Monday, July 30, 2012

Autism research

Among the blogs I follow is autismspeaks. This article from that blog points to research regarding the risk factor of pesticide poisoning. While it is not a clear cause of autism, there is some evidence that pesticide exposure, coupled with a genetic predispositon, may play a role is the autism epidemic that is present today. The article provides links to other research on risk factors. The article is clear and easy to understand and points to some interesting possibilities.

Sunglasses. Not just a cute accessory!

Here is a link about eye care and the sun which should begin in infancy. It is recommended that infants under the age of 6 months not be out in direct sunlight at all. However, it is important to protect the eyes even when in indirect sunlight. When children over 6 months are in the sun, they need to be slathered in sun cream to protect their skin but they also need to wear sunglasses that are reliably protective against uva and uvb rays. Exposure to the suns radiation in childhood can cause a build up of damage to the eyes which is seen later in life, just as it does to the skin.

It is important to be sure that sunglasses are reliable. There are many street vendors here who sell sunglasses but it is not certain that they are more than just tinted glass. Buy glasses for your children at a reliable eye wear shop, especially if you live in a country that does not have reliable consumer protection standards.

 There are some suggestions as to how to keep sunglasses on small babies. One thing is that if you start putting them on before your child is 6 months old, he/she may not find it so important to take them off when he/she is able to. It will be a part of the routine of being outside. The following article discusses the reasons in more depth and a few tactics to help your child adjust to wearing sunglasses. The picture is also theirs.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

An interesting blog to check out.

The following link is to a blog that I follow and very much enjoy. The writer, Jen Logan, is a nurse and the mother of three, one of whom happens to have Down Syndrome. I worked in early intervention and had the pleasure of working with many families with infants who were deemed to have developmental delays, some of whom also had Down Syndrome. As Jen points out in this article, the dynamics of these families and the capabilities of their children were as varied as the number of families. It is not scary or sad nor is it heartwarming. It is a part of life. This blog, as a whole, focuses on her youngest son but covers family life and includes some great information on Down Syndrome as well as on normal family life. If you know someone with Down Syndrome, you may want to check out the blog but if you do not know anyone with Down Syndrome, you should check out her blog. You will understand a lot. By the way, I do not know Jen Logan. I found her blog through another blog but have been following if for a few months now.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Baby Food Storage And Preparation

Baby food storage and preparation
Baby food storage and preparation - Preparation methods

Especially in this hot weather, there are safety concerns you may have about preparing and storing homemade baby food. All you need to know at Homemade Baby Food Recipes. Site includes tips on feeding, weaning and preparing baby food as well as keeping up with all recalls of baby products. Hope the link will get you to the site.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Repost from Dr. Laura. I have mentioned some of these things and especially about not taking things personally. 10 excellent things to keep in mind and if you keep the second one, it really helps with the others! click on the link to read the article.
"Dr. Laura...What are the most important rules to raise good kids?" - Karen

"Love your neighbor as yourself...The rest is commentary." - Hillel
Research shows that the kids who act most ethically come from families with strong values, lots of discussion, and -- surprise! -- fewer rules!  That's because when kids just get used to following rules, they aren't thinking. If, instead, parents role model behavior that expresses their values, children come to value those things -- and they act accordingly, as long as they feel close to their parents.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Bone Development Now, Prevent Problems Later

You may ask, “Why is she writing about osteoporosis in a blog about babies? Isn’t that the disease that old ladies get when their bones break easily?”  Well, you are partially correct. The symptoms of osteoporosis are that the bones become fragile and break easily. It is most common in women though men can suffer from it as well and the symptoms most commonly show up in post-menopausal women. But osteoporosis is a disease that is a result of factors in childhood. For this reason it is a good idea to understand what causes osteoporosis because it is easier to prevent than to cure.
In general, what happens is that the body builds bone density until a person is roughly 30 years old. After that bone density slowly decreases. If bones are not dense enough at 30, they will not have enough density to lose in the 30 years until you are 60 and they will be osteoporotic at that time. There are many factors that go into how dense your bones become by 30 and how quickly they lose density before you are 60.
Genetics may play a role but it is not so clear cut as if your mother had osteoporosis so will you.  Nor, on the other hand, are you safe if your mother did not have it. More importantly, you need to look at what it takes to build bone density.
Calcium is one of the important building blocks for bones and young children need to get enough calcium. The best sources of calcium are dairy products, milk, cheese and yoghurt. Not only are they high in calcium but the calcium is also readily available to be used by the body. This is not true of some of the other high calcium foods. However, many people are allergic to dairy products and others choose not to include dairy in their diets. Other calcium rich foods need to be included in adequate quantities to guarantee enough calcium . These include dark green leafy vegetables including (in order of amount of calcium) turnip greens, bok choy, spinach and collard greens. Other foods with high calcium values include:  almonds, molasses, white navy beans, broccoli and brussel sprouts and salmon or sardines. There are also calcium enriched foods, often cereals, which will provide calcium to the diet. Keep in mind that calcium impedes the absorption of iron so iron rich foods and calcium rich foods should not be served at the same meal to get the full benefit. This may be the rationale behind to old maxim that fish should not be served with cheese.
Vitamin D is important to the absorption and use of calcium by the body. Vitamin D deficiency is the primary cause of Ricketts, a disease that leads to fragile easily broken bones. It has also been linked to other diseases, including heart disease. The major source of vitamin D is the sun. Of course, now we know that the sun is also a cause of skin cancer so many people keeping their children out of the sun. In fact, it is recommended that infants under 6 months not be exposed to direct sunlight at all. There has been an increase in Vitamin D deficiency due to this.  Most milk products are fortified with Vitamin D as are some infant formulas. Breast fed babies may need to have a vitamin D supplement, even if the mother has sufficient vitamin D in her system, as it does not pass through the breast milk in large doses. Vitamin D is a fat soluable vitamin, which means that the body stores the vitamin in fat and it is possible to have too much vitamin D (As with vitamins A, E, and K) in the body which produces effects similar to a deficiency. This is a link to a Canadian Health Department discussion of vitamin D. Although Canada is concerned about the limited sun exposure because of its northern latitude, there is a good description of the needs of breast fed babies in this article.
Simply put, this means walking and running and jumping. These days more and more children are involved in sedentary activities, such as television or computer games or, even,  after school lessons in academic subjects for many hours. They are not taking the opportunity to have the physical activity that they need. This is so important in building bone density. There has been a lot of discussion about overweight children needing exercise but, in terms of bone density, the smaller lighter child needs even more weight bearing activity because they are putting less weight on their bones.
Your infant under 6 months old needs only about 200 mg of calcium a day and between 7 and 12 months about 260 but their need jumps up to 700 mg. at around the first birthday, about the time they start walking. During the first year, you baby will easily have enough calcium and does not need weight bearing, though there may be a need for vitamin D. It is during the childhood and teen years that you will need to be sure to encourage your child to eat calcium rich foods and to go outside and run around.