baby is very young, like a few weeks old, then you may need to spend more time and start early enough so that the baby is relaxed well ahead of bedtime. But as your child gets older, then the time and sequence of events can be reduced.
For your newborn baby, the best routine would be a body wash, change of diapers and clothes, a good feed and then a song or a rock in the cradle. Remember, the ritual may start in the bathroom or living room but it definitely has to end in the bedroom. Do not get into the habit of putting your child to sleep on the sofa or on your lap while watching television. It is best that your child understands that the bedroom is a nice and warm place to settle and relax at night.
What kind of activities can be included in a good routine?
There are so many activities and ideas that you can incorporate into your special bedtime routine. The following are a few of the tried and tested ones by our community members. You could also try out some of these or create your own and let us know if it worked.
Relax and calm down – The best way to make your toddler settle down at night faster is by helping him relax and expel out all the pent up energy from his system. So make sure that your child has a good hour or two of play either with his buddies or with you in the evening and then follow this up with something more calming and relaxing like a bath or reading a book. This will give him the idea that it is time to settle down and is a definite step towards bedtime.
A relaxing bath – This can indeed do wonders to relax and calm down your little one. A warm water bath is the best way to unwind your child and prepare him for bed. Moreover, bath times are also great bonding times for the child and parent. If you are a nursing mother, then get your partner to do this task; this will give him some special moments with his child and also give the mother a well-earned rest.
Some babies do not enjoy taking a bath and then, it is best not to do this. Maybe you could give the baby a good wipe or just change his diapers and clothes in preparation for bedtime. Remember, the key is to do things that are pleasurable for both the parent as well as the child.
Follow the same pattern – No matter what activities or things is part of the routine, make sure that is followed one after the other. Constant alteration to the ritual leaves the child confused and also makes him cranky and irritable.
Play a game – A small and quiet game is a good idea that can be incorporated into your child’s bedtime routine. Make sure that it is not too exciting or one that requires a lot of energy. You can either play it on the floor of your child’s room or in bed. Make sure it is fun and entertaining; it is a wonderful idea if both the parents can join in this routine and make it a family affair.
Have a good chat – Many parents wait for their babies to grow up to have a chat. Tuck your little one into bed and simply have a good talk with her about the day’s events. This not only helps your child relax but is a great way to bond with your little one.
‘After I have tucked my baby in, I lie down beside him and talk about what happened at office or ask him about his day. Though my child is too young to understand what I am literally speaking, he still gives me his smiles and nods as if he understands every word that I say. And this 5 minute conversation is the most precious time I share with my little one in a day,’ says Angel Rob of Virginia, USA.
Image result for Bedtime Routine storiesBedtime story – This is a very common and an all-time favorite with most children across the globe. Again, it is not necessary for your child to grow up for this. You can start reading to your toddler and soon he too will get into the habit of reading by the time he joins school. Apart from being a great bedtime activity, it also helps to improve the vocabulary of your little one.
It’s singing time – This is another tried and tested technique that most parents, especially mothers, include as part of the bedtime routine. There is no child who does not love to hear a lullaby especially when sung by his own parents. So if you think you have a good voice, then do sing a soothing and comforting song which will put your baby to sleep instantly.
Parents who are not good at singing can make full use of technology these days and play a CD or play your child’s favorite song on the iPod or iPhone. This is very relaxing and soon your baby will be in her sleep world.
Stick to timings – Make sure that you put your child to sleep at the same time every day. A few minutes on either side of the clock is fine but a drastic variation is only bound to make your child more excited and difficult to calm down. It is alright to allow him a little extra time on weekends or when friends or guests are around. But on a regular basis, it is best to stick to the same timings every day.

Baby Massasge

Image result for baby massageBaby Massage – A Guide for Fathers
Your baby loves to be touched. In fact, touch plays an integral role in the growth and development of your little one. A baby who is touched and cuddled more forms a deeper bond with his parent. It is the best way to comfort your child and also a lasting solution to colic.
A massage is a great reason to touch your baby. Along with deepening the bond with your baby, it also helps to improve his blood circulation and strengthen his growing muscles and bones. But why should mothers have all the fun massaging their babies. As a father, you too can try your hand at massaging your baby and spend some quality time with your little one.
A recent study showed that fathers who regularly massaged their babies felt a deeper attachment with their child and the babies also responded back by smiling, reaching out, vocalizing and more eye contact towards their fathers. The fathers also felt that this activity helped them to relax better and bring down their own stress levels. And what more! the mothers get a well deserved break too.

How to Prepare your Baby for a Massage:
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The first thing is to find the right surface for your baby to lie down. It is best to find a warm and flat surface anywhere in the house where both of you are comfortable. Place a blanket, preferably a washable one, on the floor and lay your baby on top. You can either use commercially available baby oil or virgin coconut oil for massage.
Pour a small amount of oil into your palms and rub well to warm the oil slightly. Make it a point to look into your baby’s eyes while doing the massage. You can either sing or talk to him during this time and you will see how your baby responds with his giggles and smiles.
The Right Massage Strokes:
Massaging the Legs:
The legs are a good place to start massaging as this is the least sensitive part of the baby’s body.
  • Pour a little oil in your palms and rub well together.
  • Wrap one hand over his right thigh and pull down while doing the same with the other hand one after the other.
  • Be gentle using a squeezing motion and massage all the way to the end of the legs
  • Repeat a few times alternating between right and left legs.
Massaging the Feet:
  • Hold the right foot in both your hands
  • Rotate the foot in both directions for a couple of times
  • Massage using stroking movements from the top of the foot to the ankle and finally to the toes.
  • Repeat using other foot
  • Next, you can massage the soles of each foot by drawing tiny circles on the sole. Your baby will love this and give you his cutest giggle.
  • Next, hold each toe between your thumb and forefinger and then pull gently till your fingers slide off his toes. Remember; do not try to break his knuckles as the bones are very fragile.
  • Do this for all ten toes.
Massaging the Arms:
This is quite similar to what your performed for your baby’s legs.
  • Take his right arm and do the upward to downward stroking massage all the way from the armpits to the wrist.
  • Next, rotate the wrist in both directions using very little pressure.
  • Repeat for other arm
For the Hands:
  • Hold open his palm and trace tiny circles using your thumb
  • Smile at the baby as you do this as he surely will be
  • Next, gently take each finger between your thumb and forefinger and pull gently till the fingers reach the end.
  • Repeat for all ten fingers
For the Abdomen - ‘I Love You’ Technique:
  • Face your baby and using firm but gentle movements, trace the pattern of the letter ‘I’ on the right side of your baby’s stomach. Start just below his ribs and massage down to his hip joint in a straight line.
  • Next, using your fingers to stroke from the left side of his tummy to his right and then massage downwards on the right side to his hip joint to form an ‘L’ shape.
  • Next, massage upwards from your baby’s left hip and take the curve over his tummy and bring your fingers down the right side of the tummy to form a ‘U’.
Massaging the chest:
  • Place both your hands over his chest and then using stroking movements to the outer end of the chest
  • After reaching the outer ends, bring the hands back together to the tummy as if you are tracing the pattern of a heart.

Massaging the Back:
  • Roll your baby on his tummy and then place both your hands on his back
  • Use tiny circular motions to massage his back beginning at the neck, along both sides of the spine reaching all the way to the buttocks.
Finally, use long strokes from the shoulder till the end of his toes. And finish with a kiss and cuddle.

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