New moms want to give their babies everything they need to grow up healthy and strong — and the first six months are some of the most important, helping determine the course of their health trajectories. During this crucial time, there are many different ways that parents can help create a foundation for life-long health.
• Breastfeed. Breastfeeding is recommended by the American Academy of Paediatrics, as it’s the best source of nutrition for your baby and is beneficial to both mothers and children. The benefits are far-reaching and include protection against diseases and conditions such as respiratory tract infections, type 1 and type 2 diabetes and certain cancers in babies, and can reduce a mother’s risk of breast and ovarian cancers.
• Get more out of breastmilk. For all of breastmilk’s benefits, its third most abundant nutrient is indigestible by babies’ bodies. But recent research from Evivo, a maker of baby probiotics, has solved the paradox: this component of breastmilk is actually the perfect nourishment for a key type of beneficial gut bacteria critical to the development of a baby’s metabolism and immune system during the first six months of life. It’s this initial setup of good gut bacteria that helps fight off potentially bad bacteria linked to colic, eczema, allergies, asthma, diabetes, and obesity.
“Unfortunately, the last 100 years of modern medicine have created a negative shift in the balance of good vs. potentially harmful gut bacteria in most US babies, due to the unintentional consequences of antibiotic use, C-section deliveries and formula feeding,” says Dr Tanya Altmann, MD, and spokesperson for Evivo. But parents can restore their baby’s gut microbiome with probiotics.”
To get more out of breastmilk, and promote your baby’s developing metabolism and immune system, Altmann recommends incorporating a probiotic into your routine.
• Good nutrition. If you are breastfeeding, consider keeping a food diary to note how your baby responds after you eat different foods. It’s also important to follow safety recommendations regarding alcohol consumption, prescription medications and caffeine.
• Regular check-ups. Follow your paediatrician’s guidelines for scheduling checkups carefully. These appointments are crucial to ensure your baby is growing at a healthy rate, having healthy reflexive responses and is infection-free. This is also one of your best opportunities to have all of your questions answered. Lastly, these appointments will include all the vaccinations your baby needs.
• Healthy interactions. Spending time with your newborn is critical for their physical and emotional health, as well as his or her neurological development. Spend as much time as possible with your baby. If you go back to work, be sure that your baby’s caregivers spend plenty of time holding, playing and speaking to your baby. The right nutrition and habits can reduce a child’s risk for many common health conditions. Take every step you can to offer your child the healthiest future possible.