Month: November 2014

Happy Sproutsgiving!

IMG_3318Happy Thanksgiving to all the parents, expectant parents, grandparents, and the rest!

Since this is a holiday weekend, I wanted to publish a quick post for those of you with little ones this Thanksgiving. BabyCenter recently sent out an email listing foods to avoid feeding your baby. Junk food does more bad for your baby than it does for us grown-ups, since their tummies are so small and can easily become filled with non-nutritious calories.

Remember, your baby’s diet (under 1 year) consists primarily of breastmilk (or formula) and is COMPLEMENTED by solids to provide her with new experiences with textures and flavors. Foods should be nutrient-dense, packed with lots of vitamins and minerals. These foods are whole foods, like fruits, veggies, and meats. Over 1 year old, babies should still consume nutritious foods so their bodies and immune systems become stronger.

With the holidays being filled with such excitement and delicious foods, it may be tempting to sneak in a spoonful of pumpkin pie filling, a smidgen of cranberry sauce, or a little buttery mashed potatoes (or sugary sweet potatoes) to your baby. But keep in mind these foods are not healthy for him. Added sugar and fat fill up a baby’s calorie needs with junk and can negatively affect their taste preferences for healthier options for the future. And, when consumed at even this young an age, these habits can lead to Type 2 diabetes and weight problems in the future.

Foods NOT to feed your baby:

  • Juice
  • Soda
  • Crackers
  • Gelatin desserts
  • Processed meals

Why Not?

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Your Little Sprout’s Growth Charts Explained

Blog Post Growth ChartsAlmost all of us have been there. Sitting at the pediatrician’s office, the nurse wheels in the infant scale for his or her weigh-in, encircles your angel’s head with a halo-like measuring tape, marks the examination table paper at the heel and top of the head.

After gathering all the important info, they enter the information into the computer (or on a form) and scribble a number down on your progress report paperwork in their corresponding ” _____ %ile” spaces (“blank percentile”).

Maybe you’ve sat there confused. “If there was something wrong, they’d tell me…right?” you thought to yourself.

If this sounds like you, I’m here to clear it up! I’m going to walk you through reading a growth chart and interpreting the numbers.

What are Growth Charts?

First off, growth charts were made in order to track infant, child, and adolescent’s development (length, weight, and head circumference factors) from birth up to 20 years of age.

The lines show the distribution of the population according to that specific measurement.

For instance, if a measurement falls along the “75” line, then that means for that measurement, 75 percent of girls (or boys, depending on the chart) at that age/weight/length/head circumference were shorter/weighed less/had smaller head circumferences. We’ll get into that in our practice exercise below.  Continue reading

Avoiding a Sick Sprout…

Avoiding a Sick SproutOK guys – As a healthcare provider (even if I’m on an extended “break”) I wanted to put this out there as my nurse’s Public Service Announcement for all parents who have babies, young children, kids, if you have little baby cousins, nieces and nephews, best friends who have little babies, or who are pregnant… GET A FLU SHOT!

Flu season is September 1st through March 31st (that’s the guideline we follow in the hospital) and the best way you can protect your child against a whopping case of sleepless nights, fever, crying, irritability, difficulty eating, etc etc is to get vaccinated and to vaccinate your kids!

Why Vaccinate?

In general, your baby needs to be up-to-date on all vaccines. ALL VACCINES. There really is no excuse for this. So much media sensationalism exists trying to unjustifiably pin long-term health effects on vaccinations, but no. Don’t buy into it. It’s ridiculous. It leads to worse problems, like the resurgence of diseases that used to be things of the past. Here on Little Sproutings, I try not to be incredibly opinionated about some issues, but failing to vaccinate your child is a whole other story. 

For more about vaccinating your child overall, see the “Additional Info” section below and additional resources at the end of this post.

Flu Vaccinating You & Your Sprout

The flu virus affects everyone. Babies and young children especially need a vaccine to defend their little bodies against the flu, because their immune systems aren’t at full strength and the effects of a flu illness are worse for them. Additionally, the course of a flu illness is more easily complicated with pneumonia because of a developing immune system. Continue reading

Your Snoozin Sprout

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Whether or not you plan to (or currently) “sleep train” your baby, new parents and parents-to-be are familiar with wondering if their baby will be a “good sleeper,” or if they will be up all night long. It seems as though the instant you bring your baby home, strangers and family members start to ask “ohhh is she sleeping through the night yet?”

For some, it’s nothing more than an innocent question, but for others it can be obnoxious. Tired parents will sense a notion of judgment or eagerness to hear of the parent’s failure to being able to keep their baby asleep, or they just dread hearing the question because it reminds them of how little sleep they are actually getting.

Good sleeper or not, there’s one thing that I think we can all agree on – that newborns sleep differently than young infants, and young infants sleep differently than older babies. When Jia was sleeping in our living room in her crib, Jeff and I tiptoed around our 1-bedroom condo like you wouldn’t believe. For a handful of weeks I was living on-edge after 8:30 PM. I dreaded bedtime. Whether it was the dogs barking at something they heard outside our window, needing to take a quick trip to the fridge, opening and closing our squeaking front door (thank you WD-40) or wondering if the dropping of the shampoo bottle in the shower was enough to rouse her from her light sleep, I was going nuts.

Nowadays, in her own room sleeping 11-11.5 hours straight, I still wonder: how come our friends’ toddler needs the clanking of pots and pans or loudly opening and closing dresser drawers to wake up, whereas sometimes it seems Jia can sleep through an army passing by her door but other nights her sleep will be disturbed by Jeff blowing his nose next door?

We started talking about this and I became curious – how are sleep patterns and brain waves different for infants and toddlers, and when do they change?

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