Children’s Health – What to Look For

Today I wanted to have Dr Elisa Song, Holistic Paediatrician, share with you some tips around children’s health.  If you don’t have any children, you definitely want to share this email with your friends, as I have so many clients in clinic asking about their friend’s children.  However, you can also use some of these tips in your own life. These tips aren’t just for children, they are important for us too!

The biggest milestone Dr Song looks for in a child’s development is their social connectedness. This is the most important indicator for her (even before she looks at a child’s motor milestones, or considers when they start rolling, or when they are sitting up, or when they are walking) is that social engagement. By about two months of age your baby should really be making good eye contact with you when you’re looking at them. They should be engaged, looking around, being interested in the world and starting to have that social smile. By about four months of age, we love to hear babies talking more, babbling more and laughing. And then by six months of age ideally they are really engaged with the world.  We like them to be very much interacting with you when you smile or make noises and to see them smile and make noises back and engage in lots of  fun.

When your children need antibiotics, we want to make sure that they are also getting probiotics to encourage all those great bugs back into their bellies.  This could be with a probiotic supplement or it could be with fermented foods. She encourages children to eat fermented foods. You’re going to get so much more bang for the buck from ‘food as medicine’ than you are from any pill that your child can take.

If your children are not yet into fermented foods, you can keep trying. Choices are sauerkraut, miso, kombucha, kefir, kimchi.  There’s a whole list of fermented foods that you could try. Next, we want to make sure that with their gut healing we get them eating all the colours of the rainbow within their vegetable intake. It really makes a difference to get all of those vital nutrients into your child’s diet to help their gut lining heal, to help their brain be as healthy as possible and to help their immune system be as strong as possible.

Dr Song wants parents to really be empowered to use food as medicine. She encourages parents to look at their child’s lifestyle, ensure they are getting enough sleep, staying hydrated and practising mindfulness together as a family (which can be as simple as going for a walk together and stopping for a minute and just noticing with all of your senses what you see, what you hear, what you smell, what you feel on your skin and what you’re tasting in your mouth ). Mindfulness teaches our kids that it is appropriate and okay, and actually really good for us, to slow down in our lives and really notice what’s going on. Mindfulness is also a really powerful way to keep our gut/brain connection healthy and our gut/immune system connection healthy.

If you are a busy working mum, and are thinking “How in the world can I do one more thing?” then do it with your child.  So, if we have told you in clinic to put your legs up the wall before bed each night, then do it with your children. If you need to be mindful while eating, then do it together at the table. You can talk about what you can taste, putting your knife and fork down in between mouthfuls.  How many of us as adults wish we had learnt these things as a child. I know I sure do.

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